by / July 1st, 2011 /

Top Story: State’s Office Stereo: Whodini, Shabazz Palaces, James Brown, Beyonce, SBTRKT and more

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

Whodini – ‘Friends’ (chosen by Aoife Barry)

Listen to Tyler the Creator and his bitch-smacking rhymes? No thanks. I’d rather keep it old skool and turn to a group like Whodini, who managed to write a completely inoffensive song about friendship – yes, friendship – and twist it into a super-sweet jam. It’s the synths that make this track, and it might not come as a surprise to hear these guys once worked with Thomas Dolby (on ‘Magic’s Wand’). Contemporaries of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Afrika Bambaataa and other seminal hip hop groups with a penchant for electronica, Whodini bring us back to the time when that genre wasn’t always about being as controversial as possible.

Shabazz Palaces – ‘Youlogy’ (chosen by Patrick Fennelly)

Glitchy, sci-fi inspired Hip Hop from a galaxy far, far away. Brilliantly unique, strange, quirky, a queer genius. If this begins a movement, declare hip-hop saved.

James Brown – ‘Try Me’ (chosen by Sean Conroy)

It’s hard to believe that in his 48 year career, James Brown never had a Billboard Number 1 hit. ‘I Got You (I Feel Good)’ and ‘Livin’ In America’ came close, charting at 3 and 4 respectively, but Brown always rued this missed opportunity. He found solace however, in being the king of the R&B chart. His first R&B chart topper was 1956’s career saving ‘Try Me’. After a string of nine flops in a row (they truly were stinkers), Brown won the public over with this soul classic, and moreover, saved himself, just in time from being dropped by King Records.

The track sees Brown asking for love, somewhat desperately. Arguably James Brown is at his best when he’s begging, for women or otherwise (see ‘Please, Please, Please’ or ‘Prisoner of Love’) – but on this sweet, but fist-clenchingly soulful record, Brown was begging for a chance. When it presented itself to him, he didn’t disappoint; almost five decades later, he’s still relevant.

The Vaccines – ‘Post-Break-Up Sex’ (chosen by Louise McHenry)

This song is miserable, just miserable. It speaks of sadness and desperate attempts to overcome the aching emptiness of lost loves and dashed dreams. But my, my, if it isn’t the sunniest sing-a-long to inadequate sexual encounters you’ll ever hear. Kudos to the Vaccines for pinpointing the mopey emotions perfectly, and packaging it into this terrifically catchy little number.

SBTRKT- Wildfire (Objekt Remix) (chosen by Liam Griffin)

Maybe it’s all the vocals or that his music suits the single format better but the new SBTRKT album just hasn’t been doing it for me. Thankfully Objekt’s dark and heavy remix of the masked man’s current Wildfire single on Young Turks white label is ticking all my boxes- relentless beats, disorientating bleepy synths, serious bass and Lucky Dragon doing her thing in the background. While he only has two releases to his name Berlin based Objekt is quickly building a reputation for his fierce techno-dubstep hybrids that bare a similarity to Surgeon’s bassier output. Enjoy the madness.

SBTRKT – Wildfire (Objekt remix) – out 28/06/11 on Young Turks by Objekt

Beyoncé – ‘Single Ladies [Put A Ring On It]’ (chosen by Elizabeth McGeown)

So, Beyoncé played Glastonbury, did she? I didn’t see it myself but sat on Twitter as the whole world watched it live and commented about her hair/clothes/choice of covers. That much media attention on one person sent me off scouring her back catalogue for something I might have missed, something that inspired this devout worship. It’s this song that I keep returning to again and again. Of course it’s sassy, but it’s also a perfect mix of Gospel call-and-response and 60s girl group harmonies that aren’t immediately obvious because the main melody is so demanding of attention. Listen to the highest harmony on the “All the single ladies” line. Ever noticed that before? In fact, pick the entire song apart melodically. Listen to the vocal jumps and marvel at the fact that almost every attempt to defy a traditional melody results in… something we feel we’ve known for years. As for the strident, ominous chords that accompany “If you like it”? They’re just a warning bell, a warning of what will happen if you don’t put a ring on it.

Laura Marling – ‘Rambling Man’ (chosen by Elaine Buckley)

Laura Marling just keeps on eluding me. Having missed her at Electric Picnic last year (due to someone else’s lateness), I was very much looking forward to her Vicar Street gig last December – until she unfortunately fell in and had to cancel. And of course as luck would have it, I couldn’t make the rescheduled date last week – but have heard nothing but glowing reports. Oh well. At least I have a new album from her to look forward to in September. And until then, the beauty of ‘Rambling Man’ and its I Speak Becuase I Can counterparts will continue to amaze me.

Bleached – ‘Think Of You’ (chosen by Elizabeth Rushe)

I was gutted when Mika Miko broke up, but I held out hope that they were too good not to come up with more, better goods. And how they have – reformed as Bleached sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin have honed their L.A sound and have just started releasing their effin’ catchy new tunes – watch out for the ‘Carter’ 7 inch released on Art Fag recordings July 19th, featuring their songs ‘You take time’ and ‘Think of you’, which you can stream below. You need this for your summer mixtape:

Think of You by Art Fag Recordings

Foster the People- ‘Call It What You Want’ (chosen by Lisa Cunningham)

I am having a wee love affair with Foster the People at the moment. From ‘Pumped up Kicks’ to ‘Houdini’ this band is brimming with catchy pop like melodies. ‘Call It What You Want’ is another enthralling track which mixes catchy choruses, layered keyboard riffs and a quirky disco feel which leaves you wanting to crack open a bottle and dance merrily around outside. Feel good band of the summer really. Sangria anyone?

Super Furry Animals – ‘Northern Lites’ (chosen by Simon Roche)

When the weather’s letting summer down you need to retreat into music and while the fresh new Chad Valley’s ‘Now That I’m Real’ fits a certain sunny disposition, better if you go back over 10 years to SFA’s bottled sunshine. All tin drums, brass and cocktails on a beach. If this doesn’t fool your ears into thinking you’re nearer the equator, nothing will.

04 Northern Lites by MONKEYSEEMONKEYDO1