Inevitably, quite a bit from last week's singles list got moved back a week - 4 Or 5 Magicians, Blood Red Shoes, Ladytron, that sort. So now that label indecision is out of the way, we can get onto Sons And Daughters, who started doing the country-punk thing, had a Bad Seeds phase and in Adele Bethel's case got through metre upon metre of gold fabric. An early taster of next year's third album, Gilt Complex adds a slight sheen to The Repulsion Box's underground club grime atmosphere but these are still people with rhythmic malice aforethought. Like that band, the Young Knives' last album was garlanded with STN end of year top ten honours - we doubt it's on their press release, in all honesty - and are promoting a spring 2008 follow-up with a single. Terra Firma may be fronted by Henry Dartnall's never that appealling choice of his declamatory/shouty voice, but it'd fit well onto Voices Of Animals And Men and it's far from the best of the new material. We know that for people who've never been there we go on quite a bit about the music coming out of Cardiff over the past year or so but it's a thriving scene not yet tainted by association by the big boys' trendsetting application. It's getting a bit out of our hands when people we already liked start moving there, as is the case with Bolton/Aberystwyth graduate Andy Regan, whom followers of bedroom electronic/acoustic dark wit, which should be all of you, will know as Pagan Wanderer Lu. One suspects from the lyrics of The Tree Of Knowledge that he didn't particularly get on at school, but - brace yourselves for this one - he definitely gets top grades for his scuffed up music!!!! It's been a long and busy week for us. His label Brainlove Records are on something of a roll this week, in fact, as not only do they also provide our top album choice still to come but also house electro-art-punks Applicants, whose throw everything at Cubase and see if it sticks tactics led them to be dubbed "Busted meets Daphne & Celeste" by TOTP magazine. Hypochondriac/Hurt sounds like neither. The pair of them, plus Napoleon IIIrd (that's ruined the surprise) and Keyboard Choir, are off on tour together in November - check local listings for details. The duo that make up Slow Club aren't that electronic at all, preferring the healing properties of acoustic guitar, basic drum kit and summery tweefolk on second single Me & You. Eugene McGuinness' star has somewhat got lost in the UV lighting surrounding some of his immediate circle but his mini-album The Early Learnings Of... is a highly impressive intro, from which Bold Street is taken. Before Yeasayer and Black Kids, the hype of the day in the American underground was the Afrobeat indie of collegiate kids Vampire Weekend, who launch with Mansard Roof. The Super Furry Animals, increasingly at risk of fading into the background which would be very unlike them, bring out Run-Away, our most unrecognisable major rock stars the Kings Of Leon - how did they get so big? Would you recognise any of them now they're beardless? - channel the Pixies on Charmer, and in the download, erm, folder Charlotte Hatherley, who's just been around the country on an acoustic tour, draws another from the unjustly overlooked The Deep Blue, Again.
Quite apart from legions of Thames Valley teenage girls with Joni Mitchell records and Garageband-equipped laptops, the real revolution in home recording is happening well away from Super A lists. We've dealt in the past with many a solo visionary starting with a head full of clashing melodically charged ideas and carrying them through where they sat to various degrees. We've previously dealt in this very post with Pagan Wanderer Lu, for a classic instance. And right up with the best of them we find Leeds' James Mabbett, the man behind the soubriquet Napoleon IIIrd. In Debt To: has been out on download for five months now but only now have Brainlove Records got together the finances to put it out on properly distributed CD, so we've had some time to live with this and know that when we say it's more than likely the solo album of the year you can rest assured we know what we're talking about. We could sit here and make a big list of all the reference points we hear, from the Beach Boys to Olivia Tremor Control to pre-fame Flaming Lips to Jim O'Rourke's solo adventures, but it'd still underplay the sheer weight of seemingly disjointed ideas that have been jigsaw-like fitted together with misleading ease to create this DIY whirl of broken melodies, glitchy offbeats, declamatory lyrics, heartfelt moments and endless invention. Channel 4 Teletext's Planet Sound referred to Untitled Musical Project as comprising ex-members of McLusky, which isn't true but might be an easy mistake to make given they come from exactly the same place of dirty great bass riffs, Albiniesque guitars and caustic lyrics. Bath isn't the first place you'd imagine would produce a heavy funk collective also inspired by RZA, Tom Waits and the Sonics, but such is the enclosing world of influence these days. The Heavy's great crossover potential has gone quiet after a very brief flowering a couple of singles ago, Great Vengeance & Furious Fire almost sneaking out for the discerning. With the kids wanting their choral multi-instrumental hymns to Valhalla and the actual record buyers being into yacht rock production it was inevitable a midpoint would cause people to wet themselves, and such has happened with Yeasayer's All Hour Cymbals. Anyone remember Day One? Storytelling over beats and acoustic guitar meant they were very briefly Bristol's post-trip-hop next big thing. After seven years off they return with Probably Art. Caution: contains Will.I.Am. Fabriclive's DJ set series reaches Fabriclive 36 with James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem drummer Pat Mahoney. Unsurprisingly it's virtually all semi-obscure turn of the 80s disco-funk, much (although not including him) of the sort Chaz Jankel was making when he first got his hands on synths and had some time off being Ian Dury's writing partner. Chaz Jankel - My Occupation: The Music Of Chaz Jankel charts such excursions.
While there's clearly a book in the glam-art school pop inventing world of Eno-era Roxy Music, Michael Bracewell's Re-make/Re-model: Art, Pop, Fashion and the Making of Roxy Music, 1953-1972 suggests in its very subtitle that he's going to have a shot at two. Novellist Bracewell has long flown the flag for English pop pizazz and while the title's timescale doesn't suggest a surfeit of discussing the music the band made - their first album came out in 1972 - there's plenty to go at in the further education, fine art and extended theory surroundings they grew up in. We've just passed the fourth anniversary of Elliott Smith's death, plenty of time for photographer and video director Autumn de Wilde to provide a personal view, with close companion input, of his legacy. Doesn't The Official Punk Rock Book Of Lists sound like the most horrible post-Year Zero misnomer? It has credentials, though, co-writing credits going to Handsome Dick Manitoba of key pre-punks the Dictators and featuring input from assorted luminaries and sideline names.