Olympics fever with Saint Etienne


Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week (which must be the equivalent of being in Plato’s cave) you will have realised that the Olympics are taking part at the moment. And rather fun they are too, even if you have no sporting ability whatsoever like me (and/or your football team have got the new season off to a bad start).

It’s the taking part that counts is a 26 track Olympic compilation, 26 bands, 26 exclusive themes, one for each of the 26 Olympic sports. Each time team GB wins a medal (and we’ve done, y’know, quite well so far) that sporting theme will be a FREE download for a day over at wiaiwya for a day. Artists involved include Saint Etienne, White Town, and Darren Hayman.

This is the latest one, from Saint Etienne:

Find out more here.

The return of Animal Collective


The next two or three months have got so many great releases coming out that I am feeling way more excited than a thirty-five year old should probably be. What can I say? I love music more than DiY or going food shopping. Although family time is precious and not something I tend to feature here, much.

One of those releases is the latest (the tenth, no less) album from Animal Collective. Entitled Centipede Hz it is out on September 3. It is also their first album since 2007’s Strawberry Jam to feature all four original members – Avey Tare, Panda Bear, Geologist and Deakin.

This is the first track to do the rounds from the album, entitled ‘Today’s Supernatural.’

The full tracklisting for the album is as follows:

‘Today’s Supernatural’
‘Rosie Oh’
‘Wide Eyed’
‘Father Time’
‘New Town Burnout’
‘Monkey Riches’
‘Mercury Man’

Album Review: Micachu and the Shapes


Micachu and the Shapes: ‘Never’ (Rough Trade)

Following on from last year’s collaborative effort, Choppped and Screwed, Mica Levi and friends return with their second studio album. Ms Levi is continuing to forge her own path.

And it’s telling that this album is more accessible than that -but still delightfully skewed pop, on its’ wonderful terms. THe first time I listened to this album, I realised I had to focus on it, rather than it just playing in the background. It’s actually quite easy to get into, if you give it the benefit of the doubt. Songs like ‘Slick’ and ‘Waste’ are pop songs, they’re just pop songs delivered by-and I mean this as a compliment -an artist with a unique, visionary approach to music. After all, how many artists do you know who make their own instruments?

Yes, it will freak some folk out. Good.

Because this is proof that experimental does not have to equal unlistenable, that experimental is not mutually exclusive from pop, that experimental is not shorthand for self-indulgent.

…are you up for the challenge?


Never is out now on Rough Trade.

Stream the album via The Guardian website

Presenting…Crushing Blows


So much music in my inbox. It’s really hard to get through it all, and introductions that tell you where they have played with shite Band A, shite Band B and Shite Band C are not guaranteed to get my interest up. Oddly.

Yet sometimes, you just have to take a chance.

Like with Crushing Blows. Without wishing to get all seventies on you: listen to this on headphones. The Derbyshire duo of Andrew Foster (Drums, Vocals and Keyboard) and Chris Jones (Guitar and Vocals) have something distinctive about them. Not just another run of the mill indie band (THANK GOD) if this evidence -a track from their forthcoming EP is anything to go by:

They put out this track last year. It’s rather fine. An Indiepop band with the feel of Battles? Don’t knock it.

Finally, this double A-side (or whatever we call them in the digital age) came out this year. Different once again:

Darren Hayman…he’s still working at a fantastic rate!


It seems that – six months at the most- I am frequently writing about yet another new release from Darren Hayman.

I certainly don’t begrudge it -he’s a genius and he’s prolific as anything, with an amazingly high standard of quality control. And some very quirky ideas for projects.

His latest album is entitled Lido (also the debut album by the criminally underrated Clearlake, all those years ago) is all about open air Swimming Pools. Many of these have now closed in the UK, but retain more than a slight air of beauty about them, particularly from people who love the art deco style. Oh, and the album’s completely instrumental.

This is the tracklisting for the album:

1. London Fields
2. Black Rock Baths
3. Brockwell Park
4. Parliament Hill
5. Saltdean
6. The Knap
7. Super Swimming Stadium
8. Brentwood
9. Tinside
11.Kings Meadow
12.The Jubilee Pool
13.Purley Way
14.Tooting Bec

This is ‘Jubilee Pool’

This is the video:

…and there is also another video, this time for ‘Super Swimming Stadium’

Super Swimming Stadium by Darren Hayman from Darren Hayman on Vimeo.

Also, if you are in the London area in September, Darren has an exhibition of all the artwork from the album from 3rd – 16th September at Rough Trade East Record shop. This can be found at: Dray Walk, Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL

The album can be pre-ordered from the bandcamp for the vinyl version.

Finally, this Saturday (August 4) Darren is one of the guests at Withered Hand’s show at the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh.

Presenting…David Byrne & St. Vincent


David Byrne and St. Vincent will release their collaborative album Love This Giant on September 10.

Two years in the making, they don’t appear to be touring it in the UK just yet (just the US and Canada). The tracklisting for the album is as follows:

1. “Who”
2. “Weekend in the Dust”
3. “Dinner For Two”
4. “Ice Age”
5. “I Am An Ape”
6. “The Forest Awakes”
7. “I Should Watch TV”
8. “Lazarus”
9. “Optimist”
10. “Lightning”
11. “The One Who Broke Your Heart” (ft. The Dap-Kings and Antibalas)
12. “Outside of Space & Time”

You can download the album’s opening track ‘Why’ below:

To stream ‘Weekend In The Dust’ follow this link