Cam’s July Ears
August 7, 2009, 4:34 pm
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I can’t remember if the point of these ‘ears’ blogs is to say what new music I’m listening to or just what music I like. My first choice for this month is a rather old favourite coming in the shape of Mike Kinsella’s most bare-boned project; Owen. Lyrically his work borders on diary book emo territory, added to the fact that it’s delivered with such finesse it can generally swing people’s decisions before they’ve discovered the complexity in which Mike’s music is based upon, as therein lies the uniqueness of his solo material. Guitar’s flutter, harmonic’s tingle and piano’s shimmer amongst various other instrumentation creating rich, warm compositions that sound like the soundtrack to hazy summer evenings. The music’s complexity derives somewhat from his American Football days, which accounts for the strong melodies that crop up throughout his solo albums, resulting in these characterful indie-pop delights.

Keeping things in the past lets skip back some 30-odd years to shine a light on potentially one of the finest pop albums ever written. When I first got into Fleetwood Mac it was after listening to the most bizarre cut and paste remix by UNKLE on radio 1 back in 2002. It used that killer bass line at the end of ‘The Chain’, which reminded me of Formula One Sundays and so I was prompted to go out and buy their classic album ‘Rumours’ on vinyl. Upon arriving home and discovering that the album is littered with pop gems including ‘Go Your Own Way’, ‘Dreams’, ‘Don’t Stop’ and ‘Songbird’, not to mention lesser known classics such as ‘Never Going Back Again’, ‘Second Hand News’ and ‘I Don’t Want To Know’, I felt that this must have been the best £5 I’d spent in a long time. All of those songs pretty much cement this album as being a piece of work that will remain timeless and illustrate as to why it’s the 10th best selling album of all time.

The Art of Tapes vol. 4
July 9, 2009, 5:04 pm
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G’day. So its seems that the artwork from Volume 4 seems to have been lesser documented, ie. we didn’t bloody document it!

Well lets presume that you’ve all seen it, if not you can go to the website soon and it’ll be up there. We’ll probably link it again anyways, its just THAT good!

Here are the links to everyone involved in making Tapes vol. 4 the best to date:

Yonderboy / Fran Rodgers
Ora Cogan / William Edmonds
This Town Needs Guns
/ Mr Gauky
fortywatts / Sarah Reid
Peasman / Ash Mann

And if you want to stream the podcast go here!
If you want to download the podcast go here!

Cam’s June Ears
July 3, 2009, 5:24 pm
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As mentioned in a previous entry about my ears (or essentially what I’d be listening to during a certain month), I name-dropped Helios with reference to a mix-CD that my brother supplied me with. Slowly but surely I’ve found myself becoming more and more reliant on a daily basis to listen to the sounds of this Portland (USA) based ambient guitar virtuoso. Now I can’t confess to knowing a lot about Helios (or Keith, as he’s known to his parents) but he makes slow creeping guitar-based music, which sound like excerpts from a gorgeous cinematic experience involving mountains, rolling fields, hazy mornings and outbursts of snow, cascading through a luscious yellow-tinted valley. The ‘Eingya’ LP comes highly recommended.

Now the name of this band initially put me off but if anything, this proves that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Well, there was no pun intended there but I purposefully wasn’t bothered by a band named The Books when I first came across them some years back. Images of some cack new-wave / indie-dance troupe popped into my head but in fact, I couldn’t have been further away from the truth. The Books are more akin to Fridge and Do Make Say Think maybe even UNKLE, in terms of forward-thinking electronic-rock music. A combination of samples, found objects and guitars are all spliced together to make something beautiful as well as constantly interesting and evolving.

Cam’s May Ears
June 5, 2009, 3:24 pm
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A while back (we’re talking a couple of years) someone introduced me to Gregory and the Hawk and I was suitably impressed. From my reaction this someone said they’d do me a copy of their ‘Boats and Birds’ EP. Sadly this never came about and I consequently forgot about them. Then due to MySpace featuring them in their featured artist praise page they returned to my radar and my girlfriend’s, for whom I bought their album ‘Moenie and Kitchi’ for Christmas (ain’t I lovely). Well not that lovely, I borrowed the album in January and have held on to it since because it’s just beautiful. It creeps (in the sense that it’s a grower) and the subtle songs that are written are produced in such a way to make you think that it’s not just one insanely talented girl but a full-on delightful folk troupe. The songs meander through lo-fi folk and Americana settings through to more post-rockery and shoegazery territory. Kind of as if Rilo Kiley were making love to My Bloody Valentine but better than that sounds on paper.

And I’m going to feature a second band this month, mainly because they’re ace and their keyboardist came round to my house as part of Tapes volume 3. It is of course, The Hold Steady. Everyone knows who they are but does everyone own one of their albums? For a while I was just happy going on YouTube and listening to South Town Girls but after finally biting the bullet I ordered ‘Stay Positive’. Now, THS are one of those bands who just rock. They don’t do anything fancy or frilly, they just play rock music and sometimes that’s all you need in a band. This album is utterly essential if you like just that sort of thing as it’s a relentless stream of Springsteen-tinted, fists in the air, stadium crushing anthems that will simply make you smile. They even do that mega-rock band thing of cutting out all the music and filling the air with accapella chorus and hand claps… awesome. So if you don’t own an album I can strongly suggest that you right that wrong.

Tapes Vol. 3 details

Hello, so TVIII will be featuring the talents of…

Music by Fran Rodgers / Art by Chris White
Music by Neil Ward / Art by Jamie Cooper
Music by Franz Nicolay / Photo by Liam Henry
Music by Tubelord / Art by Alex Steward
Music by Cameron Steward / Photo by Emily Reid

And that drops on the 1st. Way mad sick!

Cam’s (belated) April ears
May 18, 2009, 1:37 pm
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So everybody loves The Weakerthans right? I seem to keep finding friends both old and new who love them aswell. Lou from the lovely Red Trees recently gave me ‘Left and Leaving’, so now I own all the albums. It’s a corker too. The punk songs are punchier and the mellow songs are suitably gorgeous, sometimes eerie and delicate but always beautiful. I still stand by ‘Reconstruction Site’ as being their crowning glory. Its more rock and the chorus’ are of Springsteen proportions. Oh and they’re easily in the top 5 bands straight outta Canada, which gleefully features Arcade Fire, Venetian Snares, Broken Social Scene and Martha and the Muffins.