A few weeks ago, on the 26th of August, Scottish indie rockers Franz Ferdinand released their long awaited fourth album 'Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action', and I was lucky enough to watch them perform a few days later at their matinée album release show at New Slang in Kingston. I saw Franz Ferdinand headline Field Day last year, and they were absolutely amazing live, so I was really looking forward to seeing them play again, this time in a much more intimate setting! There were two shows as the evening one sold out in a matter of days, so Banquet added another earlier all ages show, and when I arrived at the gig there was massive queue stretching all the way down the road. I think it was safe to say I wasn't the only one ridiculously excited about their come back! The band opened with Right Action, and then proceeded to treat us to old favourites such as Take Me Out, Do You Want To and The Dark Of The Matinée (which was very fitting), as well as playing some new tracks off the album, obviously. There is something about Franz Ferdinand which just makes them work so well live, maybe it's their brilliantly catchy riffs, or Alex Kapranos pouting his way through the set with just the right amount of swagger, but they are just amazing to watch. As for their new album, Right Action, Love Illumination and Evil Eye are the stand-out tracks for me, harking back to the sound of their debut self-titled album, rich with sharp guitar and clever lyrics. Goodbye Lovers And Friends was also a new one which worked wonderfully live as their closing number. If you haven't got your hands on their new album, pick it up here from Banquet Records.
Franz Ferdinand at their album release show at New Slang 29.08.13
Now, possibly one of the highest profile album releases of this year, with a tremendous amount of hype to live up to. Yes of course, it was Arctic Monkey's highly anticipated fifth album 'AM', which was released on Monday the 9th of Sept. I mean look at the album cover, it doesn't even have their bloody name on it, they are just that cool! With the release of R U Mine?, which is by far my favourite track off the album, we were given a taste of the more rockier things to come. This album is a far cry from the tales of humdrum nights out in Sheffield courtesy of 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not', and there is this massive Rock n Rock vibe which comes through on 'AM'. Maybe because they are mostly based in LA now, which certainly adds a polished retro sound to the tracks, and also because well, they are massive rock stars now; Alex Turner is hardly going to be still singing about picking up girls at local discos, instead it's now all about drink-fuelled after-parties at mansions in downtown LA. Their sound has really evolved since the melancholy ballads of their last album, Suck It And See, although we here a little echo of that style in No. 1 Party Album, but again no track is safe from the Rock n Roll shake up and there is a definite John Lennon influence to it, especially the piano. Apart from the new addition of piano, there's been lots of talk of their new 'RnB' sound, and I was preparing myself for something along the lines of R Kelly's Bump n Grind, but actually it's proper 1960's Rhythm and Blues that can be heard through-out, with wonderfully high backing vocals on a lot of tracks, especially on Snap Out Of IT, which works really well. My only complaint with 'AM' is there is a distinct over-use of Hip-hop drum beats paired with creeping bass lines, and Do I Wanna Know?, Arabella and Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High? all sort of blend into one, which is a shame because all three are brilliant, catchy tracks. Overall I think the album is really good, and definitely one of their best for a while, with certain tracks such R U Mine? and I Want It All really making 'AM' for me. What do you think of the new album? If you haven't got it yet make sure you pick up a copy here!
Arctic Monkeys at The Roundhouse for The iTunes Festival 09.09.13
And finally, here's a sneaky new release to get all excited about! On the 9th day of the 9th month at 9pm, this special edition 12" was released under the name of 'The Reflectors'. But we sussed it out! It's Arcade Fire alright, but they've been transported in all their magical French-Canadian glory into a 1970s mirrored disco hall (that's obv why he keeps harping on about reflektors). There's also a piano. And glitter balls. Oh, and David Bowie is there too, it's brilliant. If none of this is making sense to you, just take a listen yourself: