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

SINGLE OF THE MONTH 1
INSIDE INFO & MEFJUS
MYTHOS
(VIRUS)


Oh man, there's a sound threaded through this that's just EVIL. It's like something from a Japanese 
horror movie, this low-down croak that slows to the point where you can hear every single popped kernel of it, like the kind of weird-assed noises you find yourself making late at night to spook the bejesus out of yourself when you've been left alone with the medicine cabinet. It ripples and reemerges and pulls you under like Jenny Greenteeth throughout this monster from Mefjus on the ever-dependable Virus Recordings and when it starts getting ping-ponged back'n'forth across the mix it turns 'Mythos' into just about the most damn addictive d'n'b track you've heard since Break's 'Love So True' & Calyx & Teebee's 'We Fall Away' back in 2012. Essential. 


Atoms For Peace 
Before Your Very Eyes
(XL)
Why are Atoms For Peace releasing a single? Thom Yorke hates pop music like he hates modern standards of hygiene. He's the enemy of pop music. He's all about good music, proper music, proper music played by proper people on proper instruments of a proper intellect that doesn't lower itself to having such vulgar things as 'hooks' or trying to be 'likeable' and so this dislikable splat of coffee-table-ready coffee-coloured shit proves. Perhaps the most punchably dislikeable cunt involved in music this side of the Gallagher bros or Bono, Thom and his fellow wankonauts here explore a  Fela-ish groove with none of the warmth or fire or reason to be, Eno-production with none of the stealth or purpose and always always always that smeared false-modest sanctimonious croon so convinced of it's own depth it feels no need to bother creating a melody that isn't transient, instantly forgettable, comes phutting out with one leg cocked and a smirk on its face and a frown on its brow. Gosh how very very very fucking clever 'Before Your Very Eyes' is, how hard it tries to make a sound you can't deny but how completely it reveals itself to be  utterly antithetical to everything you should hold dear politically, culturally, and emotionally about music. The sound of rich people trying to expiate their guilt, pomposity that negates communication, that hates the listener, a bottomless topless unfathomable pomposity that makes the soul turgid from exposure to it.  Fucking hippy cunts fuck off and die.

Avril Lavigne 
Here's To Never Growing Up 
(Epic) 
Speaking of the piss-stinking rat-faced piss-faced rat-stinking one Avril's finest memory of her youth here is "Singing Radiohead at the top of our lungs" - well that's your fucking card marked innit Mrs Kroeger. This contains possibly the worse lyrics of the year - yet another brain-buggeringly repetetive post-Perry/Ke$ha thqueam-till-I'm-thick bleat that the height of rock'n'roll transgressiveness is 'dancing on a bar', yet another attempt at infantilism from someone old, the endless perpetuation of the fear of ageing so ingrained now in popsong that every artist either has to be young, or sad about being old and no-one can simply SING ABOUT SOMETHING OTHER THAN SELF-PITY/AGGRANDIZEMENT. Hateful in every single way musically but beyond that, sung and delivered with a thoroughly unpalatable sense of priveliged selfishness that only a Radiohead fan could enjoy. You are welcome.

Alicia Keys 
New Day 
(RCA)
Fully skill verse, 3-quarter triffic beats,  half-ace bridge, shit chorus. Problem being the usual appeal to the 'party people'.Pop remains convinced that the party people KNOW. Pop always wants to know where they're at. Pop always sends things out for the party people. I wonder if pop has ever MET the party people? I have, and they're badly-dressed desperate wankers to a man. Fuck the party people. Next artist to give a shout out to the 'motherfuckers chundering in the bogs', or proudly state that 'this one's going out to the toilet attendant', or even give mad props to 'the angry bastards spitting at the dancefloor' gets me intrigued and signed up for their newsletter and that's a promise.

Frank Turner 
The Way I Tend To Be 
(iTunes)
Why do singer-songwriters think they can write a song on an acoustic guitar and then just add other instruments and that'll count as 'a record'? Unless you're making 'Astral Weeks' and you've got folk who played with Charles Mingus showing up it aint gonna work you turnip-breathed twats.

The Last Skeptik 
Be There 
(BBE Records) 
One of the most skin-puckeringly gorgeous tracks from Skeptik's superb 'Thanks For Trying' set, up there with Telemachus' utterly stunning 'In the Evening' as one of 2013's real highlights. The loops here are sweet, the flute a thing of real beauty, but it's the rock-solid beat that gets you addicted, has you swimming back for more like a grinning shark sniffing blood. UK hip-hop production on a roll right now and here be evidence writ large. Oh btw - hip-hop fans who like coming here to tell me my hip-hop choices are hilariously bad please do fuck off back to your Lil' B mixtapes you fucking clowns I really could not give two fucks what you cretins think about rap music.

Mark Owen 
Stars 
(Polydor) 
I remember when I really fancied Mark Owen, always the prettiest Take Thatter. Then he turned up at a nightclub I DJ'd in and I realised that he was well under 3 feet tall and seemed to be shrinking as the night progressed. Then, though still pretty, he started bringing out shitty solo records under some serious delusions of talent that have tested my horn for him to the max. This typically tedious single, which manages to make a video in which he's dressed as a spaceman and is walking around Berlin somehow be the most boring thing you've seen from ANY of TT in recent years (including Robbie "Failed Redcoat" Williams) confirms that I was quite right to edge him out of the wank-bank in preference for more up to date fantasy figures like Arturo De Cordova, Oliver Tobias and Ben 10. Always nice to know you were right to move on -still get the screaming thigh-sweats for Christian Ingebrigtsen from A1 though. Who doesn't? 


SINGLE OF THE MONTH 2
Tegan & Sara 
I Was A Fool 
(Warner Bros.)

Hey Haim, listen up, if you're gonna use those kind of 70s/80s textures THIS is how you do it. Firstly you write a good song, not just a series of clever coherent structures without any emotional movement or linkage. Secondly you don't over-egg the mix- the gorgeous lambent sweep and thump of 'I Was A Fool' is weighted & pitched just right, never exhausts you, never sounds like showing off or a journey round the correctness of their kit, always seems in service of the song and the heads & hearts behind it, leaves enough space amidst the pristineness for human beings to be able to emerge (and I just love the slightly delay-laden piano,  it gets me right in the ribs). Thirdly, you actually have something to say, something lacerating & true to say about love  rather than just the rotation of numb cliches and dead metaphors. I love Tegan & Sara and see no reason why they shouldn't be the giant pop stars they've always deserved to be. I hope this song takes them there.

Bastille 
Laura Palmer 
(Virgin)
BasTARDS more like. (ArfArf! This is why they still pay me the big bucks) "This is your heart/Can you feel it?/Can you feel it?/Pumps through your veins/Can you feel it?/Can you feel it?". Fatal and exasperating error here lyrically. Your heart doesn't pump through your veins. It pumps blood through your veins, but if your heart is actually pumping through your veins in small capillary-wide chunks you got severe, potentially life-threatening problems son.
   Hey, I understand a little lassitude in medical accuracy is permissable in pop songs esp. seeing as most pop songs, if they mention the heart, have it doing something it shouldn't be doing or afflicted with deformities that would render urgent medical attention a real priority beyond the singing of a song ("Groove Is In The Heart", "Thunder In My Heart","Heart Of Glass") but c'mon Bastille, I'd been led to believe you were a literate smart pop band. If my heart was pumping through my veins what exactly would be doing the pumping thickos? The fact I've spent the last 3 minutes pondering this when I should've been actually listening to this anthemic boobery is neither here nor there. I cannot abide imprecision and we shouldn't tolerate it anymore, time's too short and life's too long.

Cappadonna 
Can't Believe it's Him 
(Fat Beats) 

Real resurrection of the Wu under recent solo outings (especially the Ghostface/Younge album), but don't overlook this simmering little corker as well, great rhymes and lush jazzed-out menace perfectly realised.

Union J 
Carry You
(Sony/RCA) 
Awww. How sweet. I think Union J have tried to pitch this as a 'hold on'-type anthem, y'know, the kind of 'times are tough and you feel like giving up but I'll be there baby to help you' (fuck me! that just came out of me! Sending it to Biffy Clyro with a pre-invoice for a squillion quid now!) identikit song EVERYONE IN THE FUCKING WORLD seems to be singing right now. The popularity of this 'helping hand' motif is down to no-one actually being willing/able to say what's wrong in any deep or meaningful or crazily meaningless sense (politically/sexually/socially/culturally) let alone proffer solutions beyond a pally 'don't worry mate' vagueness but 'Carry You', by dint of UJ's shit haircuts and general Beds/Berks excess-of-gorm manage to turn the universal into something that sounds entirely local and specific. By the sounds of it, their girlfriend/boyfriend (don't forget Jaymi came out as gay last November and according to Wiki " instantly became a role model for young adults struggling with their own sexuality") isn't going through anything like a genuine life crisis. They've just had a few too many WKDs by the swings up the park and have fallen unconscious in a pool of their own vomit. At such an admittedly vital moment in any young person's life-curve be assured that the Union-J boys are there for you: "When the vision you have gets blurry you don't have to worry I'll be your eyes it's the least I can do/We'll take each step together till you come back to centre/The demons are screaming so loud in your head, you're tired, you're broken, you're cut and you're bruised but nothing's too heavy, just hold on, I'll carry you." Dead sweet. Anyone would be glad for such thoughtful nice young boys to be looking out for their kids, although the addition of the couplet 'I'll hold your hair whilst you stick two fingers down your throat' would have really sealed them into the affections of all parents of teenage girls. Such a shame that - their fireman's-lift skills and shitty parping castrato nonsense notwithstanding - they're pretty much fucked for at least the next 5 years cos they're not One Direction. It's a shitty business.


Czarface
Czardi Gras (It's Raw Again)
(Brick Fly/Casual Creative) 



Featuring Action Bronson on a particularly ace verse - not as good as the album version, but still unmissable and some of the juiciest, grainiest sampladelia in years.

Two Door Cinema Club 
Handshake 
(Kitsune)
What a horrible horrible sound, such four-square lumpen 'danceyness', such gag-worthily correct textures but there comes a point where you have to admit that some music just isn't for you, was never for you, never had your demographic on the drawing board. 'Handshake' isn't made for human beings. It's made for silhouettes against a beach-sun, spinning, dancing, holding slimline devices. It's made for lightly-bearded men and floral-dressed women holding on to each other against a backdrop of lit-up skyscrapers (preferably Japanese - the skyscrapers that is), all holding slimline devices. It's for the geographically estranged young couple, separated by their lucrative and exciting jobs in the creative sector but united by technology's abilities to allow them to share instagrams of their meals across continents and add it all to their eco-fashion blogs, all holding slimline devices. It's for the rock audience listening to rock music at the rock show, bouncing as one, glowsticks and ipads held aloft, everyone looking clean and fresh and on-brand, everyone having an unforgettable time, everyone gaining maximum leverage value, everyone holding slimline devices. It's for small photogenic kids to be doing something outdoorsy and memorable with their comfortably well-off parents, on holiday but with an ever-present connectivity, all holding slimline devices. It's for the ITV or Sky TV trailer for their new seasons of drama, moments of tears and sadness and emotional content-provision, every single moment retrievable so long as you're holding slimline devices. It's for the daytime DJ, punching the playlist-B bed and proudly intoning the title with heavy pregnant pauses between each word, sending it out to the world, listeners and players all holding slimline devices. All holding slimline devices. All holding slimline. All holding. All.


Bring Me The Horizon 
Go To Hell For Heaven's Sake 
(RCA) 
"Upon its release, the album Sempiternal was met with critical acclaim. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream music critics, the album received an average score of 81, based on 11 reviews, which indicates "universal acclaim". So anything I say about this tremendously shouty, dissapointingly polite shower of well-appointed utterly forgettable shite is kinda surplus to requirements but a little bit of advice: if you run into a BMTH fan, make sure you point out to them  how much they sound like Linkin Park. They'll LOVE you for it. (Well, no, they'll actually go into a colossal sulk and then start threatening you with death but THAT'S WHAT THEY LIVE FOR). If that doesn't work just say "Man, you should grow up and listen to some Thrice". Guaranteed maxi-strop effective at either Blue Banana Coventry or any Scream pub anywhere - bless 'em. Mediocre in the extreme but you'd still rather your kids were into this than the fucking Mumfords.


SINGLE OF THE MONTH 3
Melanin 9 feat Triple Darkness 
Heartless Island 
(Bandcamp) 

One hell of a preview of (one hell of an album) the new M9 monster 'Magna Carta'. Jehst produces, so you know what kind of compelling montage you're in for, jarring-but-hypnotic horns riding a neck-snapping hard beat, the kind of bubbling synths that have you flashbacking to Saxon Sound and bass so narcotic you'll be nodding out at the wheel, but as ever with M9, it's the rhymes you keep returning to here, a simply stunningly spat slew of sense, and prophetic/poetic rage you just can't shake. Exploring the limits and pushing out beyond them with bravery and purpose. Essential.

Bon Jovi 
What About Now
(Island)
Remember how bands like the Stone Roses & Primal Scream always used to go on about Curtis Mayfield or Can when talking about how there'd 'always been a dance element to our music'. Lying motherfuckers! Clear to anyone with ears that the biggest influence on both of them was Bon Jovi's 'Keep The Faith' and it's prescient ability to match a shittily lumpen 'funk' groove to the usual hairy-chested alpha-twat poolhall bollocks they've been peddling for the best part of 3 decades now. 'What About Now' sadly sees the Jovi stop being leaders of the pack and simply following a nastily contemporary amalgam of Biffy Clyro-style dunce-chords and Killers-style ugly wordiness. Let's hope they return to the cutting edge that ensured they were perhaps the biggest single influence on bands as big and important as Oasis, Green Day and Kings Of Leon. Oh of course none of those snobby cowardly motherfuckers would admit it but just listen to them - they've all got a big bit of Jovi in their souls. Never forget it.

Depeche Mode 
Soothe My Soul
(Venusnote/Columbia) 

Your voice suits your face doesn't it? S'why it's impossible to love The Enemy. S'why I've never got along with Depeche Mode. It's Gahan. It's his diddy Jeremy Kyle-like seriousness, no matter how much self-deprecation he might indulge in now. Oh, I'm sure he's a charming & thoroughly decent fellow. But I hate his singing, hate that grain of heartfeltness in it, its rockschool professionalism and lack of personality, hate the eternally wracked tedious lines between junkiedom, religion and romance Depeche always push our way. 'Soothe My Soul' aims for the all-conquering wonder of Rachel Stevens' 'Some Girls' but only reaches the non-conquering middlingness of a Nitzer Ebb b-side. I always remember the last scene of '101' when they're all sat backstage ponying up the dough. They don't need this and nor do we.

Everything Everything 
Don't Try 
(Sony)
Hey, I'm not on a mission to hate all new indie music y'know. I'm a hungry boy.  If they give me something to get my teeth into I'll lap at the flesh, I'll drink that juice, I'll grab myself a gutfull for mine is never a principled stand, purely a hedonist one. EE totally win me over here (have to admit it's just their name that rubbed me up the wrong way) cos of the sheer joyful nuttiness of the groove (like something off Suburban Base circa 91)  and the brilliantly thought-out arrangement. Love the almost-oppressive synths in the bridge and the way the voices positively skitter across the mix, little bitable chunks of close-harmonies popping off in the peripheries - and the ending is just ace, a hung growingly-engulfing tsunami of voice and electricity that blows you away. Gosh, it's nice to feel part of white music again.

Homeboy Sandman 
Dag Philly Too 
(Stones Throw) 
Roll down them windows, pump up the volume, tap your arm on your driver-side door. Yes, I know it's pissing it down and you're getting your arm wet, but play this loud enough and it might just MAKE summer happen. C'mon people, collective action!

Bruno Mars 
Treasure 
(Warners)
Love me a little bit of this little man - 'Unorthodox Jukebox' isn't as good as the first album but it's still got some corkers on it and 'Treasure' is one of them - as with 'Locked Out Of Heaven' it's the feel and texture that's paramount here, the sense here that it's touched with the hand of Nile Rogers, a little bit of Foster Sylvers on the vocal, some ace 80s synth squiggles and robo-soul harmonies. He's so much better when he's just aiming at fun and not doing soppy break-up songs. A whole album of 'Treasure'/'Heaven' style poptasms next time please Mr. Mars and don't spare the pompadours.

SINGLE OF THE MONTH 4 
Ulterior Motive & Judda 
Timekeeper 
(Subtitles Music)

Norralot to it but what little there is terrorises the dome something darklike - a bass so thick and wrapped up with itself it struggles to emerge from the depths of its own dank, every snare hit reverbed until the aftershocks start becoming their own labyrinthine chamber of death, the bass-hits and snare-snaps eventually indistinguishable from each other, everything dubbed to the infinite. Christ knows what this sounds like on a lungfull. Calyx & Teebee turn up on the flip with an even trippier rerub. Limited to 300 Vinyl only and possibly thee underground d'n'b track of the summer.

Martha Knuckles 
Give Me Room 
(Bandcamp)
Martha Knuckles are Dillon and the utterly fantastic Boog Brown, and this is a slice of frabjous wonder cooked up by producer Anthony Accurate that really allows them both to show what subtly devastating poets they are on the mic. Dillon's compelling in his own right, but Boog is just one of the greatest voices in hip-hop right now and makes everything she lands on an instantaneous classic. Go to the website (marthaknuckles.com) to get the 7" or EP, and hold tight for an album. Sooner the better.

Tons Of Utterly Shit Wank Bands & Artists ft. Other Shit Wank Artists   
Timewasting Songs That Are Fucking Rubbish 
(Pretty Much Every Major Label In Existence And Some Indie Labels That Should Be Fucking Ashamed Of Themselves) 
Sorry, time was getting on so thought it'd be better to save a few hours and simply say that Peace - Lovesick/Kelly Clarkson - People Like Us/Lumineers - Stubborn Love/The Wanted - Walk Like Rihanna/Biffy Clyro – Opposite/Tom Odell - Another Love/ London Grammar – Wasting My Young Years/Bullet For My Valentine – P.O.W./ Britney Spears - Ooh La La/ Tunng - The Village/ Wiley ft. Angel & Tinchy Stryder – Lights On/Bo Bruce – Alive/Don Broco – Hold On/Ed Drewett – Undefeated/ Editors – A Ton Of Love - you all need sealing in airtight vats of your own ordure for crimes against the desire to carry on living you hyperacusis/melophobia-causing motherfuckers. Hey, that was labour-saving. Next month I might do 90 percent of this column simply by referring to the Bristol Stool Index. Have a nice June folks, I'm knocking off early.

Comments

  1. Please, don't ever stop writing about music.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're fucking fabulous. I love you and your writing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Geo & Sam for the kind words. Means more than I can say.

    ReplyDelete
  4. just had the urge to check out the Atoms For Peace track on youtube after reading that, and wow what bland nondescript piece of music...

    ReplyDelete

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