About The Cold Cut...

The musings of a teenage audiophile. Indie, Rock, Hip-Hop, Rap, Dance, Dubstep, Garage, Metal... music crosses all boundaries. The Cold Cut is devoted to giving you a taste of what's going on in music at the moment.

About Me

A 17 year old taking his first tentative steps into the world of blogging. In my first year, its been up and down, from the slow first months to a busy time around the one year anniversary.

More free music: Don't you just love CSS?

CSS- Rat Is Dead (Rage) (Link 2) (Link 3)

It seems as if everyone is trying to get a piece of the 'free music' pie nowadays. Radiohead and NIN cashed in, but everywhere you turn, there are more generous bands offering their latest song free, requiring very little effort on our part.

The Long Blondes did it with 'Century'. Coldplay have now done it with 'Violet Hill'. CSS are the latest group to jump on the bandwagon, with much better results than the previous two examples.

CSS have put a new song up for grabs on their website, and it rocks. Hard. Now reduced in numbers (since Ira Trevisan left), the Brazilian five-piece have been hard at work for their second album. I'm predicting a slightly more mellow affair... Lovefoxx's english has really come on, and considering she's now shocked by her lyrics from their debut, the x-rated stuff will no doubt be found in less abundance.

Their new album, entitled 'Donkey' (how very CSS!), is released on 21st June, but this new cut (not the lead single) is a revealing look at how the album will sound. It's very punkish, much less synth focussed, and a little bit less wild; lyrically at least... no 'music is my beach-house' here!

People are quick to disregard CSS as just a party band, but I just can't kick the feeling that they're going to be important- crucial even- to breaking down the barriers for international music. Even since they made it big I've recieved emails from bands like Nancy and Bonde De Role who are receiving far more attention than they would have in previous years.

You can download the track via the band's newly updated website, or above.

Coldplay: 'Violet Hill'

Coldplay- Violet Hill (Link 2) (Link 3)

My initial reaction to this song was a resounding 'hmmm'. My fears weren't entirely misplaced. Coldplay haven't stepped too far astray, but 'Violet Hill' isn't quite good enough to justify a 3 year absence. The band, however, have not lost their radio friendly roots. My brother found himself humming the tune a mere 5 minutes after listening to the song.

Many people have drawn Oasis comparisons, mostly due to the vocals and newly beefed up backing section. Piano, however, runs the show- kicking in 40 seconds in (after a resounding drone), the keys power this song through to its finish. The lyrics are weak: 'I wanna be a soldier who a captain on some sinking ship would stow far below. If you love me, won’t you let me know?', but all in all, 'Violet Hill' is a nice introduction to the new album.

Even though I'm slightly dissapointed, I'm happy to have them back. However, with this (and the shoddy album cover), Coldplay have become a little less untouchable.
The song is available free for one week only: head over to the band's slightly pretentious website to download it.

'Viva La Vida' has been brought forward and will now be released on June 12!

Coldplay reveal 'Viva La Vida' artwork...

Earlier today, Coldplay pulled back the curtains on the artwork for their forthcoming album, entitled 'Viva La Vida'- or 'Death And All His Friends'. The band use a painting by French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix from 1830 called ‘Liberty Leading The People’. And to be honest, it's fairly shit. Not only does it not fit the album title, but it really isn't Coldplay.

The first single from 'Viva La Vida'- 'Violet Hill'- will have its first radio play tomorrow evening. Following this play, it will then be available for download (free!) from the band's website.

Chris Martin has proclaimed this album as a departure. This really worries me- what was wrong with the old Coldplay?

Coldplay- God Put A Smile Upon Your Face (Link 2)

100000 hits

Update: Turns out I labelled all the tracks incorrectly (bar the Madonna one). Sorry!

This isn't another victory lap- just another commemoration of a big event (for me, at least). I must admit I'm feeling like shit at the moment (school's great, its just my body is apparently in a mood with me!)- I've got aches in places I didn't even know existed, a back which seizes up and the makings of a terrible summer cold. All in all, I just want to sleep. Lots.

Anyway, 100000 down, many more to come. Here's some tunes. More posts coming later on today.

Dangermouse- December 4th (Link 2)
Madonna- 4 Minutes (Timbaland Remix) (Link 2)
Lil' Wayne- Lollipop (Gabriel Antonio Remix) (Link 2)

Lily Allen- New Hair→New Direction→New Demos

Lily Allen- I Could Say (Link 2) (Link 3)
Lily Allen- I Don't Know (Link 2) (Link 3)

I once made the mistake of proclaiming Kate Nash as Lily Allen's protege, and immediate superior. I was quickly cut down by my brother ("she's good, but she's got a long way to go before she's as good as Lily"). He was right- whilst Kate Nash is alright, Lily has the makings of something great.

The way she came to fame was interesting, and it was exactly the right path to take: distancing herself from her father. Obviously, Lily has had a hard time recently (I'm not going to explain the circumstances... you do the work), and that comes across in her new demos. Its as if 'Smile' never happened. And yet, these tracks were released in much the same way- by Lily herself- and will no doubt find popularity as the plays rack up (95000 on the first day, in case you were wondering!).

As the press commonly do, they obsessed over her appearance- in particular, the blonde hair. Why? The signs are all there in her music: The summer pop has been discarded for a much darker tone. And whilst 'I Could Say' and 'I Don't Know' sound like pop songs, the subject matter is less than peachy:

"And I'll take my clothes off, and it will be shameless. 'Cause everyone knows; that's how you get famous".

Madonna's 'Hard Candy' Leaks Again... And Again... And Again.

Madonna- Give It 2 Me (Link 2)
Madonna- The Beat Goes On (Ft. Kanye West) (Link 2)

Madonna's having a hard time at the moment. Under attack from the press for her 'hard' image, and her refusal to retire, the last thing she needs is a load of tracks to leak from her new album. And yet the whole album was released onto the web today, three days before 'Hard Candy's release.

I'm actually quite impressed... this 'hard' image doesn't really bother me too much- the music is what matters, after all. And people can continue to be frustrated with Madonna, asking her to retire. Why? Would you, when you can continue to produce number 1 singles/albums into your 50's?

The new tracks are fairly impressive, with the production values coming through strong. Pharrell and Timbaland produce the bulk of the album, with Nate Hills contributing the remainder. Madonna seems to have enlisted a who's who of rap and hip hop acts, which is important considering this is meant to be her first foray into hip hop.

'Hard Candy' can be pre-ordered here...

The Hot List: MSTRKRFT, Portishead, Cut Copy & m83

It's impossible to catch every piece of 'hot' music flying around. Sure, the invention of The Hype Machine, Elbows and Paper Thin Walls helps, but even listening to their popular lists solidly wont give you a full flavour of the groundbreaking tracks that are released every day. I have, as always, neglected a collection of post-worthy musicians over the last few busy weeks. The Hot List will hopefully get me back up to speed! Without further ado, I present to you MSTRKRFT, portishead, cut copy and m83.

Metric- Monster Hospital (mstrkrft remix) (Link 2)
Fergie- Fergalicious (mstrkrft remix) (Link 2)

(Master-kraft, for the slower witted members of the gene pool), haven't been around for too long. Their output, however, has been getting rapidly superior and audacious in the two and half years since formation.

First things first, they are truly worthy of their welebrity (I hope to coin a phrase!), having shown their skill by ably transforming shit tracks into golden stools. Take 'Fergalicious', for example. If you haven't heard this, you're lucky. It's a truly abysmal song, made only slightly more acceptable by the video- let me give you a hint... Fergie+schoolgirl outfit? MSTRKRFT weren't going to let that get in their way, and they've actually transformed it into a half-decent pop song. Move aside will.i.am. The true masters are here!

Secondly, they have the taste and vigilance to remix legendary tracks: 'Monster Hospital', by Metric, should really be given a wide berth. It's a quintessential Metric track- big, boisterous and executed to perfection. And yet in the duo's able hands, it becomes impossibly frantic, and much more danceable.

Visit MSTRKRFT's MySpace for more information.

Portishead- Machine Gun (Link 2)
Portishead- Roads (Live) (Link 2)

were way before my time, but even minus the nostalgia factor, their new album 'Third' is still pretty damn good. Considering they all but disappeared in 1997, their popularity hasn't really waned, and the live performances are still said to be sublime. All in all, Britain has been missing a classic 90's act. No Oasis, no Blur... no Britpop, no retro, no throwback. Okay, so we have the Verve *who?*, but Portishead are trippy, brooding and great to listen to.

'Third' can be bought at Amazon.

Cut Copy- Feel The Love (Link 2)
Cut Copy- Lights And Music (Boyz Noize Remix) (Link 2)

Cut Copy
are inescapable, but unlike many radio-friendly bands (you know who you are... *cough* The Feeling), Cut Copy aren't rubbish. Their music couldn't be described as anything but jolly, but whilst The Feeling set off my gag reflex, Cut Copy make me feel warm inside. Perhaps it's their apparently 80's throwback style- if this is what the 80's sounded like, then I'm sorry I missed them.

With the support of their whole nation behind them (new album 'In Ghost Colours' went #1 in Australia), these three guys are looking set to make a huge impact when they properly touch down on European/American soil.

'In Ghost Colours' can be bought from Amazon.

m83- Couleurs (Link 2)
m83- Graveyard Girl (Link 2)

are named after the galaxy of the same name. Their music is similarly out of this world. Take 'Couleurs', the first single from their new album 'Saturdays=Youth'. Sounding like a B-side from the Terminator soundtrack, its really quite unsettling and eerie. Then we have 'Graveyard Girl', simaltaneously the most uplifting and heart-rending song I've heard in a long while.

Whereas m83's previous albums have shown a rich variety of sounds and textures, this- Anthony Gonzalez's fifth in 7 years!- showcased a much more focussed writing style. Whilst it's still spaced out electronica, the songs are much easier to connect with.

'Saturdays=Youth' can be purchased from Amazon.

Guess Who's Back. Back Again. I Am!

Cajun Dance Party- The Race (Link 2) (Link 3)
Cajun Dance Party- The Hill, The View And The Lights (Link 2) (Link 3)

The break from blogging was a lot shorter than I imagined- let me briefly explain my absence. Over the weekend I spent some time in London- watched my sister destroying her previous time at the London Marathon. Basically, she was brilliant. On Monday I had an interview with IBM- it was super intense, but really enjoyable. All in all, the last couple of weeks have been some of the most crucial to come thus far- the revision for the last of the endless school exams, and trying desperately to secure a job for my gap year.

Anyway, intense, intense, blah, blah, blah. And as much as I'm feeling the pressure, there are some people my age who have much more weight placed on their shoulders. I am, of course, talking about Cajun Dance Party. In a recent interview, lead singer Daniel said:

“We’re very proud of our debut album. It’s taken a long time but now it’s done, we just want people to hear these songs as soon as possible. We understand a band has to do certain things to get music to as many as people as possible, but right now we’re finishing school and are well underway with the second record.”

These guys are in the same year as me... it makes you feel useless when you're struggling with exams, and yet people of the same age are busy becoming musical gods, whilst still holding back their album release until they've finished school. That idea was abandoned when the band already had more than two albums worth of material- therefore their debut, 'The Colourful Life' will be released on 28th April.

The thing is, Cajun Dance Party don't seem to be feeling the pressure at all. They've released three tracks, all of which have been incredible. And a second album is already in the works... recording will commence in the summer, when the band leave school.

In short, now is an exciting time- both for the band, and for us. The two latest tracks that have leaked are available above: third single 'The Race' and album closer 'The Hill, The View And The Lights'- kudos to Stereogum-, which sees Vicky Freund (I presume, as the only female band member!) stepping forward for vocal duties. And just like that, the band become a boy/girl duo... that sense of spontaneity is just one of the things that makes this band very special.

For news on the band, visit their website...

Busy days

I just thought I would write a quick post- the next few days are hectic, so I wont be able to post for a week or so.

I should be back to full speed by the weekend- see you then!

Crookers: Ditty, Ditty, Ditty...

With remixes, I'm easily impressed. Attach a sufficiently huge bass-line, chop and change the song format, affix some other random sounds and we can have a long lasting relationship.

I was destined, therefore, to love Crookers. They've got a simple formula, which delivers, over and over again: take a song no-one else has touched, glue a grungy bassline to it and then present it as musical gold.

Crookers are an Italian duo: DJ PHRA and Bot, with a stash of remixes to their name. Given the nature of their music (solely remixes) the prospect of a Crookers album is confusing. Which direction will they take? Will they produce original material? Or will they continue to remix tracks?

Anyway, check out the ACDC remix below (great for sport, trust me) and a nice new version of Trash by The Whip.

AC/DC- Thunderstruck (Crookers Remix) (Link 2)
The Whip- Trash (Crookers Remix) (Link 2)

For a peek at their tour dates and some more tracks, head over to their MySpace

New music podcast!

Another day, another podcast- I've been bitten by the bug! It's so easy... I promise I will get back to writing soon- I'm just feeling a little bit uninspired at the mo'.

Just a short one- a load of new(ish) tracks, with some oldies interspersed...

New music podcast... (Link 2)

1. Captain- Spoils
2. Synthar- Hurricanes
3. Courteeners- Not Nineteen Forever
4. Crystal Castles- Courtship Dating
5. Audiobytes For Autobytes- 143 chp
6. Battles- Tendency
7. Foals- Balloons (Live At Nottingham)
8. Le Tigre- Deceptacon

The Cold Cut Podcast: April

Update: What a learning curve! I think I could make a much better podcast second time around, given I now understand how to use Audacity. I might go back and put in new vocal cues... expect more podcasts soon! And watch out for the podcasts on iTunes.

So, with the one year anniversary, I decided it was time to start branching out. Therefore, today I take my first steps into the world of podcasting. I wasn't initially convinced- radio, which you can download- ooh! However, it seems to have gone the distance, and I feel that its time The Cold Cut crosses over into another world.

As I mention in the podcast- I'm new to this, so things are likely to improve very quickly. One thing is clear: your voice never sounds the same when recorded... I sound a little suicidal at the beginning (school, work etc), so I had to get a little more excited about the music.

Download the April edition of The Cold Cut podcast...
(Link 2)

1. Eve/Radiohead- Tambourine Reckoning
2. Artful Dodger- Something
3. Sway- Download
4. Wale ft. Daniel Merriweather- Let's Ride (produced by Mark Ronson)
5. The LK- Private Life Of A Cat
6. Kate Bush- The Big Sky
7. Peter Moren- Social Competence
8. The Joy Formidable- Butterflies Last Spell (TEED Remix)
9. Metric- Combat Baby
10. Matthew Dear- Neighbourhoods

Happy Birthday

Just a few random tracks I'm enjoying at the moment...

Radiohead- Street Spirit
(Link 2)
Vampire Weekend- Oxford Comma (Link 2)
The Courteeners- Aftershow (Link 2)
Madonna/Britney Spears- 4 Minutes To Break The Ice (Link 2)

On 1st April 2008, The Cold Cut turned 1. A momentous occasion, don't you think? So momentous that I forgot to post about it on the day...

Anyway, the site's been going for just over a year, and although it was a bit of a bumpy start, things are settling down nicely. At first it was 'The Cold Cut', devoted to anything and everything. Then it was films, music and TV. And finally, music. It now has a clear cut identity... although I still cover anything that takes my fancy.
I used to obsess over stats, but recently it has become more of a treat to see the hits increasing. At the moment, I'm getting around 1000 a day.
That might not sound like a lot, but on one particularly boring day I had a look at how many hits some of the most popular music blogs were getting daily. The results were interesting: Good Weather For Airstrikes gets around 1300 a day. Neiles Life has around 500 a day. The obvious leaders, though, are Pretty Much Amazing! (with an average 3500 visiters a day!), and Brooklyn Vegan (unpublished figures, which are huge). So basically, I'm still low down on the food chain, but I'm not doing too badly. I can't really compete with those websites as they are run by hordes of people (hint hint- If you would like to write here then email me...).

I just thought I should commemorate this moment. I hope there are many more anniversaries to come.

PS- I'm looking to branch out and get my name into the air. Any ideas of publications/magazines/websites that you think would let me write for them? Cheers...

The Long Blondes: 'Couples' Review

Rating: 7/10- A steady album, sadly let down by three songs.

The Long Blondes- Century (Link 2) (Link 3)
The Long Blondes- Guilt (Link 2) (Link 3)

On my first listen of The Long Blondes 'Couples' I actually mouthed some unmentionable things. I absolutely adored 'Someone To Drive You Home', and simply put, this doesn't hit the mark, at least not on its first spin. In the two years between their debut and 'Couples', their music has certainly lost a little of 'STDYH's magic, replaced by a passion for experimentation, and the sweet taste of progression. This isn't a failure by any means, but it also isn't the follow up we were expecting.

In short, they've attempted to go punk (truly, this time around). Simply put, their music is no longer punk (more a blend of electro-indie), nor is their image (updated from berets and striped tights to civvies), but their delivery most certainly is: even now, they're still learning to play their instruments, but there are clear signs of advancement, musically... when the band formed, Screech, the drummer, didn't even own a set or know the difference between a high hat and a snare. And don't even get me onto Emma Chaplin- their live shows are shambolic because Dorian is playing both lead and rhythm!

I really wanted this album to be superior to their debut. The outlook was promising: 'Century' is a song that just sits in the back of your head, invading your space with its wonky guitars and harmonies. If I had to take a single positive from this album, it would be the obvious improvement of Kate Jackson's vocals- her progress is easy to see on the single. Next came 'Guilt', probably the stand-out, which also happens to be a demo from their early days. It's an obvious choice for their next single. Another high point comes quickly in the form of the title track. But then disaster strikes. Three songs, all of which are... well, shit... They lose all the momentum gained over the first three tracks, and its as if 'Couples' never got going.

Exhibit A- 'I Liked The Boys'- jarring is an apt description. Exhibit B- 'Here Comes The Serious Bit'- Kate has a great voice. Occasionally it goes wrong... imagine that flat note at the end of 'Heaven Help The New Girl', extended over an entire song. And finally, Exhibit C- 'Round The Hairpin'- This has so much potential, but is painfully underdeveloped. And so ends the trifecta.

The band do some serious groundwork over the next few tracks, making up for lost momentum. 'Too Clever By Half' sees Jackson adopt a pitch perfect falsetto, then 'Nostalgia', which I found strangely emotional. The finale, 'I'm Going To Hell', is a dramatic affair, with Jackson proclaiming 'I'm going to hell so I might as well make it worth my while.' All things accounted for, the album ends on a high, but I couldn't forget those three songs. I've returned time and time again (I've had this album for 3 weeks now), but they still don't sit well with me.

'Couples' is a very difficult album; one of the hardest I've come across, and this isn't going to work in their favour. I didn't truly appreciate half the songs until at least 6 or 7 listens, which is a real downer; however, they do take on depth with time. After repeated listenings, it transforms into a solid album, but it is this initially steep gradient which may be 'Couples' undoing, commercially at least.

'Someone To Drive You Home' really delivered, and still holds a place as one of my favourite debuts of all time. It had that lyrical punch and could soundtrack any situation: you could focus on it, or just let the songs slip past. 'Couples', whilst occasionally superior, is an album that requires your utmost attention at all times, and is let down by the presence of three rubbish songs. I really wanted to love it, and the signs led me to believe I would: Erol Alkan's pre-album mixes were great ('Fulwood Babylon' is amazing), but his impact on this album has been detrimental. I'm not quite sure why, either, given he also produced Mystery Jets '21', which is excellent, and an expansion of their sound. On 'Couples', though, his usually stellar work is lacking, and the album occasionally suffers.

Still, taking into account the highs and the lows, this isn't a trainwreck of a second album. The Long Blondes have shown their hand: progression and experimentation are serious factors in their future. All in all, 'Couples' is a nice album to keep us tied over until they do something truly groundbreaking, and live up the hype.

'Couples' can be purchased here

Kanye does it again...

Kanye West's post-'Graduation' campaign is going well. Three great singles, some nice live performances, four Grammys, and now two good videos to his name (unfortunately, 'Stronger' wasn't up to scratch). That's right, the third single has been announced- 'Homecoming', featuring Chris Martin.

The video has some nice touches (that outline idea is pretty well executed), and the video fits the jaunty piano and weird dancing, from featuring artist Chris Martin. I guess that's one thing you can expect from a man who named his daughter 'apple'.

Some treats for you- as well as 'Homecoming', an inventive Diplo remix of what was the last single- 'Flashing Lights'.

Kanye West- Homecoming (Link 2) (Link 3)
Kanye West- Flashing Lights (Diplo Remix) (Link 2) (Link 3)

Mash-ups: A music fan's best friend... (New Links)

Be afraid... very afraid. Maxl Rackson

I love mash-ups. Its two for one. Buy one get one free. Whatever you want to call it. That is, when you are lucky enough to find a good one.

Either way, when executed well, a mash-up is elevated a level above the original songs. Generally, you have to search long and hard for a truly brilliant combo, but I've done the work for you. Enjoy, and think of the possibilities. In order of brilliance:

Rihanna/New Order- Shut Up On A Blue Monday (ComaR) (Link 2) (Link 3)
Simply genius. Whoever put two and two together should really quit their day job. This is one of the rare occasions where the songs fit perfectly together. Seamless. Rihanna becomes bearable- it must be a miracle. Listen, NOW!

Nirvana/Michael Jackson- Smells Like Billie Jean
(Link 2) (Link 3)
Imagine: this is what MJ would sound like if his voice was a bit lower, and he wrote brilliant grunge music instead of sickly pop gems. And stopped screeching. Cha-mon-e.

Crystal Castles/Bloc Party- Hunting For Witches (Link 2) (Link 3)
A remix and a mash-up, this is good enough for a coveted spot in the list. Once again proving that Crystal Castles are 'so hot right now'.

Jackson 5/Guns N' Roses- Illiterate City (Divide And Kreate)
(Link 2) (Link 3)
A five part harmony is a definite improvement over Axl's screeching. Chinese Democracy that, bitch.

Eurythmics/The White Stripes- Sweet Dreams Are Made Of Seven Nation Army (DJ Poly) (Link 2) (Link 3)
Yep. Another perfect combination. I personally would have put Jack a little bit higher in the mix, but its beautiful, regardless.

Britney Spears/Amy Winehouse- Detox (King Of Pants) (Link 2) (Link 3)
At times verging into discordant territory, this just about pulls it off. Its the combo of that baritone sax and the 'Toxic' beat.

Tell me when the links go down- I'll upload them again. Oh, and keep checking back- I'll be updating again today.