This is about the point at which everything starts to thin out except singles releases as everyone tries to get one last squeeze out of existing material or a shot at establishing themselves ahead of the full year. In the former category we find ¡Forward Russia! reworking Nineteen to actually not as good as the album effect and the Flaming Lips doing their usual trick of rounding off an album campaign in Britain with a tour and an EP of odds and sods led by an album track, At War With The Mystics providing It Overtakes Me. In the latter, the Maccabees' charge towards establishing a parochial foothold gathers apace on First Love while The Hours, the duo of former Joe Strummer & The Mescaleroes backmen Antony Genn (who famously-at-the-time streaked Elastica at Glastonbury) and Martin Slattery (who didn't, but he was in Black Grape), go all anthemic to a not unlikeable extent on Ali In The Jungle. There's Q's tip for the new year sorted out. No prizes for guessing which side of the divide Oasis fall, especially as the Stop the Clocks EP is entirely made up of material most have - Acquiesce, The Masterplan, a demo of Cigarettes & Alcohol and a live version of Some Might Say. Over on 7" we'll draw your attention to Birmingham's oddest Misty's Big Adventure and the Fashion Parade EP, typified by its less than subtle title track aim-taking.
Later on today on our Myspace blog you can find out what we made of the almost certainly never to be seen again experience, a word we use very advisedly, of the live Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. To coincide with this fortieth anniversary tour Wrestle Poodles... and Win is a recording of their initial 40th anniversary reformation show with all surviving members plus Stephen Fry, Adrian Edmondson, Phill Jupitus and Paul Merton. It's been out on DVD for a while (and over on their official site they've now got a two-disc forty year retrospective DVD set available just in case you thought you had everything you needed) but as every home should have one this is not a bad thing. It's certainly a more fulsome expenditure option than the Sugababes' rewriting of what was already a relatively patchy pop history - great at its heights, poor at its lows, and they've re-recorded some of it - on Overloaded: Greatest Hits, And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead's plain rotten crash down to earth So Divided and, sad to say, Jarvis. Yes, four and five stars across the board, but we've been listening to it a bit recently and have come to the conclusion that it doesn't quite work or click in the way we so desperately hoped it would.
Never a great visual band, at least the Charlatans have packed out Forever - The Singles with live and TV performances, and not left Weirdo off. The apparently variable Under Review series of critical reappraisals meanwhile continues with Tom Waits: Under Review 1971-1982. We're expecting dimmed shots of blue fascia lights already.