Let's have a little look at what's been playing in the Musick office* this week shall we?
* By office I mean small studio flat, but it sounds less prosaic.

Sonic Youth 'What We Know'

Sonic Youth's millionth album, The Eternal, isn't out until Monday but Musick got an EXCLUSIVE promo copy just yesterday! I know, pretty amazing right? We'd like to say the band handed it to us personally whilst waiting for us outside work, but in actual fact we found it on the floor. 'What We Know' is Sonic Youth at their best, nailing a melody to some delightfully aggressive noise.

VV Brown 'Shark In The Water'

We've mentioned this before of course but it's such a brilliantly addictive song that we felt it right to mention it again. It's the kind of song that you want to listen to on a sunny day. Perhaps you're in a park with your mates playing rounders, maybe a boy you like is there and you notice him looking at you and you coyly twirl some hair on your finger and hope upon hope that someday he'll love you...I mean, ahem, it's a summer anthem.

Friendly Fires 'Jump In The Pool'

This single was originally released way back in August 2008 but has been picked up again following the band's amazing performance at the NME awards in February. The self-titled album is very good and also extremely cheap so why not do us all a favour and go out and buy it (or order online if you're scared of face-to-face interaction).

Antony & The Johnsons 'One Dove'

Through some strange twist of fate, Musick ended up seeing Antony & The Johnsons live twice in a week. Luckily, we find them to be rather exceptional and not a load of pretentious wailing as some do. 'One Dove' was a highlight on both nights and is represented here by a version taken from a Dutch TV show...we can only assume it was Easter, either that or Antony can only perform if swamped by chocolate bunnies.

There have been some pretty special music videos of late and this makes Musick very happy indeed. Back when MTV used to actually play music we would sit and watch endless hours of music videos - LOTS of Enigma and that Beloved video with all the naked people - and marvel at their brilliance or general awfulness. This is still a fun game to play, but youtube makes it that much easier.

This is the Richard Ayoade-directed video for 'Heads Will Roll', the second single from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs brilliant It's Blitz! album. The video features a fairly muted performance from the usually magnetic Karen O, her role as main focus taken over by a Michael Jackson impersonating cat person...

Brilliant ending too. That cat got some moves and no mistake.

TENUOUS LINK AHOY! Here's the video for Patrick Wolf's new single, 'Hard Times'. For those that missed the blatant link, one video features a cat and the other is by a singer whose surname is also that of an animal. A cat and a wolf. Do you see?

Here it is.

This is the really rather ace new video from Musick's friend (and yours) Dan Black. It references all kinds of movie genres and is the best thing we've seen all day long! The song, 'Symphonies', is the new version of this and comes with a rather long and not uninteresting story, and we'd like to outline the key plot lines below:

- 'Hypntz' appears online and the blogs they go crazy
- Album samplers circulate featuring 'Hypntz' and Dan's record company pick it as the next single
- Just before the video is due to be filmed the estate of Notorious B.I.G (who own the rights to the original lyrics) decide to stop the single going ahead.
- The other samples (Rihanna's 'Umbrella' and samples from some old film) are allowed to remain (the Rihanna loop is actually just some old Garage band sample that anyone could use), so the song's lyrics are re-written.
- Ta-dah, 'Symphonies' is born. You can sense some of the bitterness in the new lyric, no? A little bit maybe...

Brilliant video. The song suffers to these ears from slight over-exposure, but to those that have yet to hear it I'm sure it will sound like pure joy.

Is it just us that's beginning to think this feature is a bit boring? Hell, how can it be when last week's recommendation of Dizzee Rascal's 'Bonkers' lead to him having the biggest first week sales of any single in 2009 so far! Coincidence? We don't see how it can be...


Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear

So, our copy finally arrived (we brought it this morning), and it really is a lovely album. Lots of sighing guitars and glorious, dreamy backing vocals, like Fleet Foxes only with less facial hair and more blazers and deck shoes. It's what we professionals refer to as a 'grower' and not a 'shower', so please be patient.


Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by Phoenix

Zut Alor! Phoenix are back with their fourth album and it's a decidedly patchy affair in all honesty, but its opening salvo of 'Lisztomania', '1901' and 'Fences' is really bloody good. From then on it gets a bit self-indulgent, a bit samey and a bit calculated, but for those three songs it's tres, tres bon (B at GCSE in case you were wondering).


'New In Town' by Little Boots

It's weird to think that this is Little Boots' first official single. What with all the polls, plaudits and proclamations, it will be interesting to see where 'New In Town' charts. Given La Roux's unexpected chart success, you feel the pressure is really on. Luckily, Musick travelled around in a car A LOT this past week and heard this single about six times, and it sounded BIG, like a proper pop song on the radio should.

Simian Mobile Disco's debut, Attack Decay Sustain Release, had it's moments - 'Hustler' is particularly amazing - but it was somewhat overshadowed by the fact that one half of the duo is probably the most sort after producer right now. James Ford, for it is he, has produced albums by Klaxons, Arctic Monkeys, Florence & The Machine and Peaches and was also one third of The Last Shadow Puppets live set-up (as well as producing the album).

We imagine that the other fella got a bit annoyed with all this tomfoolery and demanded he return to the warm bosom of home and thus their second album Temporary Pleasure was born. Luckily, Ford has used his gold-plated Rolodex to call in some big names to sing on the album (Gruff Rhys, Alexis Taylor from Hot Chip, Beth Ditto, Jamie Lidell, Telepathe and the man from Yeasayer).

'The man from Yeasayer' aka Chris Keating, pops up on the first single, 'Audacity of Huge':

Funky fresh. Not sure if it's HUGE enough to catch the ear of the single-downloading masses, but it's a nice slice of what no-one's calling 'intelligent dance music'. The album, in case you're interested, is out on 17 August and the single is out fourteen days before that.

Right, there's no guarantee this will be the last mention of this song on this blog, but for now we promise to not mention it again this week. If you don't already know, Royksopp's 'The Girl & The Robot' features the not inconsiderable talents of Robyn whose vocal sounds mournful, mental and fit to burst. It all adds up to one of those rare pop moments when sadness can equal pure joy and we know for a fact - we read it on Twitter - that a well-known music journalist is writing a 1,500 word feature on the song that will no doubt feature in a broadsheet arts section sometime soon.

Before that happens, please enjoy this rather fantastic video and marvel not only at Robyn's new hair but also the magnificent bush pruning! WARNING: This video contains strong suggestions of human-robot sexual intercourse.

'The Girl & The Robot' is taken from Royksopp's recent album Junior, which features some other good songs but nothing as good as this, so just download this for 79p and listen to it twelve times in a row.

Any music critic worth his or her salt is lavishing magnificent bucket loads of praise on Grizzly Bear's new album Veckatimist, which is out on Monday (needless to say our review copy never made it to the office. It's a shame, I've no doubt it was some unfortunate error in processing). The band have decided to release a single, 'Two Weeks', in order to introduce the album and in order to make the whole experience even more exciting they've made a video. Said video has been directed by Musick favourite, Patrick Daughters, and features some waxy looking skin, super slow-mo and an explosive ending.

Pretty creepy right? Nice song too. Once the postman brings the promo (and a letter of apology) we'll elaborate a bit more.

Welcome to the second interview in our searing investigation into what makes modern pop stars tick. It's also a handy way of reminding everyone that Musick is 1 year old and still going strong despite falling readership and general ennui.

Marina & The Diamonds is just one person but that one person is enough to send this music blog into a bit of a tailspin with each new song we hear. We did a thing on her new single 'I Am Not A Robot', which she must have read because this is what she had to say:

Hahahaha.. Anyone who creates a loose link between myself and Sabrina deserves an interview

Oh, you're too kind Marina. So, here's some more insightful probing...

1).Musick is 1 year old this month. In our first year, the world has plummeted into a deep global recession. Coincidence?

No, moron. My blog started. I am responsible for the recession if anything.

2).January 2009 was particularly depressing. We got through it by eating lots of oatmeal and raisin cookies. How did you survive?

I ate a lot of toast. Plus pretended that I was rich and went and walked (didn't buy anything) around Harrods every day for one week.

3).A friend of ours received a bottle of beer and a condom for his twelfth birthday. Which of all your birthdays so far was the most enjoyable and why?

My 18th. Because my broken-home-family all got together and we celebrated in traditional family style. It was such heaven. My family is not really broke, just amicably separate.

4).We're sending out EXCLUSIVE party bags as part of our celebrations. Which sweet would you expect to see in a party bag worthy of the name?

The bobbly pink or blue sweet, often found in liquorice allsorts. Or the chewy giant strawberries you can buy for 5p in newsagents. (WHAT a rip off).

5).At a friend's birthday party one year we accidentally stood in a puddle of wee after some over excitement on their part. Have you ever been embarrassed to the point of wanting to die?

No. Except for this one time when I was busy bleaching my moustache and i stood by the window. AnD THr bUiLdErS FrOm NeXt DoOr sAw mE!!! (capital letters singers own)

Thanks Marina. We're assuming you didn't mean the moron bit!?

So, this is her myspace page. It features some rather brilliant songs on it, which is handy.

The best RnB joint of 2009 right there.

"All the ladies they want a taste of my sugar lumps" is the new "my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard". Fact.

For those new to the intricacies of this feature - and we like to think there are plenty of new readers out there - let us explain a little. Basically, each week we look at the release schedules and pick out either our favourite new releases or at the very least the ones we think make us look the best in the eyes of our contemporaries. We then implore you to purchase them legally so that the music industry can continue and we can carry on writing this blog. No music industry = no Musick and who can honestly say that would be a good thing?


Further Complications by Jarvis Cocker

We're not sure if it's even relevant whether this album is any good such is Jarvis' standing in our collective musical hearts. His last album sold about thirteen copies and was a bit patchy but we still love him because he's Jarvis and he's got cool glasses and dresses like the Geography teacher of our dreams. Further Complications is pretty good if you're interested.


Manners by Passion Pit

Passion Pit were on all those lists at the beginning of the year. No, not the sex offender ones, the 'Big in 2009' ones. This is their first proper album following 2008's Chunk of Change EP and though it perhaps isn't the sparkling debut classic many predicted it is rather good. It also has the common sense to feature 'Sleepyhead', which was the best thing about Chunk of Change and is the best thing here too. That isn't a glowing endorsement is it? Oh well.


'Bonkers' by Dizzee Rascal and Armand Van Helden

OK, we'd like you to put all your fingers together on one hand and turn it so your thumb is facing your face. Then place your other hand horizontally across the top to form the letter 'T'. Then let out a rather crude 'TUNE' at the top of your lungs. Well done. This is Dizzee's second dance floor focused single in a row and this time he's ditched Calvin Harris (although the two have worked together again for Dizzee's new album) for Armand Van Helden, a man so lazy he waits five years between big singles. This is the shark-infested video.

* but do buy it in the end. Without music there is no Musick, etc, etc.

A few days ago we posted a thing about Florence & The Machine's new single 'Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)', which involved having to go over to another website and then click on the playback thing and then try and get it to 15 minutes into the show and then listen to a bit of an interview...it was all pretty laborious and not what you want when you're relaxing at home with a cup of tea and a Twix. So, in the name of immediacy and by way of recompense, here's the song (and video!):

OK, I know, I know. At the start it looks a bit like a Smack The Pony pisstake or French & Saunders parody of a Kate Bush video, but it gets better once it steps away from the 'medieval tampon advert' vibe. Plus the song makes an extended stay at Very Goodsville so there's much to enjoy.

Not sure if you guys are aware but this month we've been celebrating our 1st Birthday and as part of these festivities we decided to email our favourite new artists (and a couple that seemed desperate enough to reply. Ironically they're the ones that haven't) some hard-hitting and thought-provoking questions.

First up is Dan Black who we've featured on here before and is really rather good at what he does, which is create hook-laden electropop songs that are both experimental and accessible. Expessible, basically.

Here's what he had to say for himself. WARNING: the questions are pretty probing so do be careful when reading them.

1).Musick is 1 year old this month. In our first year, the world has plummeted into a deep global recession. Coincidence?

It's certainly a bit suspicious, but I await all the figures before I draw a firm conclusion.

2).January 2009 was particularly depressing. We got through it by eating lots of oatmeal and raisin cookies. How did you survive?

Hard fucking graft!

3).A friend of ours received a bottle of beer and a condom for his twelfth birthday. Which of all your birthdays so far was the most enjoyable and why?

The one where I got walkie talkies and instantly went on a spy mission with my best pal Simon Smith.

4).We're sending out EXCLUSIVE party bags as part of our celebrations. Which sweet would you expect to see in a party bag worthy of the name?

Pazaaz ice lolly. They may not make them now but they where a bright coloured fluorescent mess but tasted of caramel. Mmmm.

5).At a friend's birthday party one year we accidentally stood in a puddle of wee after some over excitement on their part. Have you ever been embarrassed to the point of wanting to die?

No, but I bet I find death mildly embarrassing.

Thank you Dan.

Dan Black's myspace is here. Within it you will be able to hear a snippet of his forthcoming single, 'Symphonies', which is a new version of this. There is also a rather nice remix by Passion Pit. 'Symphonies' is taken from the album Un, which is released at some point in the not too distant future.

Dear reader,

Sometimes (and only sometimes) we get things wrong. We are only human and we make mistakes, just like you do. Only not as many. But, when we do we like to make amends promptly and emphatically. So, here goes...

We are very sorry Marina & The Diamonds for previously suggesting that you were merely a bad copy of another singer and that your songs were merely 'alright'. We have since listened to both 'Obsessions' and 'Mowgli's Road' constantly and it's clear that you are in fact some kind of witch for you have bewitched us with your melodies. If this is indeed the case then you will need to be drowned in the nearest river, but for now you may continue making glorious pop songs like this, your next single, 'I Am Not A Robot' (no, you're a witch), taken from the EP The Crown Jewels, out in June:

(Don't watch the fan-made video if it's distracting you from the song. Thank you).

So, there you have it. We have revised our opinion and reserve the right to switch it back. It's unlikely. Her debut album is due in October which seems a long way off but really isn't when you think about it rationally.

It's nice to have Amy Winehouse back where she belongs isn't it?

Long flowing black hair, crude tattoos, that gaunt expression hidden behind giant glasses. Yep, she's back from her sabbatical in St Lucia and now she's got a friend...oh, hang on a minute, that's not Amy Winehouse it's The Veronicas, Australia's answer to the Olsen twins.

These girls are twin sisters and not as some of the photos on the internet would suggest, lesbians. But we've no doubt they would be if the price was right or the magazine deal suitably 'arty' (i.e. 'financially beneficial'). They're about to release their debut UK single, 'Untouched' (calm yourselves), and if you ignore the awful first verse it is actually a perfectly serviceable sugar-coated punk-pop ditty. Put that on the poster.

While we're at it, here's a song with the name Veronica in it (seamless transition, right? Wrong). It's called 'Veronica's Veil' and is by Fan Death. Produced by dance pioneer type man Erol Alkan, it's got some lovely strings, a nice disco-esque middle section and is only hampered slightly by the singer needing some Vicks vapour rub.

from Graham Coxon.

This evening we went to Rough Trade East in London, England, to see Graham Coxon perform songs from his new album, The Spinning Top (see below). He was charming, shy and surprisingly talkative considering the amount of slightly scary uber-fans in the crowd. After the gig Graham spotted us and came over, all coy like, and asked us if he could contribute some prose to our 1st Birthday celebrations.

Sure Graham, why not, we said. Come join the list of famous musicians gagging to get involved in this landmark event. Being the sweet lad he is, he scribed us this little ditty*.

'Muchos Respectos!!' to you too Graham. We look forward to seeing you in the summer with your old pal Damon. I think his Birthday wishes are in the post or something. He was always the more flighty of the two.

* Any questions of authenticity can be taken up with our lawyers.

A slightly truncated version of everyone's second favourite blog feature this week, mainly because it's getting quite late and we've got some ideas for other features we'd like to do this evening. With that glowing indictment, let's crack on shall we?


The Spinning Top by Graham Coxon

Graham Coxon's seventh solo album is a more acoustic affair than his usual scuzzy guitar pyrotechnics, with a heavy Nick Drake influence and some lovely Eastern instrumentation. He may still have the demeanor of an embarrassed school boy but this is a mature, reflective collection of songs.


'Who Can Say' by The Horrors

Oh, don't we go on? This single hasn't been off our office stereo for the past few weeks, neither has its parent album Primary Colours (which you can hear to the right of this here feature). The best bit? Either the ascending keyboard riff that niggles at your brain or the mid-song, Ronettes-aping spoken word section. It may or may not be about Peaches Geldoff. It's testament to the quality of the song that it doesn't really matter.

Below we bemoan the lack of surreal musical artistry on our TV screens and yet over in America it seems to be in good form thanks to none other than David Letterman. We're not sure if he was too aware of Animal Collective before they performed the brilliant 'Summertime Clothes', but we could be wrong. The look on his face reflects the fact that he may not own a copy of the brilliant Merriweather Post Pavilion, but even he must have enjoyed the neon lights, sheet wearing backing dancers and the general whiff of bong.

We enjoy the bit around the 1:15 mark where it looks like it might all unravel amidst nonsensical chatter but they somehow manage to reign it all back in. PLUS, the song is all about summer and feeling really quite hot which is what Musick has felt like all day so it's topical AND tropical. Brilliant.

A few months back BBC Four did a season on British women in pop, calling it something snappy like 'Humans with vaginas that can sing and play instruments'. To be honest, we missed most of it, mainly because we were worried Geri Halliwell might be in one of the documentaries from the past decade or something. Life can turn very dark when Geri Halliwell's around.

Anyway, what we did see was pretty spectacular and revolved solely around the incredible Kate Bush. They showed, in its entirety, a Christmas special she hosted for the BBC back in 1979. Now, we've all been pretty pissed at Christmas, but imagine settling down with your family and a few sherrys to watch TV when this appears onscreen:

Granny would be asking who'd slipped her the LSD.

This clip of 'Ran Tan Waltz' features Kate Bush wearing a fake beard, a male dancer in a nappy and the lyrics, "She'll run back in fright / If she picks on a dick / That's too big for her pride."

Seriously, why don't pop stars get their own Christmas specials anymore? Oh yeah, because they're all so bloody dull in comparison. Who else could get away with leaping around like a crazed goth or a dustbin-dwelling rock chick? I think we'd all rather see this then another GrahamJohnNortonBarrowman talent contest on ice.

Wouldn't we?

We posted a thing on La Roux's next single a few days ago and then the link got taken down by her record company people because, let's face it, her current single is still at number 2 in the UK charts and who needs another song coming along and distracting all the attention...

Oh, erm, here's the official video and it's not a cheap-looking '80s homage like the last one, which is a bit of a relief.

Watch it here.

Two points:
- Little bit like that BBC Radio 1 Xtra ident thingy mixed with a L'Oreal advert
- She looks mightily uncomfortable. Not just in the video, but seemingly in her own skin. It makes us like her more, just to clarify.

Hi there, you a fan of 'Paper Planes' by M.I.A? Really, oh cool. How about *Santigold's 'Creator'? Well then, why not wrap your listening equipment round this tasty club banger. It's called 'Hold The Line' and is by a duo called Major Lazer who you may know as producers du jour, Diplo and Switch (they had a hand in both the above songs in case that wasn't clear).

Their debut album is due out in June and entitled Guns Don't Kill People...Lazers Do, which, as titles go, is a bit too similar to that Goldie Lookin' Chain song from about 5 years ago, but I doubt very much that the two are connected. There's a whole hilarious ('hilarious') backstory that goes with it, something to do with Major Lazer being a soldier in a zombie war. It turns out, tragically, that his arms were blown off and replaced with giant lasers...

This song features Santigold and Mr Lexx, as well as a telephone ring, horses neighing and some beats that are off the chart. I believe it was Gwen Stefani who said, "this shit is bananas".

* We didn't get to write about this before, but Santogold, as she was, had to become Santigold due to some kind of legal battle with an unknown band who already owned the rights to the name. We didn't just spell her name wrong like complete morons.

We're not ones to ditch an act when their second single bombs in the UK charts and radio treat them like a swine flu victim, i.e. they keep their distance and ask that all tissues are disposed off in the correct manner (it's not a great analogy, granted, but it is topical and that's what we're all about here - The Apprentice, Twitter, Tinchy Stryder, The Wire, Gurkhas, Politician's expenses, Champions League football, etc).

So, VV Brown is back back back with her third single 'Shark In The Water' and it's a real pop belter. She's ditched the whole 'doo-wop indie' shtick and comes across a lot less self-conscious than before. Plus, the chorus is unexpectedly HUGE and should finally see her getting some recognition and making a bit of money, which, let's face it, is what we all want right? Right.

You may have noticed that isn't the official video, but that's all to do with this silly argument youtube and the record companies are having. Pray it all gets resolved soon, I know we are.

If you would like to be part of this unique* celebration, please send us your postal address (to mcragg@hotmail.com). We can't say much more then that at the moment, but the first ten people to reply will receive a little something something in the post. (Gemma, whoever you are, do send us your address. You seem to actually read this bloody thing!)

Here's to another 12 months...well, let's just see how we go shall we?

* not very unique at all

Musick is 1 year old!

Pretty amazing considering all the things that have happened since we started. We've survived the credit crunch (or the economic downturn, or recession, which ever you prefer), the passing of Jade, swine flu (well, so far, but if it can claim a member of N-Dubz then perhaps no-one's safe), Ronan Keating getting to number 1 on the album chart, Eoghan Quigg, the list could go on and on. We've celebrated the return of Portishead, The Horrors, Beyoncé and Beck and seen the emergence of new acts like La Roux, Lykke Li, Little Boots, Wavves and VV Brown. Yet still we wait for that new Missy Elliott album!

To celebrate this momentous occasion we will be doing some very exciting, era-defining things. No doubt there will be a huge list of bands waiting to take part, either by offering up EXCLUSIVES or popping round with bottles of wine and nibbles.

We can't wait, you can't wait and yet wait is all we can do. All will be revealed very soon...i.e. when we can think of what to do.

Another Bank Holiday! Does anyone know what this one is for? I know the last one was because a bunny sacrificed itself for the good of the people, but what about this one? Is it just to celebrate the start of May? Seems a bit over the top.


Primary Colours by The Horrors

Oh, it's very good isn't it? We finally got our copy - i.e. we brought it - and have spent the morning listening to it over and over again. Weirdly, whilst enjoying it's droning synths, guitar effects and Faris' monotonous vocals we were busy cleaning the skull of a deer...in the kitchen sink...using a toothbrush (an old one!). We checked online and this does indeed make us goths, which is nice. Truly one of the albums of 2009.


Shadows by Au Revoir Simone

First single from the stately Still Night, Still Light album, this is all rather lovely. At times these three young ladies can forget to pack an actual tune along with all the vintage keyboards and dresses, but this has a really sweet melody and the chorus is proper memorable and that.


I Feel Cream by Peaches
Braveface by Esser

If you've got some extra cash lying around - perhaps you stole it from your parents or a small child, or maybe you won some money on a scratchcard - then why not purchase one of these two albums, or even both. One is a filthy, gyrating sex-pest attracting electro-pop behemoth, whilst the other is a genre-splicing bundle of energy in musical form sung by an Essex lad with a big quiff. It's hard to know which is which, but we'll leave that to you to figure out.