Slim pickings this week, although another highlight in a run of great recent singles is a re-release of the spectacular 2005 single and career highlight of Newcastle's barnstorming Kubichek!, the Chameleons-meets-Fugazi indie floorfiller in a more just world Nightjoy. Other than that you're stuck with Bricolage, Glaswegians who take the bits of Orange Juice not already thoroughly eviscerated and who despite being signed to Memphis Industries issue 7" Looting Takes The Waiting Out Of Wanting on Fantastic Plastic. In the shape of great indie label things it makes very little difference, luckily.
We've been wondering over the last few months, now everything is Oink this and Indietorrents that, about the ethics of downloading and listening to albums in advance. Of course everyone with broadband does it now, so much so that you lose all track of when albums are actually out as everyone has an opinion well before the opinion formers get to have their published say and has probably found live and demo versions to counterbalance their blogged argument. As pre-release hype followed by lull actually around release time when normal people get to join in grows ever more centrifuge-like, surely a line must be drawn in the same somewhere for the sake of new music. Can we therefore state for the record that here a day before release we have heard three tracks, and those just so we could catch up with popular opinion, from Neon Bible and have no desire to hear the rest until we have the CD in our hands. We could talk about its Springsteenian/apocalyptic nuances like many a blogger, but we'd be fools to both ourselves and yourselves. We're excited about this and we don't want technology to ruin it. (Because, of course, we've heard every moment of every other record we mention here and aren't just chancing it.) What else is going up against it? Well, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis and two other Bad Seeds as Grinderman, for a start, bringing the demonic, lascivious blues-garage-punk rawness and tremendous facial hair. Don't sleep. Idlewild made a hell of a noise themselves right at the start, as Roddy Woomble now says more in thrall to Superchunk and Sonic Youth than anything. They're still a formative band in the musical development of a lot of men in their mid-20s, though, and Make Another World is in parts a pleasing return to the roar of old, even if time and new labeldom means they can now control it and themselves better. Our pet theory about the St Etienne retro influence taking hold gains a satellite member proper this week in the form of three girl, three synth Brooklyn dreampoppers Au Revoir Simone. Their first UK release The Bird Of Music's wash of twisting keyboard melodies, vintage drum machines and sugar-saccharine harmonies has plenty of potential and scope to take them into the kind of cult status that only female-fronted bands with big singular ideas achieve. Another lady fest comes in the shape of Nashville's very un-Nashvillian electro post-punks Forget Cassettes, filling the gap between Giant Drag and PJ Harvey on Salt. Air's time in the spotlight may well have passed but they have a substantial reserve of goodwill, Pocket Symphony featuring guest spots for Jarvis Cocker and Neil Hannon. Despite being everyone's Best Live Band In The Country around 1998 it never quite happened for Asian Dub Foundation's heavily politicised Bengali breakbeat dub-ragga-rap-electropunk. Rabble rousing in a way Bobby Gillespie can only dream of, a couple of NME-loved albums were followed by most of the main members leaving in 2001, after which they were never the same. Time Freeze: The Best Of collects the best moments, along with rarities, radio sessions and out-takes. Is Satpal Ram still in prison? There was a European Court of Human Rights decision in his favour in 2003 but the Internet trail seems to stop there. Now, how about a nice Inspiral Carpets B-sides collection? iTunes-only Keep The Circle features rarities and the like, including a version of Saturn 5 with Mark E Smith. He doesn't add a great deal, to be honest.
EDIT: Just been alerted to the fact we missed out !!!'s Myth Takes, which is ace and is what The Rapture should have been doing more recently. So, yeah, that as well.
EDIT 2: Oh bloody hell, Charlotte Hatherley's The Deep Blue as well, which is perhaps surprisingly subtle and features a track co-written by Andy Partridge. See what we mean about losing track of release dates now?