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Just gorgeous, but like Kingsbury Manx or Besnard Lakes, not so gorgeous as to mistake a perfection of surface for a justification. If you're going to make essentially 'dated' music it can gain some justification through sheer beauty sure, but also through capturing a mood that its sources haven't quite reached yet, not because they weren't trying but because they were made by other people in other times. 'Morning' captures a mood that's entirely now - the feel you get as the vocals echo is that they're almost running up against themselves, stubbornly sticking around a little longer than they should, against your desire to digest and delineate them. Hence a note struck in the first second seems to almost live through the whole track, like the whole thing is one long glorious dub of a single pristine moment of innocence, allowed to age and wither and die in front of you. I hear it's something of a 'highlight' of 'Morning Phase'. Plenty for me to be getting along with thanks. Always been a little mistrustful of him. Not any more.

"I didn't wanna hear your shit CD so I took your chipped CD and I gave your CD straight to a tramp" - the line that made me chuckle the most this month but also this comes from a soon-come EP from Boya Dee that should be unmissable, harsh harsh beats, marsh-deep bass and tons of fiery attitude seeping from the grooves of this grimey monster. Play so loud it hurts.


'Drunk In Love' (#Serfbort viral-campaign notwithstanding) is soooo tedious, 6-odd minutes of hookless meandering with a fatal disconnection between backdrop and voice that can never be bridged once noticed, no matter how authentically blathered are the swooping woozy synths and sense of shitfaced room-rotation. The one good line about waking up in the kitchen wondering how the fuck did this happen is foregrounded with a smug assurance about what a good line it is and thus immediately loses all power it might've had, and Jay's cameo-verse is as forgettable as B's own Drakeisms and RickRossisms. On the flip 'Partition' is way better, genuinely out-of-control sounding, even as the gorgeous arrangement of the backing vocals and the premonitive echoes that swirl around the hook show how much control is going on, a great great bass sound so fuzzily heavy it's like she's hijacked a grime track, slowed it to a crawl and made it her own. Genuinely sexy as Beyonce's been in a long while but crucially a track that doesn't demand worship only mutual derangement and desire. B-Side wins again.

(Big Beat)
Just a warning, this collab between rubbish US EDM act CC and rubbish singer-songwriter (responsible for Eminem's 'Monster') Bebe Rexha is out there, and will probably be a big hit, suffused as it is with the kind of pounding vacancy all the rage in these poundingly vacant times. Bebe Rexha, when asked about her musical influences said her two main ones were 'Coldplay, and The Cranberries', seriously, I shit you not. As such not entirely sure what we can DO about 'Take Me Home's inevitable rise other than to note that Coldplay are a big part of the problem with songwriting and pop at the moment, have taught an entire generation of writers from all genres that lyrical emptiness and glacially slow chord-progressions are a surefire way to be making serious great music, even if that music is designed to be danced to in a bikini. SO MUCH of this kind of chaff about at the moment, of which this is merely the newest most freshly pinched-off example. Sideswerve it if you can.

(Roc Nation) 
One of the better cuts offa Cole's 'Born Sinner', rumbling beat and moody synths laced together beautifully, would be so much better without the incessant handclaps (far too Black Eyed Peas for my liking, an attempt to make the track irrefutably party-ish when the subject matter is far too cold and tough for such jollification) but still a paniccy pathetic mea culpa from Cole re: his infidelities, b'vox from Coffman and Cults and the nutty drop-ins of cynical prayers and orisons rendering things as sumptuous and addictively crackpot as a good-to-great Outkast single. Best single he's done in a long time and should be a huuuuge hit although only B-listed by those racist motherfuckers at Radio 1. Seriously, go check out the A-list & B-list here. I guarantee you it's like the original MTV policy: keep that 'urban' shit to the margins, boost the trad, boost the retrograde, LET THE BANDS SPEAK. Racist motherfuckers.


Good lord, I haven't taken shrooms for a long long time but this track has me mouth agape and tripping the fuck out like Hansel & Gretel found a house in the woods made of Psilocybin. Deranged lyrics matched by a sluggish, thoroughly psychedelic production that crushes the digital and the analogue and some as-yet undreamed of future amalgam of the two into bizarre, gurning, fuzzed-out hip-hop that genuinely sounds like a snapshot from that moment you're peaking your scaly reptilian tits off waist deep in a nearby canal. Superb and want to hear more from Denzel C soon.

Cassidy's playing Fantasy Pop League,  the boater-n-cricket-jumper wearing superstar celeb DJ ($100K a night - wonder if he gets a free crate of beer with that) now has an album (the May-dropping 'Paradise Royale') ready to roll from which 'Calling All Hearts' is the first salvo. His methods for 'PR' (let's always call it that) are startlingly similar to Daft Punks for 'Random Access Memories': he got a list together of 25 golden age disco songs from 78-82, found out all the musicians repeatedly used on them, then, because he and his label are fabulously wealthy, bought all of those musicians' time to play on the record. He's got Nile, he's got 3 of EWF, he's got Ray Parker Jr, he's got strings arranged by Jerry Hey, he's got a cast of dozens and is proudly touting the fact the album has no samples, is all new music made by the best that money can buy.
   Problem is, 'Calling All Hearts is sung by Jessie J and Robin Thicke and reveals just exactly how alot of the old classic records Cassidy is aiming for were dependent on the singers, or rather dependent on the likeability of the characters singing them. When the only impression you get from the singers is that of utterly undeserved careers based on faintly racist boosting of their blatantly racist theft, arrogance and laziness then it's difficult to fall in love, no matter how sumptuously realised the grooves and vintage period detail. Jessie J is simply a completely detestable pop singer from any angle, Thicke appears to do fuck all as far as I can tell and so 'Calling All Hearts' though possessed of a hook that stayed in my head for an hour, is a song you want to eject from your day with laxative force. Not saying creating new ensembles from old hands never works (check out that amazing Nuyorican Soul album from waybackwhen and PR also will feature some genuine vocal talent in Mary J, Estelle & CeeloGreen) but this single makes itself loathsome before you even hear it by having such a duo of douches involved. Pass.

Goddamit Fiddy how come you keep coming up with shite albums but absolutely killer one-offs? One of the most massively offensive lyrics hip-hop will give you all Spring (not thee most offensive though - that prize goes to 100s' compellingly 80s-funk-suffused 'Ten Freaky Hoes') sits with nonchalent ill-grace over one hell of a frabjous 70s sprig of cartoon-funk, Fiddy finally seemingly settling nicely into his own voice and persona, a verbal promontory of almost spectacular grumpiness I'm in no mood to move him from when he's coming out with tracks as compellingly addictive as this. Still yet to give us a good album. I give less and less a fuck about that the more I hit rwnd on this.


Always nice when FF write a song rather than just 'realise an idea'. Nice punch to the production, nice sharp detail to the guitar licks, nice utter avoidance of faux-disco, great psyche bridge. Nice. Three billion times better than their competition, too good for their competition really. How much more interesting would the NME rock'n'roll dialectic be if these utter ponces were let back in a bit more often? Kapranos, unlike Turner, is the kind of gobshite I like.


So which one of these three will make it into a safe future learning Judo in a week for Sport Relief, providing a musical interlude for Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, joining the panel and being a good sport on Celebrity Juice, making them whoop on Loose Women or introducing their whole familial clan on All Star Family Fortunes? These are the goals now surely and in the race for sustainable survivable celebrity I'd say Harvey's the prettiest, J the safest, Fox the catchiest - they should increase their chances by forming a boyband, even if the British-boyband has become a project fatally fucked forever musically by the annoyingly persistent influence of Busted/McFly (it disturbs me that everything in this ilk has to in some small way sound like a fucking Blink 182 song ). Post 1-D (for they are surely doomed to perish once this decade's end draws near - about the same time these 3 will be legally able to drive a tractor) I can't see who's gonna pick up the slack - s'a tricky market, pre-teen girls, girls who haven't yet made the full switch to black pop or white rock, girls who still wanna play with their Monster High dolls & who haven't yet grown out of spikey biactol-bleached boys who look about 12 endlessly singing about how they want a girl like YOU just the way YOU are cos inside YOU're beautiful and how they'll carry YOU home. If the best Britpop has to offer can only keep releasing the kind of mediocrity offered on these three phuts of fuckall then a whole generation of tweenagers will be lost to Adventure Time forever. Here's hoping.

(Virgin EMI) 
[**Andy's voice from Toy Story 2 in Woody's dream-sequence**] Byyyeee Iggyyyyyyyy, way back when she started out the odd track had me intrigued but turns out she's jussanother busted flush, here helped into deeper levels of shittitude thanks to Charli XCX's sub-Stefani/Lorde vocals and appalling lyrics ('trash the hotel/let's get drunk on the minibar' yaaaaawn you know you're scraping a barrel when you manage to make Katy Perry look like a unique stylist) coupled with  a production so weedily weak it's impossible to ever believe a sassback word from either of the pushy protagonists here. Also, melodically, the hook reminds me of Ed Sheeran's 'A-Team' for which no forgiveness will ever be forthcoming - Clueless-homage video but utterly bereft of an ounce of the heart or sharpness that made Clueless so great. Clueless fuckers.


Dark, miserable, gloriously isolated,  repetetive but with enough variation to clasp you to its pulse, sound perfectly pitched tween 80s electro-pop and vintage house, EVERYTHING this month's records by Klaxons and Kooks would KILL to achieve even an iota of. Love it, just make sure your speakers are big enough to fill your life with it.

(Digital Soundboy) 
In contrast to so much of the pastiche of  so much 'quality' major-label music, the best British pop at the moment at least admits the last 20 years happened, at least allows in some of the garage/dubstep textures that took the cutting edge so far away from the mainstream for so long - 'Somebody' is a sharp, thoughtful song about waiting for someone new, knowing they'll never come, knowing that the older you get the more bored, the less passionate you get, the more other people's decisions become something you're too tired to care about anymore. And also knowing that all that fronting out you're doing is just another way of hiding your inner crumbling and decay. In direct contradiction to a growing theory I have that it's the piano not the ukelele that's the most damaging instrument in modern pop 'Somebody' has an undeniably gorgeous few fragile piano-chords at its heart but it's the way it flies out from that root to the edges of your headspace  that makes it move emotionally, makes it move YOU. Hope it's a hit. B-listed at the moment along with the equally ace Kiesza's 'Hideaway' so don't hold yr breath. 


The original of MM is now over 5 years old so a joy to hear this ripsnorting rerub, full on bedlam-heavy grime ruffness, delicious hysteria in the vocals, astonishing heaviness to the kick. From Jammer's new 'Top Producer'  mixtape you should be picking up wherever you can find it. Oh look, it's above this paragraph. Content provision in full effect. 


"The world been coming to an end and I ain't need no Mayan calendar to feel that" -great lyrics from south-side Chicago ingenue MJ, and love the way his voice is free enough to spill from conviction to doubt, from sureshot confidence to an almost-broken breathed fragility, each line carrying with it the shadow image of its own refutation. Superbly deep, engrossing stuff even though over so brief a timespan, but helped into your inner ear via 6thBoro's beautifully subtle modal-jazz backing and thumping beats. Keep an eye on this guy.


"Lookin' like Rump Spice" heh heh - Shayna McHayle returns with this natty preview of soon-come long-player 'Satisfaction Guaranteed'. Beyond the sheer filthy aggression of the lyrics it's the delivery that has you hitting rewind on this - stealth but fury as well, sensuality but oozing with menace - Shayna has a great rap voice, half Grace Jones steel, half Althea/Donna playfulness. As with the track with Tink that came out a few months ago ('Curve Em') this is also produced by Shy Guy who has the good sense to not overwhelm the production with too much fuss, allowing JP's commanding boom to just launch itself into your day with all claws out and sharpened. 'I'm a genie in a bottle of Malibu . . . ' - drink deep and hold tight for the album.

RUMBLE (Ninja Tune) 

Zzzzzzzz . . . . Macy Even Greyer.

(RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment)

Yes, of course I was one of the 7 upvoters for that Youtube comment. I applaud good critique wherever it occurs. And like anyone, I love it when people do my job for me better than I ever could.

(Akashic Rekords) [which is all well and cool but really - Distribution & Marketing by Sony Music Entertainment]
Like you I'm sure, I feared a cover of The Misunderstood's 1966 psyche-monster but I really needn't have worried, this is the Klaxons' usual big pile of piddliness, given a fantastically over-compensatory hard-hitting sheen by the Chemical Brothers (finally a solid groove and some likable noise occasionally agglomerating around it) that unfortunately can't disguise the utter paltriness of ideas and intent behind these comeback tracks. On the flip 'There Is No Other Time' is sort-of-competently (i.e not incompetent enuf) executed disco-pop not a million miles away from Peace's latest 'dance-rock' manouevres (yes I have heard the new song, can't quite believe such a thing exists anywhere beyond a five-band pay-to-play gig at the Brum Barfly)- crucially it's never really apparent for a single second of this double A-side WHY Klaxons exist, or why we should care, why anyone ever fucking cared,  how their sound benefits from being a band, being together, bothering at all - they sound like a slightly harder-edged Bastille and lord-knows no-one needs to be reminded even faintly of those cakmongering cocknuggets. In terms of 60s-beatpop pastiche that frickin Elyar Fox (see above) single hits harder, innovates more. My guess is Klaxons figure there's at least another year of indie-fan bleeding/baiting to be dredged out of their yesterdays-future-today schtik. Good luck with that bozos - for those of us with not much time on our hands just know this is as tediously terse a slice of joylessness as ever given us by the Hot Chips and Beta Bands that are the Klaxons true spiritless ancestors. I'll have a Regular Fries with that n all.


BWAHAHAHAHAHA god, I know I shouldn't laugh but is there anything funnier than shit rock bands who've milked the dugs of their usual sources so dry that they have to 'boldly' get a little 'funky'? 'Down' sups greedily from the heavy heavy monster funk grooves of the likes of the Stone Roses and Ocean Colour Scene and will be hated by Kook's normal constituency as it's an unashamed stab at pop, will be laughed at by their haters simply because it uses the words 'sexual' and 'diggidiggi' in close proximity without being about trying to pull off Twiki The Robot, and will only serve a useful purpose beyond being pointed at and laughed at once someone who knows about funk i.e a hip-hop/grime producer can be unleashed on its innards to salvage something from its cumulatively soporific 'grooves'. Horrific stuff from one of the most loathsome sounds and voices in pop.


 Lightspeed rhymes from the stunning new talent that is Little Simz - watch this girl cos with verbal skills like this she's gonna break past any barriers anyone could dare to throw around her, here her vocals sit atop an undulating slo-mo groove that only accentuates the dazzling wordplay and righteous sense of courage and linguistic intrigue Simz has on tap. Also check out the stunning, startlingly good 'Blank Canvas' mixtape free on bandcamp as soon as you possibly can. Superb.



Love the sample at the heart of this, a rippling shimmer of Saharan sand so cheesily yet convincingly exotic it's like the music from the desert-levels of Super Mario Brothers got the Sir Spyro treatment - and seriously LOVE the verse from Eyez which spits the kind of straight-up dead-ahead vicious grime nastiness that with a few more years could grow into Wiley-sized fun for all. Keep an eye out.

(Anywhere For You)
My local offy permanently has Radio 1 on. This is currently A-listed, alongside Paulo Nutini's new shitmare (more anon) & this unfortunate turn of the events-dial means that I'm exposed to this song at least twice a week against my will, even more when listening to commercial radio in the car. At least in the car I can drown it out with the usual full-fat stream of abuse of pedestrians and fellow motorists - my innate politeness means it's particularly gutting when stood in the queue at Londis with my booze and processed meat products and the DJ says 'John Martin' cos against my better understanding my brain immediately primes itself for some echoplexed funk from the mid 70s and I CAN'T SHOUT BACK.  'Anywhere For You', as I'm sure you're aware by now, is just as horrible as the kind of tunes Martin catted up with Swedish House Mafia , horrific 'progressive' dance slathered with as much 'anthemic' vaguery as the form has ever sustained, the kind of 'dance anthem' Chris Martin would knock out for David Cameron's birthday party, making sure he's washed his bib in readiness for the Number 10 scat-dungeon. In its vertiginous builds and outlooks 'Anywhere' is the sound of upward mobility, of sky-high stasis, of being able to be at any point on the planet with a call and a quick dash to the airport, arriving with nothing but your credit card and a smile and a handwritten invitation from the Prince Of Bahrain. It's all calls directed to the office in Doha, a form e-mail that tells you that you'll be answered on the recipient's return from Miami, it's a charity bash at the Mondrian Skybar attended by Pharrel and the Kardaishans and the everliving ghost of Michael Milkin , it's the pulsing sound & euphoria of a well-managed Forex portfolio, it's a Senior Actuarial Consultant with extensive ALS modelling and developing skills to provide ALS expertise to business WHEN THEY NEED IT.
   Of course, it's taken as irrefutable that Martin and his ilk 'have voices' - have a clarity and force and purity in vocal tone that's 'undeniable', that makes this a great debut solo single for him. Undoubtedly it'll be a success but it shows how unquestioning has been the steady drip-drip absorption of X-Factor diktats, pop purely as imagined by millionaire cheesemongers and other Stars In Reasonably Priced Cars (notice how the only good proper pop fan judge X Factor ever had - Mel B-  didn't last and is long gone). It shows how completely such wrongheaded ideas about what matters in pop have infected pop's body politic that when it comes to performance and vocalising  such middling mediocrity and identikit 'quality' can be so lauded, so taken at face value, unquestioned, undoubted.  Martin 'has a voice', one utterly shorn of all personality, merely the noise that comes out from the hole in the face of someone lightly-bearded & heavily-connected, on a beach, earning far more money than you, looking for love in the gaps between his next VIP DJing guest-spot and fashion-shoot. Oligarchipop, a pop that keeps you exactly where you are, that does precisely a fractionally small percent of what pop can actually do but that cons you into thinking it's going as far into 'honesty' as pop can get. Fucking evil cunts the lot of them. In the interests of avoidance may I recommend self-decapitation or the next Bolzer EP? Eyefanku.

(Universal Island) 
   I don't really watch music videos much anymore. Their ubiquity has made me listen alot more than watch, not through principle but through boredom. Alot of our pop lives, though visually saturated, is spent imagining what singers look like, or if we know what they look like, imagining them singing. When I picture singers that I love actually singing, I rarely if ever picture them in a studio, or on a stage, or in a 'musical' context at all. I might picture them fighting robot ninja assassins on a distant planet, settling down for some hot love on a picnic blanket in a cold Gdansk graveyard, chained to a radiator in a Soho walk-up, trapped under the ice on a Boering-bound floe, slipping into the crowd and checking their watch waiting for the public execution in Riyadh, crucially I always picture them moving, through space and air, trying to zero in on who or what they're singing about, at an eyeball's lick distance staring into my eyes as their words crawl in. The last thing on earth I think about is the 'recording': I most emphatically never ever ever envisage the singers I love in a studio with 'cans' on, waiting for their cue, belting it out with eyes closed, waxed-chest vested or t-shirted, beard flecked with spittle.
   Listening to any of the current crop of 'good singers' that's ALL I can picture, so studio-sheened and emotively 'centred' is every performance on every record these boring boring cunts keep sending to the top. And so even if the video angle is frequently dully focussed on the externally conventional roleplay of being a pop star (on stage/studio/backstage) the camera angle of modern pop production is endoscopic, gruesomely in and close up at the catharh-laden throat, to prove the singer's heart that beats behind the pop game they play with faint distaste. Newman & Cardle, like Labrinth or Murs or Arthur or Sheeran or Odell have the kind of voices you'd love an administrative hospital snafu & an accidental laryngectomy to eliminate from your life, the kind of occasionally-straining, immaculately unkempt 'soulful' croon'n'croaks that you'd laugh at if they occured in front of you, if you found yourself in the shameful position of bearing real live witness to this showboating tutored twattery. I absolutely fucking hate voices like this and they've taken over the male persona in pop to the point where imagining a male singer who DIDN'T have those kind of 'chops' becoming a star is becoming increasingly difficult. Even the boybands have to have at least one member who can do this gurning gritty shit - where are the voices that float, that tease, that engross and engage you not by flamboyantly showcasing what they can do like pop is a constant audition, but by gradually revealing themselves, hiding now and then, working with and against their limitations (rather than their endlessly melismic capabilities) to sound like someone you want to hear and know, rather than someone whose mighty 'real' vocal 'talent' you have to succumb/surrender to ? Male (and esp. white male) popstars are all so busy vocally dangling their Lynx-Dry-Attract-scented ballsacs in our eyes at the moment it's no wonder so many of us are blind to anything else. Fuck this nonsense and someone bring back the pansies quickly.


I reckon if a DJ tweaked this 19 minute monster up about +2000 what you'd get is a bratty 30 second noise-punk anthem, at its actual pace 'ἀηδής' is like metal after a suicide leap, reduced to a twitching puckering puddle of viscera and mud and dust, abandoning any sense of trajectory after a few minutes and becoming a series of heartstoppingly heavy droning death throes and ebbing pulmonary gore. Music that seeps so slowly, engulfs you so completely, destroys hope so thoroughly you should limit yourself to exposure only once a week if you want to remain a fully-functioning human being. Yup, I'm caning it twice a day at the moment. What's 'eating' again?


"Paolo Nutini was expecting to follow his father into the family fish and chip shop business. He was first encouraged to sing by his music-loving grandfather, Jackie". Fuck's sake Jackie, as a fellow grandparent I can only ask - WHAT were you thinking? Sure, you were probably just being nice. Jumped up little prick keeps caterwauling along when you're trying to listen to your records or do the washing up or phone the bookies? You tell the towheaded little dunce that he should 'pursue music' or somesuch BS, you can't remember,  just to be encouraging, just to get him to shut the fuck up maybe and go practice somewhere you aint, just for some peace, just to be a good granddad. I know how it is Jackie. You love the boy fiercely. I myself am encouraging of my young grandson's desire to be Aquaman, and will not stand in his way if he wants to pursue Black Manta to his undersea lair and destroy him. BUT LISTEN TO WHAT YOUR WORDS HAVE WROUGHT JACKIE, listen to the barrelload of bulbous brown pap perennially pooped out by your progeny's progeny, lookit the way he stumbles, pointy-wristed in leather and shades vainly searching for even a scintilla of borrowed-cool he will never ever actually possess, feel the revolting musical condescencion that descends upon the listener from the very first moment of the appallingly-titled 'Scream (Funk My Life Up)', the revoltingly 'warm' soundpad Nutini lets seep around you like a lift-filling fart. Check the deliberately downhome production, the attempt to make the rhythm section sound like they're playing in MuscleShoals with  Papa Willie Mitchell on the mix, actually sounding piped straight in from the studios at Maida Vale and only missing Jo Pissbag Whiley's cooing sycophancy on the outro. Check every single musician here being so tediously 'classic', so revoltingly 'respectful' listening is like anally ploughing a dessicated corpse - motherfuckers if you're not exceeding or surpassing things I've already heard WHY THE FUCK SHOULD I BE LISTENING TO YOU? Oh that's right, you're not making music for people into music, you're making music for people who've heard fuck all, or worse, have heard everything and understood nothing. Music like Nutini's isn't just aesthetically objectionable, rather in its cravenness to the past, its defeatism, its total reaffirmation of racial and sexual hierarchies, its distaste for the present and desire for a past of unquestioned reappropriative theft and exploitation, it's politically, spiritually and fundamentally fuckawful on every single level music can be reasonably appreciated on. I intensely hate you Nutini and wish you a nagging, constant toothache so deep it reaches your balls. Your fucking fault Jackie.


(Caroline International) 

Always been a sucker for his voice, here given some gorgeous melodic corners to rub itself around in a little pocket-planet of a song, v. reminiscent for me of Eric Matthews but also Scott, Bowie, Ayers - see no reason on earth why SFA remain on hiatus when this sounds like it could be one of theirs but who cares, ace fuzz guitar solo seals the deal.

Bought to you by the Citroen DS3, George From Asda pants and bras, Veet hair-removal products, Impulse Body Spray and Pro-Tools autoshit prog-house settings. Six months til the split and Frankie going solo I reck. Taking all bets.


S45 absolutely killing it with JME on this unstoppable grime banger with a chorus that pipes summer into your cells irresistibly. Great reggae-vibe on the chorus but nothing overly optimistic derails the forward-motion here, it thumps and rings the ear-drums with the ferocity of its beats, the ear-filling hum of the bass, the way that though it'll doubtless only be heard among grime & bass-music fans it actually operates like daisy-age hip-hop at its frenetic, colourful best. Love it.

Punjabi banger aka the desi 'Work Bitch'? Hey, that's racist but damn near the truth.

19 credited writers apparently. Fuck me,  surely one of them just happened to make the tea? I can't even begin to imagine how a single song could entail so much delegated resposibility or exactly how the labour got divided, though this slice of fairly by-rote raptronica works a treat because Benga adds some typically mournful minor-key wierdness and cos Young is smart enough to keep her vocals engagingly monotonic and rapid, perhaps even more rapid than the MIAs and Santigolds she might lazily be compared to - I WANT MORE from this track, it settles too soon and then just keeps going, but a good sign that DYU will be someone to watch for those of us missing our Missy. For me and my girls, girl pop par excellence.

(Virgin EMI)
 If there's a default cliched position to write a song from on Planet Pop in 2014 it's the hangover. It's a handy device EVERYONE's been overflogging it to death - allows you to list all the kerrrayzy things you did last night (kissed someone/danced on a table/sung your favourite songs uhh, that's usually about it) with the chance to add the usual Facebook-status-style simpering apologetics about not being able to 'remember much'. Reflection and faint regret sitting alongside the 'rock'n'roll' moves you pulled in your t-shirt of a band you've never needed in your life. Thing is these Larry Lightweights who use this cliche (Perry, Swift, Miley, & now The Vamps) always stack up such a paltry innacurate/identikit list of 'bad behaviour' it seems none of them have properly experienced the bitter shame and abandonment of a decent night on the lash. Until one of these squeaky-clean fucknuts sings a song about threatening to glass a close friend, cop off with a close relative, pukeing in a cab or shitting in a bed I'm inclined to think that they're simply rotating the most fashionable prosaisms currently up on the big black-board at Songwriters camp and wouldn't know a good night out if it chinned them in the kebab queue or made them sob expansively in the toilets while the attendant gazes with gimlet-eyed boredom into the middle-distance. None of these freshly-scrubbed fucks have ever felt their K-holed feet stick to a floor or their fists ball up in a cider rage (well, except Miley maybe) & I recommend never trusting them again.

Probably the most Michael Jacksonesque song offa the pristinely dark'n'depressing 'Kiss Land' LP, 'Wanderlust' has more of the feel of autumn/winter than this March release might indicate but what an immaculately realised pulse of dark, heavily-synthed r'n'b this is - more electro-pop than anything else, and more about textures than trajectory. Love the way the b-vox start to swim together so entangled and deep you feel submerged in breath, love the way it's totally radio friendly but not totally radio overfriendly. Happy to forget about reality to this, and wish The Weeknd would slip his low-tempo leash more often. See you all in May, if the end hasn't come by then. And how silly will I look then!


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I hired a van. The expense was a concern but I needed the capacity. First the long drive north to Middlesborough. I knew he'd be at home, visiting relatives. Made sure my HeadBag was packed. Blindfolds and ballgags. Rope. Some starved, stroppy badgers. Maxi-pack of chloroform-seeped bogroll from Costco. Masking tape. As I eased onto the M1 I told myself again the story of how it was developed from the need for waterproof ammunition casings in WWII. I had to, I was bored, and it's a long schlep up to 'boro. Idly, after securing a mortgage for a bacon roll at Tibshelf, I had an argument with my other personality about whether Middlesborough was in North Yorkshire, County Durham or Teeside. 
Nothing got resolved. A plain-clothes officer pulled me off in the hardshoulder near Malton and issued stern words about punching myself while driving. No hilarity did ensue. I needed to focus. This was a serious business. By noo…


(photo by Pat Pope, full text)  MANIC STREET PREACHERS  ASTORIA, LONDON  SORRY, lifelong fan, but I’m a new convert. I got into them a week ago and here I am. (They start with “Faster and, after the dub and horrorcore they’ve played, it jarrs and fits perfectly.) OK, see it ain’t attitude cos anyone can do that, just cock a snook and suck your cheeks. It ain’t glamour. Glamour is boring. Glamour is loud pretty people who hug, hug, hug, giggling at your geek self all night. And it ain’t rock’n’roll; it was your rock’n’roll that made a nigger-hater the King, your teddy boys who Paki-bashed for Mosley, Notting Hill 1958, your rock’#n’roll build on SAMBO DON’T SELL. I ain’t interested and the Manics are way beyond that. (“Yes” is Stjepan Mestrovic’s “Balkanisation Of The West” turned punk anthem, as if it could be any more punk. No higher compliment exists.)    The four founding points of Manics songs – one: modern life is untenable. Two: no one ever gets used to loneliness. Three: if tr…

The F.U.N.K 2017 End Of Year Lists Part 1 - Metal

Metal, like hip hop, has had a fucking great 2017. Like hip hop its manifold joys can mainly be found away from the mainstream, certainly light-years distant from the kinds of boybands-with-guitars that seemingly dominate Kerrang-style metal culture. So most of my favourite metal from this year has come from slightly off the beaten track (so much great stuff coming out of Italy this year), much of it found via Bandcamp and those metal bloggers who are so ably covering the anti-scene at the moment. 

Needs saying actually - metal, like hip hop, is one area of music where blogging and word-of-mouth is all the guidance I need anymore - haven't been NEAR a metal mag this year and don't feel like I've missed anything. The bloggers care, and know their stuff so thanks to Angry Metal Guy and Cvlt Nation  and No Clean Singing and Heavy Blog Is Heavy  and The Sludgelord for keeping me vaguely in touch with the best metal in 2017, they've been invaluable. 

These are the metal/doom…