Archive for June, 2006

June 18, 2006

THE DIVINE COMEDY – Diva Lady (2x CD & 7″ Singles)

Diva Lady CoverParlophone CDR6698 / CDRS6698 / R6698: 12th June 2006
1. Diva Lady
"She's got a famous boyfriend, they go out in style, she makes him look hetro, and he helps her profile"
2. Don't Blame The Young
"Resist the overwhelming urge, to punch them in the face, screaming, I'll give you every penny, I have ever made, to take your place"
3. Premonition Of Love
(Instrumental)
4. Births, Deaths & Marriages
"Today, a man got on my tram, and whiped his sweaty neck, and suddenly, I saw how he must look whilst having sex"
5. Elaine
"And I sure would be thankful, if appon the dock that day, is the one for whom I came, a young beauty, by the name… of Elaine"

'Diva Lady' instantly made me clap my hands together and click my fingers like The Supremes. This annalogy is quite appropriate since Divas like Diana Ross are the subject of the song. Neil Hannon certainly hasn't lost his touch writing a great tune. However, while the lyrics are also good, I can't help feeling that Hannon at his peak, would be able to cram in many more comic lines, given the 'Fish in a barrel' nature of the subject.

'Don't Blame The Young' sounds like a Neil Innes song, with it's cheeky Brass section and Musichall style. 'Premonition Of Love' sounds like an emotional sequel to 'In Pursuit Of Happiness' (It's less showy, but somehow more grand). 'Births, Deaths & Marriages' has got a Frank Sinatra swing about it (But when he whispers the word "Sex", it's just like Jarvis Cocker). 'Elaine' is a gentle Country inflected acoustic song about travelling across the globe to find a girl called Elaine.

Click here to watch the video for 'Diva Lady' on YouTube.

Here is a link to download a four track EP called 'A Short Album About Horses' by country and western tribute act 'The Devine Comedy' (Notice the 'E').

The Divine Comedy Website / The Divine Comedy MySpace Page

June 18, 2006

CIRCUITS – Radio Silence / Half Read Book (7″ Single)

Radio Silence, Half Read Book CoverTry Science Records TRYS001: 12th June 2006
1. Radio Silence
"No news like bad news, but the only news today, is that your old views are, resigned to yesterday"
2. Half Read Book
"This is taking some time, to come up with the reply, and the mirror on the wall, doesn't look me in the eye"

Musically this double A-side is pretty basic Pop-Punk, with a hint of Ska.  It just does it better than everyone else.  It made me want to dance around like I was having an Epileptic fit.

On 'Radio Silence' the words are belted out with an infectious joy.   It's got shouts of "It's not big! It's not clever!", and "Today" is sang in the same way that Freddie Mercury sang "Dayo!".  Behind the upbeat exterior is a lyric raging against the lazy media (God, If I here those fucking sheep use the word "Dour" to describe Gordon Brown one more time…  Try writing something original! Okay, Rant over).

'Half Read Book' is an internal monologue about self-defeat.  It describes disconnection from society in the same way that David Byrne often did.  Again the music is so gloriously exciting that this message is almost like icing on the cake (Speaking of unfinished works, I've got to get round to writing the rest of that "50 best albums ever" piece).

The lyrics to both songs are printed on each side of the cover as part of the artwork.  Why can't all bands do this, be proud of your lyrics guys.  If you join Circuits' mailing list, they'll give you an mp3 of 'Radio Silence' for free!  But you really need both these tracks.

Click here to buy the single from HMV.

Circuits Website / Circuits MySpace Page / Try Science MySpace Page

June 18, 2006

BATTLE – Children (CD & 2x 7″ Singles)

Children CoverTransgressive TRANS030CD / TRANS030 / TRANS030X: 12th June 2006
1. Children
"Grown men cry, all the time, maybe they're relatively heart broken, maybe they're relatively sad"
2. Talk Of Ghosts
"I want my feet again, the lights are off, I checked, I locked the windows and the doors"
3. Oxygen
"No matter what you sell, I still buy it, I still buy it, your devastating eyes, justifies it, justifies it"
4. Children (Union Of Knives Remix)
"I am just a human being, yeah, that is hardly worth dying for"

Here's single number four from Jason Bavanandan and the boys from Battle. If you've not heard Battle before, the easiest way to describe them is, Robert Smith fronting Bloc Party.

'Children' is all about Jason's performance. Like when he sighs "If we are the only ones" or the way he belches out words like "Children" and "Grown" like he's Linda Blair. Also when he shrieks "Take" it sounds like someone just jabbed a red-hot poker in his eye.

'Talk Of Ghosts's angry shouts of "You let your children down" links up with the A-side and I love the way Jason hisses "Start". 'Oxygen' is one of their best B-sides. It seems to equate being helplessly in love with our inability to survive without Oxygen. The 'Union Of Knives Remix' takes 'Children' in a dreamy electronic direction but it's a just a bit bland.

This single is good, but it's not quite enough. I'm still waiting for them to come up with something that eclipses their second single 'Demons'. As with all Battle's releases, it's accompanied by a wonderful painting by Melissa Bavanandan (I'm guessing she's Jason's sister).

Damascus mp3
Feel The Same (Jeremy Warmsley's Evil Words Remix) mp3
I Never Stopped mp3
One More Night mp3

Here are links to watch the videos for 'Children', 'Tendency' & 'Demons'.

Battle Website / Battle MySpace Page
Battle Fansite / Battle Blog / Transgressive Website

June 16, 2006

WHITEY – Wrap It Up (CD Single)

Wrap It Up CoverMarquis Cha Cha CHACHA010CD: 14th April 2006
1. Wrap It Up
"You may well say, how could this happen to you, you may well ask, but you may not like the truth"
2. I Made Myself Invisible
"Walkin' around, opening their mouths, putting things in, letting things come out"

I seem to remember my brother raving about this single when it came out.  For some reason I didn't get myself a copy when it was released.  Well, I've got one now and he was right, it's fantastic, so if you can still buy it, I suggest you do.

'Wrap It Up' has an absolutely pummelling Drum sound, dissonant electronic noises, pulsating Bass and shouts of "Get Even!".  It's like Beck guesting on a track by LCD Soundsystem (Yep, it's that good).  'I Made Myself Invisible' is the sound of paranoia, with a Bass line borrowed from Dr Who.  It's like Beck making a track with Eels (Once again, it really is that good).

Click here to watch the video for 'Non Stop' on YouTube.

Whitey MySpace Page
Marquis Cha Cha Website / Marquis Cha Cha MySpace Page

June 16, 2006

THE RESEARCH – The Hard Times (CD & 2x 7″ Singles)

The Hard Times CoverAt Large Recordings FUGCD015 / FUG015 / FUGX015: 5th June 2006
1. The Hard Times
"There's a narrative about that song, they were friends and then it all went wrong, they say one was fast and one was strong"
2. When I'm Lonely Who's Gonna Care?
"I started believing the things they implied, they said that she came and went with the tide"
3. Before The Summer Dies
"I wanna domesticate his wondering eyes, I wanna be as close as summer nights"
4. Black, Black Magic
"And God forbid, she ever did, the unthinkable… I can't even think of it"

'The Hard Times' was a B-side to The Research's finest single, 'The Way You Used To Smile'. It's very good, but couldn't they have released something new as an A-side? Anyway, it's a wonderfully bouncy, Organ driven tune that you won't be able to resist.

'When I'm Lonely Who's Gonna Care?' is a lovely Country influenced nursery rhyme. 'Before The Summer Dies' has the same gleeful use of bad language as "Don't Marry Her' by The Beautiful South with the chorus "I wanna fuck, before the summer dies". It's also sounds like The Velvet Underground, but the Velvets on Smarties rather than Heroin. 'Black, Black Magic' is gentle acoustic ballad that reminded me of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version of 'Over The Rainbow / What A Wonderful World'.

Here are links to watch videos of 'The Hard Times', 'Lonely Hearts Still Beat The Same', 'The Way You Used To Smile', 'C'mon Chameleon' and 'She's Not Leaving'.

The Research Website / The Research MySpace Page

June 15, 2006

THE STREETS – Never Went To Church (2x CD Singles)

Never Went To Church Cover679 Recordings 679L132CD1 / 679L132CD2: 5th June 2006
1. Never Went To Church (Radio Edit, Album Version & Acoustic Version)
"You put your hand up and interrupt the conversation with a but, people say I interrupt people with the same look"
2. When You Wasn't Famous (Example MC Version)
"For Elton John to write a song about candles, you ain't gotta feature in loads of scandals"
3. Never Went To Church (Guillemots Version)
"I just get a bit scared every now and then, hope I've made you proud"
4. Prangin' Out (Instrumental)

'Never Went To Church' stood out as an obvious single and I did wonder if Mike Skinner would give it a release to coincide with Father's Day. Many have said that it's just his attempt to write another 'Dry Your Eyes', but if this is Mike Skinner not really trying, well look out everyone else. The painful details he reveals about his father's death make you feel like you're almost intruding. I don't know how he sings it every night on tour without cracking up. The line "I forgot you left me behind, to remind me of you" is so earth shattering profound, you could think about it for hours on end. It's a Piano led, Gospel tinged masterpiece that I have to whistle along with. There is a 'Radio Edit' and an 'Album Version', but I can't tell the difference. The beautiful 'Acoustic Version' fully reveals the strong influence of Paul McCartney's 'Let It Be'.

Mike Skinner has always cherished the B-side as much as I do. Most of his singles feature a new 'MC' version, which is often better than the original. This time it comes courtesy of Example. He's mellowed out the sound and written new lyrics focusing on the possible risk to life and limb associated with being a celebrity. The Guillemots' cover of 'Never Went To Church' is half genius and half irritating. The start and the end are done in a spine tingling Jason Pierce style. But in the middle there's a minute long cacophony of voices, muttering the lyrics like some kind of morbid conference call. But hey, that's the Guillemots, often they can touch your soul, but sometimes they can make pretentious bollocks. The Instrumental of 'Prangin' Out' is fairly unessential, please can we have an Instrumental of 'When You Wasn’t Famous'?

There is also a DVD available that features the hilarious video for the Professor Green version of 'When You Wasn't Famous' (Featuring Jodie March).

Here are links to watch the videos for 'Never Went To Church' and 'When You Wasn't Famous' on YouTube.

The Streets Website / The Streets MySpace Page
Example Website / Example MySpace Page
Guillemots Website / Guillemots MySpace

June 13, 2006

LILY ALLEN – Alright, Still (Promo CD Album)

Still Alright Promo CoverRegal ALRIGHT01: June 2006
1. Smile
"When you first left me, I was wantin' more, but you were fuckin' that girl next door
2. Knock 'Em Out
"Go away now, let me go, are you stupid, or just a little slow?"
3. LDN
"If you look with your eyes, everything seems nice, but if you look twice, you can see it's all lies"
4. Everything's Just Wonderful
"All the magazines, they talk about weight loss, if I buy those jeans, I can look like Kate Moss"
5. Not Big
"Let’s turn back time, to when you couldn't get it up"
6. Friday Night
"It's quarter to, and we get to the front, girl on the guest list, dressed like a…"
7. Shame For You
"Oh my gosh, you must be jokin' me, if you think that you'll be pokin' me"
8. Littlest Things
"Sometimes I wish we could just pretend, even if only for one weekend"
9. Take What You Take
"What the fuck do you know? Just 'cause you're old, you think you're wise"
10. Friend Of Mine
"I don't want us to have another fight, but in the background I can here you chattin' shite"
11. Alfie
"Oh, oh deary me, my little brother's in his bedroom smoking weed"

I resisted the temptation for a couple of days after seeing this Promo on Ebay. But I gave in and forked out £25… it was worth every penny. When you discover an exciting new artist, your hopes and dreams of what the artist is capable of, often don't pan out. Maybe the song you loved was a one off, maybe they sell out or maybe their album just stinks. Not in this case, 'Alright, Still' represents everything I hoped Lily Allen would be.

The dominant sound is Reggae, Ska and Pop with a touch of Jazz. The lyrics to 'LDN' which was her first 7" capture the spirit of the whole album. With their description of a beautiful sunny day that disguises robberies, pimps and crack whores. It's also an album about Lily's "Fuck You" attitude, with lines like "If you're gonna play with fire, you're gonna get burned" and "Don't take me on, no". But it also shows her vulnerable side, and none more so than on the delicate Kinks like 'Littlest Things'. She also casts a mocking glance at the club scene, on the Specials influenced 'Friday Night' (My new favourite Lily track). On 'Take What You Take', Lily sneers at all that familiar advice like "All that glitters is not gold" with the swagger of a female Liam Gallagher. These are party tunes, tunes to make you laugh, tunes to make you cry, tunes to make you think and most of all tunes to dance to. I'd suggest the Madness dance for 'Friday Night' and the Peter Kay march for 'Alfie'. Go on try it, you know it makes sense. Your life will be better when you own a copy of this album, I guarantee it!

One more reason you might want to pick up a copy of this promo is because I think it's got a more tasteful cover than the proper version (Maybe I'll get used to it). Of the mp3s available on the net, only 'Cheryl Tweedy', 'Nan You're A Window Shopper', 'Oh My God', 'Sunday Morning' and 'Truth' aren't present. Hopefully they'll be B-sides (I've added links to demos of these tracks to keep you going till then).

Click here to search for a copy of this promo on Ebay.

Here are some links to pre-order her album from Amazon and HMV.

Click here to read a review from MusicLikeDirt (With more links).

Also here are two links to watch the videos for 'Smile' and 'LDN' on YouTube.

Sunday Morning (Demo) mp3
Truth (Demo) mp3
Cheryl Tweedy (Demo) mp3
Nan You're A Window Shopper (Demo) mp3
Oh My God (Demo) mp3
My First Mixtape (50 min Lily Mix) mp3
My Second Mixtape (60 min Lily Mix) mp3

Lily Allen MySpace Page / Lily Allen Website

June 12, 2006

MORRISSEY – The Youngest Was The Most Loved (2x CD Singles)

The Youngest Was The Most Loved CoverAttack ATKXS018 / ATKXD018: 5th June 2006
1. The Youngest Was The Most Loved
"A lop-sided grin, strained to keep the shyness in"
2. If You Don't Like Me, Don't Look At Me
"If you don't want me, you don't have to have me, I just thought you might feel the same, that's all"
3. Ganglord
"They say 'To protect and to serve', but what they really want to say is 'Get back to the ghetto'"
4. A Song From Under The Floorboards
"But the brightest jewel inside of me, glows with pleasure at my own stupidity"

Despite its subject matter 'The Youngest Was The Most Loved' stood out as an obvious single right from the first time I listened to 'Ringleader Of The Tormentors'. It opens with the ominous sound of sirens and a chainsaw. It then recounts the tale of a boy who becomes a murderer. It also features a children’s choir singing the chorus "There is no such thing as normal" (They are possibly the cries of his victims). Morrissey also does some of his most expressive yodelling since The Smith's first LP. I couldn't say if this killer is a fictitious one, or perhaps a return to the subject of the Moors murders that so shocked Morrissey as a child.

'If You Don't Like Me, Don't Look At Me' is pretty much Morrissey by numbers stuff. It's just about saved by great vocals and Moz humming away to himself. However 'Ganglord' stands right out because of the recent Forest Gate Police raid, with lines like "Ganglord, the police are kicking their way into my house". It's a song about somebody who feels betrayed by the police and turns to the underworld for help. When Moz wrote it he was probably thinking of that scene from the Godfather, but now it takes on a different meaning. 'A Song From Under The Floorboards' is cover of a Magazine track. It's so well chosen that it seems like it was always a Morrissey song.

I must mention the superb cover photo by Fabio Lovino (He's responsible for all the Tormentors photographs). It's like a great painting, you can stare at it for hours and spot little details. The Beer bottle is obvious, so he's been at a party. But look, his bow tie is crooked, so perhaps it was a very good party. But if it was so good, why has he left? Is that just the light, or is it a tear catching in his eye? Is the look on his face joy or regret? If you're a big Moz fan I'd suggest getting a copy of the NME as it's got the un-cropped photo on the back. Sadly the version on the 7" has had an inch cut from the bottom and left edges.

'Striptease With A Difference', 'Oh Phoney' and 'Born To Hang' (Rare never-released Demos) mp3s

Morrissey Website / Morrissey MySpace Page / Morrissey Official Fansite

June 11, 2006

LIAM FROST & THE SLOWDOWN FAMILY – The Mourners Of St Paul’s (CD & 7″ Singles)

The Mourners Of St Paul's CoverLavolta LAVOLTA004 / LAVOLTA004X: 5th June 2006
1. The Mourners Of St Paul's
"I'm 12 years older, I can't stay sober, and there's a bluebird in my heart that’s caged and it can't sing, so fill your bloodlines up with bourbon kid and this won't sting, it's like the slowing of your senses just might solve something, let the mourners of St. Pauls lead the parade"
2. Into Your Arms
"Put on your pretty dress, and maybe sing a song for me, be it loud or out of key"
3. A Fever & The Shifting
"And so I'm waiting for a train, I've been acting like a dickhead, and there's some things I should explain"

If you even remotely like Arcade Fire I'd strongly suggest grabbing a copy of this release by Manchester's Liam Frost. I usually quote one line from each song I review, but with this I had to quote a whole verse, it's just so well written.

'The Mourners Of St Paul's' seems to be about Liam finally coming to terms with his father's death. Like Arcade Fire's songs, 'The Mourners Of St Paul's' has two halves. The first is a Piano led lament and the second arrives with a cathartic explosion of noise when he sings the line "Let the mourners of St. Pauls lead the parade".

The two B-sides are quiet acoustic numbers that don't try to compete with the towering beauty of the A-side. The delicate Guitar picking on 'Into Your Arms' reminded me of Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley. 'A Fever & The Shifting' reminds me of Bright Eyes (The singer not the song), but it's so much warmer. The way Liam's voice cracks when he sings "Train" is heart breaking.

I've loved 'I Woke Up From The Strangest Dream' since I heard it on last year's 'Power Overload' compilation, but I'd missed out on his first EP. I'll be sure to get myself a copy from Ebay, because I wouldn't want to miss anything from this incredible new talent.

Click here to watch the video for 'The Mourners Of St Paul's'

Visit Liam's Fansite to download a John Peel tribute concert

Liam Frost Website / Liam Frost MySpace Page
Liam Frost Fansite / Liam Frost Blog

June 9, 2006

COLDCUT (FEAT. ROBERT OWENS) – Walk A Mile In My Shoes: Henrik Schwarz Remixes (12″ Promo)

Walk A Mile In My Shoes Promo CoverNinja Tune ZEN12179H: 5th June 2006
1. Walk A Mile In My Shoes (Henrik Schwarz Remix)
"Before you abuse, criticise and accuse, then walk a mile in my shoes"
2. Walk A Mile In My Shoes (Henrik Schwarz Remix Radio Edit)
"There are people on reservations, and out in the ghettos, and brother there, for the grace of God, go you and I"
3. Walk A Mile In My Shoes (Henrik Schwarz Dub)
(Instrumental)

Ahead of a full release of 'Walk A Mile In My Shoes', Coldcut have released a promo showcasing 'Henrik Schwarz's incredible 9.23 Remix. It's a cover of a song by an early seventies folk singer called Joe South, who I'd never heard of (I'll have to investigate his work). The full release will also have Remixes by Tiga, Tom Belton and Timo Garcia.

Henrik Schwarz's Remix has the Electro-Jazz feel of Vangelis' score for 'Blade Runner'. It doesn't seem to radically depart from the original version, it simply enhances it and gives it space to breathe. Like when the anticipation created by the extended intro, embues the strings at 3.59 with a drama that they didn't seem to have on the original. Then the drums come in at 4.32 like a deafening heart beat. It all ends with aggressive Synths duelling with the string section for your attention. Add to that Robert Owens' wonderful Gospel vocals drifting over the top. Henrik Schwarz has seen into the soul of this track and created an unforgettable Remix.

The five minute 'Radio Edit' is good but it kind of defeats the point. Also the instrumental Dub version loses something when stripped of Robert Owens' vocals. I'd probably wait for the full release to get this essential remix.

Walk A Mile In My Shoes (Henrik Schwarz Dub) mp3
Walk A Mile In My Shoes (Tiga Remix Edit) mp3
Mr Nichols mp3

Coldcut Website / Coldcut MySpace Page
Ninja Tune Website