It's not often that My Dad Rocks gets invited anywhere nice (and still less frequently that we get invited back. Ed.) but after a very pleasant day at nearby Sturmer Hall we though we ought to give it a shout-out.
Situated in Haverhill, close to Cambridge, the historic venue of Sturmer Hall offers a unique setting for events, blending tradition with a distinctly contemporary edge.
November 4th. Put that date in your diary because it's the day the debut album from Toronto-based electro-pop act Gold & Youth drops in the UK and it's a record you are going to want to own, trust me. A moody, melodic collection of tracks Beyond Wilderness treads a similar path to that walked by the best albums from the likes of the Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode but is absolutely contemporary in both its sound and shape. It's one of the best albums I've heard this year.
Google's high-end Chromebook Pixel raised a few eyebrows when it hit the shelves earlier in the year. Despite being a beautiful device with a crystal clear HD IPS display many, including me, questioned whether a machine running Google's internet-reliant Chrome OS could justify a hefty £1,000 price tag. Luckily for the less well off we now have HP's Chromebook 11, a machine "inspired" by the Pixel's design. It's a device I was immediately drawn to for its clean and stylish looks, which are particularly attractive considering it costs just £229.
What albums do Enya and Virginia Astley fans listen to these days? I've no idea. But what they should be listening to, as should anyone else with even a modicum of interest in modern music is Julianna Barwick. The title of Barwick’s previous album The Magic Place, referred to a tree on the Louisiana farm where she grew up. It was her place of escape, of refuge and the album it to some extent inspired was that, too: a collection offering temporary release from the real world. That is still Barwick's calling card, an ethereal, almost choral sound that is truly, truly beautiful.
What do you get if you cross Daft Punk and Alex Clare with the vocal stylings of Jamiroquai and Maroon 5? No, that's not the opening line of a bad joke, the answer is the new single from futuristic funksters Fudge & the Frequency. Their debut single Planet Radio is a funk track with an electro lilt that can’t fail to get your toes tapping and your head nodding.
While we could argue all day long if talking to your plants makes any difference, there's no argument surrounding the fact that plants need water. Forget to give them a drink for a few days and just watch how quickly those lush green leaves turn brown. So if you're prone to ignoring the potted inhabitants of your house Waterbot is a free app that can help you give them the care and attention they need.
Following our Blast from the Past review of her debut album Parlour Game My Dad Rocks is proud to bring you an exclusive interview with Eleanore of Eleanore and the Lost...
MDR: Your music has a wide range of influences (Jeff Buckey, Fleetwood Mac, Bjork, Kate Bush, Evanescence) – how do you go about bringing those together?
Eleanore: I have always naturally written in various genres, probably because I listen to so many, so the challenge is to bring my songs together and make them feel cohesive. I don’t like being confined to one genre of music and feel that my album reflects this. I think, however, that as time has gone on and I've developed as an artist, there is now a particular Eleanore & the Lost sound which runs throughout my songs, even when they cover a variety of styles or influences and this is something that now happens naturally.
Ground Pilots debut single, the double A-sided A Billion Things and Castaway will hit the streets on October 28th. That's a date for your diary and here's why. Having supported the likes of The Happy Mondays, Doves, Alabama 3 and Frank Turner Ground Pilots plan to release their the debut album ( called In The Way of the Oceans) in December and these very impressive singles are its first harbinger.
Here at My Dad Rocks we don't often review other online publication but since we don't cover fashion we though't we'd give a quick shout-out to MIST, a new publication that does, as well as running articles on science and technology. The first issue came out last September month. With its clean design MIST has already been billed as the Apple of digital publishing (we are assuming that is meant as a really good thing) and is aimed at the younger, design and fashion conscious generations living in today’s connected world.
The Sonos Play:1 is the new baby brother in Sonos's line-up of wireless speakers. It's the cheapest Sonos speaker ever and by some margin selling for £169 (and it comes with a with a free Sonos Bridge if you're quick enough - the offer runs until the end of 2013). The Sonos Play:1 is designed to be a gateway into the Sonos universe of wireless multi-room audio. To that end Sonos has made it small, cute, not too alarmingly expensive and stuffed it so full of clever audio technology that it sounds nothing short of fantastic for something so small.
It’s been the best part of five years since their last studio effort Backspacer was released but Pearl Jam's 10th studio cut, pertinently named Lightning Bolt, doesn't just express the band’s creative depth, it also expands it. Kicking off with the thunderous Getaway and Mind Your Manners Lightning Bolt is from the get-go a hugely impressive return to form for a band who over the years have been capable of greatness and unevenness in equal measure. So good is this album that easily half the tracks would sound right at home on the band’s outstanding debut, Ten, released way back in 1991
Here at My Dad Rocks we often get press releases telling up that this band or that is back in the studio working on a new album. British symphonic rock outfit Eleanore and the Lost are currently recording their second album with the working title The Gift for release next year so we thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to say a few words about the band's sadly overlooked 2009 debut cut, Parlour Game.
The Beta Band’s extraordinary run of EPs and albums established them as one of the most inventive bands of the late-1990s. Alas, they were also plagued with money troubles and a quite remarkable run of bad luck until their dissolution in 2004. For anyone who's knowledge of this criminally underrated band extends little beyond the song played by John Cusack in the 2000 film adaptation of Nick Hornby's novel High Fidelity this new box set may be just what the doctor ordered.
Female-fronted electronic blues duo Vienna Ditto will be releasing their new EP, Ugly on Monday 14th October on Ubiquity Project Records as a free download. The 3-track EP blends their country blues and gospel influences with primitive ‘voodoo electronics’ and clattering junk percussion (instruments used include a 57 foot narrowboat), bringing Juke House to the Juke Joint.
Is Prefab Sprout's Steve McQueen the best pop album in the world? Trick question, of course it is. Crimson / Red, the first album of previously unheard Sprout material to be released since Andromeda Heights way back in 1997 (2009's Let's Change the World With Music was recorded in 1992) isn't quite in the same league but it is still a corker of an album.
A native of Switzerland who grew up in India and then went on to graduate from the London School of Economics with a law degree Serena Kern doesn't really have your typical background for a pop star but judging by the music on her debut EP her unconventional career to date shouldn't get in the way of chart success. Let's cut to the chase, there is some very high quality music on this release.
There aren't many albums that seamlessly blend rock, classical music, Kate Bush and Tori Amos-style vocals and a singer-songwriter mentality but the debut album A History of Things to Come by Australian songwriter and pianist Amanda Bloom does just that. Eclectic, diverse and highly individual this is one of the most rewarding musical discoveries I've made so far this year and in many ways it is a quite remarkable body of work.
Sony's previous flagship, the Xperia Z has had a surprisingly short spell as top dog because now we have the Xperia Z1 which addresses all the Z's failings. What makes the Z1 as good as it gets in Sony's (or anyone else's for that matter) smartphone universe is a more powerful quad-core processor, much improved 1080p screen, 20-megapixel camera and a waterproof glass and aluminium body that doesn't require you to faff about with a plug in the 3.5mm audio jack. Could this be the best smartphone in the world?
Let's cut to the chase, in this writer's opinion Blue Jasmine is one of Woody Allen’s darkest and best films yet. A post financial meltdown morality tale set in San Francisco, it tells the story of two adopted sisters – the exquisitely beautiful and vacuous Jasmine, (nee Jeanette), played to perfection by Cate Blanchett and good-hearted, working-class Ginger, charmingly acted by Sally Hawkins.
Ryan Keen's name may not be familiar to many people reading this but the hard-grafting folk troubadour has certainly paid his dues. In the build up the release of his debut album Keen has toured extensively and has played on the same bill as the likes of Newton Faulkner, Leona Lewis and Ed Sheeran. Despite these high-profile stage-sharers Keen has still managed to build a solid fan base for his brand of delicate, introspective story-telling and well thought-out acoustic numbers.