Thursday, 30 April 2009

What's Wrong With The Mainstream April '09 Playlist

What a track to start this month's playlist, I've been sitting on this track for a while but couldn't wait any longer to post it. It's a brand new track from The Jones and I think it's their best to date. It seems to grow as a track, becoming Muse-esque by the end with a quality guitar solo. I'm hoping to have something special for you next month from The Jones.

MP3: The Girl Is Like A Gun - The Jones

So on with the rest of this month's playlist, there's quality as always but don't overlook the excellent cover at the end. Comments good and bad are always happily received.

Interlopers - La Foile

Let's stay on the rock side with this band, fairly heavy but it works well. I found this band through Soundaloud a "Sheffield Music Portal". It seems to be a web site that comes and goes from time to time. Having two mp3 of the month competitions in Feb and March but then going quiet again.

Anyway this band are from Sheffield and came second in the MP3 of the month for February. I thought they were easily the best of the two months but what do I know. Find out more about them at

MP3: Interlopers - La Foile

Keep it Cool (Bo Flex Yes Giantess Remix) - US Royalty

A change of direction with this next track, something more suitable for a dance floor with a great beat and electronic sounding hand claps. I've not heard the original so I don't know what Yes Giantess have added to the track but it's pretty cool.

MP3: Keep it Cool (Bo Flex Remix) - US Royalty

JAL - It's been pointed out that Yes Giantess had nothing to do with the remix so I guess that answers what they've added to the track...

Burn Bridges - The Grates

If you've seen The Grates you don't forget them. I saw them a while back and remember having a conversation with my sister at the time. We'd both seen them but at different venues and were saying how much we liked the lead singer. She's so lively, jumping around every where, I don't think I've seen a lead singer with so much energy. My sister told me at the time that my brother-in-law had fallen in love with Patience but then pointed out that she thought the only reason was because he'd seen her knickers!

When I heard this song off their new album (out now) I didn't recognise their sound until half way in to it. It starts off with a real Yeah Yeah Yeahs sound (you'd never see their lead singer, Karen O, jumping around like Patience) but then develops in to the more poppier sound of The Grates, not too poppy though.

MP3: Burn Bridges - The Grates

Crystalised - The XX

This song hooks me in with the guitar at the start and cleverly builds in the other instruments around it. Stripping them back to bring in the vocals (male and female) and then brings it all together for impact without being OTT. Reading that you may think it all builds up to a big end but it's not that kind of a track. It's cleverly written where less is more and black is the new black. No I don't know what I'm talking about either.

Like the name though, The XX, or the ex ex, does that make them now your partner again or is it a double negative? I've got to lay off the juice...

MP3: Crystalised - The XX

Oh! - We Have Band

This is what I expected songs on The Whip's debut album to sound like. Thanks to Clash magazine for pointing this one out.

MP3: Oh! - We Have Band

Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second - Starf****r

A nice jangly pop song, it goes nowhere yet gets in your head and gets you nodding along. Thanks to All Things Go for the tip.

MP3: Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second - Starf****r

Keep The Lights On - Wave Machines

It took a while for me to get this song, I guess it's the 80's tendencies of the track. I'm not a massive fan of 80's music but can't deny that I like some of the electronic music tipping its hat towards that era. There's plenty of it around at the moment and this is another good example.

MP3: Keep The Lights On - Wave Machines

World News - Local Natives

I know I posted this earlier in the month but I think it deserves to be on this month's playlist. I've said enough (for now) about the band so just let the music do the talking. Quality.

Mp3: World News - Local Natives

I Wish - The Hot Melts

Another tip from and another quality song. The song seems to want to be two things, it starts off thrashy(ish) with heavy vocals but by the end you're thinking it's quite mainstream, not unlike a Muse track? It works really well but don't blink otherwise you'll miss it.

MP3: I Wish - The Hot Melts

Future Primitive - Papercuts

I desperately want to compare Papercuts to Sigor Ros and Arcade Fire yet they don't actually sound that much like them. I guess it's the somber, slow beat nature of their songs but the lead singer, Jason Quever's voice is certainly different. I would even describe the song as a man singing a woman's song. I don't mean any disrespect to anyone with that, have a listen and see what you think. It was all recorded in analogue, no computers used anywhere. I think that comes through on the record.

Oh and don't be fooled by the Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay bass line, you'll be sat there all on your own.

MP3: Future Primitive - Papercuts

Under Control - Freeland

I don't think you can ever say we don't give you variety here at What's Wrong With The Mainstream. From Bill Callahan to the LCD sounding Freeland. Learn more about Freeland at

MP3: Under Control - Freeland

Eid Ma Clack Shaw - Bill Callahan

I think this is a great track to follow Papercuts. Bill Callahan has a great voice, deep and really draws you in to the song. Wow that's soothing, it's like listening to a bedtime story to a beat. Think along the lines of The National and you're about there.

MP3: Eid Ma Clack Shaw - Bill Callahan

Beijing - Patrick Watson

OK, so maybe there isn't that much variety here at 3WTM as this song would sit nicely with Bill Callahan's. A bit more lively (I said a bit) and certainly more percussion, like A LOT more percussion. Well I guess he's singing about the sound of the city and I bet there's a hell of a lot of noise in Beijing.

Thanks to for this track.

MP3: Beijing - Patrick Watson

First Snow - Emancipator

When I first heard this it really reminded me of an album track from Cloud Cult and I think it fits well with the somber feel of this month's playlist. It's classed as hip-hop in my iTunes but I certainly wouldn't put it in that category yet even Cloud Cult head down that route at times. The blog I found it on described Emancipator as a mix between DJ Shadow and Sigor Ros, I think. I say I think because I can't find the blog again. I think it was from following a visitor to this page so if you're reading this, thanks for the tune, just beautiful.

MP3: First Snow - Emancipator

Non Stop - Whitey

Imagine you've gone on your stag do and ended up naked and late for the church. Oh and you've got your credit card. No I can't imagine my friends being nice enough to leave me my credit card either but adverts aren't supposed to be realistic unless they're talking about weight loss, are they?

Well that's what this tune is a back drop to on the (fairly) recent Visa advert. The track is a great track to run to and one of the most upbeat tracks on this playlist while being laid back at the same time. Maybe it's only good to run to because he talks about keep on running but I'm pretty sure it's the beat. It's all about the beat kids.

MP3: Non Stop - Whitey

Rambling - Small Crew

Having posted It's Not Too Late To Wait in last month's playlist I was excited to receive two new tracks from them in my inbox this month. As a band in their infancy Small Crew appear to be exploring their musical influences and Rambling takes us down a new path for the band. I'm certainly not going to try to pigeon-hole them at this earlier stag so I'll leave you to listen to the track and make up your own mind. However, I will have the other track and some exciting news for you next month. So if you like what they've done so far come back to this blog towards the end of May.

MP3: Rambling - Small Crew

Seven Nation Army (Cover) - Her Next Friend

So the end of another What's Wrong With The Mainstream monthly playlist and what a corker to end it. I thought there was no way a band could do this song any justice but somehow Her Next Friend have managed to do that. I've been keeping my fingers crossed all month that the CD would arrive in time for me to share this track with you. Thanks to the nameless person (as in they didn't put their name on their emails) at Antipoison Records who got in touch and managed to get me this in time.

Last month the cover got dropped from the playlist as I had too many tracks, well that certainly wouldn't have happened if this song had been available.

Oh and wait there's more! Next month I will have something special for you from Her Next Friend to celebrate 3WTM's birthday. Until then check out their web site where you can listen to more of their tracks Don't forget to check out the rest of this month's playlist if you've come from Hype Machine...

MP3: Seven Nation Army (Cover) - Her Next Friend

Thursday, 23 April 2009

St. George's Day

It's St. George's Day today and a time when we should be down the pub celebrating everything great about England, like, erm, binge drinking. I'm actually very proud to be English and think it's a real shame that people don't celebrate today more. Perhaps it's because the media and marketing people don't like to get behind it in fear of alienating the Welsh and Scottish. So instead we have to put up with a lot of promotion for St. Patrick's day as everybody is indifferent to the Irish...

MP3: Long Live The Queen - Frank Turner

MP3: New England - Billy Bragg

Monday, 20 April 2009

World News! Local Natives to tour the UK

Taylor Rice from up and coming band Local Natives has been in touch and you'll be pleased to hear their invasion of the UK will start soon. I mentioned they'd been getting some air time on Radio 1:

"Yeah, we've been very lucky to be getting some support from Zane (Lowe) and Huw (Stephens) and a couple other Radio 1 djs since sxsw. We are indeed planning on touring the UK as soon as we can, just hired our agent over there last week. We've got a few things to set up but hope to be over there briefly this summer, more extensively this fall."

So keep your eyes out for tour dates on here as soon as I get them. If you don't know who they are I posted their fantastic Airplanes track in my end of month playlist last month (currently being played on Zane Lowe's show).

This is another track taken from their upcoming album, Gorilla Manor. I think it's got a bit of a Fleet Foxes feel to it although there's a bit more tempo to their music.

MP3: World News - Local Natives

Head over to here for their Daytrotter session where you can listen to and download some more tracks.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Free download of Too Fake (Shoes Remix) - Hockey

I've recently discovered Clash magazine and they have a free track give away each day, original idea I know. It seems quite a good magazine and the freebies are pretty good. Visit them now for a remix of Hockey's excellent single Too Fake. Hockey are currently touring the UK supporting Friendly Fires. or for the free download

Friday, 17 April 2009

Album Review: Doves - Kingdom of Rust

I wasn't going to write a review of this album, mainly because I think Doves albums always grow on you and you always discover more about them the more you listen to them. However, when I was listening to the album I found I had lots to say about it.

First off the important news, it's good. How good, I'm not sure yet but it's good. It's nothing new for the band, not that it's a replica of the previous albums but they still have that Doves sound. Like Muse, Doves have their own, very distinctive sound. If Muse are space rock then Doves must be desert rock, sometimes desolate, some times hard and dirty, some times beautiful and a real feeling that it's something different from everything else, something with real depth.

You can tell that when you listen to the album that they've thought about the album as a whole, that it's designed to be listened to in one sitting and thankfully all the stand out tracks aren't at the start of the album.

That takes me nicely on to what I think are the stand out tracks of the album. Kingdom of Rust has grown on me recently and while I would rank it up there with the top tracks on the album there are plenty of other tracks to talk about. The Outsiders starts like a futuristic alarm but then steps up to be a classic Doves track, great guitar, building as the track plays out. OK now I'm stuck as to which track to mention next, each track stands out in a way that they add something to the record as a whole. Winter Hill's repetitive riff at the start, 10:03 starts innocently enough but then has Sigor Ros - Festival type drums towards the end that build up - I'm a sucker for those every time, bring in the guitar and I'm there, in the song, consumed. Then wait, wait for the last two songs, the excellent House of Mirrors going in to the equally good Lifelines. Man these guys know how to write an album, not a single, an album. That's a real talent that even a lot of the top acts don't know how to do.

Why you should already be in to Doves:

My favourite song by the band, a song that I played so much when on a two week training course that when I left the hotel the receptionist asked me what song I'd been playing as she really liked it.

MP3: The Man Who Told Everything - Doves (off Lost Souls)

I'm sorry it's a bit clichéd to post this but it's something that if you're not in to Doves could catch your ear on the first listen.

MP3: There Goes The Fear - Doves (off Last Broadcast)

I remember when Some Cities came out I thought this was the "There Goes The Fear" of the new album. The start of the song clearly signals that it was written to be included on an album but after that it's straight in to an apocalyptic feeling track.

MP3: One Of These Days - Doves (off Some Cities)

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Live vs CD

I went to see The Virgins last night who were supported by Chew Lips and it struck me how some bands sound just like their records live and others don't. The Virgins fall in to the second category in some ways and the first in others. Their sound live (and on their '07 EP) is one quite heavy in bass and that goes down well with me yet it is covered up on the album with 80s syth.

For the most part they played the songs very similar to the album version except Love Is Colder Than Death which they seemed to play two versions of, at least I hope they did and it wasn't the beer going to my head. They also played a cover version of Up The Junction (originally by Squeeze) and a new track right at the end. Sadly I can't remember the title of it but I thought it sounded like one of the best songs of the night, so more good things to come?

Anyway, back to what I was saying about bands doing things differently live. I love it when a band play around with one of their songs, drag them out, morph them with another song or just generally add something different to it. The Courteeners going in to a James track springs to mind but also the great Cloudy Room track by The Twang. I searched for ages to find this live version of the song, I am absolutely positive that the guitarist in The Twang is the real talent of the band. Enjoy.

MP3: Cloudy Room (Live) - The Twang

Monday, 6 April 2009

The Virgins - Album Review

Finally The Virgins' album is out in the UK this month, one year and two months after first hearing Rich Girls, I'm glad I didn't have to wait until now to get it. At least it's given me a long time to listen to it and give you a review. I guess for me the big surprise was the 80's influence the album appears to have. Having heard the EP version of Rich Girls I was expecting a more The Strokes feel to it. Tracks such as Murder have real electronic feel to them where I was expecting a more bass feel I guess.

The other surprising thing is that it's short, coming in around the 30 minute mark, is this the sign of an album from the digital age. Brit Pop saw bands trying to eek out every bit of space on a CD, now bands seem to be trying to fit their albums in to the size of an average fan's concentration span.

The stand out tracks for me are Rich Girls, Private Affair and Love Is Colder Than Death. Enough quality in there for it to be worth buying. But for me it's a shame, this album could have been amazing but they lost the way somewhere. Having said that I'm still really excited to have tickets to go and see them next week.

Oh and I believe Rich Girls is out today, if you've not got it in your collection go get it now, it's easily one of the best songs of 2008.

MP3: Love Is Colder Than Death - The Virgins