Saturday 22nd Nov // Strawberry Fields (location TBA)
Tuesday 30th Dec // Beyond The Valley, Phillip Island, VIC
Thursday 1st Jan 2015 // Lost Paradise, Glenworth Valley, NSW
Label: Test Card Recordings
Subculture Media ‘Inform Educate Entertain’ – Public Service Broadcasting Review:
There are some music lovers out there that would be quick to dismiss English act Public Service Broadcasting’s latest album “Inform Educate Entertain” as a flash-in-the-pan gimmick. But the people that would say that are the same kind of people that like to enter into the art vs art installation argument. Art is art and music is music and if you dig a little deeper the concept behind “Inform Educate Entertain” is a gutsy one with merit.
Public Service Broadcasting is made up J. Willgoose Esq. (who pretty much plays every instrument under the sun on the album) and Wrigglesworth who brings the drums and some haunting saxophone playing to the table. Also playing a key role in the sound of this album are the voices of various public service films (read into that propaganda films) that have been made over the years.
The idea behind “Inform Educate Entertain” is to point out that often videos disguised as public announcements or safety messages are in fact a way to try and control the public. Whether or not Public Service Broadcasting get that message across to their listeners is debatable but this is still an album that can be enjoyed by those who enjoy a good electronic or experimental album.
The only main weakness of this album is that some tracks just seem to glide by and become background noise but they are largely outnumbered by the amount of tracks that actually stand out. Late Night Final is smooth jazz at its best while for the most part tracks like Inform Educate Entertain, Everest, The Now Generation and Spitfire show that Public Service Broadcasting are one of the best groups going around at capturing that mix of electronic and rock.
Other tracks that certainly make a splash are the 80s pop sounding Theme From PSB (that also uses banjos to good effect), the rockier Signal 30 which incorporates some voiceover from road safety videos remarkably well and the smooth Lit Up which constantly reminds the listener that this is in fact ‘all just fairyland.’
The naysayers are pointing out that Public Service Broadcasting might find it hard to have a future after this but stay in the now people, what they have delivered here is a great sounding electronic album that has a memorable concept. I also hear that they do a pretty awesome live show so check them out if you can.
2. It’s Not Over
4. One Piece
5. Stop The Fire
6. We Have Love
Subculture Media Review:
For a long time Australian pop music has been something that the locals have been a little embarrassed about. Sure we have winners of shows like ‘X Factor’ and ‘Australian Idol’ but normally their first album does well and then they simply disappear into obscurity… well come in who knows what branch of McDonalds Casey Donovan and Kate DeAraugo are working the Drive Thru at now?
But if you are an Aussie pop lover then it is really time to rejoice, because along comes a group called Panama. These guys released the sensational ‘Magic’ last year and now they are back with an EP titled ‘It’s Not Over’ which is a great little release.
The opening track, ‘Heartbeat’ reveals a really different sound to what you would normally expect from an Aussie pop outfit… there is no hint of cheese (that’s saved for Casey’s cheeseburger) to be heard and instead it is obvious that Panama brilliantly fuse a the sound of pop, electronic and house music together extremely well.
Fans of Underworld and Joy Division (if you want to feel a little older) will lap up title track, ‘It’s Not Over’ with its great vocals care of Jarrah McCleary and a catchiness that makes very infectious. The groovy sounds continue with the track we all heard last year, ‘Magic’, which of course if you haven’t heard is very disco sounding.
‘One Piece’ delivers a very smooth electronic sound with some high notes that the Bee Gees would have proud to have called their own while the catchiness returns with ‘Stop The Fire’. The EP then closes out with ‘We Have Love’, another piece of pop magic.
‘It’s Not Over’ reveals that Panama are elite amongst pop groups just in Australia but around the world. Make sure you grab a copy of ‘It’s Not Over’ because it’s a must have at any party this summer.
1. Outside Inside
2. Going Through Hell (feat Robert Harvey from The Music)
3. Roof Of You Car
4. Puzzled By People
5. Without Thinking (feat Sharlene Hector)
6. Blip On A Screen
7. Those You Don’t Know
8. Soldiers (feat Robert Harvey from The Music)
9. We Can Never Be Friends (feat Robert Harvey from The Music)
11. OMG (feat Laura Vane)
12. Trying To Kill M.E. (feat Laura Vane)
13. Trust me
14. Lock The Locks (feat Clare Maguire)
Subculture Media Reviews:
(originally published on Suite 101)
Well they always say if you are going to finish up then go out with a bang. That is something that British rap project The Streets have taken to heart. Those that find Mike Skinner’s unique voice similar to fingernails on a chalkboard will be overjoyed at the news that Computers And Blues is The Streets’ final album. Others will be shattered but they can rest easy in the knowledge that this album is clearly the finest that The Streets have ever produced. It is truly amazing.
“Outside Inside” shows listeners exactly what they can expect to hear on Computers And Blues. It is computerized within an inch of its life, but its great electronic sound is a great intro into “Going Through Hell” (which features Robert Harvey (from The Music… not the St Kilda football legend)). This radio single is a stunning track that makes you realise just how good The Streets can sound when they are in full flight.
The great songs just keep coming on Computers And Blues with “Roof Of The Car” revealing itself to be a great ‘date’ track while the catchy melody of “Puzzled By People” means you’ll be singing along to it in no time. “Without Thinking” follows suite and seems to be inspired by the Boogie Pimps… the track is made even better by some catchy vocals by Sharlene Hector.
Skinner gets emotional with “Blip On The Screen” a song that all the caring Dad’s out there will easily to relate to (and by the way how great is Skinner’s emotional song-writing on this track?) while “Those That Don’t Know” is a short piece of honey.
Then comes the absolute masterpiece, “Soldiers”… a track so good it can only be described as one of the songs of the year… not surprisingly Harvey played a hand in it, as he also does for the extremely poetic “We Can Never Be Friends”… another heartfelt classic.
Some obvious album filler, “ABC” puts a slight halt to the album but everything moves back into gear when Laura Vine steps up to the mic with “OMG”… which is a heap better than Usher’s lame effort with the same name. Vince then sticks around for “Trying To Kill Me” a track that would have also been perfect for Lily Allen. Skinner once again shows his talent as an emotional songwriter with “Trust Me” while he teams up with Claire Maguire for “Lock The Locks” which ironically is a song about Skinner handing in his notice… some great planning sees this close the album.
And there it is The Streets close their career with Computers And Blues… an album so great that it seems a shame that it is the end for a duo that have truly changed the face of the British rap scene.
Subculture Media Review #2:
originally published in Buzz Magazine
There is no middle ground with The Streets. People either absolutely love Mike Skinner’s unique vocals or they compare them to nails on a blackboard. For the lovers of The Streets however, Computers And Blues sees the end of an era. Skinner has made it quite clear that this will be the last Streets album… and after taking a listen you certainly have to admit that they go out with a bang. Computers And Blues is easily the best album from their discography.
Opening track “Outside Inside” shows where the Computer part of the album’s title comes from as it reveals early on that this is an album with a heavy computerized electronic basis. It then gives way to the first single from Computers And Blues, the brilliant “Going Through Hell” which also features the work of The Music’s Robert Harvey. This is a brilliant track that needs to be remembered when they are handing out Songs Of The Year gongs.
“Roof Of The Car” sees The Streets produce another truly memorable chorus while creating a great ‘first date’ track while the melody of “Puzzled By People” means it will be rolling around in your head for ages after you’ve listened to it. The same could be said for “Without Thinking” which consists of a Boogie Pimps style of sound and is made catchy by Sharlene Hector’s terrific vocals.
“Blip On The Screen” is guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye of any new Dad’s listening, but it’s thought-provoking mellowness quickly gives way to the short-and-sweet “Those That Don’t Know”.
Robert Harvey returns for one of the best Streets’ songs of all time, the terrific “Soldiers”… a track that you will want to keep listening to over and over. Harvey also sticks around for “We Can Never Be Friends”… yet another great track that has lyrics so smooth that sound like poetry.
Laura Vine introduces a terrific R&B style to both “OMG” and “Trying To Kill Me” (the latter also sounding like a song Lily Allen would have loved to get her hands on). “Trust Me” sees Mike Skinner return to some heartfelt vocals and then the album closes with “Lock The Locks” (feat Claire Maguire) that is ironically a track about Skinner handing in his notice.
And so it seems that is it for The Streets and while Mike Skinner has been promising a new project really soon it is hard to imagine that he will release anything that is good as Computers And Blues. This has to be one of the albums of the year.