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Thursday, April 14th, 2005

Positive Tension

This is my first and probably only Bloc Party post. There is absolutely nothing of substance I can add to the hype maelstrom that currently swirls around this band. I just got Silent Alarm this week – the one or two songs I’d really listened to were alright and it was cheap, so why not? Here’s a play-by-play.

First listen – not impressed. Kind of annoyed, actually. “So Here We Are”, one of the tracks that convinced me to buy it, is still the standout.

Second listen – a couple more of the songs begin to sink in. Annoyance levels decreasing. I hear a flash of some Chameleons influence, which pleases me.

Third listen – Okay, this isn’t bad. Still a little too frantic/yelpy for me to love and the guy sounds more like Damon Albarn than Robert Smith, but whatever. I guess 90s reference points aren’t hip yet, so we’ll stay in the 80s.

Fourth listen – I think we’ve hit a leveling off point. It’s alright, I don’t mind it at all, I’ll probably keep it. I think I prefer it to last year’s Bloc Pary, Franz Ferdinand (or are Bloc Party this year’s Franz Ferdinand? I get so confused). Overall, it seems to have more depth, shelf life. I like the guitarwork.

And that’s all. If you want more Bloc Party pics/reviews/interviews/hype, step outside, swing a stick. However, they do get mad props from me for wearing a Six By Seven t-shirt in their promo photo. Respect. For that, I will post an mp3 – this one appeared as a b-side on a few releases was put out as a proper single pre-Silent Alarm. I like it.

MP3: Bloc Party – “Tulips”

NOW asks The Shins how Garden State changed their lives, namely allowing them to sell out almost every date on their North American tour, including Sunday’s show at the Kool Haus.

eye previews M83’s show at Lee’s Palace on Tuesday.

Check out the cover art (small, I know Thanks to Catbirdseat for the high-res goodness) for the new Pernice Brothers record, Discover A Lovelier You, out June 14. Also noteworthy is Joe’s pirate-riffic beard. See it in person when he plays a solo show at the Horseshoe on May 4.

Looking to add a little twang to your life? Neko Case is back in town July 7 at Harbourfront Centre and The Sadies are playing a show somewhere in the city on August 12. If you can’t wait that long, see them with Robyn Hitchcock at Lee’s Palace on May 28.

I was in Penguin Music yesterday after work and saw MuchMusic doing an interview segment with two of the guys from The Bravery. Whilst counting up the number of times the interviewer called them, their music and their videos “awesome”, I thought about yelling, “Bravery suck! Killers rule!” but decided against it as the singer guy probably would have caught up with me and poked out an eye with his silly little mohawk.

np – Neil Young & Crazy Horse / Zuma

By : Frank Yang at 9:16 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Paul says:

    I went to see Ash last night and had the unfortunate experience of seeing the Bravery’s horrid co-headlining set. They were so bad, I was embarassed to be a music fan. And the guys were parading around the Opera House afterwards and being jackasses. The bass player stripped naked onstage during Ash’s encore, which then prompted a female to jump on stage and remove her bra (she seemed to have experience). Ash played a great, fun show. The Bravery are straight from hell.

  2. D. says:

    I doubt this’ll swing your indifference, Frank, but rewind Silent Alarm before track 1.

    I like ’em, even if that means standing in the middle of the zeitgeist and receiving dirty looks from all the slanty-haired hipsters around me. Bloc Party are the first band who clearly got into music at the same time as I did (they’d never heard of Gang of Four until they were compared to them in reviews) so I know all the influences first hand.

    I especially like the album’s production, which was done by the same guy who did the Futureheads LP. The guitar effects remind me of ‘Six’ by Mansun. Bloc Party are actually quite open about their 90s influences – Super Furries, Suede etc, but the NME seems to edit that stuff out, strangely enough…

  3. Paul says:

    That’s because the NME are kingmakers, and they can’t have their kings dropping unfashionable influences. I think it’s odd that BP get lumped in the nu-wave/post-punk crowd, because they’re actually but a great guitar rock band.

    Also, they’re just about the most genuinely nice, humble musicians around.

  4. satellite says:

    ack, Joe… the beard! no!

  5. Paul says:

    Now that all these guys are getting old enough for salt and pepper beards, they’re growing them out. Wayne Coyne totally started this shit.

  6. Bruce/angryrobot says:

    I totally agree that the Bloc Party singer sounds like Damon Albarn at times. There are bits on the disc that remind me somewhat of Blur’s self-titled album. I will say it took a few listens for Bloc Party to grow on me. Still, I’m preferring the new British Sea Power.

  7. D. says:

    The new British Sea Power album? Now you’re talking my kind of language.

    Can anyone name a better non-experimental British guitar album of the last few years? It makes the streaky new Doves LP seem even more disappointing.

  8. Teemu says:

    "I doubt this’ll swing your indifference, Frank, but rewind Silent Alarm before track 1."

    What version of the album you have? At least my version (VVR1030562) doesn’t have any hidden bonus track, if that was what you were saying.

  9. D. says:

    Mine does, 3:20ish of shoegazy wah-wah pedal and piano melody. It’s nice but you’re not missing much.

    I’ve got the UK edition with a DVD as the 2nd disc (which has never been out of the box, does anyone ever bother?).

    Seeing as Frank doesn’t intend to post on Bloc Party ever again I imagine he doesn’t want people playing catalogue no. tennis all over his message board but, for the record, it’s WEBB075CDL

  10. Frank says:

    oh, talk Bloc Party all you like. I was only sorta kidding when I said I wasn’t ever going to post about them again – I’m just not going to bother trying to keep up with all the press about the band like I do with other artists. That way lies madness.

    So British Sea Power… I’ve never actually heard em. should I?

  11. Paul says:

    Yes you should. New album first and then the first album if you like the new album.

  12. travis says:

    I’m with you. Bloc Party are ok.

  13. D. says:

    BSP: the second album’s the big cohesive statement, but their best individual tunes are older ones: "Remember Me", "Fear of Drowning", "Lovely Day Tomorrow". Get thee to a P2P network…

  14. D. says:

    P.S: AngryRobot has a post that sums up everything else you need to know:

    http://…/

  15. Frank says:

    okay, this BSP stuff is good. You know, if they’d just had some regular old mp3s to download off their site, I’d have probably been onboard long before. But this register then download a wma file? nuts to that.

    I see they’re in town May 17. Which would mean four shows in six nights… goddamn.

  16. f-n says:

    the new bsp’s…different. their debut had a manic intensity that’s missing from the new one, which gives off a definite ‘echo and the bunnymen’ vibe. still good though.

    their lives shows are brilliant though, i’ve never seen the horseshoe decked out in foliage and stuffed animals before.

  17. PG says:

    …with the singer swinging from the rafters, deep-throating a mic! crazy awesome.

  18. D. says:

    Unfortunately it sounds like they’re toning down the whole military menagerie live experience:

    "I’d like to start with ‘Lately’, turn it on its head…I’m tired of smashing things up at the end. I just want to play our songs." (http://…/)

  19. troy steele says:

    yeah, Bloc Party’s pretty average. or if you write for Stylus, it’s the most perfect album ever recorded, A+.

  20. Paul says:

    I like Nick’s review for Stylus! I thought about printing it out and hanging it on my wall.

  21. Teemu says:

    D. wrote:

    Mine does, 3:20ish of shoegazy wah-wah pedal and piano melody. It’s nice but you’re not missing much.

    Just remembered that my "Silent Alarm" have some bonus stuff after "Compliments" and it kinda fits the description of "shoegazy wah-wah pedal and piano melody" – so without better knowledge I think it’s the same deal, just placed at the end instead.