A song for today #8

Franz Ferdinand Sparks

Franz Ferdinand and Sparks have teamed up for an album together as FFS, which will be released on June 8.

The first official single from the album is entitled ‘Johnny Delusional’ which you can stream below:

The first track to be released from the album was ‘Piss Off,’ which again you can stream below:

The album tracklisting is as follows:

‘Johnny Delusional’
‘Call Girl’
‘Dictator’s Son’
‘Little Guy From The Suburbs’
‘Police Encounters’
‘Save Me From Myself’
‘So Desu Ne’
‘The Man Without A Tan’
‘Things I Won’t Get’
‘The Power Couple’
‘Collaborations Don’t Work’
‘Piss Off’

Meanwhile, you can read details about their forthcoming tour here

A song for today #7


I’ve actually had quite a nice day, thanks for asking – but sometimes, regardless of your mood, what you want is a snarling, raging beast of a song.

And ‘Spit You Out’ from Metz’s forthcoming sophomore album, entitled Metz II hits the spot very nicely indeed, thank you. This is one to be cranked up very loud, whilst playing air guitar and screaming (either in you head or out loud, it doesn’t matter which). Metz’s debut album came out in 2012 (and made my end of year list) so this is an album I’m definitely looking forward to.

If that hit the spot for you, the video below (not the video, apparently, according to YouTube) is the opening track on Metz II:

Metz II is released by Sub Pop on May 4 and the album tracklisting is as follows:

1. Acetate
2. The Swimmer
3. Spit You Out
4. Zzyzx
5. IOU
6. Landfill
7. Nervous System
8. Wait in Line
9. Eyes Peeled
10. Kicking a Can of Worms

Album Review – Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson No Pier Pressure

Brian Wilson -‘No Pier Pressure.’ (Virgin/EMI)

Brian Wilson is a legend. Without him and Paul McCartney trying to outdo each other with the Beach Boys and the Beatles respectively (just in case you’ve been under a rock, for forever) over the course of the sixties, that decade could have turned out to be very different musically. And while like a lot of very talented people he’s had to confront a lot of demons, there can be no doubt that he’s a supremely talented musician.

So how does his eleventh solo album measure up? Well, leaving aside the rather cringeworthy pun of the title (unless that’s an oblique reference to the fact he wasn’t into surfing), there are some great bits on this album. The opening ‘This Beautiful Day’ is only ninety seconds long, but the 60s Beach Boys harmonies meeting 1950s smoky jazz and is simply stunning, and it’s an example of Wilson’s utter genius that he does more with these ninety seconds than some artists do with an entire lifetime. And the album is also bookended with the appropriately titled ‘Last Song’ which stays just the right side of schmaltz, and might just be the best thing on here.

It doesn’t all work. ‘Runaway Dancer’ a collaboration with Sebu, and ‘Don’t Worry’ see him flirting with disco, of the ultra-watered down variety, rather than the Nile Rogers-helmed goldlike variety. ‘Whatever Happened,’ which is in part a collaboration with Beach Boy Al Jardine is classic Wilson in terms of form and style, and yet not, somehow, ultimately in the final result.

But there’s a number of excellent songs on this collection which make it worth investigating, such as ‘Our Special Love,’ ‘Sail Away’ and ‘Tell Me Why’ which demonstrate that fifty years on, he most definitely still has got it. Like a lot of albums ever since the advent of CD, this album may be a little long, but that shouldn’t stop you checking out the songs within.


No Pier Pressure is out now on Virgin/EMI.



Lo-fi electronic songwriter Zohara, based in Tel Aviv and London, first got in touch a few months ago, and her music, shamefully, got lost in my rather overcrowded inbox. I’d like to rectify that now.

She has recently finished recording an album’s worth of material in her bedroom – despite the fact that this sounds like she’s been working with a wealth of musicians and producers in high-class studios.

This track and video ‘Bass and Drum’ are simply stunning. Proof yet again that the phrase ‘pop music’ is being reclaimed from the teeny-boppers and can be applied to outstanding music. This track is one of the best I have heard this year. The track can be bought for $1 (or more) from her bandcamp page

Given events over many years in her home country, the powerful anti-war song ‘Soldier’ shows how she views the conflict, as she sings:

‘You will go and you’ll find you’ve been fooled
Following all of their rules
We’re the same on both sides of the line
How did they turned you so blind?’

Finally, ‘Piano 1976’ is quiet, beautiful and unsettling, in the best possible way. Watch out for that saxophone…

A Song For Today #6

I must confess that 17 year old Australian producer Golden Vessel (Max Byrne to his family and friends) is a new name to me, but I’ve found this to be a rather lovely track which I’ve played quite a few times this evening. It’s where chilled electronica meets mellow r’n’b and it’s excellent stuff, which deserves checking out.

It features vocals from Caleb Hodges of Art Of Sleeping (afraid both these names were new to me to – no doubt to my eternal shame) and it is great to wind down to after a long Easter weekend.

Stream it below and click on the soundcloud link to download for free, too.

A Johnny Cash treat coming your way…

Johnny Cash

Picture by Martyn Atkins, Los Angeles, 2002

Johnny Cash died in 2003, and his final six albums, known as the American Recordings are being reissued on vinyl on May 11. I’m proud (smug) that I already own all of these on vinyl anyway, but if you don’t, then you need to get your hands on this. The Vinyl Box Set comprises: American Recordings, American Recordings II: Unchained, American Recordings III: Solitary Man, American Recordings IV: The Man Comes Around, American Recordings V: A Hundred Highways and American Recordings VI: Ain’t No Grave. The albums were originally released between 1994 and 2010.

Undoubtedly the most famous song from this period is his masterly reworking of Nine Inch Nails’ song ‘Hurt.’ NiN’s Trent Reznor has accepted that the song belongs to Cash now, and Bono called this the greatest video ever. He may be pretty close to being right.

The tracklistings for the albums, featuring some of the greatest songs of the last century is as follows:

American Recordings

Side 1

1. Delia’s Gone [02:18]
2. Let The Train Blow The Whistle [02:16]
3. The Beast In Me [02:46]
4. Drive On [02:24]
5. Why Me Lord [02:21]
6. Thirteen [02:30]
7. Oh, Bury Me Not
8. (Introduction: A Cowboy’s Prayer) [03:53]

Side 2

1. Bird On A Wire [04:02]
2. Tennessee Stud [02:55]
3. Down There By The Train [05:35]
4. Redemption [03:04]
5. Like A Soldier [02:50]
6. The Man Who Couldn’t Cry [05:01]

American II: Unchained

Side 1

1. Rowboat [03:43]
2. Sea Of Heartbreak [02:43]
3. Rusty Cage [02:48]
4. The One Rose (That’s Left In My Heart) [02:26]
5. Country Boy [02:31]
6. Memories Are Made Of This [02:19]
7. Spiritual [05:07]

Side 2

1. The Kneeling Drunkard’s Plea [02:31]
2. Southern Accents [04:41]
3. Mean Eyed Cat [02:33]
4. Meet Me In Heaven [03:22]
5. I Never Picked Cotton [02:39]
6. Unchained [02:52]
7. I’ve Been Everywhere [03:17]

American III: Solitary Man

Side 1

1. I Won’t Back Down [02:08]
2. Solitary Man [02:24]
3. That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day) [02:34]
4. One [03:52]
5. Nobody [03:13]
6. I See A Darkness [03:42]
7. The Mercy Seat [04:34]

Side 2

1. Would You Lay With Me (In A Field Of Stone) [02:40]
2. Field Of Diamonds [03:15]
3. Before My Time [02:54]
4. Country Trash [01:47]
5. Mary Of The Wild Moor [02:31]
6. I’m Leavin’ Now [03:06]
7. Wayfaring Stranger [03:20]

American IV: The Man Comes Around [2LP]

Side 1

1. The Man Comes Around [04:26]
2. Hurt [03:36]
3. Give My Love To Rose [03:27]

Side 2

1. Bridge Over Troubled Water [03:54]
2. I Hung My Head [03:53]
3. First Time Ever I Saw Your Face [03:52]
4. Personal Jesus [03:19]

Side 3

1. In My Life [02:57]
2. Sam Hall [02:39]
3. Danny Boy [03:18]
4. Desperado [03:12]

Side 4

1. I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry [03:02]
2. Tear Stained Letter [03:39]
3. Streets Of Laredo [03:33]
4. We’ll Meet Again [02:58]

American V: A Hundred Highways

Side 1

1. Help Me [02:51]
2. God’s Gonna Cut You Down [02:38]
3. Like The 309 [04:34]
4. If You Could Read My Mind [04:29]
5. Further On Up The Road [03:25]
6. On The Evening Train [04:17]

Side 2

1. I Came To Believe [03:45]
2. Love’s Been Good To Me [03:18]
3. A Legend In My Time [02:37]
4. Rose Of My Heart [03:18]
5. Four Strong Winds [04:34]
6. I’m Free From The Chain Gang Now [03:00]

American Recordings VI: Ain’t No Grave

1. Ain’t No Grave [02:53]
2. Redemption Day [04:22]
3. For The Good Times [03:21]
4. I Corinthians 15:55 [03:37]
5. Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound [03:26]

Side 2

1. Satisfied Mind [02:48]
2. I Don’t Hurt Anymore [02:45]
3. Cool Water [02:53]
4. Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream [03:14]
5. Aloha Oe [02:59]

Presenting…Low Cut Connie

Low Cut Connie are a new name to me, but I like Rolling Stone’s description of them being “Piano-slapping rock-n-roll with a drunk-ass punk-rock spirit – like Jerry Lee Lewis if he’d had his first religious experience at a Replacements show.”

They will shortly release their new album Hi Honey, and they’ve made two brilliant, ultra-quirky videos. Once very American, the other very British.

See what you think…

Album Review – Happyness


Happyness -‘Weird Little Birthday.’ (Moshi Moshi)

On paper, the proposition of this album is more than a little odd, I grant you: it’s described as being not quite a concept album about a boy who shares his birthday with Jesus Christ (presumably December 25?) and is eventually driven mad with jealousy.

Now hopefully, that hasn’t put you off – and if it has, more fool you, because this is an absolutely brilliant album. First released last year, the album has been repackaged with extra tracks and is now out again on Moshi Moshi.

And although this trio hail from London, it’s quite clear that it it’s the likes of leftfield 90s American acts in the vein of Pavement, Yo La Tengo and Low (in their less slow moments) who cast a welcome shadow over this album. That’s meant as a compliment; not least in an era when so many bands just serve up indie-by-numbers that make independent imply overly dependant on what has gone before. Because over the course of songs like ‘Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste The Same’ (if Hannibal Lecter was a songwriter, eh?) ‘Lofts’ and ‘A Whole New Shape’ a fantastic piece of work is unveiled, that never loses its way over the course of a whopping great seventeen tracks. A record that I wanted to listen again as soon as it had finished.


Weird Little Birthday is out now on Moshi Moshi