Tuesday, 29 December 2009

misplaced stockings

The Right Thing To Do from QE on Vimeo

If you forgot Christmas, you know it's not too late.
Maybe you just forgot to get something for someone.
Or you bought the wrong size. Or forgot that polka dots just really aren't in at all right now.
These special stocking fillers are for those people who need new christmas presents, receipts burning holes in their pockets. Have this on your iPod whilst you're waiting to talk to customer services in M&S.

Stocking number 1 comes from Iceland.
No it's not Kerry Katona, she got fired.
Eberg, whose eccentric video adorns the top of this post, has skills.
His compositions are far more than typically desolate Scandinavian beauties.
Antidote swirls around a warm melodic core that finds itself
offset by an alien vocal that manages to be endearing and spooky.
His album, of the same name, is out now on iTunes. You know what to do.

Eberg - Antidote

Stocking number 2 comes from Entrepreneurs.
A joyous sweater destroying timewarpng mashup breathing in Mariah Carey, East 17, Dilla
and some of his own magic beats. His showstopping Marina remix will see the light soon.

Entrepreneurs - Xmas Mixtape

Stocking number 3 comes from Organ Morgan.
An avalanche surfing Home Alone sample-filled revelry.
I'm running out of expresso power.
Sorry Mathew.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

excuses that have lost their way

Diamonds On A Boat from Nicholas Audsley on Vimeo.

Forty nine chalk farm road. The scene of many a legend. Falling down stairs, forgotten conquests, drunken despair, unlikely meetings with radio legends and faded pop stars and stage invasions. A few thursdays back I overground my way along the lock, past Morrisons, shivering my way past the bouncer and indie kid queue into wide-eyed hellos with the girl in the red-dress. Aquila Rose. She was there to to throw questions at the feet of Samuel and the Dragon. You should understand this is all a few steps removed.

We rush up the stairs after a guestlist disaster, swiftly rectified. I always forget the name of the guy who often works the doors, the occasional freebies due to sharing first-year uni happy days with his sister a distant memory. His name is the same as mine.

The Barfly sits on a pedestal in my mind, sadly the programming is not what it was. Or somehow my tastes have evolved. Carling has been usurped by Tuborg though, some things have changed for the better. The backdrop for the night was x-posure, the XFM show powered by the unrelenting enthusiasm of John Kennedy. Samuel and the Dragon were first on the bill and swiftly set about transforming the upstairs room. The vibe was dubstep quasar led by a beautifully deranged prince. The projections throughout made me feel like I was in an air vent on the set of a BBC sci-fi com turned screensaver. I can't express the feeling I have about his hair, it defies description. Diamonds on a Boat was the first track to shower the room with anticipatory ripples and melancholy foreboding.

It tastes like candy floss encased in shimmering platinum bombshells. Thrown up in the air, you mistakenly expect it to plummet like a tonne-weight. A smattering of moments retain that impact and just as your head is locking and lurching into that dirty dancefloor nod, the waves part and feathers fall like raindrops. Freeze-frame.

I shudder like a boxer dodging a sharp left, choking back the sweat, celebrating a tiny, fragile victory. The bass lingers though, a dirty telltale fading out near the two minute mark before the beat comes back with a vengeance, a swift right rising up to send me crashing to the floor of the ring. Call for the trainer.

My head's spinning now, I'm seeing stars and hearts, tense little phosphenes telling of love burrow under my skin, lost to that heady helpless tumbling. The whole mirage gets shattered by a lairy Belfast native moaning about sound problems. I actually thought dear Sam was miming his way through the opening salvo. Given the the theatrical nature of his performance, I do not think I would have minded especially, had that been the truth. Trying to wow an audience when the mountains of headliner equipment beside him clearly restricted his movement wasn't easy. I still felt something though.

The flipside to the latest gem on the Moshi Moshi production line is called Rising Up. At this point, the vocal brings Chris Martin to mind. A Chris Martin who found the/his balls to lend his dulcet tones to murky electronic soundscapes.

Samuel and the Dragon - Rising Up

Hold on a second. That actually happened. Pity such dabblings never became regular.

Faultline - Where is My Boy?

Back to Aquila. More than meets the eye with this one. Journalistic tendencies with inspired flight and VICE aside, she turns out dark little pockets of poetry and song. They sparkle like rough diamonds on the black market. Unrefined still, that's no bad thing. The outside world seeps in through the window whilst she's sneaking out the back door.

Whilst Samuel only needs to sigh and glower to hint at some ineffable sadness, Aquila's plate-smashingly soulful blend of vulnerability and bitter jealousy has the power to get hungover hips shaking as well as providing a perfect soundtrack to midsummer afternoon adultery. Dolo brings the fireworks to amp this one up, before spiking my drink with lies, closing off all escape routes and bolting the door behind him.

Aquila Rose - My Love is Not True (Dolo remix)

So let's conclude. This pair. Both fuelled by the desire to fuse emotion and feeling to crisp electronics that blow hot and cold whilst locking you in dynamic circular embraces. This synthesis tends to happens at the lower, fuzzier end of the sonic spectrum, a sensory shapeshift with enough hooks to save you from falling into the abyss. Samuel currently has the edge and a solid grasp of listener's heartstrings, testament to the laptop craft of his dragon. I get the feeling Aquila is worth keeping tabs on though, her way with words outshines Samuel with ease.

Somebody's gonna dub this genre soon. I can't be fucked to give it a name.

Friday, 25 December 2009

man undercover

Christmas is all about repeats.

Last year I intoned.

"This is the best Christmas song of all time, in my not so humble opinion. It retains this honour, because in essence, it's a very simple song witht a very timeless subject, fusing sugary pop and melancholy at the same time. The Erlend Oye version below brings out the sadness in wondrous acoustic fashion. The log cabin to George Michael's chairlift."

Findlay Brown gatecrashed that liaison.

Findlay Brown - Last Christmas

Sunday, 20 December 2009

pillow talk

Glistening warmth envelops every listener of this fuzzy lo-fi ditty in a goose-down duvet mist. My heart's been captured, kidnapped and stuck in a sleepy trance by Bethany Cosentino, a dreamy conveyor belt running from lazy afternoons lost to gazes and giddy smiles all the way to the moment when the sugar rush expires, leaving you grasping for the aspirin. The childlike zip gets exchanged swiftly for a sense of injustice. Lithe pickpockets rear their ugly, little heads and dance on the empty, adjacent pillows. The chink of light at the end of the tunnel is how easy it is to bury your head and sink into another world.

Best Coast - When I'm With You

Best Coast has a variety of seven inches available from all the usual suspects.
Some are sold-out. 2010 is sure to see plaudits continue to rain in from all angles.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

le responsable revisite

Welcome to some skewed French touch superhero saga.
Old classics excavated and put to sultry grooves evoking:

NYE boat parties by the Seine or the Cote d'Azur.
Velvet ropes unhooked and rehooked.
you swan around in the borrowed Dior suit you pretend is yours.
The morning after and the night before run hand in hand along the beach,
two sugars double dropping in your morning coffee please,
that bitch of a "DJ" stole the champagne you pilfered for your own means.
Swimming in the dawn blows the cobwebs away
but you still can't remember the name of the belle of hier soir.
She didn't reveal that much but she didn't need to. Executed with total panache.
Don't take off your sunglasses.
The stains on the seat just won't come out and
somebody's going to have to foot the bill.
Put it on the AMEX and make sure you give the garcon a tip.

Plaisir de France - Le Responsable Revisite

Plaisir de France - Juliette Revisite

Monday, 14 December 2009

blast from the past: UK garage - the album pt. 3

The third installment of my shameless nostalgia for the turn of the decade garage tubes picks up the pace today. By now, you know the score. The cream of the vocal crop getting down with the killer producers of the day. The last two episodes were a showcase for the talents of Kristine Blond and Shola Ama, more than ably assisted by the maestros of Club Asylum. Amongst the buddies exposed to the legendary Ministry of Sound compilation though, the general consensus was that this was the monster tune.

The plaudits swap hands this time, going to Sunship crew.
They did the rounds at the Craig David remix party to good effect.
Hardly surprising that their 7 Days opens this classic album.
Flowers was / is their calling card though.

Leanne Brown and Catherine Cassidy (aka Sweet Female Attitude) provide the vocal heat and the Sunship crew do the rest. The sweet stuff comes thick and fast, the 'eh-eh-eee' segment only outdone by the the synth whoosh that sounds like a crashing spaceship being filmed then rewound with pleasing regularity. This oozes class at every fucking corner, this is absolutely crying out for a 2010 cover. If somebody wants to bring the beats, I'll bring the voice. Not sure if I can muster up a cream fur-hood parka though.

Sweet Female Attitude - Flowers (Sunship Mix)

///buy UK Garage - The Album from Amazon Marketplace. I think there's a warehouse full of the CD's that needs liberating!

///check back next Monday for the final installment of blast from the past: UK Garage.

clicks like that

Joe Flory has sure been biding his time.
Mess Detective is a christmas stocking full of off-cuts and skewed demos that didn't
quite make the cut for the full length that's sure to be topping lists come end of 2k10.
Released today on free download. Exciting? Yes. All over the shop in a self-assured way that makes me think Primary 1 dances to his beat and his alone. Which means he will wriggle away from any pigeonholes that "journalists" seek to push him into.

Primary 1 - Clicks Like That

Clicks Like That is a direction I'd love to see explored more in the future; a four minute Monday morning rapture. Trop délicat, a flurry of guitar harmonics enfold you from the off. One line repeats, another comes in and I'm dragged out from under the duvet. It stretches out, thermal soft bass synths and pitter-patter percussion ramp it up, more layers sneak in all the time. Momentum is sustained, built up and never allowed to run away. Reined in, at the Hallogalloesque heart of this lies a perfect dynamic and a warm, fuzzy centre you just wanna climb inside.

Friday, 11 December 2009

friday feeling

This song surely ranks as the perfect soundtrack to that moment
every Friday when you leave the office at about a half past five.
Walk to the corner, saunter into the local store and demand four cold ones.
Drain every last drop.

Sexual Harassment - If I Gave You A Party


Thursday, 10 December 2009

far too smart

Former shatsat fave Jay Jay Pistolet has laid down his guitar.
No doubt set to reemerge next year as a mysterious synth-pop maestro
with a mullet like all the other reinventions that crop up these days.
Seriously though, I'm excited and totally unaware of what the future holds for Justin.

In the meantime, Justin has decided to release a CD to tie up loose ends.
In exchange for a fiver, you get 25 songs.
Many unreleased gems including a Kissy Sell Out remix and a Daniel Johnston cover as well as the Happy Birthday You EP.
You know what to do.

Looking back at his oeuvre, his words stand out. They wouldn't stand out if he wasn't in possession of the requisite tools. Self-styled as a folk storyteller, Justin toed the line of timelessness with pithy reverb-laden tales of a boy and his dreams that overflow with detail.

The constant trick up his sleeve was the swiftest of gearchanges from doe-eyed damaged sweetheart to contemptous meanie. So sharp, it's almost violent. It meant he could pull off heartwrenching carcrash narratives like Holly without ever coming across as sentimental. You never see the kick in the teeth coming but when it comes it's really no surprise. The version below works even better for the croaky cracked quality of the vocal.

Jay Jay Pistolet - Holly (demo)

///buy cd

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

this friday: the twelves @ laser club

If shimmering filter house a la francaise is your bag, then don your dancing shoes and get on down to Old Street this Friday for Laser Club. Sadly I am actually in Paris sampling the real deal and plotting with the RM crew, so unfortunately my RSVP went back negative. It's a crying shame as The Twelves don't just press play. It all goes down live and improvised, remixing on the fly. The first hundred through the door also get a signed copy of the Twelfth Hour Mix CD. I couldn't ask for more, except a free Eurostar ticket for Friday night so I could rock up just as this belter shoots out the traps.

The Virgins - Rich Girls (The Twelves remix)

Did I mention it's their only London date? Buying tickets in advance is advised or you might have to go to Last Days of Decadence. It might actually be worth me coughing up, coming back and flogging said Mix CD on ebay to cover my shortfall. Para One is playing Social Club though.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

all reiterated

The sign that greeted my weary limbs said 'I Am The Dot'. I was only looking for a place to recuperate before returning to the coalface you know. Handed headphones and effortlessly directed to an armchair to await the aural assault.

The variety surprises me as a one man orchestra sets up shop in the canals of my ears. Zachary demonstrates vocal acuity; little pockets of feathered beauty floating on a patchwork of guitars and occasional pillowsoft electric sound. I can't decide whether to tune into the voice or everything around it. The realization that he needs nobody permeates it all. He doesn't need me, you or anybody else to be there.

In brief snatches, his music brings to my mind a collaboration between a smattering of recent alt-pop luminaries. I won't name names because it's vulgar. I'd rather hang your wet and rusting bodies out to dry, contra ry to the popular trend. It's going to get exciting as he wanders further and further away from the beaten track, as practice will undoubtedly make everlasting perfection. Below you find Middle of April and Detroit, MI. A welcoming visa into Zachary's town that won't expire any time soon. 2010 should see in increase in population.

I Am The Dot - Middle of April

I Am The Dot - Detroit, MI

They are taken from the I Am The Dot EP, a worthy checkout alongside the Rare Creatures EP, a pay-what-you-like affair, with some crazy inspirational material. Run along to myspace.

///head over to those typically on top of it tastemakers at Transparent for a Boneless collaboration of tempered treetop beauty.

Monday, 7 December 2009

blast from the past: UK garage - the album pt. 2

Not sure why the huge delay in garage flashback posts occured. They are easily the most enjoyable pieces to write. Apologies. Full speed ahead to Napa kids.

Receiving a CD Discman at the age of ten was a big thing. A landmark moment because I no longer relied on other people to listen to whatever the hell I desired. I began cultivating a collection of CD singles as well as a series of crushes. One was Shola Ama. No joke. Others included Louise Nurding and All Saints.

Ama's career arguably peaked with her version of Randy Crawford's You Might Need Somebody. In my view, the follow-up single, You're The One I Love actually bettered it. Unfortunately for Ama, the second album bombed despite the successful collab with Glamma Kid in between. What WEA should have done was got Club Asylum to remix the whole album. Their stellar work in sprucing up the otherwise snorefest Imagine into the best summer smash that never was testifies to that. The crucial addition? Speed.

Freed from schmaltzy production, the Ama vocal is forced to compete with itself whilst that classic beat and simple 2step flourishes weave a masterpiece that would definitely have been on the stereo whilst chugging a fishbowl or ten. The money shot occurs around the two minute thirty part, the track seemingly meandering out before the vocal counterplay comes waltzing back in to love you endlessly.

Shola Ama - Imagine (The Asylum remix) (removed)
///buy UK Garage - The Album from Amazon Marketplace. I think there's a warehouse full of the CD's that needs liberating!
///head back to the previous post of Kristine Blonde eyecandy.

It's a pity the next track on the album is by Gabrielle. Despite the best efforts of Artful Dodger it's most definitely a skip. Two more tracks from this record to go. Sadie Ama for 2010 by the way??

Sunday, 6 December 2009

digging at the air

Jack leafed through his wallet, touching the photo as he pulled out his time-card and punched in. The Bundy clock had no answer as to why she hadn't replied. Still. The past week had been pure water torture. The relish he applied to the railroad grind evaporated into a viscous haze of insecure self-loathing, leaving the monotony bare. He didn't give anything away to his fellow workers, the banter continued as per usual. The only recourse at his disposal was to write again, as the last letter had obviously reached an untimely end in transit. It wouldn't be the last to undergo such a fate. His name wasn't really Jack.

The Zutons - Railroad

///taken from Who Killed The Zutons (2004)?

Friday, 4 December 2009

if you're looking for

another end of year list, you have come to the wrong part of blogville. If you're looking for the best Friday night about, then head the hell to Dalston and Barden's Boudoir. Our good friends at Dollop and Dummy have got their heads together to bring the party. Be there or be a big, fucking loser. Free sambuca for those there at the getgo.

///visit dollop for exclusive mix from Arne Blackman.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

i thought i was crazy cos you told me so

In lieu of creating boring boring lists, apart from the faintly glamourous one which will emerge soon, I took the decision to recount a few of the songs / bands I have deeply enjoyed over the last decade with a bunch of pretty words that relate somehow.
Condensing my faves into some kind of order is not my kind of fun.

Whisky thursdays seem like the best way of combatting the incessant chill that silently beats about the windows. The Talisker fug descends, bringing with it the sensation of being in a warm bath for a smattering of fleeting instants. Shut the window, curtains, door. Ferme la fenetre, rideaux, porte. You're going to have to leave the house at some point but bathing in coldwarm melancholy on the divan seems to be all that's on the menu for now. Knock back another small. It's not like business has been booming lately.

The Dears - The Second Part

///taken from 'No Cities Left' where you can hear more of Lightburn's morosely tender outpourings

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

we are all friends. we are all enemies.

How does one cram so much into so little?
Laurel stared at her suitcase which still refused to close.
Eight hours earlier, she'd been dancing, feathers in her hair.
Seven hours earlier, she'd been swimming in open waters.
Two hours earlier, she'd been exchanging goodbyes and warm embraces.
An hour earlier, she was sleeping on a bus, the seat worn by previous exhausted departees.
Now she was standing in the check in queue at Chiang Mai airport.

Laurel Halo - The Cult of Optimism

Chiang Mai to JFK could take a day, or more of total transit.
Waiting with headphones, journals to scribble the time away.
Calculations of "am I nearer to home or am I still on vacation?"
You can't forget that easily.

Eleven hours later being rudely awoken by the hostess.
Thirteen hours later drinking actual coffee in the stopover zone.
Thirteen and a half hours later running for the shuttle train.

Twenty six hours later, slumping into the back of a cab.
The journey spent trying to reassemble the broken Balinese clove
cigarettes in your pocket into something salvageable.
Twenty seven hours later, victory collapse on the apartment floor.

In about fourteen actual hours, she'll take to the stage in Manhattan at the Lit Lounge.
If I could get there in time, I'd probably go. Watch out for the Ambrosia EP.