About The Cold Cut...

The musings of a teenage audiophile. Indie, Rock, Hip-Hop, Rap, Dance, Dubstep, Garage, Metal... music crosses all boundaries. The Cold Cut is devoted to giving you a taste of what's going on in music at the moment.

About Me

A 17 year old taking his first tentative steps into the world of blogging. In my first year, its been up and down, from the slow first months to a busy time around the one year anniversary.

Inbox Round Up

I'm starting to get snowed under by all the emails- if I don't mention you, I apologise... it's not because I don't like you, just time issues!

Delorentos- Any Other Way
Catchy tunes abound with this Dublin based 4 piece. They particularly caught my eye through their painstaking attention to detail- as well as taking this approach with the music, it also extends across to their home page/Myspace. Oh, and their album titles- latest offering 'In Love With Detail' received extremely positive reviews, being hailed as 'the sound of a band realising their potential'. True dat- How many other bands can actually pull off indie-pop?

Situationists- This City Holds Us All

Their introduction comes in the form of a four part harmony, arresting as it is: 'ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba'. The message is clear: this is a band that will not be ignored. Musically located somewhere between The Futureheads and The Kooks (amiable qualities only!), their brilliant new EP- 'This City Holds Us All'- is excitingly, only a taste of what is to come. Head over to Myspace for a listen to three of the four EP tracks...

Thos Henley- Bleeding Love
A cover of Leona Lewis' 'Bleeding Love' really shouldn't work. Deprived of the powerhouse notes, and that voice, this should fall flat on its ass. It doesn't- not in the able hands of Thomas Henley (band spelling intentional). Instead, the song is stripped right back to its emotional roots. Who needs X-Factor?

His Myspace contains many more gems ripe for discovery... (Thomas just left Rival Joustas- a popular band in their own right- to go solo)

Of Fate And Chance- Bravery

This song starts off in usual hardcore fashion, tight strumming, low key- however, I really wasn't expecting the flourish of emotion that kicks in as soon as Sean opens his mouth. It's a tightly knit band, having been formed way back in school, and their sound has been developed over the course of many albums (see Myspace), to the point where they are clearly on the point of something big. Usually, this isn't my thing, but I can't quit the depth or meoldies of these songs. Oh, and I love being pleasantly surprised.

The Sweet Serenades- Coming Closer
What musical steroids are they giving the Swedish these days? Another Jens Lekman appears every week! The latest band carrying the torch are The Sweet Serenades, a duo throwing a mix of 'whoos', folk tendencies and that little gritty bit of garage together to create some catchy tunes. The result= pop music that never verges into the 'you can have too much of a good thing' territory. Sweet, but never sickly...

Jon Regen: Singer-Songwriter Extraordinaire

Unbeknownst to many, I have a soft spot inside for a bit of jazz. At school, I enjoy messing around on the saxophone, and when someone like Jon Regen gets in touch, I cannot resist indulging myself. It is fitting that he is the first jazz artist to be featured on this blog.

This isn't straight jazz, though. The songs on 'Let It Go', his new album, offer a half and half mix of jazz and pop, a la John Legend ('Get Lifted' era, not 'Once Again'). The piano is used as a focus rather than an after thought- there is a lot of instrumental versatility, moving from literally slamming the keys to mildly depressing them. And Jon's voice? Distinctive, and yet hard to compare (a good thing), the only thing obvious about it is that it is strong enough to take him upwards.

The talent is all there... all Jon needs is a lucky break. And that break must be close; 'Let It Go' has seen a host of positive reviews, and featuring artists including Andy Summers (of The Police) and Martha Wainwright suggest that his widespread ability is starting to become more apparent.

Visit Jon's Myspace for a preview of 'Let It Go'

The Cool Volume II: All The Rage

Edit: Okay, so all 14 songs are on Hype machine. They're not doing too badly, but I had an idea. The other day I had chart domination for a little while, (1-4 most popular tracks), and wouldn't it be cool if I got 1-6 or 1-14 (if you so wish). Basically, if you have the time, head over to hype machine, listen to the tracks and drop a big fat heart on them. Cheers...

The Cool Volume II: All The Rage (zip file, album artwork included)
Single tracks available below...

I'm feeling pretty chilled out at the moment. I'm on holiday, spending some time with the 'rents- I have things to do, but overall life is just ticking along. However, when I started this post a good month or two ago, I was in a fit of rage (disclaimer for friends and family- not brought on by people, just a circumstance). You know that feeling- you want to put your fist through a wall or something similarly solid. I was helplessly frustrated when I started this post- luckily, I'm not anymore (although I'm still a little tetchy- an apology to family, friends and readers must be extended). However, why let a good thing go to waste? I only got half way through before going away to blow off some steam- you will no doubt notice a change of musical tone...

Oh and a small tip: for maximum enjoyment, crank up the volume...

1. Roxy Music- Bitter Sweet
2. Patrick Wolf- Bloodbeat (B)
3. Iron & Wine- Boy With A Coin (B)
4. Howling Bells- Low Happening (B)
5. Eminem- Soldier (B)
6. The Whip- Frustration (Mazen Murao Master) (B)
7. Les Savy Fav- Rage In The Plague Age (B)
8. Chemical Brothers- Galaxy Bounce (B)
9. Muse- Bliss (B)
10. Justin Timberlake- Cry Me A River (Remix ft. 50 Cent) (B)
11. Walter Meego- Forever (B)
12. Louis XVI- Finding Out True Love Is Blind (B)
13. Guillemots- Get Over It (B)
14. Black Star- Thieves In The Night (B)

Click the (B) next to each song to see a selection of albums from that artist.

The Cold Cut... Version 2.0

Finally. I can almost hear you breathe a sigh of relief. The Cold Cut has been looking a bit dated recently; my writing has come on in leaps and bounds (or so I'm told!), my reputation is starting to build, but I felt like the appearance of my blog was holding me back. Now, its time to become part of the major league. Welcome to The Cold Cut Version 2.0.

The new template has been a long time coming; this one looks a lot more professional, and forced me to learn my way around HTML. I can change the polaroid, and might even set it up so it changes between multiple images each time the page is refreshed. Ooh- edgy!

I hope this is a bit easier on the eyes. What caused the rapid change? Well, given 3 of my tracks sit in the 1, 2 and 3 most popular tracks spot on the hype machine (and another at 5!), I thought it was about time for something new...

Mystery Jets: '21' Review (NEW LINKS)

Rating: 8/10
Truly rewarding experimentation from the Eel Pie Island troop...

Mystery Jets- Hideaway
Mystery Jets- Half In Love With Elizabeth

After the dulcet tones of 'Young Love', '21' might come as a surprise. Firstly, we weren't expecting air raid sirens as the instrument to herald its arrival, on 'Hideaway', the opening track. Secondly, for some, the fact that the quality of 'Young Love' is translated across to the album might be unexpected- from the beginning, this is already superior to their ramshackle debut, 'Making Dens'.

The Mystery Jets are not an ordinary band... their formation, appearance, music- everything has that strong sense of individuality about it. How did they come to be? Under the tutelage of Henry Harrison, lead singer Blaine's father, the band developed their brand of progressive rock as young teenagers. It was this style of music that made up 'Making Dens', unfortunately eclipsed by releases from London scenesters Jamie T and The Maccabees. It is also this style of music which is lacking on '21', but its absence is hardly noticeable. The departure of Henry was a likely catalyst. His exit, however, has left a wide open space for youthful exuberance, and in essence, that is what '21' is all about. It should be noted that whilst Henry has stopped performing live with the band, he still contributes to the live process.

Second time around, the band have taken a completely different direction: 'Young Love' made things clear- no overbearing percussion, no prog elements, and no lead singer? Yes, for the first time, Will (guitarist), stepped forward to sing lead. And does a bloody good job if you ask me. Aided by Laura Marling (who happens to be everywhere nowadays), this song is close to pop perfection, and set things up nicely for '21's arrival.

Erol Alkan's presence is felt all the way through the record, and he has done a much better job here than on the new Long Blondes album, 'Couples' (review due some time soon). The prog has been mostly discarded, but Alkan has instead coaxed out some great pop songs: this album has much more widespread appeal, and might see the band finally capitalise on their talent. Songs such as 'Half In Love With Elizabeth' and 'Flakes' are not as simple as they seem, and Blaine's vocals slide easily into place.

Whilst some will be quick to herald this album as 'good' or 'bad', it's really much more than that. On '21', we see huge signs of progression, and the prospect of what comes next is actually more exciting than the album itself. However, if I had to condense it into a sentence, this album is all about a young band with a shed-load of talent, and finally some room to breath. Once again, Mystery Jets have surprised us all...

'21' can be purchased here...

The Definitive- Justice: Remix Gold (New Links)

When I first heard Justice's '†', I was impressed, but not as much as the hype said I should be. Worst of all, I found the Daft Punk comparisons confusing: they're a duo, and they're French. Must be the next Homem-Christo and Bangalter, then. Never mind the fact that their music is only loosely similar.

However, the album really crept up on me- mostly due to its marketing: the videos have all been excellent (watch DVNO, NOW), and the endless stream of remixes has kept up their exposure. Everyone has had a go, and whilst some have been more successful than others, there is no doubt that '†' is remix fodder. Even Justice have contributed- "What? So you weren't happy with the original song? Oh well...". Put it this way- wikipedia has a whole page devoted to Justice remixes. Here are a few of the best:

Justice- DVNO (Justice Remix)

Justice- Phantom Pt. II (Boyz Noize Remix)
Justice- D.A.N.C.E. (Les Rhythmes Digitales Remix)

Over the last few weeks, a more interesting application of '†' has emerged: the backing for a rap. Wale did it first, with the unbelievably amazing W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E., which I was only alerted to a couple of days ago. He really does kill it, and its an intuitive use of a brilliant song. I await his label debut: check out some mixtapes over at DatPiff.
'Cut beats; I'm a fucking word surgeon. Scalpel... Sponge... This working. D.A.N.C.E.'

Justice/Wale- W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E.

Only minutes after hearing Wale's interpretation of the song, I received an email from Webbafied. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, this up and coming hip hop artist had me hooked from the moment I opened the email. Justice's '†', re-tooled with a rapper. The whole thing. Free. With the 'Grey Album', Dangermouse took two distant albums- The Beatles 'White Album' and Jay-Z's 'The Black Album'- and created something new, but retaining the quality of the original work. Webbafied has pulled off a familiar feat with 'Webbafied Does It Justice', except rather than working as a producer (like DM), he has lent his lyrical wit to the songs.

Justice/Webbafied- Let There Be Light
Justice/Webbafied- Stress

Admittedly, its an ambitious project, and not every track has the necessary space or vocal cues that Webbafied needs to work with. There are a handful of occasions, though, when the potential of such a project is fulfilled: the new version of 'Let There Be Light' sends shivers down my spine... 'Valentine' takes on a heartful meaning: 'Everyday is February 14th. Say my prayers hoping that you won't leave. All my life I waited for the right one. You're the type I need to mother my son.' Best of all, though, is 'DVNO', a song that has felt the power of ressurection. With So-Me's video and this re-tool, it is rapidly developing into my favourite Justice release, period.

The intelligence of Webbafied is clear: his interpretation of what the original songs are actually about is generally spot on. Artists hoping to cut a path into the big-time should follow his example: coupling your skills with an album of well known songs is a sure-fire way to get noticed. In doing so, he has already jumped the first hurdle: familiarity. And with a respect for the original material, he cannot fail: whereas Wale turns the backing treble right down, Webbafied waits for the gaps to do his thing. Sometimes, this creates awkward silences, but it's the right approach to take for an album interpolation.

You should check out Webbafied's MySpace page, where 'Webbafied Does It Justice' can be downloaded for free. Also, make sure you have a listen to his extensive back-catalogue.

Update: A behind the scenes look at the making of 'Webbafied Does It Justice'...

The Dodos: Visiter Review

Rating: 9/10- A Frenchkiss debut that the duo should be unashamadly proud of.

The Dodos- Red And Purple
The Dodos- The Season

The aim of this blog is not to be totally ahead of the curve; I'm not (and I hope you aren't) counting points. Sometimes, though, I can't help but resist shouting out 'I found them!'. I have been harking on about The Dodos for ages and it is with a sense of joy that we see them reach a pinnacle (an 8.5 from Pitchfork- No shit!). 'Visiter', their second and best album yet, is receiving great reviews across the board and their recent live shows have been nothing short of incredible.

'Visiter' is the first album that clearly illustrates the undiluted talent that The Dodos possess. On 14 varied tracks, Meric Long and Logan Kroeber make a brave rush for victory, recently having mastered their brand of folk-punk. Lets be honest, who needs a bassist when you can write music this wonderfully complex?

Logan Kroeber's drumming is crucial throughout the record, holding the songs together with a rhythmic appreciation far beyond his peers. One of the most skillful drummers in music at the moment, he honed his talent through years in a prog-metal band. Meric Long is a hero for the ages, with a dry lyrical talent and a voice that fits the folky feel, in both the more intense songs ('Red And Purple', 'Winter') and the low key interludes ('Walking', 'Eyelids'). He fluctuates between frantic picking or intense strumming, and both Long and Kroeber are modest in displaying their huge instrumental talents.

The album is long and twisting, with the duo squeezing every last drop of creativity out of their songs. Often extending into four (never boring) minutes, the music is complex and diverse. 'Jodi' is the song that most clearly illustrates this, stretching for 6 minutes, yet switching between keys and moods, and beating 'Fools' as the best song on the album. 'Visiter' was recorded in an unusual fashion, with songs being played as they would live, and the drums, guitar and vocals were taped together, to mimic their now infamous live sound. The resultant album is full of vitality and intensity, and throughout it is blatantly obvious that the duo are enjoying themselves. Admittedly, they are at their best when moving along at a steady pace, and I found myself beginning to lose interest in the lulls.

'Visiter' is one of the albums of the year, and must have Frenchkiss records feeling proud of themselves. Alongside an alumni that includes Les Savy Favs and The Hold Steady, The Dodos don't appear outclassed in the slightest. In fact, those bands might have felt the heat turn up a bit given the quality of 'Visiter'. This is an album that should be cherished, and will no doubt survive rediscovery for many years to come.

The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable- Austere
The Joy Formidable- Cradle

Update: I (and the band) are overwhelmed by the reaction the tracks have had. On their last few hours, they occupied the number 1 and 2 spots on the hype machine popular list. If just goes to show you- great music knows no boundaries. This band are destined for huge things, and they really deserve it. Expect to see them in the near future.

Update: Holy shit. This post has gone 'mega', for use of a better word. The two tracks I posted have literally been stuck on the front page of the Hype Machine for the whole day- also, both tracks are within the top 20 most popular, and they only got indexed 20 hours ago. Impressive! I love to see a band such as The Joy Formidable benefitting from the publicity. Listen to the tracks, spread the word, and get it to number 1.

I am very occasionally impressed by a MySpace submission. Never before, however, have I been blown away. Sure, I do an inbox round-up every now and then, and the bands I feature are generally talented. The Joy Formidable, however, impressed me so much that now is their time to take centre stage...

Hailing from London, this three piece is the kind of band which maintains my belief in British music. A year ago, the band didn't even exist, but over the last few months they have crafted a distinctive sound that excuses their 'Other/Other/Other' genre choices on MySpace. Ritzy, Rhydian (who emailed me) and Justin have yet to release anything, but are already tipped by Steve Lamacq and Tom Robinson (radio DJ) as the next big thing for their 'dream pop', the missing link between mainstream rock and indie. I was instantly hooked when they cracked out that bassline on 'Austere'- I didn't even know those kind of sounds existed anymore, and the song was recently used in an advert for Skins. Even after a year together they are already beginning to sound like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, with their penchant for distortion and falsetto backing.

The most confusing aspect is their lack of a record deal- I have a strong sense that this is down to the band rather than labels, who must be falling over themselves to get their hands on such quality.

Check out their Myspace, and make keep your eye on this band. They are destined for huge things...

4 Minutes To Save The World

Madonna- 4 Minutes (ft. Justin Timberlake)

Madonna. 'Material Girl' and the 'Queen Of Pop'. 200 million album sales. And many more to come, if her latest single- '4 Minutes'- is any indication.

Her 11th studio album, 'Hard Candy', will signal the end of an era. It is her last (studio) album with Warner Bros. Records, after which she will move to her new 10 year contract with Live Nation. There are a few main reasons as to why Madonna has lasted this long. Effectively, she is a musical chameleon, transforming her looks, music and general brand image whenever she begins to lose popularity. Her latest album is no different.

'4 Minutes' is a lesson for the pretenders. This is how you stage a reinvention. Her last album, 'Confessions On A Dance Floor', was built from an endless mix of dance samples. Whilst not totally dissimilar, this single tends more towards heavier beats and giant brass than pure dance backing. Roping in Justin Timberlake and Timbaland (do these guys travel as a unit now?) is a genius move, but Timb/aland/erlake have a tendency to take over the tracks they feature in. The track is a little busy, but the hip-hop feel works well. Basically, this is shit hot, and will no doubt take over the radio/charts, just as 'Hung Up' did.

'Hard Candy' is out on 28th April... Pre-order it here

Discuss: Like the new direction? Is this Madonna's track? Sounds like JT and Timba to me... Oh, and isn't the cover terrible?

Does It Offend You, Yeah? No... Quite The Opposite?

Just a quick post this evening, as I'm going through a character crisis (family arguments- you know, the usual).

My latest obsession are the Reading four piece Does It Offend You, Yeah?. An electro band oft (inexplicably) compared to Daft Punk and Justice, the band have already made their mark by releasing three infectious singles, currently receiving endless plays all over the UK. Their debut album 'You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into' comes out on 24th March, and will no doubt feature a varied selection of their unforgettable blend of rock and electro. If you haven't heard the blogged-to-death 'Let's Make Out' by now, sample it below. Alongside another single, 'We Are Rockstars', featuring the strangest (read: brilliant) electronic lick I've ever heard.

Does It Offend You, Yeah?- Let's Make Out
Does It Offend You, Yeah?- We Are Rockstars

Gnarls Barkley: 'The Odd Couple' In Depth Review (UPDATED LINKS)

Rating: Another album full of dark soul songs.... sure to divide

Things are beginning to look up- I chanced upon a copy of 'The Odd Couple' for review. Enjoy, and make sure you buy the album, now released on, and digitally today.

The quality of 'St. Elsewhere'- as an album- was eclipsed by the shining brilliance of 'Crazy', and to a lesser extent, 'Smily Faces'. In some ways, it's in Gnarls Barkley's best interest that 'Run' isn't an earth-shaking single. Rather than purely focussing on the songs individually, I hope that people will take a long look at this album as a whole. However, my review will take the opposite approach, breaking this album down into the sum of its parts, in chronological order. Needless to say, they are all just small pieces of the puzzle. Let's begin:

NB- Ratings from 1 to 10. 1 is unlistenable, 5 is mediocre, 10 a song that will complete you. Highly recommended songs come with links...

Charity Case- Essentially a sped up version of 'The Boogie Monster' with some extra bells on, they really run with the idea, adding dense swarms of 'oohs', 'aahs' and assorted harmonies. 9/10

Who's Gonna Save My Soul- ?uestlove wanted to leak this one, and not without reason. Its one of the few moments where Dangermouse sits back and lets Cee-Lo flesh out the song, and its a high point (low in terms of mood). The soul influences run free... 9/10

Going On- A few nice ingredients: hand claps... the gentle squeling of guitars. Both discarded half way through for a session of call-and-response. 8/10

Run- It was never going to match 'Crazy'. The expectation obviously didn't bother Cee-Lo and Dangermouse, and why should it? After all, who needs to worry when they can reel off songs like this: jaunty, bubbly pop, stuffed into a frantic 3 minutes. Still, when stacked up against the other strongest songs on the album, its surprisingly comes off looking almost average. 8/10

Would Be Killer- The song opens with the cocking of a gun. Unusual for Gnarls. However, it develops into much more than that, and Cee-Lo shows his versatility, morphing his usual bellow into a subdued whisper. 8/10

Open Book- The song is strongly influenced by the slightly disarming beat. Even Dangermouse makes mistakes, and this is one of the few. The beat doesn't allow the song to get off the ground. 6/10

Whatever- The pair embrace their inner child, with Cee-Lo behaving like a brat, having a tantrum. The lyrics point towards the thought of being a loner, and they have fun embracing the character. 7/10
"Said fuck me, well fuck you too
I know it sounds real sad but its true
Being alone is nothing new"

Suprise- What have we here? A soul song evoking thoughts of the Wild West? It really shouldn't work, but once again, they pull it off, if not purely through the sheer force of Cee-Lo's conviction. 8/10

No Time Soon- In essence a ballad, but Dangermouse moves into new territory with electronic bleeps and synthesised sounds. 9/10

She Knows- A throwback with a serious 60/70s vibe. It's passable, but not great. 6/10

Blind Mary- An oddball. Beginning with the hypnotic sounds of a carnival, it develops into a lolloping ode to Mary, the blind girl who can't see Cee-Lo, and must instead opt for his inner workings. Verging on filler. 6/10

Neighbours- A passionate tune. Bongo drums, variety, and Cee-Lo. Enough to carry a song. 8/10

A Little Better- Drama, and lots of it. Lyrically the strongest song on the album, Cee-Lo sounds like a tortured soul, veering straight into the cordoned off area reserved for the blues. 9/10

Taken as it should be- an album- 'The Odd Couple' acquits itself admirably. Just as with 'St. Elsewhere', the production is ambitious and very occasionally overreaching, but Cee-Lo's voice is always there to fall back on. However, I can already see it dividing- there are some really great moments, and a few songs that bomb, but overall this is another brilliant album from the collaboration, and its more than enough to keep me coming back for more. The more shallow members of the critique might damn this album purely for the lack of 'Crazy', but in doing so, they will be ignoring one of the albums of 2008.

The release date of 'The Odd Couple' was brought forward to today. Buy it now.

New Lil' Wayne- Lollipop

Lil' Wayne- Lollipop (ft. Static Major)

In a post a couple of months ago, I stated that 'Showtime' would be the first single off of Lil' Wayne's upcoming album, 'Tha Carter III'. Thankfully, this isn't the case. Instead, a new cut, entitled 'Lollipop', is being put forward as the lead track. It's not instant by any stretch of the imagination, but the track is a definite improvement...

He is certainly clearing the floor for his new sound. Lil' Wayne has been experimenting with the use of effects and filters for 'Tha Carter III'. Just as with the fairly mediocre 'Showtime', Wayne employs the use of a vocoder, to greater effect. Not an original move, but the track- as a whole- is. The sound is chopped and layered, until a dense, 'cold' sound is achieved. Its a nice move, and this song has 'club' written all over it- the spins will no doubt rack up.

Tha Carter III is out on May 13th.

DVNO: Now that's a video....

I doubt you will know So-Me (I didn't), but his work is inescapable. His music videos will probably rank in the 2007's most memorable lists: Justice's D.A.N.C.E, Kanye West's 'The Good Life'. Both great videos, but both toppled from their pedestal by So-Me's latest offering. Returning to Justice, the video for 'DVNO' is simply amazing. So-Me, an animator by nature, has put together something fresh, with graphics illustrating the words of the song and much, much more. Basically, if this doesn't win something, there's no hope for us. Watch it...

Justice- DVNO
Justice- DVNO (Youtube)

Ubiquity: Crystal Castles

Crystal Castles- Vanished
Crystal Castles- Courtship Date

Ubiquity- something that is present, appears, and is found everywhere. A quality that one might apply to Crystal Castles of late. When not remixing every song within reach, this duo have been busy releasing an endless flow of original music- 4 releases in the last two years, and counting. And on March 18, their self titled debut CD (a re-introduction, if you like, and first actual CD), will be released. The world's a stage.

Who are they? Multi-instrumentalist Ethan Kath and vocalist Alice Glass. Their sound? A warped, twisted mix of enhanced synths and vocal chords. Oh, and don't forget the beats. And they have an awesome creation story. Their first release, 'Alice Practice', is exactly that. Alice, the vocalist, was messing around, whilst Kath recorded, unbeknownst to her. He posted the resultant song on MySpace, the record labels came running, ba-da-bing, they have a deal.

This album has the collective music blog's holding their breath. Whilst their live offerings have thus far lest many people undercooked, the perfect nature of songs like 'Black Panther' and 'Vanished' is enough for me to forgive them. Lets face it, how many other bands use an Atari computer chip/keyboard to produce their music? That silence? That's the sound of a band making it big.

The album cannot be pre-ordered yet, but make sure you cop it...

Lupe Fiasco- Superstar (Remix ft. Young Jeezy & T.I.)

Lupe Fiasco- Superstar (ft. Young Jeezy & T.I.)

I love Lupe Fiasco. Simply put, he's is the best thing about rap music at the moment, with a lyrical repertoire far beyond many of his peers and the kind of musical talent that doesn't surface often. The second of his concept album trio, 'The Cool' was a critical hit, and was further proof that Fiasco is an undervalued talent.

A remix that is superior to the original song is a rarity, and these should be cherished. I never thought Lupe would lend himself well to being re-tooled, as his blend of book-smart verses and unusual production are fairly distinctive in the first place. The latest remix, however, of 'Superstar', his lead single, is a song that made me change my mind. 'Superstar' was a song that should have been left alone, but the instigators should be rewarded. This is sick.

Young Jeezy is just there as filler, but he raps respectably. The light relief at the beginning of the trick, he then gets blown away by Lupe's new verse:
"Like a senior citizen having a baby shower
Haters want to budget but my fans still love it
So you can ask them exactly ‘Who I Are’
Nine weeks at number one I’m a ‘Superstar’ "

To finish things off, T.I. shows that his recent seclusion has had a positive effect on his flow. All in all, its a great song, and is another triumph for Lupe. Download it!

Jump on the band-wagon... or not

In my short blogging career I have never been quick to jump on the bandwagon. Some might accuse me of being behind the curve, but that isn't always the case. I just feel tainted somehow, writing about a band such as Vampire Weekend or Feist, who have quite literally been blogged to death (and stardom). My thought process is as follows: if 1000 other people have written about them, what else can I add? Sure, I could put my own unique spin on things, but that doesn't alter the feeling I get that those sort of posts are pointless. This is me making up for those lost chances: rather than writing about the great artists I haven't mentioned, this new feature will allow me to post some of their music without boring you. First up, Vampire Weekend:

Vampire Weekend- The Kid's Don't Stand A Chance
Vampire Weekend- I Stand Corrected
Vampire Weekend- Campus
Vampire Weekend- Walcott
Vampire Weekend- A-Punk (Live on SNL)
Vampire Weekend- M79 (Live on SNL)

NB- Normally I would feel terrible posting more than two tracks by an artist in one post, but considering the whole album is on the Hype Machine I think this is acceptable. Enjoy...

The Last Shadow Puppets

The Last Shadow Puppets- The Age Of The Understatement

When Alex Turner announced he had a side project in development, I was quick to focus my attention. 'The Last Shadow Puppets', a proposed collaboration between Turner and friend Miles Kain (of the Rascals), has been in the works since the touring friends recorded the album last August whilst on holiday in France. Whether the album would ever see the light of day, however, was uncertain.

Things move fast in this world: two weeks ago this band didn't even have a name, but over the last two days has rapidly become one of the hottest properties in music. The album, scheduled to be released on April 21, was previewed for a small audience in a Brooklyn record store on Thursday. In the 8-track acoustic set, Kain and Turner gave the first preview of the single (and album title) 'The Age Of The Understatement', and the studio version was released the day after.

The single itself is good, but not great. Given the level of talent on display, I wasn't quite as blown away as the hype said I should be. The lyrics don't have the punch of Alex's monkeys work. However, it still redeems itself through the undiluted talent on display: produced by Simian Mobile Disco's James Ford and with strings arrangements from Final Fantasy.

Discuss: A good introduction to the side project, or a song that doesn't live up to the hype?

You can watch the oddball video for the single over at the band's website...

The album tracklisting is as follows:

The Age of the Understatement:

01 The Age of the Understatement
02 Standing Next to Me
03 Calm Like You
04 Separate and Ever Deadly
05 The Chamber
06 Only the Truth
07 My Mistakes Were Made for You
08 Black Plant
09 I Don't Like You Any More
10 In My Room
11 Meeting Place
12 The Time Has Come Again

The Roots: 'Get Busy'

The Roots- Get Busy
The Roots- Black's Reconstruction

Another song from the latest album by The Roots- 'Get Busy'- was leaked a couple of days ago. From the three songs I've heard, the band are taking a completely tangential direction with this album, in comparison to their early songs. The production is sick, and highly stylised; slightly similar to their work on 'Game Theory', their last album.

This is a band who directly influence the music industry with their every choice: many prominent musicians have come from within their depths. Heard of Scott Storch? A keyboard player in The Roots. Rahzell? Toured with the Roots in his anonymity years. Ben Kenny? Went from The Roots to being bassist with Incubus. You get the picture...

'Rising Down', their 10th studio album, will be released on April 29, according to ?uestlove. That in itself if a feat: how many other hip-hop/rap groups do you know that have ridden their career out to a massive ten albums. And my guess as to why? The musicianship of the band- primarily started out by ?uestlove and Black Thought, both students at the Philadelphia High School for Creative Performing Arts, and later expanded by a huge variety of talented individuals...

Just as a time waster, a drum battle between ?uestlove and Travis Barker, at the Roots annual Grammy jam session... epic:

The Hysterics Stream Album

I know I've been writing a lot about these guys over the last few months, but there's something undeniably brilliant about their music. Harmonies, nice accents, good songs. They've fulfill my cheesiness quota every day of the week, yet still remain brilliant. Stream their new album over at AOL. Album review flying your way soon...

Free Music: The New Age Of Albums

Radiohead- Nude
AmpLive- Nudez (ft. Too $hort & MC Zumbi Of Zion-l)
Nine Inch Nails- 1 Ghosts I
Downliners Sekt- Panic! Sonic Monk

Okay, Radiohead, its time to fess up. With 'In Rainbows', you effectively broke the traditional model for an album release. Now, the idea of a free digital album is commonplace, and distributors are beginning to get worried about their profits. Many artists are quick to turn around and state that they want to release their next album free of charge, but in reality it takes a lot of planning and a certain degree of popularity to pull this off (see Prince and Radiohead). This rule, however, was made to be broken, and its happening as we speak.

Over the last month, we've had free releases of the AmpLive remixes, the new NIN (Nine Inch Nails) album, entitled 'Ghosts I-IV', and the Charlatans release, 'You Cross My Path'. Those were the big releases, but you shouldn't forget Downliner Sekts' 'The Saltire Wave' and many other smaller bands chancing their luck with this new method of releasing music (hit up the links for the download pages). And more are set to follow. The old music infrastructure is being slowly broken up, and the labels are none too happy.

Normally, I wouldn't write about this, but one thing in particular has caused my change of heart. NIN, as well as releasing the album free, have also gone as far as uploading it to torrent sites included the industry-despised Pirate Bay. A brave move, and so the avalanch begins. Since I can remember, bands have taken the opposite approach (cough- Metallica- cough), sueing until they turn blue in the face. The public always prevail, though, but NIN must be the first big band to endorse illegal downloading. Its a big step, and has some interesting implications... I can already picture it: NIN's label suing the band for illegally releasing their own music.

And to the music? Well, of the free albums I've heard, the quality has actually been noticeably superior. Free of the pressure of 'going platinum' or similar goals, the musicians are able to develop their ideas fully, and spend time on elements that yould usually be discarded early on in the production process. Basically, more freedom=more quality. And who cares about solid sales when 'In Rainbows' went platinum in the first day, selling at an average $5. Those figures result in Radiohead pocketing $6 million in the first 24 hours...

FIRST IN THE WORLD: Gnarls Barkley- Who's Gonna Save My Soul?

Gnarls Barkley- Who's Gonna Save My Soul?

Just thought I would use a spare 15 minutes to keep you guys sated till this evening, when a full length post will follow. Earlier today, ?uestlove dropped a new song from the upcoming Gnarls Barkley release, 'The Odd Couple', on Youtube. 'Who's Gonna Save My Soul' is a nice lo-fi tune, with Dangermouse leaving plenty of room for Cee-Lo to showcase his voice. Accompanied by a marching drum and not a lot more, this is a song in the vein of 'St. Elsewhere'. Download it quick, before it disappears... Oh, and check out the interesting, slightly mediocre (official?) video below.

PS- I reckon I'm the first person in the world to post this (other than ?uestlove's video), so get it quick. Oh, and labels etc, I will be happy to take it down at your request!

Dull Sunday

I'm feeling inexplicably down at the moment- not that I think you all want to hear regular updates on how I feel, but it might explain the lack of inventiveness this weekend. I have an absolute bitch of a week coming up, so I'm just trying to take things easy today.

Rather than writing a long post today, I'm just going to treat you to some of the great music being released at the moment, which I have missed. Enjoy...

We Are Scientists- After Hours
The eccentric, New York three piece have produced a single (and album) worthy of stardom.

Elbow- Grounds For Divorce
Guy Garvey et al have finally become comfortable with their sound. Great songs ensue.

Del The Funky Homosapien- Bubble Pop
Del coasts through a song that, whilst not his best, still has me salivating over the prospect of his new album.

Vampire Weekend- A Punk
I'm not going to waste my time writing about these guys... everything has already been said. They're young, talented and destined for big things.

Bat For Lashes- Sweet Dreams (Live Lounge)
Further proof that here we have one of the most talented women in music.