Category Archives: Beck

New Musick Monday

It seems our mild indifference towards Foals second album didn’t put people off buying it; entering at number 8, it’s the band’s second top ten album in a row. However, their debut peaked at no. 3, so that’s five chart placings they’ve lost in the interim and at the end of the day, five chart placings are five chart placings. Or something. Holy Fuck did diddily squat, whilst the fresh-faced Mini Viva may soon be stacking shelves in the Minute Mart (or not, seeing as it’s fictional) as their third single misses the Top 40 altogether. This week is a bit of a bumper edition, so let’s crack on…

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This Is Happening by LCD Soundsystem



Whilst not quite the all out amazingfest that is Sound Of Silver, the third (and perhaps last?) LCD Soundsystem album is still about twenty-six times better than anything else around at the moment. As ever, James Murphy sounds simultaneously bored, dazed and perpetually confused and his general sense of brattishness comes to the fore on tracks such as ‘Drunk Girls’ and ‘You Wanted A Hit’ (essentially an ode to his record label). Highlights include the slow-burn opener, ‘Dance Yrself Clean’ and the Bowie-esque ‘All I Want’.

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Flesh Tone by Kelis



Four years after the patchy Kelis Was Here and a year after she got sick of husband Nas‘ (alleged) philandering and filed for divorce, Kelis is back with a new dance-orientated sound. Featuring production from David Guetta, Benny Benassi and label boss, will.i.am, Flesh Tone ups the bpm to almost mind-boggling levels, with weird sonic squiggles and huge synths dominating the album. Single ‘Acapella’ is a sweet ode to her baby son, whilst ‘4th Of July (Fireworks)’ and ’22nd Century’ are like futuristic rave anthems in waiting. A welcome return.

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Compass by Jamie Lidell

Jamie Lidell has always been a bit of an odd fit with the Warp roster, his albums more likely to feature some soulful organ stabs as opposed to a beat that sounds like the inner workings of a beetle’s mind. Whilst 2008’s Jim at times sounded like the perfect soul pastiche album, Compass is more slapdash, with songs careening between beat box, sax, distorted percussion and Lidell’s elastic vocals. Featuring the likes of Feist, Beck and three members of Grizzly Bear (the band’s Chris Taylor co-produces), it’s all over the place but with a melodic core that’s undeniable.

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‘Rambling Man’ by Laura Marling

Because you’ll regret it if you don’t.

Beck = the indie Beyoncé

We all know that Beck is prolific – he covers albums in a day, helps produce records by Stephen Malkmus and Jamie Lidell, is on the new Twilight soundtrack – but such is his work rate that some amazing things are being lost amongst the sheer weight of his workload.

We know next to nothing about Tobacco – only that it’s, like, super-bad for you – but whoever he is, he’s got some stellar connections. Beck adds his mumbled brand of nonsense beat poetry to the charmingly haphazard, ‘Fresh Hex’.

Ecoute:

Beck also appears on another track on Tobacco’s forthcoming album, Maniac Meat, and it’s called ‘Grape Aerosmith’. Nice.

It’s the Friday catch-up

Time to catch up on some admin and bring you, dear reader, up to date with some songs we’ve been enjoying recently, but that we haven’t actually got round to sharing. There are many reasons for this – the weather, laziness, the impending elections, EastEnders – but here at Musick we figure that telling you about them late is better than not telling you at all. Besides, nobody likes a know-it-all.

First up is Sia with ‘Clap Your Hands’, the first single from her new album, We Are Born. Sia? Isn’t she that bird who sang on all those dreary Zero 7 singles? Well, yes, this is true, but she also had a pop career before that and has worked with people like Beck since then so we can forgive her. Plus, We Are Born is shaping up to be something quite special and ‘Clap Your Hands’ is the kind of ‘carefree summer jam’ we just don’t hear anymore.

Another person with breasts is Sunday Girl with her debut single, ‘Four Floors’. There’s the faint whiff of mid-nineties trip-hop about it, which may not be a bad thing, and the chorus and the vocal performance more than makes up for it if it is. It also has a lovely middle eight bit that makes us feel a bit funny. She’s also had a re-rub by Diplo, but the original version is much better.

We end, as ever, with a club banger. This is the new single from Outkast’s Big Boi and it’s called, rather wonderfully, ‘Shutterbug’.

That’s all folks.

All-star karaoke

Sometimes, here at Musick, we have some friends round, drink some wine, put on a song and sing along and it all sounds pretty terrible. Beck does the same thing only without the wine and the bit about it sounding terrible and his friends are people like St Vincent and the guys from Liars. For the past few months, Beck’s been hitting the Rolodex hard and calling in amigos to help him record whole albums in a day and this month it was the turn of INXS’ ’80s behemoth, Kick, to get the faithful treatment. Here’s a great little video showing the recording of the album’s opening track, ‘Guns In The Sky’:

Two things; the drums sound amazing and Beck’s got some lovely knitwear on.

For whom the Bells toll

That period between Christmas and New Year is, essentially, meaningless. Hours pass by in a haze of food, drink and old Disney films and no-one can remember what day it is. During this period Musick heard a couple of songs by Broken Bells, aka producer Danger Mouse and that guy from The Shins. As with all Danger Mouse endeavours – be it producing for the likes of Gorillaz, The Rapture and Beck, or co-fronting Gnarls Barkley – the results have a vintage feel, as if some lost record from the early ’70s had been found and remixed.

‘The High Road’ is the first single to be officially released from their debut album, which is out in March:

We’ve always been fans of knotty organ intros and this one is the best!

New Musick Monday

As 2010 begins it’s slow descent, it’s heart-warming that some things never change. With that in mind, we’ve decided to keep on going with our only regular feature, the hugely successful, New Musick Monday. For those of you who are new to Musick, we basically scour the internet (i.e. go on nme.com and check their weekly new releases page) and bring you all the details about three exciting bits of music. These are usually in the form of two albums and a single, but we have been know to mess with the formula, usually with pretty exciting results. So, who is on our first rundown of 2010?

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Contra by Vampire Weekend

It’s strange that these four young men from New York can cause such rage in certain sections of the music press. Is it because they’re intelligent? Or that they show off that intelligence? Is it their love of African music and the way they interpret it? Is it because they have a tendency to comes across as smug? Would we rather all our bands were stupid and arrogant? So many questions, and yet, in reality, they’re a band that have made one very promising album of catchy, guitar-based pop and are now about to follow it up with another one that expands slightly on their sound without scaring the horses. They’re perhaps not worth all this fretting, and yet at the same time are really very good and jolly well deserve the success that will come their way with Contra. This is a brilliantly tight run through of new single ‘Cousins’ on Letterman.

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Acolyte by Delphic

It is a lovely cover isn’t it? This is the debut album by Delphic, who are three criminally serious young men from somewhere in the UK. They finished third on the BBC Sound of 2010 poll and have been tipped for big things by just about every publication under the sun. So, what do they sound like? Well, they’re a little bit Bloc-Party-meets-Klaxons-meets-Cut-Copy-meets-Hot-Chip and the album is produced by Ewan Pearson who has twiddled knobs for people like The Rapture, M83 and Gwen Stefani. As with most debuts it’s a little patchy, but tracks like ‘Doubt’ prove they know their way around a dance/rock hybrid.

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‘Heaven Can Wait’ by Charlotte Gainsbourg

The song with the amazing video gets it’s UK release and what a lovely little ditty it is. Produced by Beck, and featuring the diminutive fellow on backing vocals, it’s all gently rattling percussion and warm organ sounds. Gainsbourg’s sweetly fragile vocals work well with Beck’s only mildly more robust croon and it’s enough to make you forget the dual horrors of Beck’s love of Scientology and Gainsbourg’s recent horror show in Antichrist.

So good they made it twice

This is the frankly incredible new video for the Charlotte Gainsbourg and Beck duet, ‘Heaven Can Wait’:

There are so many highlights it’s impossible to point them all out. What we do wonder is how the hell they pitched the idea for this video?

Director: “So, there will be a man with pancakes for a head, a guy in a giant pair of tights playing tennis, a dinosaur with a wig on (in the bath) and a giant green troll creature being held at knife point”.

Record label: “We were going to go with them performing it in front of a white background, but perhaps your idea is better. We’ll get back to you”.

Heaven on earth

A little while ago we mentioned that Charlotte Gainsbourg had been working with Scientoligist-it’s-ok-to-like, Beck, on her new album IRM. We also posted the title track, which was released as a free download a few weeks back. Now, the first single proper, ‘Heaven Can Wait’, has emerged and it’s a lovely, plinky plonky strumalong, with Beck and Gainsbourg sharing vocals over a Beatles-esque melody and some rather lovely brass.

Please note, smoking isn’t cool unless your French. Fin.

Calling all Charlotte Gainsbourg fans

(We mean fans of her music, not her porcelain, elfin face or lovely, slightly skewed smile…er, sorry, what were we saying…)

French chanteuse Charlotte Gainsbourg has been busy recording a new album with a little help from Beck. The album is to be call IRM (French for MRI) and has been hugely influenced by a brain hemorrhage Gainsbourg suffered following a water-skiing accident in 2007. You can watch a little teaser of the making of the title track here:

AND as if that weren’t enough, you can download the song for free from here.

This isn’t the lead single, however. That honour goes to ‘Heaven Can Wait’, a duet with Mr Hansen.

This photo makes us happy

That’s Beck alongside a certain Charlotte Gainsbourg filming the video for her future single, ‘Heaven Can Wait’. There’s an album too, entitled MRI, which is due out in November.

Exciting news.

Fingers crossed Charlotte’s recovered after that nasty turn with a pair of rusty scissors.