Track Reviews

Track Reviews: 8-14 August 2011

No time for small talk… Music industry taking liberties… Third consecutive jam-packed tracks column… The Twang‘s people looking at us funny… Björk‘s remixers breathing down our necks… Tim gone camping… John drafted in… Embedding code hurting our brains… Eyes bleeding… Wrists locking up (because of all the typing, you perverts)…

…And…all… for… you…

Jens Lekman – An Argument With Myself

Like the 90% of Americans who think Pippa Middleton is a classy porn star, we were convinced that Jens Lekman was an eccentric goalkeeper; the sort who could start a fight in an empty room, and whose highlights reel comes across like a Buster Keaton montage.

Imagine our surprise to find that An Argument With Myself is not the Krautrock calamity of a retired professional sportsman, but rather the newest bittersweet toe-tapper by a witty Swedish romanticist with all the charm and panache of a young Jonathan Richman. Go on, imagine our surprise. You’re only halfway there.

Aidan Moffat/Malcolm Middleton – Two Cousins 1999

Things we want to see in the next X-Factor:

Two bearded, sombre, middle-aged Scots performing a fragile, strippeddown, emotionally wrought cover version of the new Slow Club song. The faces of Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow, Tulisa and that one from Destiny’s Child as they ponder different ways to say, “You made that song your own.” The cry of hipsters ironically watching at home saying, “Hold on… Isn’t that Arab Strap?”

Things we won’t see in the next X-Factor:

All of the above. You can, however, hear the former Arab Strap cohortscollaborating right here. For anyone who adores mid-’90s Scottish miserablism, it’s nigh on compulsory listening.

Air France – It Feels Good To Be Around You

We’re not normally the sort to trust Air France to take us soaring into the big blue yonder, but there’s always an exception that makes the rule. It Feels Good To Be Around You, the belated return of Gothenburg post-ravers Joel Karlsson and Henrik Marksted, is it: the dreamy vocals, the snickering hi-hats, the steel drum accents. It’s like Friendly Fires without the pretension.

Toddla T featuring Roots Manuva – Watch Me Dance

Toddla T, a skinny white dude from Sheffield with some alarmingly bighair, is quickly becoming the spiritual heir to all things electronic inSouth Yorkshire. Watch Me Dance is one hell of a party anthem, with evenRoots Manuva sounding up, alert and not on the verge of nodding off.

Rodders and Toddla are a match made in dancehall heaven, and yourneighbours will no doubt be annoying the crap out of you with this fromnow until about October.

The Twang – Paradise

Like a punch-drunk boxer, back come the much-maligned Twang, bravelyignoring the fact that Beady Eye‘s relative failure and the risiblereaction to Viva Brother could well have sounded the death knell for “ladrock”.

Paradise is, as you may expect, much of the same from the Birmingham band: a shuffling, anthemic number that someone with a pair of invisible maracas is probably dancing round their bedroom to right now.

The lyrics are the usual nonsense about “fire in the belly”, “somethingworth fighting for” and “here comes the sun”, and there’s a particularly weirdmoment in the chorus that appears to ape McFly‘s All About You.Now there’s a new direction to think about…

Have a listen

Man Without Country – King Complex

Curious one, this. The Cardiff trio start off like a lo-fi Death Cab ForCutie, all hushed vocals and eerie electronica. Then, they suddenly decidethey want to be Muse, and things become hugely anthemic, soaring and… abit dull, in all honesty.

There’s talent here, and frontman Ryan James has a nice line inbile-filled lyrics, but right now there’s nothing especially startling tomake them stand out from the rest of the M83 wannabes.

Blink 182 – Up All Night

AT&T bring you, in association with AT&T, the AT&T-sponsored video for Blink 182’s return from an eight-year hiatus, Up All Night.

The promo, made possible by AT&T, sees telecoms giant AT&T pluck scenes from thousands of YouTube clips that use Blink 182 tracks without permission (to “reward” them, ostensibly, though we doubt any were given the option of a hefty fine or custodial sentence instead). In the spirit of such things, we bring you Mark, Tom and Travis… without their permission.

Lights (featuring Holy Fuck and Shad) – Everybody Breaks A Glass

Now this is pretty extraordinary. Lights, aka Canadian songstress ValeriePoxleitner, was a bit of a twee, Auto-Tuned Owl City impersonator last timewe saw her. She was okay, but nothing particularly special.

Linking up with Toronto’s industrial noiseniks Holy Fuck has transformedher though; this is a genuinely startling four minutes, with squelchysynths, a touch of dubstep and Poxleitner’s angelic voice floating overthe top making everything sound oddly comforting. Shame about theunnecessary rap by Shad shoehorned in.

Björk – Crystalline/Cosmogony (Matthew Herbert Remixes)

Listen, this is the last instalment of our Björk love-in. Seriously. Until the next one, anyways. Just wrap your lugs around these cushty Matthew Herbert remixes and we’ll say no more. It’ll be our little secret.

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