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The spring is almost upon us: clouds are dispersing, the mercury is rising and snow is little more than a painful memory. We’re now venturing outside with blinking eyes and pasty complexions, our foisty long johns having been tucked into the bottom drawer for another year.
Indeed, we’re not the only ones. Musicians are peeking out their bright eyes and button noses, snuffling around the daffodils for the truffles of chart glory. Look! Over there hip-hop’s Pitbull is foraging for old samples with his bejewelled paws. Later in the season he’ll use the resulting mash-up to attract a mate.
If we keep very still and cross our thawing fingers we might even catch a glimpse of the lesser-spotted Moby, the rare Arctic Monkeys or even the red breasted J.Lo; luminaries of music’s big leagues now completing their migration back to the chart ecosystem. Shh, here comes one now…
Katy B – Broken Records
Ah-hah, it’s a Katy B! She’s set to become the alpha female this year, and woe betide anybody who stands in her way. Her Latin name – “Peckham Princessus” – reflects the prestige of her breed. Let’s see if we can hear her call.
It’s a bit of a corker, actually: electro-pop beats with heart, brains and dancing feet. The lacklustre video disappoints, however, but while we’d hesitate to endorse the description of her forthcoming LP as “one of the most eagerly awaited debuts of recent times”, it is nevertheless shaping up very nicely indeed.
Arctic Monkeys – Brick By Brick
Aaaaaaahhhh. Panic. Panic. Panic. Another ‘surprise’ release. First Radiohead, now the Arctic Monkeys. Shit. Balls. Why do they keep doing this to us? Us poor reviewers. Us poor, put upon reviewers. We’ve now got to come up with good copy after less than one listen, otherwise all of these lesser opinions will get out there first and there will be less hope of our knife-like intuition searing through the public consciousness.
Do these people know how hard this is? You can’t just make up any old crap you know.
Oh. Wait. It’s only a single. Phew. Give us a minute while we change our trousers, and we can get back on it. Singles are easy. Singles are fine. Alright. Here we go. The new single from Arctic Monkeys. Unexpected.
Kind of dull. Really. It sounds like a slightly glammy Queens Of The Stone Age b-side, albeit with lyrics that sound like placeholders to keep the tune upright until Alex Turner can be arsed to write the proper ones. Sorry. You want more? Next time, you give us more warning. Ya bastards.
tUnE-yArDs – Bizness
It’s amazing how exciting a word will look if you capitalise every other letter. Look: bEiGe! Yeah. Are you excited by that? We can tell.
But setting aside Merrill Garbus’s wilful desire to annoy to a massive level anyone who has to type or proof read for a living, Bizness is an interesting thing.
It’s a song which probably, for a normal, run-of-the-mill publication, would ‘defy categorisation’. But not for us. Not when we’ve got a category entitled ‘The Flying Picketts throwing steel drums at The Skatelites plus other random folky stuff’. Been a while since we’ve had the chance to use it, actually. And as a taster of upcoming second album w h o k i l l (argh, spacebar!) it tastes rather fine. Here’s the proof:
Moby – Be The One
If we are all made of stars, Moby’s star probably had nice specs, a smart sense of rhythm and a lovely bedside manner. It probably had bother with the neighbouring Eminem galaxy, whose comets streamed past with a cry: “It’s over! Let go! Nobody listens to techno!”
But people do listen to techno, Marshall, and Moby clearly has more to wring from his electro-hippocampus. Be The One is a real attention grabber, and its low-grade video is both stylish feast and intimate portrait. The seasons have turned and Richard Hall may just be at the dawn of his career’s second spring. Let’s see if we can spot him in his natural environment…
J.Lo – On The Floor
J.Lo is back on the floor again! Will somebody, for the love of Christ, pick that iconic Latino pop star up? We know for a fact that somebody spilled their pint on that very spot earlier. Don’t be fooled by the rocks that she got – she’s making a bloody spectacle of herself!
Oh. I see. J.Lo is back, and her comeback track, On The Floor, happens to feature the aforementioned Pitbull, who has seemingly wasted no time in gathering up a classic sample and scraping the soil from his chinos for the most polished of nightclub music videos.
It also happens to be formulaic Black Eyed Peas-style rot aimed squarely at the lowest common denominator and released just as Jenny from the block gets her mush back on the box as an American Idol judge. Cynical? Not without reason!
The Pigeon Detectives – Done In Secret
Should have stayed in secret. The End.
Snorkel – Stop Machine
Who is your favourite electro-aquatic-kraut-afro-funk-sonic-experimentation unit? God knows we’ve been spoiled for choice in recent times; everybody knows that it’s no easy task to single out just one electro-aquatic-kraut-afro-funk-sonic-experimentation unit over the rest. But if we were pressed, our number one electro-aquatic-kraut-afro-funk-sonic-experimentation unit would definitely be Snorkel.
And this is why: Stop Machine is a trippy, thumping masterwork sure to arrest attentive ears with electro-aquatic-kraut-afro-funk-sonic-experimentation’s answer to the Vulcan Death Grip. It’ll be just like that time you channel-hopped to Prog At The BBC after you’d accidentally overindulged with the cough syrup. Honest.