by / May 20th, 2011 /

Top Story: State’s Office Stereo – Robyn, QOTSA, Siouxsie & The Banshees and more

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

Siouxsie & The Banshees – ‘Dear Prudence’ (chosen by Lisa Hughes)

Take too much drugs with The Beatles, thrown in a Maharishi and this is what you get: an ode to a tranced out Prudence Farrow (sister of Mia) to come out of the room she’s locked herself into for three looong weeks. Flash forward to 1983 and, right smack in the middle of their transition from punk kids to goth rock pioneers, you have Siouxsie and the Banshees getting one of their biggest hits with this hypnotic cover. With its hippy overtures still seeping through, ‘Dear Prudence’ packs less of a punky punch than the likes of ‘Hong Kong Garden’ and clashes fantastically with the band’s witchy image. The fact they manage to do something completely different from the distinctive Fab Four’s composition is another reason why it’s so great. Also notable for Siouxsie flashing her unshaven armpits in the video long before Julia Roberts famously flashed hers but the less said about that the better. Trippier and better than the original? I think so.

Japan – ‘Gentlemen Take Polaroids’ (chosen by Dara Higgins)

Mick Karn, legendary bassist with ’80s haircuts Japan, passed away recently at the all too young age of 52, leaving the legacy of an extraordinary playing style. Verbose, yet articulate, his fingers are like tiny athletes, manipulating the strings of his fretless like they were mere elastic bands, chattering over the Esperanto of conventional rhythm in a language all his own. It’s a shame that he’s gone, but we are lucky that he left such a vivid back catalogue. Here’s ‘Gentlemen Take Polaroids’, from Oil On Canvas, the live video, back in 83. He looks snappy in a red silk suit, and could bust some moves while he was at it. Much missed.

Martin Solveig featuring Dragonette – ‘Hello’ (chosen by Phil Udell)

We don’t often feature world wide dance pop smashes in these pages but in the case of ‘Hello’ we’re happy to make an exception. Combining a killer tune, a way cool new wave vocal from Dragonette’s Martina Sorbara and a bass line that could grace a Joy Division record, this is an absolute delight. Plus you get this brilliant video, marking the oft overlooked international tennis / dance music crossover…

Prefuse 73 – ‘The Colour Of Tempo’ (chosen by Ian Maleney)

This track just rides a beautiful groove for two and a half blissful minutes. Working off a warped and looped brass sample, the beats skitter about behind it; messed up but never enough to stop you noddin’ ya head. Short and sweet, it’s a gorgeous piece of textural hip-hop, one that feels extraordinarily contemporary, fitting in just fine with your Baths or your Brainfeeder, despite being made eight years ago. Good old Warp records, always ahead of their time.

Saint Etienne – ‘Spring (Foxbase Beta version)’ (Chosen by Ciaran Gaynor)

If they make brilliant pop music, chances are Richard X has worked with them: Sugababes, Annie, Rachel Stevens, Pet Shop Boys, Liberty X, Steve Mason, Neon Neon, Kelis and Jarvis Cocker have all benefitted from the application of his maverick talent. In 2009 Mr “X” remixed Saint Etienne’s debut album Foxbase Alpha in its entirety. The result is Foxbase Beta – a mash-up of the present and the past to surpass even X’s bootleg marvels ‘Dancing With Numbers’ and ‘Freak Like Me’. Music doesn’t get much better than this. There’s a sample at the end of the album, the following quote read by Stephen ‘Tin Tin’ Duffy: “And I asked her ‘What is anyone gonna remember this decade for?’ She paused for a second, and then she said…’WAFFLE CARDIGANS’.”

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