All the action in this very busy week is taking place on the vinyl market, where many a 7" of the utmost quality is being unleashed. Where else to start but the debut proper of Los Campesinos!, a band who, let it be known, we were onto within a fortnight of them letting their presence be known to movers and shakers alike. Eight short months later they're selling out venues and have a record in the shops, We Throw Parties You Throw Knives a two minute distillation of their ultrasmart post-tweepop-rock. And since you ask, we can see where we got Heavenly from but not Orange Juice or Khaya. Nobody remembers Khaya in any case. Turning up almost as often in Weekly Sweeps so far this year has been Johnny Flynn, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who earns full points in any game of Sweeping The Nation Bingo: he's acoustic and folky, is on a cult indie label (Young & Lost), has connections to both Jeremy Warmsley and Transgressive Records and he makes proper money acting, which we mention as we like a musician with a small scale sideline. Tickle Me Pink is probably better in its demo form on his Myspace than the single version, but both are wistful country noir decorated by Flynn's own fiddle and way with words. Also on 7", Brakes' power chord myth-making of God and the devil playing cards Cease And Desist, the next name off the Swedish production line Tobias Froberg's God's Highway, another limited edition release to make the name of the much tipped Voxtrot in Trouble, a thirtieth anniversary repressing of the Damned's standout Neat Neat Neat and the Human Knives. Do you remember in 2001 someone calling themselves Different Strokes brought out an EP of polyphonic reworkings of Strokes songs? This is the next step forward, a limited edition 7" of MIDI and speech software reworkings of Young Knives songs under the excellent title Voices Of Buttons And Knobs by someone "anonymous and mysterious", according to Transgressive, or "who has their details on their Myspace", according to reality (don't worry, it's nobody famous). Old fashioned CD singles can't compete, unless it's the first salvo from James Murphy's productive imagination and record collection riffing, LCD Soundsystem's North American Scum. The album Sound Of Silver might just be better than their debut overall, but we'll come to that on 11th March. It's already in the top 20, but one last push should see The Gossip's Standing In The Way Of Control home, and then the media really will have a job on attempting to explain Beth Ditto's role in things. We've still not worked out where the Maccabees fit into the UK guitar scene but there's a definite fanbase on the march even if radio remains immune to the charms of About Your Dress. By that token radio has grown positively allergic to Idlewild despite the re-bared teeth of No Emotion. Meanwhile Charlotte Hatherley and CSS both release the wrong singles, I Want You To Know and Off The Hook, for first proper single from The Deep Blue and first single on WEA respectively.
And yes, we will give Yours Truly Angry Mob a cursory mention because despite this clearly being their Life As A Touring Rock Star Is A Bit Shit Really album, to a degree we still believe in the Kaiser Chiefs. Don't pretend those first two singles didn't get you going. In higher climes, while Lycanthropy was IDM folk fable and Wind In The Wires grandiose windswept storytelling, Patrick Wolf's third album The Magic Position has been characterised as his upbeat life-affirming record. Which it is, at least in comparison, being promoted as his shot at the pop firmament. Pop, however, would have to change a lot to accomodate all the ideas and inventive notions captured here, and given time this could make its way onto a few end of year lists. Sean O'Hagan is another auteur, if very different, who has set out his stall over the years in the field of intricately textured and arranged high grade music. Can Cladders, the High Llamas' eighth album, eases back on the Stereolabisms of the previous few to go all arch and classicist. Dean & Britta is Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips, formerly singer and bassist in Luna (and Wareham was before then in the landmark Galaxie 500), and the Tony Visconti produced Back Numbers sees their dulcet Mazzy Star meets Noughties Serge & Brigitte aura littered with 60s cover versions. Compilation of the week is Modular Records' Leave Them All Behind 2, one mixed disc, one proper, featuring Franz Ferdinand, the Go! Team, CSS, Mystery Jets, the Rakes, Malcolm Middleton and Simian Mobile Disco among others. Not the most famous but famously first in the punk wars, the Damned rarely used three chords where two would do on full throttle, Nick Lowe-produced debut Damned Damned Damned, which turned thirty last weekend and so has grown an extra disc. Among those listening in were four teenagers from Dunfermline, The Saints Are Coming: the Best of the Skids presumably out on the back of U2 and Green Day's The Saints Are Coming cover and to finance wherever the hell Richard Jobson's career is going next. Laugh if you want, turn off as you inevitably will, but we loved the Bluetones in their day, and while we're not among the still vocal Blue Army we do think we should get round to upgrading our cassette copy of Expecting To Fly one day. BBC Radio Sessions contains two apiece from Peel and Lamacq's shows, including a Webb Brothers cover. No Good Reason For A Re-Release But Good To Report Anyway corner: Ladytron's first two albums, 604 and Light And Magic, much less human than the more lauded Witching Hour and thus better, we say. Heatmiser were Elliott Smith's melodic punk band, also featuring Sam Coomes of Quasi, and their first two albums Dead Air and Cop And Speeder are also available for visiting.
Occasionally referred to as the best documentary on the subject, the semi-official The Beach Boys: An American Band was made at the start of their critical resurgence, and while it's light on the 80s upheaveals it contains some unmissable studio, concert, TV and rehearsal footage as well as then new interviews throughout.