Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Album Review: Twin Shadow - Forget

I was in my local Rough Trade record store the other week listening to new releases on their CD sampler and the description of one album in particular interested me quite a bit, so standing there with the headphones on I selected a CD titled Forget by an artist I had never heard of before called Twin Shadow. Within a minute into the first track, Tyrant Destroyed, I was hooked. Sparse electronic drums and somber keyboards in the vein of Casiotone For The Painfully Alone pulse as a low hushed voice sings 'I know you spent some time/From the town to the city/Looking for a life to start/And when you were fifteen /I know what you said/"I'd never let another black boy break my heart."'

Twin Shadow is the stage name of musician
George Lewis Jr., born in the Dominican Republic and raised in rural Florida, who recently released his debut album Forget through 4AD. On the album Lewis reminisces about childhood experiences and his own past. The music itself is haunting and sparse, paring down core elements of 80s New Wave, disco, indie rock and R&B. Produced by Grizzly's Bear's Chris Taylor the album is intricate, immaculate and concise; not a moment is wasted over the 11 cuts on offer. Highlights include the aforementioned opening track, Shooting Holes At The Moon, one of the more upbeat songs on the album, Tether Beat, Castles In The Snow and the title track.

I highly recommend this record, the only criticism I have is that there's a lack of variation in the tone and tempo of the songs, and the slick production and minimal composition means it takes a few listens to really get into it as it does sound a little too similar throughout upon cursory review. If you do stick with it though you will find it a highly rewarding listen and in my opinion it's definitely one of the best albums of the year.

Spotlight On: Ash

I recently saw Ash for the first time a few weeks ago with Russell from Bloc Party playing guitar for them in place of the departed Charlotte Hatherly. I used to be a huge fan of theirs when I was younger and seeing them live really rekindled my appreciation for them so I've been listening to all my favorite Ash songs this week. In case you didn't know Ash are an Irish grunge rock band that formed in 1992, taking their name from the first word they liked out of the dictionary. They have sold over 8 million albums to date, and are probably best known for their song Burn Baby Burn from 2001's Free All Angels. If you'd like to get more acquainted with them I highly recommend acquiring their debut mini album Trailer and their first album proper 1977 (my personal favorite), or if you prefer something more pop-friendly and accessible then Free All Angels would be a good place to strart. Most recently they released a 2 volume collection entitled A-Z of 26 new singles that were put out one by one every two weeks from May 18th 2009. Below you can see the video for Petrol, the second single from Trailer.