Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Hannah's Single of the Week (13/03/06)

Special Mentions:
Girls Aloud - Whole Lotta History (official site - includes video)
Somebody really needs to tell the person responsible for the singles released by Girls Aloud that while ballads are all well and good, when you have such incredible pop songs as 'Models' and 'Racy Lacey' at your disposal you really should release them instead. This is the girls' second ballad on the trot and while it's not a bad ballad (see: Westlife) by any means, it's not one of those that really takes your breath away, either. Still, it's an original song, for once, as opposed to a cover which you're instantly expected to compare to the original. It's an enjoyable listen, with a slightly-more-classy-than-usual video and a CD cover that's just as dodgy and predictable as any of their others. It just doesn't quite soar.

Bell X1 - Flame (official site and video)
Believe it or not, I only heard of Bell X1 this week. Such a poor amateur music journalist am I. They're one of those bands that are very popular in their home country of Ireland, but have made little of an impact so far over here. It's a shame really, because, as The Torture Garden has shown this fortnight, there's a LOT of good Irish music out there that hasn't broken into the mainstream on these shores. Music that's far better than U2 and Westlife, anyway. Formerly known as Juniper (before the departure of now-successful solo star Damien Rice), Bell X1 appear to have created that kind of tune that has the melody and motion of a great pop song while still carrying that indie vibe. With the pounding beat, rich harmonies, singalong chorus and lyrics about marshmallows (mmm...marshmallows) it's infectious and irresistable.

Mark Ronson feat. Alex Greenwald - Just (video stream)
Radiohead's 'Just' is easily one of my favourite tracks from the band's highly successful second album. It proved they weren't just a one hit wonder, they could make one of the greatest videos of all time and that Jonny Greenwood's guitar style was something all his own. So, how exactly do you set about covering 'Just', hip-hop style? More importantly, how do you do it well? Here's how. Replace the wild guitars with trumpets, introduce a killer beat and rope in that bloke who sings on the theme tune for the OC. By all means, it's not as good as the original (how could it be?) but it is a brilliant cover - not just a lazy copy. We're talking the Futureheads' 'Hounds Of Love' standard here. Mark Ronson has put his own stamp on it and Alex Greenwald's vocals are definitely worthy. And guess what? Radiohead have given it the thumbs up, too.

Single of the Week:
KT Tunstall - Another Place To Fall (official site and video)
After the disappointing lack of chart success of 'Under The Weather' (which I think was probably down to trying - unsuccesfully - to turn a perfect, wistful little number into another 'Suddenly I See') I was quite surprised to see Brit award winner KT releasing another single. After all, it's single-number-five, even single-number-six, if you include the early release of the 'False Alarm' EP. Still it's another great single, and this time it's another genuinely upbeat one. No daft re-recordings here, thank you very much. It also showcases the darker side of KT Tunstall. Not that KT could ever be that dark, bless her, but that guilt-inducing, voices-in-your-head feel that you can find in 'Another Place To Fall' gets quite creepy at points. Ignoring that, it's your typical piece of Tunstall-produced magic - syncopated acoustic guitar strums, a catchy chorus and a middle-eight that's almost too good to be true.

MP3 time:
So, in the spirit of releasing Radiohead covers, one of the b-sides to KT's current single is a cover of 'Fake Plastic Trees', yet another classic track from The Bends. Unfortunately we're not posting that, because it's an incentive for you lovely people to go out and buy the single (or order/download it off the internet). Instead, here's KT covering a slightly different song, namely Missy Elliot's 'Get Your Freak On', for the Live Lounge. So, we've had hip-hop covering indie - now here's indie (well, indie-ish) covering hiphop. Fantastic stuff.
[a week has passed - no more mp3!]

All Releases:
Alexis Strum - It Could Be You, Angela Lawriw feat. Skinnyman - Another Day, Armand Van Helden - Sugar, Battle - Tendency, Be Your Own Pet - Adventure, Bell X1 - Flame, Beverley Knight - (Take A Little) Piece Of My Heart, Black Eyed Peas - Pump It, Bones - It's My Life, Chalets - Theme From Chalets [7" Only], Claire Sproule - Wondering, The Crimea - White Russian Gallery, Dem Franchize Boyz - I Think They Like Me, The Disco Boys - For You 2006 Fixit Kid - Whiskey Pit [7" Only], Foo Fighters - No Way Back/Cold Day In The Sun, Fun*dmental ’03 - Jump/Playground, Girls Aloud - Whole Lotta History, Groovenut vs Kim Wilde - Love You More, Help She Can't Swim - Midnight Garden, Hilary Duff - Fly, Hipslinky - Taking It Back, James Blunt - Wisemen, Joey Negro - Make A Move On Me, Jont - You Can Be The Stars, Juelz Santana - There It Go! (The Whistle Song), Kano - Brown Eyes/Signs In Life, KT Tunstall - Another Place To Fall, Lashawn Collins - What You Gonna Do Now? [7" Only], Life Like & Kris Menace - Discopolis, Mark Ronson feat. Alex Greenwald - Just, Massive Attack feat. Terry Callier - Live With Me, Matisyahu - King Without A Crown, Michael Jackson - Beat It, Morning After Girls - Hi Skies, Mstrkrft - Easy Love, Murmur - Understand, The Open - La Lumiere, Paradise - Wanna Be Free, Pearl Jam - World Web Suicide, Ray-J - One Wish, Rythme Fatal Ft Redd Angel - Man In The Mirror, Samandtheplants - EP 1: Malimoo Moves [7" Only], Sara Jorge - Beautiful World, Shy Child - Technicrats/Summertime [7" Only], Soul Seekerz - Party For The Weekend, Soundcode - Mystery, Spida Lee - Verbal Assassin, Stain'd - Right Here, Stasi - Dystopia, Waking Eyes - But I Already Have It [7" Only], Zero 7 - Futures