Something We Heard Before

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Let’s have some music, shall we? Here is a 70s drenched tune that sounds a bit like a mellower version of Crowded House, but has also had secret sexy time meetings with The Foreign Films.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with secret sexy time meetings between two consenting musical groups, but that is a matter for another time. For now, enjoy this wonderfully relaxed, musical love child.

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Now here’s something that’s aurally delightful and wholly unexpected: Martina Topley-Bird & Mark Lanegan covering a song by The XX. WHAT. “That’s insane!”, you say? Nope! What’s actually insane is how goddamn amazing it sounds: Martina’s delicate pop vocals blend beautifully with Mark’s gruff tenor to create what feels like a mescaline-tinged wander through a desert at night. It is utterly captivating, stripping away most of the original’s instrumental complexity for something far purer. Absolutely wonderful!

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Sigh. Cretin that I am, I failed to mention the passing of Stevie Wright, lead singer of The Easybeats, on December 28 2015. In honour of Wright’s memory, here is their most famous song. Contentious as this comment may be, I believe this is one of the best songs that the Australian music scene gifted to the world: a Beatles-esque sound that flirted with the early sounds of punk to create a far more aggressive tone than anything in the Beatles back catalogue.

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Too many wonderful musicians have passed away recently. So, given Bowie’s legacy, his eclecticism and his unyielding mystique, I choose to believe that Bowie has simply returned to the stardust and universe that birthed and allowed him to visit us all here on planet Earth for 69 years. There’s not really much I can say that won’t be said more eloquently and with more reverence than I and my silly blog could possibly conjure. Farewell, David. And thank you for all that you left for us to enjoy, marvel and cherish.

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There was no doubt that we had to post this today, given what has just happened. Lemmy was the quintessential rock god: his imposing and hugely powerful vocal and bass work left no question unanswered as to who was in charge of the roost. He meant brutal, hard business with every tune he produced, eschewing the theatricality of his contemporaries for a focus purely on the music. And yet, it certainly wasn’t noise for the sake of noise: there was cohesion and tightness to the equally powerful melodies and rhythms. So today I leave you with my (and probably many others) favourite Motörhead tune and say a sad farewell to a true legend of the rock world.

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Hahaha, what a coincidence! Radiohead wrote a song called Spectre, and there’s a James Bond film out now with the same name! Those silly Brits. Wait, this was written for the film? Well I never…

Radiohead sprung a surprise on us all by confirming rumours that they were approached to write the title song for Spectre. Apparently, it didn’t work out, but they’ve released the song anyway. While the critical reception to Smith’s track is mixed at best (I didn’t mind it, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Skyfall), it certainly feels more like a Bond tune than Radiohead’s offering. Having said that, this is a Radiohead track through and through, with a sound that feels like it could sit comfortably between the Kid A and Amnesiac albums: haunting, mesmerising and a sort darkly rich elegance that I’ve kind of missed from Radiohead of late. Absolutely wonderful, you strange British lads.

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Here is a song that starts off like a irreverent but totally charming little pop number, before exploding into a craze of fuzzy guitars and a hammering drum beat. It has the partial air of a lo-fi, post-punk sensibility, and it also has an entirely ludicrous video about a penguin with a drinking problem who also happens to be the President of the United States. Because why not?

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Ok, it’s Stevie Wonder: you already know what you’re in for. Funk is seeping out of every possible pore of this tune: the bass line, the beat, Stevie’s voice and that glorious Hohner Clavinet made famous in Superstition combine to create something that is so goddamn funky that I literally (YES LITERALLY – PENDANTIC GRAMMARISTS BE GONE) cannot stop moving to it. I’d like to see you try and stop! I could theoretically write more about this track, but it’s late and I’m tired and also it’s STEVIE FRIGGIN’ WONDER, so stop expecting quality from me and experience actual quality from Mr. Wonder instead.

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It’s Christmas time! And to celebrate that, today I’m bringing you a song that has absolutely nothing to do with it, because screw Christmas! Today’s distraction from this festive pestilence comes to us from the long-running Australian funk band The Bamboos. They bring us something that, while it is decisively un-funkish, it is most definitely catchy in the way that great pop music tends to be. And hey, there’s even a hint of Christmas in there with what I believe are sleigh bells in the background coupled with some peppy piano work, so you can sort of pretend you’re totally into Christmas music!

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Allow me, dear reader, to pull you away from the stresses and silliness of this absurd time of year for just a moment. Perhaps you just need to drift away for a moment, take a breather and relax with nothing but a little smile on your face. If so, HAVE I GOT A TUNE FOR YOU! PARTICULARLY IF YOU DON’T LIKE ME SHOUTING!

This is just a perfectly charming, wholly sublime piece of folk that will surely pull you away from the craziness, even if just for a few minutes. Luluc are an Australian duo who are currently based in New York (you lucky Americans), and with friends like The National and José González amongst others, they are no doubt going to make a serious, folk-shaped dent in the music world sooner than later.

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