Sébastien Tellier at Eurovision!

Last night, watching the musical diarrhoea that is Eurovision I had a massive, pleasant surprise! France’s entry was no other than the brilliant Sébastien Tellier with the appropriately named Divine. A wonderfully tasteful tune, with just the right amount of humour, but clearly not tacky or crap enough to win or even score well. Europe: you have no taste!

It’s a brave move for an established and acclaimed artist, especially as Divine features on Tellier’s recent LP, Sexuality. Perhaps even more brave was the fact that the Frenchman sung in English… It also represents a possible change in strategy for the otherwise floundering Western European nations: do they try and use big name artists like France, or just throw in the towel and not turn up like Austria.

This year’s worst: Spain and Bosnia-Herzogovina!

Sébastien Tellier – Divine

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Fridays FTW #5

Ladytron – Runaway
Beating the pants of everything else this week is this absolute stompfest from the forthcoming ‘Tron LP, Velocifero. After a fair number of listens, this is the most immediate of the tracks, but as happened with Witching Hour, the best track may wait insidiously for months yet. Really looking forward to hearing this bashed out live come May.

¡Forward, Russia! – Seventeen
Went to see this Leeds lot this week at New Slang, and they tore the place apart. As on previous occasions they didn’t provide me with the set highlight I was looking for, Seventeen. Taken from the debut LP Give Me A Wall, this is probably my favourite Russia cut, and for me demonstrates their whole loose-but-tight ethos. So, Whiskas and co, listen up: when I see you next, play this, yeah!

The Cure – Lullaby
Doesn’t need much introduction this. The Cure operating at the top of their game, this was the lead single from the superb LP Disintegration. Struck through with synth stabs, eerie to the core.

Atmosphere – Shoulda Known
Stand-out cut from Minneapolis duo Atmosphere, from their new record When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold. A seriously smooth bassline ebbs under rapper Slug’s lyrical flow, pushing the beats into the background. His rapping style reminds me a bit of Gift of the Gab from Blackalicious, real meaty. For me this is a real find, I only really come across hip-hop by accident, never by searching.

Underworld – Cowgirl
I’m writing this post after traipsing across Central London for a whole day. This is a great wind-down track, made for late night car journeys or plaintive web-gazing. To be honest you could pick any number of Underworld tracks for that purpose, Mmm Skyscraper I Love You, Dark and Long, Dirty Epic, Pearls Girl, they’d all do the job. Bliss.

Fridays FTW #4


Photo: Christoph!

Portishead – Machine Gun (Live on Jools Holland)
When I saw Portishead last Thursday they were incredible. Mixing staccato beats with sci-fi strings, the Bristol bunch sounded as vital as they did over a decade ago. Since the show, I’ve barely been able to get this track out of my head.

Björk – Hyperballad
If Portishead were great, then Björk was sensational. One of my all-time favourite artists gave a performance that regularly ascended to heights of pleasure barely felt in the live arena. Already one of my favourite tracks, the section that incorporated Hyperballad, Pluto and samples from LFO’s Freaks was mind-blowingly good. Lasers raked the Apollo, shuddering, pulsing basslines hammered to the very soul of the enthralled crowd. When I next consider my favourite ever live tracks, this would be very high in the reckoning.

Elbow – Newborn
After the double-whammy of musical giants, there was always danger that Elbow would disappoint slightly. I should have known better from a band that rarely fail to deliver. Ending their UK dates at Brixton on Tuesday, Elbow both played and wowed the crowd. For me, recent single Grounds For Divorce really hit the spot, but as a treat to you WoW readers, here’s live fave Newborn.

No Age – Eraser
Having attended so many shows this last week, I’ve barely had time to listen to anything recorded. When I noticed this track floating around the blogosphere I had to give it a try. No Age’s 2007 debut Weirdo Rippers was a great record, and the quality certainly hasn’t dropped here. Taken from the Sub-Pop bow Nouns (due May 6) this great little piece rockets along, riding a wave of fuzzy guitars on a jaunty riff, before exploding into shards of noise.

Scarlett Johansson – Anywhere I Lay My Head
It’s Scarlett Johansson. Covering Tom Waits. With David Bowie. Come off it, you may say. But it’s true! And it’s pretty good!

Fridays FTW #3

Estelle – American Boy
Possibly the only time you will find the current number one residing on WoW. A great tune from Estelle, although I’m not sure its as good as 1980, her previous hit single from a couple of years back. It is good though.

Timabland – Way I Are
Despite frankly awful grammar, Timbaland manages to squirm his way through a simply brilliant tune. A slinky bassline and some sulky-sounding flow make this tune difficult to dislodge from the section of my brain labelled ‘catchy’.

Holy Fuck – Royal Gregory
I’ll admit, it’s the profanity laden name that drew me in. I’m a sucker for the f-word. Just ask the football team I play with on Wednesdays, this week saw another full volume tourette-style spewing forth of the beloved four letter exagerrator following a disgraceful defensive lapse leaving me on my arse and the ball rolling slowly goal bound. The tune on the other hand is a Hot Chip-esque stompfest, at turns melodic and listless. The rest of their eponymous debut is worth a listen, too. 

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – Fixed
Do you like UK hip-hop? You shouldn’t it’s fucking rubbish… So readeth the gospel according Stanford-le-Hope’s premier poet Scroobius Pip, backed up by his beat-belching buddy Dan Le Sac. This track formed one of the highlights of their set last week at 21 South Street, Reading. Formed of a diatribe against the paucity of quality in UK hip-hop (more pop hits than art) laid over the spanking beats of Dizzee Rascal’s Fix Up Look Sharp. Their long-awaited debut Angles is out in May and becomes one of my most anticipated releases of 2008, out on Sunday Best.

Clinic – The Witch (Made To Measure)
Beserk single from Clinic’s recent LP, Do It!  Went down a treat at their 229 Club gig this week, where the Scouse band really plunged the knife into my agony over Tuesday’s football result by striding on to You’ll Never Walk Alone. After having forgiven them for that, they then declared that before playing classics such as Walking With Thee, The Magician and The Second Line they were going to play Do It!  in one fell swoop. I’m not a fan of that form of gig. The second bit was ace though.

Ladytron – Black Cat

 

Ladytron are probably my most highly rated band still in operation. Well, it’s between them and Massive Attack. Imagine my sheer joy when this new track appeared on the Hype Machine’s most popular list. Black Cat is the opener from their fourth LP, Velocifero. Released June 3, it follows up Witching Hour (my fave album of ’05), and by the showing of this track promises a great deal. Similar to Fighting In Built Up Areas this is sung in Mira’s native Bulgarian, but unlike that track this has a greater warmth to it. This could prove a whole new world for the quartet: could the days of icy narratives be gone? Christ I’m looking forward to this album.

Ladytron – Black Cat

Fridays’ FTW #2

This week’s Friday hotties are brought to you on Sunday, in official British Summer Time! 

Lupe Fiasco – Superstar
Caught this on Radio 1’s 1Xtra live thing, and I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t someone completely shit. Catchy as syphilis.

Black Kids – I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You
Roll up, roll up, come see the hype in all it’s glory: Black Kids are here! Decent enough indiepop strumathon, but I just can’t see through the fog of acclaim. A sprinkling of the ‘Spree, a dash of Los Campesinos!, mix well with Florida sunshine and there’s a cocktail ideal for mid-afternoon festival sets, sunshine or not.

Hot Chip – Hold On
A right grower from the Chip’s latest LP Made In The Dark. Although I wasn’t massively enamoured with the record to begin with, I’ve found it difficult to shake this track from my mind following the belting performance on Jools Holland. For any song to still be considered good when it rhymes hell with caramel has got to be going some. Watch the video for some supreme keyboard humping from Joe Goddard…

Saint Etienne – Shower Scene
Another playlist perennial, from the maligned Finisterre LP, bumped up in the order this week. Prime example of what Saint Etienne do best, gorgeous synth pop.

Girls Aloud – Can’t Speak French
Pop music. It’s great, isn’t it? I hate the whole debate whether its ironically good, or plain good. There is great talent behind crafting three minute pop masterpieces, and this group have a pretty enviable track record in pop tunes. This is the latest in their conveyor belt.

Fridays FTW

These are the five tunes that have dominated my stereo habits this week: 

 Neon NeonI Lust U
The catchiest track from Gruff Rhys and Boom Bip’s collaborative Neon Neon project. The album, Stainless Style, is a loose concept record based on the life of Ulster car-maker John De Lorean. He’s the chap that designed and built the Back to the Future car. The album is mainly 80s synth-sheen pop, with exquisite vocal contributions from Rhys, and a host of guests, including Cate Le Bon on this track.
(buy)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs10 x 10
Last years Is Is EP was a great collection from the noisy trio. Although other tracks from the record grabbed my attention first, this is the one that has remained high up on the playlists. This track has got real strut, tearing through it’s tight riff, teased along by Karen O’s barely-restrained vocals, and attended reliably by the pounded drumkit. The EP as a whole spans the ground between their two full-length LPs and finds it a fertile place, retaining the raw noise of the first and the pained melodies of the second.
(buy)

The WhipTrash
Highly-hyped, The Whip are indie-dance darlings of the NME. On this occasion, the comic can be forgiven for slipping into hyperbole, this track is simply fantastic. Borrowing heavily from their Mancunian compatriots The Longcut, as well as the NYC brigade (LCD, The Rapture etc.), it is a prime example of how to get this kind of track right. Originally released in 2006, this reissue precedes the full-album release, due next week.
(buy)

Jimmy Eat WorldSalt Sweat Sugar
Always a pleasure this one, a rousing alt-pop-punk anthem. This was the track and the album that took JEW from ‘spacey-emo’ to rockier waters, as well as being the first I had heard of them. And after loving it first time around I promptly forgot about it, rediscovering the track about six months ago following a YouTube trawl for songs that I could barely remember, this being unequivocally the pick of the bunch.
(buy)

PortisheadMachine Gun
You disappear for the best part of a decade. You leave behind a clutch of classic songs that helped define a genre. You whip the blogging fraternity into a frenzy by playing ATP. You announce a string of big-venue dates with no new material released to support them. You barely maintain your website. You stand by as your record is leaked to the net. You rule. Third is no disappointment, it is a record that acknowledges that Portishead are famous for a sound, and plays to that sounds’ strengths. It also sounds like a record that has longevity. Good news for fans of a band with a release schedule measured in double figures. Machine Gun is the lead single, released next week.
(buy)