SINGLE OF THE WEEK:
Bibio – ‘K Is For Kelson’ (Warp)
The best song on Bibio’s recent Mind Bokeh album is finally available as a single although it ought to have charted by now because as anyone who is already familiar with it will tell you, it is a right good laugh. Like a madly bouncy Children’s TV theme tune, given a Tropicalia makeover. There are loads of busy little noises splurging all about the place so dig out the headphones and give ‘K Is For Kelson’ a blast because it is a blast. If possible, download it to your “smart”phone and set it as your alarm as this is just the thing to persuade you to hop out of the bed of a morning with a big grin on your dozy face. (An old bloke writes – Yes, and it sounds JUST like the theme tune to daft 70s cop show Starskey & Hutch to boot.)
Benji Boko featuring Maxi Jazz – ‘Where My Heart Is’ (Tru Thoughts)
“Ah it’s Faithless’ Maxi Jazz!”, one thinks as one cocks an ear to this collaboration, “this is bound to be full of rigorous so-called philosophical wisdom, what with him being an enlightened Buddha and a bit of an all-round egghead and everything”. Then you consider that while Maxi Jazz obviously means well and he’d probably help out down the soup kitchen in the wintertime because he’s a good guy like that, would you want him showing up at your house at one o’clock in the morning, all wide-eyed and saying “Heeeeeyyyy dude, listen I’ve got some ‘green’, and I thought we’d read from The Tibetan Book Of The Dead together while listening to some really laid-back beats and then for a bit maybe we’ll sort out the dispute between Israel and Palestine”? His trite opinions on the world, as expressed via his music at least, are deeply, deeply yawnsome and would make even the most committed anarcho-syndicalist consider taking up a career in hedge-fund management if it meant being able to escape the kind of pointless, posturing, smug, empty soundbite-ridden rubbish that Jazz’s admirers no doubt view as scathingly lyrical radicalism (“Hey! Let’s chuck some more lentils in the pot and get on down to ‘God Is A DJ!’). This particular single? Oh you know. Trip-hop. Like, really “mellow” vibes, man. Pass me a stiff drink, someone.
Blondie – ‘Mother’ (Eleven Seven/EMI)
Blondie will never be totally rubbish. Debbie Harry will always be a hero to me. She is, in the best possible way, entirely nuts. Furthermore she has carved out a thirty-five year pop career while (deep breath): nursing her ill-‘boyf’ (Chris Stein) during his long-term illness; making ace records with Chic, Giorgio Moroder and no less a talent than The Thompson Twins; being an actress in crap straight-to-video films; appearing as herself in a useless videogame; and always looking incredible while never abandoning a smidgen of her ‘up yours’ punk insouciance. If you patronisingly suggested her success was based on good looks she would fix you with a glare and MELT you to death. ‘Mother’ is alright, and nowhere near Classic Blondie Status, but then not much is.
LMFAO featuring Natasha Kills – ‘Champagne Showers’ (Interscope)
Some people find LMFAO amusing; their willingness to “par-tay”, their ironic afros, their big twatty glasses, their beery, shouty pop. Some people listen to them and look at them and read about their antics online and think “LOL”. I do not find LMFAO amusing. I listen to their latest single and I think “F OFF, PLZ THX”. Then I calm myself by considering other Great Internet Acronyms In Pop; ROFL Harris, LOL Creme out of 10cc and (Leave it out – Ed.)
Cage The Elephant – ‘Around My Head’ (Relentless)
Pixies-influenced indie guitar rock. Great! Because we need more of that don’t we. That tape they play behind the bar at Whelans, the one with the Pixies and The Stone Roses and Oasis and The Verve and Thin Lizzy and The Violent Femmes and Nothing That Has Been Recorded Since 1999 on it could do with having an extra song tacked on the end. Actually ‘Around My Head’ is cheerful and tuneful enough but I never ever want to hear it again.
Danny & Freja – ‘If Only You’ (Island)
This is all rather “8th place in the Eurovision for Ukraine”. Which is not too bad – there are worse things in pop. Some of the plinky plonky piano bits on this remind me of late 90s piano-house tinkler Robert Miles, and this song is a little bit like his single ‘One & One’, only less good and about fifteen years too late. From Paris to Berlin in every disco I get in I’d be a bit miffed if this was the best they could muster, quite frankly. Bah.
Young Rebel Set – ‘Lion’s Mouth’ (Big Flame)
Not a cover of the Kajagoogoo toe-tapper of “old” unfortunately. THAT 1983 single had the opening line “Take away my pride from the mmmmm-outh of the liiiieee-owne”. Do you see what they did there? “Pride”! “Lion”! It’s wordplay like that that makes the pop lyric worth hearing. So what if the line doesn’t scan, or make any sense at all actually. At least it’s memorable. Young Rebel Set disappoint on the pun front. They don’t even play a completely ridiculous instrument like Nick Beggs’ ‘chapman stick’ or dye their hair black ‘n’ blond, or roll their suit jacket sleeves up and fall out with each other in the most pathetic fashion imaginable. That bloody song’s going around in my head now. “Hey fool watch out, you’ll get mawled by the lion’s mou-outh…- I DON’T THINK SO! ETC!” Kajaggoogoo’s Lion’s Mouth that is, not the Young Rebel Set’s. The Young Rebel Set’s ‘Lion’s Mouth’ is worthy, meat and potatoes rock. The Young Rebel Set, then: officially Not As Good As Kajagoogoo. Stick that on your bloody fly-posters.
Nerina Pallot – ‘Put Your Hands Up’ (Geffen)
This Bernard Butler-produced single wafts past the first time you hear it, but give it a few listens and it sort of sticks. There’s fuzzy guitar a-plenty, but it’s dynamic enough to keep one’s head nodding. Could well be a decent sized hit and it would not be before time for Pallot. Fingers and thumbs up from me.
ALSO RELEASED THIS WEEK: Dionne Bromfield featuring Lil’ Twist – ‘Foolin” (Lioness/Island), Dom – ‘Living In America’ (EMI), Colbie Caillat – ‘I Do’ (Universal Republic), Alex Clare – ‘Treading Water’ (Island), Jon Fratelli – ‘Baby We’re Refugees!’ (Island), Japanese Popstars – ‘Joshua’ (Virgin), Wiz Khalifa – ‘Roll Up’ (Atlantic), Korn featuring Skrillex – ‘Get Up’ (Roadrunner), Cass McCombs – ‘County Line’ (Domino), Mogwai – ‘San Pedro’ (Rock Action), New Boyz featuring Cataracts & Dev – ‘Backseat’ (Warner/Asylum), Christina Perri – ‘Jar Of Hearts’ (Atlantic), Plain White T’s – ‘Boomerang’ (Island), Talking Pictures – ‘Mirrors’ (Split), KT Tunstall – ‘Uummannaq Song’ (Relentless)