Thursday, July 26

Dopest New Band In The World Today Not Called Spector #3

Paws

Three lads-but-not-'lads'-lads from Glasgow that sound nothing like Twin Atlantic (despite YouTube's coaxing) but a bit like Yuck and even Splashh (aka Dopest New Band In The World Today Not Called Spector #2). I believe they call this a movement.

Tuesday, July 24

Dopest New Band In The World Today Not Called Spector #2

Splashh

Aside from that highly swag extra "h", this East London foursome are here to bring back the fuzzy alt.rock that Hüsker Dü once founded and the Pixies made famous. Someone needs to tell the bassist that 'flat caps' are about as dope as Conor Maynard, though.

Sunday, July 22

Dopest New Band In The World Today Not Called Spector #1

Swim Deep

These four boys from Birmingham have played the odd show with Spector and plainly follow the same feel-God indie-pop GPS. Their T-shirts are mad-baggy and their Converse grungy enough to pass the Sick Fence. What more could you ask for?

Saturday, July 21

"I'm at a paaaaayphooone trying to caaaall home, all of my chaaange I spent on youuu"

I HATE Maroon 5. Yes, they're fronted by a Jewf. Yes, said-Jewf has lots of dope tats. And yes, they helped make 'Moves Like Jagger' a GN-GGN-GGP (Guilty Non-Guilty Guilty Non-Guilty Guilty Pleasure).

Howevz, they have made some of the most crappy, phony, rip-offy popular musicalness known to space since, like, when Feeder were big enuf to sell out Wembley (Arena) or something.

I mean, Quentin Tarantino lost all his Spielberg-class when he told Hottest DJ In The World 4eva Zane Love that "Maroon-boy 5" were his flavor favs. It was an embarrassment, kidz. An utter embarrassment!



Howevz, Maroon-boy 5's latest single, titled 'Payphone', is kinda, erm, tuneful. But way more well put-together and catchy and melodious than their other shit.

I mean, it's not like I suddenly just started liking crappy, phony, rip-offy popular musicalness and decided this is the latest piece of Apple pie*.



*It's entirely possible I just started liking crappy, phony, rip-offy popular musicalness and decided this is the latest piece of Apple pie.

Thursday, July 12

Music Matters

Frank Ocean 'channel ORANGE' (Def Jam)

"FRANK OCEAN IS GAY!" proclaimed the news flashers and their cousins last week, jolting the brohood like Kim K just made Kanye bring FUBU back. There's no denying Ocean's declaration is one Revolutionary Moment for R&B/hip-hop, and as wary as it is to suppose otherwise, it's nice to believe his statement is little to do with having an album shoved out days later. But all that hoopla aside, 'channel ORANGE' is simply 20 minutes longer than it needs to be; if Frank wants torchbearer status for his supply, he's gonna have to mow the flab, maaan. Much too much was a drag of the mixtape that brought him to those 'tips for 2012' lists, too, although it is less bothersome here. 'Thinkin Bout You's soft, stirring disposition - the kind Ocean's fellow sensitive associate Drake wouldn't spurn - sees Ocean try on a creaky vocal later evident in the as-dazzling 'Bad Religion' and André 3000-starring 'Pink Matter'. But for all the sultry, stringy R&B, moments like 'Sierra Leone', 'Sweet Life' and 'Monks' just feel out of keeping, while 'Fertilizer' is 40 seconds of uncalled-for exaggeration. Fair play, though, to Ocean for being game enough to swagger groovier sounds at points; 'Lost' works wonders, as he confesses no love for a girl he "can't believe [he] got her out here cooking dope" atop honky keys a more honest, less nagging OutKast might hire. 'channel ORANGE' does have the promise of a great album, but Ocean's need to over-fiddle and experiment has led to too many 'wtf?' spells to be considered one now. Maybe next time...

Best Track
'Lost'

Tuesday, July 10

#indieisback

The Spector album ain't even dropped yet, but it already feels like 2005 again.

Today, not only have we welcomed back Brandon F and his Killers, but Kele O and his Blocs have too landed safely home with NEW, ACTUAL MUSIC for the first time in a whole decade. (Fine, it's only been three years, but it feels mad-long.)



First to da Vegas leaders and their new album's earliest offering 'Runaways'. Needless to say, it's as ballsy as Jodie Marsh in the ol' lesbian ring. Like, the very first few seconds are basically what the 'Star Wars Episode 1' score should have been. Then sweetass strummy strings bedrock that golden voice we don't realise how much we miss till it's gone.

Brandy's on about some "blonde-haired, blue-eyed" gal "playing in the sand", obvs. Only Brandy! Bolting drums and guitars chase up and get all semi-Slash-glammy on our behinds, as the song powers to its chorus like all gr8 Killers hits do. Brandy yelps: "We got engaged on a Friday night, I swore on the head of our unborn child that I could take care of the three of us." So about his fam pre-second kid, then?

He later yelps (in the chorus): "We're all just runaways. I knew that when I met you, I'm not gonna let you runaway." And he later-later yelps: "There's a picture of us on our wedding day, I recognise the girl but I can't settle in these walls." Ouchy-mama… So, Brandy and wifey are, like all of us, runaways/fugitives/refugees of our own minds and feelings and stuff.

'Runaways' is a grand Killers classic conceivably about the expiry date of lurve. It'd fit nicely on the last album or that solo thing he did (grrr), but is a ridic-exciting taster for record number four.



And talking of record number fours (soz), Bloc Party ARE BACK, kids. Ooo, it just feels winsome writing that! The very millisecond Russell's choppy gunshotty guitar thing comes in, you know this is Bloc. It's like closing your eyes, eating a Cornetto and just knowing.

Said-choppy gunshotty guitar thing could get as annoying as Conor Maynard and/or Professor Green's voice for some, but not those who remember the haunting G whirls on 'Silent Alarm'. This is like them, but's new enough to be more trademark than rehash.

"Mary Anna," Kele screeches in the chorus, "said it's a no-go. She don't feel like, she don't think so…" Mad-disturbing images come to mind, but that's sorta routine for KO dese days. Russ then hits up some crazy-sci-fi-electro guitar to close things; if Jarvis Cocker did 'Prometheus' or somin'.

'Octopus' is a pleasant 'look who's back' mini-anthem, really. No doubt there are more suited ditties on the album, but it ain't like Bloc to show 'em off early.

Look at our Class of 2005, all grown up! Next week: The Futureheads. JK. Latest Spector vid is below, though...

Sunday, July 8

The 10 Best Songs Of 2012… So Far (#5-#1)

5. Plan B 'iLL Manors'
Nobody likes the utility player, even if he is rather nifty with his director/screenwriter/actor/soul experiments. But all those jazzes aside, 'iLL Manors' is just the proof we need that Plan B can pen a hit of the highest order. "No such thing as broken Britain, we're just bloody broke in Britain," he blasts over rough strings as zippy as a Brixton looter. Really, our yoof couldn't ask for a more equipped leader.



4. Usher 'Climax'
Who knows what inspired Usher to drop the sex-god persona on his latest record, but those always roused by his almighty know-how on the mic can't snivel at this nugget. Diplo-produced with a faint funk-jam flavour to match, 'Climax' may be the saddest break-up story Usher's ever told; "Where are you now when I need you around, I'm on my knees but it seems we're going nowhere fast." Honest, heartfelt and aces.



3. Enter Shikari 'Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here'
Even if Enter Shikari's recent works have been sorta vanilla, one can't ever forget just how radical their post-hardcode-sexes-electronica principles once were. 'Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here' from their latest album is deliciously affable, all Crunchy Nut riffage with a refrain so trembly it wouldn't look out of place amid Nicky Minaj's team hoedowns. Welcome back, boys.



2. The Wanted 'Chasing The Sun'
If 2012 is the year of the boyband, why aren't there more tunes like this? 1D's slothful output aside, The Wanted plainly know a thing or two about a rug-cutting hook. Well, least the people who wrote this for them do; in which case here it's the pop-dubbing 'lectro pro Example. 'Chasing The Sun's busy, moody temper and love-lasts-forever naiveté fiddles like a 'Family Guy' episode for kids. And it's fuckin' A, too.



1. Calvin Harris ft. Example 'We'll Be Coming Back'
This couldn't go wrong. Planet Earth's hottest DJ/producer/game changer + the most assured rapper/singer/loudmouth going was only ever going to sound BIG. 'We'll Be Coming Back' - a good-ol' thrumming caper that doesn't waste time before hopping into Harris's tinkly key-thwacking™ and even has one of those restful time-outs where Example trills all squishy and stuff - is also a nice coming-together of two who weren't always so respected on court. It's game, set and match now, though.

Thursday, July 5

The 10 Best Songs Of 2012… So Far (#10-#6)

10. Tulisa 'Young'
Who knew? 'That gobby one off Dappy's N-Dubz' caused a few gasps when she was announced as Cheryl Cole's 'X Factor' replacement last year, but one passable (and winning) judging stint plus an unavoidable sex tape scandal later and Tulisa is actually kinda plausible. 'Young' is a right good time, too; all squawky vocals and sub-Ibiza breakdowns… "Cos wee'eere yooouuung, wee'eere yooouuung, wee'eere yooouuung." Keep it up, gal!



9. Porter Robinson 'Language'
Electro maestros born in the '90s seem to be the newfangled thing in dance these days. Porter 'That's-his-actual-birth-name-I-know-sick-right?' Robinson is 19 years junior (19!) and, in 'Language', has already pieced together one of the houseiest, poppiest, danceiest beat-beasts this year. Skrillex's label signed him, Gaga's peeps commissioned him and Guetta most prolly wants to kidnap him. Album, please. NOW.



8. will.i.am ft. Eva Simons 'This Is Love'
will.i.am once said his Black Eyed Peas were a "brand, not a band". will.i.am has his own power button logo thing. will.i.am added a hashtag to his latest album's title like it was 2011 or something. SO WHY DOES HE HAVE TO SEEM SO NICE ON 'THE VOICE'? That, plus 'This Is Love' and its Butlins-happy crescendo and club-pumpin' lurve beats are so darn catchy, will.i.am might just be dope after all. Grrr.



7. Spector 'Chevy Thunder'
Who said indie was dead? Well, perhaps the performance of the third Hard-Fi album (yes, there was a third). But who says indie can't be brought back? Certainly not Spector, who clearly grew up on 'Mr Brightside' et al and have a bone to pick with today's Guetta-twisted lethargia violating the charts. 'Chevy Thunder' is The Killers of E1 sporting mad-sharp guitars and the sweetest of souls. Hot fuss, indeed.



6. Madeon 'Icarus'
If Porter Robinson stupefying Society Electropop at 19 ain't wow enough, Madeon is a year younger and with just-as-fresh discodom up his sleeve. This crackerjack, real name Hugo Pierre Leclercq (arguably more fly than Madeon), didn't half get tongues wagging with 'Icarus', a both-Mario-bros-on-Relentless type of affair one expects to be met with in heaven. Oh, and that Alphabeat remix never happened.

Monday, July 2

Calvin Harris Is A Fucking Genius

Calvin Harris is a fucking genius. He fucking made 'We Found Love', people. Sure, RiRi's vocals are sick and everything, and the song wouldn't be the same without her sick vocals. But Calvin PRODUCED it. Without him, the song wouldn't even be.

He gave us one of the best pop songs this century, and for this, we should be so grateful. But the thing is, he's made tunes half as good as 'We Found Love' (half as good still being immense and amazing and wow, of course).

His first album was blah, to be fair. I actually liked the title, 'I Created Disco', but in 2007 he didn't have the songs to match such an arrogant statement. 'Acceptable in the '80s' was fun at the time, but I'll happily never hear that again. It just sounds novel now.

His next album, 'Ready for the Weekend', was good. But a lot on there wasn't good. I mean, 'I'm Not Alone' - which is probs in the Top 20 21st Century Anthems - is AMAZE, and 'Flashback' and 'Dance Wiv Me' are also very top tuneage.



But Calvin Harris hasn't made a consistent album yet. But what he has done since 2009 is make 'We Found Love'. And 'Bounce'. And 'Feel So Close'. And 'Let's Go'. And 'Well Be Coming Back'. Like, 'Seinfeld's first few seasons weren't insane; it got going by season four.

So the same could be said for the Hazman (Hazman? Maybe that's shit, sorry). My point is he's proper upped his game and adapted and improved and just generally pretty much turned out quite, quite dopes.

So if there's one album that could topple The Maccabees' 'Given to the Wild' from my best of 2012 list, it is Calvin Harris's upcoming third album.

I do need him to stop working with shit people like Scissor Sisters and Cheryl Cole and stuff, though. CALVIN, you are the hottest DJ-producer-man in the world right now! Stop messing your rep!

Nonetheless, respect for making me so fucking excited about your album. October 29 is da release date, and I CAN'T FUCKING WAIT.

Anjew + CP + Really Good Movie = Love

I am not a massive Spider-Man fan, but Anjew (Andrew Garfield + Jewface = Anjew) taking the role of Peter Parker has pretty much made me one.

Like, I lurve him. Mainly cos he's a dope actor, mainly cos he's a Jewface, and mainly cos he's prettier than Santa Monica and Hawaii combined.

Thus, I HAD to see 'The Amazing Spider-Man' before the normal people. And, thanks to having a sick day job, I DID.

He is awes as Peter Parker, and I ain't just saying dis. Emma Stone (Anjew's real-life beau) is also pretty great; way better than she was in 'The Help ' and 'Crazy, Stupid, Love'.

And I really liked the movie. It is WAY TOO SOON since Tobey M's take and there really is no good reason for Sony to have done this. So 'TAS-M' couldn't help but be similar, but it's so good as its own movie.

It did move fast, sometimes too fast (Anjew was Don Drapery in his post-uncle death reaction). Plus, Parker and Gwen Stacy's relationship felt real (maybe cos it is, but it helped!)

Action balance was fine, although this was the only part that made the 3D worthy. Any more action and I'da been pissed, though.

It was also funny! Like, when Parker was getting used to his powers, he cracked a sink off the wall! Mad-jokes, it was.

Oh, and there was a Coldplay song ('Till Kingdom Come') that played near the middle. BEAUTIFUL. It totes reflected the power of love between Anjew and Emma.

So overall, I really enjoyed it, and would mark it 4/5 if I actually had to write-write something.

Sunday, July 1

Song Of 2012 Gets Blah Video



This is already the song of the year. Nothing can change this. Well, unless a better song is released over the next six months, obvs. Which could well happen, given the amount of sick artists yet to release new albums.

Nonetheless, it still deserves a better video. Like, what's with all the cars and speeding and chasing and manliness and stuff? Example, to be fair, can probably pull it off. Even if he is quite insecure (laddy) about it. But Calvin? He made stripy sunglasses geeky before Kanye made them cool.

And you can even hear the engines over the track! I'm not sure what I wanted in a video to match the tune of 2012. But something with fewer shots of leather gloves and more Cali sun.

Album Of Last Month

Usher 'Looking 4 Myself' (RCA)

Judging by the name of Usher's seventh studio album, the silky-smooth entertainer is still very much on a journey of self-discovery. Could it be the R&B/pop stud of before was not the man we thought we knew (this doesn't pardon The Guetta Incident), but part of a near-two-decade-long wandering all of which led to this? 'Looking 4 Myself' ('scuse the yoof-inspired numerical) is still as big and bold as you'd expect, as proven by the stomping opening tracks 'Can't Stop Won't Stop' and 'Scream'. Yet there's a rousing, shrewder route it jogs in which somehow makes it all the more earnest; see under the Diplo-produced 'Climax' and 'What Happened To U', both not your typical Usher anthems. He then bawls on the Luke Steele-featuring title track: "In order for me to find me, I had to find you." Love conquering all is a fitting theme to an album which is maybe a few tracks too long, but one setting Usher in an intriguing direction.

Best Track
'Scream'