Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Lewis's single to avoid (27/02/06)

Chico - 'It's Chico Time'
I'm going to stick my neck out here, and predict that there won't be many objections to this week's 'Single to avoid'. Indeed, this is the quintessential Anti-Single - it's throwaway pop of the absolute lowest order, delivered by the X-Factor's cloven-hoofed goon, the inimitable Chico himself. Apparently, said goon used to herd goats for a living. He might have said that these hircine companions were his main musical influence, before forcing this inane concoction upon us. Watching you cavort like a substandard Ricky Martin serves me no pleasure, Chico. Vaffanculo!

Friday, February 24, 2006

WL last.fm community

The majority of us here at WL are a little bit addicted to Audioscrobbler/last.fm. So, it made a lot of sense that I created a WL last.fm community. Our readers are all welcome (and advised!) to join. It'll be fun. :)


Thursday, February 23, 2006

I got tagged by The Ranting Human, so...

Seven Songs I'm Loving Right Now:
'List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they are any good, but they must be songs you are really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they are listening to.'

Delays - Valentine (official site)
Obviously! It's fantastic, it really is, and it might miss out on the top 40 (I guess it's just not had enough radio and videoplay, although I can't understand why) if you don't purchase it, somewhere. Even Popjustice agree with us, which is such a rarity it MUST be good! Why not visit the band's official site and become enveloped in the electropop wonderfulness? :D

The Raconteurs - Steady As She Goes (official site)
Largely identified as 'Jack White's side-project' it's 'Jack White's mate' Brendan Benson whose influence and talent really shines through here. I can't wait till it gets a full release and in the meantime the official site is pretty cool, too.

The Young Knives - The Decision (official site)
Not their current single (out on Monday - expect a review) but last year's limited release. Catchy and incredibly erratic indie-rock-with-a-punk-ethic.

Belle and Sebastian - Another Sunny Day (official site)
Buy 'The Life Pursuit', if you haven't already. It was hard to choose just one track I LOVE from the album because there are so many, but this is one of the sticks-in-your-head-and-has-you-singing-it-for-weeks variety. It's my favourite record of the year so far. An mp3 can be found here.

Arctic Monkeys - Dancing Shoes (official site)
The rough demo of this was sent to me last summer as part of a mystery mix CD for listening to whilst stuck in a caravan in (very rainy) France. I loved it then, and I love it even more now it's been done properly.

Rachel Stevens - Nothing Good About This Goodbye (official site)
Rachel, please do not abandon the electropop in favour of a style resembling a female James Blunt. This is another ace little tune (and the original Alexis Strum version is rather fab, too) although not as incredible as last year's 'I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)'.

Johnny Boy - 15 Minutes (official site)
Hardly a new track, but I only discovered it very recently whilst on my blog run. I heard, and liked, 'You Are The Generation...' but this is even better.

I tag anyone who wants to do it. Why not post your 7 songs in the comments box?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Fish does the Singles (20/02/06)

Gosh, it has been a while...

Alkaline Trio – Burn
Well, I for one must say I wasn’t expecting this, in more than one way. 'Burn' struck me as a rather odd choice for a single, at first, and I wasn’t actually sure if the Trio were doing well enough to permit another single from the wonderful 'Crimson'. But I have been proven wrong, on both accounts! This is a favourite of mine from the album, a stunner of an apocalypse/global warming siren in a song. In fact, with its jittery beat and semi-electro undercurrent it's almost danceable. The chorus is unquestionably catchy while containing lyrics like ‘everyone learns faster on fire’. This is a tune with a gun in its hand, and damnit, it’s taking you with it. Alkaline Trio’s hell is your home.

We Are Scientists - It’s A Hit
As a recent We Are Scientists convertee, this will be a bit of a raging ‘OMG THEY’RE SOOOO GOOD’ affair, but hopefully said a little more articulately. So. This song is fantastic. It had damn well better be a hit, or there is something wrong with most of the music-buying public. Well, that could’ve been left unsaid, I suppose. But anyway. There is just the right amount of everything – dance, indie, rock, pop – all mixed up with a splenderific riff, fun lyrics and a catchy-as-bird-flu-amongst-pigeons chorus. On the front of my copy of 'With Love And Squalor', it declares something like they’re 'going to steal the dance-floor from under the feet of their contemporaries’. I wholeheartedly agree. We Are Scientists have found something different to do amidst the sea of sameish dross out there, and they are snarling and biting to protect it. S’alright boys, it’s all yours.

Single of the Week
Funeral For A Friend - Roses For The Dead [7” only]
I saw Funeral For A Friend on the 2nd February (yes, they were very fabulous), and as this song was announced there was a roar of excited appreciation. Y’know why? Because it’s an absolute stormer. Turn it up loud and let that riff infect your ears. Let Matt Davies’ raw, painfully passionate vocals batter your mind. Wow. A lot deeper than it appears both on listening to it and watching the video, the lyrics stab deep and leave you bleeding interpretations. Juvenile lyrics? No way. Simplicity doesn’t mean idiocy. ‘We’re all suckers for tragedies… and this story will sell a few hundred papers.’ Ouch. This is a multi-faceted reflection of glorified false depression, genuine misunderstood struggles, peer pressure, lack of freedom, abundance of creative smothering, parental ignorance, snowballing dehumanisation, and the twisted world preoccupation with, and celebration of, the obscene. The fourth single from the phenomenal 'Hours' doesn’t just pack a punch; it's a blackbelt in some kind of complicated and respected martial art and is about to give you what for. Four minutes of brutal, sinisterly beautiful emotional uproar that will wreck you if you let it. Sure, you can listen to it and think ‘emo drivel’ all you want, but if you can’t see any further into Funeral For A Friend than that, then I pity you. One of the very best bands we have with an incessantly brilliant repertoire of modestly profound songs. Hats off to you, gentlemen.

I also recommend the singles by Maximo Park and Delays.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Hannah's Single of the Week (20/02/06)

Fish is back in full force (her post to be published tomorrow!), and so am I. It's a big release week this week, with promising singles from plenty of the pop players, as well as many of my indie favourites and it would seem the teen/emo rock lot are serving up a few CDs for the shelves as well. Good, good. The chart needs a nice little shakeup post all that Valentine's day mush. Liz McClarnon the only top 10 entry? Oh puh-lease.

Special mentions:
Maximo Park - I Want You To Stay (official site with video)
It feels like the Park have had a lot more than three singles, but indeed, this is only their fourth, and while it wouldn't be my first choice for another single, I'm certainly not complaining. The song is, in a similar way to 'Going Missing', one of their slightly more subtle efforts, even if it still drifts from hook to hook with tremendous ease and the more understated start allows a remarkable crescendo to a fabulous finish. 'I Want You To Stay' is a perfect way to show the sheer sophistication of the Park - having multiple layers and just being musically interesting. You can listen to it several times (as I did for this review) and not be at all bored. You keep picking out new and exciting bits that you didn't notice before. The synths, the guitars, the bass, the percussion and the vocals all play a key and complex part, rather than just one instrument taking the foreground. In modern indie rock this just doesn't happen enough. Oh, and this is probably why their latest tour sold out in a matter of hours. Thank goodness I managed to nab a ticket... ;)

We Are Scientists - It’s A Hit (official site and video)
One of my highlights of the Brits 2006 was Keith, the rather cute (American) frontman of W.A.S., accepting the Arctic Monkeys' Brit award for British Breakthrough...and nobody really noticing. Cheeky monkeys, the lot of them. Anyway, the band themselves have been marked as the 'cool geeks' sporting dodgy should-have-gone-to-specsavers glasses, facial hair and appearing in slightly surreal and rather daft videos. They're an interesting bunch, to say the least. While not as strong as their previous hit 'The Great Escape', 'It's A Hit' still packs a punch with its intense guitar riffs and a magnificent chorus. However, it is a grower. I found it completely and utterly unlistenable the first time round, purely because of the intensity of the whole thing. For the uninitiated, this can give your eardrums a right pounding. Anyway, let's just hope the title's prophetic, shall we?

Single of the Week:
Delays - Valentine (Valentine promo site with video and relevant links)
Something tells me the Delays record company folks have missed a marketing trick here - why release a song entitled 'Valentine' nearly a week after the day itself? Hey - I can answer my own question here - because it's so damn good it does not matter one little bit. After the delay in the release of album-number-two, 'You See Colours', this lead single has definitely been worth the wait. It was even being showcased on the band's April 2005 tour supporting my favourites - Manic Street Preachers - nearly a whole year ago! 'Valentine' shows the band's departure from their dreamy soundscapes on their debut and instead moving in the direction of 'euphoric electropop' in a similar manner to 'Lost In A Melody'. Oh, except it makes 'Lost In A Melody' look a little bit average. It's an indie floorfiller and is definitely my favourite single of the week, and possibly the year so far. Incredibly addictive - a perfect showcase of beats, hooks, basslines, synths, guitar and Greg Gilbert's trademark falsetto...who cares if it's been a 'long time coming'? Finally, it's here. Buy it.

MP3 time:
As well as being masters of the dreamy soundscape and the indie floorfiller, Delays also do a nice line in jaunty acoustic numbers. Oooh. Versatile. Just what I love in a band. This tune, not available on their debut, is one of those. 'Safety In Numbers' is one of my favourite songs by the band, starting off simply and gradually adding layer by layer of music and vocal. Lovely. [mp3]
(Thanks to Michael. Oh, and apologies for the terrible Delays puns. I could not resist.)

The Rest: (because it's a big week, folks!)
Corinne Bailey Rae - Put Your Records On (official site)
Currently the okay-to-like alternative to Norah Jones and co, Corinne does have a rather attractive quality about her that I can't quite place. This summery little number is destined to be a huge hit.

The Darkness - Is It Just Me? (official site)
Who would have imagined this time two years ago that The Darkness, saviours of British rock, heroes of The Brits, and spandex revivalists would experience such a backlash. Well, maybe not a backlash, exactly. It depends entirely who you talk to, which magazine you read and whether or not you're a fan. My little brother thinks they're better than ever. Bless. This follow-up to the dire 'One Way Ticket' is significantly better, even if the video seems like some desperate plea for attention.

Madonna - Sorry (official site)
If anyone else had come out with this song, it would be dismissed as yet another piece of generic dance that's okay to like, but hardly criticially acclaimed. Oh, but this is Madonna, so clearly it has to be acer than ace and extremely innovative, apparently. Don't get me wrong, I like it, but I fail to see what the fuss is about. And she should cover up. Really, she should.

U2 - Original Of The Species [Download Only] (official site)
U2 squeeze yet ANOTHER single from 2004's 'How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb'. It's even more dull than the others. 'Vertigo' was great. Anything since has left me less than impressed. Thank goodness it's just a download-only single. For more information, see this week's post from Lewis!

All Releases: (ones I've heard in bold)
Alkaline Trio - Burn, Alps - Last Dance, Arab Strap - Speed Date [7” only], Barefoot - It’s Like That, Blondie Vs The Doors - Rapture Riders [12” only], Boogie Pimps - Music In Me, Buzzcocks - Wish I Never Loved You, Celebration - War, Corinne Bailey Rae - Put Your Records On, The Darkness - Is It Just Me?, David Ford - I Don’t Care What You Call Me, Delays - Valentine, Funeral For A Friend - Roses For The Dead, Hardkandy Ft Terry Callier - Advice, Helen Boulding - I Don't Know What I Want (But I Know What I Need), Hollies - So Damn Beautiful, Hush - If You Go Breaking My Heart, Keisha White - The Weakness In Me, Knife - Silent Shout, Madonna - Sorry, Mario Rosenstock - Jose & His Amazing Techincolor Overcoat, Maximo Park - I Want You To Stay, Michael Jackson - Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough, Michael Jackson - Thriller [Boxset Only - NCQ], Morning Runner - Burning Benches, My Latest Novel - Reputation Of Ross Francis, Nicki French - Total Eclipse Of The Heart 2006, Shaggy - Ultimatum, Shout Out Louds - Please, Please, Please, Simon Webbe - After All This Time, Simple Plan - Crazy, Sine Star Project - Strange Girl, Skye - Love Show, Soft Priest - Done It EP, Soledad Brothers - Good Feeling, Spank Rock - Rick Rubin, T.O.K. - Footprints, This Is Seb Clarke - Fall, U2 - Original Of The Species [Download Only], Vogue - Missing You, We Are Scientists - It’s A Hit, Westlife - Amazing, Wills & The Willing - It's Easy

Monday, February 20, 2006

Lewis's single to avoid (20/02/06)

U2 - 'Original Of The Species'
Why do we bother with U2? This band, lest we forget, features both the sanctimonious Bono and a man who still calls himself 'The Edge', despite being well into his forties. As if this wasn't enough, these glorified teenagers are responsible for records like 'Original Of The Species'. Not only does it have a dreadful title; it is also overblown, garish and lyrically incompetent all in the same breath. 'I'll give you everything you want / Except the thing that you want' Bono groans, over some dull AOR instrumentation that could almost have been written by Simply Red. If U2 are evidence of organic evolution and the survival of the fittest - dare I say it, Darwin was wrong.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Hannah's Single of the Week...or not.

It's all too easy for me to pick Friday Hill this week and moan about the 'second draft of Blazin Squad', so I won't. I also can't write a coherent argument for why I can't stand the Humanzi single. I just can't listen to it. For all it's jerkiness and agressiveness it's even more dull and boring than your average James Blunt output. So, rather fittingly, this is going to be a short, rather dull post, I'm afraid as I've been busy...and now I'm ill, which is just fabulous, really.

Hannah instead recommends:
Goldfrapp - Ride On A White Horse
There appears to be a recurring horse theme when it comes to Goldfrapp. This means Lewis can get away with terrible equine puns on a regular basis. This single, the third from 'Supernature' certainly isn't as drab as its predecessor, 'Number One'. In fact, it's not bad at all, but the video is.

Boy Kill Boy - Back Again
Packed with melodic oomph, and channeling the same electro-indie vibes and dodgy haircuts as Protocol, it's pretty obvious I'm going to like Boy Kill Boy.

Regina Spektor - Us
Staccato piano, a soaring strings-filled crescendo and a charming vocal performance. Lovely.

PS. God, weren't the Brits such a farce? The best thing about the whole event was probably Tamsin Greig (Black Books star and general amazing lady) presenting an award or perhaps the fact that the frontman from We Are Scientists gave the acceptance speech for the Arctic Monkeys' award and NOBODY SEEMED TO NOTICE! Mind you, my lovely mother messed up the taping so I missed everything after halfway through the performance 'Dirty Harry'...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Lewis's Single of the Week (13/02/06)

Yes, the job of educating the hoi polloi has fallen to yours truly this week, as the lovely Hannah takes a backseat temporarily. So I have the benefit of being able to sprinkle your little minds with the fairydust of worldly knowledge. If music be the food of love, play on...

Single of the Week:
The Liars - 'The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack' (Official site and video)
First things first. The Liars' titles are a curious business, infused, as they so often are, with a bizarre blend of pomposity and silliness. But get beyond the rather unwieldy appellation of this effort (a precursor for the forthcoming Drum's Not Dead album), and you'll find a rather picturesque, melodic piece of drone rock. It drifts along like a daydream in which all is right with the world; an episode of calmness, safety and intimacy, swathed with quietly elegant lyrics that promise 'if you need me / I can always be found...' We never find out where, but it's rewarding to know that it's in a place like that envisioned by this strangely compelling and beautiful song.

Also recommended:
The Magic Numbers - 'I See You, You See Me' (Official site and video)
'I See You, You See Me' is a much better offering from the Numbers this time around, in comparison to their last release, the dismal 'Love's A Game'. This is mainly due to the fact that it gives more prominence to Angela Gannon's gorgeous voice, thereby aiding its transformation from a generic white soul slowie into something a bit more, well, soulful. The lyrics veer on the wrong side of self-absorption, despite the rather nebulous definition of twin personalities, and the inescapable references to love still remain. But the sweet melody and harmonious vocals ensure that The Magic Numbers pull it off, whilst proving that they can be broody as well as they can be breezy.

Rhymefest - 'Brand New' (Official site - includes video)
Che Smith, aka Rhymefest, is a long-time friend of hip-hop impresario Kanye West - he co-wrote West's 2004 hit 'Jesus Walks', and has roped him in here on his debut single, by means of a collaboration. As you'd expect, there are bitches, niggaz and muthafuckers aplenty, all set against a cornucopia of tumbling loops and beats. West and 'Fest's dual works well, and occasionally throws up some lyrical gems ('Excuse me - I'm whacktose intolerant') that are most definitely bling, as the ghetto hordes have it. Ultimately, this is a solid, if fairly unspectacular debut effort. It's not as good as the stuff that West's putting out at the moment, but it serves its purpose.

Don't bother:
Goldfrapp - 'Ride A White Horse' (Official site and video)
Goldfrapp continue to ride their one-trick pony (see what I did there?) into the murky depths of the knacker's yard. You know what this means - more spasmodic electro-synth riffs that sound like they've been pilfered from 'Spirit In The Sky', and more breathy vocals from Our Alison. I fear that one day she might get too breathy and expire completely. They're hardly the picture of originality, Goldfrapp, and I'm convinced that their popularity is solely built on the lurid fantasies of drippy indie types with repressed Oedipus complexes. They're your usual Alison-worshippers. Without them, the Goldfrapp aesthetic would be seen for what it really is: sterile and boring.

Nickelback - 'Far Away' (Official site and video)
According to the video, this song is all about the perils of being in love with a fireman, which is surely an impressively original choice of subject material. Sadly, it's all downhill from there - this is Nickelback through and through; Chad Kroeger's bucket-of-gravel voice rupturing a hard rock ballad that's complete with acoustic guitar twangery and ostentatious drumbeats. It's all highly radio-friendly and highly unadventurous. Indeed, the whole thing is so slowburning, there's no need for the fireman. Just stamp it out.

All releases:
Aphrodite Ft Beverley Knight - Sometimes [12” only], Beulah - Stay, Boy Kill Boy - Back Again, Boyfriends – I Love You, Cherubs - Paper Cut Moon, Dilated Peoples - Back Again, DJ Friction – Play The Game [12” Only], Eighteenth Day Of May – Cold Early Morning [7” Only], Elvis Presley - Heartbreak Hotel, Emmanuel - Flirtin’, Envelopes - Freejazz, Fallout Trust - Washout, Four Day Hombre - First Word Is The Hardest, Four Story - Hand On My Heart/Tracks Of My Tears, Fresh BC - Immortal / Living Daylights: Volume 2, Friday Hill - One More Night Alone, Goldfrapp - Ride A White Horse, Harrisons - Blue Note, Hush - If You Go Breaking My Heart, Humanzi - Long Time Coming, Joff Winks Band - Share My Blues, Joseph Arthur - Devil’s Broom, Levy - On The Dancefloor, The Liars - The Other Side Of Mt. Heart Attack, Liz McClarnon - Woman In Love, The Magic Numbers - I See You, You See Me, Marcos Hernandez - If You Were Mine, Marshals - Make Her Cry, Mazarin - Another One Goes By, Neal Casal - You Don’t See My Crying, Nickelback - Far Away, Oceanlab - Sirens Of The Sea, OK Go - A Million Ways, Pistolas - Listen Listen, Pretty Ricky - Your Body, Reel People - In The Sun, Regina Spektor - Us, Research - Lonely Hearts Still Beat The Same, Rhymefest - Brand New, Robin S - Show Me Love [12” only], Saucy Monky - I Touch Myself, Scary Kids Scaring Kids - Only Medicine [7” only], Sine Star Project - Strange Girl, Sparks - Perfume, Stevie Wonder - From The Bottom Of My Heart, Tool - Parabola [DVD only], Tool - Schism [DVD only], Tru Menace feat. Lee Henry - Y Did You Leave?, Wills & The Willing - It's Easy.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Lewis's single to avoid (06/02/06)

The Source ft. Candi Staton - 'You Got The Love'
Every few years, someone somewhere sees fit to re-release this terrible song, for reasons unbeknown to us all. Talk about flogging a dead horse. This old nag was never alive to begin with, so why we need to hear it yet again, I'll never know. Everything about it is completely insipid - the rhythm, the vocals, the lyrics - showing how this was nothing but a spiritless attempt to bring gospel into the mainstream. Gospel is a pretty mundane form of music, and it's something of a crime that Candi's shriekings about the Lord were ever inflicted on our ears. A compelling argument for atheism.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Hannah's Single of the Week (06/02/06)

We're into February - hurrah! The charts are back in full swing, having sufficient numbers of new entries, but still prone to the odd twist - a humungous climb from The Ordinary Boys, and the oddity of a single climbing to take the top spot, for example. In more personal news, we've surpassed 30,000 hits on WL! Thanks to everyone who's ever visited, commented, linked us or told their friends. It's probably less than Fluxblog get in a week, but hey - we're only a little blog!

Special Mention:
Fall Out Boy - Sugar We're Going Down (official site and video)
Roughly 18 months ago, a few of my teenage college buddies reckoned they’d discovered the next greatest thing in the world of music – Fall Out Boy. My usual reaction to this sort of thing is to nod and smile. More pop punk beloved of the semi-emo kids? Rrrright. However, in the last few months, this re-release (currently in the top 40 on download sales alone) has been unavoidable. On the radio, on the music channels, on CD:UK… Oh dear. The emo kids don’t like it when their favourite music goes mainstream. But hey – I can understand that. It would irritate me too to see all and sundry claiming they love a band when they’ve only heard one song. So what about the song itself? Well, it’s incredibly catchy (I’ve found myself singing it at random moments) but for all the hype it’s getting, it’s just a generic piece of pop punk with largely indiscernible vocals. Enjoyable, but ultimately meaningless.

Single of the Week:
Kubb - Grow (official site)
The British press have been telling us for MONTHS now that Kubb will be the next big thing. So far they haven’t really lived up to the promise. Their singles ‘Remain’ and ‘Wicked Soul’ charted at 45 and 25 respectively. Respectable positions, sure, but hardly 'the next big thing'. However, with the immense mainstream appeal of ‘Grow’ they’ve made the A list on several radio stations and their album’s been steadily climbing up the top 75. Deserved? Maybe. While ‘Grow’ is nothing original, and the band themselves have been labeled as a sub-standard Keane (or in my opinion, Keane with less plonky-piano-type-oomph) it’s one of those irresistable lighter waving stadium anthems reminiscent of Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’. It’s all in the chorus, the backing choir and the strings. Trust me.

MP3 Time: Kubb covered 'Mother' as part of a series of covers of tracks penned by John Lennon. It was available with Q Magazine in the latter part of last year and also as the b-side of their 'Wicked Soul' single. 'Mother' may be the title of their debut LP, but oddly this song doesn't feature on there. However, it does feature all three singles, and is available from HMV - a snip at £6.99. [mp3]

Give it a miss:
El Presidente - Turn This Thing Around (official site - includes video)
The general consensus on this one appears to be ‘shit band – great song’. I beg to disagree. I originally had high hopes for El Presidente and I’m usually a fan of glam-pop, but while the verse of this song shows great promise, the chorus is not only uninventive, but repetitive to the point of annoyance. ‘Without You’ was a good single, and this isn’t even as half as good as that.

Mew - Why Are You Looking Grave? (official site - includes video)
These Danes have yet to break into the UK top 40, even if they came close with last year’s fabulous single, ‘Special’, charting at 46. This song looks unlikely to do any better, considering that with the sheer amount of material crammed onto their maxi CD, there’s a good chance it won’t be chart eligble. This song’s a weaker single, but the video’s still worth a watch. They’ve got a cool creepy surrealist vibe going on. Animal faces and explosions - great stuff. Great cover, too.

All Releases:
Absent Kids - Shame On Us All/Quiet Playground, Alarm MMVI - Superchannel, Allure - Hate 2 Love U/Uh Oh, Antony Costa - Do You Ever Think Of Me?, Bullet For My Valentine - All These Things I Hate (Resolve Around Me), Claude McLin - Jambo, Colder - To The Music, Cornershop Ft Rowetta - Wop The Groove, David Banner - Play, El Presidente - Turn This Thing Around, Fall Out Boy - Sugar We’re Going Down, Jimi Jameson - I’m Always Here, Joey Negro - Make A Move On Me, Kbc - Price Before The Fall, Kubb - Grow, Liam Frost - She Painted Pictures, Lost Witness Ft Tiff Lacey - Love Again, Meck - Thunder In My Heart Again, Meet.John.Doe - Meet.John.Doe, Mew - Why Are You Looking Grave, Michael Stipe Ft Chris Martin & Joseph Arthur - In The Sun [Download only], Ron Hall & The Mutherfunkerz - The Way You Love Me, Sebastian Tellier - Broadway, Skindred - Pressure, Soundcode - Mystery, The Source Ft Candi Staton - You Got The Love, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - Last Goodbye, Take That - Relight My Fire, tATu - Friend Or Foe, Television Personalities - All The Young Children On Crack [7” only], Three 6 Mafia - Stay Fly, West End Girls - West End Girls/Domino Dancing, Ying Yang Twins Ft Pitbull - Shake

What's your single of the week?

Friday, February 03, 2006

The ones to watch...Matt Costa

'You've found new friends and tied all the ends, it's freezing in the loneliest winter'

Nope, he's no relative of Antony's, thankfully. Well, as far as I know - just don't take my word on it!

Instead, Matt Costa is proof that a male singer-songwriter with an acoustic guitar doesn't have to come out with something resembling 'You're Beautiful'. Goodness knows we really need his summery, strumalong songs with the weather we're having at the moment.

Anyway, he likes Scottish indiepopsters Belle & Sebastian, his look in this promo photo is v. Dave Gorman and he has some free mp3 downloads and streams on his official website. I like him already. My favourite song up for sampling is 'Cold December' - an upbeat folky number with plenty of percussion. It might currently be more of a Freezing February than a Cold December but that's not to say the song's sentiment means any the less.

His album comes out later this month. On the 20th February, to be exact, and you can pre-order it on Amazon.

He's also due to open for Jack Johnson on his upcoming UK arena tour. Dates are here.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

British Group 2006

The Nominees:
Franz Ferdinand
Kaiser Chiefs

What I think of each:
Coldplay - Ah, Coldplay. I 'starred' in your video. I love to play your music on my piano. My friend loves to take that one step further. Ahem. However, there's one thing that really shows through when playing the music for 'X&Y' - in comparison to some of what came before, it's a bit boring, a bit lacklustre. 'Fix You' and 'Talk' definitely weren't bad singles and the live experience was fantastic, but I just don't believe you're as good as you were for the first two albums.

Franz FerdinandFranz Ferdinand - Somehow, I still think this 'scottish' foursome are tremendously underrated, and underappreciated. For how incredible they are live, for the strength and consistancy of the songs they write...they just don't sell enough records. 'You Could Have It So Much Better...' was my favourite British album of 2005. Franz were my favourite British band. Enough said.

Gorillaz - Okay, so we know Gorillaz are far from your conventional 'group' line-up. They're four cartoon characters and it's all really Damon Albarn (and friends) in disguise. Still, they Gorillazare a group - when it comes to the Brits you can't classify them as anything else. Their singles last year were all fantastic, yet overplayed. I've only heard the album through once or twice so I can't comment there, but what I can say is I'm really looking forward to their Brits performance.

Hard-Fi - Hard-Fi are likeable enough, tolerable, radio-fodder with a clever video ('Cash Machine'). I won't turn over if they're on, but I won't buy their album, either.

Kaiser Chiefs - At the tail end of 2004, I couldn't wait for the Kaiser Chiefs to make it big. 'I Predict A Riot' was a top 30 hit, and the future looked bright. Then the critics started hyping them up, almost to an Arctic Monkeys level, and that really put me off. I enjoyed their singles, but part of me didn't want to give in and become one of the masses. I didn't want to like them just because everyone else did, if you see what I mean. Gradually I've warmed to the band. There's something really endearing to me about the fact that they have a left-handed guitarist, a keyboard player with a hat, a ginger frontman and a drummer that (let's face it) does all the work. Anyone who knows me well will know why. My brother is the diehard fan, but I'm still off to see them live.

Who should win:
Franz Ferdinand. They made the best album, are stunning live, and have a great group dynamic. Their new DVD is rather bonza, too!

Who probably will win:
Coldplay or Kaiser Chiefs, in a world of awards where sales figures appear to count. However, if the public are voting for this one, it could be a case of 'who has the largest online fanbase'? It'd also be interesting to see Gorillaz win just for the speech.

Who, in an ideal world, should also have been nominated:
Do Me Bad Things, Maximo Park, Manic Street Preachers, The Rakes...the list goes on and on.

Comments, anyone?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Lewis's single to avoid (30/01/06)

Jesse McCartney - 'Beautiful Soul'
It's all in the name, really. Jesse McCartney - it conjures up images of the quintessential boy band member; a transparent jock with floppy blonde hair and puppy dog eyes, who has been assured by some snivelling A&R exec that he is destined to follow in the hallowed footsteps of his namesake Paul. Except for that last bit, Jesse is true to form here. This sounds like some godawful synthesis of the Backstreet Boys and Westlife - it's yer average pop-rock with a vague West Coast tint, and is thus completely characterless. The empty references to 'souls' and suchlike are a typically brazen, jock-like attempt to give Jesse's sunshine sound some lyrical depth that it could never attain. This record is like jumping blind into a swimming pool, only to find that there's no water.