Single of the Week!
White Rabbits - ‘I’m Not Me’ (Mute)
‘I’m Not Me’ has that metallic sheen so often found on Brendan Benson’s more jittery numbers. And it’s wonderfully restless; changing direction so fast with each new time signature, the drums almost can't keep up. As I have had it up to my keester with wifty, wafty pop songs that have no purpose, I greeted White Rabbits with arms wide - cheering them along, like the clapping woodblocks of their percussion section. It's an unapologetic, proper pop song. Imagine!
Kindness - ‘That’s Alright’ (Female Energy / Polydor)
Adam Bainbridge's obvious glee in reworking samples from Trouble Funk’s 'Still Smokin'’ has resulted in ‘That’s Alright’. And his enthusiasm for 80s go-go is obvious when you read the note he wrote, in the credits to his video on YouTube. But I feel rather uncomfortable calling 'That's Alright' a Kindness single, given its closeness to the original. And I get a whole lot more tetchy, when I read the press release accompanying it, because it doesn’t mention Trouble Funk at all. Does this single belong to Bainbridge? I'm not sure it does. Is it good? Yes. Is pop's provenance important? You'd think, wouldn't you? Though this all feels like a misstep to me, the video - with Trouble Funk to the fore (and Bainbridge titting about with a drum machine in the background) - nearly redresses the problem. But if I'm honest, I get a whole lot more pleasure from watching Trouble Funk on a 1981 episode of The Tube than I do from Bainbridge's homage.
Jens Lekman - ‘I Know What Love Isn’t’ (Secretly Canadian)
Oh Jens Lekman, you’re so wry, with your observational observations and your conversational conversations that you have spun into lyrics, such as ‘Hey do you wanna go see a band?’ / ‘No, I hate bands. It’s always packed with men, spooning their girlfriends’. As this could obviously be a perfect description of a Jens Lekman gig (META), and all the concomitant, insufferably-askance couples who doubtless sing, wryly along, from the bottom of their pin badges, as if to say ‘Only we get it! Poor everyone else!’ I am finding ‘I Know What Love Isn’t’ a bit annoying. Everything on this song is twinkling and winking so very, very hard. And if the wind changes, it will stay like that.
Dan Bodan - ‘DP’ from ‘DP/Aaron’ EP (MMW1 / DFA)
Some things are beautiful precisely because they embody two opposite ideas; contrast is everything. And so it is with Dan Bodan - who looks as pale and wan as the skaters dan the park who will teach you to ollie; but who sings as smoothly as a Billie Ray Martin. With a plaintive, fidgety, bar-smoke air that allows him to get away with referencing Baudrillard as well as singing about how ‘If you want to teach me French philosophy, I’ll sleep with you’, Bodan’s lyrical marginalia takes on the sleaze of a kitchen-sink Gainsbourg, as his voice soars with a grand sort of intimacy. Two incredibly modern, bewitching torch songs, then. I’m excited.
Martha Wainwright - ‘Proserpina’ (V2)
According to myth, Ceres’ daughter Proserpina was kidnapped by Pluto and taken to the underworld, leaving her mother to wander the earth, leaving it barren, as she mourned her loss. So Wainwright’s cover of the last song Kate McGarrigle wrote before her death is a tricky watch for obvious reasons. Really you’d have to have a few switches off, to find it less than heartening.
MYSTYRYS - ‘Normals’ (Psychic Healing Network)
I do want to hit Mystyrys, quite hard, for every unnecessary and modish ‘y’ in their name. But I also want to snog them, just as many times, for the provoking dischordance and tinny, fidgety jangle they display on this, their debut single. I mean, the whole thing is recorded as if it was Mystyrys' intention to capture what ‘Normals’ would sound like, if you were sulking on the floor, twiddling, next to the drumkit. And the vocal performance is a carefree, indecipherable drawl. But there’s something very amiable - and a tiny bit magic - about just how ramshackle and inelegantly it has been presented. The b-side’s rubbish, mind.
Also out this Week!
Shuttle - ‘Halo’ EP (Ninja Tune)
The Vaccines - ‘Teenage Icon’ (Sony)
Illum Sphere - ‘H808ER’ (Young Turks)
Tes Elations - ‘May She’ (How To Be A Microwave Records)
The Heartbreaks - ‘Polly’ (Nusic Sounds)
Marika Hackman - ‘You Come Down’ (Paradyse Records)
We Are Augustines - ‘Book Of James’ (Oxcart Records)
Misery Guts - ‘Let Me On My Way’ (Electric Sheep)
Woodpecker Wooliams - ‘Sparrow’ (Robot Elephant)
Taffy - ‘Flower Chain’ (Club AC30)
House Of Hats - ‘Rivers Will Run’
We Three And The Death Rattle - ‘Hey Detonator!’ (pAw//PuRR)
Sleep Party People - ‘Gazing At The Moon’ (Blood & Biscuits)
Wall - ‘Magazine’ (Black Cab Sessions Records)
TOY - ‘Lose My Way’ (Heavenly)
Hundred Waters - ‘Thistle’ EP (OWSLA)
Wendy is on the internet, here. Have you noticed how The Vaccines are playing in a circle, a la Caribou, in their video? Bloody cheek.