Saturday, 31 May 2008

Something distinctly different

Tunes of the Week #22

This is the first Saturday I've been able to write this post on the Saturday itself without needing to schedule for what seems like ages. As a result, there's an extra few days to listen to an extra few songs - and a bumper shortlist once again.

I'll start with the standard "should have mentioned these before" tracks, as in they've been out since the 19th May the lot of them:
From the forthcoming EP, DVNO is a nice funky track by Justice. Daft Punk influenced almost certainly, but not bad at all.
Sounding awfully like Embrace, Soul on Fire is the moody one from Spiritualized. Although, as Chart Blog points out - it's horribly familiar.
And, I mentioned it last week, but I'm still enjoying it - Turn Tail by The Young Knives is a very catchy number.

As the opening lyrics of Turn Tail are "These are my hands", I can do a very a poor Radio2-esque link to this Handsfree (If you hold my hand). The last time I mentioned Sonny J in TOTW, he was called Sonny Jim. The new single, out on 9th June, is of a very similar vein to Don't stop moving - which last year I suggested could be a summer smash. Being once bitten, I'm not going to say the same again - but it's distinctly retro characteristics aren't growing repetitive and boring, so I could be happy listening to it throughout my holidays.

I last mentioned Laura Marling when she was on TOTW13 with Mystery Jets, but now she warrants a mention of her own with Cross your fingers. There's not much to the song that I can see, but it just comes together very well. It has got enough speed to not get turgid, without being overly buoyant. More to the point, it changes pace throughout the song, but not in an annoyingly quirky way. It's out on June 9th.

Julian Velard has been 'introduced' by BBC Radio 2. Which, falling into the same category as Adelle and Duffy, should put him in good stead. Jimmy Dean and Steve McQueen is a bouncy number, released on 16th June, and is good enough to appeal to the MOR sort of folk that listen to R2 (such as myself); and yet isn't very 'samey'. I certainly rate it.

Final nominations with a quick mention, otherwise this post will get too long:
Supergrass - Rebel in You
Goldfrapp - Caravan Girl (is it me, or are they releasing a lot of singles in a very short space of time?)
The Music - Strength in numbers (9th June)
Does it offend you, yeah? - Epic Last Song (2nd June - and I love the lyric "I loved you long time". Mail order brides for Morgan Quaintance and the guys perhaps?)
Alphabeat - 10,000 Nights (26th May and another one for the lyrics. Chart Blog is prepared to forgive the CBeebies video with "I was not looking for arty farty love")
Morrissey - All you need is me (2nd June)
We are scientists - Chick Lit (9th June. Not a fan of the title though)

And onto the Tunes of the Week themselves. As you know, I show the videos of the 2 'chosen tracks', but that's not so easy today.

For starters, Electric Feel has several videos. On the basis that's it DIY. If you go to MGMT's website, you can download an interactive video. In the interim, here's the default one that will inevitably appear of MTV etc

Perhaps it's a bit repetitive, but it's not really that noticable. I think that, critically, the tune matches the lyrics. It feels electric - it's certainly made up of electronic instruments. It's not a hyper dance track, but it's not a slow number - it sits in the middle in perhaps its own little genre. I feel like I should be able to dance to it - but it's too slow. Perhaps it's unique?

What is certainly unique though is Sigur Rós. The Icelandic band have a bit of reputation for speaking gobbledigook in their minimalist sounding music, so have decided to title their first track from their new album exactly that. You might say that Glósóli is nonsense, but this really is Gobbledigook
Important note - the other problem with videos today is that this video is definitely for the over 18s only. Parental guidance advised, etc, etc - don't blame me, blame the band.

The album, Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (English: "With a Buzz in Our Ears We Play Endlessly"), is out on the 23rd June - featuring the first ever Sigur Rós track in English.
Gobbledigook is available for free download on the band's website, and is very different to their previous output. It's pretty well tribal music (see the video), and their own press release is pretty accurate:
[W]ith its shifting acoustic guitars, playful vocals, time signature swings and
swirling percussion, while "inní mér syngur vitleysingur" ("within me a lunatic
sings") sparkles as one of the most anthemic songs sigur rós have ever written.
I've always said that I love the different, and today I think the two tracks really do meet that characteristic. It's so difficult to be different - every musical taste has surely been covered now? It's also bold to venture away from the established successful trends such as indie rock. Credit to everyone that tries it, and manages it with something quite as good as the two TOTWs this week.

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Pretty Miserable Girls

Or should that be miserable pretty girls? A pair of album reviews from me here.

Firstly, we're one month away from the nominations for the Mercury Music Prize - and it's time to look back at a previous nomination.

It's hard to understand what this particularly accolade offers over than a sudden jolt of sales for some artists - like a NASCAR Race fot the Chase for music?

Back in 2002, one of the runners up (the winner being Ms. Dynamite unfortunately), Gemma Hayes - an irish female singer-songwriter, whose guitar driven album, Night On My Side, got a reasonable amount of press attention for all of about two months that year.

Having suffered writers block, it took 3 years before her follow up album, The Roads Don't Love You was released quietly in 2005. Now, her third album, the Hollow of Morning, has been released after a few distribution problems to almost dead silence (so quiet, even her own website doesn't mention it's been released!).

A very downbeat affair. The Hollow of Morning features acoustic guitar, some old fashioned synths and here and there some layered electric guitar as well. A relatively short ten-tracker, weighing in at just under 37 minutes - Gemma's distinctive voice works a treat over the moody melodies.

The album opens with a Lloyd Cole-esque acoustic hook, with whispering vocals for This Is What You Do. The more pop ready single follows, Out of Our Hands (with some similarities to her prior albums single, Happy Sad) as the album alternates between electric and acoustic guitars by track.

January 14th drifts nicely past your ears, and then Home, a shoegazing style song sneaks in. In Over My Head, a built up dirge featuring Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine on guitar marks the albums mid-point.

Chasing Dragons is another catchy miserablist acoustic number - then Don't Forget, a chugging guitar track, sounding similar to the Rentals raises the noise level briefly - and then back to acoustic and lo-fi synths for Sad Old Song.

At Constant Speed is a brilliant rising epic to end of the songs with lyrics, as oddly an instrumental closes off this album.

It's a great album that probably should have been released in the winter, but hey!

Gemma Hayes - Out Of Our Hands & In Over My Head Live

On to miserable girl #2.

And to link it in, Kevin Shields recently produced some new tracks for this artists movie breakthrough a few years ago - Lost In Translation.

Yes, another movie star has dared make an album, and this time it's Scarlett Johansson, who concretes her standing as the Hollywood misfit with this outing.

Let's put it this way, J-Lo, Hilary Duff, Lindsay Lohan won't share the same shelf with Scarlett on anyone's collections here.

After you get past the first track, Fawn, which is also an instrumental like Gemma's closer - we get introduced to Scarlett's baritone singing voice. If you've seen Lost In Translation, you can see we've clearly been sold a dummy - as Scarlett drops an octave (or two) and battles with the blokes for notes for Town With No Cheer.

Scarlett Johansson - Brass In Pocket from Lost In Translation

The third track is the single, Falling Down, with the first of two appearances by the thin white duke himself on backing vocals.

This musical format stays in use for the whole album. Keyboards, bells, whistles, chiming guitars make a very dirgy effort on this album of - since I didn't mention it, - Tom Waits covers.

Similar musical styles appear from Mazzy Star, to Slowdive to Saint Etienne by the time we get to the slightly dancable I Don't Wanna Grow Up. It only becomes really evident that it is a covers album when you hear Scarlett voicing fears about her hair falling out.

This is an incredibly brave release, and could probably be my favourite musical release from a movie star ever. The concept is just so insane, it's brilliant. There is an original track hidden in there in Song For Jo which blends in secretly amongst the brilliance of Wait's penned numbers.

Scarlett Johansson (feat. David Bowie) - Falling Down

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

The soul man

I'm a fan of soul music in all it's varying genres - Motown, Northern ... through to some modern tunes like Warwick Avenue.

So, this week in "Unsung", in looking at those popular music sites I've hit "Soul" as a genre, and seen what's turned up.

A Band about reason

Simple acoustic stuff, with a wide selection of talents. Simple Life for instance is comparitively heavy, with Lost found a melancholy melody.
It's clear that many of the tracks are not professional recordings - and things do suffer as a result. But, ignore the production values - there's some good quality musicianship behind it.

A beautiful army of trees

I think the "acoustic" part of the Jason Reeve's description is the predominant part of his music, the songs are quite simply meaningful and emotional songs. There is a bit of variation in their styles and how much instrumentation they've got - Honestly with a bit more of a beat and electronic organ background, Treefall having the simple drum kit and guitar (and sounding very familiar for it), but the nervous mind of love has hardly anything.

Overall, it does exactly what this sort of music does - it passes by almost unnoticed. It could be part of a movie soundtrack in one of the "scene setting" moments or "reflection", and builds the atmosphere without you needing to immerse yourself in the song. It's just there, and it really emotive stuff. It is "soulful" in that it stirs the soul, and a brilliant discovery.

Esta B Daley

It took my efforts to find a British act to find a proper soul act. Which I'm sure isn't the right way round. But, it took only a few notes of What Girls want to recognise the music as what I was expecting - and hoping - to find. A full band, complete with backing singers; funk, chorus with variation, reprise - it's classic soul music, and there's no other way of describing it in quite as much detail.

By that same token though, I've got to say I'm not a fan of Last one to leave. It's a bit too cabaret for my taste, there's not much in terms of background instrumentalisation, and I think it's a bit too high for Esta's alto voice.

Miss Daley's voice is different to 'classic' soul, I don't think it's as powerful, perhaps it's a bit smoother than what I'm used to. But, it's a very good voice regardless, and still suits the music. Proof of a good singer is a capella singing, so just listen to Soon I Will be done (on myspace) to hear the voice 'in the raw'.

Perhaps in this "Amy Winehouse Era" soul music is growing a new limb. But, similarly, it hopefully means that more traditional soul gets some good appreciation - such as this.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008


It’s a bit of an annual tradition. I know full well that it’s wrong – but many of us still do it. Yes, I watched the Eurovision song contest on Saturday.

OK, I didn't watch it in the alcoholic styling of a Eurovision party this year - but still had had enough wine prior to make it an acceptable way of spending an evening.

Everyone moans about the block voting. I'm not saying political voting-as it's public voting. Perhaps it's just that they enjoy the same style of music. Perhaps..... - either way, it was easy to see which country was going to get the full "douze points" from certain countries. And it meant that songs like Baila El Chiki Chiki not only got some points, but beat the British entry.

Surely it was the worst song of the final. And the singer just scared me - there was a passing resemblance to Rolf Harris of all people.

It does mean that, whilst watching the contest, you sort have two scoring systems. You pick your favourite song; and then you pick the song most likely to win considering it's geographical location. For the latter, I actually went for the Ukraine, where Ani Lorak keeps her dancers in mirrors.

I'd even say it's not a bad song. Catchy beat, quirky (see the computer beep), understandable lyrics -so I wouldn't have been that distraught if it had won.

Similarly, I think Secret Combination by the American born Greek entry could easily have won, and I did find myself shouting Qele, Qele at certain points in proceedings - so given that they were 3 of the top 4, my decision wasn't that far out.

However, that has to be balanced by the fact that I didn't like or even particular rate for voting aspects the Russian entry that, of course, eventually was the winner.

In heinsight, considering that Dima Bilan is an Eastern European celebrity, and last year's slow motion Lesbian pr0n ballad victory, I should have seen it coming.

I also thought that the Swedish entry would have got more votes from Scandinavia, given that it is most definitely dance anthemic (if that's a word).

Anyway, that's entirely different to what I liked. For some strange reason that I can't quite figure out, I didn't mind Jemini Euroband (the Icelandic entry) at all; but my favourite was Artful dodger meets Keane meets Ben's Brother Simon Mathew who was representing Denmark.

It's fairly simple, with a sing-along chorus, and is definitely much better than Lionel Richie. OK, it's not "go and buy it" material, but none of the entries ever were going to be. It's just an enjoyable tune, without pirate or geriatric rapper gimmicks (why am I not surprised the UK gave plenty of votes to Latvia?).

It's all over for another year then, with the UK entry the tail-end charlies despite what was definitely a good song.

I can now return to listening to some good music. For the good of humanity no doubt.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Sometimes, there's a lot to be said about the video...

Tunes of the Week - #21

I don't normally look at B-Sides here. However, I heard this on the radio during the week and immediately fell in love with it.

It's the antithesis of pop music covers. Far too often bands like the Sugababes and Girls Aloud take a song and destroy it. So, let Look See Proof (on the Weekender Label) have as a B-Side on their Discussions single (released 26th May) a cover of a Sugababes song.
I feel obliged to mentioned Discussions itself, so have just given it a listen - and yeah, it's fine, but no more. Maybe it's a grower, but at the minute it can't be a TOTW, it's a bit samey to a lot of other stuff. Won't stop me loving to B-Side though.

I found the last video for the Mystery Jets (Young Love - TOTW13) very creative and original. Given that I loved the tune, I was looking forward to hearing Two Doors Down. When I did, I thought it was a bit cheesy to be honest. New Romantic 80s music to a tee. Mind you, it appears that they completely agree with me, looking at the video:

Showing that they know it's a pastiche takes a load of my mind, and one extra listen allowed me to enjoy bouncing around to the music. Shameless, perhaps - but I'm definitely enjoying what I'm hearing out of 21- this single out on 2nd June.

Joining the 'free download' party, Coldplay's first single from their new album Violet Hill was available free from its release on 29th April- getting full release on 6th May. At first, I wasn't a fan - my basic opinion of Coldplay is "music to commit suicide by". After time though, it's not that bad - still pretty depressive, but it does feel like it goes somewhere.

I'm glad that my "unsung" feature is actually proving successful. One of my first acts is about to release their first single, A Kiss with a fist.

OK, perhaps with the coverage on 6music that made them "Unsung" meant that Florence & Machine were pretty well guaranteed to make it to a place with wider acclaim. I think there are a lot of familiar sounds in the track. The Times Online describe Florence as "one part Kate Nash, one part angel of death." - and I think that's actually a fair summary. Her first ever single's out on 9th June, on the Moshi Moshi label.

Being busy lately, there are a few tracks I should have mentioned previously - as in they're all already out there to buy. However, they've been on the periphery of my attention recently, so deserve a quick listing:
Young Kives - Turn Tail (19th May)
Lykke Li - I'm Good, I'm Gone (11th May)
Ida Maria - Queen of the World (5th May)

Also a few quick re-mentions: the more I hear One pure thought (out now) by Hot Chip, the more I like it. It still goes through a huge number of styles, but I really like the opening - tension building, very clever. Always Right behind you (out on Monday) by the Zutons is still enjoyable - as I mentioned previously, I'll be watching them in a few weeks. And, the day after the Zutons, I'll be watching this group:

Chart blog refers to the video as a "really cute idea", and how it suits the song perfectly. They're not wrong. The song itself is atmospheric, with fantastic lyrics, and exceptionally well sung. One day Like This by Elbow is out on 2nd June

Today's the day...

An annual event where Europe decide to point and laugh at the world of popular music as it's developed across the 20th century. We'd have hoped that this would have failed to make it into the 21st century, but sadly it's made it - and it's even lost it's cynical charm...or has it?

Oh, I haven't spelt it out yet for those who need a little help - it's the Eurovision Song Contest of course. Those who can't stomach the jockular attempts at music for the first 15 hours, could tune in for the last hour (or if they were forced to endure the derogatory harmonies, casio quality production standards of the worst of every nation that's not actually in Europe but some broadcasting union which 'makes it alright' for them to be there) - to watch the politically charged voting.

Hilarious in itself, either the concept that Greece voting for Cyprus, but giving nothing to Turkey actually stems from some political order - how foolish we'd look in post atomic horror, if it the documentation was discovered that the Earth's surface had been 98% decimated because France wasn't happy with it's nil points from Spain one year.

However, even that's spoiled by phone in votes - instead of a panel of judges in each country (who gets that job?!) - we leave it to the ill-informed public (and their own political agendas) to decide. Of course, these days we can doubt whether these votes themselves were actually counted - who was to get the glorious douze points was decided by this secret panel of wise broadcasting officials beforehand. It's great to leave public opinion to make the call these days - it'll be well worth seeing if Austria's entry, Josef - racks up a good score for his entry "Let's go down to the cellar".

On to your ear saving moment - this is one of those events where for some reason - the United Kingdom isn't broken up into it's deconstituted components - quite probably because in this individual case, Scotland doesn't give a ****.

So I leave you with the freshly recorded version from the Americana influenced supergroup (whom you'll all hate by the end of the year after they're doused in NME hype - but who cares anyway) - Glasvegas - Think the Jesus & Mary Chain fronted by a Joe Strummer lookalike who grew up with the Proclaimers!

Glasvegas - Geraldine

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

The letter A

In considering starting this new blog, I knew that I'd need something more than just the TOTW and then Unsung every other week.

Obviously, I've got album and gig reviews - with a number of contributors also adding their own reviews (if you want to join in - drop me an e-mail - link on the main blog). However, they're going to - by their very nature - be somewhat haphazard.

So, another feature needed to be created.

And, thinking that a fortnightly feature can last a year by looking at the 26 letters of the alphabet, I thought that was a reasonable place to start.

Songs beginning with the letter "A". There's lots of them, I'm sure - but a few that immediately spring to mind.
I think some of them couldn't be considered as the 'best'. Such as the mellow sounds of Belle & Sebastian. I think it's brilliant - but does everyone? Will it be memorable in several years?

It's got to be long-term stamina that must be considered. Songs that we're still able to sing years after they were released.

Songs by the like of Pink Floyd...

However, it's also worth thinking about 'cover' versions. If they're good songs, people will want to sing them. And whilst people have covered Another brick in the wall, none were that popular. On the other hand, Maria Carey covered Against all Odds, and it didn't do that badly in the charts. Perhaps wrongly in my opinion though...

So instead, I'm looking at Willie Nelson. Always on my mind was covered by, among other, Elvis. It's impossible to say which is best of the two version - they're both fantastic.

Talking about Elvis, can I also throw Are you lonesome tonight into the mix?

However, I think Herman Hupfield's song - as famously sung in Casablanca by Dooley Wilson might be the most covered. It's certainly the oldest (1931). And as far as I'm concerned - the best song beginning with "The letter A" (sounds a bit like Sesame Street this feature actually, doesn't it?)

But, what do you think? I've missed out a large number of tracks for good reason - either they're crap, or I can't remember them!
If you agree with As Time Goes By (or something else mentioned) cast your vote. Otherwise (and I'm sure there'll be a few), make a comment below..

If you're reading this via RSS, you might not be able to see the flash 'mixtape' with audio clips of the songs mentioned. So, for full details, I'm afraid you'll have to click though. You may also not be able to see the voting box - so two birds, one stone, click and have a look!

For a fortnight's time - and the letter "B" - suggestions for tracks greatly appreciated by e-mail. Help point out those I might have missed...

Monday, 19 May 2008

Amplive: Rainydayz

For my first album review, I think it's only fair that I look at an album that everyone can listen to - without needing to venture out to the shops. More to the point, without paying anything either.

It's actually an album that's been in the news a bit. Amplive decided to take Radiohead's new album In Rainbows, and have some creative remixing and sampling to make his own 8-track album.

Radiohead initially objected - but an agreement was reached, and it's out there for free download.

I don't mind saying that I'm not the biggest fan of the entire remix idea. So, I listened to the tracks with a bit of trepidation. And, I'm afraid to say, I've not been overly convinced. Take Nudez. I think the best part of the source track, Nude, is that it's so sublime. It takes me away into a strange and distant land whilst listening to it. By remixing it, all of those wonderful qualities are immediately removed - even though Radiohead themselves encouraged people to remix it.

Thankfully, there's still some tracks I can definitely appreciate. I think Video Tapez nicely twists Videotape - adds a beat, and intersperses original rapping. No, I don't like rapping, but I can appreciate it. Conversely, All I need is completely different different to the original - taking into a completely different genre. But, it's still recognisable, which is nicely done.

It's definitely not the sort of thing I'd pay for, but for a free download - well worth the experience; and can help you perhaps widen your musical experience.

Raindayz is available now for free download here.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

The Devil's Poison

Asp Bites' Tunes of the Week 2008 - #20

I'm mindful that next week is Eurovision week. Sadly (or perhaps thankfully), I'm away in the caravan - so won't be at a Eurovision party as was the case last year. Unless they plan something in the circuit bar - so youtube might not be safe from my dancing yet. I might, however, now that I have Musical Bites available, do a Eurovision feature if I watch the show. To get you in the mood therefore, it is worth looking at the British entry. Infinitely better than Scooch, Andy Abraham's Even if is a good song on its own merits. I like my soul - and indeed anything with a good beat - so I don't feel guilty about enjoying this. It's not overly catchy, and doesn't stand a chance of winning the ESC as we're not called Britiainia, but it would be nice if it did anyway...

I've only heard The Boat Song by Jeremy Warmsley the once, but it immediately appealed. It's being released on June 2nd as a double-A side with a cover of New Order's Temptation (there's a sample of it on his myspace, it sounds decent on its own), and it's great little ditty of a song. A bouncy little duet, but Warmsley isn't afraid to build the tension by pausing in the song. I can't actually remember the last time I heard a on the popular radio stations with a pause in it - it shows that he's not afraid to do something different. Have a listen - it'll put a smile on your face.

I've mentioned Hot Chip in the past, but so far they've never been a TOTW (looking at the nice long list). One pure thought was released last Monday, and I don't think it's as 'in your face' as some of their other tracks. Which is good, it makes pleasant background music. It also means it's less noticeable though - and it's a bit in a class of its own (See Chart Blog), so swings and roundabouts.

I could make similar comments about Radio Heart, released by the Futureheads on Monday. Perhaps with Hot Chip they're going to be bands who often get mentioned, but there's nothing "stand out" enough to make it as a TOTW. Radio Heart is, in many ways, the same as all their other stuff. It doesn't make it a bad track, and I enjoy listening to it. But that's all.

Quick honourable mentions to Guillemots (Falling out of reach) once more, and the soulful melancholy beats of Rihanna with Take a Bow (out on Monday). TOTWs though go to a couple of female artists. Again. There's a theme developing here - but I've said it before, there's lots of good female artists around at the minute.

Amy MacDonald is so good I've even bought her album. Poison Prince is out on Monday - it's energetic, well sung, harmonised - and very enjoyable. Chart Blog suggests that she's not getting a proportional amount of praise considering other female artists. Personally, I like her more than most.

I could probably exactly the same about Devil's Beat by Sandi Thom - also out on Monday. Great beat, and lyrics that at first glance don't fit the tune. I can see this style of music dropping out of favour soon - some already think it's all the same mediocrity. For me though, I'm still bouncing along to it. Therefore, it's good enough to warrant being a TOTW.

(NB - I would like to post in the official video, but Sony BMG don't want to let me or anyone else embed their videos. Bit pointless, you can just click on the link, it's not like it's stopping piracy. Go sort please!)

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

In a change to the published listings

Sadly, no guest unsung this week as was planned - I'll try and get that sorted for a fortnight's time instead. As an alternative though, there's still plenty of bands that I'm keen to mention, so there's nothing lost!

I feel that Apollo Bay is a bit hit-and-miss. The first track on his myspace, Broken Song a Future Past starts with some bewildering humming and no real tune. I could easily have stopped right there, just as others felt:
"The first tune, Home, almost had me switching off, as it begins with ameturish noises and a melody that sounds so many people who buy a synth and think they can become Soft Cell."
- Rick Fulton, Daily Record
Then you can contrast that with songs like I feel Disaster, which is dark and mysterious - and very enticing. Think with Me shows good vocal talents; whereas Untitled is certainly a good song (simple, smooth, and meaningful), but I think the wrong voice is singing it. If Anthony Hegarty was singing it instead, it's quite possible I'd love it.
I'd say it's worth a listen at the very least - it's clear that there's a talented producer and songwriter behind the work. However, I'm afraid it's not album-buying stuff because the quality does vary to such an extent.

I referred back to my Commodore64 with reference to Late of the Pier in the last TOTW. With Crimewave Remix by!ippa, I'm reminded instead of jumping on toadstools with my Gameboy.
As far as I can tell, they're not as much writers but more 'mixers'. Which isn't something I've ever featured on 'Bites before, but that's because I tend to class such music as secondary to the song itself. Maybe it's because I don't recognise most of the tunes, but on this occasion I have to say I liked it. OK, Diamonds to Interzone is obviously based on Atlantis to Interzone by the Klaxons, but even that's enjoyable - and is less of a mix but more of a basis as an individual approach to the same beginnings.
For some reason, they've listed themselves as "indie" - but the style of music to me seems more 90s dance. Dance music isn't the sort of thing I listen to, but after several cheeky vimtos it is this sort of music with a good beat that'll get me to the dance floor (that and cheeze). So, my test for "Is it good dance music?" is "Could I see myself getting carried away in the atmosphere at a club with this as the music?". For!ippa, the answer is yes.

Luckyhorse remind me of a band or two - but I can't quite put my finger on it (any ideas?). It's nice, simplistic, country-based guitar music, and it couldn't offend anyone. Dignity is the main track, and what I heard on Tom Robinson's Introducing show - and it's definitely good stuff. Sit back and enjoy it during the pleasant weather.

Finally this week, I want to mention another "Introducing" artist. Roxy Rawson has a very similar vocal style to a lot of the female singers that are proliferating the charts at the minute. However, unlike most, you can hear her singing. Her songs include her and her violin. The Independent on Sunday (no less) has described her as "bewitching". I couldn't agree more. An established artist who perhaps is happy staying under the music radar. Which I think makes it even more special to listen to.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Comma, then space

Asp Bites' Tunes of the Week 2008 - #19

After my exams in June, I'll be watching the Zutons perform in Delamere forest as part of the "Forest Tour" musical events. Well, I say watching, I'll be on SJA duties - but I'm still looking forward to it. Always Right Behind You is the first single of their latest album (physical release May 26th), and proves that watching them live will be worthwhile.

Falling out of reach is what I would consider to be more 'classic' Guillemots than (TOTW 13) Get over it. It's smooth, melancholy, and a potential TOTW before it's release on May 26th.

Another former TOTW - TOTW7 as it happens - is Beth Rowley. On May 19th, So Sublime will be available for purchase - and it's catchy with a decent 'bounce'

Two songs though that really are having the implantation effect, which is brilliant, so they can be the TOTWs

I can't stop singing the latest from Vampire Weekend, Oxford Comma. I'm not entirely sure what it is about the song that I simply adore. It builds perfectly, has a nice instrumental - musically it's a brilliant little song, and it's out on the 26th.

With pure retro though, Space and the Woods is by Late of the Pier. It's another I first heard on Roundtable, and commented then I think it was the tune to a game on my Commodore 64. I know a lot of people think that this 80s Retro is getting a bit lame. However, like all things, when it's done well, it's worth listening to. And I really think this is. 19th May release for it

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Just a quick one

Asp Bites' Tunes of the Week 2008 - #18

No time for a full detailed analysis of the charts this week, instead, imagine it's an awards show.

The nominations are:
Duffy - Warwick Avenue (23rd May)
Kylie Minogue - In my arms (5th May)
Yael Naim - New Soul (5th May)
The Script - We Cry (28th April)
Sara Bareilles - Love Song (14th May)
Neil Diamond - Pretty Amazing Grace (Home Before Dark album released 12th May)
Royworld - Dust (11th May)
Cajun Dance Party - The Race (21st April)
Santogold - L.E.S. Artistes (27th April)
Vampire Weekend - Oxford Comma (26th May)

And the winners are:

Two female singers - Duffy and Sarah Bareilles

Also, it's now May, so April's last chance winner goes to this one:
Infadels - Make Mistakes