Much of a muchness this week again, mostly underwhelming returns and eked out singles. Actually Charlotte Hatherley's album didn't come out that long ago but it does feel like she's got left behind a little bit, even if the new Ash material is the weakest they've ever done, which demonstrates something. Siberia isn't the strongest choice but it should drive more people towards The Deep Blue, and to think that she could have had her pick of labels and instead has gone it almost completely alone. Also in that category Klaxons' pumped up cover of It's Not Over Yet isn't even the last single from Myths Of The Near Future with Totem On The Timeline lurking on the release schedules, while Fields, now lost somewhere in the distance from the hype that surrounded them at the end of 2006, put Song For The Fields back out on pointless 7". We're fairly sure Architecture In Helsinki have stronger in their locker than 12" Heart It Races, while My Vitriol's first release in five years is limited edition EP A Pyrrhic Victory, which doesn't sound like something they've had waiting to surprise us with all along. The Strange Death Of Liberal England's choral menace isn't best served on 7" Oh Solitude but it promises much for their forthcoming album. Single of the week, then, would probably be Boston, Mass octet The Young Republic, first signings to the label set up by the founders of End Of The Road festival. They sound like a band to keep an eye out for, 7" double A side Girl From The Northern States/Your Heart Belongs In Tennessee being slow burning orchestral indiefolk that should appeal to anyone keen on what the Belle & Sebastian/Camera Obscura axis might sound like in the hands of the Broken Family Band or Candidate.
We're so used now to demeaning any band with crossover potential as Coldplay wannabes that all it takes is a piano and a mildly pained vocal. So it is with Editors' An End Has A Start, which in parts is no less humungously riffed or immensely precise (or, frankly, patchy and Interpol-y) than The Back Room but has been anointed as the next stadium fillers not because Chris Urbanowicz is learning to use The Edge's effects pedals in places but because there's a piano and mildly pained vocals on some tracks, not least the A-list target precision single. It'll play on Grey's Anatomy, as we keep saying. Who could possibly have guessed, though, that while doomy new wave was filling our airwaves it'd be little old Art Brut who'd go off and be the American cult band du jour? It's A Bit Complicated is by necessity cleaner, less scrappy sounding than Bang Bang Rock And Roll but Eddie Argos' lyrics, luckily, aren't, still as self effacing, pop culture scared and love churning as ever. Still nobody really cares in Britain, which is the oddest thing of all. People have begun to care about the Postal Service, a very American college take on European pop-electronica, in their droves, which means good timing on Jimmy Tamburello's part, following last year's harder James Figurine sideline with the project that brought Ben Gibbard on board, Dntel. Dumb Luck. Guests this time include Conor Oberst, Grizzly Bear, Jenny Lewis and Lali Puna, all shaped to fit Tamburello's chameleonic electronica. Just the one reissue of note, crackly, half-formed debut Sebadoh album The Freed Man given an 52 track deluxe repackaging. No remastering, as you can't make that level of lo-fi sound any sharper.
Against all logic, it seems the ongoing Stooges reunion is working out fine, even if on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross the Ashetons resembled semi-retired sixty year olds roused from relaxing on their beachfront terrace. Iggy And The Stooges: Live In Detroit is from 2003, so nothing from The Weirdness, just lots of quasi-reptilian shape throwing and proto-punk throwdowns. Extras include a New York instore performance during which Iggy explains the songs' origins, archive material, Mike Watt reading from his journal and "sing-a-long versions". Gather the family round.
You may remember last year we blogged about Phonogram, a new six-part comic series about the music/magic interface set among the dreaming spires of Britpop, not that you had to necessarily understand Britpop to get it. Since then it's created a minor stir in the comics world, and yes, we do have all six right next to us. The trade edition of all of them together is out this week, with a new foreword by Luke Haines.