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October Preview

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October Preview

Posted on 01 October 2012 by Dorian

Here is our October preview of the best music releases and events in the coming month. Items marked with an * are currently scheduled for review on the site.

Albums

Album of the month: The Greatest Hits Of Boston Spaceships – Out Of The Universe By Sundown*

We wouldn’t normally pick a best-of collection as our album of the month but as this is the first Boston Spaceships album to get a UK release we’ll make an exception. Collecting 15 tracks from the bands five albums it represents some of the best music of Robert Pollard’s career. (Out on Fire Records on the 8th October)

Boston Spaceships - Greatest Hits Of Boston Spaceships

The Greatest Hits Of Boston Spaceships

1st October

Dark Dark Dark – Who Needs Who

Bob Mould – Silver Age*

Tim Burgess – Oh No I Love You

The Soft Pack – Strapped

Field Music…Play (read our review)

8th October

Tame Impala – Lonerism*

Why? – Mumps etc.

Mountain Goats – Transcendental Youth (read our review)

Tall Ships – Everything Touching

15th October

AC Newman – Shut Down The Streets*

Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man

Jim Jones Revue – The Savage Heart

Jason Lytle – Department Of Disappearance

22nd October

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – Lost Songs

Of Montreal – Daughter Of Cloud*

Peter Broderick – These Walls Of Mine

29th October

Neil Young – Psychedelic Pill

Madness – Oui Oui, Si Si, Ja Ja, Da Da

Gigs and tours

Tour of the month: Field Music

Field Music have been nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and you have the opportunity to see them on what may be their last tour for some time.

  • Oct 03 2012, Aberdeen, The Lemon Tree
  • Oct 04 2012, Glasgow, Oran Mor
  • Oct 05 2012, Leeds, The Cockpit
  • Oct 06 2012, Liverpool, Kazimier
  • Oct 10 2012, Southampton, Cellars
  • Oct 11 2012, Cardiff, clwb Ifor Bach
  • Oct 12 2012, Wolverhampton, Slade Rooms
  • Oct 17 2012, London, Electric Ballroom
  • Oct 18 2012, Brighton, The Haunt*
  • Oct 19 2012, Bath, Komedia
  • Oct 20 2012, Coventry, Warwick Arts Centre
Field Music

Field Music

The Twilight Sad tour the UK in October:

  • 18 Thur NEWCASTLE Cluny
  • 19 Fri WAKEFIELD The Hop
  • 20 Sat MANCHESTER Sound Control
  • 22 Mon BIRMINGHAM Hare & Hounds
  • 23 Tue LONDON Dingwalls
  • 24 Wed BRISTOL Louisiana
  • 25 Thur CAMBRIDGE Portland Arms
  • 26 Fri LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
  • 27 Sat PRESTON Mad Ferret
Cheatahs – The new Wichita Records signings on tour, including several dates with The Cribs
  • 17 October – London, 100 Club w/Veronica Falls & Mazes
  • 23 October – Oxford, Academy 2, w/The Cribs
  • 24 October – Norwich, Waterfront w/The Cribs
  • 25 October – Liverpool, 02 Academy w/The Cribs
  • 26 October – Manchester, Apollo w/The Cribs
  • 29 October – Manchester, 02 Academy w/The Cribs
  • 30 October – Sheffield, 02 Academy w/The Cribs
  • 01 November – Leicester, Academy w/The Cribs
  • 02 November – London, The Others
  • 06 November – London, Village Underground w/Cloud Nothings

The Tallest Man On Earth – Dates across the UK and Ireland through October

  • HMV Forum Kentish Town, London, Oct 23
  • Colston Hall Bristol, Oct 24*
  • Vicar Street Dublin, Oct 25
  • Mandela Hall Belfast, Oct 27
  • HMV Picture House Edinburgh, Oct 28
  • HMV Ritz Manchester, Manchester, Oct 29
  • St Bartholomews Church Brighton, Oct 31
Efterklang – The Danish band play live with the Northern Sinfonia
  • 23.10 GATESHEAD, NEWCASTLE, UK – The Sage
  • 24.10 EDINBURGH, UK – Usher Hall
  • 27.10 COVENTRY, UK – Warwick Arts Centre
  • 28.10 BRIGHTON, UK – Dome
  • 29.10 MANCHESTER, UK – Bridgewater Hall
  • 30.10 LONDON, UK – Barbican

Festivals

The festival season is over in the traditional sense, but there are still interesting festival events happening through the Autumn.

Oxjam

Oxjam is a nationwide music event throughout October with events nationwide raising money for Oxfam. Our event featuring Rotifer, Tigercats and Danny Kendall is sure to be on of the best but you can look for events throughout the month in your area on the Oxjam wegottickets portal. You can find out more about the event, and about the good work that Oxfam does with the money raised, by visiting www.oxfam.org.uk/oxjam.

Oxjam

Oxjam

A Carefully Planned Festival

A Carefully Planned Festival is a multi-venue festival featuring 100 acts in Manchester on the 20th and 21st October. Amongst the bands playing is Neon Filler favourite Free Swim who will be playing track from their brilliant new EP She Dreams In Lights. More details can be found at www.acarefullyplannedfestival.wordpress.com.

Other stuff

Magical Mystery Tour on DVD

On the 8th October you will have the opportunity to purchase a the much maligned 1967 Beatles film on DVD and Blu-Ray. The soundtrack has considerable high points, including ‘I Am The Walrus’, but the jury is out on the film that was considered one of the band’s bigger follies.

The Magical Mystery Tour

The Magical Mystery Tour

To get your album/gig/tour/film/book/festival/t-shirt included in our monthly preview please send details to dorian@neonfiller.com.

By Dorian Rogers

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Record Store Day 2012

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Record Store Day 2012

Posted on 20 April 2012 by Dorian

Tomorrow is Record Store, a celebration of music and all the things that make record stores such an integral place in the music industry. The widespread move to MP3s and online consumption models has made a big impact on the industry and seen many shops close over the last few years, but many independent retailers have hung on and maintained a large loyal customer base that enjoys the tangible elements of music consumption.

Record Store Day 2012

Record Store day is in its 4th year and as usual a huge quantity of exclusive and limited records is available for those prepared to get up early and join the inevitable queues. You can visit the Record Store day website  for a full list of titles on release and there is something to appeal to most musical tastes with vinyl being the primary format on offer.

I’ll be queuing myself with the hope of picking up records by Field Music, Guided By Voices, Ryan Adams, the Wedding Present and maybe an early release of the box-set of the Mermaid Avenue Sessions by Billy Bragg and Wilco. As usual I will set myself a strict budget, but in the heat of the moment, with a queue behind, it is easy to get carried away and come home with a handful of unexpected items. The BBC Radiophonic Workshop Dr Who sound effects record is one item that may well make it into my bag, despite the fact that I am unlikely ever to play it more than once.

Living in Brighton I am lucky to have aq handful of participating shops to choose from on the day – Rounder, Ape, Endless, One Stop, Borderline and Resident (voted the UK’s best independent record store for the second year running) all on my door step. You can find a list of participating stores near you at http://www.recordstoreday.co.uk/participating-stores.aspx.

One thing about Record Store Day does bug me, and that is the way it is used as amoney making exercise by some. In 2010 I just missed out on a copy of ‘Fool’s Day’ by Blur, their much anticipated reunion single. That very same day it was available on Ebay for hugely inflated prices, and not just a couple of copies but dozens and dozens. Each year the same thing happens, sealed copies of hard to get records are sold on Ebay as soon as they fly off the shelves.

In the NME this week a feature on Record Store day (and kudos to the paper for such a big feature) had some ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ for the day. One of the ‘don’ts’ listed was:

Don’t play any of the records for Heavens sake. This will sharply diminish their value.

Now, this list was intended to be comic, and I don’t want to be too pious, but it does highlight a nasty truth about the day. If it is about a few individuals making a quick profit at the expenses of others, then is that really a celebration of the record shop? Or does it turn something fun and celebratory into a kind of Bargain Hunt with queues?

I know people who used to habitually buy up tickets from popular concerts and then sell them on Ebay at a profit when the shows had sold out. You could argue that is just people using their common sense to make some money, or you could argue that it is a nasty reflection on a greedy capitalist society. if you actively reduce the supply, then it isn’t a fair state of supply and demand.

The same is true of Record Store Day purchases, the price charged in the stores on the day is a fair reflection of the supply and the demand. If people who have no interest in owning or listening to the records, then buying them just to sell them at a profit denies people who really want them the opportunity to get them at a fair price. The shops restrict purchase to one item per person, but I have seen people come in with friends to get extra copies (and even coordinate other groups of friends at other shops). Even if only a few people try and use the day as a money making experience then it can ruin it for dozens of others, there are only small amounts of many of the records on sale.

So, if you want to really celebrate the music and the record stores you love, then go down tomorrow morning and buy yourself some musical treats. And then take them home, rip off the plastic and play them. After all isn’t that what a record is for?

By Dorian Rogers

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Guide To The UK’s Best Festivals 2012

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Guide To The UK’s Best Festivals 2012

Posted on 29 February 2012 by Joe

With Glastonbury taking a break during 2012 there’s the possibility of around 200,000 revellers looking for an alternative trip away. To offer some of those Glastonbury regulars and others decide where to spend their festival cash we’ve selected our pick of the best the UK has to offer. Our focus is on the best line-ups, those that give new bands a chance to get a bigger audience and those located in unusual and excellent settings. For those looking for the type of  middle of the road bore fest that T in the Park or V Festival have served up once again this year then our list will not be for you. For those looking for an excellent, interesting and diverse line up then read on.

All Tomorrow’s Parties

Jeff Mangum Curates, March 9-11;  The National Curates, Dec 7-9, both at Minehead

The ATP format, of a band curating a weekend of music at a holiday camp, has taken a few knocks in recent months from disgruntled fans. The Jeff Mangum event was moved back to March from December last year by ATP without explanation, leaving many fans who had booked transport out of pocket. ATP has still not given an explanation. The move also meant a number of bands, by strange coincidence mainly those with mammals in their names (The Mountain Goats, Fleet Foxes, Panda Bear) had to pull out. The resulting line-up is still stellar, with Mangum’s oddball tastes represented in the likes of Sun Ra Arkestra, sitting along side ATP regulars  such as Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Joanna Newsom, Sebadoh, Thurston Moore and The Magnetic Fields. The event is also a must for fans of the Elephant Six collective that Mangum is part of, with Oliva Tremor Control, Apples in Stereo and an Elephant Six Holiday Surprise set completing one of the most eclectic line-ups of the year.  Hopefully The National curated festival doesn’t suffer the same postponement without explanation. It is already shaping up to being a great festival with the US band already selecting among others Owen Pallett, Suuns and My Brightest Diamond for the bill.

More information here.

The Great Escape

May 10-12

Dry The River: One of the highlights of The Great Escape 2012

Get your running shoes ready for this Brighton based festival that features 300 bands at 30 venues across the city. Our advice is  make sure you arrive at venues in good time as they can be tough to get into at this increasingly popular event. Among the line up, which focuses on new and emerging talent, is Django Django, who topped our ones to watch list for 2011 , and Dry the River, who made our 2012 list after we caught their energetic performances at last year’s Great Escape and Glastonbury.

More information here.

Field Day

June 2, 2012

Django Django confirmed for Field Day 2012

This 20,000 strong one day festival in Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, London, is now in its fifth year and in the past has hosted the likes of Battles, Foals and Laura Marling. This year’s line-up is among the most interesting of any UK festival, featuring Neonfiller  favourites such as Django Django, Revere and Andrew Bird alongside more mainstream attractions such as Metronomy and The Vaccines.

More information here .

Indietracks

June 6-8, 2012

For the last two years we’ve made sure we cover the Indietracks festival.  Not only does it offer visitors one of the most scenic  and unusual settings, at a vintage railway  centre in Derbyshire, but the line up is often a who’s who of  indie pop. Teenage Fanclub, Pains of Being Pure At Heart and The Primitives are among previous headliners. This year’s event is shaping up to being one of the best yet with US indie-pop label Slumberland Records teaming up to curate. Neonfiller favourites Tigercats, Allo Darlin and Veronica Falls have already been confirmed among a line up that also includes The June Brides, Tender Trap, Evans the Death, The Sunbathers, Gold-Bears and Sea Lions.

More information here.

Greenman

August 17-19, 2012

Set in Glanusk Park, Wales, this three-day event offers an enticing blend of folk and alternative acts. This year sees Feist as one of the headliners on a bill that includes Neonfiller favourites CW Stoneking, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks and Field Music. Further down the bill we urge you to check out Liverpool trio Stealing Sheep, one of the best acts we’ve seen this year.

More information here.

End of the Road

September 2-4, 2012

End Of The Road

The stunning setting at the Larmer Tree  Gardens, North Dorset is almost a big a pull as the line-up, which always delivers one of the year’s most interesting mixes of the unknown and more well known alternative acts. This year Beirut, Joanna Newsom, WildBeasts, Laura Marlng and Mogwai are among the major draws on a line up that also includes Best Coast, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and one of Neonfiller’s favourites The Leisure Society. Also watch out for  Canadian act Timber Timbre and This Is The Kit, whose recent albums have impressed us.

More information here.

by Joe Lepper

 

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Field Music – The Fleece, Bristol (Feb 23, 2012)

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Field Music – The Fleece, Bristol (Feb 23, 2012)

Posted on 27 February 2012 by Joe

The last time we saw Field Music headline a gig was two years ago in Brighton, just after the release of their ambitious double album Field Music (Measure). Despite critical acclaim for the album, lack of ticket  sales meant they were shifted to a smaller venue. Even then it was still barely half full.

Two years on and with a shorter but no less ambitious album to promote, called Plumb,  they are back on the road. For whatever reason, perhaps better PR, perhaps more consistent airplay (particularly on BBC 6Music) the tour has been a sell-out, with their gig at Bristol’s The Fleece no exception.

Field Music

Even though their star is rising, at heart they are still a small band, which gave their hour long set a  warmth that was full of good humour and self-deprecating banter such as “this one’s from our first album, which about five people bought.”

For those unfamiliar with the band its core is brother David, the tall one with a high voice, and Peter, the shorter  one. The pair alternate between drums and guitar, and in Peter’s case keyboards as well.

Their music is breathtaking and bold, mixing styles from across the last 30 years with one fan at the front putting it succinctly saying, “they have taken all the music I like such as King Crimson, XTC, Talking Heads and Television, put it together and put their own stamp on it.”

Field Music's Peter Brewis

For tonight’s set they crammed in a mammoth 22 tracks, showcasing the bulk of  Plumb in two to three song bursts and punctuated with tracks across their previous three albums and Peter’s solo album under the name School of Language.

It was a well worked idea, with the older tracks giving the gig a greatest hits feel, with tracks such as Them That Do Nothing and Let’s Write a Book, from Measure, as well as If Only the Moon Were Up from their self-titled debut  actually getting some whoops from the packed Fleece.

Plumb opener, Start the Day Right, with Peter seated at keyboards was a perfect start to the gig and the evening’s first Plumb segment, especially  as it was followed by School of Language’s standout track Rockist (Part 1). Plumb is a great album to hear live, full of short guitar solos, harmonies and jerky shifts in mood. New Town was particularly effective as was their closing track and the album’s first single (I just keeping about) A New Thing. Back for an encore and track number 23 they choose another “ancient one”, from their debut album,  Tell Me, Keep Me with its thudding bass intro.

“This is our first headline gig in Bristol,” David beamed, “unless of course you count the one we did at a record shop.” Judging by the growth in their popularity in the last two years an even bigger venue beckons when they hopefully return out west in 2014.

Stealing Sheep

Support was from Stealing Sheep,  a band that took the packed Fleece by surprise. As the band  took the stage there was no hint that we were about to witness quite frankly the best support act I have ever seen. Wholly original, mixing pounding drums, surf guitar and keyboards I’ve debated long and hard how to describe this three piece’s music. In the end I’ve come up with this, so let’s see how this works. If  Quentin Tarentino were to make a movie about the band Pentangle and cast Nancy Sinatra as the folk super group’s lead singer Jacqui McShee the soundtrack would sound something like Stealing Sheep. Ok, it’s not perfect, but the message I want to get out loud and clear is that this is a band you must see live.

They tell us an album is out this summer and judging by its first single Shut Eye it’s going to be exceptional. David Brewis joked during their set that they will be supporting Stealing Sheep in a few years time, “that’s if they’ll have us” replied Peter with trademark Field Music self-deprecation.

 by Joe Lepper

See Also: Field Music (Measure) reviewed. The album topped our 2010 end of year album list and was named in our top 100 albums of all time list.

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Field Music – Plumb

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Field Music – Plumb

Posted on 14 February 2012 by Dorian

Field Music’s forth album Plumb initially seems like a step backward. their previous album, Measure, was an impressive double album with huge scope and topped our 2010 album chart. On first listen Plumb seems to have more in common with 2007’s Tones of Town and runs at a very modest 36 minutes across the 15 tracks. Subsequent listens (and this is an album that deserves and demands repeated listens) reveal more and more depth to the album and as much ambition as ever.

Field Music Plumb

Opening track, ‘Start The Day Right’ is a case in point, demonstrating a MaCartneyesque knack for different song sections together in one place. It opens like a chamber pop piece before moving into prog meets new wave guitars followed by a Beatle influenced piano segment and back to the guitars again before coming to a halt. Think ‘A Day In The Life’ by way of ‘Band On The Run’ played by XTC and you’ll not be far wrong.

The effect is made more so by the way one song moves to the next, the first three songs on the album could be one, but sound like ten.Also worth noting in this section is the drums on ‘It’s OK To Change’, both Brewis brothers are drummers and the drums always sound great on their records, in this case they come close to a Phil Collin’s sound (and I mean that in a good way).

Track four, ‘A New Town’ brings a change of pace as the band return to the falsetto white funk that they first attempted on Measure’s ‘Let’s Write A Book’. Bringing different musical styles together in a cohesive fashion isn’t unique, their mix of new wave and prog rock is something we’ve heard before, but by successfully bringing the post-Beatles sounds of ELO and funk into the mix they have something a little bit special. The only band I can think of that managed that level of musical scope without losing their identity was Talking Heads circa Remain In Light when Adrian Belew was playing with the band. The big difference here is that Field Music is essentially two people, where David Byrne brought dozens of musicians to the party, along with Brian Eno, to achieve his ideal sound.

The Brewis brothers play and produce the songs brilliantly layering instruments and vocals together to create their signature sound. They don’t get enough credit for the quality of the vocals on their records, and their harmonies are pretty faultless throughout. This is demonstrated on ‘How Many More Times?’ an acapella number that isn’t scared to play the Beach Boys at their own game, and does it pretty well. This track is followed up by ‘Ce Soir’ which is almost entirely orchestral instrumental, bar a short piano and vocal section at the finish. It is these small understated touches that make Plumb such a satisfying album, and one that you’ll want to come back to again and again.

The Brewis brothers have probably given up on stardom by now, the music buying public have been lukewarm on them from the start, despite their back catalogue being as good as any of their contemporaries, but they must know that they have a loyal following. This leaves them free to make the kind of album that they want to make, and free to make an album that is sequenced in the way that they want to. ‘(I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing’ is a brilliant track, and the most commercial song on the album, but they leave it until last –  a confident move.

It has been a pretty excellent year for albums so far and with Plumb we have another near perfect release. If you haven’t been sold on Field Music by any of their previous releases you are unlikely to be converted here, but you are clearly a lost cause. If you love their previous work you may find Plumb takes some time to reveal its brilliance, but once it does you’ll be hooked.

9/10

By Dorian Rogers


 

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Top 100 Albums (80 – 71)

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Top 100 Albums (80 – 71)

Posted on 29 March 2011 by Dorian

Everyone has their own Top 100 Albums list, but this is ours based on our love of alternative and independent music over the years. There are some albums here that you will have seen on many lists before but we’ve also opted for some obscurities with the aim of highlighting some different music for you to seek out.

We have been releasing this list ten at a time every Friday. We hope you enjoy this third instalment. Here’s our previous instalments (90 -81 , 100-91).  See you next week for 70-61.

Also, for  more great albums visit our  Classic Albums section

80. Midlake – Trials Of Van Occupanther


No this is not from the 1970s, but this 2006 release from American folk rock act Midlake is as near as you will get to that era of flares as it beautifully recreates the classic American rock production of Fleetwood Mac and Crosby Stills and Nash.  The effect is that tracks such as Roscoe and Bandits already sound like 30 year old masterpieces. Lyrically the influences go even further back, evoking images of the old west, log cabins, woods and pioneering. This is powerful decade skipping stuff with some sumptuous melodies. Midlake didn’t quite reach the same heights with their follow up album, The Courage of Others, proving just how special this album is.

79. Josh Rouse – Under Cold Blue Stars

Under Cold Blue Stars

Josh Rouse initially came to our attention through his collaboration with Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner on the Chester EP. One trip to see him play in a small room above a Brighton pub and we were hooked. His first five albums are all essential listens, but Under Cold Blue Stars remains our favourite and should have been the album that broke him from a cult act to bigger things. The album looks at some of the darker areas of a relationship, focusing on a mid-western 1950s couple, but softens the blow with some of the sweeter, more tender moments. It is a beautifully warm album, excellently produced by Roger Mountenot, that demonstrated what an ambitious songwriter Rouse had become. On top of this it features some great pop tunes, especially ‘Nothing Gives Me Pleasure’ and ‘Feeling No Pain’ which demonstrate that his influences lie just as much in UK acts of the 1980s (especially The Cure and The Smiths) as the traditional American acts he had become associated with.

78. Mclusky – Do Dallas


Mclusky from Cardiff were among the angriest  and funniest bands around during their short career straddling the millennium.   With  Steve Albini as producer their relentless energy and humour never sounded better as on their 2002 second album Do Dallas.  Has there ever been a better opening song title as ‘Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues’? The music industry itself was a popular target of the band especially on standouts such as ‘To Hell With Good Intentions’,  ‘Collagen Rock’  and ‘Fuck this band’.  They split in 2005 and singer Andy “Falco” Falkous and drummer Jack Egglestone currently plough a slightly more serious furrow with Future Of The Left.

77. Cat Power  – You Are Free

You Are Free

Cat Power’s hushed fragile, yet powerful voice would reach a bigger audience on The Greatest in 2006 but this 2003 release is the best example of her songwriting, whilst retaining some of the edginess of her earlier recordings. Cat Power (real name Chan Marshal) plays most of what we hear here but a diverse group of musicians including Warren Ellis, Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder contribute to some of the tracks. The sparse piano lead ‘I Don’t Blame You’ sets the tone for the album but fuller sounding songs such as ‘He War’ mean that it never sounds one paced or lacking in variation. It isn’t always an easy listen, break-ups and child abuse are some of the lyrical matter, but it is certainly an enriching experience and Marshal’s voice is one of the loveliest things on record.

76. Pylon – Gyrate


“We’re not the best rock ‘n’ roll band in America,” Pylon deserve that accolade, said REM drummer Bill Berry in 1987. Formed in REM’s hometown of Athens Georgia in 1979 they were helped along the way by another of that college town’s bands The B-52s to create frenetic, danceable new wave music that was wholly unique. Singer Vanessa Briscoe Hay’s raw and emotional vocals, backed with a sparse Gang of Four influenced rhythm section is expertly captured on this their debut album, with highlights including opener ‘Volume’ and final track ‘Stop It’. All bands should aspire to be this original. Berry certainly knew what he was talking about.

75. Field Music – Measure

Measure

Field Music’s Measure has the distinction of being the most modern album in our top 100, it was also the number 1 album in our 2010 round-up. Field Music, brothers Peter and David Brewis, recorded Measure after a hiatus where they focused on solo projects as The Week That Was and School Of Language. In an age where most people consume songs track by track it is a brave move to release a double album, but the quality of songs is so good here that it demands to be listened to in its entirety. The vocal harmonies are great, the playing typically tight and the variety of songs styles greater than anything they had released before. Read our full review here.

74. Kings Of Convenience – Quiet Is The New Loud


If a revolution for those that like subtle melodies, beautiful guitar playing and melancholy lyrics were likely then Norwegian duo of Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe would be leading the charge. The title of their album itself is a statement of quiet revolutionary intent for all the poetic and moody waifs of the world and the album delivers a stunning array of understated and downright lovely indie folk tracks. Their Scandinavian background echoes through each track with highlights including ‘Winning a battle, losing the war’ and a stripped back cover of A-Ha’s’ Manhattan Skyline.’ This album received mixed reviews when it came out in 2001, but over time has been rightly seen by many as up there with the best naval gazing folksters, earning them justifiable comparisons with Simon & Garfunkle and Belle & Sebastian.

73.  The Dead Milkmen – Beelzebubba

Beelzebubba

A band called The Dead Milkmen is unlikely to attract a mainstream audience, and an album containing songs called ‘My Many Smells’ and ‘Life Is Shit’ is not an easy sell. However, if you are looking for snotty punk with a sense of humour then you can’t go far wrong with this album. ‘Punk Rock Girl’ is the album’s standout moment, and their one MTV hit, but there is plenty more to entertain here including songs about rednecks, James Brown and a vengeful Ringo Starr buying a rifle to get back at John and Paul for overdubbing his drums (sample lyric “Hey Paul, you asshole… Dub this!”). The band sound bad tempered and angry and the music is fast and furious, great fun throughout. You probably don’t need many Dead Milkmen albums in your collection, but you need one and this is the pick of the bunch.

72. Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Searching For The Young Soul Rebels

Perfectionist Kevin Rowland built up and smashed down incarnations of his band Dexy’s Midnight Runners seemingly at will during the 1980s. But it’s this 1980 debut from the band’s first incarnation as a soul band with a punk heart that is our pick. Littered with stomping singles such as ‘Geno’  this album is also home to some contemporary soul classics penned by the band, such as ‘I’m Just Looking’ . The album was reissued to mark its 30th anniversary last year including a welcome set of extras of singles, B sides and radio sessions of this first and best Dexy’s line up.

71. Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The  Sea

In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

In The Aeroplane Over The Sea has become a staple of ‘best album’ lists in recent years, which is strange considering what an odd record it is. The combination of stream-of-consciousness lyrics, over-wrought vocals and erratic instrumental arrangements is like nothing else, and all the better for that. Lead by former Olivia Tremor Control member Jeff Mangum and produced by Apples In Stereo front-man Robert Schneider Neutral Milk Hotel were the most esoteric act in the Elephant 6 roster. There is some of the psychedelic 60s garage sound, ‘Holland 1945’, but also aggressive folk and songs built around acoustic guitar and horns that sound like nothing else. From the twisted pop of ‘The King Of Carrot Flowers, Pt.1’ through to the Dylanesque folk of ‘Two headed Boy, Pt.2’ it is a surprising and unique album that never disappoints.

by Joe Lepper and Dorian Rogers

Top 100 (90-81)Top 100 (100-91)

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Top 20 Albums of 2010

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Top 20 Albums of 2010

Posted on 20 December 2010 by Joe

We usually compile a top ten albums of the year list, but in recognition  of 2010 being one of the best years in recent memory for indie/alternative releases we’ve decided to double the size.

The year started well with ambitious albums by the likes of Field Music, Los Campesinos! and Owen Pallett and got better with stellar releases from the likes of The National, the welcome return of Belle and Sebastian and some surprises from the likes of Janelle Monae. Some familiar names return to our end of year countdown on a list that features some excellent new UK music. Sit back, get your emails to Santa ready and enjoy Neon Filler’s Top 20 Albums of 2010.

1. Field Music Measure

Measure, a double album no less, sees the band move on yet another level. There are aspects of the sweeping, mazy songs on their eponymous debut as well as the jerky, more structured pop of second album Tones of Town, but a whole lot more has been added. Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, even ELO, XTC, The Move and 10cc are thrown into the mix. This album came out at the beginning of the year but its breadth and ambition continues to astound as the year comes to an end.  Read our full review here.

2. The Miserable Rich – Of Flight and Fury

Of Flight and Fury is the second album from Brighton’s The Miserable Rich and it picks up from where their excellent debut left off. Part of Brighton’s Willkommen Collective they are the most compact and focused of the bunch. One of our top ten bands to watch out for in 2011, we are expecting big things from this band. Read our full review here.

3. Darren Hayman & The Secondary Modern – Essex Arms

The album is the second part in a trilogy about Hayman’s native Essex and continues with a warts and all nostalgic look at working class England. Like its predecessor Pram Town (which topped our Top Ten Albums of 2009 list) Essex Arms is wonderfully evocative of a place and time, without descending into sneering or cloying sentiment. Surely Hayman has earned national treasure status by now.  Read our full review here.

Essex Arms

Darren Hayman & The Secondary Modern - Essex Arms

4. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest

Deerhunter have named their fourth album Halcyon Digest for good reason, as once again the US band serves up an unusual and effective mix of music that takes a range of influences from the golden years of rock n roll to the 1990s shoegazers. Halcyon Digest is lush, layered and timeless. Deerhunter’s most focused and accessible album yet. Read our full review here.

Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest

5. Janelle Monae

The debut album from former stage school kid and Outkast collaborator Janelle Monáe could well be the most eclectic album of the year so far. Mixing orchestral pieces, hip hop, soul, pop, psychedelic rock, folk and even a collaboration with Of Montreal into 18 tracks. It is ambitious and mesmerising as it effortless travels between genres. Read our full review here.

6. Belle and Sebastian – Write About Love

It’s been a long wait for such adoring fans, but the band are now firmly back after a four year hiatus touring and with a sparkly new album, Write About Love, a concept album of sorts about, well, love. So where does Write About Love sit in its catalogue?  For us its one of their best yet. Welcome back Belle and Sebastian. Read our full review here.

Belle and Sebastian - Write About Love

7. The Walkmen – Lisbon

With Lisbon US band The Walkmen have delivered a perfect follow up to their last album You and Me, which topped our Top Ten Albums list for 2008. Retaining You and Me’s stripped back, timeless production with nods to the 50s and 60s, Lisbon has plenty more goose bump moments and once again offers a perfect showcase for lead singer Hamilton Leithhauser’s stunning rock vocals and the band’s love of vintage instruments. Read our full review here.

8. Owen Pallett – Heartland

With the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and Arcade Fire’s Jeremy Gara involved, Heartland is at times pure Brian Wilson  as it effortlessly takes in aspects of classical music, electronica, pop and indie-cool. Read our full review here.

Owen Pallett

9. Surfer Blood – Astro Coast

As debuts go Astro Coast is already a modern indie classic. Full of  a marvellous mix of riffs, indie rock influences such as  Sonic Youth and Pavement, passionate singing and some neat tricks as well. It is all that is good about the best of modern US indie rock. Read our full review here.

10. The National  – High Violet

How can a band this good, this radio friendly, this professional not be bigger? Why is it that the likes of Muse, Radiohead and Coldplay play in front of multi-zillion seater stadiums and headline major festivals and not The National? After the release of High Violet The National are well on their way to similar success. Read our full review here.

11. Shearwater – The Golden Archipelago.

When the end of the world comes, as pollution lays waste to the Earth, Shearwater’s leader singer Jonathan Meiburg will be on a nuclear  ravaged tropical island somewhere screaming bloody murder in his haunting baritone at the corporations and politicians. This indie/folk/rock album is powerful stuff. Read our full review here.

12. Tallest Man on Earth – The Wild Hunt

Swedish folk singer Kristian Matsson, who takes to the stage under the name Tallest Man On Earth, must be bored to tears with being compared with early Bob Dylan, especially when in many respects he is actually better than the great man at the same stage in his career. Read our full review here.

13. Broken Bells – Broken Bells

Opening track and lead single ‘The High Road’ kicks things off beautifully on this debut album from Shins frontman James Mercer and producer Danger Mouse and is a sign of the good things to come. By the time you’ve listened to ‘Vaporise’ and Mercer’s surprisingly good falsetto on ‘The Ghost Inside’ you know that the duo have produced something worthy of an end of year best of list. Read our full review here.

14. Beach House  – Teen Dream

The slicker production and attention to detail  on Teen Dream  compared to previous releases unsurprisingly coincides with a move to the label Sub Pop, which has a strong track record of getting the best out of its eclectic mix of artists ranging from The Fleet Foxes to Postal Service. Read our full review here.

15. Los Campesinos! – Romance is Boring

Los Campesinos! are among the most divisive of bands. A bunch of shouty students, spouting immature teen angst to some, one of the most innovative British bands around for others. Their 2010 release Romance is Boring is a pretty good case for the latter’s cause. Read our full review here.

16. New Pornographers – Together

When we first heard the song ‘Your Hands (Together)’, from the fifth album by The New Pornographers, we were disappointed. So much so that we avoided the album and didn’t review it on this site. But after hearing another track from the album, the brilliant ‘Crash Years’ (one of our songs of the year) we realised we were missing out. Building on the more subtle styles of 2007’s Challengers with a return to the more bombastic power chords of their earlier albums this is classic pop music at its best.

The New Pornographers - Together

17. The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night

After the first 30 seconds of opening track ‘Like The Ocean Like The Innocent’ we were sceptical. We’ve heard enough meandering drone rock to last a lifetime, but nine minutes later at the end of the track we were converted. This is music with genuine substance and power. Read our full review here.

18. Allo Darlin’

Allo Darlin’s self titled debut is a near perfect slice of British “twee” pop played by associates of Amelia Fletcher and Darren Hayman. Melodic, sweet and sensitive it has possible singles from start to finish. The more jaded listener might find songs like ‘Heartbeat Chili’ a little hard to stomach, but if you keep your mind open there is much to love here. One of the discoveries of 2010, and very much a band to watch in 2011.

Allo Darlin

19. Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse – Dark Night of the Soul

Second appearance for Danger Mouse in our top 20, this time his long awaited collaboration with the late Mark Linkous, aka Sparklehorse. Unreleased for some time due to contractual wrangles it was originally intended to accompany a book of visuals by David Lynch. The book was published, but the album itself was shelved and emerged some months later during 2010. It features contributions from a number of singers and musicians including the Flaming lips, Suzanne Vega, Iggy Pop, can be a difficult listen in places but as you would expect from Linkous and Danger Mouse, stunning in others. Read our full review here.

20. Fang Island  – Fang Island

Imagine if you will Bill and Ted’s band Wyld Stallyons, but better, speeded up and backed by members of Primus, Faith No More and The Descendents. It’s a heady mix of humour, power chords and squealing solos that Fang Island pull off with aplomb. Read our full review here.

To hear more by the bands above (and some other great acts from the year) listen to our best of 2010 Spotify playlist.

See Also – Top Ten Albums of 2008, Top Ten Albums of 2009

Compiled by Joe Lepper and Dorian Rogers

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Maximalism!: Concorde 2, Brighton, 15 Dec 2010

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Maximalism!: Concorde 2, Brighton, 15 Dec 2010

Posted on 17 December 2010 by Dorian

Maximalism! is the brain child of Thomas White, singer/guitarist/drummer/keyboard player with Electric Soft Parade, Brakes, The Pure Conjecture and a solo act as well. Despite being one of the busiest people in music he found the time to organise this fundraiser for the Martlets Hospice at the Concorde 2 in Brighton.

First up was The Pure Conjecture, an 11 piece band featuring members of Electric Soft Parade and British Sea Power and fronted by Matt Eaton from Actress Hands. The band play a weird form of soul music, somewhere between Dexy’s Midnight Runners mark 1 and the E-Street Band if they had come from Newhaven rather than New Jersey. They sound pretty good and it is a very enjoyable set. Eaton isn’t the most natural of front men, but he pulls this off pretty well.

The Pure Conjecture

The Pure Conjecture

Up second, somewhat earlier than expected, is the brilliant Field Music, the band who released Neon Filler’s top album of 2010. Playing as a five piece, with the addition of a dedicated drummer, they rip through a short but pitch perfect set of songs largely drawn from their Measure album. Freed up from drum duties (although a second smaller set of drums gets used intermittently by the Brewis brothers) we get the addition of an acoustic guitar on some of the songs. this adds some additional texture to the songs and they sound great. There really isn’t a less than excellent song in the set, but special mention should go to ‘The Rest Is Noise’, a great performance of one of the songs of the year.

Field Music

Field Music

I never paid a lot of attention to Electric Soft Parade one they first arrived on the scene, close to a decade ago. On the strength of tonight’s performance I’ve been missing out. They play a confident and and upbeat set of quality pop music and really seem to enjoy playing as Electric Soft Parade after a bit of a hiatus. Their one hit ‘Silent to the Dark’ sounds great and a partisan crowd gives them an enthusiastic homecoming. They are joined on stage by Guy from The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster (who had to pull out of playing the event) for the final few songs and it is a very entertaining set.

British Sea Power

British Sea Power

British Sea Power prove to be a bit of a conundrum tonight and play a not entirely successful set. The good songs are great, ‘Waving Flags’ is one of the best songs of the last few years, but the weaker songs sound pretty weak tonight and it is C- set at best. It seems churlish to criticise though as all the bands have given their time up for free to support the charity and by that point in the evening I was starting to tire and might not have been giving the band my full attention.

Weariness meant I didn’t stay to see The Chap (although others have given them good reports) and the DJ sets that went on till 2am. I’d had a great night of music though and it was well worth the ticket price even without the charity contribution.

Good bands, a great atmosphere and a charitable cause it has to get a 10/10.

By Dorian Rogers

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Field Music Take Year Off Touring To Focus on Recording

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Field Music Take Year Off Touring To Focus on Recording

Posted on 16 December 2010 by Joe

Field Music are to take a year’s break from touring to concentrate on recording in their new studio, which are they are near to completing.

The band, whose album Measure topped our Top 20 Albums of 2010 list and is fronted by brothers Peter and David Brewis, have revealed that 2011 will be a quiet year while they focus on recording in the new studio being built in their native Sunderland.

Speaking at the Maximalism charity gig  in Brighton, UK, this week, the brothers told Neon Filler that the studio should be ready in the new year and confirmed that they will be taking a break from touring to spend time recording.

In an interview with the Newcastle Chronicle last week Peter had already revealed the band’s plans for 2011. He told the paper: “We’re going to be concentrating on building a recording studio in Sunderland, so I can’t see us doing another gig for at least a year.”

This is the second break the band have taken. They took a break after the release of Tones Of Town to focus on solo projects.

The Maximalism gig as well as an appearance at Belle and Sebastian’s All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival on December 11 were among their last for some time.

Field Music

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Top Ten Albums of 2010 (So Far)

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Top Ten Albums of 2010 (So Far)

Posted on 22 September 2010 by Joe

Top Ten Albums of 2010 (So Far)

This has already been a stellar year for alternative and indie music albums, with excellent releases by the likes of Owen Pallett, The Besnard Lakes and Avi Buffalo bringing  much joy to us at Neon Filler. The year has been so good that already we’ve easily come up with a solid top ten. Those on it are going to take some beating as the year progresses.

The year has also seen a welcome return of quality British music, with Sunderland’s Field Music and Brighton’s The Miserable Rich among the pick of the home grown entrants on our list.

Here’s our top ten so far, based on those who achieved our rare 9/10 accolade in our reviews section and the pick of the 8/10s. Special mention must go to those that just missed out  such as The New Pornographers album Together, The Fall’s Your Future, Our Clutter and Beachhouse’s excellently dreamy Teen Dreams.

1. Field Music Measure

Measure, a double album no less, sees the band move on yet another level. There are aspects of the sweeping, mazy songs on their eponymous debut as well as the jerky, more structured pop of second album Tones of Town, but a whole lot more has been added. Led Zepplin, Fleetwood Mac, even ELO, XTC, The Move and 10cc are thrown into the mix.

Field Music

2. The Miserable Rich – Of Flight and Fury

Of Flight and Fury is the second album from Brighton’s The Miserable Rich and it picks up from where their excellent debut left off. Part of Brighton’s Willkommen Collective they are the most compact and focused of the bunch.

The Miserable Rich

3. Owen Pallett – Heartland

With the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and Arcade Fire’s Jeremy Gara involved, Heartland is at times pure Brian Wilson  as it effortlessly takes in aspects of classical music, electronica, pop and indie-cool.

Owen Pallett

4. Tallest Man on Earth – The Wild Hunt

Swedish folk singer Kristian Matsson, who takes to the stage under the name Tallest Man On Earth, must be bored to tears with being compared with early Bob Dylan, especially when in many respects he is actually better than the great man at the same stage in his career.

The Tallest Man On Earth

5. The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night

After the first 30 seconds of opening track ‘Like The Ocean Like The Innocent’ I was sceptical. I’ve heard enough meandering drone rock to last me a lifetime, but nine minutes later at the end of the track I was a convert. This is music with genuine substance and power.

Besnard Lakes

Besnard Lakes

6. Shearwater – The Golden Archipelago.

When the end of the world comes, as pollution lays waste to the Earth, Shearwater’s leader singer Jonathan Meiburg will be on a nuclear  ravaged tropical island somewhere screaming bloody murder in his haunting baritone at the corporations and politicians. This indie/folk/rock album is powerful stuff.

Shearwater

7. Surfer Blood – Astro Coast

As debuts go Astro Coast is already a modern indie classic. Full of  a marvellous mix of riffs, indie rock influences such as  Sonic Youth and Pavement, passionate singing and some neat tricks as well. It is all that is good about the best of modern US indie rock.

Surfer Blood

8. Broken Bells – Broken Bells

Opening track and lead single ‘The High Road’ kicks things off beautifully and is a sign of the good things to come. By the time you’ve listened to ‘Vaporise’ and Mercer’s surprisingly good falsetto on ‘The Ghost Inside’ you know that Burton and Mercer have produced something worthy of an end of year best of list.

Broken Bells

9. Avi Buffalo – Avi Buffalo

Barely out of high school Avigdor and his band Avi Buffalo are quite rightly on the cusp of deserved success.  The right music, the right faces, the right attitude at the right time.

Avi Buffalo

10. Fang Island  – Fang Island

Imagine if you will Bill and Ted’s band Wyld Stallyons, but better, speeded up and backed by members of Primus, Faith No More and The Descendents. It’s a heady mix of humour, power chords and squealing solos that Fang Island pull off with aplomb.

Fang Island

Compiled by Joe Lepper and Dorian Rogers

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