February 17th, 2011

Pigeon by Tennis More

One Track Tracks/Albums

Written By Michael Wood Thursday, February 17th, 2011

There is a temptation when talking about the band Tennis to slip into any number of puns on the name none of which would be worth doing but all of which are sorely tempting. The band arrive as a husband and wife team from America it is said as if the World - now without The White Stripes - will fall for that line again but they arrive creating the kind of woozy pop which seems to command hearts and minds for what seems sadly brief flings of musical fancy.

Download a copy of track Pigeon and you feel a summer rush of exhilaration but that - sadly - fades and it fades on a grey day when your temper is frayed and you dismiss the tune as Pet Sounds without the angst which is not a million miles away from the truth.

Tennis, it is hoped, have more strings to the bow than nostalgia and certainly Pigeon suggests they are worth as many listens as one can afford them and - perhaps - to be returned to when the sun is out.

Written By Michael Wood Thursday, February 17th, 2011

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February 9th, 2011

The Freelance Whales with the new old and the old new More

Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Co-headline show of Freelance Whales and Broken Records at The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Crowded onto the stage at the Brudenell are the six members of Freelance Whales and they have brought a glockenspiel.

A glockenspiel or a xylophone - I forget the difference between the two - but either way watching the Brooklyn band in action and seeing them pick out the melody to catchy hook from stand out track Hannah one is struck by the self-effacingness of it all. Chiming, simplistic and charming describes both melody, song and band.

For the uninitiated Freelance Whales fill the room left when Vampire Weekend made it fashionable to do something other than be The Strokes mixing the tried, tested and at times tiresome line up of instrumentation with the odd thing that gets hit with a stick that has a ball on the end of it.

And they do it well. "Indie" for sure but probably in the best and worse ways but enjoyable to watch. The set is first album Weathervanes reordered but the approach is fresh, and seems to blend the old and the new.

So while Broken Records - who follow as co-headliners - are a fine example of what they do they are left looking a little stolid. Not bad but heavy and claustrophobic. They put in a good set, but suffer in comparison.

Written By Michael Wood Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

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December 31st, 2010

Our 5th year in Dalliance More

2010 Review

Written By Michael Wood Friday, December 31st, 2010

Another year another set of albums, gigs and tracks. This year Dalliance bought a pile of CDs, downloaded five whole tracks and got an album comped. Make of that what you will. We have plans for the site next year, but we had them last year and they never happened.

For tracks we had but one winner with Summer Camp drifting from promoter Mark Husak to us and then onto the Dalliance turntable. Read a bit more about that if you will.

The world and its dog loves not to give Arcade Fire's The Suburbs album of the year for fear of being too obvious but our excuse is that we - or I - am just a bit too old and Tracey Thorn's lament on the passing of time spoke to me directly. Read about that if you please.

Gig of the year contenders came late in the year with the visit of Arcade Fire to these shores and Belle and Sebastian's return. Read more about that here.

Thank you, dear reader, for your interest.

Written By Michael Wood Friday, December 31st, 2010

December 20th, 2010

The Dalliance Christmas Album 2010 More

Mix Tape

Written By Michael Wood Monday, December 20th, 2010

A.
1. Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels) - Arcade Fire
2. The Fox In The Snow - Belle & Sebastian
3. Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas - Okkervil River
4. Mr Mistletoe - The Magnetic Fields
5. A Good Xmas - Animals That Swim
6. Stop The Cavalry - Ormondroyd

B.
1. Christmas Eve - Le Tournoi
2. Sleet and Snow - My First Tooth
3. Christmas Wrapping - Summer Camp
4. Everything is One Big Christmas Tree - The Magnetic Fields
5. Kiss You In The Snow - The School
6. Octopussy - The Wedding Present

Written By Michael Wood Monday, December 20th, 2010

December 11th, 2010

The Ripples of Arcade Fire More

Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Arcade Fire at Central (G-Mex), Manchester

There are few times in a person's gig going career that one feels one is in the epicentre but tonight is surely one of those nights. Every publication on the planet has something great to say about The Suburbs while the wisdom of all things popular museo Q Magazine dubs them the band of the year. Arcade Fire are - perhaps - the most acclaimed and respected band on the planet, and they have just taken the stage.

They are legion, Arcade Fire, with a octet of instruments and as many players although those switch as the evening goes on. The start is low key with Ready To Start but shift into thrashing with Month of May both from the latest album before dodging back to 2004's Funeral for Neighborhood #2 (Laika).

So the patten for the night emerges. New tracks are pumped into with vigour and passion but always backed up with something from the six year old concept album that broke the band world wide. The freezing conditions of recent days - receding in the North of England - colour Neighborhoods #1 and #3 which pulsate bookending a the more recent We Used to Wait. Win Bulter falls on his backside as he sings, he smiles.

"Few things better than watching the singer of a rock n' roll band fall on his ass" says Win. As a front man he is cut from the same cloth as a David Byrne or a Michael Stipe. He fashion of imagery in his songs and his dress are welcomed into the mainstream to the point where they will inevitably become the mainstream.

Bulter checks his Manchester credentials - The Suburbs it turns out is based out the riff from The Smiths' There is a Light That Never Goes Out - but for all his left leanings his band's accent into the centre of music which this City once represented seems inexorable. Indeed with over half of the massively popular Funeral and two from Neon Bible played it seems that the band have an awareness of what the mass of audience might want to see.

Which is not to criticise a band for playing songs like Rebellion (Lies) or Wake Up which are anthemic and very ready for stadium rock - they are superb songs, superbly played and etched into the mind of any who see them - but to not that the purest moment of the evening comes at the second part of the encore when Régine Chassagne steps forward for a second time - she had put in a luscious version of Haïti - and enthuses though Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains).

It is this moment in which Arcade Fire excel. The anthems are wondrous, but it is the lyrical detail with a life poured into by Chassagne which inspires an awe. Carving a new meaning from the lyrical whist on escaping suburbia Chassagne comes alive as she heavy heartedly commands "I need some darkness now/someone please cut the lights."

The song turns from the rebellion of the suburbs to the call back from afar. A statement honest and true on behalf of the band that one escape leads to another entrapment.

This is not the epicentre tonight. The epicentre happened some six year ago and ripples out no doubt to reach a stadium near you. Arms aloft, singing as loud as a crowd can.

Listen though, for the quietness.

The gig on Setlist.fm

Written By Michael Wood Saturday, December 11th, 2010

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