Selected Releases: 14 and 21 July

The Hold Steady
Stay Positive
MP3: Yeah Sapphire
MP3: Sly Fox
Object 47
One Day As A Lion
The Dodos
MP3: Ashley
She & Him
Volume One
MP3: Black Hole

You can vote for your favourite release of the last two weeks in our poll over on the left.

Last time’s winners were:
1. Beck – Modern Guilt
=2. Tricky – Knowle West Boy
=2. Black Kids – Partie Traumatic
=3. Leila – Blood, Looms & Blooms
=3. Melvins – Nude With Boots

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Live Review: Cornershop, John and Jehn – Amersham Arms

John & Jehn live at Amersham Arms

There is a sign outside the venue that reads ‘Cornershop live tonight…yes, that Cornershop‘. It shows the abyss of public awareness that Tjinder Singh and his merry band have fallen into of late. After all, it’s been six years since Handcream For A Generation graced the album charts back in 2002. However, with the promise of a cracking support from London-based French duo John & Jehn, the trip was made to my original London stomping ground. The gig is a warm-up for their Wireless show the next day, and their first gig seemingly since a mini-tour in November last year.

The Amersham Arms is barely full when John & Jehn take to the stage, their first words enticing the crowd closer. They launch into a taut set, John throwing all kinds of angular shapes with guitar and body, Jehn starting out hunched over an organ but soon taking to bass. The tunes are an amalgam of Stereolab, Velvet Underground and The Raveonettes, all hatchet guitars, pysch-synths and loaded stares. Unlike the Raveonettes, the drum machine clanking away doesn’t detract or become repetitive. In fact, there is so much to enjoy in their all-too-short set that I’m left wanting more. Another debut album to track down.

Cornershop live at the Amersham Arms, 4th July 2008

It isn’t long before Cornershop make their way onto the cramped stage. Launching straight into Sleep On The Left Side, it becomes obvious that this South London pub is about to be treated to the very best that the band can offer. They follow the opening salvo with the bouncy Lesssons Learnt From Rocky I to Rocky III, one of the most bewilderingly unappreciated singles of the early 2000s. The set continues at that pace, drawing faux-Bollywood moves from the front row, and head-nodding from the less dance-inclined. There’s new songs premiered, single-to-be The Roll Off Characteristics Of History In The Making the most memorable. There are also a couple of choice covers, Norwegian Wood with live sitar is a sound to behold, and a cheeky take on The Mighty Quinn brings ear-to-ear smiles. A breezy run-through of Brimful of Asha is followed by the spectacular 6 a.m. Jullander Shere, perhaps the band’s best track. The band leave the stage one by one, with Singh unsurprisingly the first to go. Five minutes later, drummer and percussionist are still at it. A short set, obviously made for festivals, packed full of quality, fun and tunes. Wireless is in for a treat.

John & Jehn – 20 L 07
John & Jehn – You Far Away
Cornershop – Battle Of New Orleans (Peel Session)
Cornershop – Topknot (MIA Remix)
Cornershop – Hot Rocks

Selected Releases: Monday 7 July

Modern Guilt
MP3: Chemtrails
Knowle West Boy
MP3: Past Mistake
Black Kids
Partie Traumatic
MP3: Hurricane Jane

Album of the week is Beck’s Modern Guilt. Both progression and regression from Mr Hansen, as he builds on the success of Guero and The Information, yet strips away many of the superfluous gimmicks that littered his mid-90s albums. Full review later on in the week, but definitely get your hands on this one. Adrian Thaws up next, as Tricky returns with Knowle West Boy. Whilst still not a return to the form of Maxinquaye and Pre-Millennial Tension, this is a marked improvement on 2003’s Vulnerable. An improvement, despite a decidedly unusual cover of Kylie’s Slow. Nevertheless, five years in the making, and a welcome return. Sounding at times like it was five minutes in the making, Black Kids’ debut platter is something of a disappointment. Seemingly rush-released to consolidate their position after the success of single I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend…, this album comes across as unfinished and a bit half-arsed. Which is a shame because when the Floridians get it together, the result can be truly exciting.

Nude With Boots
MP3: Billy Fish
Blood Looms & Blooms
MP3: Norwegian Wood
MP3: Falcon Jab

Co-hosts of this winter’s ATP Nightmare Before Christmas, Melvins trot out their 16th LP Nude With Boots. Still garnering influential fans, this is pretty much Melvins on auto-pilot. The last time I encountered Leila was within a booing Björk crowd, now new Warp-signee unleashes her third LP. I’m assuming I’m missing something here, or the record must be a grower, as up to now I’m not all that impressed. Ratatat’s third record, on the other hand, is pretty obvious. Take it or leave it Justice-esque electro stomping.

Eat Static
Back To Earth
Crooked Still
Still Crooked
MP3: The Absentee
Cute Is What We Aim For
MP3: Safe Ride

Three varied releases make up our third tier this week, with some dance from creaking Eat Static, straight-up indie pop from Brooklyn’s Cute Is What We Aim For and a third LP from folky-bluegrass types Crooked Still. The latter two are particularly enjoyable, even if Rotation has the projected lifespan of a mayfly.

Five O’Clock Heroes
Speak Your Language
MP3: Who
Kids Aflame
Great Big Sea
Fortune’s Favour
MP3: Long Lost Love

Our last three releases throw up two surprises and one dreadful non-surprise. That comes in the form of Five O’Clock Heroes’ second record Speak Your Language. Way back when, I quite enjoyed the Time On Your Side single, but the following album and recent godawful Why have destroyed any enthusiasm for this kind of turgid nonsense. The suprises are particularly good this week, our second Brooklyner, Todd Goldstein aka Arms providing the biggest. The record is some really sharp songwriter stuff, the highlight for me being the wonderful Sad, Sad, Sad. Fans of Bon Iver’s debut will really enjoy this. And finally, the most bizzare concept of the week is Great Big Sea’s continuing journey into rediscovering traditional Canadian folk songs and sea shanties. This is apparently their 9th release, and it is a record full of vim, a great blast of Newfoundland air.

You can vote for your favourite record of the week using our poll in the left sidebar

Last week’s meagre pickings gave the following result:
=1. Watson Twins – Fire Songs
=1. Dirty Pretty Things – Romance At Short Notice
3. Fonda 500 – J’Mapelle Stereo

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Mogwai – The Sun Smells Too Loud

Mogwai release their new LP, The Hawk Is Howling, on September 22nd on Wall of Sound. Today, however they have released a preview of that in this track. The Sun Smells Too Loud continues the Scots’ run of superbly titled, well-tooled instrumental post-rock. Doesn’t carry the Young Team -era menace, and actually sounds quite breezy at times. Something different I guess. I love the page you get the download from: check here.

Of course, I’ve included a link to it on this post too.

Mogwai – The Sun Smells Too Loud

Thanks to The Quietus for the heads-up on this, and for being generally great.

Photo: Base10

Selected Releases: Monday 30 June

Watson Twins
Fire Songs
MP3: How Am I To Be
Seth Lakeman
Poor Man’s Heaven
Fonda 500
Je M’Appelle Stereo
MP3: Ihopekyliesok
Dirty Pretty Things
Romance At Short Notice
MP3: Chinese Dogs
The Subways
All Or Nothing
MP3: Move To Newlyn
Alkaline Trio
Agony & Irony
MP3: In Vein
Harvey Milk
Life…The Best Game In Town
Kid Carpet
Casio Royale
Albert Hammond Jr
Como Te Llama

Haven’t had chance to listen to much of this week’s releases, so I won’t try and lie my way through some reviews. Went away for the weekend, mountain biking in the New Forest, more of which to follow in an Aural Geography special later in the week. From the brief listens I’ve given to some of these, I liked The Watson Twins’ stuff the best, so they grab the Album of the Week accolade pretty much by default.

Last week’s poll results were:
1. Sigur Rós – Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
2. White Denim – Workout Holiday
=3. The Presets – Apocalypso
=3. Big Blue Ball – S/T

You can vote for your favourite albums released this week in the poll, located over <- there

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