Manchester’s NOCEREMONY/// emerged from nowhere with little fanfare and promptly blew the doors off the internet’s arbitor of musical hypeness “The Hype Machine”.
Like Wu Lyf, theyve mastered the 3 ingrediants of internet buzzery – 1). Keep ’em guessing – theyre from Manchester & thats all youre getting. 2). Get some iconic imagery going on (see Youtube). 3). Make sure all your titles and songs are in CAPS LOCK – LIKE YOUR MUM TEXTING YOU TO REMIND YOU ITS YOUR BROTHERS BIRTHDAY.
Fortunatly they also seem to have the fourth element that most forget… a decent tune.
“HURTLOVE” was the first to appear with its reverb heavy repeated 3 note piano refrain, beats and glitchy vocal about “Being cut deep inside”. Perfect for all lovers of Ambient Dance.
Now “WEAREME” arrives with its reverb heavy repeated 3 note piano…hang on is this the same track??? I can’t be sure I think one goes “Bing Bing Bong” and the other “Bing Bing Bonng” but whether its a new track or a reworking of the same elements, the only thing that matters is they’re both rather nice.
There’ll be more details on the blog in the next few days but first I thought I’d give a mention to a concert being put on by one of the bands who are playing, long time MLD favourites, The Melting Ice Caps.
Ice Caps head honcho David Shah describes SPECKS IN THE SKY as a night of stratospherically dreamy music (but without the night bus, or a stratospheric ticket price). It’s taking place at The Willmington Arm’s in Clarkenwell on September the 29th – at 4 quid its at least worth a gander at their Facebook page.
THE SOFT CLOSE-UPS
Keeping it in the family Shah himself will be performing, not with The Melting Ice Caps but his other group, The Soft Close-Ups.
They’re an art-pop duo who veer (beautifully, of course) from the acoustic to the electronic.
“Fireworks” in particular is a delight, with such sparse production that there’s little but a burbling 80’s synth to accompany David’s plaintive voice. It’s even more special when coupled with a simple but very effective video.
“A delectably knowing way with lounge pop” said God Is In The TV
I’ve not had a chance to listen to Owen’s music yet but David assures me of his brilliance and canny ability to wring magic out of piano, ukulele and cello. My list of lazy comparisons includes Joan As Police Woman and Rufus Wainwright template. He rarely plays live and usually releases his music through playful stunts – copies of his last EP were hidden in secret locations for fans to hunt for.
Have a listen at www.owenduff.co.uk or watch his lovely Joanna Newsome cover below (He also sacrilegiously covers Whitney’s “I wanna dance with somebody”)
HONG KONG IN THE 60s
HK60s’ debut album, ‘My Fantoms’, comprises delicious vintage sounds, perfectly judged melodies and drifting melancholia. They wouldn’t be at all out of place in the esteemed company of Stereolab, Broadcast and Saint Etienne.
“…heart-melting beauty…” – Sean O’Hagan, The High Llamas
The freshly converted are always the worst. Born again Christians, ex smokers, and in my case, those who never showed much interest in going to Glastonbury but now – courtesy of a ticket from the very kind organisers of the Emerging Talent competition – stand transformed into a grade A #glasto bore.
While theres clearly some truth in the charge that over 40 years the festival has become more commercial, less edgy and enevitably at £195 pounds a ticket overrun by the middle classes. I can only judge it through my own first timers eyes, and on that basis, it was like somekind of musical wet dream.
A typical evening begins with Jarvis and the newly reformed Pulp revisiting the festival that made their name back in ’95. After that a short hop up the hill to The Crows Nest cafe where The Master Musicians of Joujouka are winding up a bewitching set, before the new queen of country Caitlin Rose takes to, what just about qualifys as a stage. A crowd of about 30 lap it up while sipping their herbal tea.
Leaving the nest, the walk down to the main site is accompanied by a sky alight with lazers from the Chemical Brothers. Their music booms out, but over on the West Holt, Big Boi from Outkast has the crowd bouncing to the catchiest riff of last year, “Shutterbug”. He ends with a triumphant “London, thank you, you’re the best“.
And thats just a few hours of music, as the cliche goes, Glastonbury is about much more than that.
Most of the first day involved getting there, finding a muddy swamp on which to pitch and then cycling through a series of perplexed facial expressions while working out which pole goes where. Its never ideal to be on your own in these situations as throwing the tent pegs on the floor and storming off in a huff is much less rewarding when on your return, someone else hasnt put the tent up for you.
Earlier in the year 40 bloggers were chosen to judge new bands applying for a coveted “Emerging Talent” slot at the festival, and a few left their computers behind for the weekend to attend.
Robin from the Breaking More Waves blog had the foresight and a twitter account to summon a handful for a meetup in the Park bar. Remarkably the people behind Just Music That I Like, Flying With Anna, Hot Cakes, and This Music Wins were charming, friendly, knowledgable about a wide range of musical styles and in many cases claimed to hold down jobs, relationships, and children (well not hold down children, but you know what I mean).
The conversation naturally focused on things like how long your blog had been going, music you like, the story behind your name, and of course a few mildly competitive when did you first hear X band. Take Caitlin Rose, one by one those who’d seen her recounted the ever increasingly tiny and obscure places they’d first seen her play.
At this point – realising I hadnt seen her at all yet – I panicked and claimed to have introduced her parents… but I think I got away with it.
The blog has been a little quiet of late as a result of my bleedin’ heart liberal Guardian reading tendencies getting me mixed up with an effort to setup a community centre in my local area.
It’s hoovering up all my spare time but on the plus side I’ll have amassed enough self righteous worthiness points to spend the rest of my life reclining on a chaise lounge reading The Sun, being fed Israeli grapes while my trafficked servant holds up Primark clothing for my nodded approval. Actually I protest too much its been a real privilege to be involved.
LA’s Shlohmo has been turning out remixes to die for ahead of the release of his full length debut “Bad Vibes” on August 9th.
His remix of Drake’s “Marvin’s Room” in particular is so laid back and soporific that putting it on a loop this morning transformed the hideous sweaty tumult of a London commute into something akin to chilling out in a floatation tank. Every shove, every bead of sweat, every disgruntled rustle of newspaper was nowt when given the unlikely soundtrack of Drake’s tale of 4 times a week sex and ill-advised hook ups with ex’s.
Shlohmo himself had this to say:
“I forgot i had this drake remix lyin around. this is seriously one of my fav songs of the year, if not ever. if youre one of those people that hates on pop music because you wear a backpack or smthing then plz chill out. try and appreciate shit even if u have to forget the context sometimes. good music is good music and u don’t have to front and pretend it’s below ur intellectual level“.
His remix of Burial’s “Shell Of Light” is if anything even better. Simply gobsmacking.
“been workin on this for the past few days. i just really couldn’t stop listening to the ending of “shell of light.” shit is so beautiful. so i did this so i could listen to it more. hope u like it ::)”
Before the blog enters a period of silence – while I pop my Glastonbury cherry – a few tracks that really should’ve been shouted from the roof tops months ago.
First up a concept album from The Indelicates, the band responsible for “Savages” a tune somewhat ridiculously awarded 2nd best track of 2010 by this here blogger – I say ridiculous because it clearly should’ve been No.1!
Back in 2004 the Indelicates were busy rehearsing their hit fringe musical based on the book of Job, when someone joked “What are you gonna do next? Waco: the Musical? Fast forward seven years and having pawned the family silverwear to fund the project Simon & Julia Indelicate finally unleashed “David Koresh Superstar“.
Despite eagerly snapping up tickets to the Asian Dub Foundations Opera “Gaddafi – A Living Myth” I have to declare a well nurtured dislike of musicals. My brother excitingly declared that listening to the album you can almost see the West End production before your very eyes. I agree, but its a mark of how good David Koresh Superstar is that I managed to overcome the constant thought of a good play being ruined by overblown song.
DEATH GRIPS The free mixtape from Avant-guard hip-hoppers Death Grips has been going down a storm online for months now. Any mix that manages to sample Pink Floyd and Jane’s Addiction whilst also including the insanely addictive “Guillotine” deserves every bit of that attention. Its fairly dark stuff, not exactly easy listening, and it doesn’t fit the hip-hop mainstream, but try listening to the song below and not being mesmerised.
“It goes, its goes, it goes, it goes, it goes… Guilotinnnnnnne”
“Games” (above) by Witch Gardens featuring Manch Malevolent is just one of the superb tracks featured. Its also a rare example of that mini sub-genre, hip-hop meets indie, history is not kind to such collaborations but Witch & Manch stretch and almost reach the heights of De La Soul’s joyous 90’s collaboration with Teenage Fanclub “Fallin‘”. “So Mase beat the fucking beat while the teenage fan the heat”
Don Lett’s fabulous documentary for BBC 4 “The Revolution Will
Not Be Televised” will hopefully be repeated in tribute but in the meantime someone bootlegged it on Youtube. It features contribututions from The Last Poets and Chuck D.
Newsnight’s Steven Smith travelled to the States to meet Heron on the eve of his comeback album “I’m New Here”.In 2000 Sean Rowley featured Gil on his much missed “All Back To Mine” series discussing music that he loves or was influenced by.
Gil Scott-Heron – “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”
Esther Phillips – “Home Is Where The Hatred Is (MP3)”
Gil Scott Heron – “Home Is Where The Hatred Is (MP3)”
Long time MLD readers will remember my brother Ryan’s regular “TEN4SEVEN” series. Each and every week for a year he hunted high and low to find the 10 finest songs, until finally bowing out a spent husk of a man back in April 2010.
Why not? Because its a ridiculous task and just the thought of trying to boil down all the songs bouncing around my tiny mind is enough to push me closer to the funny farm.
I’m filled with a mixture of admiration at the enormity of the task and incredulity over some of the chosen tracks. Older brothers are meant to act as some kind of fount of musical inspiration for their impressionable siblings but I can only claim influence over Billy Bragg, the Pet Shop Boys and Coldcut’s go-go/reggae/hiphop classic “Stop This Crazy Thing“. My obsession with that track extended to painting a mural of the sleeve across the entire length of my bedroom wall.
Happy birthday Ryan, and over to you. UPDATE:RoomyBonce kindly created a Spotify playlist containing 40 of the 50, but no Luxembourg or Gifthorse: Spotify playlist
StopMe: I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a top 100/top 50 list of my most cherished songs for about a year now. As my thirtieth birthday is weeks away I’ve decided nows the time to sit back and reflect on m musical life. For a bit of “Fun” I analysed my Top 50 and found out my tastes are 22% Pop-Rock and 18% Folk and that 2005 was the best ever year for music (Who’d have guessed).
I’ve included a selection of the best video clips below but you can watch all the available videos on my youtube channel by clicking here. It was tough going whittling it down to only 50 tunes and even harder to put them in order.
1. Bruce Springsteen – Jungleland
Born To Run LP – 1975 “Barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a dodge, drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain”
Nine and a half minutes of shear epic Rock grandeur. Most full novels don’t contain this much beauty and narrative power. It also features Clarence Clemons delivering the greatest Sax-Solo in history building to an almost unbearably emotional climax across 2 minutes. I could listen to this every day for the rest of my life and never tire it out.
2. The Magnetic Fields – Papa Was A Rodeo
69 Love Songs LP – 1999 “Home was anywhere with diesel gas, love was a trucker’s hand, never stuck around long enough for a one night stand”
A story of lonesome one night stands and fleeting affairs. When the cathartic duet kicks in at my heart at 4.11 once breaks and yet rejoices. Over the years Stephen Merrit has written at least 50 of the greatest love songs ever written and this is his best.
3. The Indelicates – Savages
Songs For Swinging Lovers LP – 2010 “We are ash, we are books, coffee stained and overlooked, We are ornamental swords, forged for the peace after the war”
The lyrics to this song read like beautiful poetry. It’s a searing celebration of the outsider spirit. This says everything I ever wanted to say about great music.
4. Luxembourg – (I Need) A Little Bit More (Than You Give Me)
[audio:http://www.musiclikedirt.com/wp-content/MP3/top50/ALittleBitMore.mp3]Best Kept Secret: Demos & Rarities 2001-2004 Compilation – 2004 “I guess that when i told you I would leave you if you cheated, you took it as a promise, not a threat”
It takes a man of David Shah’s calibre to write a lyric this funny and yet sing it with so much power it’s like he’s tearing out his soul for your listening pleasure.
5. Ed Harcourt – Apple Of My Eye
Here Be Monsters LP – 2001 “I drink a lot of wine when I am alone, I lose my track of time, my ideas turn to stone”
I can’t fully describe why I love this song so much. There is something hidden in the giddy mix of handclaps, Hip-Hop percussion, woozy Jazz orchestration and raw Soul vocals that enthrals me everytime.
6. Richie Havens – Going Back To My Roots
Connections LP – 1980
“Not talkin’ ’bout the roots in the land, I’m talkin’ ’bout the roots in the man”
Roaring Soul vocals, Funk instrumentation, proto House Pianos and Disco beats building to a level where you just have to move your body.
7. The Pogues – Rainy Night In Soho
Poguetry In Motion EP – 1986
“We watched our friends grow up together, and we saw them as they fell, some of them fell into Heaven, some of them fell into Hell”
Simply one of the most beautiful things ever created by the hand of man. Shane MacGowan was in his late twenties when he wrote it but it reads like a death bed revelation.
For the first MLD Session we headed to the Pure Evil Gallery in deepest Hoxton. Down in its basement, surrounded by sculptures, spray paints and a buzzing tv set, we recorded three songs from one of our favourite artists, James Mathe.
Introduced via The Daily Growl blog back in late 2006 when recording under the guise of “Barbarossa” (“Red Beard” in Italian), James’s latest EP gave a taster of what to expect on his eagerly awaited LP “Care Cracks“.
In the past Ive compared his vocals to Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor (a comparison reinforced when they played after each other at one of the final Luminaire shows). Thankfully he also shares the Chips gift for melancholic lo-fi electronic beauty coupled with beguiling melodies.
First up the beautiful “Bloodlines”, it was a real privilege to see James and his band play this track live. Thanks must also go to Pure Evil for letting us film after hours.
You can hear more from James on the links below. You’ll also get a few musical tips too, like this gorgeous Findlay Brown remix which completely passed me by back in January.
For the second track James put the Omnichord to one side, grabbed a drumstick and joined the drummer for the urgent stripped down sound of “Turbine“. Lovely guitar work, especially as the guitarist had only learnt the songs the previous day!
Back in 1995 Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine were less than flattering about “Lenny and Terence”, but James is clearly a fan. He covered
Over the last month the new music well ran dry, or more accurately I forgot to drink from it. Going internet cold turkey in Cuba for two weeks along with generally taking a break means this batch of favourite things are more old gold than new music discoveries.
HOW WILL I COPULATE?
There was a time when mashups were ubiquitous and generally considered some kind of statement of post modern pop will eat itself daring but oh those days seem so long ago.
Bastard pop dated quicker than day-glo shoelaces but fine things still grow in those corners no longer illuminated by the spotlight of the currently hip. Starslinger turns out cracking tunes while others…well probably sleep or something and now his fans are getting in on the act. Moranismusic takes the queen of the mashup Whitney Housten, pitches her voice up to a squeak and melds it with Starslingers “Copulate”. Not the most radical or appealing idea on paper, but countless terrible bootlegs are testament to the fact that creating a mix that works as brilliantly as this isnt as easy as it seems.
Also check out the quirkily comic video for the“Close To Me” single. Samples the all time classic Curtis Mayfield produced “Lets Do It Again” by The Staple Singers.
For the moment London has entered rolling down the car window and blasting out tunes type weather. If you fancy pi£$ing off other people with such behaviour then can I suggest these two summer gems.
First up “Close Your Eyes” by The Bullitts a track from last year featuring the unlikely pairing of Lucy Lui and the ever excellent Jay Electronica. It reminds me of Malcolm McClaren’s 1989 Waltz Darling album with its mixture of artsy mix of street styles and pure pop sensibility. I’d forgotten how much I loved the single “Somethings Jumpin’ In My Shirt” although that may have had something to do with its guest vocalist Lisa Marie.
Returning to the Bullitts, Jay Electronica reconfirms his status as an MC at the top of his game by coming in towards the end and stealing the show with his rhymes.
“I was on the verge of dying like E.T. in the bald spot in the forest, right next to the speak and spell…
Tryna phone home but the signal wouldn’t reach the cell…”
Can’t wait for Jay’s LP!
Roots Manuva protege Jimmy Screech will be releasing the single “Divine” in May, and fellow Manuva collaborator WrongTom has smattered “clattering pots & pans” onto his “Divine Intervention” remix. Jimmy’s “Remedy” album is due next month and a solo Wrongtom album is also in the works.
MICHAEL FRANTI LIVE @ ROUGH TRADE
Hypocrisy Is the Greatest Luxury, the album Rono Tse and Michael Franti made together back in 1992 as the Disposable Heroes Of HipHopcrisy is one of those records that mark out your life. Seeing them live with a slightly shellshocked Belinda Carlisle fan back then remains one of my favourite gigs of all time, with Rono showering the stage in sparks from an angle grinder while Franti poured out polemic in his honeyed tones.
Almost 20 years later it was joy to see Franti, 6ft 6″ tall with bare feet stride into the minuscule Rough Trade West clamber onto the counter and hold the crowd rapt for a good half an hour.
It started out with several thousand, now only 123 acts remain as the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition Longlist is announced.
After much soul searching and epic indecision, The Last Dinosaur, Golden...
Back at the tail end of January, the organisers of “Glastonbury Emerging Talent 2011” sent out an individual list of 160 bands to each of the 40 bloggers selected to judge the first round of this years competition. Since then each blogger has mulled over their selections and whittled them down to 3 choices.
The final 3 from all of them will then make up a long list of 160 acts. This will be revealed shortly but in the meantime here are a few of the standouts from the entries I received.
DISCLAIMER: These are in no particular order and inclusion doesnt necessarily indicate a place among those through to the next round. It was however tough to decide!
First up from Torquay, Devon, Aaron Sayer aka AirRun with a track called “Change“.
Entries to the competition spanned all musical genres and AirRun offers a softly spoken half rap akin perhaps to the soon to retire Mike Skinner or PolarBear.
SONS OF MISCHIEF
Formed from the ashes of a number of other bands, Sons of Mischief got together in August 2010 with they say the aim to “create energetic and extravagant live performances“. “Pythagoras” is rock at its most sweetly sung and melodic, and while not reinventing the wheel it got stuck in my head. [download][download]
DEAD BOY ROBOTICS
Dead Boy Robotics, a duo from Edinburgh, incorporate laptop, synths, guitars, tribal drumming, vocal harmonies, yelps and screams to create a sound influenced by bands like Animal Collective, Subtle, Liars and HEALTH.
De Grinpipol comes from the Italian pronunciation of The Green People. Dirty riffs, dancehall drums, love songs, filthy, distorted solos.