This Week’s Music Video with New Order, Courtney Barnett, Ash, Karen O and Beirut

This Week’s Music Video with Julian Casablancas and The Voidz, Jack White, Karen O, Jessie Ware and Death From Above 1979

Single Review – Karen O – Rapt

On the September 8th the wonderful and enigmatic Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs will release her debut solo album with Crush Songs. This first track from this is ‘Rapt’. A little taste of what is to come in September at just under two minutes. In those two minutes, the song is a single strung out and muted and in a gentle affair with a subtle riff. Over this is Karen’s highly distinguishable vocal which conveys intimacy, narration and distant ecstasy. A simple and basic track that is a small window into what Karen and the new album is capable of.

This Week’s Music Video with Karen O, Lily Allen, Gaslight Anthem, The Drums and Bleached

Karen O – Rapt

 

Lily Allen – As Long As I Got You

 

The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt

 

The Drums – Magic Mountain

 

Bleached – Poison Ivy

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito Review

A new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album is a very big deal as an energetic and ‘in your face’ release will probably be the result and with this their first album since 2009, Mosquito lives up to their reputation pretty well. But the album at times dually feels just as polished and clean as ‘It’s Blitz!’ had been and also it feels a lot more rough around the edges too which leaves a mixed bag of tunes but a positive bag for sure. They seem to have trimmed away at the sort of alt-pop tinge that the last album had to it and replaced it with a more post-punk and art-alt sound but with some unusual elements too like soul. This doesn’t leave the album so much as dark but just a little bit more moody and dramatic which let’s face it; Karen O does in an effortless fashion as always.

Sacrilege is the perfect single in how quite a few of the elements i’ve mentioned play a part. The chorus features a low rythm and bass section that’s contrasted well with the higher pitched guitar solo and Karen’s higher and slightly subtle vocals. The verse has a pretty standard indie or alternative rythm to it but with Karen’s more shouty and edgier punk like vocals that are always well isolated and are slightly distorted and manipulated to enhance the effect of her vocals. The gospel choir at the end is perhaps a little too long and drawn out but it works well and as for the edgy sort of drama factor, it delivers in a way that brings the song to an end kicking and screaming rather than slowly nodding off into an outro. ‘Mosquito’ which shares it’s name with the album has a modern garage rock rythm section to it that sounds like it belongs in 2003 and with Karen’s vocals almost mimicing that of a childs ryhme but with a sinister lyrical twist which is more evident in the chorus which again highlights her punk like vocals. It certainly has a much more gritty feel to it. ‘Under the Earth’ according to Karen is to have a reggae type of feel which can be heard in the bass line and in the percussion but her more subtle vocals and the intervening synths points to a more alt-art experience but the song in general is a little more steady and less over-confident as the small choir like vocal section to the end the song demonstrates in contrast to the rousing gospel choir finale of ‘Sacrilege’. ‘These Paths’ is a synth and keyboard driven song with the same light electronic percussion sample in the background with a bit of tambourine to accompany it. This is very much a vocal driven ending towards the songs close with Karen feeling free to explore her vocal range without the confines of the rythm sections or bass lines. The electronic and stuttered, manipulated vocal to finish the song indicates it being one of the most polished on Mosquito. Songs like ‘Area 52’ are pretty much the band having fun with what they could get their hands on and the musical elements just seem to mimic the vocals or vice versa which a little boring in that sense but their is still plenty going on in the song. But perhaps too much with no direction. The last few songs of the album such as ‘Always’ seem to drop a few of those rough edges for the alt-pop and electo theme but it seems to have been done as an after thought at times and in this case they would have been better off trying the song in the styles they had tried in the earlier parts of Mosquito. So a mixed bag that starts well and progresses well but ends on a slight flat note. It’s a slight let down to close on but if you’re a die hard fan of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s then Mosquito will provide a sufficient fix for you.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito = 7/10

Images from ( http://www.nme.com/ / www.guardian.co.uk )