Wednesday, April 12, 2006

WL Open Blog (10/04/06)

So, here we are again. It's another WL open blog, because otherwise I'm going to struggle in finding anything particularly positive in this week's bunch of releases. Just a quick release commentary from me, first:

Coldplay have another half-decent single out, making me realise X&Y probably wasn't that bad an album after all. Piano-driven and with more music than effects, it's a reminder of the Coldplay of old. However, this means it isn't particularly exciting or new, but the video's definitely worth a watch.

Gorillaz, meanwhile, are releasing a double a-side. Neither song is particularly radio-friendly ('El Manana', in particular is an odd choice) and both challenge the public's idea of what a Gorillaz single should sound like. They're great songs in their own right, but singles? Not really.

Hard-Fi have also squeezed a fifth single from their debut. 'Better Do Better' is actually quite likeable. Slower-paced and actually sounding slightly different from the identical sounding batch of singles they've produced before - it's a welcome change, even if the song really shows up the weakness in Richard Archer's vocals.

The Crimea's brilliant 'White Russian Galaxy' is out this week, instead of last, so that's my SOTW.

And onto our open blog...
Lorraine - I Feel It (official site)
Though technically a re-release (I bought it off iTunes quite sometime ago), this song is the first most people will have heard from Lorraine. They've ditched the slightly rockier sound from their first album, The Perfect Cure, and replaced it with an exhilirating electro-pop soundscape and catchy melody that has had people comparing them to the Pet Shop Boys, amongst others. To get the most out of the song, turn it up loud and throw your arms about like in the video. If you can arrange a helicopter to fly over your head too, so much the better.
4/5
Review by Julia.

Lady Sovereign - Blah, Blah (official site and video)
With the UK urban scene currently subdivided into genres with names that suggest they were made up by Chris Morris, it has yet to produce an international star. Judging by the video, it looks like her record company are expecting big things from Lady Sovereign despite the fact her previous singles have barely made a dent on the Top 40. However, their hopes are not entirely unjustified as she has been collecting high profile admirers from the other side of the Atlantic. As well as working with the Beastie Boys and receiving support from Missy Elliott she has become the first UK act signed to Def Jam Records.

Despite this Blah Blah's lyrics are unapologetically provincial (not surprising since this is one of the first songs she wrote). It will, no doubt, further cement her role as Queen of the Chavs (as if it needed cementing after she turned up to her sister’s wedding in a white tracksuit). Since its early demo version the track has been much cleaned up by Basement Jaxx who also add a superb guitar riff to the mix.However, it’s hard to believe that it will win many converts from those who remained unimpressed by the joys of Cha Ching and Random.
3.5/5
Review by Woodshed, writer on our sister site We Love 1997

José González - Crosses (official site)
Just a few months ago José González was hardly known of in the UK. However, since his song ‘Heartbeats’ was re-released after being used in the Sony Bravia bouncing balls advert, he’s become one of the most popular artists of the moment.
‘Crosses’ is not as much of an immediate love as ‘Heartbeats’ was, but José’s guitar playing is as intricate and beautiful as ever, and is still without a doubt a very good song. The beauty of the song is added to with the lyrics (although they may be few) including the lines “Don't you know that I'll be around to guide you, through your weakest moments to leave them behind you”.
In a world where the charts are (usually) filled with boring, repetitive clones, José is definitely the shining star amongst them all. This song deserves to equal the success he had with ‘Heartbeats’.
4.5/5
Review by Kaytee.

All Releases: (ones Hannah's heard are in bold)
Akala – The Edge, Bearsuit – Stephen Fucking Spielberg, Bif Naked – Let Down, Brian Kennedy - Every Song Is A Cry For Love, Coldplay - The Hardest Part [Download Only], The Crimea - White Russian Galaxy, Death Cab For Cutie – Crooked Teeth, Discharge - Beginning Of The End, Duels – Animal, The Egg – Walking Away, The Energies – Beyond The End, Field Music – You’re Not Supposed To, Filterfunk - S.O.S. (Message In A Bottle), Frank – I’m Not Shy On Mondays, Ghostly Man - Capital/Advice From Strangers, Gorillaz – El Manana/Kids With Guns, Hard-Fi – Better Do Better, Ian Van Dahl - Movin’ On, Islands – Rough Gem, Jakokoyak - Flatyre EP, Jamie Foxx feat. Ludacris – Unpredictable, Jesse James – Everything, José González – Crosses, Lady Sovereign – Blah Blah, The Legends - Play It For Today, Leya – In Our Hands, Lorraine – I Feel It, The Maccabees – Latchmere, Mark Morrison feat. DMX - Innocent Man, Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal, Mohair - Life, Natasha Thomas – Skin Deep, Paperlung - Days That God Sold You/A Cautionary Vision Of The Future, Radio Dept - The Worst Taste In Music, Randoms - Two Stripes Trainers, Shayne Ward – No Promises, Studio B - C’Mon Get It On, Trina feat. Kelly Rowland – Here We Go Again, Urban Myth Club – I Feel It, Whirlwind Heat - Reagan