1. The Very Best – Kamphopo Hot Off The Press
These guys are so hot off the press they only decided on a name a few weeks ago. They comprise Belgian DJ duo Radioclit and Malawian vocalist Esau Mwamawaya. It’s a track I’ve been listening to all month and haven’t tired of yet.
2. El Guincho – Antillas Hot Off The Press
This guy is from the Canary Islands and comes with a ton of influences attached to him. This landed on my desk courtesy of the Rough Trade Album Club and is a real gem – it’s infectious, energetic and novel, but has a real sense of faimiliarity about it, which is a fine balancing act to pull off.
3. Rachid Taha – Rock El Casbah New To Me
This has gone down as a key cover in many circles, both enhancing and advancing the original Clash track, and it’s a version that Strummer et al have heartily endorsed. Dating from 2004, Algerian Taha’s take is exotic, quirky and ever so slightly ridiculous, but you can’t deny the chorus and a driving rhythm that can only be described as dramatic.
4. Robin Thicke – Magic (Mark Ronson remix feat. Wale & Mary J. Blige) Hot Off The Press
I don’t really think it matters that Ronson’s gone down the horn route again on this, because it’s a great re-working of Robin Thicke’s song. Thicke’s a bigger deal in the US than over here and has charted well as well as working with Usher, Lil Wayne, Ashanti and Beyonce. He also looks (very) loosely like Orlando Bloom, if you half shut your eyes and look through a frosty window.
5. MSTRKRFT feat. NORE – Bounce (A-Trak remix) Hot Off The Press
The original of this nearly went on a previous monthly best of but didn’t quite make it, but this one’s wicked so here it is. Take an ubercool Canadian DJ duo who don’t like vowels (MSTRKRFT), stick in a hardass US rapper named after a Panamanian general (NORE/Noreaga), then give the whole thing to a guy who won the DMC World DJ Championship at the age of 15 (A-Trak) and this is what you get. Bounce indeed.
6. M.I.A. – Boyz (remix feat Jay-Z) Hot Off The Press
MIA’s always had a penchant for baiting the US authorities but now she’s encouraging others to get politically gobby too, and J-Hova has got onboard this time. Got to get Bush out the chair, give Obama the floor he raps. Wonder which way he’ll be voting on November 4th.
7. EPMD – Run It (Duke Dumont remix) Hot Off The Press
One of last month’s recommendations was one of the earliest EPMD tracks, but here we’re bang up to date with a brand new track, remixed by Duke Dumont. It’s a great taste of what’s to come on the new album when it arrives.
8. Pussycat Dolls – When I Grow Up (feat. Darkchild, Lil’ Wayne, Diddy, Fatman Scoop) Hot Off The Press
Ever wondered what Diddy wanted to be when he grows up? P. Diddy of course! A great remix where the Dolls take a backseat to make way for the assembled a-list rappers who don’t disappoint.
9. Thee Headcoatees – I Want Candy New To Me
Information on this all-girl 90s band is hard to come by, but having found this online recently I’ve struggled to stop listening to it. It sounds like it belongs on that seminal garage rock compilation Nuggets, except it was recorded about 30 years too late. It’s a cover of the original by male group The Strangeloves from the mid-60s, which is in itself well worth tracking down.
10. Cage The Elephant – In One Ear Hot Off The Press
There’s something about these guys, from Kentucky, that reminds of The Vines – whether it’s the loose, modern take on garage rock or the seemingly unhinged lead singer, I’m not sure. Either way, check them out while they’re still new because there’s something about them that suggests, to me at least, that they might not be around forever.
11. Henry Priestman – Don’t You Love Me No More? Hot Off The Press
There’s something endearingly world-weary about Priestman’s vocals, especially the repeated ‘r-e-d-u-n-d-a-n-t spells misery’ line. No surprise that he’s been in music since the 80s, most notably as one of The Christians.
12. Annuals – Hot Night Hounds Hot Off The Press
The North Carolinian six-piece have been a round for three years now but this is the first time they’ve crossed my path, and this is an excellently original track, with its melodic chorus, crashing percussion and up-down-up structure.
13. Brett Anderson – Blessed Hot Off The Press
You probably already know that Brett Anderson was the singer in Suede, and you may also be aware that his band and his solo work have failed to make much impact for a few years. But when a song’s good, it’s good. And this is a captivating piano ballad that, as a friend rightly said, is reminiscent of REM, and is well worth including here.
14. Damien Jurado – Gillian Was A Horse Hot Off The Press
Jurado used to be on Sub Pop but is now releasing through the Secretly Canadian label and he’s been around since the mid-90s. From Seattle, he can clearly write a hook or two and this nugget sounds like it could have happily slotted on to another good album of this year, the Shortwave Set’s Replica Sun Machine, especially with the female backing vocal.
15. Fats Domino – I’m Walkin’ New To Me
This track comes from Uncut magazine’s free CD this month which was themed around Bob Dylan’s radio show, Theme Time Radio Hour. Radio 2 broadcast the show in the UK at 11pm on Thursdays and it’s streamed on their website for the week after. It’s a captivating piece of broadcasting each week, and though the music tends to stay pre-1970s a lot of the time, tracks such as this Fats Domino cut are always worth discovering, especially through Dylan.
16. John Prine – Hello In There New To Me
Oh my god, I can’t even tell you anything about Mr. Prine because I’m so busy trying not to burst into fits of tears at this song – it’s the most poignant thing I’ve ever heard. No, no, I’m not crying, it’s just raining in my eyes. Listen to the lyrics, especially the one that starts at the 2m25 mark. Beautiful. Makes you want to call your Nan at the very least – go on, you know it’ll make her day.
17. Queen – Radio Ga Ga Rediscovery of the Month
It was really only a matter of time before a Queen track became my rediscovery of the month, so long has my love of this now-derided group been. A few reasons why it came up now. The release of the new ‘Queen’ album impelled me to remind myself that they were indeed one of the world’s best bands, and not a source of head-scratching for once-ardent fans. Also, the radio theme of this track seemed fitting as I’m experiencing a renaissance in my radio listening, mostly thanks to Bob Dylan and Dermot O’Leary at Radio 2. And finally, the Sky Arts channel had a whole week of Queen programming making resistence futile. Snigger if you like, but this track, and band, still have much to give (up to 1991, that is!).