Monday 26 July 2010

Sky Larkin - Kaleide

Sky Larkin – Kaleide

The second album from Leeds three-piece Sky Larkin is a neat progression from last year’s The Golden Spike, with a vibrantly eerie atmosphere. Album opener ‘Still Windmills’ sets the scene, with Katie Harkin’s strong melodic vocals complementing the rough meandering guitar lines well. Title track ‘Kaleide’ is a pretty pop song with distorted guitars and clashing cymbals adding enough punch to grab the listener’s attention, while ‘Tiny Heist’ builds to a fierce conclusion tempered with creaking chords. The sparkling guitar parts of ‘Landlocked’ herald the transition into a more sinister set of songs. ‘Anjelica Huston’ is appropriately spine-chilling, with soaring vocals that are elevated by the use of piano. This is followed by the similarly atmospheric ‘Spooktacular’, an incredibly catchy track that is a definite highlight of the album.

Synths come to the fore in ‘Year Dot’, a more dance-punk flavoured song which has wonderful moments of gang vocals and percussion in the form of clapping that add a more frenzied air to the music. This contrasts with ‘Coffee Drinker’, a more laid back track that incorporates interesting jagged guitar fills. ‘ATM’, ‘Shade by Shade’ and ‘Guitar and Antarctica’ are also low-key, sharp-edged pop songs that greatly benefit from Harkin’s variation in vocals. Final track ‘Smarts’ is a pleasantly moody exercise in pop music, which sums up this record perfectly.

Check them out here.

Monday 19 July 2010

New Lens!

My new lens (Canon 50mm f/1.8) arrived today! I tried it out, seems to be working fine. I went on a photowalk with Lara, Sarah and Sarah's sister Anna in London last week. A lot of walking was done, but very little photo taking was completed.

As I no longer have access to the Lightroom beta, I'm currently using Photoshop Elements to play around with RAW files and it takes a lot longer, so here are some pictures I took not so long ago:


Thursday 8 July 2010

Shameless Self Promotion...

I decided to upload the song I recorded to my old Myspace musician page but was disgusted to find they brought in a feature that automatically approved all friend requests, meaning I had 200 new besties in the form of spam accounts. Wonderful. After resetting this, deleting the spam friends and uploading my new song, I set about trying to modify the profile layout. I couldn't figure it out. There was a jumble of CSS in the Artist Bio section so I changed the background colour and then the songs vanished. So, I decided to make a page on Facebook instead:

Click to hear my lovely music.

Originally, the "band" was called AndSoDexterFell because this amusingly - or so I thought - abbreviated to ASDF. When I realised this was nuts, I changed it to Angus and his Rats, which was also fairly silly. The new moniker is January Nights, taken from Takeoffs and Landings by The Ataris.

More A New Mission reviews coming up soonish. I've also got to figure out what has recently been released to review for Intuition, hm.

Friday 2 July 2010

A New Mission Review: ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Source Tags & Codes

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Source Tags and Codes
Source Tags and Codes is the Texan band's major label debut. Despite opening with a delicate piano introduction, this songs are generally a combination of vicious music and jagged vocals. The addition of sparkling piano lines to the fierce rock is a wonderful touch, further charging the songs with emotion. Although the music isn't always entirely obscure, the band have an edge that sets them apart from typical radio rock fare.

Final verdict: 7/10, personally wouldn't listen to this much but it's a solid record.

Check them out here.

More about A New Mission.

A New Mission Review: And So I Watch You From Afar - And So I Watch You From Afar

And So I Watch You From Afar - And So I Watch You From Afar
From start to finish, this record is packed with intricate guitarwork of an exceedingly high quality, contrasted with heavier chordal attacks. The general absence of vocals is not a detriment to the music at all; And So I Watch You From Afar have merely stepped up the game in terms of musicianship in order to draw the listener in. This is epic, (mostly) instrumental rock that is incredibly enthralling.

Final verdict: 9/10, must buy.

Check them out here.

More about A New Mission.

A New Mission Part 1: !!! to And So I Watch You From Afar

I have a ridiculous number of artists in my music collection, 1191 according to iTunes. This is basically because I end up with a lot of solitary tracks from compilations, so I don't actually own full albums by all of these artists and in many cases have never listened to one of their records in its entirety.

This is going to change. I'm going through my music library and seeking out albums to listen to. To begin with I'll be using Spotify, and once I get through everything I can I may turn to purchasing music.

First up, !!! - yes, that is their name and it is pronounced "chk chk chk". I've only got one song by them, and they're not on Spotify.

Next, :( - again I've got one song and they're not on Spotify.

This is going to be a bit of an issue as a lot of these artists aren't exactly mainstream!

And So I Watch You From Afar - bingo! Self titled album is available, finger is poised over the play button. I'll let you know how it goes. I own the first two tracks from this album, "Set Guitars To Kill" and "A Little Bit Of Solidarity Goes A Long Way".

Thursday 1 July 2010

More mini reviews!

More stuff I thought looked interesting in Rock Sound...
Apologies, I Have None: These Londoners play punchy alt-rock that is catchy and instantly likeable. While these songs aren't groundbreaking, Apologies, I Have None are definitely capable of penning something as epic as the Get Up Kids' Holiday.
Basement: This is hardcore punk with a tender edge; while the vocals are typically rough, the music conveys more emotion than the average hardcore band.
fun.: Featuing Nate Reuss of The Format, fun. express themselves with avant-garde pop music that incorporates a variety of instruments.
Boy Jumps Ship: An energetic burst of pop punk; really refreshing.
William English: It sort of feels like the vocalist is in a different band...the scratchy growls jar a little with the polished riffs. Altogether William English play very, very heavy music that isn't particularly innovative.
Verses: Epic, hard-hitting rock.
Blacklist Royals: Classic no-nonsense punk, skilfully executed.

There's a few more but I'll check them out later. My sister is practising piano; she has her Grade 3 exam in a couple of weeks.

I'm still uploading to Flickr, here's a couple more tasters:

View many more here.

I've also been trying out various ways of coding an online portfolio; I think I've finally hit on what I've been looking for. I'll stick a link up when it's complete; you really don't want to see the atrociousness of my first two attempts.