A sporadically-updated music collection blog. Send questions to twitter or email me.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Three Trapped Tigers - Route One or Die

This past Wednesday I went to see the magnificent Tubelord in Birmingham in what was one of my favourite gigs in a long while. At the merch table there were a few Tubelord things for sale (including the band's new single on cassette, which I bought both versions of and will post about once I've found a way to listen to them) and also a record box of various Pink Mist releases. In that box I spotted this album, one I've been looking to get for a long while, for the lovely price of £10.

This cover is amazing. It's very distinctive and bright and I loved it from the moment I saw it. There was a t-shirt of this design with the pre-order of the album but it had sold out by the time I saw it, which was annoying. It's also worth mentioning that the album comes in a plastic outer sleeve with the little title label on, which I appreciate a lot.

The paper inner sleeve has this on the front, which looks nice, and recording information and thanks on the back. I like it.

The back cover's got a weird repeated-style font going on. The reverse of the inner sleeve has the same effect. It looks pretty cool, but can be kind of hard to read. Black vinyl, but with absolutely lovely labels. Since Blood and Biscuits is only a small label, it doesn't make sense for them to pay lots for hosting of the tracks and include a specific download code with every copy of the record. Instead, they've very cleverly put all of the albums tracks as a private set on Soundcloud and printed the link to this on the A-side of the label. As anyone who has read this blog before will know, I think records (albums at least) should come with a download code, so credit to Blood and Biscuits for a good way of doing this.

There's a reason I've been after this album for a while. It's spectacular. TTT are an instrumental band, but a very electronic one at that. They're quite heavy but there's a lot of melody in the album. Elements of post-rock and sounds that border on chiptune blend together beautifully for 43 minutes of absolute joy. One of my albums of the year so far, for sure.

It's also worth noting that the album has produced two wonderful videos. The first, for Noise Trade, is a gorgeously-animated affair about hearts and robots. I don't want or need to explain any more.

The second, for Reset, might be my favourite video of all time. It features Matt Berry, of all people, as some kind of world saviour acting against an evil space alien trying to destroy the earth. Exactly. It's 7 minutes long but absolutely worth watching.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

I'm pretty late on this one, even by my standards. The only other Arcade Fire album I own is Neon Bible, which is a solid album but never grabbed me all that much. So when this album came out and wasn't on Spotify, I felt no rush to go out and buy it. Last weekend however, my dad and I ventured into Head in Leamington and they had the 12" for a tenner. He offered to buy it for me, and I'll never say no to gift vinyl.

The cover's not bad. Very lo-fi, with a fair amount of film grain and some light leaks up the right side. Lovely. There's 8 different versions of this cover for the CD version apparently, but I'm not sure whether there are any variants to this (the UK & Ireland) version of the 12". Discogs mentions alternate covers for the Europe and US versions, but not for this one, so I'm going to presume this is the only one. Upon seeing them all, it's my favourite of the 8 though which is nice.

Double LP, so it's a gatefold. The inside is fairly sparse, with only a small logo in the bottom right on top of an extended version of what appears to be a photo of the same area as the picture on the front. This means that all the song information and lyrics are printed on the dust sleeves, which is super-cool and actually makes a lot of sense. The lyrics are very readable on the white of the dust sleeves whereas they might not have been overlaid on a picture.

The labels are nice and subtle, continuing the lo-fi nature of the rest of the artwork, and the back cover is the only place apart from the spine that features the album title. The gold text used is far shinier than my poor camera skills could capture, and it looks really good. Here comes my problem though - no download card. It annoys me quite a lot that this record doesn't come with one. This isn't some bedroom label release, this is the new album from a fairly massive band. It will have sold thousands of copies on vinyl at an eye-watering release price of £18. I don't understand why they couldn't put one in, and I resorted to downloading the album from Mediafire so that I'd have a copy to listen to. Morally I think I have the right to do that, but I know it's a bit of a dubious area.

To bring things back onto positives, the album is really really good. I know most of you are probably already aware of this, but it took me by surprise somewhat. I don't think I need to go into that much detail about it, but if you've never listened to it then maybe you should. Arcade Fire are arguably the "indie" (for lack of a better word) band of the moment, and they really stepped their game up after Neon Bible. If they keep going at this rate, the next album will be phenomenal.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Biffy Clyro - Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies

Time to resume the Biffy spree. Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies (henceforth referred to as LIAPBED for simplicity's sake) was the second single to be taken from Puzzle and peaked at a respectable 19 in the UK singles charts. It's one of the band's more well-known songs and as such gets played live with unerring regularity. I picked up both versions of the single for a measly £2.50 plus shipping from ebay last year, which was a total bargain.

Okay so as with Saturday Superhouse, we have two slightly different covers for the two different versions. I am, unsurprisingly, a big fan of this. The artwork is fairly nice and, as with every release from this album, definitely has the feel of a Storm Thorgerson piece (I don't think I mentioned last time, but he did all the artwork for the Puzzle and Only Revolutions releases. Awesome stuff).

Lovely coloured records. The blue is particularly nice. This time there are pictures of the band inside the gatefold sleeves. They're alright. Not much I can say about them, in truth.

More seemingly pointless numbering. These numbers are low though, so my brain likes them. I don't understand either.

Music-wise, both versions of the single have a radio edit of LIAPBED as their A-side, a radio edit that cuts out ALL of the weird long intro to the song. I love that intro, and thus really dislike the radio edit. The blue version has a track called Loneliness as its B-side. Loneliness is one in a long line of slightly off-kilter Biffy songs, with its jangly guitars and strange lyrics (chiefly, "I have a secret to tell, shit looks like chocolate to me") including some that are ripped directly from other tracks on Puzzle (a theme common to a lot of the B-sides from this era). Indeed, the red version's B-side (the wonderfully titled "Kittens, Cakes and Cuddles") has the word "loneliness" in its chorus. KC&C is a more straightforward Biffy song, but is still pretty good. Unfortunately, my rips of both songs are pretty poor so I don't listen to either as much as I arguably should. A shame.