Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday Night Boredom Post Go!


The bender that I said I was going on yesterday hasn't really come off. I can't seem to shake this bloody migraine (it's okay readers, I'm sat in front of the laptop with a lamp just in front of me to the left. That's supposed to ward off eye strain, isn't it?), so I'm putting it off until next week, methinks.

So, as I'm bored and waiting for the new series of QI to start on BBC Two, I thought I'd pass the time by passing judgement on a couple of new records, warding you off from one and pleading with you to buy the other.

There's a certain section of music fans who just don't have time for Beck. I'm not one of them. In fact, I fucking love the guy so much that Beck is my second choice of name for my first-born son (the first choice being Evan, as in Dando. Yes, I really do think about things like this). The perceived notion amongst Beck-haters is that he's a clown and a charlatan who slips from skin to skin, never really coming across as being at ease in any he's tried on, from ersatz hip-hopper to folk troubadour via Prince-like sex-funker.

Now, I'm of the opinion that he's pretty much excelled at everything he's tried his hand at. I even liked last year's Guero, so it's with a heavy heart that I impart to you that Beck's new album, The Information just isn't very good.

The world-weary impassivity and laconic delivery that he's perfected, often making him sound like he's just that little bit removed from the song, here just sounds like laziness. His heart just isn't in it. Whereas his laidback nature has, in the past, been complemented by some seriously vital and alive pop songs, on The Information, the songs, in the main, just sound half-arsed, even unfinished at times ('1000 BPM', 'Nausea'). At worst, they just sound like paler versions of better songs from past albums and at best, they're fill-in album tracks.

I had to listen to this three times before anything really caught my ear and that was the Air-like highlight, 'Soldier Jane'. There was talk of this being a hip-hop album, but no-one in their right mind would get Nigel Godrich in to produce a hip-hop album. Seriously, what does this guy bring to records? I can't hear it. Everything here seems a little muted, as opposed to jumping out of the speakers and demanding your attention. Also elements of songs seem to work at cross-purposes from each other, making a lot of tracks sound jumbled and chaotic when there's really no need for them to be.

Sadly, just when Beck should be reaching the stage of his career when he's relaxing and making records that he wants to make, it seems that he's made a record here that people expect him to make. In doing so, he's made the first truly poor album of his career. It's just got really hard to look past that whole Scientology thing all of a sudden.

Beck - Soldier Jane (mp3)

And now for something completely different...

DC Recordings has been in operation for the last ten years now, started up by J. Saul Kane as an imprint on which to release his Depth Charge output. It's only been in the last couple of years that the label has come into its own though, releasing records by artists like Padded Cell, The Emperor Machine, White Light Circus and, well, you can have a look at the sleeve above to see who else.

Now seemed like the best time to release a compilation then. So they have and it's absolutely excellent. There's a certain aesthetic that DC Recordings seem to have pioneered lately. One that's not too dissimilar to the sound of labels like Rong Music, Feedelity and Whatever We Want, but eschews beardy Balearica for something that's altogether more 'out-there'.

In short, everything that DC have released over the last about three years sounds like it was beamed in from outer space and had some kind of Event Horizon-style trauma on the way here. Darkness pervades the robo-funk, with each track on Death Before Distemper sounding like it might erupt into violence at any given moment. It's this tension that makes this compilation so thrilling. You must go into your local record emporium tomorrow and sacrifice ten English pounds to own this.

In the meantime...

Kelpe - Yippee Space Ghost (mp3)

Also, go over to Beats In Space and download the Lovefingers mix. I'm listening to it right now and it's enormous.

Peace out,


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Mixtape Ahoy!

Okay, I've decided to spoil you lot this week. Seeing as it's the last volume in the Giddy Up! series (same shit, different title from next week), I've made it a double. So here we go, with the links for both discs (assuming you actually burn them) at the bottom of the post. Let's get started...


Disc One

  1. Swan Lake - Are You Swimming In Her Pools? (One of the first songs to leak from Swan Lake's album, you probably all have this by now. The hell with it though, it's a beautiful song, written and sung by man of the year, Spencer Krug, with Carey and Dan twittering away in the background on all sorts of instruments. Lovely.)
  2. Love - August (From the massively-overlooked, 'lost' Love album, Four Sail, I actually saw Arthur Lee do this live in Manchester a couple of years back. You can already feel just how much he is missed. The musical landscape just isn't the same without him around.)
  3. Antonio Carlos Jobim & Elis Regina - Aguas De Marco (Inspired by the episode of Sealab 2021 where Marco returns and he and Debbie sing it at the end in an inspired, Dadaist climax. Brilliant song, too. If you don't know what I'm on about, then shame on you.)
  4. Kings Have Long Arms - Pigeons Carry My News (Ooh, it's another nice loungey number about masturbation and being a peeping tom. There seems to be so many around these days.)
  5. R.E.M. - Can't Get There From Here (A bit of an anomaly in R.E.M.'s back-catalogue in that it's actually funky. Not in a James Brown kind of way, like, more a Feelies/Orange Juice manner, but funky all the same.)
  6. The Hot Puppies - Terry (For my Dad. And my friend's cat.)
  7. Archie Bronson Outfit - Dead Funny (Lowdown, dirty, blues-rockin' where the hi-hat gets a serious workout and there's maracas, too. What more could you want?)
  8. Drrtyhaze - Hey Mama (Slightly beardy house tune that's new on Gomma Records and makes liberal use of Robert Plant's voice. It reminds me a little of Reverso 68 with it's laid back, organic feel. Very, very nice indeed.)
  9. Curtis Mayfield - Get A Little Bit (Give, Get, Take And Have) (From the point where Curtis started to go a little disco in order to sell some more records and pander to the public. Luckily for us, he never sacrificed anything artistically. Good enough to stand up against some of his finest work.)
  10. Woolfy - Oh Missy (I'm only just starting to get into the great work being done over at Rong Music and this is one of my favourites from what I've heard so far. Somewhere between the DFA and Bloc Party, with a bit of camp thrown in for good measure.)
  11. Hot Chip - Colours (Fred Falke Remix) (I couldn't believe I hadn't put this glorious French house overhaul of ver Chip's last single on a mixtape before, but Hot Chip have been on so many, I'd lost track of what I had and hadn't put on. One of the remixes of the year, in my opinion.)
  12. Ost & Kjex - Milano Model (I know very little about these Norwegians, but I know that I love this. I've absolutely caned this very fine piece of slightly messy, thrilling techno over the past week, like it was going out of fashion. I think I've heard one of the dance scene's big hopes for 2007.)
  13. Zwicker - Monkey Mood (The highlight of Get Physical's recent Full Body Workout Vol. 3 compilation, this is a nice bit of dirty, twisted tech-house. Oh yeah, and there are monkey noises. Used sparingly, mind, to avoid irritation.)
  14. Outsider - Sex Is Extra (Not something that I normally go for but this is a suitably filthy, jackin', boompty-boomp monster. Just like Derrick Carter used to make.)
  15. Lifelike & Kris Menace - Discopolis (Just brilliant.)
  16. Carole Robert & Improvistas - Le Fruit Defendu (This is what file-sharing's all about! I happened across the compilation of Quebecois girl-groups from which this is taken while just searching random users' files. Like the twenty-first century equivalent of rooting through the record bins in the Oxfam shop. Only not really.)

Disc Two

  1. Brigitte Fontaine - Brigitte (I've got a lot of mileage out of Andy Votel's Folk Is Not A Four-Letter Word comp, but this is one that I always come back to. Simplicity personified, this is just the singer and a guitar, but it's the voice that sends shivers down my spine. Gorgeous.)
  2. Royal Trux - Call Out The Lions (Languid, druggy rock 'n' roll from the Pound For Pound album. If you aren't well up on the genius that is Royal Trux, then you're missing out.)
  3. Pelle Carlberg - Bastards Don't Blush (A future star, Carlberg takes his cues from The Smiths, but adds his own sense of the absurd to proceedings. One of the finds of the year, for me.)
  4. Hot Club De Paris - Bonded By Blood (A Song For Two Brothers) (Deliciously odd, this should assuage any doubters who think that HCDP are just Futureheads copyists. This has got human beatboxing on it, fer fuck's sake.)
  5. Mungolian Jetset - Navigator (MJS' album, Beauty Came To Us In Stone threw me a bit of a curveball when I first listened to it. I don't know what I was expecting, but I certainly wasn't expecting a jazzy, all-over-the-shop sound collage. I love it now, though and so should you.)
  6. Yellow Magic Orchestra - Firecracker (Perfect, just perfect.)
  7. Tina Weymouth - Incognito (Now, I consider myself a big Talking Heads fan, but I had no idea of this track's existence until the other day, when I first ran through Chicks On Speed's excellent new Girlmonster collection. I'm glad I've heard it now, because it is teh awesome.)
  8. Antipop Consortium - Dystopian Disco Force (Superb two-minute wig-out, replete with hammond organ and kickarse drums.)
  9. Killer Mike - That's Life (Angry, superlative diatribe that really takes no prisoners. Chuck D used to spit like this and Killer Mike sounds like his natural successor here.)
  10. Pharoahe Monch - Push (Bold, brassy comeback, upon which Pharoahe chooses to sing the first verse. No-one could ever accuse him of going for the easy option, at least.)
  11. Quiet Village Project - Circus Of Horrors (A rockier affair than most QVP tunes, that features some pretty gnarly fretwork, but is just as cosmic as, say, 'Pillow Talk' or 'Can't Be Beat'.)
  12. Prins Thomas - Is It Big Enough? (Oo-er, missus! Lindstrom's other half gets all saucy on us with this, the flip to his latest Full Pupp release, 'Ferhara'. The answer is, why yes, Mr Thomas, it's a perfect fit.)
  13. Escort - Starlight (I'm pretty sure I've had this on a mixtape in the past, but it's good enough to warrant a return. Stupendously ecstatic disco, the kind of which they don't really make anymore. Well...)
  14. Scissor Sisters - Lights (...these guys come pretty close with this. 'Lights' is one of the best things that Scissor Sisters have recorded so far, it's such a shame that Ta Dah is, quite frankly, a bit shit. In amongst all the Elton John-facsimiles and faux-burlesque hackery is this little pearler. Much like 'The Devil', from The Rapture's latest album, this is almost too corny to be perfect and always skirts around the edges of preposterousness, but somehow, in being vaguely ridiculous, this manages to sound 'realer' than anything else they've ever put down on tape. A moment of genius.)
  15. Shakes - Sister Self Doubt (And just when you think the whole dance-punk well had run dry, Shakes divine this breath of fresh air from its damp, fetid bottom. The production on this gives me an erection. In a purely non-sexual way, of course.)
  16. Talking Heads - Crosseyed And Painless (Remain In Light will always continue to surprise me with every listen. I stuck it on the other day and this nearly made me forget about my migraine to throw myself around the room in a wobbly-limbed, David Byrne kind of manner. Only nearly, though.)
  17. Ultramagnetic MCs - Travelling At The Speed Of Thought (Hip-House Club Mix) (No don't run away! Hip-house may well be one of the most maligned subgenres in the history of music, but this stupid-fresh remix (which I only discovered about a month ago) is utterly deranged in the best way possible.)
  18. Robbie Williams - Lovelight (Soulwax Ravelight Dub) (Yeah, I know what you're thinking. This is actually the second time in the space of a couple of months that I've featured 'that fat dancer out of Take That' on a mixtape, but this deserves its place. I haven't heard the original, but I've no idea how Soulwax got from that to this. This is one of the most aggressive, pumped-up, in-your-face tunes I've heard in years. Fuck Klaxons, this is the nu-rave!)
  19. The What Four - I'm Gonna Destroy That Boy (Watch your back on the way out!)

Disc One

Disc Two



P.S. Don't expect many posts over the weekend. I'm going on a bender!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"Relegated to the back of an underclass you always hated."


My head feels strange. Nevertheless, I've skipped work for the day (due to the strangeness of my head) and I have some opinions to communicate to you all. Shouting into the void as ever, here are my opinions on a couple of upcoming albums that you may be interested in checking out.

The Swan Lake album has slowly, quietly become one of the most eagerly-anticipated albums of 2006. Swan Lake, in case you didn't know, is a kind of conglomerate of three of Canada's most original and singular songwriters, Dan Bejar (Destroyer, The New Pornographers), Carey Mercer (Frog Eyes) and Spencer Krug (Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown) (pictured above, l-r). As soon as this meeting of minds was announced, the bloggers went apeshit (not me though, I'm way too cool for that) and the expectation is understandable. Krug, Mercer and Bejar have, between them, released some of the strangest, most distinctive indie-rock to have come out of Canada in the last five years. I was kind of excited myself, if I'm being completely honest, but after the initial minor pant-wetting, I thought to myself, "This is going to be a bit of a mess, right?"

Well, I'm half right. If there's one thing that the subsequent result, Beast Moans is most definitely not, it's coherent. Too many ideas are thrown into the stew and the end product seems ultimately a little overcooked. When it does work, however, it's pretty spectacular. I posted earlier today on ILM that my initial impression of the record was that it was a little bit 'meh'. Having listened to it twice since then, I can feel my impression starting to change a little. Mercer is still a songwriter who'll never really have my ear, but Bejar and Krug definitely help to anchor his more fanciful flights of fantasy here. Krug's songs in particular get better with each listen, but Bejar's 'The Freedom' is the standout. A ringing, anthemic, mini-version of his 'Rubies' from the latest Destroyer album, it's a real winner. So I've posted it below.

Swan Lake - The Freedom (mp3) (removed by request)

One album that's kind of took me by surprise lately is Hot Club De Paris' debut, Drop It 'Til It Pops. Despite the shite title, it's actually pretty bloody good. I'd previously written HCDP off as merely The Scouse Futureheads, but it turns out I was wrong to do so. Sure they share similar touchstones with that band (XTC, Wire, you know the rest), but in fact they're pitched closer to Futureheads' Sunderland compatriots, Field Music and show an intricacy to their rhythmically wrong, spiky post-punk that belies their experience.

Drop It 'Til It Pops is an often invigorating, relentlessly catchy record that, from out of nowhere, is, in my opinion one of the most rewarding British debuts of 2006. It breezes by so quickly that once it's over, the urge to just press play again is quite hard to resist. Of course, now that I've bigged it up, it'll sell about four copies, just make sure that you're one of the (apologies in advance for crap, but irresistible musical joke) gang of four. Fnarr-fnarr!

Hot Club De Paris - Clockwork Toy (mp3)

Today, I 'came across' a shedload of early International Deejay Gigolos stuff. I'd forgotten just how good they used to be (and still are, fitfully), releasing stuff early in their years from the likes of Jeff Mills, Dopplereffekt, Miss Kittin & The Hacker, Foremost Poets and lots of other notable techno and electro artists. So, I thought I'd share some of my bounty with you, just for shits and giggles. Dig in, gigolos and gigolettes...

DJ Naughty - Boing Bum Tschag (their first ever release) (mp3)

Christopher Just - I'm A Disco Dancer (mp3)

Zombie Nation - Kernkraft 400 (Original) (mp3)

Dopplereffekt - Cellular Phone (mp3)

Dave Clarke - Compass (mp3)

I'm sure you'll agree that that's some Gesamtkunstwerk!


Monday, September 25, 2006

"All the divorcees applaud the deportees"


Monday already? Let's have a gander at these singles, then.

The Blood Arm - Suspicious Character (City Rockers)

I saw The Blood Arm support Maximo Park about eighteen months ago, well, I say support, but what I mean is totally and utterly upstage. I came away from that gig with a song in my heart and that song went, "I like all the girls and all the girls like me". I adopted this epithet as my mantra (it's funny because it's true!) and as far as mantras go, it's a surefire winner, guaranteed to make you strut down the street with your chest puffed out, turning the ladies', or indeed the fellas' heads as you go. It's also guaranteed to make some people think that you're a wanker, but who cares about them? They don't have the confidence that you have. They're most likely extremely insecure and cry themselves to sleep at night. Some of them might even tell you as such, thinking that it's for your benefit, but they're wrong. All YOU need to know is that you like all the girls and they, in turn, like you back. Now get out there and fucking work it! That song is 'Suspicious Character' and it'll change the way you walk. Buy it! Your cock will thank you for it.

Lily Allen - LDN (Parlophone/Regal)

Ooh, Lily! Summer's over now and you've decided to release the sunniest track on your debut? Not to worry, 'LDN' is still a belter and we here at Yer Mam! still love you, despite the fact that you seem like a bit of a nob. And I don't even like London! It's nicer up north, y'know?

Ame - Rej (Defected)

Defected, like the choon vultures they are, have picked up this doozy, originally released on German label, Sonar Kollektiv late last year. There's a bunch of remixes, all of which pale in comparison to the phenomenal original, a swooping, rushing, dark monster that gets better every time you hear it. If you don't already have this, then by all means, fill the Defected coffers even more.

Datarock - Fa Fa Fa (Discovery)

This was a whole lot of fun when it turned up on Annie's DJ-Kicks mix last year and it still is, only slightly less so. This is bargain basement, Happy Shopper DFA or Rong Music, but at least it's cheap and cheerful, even the chorus, where it goes all 'Long Train Running'. Disposable disco then, but not without its charm.

The Datsuns - System Overload (V2)

Still with their pedals to the metal and their feet firmly planted in 1972, The Datsuns are so bloody-mindedly retro that it seems churlish to criticise them. They did things differently back then you know and at least The Datsuns do this kind of thing way better than fellow Antipodeans, Jet or Wolfmother do.

Dirty Pretty Things - Wondering (Mercury)

If nothing else, you know where you are with Dirty Pretty Things; any release from them is going to sound a bit like The Libertines. Criticising DPT for sounding like The Libertines though is a bit like castigating the Queen for being a bit regal, so what of the tune itself. Well, it's not one of their best, but Carl Barat sounds so relaxed in his skin that it's breezy enough to not annoy you, yet also as inconsequential as that bit of fluff you've just pulled out of your navel. In short, not bad, but pretty much the dictionary definition of inessential.

DJ Shadow - Enuff (Island)

While it's nice to have Shadow around and while it's also nice to hear Q-Tip on the radio again, this just isn't very good, is it? The Outsider is not without its high points, but this definitely isn't one of them. Not good enuff.

Loney, Dear - The City, The Airport (Something In Construction)

Another week, another lovely piece of Scandinavian indie-pop. I have it on good authority that Loney, Dear is a one-man band, but this sounds like a whole army of brass instruments, tambourines, strings and other such instruments. Beautiful stuff.

The Pipettes - Judy (Memphis Industries)

Another possibly futile attempt from The Pipettes to make that leap into the mainstream, where they deserve to be, yet can't seem to break into. They even say 'arse' in a borderline cynical attempt to get people's attention. Don't bother girls, you're too good for them anyway.

The Streets - Prangin' Out (679)

Mike Skinner's doing a good job at trying to fool the world that The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living is a good record. This is the third single now, so he's exhausted all the decent tunes now. As an added extra, Pete Doherty chirps in with a needless verse about his own drug experiences. Just say no, kids.

The Victorian English Gentlemens Club - Impossible Sightings Over Shelton (Fantastic Plastic)

Above average Brit punk from this none-more-English beat combo. Bands will soon have to learn though that, due to an increasingly flooded market, unless you're doing something a bit different within the template, any good work you do will most probably go unnoticed. So in other words, TVEGC are good, if unremarkable.

Yo La Tengo - Mr Tough (Matador)

Brilliant soul-pop from the venerable Yo La Tengo, one of many highlights from the superbly-titled, I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass. Cracking falsetto from James McNew too.

Zero 7 - Futures (Atlantic)

The original with Jose Gonzalez is forgettable chillout guff, but the Rub 'N' Tug remix is absolutely superb, just as we've come to expect from Tom and Eric. Lovely.

That's it for now,


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Mixtape Ahoy!

Hello people!

It's time for a brand new mixtape. This week, I've changed my file-hoster from Rapidshare to Megaupload, so that I can upload it all in one piece, rather than in two bits. If anyone has a problem with this, tough! No, seriously, if you do have a problem, leave a comment or e-mither me at norty.morty at The same goes for anyone looking for single tracks. I'm sure we'll be able to sort something out. Let's crack on...

  1. Lo-Fi Fnk - Steppin' Out (The Two Beauties From Hot Chip Remix) (It seems like not a week goes by without a new remix from Hot Chip and they always seem to fall into either one of two camps. They're either short, snappy, electro-pop numbers or epic, spacey, k-soul journeys. This one falls into the latter camp, with Hot Chip stretching out a trancey vibe over ten-and-a-half minutes, with not a superfluous second. Beautiful.)
  2. Antena - Camino Del Sol (Todd Terje Remix) (Also going for a kosmische approach to his latest re-rub is Todd Terje. Here he takes on Antena's early eighties electro classic and gives it a Balaeric spin. Gorgeous from start to finish.)
  3. Arthur Russell - Springfield (DFA Remix) (Another atypical remix from the DFA, after their wildly different mixes for Hot Chip, Tiga and Delia & Gavin. This time around they weave scattershot, pinging beats around sax and Russell's sweet vocal. It's a fitting tribute to the late composer who was such a big influence on James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy.)
  4. Glass Candy - I Always Say Yes (After such spiky, no-wave beginnings, Glass Candy, alongside partners-in-crime, Chromatics are really carving out a niche in Moroder-influenced dark disco, of which this is the pinnacle thus far.)
  5. The Emperor Machine - Lift Up Chong And See (Nonesensical title? Check. Sci-fi fx? Check. Can't help but dance? Check. Well, it must be another slice of robo-funk, courtesy of Andy Meecham. The man can do no wrong at the moment. Chalk him up as a genius-in-waiting.)
  6. Force Of Nature - Unstoppable (From 2004, but still impeccably fresh, Force Of Nature's 'Unstoppable' has an all-over-the-place charm and a sense of adventure that is now prevalent in the space-disco genre. Guess they were two years ahead of the game.)
  7. In Flagranti - We Make Love In A House Of Glass (In Flagranti's debut album, Wronger Than Anyone Else suffers from over-familiarity and some strange sequencing choices, but this, one of their best tracks still manages to stand out amongst tracks that try a similar thing, but with less success.)
  8. The Rapture - Whoo Alright...Yeah Uh-huh (I know this is like the third time I've posted this in some capacity or another, but it remains an irrepressibly addictive slab of camp disco, the likes of which Scissor Sisters used to do so well, before they disappeared up Elton John's flabby arse.)
  9. The Bamboos - Tighten Up (Covering classics is always a thorny issue, but The Bamboos make more than a decent fist of covering Archie Bell & The Drells' perennial party-starter by, and you probably thought it impossible, making it tighter. No need for the instructional vocal here, The Bamboos definitely know what they're doing and when the drummer starts whaling on the crash in the last minute, you'll be screaming for more. Shame they got rid of the handclaps though.)
  10. Kuno & The Marihuana Brass - Marihuana Mantra (From the excellent compilation, The In-Kraut, the story goes that Kuno, whoever he is, had never had anything more than a sniff of the demon weed, let alone considering himself qualified enough to make an ode to cannabis. It matters not, because at the end of this glorious two-and-a-half minutes, you'll believe a German can be straight-up funky and not be a member of Can or Faust, so that's all the suspension of disbelief you need really.)
  11. Lupe Fiasco - American Terrorist (feat. Matthew Santos) (This track perfectly displays what all the fuss surrounding Lupe is all about. Despite tackling a forceful subject like questioning Bush's neglect of the American poor, Fiasco never feels the need to shove it down the listener's throat, just relying on his highly listenable flow to work it's magic. And it does. Nice work.)
  12. Subtle - The Mercury Craze (The closest that indie-hoppers, Subtle are ever going to get to a pop song, 'The Mercury Craze' is all head-spinning rhymes, hard-as-nails drums and gnarled guitar. It's even got a catchy chorus. What's happening with the world?!)
  13. The Slits - Slits Tradition (With which Ari Up and the girls return with a skittery, grimey, difficult tune that takes a good few listens to get a handle on. Once you do though, you can't stop listening. Good to have you back, girls.)
  14. Love Is All - Felt Tip (One of LIA's strongest tracks, this is like The Raincoats covering The Ronettes. Speaking of which...)
  15. Ronnie Spector - You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory (One of my favourite cover versions of all time is this tear-jerking take on Johnny Thunders' classic with Joey Ramone on backing vox. A good place to end the tape.)

Giddy Up! Volume Nine (Zipped and Megauploaded)

Volume Ten is done and ready to upload in the next couple of days. Keep a look out.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Gig Round-up!

Hello kids!

I've not posted for a good few days, so I thought I'd pull my finger out and actually write something. I've been to a couple of gigs in the past week, so here's what I thought of them, accompanied by some shonky pictures that I took on my mobile...


There have been few more blogged-about bands than Swedish sextet, Love Is All in 2006. It's often very easy to be cynical about bands that seem to come 'from out of nowhere' to be slathered over by hundreds of internet-savvy, wannabe hacks, but it's just as easy to be swept along by the hype. At the end of the day though, these bands wouldn't be worth the energy expended to type their name on a keyboard if the music wasn't up to scratch.

Thankfully, on record, Love Is All are a breath of fresh air. Eschewing the usual politeness of Scando-pop in favour of a spiky blend of Brill Building sweetness and Slits-like shoutiness. For anyone who's heard Love Is All's excellent debut, Nine Times That Same Song, the prospect of seeing them live holds just as much trepidation as anticipation. The strength of their album often lies in the scratchy, time-warp production that owes as much to Lee Perry as it does, say, John Leckie. In the red all the way from start to finish, Nine Times That Same Song seems perfect for translation into a live setting, but there's also the question as to whether these five, unassuming Swedes really have the boundless energy it seems they have on record.

Whether they do or not is irrelevant once you've seen Love Is All live. Whereas the album wins you over with it's unrelenting enthusiasm and verve, onstage, Love Is All allow the inherent strength of the songs to carry them through, whizzing through the punkier numbers while letting the more, for want of a better word, refined songs breathe.

The easy thing to do would be to turn everything into a 100mph race to the end and the fact that LIA choose not to do this definitely works in their favour. So we get a feral opener in 'Talk, Talk, Talk, Talk', alongside a slyly reflective take on stalker anthem, 'Used Goods' where the song is slightly slowed down from the recorded version in a way that makes the story in the song (that of a jilted ex following her one-time beau around with his new squeeze, waiting for bad things to happen) more fathomable.

These switches from sugar-addled punkers to sway-worthy anthems isn't jarring in the slightest however. In fact, they only serve to highlight just how canny LIA are as songwriters. Where some Scandinavian pop music can seem archly pre-fabricated, LIA are intent on essaying a slipshod realism that suits them no better than on the brilliant, 'Make Out, Fall Out, Make Up', with elfin singer, Josephine putting her all into the song as if her life depended on it.

If nothing else, LIA are utterly charming, but scratch beneath the surface and there's a depth and a maturity to their songs that should stand them in good stead for album number two and beyond and this is evidenced by their surprisingly multi-faceted, fantastic live show. Most definitely a must-see.


I told my friend before this gig that, after this, I was closing the book on Liam Frost. Including this show, I have seen Liam Frost live, in one capacity or another (with band, solo, instore, festival, headline gig) seven times this year and, frankly, I'm getting a little sick of the fucker. So what does he go and do? He only plays an absolute blinder that makes me like his music even more.

He keeps us waiting for a good ten-fifteen minutes before taking the stage with his extended family and ripping through songs from the Show Me How The Spectres Dance album with ease and abandonment that would befit a band that have been around ten times as long as these guys have.

Liam and Pete, the multi-instrumentalist have cultured a finely-tuned camaraderie that sees them trade insults and throwaway jokes that wouldn't sound out-of-place on Blackpool's Central Pier and while this isn't what you pay to see, it adds to the natural bonhomie of Frost and his band that makes them such a promising proposition.

Frost even does the dreaded solo acoustic bit well. A live staple that was besmirched by Noel Gallagher, circa 1995, the bit where the rest of the band leave the stage, leaving the singer basically naked with only the songs to hide behind is usually a pointer for the average audience member to head to the bar but Frost has the charisma and, it has to be said, the songs to pull him through. The one criticism I would make however is that his choice to cover Nick Cave's '(Are You) The One That I've Been Waiting For?' only serves to highlight the fact that he isn't the finished article yet. Not that he makes a hash of it, it's just that, y'know, he's no Nick Cave.

By the time the band finish up with a rousing 'The Mourners Of St. Paul's', I've changed my mind slightly. Maybe after the next Slowdown Family tour, I might close the book. For now however, it could stand a little more close scrutiny.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

"Take a picture here, take a souvenir"

This week, I have been mostly listening to the fabulous new R.E.M. compilation, And I Feel Fine: The Best Of The I.R.S. Years - 1982-1987. For some, R.E.M. start and end with these two dates as if they became a completely different band the moment they signed to Warners. Personally, I prefer their earlier work myself, although I don't think that they became completely redundant the moment they started selling records by the million. In fact, my favourite R.E.M. album is the shockingly underrated 1995 effort, New Adventures In Hi-Fi.

What makes this collection different from the 1988 compilation, Eponymous is that the band have actually compiled this and even though they're at the point now where they don't exactly need any more revenue, And I Feel Fine feels like less of a cynical cash-in and more of a well thought-out snapshot of a band finding their feet and navigating an impressive learning curve.

Throughout this set, you can chart the progression of R.E.M. from spunky, scattershot college rockers, aping The Replacements at every turn to a band truly finding their own voice, laying bare the potential to be arena-fillers that they were soon to realise. From the ragged, charming experimental pop beginnings of Murmur, an album that many think they never bettered, through to the mature indie-rock of Document, each of their first five albums are represented by a handful of songs, showcasing folky numbers like '(Don't Go Back To) Rockville' from second album, Reckoning, Talking Heads-esque punk-funk like Fables Of The Reconstruction highlight 'Can't Get There From Here', superb jangle-pop like 'Fall On Me', right on through to the magnificent bombast of Document's 'Finest Worksong'. It's a formidable set, that's for sure.

The main thing that struck me when I stuck And I Feel Fine on for the first time was how many I could still sing along to. Having not dipped into R.E.M.'s early back catalogue for quite a few years now, I was surprised at still knowing all the words to 'Fall On Me', 'Radio Free Europe', 'Driver 8', etc. I was also reminded of my all-time favourite R.E.M. song, one that they did when I saw them at Glastonbury in 1999 (I think. Could've been '98) and it was a real lighters-in-the-air moment for the fans who knew that there was life before 'Losing My Religion'. So here it is...

R.E.M. - Cuyahoga (mp3)

Another record that I've been caning as of late is The Emperor Machine's second full-length, Vertical Tones And Horizontal Noise. For those who don't know, The Emperor Machine is a guise favoured by Andy Meecham from Chicken Lips. They love their pseudonyms, the Chicken Lips guys. Meecham is also known to favour the moniker Sir Drew, while co-Lipper, Dean Meredith goes by the names of Goat Dance (whose 'Sizzle' 12" is one of my favourite releases of 2006) and White Light Circus.

Which brings us back to The Emperor Machine, as Meecham releases under this name on DC Recordings, J Saul Kane's label that is also home to White Light Circus. Anyway, The Emperor Machine's new album mostly compiles the Vertical Tones... 12"s, with a few newies thrown in for good measure. It's a uniformly excellent album, packed to the gills with sparkly sci-fi disco, like Moroder, Carpenter and Levan on a sequinned rocket ship, headed for the vampire planet with nothing on board but class-As and a mirrorball. Only not nearly as ridiculously contrived as that sounds.

Anyway, have a taste...

The Emperor Machine - Tropical Waste (mp3)

Back tomorrow,


Monday, September 18, 2006

"Happy when I wake and I have a cup of tea"

Hello everyone!

I went to see the rather marvellous Love Is All on Saturday night and I'm still paying for overdoing it on the booze front. I'm too old for this shit. I was going to post a review but I might be writing it for a local magazine. If I don't end up doing that however, I will put it up on here. In the meantime, let's not break from Yer Mam! tradition and do the thing that we do every Monday. Yes, let's have a look at the new singles that are out and proud today, lavishing praise and trinkets on some, whilst pointing and laughing at some others.


Second single from The Aliens and also their second Yer Mam! Single of the Week award (bet they're chuffed!). 'The Happy Song' is an infectious, rambunctious slab of groovy, good-time pop music like what Supergrass used to make before they got 'mature'. The members of The Aliens (Robin and John from The Beta Band and Gordon 'brother of Kenny' Anderson aka Lone Pigeon) are probably older than Dan, Gaz and Mickey, but they're still twelve years-old in the head and for that, I am eternally grateful. "Happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy..."

Hear 'The Happy Song' while watching the charmingly shite video here.

The Automatic - Recover (B-Unique)

The continued success of The Automatic completely bugs and baffles me. Does the world really need a Kaiser Chiefs-lite? Their record sales would suggest yes, but everything about them is just so charmless and bland that all I can think to do when I hear one of their songs is stab my eardrums out. Please don't buy this. I beg you. Look in your heart! Look in your heart!!

Bromheads Jacket - Trip To The Golden Arches (Marquis Cha Cha)

Unlike The Automatic, Bromheads Jacket have a bit of bite, wit and tunefulness about them. Okay, so it's nothing that you haven't heard before; it's a little bit Mike Skinner and a whole lot Arctic Monkeys but this ode to losing it on the way to McDonald's at least has a re-listenability that most of these young Brit upstarts don't.

Howling Bells - Setting Sun (Bella Union)

Although something about Howling Bells just screams 'studied cool', they do it quite well. They're still obviously at the potential stage, but maybe an album or two down the line, they might start to get really interesting. More lush darkness like this though will do just fine for now.

Jet - Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (Atlantic)

Shockingly hackneyed, lumpen bag of hoary rock cliches from these Oz neanderthals. They probably think groping groupies while knocking back JD straight from the bottle is the height of cool. Actually, come to think of it, I wouldn't mind getting me some of that. On second thoughts, I'll stick to a pint of bitter in a grotty backstreet pub. That's my idea of rock 'n' roll. Bit of Motown on the jukebox and you're all set.

The Killers - When You Were Young (Mercury)

Preposterous overblown bollocks though it most definitely is, it's really hard to hate The Killers. You can think they're shite, as well they are, but there's something almost likeable about how seriously they treat the crap that they peddle which is kind of infectious. That Meat Loaf bit is a melodrama too far maybe, but try as I might to ignore the fact, I actually quite like these guys.

Scott Matthews - Elusive (Island)

What's this guy's deal? Does he think that by doing a spot-on facsimile of Jeff Buckley's voice it automatically gets him some cred points? Well, unh-uh, I'm not buying that. No, sirree! Get your own voice, drippy!

New Young Pony Club - Ice Cream (Modular)

Hauty, deadpan vocals over a Tom Tom Club-esque punk-funk backing might sound like so three years ago, but NYPC are an intriguing proposition as you get the feeling that they could possibly transcend their current fashionista status. A knack for a decent pop tune gets you everywhere, regardless of how hot you are right now and that's what NYPC seemingly have in spades.

Sparklehorse - Knives Of Summertime (Parlophone)

More languid beauty from Sparklehorse's upcoming Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain album. Sparklehorse are one of those bands who you tend to forget about when they're not around, then get reminded just how good they are when they pop up with a new album. This one's no different as this little blinder testifies.

Wolfmother - Love Train (Modular)

See the above Jet review and replace Jet for Wolfmother.

X-Press 2 feat. Rob Harvey - Kill 100 (Skint)

In the ever-changing world of dance music, X-Press 2 can't help but seem a little like anachronistic dinosaurs these days. Which they kind of are, but at least they still knock out a decent tune now and then. 'Kill 100' is just one of those; a patiently building downtempo number with nods to minimal that never really takes the easy route. Could have done without that muppet from The Music spouting nonesensical claptrap over the top but hey, you can't have everything.

The Zutons - Oh Stacey (Look What You've Done) (Deltasonic)

In the spirit of yer mam (not this blog, yer actual mam), if you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. I kid, of course, as regular readers will know that I have a bit of a soft spot for The Zutons. This, however, is not one of their best, so I'm going to have to plead the fifth, just in case I ever meet Abi and she wants to run away with me.

Okay, that's it for this week's singles. Might be back later with another post, but then again, I might not be,


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Jefferton Alive!

This is going to be a bit of a scattered post today, as I've got some little things to talk about, but nothing that can be stretched into a big, wordy thing that everyone's going to skim read anyway.

1) Everyone should watch Tom Goes To The Mayor (pictured above) on Adult Swim, which can be found every night on Bravo. TGTTM isn't on every night, actually, as it isn't on Saturdays or Sundays, but hey, you can catch it at various times between midnight and 2am on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, you get the point. I won't tell you what TGTTM is about, because it makes it sound crushingly dull (in fact, I'm pretty sure that some of you will probably find it to be crushingly dull anyway), so just watch it, okay.

2) I'll be at The Roadhouse in Manchester tonight for High Voltage with the marvellous Love Is All. There may well be tickets still available on the door, so get there early to avoid disappointment and all that. It should be great.

3) Lastly, I'm reposting this by request...

Roxy Music - Avalon (Lindstrom & Prins Thomas Remix) (mp3)

Back tomorrow with something more substantial,


Friday, September 15, 2006

Mixtape Ahoy!

Right, this week's, or should I say last week's mixtape is well and truly overdue, so here it is, in all it's glory. Sorry for the brevity, but I'm feeling a bit wiped out tonight. I couldn't even be bothered to doctor a photo in a humourous (?) fashion to stick at the top of this post like I normally do. Hey-ho, let's go, and all that...


  1. Akron/Family - Gone Beyond (Happy-clappy beard enthusiasts Akron/Family have a tendency to let songs dissolve in a maelstrom of noise and classic rock histrionics. 'Gone Beyond' is not one of those songs. In fact, this track, taken from their forthcoming not-quite-mini, not-quite-full-length album, Meek Warrior shows the collective essaying some remarkable restraint and impressively so, too.)
  2. Grizzly Bear - Knife (Following Akron/Family with Grizzly Bear may seem a little obvious, but this is probably the least Grizzly Bear-sounding track on Yellow House. Yes, there's still the hushed vocals, the burbling electronics and the sound of the sea, presumably, in the background, but there's a distinct 50s doo-wop vibe to this. Beautiful.)
  3. Jonathan Fire*Eater - The Search For Cherry Red (This still manages to give me tingles in the way that the various pursuits ex-members of JF*E have followed since just can't (except for maybe 'The Rat'). That spindly, freewheeling guitar, the lascivious percussion and that Hammer Horror organ all combined with Stewart Lupton's still-intriguing vocal just make this possibly one of the greatest songs from the 90s that not a lot of people know.)
  4. The Black Lips - Not A Problem (A recent discovery for me, The Black Lips show that there are still ways of doing garage rock that don't sound like it's been done a million times before. Up the violence quota, pile on the hiss and just write great two-minute rock songs is pretty much all you need to do. Apparently they have to be seen live to get the full experience. I'll be keeping an eye out for them.)
  5. Clinic - If You Could Read Your Mind (The new Clinic album, Visitations doesn't hold any major surprises for anyone even vaguely familiar with Clinic's last couple of albums, but hey, they've found that niche. And what a niche it is, too.)
  6. Professor Murder - Free Stress Test (Currently gathering a bit of a buzz about them, Professor Murder basically take the percussive intensity of Oneida or !!! and marry it to a knack for a pop tune. I smell one of the most surprising, yet welcome crossovers in recent years.)
  7. Shout Out Out Out Out - Chicken Soup For The Fuck You (How can any song live up to that title? Well, Shout Out Out Out Out certainly try with this punk-funk freakout, with the emphasis on the funk. The main percussion is handclaps too, so what's not to like?)
  8. Lindstrom - Fast & Delirious (One of the first things that Lindstrom released, this sees him in pretty much straight-up house mode, but there are flashes that the Norwegian master-in-waiting was about to chart a course into the cosmos.)
  9. 5 Mic Cluster - Empty Pockets (5 Mic Cluster's Crystal Mic EP will turn out to be one of the last things to be released on Output, but I'm sure these guys will find a new home. The tongue is planted firmly in the cheek on this one, a tale of getting addicted to fruit machines and just gambling in general (think they're having a pop at Mike Skinner, perchance?), that is equal parts grime and Liquid Liquid.)
  10. The Joggers - White Madam (The Joggers' album from last year, With A Cape And A Cane is one of the most underrated releases of recent times, in my opinion. I've dipped back into it lately and this one still sticks out as a joyous highlight.)
  11. Rocket From The Crypt - Your Touch (Another band whose back catalogue I've been flicking through as of late is RFTC. I picked this one, from the 1997 album, RFTC (or Run For The Caves, as I remember them fibbing to the press was the real meaning behind the abbreviation) as probably not a lot of you would have heard it and it's fantastic. Simple as.)
  12. Beyond The Wizards Sleeve - Don't Cry Girl (BTWS are Erol Alkan and Richard Norris and I have absolutely no idea what song this is a re-edit of but it sounds like some wigged-out French psych from, I'd hazard a guess at 1967-ish. Either way, it's genius.)
  13. Bobby Darin - Me And Mr Hohner (First of all, I have to thank Jon from Black Country Grammar for finding this for me. I've been looking for this for years. Absolutely brilliant. Forget what you know about Bobby Darin as this is a funky little country-soul number about getting hassled off teh fuzz for, y'know, having facial hair, smoking pot and reading books. A product of its time, but just perfect.)
  14. DJ Shadow - This Time (Upon which Shadow throws us a real red herring in the form of something approaching what we expect of him, before he gives us all that hyphy nonesense and freak-folky stuff later on on The Outsider. We prefer the old DJ Shadow, to be honest, that's why we love this.)
  15. Amp Fiddler - Faith (Soulful as a room full of Marvin Gaye's and that's all you pretty much need to know.)
  16. Beastie Boys - New York City (Rub 'N' Tug Remix) ('Unofficial' re-edit from earlier this year where Tom 'N' Eric lay the Beasties' 'An Open Letter To NYC' over huge chunks of Steve Miller's 'Macho City'. Hey, whaddya know? It works! Methinks the boys approve.)
  17. Gang Starr - Code Of The Streets (A bit of a nostalgia tune for me, this one. When I hear this, all of a sudden I'm 13 again and really getting deep into hip-hop, watching Yo! MTV Raps and listening to this over and over again, while my mates were just pumping Doggystyle 24/7. I don't regret being a hip-hop nerd one bit, even if it never got me a girlfriend.)
  18. Prince - Erotic City ("You're a sinner I don't care, I just want your creamy thighs". Best line in a song ever.)
  19. Neil Young - For The Turnstiles (My favourite Neil Young song and, also, one of my favourite songs ever, this is just a really good song to end a mix. Young does that thing that he does really well and that's make a song sound simultaneously angry and tender. Also, it's got a banjo and I love a bit of banjo, me.)

Part One (Akron/Family - The Joggers) Zipped and Rapidshared

Part Two (Rocket From The Crypt - Neil Young) Zipped and Rapidshared

More free music in zip files next week, kids. Or maybe it'll be sooner than that? Who knows?!


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Rubbin' 'n' tuggin' on a Thursday night!

The past few days have been spent doing more important stuff than blogging really (except for last night when I was so shocked into posting by hearing of the end of the road for Output). I've managed to soak up a fair bit of new music this week though, like some kind of audio sponge and the one record that I've tried my best to suck dry is the new Fabric mix from Rub 'N' Tug.

I've been dying to hear this since it was announced and I'm very pleased to report that it doesn't disappoint. Much like the last Fabric mix by Tiefschwarz, this set plays with your notions of what to expect from the creators. Whereas Tiefschwarz' was an enjoyably dark and almost forbidding selection, Rub 'N' Tug pull the rug on us by being somewhat more professional and much more slicker than on their Campfire mix for Eskimo last year.

You got the impression on that record that Thomas and Eric were drunk at the helm, the levels being all fucked up and the selections being strange to say the least (Cozy Powell! Hot Chocolate!! Linda Law!!!), but despite, or perhaps because of this sense of inebriated adventurism, Campfire turned out to be arguably the most playable DJ mix of 2005.

And so, to Fabric 30. Well, as I said, it's certainly better put together than Campfire (but then again, so is MFI furniture, eh, 80s joke fans!) and it's more straight-up dancefloor-oriented, but there's no doubting that these guys favour wit and daring over rote beat-matching. Witness as they swerve from Curtis McClaine & On The House's (ie. Marshall Jefferson) 'Let's Get Busy' (ie. 'Move Your Body', only less well-known) into Blackstrobe's excellent dark disco take on Sir Drew's 'Shemale'. Or the bit where Serge Santiago's dub of 'Atto D'Amore' dissolves into Shit Robot's remix of 'Dragon' (rrrawrrr!) that'll make your heart skip a beat when you realise what just happened. Or indeed the awesome part of the mix where they pretty much play the whole of Lifelike & Kris Menace's devastating 'Discopolis', purely because, well, it's the shit, innit.

I defy you to not move to this, regardless of where you are when it's on. It got me a few strange looks when I put it on at work and was pretty much strutting around the place like some kind of disco peacock. Unabashed, unapologetic, unpretentious and just honest-to-goodness downright fun, you must get it, get it, GET IT!!!

For now, get a refresher in just how mind-shaggingly awesome that Shit Robot remix is.

Dondolo - Dragon (Shit Robot's Fire Breathing Mix) (mp3)

I have also been trying to digest Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor, the final version of which is (ahem) 'around' now. Um, it's brilliant. But then again, we all knew it would be. Actually, there was a chance that it could have been merely ho-hum, but Lupe has pulled a magnificent debut out of the bag here, announcing himself as a real contender for the King Of Hip-Hop crown that Jay-Z once had (in fact, if you believe the rumours about his comeback, then he most probably will want it back).

In truth, Lupe may be a little too eager-to-please to be truly great, but he's got time on his side and Food & Liquor is just the beginning. But what a beginning it is! Those of you familiar with the early leak won't be surprised to find out that some of those songs have now been ditched, but the ones that did make the grade ('Just Might Be Okay', 'Real Recognize Real', which is now just 'Real', 'You My', which is now 'Sunshine', to name but three) were the strongest ones on that leak anyway.

Fiasco flits from being the heartbroke street kid ('Hurt Me Soul'), to wistful backpacker ('Kick, Push', surely one of the hip-hop tunes of the year), via fiery polemic ('American Terrorist') and slow-jam smoothie (the aforementioned 'Sunshine'), but always sounds like himself, with that charming, easy-going style that will definitely win him many admirers over the next twelve months.

Like I said, Lupe often covers too many bases for his own good and this album is not without it's duff moments (the needless appearance of emo stalwart, Jonah Matranga on 'The Instrumental' and there really is no way that I can sit through that pointless outro where he thanks everyone again. That's what liner notes are for, man), but there are enough cast-iron hits, invigorating club bangers and surprising grace notes to ensure that this will be high up on many critics' year-end lists.

Lupe Fiasco - Sunshine (mp3)

Right, I'll try to get my long-overdue mixtape up tomorrow night, but if not, it'll definitely be on here on Saturday.



Output Recordings: 1996-2006

I said that I wouldn't post tonight, but the reported demise of Output Recordings, one of the UK's best, most interesting labels of the last decade has kind of shocked me into writing a little something. You can read Trevor Jackson's remarkably bitter and saddeningly resigned farewell statement here.

I first heard of Output through Gramme's excellent Pre-Release EP, way back in 1999, but the label really came to prominence three years later when Jackson hooked up with the DFA to release/distribute some of the early DFA 12"s in the UK ('Losing My Edge' and 'House Of Jealous Lovers' being two of them). In recent years, Output have released records by artists as thrilling and diverse as Dead Combo, Colder, Mu and even Yello, but it appears that Trevor Jackson has become disillusioned with the idea of running a label and makes allusions in his statement to undue pressure from his artists to deliver beyond his means. If this is the gospel truth, and I'm willing to believe that it is, then Output has ultimately been hung by the one thing that it refreshingly seemed to lack, and that's ego.

It won't be the first time that an independent label has succumbed to the ubiquitous traits of the human condition that it naively tried to avoid, but it's still always a bummer when they do. It will be interesting to find out, if indeed we ever do, which of Output's artists made with the unreasonable demands (my money's on Colder), but whatever Trevor Jackson decides to do next, never let it be said that he didn't make some kind of dent on the musical landscape of the early noughties.

Let's remember the good times, eh?

Gramme - Like U (mp3)

Dempsey - ODB On The Run (mp3)

Colder - Confusion (mp3)

DK7 - The Difference (mp3)

Manhead - Birth School Work Death (mp3)

I might post some more Output mp3s tomorrow, but that's the best I could do at short notice,


Monday, September 11, 2006

"There's crooked po-lice that's stationed at the knees"

Hello you lot!
Sorry I've been AWOL for the past few days, but I've been hella busy doing this and that and sometimes the other, so I just plain haven't had the time for Yer Mam! I doubt I'm going to be around to post tomorrow either, so you might have to wait until Thursday now for a mixtape. To make up for it, I'll try to get another one done over the weekend. Notice how I said "try"? Reliability has never been one of my strong points.
Anyway, I was going to do my run-through of this week's new single releases, but if I don't get it done on the Monday, I kind of lose interest. However, I haven't lost interest enough to not pick a Single Of The Week. Well, two singles of the week anyway.

Two hip-hop cruiserweights (not quite heavy) weigh in with very good indeed new singles this week. One a young pretender to the throne, another a nearly-man with a couple of hits under his belt, but still with a lot to prove. First up, the new-boy, Lupe Fiasco does the unthinkable by taking a tired sample in Gunther Kallman's 'Daydream' (as used in the past by The Beta Band and I Monster, to name but two) and making a shit-hot tune out of it. He ropes in Jill Scott to coo the bit about falling asleep beneath the flowers and drops some mad decent rhymes in the verses, making what could have been a case of over-familiarity actually sound super-fresh. Good work!
Next, we have Pharoahe Monch who's quietly starting to make tentative steps back into the hip-hop scene after three years away (even then, it was just the 'Agent Orange' 12" that we got from him). 'Push' is the first single from his sophomore album, 'Desire' and it seems to mark somewhat of a change in direction from the Organised Konfusion man. Choosing to employ the croon he used in 'The Light' straight off the bat, then leaving it until late to actually, y'know, rap, he may well disappoint people expecting 'Simon Says Mk. 2', but this new soulful get-up suits him down to the ground. More smooth than rugged, but with enough meat on its bones, mainly down to the presence of the Tower Of Power horns, this self-produced entree is damn-near-perfect for this indian summer we're enjoying.

In other news, I went to see Liam Frost do an instore gig again yesterday, this time solo and acoustic (wot no Sadie?) at Manchester's branch of Fopp. I won't review it as I've spoken about Frosty enough on this blog (his head's big enough as it is), but I will say that there was one factor of yesterday's 'gig' that pretty much spoiled the whole thing for me...
An open letter to the twat stood behind me at Fopp,
I know that you probably adore Liam Frost and his music, but that doesn't give you carte blanche to whisper along to every song, right in my fucking ear, whilst making Skippy the kangaroo-type clicking noises with your tongue to fill in for the percussion! It's an acoustic gig you moron! Other people want to be able to hear what the guy is playing, they don't need a running commentary when if you just shut the fuck up, they would be able to hear it anyway. Not that you were being so loud that I couldn't hear Liam, more like every song was being bounced back in my ear by a lesser singer.
Now I'm not against singing at gigs, I do it enough myself, for christ's sake, but yesterday wasn't the kind of gig where you could get away with it. So please, if you find yourself in such a situation again, as I believe you probably will after bearing witness to your Frost-adoration, stick a fucking cork in it. Find another way, perhaps, to show Liam just how much you love his music, like maybe having plastic surgery to make yourself look like him, or perhaps cutting the lyrics for each of his songs into your torso with a rusty nail. As long as you don't do it in front of me, I really don't give a shit. After all, you were completely oblivious to my countless evil looks, choosing instead to witlessly repeat each word with an unnerving, unwavering fanboy fervour. You even had your fucking eyes closed at one point, slowly shaking your head as if in the throes of the best orgasm you've ever had!
So yeah, do what the fuck you want to express your desire for Liam Frost. I don't care as long as I'm not there to see it. Don't bother with offering to fellate him though, I don't think he swings that way. Or actually, here's a novel idea, why don't you just grow a pair of testicles and leave the slavish salivating at musicians for girls, Smiths fans and kids half your age.
James Fucking Morton
P.S. If I see you at the Academy gig next week, I'm going to scream the words to Slayer's 'Reign In Blood' at full volume, all the way through, right in your fucking shell-like. See how you like it.
If, however, you would like to read a review of this gig (and a rather glowing one at that), go see Prudence.
Back soon,

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Look at that cover! Isn't that just beautiful? Just a brilliant piece of graphic design. If it looks familiar, that's because the cover for The DFA Remixes Chapter Two is pretty much exactly the same as the cover for The DFA Remixes Chapter One, only blue instead of yellow. Look...

Well, that's made my blog look a little more colourful anyway. But seriously, the arrival next month of the second collection of re-rubs done by James 'n' Tim for acts what aren't on DFA closes the book on the first wave of the phenomenon that is the DFA remix. From their dirty disco take on Le Tigre's 'Deceptacon', through to the super-awesome remix of Tiga's '(Far From) Home', all their awayday remixes are soon to be available on two handy discs.

Much like the forthcoming Lindstrom collection that I spoke about yesterday, it's easy to disregard just how essential these discs are until you put them on and rock the fuck out. So today, I had a massive DFA binge, listening to chapters one and two consecutively and I must say that it turned an otherwise shitty day into a pretty darn bearable one. But something got me thinking; have the DFA really got their own voice?

James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy have tried their hands at so many different sounds over the past few years that it's hard to say if they really have a trademark sound. Of course this is a good thing and you know that, whatever tack they should take, the production is going to be impeccable (always important for an audiophile like myself). There isn't a duff track, but the magpie nature of the DFA means that there's no real cohesion, just a bunch of tracks that range from solid and enjoyable (Fischerspooner's 'Emerge', which must have been the inspiration for Justin's 'SexyBack') to essential and life-affirming (Metro Area's 'Orange Alert', my favourite of all DFA remixes).

But, disjointed as these two compilations may well be, they're records that you really should own. If only in preparation for your next house party. In fact, you really should own everything by the DFA. I do, why don't you?

From Chapter One: Metro Area - Orange Alert (DFA Remix) (mp3)

From Chapter Two: Tiga - (Far From) Home (DFA Remix) (mp3)

I'm a little busy over the next couple of days, so I can't see myself blogging until at least Sunday (new mixtape then, I promise), but you can busy yourselves in that time by going over to LoveFingers and downloading everything you can. It's like Bumrocks, only bigger!


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"All my time, I spend it with me now"

I've been a little reluctant to post about this, as it seems to be getting quite a lot of blog love lately (see here for evidence) and as I never really want to be seen as just following the herd, I'd given it a wide berth. Hell, I'd even resisted putting any tracks from it on any of my mixtapes. Slowly but surely, however, Grizzly Bear's Yellow House has crept up in my affections and, after listening to it twice today, I decided that it is one of the best of the year and thus, I should probably write a little something about it. Even if it is on the same day that Pitchfork gave it a rave review.

I try to steer clear of lazy comparisons, but much like Animal Collective did last year with Feels, Grizzly Bear have essentially alloyed the more out-there sounds of 'freak-folk' (I hate that tag, but it seems to fit) with a more accessible indie-rock pallette to create a highly listenable, yet occasionally challenging album that sounds nothing like anything else released this year, but also welcomingly familiar. It's a warm, inviting sound that Grizzly Bear cook up, but one that's infused with an underlying tension, not unlike their spiritual brethren, Akron/Family.

But where A/F tend towards wig-out, sometimes ruining a good song, Grizzly Bear never really do boil over into interminable noise, choosing instead to let the tension simmer, creating a kind of push/pull dynamic within some songs, most notably 'On A Neck, On A Spit'. Yellow House is an album that you can't really just dip in and out of. It's best served as a whole, for the full submersion. However, in the interests of blogging (and because if I put the whole thing up, Warp Records and the BPI will be on my case), I've chosen to highlight the superb closer, 'Colorado'. It's a bit like taking a sneak peek at the last chapter of a book before you start it, really. And you know that you all do that.

Grizzly Bear - Colorado (mp3)

Get the full book, I mean album, here.

Right, football's on.


It's a Lindstrom affair.

This is the first of a few little blog entries that I've got planned for today. I'm off sick from work at the moment (I won't go into details), so what better to do than listen to music and write about it?

I've been a fan of Lindstrom for some time, so imagine my delight when I heard that he was about to release a solo album on his own label Feedelity, in conjunction with Smalltown Supersound. Then imagine my frustration upon seeing the tracklisting and it's all songs that I already own. Yep, unlike last year's album with Prins Thomas, It's A Feedelity Affair compiles the best tracks from Lindstrom's releases on his imprint. I guess asking for an album full of new material is pushing it a bit, considering how prolific the guy is anyway, so a compilation of his 'hits' should suffice for now. After all, I don't have them all in one place.

After hearing It's A Feedelity Affair yesterday though, I can now say that the world definitely needs a Lindstrom compilation. I mean, people are hardly going to fork out six-and-a-half quid for an imported vinyl that consists of just a couple of tracks when they've only heard about Lindstrom, are they? This puts eleven tracks into a neat little package for the Lindstrom newbies to digest. And if you are a newcomer to the space-disco maestro, then Jesus, are you in for a treat!

For your cash, you get the likes of 'Fast And Delirious', 'There's A Drink In My Bedroom And I Need A Hot Lady' and 'Another Station' (these three being personal faves of mine). You also get the modern classic that is 'I Feel Space' (albeit in a slightly curtailed version from the original 12"), so yeah, every home should have one.

It's A Feedelity Affair is released at some point next month, so start counting out those pennies now. In the meantime, here's a couple of freebies, so you can see what's got me all juiced up.

This one's from the album: Lindstrom - Another Station (mp3)

This one isn't and I don't even know if it's totally official either: Roxy Music - Avalon (Lindstrom & Prins Thomas Remix) (mp3)



Tuesday, September 05, 2006

"Somebody call 999, Richard Hawley's been robbed"

So, they won it. Not the album I would have picked, I must add, but not entirely undeserving I think. What's the point in even trying to argue the toss over what the best record of the year is anyway? Sure, you can have an opinion, but you're rarely going to get a whole panel of people to agree on just one album. Which makes the whole Mercury Prize thing a bit of a nonsense really.

The actual ceremony (televised on BBC4) was a bit on the dry side too. Jools Holland was the compere, a man who it's impossible to really dislike, but who you wouldn't particularly want to be stuck in a lift with. There were performances from some of the nominees, namely Editors (a bit rubbish), Hot Chip (also a bit rubbish, but I'll let them off this once), Guillemots (spirited, but Fyfe Dangerfield reminded me of Noddy Holder having an epileptic fit in that top hat), Zoe Rahman (one word; teeth), Richard Hawley (lovely), Scritti Politti (equally lovely), Sway (lively) and Thom Yorke (spellbinding).

Anyway, my streak of being able to predict the winner came to a halt this year, as these guys won:

Arctic Monkeys - From The Ritz To The Rubble (mp3)

I thought this guy would have won:

Richard Hawley - Just Like The Rain (mp3)

And I really wanted these guys to win:

Hot Chip - The Warning (mp3)

So I guess what this tells me is that you shouldn't ask me for tips on who will win the Mercury Prize. Next year? I'm going to stick my neck out and say iLiKETRAiNS. Check back in a year to see if I'm right.

In the meantime, have a look-see if you agree they have the potential.

iLiKETRAiNS - The Beeching Report (mp3)


Top 300 Singles: 2000-2005 (150-141)

Time for another instalment in my epic and decidedly long-winded list, with mp3s of each track, alongside a succinct review/explanation of why it's here. This time, it's the turn of numbers 150 to 141. Prepare to get angry...

150. Grandaddy - The Crystal Lake (V2, 2000)

Grandaddy are one of those bands whose records have been so stylistically similar throughout their career that it's tempting to say that you only need one album by them. To just go for The Sophtware Slump (widely regarded their finest work) will mean denying yourself some brilliant music (get three albums, The Sophtware Slump, Under The Western Freeway and their recent swansong, Just Like The Fambly Cat). However, having said that, I decided that, in a list like this, you really only need one Grandaddy song, so I placed 'The Crystal Lake' smack-bang in the middle as if to highlight their thematic consistency. Jason Lytle's cracked, reedy voice acts almost as an instrument in this, as it seems to be there purely to emphasise the song's beautiful melody as, when listened as a discrete song, rather than part of the continuous 'song cycle' that is The Sophtware Slump anyway, the lyrics seem irrelevant. Best to just bask in its plangent excellence instead.

Grandaddy - The Crystal Lake (mp3)

149. The Delgados - No Danger (Chemikal Underground, 2000)

On the cover of The Delgados' album, The Great Eastern, from which this is taken is a sticker, upon which is a quote from The Face (the magazine, not the A-Team character), saying that "...Their time has come". This was bollocks, of course as for The Delgados, the critical plaudits never translated into record sales. The Delgados will go down in history as one of indie's greatest nearly-bands. This is the song that should have been the making of them, as it still sounds like the great lost anthem for disenfranchised indie kids. See for yourselves.

The Delgados - No Danger (mp3)

148. The Go! Team - Ladyflash (Memphis Industries, 2004)

Admit it, the first time you heard The Go! Team's 'Ladyflash', you thought "What the fuck is this?!". Not that you'd never heard anything like it, just that it sounded like a cut 'n' paste mess, put together by sugar-addled four-year-olds let loose on a sequencer. To the untrained ear, it still doesn't seem to make much sense. It's got way too much going on in its four minutes to get a handle on, but the clattering, haphazard approach to party music that The Go! Team have made their own makes this and pretty much everything else in their oeuvre just totally irresistible. Try not dancing to this when it comes on in a club. It's damned near-impossible.

The Go! Team - Ladyflash (mp3)

147. The Shins - New Slang (Sub Pop, 2001)

Although for some of you, this song maybe inextricably linked to Zach Braff looking vacant, sinking into the wallpaper, or worse, Natalie Portman doing that annoying, "Betcha I could do something unique" thing, the power of 'New Slang' lies in its inability to sound anything other than timeless. The oblique lyrics could have been written by a hippie in Haight-Ashbury while under the influence of LSD, while the melody could have easily come straight from the Lennon/McCartney songbook. All in all, this is a song that will still sound great after everyone's forgotten about Garden State.

The Shins - New Slang (mp3)

146. Radiohead - Pyramid Song (Parlophone, 2001)

It's received wisdom that this is one of the most complex, intricate mainstream singles ever released. I mean, just try figuring out that time signature! It's also one of Radiohead's most affecting moments, as there's just something ineffably gorgeous and heart-rending about the swell and the way that the drums, strings and piano, even though they appear to be playing completely different songs altogether, just dovetail effortlessly, making this as aesthetically pleasing as it is emotionally rewarding.

Radiohead - Pyramid Song (mp3)

145. Mos Def - Ms. Fat Booty (Rawkus, 2000)

I'm cheating a little including this in the list, as it was originally released in December, 1999, with a reissue the next year, but surely you'll allow me some overlap when the song's this good. Mos rides Ayatollah's laidback beat with a tale of wooing and romance for our times. Mos starts the track as the clumsy suitor, shot down by the sassy object of his affections, before getting the girl, proving that nice guys sometimes win. Or do they? Mos pulls the rug with the very last line, showing that, while these days he seems determined to squander his talent with his acting gigs, he is one of the best storytellers in modern hip-hop.

Mos Def - Ms. Fat Booty (mp3)

144. Arcade Fire - Wake Up (Rough Trade, 2005)

On which the unifying, choral brilliance of Canada's Arcade Fire is realised with a battle hymn for outsiders the world over. Simultaneously strong and vulnerable, 'Wake Up' perfectly essays everything that's great about Arcade Fire. The fact that they can dress like they're stuck in the '20s, use instruments that are normally sullied these days by people with an over-inflated sense of their own greatness (I'm looking at you, Sufjan!), tack on a Motown-inflected outro that seems perfectly natural and not make you want to punch them is what makes them one of the most important, vital bands around. Can't wait for the follow-up album.

Arcade Fire - Wake Up (mp3)

143. Gorillaz - Dare (Parlophone, 2005)

Someone who you definitely want to throw the odd haymaker at is Damon Albarn. The biggest, most insufferable twat in British music (anyone still on the fence should check out the scene in Britpop doc, Live Forever, where he 'nonchalantly' strums on a mandolin while refusing to answer questions about Oasis for evidence) also has a bit of a knack for a pop tune every now and then. He really struck gold when he decided to hook up his cartoon band with an out-of-it Shaun Ryder for the Daft Punk-meets-Mondays strut of 'Dare'. Graced with one of the most infectious hooks of the past ten years, 'Dare' is solid-gold pop genius that doesn't get old in spite of its ubiquity.

Gorillaz - Dare (mp3)

142. LCD Soundsystem - Daft Punk Is Playing At My House (DFA/EMI, 2005)

Anyone who knows me or who reads this blog regularly won't be surprised when I reveal that this isn't the only appearance of LCD Soundsystem in this list. Although I'm old enough to know that you shouldn't really idolise people, James Murphy is my idol. He's definitely the most identifiable person, for me anyway, in music today. A jaded, slightly cynical music nut who does what he wants with no concession to popular taste, yet has lucked out by becoming one of today's eminent tastemakers and most in-demand producers. Everything that he touches seems to be both on the bleeding-edge and completely accessible. 'Daft Punk...' is the song that should have been his number one record, yet it's essentially just a groove, repeated for over five minutes, replete with Mark E. Smith-like yelps about the best party you've never been to. Simplistic, yet brilliantly inventive.

LCD Soundsystem - Daft Punk Is Playing At My House (mp3)

141. The Streets - Has It Come To This? (679)

It's easy to overlook just how unrefined Mike Skinner sounded at the start of his career, know that his influence is all over the place, from Lily Allen to Arctic Monkeys, via even Robbie Williams. When I first heard 'Has It Come To This?', I thought that some scally had somehow infiltrated Radio 1 and was just running his mouth off while the DJ (I think it may have been Spoony) was locked out and banging on the plexiglass, going red in the face. The more I listened, the more evident it became that Skinner was a much-needed original voice. Of course, I never thought it would catch on. How wrong was I?

The Streets - Has It Come To This? (mp3)

Monday, September 04, 2006

"Why not help me do it?"

Hello all!

A couple of things to get through today, so let's start with the new singles that are all available in your local record shops as of today.


Okay, so it's probably not the most forward-thinking single released all year. Probably not even this week, for that matter. Unashamedly retro, wearing its discoid heart on the sleeve of its bright white jumpsuit, 'Get Myself Into It' (and the whole of The Rapture's new album) has one aim and one aim only, and that is to get you on the dancefloor. Some might argue that this has been The Rapture's remit all along, it's just that the new day-glo look, mirrored in their recent artwork is a more cynical, commercial way of getting people tapping their feet. However, while the rest of the post-punk chancers that followed in The Rapture's wake are scrabbling around in the dirt, The Rapture know when to ditch the scratchy and make with the shiny. An aural mirrorball with added sequins. and if I hear one more person say that it sounds like 'Connected', someone's going to get a red-arse beatdown.

The Boy Least Likely To - Hugging My Grudge (19 Entertainment)

Things don't seem to have got off the ground for The Boy Least Likely To in the way they'd have liked. There's been something about their attempts at mainstream crossover since they came to people's attentions late last year that hasn't sat quite right with me. I don't know if it was the touring with James Blunt, going up against Kubb in a Popworld battle of the bands or signing with (gulp!) 19 Entertainment that made me question their motives, but something tells me that they're constantly backing the wrong horse. Which is a shame because they do what they do very well, but if they're aiming for top 40 success, I can't see it happening. Maybe picking up Belle & Sebastian's residuals isn't much to aspire to and maybe their attempts at lassoing the moon should be seen as admirable, but in this day and age, an Armand Van Helden remix on a b-side isn't going to count for shit when you sound like The Pastels.

The Bronx - History's Stranglers (Wichita)

If you're not a fan of glass-gargling vocals, cheese-wire guitars and snake's belly-level bass, then this isn't going to change your mind. However, if you're pining for Rocket From The Crypt, you could do a lot worse than The Bronx. In fact, I personally think that these guys are probably the best practitioners of this motor-powered punk around.

Nelly Furtado - Promiscuous (Polydor)

It's still fantastic, but you can't help but think that it feels a little thin after the huge 'My Love'. I still prefer 'Maneater' too.

Richard Hawley - Hotel Room (Mute)

Do you know that, as of tomorrow, it will be a year since Coles Corner was released? Also, did you know that this is in fact the FIFTH single to be released from said album? Who does Richard Hawley think he is?! Michael Jackson?! That aside, this is still superlative stuff. Oh, did I mention that he's going to win the Mercury Prize tomorrow? You heard it here first.

Keith - Mona Lisa's Child (Lucky Number)

Excellent stuff from the upcoming Mancs, channelling both Happy Mondays and Fairport Convention in the same song, although not at the same time. Recommended.

Kelis feat. Too Short - Bossy (Virgin)

Kelis proves that there may well be life after The Neptunes, but only just. This took a while to grow on me and I still think the verse should have come from a better source than Too Short. T.I. maybe? I think that Lulu would take umbrage at Kelis' insistence that she's "the first girl to scream on a track" too.

Muse - Starlight (Warners)

The highlight from the patchy, but intermittently awesome Black Holes & Revelations, 'Starlight' is the big, spangly pop song that you always hoped (or is that feared?) Muse had in them. Great stuff.

OutKast - Morris Brown (LaFace/Arista)

Another track that I wasn't sure about at first and I still don't know whether it's just good in context of the rest of the record, but that marching band and that infectious hook sure get under your skin. It's no 'Hey Ya' though.

Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancin' (Polydor)

Am I the only person who thinks that this is complete shite? I think I'm the only person I know who doesn't like this anyway. And I liked the last album. This is just yeeuuch! Terrible.

Sparklehorse - Don't Take My Sunshine Away (Parlophone)

The first of three singles in as many weeks for Mark Linkous' Sparklehorse and it's a corker. It's hard to believe that Danger Mouse produced it though, as there isn't much evidence of his fingerprints on this slowly-unfolding three-minute beauty that nods towards 'Dear Prudence' and 'You Are My Sunshine' both, while sounding only like Sparklehorse. Good to have them back.

Tapes N' Tapes - Cowbell (XL)

While I'm not buying into the TNT cult totally, I will admit that they've got a few cracking tunes, this being one of them. They're not going to change the world or owt though, are they?

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Cheated Hearts (Polydor)

The best song on the disappointing Show Your Bones gets a single release, alongside one of the laziest pop promos of all time where YYYs get fans to record themselves singing the song. Didn't Feeder do that ages ago? That's saying something when Feeder have an idea before anyone, let alone one of the supposedly hippest groups around. How old did I sound then?! Anyway, 'Cheated Hearts' = 'Maps' - a good video.

Now, last week when I posted Beyonce's 'Suga Mama', I mistakenly said that the sample came from Eddie Bo and Inez Cheatham's 'A Lover And A Friend'. I was wrong. I'm sorry. But it's okay, because Jon has got to the bottom of it. Here though, just for shits, giggles and because it's a great song is what I thought it was. See if you can see where I was coming from...

Eddie Bo & Inez Cheatham - A Lover And A Friend (mp3)

Finally, Bumrocks has the full, funky version of The Cure's 'Lullaby' up at the moment. Get it as it is full of dark majesty. Lovely!

R.I.P. Steve 'Crocodile Hunter' Irwin