Now they've earned enough respect to gain proper press, CSS' press is entirely predictable. They're from an exotic country, they have a singer who dances about a bit and their self-mythologised attitude to carnality is in no way similar to that of Boy George. We get the picture. Apart from that it means daytime DJs having to explain who Death From Above 1979 were, there's no really good reason for Let's Make Love And Listen To Death From Above to come back out, especially not with a video that's exactly the same as the original one with all the good bits replaced with live clips, but as it was in our top ten singles of 2006 it's too late to really complain about it getting all popular. On big old 12"s come two bands graduating from loft spaces and underground parties to, well, street level in a sense, as !!! put the funk back into punk and let the rhythm take it all on the dark booty-shifter Must Be The Moon and Mouse On Mars fail to be sacked by Mark E Smith quite yet from collaboration Von Südenfed, whose Fledermaus Can't Get It sounds much as you'd expect it to, namely dirty mutant computer disco plus shouting Mancunian drunkard. On the smaller vinyl format we find another Grinderman single that sounds like the Birthday Party in a blender, (I Don't Need You To) Set Me Free, Liverpudlian speedy spiky pop from awkwardly named goFASTER>>, She Starts Monday, and next week's New Lily Allen, Remi Nicole, makes like a part-Trinidadian Kate Nash who's been kept a very safe distance from a Powerbook on Fed Up.
The cover of Battles' debut album Mirrored is exactly what you want - a shop's worth of amps, keyboards and sundry kit arranged in the mirrored room seen in the Atlas video, John Stanier's big old cymbal stand standing true and proud. What were we doing when they were on at Truck Nine? (Actually, what were we doing? Consulting the stage time booklet reveals a good hour and a half's gap in our memory encompassing their set. Crumbs) Well, actually, we're comparatively late to the punch on their mad mathrock/jazz/metal/prog/avantgarde... thing, but we're glad we made it. This is an astounding work in many ways, the sort of sound that can only be achieved by alumni of the likes of Don Caballero and Helmet thrown together and overdosed on Ritalin to see what boundaries they can break between them. Leyendecker even sounds like a post-rock attempt at an R'n'B backing. You won't have a clue what it's about, but good luck getting your head around its Hampton Court maze of rhythmic gymnastics in any case. Two bedroom auteurs have a record's worth of material ready, and both are well worth a go. Most of the press attention has falln to James Chapman, AKA Maps, whose We Can Create takes the lysergic sound of superior shoegazing and melds it with lo-fi electronics, not forgetting that under all those layers were actual songs, before getting a mix off Ken Thomas (Sigur Ros, Clinic, Hope Of The States). The result sounds like Jason Pierce remixing the Flaming Lips' The Soft Bulletin, and it could well be one of this year's sleeper hits. To be honest we're not entirely sure Brainlove Records still have the 14th down for Napoleon IIIrd's In Debt To (see, Amazon haven't even listed it yet), but it's on the download doobries. How to describe it? Let's try DIY pop song-crafted electronica, a midpoint between a Warp Records supergroup and Brian Wilson mid-shock therapy. TIYL: Patrick Wolf, Super Furry Animals at their most electronically inclined, Jeremy Warmsley and the previously vaunted by us stablemate Pagan Wanderer Lu, whose last EP he produced. On the other end of the studio scale... it takes a special kind of person to recreate Judy Garland's Carnegie Hall concert, and that person could only be Rufus Wainwright. On Release The Stars - horrible font, by the way - he's gone all out for hugely orchestrated off-Broadway splendour at the same time as recruiting Neil Tennant to executively produce and Siân Phillips for a spoken part. Got what it sounds like in your head? Triple it, in all areas. Which is very much not the case with The Maccabees' Colour It In, it can only be said. Still there's charm of its own here, taking on the sound of but clearly a cut above the post-post-punk stew. The Young Playthings' Who Invented Love? is listed for tomorrow on their Myspace and press release but seems to have gone on sale last week. Well done, everyone. Whatever, Smalltown America's court jesters/goodtime fanciers are still worth the while should the idea of a Weezer/Superchunk-esque power-pop outfit reimagining a David Lynch soundtrack appeal. Which it should. Tremendous cartoon cover art too, which you'll have to trust us about as Amazon haven't been arsed to scan it in. Another singer-songwriter carving a specialised niche is Tom McRae, whose 2003 LP Just Like Blood we grew to adore after finding it in Oxfam for £1.99 a week after release. On the back of such prudence on our part we find ourselves duty bound to mention his fourth record King Of Cards, which sees his seething yet sensitive songwriting keep him well clear of the Morrison pack. Triumphant Sounds, whoever they are, is the latest label port of call for Bristolian melody warpers The Experimental Pop Band, although please note - you never get this with multinationals - Tinsel Stars is either out tomorrow or on June 11th. Whichever, this fifth album by ex-Brilliant Corners leader Davey Woodward is sure to take classy indiepop structures and do odd things to them. Tropicalia influences are promised, apparently. Band Of Horses' Everything All The Time was in our top 30 of last year, so you might want to read about it again now Sub Pop are giving it a full UK release. It's great, essentially. Can't help feeling that you're missing a great element of the Robert Pollard experience in a Guided By Voices live album (yeah, because Pollard really doesn't get enough product out these days), but here's one as part of a series of Live From Austin releases, this out on DVD too.