Friday, July 15, 2005

Fish does the singles (19/07/05)

Hellohah again. Hannah's had her pick of the singles, and as promised I am totally here to bang on about the Editors, and a few other bands while I'm at it. Party!

Ah, El Capitan by Idlewild is lovely. Hannah's anecdotes are better than mine, but still. This is a perfect example of one of the two styles of songs Idlewild are famed for - this one being one of the slowish and tuneful poppy numbers with gorgeous (and overtly Scottish) vocals, a purposeful beat and a lovely chorus that makes you feel gooood. The other kind is obviously the shouty-screamy-riff-heavy affairs which make you feel hyper and wowed, usually; alas this is not one of those. The new album seems to indicate that they're leaving the latter style behind somewhat, and while El Capitan isn't really a patch on the earlier singles from Warnings/Promises in my opinion, it's still a lovely little ditty. What a word. 4/5

Another good one this week is L'Via L'Viaquez from the impossibly good Mars Volta who never seem to churn out a bad song. Another typically eclectic mix of genres, vocal stylings and words from the former At The Drive-In frontmen, not quite living up to The Widow from Frances The Mute or the blinding Inertiatic Esp from Deloused In The Comatorium, but definitely a good 'un all the same. 3/5

I'm extremely disappointed in Queens Of The Stone Age's latest offering, In My Head. It's so... bland. And generic. QOTSA aren't meant to be bland and generic. They're meant to be weird and heavy with spiffing riffs. This trippy little bit of tat has none of the essential Queens aspects, rendering it... rubbish. I haven't heard the b-side Everybody Knows That You Are Insane, but with such a naff title I'm guessing it's not going to be much better. Little Sister, the leading (and infinitely superior) single from Lullabies To Paralyze was in fact a Songs For The Deaf outake - perhaps explaining why it stands alone on the new album as the only decent song. 1/5

Single Of The Week from me goes to the incredible Editors without a second thought. Blood is the third single from their forthcoming album The Back Room, and has all those Joy Divison x Interpol + Bloc Party guitar fiddlery + strong basslines + intelligent lyrics x SOMETHING COMPLETELY ORIGINAL stylings you come to expect from the Editors' rather unique sound. The video is also pretty eye-catching, which seems a rarity at the moment amongst all these 'dramatic live performances interspersed with pretty-girl action!!!' excuses that are going around. Great band (who I hear are from Staffordshire - gotta support da home crew) who are, or at least should be, destined for big things. One of very few bands around that can truly say they do something different, while still drawing influences. Addictive and most highly recommended listening. 5/5

Fish will totally try to remember to do some Bloggering while Hannah is away.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Hannah's Single of the Week (11/07/05)

It seems like we really are into summer, and not just in terms of the boiling-you-alive weather we’ve been having. Ugh. The summer release listings are here, packed with dance ‘anthems’ and plenty of generic indie. It takes a lot of effort to pick out the gems. The midweeks suggest, in fact, that there’s only going to be one new entry in the top 10 this week, suggesting that there’s hardly anything new and exciting in the pop market, either. So, what is worth a listen this week, and what isn’t even worth your holiday money?

Fish particularly likes ‘Blood’ by Editors, so you can probably expect her to be posting something about that a little later. My pick of the indie crowd is probably The Paddingtons, but only because their effort is the only one I have found remotely memorable. While the weather’s scorching, this week, the indie scene seems to be really...lukewarm. However, the lack of major releases may mean these acts will chart within the top 30 – in some cases significantly higher than normal.

My single of the week, although slightly reluctantly, is Idlewild’s latest release ‘El Capitan’. I’ve been quite fond of everything they’ve released from ‘Warnings/Promises’, their latest album, and this is no exception. It’s not as immediate as the other two singles – ‘Love Steals Us From Loneliness’ and ‘I Understand It’, but it still contains a catchy, uplifting chorus. However, it’s the boredom of the lacklustre verses in between that let the song down, somewhat. Fortunately they don’t completely spoil the song. The dominance of the piano in the track is a nice touch, as well as the build up towards the end. It’s worth a listen, definitely, although I would recommend buying the album over buying the single. Then again, the acoustic version on offer as a B-Side is quite enticing.

Since I’ll be stranded away from a computer for a short while, starting soon, hopefully somebody else on the team will be sufficiently bored enough to blog in my place or you'll be without updates for a bit. :(

All Releases (those I've heard in bold)
3rd Dan - Guess I Wanted More, Ayreon - Come Back To Me, Black Mountain – Druganaut, The Cazals - Poor Innocent Boys, Chemical Brothers - The Boxer, Clor – Outlines, Cut Copy – Future, Deep Dish - Say Hello, Deux - Sun Rising Up, Editors – Blood, Elton John – Electricity, Farrah - Tongue Tied, The Features - The Way It’s Meant To Be, Field Music - You Can Decide, Four Tet - Sun Drums And Soil (Remix), The Ga Gas - Crash And Burn, Granddaddy - Rugged and Splintered Entertainment Centre [7" only], Honeymoon Machine - I’ll Be Your Dog, Idlewild - El Capitan, Inaya Day - Nasty Girl, Jupiter Ace Ft Shena - 1000 Years (Just Leave Me Now), The Kooks - Eddie’s Gun, Lemon Jelly - Make Things Right, Leya - All On The Black, Loverush UK Ft Marc Almond - Perfect Honey (Temptation), The Mars Volta - L’Via L’Viaquez, MIA - Bucky Done Gun, Nicki French - Calling Out My Name, Omarion – O, The Paddingtons - 50 To A Pound, Queens Of The Stone Age - In My Head/Everybody Knows That You Are Insane, The Raveonettes - Love Is A Trashcan, REM – Wanderlust, Rooster - Deep And Meaningless, Skinnyman Ft DJ Flip - Forever Rangers/Not Bonnie & Clyde [7" only], Tah Mac Ft Royston - Make Ya Body Shake, Thievery Corporation - Revolution Solution [12" only], Tsar - Band Girls Money [7" only]

What’s your single of the week?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Chartwatch (10/07/05)

Practically all the performers at Live8 have benefited somewhat in terms of sales in this week’s charts. There are re-entries in the albums chart from The Who, Pink Floyd and Robbie Williams. Such artists as Keane, The Killers and Razorlight have also had album sales surges, climbing the charts as if nothing could stop them, despite having some of the biggest selling records of the last 12 months. James Blunt has finally toppled Coldplay from the top of the album chart, having the bestseller this week with ‘Back To Bedlam’.

The interesting new entries in the album chart come from newcomers Hard Fi (6), Royksopp (13) and The Offspring (14) who have released a Greatest Hits collection. If anybody has seen the advert for this thing they will realise it is being sold on the success of three songs from a considerable time ago, and annoying ones at that. Hmm. R Kelly, The Subways and Missy Elliott have slightly disappointing new entries – overshadowed by the Live8 effect, perhaps?

UK Top 75 Albums

The state of the singles chart after Live8 is also somewhat shaken up. Mariah Carey (thankfully!) has missed out on number one, Tony Christie’s ‘Amarillo’ has risen several places (after Peter Kay’s rousing a cappella performance) and the recent singles from Coldplay, Kaiser Chiefs and Razorlight, amongst others, have also experienced a rise. The biggest shock for me, however, comes from Keane, whose major label debut from over a year ago re-enters the top 75. How I love the shake-up of adding downloads to the official chart.

My single of the week from Beck was new at 45 and Brendan Benson was nowhere to be seen. The world is an unfair place. ;)

UK Top 75 Singles

Friday, July 08, 2005

Hannah's Single of the Week (08/07/05)

Just a quick post this week, since I’ve not been feeling at my best and therefore not been one bit motivated to try to blog. There’s also little music providing anything remotely like excitement for me, this week, just as last week. However, saying that, I was particularly impressed with Charlotte Church’s ‘Crazy Chick’, being won over by its brass section and distinct lack of obvious chorus. I’m also impressed with the Oasis single that will be out soon (although this is probably down to the presence of the marvellous Rhys Ifans in the video) and I’m also looking forward to some new material from Supergrass. Anyway, I’d better concentrate on the present – what’s out this week?

‘Cold Hands Warm Heart’ is the latest effort from Brendan Benson and is another selection from his impressive current album, ‘The Alternative To Love’. It’s not as instant as ‘Spit It Out’, but it’s still a good single. It’s a shame Brendan is unlikely to ever make an impact on the UK singles market, because in a fair world, he would be a star.

Kelly Clarkson has put out a good pop-rock effort this week with 'Since U Been Gone'. It’s not quite my thing, but for its type, it’s pretty darn impressive and I still can’t resist singing along. Mind you, I can't help wanting to not only correct the grammar in the song title, but rid it of textspeakisms - okay, so it's not even a word, but still.

It’s in competition for the top spot, so please AVOID the latest release from Mariah Carey. I really can’t stand it. Sure, I will admit the woman can sing, sometimes, but the music that goes behind the voice? I’m not convinced.

My single of the week award this week just has to go to Beck’s quirky but brilliant ‘Girl’. It’s delightfully summery, has a video that still has me captivated after many watches and I just adore the guitar work. It’s refreshingly different from most of what’s in the charts, without being too odd that it's inaccessable. I love it.

All Releases:
3 Doors Down - Let Me Go, Apartment - Patience Is Proving, Beck – Girl, Boy Least Likely To - Hugging My Grudge [7" only], Break makers - Conscience EP, Brendan Benson - Cold Hands, Warm Heart, British Beef - Without Me, Brooke Valentine – Girlfight, The Cazals - Poor Innocent Boys, The Chalets - Feel The Machine, Cookie - Do It Again, Crazy Girl - Miss USA [7" only], Daft Punk – Technologic, Drinkme - Manifesto [7" only], Fat Joe - Get It Poppin’Hey Negrita - Devil In My Shoes, Joseph Arthur - Can’t Exist, Joss Stone - Don’t Cha Wanna Ride?, Kanye West – Diamonds, Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone, Laura Turner - Soul Deep, Mariah Carey - We Belong Together, The Mystery Jets - On My Feet, Part Chimp - War Machine, Rachel Stevens - So Good, Silent League - Goliath [7" only], Simian Mobile Disco - Pulse [7" only], Soho Dolls – Stripper, Songs For The Young At Heart - Puff The Magic Dragon [7" only], Steven Sproat - You Turned The Light On, Tiefschwarz - Wait And See, Tracey Cole - Speed Of Sound, The Undercut - To Die For, Youth group - Shadowland