Archive for the ‘Rock’ Category

Glasvegas – Be My Baby

Glasvegas – Be My Baby

After posting about Wavves on Sunday, I listened again to their album King of the Beach, and then yesterday morning, on the way to work, listened to Best Coast’s Crazy For You, coming to the conclusion that both owed a debt not only to late-sixties surf rock, early-seventies soul and late-eighties scuzz rock but also to a group of pasty-faced, leather-jacketed social-worker lauding Glasweigans… Yes that’s right, the appropriately named Glasvegas.
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Birthday

The Beatles – Birthday

I wouldn’t normally dream of using material by any of the greats of modern music on shotwithsound – far be it from me to attempt to link one of my photos with works of art by the likes of Dylan, the Stones, Ace of Base, or even little known Scouse skiffle act The Beatles – but as today is a special day, I’m going to make an exception.
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Rollerskating

Bright Eyes – Rollerskating

Anyone reading the About page on here will realise that the aim of this isn’t to be relevant, hell, anyone reading shotwithsound will probably know that, so it’s no surprise that in eight months of running, I’ve never featured a song the day it was released on here.

Usually, I don’t have the time, or the clarity and speed of thought, still less creativity, to produce an accompanying image for a new track to try and beat the big popular indie blog boys to the latest from Pheonix, Yeasayer and Beach House, but today, I’m making an exception.

It’s not everyday you get a new Bright Eyes track these days (gone are the days of two whole albums on one day), because while Conor Oberst may have the time to stick out three albums in 18 months, he hasn’t put out new material under his Art Garfunkle inspired psuedonym for three years.

So news that a re-issue of 2004′s split EP with Saddle Creek label mates Neva Dinova, One Jug Of Wine, Two Vessels, would feature two new tracks from each band, expanding the EP to an LP as anyone who can count will tell you, was greeted pretty fondly by fans, not least round here.

As I said last time I featured Bright Eyes on here, Conor is nothing if not prodigious, and nothing if not precocious, so the very fact that new material from his main band is a surprise shows his focus has been on other areas. Here’s to hoping that the two new tracks are precursors to a touted final Bright Eyes album.

The photo above was taken with my new 50mm 1.8 prime lens (which you’ll be seeing more of on here), and is a pretty cheap visual link to the song, using @k4tys‘s roller skates for a still life subject…

Usually I make tracks on here available for download, but as this is so new and as there are only three other new songs on the release, it feels like I’d be really ripping off the artists if I did, so this is streaming only for now.

You can buy the now full length One Jug Of Wine, Two Vessels from Amazon here, or if like me you already own six of the ten tracks, you can complete your collection from Bright Eyes & Neva Dinova - One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels

A White Demon Love Song

A White Demon Love Song

A White Demon Love Song

Seeing as the second film in the Twilight Saga, New Moon, is out tomorrow, and the soundtrack is excellent, I thought the best way to ‘celebrate’ would be putting a brilliant track by the Killers from the OST up on here. Either that or buy one of these (NSFW), and I’ve run out of space in my fridge… and I’m not a sexually inhibited 17-year-oldĀ girl from Nebraska.

So, The Killers it is. White Demon Love Song is the first new track they have put out since the release of their third, and kinda disappointing, studio album Day & Age last year. It harks back to their second, more Americana-influenced album, Sam’s Town than the glitzier post-punk / new wave of Hot Fuss and Day & Age, and is all the better for it to my mind.

The rest of the OST is filled with a similar brand of indie and alternative music from artists like Death Cab For Cutie, Bon Iver & St Vincent, Grizzly Bear and Thom Yorke, as well as a really brilliant track Lykkie Li – an artist I had heard of but not heard before getting this.

So clearly, a photo of a vampire to go with the post was always going to be difficult. I’m not cool enough to hang out with them and they don’t show up on film anyway… right Stephanie? Christ knows, I thought they couldn’t go out in the day time but what do I know, I didn’t sell 70 million books… Again, going off topic – this is a hard post to write. Back to it, so I have no pics of Dracula, Nosferatu, Lestat or Edward (sorry 17-year-olds)for that matter, so I choose to go with something that mimicked the setting of the film and the theme of the song a little more with this chilly winters image, that though taken in rural Dorset mirrors Washington state in winter fairly well.

You can buy the soundtrack from Amazon here

Or download it from The Killers - The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Music From the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Deluxe Version]

Sunrise, Sunset

Sunrise & Sunset
Bright Eyes - Sunrise, Sunset

It’s a mountain special on shotwithsound as I am planning to climb Snowdon (England & Wales’ largest mountain for my international audience (of one)) tomorrow. Seeing as I’m climbing with Lee – previously featured on shotwithsound here – and Katy (who went uncredited despite modelling here) I thought a photo of the last mountain we climbed would be appropriate.

Having considered various mountain-related songs (River Deep, Mountain High; Ain’t No Mountain High Enough; Mountain Song) I decided to sack it in and actually look at the photo then listen to some music before choosing the temporally appropriate Bright Eyes song Sunrise, Sunset.

Usually on here I try to talk a little about the band I feature, a little about the song, and a little about the picture… But this time, seeing as almost everyone will be aware of the prodigious talents of Omaha’s finest Conor Oberst and his brilliant work under the Bright Eyes, Desaparecidos and Mystic Valley Band monikers, I’m going to let the music do the talking and the picture speak for itself.

One final note though – when this was taken it was the end of a glorious Spanish day: the weather for Snowdon is set to be heavy rain, and gale force winds – so wish us luck!

Strangely Fevers And Mirrors, the album from which Sunrise, Sunset is drawn, isn’t on iTunes (a first?!) but you can buy it from Amazon here.

Ciao My Shining Star

Ciao My Shining Star
Mark Mulcahy - Ciao My Shining Star
If you are into your music and spend much time on blogs like mine then you may be aware of the story behind Ciao My Shining Star – the recently released compilation named after the song above – but just in case, and because it gets me, I’m going to repeat it.

The album is a compilation of the songs of Mark Mulcahy, formerly of Miracle Legion, laterly of utterly brilliant, inspiring solo albums and features people like Thom Yorke, Frank Black, and Michael Stipe re-imagining his songs.

The album is being released as a benefit to raise money for Mark, because he has recently retired from making music to become a full-time father to his twins, following the tragically early death of his wife Melissa.

If that isn’t enough to make you hit the link and buy the album, just push play above, keep the story in mind, and see if you can avoid welling up… Then buy the album!

The photo above is the first time I have a posed picture (hell, it’s only the third time a real person has featured on the blog) to try and capture the mood a song leaves me with, and I have to admit I’ve not suceeded as much as I might have liked, but I still think the shot fits the sound, to an extent.

I’d like to feature more people photos in the future, but willing models are hard to find – I’ve not yet managed to have a face afterall!

Strangely in the UK you can only buy the album Fathering, from which Ciao My Shining Star is drawn on import from Amazon here.

But you can order it much cheaper direct from the record label here

And you can get the compilation here.

You can also download Fathering from mark mulcahy - fathering

Or get Ciao My Shining Star the album: Thom Yorke - Ciao My Shining Star - a Love Letter to Melissa: The Songs of Mark Mulcahy

And if your lucky enough to live in the States, there is a special forty plus track digital version of the compilation too: Thom Yorke - Ciao My Shining Star (Deluxe Edition)

Which should give you some idea of just how inspirational and influential Mulcahy has been – I can’t think of many artists who could find forty peers to produce covers for such a project, still less good ones!

Still


Wisonsin

Volcano Choir - Still

The latest music from Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon was released this week in the guise of Volcano Choir’s Unmap – a collaboration between Vernon and the experimental post-rock outfit Collections Of Colonies Of Bees.

If he had any fear of being typecast as ‘the guy in the cabin whose wife left him’ then this release is unlikely to shift that perception of Vernon – but to be fair, the topics do stretch further than his hugely rated and raved over For Emma, Forever Ago’s (mine and many others’ album of the year last year) post-divorce introspection.

Only one of the album’s nine tracks is not new material, Still – the song linked above – also featured on Bon Iver’s Blood Bank EP although with a different name (Woods), with different music and slightly more reliance on what sounds to me like Auto Tune or something similar. It is also the song most similar in sentiment and style to For Emma, Forever Ago.

For a long time I’d been planning to use the image above on here with the track Wisconsin from For Emna, Forever Ago – only really waiting until it started to get a bit more wintery to relate the image to the seasons, but seeing as it is pretty Autumnal now and the album is out this week I decided to switch things around.

The photo was taken in the New Forset in Hampshire during a cold snap last winter and always made me think of isolation, protection and introspection offered by the cabin in the middle of the frozen woods where this song was initially written. The delicacy of the branches, the fragility of nature in the midst of winter and the stasis produced by freezing water in neat symetary with the song’s lyrics.

You can buy Unmap from Amazon here

Or download it from Volcano Choir - Unmap

Amazon say they are selling Blood Bank here, it’s from another merchant but still says it’s available in the UK here

You can definitely get Blood Bank digitally from Bon Iver - Blood Bank - EP

And if you don’t yet own For Emma, Forever Ago, you should. Buy it here

Or download it: Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

Anthrax

Anthrax

Gang of Four – Anthrax

The first thing you’ll notice about the above image if you’ve heard Anthrax by before, or after you listen to it if you haven’t, is that I have very conspicuously got the wrong insect (are scorpions even insects?) in the picture – there’s a reason for that.

The underlying motif of the song is stasis and the trap that is apparently Gang Of Four’s conception of modern love – with the recurring lyric being ‘feeling like a beetle on its back’. The miserablist nature of that aside, it is a creeping, shifty-sounding song that is one of the best produced by the unarguably brilliant Gang of Four.

I chose the slightly creepy, itchy looking image because the song’s multiple overdubbed vocals seem to fit it well, not to mention the stark nature of Gang Of Four’s music working well with the two tone (not like that!) image. Anthrax kicks off with over a minute’s feedback and then a twin pronged vocal from Andy Gill and Jon King that at times echo one another before diverging again down different paths…

The image isn’t a Photoshop job, alarmingly it was captured looking almost exactly like this (a little post-production brightening and contrast changing has gone on) in London Zoo thanks to the odd lighting of the reptile house.

If you enjoy the music of Franz Ferdinand, Interpol, or Bloc Party and are not aware of the debts they owe to bands like Gang of Four (and for that matter Magazine and Wire amongst others) then you should check out the brilliant retrospective Return the Gift – although the album Entertainment, which featured Anthrax, is also excellent and features lots of the same tracks.

You can buy Return The Gift from Amazon: here<\a> and Entertainment here<\a>

And you can download them here from
Gang Of Four

Akuma No Kuma

Akuma No Kuma

Sunn O))) & Boris – Akuma No Kuma

Sunn O))) make a monumental breed of drone rock that sounds like the audio of the fall of nations and the collapse of empires. Over the years their sound has evolved and they have taken drone metal in new directions with their forward thinking production, collaborations and embracing of electronics and a wide variety of instruments.

When playing live they are (in)famous for performing in the sort of robes worn by Druids and ancient shamen – it was actually the memory of seeing them live at Sonar several years ago that prompted me to pick out one of their pieces of music from that period to soundtrack this image.

Akuma no Kuma is a collaboration with Japan’s experimentalist (with the emphasis on the mentalist) metallers Boris and has vocals from Melvins and Earth man Joe Preston – simply by featuring vocals (albeit proccesed to hell) the track differs from much of their work.

The picture was taken in Spain and is of the Temple De Debod – a real Second Century BC Egyptian monument to Isis and Amon (damn maybe I should have used an Isis song?!)… It was donated by the Egyptian government to the Spanish in 1968 in gratitude for Spain’s aid and has stood in Madrid ever since.

This image is the first in a series of more experimental music and unusual pictures I have planned for the next few months – I’ll try to put some normal music up with normal photos too, but my shots have taken a turn towards the abstract recently so I figure the blog may too.

You can get the collaboration album between Sunn 0))) and Boris, Altar, from Amazon for a fairly hefty price here.

Or you can download it from Boris & Sunn 0))) - Altar

Tenhert

TenhertTinariwen – Tenhert

Not many conscripted, desert-born soldiers of fortune have the time to learn to play instruments, fewer still manage to form bands, and you can count the numbers that reach world wide fame through their tribal take on rock music on the fingers of one hand. Even if the hand has lost all but one of its fingers in an unfortunate heavy machinery accident.

So it is that Tinariwen’s strange, almost mythical journey has taken them from being conscripts to Gaddafi’s Eighties army to touring the world, playing festivals from Glastonbury to Coachella, and being cited by Damon Alban and Chris Martin as influences.

Hailing originally from the the Tuareg tribe in the deserts of Africa’s largest country, Mali, Tinariwen play a curious blend of incanted, shamanistic drone rock that melds their own culture with heady doses of Hendrix-influenced guitars.

Although they formed in the early Eighties and were releasing music locally soon after, it is only really in this decade that their music has been widely available in the West. Each of their releases to date has found them more fans and increased their influence, culminating in this year’s critically lauded Imidiwan: Companions from which Tenhert is drawn.

Another ‘holiday’ snap accompanies the track seeing as I am still in the sunshine… Not quite the desert of Mali but I hope that the image’s faded tones and African influences are overt enough to be appropriate. Just as soon as I can afford a trip to north Africa to take something closer to Tinariwen’s home I will do!

You can order Imidiwan: Companions from Amazon here

You can also download the album from Tinariwen - Imidiwan: Companions

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shotwithsound

shotwithsound is a blog about the music I love, with occasional forays into my photography, and other things that catch my eye.

You can see more of my photography on my website www.nicstevenson.com.