Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Review: Space Between The Words by Dan le Sac

I don't do many of these, but as it's a music blog, it seems borderline relevant. I wrote this for another project initially, but it'll do to go here as well. John

Formerly known as the ranty noise-maker behind poet/rapper Scroobius Pip, Dan le Sac's debut album was released in July.

After two albums as a duo – Angles in 2008 and Logic of Chance two years later – both let themselves off the leash with solo projects, Pip with Distraction Pieces last year and now this, Space Between The Words, where le Sac collaborates with a range of artists to produce something unique and stylish.

On Distraction Pieces, Pip takes a turn for the dark side, but his producer proves to be quite the magpie, flitting from style to style, artist to artist with ease and a deftness of touch that certainly wasn't present on Angles. Clearly he wasn't about to start singing, but the range and quality of the artists he's been able to work with on this album speaks volumes for the regard he's held in as a producer. There's a clear trust that he's not about to butcher their babies, their songs.

The two tracks released to the world ahead of the album are the most obvious singles. Play Along, featuring Sarah Williams White, has the air of Lily Allen's evil twin sister about it. Pip collaborator B Dolan voices Caretaker, a Lyrically intelligent piece with the chart appeal of something like Gangster's Paradise. Perhaps it needs adding to a film soundtrack to push it over the top – there's certainly plenty on here that would not sounds out of place in a cinematic environment.

Memorial is reminiscent of early Portishead, Emmy the Great's vocal sounding uncannily like Beth Gibbons, while the thumping beat – with vocals to match from Joshua Idehen – of Tuning is a foot-stomping floor-filler.

But the masterpiece is saved to last and it's the album in microcosm. Cherubs begins like a Sigur Ros record, all floaty and ethereal with an idiosyncratic percussion track. Then Pete Hefferan's vocals – he of Pete and the Pirates – kick in with a Robert Smith quality lending a Cure vibe to things, though never enough to overwhelm the unique sound Dan has been able to infuse the whole album with.

Comparisons are inevitable, but putting that to one side, this is a mightily impressive piece of work. So often, producer-led projects can sound cold, clinical, just too damn efficient. Not this; this is varied, warm and engaging. Thou shalt not make repetitive generic music seems a life lesson well lived.

Moderately relevant music news

It was the Q Awards last night, apparently. Anyway, show favourites Django Django won the Best New Act gong. Well done them. It really is a cracking album and no I'm not on a commission.

Monday, 22 October 2012

22 October 2012

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons - The Night
John: Reached number seven in 1975, but it's got a real contemporary feel to it. Mark Ronson's doing this, basically.
Carolyn: It's certainly stood the test of time.

The Vaccines - I Always Knew
Carolyn: That's two for two off that album now. Teenage Icon is catchy and so is this.
John: That's the new single and it's out on November 11.

Little Comets - A Little Opus
John: From Newcastle and the album, Life Is Elsewhere, was out last week.

Cover Version Corner
Velvet Underground and Nico/Record Club - Femme Fatale
John: Record Club is a project Beck has put together where they cover a whole album in a day and this is off their first one. Also, Velvet Underground and Nico is re-released after a coat of varnish this week for it's 35th anniversary.

Django Django - Life's A Beach
John: The fourth or fifth record from the album we've played on the show. It's terrific.
Carolyn: It has a real '60s vibe.

The Go! Team - Buy Nothing Day
John: As peppy a pop record as you could wish for.

No Ceremony - feelsolow
John: I don't know anything about these, because there's nothing to know.

The Kingstonians - Sufferer
John: Skanking round the studio to that one. We don't play enough ska.
Carolyn: Well you pick the records!
John: Originally out in 1970, that's on a Trojan Records compilation called Boss Reggae

The Black Keys - Lonely Boy
John: Less of a country feel to that than some of their others.
Carolyn: I like the woah-woah-woahs

One Degree Of Separation
The Streets - Let's Push Things Forward
The d.o.t. feat. Claire Maguire and Danny Brown - You Never Asked
John: Your link here is Mike Skinner, formerly recording as The Streets and that was his second single from way back in 2002. His new project with Rob Harvey, formerly of The Music, is The d.o.t. and their debut album, And That, is out today.

Vampire Weekend - Giving Up The Gun 
John: From the album Contra from 2010.

Grimes - Genesis
John: Grimes is Canadian chanteuse Claire Boucher.

Peace - Bloodshake
John: From their debut EP Delicious which was out in August.

We're away next week. Back in a fortnight. In the meantime, here's your YouTube playlist.

Monday, 15 October 2012

15 October 2012

My Life Story - I Dive
Carolyn: I chose this. I love the lyrics - you don't fall in love, you dive.
John: They kind of got lost in all that Britpop stuff, but deserve a wider audience.

Rachel Zeffira - Break The Spell
John: She's a Canadian singer and her debut album, The Deserters, is out in December.

The Zolas - Knot In My Heart
John: Also Canadian. It's not like we just throw this together. I was hooked by the Doctor Who-like opening.
Carolyn: I wonder who they're named after.
John: Emile, Gianfranco... Calvin?

Cover Version Corner
The Cure/Dinosaur Jr - Just Like Heaven
John: That Dinosaur Jr version ends abruptly. They're back together and recording again - new album out too.

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - Your Love
Carolyn: Two Dinosaurs in a row. You really have planned this.
John: Oh yeah. I hadn't noticed.

Mr Shiraz - Let It Burn
John: A local band (local to Huddersfield, that is) and they're well worth seeing. Lots of energy.

Cat Power - Cherokee
John: Her first album in four years, Sun, came out last month. What a great voice.

One Degree of Separation
Ash - Burn Baby Burn
Sylver Tongue - Hook You Up
John: Your connection here is Charlotte Hatherley, ex Ash guitarist and Sylver Tongue is her new solo project. That's Sylver with a Y.
Carolyn: Instead of..... Oh yeah, the I.

Dan le Sac feat Merz - Long Night of Life
John: From the album Space Between The Words which is fabulous

Boys Noize - Ich R U
John: Boys Noize the name Hamburg DJ Alex Ridha performs under. More than a hint of Kraftwerk in that.
Carolyn: It might be Boys Noize, but I really liked it too.

Diiv - Sometime
John: That's 'dive' spelled D I I V.
Carolyn: That's just silly.

Cocteau Twins - Iceblink Luck
John: Not called Cocteau, there's three of them and they're not related. Possibly the most '80s song ever, but it was from 1990

Here it is, all compiled into a YouTube playlist.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

8 October 2012

We don't theme shows, but this week we did go for a few really long tracks. Hey, less work ain't it?

Palma Violets - Best Of Friends

Ride - Leave Them All Behind
John: There is a four-minute radio edit of that, but you need all nine for me. Love it, love it, love it. Can't believe it's 20 years old.
Carolyn: Not feeling it

Cover Version Corner
Eddie Cochran/Guitar Wolf - Summertime Blues
John: Guitar Wolf, a Nagasaki-based punk group that have been around since the '80s. That was on the Scott Pilgrim vs The World soundtrack

Tame Impala - Music To Walk Home By

Pollens - Helping Hands
John: I like how it ends up as a totally different record to how it starts. It's like it's in three movements

Toy - Kopter 
John: How about that? Ten minutes of Krautrock brilliance. Don't know how you can take your ears off it.

(Still no name for this format idea - suggestions please)
Super Furry Animals - (Drawing) Rings Around The World
Neon Neon - I Told Her On Alderaan
John: You can tell immediately what the link is
Carolyn: The singer
John: Yep. Gruff Rhys, lead singer of the Super Furry Animals who you heard first and his side project, Neon Neon, with producer Boom Bip

Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny - Lilliput
Carolyn: It's good that someone can hit the range of notes she does without warbling
John: She comes from more of a folk tradition which might have something to do with it. Maybe?

Tamaryn - The Waves

And here's your YouTube playlist.

1 October 2012

Everything Everything - Cough Cough

Polica - Lay Your Cards Out
John: Because 'autotune' isn't necessarily a dirty word

Dutch Uncles - X-O

Super Furry Animals - Golden Retriever

Cover Version Corner
Tears For Fears/Gary Jules and Michael Andrews - Mad World
John: The Gary Jules version featured on the soundtrack to Donnie Darko of course and was a christmas number one.
Carolyn: I love how the two versions stir totally different emotions

Hookworms - Teen Dreams
John: Very definitely influenced by the Krautrock scene - early Kraftwerk, Can and Neu! as part of a general revival we're noticing

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll

Coves - No Ladder

M83 - Midnight City

Pixies - Here Comes Your Man
The Breeders - Cannonball
John: Still not got a name for this section. Still want suggestions. Frank Black and Joey Santiago formed the Pixies and hired Kim Deal on bass. Kim and Kelley Deal formed the Breeders in one of the Pixies' numerous hiatuses

Django Django - Storm
John: Yes, again. Show favourites.

The Count and Sinden feat The Mystery Jets - After Dark

iamamiwhoami - Goods
John: We're only getting half of this here as it's very much an audio-visual project by Swedish duo Jonna Lee and Claes Bjorklund. Fortunately, this being both audio and visual....

The Flaming Lips - The W.A.N.D
John: It stands for 'The will always negates defeat'

Talking Heads - And She Was

The Stranglers - Duchess

Here's your YouTube playlist.

24 September 2012

Calexico - Crystal Frontier

Kid Koala - 2-Bit Blues
John: From the new album 12-Bit Blues which has such track titles as 1-bit Blues, 2-Bit Blues, 3-Bit Blues...
Carolyn: Needs a bit of inspiration there, but otherwise it's very good

Public Service Broadcasting - Spitfire
John: A very interesting project, snipping up old public service broadcasts and putting this sort of thing out.

The Black Keys - Little Black Submarines

Cover Version Corner
Junior Murvin/The Clash - Police and Thieves
John: That Clash one is a short version. The proper one is six and a bit minutes.

Blende - Fake Love

Marmalade Sky - Showmen
John: A Bristol-based mod-revivalist band and thanks to my mate Chappers for pointing me in their direction

Buzzcocks - Sixteen Again
Magazine - Definitive Gaze

John: A new format idea which we haven't really got a name for. Rock Family Trees was what I came up with, but I don't really like it. Suggestions please. (Drop us a tweet or leave a comment)
Carolyn: So what's the connection?
John: Howard de Voto was a founder member of the Buzzcocks, but was kicked out before they hit the big time and formed Magazine which was itself a pretty influential band. They're all back together now though, riding the wave of reunions

Melody's Echo Chamber - I Follow You
John: An interesting project between Australian multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker and French singer Melody Prochet
Carolyn: That's not working for me

David Holmes - I Heard Wonders
John: Is that a Krautrock influence I hear?

Wire - Eardrum Buzz

All those tracks have been compiled into a YouTube playlist here.

17 September 2012

Orbital - Where Is It Going?
John: How good is that?

Band Of Horses - Knock Knock

The Pond - The River

Django Django - Default
Macabees - Pelican
John: Both of these bands were nominated for the Mercury Music Prize this week and we'll have two more later

Simian Mobile Disco feat Beth Ditto - Cruel Intentions

Kele - Tenderoni

Cover Version Corner
Simon and Garfunkel/The Lemonheads - Mrs Robinson
John: Simon and Garfunkel's version from which film?
Carolyn: The Graduate
John: And The Lemonheads?
Carolyn: Not a clue
John: Wayne's World 2
Carolyn: Only you would know enough to care

Los Saicos - El Enterrio de los Gatos
John: There's a new documentary out that says punk didn't start in mid-'70s New York, but Lima a good ten years earlier and this band at the forefront. The title means 'the burial of the cats' and I do think you can see blues moving in a direction towards what we know as punk

Grizzly Bear - Yet Again

M83 - Reunion

Julian Cope - If You Loved Me At All
John: Possibly my second-favourite artist/band/whatever
Carolyn: You want me to ask who your favourite is don't you
John: You know who that is surely
Carolyn: Half Man Half Biscuit

Richard Hawley - Seek It
Field Music - Who'll Pay The Bills
John: Two more Mercury nominees. The others are: Ben Howard, Roller Trio, Sam Lee, Plan B, Alt-J, Jessie Ware, Michael Kiwanuka and Lianne La Havas
Carolyn: Who do you want to win?
John: It'd be nice if it was Richard Hawley, but Django Django is probably my favourite. Not Alt-J will be acceptable

Boards Of Canada - Roygbiv

Tom Tom Club - Wordy Rappinghood

And your YouTube playlist is here.

10 September 2012

Another one where we had an extra half hour

Jack White - I'm Shakin'
John: He's 'noivous'

Pet Shop Boys - Everything Means Something
John: A new album from the Pet Shop Boys is always an event. Elysium is their 11th.

Dan Croll - From Nowhere
John: Bloomin' love this

Lovely Eggs - I Like Birds But I Like Other Animals Too
John: Cuckoo-coo indeed

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Only In My Dreams

The Vaccines - Teenage Icon
John: Not sure their target audience are going to be too familiar with Frankie Avalon
Carolyn: I like that. That's going to stick in my head

Cover Version Corner
Kate Bush/The Futureheads - Hounds Of Love

Family Of The Year - St Croix

Two Door Cinema Club - Sleep Alone
Carolyn: How many doors do cinemas clubs normally have?

Fun Boy Three - Our Lips Are Sealed

PJ Harvey - Good Fortune
John: One of the country's great songwriters

Bloc Party - Truth

We Are Augustines - Book Of James
Carolyn: There's a lot going on in that and I'm not sure all of it works

A Certain Ratio - Shack Up

Liminanas - Hospital Boogie
John: File under C for curio

Metronomy - Everything Goes My Way

Toy - Lose My Way
John: Toy were losing their way, but it's all going Metronomy's. It's almost like I plan this show sometimes

Matthew Dear - Earthforms

Here's your YouTube playlist.

3 September 2012

After a week off for the August Bank Holiday, we were back and this time with proper notes and running order.

Hot Chip - How Do You Do?

Polica - Wandering Star

Everything Everything - Photoshop Handsome
Carolyn: That's different. In a good way

The xx - VCR
John: They've a new album out, but this is off the first one

New Order - Bizarre Love Triangle
John: From 1986, that
Carolyn: And still sounds fresh, if very obviously New Order

The Youth Anxiety - The Double Image
John: Available on a free download. I know the drummer's dad

Cover Version Corner
Neil Young/St Etienne - Only Love Can Break Your Heart

Air - Seven Stars
John: From the album Voyage Dans La Lune which is a re-imagining, as I believe they have it these days, of the score to the film of that name by the Lumiere Brothers

Richard Hawley - Seek It

Cornershop feat Bubbley Kaur - Topknot
John: If you only know Cornershop from the Fatboy Slim remix of Brimful Of Asha, it might surprise you. This is them getting back in touch with their Punjabi roots with a previously unrecorded singer

Stealing Sheep - Genevieve

Headless Heroes - The North Wind Blew South

Here's your YouTube playlist.

20 August 2012

Small Faces - Tin Soldier

B-52s - Roam

Richard Hawley - Down In The Woods
John: Bit of a departure for the venerable Mr Hawley
Carolyn: I don't know him
John: He's Sheffield royalty!

Divine Comedy - Commuter Love

Crystal Castles - Celestica

St Etienne - I've Got Your Music
John: A new album for St Etienne is always a special thing. More power to their elbow

Beach House - Lazuli

Ry Cooder - No Banker Left Behind
John: A good old-fashioned protest song

Electronic - Getting Away With It
Carolyn: I chose this one!

Cover Version Corner
The Kinks - David Watts
The Jam - David Watts
John: Not too different to each other, but it's like the Kinks are lamenting a lost time where the Jam are actively fighting against it

Tame Impala - Elephant
John: If T-Rex were still around, they'd sound like this

Kaiser Chiefs - Love's Not A Competition
Carolyn: That doesn't sound like a Kaiser Chiefs record. I like it

Maximo Park - Hips And Lips
John: There aren't enough bands that sing in their own accent
Carolyn: The Proclaimers.... Yeah, you're right

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - Garden

Justice - Civilization
John: With a 'z', not misspelled

The Shins - It's Only Life

The Cramps - Human Fly
Carolyn: What the hell was that?
John: Great isn't it

And here's your YouTube playlist.

13 August 2012

Bloc Party - Octopus
John: Pick that one out. What a way to start.

Peter, Bjorn and John - Young Folks
John: Whatever happened to a tune you could whistle?

Eugene McGuinness - Harlequinade

Django Django - Hail Bop
John: Two weeks in and we're already calling these guys 'show favourites'

Chemical Brothers - Theme for Velodrome
John: One of a series of pieces commissioned for the Olympics. Impossible to not to draw comparisons to Kraftwerk

Euros Childs - That's Better
John: I'm really not sure whether I like this, but threw it in anyway for people to make their own minds up
Carolyn: I'm not sure either
John: Is it me or does it sound a bit like Cockney Rebel?

Beck - Girl
John: Beck released a new work in the week only available as sheet music
Carolyn: That's odd. Why?
John: Part of that whole debate about how to make music pay in the digital era. If it's illegal copying he's worried about though, he's clearly not heard of fax machines or photocopiers

Cover Version Corner
Bird - I Wanna Be Your Dog
John: A folk-funk version of the old Stooges record
Carolyn: I don't know the original. Maybe we should play that as well in future

Of Monsters And Men - Little Talks

Beat Connection - Further Out

Longpigs - On And On
John: Bloody love this one. Can't believe it's nearly 20 years old

Smoke Fairies - Let Me Know

Housemartins - Me And The Farmer
John: I had a look at the video when I was putting the show together. Blimey, they look young. Top record though

Here's your YouTube playlist.

6 August 2012

John: Our first show. My note-keeping wasn't very good, so I haven't got a running order. Or a full list. I do know what the first record was though and what we played out with...

Django Django - Default
John: Thumping good foot-stomper from the Edinburgh art-rockers

Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out

Foe - The Black Lodge

The Kinks - Victoria
John: Victoria Pendleton had won gold at the Olympics during the week

Foo Fighters - Monkey Wrench

Manic Street Preachers - You Stole The Sun From My Heart

Cover Version Corner
Dan le Sac feat. Pete Hefferan - Cherubs
John: Our first format idea - play a cracking cover of an old song. This is an old Arab Strap record done in a totally different way and it is bloody brilliant.

Belle and Sebastian - Boy With The Arab Strap

Jack White - Freedom At 21

Bob Marley and the Wailers - Redemption Song
John: It was Jamaican Independence Day the previous weekend, the 50th anniversary, so we had to really

John: That's all I can remember. My record-taking picked up subsequently.

Here's your YouTube playlist, albeit with the Arab Strap original of Cherubs and not the Dan Le Sac/Pete Hefferan version.

Kick Off The Blog

Hi-Fi Curious airs Tuesdays between 7 and 8pm on 2HR, Huddersfield Hospital Radio, and is presented by Carolyn and John. Here's John in the studio, as viewed from Carolyn's engineer's seat:

He's probably air-drumming with his pen - he does that.

2HR only broadcasts to the hospital buildings at Huddersfield - licensing innit - so the show is only available to those unfortunate enough to find themselves in the HRI of a Tuesday evening. This companion blog will feature track listings, maybe some clips of the records we play and some comments about them from the pair of us.

We don't have a theme or a remit as such, just put together an entertaining hour of new music, old music, stuff you know, stuff you don't and a couple of format ideas (it's not just flung together, y'know). Hopefully there's something for everyone in there. That's the idea anyway.

One thing that never changes is our theme tune:

which plays us in and out every week.