Word up. May’s here, the summer’s already been and gone, and you hold in your hands a very special The Monthly. This is the third one I’ve done in the month of May, so I suppose that means I’m entering my third year of The Monthly. That’s kind of cool.
1. THE NATIONAL TRUST – Brownsea Island – Waves Lapping Along The Shore Hot Off The Press
No, this isn’t some speccy indie band from Shoreditch (though it would be a good name for one). This is an album from the actual National Trust of sounds recorded around some of their properties. The whole album’s free from their website and if you think it’s got a tenuous connection to actual music, then rest assured it qualifies for inclusion here because it was recorded by Mr. Jarvis Cocker. Nice.
2. ARCADE FIRE – Month Of May Hot Off The Press
This was a very late addition to the line up here. Two new tracks leaked from the forthcoming, and hotly awaited, Arcade Fire album, The Suburbs. The web is awash with discussion about them, talk of a concept album, change of direction, this, that and the other. I try not to get too side-tracked by that stuff. This is a great, raucous song and as you’ll see from its title, deserves inclusion here anyway.
3. THE REDSKINS – The Power is Yours New To Me
I keep a list of any songs I hear that I want to track down, and this was on that list, though I’ve no idea why. Possibly 6Music. Anyway, The Redskins were an English, left wing punk band and this was a single for them in 1986. It’s an odd, but I think appealing, mix of teddy boy rock and 80s punkiness.
4. THE ROLLING STONES – Pass The Wine Hot Off The Press
A new Stones track? Hell YES. You’ve probably noticed the fuss around the reissue this month of the seminal Exile On Main Street and with that came several ‘lost’ tracks from the 1972 sessions. Ardent Stones fans already knew of them, but to the rest of us, these are as good as new. If you don’t own the album, which reached #1 after Universal dropped a shed load of marketing cash, now’s the time to buy it.
5. THE DEAD WEATHER – Hustle And Cuss Hot Off The Press
I was surprised at how quickly The Dead Weather came back with a new album, but then Jack White is clearly the hardest working man in rock, so why wouldn’t he follow up a recent Raconteurs record with a new Dead Weather one? It had mixed reviews but the opening couple of tracks, of which this is one, are as good a pair of rockers as you’ll hear all year.
6. LEE MOSES – Time And Place New To Me
I was reading an article on record collecting, and famed DJ and collector Norman Jay cited Lee Moses’ Time And Place album as one of the most desirable out there. While I haven’t yet found it on vinyl, it’s easy to get from iTunes. Its notoriety probably comes from a combination of rare, soulful and funky music, and some notable covers, including Hey Joe, Day Tripper and Reach Out (I’ll Be There).
7. THE HOLD STEADY – We Can Get Together Hot Off The Press
One of the most emotive bands out there, for me. Singer Craig Finn’s vocals are painfully touching and I was lucky enough to see them perform this track live at a festival last year, several month’s ahead of its recent release on the album Heaven Is Whenever. Actually, the album title and the song title combine to give the chorus of this track. And that’s a fact you can take to the bank, my friends.
8. DIANE BIRCH – Rewind Hot Off The Press
Ms Birch was on Jools Holland recently and, I hate to be so brash, but it was kind of hard to take your eyes off her. She is beautiful. The songs she performed were good too, but this track, an iTunes single of the week, was the best of the lot. It’s about as MOR as I’ll ever get, but I’m sure some of you will like it too.
9. ELI “PAPERBOY” REED – Name Calling New To Me
Paperboy’s just put out his second album, called Come And Get It, and a friend (and fellow Monthly subscriber – hi Dan!) asked me along to see him live at the Scala. He’s a fantastic performer, and his soul revivalism is something similar to Mayer Hawthorne (who was on December’s The Monthly), and as a devout Motown/Stax/Atlantic fan, that’s fine by me.
10. THE PIONEERS – Poor Rameses New To Me
I finally got rid of a ton of books recently, including some music ones. There just didn’t seem much point keeping them, you know? But one that went was called Young, Gifted & Black and was the story of legendary reggae label, Trojan Records. It came with a free CD of Trojan tracks, of which this is one. And when better to find some new reggae than on the cusp of summer?
11. KID SISTER – Life On TV Hot Off The Press
Fittingly, Kid Sister appeared on the very first The Monthly, back in May 2008, and here she is again with her new track. She threatened at one point to really break overground, but hasn’t quite made that. However, I still think she’s making some cool music, so maybe we’ll see her again on May 2012’s CD.
12. BIG BOI – Shutterbug Hot Off The Press
I know I included a Big Boi (off of Outkast) track recently but this is too good not to go on. It’s already on the Radio 1 playlist so you might have heard it, but it definitely bodes well for his forthcoming album, the ludicrously titled Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty. Check out the ace video on the blog.
13. M.I.A. – Born Free Hot Off The Press
Technically this is hot off the press (in the sense that it came out after the last Monthly) but has been out for a few weeks so if you like this kind of thing you may already know of it. It’s very M.I.A. – bonkers, brilliant and loud, though I have heard some dissenters say that it’s just not as good as they’d hoped for.
14. KELIS – Acapella Hot Off The Press
The new Kelis album, Fleshtone, is blindingly good – she’s moved away from her R&B roots and has come out with an album of fantastically good modern disco. It’s much more in the same space as Goldfrapp and Robyn, but more disco-y than either. If you’re new to her then this is the time at which to check the former Mrs. Nas out.
15. WE ARE SCIENTISTS – Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt Rediscovery Of The Month
There’s a massive marketing/ad agency that I work with and every now and then they throw gigs in their enormous lobby with a free bar for a bunch of marketing/ad folk, and their recent one featured Sway and We Are Scientists. So that’s where this track comes from – I’ve liked it for a long time (it’s from 2005’s With Love And Squalor album), though strangely it’s never really encouraged me to delve deeper into the New York-based duos other stuff. Nonetheless, it’s a good track.
Thanks to anyone who passed on tips this month – you know who you are