Despite promises to the contrary on May’s The Monthly, I couldn’t resume normal service this month with a mere dozen tracks, so here are 15 songs that include some of the finest music ever to grace The Monthly so far. It’s been a helluva month for music – the first of my many festivals of the summer (Download), some new exciting music-related work came my way, my new business cards arrived(!), a new iPod for my birthday (thanks J!), and not least, the sad news of Michael Jackson’s passing. Like most of the rest of his life, it all seems unreal, which is a shame and doesn’t do the man’s musical legacy justice in the slightest. But on a happier note, here’s June’s The Monthly for you…
1. Scorpions – Rock You Like A Hurricane New To Me
A suitable starting point given the amount of rock I consumed at Download. This track lay on a CDr in my collection for a long time, marked “Mystery Metal Track” and only when I found it recently did I put the chorus into google, and hey presto, I found out what it was. An Amazon order later, and it’s barely been off the stereo since. There’s more to them than the fall of the Berlin Wall you know.
2. Steel Panther – Death To All But Metal Hot Off The Press
These guys were at Download but I missed them, but I’ve fully OD’d on them since then to make up for it. It’s clearly a comedy pastiche of metal, but when the lyrical content is as hilarious (in a Beavis & Butthead kind of a way, admittedly) as this, then who cares? Check out some of their other hits-in-waiting, Asian Hooker, Eatin’ Ain’t Cheatin’ and my personal favourite, I Want Your Tits.
3. Chiddy Bang - Kids Hot Off The Press
This is an achingly cool track from a new four-piece made up of black and white kids in college in Philadelphia. They have six tracks that are worth seeking out to download for free online, including this one which samples MGMT’s Kids. Listen out for the line about Asher Roth and college.
4. Major Lazer – Hold The Line (LehtMoJoe remix) Hot Off The Press
If two guys (Switch and Diplo) who have produced Santogold and MIA released their own album, you’d expect it to be pretty good, right? Well, following on from the recent bouncy hip-hop dance of N.A.S.A. and MSTRKRFT, here’s another one to add to that list of excellent tracks to listen to with your roof down while cruising the coast down in Miami. Check out the awesome vid on the blog.
5. Dan Black – Symphonies Hot Off The Press
Dan Black was the singer of The Servants, a 90s indie band that no-one’s ever heard of, but his fledgling career as a solo artist looks very promising if this Umbrella-sampling track is anything to go on. Passion Pit have remixed this too but to be honest, this original version is the better track. His Myspace page lists Jay-Z and Sigur Ros as influences, which bodes well for him in lots of ways.
6. James Yuill – This Sweet Love (Prins Thomas Sneaky edit) Hot Off The Press
Kitsune’s long been one of the coolest labels around and this track, taken from their recent compilation (number 7) shows why. It reminds me of the Wizard’s Sleeve remix of Roscoe by Midlake that made it on to March’s The Monthly, and it similarly treads the line between gentle and rousing superbly well. I can vouch for the fact that it sounds great whilst listening to it on a train journey.
7. Sean Bones – Dancehall Hot Off The Press
This guy is one of those who I can’t find a heck of a lot about. He’s from New York, and the press shot I’ve seen of him has him holding a guitar in the scuzziest looking kitchen I’ve seen since I left the flat I shared with 9 other men at uni. No matter, I like the faux-reggae of this and so here it is for you.
8. The Jazz Crusaders – Way Back Home New To Me
This is the song I’ve played more than any other this month – I find it totally captivating. I stumbled upon it on a record of tracks that cult hip-hopper Biz Markie has sampled, and just can’t turn it off. It was a Motown single for the band in 1970, just before they shortened their name to just The Crusaders. The brass section’s almost poignant in its evocation of that lost America of flares, Cuban heels, afros and cop shows.
9. Isaac Hayes – Good Love New To Me
There have been some good TV shows this month, and one of them was a rerun of The Old Grey Whistle Test, and one thing the DVD comps of TOGWT don’t show is what they did when they wanted to play you a track but couldn’t get the band in – they’d play the music to some random piece of stock footage, be it an old silent movie, a dancing bear, or just some kaleidoscope-esque swirly patterns. So that’s how I first heard this, but it didn’t put me off. It’s from Ike’s seminal album Black Moses, which as you can tell from the fact that this is new to me, I don’t own, and probably should.
10. Grace Jones – Pull Up To The Bumper New To Me
It’s about anal sex, obviously. “Pull up to the bumper baby, in your long black limousine”. A great disco track, and one of the best cuts from the many recent Island Records compilations to celebrate their 50th anniversary.
11. Peaches & Herb – Reunited New To Me
You wouldn’t guess it, but this track’s also to do with Download. Faith No More came on and played this, in full, in front of 80,000 drunk metallers before striking up a single note of anything at all resembling rock music. Genius. This is the original, of course, from 1979 and I love it.
12. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – Alyo Hot Off The Press
This funky little number grabbed my ears in Rough Trade and it’s great background BBQ listening. Signed to Damon Albarn’s Honest Jon’s record label, HBE are a nine-piece jazz group from Chicago.
13. The Creation – Making Time New To Me
I picked this up after Zane Lowe tweeted about it over breakfast one day, and it is quite the heart-starter. I’d never heard of them but that’s my bad because my bro-in-law (who knows far more about this kind of dirty psych rock than I do) reeled off a few places where I might have picked up on this track (such as in the movie Rushmore). Still, I’m there now and from what else I’ve heard of The Creation, I think more investigating is in order. This, their 1966 debut, clearly influenced The Who.
14. Leona Naess feat. Ryan Adams – Leave Your Boyfriends Behind New To Me
You didn’t think there’d be a whole The Monthly without a gem of an alt.country track on it did you? This single from last year came from Naess’ fourth album, Thirteens and this version includes the inimitable Ryan Adams on vocals too. Naess was born in New York but raised in London and her Norwegian mountaineer father later went on to marry Diana Ross in 1986. Quite a cool childhood!
15. Andy Pratt – Oliver New To Me
Another track from that Old Grey Whistle Test that gave me track 9 too. Pratt is considered a one hit wonder though I doubt many people could name that hit. It was a song called Avenging Annie but this song from his 1969 debut Records Are Like Life is a true keeper. The vocal line just after the minute mark is pure Phoenix, and the drum break just before the three minute mark is also a highlight.
Thanks to anyone who passed on tips this month – you know who you are