Archive for ‘Blogroll’

April 27, 2011

Poly Styrene 3 July 1957 – 25 April 2011

I’ve just noted the sad passing of Punk legend Poly Styrene aka Marianne Joan Elliott-Said. If you’ve not got a copy of 1978’s essential X-Ray Spex LP ‘Germfree Adolescents’, do yourself a favour and click here to get classics like ‘Art-I-Ficial’ and ‘Warrior In Woolworths’.  But she was still making fantastic music right up to the end, as evidenced by her recent Christmas single ‘Black Christmas’, surely one of the tracks of last year.

Here’s a nice little 0bit courtesy of Channel 4 News:

April 15, 2011

The Top 50 Songs Of All Time (Official)

I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a top 100/top 50 list of my most cherished songs for about a year now.  As my thirtieth birthday is weeks away I’ve decided nows the time to sit back and reflect on m musical life.  For a bit of “Fun” I analysed my Top 50 and found out my tastes are 22% Pop-Rock and 18% Folk and that 2005 was the best ever year for music (Who’d have guessed).  I’ve included a selection of the best video clips below but you can watch all the available videos on my youtube chanel by clicking here.  It was tough going whittling it down to only 50 tunes and even harder to put them in order.

1.Bruce Springsteen – Jungleland
Born To Run LP – 1975
“Barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a dodge, drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain”
Nine and a half minutes of shear epic Rock grandeur. Most full novels don’t contain this much beauty and narrative power.  It also features Clarence Clemons delivering the greatest Sax-Solo in history building to an almost unbearably emotional climax across 2 minutes. I could listen to this every day for the rest of my life and never tire it out.

2. The Magnetic Fields – Papa Was A Rodeo
69 Love Songs LP – 1999
“Home was anywhere with diesel gas, love was a trucker’s hand, never stuck around long enough for a one night stand”
A story of lonesome one night stands and fleeting affairs. When the cathartic duet kicks in at my heart at 4.11 once breaks and yet rejoices. Over the years Stephen Merrit has written at least 50 of the greatest love songs ever written and this is his best.

3. The Indelicates – Savages
Songs For Swinging Lovers LP – 2010
“We are ash, we are books, coffee stained and overlooked, We are ornamental swords, forged for the peace after the war”
The lyrics to this song read like beautiful poetry.  It’s a searing celebration of the outsider spirit.  This says everything I ever wanted to say about great music.

4. Luxembourg – (I Need) A Little Bit More (Than You Give Me)
Best Kept Secret: Demos & Rarities 2001-2004 Compilation – 2004
“I guess that when i told you I would leave you if you cheated, you took it as a promise, not a threat”
It takes a man of David Shah’s calibre to write a lyric this funny and yet sing it with so much power it’s like he’s tearing out his soul for your listening pleasure.

5. Ed Harcourt – Apple Of My Eye
Here Be Monsters LP – 2001
“I drink a lot of wine when I am alone, I lose my track of time, my ideas turn to stone”
I can’t fully describe why I love this song so much. There is something hidden in the giddy mix of handclaps, Hip-Hop percussion, woozy Jazz orchestration and raw Soul vocals that enthrtrals me eveytime.

6. Richie Havens – Going Back To My Roots
Connections LP – 1980
“Not talkin’ ’bout the roots in the land, I’m talkin’ ’bout the roots in the man”
Roaring Soul vocals, Funk instrumentaion, proto House Pianos and Disco beats building to a level where you just have to move your body.

7. The Pogues – Rainy Night In Soho
Poguetry In Motion EP – 1986
“We watched our friends grow up together, and we saw them as they fell, some of them fell into Heaven, some of them fell into Hell”
Simply one of the most beautiful things ever created by the hand of man. Shane MacGowan was in his late twenties when he wrote it but it reads like a death bed revelation.

8. The Wallbangers – Kick The Drugs
Kick The Drugs EP – 2007
“If I smoke Weed I get neurotic, Alcohol turns me psychotic, Heroin’s just a narcotic, S-S-S-Speed makes me despotic, if you’re on Crack-Cocaine you’re goin’ outta your brain, you’ve gotta pull the plug, you’ve gotta kick the drugs!”
Nick Cave gets all the headlines but his brother in arms Mick Harvey beats him in the fire-breathing Punk savagery stakes with this song.  Guitar Riffs don’t get much better than this.

9. Bob Dylan – Desolation Row
Highway 61 Revisited LP – 1965
“Now at midnight all the agents and the superhuman crew, come out and round up everyone that knows more than they do”
I could almost recite word-for-word the whole 11 minutes of this song’s apocalyptic lyric.  Dylan paints dizzying and terrifying images in your imagination with his words.

10. Kings Of Leon – Fans
Because Of The Times LP – 2007
“All of London sing, cause England swings and they sure love the tales I bring,
and those rainy days, they ain’t so bad when you’re the king”
I never tire of this song yet struggle to properly define why.  The word’s of KOL’s loveletter to their UK fans are almost incomprehensible but it’s about the passion he sings them with.

11. David Ford – State Of The Union
I Sincerely Apologise For All The Trouble I’ve Caused LP – 2005
“Sweet dreams all met with derision, this train, it was armed for collision”
A song featuring one mans despair at the world around him.  Every instrument layers together into a roaring political cacophony.

12. The White Stripes – Jack The Ripper (Live At The Forum, 2001)
Live At The Forum Bootleg – 2001
“I’m walking down the street, late at night, Jack the ripper, Jack the ripper”
Less than a minute and half is all Jack and Meg need to rip your ears to shreds.  How can just two people create this much energy and brutal Guitar magic.

13. Barry Bliss – All I Really Want
Antifolk Vol. 1 Compilation – 2002
“All I really want is to beat your fuckin’ ass, to be thrown in jail and rolled in broken glass, to be offered a kingdom by a crazy man and say I pass, to be beaten to death by British bobbies in mass”
This song is pure nihilistic hate for the world and everyone in it.  Yet it’s so damn beautiful and tuneful that you can’t truelly despair.

14. Coldcut – Stop This Crazy Thing (Feat. Junior Reid)
What’s That Noise? LP – 1988
“Children are cryin’, animals are dyin’, Governments who lie to you, don’t let them tell you what to do”
I can play along with all the vocal samples on this classic but no matter how many times I listen to it I can never predict when the drums come in! A record celebrating the calaeoscopic joys of sampling.

15. The Divine Comedy – If…
A Short Album About Love LP – 1997
“If you were attacked I would kill for you, if your name was Jack I’d change mine to Jill for you”
Another song that pulls off the trick of being darkly comic and heartbreakingly honest. This lush orchestral epic builds to literally maniiacal levels of intensity.

16. Etta James – I Just Want To Make Love To You
At Last! LP – 1961
“All I want you to do is make your bread, just to make sure you’re well-fed, I don’t want you sad and blue, and I just wanna make love to you”
Etta goes from roaring like a lion to purring like a kitten is the space of seconds.  It’s undoubtably the most powerful and sexiest female vocal ever layed down.  It sounds as if you are in the studio with the musicians (Complete with a couple of snatches of studio chatter).

17. Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris – Love Hurts
Grievous Angel LP – 1974
“I’ve really learned a lot, really learned a lot, love is like a stove, burns you when it’s hot”
This sublime cover of Boudleaux Bryant’s song is the all-time greatest duet. Gram and Emmy could reduce grown men who have been born without tear-ducts… to tears!

18. Billy Bragg – Sexuality
Don’t Try This At Home LP – 1991
“I’ve had relations with girls from many nations, I’ve made passes at women of all classes, and just because you’re gay I won’t turn you away, if you stick around I’m sure that we can find some common ground”
Billy has so many wonderful songs that are variously tragic, angry, passionate but it’s the shear liberating joy of ‘Sexuality’ that keeps me coming back. It’s not possible to be in a bad mood when listening to something like this.

19. The Who – Baba O’Riley
Who’s Next LP – 1971
“I don’t need to fight to prove I’m right, I don’t need to be forgiven”
If you’ve never played air-guitar along with Pete at 1.39, then you’ve never lived. For a time The Who were the greatest band alive and this was their finest achievement.

20. The Stooges – Down On The Street
Fun House LP – 1970
“Down on the street where the faces shine, floatin’ around I’m a real low mind”
I adore the brutal unrelenting groove the band have locked themselves in on this track.  Iggy’s squeeling, gurgling, barking vocals are totally exhilerating.

21. Pet Shop Boys – Suburbia (Video Mix)
Suburbia Single – 1986
“Stood by the bus stop with a felt pen in this suburban hell, and in the distance a police car to break the suburban spell”
The lyrical urban decay is matched by samples of sirens, barking dogs, helicopters, bombs, breaking glass, screaming children and machine guns.  Yet somehow it’s still one of the finest Pop songs ever to grace the UK charts.

22. Ty – The Scheme Of Things
Apples & Snake: Two Five Compilation – 2008
“I smile at the crackheads in my area, I remember when we used to play pat-ball as children in neat school uniforms, what went wrong?”
A meandering spoken-word track muesing on the trials of life.  The Jazz backing track brilliant mirror’s every nuance of TY’s vocal poetry.

23. Dan Sartain – P.C.B. 98
Dan Sartain Vs. The Serpientes LP – 2005
“I got my name crushed into a penny, we had a ball down in Panama City”
I love Dan’s dark world of Rock-a-billy and Punk.  Out of a legion of causticly brilliant songs this helter-skelter Blues-Punk gem is his finest so far.

24. Spiritualized® – Stop Your Crying
Let It Come Down LP – 2001
“Nothing hurts you like the pain of someone you care about, if I could take it on myself, you know I sure would without a doubt”
I remembering listening to the CD-single of this on a loop for a whole month on icy winter mornings. Possibly it fails in it’s lyrical objective since you’ll being crying tears of joy that something so catharically powerful exists.

25. Hedwig & The Angry Inch – The Origin Of Love
Hedwig & The Angry Inch: Original Cast Recording LP – 1999
“I could swear by your expression that the pain down in your soul was the same as the one down in mine”
The best song from the best ever musical containing unberable levels of passion.  John Cameron-Mitchell sings Stephen Trask’s poetic Greek-Myth inspired lyrics like his life depended on it.

26. The Dirtbombs – Cedar Point ’76
Hand Springs / Cedar Point ’76 Single – 2000
“Wanna play some pinball with this honey, but damn my luck, Mom won’t give me no money”
Fuzz-Guitar never sounded as good as on this cut.  The lyrics capture an 11 year old Mick as he remembers lusting after an older girl at his local arcade.

27. Laura Marling – New Romantic (Live On Later, 2007)
Live On Later With Jools Holland TV – 2007
“I made you leave her for me and now I’m feeling pretty mean, but my mind has fucked me over more times than any man could ever know”
Laura was only 17 when she wrote this profoundly beautiful Joni Mitchell-esque song. The world stops turning everytime I watch or listen to the intimate fragility of this performance.

28. Nick Drake – Northern Sky
Bryter layter LP – 1970
“I never felt magic crazy as this, I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea, I never held emotion in the palm of my hand, or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree”
It’s difficult to imagine the soul that recorded a record as hopeful as this succumbing to despair a few years later.  The lush yet subtle orchestration is intoxicating.

29. Andrew W.K. – She Is Beautiful
I Get Wet LP – 2001
“You’re giving me moves that hit from all sides, and when you’re hitting like that you melt my eyes”
A sweet love song on Andrew’s terms which means him screaming at love at noise poluting levels.  Metal music rarely is as fun as this frenetic single.

30. Har Mar Superstar – EZ Pass
You Can Feel Me LP – 2003
“DJ, DJ, can you play some more Minogue, and keep up with the tracks that everybody knows, cut to some Har Mar then that Pharcide beat, how’s that shit go, she keeps passin’ me”
This contains some truelly outstanding rhymes detailing Sean’s “Mission to find the hypest party”.  After hundreds of listens I still love the Hip-Hop Drums and House Pianos.

31. The Notorious B.I.G. – Juicy
Ready To Die LP – 1994
“We used to fuss when the landlord dissed us, no heat, wonder why Christmas missed us”
It’s the way every line fom this cut feels like it’s straight from the heart speaking of poverty made good.  The Bass-Guitar heavy production is also total genius.

32. Jamie T – Pacemaker
Panic Prevention LP – 2007
“Body bags come back on planes from wartorn Iraq, it’s the stark naked truth, a dark aftermath”
A stream of conscienceness Rap taking in the Iraq war, drug abuse, illness and violence.  Jamie has so much to say he has no time for big choruses or even pausing for breath.

33. Adam Green – Emily
Gemstones LP – 2005
“Emily, sweet baby, won’t you be my wife, cutting me wide open with a kitchen knife”
It’s testament to the irresistable Pop-Blues beat of this cut that make Adam’s predictably bizarre lyrics are so catchy. What Sinatra would’ve sounded like if he’d taken as many Drugs as Elvis.

34. Rufus Wainwright – Oh What A World
Want One LP – 2003
“Wouldn’t it be a lovely headline, ‘Life is Beautiful’ on the New York Times”
A dizzying, whirling Orchestral-Pop cut that envelopes your ears in delight.

35. Bobby Conn & The Glass Gypsies – We’re Taking Over The World
The Homeland LP – 2004
“Don’t you wonder why the times are tough, why you never seem to get enough”
Written as an attack on George W. Bush and I’m still listening to it as the economies of the world collapse. An irresistable Disco-Rock classic.

36. David Gray – The One I Love
Life In Slow Motion One LP – 2005
“Perfect summers night, not a wind that breathes, just the bullets whispering gentle ‘mongst the new green leaves”
David gets alot of flack but he deserves a knight-hood on the evidence of this one poetic masterpiece.  The lyric tells of a soldier bleeding to death and dreaming of his love back home.

37. Coyote Shivers – Sugarhigh
Coyote Shivers LP – 1996
“Think again, sometimes reputations outlive their applications, and sometimes fires don’t go out, when you’re done playing with them”
This Pop-Punk cut is a totally exhilerating celebration of life.

38. Akala – Bullshit
It’s Not A Rumour LP – 2006
“They rob the third world of every cent, now that’s bullshit, now you got third world debt, now that’s bullshit”
Akala vents his spleen on everything that pisses him off.  One moment he’s Rapping about racism and one moment he’s annoyed by the British weather.

39. The Smiths – Girlfriend In A Coma
Strangeways, Here We Come LP – 1987
“Girlfriend in a coma, I know, I know, it’s serious”
This brings a smile to my face everytime.  Morrissey has a wicked wit and never more so on this glorious single.

40. Sufjan Stevens – Come On! Feel The Illinoise!
Come On Feel The Illinoise LP – 2005
“Cannot conversations cull United Nations, if you got the patience, celebrate the ancients, cannot all creation call it celebration”
With six and a half minutes it still feels like Sufjan is cramming in all his magical ideas. I wouldn’t be surprised if every instrument ever invented crops up at one point or another.

41. Jape – Phil Lynott
Ritual LP – 2008
“It was a luner eclipse, I was out drinkin’ with two of my oldest pals, one is called Glen, one is Al”
This very personnal Folktronic tribute song is so simple but so heart felt.

42. The Flamin’ Groovies – Headin’ For The Texas Border
Flamingo LP – 1970
“Headin’ for the Texas border, cos I’m tryin’ to avoid the law”
One of those songs that it’s dangerous to drive to and the band sound like a blazing Blues Hot-Rod with the pedal to the floor.

43. Okkervil River – The President’s Dead
The President’s Dead Single – 2006
“On a beautiful day, I was waking up and I was lying in bed with my girlfriend, And the eggs on the plate, and the bacon hissin’, And the coffee was great, there was spring on the wind”
The lyric celebrates life itself in the shadow of death.  Just wait for when the drumms kick in, fantastic!

44. The Durutti Column – In Memory Of Anthony
Love In The Time Of Recession LP – 2009
“The flames you set alight, they’re always gonna last”
Even if Anthony H. Wilson hadn’t founded the great Factory records he could’ve still rested easy in his grave knowing that he’d touched his friend so deeply that he would write a song this powerful about him.

45. Jonathan Richman – I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar
I, Jonathan LP – 1992
“Well in the first bar things were controlled, but in this bar things were Rock and Roll, in the first bar things were so controlled, in this bar things were way way bold”
Pop singles don’t get much more fun than this, you can’t help but sing along.

46. Hot Club De Paris – You Can Call Me Al
Clockwork Toy Single – 2007
“I need a photo-opportunity, I want a shot at redemption, don’t want to end up a cartoon, in a cartoon graveyard”
A Simple Indie-Rock Paul Simon cover causualy tucked on to a B-Side. But maybe it’s the carefree spirit with which they recorded it that keeps me listening. Just three friends having fun in a studio.

47. Patrick Wolf – Pumpkin Soup
The Patrick Wolf EP – 2002
“Autumn’s brown sturdy fingers are embedding bouquets up and down your spine, embrace the moment ‘cos everything changes and all this will too”
An intoxicating blend of personnal nostalgia and subtle Folk production.  The whole lyric is a towering poetic achievement.

48. The Viking Moses! – I Will Always Love You
Sandstorms Single – 2006
“Bittersweet memories, that is all I’m taking with me, so, goodbye, please, don’t cry, We both know I’m not what you need”
In stark contrast to Whitney’s bombastic version, Brendon crafts a Lo-Fi gem. At points I could swear you can hear his voice cracking and hear the very tears running down his face.

49. Orphan Boy – Billy’s England
Billy’s England Single – 2006
“This retail park is wank, this town’s a fuckin’ fish tank, I get my culture from a bookcase by the door”
The first single by a great British Punk band delivering a scathing rant at the nation.

50. Gifthorse – Childhood Gang Reunion
Childhood Gang Reunion EP – 2005
“You were a tough kid, never cried, went to the funfair, the day your mother died”
Youthful memories recounted with nostalgic lyrical magic.

April 6, 2011

The Indelicates – David Koresh Superstar Out On 16th May (Rejoice!!!)

If you are somehow unaware of it, The Indelicates are one of the finest bands these isles have produced in the last few years.  I’ve been following them since I reviewed their first single on this blog back in 2006, declaring it “No less than an anthem for our times”. Their second album ‘Songs For Swinging Lovers’ was the album of last year and it’s best track ‘Savages’ was without doubt one the greatest songs ever written. So you can imagine how excited I am by the prospect of their third album ‘David Koresh Superstar’ coming out in a few weeks.

Two years ago I declared the original demo of ‘I Don’t Care If It’s True’ as one of my tracks of the year. I described it as “A gorgeous song from Simon’s possibly factious Musical ‘David Koresh Superstar’”.  Well it was clearly no joke as a studio version surfaced last year and The Indelicates have announced the full musical is being released on 16th May 2011.

As an april-fools prank they did a press release claiming they were tailoring their sounds to fit popular tastes and released a special Dubstep Mix of ‘I Am Koresh’. predictably it’s rather brilliant:

I’m counting down the days, hours and minutes till this album comes out!

Here’s the original demo of ‘I Don’t Care If It’s True’ mp3

As a final treat, here’s a vitriolic (If low-fi) rendition of ‘We Hate The Kids’ from SXSW:

April 3, 2011

Back in the land of the living!

After almost exactly a year away, it’s about time I re-started/re-launched the blog.  After posting 52 TEN4SE7EN posts (Yes that’s 520 new tracks unearthed across a year) perhaps it was time for a break!

It’s gonna be a bit less formal this time.  I’m just going to be pointing you in the direction of whatever pieces of Pop-Art are dominating my world at the time.  It could be Albums, Singles, Cinema, Books, Plays, Comics, Blu-Rays, Gigs, Exhibitions… whatever is tickling my synapses.

Christ I hope this introduction isn’t the last thing I post this year!!!

Ryan (StopMe)

April 7, 2010

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 52

I’m still buzzing from seeing Kick-Ass at the cinema and went on a Mark Millar Comics spree as soon as I got out of the theatre.  First I read the twisted humour of ‘Wanted’ (So much better than the lame film adaptation), then on to the fascinating ‘Red-Son’ which is about what the world would be like if Superman was a Soviet instead of a blue-eyed American son, and now I’m halfway into ‘Kick-Ass’ itself.  It hasn’t all been Superheroes and Supervillians this week as I’ve found another ten delightful tunes:

The Candle Thieves’ new LP ‘Sunshine & Other Misfortunes’ is full of prime Pop music for fans of The Beach Boys, Weezer and of course Eels.  The title of ‘Sharks & Bears’ sums it all up, the music is delightfully cutesy Care-Bear Pop and the lyrics have a certain shark toothed bite.

Darwin Deez sound like The Strokes given a carefree air by a dose of Acid.  ‘Radar Detector’ is a fidgety, catchy little Pop song that’ll wet your appetite for their forthcoming self-titled LP.

The Dead Weather’s new LP ‘Sea Of Cowards’ is due to drop less than a year since their debut and it’s Jack White’s eleventh major album since The White Stripes debut in 1999.  With all the other Producing, touring and acting jobs he does I’m guessing he enjoys the same mastery of time as Father Christmas (Think about it, red and white…. ?).  ‘Die By The Drop’ has the same raw and fuzzy Garage power of their last LP’s finest moments.

UK Hip-Hop trio Invisible Inc’s ‘Paradise’ has the chilled flow of a great Ty track.  This cut features on Jus Like Music’s new free compilation.  An album is in the pipeline and judging by the tracks you can hear on MySpace it’s going to be something special.

The Magic Theatre’s ‘London Town’ is a magnificent Pop concept album about a time travelling romance.  It was hard to choose just one track but in the end I went for the theatrical title track.

I just treated myself to the definitive extended “Untitled” cut of Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographal masterpiece ‘Almost Famous’ on DVD (The very personal commentary by the director and his mum is worth the price alone).  One of the extras was the full video of Pete Droge performing an acoustic version of his song ‘Small Time Blues’ in a scene paying tribute to Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris.

One of the songs on the Kick-Ass soundtrack really caught my attention.  When I got home I was surprised to see that it’s chunky Brass, and beefy Drums were courtesy of The Prodigy‘Stand Up’ sounds nothing like ‘Firestarter’ and is all the better for it.

Owen Pallett’s ‘Lewis Takes Action’ is a graceful Orchestral Pop song.  If you’re missing Fleet Foxes this will be just what the doctor ordered and his new LP’s title of ‘Heartland’ is sooo much better than his debut’s title of ‘He Poos Clouds’.

Another track for Fleet Foxes fans is Cast Spells’ shimmering ‘All Brass’.  This Illinois band’s music has a lovely English Folk lilt to it.

Superb, a seven minute House Remix of Hot Chip’s ‘I Feel Better’ featuring extra verses by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy.  The newly titled ‘I Feel Bonnie’ is a journey from Electronica to Folk stopping off on spoken word with an air of Roxy Music.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A ZIP CONTAINING ALL TEN MP3s

Cast Spells MySpace / Purchase
Darwin Deez MySpace / Purchase
Hot Chip MySpace / Purchase
Invisible Inc MySpace / Download
Owen Pallett MySpace / Purchase
Pete Droge MySpace / Purchase
The Candle Thieves MySpace / Purchase
The Dead Weather MySpace / Purchase
The Magic Theatre MySpace
The Prodigy MySpace / Purchase

March 27, 2010

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 51

I’ve been on a serious Talking Heads binge this week after finally watching what is often described as the finest Concert-Film ever produced, in the shape of 1984’s ‘Stop Making Sense’ (Can’t wait for a UK Blu-Ray release!).  I’ve also found another ten wonderful tunes for your ears to enjoy:

Andrew W.K.’s High-Energy/Metal ‘I Get Wet’ album is possibly one of my all time top 10 LPs.  Since then he’s done Power-Ballads, Eighties-Rock, produced Lee “Scratch” Perry and even released an instrumental Piano music album.  His new compilation of unreleased recordings called ‘Mother Of Mankind’ features many different sounds.  My favourite is the very daft Funky Reggae of ‘We Got A Groove’.

Again, Chris T-T’s ‘9 Red Songs’ LP is a personal favourite featuring some of the best political songs ever written like ‘A Plague On Both Your Houses’ and ‘The Huntsman Comes A-Marchin” (Go buy a copy right now!).  His new album ‘Love Is Not Rescue’ is sounding magnificent and opener ‘Nintendo’ is a ballad of shimmering beauty.

Dominique Young Unique’s ‘Show My Ass’ is abrasive Pop-Hop for all M.I.A. fans (Or even old-skool fans of Salt ‘n’ Pepa).  Try not shaking your booty when the Drums hit at 0.44 or dancing round the room when the dance beats comes in at 1.18.

I’ve been waiting for Guillemots front-man Fyfe Dangerfield to release a solo record since hearing his unspeakably gorgeous solo cover of Larrikin Love’s ‘Well, Love Does Furnish A Life’ back in 2007.  ‘Fly Yellow Moon’ has many fine songs to reccomend it but my pick has to be the haunting Piano ballad ‘Barricades’.

Gypsy-Punk rascals Gogol Bordello have just made their new song ‘Pala Tute’ available to download free as a taster of new LP ‘Trans-Continental Hustle’.  It’s the usual exhilarating mix of Acordian and Funky dance rhythms that we all love.

I just watched Hugh Cornwell’s (Of The Stranglers fame) critique of the Government’s anti-downloading-music bill on the Beeb’s Daily Politics show.  He revealed that his latest album ‘Hoover Dam’ is available to download for free and the Lo-Fi lyrical twister ‘Within You Or Without You’ is my pick.

Laura Marling’s performance of ‘New Romantic’ on Later With Jools Holland back in 2007 is probably my favourite bit of televised live music ever (Screw that.. it’s the best bit of Television ever, full-stop!).  Now aged just twenty she’s on to her 2nd LP ‘I Speak Because I Can’ and the Joni Mitchell channeling ‘Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)’ is my favourite cut.

I adore the bonkers Indie music of Los Campesinos! and new album ‘Romance Is Boring’ is no exception.  The Pixies-esqe thrill of ‘We’ve Got Your Back’ is my pick but it was a hard choice.

I’ve loved every new Ty LP twice as much as the last, so considering 2006’s (Has it really been that long!) ‘Closer’ was the best Hip-Hop album of that year I was very excited by the prospect of his new set ‘Special Kind Of Fool’.  My favourite so far is ‘Phantom Of The Opera (Feat. Anthony Mills) and to quote the lyric, “The elephant man is back, also known as the intelligent strand of Rap”… hell yes!

I just got sent a promo of We Are Standard’s self-titled LP.  Upon hitting play, I was instantly excited by the crunching Punk-Funk of ‘Bye Bye Bye’.  I love that Bass-line!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A ZIP CONTAINING ALL TEN MP3s

Andrew W.K. MySpace / Purchase
Chris T-T MySpace / Purchase
Dominique Young Unique MySpace
Fyfe Dangerfield MySpace / Purchase
Gogol Bordello MySpace / Purchase
Hugh Cornwell MySpace / Purchase
Laura Marling MySpace / Purchase
Los Campesinos! MySpace / Purchase
Ty MySpace / Purchase
We Are Standard MySpace / Purchase

March 18, 2010

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 50

As promised, TEN4SE7EN is back for good (I hope!).  This is post number 50, so that’s 500 tracks I’ve recommended so far over the past year and a half, here’s to the next 500.  This week, in-between listening to AC/DC’s ‘Back In Black’ LP on a loop, I’ve brought together ten more exquisite musical treats:

Broadcast 2000’s ‘That Sinking Feeling’ is wonderfully melodic Folk with some quirky production flourishes.  The string section is at once powerfully punchy and also sweetly graceful.

The thought of David Byrne and Fatboy Slim working together on a double concept album is almost too good to be true.  The first track I’ve heard is the Disco delight ‘Here Lies Love’ featuring a great guest vocal from Florence Welch.  I don’t mean it as insult when I say I could see it working in an Andrew Lloyd-Webber show.

A new Eels album is always something to treasure.  Opening song, ‘The Beginning’ is one of the best things that Leonard Cohen never wrote.  It’s essentially a celebratory love song which E gives a biting twist by adding the line “…in the beginning” to the end of every verse like an emotional gun shot.

I saw Musée Mécanique perform a gorgeous set at Puregroove last week.  They were lacking their Drummer (And Bass player) so cleverly split the drum set up between the three of them!  Their sound reminds me of shades of Simon & Garfunkel, The Beach Boys and Sufjan Stevens.  ‘Sleeping In Our Clothes’ is my favourite and if the opening lines of “Three cheers for romance, standing in her robes, out on the highway side tonight” doesn’t melt your heart, there is clearly something wrong.

Oh No Ono’s have the left-field Orchestral Pop sound of The Hidden Cameras.  ‘Icicles’ combines lush Strings, falsetto vocals, and dreamy Pop melodies into one dazzling confection.

I saw Scary Mansion do a great little set the other week with Leah Hayes’ handmade Guitar being very impressive.  One standout track was the haunting ‘Look Through Your Eyes’.  It’s a gorgeous piece of moody Electronica.

The spine tingling highlight of She Keeps Bees’ set at The Old Blue Last was when Jessica Larrabee performed the semi-acapella song ‘Ribbon’.  Her vocals bring to mind PJ Harvey and the fact that they’re a stripped down Blues duo inevitably makes me think of The White Stripes.

The B-side to The Black Belles’ Jack White Produced single ‘What Can I Do?” is one of the best songs so far on his label.  It’s a cover of The Knickerbockers’ classic ‘Lies’ given a girl group twist and a roaring primitive Garage sound.

I so almost had The Morning Benders inspired cover of ‘Lovefool’ on TEN4SE7EN last year.  Now they’re back with a new album with ‘Promises’ being just one highlight.  It’s exhilarating Indie with a big chunky Guitar sound and Pop vocals.

I got sent this awesome Joe Goddard Remix of YACHT’s ‘Psychic City’ a while back.  Joe Goddard’s enhanced repetitive chorus of “Where ya been darlin’, darlin’?” is so, so addictive.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A ZIP CONTAINING ALL TEN MP3s

Broadcast 2000 MySpace / Purchase
David Byrne MySpace / Purchase
Eels MySpace / Purchase
Musée Mécanique MySpace / Purchase
Oh No Ono MySpace / Purchase
Scary Mansion MySpace / Purchase
She Keeps Bees MySpace / Purchase
The Black Belles MySpace / Purchase
The Morning Benders MySpace / Purchase
YACHT MySpace / Purchase

March 7, 2010

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 49

My God it’s been a long time since I did a TEN4SE7EN (Work commitments being the excuse). I’ve missed it and hopefully this post will be the first of many:

On a trip to HMV I found they were selling last year’s über-deluxe Chris Rea triple-cd/double-vinyl/book ‘The Return Of The Fabulous Hofner Bluenotes’ for the insane price of £8 English pounds. I’m never really listened to the guy before but at that price it was worth a punt. It’s chock full of classy Blues numbers and clever Shadows tributes. The smouldering Blues of ‘Talk To God, Act like The Devil’ is just one highlight.

I just got a copy of Archie Bronson Outfit’s new LP ‘Coconut’. As before, the new songs are ear destroyingly ferocious swamp-Blues cuts, like album opener ‘Magnetic Warrior’.  The album comes with a bonus DVD with videos specially made for every song… bargain!

Aussie Bertie Blackman’s last LP is a brilliant delight for Florence Welch/Natasha Khan fans everywhere. The Glacial beauty of ‘Valentine’ is truly haunting.

It’s been a long wait since I was blown away by David E. Sugar live (When I saw him supporting Example), but his debut album is finally on the way. I just got it on promo and the unashamedly Kraftwerk cribbing ‘Also Moved’ is pure Robo-tastic majesty.

New album’s by the legendary Gil Scott-Heron don’t come along very often. So I was pretty damned excited by his new set which is packed by the kind of Socially conscious songs he’s famous for. It’s also got delightful love-songs like ‘I’ll Take Care Of You’, complete with gorgeous croaky voiced Soul vocals.

Last year I saw the mind-blowing Soul/Beatbox/Poetry/Rap/Comedy of Reggie Watts (Sell your Mother for tickets when he comes to town). Finally I found a live mp3 of my favourite song of the night, the Gangsta-Rap parody ‘Fuck Shit Stack’. Take note, every sound you hear comes from Reggie’s mouth, backing vocals, raps, beats and all!

Having enjoyed Keb Darge’s (And Cut Chemist’s) last ‘Lost & Found’ Rockabilly compilation I had to get the next entry in the series.  This time he teams up with Paul Weller to bring us 28 rare Soul nuggets.  The Tempos’ ‘(Countdown) Here I Come’ is just one magnificent example of what’s on the record.

Featuring the voice of Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner, ‘Gangs Of Rome’ was always going to be good.  It’s taken from Ashley Beedle’s ‘Mavis’ project that also employees the talents of luminaries like Candi Staton, Cerys Matthews and Ed Harcourt.

I just watched the brilliant documentary ‘Dennis Wilson: The Real Beach Boy’ on BBC4 (It’s on iPlayer for a few more days).  I then finally went out and got the deluxe re-issue of Dennis Wilson’s ‘Pacific Ocean Blue’.  Bonus track ‘Holy Man’ was a sublime unfinished Instrumental until Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins stepped up to the mike to create something very lovely indeed.  Taylor’s vocals and Dennis’ dreamy production bring to mind early Mark Everett at his best.

I recently saw Robert Glasper’s Jazz trio at Gilles Peterson’s superb Worldwide Awards show.  Every bit of his set was exhilarating but the moment when I realised he had just gone into Radiohead’s ‘Everything In It’s Right Place’ was magical.  This studio recording of the cover can be found on his first LP.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A ZIP CONTAINING ALL TEN MP3s

Archie Bronson Outfit MySpace / Purchase
Bertie Blackman MySpace / Purchase
Chris Rea Website / Purchase
David E. Sugar MySpace / Purchase
Dennis Wilson Website / Purchase
Gil Scott-Heron MySpace / Purchase
Ashley Beedle MySpace / Purchase
Reggie Watts MySpace / Purchase
Robert Glasper MySpace / Purchase
Keb Darge MySpace / Purchase

September 20, 2009

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 48

I’ve been damn busy with starting a new Job and relocating to the capital since the last TEN4SE7EN and I’ve missed doing these posts but this week I managed to scrape together enough time to find ten new songs that are currently blowing my tiny mind:

Black Noise’s ‘Knock You Out’ holds nothing back, incorporating a neck-cracking Dance-beat, scratching, sampling and several genius rap breaks.  You’ll love it.

The Boy From Space’s new EP features a delightful song called ‘Come Home’.  A warm vocal, rich Brass and bird song all compete for your heart.

I saw The Cribs live in Rough Trade last week and I was struck by two things, how many great songs they’d already written and how good the new ones sounded compared with them.  A highlight of a faultless set was the roar of squealing feedback they created on new epic ‘City Of Bugs’.

I love the bonkers sound of Dan Deacon’s ‘Woof Woof’.  It sounds like a recording of an acid fuelled party where The Flaming Lips met the looney tunes.

The distinctively named Fukkk Offf bring music for fans of Kid Sister and her many collaborators.  ‘More Than Friends’ is a super-catchy Rap-Dance cut.

Jamie T’s new album ‘Kings & Queens’ is even better than his first (It could even be album of the year!), which took some beating.  ‘Castro Dies’ is one of my favourite tracks, featuring his trademark lyrical tongue-twisters and inventive beats.

This blog has always been eager to hear everything by David Shah and The Melting Ice Caps so I was excited when I found out that David had put a load of extra songs up on his site that weren’t on his singles.  ‘A Good Night’ is the best, featuring an addictive Dance-beat and a spoken-word vocal describing a night spent “Dropping” Bakewell-Tarts in Brick Lane.  When the ethereal beauty of the chorus comes in at the end you may just think you’ve ascended to heaven.  This is surely gonna be pretty high on my tracks of the year (Unless David comes up with something even better) so roll on a Melting Ice Caps long-player.

Sharon Von Etten’s ‘For You’ is a dreamy Folk song featuring the windswept splendour of a great Joni Mitchell recording.  The subtle production is haunting which compliments the quite power of the vocal.

Transit are the resident Soul-Band of the Nashville Metro Transit Authority. The Jack White recorded ‘C’Mon & Ride’ is velvety smooth Soul with a Saxophone and vocal to soothe even the weariest of travellers.

The hypnotically cool vibe of Matty G’s ‘Keep Walking’ was created by craftily cutting up the best bits from the already magnificent ‘Walk On By’ by the late Isaac Hayes.  When the guitar drops in halfway through you’ll be totally hooked.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A ZIP CONTAINING ALL TEN MP3s

Black Noise MySpace / Purchase
The Boy From Space MySpace / Purchase
The Cribs MySpace / Purchase
Dan Deacon MySpace / Purchase
Fukkk Offf MySpace / Purchase
Jamie T MySpace / Purchase
The Melting Ice Caps MySpace / Website
Sharon Von Etten MySpace / Purchase
Transit at The Third Man site / Purchase
Matty G MySpace / Purchase

Here are a couple of videos, for Sharon Van Etten’s ‘For You’ and The Boy From Space’s ‘Come Home’:

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