Archive for February, 2009

February 22, 2009

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 27

I can highly recommend two new charity albums from Warchild and 4AD.  They’re packed with essential covers and exclusive recordings but posting mp3s of two charity records would be like stealing from a collection tin, so click here and here to buy them.  Luckily this week has overflowed with many other excellent songs and here’s the best ten:

Alif Tree’s ‘Way Down South’ is an atmospheric Blues cut featuring the rumbling vocal-chords of Tony Joe White.  Maybe if Rick Rubin could bring Elvis back from the grave, they might make a comeback record a bit like this.

Quirky artist Esser’s Jazzy ‘Satisfied’ gets all messed up by Toddla T and Ross Orton on their Remix.  They bring in Dubstep, Grime and Ska elements for their radically different backing to Esser’s Robert Wyatt style vocals.

KiD CuDi’s ‘Day ‘N’ Nite’ didn’t grab me when I first gave it a quick listen last year but having just watched the new very clever video (See below) it absolutely grabbed me this week.  The woozy rhythm and chilled rhymes work so perfectly together.

M. Ward’s ‘Never Had Nobody Like You’ combines elements of early Folk/Country Marc Bolan and latter day Glam T. Rex in one nice package.  It’s also got a gorgeous celebratory Gospel undercurrent running through it.

The guest list on N.A.S.A’s new LP is ridiculously large featuring luminaries like Chuck D, Chali 2na, KRS-One and Spank Rock from the world of Hip-Hop, while artists like Karen O, George Clinton, David Bryne and Seu Jorge bring in other genres (These are but the tip of the Iceberg by the way!).  However, ‘Spacious Thoughts’ features rasping experimental Jazzman Tom Waits and acclaimed rapper Kool Keith trading lines in what must be a unique and wonderful entry in the annals of Hip-Hop.

‘Here Come The Popes (Part 3)’ is the third in a series of songs charting the chequered history of the Papal reign.  Their various misdemeanors are recounted over a sprightly carnival groove supplied by Sergeant Buzfuz.

‘Talk To Me’ is a crunching synth-heavy John-Carpenter-style Dubstep meets Dancehall tune from Solo Banton.  If Kurt Russell was up for reprising his role as Snake Plissken, this could easily be the theme tune for ‘Escape From Jamaica’!

William Elliot Whitmore delivers a sea-salt seasoned marching-drum Blues shanty called ‘Mutiny’.  Although, I don’t quite remember any of the traditional sea-shanties having shouts of “Let the muthafucka burn!”.

‘Zero’ is the new single from Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ immanent new LP ‘It’s Blitz!’.  Dropping his electric (and electrifying) Guitar, Nick Zinner tears through a machine-gun Synth line, while Karen O gives one of her finest squealing and purring vocal performances.

Perennial Stop Me favourite, David Shah releases his latest download and this time it’s a split single from both of his bands.  One is an excellent tune by The Soft Close-Ups but the best of the two is ‘Souvenir’ by The Melting Ice Caps.  If you’re familiar with his work, you’re gonna love this track, with it’s spoken word passage à la ‘Making Progress’.


Alif Tree MySpace / Purchase
Esser MySpace / Purchase
KiD CuDi MySpace / Purchase
M. Ward MySpace / Purchase
N.A.S.A. MySpace / Purchase
Sergeant Buzfuz MySpace / Purchase
Solo Banton MySpace / Purchase
The Melting Ice Caps MySpace / Download
William Elliot Whitmore MySpace / Purchase
Yeah Yeah Yeahs MySpace / Purchase

Here’s the sensational new video for KiD CuDi’s ‘Day ‘N’ Nite’ (You could watch it all day and keep spotting new bits):

February 16, 2009

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 26

After the first six months of TEN4SE7EN, here are another ten tracks for enjoyment!

Blues For Cousin Alvin’ is a funky workout with half-spoken poetic vocals that echo Gil Scott-Heron.  Multi-talented Poet, Novelist and Vocalist Anthony Joseph and his group The Spasm Band deliver sexy Jazz, irresistible Funk and a spoonful of Jamaican flavouring.  Check out the rest of his ‘Bird Head Son’ LP if you want some more (When it’s this good,  why wouldn’t you).

Until now I would hardly have described David E. Sugar as prolific (Massively talented yes).  Now he’s changing that by promising to release one download track for every week of 2009, culminating in a massive compilation at the end of the year (With 4-track EPs every month).  ‘Memory Store’ is from week four and it’s a nugget of highly Danceable Indie-Electronics.

Imagine what a track called ‘Touch My Horn’ would sound like and what you’ll hear on this delicious Brass heavy instrumental from Jesse Rose will be pretty close.

To call Jon Brion’s ‘Little Person’ classic movie songwriting is an understatement.  It has the same kind of timeless pedigree as other movie standards like ‘Moon River’ or ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’.  Track of the century? (I always go overboard when I love a song this much!).

Little Comets’ ‘One Night In October’ is Indie-Pop with all manor of interesting production flourishes bubbling away.  I’ve also got to love a song that gives my hometown of Carlisle a metaphorical mention.

The beautiful Country lilt of Phosphorescent’s ‘Too Sick To Pray’ is both melancholic and sweetly uplifting.  It’s from their excellent ‘To Willie’ LP, which is a clever stylistic tribute to Willie Nelson.

Joakim’s Remix of The Chap’s ‘Ethnic Instrument’ is the sexy sound of Rammstein and Daft Punk getting in to bed together.

‘Cruise Low’ is a fashion-world dissin’ cut from Thunderheist.  It’s angry Hip-Hop but the vocals and music are so laid back they’re almost horizontal.

Waxolutionists and Hygher Baby’s ‘Flashlight’ is also pretty chilled Rap but it’s got more of a Jurassic 5 flavour.  At points the hazy beats had me imagining it blaring out of Harrison Ford’s boom-box atop his rain drenched balcony in a smog ridden future LA.

‘Oberkampf’ is just one of the beautiful shimmering Folk songs that Woodpigeon have in abundance.  I urge you to check out the rest of their catalogue.


Anthony Joseph & The Spasm Band MySpace / Purchase
David E. Sugar MySpace / Purchase
Jesse Rose MySpace / Purchase
Jon Brion MySpace / Purchase
Little Comets MySpace / Purchase
Phosphorescent MySpace / Purchase
The Chap MySpace / Purchase
Thunderheist MySpace / Purchase
Waxolutionists MySpace / Purchase
Woodpigeon MySpace / Download

Here’s a glorious live performance of Anthony Joseph’s ‘Blues For Cousin Alvin’:

February 10, 2009

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 25

I’ve seen three awards-season-tipped movies this week (The Wrestler being the best) so as a result, two Oscar/Bafta film soundtrack songs are in the ten this week (The other eight are damn fine too):

On a recent shopping trip I managed to pick up a promo of Brakes’ forthcoming album.  Oh boy is it a good one, displaying a tendency to genre hop from Indie to Punk and from Rock to Country but at the same time sounding chock full of confidence.  Here’s opener ‘Two Shocks’, which morphs from a catchy Indie song into a pounding Rock monster.

Bruce Springsteen’s ‘The Wrestler’ is the closing song from Darren Aronofsky’s magnificent male-weepy movie of the same title (The bit at the end when the riff for Guns ‘n’ Roses’ ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ comes in, had my bottom lip wobbling).  Like Mickey Rourke’s incredible performance, it’s a song full of moments of faded glory, damaged emotion and manly pain.  The boss contributed the song for free (That’s what mates are for) but it’s also available as a bonus track on his new album.  It’s almost the equal of ‘Streets Of Philadelphia’… yes it’s that good.

The brilliantly named Favours For Sailors make deliriously uplifting Indie-Rock.  The equally brilliantly titled ‘I Dreamt That I Dreamt That You Loved Me In Your Dreams’ is super catchy with great shouts of “Get the fuck out of my dreams!”.

Francis & The Lights have recorded a superb cover of Kanye West’s ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing’ turning it into an ethereal Piano lead Rock cut but still retaining an unmistakable Hip-Hop rhythm.  I urge you to check out some more (Self penned) stuff from this band because I’m loving everything I’m hearing.

M.I.A. and Bollywood film composer A R Rahman bring ‘O… Saya’ which is cut with a thrilling foot chase in Slumdog Millionaire.  The tribal drumming, heavenly chanting and of course M.I.A’s distinctive vocals make for one of the best tracks she’s done.

Marina & The Diamonds’ ‘Mowgli’s Road’ sounds not unlike Siouxsie & The Banshees, which would usually be a cross in the box for me (Try as I might, I always hate Siouxsie Sioux vocals) but for some reason I love it.  Check out the cute ‘Cuckoo, cuckoo” bits and the monkey screeching that make for something a bit different to your average Pop song.

Good news… panic over, Pet Shop Boys’ new single ‘Love Etc’ is excellent but it takes a few listens for it to get under your skin (Give it time).  Neil Tennant’s lyrics and vocals are amazing as usual and by the fourth of fifth listen you’ll be shouting along when the chorus surges in two minutes through.

The lyrics to Riz MC’s ‘Radar’ are an entertaining trip into the mind’s tendency to judge people on first appearances, to be snobby about certain kinds of music and to put musicians into easy to digest boxes.  So with that in mind… ‘Radar’ is bit like Akala doing a Grime version of ‘Losing My Edge’.   If like me, you’re thinking you recognise the face, Riz is also a brilliant actor, from things like ‘Britz’, ‘The Road to Guantanamo’ and ‘Dead Set’… talented bastard!

The Rayographs’ ‘Gold Light’ is a subtle atmospheric thing with a Guitar line that snakes it’s way into your brain.  Imagine a less showy version of The Kills and you’re getting close.

‘Wonder Stranger’ is a ghostly music-box song from Chicago’s Via Tania and there’s more than a touch of Björk.  But the Icelandic pixie hasn’t made music this unreservedly beautiful in a long while.


M.I.A. MySpace / Purchase
Riz MC MySpace / Purchase
Brakes MySpace / Purchase
Marina & The Diamonds MySpace / Purchase
Via Tania MySpace / Purchase
Favours For Sailors MySpace / Purchase
Francis & The Lights MySpace / Download
Bruce Springsteen MySpace / Purchase
The Rayographs MySpace / Purchase
Pet Shop Boys Website / Purchase

Here’s Riz MC’s frenetic video for ‘Radar’:

February 3, 2009

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 24

Another tough week (Relatively speaking!) having to reduce some thirty exciting tunes down to the best ten.  After a predictably slow Christmas/New Year lull, great bands seem to be flooding the airwaves and wires… long may it continue:

The Big Pink’s ‘Dominos’ is like an Indie take on a humming Tibetan mantra.  With a hand-clapping chorus featuring chants of “Dominos!… Dominos!” they’re a shoe-in for oodles of Pizza advert money.

Catchy lyrics ride over a super Funky Bass-line on this intense trippy tune from Circlesquare‘Hey You Guys’ is from their new album and it’s crammed with more magnificent other worldly Rock tunes.

When was the last time the Bouzouki was used in an Indie Pop song?  Erm… probably never, which is a shame as it’s just delightful on Darren Hayman & The Secondary Modern’s song ‘Compilation Cassette’.  The lyrics tell a charming little love story that’ll have Belle & Sebastian fans fainting in the aisles.

How I Became The Bomb’s (Great name!) ‘A Formal Occasion’ brings to mind a big bold alternative Eighties pop song.  So you’ve got shades of Echo & The Bunnymen and The Cure wrapped up in an Arcade Fire shaped bow.

The title of Kindred Spirit Ensemble’s ‘Love Is Supreme’ is obviously a reference to John Coltrane.  It’s got that same tranquil transporting Jazz air mixed with mellow Hip-Hop spread over an elegiac eight minutes.

Koushik’s magical ‘Nothing’s The Same’ has that blissed out Spiritualized© sound or more specifically it’s a bit like that gorgeous “Drifting… drifting” bit from Primal Scream’s ‘I’m Comin’ Down’.

The production on Mos Def’s ‘Life In Marvelous Times’ is gigantic, managing to sound like the ‘Rocky’ music, Bernard Hermann and a lost John Carpenter theme all in one.  So in short, it’s a totally cinematic backing for his political rhymes.

Reborn lost Sixties legend Nick Garrie’s ‘Twilight’ is classic graceful songwriting.  If only McCartney was still penning ballads with this kind of light but sure touch.

Shuttle’s ‘Rotten Guts’ has all the best elements from pulsating Dance, crunching Electronica and lyrical Rap. The bit two minutes in when the beats and Cadence Weapon’s rhymes come back in will have you “Reaching for the lasers”.

‘Kill Devil Hills’ is a wonderfully dusty slice of Folk from The Winter Journey.  It’s got Banjos, acoustic Guitars, Drums and subtle slide Guitars all swinging in a merry dance.


The Big Pink MySpace / Label
Circlesquare MySpace / Purchase
Darren Hayman & The Secondary Modern MySpace / Purchase
How I Became The Bomb MySpace / Free Download
Kindred Spirits Ensemble MySpace / Purchase
Koushik MySpace / Purchase
Mos Def MySpace / Purchase
Nick Garrie MySpace / Purchase
Shuttle MySpace / Free Download
The Winter Journey MySpace / Purchase

Here’s an excellent slideshow/vid that’s been put together on YouTube to highlight the lyrics to Mos Def’s ‘Life In Marvelous Times’: