Great tracks from great albums nearly all the way in this meagre week, by no means least the pipe organ-driven, and there's not a lot of bands you can apply that to, religious/political soliloquy the size of a city of Arcade Fire's Intervention. On this basis, you'd certainly fight for Win, Regine and co. We saw Grizzly Bear this week. Look at us. Yes, their live show is as superb as everyone says it is, and a review will appear in the usual channels in the fulness of time. To tie in with their short UK tour the Beach Boys-meets-Animal Collective wonderousness of Knife gets a 7" run despite sounding like a single cut in no conceivable way. Band Of Horses sound not unlike Arcade Fire themselves, their chief melodramatic Americana cut even being called The Funeral. Bet they're sick of people pointing that out to them. There's even a CD single of worth out this week, Dizzee Rascal returning from 'attempting to fit in' hell. "A UK half-brother to Jay-Z's 99 Problems" says the press release for Sirens. In a heavy duty scrapyard, maybe.
Mark E Smith's collaboration with Mouse On Mars as Von Sudenfed shouldn't be that surprising - he added vocals to a version of a track from their last album, has gone through housier fall periods in the early 90s, provided vocals for the D.O.S.E. project (released on PWL!), worked with Coldcut and has always enjoyed an elongated cut-up on an album. What makes Tromatic Reflexxions, a title you genuinely wouldn't hazard to guess which half of the collaboration came up with, different is it fits its electro-dance around, rather than to, Smith's vocalising, making it the most attainable thing Mouse On Mars have done, well, possibly ever, it's just it's got the great impregnable singer on it. Not a great deal to mention this week otherwise, the only new releases of other note being the dark, downbeat Wicker Man folk noir of Fireworks Night's As Fools We Are - think Tindersticks, Bad Seeds and tales told on storm-tossed nights on the band's part-home the Channel Islands - and Candie Payne falling in with the Spectorfication we've often discussed in this bit over the weeks and years, I Wish I Could Have Loved You More imagining Back To Black produced by Geoff Barrow. As we've said before, while Amy Winehouse has spent the previous few months trailing shouts of "Motown! Wall Of Sound! Doo-wop!" it's actually Stax that her album is in thrall to. Maybe it just seems less glamorous, even if at its best the Memphis-based label was far more inventive than the vast majority of what Motor City was exporting. Their 50th Anniversary Celebration should put that well and truly to rights. First there was The Legend of Johnny Cash: Ring of Fire, which sold well (number 11 last year), now there is another one of it. The Legend of Johnny Cash: Ring of Fire Vol.2 sweeps up the pre-Rubin next best.
Chris Lowe has noted that Pet Shop Boys gigs need to be huge production number costumed dancing extravaganzas because otherwise it'd be just some blokes on far too big a stage. Pet Shop Boys: Cubism shows the whole shebang off in Mexico City last November.