Not much again this week, as all the really decent upcoming releases seem to have been moved to the end of the month. As there's lots to get through elsewhere this week we'll keep this brief, so as not to mention the Bloc Party single that tries to show their electro side but instead shows their Eiffel 65 side. Maths Class are really part of this whole post-punk-funk/mathrock Battles/Foals movement that was still coalescing when they came to our attention, in one of those synergic tricks musical timelines like to play every so often. Emporio Laser has all the tricks - it's electronically inclined, it's made for spasmodic dancing and it sounds a little like Q And Not U. You'd think with Jack Penate rockabillying his way into the nation's hearts EMI might have actually done something more with Vincent Vincent & The Villains, but there you go - On My Own leaks out this week. Correcto are the latest product of the Glasgow scene love-in, containing one of The Royal We and Franz's Paul Thompson. Joni is their appropriately pop-angular opening shot.
Our leadoff choice this week is a four track, 25 minute record, but we had all the farrago about whether these are EPs or mini-albums last week and it bored us already. It is, however, Wire, and for that respect is due, especially as we thought Colin Newman had finally conclusively left the band. Read & Burn 03 is the long-awaited third part in their "series of 'research and development' vehicles", the first two of which were put together in 2003 to form the band's last album Send, although apparently this will be a standalone release. Who knows what sort of post-post-post-punk drone will be involved here. In terms of proper full lengths, slim pickings - the Raveonettes return with much the same fuzz-Spector sound on Lust Lust Lust but in reduced circumstances on Fierce Panda, Fugazi bassist Joe Lally calls on Ian MacKaye's production and the guitar of Guy Picciotto (producer, lest we forget, of Standing In The Way Of Control) for a subtler take on the band's hardcore dynamics on Nothing Is Underrated and if pedal steel-driven hushed country rockers Japancakes calling their new album Loveless seems odd, there's a reason for it - it's a pedal steel-driven hushed country rock reinterpretation of My Bloody Valentine's classic, top to bottom. It might even rival Jeffrey Lewis for single album covers record of the year. LCD Soundsystem's Nike advert composition 45:33 makes it to CD for the first time, so you can spot which bit James Murphy reappopriated for Someone Great. Entertainingly, it's not 45:33 long. As he's been promising for a while now since regaining the rights to all his work, Darren Hayman has remastered his Richman-for-the-British-indie-kids meisterwork Breaking God's Heart and extended it with early singles including the recently lauded here Pull Yourself Together, B-sides, rare EP tracks, outtakes and whatever else he found in his cupboard. Despite being far more realistically grounded lyrically, it's a fair bet Hayman has heard some Robyn Hitchcock in his life. I Wanna Go Backwards is a five CD box set that randomly picks out (and these are also being reissued seperately for those already planning Christmas spending) 1981 solo debut Black Snake Diamond Role, 1984's I Often Dream Of Trains and its unoffical follow-up, 1990's Eye, gives them the remastering brushdown and adds While Thatcher Mauled Britain Part 1 & 2, a newly compiled two-disc collection of b-sides, outtakes and home demo recordings, many of them previously unreleased in the manner of kindred spirit Andy Partridge's Fuzzy Warbles series. More box sets are promised. Les Savy Fav's long awaited emergence to take the artpunk crown that's been rightfully theirs all along, the Henry VII to so many others' Perkin Warbeck, means the reissues are on. The Cat And The Cobra is probably their weakest album, it still demonstrates how far ahead of populism's curve they were in 1999, and it's got We've Got Boxes and Who Rocks The Party? on it. Still on the sort of collegiate rock college radio wouldn't play, being the Neutral Milk Hotel album that isn't In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, On Avery Island has some trouble receiving its due, a lo-fi tinderbox of ideas and arrangements that wouldn't find their niche for a couple of years yet. Unless you're talking about the largely horrible American punk sub-movement, you can't claim to know about ska and not be aware of the Skatalites, the Jamaican studio collective who included pretty much anyone who was anyone in the instrument-playing ranks and backed the vast majority of the classic mid-60s vocal originators too. With a band active for so long bewaring of cheap imitations is always a worry, so tread carefully but skankingly so around mid-90s set Ska Splash, the excellently titled saxophonist tribute The Authentic Ska Sound Of Tommy McCook and studio reunion with the great Laurel Aitken Clash Of The Ska Titans. A very different country's alternative musical heritage comes from Os Mutantes, the leading lights, not that we in the west knew it at the time, of Brazil's Tropicalia movement. 1968 debut Os Mutantes sounds immense, blending psychedelia, Beach Boys song cycles, orchestral pop and found sound of all shapes. Finally, while we can never fully condone a mid-price compilation, Nervous Tension is subtitled 'The EMI Post Punk Collection' and so finds room for Wire, Gang Of Four, Public Image Ltd, Buzzcocks, XTC, Magazine, The Stranglers, The Monochrome Set, The Skids and Scars.
Read this. "Girls Aloud - Style, offers an exclusive insight into what it takes to create the look of the hottest girl group in the UK. From award ceremonies to nights out on the town, Girls Aloud know how to rock a look and here they share their favourite tips and sought after industry advice on how to look great in front of the cameras. For the first time we see Cheryl revealing her beauty secrets, follow Nicola through the trials of finding that all important perfect pair of jeans, catch-up with Kimberley on the benefits of shopping online, and hit the stores with Sarah and Nadine while they hunt for accessories and shoes to get that Girls Aloud style. Packed full of practical tips and hints, Girls Aloud - Style, also contains the band's music videos with commentary from Cheryl and Sarah on all those outfits and hair styles be they great - or a retrospective nightmare!" So this is what marketing a band has come to. Last year when the best of came out it actually looked like their handlers were acknowledging their hipster cachet, but no, it was the Cosmo Kids readers they were after all along. Sigh. And the new single is basically one of those girl band knockoffs from around 1999. Someone who does have something of a history behind them is collected on the three disc The McCartney Years, two DVD of all his solo and Wings videos, including the frankly remarkable Coming Up, and one of a Wings 1976 gig, his MTV Unplugged and Glastonbury headliner.
And still the Control tie-ins keep rolling, but Joy Division: Piece by Piece comes with a simultaneous stamp of quality and a fear of actual content, given it's written by Paul Morley. It's an anthology of everything he ever wrote about them, from Warsaw to now, indeed right up to a critique of Control, and also including the original work that inspired his novel Nothing. The 33 1/3 series continues moving with a heavyweight modern writer, Pitchfork managing editor Scott Plagenhoef, who gives Belle & Sebastian's If You're Feeling Sinister the once-over with contributions from band members, producers, management and fans. Garry Mulholland may be the patron saint of obsessing over music lists, and his second volume Fear of Music: The Greatest 261 Albums Since Punk and Disco arrives in no doubt wrist-breaking paperback size.