Tag Archives: hockey night

Free Energy!

I feel like a whole week of music news passed me by, and only now have I realised the gravity of the announcements that I missed first time round. The first stroke of good news was the return of Field Music, which I discussed a a few days ago. Now, I absolutely have to get off my chest just how excited I am about a band/project/against-all-odds-miracle called Free Energy.

When indie-rock also-rans Hockey Night shut up shop a few years ago, no one could have predicted that members of the band would someday wind up sharing a studio with James Murphy and Pat Mahoney (of electronic/disco production powerhouse the DFA) under a new guise. And yet, somehow, that’s exactly what’s happened, and the fruits of this unlikely match-up’s labours are now being revealed song by song.

When news of this collaboration began being whispered about in hushed tones what seems like at least two years ago, I wasn’t actually hugely surprised. I always guessed there might be a love of FM rock and power pop lurking away in James Murphy’s heart, and it would appear that this guilty pleasure of his has finally found an outlet in the joyous riot of a party that is Free Energy. Their songs bounce around on chunks of guitar chords that have ridden straight out of a 1970s cabriolet. The drums are crisp and fills come tumbling out of the sky like confetti. The lyrics, delivered in an excited tone that suggests years of waiting for fame, are all about partying, the joy of relationships, and probably driving around America in a vintage cabriolet. At a time when power pop is being bludgeoned to death by increasingly puerile Weezer releases, and stadium/arena-rock is being pulverised and banalised by Kings of Leon, Free Energy are a breath of fresh air. Obviously, the production plays its part too, capturing the undeniably passionate sound of an unbridled electric guitar, alongside the occasional squelch of vintage synth. But importantly, the songs are there too – seemingly having jumped off the writer’s page, fully formed, snappy, catchy.

The outfit recalls the perpetual enjoyment of Thin Lizzy and Tom Petty with none of the sneering irony of early noughties garage rock. These guys are dead earnest about having a blast, and I’m dead pleased that their debut album, entitled Stuck On Nothing, is going to be released on 26th January 2010. At least that way, it’ll have a good six months to settle into a groove in people’s consciousness before its true season – the summer – blasts off.

Hit their MySpace for the lowdown, and be sure to check out the free single, “Dream City”.

Private revision rave

I seem to be starting every post nowadays with “Just a quick update to say…” so here comes another one.

My hands are somewhat tied, musically, at present, owing to an overload/guilt trip about actually getting down to some revision. Predictably, I’ve spent the entire year slavishly scribbling down notes without really understanding what was going on. Consequently, I should now have my face firmly held to the grindstone.

While I revise, I do however like to listen to music. Usually I favour stuff with a strong rhythmic element – LCD Soundsystem, Hercules & Love Affair, Prinzhorn Dance School, Portishead, Massive Attack – but I also find myself working more productively with instrumental post rock, which has the effect of letting me “leave the phenomenal world, and enter into the sublime.” Albums like Explosions In The Sky’s Those Who Tell The Truth Will Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Will Live Forever and Tortoise’s landmark TNT are ideal for this purpose, as are most of M83’s albums.

When I’m not revising, I’ve also been exploring the depths of Spotify, and have had the following albums of frequent rotation:

The Decemberists – The Hazards Of Love

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!

Konono No. 1 – Congotronics

Amadou & Mariam – Welcome To Mali

Antibalas – Talkatif

John Rutter – Gloria

Various – Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump

Antony & The Johnsons – The Crying Light

Beck – Sea Change

Doves – Kingdom Of Rust

Robert Wyatt – Comicopera

Hockey Night – Keep Guessin’

All of which I can heartily endorse. Certainly if you’re in the UK, you’ve no excuse not to get swallowed up by Spotify, because anyone can sign up.