In amongst the moving boxes and other assorted piles of crap that have occupied much of the past month, I’ve had the shining beacon that is The Monthly to keep me going, so hopefully the collection below will please you too. No mix CD this time round, (did anyone like that at all?) but I enjoyed doing it so I’m sure there will be another one soon.
1. THE BESNARD LAKES – And This Is What We Call Progress Hot Off The Press
The Besnards are one of those bands much-lauded by the Rough Trades of the world, and as that’s generally a pretty reliable sign of quality, I was keen to hear their new record, The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night. It’s a dense, heady affair, full of big chords coupled with a great ear for a melody, which is what sets these Canadians apart for me. This track is one of their heavier moments and a great way to kick off this month.
2. HOLY FUCK – Latin America Hot Off The Press
And staying with Canadian acts, Holy Fuck are a band whose name probably does them no favours. They’re much more considered and classy than their expletive-laden moniker suggests, and their new album, Latin, promises to deliver more songs like this – atmospheric, lyric-free electronica. Like a less depressing Unkle, really.
3. SHY CHILD – The Beatles Hot Off The Press
Shy Child nearly made it onto last month’s compilation, but were dropped at the last minute. Not so, this time round. The New York duo are cut from the same sonic cloth as French hipsters Phoenix, which can’t be a bad thing, and this track is a beautifully crafted synth-pop tune that comes from their forthcoming fourth album, Liquid Love (insert semen-based joke here).
4. MALE BONDING – Year’s Not Long Hot Off The Press
Male Bonding are up there with Passion Pit, Grizzly Bear and The Muslims as far as blog hype goes, and they come from suitably hip London neighbourhood Dalston. They’re signed to home of indie-cred, Sub-Pop, so reams of NME hyperbole seem to be assured, but this is a fierce and assured track that proves they’ve got the chops to back the hype up.
5. TEENAGE FANCLUB – Baby Lee Hot Off The Press
I know some of you subscribers are (or were in your youth) big Teenage Fanclub fans, so I hope having them back will be a bonus for you. This is a really pretty track which I’m told is about singer Norman Blake imploring his girlfriend to marry him. Sweet. It comes from their soon to be released album Shadows.
6. THE DICKIES – Banana Splits New To Me
I saw Kick-Ass this month and loved it, not least because it was on a cinema screen that was apparently the size of four double-decker buses. And it had speakers to match, so the soundtrack quite literally blew me away. This is one of the many highlights from it - The Dickies were an American punk outfit and this track was actually a #7 UK hit for them in 1979.
7. BAND OF HORSES – Compliments Hot Off The Press
It’s great to have Seattle’s Band Of Horses back (another Sub-Pop act, in fact). They will always hold a very special place in my heart for giving me what is undoubtedly my favourite gig ever in the tiny Bush Hall a couple of years ago, so anything they do is alright by me. Compliments comes from their album Infinite Arms, out in May. They’re bound to be doing the festivals this year, so catch ‘em if you can.
8. BODEGA GIRLS – Primetime Sexcrime Hot Off The Press
Gone out on a little bit of a limb on this one – I don’t really think it’s got massive long term appeal, but it’s a fun, bouncy track that’s amused me this month, so I thought I’d share it. The verses remind me of The Hold Steady’s mighty vocalist, Craig Finn, but the chorus is perhaps a little bit too Len (Steal My Sunshine) to get me any massive cred for including it. Enjoy it while the sun’s out.
9. DAMIAN “JR GONG” MARLEY & NAS – As We Come Hot Off The Press
Ah yes, what a fricking great track this is. The Nas/Marley collabo has had tongues wagging for a bit and this track, the first to appear a few weeks back, doesn’t disappoint. My favourite line from Nas: “My man can speak patois/And I can speak rap star”. The album, Distant Relatives, features both of the stars throughout and comes in May – Marley’s first since 2005’s breakthrough awesomeWelcome To Jamrock.
10. BUDDY MILES – Them Changes New To Me
Buddy Miles, drummer extraordinaire with many notables but chiefly Hendrix, was a great singer too, and I recently put on the blog some great footage of him performing this track with Jimi. So I dug out the original and it’s a belter, and a track I didn’t know before. If you like groovy old rock, then I think you’ll dig this.
11. GIORGIO MORODER – Son Of My Father New To Me
Giorgio Moroder is best known for his film scores, winning three Oscars for his soundtrack work for Top Gun, Midnight Express and Flashdance. But before that, in the early 70s (’72 to be precise) he released an album called Son Of My Father, which was recently put my way by an ever-reliable source of cool old shit. And the whole album’s terrific – sure, it’s got its moments of crazy 70s over-indulgence, but mostly it’s a very funky, very groovy slice of pop. This glam title track is especially rockin’. Worth seeking out…
12. THE GRASSROOTS – You And Love Are The Same New To Me
This is one of those random ones – I’ve had it on a breakbeat vinyl compilation for a long time, but never thought to seek it out on CD, until now. I know nothing about the band (who aren’t even credited on the vinyl), but at the 1m10s mark, you’ll see why this nice little 60s pop track was included on a breakbeat compilation in the first place. It is, as they say, dope.
13. JETHRO TULL – Living In The Past New To Me
Sure, bands named after 17th century agriculturalists aren’t always the coolest ones, but this 1969 single from the Tull, heard by me recently on 6Music, is not really what I think of when I think of this beardy lot who have flutes on their songs, so I was amazed to hear who it was. Perhaps there’s more to this lot than meets the eye.
14. ALBERT HAMMOND – It Never Rains In Southern California Rediscovery Of The Month
Hands down the song I’ve listened to the most over the past few months. I wrote on the blog a couple of years ago about Albert Hammond (father of Strokes man, AH Jr) - he’s one of the all-time greatest songwriters, and here’s my favourite of his from his debut album of the same name from 1972. Credit where it’s due – this is here thanks to the Greenberg soundtrack, the new Ben Stiller film. As a soundtrack it’s mostly excellent original music by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, but it also has brilliantly picked catalogue tracks, including this and the rocking Jet Airliner by Steve Miller Band. Definitely worth treating yourself to.