There isn't a week that goes by that we get at least one email from a reader wondering what we here in the OutsideLeft offices are listening to. Every now and then we'll get a good promo and listen to it for the entire day, but we also like the classics so our list us usually a mix of the old and the new. Here's what's on the office iPod this week (with links to the song's respective video for your viewing pleasure courtesy of YouTube.com).
For the first week of June 2006...
Single release (Memphis Industries)
Release Date: November 14, 2005
I'm going to call it right now: the Pipettes are going to be the band of the Summer of 2006. Light, poppy, adorable‚Äîthe industry hasn't seen anything this charming since a young band called Shonen Knife swept the world by storm during the heady early '90s. The Pipettes: one-third Marvelettes, one-third b-52's and another third Strawberry Switchblade‚Äîthe songs are surgary sweet and infectious, the girls are easy on the eyes and there isn't a bar of music that goes by without a hook. They're not going to crack the States like they should because they weren't built for that. You're most likely going to hear them at bigger dance clubs in the city (where the girls look like young versions of Catherine Keener and the guys wear tight ironic t-shirts and patchy beards) and here at the OutsideLeft. Look for one of their first American interviews here very soon. Their new album, We are the Pipettes, comes out this week (the first week of June) so look for it and look for them currently on tour in England and Paris through August 2006.
"You're Not Supposed To"
Write Your Own History (Memphis Industries)
Release Date: May 9, 2006
This is probably exactly what it would've sounded like if Wire and XTC formed a super group as kids in 2006. This jaunty little tune is a breath of fresh air from all the heavy shit coming down the poopchute right now (I'm looking at you Tool, AFI and anyone else who thinks it's 1997). "You're Not Supposed To" is just a well-crafted textbook number with loads of textures and hooks. We heard this one on accident in the office and left it on repeat until quitting time. The video's picture perfect, too.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
The Lyre Orpheus (Mute Records)
Release Date: October 26, 2004
Possibly one of the most beautiful songs in the Nick Cave cannon and that's saying something coming from the chap who wrote "Straight to You," "Into My Arms" and "The Weeping Song." In the song's video, he and the Seeds take the song and elevate it a couple notches up with a little tongue-in-cheek playfulness and you'd think the boys were taking the piss (with the cartoon rabbits and all), but it's obvious about a minute into it that they're sincere about this one.
"I Need Some Fine Wine and You, You Need To Be Nicer"
Super Extra Gravity (Universal Records)
Release Date: October 25, 2005
The Cardigans future was a little spotty there. They dumped an unnecessary live LP on us, then Nina Persson released the requisite bad solo album, she came back and they released another dud (Long Gone Before Daylight) and it all but seemed over. Then Super Extra Gravity leaked early which gave the band its buzz back and everyone fell in love with them all over again. This single broke off the chains of their twee persona (not that anything was wrong with their lightweight sound of yore (1994 - 1996), but they switched gears from delicate flowers to fussy, fired-up hooligans in this three minute and 33 second song and it was nice to know they had that in them. Note: the inside of the apartment that the Cardigans filmed this video in looks exactly like the inside of fellow co-founder, Lamont's apartment when we first met in 1992: vintage music gear askew, spilt wine on the furnishing, stray cat licking itself‚Äîthe similarities are uncanny.
Let it Die (Arts & Crafts Records)
Release Date: May 18, 2004
I can watch this video over and over about 2,000 times without a break and listen to the tune itself another 1,000 over and over again. Leslie Feist (like Morrissey, she's known by her surname) could very possibly have an inconsistent stable of songs, but it wouldn't matter because she created one of the most divine songs to have ever been recorded in 2004. The video is only frosting on the cake with the sunny spy-like concept, the smarmy dance moves and of course, the beauty of Feist. Why isn't she bigger than Cat Power/Chan Marshall? One of the few songs you can listen to on repeat and never get tired of.
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (Passport Records)
Release Date: Fall 1968
Listen to the lyrics. Feel the music. Absorb the tempo changes and the cape. Already 18 months in the making, OutsideLeft will eventually publish its all time top 100 songs ever recorded. We're working on December 2006 as out soft deadline. Until then, just know that this fucking amazing song will be on that list‚ÄîI'm predicting in the top 50‚Äîtop 25 if I have my way.
"More Than a Feeling"
Boston (Epic Records)
Release Date: September 1976
It starts off with a folksy acoustic guitar and a delicate tapping of the cymbals, but then the lilty, abbreviated verse ends, the thunderhouse chorus kicks in and the dueling Gibson SG/Les Paul lead riff whines into a serpentine roar like a high-octane Japanese import and the song never lets up from there. Pound for pound, this is easily the greatest song ever recorded in the arena rock genre‚ÄîI stand by that statement. If I had my druthers at the time, this would've been the song my wife and I marched down the aisle to. Instead, I went with a John Coltrane number. And if my description isn't enough, check the video and note the drummer's massive afro/beard combo and his fur pelt vest, the beautiful lam?© jumpsuits and the homoerotic handlebar moustaches on everyone.
Human After All (Virgin Records)
Release Date: May 15, 2005
This one is a hipster's Battlestar Gallactica-meets-German-disco-house-band dream come true. The French duo are in all their robotic finery with double-necked guitars, see-through Plexi-glass drum kit and chrome motorcycle helmets. This band has really grown into its own with fortified break beats, simple hooks and a gimmick that's still gimmicky, but it's easy to buy into because Daft Punk sell it well. This one was a strong contender for song of the year in last year's OutsideLeft Song of the Year award.
Vertically Challenged (Chocolate Industries Records)
Release Date: November 15, 2005
You, me and the rest of the OutsideLeft staff and regular readers aren't supposed to like Lady Sovereign because she's a "chav" (chavette for you feminists). I don't know‚ÄîI'm familiar with all of the stereotypes and classism that goes along with all that she seemingly stands for, but fuck all if this isn't a great song. Lots of dizzying hooks, heavy-bottom beats, silly lyrics and an adorable accent (which makes her supposed hooligan stance all the more humorous). This is exactly what rap is supposed to sound like‚Äîit's Missy Elliot without the pretentious bullshit attached‚ÄîHouse of Pain-lite.
Alarcon co-founded outsideleft with lamontpaul in 2004. His work for o/l has attracted the attention of hundreds of thousands of readers, oh and probably the fbi too.