Wednesday, 30 December 2009

TOTW2009 - The choons

Well, you can check the full list here, but due to imeem's take over the playlist has sadly vanished for the time being. Thankfully, here it is is video format:



[I've tried to get everything embeddable but it's not quite worked out perfectly if you do have something missing.]

So, what are the statistics?

66 Tracks
4 Artists have featured twice
1 Group has featured three times
2 of them have topped the UK Singles Chart
Some of them it's not surprise they haven't


I'm now going to go away and think of my top 10 - I'll let you go away and think of your own as well.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

December last chance: Dionne Bromfield

I've done enough praising of this artist to let the song talk for itself

Sunday, 27 December 2009

TOTW52: Fyfe Dangerfield – She Needs Me

Last tune of the year then, it’s that bloke out-of off-of Guillemots.

Plan is to pick last chance before NYE, and then early in the New Year pick the TOTY. Maybe. Watch this space.

Bubbling Under

One Republic – All the right moves

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Sunday, 20 December 2009

TOTW51: George Michael – December Song

Well, there’s only two more TOTWs to go this year (including this one).

In the last years I’ve been doing this, by this time I’ve already had a good idea what’s going to be in the running for Tune of the Year. For TOTY2009, I’m not so sure. I might actually to have to think about it after Christmas.

This week isn’t much better. The big news in the music world this week is who’s going to be Christmas #1 later today – A Miley Cyrus cover (who’d have thought we’d be saying that already) or a 17-year old tune? As a long standing loather of any of these ‘talent’ shows, I think it’s a great idea. But I’m not buying either, because Christmas shouldn’t be about either, it should be about a dodgy festive number (see Peter Kay last year, perhaps the best attempt recently). Anyway, I’m not going off on one, when occasional contributor Hazard has already been there.

So, what’s left to be TOTW?

Bubbling Under

Vampire Weekend – Cousins

Slow Club - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Fyfe Dangerfield – She Needs Me

Dionne Bromfield – Ain’t no mountain high enough

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

In the Inbox

Once again, I’m afraid to admit that I’ve let my inbox grow too full of unread e-mails from bands, promo companies, etc etc – so what better way to spend a Sunday morning than writing Christmas cards and listening to them? Here’s some of the picks…

Dirty Strangers

You might not recognise the name, but you’ll recognise the style of music. And you’ll certainly spot some of the names in “guest performers”, a certain Keith Richards also writing some of the tracks. In that respect, it’s entirely what you’d expect, a slightly modern Rolling Stones. They’ve been going since the last 80s, but the music is still popular (and will be for ages), so it’s a tried and trusted format! Have a listen to Bad Girls, with Richards.

Dionne Bromfield

Amy Winehouse’s god daughter and on her “Lioness” record label, Amy herself summarises her protégé:

"The first time I heard Dionne sing, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Such an amazing voice from such a young girl. I'm just so proud of her. I'm very lucky to have a record label. I've got all these people that I love, that are really talented - and Dionne is my number one."

Most of the songs on her myspace are covers of classic Motown numbers, which isn’t a bad thing when they’re sung this well. There’s only clips I’m afraid, but there’s enough to make me want to hear more – which is a nice tease.

Damn Vandals

These four graffiti artists have traded in their ASBOs for rock 'n' roll.

The band met on an internet graffiti forum and together decided to paint "Destroy Mondays" eight foot high on the side of a commuter train parked up near Catford.
It was 2007.
Rumbled by a police sting operation they got 500 hours community service. Their punishment was to re-decorate the local youth club.
After hours one night they stumbled on a room containing guitars and a drum kit.

The rest is soon to be history.

Not bad for a gang of convicts, it has to be said. I think that Tsunami High is a bit Bowie-esque, which is a nice twist on a standard indie-rock selection.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

TOTW50: Passion Pit – Little Secrets

George Michael – December Song – The best word to describe this song is ‘hopeful’. It’s not the bouncy, party Christmas song – it’s a very melancholy number, but the video has a happy ending. The real meaning of Christmas perhaps – not just the boozing and the naff presents, but family.

Dionne Broomfield ft. Zalon – Ain’t no mountain high enough – As you’ll see in a few days, I’m quite impressed by this new singer on Amy Winehouse’s new label. This is now on the radio playlists, and whilst it’s a cover (and therefore not really original), it’s still a cracking song and very well sung.

Pet Shop Boys – All over the world – Can’t be a beat of classical sampling can you? More than a slight nod to the Nutcracker suite – which is only to be expected, it coming from their “Christmas” album

Aled Jones & Sir Terry Wogan – Silver Bells – Two good reasons for mentioning this. Firstly, I have to mention the final week of Wake up to Wogan in one blog or the other. Secondly, it’s for charity – therefore there’s no excuse not to support it. Not sure about the Rupert Bear scarf though Tel?

Passion Pit – Little Secrets – Well, I couldn’t go for a Christmassy TOTW just yet. It’s fresh and unusual. It’s eccentric, and it’s fun.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

1986

The big development this week is that imeem has been integrated into myspace, so the playlist functionality has had to change.

Not helped by the fact that I can’t find some of these songs on myspace – although given that the second biggest song in 1986 was Mr Nick “Heartbeat” Berry, perhaps it’s not a major surprise.

As a result, I’m trying a video playlist this week. Perhaps you’d have rather I missed number 2 and 4 in the list though…

Monday, 7 December 2009

Sunday, 6 December 2009

TOTW49: Rod Stewart – Same Old Song

This is a different song for many reasons

1. It’s a cover

2. It’s by Rod Stewart, hardly the most cutting edge of performers.

However, it’s a good song, and Rod gives it his own flair. It’s managed to wake me up a couple of times this week, so that’s reason enough…

Technorati Tags:

Saturday, 5 December 2009

In Concert: Paul Weller

Carlisle Sands Centre – December 3rd 2009

For once, the support band only warrants a passing mention. Twisted Wheel were all well and good, but they’re no Paul Weller.

For the once time at the Sands Centre, I was able to forget that the venue is actually a sports hall for most of the year.

The atmosphere was nothing short of incredible. Which I suppose is only reasonable to expect from such a legendary artist. The Jam, the Style Council, and a solo career still going today – the set contained everything new and old.

Weller even seemingly apologised for some of the ‘new’. “It’s difficult hearing some things for the first time,” he said about one track “but it’s a good one”. And, even if someone in the packed auditorium wasn’t overly impressed, I’m sure it was made up for with classics like You do something to me, Shout to the top, and a final encore of Town Called Malice.

What was particularly impressive was, in hearing so much of his work in one place at one time, was how varied it can be. From quiet acoustic numbers through to loud mosh-pit enducing choruses – all were there. All were sung with passion, enthusiasm, and power.

To say “he’s still got it” is a cliche – but it’s true. And it’s great to see that people of Weller’s repute are still gigging, still putting their all into it, and still appearing to have fun along the way.

Technorati Tags: ,

Friday, 4 December 2009

In Concert: The Automatic

Carlisle Brickyard – November 26th

What’s that coming over the hill?

It’s a brand new album from everyone’s favourite Welsh indie-rockers, the Automatic. After the huge success of debut album “Not accepted anywhere” in 2006, “This is a fix” was a difficult 2nd album in 2008 not getting to the top 40. However, “Tear the Signs Down” is going to be their first album on their own label – out next February – and they’re now off promoting it in advance together with the new single Interstate (out 6 December).

Support came from Straight Lines, another Welsh group with their debut album coming out early next year. It was a classic warm-up performance – loud, raucous, and infectious. There wasn’t a bad song in the set, particular favourites being the slightly twisted tune in All my friends have joined the army and the complete power of To be honest. The first album could well be one to look forward to.

Back to the headliners then, it was a nice mix of nice and old. Starting with Steve McQueen and featuring, of course, Monster, there were the songs that everyone was able to sing along to. Paul Mullen joined the band around the time of the second album, and I think it’s clear to tell that he’s got his feet more under the table (as it were) – taking the vocals on more of the new songs, and giving a subtly different feel to the music.

It’s like the band have grown up in a way, and was a very hopeful indication that the new album will be good fun.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

TOTW48: Mumford & Sons – Winter Winds

The song that’s actually going round my head, the song that I actually want to make TOTW is one I heard a couple of times on one night out, and one that it one of the greatest soft-rock songs ever (possible even better than Kip Winger).

Unfortunately, I don’t really think that I can make Journey a highlight from the cutting edge of music, so instead here’s the latest from the band making folk-style music cool again.

It’s a cracking simple tune, with close-knit harmonies, wide instrumentation, and once again shows broad talents. It probably is better than Journey in any event.

Bubbling Under

Basement Jaxx – My turn

Ellie Goulding – Under the sheets

Doves – House of Mirrors

Pixie Lott – Cry me out

Take That – Hold up a light

Sunday, 22 November 2009

TOTW47: Norah Jones – Chasing Pirates

Bubbling Under

Mumford & Sons – Winter Wind

Technorati Tags: ,

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

1990

Isn’t it nice when a relatively modern Top 5 features some old-style songs, and some newer classics too? Pity about Vanilla Ice though…

Sunday, 15 November 2009

TOTW46: Lily Allen – Who’s have known?

Only really one contender this week, where the chorus is scarily reminiscent of Take That. No idea what the video’s getting at though

Watching telly, drinking wine. Sounds like my life…

Technorati Tags:

Sunday, 8 November 2009

TOTW45: Arctic Monkeys - Cornerstone

This video is either, depending on your view, very original and quite witty; or bloody boring. I’m still undecided. It’s directed by Richard Ayoyade out-of-off-of the IT Crowd, so it’s clearly meant to be funny, and there’s some funny bits – but it could do with a bit of, you know, something.

Still, music is not about how it looks, otherwise John & Edward would have been crowned Extractor X-Factor champions long ago – it’s about the song and the singing. Written about “meeting girls in pubs who remind [Alex Turner] of the one he’s trying to forget” (Uncut magazine), the lyrics manage the first rhyme of toast and ghost since Des’Ree without it sounding even half as cheesy. It’s a soft song, and it paints a story which a lot of songs don’t do.

In essence, the simple video matches the simple song – but it manages to still have tension and a climax. All round good egg then.

 

Bubbling Under

Jamie Cullum – I’m all over it

Athele – Black Swan Song

 

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

1979

Let us, together, spare a thought for some rabbits and the biggest selling single of 1979.


To be fair though, it is an exceptionally written song by Mike Batt (much better than the Wombles) - which bewilderingly never got to America's Billboard Top 100.

Also featuring is one of Bob Geldolf's hits (not the one about Rats, but the other one) and a bit of Cliff. Not a bad year all in all though.

Monday, 2 November 2009

October Last Chance: Vampire Weekend

Whilst I can't find a video yet, I can find a free download - which is always good.

Nerina Pallot and Jamie Cullum both came very close - but at the end of the idea it's the new "Contra" album that excites me just as much as this single, and I doubt I'd buy either of the other albums, so Vampire Weekend get the last chance!

Technorati Tags:

Sunday, 1 November 2009

TOTW44: Paolo Nutini - Pencil Full of Lead

I've not heard a song anything like this on contemporary radio since Lou Bega (and that's still not quite right). It goes back to an era before even Rock'n'Roll - jazz, dance halls, and the ilk. It's fun. It's catchy. And it's very very different. Really don't get the video though...

Bubbling under

Arctic Monkeys - Cornerstone

Camera Obscura - The Sweetest Thing

Dame Shirley Bassey - Nice Men (Written by K T Tunstall no less)

Sunday, 25 October 2009

TOTW43: Beverley Knight - In Your Shoes

This week's tune is, quite possibly, one of the best uses of sampling I've heard in years. Taking Rip it Up from Orange Juice, and giving it a totally different twist - especially if you listen to the version with Chipmunk (whoever he is). I prefer the Radio 2 version, no shock there, just featuring the talented vocal of Beverley Knight. It's funky, passionate, and enjoyable.

Official video (feat. Chipmunk)

Bubbling Under 

Whitney Houston - Million Dollar Bill

Jamie Callum - I'm all over it

Paolo Nutini - Pencil full of lead

Florence & the Machine - You've got the love

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

1999

Ah, the terrible period between the mid-90s and early 00s.


That said, there's some pretty good numbers in the top 5. A bit of Lou Bega and Eiffel 65 are both very enjoyable. And it could be worse - imagine if Britney's hit was Oops I did it again...

Saturday, 17 October 2009

TOTW42: Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu - Bapa

Nerina Pallot - Real Life Starter

It starts a bit Kate Nash, but it develops into a real bouncy tune with a catchy chorus, and easily enjoyable.

Spandau Ballet - Once More

Argh! Another comeback band! Sounds like a cross between Take That and a film tune. That said, it isn't actually that bad.

Lisa Hannigan - Lille

Re-release, but a nice gentile number for a Sunday morning.

Michael Jackson - This is It

I'm not a fan of posthumous releases - if it was good enough to be a single, why wasn't it released at the time? Stinks a bit of voyeurism. However, This is It is definitely a good song, and Jackson at his best.

Vampire Weekend - Horchata

Only thing to say is that I'm already looking forward to the album!

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu — Bapa

Simple. Serene. Emotive. Obviously, I had not idea what the lyrics were referring to the first few times I heard this song, but notwithstanding that it's impossible not to be moved by it all. The song has actually been around for a while, and in the UK available for download since June, but physically released only on the 12th October. Amazing from someone who is said to be extremely shy, born blind and living without any modern aids that are available to him.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

TOTW41: Editors - Papillon

It's a very different direction from what we're used to with the Editors - away with the guitars, in with the synths. But, it's still unmistakably Tom Smith on vocals, which makes it unmistakably Editors. It's reassuringly retro, with a memorable tune, yet modern and distinct. And therefore good.

Bubbling Under

Idlewild - Readers & Writers

Vampire Weekend - Horchata

Saturday, 10 October 2009

In Concert: The Proclaimers

The last time I was at The Sands Centre for a concert, I did point out that I didn't view it as a perfect venue. Last night for The Proclaimers, it was proved even more with the lights often coming on a split second too late and far too many episodes of feedback for professional concert.

Miles Hunt (out of off of the Wonderstuff) was support, and sadly not as inspiring as hoped. Most of the songs were nice, but nothing more. I commented at the time that it would be a great soundtrack to a film, but not as gig music. Thankfully, ending with Size of a cow ensured that things weren't a complete damp squib.

As towards the headliners, overall it was a really good set. Inevitably, a lot of the songs I didn't recognise, and got the feeling that I wasn't the only one. Never-the-less, Love can move mountains (which I'm sure must have been a TOTW shortlist when it was released recently, but can't find it) was a particular favourite, and proof that the twins still have the ability to write good tunes.

The last 30 minutes however were an absolutely brilliant finale. Sunshine on Leith in its live form is truly emotive, and the other old favourites like I'm on my way and (of course) I'm Gonna be (500 miles) really got the crowd going - and the two First Aiders in the pit (it's a wonder they ever let me out).

Technorati Tags: ,

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

2001

I love the way that the random year generator came up with 2002 - nope, done that, try again, so it said 2001 instead...

The advantage in being a recent year is that I can also tell you that the top single in this list sold 1,180,700 singles - and the top three sold over a million.

How that was possible with the second in the list will have to remain as a mystery...


2001

Sunday, 4 October 2009

TOTW40: Fanfarlo - The Walls are Coming Down

Actually a very close run thing this week - The Editors in particular really impressing. In the end, it came to a choice between what I still think are two similar songs - Mumford & Sons and Fanfarlo. But after Wednesday, I suppose it could only be one of them:

Bubbling Under:

Colbie Caillat - Fallin' for you

Robbie Williams - Bodies

Editors - Papillon

Mumford & Sons - Little Lion Man

Thursday, 1 October 2009

In concert: First Aid Kit & Fanfarlo

When I first mentioned Fanfarlo in TOTW, I said there was more to follow. Where it followed was up in Glasgow at the world famous King Tutts, as I've been missing decent gigs for a while.

Somewhat unusually, it was actually a joint-headline gig with former TOTWers First Aid Kit.

But first of all, as ever, was the support act. Woodenbox are a local band, as is de rigeur, and as support bands often are were really really impressive. I'm trying to remember where I've heard the name from in the past, but either way the set was dynamic, and creative. A truly live experience with what I would call 'proper' instruments (ie saxophone and trumpet, not just the standard guitar + drums). Some would say that purpose of warm-up acts is to, erm, warm-up the crowd - and they managed this perfectly, with the right amount of energy to get things going without wearing things out.

First Aid Kit then took over the baton with a complete change. Close-knit harmonies with limited accompaniment showed the true vocal talents of both Klara and Johanna. Stand out track for me was the emotive cover of Universal Soldier, which is even more moving in the live. Hard Believer is the new single out on Monday, and is definitely a bit more energetic and different - I personally loved the anticipatory modulation (Can you tell I did music at school?) of the line "Love is ro-ugh" that they sang on the stage. The one flaw with the band is that you really have to be in the right sort of mood to enjoy the music in any length - and they may not be, for me at least, an "album buy" when it's out in January - but as background music and to show the talent in a live band, you can't go far wrong.

Back to Fanfarlo then, and as instrument after instrument appeared on the stage it became obvious that the band were going to be a bit nearer to The Arcade Fire than I previously thought, to be proved as the music started. Harold T Wilkins proves the similarities - as does seeing the band in action. It almost proved to be a logistical nightmare as it seemed between every song there was a mass movement to get into the right position to play yet another different instrument. Several I still have no idea what they actually were. To some extent they managed a mixed set on their own - from the gentle simple openings  to the fast paced Luna nothing seemed too much of a challenge to show the flair and talent.

I can't finish without commenting on the encore though, as First Aid Kit and Fanfarlo joined to perform This is the Way - first performed when the bands met up at the Field Day Festival. As it was really a joint headline, there's only one video I can finish wish - hope you enjoy at least as half as much as I enjoyed the diversity and flair that the gig as a whole had to offer.

Fanfarlo & First Aid Kit - This Is The Way (Devendra Banhart)

September Last Chance: Muse & Hockey

I'm breaking the rules again this month, but (as I said last month) I make 'em - so what's the problem?

2 "last chancers" this month, the first one meeting the standard criteria of "frequently mentioned, never quite made it as TOTW, but still a good song". It's feel good in its own way, catchy, and generally enjoyable:

Hockey - Song Away (Official Music Video)

The second one though I'm not sure has even made it to the TOTW shortlist throughout the past month. This is explained because I've hardly heard it on the radio. From hearing it for the first time though, I knew it was a great song. And they shouldn't be penalised for my crap choice of radio stations. So, far later that it should have appeared, here's the video:

Uprising

Technorati Tags: ,

Saturday, 26 September 2009

TOTW39: Michael Bolton - Just one Love

I feel a slight hint of shame making this my TOTW. But, it's a good song, it really is. Feel good, memorable (and therefore it is actually the only real song that's got stuck in my head this week), and sung by a classic artist. So, sorry that it's not really "trendy" (and there is a worrying trend developing of the older generation becoming TOTW), but tough - it's my party :)

Bubbling Under

The Joy Formidable - Greyhounds in the Slips (Currently on free download)

a-ha - Nothing is keeping you here

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

1956

Sorry, I've become slack lately - blame holidays that have put me out of sync.

Still, I only really recognise two of these tracks - which is in some ways worrying, but at the same time, I definitely wasn't around at the time!


Sunday, 20 September 2009

TOTW38: Mark Knopfler - Border Reiver

This week I'm going for a track that is perhaps appropriate for my geographic location. It's also great to hear, once again, one of the best known artists from the 1970s. It's perhaps a bit too "folky" for some people - yes, it's got the "fiddly-dee factor", but that's a great factor to give you a bit a "get-up and go". No official video I can find, but this should do the trick:

Bubbling Under:

Hockey - Song Away

Fanfarlo - The Walls are coming down

Mumford & Sons - Little Lion Man

Thursday, 17 September 2009

One EskimO - One Eskimo

image This is the review of a nice, average band; with a nice, average home in a nice, average town. At least, that's what I imagine it to be.

Because, as the introduction to Hometime tells us, that's the story behind "All Balloons", the provisional title for One EskimO's debut album which is now set to be a self-titled number.

I first talked about One EskimO back in June, and have been listening to the album fairly regularly since then general release having been sadly delayed on several occasions until now, finally, next Monday (available for pre-order at all usual places), together with the extra "Givin' Up". They really are my band of the moment - but a bit of further background first, courtesy of the review from one such "usual place":

One eskimO's striking sound and presentation can be traced back to 2004, when [singer/songwriter Kristian] Leontiou first hit the UK Top 10 with his solo debut single, 'Story Of My Life.' His album, entitled 'Some Day Soon,' proved equally successful, selling more than 200,000 copies and catapulting the soulful young singer to pop success. But, the experience left the gifted young vocalist strangely unfulfilled, as if he were merely a spoke in the great wheel of music industry marketing.

-HMV

So, Leontiou set to do something different. And with Adam Falkner (drums), Pete Rinaldi (guitar) and Jamie Sefton (bass and horns) he set out to create a band that doesn't require him to be in the spotlight, the central instead being one eskimo (with a band of a penguin, giraffe, and monkey). As Leontiou told the Guardian back in 2007:

"I wanted to create a sound of my own: magical, ambient, filmic, acoustic, beautiful and meaningful. I wanted to write about how I felt about life, love, losses and failures, highs and lows, even heartbreaks. But also about how amazing human life is and how mind-blowing our very existence is."

-The Guardian

And that's the definite mood behind the album. Moody and very lyrical, expressive and touching upon a huge variety of issues that affect daily life. The tracks themselves have got comparitively basic tunes and rhythms, but the intricate electronic textures took a year to finalise the album - with Rollo Armstrong producing.

With the perhaps rough and ready animation, the "childlike innocence" that Leontiou said he wanted to create is there.

Stand out tracks have to be Kandi (sampling Candi Staton's He called me baby), the powerful (without being loud, raucous, or heavy) Chocolate, and the jazz Balloons (3 quite different ones there) - but it's difficult to actually pick out any. There genuinely are no bad tracks, and there is much to be said from treating the album as a whole and not individual tracks.

I'm gutted I missed that at V, but you can still catch them supporting Paulo Nutini over the next few weeks. I'll be looking for their own gigs, which are an inevitability, and am determined not to miss them again.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

TOTW37: Paloma Faith - New York

Bubbling Under

Michael Bolton - Just one Love - I know, but listen to it, you might be as surprised as I am.

Technorati Tags: ,

Sunday, 6 September 2009

TOTW36: The Yeah You's - Getting up with you

Bubbling Under:

Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat- Lucky

Hockey - Song Away

Fanfarlo - The walls are coming down (more on which may follow in a subsequent post later)

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

August Last Chance: Black Eyed Peas

I'm going to break the rules here. My rule is that the last chance comes from the nominated tracks for TOTW that haven't quite made the grade.

However, I Gotta Feeling has only not made it to the shortlist because of desperate memory failings on my part. In fact, it definitely should have been a TOTW on its own. So, I'm making it my last chance with no sense of shame - and even if I did, what would you do about it?

It really is a brilliant pop song. Catchy, diverse, unique, funky, with real get-up - I'm sure I could go on for ages. It's just a feel good song, and could easily start a night out.


Technorati Tags:

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Would you like some pop ladies?

Rock festivals are all around at the moment, but no one seems to be releasing anything - so I thought I'd focus on the sophomore solo efforts of ladies who used to be in other bands.

The first is Frou Frou's Imogen Heap - as normal, thrown into fame and stardom by a vocal only effort called Hide and Seek appearing on US TV show of no real note, The OC.

She famously re-mortgaged her house to record her debut album, Speak For Yourself. She managed to land the lead song on the end credits of Disney's Narnia movie. She now releases another layered vocal effort as the first single off of her new album, Ellipse.

Imogen Heap - First Train Home


Runner up. Irish singer who won't let her accent be hidden, Dolores O'Riordan. Taking the odd approach of including one of the songs from her first solo album on her new album, No Baggage - albeit slightly revamped (in a - this song is good, you WILL hear it - style of hissy fit?). Dolores, former singer with the Cranberries - just does what she does best - as an album, it's more like the Cranberries than her first, you'd almost not notice the difference.

Debut single The Journey is probably the most individual track, it's fairly catchy - you can't sing along to it unless you're Irish though.

Dolores O'Riordan - The Journey

V-Blog: The other bits

Well, V finished almost exactly one week ago, and now I'm back from France I can tell you all about it. Except, as you might have guessed from the lack of numerous posts (to which I once again have to thank Hazard), what I warned could happen did happen and my view of any stages wasn't the greatest.

Still, of those bands on my "would like to see" list, whilst I didn't see that many I did catch the odd song from plenty - even if it was just hearing them from afar. The Noisettes were nice and racy; The Killers sounded as brilliant as I would have hoped; Mystery Jets were raucous; Athlete sounded pretty good.

The big shame is that, in not really watching one set in any great detail (save for the fabulous Specials), I can't really say who was brilliant - it really is a case of being one thing listening, and another seeing. To an extent, I can listen on the radio... It also means that (save for Dizzee Rascal) no-one struck me as being particularly crap (and I think Dizzee Rascal is mainly a question of personal taste as the crowd seemed to be loving it).

So, sadly not much to report on this blog - but it was still a cracking event and with any luck I'll be back once again next year.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Remi Nicole - Cupid Shoot Me

image The second album from another soulful singer on the Island Label (vaguely familiar routine there then) is out on Monday - but what makes Remi Nicole stand out from what is becoming a very busy genre (particularly with stablemate Amy Winehouse)?

Well, all 11 tracks on the album have been written by Ms Nicole, and when I first listened to a quick sample of the album I was quite dissapointed. They lacked the certain "oopmh" and really catchy chorus of Standing Tears Apart (the first single, out now). Thankfully, it was a grower - I think what the problem was the initial shock of such a varied range of sounds in a short time frame. In retrospect though, it shows great variety and creativity from a young singer-songwriter.

Cupid Shoot Me, the title track, is especially soulful and perhaps a bit 60s with the chorus (Happy Days anyone?). Nice Boy is guitar lead and "shoo-woddy" - with a wonderful catchy beat. Whereas Come Find Me is the slow and melancholy one that every album has. And, if anything, Love You so is somewhere towards Rockabilly!

Thankfully, after getting used to all the differences, I'm able to say that yes, they are all good tracks. The diversity does actually mean that you won't get bored from the album - and with a wonderful voice, harmonies, and memorable tunes, there's nothing to get bored of in any event.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Unsung: Girls

If I said to you Lust for Life, the latest single by Girls wouldn't be what you had in mind. Mind you, from the band name, you wouldn't be expecting two San Franciscans called Christopher and "JR", would you? The first song I heard from the band was the wonderfully grumbling Hellhole Ratrace.

A bit like a non-Scottish Glasvegas, the song seems to drone on in a dreary fashion - which I appreciate sounds very negative but isn't meant to be, it's a character of the song. The bit I am going to say that's negative though is that it does drone on for a little too long - 6 minutes is an overly long song and you do get the feeling it could end much earlier than it does.

Solitude suffers no such problem though, and with the simple accompaniment is perhaps the easiest place to listen to the carefully chosen lyrics of the songs - themes of heartbreak clearly coming from some of the songs as Christopher Owens admits was a source of inspriation. Lust for Life is completely different from the other two I've had the opportunity to listen to - a bit crazier in terms of both lyrics, tune, and definitely video. All in all, it's what I'd best describe as a very "tempting" start - and one to listen to for the future.

Lust for Life is out on 7 Sept, with the debut album imaginatively entitled "Album" following on the 28th over here in Europe.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

V-Blog: Mystery Jets

Heard 'two doors down'. Got sound to going to see mystery jets, stage closed. Gutted, the bit i heard sounded brill. Elbow in the distance is good though.

Asp @ V

Saturday, 22 August 2009

V-Blog: The Specials

Yup, they've still got it. First song - Do the Dog. Loud, crazed, getting the crowd going. Time for Too Much Too Young. Highlight so far already (not that there's been much to compare against yet!).

Asp @ V

V-Blog: Dizzee Rascal

Oh dear, it's Dizzee Rascal. Is this music?

Asp @ V

V-Blog: The Noisettes

Okay, so it's from a distance, but I still don't know what she was wearing. Who wears short shorts? Funky set though, some numbers I haven't heard before.Funny thing was then moving to behind the stage and cocking up the 4Music interview as we did!

Asp @ V

TOTW34: The Noisettes - Wild Young Hearts

I'm doing something I've never done before this week. I first shortlisted Wild Young Hearts in December 2008. The Noisettes have been TOTW a few times since, and now Wild Young Hearts is back on the playlists. It's a great tune, described by Stuart Maconie last night as a "Fruithat" song - imagine the Caribbean and someone dancing to this tune with a "fruithat", and you'll see what he means...


Bubbling Under:
Mika - We are Golden
Lily Allen - Twenty-Two
Hockey - Song Away
Pixie Lott - Boys & Girls (Does this sound like the start to a dodgy TV comedy mixed with the Sugababes?)
Jack Penate - Pull my heart away

Thursday, 20 August 2009

V2009: Preview

image Next weekend is V then - and I'm please to report that, as last year, Hazard will be assisting as the "hub" for remote posting throughout the weekend (I still can't convince my phone to let me blog from the site); and I'll be giving a full report in due course thereafter (but not immediately, because I'll be going straight on my summer holidays)

Regular readers will know from my previous years at V that I don't know what I'm going to be doing until I get there, or (more importantly for this blog) where I'm going to be. I may be allocated to a stage or just in a general public enclosure. Either way, I'll be nearer one stage than any others, and won't have the complete flexibility as I did at Kendal Calling to go and explore another stage because there's a good band.

Thankfully, being V, there's a brilliant range of talent on all stages. So, it's more a case of "when do I want to arrange my lunch break not to miss if I'm in the area and hope not to get any patients at that time".

On that list is:

V Stage - Killers, The Specials; Oasis, James

4Music  - The Ting Tings, The Noisettes; Keane, Athlete

The Arena - Calvin Harris, Happy Mondays; MGMT, The Human League, Ben's Brother

Virgin Media Union - Alphabeat, V V Brown; Mystery Jets, One Eskmi0

I'm sure that I'll be able to report on at least two of the above, and hopefully a very many more. Watch this space as it happens for details.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

1958

Even though it's from the 1957 film, Jailhouse Rock was the first ever single to enter the charts straight in at No1 on the 24th January 1958. No great surprise it ended up being the biggest seller of the year...

It's a nice and familiar top 5 though - sadly a really enjoyable release from the year ending up at No6. All together now, "There's Juice loose about this hoouse"

(This post is brought to you in association with Wine Gums, obviously)


1958

Monday, 17 August 2009

One EskimO - Givin' Up

I've already mentioned One EskimO once here, and I'm sure there's going to be plenty more mentions to come - with enough luck I'll go to watch them at V this year, there's a delayed album review to post just in time for the delayed album launch in September, and they're definitely turning to one of my favourite bands of the year - if slightly "underground" (in the sense as not mainstream yet, as opposed to a style of music). One track that isn't on the album though is Givin' Up - it was meant to be, but an internet leak got it "out there" in April of this year, and the Don Diablo mix was then made available as a free download in June. Like all remixes though, there's more than just the one - in fact I have 3 available as a free download here (together with the original for comparison purposes). I've never really understood remixes - and whilst the original is as good as it is, it's often a pointless exercise. Personally, I feel that the Zero T remix is a bit like something I'd find on a computer game... The original is dreamy and tuneful, with a powerful (whist not annoyingly loud) chorus. And, with this in mind, I really do actually like to Don Diablo remix. It's only a slight twist - more electonic (obviously) - maybe even a bit Muse-like, a bit of a faster feel to it. Just a bit more get up and go, but no so much to be unfaithful to the roots of the song. Anyway, have a listen, and shout out if you have further comments.