"I'm reminded of something I never knew"
It's Monday all over again, so let's have a look at the singular delights that you can spend your money on this week.
Always willing to take influences from areas you wouldn't expect the average indie band to pilfer, Field Music here take the opening drum stomp from Timbaland's beat for 'Maneater' before taking many more unexpected turns. If a lesser band tried everything that Field Music do, there would be a serious case of over-egging the pudding, but FM approach songwriting like master-craftsmen, delighting in piling on the bells and whistles in such a meticulous manner that it makes you wonder why more bands aren't as adventurous. Violins tickle the senses, drums are played backwards and forwards giving the song a kind of push-pull dynamic, while the clipped, sustain-free bassline drives the song along before getting its moment in the sun at the song's climax. 'In Context' is, above all the multi-layering, essentially an excellent, catchy pop song and the fact that Field Music manage to be as thrillingly inventive within such a well-worn template is all the more reason to rejoice. One of the best singles of the year, just don't let it pass you by.
Archie Bronson Outfit - Cherry Lips (Domino)
Another excellent single from the massively underrated Archie Bronson Outfit, this will no doubt disappear without a trace again, while other, less-deserving bands take the laurels and the sales. 'Cherry Lips' is another example of ABO's patented, dark, taut, tense voodoo-blues rock, with bits of VU and Can thrown in for good measure. Doesn't half sound like they're singing "Terry lives!" though.Badly Drawn Boy - Nothings Gonna Change Your Mind (EMI)
That Damon Gough is wildly inconsistent is something that's been evident since his second album. His latest, Born In The U.K. definitely suffers from hit-and-miss syndrome, but this is one of its resounding hits. 'Nothing's Gonna Change Your Mind' is an unapologetically heartfelt sliver of 70s radio balladry and it's all the better for it's retro-isms. Freddie Mercury or Elton John could have easily wrote this, but it ends up pure BDB. Lovely. The remixes aren't too bad either, with King Creosote's droney cover coming off best.Beck - Cellphone's Dead (Polydor)
One of the better songs from Beck's extremely lazy latest album, The Information, 'Cellphone's Dead' finds everyone's favourite Scientologist (not an oxymoron) in fleet-footed magpie mode, throwing in hip-hop, tropicalia and raw funk to make a heady, infectious brew. It's a pity that in light of the album, it just sounds like a cathartic death rattle for Beck's talent.
Blood On The Wall - Mary Susan (Fat Cat)
Coruscatingly catchy, grungy noise-pop, the kind of which they just don't make anymore. At least until Pixies pull their finger out and make that new album anyway.Bugz In The Attic - Don't Stop The Music (V2)
Funkadelic are back! Oh sorry, it's actually just Bugz In The Attic, marrying broken beats to slick soul and multi-coloured funk in such a danceable way that it makes you wonder why Basement Jaxx bother anymore.Goose - British Mode (Skint)
These Belgians are getting lumped in with that whole New Rave bollocks that's going on and while they certainly fit in with that, there's nothing here that will start a revolution. The production is pretty good, but the leaden, wet vocal is just, well, shit. Someone make a dub, please!Hot Chip - Over And Over (EMI)
I make it the third time this has been released (last year's 12" and this year's proper release already) and while it's ubiquity this year is still very much welcome, Hot Chip have other songs you know?! 'No Fit State' would have been nice, but if Hot Chip are going to have a big hit, it's going to be 'Over And Over'.
Jurassic 5 feat. The Dave Matthews Band - Work It Out (Polydor)
Anyone else remember when Jurassic 5 were good? If they keep releasing piddling, hip-hop-lite like this infernal collaboration then we're going to be closer and closer to erasing 'Jayou' and 'Conrete Schoolyard' from our memories forever. Avoid.The Lemonheads - Become The Enemy (Polydor)
The received wisdom on The Lemonheads' comeback is that they shouldn't have bothered. Well, to those doubters, I say go fuck yourselves. This is a fantastically world-weary pop strum that won me over on the first note. Then again, Evan Dando could probably bum-rape my first-born child and I'd let him off. So yeah, it's great and I'm massively partial.My Chemical Romance - Welcome To The Black Parade (Warners)
I'm still of the opinion that this is one of the most unabashedly fun singles of 2006. Completely devoid of irony and hugely self-important it may well be, but that's what makes it so good. It's a safe bet that I'll hate it this time next week, but for now, this gives me a broad, Cheshire Cat-like grin that only Prozac could match.My Latest Novel - When We Were Wolves/Pretty In A Panic (Bella Union)
Not entirely different from MCR, My Latest Novel take an irony-free approach to their music that is heartening in these cynical times. 'When We Were Wolves' is a rousing tribal march of a song, while 'Pretty In A Panic' is a more understated slice of orchestral pop. It's hard to say yet whether they'll ever be more than ones to watch, but they've certainly got the songwriting nous to break out of the indie ghetto.
Placebo - Meds (Virgin/Elevator)
Does anyone remember when Placebo were good? No, me neither.
You may find it incredulous after all of today's amateur hackery, but I've been shortlisted for an award. How cool is that?! Colour me chuffed!