Tag Archives: The Horrors

BEST ALBUMS OF 2011

This is only going to be a short list, twenty of the best releases of 2011 – containing a very strong top five of the universally critically acclaimed mercury prize winning P J Harvey album; to the pretty much unknown fourth placers Cashier Number 9 with their belfast “baggy” music in the form of debut To The Death Of Fun; on to the infamous WU LYF’s Go Tell Fire To The Mountain; with The Horrors’ epic being very unlucky to have missed out on the top spot and been released in the same year as the flawless second electric record from Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind Of Fix, an unquestionably clear record of the year.

For the best tracks of 2011: https://codamusicblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/best-tracks-of-2011/

The complete top ten follows:

1. Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind Of Fix

File:Bombay bicycyle club a different kind of fix.jpg

The unrivaled stand out release of the year, shocking topping the brilliance of Bombay’s first album I Had The Blues. A pop record full of beats and nods to The Stone Roses brand of psychedelia. The infusions of guitar based indie and melodic folk makes it Bombay Bicycle Club’s offering clearly a record of its time. You cannot go without listening to this record.

Review Link: https://codamusicblog.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/bombay-bicycle-club-a-different-kind-of-fix-review-and-download-links/

Top Tracks: Take The Right One, How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep, What You Want and Your Eyes.

2. The Horrors – Skying

How have The Horrors reached this point with an unlistenable first album to their third, Skying – a masterpiece and force of nature which although not entirely ground-breaking stylistically is a beautifully created record. The themes of oceans and expanse resonate through an album without a faulty song on it.

Review Link: https://codamusicblog.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/the-horrors-skying-review/

Top Tracks: Still Life, You Said and Moving Further Away.

3. WU LYF – Go Tell Fire To The Mountain

Don’t think for a second that WU LYF are all about the mystery of their image because this album is euphoric undecipherable sound-scapes. They brought something very different to the tale with the success of the contrasting elements of screaming savage vocals and clean poppy instrumentals gives WU LYF a memorising signature sound.

Review Link: https://codamusicblog.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/wu-lyf-%E2%80%93-go-tell-fire-to-the-mountain-review/

Top Tracks: Heavy Pop, Such A Sad Puppy Dog, 14 Crowns For Me And All My Friends and L Y F.

4. Cashier Number 9 – To The Death Of Fun

Cashier Number 9 haven’y caught many people attention this year, with their top youtube video only reaching 40,000 hits – and god knows why not. They have a really accessible sound and make joyful jangling guitar music which sounds so perfect prticularly well done the three tracks mentioned below.

Please Note: Due to the opening of Codamusic being half way through the year, not all of these albums have been reviewd.

Top Tracks: Oh Pity, The Lighthouse Will Lead You Out and Make You Feel Better.

5. P J Harvey – Let England Shake

As mentioned earlier, the universally critically acclaimed mercury prize winning Let England Shake truly deserves such prefixes. It is an beautifully executed politically based  album about the war and ruin which which have caused. The love for a great nation, or what used to be a great nation – not that the album’s beauty can only be realized with this theme. Every song is brilliant so don’t just listen to the tracks below.

Top Tracks: Bitter Branches, The Last Living Rose and Written On The Forehead.

6. Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See

A return to form from the Arctic Monkeys, with a mature album that is listenable and also lyrically brilliant. It’s not the Arctic Monkeys of old, but really no one in their right mind would want that after listening to this. And one belter of a closing track:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9U1r38di-8 (Number 1 on the Best Tracks Of 2011 list as it happens)

Review Link: https://codamusicblog.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/arctic-monkeys-suck-it-and-see-review/

Top Tracks: That’s Where Your Wrong, The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala and Reckless Serenade.

7. I Break Horses – Hearts

The first overseas album, from Sweden’s I Break Horses whose electronic shoe-gaze pop is one of this years highlights. A trance-inducing cascade of electronic music, which really seems to have a soul. An under the radar album of other worldly majesty.

Top Tracks: Winter Beats, Pulse and Wired.

8. S.C.U.M. – Again Into Eyes

S.C.U.M., a post-punk outfit who say their music is the manifestation of repressed lust. Their debut album takes influence and mood from Joy Division – a must listen for any post-punk devotee. Although its of a particular taste, the darkness of the music really comes through as euphoria rather than depression.

Top Tracks: Whitechapel, Amber Hands, Cast Into Seasons and Faith Unfolds.

9. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Having assumed the worst after the Beady Eye’s flop, Noel pleasantly surprised with this collection of tracks. If you never liked Oasis these aren’t for you as they are nothing new but if you did, its blood good stuff. If only he had spent a few more minutes thinking of a better name, lets be honest it shouldn’t take long.

Top Tracks: Stop The Clocks, If I Had A Gun and (I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine.

10. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Unknown Mortal Orchestra

The best of this years influx of brilliant American lo-fi psychedelic rock which includes Smith Westerns and Moon Duo. Trippy, drug distorted vocals and direct punchy guitar. UMO’s debut is also very accessible and relatively easy listening for what it is, making it one of the coolest albums of 2011.

Best Tracks: Ffunny Ffrends, How Can U Luv Me, Biocycle and Thought Ballune.

11. White Lies – Ritual

12. Metronomy – The English Riviera

13. The Crookes – Chasing After Ghosts

14. Yuck – Yuck

15. Glasvegas – Euphoric /// Heartbeat \\\

16. Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde

17. Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials

18. The Vaccines – What Did You Expect From The Vaccines

19. Moon Duo – Mazes

20.The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar

Disagree? Missed any of yours? Pray Tell.

Please note that these are not the opinions of the whole codamusic team but of one man.

Oscar B. Wilson

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THE HORRORS – SKYING REVIEW

The Horrors have undergone an incredible transformation in just three albums, from the uninspiring impatient Goth-rock of Strange House; through to the brilliant post-punk shoe gaze revival of their 2009 album, Primary Colours; and finally with the new wave psychedelic, nigh-on unfaultable Skying. At last it seems as though The Horrors are going to properly break through and gain the recognition that they truly desire. Primary Colours only reached number Twenty-Five in the album charts, and that was with it being one of two contenders for the best album of that year and in one week of that year Twenty-Four albums were out selling it! The obvious answer to that it is – it’s actually more likely to be good if it isn’t the bestselling album of the year, and that was most probably the case with Primary Colours, however Skying should be a different story.  This Album desires at very least widespread critical acclaim.

The Album should go down well, firstly because of it simply being a quality album and secondly because of the clear 1980s neo-psychedelia and influences including Echo and the Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes, The Psychedelic Furs and most clearly Simple Minds with the introduction of synthesizer based pop into the style of the album. This makes the album accessible to those who remember the eighties as well as the current Horrors fans from the late noughties. Widening the appeal of this album has come from the inclusion of synth as well as the introduction of brass – using the trumpeter featured on A Day In The Life and Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles on the fourth track, Endless Blue.  The six piece brass section is perhaps instrumental in the dreamlike drug-filled state of the album as a whole.

Faris at points even sounded like he was about to start singing Don’t You Want Me by The Human League, and that’s not a negative. It is such a positive, The Horrors have truly taken the best elements from that era whilst somehow managing to keep a contemporary sound, surprising considering how dated The Human League sound.  I Can See Through You, is another change from anything that they have ever done before with an organ part that adds more to the whole dreamlike quality of the albums well as adding to the collection of brilliant intros contained in Skying.

The Psychedelic dream like qualities of, particularly Changing The Rain, Endless Blue and You Said make up some of the strongest points of the album. The slower brass based build up on Endless Blue, indicative of The Teardrop Explodes best known song Reward, leads to well-known Horrors thrashing guitar riff waiting for Dive In to strike up and Faris giving one a feeling of intense solitude. This sense of solitude is added to by The Horrors use of reverb and effects, which have given them the eighties sound on this record.  Comparisons to the eighties can be found everywhere with The Psychedelic Furs seen to crop up again and again, notably in Wild Eyed and Faris’ similarity to Sister Europe, even so everything on Skying has succeeded in sounding fresh, as they have added to these sounds to make them their own rather than just reproducing songs in exactly the same way.

The Sea is a clear theme to add to the psychedelic components most noticeably with Endless Blue and Oceans Burning (It’s in the name as well as in the distance and solitude of both song’s lyrics) and You Said, a song about crashing waves leaving us with nothing. It may have something to do with their choice of artwork as well. Faris Badwin has recently stated that a favourite topic for lyric writing is the power of nature, it is all very clear. The scale of this subject matter, primarily in the massive power of nature and in the elements elevate the album as a whole giving the listener a feeling of its important – captured best in Moving Further away which also contains recording of Sea Gulls, sadly recorded in the centre of London.

Moving Further Away, part of countryside sessions whilst trying to recreate the atmosphere of The Rolling Stones when they recorded in the French Countryside. The epic of the album to blow Sea Within A Sea out of the water, so to speak, in eight and a half minutes it proves the quality of the band thanks to its overwhelming sense of solitude. The same can be said of Oceans Burning, which just falls short of the epic proportions of Moving Further Away. Still Life, one of the finest tracks on the record is nothing short of a masterpiece, the most instantly brilliant song which was the perfect lead single, again with the subject of distance and solitude – as well as hope and the prospect of figuratively being found again.

You Said is a brilliantly moody nonetheless euphoric existential track about the uncontrollable power of nature and the best songs along with Still Life – it is less poppy and immediate than Still Life. The Ineffable beauty and importance in a track about having nothing and the moody elation of the delivery have come together have ended up with perfection, its an undeniably perfect song.

If an album better than Skying, or at least close to its brilliance is released in the reminder of 2011, I will eat my hat. Skying is unquestionably faultless album of brilliant intoxicating dreams of songs with resonating beauty in the struggle against the powers of nature whilst it still leaves you with a strong sense of personal relevance. It is utterly Faultless.

Best Tracks:

  1. Still Life
  2. You Said
  3. Moving Further Away
  4. Dive In
  5. Endless Blue

Oscar B. Wilson

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GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL 2011 REVIEW

Michael Eavis, after this year’s Glastonbury said that the festival “may only have three years left”, both due to people being put off by cost and the fact that they’ve seen it all before. I agree with him, but where this might see an end to other festivals or at least their decline – most likely the festival republic group. Clearly shown by the Reading Festival line-up, firstly because it lacks two good headliners, everyone who wants to see Muse has seen them enough times now to get very bored, if not they aren’t people who are really going to enjoy a music festival because they are twelve years old and still at the stage of just listening to one album before they start to develop any taste at all. I do understand however that My Chemical Romance have to be put up with, even if they are even worse than Muse, simply because “Reading Rock” needs one day of rock emo-pop? Wait a second does it? I think not. The point that I’m trying to make is that none of it is new. The most exciting band playing this year at Glastonbury, and also at Reading formed in 1978 for Christ’s sake. Secondly, due to the price of seeing twenty bands whom you saw two months ago, in my case at Glastonbury and one band whom you’ve never seen, being nigh on £200. All we need is some new music.

We can’t expect any new music to be at festivals, especially in the next few years, if a replacement genre doesn’t grow quickly out of the death of indie, which too me is a necessity and the sooner the better, for the sake of new music and all festivals. Glastonbury however, is not going to die out even if it is the last festival standing – which no doubt it would be. Glastonbury’s immense variety and diversity of events many of which having nothing to do with music, make it better than any other festival – the healing, craft and green fields all making the festival a cut above the rest. The environmental concerns of the festival are also a great aspect, although a CND speak to an indifferent Pyramid crowd by Caroline Lucas, Green MP  just showed me that the general populous is uncaring for wider society and the survive and improvement of human civilisation. They were waiting to watch U2 so it probably was a crowd disproportionate of British people, or so I hope. I could say a lot on the green aspect of Glastonbury, environmentalism is personally of great importance the problem is the wider world doesn’t seem to find a fault.

Such experiences beyond music make Glastonbury the greatest festival in the world, the atmosphere for me in my third year was unbeatable – even the mud improved things, except from lengthening journey times and that can be a bit problematic on such a huge site. Mud and sun; a strange combination for the time of your life, until you remember the music but that’s what makes Glastonbury as well as the compulsory pie from Pie Minister next to the Brother Bar at West Holts, the nicest pies ever. Also Shangri-La after hours is a must, even if it is utterly pointless and you don’t like drum and bass dance music, it’s an unmissable spectacle of lights and dystopian devastation. If you fail to watch the fireworks and countless Chinese lanterns on a Thursday night you simply don’t deserve to be there. To name but a few of the sides to Glastonbury that give it such an atmosphere of liberation, yes including the pies.

Nothing that I have yet mentioned created such a euphoric atmosphere as the secret gig on Saturday on the Park Stage at sunset, on walks Jarvis Cocker to the largest ever crowd at the stage with people being turned away, people like Kate Moss! Do You Remember The First Time first up just hits the spot, and Jarvis’ banter “You didn’t think we were going to forget about you Glastonbury!” or words to that effect, to me Pulp are Glastonbury, they hit the big time after filling in as headliners in 1995 – making Common People a Glastonbury and a British Anthem. This time it was a brilliant nostalgic sing-a-long, at least for those how are old enough to have remember the mid-nineties.  For me it was unmatched control of the audience thanks to the brilliance of Jarvis, Babies, Sorted Out For E’s And Wizz, Disco 2000 and Sunrise. I can’t think of a better performance, without presuming too much I think it could have equalled their 1995 headline slot, said to be the greatest ever Glastonbury moment. This years is at least mine, the greatest gig that I have ever been to by a country mile.

There were other bands playing, but it only really needed one Pulp gig and I was satisfied, the rest of the weekend was a winding down process after the awe inspiring Pulp. So on to the rest, sadly for those who wanted to hear what I thought of Coldplay and Beyonce, shall not be in luck – I’m religiously stationed around the John Peel Tent and The Other Stage highlights included Everything Everything who played a brilliant set from their first album Man Alive, Tame Impala who are the new 60s Psychedelic revivalists, The Vaccines with some good snappy summer guitar tunes, and Bombay Bicycle Club who’s old material from I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose was as brilliant as always, Cancel On Me is an incredible song ruined by the new material that they have clearly based on Always Like This, the most commercially successful song off the first album and the worst on their – I am not expecting anything from what is undoubtedly going to be a mediocre second album. The Horrors came out with some very mature new material, with resemblances to Simple Minds and Orchestral Maneuverers in terms of the Syth, on first listen they showed that they were building on the brilliance of the second album Primary Colours, particularly with the previously released single Still Life, a strong contender for my personal Festive Fifty number one spot. It sounded superb live, they really have got the hang of the depth created using synthesizers and Faris Badwan has learnt to sing. Skying is going to be some third album.

Three bands all with female front women, really showed some class, The Joy Formidable have improved no end in the 10 months or so since I last saw them live, and they were brilliant then – I suspect this to be down to the chemistry created by the three-piece playing in a line with Matt on drums on centre left rather than behind, plus the addition of a centre stage seven-foot gong pleases me. Warpaint whose ghostly EP Exquisite Corpse far outshone the later debut album The Fool, but luckily they played these earlier songs, and to great effect including the raising of the hairs on the back of my neck, a must listen for a fan of the Cocteau Twins and Siouxsie And The Banshees. The same as Esben and the Witch, to whom I would possibly add Florence And The Machine to the influences of band that sound like a gothic fairy tale, just like their name sake. There album Violet Cries was recently released and is well worth a listen, even if it isn’t the most accessible of albums.

Nothing came close to Jarvis and Pulp, such an strong atmosphere and set list, the headliners of my Glastonbury Festival 2011, and I’m sure quite a few of that crowd’s as well. Eavis is wrong, money and recycling bands aren’t ever going to put people off Glastonbury, such things have no importance, the festival is an escape and a way of life that is as far away from dying off as it is possible to be. Love the farm, don’t leave a trace. I love the farm but always leave a trace of myself, part of my soul there, in those fields of Avalon.

Oscar B. Wilson

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