Music reviewsFront Door1 - Eisley2 -Wir sind Helden3 - Antony&Johnsons5 - Gruff Rhys6 - Innocence7 - The Radio8 - Kathleen Edwards9 - t.A.T.u.10 - Whipping Boy11- Ladytron12 - Covers13 - Patty Griffin14 - OK Go15 - Beth Orton16 - Rilo Kiley17 - Butterfly18 - Lauren Hoffman19 - Pipettes20 -Fairies21 - Talk Talk
Sound of Music 4 - Blue States
 blue states - nothing changes1.jpg

For an accountant, I have an awful of dance music in my collection – not the hackneyed “Largin’ it in Ibiza Volume 43” type of nonsense with a pulsating beat that could shatter concrete, but more interesting tuneful stuff. Maybe it started with noticing the way Depeche Mode’s simple pop songs readily lent themselves to 10 minute long remixed versions. Maybe it was the smile that crept across my face when I heard a hugely altered version of  the Manic Street Preachers’ ‘Everything Must Go’  used as the theme to Gran Turismo and recognized that only the Chemical Brothers could have done that and retained the essence of the song (Those of you who don’t think it meet that a person of my advanced years and standing in the community should be mucking around with a PlayStation can leave my website now!).

Blue States is a band whose music instantly attracted me.  They’re not a dance band per se – down tempo electronica is a more correct description but most people think you’re taking the mickey if you come out with such descriptions at the start.  I at least got you to read this far down before getting sniffy about how my CD collection should be categorized.

Anyways, Blue States is essentially a bloke called Andy Dragazis from Sussex Downs.  The great thing about dance music is that you can be a middle-aged ugly bloke with a receding hairline and nobody really notices; or if they do notice, they don’t really care since it’s so refreshing to hear somebody who can actually play their own instruments. Case in point: Paul Oakenfold is 45 and I didn’t hear you complaining that the theme from Big Brother sounded old-fashioned, even though he knocked it out donkey's years ago.

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Anyways, Andy produces a number of EPs in the late 90s before sticking them together onto an album, much like Lemonjelly got their start. This album ‘Nothing Changes Under the Sun’, was released in September 2000. According to Andy’s website it “drew favourable comparisons with anybody from Air to Tortoise to, bizarrely, The Cure”. Personally speaking, it reminds me in places of Air but also Portishead and the Thievery Corporation.  Getting back to the PlayStation motif, standout track ‘Elios Therepia’ reminds me of the theme music from ‘Silent Hill’ – one of the most intelligent yet darkest and creepiest video games I have ever played - thanks to its bazouki lead. The Thievery Corporation noticed the similarities also and decided they liked it so much they issued it in the US on their own label Eighteenth Street Lounge.

Having sold 30,000 copies of his debut album, Andy now faces up to the fact that watching some bloke play tapes of stuff he recorded earlier in his bedroom does not make for a riveting concert item. Thus, he signs up Jon Chandler as a drummer and Chris Carr as a guitarist so they can do this thing live. This works and they do stuff like Glastonbury and SXSW, albeit not as headline acts.

In 2002, second album ‘Man Mountain’ is released. The sound is much the same only bigger and better. One of the tracks ‘Season Song’ is used as the title music for the movie ‘28 Days Later’. There’s even vocals for some of the tracks.  Sad though it is to relate, the artwork booklet accompanying the CD contains the sort of photographs I wish I could take and have spent years trying to come up with.

Following this, Andy hires original live team Chris and Jon as full time band members and they start work on third album "Theblue states - the soundings1.jpg Soundings" which is released in late 2005.  This album represents an evolution for the band – different, definitely not the same, not change for the sake of change, but rather an enhancement.  There are more vocal tracks – they sound strangely like House of Love or Orange Juice in places. ‘Final Flight’ starts with a lengthy albeit muffled sample of air traffic control transmissions before launching into a boppy chorus of “all the pretty ones die young”, probably the happiest song I’ve ever heard about air disasters.

In contrast to previous reviews, you will notice how I’ve namedropped others in an attempt to categorise this band’s sound and how incongruous those influences look side by side.  These guys make very special and unique music.   They had me at ‘Hello’.

Hear samples of their music at and


The Sound of Music | Sound of Music 1 - Eisley | Sound of Music 2 - Wir sind Helden | Sound of Music 3 - Antony & the Johnsons | Sound of Music 5 - Gruff Rhys | Sound of Music 6 - The Innocence Mission | Sound of Music 7 - The Radio | Sound of Music 8 - Kathleen Edwards | Sound of Music 9 -tATu | Sound of Music 10 - Whipping Boy | Sound of Music 11 - Ladytron | Sound of Music 12 - Covers | Sound of Music 13 - Patty Griffin | Sound Of Music 14 - OK Go | Sound of Music 15 - Beth Orton | Sound of Music 16 - Rilo Kiley | Sound of Music 17 - Butterfly Explosion | Sound of Music 18 - Lauren Hoffman | Sound of Music 19 - The Pipettes | Sound of Music 20 - Sugarplum Fairies | Sound of Music 21 - Talk Talk