Tuesday, 30 June 2009

What's Wrong With The Mainstream June '09 Playist

I thought I'd start this month off a bit back to front with the cover at the start of the playlist. I asked you to vote on what cover you wanted this month and you've been voting in tens. So the winner, getting 40% of the votes is Born Slippy, originally performed by Underworld but performed today, for your pleasure by Get Well Soon. You may remember them from a previous post here (I have re-posted the song for those of you who missed out).

For next month you have the choice of the following:

Bonkers (originally by Dizzee Rascal) by The King Blues

Careless Whisper (originally by Wham) by Ben Folds featuring Rufus Wainwright

Hoppipolla (originally by Sigur Ros) by We Are Scientists

Voting on the right hand side...

Disenchanted - Gas Club

With a vocals sounding like Serj Tankian of System of a Down you may expect this track to get heavier but it never arrives. In fact it has elements of The Last Shadow Puppets bass and the vocals don't stress to the heights of Serj's but that's no bad thing. It makes the song more somber despite moving along at a fair lick.

This Year - The Mountain Goats

The World Forgot introduced me to this band, commenting on how this track fitted with everyone's mentality at the moment. People struggling with money, losing jobs "I'm gonna make it through this year if it kills me". Let's hope it doesn't take many.

TWF is an awesome blog by the way, I found it through hype machine, time after time returning to it as it was talking about music I loved. The dude's laptop is so old he's no longer posting as regularly, please, someone, just buy him a new laptop.

Multiplex - Fat Truckers

Quite a few more Sheffield bands this month as I work through more of the compilations available at Sheffield Music Scene's blog. This track talks about Meadowhall (known hilariously as Meadowhell to my family) and Crystal Peaks, two malls in Sheffield. I'd love for some of our American readers to see Crystal Peaks, it was one of the first malls near us and has a supermarket, a multiplex and about five small shops. That's it. Still I remember my Mum driving me and my date plus her two friends to the cinema there so it's got fond memories for me.

MP3: Multiplex - Fat Truckers

You Sound Like You're Drunk - Seven Hills

Sheffield is like Rome. There I've said it. Everyone knows it. Certainly people starting at Sheffield Hallam University. Let me explain.

I went to Sheffield Hallam Uni and with my home town only 7 miles away I was interested to find out what the introductory tour of Sheffield would reveal. The first thing the volunteer guide said was "Sheffield is like Rome, it's built on seven hills." Brilliant, the tour was downhill from there...

I don't know about you but when someone accuses me of being drunk, I deny it and feel offended, even if I'm REALLY drunk. What's that all about? Why do I take it as an insult. It's the same in the morning "you were wasted last night", "I wasn't that bad" I'd retort, despite not being able to remember half of the night before. Maybe that's why I like the verses more than the corus in this song.

MP3: You Sound Like You're Drunk - Seven Hills

Cold Blood - Stoney/Chambers

Another track from Sheffield and this one sounds like a mix between James, JJ72 and Placebo. It's a collaboration between Stoney (Mark to his Mum) and Guy Chambers who's penned a few tracks in his time. It's all gone quiet on the Stoney front since 2007 but he says on his blog he will be back with new material soon. Head over to his web site for three free downloads.

MP3: Cold Blood - Stoney Chambers

Transliterator - Devotchka

Sadly I haven't got any other tracks to post of Devotchka but I wanted to make sure you didn't miss out on this tip. Visit their well designed web site, listen to How It Ends and if you like it buy it. Simple as that.

MP3: Transliterator - Devotchka

Lowiza - The Lovely Feathers

I started writing about this band earlier in the month but never got chance to finish it. At the time I just posted what I had done but I thought I'd give you a bit more of a run down on them now. With a thumping drum beat and chants about Jimmy it's a great track, my kind of indie music.

They've been going since 2005 and having shared the billing with bands such as Spinto Band, Metric and The Cribs during their formative years they have had some good company along the way. This five piece have been more renowned for their pop tunes and yet have been compared to Pavement and Vampire Weekend. The second comparison I certainly don't hear in this track.

Walk On Water (Auspicious Beginnings) - The Rest

Starting off like a track from many other Canadian bands I instantly think "I like this" but then it goes all Beach Boys on us at the end and I don't know what to think any more. Do I like this, does it work with this extra part put on the end. After hearing it quite a few more times the parts merge, I no longer hear a change of direction after two minutes. Was it my ears deceiving me or am I just used to it. Either way I now longer see it as two separate parts, just as one quality track.

Sun Hands - Local Natives

If you've been reading this blog over the last few months you'll be no stranger to Local Natives, having read other blogs I am assured that the album will be as good as the tracks we've heard so far. This is their latest offering.

MP3: Sun Hands - Local Natives

Turn To Sand - Deleted Scenes

Awesomely this band are giving away five tracks on their web site from their album Birdseed Shirt and everyone knows five is a magic number, "each pentagon has five sides, each car has five wheels, no more no less, five, is a magic number"."man and a woman had triplets, yes they did, and there was five in the family and that's a magic number".

Anyway enough about numbers and songs you already know. Deleted Scenes make music that you expect to turn up in independent American films (movies to you guys over the pond). They've got a quirkiness that doesn't detract from their music but adds to it. If you're going to head to their web site and download some other tracks, I recommend Fake IDs.

Simple Thing - Days

Go back to the early nighties, the baggy scene in Manchester and think of James, The Charlatans and a small little band called The Stone Roses. Days capture this time perfectly and according to mp3hugger.com Days are massive fans of The Smiths. Reviewing this track back in 2007 the blog described this track as "a well-rounded ode to what the Moz could ring off in his sleep". I found the track recently on a sampler given away free by their music label Shelflife.

Flowers - The Ruling Class

See my post on Days for notes on this track and band. Seriously. Same influences, this time they're from the UK not Sweden, but they're on the same Shelflife sampler. Great to have two songs that fit so well together on the same playlist. See them in Leicester, Manchester, London, Barcelona and Hainault in the coming few months.

Robots - Dan Mangan

Robots need love too. Any songsmith who can get that phrase going around my head has a talent. I heard this track on a compilation called Oh Canada! put together by UK blog The Line Of Best Fit.

Pieces of You - Wolf Gang

When listening to music promoted by different record labels you start to notice a trend in the music labels tastes. Sometimes this is done on purpose by the label, wanting to be known for a certain genre other labels just go out there to get quality artists no matter what genre they fall in. Neon Gold seem to be concentrating on the later but you can certainly hear the tastes of the labels owners coming through. That's no bad thing, I certainly know it'll be quality before I even listen to it. Enjoy this track which they are currently getting behind.

Speak To Me Softly - Sam Bennett and the Sharp Knees

I wrote earlier this month about Sam and feel his song is good enough to grace our end of month playlist. I think the track has real commercial potential, I can imagine hearing it played on mainstream radio, let's hope he makes it.

Strictly Rule - Vetiver

This song draws you in with its soft riff going over in the background, first quiet then increasing in volume but only to the stag where you no longer think there is a problem with your speakers. As you listen to the track you just relax, float as the song coasts along. Imagine listening to this lying by a pool, sun baking down on you, just relaxing. They are touring the UK in September if you fancy going to a chilled out gig.

Periodically Double Or Triple - Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo translates to I've Got It but you all knew that. Yo La Tengo have been around since the '80s and this track sounds like it should be in a Quentin Tarantino film or the second room at The Leadmill.

Damski - Kalenko

I'm really excited to bring you this track from unsigned band Kalenko. Some of you may remember me mentioning this song when I was describing them as sounding like Interpol. I don't think any of you can deny that when you hear this track. Perhaps Killer, the first song they ever recorded, that I posted before sounded more like Idlewild but this is certainly a step forward.

Usually when you try to create a sound already out there you fall short, it's not quite as good as the originally creator. Not the case with this track, I think you could easily see this sitting on one of Interpol's albums, it certainly wouldn't be looked down upon by the other songs. Whether Kalenko sound too similar to get signed is another question. I certainly wouldn't mind buying one of their records. With some studio time booked in July and then a new EP being recorded in October, that moment might not be far away.

As usual comments always welcome...

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Dan Black stopped in his track(s)

Dan Black is finally releasing the song we all know and love, HYPNTZ, or is he? Well kind of. With Dan Black all set to release his debut album with star of the album HYPNTZ playing centre stage. Sampling 2007's massive hit Umbrella's drums, Starman soundtrack's strings and Notorious B.I.G.'s lyrics it was all over the blogs last year and earned Dan Black the Sound of 2009 tag. Yet at the last minute it turns out Mr B.I.G. could still be notorious when dead as his estate put the kibosh on the release. Having to write his own lyrics Black came up with "Lost the track, struggled back" and HYPNTZ has become Symphonies.

Having listened to the original so many times, like A LOT of times, I'm finding it hard to get used to the new version. I'm still loving his first version but see what you think...

Monday, 22 June 2009

Reverend and the Makers Are Back

Reverend and the Makers are back with a new album called A French Kiss In The Chaos and it will be out on 27th July. It will be preceeded by the single Silence Is Talking which samples Low Rider by War. Listen to it (and see the video) at their web site and you will recognise the sample but probably not from where you might think. The part they sample was also used in a Marmite advert, as they haven't got clearance to use the sample they will not get any money from the single. I think the sample is the worst bit of the track and would have ditched it but what do I know?

I thought the picture above was a great one to show you as it shows Jon gesturing to the crowd, when I saw them live he was trying to point while holding the microphone. It looked like he was giving the crowd the finger and some one flicked him the vs. Jon replied by saying "turn those vs around, peace always wins out" or something like that.

Anyway if you nip over to Record Store you can bag yourself a signed copy of the album by pre-ordering it. Better than some crappy remix you usually get offered for pre-ordering an album me thinks. If you do head over to their site at www.iamreverend.com you can also download this little number, off the new album.

MP3: Professor Pickles - Reverend and the Makers (right click, save as...)

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Memorable Gigs Part #1

No.1 in a series - Nirvana at The Reading Festival, 23rd August 1991

I remember having to get up and out of my sleeping bag fairly early (before midday!) after a long night spent drinking bottles of lager and cider whilst dancing ironically to 2unlimited and Altern8 around our blazing camp fire. The weather was hot and the headache was thumping as we trudged into the main arena to catch the Babes in Toyland set before being subjected to a full-on aural assault by Silverfish. I can remember clear as day Lesley Rankine stomping around the stage grunting 'hips, tits, lips, POWER!'

It was still early afternoon, and John Peel announced the next band, from Seattle, Nirvana. Kurt, Kris and Dave took to the stage along with an 'expressive dancer' in the mould of Jed Hollie, who used to prance around doing mime in front of Howard Jones concerts in the 80s. In a flurry of raw energy, they blasted their way through a couple of songs from their album 'Bleach', before treating the sparse crowd to some new songs; 'Drain You', 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', 'Come As You Are' and 'Breed', all later to become worldwide successes on the album 'Nevermind'. The songs weren't memorable, but the energy in which they were delivered was, and after a rocket-fuelled version of 'Sliver' Kurt invited Eugene Kelly on stage to duet on 'Molly's Lips'.

Molly's Lips is a cover of a song by Eugene's previous band The Vaselines (Eugene went on to front 'Captain America', who became 'Eugenius' after a wrangle with DC Comics - DC would never had heard of them if it wasn't for Kurt Cobain's interest). The song is named after Molly Wier (if you're interested), she was Hazel McWitch in Rentaghost and also fronted Tea Time tales for kids in Scotland, where Eugene grew up. After a few more songs from Bleach, Nirvana finished with a cover of 'The End' by The Doors, topical at the time as the film starring Val Kilmer was talk of the festival, and then halfway through endless, nameless Kurt decided to wreck the stage, eventually dive-bombing Dave's drumkit and dislocating his shoulder. The Reading Festival was probably sold out that year, but there weren't that many people stood by the main stage on that early afternoon. Afterwards, Chapterhouse couldn't really get me going, so I went off to the Mean Fiddler tent to sleep off my snakebites whilst half listening to Sheffield band 'The Dylans'. Ahh, where are they now?

MP3: Molly's Lips - Nirvana

Saturday, 20 June 2009

New Discovery Part 2 - The Lovely Feathers

Take one of your favourite bands from Canada (preferably Montreal), now add some pop to them and you'll probably end up where The Lovely Feathers are with their new album, Fantasy of the Lot. Their third album is out now in Canada and digitally and will be out in the US in August, those poor Americans, they're always getting releases after everyone else.

Visit their web site for more details, where the free download below is from.

MP3: Lowiza - The Lovely Feathers (right click, save as)

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

New Artist - Sam Bennett & The Sharp Knees

Sam Bennett is a man on a mission, a year long music mission. He has given up any other interests to concentrate on music for a year. He's promoting himself (well) and releasing his own music in to the big wide world. When describing his music he classes it as indie-pop but, as all genres, that doesn't describe him properly, he's got more depth than mere indie-pop. With influences such as Belle & Sebastian (referenced in another of his songs, Two Headed Girl), Rufus Wainwright and Patrick Wolf he certainly likes his indie/pop crossover artists. I think his music has got a bit of an Ordinary Boys sound to it, not in a bad way mind you. He certainly has a maturity greater than his young looks.

He plays with a band, The Sharp Knees, but promotes and works hard on himself as he knows that not everyone has the same desire as him. He's one of the few people to actually email me with everything I require to review his band and I only ask for a download and a Myspace to preview it on.

Nip over to his blog where you can download more of his tracks. If hard work got you a record deal, Sam would get one tomorrow, he's a pretty talented artist too.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Come (running) With Me

I'm back in to my running routine and if ever there was an uplifting, pace setting track then Come With Me is it. Like a '90s version of Eminem's Lose Yourself it gives you a shot in the arm, ready to fight that big hill. Sampling Led Zeplin's Kashmir it also features additional guitars from Jimmy Page (of Led Zeplin). I remember picking up the single in Woolworths for 10p back in the day when you could buy singles (and Woolworths were in business).

MP3: Come With Me - Puff Daddy featuring Jimmy Page (Apollo Four Forty Remix)
MP3: Come With Me - Puff Daddy featuring Jimmy Page (Stealth Sonic Orchestra Remix)

Sunday, 14 June 2009

New Discoveries Part 1 - DeVotchka

Friends of Arcade Fire and sounding like a mix between Cloud Cult and Gogol Bordello, DeVotchka are a new band to me. You've probably heard their music already as it's been used in the advert for Gears of War and in the sound track to Little Miss Sunshine (no it's not the music she dances to at the end).

They use all sorts of instruments including, but not limited to, guitars, piano, trumpet, theremin, bouzouki, violin, accordion, melodica, sousaphone, double bass and trumpet. As you can imagine from a list like that the sound they have created is original and huge. Any band that mixes strings with guitars automatically gets a listen from me. I've posted Transliterator of thier most recent album but it is track How It Ends that really got my attention (the one used on Gears of War) but I had to purchase that as a download, I suggest you do the same.

I was tipped off about this band by new friend of the blog Amy, who has given me a list of bands (at my request) that I should check out. Expect more from her list as I work through it. If you think there's a band or artist we should be covering drop us a line to whatswrongwiththemainstream@googlemail.com

Get Your Votes In

This month I'm giving you, dear reader, the chance to choose the end of month playlist closer. As usual this will be a cover version and all you need to do is vote for which song you would like. To do this just choose from one of the options on the right hand side. All will be revealed on the 30th.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

New Band - Kalenko

I've been working my way through Sheffield Music Scene's blog and the free compilations it offers of local Sheffield bands. I have them playing in the background as I get on with my work and this band really stood out. It was a remix of one of their tracks and, while the remix isn't that great, the vocals really stood out. Sounding like a mix between Editors and Interpol, the vocals really made me sit up and listen.

A quick hop across to their Myspace and sure enough they have a great sound. Fed up with all the Arctic Monkeys wannabes in Sheffield they wanted to create a new sound, I'm not sure they've quite achieved that but sitting in the company of Editors and Interpol can't be bad and they certainly stood out from the other Sheffield bands on the compilation.

To be fair they do have an advantage on this front, they're not actually from Sheffield, they're just going to University there at the moment. In fact they had their last week of university last week before their gig at Plug on Saturday. Sadly living in Bristol I couldn't make it and my friends in Sheffield were unable to either. So you'll have to make do with "Killer" quite an old track of theirs and the remix which got me interested in the first place. I definitely recommend heading to their Myspace where their real talents are in shown in their full glory. Especially the Interpol sounding Damski.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Singer Wanted

No I don't need a sewing machine, Humanizer, fledgling band in Manchester need a new lead vocalist. They have a great sound and I think this is a great opportunity for any wannabe rock star in the UK. I'm not sure how best to get in touch with them but if you check out their Myspace I'm sure you'll find a way.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Free Downloads

Two artists featured in last months playlist are giving away tracks:

Pop over to Marina & The Diamonds blog and pinch the acoustic version of her new single / EP lead track I Am Not A Robot.

Better still, well just as good, visit http://www.tomallalone.com/download/ and grab a song off their new album for free.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Popped Up On My iPod This Morning

This is a band that were around in Bristol in the late nineties / early naughties. It was before I moved here and I certainly didn't hear about them at the time. In fact it wasn't until 2005 when my good friend Paolo passed me their CD and suggested they were just the type of band I like. How right he was, an indie-pop album, right up my street. I quickly got on ebay and bought the album plus sought out their new record label, they parted ways after the album, and bought their follow up EP. Sadly the EP lacked the charm of the album and maybe is a sign why the band folded.

Their music is still available on iTunes and I recommend Lemonade and New Perfume as perfect Brit Pop partners to this, the lead track off their debut album.