FREE MUSIC: Feel free to remind us of this in the months ahead, but we do think we've sighted the first proper candidate outside the obvious contenders for album of 2007, and it's Blonde Redhead's seventh album proper 23, released on April 23rd in Europe. Engineered by Chris Coady (YYYs, TVOTR) and mixed equally by Alan Moulder (U2, MBV, NIN, Killers, Pumpkins, married to Toni Halliday of Curve) and Rich Costey (Franz, Muse, Bloc Party, Mars Volta, Doves, Mew) it's clearly thinking big in many ways. The title track 23 sets the scene perfectly - more approachable than before but still dreamily propulsive.
HEY YOU GET OFFA MYSPACE: We've told you before about the lo-fi low-key genius of Piano Magic, Glen Johnson and friends' attempt at updating something akin to the classic 4AD sound by taking on the This Mortal Coil membership policy. Johnson and sideman Cedric Pin have now formed Future Conditional, a retro-futurist electropop outfit best pigeonholed as a skeletal robotic version of all that stuff that's coming back in with bands like Lo-Fi-Fnk and To My Boy, taking cues from mid-80s New Order, populist Kraftwerk and the OMD/Heaven 17 axis with guest vocalists including Melanie Pain of Nouvelle Vague and the Field Mice/Trembling Blue Stars' Bobby Wratten.
VISUAL REPRESENTATION: There's this new Inspiral Carpets B-sides download album out which includes a version of Saturn 5 with Mark E Smith guesting. Of course the pair have got together before for the propulsive genius of I Want You, here in video form with Smith accroutrements topping and tailing the performance. Also of Inspirals note, this 1989 Granada Reports feature where, with Anthony H clearly elsewhere, Bob Greaves is left to act the confused presenter into a feature about their famous T-shirt sales. Not the most famous T-shirt of all, though. Elsewhere in Madchester collaborations came the Happy Mondays' Lazyitis, here live at the G-Mex, which we mostly mention because in the week we found this spectacular and frankly unmissable footage. It's Karl Denver doing his calling card Wimoweh live in 1964 with Trio and dancers, and you really couldn't get an audience of teenage girls to scream like they do 47 seconds in with a note like that any more.
VIRAL MARKETING: The announcement came in the week that there's a new White Stripes album ready and waiting for whichever label wants to pick it up and whenever international marketing dates conspire. Along with it came a clip apparently of the recording of I'm Slowly Turning Into You, albeit with Meg replaced by a skeleton. The album is called Icky Thump, and seeing American websites trying to explain why it might be a Goodies reference is a joy in itself.
FALLING OFF A BLOG: Headphones On. What can we say? It's well written and it's got some mp3s on, and we think you ought to read it some time. It's not as easy as it looks, this.
EVERYBODY GET RANDOM: We've covered public access kids show Pancake Mountain before - still going, and they've just had Deerhoof drop by - and now it seems it has a rival in Puppet Music Hall. Actually, it's probably not fair to call it a kids show, but the outre guest list is similar, featuring Devendra Banhart, Jenny Lewis (a Pancake Mountain alumnus) and Dresden Doll Amanda Palmer of late.
IN OTHER NEWS: What do we have to do to get Brian May's attention?