April Music Review- part 2: Low, Foo Fighters, Villagers, Phoenix Foundation

There was so much great music in April we've gone to a 2-part review; so here are a ocuple of less obscure bands for today!

Low are not exactly huge but have been going since 1993 and were innovators of ‘slow-core’ – lovely tunes played VERY slowly. They’ve written some great stuff, including two of the tracks on Robert Plant’s Band of Joy album from last year. But with their new release C’mon they’ve gone a bit more mainstream pop / rock. The opening track Try To Sleep has lovely keyboards and boy/girl harmonies sounding like 60s and 70s classic pop (Beach Boys, Carole King, Harry Nilsson). The video is below. You See Everything brings Rumours period Fleetwood Mac to mind; and while some tracks are heavier and feature the old ‘slow’ style, the high quality song writing is maintained through the whole 45 minutes. A very impressive 8.5/10.

The Foo Fighters rock. That’s about all you need to say with their new album Wasting Light. For the first few tracks it feels like this is going to be their heaviest album ever, but the pace slows and varies – in a good way – as it goes on.  The sense of melody never deserts them, even though Dave Grohl seems to be experimenting with something very close to ‘screamo’ on White Limo.   It’s  a set of consistently strong songs, adding to their potential set list of tracks that will cause major hysteria at the Isle of Wight and Milton Keynes over the summer.  8/10

And now two I missed at the time of release.

Becoming A Jackal by Villagers came out last year but I didn’t buy it till Christmas. And if I’d got it earlier it would have been in my top 5 of the year. It is hard to categorise – it’s not ‘Folk’ but shares some of the story-telling vibe at times; touches of Dylan (but he’s a much ‘better’ singer); some classic David Gray / Damien Rice singer-songwriter elements but with more bite and mystery in the lyrics and music. Basically, a work of genius and an album that will be considered in time a classic. At least a 9/10.

The Phoenix Foundation with Buffalo came out in January and is tuneful and atmospheric “melancholic indie guitar pop” as someone on Amazon reviews puts it very accurately. Really rather gorgeous, for fans of Super Furry Animals, Flaming Lips, even the Beatles... 8.5/10

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