Friday, April 15, 2011

Randomness: Record Store Day

It's tomorrow. 16th April. Isn't it lovely?

For those who don't know, Record Store Day is an international initiative trying to keep independent record stores alive. I think we're all aware of the shift towards big chains, supermarkets and online stores for music. But there's something wonderful about poking around in independent stores. I can't remember the last time I did that. The amount of interesting looking record stores I walked past while I was in Melbourne in December and didn't go in because my friend wasn't interested... oh so many. Part of the reason I intend to go and poke around in some of the indy music stores in Hobart tomorrow. Maybe I'll find something wonderful. Unfortunately, if I do find anything, I'll have to wait till I get back to the UK to be able to play it, given that I have no CD drive. Grr.

A few friends have asked me in the past what the point is in buying physical releases instead of downloading. Admittedly, most of my purchases in the last couple of years have been downloads, but there's still something wonderful about CDs. I'm not that much of an audiophile that I can notice any difference in quality of sound, but there's something lovely about opening a CD case, slipping the disc into the player and having a listen. Plus you get the added awesomeness of album artwork, lyrics and the like. Bands are increasingly releasing these in digital format along with the album, but nothing quite compares to leafing through a little album booklet. It's not really the same, reading a PDF file.

That's all I really wanted to say. I think Record Store Day's a great idea. Really, I should've poked around Hobart's indy music shops before now - blame my utter dislike of shopping. It takes a lot for me to really go mooching around shops, but once I do finally get into a music store... well, HMV may be a big chain, but I can get lost in there for ages. God knows what I'm going to be like tomorrow.

More info HERE  and there's an interesting article HERE from the Telegraph.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Current Love: Kimberly Freeman's new album

I was half tempted to write a second Band of the Week blog this week, just for the delightful Kimberly Freeman, but I held off. Current Love will do for now. And yes, I know I already wrote about her single this week, but this morning I got my hands on the new album "Into Outer Space" and therefore babbling is in order. And here it is:

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! I love it. Love love love love love. Ahem.

It's a beautiful album. Lovely mix of tracks, all in a generally electronic vein. There's some brilliantly upbeat ones like the previously mentioned Fame And Loathing. Then there's some gorgeously slow, ballad like tracks such as Fairy and Water Song (previously released to raise money for the Japanese Earthquake/Tsunami appeal). It all meshes beautifully as an album, right down to the last track Lost In The Sound, a new electro version of the song Ghetto Love which was on Kimberly's first album.

Kimberly and One-Eyed Doll, the band she fronts (who I also happen to love) have a ridiculously strong fanbase and they're making the most of that with this album. Manufacture of the physical album hasn't started yet and to fund it, they're using a pre-order system. By pre-ordering, you get an immediate download of the album, but you also get a physical copy once it's been made. Unlike most of Kimberly's and One-Eyed Doll's material, this album has no "Name Your Price (even nothing!)" option. But for a minimum of US$10, this album is well worth it. And obviously the rest of the fans agree with me, because the preorder is currently the top-seller on It was only released yesterday.

Sooooo, head on over HERE and have a listen to opening track "Into Outer Space". You can also check out Fame And Loathing and a new version of Float Away HERE which are also on the album. And then, when you've (hopefully) fallen head over heels in love with Kimberly Freeman's awesomeness, why not pre-order the album? The sooner they raise the money, the quicker everyone gets the album. Although going by how quickly it became the top-seller on, I'm thinking it might be fairly soon. Go go go.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Current Love: Fame And Loathing by Kimberly Freeman

First single from the wonderful Kimberly Freeman's forthcoming album. Going in a bit of an electronic direction with this one and I love it. Plus, the video is just awesome. And I may or may not have downloaded the remix stems just to see what they sound like. I'm in love with the bass track. Maybe I'll try my hand at remixing it, but I wouldn't know where to start. No harm in trying though, right? Anyways, check out the video below and then head on over to BandCamp to download the single.

Oh, and if you search YouTube for "Fame and Loathing" it pulls up a whole bunch of fan remixes. Going to check 'em out now, I reckon you should too.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Band of the Week: The Blackout

Ah, The Blackout. Currently rock with post-hardcore bits. Prior to the latest album, they were more post-hardcore. Welsh. Mad. Totally epically awesome. And this morning I got the aforementioned latest album and I can totally see why Blunt gave it a 4/5 star review.

I've not written a review myself yet. That can wait till I've had a few more listens. Besides, this is Band of the Week. This is my opportunity to gush about how much I love them. And I do indeed love them. The Blackout have grown on me slowly. I first looked into them about 2 years ago after I found out they were playing at Give It A Name 2009. Second billing, no less. I wasn't too fond of them then. But then, I wasn't at all fond of Enter Shikari at the time (who were headlining Give It A Name). That show introduced me to some awesome live bands. I fell madly in love with Enter Shikari. Not so much with The Blackout, but I knew then that they were amazing live. Late 2009 I found out they were playing the Kerrang! Tour in January 2010. Second billing again. Well, I knew they were awesome live, plus All Time Low and Young Guns were also playing and I was already in love with them. Once again, I loved The Blackout's live performance. Downloaded a few tracks.

Those few tracks got quite obsessively played and I spent several months trying to decide whether to buy their albums or not. In the end, I decided that while I loved them live, they didn't quite translate that energy to disc. And then comes the announcement of the line up for Soundwave 2011. The Blackout are in there. Along with a bunch of other bands I love. But The Blackout. I knew that even if I didn't get to see some of the other bands I wanted to, I HAD to see The Blackout again. Suffice to say, they didn't disappoint. If you've read my post about Soundwave, you'll know how much I loved that set. Probably the best set I've seen of any band ever. (and I totally just realised I've mispelled Soundwave in the title of that post. Oops.) So totally awesome. So awesome, in fact that I finally got my arse in gear and downloaded their albums. And then spent the next month up until today waiting for new album Hope to be released. Oh, so scrummy. The main album is brilliant, but the deluxe edition (not labelled deluxe on iTunes, but it's the deluxe for physical versions) includes four covers and two acoustic tracks. So so lovely.

Basically, The Blackout are awesome. Even more awesome live. They're on tour in the UK at the moment, but I'm pretty sure almost every show's sold out. That is how awesome they are. So, check 'em out (preferably live), let me know what you think and pass it on.

Assorted The Blackout links:
Official site
Youtube or check out Epitaph Records' channel for some music vids

Recommended tracks:
From The Blackout! The Blackout! The Blackout!: I'm A Riot? You're A Fucking Riot!, It's High Tide Baby
From We Are The Dynamite: I've Got Better Things To Do Tonight Than Die, Spread Legs Not Lies, She Is Macho
From The Best In Town: Save Our Selves (The Warning), ShutTheFuckUppercut, Children Of The Night, I Love Myself And I Wanna Live, We're Going To Hell...So Bring The Sunblock
From Hope: Ambition Is Critical, Higher & Higher, Hope (Scream It Out Loud), You're Not Alone (acoustic), Save Tonight (Eagle-Eye Cherry cover)