I have always admired athletes and always dreamt of being one. This past year, for the umpteenth time in my life I returned to my favourite bittersweet activity: running. After a winter of spending hours at the gym imitating a human hamster on a trend mill I have finally been able to get outside come rain or come shine, the asphalt solidly under my feet, and music my ever faithful companion blasting away on my iPod. People usually take up running with the idea of losing weight or getting into shape. I took up running so I could listen to music... to have that one moment of the day where I could be my own DJ playing whatever I want to hear with no interruptions and above all no futile comments. So last Sunday as I was participating in my first 12k race, I didn’t feel so alone as the majority of the runners sped off at the starting line leaving me behind. I didn't mind. I had The Chaos by The Futureheads to keep me company.
If you listen to this jam-packed musical energy, this CD will have your heart rate racing in no time. It's almost like the realization that you have sat down in a seat of a roller coaster and it's too late to get off. You’re sucked into the speed of its guitars riffs while being thrown in the middle of a back-and-forth surround sound of vocals. The idea of chaos doesn't come into play. Everything sounds crisp, catchy and distinct. Just when you wonder where a song is taking you, it finishes with a screeching halt. That is why this CD is fabulous to listen to while running: The tracks are short, the majority under three minutes leaving no time for boredom. You only have a few seconds between tracks to take a deep breath and pick up your running pace until the next song begins.
After you've warmed up and your legs understand that you're in this to win, simply press play and be inspired by the opening chant “5,4,3,2,1, LET’S GO!”. of the first track "The Chaos” .The tempo, and above all the lyrics like "Get on your marks, look up to the skies, Up, up and away, let's travel at the speed of light" almost convince you that you can do anything. The phenomenal drumbeat of "I Can Do That" comes in handy half-way through the race. It's repetitive and positively addictive even puts a smile on your face as you sing the refrain to yourself as you head towards the last kilometers. Finally, with the finish line not too the far off in the distance "The Sun Goes Down" comes on. Its almost soothing beginning helps you to concentrate on mustering up the last strength you have, but its ever-growing crescendo gives you that last burst of energy you need to you cross the finish line, completing your endeavor sweaty, out of breath, but amazingly satisfied.
The Chaos might not help you to win a marathon but it’s a fun, unpretentious, studio perfect CD in the true style of the Futureheads. So if you’re looking to update your iPod with pure energy, look no further.
Karin Andrea Halliwell
One evening as I was driving down the highway I began listening to All Harm Ends here by OfeliaDorme. It was like being I was transported into a hypnotic world where the notes of the guitar began to whisper to me as the white line on the road tried to keep my concentration. Blaring headlights coming from the other direction blinded me temporarily. Blue and green traffic signs were lit up, and the voice of Francesca Bono, lead singer of the group, seems to dance around my car in a rhythmic motion. I have always enjoyed travelling by night but I have found few CDs capable of being a suitable travelling companion. Well, All Harm Ends Here has satisfied my quest. A combination of mysterious tracks, where equilibrium dominates excesses light and darkness, sweet and sour.
Many excellent bands like OfeliaDorme have come out of Bologna. Musicians from this city have learned to use binoculars (or even a telescope) to contemplate faraway places for inspiration. OfeliaDorme is an excellent example of this talent and maybe one of the best examples that Italian indie rock has to offer. It was extremely difficult to choose a few sample tracks for the UtopicMusic Blog player this time because, in my opinion, the CD should be listened to in its entirety, possibly during the night when the sandman begins to work his magic of putting to sleep the spirits of fear.
English translation by Karin Andrea Halliwell
Those of you who work in the world of radio know that if a song is going to be a success, it has to be around three minutes long. Obviously, the length of a song is not enough to guarantee it will be a Billboard smash. We all know that there are a million other factors involved behind making a hit. But surely it can’t hurt to get a thumbs-up from listeners, not to mention a good review from a notable music critic.
Thom Yorke, Radiohead leader , recently spoke about this “time factor," saying he was in favour of EPs (extended play), because they usually contained no more than five tracks. With around 20 minutes of listening time, the listener—even with the best intentions—wouldn’t have time to get bored.
Reflections on the execution of traditional projects then in one swift move do the complete opposite- something completely unconventional and behold the perfect identikit : the new album called The Gathering by Arbouretum does just that. I consider myself a passionate listener of music and have often encountered extremely boring avant-garde music projects over the years. However, listening to this EP it seemed to me to be a continuous journey following a fine line between the past and present. Kind of like a slow dance, infinitively suspended between 90’s rock and fabulous psychedelic sounds of the 70’s, and I am completely sold on this new musical project.
‘Destroying to save’ is the most evident example of this revolutionary approach: wherever you choose to listen to this piece you are instantly transported to new worlds while at the same time you are met with warm, familiar sensations. I invite you all to take a journey through this unique musical experience.
English translation by Karin Andrea Halliwell
Artists permanently (and randomly) "on air" at present date
I discovered the band Love Language thanks to the New York University radio station website. Various DJs published some of their favorite music of 2010 and I decided to have a listen. I have always been a die hard fan of university radio even back in the days when I was in college. You couldn't go wrong because you could always hear some of the best non- commercial tunes over the airwaves. Things haven't changed all that much, and in the dawn of the indie movement things have just gotten better. It was a good move because I would probably never have discovered Stuart McLamb and his group Love Language.
When I listened to "Libraries" the first time, the CD released in July 2010, two things came to mind: How many excellent indie bands have made it to the scene over these past few years, and how wonderful it must be to be a musician who is able to create songs around life experiences— especially love, relationships and the passing of time, while avoiding the quicksands of sappy sweetness.
"Libraries" follows in the footsteps of the highly acclaimed 2009 debut CD called "Love Language." McLamb has had time time to improve and invest in the overall sound of the project, and to gather his thoughts. He is not only the lead singer with a hell of a voice but also writes, arranges and plays most of the instruments if he chooses to. Let's just say he is that real ""renaissance" kind of a musician.
"Libraries" is a daunting 15- track CD that glorifies the musical art form of the love ballad. These are the kind of songs that you want to sit and listen to over and over again and secretly wish they had been written for you. You can clearly hear the musical influences of such late great rock & roll crooners, such as Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly. "Pedals", the first track, is a great opener to the dances. An immense song filled of lost sentiments sustained by strumming guitars which are as hauntingly romantic. McLamb sings his heart out for you, telling you a story of hope and loss. "Heart to tell" is upbeat and as fun and frivolous as a skip in the park, but still the subject matter remains deadly serious—affairs of the heart. "Wilmont" just invites you to kick back, listen and reflect. The drums are great in this piece. All of the studio-recorded songs have a polished sound. The five demo tracks have their own kind of flair and are definitely worth listening to.
May Cupid continue to challenge Stuart McLamb, and may he throw his creativity into a song every time he has something in his heart and on his mind. A true gift for us the listeners.
Karin Andrea Halliwell
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