Sunday, 21 March 2010

TOTW12: Gabrielli Cilmi – On a Mission

I actually decided that this must be TOTW on Monday, whilst cranking up the stereo to full blast driving through the town centre. Gives you that bit of “Get up and go” you need…

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Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Guilty Secrets

I’m a Gleek.

I watched the pilot probably a few months ago now, just because it was on the telly. And whilst I didn’t immediately leap to it and say it was brilliant, I didn’t dislike it in the same way as a lot of American programmes.

But, a bit later, I knew a lot of people were talking about it, so gave it a second chance.

And now I can’t get enough of it.

Glee - don't Stop Believin' from Mira on Vimeo.

Take this clip, from the same said pilot. It’s a great cover of a great tune.

The entire show is feelgood, and the music is well sung. The characters are actually characters and not 2-dimensional droids, especially my favourite demonic PE teacher Sue Sylvester ably portrayed by Jane Lynch.

It got a brilliant review on the Radio Times website for the same reasons that I like it.

I love Glee because it's proper escapism; you can switch on and get lost in happiness before emerging, blinking, into the light, realising you've just passed an hour watching a piece of TV fiction that didn't send you spinning into existential despair. And if it makes you want to wear glitter eyeshadow, then what's wrong with that?

-Alison Graham

OK, I don’t end up wanting to wear glitter eyeshadow. But I do want to get up and have a daft dance. It doesn’t stretch your intelligence at all – but telly doesn’t need to. It’s just a good bit of fun. Which is what “entertainment” is all about.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

TOTW11: Goldfrapp - Rocket

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Sunday, 7 March 2010

TOTW10: Nerina Pallot – I Don’t want to go out

Bubbling Under:

Gabrielli Cilmi – On a mission

Goldfrapp – Rocket

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Unsung: The Kid Jones

It’s been a long time since Unsung had made a feature, but about as long since The Kid Jones first sent me an e-mail saying hello.

Now I can definitely talk about them though as their first single Juliet is out next Monday. It’s a good catchy number with electronic roots and a chorus that we can all sing. I particularly like the random dreamy bit about two-thirds through… A nice twist on the usual generic indie stuff.

The other songs on the standard myspace listing are also pretty good. Greenlight is the slow and moody guitar one, Mario Sings is the rockier one.

Listening whilst doing other things, it’s proved to be brilliant background music. And, I imagine they’d be a great live band. I might not, just yet, buy any album – but I’ll listen to them again, which is a good thing after a first listen only.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

TOTW9: Johnny Cash – For the Good Times

This might be the first ever posthumous TOTW. But, such a brilliant singer, it’s not surprising. Is it going to worth finding time to go to HMV to buy American VI: Ain’t No Grave? Definitely.

Sadly, I can’t find any version of this track available online, even non-embeddable. The BBC can offer a sneak preview, but that’s it.

Instead, I’ll offer you another of his truly emotive covers. Hurt was originally done by Nine Inch Nails, and recorded with this Grammy award winning video in 2003 immediately before Cash’s death.

Bubbling Under

Goldfrapp – Rocket

Foreigner – When it comes to love

Paloma Faith – Upside Down

Saturday, 20 February 2010

TOTW8: Leona Lewis – I Got You

I’m surprising myself with this one. Thing is, it is a good pop song. Well sung, energetic, catchy. OK, it’s no JEdward, but I’ve heard it enough times over the past week for it to get stuck in my head.

Bubbling Under

Michael BublĂ© – Cry me a river (What an opening)

Mumford & Sons – The Cave

Saturday, 6 February 2010

TOTW6: Massive Attack – Paradise Circus

Obviously, it can only be one act. For sheer determination, and the ability to bring a retired popstar back into the limelight (without being upstaged by him) there can only be one TOTW

And now I’ve recovered my senses, here’s what’s actually is Tune of the Week

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Sunday, 31 January 2010

TOTW5: Muse - Resistance

Bubbling Under

Goldfrapp - Rocket

The Big Pink – Velvet

Gorillaz – Stylo (Disaster for this band to have a rush release following a leak. Rush release means no video, and half of the fun with Gorillaz is the videos)

Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind (Part II)

Sunday, 24 January 2010

TOTW4: Owl City - Fireflies

A decent shortlist this week:

Biffy Clyro – Many of Horror (When we collide) (18 Jan) – Classic Indie guitar based rock.

Timothy B Schmit – Parachute – It sounds like the Eagles, which is no great surprise because he’s still in the band – but you’d hope that the solo output would have something to give it that individuality. Good song, but maybe a bit stuck in the past.

Ocean Colour Scene – Magic Carpet Days (26 Jan) – still waiting for a video for this one, but it’s a nice return – bouncy, enthusiastic, good fun.

But the winner is…

Owl City – Fireflies (8 Jan) – for a song that was originally recorded in the eons, it still sounds very fresh. Which is why it came out of nowhere to be US number 1 at the tail end of last year. Nominated for the Beeb’s Sound of 2010, I suppose the risk is that they were only a flash in the plan. But, all I need to do is take each song on its own.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

TOTW3: Paolo Nutini – 10/10

Bubbling Under:

Biffy Clyro – Many of Horror

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Sunday, 10 January 2010

TOTW2: One Republic – All the right moves

Don’t stop the music (25 Jan) by Jamie Cullum is almost certaintly the best cover I’ve heard in years. It’s quirky and a totally different twist.

But One Republic actually take TOTW with All the right moves (11 Jan). It’s got that catchy repetitive hook, a slightly haunting vocal melody.

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Monday, 4 January 2010

Muse: The Resistance


How long have Muse been around for now? The short answer is well over a decade, so I’m quite ashamed to come to them late. Hearing a song on the radio I’ve often enjoyed it, but only appreciated them as a band since V2008.

As a result, this is the first album I’ve bought of theirs, and have been anything but disappointed. It’s imposing, and powerful. Much has been said about the 3-part Exogenesis that concludes the album – and I can only agree. It’s described as a symphony, and it can be very moving.

Personal highlight is probably the title track, with its eyrie opening and full-on chorus. I’m a bit bewildered by the heavy Queen influence on United States of Eurasia that I spotted as soon as listened to it, and am not the only one. MK Ultra also seems to start with the theme to Treasure Hunt.

There’s little to say against this album. One of those rare beasts with not a single dud track – even in comparison they’re all as strong as each other, and also very different – whilst keeping the essential sense of assembly. It’s easy to listen from start to finish again, and again, which is obvious the true test.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Arctic Monkeys: Humbug

image Once again, I’m behind with album reviews. I’ve had this album for months, which is no great shock given how much I like the group.

It’s good that I like the Arctic Monkeys though, because it is more of the same. All fairly dark, guitar heavy, and with very distinct vocals.

There’s a few expections to that norm, so accurately demonstrated in tracks like My Propellor. Secret Door is, for instance, is quite melancholy and dreamy. Second single Cornerstone is also very different, fairly simplistic, and calms down the pace of the album very much.

Personal pick – Pretty Visitors. The variation within itself is pretty good – crazy fast paced opening, before an anthemic chorus.

It’s not a hugely different album, but more of a progression. Which is good, when there’s no need to be daring. The lyrics and song writing remain excellent, and it makes it clear that there’s more good stuff to come.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

TOTW1: Editors

First of the year then, and it's a fairly retro sounding track by Editors.

Editors - You Don't Know Love

EDITORS | MySpace Music Videos

What makes me think it sound quite classic is the fairly simple verses, simple accompaniment, and then the chorus finally comes in with a real power and a decent riff. It's fairly dark, but so's the weather at the minute so it matches!

Sound of 2009 - Reviewed

At the tail end of 2008, the entire 'Bites team went through the BBC's "Sound of 2009" long list and cast our thoughts on the offerings. Let's see how close we got to the answer shall we?

The Big Pink
Has it been a successful year or not? Dominos still is heard on occasion, got into the top 30 and is a good song - but have they made it into the public conciousness beyond a bit of niche for the other music?
Florence and the Machine
Yeah, she's better known now - still as popular, still as talented.
Little Boots
Won the Beeb's poll, and surely everyone now knows the tune to Remedy. Good result.
The Temper Trap
See later and the Empire of the Sun, just on a more pronounced scale. Big in their native Australia - top 10 album. Less so here, album peaked at 26 but the singles were nowhere.
Mumford & Sons
I asked for more, have now seen them live, and picked the single. Didn't get to the BBC's top 10 - but I do believe that they made a mistake here, and I think they're now much better known.
I think an average year - some decent chart success, and some recognition by yours truly. But only some, and I'm worried it may end up just being a flash in a pan instead of a long-term talent, because it's not bad.
La Roux
Only fifth in the BBC poll, but a huge success story and now very well know. I think Stig got it right when he said that the music was catchy and different, and that's why the singles have gone into the top end of the chart and stayed there.
Empire of the Sun
"Not enough to make it big." I said. BBC differed by putting the Australian band 4th, their home crowd differed even more by giving them 4 Aria Awards. Top 10 single with Walking on a Dream, and I've grown to like them. I don't think we've seen the end of them in Blighty yet, by far.
Kid Cudi
"He could become big - supporting Kanye West is a good start, and I've heard of West. But, even if he did, I wouldn't notice."
I haven't noticed him. Have you?
Passion Pit
It's taken up to Little Secrets to get some attention, but we're there eventually. Maybe an honourary mention in Sound of 2010 could be more appropriate?
White Lies
I said that they'd go from strength to strength in the New Year, and with a number 1 album that was proved. I've picked them on TOTW, but, haven't heard anything from them in a while. Which is a shame, because they are pretty good.
VV Brown
A dissapointment in the public gaze I think. I still like her, there's plenty of critical acclaim - but an album only getting to number 30 does not "Sound of the year" make.
Lady GaGa
Re-reading what I said last year, and describing her as "not my cup of tea", I don't know if I stand by that or not. I do like Lady GaGa now. She's certainly popular, and made it big. But, she has never made it to the dizziest heights in the music industry as one of my TOTWs. I do sometimes think that her music is a bit garish (or is that just her dresses). And, several singles on this year, I'm beginning to wonder if we're stuck in the loop. I can't be as harsh as I was last year, the music is enjoyable, but I think it still isn't my main music of choice.
Master Shortie
Again, who?
Dan Black
Dan Black was really starting to get a name for himself this time last year. But, he seems to have vanished, the debut album came out without much ceremony and I completed missed it. Where's he gone?

Friday, 1 January 2010

Tune of the Year 2009

This year, I’m not going to do a Top 10 per-se, just a general shortlist.

Fleet Foxes – Mykonos (TOTW2)

Take That – Up All night (TOTW11)

Noisettes – Don’t upset the Rhythm (TOTW15)

Killers – World We Live in (TOTW22)

Florence & The Machine – Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up) (TOTW27)

Paolo Nutini – Pencil full of lead (TOTW44)

Hockey – Song Away (September Last Chance)

I’ve slightly surprised myself with this list.

I mean, come on, Take That? The thing is, their comeback has been full of really good pop songs. I don’t think they can really be classed as a boy-band any more, I whilst Gary Barlow has been accepted as a brilliant songwriter for years, he’s really demonstrating it here.

No Arctic Monkeys despite buying the album (yes, I still need to review that…) and having 2 TOTWs. Likewise repeat mentions by La Roux, Lily Allen, or the Yeah Yous managed to get onto the shortlist – but the latter did come very close.

It does say something about the year that there is such a pop-contingent in the TOTWs. The other big things have been come backs and “classic” artists (see Mark Knofler, Michael Bolton, Lionel Richie), and classically-based songs. Take Pencil full of lead – it’s American dance hall music. All of the Noisettes have had that slight 60s funk too.

At the end of the year though, I’m not actually that surprised by my TOTY choice. What I am surprised at is that they’ve only had one TOTW hit, although other mentions have been there. The album is predictably sensational, and I’ve been harking on about the artist to anyone that’ll listen for well over the past twelve months. I’ve looked at the songs objectively, and still can think that my favourite emerging artist of the past few years has produced my favourite song of the year.

It’s very different, and slightly quirky (especially with the video). It’s memorable, and one I could listen to again and again. Ladies, Gents, and other bloggers I present my Tune of the Year 2010 – Florence and the Machine.

And now it’s your turn. Agree, disagree? Here’s the poll to cast your vote – if you agree with my playlist. Comment if you wish, and if you want your own review of 2009 guest posts are always welcome – just drop me an e-mail. In the meantime, 2010 starts right here!