Archive for December, 2006

December 13, 2006

BRAKES – Hold Me In The River (7″ Single)

Rough Trade RTRADS384: 4th December 2006
1. Hold Me In The River
“I woke up late and found my liberty lost, it had been written down in law as a security cost, twenty-eight days, I’m presumed guilty, I’m sure as evolution, I was not born guilty”

‘Hold Me In The River’ is the first single to be taken from Brakes brilliant new ‘The Beatific Visions’ album.  It’s an unstoppable anthem raging against the slow erosion of Britain’s libertarian laws and rights to free speech, including “Extraordinary-Rendition”, I.D cards, and most specifically the 28 days/90 days detention debate.  The serious and yet blackly comic lyrics are welded to an irresistible chugging rhythm, thudding Drums and visceral Guitar stabs that assault the ears.  This is yet another contender for single of the year.

Click here to watch the ‘Hold Me In The River’ video on MySpace.

Click here to watch Brakes tear through a live rendition of ‘Hold Me In The River’ on YouTube.

Click here to buy ‘The Beatific Visions’ from HMV for only £8.99 (And while you’re at it get their incredible debut album ‘Give Blood’ too).

Brakes Website / Brakes MySpace Page

December 13, 2006

BAXTER DURY – Love In The Garden / Cocaine Man (7″ Single)

1965 Records OLIVE012: 4th December 2006
1. Love In The Garden
“Coughed up from the lungs of loneliness, came happiness, hope and smiles”
2. Cocaine Man
“We ware friendly smiles, all night, get blooded on Lucifer’s grain, pray it never stop”

At last, a new release from Baxter Dury (Son of the late great Ian) to follow up on 2005’s brilliant ‘Floorshow’ LP. I can’t quite explain how he manages to evoke the spirit of his father’s music while, sounding totally like his own man (It’s a trick that Jeff Buckley managed to pull off too).

‘Love In The Garden’ is a suitably brilliant comeback single, since it’s the best thing he’s recorded so far. It’s built around a propulsive but modest Guitar riff while Baxter half talks/half sings over the top in his distinctive voice. Conveniently for the uninitiated, this 7″ has his previous best song, ‘Cocaine Man’ on the other side. It was one of my ‘Top 100 Tracks Of 2005’ and ‘Love In The Garden’ is destined to be in my 2006 list.

Click here to buy any of Baxter Dury’s records from HMV (I heartily recommend ‘Floorshow’).

Click here to watch the video for ‘Francesca’s Party’ on YouTube.

Baxter Dury MySpace Page / 1965 Records Website

December 12, 2006

THE DYNAMICS – Seven Nation Army (7″ Single)

Big Single BIGS1001: 4th December 2006
1. Seven Nation Army
“And I’m talking to myself at night, because I can’t forget, back and forth through my mind, behind a cigarette”
2. Move On Up
“Hush now child, and don’t you cry, your folks might understand you, by and by”

When I saw that this single had a cover of The White Stripes, I knew I had to have it in my collection. Many have tried covers of ‘Seven Nation Army’ with varying degrees of success. The Dynamics’ wonderful Dub version sounds like Junior Murvin meeting The Specials in a “Ghost Town”.  Which of course means it’s fantastic.

Even better, on the flip is a reworking of Curtis Mayfield’s uplifting anthem ‘Move On Up’. The vocals are very similar to Curtis’ voice, so this has the sound of a laid back unreleased alternate version, rather than a radical new cover. I love the easy way the Horn motif slowly unfurls from the speakers. It’s a subtle slice of chilled soul saturated in the Jamaican sunshine. If Jimmy Cliff had covered ‘Move On Up’ it would’ve probably sounded a bit like this.

Here are seven more superb and varied takes on ‘Seven Nation Army’ for all you White Stripes fans:

Nostalgia 77 – Seven Nation Army mp3
Apathy (Feat. Emilio Lopez) – It Takes A Seven Nation Army To Hold Us Back mp3

Damien Rice & Lisa Hannigan – Seven Nation Army mp3
The White Stripes Vs Public Enemy – White Enemy mp3
Arena – Seven Nation Army mp3
Mr. Hopkinson – Seven Nation Army mp3
The White Stripes Vs Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams Are Made Of Seven Nation Army mp3

The Dynamics Website

December 11, 2006

GET CAPE. WEAR CAPE. FLY – War Of The Worlds (CD & 2x 7″ Singles)

Atlantic ATUK049CD / ATUK049 / ATUK049X: 27th November 2006
1. War Of The Worlds (Single Version / Album Version / Hot Chip Remix)
“You know I could be, everything you want me to be, no we haven’t spoke in days, yer in fact it’s been a matter of weeks”
2. White Lines, Road Signs & Vacuous Minds: The Life & Times Of A Disenfranchised Rockstar
“A shallow kiss to fill a void, a broken heart, a lonely boy, he took advantage of his pain, he took his dignity for fame”
3. You Just Sit There In Silence As The World Cries Out In Vain
“There will always be extremists acting in the name of god, but the god they worship will never hear their call”

‘War Of The Worlds’ isn’t anything like as immediately catchy as Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly’s previous singles but it gets you in the end. What it lacks musically it makes up vocally. The way Sam Duckworth screams the word “Waaarrr!” contrasts with the mournful way he sings “To busy, to busy, to busy, to talk”. The single version is slightly longer and adds some of the wonderful trademark Brass that marked out the other singles. The ‘Hot Chip Remix’ doubles the length and pumps up the bass. They’ve minimised the vocals and created a spooky atmosphere not unlike the sound of a tube station at night.

The huge title of ‘White Lines, Road Signs & Vacuous Minds: The Life & Times Of A Disenfranchised Rockstar’ tells you all you need to know about the lyrics, while the music is more of a traditional Folk sound (In the mould of Nick Drake) than Sam’s usual fair. ‘You Just Sit There In Silence As The World Cries Out In Vain’ is straight from Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly’s angry Billy Bragg side. It’s a sparse acoustic song (It was recorded in a van and you can hear the engine running) listing all the ills of the world. It talks about sitting in an ivory-tower while the planet destroys itself below. I’m not sure if Sam meant it, but I couldn’t help comparing this image with 9/11.

Click here to buy ‘The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager’ album from HMV for a super cheap £6.99.

I accidentally recorded the ‘Hot Chip Remix’ at the wrong speed and was pleasantly surprised to discover that I’d created a brilliant fusion of Jungle and Radiohead:

War Of The Worlds (Hot Chip Remix At 45 RPM) mp3

Click here to watch the video for ‘War Of The Worlds’ on YouTube.

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly Website / Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly MySpace Page
Glass Houses Fan Site

December 11, 2006

SUBURBAN KIDS WITH BIBLICAL NAMES – Rent A Wreck (CD EP)

Yes Boy Ice Cream YPI03CD: 27th November 2006
1. Rent A Wreck
“Still I can’t get enough of it, did you see me eating Frosties from your fridge”
2. Love Will
“But I can’t read the note, I tore that shit in to a million shreds, about the words, still remain in my head”
3. Do It All Or Don’t Do It All
“Long ago I had a friend who died of boredom, found a band and played in clubs and blew the people on”
4. Guns ‘n’ Ammo
“But still I’m standing on a corner, guns and ammunition, lines along a border line, this is my final life”

The intriguingly named Suburban Kids With Biblical Names hail from Sweden and make music that’ll appeal to fans of The Magnetic Fields’ epic ’69 Love Songs’ album (For me, people break down into two categories; fans of ’69 Love Songs’ and people who don’t own a copy yet). I’m a bit behind because they’ve already got an album out and this 4-tracker is culled from their first two EPs.

‘Rent A Wreck’ really bounces along with voices going “Ba-ba-ba” with funny lyrics about tour fatigue. ‘Love Will’ has the warm sound of friends playing in a room, with clicking fingers, sweet acoustic Guitars and a Piano that sounds like bird song. ‘Do It All Or Don’t Do It All’ is like the missing link between The Magnetic Fields and Arcade Fire. The twanging Pop sound of ‘Guns ‘n’ Ammo’ brings to mind The Spinto Band with a happy Ian Curtis on vocals (If you can imagine such a thing). There’s also Recorders on it and it’s nice to hear them sounding soothing instead of the cacophony that we all remember from school.

Here are five tracks from their brilliant album that they’re generously giving away free:

Loop Duplicate My Heart mp3
Noodles mp3
Funeral Face mp3

Rent A Wreck mp3
Seems To Be On My Mind mp3

After you’ve fallen in love with those tracks visit either Labrador or Minty Fresh’s Website to buy the full album.

Here are links to watch videos for ‘Rent A Wreck’ and ‘Loop Duplicate My Heart’ on YouTube.

Suburban Kids With Biblical Names Website
Suburban Kids With Biblical Names MySpace Page
Yes Boy Ice Cream Website
/ Minty Fresh Website / Labrador Website

December 9, 2006

MATCHSTICKS – Duvet (CD & 7″ Single)

One Records OR013 / OR014: 27th November 2006
1. Duvet (Original / Robot Forest Dub)
“A loose, excuse, with nothing to lose, that’s why I’m taking the easy way out”
2. Dijon
“I was once lost, now I am found, you’ve got allot to answer for”

‘Duvet’ is like a glorious lost classic from the golden age of Electro-Pop. The vocals sound like David Byrne, there’s fizzing Synthesisers, Art-Rock Guitars and a delirious mix of almost every other trick in the Pop book. It’s at least eight different songs cunningly welded together and Matchsticks have packed as much Pop into 2.43 as is humanly possible. With the addictive shouts of “What da ya want?” now burnt into my brain, it seems like this would be at number one for a minimum of nine weeks in a sane world.

The ‘Robot Forest Dub’ does exactly what it says on the tin (Except for the forest bit obviously). ‘Dijon’ is nowhere near as good but it sounds like an old demo to my ears so I’m still expecting big things from Matchsticks’ next single.

You can buy this record or the older releases (Under the less snappy ‘Flying Matchstick Men’ title) by clicking here.

Matchsticks MySpace Page / One Records Website

December 9, 2006

PRINZHORN DANCE SCHOOL – You Are The Space Invader (7″ Single)

DFA DFAEMI2161: 27th November 2006
1. You Are The Space Invader
“There’s a baby boy and a baby girl, CCTV’s stolen their souls”
2. Eat, Sleep
“There are monsters in the deep”

‘You Are The Space Invader’ is a minimal Art-Blues song with twitching Guitars, sinister Bass and abrupt Drums. It’s all about atmosphere and how it relates to the paranoid lyrics. The bizarre shout of “You know white bread gives you cancer!” is definitely a highlight. The music on ‘Eat, Sleep’ is a little sweeter but the lyrics are just as demented. They’re basically about the monsters being out to get you.

Click here to buy the single from 7Digital.

Prinzhorn Dance School Website

December 9, 2006

THE POPPYCOCKS – Lovebirds (CD Single)

Drift DFT005: 27th November 2006
1. Lovebirds (Original / Instrumental)
“Can’t you hear them calling, I will wait for you, they’re sitting in the corner, table laid for two”
2. Tender Hooks
“I really do love the ocean, though not the strongest of swimmers”

‘Lovebirds’ is a single for fans of Absentee and particularly Dan Michaelson’s voice (But there’s a hint of Neil Hannon in there too).  It’s about overhearing two lovebirds and there’s a Xylophone solo, which always ticks my box.  The instrumental version looses the vocal but replaces it with a devastatingly beautiful Brass sound.  As good as the vocals are on the original I’m absolutely in love with the instrumental.  ‘Tenderhooks’ is another great song with a catchy Bass line.  The Poppycocks are a band I’m looking forward to hearing more from (They’re currently planning an LP!).

Click here to buy the single from 7Digital for £1.77.

The Poppycocks MySpace Page / Drift Records Website

December 9, 2006

I WAS A CUB SCOUT – Pink Squares (CD Single)

XL Recordings AXL251CD: 27th November 2006
1. Pink Squares
“And yes I know I’m wrong, but there’s two sides to every story, baby we’re not the same and we’ll never feel the same”
2. Teenage Skin
“I’m leaving here tonight, but I’m keeping my head high”

‘Pink Squares’ is a rich slice of Elecro-Pop with a deep pulsating Bass line.  The passionate vocal brings to mind Delays.  The Drums go berserk towards the end underlining the pain in the lyrics.  ‘Teenage Skin’ is more of the same but without the same spark that fires the A-side.  But once again, William Bowerman’s Drumming is incredible.

Click here to buy the single from 7Digital as wmas, aacs or mp3s.

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

I Was A Cub Scout Website / I Was A Cub Scout MySpace Page