One of the many perks of writing such a hugely successful blog is all the free stuff that piles through my letter box. On one occasion the blonde one out of The Ting Tings sailed through my flap and landed on the mat. Behind her dropped an envelope containing two free tickets to see Fujiya & Miyagi and my heart sung out with..."who?" But seeing as I'm so eager to broaden my horizons I went along anyway and had a mighty good time. The stand-out track was called 'Knickerbocker', a song so hypnotic it might actually take over your brain and make you eat only ice cream until you sweat mint choc chip. The video is very useful as it visualises all the words, thus making it entertaining to thick people. Everybody; "vanilla, strawberry, Knickerbocker glory".

Next up is a song by The Walkmen called 'In The New Year'. A few years ago The Walkmen released a single ('The Rat') that was so impossibly perfect that no-one brought it. No-one dared sully it's perfection by actually listening to it or handing over money in exchange for ownership. Since that moment, The Walkmen have tried to make less and less interesting music in the hope that it would equal sales and it hasn't so they've gone back to what they know. Thank God for that. No, really, do it now.

Don't have nightmares.

Do you remember where you were the day Destiny's Child broke up? I know I do. I was busy preparing myself for the imminent domination of a certain Miss Beyonce Knowles; singer of songs, magician of movies, winner of wars (OK, the second one doesn't really work). When I first heard 'Crazy In Love' I thought all my hopes/fears had been realised in three beautiful minutes and for a few months Beyonce was indeed the Queen of just about everything humanly possible. Then, suddenly, antipathy set in and the music sagged and the albums spluttered and things got so bad that Kelly Rowland was allowed to release music and people were allowed to buy it. Beyonce even threw some scraps from her table, giving hints that a reunion may be on the cards. Oh holy goddess, how you tempt those beneath you, etc, etc.

Things must be pretty bad right now, because the third member of Destiny's Child (yes, there was a third member), Michelle Williams, has snuck out from the shadows with a brand new single. And it's not gospel. (For those that don't know, when the band first took a break it was decreed by them all- or just Beyonce- that Kelly Rowland would release R&B music, Williams gospel and Beyonce pop music. Mmm, who got the short straw there?). Anywho, she's back, and I hope for her sake that Beyonce hasn't heard this because 'We Break The Dawn' is a big, shiny R&B hit that makes a mockery of most of B'Day.

The album's called Unexpected. In your face Knowles.

Gargantuan man/woman/hermaphrodite singer Antony (along with his Johnsons) have announced details of their new single entitled 'Another World'. The single is out in the UK on 7 October and will be backed with four other songs, which probably means it's chart illegible but that means diddly squat to someone who sings mainly about breast amputation and death.

Here's the cover. Unsurprisingly it mixes decadence, campery, melancholy and monochrome:

Here is the EP's full track listing:

01 Another World
02 Crackagen
03 Shake That Devil
04 Sing for Me
05 Hope Mountain

Antony & the Johnsons last album, the Mercury prize winning I am a bird now, was one of my personal favourites of that year and I don't mind saying I'm pretty damn excited about the follow-up, The Crying Light, due in January 2009. The band will also be touring in October in venues big enough to house a full symphony orchestra. So not the 100 Club then.

A reminder of that voice:

Bored of all this pop talk? Think perhaps Will Young is a bit too mainstream for your tastes? Well, don't ever say that Musick doesn't do versatility, and to prove it, here's the rather wonderful new video from everyone's favourite band, Stereolab.

The song is called 'Neon Beanbag' (beat that Gareth!) and is taken from their bouncy new album Chemical Chords, which is out now. It looks exactly like you'd imagine a Stereolab video to look like, which is only a good thing surely?

Here's a brighter, even more Stereolab Stereolab video for 'Three Women'.

So many pretty colours.

It's always nice to encourage debate, especially when it's to do with music. Plus, that's kind of the whole point of writing a blog in the first place. So, I was pleasantly surprised to be told that there had been 20 (!) comments left underneath what seemed like a fairly harmless post about Will Young's new single. Now, 20 comments isn't really that many in the grand scheme of things, but here at Musick that's the comment-leaving equivalent of a gold medal (always there with something topical to anchor the point).

What was more surprising is that the post seemed to unearth some passionate vitriol amongst the Gareth Gates fans out there, who seem to have taken umbrage at my suggestion that Gates has been relatively unsuccessful of late. He has, of course, appeared on Dancing On Ice (the show and the tour), taken part in a celebrity golf tournament and moved from an apartment to a house. That's me well and truly told. There were also some strong comments directed at Will regarding his part in Gareth's musical downfall, as if Will has some stranglehold on the media or people's ability to hear.

Personally, I think this is what killed Gareth's singing career...

'Go Your Own Way' (ah, that title says it all doesn't it?) was Gareth's second album and contained no less then 19 songs. It reached number 11. Note to record companies; don't let your 'artist' release a double album. Ever. Especially if said singer is Gareth Gates whose main appeal at that time was to a very young demographic, not known for high attention spans.

This probably didn't help either...


Six years have passed since Will was crowned Pop Idol winner, perhaps it's now time to let this bloody battle die, along with the hopes of so many reality TV stars.

Here at Musick, we don't like poking fun at the obvious. It's not pretty, it's not fair and it makes us look really bad in the process. BUT there are always exceptions to every rule, and I think I've found the get out clause right here.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, the return of Oasis.

Hey Noel, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club called, they think they saw you outside their studio the other day. Yeah, they want their b-side back. Cheers.

I had high hopes for Bloc Party after their debut album Silent Alarm, yet somehow they managed to balls it all up with the deeply depressing (not in the way they wanted) A Weekend In The City. Since then they've released 'Flux', a song not a million miles away from Cher circa 'Believe', and current single 'Mercury'. Both songs are musically quite interesting- lots of electronic blips and bleeps mixing with the guitars- but both suffer from some horrendous lyrics, a problem that hampered their second album. But, perhaps to disguise this fact, they've announced that their third album, Intimacy, will be released this Thursday via download and then 'properly' in October. Unlike Radiohead's attempt to destroy the record industry, fans will have to pay a set amount for the mp3s, five English pounds to be precise.

For those that can't wait two whole days, the band has released a taster of things to come with 'Trojan Horse'. It's got electronic blips and bleeps that mix with guitars and is hampered by some atrocious as usual then.

It's sometimes easy to forget that Will Young used to rub shoulders with luminaries such as Gareth Gates and the lady on the left (prizes for the person who can remember her name). Having managed to shed the Pop Idol tag in favour of an actual career, Will Young has become every Mum's favourite singer and has released three hugely successful albums. Well, Will is back with a new single, entitled 'Changes'. Fortunately, it's not a David Bowie cover, but rather a very grown-up, mid-paced, Radio 2-friendly hum along...wait, come back.

Very nice. Poor Will though. All he's trying to do is get some petrol and somehow he gets all the blame for the imminent fuel shortage and the credit crunch. Still, he seems to be having fun in the hay doesn't he?

I wonder what Gareth's up to now...

OK, so I'm back. Don't ask. Missy & Timbaland got into this huge fight about who got to wear the platinum hiking boots and it all kicked off. Needless to say I was left to pick up the pieces. Jeez, next time it's skiing with the Bedingfields for me.

Still, here's a nice photo Missy took...

Firstly, I bid you a fond farewell for this is my last post...until I get back off holiday! Me, Missy and Timbaland are all off to the Lake District on a hiking holiday. You know how it is with hip-hoppers these days, it's all flasks of tea, cucumber sandwiches and a nice relaxing stroll.

Anyways, I thought I'd leave you with- to quote Zane Lowe- 'the biggest song in the world right now'. It's called 'Sex On Fire' (there's surely a creme you can get for that) and it's by those so-called Kings of Leon:

Nice. Their new album is out in September and they're touring the country around that kind of time too. These things are linked in some way I believe.

You remember The Vines, right? Somehow, back in the crazy days of 2002 when any band with 'The' at the start were deemed music's saviours, this group of Australian stoners somehow managed to steal the hearts (and minds) of every single music journalist on the entire planet. A plethora of plaudits came spewing out from all corners of the globe, with Rolling Stone featuring them on the cover in America to a set trashing performance on Jools Holland.

At the forefront of all this, of course, were the NME who featured the band in nearly every edition around the time of their debut album, Highly Evolved. When it became clear that lead singer Craig Nicholls was suffering some kind of mental illness the magazine relished the chance to create another tortured genius. Unfortunately, you can probably guess the rest; second album Winning Days was met with muted reviews (NME giving it 5/10) and suddenly the band who had it all were gone.

The band have now released their fourth album, Melodia, on myspace and in a slightly odd move, NME have written a review/apology which can be read here. The album can be heard here.

OK, so it's not very good, but you have to wonder how many times the NME will have to compose one of these apologies. Surely, a few need to be done retrospectively- Terris, Campag Velocet, Ultrasound- and surely one is being prepared for Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong, publication date January 2009.

Of late Kanye West has managed to go from 'confident producer/rapper who has made some brilliant singles' to 'ego-maniac friend of Chris Martin with an inflated sense of self-worth and bad time-keeping'. So, it's something of a surprise to find that someone in his camp has a sense of humour, as this video for new single 'Champion' shows:

Don't get me wrong, there's still a rampant ego at work here, the song is called 'Champion' after all, but at least it's not actually him winning the gold, but instead a much more humble puppet. As one sharp commentator noted on youtube, the video is really quite timely given that rather big sporting event currently taking place somewhere far away. If only I could remember it's name...

Note: Reading Kanye West's blog (as you should too, it's hilarious) I noticed that he describes Mika thusly (capital letters Kanye's own): ONE OF MY FAVORITE ARTISTS. Well, just when you thought he was beginning to redeem himself...

Right, you there, look me in the eye and tell me you haven't enjoyed at least one Sugababes single. Go on, just try it. From 'Overload' to 'Freak Like Me' to 'Push The Button' right up to last year's 'About You Now' they've had a run of great pop singles rivalled only by Girls Aloud (although they do suffer the same affliction in that their ballads are usually cack). So, only five months after their last single, Sugababes are back with a brand new track entitled 'Girls'. See if you can spot the sample...

Yep, that's right it samples a great chunk of that song off the Boots advert. Now, I realise that music and commercialism are more then just occasional bedfellows, in fact they're usually partaking in a pretty nasty group orgy, but this song will now forever be linked in my mind with a well-known chemists. Everytime I see that annoyingly jovial advert on TV I'll think "this is that song the Sugababes lifted wholesale and plonked in the middle of their new single". It's a shame because it's still a pretty good song, it just whiffs too strongly of cheap deodorant.

I'm all for audience participation, especially when it comes with a recommendation and especially when said recommendation is really rather good. So thank you to 'anonymous' (probably not their real name) for drawing my attention to a song by a singer called Emmy The Great. For those that don't know, Emmy The Great (or Emma-Lee Moss as she's known to friends and family) is a London-based singer songwriter who has released a number of singles but has so far remained impervious to releasing an album. This year she appeared on Lightspeed Champion's debut album, Falling Off the Lavender Bridge and is touring with Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly...but don't hold that against her, a job's a job alright!

The song below is a touching little ditty about love and shit, but also about that eternal question; is it Mia or M.I.A? I think it's the latter.

Nice use of fuzzy felts.

There have been some pretty amazing music videos of late; from Gnarls Barkley coming on like an episode of Casualty (on acid) to Radiohead reinventing the very act of making a music video, and now we get the rather brilliant Vampire Weekend promo for new single, 'Cape Cod Kwasse Kwasse'.

The video was directed by Richard Ayoade, better known as the funny guy off the telly (he's been in The IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh and Garth Marenghi's Darkplace), who also directed this.

I like the blurring of the '80s references, from Wham-style pastel shades and bouffant hair to The Cure references of the goth makeover. Plus, it kind of plays on the misnomer of their name, which on paper implies a goth tribute band when in actuality they're a bunch of Ivy League, book-reading squares. Once again, the power of the music video at work. It's like acting or something.

A couple of months ago, British rapper M.I.A cancelled her imminent UK tour and hinted at the fact that she may never play a gig again. Having toured second album, Kala, relentlessly for a good twelve months things came to ahead in America (where the album has sold a lot better then it has on home soil) and M.I.A picked up her toys and hurled them out the pram. Probably not the best time then for single 'Paper Planes' to be shooting up the American Billboard 100 on the back of it being used in a trailer for stoner comedy Pineapple Express.

Currently sitting at no. 16 the track looks set to cement M.I.A's standing as one of the more interesting artists currently at work. Ironic then, that it comes at a time when all the press and glowing reviews have stopped and the promotional wheel has stalled. Finally it seems the hype has receded to leave what is one of the best singles of the year so far.

It's all about the music, man.

Such is the song's sudden ubiquity that it was even used in a very surreal episode of Eastenders on Tuesday. Music can sometimes be heard in the background at the cafe while Ian demeans another down trodden wife of his or in the pub where Pat dishes out some pearls of wisdom between the two chandeliers on her ears, but this was used in a scene where the Masood family actually sing along to the chorus, gunshots and everything. "Peggggyyyy, you bitch, you cow, those bloody Masooooods have got M.I.A pumping out their boom box. Apples and pears, plates of meat, etc etc".

- Next time you pop down to your local multiplex, keep your eyes peeled for two adults and two kids with scarves on their heads. It's only bloomin' Michael Jackson, his kids and dodgy rapper, Akon (NME)

- REM haven't sold as many tickets as they would have hoped. Shame really. Perhaps that's what you get when you employ Editors as the support act (BBC)

- Morrissey's next studio album, Years of Refusal, has been pushed back to 2009. Fingers crossed he's re-awoken his muse, or at least given it a sharp nudge in the ribs (Pitchfork)

- Those kids are still bickering! If they don't stop that racket, I'll bang their bloody heads together (Yahoo Music)

You may remember Keane as the polite little public school boys who made insipid, piano-led ballads about things changing and other things shaped like beds. You may also remember that cherubic singer, Tom Chaplin, had a stint at the Priory for an addiction to Port and cocaine, a spell that somewhat hindered their last album, Under The Iron Sea. Well, Hastings' finest are back back back with a new sound and a fetching new look...

It's like OMD never existed. I was pleasantly surprised in a way, it's a funny song, things go 'ohhh' when you least expect them to. I like the stuttering outro. Unfortunately, this being Keane it's hindered by two connected factors: there are awful lyrics, and said lyrics are sung by Tom Chaplin. He could sing on an Aphex Twin track and it would still sound like Keane. Some people think this is a good thing, but these people are usually deaf.

What's with all the musical side-projects going on at the moment? First we get Karen O's extra curricular efforts, then there's Conor Oberst moving away from Bright Eyes to become, er, Conor Oberst and now there's the Ugly One (TM) from The Strokes stepping out as Nickel Eye. The name seems to be a pun on his own name, Nikolai (Fraiture). Make of that what you will. The project also features plinky plonky piano player Regina Spektor and guitar hand for hire, Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. You can listen to the results right here, and an album, The Time of the Assassins, is released 'soon' (the tease).

Perhaps, the more pertinent question is; what's happening with The Strokes fourth album? I mean, who's actually working on it? Julian's messing about with Santogold and Pharrell, Albert Hammond Jr has just released a second solo album and Fabrizio Moretti was on the Neon Neon album and has his own side-project called Little Joy (which may or may not be appropriate, let's wait and see). It's not known what Nick Valensi is up to, perhaps he's got an allotment or something.

First off, an apology. I'm really sorry that it's been so long since my last post but my pal Missy (that's Missy Elliott to you guys) and I jetted off to the Bahamas for a short holiday. She's been pretty stressed working on her new album and she popped round the other day while Eastenders was on and we both just looked at each other and said "Roxy's such a bitch" and then "shall we fly to the Bahamas". So that's what we did.

Anyway, that's no excuse for what's happened in my absence. Somehow, the guy famous for once being married to Pamela Anderson is number 1 in the UK! According to Radio 1, this guy should now be given the prefix 'Legend'. What the hell happened? You go away for one weekend with a world famous rapper and you come back to find Kid Rock sitting pretty (ugly) at the top of the charts.

I haven't doctored the above picture in a fit of rage, this is actually what he looks like. The song's called 'All Summer Long' and it samples 'Sweet Home Alabama' and adds precisely zilch to the original, other then making that song even more inane.

I'm not including a link to this video. If we all pretend it doesn't exist then perhaps it will go away. Personally, I blame Switzerland.