Saturday, August 26, 2006

No Bra - Munchausen

Apparently I've made the hideous mistake of not blogging about the absolutely phenomenal slice of satire that is the fantastic Munchausen. Hi, my name is Munchausen how are you?

There is no point in describing this song too much as it is work of complete genius and completely skewers every pretentious wanker you've ever met. Don't take my word for it click on the link and learn about the Anal Staircase and the hitherto uncommented on relationship between Germans and Ethiopians.

It's endlessly quotable and if you're not sobbing with laughter by the end go to KwikFit and see if they can't sort you out with a soul.

I actually went to see NoBra do an instore performance at Rough Trade. To be honest most of the people there were probably like me, enormously impressed by Munchausen and wanting to see if there was more in that vein. The performance seemed very awkward to me. Susanne seems excrutiating shy and has a near zero presence not to mention a weak voice. Performing topless was a bit of a surprise but just added to the general sense of awkwardness.

To be frank at the moment what NoBra is a one song novelty act with the remainder of the show consisting of a lot of rambling poetry being delivered like a brick to the head over the top of wandering electronic bleeping. It's not the worst thing I've seen (because I've seen Fennesz and Icarus live so you've got to be bloody bad to take that title) but it's nothing worth seeing at the moment.

Still that doesn't matter. Listen to Munchausen again, right now before Top Shop gives you syphilis again.

Schengen - The Beijing of Our Career

Schengen are a little Bristol two piece and they have produced some good stuff and some not quite as good stuff (you can hear the best on their MySpace page). Now though (provided you can forgive the punning title) they have released an unreservedly excellent album through their cooperative label MakeMineMusic.

Some tracks such as City and Macdafun have been released before but this recording of the tracks are far superior (perhaps the quality of the engineering and mastering, perhaps experience, possibly both). If you have the Flow sampler give City a listen and then listen to the Beijing version to see the difference.

As for the new tracks it is all of a similar quality and has the warm analogue sounds that characterise the best Schengen stuff so far. The percussion is generally the weak spot in most Schengen tracks and while you're not going to be blown away by it this time either it is well-mixed and supports the strong melody lines that flow through the tracks rather than distracting from them.

The CD has fifteen tracks and there's no better introduction to the sound of Schengen. It is also at a phenomenally good price of £5 so if you fancy a prime slice of mellow electronica get over to MakeMineMusic and buy it right now.

The Pipettes and related

Okay so I've picked up on the buzz about The Pipettes but I needed to have a good listen to their tracks and particularly watch the stage show on YouTube (check out Your Kisses are Wasted on Me) before I was convinced that they are most definitely a Good Thing.

I don't know what the deal is with retro girl groups at the moment but there are also the Puppini Sisters who are frankly just too arch for me. Musically The Pipettes aren't so much influenced by the past but have borrowed the Tardis and have stolen a whopping chunk of it. In this they have a lot in common with label mates Go! Team although the genre being plundered is different.

Researching the Pipettes lead to all kinds of mad stuff. Ex-member Julia is now in the Indelicates. I saw their eye-brow raising single cover in Rough Trade but it was so exploitative that I thought it was transgression wank. However their Myspace page yields some good stuff. Try the track Sixteen which is spot on.

In addition Gwenno Pippette had a former career as Welsh popstress and her own material is also quite good (she has a tremendous voice). Again MySpace is the place to be. Afterglow is phenomenally good.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

MySpace for the Signed

Until now I've thought of MySpace being more for unsigned or indie groups but increasingly established bands are joining as well.

Here's a few highlights:

Free Ladytron download

Go to the Sideload site right now. Download the Ladytron track that is currently on the front page. It's off the Witching Hour album and, unbelievably for a freebie taster track, it is one of the best on the whole thing.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Port-Royal - Flares

A swift turnaround sees Port-Royal's Flares arrive the day after I PayPal it. Record label service can't be faulted but what of the record?

Well I was expecting a minimalist, Arctic techno sound but while there is some of that sound we are more in the Piano Magic/Godspeed/Explosions in the Sky territory and that's no bad thing.

My immediate reaction is that I like it and, goddamn it, Amazon is just too smart in its recommendations. I like label mate Strafrænn Hákon and it correctly put two and two together to make the connection. Just to spite the machine I bought it direct.