I spent today enjoying being free of exams and coursework by doing relatively little; watching some TV (Battlestar Galactica, which so far seems decent but i'm only 4 episodes in so i'm reserving judgement for now and the opening episode of Family Guy series 9), going for a brief walk in the sunshine, doing sudokus (i find them incredibly relaxing and addictive), watched a film (Monsters, which was part of an ill-advised but inevitable DVD spree in HMV on Wednesday, and absolutely as good as i remembered it being, 5/5 definitely) and read both online and physical news.
The TV and movie bits aside the whole day has been soundtracked by a playlist i compiled shortly after waking up of a bunch of new music i'm really liking at the moment and that music is going to form the body of this blog post. Some of it i found by my usual method of stumbling around the internet following related artist links, some was on recommendations from blogs and websites and a couple were based on advice from friends. I'll have spoken about a few of them before but those that i have are worth a second mention i believe.
I've been seeing Wild Beasts mentioned in relation to a lot of other artists i am a fan of but for no particular reason had never got round to giving them a listen, that is until yesterday afternoon. I've now listened to their two most recent studio albums a couple of times over each and my main emotion is disappointment that i haven't checked them out before. 'Two Dancers' and the 2011 release 'Smother' are both great albums, dabbling at the electronic end of indie and entertainingly varied over the course of either LP.
Some tunes like 'Deeper' combine relaxed guitar, synth lines and drums with an almost Guy Garvey-esque vocal smoothness, while others are more fast paced and dancy, such as 'Hooting and Howling'. It's the range and changeability of tempos within their songs which makes them so entertaining.
Another band whose name i'd seen plenty of but couldn't think of a song they'd done was these guys from London. Their debut album "Palace" is excellent with a refreshingly straight forward guitar based indie sound that reminds me of a number of the indie bands from the early 2000's, the period when i fell in love with music. There are hints of Editors, Futureheads and Cribs, but the band they most remind me of are Boy Kill Boy, a band who i think are under-rated and whose album 'Civilian' was a favourite for a period of my teens. Chapel Club's songs are characterised by aggresive guitar and drum lines as seen in 'Surfacing' and the song i posted last night 'All The Eastern Girls' or by more harmony focussed chorus' like in 'Oh Maybe I'. There slightly retro sound may put some people off, but for all that i love the current crop of electronica based indie bands, sometimes i like a good old fashioned guitar band and Chapel Club fit that bill.
I've written a few times about this Sheffield based band so i'll keep this short but it is worth remarking that their album is standing up to repeat listens and their song 'Backstreet Lovers' is a definite favourite.
The Naked and Famous
These guys are another band which i've already given quite a bit of coverage, but like 'The Crookes', their album still sounds absolutely brilliant despite some pretty intense listening. 'Punching In A Dream', 'Girls Like You' and 'No Way' are all incredible tunes which either make me want to lie in the sun with friends or go out, get drunk and dance like a loon depending on my mood at the time, but either way it's a good feeling.
This was a band mentioned in passing by a friend as worth giving a listen to as i like Friendly Fires and that's a good way of summing up their appeal. So far i'm not convinced over the course of an album they offer a whole lot that is much better than Friendly Fires first album but the track 'Stone-bridge' is a great tune.
Another of the group of bands bringing guitar based indie back after a period in the wilderness, at least so far as good quality stuff was concerned, is The Vaccines. Their songs at times have a brilliant simplicity reminiscent of The Ramones as in 'Wreckin Bar (ra ra ra)', but they also showcase on their debut album the ability to do some more complex tunes when the mood takes them. 'Post Break-up sex' is a real indie anthem in the making with the right combination of danceable tune and sing along chorus to make sure it gets played up and down the country in Indie clubs.
Now i've only listened to a couple of the songs by these guys but i'm already intrigued, at least partly just because the songs were so different from each other. It means that i can't get enough of a handle on them yet to write a good review but i definitely like it enough to recommend it.
So that's the round up of the bands that appeared on today's playlist so if you're wanting to listen to some music this Friday evening, but aren't so so so excited enough to listen to Rebecca Black then you could do worse than to check out the bands listed above.
Over the next few weeks i'm going to be posting a series of film reviews in amongst the other news and random events inspired posts. They're going to be a series of 500 word reviews of my favourite films, categorised by genre and the first one will be my favourite comedy film, which will probably be posted on Sunday evening. I suspect that quite a few of the people who read this will be able to guess what it will be but until Sunday i won't confirm or deny those guesses.
Seeing as part of the reason i like several of the bands mentioned above is that they exemplify a return to the kind of indie which made me fall in love with music as a 13/14 year old, i thought i'd finish this blog with a song from the first album i ever bought with my own money, the first album i listened to all the way through only to press play again the moment it finished and the first album which made me realise just how important music could be to my life.