Wilco and Jeff Tweedy telling all how they feel. The brilliant ‘Hate It Here’ is off their 2007 album Sky Blue Sky. It also features on the excellent soundtrack of the movie Boyhood.
Whoaa it’s a scorcher and it’s a Bank Holiday in the UK. After a slow start, I deliver you ‘Sunshine’ off Atmosphere’s 2007 Sad Clown Bad Summer #9 EP. Slug and DJ Ant deliver the sound of summer the day after. “All of a sudden, I realise something/The weather is amazing, even the birds are bumpin’.” Have a great week.
of Montreal were founded by frontman Kevin Barnes in 1996. He had named after his failed romance with a woman “of Montreal”. His romantic interests were no better in 2007. The birth of a daughter, his subsequent separation from wife and alienation in Norway provided him with rich inspiration for 2007’s album Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?. It was ‘A Sentence Of Sorts In Kongsvinger’.
10 years ago, many were were enjoying the heady days of nu rave. Klaxons were at the centre of the scene, whether they wanted it or not; the genre had been coined by their record company to advertise their first gig and then adopted by everyone else who wanted to wear neon, all of a sudden. Aptly, they released a cover of Grace’s mid-1990s dance track ‘Not Over Yet’ as a single off their debut album, Myths of the Near Future. Electro pop, ‘It’s Not Over Yet’.
Ten years ago, Beirut were in their pomp. Originally a musical project of Santa Fe native Zach Condon, the band’s first performance was in New York in May 2006, to support the release of their debut album, Gulag Orkestar. By January 2007, they carried their critical acclaim into the release of their first EP Lon Gisland. Its opening track ‘Elephant Gun’ again combined elements of indie rock and world music so successfully. Prodigious stuff; Condon was still only 20. Have a great week.
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.
In a year that they are showing signs of a return to form, one wonders what might represent their zenith. Kings Of Leon released Because Of The Times in 2007 and the album featured the direct ‘McFearless’. Will Caleb Followill get a better set of vocals for his rock persona? “So I know I’ma show/It’s my show/I must go/With my soul.”
Last week it was Joanna Newsom. This week, the polarising vocals are from South London’s Jamie T. Despite the dulcet rap, the clever lyrics and musicality are clearly there. And anyway, I happen to like all the cheeky chappy stuff about girls singing on the bus and fellas kicking up a fuss. And that’s not just another Wimbledon-born pushing his own memories. ‘Sheila’ featured on his 2007 album Panic Prevention. The John Betjeman recital is a nice touch too, but it does alludes to much mockney.
Gary’s Gang was the vehicle for Eric Matthew (real name Joe Tucci) and Gary Turnier. Their first single ‘Keep On Dancin” sold half a million copies around the world. And then, their follow-up ‘Let’s Lovedance Tonight’ featured one of the all-time classic disco breaks. The NYC label Sam Records had struck gold; the keyboard loop would be sampled over and over. The vocals have aged badly and so I prefer one of the instrumental versions. I have selected Danny Krivit’s remix that was originally released on Nervous Records in 2007. SAM Records was founded by Sam Weiss in 1976. In 1990, he founded Nervous with his son. A full circle. Have a great weekend.
We started this week with a couple of standout singers. So what happens if you blend a voice less remarkable with a superior sound. Please step forward Ben Cooper, the one-man-band that is Radical Face. On ‘Welcome Home’, an impressive set of electronic and acoustic instrumentation gets the juices flowing early. A Sufjan Stevens track? A modern take on Simon & Garfunkel? And then Cooper’s dulcet tones appear. If there was ever the case for a songwriter to have a band to hand. Great song nonetheless.
If you are planning a Latino party this Christmas, with a bhangra dress code, and want to listen to something a little cosmic, Devendra Banhart has the song for you. ‘Carmensita’ is off the singer-songwriter’s 2007 album Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon. It’s a Punjabi hippy trip by a Venezuelan American, but that’s oversimplifying it.
In no particular order…
Honourable mentions also go to: Public Enemy for ‘Harder Than You Think‘; Andrew Bird for ‘Heretics‘; Prince Fatty for ‘Milk and Honey‘; We Are The Fury for ‘Still Don’t Know Your Name‘; Frontier Ruckus for ‘Dark Autumn Hour‘; Kanye West for ‘Champion’; and Amy Winehouse for ‘Rehab’.
“Well it’s been a long time, long time now since I’ve seen you smile.” The initial sadness of Beirut’s ‘Nantes’ is percolated with waves of percussion, brass and an organ riff that could be straight off a Metronomy track. For those of you have not listened to Zach Condon et al’s gypsy-folk-infused The Flying Club Cup, please take the time to do so. It’s a tonic.