Now that I am back from my coastal paradise, I only have alarms for company. So while last week the view outside my window was of flat, open fields in which bunny rabbits hopped, now I can see roundabouts and hear the siren from our local prison establishment, to remind me that there are madmen and kiddie fiddlers just minutes from my door. Sirens are relevant though, as this week’s top single sounds very much like one.
Single of the Week!
Dave I.D. - ‘Why Weren’t The Message Sent’ (Off The Uncertain Button)
Ooo. Ooo. Oooo. I mean, there I was, wallowing in Vice-magazine baiting, Situationist new band hell (I’m not even going to mention the twits in question, but I HATED their ridiculous provocation-hungry seven; it made me ANGRY and I was about to DO SOMETHING UNMENTIONABLE to it). Anyway, I thought I might have a quick pootle to see if there was anything exciting I had not been sent by the nice people of the music industry, and I found Dave i.d. And now I am as giddy as a Weight Watcher given a free pass in Greggs. I have played ‘Why Weren’t The Message Sent’ at least a squillion times in a row and ignored the questionable grammar of the title because it doesn’t matter; this singles has me jumping up and down. It is brilliant, and it is brilliantly other. I have lost the ability to form words and can only explain it to you in noises. Ooo, of course, is one, because that is the noise I make when I come across something I find bewilderingly striking and that I really, really want. But my noises are of no use here, so I will try to explain how Dave i.d. sounds a bit like Muse (menacing riffs), a bit like Radiohead (Wailing Wall vocals), a bit like Prodigy (scary theatrics), a bit like Massive Attack (drama, rage) and the Chemical Brothers (unstoppable, snowballing beats). And yet he sounds like none of those bands at all. This is an angry record and one which sends out eerie tendrils that have you wrapped in their ivy clutches after seconds. It’s got a crashing urgency and oh God, it’s so good. Dave sounds like he just can’t take it anymore and I am delighted he is mad as all hell, I almost want to make him angrier if it means he will make records like this. Flipping spectacular.
Wolf Gang – ‘Pieces of You’ (Neon Gold)
Listen at MySpace, here.
There’s an incredibly appealing sense of wrongness about this record, and I do not mean that in a vile, Guilty Pleasures sort of way. For one thing, it isn’t pandering to the idea that if you don’t have 80s synths on your record you are in some way not ‘now’ enough. I mean, it’s got ‘funky’ (he says ‘hunn-eh’ for ‘honey’) vocals and wacka-wacka guitars on it, for goodness sake. It’s also been produced with a dramatic sensibility even ELO might have deemed a bit much. But blimey, I have played this record. I have poked and prodded it; I have mercilessly made it perform for me like a battered little monkey. And still it dances, still I am on my bike on the way to the shops but I have to stop in the middle of the road to put the song back to the beginning again. I am hearing the grand irreverence of Talking Heads, the pomp of 70s rock and the out-of-time, untrammeled, melodic savvy of Phoenix. But at the end of the day, it is the play count stats in my iTunes that tell the real story. 20 plays in 2 days is a glorious testament to just how infectious this record is.
Gold Panda - ‘Miyamae EP’ (Various Production)
Like some sort of Woody-scripted neurotic, sometimes my brain plays tricks. So after a torrent of emails from my fellow DiSSers about just how brilliant Gold Panda is, my grey matter started to rebel. ‘What if you don’t like it as much as they do?,’ the little serpents hissed. And I was almost scared to listen. Fortunately the sane and sensible side of my split personality popped up then and slapped me in the face like a brilliant bad cop. And this officer of the thought police reminded me of a youth spent lapping up minimal techno records as if they were musical chocolate and me a diabetic on a disastrous binge. Naturally this means I am incredibly well-disposed to ‘Miyamae’ not least when ‘Long Vacation’ shares the dulled bass of Tri Repetae’s ‘Clipper’ and that same track’s sweeping prettiness and cinematics are echoed on ‘Miyamae’s gorgeous opener, ‘Back Home’. But comparisons with mid-90s Warp output are not quite enough, because this is tainted with glitches and has a halting, hesitant debt to dubstep that makes it utterly modern. A beautiful, immersive experience then, and as good as 5 separate recommendations suggest.
The Dead Weather – ‘Treat Me Like Your Mother’ (Sony)
With the filth-rock pedigree The Dead Weather have, it’s natural to wonder which of their component parts they manage to usurp. So is this better than The Kills (not hard, one fears) or QOTSA, or The Raconteurs? It’s certainly a single that craves attention, with a ridiculously pompous Jonathan Glazer video, sorry ‘short film’ that ‘premiered’ last night at just past the onset of the witching hour and was promoted by horrible ‘posters’ (see above and here). I do apologise for all the snarky quotation marks, but it just feels like all this stinky-as-Tarantino spectacle is for the benefit of Mosshart and Glazer (neither of whom I find convincing) because I do not think Mr. White needs a splash of visual pennantry or internet fanfares to announce his records, they speak eloquently for themselves. All that said, ‘Treat Me Like Your Mother’ is rather fun. But it’s in the vein of Stone Roses’ ‘Beggin You’ – i.e. a perfectly serviceable take on ‘Immigrant Song’, but if you’re honest with yourselves, ultimately a tiny bit pointless. However much you like and admire the ones doing the homaging.
Flashguns - ‘Matching Hearts, Similar Parts EP’ (Blue Flower)
I have noticed that Flashguns have the same logo as the winning chocolates in the final challenge of The Apprentice. This being not desperately relevant, I will tell also you that their debut EP includes a spectacularly epic 7-minuter what is called ‘Racing Race’ (is there another kind?). And it is an odd, contrasting thing. Because on the one hand I think they are singing about our dire financial straits in quite a daft way (‘Oh the crunch / Oh the crunch / Went without dinner / Now we forget about lunch’) but the song itself is a swamp-rock-noise thing, all grown-up menace and stadium levels of bombast. Now perhaps it was the overall air of desert and canyons, but the other odd thing ‘Racing Race’ reminded me of was Bon Jovi’s ‘Dead or Alive’ and I did not expect to be recalling pre-teen crushes on the cast of Young Guns when I shoved it into the side of my computer. Anyway before I do Flashguns any more of a disservice, or they seek out my email address for to send me (deserved) hatemail, I will tell you that ‘Matching Hearts, Similar Parts’ is in fact incredibly likeable, shuffling indie with some very pleasant Sebadoh-ing and a very efficient approach to melody.
Apples - ‘Reason 45’ (Autonomy Recordings) Listen at MySpace here
Comparisons with Vampire Weekend are stretching it somewhat, you naughty little press release. And though this is perfectly accomplished indie pop on the right side of twee, I cannot feel happy about the resurrection of the synthetic brass section (and if it is not synthetic, it is certainly produced so it sounds like it is). You know, the sort of trumpets you hear on Duran Duran’s ‘Rio’, or in Haircut 100, or Nik Kershaw. You see Apples look like a new band, they wear nice checked shirts, they have modish jeans and nice hair and play the perfectly appealing, slightly fey, pop-indie of now. But when I see their smiling faces and nice outfits, I am drawn to Photoshop to make a visual representation of what I hear when I play ‘Reason 45’. It also gives me the perfect excuse to go off on a tangent and recommend some deliriously good 80s pop what came out 10 (rather than 30) years ago. That song is ‘Sometimes’ the one hunky Nik Kershaw did with Les Rhythmes Digitales, and it is on Spotify here.
Frankmusik - ‘Confusion Girl’ (Island)
Poor old Frankmusik, he must be feeling ever so sore. Because they have rubbed him down something good and proper, ironed-out all his quirks, all his daringness has been polished out of the picture. Someone from Blue could quite happily release ‘Confusion Girl,’ it has departed-member-of-boyband-debut-solo-effort written all over it. Still, he does at least get to snog Holly Vallance. Small mercies, everyone.
Russell’s Teapot – ‘This Is Modern Love’ (Earth Connection)
Listen at MySpace here.
While you obviously get some boff points for naming yourself after a Bertrand Russell theory about proving the existence of God, unfortunately the clever stops there. Because lyrically ‘This Is Modern Love’ is rather excruciating, and I’m afraid it reminds me of Space’s ‘Female Of The Species’ - but not in a good way, oh dear me no. Lovely artwork though.
Fink - ‘Sort of Revolution EP’ (Ninja Tune)
It doesn’t really surprise me when I read the press release and see that Fin Greenall has recently worked with John Legend. Don’t get me wrong, it seems churlish to get worked up about this sort of acoustic wash, and ‘Sort of Revolution’ is really really nice, if nice is what you are looking for. But I look down at the bit of paper, and despite the fact that this is a Ninja Tune release, with an almost-passably skanky Sideshow dub remix, eventually I come to the conclusion that this is in fact this year’s equivalent to Marc Cohn. Marc bloody Cohn, everyone, what I would listen to when I was 14 and of an age to need records specifically for crying to. And though I will admit to still being an emotional moppet now, this sort of aural marshmallow won’t do anymore. Also, though I feel mean mentioning it, I think I must – this record has the word ‘revolution’ in the title. Big mistake.
Spinnerette - ‘Baptized By Fire’ (Anthem)
Is it me or does Spinnerette strike you as a bit Britney-does-Joan-Jett? Oh alright, it’s nothing like that bad, but definitely far too shiny to convince. In any event I was more intrigued to hear the b-side, where Ms Brody has ruined/splendified Devo’s ‘The Day My Baby Gave Me A Surprise’, depending on your point of view. And you can listen to that here.
The Capitol Years - ‘You Can Stay There’ (SOE Records)
Having been hand-picked by the Pixies to support them on their reunion tour and having been Daniel Johnston’s backing band, one had extremely high hopes for The Capitol Years. And all the ingredients that should push the buttons of a rabid Shins fan such as I are present – minor key jangliness, Brendan Benson FM melodic sensibilities – and yes, it is very good. But in a week where I have become obsessed with the stop-starting glitchery of Gold Panda, the theatricality of Wolf Gang and the angry splendour of this young Dave chap, ‘You Can’t Stay There’ sadly does not stand a chance. Cute (well, until the end) video.
Filthy Dukes - ‘Messages’ (Fiction)
I remember the Filthy Dukes when they were just two enormously likeable disco jockeys, having enjoyed many a boozy soir jumping up and down like a tit to their sets. Now, of course, they are a proper fun electro-disco outfit who I feel a certain fondness for, mainly because I never had a crap night when they were in charge. Unfortunately, while ‘Messages’ is some perfectly proficient pop, laden with blips, kooky synth wobbles and pretty ascending piano chords, I think even I have finally become a bit sick of post-Justice, post-SMD pop. And however brilliant ‘Messages’ is to throw yourself about to, one cannot help thinking it should have come out a few Summers ago.
Also out this week!
Quad Throw Salchow - ‘Chrome September’ (Tummy Touch)
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – ‘Woodfriend’ (Transgressive)
The Twang - ‘Barney Rubble’ (B-Unique)
Maximo Park - 'Questing, Not Coasting’ (Warp)
Reverend and The Makers -'Silence Is Talking' (Wall of Sound)