Tuesday, 22 September 2009


Because "forward-thinking" labels like Warp make a gorgeous looking and sounding album by Broadcast and The Focus Group available to download today, but don’t release the physical version for another month.

Come on guys! I want the vinyl and I will be pre-ordering it, so how about throwing in a free download instead of making me wait an extra month for the privilege of paying twice as much. Now where's that Soulseek client gone?


Saturday, 12 September 2009


Bleary eyed today, following a great night on the town with the SFX crew and Filmstar's Steve O'Brien. I got home somewhere around 7.30 this morning, tried to watch an episode of Sky, an odd bit of seventies kid sci-fi which, in my admittedly broken state, appeared to be about a magic boy hiding in some leaves. Witchy and painfully hauntological, man. The Ghost Box folks would love it. Gave up ten minutes in and staggered to bed instead.

Anyway, two things that are making me smile through the pain...

1. Beck, proving he's still a genius. He's currently covering a Leonard Cohen record, one track at a time. Last week's 'Suzanne' was a godawful mess. This week it's 'Master Song' which has somehow mutated into a wonderfully bad bit of impromptu hip-hop.


2. Totally stolen from Pitchfork this, but too good to miss. The cover art to Weezer's new record, superbly titled Raditude - a word we should all incorporate into our vocabulary more often, I feel. Just look at that!

Thursday, 10 September 2009



It got to the point a few years back where I just couldn’t listen to The Beatles any more. Ubiquity, the Anthology TV show, Oasis and the horrible legacy of Britpop rather soured the music for me. It took a good few years of scouring my ears clean with Coil, Liars and horrible twenty minute long avant-jazz epics before I could bare to go back again.

I’m glad I did. Never trust a man who claims that the Rolling Stones were better, for that man is foolish, wrong, showing off and probably lists his albums alphabetically. Still, I was sceptical about the new remasters. But, with some birthday vouchers going spare, I picked up Please, Please Me and The White Album.

Please Please Me is dandy, but it's The White Album I was particularly interested in. It's long been my favourite Beatles record (and indeed the favourite of all well-minded folk). It’s really quite peculiar listening to some of these songs again, songs that I’ve known for years, and spotting all the detail that was hidden there all along, buried in the weak 1987 editions. There’s a shrill ‘aaaaaahhhhhhhh’ on ‘Dear Prudence’; background noise on the earlier editions, here it’s really quite unnerving. Likewise, backing vocals I previously thought to be solo efforts are suddenly revealed to be the rest of the band joining in the fun.

But the thing that’s jumping out most from The White Album is Ringo. Poor old Ringo, his stick skills the butt of many a joke. Weird, given that at worst he was still perfectly competent. Here and now he sounds like an iron-clad percussionist Terminator. Rarely showy, but heavy, and exactly the backbone that this band needed.

I don’t normally go in for remasters – I’m reviewing the Kraftwerk box set for Clash at the moment and the difference between the old and new versions is fairly neglible. In the case of the new Beatles editions it really is comparable to the leap from blurry old VHS to a pin-sharp Blu-Ray. Good stuff.


A short review by me of the latest Mary Anne Hobbs dubstep compilation after the link.


Must admit, I’m not too happy with this one. It was written last minute, after a couple of weeks struggling to decide whether the fact that I don’t like wonky very much meant I was too old and past it, or that it was just an inferior compilation, compared to its peerless big brother, Warrior Dubz. I settled on the latter. But then I would, wouldn’t I?

Tuesday, 8 September 2009


One of the more unexpected and delightful career revivals of late has been the re-emergence of Geoff Barrow, returning from years in the wilderness, pretending to be Oscar the Grouch and scowling through Mark Ronson’s living room window.

First there was Portishead’s astounding Third, a record I think we all thought would sound like a poor retread of Dummy, but which instead sounded like the album of 2008. An album, remarkably, that was worth that ten year wait.

Then he produced The Horrors’ Primary Colours (recorded about 30 seconds away from my house, fact fans), drenching it in a fug of sonic dread and despair – and turning a hyped, but underachieving, band into one of this year’s most exciting in the process.

And now he’s started a new band. Beak> sound pretty different to Portishead, but there’s definitely some connections with the sonic palettes of Third and Primary Colours. There’s a little Joy Division in there, and a lot of NEU! and Silver Apples. ‘Backwell’, ‘I Know’ and ‘Iron Acton’ are particularly groovesome, while ‘Ham Green’ takes a weird sludge-rock approach.

Most of album, pithilly named "Recordings 05/01/09 > 17/01/09”, can be streamed for free at www.beak.bandcamp.com, or you can buy it from Barrow’s own Invada Records. And you should.

The Fear

Richard Curtis is apparently writing an episode of Matt Smith’s first year of Doctor Who.

I guess this is good news. He’s a big name writer with his own fanbase and a string of hits to his name. He co-wrote Blackadder fer fecks sake, and it’ll get the press interested. Buuuuut…

He also wrote Love Actually – one of this decade’s more tedious mega-hits. A movie drowning in sentimentality, Little Englandisms and tedious stereotypes.

I’m deeply excited about season 5, thrilled about Matt and Karen and the bits and bobs that I’ve heard, but this gives me a mild case of the collywobbles. C’mon Dickie, make it a good ‘un.

Warning: A big bastard spider after the jump. But a big bastard spider named David Bowie…


“Curse you. Morrisons. Only two letters away from Morrissey, the Lord Voldemort of shit pop.”

- - From The Quietus: http://thequietus.com/articles/00120-black-sky-thinking-swells-on-topshop-playlisting-rotted

Wednesday, 2 September 2009