Record industry lore has it that the third single is the one on which your act goes for broke, the release which determines whether the public will (be forced to) have an interest in your pet project. Essentially, single three shows whether you daytime radio and press lionisation crossover potential. Los Campesinos!' third single, The International Tweexcore Underground, resembles a Cardiff Scene Broken Social Scene with carried away glockenspiel and sawing violin, and is described by the band as "a story of a friendship of two opposites and how they are in the best band in the world" which namechecks Henry Rollins, Amelia Fletcher, Ian MacKaye, Calvin Johnson and Sarah Records. Scott Mills' producer has not yet put a call in. It is of course magnificent, which we would say because it's Los Campesinos! and if they released a cover of No Charge played entirely on hosepipe and accordion we'd go a bundle on it. No, instead they're releasing a "concept single", the B-sides being covers of Black Flag's Police Story and Heavenly's Calvinist classic C Is The Heavenly Option. Presumably Wichita couldn't afford to press up a CD2 with Out Of Step and Pristine Christine on. Incidentally, someone started a since deleted Wikipedia entry for 'tweecore' claiming this record invented the term, which when shown to him made Gareth go a neat shade of puce (or so we imagine, it was an online discussion), not unreasonably as not only has the phrase been in net use for years - the Bobby McGees used to probably ironically call themselves "the inventors of tweecore" - but we found we'd employed it to describe Suburban Kids With Biblical Names last end of year. Sorry. Battles will never, ever be referred to using the word 'twee'. Indeed, by now most have run out of epithets, genres and lexicographal epiphanies employed to describe exactly what they do sound like, with their pitch control and their finger tapping and their big cymbal stand and all that. Tonto comes with remixes including one from Four Tet, live tracks and a DVD featuring both videos and a behind the scenes. Mirrored will be at or near the top of just as many end of year lists as Sound Of Silver, both taking the principles of the groove in completely different directions as if to say "fuck you, Sasha Frere-Jones". Someone Great is probably the next closest it comes to what a single sounds like nowadays. Two years in Blood Red Shoes are still taking the scenic coastal route of limited edition 7"s building up to January's album. I Wish I Was Someone Better, their fifth such single release by our reckoning, gives Steven a lead vocal and ratches up the two-person tension bred on endless support touring yet again. The other way to get attention is to whore your image out to the fashion magazines, hence the brief spell around June where everyone seemed to be going on about The Teenagers, three Frenchmen based in London with rudeness aforethought. Even the most horribly contrived i-D band usually have one thing about them, though, and in their case it's the synth Velvets Strapisms of the not exactly coded Starlett Johansson. Either out last week or next, so we're going for the mean average, comes another one from the Brighton alt-diaspora, 4 Or 5 Magicians, essentially just one Dan Ormsby, and if their/his debut 7" Forever On The Edge bears hallmarks of not only being slanted but enchanted also (and of Guided By Voices, come to that) there are far, far worse things to be. It's also a song about being in a failing band that works. Popular Workshop called their first EP Stutter And Dance, which just about does the descriptive job for us - rhythms that break themselves down and start back up at will, energetic angular screes and a lot of post-Sonic Youth flailing about around the ring roads of melody. Double A'd 7" William, It Was Really Something/Radical attempts to leash their hyperkinecity to mastertape. There's no good reason for the two year old Destroy Everything You Touch by Ladytron to come back out, but such are the industry's wiles. The Maccabees' Toothpaste Kisses isn't a tremendously obvious single choice but at least it's not got high speed hi-hat and declamatory guitar like all their other songs. Adele has been talked about as the ace in the New London Kids pack for so long now it's hard to think Hometown Glory is her debut, a 7" on Jamie T's Pacemaker label. Frankly it doesn't need its synthetically produced string section, it's good enough in its raw form. It's a good ten to twelve years since Gallon Drunk made their name in the realm of seedy London underbelly swamp rock, and despite many a lineup change James Johnston is still sounding like Nick Cave's perma-sozzled mate (which, oddly...) on Grand Union Canal. Middlesbrough's energetic female frontline pop-punk if that wasn't such a debased term kids We Start Fires start to come of age at last on Let's Get Our Hands Dirty, while after what seems like years making a small inroad in America and Liela Moss adding vocals for basically everyone who asks the Duke Spirit return for unwarranted Duke Special confusion aplenty on EP Ex Voto.
Recently seen supporting on the curtailed Decemberists UK tour, Land Of Talk were described by us not long ago and understandably by nobody else anywhere ever as Montreal's Sky Larkin. It's based on more than their being a female-fronted trio, you'll be glad to hear, more their adding to the Throwing Muses/Breeders/Veruca Salt lineage of same and leaving their own personal stamp of ambition and ideas on it. Applause Cheer Boo Hiss has been extended from mini-album to full LP status by the addition of three extra tracks for the UK market, exhibiting much the same sort of streamlined post-cool and determination. Holy Fuck, having self-titled their first, get out of second album titling horror the easy way by calling it LP. Very Public Image Ltd. Unlike the record, which is very !!! in that they create faux-electronic dance-punk by analogue means, using percussion, antique synths and found sounds to create a soundscape to dance to and think about later. Every Monday night through late summer at London's Big Chill House The Mules curated a bill of favourite new bands, which they've now collated together on Pick Your Own. what could have been an exercise in nose-thumbing is averted by the realisation that if the whole market for synth-post-punk-country becomes sluggish they can come and write STN for a bit, given their favourites include Emmy The Great, Lightspeed Champion, Napoleon IIIrd, Noah And The Whale, Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit, Eugene McGuinness, Jonquil, Son Of Dave and Fireworks Night. Krautrock sampler the easy way with Can reissuing nearly their whole back catalogue. Tago Mago is the one the legend is built on, Ege Bamyasi is preferred by many, Future Days' four tracks in forty-odd minutes signpost ambient's way. The Wedding Present are heading off around the country from Tuesday on a George Best twentieth anniversary tour (Lucky Soul are doing some support dates in the latter end of the tour in November), and to coincide the first two of the official bootleg Live Tapes mail order cassettes are remastered for Live 1987. Now that David Longstreth is getting attention for his Dirty Projectors' Rise Above project its 2005 predecessor The Getty Address gets its first proper UK release. According to Longstreth's notes "The Getty Address is about the conflict of Hernan Cortes and the Aztecs in 1519-21, the virtualization of wilderness on a completely circumscribed globe, dirty projection, and love cerebral and spiritual... inspired by Aztec mythology, the Eagles, and the 9/11 aftermath". Right.
A month ago Frank Turner's DVD was talked up by us as a document of his life as the gig-booked acoustic wanderer, comprising live footage, a documentary, videos and fan contributions. That was before the inevitable processing delays, but All About The Destination finally hits shelves this week.
A year and a half after its ignominious and pop schedule-landmining exit seems a curious point at which to write a tribute to Top Of The Pops, but Ian Gittins has done just such in the form of Top Of The Pops: Mishaps, Miming and Music - True Adventures of TV's No.1 Pop Show. If it doesn't include the anecdote about the production team on the first show realising the floor manager was bald and convincing him to wear a wig so he didn't stand out it's not worth the recycle bin its paper was scrounged from. We imagine Damon Albarn: Blur, Gorillaz and Other Fables is the first unofficial biography of the inscrutable son of Soft Machine's lighting designer (and yet we can't remember the birthdays of relatives) is because Stuart Maconie's worthwhile if already well out of date 3862 Days authorised Blur biography did such a thorough job both in and between the lines. The usual slew of old acquaintances line up to reminisce.