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