Saturday, November 26, 2005

Freelance Videowatch...with Elz

Freelance Videowatch:
Gorillaz - Dirty Harry (official site, video at NME.com)

I'm a fan of Gorillaz. I don't own either of their albums, nor have I bought any of their singles, Cartoon bum is good for you.but I like them nonetheless. And "Dirty Harry" is another above-par single from their second album, "Demon Days", with the video combining the brilliance of deserts, tanks, snot-covered children and keyboards. Oh, and a small lizard of some sort in a fez. Marvellous.

As everyone knows, Gorillaz are fourHere we can see the small, annoying children. cartoon people in a band, and their videos reflect this. They blend live-action rapping blokes with (cartoon) Noodle in a (real) tank. The desert is real too, and, if you can suspend your belief for just a wee while, the characters could actually be there. The chorus is sung by the snotty, fighting cNoodle and tank. Great!hildren - although hopefully not in reality - and in this video, we actually get something that reflects the lyrics! Brilliant! If you haven't spotted it for yourself, the desert and bright sunlight is quite obviously a reference to the lyric "The poor people are burning in the sun". I'm still not sure what this has to do with needing a gun, though.

Although the video threatens to get borinLOOK AT HIS LITTLE FEZ!!g at times, the hypnotic beat manages to keep your attention firmly fixed on the screen. Also, there's a lizard in a fez. I feel sort of awful recommending you watch a video because there's a lizard in a fez, but... he's so cute! He makes the entire video worthwhile.

A small sidenote: I still can't remember who the rapping bloke is.
4/5

Friday, November 25, 2005

Hannah's Single of the Week (21/11/05)

Single of the Week:
The Decemberists - 16 Military Wives (official site)
I think something a little eccentric is necessary, this week. Yep. Let's have a little eccentricity to combat the dulling tedium of the majority of this week's releases, and let it come in the form of The Decemberists. This instantly enjoyable little number is a witty tongue-in-cheek statement about America, celebrity culture and the war in Iraq, amongst other things. Quite unlike many of their Bush-bashing contemporaries, The Decemberists have treated their subject matter in an almost amusing way, resulting in a piece of music you can enjoy even if you don't care too much about the politics. There's a jaunty offbeat rhythm, a singalong melody, plenty of brass and it's better than all the stuff below put together. It's a sad thing that it won't even break into the top 75.
4.5/5

Worth a mention:
Stereophonics - Rewind (official site includes video)
Dear Stereophonics,
You rocked it live when I saw you earlier this year, played a great set and I had a really good time, but for every 'Dakota' there is unfortunately a 'Rewind'. I take back what I said earlier in the year. 'Superman' and 'Devil' are growers, but they're still not up to the standard of the first single from your current album. For every earth-shaking, amazing, rocker of a track that you release, there are at least two that plod along and don't really do an awful lot. The video is clever, concluding and reflecting on the story told by the previous three, and the song definitely has that 'reflective' feel to it. It's pleasant. It's verging on sweet. But it's no 'Dakota' and I definitely feel like it's all been done before.
3/5

Goldie Lookin' Chain - R'n'B (official site)
The moment came just over 10 months ago. In a packed stadium with an audience that was approximately 75% Welsh (we were in Cardiff, after all) the GLC stormed the stage with an entrance that received more enthusiasm than most of the earlier billed acts put together. At the time, I couldn't comprehended exactly why it seemed the entire crowd was shouting and bouncing along to a gang of bizarrely named, overweight, chavvish types rapping in Welsh accents. But hell - it was fun. Since then, I've not really taken GLC particularly seriously, and simply took the opportunity to laugh at the odd gem of a line in their songs. The thing is, 'R'n'B' doesn't carry the same humour as their earlier efforts, and as a listen it comes across as cliched, cheesy and boring. That's probably the ironic intention, but this song isn't up to scratch.
2.5/5

Gorillaz - 'Dirty Harry' (official site includes video)
There is a peculiar musical phenomenon known as the 'Gorillaz-threshold'. Well, in my head there is, anyway. Let's face it - the idea of Gorillaz is a result of pure genius, the songwriting, production and artistic talent behind the 'band' are some of the best around, and they have definitely been one of the most innovative acts of the decade so far. However, with their second album 'Demon Days' this indie/hip-hop/pop (what are they?!) group have had each and every single endure a fate worse than death (possibly.) - being ridiculously overplayed, whether on radio or TV. 'Dare' was unavoidable on the lead-up to its release and for some time afterwards, 'Feel Good Inc' stuck around for several months and 'Dirty Harry', complete with a similar repetitive nature has exhausted its appeal by being used as the soundtrack for the latest Radio 1 ad campaign. It's not a bad song, but it's reached the 'Gorillaz-threshold' far more quickly than the singles before it and now has a tendency to get on my nerves.
3/5

Singles out (ones I've heard in bold):
50 Cent - Window Shopper, Akira The Don - Clones, Alkaline Trio - Mercy Me, Anastacia - Pieces Of A Dream, Andrew Thompson - There Must Be Some Kind Of Misunderstanding, Antony & The Johnsons - You Are My Sister, Automatic - Recover, Biz - Stand By You, Bob Marley & The Wailers - Slogans, Buck 65 - Kennedy Killed The Hat, Calla - It Dawned On Me, The Dead 60s - Ghostfaced Killer, The Decemberists - 16 Military Wives, Deep Dish - Sacramento, Devendra Banhart - Heard Somebody Say, Field Music - If Only The Moon Were Up, Foo Fighters - Resolve, Freefaller - She’s My Everything/Basket Case, Goldie Lookin’ Chain - R’n’B, Gorillaz - Dirty Harry, Hot Puppies - Terry/Love In Practice (Not In Theory), I Am Kloot - Maybe I Should, John Peel Tribute - Ever Fallen In Love?, Korn - Twisted Transistor, Lady Sovereign Ft Basement Jaxx - Hoodie, Linus Loves - Victoria’s Principle EP, Mara Carlyle - Baby Bloodheart, Marvin Gaye - The Lord’s Prayer, Michael Buble - Home/Song For You, Mint Royale - Effect On Me, Paul McCartney - Jenny Wren, Playgroup - Front To Back, Reel People - Rain, Schwab - DJs In A Row, Shitdisco - Discoblood, Silver Sun - Immediate, Snow White - EP, Space Brothers - Everywhere I Go [12” only], Stereophonics - Rewind, System Of A Down - Hypnotize [7” only], Tom Novy - Your Body, Tricky Nixon - Kick


What's your single of the week?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Hannah's Single of Last Week (14/11/05)

Only a few precious weeks left until the general public are plagued by novelty Christmas releases (although I may have spoken too soon - check the listings!), rubbish pop, and chart shake-ups. Let's enjoy a normal week of big releases while it lasts, eh? This is a week late because I've been rather pre-occupied with other things, but I'd written a good proportion already, so it was a waste not to include it. This week's reviews will be published by the weekend - enjoy!

Single of the Week:
The White Stripes - The Denial Twist
Last week it was Jack White's mate. This week it's Jack White himself. With Meg, obviously. So Detroit does have a decent popular alternative to Eminem? Hurrah! 'The Denial Twist' isn't as instant as previous (and just as impressive) singles from 'Get Behind Me Satan' - 'Blue Orchid' and 'My Doorbell' - but after a few listens its funky piano-driven verse complete with Meg's trademark clashing cymbals seems near-perfectly constructed and it's impossible to ever imagine you didn't love it. The accompanying video, directed by Michel Gondry is suitably 'twisted' and verging on headache inducing, seeing Jack and Meg stretched and squashed to ridiculous proportions throughout. I won't say any more, because it'll spoil the surprise, but I urge you to watch it!
4/5

Special Mentions:
Girls Aloud- Biology
Both of my special mentions this week are girl bands of the pop variety, and, aside from that and the ability to serve a purpose as eye candy, that's where the similarity ends. Oh, apart from the fact that they render almost every other girl band on the planet completely uninteresting and uninspiring. Of course, in this case, the credit goes to the songwriters as Girls Aloud present one of the most bizarrely structured pieces of pop I have ever heard. Referring to Julia's review on the open blog, it does sound, at first listen, shambolic, in a similar way to 'Love Machine' but it's a grower, even if I still don't think it all fits together quite right. It seems I'm not the only blogger to have a soft spot for these babes of reality-tv-pop - they've topped a recent poll of the 'UK's Hottest 47 Acts' here. Nice.
3.5/5

The Pipettes - Dirty Mind
Clad in polka-dot dresses, looking and sounding like their time machine crashed in the wrong decade are The Pipettes. Not that this, in any way, is a bad thing. I asked their biggest fan, Jonny, to review them for the open blog, but refused, saying you simply have to watch the video. He's got a point, I think. Great, fun, pop music that defies 2005's girl-pop conventions, cheeky presentation, lyrics that make you smile...and it's made the top 75 - hurrah!
3.5/5

Other Releases:
Green Day finally unleash their massive rock opera, 'Jesus Of Suburbia', this week. It's the fifth (and hopefully the last) single from their huge album, American Idiot. I only heard it once, on the radio, months ago, but apparently it's very good.

Of course, it being Children In Need on Friday (gosh, that crept up on me fast) there's the usual charity cover version on the shelves. Past releases have come from S Club, Westlife, and even Shane Ritchie, but this year, the now-triumphant losers of pop reality TV, Liberty X, are back with a double A side - 'A Night To Remember/Everybody Dance'. Needless to say the former track is so like the original it's got me wondering whether they've even covered it at all, and it's just a re-release with their faces on the front!

Will Young, who has so far had the most success out of reality TV pop is back with the lead single from his new album. This electro-sounding creation is called 'Switch It On' and whaddya know? It isn't half bad. Not great, but not bad, either.


Avoid at ALL costs:
The Darkness - One Way Ticket
Lewis has had his say, and unlike last week I completely agree. I don't get it - the critics (albeit from Total Guitar and Q Magazine) appear to love it - bad sign. My brother appears to love it - extremely bad sign. The phrase 'it's ridiculous, but it's still great' is starting to wear on me when it applies to Justin Hawkins and co. The song is lyrically rubbish, musically cliched (a part sounds exactly like 'I Believe In A Thing Called Love') and the unsubtle coke references (especially when watching the video) are cringeworthy. Oh, and the video in general is terrible, too. Most people disliked British Whale, but at least in that case Justin started out with a half-decent song.
1/5

Major Releases: (ones I've heard in bold)
3rd Dan - Fall From Grace, Answer - Never Too Late, Athlete - Twenty Four Hours, Black Eyed Peas - My Humps, Blackbud - Heartbeat EP, Bob Marley & The Wailers - Sun Is Shining, Coldcut - Everything Is Under Control, Conway Story - Photogenic, Cream v The Hoxtons - Sunshine Of Your Love, Daniel Agust - If You Leave Me Now, The Darkness - One Way Ticket, David Bowie & Bing Crosby - Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy, Dirty Perfect - Lines, Opiates & The Demented, Enya - Amarantine, Film School - Alwaysnever, Fort Minor - Believe Me, Frank Popp Ensemble - Love Is On Our Side, Freedom Angels - Tease Me, Funeral For A Friend - History, Gemma Hayes - Happy Sad, Girls Aloud - Biology, Gledhill - Remain, Gliss - Blue Sky, Green Day - Jesus Of Suburbia, Hoboken - Beauty Queen, Jack Johnson - Sitting, Waiting, Wishing, Jaguar Wright - Free, Jay J - With Him, John Butler Trio - Zebra, Keren Ann - Chelsea Burns, Kid 606 - Done With Scene, Liberty X - A Night To Remember/Everybody Dance, The Like - What I Say And What I Mean, Louie - Trees/One Big Repeat, Love To Infinity Ft Charlotte Day - Finally, Lupen Crook - Halloween, Modern - Jane Falls Down, The Pipettes - Dirty Mind, The Rasmus - Sail Away, The Sessions - Troubled Life Of No One Else, The Sirens - Love Hurts, System Of A Down - Hypnotize, Tommy Lee - Good Times, Towers Of London - How Rude She Was, TV OD - Z List Pop Stars, Twista Ft Trey Songz - Girl Tonite, The Used - I Caught Fire, The White Stripes - The Denial Twist, Will Young - Switch It On

Monday, November 21, 2005

Single to avoid (21/11/05)

Devendra Banhart - 'Heard Somebody Say'
The first time I heard of Devendra Banhart, I thought he was a woman. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that he was no etiolated indie songstress, mewing like a Victorian orphan selling oranges - but a ludicrously bearded folkie. Well well well. He seems rather like a caricature of yer average earthy minstrel, all wispy hirsuteness and limp-wristed simperings. Designed to appear small, well crafted and delicately profound, this effort is actually somewhat plodding and fatuous. The wailing drones in the background do nothing for it, and the lyrics aren't much better: 'Here's what we believe / It's simple / We don't want to kill'. Spoken like a true folkie. Songs like this often hang on a knife edge - when done properly they retain a quiet, wholesome charm; when done like this they are utterly mundane. Stick to the cheese adverts, Dev.
1.5/5

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Fish Does The Singles (14/11/05)

Fish's Single of the Week
Funeral For A Friend – History

This gorgeous ballad from the screamo 'It'-band of the moment really is quite astonishingly good. It's also incredibly tender for a band so very fond of YELLING AT THE MICROPHONE LIKE IT JUST KILLED THEIR PUPPY, but loses no power for this. In fact, I think it gains force and poignancy, and I'd love to see more of this breed of song from FFAF.
I have to admit I didn't think much of it on first listen, or second, for that matter, but it's a complete grower. In fact, I'm nearly prepared to say it betters previous single 'Streetcar' from second album 'Hours', and sheesh, did I LOVE that song. Whereas 'Streetcar' was an immediate hit, 'History' is much more subtle, creeping into your mind rather than hammering it's way in. You know what they say - the best songs don't grab you straight off. A gentle guitar riff, melodic vocals, heartfelt chants, simple yet perfectly effective lyrics. Ask me to review it again in another few weeks and I'm sure I'd have a lot more to say about it because it's still working its magic on me.
The video and inspiration behind the song deserve special mentions too.
While at times said video is a little… well, odd (the band playing in the midst of rioting miners), it has the same quiet strength as the song itself, with actors who are extremely convincing. Some may watch and think 'blah, emotional over-the-top twaddlery' which eh, I did a bit at first, but if you allow yourself to really get into it, it complements the song wonderfully.
The miner's strike, subsequent decline in industry, and collossal lasting effect it has had, and is still having, on the area and its people is something that's all too easy to see and feel around my home town (Stoke-On-Trent). 'Raise your fingers for one last salute… bleed this skyline dry, your history is mine.' Amen.
This is a subject that definitely hits a nerve for me, and the song aptly serves as a soundtrack. Beautiful.

5/5

Other not-quite recommendations:

The Used - I Caught Fire:
O The Used, I do love thee. One of the standout tracks from 'In Love And Death'. I'll be the first to admit they've definitely lost the spark they had on their first album, but there's still a little ember burning in The Used. Kindly introduce it to a forest and let's have the old you back, boys.

Green Day - Jesus Of Suburbia:
Green Day have become so up themselves it makes me want to cry. This song is a melodramatic self-pitiful slice of crap. I do not recognise this band as the same people who came up with 'Hitchin' A Ride' or 'Good Riddance'. For shame.

The Darkness - One Way Ticket:
Dear The Darkness. I hate you. You are not funny. You are not inventive. You are not 'the saviours of rock'. You are not anything but a viable shotgun target. Please relocate yourself from the charts to a shooting lane. Thank you. P.S. - IT'S CALLED A RETURN TICKET, RETARDS.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

WL Open Blog - what's your single of the week?

Recommmended:

Girls Aloud – 'Biology' - Review by Julia
On first, and indeed second, third and up to about twelfth listens, this song sounds like a bit of a mess; there's no discernable structure, and the chorus doesn't kick in for over a minute. However, with a bit of perseverance the song gets steadily better and better until it reveals itself to not only be very good indeed, but the best pop single to be released all year. (Yes, it's even better than 'I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)'!) Xenomania could have rested on their laurels and given Girls Aloud the sort of pop-by-numbers songs they've been giving to other bands, but instead they've once again pushed the boundaries of pop music and proved themselves to be always one step ahead of the competition. 'Long Hot Summer' was somewhat lacklustre, but with 'Biology' Girls Aloud are back at the forefront of British pop music – and long may they remain there.
5/5
Julia also recommends this week's singles from The White Stripes and Will Young

Will Young - 'Switch It On' - Review by Greg
‘Switch It On’ is the first single from Will’s new album ‘Keep On’ which, if this is anything to by, should be an absolute corker. Upon the first few listens it leaves you wondering what happened to that nice boy from Pop Idol and then, it hits you and you realise, this is what it sounds like when pop artists evolve (because it does happen occasionally). A little bit pop, a little bit jazz, a little bit of everything for everyone.
The lyrics really are quite brilliant when you listen to them properly. Will is pining for his man to be a proper man and give him a right good servicing (“Unable/ to switch it on and switch it off daily”) and wants him to just have sex with him (“Mr Fabulous don’t impress me”) and then, on the tempo change he gets sick and tired of it all (“Can’t you see I’m little bit weary?”) and tells his man go away (“I won’t stop, so tough!”). He also talks about being bright eyed and bushy tailed and wearing three piece suits. All of which, I think you’ll agree is brilliant.
And yes, it does sound a bit like ‘9 to 5’ doesn’t it? Well done and welcome back Will.
5/5
Greg also recommends this week's singles from: Girls Aloud, Liberty X, The Like, The Pipettes and The White Stripes

Gemma Hayes - 'Happy Sad' - Review by Callum
As bittersweet as the title suggests, this song finds the beautiful former folkie strumming and ambling her way through a chorus of groaning Formula 1 backing vocals. Though not as hard-hitting as the single "Let A Good Thing Go" from her previous rock album Night On My Side, the sunlit sound that makes the track an obvious radio choice also casts long autumnal shadows, and lends an unsettling atmosphere that distances her from her peers KT Tunstall and Jem. The video, in which an uncomfortable Gemma tries to escape an overfamiliar family gathering only to find that even "the roads don't love you", underlines her restless spirit but also draws attention to her rather strained performance on a song that doesn't quite let her soar.
3/5
Callum also recommends this week's singles from: Lupen Crook and The Pipettes


Avoid at ALL costs:

John Butler Trio - 'Zebra' - Review by CFB Goes Pop
Alas NOT a new childrens band paying homage to my old school mate Alice Zebra, but a slightly dispiriting 'the world is all going to hell because not enough people use canvas bags' bunch of hippies promoting pub rock of the worst kind. On first listen, you might be fooled this has a tune - it does, and the da-da-da-da-dahs might convince you to tap your toes, but it's like the pied piper, leading you off a cliff, if you listen enough, you'll end up with bongs, dole cheques, haranguing people who litter and an unclear head. How it was a hit in Australia, god knows - damn hippies! Alf Stewart, he knows the score...video clip hopefully retooled from Aussie version, which involved a big pub singalong.
1/5

The Used - 'I Caught Fire' - Review By Kaytee
I used to be a huge fan of The Used around the time of their first album. But then after their second album was released my interest in them dwindled, as I felt that they’d lost some the raw intensity they’d had before. Unfortunately, ‘I Caught Fire’ is the same as the rest of the album. The chorus is so boring and I’m not sure if it fits in well with the rest of the song. Bert’s vocals are a little too clean for my liking (however nearer the end of the song he redeems himself a little by having a much harsher voice). The music for the song is ok, but it is nothing spectacular. The song is weak in my opinion; however I can see why they chose it as a single, as it is radio friendly.
2/5
Kaytee instead recommends this week's single from Black Eyed Peas.

The Black Eyed Peas - 'My Humps' - Review by CFB Goes Pop
If the phrase "Fergie showcase" doesn't chill you to the musical bone, you really can't be saved. Yes, it's Stacey's big tuneful debut, and well done Ms Ferguson, once of Kids Incorporated, now with a voice even audiotune can't save, you've brought out the worst song of the year! The only way this could be saved is if they play it over amusing footage of camels. I think also my Gran had lovely lady lumps - or bunions as we called them. Shire Hite I'm sure is mardying up in preparation for a long essay about Destiny's Child rubbing their mans feet and Fergie Pea using her lumpy bum to pull - it's like feminism never happened, and guys, if you try and chat someone up by offering to rub her lady lumps, you may end up a black eyed C...
0/5 (minus scores not permitted)

What's YOUR single of the week?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Single to avoid (14/11/05)

The Darkness - 'One Way Ticket'
Ah, Zammo. What a legacy left in thy wake. Nearly 20 years after the righteous Grange Hill rabble implored us to 'Just Say No', the babygro-clad Justin Hawkins caterwauls his way through a diatribe against the white stuff - cocaine, alas, rather than milk, which is potentially more disgusting. As The Darkness subsist wholly on the basis of irony, it seems cruelly, er, ironic that a song depicting the hellish nature of such abuse comes across as a harbinger of that great bastion of rock 'n' roll decadence: the coke album. All the signs are there - it's exceedingly bloated, the lyrics have more than a touch of smartarse about them, and the sound is grouchy and turgid, whilst revelling in its own flatulence. The Darkness had a shelf-life of about two hits. Don't make this another, kids! Just say no!
1.5/5

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Freelance Videowatch...with Elz

Freelance Videowatch:
Kaiser Chiefs - Modern Way (official site, video at NME.com)

What? Another Kaiser Chiefs single? It makes my head hurt. As ifPoser re-releasing "I Predict A Riot" wasn't enough for them! That being said, "Modern Way" is an excellent choice for a single from an admittedly mediocre album overall.

To begin with, the video confuses Dependency on tennis balls is established at an early agethe heck out of me. What on earth does a small child with a tennis ball have to do with modern ways? Surely that's about the past, right? Especially judging by the way the footage is intended to look like an old home video. As the video progresses, however, it becomes clear that the small child has grown up into a hairy street performer with a penchant for balancing his tennis ball on his face. We follow the path of our hairy friend from when he shouts angrily This can cause outbursts of rage and temporary insanityat his tennis ball, to an appearance on national telly, right through to performing at (what looks like) the Royal Albert Hall.

Excitingly, we then actually see the people who play the song; some might say a band! And... they're in a giant tennis ball. The theme is beginning to disturb me, and in an attempt to rationalise it, I decide that they're ripping off U2's PopMart Tour where they emerged from a giant lemon. It really doesn't make it any better, but the performance shots do. It's always great to see the band actually playing their instruments in the video, even if it is only for a short time. The video wasn't about t'Chiefs, though, it was Eventually, you'll believe that you're watching a band in a tennis ball!about our hairy pal. And he taught us a valuable lesson:

The modern way is hairy men who balance balls on their faces. They're possibly gay.
2.5/5

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

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

Single of the Week:
Brendan Benson - 'What I’m Looking For'
Clearly our darling Lewis is WRONG, because I'm declaring this loveable piece of indiepop my single of the week, despite the fact it seems to have completely disappeared off the listings. HMV says it's out though, so that's okay. 'What I'm Looking For' was the first song from The Alternative To Love I heard properly (having seen Brendan live supporting Keane a few weeks previously) and I've loved it ever since. It is also the third single from Brendan's third album and is a wonderful piece of singalong pop music. The bouncy rhythm, along with the simplistic rhyming couplets emphasise the fact you shouldn't take the song too seriously. I like it. And I like 'About A Boy' too.
4.5/5

Special Mention:
Elbow - 'Leaders of the Free World'
The thing that's notable about this week is the selection of new releases with particularly adventurous or different music videos. My favourite is easily the one accompanying this week's release from Elbow, who are already responsible for one of my favourite music videos of the year. This one's even better. If you aren't won over by the politically charged song, you'll be won over by the melding of carefully shot video and live footage (they do it better than Coldplay, anyway), the blending in of animation, the musical controls of the band's freaky robot spaceship or Guy Garvey's comedy moustache. Whichever way you look at it - it's a winner. You can also see the video here.
4/5

Others:

Jamiroquai - '(Don't) Give Hate A Chance'
Jamiroquai's new single '(Don't) Give Hate A Chance' also has a rather cute little animated visual, with a cartoon JK in an oversized hat preaching against prejudice. Nice sentiment. Shame the song isn't much cop. And don't silly, pointless brackets annoy you, too? 2/5

Kaiser Chiefs - Modern Way
'Modern Way' by the Kaiser Chiefs is possibly the weakest of their singles so far, having a verse so tedious it's chore to wait for the chorus, which, when you reach it, isn't quite the redeeming factor you would be hoping for. Still, you can't say the band are down on their luck, having sold out an arena tour in record time. I'm attending, even if I'm slightly more excited about the support act - one Mr Graham Coxon. The video is worth a watch though and features tennis balls (though no Tim Henman in sight) and yet more comedy moustaches. You've got to love a comedy moustache. 3/5

My Chemical Romance - I’m Not Okay (I Promise)
Re-released? For the second time? WHY? Admittedly, it's a wonderful slice of emo-pop, but I have my doubts about whether it will even equal or better its 2005 chart position of 19. In fact, it'll be lucky if it even makes the top 30. This one's grown on me a lot since it's first re-release, and the video has always been something special. 4/5

Son of Dork - Ticket Out Of Loserville
James Bourne, formerly of Busted, has finally decided to go it alone. Well, form his own band, at least. The tweenagers will be cheering since, unlike his former bandmate Charlie Simpson, he's stuck rigidly to the Busted formula. Unfortunately, I'm not cheering. Possibly because I'm past that age (although I have a growing appreciation for McFly) and just possibly because I never could see what was so great about Busted. However, the infuriating addition to my dislike of Son of Dork is the fact that they seem so Americanised...and it doesn't work. Some bands do this 'American' thing successfully - 'what? Lostprophets are WELSH?!' - but James and his wannabe gang just seem like a bunch of unsophisticated pretenders who do small town record singings. Hmph. 1/5

Major Releases: (ones I've heard in bold)
Bananarama - Look On The Floor (Hypnotic Tango), Bob Marley & The Wailers - I Shot The Sheriff, Chanel - My Life, Coburn - We Interrupt This Programme, Corrine Bailey Rae - Like A Star, Daniel Powter - Free Loop, Drive By Argument - Sexlines Are Expensive Comedy, Dualers - Truly, Madly, Deeply, Duels - Pressure On You, Elbow - Leaders Of The Free World, Engerica - Roadkill, Feeling - Fill My Little World, Four Day Hombre - 1000 Bulbs, The Game - Put You On The Game, HK119 - Pick Me Up, Hypo Psycho - Stalker Girl, Jamiroquai - (Don't) Give Hate A Chance, Jim Reid - Song For A Secret, Kaiser Chiefs - Modern Way, Koopa - No Trend, Kubb - Wicked Soul, L’il Kim - Lighters Up, Madeleine Peyroux - Dance Me To The End Of Love, Madonna - Hung Up, Mando Diao - Down In The Past, My Chemical Romance - I’m Not Okay (I Promise), Noblesse Oblige - Quel Genre De Garcon?, Santana Ft Steven Tyler - Just Feel Better, Shakes - Goodbye New York, Simon Webbe - No Worries, Son Of Dork - Ticket Outta Loserville, Starlet DJs - Can’t Stop Dancin’, Towers Of London - How Rude She Was, Uniting Nations & Laura More - Ai No Corrida, Warlocks - It’s Just Like Surgery
What's YOUR single of the week?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Single to avoid (07/11/05)

Brendan Benson - 'What I'm Looking For'
"Well I don't know what I'm looking for, but I know that I just want to look some more...". Oh God, Brendan, must you? Just make sure that you do it quietly, lest we become privy to some sort of anodyne, self-indulgent weedling. Too bloody late. Indecisive songs about indecision are straight out of the Chris Martin School Of Emotional Contingency, Brendan. We don't need such drivel. It's really about time that the presence of the 'New Man' in music was stamped out. As it is, this breezy effort is altogether lazy and meretricious, and possesses all the charm of a Nick Hornby novel.
1.5/5

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Freelance Videowatch...with Elz

Freelance Videowatch:
Patrick Wolf - Tristan (official site, video)

Compulsory hottie close-up. I mean...Dark. That's the first impression I have of the video for "Tristan". The next is eerie. The video accurately matches the snarling, growling vocals from Patrick Wolf. The music is almost hypnotic, and the video is perfect. I'm not sure why Wolf appears to be wearing the hair of two blonde ladies on his shoulders, but he seems to be an eccentric sort of chap to me, so I'll let him off the hook. I think he probably killed them, which just may be why there are some men trying to catch him.

From what you can see, Wolf appears to be in a forest at night, chased by... who? The police, or Blonde ladies, I tell thee.the enraged family of Tristan's victims? There are searchlights held by the pursuers, but Tristan has no light. The video is grainy, and not clear-cut at all. It's dark and mysterious, and you're never quite sure what you're seeing. The only obvious part is when the men throw Wolf into a lake. I like to think they're either trying to drown him, or they're seeing if he's a witch. Doesn't look like he's floating, though, but he does reappear, wet and bedraggled (and rather pretty), which gives me the impression thatMmmm, soggy Patrick. Yes please. he is indeed alive. Not mortal, maybe not human, but alive.

What happened to Tristan that made him like this? More to the point, where can I get some? If my hunch is right (vampire, anyone?), being one of the undead suddenly doesn't seem like such a bad thing.
4/5

Friday, November 04, 2005

Open Blog Invitation!

Hello! WL is planning to have an 'open blog' post, allowing a few of our readers to review a single of their choice from the selection released on 14th November 2005. If you are interested in taking part in this free-for-all, please email the team at the usual address (the link's in the sidebar) and we'll send you the preliminary release listings for that date in order for you to pick a single to review.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Win Supergrass Goodies!

Supergrass - Mick Quinn, Danny Goffey, Gaz Coombes, Rob CoombesIf you belong to the Dave Gorman school of thinking, you would understand perfectly why Gaz Coombes, Supergrass frontman, has allowed his ever-present sideburns to develop into a full-grown beard. Beards, according to Dave, are a sign of maturity. A sign of growing up at last. A sign of someone who wants to be taken seriously. Apparently. Therefore it makes perfect sense that Supergrass have evolved into something much, much more than the cartoonish indieboys famous for ‘Alright’ and ‘Pumping On Your Stereo’. Supergrass-Part-Two has officially begun.

‘Road To Rouen’, the band’s fifth studio album is musically both sophisticated and experimental – the beautiful, orchestral ‘Roxy’ and the album’s title track being prime examples of this. Lyrically, it’s heartfelt and personal - a result of many an emotional shake-up affecting the band members in the past year. In short, it’s delightfully different from anything the band have presented before. However, the playful spirit of Supergrass still remains and Road To Rouenthe album still has a definite element of fun (just hear the instrumental interlude ‘Coffee In The Pot’ and you'll know exactly what I mean) and is an absolute joy to listen to. At 9 tracks and under 37 minutes long, it may be a little 'compact', but as a result it’s a focused and complete record, lacking any obvious filler.

In short, I love it, and so leapt at the chance to give two readers of WL a chance to win some great Supergrass goodies, courtesy of Cornerstone Promotion. I'm only a bit miffed I can't get my mitts on them, myself!

So, what's up for grabs?
We have two Supergrass goodie packs - one for a winner, and one for a runner up - consisting of:

Supergrass iPod case, courtesy of Tinymeat

1st Prize: One limited edition Tinymeat Supergrass iPod case (pictured above), a copy of the fabulous 'Road To Rouen', some magnets, pins and 2004's 'Kiss Of Life' CD single.

2nd Prize: Two CD singles - 'St. Petersburg' and 'Kiss Of Life', magnets, and pins.
- COMPETITION NOW CLOSED -

Links:
Buy Road To Rouen on Amazon

Single to avoid (31/10/05)

Fightstar - 'Grand Unification (Part 1)'
All hail the return of the nation's favourite rockin' young Conservative! No, not David Cameron; rather Thatcher's other foundling - the delectable Charlie Simpson (that's Charles to his mum). Since casting adrift from the tuneless, trashy Busted, Charles has taken a dramatic turn into the realms of the cutting edge. Unfortunately our hero's quest for vitality has seen him lost without trace within the bowels of tuneless trashdom. Oops a daisy. The pompous, pretentiously-titled 'Grand Unification (Part 1)' is a dire Linkin Park knock-off, posing wildly underneath its fauxmantic GCSE lyrics. Kerrang magazine will probably love it - for anyone with any sense, listening to it will be as uncomfortable as passing a kidney stone. For God's sake, vote Labour.
1/5

Goldfrapp - 'Number One'
I'm getting a tad fed up with Goldfrapp. I think the sole function of their mundane, repetitive electro-pop is a kind of Chinese water torture that will eventually make my brain congeal into some kind of mashed potato-like substance. I'm also disturbed by the gyratings of the strikingly haggard Alison Goldfrapp, and intolerant of bedwetting indie types that see her as some kind of monumentally sexual being. Bring on the mashed potato!
1.5/5