Sunday, 31 May 2009

What's Wrong With The Mainstream May '09 Playist

As always at the end of each month I sum up the music I have been listening from various sources but mainly from other blogs. It all started from a playlist I started doing for Schonberg each month and I decided I might as well post it. In previous months Schonberg has suggested songs but this month he will even give you the run down on the few he's put in to the mix. All comments welcome, good or bad...

Can You Give It - The Maccabees

I've got a few songs off The Maccabees first album but have never really got them. I wasn't that bothered when I heard they'd got a new album out but reading on (I think) that it had been produced by the same guy who had produced Arcade Fire got my interest. The result is a British version of Arcade Fire, well to a point, it certainly ticks all the right boxes for me. So much so that I have now ordered the album.

MP3: Can You Give It - The Maccabees

Libre - Parker Lewis

I was introduced to Parker Lewis by Music Of The Moment and as usual with that site it's an artist I wouldn't have come across if it wasn't for them. Parker Lewis reminds me of Patrick Wolf but that's just made me realise I've never written about Patrick Wolf before. Whoops. Anyway a great catchy pop tune and even better is that you can get Parker Lewis EP free using the link below.

Percussion Gun - White Rabbits

Everyone seems to be writing about White Rabbits on blogs at the moment. I think it may have something to do with their new album release being last week. I've not heard of them before, OK that's a lie, I even have a track by them already but I didn't know anything about them.

So to fill you and me in, they're from USA, Brooklyn and released their first album, Fort Nightly, which my other track is from, back in 2007. After a strong performance at SXSW, NME, not known for hyping bands, named them as one of the top three bands to perform. If you do decide to look in to them more I recommend getting your hands on The Plot from their first album.

Oh and "It's Frightening" is the name of their new album.

MP3: Percussion Gun - White Rabbits

Pictures - Pushboxer

I was tipped off about this track by a new writer, Glyn, over at Music Liberation. Music Liberation have taken a more breakthrough bands approach after too many post take downs. It's made for a great blog, with real variety in the music posted you should check it out.

Anyway back to the track, I think Glyn's comment that Pushboxer sound like Editors is pretty spot on, so if it's the darker side of music you enjoy, this one is for you.

Social Anxiety Attack - The Magi

The Magi, a Sheffield Minimalist Punk Indie Band, well that's according to their free download site here. A little strange when they claim their influences as Pulp, Oasis, The Who and The Smiths but whatever genre or influence help them create their sound doesn't matter, I like it and that's enough.

This is the first band I discovered through Sheffield Music Scene blog, they have put together 6 volumes of local band's music, there's another band in this month's playlist but you may see more in the future.

Head to their free download site for more tunes.

Bible Thumper - Solid Gold

Another band who had a good SXSW and are set to do two smaller UK festivals later this year. I read about this band on Rock Sellout and took their recommendation to download this track. It's pretty short and if you're not careful it's over before you realise. It's got any interesting sound which I imagine a wind farm crossed with a water pump sounds like.

Brooklyn - Wakey! Wakey!

"I have made mistakes today" say Wakey! Wakey! (terrible name btw) but I say there are no mistakes just lessons learned, you can use that if you like. Or as my wife would say "I was just less right than I thought I was" or if I'm right and she's wrong "you're just less wrong than I thought you were". You can't win against women logic.

This track has a beautiful piano opening, you can imagine fingers pounding up and down a piano and then settling down as the relaxing vocals kick in. It's a real singer-songwriter type song (how that has become a genre I don't know), it reminds me of songs that would sing of Dublin, maybe because of the folk tempo of the song. Thanks to The World Forgot for the tip off.

Vive - Jumbo

I can't remember where I picked up this track but I think it's a Mexican band? I don't know what they're singing about, I'm guessing it's something to do with life or living life from the title. If anyone wants to fill me in by leaving a comment it'd be more than welcome.

As you should know by now we don't discriminate against tracks just because we don't understand them, just make up lyrics in your own language.

Alphabet Song - Park Brigade

This is the second band I discovered through Sheffield Music Scene blog and this track is a well written track that I'm sure someone must have tried doing before. The A-Z must have been hard to think of but they have twisted some areas around so it isn't always the word in the alphabet that rhymes "J is for the joy of a clearing mist, K is for the time we had our first kiss".

Having listened to their MySpace site I think their other songs sound a bit like The Libertines crossed with The last Shadow Puppets although this track below doesn't show any signs of that.

Seventeen - Marina and the Diamonds

I think I've posted everything that's been made available from Marina and the  Diamonds. This track is being offered by the record company to promote her  latest EP that's out today. I was disappointed to see it was only available as  an LP but with a little investigation I have found it on iTunes. Why the record  company didn't mention that I don't know. If it's anything like the tracks she's  put out already it'll be awesome.
MP3: Seventeen - Marina and the Diamonds

90MPH - Tom Williams and the Boat

Tom Williams and The Boat are back with a new single and are making it available  for free, to you all. I didn't sense its merits until after a few listens but  now I really like it. Try it, you might like it as the old advert used to say. If you like it you can't part with some cash on iTunes from June 15th.
MP3: 90MPH - Tom Williams and the Boat

Dogshit Street - Tom Allalone

OK, going from one Tom to another. This track starts out like a mellow Oasis track written  by Liam Gallagher. Singing about a character called Emily, Tom tells the story of  what has happened to her since he knew her at school.  I love the line "a small girl who is sober is hard to win over" - we've all been there although I don't  think that's quite in the context it was meant. Read Rocksellout's article about Tom Allalone and The 78's here.
MP3: Dogshit Street - Tom Allalone

Return of the White Rabbit - Ash

and the return of Ash. After releasing their last album (which I thought was a tad disappointing) Ash said they would no longer release albums and just release singles. I thought we'd get a single ever now and again but instead the band have done an A-Z and are releasing a single every two weeks for the next year. This is their first offering which they are giving away free.

Eyes As Candles - Passion Pit

Why does it keep taking me so much time to "get" the Passion Pit tracks? Everyone else in the blogosphere is all over them like a rash and I'm here playing catch up all the time. I was painting my hall and kept coming back to my iTunes thinking "I must add that track to this months playlist" only to find it was again the Passion Pit track and I'd already added it. On first listen you think there's not much to it but then you keep hearing it and thinking, I like that, who is it.

Let it wash over you and see what you think. Everyone including the mainstream media seem to be loving the album, it's great to see a blog go to record company to mainstream success in what seems like twelve months. I'm sure it was a lot longer process than that but WOW!

MP3: Eyes As Candles - Passion Pit

Stranger - Sunny Days Sets Fire

I wasn't so lazy with this band and looked up their site. Listening to their 2006 release Brainless I think they sound like an upbeat Cloud Cult, on other tracks Wilderness, they sound a bit like the Beatles and a bit Beach Boys. Their debut album was released in the UK in February this year but I've just looked for it on iTunes and can't find it. The only track available is Wilderness. I recommend listening to Brainless at their site.

The track below is more along the summer vibes of Wilderness and is certainly suitable to the current hot weather we're having in Britain at the moment.

I'm Going To Kill You - Philadelphia Grand Jury

This popped in to my inbox earlier this month and has been eating away at my subconscious for a while. The problem with short tracks, this weighs in at 2:32, is that if you're not concentrating they're over before you know it. This is a pop song that's already been used in a car chase in a TV series in Australia (as far as I can work out).

What amazes me is that bands promote themselves to you by email but don't tell you their web address or MySpace site. I'm sure I could find it but I'm lazy...

Two Weeks - Grizzly Bear

On first listen, it seems that Grizzly Bear are here to take the Americana indie banner from Fleet Foxes, but on further investigation we seem to have Brian Wilson fronting Arcade Fire - Beach Boys melodies with rich guitars and piano and percussion giving a deep folky feel. This is the first offering from their new album, "Veckatimest", the third full-length album in a career that now spans 5 years.

Angela - Jarvis Cocker

Jarvis is back, and better than ever (in my humble opinion). The first single off his new album, "Further Complications" is an ode to a massage parlour girl called Angela - a classic Cocker subject for this delightfully sleazy but rocky number. If you haven't checked out the new album yet then do so straight away. It's full of fantastic observations from the bard of Sheffield (my current favourite is 'Homewrecker') and deserves to get as much play as Pulp's Different Class.

Toe the Party Line - Panama Kings

There's an Arctic Monkeys-style buzz around this new band from Belfast. When it comes to pigeonholing them, you'd have to say they sound like a marriage between ¡Forward Russia! and Does it Offend You, Yeah?, with a honeymoon in Manhattan staying with The Strokes. This particular track can be downloaded free of charge from The Panama Kings website (you have to subscribe to the mailing list) but if you like what you hear then check out their new single 'Golden Recruit'.

Love Vigilantes - Iron & Wine

There's been a lot of blogs writing about Iron and Wine recently as they have released a b-sides and rarities album. Again I'd not heard of them before but I thought I'd follow the heard to see what they led me to. This is something beautiful, a cover of New Order's Love Vigilantes, a song I was not aware of before. In this song they talk about people being away at war and missing their families. It does also talk about fighting for your country. I saw a TV programme recently that spoke to men and women in the army over in Afghanistan. They said they didn't fight for their country or the Queen, the just fight for their friends that they are out there with in the knowledge that they were doing something good. That's always stuck with me for some reason.

When I was listening to Iron and Wine online I was listening to this song and also The Trapeze Singer and when I turned it off my wife questioned why I'd turned the pretty music off. I think that's all that needs to be said, if you enjoy this check out their other work.

This bring to an end this months playlist, I have put a poll up half way down the right handside so that you can vote for next months cover song. Please take the two seconds to vote. Thanks JAL

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Tommy R Jones - Singer Songwriter

Let me introduce you to a little friend of mine. Well he's not really small but why let that stand in the way of a good quote. I went to school with Tommy (Tom Robert Jones named after Cannon and Ball) and he recently got back in touch through FB. I remember going to one of his early gigs and I was interested in seeing what kind of music he is turning out now. Well he sure has grown up since then, his music has matured and he's honed his song writing skills.

He says his "influences consist of the great songwriting and vocals talents of Neil Finn, Neil Young, David Bowie, Jay farrar,Paul Wellar and Peter Garbriel" but it is his list of band influences that give you a better guide to his range of music. He gives examples of "Counting Crows, DADA, Pearl Jam, crazy horse, ACDC, Coldplay, The Darkness, Everclear, Foo Fighters and Fun Lovin Criminals." This is closer to the range that his songs on MySpace cover.

Going back to the first gig I saw him at 14ish years ago (we were still in playschool, honest) I remember one song that really stood out about cooking some soup to kill someone. Sure enough on his MySpace there is a new version of that very song. Anyway enjoy this first acoustic taster from Tommy R Jones. If you fancy seeing him live he has some dates coming up:


Solo - 27th May - The Grapes
TBC - 29th May
TBC -Corporation with Tianamen, and Awooga 6th June
Solo - The Riverside 28th June
bigwilliam - 4th July - All day festival - Chesterfield
Solo - All Front - Mentholmans 19th July
TBC - Dronfield Festival - Sunday 9th August
Solo - Cambridge - 15th August
bigwilliam - 22nd August - Grapes - Sheffield

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Happy Blog Day!

Today What's Wrong With The Mainstream is One! One whole year has passed and so we get to announce the competition winners.

Small Crew Competition

I think the most exciting competition had to be getting a musical piece written about you. As it was so popular I thought I'd let the band choose the winner and after much coin tossing we can now reveal that Adeline Lecatre of France has won the prize. Well done Adeline.

Call the Doctor Competition

The winner is Mark or Mudville as his email address calls him. Well done Mark who correctly guessed they are named after the Sleater-Kinney album.

Her Next Friend Competition

Amy Maus is the winner of Her Next Friend's back catalogue after successfully answering that, despite being an American band, they are in fact named after a British law. Well done Amy.

The Jones

I have to give the prize of this to the first entrant, Richard Kershaw, who named Jones The Steam, from Thomas The Tank Engine as his favourite Jones. Other notable Jones put forward by entrants were James Earl Jones. "Commander tear this ship apart until you've found those plans... and bring me the passengers... I want them ALIVE!" and my sister who threw "Jones the Bootmaker into the mix (it's a shoe shop). Reason: they stock lovely camper shoes and lots of other gorgeous smelling leather shoes." Brilliant, thanks Sis.

Oh and Steve Watts, the reason you didn't win is that you put forward Mick Jones, ex-Leeds United striker. If you'd have put forward Mick Jones ex-Huddersfield Town assistant manager you would have won ;-)


Last but definitely not least is the winner for the Lemonwilde CD. Thanks goes to Janice, the winner who took the effort to draw her answer:

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Small Crew Play Live In London

After quite a few days in the sun I am just catching up on my inbox, maybe more later in the week but for now news on Small Crew. They have a rare gig in London coming up, only their third I think.

"Here's a little bit of pop news:

That elusive international combo Small Crew will be making their first live appearance of the year in London, England on May 26th.


Dead or Alive presents

Small Crew*@ The Comedy Leicester Square



So if you're in London pop along...

Sunday, 17 May 2009

The Jones - Goodies to be won + new track

Do I have a competition for you today! You can win a signed poster, CD and limited edition T-shirt from the excellent band The Jones. Kris Jones has been in touch (despite a recent spell in a West Yorkshire hospital) and is offering all the above up to whoever gets in touch and tells us who your favourite famous Jones is. I'm guessing Joey Jones, ex-Huddersfield Town defender isn't going to get many votes. Email to Winners will be announced on the 23rd.

Now over to the more important stuff, I've got a new track for you from the band. Wide Awake is the fourth track I've brought you by the band so a big thanks has to go to the band for letting me post it. When are we getting the album boys?

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Lemonwilde - CD Giveaway

Atmospheric, emotion filled rock, Lemonwilde come in somewhere between Radiohead (Pablo Honey era) and Mansun. Not that they have a 90s sound about them, they are fresh and have their own sound. As I listen to Just This Ashtray my friend has just text me to tell me he's split up with his girlfriend, I can't think of a better song to listen to at a melancholy time than this.
With songs that have many layers and a real feeling to them it reminds me of the music I would listen to before I met my wife and she declared Radiohead need to cheer up. She was never able to appreciate the depths of great music and how they can really match your mood.
Having read the above and maybe listened to Just This Ashtray when I posted it before who's party do you think they played at? That's right they played at Sarah Michelle Gellar’s wrap party in a penthouse at The Hotel Rivington in Manhattan. Not sure how that came about but it's not a bad thing to have on your CV.

Below I have posted Nondeterministic Automation which is taken from their first EP Red Room. It's probably best listened to as part of the EP as a whole as it's a real collective work of music but it does stand up on its own. If you enjoy this why not visit their MySpace site and listen to the EP as a whole. Well, you could do that or you could enter What's Wrong With The Mainstream's birthday competition. All you need to do to win SIGNED copies of Lemonwilde's Red Room EP is to tell me "When the pain reaches a certain point you enter the domain of Godliness. From there, the pain subsides and you are overtaken by the Aura of" what creature? Answers on an email plus your mailing address to Winners will be announced on May 23rd - 3WTM's birthday or Blogday if you like.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Her Next Friend - Win Their Back Catalogue

With a deep voice and a real American twang to their music, Her Next Friend don't need to do much more to get me to write about them. However it was their cover of Seven Nation Army that I posted in last month's playlist that really got my attention. The stripped down guitar and lead singer John Whitfield Burton's excellent voice really make it something special. Having listened to them it's unsurprising that they list Hold Steady and Lou Reed as bands they sound like.

Disaster Casual is their latest release and my favourite track off the 8 track album has to be Girls At The Zoo, it's like adding summer to The National, maybe a bit Dandy Warhol like without any single song coming to mind.

Enough of me telling you what their music is like, why not visit their web site where you can stream all their songs. If you like what you hear tell me what nationality you would need to be to use the "Next Friend" law they are named after. Send it along with your details and the first person drawn out of the hat gets their back catalogue. Don't worry there's a clue on their web site. The winner will be announced on 23rd May.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

A Song Named After You - The Studio Time Is Booked!

I recently got an email from Richard at Small Crew and somehow I managed to convince him to write a musical piece and name it after you dear reader. That's right, Small Crew who brought you the fantastic It's Not Too Late To Wait and more recently Rambling have agreed to write a song and name it after you or your home town if you prefer. What a prize. Depending on the creativity levels when they come to record it will either be an instrumental piece named after you or it will be a song with you in the lyrics. To give you a taste of what they are capable of I have re-posted It's Not Too Late To Wait and Ramblings, along with instrumental piece Sunday Strut. They will even supply the song on a CDR with its own sleeve.

All you need to do is send your name, home town and your favourite word (personally I like "flaps") to Winners will be announced on 23rd May.

Let me tell you a bit more about Small Crew, on one of my earlier posts about them I tried to guess what their location influences referred to, Richard answered those questions:

Sheffield: You missed out The Human League (up to Hysteria), Def Leppard (just Hysteria), Cabaret Voltaire, Tony Christie.

Hull: The Housemartins, not The Beautiful South (although the early singles are classics...). Also, my mum went to university in Hull.

MP3: Rambling - Small Crew
MP3: Sunday Strut
MP3: It's Not Too Late To Wait - Small Crew

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Call The Doctor - New Track and Competition

Call The Doctor seem to be going from strength to strength at the moment, with rave reviews and more gigs in the local area than the debt collectors. They were recently Venue magazine's gig of the week (review above). If that's got you excited about seeing them, why not call in to The Croft in Bristol on the 30th or fancy a trip to the seaside? They are playing in Weston on 12th May. For all gig details visit

There's not much more I can add to the review but how about some freebies? To celebrate What's Wrong With The Mainstream's upcoming birthday CTD have offered up a demo CD, badge and a T-shirt. All you need to do is tell me where Call The Doctor got their name from. Send your answer to along with your t-shirt size, you'll even get a choice of colours! I will announce the winner on the 23rd May.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

The Twang give away new album track

The Twang are back with a new album, Jewellery Quarter and have teamed up with the currant bun to give away an album track. Another Bus is available here and the band reluctantly describe the new album as a more mature album. For those of you outside of the UK, the Jewellery Quarter is an area of Birmingham, the home city of the band.