Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hannah's Single of the Week (29/08/05)

A new school year looms, as does my 17th birthday, and while the latter means there's going to be lots of new music for me to enjoy, the former means I'm going to have to (yet again!) change the format of my blog posts. This means I won't get to write as much as I would like, but hopefully I'll still get the message across. I'm testing the new format this week, which probably wasn't the best idea ever, considering there are some pretty good releases available. Fish is also back from her extremely long, boring and tortuous holiday, so hopefully she might be doing a few posts come the start of September.

WL Ratings:
5 = Can't Be Beaten // 4=Great Stuff // 3=Good // 2=Pretty Average // 1=Dissapointing // 0=Dreadful

Single of the Week:
KT Tunstall - 'Suddenly I See'
KT Tunstall - Suddenly I SeeAfter a technical failure at the V Festival, it was up to the crowd to finish KT's previous well-received single 'Other Side of the World'. They carried it off with aplomb. KT Tunstall was arguably one of the most engaging performers I saw on the TV over the course of that weekend, and has released some spectacular singles already. This is another one of them. It's a catchy little thing and contrasts nicely with the gentler paced ballad that preceded it. In comparison, this is a stomping energetic number with more of an edge, and two vocal lines, illustrated cleverly by the video. Twice the amount of Tunstall. What a great concept.

Other recommended tunes:
The Dandy Warhols - 'Smoke It' - mad, crazy rock-out fun, with added doggies - 3.5/5
Elbow - 'Forget Myself' - worms its way into your brain and superglues itself to the inside of your skull. Top stuff, with one of the best videos of the year. - 4/5
Gorillaz - 'Dare' - Damon Albarn's side-project set out to conquer the world with this electropop stormer - 4/5
Gwen Stefani - 'Cool' - the eclectic indie-pop princess brings out the ballad, of sorts, and simultaneously experiments with being a brunette - 3.5/5

Avoid at ALL costs:
Jessica Simpson - 'These Boots Were Made For Walkin'' - Ashlee's sister makes a mockery of yet another song. Shameful. For more details of WL's issues with the Simpson sisters, feel free to browse the 2004 archives. 0/5

More Releases: (ones I've heard in bold)
Big Ang Ft Siobhan - It’s Over Now, The Bravery - Unconditional, The Dandy Warhols - Smoke It, Daniel - If You Leave Me Now, David Gray - The One I Love, David Grubbs Ft The Wingdale Community Singers - Give It A Kiss/My Les Paul [7” only], Elbow - Forget Myself, Faithless - Insomnia 2005, Funeral For A Friend - Monsters, Gorillaz - Dare, Grand National - Playing In The Distance [7” only], Gwen Stefani - Cool, Hawkwind - Spirit Of The Age, Jessica Simpson - These Boots Are Made For Walkin’, JJ72 - Coming Home, KT Tunstall - Suddenly I See, Les Rythmes Digitales - Jacques Your Body (Make Me Sweat), Linchpin - Linchpin EP, My Chemical Romance - The Ghost Of You, Nextmen - Blood & Fire [12” only], The Ordinary Boys - Life Will Be The Death Of Me, Paul McCartney - Fine Line, Pras Michel - Haven’t Found, R Kelly Ft The Game - Playa’s Only, Speedy Ft Lumidee - Sientelo, Stunt - Raindrops, System Of A Down - Question, T Raumschmiere - Blitzkreig Pop, Tara Blaise - Three Degrees, Twisted Charm - London Scene, UB40 Ft Hunterz and The Dhol Blasters - Reasons, Viva Voce - Alive With Pleasure [7” only], Wahoo - Make Em Shake It, Yeti - Keep Pushin’ On, Your Vegas - Your Vegas [7” only]

Monday, August 22, 2005

Hannah's Single of the Week (22/08/05)

So here we are. I have been doing this silly little music blog for a whole year, with a total of over 200 posts!

Happy 1st Birthday Whatever’s Left!

While it’s a year since WL first took up residence on the world wide web, it’s a whole decade since that epic Britpop battle that saw Blur beat Oasis to the top spot with ‘Country House’. I’m not going to lie here - I don’t even remember the chart battle –I just remember a friend excitedly dragging me into her brother’s bedroom, and playing the aforementioned single at top volume. I developed a headache wondering when it was all going to end and what, indeed, was ‘Blur’.

Thankfully, all that mystery and torment is no more (being a Blur and all-round music fan) and as ever, I bring you a review of a selection of this week’s single releases including one from Blur’s rivals – Oasis.

As for what to avoid this week, there is another release from the Crazy Frog (why?!?) and the debut solo single from Simon Webbe. Simon, for those not in the know, is from the boyband Blue, who are currently on a break in order to develop their solo careers. Whilst this is great because, for the moment, Blue are no longer, the inevitable downside is that we get four singles instead of one. Fantastic.

Special Mentions:

The Coral
‘Something Inside Of Me’
Something Inside Of MeWhilst watching various music channels (as I have most of this holiday) I have started to realise nothing the Coral release will ever live up to the hyperactive brilliance of ‘Dreaming of You’. As with the lead single from their current album, it’s good, but nothing to get tremendously excited over. It just doesn’t seem to have that vital spark to it. It’s likeable from the first listen, with it’s punchy rhythm guitar and fabulous main riff, but as yet there’s nothing about it that makes it really stand out from the crowd, apart from that fantastic green cover, that is.

Kaiser Chiefs‘I Predict A Riot’/'Sink That Ship’
I Predict A RiotIf you’ve been reading WL for most of the last year, you will remember how excited I got by this single’s original release and was disappointed about how I hadn’t managed to hear it sooner. This 2005 re-release comes complete with a bizarre silent movie style video and an extra track masquerading as a double a side as an incentive for fans who haven’t yet downloaded the lead track. After all, ‘I Predict A Riot’ has spent the best part of the last month gradually clambering up the lower regions of the top 40, much to your average chartgazer’s amusement. The thing is I haven’t heard this extra track, or seen a video, which makes the whole effort a little half-hearted, really. ‘I Predict A Riot’ is still a great song, and a huge crowd pleaser, as demonstrated during 2005’s festival season, just now it’s EVERYWHERE it seems to have lost a bit of the original indie magic.

Mark Owen‘Believe In The Boogie’
Believe In The BoogieThis, for me, is yet another guilty pleasure from the ex Take-Thatter, but GOD this song is catchy! I’ve always had my doubts over Owen’s actual singing ability, but thankfully it doesn’t distract too much from him being able to create this nice piece of power pop that’s definitely on a par with some of his better solo work. It also screams ‘feelgood’ with its jolly beat, irresistable hook and great harmonies. If my research also serves me well, this song was featured in the film ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ – not too shabby for an indie popster working on his own label after the commercial failure of second album ‘In Your Own Time’. This time I don’t care if it’s tragically uncool – I really do love this song and I’m definitely off to buy it this week.

Oasis‘The Importance Of Being Idle’
The Importance Of Being Idle10 years on from ‘Roll With It’ and they haven’t changed a bit, bless ‘em. The second single from the band's number one album ‘Don’t Believe The Truth’, ‘The Importance of Being Idle’ has an attractive lazy swagger to it and runs rings around ‘Lyla’. This might have a little something to do with the fact Noel, as opposed to Liam, is singing. However, the most important part of the release is the video casting and choreography– Notting Hill’s Rhys Ifans prancing about pretending to be a funeral director is pure genius. Without the video, however, the song loses its spark, especially when MIMED on certain terrestrial TV shows. Not impresssed, boys, not impressed.

Single of the Week:

Robert Post - 'Got None'
Got None - get it now!I first caught a glimpse of the video for this song shortly before I visited France and whilst it took a while to lure me away from the state of ‘pretty colours! rabbit costumes! semi-animated video!’ soon enough I was annoying my entire family by humming the chorus wherever I went. For some reason they thought it was James Blunt. Um, no. This is infinitely better, both lyrically and musically and it has a heck of a lot more bounce. Anyway, young Robert Post is Norwegian and grew up in a small village…without a TV. Poor lad. But he has crafted a stunning piece of indiepop. Q Magazine compared his epic style to that of the Manic Street Preachers. I’m not so sure, but it certainly packs in the acoustic guitar, great basslines, sweeping strings and subtle keyboards that make what is, in my eyes, an incredible song. To top it all off, the video is a visual delight (aside from the one subtle adult reference – brownie points for spotting it!) and can be viewed at Robert’s official site. I urge you to do so immediately.

More Releases (ones I’ve heard in bold)
Amerie – Touch, Bedouin Soundclash - When The Night Feels My Song, Black Eyed Peas - Don’t Lie, The Brian Jonestown Massacre - We Are The Radio EP, The Cloud Room - Blackout [7" only], The Coral - Something Inside Of Me, Crazy Frog – Popcorn, The Cribs – Martell, Foy Vance - Live Sessions EP, Freemasons Ft Amanda Wilson - Love On My Mind, Gang Of Four - To Hell With Poverty [7" only], Girls Aloud - Long Hot Summer, Helen Love - Long Hot Summer, John Legend Ft Kanye West - Number 1, Kaci - I Will Learn To Love Again, Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict A Riot/Sink That Ship, Kevin Mark Trail - Last Night EP [Download Only], Klub Kidz Ft Jason Prince - Incomplete/You’re Beautiful, Kubb – Remain, Mark Owen - Believe In The Boogie, Mint Royale - Singin’ In The Rain, Nightwish - The Siren, Oasis - The Importance Of Being Idle, Petra Jean Philipson - One Day [7" only], Ralfe Band - Fifteen Hundred Years [7" only], Research - C’Mon Chameleon/I Love You, But, Richard Hawley - The Ocean, Rihanna - Pon De Replay, Robert Post - Got None, The Rolling Stones - Streets Of Love/Rough Justice, Simon Webbe - Lay Your Hands, Tyler James - Your Woman, Warlocks - Come Save Us, White Stripes - My Doorbell

Questions for the WL comment crew this week:
Blur or Oasis?
How did you find WL?
And, as ever, what’s your single of the week?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Hannah's Single of the Week (15/08/05)

There’s no single of the week this week, so here are a few reviews from a selection of the bunch, both good and bad.

Athlete – ‘Tourist’
Athlete - TouristThe third single to be taken from their second album of the same title, ‘Tourist’ is nothing compared to the similarly titled Radiohead song. Fair enough, it’s not unlistenable, and is better than previous effort ‘Half Light’ (but not as good as ‘Wires’). The problem is in the eyes of the ‘new’ Athlete - everything’s moody. There’s none of the infectious summery excitement of their debut. This song drags along hopelessly. The singalong, catchy, feelgood flavours of the old Athlete have gone in favour of just another Coldplay imitation, which is a crying shame. It’s just plain boring. 2/5

Babyshambles – ‘Fuck Forever’
Babyshambles - Fuck ForeverMy general dislike of Pete ‘Pointless’ Doherty prevents me from giving this single a fair hearing. After hearing about his latest escapades in Scandinavia I find it impossible to see how a staggering, puking frontman can be anyone’s idol. Anyway, the bottom line is that most swearing in songs isn’t big or clever, especially when it comes from someone who looks like he hasn’t been sober in a long time. The fans will love it – there’s just a good chance that anybody else won’t be remotely bothered. 2/5

British Whale – ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us’
British Whale - This Town Ain't...This peculiar act is nothing more than Justin Hawkins, frontman of the Darkness in a not-particularly-good disguise. His face is on the (spectacularly bad) cover, after all, and his voice is pretty distinctive. Admittedly, as a result of this, Justin’s general arrogance, and the fact my brother thinks he’s amazing, I was all ready to hate it. However, after a few listens I can’t help liking it. It’s catchy, entertaining and even has the thumbs up from the writers of the original. I certainly won’t be buying it (it won't earn me any 'cool points'), but if JK and Joel actually play any of it on the radio I’ll definitely be listening. 3.5/5

McFly – ‘I’ll Be Ok’
McFly - I'll Be OkThese successors to Busted’s power-pop throne are the only obvious contenders to knock James Blunt from the top spot this week. With last week’s extremely low sales and their kiddie appeal, removing ‘You’re Beautiful’ should be extremely easy. The thing is, although it’ll be nice to have a change at the top, this song really isn’t up to the job. What it wants to be is a song that makes you cheer up and feel good about yourself. My perfect feelgood song is ‘National Express’ by the Divine Comedy, due to its witty lyricisms, bouncy beat and great tune. McFly are on the other end of scale and have lyrics that are simply patronising and instructive. The cover’s also the most unflattering picture of the boys I have ever seen and sees them trying to look all moody and credible. Not that they’re contradicting themselves, or anything… 2.5/5

Super Furry Animals – ‘Lazerbeam’
Super Furry Animals - LazerbeamGreat sounds, interesting textures – the verse of this new single from the Furries has so much promise. All this song needs is a perfect chorus and it could be a contender for the WL single of the year. Oh, wait a minute, it’s dull, unimaginative, repetitive and bordering on grating. I really want to like this song, but nah – it’s just not going to happen. Instead I bought ‘Songbook’, the band’s singles collection from their career so far. Heaps more enjoyable, I think you’ll find. 3/5

More Releases: (ones we’ve heard this week in bold)
213 - Groupie Luv EP, Alabama 3 - How Can I Protect You?, Alps - World At War, Athlete – Tourist, Babyshambles - **** Forever, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Ain’t No Easy Way, British Whale - This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us, Broadcast - America’s Boy [7" only], Cagedbaby - Disco Biscuit [7" only], Cherubs - A Man Of No Importance, Daliah - Funny Little Mystery, Fischerspooner - Never Win, Forward Russia - Thirteen/Fourteen, Howard Rider - Move It/Fever [7" only], Iron Maiden - The Trooper, Jamiroquai - Seven Days In Sunny June, Jim Noir - A Quiet Man EP, Johnathon Rice - Kiss Me Goodbye, Jose Gonzales - Stay In The Shade EP, Juliet Turner - Business As Usual, King Creosote - Favourite Girl [12" only], Klub Kidz - Incomplete/You’re Beautiful, Kubichek - Nightjoy [7" only], Lake Trout - The Riddle EP, Lil Love - Give A Little Love, Magnet - Hold On [7" only], McFly - I’ll Be Okay, New Rhodes - From The Beginning, Oceansize - Heaven Alive, Parabeats Ft Carmen Reece - U Got Me, Patricia Vonne - Joe’s Gone Ridin’, Paul Johnson - She Got Me On, Sigur Ros - Glosoli [Download only], Snoop Dogg - Ups And Downs, Sons and Daughters - Taste The Last Girl, Super Furry Animals – Laserbeam, Weezer - We Are All On Drugs, Xavier - Give Me The Night

Monday, August 08, 2005

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

Well, this is more like it! This week there's a nice little set of notable releases, both from newcomers and old favourites. Well, if I gloss over the dire release from a certain Mr Craig David...

Goldfrapp - 'Ooh La La'
Goldfrapp are back with a piece of glam, sexy electropop genius - 'Ooh La La'. However, anyone who has watched the video will know it's all about the horse. Right?

The Magic Numbers - 'Love Me Like You'
Magic Numbers - Love Me Like YouThe follow-up to The Magic Numbers' debut 'Forever Lost' is a lovely, summery song entitled 'Love Me Like You'. It doesn't quite pack the punch of its predecessor, but it's still good radio-friendly stuff, with the band's signature three-part harmonies and some nice bass guitar easily being the best thing about it.

Lady Sovereign - '9 To 5'
Lady Sovereign - 9 To 5A song which has really grabbed my attention this week is one you would not, not for one moment, expect me to give a second listen. In fact, my opinion is quite the contrary. I like it, and think it's a little pop masterpiece. The song in question is Lady Sovereign's '9 To 5' and is catchy, addictive, and full of irresistable Brit culture references. There's also an Ordinary Boys remix (complete with video) doing the rounds. It's a remix of a rap single, and it's by the Ordinary Boys, but peculiarly...I like it. Have I lost my mind? You tell me.

Single of the Week:
Supergrass - 'St Petersburg'

Supergrass - St PetersburgYes, I'm a bit predictable, but the promise of a new single, and an album-full of new material from one of my favourite bands of all time was impossible to resist. I saw the band for the first time this year, and was so impressed I'm off to see them again on their upcoming intimate acoustic tour, which is rather exciting. A drumkit made of suitcases and hat boxes has been promised, after all.
Taken from the band's new album, 'Road To Rouen', 'St Petersburg' is our first peek at the 'new' and 'mature' Supergrass. It's mellow, deliciously summery and has a semi-acoustic flavour to it which should suit the aforementioned tour. It's pleasant, likeable and is the perfect soundtrack to being driven through the french countryside on a summer afternoon. Trust me. However, there's one problem. Slower Supergrass singles have never been that successful, and I fail to see this winning over a new generation of fans. It's still a great track, but looking at their back catalogue - what they produced in the height of their fame - it's just no contest. Thank goodness it's not a giveaway to the entire album, then...

New Releases:
213 - Groupie Luv EP, Akon - Bonanza (Belly Dancer), Axwell - Feel The Vibe (Til The Morning Comes), Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley/I’m A Man, Cazzz - Livin’ On A Beach, Chuck Berry - Maybellene/Wee Wee Hours, Craig David - All The Way, Criteria - Prevent The World, Decoder Ring - Somersault, The Dodgems - It’s Alright, Faith Evans - Mesmerized, Felicity Girl - Weaker Light [7” only], Forward Russia - Thirteen Fourteen, Frankie J - Obsession (No Es Amor), Goldfrapp - Oh La La, Joy Zipper - 1, Kenny Hayes - Daybreaker, Kirsty McColl - Sun On The Water [Download Only], Klub Kidz Ft Jason Prince - Incomplete/You’re Beautiful, Lady Sovereign - 9 To 5, Lake Trout - Riddle EP, Longview - Further, The Magic Numbers - Love Me Like You, Mardous - Revolution Over The Phone, Mattafix - Big City Life, The Mitchell Brothers Ft The Streets - Excuse My Brother, Nine Black Alps - Unsatisfied, No Hope In New Jersey - Decline, Polly Scattergood - Glory Hallelujah, Quasimoto - Bullys Hit [7” only], Readers Wifes - Nostalgia, Revelations - You’re The Loser, Sondre Lerche - Two Way Monologue EP, Stars - Ageless Beauty, Stereo Mcs - Paradise, Supergrass - St Petersburg, Superimposers - Would It Be Impossible? [7” only], Tim Love Lee - Spoonfuls Of Physic [7” only], Veto Silver - When You’re With That Girl, Willy Mason - Hard Hand To Hold

What's your single of the week?

Friday, August 05, 2005

Hannah's Single of the Week (01/08/05)

I can't wait for next week. There just might be something exciting to write about, for a change. I'm still crying out for something fabulous to feature in this blog. Thankfully, times of better music appear to be approaching us!

This week I've barely heard what's on offer, but here are the release listings. It's up to you, really - what's your single of the week?

New Releases:
Alfie - Your Own Religion, Alice Russell - Sweet Is The Air [7” only], Alterkicks - Oh Honey, Antenna Band - Liverpool (Attack, Attack, Attack), Arcade Fire - Cold Wind, Big Cash Prizes - Movement [7” only], Black Wire - Smoke And Mirrors, Ciara Ft Ludacris - Oh!, Darren Hayman - Caravan Songs EP [7” only], Explosion - No Revolution, Fun Lovin’ Criminals - Mi Corazon, The Game - Dreams, Joy Zipper - 1, Lemar - Don’t Give It Up, Madeleine Peyroux - You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go, Melanie C - Better Alone [Download Only], Modey Lemon - Bucket Of Butterflies, Morning Runner - Gone Up In Flames, Mother And The Addicts - Oh Yeah, You Look Quite Nice [7” only], My Awesome Compilation - Put Up A Fight [7” only], Nu-Electric - No Matter What [12” only], Quasimoto - Bullys Hit [7” only], The Rakes - Work, Work, Work (Pub, Club, Sleep), The Stands - When The Night Falls In, Test-Icicles - Boa vs. Python, Texas - Get Away, Thomas Falke - High Again, Turin Brakes - Over And Over, Turncoat - At A Window [7” only], Twisted X - Summer Of Rock N Roll, William Campbell and Kevin MacNeil - Local Man Ruins Everything [7” only]

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Catching up with the charts...

Well, after a 'holiday' (if you can call it that) I'm back, having missed that dreadful day that James Blunt finally rose and claimed the top spot. Unfortunately he's still there. Are there any readers of mine out there who actually like this records and if so - why?!?

At number two is somebody else in a similar vein to James...Bland. His name's Daniel Powter and his song just happens to be better, but not much. It's just got a little more bounce to it, has a catchy little melody, but really doesn't do it for me - sorry.

There's a new entry from Eminem, with what is possibly his worst single ever (and believe me, there have been some BAD Eminem singles) at 4. The less said about it, the better.

The top 10 really is atrocious this week. Actually, on second thoughts, so is the entire chart. There is almost NOTHING of interest aside from how badly Natalie Imbruglia and Tony Christie have flopped with their 'new' singles, both missing out on the top 20.

A single that is of note is the latest release from El Presidente - 'Without You', which is a grower, but unfortunately tends to get stuck on replay inside your head, which after a while makes it little more than an irritance. Pity, cause it's not a bad song. It's new at 30.

The Kaiser Chiefs have a re-entry with last year's hit, 'I Predict A Riot' as its re-release is due very soon. They're at number 46 this week, and I predict (okay, that was NOT a deliberate and extremely bad pun) that they will keep on rising, due to an input of increasing downloads in the lead up to the actual physical release of the single. The actual forthcoming physical release is a double a side, however, so will the physical release of the single merit a completely different chart placing? We'll have to wait and see.

My current song of the moment is Maximo Park's 'Going Missing'. I was disappointed after 'Graffiti', but this is fabulous. You can listen to a live, acoustic performance of it from the Oxegen festival courtesy of my favourite mp3 blog of the moment, Mr Red Penguin's MP3 Heaven. Great stuff.