Ryan (StopMe): Perhaps it’s the SXSW effect (MLD: Hello I havent been out once yet, too much work) or maybe just the time of year but ace tracks are coming like running water this week, so I was left with the arduous (In a kinda good way) task of choosing just ten tracks from the 36 amazing tunes I’d shortlisted. It’s taken me hours to argue the merits of each song with myself, but here it is:
The slinky Marimba sound of ‘The Lion & The Teacup’ reminds me of the music that played when you explored the town after nightfall in that classic early Nineties game The Secret Of Monkey Island (“How appropriate. You fight like a cow!” etc etc). Bishop Allen have created delightfully odd Pop music worthy of The Kinks.
‘Fot I Hose’ has a bowel loosening Bass sound, and some plucky Surf Guitars for this neck cracking instrumental from Norwegian band Casiokids. This is the B-side to their new single ‘Verdens Störste Land’ which is similarly awesome but sonically a different beast altogether.
Up next is another B-side, from StopMe’s-2008-Top-100 topping Dan Black. When a new artist is throwing away majestic cuts like ‘Poet’ on the flip you know he’s gonna be big. The undulating snakey Bass line matches Dan’s equally twisty rhymes bringing to mind Thom Yorke dropping some science.
‘In Memory Of Anthony’ is from (Ex-Factory label band) The Durutti Column’s new album and it is of course about the late great Factory Record’s boss. It is an at first sad, then euphoric tribute to a friend both in it’s lyrics and by the very existence of every note of the song, created by an artist whose talent Anthony H. Wilson nurtured.
‘Los Cristeros’ is an Avantgarde Piano instrumental overlayed with a Spanish Guitar performance of intense sorrow. It is the opening track from John Zorn’s Soundtrack for ‘El General’, a recent award winning documentary about controversial Mexican President Plutarco Elias Calles.
Panacea’s ‘Vandalism’ is a hazy Hip-Hop cut which I don’t think actually samples, but is definitely influenced by, the velvety smooth soul of Bloodstone’s ‘Natural High’. Fans of Jurassic 5 (Like myself) will lap it up.
Peter Doherty is back with a new solo album and like his last couple, it mines tracks from the series of bootlegs that flooded the net in 2004. But unlike those previous two albums his new one improves on those beautiful demos (Instead of utterly ruining them!). The opening song ‘Arcady’ is one of his best compositions, which is treated to a gentle and sympathetic semi-acoustic production. Hopefully the new ‘Grace / Wastelands’ LP will begin to restore his reputation as a musician and poet, not as a tabloid fuck up… welcome back Pete.
‘The Howling’ is a claustrophobic cut from The Phantom Band’s excellent new album ‘Checkmate Savage’. The Scottish accent of the vocal and Punk-Funk-Disco sound can’t help but remind me of Talking Heads (Not a bad thing at all!).
The Voluntary Butler Scheme’s ‘Multiplayer’ is a wonderfully shiny little Pop song. I love the chorus and the bit where it goes all Resident-Sesame-Street-Funk-Band towards the end.
The words to The Decemberists’ ‘The Rake’s Song’ take you on a lyrical journey. This is backed by a brooding Drum-heavy Blues sound.
Bishop Allen MySpace / Purchase
Casiokids MySpace / Purchase
Dan Black MySpace / Purchase
John Zorn MySpace / Purchase
Panacea MySpace / Purchase
Peter Doherty MySpace / Purchase
The Decemberists MySpace / Purchase
The Durutti Column MySpace / Purchase
The Phantom Band MySpace / Purchase
The Voluntary Butler Scheme MySpace / Purchase
Here is the innovative animated/but-cleverly-not-actually-animated video for The Voluntary Butler Scheme’s ‘Multiplayer’: