Earworms it is then. I still haven't got around to writing any kind of FAQs about this, but as no one ever asks me any questions about it, I'll assume that you all know the drill, right?
This week's guest editor is part of the team that write one of the most interesting and comprehensive music blogs that I've seen on t'internet. Always a good source of interesting new music and fantastic covermounts and features (who could forget November's "Songs to Learn and Sing" feature?)
Ladies and gentleworms... without further ado... it is my great pleasure to introduce for your earworming pleasure.....
Earworms of the Week - Guest Editor #63 - Simon from Sweeping the Nation
Hello. Despite doing something similar to Earworms on my own blog on a weekly basis, I'm taking this opportunity to share with a wider audience an attempt to, well, explain and put in its rightful place why these songs are the way they are in my world. If you're aware of my work you'll no doubt be expecting a slew of far too wordy over-analysis of schmindie from the ages replete with tiny cult band names dropped as if they're as famous as U2 from someone who appears to have no mental capacity for actual pop music as earworm. And you'd be right. It even features two people I know to be Sweeping The Nation readers, for that added cronyist element. Onwards...
10 Battles - Atlas
All together now: "Eefthawuma eefthawuma eenma saanwidg/Runmmma runmmelr eaargr channa/Eefthawuma eefthawuma eefthawuma eefthawuma/Eenma saanwidg, chunmun gingr". Through a vocal pitch corrector that takes it up to chipmunk level, over avant-jazz breaks, pulsing funk bass, krautrock-goes-glam drums and time signatures all over the place. And they have an eight foot high cymbal as part of the kit.
9 The Pipettes - Magician Man
Can't help thinking they're a better band than as a recording artist - clearly they have that extra something, but at the same time they could be doing much more than how they've ended up. This, for example, a B-side to last summer's Radio 2-colonising single Pull Shapes and by all accounts a huge fan favourite, I suspect largely because backing vocals aside it sounds bugger all like a Pipettes song. Lots of spoken bits too, which is always a winner.
8 The Higsons - I Don't Want To Live With Monkeys
This is the early 80s band Charlie Higson had his entertainment coming of age through, agitpop Talking Headsalikes that did next to nothing commercial-wise despite music press interest. Much of their back catalogue is worthy of investigation if brass-powered high energy prophesising is your bag but this one takes the funk, triples the speed and adds a scat section to the start.
7 The Decemberists - The Sporting Life
It's the Lust For Life drums that make this so earworm memorable, I suspect, but it's the words that seal the deal in terms of it being any good. It's partly a reaction to jealousy, I suspect, Colin Meloy being the sort of wryly literate writer I like to pretend I am.
6 Madness - Shut Up
Like, I suspect, a great number of people approaching or around the 30 mark I grew up with Madness, and after writing an appreciation of their back catalogue in light of their frankly poor recent single I've been continually going back to Divine Madness and the albums box set The Lot, because social consciousness never came in such a jaunty package. This edges out Grey Day as my favourite single for so many little individual moments of greatness, from the "one! two! three!" to Mike Barson's divine piano outro.
5 Jeremy Warmsley - Dirty Blue Jeans
The Art Of Fiction is one of those albums that doesn't get the attention it deserves, perhaps because it's technically similar to other leftfield solo artists who get the rub of the publicity green either through being American (Owen 'Final Fantasy' Pallett) or exotic (Patrick Wolf). Compellingly semi-cryptic storytelling over waves of electronica, violin, jazz piano and complete stylistic ADD - I'm aware this isn't a review slot, it's Earworms Of The Week, but I do tend to gush overtly about this record too often.
4 Kenickie - Come Out 2Nite
At The Club made its way back onto my CD player after a Sweeping The Nation piece about the cult British bands of the mid-90s which got a great reaction, which pleases me as it proves that there's a little bit at the back of people's minds that draws us to what you'd never call guilty pleasures but works on pretty much the same level. This is, was and always will be undeniable, from handclap to feedback a tiny margin under two minutes later, the purest distillation of late teendom before real world responsibility kicks in. Oh, Lauren, why are you throwing yourself away on rot like Transmission?
3 Arcade Fire - Black Mirror
Yeah, just me and everybody else in the world. You really can't deny Neon Bible, especially after a few extra plays when it all really starts making sense. Everyone's mentioned Springsteen in connection with the album but it's far less his windswept Cadillac dreaming than sheer bug-eyed intensity, this just edging out No Cars Go in terms of sheer air-punching bombast. And it's good to have a little portentiousness now and again.
2 Lucky Soul - Ain't Never Been Cool
While the last thing UK indiepop needs on the face of it right now is another band referencing Motown/Spector girl groups, Lucky Soul do it right. Very right. Ain't Never Been Cool is a sneaky call to arms for those disenfranchised by the post-Libertines boyrock brigade. The final chorus build-up to a triumphant shouting from metaphorical rooftops of the title might be a candidate for the pop moment of the year.
1 Los Campesinos! - You! Me! Dancing!
And given it's just been announced as their next single this might be pop song of the year, although I've been in love with it since the Cardiff-based septet opened their Myspace account last summer. After a minute's post-rock intro it bursts into technicolour life, brimming with hooks, xylophone-driven melodies, twists, turns, endlessly quotable lyrics and a chorus tailor made for festivals to shout along to. As Gareth Campesinos says right at the end, "we're undeveloped, we're ignorant, we're stupid, but we're happy."
Thanks Simon - now that's the kind of list that I'm talking about (although I'm sure you're being more than a little optimistic if you think you're writing to a wider audience over here. Nice thought though, so thanks for that) . It's all very well coming here every week and being reminded of the theme tune to the Kia Ora adverts ('too orangey for crows') and other similar crap that's been slooshing around my head, but from time to time it's nice to listen to a Guest Editor and to stumble across some music I haven't really heard that much about (Arcade Fire aside, obviously, and I think it would be more or less impossible to know Ben and not to have heard of Los Campesinos).
I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm very much looking forward to listening to the podcast version of this... which should be available here (thanks as always to Erika for this. If you want to know where Earworms #62 went, then she's the person to ask.....)
Have a good weekend y'all.
Next time: someone else (otherwise you'll get me again)
[Previous Guest Editors: Flash, The Urban Fox, Lord Bargain, Retro-Boy, Statue John, Ben, OLS, Ka, Jenni, Aravis, Yoko, Bee, Charlie, Tom, Di, Spin, The Ultimate Olympian, Damo, Mike, RedOne, The NumNum, Leah, Le Moine Perdu, clm, Michael, Hyde, Adem, Alecya, bytheseashore, adamant, Earworms of the Year 2005, Delrico Bandito, Graham, Lithaborn, Phil, Mark II, Stef, Kaptain Kobold, bedshaped, I have ordinary addictions, TheCatGirlSpeaks, Lord B rides again, Tina, Charlie II, Cody Bones, Poll Star, Jenni II, Martin, Del II, The Eye in the Sky, RussL, Lizzy's Hoax, Ben II, Earworms of the Year 2006, Sarah, Flash II, Erika, Hen, Pynchon, Troubled Diva, Graham II, Cat II, Statue John II]
Alcohol-Free Beers (Part Fourteen)
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