alt-J – 3WW (2017)

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It’s Friday and time for something slightly otherwordly.  ‘3WW’ is the lead single off alt-J’s upcoming third album Relaxer. Over its five minutes, one can hear ambience, early Floyd-like psych-folk, beauty, a country tinge, serenity, the duelling vocals of Joe Newman and Gus Unger-Hamilton, the guest spot for Wolf Alice’s Ellie Roswell, and the strings by the London Metropolitan Orchestra. “Oh, these three worn words/Oh, let me whisper like the rubbing hands/Of tourists in Verona/I just want to love you in my own language.” Have a great weekend.

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Monster Truck – Don’t Tell Me How To Live (2016)

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I saw Monster Truck in Camden Town last night. Marshall stacks, Gibson guitars and the howling lead vocals of bassist Jon Harvey… this is Old school hard blues rock and it’s music to make you smile. ‘Don’t Tell Me How To Live’ features on their 2016 album Sittin’ Heavy.

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Kasabian – You’re In Love With a Psycho (2017)

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It’s Kasabian’s new track. The self-proclaimed saviours of guitar music, continue to try to redeem their instrument of choice by channelling the glam rock of Bolan. Less bombastic riffs; more rolling hooks. I think I can almost hear hand-clapping back-beat, which thankfully makes up for the trite chorus. The song is the first single taken from their new album For Crying Out Loud.

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Gravediggaz – Diary Of A Madman (1994)

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From one marginal sound to another… guitar-lick-laden rock’n’roll is now followed by horrorcore hip hop. Gravediggaz released 6 Feet Deep (aka as Niggamortis anywhere outside the US). ‘Diary of a Madman’ is one of the album’s standout tracks, featuring Scientific Shabazz on guest verse and RZA providing the beat only a few months after the release of Wu-Tang’s classic 36 Chambers. “I’ve been examined ever since I was semen/They took a sonogram and seen the image of a demon/At birth the nurses surrounded me with needles/and drugged me all up with the diseases of evil.” Yeh man; Johnny B. Bad.

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Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode (1957)

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R.I.P. Chuck Berry. Will it be ‘Maybellene’, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’, ‘Memphis, Tennessee’ or ‘No Particular Place To Go’? No. For the most memorable guitar intro in rock’n’roll, it has to be ‘Johnny B. Goode’ – the song based on the tale of a boy from humble beginnings with a talent for guitar. Have a great week.

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9 of the best – sounds of 2001

A compilation for the weekend. My favourite songs of 2001 and in no particular order:

The Strokes – Hard To Explain

Ian Brown – F. E. A. R.

The Shins – New Slang

Daft Punk – Digital Love

Radiohead – Pyramid Song

Spiritualized – I Didn’t Mean To Hurt You

Lift To Experience – Falling From Cloud 9

Röyksopp ‎- Remind Me

The Strokes – Modern Age

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Honourable mentions also go to: Weezer for ‘Island In The Sun‘; Zero 7 for ‘In The Waiting Line‘; Jay-Z for ‘Izzo (H.O.V.A.)‘; Golden Boy feat. Miss Kittin for ‘Rippin Kittin‘; The Other People Place for ‘Let Me Be Me‘; Muse for ‘Bliss‘; Cannibal Ox for ‘Iron Galaxy’; Roger Sanchez for ‘Another Chance’; Radiohead for ‘Knives Out’; and Yann Tiersen for ‘La Valse d’Amélie‘.

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The Other People Place – Let Me Be Me (2001)

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Sticking with 2001 and a year before he died of heart complications, Drexciy’s James Stinson created this fidgety techno classic. The anthem ‘Let Me Be Me’ featured on his album Lifestyles Of The Laptop Café released on Warp Records under the name of The Other People Place. Detroit via Sheffield. Have a great weekend.

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The Strokes – The Modern Age (2001)

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To say this song is all intro would be doing a would be doing a disservice to Julian Casablancas’ passionate vocals. “Leaving just in time/Staying for a while/Rolling in the ocean/Trying to catch her eye/Work hard and say it’s easy/Do it just to please me/Tomorrow will be different/So this is why I’m leaving”. But I love that intro, and those kickdrums, and that guitar, and… This was 2001; ‘The Modern Age’ is the second track on The Strokes’ classic Is This It.

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Papa M – Krusty (2001)

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After spending his formative guitar years with Slint, Tortoise and collaborating with Will Oldham, Dave Pajo released the largely unnoticed album Whatever Mortal as Papa M, a solo project of his. The fifth track ‘Krusty’ is an instrumental set over the backdrop of an episode of The Simpsons (Episode #9F13, ‘I Love Lisa’!). The track reminds me of the lo-fi sound of Guided By Voices.

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The Donkeys – Dolphin Center (2008)

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A band of school friends, The Donkeys evoke the nostalgic and sun-streaked sounds of The Band, Neil Young and The Rolling Stones. ‘Dolphin Center’ features on their 2008 album Living On The Other Side and shows how well they can craft laid-back country rock. Sam Sprague provides lead vocals, Anthony Lukens delivers the keyboard soundscape and Jessie Gulati stands out with that shuffling blues guitar solo.

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The White Stripes – Fell In Love With A Girl (2002)

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It’s a Monday folks. At 1m 50s, the immediacy of the classic ‘Fell In Love With A Girl’ seems most fitting on a Monday. If The Strokes rocked the casbah in 2001; 2002 was the year of Jack and Meg White. Released as the second single off the 2001 album White Blood Cells, the recipe was so in your face: Meg’s simple beat versus Jack’s white-hot guitar and tales of uncontrollable lust. Have a great week.

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Jacques Greene – To Say (2017)

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Today, Montreal-based DJ Jacques Greene releases his debut long player Feel Infinite. The third track on the album, ‘To Say’, is a celebratory cut of garage house music. It’s a little old school. It’s great. Have a relaxing weekend my music-loving friends.

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The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk – I Feel It Coming (2016)

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And now for a current slice of pop for this Thursday morning. When the Abel Tesfaye (aka Weeknd) and Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter got together in the studio, the result was ‘Starboy’ and ‘I Feel It Coming’. I select the latter for its synth-laden, disco love groove. It sounds like the collaboration that Michael Jackson and Daft Punk never did. And as for the new Star Wars-influenced video… glorious. Both tracks featured on last year’s long player Starboy.

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Jackie Stoudemire – Dancing (1983)

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In 1983, 17-year-old Harlem singer Jackie Stoudemire released ‘Dancing’ on label TAP Records. It’s an obscure late disco track beloved by crate-diggers. However, indie-pop merchant Jens Lekman heard it and used its insatiable groove on ‘#29’ of his Postcards undertaking. Throughout 2015, Lekman wrote and released a new song (“Postcard”) every week. And I thought a song a day was tough…

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Jens Lekman – Your Arms Around Me (2007)

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A little bit like The Divine Comedy, Jens Lekman is not easy to recommend. You are relying on the audience looking past the schmaltz to appreciate the creative force. ‘Your Arms Around Me’ features on his 1997 album Night Falls Over Kortedala. “I was slicing up an avocado/When you came up behind me/With your silent brand new sneakers/Your reflection I did not see.” Divine comedy indeed.

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