Sunday, 31 May 2009

TOTW22: The Killers - The World We live In

Bubbling Under:

Lady Gaga - Paparazzi

EG - Broken

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Wednesday, 27 May 2009


After some discussion, I have a new theme for the alternate Wednesday post.

"The Music Year of the Week".

It's something different - but each fortnight I'll select a year (well, a random number generator will) between 1950 and 2010 (by the time it finishes).

The playlist that post will be the top 5 selling singles from that year.

Simple - and whilst there's millions upon millions of lists out there with "Top selling music" (not forgetting everyone's favourite Wikipedia), I've never gone through them all. I would have done it in turn, but that would have got boring with similar music together.

First year randomly selected - 1987. Just after I was born. And my, wasn't music great back then...

Sunday, 24 May 2009

TOTW21: Daniel Merriweather - Red

Thanks to my work colleagues (trying to find out what song someone was on about took the rest of us a day) one song that's recently been going around my head is Rubber Lover by Marmaduke Duke. Sampling Billy Joel's Sleeping with the television on, people have said that it could be a surprise hit of the year, given it's short, punchy nature (less than 2 minutes long) and catchy tune. The flaw in this plan is that I've only heard about myself over the past week, and it was released over a month ago. Still, I can see why people like it.

I can't not mention The Killers World we Live in, nor the immensely bouncy and addictive She's got me dancing by Tommy Sparks with it's quasi-electronic beat, but here's the TOTW:

Daniel Merriweather - Red

Daniel Merriweather's Red - I've touched upon it before. Out on the 18th May, you all probably remember Merriweather from such Mark Ronson songs as Stop me if you've heard this one before, and whilst he does have a single career, this is the first song I've noticed as something that I really enjoy. It's a really powerful song, if distinctly dark and brooding. So, it's not a "get up and dance" number, but that doesn't suit all voices, and it's clear that this sort of song is what Merriweather excels at. With the proliferation of similar sounding male songsters at the minute, it's a bit surprising that I've not been talking about him for years in some way shape or form - we may even be fed up. But, whilst songs like this are released, there's no complaints here.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Warning - features nudity

That's got you all interested, hasn't it?

Well, for once, I'm not actually telling porkies. Allow me to present Mel & Kim.

Sorry, I got that very wrong. I mean Matt & Kim. (I bet that's never been done before - worse than Rickrolling surely?)

Lessons Learned is going to be released over here in the UK on 1st June, and the video (perhaps unsurprisingly) has caused a bit of a stir stateside when it was premiered late last month. Them Yanks are easily offended really...

Personally, I've never heard of Matt and Kim before. They are a respected indie band in the US, but haven't yet broken the British market. "Grand" is their new album though (released in January on the other side of the pond),  and they will be heading around these fair shores to promote the said same in the not-so-distant future.

Listening to the obligatory myspace, I see no reason why it won't be successful. Their live shows appear to have a real reputation for craziness (now matched in the videos), and the music fits nicely between the indie and punk genres to appeal to a wide set of fans. I expect their presence to be heard on playlists before too long, which may just give them to power to become "known" over here.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Unsung: Blabbermouth

I first heard Blabbermouth on Tom Robinson's Introducing show, with the truly brilliant song Domestic Bliss. Unfortunately, as I'm behind with these reviews, it's no longer available on his myspace, but there's plenty of cracking songs that are. Even if they're not quite as murderous and love-struck as with the line "This is Domestic Bliss / Ain't ever ever felt like this / You seem to have unlimited cash / Since your wife died that in crash". And there's still a video for it:

Just a unique twist and choice of lyrics is immediately catching, together with a wonderful tune - how often do you hear a banjo nowadays? It is folk music, but really not as you know it Jim, and very enjoyable.

The current myspace tracklisting is completely diverse. Amnesia and the slightly morbid 4ft Death (is the Grim Reaper really that small?) is in a similar style to Domestic Bliss, but then you have My Time Machine which is - appropriately enough given the title - futuristic sounding. Nothin in my pocket reminds me of early 90s pop with the "talking lyrics". I could go on, but you can see the pattern - it shows great diversity from a single artist.

Worth a listen.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

TOTW20: Gary Go - Open Arms

All being well, I'm having another weekend away at the time this appears. So, whilst there's a decent number of shortlisted songs, I'm writing this on Friday night whilst trying to organise my camping gear, so there's no talking about any of them...

Daniel Merriweather - Red - May 18th

The Killers - The World we live in - May 18th

Empire of the Sun - We are the people - June 1st

Pet Shop boys - Did you see me coming? -June 1st

The Joy Formidable - Whirring - May 25th

TOTW though is this very familiar sounding record from Gary Go. Open Arms is that drum beating indie-pop that's pretty popular at the minute, and sounds like many other songs that are around nowadays. But, it's a cracking feel-good song, with a decent tune, and a coda to vary things a wee bit. At the end of the day, it's enjoyable - which is all I'm after.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Nice idea

Launch, as your first single, an effective AA side. With the same song. But different.

I'm explaining it badly, as ever, so instead I'll demonstrate by way of example. Dressed in Dresden and Undressed in Dresden, the "heavier dub-lined" re-working of the former. It's what The Hundred in the Hands have done, and it's very impressive.

You wouldn't actually tell, first off, that they're the same song. Dressed in Dresden is a fast beated but slow paced guitar heavy quasi-electronic number with a repetitive yet catchy female lead vocal. Undressed in Dresden have got a different brass rhythm continuo, and a futuristic electronica element. But, it's that same female lead vocal.

If they're a band to look out for in the future is impossible to tell from just one (set of) song(s). But, I like what I hear - so there's definitely an "eye open" opportunity there.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Ziggy & Zephyrs

Incredible to think that we are 12 months on now since I first starting alphabetisting. What I'm going to do next I'm not actually sure, but I'm sure something will take its place.

Unfortunately, it's enough difficult letter, so it's hardly ending on a high - but there's some classic tunes for you to enjoy.

The letter Z

Monday, 11 May 2009

A label

Time for a slightly different "Unsung" - some time ago now (even longer now because I started writing this before I went offline) I got an e-mail from a record label. A small, independent label - which means small, independent bands. Desert Records describe themselves thus:

Desert Records was established in 2008 by Alejo Rodriguez and Craig Daly. Even in this online digital download world of MP3s and disposable music, we still believe that someone, somewhere, still wants a CD with nice packaging (call us old fashioned). It's easy to make your own home recordings but we have realised that you need a record label to give that final mastered product that 'finished' look. (Myspace)

I don't know if it's possible to do an unsung for a label, but I'm going to try anyway with some of their bands. The catch here being "What song's by which band?" - the songs on the label's myspace listing all being listed as being by the label. A flaw in myspace - there is one afterall! Thankfully, the benefit of album covers and looking at other myspace pages has helped. So, here's what's on offer:

Windnight - The opening bars of Uprooted leave you with no illusion as to where this band come from. Bagpipes - must be Scotland, and to be more accurate it's Glasgow. With guitar though - a highly unusual combination of genres, and with that and also Desert Night, a quite unusual demonstration in modern times of an instrumental. Desert Night is also a perfect example of music and title being properly designed - it sounds Arabian, and yes it could fit into an evening in a bivouac.

Stone Autumn - Continuing the theme of bagpipes, Come to me now does, in some ways, show a recurring theme between the bands on the label. There are more songs to listen to, all with the distinct Scottish folk background but with a slight twist. Mainly traditional stuff, so not entirely my cup of tea, but if you like that sort of thing it's a perfectly fine example.

The Midgierakers - More acoustic folk. Unfortunately, for the purposes of this blog, that's all it is. Nothing eccentric, nothing unusual, and nothing spectacular. It's clear it's good musicianship, but I've not drunk enough cider to really appreciate this sort of this music. Going to have to pass with a "no comment"

Back to the label as a whole though - great to see someone willing to take a punt with something different. Hope it pans out

Note - For those that keep sending me myspace requests, links to free downloads, tips for new talents etc etc etc - I apologise for not either responding or reacting to them. I've got a back log of several weeks, and still wish to listen to everything I've been sent. Please bear with me, and please keep them coming in the interim. I'll try to catch up asap.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

TOTW19: Lily Allen - Not fair

Given the review I gave it last week, this was pretty well predictable, wasn't it?

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Friday, 8 May 2009

April Last Chance: Jack Peñate

Not quite as prompt as normal, but there's obvious reasons for that. There's also obvious reasons for picking Jack Peñate as last chance. A complete departure from earlier work, it's entrancing, and instintively memorable. Cleverly done. Jack Peñate - Tonight's Today
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Monday, 4 May 2009

TOTW18: Jason Mraz - Make It Mine

As it's a bank holiday, today still classes as "weekend". And, whilst I've been away, there's been a selection of tunes that have been coming to my attention - and I keep forgetting to mention.

Bubbling under are Yusuf Thinking 'bout you, Empire of the Sun We are the people, Madness Dust Devil, Calvin Harris I'm Not Alone and Honey Ryder Choices.

Ultimately though, a difficult decision between two tracks.

I only listened to the lyrics of Lily Allen's Not Fair this morning. Before then, I just thought it was a great quirky country number. It's almost cheeze, well, it has to be with the banjo accompaniment and solos. Thing is with the lyrics, it's, well, Lily Allen. Songs have been banned from the BBC for suggesting less than that. Which in my eyes makes it even better - a complete juxtaposition between lyrics and music, and I'm sure it was intended.

But, it's not TOTW. Because I've been meaning to mention Jason Mraz Make It Mine for ages, and never got round to it. When I first heard it, I was entirely sure how it was by. The opening lines remind me of Stuart Murdoch (Belle & Sebastian), and there's other bits in there which are very B&S-esque, which probably explains why I like it. But the chorus is a bit too bouncy, so I knew it wasn't. And the Coda definitely isn't B&S.

Overall though, it's a great "feel good" tune for the summer. Really enthusiatic pop, and easy to accompany the good weather we've had over the weekend.