Friday 25 July 2008

well, who gives a damn about the profits of Tesco....?

Earworms of the Week

Quite a lot of dreary indie this week, I'm afraid..... so very much service as per usual around here then.

> "Rattlesnakes" - Tori Amos

C. finally got around to spending part of an iTunes gift voucher that she was given nearly two years ago. One of her first purchases was a sudoku application for her iPhone, but then she actually went ahead and bought the Lloyd Cole album she always said she was going to get. Naturally, this now sits on my iPod, but I haven't listened to it yet. Instead, the very mention of Lloyd Cole triggered first an earworm of his version on this song, and from there onto the Tori Amos cover version of it. Actually, I prefer the cover: where Lloyd Cole seems to rush his way through it a bit, Tori Amos really takes her time, and the result is much more thoughtful and contemplative sounding. Good song.

> "Wordless Chorus" - My Morning Jacket

I've read a lot about these guys recently (they are reportedly one of the best live acts around), and so I decided to dip my toe into their back catalogue. I had very little idea where to start, but using Amazon reviews as a rough rule of thumb, I opted for "Z". For some reason, I was expecting them to sound a lot more than this. I have so far only listened to the whole album once all the way though, when I was walking back from town the other day, but it sounded promising. One to devote more time to, I think.

> "White Winter Hymnal" - Fleet Foxes

I've just spotted that the Fleet Foxes are playing Nottingham Trent University in November and I really need to snap up some tickets whilst they're still available. They were in my head last week, and they're still very much there now... not least because I keep hearing them on the radio that the guys doing the garden have on all day. This song is my favourite by miles at the moment though.... the way it circles on itself and repeats a fairly simple (but haunting) lyric reminds me of a medieval madrigal and it's still nagging away inside my head. Good song by an interesting band.

> "Stuck Between Stations" - The Hold Steady

When I first listened to this band last year, I wasn't terribly impressed as they really did sound like a very accomplished bar band, as everyone says, but I didn't think that was a terribly good thing. Coming back to them now though, I find that I actually really enjoy the way that the singer, Craig Finn, weaves stories into his lyrics. I'm not sure I'll be dashing out to buy the new album, but I definitely am going to let "Boys and Girls in America" sink into my system for a while longer yet.

> "The Warning" - Hot Chip

Chosen because of possibly the weediest threat ever put onto record:

"Hot Chip will break your legs
Snap off your head
Hot Chip will put you down
Under the ground"

I defy anyone who has seen what Hot Chip look like to be in the least bit scared by that. The very definition of an empty threat. Bless them.

> "Pioneer to the Falls" - Interpol

I don't know what's got into me this week really, listening to Elbow, The National and Interpol. Great bands all, but all undeniably downbeat. Maybe the one lead to another, and I should be grateful that I've managed to stay away from Morrissey..... although the week isn't over yet. I'm not feeling depressed or anything, but there's something about those voices that has chimed this week. Interpol are, of course, the band that sound like they are fronted by an undertaker reading from a legal textbook. I love them. I realised as I was out walking that I hadn't listened to their last album anywhere near as much as I ought to have done and, as I was carrying my iPod, immediately set about remedying that. This song makes me think about the Neil Gaiman book, "American Gods", for some reason. It makes me think of Shadow.

> "Fake Empire" - The National

A logical step on from Interpol, really, at least from the point of view of the vocal range of the singers. "Boxer" was my favourite album from last year, and in spite of missing them at Glastonbury this year, they are pretty near to the top of bands that I want to see performing live (what can I say? Billy Bragg took precedence....). It's a beautiful, melancholy, thoughful album and it soundtracked a walk alongside the river Trent. I'm not able to go running for another couple of weeks, apparently, so I've been doing a whole lot of walking to keep myself moving without putting any undue pressure on my eyes. Hmm. I've just noticed that there's quite a lot of track ones on the list this week. Hey ho. There's a lovely piano refrain on this song.

> "Newborn" - Elbow

Guy Garvey doesn't quite have the same kind of voice as Paul Banks from Interpol or Matt Berninger from The National, but he does have a lovely, care-worn, lived-in voice and he sings some beautiful songs. "The Seldom Seen Kid" was deservedly nominated for the Mercury Music Prize this week, but with half an eye on the gig I'm going to in September, I decided to dog a little further back in their back catalogue and unearthed their debut album, "Asleep in the Back", which was also nominated for the same prize back in 2001. I discovered them through a stream to "Red" on the internet back in the day and bought the album straight off the back of that. It's taken them a while to work their way fully into my affections, but they're now rapidly becoming one of my very favourite bands. Real slow burners. Great opening line on this song too: "I'll be the corpse in your bathtub". Nice image, Guy.

> "Big Yellow Taxi" - Joni Mitchell

Triggered by my innocent use of the phrase "you don't know what you've got till it's gone" over coffee this afternoon. No sooner were the words out of my mouth than the earworm started playing in my head. Too late then though, wasn't it? Once it was out, there was no putting it back in the bottle. I tend to find Joni a touch insipid, I have to say.

> "The Fallen" - Franz Ferdinand

Amidst all the gloomy indie in my head this week, something sparked me to put "You Could Have It So Much Better" onto my iPod as I walked home from town this afternoon. It's another track one for the list, but this song is as joyous a slice of pop as you might wish to here, and I practically bounced my way back from town. Brilliant band, and I'm very much looking forward to the release of their new stuff.

Now on that cheerful note, I'm going to start reading "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy.... if that doesn't drive me back into the doomy loving arms of Interpol, I don't know what will.

Have a good weekend y'all.


  1. Wow, Hold Steady and My Morning Jacket - this is a Charlie week, ST. I'd recommend Separation Sunday if you decide you want to check out more HS - the stories/lyrics/music on that album is by far their best.

    As for MMJ, It Still Moves is their best effort.

    Hope your eyes are feeling good.

  2. I saw Billy Bragg's sunday set, and half of the National too. You might as well just admit you went to see thec Verve

  3. nah. if you must know, I had an argument with my wife who insisted she wanted to go to the camden chinese for her supper, which I pointed out would have meant a hike across either The Verve or Groove Armada from where we were at the Leftfield. As a result of the argument, we ended up sulking our ways back to the tent and listened to the end of Groove Armada from under the gazebo. I might have flogged my way across to John Peel, but diplomacy dictated that it wasn't a good idea....

    The Verve? no thanks. I saw them playing in 1993, and they were pretty good then, but I haven't felt the need to see them since.

    I did hear the national were underwhelming though. What did you think?

  4. What did I think? I see my blog is a complete waste of energy!

    I enjoyed them. There weren't many people there.

  5. Aw, I'd have offered you a Fleet Foxes Plus One, but it was nabbed by the friend who alerted me to the gig in the first place! Same goes for the Hold Steady, who are coming to Rock City....

  6. thanks mike, but it's okay, I've snaffled tickets for me and sarah, so we'll see you there....

  7. Maybe you'd prefer the Keb' Mo' version of Big Yellow Taxi.

  8. Actually, Swiss, never mind recommending Separation Sunday - go listen to it, asap. It's necessary if you love rock & roll.

  9. thanks Charlie. Reckon I'll take that recommendation up.loving them at the moment.

  10. Arse. last week when I checked - clearly BADLY - the only gigs I could find for Fleet Foxes were London and Birmingham. I booked for two at Brum and now find they're in Nottm TWO DAYS LATER. Arse. Bet all the damn tickets have gone now :(

    Good selection this week ... as every week!

  11. Thank heaven some things never change Swiss. You're a breath of fresh air. You always are.

    Hope your eyes mend quickly.