Kick Start My Punk Rock Heart

Monday, January 08, 2007

If this is the view I'll keep the curtains closed

For the person who spent all night hassleing me to play this, a solid contender for worst single of 2007 even at this early stage, despite my constant assertion that i didn't own it.

How is this:

Not the same as this:

Plus this:


I'm really starting to despaire at the state of British guitar music...

It's been a long day x

Friday, December 22, 2006

Tracks of the 2006

Okay, no messing around with this one. These are, in no particular order, the tracks that have rocked my iPod the hardest

The Gossip - Listen Up!

This year has been the year of disco punk funk and one of the real break through bands has been The Gossip. Like all punk bands, they have discovered dance music, ditched the scuzzy fuzz of their first album and instead we find a soulful vocal riding a groove ladened bass. It's like !!! without the trumpets. Needs more cowbell though

Billy Talent - Red Flag

These guys are one of the tightest live bands around at the moment, and their second album almost manages to caputre their energy. Underneath all the snotty punk lurks a creamy pop centre, and this second single from the album is the catchiest track of the year. You'll find, like me, that you'll be singing along with made up words in no time

The Rapture - Wooh Alright Yeah

Single of the year, hands down. The Rapture have always been awesome singles band, and their 2006 release finally saw them producing a brilliant album as well. Whilst the first single didn't blow me away, this is the kind of record I can listen to six times in a row and still want to hear it again. It's part Jealous Lovers, part Azido Da Bass and part instant dance floor carnage. Klaxons, Sunshine Underground and Data Rock take note, this is what a dance/guitar cross over sounds like. Now go to your rooms.

Lyrical genius or crap punk rock poetry? Who cares, I'm wearing my dancing pants

Be Your Own Pet - Adventure

They sound like Bow Wow Wow! They're fronted by a teenage girl! They're songs are all two minutes long! They smash they're get up!!!!111!! OMG! What's not to love?

Lupe Fiasco - Kick Push

Not only is this my favourite hiphop song of the year, but it also my favourite video. In the year that saw Jurassic 5 lose it majorly, Lupe appearance from the fringes of intelligent hiphop has been welcome. A cameo apperance on Kanye West's Touch The Sky, an amazing mixtape followed by an even more amazing debut album. Neptunes, Kanye and DJ Premier amongst other provide the beats with Lupe riding the beat on subjects as nerdy as Giant Robots and Nintendo. This ode to skateboarding romance is a welcome respite from bitches and ho's as well

Hot Chip - Over & Over

I thought I was bored with this record, but I played it out last night at Gigantic and it sounded awesome. It's great for exactly the same reason The Rapture single is great - it sounds like a floor full of people going crazy on a dance floor, and that's exactly what it inspires. And it's got a line about CASIO keyboards in it too. Woo! Alright! Yeah!

Rise Against - Ready To Fall

Two of the best political punk bands released albums this year - Rise Against and Strike Anywhere. SA's has passed me by a little bit, and whilst Rise Against's newest long player is not as good as Siren Songs... it has many gems nestling in it's tracks. This is a great single, full of their usual dillusioned venom, with a fist in the air sing-a-long chorus

Disco Ensemble - We Might Fall Apart

Okay, so they might not be the most original band, but at least this is a little bit of balls out rockin' emo, rather than mincing about to an jangly electro beat emo (you know who you are Panic! At The Disco, The Hush Sound, Cobra Starship et al). They sound a lot like At The Drive In! a bit like Thursday, both of which can only be a good thing. Oh, and they're Finnish, which means they have comedy accents too. Altogether now.. Juss Like De Housh Of Cards

Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back

All the end of year hipster magazine round ups have put My Love near the top in a "check us out we can appreciate pop music too" bid for credibility. But I still think this song is better. Coming across like a Faint/MSTRKRFT/DFA threesome this is brilliant pop from start to finish. I'm sure every metal band in the country is now going to do an ironic cover.

DJ Shadow - Enuff

I have, for a long time, been a big DJ Shadow fan. Entroducing is still one of those albums that blows me away everytime I listen to it. The follow up, Private Press, was a little disapointing, but grew on me. This years Outsider recieved almost universerally bad reviews, and whilst I accept that Shadow didn't want to keep producing the same album over and over, it was a step to far into the domain of crunk rap. However, the album does contain this absolutly storming single, featuring Q-Tip on vocals

Dr Octogan - Trees

The hiphop version of Rise Against's Ready To Burn
, Kool Keith and Dan The Automator tackle the issue of America systimatically destroying the world, all smeared over a P-funk bassline. This is what the Shadow album should have sounded like

Oh, and obviously this as well. Ch-ch-ch-check it out

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Worst Singles of 2006 - An aside

So the band to feature most prominantly in my list of worst singles so far has been the Kooks. And it's nice to see that after I've pointed out just how cynically manufacted they are, a leaked industry e-mail confirms this. Credit to Ian Mitchell for finding this for me:

----- Original Message -----
From: XXXX@[UK Record Label]
To: XXXX@[UK Record Label]

Sent: Thursday, November 23, 2006 4:12 PM
Subject: The Kooks

We finally got the IFPI [International Federation of the Phonographic Industry] certification through—it's all signed off and there's a bit of green tinted plastic you can show the boys when they next stop by here. Of course over one million European sales is good, very good, but I think we have to understand that these sales are nearly all domestic. The album has been on the UK chart almost 40 weeks now but looking at the data available the album has only got to 107 in France and only to 32 in New Zealand. If we are to make this act a workable long term investment I think we have to make international recognition our first priority, then focus on domestic consiladation then and set up the second album as an international breakthrough. It is my firmly held belief that this band have a strong enough brand appeal to our keynote demographics to put them on the A list of priorities for 2007.

----- Original Message -----
From: XXXX@[UK Record Label]To: XXXX@[UK Record Label]

Sent: Thursday, November 23, 2006 6:03 PM
Subject: Re: The Kooks

That's great. I agree that this lot are really shaping up nicely. I was, I must admit, a little worried before radio got hold of Naive and the album took off. Having a third single peak at 12, with the kind of push we were giving them was disheartening to say the least. Getting them to agree its single release was a nightmare Luke [Pritchard lead singer of The Kooks] was very precious about it but I had to lay down the law with him, I told him that if they didn't have a radio hit they'd be going the way of BRMC [Black Rebel Motorcycle Club US group who parted company with Virgin records in 2004]. That shut him up.His point that the production made it sound like Athlete before they sounded like Coldplay made me laugh. We made it pretty hot in the mastering so it sounded great on the radio. I agree international success is a priority and now with Inside being out there in the US market place, we can build their profile and maybe come second album time get a 'Chasing Cars' out of them. I think we are going to have to miss the indie appeal in the US and go straight for the 'OC.' In the UK the leather jackets and scruffy hair does half the work, I mean the cred of The Libertines and the all around appeal of Busted is an obvious no brainer domestic but in the US both of those bands did shit.One plus point: internationally I reckon no one is going to give a toss about them going to stage school or whether one of them shagged Katie Melua. We had to do a little damage control after that Amstell [Simon Amstell, UK Television Personality] prick took the piss on Popworld. I mean no one gives a fuck if spotty [Weekly UK Music Publication] readers think they don't write their own songs but it's important we keep a bit of serious artist credibility round them. That aspirational indie vibe is pretty important when reeling the 25 - 35's in. I gave him [Pritchard] a bit of a hand with that piece in [Monthly UK Music Publication] about Bob Dylan. Anyway nothing to get too hung up about it's just we don't want people damaging the magic of the group, I mean we have done very well, so far all the press have been pretty much onside. I did have a bit of trouble with [UK Newspaper] but we got a decent enough review from them to put a quote on the TV spots. Thanks for your continued support!

----- Original Message -----
From: XXXX@[UK Record Label]To: XXXX@[UK Record Label]

Sent: Friday, November 24, 2006 2:55 PM
Subject: Re: The Kooks

Someone should get in touch with [Music Industry Figure] at Sony and stop him from letting that pillock from Kasabian calling The Kooks girls music or whatever it was he said. Anyway I saw the TV spot last night, it's now running as part of [UK music retailers]'s Christmas campaign. That black white photography works a treat and those press quotes are all great. I know Ooh La didn't do as well as we hoped but with a decent push I think we'll get a third or even fourth wind out of this one! I had another listen to the album on the way home yesterday there's some catchy songs on there aren't there? That Jackie Big Tits song is a laugh, we wouldn't have been able to get away with something like that 10 years ago with all that PC nonsense. I don't think we need to be quite so defensive on the PR front, the only people likely to give them a bad review are people like [Major Webzine] and the kind of geeks who read that crap don't even buy records anyway.Good luck keep up the good work.

It's almost as if record labels lie to us to get our hard earned money... But then that couldn't be true, could it

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Worst Singles of 2006 Part 3

Avenged Sevenfold - Beast And The Harlot

Now here is a band that sums up everything that makes metal an embarrassing for of music to like. Physically, the resemble a Motley Crue tribute band - all eyeliner and tattoos, and musically they resemble five talentless men.

Everything about the band is packaged to appeal to the 14 year old metal fan. The band have names like Synester Gates, The Rev, Zacky Vengence and Bozo McMetal (I made one of these up. See if you can spot it). Their videos all feature busty women strutting around in their pants whilst the two guitarist lean against each other and extract four thousand note solos played entirely in thirds. For about seven minutes. Oh, and don't forget the obligatory licking of the fret board and tongue waggling. Honestly guys, life is too short for guitar solos. I mean you could have got another verse or two in there.

Actually, scrub that - we should be grateful there are guitar solos otherwise there might be more lyrical content. I present for you the opening verse;

This shining city built of gold, A far cry from innocence
There's more than meets the eye round here look to the waters of the deep,
A city of evil,
There sat a seven-headed beast, Ten horns raised from his head,
Symbolic woman sits on his throne but hatred strips her and leaves her naked, The Beast and the Harlot.

All you need to finish that off is something about goblins and a 'hey-nonny-nonny'. It's like the scribblings of on the geography text book of a thirteen year old dungeons and dragons player. Huh huh naked chicks!!!! Seven headed beasts!!!!1!111! A city built of gold? Well that would be a perfect place to live. Except wait, this city is evil! Like, woah man. And in this city lives a seven headed beast. Oooo-kay. Ten horns raised from his head. So seven headed beast has one head? And if it has seven, how are the ten horns distributed evenly? I suspect that there is no proof reading in the Avenged Sevenfold camp. It almost like they just put any old rubbish down...

Oh and guys, if you're going to write bad lyrics, at least make them rhyme. Try to do something right.

She's a dwelling place for demons, She's a cage for every unclean spirit, Every filthy bird that makes us drink the poisoned wine to fornicating with our kings,
Fallen now is Babylon the Great.

Well, we've all woken up with a girl like that at some point in our lives, eh? I like the use of filthy bird as a lyrical bon-mot. Get a bit of quaint cockneyism in amongst your psuedo-biblical schlock.

Still, it's easy to make fun of a band's lyrics (espcially when they are Avenged Sevenfold). It's even easier to make fun of a record that has absolutely no tune throughout the verses, and then goes into a horrific keychange to for the chorus. It's two songs stuck together isn't it? It's the musical equivalent of that Ford Escort I bought when I was nineteen. And even that made a better sound that Bozo and his crew could ever manage

Leave it to KISS eh? Because they were as ridiculous as you guys are trying to be. But you know what? They were KISS!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Worst Singles of 2006 Part 2

The Red Hot Chili Peppers - Tell Me Baby

Please, please stop this. Personally, I've never really got the appeal of this band. Four albums of terrible slap bass infused punk funk with 14 year old poetry for vocals. Then one half decent break through album (Blood Sugar Sex Magic) follwed by a never ending recycling of the same formula. And people still buy their singles, despite the fact that they already own the same record mascarding order a different name. Oh, and you guys are old too. Why is it that people rightly critise the Rolling Stones for not knowing when to give it a rest, but somehow still feel that this band is relevant? I think the combined age of t'Peppers is 400. Or there abouts.

But they are all amazing musicians, I here you cry. Er... no they're not. The drummer is middling at best, the guitarist has given up writing riffs about three albums ago and is simply reusing the ones he already has. And the bass.... Believe it or not, Flea used to be in seminal hardcore band Fear. Y'know, hardcore, that genre of music about trimming all the unnecessary fat and playing as hard and fast as possible. Nowhere, in any capacity, is slap bass part of this. Level 42 and Jamiroqui use slap bass and nobody who owns a pair of ears, wants to listen to them.

And then there is the front man. Can't sing very well? Don't worry about it, do some rapping instead. Oh hang on, you're not much got at that either. Erm.... Okay, try fitting as many words as possible into each line. Doesn't sound very good? Wouldn't let it bother you. You'll still sell millions of records. Oh, and whilst you're at it, make sure the lyrics make no sense and are just a loose collections of vaguely rhyming words strung together. It'll make you sound enigmatic

Is this single worse than other Chili Peppers ones? I'm not sure. I'm not convinced it isn't other Chili Peppers ones. And it gets player to death by the supposed 'rock' TV stations, so it's had even more chance to get on my nerves. They should do that one about roller coasters again. At least they didn't write that

Thank god Jane's Addiction never ended up sounding like this

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Worst Singles of 2006

What can I say? I'm a busy boy. I really haven't had the time to sit and update my blog. However, what with the Garage going really well at the moment, and us finally receiving some hits on our website, maybe it's time to update my blog

However, I had my car broken into yesterday so I'm a bit of a bitter mood. With this is mind, I present to you DJ Tom* Worst Singles of 2006!!!11! Oh Em Gee! Yup, there has been a lot of competition for this coveted mantel. And bare in mind when reading these that I have deemed all of these singles worse than efforts by Jamiroqui, Texas, Westlife, Upper Street, Kubb, P. Diddy, The Pussycat Dolls and the seven thousand dance records that sampled 80's tracks and put some scantily clad women in their videos (okay, I liked that bit). That's right, I actually preferred The Beatfreaks to any of these. So, here are my first picks:

U2 & Greenday - The Saints Are Coming

Okay, so this is a charity record. This probably makes me a bad person. I can live with that. This is an appauling record, both in concept and execution. Where to begin? Maybe bullet points will help:

1) U2, and more specifically, Bono, are the enemy. Of everything, ever
2) Greenday used to be kick ass. Now my dad likes them. Here are three things that rock harder than Greenday do now : brunch, the clarinet, Sunday afternoons with my grandma
3) U2 and Greenday's record sales are about 80 billion a year. I've sent this off to NASA to be calculated, so don't question me on this. They could probably afford to have the whole of American laminated so that no flooding could ever happen again. Don't produce bad records asking for my money.
4) Charity records = The End Of All Credibility. Now, you can ignore this part U2, as you have slightly less than no credibility anywhere but Belgium. However, Greenday are still fondly remembered for their Dookie period output, enough so that people can ignore how bad Warning and American Idiot are as albums. They've got a lot to loose. Remember when Dizzee Rascal did that rap on The Band Aid record? Heard anything from him since?
5) All proceeds from this record go to charity. So after all the cost of production, distribution, marketing and paying label pluggers to buy the records back to boost the chart position, that's roughly six and a half pence a record. Which they won't get anyway, because everybody downloads records.
6) The song is bad. I mean, really, really bad. If I had the choice between buying this record and performing my own laser eye surgery with a nothing but a rusty spoon then sign me up for an eye patch. It's not been mentioned in any of the press, but it's also a cover of The Skids. It's ironic that a punk band managed to take all of the punk out of a punk record, so props to Greenday for that eh?

The Kooks - Oh La
The Kooks - She Moves In Her Own Way
The Kooks - Naive

These records are all exactly the same, so I feel justified in lumping them together. Now, there are a lot of bands out there that are musically worse than The Kooks, and we will come to them soon. I mean you can pretty much throw a stone into the the indie section of HMV and any record that it bounces off will be truly, truly terrible. Do record labels actually have A&R men any more, or do you just have to walk in with a photograph of you and Pete 'Give Him Ten Years And He'll Look Like Shane McGowan' Docherty?. However, despite all of these terrible bands clogging up the shelves in record shops, I still find it easiest to hate the Kooks

To start with, they all look so smug. And they're so fresh out of stage school that you can almost see the shrink rap. Just as The Lost Prophets are styled for which ever rock flavour is currently in (apparently it's emo-core at the moment. yawn), The Kooks are so stereotypically student indie. Silly floppy curly hair, straw boaters and charity shop jackets finished off with winkle pickers and cowboy boots. Then there's his voice. Nasal singing, insipid lyrics, boring tunes. Everything is just so inoffensive. It is music for people who don't like music, but like buying things. You remember how everybody got excited about the Kaiser Chiefs even though they were clearly rubbish? It was lowest common denominator sing-a-long-in-a-chain-bar-with-a-pint-glass-over-your-head-whilst-dancing-like-Ian-Brown lad indie. Then there was Hard-Fi. Then the singer song writer thing became popular and lo-and behold, the record company reaches a compromise and combines the two, which is a bit like having measles and flu at the same time. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The Kooks

The Klaxons - Magik

Okay, let's get one thing clear before we begin. Nu-rave = Completely made up scene so that The NME can still seem relevant. It is as made up as the word Nu. The bands that seem to have fallen under this banner are either already kick ass electro dance acts that have nothing to do with rave and everything to do with making great dirty slices of tech house, and guitar bands with cheap keyboard noises stuck over the top as an afterthought. See if you can guess which camp The Klaxons fall into...

Their debut single was rubbish. I have played with the same keyboard they used to provide the 'electronica' on Atlantis Interzone. It's a 200 quid Argos job where ever button elicits a naff DJ lazer zap sound. But apparently, when this is stuck over the top of a Franz Ferdinand B side it represent a revolution in music akin to the invention of Steve Vai. To really assert their rave credentials they've then lifted the bass line from S-Express's classic Theme From S-Express. Wholesale. The same way the Vanilla Ice was 'inspired' by Under Pressure. Now whilst it's understandable that as an indie kid whose whole musical diet consists of Razorlight
and The Libertines, you might get excited by something a little different. However, the kids have gone nuts for this. It's all glow sticks and talk of disco biscuits (not that anybody actually knows what these are). And nobody has pointed out that this is not dance music. It's barely music. If something has to be ironic, then what's the point?

Bad though the first single might be, the follow up is even worse. They kept all the bits that made me hate the debut, and taken the skillful step of leaving out any kind of tune, structure or hook. Could it be that The Klaxons don't actually have any ideas whatsoever? That all they have to offer are brightly coloured sweaters and limp glow sticks? Far be it from me to suggest it but, er.. yes. So it's been an NME single of the week and topped the MTV charts for what seemed like nine years. Which leads me to think that I might be the only person in Britain with a pair of ears

Paul Weller - Wild Blue Yonder

I haven't actually heard this record, but I'm pretty sure it deserve a place on my list. Better safe than sorry, eh?

More tomorrow. Something to look forward to then

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Don't rob me...

I got cool new stuff. I finally bit the bullet and made the switch, and as I post this entry I'm typing on my new Apple MacBook. It's the business. And now I'm packing Photoshop at home, I'm going to start overhauling my blog. I've already redesigned the layout as you can see, and I'm going to try and have new graphics up by the end of the week.

And hopefully my new iPod will arrive tomorrow to replace the sick little old skool one that I've had for three years. You have no idea how lost I've been without it. And because I'm a nerd I had to go for the biggest they sell just so I can get my record collection on it. Which means I can listen to more music at work again and finally get around to hearing all the new albums I've not got round to yet. Except more posting as a result


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