Phoenix live on the streets of Paris!

Here are some videos of Phoenix playing some rather charming, impromptu gigs on the streets of Paris in places like Trocadero Square, the top deck of a tourist bus and under a bridge. They show the strength of the songs on their recent Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix album by how great they sound in such a stripped-down form. These guerilla performances are wonderfully shot by Vincent Moon as part of his fantastic Take-Away Shows series which also includes Sigur Ros, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Lykke Li, Animal Collective and Arcade Fire etc.


Phoenix - 1901 - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

"Listzomania" / "One Time Too Many"

Phoenix - Lizstomania / One time too many - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

"Long Distance Call"

Phoenix - Long distance call - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.


Irish Hearts, English Blood

I've been meaning to pick the right moment to write about this song, and seen as Orbital have just finished up two dates in Dublin, and David Gray is due to play this December, now is as good a time as any.

Gray has enjoyed unrivalled success in Ireland, with White Ladder remaining the biggest-selling album on the isle. Orbital have been gigging over here for nearly two decades; Electric Picnic was one of their first stops on their comeback tour. Unfortunately I've never had the honour of witnessing the Hartnoll brothers perform live (my parents wouldn't let me go see them in The Point back when I was 15) but considering they crept in at 49 in the Top 50 Bands to See Before You Die list (Q Magazine, 2002), I would recommend anyone to go catch them before they split up again.

Gray collaborated with the Sevenoak's duo for 2001's 'The Altogether'. Illuminate is mellower than their usual acidic sound, but still reams of their trademark twinkles and signature basslines, with Gray's voice adding a radio-friendly dimension to it. Cool, but not too chilled.

Orbital ft David Gray - Illuminate [Click Link to Download]


Ellie Goulding

Anyone who caught Ellie's performance on Jools Holland a couple of weeks ago will have undoubtly posed the question 'Who's this one?'. Her slightly awkward and unorthodox stance on stage pounding a drum reminded me of when Jamie first showed me Little Boots singing and simultaneously playing the Yamaha Tenori-On, stylophone and piano on Later...

Coincidently, Ellie has spent the last month touring with Little Boots around the UK. She's currently working on her debut album with Mark Ronson, with this taster officially released this month. One to watch? Let's hope it's not as hurried as 'Hands'.

Ellie Goulding - Under The Sheets [Follow link to download]*
* Some people are having a little trouble downloading MP3s, but if you click on the link above and wait for about 10 seconds or so, the download should appear. Ignore any pop-ups also!


New Alan Braxe Remix

Another remix post, this time Beyoncé gets the Alan Braxe treatment, who seems to have got his mojo back with his take on Broken-Hearted Girl. Forget what you know of the original, and if you haven't heard it, don't bother. Chopped up vocals, silky smooth synths and a pinch of bass slappin'. Back to what he does best. Back to Braxe.


Heads Will Roll Remix

A-Trak (see Duck Sauce post) continues to make his mark in the dance music world with this stomping cut up of Yeah Yeah Yeahs 'Heads Will Roll'. It seems that this is most people's favourite track off It's Blitz, and now Alain Macklovitch's take on it has really made it one for the dancefloor. One of my favourite remixes of the year. On another note, the guillotine was only abolished in France in 1981, and the last head rolled in 1971. Those crazy French.


Where are they now? #1

When I was a young lad, my musical knowledge, like most people, stretched as far as what I heard on the radio, on the telly and from my older brother. Now and again you hear a song that whisks you back to the days when Friday night/Saturday morning television was king and included your weekly chart run down. One song that I vividly remember making its way up the chart back in the day is a track called 'Ain't No Love' by Sub Sub.

Sub Sub were essentially one hit wonders. 'Ain't No Love' reached No. 3 in the UK Charts back in 1993. An album soon followed, with another song from it called 'Past' featuring on numerous chill-out compilations. The Manchunian trio began working on a second album, but in 1996 their recording studio was destroyed by fire (two band members were twin brothers and the studio ironically went up in smoke on their birthday).

So that was the last I heard of them. I just presumed that such a set-back would have crushed any musicians dream. However on further investigation, I found that this wasn't the case. The group stayed together and in 1998 they decided to take a slightly different musical direction and formed...wait for it...DOVES! Compare and contrast below:

Sub Sub ft Melanie Williams - Ain't No Love (Ain't No Use) [Follow link to download]

Doves - Black and White Town [Follow link to download]


Chromeo - Night By Night (Skream remix)

Chromeo have always moonwalked along the fine line that exists between irony and guilty pleasure, armed with a suitcase full of cheesy hooks that in any other hands would be the preserve of porno movie soundtracks. That bag of tricks is in full effect here with Giorgio Moroder synths, liberal use of the vocoder and a carefully placed guitar solo or two. Dubstep poster boy Skream turns the sleaze up to 11 by slowing it all down and adding a throbbing, rolling bassline. You may need a shower after this one!

Download: Chromeo - Night By Night (Skream remix)


Different Strokes...

The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas releases his solo album Phrazes for the Young on the 2nd of November, filling the lull before a rumoured 4th Strokes album next year. The first track from the album will be 11th Dimension and shows a marked departure with Casablancas striking out and embracing bold, high-gloss electro. Casablancas' pop sensibilities are in full effect here, with hints of Phoenix's 1901 amid a flurry or gleaming 80s synth action.


Something for the Weekend

Just had a few minutes in the airport to write a quick post...

Most people should be familiar with his name by now, but Deadmau5 has been creating a bit of a stir in the dance music world over the last year or so. He's already had one very solid minimal electronic album, but I can only really recommend it to those who are into their instrumental dance music - if you like Booka Shade, you'll love it.

This song was officially released last week, but has had a lot of airplay on Radio 1 in the UK since Pete Tong showcased it first back in July. The track is called 'Ghosts 'n' Stuff' and features Pendulum frontman Rob Swire on vocals. You can really hear massive improvements in Deadmau5's production skills on this track, which no doubt means there is much more work to come from him. I wasn't aware that Mr. Swire was such an accomplished singer - do I detect the use of auto-tune? T-Pain and Cher would be proud...

Check out Deadmau5's slick website here. Buy his music here.

Deadmau5 ft Rob Swire - Ghosts 'n' Stuff [Click on link and follow download insturctions]


Tegan and Sara

I was quite slow off the mark with this duo, but after five studio albums over a 10 year period, I finally found out about them through my housemate (Double-O S) just a couple of months ago.

Tegan and Sara are two lesbian twin sisters (seeing other people of course) hailing from Alberta, Canada. As I mentioned above, they've already released five albums and thankfully I was pointed towards the better releases from their back catalogue, which I have in turn supplied for you all to download.

'Walking With a Ghost' and 'Back In Your Head' are top notch, but after listening to them, I wouldn't recommend running out and buying all their albums at once - this is as good as it gets.

I have also uploaded alternative mixes of the songs which add a bit more energy to their laidback sound. Tiesto has also remixed ‘Back In Your Head’, but I’m sure I don’t need to tell you to stay well away from that version...

Check out their myspace here and buy their music here

Tegan and Sara – ‘Walking With a Ghost’ [Right-Click and Save Target As]

Tegan and Sara – ‘Back In Your Head’ [Right-Click and Save Target As]

Tegan and Sara Vs Mylo – ‘Walking With a Ghost in Paris’ [Right-Click and Save Target As]

Tegan and Sara – ‘Back In Your Head’ (Tyler Fedchuk’s 1/2ALIVE Disco Remix) [Right-Click and Save Target As]


Duck Sauce

As the last of the Ibiza clubbers arrive home, they usually bring with them an underground tune that has been the soundtrack to their summer and is ready to brighten up our nightclubs during the winter months. Looking back over the past ten years or so, there have been some classics, and some ones you’d wish they had left behind. Below is a look at some of the heavyhitters that have emerged from the island over the past few years.

1998: Stardust – Music Sounds Better With You

1999: Moloko – Sing It Back

2000: Modjo – Lady (Hear Me Tonight)

2001: Roger Sanchez – Another Chance

2002: Tim Deluxe ft Sam Obernik – It Just Won’t Do

2003: Room 5 ft Oliver Cheathem – Make Luv

2004: Shapeshifters – Lola’s Theme

2005: Bob Sinclair – Love Generation

2006: Bodyrox ft Luciana – Yeah Yeah

2007: Yves LaRock - Rise Up

2008: Eric Prydze - Pjanoo

2009: ??

As you can see, since 2005 the quality of music has been pretty poor. I really struggled to find anything worthwhile mentioning from '05 to '08. There has yet to be a clear one this year either. Maybe ‘Holiday’ by Dizzee and Calvin, but that doesn’t really count considering it was a hit before the summer started, and both acts were already household names after releasing ‘Dance Wiv Me’. Maybe nothing might make it back. However, one song I’d love to hear churned out in nightclubs for the next few months is ‘aNYway’ by Duck Sauce.

Duck Sauce is made up of the unusual pairing of New York house pioneer Armand Van Helden and world champion turntablist A-Trak (who won his first title at the tender age of 15!). The 40 second intro is a little bit tedious, but please listen the whole way through – it’s got a great soulful club sound with quite a catchy little chorus. Let's hope this is the beginning of a new era similar to that of '98 to '04...

Duck Sauce - aNYway [Right Click and Save-Target-As]

(If anybody wants any of the other tracks mentioned here available to download, drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do.)


Boys in the Hood

I’m not the biggest fan of mash-up artists; they sometimes try too hard to blend songs from opposite sides of the tracks just for the sake of their diverse sounds (i’m sure you’ll know what I mean if you have ever had the aural displeasure of listening to The Prodigy’s ’Smack My Bitch Up’ mixed with Enya’s ‘Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)’ – if you must, click here!). The likes of Girl Talk and 2ManyDJs do the genre great justice, but if I was to be really anal, there isn’t enough length in their individual mixes.

This brings me to Chicago based mash-up duo The Hood Internet, who’ve been knocking out mixes since 2007, and bridge that gap between quality and quantity. They’ve had five mixtapes to date, all of which can be downloaded for FREE from either their myspace or official homepage. From here, they continually upload new mixes they lay down, the best of which make it onto their mixtape volumes.

There’s a lot to dig through, and it’s not all top drawer, but there are quite a few gems in their catalogue. So to give you a feel of what they’re all about, I’ve supplied a few of my favourite mixes below. If you like what you hear, I recommend downloading ‘The Mixtape Volume 2’ first. They rocked out Lollapalooza this year, warming up the crowd before MSTRKRFT and Simian Mobile Disco took to the stage - watch out in case they ever decide to cross the Atlantic...

Dr. Dre vs Fujiya & Miyagi - The Next Collarbone [Right-click and Save Target-As]

Montell Jordan vs Arcade Fire - This Is How We Go [Right-click and Save Target-As]

Genesis vs Justice - Genesis Squared [Right-click and Save Target-As]


Whitney Hou?

I never thought I would actually be forced to write a post on Whitney Houston, but the first sneak preview of her forthcoming album has warranted this. It's almost a decade since the release of her Greatest Hits and rumours of drug abuse and her constant unreliability to turn up has meant that her career has taken a serious downturn in the last 9 years.

However, after splitting from her bad boy hubby Bobby Brown and battling through the lengthy divorce proceedings and custody battles, she is about to make her comeback.

I orignally mistook the song for an old nice n' smooth Motown record, and that's pretty much what it is. Alicia Keys co-wrote the song and also supplies backing vocals. Oh yeah, and there's no key change. Brilliant.

Check out her official webpage here and buy here tunes here.

Whitney Houston – Million Dollar Bill (Ft. Alicia Keys) [Right click and Save Target As]


Miike Snow

So the blog has been lying idle for longer than I dare admit but it's back! The long, wet days of this summer have given me ample time for the vast amount of new music 2009 has given us so far. One act that I've had my eye on recently is Sweden's Miike Snow. I was introduced to the gleeful, marching electro-pop of their single 'Animal' a couple of month's back. This was followed about 8 weeks ago by the release of their debut, self-titled album which is an exciting, if patchy, affair.

In a previous life Miike Snow were the production team behind Britney Spear's guilty pleasure Toxic so as you might expect the production here is flawlessly polished from start to finish. However in the leap from the shadows into the sharp focus of creating their own music an element of their pop effervescense was lost. Having said that there are still absolute triumphs in the form of Black and Blue, Silvia, Song for No One and Animal, at times reminiscent of Hot Chip or Peter Bjorn and John at their most bitter-sweet.

Speaking of which, step forward PB&J who knock it out of the park with this awesome remix of Animal. Then Spank Rock's Benny Blanco rescues Burial from mediocrity by giving it some balls with added vocals and heavyweight beats.

Download: Miike Snow - Animal (Peter Bjorn and John remix)
Stream: Miike Snow - Burial (Benny Blanco remix feat. Neon Hitch)