you've got to roll with the punches to get to what's real...
Yes, ladies and gentleworms, back again to entertain us for the fourth time in five years, it is my great pleasure to present for your earworming pleasure..... some no-doubt largely feedback based choices from.....
Earworms of the week - guest editor #96 - Ben
Yes, it’s me again – back for a fourth time. Can’t keep me away. Perhaps you should just get me a key cut, ST?
1. ‘Matador’ – Sky Larkin
Leeds trio Sky Larkin’s debut album The Golden Spike is currently on high rotation at SWSL Towers – unfussy indie rock in the vein of The Breeders, early Rilo Kiley and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Show Your Bones, the only surprise being that they’re from t’Yorkshire rather than across the pond. ‘Matador’ is probably the stand-out, perhaps a tribute to the delicious Pieminister pie of the same name – steak, chorizo, olives, tomato, sherry and butter beans. Sorry, were you hungry?
2. ‘Zero’ – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Speaking of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs… If pulsing, shimmering lead single ‘Zero’ is any indication of what’s to come from imminent third album It’s Blitz, they’ve made another going-out album – but, unlike Fever To Tell, the destination dancefloor isn’t at the indie disco but the discotheque proper.
3. ‘Lawncare’ – Women
The fact that Women don’t actually have any female members isn’t the only confusing thing about them. The Calgary foursome’s album flits butterfly-like from musical flower to musical flower – from ambient to 60s beatpop to druggy psych to math rock to no wave punk – without ever alighting anywhere for long. ‘Lawncare’ starts off taut and focused, but, with the circular guitar motif repeating, drifts off into a hazy fug.
4. ‘Blessed Night’ – Howling Bells
My review of Howling Bells’ Oxford gig earlier this month is yet to come, but suffice to say ‘Blessed Night’ it was not. The song itself was a potent reminder of why I took their 2006 debut to my heart, at least – but also a glaring indicator of how badly they seem to have lost their way since.
5. ‘April Skies’ – The Jesus & Mary Chain
Darklands came off the shelf as part of my research for the latest Memories Can’t Wait piece on The Art Of Noise. Incredibly, once upon a time I thought ‘April Skies’ would be appropriate for a mixtape compiled as a romantic gesture – and, even more incredibly, she loved it.
6. ‘The SinKing’ – Crystal Stilts
If it’s the spirit of pre-Darklands J&MC you’re after, you could probably do worse than Crystal Stilts. The latest musical progeny of ever-fertile Brooklyn have got the Velvet-Underground-meets-Phil Spector vibe, the deep vocals, the stand-up drummer whose time-keeping is endearingly erratic and a shroud of reverb and feedback nearly as thick as the music press buzz surrounding them. Personally speaking, the jury’s still out on Alight Of Night (bought at the same time as a Crystal Antlers EP – I just needed Crystal Castles’ album to complete the set…), but ‘The SinKing’ – see what they done there? – kicks the arse of anything Glasvegas have ever done.
7. ‘The Twelve Steps’ – Spiritualized
“The only time I’m drink and drug free / Is when I get my drugs and drink for free”. OK, so rollicking garage rock ode to intoxication ‘The Twelve Steps’ is to some extent Jason Pierce playing up to a public caricature that is at least partially self-created. But he did also live it. Listen to last year’s post-near-death-experience album Songs In A&E and then Let It Come Down, the 2001 follow-up to the Mercury-winning Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space and the album on which ‘The Twelve Steps’ appears, and try telling me that, when it comes to Pierce’s music, the drugs don’t work…
8. ‘The Fear’ – Lily Allen
Not listening to radio or watching music TV means that most of the time I float merrily along in a bubble, blissfully unaware of goings-on in Chartland. But every now and again – usually when out shopping – the bubble is pricked. And so it is that, on Saturday, I heard ‘The Fear’ for the first time. (Or so I thought, until discovering it’s the between-the-highlights incidental music on ‘Match Of The Day 2’.) A largely agreeable slice of sleek and paranoid electro-pop it is, too.
9. ‘Frolic’ – Luciano Michelini
Rather better known as the theme music to ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’. Apparently Larry David first came across it in a bank advert, but it’s hard to imagine it in any other context – except perhaps soundtracking a lost Laurel and Hardy film in which the duo play hapless Mafiosi. Since we’ve been living together again, we’ve been watching from the beginning of the first series on DVD, and as a result the eminently whistleable tune is never far from my lips.
10. ‘Jump’ – Van Halen
For absolutely no reason other than that I wrapped up a recent review of a Simon Munnery stand-up set with a reference to him knowing “how to roll with the punches”… Plus it allows me to direct you to this a cappella version by Justin Sousa and the MIT Logarhythms. Enjoy!
Yay! There's surely no better way to round off a countdown like that than with a little bit of poodle rock, eh? You sure know your market. Well, your host, anyway. As I'm off to Calgary on Wednesday, perhaps I should be sure to namecheck Women as often as possible in an attempt to impress the locals with my know-how? Or would I be better off sticking to Van Halen in backsticks Alberta? Yeah, perhaps you're right.
Thanks for playing Ben. I'm looking forward to the fifth installment already.....
Right. Weekend. I've got a goulash on, and a bottle of red wine on the go after fourteen hours or so that have seen me spend about 12 hours in the office, an hour or so in an MRI scanner and half an hour in the pool. I also got home to an appointment to "discuss possible treatments for your multiple sclerosis"..... I definitely need a drink.
Have a good weekend, y'all, and stay classy.
[Previous Guest Editors: Flash, The Urban Fox, Lord Bargain, Retro-Boy, Statue John, Ben, OLS, Ka, Jenni, Aravis, Yoko, Bee, Charlie, Tom, Di, Spin, The Ultimate Olympian, Damo, Mike, RedOne, The NumNum, Leah, Le Moine Perdu, clm, Michael, Hyde, Adem, Alecya, bytheseashore, adamant, Earworms of the Year 2005, Delrico Bandito, Graham, Lithaborn, Phil, Mark II, Stef, Kaptain Kobold, bedshaped, I have ordinary addictions, TheCatGirlSpeaks, Lord B rides again, Tina, Charlie II, Cody Bones, Poll Star, Jenni II, Martin, Del II, The Eye in the Sky, RussL, Lizzy's Hoax, Ben II, Earworms of the Year 2006, Sarah, Flash II, Erika, Hen, Pynchon, Troubled Diva, Graham II, Cat II, Statue John II, Sweeping the Nation, Aravis II, Olympian II, C, Planet-Me, Mike, Michael II, Eye in the Sky II, Charlie III, The Great Grape Ape, asta, Ben III, Earworms of the Year 2007, Cat III, JamieS & Wombat, Pynchon II, Briskate, Craig Cliff, Fiery Little Sod, Cody II, J, Yoko II, Rol, Lisa, Pollstar II, Joe the Troll, Eye in the Sky III, Jerry Cornelius, Stevious, Luke, FLS II, Earworms of the Year 2008, FLS III, Mik, Mark Again]