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Alternative Cuts – Menomena – “Evil Bee”

19 Jul

This is a video that I love so very much and one that really speaks for itself.

Menomena are one of a billion indie bands out of Portland, Oregon, and whilst I never got on with all their music, this is just a perfect mix of sound and vision. Over the past 3 or so years I’ve found myself coming back to it time and time and time again. I’ve searched high and low for a true HD version of it but to no avail, so sadly this is the best we have for now.

If you know me then I’ve either spammed this video to you on blogs or IM or email or one social networking site or another, or I’ve made you put it on at that perfect time of the night.

Menomena – Evil Bee. It’s a keeper.

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Bon Iver’s ‘Bon Iver’ – A Review

21 Jun

Bon Iver‘s first album was a triumph. At least that’s what the crazy A.I. from Portal claimed in her final song. That’s right. She wasn’t taking about the epic events of the game. She was referring to the ground-breaking debut album by Justin Vernon, oddly entitled For Emma, Long Ago. The album was a somber and beautiful as the title implies, and the sequel has been highly anticipated by humans and robots alike.

The majority of the new album, Bon Iver, isn’t a disappointment. The first few bars of opening track Perth will send shivers down spines. Simplistic and haunting guitar. Images of teenagers lying in darkened rooms with lava-lamps a-glow spring to mind. There’s a little experimentation in the first couple of tracks, but after a few listens, fans of the previous album will settle in nicely. Vernon’s voice floats around beautifully whilst the instruments meander along, carrying him where ever he’s planning to go. Holocene really sets the album on it’s path, and really emphasises why Vernon has a band behind him now, rather than locking himself away in the mountains alone this time.

This album really would be wonderful, if not for the final track. Beth/Rest is an anomaly on this outing. It has hints of the classic Bon Iver sound, but sounds out of it’s time. More like something that would be found on a Phil Collins album than should be bring what is a five star album to a close. Ignore the final track, and Vernon may have just released a contender for album of the year.

Alternative Cuts – The Residents – ‘Constantinople’

8 Jun

Alternative Cuts continues its regular series of postings presenting interesting, quirky, cool music videos or other viral happenings, if we think it fits what we’re trying to do here at Alternative Spotlight.

After the last Alternative Cuts I thought I would have some issues finding something that could “up the ante” so to speak. Within ten minutes of searching on YouTube I stumbled upon this little gem called Constantinople from an avant-garde band The Residents.

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City and Colour’s ‘Little Hell’ – A Review

7 Jun

Dallas Green is a beautiful man. Not necessarily physically (though there are several woman who will surely vouch for him in that respect), but with his musical skill and soaring, majestic vocals, he makes many a man and woman envy and love him at the same time.

Recently Dallas Green was on the verge of selling out the Royal Albert Hall. There were only one or two seats not occupied by awe-inspired individuals who, from the wealth of tattoos and piercings on show, had a solid background in the heavier side of alternative music. Yet they were in one of the country’s most prestigious venues to enjoy one of hardcore’s heroes venting his folk and country desires. Something that many would argue has brought him more success and recognition than his time in Alexisonfire ever could have.

Today saw the released of Dallas Green’s third solo album, under his usual guise of City and Colour. The audience at the Royal Albert Hall were given a sneak preview of some of the songs from the morbidly titled Little Hell, something that’s not always received warmly, but this proved to be the exception. The taster did exactly that, wetted appetites with over a month before the album’s release.
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Alternative Cuts – Bad Lamps – ‘Never Know the Difference’

31 May

Alternative Cuts will be a hopefully regular series of postings presenting interesting, quirky, cool music videos or other viral shit if we think it fits what we’re trying to do here at Alternative Spotlight.

I’m struggling to put into words exactly what it is about this fan-made video that I seem to love so much, because all it really is is a montage of the clean bits of some past and present porn films set to a lovely little summery piece of indie. Whatever it is, it’s clear I’m not the only loving it one as the video has clocked up over 600k hits since appearing on Youtube less than a week ago.

Perhaps I could write something about how the music seems to subvert the meaning of these snippets of video. Or perhaps I could write something about the opposite, and it’s actually the meaning of the music that’s altered by the juxtaposition with the choice of imagery. And perhaps even there’s a broader point to make there about context, interpretation and perception of different ‘art’ in different circumstances.

But that would be to do it a disservice, I reckon, because there’s something beautiful in the abstract here that needn’t be pinned down by words. Sometimes simple enjoyment can be simple enjoyment. So, that said, enjoy a wonderful video that is peculiarly poignant somehow.

Bad Lamps’ Soultronic EP available here on Bandcamp
Bad Lamps on the F-book.

Album Review – Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi – “Rome”

13 May

Ever since a friend played me a bootleg of Danger Mouse’s Grey Album back in 2005-ish I’ve been fascinated (and at times completely besotted) with the music that this guy churns out and the projects that he’s involved with. From his work with Gorillaz and Gnarls Barkley to the incomparable Dark Night of the Soul Sparklehorse/David Lynch ensemble piece, he has never failed to deliver. Even when I heard he was working with U2 it didn’t dampen my enthusiasm, and I hate U2. Really hate them.

So what do we have here?

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