Sunday, 28 September 2008

Puppet Patrols

Tunes Of the Week 2008 - #39

It's going to have to be a quick one this week, as I've only just got the working internet and am due out shortly.

Which is convenient, because I've not been listening to much radio this week, so there's not much of a shortlist.

So, with honourable mentions to the Kaiser Chiefs (Never miss a beat - 6 Oct) and Ting Tings (Be the One - 13 Oct), here's the two videos that make TOTW:

Last Shadow Puppets - My mistakes were made for you (21 Oct) (Quite possibly my favourite song from the album, so no real surprise)

Snow Patrol - Take Back the City (13 Oct)

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

The letter J

I originally thought that I might struggle with J.

Then I remembered quite a few iconic tracks. Unforunately I can't find the Thin Lizzy original, but you can't beat Jailbreak, and of course if can't achive the break, you can just do the Jailhouse rock.

And in the same way as last week with "I" doing lots of different things, I could look at some French tracks, where "Je" fais lots of things as well. I picked this Serge Gainsbourg cover as a good example. And as we get round to remembering 30 years since his death, it's always worth putting in a Jacques Brel song - possibly the best French language songwriter.

Final track on the playlist -can I say anything else but to get your air guitars out?

The letter J

Saturday, 20 September 2008

The Wright Bones

TOTW #38

From the shortlists I've been sending to the Stig over the past few weeks, you'll notice to number of options has dropped slightly due to w**king. You'll also notice there's been several soulful tunes, so why break a habit?

Anthoney Wright's (yes, that's spelt right) Reset to Zero (29th Sept) is classic soul. OK, with the brass instruments you're left wondering what Mark Ronson's up to at the minute, and unless you're listening to this for the first time with the video you might wonder what gender the artist is.
But, ignore that. It's nothing short of a brilliant song. Immediately catchy.

Similar vein, but not been mentioned yet despite being released on the 25th August - Bryn Christopher's Smilin'. I've said it before, but I'll say it again - soul music is back. Keep the Faith :)

Whilst I'm at it with songs I've not mentioned (it's a lot easier to remember songs to shortlist when you've got tintaweb to check them) - I don't know why I didn't mention Run Run (7th July) ages ago, so this is to make amens. I might have only heard it once (as a Pick'n'Mix option IIRC), but I definitely liked it. Hopefully I'll hear it a few more times - it's called Home Sweet Home, and it's out on the 29th.

[Dodgy link alert] To get to Home Sweet Home, you might need to take the Next Plane Home (8th Sept). I actually heard Daniel Powter's single when I was in France (causing a large shouting match at the radio. It's not pronounced 'Potter', like "'Ary Potter". It's "Pow-ter". Stupid Frogs). Anyway, it's not a bad song. The chorus is very sing-along, but I'm worried with those high notes it's worth trying to avoid on drunken evenings around Hen Parties. Windows would probably shatter.

I don't like the video, but once again the song isn't that bad. I've not noticed a trend being set after outing myself and saying "I like McFly", even though I am sure it's a guilty pleasure for more people than would let you believe. Lies (15 Sept) does remind me of something again though. It's not Gummi Bears this time, but definitely something....

No surprise in mentioning Kids (13 Oct), as the album is in my car's CD player at the minute. I don't think MGMT have any bad tracks, so I don't think there's much more to say.

Charity records are often a poor show musically. Great cause, but more often than not they end up being number 1 because people want to give to charity, not because the song is any good. Carpetbaggers (29 Sept) is different. Some of the profits are going to the Jazz Foundation, set up in New Orleans for flooding support. And the artists? Well, the relatively unknown Jenny Lewis has guest vocals by Elvis Costello. Not full of millions of singers with one line each. It's just a good country-esque song. With a good cause. (NB - Video has the male part sung by Jonathan Rice)

Finally, despite how dissapointed I was at their gig in Delamere, I still think that Elbow's individual songs are of a high quality - and Seldom Seen Kid was a very worthy winner of the Mercury. The Bones of You (29 Sept) is the next single, and maintains that high standard. Perhaps I don't like it quite as much as One Day like this - but even getting close to that mark is good going. (Once again, the official video can't be embedded, so talking about Delamere...)

Friday, 19 September 2008

Slightly delayed

It's taking longer to sort out tintaweb access than I'd hope for (still, when you're paying what I'm about to, you can't moan that much), so I'm running a bit behind.

Apologies for the lack of Unsung this week, and huge thanks to Stig for stepping into the breach and doing several more TOTWs than was originally intended. Whilst I briefly have internet this weekend, I'll be doing some catching up - starting with going all the way to August.

You see, starting work on the 1st of the month means I've not been able to pick the relevant "Last Change" for the last month yet.

It's quite different looking back at some tunes that I've not heard for several weeks, meaning that longevity is more of a decision than normal. As is the number of mentions, probably a deciding factor - as I mentioned this three times in the first three weeks of the month.

Not bad for a former "Unsung". Must be a first for the blog...

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

TOTW 16/09/2008

It's that time again folks, another TOTW! And possibly the last one I do for a bit.

On Asp's shortlist this week we have 4 new tracks to get through, and as seems to be the norm, 2 of them I like, and 2 I don't like so much. Better get cracking then.

First of all, it's another familiar sounding number, from Adele. Or is it the Raconteurs. 

Just a bit of the jazzy, Amy Whinehouse style there eh? Well ok, more than a bit. A lot! I wonder if the former's popularity has made this one of the new "must do" styles. Whatever. Ignore the rubbish video [video!?] and enjoy it.

Which is something you might not do with Weezer - apparently named after an Asthmatic, these guys seem to like to rock - but not sing in tune... I didn't enjoy their debut of Pork and beans, and I'm afraid that "Troublemaker" also does nothing for me at all. 

Closer to the mark was White Lies and "Death". Which is only slightly morbid. It's still a good listen to though, so check it out - although small children might be affected by the strange imagery in the video. It is definitely a close 3rd for the title this week. How to describe it... um... Maroon 5 with orchestral bits. Yes, that'll do.

Lastly, it's the Guillemots. Strange sea birds squaking or rather catchy and weirdly familiar music? Whatever, I like it! 

No, it's not the official video [there isn't one] - I've no idea who's behind it, but here it is anyway. It's an interesting revival of the orchestral hit voice. Definatley has a strangely retro vibe about it eh? Still. pretty good. It's very close to White Lies though, and it's hard to split the two.

There, Cat - well and truly - in amongst the Pigeons!

And that's all folks. If you liked it say so, if you didn't, say so anyway.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

What "I" did

Unsurprisingly, getting to the letter "I" leads to lots of song titles of "I" doing something.

You could almost write a story with it.

I heard it through the grapevine that I shot the sheriff. I didn't, and if someone tries to arrest me I predict a riot. In the meantime, I say a little prayer that I won't be found in this cave. I drove all night to get to this hideout. I'm going to end up on the gallows before I've found out the answer to my question - I want to know what love is. Maybe I will survive. I should be so lucky. They'll soon find me though, all they need to do is play music - you see, I'm in the mood for dancing. When I was at the club, I met this girl, and told her that I bet that you look good on the dancefloor. It must have been love, then all this happened, isn't it Ironic? Oh, I broke the pattern there, didn't I....

The letter I

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

TOTW - 9th Sept (sorry it's a bit late!)

back once again with the renegade bathtub...

It's tune of the week time again folks, and Asp has furnished me with a much shorter shortlist than last time out. He's actually been W**king!*

Lets start with something which sounds strangely familiar. The Feeling, Join with Us

It's catchy, it's got the obligitary unexplainable video, and it's got a really nice Feeling behind it. It's also not new. it's at least 2 years old, but it's only just been released as a single and is the tile track of the band's new album. So that ought to explain the familiarity. Oh and this might also explain it.

If you're after something a bit rockier, why not try the first of the American artists this week, and Kings of Leon's new track Sex on Fire. It's not actually bad at all, and would make an excellent driving song. A quick note before you look for the video ... don't watch if you're fond of chickens, or scared of Gloves.

Daniel Powter also sounds familiar. I can't quite work out why. Even so if you're after something laid back whilst at the same time upbeat, you could do far worse than Next Plane Home, and right now, as I'm listening to it, the RAF decide now is a good point in time to do some low level flying practice, bugger off you evil gits! I'm listening to music about ... planes... The Irony!!

Now I'm sorry, but I have never really liked Black Kids. Oh bugger, that sounds wrong! The band Black kids that is, and I remain indifferent to them despite their latest offering, Look at Me. I also detect a small swipe at Daft Punk with their animated, or at least semi animated music video. 

I started with a nice upbeat number, and I finish with a rather sadder one. Duffy has been making a name for herself as the choice for some nice chilled out music, and Stepping Stone seems to keep up that reputation nicely. It's the trademark jazz influence which does it for me. But why does she keep singing songs about breaking up!?

No this isn't the official video, you'll have to look for it yourself. Now, someone tell me why she reminds me of Dusty Springfield?

So there we have it again. Until the next time folks. 

*That's working, if you didn't work that out yourself!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Danger! High Voltage!

I said at the last TOTW I did that I was getting quite into quasi-electronic music in the style of Friendly Fires and Late of the Pier.

So, diving into for this unsung, I thought that "Electronica" could be an interesting genre to pick bands from.

At the top of the page was Mute. An Anlgo-Canadian band who also describe themselves as alternative - so I thought I should like them. It wasn't quite what I was expecting - more like The Rasmus than I thought - but surprises are often good. Excellent production values meant I was listening to a slightly-rocky well sung set of music. I often say the test in unsung is if I could imagine hearing the music on the radio - and the answer here is an emphatic yes.

Adfinem recently worked on their latest EP with producer Ade Fenton, so it's no surprise I'm left rating the production values again. Far from a dodgy bedroom demo. Listening to Misunderstood, which apparently was going to be a single earlier this year, you can spot the Gary Numan-esque 80s electronica. However, it's anything but a cheap rip off, and the band can easily stand their own in the modern music scene, with just a hint of 'retro' to appeal to a slightly older market. It's a well worked balance, against the pure retro that's around a lot at the minute - and I'm quite taken by it.

Finally, I don't think I've ever referred to an Australian band yet (I've been waiting for a certain antipodean to make a post himself, but he's been suffering from internet worries - watch this space though), so I thought I'd put it right with Empty. Bearing in mind they're still classed as "Electronica", they're very different from the other two - probably more what people immediately think of when they hear "electronica". The band themselves say it's "Dark-Electro", and this is reflected not only in the song titles (Ghost besides you and Castrated being two examples), but definitely the music. This makes it too dark for me, and unfortunately not my cup of tea. But, musically, it's good stuff. I might not really enjoy it - but I can see people that will. They might not make it mainstream - but if you like your music 'underground', I'd keep your eyes peeled.