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

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Maybeshewill - I Was Here For A Moment, Then I Was Gone

Yes yes yes oh my god yes. After months of Andy telling me I should listen to them, in May of this year I finally gave Maybeshewill a good listen and they promptly took over my heart. Post-rock is, in my opinion, the ultimate revision music. There are minimal lyrics to distract you from whatever you're reading, and the sheer majesty of most post-rock bands make even the most mundane of topics seem enormously important. So over the exam period, I found myself listening to this band an awful lot. I've been looking to pick up their albums ever since then, but only managed to get round to it until last week when I found this (their third album) for £11 on the HMV website (where I inexplicably still get 10% student discount. Bonus). Let's take a look at it, shall we?

I absolutely adore this cover, to the extent that it's probably one of my favourite pieces of album art ever. The vinyl version is actually an extended version of the CD cover (see here) and  it's just so much better. As soon as I saw it, I knew I was going to be buying the vinyl instead of the CD. Outstanding. There are no words on the cover either, which is a lovely touch.

It's a gatefold LP, but there's not much going on in the middle. A whole load of technical details and thanks etc, with a sufficiently muted background to make them readable. Fair enough.

Plain black vinyl, with some fairly subtle labels. The back cover holds little more than the tracklisting, but the visual effect of it is spoiled slightly by the massive white bar with the record label details on it, but I'm really just picking hairs here. Beyond that cover, nothing else really matters.

I'm not going to beat around the bush, I love this band and I love this album. Maybeshewill lie towards the heavier end of post-rock, but incorporate synths and occasionally (though not on this album) some speech samples. So they're a bit like if And So I Watch You From Afar and 65daysofstatic had an illegitimate love-child (if you're a fan of direct band comparisons). I'd like to tell you some highlights of the album but honestly, it's just consistently excellent. The 6-track run in the middle of the album from Red Paper Lanterns to Farewell Sarajevo could be an album on its own and would still be worth as much money as a full album. This is, without a shadow of doubt, one of my top albums of the year. You can stream the entire thing (and both of the band's other albums) from their record label's Bandcamp or on Spotify, which I obviously think you should do. In two months' time, I'll be watching this album being played in full live in Leicester (accompanied by Andy, no less). To say I'm excited is somewhat of an understatement.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Tubelord - My First Castle

As I mentioned in my previous post, I recently bought both versions of the new Tubelord cassette. Yesterday I received an email from the band containing a download link for the songs, which was hugely appreciated and means I can now write about them. Excellent. The cassettes were a fiver each, and are available via the Pink Mist store if you're interested.

The cover is good, if a bit weird. The pastel colours soothe my head, but then I've no idea what's going on above the castle. Is Pinocchio dead? What is Mickey doing? I'll leave these questions open.

What is a nice touch is that there's a tiny version of the band's new logo in the middle of the castle. Subtle, I like it.

Cassettes don't please me too much aesthetically (especially in comparison to records), but the solid colours of both of these are excellent. The cases matching is a nice touch, too.

The tracklisting for these two tapes is slightly unusual. The A-side of each consists of 3 Tubelord songs. First of all we have My First Castle itself, which is an astoundingly good song. Catchy and poppy, it's a pity it's been released a couple of months too late to be a huge summer hit (as I genuinely think it could have been). It brings a smile to your face and although it's a lot more synthesized and radio-friendly than the band's older material, after a few listens it's difficult to care. Ellie Barge, the second track, is much more like the Tubelord of old but with the added synthesized elements of the band's newer songs. It's great. The third track is called Death, and is a fairly uncharacteristic slow(ish) song. It's my least favourite of the three but isn't too bad. There are 6 tracks on the B-side of each tape. They're not songs though. They're poems. Three people contributing two each. I don't know a lot about poetry so I can't really comment in depth on any of the poems, but they're enjoyable and I like that Tubelord were willing to try something a bit different with this release. It'd be better on vinyl though...