Toronto – I’ve been listening to the Florence and the Machines‘s debut album Lungs for awhile now, and it’s quite good. In case you don’t know, Florence and the Machines consists of Florence Welsh and some backing musicians, they sing what I guess is just rock music. Theres nothing dancey about most of these tunes, which is quite a deviation from the rest of the female fronted outfits coming out of England lately. “Lungs” was released on July 6th, 2009 and I guess did extremely well in sales, charting at #2 behind Michael Jackson. It also happens to be nominated for a Mercury Prize.
The album is quite radio friendly and is chalked with singles material songs, including 5 singles already out including “Kiss with a Fist”, “Dog Days are Over”, “Rabbit Heart (Raise it UP)” and the most recent one “Drumming Song”. You can see the latest video by going to myspace. I like this album because, well, it’s extremely catchy and Florence has a nice voice. It’s got some bluesy soul kinda flavor to it maybe PJ Harveyish even. The songs more or less follow a traditional rock format, although there are some mystic-ky Bat For Lashes drumbeats in some of the tunes. Either way, the album flows nicely over the 50 or so minutes and there is little in the way of filler.
Overall, a very stellar debut album and Florence and the Machine continues the what I guess can be described as the year of the British ladies in music.
It’s been a couple of days now since Hillside. We’ve dried off, had some time to reflect, think about what we saw, and come to some conclusions. Here are the acts we enjoyed most (or least) in a number of categories we just made up.
Best Rock ‘n’ Roll Singing Face: The lead singer of Attack in Black.
Just look at that scowl! Top notch. Attack in Black were pretty good. They quite clearly listened to an unhealthy amount of grunge music at a young age, but have a pretty bright future ahead of them if they can catch a few breaks. Read more
Toronto – One of the biggest benefits of being in a band is shooting videos in exotic locations. If I were in a band, I would demand all my videos be shot in exotic rain forests, volcanoes, mangroves and all places funky. It seems like Friendly Fires has taken this approached, as “Kiss of Life”, the new single from their upcoming sophomore effort was shot in some place nice and warm. It’s quite a good tune, featuring some central or southern American vibes and a breathy chorus thats just dying for an Aeroplanes remix. Of course, the video also features lead singer Ed MacFarlane gyrating in high def for the ladies. All in all, this is a good start if the rest of the album is like this.
A full Hillside Music Festival recap is forthcoming, but since Day 2 got a quick recap with highlights from the festival and from my on-site Tweeting, I thought I’d give Day 3 the same treatment.
Day 3 at Hillside was most notably marked by rain. A lot of it. A whole ton of rain and thunderstorms that threw the scheduling completely out of whack for a while, caused huge puddles at the mainstage, and caused several people to feel a mild electric shock from a lightning strike that was just a little ways away and made the ground shake from where we were sitting. One guy got good video of it, along with some people playing in the mud and rain. If you haven’t seen this video, the lightning strike is at 0:35, take a look.
That view is from just off the main stage, you can see the tents that were in the background to the right of the stage in the picture I took above. We were actually hiding over near the spoken word stage when that happened, sharing my big green umbrella with some dude named Daniel. He seemed like a nice enough guy. We did get soaked, but I mostly got soaked because I went to go to the bathroom just before the hard rain hit, and I stepped out just as it started really coming down. True story, let no one ever say I’ve never used a portapotty in a thunderstorm. I even started to wash my hands in the portable outdoor sink before realizing the absurdity of it. Hey, washing my hands after going to the bathroom’s always been automatic for me, what can I say…
Anyway, our pre-thunderstorm highlight was definitely Dancehall Free For All, a fun six-piece from Guelph who managed to rival Ohbijou for the most adorable act of the festival, despite being much louder with occasional screaming vocals. I also caught the last part of Los Misioneros del Norte, who (and I swear this is true) had people doing an impromptu hoedown in front of the stage during their set. Post-thunderstorm, the biggest surprise was maybe David Francey, who played immediately after the storm on the main stage and proved to be the perfectly mellow, charming folk artist to calm the nerves after getting soaked. Later on, the Great Lake Swimmers put on a very tight set and generally making this whole ‘indie rock’ thing look easy. Patrick Watson…well, I like Patrick Watson and his band a lot, and I hate to say bad things about him, but Patrick and most (if not all) of his band were somewhat intoxicated. Patrick was giggling incessantly, which was kind of fun and kind of disconcerting at the same time. We stayed for the beginning of Final Fantasy but left after a couple of songs once the rain picked up again. We were lucky to be in the VIP parking area near the grounds, because reportedly the main parking area was a complete swamp. Someone else took a great video of Final Fantasy playing in the rain; we left just as he was starting this song, and I really don’t know if he even got back on the stage, or if the Skydiggers, who were supposed to play after him, ever got going.
Once again, some select highlights from my tweets from the grounds:
If a rock band can be labelled as adorable, thats dancehall free for all all over. Fun sound1:31 PM Jul 26thfrom mobile web
Los misionares are now covering ‘la bamba’. Impromptu hoedown in front of main stage, too funny #hillside1:37 PM Jul 26thfrom mobile web
Well that was fun. Huge dump of rain, lightning. Everything stopped for a bit and everyones soaked. Programming now restarting #hillside3:14 PM Jul 26thfrom mobile web
Best line of #hillside by david francey on seeing a man who looked like jesus: ‘holy jesus, it’s jesus’ (say it with scottish accent)3:58 PM Jul 26thfrom mobile web
Save us from this gaggle of idiot 20 year old girls who won’t shut up during great lakes swimmers #hillside7:33 PM Jul 26thfrom mobile web
Strong suspicion that patrick watson was not exactly sober during his set. He was giggling and slightly glazed. Funny tho #hillside8:52 PM Jul 26thfrom mobile web
Final fantasy is cool but the sky is angry again. Positioning ourselves for a dash to the car #hillside9:17 PM Jul 26thfrom mobile web