Grizzly Bear Live At Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh With Support Act Beach House 09/03/10

It’s exciting enough when you hear that Brooklyn based folk-rock band ‘Grizzly Bear’ have decided to play Edinburgh despite most remotely successful bands choosing to bypass the city and head straight to Glasgow where the music scene is more thriving, but when you learn that Baltimore dream-pop duo ‘Beach House’ are supporting as well, it’s like a dream come true.

‘Beach House’ who arrived to a very dimly lit stage set the motion for the evening, Victoria Legrand’s long curly hair hung over her keyboard and Alex Scally reclined on a chair, their atmospheric music entrancing the crowd. The combination of coloured lighting and smoke machines with the haunting vocals of Legrand was truly hypnotic. The highlight had to be ‘Norway’ off their latest album ‘Teen Dream’ with its wonky guitar and ethereal vocals and ‘Zebra’ with simple guitar sliding and a sweeping voice building up to an epic chorus complete with keyboards.

On to the main act, the set lit simply by a collection of glowing glass jars, few bands have been so successful in their captivation of the audience’s attention, with songs such as ‘Foreground’ with its modest keyboards from Daniel Rossen and chilling vocals from Edward Droste being simply beautiful, the crowd not daring to make a whimper. Often described as chamber pop, the constant switching of lead vocalists meaning no noticeable frontman and the multitude of instruments played especially from Chris Taylor who flits from bass guitar to flute to clarinet to saxophone is not only extremely impressive but adds an orchestral feel to the music. The only downside to this would have to be the addition of the omnichord played by Droste which (and I may just be ignorant) seemed to merely consist of single chord being played thus defeating the point of it being there and only adding as a spectacle and not to the musical content.

The set was very ‘Veckatimest’ heavy breaking straight away into ‘Southern Point’ and playing numerous songs from the album although they weren’t afraid of delivering older tracks with ‘Colorado’ and ‘Knife’ off ‘Yellow House’ being particularly good.

Perhaps the highlight of the set had to be when Victoria Legrend joined the stage to sing backing vocals on the much loved ‘Two Weeks’ which she appears on the album for as well as taking the lead for ‘Slow Life’ a track that Grizzly Bear produced for the film ‘New Moon’. Other excellent tracks were ‘While You Wait For Others’ where the crowd all seemed to join arms and revel in the happiness of the music and ‘On a Neck On A Spit’ with its phenomenal guitar and hoarse vocals from Rossen.

The encore which consisted of a single acoustic cover of ‘All We Ask’ was the perfect ending to a terrific set, the audience hanging on to every last note building up to a succession of clapping as they really got into the song and giving the band a huge showering of praise as they left the stage.

Top Albums of 2010

Since it is the beginning of a new year and decade I thought I would kick start the posting by looking at what music we can look forward to in the coming year. 2010 is set for some highly anticipated music and already it has seen the release of some excellent albums. Here are a few of the albums that I am most excited about in no particular order:

Yeasayer – Odd Blood

Although very different to ‘All Hour Cymbals’ the change of direction to a more electronic style is not a bad thing and Yeasayer have produced a very good album to start the decade off.

Odd Blood was released on February 8th

Hot Chip – One Life Stand

Once again Hot Chip has pulled another brilliant album out of the bag. Slightly less disco-housey than previous records and a bit calmer it comes together very nicely as an album showing why they are the kings of Geek-chic.

One Life Stand was released on February 1st

Four Tet – There is Love in You

Kieran Hebden has released a beautiful album in ‘There Is Love In You’. An amazing exposition of the power that can be created in electronic music. There are definite influences from greats such as Aphex Twin in the likes of tracks such as ‘Sing’.

There Is Love In You was released on January 25th

Beach House – Teen Dream

New album from Baltimore dream pop duo. Once again it doesn’t disappoint and is arguably their best work to date. An album fuelled by nostalgia its creepy organs are not one to miss.

Teen Dream was released on Jan 26th

Massive Attack – Heligoland

Heligoland shows a Massive Attack back on form with good driving bass lines, plenty of brass and some excellent guest vocals from the likes of Martina Topley-Bird and Horace Andy.

Heligoland was released on February 8th

Peter Gabriel – Scratch My Back

It’s been almost a decade since rock legend Peter Gabriel has released anything and this album consisting of covers of old and modern artists sung by Gabriel with the aid of an orchestral accompaniment arranged by John Metcalfe shows he still has what it takes to produce excellent music

Scratch My Back was released on February 15th

Ratatat – LP4

The modular music duo of guitarist Mike Stroud and multi-instrumentalist Evan Mast are set to release their latest LP at some point this year although it hasn’t been disclosed but I am sure whatever they throw our way it will be very good.

Felix Cartal – Popular Music

We have already seen the likes of ‘Drone’ the first single of the album released last year and more recently the album’s title track ‘Popular Music’ and after the huge success of ‘Skeleton’ released in May last year which sadly won’t be on the album we can only expect amazing things from the electro dj. One dance album definitely to look forward to in 2010.

Popular Music will be released on February 23rd on Steve Aoki’s DIM MAK Label

Frightened Rabbit – The Winter of Mixed Drinks

The indie band from the Scottish borders have seen huge success in the past year especially in Edinburgh and for many the suspense of their latest release is becoming all a bit too much.

The Winter of Mixed Drinks will be released on March 9th

MGMT – Congratulations

After the success of 2007 release ‘Oracular Spectacular’ with singles such as ‘Kids’ and ‘Time to Pretend’ being hugely popular, their latest effort is surely to be one of the year’s most highly anticipated albums as fans look forward to more of their psychedelic indie.

Congratulations will be released on April 13th

Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

The third album from the virtual band featuring some very interesting guest performances from the likes of artists such as Snoop Dogg, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, De La Soul and The Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music. First single from the album ‘Stylo’ featuring Mos Def and Bobby Womack was released on January 26th.

Plastic Beach will be released on March 8th

Dan Le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip – The Logic of Chance

The combination of Dan Le Sac’s electronic backing and Pip’s lyrical genius have made this duo one of the best current acts of British Hip Hop. The first single from the album ‘Get Better’ has shown that they are still producing quality music and so this should be an album worth waiting for.

The Logic of Chance will be released on March 15th

Deftones – Eros

The new album from Deftones has seen a major setback from it’s initial intended release date of early 2009 after bassist Chi Cheng fell into a coma following a bad car crash. Sergio Vega of ‘Quicksand’ has stepped up to the challenge of filling Cheng’s boots and Moreno claims the album is going to be very weird and atmospheric with similarities to ‘White Pony’.

Eros will be released on April 27th

Those are the albums that have got me going that I have definitive information for although there are other intended releases from:

LCD Soundsystem
Arcade Fire
The Strokes
and many many more

All in all its looking to be a very exciting year for music and many of these releases I really can’t wait to get my hands on.