We were moaning a little the other week about when really great bands get signed to majors who then don't know how to promote their first proper single. On the one hand it keeps them as your special interest, but you'd rather the world knew about them if truth be told. Here's one now, signed to Columbia after a year or so of our fervent support from afar. Yes, welcome to the shelves for the first time as a full release a single from Goodbooks, who you'll find in the section labelled Intelligent Synthy Art-Rock. Which is what Leni is, twisting post-post-punk that would augur well for an album next year even if we hadn't heard at least three better songs of theirs. That is to say sensational songs rather than this plain very very good one, by the way. They're playing a Drowned In Sound sponsored night at KCLSU in London on the 13th curated by and featuring Jeremy Warmsley. We will be sixty or so miles away. Bah. (Although admittedly we're seeing them before then anyway and will report back on our Myspace blog) What else? Gruff Rhys steps back out of Super Furry limelight with a solo album in March, more chilled and low-key if Candylion is anything to go by. The Buzzcocks, very rarely chilled or low-key, drop off Reconciliation, which sounds like a Buzzcocks song should, and Morrissey wrings out Ringleader Of The Tormentors with I Just Want To See The Boy Happy. Seven inches of goodness abound, most notably Brakes' limited edition Hold Me In The River, the charging, seething one that opens The Beatific Visions, which you should all have. Idlewild go back to basics, or at least the basic rockouts a la The Modern Way Of Letting Go rather than the clattery early stuff we all secretly wish for, on If It Takes You Home while 1965 Recordings finally put out a record that's not godawful, Baxter Dury getting hold of a stop-start career to date with the almost atypically loved up Love In The Garden.
We've kept putting off listing Future Love Songs because every time we check the release date's gone back another week but we can't hang onto it forever. It's another compilation by New Cross Scene-presaging Angular Recordings, featuring famous alumni the Long Blondes (Lust In The Movies rather than the now rare early stuff that we prefer) and Klaxons (Gravity's Rainbow) plus hip young gunslingers Theoretical Girl, The Be Be See, These New Puritans, the Violets, The Vichy Government, Wetdog, The Lodger, Twisted Charm and so on. As expected the new releases are really thinning out now, the only purely new release of note being by Lee Hazelwood, now suffering from terminal cancer yet retaining enough about himself to title his final album Cake Or Death (after Izzard, of course), including a version of Some Velvet Morning with his granddaughter and These Boots Are Made For Walkin' restored to its original arrangement. Iconoclastic, and indeed iconographic, to the last. As, at the current rate, might Phil Spector be, UMTV spotting what time of year it is and instead of putting A Christmas Gift To You or whatever they retitled it on last re-release out again sticking it in a double disc set with a Wall Of Sound greatest hits and calling it The Phil Spector Definitive Collection. Surely nobody needs three Bob B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans tracks, but it's a moot point amid such timelessness. The very much anti-Wall Of Sound sonics of Hefner have been getting a wider re-evaluation as the intimate indiepop moments of greatness some of us always knew they were, as following the Best Of and rarities compilations but before the individual remastered and expanded reissues comes Maida Vale, a full gig for John Peel in 2000 featuring an extended line-up. Some people - hello! - will have some of this on the We Love The City special edition but let's not split hairs. The OC's compilations have often been worth a punt but they're taking a real flyer with The OC Mix 6: Covering Our Tracks. It's a specially commissioned covers album, everyone! Featuring, in descending order of potential, Lady Sovereign doing Pretty Vacant, Band Of Horses covering Albini-affiliated slo-corers The New Year's End's Not Near, Rogue Wave having a shot at Debaser, The M's (pass) doing Clinic's Come Into My Room, French folk-popper Syd Matters' version of Super Furry Animals' Hello Sunshine, mildly hyped Cureish types Rock Kills Kid taking on Spoon's I Turn My Camera On, Goldspot (pass) covering Modest Mouse's Float On and Radcliffe-endorsed synthy duo Mates Of State giving the show's California theme the once-over.
Who knew the world was crying out for a Sultans Of Ping FC live DVD? Let us state for the record that such an artifact as Sultans Of Ping: U Talk Too Much - Live actually exists and move on for all our sakes.
Because Da Capo's annual anthology of the year's best music writing, er, Da Capo Best Music Writing is out this week. Many years' decent music writing, or at least lyricism, has been collected by Billy Childish, erstwhile Stuckist, Emin paramour and garage rocker for the ages (The Pop Rivets, Thee Milkshakes, Thee Mighty Caesars, The Del Monas, Thee Headcoats, the Buff Medways, Wild Billy Childish & The Musicians Of The British Empire) in Gun In My Fathers Hand: Selected Lyrics 1977-2006.