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THE F.U.N.K SINGLES PAGE MAY 2013

SINGLE OF THE MONTH I
Laura Mvula
That's Alright 
Sony 

People I'd trusted had said good things about Laura Mvula and I'm gratified to find they were absolutely goddamn right. Fantastic rolling beats, sudden smears of indecently clean horns and that's pretty much it but soaring above it all is Mvula's voice, clear, powerful, fantastic lyrics. "I will never be what you want & that's alright/ Cos my skin ain't white/And that's alright/ Who are you?/ The center of the universe?". What an utterly fucking brilliant brave necessary thing for a pop song in 2013 to say. Imagining how massively inspirational this will be to the people who need it. Also thinking GOT to get hold of the album toot sweet. Count me in as obsessed from first contact. 

Jake Bugg 
Country Song 
Mercury 

Mindful to fill this review with enough lucrative keywords to keep my SEO optimizers happy (hi guys, check the caps!)  in the whiter than white corner we have this little QUALITY arsewipe and oh my giddy fuck you won't believe what you're hearing! A voice so bereft of pleasure it's like filling your pants with TOP hot gravel, a guitar so aimlessly MINT dull you wanna see if his basin-bowlcut head will fit inside the soundhole, well aware that it won't, still keen to bloody well try with some heft and a CLASS shoehorn and several stout whacks with a polo mallet.
  Bugg, you donkey, be quiet. Lots of people are telling you you're great. They're all twats. You're not great. You're fucking CLASS rubbish.

Daughter
Human
4.A.D

Definitive, state-of-the-art indie-folk that immediately makes you think you've heard it already. You just can't remember what product it was advertising. You're pretty sure it was a slimline device of some description but it could've been anything from car insurance to a new, liberating type of sanitary towel. A little research reveals it's never been used on an advert, but the fact you THINK it's from an advert is testament to Daughter's ability to seamlessly slip alongside the zeitgeist of sounding both sparkly and as if under the pall of a Victorian illness, and take their place amongst other listless croakers covered in fairy-lights and filled with what sound like pleurisy on the gravy train of soundtracking adverts directed at middle-class students and 20-30 yr old ABC earners and other people who close their eyes in bliss as soon as they hear an acoustic guitar and a glockenspiel in heavenly bearded & floral-dressed union.
    I remember when I first started hearing female voices like this, Lisa Germano, Lois, other 4.A.D acts like Liquorice - like all 'weak' voices (see also Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards, Paul Westerberg, Marianne Faithful) what was winning was when you felt that they were at least trying to sing the best they could, or at least not giving a fuck and making you live with their technically imperfect throats. What bands like Daughters suffer from is that here you get the feeling they're AIMING for that weakness, trying to sound frail ergo damaged ergo interesting. It's music that settles for being the aural equivalent of a Zooey Deschanel Marie Claire photoshoot and I pretty much blame Cat Power for all of it. Pass.

Palma Violets
We Found Love
Rough Trade 
Had to check a few times that this wasn't a live bootleg, or ripped from a youtube video of a live show. It sounds like the really dull final 5 minutes of a set wherein a band drag out a song to tediously strung-out, drawn-out lengths of quiet/crescendo, of interest only to the die-hard & drunk. Turns out they think this is actually a single and counts as a song. Quite astonishing. No hook. No shape. Nothing of interest. Sonically we're talking Shed 7 at their arse-pummelingly overwhelmingly headfuckingly very very best. I hope you're feeling as massively imbued with hope as I am. Remember, cut down the vein, not across. Speed is of the essence. Early bus home. Down. Not across. 


Stooshe 
Slip 
Warners



Deliberately dated but like Stooshe's other singles just damn well irresistable. Best girl band in the UK and should be getting precisely three thousand times as many column inches as the anodyne likes of the shitting Saturdays right now. "Slip" you know, and you know it's catchy as fuck and you know it's absolutely salvaged by the twenty second bridge whereby the thumping undertow totally absconds - gives the entire song a pivot around which it can work its propulsive magic. You have no choice in this matter. Summer smash par excellence. 

Jay Leighton 
Wish I Was Springsteen 
Strata Music 
" . . . or maybe James Dean, I'm forever waiting for the start . . . I need something to jump start my heart". I can help you out there actually mate. Seriously. 
    First off, face it, the Springsteen thing ain't gonna happen (thank fuck, last thing we need is yet another Springsteen - can you imagine how many sweaty bandana-wearing saxophone solos that's gonna put in the world?) - you're "Jay Leighton" (real name Zarathustra Fantakkabo, renamed himself to blend in better), yet another shitty singer-songwriter whose coming decade will be spent vainly waiting for the call from the Match.com ad-department that will never come. So here, attach these bulldog clips to your nipples and I'll start rotating the vitreous lever on the Leyden jar. I'll kickstart yr heart alright y'stubbly loser, I'll kickstart its fucking head in.

Azealia Banks 
Young Rapunxel 
Polydor 

Wonderful unsettling intro like something Cabaret Voltaire woulda boomed out of a Sheffield-circling van circa 1975 — then the beat gets going, AB gets going and so does any interest you might've had right out the door. Bass nowhere near loud enough, vocals actually too distorted to be effective as anything other than a messy irritant. Two minutes in, it all falls apart, and AGAIN it gets interesting. Then the beat starts, she starts blahblahing and again you start snoring. Next time, AB, go harder, go weirder or just plain GO.


Lissie 
Shameless
Sony 

One of those videos where all the lyrics appear on screen. In the 5 seconds in between the word 'stunt' hitting the screen and the pay-off rhyme arriving my mind, as yours will, whirled through a few possibilities, the anticipation growing. I was set to tip Lissie the wink for her lyrical boldness, even though the rest of the record is a horrible mess of raunch and over-produced 'tude' like they rebuilt Meredith Brooks using the body parts of K.T.Tunstall. And, perhaps inevitably the rhyme, when it finally arrives, is a massive dissapointment which necessitated a massive dish of ointment on my wounded expectations. We don't need anyone to make this kind of music except Pink, who is the best at it.

Suede 
Hit Me 
Warner Music Group 
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If you ARE broke, definitely don't fix it. La la LA la la. La la LA la la. Works damnit. 

Mylo Stone/Percy Filth/Split Prophets/Serocee/DJ Rogue 
Brukfoot 
Bandcamp

Love it when a posse cut actually stops you asking the usual questions about why people need to collaborate (too little to say on their own usually) by actually piling genuine rhyme talent together and creating something undeniably great. This is an awesome cut from some of Bristol's finest including Res & Upfront from Split Prophets (much boosted in this column), shot through with a great heavy reggae vibe & fantastic scratches from DJ Rogue. Ruff n rugged n essential.

Nametag & Nameless 
Blaow 
Brick Records
Had to keep checking this, turning it off, turning it back on, to make sure that what I was hearing was what they intended. At first the way the beat comes in over this strange shard of Americana-touched bliss-pop just sounds WRONG - as the track progresses that wrongness doesn't dissipate but does start to make a weird kind of wonky sense, especially cos the rhymes seem entirely oblivious to the musical mayhem underneath. On the flip check out the comparatively conventional but still odd 'Namecheck' and wait for the album 'For Namesake' armed with tranq darts and a butterfly net. Here be madness. 


Little Nikki 
Where I'm Coming From 
Be-Union/Sony 


One of yr bona-fide growers, interesting latinate-touched melody, sprightly production, great mid-section of crossfaded bleeps & bloops. See what the record company have done to it though? Made a video wherein she has to go stand under a flyover and sing her song whilst a dance-troupe and some kids on skateboards & BMXs wheel around her with such a total pointlessness it's like a Tory Party central office idea of youth culture. It all serves to stop you listening, stop you noticing that there's something interesting going on melodically in this song, forces its odd crooks and shapes into an almost staggeringly identikit notion of 'that urban sound'. Embarassing, horribly dated, faintly sinister shit that only seems to happen with UK record companies and their treatment of UK black music. For shame.

Ghostface Killah Ft. Adrian Younge 
The Rise Of The Ghostface Killah 
Soul Temple Entertainment 
I haven't heard '12 Reasons To Die' yet but wooaah if this gives a flavour of Younge's production I'm gonna have to hunt it down soon - spectral spindly shimmery heavily reverbed desert-guitar & Morricone touches riding a bristling breakbeat, Ghostface sounding more agitated than he has in a while (v. reminiscent of 'Niggamortis) and a scratch-laden breakdown that's so gorgeous it sounds like goddamn Tarnation! You're damn right you need this to send you into the sunset, both barrels smoking. Superb. 

Misha B 
Here's To Everything 
Simco Limited/Sony
Bit of advice for young artists, when your record-company people come through the door and assure you they have a 'summer anthem' ready for your next single, give 'em a swift knee to the groin, a clenched palm to the windpipe and then run in the opposite direction, fast, until you can no longer hear the advances of their moist sucking tendrils and the hot guff that ripples over the sharp cilia they extend towards your soul. I LOVED Misha's 'Hot Fun' and was GUTTED over her getting outstayed by Little Mix (although have to say LM are redeeming themselves with their singles - love the old-skool 90s hip-hop thunk of their Missy collaboration). Since then though she's been getting increasingly 'anthemic' ("Do You Think Of Me" was the first sign) - her personality getting erased in favour of big production jobs, expensive-sounding show-off-shit, asked to sing increasingly meaningless lyrics, reaching a zenith with this little-bit-liquid, little-bit-dubstep, little-bit-house bolus of nothing . Nothing of HER in it, and with someone clearly so capable of being an amazing pop star if encouraged to, that's a criminal shame. Get dropped Misha and do your own thang. It'll be much better than this. And you'll keep getting hits after summer's come and gone cos you're good enough.

Muse 
Panic Station 
WMG 


Usual comparisons. Queen. Bowie. Bullshit. What 'Panic Station' sounds like is EXACTLY THE SAME as the bridge in Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'. I mean, uncomfortably so. To the point where all you can hear is that verisimilitude. In my experience, Muse, live, are an effective, value-filled use of your entertainment dollar. Quite why you'd want to waste any of your leisure time sitting around LISTENING to this drek I can't imagine. You're outta time. You're paralysed. Without the soul for getting down.

Ocean Colour Scene 
Doodle Book 
Fontana 
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds 
Mermaids 
Mute
Old farts at play. Them and me. Have it on good authority that Steve Craddock's an absolute wanker. Not just being mean. Just passing on some insider info to fans who should know . Have it on MY authority that 'Mermaids' is a weak Tindersticks rip-off. Being mean. Just pissing off fans. OCS's last album peaked at #49 on the album charts. Just cheering up everybody.

Nitty Scott MC 
Language Arts 
Soundcloud 

Loving Nitty's soundcloud page cos the music's ace &  female MCs not willing to appear in children's clothes are too few and far between at the moment. 'Flower Child' & 'Bath Salt Freestyle' had me intrigued but this is even better, beautifully laced together by the Good Reverend Dr. who was also behind 'Auntie Maria's Crib'. The album 'Art Of Chill' drops soon, get in on this now. 


The Staves 
Facing West 
Atlantic 

"Why are The Staves using what looks like a woodcut print-stencil for their font? We've got computers that can do that kind of thing now. Why are they using ukeleles & accordions on their music? We've got computers that can do that kind of thing now?" - that was the first thing I typed.
    Then, this song got under my skin a bit. It's the harmonies man, really nice. No wonder Glyn Johns is involved, he knows the score. Sweet stuff from Watford. See? I am here to be convinced. No false vocal affectations here, good lyrics, a Freakwater-stealth in the playing and just a lovely levitational sense of multi-headed Roches-style one-ness from the chorus, leaving enough space for you to try out yr own harmonies - it's lovely. Fuck. What's happening to me? 

 Durag Dynasty 
Spiral Event 
Nature Sounds
DD are Planet Asia + Tristate + Killer Ben (this track also features Evidence from Dilated Peoples) but what you should really know about this track is that yerman Alchemist is on the mix - getting kinda addicted to what he's been cooking up in his soundlab of late and 'Spiral Event' is no exception, a queasy unsettling mix of blaxploitation funk and wierded out jazz-wibblery lashed with fire from the various MCs but velcro-ing the oddest melodys to your brainpan since the first time you heard 'Black Satin'. Stoopidly stoopendous.

SINGLE OF THE MONTH II 
Strange U 
Klaatu Barada Niktu 
Eglo Records 

Superb new stuff from Kashmere & that loon Zygote that you KNOW you need to own. Apparently lifted from the 'Scarlet Jungle EP' which is now top of my shopping list cos fuck me this is fetid, bass-heavy, aggressively heavy mental wreckage par-excellence, the mix occassionally getting so lo-end dense it spills into distortion, the rhymes and loops like some way more aggravated UK version of Quasimoto but possessed of a doomed menace all its own. Absolutely essential. 

Swiss Lips 
U Got The Power 
Sony
The 1975 
IV EP
Dirty Hit Records
Sony fucking own the world now don't they? So could they find some time to plow some funds into music colleges, changing the curriculum from its heavy emphasis on pro-tools & production and getting some teachers in to conduct a new unit called 'REMEMBERING TO WRITE A FUCKING CHORUS'? Cheers.   These twin bunches of wannabe Trevor Horns are much loved by Radio Fuckwit, sorry Radio 1's Sara Cox and Scott Mills and Jo Whiley and Zane Lowe and it shows. If you want to find an unfunny long-winded cunt who knows fuck all about music tune in to Radio Enemy Of Humanity, sorry Radio 1. Shittest most utterly worthless radio station on the planet and I hope they all, from Grimshaw thru to Lowe, get done for kiddie-fiddling in 20 years. Seriously, look at a Radio Funny As A Burst Polyp, sorry, Radio 1 schedule one time. Who the fuck are these people? Local commercial stations have to squeeze in at least 4 ad-beds an hour and still manage to talk less shite than these fucking wannabe Butlins redcoats, and be way way funnier with it. A generation of DJs now who probably 'look up' to Chris Cunting Moyles. Big fans of Swiss Lips anyhoo. All you need to know. This is the kind of music that such feckless wankshafts consider 'exciting' and 'awesome'. It should be ignored, avoided, scrambled away from desperately like the over-tooled runny cockcheese it all is. 

Gunplay 
Pyrex
Maybach Music Group

Something weirdly fantastic about this utterly amoral, lyrically inexcusable paean to crack dealing (esp. when heard in conjunction with its deeply lurid video). Partly it's the demented dwarves-in-the-rockmine loop that's shot through the whole thing, partly it all hinges on this little hook that happens every other minute that sounds like metal popcorn popping in a pan. It surges ahead in the mix, summoning up both the rock-making process but also the chatter-toothed insanity of the most desperate crackhead better than any more earnest analysis could ever give. Like I say, utterly irredeemable. Utterly essential.


Courteneers 
Van Der Graff 
Polydor
Genuinely couldn't believe what I was hearing. Felt sick to the stomach when I realised I'd have to hear it again just to check that something so utterly awful, so entirely irredeemable in every way, actually existed. Rare to hear but everything The Courteneers are doing is bad.You can't believe that songwriting so utterly inept, that music so stupendously dreadful can actually be paid for and promoted in this day and age. Before I heard them I was willing to just let them be off on their own shit, being as terrible as their name warned. Now I want to hunt the fuckers down and do the brakes on their tourbus.
   Of course, I wouldn't because entirely innocent non-shitty indie-rocker people could be hurt so it looks like I'm gonna have to get my HGV license, slowly work up through the ranks of the haulage and coach-driving industries until I can cunningly manouevre myself into position as Courteneers driver-of-choice (I'll wear a big floppy hat. massive Raybans and a false tache, they'll never suspect a thing), make sure I travel with them on their next Alpine or Andean tour and then simply accelerate through the first cloud-height mountain road-barrier I see, plunging me and them into a suicidal freefall and subsequent impact-explosion that should evenly splatter our fragile bodies within the wrecked confines of twisted metal, games consoles & chemical-toilets that will become our final smouldering resting place. Don't ever say I'm not dedicated.

Cappo & Nappa 
Red Hot 
King Underground Records

Oh maaan, what a fantastic piece of music - a beautiful swell of strings, ringing rhodes, sublime jazzy touches, Cappo really showing what a unique voice he has and Nappa proving yet again that as a producer he's a great LISTENER as well as creator. Wonderful stuff that seems to bring summer on with each surging second. Lap it up and hold tight for the soon-come 'Rebel Base' album. 

Fun
All Alone 
Fueled By Ramen 

'We Are Young' wore me down eventually. Not to the point of liking it, but to the point of accepting its existence, the fact that for the next few years I can legitimately expect to hear it at least twice a week against my will because I live in the modern world of radios and televisions and in-store broadcasting and it is irrevocably now part of that world. This is poop though, as you'd expect from anyone formerly willing to be in a band called 'The Format', from its deceptively Left Banke-like synth part which shoulda been on harpsichords, all the way to its crappy chorus, shot through as it is with all the melodic grace of Opus and Freiheit and a kindergarten hook as desperate as it is sinister. I've heard better songs sung by Mr Tumble to be honest. Lazy pricks.

Juicy J feat Pimp C and T.I. 
Show Out (Remix) 
NA 
Again, it's the bass that's crucial here, and it's so solid and engulfing it seems to take up over 50% of the soundscape until you're waist-deep in it, struggling against the quicksand, happy to slip under. JJ typically great on the mix and on the mic, and the soon-come album 'Stay Trippy' (great title) should be one of 2013's most illicit thrills. A one-man hit factory.

Primal Scream 
It's Alright It's OK
Ignition 

It's not though Bobby, is it? It's not alright. It's certainly not fucking ok. It's a cliche that Primal Scream just keep wanting to sound like the Stones, and it's become something they've done so often you can guess that on Last FM The Stones are listed as an artist 'like Primal Scream'.
    But hold on a minute - this somehow manages to transparently aim for an 'Exile'-era 'Shine A Light/Just Wanna See His Face' gospel pulse but falls SO calamitously short in every respect it almost seems an insult to call it 'Stonesy', an offence to God and the Devil to even mention the Stones in the same breath. No feel, no Charlie/Bill/Keith gaps or wobbliness to the playing, just a stiff competence that erases pleasure and Gillespie's voice as ever this weak whining pathetic punchable thing that stinks of leather-trousered gusset-chafe on a hot day. What it reveals is that really, in every respect Primal Scream are simply inadequates, always have been, and are the godfathers of every single band since who've had irrefutably 'classic' record collections but a total inability to summon even one tiny iota of the spirit or joy of any of that listening to their own music because they have nothing to give except pisspoor fanboy wannabe dress-up and musically empty pasquinade. Fuck Primal Scream man. I prefer music.


SINGLE OF THE WEEK III
Vado 
God Hour 
We The Best 

Love the bass on this, a thick, oozing detuned thang oddly reminiscent of New Flesh For Old at their most out-of-control, well served by some heavy kicks and rippling choral vocals. Great lyrics from Vado as well about religious paranoia, the church and the streets that church aims to interpret and control. Crucially, there's a palpable sense throughout 'God Hour' that this could only come from those Harlem streets it so effectively portrays. That's not down to anything you can put your finger on, but anyone from anywhere can feel it intuitively and instinctively. Addictive, engrossing stuff.

A-Trak 

Piss Test (Remix) 
Fools Gold 

Juicy J, Jim Jones, Flatbush Zombies, Flosstradamus and the mighty EL-P guest cameo on this, and for once, the party deserves that kind of multi-headed ruckus. Nice thick, heavy synth-saw leads, pulsating dubby electro backing and absolutely no attempt to try and falsely turn that kind of instrumentation into anything lame'n'lazy enough to be 'club friendly' or euphoric. Wicked posse cut, as found on Fool's Gold excellent 'Loosies' comp.


Gamu
Shake The Room 
G Sound Records 




Why the fuck were people surprised that Cheryl "Get The Jigaboo Up Here & I'll Sort Her Out" Cole sent through Katie "Kill Me With Knives" Waissel & Cher "Eternally Shit" Lloyd in favour of the far superior Gamu Nhengu? Cole is a remorseless violent shit-for-brains with not a clue about music and is a nasty racist bitch into the bargain, what else was she gonna do? She just did the cleansing job before the public got a chance to rid themselves of another black face on the telly, duhh. That said, this new single from Gamu is a nonsensically dated 'nother attempt to retool Arthur Conley's 'Sweet Soul Music' for generation CandyCrushSaga and a song that Gamu herself seems massively uncomfortable with. Let young artists make their statement about the present before you confine them to the past you dimwits. A waste of a great voice and a unique story. 

Theme Park 
Ghosts 
Transgressive/Coop

The male Haim. If they're gonna play their guitars up that high, tucked in under the nipples, couldn't they take the stance to its logical conclusion and cover up their fuckugly faces as well? I think they think they're Orange Juice but they're nowhere near as pretty and have nothing to give or grace us with other than more music, more of it, more lumps of music, more drums, and more bass and more guitars, just more of it, until it feels like it's up to your windpipe & tickling your glossopharyngeal nerve, until there's no way out without your orifi getting dangerously impacted. Not quite Disneyland. Flamingoland, just outside Pickering. 

Comments

  1. "stinks of leather-trousered gusset-chafe on a hot day"

    classic, love it

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for this Neil. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Ghostface sounding more agitated than he has in a while (v. reminiscent of 'Niggamortis"

    was ghostface even on nigga mortis?

    ReplyDelete
  4. You rightfully slam most guitar based tracks in this list for being dead from the waist up but the blinkers you display when it comes to the rap and electronic tracks make you come across like someone's uncle at a wedding desperately trying to still appear with it.
    The 2 singles of the week are pretty strong, I'll give you that, but the rest is largely weak, lazy,derivative or nostalgic in the most useless way imaginable (so basically like the guitar based stuff). I watched all the vids and honestly, Laura Mvula = Afro Fugees (cute but not going to change my world much), Stooshe = reminds me of Jamelia or Eternal (who cares), that 3rd one = awful white rapper, Nitty Scott = MC Lyte/Q Latifah sounded more progressive than this, Gunplay = boring trap music (sadly that style has had its day), Cappo and Nappa sounds like rubbish rap from where i come from (France) and that A-trak one felt like my head was being stuck in a vise!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you so much for sharing this awesome post. Good job!

    ReplyDelete

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