Monday, July 31, 2006

Weekender : don't take it literally

CHART OF DARKNESS: Right, chart. We've got our sketchpads out, we've got a scientific calculator ready, now explain why Shakira's Hips Don't Lie is not only maintaining a top three position in the face of media indifference but has actually climbed back to number one. Varying sales, yes, but what's keeping this going week after week? This time it bats out Christina Aguilera's challenge, which seems to have come at us too suddenly for anyone to get their head around where on earth she's going. McFly take a dive to 6, one ahead of Madonna - did you know about this? - and three ahead of the brave but ultimately futile - well, the first single from one of their albums should be top five, the amount they've been going on - attempt of Kasabian to get one over on everyone. Snow Patrol, entrants at 25 last week, only make it up to 15, possibly because the song's ended before you've registered its presence. The Pet Shop Boys head back to the old synths at 19, their lowest charting single since Was It Worth It? despite/because of the spelling the title gambit repeated from Shopping. Paris - ah, we see - only manages 35 on downloads with Shapeshifters and Chic, which seems to just be an officiously credited sample, at 40. Cascada, the sort of female singer who'd take off were there still analogue TV outlets for her sort of thing, is in on downloads at 41 with ¡Forward, Russia! at 44. Why are Captain in the 75 on downloads?
Razorlight are still atop the albums, where the big entry is Pharrell's solo effort that's been on the schedules about to be dropped roughly since the Cenozoic period. James Dean Bradfield is at 22, yet another Sam Cooke retrospective at 27, Bill Withers is compiled at 35 - go on, as it's summer, guess the title - Rogue Traders only manage 46 but that's still one ahead of the heavily promoted in their field Bullet For My Valentine, and apparently there are enough people still into Heather Small and Jurassic 5 to give them top 60 places.

FREE MUSIC: Nicked this one from Pitchfork, but that's fair enough as it was they who first alerted us to Philadelphia's Girl Talk, a sampledelic stew that reinvigorates the mash-up in a Frontier Psychiatrist style. Smash Your Head would seem to be a typical example.

HEY YOU GET OFFA MYSPACE: Having bigged him up yesterday we should give MJ Hibbett & The Validators proper props. Lamacq favourites, Leicestrian Hibbett has been at this wry observational lark for quite a few years now, most famously with b3ta-endorsed Hey Hey 16k, and his new album keeps the run going. Currently up, three tracks from the week before last's Lamacq Live live session.

VISUAL REPRESENTATION SPECIAL: So farewell, Top Of The Pops. True, you lost your way in about 1993, but for those years you were annoying the sensitive with balaclavas, accepting that sometimes international talent will wear dolphin suits, making playground heroes of moustachioed men at keyboards, getting Jim Thirlwell on sax, adding to fey Mancunian singers' iconography again and again, having songs named after you, exhibiting 3D space chess or just making Travis seem interesting, we salute you.

FALLING OFF A BLOG: Again, a blog does us a linkage courtesy, we pay it straight back. Hello, 17 Seconds, with your cheeriness and your recent mp3s of Low, the Concretes and Yo La Tengo continuing a very promising early run.

IN OTHER NEWS: There is no other news. Clear off.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

In shops tomorrow: 31/7


As we say somewhere down there, there's been an alarming evaporation in what should be a promotional campaign that sees TV On The Radio raised shoulder high for the work of greatness that is Return To Cookie Mountain. Whether because the NME can no longer be bothered to meet bands halfway or because this seems to be the summer of guitar hooks that need pointing out with great big arrows, it's a shame that Wolf Like Me might be allowed to pass by, mauling with itself, on the other side. It's possibly also why Seafood have been allowed to slip below the radar after the near-brekathrough brilliance of 2002's When Do We Start Fighting. David Line's lung collapsing three times in two years didn't help, so we should really be grateful they're still around at all to release Signal Sparks, the advance single from their fifth album. We were supposed to see Seafood this week but post-Truck sniffles kyboshed our chances. Anyone passing, let us know what they were like. (And yes, we're aware they played at Truck, but we took one look at the full tent and assumed we'd be seeing the full set later in the week. Oh, but we'll gladly see Seth Lakeman three months after seeing him support Billy Bragg and a month before we probably bump into him and his viola at Summer Sundae, eh? Anyhoo.) A couple of slightly odd acoustic cover versions to finish - call it post-Heartbeats if you want, although Iron & Wine's stripped down cover of the Postal Service's Such Great Heights has been around for ages, so lord knows why it's out on its own now. The other is Rodrigo Y Gabriela doing, just in case you thought a Mexican thrash metal indebted acoustic duo resident in Dublin was too much variety for one band, Stairway To Heaven.


Thin gruel this week, with even the release schedule highlight of the blues-punk-soul explosion of The Gossip's Standing In The Way Of Control actually being a better distributed re-release. Brief excitement did follow the discovery of something called D. Boon & Friends, which rather than a lost Christmas variety special by the late Minutemen leader is in fact just a load of old live, rehearsal, jamming and home recorded rarities. It's all above board, though, with Mike Watt on liner duty - and hang on a minute, the lengthy and authoritative Minutemen documentary We Jam Econo leaked out on DVD three weeks ago! Why were we not informed? Quick catch-up to close as we've been long time fans of MJ Hibbett's wryly lyrical trad-indie and earlier in the month he and The Validators released another slab of goodness, We Validate. The first track, Tell Me Something You Do Like, is about people who only seem to complain. Why that struck a chord with us we can't quite pin down.

The NEW-LOOK! Weekly Sweep

How long do you think we'll be able to keep this up for, then?

  • Brakes - Porcupine Or Pineapple (live YouTube)
    "Spiky spiky!" Perfectly set for audience participation/shouting along All Night Disco Party B-side and live staple. As ever with Brakes' short songs, near enough inexplicable
  • Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out Of This Country (live YouTube)
    Man, how good is this album still? Northern Soul just like Jimmy Webb would have written it, it's out as a single in September and surely more will pick up on them now. Don't anyone dare cheer Tracy-Ann up!
  • Emmy The Great - Edward Is Dedward (mp3 demo)
    And you thought we were merely going overboard up there. Standard half tender/half cutting lyricism with the capacity to both move you and kick you amidships from that increasing rarity, a modern British female acoustic singer-songwriter worth listening to
  • ¡Forward, Russia! - Eighteen (YouTube)
    Not planning to let up any time in the near future, somehow it all sounds much more relevant and strong when it's accompanied by Tom's crash gymnastics. Saw Whiskas on five seperate occasions on Sunday
  • Goodbooks - Passchendaele (Myspace download)
    It was the least we could do after they attempted to give us pneumonia by forcing us out into thundery rainstorms at Truck to see their cracked indie-disco and their song of songs. Next single, apparently
  • Guillemots - Little Bear (mp3 on Last Sound Of Summer)
    God knows what you'd make of this being the album opener if you'd never heard them before, but the fragile vocals and Scott Walker-meets-Mark Hollis strings set their widescreen balladry side out straight away
  • Harry Angel - Death Valley Of The Dolls (Myspace download)
    Actually, we know what this reminds us of now - Cooper Temple Clause's Panzer Attack, but as essayed by Placebo and Seafood simultaneously. Why did nobody tell us when this was released last October?
  • iLiKETRAiNS - The Beeching Report (YouTube)
    Couldn't be anyone else, inevitably, launching a new strain of post-rock that's positively bleak and elegaic. Just listen to that choir (made up of ¡Forward, Russia!, Napoleon IIIrd and This Et Al) and claim it doesn't somehow move you
  • Jetplane Landing - I Opt Out (YouTube
    Music to form a circle pit to, Derry's most DIY-friendly, least compromising post-hardcore outfit pulled out another jagged riff to drive Andrew Ferris' wordiness on this lift from last album Once Like A Spark
  • Los Campesinos! - You! Me! Dancing! (Myspace)
    They can't stay blogging's best kept secret for much longer, can they? One of the other songs on there claims they're "trying to find the perfect match between pretentious and pop". Couldn't have put it better ourselves.
  • Peter, Bjorn & John - Young Folks (mp3 on Red Blondehead)
    Goddamn you, Sweden, how do you keep doing this saccharine layer on dark underbelly indie time after time after time? Featuring now ex-Concrete Victoria Bergsman, the whistled hook, one of the song's umpteen, ensures earworm status on one listen
  • Pipettes - Magician Man (mp3 on The Rich Girls Are Weeping)
    Yeah, alright, we'll get over it eventually, but this 7" B-side's worth it because it doesn't sound an awful lot like their template. What it is is Rosay (we're fairly sure it's her throughout, anyway) rubberstamping 'Future Star' on her CV
  • Richard Davies - Cantina (mp3 on Captain's Dead)
    See, this is the greatness of the Internet music community and mp3 blogs writ large. Mark Radcliffe was all over this in 1998, the non-Eric Matthews half of Cardinal's desert folk-rock road trip
  • Scritti Politti - The Boom Boom Bap (streaming on whatever this site is actually called)
    As we said when the Mercury nominations came out it took us ages to catch up the minimal DIY keyboard soul of White Bread Black Beer, and now we can hardly get past the opener, which were it not for the hip hop quotes could have come from his 1981 heyday
  • Shimura Curves - Just Like Friends (Myspace download)
    Can't help thinking there's currently that little indescribable something missing from their laptop harmony electropop sandwich, but their post-twee Mary Chain take should be on plenty of playlists
  • Six Nation State - Keep Dancing (YouTube)
    Probably best appreciated in their all-action live show, but this debut single from March puts four to the floor, just about keeps itself under melodic control and generally does what it says on the tin
  • Tapes 'N Tapes - Insistor (YouTube)
    The album's not all that consistent and their early hypeteers would probably admit now that maybe we all went an album too soon, but nobody's going to deny the driving two-step pulse that constantly urges this on
  • The Gossip - Listen Up (video download)
    Some will argue that The Gossip would be nothing without the rhythm section ultragroove cultivated many years ago by ESG, but they didn't have the soul Siren (as in driving sailors onto rocks) Beth Ditto up front
  • TV On The Radio - Wolf Like Me (mp3 on inkiostro)
    On reflection Return To Cookie Mountain saw TVOTR - and where's the hype gone, by the way, British press? - open up their dense claustrophobic sound to all sorts of airiness. As ever, though, describing anything of theirs in print would make it sound like a bloody mess.
  • Young Knives - Weekends And Bleak Days (Hot Summer) (mp3 on here)
    It's inevitably going to come out just as the weather changes for the worse, but its relentless wry optimism is as cheery as it was this time last year. Come on, festival audiences, you've got your chant here!
  • Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    Stars of Truck and field: Truck Festival 2006 review

    See some of the evidence

    Fair to say that Truck is not like other festivals, or at least what we've come to know as a British festival. While the field area given over to it is bigger than you might imagine it retains the atmosphere of a friendly specialist get-together which attracts bands from right across the alternative spectrum into this magnified village fete of music. With little advertising, a friendly and not too crowded clientele and easy access to everywhere and everything it's earned its place as the cognescenti's small festival of choice at a time when The Man wants us to invest instead in the ever growing number of heavily branded soulless park get-togethers. Hardly anybody seems to have covered Truck in the wider press, and that's what keeps it special in a way.

    Not to mention that you'll get to find new things and be surprised throughout the two days. Case in point: Harry Angel, one of the many local bands dotted around the schedule waiting to be discovered in some way, shape or form. They describe themselves on their Myspace as "scrawny speed-freak goth-punk", the sort of description that would put weaker men off. In fact, think Seafood doing Mission Of Burma with Matt Tong on vocals, with elements of Ikara Colt and Girls Against Boys, barely resolved tension pushing at the edges with ever vaulting guitars bolstered by thick basslines by a tiny female bassist and rapidfire drums. An immense way to kick off the weekend. After catching the last minute of Xmas Lights' set, which transpired to be the only time we managed to properly get into The Barn all weekend (you should have seen the queues on Sunday), we saw two of The Madeleines' Editors-esque New Wave stabs before the rains came and we made off for the first look at the Rotary Club-run food tent. We mention this because it was while we were queuing that the monsoon started and every stall suddenly required its staff to hold on as hard as possible lest it get blown away. In the confusion, the food tent itself required all hands to the verandah and the till got taken away before we could pay. Should we feel guilty?

    Not unreasonably, Goodbooks weren't hopeful of a great turnout once they saw the heavy direction the weather was taking - in fact the audience at the Truck Stage must have been three deep when they started, which given Max Cooke expected only to see their manager watching them is something of an achievement, although the crowd definitely thickens throughout. As indeed it should have, as it occurs to us halfway through the set that here is one of the few new British guitar bands worth bothering about. The reason? They want you to think, they want you to dance, you feel compelled to go with them. Post-punk danceable drums, disco bass, DFA sequencers, properly used keyboards, vocal interplay and a lyrical approach at once personal and sociological in its own way adds up to something special and they're giving it everything to an equally appreciative hardy group of people who recognise that there's something special happening. They've just signed to Columbia. Weekly Sweep resident Passchendaele will be their next proper single. Come on, gods of music, just make it up to the likes of us once.

    The side effect of such is that we've managed to get soaked through our plastic mac, so spend the next 45 minutes under cover in the Barn entrance listening to The Half Rabbits reinterpret most of the Cure's back catalogue at once. This means we miss Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly but he's got a full band with him and when most of your set is set around a laptop it's not going to work as well. However, just as the rain eases and the sun appears on the horizon, we welcome Brakes, joined for two songs by Electric Soft Parade's Matt Twaites on sterling tambouring/smoking work, and they mean business. Not that Eamon Hamilton has ever been particularly easy on his targets, but they're on raging form today, where even a solo version of Jackson makes sense, semi-legendary B-side Porcupine Or Pineapple gets a singalong and the new songs sound superb. The crowd participation builds right throughout NY Pie and an impromptu Heard About Your Band until the traditional closer Comma Comma Comma Full Stop, and it's clear we've all had A Moment.

    Less of a moment is the seemingly pointless wait until the much talked about :( get underway for not much of a payoff, their 8-bit emo losing out in the former stakes somewhat. Some time to wander around, get muddy and generally recover is required before a corking double bill in the Acoustic Tent. First up is Truck regular Chris T-T, still promoting last year's politicised 9 Red Songs EP. His voice has certainly got bigger as he commands stage and respect alike with just his acoustic guitar, and not even that for M1 Song. These are songs that draw attention to themselves as much by wit as by power, and they're hugely powerful modern folk songs. Following him is Darren Hayman, who we've always regarded as a future Great Lost English Songwriter candidate. He sounds anything but lost here, mind, judging the room requires 'the rock setlist', mostly new 'solo' material - 'solo' as he has a four-piece band - but with a few older Hefner tracks for the ever lovelorn. Great to hear The Sad Witch again, for one, and there are people dancing - only a handful of them, but dancing nonetheless - to closer Twisting Mary's Arm, an old Hefner semi-obscurity. Most of them, this being Truck, are The Research.

    You think you can trust a band...and then it turns out their drummer not only crowdsurfed to The Automatic but received stitches in her bass drum-working foot in doing so. Such is the handicap granted to ¡Forward, Russia! ("if only we could blame everything on The Automatic" - Whiskas), a band not averse to a little shrieking and running about themselves, and it's a testament to their full-on attitude that despite a pre-warning you can't tell. We'd never seen them live before but felt like we already knew how it'd go, namely the band thrashing around the vestiges of a tune while Tom Woodhead, spotted earlier the same day in the company of three men wearing his own band's T-shirts, wraps the mike cord around his neck. In fact it's far, far more than that, and in fact we're going to say here and now that for live intensity, tightness at top speed and the belief in putting on a rock show - no, not in the US MTV sense of A Rock Show, a show involving rock music - ¡Forward, Russia! are the British At The Drive-In. Their thrash-punk-indie-hardcore-disco-groove thang is wired to the max, Woodhead being unable to stand still for a moment so much is he lost in Whiskas' lightning quick jagged riffs and the unforgiving juggernaut of a rhythm section. Somehow he always makes it back to the synth just in time, though. There's a blonde kid on his dad's shoulders who can't be older than three in front of us wildly air guitaring to Fifteen Pt II, which Whiskas spots and dedicates a song to. As Sixteen drives towards its close Youthmovies join in, three joining Katie on drums, one on extra guitar and one to play us out on trumpet. It's a fitting end to a set that will hardly be topped for energy all weekend. Or so we think at the time.

    Like the rest of the festival, we immediately adjourn to the Theatre Tent and stand eight rows back outside the area to catch the occasional punchline of Simon Amstell's - seems like a strong set - before ennui sets in. Hundred Reasons are on, but alternatively Russell The Disaster from The Research is wrestling his mate's kid halfway down the field. We instead take one of the Rotary Club's famed banana smoothies - not our last of the weekend by any means - and observe from a safe distance Peepshow Paddy's Skylarkin' Shedshow. It's a DJ in a shed, festooned with fairy lights and emitting clouds of dry ice at irregular intervals. It's fascinating. Almost as fascinating as the night's closer from the Futureheads, if only because a) despite many years of trying we've never seen them live before and b) they've chosen this moment to remind us that they were brought up on Pavement and Shellac. A blistering set follows, although it's noticeable that tracks from News And Tributes aren't approached with the same vim and vigour utilised when tearing through the likes of A To B, Man Ray and of course Hounds Of Love. The boys themselves remain appreciative of their audience and banter fully but it won't have shifted anyone's thoughts if they were disappointed by the current album. In any case, an energetic an end to day one as you'd want.

    Straight on site on day 2 and into the Lounge for the Early Years, who sound a lot better live then they do on record, where their post-baggy Secret Machines Krautrock post-rock waves of chiming guitar, driving bass and robotic drumming help those not already chemically or alcoholically aided into a state of hypnotic reverie. They should be on a bigger stage, but the fact they're in a cramped marquee only helps. Very different reveries take place immediately afterwards over in the Trailer Park with 6 Nation State, a band from whom we suspect resistance will soon be futile. Coming across as a more ska and dub-crazed Zutons/Coral being transported illegally across the Mexican border, their relentless guitar jabs and melodica weaves are augmented by all-action antics, all flying hair, jolts across the stage and the odd synchronised guitar movement. Were they from somewhere more eagerly watched than Southampton they'd have the NME in paroxysms by now. Not that they need their help - judging by how much of the tent is jumping, if they get label support they're going to have their own national coachloads of fans very soon.

    The compere of the Acoustic Tent seems genuinely surprised to find that the biggest attendance of the weekend to date has come this early on a Sunday, but, as, we suspect, with everyone here one listen to Emmy The Great and you're completely smitten. There's a backing band (Jeremy Warmsley on keyboard, Adam from Optimist Club and a woman from the front row to provide 'stomping' on the last song) but you barely notice. It's the whole world she draws you into, melancholic folk-pop melodies mixed with caustic, offbeat, sometimes tender storytelling, rarely less than intriguing lyricism reminiscent of a Martha Wainwright or a Bright Eyes when he's not being an arse but even then something more...we dunno, we were just taken by it, as were many others around us, and the banter between songs maintained the mood that, in quite a few senses, we needed to get to know and cherish this one. Technically unsigned, she is. How can they keep getting it so wrong?

    If Emmy is the wolf pawing away at the wooden exterior of the preset female singer-songwriter door, back in the Lounge tent Shimura Curves are the electro black sheep of this apparent Girl Group Revival. Turning scrappiness into an artform in the way Girlfriendo used to do before they turned tail and became Love Is All, the four women something-akin-to-harmonise to Powerbook loops and the odd distorted guitar. It's probable they don't yet have a better song than the Mary Chain-reappropriating Just Like Friends that was much loved around here from their Myspace and the don't-say-twee charm of the live show perhaps doesn't translate in this atmosphere but there's something going on here that'll split opinion but very much be worth watching over time, for our money. It's also a much more agreeable use of female vocals over electronic methods than the touted Persil will deliver over on the Truck stage later, but we're getting ahead of ourselves.

    We suspect The Rock Of Travolta have never played to an audience that is completely sat down apart from ten or so hardy souls at the front, such is the heat. Post-rock live is either mindblowing or dull as ditchwater, and despite the fact we're actually behind the soundboard for most of their set we're going with nearer the former on this one. What they do so well is pare down the reflective end of the noisy instrumental with guitars schtick so that every song blasts straight into the massive riffage, elasticated basslines, ironic poses and a cellist that actually adds something to the bottom end of the sound. On a less boiling day it would have blown more away, but their Glenn Branca does modern classical approach is back and in full working order. We wanted to see Thomas Truax and his much-vaunted bank of homemade machines after this but the acoustic tent was even more full now they'd opened the sides up, KTB's delicate folk moving many, and we just couldn't be arsed to stick around. You know how it goes at festivals sometimes.

    Bloody hell, look at the size of the queue in the Barn for 65daysofstatic. We correctly adjudge that as they're tuning up we're never going to get in to see their glitch-Mogwai futurism, and in fact that turns out to be about the most accessible the Barn gets for the rest of Sunday, queuing out of the door for the apparently something special Regina Spektor. More lo-fi human-electronic thrills are luckily on offer in the Trailer Park as hardy perennials A Scholar & A Physician have ten people on stage behind laptops and cheap keyboards to replicate Hot Chip's nervous breakdown. Didn't catch this year's unlikely cover, but it seemed all were enjoying themselves, which is the least you can ask. Now, the last time we mentioned the Electric Soft Parade on STN - positively, too - we ended up seemingly upsetting Tom White. No great deal of treading carefully needed this time as it's not needed, as semi-bravely Holes In The Wall is ignored and their newest material gets the airing it on mostly first listen deserves, building on their developing harmonic subtleties and pop dynamics, never pinning itself down to one set of marked influences. With an album due on Truck itself next year, there's something afoot here.

    Which is markedly not the case with The Sound Movement, very much supping at the dregs of assorted revivals of scenes from the last 25 years, and it's more than likely most are here because the stage is running horribly late and something special is about to occur. Jetplane Landing haven't played in Britain for quite some time, if you leave aside the warmup for this, and with Once Like A Spark having taken one of the British Isles' best kept secrets onto daytime MTV2 and the like the sense of anticipation is palpable. And it's rewarded in spades, as this is probably as passionately angry a performance as we've ever seen. Not that passionate anger is exactly unknown to Andrew Ferris and co, but it really was a set devoted to never letting up throughout the 'hits', probably the day's most active pit forming as Cahir threw himself across the stage and Ferris got every last word of every chorus of I Opt Out, When The Argument Has Changed, This Is Not Revolution Rock, Calculate The Risk and so on chanted back at him. Of the three new songs one involved bassist Jamie Burchell on cowbell and will probably take some getting used to, and the other two just upped the pressure gauge even more. For the full riotous special festival set atmosphere a large inflatable football appeared, eventually richocheting off every head, arm, bass drum and Jamie's forehead. You got the feeling that with tastes hardening again finally, finally, the country might be ready for something like this to catch on, even from JPL's admirably DIY stance. Then, right at the end, at what passes for a breakdown in a monumental version of Acrimony, Ferris stepped forward and thanked everyone for sticking by the band during their time off, declaring that it'd be at least eighteen months before they saw any of us again and as there were a declining number of seconds left for them we'd better make the most of it. He then commanded everyone present to step forward, letting those on the fringes of the tent come inside, before everyone absolutely ripped into the final burst (online here - we don't think you can see us). Ominous sounding, especially when everyone came forward to salute us back at the end and Jamie appeared to be welling up, but what an incredible memory to keep us going until that next time, should it arrive.

    It was the Young Knives' job to follow that on the Truck stage. The odds, frankly, were stacked against them, especially with a largely oddly apathetic audience, but the celebrated camerarderie between Henry and House Of Lords was in full working order and their meeting point between post-punk - here's a word you don't get to use every day - boisterousness and tightly wound subtleties (Loughborough Suicide is really stamping its authority over the rest of the album that houses it by now) explains by itself how come it's them that's getting the attention. As we believe it'll actually be illegal next year not to come to Truck and see one set from a Schla La La we briefly dropped by Delia's Manic Cough, having been reminded of her when Emmy The Great spotted her and assorted Schlas/Coughers(?) linedancing in the middle of the field in full costume, to reggae as it turned out. Their cabaret-garage-X-Ray Spex probably needs a fuller examination then we could manage, but it's clearly more than diverting.

    As, by sheer visual approach, are Truck stage headliners the Mystery Jets. You don't need reminding of their many USPs, but what impresses with their set here is how tight such a seemingly ramshackle outfit are, even if Blaine's percussion kit has been smartened up somewhat, and with bassist Kai Fish charging about the stage. It's also noticeable just how many moments are injected into their songs that are tailor made for festival-sized singalongs and harmonious air-punching, and they're a lot more forthcoming to get into than you might imagine. A brief diversion sees us joining the Trailer Park throngs for the last couple of songs in The Organ's set, looking like they're teetering on the brink between studied indifference and actual indifference. It's possible they've always been like this live, but scarily the guitarist spends the whole time staring semi-listlessly at the back of the tent. We're not sure she blinked once. Back just in time for the set closer - obviously, the closer before the encore, an all over the place On My Feet and a tumescent Zoo Time which makes up for our not being able to properly hear the chant sample by including many extra people playing percussion onstage, tiny children being given emergency maraca lessons, Kai sitting on the speakers, Will Rees having to change his guitar mid-song and an absolute flurry of synchronised drumming from Blaine and Kapil. Then, suddenly, it seems all over. Actually, this being Truck it's not all over at all, but Morrison Steam Fayre never get their indie-skank fully on in a Lounge that's horribly overrunning, so we cut our losses with the Schla La Las. We'll make sure we experience them next year, because we'll be back. We can hardly leave it be now.

    Friday, July 21, 2006

    Long Weekender - four days' worth of Sweeping The Nation in advance

    So while we're getting rained on and then baked all weekend, let's have a quick run-through of what you might otherwise have missed...

    IN SHOPS NEXT MONDAY: Of the 24th July release schedule we recommend singles by ¡Forward, Russia! (Eighteen - that's crept up surreptitiously on us all), Hot Club de Paris (Sometimesitsbetternottostickbitsofeachotherineachother... foreachother, unwieldly titled 7" on Moshi Moshi), Metric (the glorious Monster Hospital) and Viva Voce (From The Devil Himself, the duo's singles career highlight on limited edition 7") and albums by Lisa Germano (In The Maybe World), Michael Franti & Spearhead (Yell Fire!), Roddy Woomble (My Secret Is My Silence), The Sleepy Jackson (Personality: One Was A Spider One Was A Bird) and Tapes 'N Tapes (The Loon).

    CHART OF DARKNESS: In the midweeks McFly's half-charity record for the charity telethon nobody cares about is miles clear. Rihanna only looks to be managing number four, one ahead of New Blunt II James Morrison. Chili Peppers top ten, Christina Aguilera on downloads and Gnarls Barkley on underwhelming sales top 20. Razorlight, splashed everywhere you care to think of, are inevitable number one by shedloads, followed in quick succession by Lily Allen and Paolo Nutini.

    VISUAL REPRESENTATION/THE WEEKLY SWEEP CROSSOVER: The latter's getting a makeover from next week, so to see the old format off and tide you over, another YouTube-enabled playlist of stuff we've been covering through word and deed recently, this time in a sidebar friendly resize: ¡Forward, Russia! reinvent the Viewfinder, 29 Swedish coves collectively known as I'm From Barcelona prove image isn't everything, Jeremy Warmsley is enveloped in a line-drawn world, HMV do the scarily sized closeups as albums top 20 outsiders the Pipettes do Judy live and, to prove that a) Green Gartside has always been pop's auteur in chief and b) Lily Allen did not invent singing soulfully over light reggae and certainly isn't doing it best of all, Scritti Politti's The Word Girl from 1985. Finally, as part of Weekender's continued prolonged farewell to Top Of The Pops - two left! - of course the lounge lizard version of Smells Like Teen Spirit. Note the people turning away from the stage right near the end.

    Stars Truck: part II

    Nagatha Krusti: We've only just got the joke in the name. Yet more ska-punk, this time with a disturbingly nu-metal edge and hopefully with more audible vocals than on these tracks.
    Neon Productions: A modern dance company, as far as we can tell. They've collaborated with Youthmovies and type2error, in any case, so clearly have something beyond cliche going for them.
    nervous test_pilot: We notice from his actual news page that he's met (very) loose associate Kieron Gillen, which is something we didn't expect to see flagged up while we were compiling this. Hard-edged electronica, anyway.
    Niall Spooner Harvey: Must try and make it actually into the cabaret tent at some stage. Harvey is "a poet/comedian/poet who never fails to simultaneously squeeze laughter and fear out of on-lookers". It says here.
    Pacific Ocean Fire: We're certain we saw some of their set in the Musician tent at last year's Summer Sundae, their local festival, but seemingly didn't mention it on the review. Calexico/Neil Young Americana, in any case.
    Peepin’ Paddy’s Skylarkin’ Shedshow: More DJing, and widely acclaimed one at that. But in a shed. Thus, the effect.
    Penned In the Margins: Poetry really must be the new rock'n'roll. Let them tell you what to expect themselves.
    Penny Broadhurst: Now this seems intriguing even though it's yet more bloody performance poetry, as Broadhurst has supported Patrick Wolf, Damo Suzuki, Melt Banana, Help! She Can't Swim, DARTZ! and Frank Turner among others. She's hosting the cabaret tent too, apparently.
    Persil: Automatic favourites! Do you see? Dutch Peel-favoured duo do yet another warped version of pop, electronically bedded to Martine Brinksma's skyscraping vocals and darting off at all angles as the mood takes.
    Post Potato Theatre Co: A theatre company. At a wild guess.
    Rachael Dadd: A return to nu-folk stylings from a delicate Bristolian who's been in Jeffrey Lewis' band. There's definitely something in the air with so many Vashti Bunyanesque singers around at the moment, and they should keep it coming, within reason.
    Ralfe Band: Not on the big list but on the schedules, critically acclaimed alterna-psych-folk doesn't always translate - in honesty we've had trouble pinning them down so far - but it's fast winning them something of an audience.
    randomNumber: More music to nearly soothe the savage brain, in the form of wildly chopped up IDM beats like 65daysofstatic at rest or some of Kieran Hebden's more linear live moments.
    Rebecca Mosley: Ooh, is that an autoharp? It's folklike, yes, but harder to pin down, like KT Tunstall if she'd been truer to the Fence Collective approach, or more pleasingly should she pop by Grace Slick acoustic. We're going to have to keep an eye on this one.
    Redjetson: Someone somewhere is waiting to call Redjetson the new Doves, but it's more than that. Maybe if they'd been on Factory first time around. Widescreen epicness has been done quite a bit in recent years and they've not grabbed us yet, but by all accounts they're something of a live experience.
    Regina Spektor: Split that big bar of opinion right down the middle! It depends on how you view the word 'kooky', we suppose, or what your tolerance of Tori Amos and the Dresden Dolls' respective musical worldviews is.
    Seafood: After an absolutely shameless campaign Seafood get a go at Truck to promote their fourth album having seen David Line go down ill at precisely the wrong moment four years ago and ruin their chances of making it big. Still skyscraping, hopefully.
    Seth Lakeman: Has anyone else seen the adverts for Lakeman's new single on the music channels? It's out on the 8th August! Now he's on a major they're not trying to sell him as a trad-folk Blunt, are they?
    Shimura Curves: We did these in the Weekender Myspace feature a few weeks back and now everybody seems to be falling for their scrappy laptop harmonic Magnetic Fields-type shameless electropop. They have ILM connections. Do not hold this against them.
    Si Roche: Dunno. Might be one of those newfangled VJs.
    Simon Amstell: No way will we get into the tent for this. We trust we're all aware now of the great height from which he shits on Alex Zane, leaving aside dark rumours of Friday night Channel 4 entertainment pilots.
    Skindred: Oh good lord. Headlining the Barn are these well respected metal ragga hip hop punks, nothing that Bad Brains didn't do louder and, well, better, but you won't be allowed to stand still. Or hear afterwards.
    Skullthrash: Whither bandnames with mystique? So that'll be thrash metal with treble speed drumming, light speed fretwork and Bruce Dickinson resurrected up front. Has everyone stopped going on about Dragonforce yet?
    Soundz: Lucky we've not got a link for these as with a name like that we can barely bring ourselves to comment.
    Suitable Case For Treatment: They did a single with Jon Snow doing a monologue over the top that got them onto Richard & Judy! Grieg/Rican of the Guillemots was in them for a bit! Their singer's a bit mad! Er...
    Teknikov: They claim their 2003 set was the worst the festival had ever seen. Old fashioned analogue electronica taking up where the second Liars album led off will do that to a band.
    The Black Madonnas: With 80s Matchbox on extended leave there's a post-psychobilly hole that needs filling and here's Truck Records' own candidates, theatricality mixed with full on commitment. This'll test the mettle of the easily wilting.
    The Cold Hands Trio: A DJ set, if that's any use to you.
    The Dusty Sound System: Robin Bennett and as many mates as he can round up, previously including assorted members of Ride, Electric Soft Parade, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly and all points west, go for goodtime country-folk.
    The Early Years: On very early on Sunday morning for some reason, a promising feast of effects pedals, Swervedriver commitment and Secret Machines self-extension will wake plenty up.
    The Electric Soft Parade: Math Priest appears to still be in the band, in case you were interested. They're on Truck these days and have a new album ready for next year, it says here. Worth a look.
    The Epstein: And another band with Bennett connections, looser this time, occasionally propping up their Gram Parsons taking the other half of country and western as his inspiration poignant hoedowns.
    The Futureheads: Everyone appears to be down on this booking on the official Truck forum. Sod 'em, we've never been able to see them live despite our immense love of their first album and growing appreciation of News And Tributes. This side, you sing with Barry, and that side, you sing along with Jaff.
    The Half Rabbits: Ulp, someone's been listening to Turn On The Bright Lights. And The Back Room. Pledging allegiance to Nirvana and metal is all very well and good, but there's still the insistent bass and half-Ian Curtis vocals at play.
    The Invisible Man: Pass.
    The Madeleines: And one more hurrah for the New Wave! Interpol/Cure guitars, Smiths nods and vocal delivery very reminiscent of someone we can't quite place to go.
    The Neutrinos: More recent 'stars' of Weekender, when we called them "superficially so indebted to PJ Harvey...Karen Reilly has a voice and range that can't be ignored...Bet they're a hell of a live band." Well?
    The Organ: Vancouver's fem-filled happy-sad Cure Division Smithsonians pop by with what seems to be an ever improving live show and a sense of purpose that is all their own.
    The Piney Gir Country Roadshow: The ever popular off-kilter singer-songwriter drags half the festival on with her in a good year. This won't be her electronica side, at a guess. Supported Erasure last year, curiously.
    The Priscillas: Another band who've been about for a bit, the Joan Jetts, or possibly Cramps, to everyone else's Shangri-Las/Go-Gos/Andrews Sisters, in costumes and with post-ironic shape throwing as standard. They're not the Suffrajets, at least.
    The Race: Reading outfit who seem to have been here or hereabouts for a while now, but only get round to their debut album release next month. Arcade Fire and Sigur Ros comparisons are stretching it a bit, as we hear Jeff Buckley soundscapes grafted onto Morning Runner.
    The Research: Some call them twee, with their silly caps and kitsch keyboard sounds, but they'd rather you called them a fun sight and/or sound with a grey-hearted edge. Of course they split opinion massively!
    The Rhonda Valley Pigeon Federation: Good lord, who calls a band that and expects to get away with it? The singer's apparently made a Nick Drake-esque solo album, but what that means in a band context we can't say.
    The Rock Of Travolta: Recently reactivated locals who supported Radiohead at South Park still going all out for carefully crafted but still with much abandon dramatic instrumental pre-and-post-rock.
    The September Gurls: If we are to reactivate West Coast harmonic pop it might as well be a West Coast man who does it. Daniel Black and whoever he can round up rolls you gently awake, usually.
    The Schla La Las: Now officially part of the 'new girl group' scene, although they've actually been together and playing Truck for years. Together very unliterally, you understand, as theirs is of the Thee Headcoatees range of matching costume girlism.
    The Sound Movement: And the 80s revival continues apace, although this pan-continental outfit appear more open about their debt to the Chameleons especially and Factory widely, with more than a dash of Ride for the locals.
    The Walkoff: "Horrible dance music", they call it, and it appears many have the same thought about them, but we've heard this kind of electronically enhanced stare-out rock a lot recently. Imagine a Polysics who were all male and took it all seriously.
    The Young Knives: Hot summer. Hot hot summer. Hot summer. Hot hot summer. The sort-of-local lads who have been around longer than you'd think start their chart-bound victory lap at the home festival.
    Thomas Truax: A perennial people's favourite, Truax makes his own instruments and delivers songs pitched between showtunes and Tom Waits on them. He doesn't sound like a lot else, especially live by the sounds of it.
    Timothy Victor: Occasional black sheep of the Broken Family Band does roots Americana with an Essex accent just along from Albarn's and an intimacy that's all his own.
    Tobias Jonathan Kidd: No. Next!
    Toob: Live drums and electronic voices, which is an interesting idea. A former Red Snapper and an ex-Aloof producer mix up electro house, vocal chillout and all points west in a take on the genre that actually seems to work live.
    Total Science: More breakbeat frenzy, with the now requisite soul vocals...actually, it might be this Total Science instead, reviving drum'n'bass in a not dissimilarly groove-friendly fashion. Thus, the surprise of the festival bill.
    Tough Love: The big unashamed glam revival is on at the moment, not that for many it ever went away. Not even the decency to adopt over the top makeup and glitter just in case anyone fancied a go.
    Trademark: One of A Scholar And A Physician's day job, as it were, is doing an modernist 80s synth thing, Pet Shop Boys model rather than Howard Jones and elements of Hot Chip. What you initially thought Lorraine would sound like.
    Trashy DJs: Trashy being a local indie club. Obvious now you realise.
    undertheigloo: Like pretty much everyone else on the bill they namecheck Mogwai and Sigur Ros, but we're reminded of a superior version of one of those post-Coldplay major label feeding frezy bands but with synth awareness and more delicacy.
    Wednesday’s Child: There is a Wednesday's Child on Myspace, but their last message put them on hiatus, so who knows.
    Winnebago Deal: Fucking racket alert with the celebrated post-metal duo who were doing all-out unsubtle speed freakery long before you'd heard of Lightning Bolt.
    Xhadrez: Edinburgh ex-Broken Family Band sideman (another one!) takes a rather more surprising turn into downbeat, minimal electronica after To Rococo Rot, glitch soundscapes that makes you hope he's on very late at night.
    Xmas Lights: Enormous sounding hardcore metal with the odd set of spiralling guitars, requisite indecipherable vocals and, at a guess, a distinct lack of onstage shirt wear.
    Y: Droney, very more than slightly worrying LA Velvets/Tom Petty crossover, if you can imagine such a thing. He's recorded with Juliette Lewis and Joseph Arthur so clearly others think he has something going for him.
    Yogi: Loads of Yogis on Myspace, none really what we're looking for.
    Youthmovies: You might know them as Youth Movie Soundtrack Strategies, the wusses. They're still the same full-on post-hardcore postrock favourites trailing nobody's path but their own. After all that - 149 bands, we think, but we're not counting them - it's good to come across a band as sharp as they are to liven us back up. See you at the Rotary Club stalls.

    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    Stars Truck: part I

    In which we gamely attempt to preview every single band on the big list at the official Truck Festival site. Needless to say, we see from the provisional timeslots on the official forum that a few extra names have appeared, but as the first one we spotted is The On/Offs we suspect few will be essential viewing. A to M, or more accurately : to M, then... (and yes, we have added H onwards from earlier)

    :(: That's 'colon open bracket' to you. Much touted electro-emo from Aberdeen on GLC/Darkness starter Must Destroy records, sounding like Get Up Kids duetting with a Commodore 128.
    6 Nation State: Southampton mod-skiffle-post-punk madness apparently known for chaotic live shows. The heat'll get to them, you watch. First single Keep Dancing, like the Zutons illegally crossing the Tex-Mex border, was a favourite around here.
    65daysofstatic: Bloody chaotic migraine-friendly glitchy post-rock, capable of progressing from pastoral Philip Glass-indebted piano to Slint noiseathons within the blink of an eye. Tinnitus may result.
    A Scholar & A Physician: First cab off the Truck Records rank and it's a curveball, an 8-bit sequencer-aided retro-futurist duo who've recently worked with Chicks On Speed. Like Delia Derbyshire locked in a Mega Drive.
    A Silent Film: Sound a bit like Radiohead. Luckily, also sound a bit like the average late 90s Bjork backing, and may be what Snow Patrol should sound like had they got it at all right.
    Abingdon Touring Theatre Company: It's a theatre company. That tours. Based in Abingdon. Probably not playing The Barn That Cannot Be Named. Says here they're rehearsing for a tour of the Canterbury Tales, which would be an experience if they go for the public rehearsal option.
    Agent Blue: Weren't this lot mildly hyped a couple of years back? Seems they toured with The Others at one stage and were on a Universal offshoot wielding a post-Libertines before the Libertines were post-anything sound. That was a dislikeable time for music, really. Now they appear to have gone mildly baggy.
    Alva: 14th century folk songs by a vocal/fiddle duo. Don't mock, it might be just what you need at whatever time they're performing.
    Amberstate: Local lot aim to make the album that Lamb never quite managed to get out of their system, albeit with half an ear on Jeff Buckley's arrangements and the drama of PJ Harvey's Four Track Demos or a less sequenced Garbage. Keep an eye out.
    Anat Ben David: Israeli "pop video performance artist" (oh lord) who sounds much like Peaches and Chicks On Speed, not unreasonably as they're both affiliated, thinking they're writing like Kurt Weill.
    Ape Has Killed Ape!: It's a great name, for starters. They're playing the theatre tent, which suggests something grander than their Young Marble Giants/England Made Me Black Box Recorder blackly poetic minimalism.
    Aphasia: Wimbledon DJ/beatmaker of ambient psychedelic trance Blue Room-esque variety.
    Battles: How the fuck do you sum these up in a couple of snappy sentences, then? Warp Records avant-hardcore that sounds like an IDM-jazz-mathrock outfit covering Four Tet's live show.
    Baba Luck: "Gangsta folk", he calls himself. Can't confirm or deny this as his Myspace player was down when we looked in, but he used to be in rubbish ska-punks King Prawn and the suggestion from various sources is he now does angry acoustic reggae much like Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros.
    Belarus: These got mentioned right at the start of the year as ones to watch by some, largely, we suspect, because they sound like a Feeder power ballad covers band.
    Bethan Elfyn: The non-Huw half of the Session In Wales plus a box of records.
    Bliss Divine Yoga: A yoga class. Don't you just love how the organisers stick anyone who's turning up into the bill?
    Brakes: Just been recording their second album in Nashville, so expect dollops of new nonsense country-punk along with the old stuff, culminating in a version of Comma Comma Comma Full Stop where the tuning up is six times longer than the song.
    Brigade: Him from Fightstar's brother's band throw Funeral For A Friend-style emo shapes. First to call them the McFly of British rock can see me after class.
    Brother Francisco: See, this is what we used to call emo - trio, buzzing bass, major chord riffs, quiet/loud dynamics, sparse but precise drumming, shouted response vocals. To a tee.
    Buck 65: Cult Canadian hip-hopper supposedly doing a cabaret spoken word set as well as his full business, which has of late moved away from turntablism into electronica, avant-jazz and hardcore rock. God knows how it'll translate.
    Captive State: The sound 3D of Massive Attack dreams out, a ten-strong collective play beats one up from trip-hop with politicised lyrics, like King Biscuit Time had Steve Mason got it right.
    Carlos Santan: Well, the linked Carlos Santan here is a classic southern soul singer who's opened for the Isley Brothers and Patti Labelle. Given this one is doing an overnight Lounge set, we doubt it's the same one.
    Chicks On Speed: Well, this is something of a booking. What on earth they'll actually be like in a small festival setting is another matter entirely, with their multimedia set-up and, shall we say, confrontational style.
    Chris McMath: A highlight last year by all accounts, although as you can tell beyond him being pretty much acoustic there's not a lot more we can add to that. Buy a programme.
    Chris T-T: One of our great undervalued observational songwriters - new album in October, it says here - fulfils his annual obligation to make a whole tent think, laugh, inwardly digest and enjoy.
    Co-Pilgrim: Mike Gale, formerly of Truck/local heroes Black Neilson, goes all Smog/Gram Parsons, which if it's warm will slip down a treat.
    Cobra: God knows.
    D_rradio: Awkwardly named instrumental post-rock, Boards Of Canada scoring David Lynch style. Might suffer in comparison to 65DOS, but that should intrigue enough.
    Danny George Wilson: Insert own Mary's Prayer jibe here. Wilson used to be the singer in Brit-Americana Byrdsian stalwarts Grand Drive and solo hasn't changed that much.
    Darren Hayman: One of this land's most underrated lyricists of the last ten years, the former Hefner frontman goes solo to tell of caravan holidays and provincial letdowns in a more countrified style. He does do the old stuff, though, and if he does The Hymn For The Alcohol we may cry.
    Dave Fish Theatre Co.: "Their objective is to above all entertain and yet push the boundaries of the audience’s conceptions of theatre." Oh good lord, they've got some room to make up to impress us if they're boldly putting it that way.
    DJ D: So now we're briefly into overnight DJ mode with a soul-funk D'n'B spinner...
    DJ Fu vs Jungle Drummer: ...and a hip hop drum'n'bass/jungle-influenced drumming soundclash.
    Doktor CococolaMcdonalds: Ooh, a comedy laptop/Casio/guitar-based loon who counts Jimmy Carr as a fan. Some may wish to run a mile. Let's not all be hasty.
    Drug Squad: Nobody has to call a band that, you know. A local septet who describe themselves as country-influenced skapunk. It's about having fun, which we'd concur with if their Myspace songs started working any time soon.
    Deguello: Stoner rock was one genre that never really demanded bringing back, and sounding like the Melvins in a tumble drier will require some getting used to. The heat haze, should it last, might help a great deal.
    Easy Tiger: A band who don't appear to know or give away a great deal about themselves, wise if they have no more to offer than what sounds like U2 covering Natalie Imbruglia's Shiver.
    Emmy The Great: Resident in our Myspace Weekender list for months now, expect thoughtful largely acoustic singer-songwriter business, what they used to call anti-folk but now we're going to glibly say is our own Martha Wainwright. And, STN EXCLUSIVE OF SORTS: Jeremy Warmsley's going to be in her band.
    Fabulous Hands: Another set of DJs. Great name for some.
    Family Machine: More acoustic goodness but with room for manoevure, staying just the right side of acoustic ennui. Those interested in Danny George Wilson will find plenty of interest here.
    Fell City Girl: Supposed to be something of a buzz around these, sharing a label with Liam Frost and getting XFM play, and a small but loyal fanbase could easily form around their widescreen dramatics. Anyone remember Superstar?
    First Contact: Nope.
    Foals: More locals tipped for something significant, although the mainstream audience for interlocking guitars, disco drums, the odd cheap keyboard rhythm and excitable vocals could be difficult to find. Must be quite something to see, though.
    ¡Forward, Russia!: Fast moving fingers on fretboard, mike cord around neck. Last year they headlined the Barn, this time they're on nearly everyone's main stage without letting up any. Next album will have proper song titles, apparently.
    Gaptooth: Another one of A Scholar And A Physician's mates on the bill, this one may be worth watching generally, a solo female bedroom laptop type with a guitar, an 'adaptable' voice and a contract with Truck Records itself.
    Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly: Sam Duckworth and his floppy hair opened the main stage last year, since when he's got a full band together, attracted proper label attention and made some proper growers of irked laptop acoustica. Let's hope he's not too smug.
    Goldrush: The big daddies of Truck, without whom neither label nor festival would exist. Musically they still sound like the sunniest of alt-indie-country as they did when they nearly made a proper impact.
    Goodbooks: See you down the front for these, possibly brandishing the Walk With Me limited edition cassette that Transgressive put out before they recently inked a Columbia deal. Never less than spectacular on record to date, we're counting on 'em.
    Good Shoes: You know there's some bands you know you should by rights 'get' but don't? We like our fractured danceable art-rock as much as the next man but have never quite got into Good Shoes. Maybe this will change our minds.
    Hammer and Tongue: Almost a great name, except that there's not a great deal of literal hammer in it, being a collective for slam poetry, which was supposed to be the next big thing a couple of years ago. Does nobody remember Attila The Stockbroker?
    Harlette: Is it really time enough for a Riot Grrrl revival? That's the spirit the all-girl locals are hoping for, at a guess, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs amalgamated with Melissa Auf Der Mar is close enough for these times.
    Harry Angel: Having waded through average stuff for so long it's like the holy grail itself when you stumble across something with potential. Imagine EVOL-era Sonic Youth with the odd Radiohead dynamic filtered through Shellac.
    Hundred Reasons: Are they still going? Yes, and having moved from Columbia to V2 they're proffering a harder sound, as is the way of the day. They'd better do Remmus and I'll Find You just in case.
    Jakokoyak: Occasionally touted Welsh anti-folker who's on that Rob da Bank-collected folk compilation we mentioned in the last In Store Tomorrow coming on like Premiers Symptomes-era Air reworked by Steve Mason. Oh, and he sings in Welsh.
    Jetplane Landing: Woo! It feels a lot longer than three years since Derry's hardest released the almighty Once Like A Spark album, since when their Smalltown America label have attempted to corner the market in odd power-pop. What have they been up to? We'll find out here.
    Josephine Oniyama: Back to acoustica for a Mancunian with almighty potential. Not that we know much about her bar Fast Car but Tracy Chapman's name comes up in every interview, and there's something of the Britfolk intrigue about her too.
    Jugglingspinster: Some sort of one-woman theatre show, we think. Beyond that, who knows.
    Katchafire: Hardly going to be screamo with that name, so please welcome New Zealand's own double platinum - in New Zealand terms, that is - reggae outfit. If the weather holds out...
    Keyboard Choir: All electronic sextet using synths, samplers and laptops to recreate The Art Of Landscape as if it were reshown by Channel 4 on Jupiter.
    KTB: Truck number eight for Katy Bennett, younger sister of the brothers from Goldrush taking a more pastoral folk turn on their sharp gorgeous leanings along a Kathryn Williams/Eliza Carthy route.
    Lefthand: When Pete Doherty was charged with extortioning Max 'Stalking Pete Doherty' Carlish, it was alongside Lefthand singer Alan Wass. His moving in those kinds of circles will tell you everything you need to know, apart from the trad rock riffs.
    Les Cox (Sportifs): Much loved on the Newcastle scene for the sort of extreme scrappiness you thought had been eradicated from the live scene. Inevitably, they've been compared to the Fall.
    Lightyear: Fixtures on the UK skapunk scene, who seem unbeknownst to their own label to have reformed. Let's hope they're better than [spunge].
    Louie: Again, weren't this lot supposed to be huge by now? Two-singer 'classic punk' ensemble from all over the place, of the type that at one point seemed ten a penny. Hanoi Rocks were never any good. Remember this in future.
    Luke Smith & The Feelings: Ooh, he must regret giving them that name now. Intimate almost eccentic singer-songwriter folkiness from Canterbury, and fitting well into that scene's leftfieldness.
    Lunar: Alright, you try Googling that.
    Mai Mayo Mai: More crossthreading hardcore jazzrock! We can only think there's a math rock revival on the way, like it's 1997 again or something and Don Caballero are about to become as important as the Pixies.
    Makating: Oxfordshire dub reggae, a small genre but one that's produced these longtime stagers. On very early on Sunday, on the basis that if there's one thing guaranteed to get the wasted moving...
    Manic Cough: The X-Ray Spex revival starts here! Without the sax, but we're sure they'll be working on that. Dressing up a speciality, as you'd expect from a band featuring a loanee Schla La La.
    Matthew Rozeik: "Combining violins, guitars, percussion and electronic beats, his music is forever shifting and leaping around, sometimes wholesome, sometimes dissonant". Sounds promising, but his player wasn't working.
    MC Lars: Opinion splitting Brooklyn punk-laptop-rapper, mates of Bowling for Soup, inventor of the 'iGeneration', no longer a local uni overseas student and therefore moving on from the Truck label, but still welcome back here year after year.
    Mojave 3: Rachel Goswell is still ill by all accounts but otherwise this is quite a boom time for Neil Halstead's attempt to marry a proper pop sensibility to his country-rock heart.
    Morrison Steam Fayre: Missing The Coral? Well, possibly a little unfair, but there's something in the fried psychedelic indie-country that reminds us of them, or possibly Larrikin Love with a Hammond organ.
    Mr. Green: Myspace searches aren't much help either.
    My Awesome Compilation: The new Headcleaner, presumably. Leicesterites hang on by the edge of their fingertips from the emo chasm. They're on Brand New's label, and it shows.
    Mystery Jets: Sunday headliners, although by the looks of the timings only insomuch as they're last on on the main stage. You know about their indie-voodoo stew by now, although surely sticking Zootime in halfway through the set isn't right.

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    A Friendly Chat With... P-C Rae, Truck Festival organiser

    Yes, this weekend we're off to sunny (we'd hope) Steventon for Truck Nine, the festival described as indie's own garden fete, eclectic as you like and fully independent and in tune with its potential punters, as those who tarried just a few too many weeks into March before watching it sell out will be aware. Preview material is coming this week - do let us know if you'll be there, not that we'll keep in touch but we'll feel morally correct - and reviews next week, but first we grabbed a few words about this most home-grown of festivals with Truck Records/Festival's supremo...

    How would you describe Truck to someone who's never been?
    A ginormous village fete with lots of bands and faintly inebriated punters relaxing in the sunshine.

    What do you look for in a headliner?
    Obviously we have to like them musically, but they also need to be able to get into the spirit of the whole thing; there aren't any dressing rooms, full length mirrors or ice buckets. What we do have is a great, music savvy audience and bucketloads of fun.

    What kind of competition is there for acts filling out the bill?
    There are so many bands that want to play! There are so many bands that I want to play too - but booking them isn't as easy as it looks. We have a slot which is for an unsolicited demo and we did the demo listening yesterday. I think there were 400 or so in there. The band that came first are amazing. 80s synth rock. Like Van Halen a bit.

    With 6 Music being on board this year and the media becoming more interested every year, can Truck's community ethos still be as strong?
    Nothing has changed in that respect. The farmer built them a road with some local navvies for their broadcast truck just the other week. So that is a physical change I guess, but our ethos remains the same. It is still run by a rather diverse mix of people; a shop assistant from the local co-op, a latin teacher, a thatcher, an antiquarian book-seller, a guy who runs a power station and of course the farmer. We have a couple of industry professionals too, but they're definitely in the minority. This means though, that the event isn't run just like every other festival - many bigger events all seem to look the same - every aspect is looked at from the ground up.

    How much bigger can Truck become?
    No idea. Sky's the limit. We have no plans to currently expand the capacity. I don't want Truck to end up being one of those events where you spend more time looking for the people you came with than actually watching bands. Where we can get bigger is in terms of the acts we're able to attract. I'm planning that when we book Nine Inch Nails for the Saturday and the Flaming Lips for the Sunday, but still on a £40 ticket and your kid sister's country band that no one has ever heard of as main support, it will be time for me to retire.

    Are there too many festivals or is it just reflective of the health of the live scene?
    I think there are too many, and the bigger promoters seem to be trying to introduce new ones left, right and centre! But I reckon that it is pretty difficult to just start a new event, book a whole bunch of current bands and still have a great atmosphere. That, I think, is half of it and I don't think you can just buy that. That being said, I think Latitude looks like an interesting proposition. The timing and the style indicates to me that the promoters are trying to compete with events like Truck and Greenman on our level. They've booked a line-up which features many of the acts that we've got this year and many that I'd like to have. I've quite a few friends going so I'm intrigued to find out how it all pans out. They're definitely investing for the long term here, as the popularity of the bigger festivals does seem to have peaks and troughs. Whatever happened to Phoenix?

    Name three standout Truck performances of the last couple of years.
    The Black Madonnas two years ago has been a personal favorite. They were the only band I got to watch all of their set, over the entire weekend. Me and the Schla La Las had a good mosh pit. KTB did a duet with Chris T-T a couple of years back too. That was a great moment on the main stage on the Sunday evening. Best of all though was when Luke Smith did his alternative national anthem a couple of years back. Not a dry eye in the house.

    Finally, give us a couple of acts early on that we need to check out.
    Well the demo band first on on the main stage should be pretty good. Mai Mayo Mai who are third on in the Lounge on Saturday are great, as are Shimura Curves, who are fourth on there on Sunday. The guy opening the Market Stage on Saturday is also AMAZING. He's called Y, completely nuts and works with Joseph Arthur. I might also add The Early Years who are on first on the Sunday in the Lounge, they're an excellent late addition.

    Many thanks to P-C Rae and all at Truck. Truck Nine sold out ages ago, and you'd only be denying charities money if you touted for one now. Round Oxford on Thursday? There's an official warm-up at The Cellar, a fiver to see Goldrush, The September Gurls and others.

    Half and half

    Well, six out of twelve ain't bad. And Neil McCormack thinks the list is rubbish, which proves how well the judges have done, doesn't it? And shouldn't inflation have increased the prize pot from £20,000 long ago?

    Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
    Well, of course. Another two months of They Were Off Myspace They Were articles ahead, then. Not a lot of hype around their new single as yet, is there?

    Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Ballad Of The Broken Seas
    Campbell's songs, but watch for the 'but he's American!' bandwagon grow should it come anywhere near bookmaker favouritism. At least she of all people can becalm him.

    Editors - The Back Room
    Isn't Edith Bowman on the judging panel? Anyway, it's not going to win and we found this a hugely inconsistent record bar the singles, although last track Distance is a corker.

    Guillemots - Through The Windowpane
    Let Iain F and ourselves dance arm in arm amongst the lilies! On reflection maybe extending Blue Will Still Be Blue to five minutes still unaccompanied by anything but Fyfe's battery powered keyboard wasn't a great idea, but what an avalanche of ideas there is at work here.

    Richard Hawley - Coles Corner
    The most South Yorkshire man in Britain's elegant balladry caused national outbreaks of wistfulness across much of last year and landed him a top 20 position in our blogger poll. Romance is what it used to be.

    Hot Chip - The Warning
    Only just realised the subtly simplistic greatness of Over And Over round here, so must check this out at some stage despite not being overly keen on the earlier stuff. Could this be the supposed outsider that ends up second favourite come the announcement?

    Muse - Black Holes And Revelations
    So much for our idea that this would somehow be too obvious. There seems to be a substantial amount of Bliss-type sequencing going on on the tracks we've heard, which we suppose counts as advancement.

    Zoe Rahman - Melting Pot
    Ah, 2006's Seth Lakeman/Joanna McGregor. A jazz pianist who won Best Jazz Album at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards - is that your doing, Kenneth Clarke? - we're going to have to hear her before passing further comment. Won't win, obviously.

    Lou Rhodes - Beloved One
    Oh, you have, she used to be in Lamb. This is this year's self-financed entry as well as this year's folk nominee, pastoral pickings over her spectral voice. Won't win, but will pick up plenty of other support.

    Scritti Politti - White Bread, Black Beer
    Ooh, we look forward to seeing how Radio 1 plays this one on the night, assuming they don't recall Green Gartside's guest spot on the last Kylie album. We've been shamefully late to this, and what an extraordinarily put together work it is. Go on, play live on the night.

    Sway - This Is My Demo
    Simon Frith, up your speed! Everyone thought Plan B would get the urban nod, but instead it's the Mobo winner who has far more prestige than sales or wider publicity (cf all British rappers ever). Confusing title, deeply disturbing single in Little Derek, clearly something interesting going on here.

    Thom Yorke - The Eraser
    So much for the low-key aspect. If this wins, does Yorke himself or the whole band, who've been nominated three times before, suffer The Curse? This is his electronic meanderings side project, an angle which does suggest the next Radiohead album might be ten three minute sunny, hook-laden pop songs.

    So there you go. Reading back through all the previous nominees always kills a good five minutes, we find. Meanwhile Popjustice, of course, have their own Twenty Quid Music Prize nominee list out. G'wan the Biology!

    Monday, July 17, 2006

    Now hear this! Now hear this!

    Tomorrow, 18th July, at 11.30am the Mercury Music Prize 2006 nominees are announced, and after our 7/12 prediction hit rate last year we can announce in advance that we believe/guess these will be: Arctic Monkeys, Corinne Bailey Rae, David Gilmour, Guillemots, Hot Chip, Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan, Jim Moray, Lily Allen, Plan B, Richard Hawley, Scritti Politti and Spiers & Boden. Thank you for listening.

    Weekender : we've had just about enough of sweet

    CHART OF DARKNESS: Lily Allen Who Has A Blog In Which She Gives Opinions is still number one, Shakira, who doesn't, is at 2. See, BMG, there's an avenue that needs exploring. Rogue Traders, on which nobody seems to have noticed the reinterpretation of Steve Nieve's Pump It Up organ riff for guitar, is at 3 and the now not mad Busta Rhymes is at 8, which means in these post-Michael Jackson re-release days, and what a great success that was, the highest new entry proper is Shayne Ward at...14. How seasons change. Rihanna's radio colonising Unfaithful, the video for which seems to us to last a week and a half, is in on downloads at 16, James Dean Bradfield's not especially different from where the Manics seemed to be heading anyway solo debut is at 18 - you know already it'll urinate qualitatively all over Nicky Wire's effort, of course - and Dirty Pretty Things go skiffle at 20. Gnarls Barkley, who've put two videos out for Smiley Faces for no good reason, and James Morrison, who we dearly hoped would be Jim Bob from Carter USM but apparently not, have top 30 entries alongside Nylon, proving that even in these dark days of pop being support act at virtually every enormodome girl band show still gets you some of the way. That all means Lidl Arctic Monkeys Milburn, Rooster post-hilariously misjudged AOR recast and Richard 'children are our future' Ashcroft are in the lower end of the top 40 and Plan B misses it altogether, as does Sean Paul. Not even these temperatures can help him now.
    Odd goings on in the album chart where Thom Yorke getting the dark electronica out of his system on his own this time only enters at number 3 behind Muse, obviously, and both less obviously and less welcomely, the Kooks, who go on about loving Brighton so much you could almost believe Luke Pritchard wasn't from Forest Hill. Ray Lamontagne finally makes the top ten, while two very different piano men are in the top 20, a rejigged version of Billy Joel's Best Of at 16 one ahead of the Guillemots' sonic explorations. Fittingly, there's a Pink Floyd album back at 42. Unfittingly, it's Dark Side Of The Moon. At least read the obits before purchasing in memoriam!

    FREE MUSIC: Everything stops when the Matador Records mp3 page is updated, and especially so when last update it threw up a track from the new Yo La Tengo album I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass (you heard), out September 4th over here. Beanbag Chair is, as is YLT's wont, decidedly letftfield and indeed a happy medium, buoyed by a brass section and ultrasunny melody. Presumably the twelve minute feedback freakouts are in the second half of the album.

    HEY YOU GET OFFA MYSPACE: Timely, this as we've had Misterlee in our Myspace list for a while before they thoughtfully spammed us the week before last. Although technically a trio Misterlee is for the most part the vision of Leicester's Lee Allatson, who here takes up "vocals, boomy bass drum and a rattly snare, Space Echo, maraca, tambourine, laughing bag, Electro Harmonix Space Drum plus many other instruments and real-time FX deliveries". Mmm. Well, anything that reminds us of prime Dawn Of The Replicants while sounding like the Moldy Peaches backing Tom Waits, except even less stylistically predictable, is fine by us.

    VISUAL REPRESENTATION: Our run of Top Of The Pops performances continues not with some vintage Captain Sensible as planned, as we've just discovered it's been removed by the user, the bastard, but with something equally 80s and transiently, dumbly nuts, the Timelords' Doctorin' The Tardis. Supposedly the idea of Ford Timelord, Jimmy Cauty's 1968 Ford Galaxie police car, this was the number one that gave Bill Drummond the idea for The Manual, his guide to having a chart topper that as far as we know has only been publicly followed to the letter by Edelweiss, whose Bring Me Edelweiss made... number five. Where's that money back guarantee now, Bill? Anyway, Gary Glitter joined them on the Christmas TOTP but understandably that's not on here. We sense those Daleks are not drawn up to Terry Nation's original plans.

    FALLING OFF A BLOG: God knows what's going on between the music, but Friday Night posts a varied and excellent selection of music, even if it is stored on Rapidshare.

    EVERYBODY GET RANDOM: From the file marked 'interesting links hanging around our big list for far too long': American site Popmatters interviews Nigel Blackwell of Half Man Half Biscuit.

    IN OTHER NEWS SPECIAL - THIS WEEK ON SWEEPING THE NATION...: Over the next seven days we're going to be focusing on a special event in the STN-centric calendar, with previews, reviews and the odd feature or one. You'll have to wait until tomorrow for its commencement, but suffice to say...

    Sunday, July 16, 2006

    In shops tomorrow: 17/7


    Maybe it's a tax loss period, but there's a few singles from otherwise high profile bands sneaking out without so much as a by-your-leave this week, whether the big rock shapes of the Flaming Lips' The W.A.N.D. or the semi-acoustic attempted classicism of Franz Ferdinand's Eleanor Put Your Boots On - we trust you're aware of who Eleanor is by now. There's an Avalanches remix of Fade Together on the CD. Finish that bloody new album! Meanwhile Graham Coxon is bringing out a 2x7" of I Can't Look At Your Skin and What's He Got. Well, he's the label boss, he can do what he wants. Gnarls Barkley are not going to be allowed a low profile release, not after the ubiquity of Crazy, but it's hard to tell precisely where Smiley Faces fits into any scheme of things other than their own curious eclectic agenda. Good to see the rest hasn't changed Luke Steele of The Sleepy Jackson, either in terms of producing psychedelic/George Harrison-influenced woozy grandiose pop or giving bizarre interviews and live performances. God Lead Your Soul is another widescreen mini-symphonic triumph. While the surely soon-come Sir Luke Haines declares that the first single from his new album, finally out in October, has been produced by Richard X his former Black Box Recorder compadre Sarah Nixey continues on her own Goldfrapp in the undergrowth path on second solo single Strangelove, produced by ex-Auteurs cellist and now Paul Morley sidekick in Infantjoy James Banbury. A good week for the girls, in fact, as the inarguable presence of Beth Ditto makes the glorious minimal-post-punk-funk-soul stew of The Gossip's Listen Up nigh on unignorable, while there's five of them on Canadian new wavers The Organ's Memorize The City.


    Have a heart for Towers Of London. They've spent a couple of years now behaving knowingly badly, giving the finger literally and metaphorically to all and sundry and releasing the most craftedly obnoxious metal they can muster in an all out attempt to split the indie kid nation, and after the dust has cleared and the Bravo TV deal inked they find the actual most fervently argued about, battle line drawing band on message boards and blog comments boxes nationwide are three easygoing girls in Brighton doing retro-laced girl grouperia. What's a Donny Tourette to do, eh? Why the Pipettes, an unashamed pop outfit in the old-fashioned sense of that word, of all current bands stir up such fevered 'debate' is a curious anomoly - indeed, when putting all the links for this together we noticed We Are The Pipettes had had four customer reviews, the first two of which were five stars out of five, yet the average mark is 3.5. You'll have spotted if you've been paying attention recently which side of this divide we're resolutely on, and this is a unabashed, summery, more clever then it's letting on feelgood experience. Fourteen songs/potential singles, 33 minutes, it's all you want. However, and we're going to have to be really careful how we tread here after recent revelations made to us, they've waited until the album cover to unleash the worst picture of the not normally unremarkable looking Rose Pipette we've seen. Frankly, however good she is on an Etch-A-Sketch (you have to wait until about 1:11 for her and then to 1:35 for the actual results, but it's worth it), here she looks not unlike a transvestite. Now, it'll probably be easier to reverse out of that line should she ever need to question us about it then it is to make a free-flowing connection between that record and Lupen Crook's Accidents Occur Whilst Sleeping - we thought he was also from Brighton at first, but apparently not - but we cover all bases here, and this is a tremendously unsettling record, pitched as a kind of acid-folk British Devendra Banhart but in fact pitching out his own area right on the edges of that movement, such as it is one. Anti-folk might begin to cover it, we suppose, if sometimes he didn't have the tendency to make it sound as massive as possible, with brass and strings making surprise appearances and disappearances, alongside intimate acoustic moments. Think Syd Barrett (RIP) if he'd continued recording, late Nick Drake on uppers rather than downers, Patrick Wolf after heavy sedition had worn off, Daniel Johnston with more but by no means all mental faculties intact... oh, just give it a go if you're at all interested in frazzled, more than slightly disturbed/disturbing singer-songwriter moves that, unlike Dan Sartain (you remember? Supposed acoustic rebel briefly NME-hyped last year? No?), matches up to the write-ups. There's a lot of this about, using folk as a starting point for all sorts of madness, and the estimable Rob Da Bank has compiled it into two CDs called Folk Off - yeah, alright - starting with Tunng's spectral cover of Bloc Party's The Pioneers and progressing through Sufjan, Animal Collective, Vashti Bunyan, Laura Cantrell, James Yorkston, Clayhill, The Eighteenth Day Of May, Espers and so forth. And left turn again: Lupe Fiasco's Kick Push is the track that made us believe that someone somewhere in the mainstream end of US rap still cares. Album on the way, but in the meantime mixtape Touch The Sky, which you'll notice he's named after the far more famous Kanye track he guests on, has won itself a proper release. A band full of stylistic quirks over the years have been Moloko, who get their career wrapped up on Catalogue - the Pet Shop Boys must be kicking themselves for not snapping that title up - which gets the always lost on us big two hits out of the way so free rein can be given to their largely inventive adventures in genre and sound.


    A cursory mention first for Glastonbury's attempt at catching the spirit of said festival and its changes over time and social movement, even though Julien Temple didn't get it exactly right and it was on BBC2 yesterday for some reason. Unlikely to be on BBC2 just yet but it won't be kept off it eventually is The Proposition, which takes outback grittiness to whole new levels and, as you might expect of something penned by Nick Cave, is grimly poetic and leaves very few holds barred. His own soundtrack sets the atmosphere beautifully too, and Cave and director John Hillcoat do a commentary on this DVD. Fatboy Slim and his assorted co-conspirators know their way round unusual imagery too, as collated on Why Make Videos - The Greatest Hits, even if it isn't in chronological order. That makes even less sense on a retrospective DVD then it does on a singles collection.

    The Weekly Sweep

    Los Campesinos! - You! Me! Dancing!
    Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out Of This Country
    Scritti Politti - The Boom Boom Bap
    Tapes 'N Tapes - Insistor
    Ensemble - Disown, Delete
    Futureheads - Worry About It Later
    The Jam - A Town Called Malice
    Hefner - We Love The City
    Young Knives - Weekends And Bleak Days (Hot Summer)
    Seafood - Signal Sparks

    Tuesday, July 11, 2006

    Listen to this

    In these harrowing post-World Cup days we've been reading an excellent getting to know you idea from The Art Of Noise contributor SwissToni, who've gathered together 32 like-minded bloggers to randomly swap a mix CDR with the instruction to review what they receive. We curse the day our own D: drive stopped burning anything, you know. (And of course Art Of The Mix have been doing this on a virtual worldwide scale for years now)

    Monday, July 10, 2006

    Weekender : the Adrian Chiles of music criticism

    CHART OF DARKNESS: So that'll be bowing to the inevitable, and Myspace star - did you visit her Myspace before LDN started getting press attention? - Lily Allen has a number one single, so here come all the tabloid inches devoted to her "shock" (and self-admitted long ago) drug phase and such 'ex-wild child' gubbins. Obviously, we're more interested in how this is only the long lasting Regal's third top 40 single. Razorlight spend so long winding others up they forget about advancing the sound much at 3, Paolo Nutini leads the charge of the mini-Blunts at 5 and Bob Sinclar releases much the same song again but without the whistling at 9. George Michael seems convinced that it's his electro side that we're all dying to hear again and pays the price at 18, the evil spectre of Rogue Traders - named after the Ewan McGregor Is Nick Leeson film! - appears on downloads at 18 and Justice vs Simian underperform horribly for all the years of club play it's had at 20. Jamie T gives John Betjeman a chart debut at a more than creditable 22, our new bestest friends ever the Pipettes hit 26, Jose Gonzalez comes to terms with how people only wanted him for his bouncy Sony Bravia balls at 29, the Rifles and that bloke with the stupid hat are at 32 and, ha ha, Fall Out Boy can only manage 38. Where's your teen rebellion power chords now, eh?
    Inevitably Muse, who may actually inflate and be as big as a planet if they keep going at this rate, are number one by a mile, but be scared as the Kooks and Zutons are closing in at 2 and 3. Johnny Cash's first top ten album of new material since 1972 is at 9 (he's only had two in the top 40 since too), a hundredweight of chart-based message board users take Shakira up to 12 and another Radio 2-endorsed vision appears at 16 in bearded modern folkie Ray Lamontagne.

    FREE MUSIC: This isn't a new record at all, but it is a band we hear bandied about as a lost gem from time to time. The reason they're lost, of course, is that they're called +/- and nobody's going to get behind a band called that. They've got a fourth album on the way in autumn, but until then from 2004's You Are Here, here's the pre-emo delicate electronica, like Ben Gibbard playing with both his bands at once, of I've Been Lost.

    HEY YOU GET OFFA MYSPACE: Los Campesinos!, a septet who seem to be carrying on a small scale Cardiff obsession this section is accidentally developing, have already been around pretty much the entire mp3 blogosphere twice since Nothing But Green Lights picked up on them about a week ago, making them perhaps the fastest Internet sensation in history. Still, what's a little late bandwagon jumping between friends, because they're a band many will grow to adore. In the space of first track You! Me! Dancing! we noted down the names of Architecture In Helsinki, My Latest Novel, Ooberman, Thunderbirds Are Now!, Heavenly, Broken Social Scene, Orange Juice, Khaya and Les Incompetents. If that's not for you the other three tracks up, which are all downloadable, play in the fields of twisted guitar pop, early Delgados hidden lo-fi grandeur and the thought that they'd be fantastic live. So, maybe not for the Bolt-Thrower fans, but perfect for this summery feel that's come over us all of late.

    VISUAL REPRESENTATION: More Top Of The Pops top poppery, this one seemingly filmed with a high quality video camera off the set. It's one of our favourite clips of all time, the Associates doing Club Country, Billy Mackenzie with a louche approach to miming into his silver mike, and it's preceded by DLT counting down from 30 to 21. 13th May 1982, this was.

    FALLING OFF A BLOG: There was a slew just after Peelie died of tribute mp3 blogs but most seemed to get bored or fall off the web for undisclosed personal reasons. Maybe it's The Man getting to them. Bolting all windows hurredly is The Furtive Fifty, which attempts in a slightly askew way to pull together every Festive 50 charter ever in big old RapidShared files.

    EVERYBODY GET RANDOM: Strobe lighting warning, as well as fast-rushing visual effects warning and fast-cut colour refraction warning, as Tremelo brings a pile of My Bloody Valentine videos webwards.

    IN OTHER NEWS: Heartening news from the documentary film circuit this week as there's going to be one about Joe Meek, Something I've Got To Tell You: A Life In The Death Of Joe Meek. Everyone surely knows the outline of the story - electronics obsessed, I Hear A New World, Johnny Remember Me, Telstar, inventing everything that it now takes expensive equipment to do, shot his landlady then himself. To see that all fleshed out with contributions from family, friends, musicians, Humphrey Lyttelton, Alex Kapranos, Edwyn Collins, Jake Arnott and seemingly half the world's population, only some of whom are represented on this Myspace page's trailer, would be quite something.