Music

Musical Tastes & Down With the Sickness by Allison James

Kinda related segments to the title but not in the sense I'm planning on using 'em.Recently I've noticed my musical tastes changing. I've got into a few bands I've heard and disliked in the past. Here's a few that I've become a fan of in the last month or two.3OH!3: First heard of this band as a band from a friend. He has a taste for stuff like this - an odd fusion of indie rock, rap elements and electronicky bits and pieces. Upon first hearing one of their songs as he was listening to them, which was about two years ago, I immediately took a dislike to it and dismissed the band. However, recently, another friend mentioned them and linked me to another of their songs, which I recognised from the radio (I don't like the radio much, my mum does though and car journeys are always accompanied by it). I took a chance on their album, "Want", and slowly grew into even the rappier of songs on it. Personal favourites, excluding the two singles Starstrukk and Don't Trust Me, are Colorado Sunrise, I Can't Do It Alone, and Photofinish.Crystal Castles: Same again. Heard it from the same friend, dismissed for exactly the same reason, and picked up a day or two again and started loving. I actually had a sub-stage in which somebody else tried to recommend me to them and I still wasn't a fan. But particularly their track Courtship Dating I now adore, and have their album, though have not really listened to it yet. Having said that, I still don't like the song I initially heard of theirs, Alice Practice. Also, I point blank refuse to get into Hadouken!. Just... no. o.o22-Pistepirkko: Though this isn't really one for the whole "musical tastes changing". Royksopp is a testament to my love of European pop rock. This one's mainly one track too - Just A Little Bit More. Or, in the band's Finnish accents, "Jus' a Leedle Beet More".Black Eyed Peas: I gotta feeling... that every time I listen to this band I feel guilty for betraying myself. As well as I Gotta Feeling, I also regretfully enjoy Pump It. My enjoyment of the former song originates from a CollegeHumour parody of it.Infact, it seems parodies get me into the original songs even when I don't like them. I've found the following songs (well, found I like them) from parodies also:Tech N9ne: In The RainJay-Z ft whoever: Empire State of MindOwl City: Fireflies(Can't remember her name - Estelle or something?): American BoyPlain White Ts: Hey There Delilah (another one I hate liking - ex related!)So as my brain descends/ascends/goes leftfield/goes less leftfield/whatever into the enjoyment of what I can't really place so will simply call "scene music", as in "seems to be enjoyed by people into the scene style", I move on to the second part of the title.Earlier today (FYI movement, cover your eyes) I was rather sick. As in, the literally keeled over being sick into the toilet. Worryingly, this has been mildly commonplace recently - I think I've probably been sick more during 2010 than I have 1991-2009 put together. I think my life really needs a reboot or something - less inactivity, better diet, less drinking that f*cking milkshake, less dwelling, more future. Not that I want to stop making games or anything.I'd love to go to IGF one year - depending on whether the age limit is 18 or 21 (I've heard both) it's a goal for either 2011, 2012 or 2013 (the year I'll be 21 for March-April, my birthday's in May)... at least. That also gives me a good 10-11 months to improve, because at the moment I don't consider myself skilled enough in game development (ideas - probably, skill - nah, effort levels - pathetic). Perhaps a nice break from having this 17" screen sitting a couple feet away from my face all day would help my motivation... but I don't know. The village I currently live in is absolutely crap for getting out because you exit the door, and you're presented with nothing. Well, I could go and play on the toddler swings or walk around the nature reserve about a mile away and watch a bunch of horses do absolutely nothing. But that sucks. Lack of transport (it's an awful place for catching a bus) means I can't readily get anywhere better either. I'm hoping like crazy I can get that job in Dundee and start life new. If it doesn't happen, guess my best bet is to find something similar somewhere close but not Redgrave.But, yeah. I think that's it... oh right... to be relevant to the very purpose of the blog for just one sentence, I made a game.See y'all.NAL  

[MUSIC] La Roux - La Roux by Allison James

La Roux is a relatively new British electropop duo. Their debut, eponymous album, released earlier this year, is a chirpy, synth-riddled album, and it's a joy to listen to. It's reminiscent of '80s new wave music, as well as recent offerings such as Röyksopp's "Junior".Here's a track by track look.

In For The Kill - The second single released. It should be worrying that a track on the subject of murder is such a jolly tune, but it's definitely a toe-tapping start to the album. Catchy, too.

Tigerlily - Has some annoying shouty bits. The song is pretty beaty, and the non-shouty parts are pleasant to listen to.

Quicksand - The first single, which was released on a smaller label prior to the album's release. The chorus has a really nice melody. Less keen on the vocals - would be interesting to hear an instrumental version to see if a lack of vocals improved it.

Bulletproof - Third single, and the first La Roux song I heard. The start reminded me of, coincidentally, Röyksopp's "Remind Me" (video remix). The moment Jackson started singing, it stopped reminding me of Röyksopp. The vocals, while initially seeming out of style with the melody, works, and the chorus is very catchy. The music video is also rather awesome for this song (see below).

Colourless Colour - The beginning makes this sound like a sad song, but the chorus seems more uplifting. The contrast works and makes this the sort of tune that would go underappreciated. One of the strong points of the album.

I'm Not Your Toy - ...and this is the strongest song. The fourth, and at time of writing latest, single from the album, I'm Not Your Toy, with one of the catchiest choruses I've heard in a long time, and one particular repeated lyric that also stuck in my mind "It's all false love and affection, you don't like me, you just want the attention" - not because of its meaning, it just seemed to hit some weird bit of brain that made me want to remember it. Love it.

Cover My Eyes - One of the sadder songs on the album. Also acts as a demonstration of Elly Jackson's vocal skill, something that's not essential in electropop but what the hey. Well made song.

As If By Magic - "It's like the rest of the album" would suffice. I'll summarise what that encompasses though - chirpy, enjoyable, catchy. Contains an "oooo-oo-oo-ooo" bit (there's probably a technical term for that) that shot a shiver down my spine upon first listen.

Fascination - Probably the least memorable track on the album, but still decent. Takes advantage of the abundance of "____ation" words in the English language to decent effect... notably "frustration".

Reflections Are Protection - Mixes a haunting bassline with gleeful lyrics to good effect. Chorus, as standard, is catchy.

Armour Love - This, along with "Colourless Colour", makes me wonder if La Roux wanted to include a couple of songs purely to take advantage of British ways of spelling certain words. Of all the songs on the album this is the most "different". Sounds a little like a choir song which they stuck a synth in for good measure.

Growing Pains - The last song on the album is also... pretty average in comparison to the other songs. Disregarding the chorus of course, which is the standard, catchy affair.

So, overall, a strong initial offering by La Roux. The worst part of this album is it raises a question mark as to where to go next. The band has stated they're in no hurry to make a second album - when they do, hopefully they'll be ready to match or better the quality of their first.

La Roux - Quicksand

La Roux - In For The Kill

La Roux - Bulletproof

La Roux - I'm Not Your Toy

(84%)

[MUSIC] Fatboy Slim: Weapon Of Choice by Allison James

Coverage of music videos will probably be rare here, but some deserve to be looked at.In the music video for Fatboy Slim's Weapon Of Choice, Christopher Walken dances around an empty hotel. That's pretty much it. Directed by Spike Jonze (also director of the stunning film Being John Malkovich), it's a great watch, which begins with him slowly jiving his way off a seat and ends with him flying around a foyer. The track itself is a good listen - it's the sort of track most people will know but less will know the name and artist of. It's been in quite a few English advertisements for TV programmes.

Here's the video for your viewing pleasure.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZbckwYY9r4]

(88%)

[MUSIC] The Prodigy: Invaders Must Die by Allison James

Unlike a lot of critics and others, I actually quite liked The Prodigy's previous album, Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned. Still, anything considered a comeback album is welcome to me.Invaders Must Die, as you may know, was the first new album by The Prodigy in 12 years to feature the full line-up - Keith Flint, Liam Howlett and Maxim Reality. Their previous group album was the stunning The Fat Of The Land. This one returns to a sound more like their older stuff.

Here's a track-by-track mini review.

Invaders Must Die (title track) - A solid start, if a tad repetitive. Great bassline. A shorter edit was released a while before the album as a "preview" track - I prefer the edit personally.

Omen - Good first proper single. Fairly angry track, less repetitive than the previous, with, for a tune by The Prodigy, has quite a few sung, original lyrics.

Thunder - My least favourite track on the album, though still not bad. Slightly weird lyrics, and the track as a whole seems to have something missing from it.

Colours - Great track, even better if you're listening to the album in order. The bassline is addictive, and the nearly-rapped lyrics actually work pretty well with the rest of the track.

Take Me To The Hospital - Weird at first, better with repeated listens. Thumping track, though you can't expect anything less with The Prodigy. This feels a hell of a lot like the style of Experience.

Warrior's Dance - Haunting, heavy, and downright brilliant.

Run With The Wolves - Another grower. The sung part is pretty catchy in my opinion.

Omen Reprise - A dancier, inferior version of Omen.

World's On Fire - Starts bland, gets pretty good. Fairly heavy, and shouty, track.

Piranha - Thumping, catchy, rave-suited track. Very much one for the head-banging crowd. A little repetitive, but not so much it ruins the track. Kinda works with it, actually.

Stand Up - ...and then there was this. Nearly half a minute of near-silence, followed by one of the most amazing, and different-to-their-normal-style, tracks I've ever heard from The Prodigy. This finished the album off on a massive high.

Overall, I very much enjoyed the album, maybe even as much as The Fat Of The Land. Here are the videos for the released singles:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3EIogaEwxY]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olHnyslc-OM]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxZJTRhcFg4]

(85%)