Some wise old stick once warned how power corrupts. And though my own influence over (dread term) "The Industry" is flimsy as a cornershop carrier bag, I had a tiny taste of power this week.
As regular readers will know, last week I was Gone Fishing - which meant doing the usual, tiresome out of officing. I suggested in my pingback emails that any PRs after a review would need to call me, and that moreover (I was feeling rash), that if they wanted to bag the coveted Single of the Week spot, they could sing their single to me, down the phone.
One brave soul responded, promising to call after she had done her vocal warm-up. But as the seconds on the week ticked down, I heard nothing. So - disappointed as a teen gifted Adibas trainers in their Christmas sock, I did what modern cats are wont to do and moaned about it on Twitter. My gripe being that what The Music needs now is underpaid PR yoots willing to give it 110% for my personal amusement. And that I - being eminently bribable (this means YOU DC Recordings, with your shockingly wantable Emperor Machine poster) wanted to be sung to, because I was bored of all this nonsense whereby one gathers all the records and then listens to all the records and then finds the videos for all the records, before making a decision. I mean WHAT IS THAT, when you have the power to make singmyprettiessing ACTUALLY HAPPEN?
Single of the Week!
The Candle Thieves - ‘The Sunshine Song’ (Alcopop Records)
Casio pop which sounds painfully cute / is played on minature, toytown Joannas / has darlingly dinky little glockenspiel runs? Well, yes. And though that sort of thing is emphatically not my bag, I feel confident it will appeal to those of you mourning the likes of Aberfeldy. Or those with a fondness for perky ditties what are darker than they first seem - because this song is actually all about how we’re all going to die. So not quite as cute as it sounds. MySpace here.
And here - for oneweekonly - is brave young Andre McDonald, a man with no shame but not a little dedication, gamely doing his bit FOR THE MUSICS.
Gawd bless him, he even pledged to sing it in the club style. So I suggest any musicians among you sign up with him forthwith, because essentially he will do * anything * to make dorks like me write about his bands.
BUT DO YOU KNOW, THERE IS A TWIST.
Wha? [< < This is you.]
READER, HE LIED.
Can you handle the truth, everyone? There I were - tra-la-la - off to MySpace, when I saw that these so-called Candle Thieves actually released their record SOME WEEKS AGO. Which is emphatically not what Bad Andre promised me on the blower. So, in a spirit of fairness, I have left a hidden message in the rest of this week's round-up. And let’s face it, you don’t need to be Alan Turing to spot it.
Banjo or Freakout -'Left It Alone' (Half Machine Records)
It is around THIS time of year that I like to find a RECORD whose rich, Wall of Sound production suits the coming of Christmas and the drawn-in nights. Something like The Walkmen's '138th Street', say - a record I almost always listen to on Jesus' Big Day because even though it IS extraordinarily sadface, it's not without hope and sounds as rich as double Pudd. Very happily indeed, 'Left it Alone' is another - and despite it not being a SINGLE about Santa kissing Mommy it oozes into your hearing cavities like an extra-helping OF custard - all slightly sozzled dreamy swayings and brain half turned to brandy. And despite THE fact that Banjo or Freakout are very definitely newgaze, I do not hold this against them because they are Good Revivalists. One tiny criticism (and an entirely personal one at that), I feel the backing track could do with being even louder - not least the blaring, dischordant stabs on the chorus which sound wonderful; like brass gone wrong. Absolutely the most warming record of the WEEK, by miles and miles.
Cheryl Cole - ‘Fight For This Love’ (Polydor)
I have tried, but I cannot see how the love of a man dreadful enough do a sick on the girl he cheats with is worth fighting for. And it's not as if self-revelatory pop doesn't work, because Timberlake's deliciously hinty video and lyrics for Cry Me A River still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand to attention, seven years later. Maybe it's just that we don't want Cheryl to fight for this chap, cos ees not wurfit. But mainly it's the fact that this single - despite having skiploads of goodwill on its side - just isn’t nearly whizzy enough. She does look incredibly winsome in that hat though.
Young Soul Rebels - ‘I Got Soul’ (Universal)
Naturally it would be churlish for me to point out that the likes of Pixie Lott are not * exactly * top of one's list when choosing younguns synonymous with 'soul'. It might also be nasty for me to tell you that this is a godawful, hactual abomination of a single - falling prey to the show-off squawking that nearly always ruins massed, sleb charity choirs. But let's be entirely - and I mean entirely - serious for a second. War Child are shockingly useful sorts who do practical things for children what are almost guaranteed to have had a shitter time than you. So rather than buy this single, have a think about donating the three quid you might have spent on that final, unnecessary pint that sendsyouovertheedgeintotheboozechasmofdoom. You can do that here. I promise I will too and then we can get back to the business of being silly about records. I don't know, I just read about what they do on their website and sort of hated myself. So shall we do a good thing if we can? Yes? Yes.
Seeland - 'Captured’ (LoAf)
Barrelling along like a runaway jangle train, 'Captured' sounds a little like the Super Furries might, had they spent their stewdent days in Postcard-era Scotland and attended the University of Twinkle Pop. And it has the shuffly air of the Betas, except much more straight forward. All in all, pretty irresistible.
Riva Starr - ‘I Was Drunk feat. Noze’ (Made To Play)
Anyone who has ever heard a Jesse Rose record will be well aware that this is a man who is rather keen on making sure house music doesn’t take itself too serious. So it should be no surprise to learn that ‘I Was Drunk’ (on Rose’s label) - is daft as a brush, giddy as all hell and about as able to keep a straight face as a corpsing amateur theatrical. It's also this week's official French Entry (we are averaging two a week, and this is even more French than that Air record). I swear they are doing it on purpose, the crazy swines.
Vowels - ‘On Up!’ (LoAF)
Bewildering, dizzying and dense, this is squall-tronica that starts out all Moroder jabbery and ends with the sort of mental, insistent drums that indicate a fondness for what we will call beautiful chaos. Do you know, I am extremely impressed with these LoAF people. Vowels' MySpace is here.
Lake Heartbeat - ‘Mystery’ (Free download, from the nice people at Service)
An inordinately pretty and rather generous taster from Lake Heartbeat’s long player 'Trust in Numbers', offered for nought pence here. And it’s a fading sunset, balearic shimmerer all about love gone wrong.
Alice Russell - ‘Lights Went Out: LJM Mix’ (Little Poppet)
Erstwhile Quantic Soul Orchestra vocalist Russell releases a special 7". And it’s the Laura J Martin re-rub that really appeals, with its swirling folk flutes and Grimm fairytale spookiness. A good tune for your Halloween party, is what I am saying. More here.
Copy Haho – ‘Wrong Direction’ (Too Pure)
Rather amiable bit of ramshackle indiepop from them scampy Scots who've been supporting Los Campesinos! You can buy it here.
Kings of Convenience - ‘Boat Behind’ (Virgin)
Last week a friend of mine declared on Facestalk that he had a man-crush on Erlend Øye and more, that Øye made him wish he was lankier and better on the guitar. 'Boat Behind' will not do anything to dissuade those of you already converted to KOC's fulsome charms, and it is by far the jauntiest record in this week's selection.
Tigers That Talked - ‘Artificial Clouds’ (Bad Sneakers)
Very pretty videothing and lush, eddying violins.
Also Out This Week!
Air France - ‘GBG Belongs To Us’ (Sincerely Yours, for more go here)
Tilly And The Wall - ‘Falling Without Knowing’ (Moshi Moshi)
Local Natives - ‘Camera Talk’ (Infectious Records)
The Chapman Family – ‘Virgins’ (Electric Toaster)
The Twilight Sad - ‘Seven Years Of Letters’ (Fat Cat)
Way Tangent - ‘Skills To Discuss’ (Self-release, available on iTunes)
The Brothers Movement - 'Standing Still' (Rocket Girl Records)
This is where you can find Wendy on Twitter, where she is fairly reliable, despite the fact that she texts like a pensioner.