Saturday, April 07, 2007

Jukebox Juicebox #28 - Oh iPod I Love You

I finally got around to upgrading from my much loved Panasonic portable cassette player to an iPod Nano last month. Even though I'm making very slow progress with uploading stuff from my record collection (about 500 songs so far, barely half the 4GB space), I've been giving my iPod a good run for it's money. It's been great to hear songs that I haven't listened to in a while, as well as discovering a whole load of stuff on the internet. The shuffle option has proved to be highly addictive when it comes to unusual playlists. I quit smoking (again) on Tuesday and (honest, guv) the moment I lit up my last fag, Chumbawamba's Give The Anarchist A Cigarette kicked into my headphones. Thankfully, so far my iPod's skipped John Lennon's Cold Turkey, which is also lurking in there somewhere...

Anyway, here's my Top 20 Most Played so far:

1) Turin Brakes "Pain Killer" (2003) - My favourite track from the exceptional Ether Song album. Official website

2) Lou Reed "Satellite Of Love" (1972) - Lou + Bowie = Transformer, arguably Reed's best album. Official website
3) The Fall "Lost In Music" (1993) - An incredible cover of the Sister Sledge disco classic (!) from The Infotainment Scan. Offical website
4) Idha Ovelius "I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have"(1994) - The wife of Andy Bell (Oasis, ex-Ride) covers Primal Scream. Only available on a promo cassette with the now defunct Select UK music magazine. Download track from Popboy's fan site
5) Stevie Wonder vs. Rod Stewart "Uptight Maggie (Mash-Up By Go Home Productions)" (2005) - So wrong, yet so right...! One of Mark Vidler's finest moments. Join the GHP mailing list to get lots of lovely free stuff.
6) Darren Hayes vs. Marilyn Manson "Insatiable Love (Mash-Up By McSleazy)" (2002) - I wasn't a particular fan of either song originally, but these work really well together. Download track from McSleazy's website
7) Jay-Z vs. The White Stripes "The Doorbell Encore (Mash-Up By Team 9)" (2005) - It seems my route into rap and hip hop is via the mash-up...! All this and Queen's Another One Bites The Dust thrown in for good measure...! Download track from the Team 9 website
8) Kelly Clarkson vs. David Guetta vs. The Egg "Since You Love Me (Mash-Up By Loo & Placido)" (2006) - Would have been even better if the mash-up had ditched the vocals from the Guetta track, but Ms. Clarkson will never again sound as good as she does here. Loo & Placido's website
9) Chumbawamba "Give The Anarchist A Cigarette" (1994) - '...I hate every pop star that I ever met'. Song title from the book by Mick Farren, track from 1994's Anarchy album. Official website
10) Mirwais vs. Simian Mobile Disco "Naïve Hustler (Mash-Up By IDC)" (2006) - I love Mirwais' Naive Song and this pairing with the Simian boys is a natural. Download track from the IDC website
11) Aztec Camera "Oblivious" (1983) - Roddy Frame is a criminally underrated songwriter. I think he wrote this song when he was about 16 and it's remained one of my favourites from the 1980s. For more info., this is a great fan site or you can visit Roddy Frame's official website
12) The Coral "In The Morning" (2005) - I picked up The Invisible Invasion for a couple of quid in a Virgin Megastore sale and really enjoyed the album as a whole. This is a perfect pop combination of uplifting melody and dark lyrics. Official website
13) Tweet vs. Primal Scream "Oops I’m Loaded (Mash-Up By Team 9)" (2006) - Tweet's saucy ode to onanism laid over the Weatherall seminal remix of the Scream's I'm Losing More Than I'll Ever Have. Wow! Download track from the Team 9 website
14) The Jesus & Mary Chain featuring Hope Sandoval "Sometimes Always" (1994) - The voice of Mazzy Star perfectly complements the Chain's stab at alt. country from 1995's underrated Stoned & Dethroned. I never get bored of listening to this. Can't wait to hear Ms. Sandoval's appearance on the new Massive Attack album. Listen to the J&MC on MySpace or visit Hope Sandoval's official website
15) Madonna vs. Cassius "Toop Toop Groove (Mash-Up By Loo & Placido)" (2006) - This shouldn't work, but does. I defy you not to get into the groove! Track currently available for download from the Loo & Placido website
16) The White Stripes vs. Alter Ego "7 Nation Rocker (Mash-Up By IDC)" (2004) - The former's bassline and squalling guitar mashed with the latter's screeching synths. A killer. Download track from the IDC website
17) Madison Avenue vs. Blur "Don’t Call Me Song 2 (Mash-Up By McSleazy)" (2000) - The overpolished pop original gets roughed up by Blur's dirty guitar to great effect. Download track from McSleazy's website
18) Kelis vs. Kasabian "Get I.D. (Mash-Up By McSleazy)" (2004) - On the strength of this, Kelis really should do more rock tracks. An epic, melancholic tune. Download track from McSleazy's website
19) Erlend Oye "Sheltered Life (Radio Edit)" (2003) - I love Oye's Unrest album. The single version is markedly different from the original, sounding like a maudlin electropop single from 1981. Which is no bad thing. Official website
20) Calexico "Tulsa Telephone Book (Live At The Roskilde Festival, Denmark)" (2000) - I'm a fairly recent convert to Calexico and there's a bunch of stunning concert performances (including this track) available at Calexico's official website is also worth checking out for downloadable goodies.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Jukebox Juicebox #27

Gossip “Standing In The Way Of Control” (2006)
A three-piece punk band from the US, the lead track comes across more pub than punk. Actually, it seems more inspired by 1980s (are we forever doomed to relive this decade?) post-punk and new wave. Soulwax hit the nail even more squarely on the head with their Nite Version, named after Duran Duran 12” mixes, including a stuttering synth line that immediately recalls said band’s My Own Way. Trevor Jackson goes for a much more minimal approach with an atypical Playgroup Remix. It’s an interesting approach, but Beth Ditto’s aren’t quite up to the task so, given the option, I’d have gone for a dub of this track. This song seems to have released multiple times since October 2006 (both as promos and official singles) and has been troubling the Top 40 recently, so should still be pretty easy to get hold of. Get any format that includes the Soulwax mix and you can’t go wrong.

Tracklisting [promo]: 1. Standing In The Way Of Control (radio edit) / 2. (soulwax nite version) / 3. (playgroup remix)

Tracey Thorn “It’s All True” (2007)
The first solo record from Tracey Thorn in quite a while, but it pretty much follows the Everything But The Girl template of the last few years, mixing Thorn’s trademark mournful lyrics and vocals with dance inflected beats. Interestingly, all of the mixes here look to the past for their inspiration. Producer Ewan Pearson oddly goes for early 1980s electro on the album version, the song coming across like an ironic cover of a Shannon song. It sounds great with the video clip, but doesn’t work quite so well as a song in isolation. The DSE dub, by Pearson and fellow producers Darshan Jesrani and Sasse Lindblad, takes the track to it’s logical conclusion, though Stuart Price (aka Jacques Lu Cont aka Les Rythmes Digitales) was doing this kind of thing much better nearly a decade ago. Martin Buttrich harder mix which comes across like a distant, downtempo cousin of Thorn’s collaboration with Deep Dish, The Future Of The Future, in the late 1990s. Best track is undoubtedly is the extended remix by Escort. This also aims squarely for the 1980s, but is laden with a rolling bass, synth hooks and funky guitar that complement Thorn’s delivery and remains the most memorable version of this song.

Tracklisting: 1. It’s All True (album version) / 2. (escort extended remix) / 3. (martin buttrich remix) / 4. (dse dub) / 5. It’s All True [video]

The Killers “Read My Mind” (2007)
I haven’t heard Sam’s Town in it’s entirety but this track seems to have been on constant rotation for months now. It’s lacks the impact of, say, Somebody Told Me or Mr Brightside, and seems undecided whether to be U2 or The Psychedelic Furs. That said, it’s a neat song with enough peaks, troughs and hooks to keep you interested. The Pet Shop Boys are an unusual choice to remix the single, having only done a handful of reworks in their career. I’m still not convinced it was a great decision – the full length version included here dragging on a bit, despite some good ideas, including some additional backing vocals from the Boys themselves. My only gripe is that, considering there are further mixes from Steve Bays (Hot Hot Heat), Gabriel and Dresden and Linus Loves knocking about in various formats, a 2-track CD single seems incredibly stingy. Shame on you, Vertigo, for being such tightwads!

Tracklisting [promo]: 1. Read My Mind (album version) / 2. (pet shop boys stars are blazing mix)

New Young Pony Club “The Bomb” (2007)
Another new band (to me, at least) and not to be confused with Ireland’s Pony Club aka Mark Cullen. NYPC most immediately sound like The B-52’s minus frontman Fred Schneider, that’s to say early period stuff like Dance This Mess Around and Give Me Back My Man rather than Love Shack or (gulp) Meet The Flintstones. In fact, there are times when vocalist Ty Bulmer sounds scarily like Kate Pierson and, although this is yet another band indebted to the decade that dare not speak it’s name, at least their influences seem somewhat broader. Paul Epworth’s overhaul of the track as Phones is an oddity, less groovy than than the original, yet the introduction of squelchy beats and a downright spooky, cut-up monastic chorus somehow works. There’s also a chance to remix the track yourself using the u-myx software included on the CD. Wrapping up this EP, and another nod to their inspirations, is a downtempo, whispered version of Squeeze’s Take Me I’m Yours, which adds a psychotic element to the song that I’d never picked up on before. Check out New Young Pony Club before they become old nags (sorry, couldn’t resist…)

Tracklisting: 1. The Bomb (original version) / 2. (phones collateral damage mix) / 3. Take Me I’m Yours / 4. The Bomb (u-myx)

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