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The Raveonettes * Raven in the Grave review

   latest album from an amazing Danish band I just recently discovered (last year) - The Raveonettes
   the style of the 1980s goth, indie and yet a touch of sparkle is what makes this band unique. the combined voices of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo can set any mood, but mystery and darkness, with a hint of subtle lightness is what they're going for.
   impressed me from the first listen, hope it will do the same to you!
by THE RAVEONETTES (since 2001)
1. evil seeds

2. war in heaven

3. forget that you're young

released as single:
4. recharge & revolt

5. apparitions



Drive OST - Cliff Martinez

   here are some retro sounds from the soundtrack of the amazing movie Drive, starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and more.
   one breathtaking film, and the perfect soundtrack for it! 
1.Desire - under your spell

2. College - a real hero (ft. Electric Youth)

3. Kavinski & Lovefoxxx - nightcall

4. The Chromatics - tick of the clock



Kasabian *Velociraptor* review

   new album from Kasabian, just what any fan would wish for.
   intriguing, rock, loud, bits of electronica, middle eastern influences, psychedelia, various textures, eclecticism and power!
  this album comes after West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, which was a masterpiece in my opinion, while exceeding my hopes and expectations regarding this amazing band, and managing to surprise me with every track!
by KASABIAN (since 1997)
>> laura recommends:
1.I hear voices

2. la fee verte

3. let's roll just like we used to

4. acid turkish bath (shelter from the storm)

released as single:
5. switchblade smiles


and also,
here are some photos taken by Alex Damian at the Kasabian concert in Targu-Mures, Romania:


Coldplay *Mylo Xyloto* review

   what is happening to music?
   every time I listen to some band's album for the first time, I'm afraid of a major disappointment. 
like the new Coldplay album, Mylo Xyloto for example.
   I can barely hear guitars on this album and it sounds like the new electro-pop wave has eaten it alive. and when I hear Rhianna's voice on it then I know for sure this is not what I expected this band to evolve into.
   and I'm sure that they can still make amazing music, because there are several tracks scattered on the album (which will probably never be released as singles) which are truly great, and which give me a glimpse of Coldplay and what it used to be, or what it could have been. 
   unfortunately they are sliding further and further away from the style that made me love their music. 
   however, here are the very few tracks that help me hang on and hope they will somehow find their way back to making great music like A Rush of Blood to the Head or Parachutes.
by COLDPLAY (since 1997)
>> laura recommends: against the world

2. major minus

3. up with the birds

4. U.F.O.

extra (not on the album):

this last track sounds like Coldplay ought to sound like. 
it's amazing, and it's a B-side from the Every teardrop is a waterfall EP. thank god for B-sides!
this is the real Coldplay, not the commercial tracks on this Mylo Xyloto potpourri album.
Moving to Mars is the best track from released by Coldplay in 2011. I had almost forgotten Chris's voice can sound so disturbingly amazing...


Arctic Monkeys *Suck It And See* review

   i'ts amazing how the evolution of a band can generate such great changes in style, while still managing to create deeper, stronger, more mature and powerful musical masterpieces. many critics say that the band Arctic Monkeys is getting further and further away from the style that made them famous, or that the album Humbug along with Suck It and See have set a gap between the band and a large part of its fans. well, I have to admit I really don't understand them.
   in my opinion, having the opportunity to witness and actually hear Arctic Monkeys' evolution has been an amazing musical experience and I'm looking forward to see what they do next,
   because they have gone a long way from singing about girls that look good on the dancefloor, and as it seems, they don't intend on returning there any more. so if you thing Humbug was different, wait 'till you hear Suck It and See. you won't hear any predictable tracks. it's all new, it's all changed, and in my opinion, it's all genius. maturity and evolved musical skill oozes from every single track. actually, it was quite hard to make a selection and recommendations for this post. nonetheless, there are certain songs on this album that stand out and illustrate the new, yet classic musical style Arctic Monkeys.
   another thing I adore about this album are the constant puzzles and metaphors created by Alex Turner, whose lyrics are starting to transcend common understanding. he is constantly finding new, undiscovered ways of expressing simple things ("now it's getting dark and the sky looks sticky/more like black treacle than tar"). just listening to the lyrics on this album is mind-blowing. and combined with the astonishing instrumental layouts, this is by far one timeless and true masterpiece which will surely define or intensify the way you feel about Arctic Monkeys.
by ARCTIC MONKEYS (since 2002)
>> laura recommends:
1. black treacle
2. library pictures
3. love is a laserquest
4. piledriver waltz
>> released as single 
5. brick by brick
6. don't sit down 'cause i've moved your chair

   black treacle starts off simple, nothing more you need that a guitar riff and Alex Turner's voice, eloquently evoking poetic and "sticky" metaphors about stars and the night. with a clear and smooth pattern, this track makes you tap your feet instantly, from the first 10 seconds you hear it.
   now, with library pictures, it's a whole other story. it's complexity and continuous fluctuation in rhythm and instrumental layout create an amazing accelerated pace. with various segments intertwining and flowing in and out of each other, this is not a track to listen to and easily forget. the drums from the beginning of the track just make you hold your breath to see what happens (thank you Matt Helders for existing!), then the track tempers down suddenly, only to start up again. and just when you start to understand what is happening, the track is over. only 2:22 minutes of pure rock!
   the reverberated guitar in love is a laserquest, along with the melancholic and heartbreakingly crafted lyrics make a track which, after a few listens, will forever be stuck in your head. and only Alex Turner can write such dark, sincere lyrics, associate them with the hauntingly gloomy instrumentals, and generate a track that will stir you up inside (whoever and however you are). the general feel is perfectly illustrated by the lyric "when I'm pipe and slippers and rocking chair / singing dreadful songs about summer"
   piledriver waltz, is not your ordinary waltz. I love how Arctic monkeys have reached a point where they can create an amazing track just by using simple (yet elaborate) instrumentals, amazing lyrics with unexpected depth and staggering metaphors, and basic rhythms. This track is a perfect example of their ability to do so.
   they also kept it basic with brick by brick, but this song has something to it that makes it special, catchy, yet profound in every possible way. maybe it's the transformation and continuous evolution of the band's musical style, which is felt all along this track, and amplified by the fluctuation in rhythm, this quite new element used skilfully in multiple tracks on this album.
   even in the title of don't sit down 'cause I've moved your chair, you can sense the character of this track. it's rock, it's mad, it's noisy, it's part of the new Arctic Monkeysit's something different, it's up to you if you like it or not. 



Miles Kane *Colour of the Trap* review

   he first played guitar in the former band The Little Flames. then he collaborated with Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys creating the duo called The Last Shadow Puppets, and releasing the album The Age of the Understatement (see my review of it here). meanwhile, he was also part of former band The Rascals, with which he released one single album, called Rascalize (see my review here).
   this month, Miles Kane has recorded and released a solo album called Colour of The Trap. if you like any of the bands or albums mentioned above, I think you will also like this solo album. it has a bit of everything. lyricswise it lacks a certain depth, except for the tracks where Alex Turner helped out. you can really sense his presence here and there!
   all in all, it's a great diverse album, but the tracks don't complement each other, they don't quite form a coherent, sharp album, a feature that I personally value in a music album.
   the tracks can easily be separated into two categories: the 60's influenced fizzy pop-rock romantic tunes (counting down the days, my fantasy, rearrange, quicksand, colour of the trap), and the more acid and powerful rock'n'roll tracks, which I personally prefer and recommend below.
   these different styles combine, creating an interesting eclectic album!

by MILES KANE (since 2004)

>> laura recommends:
1. telepathy
2. happenstance
3. king crawler
4. better left invisible
>> released as single 
5. inhaler
6. rearrange

   telepathy is one of the track on which Miles collaborated with Alex Turner, and you can definitely sense that when listening to bot the instrumentals and the lyrics. it has a certain feel to it that makes you shiver and it just might be the best on the album. it starts with a strong wild wild west-ish lead guitar riff which sets the overall mood of the track and evolves as it advances. the not too complex instrumental line is spiked up by Miles' vocal performance and his guitar solos. pure art!
   the mysterious sensations in happenstance are created by the duet vocal performance of french actress Clémence Poésy and Miles, starting out all whispery and sensual and gaining strength towards the end, perfectly accompanied by the electric guitar explosion.
   the king crawler's accelerated psychedelic rhythm with strong tribal drums and powerful vocals is an impressive track managing to emerge and incite the listener, even though it has no guitar parts.
   the amazing percussion performance in better left invisible is what made me love this track. it is highly contagious, and acompanied by Miles' smashing electric guitar riffs and the screaming, it creates a perfect loud garage rock track.
   the accelerated imperative rhythm of inhaler is breathtaking and the ragged, hoarse voice of Miles ads even more swiftness to the track. this is the perfect choice for the first single on this album.
   rearrange is the summery, fresh, 60s pop-rock track that gets you hooked instantly. it's probably the best track from the "romantic" side of this album. simple and classic.

   interesting album, strange mix of styles, in my opinion this turned out to be an exciting experience, and hope there's more to come from this young talented artist!



Philip Selway * Familial

   Philip Selway, the drummer from Radiohead has released a solo album last year in august, and I recently got a hold of it and started listening, and I have to tell you I liked what I heard.
   it's yet another acoustic-ish album (I seem to have a soft spot for them lately), and it is very interesting work. 
   but if you think that when listening to it you will hear something similar to Radiohead, you are mistaken. of course, a certain influence obviously exists somewhere deep down (after all, he has worked with Radiohead for almost 25 years - wow! I didn't realise that up until now when I did the math), but otherwise, it is truly something else. 
   this album shows a lot of courage, considering that it was created by the drummer of Radiohead (which is the most complex and dynamic band out there) and I think it was a challenge for Selway to create an acoustic album with so little percussion. and I have to mention that his whispery voice is really soothing and and a delight to listen to.
   so, before listening to this album, let go of the fact that this guy is the drummer from Radiohead, and you will be truly impressed with what he has created.
 FAMILIAL (2010)
by PHILIP SELWAY (since 1985)
Laura recommends:
1. beyond reason

2. the ties that bind us

3. a simple life

Released as single:
4. by some miracle

   beyond reason is the most amazing track on the album, starting with a twisted beat; and when the recurring guitar riff kicks in I'm already hooked. Then Philip Selway's soft voice combines with the instrumentals creating an interesting delayed music pattern, giving the song its unique character. The whole structure of the track displays certain Radiohead influences, and the vocal layout is similar to some of Thom Yorke's performances. still the track maintains it's own personality. the short guitar solo is a burst of energy which dynamises the general instrumental layout, and by starting and ending abruptly it leaves you wanting more.
   an interesting "familial" message is transmitted through the ties that bind us, with a simple track, a strong vocal performance and minimal instrumentals. the lyrics, the message and Phil's voice are the main elements which dominate this track.
   a simple life starts out like the telling of a secret, with an intimate feel created by an acoustic guitar and Phil's whispery voice. the lyrics also partake in creating this sensation of intimacy. the track evolves when a discreet percussion starts, strengthening the track's structure, which reaches climax when the brass arrangement explodes at the end.
   by some miracle is a great album-opener, starting with the whispered "one, two, three, four" and then a catchy guitar riff. the overall instrumentals are composed of various sounds and noises, creating a strange rhythm with very little drum involvement. the whispered lyrics create an anxious feeling, and the female backing vocals emphasize the eerie sentiments exposed in this track, ending with the haunting "put it back, put it back, put it where you found it".

   although it is a quiet album, this does not mean that Familial will not satisfy you if you are willing to give it a chance.


Radiohead * The King of Limbs

   the new Radiohead album released last month deserves a new post.
   constant musical evolution, always present style changes, exploring of new sounds are some of the many many descriptions which fit to every new released Radiohead album. Everyone who has listened to Radiohead’s diverse discography must know that, so it’s no shocker that when you will listen to a new album of theirs for the very first time, you will be pleasantly surprised with a new sound, a new feel, a new musical thrill.
  although it is the band’s shortest album, with only 8 tracks and 37 minutes, its complexity and surreality comes naturally after In Rainbows, of course with a well-acknowledged progression and conceptual growth, and makes your mind drift off into the unknown.
   soundwise, it has a very strong influence coming from the electronic music world, as noticed on the band’s last few albums (and also on Thom Yorke’s solo album – The Eraser which is also brilliant), nevertheless, this influence has been ever present in their work since the very beginning.
   what more could be said about this band that hasn't already been said?

   so here it is: pure, fresh, ever evolving Radiohead!

by RADIOHEAD (since1985)
Laura recommends:
1. Bloom
2. Little by little
3. Ferral

4. Codex

Released as single:
5. Lotus flower

   the album starts with a repetitive piano pattern and then the sick rhythm an bass line kick in on the track bloom. with the first lyrics being "open your mouth wide", the listener is already intrigued and in deep into the album. the rhythm on this track is highly contagious.
   the track little by little is a classic Radiohead track no doubt. the reversed guitar along the track gives me the chills and a funny feeling, amplified by Thom's falsetto voice and all the other various sounds in the background.
   ferral, a purely experimental instrumental track with only a few moans and sighs coming from Thom, is very interesting, and even though I'm not sure what it is, I love it and it has stuck to me like glue.
   codex, a track with only a piano and Thom's voice, kinda reminds me of pyramid song from the album Amnesiac. this track  is complex because it is so simple, while the lyrics describe a pure sense of freedom, painting an exotic picture with so little words.
   lotus flower comes with deep meanings of purity and transcendence, which are described not only by the lyrics, but also with the help of the instrumentals. starting with a continuous scrunchy bass sound that goes on all along the track, accompanied by an amazing skipped rhythm (Phil Selway has done it again) and a rich background of sounds which strengthen the the track's character, it reaches perfection when Thom starts singing (almost whispering in his lovely falsetto). slowly, the song evolves and explodes when the chorus begins and Thom reaches his high notes, purely expressing the state of transcendence.
  all in all, this is one astoundingly hypnotising album!


Iron & Wine * Kiss Each Other Clean

 a new Iron & Wine (Samuel Beam) album was released last month and after listening to it and all of the other Iron & Wine albums, I had to write a review. I will do a comparison between his second album (Our Endless Numbered Days) and this new one (Kiss Each Other Clean), which sounds completely different from what Iron & Wine started with.
          the older albums mainly consist of an acoustic guitar, sometimes a banjo, and Sam Beam's voice, and have a surreal and unique acoustic feel that will give you chills. the change in style started to appear on his third album (The Sheperd's Dog) and is quite definite on his latest album. this new jazz-influenced and eclectic band-like sound (where the presence of synthesizers, jazzy horns and other electronic sounds plays an important part),  is "easier" and doesn't embed a specific feel to the listener. I'm not saying that the album is bad or anything, actually it's quite pleasant to listen to, but I was sincerely expecting something else from this artist.
          While I really enjoy listening to "Kiss Each Other Clean", if I will ever want to play an Iron & Wine album, I will always choose one of his previous releases.
by IRON & WINE (since 2002)
Laura recommends:
1. tree by the river
2. monkeys uptown
3. your fake name is good enough for me
Released as single:
4. walking far from home

          these four tracks are the ones I find most inspired and inspiring. as you will see if you give them a listen, they follow no pattern, fit to no style, they have no common core.
          tree by the river is very melodic, with a simple beat, and backing vocals that are soothing and complete the instrumentals, and Sam Beam's voice is stronger and edgier, not just a whisper any more.
          monkeys uptown has a strong catchy rhythm, and will instantly please any listener. it's more complex than "tree by the river", with strong guitar riffs, breakdowns and lots of background squeaks and squeals and other sounds.
          I think your fake name is good enough for me is the most interesting track on the album, along with "walking far from home", yet the tracks are similar in no way, it's like they are sung by two different artists. the first one starts with a horn section, giving a jazzy sensation. the horns appear all along the track, fitting perfectly with Sam's voice and other backing vocals which sound harmonious. the lead guitar riffs with the horns combine into a great sound explosion before the second part of the track begins. this part changes rhythm, vocal style and instrumentals, going on forever and evolving in complexity as a haunting ending for the album.
          walking far from home is also very pleasantly bizzare, and is like a reminder of Iron & Wine's beginnings. it starts with a faded background instrumental and a soft vocal performance, but evolves along the way, turning into a complex instrumental sound and a powerful voice accompanied by backing vocals. I find the lyrics very interesting, as they expose a succession of weird imageries, with no chorus or break in the cycle. it's quite mesmerising.
          the conclusion: very good album, but a change in style of any artist will always come as a shock to certain fans. it may take a little longer to get used to it.

          next up, I will show you what Iron & Wine used to sound like.
          as I mentioned at the beginning of the post, these tracks are from Iron & Wine's second album (Our Endless Numbered Days - 2004) and are my personal favourites from this album.
Laura recommends:
1. cinder and smoke
2. free until they cut me down
3. each coming night
4. teeth in the grass


arcade fire * the suburbs

          finally, some time to post something new.
          during the past few months, I've started paying special attention to the canadian band Arcade Fire. I had listened to their work before, but lately it seems like they have especially grown on me. I have listened to their first two albums obsessively and then I got hold of their latest album called The Suburbs and i find it simply brilliant (from the very first listen).
          the general theme of the album (as the name suggests it) concerns the suburbs, with their spatial, economic, social and psychological impact on man and society.
          being an urban planner myself, this theme intrigued me and while listening to the album, I was amazed how it manages to transpose this general urban planning problem (the urban sprawl) into such an emotional and human problem for the regular "modern man".
          the whole evolution of the album (it has to be listened to from beginning to end, as it is one complete and unbreakable masterpiece) presents different random suburb experiences in the form of songs, and the evolution of man in relation to its city (from downtown to suburbs).
          one more thing I love about this album is the fact that the tracks are related to one another and are arranged in a certain order, generating the special feel, but also making it very easy for me to listen to the album over and over again, not knowing where it ends or where it begins.
          this latest album has made me love Arcade Fire even more, although their first two albums are also genius.
          simply amazing!
by ARCADE FIRE (since 2001)
>> laura recommends:
1. sprawl II (mountains beyond mountains)
2. modern man
3. rococo
4. suburban war
>> released as single 
5. we used to wait

          these tracks recommended here will sound a bit peculiar taken out of context (as I always say and maybe I'm a bit naggy, but an album must be listened to as a whole, from beginning to end, without shuffle, at least the first couple of times).
          I started with sprawl II (mbm), because I find that this is the climax of the album (maybe both instrumental and lyricswise). I simply love its multiple retro synths and discoish feel. the vocal performance of Régine Chassagne gives me goosebumps and is in perfect contrast with the gloomy bit depressed mood expressed by Win Butler. and the lyrics of the track give an interesting definition of the sprawl  ("dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains") and its impact on one's personality.
          I have to say this album has had a specialmeaning for me because I happened to study the urban sprawl phenomenon and it's impact on society, and this album underlines its problems perfectly.
          modern man, with its particular repetitive skipped beat that is freakin' awesome, evokes, with simple words and instrumentals, the worries of the "modern man" who is busy standing in line and realizing "something don't feel right".
          the obsessive repetition of the word rococo in the track rococo is perfect for describing the modern youth and their shallow interests about things "they don't understand" or which have no substance or meaning. the haunting instrumentals (mainly guitar riffs and a strong beat) are the perfect layout for these lyrics.
          the reverberated guitar in suburban war is in perfect symbiosis with the dark mood set by the lyrics and by yet another definition of the suburbs ("while we sleep we know the streets get rearranged"). divided into 4 parts that combine into one complex track, this is one subtle yet great track, which quietly evolves and then ends abruptly with an instrumental explosion that accompanies the ever present complaint "all my old friends, they don't know me now".
          we used to wait is one of the singles released from this album and is another example of how simple lyrics can express so much. this song speaks for itself and for the whole album, revealing the massive changes of society, and the time-space compression.

          as you can see and hopefully hear, this album is worth every second of your time. even though some say that the previous Arcade Fire albums are better, I think that lyricswise, its simplicity or lack of complexity if you will, does not necessarily mean lack of substance.
          in my opinion, this album has skilfully managed to transpose the suburbs into music.