Monday, 15 December 2008

2008's Most Favouritest Albums

My turn! These are firmly favourites, as opposed to "the best", and I'm sure there's a fair few that might make you, dear reader, think "huh?!", but whateverrrrr.

Just missed out:
Beck - Modern Guilt
She & Him - Volume One
Late of the Pier - Fantasy Black Channel
Fucked Up - The Chemistry of Common Life
Sigur Ros - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

Here's my top 10. Many, most, have been written about at length before, some on these very pages this very day by Joe. So I'm not gonna talk about all of them. Just some of them.

10. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

9. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend - fun fun fun bouncy fun

8. Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - Cardinology - yeah, so you probably didn't expect this, you probably don't think it's that good, maybe it's not the bestest album ever, i mean it's probably one of his weaker albums to be fair. but i like it. a lot. and i've listened to it a lot. both of which are things which feed into each other and make me listen to/like it more. especially lyrically - especially "cobwebs" and "stop" and "crossed out name". and there's "magick", and two-and-a-half minute radio pop-rock thing which is pleasing. and i saw them live, which obviously helps. so yeah. i like it. a lot.

7. Kanye West - 808's & Heartbreak - well obviously this is kinda divisive, but i figured that 'divisive' would mean that some people would love it, and it would get on a fair few year-end lists. but it doesn't seem to have done. UNTIL NOWWW!!! umm, yeah - well i just admire anyone who can completely and utterly change their sound, even/especially if that new sound is one that they actually CAN'T DO. coz kanye totally can't sing. but that doesn't mean that the album doesn't work. it has really good songs. "sung" more than adequately. period. a'rite?

6. Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid

5. Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III

4. Mystery Jets - Twenty One - it's happy and real and unpretentious and young and unashamed and exuberant and eighties and pop and sad and beautiful and summery and happy. they were a highlight of glastonbury, above all because they looked like they were having a brilliant time on stage. enthusiasm is infectious. the entire crowd seemed to know all the songs. unsung heroes. or sung quite a lot in my room. in bad falsetto on "flakes" and "behind the bunhouse", the latter a song so embedded in my head that i always end up calling nearby favourite pub the bun shop 'the bunhouse'. ah well.

3. Lightspeed Champion - Falling Under The Lavender Bridge - again with the kanye praise - this couldn't be more different to test icicles. and dev has left behind his old proto-nu-rave identity much more successfully than kanye did his former graduating rapper. not that test-icicles sold a million copies of their album in the first week. imagine if they did... aaaanyway, back to reality - another album that feels to me unashamedly young, another band that i've been really happy when watching live. a soundtrack to my life, complete with lyrics that i may have on occasion taken as my own and projected my own life on to. also, he has a really really good blog.

2. TV on the Radio - Dear Science

1. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive - Like the other albums except better. Strong melodies, varied instrumentation, think-making lyrics. and an ecstatic live show back in july. this was my summer album, my summer-in-America album, my constructive summer album. A moment: on the train from LA to San Jose, after four weeks travelling alone, from Montreal in the North to Monterrey in the South, via New York, Nashville, Austin and others - I put on Stay Positive: "We're gonna build something this summer". I totally did. Y'know, in a metaphorical sense. Unashamed surrender to self-satisfied clichedom. Whatever. Stay positive.

And here's a load of other albums I liked, in lower case coz i was feeling lazy:

nick cave - dig!!! lazarus, dig!!!
lykke li - youth novels

coldplay - viva la vida...

scarlett johansson - anywhere i lay my head
- am i supposed to like this or not? oh, the dilemma. whatever. i like it.
fleet foxes - fleet foxes

laura marling - alas, i cannot swim

kings of leon - only by the night
ok, sliiiiightly disappointing due to unrealistic expectations, but still. song for song, it surpasses most of the albums here. apart from the high school musical 3 soundtrack.
weezer - weezer (the red album)
whatever, i liked it. it was fun.
girl talk - feed the animals

high school musical 3 OST
don't you dare dispute this. seriously. me and my army of twelve-year-old girls will TAKE YOU DOWN. don't you dare ask why i have an army of twelve-year-old girls either.
ben folds - way to normal
just, like, my opinion, man, but i kinda preferred the fake leak. does that make me a pretentious and bad person?
bloc party - intimacy

flight of the conchords - flight of the conchords

conor oberst - conor oberst
dr horrible's sing-along blog OST (joss whedon et al)
- this counts, of course it counts, why shouldn't it count?
noah and the whale - peaceful the world lays me down

spiritualized - songs in A&E

raconteurs - consolers of the lonely
mgmt - oracular spectacular

last shadow puppets - the age of the understatement

santogold - santogold

hot chip - made in the dark

yay end of year post yay

Arbitrary end-of-year list. Hooray. It might get us on Hype machine.

This was actually quite hard. The strength of this year's recorded output struggled to match up to that of the two years before it, and although I enjoyed all 10 of these albums quite a lot, most of the music I downloaded this year was older stuff I wanted to get into. Some of the most acclaimed music this year came from fairly obscure sources and I only got them within the last week or so. As such, I should point out that I've enjoyed what I've heard so far of Islands, Frightened Rabbit, The Very Best, Ponytail, Deerhunter, that National EP, Portishead, the Jonny Greenwood soundtrack to There Will Be Blood, Adem, Department of Eagles, and Sigur Ròs but haven't listened to them enough to give a fair account of them. Sadly I've also not even heard the Vessels, Abe Vigoda, No Age or Bug albums yet, so they're still on the to-do list. In any case, these were the albums that I did enjoy:

10: Fuck Buttons - Street Horrrsing

Best instrumental album of the year, boiling music down to comforting noise, warming even as it confuses. 'Bright Tomorrow' may have caught people's interest, but 'Colours Move' was the finest moment here. Respect also for the brilliant cover of 'Mogwai Fear Satan' released on their split EP with Mogwai.

9. Marnie Stern - This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That
Once you can get past the preconceptions of 'my God, she's female', and indeed the technical wizardry of it all, you reach the conclusion that, much like the Ponytail LP mentioned above, this album is full of entertaining, experimental pop music. It's ultimately a hell of a lot of fun. Stern's records are also further proof that Zach Hill's astonishing drum work is most succesful on albums which contain choruses, like They Mean Us, his excellent album with Rob Crow under the name of The Ladies. Highlights: 'Steely', 'Roads?...', 'Prime'.

8. Late of the Pier - Fantasy Black Channel

Inevitably, the sparkle and excitement of these songs has waned a little since their first hearing, hence the album's lower placing in this list. The only other complaints I could have would be the pointless 'Mad Dogs' and the odd decision to re-record some of the original versions (most of which work well, like the added harmonies in 'Random Firl' and guitar solo in 'Bears') but not others. Aside from minor quibbles, this is a fascinating, thrilling ride travelling at around 1 genre per minute. 'The Enemy Are The Future', the oddest thing here, may also be the greatest: from lounge jazz to Justice in 3 minutes. The most exciting new British band since the Futureheads first appeared.

7. The Week That Was - The Week That Was
Pete Brewis will probably never be recognised for his work with Field Music and this album, probably the best thing he has produced. Acclaim for the record was slow to arrive, and although many blogs caught onto the record eventually, The Week That Was has largely been ignored in end-of-year polls. Brewis is an expert at innovating with sounds not normally heard on pop records, but there is a simplicity and coherence to everything on this record. In 'The Good Life' and 'Scratch the Surface', Brewis also managed something that always eluded Field Music: brilliant choruses. An excellent curio that survives multiple listens.

6. Destroyer -Trouble In Dreams

I really don't understand why Dan Bejar still contributes to the New Pornographers. Regardless of whatever happened to Newman's songwriting abilities on the weak Challengers, for the first time Bejar's contribution was the best, particularly 'Myriad Harbour'. Meanwhile, to relatively little fanfare, he produced another brilliantly unique and enjoyable record, if anything a slight improvement on Rubies because of the greater focus of its songs, less rambling than the likes of 'A Dangerous Woman...' and 'Rubies'. 'Cathedral sick of the sky again' also happens to be my favourite lyric of the year. We should treasure him more than we do.

5. Fucked Up - The Chemistry of Common Life
Punk albums have no right to be this challenging, intelligent and reflective. Lyrically, Pink Eyes expresses the same anger with the oppression of everyday life as the majority of his fellow punk singers ('Hands up if you think you're the only one/We've all got our fucking hands up) but is capable of much more, as in the majestic 'Royal Swan', a song any young angry teenager with a guitar should hear. Chemistry is an album aware of Fucked Up's remarkable but terrifying live reputation, and plays with the expectations of anyone new to the band: even experimental hardcore bands like Hüsder Dü never dared to open and close their records with a minute of solo flute. A step forward from the already good Hidden World, but considerably more cohesive than the wandering Year of the Pig, this is a group at the peak of their powers: an astonishing feat, considering the fragility of the group. If they can hang together long enough for a third album, it'll be world-destroying.

4. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive

Even the Hold Steady's weakest release beats most other bands' releases. When you rely on a very repetitive sound (fast rocker, slow bluesy number, repeat), you need to come up with great lyrics and great melodies. The former will never be a problem with Craig Finn around, but the second is a worry: 'Lord, I'm Discouraged' as a carbon copy of 'First Night' being the guiltiest canditate. It's in this spirit that the band include harpsichord on 'Cutters', or leave their sound wide open on 'Both Crosses'. It doesn't always come off, but Finn is on top lyrical form, and his band still come up with five fantastic riffs per album. I fear that they will begin to run out of ideas from now on - no band has ever made 5 brilliant albums in a row - and if that turns out to be the case, 'Slapped Actress' is an incredible swansong.
3. Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid

Their strongest release since Asleep in the Back, and maybe their best record to date. All the elements of rock ('Grounds for Divorce'), rapturous sweeps and singalongs ('One Day Like This'), and fragile but proud balladry ('Some Riot') have always been present in their music, but this album embodies them at their greatest, not putting a foot wrong. Elbow now rival Radiohead for the title of best British group still recording, and they deserve the accolade.
2. TV on the Radio - Dear Science,

Although it seems hypocritical now, given my hyperbolic praise for the album at the time, Return to Cookie Mountain was actually quite a patchy album. Peppered with wonderful songs, a lot of ideas was crammed into a small place, and often melodies suffered as a result. Dear Science, exposes all those faults by being the exact opposite: concise, accessible and superbly written. Every song is perfectly judged here, for the first time since their Young Liars EP. This is a band flexing its muscles, showing the world how masterful they are at any song they care to write.

1. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

I appreciate that this was released last year and that it may seem strange that I include this album and not In Rainbows, but whereas I was listening to Radiohead from October last year, Bon Iver didn't enter my life until 2008. He won't leave any time soon either. The incredible falsetto of Grizzly Bear, the gentle and intelligent innovation reminiscent of Radiohead, the songcraft of Sam Beam: all these factors combined produced an album that was tiny but unbeatable. No song has ever threatened quite as much as 'Skinny Love'. The Blood Bank EP is equally good, and hints at a very bright and significant future.
Honorable mentions:

Cajun Dance Party - The Colourful Life
Cool Kids - The Bake Sale
Girl Talk - Feed The Animals
Dodos - Visiter
Nick Cave - Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
Dears - Missiles
REM - Accelerate
Coldplay - Viva La Vida
Bloc Party - Intimacy
both Los Campesinos

Biggest disappointments:

MMJ - Evil Urges
Fleet Foxes
¡Forward, Russia! - Life Processes
Guillemots - Red
Kings of Leon - Only By The Night
Cold War Kids - Loyalty To Loyalty
Best songs:
Pink Sabbath - Dananananaykroyd
Dears - Savior
Fucked Up - Royal Swan
Wrens - Sleep
Friendly Fires - Paris
TVOTR - Lover's Day
Elbow - Some Riot
Biffy Clyro - Mountains
Destroyer - My Favourite Year
Hold Steady - Slapped Actress

That's all. xxx

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Current Obsession - Florence & The Machine - You Got The Love

So there haven't been any posts in like a month, more, whatever.
But for some reason, and I certainly ain't complaining, this site still gets a certain amount of hits, even the occasional encouraging comment (thank youuuuuuuuuuuu!). So I figured I'd use this platform to share something that I feel is worth sharing.

I'm currently listening to this song on repeat, coz it's amazing. I've already blogged about Florence & The Machine. I still feel guilty for describing 'Kiss With A Fist' as "a song about domestic violence" (I just changed that description, btw), despite being aware of the fact that it obviously isn't meant to be taken literally, and then reading this, her myspace blog post headed "Kiss with a fist is NOT a song about domestic violence." Would it be totally arrogant of me to wonder vaguely if she had actually read my blog?? If you are, Florence, I am unabashedly sorry. Also, you're awesome! Yay! You make me want to jump up and down exuberantly and scream, in a good way.

mp3: Florence & The Machine - You Got The Love (Live at Bestival)

It's the Candi Staton song! Candi Staton whose new album is a "praise and worship CD". Gosh. Watch the video of Florence's version right here:

Good, isn't it? Actually, "good" doesn't cover it. Just as soon as I finish this darned essay I'm going to put this on really really loud and bounce around. I mean, the act of putting the song on later would require me to switch it off first, but anyway... Aw man, I so need to do this essay. Meh.

Another Happy-Making Thing: She's got a new video! Yay! *checks YouTube* - Correction - the video has just been taken down. Sad! It's for the new single, Dog Days Are Over, and it's really good, the video makes me think of this video, except on a lower budget. I hope it shall return soon :(

I'm Not Dead


Sunday, 28 September 2008

In which we get a little political on your collective: Introducing... Random Sanity

Keeping it simple, direct and (fairly) short (by my standards anyway)

Random Sanity are a three-piece from California.

This is an important song of theirs.

I advise you to listen to this song, especially (but by no means exclusively) if you are able to vote in the forthcoming US Presidential Election.

Here's the mp3:

mp3: Random Sanity - We The People

Here's their myspace.

Here's the video:

Maybe this blog doesn't get thaaaat many readers, maybe most of the readers aren't even from the US, maybe out of those who are from the US, the vast majority are planning on voting Democrat on November 4 anyway. But, as inappropriate as it might be to quote Tesco at this juncture, every little still undoubtedly helps.

Of course, it helps that the track is impressive enough on its own merits to stand independent from its political message. The band are very close to finishing a brand new album, and it's worth pointing out that 'We The People' is by no means the sum total of who Random Sanity are - the few other demos that I've heard show great potential (and I mean that in a hopefully-not-patronising way, as in they make you think "wow, these sound great already, and this is just a demo. Imagine the possibilities..."). But right now, there could scarcely be more at stake, and this song succinctly tells of the disasters of the Bush administration, both within the US and around the world, without forgetting the vital truth that now is the time to "make a stand", to "make a choice."

Please spread the message.

P.S. If you're bored of pro-Obama music blog posts - well, apologies I guess. But there's music as well. So, y'know, yay.
If you think this is earnest, typical liberal, etc etc - well, I guess it is. I dunno, whatever dude. But as far as I'm concerned, all this should not take away from the fact that this is IMPORTANT. I hope you agree with that, and even if you agree with nothing else, I hope you understand the motivation behind this post, and respect people's right to write similar blog-posts, magazine articles, billboards, comic books, whatever, no matter what their political views are.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

It's not the end of the world?

cern-flower... anyone? no? Can ya hear me now????
Possibly for the first time since 1969, today saw a single event which, regardless of its success, demonstrated the greatness of human achievement, of humanity. We live in a world full of the darker side of what we have done: the consequences of our advancements, two hemispheres moving at completely different speeds from vastly separated starting points. Not that there have not been examples of humanity's ability to withstand attacks from within, in Europe in the first half of this century just as much as in Africa and Southern Asia now, and also from without, seemingly with ever greater frequency due, indeed, to the damage our environment has taken and is now inflicting back upon us. Today was an example of humanity being able to create, to explore itself and its past, just as the space program did, just as the cartographers of the pre-industrial era did. Of course, the world was never going to end today. If it had, however, humanity would have destroyed itself in its finest moment. Considering the future ahead of civilisation, maybe it should have ended today.

On a lighter note:

Normally I will not talk this much. ENIGMA!!!!!

Friday, 15 August 2008

bye bye bye, i'm going away now. have a radiohead song!

I'm going to America, leaving in about 6 hours. And I should probably sleep in between now and then, so I'll keep this brief. I'm not gonna back from about 6 weeks. I figured I should tell you, my devoted readers. Y'know, all three of you or whatever :)

But I might write a little from time to time over the next 6 weeks, and more importantly, hopefully Joe might continue his contributions, which I have to say are awesome and awesome and good. Not like, the first one's awesome, the second one's awesome and the third one's good, just that all three can be described, individually and as a whole, as "awesome and awesome and good". So there.

Here's a beautiful song:

mp3: [mp3 removed]
(from Hail to the Thief)

And here's a song:

Friday, 8 August 2008

Snoop Dogg in Bollywood - the video is here. And AWESOME.

Snoop's sex is most definitely on fire.

"Singh is King / And Snoop D. O. Double-G is also the King, ya dig what I mean?"
Yes Snoop, we most definitely dig what ya mean. No questions asked.
There's a moment at 4:20 where he's playing the bongos that made my stomach muscles hurt. With laughter.

*resists urge to end words with '-izzle'*

i was just waiting for you

The Wrens - Sleep

from Rock the Net

Excuse me, sir, but I think you'll find that your sex is on fire.


Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Late of the Pier - 'Heartbeat (Hot Chip Remix)'

Late of the Pier and Hot Chip are possibly the two most exciting names in British electronicky-indie. After a run of brilliant and eclectic singles, Late of the Pier are finally about to release Fantasy Black Channel, their pretty-much-brilliant debut album, the third of two-and-a-half Erol Alkan-produced 2008 indie records (the equally brilliant Twenty One by Mystery Jets, plus half of the slightly underwhelming "Couples" by The Long Blondes).

'Heartbeat' is the pre-album single (you can download it and watch the video here). This is the Hot Chip remix (yeah, I kinda said that already didn't I?). Despite my adoration for Hot Chip as an artist in their own right (they were one of the highlights of Glastonbury this year), their remixes (Winehouse, Ladytron &c) have thus far somewhat failed to stick with me. This here's my favouritest one so far. It's slightly strange, almost like three or four separate remixes glued together, but manages to pull off the twin (often seemingly mutually exclusive) goals of remixery: be different from the original and still end up as a coherent whole that works in its own right. What d'ya think? Please leave comments. Please...

mp3: [mp3 removed]

(buy Fantasy Black Channel here)

Biffy Clyro's New Single - 'Mountains'

Is this not the greatest artwork EVER? Two lions wrestling each other. In the ocean. Beneath an iceberg. Or maybe the whole thing's in the sky and the 'iceberg' is just some crazy light effect. Whatevah. And it looks a bit like the Jaws poster. Doesn't it just scream "MANLY BEARDED MAN" or something like that?

Anyway, only 14 months after the release of the fantastic Puzzle, Biffy bring us another single, which is out on August 25. No clue if anything else will follow in the near future, but I'd guess that this is just a inter-album stop-gap. But that would kinda imply that the song sucks a little, and that would be a falsehood as big as them lions.

Biffy have turned into a massive great singles band, and this continues their run. I'd listen to it again in order to be able to say something more detailed and clever about it, but I'm currently listening to the Bon Iver album, and I don't want to disturb it's quiet brilliance with the bombast of Biffy. So just download, listen and be happy, yo.

mp3: [mp3 removed]

(go to their official site and buy tickets for their December tour, it's gonna be more than semi-mental - see, Biffy fans, I did a jokey-jokey - "hahahahaha" is the noise you should be making right about now...)

Oh, and you can watch the video here. Yay!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

New Kings of Leon! New Kings of Leon! New Kings of Leon! 'Sex On Fire'! 'Sex On Fire'! 'Sex On Fire'!

Me tres excited about the new Kings of Leon album. Zane Lowe shares the sentiment, this being his Hottest Record In The World Right Now last night. He called them something like "the greatest back-catalogue band of their generation", which, even if it kinda sounds like a back-handed compliment, I think is a fairly succinct way of summing up the fact that they have one of the solid-est repertoires of any band that have been around for a similar length of time. This is the myspace rip of the new single, out to download September 8 if I remember correctamente:

mp3: [mp3 removed]
(from their MySpace)

As far as I'm concerned, they still haven't put a foot wrong, and I trust the album will see their altissimo standards maintained and surpassed. Objectivity schmobjectivity.
On a scale of ace-ness of first singles off Kings of Leon albums, this probably rates somewhere higher than 'On Call', but despite the brilliance of the title, for me it doesn't quite hit 'The Bucket' levels of bliss. But still, this is my most anticipated album right now. So there.

Muse & The Streets create music together for your listening pleasure or otherwise - 'Who Knows Who'

Wikipedia says that this leaked "early in 2008", which somewhat steals my thunder, but this record was Zane Lowe's Hottest Record In The World Right Now earlier tonight, and the news of its leak only just hit - well, here it is:

mp3: Muse & The Streets - Who Knows Who

This isn't slated to appear on Everything Is Borrowed, the new Streets album, out September 15. I don't know how/if it will be released, but the presence of everybody's favourite live band Muse is surely enough for a certain amount of sales, and therefore, from the record label's perspective, should warrant some kind of release. I can picture the advertisement on iTunes already...

Anyways - is it any good? Yeah I guess. I was never a maaaassive fan of Mike Skinner, and this is certainly The Streets feat. Muse rather than vice versa, for there aren't any Matt Bellamy vocals. Rage Against The Machine is the obvious reference point, but a very much British-ified version. If you're one of the many thousands of hardcore Muse fans then you're gonna download this, but I'm not sure you're gonna love it. I think the respective fan bases of Muse and The Streets don't cross over a huge amount. On a Venn diagram the middle bit would be fairly small imho. I could very well be completely wrong, especially given the fact that The Streets supported Muse at one of their Wembley dates in 2007. Your call...

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Brand New Kings of Leon ('Crawl') - Plus Something KOL-Related You Might Have Missed (and it's good, trust me)

So you can download 'Crawl', the first track from the forthcoming Only By The Night, and the track with which they opened their brill Glasto headline set from their official site right now.

It's great, too early for a definitive comment yet, but one thing you should make sure to do is to watch the two-minute clip that's also on the site. It's a preview of some forthcoming album-related 'home movies' which are gonna be broadcast starting September 1st. And while it's a vaguely-voyeuristic pleasure to see the Followill boys relaxing in hammocks, drinking, playing golf, recording and drinking, what's BLOODY AMAZING is the song in the background, or the 90-seconds of it that you get to hear. Caleb was damn right when he said this album is gonna sound huge (or maybe it was Because Of The Times that he said that about, I don't rightly remember - not that that album's exactly small as such). The most obvious point of reference is U2, but not in a silly-pompous-Bono way, honest. Oh well, the video's also right here for your pleasure, so, y'know, be pleasured:

P.S. If you wanna check out a live version of another Kings of Leon track - Manhattan - go on and clickety-click your sweet way over here :)

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Grizzly Bear continue their tour of the talk shows playing new songs with 'Two Weeks'

A quick 'un. But a good 'un, imho.
Even though the as-yet-untitled new album supposedly ain't out til April, Grizzly Bear (or GRZA, if yr a Wu-Tang fan, or The Ursus Grizzmeisterino if you're not into the whole brevity thing), have made another new song (after the brilliant 'While You Wait For The Others' - listen on their myspace) listenable-to after playing it on a talk show (this time Letterman, last time was Conan). 'Two Weeks' only makes my anticipation highyaaaaa. No reason for the stoopid spelling, do I need one? No I donut.

mp3: Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks (Live on Letterman)

Friday, 25 July 2008

Santogold - 'Lights Out' & Not-As-Famous-As-They-Used-To-Be-Indie-Band stellastarr*

Wow, I was just playing 'Creator' by Santogold, and then I went on stellastarr*'s MySpace (yes, both the lower-case-ness and the asterisk are all deliberate - *sigh*), and just as 'Creator' finished, 'Lost in Time' played from the MySpace player, and the transition was kinda AMAZING. I'm not gonna try and recreate it for fear of my perfect memory being cruelly exploded, but feel free...

Aaaaanyway - I'm so late on Santogold, who I initially dismissed as little more than M.I.A.'s over-hyped little sister, that now that I've taken a listen to the album and kinda really liked it, the overcrowded bandwagon has left me standing forlornly in its dust waving my hat in the air and squinting.

'Lights Out' is all over evening Radio 1 at the moment, and deservedly so. I heard the song a coupla times before I found out who it was, and was surprised to discover that it was Santogold. Coz it's purty close to standard indie music, y'know, with guitars and everything, as opposed to the crazy eclectic ragga-hip-alt-dancehall-ska-electro kinda thang I'd been expecting of her. What it sounds like more than anything else to my ears is stellastarr*, whose self-titled 2003 debut I still love. I'm listening to it RIGHT NOW (as I write this, prob not as you read this...). I'm not sure *why* it sounds like stellastarr*, I think it might be in the jumpy vocals in the chorus - judge for yourself:

mp3: [mp3 removed]
(from Santogold)

mp3: [mp3 removed]
(from stellastarr*)

Both of these songs are happy-making, so if you like to be happy then I would advise clickin' on 'em. Yay. Also: stellastarr* are currently recording a third album. This is A Good Thing. Yay, again.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Presenting to you a lovely song from the miracle that is DR. HORRIBLE'S SING-ALONG BLOG - "Cannot Believe My Eyes"

Maybe I'm a lil late on the bandwagon, seeing as the series is no longer available for free on the official site, but it's still available on iTunes if you live in the US or Canada, and it shall at some point be available both in audio (soundtrack) and video (DVD, complete with a commentary track that is itself an actual song - !!) form.

You probably don't need to read another glowing review, admiring the typically-Joss-Whedon-esque, brilliantly witty dialogue (highlight: "Gosh, look at my wrist, I need to be going", says a watch-less Neil Patrick Harris at the news of Nathan Fillion's arrival), the charming cast (the aforementioned pair, as well as Felicia Day, a Buffy veteran), the supporting characters (Bad Horse, Moist - the latter a not-so-super-villain, whose power is to make things damp; the former is kinda self-explanatory)... ah well.

Instead (as well?) here's a lovely song for you to be happy to. Listening to the new Ben Folds material actually kinda made me think of these songs - piano-based, amusing, that's pretty much where the similarities end, but still. They're also both brilliant. So, y'know, yay:

mp3: Neil Patrick Harris & Felicia Day - Cannot Believe My Eyes
(from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, soundtrack coming soon-ish)

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Mr Ben Folds writes and sings and records some brand new songs which are right here for your enjoyment.

Thr333 songs (three, 3, trois, tres, tre, drei, etc.) from Mr Ben's latest 'n' grrrrreatest long-playa, Way to Normal. There's un petit peu de confusion as to the exact nature of the songs that have so far leaked, the good folk of wikipedia speculating that some of the songs ain't real. The only one I can vouch for as being the genuine article is this one:

mp3: Ben Folds - Hiroshima

He played this 'un @ Glastonbury, and it was instantly happy-making. It's so darned catchy you start to wonder whether it's a cover of a nursery rhyme or something. The crowd noises in the background may be off-putting at first, and they may still be off-putting after several listens, I don't know, but it's an undeniably fun and instantly memorable ditty on a subject not oft written about (falling off the stage at your own show, bleeding over the keyboard, and getting an x-ray of your head). So, y'know, yay.

mp3: Ben Folds - Cologne

Ooh, a six-minute ballad. Who knows if it's 'the real thing', but I figure it is (my high level interweb scouting has unearthed facts and figures suggesting that this song at least shares the same lyrics with a song Ben recorded a video for recentement). It's kinda really good, in all seriousness. I love the lyric: "I'm wondering if you read that story too / And if we might be having the same imaginary conversation." Affecting stuff, even if it goes a bit bombastic @ the end. Muito recommendado.

mp3: Ben Folds feat. Regina Spektor - You Don't Know Me

The single apparently. I love love Regina Spektor, but I can't quite bring myself to fall for this track just yet. Has an interesting vaguely funky beat, but not quiiiite instant enough for the first single? Maybe? I dunno, that's just, like, *my opinion*, man (talking of The Big Lebowski - have you seen this? I *need* it...). What I do really like is the spoken-word-y conversation-y bits, where Ben says something about not wanting to say something for fear of it being distorted, and then Regina says "say it". And actually, as I listen to it for a four-and-a-half-th time, I kinda am starting to really like it. So, y'know, yay. In other news, it pretty much definitely is gen-u-ine; if there are two people who can imitate Folds and Spektor and someone managed to get them in a room together a sing a song that matches the title of the forthcoming single by those two artists, then I salute them.

In other other news, I saw Ben Folds at Glastonbury. Yay for me. Oh wait, I said that already :(
Well, he was good, on average. It was a show of three thirds. The first part was kinda disappointing actually, then he brought on Amanda Palmer off of Dresden Dolls, which was nice, and then he killed it in the third part by playing 'Landed', 'Army', and best of all, 'Bitches Ain't Shit'. Woop woop.

Catch up on yo' Folds-age with some compact discs from tha amazon.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

The Hold Steady - First Night (Live in Leeds, 10 July 2008)

The Hold Steady - First Night (Live in Leeds, 10 July 2008) from Philip Sayers on Vimeo.

"We're gonna start it with a positive jam..."

- Man, busy tonight.
- Right, right.

Band's pretty good though.
- What? Oh, yeah, yeah.


- You see that guy over there?
- Hm? Which guy?
- That guy, there, beer, skynyrd tshirt?
- Oh, Charlemagne?

- ... That's Charlemagne?
- (nods)

- ... Man!

God, name to a face.
- Can't really miss him, can ya.
- You know him?
- You kidding? Everyone knows Charlemagne. Kind of gets around. Big into the scene. Almost got killed a couple dozen times.
- Yeah?
- At festivals, that guy buzzes, he fucking generates the power. Oh yeah. Charlemagne. Founder of civilisation.
- Civilization, you mean.
- Yeah, yeah, sorry.
- Who's the chick?

- (shrugs)
That's about all. All that static buzzing round ya, ya turn to pick up some fluff on the way. Rolling stone like him gathers all kindsa shit.

- That girl keeps lookin at him.
- You want another drink?
- How much for a double whisky coke in this place?
- .......

I'll get ya another beer.
- That girl keeps lookin at him.
- Who? ... Oh, man, Holly. Ha! Hallelujah.
- ... She's not that hot-
- No, no, her name is Hallelujah.
- ....
I mean, who the fuck is called Hall-
- Who the fuck is called Charlemagne?

- Yeah, ok.
- Man, Holly could tell some stories. I'm not one to give away endings, but...
And who the fuck are you to say she ain't that hot. She still looks incredible.
- Despite what?
- (laughs) Despite everything. Despite a multitude of casualties. Despite the Mississippi.
Despite the Sabbath. Despite Charlemagne and Gideon.

- She looks high to me.
- And I look like fucking Nina Simone.

- Who's Gideon? Guy shes dancing with?
- (nods)
- So hows he fit into all of this?
- ...

Listen, no-one really fits into this whole scene. Everyone just kinda seems to spin round again and again and bounce off each other like dodgems.


If they didn't, sometime they'd just stop spinning.

Fuck, I need another beer.
Man, it's so busy tonight.
- Yeah.
Band's pretty good, though.
- Hm? Oh, yeah, you said.


mp3: The Hold Steady - Multitude of Casualties
(from Separation Sunday)

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Flobots - 'Handlebars' - maybe a one-hit-wonder, but still, it's a hit.

OK here's a possibly-dangerous and pessimistic prediction. I don't think Flobots are ever gonna hit the bigtime. Despite the potential-hit-ness of 'Handlebars', my gut-feeling is that it's a one-off. On their myspace, 'Rise' is pretty good, but there's nothing that has the instant-WOW-ness of 'Handlebars'. I like them and all, I like the whole kerazee genre mash-up, hip-hop-with-violins and all - but I don't see them ever going properly global. I think we'll have forgotten about them in a year's time. And their name SUCKS. I dunno why I'm saying this, I think it might just be the risk (trivial as it is) of being made to look foolish when they take over the universe, and the claims to be able to lead a nation with a microphone (see below) prove true...

Regardless of the future, 'Handlebars' is kinda awesome, despite making me think a little bit of nu-metal without the metal, if that makes sense. Watch the video, listen to the track - it's hard not to like. So like it :)

mp3: [mp3 removed]
(from Fight With Tools)

Late of the Pier - 'Heartbeat' - Video & mp3

The pre-album single from Late of the Pier, 'Heartbeat', is arguably their weakest to date. BUT IT'S STILL BETTER THAN MOST OF THE STUFF BEING RELEASED IN THIS OR ANY OTHER WORLD RIGHT ABOUT NOW. The album's called Fantasy Black Channel, artwork to the left, which is a bit *huh?*; I was kinda expecting something like the logo variant on the right, but whatever dude.

There's another insane video right here. It features exploding heads - what more do you need to know?

And the mp3 of that very song you just heard (well, if you watched the video, with the sound on, as I presume you might possibly have done. If you haven't feel free to go back and watch it. In fact, feel obligated to, coz it's awesome, yeah?):

mp3: [mp3 removed]
(from Fantasy Black Channel, out August 11)

I think if this band wanted to, they could take over the universe. Maybe they're just too weird, but for anyone who appreciates the valued maxim that WEIRD IS AMAZING, prepare to be doubly amazed, for not only are Late of the Pier conventionally amazing, but they are also weird-ually amazing. Amazing amazing amazing...

Glastonbury Part II - Kings of Leon - New Song 'Manhattan'

Kings of Leon have three - soon to be four (September 23 I believe for Only By The Night) - really solid albums, and they've managed to change and develop as a band without either going off the rails or making their earlier material seem comparatively weak. If you look back at pictures of 'Youth and Young Manhood'-era Kings of Leon, they're almost unrecognisable:

Compare that to the shorn and honed version of today - pretty far cry, no?

'Honed' definitely seems like the right word. They've turned into a 'proper' rock band, the tunes have got bigger, and the live show as tight as hell. Like the jeans. They played 23 songs in their 90 minutes, opening with a new one ('Crawl'). Sure the set was no-frills; I accidentally mistyped that first time around as "no-thrills", but I don't think that was a meaningful slip, coz personally I found it pretty thrilling, as did 70,000 or however many there were (a lot by all estimates, hence Panic at the Disco's lack of audience over on the Other Stage in the same slot). There just wasn't a bad song in the whole time. I kinda wish they'd play 'Soft', but whatever dude.

I dunno, kinda feels like I'm acting the apologist, because as much as I love them, they still don't quite feel like a headline band at Glastonbury. They have the songs, it's just the sense of theatricality that they're a little light on, and in all probability always will be. But the fact that the crowd seemed to love it kinda suggests that despite this, they don't need any apologising.

Aaaaaaaaanyways - new song, y'all! The new album is definitely something to be excited about. This is what Rolling Stone has to say about Only By The Night:
The first indication this record is ready to kick some ass? It’s got a track called “Sex on Fire” that features kinky lyrics like “I know they’re watching” over twangy bent-note guitars and a thrumming bass groove. That’s just one of the 12 hotwired but extremely loose tracks that range from brawny Zep-style rockers (”Crawl”) to spooked-out blues ballads like “Cold Desert,” on which frontman Caleb howls “Jesus don’t love me/ No one ever carried my load.” The tentatively titled “I’ve Got a Notion” sounds like pure Nineties alt-rock with liquidy guitars reminiscent of Kurt Cobain’s riff from “Come as You Are” and a crystal-clear bassline that’s pure Pixies. Drummer Nathan goes to town on “Seventeen,” a song that dates back to their Aha Shake Heartbreak days and boasts a bunch of massive fills, but one of the better cuts has to be “You Somebody,” a soaring power ballad that strangely enough sounds like a badass version of Journey’s “Faithfully.”

I'm in. Here's Manhattan, live at Glastonbury:

mp3: Kings of Leon - Manhattan

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Brand New Bloc Party Song - Watch the video for 'Mercury' here

First there was a mysterious countdown on their website. Then this, from

Bloc Party have angered fans by posting a cryptic countdown on their website,, which simply revealed a plug for a radio show when the time reached zero at 11am (BST) today.

Fans have e-mailed NME.COM to voice their displeasure at the stunt. It was speculated that Bloc Party may give away new music when the countdown reached zero.

Instead, at 11am the countdown disappeared to reveal a radio plug for Zane Lowe's show on BBC Radio 1, set to air tonight (July 7) at 7:30pm.

"It's a bit pointless," wrote NME.COM user 'Jackie'. "They could have just put up the info about the show on their website and not got our hopes up about the possibility of hearing new music straightaway."

There is no information yet on Zane Lowe's BBC homepage as to what will feature on tonight's show, but many fans who contacted NME.COM are still expecting new material.

Well, the fans were right. New material was indeed played by Zane Lowe, who spoke to Kele on the show. Talking about the new song and the on-going recording session for the band's third album Kele said "we're in the middle of it. we're still writing and working on it so it's quite hard to have an overview really, we are making the record i always wanted us to make so we just can't wait for it to be done".

And here it is. It's a bit mental. Needs more than one listen for sure, so have a first listen here. Or a second, or, y'know, however-many-th...

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Glastonbury Part I - Jay-Z

OK, no posts for aaaaaaaaaages, sorry. But that's gonna change, nah mean? Well yes, of course you "nah mean", it's really rather obvious that I mean that there shall be several posts in the next few days. Well, here's the first:

I <3 that video. Seriously, the first ten minutes of Jay-Z's set on Saturday night were off the hook. Right from the beginning there was no question that the crowd were totally enthralled. For the record, I'd always thought it was rather funny - and unquestionably A Good Thing - that the choice of Jay-Z as a headliner could annoy sGlasono many people. But seeing as it's been such a talking point, there's really not much point going over it again, it's everywhere on the internets. All that remains is to let you sample the set itself in mp3 form. Woop woop:

mp3: Jay-Z - Wonderwall/99 Problems (Live at Glastonbury 2008)

Saturday, 21 June 2008

A New Toy To Play With...

Tis called Wordle
Here are the fruits of putting some song-lyrics into it:

Black Eyed Peas - My Humps

mp3: [mp3 removed]

mp3: [mp3 removed]
(from Live 2003)

Limp Bizkit - Hot Dog

mp3: [mp3 removed]
(from Takk...)
(Wordle can't cope with all them weirdy characters that I'm not too hot on the pronunciation of...)

mp3: [mp3 removed]
(from The Best of Shaggy Vol.1: Mr. Lover Lover)

Any other ideas?
My personal favourite out of the six above is Shaggy. Coz he's AMAZING. No Questions Asked, Hands Down, the Greatest Performer of ALL TIME. L.E.G.E.N.D.