They're back. God alone knows why, when the music business is on its knees, but if it's good enough for Michel Esteban over at Ze.... yes, Celluloid, the most diverse and prolific record label of the eighties, has decided to reform, reissue and, apparently, release new material (no pun intended). I doubt that Bill Laswell will be coming back, but if they can coax Anton Fier out of retirement, I'd be a very happy bunny. See more here...
And you can hear Jean Karakos talking to Ross Allen below. If you can ignore Ross's constant "Yeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeah", it's a pretty good interview.
I've mentioned the amazing Small Black here a couple of times before- they're apparently part of the appallingly-named "chillwave" scene (as Alexis Petridis says, this moniker presumably decided upon after a long struggle to come up with a worse genre name than "shoegazing"). Anyhoo, they've created a little mixtape which I stumbled upon recently. Though, as is the modern mode, this so-called mixtape is just ones and zeroes rather than chromium dioxide cassette. (Incidentally, does anyone else have a nostalgia for type I, II, III and IV cassettes, Dolby B, Dolby C etc.? I seem to remember that type IV was "metal", the apotheosis of tape manufacture, and that you hardly ever saw type III tapes. And that Dolby A was only around for a short period before being superseded. No? Just me then. Digression over...).
So, this mixtape is here, and it's already on heavy rotation round our gaff. While the Small Black team's mixing skills aren't going to give DJ Shadow any sleepless nights, the song selection is first class. The unofficial re-rub (hey, down with the kids!) of Nicki Minaj's Your Love is particularly fine, and any body that can also put it together with Visage, Tim Buckley, the Durutti Column and Oneohtrix Point Never is always going to get the thumbs-up from Irk The Purists.
I'm going to have to revise my opinion of Sinead O'Connor too. Her music's sometimes OK, sometimes a little too strident. But her personality...ecch. If you'd looked up "humourless" in the dictionary, you'd have seen a picture of Sinead. Or so I used to think.
Then I was pointed towards this blog post. It outlines Sinead's trials and tribulations over finding a man, and is a plea for a date. And it's terrifically funny. I particularly liked the lines:
Must be very "snuggly". Not just wham-bam.
Must be wham-bam.
See? She's got timing too. Sinead, I take it all back. Though I still think you murdered Nothing Compares 2 U.
I've had to revise my opinion of Bombay Bicycle Club in the last few weeks (otherwise known in these parts as "Doing a Jack Penate"). For many years, on the few occasions I've deigned to think about them, I had them pegged as basic landfill indie. And yet, somehow (like The Horrors), they've produced a third album that's a quantum leap for them in terms of quality and ambition. The video for their new single Shuffle, looks a little bit like outtakes from The Inbetweeners (great film that, BTW), and does little to dispel the image I posited above. But the music...wow. You've gotta love any band that can turn Chas and Dave piano into something vaguely funky. And you gotta love any song that gets to the chorus in 25 seconds.
The album, moreover, is a total grower, by turns soaring, majestic, intimate and moving. Whoulda thunk it? The band can turn their hands to many varied styles and tempos and tackle each with aplomb, from the Coldplay meets Lotus Eaters of How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep (crazy name, crazy guys) to the motorik groove of Beggars. I'm impressed. It's apparently produced by Ben Allen, who's produced Animal Collective and Gnarls Barkley. While I'm loath to ascribe all of the album's success to him, he's clearly got the boys (and they are boys- just look at that video. They look and act about 15...) to up their game. In fact, Animal Collective are clearly the main inspiration for the dazzling variety on the album. Go buy, or listen below.
From Shakatak to Shostakovich, Ronnie Hazelhurst to Roni Size, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to NoMeansNo, Candi Statton to Candi Payne, Aphex Twin to the Andrews Sisters. MP3s, unsupported assertions and contentious drivel.
Please note, all music on the site is for evaluation purposes only. Play once and then delete! If you like it, go out and buy the CD or the download. Oh, and if you're the copyright holder and don't like free publicity, let me know in the comments and I'll remove it.