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,



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