Like Barenaked Ladies, Manchester Orchestra's name does not describe the band (they are neither from Manchester nor are they an orchestra), they are an indie rock band from Atlanta, Georgia. I was recently reminded that their new album, Simple Math, was recently released May 10th via Favorite Gentlemen Records/Sony, because of their appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman on May 12th.
What I thought was cool was that they feature a row of the the Brooklyn Youth Chorus singing backup to Manchester Orchestra's song, "Virgin". While their live performance seems more, I don't know, "angry", I thought the studio version on their album sounds much better. It feels more personal, and it does feature children doing the backup chorus. Clearly, the song is about singer/songwriter Andy Hull's question about religion, I felt that the rest of the album paints more like an emotional rollercoaster: from the unknown/direction of his band ("Deer") to happy ("Pensacola") to silly ("April Fool") to jealousy ("Pale Black Eye") to sinful love ("Simple Math"). If there was a theme to Simple Math, it might be how passionate Hull feels about his life.
If you like your rock hard with a ton of storytelling lyrics, you'll like Manchester Orchestra. Their album Simple Math is out now.
James Green orginally formed Big Eyes, in Leeds around 2000, in an effort to create a classical music band. After releasing four albums under the Pickled Egg label, they broke up in 2004. Green went on to form the current The Big Eyes Family Players, now based in Sheffield. Their latest album is called Family Favourites, released a few months ago (March 22nd), I did get a chance to give it a listen.
What I can tell you is that it's all instrumental, and has a very "Renaissance" flavor to it, although what the band is going for is to record a sort of chamber-folk-pop album. Recommended if you're going to be reading a book by candlelight, this soothing, breezy soundtrack is perfect for you. Unfortunately, I don't really know if there's a huge market for this sort of niche music.
Favorite tracks are "Bunny", mostly for the upbeat arrangement, and "Fast, Lose, and Lovely" because of the violins. Saddest-sounding song is "The Boo Girl". The free preview track, Jack, is a good start, lots of acoustics and maybe a glockenspiel?
Vinyl fans will be glad to know that it's available on wax via Karate Body Records.
Formed in London in 1975, this is the legendary Sex Pistols, the band that influenced generations of punk bands. One wonders if things would've worked out differently if the band got it all sorted out, instead of a glorious crash and burn in 1978 when they band broke up after touring the US. Sid Vicious died of a heroin overdose a year later, much of this is well documented in books and films (see Alex Cox's "Sid and Nancy").
The band re-formed in 2007, for a string of live festival appearances. They recorded the Brixton Academy appearance (November 10th, 2007) for a DVD release called There'll Always Be An England available the following year. For those that missed the band and the DVD release, the good news is that the Bluray version is coming out this Summer, June 13th. UK residents can preorder on amazon.
For US audience, if you want to check out the DVD, it's available on Netflix as a rental. The fan reviews basically said that the extras are worth it (including a 2-hour documentary called "The Knowledge").
Here's the best endorsement for the video from Johnny Rotten: "I started out this evening fat but I've just lost 15 f**king pounds".
Tracks played include their big hits, "Pretty Vacant", "God Save The Queen", and, of course, "Anarchy In The UK". Also, interestingly enough, a cover of "(I'm not your) Stepping Stone"
Just a quick note that the Liverpool Sound City is this week: May 19th to May 21st. This is their fourth year of the music festival, this year is bigger than ever, with over 300 bands scheduled to play. Prices are pretty reasonable (compared to, say, Glastonbury), for a three day wristband it is £45.
Bands scheduled to appear are: Black Lips, Cast (yes, that is John Power's band! I love Cast, I hope they do "Fine Time"), Funeral Party, Jamie XX, Spank Rock, Whip, Frank Turner, Mona, Yuck, Kurt Vile & The Violators, Three Trapped Tigers, Miles Kane, F*cked Up, Wretch 32, Young Knives, Amanda Blank, Dutch Uncles, Trophy Wife, Phoenix Foundation, View, Clinic, Set Your Goals, Philip Selway (from Radiohead, of course!), Smoke Fairies, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Broken Records, Delta Maid, Yasmin, Dels, Marina Gasolina, Cults, Cloud Control, The Jezebels, Braids, Grimes, Dan Parsons, Flashguns and many mores...
The festival also just announced a special show with The Kooks at The Bombed Out Church. I don't see them on the lineup poster, but it should be pretty fun to see The Kooks (I saw them in Chicago in 2007).
It's too bad I don't live in Liverpool, but the festival is definitely on my radar now.