Wednesday, 28 May 2008

What's Wrong With The Mainstream May 08

I've been doing playlists for Neil quite regularly recently. They have mainly been of songs I've found on the internet plus some he may have heard on 6Music that he's requested so I though I might as well post each one on here. So here's May's (unlike magazines mine comes at the end of the month like a retrospective).

Unfinished Business - White Lies

They are currently giving this great song away for free if you sign up to their email list. I'm sure this will be a single as I think it's better than "Death".

MP3: Unfinished Business - White Lies (Highly Recommend)

When Water Comes To Life - Cloud Cult

Not to be mistaken with Cut Copy (similar in name not music) as I often do. This is a song I've had for a while and I've just realised I've not put it on a compilation before. The lyrics are interesting if not a little morbid. Maybe a bit like Arcade Fire.

MP3: When Water Comes To Life - Cloud Cult

Viva La Vida - Coldplay

I think this is going to be their next single and it's the kind of song I was expecting them to return with, a much better song than Violet Hill but I guess they're not giving this one away for free...

MP3: Viva La Vida - Coldplay

Right Hand On My Heart - The Whigs

A band I hadn't heard of until Neil asked for one of their songs last month. Sounds a little like Oasis I think.

MP3: Right Hand On My Heart - The Whigs

The Lovers - Arctic Monkeys

New material from the 'Monkeys, from an acoustic set they did for Auntie Beeb. As the title suggests it's a slow one but good. Not one you can listen to over and over as it stalls in the middle, I think Jonathon Ross wanted to get in on the act.

MP3: The Lovers - Arctic Monkeys

Fernando Pando - The Virgins

Taken from the same 07 EP that gave us Rich Girls I think their album is going to be amazing. I asked Megan to pick me up the 07 EP while she was in New Yoik recently but the guy in the shop said it hadn't been released yet. I believe there is a first album out there (you can get it on iTunes) but I'm waiting for the new album. This one definitely sounds like The Strokes although they are from New York City and not from Rotherham.

Fernando Pando - The Virgins

This Is The End - The Charlatans

This is the last track on their new FREE album, available at the XFM web site I think, it's a return to quality for The Charlatans. A steady slow build up getting better and better, the best way to end an album if you ask me.

MP3: This Is The End - The Charlatans

Consoler Of The Lonely - The Raconteurs

Title track from the album that came from nowhere. A good, solid song. The album is currently available from for £5.99.

MP3: Consoler Of The Lonely - The Raconteurs

I'm Good, I'm Gone (Fred Falke Remix) - Lykke Li

Not my cup of tea (I'm not a big fan of female singers) but thought it might be Neil's.

MP3: I'm Good, I'm Gone (Fred Falke Remix) - Lykke Li

I Could Say - Lily Allen

New demo from the not-so-stable daughter of the Sheriff. Probably reflecting her not so happy mood this is more downbeat than stuff off her last album.

MP3: I Could Say - Lily Allen

The Race - Cajun Dance Party

Doesn't a Cajun Dance Party sound like a good party to go to. Anyone putting one on, send me an invite.

MP3: The Race - Cajun Dance Party

Dead Reckoning - Clint Mansell

From the Smoking Aces soundtrack, not dissimilar to In The House - In A Heart Beat by John Murphy from the 28 Days Later soundtrack (also used in a Peugeot advert I think). This track took me ages to find as it's not available on the CD soundtrack. Clint Mansell was formally the front man for Pop Will Eat Itself.

MP3: Dead Reckoning - Clint Mansell

Cobwebs - The Paper Cranes

Having put together my last playlist If I Didn't Have The Internet I Wouldn't Be In To Them (and they know so...) I realised I hadn't heard anything from The Paper Cranes since I first downloaded that song so I looked them up on The Hype Machine a brilliant blog aggregator and found this song. A little more investigation showed that they released their album in Canada earlier this year but no sign of it being released over here, sadly.

MP3: Cobwebs - The Paper Cranes

In Transit - Albert Hammond Jr

Guy from the Strokes. The riff sounds like an 80s song - can anyone tell me what it is please 'cause it's bugging me.

MP3: In Transit - Albert Hammond Jr

Shockwave - Black Tide

Gun 'n' Roses esque 80s rock.

MP3: Shockwave - Black Tide

Let Me Beat Your Eardrum - Cage The Elephant

From a live EP, this is the third track I have and it's going to be a great album.

MP3: Let Me Beat Your Eardrum

Always Where I Need To Be - The Kooks

The Kooks by numbers, suits Radio 1 and commercial radio, everyone's a winner or are they?

MP3: Always Where I Need To Be - The Kooks

Shut Up and Let Go - The Ting Tings

Enjoying the Ting Tings at the moment? Try this one which I believe is in the current iTunes advert. Thanks to Check The Availability for tipping me off on this one (good blog, more dance than indie orientated).

MP3: Shut Up and Let Go

Pigeon Detectives

Latest single.

Mp3: Here

My Mistakes Were Made For You - The Last Shadow Puppets

Having bought the album on the recommendation of a friend I wish I'd gone with my gut instinct. I'm sure it's a good album and liked by a lot but it's just not my type of music. I guess I was hoping for The Coral's greatest hits and instead I got Radio 2's.

Mp3: My Mistakes Were Made For You - The Last Shadow Puppets

Turn Tail - The Young Knives

Bonus track as some of you will already have it. I've got to thank Neil for pointing this one out to me, it's one of my most played at the moment.

MP3: Turn Tail - The Young Knives

If you've got any requests or suggestions for next months let me know.

zShare vs Yousendit

I've decided to put most of my songs up through zShare as it means people who can't download can still listen to the tracks eg. Jim in New Zealand. Also there is a limit on how much you can download from my yousendit links where as zShare seems to be unlimited. If anyone has problems with zShare let me know (you can still download the tracks from there).

Album Review: Emergency - The Pigeon Detectives

An album a year after the last one, surely this is a great chance for me to wheel out lots of the usual clichés (I am Cliché Boy after all) such as you have 20 odd years to write your first album and then 12 months to do your second one. However, the music industry is changing and now by the time a band release their first album, they've usually been around a while and re-released their "best" song twice. So while it may seem like they've only had twelve months to write it, they may in fact have had up to three years.

Whether the title Emergency is supposed to be a symbol of this quick-to-release album I'm not sure. I can picture Smashey and Nicey saying "well mate, they've got a sense of urgency, they're The Pigeon Detectives and they've got an Emergency, in at number 5". On both albums the emergencies seem to be related to women and generally the urgency to get them in to bed. Although on this album they do talk about the woman keeping her dress on and I don't think that's just to make things a bit different in the bedroom.

With the first album clocking in at around 30 minutes, I was expecting the same from this album and it nearly is, in more ways than one. Even with 13 tracks it still doesn't get me from home to work, lasting about 40 minutes. It's the same upbeat tempo but I guess it's like going to see them live when they've had a big night the night before - it's slightly slower than normal but is still a lot more upbeat than most bands. And I think that's where it fails to live up to their debut "Wait For Me", it's just that bit longer and with their sound no longer sounding as fresh.

Overall, on first impressions (well, I've listened to it about 5 times) I'd say that if you were in to them before you'll like this. The songs follow a similar formula and I like that, they're not trying to break new ground but I don't think they're the sort of band you'd expect to do that. "I'm Not Sorry" is replaced with "Everybody Wants Me" and the message remains the same. He effs and jeffs in one song but the fun and enjoyment is still there to be heard by all.

If you haven't seen them live I definitely recommend it, they're serial stage divers so watch your heads. Oh and any band whose last words on the album are "you bell end" are alright with me.

Buy the album from for £7.99 here

Download last song on album (including secret track): here

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Lad's Holiday

I'm going to try to put together a playlist for a guy at work who's going on a lad's holiday at the end of June. He's not greatly in to his music (he can tell whether he likes a song straight away and the only songs that grow on him are "those annoying ones on the radio that I don't really like") so I've got my work cut out.

I was thinking on the lines of Bide Your Time by The Courteeners "What about the girlfriend you left at home, sitting in your living room all alone", 18-30 by Reverend and the Makers "put on my best shirt I'm gonna score" and Boys and Girls by Blur "following the herds down to Greece". Anyone got any suggestions? If I get 20 I'll post it all up here.

Friday, 23 May 2008

If I Didn't Have The Internet I Wouldn't Be In To Them (and they know so...)

I thought I'd put together a playlist of the songs or bands that I wouldn't be in to if it wasn't for the internet (as The Courteeners sing about). The whole reason I read other people's blogs is to find songs or bands that I wouldn't hear about otherwise. I may have to listen to ten or even twenty songs before I find one that's good enough to go on a playlist but I don't think that's a bad ratio, is it?

First up has to be "Trash" by The Whip. A great track but as soon as you hear it you realise there's no chance it's going to be on Radio 1 (or many other stations come to that). It may not be radio friendly but it was one of my favourite tracks for 2007 and I've told everyone and anyone who will listen. The albums not bad either, it sounds a bit like New Order which is strange 'cause "Trash" sounds nothing like them.

MP3: Trash - The Whip

"Commercial Breakdown" by The Sunshine Underground is a song I listened to lots on myspace and along with Borders and Put You In Your Place convinced me to buy the album. It has to be one of my favourite albums of 2007 (although it was released in 2006). It's also the song I use to psyche myself up before football.

MP3: Commercial Breakdown - The Sunshine Underground

"Stand Up" by The Dead 60s is a song I got in to through a mash-up I found on the internet. There are some great sites out there offering downloads of mashups, I recommend visiting Bootie and Mashup Town. On Bootie you can download their "Best Of" for the last few years - well worth it.

MP3: Stand Up - The Dead 60s

Bonus MP3: Got To Stand It Up - Dj Zebra (Mashup)

"I Will Wait For You" by Tiny Dancers is a song I wouldn't normally like but there's something catchy about it and, because I like supporting artists (aren't I up my own arse) I bought the album. To my surprise I really like the album and while it's a bit cheesy in places I've listened to it loads.

MP3: I Will Wait For You - Tiny Dancers (zShare link)

"Fake Empire" by The National is a song that all the blogs went mad about and I really like. It's a broody kind of song with the lead singer having a great, deep voice. Sadly in my eyes the album didn't live up to the song's promise, going slower and deeper. The album may not be my cup of tea but the "Fake Empire" is a great song.

MP3: Fake Empire - The National/

"The Money Song" by Team 9. For me a good mashup is something new, either by using songs I haven't heard before or by using them in a way that makes them sound totally different. You can't improve on a great song so why not do something different. This is a great mashup of songs all to do with money. You can't help but walk around singing "more money, more cash, more hoes...".

MP3: The Money Song - Team 9

"Stay The Night" by Ghosts. A song all about trying to get a woman to stay the night (funnily enough). I though they were going to be the next Keane, the album didn't live up to those expectations but there's still a few good tracks on there.

MP3: Stay The Night - Ghosts

"Rich Girls" by The Virgins. I should get a few hits through google for that! Hell, who hasn't tried searching for rich virginal girls on the internet - just me then. This was a great find, I first discovered them on All Things Go one of the first blogs I got in to. What a bass line, listen to them on your iPod and you can't help but walk thinking you're cool.

MP3: Rich Girls - The Virgins (highly recommend)

"Tie Up My Hands" by British India. I think this band are from Australia as far as I can work out. However, I asked a friend to pick a copy of the album up while he was over there but he couldn't find it. Although between me and you I think he was to busy schmoozing pretty American women...

MP3: Tie Up My hands - British India

"You! Me! Dancing!" by Los Campesinos!. A song that builds up and gets you, well, dancing.

MP3: You! Me! Dancing! - Los Campesinos

"Setting Sun" by The Aliens. A song that sounds like a classic song from the 70s. I think The Aliens were formed out of the remains of Beta Band. Great guitar and great voice.

MP3: Setting Sun - The Aliens

"Daddy's Gone" by Glasvegas. The next big thing out of Scotland? Well people say that and then say they're the next The Jesus and Mary Chain - do the two go together? Anyway this song was voted number 2 in the NME 2007 tracks / singles list.

MP3: Daddy's Gone - Glasvegas

"Knots" by Pete & The Pirates. I bought their album recently and these guys like to sing about nothing but bed as far as I can work out. We saw them live a while ago and as Megan pointed out two of them looked cool and two of them looked like geeks. That's not a bad way to describe their music - some of it's cool and some of it's, well, wet. This is one of the only songs they don't mention bed in...

MP3: Knots - Pete & The Pirates

"I'll Love You Until My Veins Explode" by The Paper Cranes. A lovely sentiment, I'm sure you'll agree. My friend Matt likes singers with distinctive voices, I'm sure he'll like this band.

MP3: I'll Love You Until My Veins Explode - The Paper Cranes

"Death" by White Lies. I saw them on Later...with Jools Holland last night or at least I think it was them because they had a GREAT resemblance to Interpol. It's not jolly music but it's good. They're touring the UK in September I'd get your tickets now. I have a "smart playlist" in iTunes which is "recently added most played" and White Lies are number two and three.

MP3: Death - White Lies

"A Distinctive Sound" by Gotye. A guy who likes to sample lots of different elements and has been compared to The Avalanches.

MP3: A Distinctive Sound - Gotye

"If That's The Case Then I Don't Know" by The Electric Soft Parade. Like The Dead 60s, I'd heard of them already (I had their previous two albums) but having been disappointed by the last album I probably wouldn't have listened to them again. This song's great though, a return to the form of their first album (definitely worth buying), sadly the rest of the album is more like the second album...

MP3: If That's The Case Then I Don't Know - The Electric Soft Parade

"Long Distance Call" by Phoenix. A summer song, "it's never been like that, it's never been like that...".

MP3: Long Distance Call - Phoenix

"Oxford Comma" by Vampire Weekend. Vampire Weekend's album is supposed to be the Graceland album of our generation. I don't know about that, I think that's a lazy comparison because they both have "Afro" influences but I like the music none the less.

MP3: Oxford Comma - Vampire Weekend

"Cavorting" by The Courteeners. OK, I would probably have got in to them eventually without the internet but finding them on a blog meant I could go and see them (twice) in small venues before they move on to stadiums. This is the original version although the album version is much different. Oh and buy the album, I think it's going to be my favourite of 2008.

MP3: Cavorting - The Courteeners

Rules of engagement

Compilation tapes / playlists are a personal thing and most people have their own rules they go by. A general rule is that you can't have two songs from the same artist on a playlist. I don't buy in to that, I think anything goes. I do try to steer clear of having two songs by the same artist but apart from that if it sounds good then it goes in (no quite as catchy as the football cliche of "if you're good enough, you're old enough" but I think it might catch on).

I'm going to try to make playlist around 20 songs in length, anything more and you get bored (especially with music you haven't heard before) and anything less doesn't fill up my drive to work!

About This Blog

What's wrong with the mainstream? Well nothing, in fact if I had to put myself into a genre I would say I like Indie Pop. However, Radio 1, bless their souls don't always play the songs I like and I'd hate to think there was a song out there that I'm missing just because Radio 1 are playing Usher instead of The Courteeners.

Sooo, I thought I'd put a blog up with compilations and the odd song or two that I like from other blogs, myspace or album tracks. I'm not tying to be the first person to talk about a band, I just want to share the songs I like with my friends.