I didn’t realise quite how angry I was until I started writing up this week’s singles. But it appears I am really quite furious if shouty caps are anything to go by. For which, of course, massive apollies- I have calmed down now.
Single of the Week!
Ortolan - ‘Ortolan EP’ (Sounds Familyre)
It’s not terribly often that I find myself recommending mailing lists, but Sounds Familyre have such a wholesomely grand roster I shall make an exception. As cherished and fondly warm as a hand-stitched keepsake quilt, this week they chose to tell me about Ortolan and I duly pootled around the internet to see what they sound like. You know, so I could tell you. And they are glorious, beautiful. Sounding a bit like She & Him might were they produced by Sufjan Stevens - to create a sort of She & She & She & She, they are four alt-pop Brontës who beam right into your stereo like a comforting aural torch you never need to buy batteries for. One which does not flicker and falter, even when you are out in the shed in the middle of the night investigating something spooky like a crap girl in a horror flick. Sort of like that.
Randan Discotheque - ‘Daily Record 1993’ (The Bonjour Branch)
I am not the first to point out that this is the sort of oddity that Mr. John Peel would have alerted us to - an experiment of a single which takes the headlines of an ancient copy of the Daily Record newspaper, and then raps them at us in a bumbling - but heartily likeable - Edinburgh fashion. The problem with concepts, of course, is that there's so much more at stake; reaching for the Stars of Originality is enough to give any band vertigo (BEAR WITH ME READERS). But though I will admit to feeling a teeny, tiny bit wary when the Randans first wrote to me (Them: 'We done a concept song produced by Dave Maclean from Django Django and Neil Landstrumm from Planet Mu!!!' Me: 'Is it safe?'), four weeks later it has a very respectable iTunes playcount and I am finding I like it more and more. Doesn't sound like anything else this week, month or year, which is allthebetter, no? AND You get a free raffle ticket when you buy it - a gimmick I am happy to report Randan Discotheque need not have employed. Although since I have been nice about them, I naturally expect them to fix the raffle to ensure I win.
Wave Machines - ‘Punk Spirit’ (Neapolitan)
In lots of ways Wave Machines strike me as being this year’s Late Of The Pier – a band rather difficult to classify and so proficient at straddling genres that they risk missing out on all popular categories altogether. That in itself would be a great shame, because ‘Punk Spirit’ while essentially a sad, stompy song about flicking the vees at people when they’re not looking, is actually a desperately uplifting tune that is really about wishing you stuck up for yourself more when you get trod on. Good even for cats like me - what hated Punk and punks - but who would still like to be a bit more belligerent when it really matters. Gorgeous, gorgeous band.
Dolly Rockers - 'Gold Digger' (Parlophone)
It strikes me that the best girl group duos and trios have a slightly grubby air about them. They need to look like the sort of girls I was wretched with terror over at school; girls who would sneak elbow jabs into your ribs just before the first netball whistle / when the PE mistress weren’t looking. And sometimes there is nothing more terrifying than noisy teenage girls en masse – you’ve only got to get on a bus on Upper Street around 4pm to see it happen; you can almost hear the hormones pinging off the windows and everyone is suddenly struck dumb at how brash, how fearsomely prickling all that giggling is. Anyway, so it is with Dolly Rockers, who I have now just about forgiven for nicking Bill Wyman’s finest moment (and I include all his work with the Stones - not just, but perhaps partly to be deliberately contrary). 'Gold Digger' is exactly what I want Pop Girls to sound like - it is a record that has its sticky fingers slinked round your wallet the minute your back is turned, and then it smiles its wonky English teeth at you and you forgive it.
Jamie T - ‘Chaka Demus' (Pacemaker Recordings)
Jamie 'bloody' T has pinched his backing melody from the Banana Splits - I am not sure if you have noticed. Specifically from the theme tune, which is here. Unfortunately he is not as much fun as a Hanna Barbera cartoon and on the evidence of ‘Chaka Demus’, beginning to sound suspiciously Big Beaty. Now there was a genre I could never be getting on with, it always seemed like dance music for people who didn’t actually like dance music, who would never get into minimal techno LIKE WHAT I DID EVERYONE and who had stopped taking drugs after one second-hand puff of a funny cigarette at a Hockey Club party. You know, SQUARES, (man). I mean of course I am larking, but it all seemed suspiciously dim and everso slightly wacky, did Big Beat. Incidentally whileIamonthesubject, The Other Narners’ take on ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’, a daftly psychedelic ditty called ‘I Enjoy Being A Boy’ is wicked, and here. Go and listen to that instead, I dare you.
Delphic - ‘This Momentary’ (Kitsuné)
Seemingly intent on bringing the Kitsuné average down a few points, Delphic begin their song with the words ‘Re: You and Me’. And this got my back up, because it sounds like the subject line of an email from someone you wouldn’t want to go out with, it’s about as dreamy as the ‘ditto’ from the hideous celluloid cowpat that was Ghost; as unromantic as garage flowers. Anyway, they then want to compel me to ‘do something real’ and I find myself thinking about people who come back from India all big-eyed - as if they didn’t know there were poor people in the world until they had them shoving their begging bowls right in front of their Boots-sunblocked DIMBO FACES. Then I got to the Le Matos remix, which has an intro cribbed LIKEEVERYTHINGELSETHISYEAR from Vangelis’ Bladerunner, which just reminds me YET AGAIN of when I had that soundtrack RUINED because I had to listen to it ON A LOOP while cleaning LITERALLY HUNDREDS of wax-encrusted candlesticks with BOILING WATER for corporate events at a FRIGGING GOLF CLUB. Am I giving Delphic a fair hearing? No. I did have a real job once, though.
The Prodigy - ‘Take Me To The Hospital’ (Take Me To The Hospital / Cooking Vinyl)
Least scary band ever. This is extremely silly but actually rather amiable in a ‘Well done on your crepe-paper Halloween costume, Darling’ pat-on-head, sort of way. Actually I quite like the speedy vocals. I mean it’s sort of rubbish and good all at the same time but the rubbish wins out in the end. I mean, you’ll put it on the fridge for a few weeks so they feel good about themselves, but it won’t go in the family scrapbook.
On Histories of Rosenberg - ‘On Histories of Rosenberg EP’ (Function Records)
I shouldn’t know that the beginning of ‘Am I Awake’ sounds almost exactly the same as one of the songs off Cara Dillon’s first album, but sohelpme, I do. (I QUITE LIKE CARA DILLON DO YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT ETC). Anyway, it then turns into the sort of rousing indie which is by turns super-serious and proper-rollicking. And because one of the ways in which music writers (in which category one very loosely classes oneself) can amuse themselves is to make up genre names, I have a new one for On Histories of Rosenberg. And it is crescendo+indie=Crescindie! Do you see? Really quite pleasant if you like that sort of thing, with a lovely twinkly bit at the end.
Sleepy Sun - ‘Sleepy Son’ (ATP)
Playing ATP New York as well as the ‘10 Years’ blow-out in December, this is exceedingly droney and blissed-out without losing sight of either the melody / the Sabbath-style heavy. ‘Sleepy Son’ takes a while to get going but when it does it’s so massively, unabashedly stacked that I was grinning as if I had done something, rather than just listened to something wicked - and that word in its original sense for a change. And even though they have used the word ‘intense’ twice in their press release still I do not regard them as irritating - which is kind of amazing this week. If ATP did a version of Guitar Hero (and I for one should like them to - just to see the advert), this would be on it. Proper noisy and proper good. Limited 10”.
Data - ‘Doors of Perception feat. Cell’ / ‘Leaves’ (Tempa)
If Data had been in charge of the Open University, perhaps I might have been persuaded to finish my studies and get my ologies. Because on ‘Leaves’ he has managed to incorporate what sounds suspiciously like a philosophy lecture and yet it is still an eminently listenable dubstep record. Although it is a bit 5amcomingdownheneverythingisabitmuchandyouareinyour friend’sfrontroomwhichyounownoticeisactuallykindofdisgustingand filthynowyouarenotoffyourfaceanymore. If only TEECHAZ sounded like this, eh? Or perhaps that would be too startling, like when they start wearing jeans and/or Converse to SHOW THEY ARE DOWN WITH. I don’t know but it is really quite good, even if the title is fearfully MEANINGFUL.
Listen at MySpace, here.
Bibio - ‘Maybe They Appear In Graveyards EP’ (Warp)
Really quite special - and wish I had not already written/wasted a gazillion words on lesser bands before I found it / then felt guilty for not doing it justice. Anyway you can right my many wrongs by listening at MySpace here or buying it, here. ‘Lovers’ Carvings’ is especially beau.
Also out this week!
The Cribs - ‘Cheat On Me’ (Wichita)
The Dø - ‘On My Shoulders’ (Get Down!)
Your Twenties - ‘Billionaires’ (Neon Gold/ Pure Groove)
Kasabian - ‘Where Did The Love Go’ (RCA)
Deastro - ‘Toxic Crusaders’ (Ghostly International)
Wendy is on Twitter, here. Come and say hello.