Sunday, 15 April 2012

Pop Quiz: 1988 - Shortlist

A.R. Kane – Crazy Blue
Admiral Bailey – No Way No Better Than Yard
The Adventures – Broken Land
Al B. Sure! – Nite And Day
Alice Donut – American Lips
All About Eve – In The Clouds
All About Eve – Martha's Harbour
American Music Club – Western Sky
American Music Club – Last Harbor
Anthrax – Antisocial
Armando – Land Of Confusion
Aztec Camera – Somewhere In My Heart
Bad Religion – You Are
Bam Bam – Give It To Me
Beat Happening – Indian Summer
The Beatnigs – Television - Radio Edit
Big Audio Dynamite – Other 99
Big Daddy Kane – Raw [Edit]
Big Dipper – Ron Klaus Wrecked His House
Billy Bragg – Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards
Biz Markie – Biz Is Goin' Off
Biz Markie – Vapors
Bobby Brown – My Prerogative
Bobby Brown – Every Little Step
Bon Jovi – Bad Medicine
Bon Jovi – I'll Be There For You
Boogie Down Productions – My Philosophy
Boy Meets Girl – Waiting For A Star To Fall
Bradford – Skin Storm
Breathe – Hands To Heaven
Brenda Russell – Piano In The Dark
Buffalo Tom – Sunflower Suit
Camper Van Beethoven – Eye Of Fatima (Pt. 1)
Camper Van Beethoven – She Divines Water
Camper Van Beethoven – One Of These Days
The Chills – Wet Blanket
The Church – Under The Milky Way
Class Action – Weekend
Close Lobsters – What Is There To Smile About?
Cocteau Twins – Blue Bell Knoll
Cocteau Twins – Carolyn’s Fingers
Cool McCool – World Turns Around
Corn Dollies – Map Of The World
Cowboy Junkies – Misguided Angel
Cowboy Junkies – Blue Moon Revisited (Song For Elvis)
Crazyhead – Have Love Will Travel
Crowded House – Weather With You
Danzig – Mother
Deacon Blue – Real Gone Kid
Dead Can Dance – The Host Of Seraphim (Remastered)
Dead Can Dance – Severance (Remastered)
Dead Can Dance – Ullyses (Remastered)
Diamanda Galas – Exeloume (Deliver Me)
Dinosaur Jr. – Freak Scene
Dinosaur Jr. – No Bones
Dinosaur Jr. – Yeah We Know
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – What I Am
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – Circle
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – She
EPMD – You Gots To Chill
Erasure – A Little Respect
Eric B. & Rakim – Follow The Leader
Everything But The Girl – I Don't Want To Talk About It
Everything But The Girl – I Always Was Your Girl
Everything But The Girl – Apron Strings
Fairground Attraction – Perfect
The Fall – Victoria
The Fall – Bremen Nacht Alternative
The Fall – New Big Prinz
The Fall – Cab It Up !
Fantan Mojah – Haul & Pull Up
Felt – Space Blues
The Field Mice – Emma's House
Fields Of The Nephilim – Moonchild
Fine Young Cannibals – She Drives Me Crazy
Fingers, Inc. – Distant Planet
The Flatmates – Shimmer
Fugazi – Waiting Room
Fugazi – Give Me the Cure
Fugazi – Suggestion
The Go Betweens – Streets Of Your Town
Green River – One More Stitch
Guy – I Like
A Guy Called Gerald – Voodoo Ray
Happy Mondays – Brain Dead
Happy Mondays – Wrote For Luck
Happy Mondays – Lazyitis
Home T / Cocoa T / Shabba Ranks – Single Life
Hothouse Flowers – Don't Go
The House Of Love – Destroy The Heart
The House Of Love – Christine
Hue And Cry – Looking For Linda
Humanoid – Stakker Humanoid - 12" Original
I, Ludicrous – Quite Extraordinary
The Icicle Works – Little Girl Lost
Ini Kamoze – Shocking Out
Inner City – Big Fun (Original 12'' Mix)
Inspiral Carpets – Keep The Circle Around
Iron Maiden – Can I Play With Madness - 1998 Digital Remaster
James – What For
Jane Wiedlin – Rush Hour
Jane's Addiction – Mountain Song
Jesus And Mary Chain – Sidewalking
Julian Cope – Charlotte Anne
The King Of The Slums – England's Leading Light
Kitchens Of Distinction – Prize
Kool G Rap – The Symphony
The La's – There She Goes
Lecturer – DJ A Look Fi Mi
The Lemonheads – Mallo Cup
The Lemonheads – Glad I Don't Know
The Lemonheads – Anyway
The Lemonheads – Luka
Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows
Les Negresses Vertes – Zobi La Mouche
Level 42 – Heaven In My Hands
The Lilac Time – Black Velvet
LL Cool J – Going Back To Cali
LoOp – This Is Where You End
LoOp – Pulse
Luther Vandross – Any Love
Mantronix – Simple Simon (You Gotta Regard)
Mary Margaret O'Hara – To Cry About
Mary Margaret O'Hara – Body's In Trouble
Masters Of Reality – The Candy Song
Maurice – This is Acid
Mayday – Sinister
McCarthy – Should The Bible Be Banned
Megadeth – In My Darkest Hour
Mica Paris – My One Temptation
Mica Paris – Breathe Life Into Me
Michelle Shocked – Anchorage
Ministry – Stigmata
The Mission – Tower Of Strength
Mission Of Burma – Peking Spring
Morrissey – Everyday Is Like Sunday
Morrissey – Suedehead
Morrissey – Late Night, Maudlin Street
Mudhoney – Touch Me I'm Sick
My Bloody Valentine – Feed Me With Your Kiss
My Bloody Valentine – Soft As Snow (But Warm Inside)
My Bloody Valentine – (When You Wake) You're Still In A Dream
My Bloody Valentine – Suesfine
My Bloody Valentine – You Made Me Realise
My Bloody Valentine – Thorn
N.W.a – Fuck Tha Police
N.W.a – Express Yourself
Napalm Death – Evolved As One
Neneh Cherry – Buffalo Stance
New Order – Fine Time
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – The Mercy Seat
Nirvana – Love Buzz
Nitzer Ebb – Control I'm Here
The Parachute Men – If I Could Wear Your Jacket…?
The Pasadenas – Tribute (Right On)
Paula Abdul – Opposites Attract
Paula Abdul – Straight Up
Pet Shop Boys – Left To My Own Devices
Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing
Pixies – Bone Machine
Pixies – Gigantic
Pixies – River Euphrates
Pixies – Tony’s Theme
The Pogues – Fiesta
The Pogues – Lullaby Of London
Poison – Every Rose Has Its Thorn
The Pooh Sticks – On Tape
Pop Will Eat Itself – Def Con One
The Popguns – Where Do You Go?
Prefab Sprout – The King Of Rock 'N' Roll
Prefab Sprout – Cars And Girls
Prefab Sprout – Nightingales
The Primitives – Crash
Prince – Alphabet St.
The Proclaimers – I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)
Psychic TV – Godstar
Public Enemy – Don't Believe The Hype
Public Enemy – Night Of The Living Baseheads
Pursuit Of Happiness – I'm An Adult Now
Pursuit Of Happiness – She's So Young
Queensryche – I Don't Believe In Love
R.E.M. – Pop Song 89
R.E.M. – Stand
R.E.M. – Orange Crush
Rigor Mortis – Bodily Dismemberment
Roachford – Cuddly Toy
Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock – It Takes Two
Roxette – The Look
Royal House – Can You Party?
RUN-DMC – Run's House
RUN-DMC – Beats To The Rhyme
S'Express – Theme From S'Express
Sade – Paradise
Salt-N-Pepa – Push It - Radio Version
Sam Brown – Stop
Screaming Trees – She Knows
Scritti Politti – Oh Patti (Don't Feel Sorry For Loverboy)
Shabba Ranks – No Bother Dis Sound Boy
Siouxsie And The Banshees – Peek-A-Boo
Skinny Puppy – "Dogshit" (aka Censor)
The Smithereens – Beauty And Sadness
Social Distortion – Prison Bound
Sonic Youth – Teen Age Riot
Sonic Youth – Silver Rocket
Sonic Youth – Eric's Trip
Sort Sol – As She Weeps
Soul Asylum – Chains
Soul II Soul – Fairplay
Soundgarden – Beyond The Wheel
Spacemen 3 – Revolution
Sterling Void – It's Alright - Original House Mix
Stetsasonic – Talkin' All That Jazz
The Stone Roses – Elephant Stone
Stump – Charlton Heston
The Sugarcubes – Motorcrash
The Sugarcubes – Blue Eyed Pop
The Sugarcubes – Deus
Talk Talk – I Believe In You
Talk Talk – Wealth
Teena Marie – Ooo La La La
That Petrol Emotion – Cellophane
They Might Be Giants – Ana Ng
They Might Be Giants – Purple Toupee
Throwing Muses – Downtown
Throwing Muses – A Feeling
Tone-Loc – Wild Thing
Tracy Chapman – Talkin' Bout A Revolution
Tracy Chapman – Fast Car
Tracy Chapman – Baby Can I Hold You
Tyree – Turn It Up
U2 – Desire
U2 – All I Want Is You
Ultra Vivid Scene – Mercy Seat
Unrest – Disko Magic
Van Halen – Black And Blue
Vanessa Williams – The Right Stuff - Single Version
Violent Femmes – Nightmares
Violent Femmes – Fat
Voice Of The Beehive – I Say Nothing
The Waterboys – Fisherman's Blues
Wedding Present – Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm
Wedding Present – Why Are You Being So Reasonable Now ?
When In Rome – The Promise
Wire – Kidney Bingos
The Wolfgang Press – Kansas
Womack & Womack – Teardrops
The Wonder Stuff – It's Yer Money
The Wonder Stuff – Give, Give, Give Me More, More, More
The Wonder Stuff – A Wish Away
The Woodentops – You Make Me Feel
Wreckx-N-Effect – New Jack Swing
Yello – The Race
The Young Gods – L'Amourir
Young MC – Know How
The Youngbloods – Quicksand

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Song of the day: Wild Beasts "Albatross" (Domino)

First released track from Wild Beasts' new album, "Smother" which is due out next Monday. The team are from Kendal, they recorded the album in a remote part of North Wales and they sing about sea birds. To these city ears, it all sounds wonderfully rural - like a nice ramble.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Song of the Day: Higuma "The Veiled Lamp" (Root Strata)

Higuma is Evan Caminiti (of Barn Owl) and Lisa McGee from San Francisco. This is a track from their recent album, Pacific Fog Dreams, which was released in February. It is a wonderful crescendo of dark atmospheric ambient drones.

Album Review: Colourmusic "My______Is Pink" (Memphis Industries)

Colourmusic are from Stillwater, Oklahoma, and "My _____ Is Pink" is their debut album They are friends with Flaming Lips and plough the same musical fields leaving obtusely angled furrows across the landscape. They claim that their music is based on the colour theory of Isaac Newton. If I were to believe this for a minute I would probably do a little research into this fascinating scientific subject for the purpose of this review, but as I think it is clearly a red-herring I shan't bother. Instead I shall focus on the evidence provided in these thirteen tracks. "My _____ Is Pink" is stacked with brash and ecclectic art-rock that is teaming with ideas. Beard opens the album with an uber-cool funk drone, a post-punk rhythm section and snarled vocal delivery. Jack & Jill (A Duet) still has the same droney production but is in essence a California style low-fi garage excursion. Feels Good To Wear is highly stylised indie rock with a dreampop undercurrent and, again, a funk rhythm drive. We Shall Wish (Use Your Adult Voice) is the highlight for me; the clearest attempt to carve out something raw and surprising. The new single, You For Leaving Me is the sound of a deranged gospel choir over filtered heavy rock and Tog is another wonderful rythmic sprint - burundi drumming and playground nursery rhyme vocals. Dolphins and Unicorns is a throwaway pyschedelic-disco number and Pororoca is a brooding new-wave misery workout "lights out, lights out, looking for a way out". Which leads us to the off-centre piece of the album The Little Death (In Five Parts) a ten minute prog thrash which, while interesting, trips up in the sense that the scary moments are not nearly scary enough and the pretty moments not too pretty. Things are now slowing down - Fold/Unfold is an atmospheric ballad and Mono follows in the same folky shoegaze vein. Penultimate track, Whitby Harbour, is a field recording of waves crashing and Yes! is a singalong pop song.
Colourmusic have demonstrated a prowess for their craft on this record and it is clear that they are a group of restless creatives looking to impress. There are some wonderful moments throughout and some big highlights. Even the less interesting forrays are pleasurable enough. However, I feel the need to interrogate this a little more. The verse of We Shall Wish (Use Your Adult Voice) declares "These are the days of easy answers" - and yes of course, as long as you ask easy questions. The next challenge for Colourmusic will be to take their admirable spirit of adventure and push harder against more difficult subjects and structures - I want more danger. The title of the album "My ______ Is Pink" invites the listener to fill the gap. I would have thought that the intention should be to conjure raw and shocking words that would make ladies blush, but it just doesn't seem appropriate. On this outing I'm saying "Delicious Lollipop" but next time around I want to say "Tight Pussy". (8/10)

Friday, 29 April 2011

Song of the Day: Okkervil River "A Stone" (Jagjaguwar)

A Royal Wedding Special. This is not a new track at all, but a lovely ballad from Okkervil River's 2005 album "Black Sheep Boy". I post it today in commemoration of Will and Kate's bethrothal, as there is a nice verse in it about a princess falling for a prince (or something like that). Okkervil River's fantastic new album "I am Very Far" is out on May 9th.

Song of the Day: Marsha Ambrosius "Hope She Cheats On You (With A Basketball Player)" (Sony)

Some sugar to sweeten the pill. I couldn't find a place for this on the April mix (It didn't seem to fit anywhere). It's just a fine slice of poppy R&B from London's own Marsha Ambrosius, ex Floetry - and now with a debut solo album released earlier this month. No.2 in the US Billboard charts mind you - go girl!

Here is my Spotify mix of new music for April. Last month's was subdued and pensive for Spring. As an antidote - this mix is dark, brooding and chaotic - probably brought on by the current status of my respiratory system and consequent ill mood. My IT is now up and running in a makeshift fashion so I will try and get back to more regular posting.

(2011)DigitalTenderness-April on Spotify

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Song of the Day: Austra "Beat and The Pulse" (One Big Silence)

Apologies for the lack of posts. I spilt a glass of Spitfire oer m computer last weekend. It has onl just started working again. Onl problem is the "y" and "v" kes are not working.

Song of the Da: A nice piece of dark electro. This is Austra's debut single. Their album, "Feel It Break" will be out on Ma 16th.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

I'm not stopping. Just darting by to post the monthly spotify playlist. Previous two mixes also linked below, as I didn't bother to post them here at the time.

(2011)DigitalTenderness-March on Spotify

(2011)DigitalTenderness-February on Spotify
(2011)DigitalTenderness-January on Spotify

Song of the Day: Kozzie "Spartan (Remix)" (No Hats No Hoods)

As an antidote to the grime cheese of Chipmunk, Tinie & Tynchy. Hailing from Blue Borough (aka Lewisham), MC Kozzie's new single demonstrates how UK hip hop should sound. The album "Problem Started" out later in the year.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Song of the Day: Connan Mockasin "Forever Dolphin Love" (Because Music)

Frank Skinner played this on his morning show today. He said it was his favourite song at the moment. He has gone up in my estimation somewhat. Love the avant garde wig twitching in the video - along with The Irrepressables there seems to be a Dada Pop movement in the offing - I'm all for it. Dolphin Love indeed! The album of the same name is out on April 5th.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Album Review: Josh T. Pearson "Last Of The Country Gentleman" (Mute)

Well here it is. The recording that some of us have been waiting for for ten years. Before I start, let us get one thing absolutely straight - Josh T Pearson is a legend. Not because he is a maverick recluse who hangs out in Paris bars; and not because of his freakish hobo looks or his idiosyncratic relationship to the music industry. He is legend because of the music he released a decade ago as Lift to Experience. For many, myself included, Texas Jerusalem Crossroads is nothing less than a masterpiece - the perfectly formed musical vision of a cock-sure young son of a southern preacher. No-one, and I mean absolutely nobody in this whole world apart from Josh T Pearson could have produced a concept record about delivering the message of god through his band as a method of unleashing the prophesised day of judgement and revelations, and pull it off with such confidence and conviction. Now I am a card carrying member of the National Secular Society - but his vision on that album was delivered with so much poetry and musical invention that it astonished me at the time, and it still does. And so it came to pass that the harbinger of this musical prophecy was not the second coming at all. Like the rest of us, he turned out to be a troubled, romantic fool. Lift to Experience split in acrimony shortly after their first major tour, and Josh T Pearson was left roaming the world aimless and unable to find the will in him to deliver the next chapter in his story. Until now.

Musically, Last of the Country Gentleman is quite a departure. Instead of a sprawling musical symphony, we are treated to a minimal country folk approach. The voice and guitar is only occasionally broken up with orchestration. The effect is very intimate, though probably the most startling thing about these recordings is just how much Josh T Pearson's voice has changed over the years. In this I do not mean his physical tone but his voice persona. This is no longer the sound of a young man who thinks he can take on the whole world and heavens above; this story is fragile and damaged. "Don't cry for me baby, you'll learn to live without me. For I'm off to save the world, at least I can hope" - is the opening message of the album - and from that point on we are dragged down with him into a personal hell. His messianic tendencies are laid bare and explained in Sweetheart I Ain't Your Christ - "and when I said I'd give my life, I weren't talking suicide". This presents the backdrop to the album - which is essentially a raw and open account of broken love, specifically relating to his recent divorce. The following two tracks, Woman, When I've Raised Hell and Honeymono's Great! Wish You Were Her is the centre piece of the album. They describe the tragedy of male emotions that can literally run riot through a broken relationship; destructive - "Woman when I've raised hell, then your going to know it. Don't make me rule this house, with the back of my hand"; delusional - "Heaven knows that a man can't control his dreams"; and escapist - "Honestly, why can't you let me be, and let me quietly, drink myself to sleep". This is pretty harrowing stuff, and frankly, sometimes its difficult to know where to look. After the onslaught of these two tracks, Sorry with a Song is a failed attempt at an apology. "And I know it's all my fault, and the bloody marriage to the deep alcohol. I know it's sad to say but right now these shots keep me sane". And after the failed apology comes the failed excuse; Country Dumb comes across as a mythologised rational for the damage he has caused "I came from a long line in history of dreamers. Each one more tired than the one before".  The album ends with a cry for help "Can you help me drive her out of my mind. God damn it's driving me blind".

And this is the rub. It seems to me that Josh T Pearson is only ever going to release records when he has to. For the most part, he is perfectly happy entertaining small impromptu gatherings in cafes and bars - but right now he needs to talk, he needs us to listen and we are compelled to do so because yet again, he has given us a recording that is utterly convincing and completely unique. (10/10).

Song of the Day: Siriusmo "Einmal in der Woche schreien" (Monkeytown)

After a clutch of superb EPs, Berlin producer Moris Freidrich has finally delivered a good juicy long-player under his Siriusmo moniker for us to get stuck into. "Mosaik" was released last month and this fine track, which originally surface last year on the "The Plasterer of Love" EP, is a prime cut.

Song of the Day: Nathaniel Rateliff "Shroud" (Rounder)

A very lovely live acoustic version of 'Shroud' a track from Nathaniel Rateliff's debut album, 'In Memory of Loss' which is highly recommended.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Song of the Day: Forest Swords "Hoylake Misst" (No Pain In Pop)

Forest Swords (aka Matthew Barnes from the Wirral) has repackaged and remastered last years EP and a couple of singles. Call it what you want - 'drone-step', 'pyschedelic dub' - whatever.

Song of the day: tUnE-yArDs "Bizness" (4AD)

As a taster to the new album "w h o k i l l", released on 18th April - tUnE-YaRdS have thrown us a bone in the form of this excellent new piece of willfully messy groove. I can only describe the sound as 'afro spaz' (sorry). Free download here.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Album Review: Mutual Benefit "I Saw The Sea" (kassette klub)

Mutual Benefit, is Jordan Lee from Boston - plus a handful of occasional collaborators. He has stated that the project "actually started from me being incredibly sad". I would say that the overall mood of I Saw The Sea is that of existential meloncholy rather than sadness - this is not music to ruin your day. Instead it soundtracks those moments where you spend an inordinate amount of time examining the minutae of your surroundings. Subtle dalliances with detail and mood are intended to resonate with bigger themes. The subject of this recording is the sea and the six tracks on this mini-album provide a delicate interprentation of one of natures great forces. Jordan muses (or "celebrates") the sea's dissipation of all matter into sand, as warm sounds ebb and and flow like a siren wooing us to distruction. Pretty music, and very promising. This is Jordan's third EP and I eagerly await the real deal - perhaps an album later in the year? (8/10) (kassette klub) - I Saw The Sea - Mutual Benefit

Song of the day: Belong "Come See" (Kranky)

Belong are a duo sprung from New Orleans - but this ain't no Mardis Gras. Faint melodies permeate dark drones throughout their new album, "Common Ground" released in the UK next week.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Noughties #53: Lincoln "Mettle" (Narwhal, 2002)

This is the last record I expected to become an obscurity. I would have had money on Lincoln, from North London, to go from strength to strength after this outstandingly confident debut album. Stewart Lee gave a positive live review of a London gig for the Sunday Times, now, Mettle doesn't even have a review on allmusic - and the band have disappeared without trace. Their music is alt-country influenced, but with an idiosyncratic british New Wave sensibility - not dissimilar to Lambchop. Alex Gordon's vocals are pure honey, and oh my god - TROMBONES! I had tickets to go and see them play at the Royal Festival Hall, but had to give them away due to other commitments - one of my greatest music regrets. - my reasons are my own/great wall of china - blood on the streets - common ground

Noughties #54: Dizzee Rascal "Boy In Da Corner" (XL, 2004)

Talented skinny kid brought up by his single-parent Ghanaian mother on a council estate in Bow, East London. Dylan Mills could have easily become a victim of gang culture, but instead, through his Dizzee Rascal moniker, he has gone on to be a hero, and one of the biggest selling artists in the UK. This is where it started - an album that burst out of the grime scene with vibrance, vulnaribility, and above all, urgent originality. Not sure why this album isn't higher in the list - there must be some filler in here somewhere - perhaps my scoring system was flawed afterall! rascal - i luv u rascal - fix up look sharp rascal - do it

Noughties #55: Frightened Rabbit "Midnight Organ Fight" (Fat Cat, 2008)

Scotland has a great track record of producing stalwarts of the indie anthem, and Frightened Rabbit have been custodians of this set-piece for the last few years. In a genre that is more traditionally uplifting, if in a morosse fashion, Frightened Rabbit buck the trend on this album with simple but brilliantly cynical storytelling. " just a Spanish boy's name. How come one man get so much fame?" ("Heads Roll Off"). rabbit - modern leper (live) rabbit - the twist rabbit - heads roll off

Song of the day: Little Fish "Heroin Dance"

This is JuJu from Little Fish, performing an amazing live acoustic version of the track "Heroin Dance" from the debut album, Baffled and the Beat which was released last month. Damn, she's got great pipes.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Song of the day: S. Carey "In the Dirt"

A fine cut from the debut album of S.Carey, aka the drummer from Bon Iver, released this week.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Song of the day: Eddy Current Supression Ring "Rush to Relax"

Australia's Eddy Current Supression Ring are fast becoming my garage rock band of choice. This is the title cut off their excellent new album, "Rush to Relax".

Monday, 5 April 2010

Song of the day: Pantha Du Prince "Stick to My Side"

Just some crunchy, earthy electronica to get me through the day. From Pantha Du Prince's "Black Noise" album.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Song of the day: Fang Island "Daisy"

Another uplifting track with a smile out loud video to match. While you're at it, go to youtube and check out the gig they filmed at the Kindergarten school!  I don't remember rocking out so hard when I was at primary school, though I do recall banging the glockenspiel with great fury along to "Kingston Market".

Friday, 2 April 2010

Song of the day: Jónsi "Boy Lilikoi"

As I'm too busy at the moment to update with the albums of the month for March (I'll catch up with this later at some point), I am going to content myself with posting a song a day instead.

First off is this uplifting single from Jónsi Birgisson (of Sigur Rós) - who's new album, "Go", released this month is already helping to lift my post-winter "where the hell is spring?" gloom.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

AM Laboratory: ToneMatrix

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, thank goodness for boffins. Andre Michelle is one such person. He and ilk make our dreary lives worth living.

This is a great website for geeky sound experiments. It is just getting easier and easier to make music these days - and ToneMatrix is simply beautiful.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Monthly round-up: February 2010

February - the shortest month of the year - derived from Februa, the Roman festival of purification. I have been drinking plenty of water, and eating fruit. Admittedly some of the water and fruit I have consumed has been mixed together, and left in bottles for a while in dark places before it reached me. Such is life.

ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Oh No Ono, from Aalborg are Denmark. Eggs is their second album, and first to be released and promoted outside of the safety of their homeland. The album is an excercise in mimicry. As you listen to these ten tracks, it is very easy to pick out, not only genre influences, but specific bands. For example, Eleanor Speaks begins as The Telescopes, veers towards The Flaming Lips, then Mike Oldfield. The Wave Ballet starts out as the best track MGMT have never released, before ending up as an ELO wig-out. Elsewhere we find Roxy Music, Owen Pallet, Arcade Fire, The Wannadies, The Kinks, Pink Floyd, and of course, The Beatles. Throughout, we are treated to fantastically detailed production. Idiosyncratic sounds permeate this record, the gentle noise of a coin spinning then dropping, wind swept landscapes, distant fog horns and full rich orchestration. George Martin's influence is clearly at hand, and the musical variation throughout feels very much in the Sergeant Pepper mould. Though perhaps the mould has been melted with a bic lighter until it resembles an octopus. It's an oddly composed and frighteningly consistent record, but the final reckoning is that of a joyous collection of weird, and truly wonderful pop songs. (9/10) (Leaf) no ono - internet warrior no ono - icicles no ono - the wave ballet

COMPILATION OF THE MONTH: The best compilations are compiled by music obsessives with better record collections than the rest of us. Minimal Waves Tapes Vol.1 is a perfect example. Stones Throw is fast becoming the avant-electronica label of the moment, and this set of obscure eighties european synthpop and cold wave experiments is like Genesis - the book, not the band. These gems have been expertly placed by New York scenester empresario, Veronica Vasicka (pictured left). I love this stuff, and she has kindly introduced me to music I was hitherto unaware of. I will be sending out my deep sea trawlers to excavate more of the same. (9/10) (Stones Throw). course in science - flying turns dupont - just because somnambulist - things i was due to forget

SINGLE OF THE MONTH: It's Liars turn to try and coax us into buying their new album, Sisterworld, which finally materialises in March. The first cut off the record, Scissor, demonstrates again that this band has an uncanny ability to develop their sound with each release. Still more focus, still more structure, still more depth and still darker. There's nothing like an unhinged little ditty about murdering your lover to get the party swinging. The unliteral video for the single is also rather good. (8/10) (Mute) - scissor


Black Noise is German producer Henrik Weber's third full length release under the moniker of Pantha Du Prince. The album rings with warm techno and is full of worldly atmosphere, present in the use of ethnically diverse samples (mainly chimes!). The overall effect is rather like listening to the soundtrack of a cutting edge National Geographic documentary. Luckily, this tactic is restrained enough to stop well short of the dreaded new age category of musical definition. (7/10) (Rough Trade). du prince - stick to my side

Austin's Strange Boys emulate the tight schedule of the sixties bands they worship by releasing their second album in under a year. Unsurprisingly, this short space of time has prevented them from wandering too far from the sound marker they left with their debut. Be Brave provides us with more authentic, raw psychedlic garage delivered softly with charm and humour. (7/10) (In The Red). boys - be brave

Whoever told me that the Brewis brothers were no longer recording together as Field Music clearly had their pants on fire at the time. Lo and behold, we have been treated to a double helping of new material in the form of their third album proper, Field Music (Measure). This is definitely Field Music as we know it - though perhaps a little more stripped down than before. Sadly there are no 'In Context'  moments on the album, the track that stole the show last time around - but the experimental XTC influenced noodlings are enough to keep this listener relatively happy, for now. (7/10) (Memphis Industries). music - them that do nothing 

XL's main mai Richard Russell nurtured this project whilst Gil Scott-Heron was still serving time in New York State Prison for cocaine possession. Gil is a man not known for his reliability, and the sessions that make up I'm New Here were spread out over a two year period. Russell provides the haunting urban production, and Gil wrestles with the same poignant political poetry that gave birth to his career forty years ago. Except this time he is talking about himself and the car-wreck that has become his life. Incredibly powerful stuff, though I am very sorry to say that this has all the trappings of a swan song. I sincerely hope I am wrong. (8/10) (XL Recordings) scott-heron - new york is killing me

Minneapolis's Clipd Beaks specialise in drone like gothic art-rock. To Realize, their third album, is reminiscent of Liars at their most subdued. The trick is in the layering, with every strata beautifully building up into cacophony, then parring back to trance then building up again. They have created a very natural sound which brings rewards for repeated listening. (8/10). (Lovepump United). beaks - visions

The mash-up is one of the many end-products of producers attempts to find new ways for us to consume music. Tim Caruana is of the current batch of fine exponents of this great art form. It didn't have to be this man that stumbled across the inevitable marriage of The Beatles and Wu Tang Clan, but fate decided it would be him. Enter The Magical Mystery Chambers will give you a sideways smile from the top of one eyebrow to the opposite dimple which will remain fixed for the duration of the record plus one hour. You won't be able to exchange your hard earnt cash for it though, as McCartney's lawyers have already been on the case, and it has been removed from the labels catalogue. If you want to hear it, I'm sure you'll find a way (7/10) (Tea Sea Records) caruana - wu tang vs the beartles - mighty healthy

Yeasayer release their second album, Odd Blood as great hopes, rather than promising newcomers. They have taken on this duty by bringing a healthy dose of eighties new wave pop to the established world folk fusion that made up their debut. At somepoint somewhere, somebody in the band must have said out loud, "What we really need to do with this, is sound a little more like Talk Talk", and eveyone else chimed "Eureka! Give that man a prize". (7/10) (Secretly Canadian). - ambling alp  

This one actually came out in the middle of January, but I missed it (I can't check everything!) and it's too good to leave out. Shlohmo is a 19 year-old  producerling from LA. Shlomoshun Deluxe, his debut full lenth release, combines matieral from an EP released last year with new tracks. It is simple experimental techno of the squelchiest kind. This is what insects listen to on their ipods. (8/10) (FoF Music). - hot boxing the cockpit

Midlake have finally returned with the follow-up to their 2006 album,  The Trials of Van Occupanther. The Courage of Others has been a great dissapointment to many, as it just doesn't bristle with the same array of crunchy goodness of their past glory. However, I can report that it is a slow burner. The songs are certainly simple and subtler, like the English folk bands of the sixties that they pay homage to, but there is nothing wrong them. We just have to get over the fact that Midlake haven't given us another Van Occupanther this time around. Maybe next time, ay. (7/10) (Bella Union) - the courage of others

Georgia Anne Muldrow produces the type of R&B that I can handle. Be-bop influenced dischordancies, made crisp with up-to-date production and enough experimentation thrown into the pot to make her stand out from the crowd. She is also prolific - King's Ballad is her fifth album in five years, and she has also found time to produce music for others, such as Erykah Badu. The title track is a heartfelt tribute to Michael Jackson. (8/10) (Ubiquity). anne muldrow - king's ballad

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