New Releases 17th March 2008

by MV

Single of the Week: Sonny J – Enfant Terrible
I have to say this has been my least favourite week for singles so far in 2008. No discredit to Sonny J though, as this is one of the more interesting things I’ve heard all year. Not French, as the title might suggest, Sonnington James III is in fact a Scouse turntablist, seemingly with a penchant for throwing every sample in the box at a song. A sensible recent touchpoint is The Go! Team, and while this track isn’t quite the finished product, it has some gloriously deranged moments, and on occasion recalls some of the better moments of Stereo Total.

Girls Aloud – Can’t Speak French
Is it just me or do the lovely Girls sems to have settled into a bit more of a conventional routine these days? I know it’s always gonna be tough to top dizzying highs like ‘The Show’ and ‘Biology’, but recent singles, while pleasant, haven’t really been in the same league. It’s still slick, catchy pop perfection of course. But not quite as thrilling.

Sugababes – Denial
Like Girls Aloud, suffering by comparison with earlier classics. Also still very good pop, but not up to their best.

Guillemots – Get Over It
While the Guillemots’ debut album had it’s moments of prettiness and beauty, all too often they seemed to be drifting towards being weird for the sake of it. Here, they seem to be developing into something more pleasingly straightforward and pop. Incredibly pop, in fact, with shiny, meaty production to back it up. There’s still a lingering sense of it not being quite right, that these guys shouldn’t be making records like this. But hey, turn off the video, forget that it’s a bloke singing, and this could make at least as good a Girls Aloud single as the one above. And that’s pretty high praise.

Born Ruffians – Hummingbird (7”)
Lively stuff from this bunch of Canadians signed to Warp. Once you’ve got past the urchin-indie suggestions of the name, and the Futureheads-recalling intro, this is pretty, fun, vibrant stuff. If you like Vampire Weekend, this track’s worth a listen.

Does It Offend You, Yeah? – We Are Rockstars (7”)
A re-release of an electro-rock track that’s been kicking around for ages now. Yes of course, the name is terrible. Yes, I’m perfectly happy to believe that the album’s equally so. This is still a cracking single though.

The Whip – Trash
And another re-release. Much less interesting, and suffering from the fact that there have been (surely) at least five songs called Trash, all far, far, better than this one. Benefits from beatier remixes, but nothing can really disguise the wannabe-tr..endy vacuousness at the heart of the endeavour.

Christopher D Ashley – We Are Shining (7”)
For some reason when I saw this name I was expecting some kind of limp acoustic balladry. Quite pleasantly surprised, then, to find people dancing around in animal masks to a tasty slice of synthy electropop. Far from inspired, but shows the likes of Calvin Harris how its done, at least.

Panic At The Disco – Nine In The Afternoon
Out with the exclamation mark, and out with the emo, allegedly. This doesn’t seem like the dramatic reinvention that the hype had been suggesting. At least not unless you have a very limited idea of what a band should sound like. Oh, wait… Anyway. Yes, they don’t mind signposting the fact that they’ve been listening to the Beatles a bit. But it’s still the same catchy, but slightly cheesy, uber-melodic songwriting, the same moderately whiny but powerful voice. Just a change of clothes and a few more instruments chucked into the mix. Perfectly adequate, still.

Addictive feat T2 – Gonna Be Mine
Much more about it than most of the ‘bassline’ tracks I’ve been hearing this year. Good tune, good electro-esque accompaniment. Not bad, all told.

Erykah Badu – Honey (7”)
Having heard from many quarters Erykah’s new album is one of the best of the year, expectations were high for this. I have to say, I’m not feeling it. In its own way, as retrogressive as The Enemy, with more than a nod to 70s funk and 90s RnB, and little in the way of evident innovation. There are some cute moments, and it picks up with a little minimal breakdown around the 2 minute 30 mark. Having said all that, the album is said to be more diverse, so I’ll be anticipating better future singles. Great video, though, with living recreations of classic album and magazine covers.

Billy Bragg – I Keep Faith (7”)
Quickly brushing the hideous Kate Nash duets under the carpet, we find Billy back at his raw, simple, emotional best here. Nothing here to surprise anyone who’s heard a Billy Bragg song before, but that’s no bad thing.

Breeders – We’re Gonna Rise (7”)
Lost since given up on making pop songs of the likes of Cannonball, this is fairly typical latter-day Breeders. Slow-paced, almost ethereal, contemplative stuff. Entirely lovely, but a tiny bit sleep-inducing.

PJ Harvey – The Devil
Had to group with the Breeders. Another artist making consistently great music but slightly out of place in a run-down of singles. As anyone who’s had White Chalk for months will know, it lacks the raw production of old, but not the raw emotion.
(Danish TV appearance in lieu of a proper video)

Gabriella Cilmi – Sweet About Me
Does the world really need yet another post-Winehouse brit-soul singer? Probably not, but in fairness this has a bit more to it than some of the others. Fatigue, though, fatigue. Anything new out there?

Silverfall – For You
It’s perhaps inevitable, with the long-delayed return of Portishead this year, that there’d be a fair few bands cropping up displaying a bit of a trip-hop production influence. While this debut is more conventional-sounding than Portishead will ever be, there’s definitely something about this new South Yorkshire band that makes them worth listening out for in future.

Unkle feat Josh Homme – Restless (7”)
On paper, an exciting collaboration. On record, pedestrian and a tad dated. Good vocal performance from the QOTSA man, but the song doesn’t really go anywhere special. Underwhelming.

Holly Rose – I Don’t Care
Faintly disturbing porn-lite video aside, this is quite enjoyable, summery pop, with a bit of a laid-back two-tone influence going on, and some pretty vocals. Un-amazing, but likeable enough.

Supergrass – Bad Blood
While Diamond Hoo-Ha Man was a welcome breath of fresh air after their anonymous previous album, this is touch on the throwaway side, and certainly doesn’t hit the In It For The Money highs it’s clearly aiming for. Disappointing.

Moby – Alice
Whatever Moby throws at his records, they always manage to sound painfully inauthentic. There’s nothing wrong with this old-skool hiphip led track, but it just sounds wrong. Perhaps would be better without knowing it was by Moby. Maybe that at least would get rid of the tinnitus-esque ringing of cash registers that is probably the cause of my discomfort.

Yeasayer – Just Can’t Wait For The Summer (7”)
Can’t disagree with the title, it’s pissing it down outside. This doesn’t quite hit the spot for me, though. A little bit tree-hugging, a little bit prog, a little bit (the redeeming bit) Beta Band. Not for me.

Secret Handshake – Game Girl
Not really sure what to make of this. Texan Luis Dubuc seems to have his heart in the right place, with some interesting production and Daft Punk-esque sounds. But the vocals are horrible, alternately whiny and nastily over-vocodered. Hmm.

The Enemy – This Song Is About You
It says something about the latter-day Manics that they frequently choose to publically endorse such a pedestrian band as the Enemy. Yes, there’s a grass-roots, man of the people appeal to them, but surely the whole point of the Manics was to transcend your roots through music, not to get hideously bogged down in them. Libraries gave us power, wasn’t it, not the conversation in the supermarket checkout queue? I guess the appeal must be in the music, instead, as this could easily be late 90s pomp-rock-bluster Manics at their absolute worst.

Steeples – Britney’s Tears
Ugh. Not fit to lick Britney’s boots. Go away.

Boy Kill Boy – Promises
Insipid, chugalong dirge, which somehow manages to recall the Levellers at their worst. Lacks even the limited spark of their debut.

Metros – Education Pt 2
Christ, they’re still churning out these hideous post-Libertines bands?! Low-rent Kooks, at best. No, no, and again no.

Nothing to say here…
Annie Lennox – Sing
Kids In Glass Houses – Easy Tiger (7”) [Limited]
Lowline – Monitors (7”)
Slaves To Gravity – Mr Regulator
Trey Songz – Can’t Help But Wait
You Me At Six – If I Were In Your Shoes