-- if you don't like music(k), we don't like you --

Thursday, 30 April 2009

The XXits are here, here and here

We were meant to do something on The XX ages ago when we first got sent the single ("stole the single"). But what happened was we listened to it but thought it was all a bit 'meh'. Nice and that, but a bit slow and it didn't grab us by the ears and give us a snog with tongues so we set it down and forgot about it. Then we started to read stuff about them, felt a bit jealous, listened to it some more and realised what fools we'd been.

The band are all incredibly young (19 to be specific) and hail from, er, Putney. They all share an obsession with American R'n'B, with singer Oliver (he of the amazing quiff/flat top) claiming to be influenced by the sounds of Aaliyah, Ginuwine and Mariah Carey. Don't expect any Timbaland-esque beats or booty shakin' in the video (in fact they barely move their mouths let alone their asses), but the influence is there somewhere.

Here's 'Crystalised':

Hypnotic isn't it? Their next single is a cover of 'Barbie Girl' by Aqua...

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Lovely set of lungs


Florence & The Machine has been on the receiving end of a bit of backlash of late. One website in particular decided it was a good idea to publish a preview of her debut album, Lungs, after one listen (to only part of the album) on crap speakers. We'll wait to hear the album in full on super-surround-sound speakers before we make up our minds if it's all the same to you.

You can hear her new single, Rabbit Heart, by venturing over to here and listening to Monday night's Steve Lemacq's show (it's on after about 25 minutes). If this all seems a bit of a hassle then don't bother, just wait until it's on youtube or, you know, the radio. We've heard it and these words sprang to mind; lush, epic, bit overblown (in a good way), grower, twinkly, pasta...the latter because it was dinner time when we heard it.

Proper journalism.

Monday, 27 April 2009

New Musick Monday

Culturally, this is pretty significant now, this feature. Tastemakers are tuning in, scoping out the next big things, loading up their iPods with songs based on what we're saying right here. It's big, it's influential, it's all in our minds.


True Romance by Golden Silvers

Warning, this album doesn't have any guitars on it! I know, madness. What it does have is lashings of keyboards, some skewed time signatures, a charismatic frontman and a stone cold classic in the shape of this.


'Love You Better' by The Maccabees

This is just a really lovely song. It's a man ballad. Lots of shimmering guitars, pained vocals, paranoid tension and no release, and the fact it sounds slightly like an Arcade Fire song is OK because it's not actually an Arcade Fire song. You get me?


'Music' For The People by The Enemy

We all know this album is going to go down in recent history as the defining moment in music. It's almost pointless talking about it's qualities so let's ignore them and get about re-designing the cover, which, lets be honest is a bit :-( Email us your re-designs to mcragg@hotmail.com. The winner gets a chocolate bar of their choice, signed by the band.

Little hands

As you well know by now, Little Boots has a new single out, the electro-glam stomp, 'New In Town'. It now has it's own visual accompaniment in the form of this odd video, which seems to show three things; homelessness, drug dealing and sex through the prism of choreography.

We've heard the album, Hands, and it's BIG POP. The NME seem to see this as a bit of a bad thing, but despite what the above video seems to suggest, she's never been 'arty' or 'difficult', it's always been about catchy hooks and big choruses. One song, 'Remedy', should basically be this years British Eurovision Entry. Other highlights include 'Earthquake', 'Meddle' and the Phil Oakey duet, 'Symmetry'.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

YYYs at SBE like WOW

Last night Musick was invited to watch Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Shepherd's Bush Empire. When we say 'invited' we mean we handed over £20 and were then handed some tickets and asked to turn up at a certain time. The whole thing was pretty unbelievable. There was a ticker tape explosion, an inflatable eyeball, Karen O in a corset, Nick Zinner's hair and 'all the hits' ('Pin', 'Zero', 'Y Control', 'Maps', 'Gold Lion', etc.).

Karen O arrived wearing this:

There's a clearer photo here

It's basically an all-in-one shorts ensemble with a corset, some rope and a pink headdress that lights up. But please don't take our word for it (we are merely novices), no, please take note of what Trinny & Susannah had to say when we saw them earlier:

Musick: Hi Trinny & Susannah

Trinny: Hi...no Susannah, not now

Musick: Everything OK? Can you look at this picture of Karen O? What do you think of her outfit?

Trinny: Wow, I mean, is she a man or a woman? It does absolutely nothing for her figure whatsoever. She needs to add some statement jewellery, maybe a long cardigan and some wedges. Also, everyone knows vertical lines are so last season...look Susannah, just stop it OK!

Musick: What's happening?

Susannah: Touch my tits...go on, touch them...just grab one, cup it, squeeze it...can I squeeze yours?

Musick: Er, thanks ladies.

EDIT: We forgot to mention that when we were there we saw an elderly couple sat up on the balcony with their fingers in their ears and grimaces on their faces throughout the show, who may or may not have been Karen O's mum and dad! Bless.

Gossip girl

I'm guessing not many people predicted that Beth Ditto would go from being the frontwoman of the Gossip - three albums released, minimal success, then get song on Skins, song becomes bit of an albatross - to being interviewed on Jonathan Ross' TV show, presenting the Friday Night Project and becoming the face of Paris fashion week. Such is her magnetic personality, people can't help but fall a bit in love with her. Recently though, there's been a bit of a backlash - journalists have been mumbling about her ubiquity, her size, that appalling collaboration with Mika at the Brits, the way magazine editors use her to represent ALL big women.

Now seems a good time for her (and the other two) to return with some new music. Luckily, Music For Men, produced by Rick Rubin, will be released in June and this is the first single, 'Heavy Cross':

It's good no? Not sure it will have the impact of 'Standing In The Way Of Control' but it's got that same energy and Rubin hasn't completely polished off the edges. We like how the chorus is basically "Ah, ah, ah, ah, oh, woah, e-yeah-o, e-yeah-o". It's time to stop the backlash and fall a bit in love with her again.

This will help too. Amazing.

Roux you looking at?

We just missed the chart rundown so this information may not be correct, but at one point this week La Roux was on course to be number 1 with her second single, 'In For The Kill'. Not bad for a song that was ignored by Radio 1 upon it's release and was only put on their playlist after it entered the top 10. Another shining example of Radio 1 being at the 'forefront of new music'. It's especially mind boggling seeing as La Roux finished in the top 5 of their Sound of 2009 poll thingy.

Anyway, 'In For The Kill' is evidence that good songs can still chart well simply off the back of being good songs and that word of mouth is still a strong marketing tool (all those magazine and broadsheet articles probably helped a bit). 'Bulletproof' is the next single taken from their debut album (released in June) and can be heard right here in its finished form.

Vocally it's all a bit calmer than 'In For The Kill', which has had some music blogs up in arms, with words like 'Marmite' being banded around. We're not sure what this means. We can only assume that La Roux, like us, is allergic to the evil stuff. 'Bulletproof' is another sleek, hook-laden, 80s-referencing pop ditty that should set things up nicely for the album.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Oh, the Horror(s)

been going head over black as night heels for The Horrors and their imminent second album, Primary Colours. Musick has yet to receive their promo copy from XL but we can only imagine that was some terrible administrative error and that some poor work experience person has since been garroted, filleted and fried. We want them to know they're forgiven (by the by, EVERYONE else seems to have got their copy. Even my Mum got one from her friend Barbara from the market who stole hers from Uncle Fred the 'babysitter').

Anyway, we are not here to merely encourage free CDs be sent out, but rather to promote good music. This is definitely good music. The video is also rather nice too, which, as ever, is a bonus.

Being 'cool' is essentially meaningless of course, but they are, aren't they? Better then this pile of steaming excrement anyways...

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Sonic boom

Sonic Youth are one of the best bands of all time. Goo is one of our favourite albums of all time. So, when Sonic Youth decide to release a new album of music we get a little excited, we excrete liquid from all our pores and we wait patiently for the results. 'Sacred Trickster' is the first such result to emerge from The Eternal (the swirling artwork to which you can see below), and it's a bruised, guitar-heavy, frenetic sounding monster with Kim Gordon on vocals. It's everything you want a Sonic Youth song to be basically (that could mean a lot of different things, ignore that).

The band will be playing one of those one-off, low-key, limited ticket gigs that only industry bastards get to go to tomorrow at the Scala. Those ones that we, in principal, greatly disagree with, but in reality if someone were to give us a ticket we'd shit ourselves with glee.

Clipse round the ear

Fears have been growing for Kanye West of late. First, there's the monumental ego that has gone from faintly ridiculous to off the scale annoying. Then he decided to stop rapping and sing through what sounded like a plastic tube. This month South Park lampooned him in an episode about gay fish (!?), which he initially applauded for showing him the error of his (arrogant) ways, and then retracted that comment and ended up back where he started.

But, when he's not designing trainers or updating his blog, he's got a knack of showing up on some pretty amazing music. Clipse have been mentioned here before, and the majority of you might know them from 'Like I Love You', Justin Timberlake's debut single. Well, they're back with this, the aptly titled 'Kinda Like A Big Deal', with Kanye delivering a typically modest verse.

It's the first single taken from Clipse's third album, Till The Casket Drops and is produced by DJ Khalil. I believe the phrase you're looking for is "off the hook".

New Musick Tuesday

Those with an eye for detail will note we're a day late with this award-winning feature. Basically, after listening to that new single by The Enemy on Sunday, we were plunged into a dark depression that needed therapy, alcohol and some tablets to recover from. Plus, we went to see Bonnie "Prince" Billy and it was really late by the time we got home.


The Snake by Wildbirds & Peacedrums

A male-female duo who aren't The White Stripes or Fiery Furnaces, but are married like the former were and who make idiosyncratic, extended freak-outs like the latter. The Snake is odd, a bit of a challenge but well worth it in the end. Much like the film Mean Girls.


'Angela' by Jarvis Cocker

This is the first taster from Cocker's forthcoming second solo album, Further Complications. You can download it for free form here. Recorded by Steve Albini, it's got fuzzy guitars, hand-claps and is about a lady called Angela. We knew a girl called Angela once - she used to let her dog dry hump her leg.


Sounds of the Universe by Depeche Mode

We've always been a fan of Basildon's finest, but even we've noticed a drop in their standards of late. New single 'Wrong' sounded like a return to form and there are certainly some dark pop gems on this their 400th album.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Know Your Enemy

Musick has been contacted again by The Enemy re. our little suggestion of a make over (see below pic for the surprising results). It seems they thought we were taking the piss out of them and their attempt to represent 'Broken Britain' TM in musical form. We're not sure how they came to this conclusion.

The Enemy make music that speaks to us all; be it through the imagery of the lyrics ("oh woah, woah, woah, woah, away from here"), the sheer power of their playing or their lack of image or pretension (black clothes = realness). In these increasingly hard times - youth crime, unemployment, homelessness, etc - we don't need music or art to be an escape or for these serious issues to be tackled with wit or intelligence, we need ham-fisted slogans and obvious bandwagon jumping. The Enemy - and other bands that fit the genre we have lovingly termed 'crimewatch indie' - can provide all these things and more.

This is their new single, 'No Time For Tears', complete with a socio-political music video featuring the band in a perspex box being attacked by some errant young people, usually in hoodies:

This might, genuinely, be one of the worst pieces of 'music' ever to have been played into our ears. But, they are band for our times, and we get what we deserve.

Robot love

If Musick were a dog it would be a pedigree, obviously, but it would also be like one with a bone. But only if bones were actually songs (metaphor fail). Basically, Royksopp's 'The Girl And The Robot' is one of the best pop singles we've heard in recent years, probably since 'With Every Heartbeat', which also featured the vocal talents of the incredibly amazing Robyn.

Last Saturday Musick were guests of honour at the Ether Festival where we sat pride of place (well, 11 rows back) during Royksopp's headline set (Fever Ray supported, but in reality she actually wiped the floor with the main act. She also terrified us to the point where we curled into the foetal position and started sucking our thumbs). Anywho, Robyn strolled out to perform this song that night and the place went all kinds of mental, and though this performance isn't from that night, it's still pretty fine.

There's still no sign of the official video but once that's done expect to see it here. As we said, a dog with a (musical) bone.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Use anybody

You know Kings Of Leon, right? Well, we're not saying their shit, yeah, but we really liked them before, when they had more hair and spent their nights shagging supermodels and not learning chords from U2 songs.

It seems everyone likes them now. Not that this is inherently a bad thing - we hate it when people start disliking bands simply because they, you know, sell records and earn some money - but they've gained their new fan base by diluting their sound, tidying up the production and sucking out all the character. Need proof? This is Nickelback (yes, NICKELBACK!) covering their recent hit, 'Use Somebody'.

It's not a huge leap between the original and this - it could actually be a Nickelback song. Thankfully, Bat For Lashes has a go at it and turns into something quite lovely.

Then Friendly Fires come along and funk it up.

Who would you like to see cover 'Use Somebody' next? Martika? Terence Trent D'arby? Coolio? Roachford? Vote now by pressing your red button.

Guess who's back

Three clues:

1). This act is part of recent hip hop legend
2). Fond of innuendo
3). Basically helped erase all thoughts of Vanilla Ice

Yep it's...Blazin' Squad. Oh, not who you were expecting? Is there another rap act more sorely missed then Kenzie, Jaguar, Hunter, Rhino and F-Bomb, aka, the Squad? That was a rhetorical question.

It's been too long since they burst onto the scene, telling us all to 'flip reverse it' (aka bum sex) and then acrimoniously going their separate ways. Kenzie went on to form One Tree Hill or One True Voice or something and slagged off the others claiming they would all go back to, you know, real life.

'Real life' couldn't handle them, so here they are, back again, ready to shine amongst the big comebacks of the past few years; Take That, Blur, er, New Kids and now...

Still, it's better then the new Eminem track, right?

Monday, 13 April 2009

Saint right, but it's OK

St Vincent is known to her family, friends and the US tax office as Annie Clark. She has previously worked with Sufjan Stevens and The Polyphonic Spree, and is about to release her second album, Actor.

Her first, Marry Me, was a bit hit and miss, but Actor is spot on, all chugging guitars, restless time signatures and that sweet croon. This is a video she has made for the song 'Actor Out of Work' and it features some out of work actors auditioning. Although, they're clearly not out of work because they're in a St Vincent video. It's metafiction people, but not as we know it.

Cry damn it, cry!

New Musick (Bank Holiday) Monday

This extended weekend is about Jesus, not music. Hence this shortened version of everyone's favourite weekly music update. Can we just point out that since La Roux featured a few weeks ago their single has risen to number 4. Coincidence? Yes.


Dark Days/Light Years by Super Furry Animals

OK, so we haven't heard all of this album yet, but given this Welsh beat combo are one of the most consistent bands around we're guessing it's at least 'very good'. The album features the guitarist from Franz Ferdinand rapping in German on a song about trams...HELLO! Go and buy this now.


'Better Off As Two' by FrankMusik

BIG pop song from the eternally 'about to be huge' FrankMusik, that we mentioned here. Co-produced by Stuart Price, this song has all the plinky-plonky electro nuggets that are de rigueur, plus his voice is laced with emotion and not robotic like some people we could mention. Erm, none spring to mind actually.

Apropos of nothing

Great song. Good remix. Is it time for an irony-free reappraisal of this lost Kris Kross classic? Let's hope not. For now, let's enjoy the memories.

Oh, and why don't more rappers wear their clothes the wrong way round? You call yourself a fashion icon Kanye? Tut.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Scientific reviews alert!

There have been three albums taking up space on our office stereo this past week. They are Yeah Yeah Yeahs' It's Blitz!, the self-titled debut by Fever Ray and the brand new Patrick Wolf album, The Bachelor. The latter isn't out until June but we EXCLUSIVELY got our hands on a promo copy. We were at a party, drinks were drunk, drugs were, er, drugged and we met some people who know some people. (OK, we found it in a box marked FREE CDS on the floor in an office).

We wanted to somehow reflect the way albums can grow on you, or, alternatively, the way you can start by loving an album and then slowly go off it. We slaved over this for all of ten minutes:

God, it's a bit small. Er, sorry, not sure how Paint works!

Anyway, as you can see the Fever Ray album is a bit of a grower, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs one sounded a bit better at the start and The Bachelor dipped and then rose again. All in all, it's an 8/10.

A letter

Dear Mr President Barack Obama Sir,

We all know you can do great things. You have given hope to a nation, to the world, to the people. You have endured Silvio Berlusconi's almighty grin, Gordon Brown's annoying habit of leaving his mouth open at the end of every sentence as if catching flies, and you've stopped the impending Nuclear war. All of these things must have taken super-human powers, so thank you.

But is there any chance you could have a word with your rap artists? We feel that perhaps this auto-tune thing has gone too far. We understand that Daft Punk are a very good French dance act and, yes, it did add extra kudos that Kanye West sampled them a few years ago, but we can't help but feel it's all got a bit turgid. We ask Mr Obama that you urge Kanye West, Lil Wayne, T-Pain, and numerous others to stop and think before they put any effects on their vocals. Also, adding some synths onto the beat does not a quality tune make.

I direct your attention to the following, the new single by Black Eyed Peas entitled 'Boom Boom Pow'. Mr Obama, it pains us to say that this song is currently number 1 in your great land.

Our deepest condolences,


Annie old iron

For the two long-term Musick fans, Annie will be a name that carries only a whiff of familiarity. We mentioned before that her second album, Don't Stop, had been pushed back to October 2008 following some problems with her label. Well, the album never surfaced, Annie parted company with her employers, the songs have mostly been scrapped and it was all quite sad.

But fear not Nordic pop fans! Annie is back with this delicious slice of Italian disco*, entitled 'Anthonio':

It's about a holiday romance. This helpful video allows you to sing along. All together now, "was I ever more than just a face in the crowd?"

Hopefully a new album will be out later this year and will feature production from Richard X, Paul Epworth and perhaps some Xenomania tracks, depending on what Annie can wrestle from her old label.

* OK, she's Norwegian, but apparently 'Italian Disco' is a genre now. We don't make the rules.

Monday, 6 April 2009

All we hear is...

Lady GaGa.

The woman is everywhere. Number 1 single, number 1 album and number 1 on the chart of pop stars least likely to wear trousers (hey, it exists). Now she's inspiring a whole new level of misogyny in a genre that loves it like a fat kid loves cake.

Kid Cudi, Kanye West and Common have all collaborated on a song lovingly entitled 'I Poke Her Face', which samples a loop of GaGa singing 'Poker Face' live. Do you see what they've done? These guys are rapping about oral sex, like poking it in her face. Probably while she's drunk! Ha ha, you guys.

Here it is:

"Get up on this conscious dick". Oh, Common, you charmer you.

The best bit is where the rapping stops and the original hook is left to glide over some scratching and that incessant beat.

It makes you yearn for the original, which can't be the point:

Well, not the 'original', but at least this bizarre American Idol performance.

New Musick Monday

Who thought we wouldn't keep this feature going? OK, hands up who wishes it would die a painful death? Hands down. Right, it's not going anywhere and you better get used to it!


It's Blitz by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Hasn't this already come out? Well, yes, but you can buy it on CD now, whereas before it was only available on iTunes (or illegally of course). But when you say 'buy this' you're implying that to download something is in some way not buying it? OK, but you know what I mean. Well, it's flawed isn't it? OK, how do we turn this internal monologue thing off?!


'Vulture' by Patrick Wolf

It's growing on us. Perhaps it's all that S&M in the video. Either way, Patrick Wolf's first single from the imminent The Bachelor album is a ferocious, clattering three and half minutes of latex, handcuffs and feather dusters. Ahem.


Two Suns by Bat For Lashes

Ignore all the mysticism, the cod-spirituality and the gnawing desire to scream "You used to be a primary school teacher, put the trinkets back in the box". Two Suns is full of catchy, melodic pop songs that work just as well away from all the hocus pocus.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Get on your boots

We've mentioned Little Boots before but we're not linking to it because it seems a bit pointless given the fact she's appeared on every blog, in every magazine and every broadsheet for the past few months. In fact, this blog entry is utterly superfluous, so apologies in advance.

Given all the hoopla surrounding Little Boots, it's worth mentioning that 'New In Town' is her first official release. Thanks to the joys of twitter we now know that her debut album is finished, that it should feature a lot of Greg Kurstin productions and perhaps a smattering of Max Martin. 'New In Town' is a Goldfrapp-esque electropop stomp that's slightly slower then the stuff we've heard so far. Perhaps not an obvious single choice at first, it soon reveals itself to be as catchy as an STD at an under-18s foam party.


Expect there to be a lot of official remixes for this song when it's released in May.

Better late than never

As you can see from the post below, we like to keep our fingers on the pulse, to bring you, the reader, all the news on the latest bands. But, we have a confession to make. The Maccabees completely passed us by with their debut album Colour It In. We read about them, sure, but did we hear a note? No. Collectively, we hang our heads in shame.

Luckily, the band have given us a second chance and will be releasing a follow-up album, entitled Wall of Arms, on May 4th. The album was produced by Markus Dravs, who has worked with Bjork (yay!), Coldplay (boo!) and Arcade Fire (meh). It's the latter whose influence is most telling, not least because singer Orlando Weeks sounds unerringly like Win Butler. Luckily, they don't seem to be burdened by the 'look at me/don't look at me' dichotomy that makes Arcade Fire such utter bores.

This is the first single, 'Love You Better'.

Very nice video. There's another one for the album track 'No Kind Words' but it stars Matthew Horne and Lord knows his ubiquity needs curtailing. His visage will be decidedly absent on this blog.

Recession face part 2

It was a sad day at the Musick office when we heard that Leon Jackson had been dropped by his record label after only one album and three singles. We can't help but feel that he wasn't really given the chance to grow as an artist and that the label expected too much too soon. It's not as if he'd been exposed to an average of 8million viewers every week for Christ's sake.

Then, just as we were drying our eyes and mentally re-grouping, Same Difference go and get the old heave ho too leaving us to plunge further into a deep depression. In fact, it's a place we've not been to since Gareth Gates and the Jordan fiasco, or since Alex Parks ditched music for the quiet life.

But fear not! If there's one thing our plucky threesome have learnt in their brief careers it's never to give up. OK, so Jackson always seems to have a hang-dog expression, as if someone just shat in his lemonade, but with Same Difference around no frown is left, erm, not turned upside down. With that in mind, the three of them have decided to embark on a tour together, which is nothing if not optimistic.

We have christened it the 'Closing the stable door after the horse has bolted' Tour 2009. Next year, Eoghan Quigg and JLS will be touring leisure centres together.

Tickets for all the dates are still available. Rumours that the tour is to be sponsored by Woolworths were unconfirmed at time of writing.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

It's April you fools

We always assumed Kasabian were a fairly humourless bunch. This song - released to coincide with April Fools - is proof that they know how to take the piss and make people laugh. The problem of course, as with all April Fools pranks, is that it's so bloody obvious. I mean, no self respecting human being can sing about "diamond teeth", "snake skin shoes" and "heartless girls hung in elevators" without a nudge and a wink.

'Vlad The Impaler' Ha ha ha. You crazy guys. Seriously though, you didn't think we'd fall for it did you?

Massive Fail!

We thought now would be good time to give you an update on two albums we've recently mentioned. One by Au Revoir Simone and one by Eels. Unfortunately, youtube let us down, so rather than two perfectly sized videos for you to watch while listening to the new songs, all we can offer is a couple of links.

First up is 'Knight of Wands' by Au Revoir Simone. It's not the lead single, in fact it's described by the NME as the 'fourth track' on the album. Mmm. It's rather lovely of course and you can download it for FREE from here.

Now, then. Eels. The first single from their new album is called 'Fresh Blood'. When we searched for it on youtube we were met with this monstrosity:

Not what we had in mind. If you'd prefer to hear the actual song, then please click here.