Archive for September, 2006

September 22, 2006

NICKY WIRE – Break My Heart Slowly (CD & 7″ Single)

Break My Heart Slowly CoverRed Ink ENOLAD001 / ENOLAT001: 18th September 2006
1. Break My Heart Slowly (Single Version)
“It was cold, the night was black, you could feel her freezing hands, exiting a life of chance, painted dead a million times”
2. Derek Jarman’s Garden
“A tiny piece of precious land, made of shingle and made of sand, oh nuclear power, so picturesque, the tears rain down like lovers leaving home”
3. Casual / Glam
“So put on all your rags, come on it’s all we have, put on your lipstick and glitter, it’ll make you feel cleaner”

Hot on the heels of James Dean Bradfield’s successful launch of his own solo career, we have another Manic Street Preachers off shoot from Nicky Wire. Conventional wisdom has it that James is the professional rocker, the master of the pop tune and Nicky is the gloriously shambolic Bass player covered in bad makeup and possibly wearing a pink dress. But behind the punky attitude and the gravel-raw croaky vocals on ‘Break My Heart Slowly’ is a simply great pop tune with a deliberately anthemic sing-along bit in the middle “If your life has changed, if it makes no sense… etc”. The lyrics are about being visited by Dora Maar who was Picasso’s muse. The album version has one of those great sampled voices at the start speaking lines like “It’s scary to watch someone you love go into the center of himself and confront his fears” but it’s sadly been snipped off for this ‘Single Version’.

‘Derek Jarman’s Garden’ is simply about multi-media artist Derek Jarman’s garden and what Nicky believes it meant to him. ‘Casual/Glam’ is one of those great tunes that just reels off place names. It even mentions Carlisle where I was born (‘Panic’ by The Smiths and ‘Skimbleshanks, The Railway Cat’ name-check it too). Both songs are of almost equal quality to the A-side.

Some people might have doubted that Nicky could sing or write music to equal his lyrics. But I didn’t doubt him, because I adored ‘Dying Breeds’ (A Manics B-side from last year that, Nicky sang on), so this brilliant release simply confirmed what I’d been expecting.

Click here to pre-order Nicky Wire’s new album ‘I Killed The Zeitgeist’ for only £7.99 from HMV.

Click here to view a Flickr presentation of photographs from ‘Derek Jarman’s Garden’. Also here are links to watch several of Jarman’s music videos for ‘The Queen Is Dead’, ‘Rent’, ‘It’s A Sin’, ‘Broken English’, ‘The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan’ and ‘Tenderness Is A Weakness’ on YouTube

Click here to visit a gallery collecting together Picasso’s portraits of Dora Maar.

Click here to buy a brilliant and exclusive acoustic version of ‘Break My Heart Slowly’ from 7Digital.

Click here to join Nicky’s mailing list and you’ll get a free demo of ‘I Killed The Zeitgeist’.

Before Nicky Wire went solo he sang lead vocals on three Manics B-sides, which I’ve included links to below:

Ballad Of The Bangkok Novotel mp3
Dying Breeds mp3
Failure Bound mp3

Here are links to watch videos for ‘Break My Heart Slowly’, ‘Dying Breeds’, ‘Break My Heart Slowly (Studio Rehearsal)’ and an ‘Interview On Jools’ on YouTube.

Nicky Wire Website / Nicky Wire MySpace Page
Manic Street Preachers Website / Manic Street Preachers MySpace Page
James Dean Bradfield Website / James Dean Bradfield MySpace Page

September 21, 2006

MY ROBOT FRIEND – Swallow (12″ EP)

SwallowSoma SOMA204: 18th September 2006
1. Swallow (Original / D’s Weirdy Vox Dub / D’s We An Army Dub)
“Tri, bi, metro, omni sexual, homo, hetro, yo I’m flexible, horizontal, in a pile, doggy, dragon, lotus style, from beginner to advance, drop your hang-ups, drop your pants, it’s all release and relaxation, with no weird breakfast conversation”
2. Dead
“We said we’d take the world by storm, but before the clouds could even form, we we’re… dead”

‘Swallow’ kicks off like a messed up version of the A-Team theme, but when the vocals come in it turns into the kind of record the Beastie Boys would make if they came out of the closet. The lyrics are sure to bring a big grin to your face.

Musically, Derrick Carter’s two remixes are good, but since they jettison most of the rapping they are inevitably disappointing in comparison to the original. ‘Dead’ is a mix of cutting Strings, deep Bass-Guitar and fizzing electronic sound effects. The lyrics are weirdly wonderful and it sounds totally different to the A-side.

Click here to buy My Robot Friend’s latest album ‘Dial O’ from HMV for only £9.99.

Why Won’t You Call Me Back? mp3
I Know What Women Want mp3
You’re Out Of The Computer (Feat. Bingo Gazingo) mp3
The Fake (John B Remix) mp3
Sex Machine (John B Remix) mp3

Click here to watch the video for ‘Dead’ on YouTube.

My Robot Friend Website / My Robot Friend MySpace Page

September 21, 2006

AKALA – Wins Best Hip-Hop At The MOBO Awards

Akala Image“Do you ever feel like there’s something missing, stuck in a role, just playin’ your position, even when you scream, it seems no one listens, free as a bird, but it feel like prison”

Hooray! I’ve been listening to allot of Akala this year and I was pleasantly surprised when he got nominated for a MOBO. I sat down to watch the awards ceremony last night with the slim hope that he might win (He was up against big hitters like Busta Rhymes and Kanye West and UK talent like Kano and Sway). But against the odds he won and I cheered at the TV and waved my copy of his album around! He couldn’t keep the smile off his face when he was interviewed backstage. He’s on a totally independent record label called Illastate so it’s got to be a massive boost to get that kind of exposure.

If you don’t have a copy of ‘It’s Not A Rumour’ go get one right away. You can listen to snippets of all the tracks from the album on his site. You NEED tracks like ‘The Edge’ and ‘Bullshit’, which will both be fighting it out for inclusion in my tunes of 2006 list.

Order ‘It’s Not A Rumour’ from Amazon or HMV for only £8.99.

Click here to get an mp3 of ‘Bullshit’ for free, all you need to do is sign up to the mailing list.

Here are links to watch the videos for ‘Roll Wid Us’, ‘Bullshit’, ‘The Edge’ and ‘Shakespeare’ on YouTube.

Akala Website / Akala MySpace Page / MOBO Website

September 20, 2006

TY – Don’t Watch That / What You Want? (12″ EP)

Don't Watch That, What You Want CoverBig Dada BD097: 18th September 2006
1. Don’t Watch That (Original / Instrumental / Acapella)
“Apparently I walk with a thousand gran’, and love fat-girls dipped in marzipan, these rumours seem to hover discreetly, through the airwaves and the lines of BT, through your laptop or your mobes or PC”
2. What You Want? (Original / Instrumental / Acapella)
“I’m tryna, stay busy and connect the dots, respect the flock, collect the crops and wreck the spot”

Ty’s new double A-side single ‘Don’t Watch That / What You Want?’ is his first new material since 2004’s ‘Mercury Music Prize’ nominated album ‘Upwards’.

‘Don’t Watch That’ is about the kind scurrilous rumours that can float around the net, with no way of finding out how they started. Ty’s witty lyrics are laid over a deep Funk groove with dreamy sound effects floating in and out. ‘What You Want?’ is a laid back Jazz number in the mould of last-album-highlight ‘Music 2 Fly 2’. The words are about keeping your head in the music business. You can play the originals, chill to the instrumentals or just listen to the acapellas because Ty’s words are so good that they don’t need any accompaniment.

Click here to pre-order Ty’s forthcoming album ‘Closer’ from Amazon.

Here are links to watch videos for ‘Nonsense’, ‘Wait A Minute’, ‘Oh You Want More’ and ‘Keep On (With Bone Idols & Aphletik)’ on YouTube.

Ty MySpace Page / Big Dada Website

September 20, 2006

KLAXONS – Atlantis To Interzone: Remixes (12″ & 7″ EP)

Atlantis To Interzone CoverMerok Records ME003 / ME004: 18th September 2006
Atlantis To Interzone (Third Eye Mafia Refit / Original / Ayia Napa To Interzone Tapedeck Remix / Germlin Remix / Crystal Castles Remix / Metronomy Remix)
“Good thieves of burning cars, encircle poisoned rivers minds and hearts, horses want to dance, but find their wings are damaged, water damaged”

‘Atlantis To Interzone’ is one of the singles of the year, and I’ve still haven’t been able to get my hands on a copy of the original 7″ at a reasonable price from Ebay. Luckily the Klaxon boys have released it again as a six-track double-vinyl EP, with the first four tracks on a 12″ and the last two on a 7″. The lyrics rage against environmental damage and capitalism and warn of a possible biblical/ecological retribution that it might result in. You might not be able to make them out because of the furious delivery, pumping beats or even your own furious dancing, so go to Klaxon’s MySpace page and give them a read.

The ‘Third Eye Mafia Refit’ is like at least nine different remixes stitched together. There are portions of Rave, Drum ‘n’ Bass, Grime, House and even a bit in the middle where some sort of dark-lord says things like “Pain and suffering” while evil monks chant the chorus in the background. It’s like a rave at a Freemason’s lodge-house and has to be one of the best remixes I’ve heard in a long time.

The other four remixes are all great and they’re quite different to the original, but they don’t attain the same heights of lunacy as the ‘Third Eye Mafia Refit’. The ‘Ayia Napa To Interzone Tapedeck Remix’ reminds me of ‘Flat Beat’ by Mr. Oizo, the ‘Germlin Remix’ is like a messed up retro computer game theme, the ‘Crystal Castles Remix’ is like New Order and the ‘Metronomy Remix’ is like an Indie marching band.

Here are links to watch videos for ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’, ‘Atlantis To Interzone’ and ‘Atlantis To Interzone live on Transmission’ on YouTube.

Klaxons Website / Klaxons MySpace Page / Merok MySpace Page

September 16, 2006

GET CAPE. WEAR CAPE. FLY – The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager: Part One (2X CD & 7″ Singles)

Part One CoverAtlantic ATUK042CD / ATUK042CDX / ATUK042: 11th September 2006
1. The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager: Part One
“So this one’s for the friends, and also for the sound of distant laughter, acting as reminders, in a town that made us feel at home”
2. The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager: Part One (YCNI:M Remix)
“We’re drinking to forget, but it always breeds regret, disillusioned faces upon friends that we’ve seldom met”
3. The Children Are (The Consumers Of) The Future
“The rustling of plastic, is the universal sound, from Greenwich to Greenwich, from Dollars to Pounds”
4. The Romance Vs. The Rational
“Why’d you go and have to change things for, are you missing the back ache, from sleeping on floors”

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly is Sam Duckworth who plays folk/electronic songs of everyday drudgery, magic and political awareness. He’s like the son of Billy Bragg or like a smoother, popier version of Patrick Wolf. ‘The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager: Part One’ is about becoming exhausted while out on tour, missing your friends and not being able to be there, or as the lyrics put it “This song is more than a self-indulgent rant, it’s closure for the times that I’ve let you down”. It’s got another glorious Cornet solo courtesy of Mike Glenister. The ‘YCNI:M Remix’ is by Justin Lockey from Yourcodenameis:Milo. It reminds me of Lemon Jelly and it’s so good that I almost wish he’d left Sam’s vocals off, and just let the listener get lost in his twinkling beats.

‘The Children Are (The Consumers Of) The Future’ is like that odd feeling when you’re staring out of a window and get mesmerised by the crowds of people scurrying around. It’s got a furious start-stop rhythm on the acoustic Guitar, incredible drumming and even a bit of Dylan Harmonica. It’s not as showy as the A-side, but in the end the anger of the lyrics draw you right in.

‘The Romance Vs. The Rational’ is a mix of skittering beats and the almost ambient combination of Organs and the Cornet. The lyrics are minimal, they revolve around the same line with small variations like a mantra. It seems to me that the words are like Sam’s own thoughts, asking himself if signing to a major is selling out. In a recent interview he said it was a hard choice that was brought about after all his gear was nicked. Maybe that analysis is way off the mark, but I say go for it Sam, the charts need guys like you to spice them up.

Click here to pre-order the new Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly album from HMV for only £7.99.

Click here to buy the ‘Past, Present & Future’ compilation for only £2. It’s got an exclusive Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly track called ‘Have You Got A Story To Tell?’.

Weeknights & Weekends mp3 (Sam’s cover of Dave House, from a long sold-out 10″)
A Song For mp3 (Dave House’s cover of Sam’s song from the same EP)

Here are links to watch the videos for ‘Whitewash Is Brainwash’, ‘Call Me Ishmael’, ‘The Making Of Call Me Ishmael’, ‘The Making Of I-Spy / the I-Spy video’ and ‘The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager: Part One’ on YouTube.

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly Website / Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly MySpace Page

September 15, 2006

LUPE FIASCO (FEAT. JILL SCOTT) – Daydreamin’ (CD & 12″ Singles)

Daydreamin' CoverAtlantic AT0252T / AT0252CDX: 11th September 2006
1. Daydreamin’ (Album Version / Radio Edit / Instrumental)
“Now come on everybody, let’s make Cocaine cool, we need a few more half naked women up in the pool, and hold this Mac-10 that’s all covered in jewels, and can you please put your titties closer to the 22s, and where’s the Champagne, we need Champagne, now look as hard as you can with this blunt in your hand, and now hold up your chains, slow motion through the flames, now cue the smoke machines and the simulated rain”
2. Theme Music To A Drive-By
“No honour amongst fellows, It’s harder than sittin’ with a blind man an’, tryna describe yellow”
3. Kick, Push (Feat. Pharrell)
“I cooked that up to a crystallised dream, take a puff, don’t that taste like ice-cream?”

‘Daydreamin” is about imagining you were in control of a giant Godzilla sized robot and who or what you’d crush under it’s ample feet. Bent Coppers, The White House and the laughably bad world of Gangsta-Rap videos are some of the things on Lupe’s hit list. It’s packed full of brilliant rhymes like “I had to turn my back on what got you paid, I couldn’t see, I had the hood on me, like Abu Ghraib”. ‘Daydreamin” is built around a sample of the classic 2001 single ‘Daydream In Blue’ by I Monster. It’s testament to Lupe’s skills that he makes a sample that’s so familiar his own after just a couple of listens. It reaches it’s crescendo with the line “But I’d like to thank the streets that drove me crazy, and all the televisions out there that raised me”. After that he leaves it up to Jill Scott to stun the listeners with her passionate performance of the chorus. The sanitised ‘Radio Edit’ is pointless but the instrumental is worth having.

‘Theme Music To A Drive-By’ has Lupe weaving his intricate rhymes over a sample of ‘(Do It Do It) No One Does It Better’ by The Spinners. The sound of the sample and the voices in the background make it reminiscent of ‘What’s Going On’. I’ve always subscribed to the theory that the geekier something is, the cooler it is. So any rapper that references both the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Batman comics gets my vote. The words and images are so densely packed that it’ll probably take me the rest of the year to fully get my head round this one.

‘Kick, Push’ came out as a single a couple of months back and I must have missedit… boy did I miss out. Lupe skilfully tells the tale of a kid growing up and the one constant in his life is his love of Skateboarding “The freedom was better than breathin'”. Not since ‘Back To The Future’ has anything made me want to go out and buy a skateboard more. The bit that really sticks in the mind is when he says “Coast”, he says it like “Coasssss”. For that moment he’s like the Hip-Hop Frank Sinatra, cool as fuck. Another great moment is when he playfully stutters the line “Cu, cu, cu, cu, cu, coo, his name was couldn’t stand it”. The version presented here has Pharrell Williams’ swapping a couple of verses of Lupe’s with a few of his own. His words are fantastic but you should really get the original version since Pharrell’s words interrupt a finely tuned narrative with a touching love story at the center.

Recently Rap has atrophied to such a point that just the simple act of Lupe wearing glasses in his videos seems like a dangerous act of sedition. If the much delayed ‘Food & Liquor’ album is anything like as good as these tunes promise, it will be one of the albums of the year.

Click here to pre-order ‘Food & Liquor’ from HMV for only £8.99.

I Monster – Daydream In Blue mp3

Here are links to watch videos for ‘Kick, Push’, ‘Kick, Push (Feat. Pharrell) Fan Video’ and ‘Daydreamin” on YouTube.

Click here to download a desktop-backdrop that I knocked up using the cover of ‘Daydreamin”.

Lupe Fiasco Website / Lupe Fiasco MySpace Page

September 15, 2006

LARRIKIN LOVE – Happy As Annie (Re-Issue CD, 2x 7″ & Download Singles)

Happy As Annie CoverInfectious Records WEA412CDH / WEA412H / WEA412XH / 11th September 2006
1. Happy As Annie
“And as I crunched those crispy leaves, I walked towards a shaded tree, to find a young girl lying there, drifting off without a care”
2. Cucumber
“I would laugh if my fist was a steal spanner, I would wind up all the car’s body parts, I would leak petrol out, set fire to the road, tickle the valves, embarrass the clutch”
3. A Little Peace In My Heart
“I’ve started to see things in a different light, this business, these so called friends, are riddled with spite”
4. Feliz Como O Annie
“Children please beware, I’m choked with fear”
5. Happy As Annie (Patrick Wolf Version)
“I stole into a burnt orange field, once was green, lost its zeal, to prance and dance and sing around, which is not condoned in the centre of town”

If you’ve not heard Larrikin Love before they’re like a more fun version of The Pogues. ‘Happy As Annie’ is a totally addictive slice of Indie Pop even though the chorus is “Children please beware, I’m choked with fear”. The lyrics are about stumbling across the decaying corpse of a molested schoolgirl and who’d of thought you could dance to that. This is a newly recorded version of the song and the Drums are harder, the Fiddle is more exciting, the Banjo is more furious and it’s generally ten times better.

‘Cucumber’ is a woozy song about dreaming you were a cucumber, a spanner, an art-kit and the mischief you could get up to. You’ll be dancing around to this too, but I think it’s more a case of mushrooms than cucumbers. ‘A Little Peace In My Heart’ has a psychedelic Jazz sound with a touch of Madness (The band and quite possibly the mental state as well). The title of ‘Feliz Como O Annie’ is simply ‘Happy As Annie’ in Spanish. It’s a re-work in the style of Dexys Midnight Runners with cheeky blasts of Trombone and Edward only sings the chorus.

Patrick Wolf’s version of ‘Happy As Annie’ is described as a Remix, which it isn’t, it’s an entirely new cover. It seems to veer a little too close to ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ on the first listen but I got over that. Patrick employs his trademark mix of Folk and abrasive electronics and there is a great pulsating Electro bit at the end.

Happy As Annie (Original Version) mp3 (This is just for a taste, because you really need to buy the superior new version)

Click here to buy ‘Happy As Annie (Patrick Wolf Version)’ from 7Digital (It’s confusingly listed as a ‘Radio Vocal’ which isn’t very bloody helpful is it). If you ordered the limited 7″ box it came with a special CDR to burn the Patrick Wolf track onto.

The cover shot shows Edward Larrikin re-creating the Pre-Raphaelite painting ‘The Death Of Chatterton’. I’ve knocked up a comparison that you can see by clicking here.

Click here to pre-order ‘The Freedom Spark’ album from HMV for only £7.99.

Here are links to watch videos for ‘Six Queens’, ‘Happy As Annie (Original Version)’, ‘Happy As Annie (New Version)’, ‘Edwould’, ‘Downing Street Kindling (Time Machine Version)’ and ‘Downing Street Kindling (Super-8 Version)’ on YouTube.

Larrikin Love Website / Larrikin Love MySpace Page
Patrick Wolf MySpace Page / Patrick Wolf Fansite

September 14, 2006

YEAH YEAH YEAHS – Cheated Hearts (7″ & Download Singles)

Cheated Hearts CoverPolydor 1706875 / 4th September 2006
1. Cheated Hearts (Radio Edit)
“Take these rings and stow them safe away, I’ll wear them on another rainy day”
2. Cheated Hearts (Peaches Remix)
“Cheated by the opposite of love, held on high and up, up, up, above, kept my high from the second one, kept my eye on the first one, now”
3. Thank You Were Wrong
“If I tell you, want you want, then you’ll be, over me”

It’s when Brian’s Drums kick in just after the start that really gets me on ‘Cheated Hearts’. But if they don’t stick in your head, then Karen’s shouts of “Take it take it take it take it taking it off” will. When you combine them with Nick’s unmistakable Guitar playing and the beautiful “Ooh-ooh” bit in the middle then you’ve got one of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ best singles.

The ‘Peaches Remix’ of ‘Cheated Hearts’ is a little disappointing. She’s merely tweaked it into a more Electro sound, but usually she’d totally re-record the song in spectacular fashion like she did for Daft Punk, Basement Jaxx and Electric Six. ‘Thank You Were Wrong’ is like Regina Spektor meets Ennio Morricone. It’s very atmospheric but a bit slight and at over six minutes long it’s a little boring too.

‘Cheated Hearts’ was one of five new songs that we’re premiered on 2004’s stop-gap live DVD ‘Tell Me What Rockers To Swallow’. It was the only one of the five to make it to the album when it was recorded a year later. I’ve included links to download these recordings.

10×10 (Live & Unreleased) mp3
Cheated Hearts (Live) mp3
Down Boy (Live & Unreleased) mp3
Rockers To Swallow (Live & Unreleased) mp3
Sealings (Live & Unreleased) mp3

Here are links to watch the videos for ‘Date With The Night’, ‘Pin’, ‘Maps’, ‘Maps (Even better fan version)’, ‘Y-Control’, ‘Gold Lion’, ‘Turn Into’ and ‘Cheated Hearts’ on YouTube.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs Website / Yeah Yeah Yeahs MySpace Page
Bang Fansite / Rockers To Swallow Fansite
Peaches Website / Peaches MySpace Page

September 13, 2006

POP LEVI – Blue Honey (Re-Issue CD EP)

Blue Honey CoverCounter Records COUNTCD001: 4th September 2006
1. Blue Honey
“Stringray my lovechild, blue honey falling down, put me in a bag, baby, ’cause I been a bad bee now”
2. (A Style Called) Crying Chic
“She took from wealthy, took from poor, I wasn’t hungry anymore”
3. Mournin’ Light
“Oh baby baby, I long for you to steal the night, if you can keep on the groove now baby, stay until the mournin’ light”
4. Baby Again (Midnight Version)
“Then you gonna call me baby, baby again”
5. Skip Ghetto (Echo Park Version)
“A heavy letter from Leadbetter, made my darling cry, and if she want to, she’ll try to please me, but I let the lover die”

‘Blue Honey’ was one of my ‘Top 100 Tracks Of 2005’ when it was released almost exactly a year ago. Since Mr Levi has backed it with four extra tracks, I’ll forgive the fact that he hasn’t come up with a new A-side. It seems from reading the lyrics that the title ‘Blue Honey’ is about being a depressed Bee (They’re pretty strange so I could be wrong). The track revolves around a hypnotically repetitive Guitar riff with massed handclaps and all manner of strange sound effects over the top of that.

‘(A Style Called) Crying Chic’ inhabits the same strange Pop territory as Jim Noir but with Syd Barrett on vocals. ‘Mournin’ Light’ is a headbangin’ Blues rocker like an acid-tinged version of Led Zeppelin (It was also the B-side of the original release of ‘Blue Honey’). ‘Baby Again (Midnight Version)’ is a lethargic trip into the Delta-Blues that’s played comparatively straight. ‘Skip Ghetto (Echo Park Version)’ is like the missing link between Robert Johnson and The Beach Boys. It’s good, but I prefer the version that was given away on a magazine cover-mount CD I bought (I’ve included a link to get it below).

It’s the Blues Jim, but not as we know it. I’d have a hard time picking between any of the first three songs on this EP, I’ll let you decide for yourself which is the best.

Skip Ghetto (Original Version) mp3

Here are links to watch the videos for ‘Blue Honey’ and ‘Rude Kinda Love’ on YouTube.

Pop Levi MySpace Page