‘Bonnie’ Hot Chip

According to Pitchfork, accompanying the release of the first single ‘I Feel Better’ from Hot Chip’s latest album ‘One Life Stand’, bearded folk artist Bonnie Prince Billy will be releasing a remix of his own which he has retitled ‘I Feel Bonnie’. A very unusual combination, it features his distinctive vocals alongside those of Alexis Taylor. A sample of the track can be found on the Pitchfork website

‘I Feel Better’ will be released on Parlophone on April 19th

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Hot Chip Live At HMV Picture House, Edinburgh 13/02/2010 with support act Casiokids

Norwegian band Casiokids bravely opened for Hot Chip at the HMV Picture house last Saturday. A relatively new band they did well to please the fans of one of the UK’s most popular electropop acts. The vocals which are entirely in Norwegian didn’t seem to put people off as their exuberant stage presence made for an enjoyable set. Despite this however, their focus on an array of eclectic electronic sounds seemed to deviate from the coherence of the music as a whole and as a result there were moments where the music sounded a bit sloppy and confused with too many contradictory sounds. A band definitely to look out for in the future and to do them justice they are still in their early stages and have already come a huge way in such a short time although I feel that they need to focus on the basic structure of their song writing before experimenting with different sounds/instruments.

As a warm blue light filled the stage Hot Chip emerged to hungry fans, their array of synthesizer’s, guitars and the latest addition of steel drums made for quite a spectacle. The thump of the kick drum announced the start of the set as they broke into the opening song ‘Thieves in the Night’ from their latest effort ‘One Life Stand’. The perfect start to a Saturday night the crowd were ecstatic from the get go with the impeccable blend of dancey and affable numbers appealing to everyone. Having just released a new album the set list as would be expected reflected this with highlights including ‘Brothers’ which they claimed was the first time they had played live and was beautiful with the gentle trumpet from Al Doyle. ‘Alley Cats’ another personal favourite from the latest album provided a mellow contrast to the more disco-house orientated songs such as ‘One Life Stand’ and ‘Take It In’.

Perhaps the highlight of the show was the alteration of some of their more classic songs which gave the audience a pleasant surprise. It’s always a bit depressing when a band reproduces their songs sound for sound when played live and the best live acts are those that add something different to the songs to satisfy the fans. In this case the addition of steel drums to the intro of ‘And there was a Boy from School’ was a refreshing change whilst in the case of ‘Ready For the Floor there was a completely different intro altogether and it was only when Alexis Taylor broke in with ‘Do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it do it now’ that the audience acknowledged what song it was. Other songs which the crowd loved include ‘I Feel Better’ from the latest album which really got them going and ‘Hold On’ from ‘Made in the Dark’ where a sea of people filling the 1,500 person capacity of the picture house bopping along was quite a sight.

A terrific show to mark an excellent album although their choice of ordering of songs was a bit confusing. As they left the stage before the encore one was left wondering what they would play having already given us the likes of their most popular records and thus it seemed a strange choice to be playing tracks such as ’Slush’ which I really don’t rate very highly in what should have been the pinnacle of their set. Apart from this their actual playing cannot really be faulted and so it is not something that should really be questioned in relation to their overall performance which was far above par.

Hot Chip – One Life Stand Review

4/5

Few bands have been as consistent in the quality of their music as Hot Chip. From their debut album ‘Coming on Strong’ in 2004 they have been giving us their quirky electronic pop which the nation can’t get enough of. Their latest album ‘One Life Stand’ is no exception containing its fair share of blippy synthesizers, drum machines and Alex Taylor’s dulcet falsetto. The epitome of geek chic, Hot Chip manages to combine an array of electronic instruments with heartfelt lyrics giving us their original sound.

Their latest effort, arguably less get up and go then their previous releases seems to be more of a relaxed and sentimental affair. Love seems to be a recurring theme throughout this album as can be seen simply from the title’s of some of the tracks: ‘Hand me down your love’, ‘We have love’ and the title track whereas ‘Brothers’ offers Joe Goddard’s insight into brotherly love. The opening song ‘Thieves in the Night’ sets up the standard for the rest of the album with atmospheric synths leading into a thrusting drum beat and soaring vocals. They still have the catchy dance tune similar to the likes of ‘Ready for the Floor’ on ‘Made in the Dark and ‘Over and Over’ in ‘The Warning’ in the form of the title track where the combination of Taylor’s euphonious singing and the floaty vocals of Joe Goddard with a stable backing and the addition of steel drums make for a track to remember. ‘Take it In’ offers another more upbeat track with evil backing synths in the verse leading to a much more ethereal chorus.

However, there are a couple of down points in the album most notably tracks such as ‘I Feel Better’ where the effects put on the vocals in the verse make it sound more akin to a popular house tune found in a commercial club and the track ‘Slush’ doesn’t seem to have enough substance leaving you wondering where the song is going apart from a cheesy exclamation of love. Finally, arguably the best track on the album is ‘Alley Cats’ whose chilled out guitars and mellow vocals can be paralleled to the likes of ‘And I was a boy from School’. Despite these minor setbacks ‘One Life Stand’ is a very good album overall and one that definitely warrants a listen.

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
Klaxons
Foals
Interpol
The Strokes
Avalanches
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.

Kisses