While the snow gives everyone an excuse to sit tight and bunker down, this, fortuitously, happens to be a bumper week for staying in and listening to future pop / disgustingly good hip-hop collaborations. One might even be tempted to call it ‘blinding’ were it not for the fact that this is not Pete Tong’s Essential Mix or, at least last time I checked, 1995.
SINGLE OF THE WEEK!
N.A.S.A. 'Whatchadoin’' feat. Spank Rock, M.I.A & Santogold / 'Money' - Feat. David Byrne & Chuck D (Anti)
Sam Spiegel (Squeak E. Clean) and Ze Gonzales (DJ Zegon)’s Brazilian funk-flavoured, super massive hip-hop extravaganza is every bit as good as you have heard, with lead single ‘Whatchadoin’ calling on the love-it-or-hate-it talents of pop’s first lady of whine, MIA. Starting out with some really rather wonderful telephone dialer stabs, this has about a thousand things going on - the very least of which is the glorious, blown-speaker bass zoning in and out of earshot. B-side ‘Money’ is even better, with Byrne sounding just as vital as any of the other younger or hipper hired hands and Chuck D shouting about how cash is like, really bad. Buy the 12” and get The Count’s ‘Money’ remix – a ridiculous riot of old-school house vocals, helium scratching and fidget silliness you may have heard on Hervé’s recent mixtape. Absolutely amazing, and that’s before they’ve even got round to the Kool Keith/Tom Waits one, in which Blues’ resident swamp monster manages to join the dots between himself and MF Doom. Really, that good. Listen here
Miike Snow 'Burial' (Benny Blanco Remix Feat. Neon Hitch) Free mp3 at RCRDLBL
Beginning with Justice-style doomy synths and some lines about Saturdays all being the same/life generally being a bit shit, this really takes off when Neon Hitch comes in, she sounding rather like Kate Bush might were she blessed with added Chinese vocal wobbles and a New York drawl. In any event, this manages to cram in whooshing, big-open-sky piano breakdowns and some very shiny Timberlaking, while at the same time pondering whether you should cry at your own funeral (quite some feat). Free from RCRD LBL here
The Constantines 'Our Age' (Arts & Crafts)
Toronto’s Constantines may have very nice t-shirts and be likened to The Clash, Fugazi and Nick Cave, but sadly, on ‘Our Age’, they sound like Bruce ‘Wal Mart’ Springsteen. Next!
James Yuill 'No Suprise' (Moshi Moshi)
Quite apart from having a wonderful promotional photo in which Yuill looks very much like a missing member of the Look Around You cast (see lead image), Yuill’s masterstroke with this release is to fashion ‘No Surprise’ three ways, but still do each of them himself. So rather than being sent an unremarkable strum by a PR (but only liking the bonkers-o-clock Toddla T/Spank Rock/Joe Goddard remix), James gives us an ‘earth’ version – all stripped-back folkiness a la Adem, a ‘fire’ version – in which the song gets wrung through a squelchy 808 for full and current dancefloor appeal, AND a best-of-both album version – which errs on the side of synthy but combines the two. This is a very, very good idea - and moretothebloody point, a charming pop song.
Busta Rhimes (sic) Vs Justin Credible: The Remixes (Wholemeal)
Justin Credible (crazy name, crazy guy) releases not one, two or three but four remixes of Busta’s hits, despite seemingly not being able to spell his name correctly. Having never been a fan of Mr. Rhymes’ flow before now, this is still worth a mention for the re-rub of ‘Pour The Water On Em’ in which young Justin manipulates some very wobbly sub-bass as if by Theremin.
Cage the Elephant 'Back Against The Wall / False Skorpion' (Relentless)
If there was a prize for the genre we least need reviving this year, slap-bass riddled funk-rock would scoop all the rosettes hands down. All you need to know about this is that the Elephants have covered Pavement’s ‘False Scorpion’ on the b-side but added nothing – quite literally - to it. So let’s watch the original instead, while pondering quite how a quintet of lumbering, party-hearty meatheads expect us to buy their records when they cover ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ in a similarly depressing fashion.
Coldplay 'Life In Technicolour' (Parlophone)
Ooh, look everyone, it’s Coldplay, whose video is bearable precisely because Martin et al are not actually in it and have been replaced by puppets. DO YOU SEE? Helpfully, at the end of this video there’s another hint at just how seriously Coldplay take themselves, when a title card pops up written in hideously grand, self-important Times New Roman CAPITALS. Readers, even their fonts are pompous.
The View 'Shock Horror' (1965)
It seems vaguely unfair to talk about relevance, but it’s difficult to see what bands like The View have to offer in a coming year where baile funk, booty bass, fidget house and kuduro look set to be the most interesting - and crucially - most enjoyable musical developments. In any event, this call and response rock workout struggles by with some rather banal lyrics about making it to the top/being at the bottom (make your mind up, The View, we haven’t got all day). Styled to within an inch of their lives in the video, which also features a GCSE art project doll which is like - OMG - hanging by its neck, this is just the very thing for those who find The Enemy a bit too frightening.
Shana David 'Terminally Bourgeois' EP (Shrug)
In what must be the most ill advised and amusing packaging innovation of the week, this apparently comes wrapped in a sanitary towel disposal bag. And if that’s not quite oestrogen-y enough for you, do be warned that Ms David sounds like what you’d get if Bette Midler, the dottiest bits of Regina Spektor and Kate Nash had a chiptune keyboard baby. This wishes it was Kimya Dawson and is too kooky by half.
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