Archive for April, 2006

April 8, 2006

EDITORS – All Sparks (2x CD & 7″ Single)

All Sparks CoverKitchenware Records SKCD84 / SKCD842 / SKX84: 27th March 2006
1. All Sparks (Single Version)
"You're answering questions that have not yet been asked"
2. The Diplomat
"As her mouth moves, the hate begins to go"
3. From The Outside
"What a time to go, when he needs you so"
4. All Sparks (Cicada Remix)
"You burn like a bouncing cigarette on the road"
5. Someone Says (Acoustic)
"There's beauty in the lonely, you're the moonlight in this town"

'All Sparks' already sounded great on the Editors' album. But after hearing this new powerful version it sounds a bit thin and tinny in comparison. The Cicada Remix turns it into an Electro pop dance floor song. It sounds a bit too much like the kind of crappy dance music that goes straight to number 1 just by having some girls rubbing their breasts on the camera (Okay, rant over, on with the review).

'The Diplomat' is a song about a girl that's seemingly able to bring calm to the most aggravated situations. I love the way he reverentially sighs "You're an angel". I've listened to this a few times and it already sounds like some sort of stadium conquering anthem. 'From The Outside' isn't as good as 'The Diplomat' but it's still a respectable entry in Editors' canon of B-Sides. It seems to be about observing the collapse of someone else’s relationship. Thank god Editors are one of the few artists that care about b-sides.

'Someone Says' is about a person getting mixed up with something they shouldn't and you can't do anything to stop them. This acoustic version gives the song and Tom Smith's vocal room to breathe. Editors Website / Editors MySpace Page / Editors Fan Site

April 8, 2006

FRANZ FERDINAND – The Fallen / L. Wells (CD & 2x 7″ Single)

The Fallen, L Wells CoverDomino RUG219CD: 3rd April 2006
1. The Fallen
"So they say you're trouble boy, because you like to destroy, things that bring the idiots joy"
2. The Fallen (Ruined By Justice)
"I'm the word, the word is destroy"
3. L. Wells
"In the bright cold air, you seem as innocent and fair, as Rita Tushingham in 1961"
4. Jeremy Fraser
"What can you do when you’re left with a stare, and a bleeding heart"
5. Brown Onions

As you're probably already aware, 'The Fallen' is the best thing that Franz Ferdinand have ever done. It appears here in it's original version and a slightly shortened radio edit.

The version by Justice might just be the best remix you're going to hear all year. It cuts up Alex's vocal like a mad sword-wielding maniac. It then places it over an entirely new retro electronic backing with some extra drums and guitars. The bit at 2.13 where it sounds like Alex is some demented robot whose head is about to explode is amazing.

'L. Wells' is the other track in this so called "Double A-Side" and is about a girl called Lynsey Wells that the Franz boys have placed on a bit of a pedestal. At first I had a violent allergic reaction to this song because it's very different to anything that they've done before. Then I read the lyrics and realised they we're really good. So I went back to the music to see if maybe my first reaction was wrong. They've dispensed with the cold Art Rock sound that's previously suited them so well. It reminds me of The Beatles, The Kinks and two thirds through of Tubular Bells. I was wrong, this is a classic B-Side, but maybe not quite worthy of A-Side status.

Nick takes over lead vocals on 'Jeremy Fraser' which is about a schoolboys death. It's got a woozy fairground music feel to it. If you weren't told you'd probably not realise this was Franz Ferdinand at all.

As you might guess from the title, 'Brown Onions' is an Instrumental. It's damn good, especially at 2.03 when it cuts back to the bass guitar. Then a guitar comes in that sounds a bit like the Sesame Street theme.

The Fallen (Ruined By Justice)

Franz Ferdinand Website / Franz Ferdinand Fan Site

April 8, 2006

LARRIKIN LOVE – Edwould (CD & 2x 7″ Single)

Edwould CoverInfectious Records WEA403CD / WEA403 / WEA403X: 3rd April 2006
1. Edwould
"I've penned your poison 1000 times, you think you're mighty, I believe you're a swine"
2. It's A Long Way Home To Donegal
"We'll fight with our fists, swallow our fears, we'll be strong"
3. The Very Sad Ballad Of Brutus From No.72
"Shut up you I'm strawberry blonde, out in the alley I'm like the Fonz"
4. Edshould (Statik Remix)
"You are a disgusting child, I think so, everybody thinks so"

'Edwould' is the third single by Larrikin Love, who are like Babyshambles but, good. In the lyrics, Edward Larrikin gives himself a right going over. It's like a British version of Gogol Bordello and therefore, fantastic.

On the record sleeve it says that 'It's A Long Way Home To Donegal' is an 'Old Irish standard' by Max Smoke. However, I can't find any trace of an original so maybe it isn't. It also says it was recorded on 'One drunken evening' and probably sounds better when inebriated. Brilliantly a minute before the end it suddenly changes into the Pogues.

'The Very Sad Ballad Of Brutus From No.72' is a short nursery rhyme like song in the style of Syd Barrett’s 'Bike'. It's about having an argument with a ginger cat called Brutus. It was recorded in Jamie T's bedroom and is rather weird and wonderful.

Statik's Dub Remix is re-titled 'Edshould' and brings forward the bass to great effect. It reminded me of Babyshambles's 'Pentonville' but once again, it's actually good.

Larrikin Love Website / Larrikin Love MySpace Page

April 7, 2006

THE FRATELLIS – The Fratellis (CD EP)

The Fratellis CoverIsland CID924: 3rd April 2006
1. Creepin' Up The Backstairs
"Climbing in the window, get dressed, let’s go, take your brother’s car keys, bye, bye"
2. Stacie Anne
"You know I'll break your fingers, and I'll break your toes, you know my dealer takes me everywhere he goes"
3. The Gutterati?
"I'll help you any way that I can"

For some reason I thought that The Fratellis were an awful cock-rock band. Thankfully they're not, thankfully they're genius. It's difficult to put into words how much fun 'Creepin' Up The Backstairs' is. Lets just say I was dancing around and clapping my hands. It's similar to The Monks 'Black Monk Time', but instead of a rant against the Vietnam War, it's just a big party. It sounds like The Libertines at their most joyous (That seems like a long time ago). It's got the cheeky, frenetic lyrics of Alex Turner while not trying to ape the Arctic Monkeys' sound.

'Stacie Anne' starts off sounding like a football chant. The backing chants of "Oooh-Ahhh-Oooh" are great. 'The Gutterati?' has all the excitement of 'White Riot', which means it's pretty damn exciting. It ends with howls of laughter, rounds of applause and someone saying "I hate your fuckin' lyrics!".

Cigarello (Demo)
Creepin' Up The Backstairs (Acoustic)
Got Ma Nuts From A Hippy (Demo)

The Fratellis Website / The Fratellis MySpace Page

April 7, 2006

MORRISSEY – You Have Killed Me (2x CD Singles)

You Have Killed Me CoverAttack ATKXS017 / ATKXD017: 27th March 2006
1. You Have Killed Me
"I entered nothing and nothing entered me, till you came with the key"
2. Good Looking Man About Town
"On midnight streets, no moon and no stars, no one around, to calm you down, and to soften the stings to my heart"
3. Human Being
"I can hold my head so high, just like a human, I'm a riff raff human being"
4. I Knew I Was Next
"I knew I was next and I didn’t mind, here I offer you my life for any debts due"

I've greeted few singles with quite so much anticipation and trepidation as this. In Morrissey's long career he has seldom disappointed, but could this be one of the times when he does? All the reviews of his new album sing it's praises but also seem dismissive of his last. In my opinion his last was his finest album, so we're the reviews to be trusted? Finally his new single arrived on my doorstep and it was time to find out.

'You Have Killed Me' felt a little insubstantial on the first listen. But the powerful Glam rock guitars soon grow on you and the way they kick in as the chorus begins is amazing. The lyrics also at first seem simple. He quotes the names of Italian film directors Pasolini & Visconti, Italian actress Anna Magnani and a Pimp from one of Pasolini's films called Accatone. When you look into the often-turbulent lives of these people the lyric starts to take on new and exciting shapes (Probably as he intended). The outro, with its repeating promise to forgive is particularly effective.

'Good Looking Man About Town' ranks among his very best b-sides. It's got a distinctly eastern flavour and a killer bass line. It has the dance rock sound of 'The Queen Is Dead' and 'Alsatian Cousin' and you might want to reach for the glow sticks at the end. The lyric is the most openly gay thing Morrissey has done since the first few Smiths records. Lines like "But you still feel wretched because, you've never been naked with a good looking man about town" could be Morrissey addressing himself.

'Human Being' is a cover of a New York Dolls song from their 1974 album 'Too Much Too Soon'. Morrissey turns their defiant and confrontational address to the world into a more personal and intimate affair. The Dolls version is about telling all the people that don't like the way they live their life to fuck off. Morrissey's version seems to be comparing himself to the plastic, packaged and safe pop stars of today. Of course there really is no comparison. Morrissey is a human being after all and can disappoint, frustrate and annoy but god at least he makes you care. A well chosen cover indeed, from the former president of the UK New York Dolls fanclub.

Musically 'I Knew I Was Next' is pretty standard Morrissey stuff, fantastic, but nothing new. Lyrically, it's about facing the final curtain, meeting your maker and reflecting on whether your life has been worth it. It seems to be saying that if the creator turned him away at the pearly gates he wouldn't care, because when you've lived Morrissey's life, eternal damnation is really nothing "When you’ve been slapped around, then one more slap can’t hurt you".

The artwork to the second CD (Shown above) shows him lying across some train tracks checking his watch, as if to say, bloody Virgin trains! you can't even kill yourself in good time these days (It cracked me up).

Morrissey Website / Semi-Official Morrisey Website / Morrissey MySpace Page

April 5, 2006

THE SEAL CUB CLUBBING CLUB – The Seal Cub Clubbing Club II (CD EP)

The Seal Cub Clubbing Club II CoverNomadic NOMAD010CD: 27th March 2006
1. Celine
"I’m always in debt to her, my foppish knees enjoy her chez-longue"
2. Drums In Der Night
"A Woody Allen winter, age old lines, told of old age"
3. World Of Fashion
"Purposefully drawing blood from the showroom next door, his wife's a dish I'd love to send back to ask for more"
4. Threebie
5. (I'm Gonna Get That) Rabbit
"Darling you've got mechanical aid from something, I feel held though like you'd practised care"

'Celine' sounds like The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster but with a duet between Axl Rose and David Byrne going on over the top.  If you intend to buy this song, I'd suggest also purchasing a long girlie wig so you can head bang along in style.

'Drums In Der Night' sounds most like the Brakes and has a fantastic bit two thirds through where it cuts right back to the drums and guitar.  The lyrics mention cocaine, fish, drums, candles and Woody Allen… I haven't a clue what they're about.  But they sound great.

'World Of Fashion' is a tale of middle aged wife swapping parties.  Musically it sounds like The Mars Volta.  It builds up the tension ever so slowly and threatens to erupt, but always seems to hold something back.

'Threebie' sounds like it's been taken straight off a Jim Noir record.  It's a very short and it could also have worked on The White Album.  It's mostly an instrumental except that there are constant insane and incomprehensible whispers in the background.

'(I'm Gonna Get That) Rabbit' sounds a little like Muse (Except that I detest Muse, while I love this).  It's got some guys speaking French in the background, which translates as "I make love like a rabbit".  Then the singer threatens to rip the rabbit's stuffing out.

The band that made this EP must be absolutely bonkers and seem to try to occupy as many different genres as possible (Check out their rather long list of influences on their MySpace page).  Based on the strength of this I’m going to have to get myself a copy of their first EP.

The Seal Cub Clubbing Club Website / The Seal Cub Clubbing Club MySpace Page

April 4, 2006

SEMIFINALISTS – You Said (7″ Single)

You Said CoverV2 VVR5036257: 27th March 2006
1. You Said
"I wanted to tell you still, I probably never will"
2. Whispering Mice
"Words unspoken, like mice whispering"

'You Said' comes on like a gentle summer pop gem but it actually totally rocks. I found my self hitting my desk along to the drums and playing air guitar. It starts off with some monk like chanting that sounds a bit Jason Pierce. The bit where the drums come in at 2.43, wow.

'Whispering Mice' starts with more thundering drums, which reoccur later and threaten to erupt into a cacophony. At 49 seconds in, there is a heartbreaking guitar part. Then the song just ends, this isn't even 2 minutes long, why, oh why? Short and sweet.

Once again, the beautiful packaging of this 7" rivals The Arcade Fire.

Semifinalists Website / Semifinalists MySpace Page

April 4, 2006

THE ON-OFFS – This Town / Grow Your Own (7″ Single)

This Town / Grow Your Own CoverLabel Fandango GALAGOS003: 27th February 2006
1. This Town
"I've been standing in the corner, I've been talking to the daughter, I’ve thinking I'm the bee's knees, must be something in the water"
2. Grow Your Own
"Take a look at our sweet world, look at all the boys and girls"

The On-Offs sound most like The Jam, but unlike The Rifles they make that a good thing. They absolutely thrash their instruments in frustration. 'This Town' is a story of hedonistic weekends spent trying to escape the drudgery of the week. On 'Grow Your Own' a hint of The Coral is added to the Jam/Kinks mix. 'Grow Your Own' is available to download using the link below. There are also three other tracks showing off their punk and Beatles sides.

54 Hours
Wrong Upstairs
Grow Your Own

The On-Offs Website / The On-Offs MySpace Page

April 4, 2006

SUNNY DAY SETS FIRE – Brainless (7″ Single)

Brainless CoverBrikabrak BRK001: 27th February 2006
1. Brainless
"See, a story when I tell you I don't wanna be brainless"
2. Nations Underground
"I hear the trumpets sound, to wake the nations underground"

'Brainless' is wonderful mix of acoustic guitars, brass, strange sound effects and quite possibly The Chipmunks. It's the same sort of thing as other Quirk-Pop* bands such as The Flaming Lips and Misty's Big Adventure. Two thirds through you're hit with a killer solo that someone like Slash would be proud of. Fortunately it's made with different bizarre effects so it doesn't upset the weirdness. My dad heard a few seconds of the solo and I later found him humming it to himself (Praise indeed!).

'Nations Underground's female vocal sounds like it's done by Victoria Bergsman from The Concretes. But I assume it's actually done by female band member Onyee (From Hong-Kong). It's the sound of the sun coming up and the world coming alive.

Fly Fly Fly
Green Clouds

*© (I retain the copyright on all further uses of the term "Quirk-Pop" including reproduction, modification, distribution, or republication without the prior written permission of me, so there!)

Sunny Day Sets Fire Website / Sunny Day Sets Fire MySpace Page

April 3, 2006

NIGHTMARE OF YOU – The Days Go By Oh So Slow (7″ Single)

The Days Go By Oh So Slow CoverFull Time Hobby FTH013S: 6th March 2006
1. The Days Go By Oh So Slow
"In the grass at Union Square, I touched you're face, pushed back your hair"
2. You Don't Have To Tell Me I Was A Terrible Man
"I'm sending you this note from a northern England coast"

Nightmare Of You sound like an American-Rock version of The Smiths (If you can imagine such a thing).  Like The Smiths' songs, these are tales of loneliness and love.  But the sound is more akin to The Killers.  Even the title of 'You Don't Have To Tell Me I Was A Terrible Man' reminded me of the title of Morrissey's finest B-Side 'I Know Very Well How I Got My Name'.  The bouncy American sound stops these from being ranked along side Morrissey's finest tunes (But they come damn close).

Like when The Thrills went to America and brought back a sun-drenched sound.  Why don't these guys come over to England and spend some time getting pelted with rain.  Hopefully that would erase all remaining warmth from their future songs.  Come on guys, come to Carlisle, soak up the ambience!

Nightmare Of You Website / Nightmare Of You MySpace Page