I haven’t reviewed an album in what must be knocking on two years. This tragic hiatus from the world of amateur music journalism can largely be attributed to the fact that I haven’t even bought a CD in half of that time. Jack White Blunderbuss may well have been my last purchase to date. Jesus!

Rather, these days my bank balance at ATMs tends to read “don’t make plans you’re broke” a la Hard Fi – Cash Machine. In spite of my economic woes, I cobbled together enough disposable income at the end of last month to live for the weekend and make a long-awaited addition to my record collection. On recommendation from my brother I went for Franz Ferdinand’s fourth installment entitled Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action (RTRWRA).

Right all round - Franz Ferdinand's third album.

Right all round – Franz Ferdinand’s third album.

Ok, first things first, I acknowledge that my review has arrived a little late – RTRWRA was released in August 2013. Nevertheless, this record has gone so far to rekindling my love for scratchy guitar music that I believe it merits a mention on this space!

On first impressions, I agree whole-heartedly with Tonedeth in that this isn’t a record that will blow you away. This is a record to blow your whole bloody house and all its content away! No, that is an exaggeration too far – in all honesty RTRWRA is a typical Franz Ferdinand album; nothing more, nothing less.

Contra to the way the old saying goes, Alex Kapranos et al. keep managing to reinvent the wheel… but rather well at that. The Franz wheel is now an embellished one; featuring sublime traction courtesy of their second album You Could Have It So Much Better and sparkling alloys afforded by their stonking third record Tonight.

All in all, RTRWRA is a classic 10-song serving of indie rock – a brand of music which any reader of Riot on the Radio will know I am more of a sucker to than a baby is a dummy. ‘Music for the dance floor’ or ‘for a night of hedonism’ as Free Girl in Paris so elegantly yet accurately puts it. Never is there a dull moment, from the fruity twangs of Fresh Strawberries to the incessantly probing Bullet. Textbook ‘This Fire’-esque opening riffs are omnipresent in tunes such as Treason! Animals in contrast to the gorgeous slow-burner that is The Universe Expanded. As A. D. Elliott states over at ‘The Remarkables’ – every song is worthy of a repeat.

The Glaswegian quartet always had a little too much style and originality to survive the post-2008 cull of indie bands. Whereas The Horrors tweaked their sound and acts like The Vaccines arose to target the teenage fanbase; Franz have just stuck to the same formula. And why not? After all, this is a tried and tested formula that ‘took out’ the nation in 2004!

As if I haven’t sung their praises enough already, FF are signed to Domino Records, the label responsible for (amongst others) Arctic Monkeys, Hot Chip, Villagers and Animal Collective. What’s more, lead singer Kapranos produced the third album, Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever, for another favourite outfit of mine, The Cribs. And to wrap it all off, I’m reliably informed by Wikipedia that the Franz frontman spends his time outside of recording/touring in a carpentry workshop crafting ‘abstract furniture’. Hence, on the basis of this triple whammy, I wish to boldy proclaim Alex Kapranos as a ‘treasure’ – a status that I recently assigned to Alex Turner.

Apparently, and unsurprisingly, RTRWRA is equally good live. Me for one, I can’t wait to sample it. Right on!

A belated return to the world of blog posting here at Riot on the Radio is sparked by the much-discussed acceptance speech made by Alex Turner at last week’s Brits ceremony for British Album of the Year.

With accusations flying round of Turner being “pretentious” and a “pompous tool” I would like take this opportunity to defend the enigmatic Arctic Monkeys‘ frontman.

First and foremost, Alex Turner hails from High Green, Sheffield. Since when has anyone from Yorkshire ever been accused of being pretentious? Belligerent, stubborn and opinionated maybe but pretentious… Lest we forget this is a breed of human that refers to what a southern softy may label a “roll” as a “breadcake”, the second syllable of which is drawn out longer than a five-day match of test cricket.

Secondly, so what if Turner didn’t conform to stereotype and deliver the inevitably dull, automated thank you message that characterised most of the night’s winning acts. Was it not refreshing to hear an unrehearsed lyric-worthy reel hailing the resilience of rock music? More to the point, Turner comically alluded to what most will interpret as any non-rock ‘n’ roll genre as “sludge”. For that he deserves a slap on the back not round the face! Let’s face it – those most critical of Turner are most likely to be the sort who listen/acclaim to the kind of Black Treacle tosh that typifies 21st century chart music. 

Thirdly and finally, so maybe he did go on about 20 seconds too long but Turner isn’t a stand-up comedian with a born sense of timing. Such a mishap is inevitable for an off-the-cuff speech. Leeway has to be granted to the boy, whom with humour and humility, famously accepted the 2006 Mercury Prize with the opening line, “Someone call 999, Richard Hawley’s been robbed!”

No. Alex Turner deserves praise not persecution. In Turner’s embodiment we have arguably this generation’s only true musical genius. With David Bowie collecting the Best Male Solo on the night, I would expect nothing less than Turner to one day go on to receive the lifetime achievement award; following in the footsteps of Weller and co.

Rock ‘n’ roll is in rude health ladies and gentleman with Alex Turner at the helm. As Alex points out, Britain’s best-loved genre is once again primed to “smash through the glass ceiling looking better than ever. Yeah that rock ‘n’ roll. It seems like it’s fading away sometimes but it will never die.”

Amen.

Screaming Maldini is one hell of a name. Having mooched unwittingly in on their hedonistic 2010 Tramlines set at the Frog and Parrot, I’ve had big expectations for this particular band. Despite this they had fallen off my radar somewhat until their self-titled debut arrived this February, providing a timely punctuation to the monotonous mainstream tosh that continues to excrete itself in my ears.

The multi-instrumental Sheffield sextet have a bustling Harley crowd in full voice on Saturday, who are gathered to celebrate the album launch. The video for Summer Somewhere [below] combines a spine-tinglingly beautiful anthem in the picturesque backdrop of the Peak DistrictGina Walters delivers the powerful Adele-like vocals in her charming Adele-like body form. 

 

“Everyone has to have a favourite scientist” Nick Fox, Maldini’s co-lead vocalist, tells the Harley crowd. “Ours is Carl Sagan”. Mine is Charles Darwin Nick, and your band are a fitting example of indie’s descent with modification in recent years.

Mixing vocal harmonies and with flits of trumpet, Maldini boast a style of indie pop perhaps matched only by Los Campesinos! Decide for yourself.

Also listen to Life in Glorious Stereo and their self-titled debut here on Bandcamp:

Read Screaming Maldini’s feature on The Guardian’s Northerner Blog here.

Tickets to catch The Killers at some point on their November arena tour of the UK have gone on sale this morning. Word has it that websites were typically jammed soon after 9AM this morning, (the time of their release). The American act fronted by Moorman Brandon Flowers have already announced a second show at Birmingham’s LG arena, to satisfy the unlucky ones.

Mitt Romney, also a publically confirmed Mormon, recently voiced his liking of The Killers. When quizzed about this, bassist Mark Stoermer gave the deadpan response, “he’s, I guess, a guy and he listens to music and happens to like us, that’s fine”. Genius! He was also wise to steer clear of political persuasion, in fact denying any at all. “We’re not really a political band. And we don’t necessarily have all the same views, but none of us are very politically active anyway”.

Killers’ new album Battle Born is released on September 15th. Will it be a fourth straight UK number 1 record for the Nevada band, Flowers’ fifth? Almost certainly. Battle Born is a return following a four year drought for fans. During this time Killers took an 18 month hiatus and Flowers unleashed Flamingo, his solo debut, on the world. Below is Battle Born’s first single Runaways. Pulsing with their familiar throb, the chorus wallops you round the chops with the force of double-decker bus. “Blonde hair blowing in the summer wind, a blue-eyed girl playing in the sand” cooes Flower in a Morrissey-esque opening line.

 

Speaking to the NME about Battle Born, the Olympics & other topics, Killers had this to say:

Flowers: “we’re taking what we’ve acquired from playing all these shows on the road, that experience and that fire… and we’ve applied it to song-writing, I don’t think we’ve ever done that. You never know what you’re gonna get when you get in the [studio] room, we spent more time in the room on this one than we spent on any other one, hopefully it doesn’t sound like it!”

Stoermer: “so far on every record we’ve always gone and tried to make a big sound… I guess we hope to mature”

(On recording) Dave Koening: “it’s got more guitars but not necessarily on every song, it’s a lot more diverse, it’s got some rock songs, some ballads. everyday was different depending on what we were doing, if it was a day of singing I would probably watch basketball”

So, in short, there’s a lot to look forward to. Including the unnamed support acts accompanying them on the arena tour. Hopefully this winter will also bring another killer Christmas tune to add to their stocking. Last year’s Cowboy’s Christmas Ball sure was a festive treat.

Are you human or are you dancer? Me for one, I’m dancer.

Another year of the Reading & Leeds festival has passed and it’s another year I’m glad I watched from the comfort of my settee. Any twang of envy felt observing the human pyramids is dismissed with the unwelcome memory of wading in human effluent and resorting to rip-off greasy burgers. Now, let’s talk music: who were the Festival Republic stars of 2012 and who deserves to be detained in the Lock Up, key thrown away?

Endeavouring to steer clear of endorsing the same bands, I must nevertheless give nods to Florence and the Machine & The Black Keys. Flo’ flourished in her main stage slot, prancing about the floor as balletic as ever, the day two deluge failing to dampen her spirits. The rabbit-hearted, ex-art school Welch also entertained when giving her security guard the slip.

Meanwhile, Black Keys’ showcased their 7th sleeve El Camino (“the way”) which has helped pave “their route” to mainstream success. Dan Auerbach ground out the bluesy guitars whilst Patrick Carney pounded the percussions like they were bin lids. Such has been the Keys’ parachuting to stardom, teenage girls were spotted wearing self-decorated t-shirts sporting the messages “I’m Howlin’ for You Dan” and “Dan, I’ll be your Next Girl!” The opening two numbers did not disappoint.

As for the headliners? The Cure were a bore – Robert Smith‘s pallid appearance threatening to actually make boys cry…  Kasabian were also something of a mixed bag. Fire caught on but for the most part Meighan and co looked subdued. Fortunate then that Foo Fighters‘ three hour closing stint was a true lesson in rock & roll brilliance.

Lowlight of the week, perhaps, came from the lips of Fearne ‘amazing’ Cotton when she hailed The Hives set in the NME Tent as “so live”. Sometimes it is just better to say nothing. Quite how “so live” distinguishes The Hives from the 200-or-so other, very much live acts performing over the weekend is a mystery! Maybe miming is secretly more widespread at festivals than we are led to believe… The freeze-frame with which The Hives finished mirrored the astonishment on my chops whenJubilee sickbagCotton dropped this latest cherry.