Seriously, I mean, PM prides itself on being pretty clued up on “what’s happening”, but for some reason we totally ignored Grizzly Bear. We even saw them at ATP for about twenty nice-enough minutes, but obviously not the bit of the set where they did THIS:
Which is obviously tremendous. Been sent this single to review and it’s unstoppable. Been listening to it on repeat for some hours now… also doing some back-catalogue exploring, and thoroughly enjoying it. Mostly, it has to be said, we keep going back to this one performance. It’s the restraint, the accuracy, the poise and the final moments when the climactic “whoo-aaa-ooooh…” arrives circa 3:31. Try that on.
“This is a song about some dresses…”
Very few artists would prompt immediate PRESS CAMPAIGNING from PM, but suffice to say Dananananaykroyd are one of them. One member down (again), they’re still special and destined for notoriety (maybe moreso than popularity, but who’s to say they aren’t mutually exclusive?). Either way, Stacy at Bang On PR, YES, I will definitely post this on my site. Because it’s a winner.
Some Dresses, as you should know, is one of the band’s finer compositions. Intricate and with some innovative guitar work, it’s about dancing in a dress and making a dress and shouting about it and hips and all that. In the old recoring of it, there was a nifty guitar line towards the end that did a crazy Faustian evocation of a spinning wheel, a la Charles Gounod. It hasn’t translated quite so clearly to the album recording, but COME ON. From the first time I heard it (I’m estimating it was somewhere towards the end of 2006), a month has not passed without some version of it being played in the house. Fine, fine.
Have a little visit.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll (Polydor)
With the majesty of the New York trio’s third LP It’s Blitz! well and truly sealed, it remains only for us to pick over the singles in an effort to throw praise on them once again. Come on, folks! Praise them! Everyone’s doing it! Heads Will Roll begins with a synth intro not dissimilar from Queen’s I Want To Break Free, but rather than Freddie Mercury dressed as a housewife, Karen O is thrust before us: enigmatic, magnetic as ever. Because she now sees her voice as an instrument, not merely the focal point atop instrumental wizardry, we’re treated to an ever-more nuanced and considered performance, changing in timbre and colour, but precise and needle-sharp when it needs to be.
But what the balls is she on about? Silver on the wet streets? Glitter over everything? Off with their heads?! This is the sort of disco-gone-gory that might be more aligned with the ugly, solemn, Quaalude-enhanced side of the genre, but the sass and swagger remain totally intact. As Karen O’s foxing words trip out of her mouth and splat on the dancefloor, the listener is left in no doubt as to what kind of party we’re attending.
Even the video (in which a man turns into a wolf and rips the band and assorted revellers to fucking shreds with balletic aplomb) lets us know that this is not a light-hearted (of glass) affair. The drama has to come from the frisson of direct wordage in a style normally associated with the human act of frivolous dance. But then again, don’t all the best disco songs deal with considerably darker issues than the music suggests? With Heads Will Roll, Yeah Yeah Yeahs show us their updated version of that maxim and produce one of their most entrancing and consummate singles to date.
BOOM, it’s out and you know it. This was snaffled from Artrocker magazine (IT TAKES UP A WHOLE PAGE, LAD!)
Anti-Pop Consortium – Apparently (Big Dada)
This free download from Anti-Pop Consortium’s forthcoming album (PM has a copy, watermarked and personalised…) assembles their tenets perfectly. Apparently is wormy and by no means immediate, even though it’s got a monstrous hook. Only brains as warped as those in APC could make such a feature of their relaxed intelligence, and they collectively trip over themselves in their rush to recline, all in an agreeably brief timescale of two and a half minutes.
That they’ve elected not to polarise their famed clinical deliveries with emotive subject matters makes the whole song deliciously ‘other’. The undulating free-forms of lyrics preoccupied with Blackberries and HD are simultaneously machined and enveloping, a quiet and malevolent mix that provides tremendous accentuation to the Kraftwerk-esque robotics of the hook… all you need to do is repeat “APPARENTLY” like one of Johnny 5’s compadres from Short Circuit and you’ve got it down. The album, Fluorescent Black, looks to be totally ingenious.
This is, according to the press release, going to be TOTES FREE for download from Amazon and the Ninja Tune site. I’ve just looked on Amazon, and yep. BANG.
Pop Levi – Police $ign (Counter)
Oh, I get it, dollar signs look like an ‘S’. Right. Childish by name, one supposes, childish by nature. Indeed, Pop Levi’s Police $ign begins with some rhythmic spitting and soon cavorts into primary-aged dullard rock histrionics. The monster that is the elusive riff, as a concept, can be seen in embryonic form here. It is slightly too simplistic, but still pleasingly vigorous. Think about The Hives. (Now stop thinking about The Hives. That’s no fun). Luckily for Pop Levi (formerly Ladytron’s bassist, oh well…), he has elected to include the odd lyrical drop of hilarity-phlegm – “it was happenstance, got me caught without my pants…” Apart from that, it’s over in a flash and doesn’t mean anything.
The flip, Terrifying, is not as good. Another riff, but slower, and with a neat mix of the major and minor thirds, but that’s about it.
Police $S$$SSS$ign is available on Counter Records from June 1st. Go here.
Left With Pictures – Every Stitch, Every Line (Organ Grinder)
If there’s one thing you mightn’t level at Left With Pictures, it’s that they have an identikit sound. With this latest single, the first from their forthcoming album, they’ve begun to settle into themselves a little. Their Secretly EP saw them hitting a stride, each recording a vignette of sweetness, intrigue and devilish complexity, and it’s a fantastic thrill to see that this has now become their benchmark. Every Stitch, Every Line is a totally charming musing on the nature of newness and authenticity – “Every slide… they’ve all been tried…” sings Stuart Barter, finishing off by saying that “there’s a gang who are ahead of you, but you’re very far behind…” Such knowledge of the nature of creativity will stand them in good stead for the future and, hopefully, make them aware of how hard they’ll have to work to match this.
The b-side, Her Father’s Nose, takes a more traditionally romantic form, but is still effortlessly quirky. The plopping piano in particular accentuates Barter’s odd lyrics that describe himself as both a singer and a swine. Again, the arrangements are divine, although a little simpler, and totally in keeping with the hyper-personal sentiments. It’s a real joy that, like We Clutched on the Secretly EP, the arrangements are being tailored to the increasingly interesting and engaging verbal constructs, be they lusting or wistful or joyous. A great sign for the forthcoming album.
Visit the band with your ears here.
Idle Lovers – All Control (Tast)
“They write top-notch toe-tappers and for that I thank them.” – Phill Jupitus.
I managed to read a whole interview with Tyondai Braxton while this one track played. It’s only three and a half minutes long. That can’t be right. The only explanation I can think of is that the three tracks on this single rolled over one another and landed me unceremoniously back at the beginning of the disc without having noticed. Indeed, a more careful listen (honest, I don’t always read while working…) shows that though the tempos and timbres change a little, nothing of Idle Hands changes enough to warrant much passing interest. Slick, Borrell-esque tales with bouncing beats, and not much else.
Phill Jupitus sits, reading an interview with Tyondai Braxton. Engrossed though he is by Braxton’s occasionally cold responses and methodical approach, it is not enough to stop his toe from tapping to the music he’s just put on. Braxton can wait – this is something that deserves his gratitude. He can’t get enough of the jerky pop fun and warm sounds of All Control. Those other two tracks repeat the track equally successfully, and our Phill is sold.
The only purpose this single serves is to illustrate the gulf between Phill Jupitus and I.
This is out next week, Monday 11th I think. Hear here.