Monday, April 30, 2007

Hip Hop Sgt Peppers?!?!

Although I've always been in the Revolver camp instead of the Peppers camp, I've got to give props to this. Solid gold. Well done DK.

Not sure about Speakerboxx/The Love Below being one of the top 20 hip hop albums, and indeed some of the other choices that made DK's list (Blue Lines hip hop?) but you can't argue with The Low End Theory's place (and yes, it's better than Midnight Marauders, no questions asked. Read this blog's motto, listen, and learn)

A Tribe Called Quest
- Check The Rhime

It's Jack Daniel's time: T-Model Ford / Saint Etienne

Two enduring images of the legendary Mississippi bluesman T-Model Ford's concert at The Spitz on Saturday night, the final performance of this year's 'Spitz Festival of Blues'.

* The instructions which greeted us upon our arrival at the venue:

Apologies for the blurred image. It says 'Management requests that you do not buy alcohol for T-Model Ford. Thank you for your co-operation'.

Considering Ford is 86 years old, I guess the promoters and venue owners would like to make sure he didn't have one bourbon too many, although considering between every song Ford would utter eagerly to the rapturous crowd - 'It's Jack Daniel's time', I have a funny feeling he can probably handle his drink (his other catchphrase of the night - 'And that's for God damn sure', seemed to be the tag line to every story he told whilst on stage e.g. 'If you have a lady with you tonight, make sure she's got a stamp on her. If your lady doesn't have a stamp on her, she's mine. 'Cause I'm a ladies man....and that's for God damn sure!').

Seeing Ford play for over two-and-a-half hours with very few breaks between songs certainly was a super-human feat, as I don't think I've ever been to a gig where at the end of the night the audience was more exhausted than the artist in front of them. The man's enthusiasm for playing was so infectious that despite constant calls from his drummer (and support act) Lightnin' Malcolm to end the set, Ford's charm and enthusiasm for playing 'The Tail Dragon', which was a replacement for his previously stolen guitar which he called 'Black Nanny', made sure there was always one more encore to come. Eventually at 12.30am the performance was finally curtailed to ensure Ford and Malcolm had ample chance to rest before their flight out of London only 5-and-a-half hours later, but not before Ford shook every audience members hand, most aware that they may never get to witness such a sight again.

T-Model Ford: A Blues Legend? That's for God damn sure.

* Tonight sees Saint Etienne preview some new material (in secret!) ahead of their 'This Is Tomorrow' performance at the Royal Festival Hall in June. I'm looking forward to seeing how they've come up with a soundtrack to what was one of London culture's most quirky and ambitious events, The Festival of Britain, staged at the south bank of the Thames in 1951, in an area which funnily enough became known as...wait for it....the South Bank. I've very much enjoyed the events which the group have put on as part of their role as artists in residence this year at the South Bank Centre, which have consisted of the various Turntable Cafe club nights (themes included The BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Welsh Pop and of course, The Festival of Britain) and culminating in June's premiere work from the fine purveyors of pop themselves. Tickets on sale from the Southbank box office (click here).

Saint Etienne - The Way We Live Now (from Finisterre - available at Amazon)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Blonde Redhead

A couple of years ago my good friend Codename Sparrow urged me to check out a band from New York by the name of Blonde Redhead. I had a listen to their album at the time, Misery Is A Butterfly, but for some strange reason it just didn't do anything for me, despite the added attraction of Fugazi's Guy Piccotto helming the boards. Then two years later I came across a copy of the album in a charity shop for 50p, and since picking it up it's become one of my favourite albums in recent memory. The gorgeous, lilting vocals of Kazu Makino, Simone Pace's on-point drumming, and twin brother Amedeo Pace's knack for creating melodies which wouldn't seem out of place whilst walking through a haunted fairground combine to produce songs which remain with you long after you've heard them, digging deeper into your soul. They're one of the few bands around who can illicit feelings of euphoria and despair in the space of four and a half minutes.

The band's latest album 23 has just been released in the UK on 4AD, and with Alan Moulder helping out on the final stages of production this time around it appears they've gone for a heavier and more focused sound considering Moulder's previous work (well, just a few small bands such as The Killers, U2 and Nine Inch Nails. No biggies really). Opener and title track '23' is a sign that the band have found a perfect marriage between the dreamy soundscapes of previous albums, and a pop sensibility that occasionally snuck through on their last album as Makino's vocals fly against a dirge of MBV style guitars and percussion. One of the first hidden treasures of 2007? You betcha.

Blonde Redhead - 23


Blonde Redhead - Melody (from Misery Is A Butterfly)

Blonde Redhead play Koko on May 30. Tickets available from TicketWeb.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Never mess with the purple one (that includes you Justin)

What was Sir Trouser of Snake thinking when he dissed Prince on 'Give It To Me'? He should have just came out guns blazing and picked on Purp's bad marriages, height, and clear lack of musical direction for the last decade, instead of a verse full of half-arsed taunts that don't hold up to further scrutiny. Now, Flairs on the other hand simply says he can do anything under the sun better than Ol' Squiggly Symbol, and states his claims on top of some sly funk bass, woozy fizzes and handclaps galore, instead of petulantly whining over a glitch pop track. Maybe the three of them should just duke it out in a cage, Ryan Atwood style. Whilst wearing wife-beaters. Natch.

Sigh, I'm having OC withdrawal symptoms already. At least there's Heroes to fill the void, although Wendy Melvoin's no Ben Gibbard - now I'm sure she could think of a million ways to get Prince riled (How's that for a cyclical post?)

Flairs - Better Than Prince (instrumental)
(hear the full version here, or buy it from Rough Trade and Phonica)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A bonafide House Party selection

Last Saturday night I had the pleasure of playing at Harley Moon's very fine house party, while this Saturday I'm at home blogging, and possibly still recovering from said party (yeah, it was a tad messy). After a frenetic tag team set between the pair of us, Mr Moon dazzled the kids with a fine set of his own. Listening to his latest podcast reminds me that sometimes you don't always have to whip out what every blogger or indie/electro DJ is playing, when a well crafted selection of well known tracks and forgotten treats will do the job too.

Mr Moon - Podcast 6

Catch the curly haired lad at Mindie's 1st birthday bash on May 11 at 93 Feet East.

* Spoon have a new record coming out(hurrah!).
It's called Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (wha?).
And Jon Brion's produced a track on it (hurrah!).
But you'll have to wait until July 10 to buy it (hurrah! Hang on, that's not right...)

So maybe if you play both of these together you'll get an idea of what it sounds like. Or maybe not.

Spoon - Jonathon Fisk (from Kill The Moonlight)
Jon Brion - I Believe She's Lying (from Meaningless)

*Bonus Brion cut? Oh, why the hell not.

Aimee Mann - Superball (from I'm With Stupid, produced by Brion)

Another day, another petition....

Apparently it seems you just can't break into spontaneous song in a pub anymore without making sure the landlord has paid their £21 live licence fee. The Times Online explains the ludicrous reasons behind the law.

If you agree that the Licensing Act is daft, head over to Number 10's official petition page (la-di-da!) to add your name to the growing list of level-headed people who like a good sing-a-long. Sheesh.....

* In a related note to yesterday's post, Modular and Scruffy Bird just so happen to be putting on a show at The Spitz this coming Tuesday the 24th, so if ever there was a way to show your support for the venue then this is it. C'mon, have a gander at the line-up.

Bonde Do Role
The Foals
The SoftLightes

What?!? That's unsane! Ridonkulous! Entry's only £4 (wha?!?) and the whole she-bang kicks off at 8pm with first band on at 8.30pm.

Bonde Do Role - Gasolina (Radioclit remix)
Bonde Do Role - Solta O Frango

Pre-order BDR's debut on Domino at Amazon.

You can also chip in to the Save The Spitz kitty here.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Save The Spitz!

Word has come through this week that one of London's finest music venues, The Spitz at Spitalfields Market, is facing closure after September this year following action from the venue's estate agent. Not only is The Spitz a fantastic venue for performances from countless underground and marginal artists, not to mention more intimate shows from better known acts too, but it's also home to a fine gallery and restaurant, making it one of the more unique venues in London.

So how can you help? The easiest way is to get down to The Spitz and see a gig (like one of the number of performances in the current Festival of Blues, such as Seasick Steve, Heavy Trash, Holly Golightly and T-Model Ford), have a meal at the bistro, or grab a drink and check out the fine exhibitions showing in the gallery. Get acquainted with one of London's best kept secrets and help keep The Spitz open.

Sign the petition to keep The Spitz open here.

These are two of the artists that I've seen grace The Spitz's stage in the last eighteen months, and both gave performances which were enhanced in my eyes by the intimate setting they took place in.

Nada Surf - What Is Your Secret?
Of Montreal - Disconnect The Dots

It's all a Blur really...

Now, back to our regularly scheduled blogging.

* While the quest to fill all 30 GB of my newly acquired Pod of Joy continues, I began uploading Blur's 1999 10th anniversary Singles box set. Yup, all 22 CDs of it. What has surprised me while listening to many of the odd's and sods that accompanied the band's CD1's and CD2's are the hidden gems that wouldn't have sounded out of place on Modern Life Is Rubbish or Parklife. For every hodge-podge instrumental or Kinks rip-off, there are genuine moments of quirky brilliance or thrilling live cuts that make you realise that Blur may have been a tad under-rated, especially on the commercially slept on 13. Here's some of the best cuts.

Blur - Mr Briggs (from the There's No Other Way single)
Blur - Bonebag (from the For Tomorrow single)
Blur - My Ark (from the Chemical World single)
Blur - Young & Lovely (from the Chemical World single)
Blur - Magpie (from the Girls And Boys single)
Blur - To The End (French version) (from the Parklife single)
Blur - The Man Who Left Himself (from the Stereotypes single)
Blur - Popscene (live at Peel Acres) (from the On Your Own single)
Blur - Tender (Cornelius remix) (from the No Distance Left To Run single)

* Simian Mobile Disco are playing in your house, your house....that is if you enter the competition on their website. You can also check out the mighty fine 'Sleep Deprivation' (the opening track to the duo's debut album Attack Decay Sustain Release) on the site's media player.

* Carl Newman, Neko Case and the rest of the insanely talented gang of skilled musicians known as The New Pornographers are back with another smattering of dynamite power pop, with confirmation this week of an August 20 release date for the band's fourth album Challengers. Newman has already hinted to Billboard that the new album will contain six minute songs (gasp!) and, in a longer interview over at Pitchfork, different instruments (string quartets! flutes! trumpets!).

The NP's are playing Glastonbury in June, plus three sold-out club dates in London as a warm-up to Micheal Eavis's country hoedown. The fact that they've managed to reach album number four is quite surprising given the number of projects each band member is involved with outside of NP duties, so those who haven't seen them live before should obtain a ticket by any means possible before the inevitable end (Oh, and peep the Pitchfork interview, if only for the Newman's pull quote suggestion!).

* There goes the last shred of Ben Lee's credibility.

* Wynton Marsalis - is there anything he doesn't hate? If it's not modern jazz (yes, that's you Mr Davis!) it's hip-hop today. Oh dear.

* Shout out to Mr Moon and crew for the ridiculous house party last Saturday night. I've never played in such a small room before to such an up for it crowd. Tune of the night? Well, I'd have to say Ol' Love Symbol's classic was a nice way to end the night.

Prince - Raspberry Beret (12" version)

Now, I'm off to the Tate Modern to look at the Kinshasa 'Populist Party' art exhibition again. Stunning.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!

There's a big post on the way to compensate for the lack of blogging this week, so in the meantime here's something from me to you to make up for the absence. Check the lil' lass at the front too. Gold.

Regular service resumes on Thursday. Till then, head to Stones Throw's podcast page for Madlib's 'all killer, no filler' Motown mix for something to nod your head to.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I heart milk...

Got milk?

Milkbar Nick's
The Bugaboo Nixperience mix

1. Klaxons - Atlantis to Interzone
2. Miami Horror - Sweaty Wet Dirty Damp
3. Timbaland feat. Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake - Give It To Me (Sta mix)
4. Gossip - Listen Up (ATOC Extended Mix)
5. Calvin Harris - Acceptable in the 80's
6. Klaxons - Gravity's Rainbow (Soulwax mix)
7. All Saints - Chick Fit (Kissy Sell Outs Excellent Adventure)
8. Larry Tee feat. Princess Superstar - Licky (Herve Goes Low mix)
9. Simian Mobile Disco - It's The Beat (Luke Vibert mix)
10. Mark Ronson feat. Daniel Merriweather - Stop Me

Download here.

And a bacon sandwich to go with it?

Friday, April 06, 2007

16 RPM? You so crazy...

What's so Good about Friday? These things here...

* Welcome back to the tinterweb Mr Beez. Check out his new home at 16 33 45 78. (Yes, there are 16 RPM records out there believe it or not!)

* Teasers from Bjork's new album Volta, if you haven't heard them already, can be found at her dummy Myspace page under the artist name Gerome Voltaire. The album's out on May 7. Bjork + Timbaland = genius?

* July 27 can't come soon enough.

* Vote for The Blazin' Blades at Fist-A-Cuffs!

* Looks like Envelopes have come out of hibernation and become Talking Heads, not that that's a bad thing. Here's the video for new single 'Smoke In The Desert, Eating The Sand, Hide In The Grass' (phew!).

The band are playing coming back to London to play a stack of dates in April, with the White Heat appearance on April 17 (alongside some special secret guests from their label Brille) being the pick of them. Snap up your tickets here.

Oh, and a reminder of just how kookily brilliant Envelopes really are.

Envelopes - Free Jazz

How can this song not make you smile? Even better with visuals too.

And a not so Good Friday when you find out about this...

* Not nearly as good as Revolver and surely a waste of time for all involved just for a ratings boost? Good to see that Radio 2 are still in touch with listeners, eh?.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Willy Mason & Manassas

Let's continue Monday's 'Tunes to fill your Pod of Justice' theme with an old'un and a new'un.
First, the old'un. A friend of mine found out I was partial to the work of the Laurel Canyon kids from the late 60s/early 70s, especially CSNY. He asked me whether I knew much about Manassas, Stephen Stills side project with Byrd member Chris Hillman. I told him I knew of them but had never really had the chance to listen to their work. A few days later he handed me a CD-R with the groups two studio albums, Manassas and Down The Road, plus a collection of live recordings from the German television show from that era, MusikLaden. The self titled debut is by far the better affair, with a diverse range of styles coming together to produce a free flowing album. Listening to it as whole, you can tell that each musician involved was fully committed, and for Stills it's arguably his best work on record outside of CSNY.

Manassas - Song Of Love from Manassas (available here)

BONUS: Rock & Roll Crazies/Cuban Bluegrass (live on MusikLaden)

Now for the new'un. Sure, it's polished as hell, but the new Willy Mason album refuses to budge from the stereo at the moment. It's certainly not as strong as his debut, but certain tracks on When The Ocean Gets Rough show that he's certainly not just a one trick pony, such as this one. The upcoming single version has apparently been 'retouched' with backing vocals from KT Tunstall, but the album version (below) with Rosanne Cash just seems to have more warmth.

Willy Mason - We Can Be Strong

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Where you gonna run too? Ah...the shops to get Lemsip I believe...

Ahem....well, I had promised a post yesterday but I partied way too hardy on the weekend and turned a light cold into something worse, the only remedy being copious cups of tea, vitamin C and bad tv. Luckily though I had something new to distract me (which I can't believe I had resisted buying for so long). So I began filling it with tasty treats like these.

Holy Hail
are a band from the States who have just released their new single this week through Adventures Close To Home (in fact, it's also ACTH's debut release too!). Comparisons to Tom Tom Club and a 'make up a genre today' label of 'gospel-hop-electro-country' are wide of the mark, although I can see why comparisons to the former abound. What I do know is that Born Of A Star is by the far the best single out this week, so get your mitts on it now from here or here.

As an added treat, the Adventures lads have turned in a great remix of 'Born Of A Star' that isn't on the 12 inch release. No, it's here instead.

Also high on rotation this week, and straight on to the Pod of justice is Mr Timothy Mosely's new album, Shock Value. It's not all club bangers or bass driven 'where the f**k did he steal that from' sample laden classics, but there a more than enough tracks on there to make it worth shelling out a tenner for. However, it's all about the opening cut for me, with Timbo taking Nina for a spin in his souped up De Lorean DMC-12, and making her fruit turn mighty strange indeed. 'Roads? Nina, where we're going we don't need roads'

Timbaland - Oh Timbaland