Friday, 18 September 2015

D.R.A.M. feat. Donnie Trumpet - $

Joe writes: I wish there were more melodies and melodic hooks in rap records. That’s why I loved Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and why I like Money ($) by D.R.A.M. featuring Donnie Trumpet.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Lil Kleine & Ronnie Flex - Drank & Drugs

Joe writes: This Dutch hip hop track has been a massive hit in the Netherlands and Belgium. The lyric is controversial even in the liberal Netherlands, as it features two drug dealers talking about all the MDMA they are selling to kids in the club. But the track is great and the video is very, er, viral.

There are various English language versions in the offing but I actually think it could be a UK hit in this Dutch version. Afterall, everyone understands Drank & Drugs right?

Friday, 24 July 2015

DJ Koze - XTC

"Many people are experimenting with the drug ecstasy. I heard you say once that a lie is sweet in the beginning and bitter in the end, and truth is bitter in the beginning and sweet in the end. I have been meditating, but I don't have the experiences people report from the drug ecstasy. Is the drug like the lie, and meditation the truth? Or am I missing something that could really help me?"

Joe writes: You're not missing much; try magic mushrooms instead.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

The Impressions - We Must Be In Love

Joe writes: This is a faithful cover of The Five Stairsteps' original but Curtis Mayfield's voice just sounds so great on it. It was sampled by J Dilla feat. Pharoahe Monch. I heard it on this old Radio 2 show where Paul Weller picks his favourite soul tunes, as recommended by Peter Watts.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Miguel - Coffee

My favourite R&B track of the moment, and there are a lot of them around right now.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

The Big Moon - Sucker

Joe writes: This reminds me of listening to Radio 1's Evening Session in the early nineties, in a good way (as do Wolf Alice).

Sunday, 12 July 2015

The Proclaimers - Ten Tiny Fingers

Phil writes: I heard this lovely song on the radio yesterday and was instantly enchanted:

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Romans - Overthinking Part 1

Joe writes: This EP by Naughty Boy collaborator Sam Romans is really great.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Jason Downs feat. Milk - White Boy With A Feather

Joe writes: I've started making a Spotify playlist called The Tip Sheet CD, and in doing so, I've realised there are a lot of good tracks from the last decade or two that aren't on iTunes or Spotify. Some of them are obscure, but this reached no. 19 in the UK chart, with Jason and Milk appearing on Top of the Pops. It is rather a strange hybrid track, both musically and lyrically - I'm not sure there has been anything like it before or since.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Lionel Richie - Stuck On You

Joe writes: If I was going to Glastonbury, I'd be excited about hearing this:

Also love Mark Oh's cover, which was a hit in Germany but sadly not the UK:

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Everything Everything - No Reptiles

Joe writes: New Everything Everything, produced by Stuart Price, with shades of Barenaked Ladies and 10cc. Brave and interesting from a band I hadn't really liked until now.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Jamie Lawson - Wasn't Expecting That

Joe writes: Supporting Ed Sheeran played a big part in Passenger's breakthrough. Now Ed is doing his best to break another British singer songwriter who has been around for a while. He has not only taken Jamie Lawson on tour but has signed him to his amusingly named Gingerbread label.

Wasn't Expecting That is a different kind of song to Passenger's Let Her Go but maybe equally good in its way, especially lyrically. Any Nashville songwriter would be proud of this song, and it also has pleasant echoes of Squeeze's Up The Junction.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Little Big Town - Girl Crush

Joe writes: This is a big hit in the US despite being pulled from country radio stations after complaints from their listeners who (wrongly) felt it was endorsing lesbianism.

The lyric is clever and I love the production - classic soul from a country band.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

more Graceland - Paul Simon

Joe writes: My last post was about a song inspired by a visit to Graceland. Here's Paul Simon talking about the role Graceland played in inspiring his song of the same name:

Hot Chip guested and chose some records on Jo Whiley's Radio 2 recently including Paul Simon's Late In The Evening, chosen by Alexis from the band. I've written before about Late In The Evening and the One Trick Pony album and film from whence it came, but hearing it again made me realise that the template for the Graceland album was right there, lyrically and musically, six years earlier.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Eternal Flame, Graceland and songs without choruses

Joe writes: I learnt recently that Eternal Flame, the classic Bangles hit, was inspired by a visit to Elvis Presley's former home Graceland, which has a supposedly eternal but actually intermittent flame. More info here from Billy Steinberg who wrote the song with Tom Kelly and Susanna Hoffs. Interesting to learn that the demo of the song was acoustic guitar-based in a bid to make it more "Bangles-y".

Here's a very evocative Top of the Pops performance:

Billy says Eternal Flame doesn't have a chorus. It's an interesting one - when you're listening to "Close your eyes, give me your hand darling", you're clearly listening to the verse, but by the end of the verse and especially by the end of the song, the verse has effectively become a chorus, as Billy says. Anyway, I've added it to my "Songs without choruses" playlist on Spotify. Other suggestions welcome:

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Ricky Nelson - Lonesome Town

Phil writes: The new Blur single 'Lonesome Road' reminded me of this great Ricky Nelson track.  The Blur song even has what must surely be a reference to the earlier song with the words 'going down to....' repeated several times in the outro.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Ainsie Wills - Hawaii

Joe writes: This is my favourite Ainsie Wills track and it's her new single. The vocal really reminds me of Tracey Thorn. Beautiful.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Carly Simon and Warren Beatty

Joe writes: Carly Simon had had breast cancer when she recorded The Bedroom Tapes album, so called because a studio had to be built in her daughter's old bedroom to enable her to make the album. She thought it might be the last album she was able to make, and she used it to settle some old scores. There are some wonderful and vitriolic tracks on there, my favourite of which is Scar. You're So Vain is famously rumoured to be about Warren Beatty and I have it on good authority that Warren may also be the old flame who makes an unsavoury appearance in Scar.


The Bedroom Tapes album has just been reissued on Carly's own label, having initially been released on Arista.

Here's a live version of You're So Vain:

[this is an update of a post originally from October 2007]

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

R.I.P. Percy Sledge

Phil writes: I remember being blown away when I first heard 'When a Man Loves a Woman'. An archetypal soul number, it has that rare ability to get to you every time: