Archive for September, 2006

September 13, 2006

MYSTERY JETS – Diamonds In The Dark (CD & 7″ Singles)

Diamonds In The Dark Cover679 Recordings 679L138CD / 679L138X: 4th September 2006
1. Diamonds In The Dark (Single Version)
“And now there’s this no-mans land, between you and me, but I still wander in between, the sheets and streets, and other places we’ve been”
2. Scarecrows In The Rain
“I’d like to ride my bike, but I have troubles with my breathin’, will you please turn out my light, if you happen to be leavin'”
3. Crosswords
“Too short, hay spot, double ball, score or not, fighting, have a think, open up, take it in, wash your hand, make a sound, cross and then, form a band, ban the war, oil pin, open up, take it in”
4. A Private Place (With The Rumble Strips)
“I don’t need an explanation, where there isn’t one, wheels and cogs in motion, relentlessly rolling along”
5. Diamonds In The Dark (Kid Harpoon Version)
“Looking back now, I regret, you’re a promise that I never kept”

‘Diamonds In The Dark’ isn’t Mystery Jets’ strongest single but it’s still got its charms.  On this new version they’ve been assisted by the considerable production skills of Stephen Street.  He’s not done anything radically different to the album version, it’s just been smartened up for the charts.

For this release Mystery Jets have employed Erol Alkan to produce three brand spanking new B-sides.  ‘Scarecrows In The Rain’ has an addictive chorus of “What did I believe in, what did I believe in?”, rapid Acoustic Guitars and a Psychedelic Organ.  ‘Crosswords’ is like the twisted sound of an Art-Rock band getting their skinny ties stuck in a Fax-machine.  It’s the kind of lunatic calypso that only Mystery Jets could create and it’s one of the best things they’ve ever done.  It’s got a fantastically weird stream-of-consciousness rap that I’ve quoted above (Although I suspect that I’ve got it hideously wrong, so if anyone knows the right words, please tell me).  Mystery Jets are joined by The Rumble Strips on the great ‘A Private Place’.  They add a slice of their unmistakable Brass sound just like they did for Absentee.

Kid Harpoon’s cover of ‘Diamonds In The Dark’ is better than the original.  The lyrics are the song’s strongest point so his subtle and more heartfelt reading of the words really does sound full of regret.

Here are links to watch videos for ‘You Can’t Fool Me Dennis: One’, ‘You Can’t Fool Me Dennis: Two’ and ‘Alas Agnes’ on YouTube.

Mystery Jets Website / Mystery Jets MySpace Page
The Rumble Strips MySpace Page / Kid Harpoon MySpace Page

September 13, 2006

THE BOY LEAST LIKELY TO – Hugging My Grudge (Re-Issue CD & 2X 7″ Singles)

Hugging My Grudge CoverToo Young To Die TYTD7CD / TYTD7S / TYTD7PS: 4th September 2006
1. Hugging My Grudge
“I’ve always, been chasing rainbows, staring out, of classroom windows, I don’t think I’ll ever be happy, unless I’m unhappy, and hugging my grudge”
2. Monsters (Armand Van Helden Vocal Mix)
“This town is full of monsters, holding hands with other monsters”
3. Every Grubby Little Memory
“It was love, I suppose, but I felt sometimes like a snail, climbing a rose”
4. Cuddle Me
“I saw things in, the darkness that, I didn’t want to see, I hurt the things, I love because, it stops them hurting me, so cuddle me”
5. Oddballs
“We’re oddballs, revelling in our own little victories”

This is the third re-issue of ‘Hugging My Grudge’ (2003, 2005 and now 2006) but The Boy Least Likely To always back their releases with plenty of good B-sides so I’m inclined to forgive them. ‘Hugging My Grudge’ has their trademark sugar-sweet, Banjo enhanced sound with a nod towards Fred Neil’s ‘Everybody’s Talkin”. But you must have this single already, right?

The ‘Armand Van Helden Vocal Mix’ of album highlight ‘Monsters’ is unlike anything else in The Boy Least Likely To’s discography. He’s turned it into a superb Glam-Dance stomper that clocks in at over seven minutes. ‘Every Grubby Little Memory’ was the rather lovely B-side to the 2005 release of ‘Hugging My Grudge’ so it’s included here for anybody that missed it. ‘Cuddle Me’ is the highlight of this release and it has a much more serious tone than their other songs. It’s got an ethereal beauty created by the sound of gently rolling waves and seagulls soaring above which is finished off with one of those old seaside Organs playing a melancholy tune. ‘Oddballs’ returns to the usual bouncy fun, with a humable melody and catchy Banjo.

Here are links to watch the videos for ‘Be Gentle With Me’ and ‘Hugging My Grudge’ on YouTube.

Visit their MySpace Page to hear a brilliant cover of George Michael’s ‘Faith’.

The Boy Least Likely To Website / The Boy Least Likely To MySpace Page
The Girl Least Likely To Fansite

September 12, 2006

CSS – Let’s Make Love & Listen To Death From Above (12″ & 7″ Singles)

Let's Make Love & Listen To Death From Above CoverSub Pop SP723 / SP727: 4th September 2006
1. Let’s Make Love & Listen To Death From Above (Original / Instrumental / Spank Rock Remix / Diplo Remix)
“Come back, I’ll warm you up, make me breakfast, I’ll make it up, you are so talented, I’m in love, let’s make love and listen to death from above”
2. Acho Um Pouco Bom
“Acho um pouco bom, acho um pouco bom, acho um pouco bom”

CSS stands for Cansei De Ser Sexy (According to Alta-Vista’s Babel-Fish it translates as something like “Tired of being sexy”) and they’re from far away Brazil (“Brazil, where hearts were entertained in June…etc). ‘Let’s Make Love & Listen To Death From Above’ can be simply described as the theme from Knight-Rider combined with a 50’s Horror film soundtrack with Chicks On Speed rapping over the top and it’s twice as brilliant as that sounds.

The ‘Spank Rock Remix’ has a meatier Bass sound, phone-call effects and is better in almost every way than the original. However, it’s a shame that they merely Remixed it and didn’t add any extra lyrics like they did on their recent Remix of Coldcut. The ‘Diplo Remix’ completely ditches the music from the original and crafts an entirely new and bewilderingly odd backdrop. In keeping with Diplo’s superb work with M.I.A. it’s like nothing else but it’s still insanely catchy.

I also looked up ‘Acho Um Pouco Bom’ with the Babel-Fish and apparently it means, “I’ve found a little good”. None of the lyrics are in English so I couldn’t comment on them, but the music isn’t really much cop anyway.

CSS – Let’s Make Love & Listen To Death From Above mp3
CSS – Let’s Make Love & Listen To Death From Above (Spank Rock Remix) mp3
M.I.A. – Bucky Done Gun (Instrumental) mp3 (Diplo’s finest moment)

Click here to watch the video for ‘Let’s Make Love & Listen To Death From Above’ on YouTube.

Since I’ve mentioned Knight-Rider… click here to sign up to the potentially history-making ‘Get Hasselhoff To Number 1’ campaign.

CSS Website / CSS MySpace Page
Spank Rock MySpace Page / Diplo MySpace Page

September 12, 2006

KEITH – Mona Lisa’s Child (CD, 12″ & 7″ Singles)

Mona Lisa's Child CoverLucky Number LUCKY008CD / LUCKY008T / LUCKY008S: 4th September 2006
1. Mona Lisa’s Child (Original / Blitzen Trapper Mix / Simian Mobile Disco Mix / Alain Braxe & Fred Falke Mix / Tomboy Mix / Jake Bullit Mix / Mr Dan’s Mix)
“Spare us the sob story, you’re taking up our time, all you ever do is whine”
2. Replica
“What you found doesn’t count, propositions are denied, don’t copy me”
3. Memoir
“But I said, please don’t ask me to repeat myself, ’cause I’ll probably forget”

‘Mona Lisa’s Child’ starts off like ‘Music For A Found Harmonium’ by Patrick Street before turning into a Rockier version of Happy Mondays across the course of six minutes. Specifically, the House Piano reminded me of the Club mix of ‘Hallelujah’. It’s very retro which of course makes it sound fresh as a daisy.

The ‘Blitzen Trapper Mix’ adds layers of distortion, the ‘Alain Braxe & Fred Falke Mix’ brings in a Pet Shop Boys flavour, the ‘Tomboy Mix’ sounds like Tiga, the ‘Jake Bullit Mix’ scuzzes it up and ‘Mr Dan’s Mix’ cuts the track down to a more efficient three minutes. All the Remixes are good but the pick has to be the ‘Simian Mobile Disco Mix’ (aka Über producer James Ford). It’s a mix of glistening Synths, teasing Drums, twitching electronic sounds and that wonderful Piano used to full effect. After this contribution and the recent Remix of Peaches’ last single, Simian Mobile Disco are rapidly becoming ones to watch.

‘Replica’ is a slinky tune with a subtle Reggae vibe and ‘Memoir’ is a Pixies like Rocker but neither of them comes anywhere near the fun of the A-side.

Click here to download the video for ‘Mona Lisa’s Child’ in the WMV format.

Keith Website / Keith MySpace Page
Simian Mobile Disco MySpace Page

September 10, 2006

THE MACCABEES – Precious Time (CD & 7″ Single)

Precious Time CoverFiction 1704600 / 1704043: 4th September 2006
1. Precious Time (Steve Lamacq Live Session)
“Pound for pound and cheek to cheek, a cheek paler than the lamp light, take me down to light the box, I’m playin’ Super-Scalectrix”
2. X-Ray (Filthy Dukes Society Remix)
“And with this power, she can see, through solid objects, like you and me”
3. X-Ray (Filthy Dukes Society Remix Edit)
“She’s the flutter in my heart, the spring is in my step, my empty head, sees the lump form in my throat, the view in my minds eye”

This was going to be a “Fan-Club Only” single but they decided to release it in limited quantities to the general public as well.  ‘Precious Time’ is a soulful slice of Art-Rock with a great chorus of “You’ll need heart, and you’ll need courage”.  The brilliantly named Robert Dylan Thomas (Any relation of James Dean Bradfield?) is the drummer and the star of this track.  The Drums that start at 2.29 are probably some of the best you’ll witness all year.

The ‘Filthy Dukes Society Remix’ of The Maccabees’ first single ‘X-Ray’ is the reason why you need to get this release.  Wave upon wave of distorted Guitars build for a full minute before the killer Bass line kicks in.  The nervous sounding vocals recall Robert Smith but the music is what you’ll really be listening to.  Filthy Dukes have taken all the best elements of the original and grafted on wondrous new sounds to create a mix that is superior in every way to the original, while still retaining it’s spirit.  It would be great if The Maccabees drafted in Filthy Dukes to produce their whole album.  The ‘Edit’ is half the length and therefore half as good.

Click here to download an hour-long mix by Filthy Dukes called ‘Nation Of Shop Keepers/02’.  It features the likes of Jim Noir, Devo, Justice, Hot Chip, New Order and Klaxons.

Click here to watch the mind-meltingly good video for ‘Latchmere’ on YouTube.

The Maccabees Website / The Maccabees MySpace Page
Filthy Dukes Website / Filthy Dukes MySpace Page

September 10, 2006

THE INDELICATES – We Hate The Kids (7″ Single)

We Hate The Kids CoverSad Gnome Records SG0601: 31st July 2006
1. We Hate The Kids
“And there’s always a monk to get set on fire, and there’s always a crack-head charismatic liar, and there’s always a depth to which you can aspire, and there’s always a teenager due to expire”
2. Burn All The Photographs
“She’d angled the barrel in to her chin, the last of the face cream still smeared on her skin”

‘We Hate The Kids’ is The Indelicates’ attempt to write no less than an anthem for our times. They cast their eyes over the state of Popular music and find it sadly lacking. It’s a song for a time where Simon Cowell unashamedly reduces Pop to a pure commodity, a time where things like passion, depth and integrity are entirely expendable. It slowly builds to the point of bursting while Simon and Julia spit out lines steeped in venom. I would say they have succeeded, this is the definition of an anthem.

‘Burn All The Photographs’ is a solo performance by Julia in the style of Kate Bush fronting Muse. It can’t hope but feel inferior next to an A-side of such quality.

Julia We Don’t Live In The 60s mp3
New Art For The People mp3
Vladimir mp3
Waiting For Pete Doherty To Die mp3

Click here to watch a vitriolic live performance of ‘We Hate The Kids’ on YouTube.

This 7″ can be ordered from Sad Gnome Records by click here.

Lastly, click here to get the lyrics, then print them out and nail them to the door of your local corporate record shop…. whoa, disregard that last statement, this song’s got me a bit over hyped.

The Indelicates Website / The Indelicates MySpace

September 9, 2006

JEFF FINLIN – American Dream #109 (7″ Single)

American Dream 109 CoverKorova KOW1011V: 4th September 2006
1. American Dream #109
“We’re on our knees every Sunday, ’cause the Football game is comin’ through”
2. Hallelu
“Found my freedom in a cross that lay burnin’, found my home in a homeless man, found my voice in a bell I heard a-ringin’, ringin’ in waves out across this land”

‘American Dream #109’ is at once seductive with its distinctive Organ, bouncy Drums and the croaky vocals of an older Kings Of Leon. It’s seductive just like the ‘American Dream’ itself, but after a couple of listens, you notice that the lines that seemed attractive like “Steaks on the grill” are followed by lines like “We ain’t leavin’ till we’re heavin'”. The lyrics lay out all the elements of the western idea of freedom and depending on the listener’s point of view, he’s either condemning or celebrating them. It’s rare to encounter a lyricist of such subtlety.

‘Hallelu’ is a melancholy Piano song that brings to mind Ryan Adams at his best or Jobriath when he rained in his natural flamboyance. The sound of the Piano lets me imagine Jeff sitting in a smoky Honky-Tonk bar at closing time (I’ve never been to a Honky-Tonk bar, but hell I’ve seen the movies!).

Sugar Blue mp3
Delta Down mp3

Jeff Finlin Website / Jeff Finlin MySpace Page

September 9, 2006

RICHARD HAWLEY – Hotel Room (CD & 7″ Singles)

Mute CDMUTE379 / MUTE379: 4th September 2006
1. Hotel Room (Single Version)
“The clothes in my younger days were so wild, and it’s time I met someone like you, and I ought to make certain that it’s true”
2. Young & Beautiful (Live Acoustic Version)
“You’re everything I’m dreaming of, so take these lonely arms of mine, and kiss me tenderly”
3. Some Candy Talking
“And I talk to the filth, and I walk to the door, I’m knee deep in myself, but I want to get more of that stuff, of that stuff, some candy talkin’”

‘Hotel Room’ is the fifth single to be lifted from Richard Hawley’s fantastic ‘Coles Corner’ album (A contender for my favourite LP from last year). That only leaves six tracks that haven’t had a crack at the charts, personally I still think ‘I Sleep Alone’ has hit-single written all over it. Apparently ‘Coles Corner’ came a close second to Arctic Monkey’s album at the recent Mercury awards. ‘Hotel Room’ is presented here in a more polished ‘Single Version’, perhaps a smidge too polished for my tastes.

‘Young & Beautiful’ is a delicate cover of an Elvis song and if you look, Richard is sporting an Elvis collar on the cover. ‘Some Candy Talking’ is a cover of a song by The Jesus & Mary Chain which was originally released on June’s ‘Q Covered’ compilation (Check Ebay to get a copy, it features many other brilliant covers by great artists… and Jamie Cullum). He turns it into a lushly produced number in the style of Burt Bacharach meets Spiritualized.

The Nights Are Cold (Acoustic) mp3
I’m On Nights (Acoustic) mp3
It’s Over Love (Acoustic) mp3
Darlin’ (Acoustic) mp3
Precious Sight (Acoustic) mp3

Do yourself a favour and click here to buy ‘Coles Corner’ from HMV for only £7.99.

Here are links to watch the wonderful videos for ‘Coles Corner’ and ‘Just Like The Rain’ on YouTube.

Richard Hawley Website / Richard Hawley MySpace Page

September 7, 2006

LITTLE MAN TATE – House Party At Boothy’s (CD & 7″ Singles)

House Party At Boothy's CoverV2 VVR5041733 / VVR5041730: 28th August 2006
1. House Party At Boothy’s
“Girls sing to Kylie, they try to look sexy, I gave one my number, I told ‘er to text me”
2. Teenager
“And it might sound a little improper, and Elaine must be easy to please, ‘cos she came outta there well smiling, with grazes all over her knees”
3. House Party At Boothy’s (Steve Lamacq Session)
“Well I sit in a chair next to the CD player, talk to some kid who couldn’t be much gayer”
4. Man I Hate Your Band (Steve Lamacq Session)
“Well you’re coming home nobody, the same as when you went, you didn’t get your deal and your moneys all been spent, I could have told you long ago but you’ll never understand, no bollocks to be heroes, but man I can’t stand your band”

‘House Party At Boothy’s’ cheekily steels from both ‘Another Girl, Another Planet’ and ‘Our House’. It’s crammed with so many great lines it was difficult to know which ones to quote. All the little party details are here, like chatting, dancing, drinking, ordering Pizza, vomiting, PlayStation tournaments and the detritus left at the end of the night. It’s got loads of fun bits like when you hear a pretend girlie voice say “My boyfriend’s on his way, he’ll be here to collect me”. The included ‘Steve Lamacq’ version is good but it’s not really that different to the original.

The shouts in the background of ‘Teenager’ remind me of ‘Summer Nights’ from Grease, but this tale is a little trashier. The lyrics to ‘Man I Hate Your Band’ show that if the industry gives these guys a raw deal, at least they’ll be able to say, “I told you so”. I love the mocking way Jon Windle sings “We know a guy in Camden, who says that we’re unreal”.

This is a band that’ve come up with the Arctic Monkeys, but unlike groups such as Milburn, they’ve got enough talent to not be written off as mere imitators. Talent that’ll become obvious if you buy the single and download the following demos:

This Girl Isn’t My Girlfriend (Demo) mp3
Sexy In Latin (Demo) mp3
Hello Miss Lovely (So You Like My Jeans) (Demo) mp3
Court Report (Demo) mp3
Man I Hate Your Band (Demo) mp3
Down On Marie (Demo) mp3

Click here to visit a page where some absolute legend called ‘Andeh’ has put up all the lyrics.

Here are links to watch videos for ‘The Agent’, ‘What? What You Got?’, ‘Young Offenders’ and ‘House Party At Boothy’s’ on YouTube. Also here’s an awesome DIY Lego video for ‘Hello Miss Lovely’ (Very Michel Gondry).

Click here to download Sarah & The Johnsonauts’ charmingly shambolic cover of ‘Summer Nights’ from the recent free compilation ‘Down To Grease On Holiday’.

Little Man Tate Website / Little Man Tate MySpace Page

September 7, 2006

THE FRATELLIS – Chelsea Dagger (CD & 8″ Singles)

Chelsea Dagger CoverFallout Recordings FALLOUTCD1 / FALLOUTLP2: 28th August 2006
1. Chelsea Dagger
“Well ya must be a boy with bones like that, she said ya got me wrong, I woulda sold ’em to ya If I coulda just-a kept the last of my clothes on, oh yeah”
2. Dirty Barry Stole The Bluebird
“He lived down my street, owned a Jaguar, no matter where you are, that’s a girlies car”
3. The Pimp
“When it’s all, sick ‘n’ gentle, it’s all, fuckin’ mental, it’s all, over before it begins”

‘Chelsea Dagger’ kicks off with a dirty Bass Guitar riff and a catchy “Dah dah dah” bit. There’s a strange hint of musichall, like Noel Coward if he’d been grown up with the Gallagher Brothers. It’s yet another thrilling party tune from a band who’ve put out three singles and are yet to put a foot wrong.

The Fratellis’ B-sides are always a treat and this release is no exception. The speed that Jon spits out the lyrics on ‘Dirty Barry Stole The Bluebird’ has to be heard to be believed. I love the “Halo-oh-yay-lo” bit, it’s great when it goes all Beatles in the middle and it fantastically half-inches the opening from the Friends theme tune. ‘The Pimp’ is a piledriving Riff monster that’s probably the pick of the three tracks. I was bangin’ my head so hard to this tune that it nearly fell off.

Click here to pre-order the new ‘Costello Music’ album from HMV for only £8.99 (That includes a bonus DVD with a full live show for your money!).

Visit The Fratellis’ MySpace Page to listen to the whole of their new album.

If you join the member’s area on their Website you can get a bunch of free mp3s.

Here are links to watch the videos for ‘Creepin’ Up The Backstairs’, ‘Henrietta’ and ‘Chelsea Dagger’ on YouTube. Also click here to watch a really clever fan video that’s better than most professional ones.

Lastly click here to download some Demos and live tracks.

The Fratellis Website / The Fratellis MySpace Page