Archive for October, 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

October 21, 2006

INFADELS – Girl That Speaks No Words (CD EP)

Wall Of Sound WALLD116 / WALLS116: 9th October 2006
1. Girl That Speaks No Words (Radio Edit / Alan Braxe & Fred Falke Remix Edit / Live Version)
“Been falling at the seams, now she’s grabbing at my jeans”
2. Steady As She Goes
“When you have completed, what you thought you had to do, and your blood’s depleted, to the point of stable glue, then you’ll get along”

‘Girl That Speaks No Words’ is like New Order with Julian Casablancas on vocals backed by an irrestistable thumping beat. The solo is so Peter Hook it hurts and the lyrics are wonderfully eccentric. The ‘Alan Braxe & Fred Falke Remix Edit’ retains the basic sound of the original and makes it a little slicker, but it’s not quite as much fun. The ‘Live Version’ has an extra anthemic quality that the studio version doesn’t have. The solo just begs for some air guitar action and the live Drums are fantastic (It was recorded at The Paradiso, Amsterdam in July). The shouts of “Take me with you!” would go down very well in a huge stadium venue.

The A-side is brilliant, but the reason I bought this single was because it had a cover of ‘Steady As She Goes’ by The Raconteurs (I have to have everything connected with Jack White). The riff lends itself so well to a dirty Synth sound, that in retrospect it seems obvious. When the brakes slam on at 2.02, it’s even more thrilling than the original. It’s essential for any Raconteurs fan.

Love Like Semtex (Mr. B Mix) mp3
Leave Your Body mp3

Click here to buy the Infadels album for only £8.99 from HMV (That includes a full length live DVD for your money!).

Infadels Website / Infadels MySpace Page

October 16, 2006

DATAROCK – Fa-Fa-Fa (CD & 12″ Singles)

Young Aspiring Professionals YAP005: 9th October 2006
Fa-Fa-Fa (Radio Edit / Album Version / Shakes Remix / Princess Superstar’s New York Dirty Disco Rabbit Pearl Remix / Fa-Fa-Fast & Furious Discomix)
“I need a fix, I need to fix my ignition, if you wanna whip me into shape, I need a plan and a mission”

‘Fa-Fa-Fa’ combines the Bass from ‘Psycho Killer’ by Talking Heads with a smoking Guitar sound. It’s like the Punk-Funk of Electric Six without the Punk and twice the Funk. It’s scientifically impossible to stay still with this tune on, and there’s even a Paul Simon interlude.

The ‘Shakes Remix’ employs those always-reliable Cowbells, whistles and what sounds like a recording of the noises coming from a Video-Arcade. ‘Princess Superstar’s New York Dirty Disco Rabbit Pearl Remix’ takes advantage of that great Bass line and turns the song into a full on Club tune. Bjørn Torske’s ‘Fa-Fa-Fast & Furious Discomix’ extends the tune out to over ten minutes and largely retains the sound of the original. It occasionally detours of into almost House moments and Drum breaks with a Caribbean vibe. The best bit is towards the end when extra female backing vocals echo the “Fa-fa-fa-f-f-fa-fa-fa” line.

Sex Me Up mp3
Nightflight To Uranus mp3
Princess (Morgan Z Remix) mp3
Maybelline (Demo) mp3
I Used To Dance With My Daddy (Demo) mp3
I Used To Dance With My Daddy (Kaptein Kaliber Remix) mp3

Here are links to watch videos for ‘Fa-Fa-Fa’, ‘Computer Camp Love’, ‘Bulldozer’ on YouTube.

Click here to buy Datarock’s new album from HMV for only £8.99.

Datarock Website / Datarock MySpace Page / Shakes MySpace Page
Princess Superstar MySpace Page / Bjørn Torske MySpace Page

October 16, 2006

BADLY DRAWN BOY – Nothing’s Gonna Change Your Mind (2x CD Singles)

EMI CDEM701 / CDEMS701: 9th October 2006
1. Nothing’s Gonna Change Your Mind (Original / Hot Chip Mix / King Creosote Version / Maps Mix)
“I stole all the roses that make your crown, now it’s easier, to just put aside the things that face us now”
2. One Wrong Turn
“Hey baby we dropped a stitch, it’s like I don’t know where, and I don’t care which”

Luckily ‘Nothing’s Gonna Change Your Mind’ doesn’t have any of the production deficiencies that Badly Drawn Boy’s last single ‘Born In The UK’ suffered from. Damon’s voice has rarely sounded better and he brings to mind the graceful Falsetto of Wayne Coyne.

‘Nothing’s Gonna Change Your Mind’ seems to have brought out the spiritual sides of his collaborators. All of the versions feature completely new and radically different music. The ‘Hot Chip Mix’ is like the music you’d get in a strange eastern temple where pray to a little god in woolly hat. The ‘King Creosote Version’ is listed as a ‘Mix’ but it’s actually a completely new cover. It’s an astonishingly beautiful Folk soundscape mixing Accordion, Synthesiser, Harmonica and even backing vocals by the guy who sang the Transformer theme. It’s like the mystical sound of the universe and justifies every second of its nine-minute length. The ‘Maps Mix’ uses a contrasting mix of church Organs and harsh electronic beats.

‘One Wrong Turn’ is a Drum heavy track with some of the best lyrics Damon’s written in a long time. It sounded like an absolute anthem on the second listen but it’s almost scuppered by some of the same production flaws as ‘Born In The UK’.

Click here to buy the new ‘Born In The UK’ album for only £8.99 from HMV. Or click here to buy the deluxe Passport replica version with bonus DVD for £12.99.

You can get Badly Drawn Boy’s 6 Music Session from last week as three Zip files: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Visit ‘Silent Site’ to get two full shows as mp3s and ‘It Came From The Underground’ have kindly put up bags of media files to grab.

Badly Drawn Boy Website / Badly Drawn Boy MySpace Page
It Came From The Underground Fansite / Silent Site Fansite
Hot Chip Website / Hot Chip MySpace Page
King Creosote Website / King Creosote MySpace Page
Maps Website / Maps MySpace Page

October 16, 2006

KLAXONS – The Bouncer: South Central Remix (12″ Single)

Master Bootlegs SC0012: 2nd October 2006
The Bouncer (South Central Remix)
“Yer names not down, yer not coming in”

‘The Bouncer’ was the B-side to Klaxons first single and it’s a cover of a track from 1992 by Kicks Like A Mule (Klaxons also do a cover of ‘Not Over Yet’ by Grace in their live set). South Central has recently turned in remixes of Metronomy, Shitdisco and The Maccabees. It’s been pressed up without the permission of the band and with a nod and a wink. It almost triples the length of the original and takes an already highly danceable tune for a night on the tiles.

As far as I know this was a PureGroove exclusive, but you’ll need to get onto Ebay if you want a copy because I suspect it’s long sold-out now. If you don’t want one of those old fashioned physical copy thangs, you can get the mp3 below.

The Bouncer (South Central Remix) mp3

Click here to pre-order Klaxons debut album ‘Myths Of The Near Future’ from HMV for only £8.99.

Kicks Like A Mule – The Bouncer (7″ Edit) mp3

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

Klaxons MySpace Page / Merok MySpace Page
Master Bootlegs MySpace Page / South Central MySpace Page

October 15, 2006

LILY ALLEN – LDN: DJ Remixes (3x 12″ Singles)

Regal LDNDJ02 / LDNDJ03 / LDNDJ04: 25th September 2006
LDN (Crack Whore Riddim / Switch Remix / Warbox Original Cut Dub / Wookie Remix / Silverlink’s Future Fix)
“A fella lookin’ dapper, and he’s sittin’ with a slapper, then I see it’s a pimp and his crack whore”

To accompany the copies of ‘LDN’ you’ll find in the regular shops, Regal have released three fantastic 12″s for the DJs among you. As you can see by the catalogue numbers above, I seem to be missing ‘LDNDJ01’, but no matter where I look, it seems that there is actually no such thing, it’s just an anomaly.

First up is the ‘Crack Whore Riddim’ by the South Rakkas Crew. It’s a delirious mix of backwards vocals that sound like eastern chanting, grimey beats, a theme or two from Lemmings, cheapo Keyboards, beautiful strings and robot voices. It almost matches the recent ‘Third Eye Mafia’ remix of Klaxons in the insanity stakes. Annoyingly, Dave Taylor has employed both phone sounds and gunshots for his ‘Switch Remix’. If you stick with it you’ll begin to love it for the start-stop rhythm and Ghostbusters sound effects (Even if it occasionally makes you wonder if the needle has got itself stuck).

Despite the slightly different title, Ashley Beedle’s ‘Warbox Original Cut Dub’ is the same amazing remix that appeared on the CD version of ‘LDN’. It’s a mellow Organ-heavy cut that brings up images of a lazy Sunday in the Caribbean. The ‘Wookie Remix’ is a mix of chilled-out Lemon Jelly style music and what sounds like the Mysterons theme from Captain Scarlet. ‘Silverlink’s Future Fix’ is what it would have sounded like if Kraftwerk lived in Jamaica instead of Germany.

1st prize still has to go to Ashley Beedle’s effort, but the ‘Crack Whore Riddim’ comes a very close second.

Click here to buy Lily’s album ‘Alright, Still’ for the incredible price of £6.99 from HMV.

You can still download all the separate elements from ‘LDN’ so you can make you’re own remix. It’s a huge 262mb Zip file that’s totally free and you can get by clicking here.

Click here to download ‘Alright, Steal’. It’s a compilation of the tracks that Lily has covered, sampled and been influenced by. MusicLikeDirt compiled it with artwork by myself. Enjoy.

Lily Allen Website / Lily Allen MySpace

October 15, 2006

JAMES DEAN BRADFIELD – An English Gentleman (CD & 2x 7″ Singles)

Columbia 88697003182 / 88697003187 / 88697005437: 25th September 2006
1. An English Gentleman
“Now we’re walking down your street again, with our sleeping bags and our plans, and it feels like we’re never going home”
2. Days Slip Away
“It feels so strange, and as time flashes through you, until you think you’re betrayed, as the days slip away”
3. Summer Wind
“And guess who sighs his lullabies, through nights that never end, my fickle friend, the summer wind”
4. Victory & Defeat On The Kendon Hill
“I’m swallowing flies and thick lead petrol, you can only beat yourself they say”
5. Silver Birch Bonfire Blues
“So these people, petrol and broken dreams, are all that stand between you and me”

‘An English Gentleman’ is a tribute to Manic Street Preachers’ late publicist/manager Phillip Hall. Such was his belief in them that he invited the Manics to stay rent free in his house in London to get them started, so he was clearly “An English gentleman”. You’ll find yourself whistling the melancholy melody and it’s also got a typically beautiful Acoustic Guitar solo. But elements of the song are so similar to ‘Golden Touch’ by Razorlight that the lawyers are probably preparing their case already.

Musically, ‘Days Slip Away’ reminded me of those other Welsh sons the Stereophonics, but Kelly Jones was never blessed with James’ ability to slip into such an affecting Falsetto. ‘Summer Wind’ is a cover of James’ favourite song, made famous by Frank Sinatra’s version. It’s a bit average when compared to other unexpected tracks he’s covered like ‘Bright Eyes’, ‘Last Christmas’ and ‘Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head’. ‘Victory & Defeat On The Kendon Hill’ is largely built around James’ superb Guitar playing. ‘Silver Birch Bonfire Blues’ has an almost ‘Holy Bible’ era evil Bass line. On average these B-sides don’t match up to the quality of those that backed his last single.

Here are links to watch videos for ‘An English Gentleman’, ‘That’s No Way To Tell A Lie’, ‘Émigré (Acoustic)’ and ‘Ocean Spray’ on YouTube.

Click here to buy ‘The Great Western’ CD album from HMV for only £8.99.

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

October 13, 2006

THE STREETS (FEAT. PETE DOHERTY) – Prangin’ Out (2x CD & 7″ Singles)

679 Recordings 679L141CD1 / 679L141CD2 / 679L141: 25th September 2006
1. Prangin’ Out (Pete & Mike’s Version)
“I get back from touring, suddenly it doesn’t seem like much fun to be off my face, at a quarter to eleven am”
2. Prangin’ Out (Pete’s Version)
“Within, out, you, me, rhyme and reason, are all wildly out of season, and it’s spineless treason, the kinship that allows the violent silence”
3. Deluded In My Mind
“I’m deluded in my mind, I do good things and never lie, but sometimes our own minds can be the liars, and that’s why it wasn’t I”
4. Dreams
“My dreams teach me which dreams I need seek, reveal the deceits I speak but keep believing”

There are two versions of Mike and Pete’s collaboration, the first has verses by both singers. The chorus aside, the second version is just Pete’s new words, which is the one to listen two. Check out the album version if you want Mike’s words, not the bastardised ‘Pete & Mike’s Version’. The sound quality is bad and it opens with the line “Dear Mik…” making it sound like it’s a drunken yet lucid ramble that Pete’s left on Mike’s answering phone in the middle of the night, which only adds to it’s charms. Because Pete is moaning about a situation that is of his own making, it might put some people off, but I don’t mind a rock star baring his soul once in a while, even if it is self indulgent.

This seems to be a double A-Side since ‘Deluded In My Mind’ is included on all three formats (It’s even got a video) but someone’s forgotten to tell the artwork designer. It’s superior to either version of ‘Prangin’ Out’ in any case. The finger clicking tune makes it sound like Mike time travelled back to the 30’s with a Synthesiser and his Laptop. Plus, any song that opens with Mike shouting “Absolutely Dame Judy Dench!” has got to be good. The repetitive sound of ‘Dreams’ gets a little annoying after a while but Mike’s excellent lyric just about saves it.

Here are links to watch videos for ‘Prangin’ Out’, ‘Prangin’ Out (MC Version)’, ‘Never Went To Church’ and ‘When You Wasn’t Famous’ on YouTube.

The Streets Website / The Streets MySpace Page
Babyshambles Website / Babyshambles MySpace Page