Single of the Week
Florrie - ‘Summer Nights’ from ‘Introduction’ EP (Free here)
This is the shiniest bit of cheeky pop music I have heard since Annie wrote about Geri Halliwell on ‘Me Plus One’. But it is not as good as the backstory to ‘Me Plus One’ because that is AMAZING, seriously do read it, it's unbeatable. ‘Summer Nights’ however, is simpler than that, it is just about having fun. Which is what pop music is meant to be about I think; that and pashing. Anyhoo, for a bauble like this to be free - and bearing in mind it has the sort of jolly frisk about it that Rachel Stevens' singles had - almost makes me sad, despairing. But then I remember how Florrie was the drummer in Xenomania’s house band, and how this is written by them, and how there is doubtless A Grand Plan I don't understand, and then I feel better. Anyway, though I’m sure you don’t wish to picture me doing literal dance routines to ‘Summer Nights’ in my living room to stave off tiredness; that’s what I done and shall continue to do, until its gleaming wonderment starts to wear off and/or I can deliver the assignment that is currently driving me quietly mad – whichever is the sooner. This is uncomplicated pop music designed specifically for larks and sung by a girl with a wink in her gob. Who is asking you to mess about with her in a car park. Also, will you just look at that for a hair-do.
Tesfa Williams is from West London, and ‘Getting Mine’ is out on Buraka’s Enchufada label. And it is hugely appealing, break-filled techno to me, deep house according to the press release and with any luck, just pure ackfing brilliant to you. Usually things with cut sirens, shhh’d snares and chopped reverb endlessly looped upon themselves would drive you a bit mental, but this is almost Saturday night sugary at some points, and the more I listen, the more it appeals. Also, full marks for calling the b-side drumstrumental. I’d have preferred drumstramentile, but you can’t have everything, can you? No.
Yusuf Azak - ‘Eastern Sun’ (Song, By Toad)
Yusuf Azak has produced his record as if it were under a fire cup, like those used when Michelle Pfeiffer goes mad with The Sex in Dangerous Liaisons and has to have it bled out of her. You know the bit, it is just after John Malkovich has been a terrible, alluring sod and done that ‘It’s beyond my control’ speech that the ladies in the audience have a hard time reconciling. So it is a single with steam in it, a single perhaps sung out of the window on a cold, wintry Scottish day so that each syllable gets its own little dragon-like exhortation. It’s airy. It’s also supremely affecting, in a way not very much strum can be. I mean, there is so much comfortable, cosy acousticking about these days I sometimes feel like lining my letterbox with barbed wire and dayglo smileys, just to deter it. But I wouldn’t want to do that to Yusuf, because ‘Eastern Sun’ has strings that bask, I nearly made it Single of the Week, and in any event, I wouldn't want to hurt his hands.
The Phoenix Foundation - ‘Pot’ (Memphis Industries)
The Phoenix Foundation have written a song called Pot and Dog knows, I hope it is isn’t about hippie death drug but it probably is, you know what musicians are like. As you might expect, it is a swirly sort of a seven, with neato muffled thigh-slaps and campfire vocals that should be awful but somehow aren’t at all; ‘Pot’ busks along and you are quite happy to give it fifty pence, even if it will spend it on drugs. I should be bored of this seemingly unstoppable tide of mildly psychedelic and deeply Autumnal rock, but apparently not - even if it is the sort of record that would always be too tired and pink-eyed to shag you; rolling over and muttering 'Tomorrow, yeah?' OH DEAR CHRIST.
Laura Marling - ‘Blues Run The Game’ / ‘The Needle & The Damage Done’ (Limited 7” on Third Man Records)
Lovely Laura releases a limited seven of two covers, both of which are uncommonly pleasant. But I take issue with her version of ‘Blues Run The Game’ – delightful though it undoubtedly is – because my preferred, and I think unbeatable version, is by Alela Diane, here. Also, guess what ‘The Needle & The Damage Done’ is about? It is more DRUGS DRUGS BLOODY DRUGS. Have a glass of water Laura, you’re probably just dehydrated. Oh, how I do wish everyone would stop romanticising addiction, least of all young people who I dearly want to have happy lives so they can carry on making astonishing records. And yes, I am aware of how Mummish that sounds.
Allo Darlin’ ‘My Heart Is A Drummer’ (FortunaPOP!)
If my heart was a drummer I would like it to be Lars Ulrich; stubborn, irascible, completely unaware of how deeply annoying it was and wearing skin-tight jeans with white trainers and no top. Allo Darlin’ however, have written a very charming pop song which skips over such lyrical ground as Graceland, music that makes you happy and (I think) how just because you have a smile on your face, or giggle a lot, doesn’t mean you’re not actually built of sterner stuff - not being able to see your spine doesn’t mean it's not there. Essentially it's the musical equivalent of being in a right old grump, bashing your way onto a packed train and then sitting next to a Child Of The Rainbows who proceeds to spend the entire journey NOTICING EVERY SINGLE UCKFING THING OUT LOUD. ‘Oh look, Mummy, a car! A train! Are we on a train? The train is moving! A lorry! A man!’. And for a minute you are all OH, CRIPES and wanting to say ‘Oh look, a fist!’. And then the kid beams at you, and you realise that the sorry uckfer is YOU. People are awful, this is cheering.
Mirrors - ‘Hide & Seek’ (Skint)
I think the point about Mirrors is that they seem at first glance like they might be one thing – ah, yes, electro-pop. And you have seen it all before. But I think there is a calmness and class about their operation, I happen to think they are a cut above. Which is why I told Roger at the Board Meeting to ask his damn secretary to action their career and he did as he was ruddy well told.
If This Kids - ‘Tell Me What You Want’ (Part Time Punks)
‘Tell Me What You Want’ is mesmerically terrible. It is sort of worth listening to just because the howling lyrics and absurd posturing could be parody, and perhaps it would be kind of amazing if it was used in a film in which Our Hero enters a club and a Film Band are playing; they are never like real bands, they never get it quite right. This also has a weird Kasbah breakdown in it. I find myself baffled, pure baffled, by the whole thing.
Les Shelleys - ‘The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise’ (FatCat)
I would like to bake Tom Brosseau & Angela Correa a PIE. Because this is another entirely wonderful and timeless song which - just as when my sister did an absolutely perfect ballet routine one year in the olden days of the nineties, and the examiner was drawn to exclaim ‘You have made something very difficult, look very easy’, Tom and Angela have made something extraordinarily simple sound beautifully extraorder, even though this is actually dead hard to pull off. A breezy, classy - and absolutely not to be misunderestimacised - single.
The Soundcarriers - ‘Last Broadcast’ (Melodic, listen here)
The Soundcarriers are happy to fess up, they have done a musical homage to Broadcast and signposted it in the title and even put it in the PR so you aren’t allowed to go OH GOD THIS SOUNDS JUST LIKE BROAD-CAST, WHAT IS POINT EH WHAT IS POINT. The thing is, this reminds me very strongly of an alcoholic I once knew, and he was the sort who would go out drinking before you arranged to meet him, a few on his way round to your house, and if you arranged to meet in the pub at 8 he’d have almost certainly been there since 6. And one of his – monumentally depressing - tactics was to whop the whole alcoholic issue out on the table before you could call him on it. ‘Yeah, I’m drinking, I’m drinking too much, I’m sorry’ – so that none of your careful plans, none of the concerned chats with other friends ever came to anything, he stole the thunder of all our worry, and almost normalised the tragic way his body was being dominated by pure, filthy need. What I mean by all this, is that just because you declare something first, doesn’t mean people can’t bring it up. And I would like to call out Soundcarriers and get right up in they faces, but I happen to like their - actually quite Stereolabby - single. I’m not daft though, it’s no ‘Tears In The Typing Pool’.
Becoming Real feat. Trim - ‘Like Me’ from ‘Spectre’ EP (Not Even / Moshi Moshi)
Trim manages to namecheck Dot Cotton, Smeagal and hay fever within the first thirty seconds of this song and he sounds like he is well annoyed about something or other, now is not the time to be asking to borrow his lawnmower, maybe give it a week. I believe I am right in saying he is an excellent rapper though, so well done Trim, top marks, good for you. Of course, I am absolutely convinced that the approbation of a thirty-something, middle-class white girl is exactly what he was after when he started in the ‘rap’ ‘game’. And now he has it, so today will definitely be like Christmas or something.
Blitzen Trapper feat. Alela Diane - ‘The Tree’ (Sub Pop)
When I was still pretending to be interested in interviewing musicians and asking them what they thought of things even though I did not care and they did not want to talk to me, Alela Diane was one of the nicest, as charming as her voice. I also happen to have the small crush on Blitzen Trapper’s beautifully warm Americana. So there were definitely squeals when this fell out the jiffy, and justified squeals as it happen; even if there is a lyrical reference to a ‘beard made of bees’. Sadly, though this single is quite, quite marve, said reference took my brain clean off in another direction. To the bit of my head that contains my favourite ever Viz cartoon. All you need to know is that it is called ‘Billy Bees Beard’ and that it is three panels long. And in the last one, where Billy does not look at all happy, he is just saying ‘Trust me to go out with Marjory Wasp Fanny!’. The twelve year old boy in me will always find that funny, oho, yes it will.
Museum Of Bellas Artes - ‘Watch The Glow’ from ‘Days Ahead’ EP (Force Majeure)
Perhaps it was a copyright thing, but it seems strange that Museum of Bellas Artes have put that stray little ‘of’ in there, when an insignifick ‘de’ would have been just fine, maybe better. That small quibble aside, ‘Watch The Glow’ is a wonderfully propulsive and chiming bit of building pop music that manages to sound wibbly enough to satisfy the sort of people who want John Cage to go to number one, and accessible enough for the rest of us; who would far less look up what was at the top of charts on Jesus’ Birthday than we would eat a flipping McDonald’s for his birthday tea. CALM DOWN, EVERYONE.
Wildlife feat. Major Mackerel - ‘Galang So: Douster Remixx’ from ‘Buck Up’ EP
Absurd, wrong-speed, helium dancehall. In a toyshop. Whose capacity to put a smile on my weary face cannot be denied. I mean, will you just look at that name for daft! Major Mackerel, Sir, you have made the most entertaining single this week by habsolutely miles.
Seapony - ‘Dreaming’ (Double Denim)
Strangely out of time and with an aptly dreamy sort of jangle, Seapony’s single could have come from my cider-drenched youth, or yours, or your Mum’s, or your Mum’s Mums. And do you know, I think that is alright, it’s fine, I can’t be bothered to have a row about it.
The Hundred In The Hands - ‘Commotion’ (Warp)
Extremely pleasant and very glassy angular disco.
Cowbell - ‘Never Satisfied’ (Too Pure)
‘Never Satisfied’ is fuzzy and bluesy and stripped like the White Stripes are fuzzy bluesy and stripped, but these Cowbells are also doing very warm Ticket To Ridey harmonies all over it. Like most things this week it is not exactly tearing down the genre barricades like an angry stewdent, but that didn’t stop Jack White so why should it stop this lot. Also, I just compared a single to The flipping Beatles, so I'm hardly blowing apart the creative universe myself.
Also out this Week!
Aberfeldy - ‘Somewhere To Jump From’
Aberfeldy have a song on their new album called Wendy. Because I am insufferable and self-obsessed, I downloaded it. It is really good, because they DEFINITELY wrote it for me.
The British Public - ‘Bears/Breasts’ (Tip Top Records)
Bears, Breasts. DO YOU SEE. HAHHAHAHAHAHA.
Botany - 'Feeling Today' EP (Western Vinyl)
Savings & Loan - ‘Pale Water’ (Song, By Toad)
Florence & The Machine - ‘Heavy In Your Arms’ (Island)
SBTRKT - ‘Step In Shadows’ EP (Young Turks)
Digitalism - ‘Blitz’ (Kitsuné)
Spokes - ‘We Can Make It Out’ (Counter Records)
The Whigs - ‘Hundred Million’ (Kartel)
David E Sugar - ‘Flea Market’ (Sunday Best)
Richard Walters – ‘Where We Stand’ (Kartel)
Hannah Peel - 'You Call This Your Home’ (Static Caravan)
The Bug - ‘Infected’ EP (Ninja Tune)
Joe Worricker - ‘Finger-Waggers’ (Rough Trade)
If The Kids - ‘Tell Me What You Want’ (Part Time Punk Records)
The Guilty Hands - ‘Razor’ (Faculty Digital)
Tokyo Police Club - ‘Favourite Colour’ (Memphis Industries)
The Targets - ‘Wake Up’ (Project Records)
KOF feat. Esco Williams - ‘All Good’ (One Hundred Global)
I, Ludicrous - ‘Clerking ‘Til I Die’ (Brettpack Music)
Crocodiles - ‘Hearts of Love’ (Fat Possum Records)
Lotus Mason ‘Dream Surreal’ (Glowb Records)
Rubicks - ‘Worship’ (Sharp Attack Records)
Middle Class Rut - ‘New Low’ (ADA Global)
Sensorites - ‘Just Because You Can’ (Hollowhole Records)
The Sailplanes - ‘Mild Peril’ EP (Redheaded Stepchild Records)
An Axe - ‘Destructo!’ (Self-release, available on iTunes)
Wendy is on Tumblr, here. Twitter just makes her head spin at the moment, all that chatting is like the cafeteria as her not-so-beloved St. Stabs. And the prabblem is, you just don’t know where to sit. :(