FREE MUSIC: A doozy, frankly, when this turned up for download - the steel pan-friendly single mix of Peter Bjorn & John's Let's Call It Off as adapted from our 21st favourite album of 2006 Writer's Block.
HEY YOU GET OFFA MYSPACE: While the NME starts considering whether they didn't shoot their bolt a bit early with the whole Horrors thing, it's good to know some people have a quieter but far more effective and original handle on psych-garage. The Dirty Backbeats, for instance, who we saw far too early on the Sunday of their local festival Summer Sundae in 2005 and were consequently mildly confused by. They've since caught the ear of Mark Lamarr (they're in session on his Friday/Saturday overnight show next month) and Marc Riley among others with a highly ear-pricking stew of mad Beefheartian swamp blues and Nuggets-esque scrappy psychedelic rock of the type that pre-empted punk.
VISUAL REPRESENTATION: We're still on the odd TV performance rounds with a song to remind people who've heard the new Madness single that there was a time when Suggs didn't just lend his name to anything. There are many fascianting things about his cover of Suedehead on Danny Baker After All in 1993 - the slip into Our Frank towards the end, the washboard player, the possibly ironic shades and the fact relayed on the credits, some way before current Grauniad scribe Jacques Peretti's researcher namecheck, that that's your actual Mark Kermode off The Culture Show and Simon Mayo on 5 Live on double bass. Feel free to add "compared to Hundred Reasons' version of How Soon Is Now this is Citizen Kane" where necessary.
VIRAL MARKETING: In the week a Schla La Las video turned up on UKNova, we're instead covering something that isn't a forthcoming album at all, unless they're planning a live set, but we had to find room for it - the Decemberists and Robyn Hitchcock covering the latter's Madonna Of The Wasps this week in London. Damn you all for getting to one of those gigs where we didn't! (Actually, the Decemberists premiered the 16 Military Wives video as a torrent, didn't they?)
FALLING OFF A BLOG: As well as being responsible for the beats half of this year's first proper breakout cult single, Thou Shalt Always Kill, Dan Le Sac has an occasional podcast and musical thoughts area.
EVERYBODY GET RANDOM: Clearly written in an age before widespread broadband, a Dexys Midnight Runners audio archive featuring Kevin Rowland covering Thunder Road and some soundalike moments from soul history set against Dexys classics.
IN OTHER NEWS: Never mind the Dixie Chicks, they're rubbish no matter who produces them or who they rail against. Hats off to some of the lesser newly minted Grammy statuette owners: the Flaming Lips won their second Rock Instrumental Performance for The Wizard Turns On..., Peter 'Sonic Youth is in my cooler' Frampton got Pop Instrumental Album, the fussily titled R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals was a cover of Family Affair by John Legend and Joss Stone, the Jazz Instrumental Solo and Large Jazz Ensemble Album champeen was Michael Brecker's Some Skunk Funk, Here It Goes Again was inevitable Best Video, Wings For Wheels: The Making Of Born To Run was best long form video wherever that boundary is set, a James Taylor song written by Randy Newman for Cars was the best for a film, Enya apparently now qualifies as New Age, Jacques Lu Cont's reworking of Coldplay's Talk was top remix, and never mind the cross-channel hilarity engendered by a category rewarding polka (Polka in Paradise by Jimmy Sturr And His Orchestra, if you must), Wolfmother won something (Hard Rock Performance). Wolfmother.