Shotgun, Bastard and Dribble

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Singles Released 27th November

Peak of the Week: Kelly Joe Phelps - Big Shaky

Along with Bob Brozman and Jerry Douglas, Kelly Joe Phelps is one of the kings of lap steel guitar playing (as proved in this YouTube clip). However, in the last few years he seems to have abandoned the lap steel in favour of more conventional playing methods.

The latest album, Tunesmith Retrofit, continues this trend. Big Shaky is a showcase for his loose, bluesy folk music; his guitar playing; and his propulsive rhythm section. I still think it's a shame he doesn't play lap steel anymore - there are plenty of great guitarists around, it's good to hear invention brought to the lap steel. Even more of a shame about the harmonica on this track.

Kelly Joe Phelps - Big Shaky

Kelly Joe Phelps - The Anvil

Via his website

Matchsticks - Duvet

Glasgow electroclashers. Used to be called Flying Matchstick Men. Opening for Human League. Kitsch, catchy, annoying. Take your pick.

Flying Matchstick Men - Duvet (Demo) via One Records

The King Blues - Mr Music Man

The ukuleles are taking over; don't say I didn't warn you.

The King Blues are a London squatter band who make acoustic, politically conscious ska music. They count, left wing activist and writer of Pirates of the Caribbean, Tariq Ali. According to Ali, The King Blues make, "rough, radical music that should unsettle the rulers of this country." It's hard to imagine Blair having too many restless nights over this pleasant, summery ditty; but best of luck to them.

This ukulele kills fascists.

The King Blues - Mr Music Man (Demo) via their website.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Saint Cecilia: Patron Saint of Music

Merry Saint Cecilia Day to one and all.

It seems strange that music plays such a huge part in so many people's lives, yet we don't celebrate the Patron Saint of Music's day at all. National Patron Saint Days are all celebrated in the manner that best suits that nation: St. Patrick by drunkenness, St. David by leeks and daffodils, St. George by brow furrowing discussions about why we don't celebrate St. George's Day properly. St. Cecilia's Day should be celebrated, and it's up to us music fans to get things started.

A quick recap of the St Cecilia story for those of you who that were making out behind the bins at Bible Camp. Cecilia, a good little Catholic girl, was forced into marriage with Valerian, an evil pagan. Wanting to keep herself pure for God, Cecilia told Valerian that she was being watched over by a guardian angel and there was no telling what would happen if he tried to enter the kingdom of haven. To avoid his amorous advances, rather than giving him one off the wrist to shut him look like most Catholic girls, she sang along with the music coming from a nearby church - probably making a quip along the lines of, "That's the only organ I'm interested in tonight."

Valerian was obviously none too chuffed with this course of events.

"What are you playing at? You're not Robbie Williams; you can't just start loving angels instead."

He demand, not unreasonably, to see this alleged angel. Cecilia pointed out that couldn't see this, or any, angel until he had been baptised. I think it speaks volumes of men's desperation for a quick shag that - rather than give up, go home and knock one off in front of Hollyoaks: In The City - he went to find Pope Urban and got himself converted.

Sure enough, Valerian returned to Cecilia to find her chatting with a massive, fuck-off, fiery angel. After this revelation, Cecilia and Valerian went round converting people to Christianity. The local pagan hocho didn't take to kindly to this and had Valerian, together with all those Cecilia converted, executed. He then dispatched a pair of thugs to ice Cecilia. They struck her in the neck with an axe three times but, in an unlikely turn of events, Cecilia survived three more days of unbearable agony before dying. Still, at least that marriage ended more happily than Paul McCartney's.

That joyful little tale aside, here are my proposals for the St Cecilia's Day celebrations:

- Spend all night hugging someone while listening to Jeff Buckley.
- Open all your windows and play music very loudly for the benefit of any nearby unwilling brides.
- Hit Britney Spears in the throat three times with an axe.
- Taunt Chris Eubank with the phrase 'St Cecilia's Day celebrations'.

Any further suggestions are more than welcome.

Sala Santa Cecilia

Download "Sala Santa Cecilia" (mp3)
from "Sala Santa Cecilia"
by Fennesz Sakamoto
KAB America

Download "Cecilia's Day Serenade" (YouSendIt)

Buy at eMusic

Monday, November 20, 2006

Singles Released 2Oth November

Peak of the Week: Noisettes - Don't Give Up

Their website describes The Noisettes music as being, "schizophrenically comtradictive." I'm not sure whether it's more dismaying to believe that no one's bothered to proof read their bio, or that they felt the million existing words in the English language were not sufficient to describe their straight forward blues rock. And, while I'm ranting, I wish musicians wouldn't call their music 'schizophrenic' to mean 'goes quiet, then loud.' Schizophrenia has nothing to do with having a split personality or, for that matter, with having a sledgehammer approach to dynamics; it's a serious mental condition that leads to suicide of one in ten suffers.

That, together with the fact they are currently supporting Muse, would be enough for me to dismiss the band without even bothering to listen to them. Luckily, I heard a demo version of this single before finding any of this out.

Blood Red Shoes - You Bring Me Down

Blood Red Shoes go with the now standard duo format of one guitarist/singer and one drummer. However, they make a radical departure through gender realignment and playing Gang of Four-style sharp guitar rather than swampy blues rock.

Blood Red Shoes - ADHD

Blood Red Shoes - Meet Me At Eight

Via their website

The Be Be See - You K Gold

Cheapo electronic band The Be Be See were signed after a grand total of three gigs and it shows. They are high on concept but low on tunes. Expect them to be inexplicably popular.

Be Be See - See Facts

Be Be See - FOX

Via MySpace

Monday, November 13, 2006

Singles Released 13th October

Peak of the Week: White Magic - Katie Cruel

They love their freak-folk at Drag City, and I love them for loving it. White Magic are one of the leading lights of the medieval-psychedelia scene in modern day Brooklyn. On Katie Cruel their song is stripped back to a couple of guitars and Mira Billotte's startlingly spooky voice. A week late for Halloween but good at any time of year.

When Pitchfork reviewed The Light they were even more baffling in their description than usual, "The song in total describes a gentle pitch and yaw, like liquid sloshing in a bucket, reflecting back a cockeyed world symmetrically distorted by concentric ripples." Well, that clears that up.

White Magic - The Light via Drag City

Circulus - Song of Our Despair

Also going medieval on our asses are Circulus. As you can see from the above video for My Body is Made of Sunlight, Circulus could never be accused of taking themselves too seriously. I suggest you don't take them seriously either.

iForward, Russia! - Nineteen

In Vietnam it was nineteen, n-n-n-n-n-n-nineteen. I love the conceit of numbering your songs rather than naming them, I intend to follow the same concept with my children, but when you get to nineteen you simply have to cover Paul Hardcastle. As it is, this is okay, but certainly no twelve.

iForwad, Russia! - Four via their website

Bonnie Prince Billy - Cold and Wet

Video of the week and another thumbs up for Drag City. His recent releases might have seemed like Prince Bonnie Oldham was taking the piss, but The Letting Go is his best album to date.

Morning After Girls - Shadows Evolve

Morning After Girls appear to have 1,555,734,937 friends on MySpace, suggesting that a quarter of the world's population can't get enough sub-Dandy Warhols guff.

Morning After Girls - Shadows Evolve (Video) via their website

Emma Bunton - Downtown

Inferior in every way to the hauntingly beautiful original version by Groundskeeper Willie.

Groundskeeper Willie - Doontoon via Simpson Crazy

Little Man Tate - Man I Hate Your Band

Fake Tales of San Francisco II: This Time It's Not Quite As Good. Still a pleasant listen nevertheless.

Little Man Tate - This Girl Isn't My Girlfriend
Little Man Tate - Hello Miss Lovely
Via their website

Dogs - Soldier On

More than a hint of The Jam about this band, they're supporting Paul Weller later this month, which is no bad thing. And Tuned to a Different Station answers the age old question, "What rhymes with 'somnambulate'?" A: Nothing.

Dogs - Tuned to a Different Station via MySpace

Monday, November 06, 2006

Singles Released 6th November

God, there's some rubbish out this week. Jonathan 'Charlotte Church' Shalit's latest assault (and I use the word advisedly) on the chart Mr Skillz & His Crazy Girls. Apparently, they, "have spent this year locked in the studio, writing and recording tracks." If there's any justice in the world, they'll be locked up for much longer. There's the unlikely septeting of U2 and Green Day (as much of a mess as you'd expect). 'Glamour' model and X-Factor reject Michelle Marsh releases her debut squawk on an innocent and unsuspecting public. All Saints make a return due to overwhelming public indifference. The kerfuffle over Madonna's baby-heist antics has meant this release has been a little overshadowed. A fact for which we should be eternally grateful. Most disturbing of all is Paris Hilton's seduction of an under age boy - is she really hoping to spark a trend for paedo-chic?

Peak of the Week: Tobias Froberg - Somewhere in the City

The latest Swedish signing to Poptones - doesn't sound like The Hives. He was one of the acts, along with Jose Gonzalez and Tarantula, to feature on the Cowboys in Scandinavia collection which suggests there's some real talent on the ranches of the frozen north.

This single displays a Nick Drake style rolling guitar paired with paired with a range of sqeeks, scapes and bangs and featuring an irresistable melody.

Here are a couple of tracks from his debut album album, For Elisabeth Wherever She Is. The Nick Drake comparison is particularly clear on So I with a distinctly Richard Thompson sounding lead guitar.

Tobias Froberg - So I

Tobias Froberg - What Are You Gonna Do Part 1

Via his website

Kasabian - Shoot The Runner

Such a stylish video. Who would have thought the iPod ads could have been made to look good by making the background black, the people day-glo and adding a bit of psychedelic bukkake? The songs pretty good too, so long as you don't mind listening to something that occasionally strays into Gary Glitter territory.

Mojave 3 - Puzzles Like You

There's four of them, they come from Newquay (pause for repair of aching sides). Still knocking out the mildly pleasing country music.

Mojave 3 - Puzzles Like You via MySpace

The Pigeon Detectives - I Found Out

Fresh off support slots for the likes of Kaiser Chiefs and Milburn and their appearance at the BBC's Electric Proms (watch highlights of their set here). I might have dreamt this but was there a time when not every new indie band sounded a bit Libertines?

Pigeon Detectives - Don't Know How To Say Goodbye via MySpace

Gnarls Barkley - Who Cares?

Couldn't have put it better myself.