Archive for the ‘Melting Ice Caps’ Category

Specks In The Sky in a pub in Camden

Monday, January 28th, 2013


We went out on Saturday night like what the young people do, or so I am told.  Off to that North London for a gig in a pub in Camden Town via a series of trains and buses and footsteps, which at times was a bit stressful (obligatory bus nutter screaming at the bus driver because the replacement tube line bus was “not clearly labelled” despite being clearly labelled) but definitely worth it. What was it? It was Specks in the Sky, which is a night described on its Facebook page as this:

Not-for-profit music events promoter in London. We only book acts we love. We look after our artists and we look after our audiences.

That’s pretty simple and the evening was all about good music. I’ll plug the elements of that night as they deserve it…

DJ Sina played some tunes that were probably related to his All-Girl Pop Rock Indie Disco club night Debbie that I’ve never been to because I don’t like clubs. It sounds interesting though and he’s on Tumblr where you can see his great diary comics and pictures. Bonus points for playing Tori Amos’s cover of Ring My Bell which I had completely forgotten all about and now have to rummage through old CD-Rs to find.

Samantha Ashleigh Hayhurst can play the keyboard and sing and say “thank you” in at least three languages. Her music is on Soundcloud here and an example of it should appear below this sentence.

Ghost Carriage Phantoms are not as scary as their name suggests although I was concerned about how close I was to their glockenspiel. They did an acoustic set and kept swapping instruments between songs which kept it interesting, including the glockenspiel, two guitars, a small drum, a foot, some hanging jangly vibes-y things, a powerful male voice (whoah! ) and one of those hand-held mini keyboards that you blow into which I can never remember the name of.  An odd fascinating musical experience that has led to me listening to their album that I bought just before I started typing this.

The final band of the night were The Melting Ice Caps who seem to be available in a series of limited editions. Past live versions have included Full Band,  CD Walkman and Vocals (plus umbrella) and Acoustic Band.  This time is was Three Piece With Occasional Flipchart. I’m a big fan and you may have noticed other blogs on this subject using words and phrases like “super singer songwriter” , “occasional indie disco” and “quite good” but the music speaks for  itself so here’s some ‘speaking’:

If you ‘Like’ Specks In The Sky on Facebook you can find out more.

Back in Blighty remove cardboard sleeve, pierce film lid several times

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012


How very odd that my two favourite albums of the year so far came out a week apart. So soon after the debut album from Bright Light Bright Light we have the first full length collection of songs from that other thoughtful musical man who is also sometimes a one man band: Permissable Permutations by The Melting Ice Caps is here!

This is a debut album but not the first songs, in a similar way to how David Shah’s previous band Luxembourg had some of their finest songs appear on early singles and their oddities collection before their ‘proper’ album arrived. The Melting Ice Caps Version 1.0 songs are available for free on their site (and highly recommended) but this is “11 songs written over the last year or two but not previously released” and the majority of them are linked by similar themes and feelings. Yes it’s sometimes a bit of a Relationship Record, which is an interesting new avenue to be explored in the songs, and these are mostly the songs from the recent gig where I had the memorable pint of chips.

What’s the music like? Well… We get the sometimes serious faced but fun rather English pop that I love, with David Shah’s ear for a good tune meaning these songs are full of musical hooks to compliment the lyrics that are sometimes spoiling us. In Bloom is the first of the happy love songs, with an abundance of ‘real band’ sounds while Keep Both Hands Behind The Cutting Edge changes the mood to what is superficially a series of health and safety warning signs but actually something cleverer: “Keep Both Hands Behind The Cutting Edge / Nobody wants to see your fingertips / Detached from your piano fingers… At least not yet.” A Week Of Warmth is another love song, one which juxtaposes simple domestic bliss with last year’s riots. The old drum machine and other early Ice Caps home made noises and glitchy sounds are back!

Ghost Writer is one of the occasional disco moments, featuring piano riffs over a full-on mid to late 80′s club mix syncopation that reminds me of early Pet Shop Boys 12″s and even has come of those little electronic bell noises that someone of my age and persuasion will approve of. It comes with added philosophy and ends with a “will I leave it our or put it in?” that could be interpreted as having a double meaning if you’re that way inclined. I Go All The Way is rather blissful due to its lovely melodies that bring to mind those old fashioned instrumentals that Saint Etienne occasionally do, and the lyrics are a great example of the quirkier side of the work “Back in Blighty remove cardboard sleeve / Pierce film several times / I go all the way back to life.”

Umbrellas is another relationship song (“I fear the breeze could blow you away / One feckless gust and I’d be lost again / When I have only just found you”) with a good old reliable weather metaphor plus some rain noises for added ambience, followed by Join The Dots which focuses once more on domestic bliss (“Jarvis plays Doris Day and a hundred grown men swoon” and “If you don’t look too hard / I don’t look too bad”).  Indian Summer sounds like the older songs, and very like a sequel to the song October which is one of my favourites.
A line about getting high on tea and coffee adds a percussive noise that sounds suspiciously like a spoon in a mug.

Young Man In A Hurry is one of the more straightforward songs on  the album, with its pleasant tempo and wibbly wobbly synth riffs. Medical Advice (“Spending too much time reading / Online medical advice that isn’t peer reviewed”) is a jaunty piano song about unanswered communication and incompatibility that ends in a “goodbye” and a banjo loop. Interesting way to finish what is mostly the happy relationship album. I eagerly await the next instalment.

Permissable Permutations can be purchased as a download (for this is 2012) on  their Corporate Records page and really should be as it’s lovely.

 

A pint of chips and a side order of fine music.

Sunday, May 13th, 2012


Bank holidays are great, even if you don’t work in a bank as you still get the day off work. The most recent one coincided with the second Specks in the Sky night organised by my friend David at the Wilmington Arms so off we went to fancy London…

Me and my man in the pub before the gig. Refreshing alcopoppy cider was drunk.

As the tubes tend to hibernate at the weekends due to the endless repair work we had to drive into town which turned out to be quite kerfuffle-free. Parking the car is always the hardest part of this but we found a spot near the pub and met our pretend adopted daughter Cheryl for a drink and exploration of the journey to the toilets. The pub had a collection of indie rock style free papers which made me remember my London-living era of the 90′s when I would end up with piles of those things after going out and about.

Signage about signs.

There was a slight delay in the opening of the venue part of the building but that meant we could walk off some of the drink  by wandering about and then getting rained on.

This is a montage sequence

What about the actual gig? Well… there was refreshing ginger beer, Jonny Cola (formerly Alex of Luxembourg and currently the named man in Jonny Cola and the A-Grades) DJing on decks that included and old fashioned telephone as part of the equipment and playing Lucky Soul, Belle & Sebastian and more,  Owen Duff doing the opening set with a bit of guitar and then a bit of piano… and then a Melting Ice Caps ‘turn.’

One man, a Discman and a woman with flip chart sheets.

This was a more back to basics version of the ‘band’ with David accompanied by his backing tracks that were prepared earlier and played by the handy CD Walkman which sat on the stool. We got a couple of the old songs (available for free on the website) and a bunch of new material which I assume is from the forthcoming album (arriving soon). A mixed range of styles, speeds and tones including some that could be described as love song style numbers but still with the familiar sense of humour and that English thing of not taking yourself too seriously which I admire in my songwriters.  I have no song titles to rave about but the addition of Ice Caps guitarist Aurore with lyrics on flip chart sheets for two of the numbers definitely added to the entertainment value, especially when it was hard for her to keep up with the speed of what was being sung.

All these songs, on the floor

Key words for this performance: Witty, Arch, Thoughtful, Piano, Discman, Charm, Indie, Synthpop, Flipchart, Pop. Fantastic!

Not from the night but this post needs music so here are Tell Me I’m Wrong and Pavlovian Boy:

Souvenir, with Cheryl

What am I going to do with my flip chart sheet? I love my souvenirs. We ended up being rather hungry after David’s Ice Caps performance so it was off to the pub part of the building for grub, including a marvellous Pint Of Chips. Kind of a potatoey knickerbocker glory once I added the mayonnaise.

For more information on the Specks in the Sky nights there is a page on ruddy Facebook.

2011 Non-Poll Winners’ Non-Party

Friday, December 30th, 2011


End of year and end of blog for a while: It’s time for the annual Music That I Did Like Best blog of lists and that…


Songs of 2011:
Fingersnap: I Wanna Rise: A ruddy big soul anthem from the year’s most played EP (even before it was released, via their Soundcloud page).
CockNBullKid: Distractions: Marvellous album with so many top tunes. This was like a magical All Saints pop song.
Patrick Wolf: Together: Single from the excellent mostly-happy-love album. Patrick’s popstar moment.
Autoheart: Control: Debut free single from The Band Formerly Known As the Gadsdens. Beautiful and intricate.
Stevie Nicks: Secret Love: The largest gestation period ever with a song demoed in the 1970s. Bewitching.
The Melting Ice Caps: Strike in the Dark: The band that keeps on growing released an excellent EP and this is the lead track.
Brett Anderson: Unsung: Mega return to form when Brett came back with a rock band.
Bright Light Bright Light: Disco Moment: The launch night gig was a top memory. Glittery greatness.
Kimbra: Cameo Lover: Classic pop from an artist who hasn’t really launched in the UK yet.
Monsta: Holdin’ On: Bryn Christopher returned with that voice in a band whose Soundcloud has some big songs on it.
Florrie: Experimenting With Rugs: Another one of the top EP artists of the year. Pop gold.
The Original 7Ven: Strawberry Lake: The Time came back and continued where they had left off. Funky.
The Pipettes: Boo Shuffle: New non-album energetic single that sounded like the old days.
James Vincent McMorrow: We Don’t Eat: Lovely album, great for the quiet moments.
Emeli Sande: Heaven: When not with shouty rappers Emeli did good things in my ears.
Foster The People: Call It What You Want: This song ended up everywhere in the end.
Lana Del Rey: Blue Jeans: ‘Internet Sensation’ whose songs are on every bloody list this year.
Gomez: Song in My Heart: They continually make great albums and make that seem easy.
Bernhoft: Choices: One of Husband Jamie’s discoveries: super-talented Norwegian all-rounder.
Penguin Prison: Don’t Fuck With My Money: This should have been the pop anthem of the year.
Will Young: Safe From Harm: Consistently good artist teams up with Richard X and makes best album of his career.

Now it’s time for some music:
Control by Autoheart

 

MONSTA by MONSTAcloud

 

Disco Moment [Video Edit] by brightlightx2

Back to the ‘awards’:

Best UK album:
Winner:
Patrick Wolf: Lupercalia : A coherent long-player is quite hard to find these days but Mr Wolf goes from strength to strength.

Runners-up:
CockNBullKid: Adulthood
Brett Anderson: Black Rainbows
Sarah Nixey: Brave Tin Soldiers
Nerina Pallot: Year of the Wolf

Best International album:
Winner:
Steve Nicks: In Your Dreams: I fell in love with the singles and videos, and ended the year with a load of her Fleetwood Mac albums.

Runners-up:
Bernhoft: Solidarity Breaks
Jenny Wilson: Blazing
Foster The People: Torches
Joan As Police Woman: The Deep Field

Best UK Group:
Fingersnap: David McAlmont has always been in my musical lists and the addition of Guy Davies led to one of those duos that are more than the sum of their parts.

The Melting Ice Caps
Autoheart
Monsta

Best International Group:
Foster The People: Earworm singles, fun videos and an album that got played so many times.

The Pierces
The Original 7Ven
Wolf Gang

Best UK Male single:
Bright Light Bright Light: Disco Moment: Why is this man not a massive pop star? The charts deserve some great acts.

Best International Male single:
Penguin Prison: Don’t Fuck With My Money: American equivalent to the great things I see and hear in Bright Light Bright Light.

Best UK Female single:
CockNBullKid: Yellow: She’s just been excellent all year.

Best International Female single:
Steve Nicks: Secret Love: I’m repeating myself from my Songs of the Year now! Lead single that was just perfect.

Best UK EP:
Winner: Fingersnap: Smokehouse EP: See all my other bloggings about why this is such a treasure.
Runners-up:
Florrie: Experiments EP

The Melting Ice Caps: Strike EP
Patrick Wolf: Brumalia EP
The Mummers: Mink Hollow Road EP
The Primitives: Never Kill A Secret EP

Best International EP:
Winner: Beth Ditto: EP: We need an album of this electropop Beth.

Runner up: Uh Huh Her: Black and Blue

Best Gig:
Fingersnap at the Jazz Cafe (20th November): Stunning set, great company, chat with the singer, intimate venue. Excellent.
The Melting Ice Caps, Dream Themes and Mr Solo at Buffalo Bar (21st August): David Shah’s Ice Caps got even better and the other acts were pretty good.
Bright Light Bright Light single launch at London Fashion Week (21st September): Surrounded by trendies (eek!) but the music was so exciting.
The Soft Close-Ups at Native Tongue (2nd August): Perfect sit-down music with beers.

Best Live Album:
David McAlmont Live From Leicester Square CD & DVD : Even if I hadn’t been to that show I would have to recommend this one.

Best project people complained about but I quite liked:
Winner: Kate Bush: Director’s Cut album : But then I didn’t own all the original albums that got re-jiggled and it came in a nice package.
Runner up: Sophie Ellis-Bextor: Make A Scene album

Best album I know is good but I just couldn’t get to grips with as much as I wanted to:
Wild Beasts: Smother : The music didn’t register in my memory despite multiple plays but the EP that followed it had some songs that I understood far better.

Artist that gets a lot of love but I just don’t feel:
Lady Gaga : A hybrid of Grace Jones and Younger Madonna being all Ooh Controversial with some average pop songs? I’ll pass.

Return to form:
Brett Anderson: Black Rainbows : Glad he went back to what he does best after the previous album was too boring to buy. That seemed so wrong.

Best video downloady thing that’s kind of a single I think:
Miles Fisher: New Romance : It’s apparently an in-joke/tie-in with a film I have never seen but still great fun.

Surprise new song that was number two in the UK Top 40 when I heard it:
Emeli Sande: Heaven : Unfinished Sympathy is 20 years old and still wonderful.

Best Scandinavian import newcomer album:
Bernhoft: Solidarity Breaks : The live video clips don’t really show off the full blown production of the album.

Hamel: Lohengrin : Good old fashioned music and lyrics is sometimes all you need.

Best new artist found via a Facebook posting:
James Vincent McMorrow: Early In The Morning album : Minimal at times but always lovely. Not ‘bland’ like this year’s buzzword.

Best new Antipodean act:
Lovers Electric : I ended up buying both their albums after the new one looked promising on a leaks site.
Gotye
Kimba

Best Mashup:
Soundhog: A Witty Title Involving Rockets & Losing Sleep : Marvellous.

Best Comeback For An English Band Popular In The 80s:
Winner:
Duran Duran: All you Need Is Now : The most Duran Duran sounding album since Rio, probably.
Runners-up:
Human Leage: Credo
The Primitives: Never Kill A Secret EP
Blancmange: Blanc Burn

Best cover of one of my favourite old vinyl singles:
Beverley Knight: Fairplay : Lesser known Soul II Soul debut single done well.

Best modern remix of an old track:
Depeche Mode: Puppets (Royksopp Remix) : I wasn’t all that familiar with the original so this sounded like an excellent new track.

Best modern remix that purposefuly sounds like an old one:
Kylie Minogue: Put your Hands Up (Pete Hammmond Remix) : Sounds about putting hands up in a retro remix style proved popular.
Bright Light Bright Light: Italo Disco Moment
Nerina Pallot: Put Your Hands Up Like It’s 1987

Best Use of the Funky Drummer beat:
A tie between Katy B: Broken Record and Jamie Woon: Spirits : The one where I listen to what the young people and critics like.

Best Deluxes Reissues:
Winner:
All of the Suede albums : Even if the packaging of these fat products weren’t quite strong enough to prevent spine damage. Second only to those Saint Etienne ones from last year.
Runners-up:
Frankie Goes To Hollywood: Welcome To The Pleasuredome
Mica Paris: So Good

Best New Song That Arrived Out Of Nowhere:
Winner:
Hologram Heart Parade: Dirty Heart : Massive earworm song that got played a lot on my Czech holiday.

Runners-up:
Foster The People: Call It What You Want
Kimbra: Cameo Lover

Best debut Double A Side ‘single’:
Lana Del Rey: Blue Jeans / Video Games : Was this even a real old fashioned single? Is that concept even relevant anymore?

Best Artist I Always Thought Was OK But I Finally Got Into:
Winner: k d lang : It’s always good to go mad for a bunch of second hand albums by an artist you should have tried before.
Runners-up: Japan, David Sylvian

Best person from a terible TV talent show who made a good album:
Will Young: Echoes : I’m partial to bits of his other releases too but this one actually got purchased in our house.
Rebecca Ferguson: Heaven

Best new song from a Best Of compilation:
Winner: Scritti Politti: A Day Late And A Dollar Short (from Absolute) : Please can we have a new album now?

Runner up: Claudia Brucken: Thank You (from Combined)

Best new Various Artists compilation:
Zang Tuum Tumb: The Art of the 12″ : Excellent double disc ZTT retrospective in 12″s form, with a sequel due in Spring 2012.

 

All These Songs… in a Buffalo Bar

Monday, August 22nd, 2011


We went on an excursion to London for the first Melting Ice Caps gig in a while and also happened to catch some other bands due to it being one of those multi-artist events. This one was for the Frank Sidebottom Statue fund, at the Buffalo Bar, and it started with a free CD from Armadillo Recordings, a bottle of refreshing lager beer and then Dream Themes (Frank’s old London band) performing their versions of popular TV themes from mostly the past. As well as the music they also gave us a copy of Dream Zine which made little sense in the nicest way possible and I’ll never be able to hear the themes from Brookside, Bergerac and Cagney & Lacey without having a flashback.
Dream Themes performing somewhere that was not where we went:

Dream Themes, photographed by Chezza like all the photos.

One of the highlights from Dream Zine

The Melting Ice Caps have had another slight line-up change and are now in a three male and two female format like a reverse Steps. Terrible comparison of course as they can play instruments and do the music things very well.

The two Davids and a portion of the Samantha. Hidden: Steve and Aurore.

David Shah: Voice and hand movements.
Samantha Ashleigh Hayhurst: Keyboards and that (lovely solo work link here).
David Barnett: Bass (ex of Luxembourg and writer of that book about Suede I’ve got, interview here).
Steve Brummell: Drums (another Luxembourg player).
Aurore Sommer: Guitar (New member who also played on Between Eros and Agape a while back).

As a music geek I realised that there were four members of ex-band Luxembourg in the room as we spotted Alex Potterill aka Jonny Cola (link for his current band, oh yes) in the audience. He’s worked with David on some of the earlier songs so I would perhaps call them a music-based Justice League, calling on the people with the most suitable powers to fight crime but this is where my analogy fails. Anyway, they have happily reached the stage where not all the good songs get played in a set of this size which is encouraging. So no October, no My Wrong Turn and no Night School. They can all be heard on their website though so everybody wins! Two new songs made their debut and in an interesting contrast to their first full band gig last year where it was the opening number they have moved Selfish Bachelor to the finale and it works well as a kind of epic closing theme tune piece.

Here are a couple of their songs: Mise En Scene:

Pavolvian Boy:

After the Ice Caps had finished we moved from our position right at the very front as my knees were getting all gippy like they do and I wanted to move about a bit more. The next act was Mr Solo who we could hear but only see the top of his bouffant wig from the back of the venue. I enjoyed him enough to buy the album when I got home: comfortable earphone listening was required for this one without the distraction of my old git mind getting baffled by young folks with what I assumed were ironic moustaches and ‘funny clothes.’ We escaped before the final act arrived (Proxy Music) because of the tube + early start next day factors but I’m sure they were very good.
Mr Solo: Home Sick Home video:

At The End Of A Good Day

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011


A rare trip out happened last night when we braved the humidity wagon into Central London to go and look at and listen to some music.

I’ll get to the point in a minute but feel like I should mention the food as it was amusing and delicious. After wandering around the uneven pavements of the area near the Barbican looking for somewhere to eat a rather theatrical Italian man (or a man playing an Italian) accosted us politely with the offer of free fizzy wine and their best table so we had dinner at Attilio. The table was pretty much like all of their other tables which gradually moved to the area in front of the restaurant like a peculiar specialist round in a food themed game show. The weather was nice so eating outside made it feel like a holiday and the complimentary amaretto shots after the gnocchi went down well with the little coffee, and then it was off to the venue Native Tongue where we accidentally started a queue until we realised that we could actually go down the dark stairs, being careful to not fall to our deaths…

The night in question was part of the regular Stop Look Listen and we obeyed its instructions rather well. How many nights have their own branded cakes? Not many, I bet, and I bumped into the man himself (David Shah aka David From The Melting Ice Caps and The Soft Close-Ups and Who Used To Be In Luxembourg <the band not the little country>) with a mouthful of cakey goodness while some of the other acts were doing their soundcheck.  After buying some of those bottled beers with the lime in them that they used to have in the 90′s and still do we had a nice sit down and watched the sets of  Zoe Konez (who runs the night and has a web link you can click here) and Rebecca Moore (clicky here) . Both were good singer songwriter in an acoustic style (Zoe reminded me in places of Ani Difranco and Heather Nova, and Rebecca was also collecting for her orphanage charity) and their sites are well worth a visit for a listen but some of the audience seemed more interested in scrolling through their iPhone photos or talking despite there being plenty of space futher away from the stage for doing that sort of thing. Yes I am a grumpy old man about manners.

This is the view from my chair. Their set began as a stripped-down thing with just Aug Stone‘s guitar playing and David Shah’s pretty voice (I should point out that this is a quote from my friend Cheryl) and they performed the majority of their tracks which are available to buy for anything from £0 to a lot more at the Corporate Records link here . Several new (to me) songs were a nice bonus and then while I nipped to the loo (curse you, lager) they turned on the CD accompaniment so that the more electronic songs like Ditch The Theory could have those nice extra layers. I would desscribe their music as The Melting Ice Caps’ late night sibling i.e. more chilled : thoughtful singer/songwriter tracks by two men who own more books than the disposable pop stars we are told to like but have a sense of humour. Yes, I am not a professional reviewer but I know what I like.

How about I just show some of the music? Their YouTube Channel has some videos where a woman who is not David (obviously) appears:
The Way I Don’t Kiss:

Fireworks:

Some Sick Day:

That should give you an idea.

While I’m in gig mode, the Melting Ice Caps are also back on stage soon: 18th August at Buffallo Bar along with other great bands. Details here (a Facebook event page). It will be rather good of course.

Drumroll please….

Thursday, February 10th, 2011


Quick plug for my friend’s (well plural if you count Facebook) EP which can now be purchased for a £ value of your choice.

Visit the Melting Ice Caps (for it is them) page on Corporate Records for how to do it. Even for free if you have spent all your money on Ferero Rocher and Fondant Fancies… but do it anyway.

Mini review:
1. Strike In The Dark: a very classic David Ice Caps song with the jolly tune / sad-tinged lyrics, great drum rolls and obligatory innuendo line (this time “you’ll have someone’s eye out…”)
2. Pavlovian Boy: a music sibling of their popular song Selfish Bachelor with the drum machine / Casio keyboard rhythm (showing my age) cranked up. Plus talky bit, oh yes.
3. Le Cafe Et Les Hommes: in French and a little bit bossa nova with some fancy acoustic strumming. Nice.
4. Oh Brother: one starring keyboard player Samantha aka Ashxyz which is all soaring piano  and harmonies. Well not all, that would be odd.
5. Tell Me I’m Wrong: the fast one with the monologue. No mention of croissants this time, boo. You could dance to this if you had the inclination.

Raising the spirit level

Monday, February 7th, 2011


I was going to do a selection of mini TV reviews but I’ve not had time to watch all the programmes, mostly because one hasn’t been on yet. So here are some new forthcoming tunes for your ears and also eyes as they have videos:

Scritti Politti are back! And also in the past! They have a new best bits release in the pipeline and it includes some new tunes that, judging from the one I’m about to embed below, are as marvllous as you’d expect from them / him / whoever they actually are for this release.

Vinny from So Hip It Hurts has written some good words about this song so I direct you there instead of rambling. His blog has plenty of other treats to look at while you’re visiting.

The Melting Ice Caps are back! Soon! With a video that includes a magical drawing of a keyboard, a strokeable bathroom door and some kitchen cupboards!

Pavolvian Boy is not quite as immediate as some of the previous singles but I’m certain it’ll be my latest earworm by the end of the week. They’ve not let me down yet.

Cocknbullkid is back! She has her second ‘proper’ single out soon, whatever that means. From what I’ve heard of her work she’s pretty good at mixing things up into an interesting package and definitely one to watch if you want something more than the dull predictable chart pop of this world. Bring on the album please.

I do love a bit of great pop music and that song certainly is such a beast. Other older singles were available with a ‘the’ attached to her cock-based name. Yes, I am a childish person for grinning whenever I type her name.

The (un)official (not just) UK Top 40 (of 2010): 10 to 1

Sunday, December 19th, 2010


Top Ten!

10 Hurts: Wonderful Life (single from Happiness album)

Well obviously. One of the songs of the year after being a song of last year too.

09 Rose Elinor Dougall: Start / Stop / Synchro (single from Without Why album)

Rose’s album is pretty great stuff… I even forked out for the EP of tracks from her first three singles and then most of that ended up on the album. Silly me!

08 Mark Ronson feat MNDR and Q-Tip: Bang Bang Bang (single from Record Collection album)

The track with Boy George is also fantastic but this one has the better video so it wins its place on this list. The Ronson album had a lot of highlights on it including the artist at number 9 in my chart.Small world.

07 Cee Lo Green: Bright Lights Bigger City (from The Ladykiller album)

Cee Lo’s mixtape release that preceded this album was also excellent but this was the album where his work finally came together in the right way to make an excellent project. So many great songs on it.

06 Robyn: Dancing On My Own (single from Body Talk album)

While the Body Talk project didn’t always work for me and I still haven’t bought it (need to decide if the first two instalments are worth buying too or just the third ‘highlights’ one) I really loved what I liked about it. This track is a good example.

05 Fitz & The Tantrums: Money Grabber (free download single from Pickin’ Up the Pieces album)

I loved their EP that Jamie bought so was looking forward to the album and it didn’t disappoint. they gave this track away even though it is one of the tracks of my year! Old school but not a slave to the retro-ness, Fitz & The Tantrums seem like they are having a lot of fun.

04 Bright Light Bright Light: Cry At Films (free download b-side to Love Part II single)

This was also a freebie although it’s on the single release of Love Part II and on  the tour EP so I must love this song a lot then. B-side of the year in fact. Was introduced to Bright Light Bright Light quite literally at a bloggers’ dinner thing in London and realised I had liked some of his older work. He’s ‘the disco Morrissey’ or something like that but without the hateful opinions.

03 Of Montreal feat Solange: Sex Karma (from False Priest album)

Damn funky!

02 The Melting Ice Caps: My Wrong Turn (free download from www.themeltingicecaps.co.uk)

A lot of good stuff given away free this year as all of the Ice Caps songs are on their website. I’m biased as I’m friends with the man behind it all but they deserve acclaim for their warm dry melodic indie pop. Here’s Selfish Bachelor performed at the gig we went to:

01 The Pipettes: Stop The Music (single from Earth vs the Pipettes album)

I got rather obsessed with this tune from the moment someone posted a radio rip online. Great video too, which always helps. The second Pipettes album is quite different to their debut but I saw its quality and loved it without muttering about how it was not like the old version of the band. Very poppy pop always wins.

Now I need to think of some tips for 2011 or at least some things I am looking forward to buying.

In Concert (not actually in concert though)

Monday, August 2nd, 2010


I feel the urge to share more musical delights of the last week so here goes:

I am very excited about the impending album from Fitz & The Tantrums. Husband Jamie got me into them as he has a lot of music on his gigantic iPod and I’m bound to like some of it (excpet Muse who are mostly a right racket except when The Bloke From Muse calms down)…. they have a FREE ‘SINGLE’ that you can download for nothing when you join the mailing list and it is bloody great so here is a live version to illustrate my point:

Their first EP was smashing so the album is very looked forward to in our house. EPs seem  to be very in vogue this year, don’t they?

They spelt Bachelor wrong but someone nice made a little video of the opening track from the first Melting Ice Caps gig that took place the other week. It’s rather good, even if I can’t spot my shiny face in the audience (kidding about this bit, my shiny face only appears in comedy audiences and that one time on  breakfast telly that we don’t talk about):

The sound quality is what you’d expect for a man filming a gig but the original version is available for ZERO PENCE HERE. How generous.

I don’t know much about Fol Chen except they’re another one from Jamie’s iPod and I like what I have heard so far. This video for In Ruins might be a ‘proper’ video or not, it’s confusing these days:

I asked the internet about Fol Chen... he told me ‘Fol Chen is a musical group from Los Angeles signed to Asthmatic Kitty records. Thanks, Internet.

I have never really got into Of Montreal (well not yet anyway) but they performed a new song with bloody Solange (she’s rather underrated and her album was one of the best of 2008) on American TV last week and it got all over the geekier parts of the online world. That clip got removed due to the usual copyright mini-sulks but I found this rip of a maybe final studio version:

No idea how long this will be online for but it’s wonderfully funky and slightly weird. Reminds me of Flight of the Conchords, oddly. They’ve also been performing a cover of I Want You Back out and about so here’s a video of that too (of the usual person-with-a-camera quality):

Update: Just bought both Fol Chen albums. Ooh er… and In Ruins EP is a FREE DOWNLOAD HERE (leagally and all that).

Also: I have got majorly obsessed with Yellow Pearl in the last week,

If you think it sounds familiar….well:

Now you can do your own countdowns with the BLOODY FREE MP3 of Yellow Pearl right HERE. I am spoiling you.

Lobo? Who the hell was Lobo?