31 March 2012

dandy warhols - 'sad vacation'

Proving they've still got what it takes, here's the latest from a band you may just have forgotten about.

morrissey - 'i know it's gonna happen someday'

I'm not so sure, Stephen.

tevo howard - 'monument ep'

Ben Watts has been raving about this EP and I can see why. It's so simple yet so intricate and damned infectious.

30 March 2012

it's never over till it's over

I hope you've all had a great evening. This is some smile therapy for me. I was really looking forward to tonight, I got back from work quite late, put on my glad rags and met friends only to bump into an ex with her new boyfriend. I wish them well but it completely put a downer on everything for me, so I'm home and listening to some music and trying very hard not to mope. 

Let's see if this works. I love quirky techno tunes and I've currently got this as a favourite on my iPod. Living alone and commuting for up to 25 hours a week means I spend a lot of time wrapped in my own thoughts. I have never quite reconciled myself to the fact that I'm 43. My mind wanders as I listen to music and I imagine playing on the left-wing for Brighton and England footie teams or retracing Che Guevera's route that he took across South America in the Motorcycle Diaries or getting a complete arm tattooed with a Japanese art sleeve or even forming a band and writing a killer song that means something to someone somewhere. Alas, I haven't the time, talent nor funds for the road trip or band and I'm too scared of needles for the mid-file crisis tattoo. As for the football, absolutely no chance even if I were 17 forever and practiced for eternity. Plus I have absolutely no desire to be famous. 

Why am I telling you all this? I have no idea but minimal techno in particular and tunes like this that gives me space to dream and it puts a smile on my face. And you know what? I'm a very lucky bloke. Sleep well and let's hope Brighton get 3 points tomorrow.

the friday feeling

Are you feeling it? Here's a few random tracks that popped up on my iPod this morning.

Black Grass - 'Toys'

 Beach House - 'Norway'

Lamb - 'Stronger'

29 March 2012

international map of metal bands

Whoever designed this has far too much time on their hands but it is a fantastic all the same. It's a map of countries showing the density (sic) of heavy metal bands per head of population. Unsurprisingly, North Europe and especially Scandinavia come out on top.   (Click on the picture for a better view of the map)

Perhaps it's the long, dark winters or the love of leather and long hair. Who knows for sure but it is a great excuse for playing a classic metal track: Van Halen - 'Ain't Talkin' About Love'. For those about to rawk, we salute you!

soul clap - 'the clapping song'

Featuring Baby and the Fam. This is a lot of fun, I hope you enjoy the tune and especially the video as much as I do. 

marian - 'pictures'

I like deliberately languid dance music. For me, Bakerman wrote the template for this with the perfectly titled 'Laid Back' and this is very similar in delivery and format. I bought Marian's album last year but have only really got around to listening to it. Not all the songs are this ice cool but it's great background or driving music. In fact, I really ought to make my own driving mix-tape one day. The term needs reclaiming from the likes of the Top Gear Father's Day compilation. Damn it, I'm starting a pressure group : 'Dads For Musical Justice'. 

robag wruhme - 'isolée'

27 March 2012

Graphics (feat Mt Kimbie) - 'Baybes (Dub)'

In case you were wondering where Mt Kimbie had gone of late then I can happily tell you they are alive and well as this collaboration will attest. It's definitely a grower.

tame impala - 'the bold arrow of time'

I rediscovered how good this album is on the long train journey home tonight. It's quite trippy in a Flaming Lips At War With the Mystics kind of way. The guitars scrunch, there's echo, distortion and feedback aplenty and what starts out as casual background music became a full on, all senses diverted to ears experience. This is one of the stand out tracks for me but I think the video below is a different production as it sounds fuller than my album version.

26 March 2012

it's a right old 808 state

How cool is this? It's a series of posters detailing the drum patterns for programming an 808 machine for classic dance tracks. Just check them out here

And to accompany this object of beauty is a rather lovely edit of the tune itself.

silicon ballet

I've been listening to this Belgian 10-piece (or so the rumours go) and specifically their new EP 'Utopia' for the last hour or so and it's lush orchestration has scored very favourably. I like this band a lot; maybe it's just me but they sound a bit like Squeeze and for an English band that's quite a feat let alone a foreign band. The highlight for me is 'Sunglasses' which is also the debut track. It's so perfectly melodic I think I'll treat myself to another listen.

my bloody valentine

Exciting news from the Wire: My Bloody Valentine are set to rerelease their albums Isn’t Anything and Loveless, plus a collection of EPs, in remastered form. EPs 1988–1991 includes Feed Me With Your Kiss, You Made Me Realise, Glider and Tremolo, plus seven unreleased tracks. 

Loveless was scheduled for release back in 2008 but never appeared in the shops and so it's a welcome treat to read about its long overdue arrival in the shops. Apparently this will all be happening in May (although I think I may just keep the champagne on ice until I actually have a copy in my grubby little mits. This is called 'No More Sorry' and is from 'Isn't Anything'.

ólafur arnalds - allt varð hljótt

He goes from strength to strength, this time it's the score to one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year so far, The Hunger Games.

sigur rós - 'ekki múkk'

This is hot off the press. Red-hot, in fact. It's called Ekki múkk and is from their new album 'Valtari'. It bears all the hallmarks of a Sigur Ros number - it's sublime, it's understated and each listen is opening up new things to discover. I've given it 4 or 5 goes already and it's been like a game of pass the parcel with each listen revealing a new prize.

25 March 2012

violet - y.o.u.

This is Pixie Geldof's band's new single. Please leave your preconceptions at the door, this is a really excellent song. 'Languidly splendid' is how I shall refer to it from hereon in.

heather hammers

I was sent a lovely Twitter message from Ms Hammers recently asking me to check out her music but unbeknownst to her I already had listened to a few songs and was looking for a suitable point to share her album on my blog. That time is now and I hope you enjoy her tunes as much as I do. She has a lovely minimalist approach to her music which isn't quite folk, certainly not Americana but far too cerebral to be dismissed as pop. Guitar and ukelele seem to be her preferred musical weapons of choice but the clear winner would always be her voice. There's shades of a more mainstream sounding Jenny Lewis or an American Laura Marling or, dare I say it, Hope Sandoval's shy younger sister but let's not deal in trite comparisons here; she's definitely her own woman.

I like the almost 50s feel she brings to her slower ballads and the lo-fi production allows her a more expansive approach, her voice taking the listener to places that would be twinned with the Minnesota towns of the Garrison Keiller radio shows. To some she would be too small town, too twee but I think her songwriting is perfect especially when she deals with the subject of love, 'She'll Never Love You' being a particularly good example of this. Maybe I've been listening to too much Icelandic folk of late but tracks such as 'Modest Little House', 'Sailor', 'The Letter' sound like they might have been written by Ólöf Arnalds. Compare and contrast those three tracks with 'Crazy Car' by Arnalds. I hope Ms Hammers takes this as the huge compliment that it's intended to be. 

You can download the entire album for $8 which works out at £5, give or take a few pence. I'm going to write to her and ask if she has CDs too. My preferred medium is the kind you can pick up and touch. I find electronic media lacks something for me, somewhat ironic when describing such ethereal music but I'm nothing if not a mass of contradictions. I know good music when I hear it however; you can too, below.

pink floyd - if

Pink Floyd played a huge part in my formative years in giving me the confidence to explore music outside of the constraints of 3 minute pop. The one album that really left a huge impression on me was Atom Heart Mother, it still does in fact. The other albums can seem a little dated or maybe it's that I don't need them in my life as much anymore but A.H.M. is still a welcome guest in this household. It has the melancholy but less of the cynicism of the later albums and is without doubt the "warmest" too. Does that make sense? Here they are in 1970 playing an acoustic version of 'If'. The introduction is by John Peel who refers to them as 'The Pink Floyd'; they dropped the prefixing determinant shortly after. A little known fact is that the song was only really intended as a filler but as is often with these things is actually my favourite from the album. 

sutja gutiérrez - lucy

There's not too many acts from Spain that I've heard of that leave any sort of impression on me, Sutja Gutiérrez is a notable exception. 

maceo plex - your style (maya jane coles remix)

This suits the weather.

24 March 2012

in the horizontal position

I love the Laid Back series of mixes on Mixcloud. This one is perfect as my swansong for this evening. The clocks go forward and it's been a long day spent firstly in London and then back in Brighton. I first listened to this a few days ago and was blown away by the quality of the tracks in this J Dilla-themed mix from TomE and Vlada Stojanovic. If I can draw your attention in particular to Billy Paul's 'Let the Dollar Circulate'. I may well just plonk it onto my blog on its own in the very near future.

dead sea apes - 'ruckstoss gondoliere'

Thanks to @keepwerking who tweeted about this Kraftwerk cover version earlier today. I don't know too much about the Dead Sea Apes but I love their sound and the imagination to take one of Kraftwerk's early   tunes and turn it into a psychedelic, shoegazer-lite melody. 

action bronson - '9-24-11'

Here's a new one for me, Action Bronson, he's a Jewish Albanian New Yorker and a qualified gourmet chef. Is that eclectic enough for you? Well, let me add that he's a damn good rapper with a superb delivery and a habit of picking his samples from so far leftfield that he's really got no right to make a decent song. Fortunately his chutzpah (It's not often I get to throw in some Yiddish slang!) has paid off. This is wonderful.

ibrahim ferrer - 'que bueno baila usted'

Here was someone else with ridiculous levels of talent; the late great Ibrahim Ferrer. I don't speak Spanish so I have no idea what this song is about but I have my suspicions that it is actually something quite banal. When you come from Cuba, even the most mundane of tasks comes with a soundtrack attached therefore I reckon this song is a moan about the tardiness of the Cuban Postal Service. Please don't shatter my illusions by correcting my obvious error.

culture club

I still struggle to believe that Thievery Corporation are American. To me, they sound like the archetypal Parisian electronic outfit borne of a fusion of Gallic cool and North African passionate rhythms. 

They recently held a competition to find the best remix of their Culture of Fear track. As an aside, that is such a Thievery Corporation song title. I love that their cynicism of the political status quo has never dampened their idealism for a world where religious zealots don't shoot school children. I digress, the competition was fiercely contested and the discussions that it created were evidence of this. I haven't listened to all of the tracks updated but below are two that have stood out for me. Click on the link here where you can explore the other entries. I'd love to have the talent to mix music. I have to make do with the vicarious pleasure of listening to other people's genius.

money mark - 'cry'

I'm fortunate that I have friends and family with impeccable taste in music. My brother reminded me of this most excellent of Beastie Boys collaborators. Time for some Money Mark. I'm going to dig out the 'Keyboard Repairs' album tomorrow and give it a long overdue play. Next time some Hoxton hipster tries to name drop an obscure lo-fi funk album from a Belgian 3-piece from the 70s just top trump him with a bit of Marky Mark and be assured that Money Mark's epic 90s album is the real deal. Don't take my word for it - it comes recommended by my brother. Brilliance guaranteed.

when genius collides

Nick Cave, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams. It could well be my holy trinity. When I first heard this it made me so happy, I could have cried.

23 March 2012

janet kay - silly games

Cool tune. Enjoy.

saint saviour

This woman should be available free on the NHS as the antidote to musical tedium. Here's her interpretation of the Banshees classic. Sometimes all you can do is sit, admire and then clap at the end of it all.

diplo - 'express yourself' feat. nicky da b

Who's for a wake up call? This monster from Diplo should do the business. I don't think he's ever had a naff video either. This one demands your attention, ignore at your peril.

sharon van etten - 'leonard'

I bought a fair few new albums recently, I'll try to list them here over the next few days but one that stands out is the debut from Sharon Van Etten who has drawn lots and lots of favourable praise from the critical media whose opinions I value. I can see why, she is just my cup of tea. Here's a track as a bit of a teaser for a fuller blog entry.

friends - i'm his girl

Synth pop with a wicked guitar riff aplenty in this track from Friends who I read are tipped for big things in the near future. This reminds me a bit of Glass Candy but with less disco.

22 March 2012

sinead o'connor - vampire

We all know she loves dub reggae and Lee Scratch Perry's classic is beautifully sung here.

inglan is a bitch

What a brilliant interpretation of Linton Kwesi Johnson's poem. If you do one thing today, listen to this.

grinderman/u.n.k.l.e - hyper worm tamer

I'm extremely excited about the new Grinderman remix album. Here's UNKLE's take on Worm Tamer and I think it has shades of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion meets James Bond. This is a very good thing.

tell me don't do that

Daniel Steinberg again. Gotta love the man.

20 March 2012

trans-european express

Balstyrko - 'Hold Igen'

Alina Orlova - 'Čia'

Hundreds - 'Song For a Sailor'

19 March 2012

a few of my favourite things

DJ Shadow, Little Dragon, beautiful music. 

the breakdown - polaroid ep

I used to associate Southend-On-Sea with a couple of things, the football ground with the little tea room in the away end and the pumping techno that they played before the match whenever I watched Brighton play them, there's that old Post Office that is now what must be one of the biggest pubs in the South-East, there's the beach that goes on forever and the flourishing pirate radio scene. Now I can add this band to the list. The Breakdown have got a great sound, a lot of energy and deserve a big future. They're very radio-friendly with a retro guitar feel and instantly likeable tunes. Why not download the EP here and bask in the glory of having been into them before they hit the big time.

16 March 2012

friday feeling

I'm not sure if I have the Friday feeling or not. Let's play some tunes and see how I am after that.

Radiohead - 'Let Down'

Os Mutantes - 'Baby'

Mmm - 'Donna'

Lemon Jelly - 'Homage to Patagonia'

 All Alone (No One To Be With) - Slick Rick

15 March 2012

et in suburbia ego

She's done it again. Vancouver's very lovely Angerbird has released two new albums on Bandcamp that are free for download or streaming. Here's the first one I've been listening to, it's called 'Suburban Mouse' (hence the title for this entry of my blog). As long as there are talented people like this lady in the world then I think we'll be fine.

14 March 2012

13 March 2012

daniel steinberg - deep woods

Here's my favourite DJ in the whole world with a warm, snoozy mix.

12 March 2012

life in mono (propellerheads sweatband remix)

I was listening to this on the train this morning. I thought I would share.

11 March 2012

for my bro

My brother, apart from having superhuman running skills, has an encyclopaedic knowledge of reggae and recommended this to me a while back. He's spot on, isn't he?

i'm broad, i'm broad, i'm broader than broadway

Barrington Levy performing his seminal classic live. Just check out the freestyling if you want to hear a master at work.

i've got the sitar blues

Actually, the way I feel is more kind of like a green dirge but I don't think there's any songs with that title.

tricky in the mix

08 March 2012

thursday - watch the walls instead

You could take Robert Smith's advice or alternatively listen to some music instead. Breakbeat and minimal, anyone?

Janette Slack - 'Never Enough'

Tricky - 'Your Name'

The Minimum - 'Acidoman'

J-Break Blind (Urban J Mix)

07 March 2012

and so to bed

This is the background music as I try to sleep after a long long day at work and then 90 minutes of watching Brighton and Hove Albion make hard work of a draw against Cardiff. It's a chillout mix by LeFtO who lives in Montreal and it is aural nectar indeed. Good night.

jon spencer blues explosion - 'soul typecast'

I couldn't not post a video after waxing lyrical about them, could I?

hey jane

Spiritualized have uploaded to Soundcloud the first track to be released from their upcoming new album and if this 8 minute monster is anything to go by it will be a big player in the best album of 2012 compilations. It's a rocky number that's reminiscent of Primal Scream at their most majestic. I can't wait to hear the rest of the album.

rhye - 'open'

Who is Rhye? I have my suspicions but I'll let you, dear reader, make your own mind up without me putting ideas into your head. Whoever it is has landed an absolute joy with this track. I've had it on loop all morning.

explosions in my mind

I rarely get hangovers especially on school nights where you will more likely than not find me at home with a cup of tea. Last night was different. I caught up with an old friend I hadn't seen in yonks and we saw the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. I love their sound, their kick-arse attitude and the main man interspersing the music with a Southern Baptist preacher's fervour. The gig was great, the poor venue notwithstanding but I am paying for it this morning. I think some reflective music is in order and somehow we can get through this day together.

Stina Nordenstam - 'Circus'

Sigur Ros - 'Untitled VII'

Conquering Animal Sounds - 'Bear'

The Low Anthem - 'To Ohio (Reprise)'

06 March 2012

the hard cell

This little film is part of the extras that comes with Bjork's recent Biophilia album and is an exploration of the human body at a cellular level. Bjork provides the background music to a beautiful yet slightly dark animation by biochemist Dave Berry.

still got the blues

I really didn't want to get out of bed this morning. I seem to be alright once I get out but it's that initial point of pulling back the covers and rising from the duvet cocoon. Here's a few tunes to help you through the morning.

Damien Jurado - 'With Lightning In Your Hands'

Zero 7 - Warm Sound

Letting Up Despite Great Faults - I Feel You Happen

05 March 2012

happy birthday mark e smith

The great man is 55 today. 

xtermination - 'the pope of pop'

Can I leave you with this before I head to bed. It's a brilliantly bubbly retro album (actually it's a demo but it sounds pretty near finished to me) of tracks that wouldn't look out of place on a Wiseguys album. Xtermination is Piotr Warzawski who hails from Krakow and is entirely home written, arranged and produced. Taking all this into account it sounds amazing. and the album gets better and better as you get into it. In parts it has a Depeche Mode or Blancmange feel to it and in other places perhaps Unkle or Apollo 440. It's a shame the first two tracks are where they are as I think there are stronger opening tracks from this he could have chosen. I think this is my only criticism and I feel a bit bad for saying this as he really doesn't deserve anything but praise for creating such a strong album.

monday mix part deux

These popped up on my iPod on the way home and I thought to myself that these tunes really ought to go on my blog. 

The first by Ambulance Ltd sounds post-Brit Pop with a heavy guitar and leads very nicely into the banshee wails and crunching shoegazing of U.S. Christmas. The last is quite some departure as I lead out with moody bass and electronica overload. It is of course Senking.

Ambulance Ltd - 'Yoga Means Union'

U.S. Christmas - 'Maran' 

Senking - V8

uncomfortably numb

Portishead of course with a wicked remix of Numb.

monday mix

The Eels - 'Climbing to the Moon'

Peaking Lights - 'Key Sparrow'

Gruff Rhys - Epynt

Godspeed You Black Emperor - 'Storm'

stop this city

I want to get off.