Archive for August, 2009

August 9, 2009

Alternate Mercury Prize 2009

With a month to go until perhaps the most important annual event in the music calender, the Mercury Prize 2009, I thought it was about time I did a post about it.  Once again, the short-list contains a pleasing mixture of Genres and both Major-Label and Independent releases (Although I would’ve personally added Brakes brilliant ‘Touchdown’ LP to the shortlist).

Since 2000’s win for Badly Drawn Boy, the panel have got it right most of the time.  The exception would be Klaxons ludicrous 2007 win over Amy Winehouse and Jamie T’s clearly superior albums. But last year saw the judges hit the nail bang on the head with a deserving win for Elbow, catapulting them into the kind of chart positions they’ve always deserved.  These powerful sales boosts always make the excitement that precedes the ceremony almost tangible.

To celebrate, I’ve collected together the best alternate versions I could find related to the 12 albums nominated.  If you like them, get your wallet out from storage and buy a few of the LPs themselves:

Bat For Lashes – Daniel (Death Metal Disco Scene Remix) mp3
LP: Two Suns / Label: Parlophone
I love this electrified version of Bat For Lashes’ biggest radio hit to date, ‘Daniel’.  It takes the track further away from the Kate Bush sound of the original into a more Björk direction.

Florence & The Machine – Girl With One Eye (Bayou Percussion Version) mp3
LP: Lungs / Label: Island
This deliciously creepy version of album highlight ‘Girl With One Eye’ was a bonus track on the deluxe version (Which I’d highly recommend over the cheaper one disc edition).

Friendly Fires – Skeleton Boy (Paul Epworth Version) mp3
LP: Friendly Fires / Label: XL Recordings
Paul Epworth takes everything great about ‘Skeleton Boy’ and gives it a dancefied polish.  Not radically different but brilliant all the same.

Glasvegas – Geraldine (Acoustic Version) mp3
LP: Glasvegas / Label: Columbia
Like The Beatles’ ‘Help’, Glasvegas’ big hit-single ‘Geraldine’ has an intimate lyric at it’s big Pop center.  This magnificent acoustic version puts those achingly beautiful words on full display.

Kasabian – Underdog (Instrumental) mp3
LP: West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum / Label: Columbia
Kasabian’s albums always contain amazing Hip-Hop Vs Rock productions with brutal beats that make great instrumentals.

La Roux – In For The Kill (Skream’s Let’s Get Ravey Remix) mp3
LP: La Roux / Label: Polydor
This Remix was the track that convinced me (And quite a few others I’d imagine) that La Roux wasn’t all Hype and had the tunes to back it up.

Led Bib – 2.4:1 (Still Equals None) (Othello Edit) mp3
LP: Sensible Shoes / Label: Cuneiform
After scouring the web for alternate versions of the tracks on Led Bib’s little known experimental Jazz LP ‘Sensible Shoes’ I could find nothing.  So I layered up a spell binding speech from Orson Welles’ ‘Othello’ over a brief snippet of Led Bib’s ‘2.4:1 (Still Equals None)’ (To my surprise, it isn’t utter shit!?!!).

Lisa Hannigan – I Don’t Know (KCRW Session) mp3
LP: Sea Sew / Label: Hoop Recordings
This is a lovely semi-acoustic version of Lisa’s sublime ‘I Don’t Know’.

Speech Debelle – Searching (Instrumental) mp3
LP: Speech Therapy / Label: Big Dada
Shawn of Speech Debelle touchingly personal and ingenious rhymes, ‘Searching’ is a sumptuous Jazz instrumental that stands up on it’s own merits.

Sweet Billy Pilgrim – There Will It End (Demo) mp3
LP: Twice Born Men / Label: EMI
This demo is perhaps even more haunting than the album version (Some achievement).

The Horrors – Whole New Way (Bonus Track) mp3
LP: Primary Colours / Label: XL Recordings
This great Japan-Only bonus track from the ‘Primary Colours’ LP is half Bass-centric Surf and shiny 80s Electro-Pop.

The Invisible – Monster’s Waltz (Kwes Rework) mp3
LP: The Invisible / Label: Accidental
Future superstar Kwes’ rework of ‘Monster’s Waltz’ takes it even further away from it’s Rock roots into avantgarde territory.

In conclusion, if I had a vote I’d go for Speech Debelle’s magnificent LP.  It’s the perfect melding of intricate, intimate and socialy conscious rhymes with gorgeous Jazz influenced beats that has me captivated (I’d also be pleased with wins for Kasabian, Florence & The Machine or Bat For Lashes).

Click here to signup for the official Mercury Prize 2009 Podcast.

Mercury Prize Website / MySpace

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August 8, 2009

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 47

This might be the last TEN4SE7EN for a few weeks because I’m gonna be busy with work, so I’ve found ten extra-specially great tunes:

While MCA is being treated for cancer the new Beastie Boys album is on hold.  While we are all wishing him the best, the boys have just dropped a hot new 12″ to tide us over called ‘Too Many Rappers (Feat. Nas)’.

Camera Obscura’s ‘French Navy’ is the kind of perfect Pop song that within one listen has you feeling like you’ve always known it.  Strings take flight, Spector-esque Drums crash and Tracyanne’s voice is sheer beauty.

I’ve been seeing Dirty Projectors’ album everywhere and I thought it was about time I checked it out.  The Indie-Pop within is worth all the praise, but my favourite track is the handclap-tastic ‘No Intention’.

I’ve been listening to Dizzee Rascal’s new single ‘Holiday (Feat. Chrome)’ for the last fortnight but I’ve only just decided it’s bonafide genius.  I can’t understand why I didn’t adore the pumping Dance production and smart Rhymes from the first second.

Fort Know Five keep on releasing fresh remixes of their ‘Radio Free DC’ LP and I’m yet to hear one I haven’t loved.  The clattering Drums and funky beats of ‘Insight (The Nextmen Remix)’ rises above even their high standards.

Jakwob’s superb remix of Killa Kela’s ‘Everyday’ takes it into brutal Dubstep territory.  It’s the best Dubstep rework since Skream’s remix of La Roux’s ‘In For The Kill’.

I’ve been waiting with baited breath for the official release of Pase Rock’s intergalacticly awesome track ‘So Fucking Disco’ for the last year.  Then today I was thrilled to discover it had been quietly released on iTunes a while back and what was even better, it was paired with another amazing Rap cut called ‘Get Money Kids’.

The jangly Indie of Phoenix’s ‘Lisztomania’ is an absolute delight.  The rest of their ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’ LP is almost as good.

Sabbo’s ‘Spanish Fly (Feat. MC Zulu) (Noiz In Zion Mix)’
is a cracking a Dancehall cut.  It’ll have your neck snappin’ within seconds.

Toddla T’s superb album is a crazy collision of genres from Indie to Grime and I love the way each track segues into the next.  My favourite track is a bouncy-celebration-of-food called ‘Rice & Peas (Feat. Mr Versatile)’ and the lyrics will leave you feelin’ ravenous.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A ZIP CONTAINING ALL TEN MP3s

Beastie Boys MySpace / Purchase
Camera Obscura MySpace / Purchase
Dirty Projectors MySpace / Purchase
Dizzee Rascal MySpace / Purchase
Fort Knox Five MySpace / Purchase
Killa Kela MySpace / Purchase
Pase Rock MySpace / Purchase
Phoenix MySpace / Purchase
Sabbo MySpace / Purchase
Toddla T MySpace / Purchase

I cannot overstate the immenseness of this video for Sabbo’s ‘Spanish Fly’:

August 5, 2009

DAN SARTAIN AND JACK WHITE = Heaven On Wax!

A new Dan Sartain release is coming out you say? (Oh my god, I feel faint with excitement) What’s that… it’s on Jack White’s new label as-well? (Excuse me while I pick myself up off the floor).

Yes, in the greatest meeting of minds since Iggy met Bowie (In my head at least), misanthropic Rock ‘n’ Roller Dan Sartain (One of my all-time favourite artists) has teamed up with quixotic Bluesman Jack White (Also one of my all-time favourite artists) to bring you Dan’s new ‘Bohemian Grove / Atheist Funeral’ 45.

You can order it now through The Third Man Records website (Via PayPal) along with two other brand new 7″s, one by Jack himself and one by the fine employees of the Nashville Metro Transit Authority.

Why not click here to order the triple pack!

Visit Dan Sartain’s MySpace or buy some of his records from the Swami Records webstore.

Here’s Dan performing three of his best songs in moody black and white:

Also, hier ist ein fantastischer klipp of Dan on some mad (Yet brilliant) German music show (The fact that I can only understand half, somehow makes it even better!:

August 2, 2009

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 46

I’ve just got back from a week of record shopping in the finest music emporiums our nation’s capital provides (Time well spent I think you’ll agree!).  About half of this weeks tracks are courtesy of those fine endangered institutions:

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears’ new album is magic Soul/Funk/Blues from start to finish and I’d urge you to pick up a copy.  ‘Sugarfoot’ is my favourite track, capturing all the energy of a live Soul band in full swing.

I love the joyous mix of plucked Guitar strings and understated  Electronica on Run Toto Run’s ‘Good Coat’.  It comes from their  debut EP ‘Plastic Gold’ which is out now and is rather wonderful.

A La Fu’s ‘Bazouki Joe’ is a curious collision of scratched-up Hip-Hop and Greek-Folk.  Scribe Sayar’s superb guest rhymes bring it all together.

I just got Cookin’ On 3 Burners’ album and loved it instantly but by far the most fun cut is their inspired cover of Gary Numan’s ‘Cars’.  They turn it into a Funky groove that’s beyond irresistible.

I just picked up a brilliant Dan Black track called ‘Junk Food’ on a sampler CD.  His Pop-tastic debut album (Packed with all his ace Electro-Pop singles) is also out now.

If you’re waiting for that elusive new Postal Service record then Discovery’s new album just might be up your street.  The twinkling Indie-Electronica of ‘Orange Shirt’ is my favourite track.

Lushlife’s ‘Cassette City’ LP is one of the best Rap albums all year.  My favourite song is the trippy Folk of ‘The Songbird Athletic’ featuring  Greg Saunier from Deerhoof.

The irrepressible Pop of Mika is back with a bang, on his new celebratory single ‘We Are Golden’.  As if the original wasn’t good enough, Calvin Harris has gone all high-energy-house with his Remix.

The title of Superthriller’s new single ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’ might lead you to imagine it’s a cover of Duran Duran’s lame hit-single.  But in fact it’s a brilliant squelchy Robo-Funk original and the b-side ‘Today Was A Good Day’ is amazing too (Which isn’t a cover either by the way!).

The Duke & The King’s ‘If You Ever Get Famous’ is an almost unspeakably gorgeous Rock ballad.  The production is delightfully sparse with the band wringing every ounce of emotion out of each note.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A ZIP CONTAINING ALL TEN MP3s

A La Fu Website / Purchase
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears MySpace / Purchase
Cookin’ On 3 Burners MySpace / Purchase
Dan Black MySpace / Purchase
Discovery MySpace / Purchase
Lushlife MySpace / Purchase
Mika MySpace / Purchase
Run Toto Run MySpace / Purchase
Superthriller MySpace / Purchase
The Duke & The King MySpace / Purchase

Here a lovely live video for The Duke & The King’s ‘If You Ever Get Famous’: