Monday, October 31, 2005

Eventually they'll stop calling it Radio 6

In previous years Radiohead and the Manics have been given a full week's run at the 6 Music Selector, which is to say they chose a number of records to be played during the week and guested on a couple of shows. Fairly interesting stuff, but presumably this was far too outlandish an idea in the modern cut back BBC, so come 12th-16th December Franz Ferdinand, the Foo Fighters and Kaiser Chiefs will only be given a day each, along with Peter Kay for some reason. That's four in a five day span, yes, so presumably someone is still double checking their plans.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

In shops tomorrow : 31/10


  • Jamie Lidell's journey from IDM to mutant funk to Autechre-do-jazz to electronica soul suggests very little taken as linearly as possible other than he likes messing about. Something as conventional as a well signposted single, therefore, might have seemed unlikely, but here's the title track from Multiply.

  • It was a year Monday just gone since we saw Franz Ferdinand, which we mention because they were supported by the Kills, with stickers and handbills for the then forthcoming No Wow album littering various concourses. We mention this in turn because the title track is released as a single this week. Didn't they look out of place at Fashion Rocks? The director could hardly bring themselves to cut to them.

  • Among what nobody in the blogosphere actually refers to as the blogosphere, those who also attended Summer Sundae seem to have been underwhelmed by Patrick Wolf, but we'll fight anyone who believes differently to us, that is that his was probably the most stunning indoor set of the whole three days. His deconstruction of Tristan was a highlight; the rest of you get the electronic version.

  • 22 Grand Job is what The Rakes should have been about all the time - head down, charge for the line, litter the path with bitterness-flavoured sarcasm.

  • Still haven't actually heard We Laughed by Rosetta Life featuring Billy Bragg, but as mentioned in our Christmas number one betting analysis last week it's all in a great cause, as Billy illustrates.


  • Here we find a label in a quandary - what to do with Gemma Hayes? The Roads Don't Love You is less abrasive than her 2002 debut, which could publicity-wise well leave her open to admission to the Dido/Jem/Tunstall club that she doesn't deserve. Radio 2 not picking up on it helps in that regard.

  • Former head Red House Painter Mark Kozelek is an individual man, as proved by his acoustic AC/DC covers album and EP. This time around, in his Sun Kil Moon guise, Tiny Cities tackles the back catalogue of Modest Mouse, stripping it right back and highlighting Isaac Brock's storytelling. As if to prove the original comment, he's in the new Steve Martin film.

  • There probably is no good way of putting together something like Dancing In The Streets: Motown's Greatest Hits or, if to a lesser extent, Death Row Greatest Hits without a lot of bloodying of critical noses. Still, every home should have one. Or two.
  • The Weekly Sweep

    Futureheads - Area
    Nizlopi - JCB
    Architecture In Helsinki - Do The Whirlwind
    Lotus Eaters - The First Picture Of You
    Birthday Party - Release The Bats
    Pipettes - Dirty Mind
    The The - Heartland
    The Decemberists - 16 Military Wives
    Franz Ferdinand - Do You Want To (Errol Alkan remix)
    Maximo Park - Isolation

    Saturday, October 29, 2005

    As it's coming up to All Hallow's Eve

    ...imagine the single worst thing you can possibly think of. Then, see if it is in any way comparable to the video for Jessica Simpson's cover of Angels (three from the bottom of the appropriate list). The interesting thing about this is, not unreasonably, the Williams/Chambers original has had its gender focus switched, which makes us think that the then glad to be Christian Simpson had a very different approach to the song stemming from its the title, the line "(s)he won't forsake me" and the very weight of that word 'he'. Is it us, or does she slip into an attempt at Robbie's accent in parts?

    Friday, October 28, 2005

    An illustration of why Candle In The Wind was in Canada's charts for so long

    As we've been talking about a record in this top 20 recently, we thought we'd pop by and see what's happening with the Canucks' eccentric single sales chart. Three years in the top ten, Elton managed:

    20 Nine Inch Nails - The Hand That Feeds
    We should explain that the Canadian singles market died completely a few years ago and the majors have only just reactivated the two-track CD market, so in a country of great wide open spaces and 30m people you tend not to get great amounts of movement.

    19 The Postal Service - We Will Become Silhouettes
    There's a bit of this sort of thing going on too. If you thought this was unlikely outside some semi-mythical OC-land, what would you make of this?

    18 Coldplay - Speed Of Sound
    17 U2 - Vertigo
    16 U2 - Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
    Oh, they're not half finished yet. Presumably this is due to the tour rolling through Toronto in September.

    15 Sigur Ros - Untitled No.1
    Yes, from (). This, somehow, is its 123rd week in the charts, never going higher than 4. God knows what this is still doing here, or indeed why nothing from the new album is accompanying it.

    14 U2 - All Because Of You

    13 50 Cent - Outta Control

    12 U2 - If God Will Send His Angels

    11 Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc
    In the Guinness Book at Most Successful Virtual Band, apparently. Seriously, it's going to pot since Norris McWhirter passed on. Sidebar facts: two ex-members of Jamiroquai and two fomer Senseless Things have contributed to the band, Phil Cornwell voices Murdoc in interviews and it's Noodle's 15th birthday on Monday.

    10 Simply Red - Sunrise
    Officially they may well be the biggest indie band in the world. He can still afford to pay all those models in the videos, of course.

    9 U2 - City Of Blinding Lights
    Bono recently said he has extremely light sensitive eyes. Odd that this only seems to have developed since about 1991.

    8 Hedley - On My Own
    The band of a Canadian Idol contestant. There are many phrases you don't want to hear at the moment - "another hurricane is approaching the Gulf of Mexico mainland", "bird flu is absolutely going to kill thousands", "good evening, we're Test Icicles" - but surely one of the all-time leaders is "a contestant from Pop Idol is fronting his own band", with all the pretentions to seriousness that suggests.

    7 Coldplay - Fix You

    6 Bo Bice - Inside Your Heaven
    The American Idol runner-up, essentially notable for liking Southern rock. See, even there they get the contestants they deserve. Keep that title in your mind.

    5 North American Halloween Prevention Institute - Do They Know It's Halloween
    Fair to say it's outdone everything else The Unicorns wrote. Vice Recordings have got their stream working now.

    4 Carrie Underwood - Inside Your Heaven
    Yes, the same song as the runner-up. Not even Gareth Gates did that. Actually, it's worth pondering why only Kelly Clarkson has had records released outside North America from four series' worth of American Idol contestants. Even Norway's first Idol got international recognition!

    3 Pussycat Dolls - Don't Cha
    Actually a cover of a song by one Tori Alamaze, who released the track she co-wrote and co-produced with Cee-Lo just seven weeks before this version came out, which was just long enough for the single to peak at 58 in the Billboard Hot 100 and Universal, who also released this, to drop her and teach whichever Doll it is that actually does the singing how to impersonate Tori's voice (or so it says here, anyway) While Alamaze goes off to find a burlesque outfitters, we're going to put money on Girls Aloud's 22 Grand Job being the first new number one of 2006.

    2 Depeche Mode - Precious
    Nobody seems to have noticed this here beyond the huge fanbase, but like The Cure their reputation is kept alive across the rest of the Western musical world. Fashion will probably come round to them within the next thirty months.

    1 Melissa O'Neil - Alive
    And the Canadian Idol winner, please! O'Neil is the third winner of a show that to us is far more notable for the names of the judges - Jake Gold, Sass Jordan, Zack Werner (the Canuck Cowell) and Farley Flex. Hello, Mrs Flex, is your Farley about? One week the contestants all had to perform a Barenaked Ladies track. We're not making that up.

    9 To 5 to 11

    From a report yesterday, you don't need to know the newspaper it's sourced from:

    (Gordon) Brown was hosting a glittering bash on Tuesday, to persuade Britain's brightest stars to become role models for budding entrepreneurs. Actors Ewan McGregor and Tazmin Outhwaite were in the throng, as were TV presenters June Sarpong and Georgie Thompson, promising rapper Lady Sovereign, plus the Kaiser Chiefs and Basement Jaxx.

    Lady Sovereign?!? Aren't "Britain's brightest stars" supposed to become actual stars, rather than specialist print-only ones first? We'd question Sky Sports News' Georgie Thompson being there too but this isn't that kind of blog.

    Still, at least what fame SOV has accrued will allow her to get behind those campaigns she truly believes in knowing they'll be in the full glare of reflected publicity.

    Yes, or she could embark on a stupid campaign to tie in with her new single that won't endear her any further to those who already see her as a chav bandwagon chancer.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    Domino rally - this week's singles chart

    1 Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor
    mp3s, knowing all the words, yadda yadda yadda (although well done to the Telegraph, who in their piece about the changing face of building a fanbase referred to "gorilla gigs", which in terms of the characters of many of the people who go to them is correct), but who'd have thought two years ago that Domino would have a number one album and single within a month? Admittedly this signing wasn't that much of a stroke of A&R genius, but reports are the band turned down any number of major subsidiaries to throw their lot in with them. As long as it doesn't turn Lawrence Bell into 1994 Alan McGee we'll be fine with them. Can we stop referring to it as their debut single, though? Only a thousand may well have been pressed but Five Minutes With... still counts. Seriously, even after the stories that its midweeks lead over the Sugababes had increased, who really thought it'd be up here come Sunday? A chart topper genuinely worth discussing, and we're all the more glad about that.

    3 McFly - I Wanna Hold You
    Initial Reuters write-ups referred to this as I Wanna Hold Your Hand, which seems about right. The last guitar-based band to debut at number one, of course, eventually their support's die-harder elements might notice that they've changed. Who else gets a big scream out of a Who-cribbing solo?

    11 Dannii Minogue & Soul Seekerz - Perfection
    That Soul Seekerz is very important, if only because Dannii doesn't seem confident enough to bring out a single without some mid-European DJ collective you've never heard of before or since given supposed joint billing. Having spent the entire promotional treadmill talking about her sister, it's a wonder anyone noticed there was a record attached.

    13 Love Bites - You Broke My Heart
    Look upon this position, The Faders, and despair. We've been waiting for this for nearly the whole of 2005, in that every preview of the year's new bands published at the start of January contained a reference to major labels searching for a female Busted and hence we should keep an eye out for said Faders and these. You'd think majors would look away from the Midlands for guitar-toting popettes, though - 21st Century Girls, anyone?

    14 Bob Sinclar - Love Generation
    Is it the summer of 1999 again?

    15 Mylo Vs Miami Sound Machine - Doctor Pressure
    How proud can MylO really feel now someone else's bootleg of his song is his major calling card?

    22 Littl'ans feat. Pete Doherty - Their Way
    You know that saying about really popular acts that they could fart into a microphone, release it and still have a big hit? Proof in action.

    34 Lethal Bizzle - Fire
    Uncompromising grime - massive hit. Sample of a sample - dribbles into the chart. Conclusion: new marketing required.

    35 Da Playaz Vs Clea - We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off
    More Sam & Mark than Liberty X, Clea was an acronym of the members' names. Then one left. The court action must be pending.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2005

    Down In Albion, you're going down in the Albion

    Those who feared for Pete Doherty's health after his recent travails need worry no more, as his piece in today's Guardian about QPR proves his level remains at 'barely sufferable'. Indeed, we're not totally unconvinced that, given Doherty can't be that receptive to the press at the moment, it's not a Craig Brown in Private Eye-style spoof, so fully does it fulfil all requirements - a whole host of non-sequiturs, a bit of boasting about illegal activity, a crowbarred in reference to My Girlfriend Kate Moss Yes The Famous One Who I Have Had Sex With, and some barely thought out lyricism. This is in response to the plan for Michael Nyman to write the club's run-out music, which can only be a mistake - who wants their players to take to the field feeling drowsy?

    Sunday, October 23, 2005

    Cats Caravan

    Yeah, we've done a lot of posts about John Peel recently, what of it? This time we thought we'd mention 6 Music's week of tribute shows starts tomorrow with the first Top Gear, and the Times revealed the contents of his favourite record box, which by the looks of it was set up for a White Stripes theme weekend. We also keep meaning to review Margrave Of The Marshes but keep having to edit our thoughts about which of his daughters we most fancy. Sorry.

    In shops tomorrow: 24/10/05


  • As if to recover from the excitement of last week it's all gone a bit quiet this Monday, what with Robbie albums and Westlife singles. But... as if to say "that's a rabid fanbase, is it, Arctic Monkeys? No, no. This is a rabid fanbase!", Kate Bush releases her first single in nearly eleven years, King Of The Mountain

  • Even if it has left us with the rather good new video, there really is no reason for Warp, of all labels, to re-release Maximo Park's Apply Some Pressure. It got to number 20 with next to no promotion eight months ago!

  • One of the best moments of Summer Sundae this year was Tom Vek getting the amassed umbrellas watching his set moving up and down in time to his signals. It might be a bit difficult to recreate it in your bedroom as he brings out the song that caused such brolly choreography, Nothing But Green Lights

  • Do singles to promote tours long after the album release actually work? To test the theory, The Wedding Present's Ringway To Seatac. Their support The Organ apparently bring out Memorize The City this week too.


  • A paucity here too, being down to curious experiments such as the Fiery Furnaces' Rehearsing My Choir, a series of duets between Eleanor Friedberger and her 83 year old grandmother. According to Matthew Friedberger's notes, "Tracks 3 and 4 take place in the 40's; tracks 5 and 6 in the 20's and 30's; track 7 in the later 50's; track 8 starts in the very early 40's; track 9 goes back and forth; track 10 takes place in the early 60's; the final track takes place in the early 90's." It's that kind of album.

  • Also out is the OST to Thumbsucker, the forthcoming film starring Tilda Swinton, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D'Onofrio, Keanu Reeves and Benjamin Bratt and soundtracked by the Polyphonic Spree plus three new Elliott Smith songs.
  • The Weekly Sweep

    Patrick Wolf - Tristan
    Cardigans - I Need Some Fine Wine And You, You Need To Be Nicer
    Arab Strap - Dream Sequence
    Animal Collective - Flesh Canoe
    Pop Will Eat Itself - Can U Dig It
    Silver Jews - Random Rules
    Field Music - If Only The Moon Were Up
    Arcade Fire - Wake Up
    New Pornographers - Twin Cinema
    Young Knives - The Decision

    Friday, October 21, 2005

    Is this it?

    To have one track leak well in advance of your make or break third album is unfortunate.

    To have two leak is careless.

    To have three leak is plain suspicious.

    Four leaks? Now come on, RCA...

    (NB. the links therein are almost certainly all down by now. Wait until January, like normal people.)

    Thursday, October 20, 2005

    The only chart that counts

    Nicked from William Hill, the latest odds for the Christmas number one:

    9-4 Westlife & Diana Ross
    Clearly believing in the all-out approach for the big chart, Louis Walsh, who surely has enough already on his plate at the moment - actually, were you aware Westlife were back at all? - and Miss Ross do a Julio Iglesias song. Perfect for children wearing mittens waving tinsel.

    5-2 Crazy Frog
    In a desperate final attempt to drain the last drops out of the rapidly fading fad, 'he' is doing a single which Gusto are trying desperately to keep the identity of a secret. It's Jingle Bells. As Lord High Admiral to the Sarky Simon off No Rock'n'Roll Fun points out, Jamster have already made an arse of the PR too. Don't forget Popcorn only made number 12, although it's just followed Axel F to number one in New Zealand.

    3-1 G4 Feat. Robin Gibb
    What fresh hell is this? Not so much Vesuvius versus Krakatoa as geyser meets four Standard rockets, they're renting air asunder with When a Child is Born.

    7-1 Winner Of X Factor
    Well, at the moment it's seemingly an attempt to find someone with less chance of sustained success than Steve Brookstein. Apparently the winner will be announced days before Christmas, so don't save up to put money on this.

    8-1 Tony Christie
    Slade's Merry Christmas Everyone, which actually might survive its mauling by big band until when the vocal kicks in, when it's a different story. We'd like to hear him do the big shout, of course. Guess what's reprised on the B-side. By the way, a Christmas related song hadn't topped the festive chart since 1990 before Band Aid 20.

    8-1 James Blunt
    Six down, and we get to the first new song. Ladies and gentlemen, pop music in 2005. Goodbye My Lover, which by some accounts makes You're Beautiful sound like Caught Out There.

    10-1 Girls Aloud
    As if to prove the adage about a band that works hard being well received in the pop fraternity, they're releasing singles in November and December. The latter is called See The Day, a D C Lee cover. And let's face it, in the modern vogue for 80s referencing you can't do much better than reviving D C Lee.

    12-1 Robbie Williams
    Last year's Christmas single Misunderstood holds a special place for us, in that we don't think we ever heard it. Advertising Space, the big orchestral number off his new album, is his latest go.

    12-1 The Choir Boys
    Hats off to Declan Galbraith! In what was probably called Choir Idol by twats, three 11/12 year olds were picked out after a search of church choirs nationwide, signed to a half million contract and launched with a cover of Tears In Heaven for the NSPCC's benefit. Aled Jones is their co-manager, presumably in the same way Simon Webbe was VS' co-manager.

    12-1 Rosetta Life featuring Billy Bragg
    This is the song written by cancer stricken Maxine Edgington which Bragg added music to. For Dorset cancer care, it's a heartwarming tale that unfortunately has no place in this list as it's released on October 31st.

    12-1 Liberty X
    Doing A Night To Remember and I Can Make You Feel Good, just to make sure, for Children In Need. Might just hang around for a bit given that.

    16-1 Sugababes
    Taller In More Ways?!? They're releasing Ugly, a title just asking for trouble.

    20-1 Kaiser Chiefs & Bloc Party
    Hold hard here, as the team-up of Britain's liveliest and grumpiest What They Used To Call Indie bands as reported some months ago never came to be beyond possibly drunken discussions. Compare to how Ricky Gervais was in last year's book for ages because there was a CD given away on limited edition versions of The Office DVD and lots of people got the wrong end of the stick and wouldn't let it lie.

    20-1 Patrolman Pete
    A name that's only turning up on Google searches in terms of Christmas betting. Possibly it's to do with the AA's official mascot, but don't hold us to that.

    20-1 Take That
    20-1 John Lennon
    Take That are releasing a greatest hits album; it's 65 years since Lennon's birth and 25 since his death. These are speculative efforts.

    25-1 Pussycat Dolls
    Proving life is a cabaret, a single called Beep. Lord, imagine what local commercial radio DJs will do with that.

    25-1 Mary J Blige
    She's not even had a top ten single for three and a half years, so One doesn't stand a great chance. We'd rather hoped this would be the single.

    25-1 Kelly Clarkson
    Stand by, self-aware bloggers, Because Of You is coming out. The big ballad about her family, not a Dexys cover.

    33-1 Charlotte Church
    Show A Little Faith has been mooted, but if there's a solid release planned it's strange she's only considered down here.

    33-1 Rachel Stevens
    21, more like.

    33-1 Coldplay
    Talk is set for only two weeks before The Biggest Chart Of The Year, which is a lot later than the dates of some singles you see above.

    33-1 McFly
    This seems low too for The Ballad of Paul K, the 'mature' one off the album.

    33-1 Nizlopi
    Cult acoustic duo who... um...probably have a mate who works in William Hill's PR department. They're re-releasing small scale viral video hit JCB, for what it's worth.

    33-1 Daniel Powter
    No idea.

    40-1 Mariah Carey
    Don’t You Forget About Us, apparently a brand new track. She must have some new hot pants she wants to try out.

    40-1 Franz Ferdinand
    Walk Away, chiefly of note so far for an Ealing comedy-referencing video.

    40-1 Will Young
    40-1 Lemar
    40-1 Kylie Minogue
    40-1 Elton John
    40-1 Beyonce
    40-1 The Darkness
    You're just guessing now. Kylie? In her current state?

    50-1 Madonna
    Hung Up's out on the 7th November, which seems a stretch.

    50-1 Elvis Presley
    There are strong rumours that BMG/RCA are to re-release all Elvis' original number two singles from the start of next year, which would just be taking the piss, never mind the natural reaction to Elvis' number twos.

    50-1 Gwen Stefani
    BlueSquare have Marvin Gaye, for some reason, and Antony & The Johnsons, who are/is releasing You Are My Sister in December but can only be there because they've heard vaguely of them, at this price too. Still, at least that story about Andrew Flintoff releasing a Christmas single seemingly came to nothing.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2005

    A certain romance

    Thinking about our suggestion earlier that there had to be more to the Arctic Monkeys' rise than everyone suddenly discovering the same website at once we got searching on Technorati and found they were being talked about as early as last November. Better, though, is this February live report including a sighting of Amy Winehouse and an appeal to the NME to leave them alone. Hey ho.

    In more upmarket news, we mentioned Do They Know It's Hallowe'en a few months back, and now a video has showed up just in time for the day itself.

    You know, sometimes you willingly go public by expressing admiration for a broadcasting figure...

    ...and then they get involved with recording celebrity ringtones and video messages.

    Mind you, at least these have a certain charm. Unlike some other participants on there. Boy George agreed to do this?

    Monkey business

    We knew they had their fans, who apparently all chose purely at random to visit the downloads on their website nine months ago, but the Arctic Monkeys are number one in the midweek chart, a decent amount ahead of the Sugababes. It's preposterous mostly because we can't recall any other band of their ilk in recent times being actually top halfway between Sundays. Can't wait for the 'demos were better' brigade to emerge, although we'll lose hope if this and Franz Ferdinand's success turns Domino's Lawrence Bell into Alan McGee at his most shades-indoors Blessed Leader-like.

    Also of note, new Busted - But Girls! the Love Bites, who as far as we're aware are unique in having no offspring of late 70s pop-experimentalists in their line-up, are at 7. We wonder how long it took the video director to come up with the idea of the girls hassling a single bloke, and by 'how long' we're counting in seconds.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2005

    Sweet neo-con

    Sometimes a story seems so outlandish that the only possible immediate course of action is to close the paper/browser, take a moment's pause and open it again. Even by these standards, however, the news that former male Tracy Shaw Adam Rickitt is on the shortlist for potential Tory parliamentary candidates is staggering. Can you imagine Rickitt passing a public speaking test? Would his political enemies be within their rights to bring up that video where he was in a clear plastic box in the nude? What if he was put forward as a stalking horse candidate against the party leader? Should David Cameron get worried this early about a threat to his telegenic reputation?

    Steady Gallup - the top 40 explained

    1 Sugababes - Push The Button
    Also number one for albums, downloads and airplay. When did they get so popular? Oh, we know they always had number one singles, but nothing spanning all media or so long-lasting - probably four weeks, looking at next week's contenders - as this. Note to Stevens, R: maybe an underlying hint of hatred of everyone around you might help.

    4 U2 - All Because Of You
    This entered the top 75 on import last year and rounds off their most successful set of singles from one album. And you thought this release had passed us all by.

    5 Friday Hill - Baby Goodbye
    Well, that's any hope they had of having Blazin' Squad retrospectively assessed as a proper street R&B concern gone. Appropriately it sounds like an East 17 ballad. OK, you name the two that aren't Kenzie.

    8 Daniel Powter - Bad Day
    Drivetime! Back up two places in its twelth top ten week, just to prolong the agony.

    11 Feeder - Shatter
    Who knew Feeder had such a devoted fanbase? This is the second time they've re-recorded an old B-side for a single release, which suggests they don't have much of a grasp of their best songs.

    12 Lee Ryan - Turn Your Car Around
    Sorry, is this a new song?

    13 Lisa Scott-Lee - Electric
    Many have said this being so low is the record buying public's attempts to damn her for her brazenness in the wake of Totally Scott-Lee (awful title, isn't it?), but then how high would this have got without it? Famously the basis of the promo was that if you didn't make it top ten she'd retire - who says the charts don't matter any more? - which at first seemed very "yeah, you're saying that, are you? Not your label?", but then her label for this single is a Dutch dance imprint that Andy Scott-Lee's already on. Everyone's backtracking hurredly, of course, but without this masterstroke of... something, what's the purpose of having Lisa Scott-Lee still releasing singles to supposedly act as anything more than shelf filler? Written by Guy Chambers and Ben Adams, possibly under hypnosis. She's beaten Jenny Frost by 34 places, mind.

    24 Roll Deep - Shake A Leg
    Younger readers may recall Wiley was last year at the forefront of grime's cutting edge, so much so that he had to invent his own genre, Eski, just for himself. There are worse things to be than a British De La Soul (come on, tag team rapping plus dayglo samples is pretty much 3 Foot High And Rising right there), but it's not going to get style mag fawning. Speaking of which, looking further down the list (bloody hell, Delirious? are back!), we see that almost ridiculously for the amount of press attention and ILX discourse she gets, MIA has missed the top 75 again, Galang 05 matching the original mix by peaking at 77. Someone get Maya a 80s One Hit Wonders complilation pronto, would they?

    Sunday, October 16, 2005

    In shops tomorrow - 17/10/05


  • Plenty this week, not least the eventual arrival of the Arctic Monkeys. Whether you like them or not, there's something about a non-manufactured band whose first single might get to number one, isn't there?

  • The great thing about Ring A Ding Ding by Brakes is that it's 80 seconds long and isn't even their shortest single to date.

  • Nobody appears to have noticed dEUS are back with new single 7 Days 7 Weeks. They appear to have merged with fellow Belgian eclectics Evil Superstars somewhere along the line too.

  • John Cale's new single Perfect seems to have come out of nowhere too. Oh, but you'll jump to attention when the far less worthy new Lou Reed material comes out, won't you?

  • Did Peel go for Laura Veirs, whose new single is Galaxies? She'd fit in well with his latter day Laura Cantrell, Nina Nastasia and Neko Case tendencies.


  • They're Avey Tare, Panda Bear, Geologist and Deaken - and whoever is eventually voted favourite of the four will be managed by Sharon Osbourne! Not really, this is Animal Collective, whose Feels adds an electronic element to their psych-folk. Meanwhile former collaborator and great lost English folkie Vashti Bunyan releases Lookaftering, her first solo album in - eat shit, Kate Bush - 35 years, featuring Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom.

  • Yet another singles chart failure for Rachel Stevens, who also has an album out this week, reminds us that this chart lark really isn't as easy as we like to make out. Consider Annie, whose two singles and Anniemal album featured credible, inventive pop fronted by someone with proper personality. Single chart positions: 25, 50. Back to the DJ booth, then, with her DJ Kicks compilation.

  • Malcolm Middleton's solo work, Aidan Moffatt working under his L Pierre alias and most of the live band ending up in Sons & Daughters might have suggested last orders for Arab Strap, but almost quietly The Last Romance is turning them into a pop band. On their own terms, of course.

  • As mentioned earlier in the week, Bloc Party's Silent Alarm is back out with Two More Years added, as well as Little Thoughts and a DVD disc featuring a documentary, videos and live tracks. Weren't they talking about having a new album out for this current semi-arena tour?

  • A new Boards Of Canada album is as big an event to what used to be called the underground, The Campfire Headphase turning them into - oh, let's say it - a new My Bloody Valentine.

  • We always felt the Cardigans are continually weighed down by Lovefool, their least likeable single and therefore their most successful. Super Extra Gravity won't return them to the top ten but at least they're thinking about where to go now.

  • We can't quite believe that Dangerdoom's The Mouse And The Mask, the spot-on collaboration between Danger Mouse and MF Doom, is retaining its inserts from Adult Swim, the US Cartoon Network offshoot, for the overseas market. Who's going to get those? There's a track called Vats Of Urine. It's about vats of urine.

  • The American Rakes, anyone? That's the unfulfilling pigeonhole we'd unthinkingly place We Are Scientists' With Love And Squalor in.

  • Alright, John Peel - A Tribute doesn't contain any dark drum'n'bass, ancient Irish reels, death metal or scrappy indie poorly recorded in a bedroom. Is that technically the point? Why it features the Doors, Van Morrison and Song 2 we're not as sure. Speaking of the subject...


  • At the point at which John's contribution to Margrave Of The Marshes trails off he hasn't even got behind a mike yet, but such is its attitude to chronology that he still works in the famed Mallory Park Radio 1 Fun Day Out/Bay City Rollers/BBC Sub-Aqua Club/speedboat/Tony Blackburn/Womble anecdote among others. Unfortunately the story of how Sue Cook broke the family waterbed will remain merely an unexplained footnote.
  • The Weekly Sweep

    The Decemberists - 16 Military Wives
    Cat Power - The Greatest
    MIA - Galang
    Architecture In Helsinki - Do The Whirlwind
    Elbow - Leaders Of The Free World
    Futureheads - Area
    Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Is This Love?
    Maximo Park - Apply Some Pressure
    Wedding Present - Ringway To Seatac
    Pipettes - Dirty Mind

    Saturday, October 15, 2005

    Looking in on wonders

    Surely we're not alone in being fascinated by VH1's 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders, a US production which turns up whenever the UK version has five hours (!) to fill. Firstly it's presented by William Shatner, which is actually not as bad as it sounds as he holds back on the knowing irony, even if his style does take pregnant pausing to new heights. Also it's fascinating to see which bands are regarded as one hit wonders for Billboard, from huge British acts (Soft Cell, Spandau Ballet) to oddities such as Quiet Riot's version of Cum On Feel The Noize, an electro cover of Putting On The Ritz and Thomas Dolby's She Blinded Me With Science. Have fun explaining Magnus Pyke to Americans. Then there's the talking head quotient, none of whom are captioned so we don't know the name of the even smugger looking Alex James-alike to look out for for future avoidance. You have to wonder why Henry Rollins said yes, though. And Starsailor! Only to 'discuss' Edwyn Collins admittedly, but were this repeated in America that audience would be clueless. Actually, the UK audience might well be struggling.

    In a completely different vein, an attempt to list every notable musician with their own blog. Pop by Dan Treacy off of the Television Personalities' diary and wonder at the entry that combines a rant against bands from the indie sphere who are still going long after their time with a plug for a forthcoming gig.

    Friday, October 14, 2005

    Sometimes tours are fated to fail

    Cat Power doing a solo tour? Will they get a single complete song out of her all night? Follow that link for an mp3 of the title track of The Greatest, released in January.

    Sink that (graveyard) shift

    Truth be told, we've been neglecting Mark Radcliffe of late, we suspect because the live guest quality seems to have either dipped or got trapped in a small pool of guests (ah, KT Tunstall and Aberfeldy!). Monday's show seems to be a must-listen, though, as he'll be job swapping with Ricky Wilson. Throw in Danny Baker's return to BBC LDN on the same day and everything will truly be for the best in this best of all possible worlds.

    Thursday, October 13, 2005

    Just waiting for that

    It's not every week that Dermot'n'Natasha on BBC Breakfast are found interviewing Laura Cantrell, but this is the much-vaunted John Peel Day. For all the idea's faults, and there are many - let's get it straight after yesterday's post that an all-star single really is pushing our collective luck, although even here you could hardly state "this Tom Ravenscroft knows nothing about John Peel!" - surely for the BBC it was damned if they do, damned if they don't, and by the way how do you know exactly what John would have thought? In one of the autobiography extracts in the Telegraph this week Sheila noted that friends and family were worried about the late starts that came for cynics to symbolise the end of his Radio 1 tenure but he, after seeing the likes of Walker and Kershaw be moved aside, was just happy to still be on the station. (We'd argue, by the way, that even this wasn't the worst slot he'd ever had, if you discount the thought about what time a 65 year old with diabetes should be working - it's easily forgotten now that in the mid-90s, a time on Radio 1 now cemented as Matthew Bannister's new broom bringing in a new music ethos across the network, the arbiter of the new did a total of four hours a week on Saturday afternoons as the dance warm-up and a dead slot on Sunday evenings.) We're fairly sure unknown bands play gigs most nights, however.

    Further scheduling news - Tom Robinson chats to Sheila on Home Truths on the 22nd, with Margrave Of The Marshes as Radio 4's Book Of The Week for the following week, with Michael Angelis (Chrissie from Boys From The Blackstuff) and Carolyn Pickles (Emmerdale chiefly, but she's been in all sorts) handling the readings. BBC4 have a special night on the actual death anniversary, mostly repeats - their own Fall documentary, Peel's own Beefheart documentary, the live archive clips from their special night last year, PJ Harvey live and Peel's Undertones documentary.

    Go on then, commenters, where were you when you heard? We, for no good reason, turned Radio 1 on during Colin & Edith and wondered why they were reading texts and emails from people who'd met John in a shocked, low tone.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    Peel Eve

    The accepted line about John Peel Day seems to be that he'd be acutely embarrassed by it. Given he seemed acutely embarrassed by the idea anyone liked his shows this seems a touch churlish, and what would be his problem with knowing people were remembering his musical impact anyway? Full Peel Day gig details and a wealth of information on the Radio 1 site, while the Cuban Boys want you to play their The Nation Needs You at midday tomorrow in tribute. It's better than the Ever Fallen In Love? all star cover, which isn't as bad as it initially sounds (although, we think, Robert Plant adds an unneccesary vocal ad-lib about halfway through, and apart from Barry Hyde at the start we can't make out who's who properly) despite Tom Ravenscroft's declaration in this week's NME that invites were sent out to new bands based on who he would have loved. Futureheads, Datsuns, Soledad Brothers - well, he played them both first. El Presidente? Seriously, Tom? Hear Phill Jupitus debut it on 6 Music on Monday via the wonder of RealPlayer or see the video exclusive on Channel 4 on Thursday at 11.05pm. Meanwhile the Guardian have revisited his top 20 album list, including Neil Young's famous Arc disc of live feedback.

    Background reading: his last Radio 1 playlist which you'll note wasn't actually a year ago tomorrow; clips from his pirate days; Sonic Youth's Fall covers Peel session; Radio Rewind gets some mp3s up; tributes from Spike, TV Cream and, after a fashion, Wikipedia.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    Scraping the barrel

    You know you've got a decent bandwagon growing when you get your own compilation, and thus among this week's Various Artists new releases we find Howzat! The Unofficial England Cricket Album. Each disc starts with good intentions - Jerusalem, Soul Limbo, Mambo No.5 - and then suddenly realises that, actually, there aren't 42 songs related to cricket. So we get very little actual reggae (not even Victory Test Match, although that's about an England defeat) but the 'someone didn't check the lyrics' likes of Mirror In The Bathroom, Police & Thieves and Friday Night Saturday Morning, plus Fit But You Know It for the lads, the Undertones' It's Going To Happen for the title and the Subways' Oh Yeah because, erm, someone in the office was listening to Young For Eternity, probably. How did Buster Bloodvessel get involved enough to contribute both Bad Manners' Can Can and a song of his own? Who are the St George’s Brass Ensemble? Who is going to listen to this by the time the Pakistan tour starts next summer?

    Ono soul

    Somewhere among the nine - nine! - special awards at the Qs yesterday, the type of thing which makes you wonder why the music media continually takes them so seriously, Yoko Ono revealed John Lennon worried that nobody covered his songs. Because obviously nobody's ever attempted Imagine. Or All You Need Is Love. No. And McCartney wrote all his songs on a child's xylophone.

    The report goes on to state Yoko "delighted Liam Gallagher by anointing Oasis as the keeper of Lennon's spirit in modern rock". Good to see Lennon's legacy is being upheld by a band nobody likes now, then. You know, Noel must always think he's over the unthinking Beatles comparisons by now, and then...

    This week's top 40 - what we've learned

    1 Sugababes - Push The Button
    Note how everyone's quoting that line about multi-dimensional asses without pointing out how overly hard it's trying despite that on record it sounds about as as sexy as David Mellor, which for all we know might be the intention. For one of the bands at the forefront of The New Proper Pop this does sound like something that might have come out at the end of the 90s, or at a pinch an Ann Summers Kosheen - the first time we saw the video we thought it was one of those workaday dance acts because nothing about it suggested the Sugababes - so how this one's become the popular one we're not totally sure.

    2 Robbie Williams - Tripping
    It was reported at the weekend that Robbie and Guy Chambers have patched up their differences, which isn't before time given that with Stephen Duffy he's so far come up with an Ultravox offcut and an attempt to cut and shut his own Supreme, the Police and Ja Rule's lyric book.

    6 Kanye West Ft Jamie Foxx - Gold Digger
    Funny how Minnie Driver and Juliette Lewis get stick for being film stars imagining this will make them successful in all forms of art whereas Foxx has virtually been ushered into a studio.

    7 Bloc Party - Two More Years
    Kele reassured fans last week that this is a standalone single that won't be used to shore up their next album. No, because it's been stuck on the end of Silent Alarm for its Deluxe Edition re-release next week. Oh, Wichita, Wichita, Wichita!

    11 Ricky Martin - I Don't Care
    Now there's a hostage to fortune title. The problem with Martin, as evidenced by the type of promo he's been doing, is that he now needs to be aimed at an older audience because he's been so long away kids are going to go "sorry, Livin' La what?"

    12 Rachel Stevens - I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)
    And so the universal music blog gnashing of teeth continues. It's been argued that people have turned against Stevens because of her image as someone who doesn't have a personality and would quite like to keep it that way - never mind going on Dick And Dom In Da Bungalow not expecting to be covered in muck muck, how do you fall out with a TV show (Popworld) made by a company co-owned by your manager? - but as we've seen, people have hardly fallen out with the notoriously prickly Sugababes. Instead we'd suggest that Polydor need to realise that Rachel's audience is divided into the people who buy and admire the records and the people who perv at the pictures when they'd spent a couple of years believing both to be indistinguishable.

    16 James Blunt - High
    Meanwhile You're Beautiful starts going back up, which is something of an own goal by Atlantic's radio pluggers. Gee, we wonder if Wisemen will be the next single?

    23 Bratz Rock Angels - So Good
    Bratz as in the dolls, yes, this being the spin-off of their straight to DVD film. Not enough session musician money in the world, we're saying. A few years ago the whole music industry seemed to be banking its future on virtual bands - Tom Watkins wouldn't shut up about his surfer cyberbabe at the turn of the century - but given not even Damon's pretending any more that Gorillaz are nothing to do with him it's boiled down to spinoff records. What happened to the Archies revival?

    32 Schnappi - Schnappi
    Originally scheduled for late August when it might actually have caught the returning from holiday market. As it was, not even JK & Joel could be bothered to launch an ironic campaign.

    35 Bedouin Soundclash - When The Night Feels My Song
    Sod off.

    Sunday, October 09, 2005

    In shops tomorrow - 10/10/05


  • Not a lot all round this week, although this is the week when Lisa Scott-Lee's single comes out, and she says she'll quit the music industry if it doesn't go top ten. Who says the chart doesn't matter any more, eh? And yes, that's her saying that, not her label, oh no. Elsewhere Louis XIV re-release their one good song, Finding Out True Love Is Blind, unencumbered by making a right mess of it on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross.

  • The Andes-worth of press mountains regarding MIA all seem to miss out one crucial detail, that being that nobody actually buys her records. Arular and all three singles all missed the top 75, which explains why Galang's being given another go. This confused the hell out of the 6 Music Roundtable panel the other week, most giving it low marks on the basis that they couldn't work out the song's political message. Maybe it doesn't have one?

  • Get behind Adam Buxton in the queue for Spoon's new single Sister Jack.


  • Actually, when we wanted new Gang Of Four material we didn't mean a set of re-recordings and remixes in the shape of Return The Gift. Some of the re-recordings work better than others, and getting T*e O***rs to rework the original master tapes sounds much how you'd expect. Entertainment! must be going cheap somewhere.


  • There's a few new books out in the last couple of weeks that deserve Amazon links. Fool The World - The Oral History Of A Band Called Pixies by Josh Frank and Caryn Ganz spun out of the Frank Black musical that was talked about a couple of years ago and derives new interviews from all four members and assorted sidelings and hangers-on. Word is it's hugely detailed and pretty much the last historical word on them.

  • Bob Dylan's Chronicles, Andrew Motion's book of 2004, is out in paperback and still doesn't make a lot of chronological sense. Imagine John Steinbeck gone folk...

  • Richard White's Dexys Midnight Runners: Young Soul Rebels should, if the publishers had a proper sense of humour, have been advertised with full pages in the NME. It's a complex story, and White seems to have done a decent job on it.

  • Also, don't forget to get your orders in early for Margrave Of The Marshes (Peel/Ravenscroft), the serialisation of which starts in today's Telegraph. Speaking of which, the Radio 1 Keeping It Peel website has now officially launched. Look at that sessions detail!
  • The Weekly Sweep

    Metric - Poster Of A Girl
    Arab Strap - Dream Sequence
    The Crimea - White Russian Galaxy
    Brakes - Ring A Ding Ding
    Chris Mills - Chris Mills Is Living The Dream
    Jesus & Mary Chain - Just Like Honey
    James Chance - Designed To Kill
    Broken Social Scene - Fire Eyed Boy
    Kate Bush - King Of The Mountain
    Velvet Underground - Sister Ray

    Thursday, October 06, 2005

    Just laziness this time, we're afraid

    In the meantime, congratulations to the Mystery Jets for making a £92 profit on their guitarist. Further investigation reveals Blaine Harrison has bought a Fender Rhodes (fair enough), synth drums (crikey), Stylophone (inevitably), Cajun Washboard Necktie Wearable Percussion (it'll blend nicely with the colanders) and detachable hard drive (mmm) and sold Stooges tickets (bloody major labels, eh?), which we'll assume clashed with the shooting schedule for their recent video.

    Sunday, October 02, 2005

    In shops tomorrow - 3/10/05


  • Labels looking for decent placings for their new signles are pretty much screwed tomorrow as the great Robbie/Rachel/Mariah/Blunty/um, Schnappi fight for number one kicks off. Come on, the Stevens single only proves that her producers are getting even quicker at ripping off Goldfrapp, doesn't it? So good luck to Wichita in finding room for Bloc Party's Two More Years. Anyone got a spare for the tour?

  • Dig a bit deeper and find perennial UK tourers and MTV2 eaters We Are Scientists' The Great Escape


  • We were slow to take up with the Beta Band bandwagon when they were being hailed at the end of the 90s as the future of everything, possibly as much due to how every major British band around then were supposed to be having 'a Beta Band phase', but it's now evident that they never matched the early acid-madrigals. We will now sell five copies of Music - The Best Of The Beta Band.

  • With the onset of time comes an appreciation of bands like Cream, whose Royal Albert Hall reformation gigs documented here do feature ten minute drum solos but also the kind of ensemble playing people are too scared to do now. Excuse us while we get a Mojo subscription...

  • Debate still rages about the veracity of the Mark E Smith Classified Check story, although the Fall's official website has it and Steve Lamacq read what he said was a press release from them. We'll have to wait and see, in the company of Fall Heads Roll's maintaining of the full-on charge plus irascible drunk winning formula of recent years.

  • Actually, You Could Have It So Much Better With Franz Ferdinand is all that - there's a couple of moments where you wonder if this couldn't have been left for a B-side and it's more 'fuck dance, let's art!', but the songwriting and riffing standard is still high and there's actual emotions too. Don't bother with the limited edition DVD, it looks rubbish.

  • Reissues with extra tracks should be smited as a matter of course, but it's hardly as if everyone has the Go! Team's Thunder Lightning Strike as it is, and the two new tracks fit right in.

  • With all these sales nowadays you can probably pick up Never Mind The Bollocks and Metal Box for less than John Lydon's Best of British £1 Notes Best Of for much the same effect, but neat enough to have a lot of it in one place. Try and get hold of the limited edition set of the even darker, dubbier PIL 12" mixes on CD for the first time.

  • How come New Order never turn up in lists of great singles bands? New Order - Singles adds another disc's worth to 1987's Substance, which means the under-rated Republic cuts, Fine Time and, well, World In Motion.

  • We slagged off Pure Reason Revolution once as part of a general Poptones moan, more generally because their first single was a perfectly good song subjected to self-indulgence beyond its means. We were too hasty, it turns out, mini-album of sorts Cautionary Tales For The Brave showcasing odysses of sound and musical fields of vision, generally the sort of thing you would never have expected from ex-members of Gel and Period Pains.

  • Deluxe reissue time for Siouxsie & The Banshees' The Scream accidentally inventing post-punk and plenty besides through John Mackay's guitar sounds and Siouxsie'n'Severin's malevolence. An extra CD brings with it alternate versions and Peel sessions.


  • New Order release DVDs at the same rate others buy lottery tickets, the typically gnomically titled Item being one disc of videos, including a couple of new versions for old songs, and one comprehensive documentary with live footage.

  • The Pixies reunion has gone better than anyone expected, which is to say Frank and Kim haven't had an onstage brawl yet. They sound good too, Pixies Sell Out being the set from France's Eurockeennes festival that turns up every so often very late at night on VH2 plus plenty of other filmed material.
  • The Weekly Sweep

    Franz Ferdinand - The Fallen
    Kubichek! - Nightjoy
    Joanna Newsom - This Side Of Blue
    Go! Team - Bottle Rocket
    Mew - A Dark Design
    Dangerdoom - El Chupra Libre
    Bloc Party - Two More Years
    We Are Scientists - It's A Hit
    Sufjan Stevens - Decatur
    Wolf Parade - You Are A Runner And I Am My Father's Son

    Could have done it so much better

    Everyone knows that Western stars do ridiculous things in the cause of Japanese adverts knowing that over here we'll never see them. Course, the advent of the Internet means this isn't the case any more, and you'd think a band as smart as Franz Ferdinand would know this, but no, click on the big central advert on this, then on 'TVCM' and admire those meaningful looks to camera in the cause of the new Walkman.

    Saturday, October 01, 2005

    Did anyone remember to wake Billie Joe Armstrong up?