Full length version of a contribution to the March 2011 edition of ‘M‘ – the PRS For Music members’ magazine. They asked for ten tracks and a brief description of what was appealing about each song. It was hard to resist trying to slip in an extra track so there are eleven here – and the descriptions ramble on a bit too, but hey. If you’d like an albumsworth of new tunes of this kind of quality to drop onto your iPod every week, you might like to try subscribing to my BBC podcast… Enjoy!
VINY JACKET – Got The Badge
There’s so much gobsmacking music coming out of Tyne & Wear at the moment that I almost listed ten bands from the North-East – each of them equally brilliant – without giving the rest of the UK a mention. This lot are one of our more recent discoveries and jawdropping live.
HOLD YOUR HORSE IS – You Show Up
Well, I’ve got an iPod Touch so you can watch videos on it, and You Show Up is one of the simplest, freshest, sharpest pieces of writing, performing, shooting and editing I’ve seen in years. Completely renewed my faith in rock music and rock music videos.
HOLD YOUR HORSES – 70 Million
You wait ages for one horse-holding-themed band with a brilliant video – and then along come two at once. As Harry Hill would say, what are the chance of that happening, eh? This lot are French, and every bit as wonderful, but in a completely different way.
RIZZLE KICKS – Down With The Trumpets
Given how fast slightly skewed but insanely catchy pop songs tend to take off across the social networks, by the time you read this Rizzle Kicks will probably be all over cyberspace like a rash. For all lovers of daft upbeat sunshine pop everywhere… download this demo and dance!
ALICE GUN – Metal Spider
Her 2008 demo “Blanket & A Box” showed that Alice was already a songwriter of extraordinary poise and power. She – and husband Al Mobbs – have since become close family friends, but even if they weren’t I’d still buy her stunning debut album Blood & Bone in a heartbeat.
JON DOTS – The Great Dictator
Dublin film student JON DOTS played drums in various local bands before deciding to come out from behind the kit, become a singer and develop his own brand of quirky homemade cinema-themed electropop. The emotional punch chorus of this song still grabs me everytime.
MONMON – King Of The Slums
I find MySpace so hard to use these days that I often wish artists as good as the Leeds trio MonMon would move their music to one of the many easy-to-use competitors. Still, this song could give Nick Cave, Lou Reed or Ian McCulloch a run for their money so it’s worth the hassle.
NATALIE ROSS – At Least I Know Where My Shoes Are (Studio version)
Natalie Ross channels the harmonies of artists like Doris Day and The Andrews Sisters through 21st Century pop sensibilities with her bubbly dizzy-blonde stage persona. Despite her skill at layering big-scale productions, I love her raw, stark, vulnerable songs like this one best of all.
JUICE ALEEM – First Lesson
In these extraordinary times for UK urban music, hopefully pioneers like Roots Manuva, Ty, Blak Twang and Akala will also start getting the recognition they deserve. And Juice Aleem’s 2009 classic “Jerusalaam Come” (Big Dada) is one of my favourite hiphop albums by anyone. Ever.
SKYTEBASS – Syv Søttisyv
Youthful producer/engineer Marius IRGENS – currently producing Norwegian punk bands in his Bergen studio – decided to compose a piece in his spare time with seven beats to the bar lasting exactly 77 measures in length. Lovely fresh electro with a nod to Rokysöpp.
RIEN – B.A.S.I.C
From 2007 – a band of seasoned French musicians playing together with all the relentless precision of a well-oiled piston engine, aided and abetted by American guest vocals and sly, surefooted songwriting. What’s not to like?