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Something for everyone this week - from a tune designed for Mother's Day that you should NEVER play to yo Moms, a single in which someone calls for Death By Sex AND a song nearly-but-not-quite about girls called Wendy.
Single of the Week!
Mock and Toof - ‘Farewell To Wendo’ (Tiny Sticks)
Honestly, if Mock & Toof had been remotely arsed, they could have changed that pesky ‘o’ to a ‘y’. So darn them both for being so near and yet so far, allatonce. I mean, ‘Farewell To Wendo’ could have been a musical paeon to girls like I, explaining in musical form just how very dread it is when you have to say ta-ta to one. You see, it was not so very long ago that I kept a copy of the Beach Boys’ ‘Wendy’ blu-tacked to my wall - only taking it down to play to prospective boyfriends as a sort of warning in pop form. That song is about what happens when a Wendy ‘leaves you alone’, and it is a sad, dejected little thing that could not sound more heartbreaky if Mike Love and Brian Wilson were singing it. But of course, it * is * them - making it a useful seven to have in your dating arsenal; I liked to raise my eyebrows as if to say ‘See? For this is how rubbish life will be if I am not in it’. And I would stifle a smile as I turned away to tremble the needle onto the plastic - and of course, in so doing, completely failed to see them tripping over their shoelaces for the door; a lucky escape.
All this crippling disappointment dispatched, let me tell you how guest vocalist Pollyester (now there’s a name) uses deliberate and slightly wonky repetition (see ‘clar-i-net, clar-i-net’) and how that in turn reminds me of The Mighty Boosh’s crimping; you could quite easily substitute ‘clarinet’ for ‘Kentish Town’ and the rhythm would be exactly the same. And also how Mock & Toof use what sounds like Japanese folk instruments to create their plinkily propulsive framework, before punctuating it with whooshes and appealing pulses that beam up and down. As it is difficult to avoid mentioning the bit where Pollyester asks you to ‘murder me with orgasms’ I shan't – even though it sounds a) quite a good way to go, even if b) it is a bit silly. All in all, a lovely curio of a single. Listen here
Louis Barabbas & The Bedlam Six – ‘Mother’ (Debt Records)
It seems to me that people with a bee in their bonnet about how you listen to music are falling foul to the worst kind of sticklerism, especially when all that matters is that one enjoys it. And so do excuse me as I shove aside hard the idea that I am not listening to Wild Beasts/Sun 0)))/Baby D properly - do please let me find them amusing - because otherwise I don’t think I should listen to them at all. And so it is with Louis and his Bedlam Six - who may very well be having us on, and I dearly hope they are, and having now watched the epic muggery of the video I am surer than ever - as he writes a song specially for Mother’s Day that could not be more theatric and inappropriate if it tried. Theatric in a Tom Waits sort of way, of course; all drunken, music hall nasty, with lyrics pickled in gin and salty as gherkins. With a brass section that is exactly the same as that used to signal the dropping of a harlot’s drawers. And inappropriate in that they are singing about how hateful their mothers are, all 'Why did you raise me this way?' ingratitude. And so, though I am usually automatically against anything that does Mums down, I find this single very larksome. Even if I suspect that they would get on much better with they Moms if they done what I did and donned a Cath Kidson pinny, for to make her breakfast in bed.
Jeff The Brotherhood – ‘U Got The Look’ / ‘The Tropics’ (Double-A, on Too Pure)
Even a covers-allergic such as I could not fail to become a little excited when I saw this, mostly because I thought it might be an interpretation of the Roxette chart topper about a lady who ‘tastes like a rain drop’ and whose ‘loving is a wild dog’ (both entirely curious descriptions, I find). This not being the case, I turned my attention to ‘The Tropics’ which turned out to be a delightfully heavily-riffed, rather-less-fey-but-still-quite-Bandwagonesque sort of thing, as well as one that abandons tedious concepts like ‘lyrics’ halfway through. And then it becomes a massive, 'Pet Rock'-redolent instrumental, before – lawks! - fading out. What with Fading Out being such a curiosity these days - even lazy X-Factor medleys bother to punch the last few syllables into the air - I almost admired Jeff The Brotherhood’s sheer laziness. And in any event, ‘The Tropics’ really is quite good - even if you did not kiss your Gerard Love poster every night before dreaming he was your beau, like what I did.
Breakbot feat. IRFANE - ‘Baby I’m Yours: La Funk Mob remix’ (Ed Banger)
Invoking Shalimar this early in the week seems most dreadfully unfair, especially as it is a whole five days before the weekend, when funk officially happens. And even though Breakbot appear to think an illustration of a bearded man in a PE kit is a sensible image to market their single (his shorts are too high, it is creeping me out and giving me the shivers in my triangle) they have made one of the only records this week that had me abandoning my domestic duties in order to dance. Unlucky for them, it was the La Funk Mob re-rub that most impressed, and everything was alright until I caught sight of myself doing Wine Bar Moves in the kitchen window. And even though the side-clap / turn-round-while-dipping-slightly / side-clap (rather like from 0:09 to 0:11 here) is one of my favourite things to do when nobody's watching - and even though I do adore how disco dancing is unabashedly literal; every beat a full stop to be noticed and ticked off, as if you were some sort of dancefloor invigilator - even taking all that into account, still when I saw myself lumping about from fitted cabinet to concealed dishwasher, I could not help but do a sick-in-mouth, realising I no longer have it (if I ever did). And yet, even though this is a single that has made me painfully aware of how un-rad I am, still I loved it.
Chris T-T - ‘Nintendo’ (Xtra Mile)
For the second time in as many weeks, I listened to this week’s singles blind, mostly because I couldn’t be naffed to type in all the song names because it is well boring and I have Better Things To Do. So ‘Nintendo’ started and the wobbly piano was all charm, but sadly, as soon as the vocals came in it was all a bit BANG! And the charm is GONE. Partly because of a lyric about ‘Kerouac smiles’ ** (no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. NO.) And partly because one cannot escape the feeling that this is a song designed with the express intention of making you cry. As regular readers will know, I have no problem with crying at songs, it is a thing of rare magic and strange joy. But when you can feel a song pressing your buttons it is a bit like having someone stand that little too close behind you; as if the hairs on your neck were being breezed about by a stranger’s breath, their chin perilously close to your shoulder - and when you turn around they have vanished. And so despite a very accomplished arrangement, the main thing I feel compelled to point out in connection with this single is that the word Chris wants is ‘through’, not ‘frew’.
She & Him - ‘In The Sun’ (Double Six)
In the same way that Chris T-T would like you to cry about not being able to afford a Nintendo Wii, She & Him would like to make you happy. They want you to skip into a paradise world where your girlfriend really is Zoe Deschanel and she really is that happy and she really does sing that perkily, precisely because she is going out with you. And as I take off the dread Hat of Cynicism - so very itchy readers, I do not think the brim would suit you – I realise that I too, want to go out with Zooey, or ‘Him’ and have a locker in a high school. Even if I would probably fill it with pictures of Barbie with her eyes scratched out and some Smash Hits stickers with Curiosity Killed The Cat on them. As you might expect, ‘In The Sun’ is perkier than fresh mint and zingier than lime juice - but as The Proper Jurnlist inside one asks me to enquire; Is it enough? (Yes.)
Four Tet - ‘Sing’ (Domino)
Only the very worst sort of contrarian – you know, as in, the sort of cove with no logic on their person - could decide that they did not want to listen to a record because everyone on the internets was banging on about how good it was. Which is why I listened to ‘Sing’ and loved it along with everyone else four weeks ago. And absolutely not just this past weekend, having got over myself enough to realise what a majestic, artful and confident thing it is.
Lil Jon feat. Tinchy Stryder – ‘Give It All You Got’ (Universal)
Never let it be said that Lil Jon is not a generous cove. For he has seen fit to include every single chart-bothering musical gimmick he possibly can on ‘Give It All You Got’ - including a bit where a pocket person from the yoo-kay extends his ‘flow’ sufficiently far to name-check Prada (that is, not nearly far enough). Let’s not forget this man is THIRTY NINE - and, as my Mum might say, a bit daft. Rather like whoever had enough time on their hands to do this.
Dub Pistols feat. Rodney P - ‘Ganja’ (Sunday Best)
It being a scientifically proven fact that it is impossible to write a song about the hippie death drug that is actually listenable, still here are Dub Pistols loafing along in a mild fug to give it a try. Being authentic sorts, they call it ‘sensimilla’ and though this doesn’t help in the slightest, the 2 Bit Thugs remix is sort of alright - but only if you took the vocals off, and mainly because the name ‘2 Bit Thugs’ conjures up some heavily pixellated hoodlums who would presumably not be frightening; would, in fact, be all blurry and squared. Unless you squinted like you can when they put wronguns on the telly, in order to reveal how mean they really look.
Also out this Week!
Luther Russell - ‘Motorbike’ EP (Sonic Cathedral)
There is something slight and rather lovely about song two on this EP of oh-no-she’s-not-going-to-use-that-word-is-she?-lawks-yes-she-is 'Americana'. It is called ‘Dead Sun Blues’ and it is has no words, it is all pluck - just the nice, sunny, warm kind I like.
Family Force - ‘Fever’ from ‘Dance or Die’ mini album (AWAL)
Good Lord. For this is EVEN SILLIER than Lil Jon. And it rather needs to be heard just so you're aware that somewhere in the world, people really are, quite literally, making music this unremittingly devoid of sense. Hear it here
SBTRKT - ‘Soundboy Shift’ (Young Turks)
Band of Skulls - ‘I Know What I Am’ (You Are Here Records)
Jamie T – ‘Emily’s Heart’ (Virgin)
The Suzukis - ‘Built In’ (Deltasonic)
** Apropos of censorship, may we hereby also outlaw the mentioning of Proust’s madeleines. One, because I cannot be convinced that his ‘vicissitudes of life’ were even that interesting in the first bloody place; two, because they become (is it possible - yes, yes it is) even more irritating when people will insist on wanging them into a feature; and three, because he did not even make them, he got SOMEONE ELSE to order them FROM A SHOP. Lazy.
Wendy is on Twitter here