Archives for June 2008

Eden Sessions - The Cornish Glasty - Part 1

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:39 UK time, Monday, 30 June 2008

Another in an occasional series of live reviews and event reports from ChartBlog which serve to prove one thing above all others...going to gigs is about everything other than The Music, MAAAN...

The Eden Project

So, it's June, it's raining, it must be time to investigate the Eden Sessions again. This is partly because the Eden Project is local to me, partly because the bands are usually quite good, but mostly because everyone is going crackers over Glastonbury this weekend, and Eden has three Glasto acts playing over the same weekend, and their toilets are nicer.

So, Friday night was the Verve, warming up for their Sunday night headline slot at Glasto, and last night was the Raconteurs, supported by Vampire Weekend (which I'll tell you about in part 2, tomorrow). Later on this month there will be Bill Bailey, KT Tunstall (plus Guillemots) and then the Kaiser Chiefs (supported by Late Of The Pier). Still with me? Cool, let's do this thing...

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Basshunter - 'All I Ever Wanted'

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:49 UK time, Monday, 30 June 2008

BasshunterAww, look what he went and did next! After 'Now You're Gone' proved that you CAN have a massive dance hit in the UK outside of the summer months, and then went on to keep proving the same damn point, week after weeek after weeeeek after weeeeeeeek, the B'hunter is back, and this time he's continuing the little soap opera he started with his last video. Remember the couple who were in a huff but then got back together due to the healing power of dance music? Well, it's them again, only this time, they're on HOLIDAY!

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Chart Report - 29/06/08

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:11 UK time, Monday, 30 June 2008

Top 5 High 5

AND IN WORD FORM, HERE'S THIS WEEK'S TOP 5:

1: Ne-Yo - 'Closer'
2: Coldplay - 'Viva La Vida'
4: Jordin Sparks ft Chris Brown - 'No Air'
5: Chris Brown - 'Forever'
5: Rihanna - 'Take A Bow'

Usual rules apply. High five the screen if you approve, slap the faces of the people you don't like if you don't. And then put either High Five! or Denied! in the comments box, depending on how you feel.

Hello Chris Brown! This week's Chris Brown Top 5 has been brought to Chris Brown you by the number Chris Brown 5, the Chris Brown letters C and B, and the pop star Chris 'Chris Brown' Brown.

Here's the Top 40 in full...

The Last Shadow Puppets - 'Standing Next To Me'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:45 UK time, Sunday, 29 June 2008

The Last Shadow PuppetsIn the great Punk vs. Prog Rock wars of the late '70s, one of the main criticisms the punkers levelled at the proggers was that their songs went on for far too long, and were pompous, often failing to get to the point, even if they had one. And if you consider that, apart from power-pop, the Wombles and the bum end of glam rock, songs which went on for too long and were pompous were pretty much the only type of song on offer at the time, it's not hard to see why such a state of affairs should come to pass.

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Maroon 5 ft. Rihanna - 'If I Never See Your Face Again'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:34 UK time, Saturday, 28 June 2008

Adam Levine and RihannaGenerally speaking, the Maroon 5 songs I tend to like the best are usually the ones where they sound like a living, breathing, meaty human pop band attempting to recreate some of the more robotic, cold, hard, slamming R&B-influenced song arrangements of the past 10 years. Or to put it another way, I always liked it best when they sounded like they were auditioning to be Christina Aguilera's backing band (pre-1940s makeover).

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Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong: Let The Name Go, People. They're Not Listening...

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:16 UK time, Friday, 27 June 2008

Joe Lean & the Jing Jang Jong - Thomas arrowed

Poor Joe Lean and his Jing Jang Jong, they do seem to have had a rough time of it recently. Not rough as in actual physical injury or serious emotional turmoil, but bearing in mind they began the year being touted to the skies as a musical cure for all ills, and they have yet to actually come good on this promise - a promise they did not make, it's fair to point out on their behalf - you wouldn't blame them for feeling a little henpecked by notoriety.

Not that they will admit that they are, as this conversation with guitarist Thomas will demonstrate. What's interesting is that now the NME's attention seems to be wandering off them and onto other bands (hi Glasvegas!), Tommy's idea of overcoming the odds involves a retrospective by the Guardian which says they were good all along, so ner, only in a stiff, intellectual, Guardian-y sort of way.

Don't worry, I put him straight. You've heard of The Bono Talk? This is The ChartBlog Chat...

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Estelle - 'No Substitute Love'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:51 UK time, Friday, 27 June 2008

EstelleDo you know, there are versions of Estelle's 'American Boy' doing the rounds of certain local radio stations - I'm not sure if it's just BBC local radio or all of 'em - which have carefully cut Kanye West's rap out? I think the idea is that the generation who were in their early twenties when hip hop really broke through (around 1986, and we owe Run DMC eternal thanks, by the way) never really got to grips with it as a valid musical form. They are considered to be the people for whom hip hop is just people talking over the top of music, and therefore rubbish.

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Trawling For Gems At The Back Of the Sofa...

Fraser McAlpine | 16:21 UK time, Thursday, 26 June 2008

sofa.jpg

It's been a while since we had a really big delve down the back of the ChartBlog song sofa, to try and unearth some of the songs which, in a parallel universe, would still probably not be massive chart hits, but at least the wallpaper would be different.

Anyway, I've had a rummage, and what I've found includes a former trip-hopper, a French arsonist, some kind of ADD drum club, a man who has the surname of two girls, and the musical version of a nerd stroking a friend of MIA's...in scuzzy trainers.

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Ironik - 'Stay With Me'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:50 UK time, Thursday, 26 June 2008

IronikThis should not work. It's got that rubbish chipmunk thing on it, where the vocal from another record - in this case Rozalla's 'Everybody's Free' - is super-sped up because, erm, well I never did get to the bottom of why it's a good thing to do, not even in the film of Alvin & The Chipmunks. It also has a little chirrup of Spanish guitar which, given the ghostly backing track, sounds exactly like 'Viva Forever' by the Spice Girls. And it's a street poem warning a loved one - Ironik's younger sister, apparently - against the evils of violence, which is just a little bit Will Smith.

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How To Destroy...Linkin Park

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Fraser McAlpine | 20:33 UK time, Wednesday, 25 June 2008

How To Destroy Linkin Park

NOTE: This will only work on Linkin Park. You try watering any other former nu-metallers (shut up, they so were!) and all you'll get is a kick up the bum from Fred Durst's wet shoe.

Mind you, it might be worth it just so you can say you've annoyed Fred Durst. Taste of his own medicine and all that. I'd be inclined to water his hat rather than his shoes though. Who knows, if you water it enough, and there's the right amount of sunshine and nutrients...maybe he'll grow a brain.

How To Destroy Other People...

Dizzee Rascal - 'Dance Wiv Me'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:53 UK time, Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Dizzee RascalThere's a brilliant, but quite disturbing shot, around 35 seconds into this video, and it occurs just after Dizzee has finished telling the lady that he has his eye on that he needs to "get behind" her "backbone". Suddenly there's a cut from barside Dizz - on his feet and pumping his groin suggestively - to tableside Dizz, leering into the camera with a facial expression which can only be translated as "hurr hurr hurr! That's right, I maded a booty joke! Booty means bum! You know what I'm talkin' about! Hurr hurr!"

Frankly, it detracts a little bit from his otherwise confident delivery and cocky demeanour...

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Freemasons: Saviours Of Popular Music!

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:57 UK time, Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Freemasons - James arrowed

Chart-spotters, have you noticed a strange phenomenon occuring around a few high-profile single releases, particularly those of American R&B stars? No, it's not that they're starting to run out of convincing ways to talk about sex without using any graphic terms (although...) or that some of the romantic scenarios they sing about are actually probably more grubbily sordid than delightfully naughty (ALTHOUGH...).

No, the thing I'm talking about is when a singer puts a new song out, and everyone buys it for the remix version, leaving anyone who hasn't heard the remix mystified as to why the original song - which isn't all that, really - has been such a massive hit.

It happens a lot to former members of Destiny's Child, for some reason.

Well, here's the two blokes who are making this happen. Freemasons are duo-handedly improving the quality of modern pop music, making dull things shiny, and silk purses out of sow's ears. They're magicians, I tell you!

Here's me talking to James 'Mason about how they do it. I've left the bit at the beginning in just so you can experience the fun of two grown men trying to converse while failing to understand each other in any way, shape or form...

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Goldfrapp - 'Caravan Girl'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:39 UK time, Tuesday, 24 June 2008

GoldfrappI sometimes think I'm missing a piece when it comes to Goldfrapp, because by and large their work leaves me cold, and not in an intentional frosty ladypop sort of way - more the sort of way that involves the word "meh" an awful lot. I mean, I love 'Strict Machine' because I can't imagine anyone not loving it (I daresay someone will prove me wrong), but pretty much the entirety of 'Supernature' struck me as a lazy and uninspired retread of their previous work, which was especially disappointing coming from a group whose frontwoman is so opinionated about pop music in general.

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Someone Should Really Give It To Madonna, And Soon...

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:15 UK time, Monday, 23 June 2008

Madonna - Give It To Me

This is the single cover for Madonna's next single, 'Give It To Me'. And, as she has quite rightly pointed out, there's definitely something missing, something which she needs to be given back as a matter of some urgency. Something she needs, something which she can't get from just anyone. A special kind of something, something which will make her feel amazing, something which she just can't go on a moment longer without.

Luckily I have just the thing...

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Jordin Sparks ft. Chris Brown - 'No Air'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:03 UK time, Monday, 23 June 2008

Jordin SparksGiven that this song is currently at No.10 in the charts, this review may seem a little bit on the tardy side. And indeed it is - on behalf of ChartBlog, I hold my hands up. It slipped under our radar pre-release, but in my capacity as ChartBlog's resident American Idol obsessive (for those who don't know, Jordin was the winner of the 2007 season), I begged Fraser to let me review it anyway.

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Chart Report - 22/06/08

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Fraser McAlpine | 19:52 UK time, Sunday, 22 June 2008

Top 5 High 5

AND IN WORD FORM, HERE'S THIS WEEK'S TOP 5:
1: Coldplay - 'Viva La Vida'
2: Ne-Yo - 'Closer'
3: Rihanna - 'Take A Bow'
4: Sara Bareilles - 'Love Song'
5: Chris Brown - 'Forever'

Usual rules apply. High five the screen if you approve, slap the faces of the people you don't like if you don't. And then put either High Five! or Denied! in the comments box, depending on how you feel.

Feels kinda fresh around here these days, doncha think?

Here's the Top 40 in full...

Busta Rhymes ft. Linkin Park - 'We Made It'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:10 UK time, Sunday, 22 June 2008

Busta Rhymes & Linkin ParkFor some reason, knowing whose song this is makes a big difference how successful it seems to be. Not chart success, you understand, that's in the lap of democracy, but whether it really works as a musical endeavour. This kind of stuff is really important to consider when two mighty musical forces combine. Will they compliment each other? Will one side have to compromise their sound more than the other? Is it going to be like the bringing together of salt and vinegar, or the bringing together of banana milkshake and onion gravy?

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Ne-Yo - 'Closer'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:43 UK time, Saturday, 21 June 2008

NeyoNe-Yo makes smooth, classy, grown-up R&B. Where Chris Brown and Rihanna do teenage angst and Usher gets all sweaty in public, Ne-Yo does those instantly-recognisable (the more uncharitable part of me wants to say that this is because they all have the same tune) piano ballads. Extraodinary, then, that this new single is inspired by bassline, apparently; the consistently ace genre that's brought us T2 and Jodie's 'Heartbroken' and H2O and Platnum's 'What's It Gonna Be,' amongst others, both of which surely qualify as extremely teenage.

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What Is (The) Music For?

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:32 UK time, Friday, 20 June 2008

The Music - Stu arrowed

There's nothing that bands like less than turning up to do an interview, only to find that the interviewer's first question is "so how did you guys get such a crazy name?". And in the main, you have to respect this.

There again, some bands are just asking for trouble.

Take the Music, the gang of northern dance-rockers whose Led Zep/Chemical Brothers hybrid predated Kasabian and who would really rather focus on the fact that they were dropped, battled with depression, and have pulled themselves back together, than the name they chose to go by when they were feeling cocky, years ago.

Sadly, that is just not how ChartBlog rolls. And seeing as they have set themselves up as being an authority on music in general (it's the THE which does it), why not ask bass player Stu some of the big questions about the subject which none of us mere bystanders have ever quite got to the bottom of?







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The Courteeners - 'No You Didn't, No You Don't'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:28 UK time, Friday, 20 June 2008

CourteenersThey say that whenever you point a finger at someone, you're also pointing three back at yourself (try it, it sort of works if you don't curl your fingertips into your palm too much), so any song which pokes fun at the silly ways of an un-named 'you' person can be safely assumed to be partly coming from a place of deep insecurity within the person who wrote it. And this song is a particularly fine example, as it's basically another of Liam Courteener's songs about how he is great and therefore 'you' are not.

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How To Destroy...Kiss

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:17 UK time, Thursday, 19 June 2008

How To Destroy Kiss

NOTE: Well, he was kind of asking for it, wasn't he...

Now, by rights I should point out to some of you that yanking on people's tongues to see if you can pull their eyes out of their mouth is perhaps not a very nice thing to do. That said, if you can't already work that out by yourself, you possibly won't be able to read this in any case. So I could just write anything here. Look...

Whoop! Whoop! Cortisone lobster floppy watch trimphone spaniel sandals scandals Jack Daniel's tortoise sandwich trip-hazard lemon sponge testosterone flute loop hula droop scoop poop be doop boop.

I think we've all learned something here today.

How To Destroy Other People...

Mariah Carey - 'Bye Bye'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:07 UK time, Thursday, 19 June 2008

Mariah CareyRight, first of all, shut up, OK? Don't be putting that sneer on your face just because Mariah is Mariah and can sometimes come across as being about as sincere as Alexa Chung giving a compliment. And don't assume that just because this song contains a clear attempt to poke people in tender spots, particularly anyone who is grieving the loss of a close friend or relative, that it's all cynical manipulation of emotion, with the aim of securing The All-Important Death Dollar.

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Weezer Add Jam To Their Pork & Beans*

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Fraser McAlpine | 14:23 UK time, Wednesday, 18 June 2008

There should be some kind of guide book for all bands, that at some point in their career, they should arrange a massive jam of their songs with a bunch of fans, all carrying their own instruments, in what looks like a school music room. Whether they also choose do to this wearing a T-shirt which has a radioactive half-life of 50 years is really by the by.

*OK, so it's not 'Pork & Beans', it is, of course, 'Say It Ain't So'.

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Glasvegas - 'Geraldine'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:35 UK time, Wednesday, 18 June 2008

GlasvegasIn 1986, when the Smiths were the greatest thing that could ever happened to British music, when 'indie' referred to a sub-culture of shambolic, '60s-obsessed guitar bands who never, ever, ever got played on daytime Radio 1 (apart from every now and again, and it felt like a total victory and entirely wrong all at the same time), and when the charts were dominated by Tina Turner, Queen and Phil Collins, if you could have taken footage of Glasvegas back to a cardiganed indie fan, and told them this was the hotly-tipped band of 2008, they would register no surprise whatsoever.

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Bloggers: Know Your Limits...

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:30 UK time, Tuesday, 17 June 2008

A ChartBlog Special ReportIs everyone in a bad mood this week or what? I only ask because for some reason the world's music blog-writers seem to have developed some kind of massive vendetta against the musicians they spend their lives writing about. And in some cases, the musicians are striking back!

Now, Lord knows the work of your humble blog-writer is self-referential enough without people having to wade through editorials like this which seek to establish some kind of quality control across the entire internet (impotent rage? ME? HOW DARE YOU!). But there again, it's annoying to read stuff which has clearly been written just to stir up some debate, by people who are clearly quite clever, but who equally clearly believe that the people reading their stuff are easy to manipulate, and possibly a bit thick.

Example 1: Coldplay
Poor Coldplay. There's something about their combination of good manners, soft sentimentality and massive success which really gets up people's noses. They shout about Chris Martin's less-than-clever lyrics, they call the band bedwetters, they claim that the band are in some way ruining all that is good about rock 'n' roll, as if one listen to 'X&Y' somehow makes Motorhead or Little Richard vanish from history.

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Nickelback - 'Photograph'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:18 UK time, Tuesday, 17 June 2008

NickelbackSo, what's this recent Nickelback resurgence all about then? I'm not critical of it so much as I am curious, since it's apparently happened on the back of a track from a 2005 album which never got a full release in this country until the end of last year, and is being followed by a re-release of a song that got to No.29 in 2005. What kind of behaviour is this, exactly?

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Mattafix: "Lugging The Paraphernalia Of The Music Biz Through A War Zone"

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:06 UK time, Monday, 16 June 2008

Mattafix - Marlon arrowed

Ladies and gentlemen, you join me at a strange moment in ChartBlog's journey thus far, and one I'm not entirely sure what to make of. I seem to have interviewed a musician, a musician with a sense of humour and a friendly demeanour, I might add, without once asking them a single jokey question. There's been no pun on their name, no deliberate misunderstanding of the the title of their latest single, and no high-concept run of questions based on some aspect of their upbringing.

What there is, is a serious, sober exploration of how a band can go from releasing their pop songs in the usual way, to shooting a video in the middle of a refugee camp in war-torn Darfur, having flown there as the guests of Mick Jagger, ready to work with Matt Damon, and Will.I.Am, as part of a global campaign to raise awareness of an horrific situation.

I know! I feel quite faint. Pass the smelling salts, mother!







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If The Americans Had Built Keane In A Lab...

Fraser McAlpine | 14:08 UK time, Monday, 16 June 2008

...this is probably what they would sound like.

Melee - 'Built To Last'

Strange how the mind turns. Last week I was SURE this sounded like an over-steroided American McFly, now I can only hear Keane. Who knows what I'll be claiming it sounds like tomorrow!

www.meleeuk.com

Craig David - 'Officially Yours'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:12 UK time, Monday, 16 June 2008

Craig DavidMy initial reaction on hearing this song was to web-jog across to the Radio 1 playlist to see if he was on there. I have my reasons for this: largely because the first thing I thought about this song was that it sounded just like the sort of track Craig David would've released in his early noughties heyday, when radio would've been all over it. The fact that it seems to have slipped under the radar this time interested me, because I don't think the quality of this song is any lower than that of, say, '7 Days' or 'Walking Away' - but I do suspect that the public mood may have changed a little since then, leaving this less of a pick of the pops than it once might have been.

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Chart Report - 15/06/08

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Fraser McAlpine | 20:32 UK time, Sunday, 15 June 2008

Top 5 High 5

AND IN WORD FORM, HERE'S THIS WEEK'S TOP 5:
1: Mint Royale ft. Gene Kelly - 'Singin' In The Rain'
2: Rihanna - 'Take A Bow'
3: Ne-Yo - 'Closer'
3: The Ting Tings - 'That's Not My Name'
4: Sara Bareilles - 'Love Song'

Usual rules apply. High five the screen if you approve, slap the faces of the people you don't like if you don't. And then put either High Five! or Denied! in the comments box, depending on how you feel.

Or, just do exactly what you did last week, seeing as there's so very little variation going on at the moment.

Black Kids - 'Hurricane Jane'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:11 UK time, Sunday, 15 June 2008

Black KidsI should really stop stereotyping things. One day I'll get in to some sort of trouble with people/places that I've written or said stuff about, before thinking things through properly. Before listening to the latest offering from the band of the moment Black Kids, I assumed that this submission from them would be some sort of musical monster and sweep everything in its path away and into the land of Oz.

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Cage The Elephant - 'Ain't No Rest For The Wicked'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:34 UK time, Saturday, 14 June 2008

Cage The ElephantHouston, we have a problem...or at least we might have, I'm not sure yet. The thing is, I see a name like 'Cage The Elephant' and immediately alarm bells start going off because my inner BBC Standards Man is worried that the actual expression "cage the elephant" could secretly mean something disgusting. Especially when you consider an elephant's trunk, those big flappy ears, great big wobbly bum...all of these things could be the basis of some innuendo or other, and it's probably something vile. I don't know what it could be, I may be looking for rude things where there are no rude things, which probably makes me look like a perv, but it's much worse to blithely talk about Cage The Elephant as if you don't know what it really means, because then the people who DO know what it means have won. Forever.

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New Methods Of Music Marking - The Chocolate Scale

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:30 UK time, Friday, 13 June 2008

Chocolate Banner

Should you ever find yourself on a long car journey with people you don't know all that well, or stuck on a bus in traffic without anything to talk about, you can usually get a decent chat going by attempting to rate chocolate bars according to whether they are a luxury or a utility.

This isn't as complicated as it may sound. If you think about all of the chocolate bars which are available, and the ones which you personally enjoy, you'll probably find that a lot of them are best enjoyed on an everyday level - KitKats, Mars, Penguin biscuits - but they're not really the kind of thing you get terribly excited about.

On the other hand, there are the more exotic chocolate bars - plain chocolate Bounty, Topic, Turkish Delight - which serve as a special treat when you feel that you have been extra good. The brilliant thing about the whole 'rating chocolate' conversation is that everyone has slightly different opinions as to which bars belong in which camp.

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Panic At The Disco - 'That Green Gentleman (Things Have Changed)'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:29 UK time, Friday, 13 June 2008

Panic At The DiscoPanic at the Disco blah blah no exclamation mark blah blah blah new musical direction blah maturity and depth blah blah fan reaction blah. Let us speak of that no more. Here is the new single by a band called Panic At The Disco, who I am going to pretend I know nothing about because otherwise there's a severe danger of this ending up like every other thing written about them in the last six months. I'm not even going to mention the strange echo in the "we used to be compared to Fall Out Boy, now we're compared to the Beatles" statement that seems to crop up a lot when you consider the press surrounding FOB's last album. Well, not again, anyway.

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How To Destroy...Mario

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Fraser McAlpine | 16:49 UK time, Thursday, 12 June 2008

How To Destroy Mario

What? What's that you say? A stupid joke? On ChartBlog? Surely not!

I'm not sure I can even go through with this bit, mind. OK, here goes...

NOTE: It's not nice to try and bang someone on the head with a pixellated Italian so hard that their tongue lolls out and their eyes go all googly. I would like to add that it's also not nice to do this with such force that it makes a 'GAME OVER' sign appear over their face, but then this is an extremely unlikely occurance, no matter how hard your little man jumps.

So, in summary, this could well be the least useful 'How To Destroy...' to date, but there again, it's only Mario. What's he gonna do? Eat a special mushroom, grow to an enormous size and come chasing after us? Exactly...

How To Destroy Other People...

PS: Thanks to Sam Horner for this. It's a stupid idea, but still a good one!

The Rascals - 'Freakbeat Phantom'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:07 UK time, Thursday, 12 June 2008

RascalsNo matter what people may tell you about the past, and how much better it was in the good old days, when you could safely leave your front door open, often with a sign outside saying you are in possession of many valuable and easy-to-carry consumer durables, some of which are resting loosely on top of tables and worktops while you snooze, and you're a really heavy sleeper, actually...someone would have to literally come in, shake you, shout in your face and tickle you until you break wind to have even half a chance of waking you up....(deep breath)...it wasn't all flower power and cuddling in the street.

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ChartBlog Go Home(page)

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Fraser McAlpine | 16:29 UK time, Wednesday, 11 June 2008

ChartpagneWotcha,

I've mentioned this before, but it took ages to actually happen, so let's pretend this all new and exciting, shall we? OK!

Did you know you can now get ChartBlog feeds on the BBC Homepage? That's right, the world's most popular Cornwall-based snarky BBC pop blog is now officially recognised as being superwickedskill by The Powers That Am. It's a day of celebration, peoples!

Just me then? OK!

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Bullet For My Valentine - 'Waking The Demon'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:24 UK time, Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Bullet For My ValentineOh boo! For a while there I was sure that this song was called 'Walking The Demon'. And I don't know about you, but for my money, there just aren't enough songs about taking your pet devil for a stroll of a morning. Picture the looks of surprise, fear and admiration on the faces of your neighbours as you put the collar on. Imagine the shock, awe, and mild disgust as you invite your satanic pet to do his business on a spare patch of grass, and then put on oven gloves to scoop it up and dispose of it.

Surely this is exactly the kind of subject matter that the metal fraternity have been crying out for? It's devilish, it's about leather and and studs, it's got poop in it. But no, Bullet have decided to wake their demon instead. Bah!

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Beaten By A ZX Spectrum

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:35 UK time, Tuesday, 10 June 2008


Big Ideas (don't get any) from James Houston on Vimeo

I didn't want to have to write any more blog postings about that blimming Radiohead remix competition. Not least because ChartBlog hasn't won (although that's perfectly fine, really. It's not a problem, not even a tiny bit. I only put my HEART and SOUL into it, that's all). But then I saw this, which beats everything (literally EVERYTHING) into a cocked hat.

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The Subways - 'Alright'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:29 UK time, Tuesday, 10 June 2008

SubwaysFor this review, ChartBlog has chosen to take the comeback single from the Subways out of the sterile, scientific atmosphere of the ChartBlog review suite, and into a car, for a sunny jaunt with four friends. This is partly because it's always good to experience music in a variety of locations, and partly because it was a really nice day, and far too warm to be stuck in a hot office.

So, allow me to introduce you to Katy, Issy, Amy and Alex. Four smashers with very different tastes in music (and the ability to wander off the point with alarming speed).

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You Can't Fight Does It Offend You, Yeah? OK?

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:48 UK time, Monday, 9 June 2008

Does It Offend You Yeah? - James arrowed

I always like an interview where I go in with one idea, and one idea only, and then the person I'm talking to - in this case James from the band Does It Offend You, Yeah? - throws in all these curve-balls which mean that the conversation takes a load of sudden hand-brake turns, bunny-hops, wheelies and whatnot.

In this case, my one idea was to continue the childish hilarious fake misunderstanding of the title to 'Epic Last Song' - the band's latest single, and yet we ended up discussing which bands they could have in a fight, and why doctors always employ rude receptionists.

Now that's what I call The Fun!

Have a listen...







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Review Indecision: Foals vs The Music

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:19 UK time, Monday, 9 June 2008

ScalesSorry, I can't decide which of these two songs to talk about, and seeing as they both contain strident attempts to hypnotise the listener with the use of pounding rhythm - in much the same way that a blacksmith attempts to hypnotise hot iron with the use of an anvil and a flipping huge hammer - it seems reasonable to lump them in together for a little compare and contrast...

The Music - 'Strength In Numbers'

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Chart Report - 08/06/08

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Fraser McAlpine | 20:36 UK time, Sunday, 8 June 2008

Top 5 High 5

AND IN WORD FORM, HERE'S THIS WEEK'S TOP 5:

1: Mint Royale ft. Gene Kelly - 'Singin' In The Rain'
2: Rihanna - 'Take A Bow'
3: The Ting Tings - 'That's Not My Name'
4: Duffy - 'Warwick Avenue'
5: Ne-Yo - 'Closer'

Usual rules apply. High five the screen if you approve, slap the faces of the people you don't like if you don't. And then put either High Five! or Denied! in the comments box, depending on how you feel.

Can I just say that seeing Gene Kelly's face on those finger puppets has put me in such a good mood I'm saying 'High Five!' to the whole damn shooting match!

The Changing Face Of Dave Grohl

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Fraser McAlpine | 13:45 UK time, Friday, 6 June 2008

In honour of the mighty Foofs doing their enormous Wembley Stadium gigs this weekend, we ask the following (affectionate) question: What is going on with Dave Grohl's face these days?

I mean, he's clearly a lovely bloke, rock royalty, phenomenally-talented, one of a select breed of drummers who you can actually spot on record without knowing it's him, and the leader of a badass rock troupe. But unless he's having trouble with his wisdom teeth, or has contracted facial mumps, he's starting to look like he has taken to using his cheeks for storage purposes.

The changing face of Dave Grohl

Surely his facial hair isn't so heavy as to drag his cheeks down from his eyes? I mean I know he's into things which are HEAVY, but a metal beard? That's just silly...

Little Man Tate - 'What Your Boyfriend Said'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:51 UK time, Friday, 6 June 2008

Little Man TateRegular readers of Chartblog may already have some idea of how I am going to feel about this song. It's by one of those bands that form the post-Libertines pop world by being Indie As A Genre, where that genre consists of people with Pete Doherty complexes considering themselves educated about music because they have ripped some of their parents' CDs to their mp3 player. It's part of what this article calls "landfill indie", which although I don't agree with Alexis Petridis about pretty much anything else there, is a good term.

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Interviewing Lykke Li...

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:24 UK time, Thursday, 5 June 2008

Lykke LiThere are times, dear readers, when the well-oiled, precision-tooled, excitingly-designed ChartBlog machine pops a cog, sprains a flange, and generally grinds to an unexpected and spectacular halt. Naturally Team ChartBlog attempt to sweep these kinds of thing under the carpet as much as possible, in a manner which could be said to be deceitful, were it not obviously a way of sparing our blushes. And it's not like we think anyone really cares HOW this Blog called Chart gets put together in any case. But sometimes things happen which can't really be hidden, or ignored, or even run away from at high speed.

Like the time just yesterday, when, at the end of a 10-minute-long interview with the very lovely Swedish singer Lykke Li, an un-named ChartBlog minion (hello!) realised that he or she (it's he) had entirely failed press the record button. This left us with nothing but fond memories of a nice chat, and certainly no interview to bring to you, the ChartBlog massive.

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Bryn Christopher - 'The Quest'

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Fraser McAlpine | 12:11 UK time, Thursday, 5 June 2008

Bryn ChristopherMan this is a good song. I mean REALLY good. It's got these amazing old-school soul touches, little hints at the past with a backbone of pure hip hop nowness, to keep things nice and meaty. That's a heady fusion, and it takes a superb singer to do it justice. It helps that the song is steeped in melancholy and darkness, which takes the '60s horns out of the retro zone, and adds a dubby swirl here and there, just to give everything an extra spooky whoosh.

Course, the reason I know it's a good song is because it's already been released. Admittedly it was called 'You Know I'm No Good' the first time around, and it was being sung by Amy Winehouse, but still...

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Fun With Press Releases No.15

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:11 UK time, Thursday, 5 June 2008

Press releases

Bullet For My Valentine - 'Waking The Demon'

"Bullet For My Valentine are becoming a genuine, world-conquering UK act, and are doing something no British heavy rock act has done for decades, sell records and concert tickets in every key territory across the globe."

*cough*IRONMAIDEN*cough*

www.bulletformyvalentine1.com

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We Are Scientists - 'Chick Lit'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:37 UK time, Wednesday, 4 June 2008

We Are ScientistsDespite the fact that they have been in use as the chief instrument of all popular music (apart from the stuff with synths), guitars which sound like skewers are a rarity in modern music. People seem to be able to get their six-strings to ring like bells, stutter like shy teenagers, hammer like a woodpecker, twang like underwear or grind like a peppermill, but it's not often you hear a guitar refrain which sounds like it would be useful in a barbecue environment, either for kebabs or toasting marshmellows.

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How To Destroy...Duffy

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:15 UK time, Tuesday, 3 June 2008

How To Destroy Duffy

NOTE: Clifftops, boots and falling bodies are all things we do NOT want to see more of in this day and age, OK? And that goes double when the falling body is that of one of our newest and biggest pop stars. So, if you're in possession of a massive boot, and Duffy happens to be sitting on an old boat near a cliff edge, and she HASN'T just picked a phial of anthrax out of her handbag, and started plucking at the cork because she wants to "see what it smells like"...please don't kick her off.

Unless there's a Rockferry passing by, of course. Then it's poetic justice...

How To Destroy Other People...

Laura Marling - 'Cross Your Fingers'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:29 UK time, Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Laura MarlingI remember (unsuccessfully) begging Fraser to let me review a Laura Marling single a while back because at the time I had just read an interview with her and she fascinated me. Admittedly I hadn't heard any of her music by that point, but she was a female singer/songwriter with that air of being slightly outspoken, and I've always had a soft spot for people who fall into that category. I blame my teenage crushes on Lauren Laverne and Louise Wener for this.

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Cuties: What We Aim For

Fraser McAlpine | 18:16 UK time, Monday, 2 June 2008

This is a kind of Back Of The Sofa special, I spose. But all of the songs featured here have one thing in common, they're all cute. Not cute like Alvin & the Chipmunks or the Care Bears, that would be terrible. No, this lot are cute because they don't seem to care a right lot that the music they are making possibly won't top the charts. All they're interested in is making songs which are true to their own internal logic. They are the kindly old man who knows how to pull a 10p out of a child's ear, but with music.

And if cute seems to be a condescending or patronising word, that's a shame, cos it's always massively endearing when people act like themselves, right? Well it's the same with songs...

Leona Naess - 'Heavy Like Sunday'

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Jesse McCartney - 'Leavin'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:26 UK time, Monday, 2 June 2008

Jesse McCartneyAs wannabe-sexy lyrical openers go, you can't really beat the second line of this song. Jesse may claim to have been watching you all day long, but is it really you he's got his eye on, or has his attention been taken by something else? Let's see, shall we?

"Man that thing you got behind you is amazing
You make me want to take you out and let it rain"

That's right, he's been looking at the umbrella behind your back. Or the pac-a-mac you have attached to your belt, in a practical and yet stylish fashion. He's totally obsessed with the damn thing. Which is sort of sweet, but hardly the most romantic come-on in the world, surely?

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Chart Report - 01/06/08

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Fraser McAlpine | 20:22 UK time, Sunday, 1 June 2008

Top 5 High 5

AND IN WORD FORM, HERE'S THIS WEEK'S TOP 5:
1: Rihanna - 'Take A Bow'
2: The Ting Tings - 'That's Not My Name'
3: Duffy - 'Warwick Avenue'
4: Madonna ft Justin Timberlake - '4 Minutes'
5: Will.I.Am ft Cheryl Tweedy - 'Heartbreaker'

Usual rules apply. High five the screen if you approve, slap the faces of the people you don't like if you don't. And then put either High Five! or Denied! in the comments box, depending on how you feel.

Still no progress on that whole 'new ideas' thing then...DENIED!

Feeder - 'We Are The People'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:10 UK time, Sunday, 1 June 2008

FeederSongs are usually pretty one dimensional things don't you think? For a good three or four minutes, a singer will babble on about how awesome life is, or how horrible an ex boyfriend or girlfriend treated them. Bands never seem to want to know what you think. So in the opening seconds of the song I got the chance to answer a probing question asked by Feeder lyricist Grant Nicholas. How kind of them to consider the fans (and me!). Maybe they're attempting to launch a new generation of thought-provoking interactive-type tunes.

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