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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Inducing spasmodic dancing

Now and again, music can turn you into a raving looney, especially when it is of the overdriven and thrashier variety. These songs hit that particular spot for me. I can’t be responsible for my actions.


We Versus The Shark open the proceedings with Hello Blood, a track of raw energy straight from the American garage, complemented by fantastic drumming.

The godfathers of math rock Don Caballero throw up the stupendously heavy instrumental Chief Sitting Duck, a song of breakdowns interspersed with blaring distortion, tricky riffs and punchy bass drums.

A tragic case of the ‘one decent album before fading into obscurity’ syndrome, Let’s Get Sandy (Big Problem) by Be Your Own Pet is a fifty-nine second punk romp from a fantastic album.

A band that will always split opinions but remain (in their original lineup) a love of my life, Rolo Tomassi have created in Beatrotter the perfect mix of genres, pandemonium and technique. The intro is absolutely bonkers, leading to a heavy breakdown that descends into a clever jazzy section with prominent synthesizer. Following this, a jarring tapped guitar riff plays call and response, joined by a huge sliding bass line and repeated snare hits. For me, this is close to perfection in terms of putting together a million ideas and creating one coherent song. It requires a good few listens to fathom what happened, but it is well worth anyone’s time.


Vladimir Horowitz – master of the ivories

Vladimir Horowtiz is a god amongst men in the piano world – a tinkler of the ivories like no other.


In particular, I am a huge fan of his nimble fingered renditions of Frédéric Chopin’s work. There is no question of virtuosity, it is plain for all to see.

My personal favourite, Chopin’s Polonaise in A-Flat Major, Op. 53 is a piece of grand proportions and is suitably majestic in the tone and style that Horowitz coaxs out of his piano. Dipping and diving between soft, intricate passages and booming chords, it is a tour de force.

Horowitz’s take on Islamey by Mila Balakirev is a frantic jaunt of devilish talent, with a dark and quiet interlude from 2.00 before rising up the registers again. It is also worth hearing the orchestral version as a point of comparison, played here by the Russian State Symphony Orchestra.

Finally, ending on another Chopin piece, Etude in G-Flat Major, Op. 10, No. 5, ‘Black Key’ is a clear, live demonstration of the ease at which Horowitz plays his instrument. At just over a minute and a half in length, it is a cascading melody that is joyfully brought to life by Horowitz.

Well now, which is better?

Without the two arbitrary trees, this portrait wouldn't be the shit.

Without the two arbitrary trees, this portrait would be just plain shit.

A simple thought for this blog:

I have recently heard Blood, Sweat & Tears for the first time.

‘Have you been living in a cave?!’ I hear you cry.

I haven’t, no.

After only ever knowing the James Brown version of the song Spinning Wheel, a lyricless, smooth groover of a tune, it has come to my attention that Blood, Sweat & Tears actually wrote the blarthy thing. And it’s a red-blooded number at that. Which one can lay claim to the crown however? I can’t decide either way.

Have a listen and make your minds up. Then let me know.