29 April 2010


As I've done with Gorillaz' and Los Campesinos!'s 9 and 9.5/10 albums this year, here's the best of LCD Soundsystem's videos to educate yourself with and also in celebration of their 9/10 for "This Is Happening".
(Okay, so the last one isn't LCD, but it's pretty damn amazing)

LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening

For those out of the loop, LCD Soundsystem are probably the most consistently great band of the last five years. Having garnered near universal acclaim with their first two albums "LCD Soundsystem" and "Sound Of Silver", as well as three Grammy nominations along the way, it’s fair to say they’re a pretty big deal. The brains behind it all and the only actual member is New York DJ, producer and co-founder of DFA Records, James Murphy, whose barely-even-singing singing voice has been the calling card of the band since their first single back in 2002. Having created what many to consider to be two of the best songs of the noughties (apologies for using that phrase) in “Someone Great” and “All My Friends”, expectations have been a little high for LCD’s third, and if Murphy is to be believed, final album.

Lead single “Drunk Girls” wasn’t well received by all LCD fans, although most saw it as a good, if slightly disposable, dancefloor filler in the vein of previous single “North American Scum”. But “Drunk Girls” with its pop sensibilities and instant raucous hook is a world away from the rest of “This Is Happening”. For one, it’s under five and a half minutes long and sounds nothing like Berlin-era David Bowie, whereas the other eight tracks do. Album opener “Dance Yrself Clean”, with its slow and steady build-up to the show-stopping drop, could well be the best thing Murphy has ever done and the quality doesn’t let up from there on in. “I Can Change” is a swirling, shimmering slice of modern disco that you’ll be whistling for the whole day after hearing it, whilst “Pow Pow” and “You Wanted A Hit” return to the dance-punk sound that Murphy and DFA Records helped to create. Despite the latter song’s hook of “We won’t be your babies anymore”, it lives up to its title by being the only other possible hit after “Drunk Girls”, despite being nine minutes long.
“All I Want” is such a pastiche of “Heroes” it’s almost a disappointment when a coke-addled Bowie fails to turn up halfway though. Almost. “Somebody’s Calling Me” continues in treading the line between pastiche and rip-off, by sounding like the illegitimate offspring of Iggy Pop’s “Nightclubbing”. Whilst with lesser artists you’d accuse of a lack of ideas or shamelessly rehashing the past, with LCD Soundsystem, it just sounds like an obvious homage to Murphy’s influences. If “This Is Happening” is definitely to be Murphy’s last album under the LCD name then there’s few better ways to sign off than album closer “Home”, a funky-yet-heartfelt future floor-filler that surely wasn’t intended as such. It’s the closest LCD Soundsystem has come to a conventional pop song over three albums.

“This Is Happening” isn’t full of pure dance-punk hits like “North American Scum” or “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House”, neither is it a collection of earnest, soulful laments such as the previously-mentioned “Someone Great” and “All My Friends” as some may have hoped. Instead its sound is somewhere in between; songs to make you move your hips and break your heart at the same time. They’ll be missed.
FOR FANS OF: Hot Chip, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, The Rapture, Simian Mobile Disco, Justice
ESSENTIAL: "Dance Yrself Clean", "Drunk Girls", "I Can Change", "All I Want, "Somebody's Calling Me", "Home"

01 Dance Yrself Clean by HitsvilleUK-1

Kele - Tenderoni

Since Bloc Party have gone on hiatus recently, its members have been given a chance to venture into that uneven of lands known as "side projects". Russell Lissack has formed Pin Me Down with Milena Mapris (essentially a electro-pop version of Bloc Party), Gordon Moakes is now a part of Young Legionnaire with The Automatic's Paul Mullen and La Roux's William Bowerman and, whilst drummer Matt Tong has stayed quiet so far, frontman Kele Okereke has gone solo, embracing his love of clubbing and dance music. "Tenderoni", the first fruits of his solo album "The Boxer", recieved its first radio play tonight to divided opinion. Sounding plagarisingly close to both Wiley's "Wearing My Rolex" and Bodyrox's "Yeah Yeah", "Tenderoni" will almost certainly be a mammoth club hit come the summer, even if it lacks that one big vocal hook that every dance classic needs. Skip to 1:36 and you can just envisage the sweaty crowd of skinny jeans going absolutely apeshit...in a good way. The first proper summer anthem is here, and I expect there's plenty more to come on the album.


The Essex-located, Japan-obsessed producer (he attended the School of Oriental and Asian Studies for two years, learning to read and write Japanese) has spent the last year or so becoming the go-to guy for remixes, at the same time as releasing three EPs of his own stellar material. Having tinkered with tracks from Little Boots, Telepathe, Bloc Party and Health, Gold Panda's tracks are likely to become just as vital of a summer soundtrack as The Drums, Summer Camp et al; fuzzy, minimal beats with a strange nostalgic feel created by old VHS samples and loops.
FOR FANS OF: Joy Orbison, James Blake, Yeasayer, Hot Chip
IDEAL FOR: Lazy summer days, sitting in a field, watching clouds. Or remembering days like this. Or pretending to yourself you've spent days like that.

You by Gold Panda
Back Home by Gold Panda
Quitters Raga by Gold Panda

M.I.A. - Born Free (video)

M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.

To continue the recent very-video-heavy content here on Hitsville U.K., M.I.A's "Born Free" has itself a video. Definitely NSFW and certainly NSFG (not safe for gingers), the video is probably one of the more thought-provoking and uncomprimising of recent times.

26 April 2010

Frankie & The Heartstrings - Tender (video)

Here's the brand spanking new video from Sunderland's finest popsters, Frankie & The Heartstrings for their latest single "Tender". A rather awesome tune to match the band's rather awesome barnets, 2010 should be a damn good year for The Heartstings, possibly the best new British band around right now.. I can imagine a million and one Blur fans getting in a huff over F&THs stealing "their band"'s song title. The single, released today, is limited to 888 7" vinyls. I pre-ordered mine, what's your excuse?

23 April 2010

The xx - Islands (video)

Adding to what has been an extremely prolific and extremely video-heavy day here on Hitsville U.K., here's the promo for "Islands", the latest single from The xx's imaginatively-titled debut "xx". The coolest/best/worst/most boring new band around, depending on your viewpoint (I'm cemented in the first two opinions myself) and creators of the third best album of 2009, as well as annoyingly being used on both E4's 90210 ads and the Beeb's Election campaign ads; if you don't already love them, you will pretty soon.

Vampire Weekend - Giving Up The Gun (video)

Whilst LCD Soundsystem's video for "Drunk Girls" may be the best of the year, second place has to go to Vampire Weekend's star-studded promo for "Giving Up The Gun". Featuring RZA, Joe Jonas, Jake Gyllenhaal, Lil' Jon and the best headband since Solid Snake, it's a little bonkers and completely brilliant.

M.I.A - Born Free

M.I.A is back. Her Diplo-produced, as-yet-untitled third album is due for release around the 29th of June, and the first song to appear from it is "Born Free", an 100mph electro-punk racket which comes off a little like "Sandinista"-era Clash, with a bit of Yeah Yeah Yeahs thrown in. It's not quite "Paper Planes" but it's pretty damn close. Enjoy...

M.I.A. - Born FreebyTheProphetBlog

NEU! featuring Blur, BLK JKS, Big Boi, and Ryan Jarman

Blur - Fool's Day
Poor Damon Albarn. Being in two of the biggest British bands of the last 20 years (cartoon or otherwise) must be one tough gig. There's no other explanation for the melancholia hovering over his most recent musical output. Gorillaz' "Plastic Beach" often drifts into miserable mopey-ness, especially and unsurprisingly on "On Melancholy Hill", although that doesn't cloud the brilliance of the album too much. Here, on Blur's first single for seven years, released exclusively last week for Record Store Day, Damon bemoans "another day on this little island" with all the effort and enthusiasm of your typical bedroom-dwelling 16 year old. But away from Albarn's miserabilia and Kinksian lyrics of modern Britain, the rest of the band sound as if they never split. Dave Rowntree's drums are solid and simple, Alex James' basslines are laid-back as ever and Graham Coxon goes into riff heaven for the final minute of the song. It's relieving and exciting that they've come up with something this good after seven years apart. All anyone (except Oasis fans) can hope for now is a new album. Despite quotes from the band saying the reunion is over, the line "the forthcoming dramas of the studio, and a love of all sweet music/We just can’t let go" says otherwise.

Download "Fool's Day"

BLK JKS - Zol!
With the World Cup in South Africa coming up in roughly a month and a half,it makes sense for the footy-related tunes to start rolling out. And BLK JKS (pronounced Black Jacks) since are South African themselves, it makes even more sense. Normally an experimental rock band, BLK JKS have produced a) the best football song since Dario G's "Carnival de Paris" and b) possibly the most summery, infectious tune I've heard in a long while. Hopefully, we'll all be singing along to "I roll and shoot at the same time" by the time England play Honduras in the final (a guy can dream...)
Download "Zol!" from Pretty Much Amazing

Big Boi - Shutterbugg
It shouldn't come as much surprise that "Shutterbugg" is great. After all Big Boi is one of half of Outkast, and whilst this doesn't quite reach the heights of "Hey Ya!" (not many things do), it's up there with the best. Pencilled in as the first single on Big Boi's forthcoming awesomely-named album "Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty", "Shutterbugg" is likely to be one of the big pop hits of 2010, and there's no reason why it shouldn't be
Big Boi - Shutterbug by HitsvilleUK-1

Ryan Jarman - Do-Wah-Doo
In case you didn't keep up with the love lives of today's indie stars, Ryan Jarman, singer in The Cribs, is going out with Kate Nash of "Foundations"/"bittah/fittah" fame. Nash's new album (which the original of this track sits on) is supposedly full of riot grrrl influences and punk guitars, which sounds like Mr Jarman has had a lot of influence on his new beau's musical direction. The original "Do-Wa-Doo" is a pretty perfect meld of Nash's old and new sounds, whilst this cover sticks to acoustic guitar and a bit of Stylophone chucked in for good measure (the video for the original is up there for comparison). Jarman's voice tends to irk some listeners, but when singing this, it suits the song almost more than Kate Nash. The sad thing is that both versions of "Do-Wah-Doo" are better than almost everything on The Cribs last album.
Ryan Jarman - Do Wah Doo by HitsvilleUK-1

LCD Soundsystem - Drunk Girls (video)

Some hate it, some love it. The lead single from LCD Soundsystem's third and final album "This Is Happening" is one of the party songs of 2010, and also has the best video of the year so far. All I'm saying is panda anarchists who like a party.

22 April 2010

Even more Los Campesinos! for your delectation

In honour of "Romance Is Boring", Hitsville U.K.'s highest rated album of the year so far (beating Gorillaz' "Plastic Beach"), here's a handful of LC! videos, including one of the first two songs of their Liverpool gig in February (which I went to and requested those songs *proud fanboy moment...even though my requesting them probably had nothing to do with them being played.... * I'll shut up now and let you watch the videos)

Los Campesinos! - Romance Is Boring

I’m never going to do a Los Campesinos! album review on time am I? It took me two months to review “We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed” and it’s taken me nearly the same amount for “Romance Is Boring”. Arguments on whether this is LC!’s second or third album will wage between indie kids for eternity (the band consider “WAB,WAD” as an extended EP, not a full album); I’m firmly on the ‘third album’ side if I’m being honest, but I digress.

In the two and a bit years since their debut album, Los Campesinos! have matured into one of the best indie bands around (that’s indie as in independent in sound and ethos, not indie as in The fucking Pigeon Detectives). The twee shackles which plagued them early on have been thrown off and whilst the hyperactive pop playfulness still remains, like a chihuahua in a Kenickie t-shirt, it’s now more streamlined and beefed –up, sounding less disposable and more life-affirming. The bouncy indie pop of old remains for the first half a dozen tracks or so, the title track being the best example of LC!’s evolution. Undeniably more rock than earlier tracks, it contains a chorus catchier than any flu the media choose to chuck on the front page (“You’re pouting in your sleep, I’m waking, still yawning/We’re proving to each other that romance is boring”). Lyrically, the album is superb. Gareth Campesinos! is one of the best lyricists the country has to offer right now, and there are few who can match him for laugh-out-loud moments e.g. “I think we need more post-coital and less post-rock/Feels like the build-up takes forever but you never touch my cock” on “Straight In At 101”, as well as “Plan A”, probably the only song ever about being called up to the Maltese national football team.

Of course, as any LC! fan knows, it’s not all fun and indie-pop frolics, neither musically nor lyrically. Both “In Medias Res” and the aforementioned “Straight In At 101” offer up some pretty depressing imagery (“I phone my friends and family to gather round the television; The talking heads count down the most heart-wrenching break ups of all time/Imagine the great sense of waste, the indignity, the embarrassment when not a single one of that whole century was... mine”). To describe every little nuance and bit of lyrical genius on the album would take quite some time, and would probably be fairly boring. But I will say this; to experience “Romance Is Boring” fully, reading the lyric book along with listening to it is advised (that is if you actually go out and buy it...physically...remember that?).

I’ve gone all this way and not even mentioned “The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future”, the album’s highlight of highlights and 5th best song of last year, according to me. Foreboding guitar picking and a lone, mournful violin that begin the track belie the explosion of a chorus that arrives, taking any listener on an aural rollercoaster. If you don’t at least “kind of like” Los Campesinos! after this album then, at the risk of sounding like a rabid fanboy, we can’t even know each other*
*Kidding, of course. I just think this a superb album is all.

SOUNDS LIKE: All of your teenage angst, but more intelligent, witty, deep and catchy. And nothing at all like whiny bitchy emo.
ESSENTIAL: All of it. Seriously.

16 April 2010

Thom Yorke/Atoms For Peace - Love Will Tear Us Apart

Thom Yorke covering Joy Division? I'm surprised the indie world has imploded in on itself by now.