Archive for September, 2008

September 28, 2008

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 6

Me and Music Like Dirt’s trip to Krakow was great (The architecture was gorgeous) but we only found two record shops (Chain stores aside).  One was a small second hand store called Reserwat Winyli and was staffed by a very friendly chap (The other shop was owned by a jaw-droppingly rude arsehole).  So sadly dreams of coming home laden by all manner of odd Polish Folk and Hip-Hop were dashed.  Luckily there’s plenty of other things going on in the rest of the world, so here are ten of them (By the way, if you’re polish drop me some record buying tips).

‘Dreamin’ Of You’ is a free taster from Bob Dylan’s new rarities album.  It was discarded from 1997’s ‘Time Out Of Mind’ and only Bob could tell you why.  It’s an undulating and brooding Blues cut that is as good as anything he’s ever released.  The interplay between the Piano, the Drums and the Guitars is electrifying (Is it even worth mentioning that his vocals are brilliant?).  After five decades of genius… does anyone else need bother?

I adored The Count & Sinden’s banging ‘Beeper’ single from back in April so I’m glad to report that the follow up, ‘Hardcore Girls’ is similarly addictive.  Vocals are provided by young B-More MC Rye Rye (M.I.A. is stepping behind the controls for Rye Rye’s album, so expect to hear more from this girl).  The “All the homies in the club..” bit where the huge Drums come in will make you move for sure.

As soon as the Saxophone came in I knew I was going to love Flamingo Crash’s ‘It’s Mystery Music!’.  It’s booty shaking Indie-Dance-Guitar-Funk that drives me crazee!  Just when you think it couldn’t get any better, it suddenly does.  Got to be my pick of the week but do check out the rest of their ‘Triangle Island’ album.

Fleet Foxes’ ‘English House’ is graceful, pixie-dust-sprinkled, oak-matured Folk music.  Drift away on massed heavenly vocals while you can almost smell the honeysuckle and hear the birds singing.

‘I Will Not Follow’ has a great Guitar riff and Atlanta band Gringo Star know it.  A delicious modern halfway point between Americana and Mod.

It’s been an agonising entire year since The Hot Puppies dropped their ear-explodingly good single ‘King Of England’.  They’ve finally released the album from whence it came (‘Blue Hands’) and by the sound of ‘How To Choose A Wife’, there are plenty more great tracks on it.  Imagine Dexys Midnight Runners covering Kraftwerk.

You might have noticed (If you’ve read this blog before) that I was a big fan of Electronic-Pop maestros Luxembourg.  So I took the news that they’d broken up like a bereavement.  Luckily in the music world there are rebirths, so the angelic voice of singer David Shah rings out again on his new project The Melting Ice Caps‘Selfish Bachelor’ is just one beautiful track and the outro may reduce some to tears (Or maybe that’s just me).

Being the “The guy who was in Arctic Monkeys just before they were famous” must have been harsh for Andy Nicholson.  Luckily he’s teamed up with Jon (aka The Reverend) and the impressive skills of MC Lowkey to bring you Mongrel‘The Menace’ is the kind of collision of Political-Rap and Indie that Alex Turner would love to make.

South-African DJ Mujava’s beats on the brilliant ‘Township Funk’ are as minimal as they get but somehow it’s still totally danceable and enthralling.  The menacing John Carpenter Synth running all the way through, sets the tone.

I’ve been meaning to grab a copy of Sonny J’s album since I first heard him 12 months ago.  Lurking at the end was the title track ‘Disastro’ which is a Funky-Electro instrumental with the kind of muscle you’d normally associate with the heaviest of Heavy-Metal.  Naturally the rest of the album is just as exciting.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A ZIP OF THE 10 TRACKS!

Bob Dylan MySpace / Purchase
The Count & Sinden MySpace / Purchase
Flamingo Crash MySpace / Purchase
Fleet Foxes MySpace / Purchase
Gringo Star MySpace
The Hot Puppies MySpace / Purchase
The Melting Ice Caps MySpace
Mongrel MySpace
Mujava MySpace / Purchase
Sonny J MySpace / Purchase

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September 20, 2008

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 5

Me and Music Like Dirt are off to Poland today to see Kraftwerk in the splendour of an old steelmill.  Sounds like the perfect setting to me.  Before I go, here are ten more tunes that’ve been tickling my taste buds over the past week.  Ten more when I come back.

‘Boy, Did She Teach You Nothing?’ marks the return of one of my favourite bands, Absentee.  As always Dan Michelson’s devilishly deep vocals are brilliantly contrasted with catchy Pop-Rock with a hint of Bloc Party.

Ben Mono’s new single, ‘Jesus Was A B-Boy’ has music that conjures up the image of a skeleton band that’ve risen from the dead driven by a desire to lay down a clinking beat for Jemeni to speak over.  Her lyrics about the son-of-man using his wood-working skills to make skateboards, rival ‘Losing My Edge’

Boston Spaceships’ new album ‘Brown Submarine’ is shear pleasure from start to finish.  One of the highlights, ‘Ate It Twice’ is an odd lo-fi Pop-Rock that resembles a tragically lost Roxy Music demo.

Punk-Funk music, check.  Robert Smith vocals, check.  Then we’ve got lift off for this addictive track from Friendly Fires called ‘Skeleton Boy’.

‘In This City’ is lovely summery Indie from Iglu & Hartly.  You’ll be whistling along and bobbing your head when suddenly the Rap bit comes in just to surprise you.

The ludicrously titled ‘All The Blowing-Themselves-Up Motherfuckers (Will Realise The Minute They Die That They Were Suckers)’ is from Julian Cope’s new ‘Black Sheep’ album.  It resembles a terrifically unhinged cover of ‘The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill’ performed by John Cale.

Little Jackie’s string drenched ’28 Butts’ is made for listening to on the radio, while drenched in glorious sunshine.  Unfortunately it’s pissing down outside but hey, this is still great Reggae-Pop-Hop.

With a memorable spiky Guitar-Riff, a hint of the Pixies and a bit of a mellow Air vibe, Mason Proper’s ‘Lock & Key’ is a great Indie song.

Pets’ new single ‘A Good Day For Telling Lies’ brings to mind fellow Indie-Pop weirdos The Spinto Band.  Banjos are plucked, Guitars are strummed and Horns glide.

I just got a copy of the sumptuous CD Re-Issue of Sixto Rodriguez’s cult-classic 1970 album ‘Cold Fact’.  I recommend you do the same because every track is brilliant and each sounds quite different (Although the influences on display are primarily Dylan, Donovan and Santana). I had to pick just one track, so I went for the subtly anthemic closing trackSixto ‘Jane S. Piddy’.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A ZIP OF THE TEN SONGS.

Absentee MySpace / Purchase
Ben Mono MySpace / Purchase
Boston Spaceships MySpace / Purchase
Friendly Fires MySpace / Purchase
Iglu & Hartly MySpace / Purchase
Julian Cope MySpace / Purchase
Little Jackie MySpace / Purchase
Mason Proper MySpace / Purchase
Pets MySpace / Purchase
Rodriguez MySpace / Purchase

September 17, 2008

Why Bother?

Recently, I got this message on my WordPress dashboard:

“Warning: We have a concern about some of the content on your blog. Please click here to contact us as soon as possible to resolve the issue and re-enable posting”

I found I was locked out of posting.  I contacted WordPress and discovered my account had been suspended for an article I’d posted two years ago reviewing Richard Hawley’s wonderful ‘Hotel Room’ single (Click here to read it).  Apparently WordPress had been contacted to say I had to remove the links to copyrighted material.  But I was linking to five mp3s Richard is hosting on his own website… absolutely free!

The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.  On one side, Record Labels scour blogs for copyright infringing material, dishing out threatening emails without even reading the blogs in question.  On the other side, the same Record Labels flood bloggers in-boxes with emails (Quite literally) begging for articles to be written, with mp3s attached for sharing with public.  They’re trying to have there cake and eat it.

Maybe a website could be set up (OffBlog.com??) where Labels can log protests that they don’t want to be blogged about, and us bloggers can trot along, read the names and happily have a media blackout for the companies that so wish it.  I suspect it would have few takers.

Time and time again these copyright measures are introduced and as always they seemed designed to impede, annoy and cheat the genuine paying customer, and committed fan. For example:

Copyrighted CDs (They don’t play on CD players!!!!)
Solution -> Get a pirate copy
Copyright warnings on DVDs (You are forced to sit trough them each and every time!!!)
Solution -> Get a pirate copy
Usage restrictions on digital music (For music you’ve just paid for!!!)
Solution -> Get a pirate copy

The industry needs to spend less time harassing the very people who spend hours of time promoting their artists for them and more time thinking of ways to sustain music sales.  Look at recent releases from artists like Radiohead, Oasis, Duke Special, Chris Rea and Laura Marling.  Each artist has produced a super-deluxe boxset version of their albums retailing for around the £50 mark.  They are lapped up, because people are willing to pay for a genuine artifact that you can hold, touch, read, listen to and even smell.  It’s all about added content, just like the lovely DVD boxsets (Crammed with bonus features) that we all shell out for.

Rant over.

Click here to buy Richard Hawley’s fantastic ‘Coles Corner’ album.

P.S. Here’s the music and DVD collection of someone who’s clearly cheating the record industry out of it’s money:

September 17, 2008

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 4

Hurray! This week Elbow won the Mercury (Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of lads) although for my money their last album was superior (Buy ‘Leaders Of The Free World’).  New sounds wise, I’m spoilt for choice, there are so many great things I’m hearing.  Here are the ten best:

You’ve probably read about the ‘Large Hadron Collider’ in the papers and the supposed way it’s gonna destroy the world (That’s if you believe tabloid hacks with all the scientific acumen of a toasted marshmallow). So in a bold attempt to inform the public, ‘The Large Hadron Rap’ was recorded.  AlpineKat (aka science writer Katherine McAlpine) drops some rhymes at least as good as anything Chicks On Speed have released.  Comedy Rap isn’t supposed to be this good.

Bumblebeez have me groovin’ every time to the addictive Funky-Dance-Carnival-Sounds of ‘Rio’.  It’s just one oddity to enjoy from their new eccentrically titled ‘Prince Umberto & The Sister Of Ill’ album.  Unless I’m mistaken it’s got a sample of Harpo Marx whistling (Or it might just be your average rave whistle, which would be a shame as the image of Harpo “Giving it large” to this tune is quite pleasing).

‘In Search Of The Youth Crew’ is relentless, energized, fast-paced Rap from Cadence Weapon.  The repetitive chorus of “The youth crew’s back” is the best bit on this brilliant bit of danceable Hip-Hop.

Capitol K’s ‘Libertania’ is quirky Pop that’s so very, very catchy.  It’s like the Postal Service after too many Smarties and a quick decision to get Bryan Ferry in for vocal duties.

Every now and again Conor Oberst brings out a song I absolutely adore and ‘Souled Out!!!’ is one of them.  It seems like one glorious drawn out mewling Guitar solo with Conor’s Dylanesque lyrics riding over the top.

Craig Charles asked his 6Music listeners to help him compile a fantasy-funk-band and in response DJ superstars Diesler, Dr. Rubberfunk and Smoove made their own special mash-ups.  The best of the three is ‘Dr. Rubberfunk’s Fantasy Funk Band’ (Just out on 45) featuring the vocal talents of James Brown & Nina Simone with contributions from Bootsy Collins, The Temptations and others.    It sounds like a superb Dr. Dre production but without the references to guns ‘n’ bitches.

Emiliana Torrini’s ‘Gun’ sounds allot like Benjamin Prosser’s outstanding track ‘Below The Plough’ (One of my favourite tracks of last year).  It’s got the same sinister air, and expansive echoey sound.

‘Took My Lady To Dinner’ combines 60s Garage-Rock, Soul, and Funk without sounding anything like Ocean Colour Scene.  It’s from King Khan & The Shrines’ brilliant new compilation and if you like Sacramento band Cake, this is gonna be right up your street.  However singing an ode to your beloved with a chorus of “She’s fat and she’s ugly, but I love her” might not have the desired effect.

Sebastien Tellier’s delightfully mellow Remix of Low Motion Disco’s ‘Things Are Gonna Get Easier’ is like that melancholic song you hear in an Eighties teen film, about two thirds through, when the protagonists best friend at school has committed suicide (Or did I imagine that one?).  Drift away on sighing waves of sound and bask in the beautifully subtle Claptonesque Guitar solo.

‘Only Loved At Night’ has that powerful Patti Smith poetic atmosphere combined with the Icy vocals of Nico.  The tinkling Xylophone is magical, although the band’s name, Softboiled Eggies, is less so (But no worse than Arctic Monkeys!).

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A ZIP OF THE TEN TRACKS.

AlpineKat YouTube
Bumblebeez MySpace / Purchase
Cadence Weapon MySpace / Purchase
Capitol K MySpace / Purchase
Conor Oberst MySpace / Purchase
Dr. Rubberfunk MySpace / Purchase
Emiliana Torrini MySpace / Purchase
King Khan & The Shrines MySpace / Purchase
Low Motion Disco MySpace / Purchase
Softboiled Eggies MySpace

September 6, 2008

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 3

After being quite resistant to everything Apple for many years I’ve embraced iTunes and also purchased an iPhone (Both of which I love).  Carefully uploading the correct sleeve art for all The Rolling Stones UK singles and albums from the 60’s and 70’s was shear joy for the music nerd in me.  It also makes keeping track of all the thousands of downloads, albums and singles sooo much easier… well duh!  Here are ten more tracks I’ve imported into my library in the past seven days.

Akira The Don’s latest mixtape ‘ATD16’ is imminent and he’s being generous with the sampler tracks.  One of the highlights has to be the Harvey Pekar sampling gem, ‘My Life’.

‘My Rock ‘n’ Roll’ by the brilliantly named Dinosaur Pile-Up has all the best elements of Queens Of The Stone Age, Weezer, and Nirvana.  It’s a little bit creepy, a little bit Pop and totally Raawwkk!  But this is just the demo, expect this monster to topple buildings when it gets the studio treatment.

Esau Mwamwaya clearly has good taste in guest appearances.  ‘Get It Up’ not only features Santogold but M.I.A. too.  I’d call it Electronic, I’d call it Hip-Hop and I’d also call it World-Music… if only to piss Damon Albarn off.

‘Ever So Shy’ is a finely crafted Power-Pop Indie single from the latest gang in town, General Fiasco.  It reminds me of superb Rough Trade band Eastern Lane and not just because of the yelping vocals.

Manic Hip-Hop-Heroes Plastic Little Vs. M.J’s ‘Thriller’ was always going to be good.  But Producer/DJ Hervé manages to make a track even better than I’d expected.  I bow down to his genius, behold ‘Cheap Thrills’.

Kings Of Leon entered the music scene dubbed as “The southern Strokes”.  The Strokes never managed to build on that great debut but KOL have quickly and with little fuss released killer album after killer single.  ‘Sex On Fire’ is their latest offering featuring Caleb Followill’s typically impassioned vocals.

Ladyhawke’s ‘Paris Is Burning‘ is almost too retro-80’s-cool for my tastes but Alex Gopher manages to squeeze every last bit of excitement out on his Remix.  Just listen to the awesome sounds at 1.34 before it builds towards a full-on Dance climax.

Nickel Eye is the solo project of The Stokes’ Nicolai Fraiture (Giddit?).  Most of it sounds like a morbid version of Leonard Cohen (Not that I’m complaining) but ‘Brandy Of The Damned’ has a bit of added Funk spice to it.

The Cool Kids’ album is getting mentioned everywhere, with good reason.  ‘What Up Man’ is my favourite cut, it’s Rap in the Spank Rock/Plastic Little vein.

Ty’s peaceful sigh at the start of ‘The Scheme Of Things’ sets the scene for this dreamy bit of Brit-Hop.  It could be a sequel to 2003’s ‘Keep On’ and it’s just as good as that classic single.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE ZIP FILE.

Akira The Don MySpace / Purchase
Dinosaur Pile-Up MySpace / Purchase
Esau Mwamwaya MySpace / Interview
General Fiasco MySpace / Purchase
Hervé MySpace / Purchase
Kings Of Leon MySpace / Purchase
Ladyhawke MySpace / Purchase
Nickel Eye MySpace
The Cool Kids MySpace / Purchase
Ty MySpace / Purchase