Monday, January 29, 2007

Mixtape, Sir? (One banana, two banana, three banana, four)

Okay, so here it is, the last part of my four-part mixtape. It's another good 'un with a bit of reggae, a bit of techno and, of course, a big ol' chunk of disco.


  1. Horace Andy - Where Do The Children Play? (I don't put enough reggae on my mixtapes, so I thought I'd stick this on at the beginning. There are few more beautiful noises in music than Horace Andy's sweet, high voice, in my opinion, and this cut from his debut LP, Skylarking from 1969 is justification of that statement. Coupled with 'Coxsone' Dodd's spectral, echoey production, it makes 'Where Do The Children Play?' an otherworldly, spine-tingling treat.)
  2. Sam Cooke - Teenage Sonata (Studio? Edit) (This is from last year's Caribbean Cooke Vol. 2 12", on which Studio? take Cooke's vocals and mash them onto reggae and ska backings. Here, 'Teenage Sonata' is tacked onto John Holt's lover's rock of 'Love I Can Feel' to brilliant effect. You'd almost think that this was a studio recording, rather than a mash-up.)
  3. The Rakes - Binary Love (The Loving Hand Remix) (Tim Goldsworthy is starting to carve out a bit of a niche for turning indie tunes into unlikely dancefloor winners. This is an uptempo/downbeat disco-not-disco belter with some of the best dubbed-out keys I've heard in ages. Next up are The Magic Numbers and, hey, it's nowhere near as shit as you might think.)
  4. Tape Deck Project - Hoerspielmusik 2 (Kid Alex Remix) (This one starts off a little electro-house, only with live drums but then takes a nice swerve into uplifting discoid territory. Hey, there's even a cowbell! What's not to love?)
  5. Ost & Kjex - Kjexy Snick Snack (The prolific Norwegians come up with something a little more glitchy than usual, but European moodiness suits them just as well as Detroit-y jacking. 'Kjexy Snick Snack' gets under your skin on about the third listen and takes up residence there. Give us some more stuff like this, please guys.)
  6. Hansepferd - BismarckE (Although I didn't quite know how to take this when I first heard it, it's clear know that it's tongue-in-cheek in the extreme. A freaky-deaky tale of secret bunkers and Nazi rave, you'll be goose-stepping across the floor when this comes on. Actually, don't do that. It'll be really embarrassing.)
  7. Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve - I Swim Around (BTWS are, as you will all probably know by now, Erol Alkan and Richard Norris and this is their re-edited take on Neu!'s 'Hallogallo'. I didn't like this at first, because I hold the original in such high regard, but then I realised that this is pretty much that epic's best bits condensed into an energetic, driving four minutes-plus of Krautrock bliss. Not reductive, just economical.)
  8. The Walker Brothers - Nite Flights (The title track from The Walker Brothers' flawed disco record. Well, I say flawed, but the Scott songs (of which this is one) are pretty much perfect. This is dramatic, emotive, psychedelic disco soul with that spooky baritone pushed to the fore.)
  9. Tracey Thorn - It's All True (Escort Extended Remix) (Those crazy Escort kids take Tracey down to Studio 54 for some glitzy disco action. The original's pretty bloody good too (produced by Ewan Pearson), but I just had to put this remix on here. Gorgeous, joyous stuff.)
  10. L.S.B. - Fog (Pete Herbert follows up the grin-inducing balaeric disco of 'Original Highway Delight' with, well, the grin-inducing balaeric disco of 'Fog'. A fabulous, Chic-y bassline underpins some nifty guitar stabs and bouncy "ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh" nonesense vox. Yet another pearler from Eskimo Recordings.)
  11. Brennan Green - Pluto's Retreat (Optimus Remix) (Bending the rules a bit following L.S.B. up with this Optimus remix, another pseudonym for Pete Herbert, this time with Mat Anthony in tow. This is a furious, spry little builder that keeps getting more and more ecstatic just when you think it can't possibly keep up the momentum. Phenomenal stuff.)
  12. LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends (Just an absolutely scintillating piece of music from Murphy and co. Full stop.)
  13. Breakout - Planet Rock Parts 1 & 2 (A irrepressibly fun lowdown funk cover of the Afrika Bambaata classic, with various horns and choppy guitar standing in for the original's synths. Check out how hard that bass drum kicks too.)

Yer Mam!'s 10p Mix-Up Volume Two (Disc 2) Ripped, Zipped and Sent Into Space

"Is it so wrong to crave recognition?"

Hiya, you lot!

I'm coming down with something so if my writing isn't up to it's usual standard then... who knows, it might actually be better than normal. Being ill does weird things to you.

Anyway, I'm keeping it brief tonight, because I want to post the last of the four mixtapes I put together for you guys. This week's singles are actually a bit of a decent lot, but I'm not going to go through all of them. The dependably very good Camera Obscura release another slice of Northern Soul-hued pop from Let's Get Out Of This Country in 'If Looks Could Kill', The Earlies shoot their load too early with the best song from the patchy second album, The Enemy Chorus with 'Burn The Liars', Dean Meredith completes his trilogy of releases under the Goat Dance moniker with another fine chunk of dub-disco with the self-titled 12", Pop Levi carries on his assault on the pop world with the twisted glam-funk of 'Sugar Assault Me Now', and Matt Edwards, under the Quiet Village tag remixes Toby Tobias' wonderfully-titled, 'Dave's Sex Bits' on Rekids.

There are other noteworthy releases from Hot Club De Paris, Annuals and the second EP of Roxy Music remixes too. Ones to avoid however come in the shape of new singles from Cold War Kids and Kasabian. The hype surrounding the former continues to bewilder me as everytime I hear that guy's voice, I want to shove big fucking sticks down my ears. And they're Christians! What's wrong with you people?! Kasabian prove that their brand of cod-psychedelia is unbelieveably worse than their brand of cod-dance-rock on 'Me Plus One'; a song so shockingly bad that Tom Meighan refused to sing it, leaving that duty up to supertwat guitarist, Serge Pizzorno.

Anyway, all that pales in comparison to this week's SOTW. Which is...


Bloc Party - The Prayer (Wichita)

You're all probably sick of me carping on about how the new Bloc Party album is roughly 37 times better than anyone is giving it credit for, so I'll keep it short here. Put simply, 'The Prayer', a dizzying, euphoric headrush of a song, is the first great indie-rock single of 2007. Get it now!

In Manchester this coming Saturday (the 3rd)? Got no plans? Then why don't you get your arses down to Get Girl, Kill Baddies, Save Planet? This new nightclubbing venture from Jon of Black Country Grammar and High Voltage fame and Pasta Paul from Piccadilly Records takes place at the Night & Day on Oldham St from 10pm 'til 2am and looks like it should be a lot of fun. The music policy is suitably all-over-the-shop, with the emphasis being placed on music for your feet, no matter what the genre.

Sound good? Well, if you leave it until the night you'll have to pay £6 (not unreasonable for a decent night out in Manchester), but if you drop the guys a line at saying that you heard about it on Yer Mam! then you get put on the guestlist for half the price! Who could ask for more?!

I'll be there anyway, throwing shapes like a crazy mofo. So if you see me, say hello.

Shameless plug over.

Elsewhere in blogland, twentyfourhours has a kickarse mix from Carl Craig and Gamall for your pleasure, so get it while you can. Also, I know it's not a blog, but Stylus has a rather neat Italo mix available for download at the moment too, that's well worth nabbing.

That is all for now,


Friday, January 26, 2007

Mixtape, Sir? (The Third One)

Another fine selection now, put together wiv me bare 'ands. Unlike yesterday's disco bonanza, this one's a little bit rock 'n' roll. A bit like Donny Osmond in that song. In fact, The Osmonds make an appearance towards the end of this tape and it's not 'Crazy Horses'. Enjoy!


  1. Prinzhorn Dance School - You Are The Space Invader (With a clear understanding of the raw power of rock 'n' roll's basic elements, PDS are as stripped down as they come. But the gnarled, bewitching recycled blues riff and the stark snare cracks and hissy hi-hats hit home a lot more harder than your standard, empty guitar shredding. It may go nowhere, but you try shaking it from your cerebellum after just the first listen.)
  2. The Ponys - Poser Psychotic (I'm of the opinion that the new Ponys album, Turn The Lights Out isn't a patch on Celebration Castle, but it's not really comparable. The new one is a more low-key affair, upon which the not exactly ostentatious, 'Poser Psychotic' is one of the most showy songs. After all though, a below-par Ponys record is still a Ponys record and that is reason enough to celebrate.)
  3. Ut - Fuel (Taken from Ut's final album, the Steve Albini-produced, Griller, 'Fuel' is a fast-slow-fast rollick through every trick in the post-punk book. Said tricks are reinvigorated by Ut's violent, shrill dramatics and Albini's raw, unfussy studio work . A song out of time, from a brilliant lost album.)
  4. Flipper - Ever (Flipper's greatest strength always lay in their ability to make songs sound like they could fall apart at any given moment, yet somehow imbue those songs with an infectious, restless energy. This, the opening track from their Generic Flipper album, is a prime example of that; sloppy, offbeat handclaps play out through the song, and ramshackle drums and proto-grunge, sludgy guitars indulge in a drunken fight, throwing haymakers at each other while the bassline lies slumped in a heap in the corner. Brilliantly chaotic.)
  5. Bloc Party - The Prayer (Chaotic is one thing that 'The Prayer' isn't. It's a methodical, mechanical modern rock song that's as complex as it is engaging. Producer, Garrett Lee's dance music background is pushed to the fore, making 'The Prayer' sound almost like a better remix of a lesser song by a lesser band, if that makes any sense. A rock song that you can conceivably dance to, then.)
  6. Joakim - Lonely Hearts (Bruised melancholy, set to a clipped, punk-funk backing with some neat bleeps and bloops, chattering away at the back. One of the standouts from Joakim's impressive new album, Monsters And Silly Songs.)
  7. Chromatics - In The City (Blissful, downbeat disco from one of the most interesting bands around now. Also, 'In The City' has the best, most effective video I've seen in ages. Watch it here.)
  8. Anti-Pop Consortium - Dystopian Disco Force (This is one of those tunes that I've stuck on mixtapes in the past when I want something kickarse to fill up a couple of minutes of space. Definitely one of the funkiest two minutes in recent years.)
  9. My Cousin Roy - Make It Yourself (My Cousin Roy is the shady character otherwise known as Roy Dank, Brennan Green's DJ partner. This is an edit of, well, I don't actually know what of, but it's hella funky. Just listen to that bassline!)
  10. Yummy Bingham - Come Get It (feat. Jadakiss) (Ultra-sassy, nu-soul bomb from the one who rightly calls herself Yummy. The one gripe is that Jadakiss' lazy, growled, unnecessarily macho verse is forgettable but, hey, check out those horns!)
  11. Busdriver - Sun Showers (My new favourite artist, Busdriver goes all new wave melancholia on this cut from his peerless new album, RoadKillOvercoat. The vocal is superbly bitter and weary and Boom Bip's off-the-wall production is the icing on the cake. It screams breakthrough hit but, the music world being what it is, I fear it won't happen. You all need to hear this though.)
  12. Klanguage - Strike It (Another effortlessly cool slice of electro-rock from Yuksek and co. While I tend to steer clear of this kind of stuff, there's something so neat and tidy about Klanguage's songs that eschews the fussy, overdone blueprint of this subgenre. Recommended.)
  13. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Satan Said Dance (An exercise in nervy menace from Alec Ounsworth, 'Satan Said Dance' is, arguably, CYHSY's best song to date and has been ever since I first heard them play it live about fifteen months ago. Almost worth the price of the album alone.)
  14. The B-52's - Private Idaho (Our generation mainly seems to think The B-52s starts and ends with 'Love Shack', but thinking that leads to neglecting one of the best, most consistent post-punk bands of the late-70s/early-80s. I wanted to put a B-52's song on here and I couldn't choose at first. Before settling on 'Private Idaho', it was almost '6060-842', 'Lava', 'Planet Claire' or 'Devil In My Car'. 'Private Idaho' just seemed to fit though, so it stays. Enjoy!)
  15. Gene Page - Firebombs (The beauty of file-sharing is that you often end up downloading things that you'd never think of searching for. That was the case with this, a funky little interlude from the Blacula OST. The whole record is full of genius blaxploitation funk but this has those vertiginous strings, belligerent horns and choppy, wah-wah guitar that you immediately think of when someone says the word, 'blaxploitation'.)
  16. Pure Essence - Third Rock (No, not that moody goth-rock band from Manchester, but a funk '45 that was sampled by Rjd2 on 'Clean Living' off Since We Last Spoke and features on Peanut Butter Wolf's recent Chrome Children mix that was a joint venture between Stones Throw and [adult swim]. Breathtaking psychedelic, cosmic soul.)
  17. Frankie Valli - Beggin' (Pilooski Edit) (London's Pilooski stretches out Frankie's northern soul belter to make it a little more dancefloor-friendly but the most impressive thing about this is that it isn't all that different from the original. Who knew that Mr Valli could get down so hard?)
  18. The Osmonds - I I I (Quiet Village No Edit) (Another one that took me by surprise, considering the source material. Widescreen disco-funk from everyone's favourite Mormon family, treated with reverence and respect by QV.)
  19. Rod Stewart - Losing You (Heavy Disco Edit) (Completing a closing triumvirate of artists I bet you never thought you'd see on a Yer Mam! mixtape, Rod's strident cover of The Temptations' classic gets an ecstatic funk overhaul from Heavy Disco (apparently, Ashley Beedle and someone from Faith).)
Yer Mam!'s 10p Mix-Up Volume Two (Disc 1) Ripped, Zipped and Sent Into Space

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Mixtape, Sir? (Slight Return)


I know I said that I was going to post this yesterday, but my internet connection was playing up like a mofo, so I couldn't be arsed waiting two and a half hours to upload a 102mb zip file. I'm sure you understand. Anyway, here's the second part of this quadripartite mixtape or embarrassment of riches, as I like to call it...


  1. A Mountain Of One - Warping Of The Clock (A Mountain Of One are a collective that includes Leo Elstob, Dave Barbarossa (Bow Wow Wow) and Martina Topley-Bird among their number and seem committed to making spacey, instinctual, far-out funk records. 'Warping Of The Clock' is a beautiful piece of music that sounds like the world waking up with a yawn and a stretch, a slow, woozy endorphin rush that tickles you in all the good places.)
  2. Peter Visti - Bad Weather (Single Of The Week on this very blog just last week, 'Bad Weather' is one of those epic slabs of cosmic disco of which I haven't been able to get enough over the past twelve months or so. Naturally, it screams instant classic and marks Visti out as a producer to watch in 2007.)
  3. Karma - Beach Towel (I:Cube's Cosmix Marathon Mix) (You kind of know what you're getting from the title, but this north-of-ten-minutes leisurely Balearic workout is still mighty impressive. As this week's SOTW, what's the betting that a really long and langourous disco track gets the nod each week for the rest of the year? Well, if they (by 'they', I mean the European discognoscenti) keep making, I'll keep lapping them up.)
  4. Glass Candy - Your Dream Lover's On Video Again (Crossing the water but staying in the same ball park, GC come at disco from a rock angle, but don't take the usual influences with them. A chugging, blues-rock riff (a la The Kills) lies on a bed of squiggly 808 and a deliberate, stop-start, funky groove and, well, goes pretty much nowhere, but creates a sexy, druggy, hypnotic effect in the process. Ida No's yelps and echoey squeals are as chillingly effective as ever too.)
  5. Sasse feat. Kiki - Loosing Touch (Vocal Mix) (Big, fuck-off Italo monster from about a year ago, but which I completely missed on release. Kiki's pitch-perfect, super-ridiculous, faux-moody vocal is backed up by euphoric, retro/fresh synths, courtesy of fellow Finn, Sasse. The kind of music that International Deejay Gigolo used to pump out with alarming regularity (think David Carretta's 'Vicious Game') but, sadly, haven't done in so long. It's nice to see that others have picked up the torch though.)
  6. The Work - Just Talk (Skatebard Remix) (The original is pure Scando-pop, but Skatebard gives it an early-80s electro-Italo sheen, not too dissimilar to Arthur Baker's early productions, only less cluttered and more harshly focused. The 'bard run of genius continues unabated.)
  7. Partial Arts - Trauermusik (Fuck me, isn't this about the best thing that Kompakt has released in about two years?! Partial Arts are Ewan Pearson and Al Usher and this is deep, cavernous, minimal, techy and ultimately gorgeous and uplifting. Roughly translated, the title means 'melancholy music' and I guess it does have a wistful edge, but if you have a fondness for this kind of stuff, it should put a big old smile on your face. Also, the string break, as brief as it is, is just sublime.)
  8. Frost - Free Your Heart (There's definitely something in that there Norwegian water, as this is yet another slice of superb electro-pop. In fact, 'Free Your Heart' is more trancey and whooshy than the usual fare, with Aggie Peterson's warm, lissome vocals wisping over the top of a bumping, insidious beat suggestively and persuasively. I've a feeling that I'll be banging on about this duo for quite a while.)
  9. Bertine Zetlitz - 500 (Bertine does the stern, hurt, sexy vamp over some perfectly executed retro-80s production from Pleasure aka Fred Ball (and that's not even his real name either). In just three minutes and 47 seconds, it's 1983 all over again and I like it!)
  10. Kleerup feat. Robyn - With Every Heartbeat (I can't believe that I haven't put this on a mixtape before now. Not quite as good as her Christian Falk and Ola Salo collaboration, 'Dream On', but then again not much is, 'With Every Heartbeat' is still superlative pop genius. I love the way that it starts mid-stream and, if anything, gets less euphoric as it goes on, but perversely, this just makes it all the more impressive.)
  11. Chateau Flight - Baroque (I know that it's cheating a bit to put I:Cube on the same mixtape in two different guises but this is intricate, beautifull, soulful house music that just has to be heard. A persuasive, eminently danceable and intimate-sounding song (that's song, not track) from the best producers in France right now.)
  12. Atlantic Conveyer feat. Habibur Romman - Open Your Soul (Music Box Remix) (Sweet, graceful, afro-inflected end-of-night record that reminds me somewhat of Black Science Orchestra's 'New Jersey Deep'. For the uninitiated, this is a very, very good thing indeed.)
Yer Mam!'s 10p Mix-Up Volume One (Disc 2) Ripped, Zipped and Sent Into Space

More tomorrow, internet permitting,


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Mixtape, Sir?

Howdy y'all!

Like I said, this week is all about the mixtapes. I've got four to upload over the course of the week, two volumes in two parts each, and as I've not put one together for a while, you can bet your life that each and every one of them is all killer, no filler. This first one is as eclectic as usual, starting off a little on the indie side, before taking a strange turn into a funky dancefloor mess. Enjoy!


  1. Panda Bear - Bro's (Most bands say that they're influenced by The Beach Boys and, more specifically, Brian Wilson, doubly so in today's musical climate, now that the premier musical savant is enjoying another day in the sun. Whereas most acts take what Wilson did in his heyday (Pet Sounds, Smile) as an unfuckwithable blueprint, Animal Collective's Panda Bear picks up the baton Wilson dropped in his sandpit. In stretching out close harmonies and multiple layers of pleasing sonics and psychedelic otherworldliness, he gets closer to the spirit of Wilson without ripping him off than anyone else has come.)
  2. Gruff Rhys - Candylion (A song that, at first, sounds disarmingly twee, considering the muscular psychedelia that we're used to from Gruff and friends, unfurls, on further listens to reveal itself to be one of the best straight-up pop songs that he's ever written and, as SFA fans will agree, he's wrote some corkers in the past.)
  3. Field Music - Tones Of Town (Fractured, fragmented symphonic pop from Sunderland's finest, who are masters of this kind of thing. No matter how often you feel that the different song strands and awkward time signatures are going to get away from them, they always rein it back in. Despite all the wilful changing up that they do, the masterful, craftsman's touch always prevails.)
  4. Matt & Kim - It's A Fact (Printed Stained) (New York-based duo (go figure) Matt & Kim tease and eke more nuance out of junk-shop synth and clattering drums than most bands could from a whole orchestra. I guess that the reductivism they proffer acts as a microcosm of POP music, as 'It's A Fact', along with the rest of their oeuvre is as joyous and freewheeling as music gets.)
  5. Jonathan Fire*Eater - No Love Like That (Now that Stewart Lupton is starting to reemerge back into the spotlight as frontman in The Child Ballads, it would be a good time to revisit his original band of not-so-merry, smack-powered garage revivalists, most of whom went on to form The Walkmen. This track, from their one-and-only full-length, Wolf Songs For Lambs stands up pretty darned well when measured against today's young turks, as it's a deft exercise in restrained chaos, always on the verge of falling apart, yet with its eyes fixed dead on the finish line. Elegantly wasted.)
  6. Jamie T - Pacemaker (Jamie's garbled, acquired taste of a singing voice is at its most clear on this cut from Panic Prevention, but it's the dextrous bassline that keeps drawing me back. The low-end hook goes from high and clipped to deep and stretched in the space of a second, over and over, pretty much all the way through 'Pacemaker'. Go on my son, my son!)
  7. The Earlies - Burn The Liars (Texas/Chorlton's The Earlies have gone for a more spacey, groove-driven sound on their new album, The Enemy Chorus and this is one of the more successful songs in that ilk. A heavy, piano-driven, metronomic motorik pins the song and anchors the vocal, stopping it from leaving the atmosphere.)
  8. Talking Heads - The Great Curve (The point where TH's fascination with afro-funk on Remain In Light came to a head, this is pure ecstasy. I've listened to that album so many times and taken this for granted, amongst the more obviously crowdpleasing likes of 'Once In A Lifetime', 'Crosseyed And Painless' and 'Born Under Punches', but 'The Great Curve' is probably among the best things they ever recorded, with all the overlapping vocals and Adrian Belew's brilliantly abstract riffing dovetailing into controlled pandemonium. Awe-inspiring.)
  9. !!! - Must Be The Moon (You can never accuse !!! of being subtle. Metaphor will not do when you can just call it how it is and the sledgehammer funk of 'Must Be The Moon' is !!!'s manifesto writ large. The relentless, monotonous, on the downbeat pulse that rules this track is pretty mesmeric, rendering whatever Nic Offer is carping on about in his best Anthony Kiedis-like white rap (a white rap that is a lot more instinctual than Kiedis' nonesensical cadences) neither here nor there. It's something about lunar forces conspiring against you getting laid, but the meta-sexual throb of the beat could fool you into thinking that somewhere within the soupy, multi-textured production, someone's getting their oats.)
  10. 120 Days - Come Out (Come Down, Fade Out, Be Gone) (Mental Overdrive Remix) (Mental Overdrive (aka Frost's Per Martinsen) takes the hypnotic spacekrautelectrorock of the original and throws in the kitchen sink without forsaking the baby for the bath water, to mix a couple of metaphors. The great thing about this epic re-rub though is that, even though it barely makes any sense beyond the incessant groove, M.O. amps up the tension with every eight bars or so, assuring that it culminates in a throbbing, careering mess. Nice work.)
  11. Klaxons - Golden Skans (Erol Alkan's Ekstra Spektral Dub) (In an act of knowing perversion, Alkan takes Klaxons as close to rave as they've ever been; a place where day-glo clothing means nothing if your mind ain't in the right zone. What makes this dub so damn right, rather than tired water-treading (something that would be so easy for Alkan to lapse into at this point in his career) is that Erol brings the original's tender, ethereal melody into play at just the right point, making it less an exercise in showing the pretenders what rave really is and more of a useful nudge in the right direction.)
  12. Fuckpony - Hot Slave (This is acid. By that, I mean the stuff that pumps through H.R. Giger's Alien's veins, as opposed to DJ Pierre. Thick, nasty, sludgy and barely coherent, this doesn't so much demand your attention as draw your eye towards its resting place, in the corner, making unspeakable gestures towards the female staff. Just don't make eye contact, okay?)
  13. Kris Menace feat. Fred Falke - Fairlight (The beauty of this little pearler is that you can so tell just what elements were brought to the table by Kris Menace and what stemmed from the brain of Alan Braxe's best bud. The overwrought, fretwork abusing guitar shredding is pure Falke, while the ominous, Moroder-esque arpeggios are definitely the work of Mr Menace. A match made in disco heaven.)
  14. The League Unlimited Orchestra - Things That Dreams Are Made Of (Can I just say, for the record, that I picked up on this before The Glimmers stuck it on their Fabric mix? Not that there's any points-scoring involved or owt, but I don't want you thinking that I'm just some kind of music selection sponge. Anyway, this is one of those tunes that would be called a "guilty pleasure" by some people (like that, with the quotations hand gesture and all), but those people don't know what the fuck they're talking about. This was a part of Trevor Horn's re-edit album of The Human League's Dare and is more 'floor-oriented than The HL original. The proto-jackin' beat and the pitch-shifted, buzzy synths sound like Kraftwerk's robots malfunctioning and you just know that that will sound better than most pretenders. An absolute classic.)

Yer Mam!'s 10p Mix-Up Volume One (Disc 1) Ripped, Zipped and Sent Into Space

More of the same tomorrow,


Monday, January 22, 2007

Pompous Posies, Your Party's No Fun.


This week is going to be the week of the mixtape, seeing as I've neglected to put one together for a while. So what I've done is I've knocked out four-count 'em-new mixtapes for your home listening pleasure. Or if you want to listen to them on the bus, that's okay too. As I said, I haven't done one in a while (I think the last one was in November), so these four are going to be all the wheat and none of the chaff from all the stuff that's crossed my path in the intervening period. Hope you're all licking your lips in anticipation.

I couldn't be arsed to go through all this week's single releases to be quite frank. There are good newies out from The Shins ('Phantom Limb') and Klaxons ('Golden Skans') and there's also a pretty natty Animal Collective EP out today by the name of 'People'. Elsewhere, the Booji Boy High single should become a much sought after release once people figure out that it's actually Hot Chip in disguise and the Chas Jankel (of Blockheads fame) collab with Steve Kotey (Akwaaba, Piston Fiston, Lordy, Chicken Lips) on a cover of Giorgio Moroder's 'Sooner Or Later' has left me a bit gutted that I'm skint until Friday, because you know that that's just going to rule. The rest of today's singles run the gamut from passable to dross so I'd just be going through the motions listing them. Anyhoo, here's the pick of that mixed bunch...

Karma - Beach Towel/Carte Blanche Remixes (Compost)

Yet another superb 12" on Compost, this time in the shape of more remixes of German duo, Karma. The Pascal Schaffer mix of 'Carte Blanche' on the flip is all very nice in a tech-y kind of way, but the tune that will have you shelling out the five, six, seven quid or whatever, is I:Cube's slowed-down disco take on 'Beach Towel' that's all dubbed-out keys and tasty bass work, with a langourous, unhurried beat. Well worth the money.

Get it at Piccadilly.

I'll have to cry ignorance on Busdriver's back catalogue. I knew next to nothing about the guy who some claim to be the best undie hip-hopper around until quite recently and I'm still not sure if I've got a handle on the guy. One thing I do know, however, is that his new album, his first for his new label, Anti/Epitaph, RoadKillOvercoat is an absolute blinder that hasn't been too far from my CD player in the past month or so.

Busdriver's flow is slippery to say the least and is way too hyper-kinetic to completely 'get' even after umpteen listens. In fact, the best chance you have of even beginning to understand what most of the tracks here are about is by picking out words, phrases and sentence fragments and forming your own idea. This lyrical join-the-dots, whilst sometimes a little on the maddening side, is what makes RoadKillOvercoat such an addictive listen, because even though you can't always parse it, you know that you want to try to piece together the patchwork of paranoia, satire, inventively violent imagery (though never exploitative, some of Bus' lyrics have a visceral edge that's used more for metaphor than for cheap thrills) and cultural references both high and low.

As with most modern-day underground hip-hop, Busdriver's lyrics tend towards the doomy and are often uncompromising, but any pre-conceptions of navel-gazing are batted back by the technicolour futurism of the production, courtesy of Nobody and Boom Bip. This leads to tracks like 'Kill Your Employer (Recreational Paranoia Is The Sport Of Now)', where Bus rails against the misguided, liberal guilt-wracked American left and their hollow anti-war tubthumping, all too keen to be seen to be doing their bit, but too scared to really take action. That this dizzying, marvellously cogent and humourous torrent of ire is backed by a bumping club beat that would get the most blinged-up punter moving makes it all the more invigorating.

Out of the two producers, Boom Bip takes the laurels by a nose, mainly for the head-spinningly great electro-new wave of 'Sun Shower'. With a bassline that could pass for a Peter Hook original and a skippy, programmed, early-Human League drumbeat, it could almost be a radio hit. Bus' flow is slowed down to a relative crawl, but is occasionally so compressed that it's still hard to understand, but there's no mistaking that this is a resigned, ever-so-slightly bitter tirade against the indies who have succeeded and left him behind. It's almost saddening to hear him note that "There's a place for you, not no place for me" and "Return to the bourgeoisie while I sift through debris" in the chorus.

Hopefully though with this wonderfully complex yet accessible minor masterpiece, Busdriver won't be languishing in the underground for much longer as he manages to bridge the gap between cLOUDDEAD and Pharoahe Monch by being both savagely intelligent and welcoming. Get on board.

Busdriver - Casting Agents And Cowgirls (mp3)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bloc Party - A Weekend In The City

Bloc Party's debut album, the critically-adored Silent Alarm marked their card as the eminent intellectuals from the current crop of young British guitar bands. Never afraid to tackle the big issues, but overly-reliant on obfuscating said issues with tons of poetic disguise, they became the new band of choice for the bookish and precocious. Sensitive lads with their minds on higher things than fighting in the chippy or falling drunk out of taxis, it led to snipes from those who prefer their rock 'n' roll to be a bit more meat and potatoes and less vegetarian.

In actuality, Silent Alarm isn't as intelligent as people tended to think it is and is definitely more immediate and accessible than most gave it credit for. A Weekend In The City is most definitely a different record from its predecessor, despite the fact that a lot of the lyrical concerns are unchanged. This album still touches on racism, world politics, youth apathy and the like, but Kele Okereke's lyrics have taken on a much more direct edge, as if he has grown in confidence since last time around.

This leads to some songs lacking a certain subtlety while others gain a much-needed, hammer-blow bluntness. So we get 'Hunting For Witches', that while musically exhilarating is lyrically cringeworthy. The fact that Okereke feels the need to actually mention The Daily Mail (the song is about the xenophobia and vigilantism borne of the right-wing media's sensationalising after the London bombings of July 7th last year) makes you yearn for the wordy obscuring of days gone by. However, a by-product of this new-found outspokenness is that Okereke sounds angrier when it comes to articulating the feelings of rootlessness at being a second-generation Nigerian immigrant on the scathing, 'Where Is Home?'. When he desperately intones, "In every headline, we are reminded that this is not home for us", he sounds both achingly vulnerable and righteously affronted by his place in the world and, indeed, his place in the music sphere as token 'black guy in indie band'.

Another minor gripe though is that the literary allusion on 'Song For Clay (Disappear Here)' comes across as forced and needless. It's an homage to Bret Easton Ellis' classic tale of youthful disillusionment and ennui, but Okereke could have put across the same themes and feelings expressed in the novel without resorting to crowbarred quotes that smack of smart-arsery. In fact, the band are more successful when covering the same ground in the stunning album centrepiece, 'Uniform'. Starting as a typically moody ode to hedonism and escape, it slowly builds towards a shattering explosion of overdriven riffing and crashing rhythms, with Okereke at the centre of the maelstrom, proselytising against shiftless teens, all with nothing to say while moving in xeroxed hordes around shopping centres.

Another subject that Kele decides to challenge head-on and one that looms large over A Weekend In The City, no matter how he tries to deflect from it in interviews, is that of his sexuality. In a recent chat with The Observer, he kind of, sort of came out as gay/bi/not sure (delete as interpreted) as he felt that it was a move he had to make given the homo-erotic nature of two songs in particular, 'Kreuzberg' and 'I Still Remember'. The former is a remorseful treatise on gay promiscuity, while the latter is a bittersweet tale of a boyhood homosexual crush that perversely doubles as the first American single (You can almost hear the sound of pennies dropping all over Middle America at the line, "We left our trousers by the canal").

'Kreuzberg' takes a refreshingly adult look at the regret and emptiness that comes with sleeping around and the kiss-off refrain of "After sex, the bitter taste, been fooled again, the search continues" manages to convey both despair and hope. 'I Still Remember' is a different beast though; an unapologetically romantic, almost emo anthem that soars and swoops, methodically tugging at the heartstrings and seems engineered to be the trigger for couples to melt into embraces at future gigs. That's not to say that it's in any way cynical though, it's much too engaging to be considered cliched. It also plays on the more soulful edges of Kele's voice as he emotes in a way that people won't have heard from him before. In one fell swoop, the image of the band as cold and distant is dashed. The fact that both these songs manage to trade in universals while being thematically clear is testament to this new lucidity and warmth.

The album's highlights are found in the moments where this lyrical punch is matched by dazzling musicality and Garrett Lee's widescreen production values. Bloc Party are the first band to use Lee to his full potential (or perhaps it's the other way around?). His work with Snow Patrol and U2 was equally expansive but where those bands filled the space with hollow bluster, Bloc Party pack each song with huge guitars and that famously tight rhythm section. Bassist Gordon Moakes and drummer Matt Tong are as vital to the band as Okereke or lead guitarist, Russell Lissack.

No more so is this evident than on lead-off single, 'The Prayer'. Those mock-Gregorian chants from 'Banquet' make a comeback, this time around sounding more malevolent, while Kele waxes devotional in a plea for more self-belief. In the chorus though, Tong's whipping, dust-kicking drumming dovetails with a merciless, pummelling bassline as synths whirl and buzz over the top. It's TV On The Radio as produced by Timbaland and it's fucking amazing. If there's a more thrilling indie-rock song this year then it would have to be pretty special.

Elsewhere Lee works his magic with percolating electronics and keening strings on 'On', a paean to the ups and downs of cocaine that is as alluring and disorientating as the drug itself, while on the devastating album closer, 'SRXT' (which takes its name from controversial anti-depressant Seroxat), he turns the band into Sigur Ros, a challenge that they manfully take to, effortlessly swerving from gentle, ethereal balladry into an emphatic, cathartic wall of noise that shows they can 'do' post-rock dynamics just as well as anyone else.

What's most impressive about A Weekend In The City is that the band have made a conscious attempt at not making Silent Alarm mk. 2. It's not something that they pull off without a little elbow grease along the way and not all of it works, but the highs greatly outweigh the lows and the lofty ambitions are, by and large, met with aplomb. The emerging hive-mind opinion of this album as a classic case of sophomore slump is both inaccurate and massively unfair as, in many respects, A Weekend In The City is better than the debut. Despite a few missteps along the way, this is an accomplished, mature album and in today's British musical climate, that's a towering achievement indeed.

Bloc Party - Uniform (mp3)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Guess who's back...


This is my back to normality post. After all the listing and tipping (not in a losing my balance way), it's time to get back into the groove for Yer Mam!, the blog that those in the know are calling a poor-man's The Bellyaches. So that means that we'll be back down to one, maybe two posts a week, most of which will be nonesensical ramblings about music you've either never heard of or don't really give two shites about. Business as usual then, kicking off with this week's Single Of The Week, as if any of you are really interested. Oh yeah, self-deprecation is the theme for 2007.

Peter Visti - Balaeric Love/Bad Weather (Eskimo)

The Glimmers' Eskimo label don't release stuff on what you might call a regular basis, but they definitely favour quality over quantity. Peter Visti is one half of Visti & Meyland, who some of you may well know and this 12" is the latest in a great recent run of singles from Eskimo that has included Reverso 68's 'Tokyo Disko', Jose Manuel's 'El Sonida De Pamela' and L.S.B.'s enormous 'Original Highway Delight'. The winner of the two is most definitely 'Bad Weather', with its lascivious walking bassline, the like of which you wouldn't take home to meet your parents, lest it do something horrible to your grandma, while near-cheesy, dramatic synths stab and soar. This plays out and sprawls until it's burrowed into your brain and just when you think it couldn't get any more ecstatic, a lazily strummed Spanish guitar lick is beamed in from the heavens to up the ante just that little further. 'Balearic Love' extrapolates on that guitar, but has more of an electronic, less organic vibe to it, but while it's the lesser of the two, it's still better than anything else out this week. Eskimo really are on a roll (geddit?!) and with 12"s on the way from both Reverso 68 and L.S.B., things are just going to get better.

Buy it now, as if your life depended on it, from Piccadilly Records.

While I'm not even entertaining the idea of starting to compile my best of 2007 lists (just the idea that I'm going to have to do it at some point just sent a chill up my spine), this year has got off to a good start, with some very good albums either already in the shops or just over the horizon from the likes of Field Music, Gruff Rhys, Of Montreal, Busdriver and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah to name but a few. Here's ten reasons why a certain album from the DFA camp is chief among them all...

Ten Reasons Why LCD Soundsystem's Sound Of Silver Is The Best Album Of 2007 That I've Actually Heard So Far OR How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Hyperbole

1. The opening to 'Get Innocuous'. LCD kick their sophomore album off with the aural equivalent of a contingency plan. 'Get Innocuous' starts with a recycled, but slightly cheaper-sounding beat that will be familiar to anyone au fait with 'Losing My Edge' (I don't think there is anyone who isn't these days is there?). It's as if Murphy is saying, "Well, we've done a few tracks on this album that you may find similar to songs from our past. We don't care about that though, so we'll start as we mean to go on with a big, fat cheeky nod to the song we started our career with, but with our tongues so far inside our collective cheek that any carping on about self-plagiarism that you were intending to do is rendered irrelevant. Stitch that!". A smart move from one of the sharpest tools in the box.

2. The false ending in 'Time To Get Away'. I'm a sucker for a good rug-pull and this is a good one as it picks back up, after a moment of silence, with just a shouted, spare funk breakdown and then ends properly. Classy.

3. The fact that 'North American Scum' sums up the dichotomy of the USA from an insider's point of view pretty much perfectly. The lyrics to this, the first single, are, at turns, celebratory and damning, a lyrical theme that Murphy picks up again in the album closer, 'New York I Love You'.

4. 'Someone Great'. I'm starting to think now that this song is LCD Soundsystem's crowning glory. It's certainly the most heartbreaking, nakedly emotional song that Murphy has ever penned. But what's it about? I've got my theory, but as with all songs like this, it works better if you attach your own meaning. The first song in many a year to actually make me cry, rather than just being the tipping point when I'm already feeling down.

5. Playing 'All My Friends' when you're getting ready for a night out. Try it, you'll be so geared up you'll bounce to the pub with "If I could see all my friends tonight" playing in your head on a loop.

6. 'Us Vs. Them' = 'Yeah (Crass Version)' Mk. 2. Because if an idea is good, then it's most definitely worth repeating. What chance of a medley on the tour dates?

7. That wobbly-throated "Ah-ahhh" in 'Watch The Tapes'. Probably the least successful track on the album has one brilliant curveball where Murph gets all Hiawatha as if the palefaces are on their way to ravage the settlement.

8. The corny indie part-timers are going to fucking loathe 'Sound Of Silver'. The title track has Murphy's campest vocal ever (he sounds so much like Heaven 17's Glenn Gregory that it's untrue) and is a meandering, but hypnotic slab of rumbling space disco, like Lindstrom on bad drugs.

9. Murphy's Kermit The Frog impression on 'New York I Love You'. Cheers to Grammar for pointing this one out. I lol, focl and rofl everytime I hear it now.

10. It just is. Okay. Pre-order it now, bitches. Or you could snaffle it off one of them there peer-to-peer file-sharing network thingies. Not that I in any way condone this behaviour of course.

Another year, another uninspiring batch of Brit Award nominations. Not that I was expecting anything wildly different from this year's bunch or anything but, despite the surprise inclusion of Guillemots in the Best British Live Act section, a deaf-blind five year-old could have predicted them. I'm glad that Miss Allen is up for three awards and everything, but the rest of the noms are so bleeding obvious that it seems pointless to even bother. In fact, they couldn't have been much lazier if an overly tired sloth on mogadon had announced them.

All the usual suspects are present and incorrect; Muse, Arctic Monkeys, Gnarls Barkley, Razor-fucking-light, James shitting Morrison, blah, blah, fucking blah. All of which will probably share one each and neither will probably remember the next day exactly which one they won and does it really even matter who got voted the Best International Breakthrough Act when the nominees are as beige as Gnarls, The Raconteurs, Wolfmother, Ray Lamontagne and sodding Orson? Just get them to stand in a circle, lob the award in the middle and whichever one catches it gets it rammed up their anus or something.

In fact, I'm so nonplussed (Is that the right word?) about the whole thing that I can't even get angry about the likes of Hot Chip, The Long Blondes and The Knife being snubbed for cosier fare. Jarvis is up for Best British Male though. Yay for him! He won't win though, that honour will go to the immensely talented Lemar of course, for about the seventh year running. Shall we just ignore that it's even happening? I think that's for the best.

Elsewhere, it's not everyday that you're quoted by the BBC. Result! And what's this? Justin Timberlake in not-too-shabby remix shockah! Remixes of mainstream pop music are nearly always so wide of the mark that they barely even register, so thank the lord for Justin Timberlake (or more specifically, Justin Timberlake's 'people') for enlisting electro-tech god, Sebastien Leger on re-fit duties. See what you think...

Justin Timberlake - What Goes Around Comes Around (Sebastien Leger Remix) (mp3)

Back later in the week with more fragmented gubbins,


Monday, January 15, 2007

The Yer Mam! Kiss Of Death: My Tips For 2007

Every year, critics and so-called 'experts' look into their crystal balls and tell us who's going to be making waves in the music world over the coming twelve months and every year, they miss the mark by a mile (unless the band/singer was a stick-on to be successful already, as was the case with Gnarls Barkley and Arctic Monkeys last year). I had a pop at it for the first time last year and even though I got some of them spot-on to a degree (The Long Blondes, Guillemots, the aforementioned Monkeys), some of them still can't even get arrested (Wherefore art thou, White Rose Movement? What happened, The Changes?).

Back then, I chose to put my money on just ten bands (with a few others mentioned in sidenotes), but this year, I've changed tack a little. Opting for the throw enough at the wall and some should stick method of forecasting, here is a rundown of bands, singers, MCs and button-pushers who I think will be worth keeping an eye on. 49 of them, nonetheless! Remember; this isn't me saying that all of these will be commercially successful, I'm just tipping you off as to which new (in some cases, that should be suffixed with -ish) acts are sure to be making music worth hearing.

Anyway, here's the second annual Yer Mam! Kiss Of Death...

With each passing year, there are few things in music that you can call an absolute certainty. One is that NME will create a scene in a cynical move to boost their readership, while another is that said scene will be derided by every other area of the music press. One of the major sure things in music, however, is that every year a new crop of guitar bands will arrive who, while they won't reinvent the wheel or anything, will push indie rock in new, exciting directions.

This year is no different, but in researching this post, I noticed a bit of a pattern. There seems to be more than a few boy/girl two/three-pieces; the most promising of which being Brighton's Blood Red Shoes. Laura-Mary Carter and Steve Ansell have been playing together for a couple of years now (after Ansell's former band, one-time contenders, Cat On Form broke up) and have honed a dynamic, melodic, punchy rock sound that threatens to spill over into violence at any given moment. Recent single, 'You Bring Me Down' is a masterclass in taut, tensile punk rock with a superbly catchy chorus that has marked them out as future stars. It certainly looks bright and you should expect an album around summer.

Blood Red Shoes - You Bring Me Down (mp3)

Another boy/girl duo with tendencies towards the raw is Prinzhorn Dance School, but where Blood Red Shoes have a full, riotous sound, The 'Horn choose to strip it back, letting the guitar, bass and drums all have breathing space. On 'You Are The Space Invader' (which was released in November on DFA), the wiry, snaky guitar line is the melody, but it's the hard, double-time snare hits and the hi-hat raps that leave the most indelible impression. A bit of an anomaly in the DFA stable, I'm sure that they've been signed for more than just tokenism or remix potential (James Murphy is a big fan of The Fall, a band that PDS take as an influence) and will prove to be a more than worthy addition to the family.

Prinzhorn Dance School - Eat, Sleep (mp3)

The gender is mixed, but this time they're a trio; Martin, Patrick and Gemma (alongside drum machine, Mustafa Beat) make up Manchester's The Answering Machine and their melodious, ever-so-slightly twee garage pop (think The Strokes meets The Pastels) is currently gaining column inches in all the right publications and a "bidding frenzy" built up around their appearances at In The City in late October. Their smart, cute, literate pop music with gnarled guitars to dirty up the sweetness could see them go a long way indeed.

The Answering Machine - Oklahoma (mp3)

Wales' Los Campesinos! take a more-is-more approach to their music, unlike the last few bands. A band with admirably grand designs, their fulsome indie-pop epics are like three-course meals compared to most other bands' snackability. With their seven members though, it would be a waste if they didn't fill every corner of their songs with sounds and ideas to tingle and delight the senses. They're as schmindie as they come, but never less than confident. Bright, colourful, breezy pop music that will have the hairslide and backpack brigade in raptures.

Los Campesinos! - You! Me! Dancing! (mp3)

Fields have slowly but surely gained momentum over the last twelve months and 2007 should see them win more hearts with their debut full-length album. Blending post-rock dynamics, with stadium-filling melodies and queasy electronics, they seem engineered to pick up Radiohead's residuals while they continue on hiatus. Large, grandiose song structures and skyscraping choruses abound and, while the jury may be out as to whether they can make good on their ambitions over the course of an album, listening to them try might be just as fulfilling.

Fields - Heretic (mp3)

Norway's 120 Days are the band that Kasabian think they are. Effortlessly blending driving electronics with sonic boom guitars and spacey motorik beats, it's refreshing to see a band that are actually influenced by krautrock, rather than just saying that they are. That the Can and Neu!-ish touches are swathed in rock theatricality only makes 120 Days more impressive. They're audacious, cocky and darkly majestic. Their self-titled album was released on Smalltown Supersound last year, but a UK tour later in 2007 and with the NME rightly hyping them up recently, they should go interstellar.

120 Days - Sleepwalking (mp3)

Elsewhere in the rock world, 2007 should see the rise and rise of Pull Tiger Tail; their spunky punk-pop should see them all over daytime radio and turn them into festival favourites come the summer. Two lads from Nottingham who call themselves I Was A Cub Scout have taken the very American emo template and Britished it all up with some neat electronics and a shoegazey element. Liverpool's The Maybes? should, after a few false starts over the last couple of years, become the acceptable face of lad-rock by substituting forced machismo and hollow swagger for top tunes and, apparently, a live show that's pretty special. Canada's Tokyo Police Club are, on the face of it, just another garage rock band, but there are touches of the restless spaz-pop of Les Savy Fav in there that should see them right. Jackie McKeown, ex of The Yummy Fur, makes another, probably more successful bid for fame with the glammy 1990s. Also hoping to make inroads along with their Manc compatriots, The Answering Machine are Polytechnic, who seem to have been hyped for ages but not yet built on it, so fingers crossed for them and their US alt-rock-influenced angularity. Oh, and for the record, here's hoping that the execrable The View slip back into obscurity before the year's out.

Pull Tiger Tail - Animator (mp3)

I Was A Cub Scout - Teenage Skin (mp3)

The Maybes? - Supercharge (mp3)

Tokyo Police Club - Be Good (mp3)

1990s - You're Supposed To Be My Friend (mp3)

Polytechnic - Headshaker (mp3)

As music goes in cycles, it seems a logical step for the sounds of the early 80s' New Pop scene to make a comeback. This was the tag given to the crop of bands that got jaded with the increasingly esoteric post-punk that was going on at the time and took to the golden melodies of pop music, bands like The Human League, Orange Juice, Dexy's Midnight Runners, The Specials etc. The new wave of new pop (Oh my god, I can't believe I just typed that. What am I, auditioning for NME now?) is being spearheaded by the wonderful Rumble Strips. Taking Searching For The Young Soul Rebels-era Dexy's as their foundation, Rumble Strips' sound is all horns and passionate, strained vocals. It's a trait that might not exactly catch fire with the public, but with their recent run of singles, culminating in the Cardboard Coloured Dreams EP, it looks like their cult status is assured at least.

Rumble Strips - Girls & Weather (mp3)

Okay, I tipped them last year, but in 2007, things are really going to happen for Voxtrot. Distilling most of the best British music of the '80s into tight little indie-pop songs, it's often hard to really get a hold on them. In Ramesh Srivastava, they have a keen, savvy frontman who seems to be preternaturally in touch with what a certain group of people (bloggers and those who read blogs) want from their music right now (he even keeps a blog here). Plus, it helps that their three EPs that they've released thus far, don't contain a bad song. Once the full-length hits, the world, not just the blogosphere, will be their oyster.

Voxtrot - Your Biggest Fan (mp3)

Over in the States, New York's caUSE co-MOTION are taking the scratchy, DIY, C86 aesthetic and, well, not really changing it much. Their devotion to this unreconstructed pop music is unerring, but thrilling all the same. Another strike for What's Your Rupture? records then. Closer to home, Scotland's Bricolage take more than a few cues from Orange Juice and Josef K, with lead singer, Wallace Meek's affected croon at turns Edwyn Collins and Paul Haig. Their buddies, The Royal We are also causing a bit of a stir and the one song that I have heard is definitely worth getting worked up about and despite their apparent fascination with Slade and their ridiculously twee stage names (Joanie Come Lately, anyone?), they look to have the muscle and swing of recent Belle & Sebastian. Bodes well.

caUSE co-MOTION - This Time Next Year (mp3)

Bricolage - Footsteps (mp3)

The Royal We - All The Rage (mp3)

Some people like the comfort of bands; having other people around to share the burden of songwriting, while others just want to do it on their own. Some call them visionaries, I just think they're twisted, socially-ineffective loners, but that's just me. Anyway, the singer-songwriter tag is something that not even singer-songwriters want to have attached to them, being as it is probably the most maligned area of music there is. If someone says to you "singer-songwriter", you instantly think David Gray, don't you? Or even worse, James Blunt! So why do artists do it to themselves. Well, when you write music as powerful and heartbreaking as James Chapman does, you don't want anyone else to take the credit. James calls himself Maps and his first three 7"s have all been mini works of beauty. With a breathy whisper of a voice, not unlike Jason Pierce at his most unassuming, Chapman builds up walls of sound around him all on his own in his bedroom. Yeah, he's one of those guys. But don't hold that against him as he creates wonderfully dense, soundscape-y space pop that doesn't so much reach for the sky as casually jump up and take them. Expect the debut album to be one of the most critically-acclaimed releases of the year, because us critics go batshit for this kind of thing, you know.

Maps - Lost My Soul (mp3)

One of 2007's boys most likely to is Wimbledon native, Jamie T. It seems a bit pointless touting him really, because everyone else is doing it, but this guy definitely has something. Call it a by-product of the North-South divide, but I really tried to not like Jamie T, but 'Salvador' and 'Sheila' won me over. Then, the brilliant debut LP, Panic Prevention absolutely bowled me over. Despite Jamie's hard to love, marble mouthed slur, it's the songcraft ( I hate that word) that really shines through. The boy can write a fucking good pop song and Panic Prevention hs twelve of them. Fancy an easy bet? Stick everything you've got on Jamie T going the distance.

Jamie T - Operation (mp3)

Scouse psych-dance-pop purveyor and erstwhile member of Ladytron's touring band, Pop Levi takes his hometown's beat combo heritage and filters it through everything that came after. It makes for a thrillingly all-over-the-shop mess, but an inviting mess that places melody and pop nous at the forefront, with the eclecticism there to service the song, rather than coming off as smart-arsery. The world might not be ready for him (he's a bit, shall we say, out there), but when everyone else catches up, a star will be born.

Pop Levi - Blue Honey (mp3)

Perma-dour Leeds outfit, iLiKETRAiNS render the silly written form of their faux-naive name pointless by taking their music as seriously as is humanly possible. The music of iLiKETRAiNS is by no means sour-faced or joyless, however, as their string-laden epics are ewually ominous and hopeful. Basically, iLiKETRAiNS have nailed the sound that Hope Of The States tried and failed to pin down over the course of the seven songs on their debut mini-album, Progress Reform, culminating in the completely devastating closer, 'The Beeching Report'. It's a home banker that their debut full-length will be something pretty special. Just how special will be determined by their ability to temper their inherent portentousness with light and shade, but in this age of Brit bands pushing inconsequential bubblegum rock, the weightiness of iLiKETRAiNS' output thus far is a breath of fresh air.

iLiKETRAiNS - Terra Nova (mp3)

Everyone likes nice guys finishing first, but the likelihood of all-round good chaps, The Aliens gaining commercial success is pretty slim. However, with Steve Mason's King Bicuit Time project having now gone the way of the pear, The Aliens should pick up the still-pining Beta Band fanbase, seeing as John Maclean and Robin Jones make up two-thirds of the band, with Mr Lone Pigeon and brother to King Creosote, Gordon Anderson making up the numbers. They've already got a bit of a rep for being shambolic in the live setting, but their two singles thus far have been pretty impressive. Poppy, anthemic, but with the occasional foray into pastoral, beat-peppered psychedelia, 'The Happy Song' and the Alienoid Starmonica EP point the way to an interesting future, if nothing else. All aboard the mothership.

The Aliens - Robot Man (mp3)

They're not Scottish, they call Philadelphia home, but that's not the only thing that A Sunny Day In Glasgow are trying to mislead us about. Like My Bloody Valentine once did, A Sunny Day In Glasgow shroud winning pop melodies in layers and layers of studio effects and feedback. The ringing, chiming guitars of 'The Best Summer Ever' are obfuscated by echoey vocals and heavily-treated drums, but it's a testament to their songs that they still hit home despite the band's insistence on muddying up the immediacy of their sound. 2007 should see them getting critical and fan adoration all over, with the release of their debut album, the fantastically-titled, Scribble Mural Comic Journal. One for the Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective fans.

A Sunny Day In Glasgow - The Best Summer Ever (mp3)

To say that North Carolina's Annuals sound a bit like Broken Social Scene would be an understatement. In fact, the influence that the Canadian collective have exerted on the band threaten to overshadow Annuals' own achievements on their album from last year, Be He Me. Annuals take all the best ideas that the American indie rock scene have had over the last decade and pile them into every song; the use of electronics a la Radiohead, the overdriven rawk guitars of Built To Spill, the yelpy vocals made prominent by the likes of Neutral Milk Hotel and Modest Mouse, the multi-harmonies of Animal Collective and the neo-classicist psych of Mercury Rev. The fact that they manage to bring their own idiosyncrasies to bear is what marks them out from the over-abundant crowd. Theirs is a childlike, relentlessly joyous sound that, in its most immediate moments almost resembles pop music. Their status as blogger's darlings is already assured, but I wouldn't bank against them making a few tentative steps into the indie mainstream before the year's out.

Annuals - Complete Or Completing (mp3)

There's a righteously groovy new dance-punk sound coming out of New York with Professor Murder, but before you run for the hills, expecting DFA-lite, at least give them a whirl. Their EP, Professor Murder Rides The Subway was one of last year's most promising releases from a new band. Professor Murder fuse together the drum-circle workouts of Oneida, some neat dubby touches like deep, chest-vibrating bass and melodica, the tight punk-funk of Liquid Liquid and '80s block party hip-hop to make a thrilling, danceable concoction, that's not unlike !!! or Out Hud but with more guided missile-like precision when it comes to locking into grooves and less meandering. Their dedication to getting the part started is what should see them gaining more and more fans and press adoration in 2007.

Professor Murder - Cam'ron's New Color (Pt. 3) (mp3)

This year should see an influx of Scandinavian pop music, too, if I've got anything to do with it. They just do it so well up there. Must be something in the water. They manage to find the right balance between hauteur and warmth that makes pop music so life-affirming. I'm sticking my neck out here, but I think that the Scandinavian invasion will be spearheaded by Frost. The Norweigna duo, consisting of Aggie Peterson and Per Martinsen, aren't exactly new; the album they are set to release this year, Love Revolution is, in fact, their third together and they've recorded under various other guises in years gone by, with Martinsen having the most success as Mental Overdrive. Their dense, glacial electro-pop is likely to draw comparisons with friends and compatriots, Royksopp, as well as Felt Mountain-era Goldfrapp, as Peterson's wispy, dreamy vocals seem to float over the music's icy sheen. Their last album, Melodica is well worth checking out, but some of the new stuff hints towards a more direct, dancefloor-oriented approach that should see them get a little more attention outside of their native Norway than they're used to.

Frost - One Hundred Years (mp3)

Another Norwegian who has passed me by until quite recently is Bertine Zetlitz. Her My Italian Greyhound album from last year was her fifth (!), but it wasn't until I heard the graceful single, 'Midnight' that I cottoned on. Produced by Pleasure, aka Fred Ball, My Italian Greyhound is a wonderful collection of elegant, retro-futurist torch songs, similar in essence to Eurythmics, especially in Zetlitz' punchy, faux-stern, Lennox-esque delivery. Rather than being pure style-over-substance though, songs like '500' and 'Obsession' have a tartness in their lyrics and a danceable glitterball pulse that emits more humanity than your average cold-eyed robot-pop. The Popjustice mafia are all over her, so expect this steely, peroxide dominatrix to be the subject of many fanboys' fevered dreams over the coming months.

Bertine Zetlitz - Midnight (mp3)

Sally Shapiro's brand of Italo-pop is already getting bloggers and online publications in a bit of a flap (her debut single, 'I'll Be By Your Side' made Pitchfork's top 100 tunes of the year) and it's not hard to see why. Her knowingly retro tunes and elfin, very Swedish good looks are eminently crushworthy, but there's an enigmatic side to Shapiro that allows the audience to have just that little bit of distance where every little bit of new information that gets out about her is greeted by manic fervour. For instance, she refuses to do interviews or to allow anyone she doesn't know to photograph her. She also doesn't 'do' live. Somewhere down the line, she will most likely break from this puritanical streak and start to let us in a little, but that demistification might inevitably hamstring her, because, as nice as the songs are, they're a little on the inconsequential side. That doesn't really matter at the moment though, as success to some degree seems like a given and anyone yearning for that '80s electro-pop sound (think Jan Hammer or early Pet Shop Boys) could do worse than to check out her debut album, Disco Romance (great title), out now on Diskokaine.

Sally Shapiro - Find My Soul (mp3)

Elsewhere in Scandinavia, there seems to be a renaissance in folky, indie pop, with the likes of Loney, Dear and Hello Saferide. Loney, Dear (the punctuation is necessary) is a one-man band/collective (dependent on who you ask/what your viewpoint is) from Sweden, centring around Emil Svanangen. Signed to Sub Pop and set to release his/their second album, Loney Noir, Loney, Dear are akin to I'm From Barcelona (with whom they've collaborated and share members), but with a less communal, more introverted outlook, not unlike King Creosote or the less strident areas of Bright Eyes' output. Set to melt the hearts of indie boys and girls the world over, 2007 should be a breakthrough year for them/him. Hello Saferide, however, is an often mercilessly confessional, acoustic troubador-ess, also from Sweden, by the name of Annika Norlin, who has an album and an EP already under her belt, but who has been largely ignored on these shores thus far. The naked, stripped-down folk-pop that she peddles is a damn sight better than Corinne Bailey Rae or Katie fucking Melua though and, despite the obvious trepidation some might have when approaching music like this, songs like 'The Quiz' and 'If I Don't Write This Song, Someone I Love Will Die' (how twee is that title?!) have more than their fair share of rewards.

Also, I'm sick of carping on about her, but if Robyn doesn't have a massive UK hit by the end of 2007, I'm emigrating to Sweden. Everybody should get hold of 'With Every Heartbeat', her collaboration with Swede producer, Andreas Kleerup, when it's finally properly released, because it's one of the best pop songs of the last few years.

Loney, Dear - The City, The Airport (mp3)

Hello Saferide - The Quiz (mp3)

Robyn - Who's That Girl? (mp3)

Hopefully, 2007 should see a bit of a swing towards pure disco after a few years of twisting disco to incorporate other aspects of music (disco-punk, space disco, dub disco, etc.). I'm not quite sure where most of it will come from, but you can be certain that Escort will be at the forefront of this new wave of disco. The eleven-strong, New York-based, orchestral disco collective have impressed all the right people with their first two 12"s, 'Starlight' and 'Love In Indigo', with the former making both Pitchfork and Stylus' top tracks of the year lists (I'm sure they were proud when they found out it had placed at number four in my own list of 2006's best songs, too!). Their links to Metro Area (Darshan Jesrani remixed 'Starlight', while Morgan Geist has done a re-edit of forthcoming single, 'A Bright New Life') make sense, but whereas that group had a more dubbed-out, downtempo approach to disco, Escort have more in common with the Philadelphia and T.K. sounds of the '70s, with an organic, live feel being favoured over studio effects. I'm sure that all Escort need to go supernova is one savvy, daytime radio DJ catching on to them, as their music deserves a wider audience than just being the concern of DJs and clued-up punters. Joyous and ecstatic, Escort's supremely funky sounds should rule 2007.

Escort - Love In Indigo (mp3)

Two other bands who are inching closer and closer to the dancefloor with each new tune are Glass Candy and Chromatics. The transformation of both bands from above average post-punk outfits to two of the most exciting and interesting acts around is one of the most pleasant surprises in recent years. Not that theirs is a lucid disco sound, not in the slightest. As opposed to Gamble & Huff, Glass Candy and Chromatics nod more towards the heavy-lidded hues of Giorgio Moroder and Dario Argento soundtracks in creating their shadowy, vampiric arrangements. After a couple of years of perfecting their style, both are set to release proper albums this year, following their many tour CDRs that have showcased the songs set to appear on the albums in various forms. Chromatics' Shining Violence is set to be an icy, more mood-driven affair, but Glass Candy's Life After Sundown, if the two recent tour CDRs are anything to go off, should be more geared towards the floor. One thing is for certain though, these two albums are sure to make many end-of-year lists come December.

Glass Candy - Life After Sundown (Rough Mix) (mp3)

Chromatics - Hotel (mp3)

Also taking a more left-of-centre, askew view of all things disco is London's Mock & Toof. With only a handful of remixes and a cheeky edit of Madonna's 'Like A Virgin' having seen the light of day thus far, Mock & Toof seem to be holding back a little on us, but I, for one, like what I've heard. Mock & Toof's music is a logical extension on the cosmic sounds of Lindstrom & Prins Thomas and Rub 'N' Tug, but with more humour and personality. M&T are also the proprietors of Tiny Sticks, one of the most intriguing new labels around. With releases from Dondolo and Wekan, among others, Tiny Sticks has already gained favourable comparisons with DFA. In fact, Mock & Toof are the first signings to DFA's new offshoot label, Death From Abroad, so the potential to be kindred spirits has been noted by Messrs Murphy and Goldsworthy.

The leading light of Tiny Sticks is Mexican space disco whiz, Michoacan (aka Fernando Rios). He's released 12"s on both Lektroluv and Bear Entertainment in the past but it looks like he's found a home on Tiny Sticks, who released his best single yet, 'She's Sent (Heaven)' towards the end of last year. Michoacan's brand of sexy, bouncy punk-funk looks set to make it into the more forward-thining DJs' sets in 2007 and, fingers crossed, there should be an album later in the year. Tiny Sticks and, in particular, Michoacan is one label that you should definitely be keeping an eye on this year.

Mock & Toof - Black Jub (mp3)

Michoacan - She's Sent (Heaven) (mp3)

Speaking of DFA, one of their most recent signees, Shit Robot is likely to be all over 2007 like a rash. After just one 12" and one remix (of Dondolo's 'Dragon'), it's hard to tell in which direction he's going to go, but if past DFA output is anything to go by, his already evident eclecticism should fit right in to their anything-goes aesthetic. The 12", 'Triumph/Wrong Galaxy' was two quite different dancefloor detonations. The latter was Carl Craig-ish, warped techno, while the former was more in-keeping with the dance-punk stuff that DFA made their name with. With an album in the pipeline, alongside more remix work, Shit Robot, alongside new albums from LCD Soundsystem and The Juan Maclean, should assure that 2007 is yet another fruitful year for the best label in the world.

Shit Robot - Triumph (mp3)

Moving on from the disco-not-disco feel of his debut album, Fantomes, Joakim's forthcoming third album, Monsters And Silly Songs is a different beast altogether. People expecting more of the same, especially after the last two singles, 'I Wish You Were Gone' and 'Drumtrax' will be in for a bit of a surprise. Monsters And Silly Songs is a dark, forbidding, minor masterpiece, with gothic tones that even Interpol fans could hang with. Although he isn't exactly a new kid on the block, this change in approach could see Joakim receiving critical acclaim by the bucket load and gaining fans that he probably never though he'd get. Tracks like 'Sleep In Hollow Tree' have more in common with Liars' Drum's Not Dead, with its witchy tribalism than anything else that comes under the loose banner of dance music. The only dancing you could envision being done to this would take place around a cauldron. Be prepared to be taken aback on first listen, but after a while the creeping, cavernous production really gets under your skin.

Joakim - Rocket Pearl (mp3)

Also worth looking out for in the field of dance music this year are Belgium's Spirit Catcher and Norway's Ost & Kjex (pronounced 'Shex'). Spirit Catcher have been around the block a bit, but their crisp, clean, unfussy house/disco sounds so fresh and relevant (especially 2006's 'Fission Trips' EP) that it should be virtually unignorable (is that a word?) in 2007. The cheese and biscuit-fixated Ost & Kjex, however, are a completely different proposition. Painting themselves as merry pranksters, their effusive, wonderfully messy techno is currently giving that genre a much-deserved shot in the arm. Nice.

Spirit Catcher - Spacialized (mp3)

Ost & Kjex - Shanghai My Cheddar (mp3)

What of hip-hop and r'n'b in 2007? Well, there doesn't seem to be a hell of a lot happening in the mainstream. I might be wrong as I can't say that I follow these scenes like a hawk, but it seems like a rather fallow time for commercial rap and r'n'b. One hip-hopper that you can expect good things to come from is Busdriver. After years languishing in the underground backpacker scene, where he has steadily earned a fearsome reputation as one of the best underground MCs, his forthcoming sixth solo album in as many years, RoadKillOvercoat is currently building up a head of steam in the buzz stakes. It's a vibrant, colourful record with acerbic, often bleak lyrical preoccupations, but as far as smart, modern hip-hop goes it's positively life-affirming. It looks like Busdriver might have to get used to a little more attention in the coming months than he is used to.

Busdriver - The Troglodyte Wins (mp3)

As for r'n'b, I'm tipping Yummy Bingham for stardom this year. The daughter of revered producer, Dinky Bingham (I guess silly names run in the family) and the godchild of both Chaka Khan and Aaron Hall, Yummy was destined to go into music from an early age. She also used to be in short-lived girl group, Tha Rayne, but we'll skim over that. Bingham's debut solo album, The First Seed is a remarkably mature (she's only 21), soulful, funky album that has about eight or nine potential hit singles. Closer in sound to Amerie than, say, Beyonce, her cute, semi-squeaky voice has brilliant range and fits the hip-hoppy, hard-hitting production spectacularly. 'One More Chance' looks set to be a breakthrough for her, seeing as it's already getting a fair bit of play on both 1 Xtra and Radio One, but 'Come Get It', should it get a re-release, could be one of the party anthems of the year. Yummy by name and nature.

Yummy Bingham - Is It Good To You? (mp3)

2007 should also see the rise and rise of Plastic Little. The Philly-based good-time hip-hop crew have just released their superbly foul-mouthed debut album, She's Mature to apprehensively enthusiastic reviews. I say apprehensively because critics don't seem to be able to figure out if they're 'for real' or not. They're funny and fun, but the fact that they don't take themselves seriously for one second has thrown some music writers. Linked to the Hollertronix crew along with Low Budget, Diplo and Spank Rock, they're more interested in bringing the party than addressing issues, but sometimes you need that in hip-hop and if they're taking potshots at modern-day rap music's often ridiculous preoccupations with money or politics, then that's alright by me.

Plastic Little - The Jumpoff (mp3)

Even though The Pack's one and only note-worthy tune, 'Vans' caught fire at the end of last year, expect that fire to spread into 2007, with a re-release on the horizon. Brilliantly braindead and simplistic, it's becoming hyphy's national anthem, so for those who don't know it, then you soon will.

The Pack - Vans (mp3)

I suppose the final word on what's going to be hot in 2007 should go to that burgeoning scene various areas of the press have dubbed New Rave. It's a certainty that Klaxons are going to be huge, but they would have been anyway, had there not been a scene built around them. One of the more talented, intriguing most-likely-tos of recent years, the brilliance of Klaxons' output thus far makes their willingness to be seen as the vanguards of New Rave all the more galling. Once the glowsticks have been banished to the mists of time from which they came though, Klaxons will still be around, as songs like 'Gravity's Rainbow', 'Magick' and the forthcoming single, 'Golden Skans' bely their faddish status.

Klaxons - Magick (mp3)

Shitdisco are also starting to prove themselves as more than just the latest hot new thing with their two ragged, shambolic single releases so far. Having more in common with Hot Chip than Lo-Fidelity Allstars helps too. Elsewhere, French producer, Yuksek's band project, Klanguage blend new wave dynamics with electro-pop trappings to brilliant effect, Manchester's own, The Whip are finally starting to see things happening for them after a few years in the business (they used to be Nylon Pylon) with a Kitsune endorsement and a growing live reputation, while Shakes should expand on their mighty impressive debut single, 'Sister Self Doubt' over the next twelve months too. This thing may have more legs than most are giving it credit for, let's just think of a better name for it than New Rave, eh.

Shitdisco - Reactor Party (mp3)

Klanguage - Never Over (mp3)

The Whip - Trash (mp3)

Shakes - Sister Self Doubt (Alternate Version) (mp3)

Phew! That enough for you?!