A weekly feature in which our writers share their favourite tracks of the week.
Pantone247 – ‘Hello’ (chosen by Hilary White)
This track popped up on the recent second compilation from Popical Island and was the big head-turner of the mix if you ask us. Haven’t the foggiest who these guys are but this chugging and immaculate minute-and-a-half of college rock thrusting suggests a precocious talent in our midsts, honeybunnies.
Duran Duran – ‘The Chauffeur’ (chosen by Dara Higgins)
It’s with heavy hearts that Duran Duran have had to cancel their upcoming tour of Europe, including, most poignantly for me, the opening night in Dublin. It’s because of Simon Le Bon’s ongoing trouble with his voice, they say. Some of you might wonder why it’s taken Duran 30+ years to finally realise that there is actually a problem, but that’s just being churlish. Sure, they’ve been shit for fives times longer than when they were actually good, but for a while they ruled the earth, like satin clad dinosaurs, gobbling low hanging cocktail olives and devouring fleshless bimbos with voracious aplomb. They even have value as a post-ironic hipster reference point now, name checked by the Artic Monkeys and covered by the Deftones and so far beyond the realms of good taste that they can’t help but be cool. Ultimately, the music, when it was good, was pretty freaking good, the musicianship always pristine, the production always synapse twanging, the hair always solid. Here’s ‘The Chauffuer’, and it’s odd little monochrome video, featuring, you’ll be pleased to hear, no blue silk suits or pet lizards, just some kind of mini homage to Charlotte Rampling and a plethora of eighties visual clichés. All it’s missing is the swinging lightbulb.
Copacabana Club – ‘Just Do It’ (chosen by Damien McGlynn)
At this very specific moment, in this very specific part of Dublin, the sun is shining. I can not guarantee that similar conditions will be prevalent whenever and wherever you might read this. But if you think you can get away with it, head down to the siopa and grab yourself a nice frozen Calippo and stick this one on. Apparently this song was used in an ad in their native country, which catapulted them to sun-drenched fame. Fresh, funky, tropical flavours from Brazil’s Copacabana Club, this track is infinitely more fun than watching the Copa America.
Basement Jaxx vs Metropole Orkest – ‘Where’s Your Head At?’ (Chosen by Phil Udell)
When I was a lad we had a dreadful series of albums called Classic Rock, whereby the London Symphony Orchestra performed overblown versions of rock standards including, you guessed it, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. The latest Basement Jaxx project runs along pretty much the same lines, with the sixty piece Dutch Metropole Orkest tacking their back catalogue. It works surprisingly well, but this is the undoubted highlight. Includes a harpsichord solo, which isn’t something you write every day.
Active Child – ‘Hanging On’ (chosen by Niall Byrne)
I have it on good authority that Active Child’s forthcoming debut album You Are All I See (out soon on Vagrant Records) is one of the best records of the second half of 2011. If it’s anything like the mournful and rather singular ‘Hanging On’ then we’re in business. Imagine Bon Iver as a former choir-boy ginger dude who plays the harp and sings R&B songs. It already sounds amazing does it not? Well that’s Pat Grossi. Press play and feel the truth was over you accompanied by some sprightly harp.
Male Bonding – ‘Bones’ (chosen by Alan Reilly)
A blur of swirling guitars, driving bass and pummelling hollow drums – it’s business as usual for Male Bonding. But at six and half minutes, ‘Bones’ is positively epic by comparison to anything from Nothing Hurts. The success of that album has obviously bought the trio some studio time. Still trashing out riffs, here they are more lush, more layered. And though less explosive, the adrenaline of the song is hypnotically absorbing. Hooks are omnipresent in Male Bonding guitar lines, but now also lie in the vocals, a three-way arpeggio sitting at the fore – three lads singing in opposite directions but looking at the same place. A place were post-punk, garage-rock and dream-pop collide.
Gillian Welch – The Way It Will Be (chosen by Simon Roche)
Having never really given Ms Welch much time before, after a cursory listen to the new album (The Harrow & The Harvest) it sunk in straight away, particularly the songs without the word ‘Dixie’ in them. This here is one of the finest. The most plaintive chord changes run right the way through and such a musician is Ms Welch that the live version here is almost the exact same as the recorded album. No tricks. No auto-tune. Sit back and put your feet up.
Robyn – ‘Hang With Me’ (chosen by Elaine Buckley)
I’m FINALLY getting to see Robyn live at Lovebox London this weekend, and won’t shut up about it – so it’s only fitting that my track of the week is one of hers. I continually find Robyn fascinating as an artist – the feat of writing and recording a trilogy of releases of the calibre of the Body Talk collection whilst touring extensively will never cease to amaze. ‘Hang With Me’ remains the standout of the collection for me – dreamy electronica beats reminiscent of a classic 80s anthem, an impossibly catchy melody, and endearingly sweet yet slightly wistful heart-on-sleeve lyrics. As with anything Robyn tends to do lately, it’s stylish – but with a whole lot of substance to boot.
Kowalski – ‘Outdoors’ (chosen by Michelle Bond Dolan)
It’s certainly the season for shimmery jangly guitars and happy vibes. Bangor based band Kowalski provide this with their upcoming new single ‘Outdoors’ which is due out on 22nd August on indie label Everybody’s Stalking. I first heard Kowalski at a State Vs’ night back in March of this year and loved their fresh upbeat sound, their breezy vocals with effervescence. Kowalski have been nibbling at the edges of the scene for the past few years with support slots to Editors and Ash but have not really broken through yet. ‘Outdoors’ is 3 and a half minutes of indie pop perfection with shades of Phoenix and a smattering of fellow Bangor band Two Door Cinema Club. A feel good summer soundtrack.
Dee-Lite – ‘Groove Is In The Heart’ (Chosen by Anna Forbes)
For all the time we spend looking for them, there are still very few pop tunes that transcend their boundaries and appeal to virtually everyone. ‘Groove Is In The Heart’ is one such tune (it even appeared in John Peel’s Festive 50 in 1990). The influence of their multi-cultural, multi-coloured line-up is still felt today and there have been few frontwomen as cool as Lady Miss Kier. We are going to dance and have some fun….