Sunday, 31 January 2010

Fretne! - Bizarre Love Triange

Good cover this. Brings out Summer's sensitive side.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Eels - I like Birds

If you're small and on a search, I've got a feeder for you to perch on. Wise words. What's great about Mark Everett, for all he's not has troubles to seek over the years and much of his music has dwelt on them, he's not afraid to knock out a happy little number like this from time to time. Always good to have a bit of contrast.

Friday, 29 January 2010

BJork - Hyperballad

This is an astonishing, amazing, lunatic song. A collage of imagery and bleeps that coalesces to a moment of brilliant emotional truth in the chorus.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Richard Thompson - 1952 Vincent Black Lightning

A great story and a great song. What I love about this, is the that Thompson manages to invest so much emotion in an old motorbike. As so often, it represents escape, freedom and ultimately death.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Turbonegro - Sell Your Body (To The Night)

It's not to see Turbonegro as anything other than characters who have somehow escaped from the World of the Mighty Boosh into reality. Still this is a mighty stomping Glam metal good time. It also features a pretty awesome bear in the video. AND BEARS ALWAYS WIN.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Maxwell - This Woman's Work

I think this version is maybe not quite as good as Kate Bush's original, but it certainly has something. Plus the video for Kate Bush's version is just too damn sad. Poor Tim McInnery. The instrumentation on this is just a little too lush, but it's a beautiful vocal. Plus changing the gender of the gives a nice twist to the lyrics.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Hell feat Bryan Ferry - U Can Dance

Many years ago I remember saying to my brother, "you know if Jesus returned to earth I bet he would look like Bryan Ferry, He have instant respect." "That's ridiculous," replied my sibling. "Jesus wouldn't want to look so sleazy."
On the basis of this excellent elctro collaboration my brother is likely had a point. This is Ferry at his sleaziest. Which is saying something.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down

This is something wonderful. It sneaks out of the radio and gets into your head. There's real joy and sorrow in it. There's something about hearing someone sing about their home, their home that they love that gets me. It's beautiful here.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Randy Newman - Short People

Newman's always claimed this song is satrical but I prefer to see it as an honest look at a vile cancer that is eating away at your society.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Withered Hand - No Cigarettes

Another song from a murky east Coast folky type. This is becoming a habit. This kind of thing can come off as annoying twee and needy but there's a real sorrow in the vocals that rescues it from such a fate and makes it truly affecting. It also works fantastically well as the soundtrack to some rather active fancy dress debauchery in the video.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Wet Wet Wet - Sweet Little Mystery

Marti's finest moment. There's a joy in his voice in this song that puts a spring in the step every time.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Sam Cooke - Twistin' The Night Away

This is just great. If your toes don't get a tapping listening to this, you have no soul.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Kate and Anna McGarrigle - Talk to Me of Mendocino

Apparently Kate McGarrigle has passed on. Sad news. I saw her once, in Glasgow, at one of the concerts that seemed to involve every member of her ludicrously talented family. A special night, I recall it fondly. They say that siblings can have a special harmony in their voices, because of their genetic similarity. It certainly seemed to be true in the case of her and her sister. This is one of her songs. Soft, sad and beautiful.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Silly Wizard - Donald Macgillavry

I like my folk music dark and bloody, and this fits the bill nicely. This song sounds ancient yet it's still alive with iron and fire.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Tasmin Archer - Sleeping Satellite

The opening twinkles in this introduction are perfect. Just perfect. As is Tasmin Archer's voice on this song. And it's about space exploration and the cold war. It's an odd little diamond in song form, ideal and totally unlike anything around it.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Jónsi - Boy Lilikoi

It's goddamn Eskimo jazz! Now obviously there's an long way between Iceland and the inuits, but this Jonsi chap does sound like a baby boy child bjork. So clearly he is eskimo jazz to his bones. What he also has though, is that weird nordic joy that is particular to Bjork's early records. And like those records it's all the more wonderful for it.

Friday, 15 January 2010

The Peddlers - On a Clear Day You Can See Forever

Weirdly wonderful sixties pop. What I love about this firstly is the voice, which is as rich and English and smooth as honey. And then there's a bonkers little organ solo halfway through which is hard not to take to ones heart.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

I've Been Thinking - Handsome Boy Modeling School feat. Cat Power

Intriguing little number this one. Cat Power has a wonderful voice, but as her own material tends towards the dark and downbeat it's good to hear it in an altogether smoother, more seductive setting. "White People", the album this is taken from, is a odd duck. A curate's egg of a record, but there a few tracks, like this one which are quite special. It also has a collaboration with Jamie Cullum, which is astonishingly good. It's not that good, but by the jazz midget's usual standards it's quite something.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Bettye LaVette - Streets of Philadelphia

I love me some Springsteen, and this is probably the best cover of one of his songs I've ever heard. Lavette's voice cracks in a way that is just hearbreaking, and underlines what a fine, fine sad song this is. So much pain, so little time. And yet, it is still joyous in it's own way.

Cheers to Last Year's Girl for tipping me to this.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Journey - Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'

Watching the Glee pilot last night, I was primarily reminded about what a great song this is. though it helped that it ws involved in the best joke in the show. Journey are a bit of an eighties joke band to many, but my word could Steve Perry sing. There wouldn't be a whole lot to this song without his vocal, but with it, it soars.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Hurts - Wonderful Life

Hurts are widely tipped to be the sound of 2009, which would be something of a turn up as they seem intent of being the sound of 1984. Nothing wrong with that though, as this single seems intent on mixing hefty dollops of various wonderful things including the Pet shop boys, Smalltown boy by Bronksi Beat and 1963 by New Order. It's the last which I find most interesting, as unreliable narrators in pop music are in pretty short supply. It also makes me think Hurts are too clever by half, which tends to prevent massive success but I'd be happy to be proved wrong.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Alejandro Escovedo - Always a Friend

There's a lot to be said for the aging process. As joints creek, and neuronal connections flash more softly in the brain, the vigour of youth seems better and better. At the time though you're inevitably a mess of confusion and What you lose in vibrancy however you tend to make yo for in smarts. Like anything else, life tends to get easier the more you do it.
This song is partly a celebration of being a veteran of too much life, too many mistakes but knowing just enough, to cling on to what's important.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Buddy & Julie Miller - Gasoline And Matches

Gasoline and Matches is a bloody tremendous metaphor for an affair of heart. Explosive uncontainable unstoppable passion that burns away to nothing in the flash of an eye. Whole story great there in that first line. A whole novel in a dozen words.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Joan Armatrading - Love and Affection

A lovely song sung by a wonderful voice. It's an odd thing that for all the million love songs they rarely talk about relationships as bluntly and as affectingly as this song does. Some truly wonderful seventies outfits on the backing band as well.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Hot 8 Brass Band - Sexual Healing

This is some serious work. Marvin Gaye's classic is transformed into a weird mash of brass band and hip hop that sounds tremendous. Discovered thanks to the wonderful Microkhan website.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Lightning Dust - I Knew

Firstly what a tremendous name for a band Lightning Dust is. Great energy to this as well, building from a simple little acoustic riff to a snapping flick of a tune. Lithe like a snake. Vocal reveals more and more as it goes alone, seems weedy at first but then displays more and more depth and power as it goes on. Great stuff.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Rodrigo y Gabriela - Buster Voodoo

I would never have imagined that merging thrash metal and Flamenco guitar would sound so wonderful, but by god it does. By far the best thing on Jools Holland's hootenanny this new year, this Mexican duo had to go to Dublin to find success, which seems a surprisingly long way, given their talent.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Two Door Cinema Club - No One Can Talk

The sound hipsters will be grooving to 2010. This is a fanatic mix of ideas, melodies and oddball noises. It sounds a little like The Bravery, but with a brain involved. It also has a fantastically clever video. Oddly enough for a band are too cool for school, TDCC come from Bangor in Northern Ireland ,which I would never have guessed in a million years, but find rather heartening. I suppose the internet is helping to ensure that even the murkiest backwaters aren't so turgid these days for wackjob teenagers.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Everlast - Ends

Not as dated as I feared. Oftimes "deep" at seventeen sound trite at 28 but this holds up. Certainly it's as good a mix of country and hip hop as your likely to find.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Emmylou Harris - Wrecking Ball

A new year hangover tends not to properly kick in til the 2nd I find. This seems like a perfect hangover song to me. It's got to be soothing and sad and this ticks both boxes. It also showcases Harris' voice wonderfully, a voice that I suspect is one of the wonders of the world. IT can convey a universe of suffering and joy in a single line. Neil Young, who wrote this song, must listen to this in delight because she makes it damn near perfect.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Roots Manuva - Witness(1 Hope)

For the start of year, it's good to have something rather positive and this fits the bill. What a voice, commanding. Great squelching bass as well. Happy new year.