Omaha's Icky Blossoms are an electropop band whose debut called to mind acts like The XX and seemed to fit a very particular moment in time. It was produced by Dave Sitek from TV on the Radio, and it was a pretty cool, dark synth album. On 'Mask', their second offering, Icky Blossoms have gone wildly eclectic, and it is fantastic.
The album's first song, 'In Folds', begins with a fidgety, twisty techno intro before bursting into a funky, retro, almost Blondie-esque verse. The chorus builds on this with a glorious amount of hooks and melodies - there is so much going on here it will make your head spin.
Next up is 'Phantasmagoria', which takes in a much more rock flavour, with live drums rather than processed beats and feedback laden guitars seemingly indefinitely sustaining notes. There is an interesting interplay between the female led verses and the male led chorus which helps this song to be perhaps the most immediate thing they've ever created.
Continue reading: Icky Blossoms - Mask Album Review
While compiling this list, I became aware that 2013 has been an incredible year for music.
This top ten leans more on the rock end of the spectrum but there are also a few curve balls in there. Honourable mentions go to some big bands who put out great albums (Pearl Jam, Suede) which were omitted to make room for some smaller bands who I feel are deserving of the exposure. Without further ado and in reverse order:
Continue reading: Ben Walton's Top 10 Albums Of 2013
A week in music videos... We caught up with Brooklyn band DIIV last week as they are currently enjoying the 2013 festival season. Talking to lead member Cole, he explained just how different it was playing festivals compared to club gigs, that it was more about coming into the world of the fans rather than bringing them into your own. He was also not shy about admitting that the pressure of working on a second album has lifted. 'People are gonna be way more patient and wanna hear what you come up with', he says. 'The first record you have to have a clear statement of purpose like a sound and catchy pop songs.' As well as taking the time to chat to us, we were treated with an uplifting live rendition of their song 'Human'. Watch the full interview here and watch the live video for Human.
With the release of their highly-anticipated sixth album 'Mechanical Bull' imminent, Kings Of Leon follow up the audio release of its first single 'Supersoaker' with a grainy, retro-style, artistically produced video. Just as we expected, 'Supersoaker' is made of the anthemic, driving and infectious stuff that previous international hits 'Use Somebody' and 'Sex On Fire' are made of and we certainly can't wait for what looks to be another well-loved record that will see us through the autumn. Watch the video for Supersoaker here.
David Andrew Sitek has in recent years started staking his claim to becoming a modern day genius. As well as his work with TV On The Radio, in 2011 he breathed some much needed life into alternative metal gods Jane's Addiction for their first interesting album in almost twenty years; he even tried to make Beady Eye sound less limp on their last effort, BE, but then, they do say there is no polishing a turd. On Icky Blossoms' first debut and self-titled album, Sitek once again proves why he is the producer du jour, leaving his fingerprints all over it. You can only give him so much credit, however; the songs have to be good in the first place which, for the most part, they are.
The album begins with Heat Lightening, a song with an almost overwhelming amount of things going on including meandering guitar lines, vintage synths, processed drum beats and a really interesting vocal delivery that all combine to create something that sits comfortably between indie rock and straight up dance music along the same lines as LCD Soundsytem and the aforementioned TV On The Radio. One of the album's real strengths is that it is incredibly eclectic, dabbling in a great number of different styles while still creating a cohesive whole. Deep In The Throes offers up a minimal approach with some interesting, intricate bass playing, while I Am channels Super Furry Animals perhaps a great deal more than anybody could've really foreseen.
Of course, when a band has this many fingers in so many pies there are bound to be a few instances where it does not quite come off. Sex to the Devil is a robotic mantra which becomes overly repetitive and a little boring quite quickly and Babes, while overall quite a fun song, features some odd, lecherous sounding backing vocals that do not sit well with the rest of the song. It also seems strange that after so much experimentation with synths and genres, the album ends with the pleasantly euphoric, if a little standard, shoegaze fare of Perfect Vision. This song does not really showcase what Icky Blossoms do best. It feels somewhat uninspired compared with the preceding nine tracks.
Continue reading: Icky Blossoms - Icky Blossoms Album Review