Right, is this some kind of pathological disorder we're dealing with here? Do you want to make us track down each and every one of you (yes, all twenty!) and talk sternly at you for ten minutes? For fucks sake, what's going on? How can a song as instantly catchy and indescribably amazing as 'Better Than Love' by Hurts enter the charts at number 50? How? It defies belief. Sure, Villagers missed out too and the chances of Sleigh Bells denting the charts was up there with Susan Boyle's next covers album featuring a cover of Aphex Twin's 'Windowlicker', but Hurts! Seriously, come on. We should put an end to all this, but we love you and we forgive you.
Gemini by Wild Nothing
Chillwave or Dream Pop or Summer-sounding Songs With Fey Boys Singing Them is big business right now. Well, when we say 'big business' we mean it sells very little but it generates a lot of press. Wild Nothing, aka Jack Tatum, has been lumped in with the rest of them and for the most part it's a fair comparison, but there's something a bit more '80s indie about him then, say, Toro Y Moi. Gemini is his debut album and it features the stone-cold amazing, 'Summer Holiday', a cover of the Cliff Richard single...KIDDING. It's not as good as that. The rest of the album doesn't quite live up to it, but it's a slow week and we're running out of energy, so just buy it, yeah.
IT'S A REALLY QUIET WEEK, SO MAYBE JUST LISTEN TO AN OLD ALBUM
'Five Trees (The Horrors Remix)' by Chapel Club
The original version is fine too, but a bit too Editors-esque for our liking. The Horrors remix adds some nice keyboard effects, puts some distortion on the vocals and generally makes it all sound less Editors-esque. We're not sure if this version is available to buy but if not you could either listen here or buy the original and play it simultaneously with something off Primary Colours and you'd get the idea.
Who doesn't enjoy a good scrap? Well, there's a bit of a humdinger taking place at the moment between the never-knowingly subtle M.I.A and New York Times journalist Lynn Hirschberg. Basically, the New York Times magazine ran a fairly scathing 8,000 word piece on M.I.A in which Hirschberg repeatedly framed the Sri Lankan-born rapper as some massive hypocrite. This reached it's zenith with an extended paragraph in which M.I.A describes the injustice of the world whilst ordering some fancy Truffle-flavoured chips (Trufflegate as it has now become known online). M.I.A initially retaliated by posting the journalist's phone number on Twitter, which she wasn't too happy about, obviously.
Well, M.I.A has since posted recordings from the interview which show Hirschberg ordering the chips, not M.I.A (LIKE THAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING HERE!). To be fair to the singer, she does acknowledge this fact and also posts other recordings and links to previous New York Times pieces. The best thing to come out of all this, however, is a brand new track that sees M.I.A spitting fire in Hirschberg's direction. 'I'm A Singer (Haters)' is a brilliant drip-feed electro monster that rides a massive sample of Various Productions' 'Hater'. In the song, M.I.A mentions how journalists shouldn't be thick as shit, goes on a bit about politics ("Lies equals power equals politics") and also seems to refer to Hirschberg as "racist". This could run and run.
Apparently this is the first single from Kanye West's fifth album, Good Ass Job. After all the hullabaloo about him 'violating' Taylor Swift's right to freedom of speech, it's nice to have him back doing what he does best.
This is 'Power' featuring Dwele:
This probably won't be online for long so get your ear holes around it NOW.
This here is the video for Rihanna's new single (in the US), 'Rockstar 101'.
Rumour has it that her label have already got Rihanna working hard on a 'poppier' follow-up to last year's Rated R, a record that showcased her harder edge (i.e. she wore black a lot and talked a bit about shooting people). In all honesty, this campaign has at least given Rihanna a bit of an edge when a lot of other pop stars have faded into the background like some fairly pleasant wallpaper. Either way, Slash looks hot in this video, right?
We've always had a slight problem with Arcade Fire. Sure, Funeral had its moments and some of Neon Bible was OK, but the general fawning of critics mixed with THE VERY SERIOUS expressions the band seem to wear at all times made them slightly hard to love.
Regardless of our general sense of "meh", the band have somehow decided to carry on recording music and two brand new tracks have found their way into a shop in Glasgow. Let us explain; basically, a man called Chris Ward was in a record shop when he found a white label vinyl with two brand new Arcade Fire songs. Pretty amazing. These songs have now made their way onto the internet and you can download the songs for free from this here blog.
'Month of May' is an urgent, relatively heavy-sounding warning about winds that blow wives away, whilst 'The Suburbs' is a more obvious Arcade Fire track with bar-room piano and a typically lovely melody.
Expect some 5* reviews when the album emerges, probably in a Leeds branch of WH Smith.
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti have a pretty amazing new album out at the beginning of June. Entitled Before Today and released via the legendary 4AD label, it's a brilliantly odd mix of psych-pop, glam and full-blown pop that reminds us of everyone from Pavement to Super Furry Animals.
This here is a live version of 'Menopause Man', which is all about a man wanting to be a woman. Altogether now, "Castrate me, make me gay / Lady, I'm a lady from today".
Hands up who remembers the Klaxons? You do!? Seriously? OK, well they've spent the past fourteen years working on the follow-up to the Mercury-winning Myths of The Near Future and finally the first fruits of their intensive labour have found their way onto the interpipe.
This is 'Flashover':
So, what do you reckon? Was it worth the wait? Certainly you can hear producer Ross Robinson's influence, especially in the guitar heavy first few minutes. The odd piano interlude is a bit cringe worthy and despite the lack of cheap synths and the general desire to leave the whole 'nu rave' thing behind, it's not all that different. It's also a bit, you know, dull...
Everyone hates Mark Ronson. We get it, don't get it twisted; it's that ubiquity, that smirk, those horns, the fact that he's a good-looking chap with some nice threads. But at the same time, it's weird because he's made some pretty great songs - the majority of Back To Black, for example - and he clearly knows his stuff, but at the same time he's easy to dismiss.
Whether you like him or not, his new album, Record Collection, is shaping up to be pretty interesting. Featuring a host of guest vocalists - including Boy George, The Drums' Jonathan Pearce, Santigold, Miike Snow and many others - it also features vocals from Ronson himself and no cover versions. A few weeks ago the first taster was released in the shape of 'Circuit Breaker', which as the title and the video suggests, is heavily influenced by the music to all those old console computer games.
OK, so it sounds exactly like the music from an old computer game and that's not exactly a good thing, but it's not the official first single so calm down. 'Bang Bang Bang' features a guest rap from Q-Tip and vocals from Yeah Yeah Yeahs' touring keyboardist (the glamour!), MNDR, and it's a stuttering, synth heavy little ditty that claws its way into your memory bank on the second listen. Not a horn in sight.
We need to have words. Seriously. Move closer, sit down and just fucking listen for once. How could you let Kelis' new album enter at no. 42? For those of you without a degree in maths, that means she missed the Top 40, whilst albums from the likes of Boyzone and Scouting For Girls pranced around in the upper echelons like they owned the place. Disgraceful. Still, LCD Soundsystem managed to gatecrash the top 10, which just goes to show that acres of press and a handful of amazing reviews do have an influence after all. Jamie Lidell was nowhere to be seen and the Laura Marling single followed her last effort into the lower reaches of the Top 75. A decidedly mixed bag in other words. Here are some more things no-one will buy...
BUY THIS IF YOU LIKE JOOLS HOLLAND
Becoming A Jackal by Villagers
Villagers, aka Conor J. O'Brien, makes the kind of music that's easy to dismiss. Earnest, studied and never knowingly exciting, his appearance on Jools Holland a few months ago had some very serious music critics talking very seriously about how he's the new Radiohead. Debut album Becoming A Jackal doesn't support this theory of course, but it does showcase an emerging young talent and as it creeps out of the speakers it's hard to dislike. O'Brien's influences are obvious - yes, a dash of Radiohead here, a helping of Bright Eyes there, a smattering of Elliott Smith just about everywhere - but he manages to create something interesting with the ingredients (have we laboured the food metaphor enough yet? Can we stir it up some more? Perhaps add a garnish of cliche, or a drizzling of empty compliments?). Anyways, it's better then you expect it to be, which is high praise indeed, is it not?
DOWNLOAD THIS TO SUPPORT THE ARTIST
Treats by Sleigh Bells
We've already done a big thing about this so we won't repeat ourselves. What we will say is that we accidentally illegally downloaded this thinking that it wasn't out here for ages and then we go and find it on iTunes...SORRY.
DOWNLOAD THIS RIGHT NOW
'Better Than Love' by Hurts
We guest edited some kind of spam email thing and in it we had to pick our favourite current track and we picked this. It's like Depeche Mode meets Tears For Fears meets Ultravox and yet somehow it's better than even that makes it sound. The fact that it has two brilliant choruses doesn't hurt(s), nor does the very lesbian video. After all the hype and the plaudits, it's nice to see a band genuinely come good on their early promise. Now, don't fuck it up this time general public, we're relying on you.
There are rumours circulating that Swedish pop supremo Robyn's record label wanted her age to be kept out of interviews or at least played down, simply because she's over...wait for it...30 years of age! Given this nugget of information, it must have been hard for Robyn to film this video for the mind-meltingly good 'Dancing On My Own', seeing as much of it takes place in a club with loads of young people getting off with each other and being all young and gross.
Whatever her age, the woman knows how to wring every drop of emotion out of a song, doesn't she? Those violent gestures, that anguished face, the smoke machines! Watch it here:
Everyone's current favourite British female songstress Florence & The Machine, is set to release her twentieth single. 'Cosmic Love' was always the song on the album that screamed "THIRD SINGLE", and despite the delay, it's still a genuinely beautiful love song. The video continues the visual theme of most of the videos from Lungs, i.e. Florence leaps about with gleeful abandon, flinging her hair around like a banshee and generally being spooky and ethereal. All of this is a good thing in a video by the way.
You must know how it works by now. If not, allow us to remind you; a new band start generating some buzz, we miss it completely, then six months down the line we catch on and tell you about it as if you've never heard of them (when of course, by then, even Mildred who lives opposite the Post Office knows about them).
With that in mind, allow us to introduce you to Warpaint.
Four young ladies from LA, Warpaint have caused quite a stir with their debut EP, the spooky Exquisite Corpse. Over six strung out tracks - the highlight of which is the amazing 'Elephants' - they recall Mazzy Star and various slacker bands from the '90s, yet somehow it all sounds fresh enough to encourage repeat listens. Worth checking out (six months late).
There's much to hate about Jo Whiley - that voice, her fawning over every new band as if they were the second coming, creating Fearne Cotton - but perhaps her biggest sin is the legacy of The Live Lounge. For those unfamiliar with the concept, let Musick enlighten you; basically, every week a band or singer arrives at the Radio 1 studios ready to "revamp" and "re-contextualise" a current hit single. So, for example, Scouting For Girls will rock up, play their new single and then deliver an irony-free take on 'My Humps' by The Black Eyed Peas and the general public go, "wow, I didn't realise how good that song was until it was stripped back and delivered by an earnest Tory-boy with a weirdly sexist take on relationships".
This new-found love for the 'unexpected' cover version (they're usually so fucking obvious it hurts) has reached some kind of nadir with the following act. They call themselves The Baseballs, dress like twats and record stupifyingly terrible covers of recent chart hits (usually by women) that aren't even interesting on first listen and then get knuckle-nawingly shit should you have the misfortune to hear them again. For some inexplicable reason their cover of Rihanna's 'Umbrella' has reached over 8 million hits and nearly all the comments say ridiculous things such as "LOL OMG, this is, like, so much better than the original. Rihanna sukz and The Baseballs vintage take on a modern classic really brings out the soul in what is already a rather sweet song about being there for someone. Or summink".
It seems our mild indifference towards Foals second album didn't put people off buying it; entering at number 8, it's the band's second top ten album in a row. However, their debut peaked at no. 3, so that's five chart placings they've lost in the interim and at the end of the day, five chart placings are five chart placings. Or something. Holy Fuck did diddily squat, whilst the fresh-faced Mini Viva may soon be stacking shelves in the Minute Mart (or not, seeing as it's fictional) as their third single misses the Top 40 altogether. This week is a bit of a bumper edition, so let's crack on...
This Is Happening by LCD Soundsystem
Whilst not quite the all out amazingfest that is Sound Of Silver, the third (and perhaps last?) LCD Soundsystem album is still about twenty-six times better than anything else around at the moment. As ever, James Murphy sounds simultaneously bored, dazed and perpetually confused and his general sense of brattishness comes to the fore on tracks such as 'Drunk Girls' and 'You Wanted A Hit' (essentially an ode to his record label). Highlights include the slow-burn opener, 'Dance Yrself Clean' and the Bowie-esque 'All I Want'.
BUY THIS TOO
Flesh Tone by Kelis
Four years after the patchy Kelis Was Here and a year after she got sick of husband Nas' (alleged) philandering and filed for divorce, Kelis is back with a new dance-orientated sound. Featuring production from David Guetta, Benny Benassi and label boss, will.i.am, Flesh Tone ups the bpm to almost mind-boggling levels, with weird sonic squiggles and huge synths dominating the album. Single 'Acapella' is a sweet ode to her baby son, whilst '4th Of July (Fireworks)' and '22nd Century' are like futuristic rave anthems in waiting. A welcome return.
HEY, WHILST YOU'RE AT IT, BUY THIS 'N'ALL
Compass by Jamie Lidell
Jamie Lidell has always been a bit of an odd fit with the Warp roster, his albums more likely to feature some soulful organ stabs as opposed to a beat that sounds like the inner workings of a beetle's mind. Whilst 2008's Jim at times sounded like the perfect soul pastiche album, Compass is more slapdash, with songs careening between beat box, sax, distorted percussion and Lidell's elastic vocals. Featuring the likes of Feist, Beck and three members of Grizzly Bear (the band's Chris Taylor co-produces), it's all over the place but with a melodic core that's undeniable.
This is the rather great new video for Wildbirds & Peacedrums new single, 'Bleed Like There Was No Other Flood'. Filmed in Iceland and continuing the visual water theme started with the forthcoming EP, Retina, it's all rather hypnotic.
The song itself is relatively straight forward in the fact that it 'only' features a full choir, some clattering percussion and Mariam Wallentin's spooky vocals. It builds and evolves slowly into something quite beautiful.
We all know that Beck is prolific - he covers albums in a day, helps produce records by Stephen Malkmus and Jamie Lidell, is on the new Twilight soundtrack - but such is his work rate that some amazing things are being lost amongst the sheer weight of his workload.
We know next to nothing about Tobacco - only that it's, like, super-bad for you - but whoever he is, he's got some stellar connections. Beck adds his mumbled brand of nonsense beat poetry to the charmingly haphazard, 'Fresh Hex'.
Beck also appears on another track on Tobacco's forthcoming album, Maniac Meat, and it's called 'Grape Aerosmith'. Nice.
Derek Miller (guitar/production) and Alexis Krauss (vocals) make up Brooklyn noise-pop duo Sleigh Bells. Not only do they make music your mum used to warn you about - "it's just noise" is actually completely accurate - but they're also signed to M.I.A's N.E.E.T label and Miller helped out on his bosses brand new album. Not bad for a band who only got together after Krauss - who had just left a crappy girl band - and Miller were forced into making music together by Krauss' mother.
Their debut album, Treats, has just been released in America, so we flew out there to give it a listen (ahem). Given the fact that the album is mainly a bit of a racket, we've decided to use tennis players to rate each track (tennis players use rackets, GEDDIT?). The ratings go something like this;
Roger Federer = AMAZING
Rafael Nadal = GREAT, BUT SUFFERS WITH DODGY KNEES
Andy Murray = GOOD, WITH FLASHES OF BRILLIANCE BUT A BIT SURLY
Andy Roddick = CONSTANTLY UNDERWHELMING
Let's do this
1. 'Tell 'Em' - Much of Treats is based around distorted beats and ridiculously loud two-note guitar riffs. 'Tell 'Em' is one of the better examples of this, with Krauss adding a strangely catchy vocal hook over the top of the cacophony that threatens to swamp her at any given moment. Rafael Nadal
2. 'Kids' - This one actually features some sleigh bells, which is nice. Then the 'nice' gets swallowed by those distorted guitars and popping beat, but once again Krauss manages to add a sweetly melodic hook that makes it seem unsettling. But, like, in a good way. Rafael Nadal
3. 'Riot Rhythm' - The guitars that have plagued the first couple of tracks frankly get a bit annoying on this one. You can't shake the feeling this would sound better without them, especially as the live (?) drums and processed handclaps carry the song well enough anyways. Andy Roddick
4. 'Infinity Guitars' - An early demo version of this track got everyone very excited a few months ago and luckily they've not done too much to change it. It kind of reminds us of Bumblebeez in the way it sounds like a very catchy pop single recorded in a skip full of rusty old bikes. Roger Federer
5. 'Run The Heart' - Ah, some relative calm here. There's even some pretty synth moments and the whole thing has the whiff of Crystal Castles. Krauss' vocals are minimal and barely audible for the most part, but the whole thing offers some light relief from all the speaker-busting beats and squiggles. Rafael Nadal
6. 'Rachel' - Starts with some heavy breathing before a stuttering beat comes in and Krauss is off, sounding like a girl group member gone wrong. It's pleasant enough, but doesn't really go anywhere. Andy Murray
7. 'Rill Rill' - This used to be called 'Ring Ring' and has been beefed up slightly, the extra production adding a bit more clarity to one of the best (and most musical) songs on the album. Over a lovely sample of an old Funkadelic track, Krauss' vocals are crisp and clear and midway through there's a lovely middle eight that makes you swoon. Roger Federer
8. 'Crown On The Ground' - After the relative calm, the aural storm. This was the track that got the bloggers erect and it's a brilliant, clattering monster of distorted guitar and thunderous beats that teeters on the edge of a breakdown but is deliriously catchy. Roger Federer
9. 'Straight A's' - We warn you against listening to this track on tinny laptop speakers because chances are you'll think your head's about to explode. At just ninety seconds long and as loud as a bomb, this is a fairly unwelcome interlude. Andy Roddick
10. 'A/B Machines' - More punishing guitars and erupting beats but at least this time we have Krauss' voice back to deliver a hushed chorus about machines on the table and in the draw. Lord only knows what it's all about, but it sounds pretty bangin'. Andy Murray
11. 'Treats' - This is a slightly disappointing end and proof that when the duo fail to find a melody their songs descend into an almighty mess. Andy Roddick
VERDICT: We're assuming that title is ironic because though the album has some brilliant moments, listening to it form start to finish isn't what we would call a treat. There's also the suspicion that much of it would get boring after a while, in the same way that listening to a distorted drill might get boring. But on tracks like 'Crown On The Ground', 'Rill Rill' and 'Tell 'Em', they hit upon some weird formula where everything sounds just right. Raphael Nadal
This is the official first single from M.I.A's third albumthat we mentioned yesterday when we were going on about how she'll probably never sell any records. Unfortunately for us, it's a massive, full-on pop single, with a brilliantly chopped beat, three or four hooks and a chorus that is sung in a slightly emotionally detached fashion, a la Britney.
Nothing, nudda, zip. Not one of the acts we gave our full backing to have made any kind of impression on the UK hit parade, not even M.I.A who has had acres of free publicity after that video. We have a theory that she's forever destined to be one of those acts who are critically lauded and define a period of time, but actually sell a grand total of ten records. Obviously, 'Paper Planes' did pretty well but it was re-released more times than a Florence & The Machine single and even then the album (Kala) remained rooted to the lower reaches. We're willing to be shown the error of our ways of course and rumours that the first "proper' single is an electro-tinged club banger may mean Musick will eat it's words. Let's just get on with this, shall we?
BUY THIS (WE THINK)
Total Life Forever by Foals
We're just not sure about this album. Some of it is great ('Spanish Sahara', 'Blue Blood'), some of it is OK ('This Orient') and the rest of it is frustratingly, "meh". It's not that it's bad, it's just that the energy and passion that seemed to have made it through the protracted gestation of their debut has been sucked out and replaced with a sheen that can be impenetrable. BUT, massive caveat alert, we didn't like their debut much at first either and now we're eulogising about it, so the key here is approach anything we say with caution. POINTLESS!
GET THIS IF YOU CAN
Latin by Holy Fuck
Despite the aggressive moniker and the apocalyptic pretensions, there is much on this third album that's melodic and almost hummable, with the band constantly trying to harness the sheer force of the music within the confines of a four minute song. If Sigur Ros were the perfect accompaniment to some beautiful Icelandic vistas, than Holy Fuck could easily soundtrack the bubbling volcano that's currently acting as a natural warning of imminent Armageddon. Most tracks sound like they're being performed with some kind of drum orchestra and the sheer force and energy of the music is pretty breathtaking.
'One Touch' by Mini Viva
The other day we got into a bit of a debate about pop music and whether a good pop songs is still a good pop song if it's made by Girls Aloud, for example, or LCD Soundsystem, or Hot Chip, i.e. should you not like a song because of whose name is on it. We argued that some of the most amazing singles of recent years have come from pop bands who have some very talented producers behind the scenes and that when people say "I like real music, not this pop crap", it makes us want to bludgeon them with a printer. Obviously some pop is crap - ladies and gentlemen, Westlife - but so is a lot of so-called "real music" (Mr Kelly Jones, we're looking at you now). This Xenomania-produced slice of future-pop may not be to everyone's tastes, but it's got about three choruses, a spoken-word rap bit and some massive synths. Sometimes, that's enough.
Not only did we forget to write about this song a few weeks ago but we've also managed to leave it off the Friday Catch-up feature, which in turn, we forgot to actually do last week. Needless to say, we understand completely if you guys all bugger off elsewhere for your musical needs. Lord knows we would if we could.
Anyway, this is the third single from the increasingly interesting Rose Elinor Dougall. Some of you may remember her from The Pipettes, but most of you won't seeing as they existed mainly on the pages of magazines and in Japan. Dougall's ditched the faux-'60s girl group stylings of her former band (who are now a duo with no original members - like the Sugababes but with less tabloid fodder) and gone for a more stately, chamber pop sound. 'Find Me Out' is not single material in that it's slow, subtle and features words like "cerebral faculties" and "arteries". It's still rather lovely though...
Surely, tonight of all nights is a good time to unveil another Beyoncé video, is it not? It's not like there's anything else going on is there? Plus, this is Beyoncé's fourteenth single to be released this month and as everyone knows, the fourteenth times a charm.
'Why Don't You Love Me?' didn't even make it onto the original pressings of I Am Sasha Fierce (an album that's been re-released more times than Blade Runner), but has been selected as the final single from this exhaustive campaign. The video introduces another character, B.B. Homemaker, and finds her doing all sorts of household chores dressed as Betty Page - vacuuming, washing the dishes, fixing her car - in between making what looks like a very difficult telephone conversation (perhaps Jay-Z had forgotten the Rice Crispies?). The best bit? When the B-dog (she'd like that moniker, right?) polishes her SIXTEEN Grammy awards. OH NO SHE DIDN'T.
We did a (pretty piss poor) thing about Kele 'not in Bloc Party at the moment' Okereke's first solo single, 'Tenderoni', the other day. Now a video has appeared so we're putting that up too. Sometimes, it's just that easy.
The video kind of resembles a Nike advert, complete with futuristic gym wear and Kele in the sort of dressing gown thing that boxers wear (the album is called The Boxer, appropriately enough). But wait, who is that topless man whose face we don't get to see? The guy with the rippling muscles, shiny back and, er, hands and arms? We'll let you see for yourselves...
We find it a bit weird that no one has picked up on the fact that a Christina Aguilera sex tape has emerged. Featuring the diminutive wall-flower locked in a loving embrace with another woman and all sorts of other terribly risque things such as bondage and dancing in the rain, it's a wonder it hasn't been banned.
Here it is anyway. Be warned, it comes with a pretty awful soundtrack:
This weeks edition of everyone's fourteenth favourite weekly internet-based music rundown, is brought to you on a brand new MacBook. "Holla". So, expect a lot of techno snobbery, mildly patronising statements such as "Oh, does your PC not do that?", and, most likely of all, some of our own 'beats' thanks to the wonder that is GarageBand. But enough of all this, how did we do this week? Erm, let's just say all three of our acts failed to dent the charts, although Drake did manage to climb five whole places to no. 55. The power of Musick in full effect right there. Let's leave the wilting flower of last week and embrace the bouquet that blossoms before us...
Cosmogramma by Flying Lotus
Flying Lotus, aka Steven Ellison, is widely being hailed as the future of music or the Jimi Hendrix of our generation or the bloke whose aunt was Alice Coltrane. We're not sure about the Jimi Hendrix bit and the family connection is undeniable, but on the evidence of this stunning album, we're pretty sure music would be in safe hands were it all left to him. Featuring a guest spot from super fan Thom Yorke on the typically dense and dark, '...And The World Laughs With You', Cosmogramma is a tetchy, densely packed collection of minimal beats, jazzy horn blasts and, er, the sound of a table tennis ball.
AVERT YOUR EYES FROM THE ARTWORK
Grey Oceans by CocoRosie
It's impossible not to see this album cover - DON'T LOOK AT IT - without wanting to hurt sisters Bianca and Sierra Casady. It screams "We're so kooky and ethereal! You wouldn't understand how zany we are because you haven't lived the free wheelin' spiritual lives we have". But, if you can get past all that, Grey Oceans features a number of beautiful gems amongst the hotchpotch of disperate instruments that include harps, kids toys, cheap beats and the sister's sickly sweet vocals. At times it's pretentious and precious, but tracks like 'Lemonade', 'Undertaker' and the gorgeous title track make you remember why you bothered.
'Born Free' by M.I.A
We've only just realised this track is already on iTunes and given all the ho-ha about the nine-minute long 'ginger genocide' video, we thought it might be best to direct your attention to it again. Over a riff taken from Suicide's 'Ghost Rider', 'Born Free' was apparently written and recorded in a sudden burst of frustration and it shows, M.I.A venting at just about everything in her typically scattergun approach. The effects on her vocals are a bit disorientating at first, but the sheer force of the track soon shines through. Her as yet untitled third album should be quite something.
Also, Kele from Bloc Party is on a bit of a break from the band and has decided to launch a solo career (as has Brandon Flowers from The Killers, in what must be one of the most expected moves in music history). This is Kele's first single, taken from the album The Boxer, and it's a beat-heavy, 'Wearing My Rolex'-cribbing dance behemoth:
Finally, Hurts are back with their first single proper, 'Better Than Love'. It also has a video, which resembles some kind of sequel to Tipping The Velvet, but a little more lesbian.
At the same time, Musick favourites jj, posted a new song called 'ceo Birthday' and that can be heard (and downloaded) here
Now we hear that Secretly Canadian, jj's label, have announced that ceo is actually Eric Berglund from Tough Alliance and that ceo have an album coming out in June called White Magic. It's all so wonderfully intertextual. We can't wait for Christina to secretly introduce the next Britney album with the subtle, 'She's Not As Talented As Me (Or As Dirrty)'.
It's not a great week when your biggest success is a new entry at number 54. The new Hot Chip single, we hear you cry? No, that missed the top 100 altogether (yeah, no thanks to our Facebook petition, right guys?). Oh, it must have been those ABBA loving LA residents, Music Go Music? Nope, nowhere near. Yep, Caribou was our lone entry in the UK Top 75 and now that we've heard the album we can safely say it's worthy of far more, but then you could have guessed that already. Let's keep the Crystal on ice until we've dealt with these bad boys...
"Hippies" by Harlem
Harlem are three wasters from Austin, Texas who clearly don't believe in politcal correctness or over-dubs. "Hippies", their second album, is a brilliantly ramshackle collection of bone-dry guitar, sloppy drums and slurred vocals that somehow flesh out some of the catchiest songs this side of The Lemonheads back catalogue. If you're still not convinced, just read some of these track titles; 'Gay Human Bones', Three Legged Dog', 'Stripper Sunset' and 'Pissed'. How can you not love these guys?
DOWNLOAD THIS (LEGALLY, OR NOT)
Crystal Castles (II) by Crystal Castles
This isn't out physically until May, but some terrible scamp has uploaded the whole thing onto the interpipe so the band have decided to make it offically available on iTunes. If, like us, you thought their first album sounded like the inner workings of a Dalek's mind, then you might be pleased to hear that the follow-up is slightly more musical. In fact, one song ('Celestica'), is actually really lovely. If something having a melody equals selling out then we can only apologise and suggest you put your head inside a microwave, record the sound and loop it ad infinium to get your kicks.
'Over' by Drake
This has been about for a little while now, but it's slowly creeping up the UK charts so we thought, given our new found influence (ahem), we'd give it that last shot in the arm it deserves. Drake, for those who don't know, is basically the future of commercial rap music, a protege of Kanye West and the man trusted with flying the flag for Lil Wayne's Young Money records whilst the boss is in the clink. 'Over' is a dramatic, paranoid slice of in your face hip-hop, complete with swooping strings, thumping beats and Drake's impassioned vocals. It's safe to say he's better than Chipmunk.
After all the M.I.A shenanigans of last week (Musick was top of the google searches for 'Born Free', geeky fact fans), it's down to earth with a bump today. It's sad to report that the demise of the Neptunes as a producton power-house has finally been confirmed with this, the first single from N.E.R.D's fourth album, Nothing.
Featuring a fairly listless turn by everyone's favourite 'feat.', Nelly Furtado, 'Hot N Fun' (ah, that title!) is neither of those things. We can't help but think it's time for Pharrell & co. to call it a day, stop all this rock nonsense and get back to making forward thinking beats such as this humdinger.
We've kind of given up on Devendra Banhart recently, not because he lacks talent but because he's channeling those talents down some annoying '70s psych-folk noodle street, at least two miles off melody Lane. We remember when it was all gorgeously plucked acoustic ditties about spiders...
Anyways, this is the new, very much NSFW, video for the track 'Foolin', which features S&M, miraculously growing and shrinking beards, beards of a very different variety and some heartfelt acting form Mr Banhart.
The Good Natured, aka Sarah McIntosh, released an EP about a year ago and then had to get her pesky A-Levels out of the way, but now, sans long term boyfriend - she split with him in the interim (perhaps he's the chap in the tree) - she's back with more lovely 'goth-pop'. As you might expect, her lyrics have taken on a slightly more "I'm going to wash that man right out of my hair" tone, but there's still a nice way with a melody.
You can listen to the new single 'Your Body Is A Machine' and download some remixes from this thing below:
We've had the Diplo-produced 'Dancehall Queen', the future feminist anthem 'Fembot', the I'm-bored-in-this-town ragga of 'None Of Dem' and now we finally get the single. 'Dancing On My Own', produced by Kleerup [EDIT: Apparently this was produced by Patrik Berger], is full of those heartbreaking moments that Robyn has made her own since her eponymous album dropped about five years ago.
As with 'Be Mine!' and 'With Every Heartbeat', 'Dancing On My Own' simultaneously crackles with energy but also soaks istelf with real tears, Robyn imagining herself stood in the corner of a club whilst her former boyfriend starts a new relationship right in front of her eyes. Over a stuttering, pulsating beat and minimal clicks, Robyn laments, "I'm in the corner / Watching you kiss her / Oh, oh, oh" and it sounds like a heartbreak. The best bit is when the music falls away and it's just Robyn and a piano, then the chorus comes back in and that beat erupts from nowhere and you want to leap about with snot and tears streaming down your face.
You can listen to a poor quality rip of it here or download it from here.
Meanwhile, this is a brilliant performance of 'Fembot' taken from some Swedish TV show:
Continuing on from the '80s pop leanings of their last album, 'Flash A Hungry Smile' races out of the tracks and can barely contain its enthusiasm. Keyboards twinkle and shimmer, the backing vocals are deliciously camp and there remains a definte heart of darkness amongst all the pop confection.
Last week we strongly advised you to bypass purchasing the new Scouting For Girls album in favour of donating money to any given charity. Whilst we collate the information to find out just how much you raised, it gives us great pleasure to announce that the 'band' failed in their attempt to score a second number 1, their flaccid excuse for an album flopping listlessly at number 2. MGMT entered at number 4, but we predict a pretty spectacular fall once the people who haven't read the reviews start telling all their mates there's no 'Kids' on it. In the singles chart, Kelis scored her ninth top 10 single as 'Acapella' strutted in at number 5. But enough of the past, let's step into the future (or the present)...
BUY THIS AND NEVER FROWN AGAIN
Expressions by Music Go Music
This trio from LA make sun-kissed, '70s FM radio style music that would make ABBA think twice about releasing something so immediate. Much of Expressions is like being transported back to a time that probably didn't even exist, but has been created by a nostalgia machine on a full spin cycle. There's plenty to love though, from the ADHD of opener 'I Walk Alone' to the long lost ABBA single that is 'Light Of Love', to 'Warm In The Shadows' ten minutes of sheer disco joy. Chances are you won't want to listen to it very often - it could have the reverse effect and cause some kind of gun-toting rampage - but as a blast of cheesy but brilliantly crafted pop, it's of an (ABBA) Gold standard.
BUY THIS FOR US
Swim by Caribou
Everyone's been going on about this guy and this album and we were going to buy it, we really were, but things happened and it slipped our minds. We could lie and ramble on about how we've heard it and it's wonderful (not that we've EVER lied before you understand), but that seems a bit mean, so instead, we'll just point you in its direction and let you make up your own minds.
'I Feel Better' by Hot Chip
What's a band got to do? You make a killer video, get an alt-folk legend to do a remix and still Radio 1 refuse to playlist the catchiest song form your album. Hot Chip have twittered (tweeted? Twot?) that their new release has rather died on its arse following Radio 1's refusal to playlist it and have, quite rightly, pointed out that 6Music is needed more than ever if new acts (or just any acts that aren't 3OH!3 or Diana Vickers) are going to succeed. So, after out heroics last week, let's see if we can get Hot Chip the top 10 single they deserve. Let's start a Facebook campaign! ARE YOU WITH US? Oh, no? OK...
Title: 'Drunk Girls' Band: LCD Soundsystem Album: This Is Happening (17 May)
The above quote is taken from a disgruntled youtube user who likes the song, but doesn't like the video. He/she just doesn't "understand this kind of videocrap". We're not sure there's much to understand really, it's just a bunch of guys dressed up as panda bears attacking the members of LCD Soundsystem whilst they try to perform their new single. That's literally it...
Basically, a song would need to have been played over 4.5 million times on Spotify in order to generate enough cash to give the artist the equivalent of the US monthly minimum wage...let's digest that for a second. Obviously, artists also make money from CD sales and digital sales (although the label makes substantially more in both cases), but with Spotify being so prevalent and many calling it "the future", it's clear a new model needs to be created. At the same time, the major labels all have shares in Spotify so it's not as if any of this is new to anyone.
So, why are we discussing any of this when we have no answers and everyone knows all this anyway? Our thoughts exactly.
Here's a brilliantly cheesy pop video by Mini Viva to make the move into the weekend that much easier:
A month ago we interviewed Beth from Best Coast for the new edition of Dazed & Confused (in the shops NOW!) and she was thoroughly lovely (well, as lovely as you can be via email). We've been enjoying 'When I'm With You' for months now and some very clever people at her label have decided that this deliciously summery jangle of a song is the perfect choice for a summer single. All Beth wanted to talk about, incidentally, was the weather, so it's no surprise that this very good video has a lot of beach action. Enjoy.
Ronald McDonald (well, it's not him, for legal reasons) is pretty fuckin' scary is he not?
We've been going nuts about Theophilus London for some time now and it seems appropriate to go slightly bonkers for him again seeing as his new mix-tape, I Want You, has now been given a release date of 28 April. As a little taster, he's started leaking a few of the tracks and one of the best we've heard so far is this cover of Tweet's excellent, Timbaland-produced ode to masturbation, 'Oops'. Production duties on this cover were handled by a certain Hudson Mohawke.
You can hear it here and download it for free here
This is the original, which is still very much worth hearing:
Band: Music Go Music
Title: 'Light Of Love'
Album: Expressions (out on 19 April)
This is an amazing video. There's not much else to say about it really, you just need to watch it. We've had the Music Go Music album for about a week and we still can't decide whether it's the worst or the best thing we've heard all year. We can only assume the delays in releasing the album were down to the fact their legal team had to deal with a few royalties requests from ABBA's people.
Band: Lightspeed Champion
Title: 'Madame Van Damme'
Album: Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You
This is going to sound mean, but we're saying it for his own good; Lighstpeed Champion's videos are usually more interesting than the songs. There, we said it. It's us being cruel to be kind, because we've seen him at work with acts like Solange and Theophilus London and he's clearly super talented, but his own stuff seems to be a bit, well, disappointing. The above video for 'Madame Van Damme' is bright, funny and self-referential, whilst the song is a bit of a plodder.
Here at Musick Towers our internet connection appears to currently be powered by two mice, running furiously on tiny wheels, so this edition of the award-winning New Musick Monday may be cut short at any moment. With that in mind, let's cut the crap and get right to the good stuff; Rufus Wainwright was last week's real winner, entering at number 21, whilst She & Him and Darwin Deez both bowed at number 62, the former on the album chart and the latter in the singles version. So, who's stepping up to the plate this week?
Congratulations by MGMT
This is fast becoming one of the most over-analysed albums in recent years, with every critic worth his salt mewing about the fact that the band have ditched their sound in favour of eighteen minute long impressionist soundscapes. In reality, Congratulations is a brilliant mix of English psych rock and a very peculiar sense of humour, one that finds them crafting a song about how Brian Eno is responsible for just about every sound we hear. Sure there's a twelve minute long song that sounds like a brief run through of popular music and a fairly odious instrumental called Lady Dada's Nightmare, but it's on the quieter moments that you realise how well-crafted it all is. I Found A Whistle and Someone's Missing in particular are both quietly devastating, whilst the closing title track tells you all you need to know about why they've 'ditched' the sound of old.
DON'T BUY THIS
Everybody Wants To Be On TV by Scouting For Girls
Seriously, if you've got a spare tenner and you're thinking of buying this album, then don't. Instead, why not donate the money to any of the causes below, thus helping your fellow man and giving you the warm glow inside that only comes from hindering a band as loathsomely inept as Scouting For Girls (what is that name about!? Isn't that the name that three serial killers would come up with if they wanted to form a band in order to lure people to a den and murder them?). Anyway, here are the links: Amnesty NSPCC NSPCA Cancer Research The Music Therapy Charity (for the future!)
'Acapella' by Kelis
Christ knows we've gone about this a lot already, but it's out to buy on iTunes now so we thought we'd mention it again. It's always nice to have pop stars like Kelis around and she's been off the radar for too long, so rejoice with us that she's back, making slightly off-kilter dance tunes like this one. One, two, three, "Huzzah!".
Swedish duo jj were shrouded in the kind of mystery that can only be perpetuated by music blogs, so it's telling that by the time we get round to doing something on them the mystery has vanished (you can see them below) and Pitchfork are calling their new album "not very good" (or something a bit more wordy).
It's hard to describe the music jj make - balearic beat or dream pop seem the most appropriate - and there's an air of dissaffection and general inertia that's quite appealing, as if it's not really terribly important what you think of the music, it's just there. To emphasis the point, all three of their releases so far have just been ascending numbers, so their new 'full-length' (it's 26 minutes long) is called, simply, jj n° 3. The follow-up to the breathtaking, jj n° 2 (obviously), it's not the musical shit heap that Pitchfork makes out, but rather a slightly more formless and downbeat affair. As with recent tour campanions (and fellow fans of letters), The xx, jj's music is simultaneously vaporous and compelling, loaded with emotion but barely breaking a sweat. They also share a love of hip-hop, with jj choosing to seak inspiration from current jailbird Lil Wayne on the opening track, 'My Life'.
Below is the first single from jj n° 3, 'Let Go', and it features a nice dog, the two band members and a recurring visual theme, blood.
jj n° 3 isn't officially out until May but you can buy it from Rough Trade as part of an exclusive deal that also means you get jj n° 2 included. It goes without saying that you should buy these two albums right now!
Time to catch up on some admin and bring you, dear reader, up to date with some songs we've been enjoying recently, but that we haven't actually got round to sharing. There are many reasons for this - the weather, laziness, the impending elections, EastEnders - but here at Musick we figure that telling you about them late is better than not telling you at all. Besides, nobody likes a know-it-all.
First up is Sia with 'Clap Your Hands', the first single from her new album, We Are Born. Sia? Isn't she that bird who sang on all those dreary Zero 7 singles? Well, yes, this is true, but she also had a pop career before that and has worked with people like Beck since then so we can forgive her. Plus, We Are Born is shaping up to be something quite special and 'Clap Your Hands' is the kind of 'carefree summer jam' we just don't hear anymore.
Another person with breasts is Sunday Girl with her debut single, 'Four Floors'. There's the faint whiff of mid-nineties trip-hop about it, which may not be a bad thing, and the chorus and the vocal performance more than makes up for it if it is. It also has a lovely middle eight bit that makes us feel a bit funny. She's also had a re-rub by Diplo, but the original version is much better.
We end, as ever, with a club banger. This is the new single from Outkast's Big Boi and it's called, rather wonderfully, 'Shutterbug'.
If Ke$ha has the whole LOL-OMG-my-knickers-just-fell-off thing down for the chart pop market, then 17-year-old Sky Ferreira is the more Dazed & Confused version. She goes to parties, sure, but she seems to go to ones that are in basement clubs and frequented by all the moody intellectuals at school and not the desperate frat boys and cheerleaders that make up the imaginary world of everyone's fourth favourite Britney.
Having worked with a plethora of pop producers for her soon-to-be-released debut - including Greg Kurstin, Bloodshy & Avant, The Teddybears and Paul Epworth - the buzz around Miss Ferreira is pretty loud. This is her debut single, '17', complete with a 'racy' video that would have got everyone all hot and bothered about ten years ago, but now just seems pretty tame.
Time will tell whether the whole package is just that bit too cool for school to sell a shed load of albums, but for now it's quite some introduction.