Monday, November 21, 2011

Review: Mastodon - The Hunter

Mastodon - The Hunter (Warner Bros.)
Having transcended their origins as a cult act into leaders and innovators of heavy rock with 2009’s brilliant Crack The Skye (one of that year's best according to moi), Atlanta, Georgia’s Mastodon were faced with a difficult proposition. Where does a metal band go after delivering a critically vindicated masterpiece about astral projecting Russian tsars and mind-bending, dimension-hopping? 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Taking the hyper out of hyperactive, and putting the chill in child.

I really must apologise for that title, you see at AMR I've always tried to avoid standard bearing headers. Probably always to the detriment of topping search engines and for people browsing for simplicity's sake - but there you go. Anyway, the true curdling nature of that title is only clear if we know what we're talking about, and what are we talking about!?

Active Child. The musical banner for Los Angelean Pat Grossi, who took his upbringing with choirs and playing the harp and made into some very nice, chilled electronic sounds that feature... choirs and playing the harp. Of course!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Review: Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto

An edited version of the following was syndicated with Beat magazine, but for all you AMR purists - here's the director's cut:
Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto (Parlophone)
The difficulty with reviewing Coldplay’s latest, is that it’s going to be rendered important or successful by the sheer size of their audience. They have, to their credit, remained hugely popular for a decade now; but despite attaining global ubiquity they’ve yet to really shake things up in the way their forebears Radiohead, R.E.M. and U2 have. All have managed, in their own culturally impacting careers, to straddle the fine line between commercial success and critical irreverence; but Coldplay have yet to ‘do a Kid A’ so to speak, let alone make their own Up or even an Achtung Baby; though 2008’s Viva La Vida came close, produced as it was by Brian Eno. His provocative methods did marvellous things for Bowie and the aforementioned U2, and they seemed to challenge Coldplay to deliver what was the group’s most eclectic and intriguing set yet. So with Eno back on board for Mylo Xyloto you’d expect more winning trips outside of their comfort zone, but for all intents and purposes, it suffers from a bad case of sequelitis. Despite its adventurous title, and even the promising digital EP that preceded it, Coldplay’s sixth studio album is a safe affair, void of the risks and rewards of its predecessor.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Noel Gallagher - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds (Sour Mash)
While I haven’t taken the time to investigate Beady Eye, the other half of the Oasis split, and while it would be too didactic to simply call Noel ‘the good guy’; he always seemed – musically at least – a far more interesting character than Liam. After all, he was the chief songwriter for the large majority of Oasis’ back catalogue. The man whose alchemy was in taking a simple set of chords and binding them to an everyman appeal that struck the hearts and minds of a generation.