Archive for December, 2006

December 30, 2006

OKKERVIL RIVER – The President’s Dead (12″ Single)

Jag Jaguwar JAG101: 25th December 2006
1. The President’s Dead
“The Coffee was great, there was spring on the wind, have you ever lived through a day, where the littlest things, and the littlest ways made you feel you were blessed”
2. The Room I’m Hiding In
“Where once was desperation, now just medication”

‘The President’s Dead’ documents the feelings of shock when a man hears on the radio, that the President has been shot.  The lyrics deftly contrast sweeping images of national mourning with intimate moments of personal grief.  It’s mostly an acoustic song that is interrupted by a cathartic crash of drums two thirds through.  It makes you want to throw your hands up in grief or jump around for joy (Depending on your opinion of Mr Bush).  As soon as the funereal Organs fade away at the end, I can’t help reaching for the play button to hear it all again.   It’s the kind of addictive song that I could easily play to death.  ‘The Room I’m Hiding In’ isn’t as dazzling as the A-side but it does have some wonderfully deadpan comic lines that are underpinned by a haunting Slide-Guitar.

Okkervil River are absurdly generous, because they’re giving away a whole albums worth of free mp3s (Including ‘The President’s Dead’).  Listen to them, fall in love with Okkervil River and then go buy an album from the Jag Jaguwar Website:

A Favor mp3
Black mp3

For Real mp3
Lady Liberty mp3
No Key, No Plan mp3
Oh Precious mp3
Red mp3
The President’s Dead mp3
The Velocity Of Saul At The Time Of His Conversion mp3
Westfall mp3

Click here to watch an impressive fan video for ‘The President’s Dead’ on YouTube.

Okkervil River Website / Okkervil River MySpace Page / Jag Jaguwar Website

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December 28, 2006

JEREMY WARMSLEY – Dirty Blue Jeans (7″ Single)

Transgressive TRANS045: 18th December 2006
1. Dirty Blue Jeans
“Well I’m off to meet my fortune in a big old world, you know it won’t take long to get where I’m going, and you’ll soon forget me if you’ve got any sense, in your sleepy head”
2. Photograph Of A Hospital
“See the photograph of Jack in his full body cast, he opens his saw eyes and asks where is my wife”

‘Dirty Blue Jeans’ melds together the epic qualities of Arcade Fire, the quirky delights of Sufjan Stevens and Jeremy Warmsley’s own attention-deficit-disorder approach to song writing. There are a few dozen different possible hit singles here, but he obviously felt it would be more fun to put them all together into one three minute thrill ride. In comparison ‘Photograph Of A Hospital’ is musically rather dull (The brilliant lyrics, were actually written by a fan) and it isn’t helped by the murky production.

The 7″ is packaged in a lovely Denim sleeve with a pocket that contains a DVD with four videos.

Click here to buy the ‘Art Of Fiction’ album from HMV for £9.99.

I Keep The City Burning (Demo) mp3

Click here to buy single as wma files from 7Digital.

Here are links to watch the video for ‘Dirty Blue Jeans’ or an acoustic version recorded in Jeremy’s kitchen on YouTube.

Jeremy Warmsley Website / Jeremy Warmsley MySpace Page

December 24, 2006

PRIMAL SCREAM – Sometimes I Feel So Lonely (7″ Single)

Columbia 88697044297: 18th December 2006
1. Sometimes I Feel So Lonely (Single Version)
“Everything’s permitted, nothing’s really true, live outside the law boys, doin’ what ya do, nothing’s at it seems, you can be redeemed”
2. Gamblin’ Bar Room Blues
“I reached in for my razor, and then we messed around, but when I drew my pistol, I quickly smoked him down”

‘Sometimes I Feel So Lonely’ was the gorgeous Country-Gospel closer to Primal Scream’s ‘Riot City Blues’ album. For some reason, with this release, they thought that the moody air of inebriated melancholy would be improved by removing the haunting Harmonica and replacing it with sickly-sweet Strings of unfathomable hideousness. It now resembles some kind of awful West-End musical number… avoid at all cost.

Luckily, Primal Scream’s last two singles included fantastic B-sides and this release is no exception. ‘Gamblin’ Bar Room Blues’ is a creeping honky-tonk Piano tune, steeped long in all manner of intoxicating spirits. They’ve gone for a ‘St. James Infirmary Blues’ vibe and pulled it off nicely.

Primal Scream Website / Primal Scream MySpace Page / Webadelica Fansite

December 24, 2006

FEAR OF FLYING – Three’s A Crowd / Forget-Me-Nots (7″ Single)

Young & Lost Club YALC0011: 11th December 2006
1. Three’s A Crowd
“Two is company, but three’s a crowd, I thought there were no pets allowed”
2. Forget-Me-Nots
“They threw their watches into the lake, they had no need for time, and as the moon shone down on them, it showed the weathered marks of life”

‘Three’s A Crowd’ is a furious injection of Indie-Rock but to say it rips off ‘French Disko’ by Stereolab is an understatement of epic proportions.  Luckily, as with Fear Of Flying’s last single (It concerned a love affair between two bus drivers), the lyrics are spectacular and entirely their own.  The words are about a man’s paranoid thoughts of murder.  The twist is that his thoughts are directed at his girlfriend’s cat, because she loves him more.  ‘Forget-Me-Nots’ is the liberating story about the inhabitants of a retirement home throwing off the shackles of oppression and escaping in a ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ style.

Click here to watch the rather wonderful video for ‘Three’s A Crowd’ on YouTube.

Fear Of Flying MySpace Page

December 21, 2006

MY ESSENTIAL ALBUMS: ADAM GREEN – Friends Of Mine

(For some time I’ve been thinking about doing a “Top 50 albums of all time” list, complete with reviews. This task has proved a tad ambitious and therefore it’s been on the back burner. So I’ve decided to simply make it an occasional thing. A random opportunity for me to recommend an album that I couldn’t do without. And the first piece of sonic wonderment is…)

Rough Trade RTRADECD107: 23rd June 2003
“Bluebirds are so natural, I wanna buy them for my friends, Bluebirds are so dismal, and I want to trade mine in”

Adam Green’s first album or his work with the Moldy Peaches had a lo-fi amateurish charm, but there’s only so long that you can do that, without it sounding forced (Surely at some stage you learn to play properly). So on his ‘Dance With Me’ single he re-recorded three songs from his debut album in a lushly produced Scott Walker style. It was a breathtakingly success, and his second LP, ‘Friends Of Mine’ completed his transformation into a Vegas style crooner for the mentally ill.

The catchy tunes, warm acoustic Guitars and rich orchestral backing provide the perfect compliment to Adam’s dark and wildly offensive lyrics. “Do me doggy, rape me in the parking lot” being just one example and to quote Mary Poppins “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”. This album deals with suicide, kidnap, murder and infamously, sex with a girl with no legs. But these dark themes are always soundtracked by the most perfectly produced pop.

At first, the lyrics seem like nonsense but when you really get into this album the images that they conjure up can collectively paint pictures in your head “Prostitute fingers, fumbling with matches, tucked in red couches, under green moons”. Hours of fun can be had by trying to put yourself in the same headspace as the deranged mind that wrote these words. It seems that every time I listen to this album, my ideas of what the lyrics are about can change. So I find myself constantly fascinated with this record. His next two albums had some incredible tunes, but they didn’t match the sustained brilliance on display here.

Adam Green – Jessica mp3

Click here to buy ‘Friends Of Mine’ from HMV for only £9.99.

Here are links to watch videos for ‘Jessica’ and the title track ‘Friends Of Mine’ on YouTube.

Adam Green Website / Adam Green MySpace Page / Fans Of Mine Fansite

December 20, 2006

ALUMINIUM – Aluminum (12″ Single)

XL Recordings XLT246: 13th November 2006
1. Aluminum
“Instrumental”
2. Forever For Her (Is Over For Me) (Four Tet Remix)
“Instrumental”

‘Aluminum’ has been lifted from Joby Talbot (British composer and Neil Hannon’s arranger) and Richard Russell’s (XL Recordings founder) album of orchestral re-imaginings of The White Stripes’ songs under the name Aluminium (Notice the difference in spelling). The album is not one of those cheap classical re-workings of bands back catalogues that you see in the chain-stores. It’s a full-blooded avant-garde re-imagining of The White Stripes and it’s possibly the album of the year. The luxuriously packaged LP’s (With artwork by The White Stripes’ collaborator Rob Jones) are going for silly money on Ebay (I should know, I payed silly money for one recently).

The re-working of ‘Aluminum’ reminded me of Bernard Herrmann’s chilling scores for Hitchcock’s greatest films. So much so, that I can feel my heart rate quicken when I hear it and I imagine I’m Cary Grant or James Stewart being chased by some shadowy government agent. Strings pierce like knives, Drums pound ominously, Pianos creep suspiciously and it all adds up to one hell of a ride. Miss this at your peril.

The ever-reliable Four Tet have turned in an essential remix on the B-side. They’ve added massive Archie Bronson Outfit style Drums, which interestingly bring ‘Forever For Her’ back in line with the White Stripes’ original version.

Amazingly this 12″ is still available (It’s limited to just 500 copies) and you can buy one from Rough Trade by clicking here (If you’re quick).

Likewise the 12″ of the album has sold out but the CD is still available by clicking here.

Click here to watch an interview about the album on YouTube.

Aluminium Website /Aluminium MySpace Page / Joby Talbot Website
XL Recordings Website
/ The White Stripes Website

December 19, 2006

THE FRATELLIS – Whistle For The Choir (CD & 8″ Singles)

Island 1709876 / 1709877: 27th November 2006
1. Whistle For The Choir
“And it’s four in the morning and I’m walking along, beside the ghost of every drinker here who’s ever done wrong”
2. Nina
“Well she’s so you, too much for me”
3. Lay Down Easy
“Lay your head down on my pillow, and tell me where you’ve been”

‘Whistle For The Choir’ is less boisterous and more melancholy than The Fratellis’ previous singles, but it’s no less catchy.  You’ll be whistling right along and I love the way Jon Fratelli sings the word “Irresistible”.  It’s another brilliant A-side lifted from an album packed with potential hits.

‘Nina’ is a bouncy Pop-Rock number with extra Country flavour and Jon’s usual frenetic singing.  ‘Lay Down Easy’ is a song of two halves, one is almost Knopler like and the other is an energetic Garage thrasher.  Once again The Fratellis have turned in another couple of B-side gems that sound completely effortless.  How they can keep coming up with the goods is beyond me.  Oasis’ reputation as the greatest ever B-sides band is coming under threat.

Click here to buy the ‘Costello Music’ album from HMV for only £7.99.

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

Here are links to watch the videos for ‘Creepin’ Up The Backstairs’, ‘Henrietta’, ‘Chelsea Dagger’ and ‘Whistle For The Choir’ on YouTube.

Lastly click here to download some Demos and live tracks.

The Fratellis Website / The Fratellis MySpace Page

December 17, 2006

D.J. FOUNDATION – (Have They Not Heard) God Is Dead! / I Shot You Babe (7″ Single)

Metal Postcard MP03: 11th December 2006
1. (Have They Not Heard) God Is Dead!
“Why you gotta use all this kinda language, what’s wrong with finding Jesus huh”
2. Sunni & Shia – I Shot You Babe
“I believe that the violence is probably as bad as I’ve seen it and that it is possible that Iraq could move towards civil war”

‘(Have They Not Heard) God Is Dead!’ splices porn samples, a Gary Glitter tune and The Fall, but it’s nowhere near as good as the title, or the mind-meltingly blasphamous cover suggests it might have been. The flipside is the real reason you need this 7″. D.J. Foundation has spotted that the name of the pop duo Sunny & Cher sounds an awful lot like the Sunni & Shia denominations of Islam. So he’s taken ‘I Got You Babe’, cut it up and laced it with the sounds of Gun fire and other Iraq related samples. The result is often hilarious, often chilling and given that D.J. Foundation lives in Iraq, it’s obviously a record born from deep anger.

D.J. Foundation MySpace Page / Metal Postcard MySpace Page

December 16, 2006

GRUFF RHYS – Candylion (7″ Single)

Rough Trade RTRADS375: 4th December 2006
1. Candylion
“A Penguin and Carnation, a Lemon and Dalmatian, though I look for inspiration, still my favourite combination is Candylion”
2. Colossal Smile
“Dusty hours of afternoons, swapping thoughts and whistling tunes”

‘Candylion’ has Gruff Rhys’ (Front man with Super Furry Animals if your wondering where you’d heard that name before) soothing voice drifting over a warm Bass Guitar backdrop, delicately flecked with tranquil strings and sprinkles of the Xylophone.  You can just drift off and picture all the odd images from the lyrics.  The beautiful B-side ‘Colossal Smile’ is more sparsely orchestrated but still has wonderful touches like the whistling that sounds like bird song.  The 7″ also comes with a special pop-out and assemble copy of the lion featured on the cover.

Click here to pre-order the new album from HMV for £8.99.

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

Gruff Rhys MySpace Page

December 16, 2006

THERE AIN’T NO SANITY CLAUSE (Compilation)

Ahhh, Christmas is upon us, a time for good tidings and cheer, good will to all… but what’s this? Oh no, I’ve just stuck a screwdriver in my ear because I’ve been forced to hear Bing Crosby sing ‘White Christmas’ for the millionth time… bah humbug!

Surely there must be some good Christmas songs out there, songs that still sound great all year round, songs filled with inebriated seasonal merriment or even a sting of sprout-like bitterness. Well it turns out that after scouring Google, Soulseek, AMG and rifling through the surprisingly large pile of Christmas related music in my own collection they do exist. So I bring you a 25 song compilation to get you through the next couple of weeks with a smile on your face:

There Ain’t No Sanity Clause ZIP (83mb)

I’ve also enclosed some artwork, so you can print it, cut it out, burn the mp3s to a CD and enjoy (You could even give it to somebody as a bonus prezzie). I’ve also included a hilarious comic strip showing what happened when Santa met Judge Dredd (Warning: If you laugh… expect Coal!).

Also here is a virtual stocking stuffed with Christmas goodies gleaned from the net:

Click here to visit Amazon and read a list of my recommended Christmas viewing.

Click here to watch Coldcut’s version of ‘White Christmas’ with a certain Mr Bush providing the vocals. Nothing short of genius.

Here are a few more Christmas related videos to watch on YouTube: ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)’, AD/BC (Part 1), AD/BC (Part 2), AD/BC (Part 3), ‘Fairytale Of New York’, ‘Driving Home For Christmas (Richard & Judy Version)’, ‘Stop The Cavalry’, ‘Knowing Me Knowing Yule (Part 1)’, ‘Knowing Me Knowing Yule (Part 2)’, ‘Knowing Me Knowing Yule (Part 3)’, ‘Knowing Me Knowing Yule (Part 4)’, ‘Knowing Me Knowing Yule (Part 5)’.

Click here to read ‘The Selfish Giant’ by Oscar Wilde.

Click here to buy ‘The Best KIDS Christmas Album In The World Ever Ever Ever!!!’. All proceeds go to the NSPCC!

Lastly, here’s a lovely recipe for Mulled Wine.

And of course, mehweechwismusevreebuddy!!!