Sunday, April 29, 2007

Mixtape Week: Monday

It's the first instalment in our week of mixtapes and today's one is a belter, taking in some discoid delights from the likes of Studio, Black Devil Disco Club, Chromeo and Talking Heads, among others.


  1. Studio - Life's A Beach! (Todd Terje's Beach House Miks) (The better of the two 'Life's A Beach!' remixes, in my opinion, is this dubby, blissful slo-mo disco do-over from Terje. He amps up the tempo ever-so-slightly from the original and adds a bassline found in the drawer marked "Just won't quit". Superb.)
  2. Bjorn Torske - God Kveld (More beautiful Norwegian disco from the Bergen-based legend. Similar in style and form to recent works by Reverso 68, but it's a sound that never gets old. At least it hasn't yet anyway.)
  3. Special Touch - Garden Of Life (Shuffling, very smooth UK soul bomb from the early 90s, recently resurrected on Sonar Kollektiv's Computer Incarnations For World Peace compilation. A lost classic.)
  4. The The - Giant (Pilooski Edit) (The ever-reliable Pilooski takes The The's original (from Soul Mining) and, well, doesn't really do much at all to it. It's all about the little touches like the way he piles a bit more reverb on the drums and adds all sorts of little effects on the coda, while stripping away the "Yeah, yeah, yeah"'s. Nice work if you can get it.)
  5. Black Devil Disco Club - The Devil In Us (Why I managed to forget about 28 After when I came to compile my albums of the year list last year is beyond me, as it's one of the 2006 albums that I still give a regular spin to. I'm going to see Bernard Fevre in action in a couple of weeks, so here's my favourite off that album as a primer.)
  6. Andre Cymone - The Dance Electric (Cymone was Prince's sort-of adopted brother (Prince lived with Cymone's family after leaving his own home as a teen) and he played bass in Prince's touring band in the early days. Prince also wrote and produced this, Cymone's only real hit. Cymone sounds a lot like Prince. Coattail-riding has never sounded so funky.)
  7. Chromeo - Bonafied Lovin' (Tough Guys) (Speaking of Prince, the music world's most blatant Prince fetishists, Chromeo are back with a new album that doesn't actually make me want to chop off my ears. Fancy Footwork is, in fact, a truly joyous retro-pop marvel and this is one of the most addictive cuts from it. Christ, Chromeo got really good all of a sudden.)
  8. Matthew Dear - Don And Sherri (Dear has gone all tech-soul on his new album under his own name, Asa Breed and it's a serious contender for album of the year. The pure pop of 'Don And Sherri' is just one of the reasons why.)
  9. Loose Joints - Is It All Over My Face? (Larry Levan Remix) (One of the most fun, funky tracks to come out of the underground disco scene of the late 70s/early 80s gets a subtle rework from the don of that era. Pure ecstasy.)
  10. Was (Not Was) - Out Come The Freaks (A good few years before 'Walk The Dinosaur' made them a household name the world over, they released this avant-garde disco classic on Ze Records. Still as strange and exotic now as it was in 1981.)
  11. Jorge Ben - Taj Mahal (Samba-disco-funk from Mr. Ben. Recommended if you like... fun, dancing, good times.)
  12. The Lafayette Afro Rock Band - I Love Music (Proto-disco funk from the early-70s. Features one of the most hard-driving bass and piano combos I've ever heard. It nearly gave me a panic attack when I first heard it, it's that fucking good.)
  13. Talking Heads - Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On) (What can you say? Perfect afro-beat influenced new wave disco from the greatest band ever to walk the earth. Sounds great opening that new Back To Mine mix from Royksopp too.)
Monday's mixtape, ripped, zipped and Gigasized (new link!)

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Coming soon to a blog near you...

Hey there!

Just wanted to drop in to say that we're doing something a bit special this coming week on Yer Mam! Every day for a week, there'll be a new mixtape for you to download. Yes, that's right, starting tomorrow, it's mixtape week on Yer Mam! I'm currently putting them together and getting them uploaded and ready to go, so you just sit tight and wait for the goodies to come.

That's all for now, but if you want to hear my dulcet tones in the meantime, I'm on this week's Blog Fresh Radio, talking about Studio's album.



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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Exclamation points ahoy!

Hi there!

I realise that I've not been updating this thing as much as I should/would like to, so I thought I'd fill you in on some of the stuff that's rocking my tiny little world to its foundations right now.

1. Andre 3000 rapping again!

Yes, you read that right, Andre 3000 aka Andre Benjamin aka Possum Alowishus Jenkins III is back doing what he does best. Sure, boy can sing and, y'know, can act a little, but busting strange, wonderful rhymes is his forte and it appears that he's got his rapping mojo back for the first time since Stankonia. He's made a few guest appearances recently and showed that he hasn't lost it. In fact, in every tune, he steals the show.

He blows away Snoop (not too difficult) and Devin The Dude (a sterner test) on 'What A Job' on Devin's new album (a tune that can be found elsewhere on these pages) and he makes the likes of Jim Jones, Paul Wall, Too Short and Lil' Jon irrelevant on remixes of DJ Unk's 'Walk It Out' and Rich Boy's 'Throw Some D's'. He's at his best though opening UGK's hot newie, 'International Player's Anthem'. No-one else can come up with lines like "I cc'd every girl that I'd see-see 'round town", "Wetness all around me, true, but I ain't no island. Peninsula, maybe" or "We got your back like chiro-prac-tic", so it's great to hear him back.

I would post that soon-to-be classic, but Fluxblog beat me to it. Here, instead, is the song that provides the sample. Enjoy!

Willie Hutch - I Choose You (mp3)

2. Arto Mwambe brings the Detroit!

Arto Mwambe's (no, me neither) new release on Brontosaurus, Mudhutma! is one of the best techno releases of the year. Not minimal in the slightest, unlike most other techno these days, it's two full-on Detroit-style bangers. Just who Arto Mwambe actually is, is unclear (his MySpace page doesn't help much), but it's clear that there is more than a little genius at work. 'Ombala Mbembo' on the b-side is the one for me, but I'm saving that for a future mixtape (watch this space), so sample a little bit of Mr Mwambe with this little groover from the a-side.

Arto Mwambe - Noh Ngamebo (mp3)

3. New Glass Candy!

Glass Candy have posted a new song, 'Rolling Down The Hills' on their MySpace and, I'm pleased to report, it's absolutely amazing. There's choppy, wah-wah guitars, a groovy bassline, spacey synths and soulful horns! Yes, soulful horns! I'll type it again, in case you're still rubbing your eyes in disbelief, SOULFUL HORNS!!! The kind of horns you used to get on Philadelphia International 7"s. I'm tempted to say that it's Siouxsie Sioux meets Gamble & Huff, but that sounds way too soundbite-y. Plus, it doesn't really do it justice. Just go over there, listen, repeat, listen again, ad infinitum. So looking forward to the album now.

4. Joyful Norwegian Post-Rock!

Is there anything that those Norwegians aren't good at in the world of music? Tuna Laguna's new album, Ripples And Swells is a genuinely surprising, out-of-left-field treat. I'd never heard of them before but thought I'd check it out anyway and it's just sublime. There'll be more to come from me on the subject of Tuna Laguna in the future, so for now, just seek out the album, but try before you buy with this little taster.

Tuna Laguna - On To Tarmac (mp3)

Also, head over to their official site where you can download their first album, It's The Fudge gratis.

5. Remembering how good The Pipettes are!

I went to see them at Manchester Academy 2 on Tuesday night, not really expecting to be blown away, but I was. All over again. This was the fourth time I'd seen them live, so you'd think that their gimmick (because that's what it is, let's have it right) would be starting to wear thin. Well, you'd be wrong. They were just as effervescent, joyous and (ahem) poptastic as they were the previous three times. Songs like these don't age. Remind yourself of how you fell in love with them in the first place...

The Pipettes - Tell Me What You Want (mp3)

If you must, you can read my review of the gig for High Voltage here.

6. I'm going to be reviewing Futuresonic!

Futuresonic, Manchester's yearly electronica and audio-visual festival runs from 10th-12th May and I'm going to be there reviewing it. Black Devil Disco Club, Faust, TTC and Wolfgang Flur! All for free! Can you tell that I'm excited?!

Black Devil Disco Club - On Just Foot (Dub) (mp3)

In other news...

I've reviewed Kathy Diamond's Miss Diamond To You for The Console. Read it!

I stumbled across this blog the other day, purely by accident, only to find that it only started up this week. There's tons of great music, but no waffle. The keeper of Naive Melodies is a man/woman/thing after my own heart. It appears that he/she/it's from Manchester too. I flung him/her/it an email the other day, but whoever it is is deciding to keep a low profile. So let me boost it for them.

Naive Melodies

If you go over to the Get Girl. Kill Baddies. Save Planet. MySpace and scroll down to the comments, you can see a picture of yours truly spinning some discs (of the compact variety, might I add). Clue: I'm wearing the same t-shirt that I've got on in my profile picture. It was all I had clean!

Right, I'm off. Look out for more posts soon.


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Thursday, April 19, 2007

2007: The First Quarter In Review. Part Three - March

Apologies for the delay with this post but, hey, it's here now.

Each week in March saw the release of a notable new album from some part of the musical landscape or another, with impressive albums coming from the likes of Chigagoan power-punkers The Ponys, minimal techno wiz Gabriel Ananda, brain-damaged psych-pop combo The Aliens and ex-Shangri-La, Mary Weiss among others. It also ushered forth a few disappointments in the shape of Ted Leo's first really weak album, the pedestrian Tracey Thorn record and Air saying "Will this do?" with Pocket Symphony.

We're not going to focus on those though, so let's have another look at seven albums, all out in March that were either unsung, unfairly panned or justly praised from the heavens.

Easily the most talked-about and eagerly-anticipated album of the first three months of 2007 has to be Arcade Fire's Neon Bible. The follow-up to the nigh-on universally-adored Funeral, it's an album that shows a bit of a thematic volte-face on their part, but in the end just rings that little bit hollow in comparison. Sure, by any other band's yardstick, Neon Bible would be something approaching a triumph, but the fact that it follows arguably the best debut of the decade thus far is just something that I, for one, can't seem to overlook.

Lyrically, it deals in lighter sentiments than its death-obsessed predecessor, but as a result, it lacks that record's catharsis. In its great moments, and it has a few, Neon Bible is the sound of a band fully in charge of their own craft and hitting all the marks that they aim for. In the church organ-driven strum of 'Intervention' and its themes of shaken faith and everyday drudgery, Arcade Fire display a deftness with subjects that would seem tropey in the hands of lesser lights. Also, the re-recorded version of 'No Cars Go' from their debut EP achieves the heights of joyous unification that their first full-length had in spades.

Elsewhere though, there's a liberal sprinkling of filler. For every 'Black Wave/Bad Vibrations', there's a song like the non-descript title track and for every '(Antichrist Television Blues)', we've got the overblown and preposterous 'My Body Is A Cage'. I'm probably being a little harsh, but the Arcade Fire of Funeral just wouldn't have let a song as rote and as uninspired as 'Windowsill' slip through the net ("MTV what have you done to me?". Come on! You're better than that, Win!). That song pushes all the right buttons in that the strings sweep and the sound swells, but it does so in such a functional manner that it winds up frustratingly dull. I know some people are going to want my head on a pike for this, but hamstrung by previous success or not, Neon Bible is just not good enough.

Arcade Fire - Black Wave/Bad Vibrations (mp3)

Nick Cave returned this month with a fired-up, stripped-down version of The Bad Seeds as Grinderman. Alongside regular cohorts Warren Ellis, Jim Sclavunos and Martyn Casey, he set to making an album that was more in the spirit of his pre-Bad Seeds days with The Birthday Party and pretty much succeeded. A raw, gloriously unrefined riot, Grinderman is a menacing, fire-breathing, punchy, often hilarious record that works as a counterpoint to The Bad Seeds' wonderful bombast. Streamlined and effective, most of the songs here are like a kick to the throat, from the laugh-a-bar 'No Pussy Blues' to the 'Woman's Hour' and 'Gardener's Question Time' refs of 'Love Bomb', but Grinderman also has its more downtempo moments in the slink and moan of 'Electric Alice' or the short, sweet 'Man In The Moon'. In deconstructing the ornery of his day-job, Nick Cave has brought to bear a side of him many have thought was long lost.

Grinderman - Depth Charge Ethel (mp3)

NME buzz band, The Horrors released their debut album, Strange House in March to what could best be described as a mixed reception. In truth, when reading some of the reviews from both the negative and positive angles, the reasons some give to like it are exactly why others hated it and vice versa. For instance, The Guardian praised it for its clear credentials, while Stylus panned it for its slavish facsimile of better bands from the past. They're both kind of right though as Strange House is as derivative as it is fresh. The influences are sign-posted (The Cramps, The Fall, Jonathan Fire*Eater), but really, is there anyone making music like this anymore? At least in Britain there isn't and, pantomimic as it is, it's the closest that young Britain has to a band that might actually scare their parents and that's to be lauded, in my book.

The Horrors - Draw Japan (mp3)

Most of the bands that emerged during the punk-funk resurgence a few years back were ineffably awkward, anaemic and alabaster-white. The emphasis for most of those bands (The Rapture, Moving Units, Erase Errata) lay on the punk aspect, but who'd have thought that the band with probably the punkest background (in bands like The Yah Mos and Popesmashers) would end up being the most likely to bring the funk?

Although they look like a bunch of geography teachers (albeit geography teachers you suspect would light up a jazz tab or two in their spare time), !!! know how to get on the good foot. Myth Takes, their best album yet (a fact I've only recently come around to having dug out Louden Up Now and finding it to be not as good as I remember), sees the band indulging in JBs-like tight jams, shot through with the frenetic pace of punk. Also, isn't 'Heart Of Hearts' just the most fun song to dance to of the last five years?

!!! - Heart Of Hearts (mp3)

It's easy to see why people completely lost their shit and indulged in some serious hype-mongering upon hearing Panda Bear's new album, Person Pitch, as it sounds tailor-made for us mp3 bloggers who like pop music, preferably prefaced with the word indie and experimental music that isn't, y'know, all that experimental. There's nothing on Person Pitch that is truly ground-breaking, but it does sound like it was recorded on a planet other than this one. The touchstones are evident on first contact - Phil Spector, Brian Wilson, Silver Apples - but it's distinctly idiosyncratic and further displays that Animal Collective are masters of their own craft and are, through their band albums and solo work like this, racking up a body of work that ranks among the strongest in modern music.

Panda Bear - I'm Not (mp3)

The most prominent hip-hop release, at least for people versed in the genre's underground, in March was El-P's I'll Sleep When You're Dead. Fine record it is, but in my opinion, the most enjoyable rap release this month was Devin The Dude's Waitin' To Inhale. Devin's been well respected on the underground scene for best part of a decade, but the dude cannot catch a break. This hasn't made him bitter, like it would with most MCs. Nah, Devin just rolls with it, rolls another and gets lit up. His only ambitions are to get fucked up and get fucked and they are the two major preoccupations on his latest record. Some of the lyrics may be a little tart for some people's tastes, but the guy is just one of the most likeable rhymers around, with his slow, THC-addled Texas drawl and hilarious way with smutty one-liners ("I tried to run, I tried to duck, but I couldn't get away she was wide as fuck" - 'She Useta Be'). An acidic, dumb/witty delight.

Devin The Dude - What A Job (feat. Snoop Dogg & Andre 3000) (mp3)



Well, was it ever going to be anything else? I'll keep it short because I've sang this album's praises more than enough over the last few months. Put simply, Sound Of Silver is an astonishing pop record by one of the few people working today for whom it doesn't seem much of a stretch to call a genius. If you haven't heard it yet, what the hell are you doing reading this?

LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver (mp3)

I'll probably do another one of these in July, you know.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

For he's a jolly good blogger!

Hi everyone!

Yes, that's right, today Yer Mam! has reached the wise-old age of two. We are two years old today and, with that in mind, I've decided to do something a bit special. People always* ask me, "James, which bands have appeared on the most Yer Mam! mixtapes?", but up until the other day, I didn't know the answer. So what I did was, I dug through all the mixtapes I've ever posted and made a tally. The results were somewhat surprising. For instance, if you'd have told me that I'd put Stars on eight (!) mixtapes, I'd have called you a liar. I like Stars, but fuck, eight mixtapes! Jesus!

Anyway, here are the top five (actually six as there's a tie for fifth place) bands who've had songs on the most Yer Mam! mixtapes. Your mothers must all be proud.

*read never


Wow, what a shocker! I could have hazarded a guess that James Murphy and band would be at the top, but what did surprise me was just how many times they had featured. LCD Soundsystem songs have been included on mixtapes of mine a massive fourteen (count 'em) times. My favourite current band have been a permanent mainstay since the early days on the clunky old blog and will continue to be a touchstone band in the future. Having blossomed with the Sound Of Silver into the kind of hyper-referential yet meaningful dance-pop band that critics have wet dreams about, LCD Soundsystem have cemented their position as the thinking dancers favourite group. Music for your mind, body and soul.

LCD Soundsystem - Watch The Tapes (mp3)


Again, my love for The DFA comes to the fore, as the second-most 'taped band are one-half of the UK arm of the DFArmy (the other half being Prinzhorn Dance School). Hot Chip have been included in one way or another on twelve mixtapes in the past. This is pretty impressive, considering the fact that I didn't think much of them until The Warning. I'm still lukewarm on Coming On Strong, but the band's second album is one of my favourite and most-played albums of the last couple of years. Smart, witty pop music for your feet.

Hot Chip - Colours (mp3)


Canadian indie-rock behemoths, Broken Social Scene just shouldn't work as a band. A careening, chaotic mess most of the time with far too many ideas than they know what to do with, they manage to fashion glory from anarchy. Even though they often sound like they're going to disintegrate at any point, the sheer joy of life and downright fun that they exude pulls them through. It's no wonder then that they've appeared on as many as eleven mixtapes. Fingers crossed that they won't be on "hiatus" for too long then.

Broken Social Scene - 7/4 Shoreline (mp3)


I've never really made any secret of my love for Wolf Parade, as evidenced by their eleven mixtape caps. This band have the power to make the ordinary seem extraordinary with merely a carefully chosen word or sound. Also, with the two songwriters there's always an amazingly fluid dynamic at work, with Spencer Krug acting as the surreal fantasist and Dan Boeckner the downtrodden but hopeful romantic. A new album is due later in the year so expect more from this band on these here pages.

Wolf Parade - We Built Another World (mp3)


Inherently, I am just another blogger and, occasionally, I do get swept up in hype. However, I think that the hype for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's debut album was pretty justified as it's a fantastic pop album. The second one, I can take or leave as it gets too wrapped up in its own contrariness. Five million bloggers can't be wrong though.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Mama, Won't You Keep Them Castles In The Air And Burning? (mp3)


I'm cheating a little here, as I've included Lindstrom solo stuff, remixes, Prins Thomas solo, remixes and Major Swellings stuff in this entry. They've occurred in mixtape form in some guise or other a huge ten times, but to be honest, no-one does downtempo disco as well as these two Norwegians. Someday soon, I'm going to move there as everyday it feels like it's getting closer and closer to being my spiritual home. Kosmische!

Lindstrom & Prins Thomas - Tempo Tempo (mp3)

Right, here's to another two years!


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Friday, April 06, 2007

A reminder.

This is the third post I've tried to write about one thing or another tonight, but my brain's that frazzled that I can't seem to finish anything right now. I think an early night might be in order.

Anyway, just wanted to remind you Manc blog-artists that we're meeting tomorrow at 3pm in The Hare & Hounds on Shudehill, opposite the bus station. All are welcome. In fact, you don't even need to be a blogger, just a like-minded soul intent on talking crap with us over a few pints of mild. Hope to see you all there.

Also, the latest edition of Blog Fresh Radio is up for download, with yours truly chunnering on about Kathy Diamond. Listen without prejudice, people.



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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

On the ones and twos.


Just a quick one tonight. First up, the belated single of the week.


Battles - Atlas (Warp)

And lo, the first warning shot from Battles' face-meltingly excellent full-length debut proper, Mirrored is fired. It's called 'Atlas' and it totally fucking rocks. Layers of crunchy electronics and distorted guitars are piled atop a galloping glitter beat, while Ty Braxton sings sweet nonsense into a voice manipulator. Punchy, visceral and, dare I say it, life-affirming, it's math-rock, Jim, but not as we know it. Think Animal Collective with the funk and you're halfway there. Blistering stuff.

Secondly, a shameless plug. Saturday 14th April sees the monthly instalment of Get Girl. Kill Baddies. Save Planet. at Manchester's venerable night-spot, the Night & Day Cafe. Alongside the residents, Grammar and Pasta Paul are ex-Bureau synthist and keytar fetishiser, Flickerrr and yours truly. Yes, I'll be spinning the platters that matter, rinsing the plates and drink-driving the wheels of steel for a cameo DJ set. Hopefully, you'll all be able to come out and watch me make a tit of myself/turn the dancefloor into a writhing, lurching mass of bodies worshipping at the altar of disco.

If you fancy it, e-mither the guys at and you'll be able to get in for four quid. That's two whole English pounds cheaper than you would pay normally! Bargain! Supplying the live music on the night are Zapped By A Million Volts and Shakes, so you know that you're in for one hell of a night.

Plug over.



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