by / June 24th, 2011 /

Top Story: State’s Office Stereo: Lauryn Hill, New Villager, The Bhundu Boys and more

A weekly feature in which our writers share their favourite tracks of the week.

Stornoway – ‘I Saw You Blink’ (chosen by James Hendicott)

It’s Glastonbury week, and I’m fortunate enough to be crossing the Irish Sea to watch Stornoway open the main stage on Saturday, amongst, perhaps, the odd other classic festival moment. ‘I Saw You Blink’ is the kind of track that’ll wash away the inevitably mud slide, and might even distract from Glastonbury’s new ‘tomatina’ tomato throwing area. The perfect festival fit that features perhaps the nicest and most original way of describing infatuation I’ve heard in a good couple of years: ‘I saw you blink, and I missed your eyes, your blues eyes…’. The album Beachcomber’s Windowsill seems to get more rotation in our house by the week.

Lauryn Hill – ‘Ex Factor’ (Chosen by Lisa Hughes)

I can safely say an article on the Daily Mail website has never compelled me to listen to music before. Until now. A recent headline about ex Fugees singer Lauryn Hill being sperminated again made me remember how much I loved The Miseducation Of… and this track in particular. A break up tune which somehow isn’t bitter, OTT or vicious, ‘Ex Factor’ exorcises a relationship that doesn’t work but still has the flicker of hope lingering on (“as painful as this thing has been, I just can’t be with no one else”). With its mid tempo rhythm, ‘Ex Factor’ just shouldn’t be as irresistible as it is but this timeless tune is quality. Although I’m not sure where she is now, I’ve fallen in love with Lauryn Hill’s music all over again. See also ‘Doo Wop (That Thing)’.

Minutemen – ‘The Anchor’ (Chosen by Loreana Rushe)

There are a few things from back in the day that make me want to peel the skin from my face in embarrassment but thankfully one of them isn’t my love for San Pedro punk rockers, Minutemen. The legendary Mike Watt curated the Dublin Econo Blowout last Saturday night and for those of you who happened to be at the Button Factory, then you can claim to have been part of something very special indeed. I actually had a dream that I attended the gig in an army jacket and baggy jeans with chains like I used to wear around the central bank in Dublin when I was 16. You can imagine the horror on my face when I woke up. ‘The Anchor’ is about a dream guitarist D Boon had and Watt described it as being their opus for going over 2 minutes in length as the majority of their songs were around the 1 minute mark. The clip below is from the fantastic documentary about the band called We Jam Econo.

Typhoon – The Honest Truth’ (Chosen by James Goulden)

A band that I found up in Portland putting on a fantastic show. With an average of around 10 people in the band they are a collective who often have brass and strings augmenting their core of more traditional indie core musicians. This song is a slow starter but normally ends up a huge singalong with the crowd. Keep your eye out for these guys, their album is recently released on the rather excellent Tender Loving Empire record label, also from the city.

New Villager – ‘Rich Doors’ (chosen by Damien McGlynn)

Tired of Villagers yet? No, me neither. But all the same, here’s a New Villager (pictured) song from 2009. I probably shouldn’t tell you that this lot are a fully-fledged art collective as well as a band who live together in a building called RedHouse where interactive installations have been known to be built throughout the place. As if all that pretentious hijinks isn’t enough, this song sounds like someone trying to combine at least four hip music genres into one track. Sounds awful, doesn’t it? Nope.

Russian Circles – ‘Station’ (chosen by Alan Moore)

Sharing. It’s one of things your mammy told you to do when you were young, and maybe still today. One of Ireland’s top bands, Adebisi Shank is currently being shared by The Richter Collective and their American counterpart, Sargent House. It’s the latter that hosts the band Russian Circles along with many more. They’re an instrumental post-rock/metal band who hail from the States. This song is the title track from their second album.

Latent Saint – ‘Children’s Crusade’ (chosen by Liam Griffin)

Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time trawling through Soundcloud accounts instead of out playing football (or whatever it is people do outside) but when I come across artists like Latent Saint the anemia and strained wrists seem almost worthwhile. Originally from Cork but currently based in London the Saint’s atmospheric take on 2-step is just as indebted to Tri Angle records as the regular garage influences of Burial and Clubroot. ‘Children’s Crusade’ winds and bends in various directions over its five minutes, with dislocated vocals and ravey synths poking out from the glitchy rhythms. The balance is perfect – not too sleepy but not too jarring either. Worth losing vitamin D over.

Children’s Crusade by Latent Saint

Sheryl Lee Ralph – ‘In The Evening’ (Chosen by Ciaran Gaynor)

This is one of the highlights from the first Horse Meat Disco compilation. Over the last year or two it has become one of my favourite 80s pop records; it’s a beautifully sad, sweet disco record and I find its lyrical allusions to escaping the mundane nine to five working world and its infectiously upbeat tune to be hugely appealing. I only saw the equally fab video for the first time last week.

The Bhundu Boys – ‘Hupenyu Hwangu’ (chosen by Phil Udell)

The addition of the Desert Island Discs archive to the BBC website has been an absolute joy, introducing the listener to both fascinating stories and some great music. It was an old edition featuring Andy Kershaw that re-introduced me to this gem, a gloriously upbeat track that introduced the Bhundu Boys to the world. Hard as it may seem to imagine now, I saw them kick up a dust storm opening the Reading Festival main stage in 1989. Its joyous nature puts the band’s tragic demise (three members would die of AIDS, whilst lead singer Biggie Tembo hanged himself) into even starker contrast.

Dandy Livingstone – ‘Suzanne Beware Of The Devil’ (chosen by Sean Conroy)

Anyone stuck indoors of an evening will have noticed that Bob Marley’s multi-million selling Legend compilation is getting yet more advertising on television these past few weeks. Which is perhaps unsurprising – beautiful, summer weather is made for reggae. But reggae goes far beyond Messr Marley. Another Jamaican star, albeit one often overlooked outside the reggae world, is the eternally sunglasses-adorned, Dandy Livingstone. Perhaps best known for penning ‘Rudy, A Message To You’ in 1970 (later covered by The Specials), Livingstone’s UK chart highlight was his 1972 hit, ‘Suzanne Beware of the Devil’, which peaked at number 14. It’s the story of a shy, mumbling woman, who has become confused about her relationship with the heartbroken, singing protagonist, because of the advances of another man. While this might not seem like the most summery of notions, the chirpy bassline and catchy chorus are enough to disguise it and make this a suitable addition to any BBQ playlist.

  • SF

    Nice, the Latent Saint tune is top notch, he’s a talented guy and i can’t wait for more productions from him.