This is the celebrated journal of Mr. Simon Collison A.K.A Colly

Music Monthlies: January 2006

29th January 2006

January’s Music Monthly sees me finally able to talk about some new albums that I haven’t been listening to for ages because of course there is no method of obtaining new music on the internet before it is released…

Incidentally, some of you thought my 2005 Music Yearly was a bit too populist this year, and I agree to an extent, although at least I didn’t mention Kaiser Chiefs, Bloc Party or bloody Hard Fi like everyone else. Anyway, 2006 will see me diving deep for some more obscure musical curios, but for now, I have a backlog to get through. Guess what I’m starting with?

Classic debut

OK. Their second single has also made it to the top spot in the charts, the press are going bandy for them and the album looks set to be the fastest selling album ever! Yes, Arctic Monkeys are the biggest thing in the UK right now. Not bad for a bunch of spotty teenagers, eh?

arctic monkeys

Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (the title is taken from a line said by Albert Finney in the best movie ever made about Nottingham), is a testament to nights out in shit Northern towns, filtered through incredibly evocative lyrics (as good as Morrissey in the Eighties, said one colleague) and blistering guitars, funky baselines and an unquestionable belief. I fucking love this album, and I don’t care if lots of teenage girls, old men and Richard and Judy like them.

The songs we’ve all had as demos for months have been enhanced but not lost any of their rough-hewn charm. “Anticipation has the habit of settin’ you up for disappointment…” are the first words uttered on the album, but nobody’s disappointed. The new songs are genius, and the only track I wasn’t too sure about (Perhaps Vampires is a Bit Strong, But…) is now my favourite - especially the cry of “All you people are vampires!” that punctuates the mid-song silence from the back of the recording studio. Raw, pointed and funky as fuck.

I’ll shut up about Arctic Monkeys now, knowing that my obsessiveness means something to some of you - even Mr. Rutter emailed me to say thanks for banging on about them. Another convert.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!

The Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! album is a wondrous thing. Imagine that there were no clouds, then suddenly a huge white one appeared in the skies above London. People would come from miles around to marvel at it’s beauty and splendour, but wouldn’t be too sure what it was. Maybe that cloud would be a bit like Talking Heads intermingled with The Rapture, played through a fog. That’s the best description I could think of for this album. Hope it helps.

The clap

And the rest…

I’ve only just discovered the quiet brilliance of Sufjan Stevens whose Come On Feel The Illinoise! (great title) album is getting me through the quiet hours when I’ve overdosed on Sigur Ros. Same goes for Richard Hawley‘s Coles Corner. Hawley sounds like Scott Walker, and looks like he’s had a night out with Nick Cave. Beautiful songs that sound very dated in a very modern way.

I’m also loving Dream Brother, where loads of interesting artists cover the songs of Tim and Jeff Buckley. The latter’s Grace album lives permanently in my Top Three albums ever, so I’m dubious of cover versions. However, Adem, The Earlies and a few other lo-fi-ers do a grand job for the most part. Worth a go.

Worthy shouts this month also for Guillemots, whose Trains To Brazil single is quite tidy in a veering towards the middle of the road kind of manner. I’ve long loved both Diplo (Florida is amazing) and DJ Shadow, so the idea of something called Diplo Vs Shadow got me very excited - a tidy download I found via Kottke, bizarrely.

I’ve been remarkably unimpressed with the new Strokes long player First Impressions Of Earth. Not sure why, but lets face it, there’s no Hard To Explain on there. Maybe Juicebox is up there, but little else for me.

Oh blimey. I’ve waffled on for far too long again. Let that be all for this month.

Responses

# JamesM responded on 29th January 2006 with...

I couldn’t agree more with your muscial commentary this month sir, I’m particularly, deeply, into the “Clap your hands say yeah” album, and can recommend making an audio sandwich out of that album with two others, as the metaphorical acoustic bread. These are, Arcade Fire - Funeral, and Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary. All of those albums took a while to grown on me, but grow they did. A delicious musical bite. Bon Appªtit!

# Brad Chmielewski responded on 29th January 2006 with...

Clap your hands, so good! Just started listening to Arctic Monkeys didn’t realize they were that big.

# paul haine responded on 29th January 2006 with...

I’ve tried a few times over the last couple of months to like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, but I just can’t seem to manage it. I want to like them, but they just sort of wash over me.

# Colin Frame responded on 30th January 2006 with...

I’ve tried the Clap Your hands album as well after it was recommended to me by a mate but I’m finding it hard to get into as well, like paul said I want to like it but just can’t get into it yet.

We had the Strokes album on in work last week and for the first few tracks I almost though we were listening to Franz Fredinand!

# Matthew Pennell responded on 30th January 2006 with...

I’m going to have to have a listen to this ‘Clap Your Hands…’ thing, I’ve been hearing so much about them recently.

I’m on a bit of a Canadian trip at the moment - Arcade Fire, New Pornographers, and a few others; highly recommended. :)

# Simon Collison responded on 30th January 2006 with...

JamesM: I am loving the way you assimilate music to food today. You hungry or something?

Brad: Arctic Monkeys “big”? They have just announced that it is the fastest selling debut album of all time, currently outselling the rest of the top 20 album chart combined. Jeez.

Paul: I was like that at first, but they suddenly hit me. Not sure if it’s got longevity though.

Colin: Sounds like Franz Ferdinand? Think I know what you mean - it’s all sharp, spangly gee-tars these days.

Matthew: Not heard the New Pornographers yet? Will take your advice. Canada has definitely moved on since the days of Morrisette, Ceiling Dion and Brian Adams…

# Matthew Pennell responded on 30th January 2006 with...

Colly: Get hold of The New Pornographers’ Twin Cinema - fantastic stuff, what overly-enthusiastic music mag staff writers would call “life affirming”. ;)

I just *ahem* got hold of a copy of ‘Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!’ - not sure what I think at the moment, but definitely interesting; maybe after a week on shuffle it will grow on me.

# JamesM responded on 30th January 2006 with...

I forgot to mention/brag/self-congratulate, I’m going to the NME Awards Tour at Rock City on tuesday, Featuring none other than… Arctic Monkeys! (...plus Maximo Park, We are Scientists, and Mystery Jets)... Hurrah!

# Simon Collison responded on 30th January 2006 with...

JamesM: You absolute bastard. I missed out. If only one of the bands was on Poptones. Oh well, enjoy it. Hey, if you feel ill that day, gimme a call and I’ll go on your behalf…

# JamesM responded on 30th January 2006 with...

Haha! Well actually, my girlfriend’s been round my place all day with a freshly developed stinkingly bad cold, so… you never know your luck / my bad luck! ...I’ll bear you in mind!

# Simon Collison responded on 30th January 2006 with...

James: Firstly, I hope she gets well. But if not, I’m there, and I’ll pay for the ticket and your beer

# Mike Stenhouse responded on 30th January 2006 with...

I’m with you on the Diplo vs Shadow mix. I stumbled across it by accident a couple of weeks ago and loved it! I’d add the Kooks to the list too… A bit sugary for some peoples’ taste but for my money they’re the best guitar pop band around right now. Love the songs and love Luke’s voice. I’ve been listening to the album over and over for the last week and I’m still not bored. They’ve managed to completely overshadow the Arctic Monkeys on my humble stereo.

# Richard Rutter responded on 30th January 2006 with...

Yeah, Dicky Hawley is the man. It’s easy listening crooning but with an edge somehow.

And I thought the new Strokes album was dreadful (apart from Juicebox). Just a bunch of nauseous whining, unless I’ve misunderstood it.

# Ben Ward responded on 31st January 2006 with...

I was initially pleased with the new Strokes. I think it was a Œwonderful, it’s better than Room on Fireà reaction. Influenced at least in part by the fact that I’d not listened to any of their music for months. I seem to remember making very excited comments in an email to you, Colly. Hmmm.

I don’t think I’ve played the album at all in the last 10 days. But, I do still rate Heart in a Cage very highly. I love the guitar.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: Apart from that fact that I instinctively add an exclamation mark to their name (ŒYeah!Ã), I can’t fault them. I was lucky enough to get a copy at Christmas and it is very good indeed. I believe they’re touring this month (although the Manchester date clashes with the Carson summit, so I shan’t get to see them).

I’ve spent most of my listening this month throwing together a compilation, so combined with my zero-finances, I’ve at least been able to rediscover a few albums that I’d not played for a while: Grandaddy’s Software Slump and Low’s Trust. I’m trying to get Sigur RÄsà ?g†tis Byrjun and () listened to as much as Takk˜, too.

# gb responded on 31st January 2006 with...

Maybe I’m just a bit of a twerp, but I like the new strokes album. Quite a bit, actually. Honesty, I got bored by a lot of their old stuff, especially the whole “Hey! You can barely hear the vocals! It must be cool!” thing. Granted, I’m not saying he’s a whole hell of a lot more intelligable now, but I honestly like how the sounds seem more rich and full… less garagey (and yes, I realise that was the sound that made them famous).

Granted, I’m also on a We Are Scientists kick, so that may have something to do with it.


Watched the video of the Arctic Monkeys playing Morning Becomes Eclectic, and I’m chomping at the bit for mid to late february when the album will come out out over here.

# Simon Collison responded on 31st January 2006 with...

Mike: Not getting the Kooks yet, although I’ve only heard one song - seemed very jolly.

Ben: My reaction too - much better than Room On Fire, but that was the easy part. As for Agaetis Byrjun - ah, one of the best albums ever made… ever.

GB: No “twerp” about it - if you like it, that’s cool. I’ll listen to it a bit more and see where I get to. As for the Arctic Monkeys, it’ll be worth the wait, trust me.

# andyb responded on 31st January 2006 with...

Again some spot on choices Colly.

If you have a spare 10 minutes it is worth having a listen to ‘Music in mouth’ by Bell X1. They have been kicking around for a while but I’ve only just managed to catch up with them.

# paul haine responded on 31st January 2006 with...

I agree about The New Pornographers, particularly ‘Sing Me Spanish Techno’ which I find irritatingly catchy.

# Anthony responded on 31st January 2006 with...

I’v gone a bit mental with new music since just before Christmas. I’ve tried out about 30 new bands, think I’m going to have to try one of these music thingies.

Anyway…

Arctic Monkeys. Believe the hype, they are that good. There’s something very refreshing about them.

I second Matthews big up for the New Pornographers, I am liking them muchness.

That whole Candian thing is blowing up big, even if it is a bit incestious. Broken Social scene (like the Pornographers) are another collective of 12 or so part time Candian residents. They can be a bit hit and miss, but worth checking out.

Also there’s Bell Orchestre which is part of Arcade Fire without singing.

I feel the exact same way about the Strokes too. Hard to get excited about anything but Juicebox.

There are millions of others too - like MIA, Colcut, Fiery Furnaces, Quasimoto, My Morning Jacket and plenty more.

# Anonymous (for a reason) responded on 31st January 2006 with...

Simon Webbe’s ‘Sanctuary’ album. A glaring omission to your playlist, I think you’ll find. His latest single’s not great, but the first two are catchy. He also employed Akon’s chipmunk for his debut single, which was kind of him.

# Simon Collison responded on 1st February 2006 with...

Anonymous: As much as I’m sure you are taking the piss, the “Akon’s chipmunk” line had me in fits.

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