Day 14: Something You Do

The ConcretesSay Something New

Every music poll needs a token Swedish entry. Give a warm welcome to The Concretes, then, an indie-pop band from Sweden (naturally. Because if they were from Finland, it would mess things up some what). Say Something New does the standard trick of stealing the drum beat from Be My Baby (the poor thing — it’s like one of those petrol stations that you hear about; one that gets robbed one day, then the robbers come back the next day, and the next), and combines it with odd, slightly stilted female vocals. Shut up. It’s nice, and indie-sounding, and I realise that this probably isn’t causing you to rush to Kazaa or HMV to check them out, but every once in a while, it’s good to curl up with something that reminds you of five years ago, heading down to Vinyl Exchange and Piccadilly Records on a Thursday morning to get the week’s new singles (yes, while most people’s grant money went on cigarettes and alcohol, mine went on CDs and concert tickets).

currently playing: Beth Orton — Lean On Me

An Apology

Call And Response’s new album got lost behind the back of the huge sofa that is my hard drive. I’m currently listening to Silent Chill, and it’s rather good in a Stereolab-type fashion. Please accept my apologies, o slightly-obscure American band, who provided a song that soundtracked November 2002 for me!

currently playing: Call And Response — Silent Chill

Day 13: Don't Waste Your Time On Me

Blink-182I Miss You

I did warn you it was going to get worse. I feel slightly ashamed that I like this, considering I’ve hated almost everything else that Blink-182 have released, but I do. I am a sucker for the gentle guitar strumming and piano bits at the start, the “we’re a rock band and we’re doing a ballad, so we’re going to need an industrial vat of strings over here!” backing, and I fell for the way the second verse appears to be from a different song entirely; the first was all hopeful, but the next opens with the cry of “Where are you?” and then goes on to talk gibberish about spiders. Like all good pop songs, it knows not to hang around. You get two verses, then it’s straight into the breakdown and fade-out. None of this dallying around, coughing and spluttering while waiting for the string section to pack up and go home (Mr. Gallagher, I’m looking in your direction).

Yikes, admitting to liking a Blink-182 song. 2004 has been an odd year…

currently playing: R.E.M. — Parakeet

Day 12: Open Your Eyes And Feel

Plus-Tech Squeeze BoxThe Martin Show

This is just crazy. High-pitched Japanese female vocals thrown in a blender with bits and pieces of half-remembered TV show themes. Like an injection of corn syrup; the sugar high lasts for hours.

currently playing: New Order — Age Of Consent

Day 11: I Keep Taking Everything For A Sign

Belle & SebastianI’m A Cuckoo (The Avalanches Remix)

Now, I liked the original version of this, with its Thin Lizzy leanings (or outright theft, if you’re going to be less charitable). But this remix by The Avalanches (when, oh when are we going to get a new album?) turns it into something very different; the guitars are jettisoned, instead an African band and choir provide the backing. And it’s fabulous; the percussion provides an odd beat, while the backing vocals complement the song well, despite being as removed from a traditional B&S record as Norwegian Death Metal. Not much more to say, really, only that it’s a song that you’d never expect them to release, but I’m glad they did…

currently playing: Johnny Boy — Crews Against Consumismo (Extended Mix)

Day 10 — Well, You Can Tell Cincinnati

Scissor SistersLaura

Yes, I know; it’s been sitting on my hard drive for over a year now. But, while it may have first come out last year, there’s no denying that 2004 was the year that the Scissor Sisters became Pop’s Most Likely To. Who could possibly forget the performance at Glastonbury, with the follow-up interview where Jake left almost nothing to the imagination? Or T in The Park, where he conducted proceedings in nothing but a precarious-looking blanket? The session on Radio 1 where they took the harsh angular sound of Take Me Out and turned it into a lounge lizard classic? How about when they unleashed glitterdammerung upon Brighton? Or the moment, at 3:15am, where you realise that this song would sound fantastic when mixed in Justin Timberlake’s Rock Your Body?

They are Fun, they are Sparkly, and hopefully, they will scare the pants off a bit section of Middle America when they appear on Saturday Night Live tomorrow. Even if most of their songs do seem to have a melancholy air about them; I haven’t managed to work out just what Laura is going on about, but it seems to involve a hairdresser at some point. I don’t really care, though. It’s bouncy and brings back Michael Jackson’s alternative take on “c’mon”. Let a thousand rainbows bloom. Or something.

currently playing: Scissor Sisters — Filthy/Gorgeous

A Minor Update

I finally got around to changing the comments window to use Gill Sans this evening (for those of you who don’t have the font, it won’t look any different, but trust me, it looks quite pleasant on my iBook). I also wrote a MovableType plugin that adds a little avatar image if it recognises the name of the poster. Click on an entry with a few comments on it to see what it looks like. I haven’t done everybody who has ever posted here, mainly because I ran out of inspiration. So if you want a little picture of you to come up here when you post (or if you’re unhappy with what I gave you!), then send me a 50x50 pixel jpeg image, and I’ll add it to the database.

currently playing: Bob Dylan — Like A Rolling Stone

Day 9: We'll Go Where There's No Snow

DelaysWanderlust

Steel drums! A boy singing so high you could be forgiven it was a girl! Yes, it’s the traditional Indie Guitar group for this year. Not a great year for indie bands, considering that the supposed new discovery was a bunch of guys doing a rather insipid Jeff Buckley impression (and Coldplay have already filled that spot, thank you very much). This, though, is quite nice; lots of the usual swirling guitars, but the aforementioned steel drums give Wanderlust a ethereal feeling, especially when combined with the vocals. It’s not a song that is going to change the world, but great for a wistful four minutes.

currently playing: Sleater-Kinney – Oh!

Day 8: God That Was Strange To See You Again

StarsYour Ex-Lover Is Dead

When there’s nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.

God, that was strange to see you again Introduced by a friend of a friend. Smiled and said “Yes, I think we’ve met before” In that instant it started to pour.

Captured a taxi despite all the rain We drove in silence across Prunchard Plain All the time you thought I was sad I was trying to remember your name.

This scar is a flak on my porcelain skin Tried to reach deep but you couldn’t get in. Now you’re outside me, you see all the beauty Repent all your sin.

It’s nothing but time and a face that you lose I chose to feel it and you couldn’t choose I’ll write you a postcard; I’ll send you the news From the house down the road From real love.

Live through this, and you won’t look back Live through this, and you won’t look back Live through this, and you won’t look back.

There’s one thing I want to say, so I’ll be brave You were what I wanted; I gave what I gave I’m not sorry I met you. I’m not sorry it’s over I’m not sorry there’s nothing to say.

I’m not sorry there’s nothing to say.

currently playing: Stars — Your Ex-Lover Is Dead

Day 7: I'm Just A Crosshair

Franz FerdinandTake Me Out

There are two schools of thought about this single: you either like the first half or the second. If you like the first half, then you smell and people point at you in the street. If you like the second half, then congratulations! You are a right-thinking person who welcomes the return of New Wave in all its arty, angular beauty.

Actually, I quite like both parts; the sadness of “I know I won’t be leaving here with you” that ends the first section, how the song just stops and stomps while the band change direction, and of course the glitter-tinged dancing of the second half. Plus! Black shirts! White ties! I’m a sucker for a band with a well-designed image, I’m afraid…

currently playing: R.E.M. — Daysleeper