December 2008

Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip are fast becoming my most blogged about artists on this here journal, but where’s the shame in that? They’re absolutely incredible, I don’t think I’ll ever tire of Angles, and their latest news is just icing on the cake.

Having recently supported De La Soul (my friend saw them, the bastard), the legendary Posdnuos has contributed and helped edit a new version of the awesome “Thou Shalt Always Kill”. How freaking awesome is that? Already the Xfm track of the week and slated for release on the 15th January, it’s currently available to listen to on the duo’s Myspace.

Just to refresh your collective memories, here’s the original version:

Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Thou Shalt Always Kill

Just to let you know before I begin, I’m going to break some rules. I’m going to be effusive in my praise for a band where I’m friends with them, I’m going to be very biased, but frankly I don’t care.

The Harringtons hail from St. Albans, mainly from St. Albans School, former haunt of the amazing Friendly Fires no less, as well as your humble blogger. Formed primarily by Miles Howell and Gareth Hooper over a mutual love of playing Libertines songs and named after their favourite lunchtime greasy spoon, the lineup’s completed by musical virtuoso brothers Jonathan and Nick Ketley.

As you’d expect, there’s a healthy dose of Libertines-y indie scuzz, but with every new batch of songs there’s a heavier element coming through, not to mention guitar solos and three part harmonies galore. I saw them on the 23rd at “Music Pub of the Year” The Horn in St. Albans. The room was packed out, I (and everyone around me) was sweating like a pig, and the band unleashed themselves like no other time I’d seen them. Their gig had been listed in the NME that week, which can only have helped the turnout, and I could only say good things coming out. The set was tight, the older tracks already seem like crowd pleasers and the newer ones were different and really bloody good.

It’s difficult as a friend to really form an objective opinion, but I honestly think The Harringtons are something special, so please take a listen, look them up on their Myspace page and keep an ear to the ground, as I’m sure they have what it takes to make an impact on a stale scene.

The Harringtons – Touts
The Harringtons – Girls, Boys and Toys
The Harringtons – Get Shot Down

There’s relatives in the house, food being cooked, and every one is stressed out. It’s definitely Christmas. But you already knew that. So to cut a long story short, I going to post two of my favourite Christmas songs. One’s old, one’s new, but both are excellent.

Johnny Mercer and Margaret Whiting – Baby, It’s Cold Outside

I don’t know what it is about this song, but it’s almost certainly my favourite Christmas song. There’s something about the overlapping vocals, the playfulness of the lyrics, it’s just all lovely.

Glam Chops – Countdown to Christmas

Released only this year, Eddie Argos’ new glam rock outfit have made a perfect Christmas song. They clearly love the season, but aren’t overdoing the sentiment, it’s fun, it’s funny and it’s glam rock. What more could you want?

So all that leaves me to say is Merry Christmas, enjoy yourselves, and don’t drink too much kids. That’s New Years Eve.

PS. There’s been a mistake! Where I got the first track from, it was listed as being sung by Bing Crosby and Doris Day (and the file itself says that). Apparently it’s a common misconception. Since the original release, a lot of people have mistaken the reording for Bing Crosby and Doris Day, but it’s actually these two lesser known singers. Sorry!

A little while back, I had the distinct pleasure of receiving an email from a young man called Kieran, guitarist and vocalist for a band called Delorentos. Hailing from Dublin, their first album, In Love With Detail was a hit in Ireland in 2007 but didn’t really make it to our shores. That really is a shame because, from what I’ve heard, that album is full of high-octane indie punk goodness.

Their tunes have catchy pop-sensibilities but a definite indie credibility, giving them that perfect combination of the feel-good factor of a cracking tune with the feeling you’re not listening to any old tune, but something that really is musically excellent.

They should have some new work in the pipeline, so keep an ear out, and hopefully we’ll hear more of Delorentos in the coming year. For now, here’s one of the singles off of the first album, the fantastic “Basis of Everything”

Delorentos – Basis of Everything

PS. If you’d like your band or a band you represent to be mentioned, a personal email, as well as taking the time to look for my name, goes a long way 🙂

It’s the end of the year, and sure as eggs is eggs there are music lists, polls and debates galore. I’m a sucker for a good end-of-year list, so I’m sure as hell gonna contribute my own. So without further ado, here are my top ten albums of the year:

10. Does It Offend You, Yeah? – You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into

A triumph of genre crossovers, from Daft Punk to ’80s pop, there was hardly a dud track on here.

Does It Offend You, Yeah? – Weird Science

9. Ida Maria – Fortress Around My Heart

Explosive, effervescent pop-punk from the amazing Miss Maria, her live show is just as good.

Ida Maria – Stella


8. Lightspeed Champion – Falling Off The Lavender Bridge

Dev Hynes truly manages to shake off the Test Icicles tag to mould himself as a brilliant, twisted folk troubador.

Lightspeed Champion – Galaxy Of The Lost


7. Flight of the Conchords – Flight of the Conchords

I know comedy records shouldn’t count, but this is such a well-formed album, the fact that it’s funny doesn’t even matter that much.

Flight of the Conchords – The Most Beautiful Girl (In The Room)


6. Friendly Fires – Friendly Fires

The perfect blend of house, indie, funk and any other genre you want to name, this album manages the seemingly impossible task of making a hugely coherent album without ever becoming samey.

Friendly Fires – Photobooth


5. Mumford and Sons – Lend Me Your Eyes EP

Alright, it’s an EP not an album, but all four tracks are just so beautiful, so unbelievably heart-wrenching and glorious that I can’t not include it.

Mumford and Sons – Awake My Soul


4. Laura Marling – Alas, I Cannot Swim

New-folk’s true pioneer, this album delivered exactly what everyone wanted, the old demos produced beautifully, as well as some wonderful new tracks.

Laura Marling – Night Terror


3. Johnny Flynn – A Larum

Three new-folk albums in a row eh? I’d been waiting for an album from Johnny Flynn since his first demo of Tickle Me Pink, and the album was everything I’d wanted and more.

Johnny Flynn – Leftovers


2. Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Angles

Hip-hop doesn’t have to be corporate, gangstafied shite, it can be poetry, it can be dance music, it can be funny or tragically sad. In short, this album’s brilliant.

Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – The Beat That My Heart Skipped

1. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

To be honest, I don’t think there was ever a doubt in my mind that this would be first place. When it came out it was just so different. Totally summery, totally African and totally incredible.

Vampire Weekend – Bryn

Now I know there’s a massive, and now seemingly tradition hatred of the NME, but I will still pick it up and read it when the cover takes me. I know it’s sensationalist, mercurial and frankly just badly written at times, but they’ve been the New Musical Express for this many years for a reason. They can spot some good new music.

My newest finding through NME has been the fantastic Bear Hands. Hailing (somewhat unsurprisingly) from New York, they have a slow burning post-punk style that seems to always build to an intensely catchy, almost pop, chorus. Lead singer Dylan Rau has something of a more fashionable Nathan Willett style about him, which I’m pretty sure can only be a good thing. I’ve only got three songs, but I’m looking out for more (hint hint) and I’m convinced I’m going to like anything they produce, at least as long as it stays in the same vein.

So hooray for the NME, they do actually produce something worthwhile on occasions, and good for them too.

Bear Hands – Long Lean Queen

PS. Just because I think it’s bloody brilliant, here’s the amazing Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish (check out their BBC 6 Music show, podcasts on iTunes) making their own version of “Fitter Happier” by Radiohead

Adam and Joe – Shitter Crappier