Archive for the Music Category

Under Pressure

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2008 by tomstanford

Elbow are a band who’ve always been close to my heart. Their previous three albums, Asleep In The Back, Cast of Thousands, and Leaders of the Free World, have remained in the ‘go to’ section of my music collection (when i can’t be bothered to think about what to listen too) for ages. Not many bands make it into this imaginary section. Elbow do. So, I was hugely excited about hearing their new single ‘Grounds For Divorce’, yet I wasn’t ready for the huge impact this single was going to make. It’s superb. Simply superb. Instant and infecting. The guitar riff, which at first catches you by surprise, leaves you yearning to hear it again and again. It generally starts like many Elbow songs (certainly no bad thing!) with Guy Garvey’s gritty vocals, simple drums and plodding piano, then it kicks in…  

Elbow – Grounds For Divorce

Art Brut are a band who I’ve enjoyed live on numerous occasions, but I’ve always found their records a little difficult to listen to. Their new single ‘Pump Up The Volume’, which the band didn’t even realise was being released, is extremely different however as I can’t stop listening to it. Again a mighty guitar riff is key to this track, and responsible for my thorough enjoyment. Eddie Argos’ clever witty lyrics are a draw to, delivered in his usual deadpan style. My favourite line being the chorus… “i know i shouldn’t, is it so wrong, to break from your kiss, to turn up a pop song”.

Art Brut – Pump Up The Volume

art brut

Born Ruffians are a band I really liked when their initial EP was released through XL last year. It seemed as if I was the only one though, as they quickly disapeared from the scene and failed to pick up a contract with XL for a full length. Now they’re back though with ‘Hummingbird’, a great little number which is coming out on Warp. More tender vocals, backed with Smiths-inspired guitar lines and great bass hooks, and more ideas per track then The Maccabees managed on a whole album. A second treat of theirs is also below (perhaps a better song too) which was sent to me recently. Ace. Both tracks feature on the forthcoming LP ‘Red, Yellow & Blue’ (great cover, crap title).

Born Ruffians – Hummingbird

Born Ruffians – Barnacle Goose

Blow Up Records are back with a new band, Silvery. Paul Tunkin’s Blow Up, famous for it’s club night at the Metro, (arguably) helping create Britpop and it’s series of genius compilations, have a great band on their hands here. It’s another indie pop gem and at under 2 minutes should be squeezed into most Indie DJ’s setlist.

Silvery – Horrors

Never been a massive fan of The Kills but their new single is ace. Just relentless bass. Brilliant.

The Kills – Cheap and Cheerful

Good to see The B52’s back. Even if they’re looking a bit too old for it now, they’ve still come up with a great single…

The B52’s – Funplex


Finally, still listening to a lot of David Bowie. Do you think Noel Gallagher ever heard this track?

David Bowie – Cracked Actor

The Bears Are Coming. Definitely.

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2008 by tomstanford

The Bears Are Coming. Quite what this song is about is anyone’s guess. What is evident is that Late of the Pier are here for the long run. This is their new Erol Alkan-produced single, lifted from their soon-to-be-released debut album. I first got into the band through the C90’s remix of their track ‘Space and the Woods’. I didn’t particularly like the original, and was further won over by their second, Moshi Moshi released, single ‘Bathroom Gurgle’. That track narrowly missed my best tracks of 2007, in fact I’m not sure why it did? Ah well… Whilst Bathroom Gurgle was like a modern indie Bohemiam Rhapsody, ‘The Bears Are Coming’ (released through EMI) is more a straight forward song, whilst the sounds are anything but. I can’t begin to guess what type of guitar/synth/keyboard is producing most of them and how as a band, you can, not just come up with such a dazzling array of sounds, but fit them all into one track and still make it work. This single has pop sensibility and I feel it’s the type of music Radio One should be embracing to their bosom like an over-protective mother, but alas, they continue to support One Night Only and Scouting For Girls. Oh the shame. Radio One is essentially using the tax payer’s money to help the careers of these hideously mediocre bands, it would be nice to see them take a pot shot on an interesting, but obscure, band like Late of the Pier once in awhile.

Late of the Pier – The Bears Are Coming

Sorry. Short rant over. Someone Radio One are supporting is Foals. I think this is because there was already such a massive groundswell of support, not to mention NME cover stars in the first week of the year, that they couldn’t ignore them. Cassius is their new single and it follows in a similar vein to previous singles Balloons, Mathletics and Hummer. Having seen them live numerous times, I’m pleased such an exciting outfit are doing so well. I’m a touch sceptical about the lack of their first two singles on the album, and whether their LP will match my expectations. I’m worried that it will either be, all at a similar tempo/style and struggle to be interesting enough over the course of an album or that if they’ve changed these things, whether they’ll be any good at it… I hope to be proved wrong as I love this band. In the meantime, Cassius is another slice of delicious angular guitars brought together with tight drums and spot-on vocals,whilst being slightly more catchy in the ‘chorus’ then their other tracks. A band on top form.

Foals – Cassius


Here’s a tune sent to me by a friend which comes from the ‘New York Noise: Sounds from the New York Underground 1978-1982’ album. It’s by Glenn Branca and is coming from a completely different place to Foals, but follows similar aesthetics. The way it builds and takes hold of you is the key. You need to allow it to break into the 3+ minute stage, with the introduction of strings, where it really gets going and you cannot escape the tune. If not by then, after a few cymbal crashes and the bass coming to the fore towards the 5 minute mark, you’ll be hooked. Absolute genius. It also sounds massively like it was the inspiration behind LCD Soundsystem’s superb ‘All My Friends’. Got to love the title too.

Glenn Branca – Lesson No.1


A final little gem is this. A track I don’t know much about (get sent so much, plus downloading… I often forget where things come from). I looked online, and couldn’t find any information anywhere on Peppers either, so if anyone knows….. It also reminds me of the theme tune to ‘The Rockford Files’ which myself and a friend were addicted to for ages, and actually used to listen too before exams at University to inspire us. Strange. Anyway….

Peppers – Pepper Box

….and if you’re after something to send to your loved one for Valentine’s, depending on the type of person you are, here’s a couple to choose from…

Sam Cooke – Cupid

The Smiths – There’s A Light That Never Goes Out


Hot Hot Shit.

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2008 by tomstanford

It’s no wonder that Hot Chip are among the top bands in ‘blogworld’. Their new album ‘Made In The Dark’ stretches everything from their career to date into 13 astonishing tracks. The sounds, squeels, reference points and influences continue to rack up, not to mention the mixture of wit and humour (see ‘Wrestlers’) and serious messages (see ‘In The Privacy Of Our Love’) eminating from their lyrics.

Da Chip

I’ve been a long-term fan, having invited the band to play our club night Shuffle back in 2003. An invitation they accepted and played a storming show (despite the sound problems – my bad). Since then, signing to EMI (DFA) has seen them being thrust upon a new (mainstream) audience, who’ve lapped up the delights they have to offer with equal enthusaism as there ever faithful early adopters.

‘Ready For The Floor’ was the much-talked about track the band offered to Kylie. How this track wasn’t taken on is beyond me, but her loss is our gain. This track is out now and has been posted hundreds of times, so I won’t here, but the video (featuring Alexis in full on ‘Two Faces’ mode) is below. A must watch (as most of their videos are….).

Having got the album llate ast week, I spent the entire weekend listening to nothing else. The first track to really stick out, and what I consider a sure-fire bet for asingle release, is ‘Wrestlers’. Perhaps inspired by the Greco Roman club night which Joe is involved with, this track shows Hot Chip off at their adorable best. Great vocal tag-teaming from Joe and Alexis (and others?), with a really simple synth line and beats. The lyrics are fantastic with Alexis warning ‘here we come, drop kick, half nelson…’ and Joe responding with ‘bodyslam, suplex, headlock…’. Genius. Check it below.

Hot Chip – Wrestlers

The album opens with ‘Out At The Pictures’. Another great track. More beaty then ‘Wrestlers’ it’s long instrumental opening is a perfect tonic for the rest of the album, and when it kicks in about 1:45, you can’t help but want to get off your seat and jump around. It’s Hot Chip declaring they’re back. A song that makes you beam from ear-to-ear as it sounds like them talking directly to you.

Hot Chip – Out At The Pictures

Hot Chip

The album closes with two more of the splendid Alexis-led ballads. My preference of these ‘In The Privacy Of Our Love’ is a really simple track, that’s beatiful and a fitting way to close the LP.

Hot Chip – In The Privacy Of Our Love

So to put it simply. Hot Chip are geniuses. Buy this album. It will be among the albums of the year (already). You can also download the title track for free from here.

Here’s another old school Hot Chip treat for you all. One of my faves of all time…

Hot Chip – Baby Said

As well as Hot Chip I’ve been listening to ‘Chrome Dreams II’ by Neil Young a LOT. His 30th studio album no less. It’s fantastic. If you’ve got a spare 18 minutes, check the track below. You will not be disapointed.

Neil Young – Ordinary People


Another couple of tracks I’ve been listening to recently are below. You need to give the Poni Hoax a bit of time (let it get past the vocals, then tell me you don’t like it!!). MGMT track is superb and from the new album. Rilo Kiley track is simply because they’re ace and I haven’t got round to doing a full post on them yet.

Poni Hoax – Antibodies

MGMT – Kids


Rilo Kiley – Silver Lining

Get Involved.

A present.

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on January 20, 2008 by tomstanford

I was given the Sons & Daughters new album just before Christmas and have been listening to it constantly since. The album, This Gift, is their third following 2004’s ‘Love The Cup’ and 2005’s ‘The Repulsion Box’, all released through Domino Records. This Gift is due for release a week on Monday (28th January).


I’ve enjoyed both previous albums, but neither has had the immediacy of This Gift. Late last year, the band released ‘The Gilt Complex’ the first track to be lifted from the album and album opener. It starts with a typical S&D guitar riff and pulsating basline, before the vocals kick in. Then the guitar begins taking off, the bassline remaining constant, and rolling drums accompanying the whole thing. It’s a great way to start any album… I won’t post that track here as it’s readily available already, but here’s the video:

New single ‘Darling’ is a smash in my eyes and can’t believe it hasn’t taken the band further… The “twisting in, twisting out…” chorus is ridiculously catchy. It also features both male and female vocals stretching to their limits…

Sons & Daughters – Darling – removed at request

S&D Gift S&D Darling

The majority of the tracks on this album are very simple and feature just guitar, bass, drums and multiple vocals. The simplicity of the make-up of the songs, more then showing off the skill and craft of the song-writing. Another of my favourites from this album is the Smiths-like ‘Iodine’. Again, fantastic use of both vocals throughout.

Sons & Daughters – Iodine – removed at request

I saw Sons & Daughters for the first time since the ‘Love The Cup’-era at an in-store at Fopp last week and they were amazing. Playing to a very quiet, polite, sparsley populated Fopp basement didn’t knock them off their stride and they performed with a passion and fervour most bands would put aside for bigger shows. So impressed was I, that I bought tickets the following day to their forthcoming show at ULU (supported by Black Kids no less…). Alongside their version of first single ‘Johnny Cash’ which was interspersed with ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog‘ by The Stooges, another highlight was the album closer ‘Goodbye Service’. Great use of ba-ba-da-ba-ba-ba-dah’s!!

Sons & Daughters – Goodbye Service – removed at request

Got loads of other bits and pieces recently, one of which is this fantastic James Yuill Remix of ‘Lightbulbs’ by The Answering Machine (see best of 2007 – indie). It was on the covermount of the new Artrocker magazine – get the magazine as it’s a great read and the rest of the covermount CD is well worth the investment (just for ‘Frustration’ by The Whip if nothing else).

The Answering Machine – Lightbulbs (James Yuill Remix)

Whilst on the subject of covermounts… This month’s Mojo has a Radiohead-inspired OK Computer themed CD. Amongst these was a Gary Numan gem from the ‘Replicas’ album . Seriously brilliant and seriously Bowie-esque!

Gary Numan & Tubeway Army – Down In The Park

Gary Numan

I also got this fantastic track from over at Said The Gramophone as part of their Top 50 tracks of 2007. A real treat from a band I’d never heard of before this…

Parts & Labor – Fractured Skies

Oh, and you know when you’re listening to an album on your iPod, it finishes and you’re towards the end of a tube journey or it’s raining or something and you just stick it on ‘shuffle songs’ to get you home? Well, sometimes it throws up some hidden gems. Hadn’t heard this, or any Yo La Tengo for ageeeees, and this little treat came on. Very special.

Yo La Tengo – Little Eyes

More electro coming soon… I promise!


Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2008 by tomstanford

Following my previous post about my top tunes of 2007 indie-style, it’s now time to embrace the music which i like gurning too… I’ve done another zip folder of all the tracks. This time it’s a top 13, again to fit onto one audio CD. Some of these tracks might not actually have been released in 2007, but hey, that’s when I got into ’em…

I’ve tried to keep this to only one appearence per act (DatA appear twice – bit of an oversight). As a result, some awesome remix work from Herve, Soulwax and Crookers missed the cut. The stuff included are smashes though, so get invovled…

You can download the zip file from here.

1. Adam Sky vs Mark Stewart ‘We Are All Prostitutes (Crookers Remix)’ – a hit on all the blogs and easy to see why. Perfect for DJing and what a treat from 1:40 onwards with the build into that amazing hook. Ahhhhh….

2. Cursor Miner ‘Skunk Works’ – Only discovered this album this year, argh, what have i been missing… Well, this.

3. DatA ‘Aerius Light (Kitsune DJ Friendly Edit)’ – Lifted from the forthcoming Kitsune Maison 5 compilation. French genius.

4. David E. Sugar ‘Oi New York, This Is London’ – David E. Sugar is doing it for London here… Wasn’t amazed with the remixes but the original is fantastic. Check the Greco Roman club night this is associated with…

David E. Sugar

5. DJ Mehdi ‘Signature (Thomas Bangalter Edit)’ – Everything about this track is great. Made the right decision in putting this edit on the album, which is amazing and you should check out. The ‘wobbly’ bit about 2:30 is superb. Check the video below (the guy in it looks like a cross between Martin Fowler and Jack Penate!).

6. Fancy ‘What’s Your Name Again? (Busy P Remix)’ –  So heavy. So good. So many confused looks when i first started playing this at the beginning of the year.

7. Felix Cartel ‘Moss vs. Tree’ – A surprising choice perhaps, but a fantastic track which remained on playlists throughout 2007 for me and continually played out.

8. Klaxons ‘Gravity’s Rainbow (Soulwax Remix)’ – A plethora of choices of tunes from both Klaxons and Soulwax to choose from but this mix has everything good about both these artists. The constant almost tribal nature of the track is unique and something no-one else but Soulwax coud have come up with when remixing this track.

9. Mel Merio ‘Domino Dancing (Extended Club Mix)’ – who’d have thought a Pet Shop Boys cover would be such a hit. A storming tune that smashes the dancefloor. Everyone loves the 80’s really…

10. Partyshank ‘Partyshank vs. Yo! Majesty (Shanks Bootleg Mix)’ – A bootleg I ripped from another blog site (can’t remember which – sorry). This is mental. So much going on. I defy anyone to not dance to this… Partyshank set to be huge in ’08.

Partyshank 1

11. Teenage Bad Girl ‘Cocotte (Boyz Noize Rework)’ – Again a track that stayed by my side like a faithful dog throughout 2007. More booty bounce going on.

Teenage Bad Girl

12. Tepr ‘Minuit Jacuzzi (DatA Remix)’ – More fantastic French genius. In many ways, the ‘Fench’ sound is becoming old hat, but when you still get frsh mixes like this, you wonder if it will ever end..

13. Unklejam ‘Love Ya (Herve Remix)’ – A superb way to end the compilation. The booty bass heard in all the Herve/Sinden etc mixes is very evident. An absolute smash.


Back into intros?

Posted in Music on January 14, 2008 by tomstanford

Following my unsuccessful attempt to post about the latest Saul Williams album last week, I decided I’d go back to basics and do a post on my top tunes from last year. It would have made more sense to do this first anyway…. I had spent over an hour writing a diatribe on the release of the Saul Williams album and it’s positive/negative response. Alas, this will never come to light (might not be a bad thing…). I wasn’t quite as pragmatic upon loising it last week!

Saul Williams

So, anyway, here is my best of 2007. It’s a Top 22. Strange, yes, but this would fit onto a CD should anyone see fit to burn themselves one. It should also be noted that this is the first part of two, and what I’ll refer to as the ‘indie’ section. An ‘electro’ best of is coming soon… Some of this isn’t exactly ‘indie’ (M.I.A. anyone?) but it didn’t fit in electro and as I only created two categories. Tough luck.

The 22 tracks are in a zip file here. The tracklisting is below:

1. The Answering Machine – Lightbulbs ‘A fantastic single. I first got into ‘Silent Hotels’ when it was released through High Voltage but this track pips it, especially after seeing them at the Scala where they were considerably under appreciated. We’ll hopefully get an album in 2008, but they may be another band hyped by A&R’s too early who never get a proper record deal or album. I hope not.’

2. Black Kids – Hit The Heartbrakes ‘Superb indie pop from America. So many American imports fail to impress me but Black Kids and their ‘Wizard of Ahhhs’ EP bucked that trend. Any song from this EP could have made the list. Another fantastic live band who’re rightly tipped for 2008′

Black Kids

3. Blood Red Shoes – It’s Getting Boring By The Sea ‘A close call between this and I Wish I Was Someone Better. This wins as it had more plays on my iTunes on my laptop and at work!’

4. Bright Eyes – Four Winds ‘A more up-tempo Bright Eyes number and lead-off single from the sublime Cassadega album. Conor Oberst returns in style.’

5. Foals – Mathletics ‘Another band where it was a very hard decision between songs. This time between this and Hummer (both of which have been left of the debut album – due March ’08 – I think). Same decision making as Blood Red Shows wins….’

6. Fortune – Bully ‘This is a track I got onto late in the year… and something i’m really excited about for 2008. A mixture of indie and electro that works, sounds like a hit and doesn’t have a chorus! Genius.’

7. Good Shoes – Morden (Metronomy Remix) ‘Never been a huge Good Shoes fan, nor Metronomy for that matter, yet the two combine in heroic fashion for this stunning remix of an average track.’

8. King Creosote – Home In A Sentence ‘I think everyone in the world fits into one of two categories a) a King Creosote fan or b) a King Creosote fan in waiting.’

9. Kings of Leon – Ragoo ‘Because Of The Times was possibly my album of the year and this was my favourite track. This must surely be a single at some point?’

Kings of Leon

10. Los Campesinos! – We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives ‘Title of the year? Songs not bad either! Late onto this band but was quite the discovery upon hearing this. Incredible.’

11. Lykke Li – Everybody But Me ‘Whilst everyone seems to be wetting themselves over Adele, Duffy etc etc no-one seems to be mentioning or tipping Lykke Li but in my eyes this is a massive hit. Moshi Moshi could have a gem on their hands who could possiby usurp all….’

12. M.I.A. – Paper Planes ‘Are there anymore plaudits that could be thrown at M.I.A.? She’s superb. This track stood out a mile for me on first listen to Kala. Now being released as a single despite MTV censorship helping to ensure it doesn’t sell. When will the masses learn/be allowed to hear/see M.I.A.?’


13. The Mae Shi – Run To Your Grave ‘Another Moshi Moshi band and another superbly kitch indie single. Should be huge…’

14. Malcolm Middleton – A Brighter Beat ‘Despite all the hype around We’re All Going To Die around Christmas, this song shits on it. I created a playlist for my iPod earlier in the year and this was track 1, 2 and 3. Brilliant.’

15. Modest Mouse – Dashboard ‘Before this track the band were known to me as ‘that Float On band’. The introuduction of Johnny Marr to proceedings was a stroke of genius as this single proves…’

16. Of Montreal – Cato As A Joun ‘A fantastic album with so many stand-out moments. This track wins by a nose as it has the best riff… One of my gigs of the year when they played with Black Kids at ULU’

17. Radiohead – Reckoner ‘This track immediately sttod out from the album for me. Hanuting, gorgeous, melodic and beatiful. Thom Yorke thinks Videotape is the best thing they’ve ever done. I’d tend to disagree.’

18. So So Modern – The New International ‘Now i’m pretty sure this isn’t the full title of this track, but having seen them at 229 earlier in the year I immediately ordered all four 7’s available (as a set) and downloaded everything I could. This came from myspace and you couldn’t see the full title. NZ’s answer to Foals.’

19. Sons & Daughters – Darling ‘Why aren’t Sons & Daughters massive? This and Gilt Complex are huge songs. Get this track as soon as humanly possible. E-mail me thanks to…’

20. Super Furry Animals – Carbon Dating ‘SFA can do no wrong in my eyes. Hey Venus! was a splendid album and their best since Rings Around The World. Carbon Dating was the twisted highlight. i daren’t think what they were smoking….’


21. Supergrass – Diamond Hoo Ha Man ‘Technically not out until 2008 but it was everywhere from the beginning of Decemeber, so bollocks to you. A great comeback from Supergrass after some lean years. What a riff. Let’s hope Mick Quinn’s back is fixed soon!’

22. Willy Mason – We Can Be Strong ‘Willy Mason’s second album didn’t seem to get the column inches it deserved. Perhaps all the hype surrounding the first put people off. This track (the single version) is the best thing he’s ever produced and a fitting way to bookmark any compilation.’

Hope you enjoy.

TWS – A Short History…

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2008 by tomstanford

With a test post completed, i guess the best thing to do with any mp3 blog is to start posting some music. I’m sat typing away listening to Bjork’s ‘Debut’ album which i could post in full I love it so much, but this is a post where i intend to give the intrepid reader a brief history of my work in the music industry, so that, down the line, you won’t suddenly think “why the fuck is he going on about The Blood Arm so enthusiastically”.

My first job within the industry was working at Traffic Marketing. A “street team” company. A good idea for young kids and a fantastic way into and introuction to, the industry. The validity of street teams in my mind however, remains, well, questionable. I could sit and debate the pro’s and con’s but fear that would turn people off rather quickly… Whilst I was here we worked with many different labels, from majors like Sony (not BMG at the time), EMI, Virgin, Island, Mercury to major indies like Rough Trade and Domino, and even some smaller indie labels like Red Flag, Southern and Fantastic Plastic. There are many more i’m sure, but that’ll do for now. The band’s varied greatly in quality too, but here are a few of the records I worked on which I actually liked:

The Bronx ‘Strobe Life’
The Fiery Furnaces ‘Crystal Clear’
The Concretes ‘Miss You’ – Rolling Stones Cover
Eastern Lane ‘Saffron’
The Blueskins ‘Lager and Lime’

We also worked with… Razorlight, Keane, The Kaiser Chiefs, The Go! Team, The Mars Volta, Franz Ferdinand, Blink 182, Nine Inch Nails, The Vines etc etc.

Following Traffic I had a short stint at Protest Recordings most notably working on an event at ULU which featured Ladyfuzz (now broken up – boooo), The Cazals (who haven’t yet broken up – boooo), Akira The Don and Mr. Hudson & The Library, as well as Eddy Temple-Morris on the decks.

I then moved onto City Rockers where I remain to this day. City Rockers is now both a label and a management company. I’ve worked here for a couple of years and have been invovled in the release of the debut albums from The Sunshine Underground ‘Raise The Alarm’ and The Blood Arm with ‘Lie Lover Lie’. We’ve also released singles by these artists and The Ghost Frequency including quite a few remixes on TSU and TGF. A few of my favourites are below:

Photobucket Photobucket
The Sunshine Underground ‘Panic Attack’ – from the debut album ‘Raise The Alarm’
The Ghost Frequency ‘We Built These Walls and Watched You Howl As You Knocked Them Down’ – b-side to recent single ‘Never Before Have I Seen A Man Alive That Looks So Exactly Like A Skeleton’!! Check the video for the single below:

The Blood Arm ‘Do I Have Your Attention?’ – taken from the debut album…

As mentioned, City Rockers is also a management company. These are the bands we look after. Check ’em!
The Sunshine Underground ‘What You Like’ – released as lead track on Japanese EP. Video (very funny) below.

Middleman ‘Good To Be Back’ – released recently by Bad Sneakers Records
Big Face ‘Drink Juice Like (Demo)’
Paris Trading ‘Annie (Demo)’

We were also, until recently, managing Hush The Many (Heed The Few), whom i’d like to give a nod to as they remain a fantastic band…

Hush The Many (Heed The Few) ‘Live @ R1’

This roughly brings us up to date!