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

Friday, 26 February 2010

The future of music is safe

Nowadays in music it's all about big budget megastars - your Lady GaGas and Kylies - and on the flipside, the DIY aesthetic of bands signed to Independent labels who make songs in their bedrooms once their room mate's passed out. But what about the unsung heroes who bypass the TV talent shows, employ some friends to film a video and turn their hands at being superstars in their own right? Well, for them, youtube is their Mecca (Bingo) and here are two wonderful examples of what can happen when a dream becomes a reality.

First up is an Irish family group called Crystal Swing who seem intent on erasing the memory of The Corrs with their new single, 'He Drinks Tequila'. The song tells the story of Rosie and, er, Jose who get it on following a heavy night on the Tequila. Oh, we've all been there right?

You may think that the siblings at the front are the real stars (is their a whiff of Same Difference about their closeness? No, surely not), but it's mother Mary who steals the show with her 'playful' keyboard style and deathless stare.

Next up is Cheryl Aster with 'You Can Do It'. Let's deal with the visuals seeing as a lot of effort has gone into the video (and the song's lyrical message is pretty clear). The basic premise seems to be that poor Cheryl has been dumped (THIS VIDEO WAS MADE BEFORE THE OTHER CHERYL'S RECENT RELATIONSHIP TRAVAILS, BUT SHOULD BE HER ANTHEM REALLY), perhaps by email, and seemingly from her office in a barn. She then strides out to her car carrying a guitar and drives to er...well, it looks like she's in Egypt...and then she's back on the farm again, climbing over machinery (careful Cheryl!) and then she's in, erm, is that Broadway? It's a cityscape anyway, but not a real one. Perhaps she's inside the computer we saw earlier. For the chorus, which is obviously amazing, there are three other Cheryls behind the real one and they're all urging her to "do it on her own", though what "it" is is never really made clear (IS IT ABOUT MASTURBATION? FILLING IN YOUR TAX RETURNS? SUICIDE!?). The bridge bit is immense and incredibly stirring as we see the evil boyfriend trying to make Cheryl see the error of her ways. He seems really upset, whilst Cheryl stands firm, but then, what's this, she's now in a dark corridor and looking a bit glum, but that chorus kicks in again and there are more Cheryls and she seems chirpier. PHEW. Oh, we're back on the farm again and there's much purposeful striding about the place (careful of the cow's muck Cheryl!) and now she's back in one of those strange worlds of hers. As if to show once again that she's into rock, we get a brief glimpse of her guitar skills before the Cheryls return with some Mariah Carey style hand movements. THE END.

Please watch it here.

This song is available on iTunes. 'Firewall', which deals with another rocky relationship and has some mind-bendingly awesome lyrics about computer viruses is so far unreleased but can be heard here.

Gaggle rock

We know we're a bit late to this particular party, but how brilliant are Gaggle. For one they look like this:

Kind of like a school photo at an all girls school for technicolour druids.

They sound a bit like this.

In fact they sound a lot like that seeing as that's their new video for single, 'I Hear Flies'. Immense.

"Drink gin, get thin, win, win"

Thursday, 25 February 2010

White wash

As we all know by now Jack White either doesn't sleep or exists in a world where days last longer than 24 hours. The guy doesn't seem to stop. He's now decided to get his wife involved in this seemingly endless stream of writing, recording and releasing records. Not that his wife, the former model Karen Elson, lacks musical pedigree having recorded a duet with Cat Power along with a clutch of other lovely acoustic ditties ('Coming Down' is particularly nice).

Below is a live reading of the title track from her Jack White produced debut album, The Ghost Who Walks. The album is due out in the summer via XL/Third Man and the video is also directed by her hubbie (I believe he sewed the hem on her dress, but we're awaiting clarification on that).

It's a shame the guys in the band couldn't be bothered to help out a bit. Lazy.

You can download this version of the track from here.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Going for (Neon) Gold

Neon Gold is basically one of the best labels in the pop-o-sphere and what follows here is basically cribbed from their blog. We hold our hands up, we're lazy, but when the music is this good, we're not too bothered to be honest.

First up is Alex Winston with her single 'Animal Baby', which features a nod to the '60s...no, wait, come back...this is not Duffy, it's even better than that (!?). 'Animal Baby' is basically about her ex acting like a bit of an animal, not in a sex way, more in a shitting on the carpet kind of way...oh, no? Oh, it's about being reckless and having animal-like instincts (and shitting on the rug).

WARNING: This song will be stuck in your head for the next five days

Next up is Penguin Prison who we've mentioned before and now he's back with a new double A-side and though the first track, 'The Worse It Gets', has its moments, this is a juddering, synth-lead nugget of pure wonderment (ahem). We're huge lovers of a nice synth noodle or a bit of a beat breakdown and this has oodles of them.

Monday, 22 February 2010

New Musick Monday

Last week was a bit of a struggle, wasn't it? We mean musically of course and not just because the grey skies and general malaise are making everyone look like death warmed up (only not that warm). Unbelievably, the Lightspeed Champion album managed to miss the Top 75 altogether, which is a real shame as it's a definite grower and worthy of some ear time. The Glee soundtrack crashed in at number 1, which should be something to celebrate and yet we're kind of depressed about it. Jedward proved us all wrong by climbing one spot to number 11 (those 5 extra CD singles clearly doing the trick). This week is a bit of a bumper, fuck the recession type affair, so hold onto your hats...


Nerve Up by LoneLady

Perfect for the current climate, LoneLady's debut album is all chilly, skeletal guitar figures and simple beats with Julie Campbell (for it is she) crooning mysteriously about "fading to white" and some other bleak things we've yet to really decipher. Despite it's chilly exterior there's a lot to love here and what can initially seem simple and slight soon becomes hypnotic. Weirdly, there are moments where she sounds a lot like Kylie does when she does that English speak-sing voice of hers. Ergo, if you've ever wondered what Kylie would sound like if she signed to Warp, then wonder no more.


Fuzzo by Brigadier Ambrose

We plugged this when it came out to download, but it's out in the shops now (and still amazing) so here it is again. Read more about it here.


Causers of This by Toro Y Moi

We did a very short thing on this guy just the other day and we were so taken by what we heard that we went out and brought the album (yep, we PAID for the music, in a shop and everything). Causers of This has been lumped in with all that chillwave, dream pop malarkey and though there are definite elements in there - none of the songs really race to get anywhere, there are some nice keyboard washes - the whole thing feels more intricate and closely produced then some of the stuff from Washed Out for example. Hell, Lissoms even sounds like a bit of a rave up in comparison to some of that other stuff. All in all, a lovely, dense album by a very talented individual.


The Family Jewels by Marina & The Diamonds

This has been picking up some very strange reviews which seem to range from 'this is the future of pop music' to 'LOL her voice is funny' to 'how fucking irritating is this woman'. We did a thing on it here so we won't write much else if it's all the same to you.


'Don't Go There' by Giggs

We've chosen this one for two reasons; firstly, it's a great song with a brilliant video and it has a strange nostalgic charm about it, what with all the early '90s, Dre-inspired staccato strings and the loping beat. Secondly, Giggs is on twitter and won't stop imploring people to buy it and his passion for the single to do well is infectious quite frankly. It's nice to see someone making music that isn't all 'well, I make music for me and if anyone else likes it, well that's a bonus'. Get a real job in that case.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Game, set and match

The most immediate track from Vampire Weekend's recently released Contra album, 'Giving Up The Gun', has rightly been chosen as the album's second single. Seeing as the band are now a number 1 selling act in America, they've clearly been given a bigger music video budget and this new five minute clip is pretty special. Directed by The Malloys and featuring guest spots from RZA, a drunk Jake Gyllenhaal, a French Lil Jon and a dorky Jonas brother, it's a veritable tennis-related feast for the eyes.

Nice blistering forehand at the end there, although her overhead needs some work.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

C'est moi?

This is a rather lovely track by a gentleman who goes under the somewhat perplexing moniker of Toro Y Moi. 'Low Shoulder' is taken from his forthcoming album, Causers of This, which may well appear in next week's New Musick Monday. You can barely wait for that, huh?

He's been lumped in with acts like Washed Out and all the other 'chillwave' people, but from what we've heard this seems a bit lazy. We'll get back to you on this though...

I'll be there for you

We're big fans of The Drums despite the fact that their youth and beauty makes us want to hate them as much as we hate Geri Halliwell. Unbelievably, the debut play of their brand new single, 'Best Friend', passed us by completely, which is quite shameful.

If you're able to forgive us, here it is on a handy Radio 1 player thing (don't worry, you don't have to listen to half an hour of Zane Lowe, it starts at the beginning):

It's not as immediate (or as good really) as some of the stuff on the Summertime EP and it's a tiny bit limp, but we like the echoey intro and the strange looped gasps that you can hear if you listen closely, but the rest of it is merely 'good' and not 'amazeballs'.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The BRITS; best bits, shit bits

So, in case you didn't already know (and if you're part of the very small group of international readers, why would you?) the BRIT awards are taking place in a giant shed in London tonight. We've always had a love/hate relationship with these awards and will of course be tuning in, even if it's just to see if the Susan Boyle cameo materialises (we're banking on her dropping from the ceiling caked in fake blood during Lady GaGa's set, but it will more than likely be a duet on Robbie's 'Angels').

To get us in the mood, let's look at some of the performances that have summed up the awards in one way or another.


Great pop song, cheeky 'mash-up' with another great song and an entrance on a GIANT CD! Hello!

Usually the pairing of two 'superstars' results in things like The Ting Tings and Estelle attempting to muster some stage presence, but this was small scale, bruised and strangely hypnotizing.

These things are all about superstars and you don't get much bigger or better than Beyoncé. She can even make cars levitate!


Dog shit song, dog shit band.

Like being locked in a room with a playschool teacher and his slightly alternative reading assistant.

She emerges from a giant vagina...


We weren't ready for the Second Coming Michael.

Monday, 15 February 2010

New Musick Monday

Another decidedly mixed bag last week with Yeasayer entering just outside the top 60, which, all things considered isn't too shabby. Gil Scott-Heron's much vaunted I'm New Here managed a top 40 entry, whilst there was much surprise round our gaff that Erik Hassle's 'Hurtful' entered outside the top 50. Just goes to show that being playlisted by Radio 1 doesn't necessarily mean a hit single. We suggest his label license it out to a tampon advert quick smart (although repeating "What you did to me was hurtful" might not be the right way to go, but it's certainly got that uplifting quality musically). This week isn't a classic either, so here goes...


Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You by Lightspeed Champion

The second album under the Lightspeed Champion moniker for musical polymath, Dev Hynes. Following 2007's Falling Off The Lavender Bridge was always going to be tough seeing as Hynes seems to make music is his sleep so choosing the tracklist was probably the biggest obstacle. As it is, Life Is Sweet... is split into four 'suites' (one entitled Oops) and features fifteen tracks. So far so sprawling, but there's a cohesiveness to the record that was missing from his debut, with a more polished sound thanks to Animal Collective producer Ben Allen. Witty, maudlin, self-deprecating and surprisingly upbeat, Life Is Sweet... can be a bit of a struggle at first but it rewards repeated listens.


Glee: The Music Volume 1 by Various Artists

As we all know by now, Glee is amazing. Only it's not really, it's kind of OK in an American teen comedy kind of way, but the characters are lazily sketched and the whole thing feels incredibly forced (apart from when that cheerleading coach is about and then it's as funny as You've Been Framed). Conflating the popularity of teen shows like The OC with the comedy of the Judd Apatow films and the talent show format of American Idol is clearly a genius idea, and there are moments on this soundtrack album where the new versions sound fresh and offer a new insight, but mostly you're left with the songs that fill the gaps in between the funny bits, like listening to an album of adverts in between Friends.


'Under Pressure (Ice Ice Baby)' by Jedward

Jedward have been twittering for most of the day imploring people to purchase their debut single on CD, three weeks after the single came out to download and two weeks after it peaked at no. 2. It seems someone needs to tell them that particular ship has sailed. Still, they're ever the optimists and even describe themselves as 'musicians'. Those crazy cats.

Poor Kate Nash

Dear PJ Harvey,

Today at school we had to make a song that reminded us of our favourite singer. Seeing as I did Lily Allen last time, I figured I'd do a 'tribute' to you seeing as I'm all older and more mature this time round.

I hope you like it.

Love Kate Nash

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Robyn gone and now she's back

We didn't think this day would ever come, so let us take a moment...Ladies and gentlemen, A NEW ROBYN SONG! 'No Hassle' has somehow made it's way onto the internet and we're incredibly thankful to whoever leaked it. Robyn's last album is one of Musick's favourite things in recent years and it's been too long since we heard a new Robyn track that wasn't a collaboration. Er, not that this isn't, seeing as it was produced by Diplo, but it's still got her stamp all over it. It's also got a nice reggae feel to it, which makes it the aural equivalent of a working title for one of Stephen Malkmus' solo albums; Swedish reggae.

The song has now been taken off youtube, but you can watch a clip of them in the studio here and, erm, perhaps, download it if you so wish (we're not saying you should of course).

Monáe's too tight to mention

We did a thing on Janelle Monáe ages ago after she released her first mini-album, Metropolis: The Chase Suite. Well, now she's back with the first single from her forthcoming album, The ArchAndroid. 'Tightrope' is a funky, James Brown inspired workout, featuring Outkast's Big Boi.


Badu's the Daddy?

Insanity seems to suit Erykah Badu. As mad as the box of frogs she keeps in her weave, Badu's last album was one of 2008's best and she's back in March with the follow-up, New Amerykah Part II: Return of the Ankh. Below is a video for a brand new track, 'Jump Up In The Air and Stay There', featuring the equally bat shit, Lil Wayne.

Unbelievably, this finger-clicking future soul near-masterpiece will not appear on the album, although there are reportedly seven or eight different versions of it to be released, so you can make your own EP if you so choose.

One track that will be on the album is the more mellow, 'Window Seat', which Badu released via Twitter. Is that the future now? Artists won't even need to sign record deals or make a myspace page, they'll just post a link in 140 characters or less.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

New track: 'Logic' by Operator Please

Australia's answer to er, the Gossip (that's unfair and unfounded, apologies) Operator Please are back with a teaser for their forthcoming second album.

The track is called 'Logic' and though it starts somewhat predictably - is that a cowbell? Some punk-funk bass? - it soon worms its way into your head. Listen to it on this posh streamer thingy we stole from someone else (please don't close us down, Blogger/Blogspot).

Operator Please - Logic by nmemagazine

Passion(ate) Love Affair

Everyone and anyone is turning their hand at a Lady GaGa retwizzle (that sounds like a strange gymnastic sex act). Such is her dominance of the pop charts she's clearly decided to take over every club in the Western hemisphere. This is Passion Pit's remix of new single, 'Telephone', which is hardly earth shattering and for some reason they've got rid of GaGa's bits and just focused on Beyoncé's 'rap'. We're not complaining, we're merely observing.

Then we have disco oddballs Hercules & Love Affair who've turned the worldwide number 1 smash (TM), 'Bad Romance', into a dubby, early-'90s last song at the techno club kind of affair.

Not your thing? It could be worse. Listening to Lady GaGa whilst a flock seagulls peck at your testicles* is preferable to his excruciating version, however.

Serious rock face.

(*Replace with 'lady garden' if you are a female)

"Boom, boom, boom"

This is the new video for Rihanna's new single, the not very subtle 'Rude Boy'. It's a blatant rip off of an M.I.A video, but as rip offs go, it's really good (and it has much higher production values). The black and white bits look really great and the animal straddling is what's lacking from all pop music videos these days. We demand to see Susan Boyle straddling a snow leopard before the year is out, OK?

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

The Adventures of Tin Tinashé

We've been meaning to do a little something something on Tinashé, Island's new signing. He's got an interesting backstory, which involves fleeing poverty in Zimbabwe and winding up in Camberwell, via Essex and now he lives in Hackney. This is all very well, but surely it's all about the music, right? Right.

This is his new single, the one-long-metaphor that is 'Mayday'. Basically, the relationship he's in is like a plane crashing, hence "mayday, I think we're going down". It's a bit of a bummer really, but perhaps the results were similar to that plane in New York that managed to land safely on the river and everyone was fine? We hope so. Either way you look at it, this has a really great chorus and some interesting bits in it, which is all we can ask of a song on a Wednesday morning.

(It's actually the acoustic version, which is a bit of a shame, but it's still very nice)

Tinashé is supporting Ellie Goulding tonight in a venue in London.

Monday, 8 February 2010

New Musick Monday

When is a hit not a hit? Is it when an act who has received blanket coverage in the press and who finished second in the BBC Sound of 2010 poll ends up at no. 12 on the singles chart with their first 'proper' release? It's not a bad show by any means, but Marina & The Diamonds' 'Hollywood' missing the top ten is a bit of a surprise, but perhaps she's 'doing a Florence' (who also missed the top 10 with her first few singles) and will sell billions of albums. We'll have to wait and see. The albums fared pretty well with Midlake breaking the top 20 and Hot Chip entering at no. 11 (which is kind of disappointing seeing as the album is really very good).


Odd Blood by Yeasayer

This is a bit of a turn up for the books if you were expecting another 'interesting' but 'noodling' album from everyone's second favourite 'interesting' but 'noodling' American alternative band (Animal Collective being number one, natch). Odd Blood injects Yeasayer's percussive, gloriously off-kilter songs with a pop nous that was missing from most of All Hour Cymbals. 'Ambling Alp' is a clear highlight, with a chorus as glorious as any song about a failed boxer has the right to be, whilst tracks like 'O.N.E' and 'Love Me Girl' are stone cold anthems. It's nice to see a band who understand that alienating just about everyone does not necessarily a good band make.


I'm New Here by Gil Scott-Heron

This album is streaming for free to the right of this post so if you haven't already then give it a listen. We're not going to tell you about it seeing as you can do the work yourselves.


'Hurtful' by Erik Hassle

This has been floating about for what seems like a musical lifetime but finally gets it's UK release today. Having been deftly retwizzled by Starsmith, it's now slightly less MOR but still a whole load OTT, Hassle sounding like he's about to cry on every other line. It's not rocket science, it's not going to change the world, it's not 'cool', but it is a very good example of a radio friendly rock(ish) ballad and manages to break the inexplicable monopoly Snow Patrol have had over that particular genre in recent years. You'll either love it or hate, not like Marmite, because we like Marmite but we're allergic to it and we're not allergic to this...*METAPHOR FAIL*

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Marina & The Diamonds: A first listen

When you're as important as we are you get to hear music before you're supposed to, and we don't mean simply recording songs from a gig with our mobiles. So, we've managed to get our hands on The Family Jewels, the debut album by Marina & The Diamonds. Can it live up to the hype? Does she deserve all the plaudits and poll mentions? Can we get to the end without that voice grating on us? Let's find out...

Are You Satisfied?
A musically upbeat (there's a lot of musically upbeat tracks on this album) ode to signing her contract and wondering whether it's worth the risk of stepping out in the music industry. As ever the chorus is the key here and once again it's HUGE. Even if you sat with your arms folded and tried your hardest not to get involved you'd be tapping along by the end.

Very similar to some of the stuff on Ladyhawke's debut, which is obviously not a bad thing. Lyrically it's about drinking champagne and turns what is supposed to be this lavish celebration into something a bit sad; "drinking champagne, made up of angels tears of pain". That makes it sound a bit drippy, but it's not, it's a robust, perky pop confection of the highest order.

I Am Not A Robot
An early single and still sounding as fresh as ever. All the early singles featured here sound better in context and this one has some lovely vocal effects, a nice piano melody and a sad lyric about, erm, not being a robot and stuff.

Marina in slagging off her sisters shocker! This is a bit patronising all things told. Seems to believe that men are more intelligent and interesting then a lot of women (or 'girls' as they are here). It's also not that interesting musically, just trundling along on another jaunty melody with extra "nah, nah, nah, nahs". It does have some nice accordion on it though.

Mowgli's Road
Another early single and the one with that weird video. It should really be a massive mess - weird cuckoo sounds, jaunty piano, about three choruses - but the whole thing hangs together brilliantly.

A definite highlight and proof that when she tones some of the idiosyncrasies down a bit she can be just as effective. A tale about a difficult boyfriend (who may be violent, or just suffering from OCD), it builds towards a gorgeous chorus of "ohhs" and "ahhs" that are better then that description sounds.

The new single. You've probably heard it by now.

The Outsider
Another song that deals with how Marina sees herself, this time with some added Emo, especially in the lyrics. Musically, the song has a nice new wave-esque feel about it and trundles along nicely.

Hermit The Frog
Awful title aside, this is a brilliant example of what Marina's about. Dramatic, sweeping and musically interesting, it also features some brilliant Kate Bush-esque vocals on the chorus, which mentions "glass balloons" a lot. Will probably be a future single if the record company have any sense.

Oh No!
Starts with some interesting beats before turning into another piano-based jaunt-a-thon (not a word). Once again it's saved by an almighty chorus that will stick around your cranium for days afterwards. It's also another song about Marina and what it's like to be her and the negative influence of modern living, etc, etc.

A really nice change of pace. A drip-feed ballad that works well due to the more subdued approach. Musically it has some nice touches, in particular a lovely, mournful horn solo that appears about half way through.

Ah, some jaunty piano, welcome back. On this occasion, however, the almighty climax that each song tends to rush towards fails to materialise and everything's kept to a relative minimum. It works well, Marina's sweet vocals merging with some sweeping strings.

An odd finale as the pace picks up again. Guilty features some intricate wordplay and some lovely harpsichord but is a bit of a nothing end to an album that deserved better. Some nice jaunty piano though.

Overall verdict: 4.5/6

The Family Jewels is released on the 22 February.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Belated Xmas present

The festively named Sleigh Bells deliver anything but beautifully packaged presents. They're sound is a strange mix of crunching guitar riffs, beats and indecipherable lyrics all recorded at the wrong volume so that when you listen to them you tend to think your stereo is busted. If this all sounds terribly 'art project' and not much fun then think again, because the five or six tracks that are floating around the internet are all barnstormingly brilliant (the band are currently unsigned, ergo, the music is free to steal, n'est pas?).

The best of the bunch is the crunching 'Crown On The Ground', which kind of sounds like a Kelis record being suffocated by an out of tune rock band and then mixed by someone who seems to have been wearing boxing gloves in the studio. It's also freakin' awesome.

The duo have also contributed to the new M.I.A album, which is due out in the summer some time.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Man United's greatest player?

Here at Musick HQ we get sent A LOT of stuff. One CD, maybe two. A week. So, it's hard to remember what we have covered, what we should cover and who we should never, ever cover, ever (The Courteeners, look at us when we're talking to you). The other day we received the following song with a message written on the CD, imploring us to give it a listen and put something up. So we did and here it is.

This is the debut single from XL's new(ish) signing, Giggs. One look at the video will probably make it clear that he's not from Chiswick and that his rhymes don't cover the pro's and con's of cash ISAs, but what it does reveal is that UK rap has another figurehead we can be proud of.

'Don't Go There' starts off with one of those staccato string loops that Dr Dre used to do before he fell off the face of the planet and it has the requisite killer hook (provided by B.o.B). The most interesting thing about it, however, is Giggs' deathly deep growl which crawls out of the speakers and sounds ever so slightly like it's been recorded at the wrong speed.

It will grow on you, trust us.

Carpet Byrne

David Byrne
is basically the coolest man on the planet. His work with Talking Heads and Brian Eno alone mean he has honorary entry into the Musick Hall of Fame (due to open sometime in 2012, dates pending), alongside such luminaries as Michael Jackson, Prince and Fine Young Cannibals.

He's teamed up with, er, Fatboy Slim (minus points for that perhaps?) to create some kind of elaborate music project based around former Philippines First Lady Imelda Marcos. Nephew say what!? The set comes in a fancy box with two CDs, lots of lovely pictures and a DVD, and features guest spots from Santigold, Tori Amos, Cyndi Lauper and myriad other people with voices.

The track below features the not inconsiderable voice of one Florence Welch, who may have left her Machine at home for this one. It's called 'Here Lies Love' and it's a six-minute long, lushly-orchestrated vignette that takes a while to get to the chorus, but when it does it's quite something.

This is the Santigold track:


Monday, 1 February 2010

New Musick Monday

We're really hitting our stride now ladies and gentlemen. Another relatively big week of releases is upon us and last week's runners and riders performed OK-ish, which is all we can ask really. Four Tet was the big success at no. 35, whilst Charlotte Gainsbourg peaked at no. 62. No sign of Beach House, which is a bit of tragedy seeing as it's scientifically proven to be 1000 times better than Paolo Nutini's album and that's no. 1. The Lightspeed Champion single missed the Top 40 as well, so I think we can officially refer to that as a 'minor hit'.


One Life Stand by Hot Chip

We've always been fans of Hot Chip's singles but their albums have always been dominated by one or two big tracks. They're the Missy Elliott of the dance world, in other words. Only they're not anymore. One Life Stand works because it's an album and not a collection of amazing singles interspersed with tracks that show off how clever the band are but ultimately sound a bit dull. Sure, the title track (and first single) is all kinds of amazing, but there are at least six other tracks that are just as good and the whole thing flows perfectly. We really like it, basically.


The Courage of Others by Midlake

We went to see these guys last night and though they look like six Texan homeless guys they actually make some really lovely music. Not that homeless people don't, per se, have the ability to make beautiful music, but you know what we mean. The Courage of Others has clearly been made after a long time listening to English folk, which follows on from years listening to '70s rock for their last album, The Trials of Van Occupanther. We're hoping, and indeed praying, that they get into Beyoncé and Lady Gaga for their next album. Just imagine...awful, isn't it?


'Hollywood' by Marina & The Diamonds

We like this song, don't get us wrong (poet, didn't know it) but there's still something we're not sure about when it comes to Marina & The Diamonds. She can sing, no doubt, she has a way with a melody, not in question, but perhaps the overly dramatic styling of the songs makes them less palatable? We don't know. Maybe it's enough that this is a good tune, with a fun video and a chorus that refuses to leave your brain despite almost surgical attempts to extract it. We've just 'found' the album, so expect an *exclusive* run down of that very soon.