When we first saw a picture of Beth Jeans Houghton, all doe-eyed and trussed up like Pete Doherty's female self, we weren't impressed. Tsk, another beautifully androgynous singer-songwriter who will get loads of column inches thanks to her look and not her music, we thought to ourselves (unfairly). Then we saw another picture of her in a newspaper and she looked like Lily Savage, if Lily Savage had been set upon by a pack of ferrets. We were confused and mildly aroused so we decided to probe further and low and behold, Beth Jeans Houghton is pretty ruddy good at this making music lark.

This is a video for the lead track on her new EP, Hot Toast Vol. 1. The song is called 'I Will Return I Promise' and it's rather lovely:

Her boob blinked! Skillful. Hot Toast Vol. 1 is five songs long and costs about £3 on iTunes. It doesn't take a mathematician (or Lily Allen) to tell you that that's pretty good value. All five tracks are better than the entire musical output of The Enemy, Hard-Fi and Kasabian.

This is the cover for Morrissey's new b-sides album (!) Swords:

But what is he doing?

a). Having a bit of a rest after a lively jaunt in the woods?
b). Keeping ever so quiet so as not to disturb a deer just out of shot?
c). Suffering from the most painful bowel movements that have lead to him literally shitting in his pants? That expression is "if a living legend who's not as good as he used to be shits in the woods and no-one's there to see it does it matter that Jonny Marr is in the Cribs?"

One of the worst covers of all time.

We were on fire last week! We really pulled it out of the bag didn't we? True, putting our money behind Dizzee Rascal (three no. 1 singles and counting) and Madonna (global superstar for the past 25 years or something) is hardly taking a shot in the dark (are there too many metaphors in that sentence? Are they even metaphors?), but there you are. Madonna crashed in at number 1 and Dizzee settled in nicely at number 3. Poor Mika had to settle for a number 4, which sounds a bit dirty at first, but isn't because a number 1 is wee and a number 2 is poo so a number 4 is...we're not sure really. The single we tipped by Thom Yorke was limited to about 2000 copies so it didn't get anywhere, but it's more about the art of creating music with him isn't it?


Album by Girls

Anyone who's anyone in the 'bloggesphere' (yuk!) is in love with this duo. We're not going to lie, we've only heard a few things (which we liked a lot), but we trust the opinions of our peers so we're giving it a shot. Plus, they have an amazing backstory, which these days is nearly enough. Basically, one of them lived in a cult, they may or may not have a millionaire benefactor and they seem to have consumed a tonne of prescription drugs in the recent past. They make woozy, simple songs that sound like they've been made during that point between sleeping and waking.


Once by Kid Harpoon

This guy is from round our way. Or at least from round our old way. He used to frequent some pubs that we have heard of and visited occasionally but we never met. It's an interesting story, isn't it? It's kind of more interesting than this debut album, which takes a lot of the promise from his early recordings and pushes it through a massive filter called "Personality Reducer - Use with care for fear of over-producing the shit out of everything". Some of it is alright, but getting Trevor Horn to produce it seems like a bit of an error.


'4Ever' by The Veronicas

Your enjoyment of this song will hinge on whether or not you find young women pretending to be 'rock' a). really annoying, b). annoying, but a great song is a great song, or c). inspirational, because Avril Lavigne is punk and genuinely angry. We're with the b) group, and sometimes a song comes along that's so undeniably, almost irritatingly perfect in a throwaway pop kind of way that it makes us a bit sad for everyone else. This single was produced by Max Martin, who is 'responsible' for this and this, the latter is a kind of template for this rock/pop thing and appears on a certain person's iPod not too far from here.

Dear diary,

Sometimes it just feels like there's no point carrying on. Sometimes, when we've given all we can, we still feel that we're not getting anywhere, like life just keeps knocking us down just as we're getting back on our feet. Sometimes, Boy George beats you to the punch (and then ties you to a radiator) and you know what, it feels bad. It feels real bad.

So, we might as well mention this new band that everyone (including Boy George!) is raving about, even though it looks like we're bandwagon jumping. Hell, we're covered in splinters from all the jumping onto bandwagons. Anyways, this band, The Drums, are really good and you should listen to this, but listen knowing that Boy George got their first.

Also, as if to compound the pointlessness of our existence, The Guardian go and do a thing on Washed Out, who we were about to do a thing on. Now, we get that two websites can feature the same band, and we're hardly on the same scale in terms of readership, but once again it looks like we're just following where they lead.

Yeah, it's beautiful and atmospheric but it's tainted. We're seriously considering our future in this business. Do we need this kind of hassle, this kind of pressure? The only thing keeping us going is the knowledge that 20 people read this blog in Illinois and it's for them that Musick exists. Thank you Illinois. Good night.

So, last week we predicted big things for Jay-Z (hardly putting our necks on the line - it entered at no. 4), Jazmine Sullivan (more of a risk seeing as the album was probably brought by anyone with an interest about a year ago - it was nowhere) and Florence & The Machine. The latter has had some pretty extensive coverage thanks to the Mercury nomination, but the single failed to dent to the top 40. Luckily, the album re-entered the top 10 and another track, 'You've Got The Love, also started to climb the top 75. Imagine if that were to become the next single? IMAGINE.


Tongue N' Cheek by Dizzee Rascal

Tongue N' Cheek!? Tongue 'N Cheek!? Oh dearest Dizzee man, this really won't do. If you're using N' then what you're actually trying to say is Tongue AND Cheek, which just sounds like some grizzly meat order at some posh restaurant. Grammar issues aside, this is essentially Dizzee's coming out album...not like that, but in terms of him embracing pop and deciding that he's going to stop going on about knives and 'beefs' and concentrate more on going on holiday and dancing. It's not just about the three (three!) number 1 singles though, with the ridiculous 'Road Rage' taking in grime, drum n bass, techno and probably some jazz.


Celebration by Madonna

'Hung Up', 'Music', 'Vogue', '4 Minutes', 'Holiday', 'Like A Virgin', 'Into The Groove', 'Like A Prayer', 'Ray Of Light', 'Open Your Heart', 'Borderline', 'Secret', 'Justify My Love', 'La Isla Bonita', 'Papa Don't Preach', 'Lucky Star', 'Crazy For You', 'Who's That Girl', 'Frozen', 'Live To Tell', 'Beautiful Stranger', 'Don't Tell Me', 'Cherish'. Just a few hits to choose from.


'FeelingPulledApartByHorses' / 'The Hollow Earth' by Thom Yorke

Oh, we're not going into all of this again. Just scroll down a bit for more info. Cheers.

You wait for about thirty minutes in the pissing rain for one to come and then two arrive at the same time. Buses are notoriously unreliable. Thom Yorke is not unlike a bus in this respect. Here is another music video, this time for the glitchy, vaguely haunting 'The Hollow Earth':

The video features artwork from underground graffiti artist Banksy. Not sure if you would have heard of him, he's not really been covered in the press too much.

'The Hollow Earth' is released as a limited 12" today but can also be downloaded (not a word) from the Members area of Radiohead.com once you've ordered the vinyl. It will then be available from all the usual download places from 6 October. It's a double a-side with this, 'FeelingPulledApartByHorses':

Not good to listen to with a headache, but pretty amazing nonetheless (the last three minutes are OMG, like, LOL, so good). Fingers crossed there will be some home video footage of Thom cooking a veggie lasagna or something tomorrow.

A little while ago we did a thing about the return of Julian Casablancas following a few years hanging out in New York generally avoiding doing any new stuff for The Strokes. The album Casablancas has made is called Phrazes For The Young and we were all warned it was a bit of a departure. Basically, guitars were out and keyboards were very much in.

Well, the first fruits of his labour have emerged in the form of new single, the brilliant '11th Dimension'. WARNING: Do not listen to this expecting to hear something like 'Last Nite':

Woah. It's a multi-layered, synth shagging, processed-guitar type pop behemoth and will no doubt split fans of The Strokes right down the middle. We especially love how it ends up being a completely different song at the end to that which fizzes into view at the beginning. Most importantly, it sounds like Casablancas is having a ball too, his voice more strident and engaging then he appears on some of The Strokes latter material. There's even a bit where he just goes "woah" for no reason! And a keyboard breakdown!

You can't please everyone though. This was left under the video on youtube:
"what the hell is this scandelous (sic) peice (sic) of crap"

Little Thom Yorke has been a busy bee of late, what with him and his mates playing Reading and the announcement that he'll release two brand new solo singles tomorrow, one called 'FeelingPulledApartByHorses' and the other 'The Hollow Earth'. Exciting. He's also contributed a track to the new Twilight film (details of which are due to be announced very soon) and there's also this track, 'All For The Best'. This cover is part of a benefit CD for Mark Mulcahy, the frontman with cult American band Miracle Legion. The CD will help raise funds to enable Mulcahy to continue recording and look after his three-year-old twin daughters, following the sudden death of his wife.

Yorke's haunting interpretation of the Miracle Legion track also features brother Andy on backing vocals.

The video harks back to those days where videos could mean bugger all to anyone but somehow be deeply unsettling. What's with all the skulls!?

Other acts to appear on Ciao My Shining Star: The Songs of Mark Mulcahy include Michael Stipe, The National, Frank Black and Mercury Rev.

Who doesn't want to hear a stylish, synthetic slice of, er, synth-lead Swedish pop on a Thursday? Exactly. Here's 'Into The Clouds' by The Sound Of Arrows.

The duo produce their own songs AND direct their own videos AND do all their artwork. We called their office and yes, they do answer their own phone calls too.

For more songs like this one we suggest you visit the rather wonderful Neon Gold Records blog. The Penguin Prison remix of Golden Silvers' 'True Romance' is pretty special.

Of all the R&B pop stars to have emerged in recent years, Kelis is by far and away the most interesting. Having launched herself on an unsuspecting public with the almost violent 'Caught Out There' in 1999, she went on to cement her credentials as being marginally unhinged with the homage to hand jobs that is 'Milkshake'. Recently she took some time out to get married (and divorced) and have kids, which means the world of strutting R&B pop has been without it's brightest star. Not anymore.

Kelis is featured on the new single by Italian producers Crookers, who are perhaps most famous for remixing Kid Cudi's 'Day 'N Nite' single and helping it reach no. 2 in the UK. 'No Security', the second single from Crookers' new album, is a clattering, dubstep-influenced slice of spluttering synths and weird gurgling sounds, with Kelis' brash delivery riding the beat to perfection. It is, basically, the best banger we've heard since the last one.

It's impact is marred slightly by a Radio 1 DJ talking over it. She does think it's going to be 'big', which we have to agree with.

As someone kindly commented last week, The Big Pink single seems to have been pushed back a week so is actually out today. Think of our premature recommendation as merely a form of preparation, a way of doubling the fun when you see what we've recommended this week. Elsewhere, the Taken By Trees album sold about ten copies, which is fine, and the Jamie T album entered at number 2, one place behind 92-year old singing sensation, Dame Vera Lynn. Her Timbaland-produced effort is something to behold. Expect a feature on her very soon.


The Blueprint 3 by Jay-Z

OK, so he may not be able to scale the heights of his previous works - especially given the fact he's the head of a massive corporation, sleeping with Beyoncé and friends with Obama - but The Blueprint 3 contains enough flashes of brilliance to keep the man at the top of the game. Featuring some stellar production from the American Dream-robbing Kanye West, Swizz Beats and Timbaland (as well as some perfunctory work from The Neptunes) and a guest list that includes Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Kid Cudi and Luke Steele, this is an album programmed to succeed. For the most part it does exactly that.


Fearless by Jazmine Sullivan

The more eagle-eyed amongst you will realise that we mentioned this album about eight months ago, but it's so good that we decided to mention it again. As if to aid us in this reckless decision, Columbia records have decided to re-release the album via iTunes with an extra track thus allowing it to appear here. Thanks for that. Fearless isn't like most recent R&B albums for two reasons. 1). It isn't just two killer singles and a load of filler and 2). It isn't needlessly worthy or preachy (yes we mean you Alicia). It helps that Sullivan has an incredibly soulful voice, one that frays and cracks at all the right moments, like Lauryn Hill before she went nuts and shaved her head and moved to a Kibbutz.


'Drumming Song' by Florence & The Machine

On our album, this is just called 'Drumming'. Why add the word 'song'? Are we to think that Florence's label needed to make sure we were aware that it is indeed a song and that without it we were all stumped. "What is this thing? 'Drumming'? It makes no sense. Ah, 'Drumming Song', I see". Anyway, our is not to question why, and sure everyone's probably bored of people prattling on about Florence and her machine, but you know what, the album's amazing, this song's amazing and in the video she dances like a gothic Beyoncé. Plus, this remix is very good too.

Just when you thought Kanye couldn't be anymore of a tit...

Poor Taylor Swift. Poor Beyoncé.

True story: when we were young and were first exposed to 'Mmmbop' by Hanson we were pretty sure it was a rather large black woman doing the singing. Just imagine our surprise when we found out it was actually three little blonde kids with scraggly hair and ruddy cheeks. Something similar happens when you listen to Mayer Hawthorne, who describes his sound as Otis Redding meets J Dilla and looks like this:

This is his recently released, limited edition single 'Just Ain't Gonna Work Out', which was released as a heart-shaped vinyl. If you look very closely (i.e. not very closely at all), you'll see said vinyl make an appearance in this here video:

It doesn't look like that sound could come out of his mouth does it? Perhaps Derren Brown is involved somehow.

We've always like Weezer, probably since MTV used to play 'Buddy Holly' on a loop back in the mid-nineties. One of our favourite albums is Pinkerton and although they've not scaled those heights in a long time, we're still mildly excited by their new album, the brilliantly named (if you're fifteen) Raditude.

This is the "totally rad" new album cover featuring a dog doing what looks like a triple lutz with a half axel (yeah, so we're excited about Dancing On Ice):

While we're at it, this is their new single, the pretty brilliant '(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To':

Apologies in advance for just throwing a video on here in lieu of any actual content, but this isn't just any old video. No, it's actually a new video with an old woman in it. It's by Fever Ray, it's called 'Seven' and there's something deeply disturbing about it all.

Interesting fact - this video was directed by Johan Renck, who also directed Beyoncé's 'Me, Myself & I' video. Imagine Beyoncé dancing around a barn with some demonic cows...

Who remembers the good old days when you could buy a commercial hip-hop album and be safe in the knowledge that all you'd hear is some mindless rhymes about money, bitches and bling with a chorus sampled from a recent hit single, usually sung by a young female singer? Now it's all MGMT this and Ratatat that (hey, that rhymes!), with all these experimental production flourishes getting in the way of all the pimpin' and braggin'.

One recent exponent of this phenomena is Kid Cudi. Fresh from working with Italian dance producers The Crookers on 'Day 'N Nite', he's back with a new single called 'Pursuit of Happiness'. Produced by Ratatat and featuring MGMT on the chorus, it's a brilliantly stoned, skillfully executed fusion of rap and OTT guitars.

Lovely stuff.

Not to be outdone, Raps elder statesman Jay-Z has gone and employed a certain Luke Steele from Empire of The Sun fame on his Blueprint 3 album.

It's got a similarly spaced out beat, this time provided by Kanye West and No I.D. Perhaps it's the start of a whole new genre; Prog-Hop anyone?

So, The Horrors were robbed! Unlike most crimes, this was sanctioned, filmed by TV cameras and universally acclaimed in the national press. Another example, dear reader, of what the Daily Mail call 'Broken Britain'.

Anyway, they're not ones to dwell on disappointment. Instead they've decided to release a new single from the brilliant Primary Colours album...only, er, it's not from the brilliant Primary Colours album. Or at least it's not on the UK version of the album. 'Whole New Way' was previously only available on the Japanese version, but will be released as a single in October. Unsurprisingly, it's amazing, all Joy Division-esque basslines, keyboard flourishes and Faris' delightful croon.

If you can explain what happened on Tuesday night do get in touch. The Music Crimestoppers number is 0800 whatthefuck.

As with a lot of new bands these days there's a very interesting story behind how The Very Best came to be. A few years ago European producers Radioclit were browsing around a second-hand furniture shop when they bumped into Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya. (It's weird, we were in a second-hand furniture shop this afternoon and all we bumped into was a mounted deer head - true story).

Anyway, their chance meeting has lead to creation of a very interesting trio, whose new album (out next Monday), entitled Warm Heart of Africa, is a wonderfully sprawling mess of steel drums, big beats, synths and Mwamwaya's distinctive vocals. Guests include fellow lovers of all things African M.I.A and Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend.

This is the M.I.A collaboration, 'Rain Dance':

We're not going to call it 'world music', because all music is for the world...ha, ha, can you believe we actually wrote that!?

Last week we pleaded with you to buy the special edition of Kid A and, we're not gonna lie, not many of you did. A few more of you brought the Noah & The Whale album, which entered just inside the top 20. Obviously soppy love songs sell better than paranoid tension these days. But, what will always sell, is a song about sex performed by three young ladies in tight lycra, so it's little surprise to see that 'Get Sexy' by the Sugababes entered at no. 2 on Sunday. Well done everyone.


East of Eden by Taken By Trees

As we've said before, Taken By Trees is the musical nom de plume of one Victoria Bergsman, former lead singer of The Concretes and the female portion of Peter, Bjorn & John's 'Young Folks'. East of Eden was partially recorded in Pakistan, during which time Bergsman had to pretend to be married to avoid unwanted attention and was ignored by the male musicians who appear on the album. Thankfully the results are startling, with songs like the lovely 'Anna' and the brilliantly conceived cover of Animal Collective's 'My Girls' (re-titled 'My Boys here) taking elements from her travels and suffusing them with her distinctive own sound.


Kings & Queens by Jamie T

Jamie T kind of passed us by before, what with all the harping on by the music press, each magazine declaring either him, Alex Turner or Mike Skinner some kind of modern day poet. This was probably a bit unfair and we enjoyed his debut album a lot on the one occasion we listened to it. This, the follow-up, is more of the same, but with greater focus on the actual songs and not just trying to make them sound as ramshackle as possible.


'Dominos' by The Big Pink

We did a thing on this song about a month ago and when we heard it on the radio the other morning we thought, "this is really rather good", so here it is again. Moody, booming, simple and very catchy, it has all the ingredients to become a real smash on the hit parade. Things being the way they are, it will no doubt limp in at no. 38 and set things up 'nicely' for their debut album, A Brief History of Love.

We're going to stick our necks out here and say that 'Fight For This Love' has a reasonable chance of denting the UK Top 40 when it's released on 18 October. It's by a young lady called Cheryl Cole, who some of you might know as one fifth of a pretty obscure band called Girls Aloud. In Cheryl's spare time she enjoys crying diamonds on TV, dressing like Malibu Barbie, "being the Queen of our hearts" and putting up with her interminably dull husband.

This song is about struggling through a relationship even though it's possibly not worth the hassle:

Apparently a demo version by a young man called Andre Merritt is also 'doing the rounds'. We think it sounds a bit like Kelis' 'Lil Star', and is somewhat of a grower. Good luck Cheryl, fingers crossed you make it.

Let us tell you a short and not very interesting story. It was October 2007 and Radio 1 were about to play the new single by a certain young lady called Leona Lewis. The song was called 'Bleeding Love' and it was supposed to be the single to launch a new global superstar, yaddah yaddah yaddah. So, that now familiar organ swell kicked in, those vocals reared up and then that odd, almost cheap-sounding drum machine made the whole thing sound strangely, well, good. We were genuinely excited to hear it, which a lot of people will think is ridiculous because it's a pop song and she's from a talent show and it's much more interesting and challenging to listen to Autechre or The Cribs, etc, etc. But, it would take a fool to suggest that 'Bleeding Love' isn't amazing and though her singles after that seemed to gradually get worse, 'Bleeding Love' did what it set out to do; created a superstar.

Anyway, Lewis has a new single called 'Happy', which given her new found status might be just as important as 'Bleeding Love'. Produced again by Ryan Tedder, it's, well, it's a bit, you know, er, 'meh'. Basically, it's a nice song and there are some nice moments but it doesn't make our ears prick up and we can't shake the feeling that the booming drums and quiet, loud, quiet, loud structure makes it no more than 'Bleeding Love's slightly duller sister.

Here it is:

Towards the end there are some ridiculous vocal gymnastics, which makes us think that given Whitney Houston's recent vocal problems (or, 'the drugs', as it's also known) it's basically Leona sticking her finger up in Houston's face and saying "step back biatch, you're in my house now". Probably.

Just in time for that Mercury prize malarkey next week, everyone's favourite haircut, La Roux, is back with a new single, 'I'm Not Your Toy'. Nothing too newsworthy in that you might think, but just wait until you see the video, which is simultaneously baffling, amazing, pointlessly arty and visually arresting.

Things to look out for:

- The young kid with the most expressive face you'll ever see (those eyebrows!)
- Some nifty eye movements from what looks like a giant melon
- A dog with two collars on
- Some dancing from Miss La Roux herself, complete with actual smile
- The immortal line "das ist der absolut hammer" spoken down an imaginary telephone in a living room whilst La Roux's head spins round on the table
- !?!


Alphabeat have always been a bit of a guilty pleasure and we're not even sure we believe in such nonsense - we've got a Kelly Clarkson song (or two) on our iTunes for fucks sake. There's something about their look, their videos and the exuberant, ridiculously happy nature of their songs that make us want to throw our hands up and scream "we love you but we feel like we shouldn't because it's just not cool and that's what we crave most in life".

But, which ever way you cut it, 'Fascination' is a TUNE and some of their other singles climbed neatly into the box marked 'pretty good pop songs'. So, they're back with a new single called 'The Spell' and it's an early '90s romp with cheesy synths, cheap drum machines and about five different choruses.

The musical equivalent of drinking forty litres of Sunny Delight...through a straw...in the sun...on a bouncy castle.

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

Chew Lips 'Salt Air'

Arty three piece alert! Chew Lips probably live together in a basement flat in Shoreditch, tripping over various drug paraphernalia and generally being MUCH COOLER THAN YOU OR I. But, they also make killer electropop nuggets like this one, which is a). very catchy and b). very catchy. Singer Tigs has a voice that is simultaneously detached and weirdly soulful. We reckon she's pretty scary 'in real life'.

Dirty Projectors 'Cannibal Resource'

We've mentioned this lot before but we've only recently found the time (and the money) to purchase they're new album, Bitte Orca. We deeply regret the time we lost with this album as it's one of the better things 2009 has birthed. Full of angular time signatures and glorious harmonies, it's a captivating listen, even if on first listen it all sounds like a bit of a mess. This version of 'Cannibal Resource' was recorded for the David Letterman show, which is amazing when you think our equivalent is Reverend & The Makers on Jonathan Ross...

The Raveonettes 'Last Dance'

The Raveonettes have always been one of those bands that you listen to and are automatically confronted by their influences and rather than continue to listen you go off and play songs by those bands instead. Luckily, 'Last Dance' (which you can download for free from here) is a lovely, typically moody four minutes that seems to be about the perils of loving a junkie. We've all been there, right? It even features some "oh, oh, oh" bits, which sound AMAZING in a hospital ward when you're loved one slips into a coma.

Oasis 'Don't Look Back In Anger'

We will not forget. It was a sad day for music when Oasis decided they could no longer muster the strength to re-hash their former glories and schlep the dead horse around festival sites across Europe. We literally can't believe they're gone. Fingers crossed bands like The Courteeners, The Enemy and The Twang can continue their legacy and deliver the music we all deserve. Thank you Liam, thank you Noel.

Musick wouldn't be Musick if we weren't permanently three months behind the musical curve. Luckily, we like to think the way we package our stuff makes us unique, in the same way that finding a mouldy sandwich that's three months out of date is 'unique' in terms of your diet.

Basically, we read some stuff about Deadmau5 and thought he sounded like quite an interesting chap. For one, he has a crippling disfigurement that means his face has morphed into what looks like a giant mouse, complete with comedy ears and a permanently happy smile.

We felt sorry for him, we're not gonna lie. Then we heard his new single 'Ghosts 'N Stuff' and felt the force of those monumental synths and thought "wow, this mouse knows his way round a dance floor banger". To be honest, it's not a million musical miles away from Justice, but then that's not a bad thing really.