Thursday, 29 September 2011

Blitzen Trapper - Love The Way You Walk Away (Video)

You may already have seen Love The Way You Walk Away mentioned on Popsiculture - we previewed it back in mid-August with a SoundCloud stream, but with the single now on general release, you can take a look at the video below.

Love The Way You Walk Away is from Blitzen Trapper's new album American Goldwing, also released earlier this month and reviewed by us here.

We made Love The Way You Walk Away one of our high points for the album - and gave American Goldwing an impressive 90% - so it's definitely worth hitting the 'play' button if you haven't already.

You're in for a treat with the kind of pure-American music you might expect to hear at the movies - and if you want more, click the iTunes button below to head over to the album's iTunes page - complete with bonus tracks.

American Goldwing (Bonus Track Version) - Blitzen Trapper

Monday, 26 September 2011

Waters - Out in the Light

Ramp up the energy levels with For The One, the rocktastic opening track to Waters' new album Out in the Light, released last week.

It's not all noise and bass - Out in the Light takes the listener on a journey from the more mass-market single-release candidates at its beginning, to the truly unique, mellow and introspective tracks that follow.

While there is no lack of energy at any point, and nothing feels like filler, this album is an unfolding work, like a photograph that comes into sharper focus the longer you look at it.

Spend a bit of time in the company of Waters and choose your own favourite tracks - you'll be humming them to yourself for days to come, I suspect.

Out In the Light (Bonus Track Version) - WATERS

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, out November 11th

Currently in development by Bethesda Softworks, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim promises to plunge the player into a breathtaking fantasy world populated with armed enemies and fire-breathing dragons.

Granted, these games always promise lavish graphics and elegant gameplay, but Skyrim really looks to be raising the bar and is earning its fans well ahead of its scheduled November 11th release date.

Moments of genius from the design team at Bethesda include the ability to look to the sky and see your character's abilities plotted out as stars in constellations, the heavens literally reordered as your game progresses and you learn new skills.

It's also nice to see two-handedness as a feature, with some spells able to be enhanced by equipping them to both hands of your character and firing both controller triggers together.

As the video above explains, the distant scenery is not just a background image - you can walk to it and, in the case of mountains, climb them.

This makes for seamless gameplay and is given a further boost by close-up details such as drifting snow at high altitudes, not to mention the in-game map - reached simply by zooming out until you can see the entire Skyrim world.

Bethesda's second preview clip shows more of the gameplay of Skyrim, and while it looks pretty impressive, I'm not fully convinced as yet.

A lot of the time it appears as though the character is on a fairly restricted path - a trail down a mountainside in the first clip, passageways through dungeons in the second. I'd like to see a less linear approach, both in terms of movement and story progression.

However, it's good to see some traditional elements in place - the combination of weapon-based combat and spell-casting, treasure chests that line the dungeon routes, and logic puzzles to solve in order to progress.

These are only sneak previews, but I suspect the highly detailed graphics of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim could overshadow the game itself. Come November 11th, we'll all be able to tell for sure.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Blitzen Trapper - American Goldwing

I'm a man of my word, so today I donned my trusty Peter Grimm Drifter hat to get into the cowboy spirit ahead of reviewing American Goldwing, the new album from Blitzen Trapper, due out on September 19th.

Viewers of The X Factor this weekend will have seen Louis Walsh bemoaning the lack of a good country singer in the UK - and the fact that the preceding performance was more like Cher Lloyd singing Dolly Parton than back-to-roots bluegrass might have something to do with that fact.

With American Goldwing, however, you have authentic banjo-and-harmonica music the way only an American group can do it. The Portland five-piece named their album, as far as I can tell, after a model of Honda motorcycle - and this is very much road music that urges the listener to get out there and see the world.

American Goldwing (Bonus Track Version) - Blitzen Trapper

Monday, 5 September 2011

The X Factor Dramatic Music

Last year, we trawled through our CD collections, online forums and classical music archives to check exactly which tracks were used in The X Factor's dramatic background music. We know you care, because we see a steady stream of searches coming in from people hunting down their favourite track.

However, there are a few tunes that are used again and again on the show - so although this year's auditions are only just underway, we've put together a playlist of the usual suspects below.

Preview the tracks on iTunes if you're not sure which is which - did we cover all of them?

If we've missed your favourite piece of dramatic music from The X Factor, leave a comment below to tell us where you heard it on the show, and we'll do our best to reply with any we may have missed.

The Drums - Portamento

The Drums' Portamento adds to a growing amount of guitar-focused, ambient music making it to general release this year. It's been a genuinely great year of music - both the mainstream pop and the alternative and independent releases. With Portamento, The Drums have created a collection that brings that fact into soft-focus, a sentimental bundle of notes and vocals that brings to mind nights spent in a low-ceilinged bar where the lager's sold in cans, rather than pint glasses.

This is music for people who like to see it performed live - where the interaction with the band is as important as the thought that's gone into the lyrics or the originality of the composition. Luckily, the recorded versions retain enough of that interior echo to carry some of that seeing-it-live feeling over into digital form. It's not quite the same, admittedly, but it's a damn good effort.

Portamento (Deluxe Version) - The Drums