Thursday, March 13, 2014

Songs you may have missed: Dadrock corner

Hello! It's not all platinum-plated pop around these parts. Every so often, I like to relax beside the fire with a nice cuppa and a suitable biscuit while I "have a Lamacq" (stop sniggering at the back). Here's some of the videos I'd put on if my Dad was round for dinner.

1) Damon Albarn - Lonely Press Play / Mr Tembo
If you missed Damon Albarn's recent Culture Show special, you missed something really special. The BBC followed Mr Blur back to his childhood home, where he got all misty-eyed at the sweet shops, dustbins and church halls.

The walk down memory lane was in aid of his first solo album, Everyday Robots, which is a proper who am I and what have I done mid-life crisis project, as Damon readily admitted. "For those who give a shit, and I'm not assuming anyone does, hopefully there's a bit of an insight into who I am," he said. "Otherwise it's just a neurotic, left-handed, middle-aged man talking nonsense out there into the void".

Here's Damon on the Tonight Show performing the gorgeous Lonely Press Play, and the playful Mr Tembo - which is genuinely about an Elephant.

Recommended biscuit accompaniment: Jammie Dodger.

2) Amber Run - Spark
Amber Run are a new band from Nottingham, who've been getting a lot of love from their local BBC Introducing programme. The Independent compared them to Coldplay, and they're about to support Kodaline on tour - but don't let that put you off. The chorus on this track is going to drill into your skull like an alt-pop woodpecker.

Recommended biscuit: Tracker bar.

3) Beck - Say Goodbye
He's a chameleon in a sheep's clothing. He's got a razorblade overcoat. He's a loser, baby.

He's also produced an album, Morning Phase, of uncommon quality. A companion piece to his big break-up record, Sea Change, it's gentle and affecting without slipping into syrupy mawkishness.

Beck turned up to perform the stand-out track, Say Goodbye on Jimmy Fallon's show the other night and, despite the banjos, it's really rather lovely.

Recommended biscuit: Rich Tea.

4) Paolo Nutini - Scream (Funk My Life Up)
Awful title, brilliant song. All sticky and swampy, Paolo's Delta Blues reinvention is a perfect fit for a man who's always dabbled in the soulful side of pop.

A crueller soul might say he's starting to sound like Terence Trent D'Arby covering Movin' On Up, but I wouldn't dream of such a thing.

Recommended biscuit: Tunnock's Caramel.

5) Team Me - With My Hands...
"From the deep woods of Elverum, a small city not far a way from Oslo and even closer to Lillehammer, comes young six-piece indie pop band Team Me," says the official website of Team Me's record label.

They're being touted as ones to watch at SXSW, for what that's worth, but the two songs they've put online so far are uplifting, rambunctious and full of youthful sparkle.

My favourite is the splendidly-titled "With My Hands Covering Both of My Eyes I Am Too Scared to Have A Look At You Now", which features the damning couplet: "Mediocre band, perform your mediocre songs for us / Mediocre band, dance for us, dance for us."

One for the cool dads.

Recommended biscuit: Party Rings.

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