The Best Albums of 2014 (part ii)

Best Albums 2014

2014: a shit year for global politics, national politics, religious politics, environmental politics, gender politics and – of course as with any year that includes a major football tournament –… Read More →

OxOn Tour: WHY?

Californian indie/rap group WHY? are preparing for a busy 2012 having just announced the release of an new EP, a new LP and a tour of North America and Europe. Thankfully, on this huge tour, one of the dates sees them cruise through Oxford for a gig at The Bullingdon Arms on October 13th. WHY? will be unleashing their first new releases since 2009, the six track Sod in the Seed EP out August 14 on City Slang and a new LP (title TBA) to follow later this year. Listen to a new song here.

Calexico – Para

calexico para

Over the past two decades Joey Burns and John Convertino have fashioned an outift of musicians who brilliantly evoke the word “Americana” more than any other band in their 22 years together. Calexico’s Feast Of Wire (2003) is one of the most overlooked modern classics and has led to duo collaborating with names such as Victoria Williams, Iron & Wine, Willie Nelson, Roger McGuinn and Nancy Sinatra. To celebrate the announcement of a new album (Algiers will be out on September 10th via City Slang) the band have released a new song called ‘Para’. Watch the video underneath.

Lambchop – Mr. M

Listening to Kurt Wagner’s records has never been a particularly cheerful experience, but Mr. M is certainly one mournful affair. The album is dedicated to Wagner’s long-time friend and collaborator Vic Chesnutt (who died in 2009). It shows; there’s a feeling of sadness and loss in every note of this stately, exquisitely crafted, heavily orchestrated (how else?) collection. As ever with Lambchop, there’s very little to dislike about this stuff. Words by Alexey Provolotsky.

Nada Surf – The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy

Nada Surf return with The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy, their first album of original material in almost exactly four years and it doesn’t disappoint. The album sticks to the band’s tried and tested formula of mostly upbeat, poppy and aurally inoffensive tunes that has seen the New York 3-piece gain respect in indie circles for the majority of the past two decades. Nada Surf haven’t changed this formula in their songs and hopefully never will. By Joel Atkin.

Dear Reader – Idealistic Animals

Sincerity is one of the sought after qualities in a musician to their audience, and for themselves. You can have the most heartfelt lyrics over beautiful arrangements, but if no one believes you mean it you may as well be James Blunt singing about his cornflakes or whatever. The performance of both the music and vocals of Dear Reader’s third album seem supremely convicted and well grounded but scratch the surface and some of the lustre is lost. Words by Matt Chapman.

Live Preview: Dan Mangan

Vancouver’s unsung hero of folk-rock will play at the Jericho Tavern in May. The former Polaris Music Prize nominee released his second LP, Oh Fortune, last year on the City Slang label to a slew of postive reviews. Dan’s husky vocals, knack for memorable melodies and grandioise arrangements gave Oh Fortune an admirable tenacity and immediacy, but scratch away at the surface and there was a pit of dark lyricism to be excavated. Tickets cost £7.

New Song: Lambchop

Nashville country-rock group Lambchop have announced the release of a new album, and by all accounts it looks set to be particularly sombre affair. Mr. M will be released on February 20th courtesy of City Slang and was born out of a time when front-man Kurt Wagner turned away from creating music and instead picked up the paint brushes as a means of cathartic release in order to get over the premature death of friends and once-upon-a-time collaborator Vic Chesnutt.

New Song: Nada Surf

New York power-pop heroes Nada Surf have been around a fair old while now (they have gleefully handing out sugary sweet guitar pop songs since the early 1990s), so it’s good to hear that they aren’t falling short of inspiration. ‘When I Was Young’ sees the band in retrospective mood, looking back over the days of their youth, whilst revelling in a musical maturity which spreads across an epic five minutes of melancholic longing for youthful languor. The track is taken from the band’s impending album The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy.