Tuesday, January 27

Where Is Home?

I'm hung up on using Bloc Party song titles for headlines at the mo, but for this post, I just couldn't recall anything more fitting. See, while carrying out my fortnightly ritual of fast-forwarding through 120 Minutes until something intriguing clutches my ear, I tracked down FM Belfast, some indie-electro swarm from Iceland, not Belfast. And that go me thinking, about bands named after locations they're not actually from.

I mused over Newcastle six-piece Detroit Social Club, underachieving Ontario rockers Tokyo Police Club, Sante Fe-native Zach Condon's Beirut project, and Warsaw, who later became the one and only Joy Division. Actually, there's a whole inventory of them here, from Deletionpedia, built from pages Wikipedia has deleted (a darn-fine invention in itself).

But until Condon gets off his ass to release an actual proper verified new album (not this double EP thingy made to trick us!), then FM Belfast are my favourite Band Named After Place Who Aren't From Said-Place band. Just take note of 'Underwear', the best synth-piled pop tune of 08 I was never apprised of. I am now. Thank fuck for that.

FM Belfast 'Underwear'

Friday, January 23

Staying Fat

There's perhaps three things a day's worth of news invariably covers. The economic meltdown, Obama's intentions, and the rise and rise of obesity. Even this morning I was reading 'Why do some people never seen to get fat?', up on the BBC news site. Not one to sing my own biological praises in the face of an 'obesity timebomb', but I eat a lot, and it barely shows. McDonalds is my second favourite restaurant. Cheap food, toothsome burgers, a zippy service. I mean, what's not to love?

Hell it's even better when the Greatest Television Character Of All Time assists to promote it in a humiliating nonetheless rib-tickling piece of endorsement.

Bloc Party 'Staying Fat'

Thursday, January 22

Rockin' All Over The World

Please excuse the Status Quo-clamping headline, but for this jowl-dropping mural, I think it's entirely justified. I mean, is this not the phattest musical earth you've ever seen? I wonder what it sounds like. Probably a touch similar to the new Franz record; good in points, 'what-the-fuck' moments in others.
Hmm. So I fished around (searched iTunes) for the best song with the word 'World' in its title? Idlewild's killer 'You Held The World In Your Arms', Modest Mouse's spectacular 'World At Large' and The Strokes' dazzling 'Ize Of The World' all emerged. All world class numbers. But I've moved for 'Watch The World', an album track from the shortly-existed Box Car Racer. Tom DeLonge's yowly harmonies divide some. I fucking love it.

Box Car Racer 'Watch The World'

Friday, January 16

YouTube Killed The MTV2 Star

Or something. Ever turned down the volume on a TV show, switched it up on iTunes, forming your own kind of soundtrack to whatever it is your watching? Just me and that guy from Kings Of Leon who said it once in an interview? Okay then.

I don't like The White Stripes, but I just heard 'We're Going To Be Friends' from their 2001 'White Blood Cells' album the other day (get over it, I said I don't like them), and found this awesome video made by a bunch of infants on YouTube. It's well cool. Here...

That got me thinking about other cartoon-based videos made by general members of the public. I found a funny one. Here...

That got me thinking about other cartoon-based videos made by actual music video directors. I fondly remembered this brilliant one. Here...

The White Stripes 'We Used To Be Friends'
Coldplay 'The Scientist'
Bloc Party 'Pioneers'

Sunday, January 11

Next Big Thing For 2009 #5 - House That Jack Built

Of all the copious talents manifesting themselves inside Liverpool’s indie scene at present, there’s definitely a hunch for sugar-jacketed distorted powerpop, much of which casts back to the city’s incessant pizzazz and sassy charm. Elle S’appelle had it but split. goFASTER>> have it, as do Puzzle. But none more so than House That Jack Built, who strike as joyous as their nursery rhyme-thrusted name implies. As well as ‘When Skies Are Grey’ (labelled after an Everton FC fanzine) which I already blog’d about last August, the sweet string-fevered ‘There And Back Again’ is too about as chipper-ful as watching Rafa Benitez pull out an A4 piece of paper to a packed press conference only to do a Kevin Keegan. Go on HTJB, be a big thing.
Best SongWhen Skies Are Grey
House That Jack Built Myspace

Friday, January 9

Next Big Thing For 2009 #4 - Mike Bones

If the year 2008 belonged to any city, it was New York. They fuckin’ owned it, man. The capital of the Western world stood up in the midst of neverending Strokes side-projects, picked up some MGMT, some Vampire Weekend, and some TV On The Radio, and thunder bolted life-affirming musical disciple one after the other unswervingly onto the rest of the planet. And if Mike Bones is anything to go by, or real name Mike Strallow, or even ‘little Mike Bones’ according to his MySpace url, NYC could take 09 to boot and all. I blog’d about ‘What I Have Left’ months ago, but it’s so darn moving, and so darn filled with winsome minutes of classic despondency and pessesism (thus the perfect Dylan-trampled pop song), I just had to have it, or him, as one of my tips for this year. Please New York, keep breeding them superstars.
Best SongWhat I Have Left
Mike Bones Myspace

Wednesday, January 7

Next Big Thing For 2009 #3 - Cheeky Cheeky And The Nosebleeds

Some bands have just got it. That all-out sense for wholesome indie iced over with gobs of pop sensibility. Suffolk’s Cheeky Cheeky And The Nosebleeds are one of those bands, proven already by way of two waggish singles. And subsequent to its much-needed re-release this year, ‘Slow Kids’ will run alongside ‘Take Me Out’, ‘Yellow’ and ‘Time To Pretend’ for Song of the Century. It’s that fucking formidable. Not to mention judging by a headlining stint at Camden’s Koko back in the summer, CC&TN can cut it on the stage and all, somewhat down to singer Rory’s David Byrne-bred prances. Oh, and they’re not even as serious as The Wombats.
Best SongSlow Kids
Cheeky Cheeky And The Nosebleeds Myspace

Monday, January 5

Next Big Thing For 2009 #2 - Wave Machines

These are not only the best band in Liverpool. These are not only the best band known to England’s north-west. These are the best alternative popular music posse in Europe. So, to transmute the sapient script of reality TV ‘star’ Lemar, “If there’s any justice in the world, the debut album by Wave Machines will knock the socks off every living pulse in the sovereign state, lead to numerous sell-out headlining stints at Wembley Stadium, and make the band scrillions upon frillions of pounds”. That ol’ English quirk of keeping your true feelings locked inside one’s head shimmers through the electro-pop gold of ‘Punk Spirit’. The overthrows of gentle Mogwai build within ‘Dead Houses’ to fashion something splendid, miles above anything else you’ll track down on 120 Minutes. Considering almost every one of my favourite ‘renowned’ bands managed to release an album last year, I’m looking forward to Wave Machines’ effort more than any other in 09.
Best SongPunk Spirit
Wave Machines Myspace

Saturday, January 3

Next Big Thing For 2009 #1 - Mumford & Sons

I don’t remember much about the post-Britpop collapse of the early 21st century. Rumours bristle with tales of Ben Stiller starring in Limp Bizkit videos and Billy Corgan attempting a supergroup moniker’d Zwan. Zwan! However, besides all of that was a Soft Rock Revolution. Hello Coldplay. Hello Badly Drawn Boy. Hello Travis. The stupendous electro-fuelled uprising of the last couple of years, with near-perfect albums supplied by Klaxons and MGMT, has too barrelled through escorted by a kind of soft rock, alt.folk coup of its own. I’m talking Noah & The Whale, Laura Marling, Eugene McGuinness. And now, Mumford & Sons. It was a fine, actually-sunny August night in the upstairs of a west London pub when I decided these were my favourite new band. Rousing pop gobbet after the other, M&S have got the goods, thus world domination is only fair.
Best SongWhite Blank Page
Mumford & Sons Myspace

Thursday, January 1

Our Survey Said...

This exact time twelve months ago I made five ‘Next Big Thing’ predictions, settling on five newfangled bands to wangle themselves some kind of indie success over the year. So, in the words of the rather irksome cheesy DJ/presenter Vernon Kay, ‘Our Survey Said…’

Elle S’appelle – At one point, these were the most exciting band in Liverpool. A single out on Moshi Moshi, hometown gigs every other week, a few plays on Zane, a feature in NME – Only all went tits up when one-third decided studying for some uni degree was more important than pepping up the nation’s souls with downright cheery indie-pop. I’m still not over the split.
Best Song - Monkey Shine

Cajun Dance Party – Another debut album that busted right through my albums of the year, finishing 8th, these had the bustle to match the release, but then kinda mislaid it. Maybe if the band’s press release from earlier last year came true, the one that said ‘Two Albums in 2008’, there’d be less to carp on about. Considering only the one actually made the cut, it does however mean we’re likely to get a new CDP record this year. Yay!
Best Song - Amylase

Pete & The Pirates – Recapitulating what I claimed one year ago, there should be more of a buzz about this lot. The debut, which nabbed 5th place in my albums of the year, was set free to very little solicitude. Blame the label? Nah, that’s how Stolen roll. Blame the music media? Not entirely. Blame the people? Yes, why don’t you care, people? Now if the tweeby genius of ‘Come On Feet’ isn’t enough to coax you, buy it for your uncle, at least.
Best Song - Come On Feet

goFASTER>> - The Wombats’ understudies brought out one or two singles on decent indie label Alcopop last year, and patently built themselves a seemly gig following. Then the guitarist left, though word has it a new line-up’s been marshalled. All in all, it took said-Wombats a good few years to get where they’ve gotten, so judging by that, this posse’s time could still come.
Best Song - Goodtimes

The Xcerts – It’s bizarro that a whole calendar year has gone by since my prognosis these’d get signed up, unleash a fine first album and nick all of Biffy’s post-‘Puzzle’ disciples in the process. Bizarro because we’re pretty much back where we began, nothing’s moved forward, no melodramatic punk-pop record is available for me to fall in love with. But just harking back to things like ‘Just Go Home’, it stills rings rip-roaringly fresh, and thus their hour still very much awaits.
Best Song - Just Go Home

I didn’t wanna make this post too lengthy, so I’m gonna stick up my five tips for this year over the next few days…