The Killer’s Direct Hits and Shot At The Night.

So, The Killers new single Shot At The Night has been premiered on the Zane Lowe radio show. I didn’t get a chance to listen to the radio broadcast myself – but I’ve listened to the new song twice already. I personally really like it and expect it to be a slow burner. It’s already in my head. It’s produced by M83 and that’s definitely apparent. It’s synthy and much more in line with Hot Fuss than Battle Born, which is nice. It’s good to see them embrace the synthesizers fully again. It’s a good song, I can’t see it becoming an all time favourite but it’s a lot better than the worst tracks on Battle Born in my opinion. It’s mid-tempo though so I hope the other new song on the greatest hits is more of an upbeat number. The greatest hits is entitled – rather cleverly I might add – Direct Hits and on Amazon it’s scheduled for release on November 11th. I’ve read a report that it will be released as a standard edition and a deluxe edition with a bonus documentary DVD. That’s in keeping with what Amazon are saying because they do have a version with a DVD on the site. The track-listing and details I’ve read yet haven’t been confirmed on The Killers own Facebook page. I’ll have a second, more concrete post once I read absolute official details of the greatest hits. Stay tuned!

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Cryptic Killers message and Sound System dispatches!

Good news everybody, Sound System was dispatched earlier today! It’s expected to be here no later than Saturday. Relief all round, and the excitement can now start to truly build as I anticipate its arrival. To say me and my brother (who pre-ordered his own copy also) are eager to finally see and hear it is an understatement. There’s still nothing in the post yet either, regarding my other items. I’m expecting that to change tomorrow. Of course – I’ll post any arrivals here, although that won’t be until tomorrow night because Thursday is my busy day. In any case, things are literally on the move so it’s all good.

The Morse Code message.

Anyway, there’s some very exciting news today if you are a Victim (a fan of The Killers). I’ll admit I’ve not been following the latest news rigidly (shameful). However, a few weeks ago they teased us by saying a big announcement is coming this month. They’ve also said they wish to commemorate the upcoming tenth anniversary of their first London show (which is in late September). It seems like the two are linked. As they played London’s Wembley stadium at the end of June, it would be fitting to release that Wembley show on DVD on this anniversary year wouldn’t it? Earlier today their Facebook page posted a cryptic Morse code message that when translated reads as “The Killers shot at the night”. It does lend credence to the theory that a Wembley DVD is imminent. However, the October issue of Vanity Fair magazine may have revealed what this announcement will be. In the Hot Tracks section of the magazine they have said that a greatest hits compilation, containing three new songs, is due for release in the autumn. It’s highly likely that the already confirmed M83 collaboration will be one of those new songs. To be honest it’s most likely the greatest hits. However, I think there may be some sort of special edition with the Wembley show DVD. In any case, expect news this coming Monday (a now deleted tweet mentioned September 16th). I’m intrigued to see what it is, to say the least!

Town yesterday Part I: Shirt Alert.

As I mentioned yesterday, I was in town shopping. I know I said I would post this late last night, but I did have an impromptu post to make. Also I decided to get stuck back into my reading. Anyway, town yesterday had mixed fortunes actually. I went into a shop called Fresh Garbage to see their band T-shirts. They haven’t had a Clash shirt the two times I’ve been in before, but this time they did. It was of the cover of The Clash. It looked really nice. Alias, I had a budget to work with and I couldn’t buy it. Next time Clare, next time. Anyway when I got to HMV my plan was roughly this: get a Killers shirt and a Clash shirt, and work with whatever money I had left. They had The Killers shirt in my size (as you can tell) but The Clash London Calling T-shirt was obviously proving a very popular choice. They only had two left – both XL. I’m trying to loose weight at the moment, and my Killers shirt size is L, and even then it’s going to be a bit baggy. The Clash one would have just looked ridiculous. I’m carrying a bit of extra weight at the moment, but not that much. Anyway it’s no big deal. I mean London Calling is such a common shirt design and I do want something a bit different – much the same way as I didn’t want an Unknown Pleasures shirt¬† of Joy Division’s straight away. I’ll most likely get both at some stage though. The Killers shirt is actually rather sizable history for me – it’s my first T-shirt of the band. Yes, after nine long years. I’m going out tonight and I’m going to wear it for the first time. I need to loose some weight and get my hair done but once that happens, you might even see a picture of me in it….

Preparations

Evening all – I type this as I watch The Killers live from T In The Park. Great concert so far – I’ll post my full thoughts on it tomorrow.

This isn’t a sound of the week post as such – heat and being busy in general has left me unable to concentrate on my music, books and TV. As such the only real album I’ve actually listened to this week in full was Very by Pet Shop Boys earlier. I’m starting to get excited for Electric tomorrow – still hard to believe there’s another new album coming so soon after Elysium.

One track that has grown on me so much lately though is A Different Point of View. I love the Very album in general and I’ve always liked A Different Point Of View. However it’s grown on me so much and now I can say I love it. It’s surely one of the most bombastic tracks they’ve ever made – and one of the most extreme examples of their trademark happy music with sad lyrics style. I actually think it would have been a great single in all honesty – that nearly came to fruition too I believe.

That’s all for now really – tomorrow will be a very busy day as I have Electric to pick up. You can expect my first listen reactions of course. I’ve also got other CDs coming tomorrow too but I’ll post more about them then. Stay tuned!

Bad news but good clips

Evening all. It’s piping hot here in Belfast but I haven’t got out in the sunshine yet. Mostly due to some bad news: late last night my 1TB HD died for no apparent reason. I know that sounds like not a huge deal but to me it’s one of my most crucial electrical devices. It contained no personal files thankfully but it did contain about 600GB worth of music, movies, TV shows, documentaries… all media stuff. In fact most of what I write about on this blog has been material I’ve downloaded onto that HD to try out. It still could be a power issue but if not I will need to purchase a new HD.

On this plus side I watched two very interesting interviews. Once again, both of these aired on Sky Arts about a week ago (back to back actually). They’re both from the same series too. Firstly, we have the Talks With Dave Fanning edition that features The Killers. Well – Brandon Flowers and Mark Stoermer. The interview originally took place around 2007. What I love about the interview (about both really) is that Dave Fanning clearly undertakes extensive research before carrying out an interview. For instance, he asked about the circumstances surrounding the unreleased track Where Is She? Other topics included the contrast between the band’s musical influences and the area they grew up in; the dominance of a more Springsteen/American influenced sound on Sam’s Town and how quickly the band experienced massive success. Sadly, I can’t find a video of it to post here, at least one with embedding options. It seems to be available in bits on Youtube though so have a look because it’s definitely worth watching!

The other interview was with another group I especially love: Pet Shop Boys. It was done to promote the release of Fundamental, so it’s also around the 2006/2007 mark. I’m almost certain this was 2006 though. Once again it was another very well researched interview. Even Neil commented on that actually. Topics discussed this time around included Madonna, fame in general and how Pet Shop Boys fit in with gay culture. They even discussed in some detail the plans they had for the travelling music festival that consisted of nothing but gay musicians that ultimately never happened. It’s another really interesting interview that’s well worth watching.

So that’s it for today, hopefully tomorrow I’ll finally go into town. I also ordered Retro and Bestival 2012 both by New Order today so that’s something good at least. I’ll be back soon.

The Killers at Wembley: The Nine Year Fandom Reflection

Hello all, a brief post here for you. So, Saturday was a momentous day in the world of Killers fandom. They’ve played their first ever stadium date in Wembley stadium – arguably the pinnacle of their career thus far. To commemorate such an event they’ve created a new composition. Simply titled Wembley Song it’s an ode to the great acts that have played her previously including Queen, Madonna and Fleetwood Mac. There’s a host of others cited in the song too. It’s a pleasant song, but the song isn’t what matters here. Let’s focus in on the fact that they’ve just played Wembley Stadium. Wembley. Stadium. At only four albums in – no mean feat. I’ve been a Killers fan for nine years: since 2004. At the young age of ten years old, they were impossibly cool. More importantly, they were my first in music. My first band, Brandon Flowers my first serious celebrity crush and Hot Fuss the first album I loved. They were the first band I obsessed over. They made me interested in the 80s, in retro music in general, and synthesizers. If I made a family tree style diagram charting my musical tastes over the years, The Killers would firmly be at the root of it all. They are simply the most important artist in my musical development. I’ve grown in so many ways in those nine years just as they have. I’ve seen them grow and improve as musicians. Seeing them grow so much they’re now one of the biggest bands in the world… that makes me unbelievably happy. And their albums have been a constant sound-tracking to my own developments. Seeing them play Wembley has made me reflect – I’m fast approaching the six year anniversary of the first time I saw them live. Their first Northern Irish date. I can still remember that day so clearly – most of all the initial shock when the lights went down and I saw them standing there. It was them, really them. In front of me. After three years of being a fan, it was the peak of it all. And I know that some fans at Wembley will have just witnessed them live for the first time. I hope you all had the most magic of times and may you all continue to see them live again and again. It certainly looked like a special night. It’s been an honor and a privilege seeing this band grow from humble beginnings to worldwide superstars, and I’m blessed to still be a part of the journey. Next year is a milestone year for me: 20 years of being alive and 10 years of Killers fandom. That means The Killers have been an integral part of half of my life. I wouldn’t change that for anything. Brandon, Dave, Mark & Ronnie – I thank the four of you wholeheartedly for all you’ve done for me. May you continue to enrich our lives with brilliant music for many more years to come!

The Killers – Get Trashed

So, B-sides. They’re a funny thing. Sometimes bands put their all into their B-sides. Using them as an opportunity to expand their musical horizons. I have to admit – Get Trashed definitely sounds unlike any other Killers song. I’ll give it that. Expanding musical horizons is a double edged sword though. Get it right: it’s brilliant, creative and can push an artist’s career to new heights. Get it wrong: its a disaster and can leave listeners wishing they hadn’t bothered. I have to admit, when it comes to Get Trashed, I definitely take the latter opinion. Well, I think it has some interesting ideas but ultimately it doesn’t translate into a good song. Get Trashed served as the B-side to Hot Fuss single Smile Like You Mean It. I think that makes a bad song even worse. It’s disappointing enough having a sub-par B-side but it gets emphasized moreso when it’s the flip side of a really strong song. So, what’s so bad about Get Trashed? For me its the arrangement. The song hasn’t got much in the way of melody nor structure. And it’s got a dark and sinister sort of tone. I couldn’t even categorize into a genre if you paid me. It sounds, and feels, like a cheap experiment in the demo process. Like it’s being made up as it goes along. I suppose that’s fair enough if this was the band’s intention whilst writing the track. If so though, whilst they would have fulfilled their intentions entirely – it makes for a song that’s very hard to listen to. I could count on one hand the amount of times I’ve been able to listen to this in its entirety. Try as I might (and believe me I have); I just can’t listen to it. There’s too little in the way of structure for me. The one positive thing I can say about the song though is that the arrangement seems to musically embody the lyrics. They do signify the lyrics very well. Basically, the song is about someone who’s lover is gone. I’d say not because of death because the narrator says they’re jealous.Moreover, they’re broken because of this. It’s similar, thematically speaking, to Mr Brightside except the narrator in this song is in a far worse place. The only way the narrator can make their pain go away is if they “get trashed tonight”. Mr Brightside has a slight glimmer of optimism in its lyrics, in Get Trashed I’m left with the distinct impression that the only conclusion to the story told in the lyrics is a dark one. Personally, I feel the arrangement of Get Trashed is musically symbolic of the hazy, messy state of the mind-set of the narrator. I have to admit – I like that. I just wish that the end result was easier to listen to. As it stands, Get Trashed is one of the most unpopular Killers songs as far as I’m aware. Interesting in theory, but the end result was a letdown.

The Killers – Here With Me

So this is The Killers new single from Battle Born, called Here With Me. I have to admit that as much as I like their new album I’ve been left somewhat disappointed with their choice for the third single. We’ve had Runaways and Miss Atomic Bomb so far which have been excellent choices – and Runaways is their best lead single ever in my opinion – but they’ve gone for a rather weak choice for the new single. If I’m honest, Here With Me is the only song from Battle Born that I can say with more or less certainty that I just don’t really like. One of my main grievances with the song is the line “I don’t want your picture on my cell phone” that is part of the chorus. I think that line is a bit cringe worthy really and doesn’t show off Brandon’s lyrical abilities at all, and he’s grown from strength to strength as a lyricist with each album I think. There are elements of the arrangement I like, like the little synth bubbles but I guess all in all it’s just a bit too much of a power ballad style track for my taste. There’s just nothing really to sustain my interest in the track I’m afraid. Personally, I think they should have gone with The Rising Tide or even Battle Born for the next single choice. I don’t think my other two favourites – these being From Here On Out and Deadlines & Commitments – would have the potential to be hits really. The song is redeemed though somewhat by the video, which takes that aforementioned embarrassing line and gives it a new spin. The video was directed by Tim Burton (following on from the excellent video he directed for Bones). I find the video slightly creepy if I’m honest but I definitely have to give credit were it’s due – it has a concept that I really didn’t expect and manages to make what is a fairly uninteresting song actually a bit more interesting. Just a shame that I feel the song itself is a bit of a disappointment.

The Killers return!

Every time a new Killers album is announced I do turn rather giddy, childish even with excitement as they were my first serious musical love. With that in mind, I was delighted to wake up this morning to the news that The Killers debuted some more new songs at their somewhat intimate concert last night in Asheville, North Carolina. They performed new single Runaways, The Rising Tide which was first performed live a year ago at Scala in London but the real treat for fans came in the form of Miss Atomic Bomb and Flesh and Bones. Miss Atomic Bomb sounds particularly good but both tracks are very strong I think. Honestly, I am so excited for this album, as each of the songs have impressed me, I think Brandon wasn’t exaggerating when he said that Battle Born was their best album yet! A full review of the gig will be in the coming issue of NME magazine which is out Wednesday, July 25 along with an interview with Brandon Flowers. Meanwhile, you can hear the new songs from last nights show by clicking HERE. Their full set list was as follows

Runaways
Somebody Told Me
Smile Like You Mean It
Spaceman
This Is Your Life
Rising Tide
Miss Atomic Bomb
For Reasons Unknown
Bling
Shadowplay
Human
A Dustland Fairytale
Read My Mind
Mr Brightside
All These Things That I’ve Done
Encore
Flesh and Bone
Jenny Was A Friend of Mine
When You Were Young

The Killers – Runaways

So after four years since their last album which was entitled Day & Age, The Killers have finally returned from their hiatus with their brand new single. Its been a hectic month for me musically, with the lead singles for both The Killers’ Battle Born album and Pet Shop Boys Elysium album being premiered (coincidentally, both albums are due to be released on the same day). Whilst Pet Shop Boys new single was a bit of a letdown I felt, Runaways is everything a lead single should be: its rousing, sounds unmistakably like a Killers song and grabs your attention. I would even go so far as to say it stands up with the best singles The Killers have ever released, if not being one of their best songs overall! After a rather lengthy hiatus they needed a strong song as their comeback and Runaways does that perfectly!¬† You can definitely hear the influences of Bruce Springsteen on the track also I think, and the opening piano chords and first verse melody also remind me a lot of Brandon Flowers solo record. At first, I thought it would be simplistic as it starts sparingly but it quickly builds and its easy to envisage this becoming a live staple not too far from the ranks of All These Things That I’ve Done. When the chorus finally kicks in around two minutes in, it just begs to be heard in a live context I feel. What I also personally love is that it mixes the very Americana-influenced Sam’s Town sound but also mixes in some synths (and I particularly love the synth work here) which echo’s songs like Human and Smile Like You Mean It. The arrangement goes perfectly with the lyrics of the song I think, which depicts a story of love gone wrong. People who are still stuck in their Hot Fuss era and who won’t accept any other sound will probably bash the song, although I struggle when you compare Somebody Told Me (even though its somewhat of a modern day classic) to Runaways and it becomes clear that the band have matured tremendously, and in my opinion for the better. The track seems to be getting incredibly positive reviews from critics and fans alike, all of which I feel is thoroughly deserved. If the rest of Battle Born is as strong (and the signs are good so far) then I think we could be looking at the strongest album from The Killers yet!