Archive for October 22nd, 2006

October 22, 2006

DUKE SPECIAL – Last Night I Nearly Died (CD, 10″ & 7″ Singles)

V2 VVR5042703 / VVR5042700 / VVR5042707: 16th October 2006
1. Last Night I Nearly Died (Original / 1868 Version)
“I’m not who you think I am, I slipped a stranger inside, it helps the nights go quicker, but I diminish each time”
2. Glimmer Girl
“But what you started turned into catastrophe, exploded in your face, now I’m a dangerous place, for you”
3. From Clare To Here
“And I sometimes hear a fiddle play, maybe it’s just a notion, I see the white horses dance, upon that other ocean”
4. Stumble & Fall
“And I never asked you, to understand how I keep myself to myself, in the crush of the crowd, all you can say is, who cares, it’s just part of the deal”
5. Quiet Revolutionaries
“We could sing forever, songs of hope and loss, throw our burdens into, a river we can’t cross”

Duke Special’s vocals on ‘Last Night I Nearly Died’ (The full title is ‘Last Night I Nearly Died (But I Woke Up Just In Time)’) have the kind of sound that could melt the stoniest of hearts. Musically the easiest reference is Rufus Wainwright with added blissful touches of the Xylophone, delicate Piano, achingly beautiful strings and the warmth of the Oboe. The ‘1868 Version’ (A time when the Gramophone became popular) is played on the Piano only, with the added crackle of vinyl to give it that antiquated feel.

‘Glimmer Girl’ is a magical Noel Coward like Piano Pop gem with a melody you can whistle. I’m not sure if it’s accompanied by the sound of ticking clocks or wind up toys, but either way it works really well. ‘From Clare To Here’ is a cover of a song by 60’s folk musician Ralph McTell. Duke swaps the warm Acoustic Guitar of the original for the cold and haunting sound of his Piano. When I listened to the original of Razorlight’s ‘Stumble & Fall’ for comparison, it reminded me of how powerful Razorlight used be, before chart ambition smoothed off their edges. But Duke has remade it as an old-fashioned musical style number. When I say “Remade” I mean it, this isn’t you’re average quickly done cover. He’s flawlessly transferred it to the Piano and infused the song with new depths of sorrow and highlights of optimism. ‘Quiet Revolutionaries’ has a Parisian lilt and the sighs of “Whisper to me, if you want to be… a quiet Revolutionary” sound wonderfully inviting.

Click here to watch the magical animated video for ‘Last Night I Nearly Died’ on YouTube.

You can purchase the single and it’s B-sides from 7Digital, but perhaps music like this needs the crackle of vinyl and possibly the musty smell of old book shops (But I don’t think Glade do that fragrance).

Click here to buy Duke’s new album ‘Songs From The Deep Forest’ from HMV for only £8.99.

Duke Special Website / Duke Special MySpace Page

October 22, 2006

LITTLE BARRIE – Pin That Badge (10″ EP)

Genuine GEN051TEN: 16th October 2006
1. Pin That Badge
“You’ll be promoted if you pin that badge, love and devoted if you pin that badge, chest full o’ medals and a desk to match, a pretty woman and a semi-detached”
2. Green Eyed Fool
“Some call me bitter, but I like the taste, tough to resist another one horse race”
3. Cash In
“Don’t mind, ’cause me and I got the whole thing figured, just don’t diggit, so ain’t gonna cash in, on the fashion, no more”
4. Why Don’t You Do It?
“Been a stranger all week, with the stuff ya didn’t do and the people that you meet, and diggin’ out the worst like pulling teeth”

‘Pin That Badge’ is like a funkier version of The Zutons when they used to be funky.  The riff is so gut wrenchingly badass that it’s almost silly.  It’s light years ahead of last year’s single ‘Greener Pastures’ and that’s possibly down to the production skills of Dan The Automator.

‘Green Eyed Fool’ gleefully steals from Donovan’s ‘Sunshine Superman’ with an added dollop of sleazy Rock (And the drum break is to die for).  ‘Cash In’ has snarling Guitars and plenty of squealing bluesman style Harmonicas.  ‘Why Don’t You Do It?’ is a laid back Blues number with a breathtaking performance from Barrie Cadogan. He makes his Guitar sing, gently sigh and snap like a dog.

Little Barrie’s last album was quite promising but this EP is an astounding leap forward.  A second album is promised early next year and I await it with bated breath.

Click here to watch the video for 2005’s ‘Free Salute’ single.

Little Barrie Website / Little Barrie MySpace Page

October 22, 2006

DUELS – Once In The Night (2x 7″ EP)

Nude NUD7S68: 16th October 2006
1. Once In The Night
“Decisions he has made, the failures of a new decade, inform his every movement, he has visions of atonement”
2. Half Wrong / Half Right
“The perfume hangs heavy in the air, it’s mixed with smoke and music”
3. I, Mosquito
“You were pretty as a picture, a picture of health”
4. Sisters
“Three years is patience in me, and he never knows how you feel”

The ‘Once In The Night’ EP continues Duels’ growth into a force to reckoned with. It’s produced by the omni-present James Ford and it reminds me of the soaring sound of British Sea Power. Like the last single ‘The Slow Build’, it’s a soundscape of shimmering Guitars and thudding Drums. The cinematic lyrics seem to be about the “Dark Night of the Soul”. ‘Once In The Night’ sounded like an undeniable anthem on the first listen, never mind the second.

The massive Drums on ‘Half Wrong / Half Right’ make it sound like a great lost Elbow track. ‘I, Mosquito’ is un-characteristically aggressive, and all the better for it. The music perfectly reflects the tense lyrics. ‘Sisters’ is a mix of Radiohead like chanting, sweet Acoustic Guitars, angry Electric Guitars and breathless vocals.

Click here to join Duels’ Singles Club and get some free and exclusive mp3s.

Click here to buy Duels’ debut album from HMV for only £8.99.

Duels are running a remix competition, so click here to visit the special Remix MySpace page.

You can buy the EP digitally as wma files for £2.77 from 7Digital by clicking here.

Click here to visit Duels’ YouTube Channel.

Duels Website / Duels MySpace Page