Choice Cuts: Danger Doom – The Mouse and the Mask

Lex Records, 2005Danger Doom - The Mouse and the Mask (800x450)Danger Doom’s album is high-wire fun that’d be an offence to anyone who takes themselves too seriously. So you can bet it’d go down well with smiley Liam Gallagher and today’s hardline extremists, right?

A collaboration between enigmatic super-producer, Danger Mouse, and equally reclusive masked rapper, MF Doom, The Mouse and the Mask is a marvel of audacious jams and masterful short stories, spliced with animated skits and more humour than a Hanna-Barbera classic. Continue reading

Choice Cuts: Gorillaz – Demon Days

Parlophone Records, 2005Gorillaz - Demon Days artwork, wallpaper edit (1024x576)A gimmick. That’s what they put Gorillaz’ success down to. Despite everything that had been achieved by this unusual musical concoction in the 18 months since the launch of their 2001 debut album, detractors still labelled them a here today, gone tomorrow band. But little did they know that the virtual band, created by musician, Damon Albarn, and cartoonist, Jamie Hewlett, would front what would later be acknowledged as one of the most influential and progressive records of the noughties: Demon Days. Continue reading

BadBadNotGood & Ghostface Killah – Sour Soul review

Ghostface Killah, BBNG - Sour Soul, press photo 02, (1200x675)An album with a consistent mood can spawn a legion of imitators, all eager to replicate the aural nectar the originator has managed to bottle. We saw it with Massive Attack’s Blue Lines and the xx’s debut. And BadBadNotGood & Ghostface Killah’s Sour Soul could well be next, because the alchemy at work here is mesmerising. Continue reading

Best albums of 2014: 20 to 11

AOTY 2014: 20-11 college NehruvianDoom, Ibibo, Daley, Foxes  (1448x815)Day four of my 2014 round-up includes standout R&B albums, an African highlife-psych collision, a rock music fight back and an indescribable Mercury Prize-winner.

20. Foxes – Glorious
19. Daley – Days & Nights
18. Banks – Goddess
17. NehruvianDoom – NehruvianDoom
16. Jack White – Lazaretto
15. Young Fathers – Dead
14. Tinashe – Aquarius
13. Beck – Morning Phase
12. Fatima – Yellow Memories
11. Ibibio Sound Machine – Ibibio Sound Machine Continue reading

JJ Doom @ Fabric, London

JJ Doom @ Fabric, London (Jun 2013) by Aaron LeeBewilderment and unease rippled through the crowd when the masked figure proclaimed that he would be this evening’s entertainment.

“Y’all here for JJ Doom?” he asked through a suspiciously familiar east coast drawl, a slight panter in his voice from his hurried on-stage arrival.

“They can’t be here tonight. But it’s alright, I’m their replacement: Gone the Hero.” Continue reading

Best albums of 2012

Aaron's albums of 2012, 2500x1000It’s been a momentous year for music – or at least that’s the conclusion I glean from my record collection, which has never been healthier. We’ve had new albums from artists in their prime and a cacophony of fresh-faced newbies all helping to expand the musical spectrum ever more. The critics have laid down their end of year verdicts, and so too have some of my friends.

Now, it’s time for my own subjective list of the year’s top ten albums. Continue reading

MF Doom review – villainously good fun

HMV Forum, LondonMF Doom, Hultsfred Festival by possan (Jul 2011)Would he show? That was the big question on all the show goers’ lips when I went to see MF Doom live for the first time at the HMV Forum in Kentish Town. Continue reading

Gorillaz @ London O2 Arena

[NB: published on 22/12/10 as I was majorly busy during this time]


Did this really happen? Looking back I can’t quite believe it. It was the night I’d been waiting for all year: to see Gorillaz, and their many guest artists, live on tour.

Following my blissful first time seeing the band play live at the Camden Roundhouse back in April, I immediately jumped at the chance to see them again when they announce their first ever world tour. I snapped up tickets for one of two dates at the London O2 Arena. Originally scheduled for September, the concert itself was switched to November 16 to fit in with the rest of the Escape to Plastic Beach World Tour.

Contrary to having to rush down from Nottingham, it was reading week at my uni so I’d already come down for the week to find the tickets waiting for me (and would you believe it, I received ticket numbers 33 and 34). I had planned to take my brother to see the band this time, but literally and hour before we were due to leave he said he was feeling ill, so I had to ring my main man, Dee, to take his place.

Though I’ve driven past it on many occasions I’d never actually been inside The O2 (or Millennium Dome as it was originally called) until now. Making our way toward the gargantuan structure from North Greenwich tube station its 12 yellow support arms dazzled against the night sky, illuminating the oversized marquee like a spaceship that had landed right in the centre of the city. Inside the thing itself was a myriad of restaurants, cafés, bars and entertainment venues all packed together in one of the most inventive architectural feats I’ve ever seen.


During our exploring, Dee and I ran into two fellow Gorillaz fans, and their friends, that we’d met back at the Roundhouse in April. When the time came to make our way into the arena, we had to pass through no less than three ticket and security checks only to find that there was no cloakroom for standing audience members to dump their bags. On to the music…

Gorillaz in the Midst

Or not quite, as we had to wait nearly two hours before Gorillaz took the stage. Fortunately, support act Little Dragon (who appear on two tracks on Plastic Beach) energised the crowd with a number of hypnotic tunes. Frontwoman Yukimi Nagano was rocking a long oriental two-piece dress and twisted and danced her way across the stage like she was summoning some mystic bird from beyond the sea.

Speaking of which, when the accompanying orchestra played the band in during the island intro the whole place erupted with excitement. I’d brought my compact camera along to get a few shots, but I decided early that I wanted to enjoy this experience to the full and not spend half of it viewing the magic from behind a digital display – the shots you see here are the best of the small amount I took.

For the second time this year, it was a buzz to feel the presence of Damon Albarn and the rest of the musicians standing some five metres above me on stage. The band had played at The O2 just two days ago, but had to fly to Amsterdam the day after. Honestly, it felt so rewarding to hear Damon expressing his relief and gratitude that his home fans had come to show their support. It was by no means a sell-out gig. Why more people don’t feel the magic I feel from this band, and its many associates, is something I will never know.

That night I was treated to a rapturous harmony of music from all corners of the globe, from the Lebanese National Orchestra for Arabic Music to De La Soul. Music from all three of the band’s studio albums – Gorillaz, Demon Days and Plastic Beach – was played, including some favourites I witnessed live for the first time, ‘19-2000’, ‘Tomorrow Comes Today’ and ‘Demon Days’.


And as if seeing the core band – Paul Simonon, Cass Brown, Mike Smith and the rest – wasn’t enough, the sheer number of guest artists left me delirious with happiness: Bootie Brown, De La Soul, Neneh Cherry, Roses Gabor (who kindly signed my tour book after the gig), Kano, Bashy, Yukimi Nagano, Hypnotic Brass and the legendary Bobby Womack. What’s more a special appearance by none other than MF Doom during ‘Clint Eastwood’ was a real shock. They should have brought him on to do ‘November Has Come’ live. Daley, too, was in the house to perform newfound pop gem ‘Doncamatic’, and I have to say that boy has some pipes.

Veikko’s Blur Page has a rundown of the setlist, as well as all the other live dates from the Escape to Plastic Beach World Tour.

Seeing Gorillaz and their guest crew live, for the second time this year, was a tremendous experience that will stay with me long after these years are behind me. EMI could help though by putting out a tour DVD so I can relive the memories of this gig in crisp AV quality.