Review: Lost by Nine Muses

Lost by Nine MusesOn their second release as an eight piece – completely going against their name – Nine Muses’ Lost doesn’t seem, well, lost. Sure, their last mini-album, S/S Edition, was a bit jittery, but here there’s a sense that it’s all coalesced together, at least for the most part. Lost may have – and I’m judging from lyric translations, of course – themes of sadness and longing, but it masks that nicely: there’s some slinky, subdued production on single “Sleepless Night”, which, while completely different from their previous work, doesn’t feel too much like a drastic change. It’s refreshing, even. Allows all the bits to shine through while still managing to sound cohesive. This is, after all, the group’s first collaboration with producer Brave Brothers, who previously worked with T-ARA and Hello Venus (albeit that song of theirs I can’t stand). There’s bound to be some interesting things coming out, and thankfully, this isn’t a disappointment. [NB] | 3/5

Review: Saint Cecilia by Foo Fighters

Saint Cecilia by Foo FightersSaint Cecilia is a surprise (and free) EP from the Foo Fighters, with five songs recorded at a hotel of the same name in Austin. Due to the circumstances around its release – the mysterious countdown on their website ended in the aftermath of the attacks in Paris – the band dedicated the record to the victims. But don’t look at this through the prism of lots of meaning. The best part about Saint Cecilia is how straightforward it is compared to their last record, the ambitious (to a fault) Sonic Highways. The Foos are just having fun here; for the most part, there’s nothing that stretches on too long, with an energy that bounces off the wall. After the perfunctory first track, “Sean” and “Savior Breath” just lets loose reminding us that, if they choose to just let their hair down, the Foos can deliver. Not that they haven’t before – if anything, the Foos have always delivered; that’s their thing – but you don’t have to think too much sometimes. [NB]4/5

“Will you take me down to the here and now?”

“Underground” by Das Pop | Suddenly, a pretty upbeat song, one I heard from a long-sitting recording of Studio Brussel that I listened to on the commute home earlier this week. I know, the mood doesn’t quite reflect it, but it’s a good song, from a band I often read about (while trawling through radio websites – I know) but never really was aware of hearing. So. Das Pop. Belgian power pop band, started in 1994, quite established in Europe. This particular song is the first track from their self-titled 2009 album, and there’s some sort of defiance in the sound and the words. Or maybe I am reading too much into it. It is, after all, a love song. Everything is. [NB]

“We’ve been going back and forth, my love.”

“Tongue Tied” by Oktoba | The past few weeks have been so crazy on all fronts, this has been sitting on the backlog for a month, and I missed the release date by a month. But, perhaps knowing that all this will happen, it’s a no-frills, quiet, chill set of folk-pop tunes. Charlotte (again) sent this our way. Oktoba is a project from Chris Athorne, formerly of the Suffolk-based band This Boy Wonders; now he’s doing the sort of music that gently wakes you up to a chirpy, slightly sunny morning. He just released his debut album Smoke Signals – again, available in the usual places – and it’s a nice collection of tunes, pleasant and nothing challenging. Usually that’d sound like a slam, but that’s just what I need. Talk about timing. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)

“We broke some hearts, didn’t we, baby?”


“Going Away” by Sui Zhen | Still in a more sensitive than usual place, so… Sui Zhen. Becky Sui Zhen, to be exact. She’s Aussie. Melbourne, actually. Released two EPs and just put out a full-length, Secretly Susan. A lot of quite, brooding, tender electronica that suits a chest that warms up more often than usual, a mind that finally know what hyperventilation means, a heart that just wants to curl up in bed and do nothing. But it’s hard to say no when everybody forces you to say yes. [NB]