I’m yet to listen to either (though I plan on doing so after this), and if you’re in the same boat, this clip will get you excited. Travis’ drumming is at its insane best, full of sheer intensity, skill and an unerring accuracy that’s just frightening for a man moving his limbs at that rate. Not only that, but the brief snippets we get of each song suggests an incredibly diverse EP, opening with an Angels & Airwaves-esque track, followed by something a little heavier, and closing on a track that sounds somewhat darker. Travis’ YouTube feed also actually has streams of each of the EP’s tracks, so if you’re not yet committed to that purchasing decision, you can preview everything there. Grab the EP for a mere $3.99 (£2.40 for 5 new Blink tracks? Yes please!) over at Blink-182′s place.
An excellent release from Foals, ahead of Holy Fire which is due for a February release.
From the perky guitar riff to the flowing percussion work, this track’s got a lot of instrumentation to love. The two combine for a bright, upbeat soundscape that will surely infect indie dancefloors all over, and certainly makes for an uplifting change of pace during this dismally dark winter. It’s one that’ll sound fantastic in the summer, and the vocal work is a big factor behind that, with the easygoing, mainstream-friendly lyricism and vocals anchored around an infectious hook, and supported well by sharp backing vocals.
Very enjoyable all-round indie jam, and this could very well be a decent hit for Foals. Looking forward to that album release.
So, unfortunately the last contest we did had to be pulled as the concert got cancelled. A shame, but I’m assured that won’t happen this time: Last.fm have secured the incredible God Is An Astronaut, MAYBESHEWILL and Nordic Giants to play their very special Christmas Live in London gig.
Hell of a lineup to be honest. The atmospheric, wintery work of GIAA alone will be an incredible experience live in person, and I expect you all to have clammy hands at the prospect of winning these.
Nothing complicated. Just email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell me you want in. I’ll draw someone out randomly to win a pair of VIP tickets to this event. Feel free to get creative.
Artists: God Is An Astronaut, MAYBESHEWILL and Nordic Giants
Address: Heaven, Under The Arches, Villiers Street, London, WC2N 6NG
Tickets available from: http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/user/?region=gb_london&query=detail&event=516802x
Ticket Price: £14
Doors Open: 7pm
This kind of agility is exactly what we were looking for, post-label. We have ideas for songs, we get into a studio and put the ideas together, grind hard, and weeks later we release the songs on our own. Lots of long hours spent on five new songs. The band is in a great place creatively.
Mere minutes ago, Blink-182 announced the release of a new EP as part of their Christmas pre-order packages. I don’t think any Blink fans expected music so soon, even if the Neighborhoods album was released over a year ago and this, their first release since choosing to go independent, should make for interesting listening.
There are 3 packages, at $19.99, $54.99 and $99.99, each containing a mix of t-shirts, hoodies, Blink-182 wrapping paper and more. Yeah, that’s right. Wrapping paper. The EP is included with all packages, and will also be available seperately to download on 18th December. Given there’s also a new Angels and Airwaves EP in early December, it’s a pretty exciting Christmas for Blink fans. You can pre-order or just browse the packages here.
Another of the legitimately superb tracks from M83′s most recent album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, and the video comes courtesy of a competition with Genero TV for aspiring videomakers to helm this one.
One of the many reasons I give this track so much time is for its immediacy, with the opening utilising no lengthy intros like plenty of their other music, and instead kicking things off with a lively, energetic vocal sample. It’s built on excellently with further vocals, uplifting synths and pulsating percussion work for a thoroughly feelgood track with so much positivity that it’s quite difficult to get the video wrong.
Thankfully, the rookie directors have done a great job here, and stick to M83′s favoured theme of childhood innocence with a supernatural twist courtesy of a fresh-faced kid performing for himself in his garden, interspersed with bright and fun animated scenes of electronics that suggest he’s possibly more scientifically than supernaturally gifted. It’s a video full of colour on a nighttime backdrop, and the high level of activity makes for a great accompaniment to the audio. Grab the album now.
Oddly, I’ve completely forgotten to give this album a listen. I own it and everything, I just seem to have drawn a blank on what I do next.
This track therefore came as a pleasant surprise. It’s much harder than anything I’ve heard from the band before, but in a refined and controlled way, as opposed to the jaggedness of their last album. The guitars and percussion are crashing and packed with attitude, whilst Kele’s at his melodic best to offer a nice contrast to that instrumentation, with that duality represented excellently in the video. The inherent innocence of children is flipped on its head as they seem to become unruly and riotous, capturing the punchy backdrop well, whilst tempering the discomfort of watching anarchy with the mere fact they’re all very young, a possible typification of the surface-level appreciation for the vocal work.
A very good all-round visual which essentially keeps both the audio and video quite simple, and achieves maximum effectiveness. Grab their Four album (and actually listen to it, unlike me) now.
The Queens of the Stone Age frontman quietly dropped this one off on the soundtrack for End of Watch, and I’m sure it’ll help temporarily satisfy QOTSA fans’ need for some new audio from the group.
An interesting blend of styles make this one up, with punchy and thick guitar work in the foreground accompanied by country-esque instrumental work in the background, along with lengthened, harmonic vocals that have a much stronger pop rock sensibility than most of the work with QOTSA. As a result of the latter, the song slots into an easily-digestable structure, with verses packed with a lively backdrop and subdued vocals and a hook that scales upwards courtesy of a cacophony of instruments and much more empassioned vocals.
A very likeable all-rounder that boasts a hook of considerable replayability. Hopefully there’s a release planned for this track soon, as I couldn’t see it hanging around anywhere.
Disclaimer: you’ll need a US iTunes account to be able to stream this.
Runaways promised much in terms of the quality of this album, and I’m very keen to see if the rest of the album can hold up to that quality, albeit hopefully in a little less of a pop manner. Day and Age was an enormous disappointment and many fans, particularly those who were only loosely supporting the band, lost all faith in their work as a result. With that said, there are few greater sights in the indie scene than The Killers all getting along and on form and the signs thus far are positive: fingers crossed for them that this is a project of redemption. Released officially next Tuesday, grab that stream below.
Linkin Park dominated my teenage years, and even in adulthood going back and listening to their first two albums remains a treat. Their album prior to this one, A Thousand Suns, was entirely terrible and undid a lot of good work but thankfully their latest album, Living Things, has really put them back on track and for the most part is an enjoyable listen.
This is one of the strongest tracks from the LP, and a good choice for a video. The audio brings back all of the classic Linkin Park elements we’ve been missing for years: Mike Shinoda’s rapping again, the guitar work is big, engaging and loud, and Chester delivers a soaring hook that morphs into a searing bridge further down the track. The clip is set in a post-apocalyptic world, giving it the impressive, cinematic vibe that Linkin Park tend to favour with their videos, and reflects portions of the lyrics well with various seemingly ‘final’ encounters between loved ones. Despite no connection to the characters, it’s a situation many will relate to and coupled with some decent performances from a few of the actors, it actually becomes quite an emotional and gripping video, and links with the audio to become an excellent all-round experience.
Apparently, there’s an interactive element of this video whereby it involves your pictures. It’s not loading properly for me, but head here to check that functionality out and feel free to report back on it.
“Teardrop Windows” is the first single from Benjamin Gibbard’s debut solo album, Former Lives, out October 15 in the UK/Europe via City Slang Records and October 16 in North America via Barsuk Records.
Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard is off on his own adventure. There’s a much heavier folk influence than in his work with Death Cab, and as a result swaps out the often melancholy instrumentation of the band for a more jovial, uplifting backdrop. With that said, the bittersweetness hasn’t entirely disappeared and still manifests itself with the sweet and sour lyricism, with its reflectiveness often contrasting with the more lively points of the production. It’s a good contrast though, and it prevents the vocal work from becoming too dour, hence giving the track plenty of replayability. The DCFC should enjoy this one, free grab below.
Whenever artists do this, not only is it great for us listeners, but it’s generally a strong sign that they’re confident in their body of work. From a very (very) brief listen to this album, Bloc Party have every right to be.
There seems to have been a meeting in the middle of the iconic melodies and harmonies of the first two albums and the power, drive and tenacity of the third, and the combination is exceptional. You get the sense they’re really at the top of their game here, and the four-year break has only served to evolve the band as performers: the drums are really meaty throughout, the guitar work seems to pierce your headphones and fill the room, whilst Kele’s vocals are as varied as they’ve ever been. Once again, it’s only an early listen but the feeling is very good on this one, and I suspect the Bloc Party fans will be really happy with this. Free stream (with accompanying lyrics) available below.
All of the big names from the alternative/indie world seem to have crawled out of the woodwork in the recent weeks, with The xx, The Killers, Bloc Party (and others) now joined by Grizzly Bear who prepare for their 18th September release of Shields.
Their first album release since the hugely-popular Veckatimest, the slowed-down, folk-inspired style of that album is thrown out somewhat here for a more urgent, driving piece of indie that will make for easier listening to those yet unfamiliar with Grizzly Bear’s work. The percussion is sharp and crashing in equal measure, whilst the guitar work is a combination of soft, sauntering notes and more jagged plucks, giving the track a very diverse soundscape from start to finish. Notable is the absence, for the most part, of the background harmonies that Grizzly Bear utilised so effectively on Veckatimest, instead stripping their work back to a much more ‘regular’ style by focusing the vocal work on Ed’s meandering melodies.
A good listen that can be found on the upcoming Shields album, which as mentioned drops on 18th September.
I was relatively sold on the track upon its release, and though admittedly I’d hoped it would be a little more memorable than it was, the effective simplicity of the video helps it stick to the brain.
It’s little more than a performance video, focusing heavily on the band’s empassioned work in performing the track, a style that’s simple yet so rarely done nowadays in favour of ‘artistic expressionism’. It allows the band to inject plenty of feeling and emotion into the single, and hence immediately makes the track more memorable as a result. That’s not to say there isn’t much else going on, as the band are helped out by plenty of blocks of colour that are all the more vivid given the dark backdrop that envelops most of the video, whilst the occasional burst of scenery (often of roads, which adds to the ‘driving’ nature of the instrumentation) also adds a little diversity.
A surprisingly likeable video given how stripped back it is, and one that helps the audio out. Not available on iTunes UK yet, but if you’ve got access you can pick it up from iTunes US now.
The latest release from Bloc Party’s Four album, due in exactly 3 weeks on 20th August, and this is one that’s really got me excited for that album.
Stylistically, it’s very close to their work on A Weekend In The City, with a more hushed, almost melancholy approach that puts much more emphasis on melody than instrumentation. There’s still enough about the track to keep it engaging for those requiring more ‘obvious’ entertainment, with the heavy guitar plucks and diverse vocal work combining to add a little intensity and vibrancy to the track, building to a strong finish that increases the energy without veering too far away from the slightly downbeat mood. A great listen, and let’s hope there’s more of this to come on the album.
Much like Bloc Party, The Killers were a band I idolised in my slightly younger days, only to almost entirely distance myself from them after their most recent album was so terrible. Almost four years since their last album (another Bloc Party parallel), The Killers reunite for Battle Born, set for release on 17th September.
Hopes will be raised for the album based on this likeable single. The general style and structure of the track draws heavily from their great second album, Sam’s Town, with a hefty dose of Americana mixed in with a little dose of pop-rock for a feelgood anthem. Powerful, driving guitars, anthemic and uplifting vocal work and strong percussion combine well here, and it doesn’t feel like they’ve missed a beat as a band at all.
It’s one of those tracks that you’ll probably see loads of uplifting sports highlights set to, and you can almost hear the masses singing in unison already: it’s a track that should really impact mainstream radio, whilst keeping many of the older Killers fans happy.
21st August is the due date for the upcoming Bloc Party album, Four, and to set things up for that release they’ve finally let loose of some new music with this enjoyable video.
One thing I didn’t enjoy about Intimacy (though I know many others did) was that it felt like they went a little too far on the jagged, spiky side of things and threw away their undoubted command over solid harmonic work. This new effort feels like a nice marriage between the two worlds, throwing sharp guitar work in with some catchy and diverse vocal work from Kele, who switches between softer deliveries in the verse and a more attitudinal style in the hook to good effect. It’s not an outstanding song by any means, rather its one that is good without being memorably so, but it’s a stylistic improvement over the last album.
The video is fairly simple, heavily utilisation a stuttering style to play off the rapidfire guitar work, whilst the relatively bland settings they’re in are countered by regular infusions of colour and a very charismatic performance from Kele throughout the video. I’m not sure this has hit iTunes yet, but you can pre-order the full album over there now.
Bloc Party made their long-awaited return to the live scene last night, performing at Camden’s Koko in what I’m advised was an excellent comeback show. By all accounts, Kele and the band have really improved their live show, and it seems this video has emerged as a highlight of the night.
Flux is definitely the favourite track of many from Bloc’s back catalogue, and last night they opted to mix it up a little by briefly covering Rihanna’s ubiquitous hit We Found Love for the intro to the track. It actually ends up working pretty well as an intro, helped along by plenty of crowd participation, and the slowed-down cover leads seamlessly into the intense, pulsating production of Flux.
Certainly worth a watch (the audio quality is surprisingly decent), and this will definitely raise anticipation ahead of that Four album, due for release on 20th August.
To take the positives out of the situation, it does mean that the choices for this week’s episode sort of fall into my lap, based on old-school tracks I’ve found myself inexplicably listening to recently. The diversity you’ve come to expect (or at least did 2 months ago) from this series is still there, with 4 tracks in 4 different styles, and a nice mix of genres thrown in.
After a four-year hiatus, The Killers return with their upcoming Battle Born album, set for release in Autumn/Fall of this year. Having been a huge fan of their first two albums, I have to admit I was hugely disappointed with their last album, Day & Age, and I really hope they turn it back around with this effort.
The trailer doesn’t give much away, though there’s plenty to be read if you look hard enough (isn’t there always?). The general dark palette of the video is suggestive of a departure from the squeaky clean retro sound of the last album, though the electronically-heavy background music and retro-style font (a bit of a stretch?) contrast with that notion a little and suggest the music might not be too far away from Day & Age. Nonetheless, let’s not jump to judgements before any music’s released, and I’m sure a single will be forthcoming soon. Watch this space.
Four years after their last album, the reunited Bloc Party are gearing up to release their fourth album on 20th August. Whilst I wasn’t hugely keen on their third album, Intimacy, their first two albums were excellent and when on form they’re undoubtedly one of the most listenable acts in the UK indie scene.
There’s only so much you can glean from a trailer that only has brief clips of each song, but it seems as though they’re going for a real mixture of sounds, with a couple of airy, more laidback track clips reminiscent of A Weekend In The City being played alongside much harder, more jagged snippets akin to Intimacy. The trailer is mostly comprised of in-studio footage, offering little indication on the artistic direction any surrounding materials (videos etc.) may adopt, but I’m sure most Bloc Party fans will just be delighted to see them working on new music.
Looks like even Angels and Airwaves want in on the riot-themed video action, as they come through with a clip for one of the many excellent tracks from their most recent album, Love Part 2.
If you watched the No Church In The Wild video a little earlier, you’ll be familiar with chunks of this video. The opening few seconds are almost identical in setting up a riot scene, though the video then transitions into something a little more positive, helped hugely by the fantastically feelgood audio. As the audio is heavily anchored around the hook, the video represents that by gathering pace through the verses, and progressing slowly into action-heavy climaxes for the hook that are a hyperactive blend of band shots, rioting and dancing. The diversity of those scenes adds a lighter, positive spin to the notion of an uprising, and certainly removes some of the seriousness associated with the riot scenes, a necessary move given the uplifting nature of the audio. The whole package of scenes combines with the audio for a general feeling of youthful rebelliousness, and its an audio-visual that makes for a pretty solid watch. Grab the single on iTunes now.
This song has continued to grow on me since its release, and Linkin Park now release a video for the single, the first from their upcoming Living Things album.
The video is in keeping with the style of their releases in recent years, with lots of cyberpunk effects and imagery, along with an otherworldly quality and a grand sense of scale that all blend together for a futuristic and intense video. Whilst there isn’t a great deal of diversity or change from scene-to-scene, the clip backs the song up well and plays down the electronic elements of it, instead highlighting the rock aspects of the track, something that’s much-needed given the heavy and potentially divisive electronic influence on the audio.
A month shy of exactly 3 years after their hugely-popular Conditions album was released, The Temper Trap are gearing up for their sophomore effort with their self-titled album due for release on 18th May.
Trembling Hands marks a slight change in style for the band, as their instrumentation on this one feels much a little smoother around the edges, with the sharper and more energetic guitar work substituted for a more atmospheric, grander sound that has a more mature sound. I’ve not yet decided whether I prefer this lane to their previous works but there’s no denying this style still works with all of their previous plus points, namely powerful vocal work, and I’m looking forward to giving that new album a listen upon its release.
After their hugely disappointing A Thousand Suns album of 2010, Linkin Park look set to return on 26th June with Living Things, and have preceded that release with the first single Burn It Down.
Immediately concerning is the dance/electronic melody that opens the track, almost having a Calvin Harris-esque style, suggesting another turn down the wrong creative avenue. Thankfully, the song recovers quite sharply, bringing a little more meat and power courtesy of a thudding percussion and thundering guitar work on the hook, whilst Chester’s ever-harmonic yet angsty vocals compliment both the electronic elements and the rock core well, alongside Mike’s short rapped contributions which are enjoyable and certainly leave you wanting more from him. A stronger lead single than that of the last album, fingers crossed that the album will deliver in the same vein. Stream here, and grab it on iTunes next Monday.
After departing Victory Records in July of 2010, Chicago-based pop-punk band THE AUDITION is set to write their own history with the self-release of their brand new EP, titled ‘Chapter II’ on 11th June in the UK to coincide with appearances at the 2012 Slam Dunk Festival in Leeds, Herts and Wales. Backed by the support of their fans around the world, ‘Chapter II’ sees the band heading in a fresh direction and honing their signature sound into one that demonstrates a maturity and breadth evident in their earlier releases but not fully realized until now. The first single from the EP, the catchy ‘You Make Me Sick’ can be heard here. Click on for EP and tour details.
OFF! have unleashed a music video to accompany the track ‘Wiped Out’, which will appear on the band’s forthcoming self-titled album – their first proper full-length. A slew of European live dates is also plotted, including headline performances across the continent (with seven dates in the UK), as well as festival sets at the likes of Primavera Sound in Barcelona.
The album ‘OFF!’ will drop on May 7th, 2012 via Vice Records. Barreling through sixteen high intensity tracks in as many minutes, the album demonstrates the LA quartet had still further to ratchet up their visceral sonic maelstrom, delivering a “dark party” soundtrack of unleashed exasperation and bitterness executed with a rigorous precision that more than lives up to the cavalcade of accolades heaped upon them so far by the likes of Pitchfork, The Guardian, NPR, Kerrang!, LA Times, among many others.
We’re into our second week of what proved a popular new feature last week, and you’re in for another journey not too far down memory lane. I call it Recollection Avenue.
This genre-less weekly episodical seems like the perfect opportunity to mix things up, and whilst there’s still ‘normal’ stuff in there, feel free to indulge yourself with the two curveballs I’ve thrown in this week.
Last week you may recall Kid Cudi featuring heavily, and this week’s theme is…April 2009. I’ll be honest, it was more coincidental than anything.
Switching up to a rock/alt style with this one, as San Francisco band Dirty Ghosts come through with an edgy, stripped-back effort that will win some admirers for sure.
Allyson’s vocals are pack a raw, unfiltered punch that makes for refreshing listening in an increasingly ‘polished’ genre, without sacrificing a solid grasp of core melodies, as demonstrated in the catchy hook. The vocal synergises with the spiky guitar work very well throughout, which combines with the relatively easygoing percussion for a punk/alternative crossover that makes for a decent listen.
My love of ‘winter music’ has been far from secret here on OTU, and several discussions with music fans of various tastes have led me to believe many OTU readers share that appreciation.
We’re all about satisfying the fans, so welcome to our new 5-part feature. Each edition features a selection of tracks that are taior made for the dark winter period, and in keeping with OTU’s diversity code, expect some old tracks, some modern tracks, with a vast range of genres represented (in no particular order either; for example, Vol. 1 doesn’t necessarily have all of the best tracks!)
Just to really drive those frosty vibes home, we’ll even provide you with fresh, original artwork for each ‘EP’ for you to download at your pleasure and finish off those playlists. Kind aren’t we? Without further ado, click below for 5 tracks to get your winter started. → Continue Reading OTU Presents The Winter EP: Volume 1