This Week’s Singles Reviewed (07/02/11)

Gruff Rhys, Yuck, PJ Harvey

Two Door Cinema Club – What You Know
What better way to start the week than with a Tiggerish bounce? And it’s always fun to watch that stern voice come out of Alex Trimble’s sweet little cootchyface. I have no idea what ‘What You Know’ may be about, as the lyrics are a stream of open-ended observations on someone’s behaviour, and we’re not really party to what that behaviour may be or even how it impacts upon Alex. But it’s OK because this is pop music and not a novel. If it was a novel, it would be a large print edition with no plot and only one scene, a monologue of disappointment and accusation, possibly delivered by a baby-faced tiger with a springy tail.,AAAAABumiUU~,CmZu1qzq0NxNmHK1_h03A729ZzLEdw3z&bctid=748766543001

Gruff Rhys – Sensations In The Dark
Once upon a time, I was so smitten with the music of Super Furry Animals– and their one-time labelmates Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – that I resolved to learn Welsh. How wonderful, I reasoned, to be able to understand and maybe even join in with these astonishing songs. What a joyous way to spread a little love and respect across these bickering nations of ours. Unfortunately I’ve a tin ear for languages, so the only Welsh I have ever retained is the expression “English pig”, and really, it’s hard to think of a less useful phrase with which to begin a cultural exchange of this kind.
Gruff Rhys – ‘Sensations In The Dark’ by PIAS UK Sales
Nevertheless, these true loves never die, so even though this song is a little too amiable to linger in the mind, I will defend its right to exist with a passion that would shame William Wallace out of Braveheart – another man who had, shall we say, Anglophobia issues.

N.B. There does not seem to be a video available for this quite yet. So here’s Gruff making a hotel out of shampoo, to promote his album ‘Hotel Shampoo’. It is lucky the Eagles were not this literal with their promotional duties, hmm?

Yuck – Holing Out
In these days of immaculately mixed and pristine, balanced music, nothing gladdens the soul more than to hear a song in which one musician so comically dominates the sonic landscape as Yuck’s loudest guitarist does here. It’s as if he or she snuck into the recording studio after the final mix was completed, and whacked his or her instrument up several notches, just to be sure his or her parents (or guardians) could really appreciate where all the money spent on guitar lessons had gone.
Holing Out by Yuck

Yuck – Holing Out from Yuck on Vimeo.

PJ Harvey – The Words That Maketh Murder
…are myrrh and duh, OBVIOUSLY. No point in creating a ticking, wheezing meat machine of a song to illustrate this, not even one which pinches a line from Eddie Cochran’s ‘Summertime Blues’, when the answer is staring us in the face. Not unless it’s a really good ticking, wheezing meat machine of a song, and it has both autoharp and handclaps. Oh it does? As you were then.

Toro Y Moi – Still Sound
It’s hard not to be charmed by a dog-eared, home-made mitten of a song like this, even though I only recently realised been walking round saying “Torro Ee Moy” like a simpleton (did I mention the tin ear for languages?). ‘Still Sound’ is something you can turn to on the days when the fact that it is possible to make tea of out of stinging nettles blows your freaking mind.

Fenech-Soler – Demons
As a rule of thumb, songs in which the verses and the chorus have the same four-bar-churn of chords – with different melodies and a self-conscious “ooh” here and there to mark out the territory – are songs I don’t tend to enjoy very much. After a while I find I’m longing for a massive clanging… something… to alleviate the sonic weariness. Oddly, the four bar rule does not apply to songs which only have one chord, which I find I’m rather partial to. Music is confusing sometimes, isn’t it?

Yellow Wire –Last Breath
Uh, really? All of the words in the history of language, all of the different combinations of letters and sounds, and the ones chosen as a performance title by Jim Beach – a man who is old enough to create dreary AOR, and is therefore old enough to know better – are Yellow and Wire? Did someone else already use Streak and Piss?

This week’s new albums reviewed, including James Blake’s self-titled debut, and The Streets’ ‘Computers And Blues’

10 tracks you have to hear this week

Other songs you can buy:

Alex Winston – ‘The Sister Wife EP’
Bryan Ferry – ‘Alphaville’
Chipmunk feat. Chris Brown – ‘Champion’
Cut Copy – ‘Sun God’
Danny Byrd feat. Netsky – ‘Tonight’
Dave Spoon & TV Rock – ‘FIVEg’
Ela – ‘Butterflies’
Emeli Sande – ‘Kill The Boy’
Eric Prydz – ‘Niton (The Reason)’
Glenn Aitken – ‘Just No’
Heathers – ‘Slices of Palama’
The High Wire – ‘Pump Your Little Heart’
Helena Paparizou – ‘An Isouna Agapi’
I Blame Coco – ‘Turn Your Back On Love’
John Grant – ‘Where Dreams Go To Die’
Kerri Chandler & Christopher McCray – ‘Heaven’
Lanu feat. Megan Washington – ‘Lanu’
Lewis Floyd Henry – ‘Rickety Ol Rollercoaster ‘
Loick Essien feat. N-Dubz – ‘Stuttering’
Modestep – ‘Feel Good’
Mogwai – ‘Mexican Grand Prix’
Okkervil River – ‘Mermaid’
Peter Bjorn and John – ‘Second Chance’
Rhian Benson – ‘Better Without You’
Skepta vs N-Dubz – ‘Alive*’
Steph – ‘Girls On Film’
Sunday Girl – ‘Stop Hey’
Tame Impala – ‘Solitude Is Bliss’
Teddy Thompson – ‘Looking For A Girl’
The Boxer Rebellion – ‘Step Out Of The Car’
Visions Of Trees – ‘Sometimes It Kills/No Flag’
We Are The Physics – ‘You Can Do The Athletics’
Whelan & Di Scala – ‘Nimbus’
Wynter Gordon – ‘Dirty Talk’
Young Magic – ‘You With Air’
Young The Giant – ‘Apartment’

Lucy Swann – ‘For Heaven´s Sake’ / Team Me – ‘Weathervanes and Chemicals’
Bots – ‘Diskobink!’ / Polaroid Sunset – ‘Verry Sorry’
Carlton Melton – ‘Handling Snakes’
Exit – ‘Detroit Leaning’
Frootful – ‘Fish In The Sea’
Imperial Wonders – ‘Love Me To The Music’
MCP – ‘Windfall’
TV Club – ‘Crush On You’
Visions of Trees – ‘Sometimes It Kills’
Tom Williams and the Boat – ’90MPH’
Tom Williams and the Boat – ‘Concentrate’

Alias Jonez – ‘Beating My Drum EP’
Bad Autopsy – ‘Ginmixer’
Balam Acab – ‘See Birds (Moon)’
Julio Bashmore – ‘Everybody Needs A Theme Tune’
Bozeman & Roberts – ‘Workin’ Mama’
Brain Machine – ‘Alpha Beta Gama’
Cyrus – ‘Manhatten Blues’
The Deeep – ‘Muddy Tracks’
Marcel Dettman – ‘Kontra Mokira Remixes’
The Exoutics – ‘Touch EP’
Lee Foss – ‘Your Turn Girl EP’
The Horses – ‘Stand By Me Lord EP’
Mizz Beats – ‘The Day Before Tomorrow EP’
Persnickety All Stars – ‘Brothers Stay Doin’ It EP’
Ilya Santana – ‘Transborder’
SBTRKT – ‘Step In Shadows EP’

Words by Fraser McAlpine