30 September, 2007

Arctic Monkeys, Voxtrot @ Macdonald Theatre, OR

(Picture by Freddie Powell Tuck)

It is with a little shame that I confess that Friday night was the first time I've seen the Arctic Monkeys live. The Macdonald Theatre, Eugene, OR was also not the kind of place I expected run into the Sheffield raised kings of indie pop.

With The Coral pulling out, Texas indie outfit Voxtrot took over and bashed out half a dozen decent but not awe inspiring radio friendly indie tunes. They served as a decent support to Arctic Monkeys with their UK influenced brand of indie.

[mp3] Voxtrot - Your Biggest Fan

And so with the staged warmed and then cooled again following a wait bordering on an hour, the Arctic Monkeys were ready to do their thing.

It was probably too much to ask for the Arctic Monkeys to be really involved in the night. While they fill stadiums back in the UK, the small venue in Eugene was just another night for the Sheffield quartet. Guitarist Jamie Cook and bassist Nick O'Malley remained rooted to the spot, occasionally gracing the audience with a half arsed smile. Singer Alex Turner, offered some friendly greetings between sips of his pint but showed little of the on stage energy and charisma you'd expect from NME magazine's 2005 "coolest man on the planet".

Musically however, the Monkeys were superb, delivering songs to such perfection you'd believe them to be fresh from the recording studio. 'Brianstorm' got the ball rolling and set the tone of bustling, sweaty, jumping bodies and mayhem for the rest of the night (Eugene kids know how to mosh).

But as a fan of the Arctic Monkeys, though not necessarily a die hard one, I found myself a little lost during the middle of the set when the album filling songs were called upon and couldn't help but wonder and wait for them to whip out the big favorites. The wait wasn't too long however and the night was very much salvaged thanks to a superb 'Fluorescent Adolescent' and a chaotic 'When the Sun Goes Down'.

[mp3] Arctic Monkeys - Florescent Adolescent
[mp3] Arctic Monkeys - The Bakery

And while on the subject of chaos -the band also warmed the crowd to a new instrumental, all guns firing tune - 'Wagon on the way to the Stripy Tent/Circus'. This isn't my recording but check it out anyway

27 September, 2007

Boys Noize and More

Taking a small step clear of the pop music stream I bring you a couple of tracks from the forthcoming Boys Noize debut, 'Oi Oi Oi'. Created by German producer Alexander Ridha, its an album of retro justice-esque effects, complex beat structures and some dirty Does it Offend You style clubbing tunes. A favorite of the Ed Banger artists, Boys Noize have released tracks on Kitsune, Tiga's Turbo records and he fits in nicely with the wave of emerging European electro artists.

[mp3] Boys Noize - Don't Believe the Hype
[mp3] Boys Noize - Lets Buy Happiness

If The Teenagers weren't a group of innocent looking geeky Frenchmen then they'd be no way they'd get away with their stuff. Homecoming, an explicit tale of conflicting interests - the girl looking love, the guy nothing but sex - was an instant hit. Vulgarness is in.

[mp3] The Teenagers - Make it Happen

The Dark Romantics rest in the pond of US rock 'n' rolling bands. Stabbing guitar hooks, punchy, stop start melodies and some rip roaring vocals produce some easily accessibly rock pop. Quite a lot like The Films really.

[mp3] The Dark Romantics - So Confused (and we like it)

I also received a curious e-mail from a band called Strangers in Wonderland, a Stockholm based pop duo. A little on the cheesey side but I like to get new music out there so give it a go.

[mp3] Strangers in Wonderland - Behind the Mask

23 September, 2007

Suede - Pop Legends 1

In what may or may not become a regular feature on your favourite pop resource, we take a look at some of the bands who have shaped today's rock/pop world.

Many thanks this week go to Suede. Instrumental alongside Blur and Oasis in the rise of 1990's Brit pop, The London Suede - as they were known in the US - churned out brilliant pop hits over a span of 11 years. Never once did they dip out of form and all the while achieved the difficult feat of mass appeal while retaining the plaudits from critics.

Suede's guitar focused rock brought strings back to the forefront of the British music scene and lead singer Brett Anderson's distinctive vocals kept Suede away from the generic Brit Pop mob. Accessible was the nature, sexy rock 'n' roll was the sound.

Conflict within the band brought an end to the Suede legacy in 2003 but by the following year, Anderson and guitarist Bernard Butler revealed they had been working together again. Enter new band The Tears and acclaimed album, 'Here Come the Tears'. Despite the album's positive reception, the band lasted only a year. Since then Anderson has been playing the solo game, releasing his debut in February of this year. An ambitious and musically intensive project, the LP aimed to leave Brit Pop behind but failed to hit its high hopes.

[mp3] Suede - Attitude
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19 September, 2007

Indie Selection

Pressed as I am for time right now I can't really afford to spend ages researching a band and revealing all. So here's a selection of tunes i've been giving my time to lately.

The Shout Out Louds are playing Oregon soon and I may just have to check them out if only for this song. The SOL's come from the catalogue of preppy geeky American indie bands and their sound is one of fun percussion and simple vocal content over punchy pop melodies.

Shout Out Louds -Tonight I Have to Leave it

The Envy Corps first came to my attention supporting Air Traffic last year. These days they can be seen skipping around the UK playing festivals and accompanying UK indie outfits The Maccabees and Milburn. But despite their brit friends and distinctive UK indie sound, they're actually from Iowa.

[mp3] The Envy Corps - Wire and Wool

Does it Offend you, Yeah? are already well on their way to big things following some impressive festival performances and single releases that just keep getting better. Think big blistering beats, more beats and a whole load of electro mayhem.

[mp3] Does it Offend you, yeah? - Se7en

Bombay Bicycle Club made waves, just like The Young Knives, by winning the road to V - a competition run by the UK Virgin Music Festival to encourage UK talent. Much like Cajun Dance Party, these guys are just 16 years old, but have already engineered a wonderfully polished indie pop sound.

[mp3] Bombay Bicycle Club - The Hill

18 September, 2007

We're still here...

Things are pretty crazy stateside and everythings happening fast. Life takes some adjustment and for that reason, the blog has been a little too quiet lately. Expect some more regular posts soon.

Everything really is bigger and more commercial in the good old USA. So I'm going to go against the grain and deliver a song by a pretty small band. Its a simple song of adolescent woes - jealousy, rebellion, lust and its set to be included on The Wombats' first album, 'Girls, Boys and Marsupials'.

[mp3] The Wombats - School Uniform

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09 September, 2007

I'm going Stateside..........USA

Yep, in just two days time, the Pop Register is going transatlantic - for a year! Blogging will of course continue, but will be instead delivered from the wonderful state of Oregon. I am expecting a bright and colourful (colorful?) music scene with lots to report on; this idea largely founded by the number of decent artists I know that hail from the area - The Dandy Warhols, The Shins, The Decemberists, to name a few. Not exactly the kind of music I have been blogging about, but I expect to run into a few quality pop acts along the way too. And to commemorate the change in scenery I offer a selection of rather fitting songs.

But do not fear, though the Pop Register's voice will soon be heard from the land of the star spangled banner I must insist that it will always be English at heart!

And while on the subject of English blogs, fellow UK music blog Keep Hope Inside is running a feature on new music blogs. Creator, Saam, asks new bloggers their reasons behind starting up a blog as well as what acts they tip for big things in the coming months.

One such blog is A Space for Music Liberation. An eclectic resource bursting with tracks to download. If you like mp3s....check it out.

07 September, 2007

Justice @ KOKO Sept 6th

(ok so I'm not known for my photography skills (you should try taking a pic with 20 elbows in your face) )

My ears are still ringing, I feel slightly disoreintated, have cuts and bruises everywhere and have had just 2 hours sleep in the last day and its all down to a couple of cheeky frenchmen called Xavier and Gaspard.

Arriving finally behind a platform so packed with flashing nobs and switches it would put the Millennium Falcon to shame, the pair of electro rockers arrived cooly at their DJ throne, separated by the iconic figure of the illuminated crucifix.

The set played out in a similar order to the album. When originally planning what order the tracks should go in on the album, the two sat down and scribbled graphs. The Y axis would represent intensity, the X, length.

To start with purpose and get the wheels in motion was the first aim, which is delivered via a powerful punch of 'Genesis'. As expected, the album opener topped the tracklisting for the gig too. Next came the middle tracks which allowed for greater experimentation, a more varying style and tempo. Not everything has to be floor filling iconic dance anthems after all - check. On the night this was achieved through a spout of remixes and more mixing than you could keep track of. And finally, the dance innovators planned to finish the album with a high and something to remember them by. Last night this came through an unreleased version 'Never Be Alone', spliced with the Klaxons' 'Atlantis to Interzone' and topped with a few rippling, reverberating 'Waters of Nazareth' effects.

But you can't help but think they're trying to ditch the club favourite single that launched them into the MTV limelight. It was certainly left from the album for good reason when you consider the construction of the LP and how it works from one track to the next. With its simple dance-based rather than rock inspired core and repetitive club chorus there's just no home for it. Live is a different story though and it was appreciated by die hard fans or justice novices alike.

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