Shotgun, Bastard and Dribble

Monday, October 30, 2006

Singles Released 30th October

Peak of the Week: Gossip - Standing In The Way Of Control

It was great to see them blast their way through this song on Jonathan Ross's show. There's always hope that their soul-punk noise will get as big as it deserves to be.

The Gossip - Standing In The Way Of Control via Kill Rock Stars

The Sohodolls - No Regrets

There are two types of indie bands:

1) Those that turn up wearing whatever happened to be hanging off their withered limbs when they woke up.

2) Those that are far too busy gaffer-tapping their boobs and applying eye-liner to do anything as mundane as writing a decent tune.

The Sohodolls fit firmly into the second category. I'm not complaining - the world needs bands like this to brighten it up a bit.

Sohodolls - Pleasures of Soho via their website

Vincent Vincent & The Villains

VV and the Vs take their cue from massively successful yet tragically unhip acts like The Housemartins and Madness. According to Mr Vincent himself, "I want to be a songwriter who offers up something new." On that score, their debut single is a failure on a scale not seen since MC Hammer's attempt to become a gangsta rapper. It is, however, a catchy little ditty that could become big if it gets some wind in it's sails.

VV seems to have a Bono sized ability for 'self-aggrandising tit'-ery, "I can find salvation through a song." God help us.

Sucioperro - The Drop

Latest additions to the 'just because I play a big, loud guitar and make devil-horn hand signs doesn't mean I don't cry and hug my teddy sometimes' brigade. They are often compared to friends and compatriots Biffy Clyro. To me, they sound more like, Busted side-project, Fightstar.

Sucioperro - The Final Confessions Of Mabel Stark via their website

Peter, Bjorn and John - Let's Call It Off

I don't understand why Peter, Bjorn and John get so much adoration from the bloggers. There are much better twee-pop Scandanavians. Billie the Vision and the Dancers for one.

CSS - Alala
The world's greatest band named after a stylesheet language. Alala doesn't make me want to dance like a robot quite as enthusiastically as Let's Make Love And Listen To Death From Above, nevertheless, good stuff.

CSS - Let's Make Love via MySpace

Bodyrox ft. Luciana - Yeah, Yeah

The reason this dull piece of dance drivel caught my attention is that ' Luciana' is Luciana Caporaso off of of, MTV spawned glam rockers, Portobella. After their genius debut Covered In Punk was ignored, Caporaso took the advice of record execs and jetisoned the rest of the band.

Unfortunately, Caporaso's CV doesn't fill me with confidence. As well as writing songs for Alex Parks, she was one half of Donna Air's disastrous post-Byker Grove band Crush.

Portobella - Say What You Wanna Say via Eye Industries

Monday, October 23, 2006

Singles Released 23rd October

Peak of the Week: Amy Winehouse - Rehab

I'm always a little disappointed when rockstars go into rehab. They're supposed to be wasted and unpredictable; they're supposed to be living the dream; they're supposed to act like they're immortal then die. They're not supposed to be like Tom Keane and toddle off the The Priory because they've eaten too many Jelly Tots.

Winehouse's appearance on The Charlotte Church Show proves she hasn't gone to rehab (oh no, no, no). Even when she's off her face and not even trying, she's far more exciting, interesting and sexy than Church's predictable professionalism could ever be. Yes, it's a train wreck, but watching a train wreck is far more exciting than watching a train travel slowly along the track.

Apparently, they had to do three takes of this song and this was the best one.

She was obviously much closer to sober when she recorded the single. It's a picture of pig-headed defiance against calls for good sense and conformity. Protest song of the decade.

The Horrors - Count In Fives

They look and sound like a New York Dolls tribute band staffed entirely by Noel Fieldings. What's not to love?

Yes Boss - Tongues In Knots

The latest from Yes Boss features Tom Woodhead off of of iForward, Russia!, who is the walking definition of the wimpy, skinny, band boys that Yes Boss was railing against and throwing of a multi-story carpark in his previous single Indie Kids.

Yes Boss - Hot Chip vs. Yes Boss via MySpace

Gym Class Heroes - New Friend Request

God Lord, there are a lot of songs about MySpace:

Dustin and The Furniture - Your MySpace Comments Won't Save You via MySpace

Maxwell's House - MySpace Makes Me Happy via his website

Happy Elf - My MySpace via MySpace

Chicks On Speed - My Space via MySpace

One thing connects them: they're universally terrible.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Tempin' Bowleyn

Everything's coming up Tudor roses at the moment.

Last week, my humble little town played host to Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman, who were filming The Other Boleyn Girl at Haddon Hall. Inexplicably, neither of them met me and fell instantly, desperately and unaccountably in love. What are the chances? I wasn't envisaging having them both - I'm not greedy and unrealistic. But I think I can reasonably expect the adoration of one beautiful, famous, talented actress. I'll tell you what the problem is - they're both prejudiced against unexceptional white boys. We're the forgotten minority.

In the above picture, it's good to see Portman wearing a painstakingly accurate re-creation of the purple tracksuit that Anne Boleyn wore. So many dramatisations of Boleyn's life miss that detail.

As well as her proto J-Lo dress sense, Boleyn was, apparently, hot shit on the lute (I think that's a direct quote from Simon Schama). Legend has it, she wrote the song O Deathe, Rock Me Asleep whilst awaiting execution. I use 'legend has it' in the sense that it's obviously untrue. Similarly, 'legend has it' that Henry VIII wrote Greensleeves for Anne Boleyn. Henry's later composition for Boleyn Give Me a Son Or I Slice Your Face Off has not been quite so successful.

Elizabethan Conversation - O Deathe, Rock Me Asleep
Buy The Medieval Lady

Lute toter de jour Sting is currently lute-ing the works of 17th Century composer John Dowland in order to bolster his flagging hipster-rating. Dowland was the Morrissey of his day, and went by the motto 'Semper Dowland, semper dolens' (always Dowland, always doleful). I don't know if Morrissey has a motto - if he did it'd probably be in Greek rather than Latin.

Dowland, as a Roman Catholic, was snubbed by, daughter of Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I (showing the kind of prejudice evident in those playing her mother and aunt some 400 years later). He had to wait for Scotch King James I before royal patronage came his way.

I'd wager most of those slagging off the new Sting album haven't heard it. So watch the above clip of Come Again (given unfortunate new overtones thanks to Sting's association with tantric sex) and download this lute duet with Edin Karamazov performed for Radio 3.

Sting - La Rossignol (Live)
Buy Songs from the Labyrinth

My favourite versions of Downland are those by the Skovmand-Gonzalez Duo (unimaginatively made up of Annelise Skovmand and Pablo Gonzalez). Skovmand strikes the right balance in her delivery. She never strays into the hideous bel canto style which, as well as not being suited to the detached melancholy of the songs, was not used in England at the time.

Their album Things Said Tomorrow is something of an oddity - it starts with a series of Dowland songs and finishes with a series of Beatles tunes.

Skovmand-Gonzalez Duo - Flow My Tears
Buy Things Said Tomorrow

Monday, October 16, 2006

Thee SPC Part 2: The Mardy Bums

It's so rare that the true originators of a scene get their due.

Without The Mardy Bums, there could not have been an Arctic Monkeys. The Monkeys' devotion to The Bums is obvious in their down-to-earth, documentary lyrics; catchy tunes; their attitude; they even went so far as to name one of their songs after the band.

Of course, the imitators can never match the originators. The Monkeys never capture the true Sheffield of whippets, Sean Bean and flat caps; their accents lack the 'wandering scouse' quality of the true Sheffield accent displayed by The Mardy Bums; their chav-chic missing the full beard so loved round these parts.

It's unfortunate but inevitable that a band containing so much talent couldn't stay together long. The original line-up (Oliver, Piers, Tarquin and Barty) fell apart recently due to a series of Tap-esque misfortunes. Oliver, Piers and Barty left to be replaced by Tarquin, Tarquin and Tarquin.

Their greatest song, Put Wood In Hole, mentions the Wicker which is a Sheffield road famous for being the home of the world's greatest fast food innovation. The Wicker boasts a puzzling number of 'Halal Fried Chicken' outlets one of which offers a 'Wicker Naan'. I'm not sure how much of a following The Wicker Man has in the Muslim community, but - even if it's none at all - it's the best culinary pun ever. Even better than lychees on toast.

The Mardy Bums - Put Wood In Hole

The Mardy Bums - Does It Say Doormat On Me Back?

Via MySpace

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Singles Released 16/10

Give me the Nobel Prize right now; I've discovered a way to go back in time: enter your local stereo-plate emporium, walk up to the new releases and be transported back to 1986 as you look at names like Meat Loaf, Tim Finn, Deacon Blue, Paul Carrack and, great googally-moogly, Shakin' Stevens.

Peak of the Week: The Blueskins - Change My Mind

A welcome re-release of this uptempo blues-rocker thanks to the hip, but decidedly cheap smelling, people of Axe/Lynx. Third best acoustic slide riff ever (after Beck's Loser and France Gall's Les Petits Ballons).

The Shakes - Liberty Jones

More Libertine-a-likes. I, for one, am still not bored of it.

The Shakes - Racy Rachel via MySpace

The Switches - Lay Down the Law

Most of the time they sound like you'd expect a band that's currently supporting Graham Coxon to: lo-fi with hummable tunes. On this single the rhythm section seem to have taken their cues from a North Korean marching band. Not much fun at all.

The Switches - Right the Wrong (demo) via MySpace

Ooberman - Crashing Ellipticals

One of the great forgotten bands of the 90s. They came along after Britpop had died on its hairy arse. People were too preoccupied trying to be glum to listen to joyful, orchestral pop tunes. It's a shame since Shorley Wall is a classic.

Here's the first single from their latest effort:

Ooberman - Carried Away via MySpace

The Broken Family Band - You're Like A Woman

Actually, probably better if you ignore the video. Hairy shoulders + strappy top = not a good look (take note Cheryl Tweedy).

The BFB seem to have ditched, and even taking the piss out of, their country sound in favour of rocking out with this single. They haven't left behind their way with a good tune.

Broken Family Band - Honest Man's Blues via their website

Kate Havnevik - Unlike Me

Does the world need another nutty Scando singing trippy pop songs? Yes.

Kate Havnevik - Show Me Love via her website

Absentee - There's A Body In A Car Somewhere

Inhabiting the little trod territory between The Magic Numbers and Arab Strap, There's A Body In A Car Somewhere features a perky guitar, a whistleable tune, Scotch mumbling and murder serving as a metaphor for relationship breakdown.

This is their earlier single Something To Bang:

Absentee - Something To Bang via MySpace

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I'm Sure There'll Be More Than One Unpleasant Surprise Before We're Done

Two years on and John Peel Day is still going strong. It's hard to imagine that for any other DJ. Chris Moyles Day anyone? Well, the thought of his death has some appeal.

Taking a leaf out of the great man's book, I'll stop the moronic babbling and get to the music. Here are some Peel session tracks from long standing favourites:

Ivor Cutler

The Scotch Peel Poet Laureate had already notched up 10 Peel sessions when The Fall were but in a glint in Granny's bongos.

From 1969 Bounce, Bounce, Bounce

From 1977 Get Away From the Wall

From 1983 Women of the World

From 1994 (20th Peel session) Sharks


Half Man Half Biscuit

From 1998 Deep House Victims' Minibus Appeal

From 1998 Four Skinny Indie Kids

From 1999 24 Hour Garage People

Via their website

Laura Cantrell

From 2001 Legend In My Time

From the 2003 Christmas show with Ballboy I Lost You

From last year's Peel Day Concert Nightclothes



For something less obvious. Masonna were one of the acts to appear at the 1998 Meltdown Festival that Peel curated. He described Masonna as, "a really quite frightening Japanese specialist in extreme noise."

Shock Rock Track 2 via

Other Stuff

Download Mighty Fall goodies including MES scribble fonts

Translate everything bleeding you write into fuckin' Mark E Smith language-ah.

Listen to last year's Peel Day show featuring Super Furry Animals, The Mighty Fall, Laura Cantrell, Misty in Roots, Venetian Snares, Jawbone and New Order.

Visit JP Tapes

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Singles Released 9th October

Peak of the Week: Cerys Matthews - Streets of New York

On her new album, Never Said Goodbye, Matthews has found a fruitful third way between the laid-back country stylings of her solo debut, Cockahoop, and the big, singalong choruses of Catatonia. Best of all, she's giving this single away for nowt.

Cerys Matthews - Streets of New York via her website

Beck - Cell Phone's Dead

Do you know what's to blame for the increasing secularistion in the West? Mobile phones. People used to head off into danger knowing that God was with them. Now they just have to check their mobile's charged up.

In days of old if you ran into trouble you had to shine a bat symbol into the sky and hope for the best. Now people know that, depending on the situation, they can call the police, the Samaritans, their mum or the Ghostbusters. That's why every horror film made in the last ten years has had to include the line, "My cell phone's dead".

The lyrics don't seem to be addressing this subject (or any subject at all):

Still, it's a pleasent enough ditty and he's giving it away free.

Beck - Cell Phone's Dead via Amp Camp

Johann Johannsson - The Sun’s Gone Dim & The Sky’s Turned Black

It's obvious from this video, of a performance of his, snappily titled, IBM401 A Users Manual that Johannsson is a creative, avantguard kind of a guy. But, where does he get it from? His parents couldn't come up with anything better than Johann Johannsson.

Tabby Callaghan - Take A Swing

Now that X-Factor has moved into its dull final stages, the remaining acts will be dreaming of fame to match that of the likes of Phillip Magee, 2 to Go and Tabby Callaghan.

If you don't remember, forshame, Tabby was the Irish rocker who gladly ditched his band to advance his own career. Such a cut-throat lack of loyalty should have served in well in the music biz but he has since disappeared. This lumpy piece of dull-rock might answer the mystery.

Tabby Callaghan - Won't Let Go via his website

Die! Die! Die! - Ashtray! Ashtray!

Finally, an antipodean band that don't sound like they've been encased in aspic since the mid-70's. With Steve Albini on knob-twiddling duties these exclamation loving New Zealanders are definitely a band to watch.

Die! Die! Die! - Out of the Blue via MySpace.

JJ Appleton - Walk Into The Room

Forget the single and just listen to Appleton's protest song about the RIAA and their 'I sue dead people' stance.

JJ Appleton - Downloaders Blues via his website

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Thee SPC Pt.1: Chuck

Sheffield has given the world many wondrous things: steel knives, Sean Bean and, most importantly of all, me. Thanks to THAT band there's a great deal of interest in the Sheffield music scene at the moment. Every Sheffield band worth getting excited about (and a fair few that aren't) have passed through Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation at some point.

Thee SPC was set up by members of Velodrome 2000, The Motherfuckers and Chuck. As well as releasing records by local bands they also put out Thee Humbug magazine. Issue 2 of which included a CD featuring early tracks by Arctic Monkeys and The Long Blondes which means it now changes hands on eBay for internet video community money.

Download Issue 1 and it's accompanying tracks

Chuck, as well as being the Daddies of the scene, make a damn fine racket themselves. Covering every genre you'd expected from a band from a landlocked city in the north of England: surf, rockabilly and blues-y rock. You can hear them supporting The Mighty Fall at The Boardwalk on Saturday or, if you're lazy, just download this:

Chuck - No, Not Ah via their website

One of the problems with instrumentals is naming them. There are two routes you can go:

1. Name it after a girl (Fur Elise, Jessica) in the forlorn hope of impressing her into bed. Beethoven wrote Fur Elise for Therese Malfatti who later turned down his marriage proposal and went for Jacob Malfatti von Rohrenbach who had a car and had been on the telly.

2. Name it after an in-joke (Eine Kleine Lift Musick, Griz's Golden Ticket).

With No, Not Ah Chuck have gone with the second. "No, not ah," was the catchphrase of Stuart 'Jerry Springer: The Opera' Lee and Richard 'Talking Cock' Herring on their mid-90's comedy show TMWRNJ (pronounced TMWRNJ).

It's not the first time they, like me, have been inspired by 90's comedy. On No One Died they sample this clip from The Day Today:

Chuck - No One Died via Thee SPC

Try as I might the universe won't let me get away from ukuleles. Here Chuck do a George Formby inspired version of their single Umm Na Nagay:

Chuck - Umm Na Nagay (Ukulele version) via their website.

For more Sheffield music check out:

Nothing But Green Lights
Sheffield Music
Shotgun, Bastard and Dribble (there will be more).

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Singles Released 25th September

Singles from David Hasselhoff and Gina G in the same week? It's clear that God is punishing us for something. All that remains is to find out what. My guess is Ryan Adams' rapping.

Peak of the Week: The Black Keys - Your Touch

After the understated, contract-fulfilling Chulahoma, their new album Magic Potion is a return to the gigantic riffery that they do so well. Expect guitar shops to ring with the sound of Modern Times in the near future (anything but 7 Nation Army would be a blessed relief).

Candie Payne - Take Me

Candie Payne lists Serge Gainsbourg as one of major influences and a quick listen to the songs on her MySpace confirms this devotion. Luckily, she carries of the James Bond guitars, swirling strings, throbbing bass and lusty vocals with a great deal of style.

Take Me has a more up-tempo, poppy, psychedelic feel which has seen her get airplay on BBCs 2 and 6. I for one can't wait to hear an album's worth of this stuff.

Take Me is backed by this smoky version of Iggy Pop's Nightclubbin'

Candie Payne - Nightclubbin'

Buy Take Me on iTunes

Angus and Julia Stone - Chocolates & Cigarettes

At the moment Australia is famous for churning out Dad Rock and animal teasing morons which is unfortunate as there are a huge number of talented singer-songwriters coming out of the country at the moment. Angus and Julia Stone are a case in point. I'd advise skipping the first section of this video with the loud-mouthed, 80's virago and on to the soft, lilting song. Quite why they decided to film this in what looks to be Sydney's hobo-murder capital, I don't know.

Razorlight - America

Common wisdom has it that in order to be a popstar these days you have be primped, buffed and pumped and survive on a strict diet of nettles and pencil shavings. Razorlight give hope to all uglies wanting a pop career. They must also be a comfort to dull, talentless numpties who churn out songs that sound like Haircut 100 cast-offs.

Trivium - Anthem (We Are the Fire)

One of the most disturbing trends of the last few years has been New Metal. What made the old metal bearable was it's tongue-in-cheek nature (evidenced by the number of bands claiming to be the inspiration of Spinal Tap). Even when it was trying to be funny New Metal was hopelessly po-faced. So we can all be grateful for the return of ridiculous hair metal.

This week sees releases from Sikth, Disturbed (who show they're kidding by covering Genesis) and the overlords of the resurgence Trivium (hilariously named after a medieval system of education).

Trivium - Like Light to the Flies via their website

Sikth - Mary Anne Hobbs Jingle via their MySpace

Love Is All - Make Out Fall Out Make Up

Delightfully higgledy-piggledy indie-pop. Perhaps God is just punishing those idiot enough to inflict Hoff and Gina on themselves while allowing us to listen to the good stuff like this:

Love Is All - Talk, Talk, Talk, Talk

Love Is All - Busy Doing Nothing

Via their website.

Hassle the Hoff all you like. He talks to his car and Pamela Anderson as if they're sentient human beings. He's obviously a mental.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Ukukulelele Pt.2

Type 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' into YouTube and you might expect a video of The Beatles or George Harrison. You might, at the outside, expect While My Guitar Gently Smurfs (Side note: changing one word to smurf and relieving it of all sense isn't clever or funny so shut up you tiny, blue bastards). Actually, the first hit you get is Jake Shimabukuro. What do you mean "Who"?

The ukulele, contrary to popular perception, isn't just for gently strumming. It can also be used as an vehicle for virtuosity. There are a number of people staking their claim as the 'Jimi Hendrix of the ukulele'.

Shimabukuro's ukulele version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps caused an OK Go sized splash in the ukulele community. He often uses guiar effects pedals and heavy distortion and loves his classic rock. As you can see on this clip which also provides further proof that Japanese telly is mental.

Another Hendrix aficionado and ukulele screamer is 17 year old Taimaine Gardner. Here performing Dick Dale's Pipeline:

The original Jimi Hendrix of the ukulele was Roy Smeck. In fact it would be more accurate (but vastly less comprehensible) to describe Hendrix as the Roy Smeck of the guitar. He deserves a post of his own but in the meantime smack your chops around this bravura performance of Tiger Rag:

She could hardly be described as a virtuoso (she'd only been playing a couple of weeks at this point) but I can't resist another slice of Miranda Mahalo with her sprightly tunes and adorable, chipmunk face. Here she's covering Ben Harper's Burn One Down:

Music at it's best for the herbally refreshed. You can follow Miranda's uke adventures on Miranda Learns the Uke.

I don't know if it's coincidence, family tradition or a stage name but Mahalo (as well as meaning 'thank you' in Hawaiian) are makers of fine ukuleles. Including these beauties:

And to think I was going to wish for world peace and an end to poverty for Christmas.

Expect the uke posts to run and run.