People In Planes - Last Man StandingThings aren’t always exactly as they first appear. Sometimes you might listen to a song only to find that the music suddenly takes a totally unexpected direction. ‘People in Planes’ happily make these unusual themes commonplace in their latest single, ‘Last Man Standing’. 

‘People in Planes’ are a Cardiff band with a very unique and unfamiliar edge to much of their music. Their main track, ‘Last Man Standing’, starts with slow opening chords, before guitar riffs help to quicken the pace and get the song moving. It has a rough feel which makes it sound as though it could be an authentic radio recording from the eighties but this adds to its atmosphere. Given the limits of the lyrics, the track still proves to be a good (lead) song. Read more

The Maccabees - No Kind WordsGet ready, because the Maccabees are back! The five-piece from South London ended 2007 on a high after receiving huge praise for their debut album “Colour It In”, which NME hailed as “the best alt. pop record of 2007. No contest.”

A new album will be released in early May, but before that, as a taster, a new track hot from the studio has been released. “No Kind Words” is available to download now, and it seems that the band have had a change in direction.

“Colour It In” was filled with a breezy depiction of times as a child, including playing lego, going to swimming pools on Saturday mornings and teenage crushes. But if this new single is anything to go by, the new album will be much darker. Read more

Rise Against - Audience of OneAudience of One is the latest single to be released from Rise Against’s fifth studio album, Appeal to Reason. The Chicago rockers have already received rave reviews for their new album, which opened at number 3 on the American Billboard 200, making it their highest charting album so far.

If this single is anything to go by, I can see why. Straight away the powerful melody got my attention; it’s the perfect opening to a punk-rock song. Often I need a few listens to decide if I like a song or not, but we’re only 20 seconds or so into this track and it’s definitely a keeper.

Lead singer Tim Mcllrath’s strong vocals then join the party, and already this track has an anthem feel to it. The chorus picks up the pace with simple but effective guitar work and is complimented by Mcllrath’s powerful voice. It’s strong and dominating, and sounds best with the volume on full blast. Read more

Tommy ReillyAbout 6 weeks ago Tommy Reilly, a 19-year old singer-songwriter from Glasgow, won the Channel 4  Orange Unsigned Act show and since then the media machine has gone into overdrive.  “Give Me A Call” is his first single and an impressive but flawed demonstration of Tommy’s talents.

The lo-fi live feel of the production is tolerable until the second part of the chorus, where it becomes really messy and difficult to listen to. The production on the vocal in this section really doesn’t flatter Tommy’s voice at all (and it doesn’t work any better on the version on his MySpace page).  Amanda Ghost apparently compared him to a young Bob Dylan on Unsigned Act – I hope she meant as a songwriter and not as a singer because Dylan’s voice has never been his strongest suit. Read more

The breaking news today is that Lily Allen told MTV she might not make another album.  Six months ago that news wouldn’t have caused me too much heartache but after the difficult second album, I think it would be a big loss to music if she stopped now.  I never really got the Lily thing in 2006 when some critics were claiming that she was the next musical messiah, but  2009’s offering brings  a very different response.

“It’s Not Me, It’s You” moves away from the image of the lovable streetwise Cockney motormouth to show a much more reflective, mature Lily Allen.  The songs are split fairly evenly between social commentary (including the wonderful “The Fear”, which is as good a song as I’ve heard in a long time) and relationships (including one about her relationship with her dad).  The most impressive change in her songwriting, for me, is in the ambiguity of some of the lyrics.  Is “The Fear” about Lily Allen’s attitudes or a satire on others’ attitudes; is “Back To The Start” about her sister or not?  “Everyone’s At It” is a hard-hitting swipe at hypocrisy over drug use where she sabotages her moral stance by admitting her own guilt: “I get involved but I’m not advocating”. Read more

Last Friday the hugely successful U2 played a (mildly) secret gig outside Broadcasting House in Central London. Despite being secret the short session was watched by ….. fans, some of whom had been waiting around for hours beforehand waiting for a glimpse of their heroes.

Here is some footage from the gig. The next two parts are access by clicking the “read the rest of this entry” link.

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