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


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…

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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.

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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.