Category Archives: Hot Chip

Albums of 2010: 20 – 16

16. Treats – Sleigh Bells

Arriving like a fist to the face of pop music – huh? – Sleigh Bells, aka producer/guitarist Derek E. Miller and singer Alexis Krauss – make music that’s abrasive yet poppy, aggressive yet strangely sweet, noisy yet hummable. Treats followed an internet buzz so loud is threatened to drown out the actual songs, but there’s a lot to enjoy here. Opener ‘Tell ‘Em’ is essentially one long guitar riff and some cheap beats, ‘Kids’ is old school hip-hop meets Girls Aloud, whilst the brilliant ‘Rill Rill’ is the soundtrack to the best teen romcom you’ve ever seen. It may not stand the test of time – who cares right? – but for now Treats is a thrilling, fun, totally rad hardcore pop album. Man.

Best track: ‘Crown On The Ground’

17. Swanlights – Antony & The Johnsons

For their fourth album, Antony Hegarty and his Johnsons created a song suite focused on both the personal and the global. First single ‘Thank You For Your Love’ found Hegarty in joyful mood, whilst opener ‘Everything Is New’ imagined some kind of emotional cleansing and ‘I’m In Love’ was practically upbeat. Still, this is an Antony & The Johnsons record so introspection was just behind the corner, with the haunting ‘The Spirit Was Gone’ and the abstract title track creating that unsettling feeling only they seem to be able to muster. The highlight is the piano-lead duet, ‘Fletta’, in which Hegarty lets Bjork‘s crystalline vocals lead the way to devastating effect.

Best track: ‘Fletta’

18. Record Collection – Mark Ronson & The Business International

Out went the brass and the cover versions and in came stylish synthpop and renewed credibility on Mark Ronson’s follow-up to the zillion-selling Versions album. Lead single ‘Bang Bang Bang’ – featuring the brilliantly laconic Q-Tip and soon-to-be reasonably big, MNDR – was the perfect introduction to an album that features at least five stone-cold pop classics. Rose Elinor Dougall lends a sleek vulnerability to the excellent ‘You Gave Me Nothing’, whilst Boy George croons his way through the dramatic, lip-quiveringly sad, ‘Somebody To Love Me’. Elsewhere, Ronson roped in everyone from D’Angelo (the odd ‘Glass Mountain Trust’) to Duran Duran (the Wiley-assisted title track), creating a party mix to end all party mixes.

Best track: ‘Bang Bang Bang’

19. /\/\/\Y/\ – M.I.A

Critics darling, political activist, pop star. M.I.A was all of these things at the start of 2010 and yet around the release of her tetchy, hard-to-love third album things started to go slightly awry. Long pieces were written in important magazines about how much of hypocrite she was, how she loved expensive truffles and how she was the root cause of the economic meltdown (OK, maybe not the last one). The critics who adored her turned on her, her politics seemed like simple rhetoric and the album flopped. Still, dig beneath the shards of guitar feedback or the sound of drilling that peppers the album and there are some moments of perfection; the clattering, Britney-esque XXXO, the murky Teqkilla, the future-pop of Tell Me Why, to name just three.

Best track: ‘Tell Me Why’

20. One Life Stand – Hot Chip

Despite lacking an out and out chart smash like their previous two albums, One Life Stand was the moment pop nous and geeky musicianship coalesced into something wonderfully human. Opener ‘Thieves In The Night’ is six minutes of pure joy, Alexis Taylor’s little boy lost croon weaving in and out of galloping synths and spluttering effects. Elsewhere, I Feel Better is their attempt at modern-day R&B pop (complete with JLS-aping music video) whilst Slush is a big ballad coated in real tears.

Best track: ‘Thieves In The Night’

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Kaanoo’s baack and he’s maad

Kano has a new album out soon and it’s called Method To The Maadness. Now, as the more diligent will have observed, he’s so maad he spells it with a double aa. You know how you know you’re properly maad? When the rules of grammar go flying out the window. Soo, yes, he has a new album and very good it is too. Featuring production from the likes of Hot Chip, Chase & Status, Diplo and Boys Noize, plus guest spots from Wiley and Vybz Kartel, Method To The Maadness sees Kano once again attempt to crack the mainstream in a way that he’s inexplicably been unable to do as yet.

This is the first single, ‘Upside’ and it features the slightly odd vocal talents of Michelle Breeze, who also appears on the album track ‘Slaves’. ‘Upside’ is a horn-lead, bright and breezy (arf!) banger that drops suddenly when Breeze’s just-about-in-key vocal on the chorus brings everything down. It deserves to be a modest hit, but the album deserves a bit more. Fiingeers croosseed.

JLS’ new video is, frankly, appalling

Some pop videos are so bad they somehow move through bad and come back out at good again. Others are so bad that using bad to describe them does an injustice to bad and makes us feel sorry for bad. Ladies and gentlemen, this is JLS‘ new video for their Sound of Music-cribbing new single, ‘The Club Is Alive’:

There are too many things to list about this video, but we’re going to start and we’ll stop when we think we’ve covered at least 25% of what makes it bad.

1). There’s too much dancing going on. Choreography isn’t a sport, it’s not a war, so just chillax Marvin, Tito, Jermaine and Randy. They make it look like they’re being forced to dance at gunpoint.

2). The club looks like a dodgy villa in Spain and why is it that club scenes in videos always involve people standing around in a perfect circle. Although, to be fair, if we were in a club with JLS then we’d stand back and give them some room, lest they decided to “get up on me”.

3). Someone on the social networking phenomenon Twitter pointed out that this video is basically the last Hot Chip video, but without the lasers. Just to reiterate, that video is a piss-take of boyband videos.

4). They look like they’ve been styled by Gok Wan on one of those shows where he just buys up all of Top Shop and throws it at people in the hope that some of it sticks.

5). THE SONG IS TERRIBLE. We’re not against JLS per se, but this has so much auto tune and electronic twiddling that it’s barely music. Even the JLS faithful aren’t convinced: “this one’s okay but not something i would put on my phone :\” True dat.

New Musick Monday

It’s not a great week when your biggest success is a new entry at number 54. The new Hot Chip single, we hear you cry? No, that missed the top 100 altogether (yeah, no thanks to our Facebook petition, right guys?). Oh, it must have been those ABBA loving LA residents, Music Go Music? Nope, nowhere near. Yep, Caribou was our lone entry in the UK Top 75 and now that we’ve heard the album we can safely say it’s worthy of far more, but then you could have guessed that already. Let’s keep the Crystal on ice until we’ve dealt with these bad boys…

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“Hippies” by Harlem

Harlem are three wasters from Austin, Texas who clearly don’t believe in politcal correctness or over-dubs. “Hippies”, their second album, is a brilliantly ramshackle collection of bone-dry guitar, sloppy drums and slurred vocals that somehow flesh out some of the catchiest songs this side of The Lemonheads back catalogue. If you’re still not convinced, just read some of these track titles; ‘Gay Human Bones’, Three Legged Dog’, ‘Stripper Sunset’ and ‘Pissed’. How can you not love these guys?

DOWNLOAD THIS (LEGALLY, OR NOT)

Crystal Castles (II) by Crystal Castles

This isn’t out physically until May, but some terrible scamp has uploaded the whole thing onto the interpipe so the band have decided to make it offically available on iTunes. If, like us, you thought their first album sounded like the inner workings of a Dalek’s mind, then you might be pleased to hear that the follow-up is slightly more musical. In fact, one song (‘Celestica’), is actually really lovely. If something having a melody equals selling out then we can only apologise and suggest you put your head inside a microwave, record the sound and loop it ad infinium to get your kicks.

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‘Over’ by Drake

This has been about for a little while now, but it’s slowly creeping up the UK charts so we thought, given our new found influence (ahem), we’d give it that last shot in the arm it deserves. Drake, for those who don’t know, is basically the future of commercial rap music, a protege of Kanye West and the man trusted with flying the flag for Lil Wayne’s Young Money records whilst the boss is in the clink. ‘Over’ is a dramatic, paranoid slice of in your face hip-hop, complete with swooping strings, thumping beats and Drake’s impassioned vocals. It’s safe to say he’s better than Chipmunk.

New Musick Monday

Last week we strongly advised you to bypass purchasing the new Scouting For Girls album in favour of donating money to any given charity. Whilst we collate the information to find out just how much you raised, it gives us great pleasure to announce that the ‘band’ failed in their attempt to score a second number 1, their flaccid excuse for an album flopping listlessly at number 2. MGMT entered at number 4, but we predict a pretty spectacular fall once the people who haven’t read the reviews start telling all their mates there’s no ‘Kids’ on it. In the singles chart, Kelis scored her ninth top 10 single as ‘Acapella’ strutted in at number 5. But enough of the past, let’s step into the future (or the present)…

BUY THIS AND NEVER FROWN AGAIN

Expressions by Music Go Music

This trio from LA make sun-kissed, ’70s FM radio style music that would make ABBA think twice about releasing something so immediate. Much of Expressions is like being transported back to a time that probably didn’t even exist, but has been created by a nostalgia machine on a full spin cycle. There’s plenty to love though, from the ADHD of opener ‘I Walk Alone’ to the long lost ABBA single that is ‘Light Of Love’, to ‘Warm In The Shadows’ ten minutes of sheer disco joy. Chances are you won’t want to listen to it very often – it could have the reverse effect and cause some kind of gun-toting rampage – but as a blast of cheesy but brilliantly crafted pop, it’s of an (ABBA) Gold standard.

BUY THIS FOR US

Swim by Caribou

Everyone’s been going on about this guy and this album and we were going to buy it, we really were, but things happened and it slipped our minds. We could lie and ramble on about how we’ve heard it and it’s wonderful (not that we’ve EVER lied before you understand), but that seems a bit mean, so instead, we’ll just point you in its direction and let you make up your own minds.

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‘I Feel Better’ by Hot Chip

What’s a band got to do? You make a killer video, get an alt-folk legend to do a remix and still Radio 1 refuse to playlist the catchiest song form your album. Hot Chip have twittered (tweeted? Twot?) that their new release has rather died on its arse following Radio 1’s refusal to playlist it and have, quite rightly, pointed out that 6Music is needed more than ever if new acts (or just any acts that aren’t 3OH!3 or Diana Vickers) are going to succeed. So, after out heroics last week, let’s see if we can get Hot Chip the top 10 single they deserve. Let’s start a Facebook campaign! ARE YOU WITH US? Oh, no? OK…

She’s a big lass, she’s a bonnie lass

Are you one of those people that likes Hot Chip because they’re dancey, but also, when the dancing stops, you quite like a bit of a sit down whilst listening to Bonnie “Prince” Billy? Good, because the latter has remixed the former’s new single, ‘I Feel Better’, only now it’s called ‘I Feel Bonnie’. You can hear it by clicking here.

In other Bonnie “Prince” Billy news, he seems to have another new album out next week. This man seems to make albums as regularly as us normal folk produce flem. Nice.
EDIT: You can now listen to it here too

JLS meet their maker

Band: Hot Chip
Title: ‘I Feel Better’
Album: One Life Stand (out now)


Hot Chip – I Feel Better

Hot Chip

MySpace Music Videos
 
For those still wondering what a JLS or Blue video would look like if Chris Cunningham directed it should be happy now. Not that it was Cunningham behind the lens, but instead, UK funnyman Peter Serafinowicz. The best bit is clearly the beginning, some of the dance moves are killer. What do you mean we’ve missed the point?

New Musick Monday

When is a hit not a hit? Is it when an act who has received blanket coverage in the press and who finished second in the BBC Sound of 2010 poll ends up at no. 12 on the singles chart with their first ‘proper’ release? It’s not a bad show by any means, but Marina & The Diamonds‘ ‘Hollywood’ missing the top ten is a bit of a surprise, but perhaps she’s ‘doing a Florence’ (who also missed the top 10 with her first few singles) and will sell billions of albums. We’ll have to wait and see. The albums fared pretty well with Midlake breaking the top 20 and Hot Chip entering at no. 11 (which is kind of disappointing seeing as the album is really very good).

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Odd Blood by Yeasayer

This is a bit of a turn up for the books if you were expecting another ‘interesting’ but ‘noodling’ album from everyone’s second favourite ‘interesting’ but ‘noodling’ American alternative band (Animal Collective being number one, natch). Odd Blood injects Yeasayer’s percussive, gloriously off-kilter songs with a pop nous that was missing from most of All Hour Cymbals. ‘Ambling Alp’ is a clear highlight, with a chorus as glorious as any song about a failed boxer has the right to be, whilst tracks like ‘O.N.E’ and ‘Love Me Girl’ are stone cold anthems. It’s nice to see a band who understand that alienating just about everyone does not necessarily a good band make.

CARRY ON LISTENING TO THIS FOR FREE

I’m New Here by Gil Scott-Heron

This album is streaming for free to the right of this post so if you haven’t already then give it a listen. We’re not going to tell you about it seeing as you can do the work yourselves.

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‘Hurtful’ by Erik Hassle

This has been floating about for what seems like a musical lifetime but finally gets it’s UK release today. Having been deftly retwizzled by Starsmith, it’s now slightly less MOR but still a whole load OTT, Hassle sounding like he’s about to cry on every other line. It’s not rocket science, it’s not going to change the world, it’s not ‘cool’, but it is a very good example of a radio friendly rock(ish) ballad and manages to break the inexplicable monopoly Snow Patrol have had over that particular genre in recent years. You’ll either love it or hate, not like Marmite, because we like Marmite but we’re allergic to it and we’re not allergic to this…*METAPHOR FAIL*

New Musick Monday

We’re really hitting our stride now ladies and gentlemen. Another relatively big week of releases is upon us and last week’s runners and riders performed OK-ish, which is all we can ask really. Four Tet was the big success at no. 35, whilst Charlotte Gainsbourg peaked at no. 62. No sign of Beach House, which is a bit of tragedy seeing as it’s scientifically proven to be 1000 times better than Paolo Nutini’s album and that’s no. 1. The Lightspeed Champion single missed the Top 40 as well, so I think we can officially refer to that as a ‘minor hit’.

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One Life Stand by Hot Chip

We’ve always been fans of Hot Chip’s singles but their albums have always been dominated by one or two big tracks. They’re the Missy Elliott of the dance world, in other words. Only they’re not anymore. One Life Stand works because it’s an album and not a collection of amazing singles interspersed with tracks that show off how clever the band are but ultimately sound a bit dull. Sure, the title track (and first single) is all kinds of amazing, but there are at least six other tracks that are just as good and the whole thing flows perfectly. We really like it, basically.

GROW A BEARD, WEAR A CARDIGAN, LISTEN TO THIS

The Courage of Others by Midlake

We went to see these guys last night and though they look like six Texan homeless guys they actually make some really lovely music. Not that homeless people don’t, per se, have the ability to make beautiful music, but you know what we mean. The Courage of Others has clearly been made after a long time listening to English folk, which follows on from years listening to ’70s rock for their last album, The Trials of Van Occupanther. We’re hoping, and indeed praying, that they get into Beyoncé and Lady Gaga for their next album. Just imagine…awful, isn’t it?

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‘Hollywood’ by Marina & The Diamonds

We like this song, don’t get us wrong (poet, didn’t know it) but there’s still something we’re not sure about when it comes to Marina & The Diamonds. She can sing, no doubt, she has a way with a melody, not in question, but perhaps the overly dramatic styling of the songs makes them less palatable? We don’t know. Maybe it’s enough that this is a good tune, with a fun video and a chorus that refuses to leave your brain despite almost surgical attempts to extract it. We’ve just ‘found’ the album, so expect an *exclusive* run down of that very soon.

Grizzly Chips

If you’re a fan of Hot Chip and Grizzly Bear then this next song is probably going to make you ejaculate. If you’re a fan of Hot Chip and not Grizzly Bear then you might think it’s a lovely version of a very good song, but not as good as the original. If you’re a fan of Grizzly Bear and not Hot…*shoots himself*

MUSIC IS THE REAL WINNER HERE



Perfect for a Sunday afternoon stuck at work.

You can download it from here for free.