Thursday, March 26, 2009

The hot Spotify

We might have had a good cataloguing go here and here, but trawls of Spotify will keep throwing up things which really make no sense in the Web 2.0 world...

Klaxons - Accordeon Millenium

Jamie Reynolds recently claimed his band had had their second album rejected on the grounds of it being too weird. On this evidence you can see what he means.

Ah! There's a few bands on Spotify with namealikes - search out Los Campesinos or Broadcast, by all means let us know of more - and this is in fact The Klaxons (sorry, poetic licence up there), the brainchild of one Burt Blanca. Having founded The King Creole, regarded as Belgium's first true rock'n'roll band, he schlepped around the local scene for a while before forming this band with Jean-Marie Trois Fontaine and Roger Verbestel. That up there, The Clap Clap Sound, charted across Europe - number 45 in Britain - and if we're reading this Google translation correctly spent half a year atop in South Africa. It's also the last track on this album, which suggests they laugh in the face of frontloading albums. The whole thing really is instrumental accordion led shanties and hoedowns, sometimes with possibly synthesized horns (Divertida Mexicana - it's like you're in El Paso right now - and the steam train rockabilly of The Choo Choo Express), sometimes dangerous stylistic alterations (Youpiyo has some voices on; Mr Spikes and its sound effects is a particular winner), often superior lift muzak, quite often cashing in on the hit soundalikes. There's even a ballad.

Toto Coelo - I Eat Cannibals

Go on, La so-called Roux, adopt this.

Quite a few people on YouTube seem convinced they were ripped off by the Spice Girls, fourteen years later, but then that's YouTube for you. What it is is an attempt to do new wave and siren-y synthpop at the same time, backwards, blindfolded. By name they were Anita Mahadervan, Lacey Bond, Lindsey Danvers, Ros Holness and Sheen Doran, and there was a point where everyone in Britain knew that one of them - go on, guess which one - was Bob Holness' daughter. This update's "album by one hit wonder" selection features the further adventures of the day-glo bin liner clad Fuzzbox of the Fairlight synth and Toni Basil chanting age. Dracula's Tango is exactly what a 1983 Ting Tings would sound like.

Johnny Wakelin - Invincible

Speaking of taking your main chance on, here's a wonderful example of such. Johnny Wakelin was a club singer from Brighton who scored a UK top ten single and a sizeable US hit with Black Superman, about Muhammed Ali, and then here at least an even bigger hit with In Zaire ("in Zai-ear!"), a tribute to the Rumble In The Jungle. Far be it for us to suggest he then decided to take his big idea and run with it throughout his career, but Invincible is a twelve track album on which every song is about a boxer. He's paid more attention to working into rhyming scheme and metre the biographies of Naseem Hamed, Sugar Ray Leonard ("stole the show, it's down on the record!"), Mike Tyson, Rocky Marciano, Frank Bruno and Lennox Lewis than not making the production sound instantly dated, especially when he discovers Italo-house just for Tyson's benefit. For Lennox Lewis, only white reggae and 1993 rave will do. In more sensible times here's In Zaire in the Top Of The Pops studio in August 1976, the Hairy Cornflake introducing Wakelin's number four sound, looking like a member of Dr Hook, at 2:40 between Dancing Queen ("I'll dedicate that one to David Hamilton, he loves that record") and a pensive Bryan Ferry video. He actually comes up with a third different pronunciation of the titular country.

Best Of The Barron Knights
The Barron Knights - Songs For Traffic Jams


Let's just consider something here. Due to rights issues The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Metallica and AC/DC cannot be found on Spotify, which makes articles like the one in the new Q about how you don't need a record or mp3 collection any more with it less sustainable. On top of that there's a pile of excellent and influential artists whose work just hasn't been added yet.

And yet, currently streaming on Spotify and added within the last week, are two Barron Knights albums.

One of which was recorded in 2002.

And the Best Of hasn't even got A Taste Of Aggro on.

Or Live In Trouble.

Or Food For Thought.

Or Get Down Shep.

The Barron Knights, for our younger readers, were a band formed FIFTY YEARS AGO who would parody recreate hits of the day in a montage form with, it says here, amusing new lyrics. One of them was called Duke D'Mond. They're still going too, although like the Sugababes they only have one original member. This Best Of does feature Call Up The Groups, Pop Go The Workers, Merry Gentle Pops and An Olympic Record (the latter with Reg Dwight sessioning on piano), then jumps from 1968 to 1992. Call Up The Groups '92 is about the Iraq War and includes an impression of Antoine de Caunes, and there's a song about Cilla Black losing her hat in the wind.

Songs For Traffic Jams, perhaps the last album that should start by taking the piss out of ageing rock bands, gives modernity a shot. Po-faces is a Wonderwall parody, insomuch as it would be were Liam Gallagher a Scouser. We actually don't understand The Ballad of Jarvis & Michael, a song sung from the perspective of a Welsh teacher and featuring the groundbreaking revelation that "Cocker" and "rocker" rhyme. Three Little Maids is about Blind Date. At least three tracks have 'beats'. Don't Let The Germans Nick Your Sunbeds is as appealing as an Ibiza rave track about Germans and sunbeds presented to the Barron Knights sounds. Hall Of The Curry King is even more dubious. One track runs entirely on the notion that the word 'knickers' is still inherently amusing. It's like stepping into another musical world. That's because it is.

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