b l o g


'Jangle pop, cheese, and God knows what else' 

A round-up of 2006 pop releases that gave someone the horn.

[ ! ]. Discovery of the year (out of time): Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes
Whether it's the spelling or the being from Edinburgh, these Scottish kids only have 345 Google results to their cumbersome name (in two decades). The Fairways covered 'The Rain Fell Down,' which seems like a recommendation, but, frankly, the California version is a bit terribly gay (in the secondary school way, when 'gay' meant 'rubbish' and 'gay'), & not nearly as sad (wonderful) as the one from the Desperadoes. 'Laughing and Smiling' brought the word 'fuckzzy' into being. Along with the Close Lobsters, the Wedding Present, and Another Sunny Day, they fill out the list of the best pop bands in Britain at the turn of 'those' jangly, poppy decades.

14. The Rotters - Japanese Punk
Triple A-side. I've been given to understand that the common opinion is that this a stupid record by a stupid 'band' that is essentially an afterthought (for the Horrors, anyway). Still, wonderful post-proto-music. At least it's only four minutes long.

13. Cansei de Ser Sexy - Cansei de Ser Sexy

12. Best Fwends - Best Fwends EP2
I'm talking about 'Skate or Live' here. Best Fwends themselves, Moshi Moshi, and others use 'retarded' as a compliment when discussing this music, but I think that the first track, especially, is good and proper electronic pop, with four dollops of punk (what we used to call punk) stirred in. Or some form of chiptune with singing like prank-calling. Or whatever the story of the moment is. Interest or not, this is a release to be savo(u)red a little. Christ, you have to dance fast to this, if you're dancing.

11. The Spies - Spies' Ball

10. New Young Pony Club - Get Lucky
I like everything they've done, especially their press shot sporting I HEART NYPC t-shirts. (Yes, I have one.) This single came out in 2006, which is convenient.

9. Loveninjas - Keep Your Love
I'm not mad for the full-length, but this extended-play (not on the record) is an anthem (for the ambiguous set). Only xenophobia put this this low.

8. The Snow Fairies - Voila!
Kind of an LP, kind of an EP, and a free download. Perfect. Also, defunct. Killed by the Spleens.

7. The Futureheads - News and Tributes
(Disclosure: I am certainly not impartial when it comes to the Futureheads.) It doesn't kick the piss out of everything in the room, as the Area EP suggested it might, but the second full-length from Sunderland (ever!) is a wonderful document that shows that the Futureheads want to make singles for records, not assemblages. (Jesus, anything to avoid things like 'Carnival Kids.') I think this effort is, without doubt, superior to the first (which, of course, was a wonderful record). Yes, it does make me a little sad to be so right. If 'Favours for Favours' had been the second single from this record, I guarantee that it'd've done better than #52 in the U.K. charts. Since it's the best song on the record, and all. The best thing from town since Jimmy Montgomery. (Disclosure: I like this one the most.)

6. Fury of the Headteachers - Farewell Comrade
This single is a fucking storm. Both sides.

5. Bib - I Wanna Be a Better
I want to play this song (included on C06) like I never wanted to play a C86 song. Dancing's a start. What I pout about is that everyone likes the track but cocks a snook at dancing like the track demands one must.

4. The Manhattan Love Suicides - The Manhattan Love Suicides
When I first listened to this record, I said to myself, knowing nothing, Self, wouldn't it be grand if these kids were from Leeds? How happy that they are! Yes, they cover Beat Happening (credentials purposes?), but that's sort of rubbish. 'Things You've Never Done' is spectacular. I dislike comparisons (although they help tiny brains): The Shop Assistants collide with My Bloody Valentine. (Blah! The Jesus and Mary Chain!) (Blah! All their gigs have lasted under fifteen minutes!) (Hurp!)

3. The Pipettes - We Are The Pipettes
Not for the robust of heart, or songwriters. Tin Pan Alley and the Brill Building and assorted cunts used to do what the Pipettes have proved still ought to be done. Now, a bunch of folks have decided that the Pipettes are too 'manufactured' for their tastes. Folks, I know, must maintain their own dairy herds and slice their own bacon. That's individual. The Pipettes taste as good as the sixties do to me. 'Sex' is a start until we leave the decade altogether with the sentiment of sentiments, 'I Love You.' A time machine to one year ago, maybe.

2. Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
Even if you thought Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi was as spiff as all get-out, you'll say, Hello, this is just lovely, isn't it? You'll be right. Half-lounge, half-pop has never, to me, felt so familiar. Good for sleeping and jogging. Also, if you ever embraced that Belle and Sebastian comparison (complete with Stuart Murdoch link), you are now pronounced wrong. It's not even close, I don't reckon. When Tracyanne Campbell sings (with that died-and-gone-to-heaven delivery), 'You can be handsome, I'll be pretty,' I want to weep. (Fine. Yes.) (Fair disclosure: the video for 'If Looks Could Kill' is simply horrible.)

1. The Long Blondes - Someone to Drive You Home
I was unprepared for this record, given that a) my previous favorite Long Blondes' effort was 'Christmas Is Cancelled,' a non-album, non-EP cut (that is, I think, one of the best Christmas songs that doesn't have the benefit of being played in shops beginning in November) and b) I was a bit underwhelmed at the Don Hill's show this summer. (Oh, and I hate shows. Full of cunts.) And now I have to assimilate this. 'Giddy Stratospheres,' already a fantastic glass of Orange Juice, becomes a real head-rattler, probably because now the track has a recorded-in-a-gymnasium-studio-or-summat-like-that reverb that it always needed. The song, of course, was always supposed to get one this hot. The 'title' track I'd recommend for all men and women looking to fall in love more than once, or others. It gives me the jitters. I played the album version of 'Swallow Tattoo' thirty-six times the day I got the record. Someone, please, don't scorn me. I've heard the Long Blondes, in my presence, called 'Sheffield's second-best band' (after Arctic Monkeys). It's imaginable that you can't even imagine my reaction.

Erik Kennedy
Erik Kennedy


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