Thursday, August 31, 2006

Shall We Dance?

Another day, another post about The Rapture...

So, I finally (ahem) 'got hold' of all of the new album from The Rapture. On first full listen, it's, how do I put this...technicolour. An album whose cover (above and doesn't it remind you of The Futureheads' first?) really signifies what lies within. If Echoes had that creeping sense of paranoia and angst about it, Pieces Of The People We Love is the sound of The Rapture loosening up and getting on down. On the first run-through, it's quite startling just how relentlessly upbeat the whole affair is.

Every track here is geared towards the dancefloor, other than the suitably epic sundowner, 'Live In Sunshine' that closes the record. You know something else? It's really good. Once the ardents get past the fact that this is The Rapture's pop record, they'll be dancing until dawn. If I was to pick a highlight off just one play, it would have to be the sheer delight of 'Down For So Long', a song that they've been playing live for such a time that it feels like an old favourite. So here it is...

The Rapture - Down For So Long (mp3)

Darkel is the alter ego of Air's Jean-Benoit Dunckel and his self-titled album, due out in a couple of weeks is quite a bit more than just a stopgap before he hooks back up in the studio with Nicolas Godin. As you would expect from someone who has spent the last decade indulging in retro-futurist soundscapes, this record sounds like it could have come from either outer space or the 70s.

Granted, there are flashes of Air's proggy tendencies, but it's all tempered with a sharp (FM) pop sensibility, not unlike Phoenix covering ELP at times. The record takes in floaty atmospherics ('Be My Friend'), sci-fi chamber pop ('Some Men'), space disco ('Earth') and even cocaine cowboy-ish country pop ('At The End Of The Sky'). The barnstorming 'Beautiful Woman', a surefire future hit, sounds like 'Gimme Some Lovin'', as covered by Jean-Jacques Perrey, but way more natural and nowhere near as contrived as I just made it sound. See for yourself...

Darkel - Beautiful Woman (mp3)

I went to see Liam Frost & The Slowdown Family again yesterday, this time doing an instore at HMV in support of the new single (current Yer Mam! Single Of The Week!). I had a bit of a pop at The Young Knives for doing instores last week, so I won't go into why I feel a bit morally opposed to them. What I will talk about is just how awkward they seem. Unless the band that you're watching treat every tiny gig as if it's their last, you're never really going to get a full flavour of a band/artist if you watch them do an instore. The band feel strange, the crowd don't really move and, Jesus, you don't even have a drink and/or cigarette in your hand. You do occasionally still get people who are the size of redwood trees standing in front of you however.

Anyway, instores = not proper gigs. During 'Shall We Dance?', my instore chum, Prudence asked me the titular question. Now, I'm not averse to occasionally blowing my cool and cutting a rug when all others around me aren't. I remember being one of only three people dancing in the upstairs seating area to Doves at the Manchester Apollo a couple of years back, but this time, I just couldn't muster up the enthusiasm to break out and give it the full cheek-to-cheek, but thinking about it now, I kind of wish I had.

So I want you to do something for me. Download the mp3 below, grab the nearest person, be they housemate, spouse, sibling, arch enemy, postman, whatever, and turn your living room into a ballroom, at least for just four minutes and forty-odd seconds. In fact, you don't have to dance with a person, grab a pet, an ornament, a house plant, anything. Just get moving.

Liam Frost & The Slowdown Family - Shall We Dance? (mp3)

Happy dancing, folks!


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"People don't dance no more, they just stand there like this"

Bit of a scattered, higgledy-piggledy post today, but with a few tunes to boot. No-one actually reads what I write here anyway, do they?

A few months ago, on the old blog, I posted an early leak of a new track by The Rapture, going by the name of 'W.A.Y.U.H.', for which I had my wrists slapped and was 'asked' to take it down. Fair dos, I thought, seeing as the album wasn't finished, didn't have a name, a tracklisting, or a release date back then.


I'm so going to get told off for this (b-but, 20jazzfunkgreats did it before me and they're bigger boys!), but what the hell! The Rapture's new album, Pieces Of The People We Love has half-leaked. A promo, featuring five tracks is 'out there' and it's...okay. Hard to tell what the album will be like, but 'Get Myself Into It' definitely doesn't seem like it'll be a red herring anymore. Matty, Vito, Luke and Gabe have been at the disco biscuits, by the sound of it and I don't know quite what to make of it.

After listening to the sampler earlier, half of me is impressed at how much they've lightened up and is anxiously waiting to hear the kickarse party record that it may well be (the title track sounds like The Glitter Band for fuck's sake!), but the other half is pining for the sharp edges that seemed to have been smoothed away and hopes that the rest of the album is a little moodier. After all, my favourite Rapture tune is 'Olio'.

Anyway, no point in trying to make sense of a record that you've only heard five songs from. Here's the legit version of that track that landed me in hot water earlier in the year.

The Rapture - Wooh! Alright Yeah...Uh Huh (mp3)

And just for the hell of it, here's 'Olio'. It's the full length version from the original 12" because I could listen to those 303s all day.

The Rapture - Olio (mp3)

The Blow are a boy/girl two piece based in Portland, Oregon (that's in America, fellow Brits). They make twee-ish indie electropop with an occasional exotic edge. I put their old tune, 'The Love That I Crave' on a mixtape ages ago so eagle-eyed readers may well remember me giving them some deserved bloggage in the past. Well, the time has come for The Blow to release a full album and they've called it Paper Television.

After the first couple of listens, I'm pretty impressed. There's a punch and a weight to their songs that you don't always get in this particular mini-genre, even if they do tend towards wishy-washy at times. The song that really stuck out for me upon hearing it for the first time is 'Parentheses' which sounds kind of like The Shangri-las as produced by Jimmy Tamborello. Now, I'm well aware that for some of you this may sound like the worst idea ever, but trust me, it works like a dream.

Handclaps galore...

The Blow - Parentheses (mp3)

Lo and behold, The Manchester Blog Awards is a go! Well, it's crass to self-promote, I know, but if you really loved me, then there's a certain Best Arts and Culture Blog category that I guess this particular blog falls into. You could always vote for Black Country Grammar instead, mind. Oh, who am I kidding?! I'm never going to win, but it would be lovely to get a nomination. If just for the cheek of canvassing on my own page! Fingers crossed.

That's it for tonight as my eyes are itchy from looking at the computer screen.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

"I feel like I ran all day"


Good bank holiday weekend? I've been drunk most of the time, so it's been a bit of a blur to be honest. Good fun though, but I'm paying for it a little today.

I'm just going to cover a few of the singles today as it's a bit of an infuriating mixed bag. Here are the singles released today that I think are worth highlighting...



This week's SOTW comes from a local lad that, quite frankly, I've bigged up more than enough on these pages already. So let's do it some more. 'The City Is At Standstill' is the opener from the forthcoming album, Show Me How The Spectres Dance and while it may be a little more uptempo than most other stuff on the debut, it also acts as a perfect introduction to Frost and his family. A flavour of what it sounds like? Well, Frost shares compatriot Badly Drawn Boy's love of Springsteen as The Boss' influence is all over this, in the hurried vocal delivery and the harmonic layering. It's a bit early to say that this is his 'Thunder Road', but at this stage in his career, it's as close as he's going to get. Highly recommended, with bonus points for the inclusion of live favourite, 'At First It Felt Like Darkness' on the flip.

Basement Jaxx - Hush Boy (XL)

The first single from the forthcoming Crazy Itch Radio isn't the best track that they could have picked, but this nonetheless hints at a return to form for Simon 'n' Felix, after the shite 'Oh My Gosh'. Worth hearing if only for the muppet shriek of "If you want me for your girlfrieeend" in the chorus, but they really should have plumped for 'Take Me Back To Your House'.

Eagles Of Death Metal - I Want You So Hard (Boy's Bad News) (Downtown)

EODM are never going to win plaudits for their finesse, but there's oodles of charm in the scattershot garage rock of '...(Boy's Bad News)'. Check out the crazy funny video with Jack Black and Dave Grohl hamming it up in frightwigs here.

I'm From Barcelona - We're From Barcelona (Interpop)

Twee-as-fuck but with pretensions towards life-affirmation, I'm From Barcelona are currently one of the in names to drop. I'm sitting on the fence for now, but the choral, ramshackle grace of this single is pretty impressive indeed.

Stephen Malkmus - Kindling For The Master (Domino)

Odd release from the ex-Pavement mainman, but one which makes perfect sense to my ears. The ragged punk-funk of the original is given all kinds of disco makeovers over two 12"s from Hot Chip (again!), The Emperor Machine, Polmo Polpo and Prins Thomas in his Major Swellings get-up. The last one is my favourite as evidenced by its appearance on last week's mixtape, as it gives the bad beat poetry cadence of Malkmus' vocal a kosmische musical counterpoint, which manages to make it both dirty and spectral-sounding. Fabbo!

Justin Timberlake - SexyBack (Jive)

A massive red herring from Timberlake as this is the worst track on the otherwise excellent FutureSex/LoveSound but please, don't be put off by this bag o' turds. Check out 'My Love' and forget this ever existed.

That's it until tomorrow, kids,


"Don't need no L'Oreal, 'cos bitch you're bad as hell"

Let's try to intellectualise some pop music, shall we?

Warning: Shameless hyperbole follows...

Now, we all now by now that 'SexyBack' is a bit shit. One of Timbaland's worst drum tracks ever and Justin doesn't suit vocal manipulation to that degree whatsoever. So, imagine my surprise, after having my expectations lowered by that first single, then raised slightly by the brilliance of 'My Love' (which I posted t'other day), upon finding that Justin Timberlake's new album, FutureSex/LoveSound is utterly fucking stunning.


Totally fucking awesome!

No bullshit!

A near-perfect pop album that justifies (no pun intended) it's 70-odd minute running time, and actually leaves you wanting a little more, FutureSex/LoveSound is a staggering achievement from an artist who is really starting to feel comfortable in his own skin, rather than trying to live up to the 'new Michael Jackson' tag. In fact, if this is close to any kind of pop predecessor, it's akin to Prince's mid-eighties work. Even the ballads work!

Right from the off, with the skeletal funk of the title track, FutureSex sets its stall out as a pop record that transcends radio fluff to actually be one of the most daring, vital records to be released by anyone in the past twelve months. The lyrical conceits are pretty much pitch-perfect; Timberlake is an excellent conveyor of the standard 'pop' cliches (only cliched because they're true) of love, lust, jealousy, sadness and betrayal, never sounding fake or manufactured, due to Timberlake's winning streak of sincerity.

Most of all, the production work on this album is astounding and not just from the reliable Timbaland. Will.I.Am turns in another fantastic display of knob-twiddling, after Kelis' ''Til The Wheels Fall Off', on 'Damn Girl', one of the album's strongest tracks. Also, Rick Rubin does his best to strip JT of all the baggage that might come with being one of the world's leading pop singers on '(Another Song) All Over Again', a heavy, dewy-eyed soul number that Penn & Oldham would be proud of. Then there's the chopped-up trance-y whooshes of the aforementioned 'My Love' that makes it one of the finest songs of the year, regardless of genre.

I may well cool on this record soon, but right now it's shot into the top five of the year for me (not that I'm keeping track of anything like that). A supremely listenable, massively addictive piece of work from an artist on the cusp of being king of the fucking world. And you know what? He totally deserves it.

Justin Timberlake - Love Stoned/I Think She Knows Interlude (mp3)

Another forthcoming pop album that there appears to be some weight of expectation about is Beyonce's B'Day. To be honest, after the heavy glitterbomb of Justin's latest, this couldn't have done anything but pale in comparison, but to be fair, this isn't a bad record either. It feels like three or four hits padded out with a fair bit of filler, but it's certainly entertaining, diverting filler.

One track that stands head-and-shoulders above the rest of B'Day's tracklisting however is the Rich Harrison-produced 'Suga Mama'. It's a trick that Harrison (and Beyonce) has pulled before and it sounds a little like a slowed-down '1 Thing', but it's a trick that's worth pulling over and over again when it sounds this good. The track is all big crash cymbals, '1 Thing'-like congas and other percussion and a clipped, funky guitar sample (from, I think and I may well be wrong, Eddie Bo and Inez Cheatham's 'Lover And A Friend'). Ms. Knowles sings the fuck out of it too and the breakdown, seemingly beamed in from a completely different song, layered over the top of the original track is one of the most surprising elements in a pop song in 2006.

"Come sit on mama lap", indeed.

Beyonce - Suga Mama (mp3)

Right, I'm off to listen to Husker Du.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

"Our old singer is a sex criminal"

Hello again everyone!

Signs of a misspent week, I guess, the amount of blogging that I've been getting through in the last few days. I've been off work this week (paid holiday) in case you hadn't noticed and all I've been doing is surfing the 'net, listening to music and generally being a bit of a sloth. Other than going to see those two Young Knives instores the other day, I've hardly left the house other than to go to the shop for cigarettes. I'm out tomorrow though, so I'm pulling a late one tonight to get some stuff down on the page before I forget about it.

Here's what's been rocking the house this past week or so...

When Mclusky called it quits in January, 2005, there was no great obits in the music press. There was no footage on the news of fans hanging around outside singer, Andy Falkous' house weeping. There was little or no recognition from anywhere to be completely honest. Even I was a bit nonplussed about the whole thing, having only ever heard a few of their songs before then (although I do own the 'There Ain't No Fool In Ferguson' single, though I can't remember why. Maybe someone slipped it into my bag in HMV thinking that I'll thank them for it somewhere down the line), but it's only recently, with the release of career retrospective, Mcluskyism that I've realised (and I'm sure I'm not the only one) that Mclusky were one of the greatest bands to have been virtually ignored while they were actually active.

The deficit between their greatness and their actual fiscal and critical success is a yawning gap, as Mclusky truly were one of the greatest bands of their time. It's just a shame that no-one noticed. Well, in an act of shutting the gate after the horse has bolted that I'm sure the band would find hilarious, it is your duty to discover them, take them to your bosom and hope and pray for a reunion.

Mcluskyism comprises three discs of fierce, scabrous, intelligent hardcore punk, the first of which compiles the 'hits', the second the b-sides and the third is a rarities set, taking in session tracks and live recordings that show the band as adept onstage as they were in the studio. Some of the live stuff comes from their last ever gig and portrays the band in fine form, dealing with hecklers and bantering like seasoned comics. In fact, the wit of Mclusky is what made them great, with their songs containing more side-splitting one-liners than the average Emo Philips concert.

If any Mclusky fans are reading this, post your favourite Mclusky lyric in the comments section. I'll start the ball rolling...

"If you can cope in this hopeless hepatitis pisswreck, molotov cocktail, monobrow shithole then baby, you can cope anywhere at all." ('There Ain't No Fool In Ferguson')

Mclusky - There Ain't No Fool In Ferguson (mp3)

Mclusky - She Will Only Bring You Happiness (mp3)

Mclusky - To Hell With Good Intentions (Live at ULU) (mp3)

Buy Mcluskyism (and while you're at it, get the rest of the albums) from

Now, moving from Mclusky to jazz may be a little jarring for some, but this is yet another album that I feel is my duty to bring to your attention. Released this week on Stones Throw is the sophomore album from Georgia Anne Muldrow, Olesi: Fragments Of An Earth and it is probably the best album that can be loosely described as jazz that I've heard in a long while. Now, I'll 'fess up to not being the best authority on jazz music, but I know it when I hear it and this sure is jazz.

And soul. And hip-hop. In fact, this record manages to cover a broad range of musical styles in its forty-odd minutes. Muldrow is a bit of a musical magpie, never stopping in one particular place for long enough for it to grow stale. Actually, one gripe that I have with the album is that some ideas are ditched just as they are getting interesting. Most of the tracks are tantalising glimpses into what Muldrow could really do if she just stopped letting her eclecticism get in the way.

This is a small complaint though as what Olesi is, most of the time, is a wildly innovative and entertaining ride, taking in everything from Nikki Giovanni-esque proselytising to sugary, Angie Stone-like soul. One of the most daring, and best records of the year, it comes highly recommended.

Buy it from Piccadilly Records.

Georgia Anne Muldrow - New Orleans (mp3)

Now, we all surely agree that the new Scissor Sisters single, 'I Don't Feel Like Dancing' is a load of old shite, but when life hands Erol Alkan lemons, that guy's sure to make lemonade. In an astonishing feat of turd-polishing, Alkan's remix of said abomination is, well, pretty darn fine. I suppose we should expect nothing less than greatness from the man who is on his way to becoming remixer of the year, after his dazzling turns for Hot Chip, Justice, Daft Punk and, in his Mustapha 3000 guise, Headman. This new one is similar in style to his take on 'Boy From School', in that he allows an element of the track to breathe and stretch for eight-plus minutes, giving the whole thing a spacey, tripped-out vibe. Seems pointless just talking about it though, when I could just as easily put it up as an mp3 and let y'all just take it in for yourselves.

Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancing (Erol Alkan's Carnival Of Light Rework) (mp3)

I'm sure I'll do some more blogging at some point over the weekend, but if I don't, make sure you enjoy yourselves, drink responsibly, don't do anything I wouldn't do, yada, yada, yada.


Mixtape Ahoy! Chapter Two

And here is the second part of this week's double mixtape bonanza...

  1. The Thermals - Here's Your Future (The opening track from The Thermals' rather excellent new album, The Body, The Blood, The Machine has an intense, feral, Pixies-like fervour to it, coupled with combative religious imagery that marks it as a cut above the usual scuzz-rock stuff. Worth your time and your soul.)
  2. Sebadoh - The Freed Pig (Sebadoh have recently had their III album re-mastered, re-issued and re-reviewed. Most hacks concur that this is one of the most overlooked records of the 90s, coming as it did during the whole grung thang. Sebadoh were a little all-over-the-shop for that scene and a little too full-on for the burgeoning college rock movement, but history and re-visitation has been kind to them. This, one of their strongest pop songs is testament to Lou Barlow's knack for a keening, heartfelt pop melody.)
  3. Viva Voce - From The Devil Himself (Psyche-pop from Viva Voce's new record, Get Yr Blood Sucked Out with a country-ish lilt. I'd previously written VV off as a poor-man's Joy Zipper, but now I see that I was a little unfair on them as the new album is pretty neat indeed.)
  4. Sparklehorse - Don't Take My Sunshine Away (Ah, the return of Sparklehorse has been greeted with much celebration chez Yer Mam! The new album is better than could have been hoped for. There's not much in the way of change really; Linkous seems to have lightened up a little, taking 'Dear Prudence' as his main inspiration for this track, the opener, but the fragile voice and the strange electronics, sprinkled sparingly but effectively on the alt-country backing are all present and correct.)
  5. Keith - Mona Lisa's Child (The remixes of this seem to be doing the blog rounds at the moment, but I still prefer the original. Starting off all ominous and portentous before unfolding into an infectious loose groove that recalls Happy Mondays at their peak. Nice work.)
  6. Jeffrey & Jack Lewis - Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror (Possibly one of the most hilarious songs I've heard in a long time, Jeff & Jack use Oldham's favoured Appalachian folk as a backdrop for a vicious attack on hipsterism. But is it really Will Oldham who raped Jeff as they disembarked the L train? I think that's something that's best kept between Lewis and the Bonnie Prince.)
  7. Zero 7 feat. Jose Gonzalez - Futures (Rub 'N' Tug Remix) (Messrs Bullock and Duncan give the soporific sounds of Zero 7 and Mr Festival a fittingly Balearic makeover that would be best suited to soundtracking an Ibiza sunset. They just get better and better don't they?)
  8. Of Montreal - Disconnect The Dots (Mixel Pixel Remix) (It's strange that it should take a remix album to get me into a band, but that is what has happened with Of Montreal's recent Satanic Twins collection, of which this is one of the best tracks. Now I'm converted.)
  9. Junior Boys - Count Souvenirs (I originally said, back on the old blog, that So This Is Goodbye isn't as good as Last Exit. I take that back now, as with every listen, the new Junior Boys record gets better, with this being my current favourite. Adam Greenspan's rich croon has never sounded as good as it does here.)
  10. Bell Biv Devoe - Poison (Original 12" Mix) (I posted this a while back as a one-off mp3, but I just had to sneak it onto a mixtape at some point. The outmoded lyrical sentiments may seem a bit quaint to some ears now, but the main conceit of the song, that you should never trust a big butt and a smile, is one that I still adhere to.)
  11. Kelis - Blindfold Me (The mp3 says that it features Nas, but this is actually the Nas-less version, as I think that, given their personal relationship, it enters too much information territory. Get a room! This version, with just Kelis on the mic is more palatable and you can pretend that she's singing about you, if you're that way inclined.)
  12. The Pack - Vans (After slagging off crunk music the other day, here's a crunk track that I actually like. It's the backpacker sentiments of the words that won me over, the juxtaposition of that with the thuggish music is what makes this good. That and the hook, "Got my Vans on but they look like sneakers".)
  13. OutKast - The Train (feat. Sleepy Brown and Scar) (One of the few highlights from the Idlewild album and that's because it's a Big Boi track, essentially. They've done this kind of thing before, but no-one does it better than OutKast when they get it right.)
  14. Kanye West - We Major (feat. Nas and Really Doe) (You know how the genius of an artist doesn't really hit you at first? Well, I recently re-visited Late Registration and realised just how good Kanye is. It was this song, with the slowed-down drums, cascading harp sample and the queasy trumpets that finally made me open my eyes and see this guy (at least with Jon Brion lending a helping hand) as the maverick 'Brian Wilson of hip-hop' that people reckon he is.)
  15. Marit Bergman - No Party (The Field Remix) (The Field is really making a name for himself as a remixer with his re-rubs of this and a recent James Figurine track. This is my favourite of the two as this shows that The Field has an excellent understanding of just how devastating and thrilling repetition can be, taking chopped up elements of the original and letting them whirl and double-back on each other until all you want to do is dance along. One of the best remixes of '06 thus far.)
  16. Trentemoller - While The Cold Winter Waiting (Finishing things up with one of the strongest tracks from Trentemoller's very strong debut album, The Last Resort. This is the one where he out-ethereal's Sigur Ros, making the widely-held belief among electro-purists that live instruments have no place on an electronic album seem as absurd as saying that all rock albums should be released on wax cylinder.)

Part One (The Thermals - Of Montreal) Zipped and Rapidshared

Part Two (Junior Boys - Trentemoller) Zipped and Rapidshared

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mixtape Ahoy! Chapter One

Hello people! Sorry this week's mixtape is so late, but, y'know, I'm a perfectionist. Hey, now it's here though and it's very bloody good indeed, so get your download on and put on your dancing shoes! If you want any individual tracks, you can fuck off! I mean, you can email me at and maybe we can sort something out. It's a double this week, with the second part to come tomorrow. Tuck in!

  1. Otterman Empire - Texas Radio (A rather smart re-edit from Thomas Bullock (Map Of Africa, Rub 'N' Tug) that was released on the shit-hot Whatever We Want Records last year. In case you were wondering, it's an edit of The Doors' 'The Wasp (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)' off L.A. Woman. All Bullock does is stretch out certain parts of the track for maximum effect in such a way that it makes you wonder why Jim and co. didn't do that in the first place.)
  2. Sukia - Vaseline & Sound (Oodles of moog, sitar and surf guitar pepper this track from the oft-forgotten Sukia. All I really know about them is that they were on Mo' Wax, their debut record, Contacto Espacial Con El Tercer Sexo is one of the great lost albums of the 90s and one of their number played Joey in Airplane! You know, the kid who got to go up to the cockpit? "Do you like gladiator movies, Joey?")
  3. Dr. Octagon - Blue Flowers (An absolute classic. I've yet to hear Kool Keith's latest album in his Dr. Octagon guise, but I should really seek it out. It can't be as good as this though, can it?)
  4. Dudley Perkins - Me (The Stones Throw man fancies himself as a bit of a contemporary Marvin Gaye and he's destined to never reach those heights. In fact, the jury's still out on whether he's got any songwriting chops at all, but Madlib's production elevates this above the norm. Love the reggae-ish reciprocating piano line.)
  5. Horace Andy - Skylarking (One of the things that I've got my ex-brother-in-law to thank for (and admittedly there aren't many) is turning me on to Horace Andy's early Studio One stuff, in particular this song. That unique voice is startlingly refined, even though the production is raw as fuck.)
  6. Sandie Shaw - Your Time Is Gonna Come (I love a good cover, me, and there's no better cover album than Sandie's Reviewing The Situation. This is one of the highlights of that record and while you Zep fans out there might think that no-one can outdo Robert Plant, I suggest you take a listen to this before you cry heathenry.)
  7. The Beauty Room - Holding On (The venerable soul-boy, Kirk Degiorgio's latest project is The Beauty Room. For the uncultured, this may sound like so much Zero 7 (more of them tomorrow), but when you're still humming it to yourself days later, you realise that there's more to this than your standard chill-out fare.)
  8. Amp Fiddler - Right Where You Are (Hot Chip Remix And Bonus Club Mixes) (The ever-prolific Chip get to remixing the Detroit ledge, taking him on a retro-electro-soul journey for nearly eight minutes. Just lushness personified.)
  9. Stephen Malkmus - Kindling For The Master (Major Swellings Remix) (Yes, THE Stephen Malkmus, getting re-rubbed up the right way by Major Swellings, aka Prins Thomas. It's a voyage that I don't think Malkmus has ever been on before, one that takes him to that great disco in outer-space before spitting him out the side of the ship onto the dancefloor at the Paradise Garage. Indie-schmindie has never sounded so good.)
  10. Escort - Starlight (Darshan Jesrani's Parks Department Dub) (The best straight-up disco track of the year gets a dubbed-out makeover from the Metro Area man, giving the original a more clandestine, after-hours feel. Those strings still hit in all the right places though.)
  11. Chromatics - Glass Slipper (Speaking of after-hours disco, Chromatics and Glass Candy are really starting to give DFA a run for their money in the dark dancefloor delights stakes. This track from last year's 'Nite' 12" is guaranteed to detonate any dark, dank basement club the world over.)
  12. Justus Kohncke - Overhead (Superb filtered house from the Kompakt man that manages to stay just the right side of cheese throughout. Like Discovery and Human After All never happened. In fact, if Daft Punk were still doing this kind of thing, I don't think the hipsters would have been so quick to disown them.)
  13. Mekon - Blood On The Moon (feat. Alan Vega and Bobby Gillespie) (A bloody mess, but in a good way. All noisy fx and cut-up drums with nonesensical lyrics from Vega and Gillespie. Excellent stuff.)
  14. Mclusky - To Hell With Good Intentions (One of the most underrated bands in recent years with one of their finest tracks. 'Nuff said, except for "My love is bigger than your love, we take more drugs than a touring funk band. Sing it!")
  15. Wolf Parade - Fancy Claps (I'm sure that I've put this on mixtapes past, but I recently went back to Apologies To The Queen Mary, only to find that, apart from the untoppable 'I'll Believe In Anything', this is my favourite song of theirs.)
  16. The Young Knives - Loughborough Suicide (A song about a place that's supposed to be one of Britain's most depressing towns that manages to be both scabrous and uplifting. Job's a good 'un!)

Part One (Otterman Empire - Stephen Malkmus) Zipped and Rapidshared

Part Two (Escort - The Young Knives) Zipped and Rapidshared

Second part tomorrow, people,


"Reason I tried, but then reason, she died."

So, yesterday was a strange one. I saw the same band, The Young Knives, do two instores in Manchester at different record shops. I'd never heard of any band doing this before, especially when said band aren't actually playing a gig in Manchester that night, but it seems that The Young Knives are really going hell-for-leather to promote their debut full-length, Voices Of Animals And Men.

Frankly, I don't know whether to admire them for this or be put off by it. There's a part of me that feels this is a likeable display of pro-activity from a British band in an age when it seems that most Brit bands want the audience (or at least the NME) to come to them and if they don't, then they either call it quits or cynically slag off a rival in the press, purely because they have nothing else to bring to the table. There's also a part of me that feels this kind of shameless over-promotion is cloying and overreaching. In fact, inbetween songs at Fopp yesterday (the first of the two instores), TYK's bassist, The House Of Lords (wacky fucker) pumped his fist sarcastically when he announced that latest single, 'Weekends And Bleak Days' hit the top 40 at number 35. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but isn't that quite decent for a band of TYK's ilk? They don't peddle the kind of bland populism that the likes of Keane or Coldplay do, yet they aren't out there enough to be a proper cult concern, so number 35 for a band like them is pretty damn good.

It seems to me that The Young Knives are shooting for the moon when, if they had a shred of self-awareness, they would realise that this is never going to happen. What makes The Young Knives a good band is that they seem to plough their own furrow, regardless of current tastes. They've also decided to stay with upcoming indie, Transgressive, rather than sign to a major, which should ensure a bit of longevity for them as long as the label stays afloat. So, a little bit of advice for The Young Knives; just relax and enjoy the ride. You're never going to be millionaires doing this thing, so just chill the fuck out and make sure you have a laugh while you're doing it.

As for the gigs anyway, the Fopp one was more reserved than the later HMV one, probably only down to the time of day. Also, my companion and I adjourned to the pub after Fopp, thus ensuring that we were slightly buzzy for the HMV one, so that helped with our enjoyment of the whole thing. The Young Knives were very good at both, running through short selections of songs from the new record and the odd b-side. 'She's Attracted To' was excellent at both gigs, (although slightly more intense at the HMV do) the springy bassline hitting your bowels in a way that should be outlawed. The band were enthusiastic enough both times, without ever really pulling out all the stops. Hey, they were just instores after all. One of the best songs at the HMV mini-gig was 'Elaine', a b-side from the 'Here Comes The Rumour Mill' single, so I thought I'd post it for y'all...

The Young Knives - Elaine (mp3)

You might get the mixtape tomorrow if you're lucky...


Atlantic Records for T.I. clearance.


I spoke about the sheer awesomeness of this track last Thursday and I explained back then that I wouldn't post it until I had a decent quality mp3. Well, guess what? I now have in my possession a top-line mp3 rip of the brand new, Timbaland-produced Justin Timberlake single, with T.I. on guest vocal duties. No doubt that this is probably the best pop song of the year, possibly one of the best songs of the year, full stop. Timbaland really outdoes himself on the production, layering the track with some excellent staccato, whooshy, acid fx and bedrocking it with his trademark drums that click and pop in such a way that it feels like your ears are being massaged.

T.I. doesn't disgrace himself on his verse either, doing his patented Southern drawl. The whole fucking thing is just huge. Definitely one of Timbo's best productions, up there with 'Try Again', 'Get Ur Freak On' and 'Cry Me A River'. Pure, unadulterated genius.


Justin Timberlake feat. T.I. - My Love (mp3)

I'll post some more later, honest...


Monday, August 21, 2006

"You can't pick your family, but you can pick your friends or your lovers"

Hello there!

It's the start of a new week on Yer Mam! and I'm no closer to having a new mixtape for you. I scrapped the first one, because, as I said on Saturday, it was a bit on the strange side. Then yesterday, I compiled a new one and scrapped that just because I thought it wasn't really up to standard. I know that you're probably thinking I just throw random songs together and put it on here and in the main you would be right. I do, however, have a certain standard and this new one just felt like there hadn't been a lot of thought put into it, so in the bin it went. I am going to try and nail another new mixtape tonight and tomorrow and it should be up for your downloading pleasure towards the end of the week.

Anyway, let's take a look at some of today's new release singles. It's a disparate and largely pretty decent bunch, with a few stinkers in there for me to sink my teeth into. So what gets the coveted Single Of The Week laurels? Keep reading and find out...


There's a rainy city connection to Amp Fiddler's brand new single (taken from his forthcoming sophomore album, Afro Strut, so forgive me if I feel a little loyalty. Justin Crawford, aka Only Child and one-half of the venerable Unabombers co-produced this lush slab of house-soul, but really it's pure Detroit. Donny Hathaway is an obvious touchstone as Fiddler's voice has that same soul-drenched feel that makes his rich croon sound so effortless. Pure aural bliss that's backed up by some pretty nifty remixes courtesy of Tom Middleton and the increasingly prolific Hot Chip.

The Beauty Room - Soul Horizon/Holding On (Peacefrog)

Gorgeous acoustic soul from The Beauty Room, which is the latest venture from wandering soulboy, Kirk Degiorgio. It might seem a bit Zero 7 to some ears, but after a few listens, this double-A side still manages to hold your attention, rather than acting as sonic wallpaper. Of the two, 'Holding On' is more successful as it has a big, fat, warm fender rhodes running through its centre. Comfort music of the highest order.

Beyonce feat. Jay-Z - Deja Vu (RCA)

The general consensus on 'Deja Vu' is that it's a bit of a letdown and granted, after 'Crazy In Love', everything that Beyonce does must feel like a disappointment. I actually really like this though, so fuck all the haters. I think it's the intro where Beyonce introduces the elements of the song a la 'Buffalo Stance' that won me over, but that bassline is killer. Maybe Jigga's verse feels like a bit of an afterthought, but as far as sassy soul-pop goes, Christina aside, Beyonce still does it best.

Coldcut - Walk A Mile In My Shoes (Ninja Tune)

Coldcut are one of those dependable, comfortable outfits who you can always rely on to be pretty decent, but they've hardly been at the bleeding edge for some time now. Here, they draft in the equally dependable Robert Owens to sing his heart out over the top of their mid-tempo breaks and beats. There are definitely worse ways to spend five minutes, but it's unlikely that you'll be going back for repeat listens.

The Crimea - Baby Boom (Warners)

Dull-as-ditchwater adult-oriented indie that you kind of wish would finish already after about the first four bars. The kind of winsome tripe that Jo Whiley tries to shove down our throats most Radio 1 afternoons. Avoid like the plague.

Dashboard Confessional - Don't Wait (Vagrant)

More soulless emoting from Chris Carrabba. Wasn't this guy touted by the NME a couple of years ago as one of the next big things? While it wouldn't be the first time that they've backed a lame horse, it's hard to see what anyone, other than Matchbox 20 fans would see in this plastic, bland stadium-rocking.

DMX - Lord Give Me A Sign (RCA)

Is there anything more repellent than when rappers do that, "Are you there God? It's me, (insert rapper's name here)" thing? Frankly no, and the increasingly shite DMX doesn't buck that trend. Give me 'Party Up' or 'Ruff Ryders Anthem' any day of the week. Even Scott Storch's production is weaker than Walter the Softie.

Missy Elliott - We Run This (Atlantic)

Okay, so the use of Michael Viner's 'Apache' as a sample is pretty bloody hackneyed, but this is yet another big, dumb party banger from Missy. If anyone has earned the right to phone it in every now and then, it's Missy.

Final Fantasy - Many Lives -> 49 MP (Tomlab)

Owen Pallett, for he is Final Fantasy, seems to be gaining a bit of a large fanbase since the release of his He Poos Clouds album, but I've not really bought into it yet. It's admirable stuff, sounding like a throwback to the nineteenth century, but I personally think that it's hard to fall in love with. Not my cup of tea, I guess.

Hope Of The States - Left (Sony BMG)

I remember when Hope Of The States seemed quite promising, marrying the outlandish to the epic. Recently however, they seem determined to soften the edges that initially made them contenders. It gets quite loud and pushes the buttons marked 'big', but eventually feels a little empty.

Keane - Crystal Ball (Island)

That new Keane album sounded alright the first few times I listened to it, but I slowly woke up to the fact that it just impressed on the grounds that the first album was so poor. After the ballsy (for them at least) 'Is It Any Wonder?', this is back in 'Everybody's Changing' territory for the twenty-first century's Aled Jones and his two backing muppets. Not very good at all.

Justus Kohncke - Advance (Kompakt)

Ah, this is more like it! Kompakt's funkiest artist, Justus Kohncke makes with the late-night grooves on this little number, liberally sprinkled with dirty guitar and what sound like actual live drums! Nice work, Mr Kohncke. B-side, 'Overhead' is just as good too.

Lazy-B - Underwear Goes Inside The Pants (Universal)

I absolutely loathe this kind of stuff. I hated that Baz Luhrmann single from a few years back and I fucking hate this too. Nobody should do this spoken word thing, especially not the guy from Aqua and sub-Bill Hicks comic, Greg Giraldo. Just fuck off already.

Lil' Jon - Snap Yo Fingers (TVT)

I'm kind of glad that the whole cult of Lil' Jon hasn't really caught fire on these shores, as, and I say this even though I know how old it will make me sound, crunk music just sounds like an annoying ringtone to me. It's so minimal and cheap-sounding that I don't think any crunk producer can lay claim to advancing the cause of hip-hop music really. That Cassie tune, 'Me & U' is pretty good, but really this is braindead bollocks that has all the joy of having an angry wasp stuck down your ear for four minutes.

McAlmont & Butler - Speed (Rough Trade)

Everything that McAlmont & Butler do, for me anyway, will forever be in the shadow of 'Yes', one of the greatest songs of the '90s, nay, of all time. This one-off, limited 7" release doesn't surpass that monolith, but it's pretty classy stuff all the same. Anything that David McAlmont lends his pipes to is always going to be listenable though. A welcome addition to their collective catalogue.

Mekon - Boy Bitten/Blood On The Moon (Wall Of Sound/PIAS)

John Gosling is back with some filthy, dirty, mucky electro-trash that Genesis P. Orridge (his ex-Psychic TV comrade) would be proud of. 'Boy Bitten' has a deadpan vocal from Phillippa Horan that is at turns scary and sexy, while 'Blood On The Moon' has Suicide's Alan Vega and one Mr Bobby Gillespie on the mics. It's sonically harsh and confrontational and it's also pretty fucking good. Vega is the star of the show, but it does make you wonder why Gillespie didn't go down this road with Riot City Blues. If this wasn't enough, there are also remixes from Padded Cell (giving 'Boy Bitten' a lo-slung, death disco makeover) and In Flagranti (whose remix of 'Blood...' I have yet to hear, so if anyone out there has it, y'know, fling it my way) to round out the package. Neato!

The Meligrove Band - Everyone's A Winner (V2)

Above-par indie-rock from the bloggers' favourites' album Planets Conspire. Anyone pining for Wolf Parade who finds Sunset Rubdown a little too weird could do worse than to check these guys out.

Morrissey - In The Future When All's Well (Sanctuary)

Mozza continues to release Ringleader's strongest songs as singles. On this one, Tony Visconti's presence looms large and it's got a cracking 70s rock feel to it. It also helps that it sounds a bit like 'Cigarettes & Alcohol' at the beginning.

Pharrell feat. Kanye West - Number One (Virgin)

You get the feeling when listening to this abomination that it's one once-good hitmaker handing over to the hitmaker of choice right now. You can't help but think though that maybe Kanye should have produced this and then kept it to himself, issuing a restraining order to Pharrell to not come within 100 miles of it. Oh Pharrell, what happened?

The Rogers Sisters - Why Won't You (Too Pure)

The Rogers Sisters are one of those bands who you think would probably be mega-huge if they could just get a break now and then. There are definitely dumber, less-proficient bands who have crossed over. The buzzy, choppy, turbo-charged scuzz-rock of 'Why Won't You' probably won't change their fortunes, however. Destined to be a support band for the rest of their career.

Thom Yorke - Harrowdown Hill (XL)

This probably would have been a sure-fire SOTW, but I question the motive behind releasing a single from a solo album that Yorke isn't even promoting. That aside though, this is astounding stuff. A political statement about the tragic death of weapons inspector, David Kelly wrapped up in an insidiously funky tune. It'd be nice to see this in the top ten.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Top 300 Singles: 2000-2005 (160-151)

I thought I'd resurrect this spurious, contentious list that I started over on the old blog. I can't even remember why I compiled it in the first place, but I'm sure as hell going to finish it, so here we are, re-starting our countdown from number 160...

160. DAVID HOLMES - 69 POLICE (Go! Beat, 2000)

Now ubiquitous, due to its soundtracking of many a goal montage, but the lead single from Holmes' ill-fated score for a yet-to-be-made film, Bow Down To The Exit Sign is still as beguilingly funky as it was six years ago. Pushing all the buttons marked 'cinematic', Holmes really imbues the track with a sense that it could have been made at any time in the last forty years, as it takes in krautrock, balearica, hippy-ish, Haight-Ashbury grooves and trip-hop along the way. Not his best tune (that'll be 'Don't Die Just Yet') but it certainly comes close.

David Holmes - 69 Police (mp3)

159. THE ZUTONS - DON'T EVER THINK (TOO MUCH) (Deltasonic, 2004)

Much-maligned in so-called respectable critical circles, The Zutons are a band that I've always had a bit of a soft spot for and this, in my opinion, is their finest two-and-a-half minutes. Channeling the spirit of early Dexy's Midnight Runners, whilst putting their own ramshackle, Scouse stamp on the thing, 'Don't Ever Think...' is a brief riot of colour and sound that's as flimsy as it is fun. There aren't many bands out there today who can seriously claim the aforementioned Dexy's and Sly & The Family Stone as a reference point and that's why we shouldn't overlook The Zutons while they're around.

The Zutons - Don't Ever Think (Too Much) (mp3)

158. ANDREW W.K. - PARTY HARD (Mercury, 2001)

Another tune, like the last, that you can just file away under big, dumb fun is this, the debut single from vaguely creepy retro-rocker, Andrew W.K. 'Party Hard' is a fist-pumping, beer-chugging monstrosity that, while you wouldn't want to be left alone in a kitchen at a party with it, you'd happily stay at an acceptable distance and watch it wreak havoc like the Beasties in the 'Fight For Your Right...' video. Just don't come crying to me when it's got you in a sweaty headlock, calling you its best friend.

157. CLIPSE - GRINDIN' (Star Trak/Arista, 2002)

I wrote about the Clipse the other day at length, but I'll add here that 'Grindin'' is one of The Neptunes' best beats, all clicking fingers, clapping hands and, as I said the other day, what sounds like car doors slamming. The hook is fucking awesome too. "Y'know what I keep in the linin'".

Clipse - Grindin' (mp3)


Using the gentle art of (ahem) making babies as a metaphor for creative expression would normally make the average listener run for the hills, but The Roots and ChesnuTT manage to make it not only palatable, but thrilling. This retro-proto-funk number is the closest that The Roots have come to a solid-gold pop hit, with ?uestlove's thumping drums and the clipped guitar line updating 'Harlem Shuffle' for the neo-soul generation.

The Roots feat. Cody ChesnuTT - The Seed (2.0) (mp3)

155. BRIGHT EYES - LUA (Saddle Creek, 2004)

Whatever your opinion on the precocious troubadour, Conor Oberst, you'd probably all agree that the little fucker can knock out a tune on occasion. 'Lua', despite being one of his most onanistic (the guy only ever seems to sing about himself, right?), is also perhaps one of his most affecting. Stripped down to just an acoustic and that fragile, always near-breaking voice suits him better than a full band most of the time and although the story of drunkenness, love and regret may be a little difficult to fully empathise with, the urge to smack him in the face is weaker over these four-and-a-half minutes in comparison to the rest of his oeuvre.

Bright Eyes - Lua (mp3)


Anyone who endeavours to make cut 'n' paste music can find their efforts being nothing more than a bit of enjoyable, yet transient fluff. The enduring brilliance of what The Avalanches did with 'Frontier Psychiatrist' is down to the track being more than just a bunch of random, disparate elements thrown together to make the listener smile the first few times around, but want to jab an icepick down their ears after that. 'Frontier Psychiatrist' is a bold, dizzying bout of showing off that just happens to, y'know, tell a bit of a story. That the story is completely nonesensical is irrelevant as I dare you to not make those silly, pompous voices when you hear it now. "That boy needs therapy!"

The Avalanches - Frontier Psychiatrist (mp3)

153. LINDA LAMB - HOT ROOM (International Deejay Gigolo, 2001)

The fact that this wasn't an absolutely huge mega-hit still saddens me to this day, as 'Hot Room' is the best song that Siouxsie Sioux never wrote. Unfairly lumped in with the then-prevalent Electroclash debacle, due to the IDG affiliation, this mini-psychodrama still has the power to chill and surprise to this day. Maybe a re-issue wouldn't be out of the question.

Linda Lamb - Hot Room (mp3)


MMJ announced their arrival, on these shores at least, with this five-song collection of tracks from their first couple of albums. It perfectly encapsulated what this band were all about for us ignorant limeys, taking in the warm, celestial country of 'Lowdown', the rousing 'The Way That He Sings' and the soulful 'Come Closer', alongside 'O Is The One That Is Real' and 'Sooner'. It wasn't exactly a kick-down-the-doors statement of intent, but that's not MMJ's style. This is an ear-tickling sampler for the sublime music that was yet to come from this special band.

My Morning Jacket - Lowdown (mp3)

151. BLOC PARTY - BANQUET (Moshi Moshi, 2004)

Bloc Party are still a bit of an enigma really. There clearly a fiercely intelligent band who seem to want to consolidate that with their knack for a tune, yet they still want to be able to just do what they want to do. There also a band who make music that is seemingly very well-suited to the live arena, but are often a reticent, nervous live act. The one track that always seem to work well at gigs is this as this most eloquently marries the cerebral nature of their music with the pop edge that they crave. A dazzling, high-tension mini-epic that almost gets better with every listen.

Bloc Party - Banquet (mp3)

Visit the old blog to look at previous entries in this list. Or alternatively, you could just stick knitting needles in your eyes instead.

Konichiwa Bitches!

Hello everyone!

I did have a brand new mixtape for everyone, but it was a bit 'conceptual' and weird, so I canned it when I realise that it was probably more of a mix for myself and not for everyone. I'm currently at the drawing board as I type, trying to compile a new one for y'all. I've got a week off from work this week, so I hope to get in some more blogging than usual. It probably won't happen but we'll see.

So, Kelis is back with a new record and, as you can see from the artwork, a new look also. I'm not sure if I like it to be honest. I'll level with you, I have had a bit of a hard-on for Miss Rogers since Kaleidoscope, both in a musical sense and a phwoarr sense, but parts of Kelis Was Here really turned me off. There's more than a little flab in its eighteen tracks, but there's still some absolute belters there that are worthy of her output thus far. ''Til The Wheels Fall Off', despite being produced by Will.I.Am is superb, 'Bossy', as you all should know by now, is a brilliantly brassy bit of self-aggrandisement (or self-parody, perhaps) and there are quite a few pleasingly bizarre moments like 'What's That Right There' and 'I Don't Think So'. The overriding feeling you get when listening to Kelis Was Here however is that a little quality control would have gone a long way. Kelis fans shouldn't abandon all hope, but this isn't quite the great pop r'n'b album that we've come to expect from her.

Kelis - What's That Right There (mp3)

An artist who we've learned not to expect greatness from, except when he is playing Cheese in The Wire is Method Man. Still a fantastic MC, with an irrepressible style and tons of charisma, he's not released a decent album since Tical back in 1994. He doesn't surprise us with his new album, 4:21...The Day After. It's a perfunctory, overlong, lazy album with fewer bangers than your local off-licence on November 6th. However, when I looked at the tracklisting, I thought "Aye, aye! What's this then? Mr Mef has covered Robyn? Get outta town!", or words to that effect, as right there, at track 15 was 'Konichiwa Bitches'.

It wasn't long after that I realised that Robyn named her song after something that Gza said on Chappelle's Show once (the racial draft sketch, if anyone's interested), so the erstwhile Clifford Smith must be merely referencing the same thing that Robyn was. When I heard it, this theory was confirmed. A missed opportunity if ever there was one. I'd pay good money to hear Method Man rapping about his "ba-da boom-booms". Just think about that gravelly voice spitting "One left, one right, that's how I organise 'em. You know I fill my cups no need to super size them" and I dare you not to smile.

Method Man - Konichiwa Bitches (mp3)

Robyn - Konichiwa Bitches (mp3)

Ciao, motherfuckers!


Thursday, August 17, 2006

"Peel money rolls 'til our thumbs get paper cuts"

Okay kids, it's time for another nothing post, although you do get some mp3s into the bargain. I'm obsessed with Clipse at the moment. I've been into them since 2002 and the release of Lord Willin' but now, with the sort-of-impending release of much-delayed, much fucked-around-with (by record labels mostly) second album, Hell Hath No Fury (it's out on Hallowe'en. Spooky!) being kind-of upon us, I'm licking my lips in anticipation.

I know that there are probably some of you out there thinking, "What's a Clipse?!". Well, Clipse are affiliates of The Neptunes and it seemed with Lord Willin' that they saved up all their best beats for them. Some of you may know 'Grindin'' and it's backing, made up of car doors slamming and guns cocking, which was pretty ubiquitous at the time. Clipse do the gangsta thing, but never glamourise it, coating the whole thing with a thick layer of grime and grit, which actually makes it all the more alluring to my ears. Not that I'm going to hit the streets and start hustling anytime soon.

The four-year wait between albums has been agonising, but us Clipse fans haven't exactly been starved of stuff from Pusha T and Malice over the last twelve months. Last year, we had the white label release of 'Eghck!' and two underground mixtape releases under the banner of We Got It 4 Cheap, while so far this year, we've had the single 'Mr Me Too' and DJ Benzi's We Got The Remix album (from which the Clapton-sampling Catchdubs remix below is taken), which was basically a mix of remixes from various people like Brucker and Sinden and Diplo amongst others. Lately, we've been treated to the leaking of 'Wamp Wamp (What It Do)', a Hell Hath... taster featuring Slim Thug. Anticipation is hitting fever pitch as of late with the early word being very good indeed.

In the meantime (and before this post gets so dry that it turns to dust), check out the mp3s below and maybe you'll understand why I'm near-wetting myself...

Some recent, new-ish stuff:

Clipse Eghck! (mp3)

Clipse - Re-Up Anthem (Nick Catchdubs Remix) (mp3)

Clipse feat. Pharrell - Mr Me Too (mp3)

Clipse feat. Slim Thug - Wamp Wamp (What It Do) (mp3)

And three tracks from the first record:

Clipse - Young Boy (mp3)

Clipse - Grindin' (mp3)

Clipse - When The Last Time (mp3)

I don't normally post this many tracks from one act, but hey, it is Clipse. Also, I can't think of owt else to blog about.


P.S. Here's a bonus track that I was reminded of by a fantastic poster at work. I'll try to get a pic of the poster tomorrow, but if I tell you that the poster was alluding to the chic comeback of the raincoat, then you will probably get the joke. What a song though! One of the best pop singles of the 90s.

Mark Morrison - Return Of The Mack (mp3)

P.P.S. It pleases me to say that after the dreadful 'Sexy Back', Justin Timberlake's next single, 'My Love' featuring T.I. is absolutely 'kin brilliant. I could post the mp3 that I've got, but the quality's a bit poo, so I'll keep an eye out for a decent rip before I put it up. It's worth waiting for though.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

"Don't even bang unless you plan to hit somethang"


Right, this is just a bit of a placeholder really, while I cook up something decent to blog about. I've still got to do that TV On The Radio review (I'll be damned if I let that get the better of me) and I intend to resurrect my list of the best singles of the noughties which I started on the old blog. I'm having some shite time-management issues at the moment and I'm also lacking a bit of writing discipline, so I apologise that Yer Mam! is not up to the standards that I would like it to be right now, but hey, at least I'm trying!

Okay, so OutKast's new, highy-anticipated, much-delayed album, Idlewild is now unofficially out there and the verdict seems to be extremely hostile from some of the early reviews. After a couple of cursory listens, I am saddened and disappointed to say that OutKast have done the unthinkable; they've made a bad album.

The obvious divide between Big Boi and Dre that occurred on Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is even more glaring here, despite the fact that they appear on the same track more often than they did on that epic. One of the most interesting things about OutKast has always been the dichotomy and how they compliment each other, but on Idlewild, they're just not singing from the same hymn sheet. In fact, they could have a continent between them and they couldn't sound more distant and disparate.

Whereas with the last album, I fell into the Dre camp (The Love Below was loads more rewarding than Speakerboxxx and also contained the best pop tunes), it's Big Boi who comes out the victor here, purely by virtue of coming across as more interested in the project. Dre's heart is clearly not in it and the tracks where he goes solo (with the exception of maybe 'Idlewild Blues') either fall completely flat or alienate the listener.

Maybe I'm reading too much into what is essentially a soundtrack album, but it's hard to listen to Idlewild and keep the faith that I've held since Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. Maybe it's a grower and, who knows, maybe the film will be good, but the whole thing screams Under The Cherry Moon. Dre, stick to the acting in future and Big Boi, go it alone. OutKast R.I.P.

OutKast - Morris Brown (mp3)

Here's a reminder of how good 'Kast used to be...

OutKast - Da Art Of Storytellin' (Part 1) (mp3)

I've recently realised that Bumrocks is the perfect blog. In fact, to call it a blog would be doing it a disservice, the only resemblance it has to yer average blog being the dated entries. It's more of an Aladdin's cave of great lost music (although there is an occasional new track on there). The Bumrocks guys post a tune nearly every day and the strike rate is phenomenal, with around 90% of them being a stone-cold classic. Also, they don't write some impenetrable or fawning guff about each track, further adding to the mystery, choosing to just post the track and let you fill in the blanks.

Fitting in perfectly with the current space disco trend, the Bumrockists flit between Italo, floaty, downtempo disco, celestial folk and even (gulp) prog, always skirting the cheese threshold, but never vaulting over it. So, I guess I just want to say thank you, Bumrocks, for the music. Make sure you become a convert. Here's a past Bumrocks 'hit'.

Steve Miller Band - Slinky (mp3)

Back soon, maybe tomorrow, with something more substantial.


Monday, August 14, 2006

"So nice of you to join us, Model Asshole!"

Hello there!

Y'all have a good weekend? Hope you're all refreshed and everything. Me, I feel a bit out of it to be honest, but hey, onwards and upwards and all that shite.

After taking last week off, due to the new releases being a big pile of stinking manure, it's the return of the single reviews. There were a few contenders from the worlds of indie and electronica this week, but in the end I plumped for a great big sugary dollop of gangsta-r'n'b-hip-hop, courtesy of Tony Starks and the young buck who is so sick of love songs.


Okay, so it may well bear more than a little resemblance to Jay-Z's 'Song Cry' , but this tale of sexual betrayal, coming from the point of view of the hurt thug is a rare example in hip-hop of a balance being amicably and thrillingly struck between sentiment and machismo. If you have been within five feet of a radio in the past six months, you may have had your fill of Ne-Yo, but the boy earns his money here. In fact, his "That shit you just don't do" at the end of the middle-eight is the track's real emotional wallop. Ghostface is superb as usual, too and you can't help but side with him. Girl is triflin'!

Arctic Monkeys - Leave Before The Lights Come On (Domino)

Brand new, yet strikingly familiar single from this year's biggest indie success story. It pushes all the buttons that you'd expect an Arctic Monkeys track to push, but never quite reaches the heights of their best tunes. Time to go away and work on that difficult second album, methinks.

Calexico - Cruel (City Slang)

Second single from one of the most underrated albums of the year thus far, Garden Ruin, 'Cruel' is a superlative slice of country-rock that makes you yearn for dusty open roads, sour mash bourbon and mean women with dark pasts. No higher compliment can be paid than that really, can it?

Cansei De Ser Sexy - Let's Make Love And Listen To Death From Above (Sub Pop)

Hey kids! Let's have fun! But let's act like we're really bored and not having any fun at all! Hahaha! Aren't we so hip and cool?! That's what CSS seem to be saying here, but despite all that, there is actually a lot of fun to be had here. Even though they affect pretension, it actually turns out quite unpretentious, if you can get your head 'round that. Spank Rock's remix just strips the original back a little and adds a drum break from 'Is It All Over My Face?' from all those years ago to largely successful ends. Diplo does that thing that Diplo always does, i.e. chucking in everything but the kitchen sink, but even that has a certain charm to it. All in all, a decent little package that you'll grow tired of in, ooh, about a week.

The Dears - Ticket To Immortality (Bella Union)

One of the most buoyant things that The Dears have recorded to date, 'Ticket To Immortality' edges near, but doesn't quite reach the euphoria of their live shows, which, might I add, is one of the most fun things you can experience with your clothes on. I'm sure you could get naked if you wanted to, it's just that that kind of thing is frowned upon in public.

The Divine Comedy - To Die A Virgin (Parlophone)

Has someone slipped me some Prozac? It's just that I really like this too and Neil Hannon's work is often a little overarch for my rare tastes. It helps if you channel the vibes of early Roxy Music though. That's never a bad thing.

The Futureheads - Worry About It Later (679)

This track, one of the best from News And Tributes conjures up images of Barry, Ross and Jaff shooting at the crowd with their guitars and it manages to remind me of both Queen and Super Furry Animals. Now that's something that you have to tip your cap to.

Hot Chip - Colours (EMI)

The Chip steamroller on with their charm offensive (first the Mercury Prize panel, tomorrow the world) by releasing the cuddliest song off The Warning. Worth it just for the warm feeling that the mention of sticklebricks gives you. If that's not enough for you though, you've got the more-Daft-Punk-than-Daft-Punk Fred Falke rework (primo!) and the wonderfully strange DFA remix (super-primo!) that sounds like nothing the DFA have ever done before. Get it!

Iron & Wine - Such Great Heights (Sub Pop)

Bit of an odd move to release this, as it first saw the light of day in 2004 and appeared in an ad earlier in the year. It's a welcome addition to this week's releases though, as Sam Beam's careworn whisper gives The Postal Service's classic electro-emo a lovely homespun vibe. One of the best covers of recent years.

Junior Boys - In The Morning (Domino)

Preceeding the excellent So This Is Goodbye album is this nifty 12", featuring one of the more immediate, poppy tracks from that album, along with a dark, techy re-rub from Soma's Alex Smoke. Eager to give us more bang for our buck, The JBs stick 'The Equalizer' on the flip. Just avoid Morgan Geist's ultra-annoying remix of that track. Easily one of the worst things he's ever done, it'll make you want to stick knitting needles down your ears.

Felix Laband - Whistling In Tongues (Todd Terje Remix) (Compost)

The original is decent enough, but Terje's take on it really flies. Warm, shimmery and twinkly, it's one of the best mixes he's done in a while, resembling Lindstrom taking on Caribou. Very nice indeed.

Lo-Fi Fnk - Wake Up (Moshi Moshi)

Lo-Fi Fnk have been winning lots of people over lately with their unashamedly retro electro-soul. The jury's still out as far as I'm concerned, although I will concede that this is one of their stronger tracks. But what's this on the flip? A Justus Kohncke remix, you say? And it's all hi-nrg synths? We'll have some of that!

The Spinto Band - Oh Mandy (Radiate)

This probably would have been SOTW if it had been released a little earlier and even though it still sounds ineffably beautiful, it's sheer bloody ubiquity scuppers it. Cracking mandolin, mind.

The Sunshine Underground - Put You In Your Place (City Rockers)

Another year goes by, another rock band signs to City Rockers, regardless of their shoddy track record at promoting said genre (cf. The Duke Spirit, The Warlocks). Not that it's easy to sympathise with The Sunshine Underground though, as their lumpen, beery lad-rock won't be missed once CR forget that they even signed them or something. Hard-Fi do this kind of thing better. Seriously. Don't look at me like that!

The Young Knives - Weekends And Bleak Days (Hot Summer) (Transgressive)

"Hot summer! Hot, hot summer!". Piss-poor timing from Ashby-de-la-Zouch's finest, re-issuing this just as the clouds form over the UK, but this should give them that push they so desperately need. They've got better songs, but they're best saving them until their profile has raised a little.

That's it for now,


Sunday, August 13, 2006

"Mah hayuuh!"

Hello folks!

Went to the Manchester blogmeet yesterday and a fun time was had by all. Shame on you if you weren't there! A big hello to the lovely Kate from The Manchizzle, Jon from Black Country Grammar, Wodge from Why Did I Go Wrong? and all the other bloggers I met. Can't possibly link to you all, but you know who you are. Here's to the next one...

That there is Anders Trentemoller (sorry, can't do that Scandinavian o thing with the line through it) and the reason there is a picture of him there is that he has finally got around to making a proper full-length album. After years of 12s and remixes that bloggers and clubbers alike have frothed over, you'd be forgiven for thinking that his album would be a disappointment. Also, anyone who remembers last year's Tiefschwarz record will know that underground cred and re-rubbing nous does not always translate into a good full-length.

Well, it is with much delight that I announce The Last Resort as a resounding success. An excellent record with nods to shoegazing and dubstep alike. The tracks here have as many clean lines as warm, fuzzy edges, making for a varied, hugely enjoyable listen. Some may grumble at the accessibility of it all, but you can also bet that as many people will have it on their end-of-year lists. I'm sure that I'll say much more about this in the coming months, but for now, I'll leave you with the opening track...

Update: "Some may grumble at the accessibility of it all": What the fuck was I on about?! If anything, this is completely inaccessible, foreboding even. The bonus disc is a little more ear-friendly, but any self-respecting Trentemoller fan will have those already. If there's a lesson to be learned here, kids, it's listen to an album more than once before talking about it. I shall try to refrain from such shoddy blogging in future. I guess I was just excited at being able to post a track from Trentemoller's album. Still stand by what I said about it being an excellent record though and it gets better with every listen. One of the best of the year?

Trentemoller - Take Me Into Your Skin (mp3)

Hasta Manana,


Friday, August 11, 2006

"You mean de bear I had to send while you were so busy wit' your effing gwoomink!"

Hi there!

Just a few things to cover tonight. First of all, Spine Magazine has a download of a new Killer Mike track that really has to be heard. It's one of those all-guns-blazing, kick-down-the-fucking-doors, everybody listen up kind of hip-hop tracks where the MC, seemingly pissed off about everything, decides to tell the world where it's going wrong. It really is fucking barnstorming stuff. One of the best hip-hop tracks of the year, it's honest, angry and, largely, spot-on. PC points deducted though for the homophobic nature of a couple of lines towards the end of the track.

Killer Mike - That's Life (mp3) (save as...)

Um, I know I said that there was a few things to cover tonight, but really there's only two. Here's the second; if you're a blogger based in Manchester, then you really should be at this tomorrow. I'll be there. I'm the ginge with the beard, which isn't bad going seeing as that profile picture up in the corner was taken only two weeks ago and I'm clean shaven in that. Come and pay your respects to my face-fuzz as it is teh awesome.

Here's a little something for beardos everywhere...

Lordy - The Watchtower (The Emperor Machine Version) (mp3) (YSI)



Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Mixtape Ahoy! (Slight Return)

Okay, okay, I know that I said I'd get the second part of my double mixtape up yesterday, but I went drinking instead, because beer >>>> blog. Anyway, I'm sure you'll agree that it's worth the wait. There may only be ten tracks, but they clock in at around 78 minutes, so you definitely get some serious bang for your buck. I know that statement doesn't make much sense as I'm giving this stuff away, but hey, I'm not the type of guy to make sense when gibberish will do...


  1. Spirit Catcher - Key Generator (Some distinctly retro vibes going on in this monster. It's a little acid-y, but not annoyingly so, the drums thump along and the synths end up with their hands in close proimity to the lasers. Euphoric in the way that those bargain-bucket compos that only seem to sell in garage forecourts could only dream of.)
  2. Marco Bailey - Bollocks (Gabriel Ananda Remix) (Veteran Italian producer, Bailey gets a techy rework courtesy of the venerable Mr. Ananda. The swell and build in this track seems to come out of nowhere to goose you and tickle the titular part of your anatomy, giving you the best kind of shudder.)
  3. Minilogue - The Girl From Botany Bay (One of the most intricate, meticulously put-together tunes of the year thus far, 'The Girl From Botany Bay' has so much going on in its ten-plus minutes that it takes a good ten listens before it properly sinks in. When it does though, it's mucho satisfying. Waves of dischordant noise have never sounded so good.)
  4. Brennan Green feat. Ron Morelli - 900lb Man (One of the most wrong-headed things I've heard in a long time. Nothing like anything Green has done before, this has a spooked-out, sinister dub-punk vibe, not unlike The Pop Group but with added acid squiggles. Guaranteed to freak the shit out of you.)
  5. DJ Shadow feat. Phonte Coleman - Backstage Girl (A wonderfully told story about the seedy side of touring the world that features some dirty-arse Southern rock guitar, a Jon Spencer sample, oodles of harmonica and a fucking drum solo! Shadow's new album is all-over-the-shop but when it hits, like this, it kicks like a fucking mule! Features one of the best lyrics of '06 in, "I said 'I don't know your name, it feels wrong even though I don't show it'/She said, 'Wish I could tell you the same, but I won't tell you my name, 'cos I want you to fuck me like you don't know it'")
  6. Bruce Springsteen - Thunder Road (I'm obsessed at the moment, both with this song and with trying to turn people I know onto The Boss. What's not to like?! One of the sharpest, most spot-on songs on doomed youth ever written.)
  7. Midlake - Roscoe (Just because it's the dog's knackers.)
  8. Rick Ross feat. Dre - Blow (I think that Jay-Z might have been a bit previous in placing so much faith in Ross as his debut record, Port Of Miami is a bit on the dull side. There are a few solid-gold bangers though, including this. I could listen to him say his name all day though. Rrrrick Rrrrawsss!)
  9. The Rapture - Get Myself Into It (So, The Rapture are back with a track that the haters have already laid into. I like it though, despite it being a bit moronic in the lyrical stakes. Having said that though, since when have disco records had to have deep lyrical concerns? Get yourselves into it.)
  10. LCD Soundsystem - Yeah (Live) (Recorded at Electric Picnic last year, this more epic than Ben-Hur live version of one of LCD's finest moments just keeps going and going. Kind of makes you want to have been there though, if only to avoid the annoying deejay that comes in at the end with inane comments about the state of LCD Soundsystem's website. Ignore that and get yer dancing shoes on.)

Giddy Up! Volume Five Part 2 (Part 1) Zipped and Rapidshared

Giddy Up! Volume Five Part 2 (Part 2) Zipped and Rapidshared

Monday, August 07, 2006

Mixtape Ahoy!

Rightio, it's time for the first mixtape of the new blog. For the uninitiated, every week, I compile a load of songs that I seem to think go together, at least in my head. Then, I zip them all together and put them up on Rapidshare in two parts for you good, good people. If anybody would like individual tracks rather than the whole shebang though, drop me a line at and I'll see what I can do...


  1. Rekid - 85 Space (Slo-mo electro-italo-space-disco stuff (that enough hyphens for ya?) from Matt Edwards. Haven't seen much in the way of blog love for his Made In Menorca album, but it is one fine rekkid.)
  2. Lindstrom & Prins Thomas - Ballerina (Released on Cottage (Idjut Boys' record label) under the pseudonym Vallerenga Disko And Blues Combo, but we like to call a spade a spade here. L&PT don't totally deviate from their well-worn template, but the pianos are a bit jazzier than they've done before. Also, I love the bit at the end where the guitar goes all detuned. Tres charmant.)
  3. Jenny Wilson - Balcony Smoker (Baroque stuff here from the rich-voiced Swede. I like Wilson more everytime I listen to her album. Come play over in England, kiddo!)
  4. Seu Jorge - Tive Razao (I went to see this guy last weekend and he was brilliant. A samba'd up version of this was one of the highlights from the erstwhile Knockout Ned.)
  5. Liam Frost & The Slowdown Family - Paperboats (One of Frosty's strongest songs, this is a highlight from his debut record. The "oh-oh-ohhh"'s in the chorus may be a little on the cynical side, but hey, it pushes all the right buttons, so what the fuck.)
  6. Sly & The Family Stone - Spaced Cowboy (Possibly the track that best sums up Sly Stone's headspace at the time of making There's A Riot Goin' On. The fudgy, muddied production is really treacly here, to the point of impenetrability even. Also present and correct is some serious bizarro shit in the way of some comedy yodelling. Sly probably thought this was brilliant. It's not, but it's certainly a fascinating curio.)
  7. Map Of Africa - Dirty Lovin' (Although they tend to get lumped in with the beardo/space disco set, MOA (aka Thomas Bullock and DJ Harvey) mine the depths of murky late-60s psychedelia. Throw some pervy lyrics into the bargain and you've got something that came about thirty-five years too late for Nuggets or Pebbles, but would have easily nestled alongside The 13th Floor Elevators or The Electric Prunes.)
  8. Harry Nilsson & John Lennon - Subterranean Homesick Blues (From the bona fide curate's egg that is Pussy Cats, this take on the Dylan classic gives it a swamp-boogie feel, not unlike 'Nutbush City Limits' or Nilsson's own 'Jump Into The Fire'. It'll be interesting to hear The Walkmen's take on this on their upcoming cover of the Nilsson/Lennon collab.)
  9. Devo - Girl U Want (It really is amazing how sometimes a completely innocuous song can kick you in the testicles, purely because of something that's happening in your life. I heard this the other day for the first time in a while and it made me feel like punching the air, finding the girl I want and giving her a big ol' snog. Yep, my mouth is indeed watering and my mind is also spinning, but I'll never wear one of those plant-pot hats.)
  10. As Mercenarias - Panico (Brazilian post-punk, no-wave, manic shit. There's something about shouting in Portuguese that can just make something that would sound pretty unhinged in any other tongue so much more mental. Panico!)
  11. Link Wray - The Black Widow (Music to strut to. The fact that Link Wray did so much to further the cause of rock 'n' roll in the fifties is one that is destined to always go unrecognised. It's all Chuck Berry this, Elvis Presley that. Where's the love for Link?! I ask you!)
  12. Bricolage - Footsteps (There are so few seriously promising bands coming out of the UK at the moment that when one does appear it can really take you by surprise. I suppose that referencing Orange Juice was the logical progression from Gang Of Four, but I can still hear the nods towards Talking Heads bubbling under the surface, too. Keep an eye out for these guys.)
  13. Jack Mayborn - Music People (Did this rip-off the Rocky theme or did it come first. Either way, they are both quite similar. Just to be obscuro, this would be the one I'd play when I'm running up some steps.)
  14. Ghostface Killah feat. Cappadonna, Shawn Wigs & Trife - Jellyfish (Fishscale is still on heavy rotation 'round our way and it's the sheer consistency of the record that lends it to multiple plays. For instance, I only really realised the brilliance of this track the other day. It's that big, warm organ sample that runs through it that elevates it above any old hip-hop shit, you see.)
  15. Quiet Village Project - Too High To Move (I should have put a Radioslave track on here too and made this mix a proper Matt Edwards love-in, but the spacey, sunset vibes of this track do more than any other to assert that Edwards is one of the most underrated artists working today. Bask in it.)
  16. Syclops - The Fly (Another man of many guises is Maurice Fulton. This is instantly recognisable as his work, but the live drums (?) give it a bit of a band-y feel, which is something he hasn't really done before.)
  17. Poni Hoax - Budapest (These guys are about to be very hot indeed. This actually reminds me a little of Linda Lamb's 'Hot Room', but with added drama. Time will tell whether Poni Hoax are just Fischerspooner mk. 2 and for now I'm sitting on the fence. This track is fucking excellent though.)
  18. Peter Bjorn & John - Young Folks (Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Re-animation) (The original has already spread through the blogosphere like a virulent strain of bongo fever and all that BTWS (Erol Alkan is involved, if you didn't know) do is speed it up, chuck on a little gold dust, send some parts backwards and chuck the thing onto the dancefloor. That was all it really needed anyway.)
  19. Teki Latex - Disco Dance With You (Possibly one of the cheesiest things I've heard in, like, ever, but also one of the most charming. Repeating the word 'disco' is always a winner though, isn't it?)

Giddy Up! Volume Five Part One (Part 1) Zipped & Rapidshared

Giddy Up! Volume Five Part One (Part 2) Zipped & Rapidshared

Part two tomorrow,