Dotty View: The Airborne Toxic Event – All At Once

Can you remember where you were and what you were doing when you first heard a band?

When I first heard Sometime Around Midnight by The Airborne Toxic Event (TATE), I was driving home from work, and felt exhausted and fed up. Fearne Cotton played it on her radio show, and, instantly exhilarated, I had to stay in the car until the song ended and could find out who this band was.

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For me, the entire eponymous debut album was equally as exciting, and so I had high hopes for their second release, All At Once.

The album begins with the title track. Starting slowly and rising to a crescendo, this is possibly what could be described as “typical” TATE – certainly a style comparable to Sometime Around Midnight. It pulls you in, makes you tap your feet and nod your head. A great start.

Numb begins in a similar fashion… initially disappointed by this (an album where all songs are the same would be pointless, no?), it quickly changes pace to incorporate a catchy guitar riff, and lyrics I think we can all identify with.

Next comes Changing, an extremely catchy tune – this is single material. It would be very popular with the masses, I think.

All For A Woman and It Doesn’t Mean A Thing are, for me, the two weakest songs on the album. Sadly not their best work, and, for me, the latter even verges on being irritating.

The next two songs work well together, and it is obvious that they have been placed in this order deliberately – The Kids Are Ready To Die leads directly into Welcome To Your Wedding Day. Both political statements, seemingly about subjects close to Jollett’s heart – war and Afghanistan, each song takes a step aside from the band’s usual style, which is refreshing and interesting.

Half Of Something Else is a song with an uplifting tune, lovely harmonies from Anna, and a drum beat from Daren that carries the whole thing through to its calming end.

If you’re a fan of The Cure, you will recognise what Jollett sings about in Strange Girl… “it was an old song, from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me that she sang”. A melodic vocal detracts from the somewhat dull music. This could have been a lot more interesting.

All I Ever Wanted could be described as anthemic, if only it was a little stronger. A little more punchy, and this would be a great song.

The album ends with The Graveyard Near The House, an acoustic track. It is a reflection on love and how it’s all worthwhile: “It’s better to love, whether you win or lose or die” is a beautiful sentiment. Backed up by a lovely melody incorporating strings and keyboards, this really works. A stunning end to the album.

All in all, I would recommend buying this album – you may just want to skip a couple of tracks after the first listen, and I wouldn’t blame you for that!

The Airborne Toxic Event are: Mikel Jollett (vocals & rhythm guitar), Steven Chen (lead guitar & keyboards), Anna Bulbrook (viola, keyboards & vocals), Daren Taylor (drums) & Noah Harmon (bass guitar).

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Dotty Mixtures: Music Is Therapy 29 March 2013

music therapy

Artist Song
Queen Don’t Stop Me Now
Therapy Screamager
Sugar Feeling Better
The White Stripes Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine
John Lee Hooker & Carlos Santana The Healer
Doctor & The Medics The Goats Are Trying To Kill Me
The Ramones Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment
Beatles Help
The Beach Boys Add Some Music To Your Day
Radiohead Pyramid Song
Feeder Comfort In Sound
The House Of Love Shine On
Jimmy Eat World The Middle
Eels P.S. You Rock My World
Ballboy I Lost You, But I Found Country Music
John Miles Music
Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush Don’t Give Up
Kinobe Slip Into Something More Comfortable
Phoenix 1901
Portishead Glory Box
Serafina Steer Disco Compilation
Edie Brickell Pill
Joss Stone Music
Beverley Knight Greatest Day
The Duritti Column Otis
Arthur Conley Sweet Soul Music
Johnny Nash I Can See Clearly Now
Doc Watson Sitting On Top Of The World
Nina Simone Balm In Gilead
Simon & Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water

SONG OF THE WEEK:

Dotty View: Jack White – Blunderbuss

Jack White – Blunderbuss

From the man whose first band, The Upholsterers, was named after his profession at the time; the genius behind The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, and The Dead Weather; the actor; the documentary participant (It Might Get Loud); the producer; the innovator behind Third Man Records… comes the exquisite Blunderbuss, the first solo album of a certain Jack White.

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We are treated to so much goodness within these thirteen songs. On first listen, I was expecting good things from this well established musician, and I was far from disappointed. Met expectations? Exceeded them, by a long distance.

The album kicks off with Missing Pieces, the beginning of which is so catchy you will be humming it all day long. The bluesy lilt, and Jack’s clever composition of words immediately suck you in – if you stop listening at this point, I’ll eat all my hats.

Sixteen Saltines is a noisy, intense, angry thing of a song – just what we expect from Jack at some point within any album with his influence.

Moving on quickly to Freedom At 21. When I first listened to this, it took me a while to get into it, I admit. For me, it’s possibly the weakest song on the album. Having said that, it nicely features Jack’s signature “scratchy guitar sound”, as I like to describe it!

Love Interruption. Ahh! Now, I’d already heard this song a lot of times before the album was released, so I knew I loved it already. Listening as part of an album is always a different experience, though… it fits perfectly before the title track. A cynical approach to love, clever lyrics that shock in places. This alone would have won the five stars for me!

The next three songs (Blunderbuss, Hypocritical Kiss, and Weep Themselves To Sleep) provide us with piano and strings in abundance… beautiful, quirky perfection.

It’s always good to hear Jack showcase his influences, and his version of I’m Shakin’ by Little Willie John (written by Rudy Toombs) is no exception to this. There’s an old quality to the song, even though he’s approached it in a typical Jack way, and the harmonies provided by Ruby Amanfu work perfectly.

Trash Tongue Talker is like being punched in the face with music. This is modern Blues at its very best! It’s my favourite song from the album. I won’t go on about it!

Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy is about Meg. I doubt anyone would try to dispute that. I can’t help wondering what she thinks about it, or if she’s even listened to the album!

Jack finishes with a trio of Blues masterpieces – I Guess I Should Go To Sleep (featuring the deep tones of Pokey LaFarge), On and On and On, and Take Me With You When You Go (my favourite part of which is the fiddle).

By the time you get to the end of this album, you will want to listen again – immediately. Do it.

Best Album Of 2012? I think so!

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Dotty Mixtures: Talking Songs 22 March 2013

talking

Artist Song
Tom Tom Club Wordy Rappinghood
Poison Talk Dirty To Me
Sultans Of Ping FC You Talk Too Much
Blondie Hanging On The Telephone
The Beatles She Said, She Said
Laurie Anderson O Superman
Of Monsters And Men Little Talks
Kevin Coyne Talking To No-one
Beach Boys Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)
Brett Anderson Chinese Whispers
Seahorses You Can Talk To Me
Simple Minds All The Things She Said
Talk Talk Talk Talk
Arab Strap The First Big Weekend
Woody Guthrie Mean Talking Blues
Badly Drawn Boy Say It Again
Altered Images Don’t Talk To Me About Love
The Horrors Who Can Say
Crazy Horse I Don’t Want To Talk About It
Jack White Trash Tongue Talker
R.E.M. Talk About The Passion
Fred Neil Everybody’s Talkin’
Neko Case The Tigers Have Spoken
Joni Mitchell Conversation
Soulwax E-talking
Aphex Twin Children Talking
Chumbawamba Big Mouth Strikes Again
Super Furry Animals Wherever I Lay My Phone
The Smiths Ask
The Veils Talk Down The Girl

SONG OF THE WEEK:

Dotty Mixtures: Vehicle Songs 15 March 2013

vehicles

Artist Song
Gary Numan Cars
Zion Train Dance Of Life
The Who Magic Bus
Erlend Oye Ghost Trains
Big Stick Drag Racing
Prince Little Red Corvette
Deep Purple Space Truckin’
The Black Keys Aeroplane Blues
Bruce Springsteen Cadillac Ranch
The Beatles Drive My Car
John Roderick Carparts
The Color Bars The Gedanken Train
The Family Cat Airplane Gardens
Elastica Car Song
House Of Love Love In A Car
Feist & Ben Gibbard Train Song
Tom Robinson Band 2 4 6 8 Motorway
Audioslave Getaway Car
Terrorvision Stop The Bus
The Gaslight Anthem Old White Lincoln
The Blue Nile From A Late Night Train
Feeder Buck Rogers
Snow Patrol Chasing Cars
Lambchop I Will Drive Slowly
My Morning Jacket By My Car
Lush 500 (Shake Baby Shake)
Jamie Lidell Daddy’s Car
Be-Bop Deluxe Ships In The Night
Manic Street Preachers Motorcycle Emptiness
Tracy Chapman Fast Car

SONG OF THE WEEK:

Dotty Mixtures: International Women’s Day 8 March 2013

iwd

Artist Song
Space Female Of The Species
Emiliana Torrini Big Jumps
Jim O’Rourke Women Of The World
The Stone Roses She Bangs The Drums
Huggy Bear Her Jazz
Hole Miss World
Slits Typical Girls
Bikini Kill Suck My Left One
L7 Pretend We’re Dead
Strangelove She’s Everywhere
Kate Bush This Woman’s Work
Howling Bells Velvet Girl
Pink Floyd Young Lust
Robert Wyatt I’m A Believer
Beyonce Run The World (Girls)
M.I.A. Paper Planes
Florence & The Machine Dog Days Are Over
Destiny’s Child Independent Women
Björk Army Of Me
Dusty Springfield Just One Smile
The Airborne Toxic Event All For A Woman
Queen Killer Queen
David Bowie Suffragette City
Cocteau Twins Persephone
Brett Anderson The Empress
PJ Harvey 50ft Queenie
Aretha Franklin R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
Urge Overkill Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon
Portishead Glory Box
Joey Cape & Tony Sly International You Day

SONG OF THE WEEK:

Dotty Mixtures: What’s New, Pussycat? 1 March 2013

cats

Artist Song
The Cramps Can Your Pussy Do The Dog
Peggy Lee The Siamese Cat Song
Bare Necessities Everybody Wants To Be A Cat
David Bowie Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
The Jam Life From A Window
Tight Fit The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Deee-Lite Pussycat Meow
Pussy Galore Evil Eye
Feist Snow Lion
Takako Minekawa Fantastic Cat
The Turtles Cat In The Window (The Bird In The Sky)
The Cure Love Cats
Lush Cats Chorus
Tom Jones What’s New, Pussycat?
Uncle Tupelo New Madrid
The Presidents Of The USA Kitty
The Cat Empire Sly
Kittie Everything That Could Have Been
First Aid Kit The Lion’s Roar
Placebo Kitty Litter
The Family Cat Wonderful Excuse
R.E.M. Star Me Kitten
Pink Floyd When The Tigers Broke Free
The Kinks Phenomenal Cat
Jackson Browne I’m The Cat
Squeeze Cool For Cats
Neko Case Lion’s Jaws
Catatonia Lost Cat
Broadcast Black Cat
Harry Chapin Cat’s In The Cradle

SONG OF THE WEEK: