The Great One Word Title Countdown – The Nil Point List

Paparazzi – Lady Gaga (2009, Interscope Records)

Ever felt unloved?  Ever felt like the world hated you? Ever felt like if someone was asked to make a choice between punching either you or Piers Morgan in the face, that they would choose you? Ever been accused of pooing in your dads slippers, when it was clearly the puppy sitting next to the slippers with a smug grin on its face…..?

Welcome then to the Nil Point List.

The Nil Point List contains all the songs on The Great One Word Title Countdown that didn’t pick up a single point from any of Musical Jury.  Songs that were laughed at, ignored, ridiculed, thrown out with the bath water and then made to shop at Primark until they never darkened our doors ever again. 

Songs, that even now after nine days of assessing the final results, sorting them into tables, checking the votes and then rechecking just be to be absolutely sure that I hadn’t missed anything I still can’t quite understand how no one voted for them because they are all stone cold classics. 

Maybe I accidentally sent the list out in Russian or something.  Who knows?

Until we do, let’s look at five unloved One Word Titles, starting with the tune at the top ‘Paparazzi’ by Lady Gaga.  I’ll be honest there were two reasons why ‘Paparazzi’ was on the list, firstly is because it’s a great record, although it plays second fiddle to ‘Poker Face’ and ‘Bad Romance’ in Gaga classics.  The main reason though is when compiling this list, the episode of The Simpsons where Lisa made Gaga cry was on Channel 4 and it’s hilarious and therefore Gaga had to be included.

Yeah (Crass Mix) – LCD Soundsystem (2004, DFA Records)

 I know. The fact LCD Soundsystem didn’t get a single point in this hugely scientific and groundbreaking contest only confirms that those that did are brilliant songs and that your ears are going to be in for a proper treat over the next few months.  Well that or the Jury don’t have a fucking clue what they are talking about.  I very nearly ripped up the results and cheated when I found this out.

Goldfinger – Ash (1995, Infectious Records)

I mean I really don’t know.  Perhaps the Jury all simultaneously read ‘Gold Digger’ by Kanye West and simply avoided it.  Although that would mean ignoring the fact that a) Gold Digger is two words and that another Kanye West song was also on the list (but – spoiler – didn’t do very well either, although better than Ash did).  Again, I very nearly cheated.

Strasbourg – The Rakes (2004, Mercury Records)

You know that time where you pop a song onto a list because you know that one of the jury loves the song and you are utterly convinced that they at least will give it some points.  Well, they didn’t.

Dreamer – Livin’ Joy (1994, MCA Records)

One of (I think) seven records to reach number one that were on the long list and easily the best of them all.  A personal favourite of both Mrs SWC and Mini SWC and it didn’t get a single point. You may as well go down to local blind school and hide all their sticks you heartless bastards.

Major League Music – #7 – New York Yankees

New York, New York – Frank Sinatra

Until about ten minutes ago, I was convinced that the ‘Baseball Furies’ the make up wearing, bat wielding gang that chase The Warriors from 96th Street Station to Riverside Park wore Yankees shirts.  For that reason alone, I dismissed all the trash talking from friends about the Yankees being the spoilt rich kids of the baseball world.  As far as I was concerned the Yankees were great simply because the Baseball Furies were easily the coolest gang in The Warriors.  But it turns out that they were not wearing Yankees shirts at all, and I read in despair that their make up was based on the band Kiss.  You can really go off things, I’m all about the Turnball AC’s now and I’m glad that the Furies got their arses kicked by The Warriors despite heavily outnumbering them.

Putting all that to one side, the Yankees are, the most successful baseball team of all time, they have won twice as many World Series Titles than any other team and have more players in the Hall of Fame than any other team in history so their influence o the game can’t be denied.  Even if they do insist of playing “Are You Ready For This?” by 2 Unlimited before every sodding home game.

Saying that the Yankees are in something of a downward blip at the moment, its been thirteen years since they won the World Series, one of their longest barren periods yet.  

Musically, New York has long been seen as one of the most influential cities in the world.  It is (in some places at least) considered to be the birthplace of hip hop, garage, house, punk rock, and new wave music.  But away from all that, salsa was born in New Yorks Latino neighbourhoods, bebop, doowop and boogaloo all have their origins in one of New York’s suburbs.  I could do an entire series on bands and acts that have come of New York (and other better blogs already sort of have done that), another one on just the hip hop groups from Brooklyn and then another one on songs that are about New York. 

Like these four for instance

New York City Cops – The Strokes (2001, Rough Trade Records)

New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down – LCD Soundsystem (2007, DFA Records)

NYC – Interpol (2002, Matador Records)

Empire State of Mind – Jaz-Z and Alicia Keys (2009, Roc-Nation Records)

And here is this weeks local band tip, and there were literally hundreds to choose from – but I’ve plumped for Geese, in whose music you can apparently hear the sounds of Television, Parquet Courts, The Strokes, The Rapture and LCD Soundsystem, we’ll be the judge of that.

Low Era – Geese (2021, Partisan Records)

Of course, we shall revisit New York later in the year when the Mets come rolling into town

Next Week – another city with two baseball teams – Chicago, first up the White Sox

The Never Ending Playlist – #39

Thou Shalt Always Kill – Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip (2007, Lex Records)

I can I think count the number of decent songs that use lists on three fingers.  You have your ‘Losing My Edge’ by LCD Soundsystem with its hipster baiting role call of bands that James Murphy saw first.  You also have your ‘Endless Art’ by A House which celebrates dead artists, poets and authors across history (although that courted controversy by only have dead male artists, poets and authors on the list, to the point where the band recorded a second version just featuring dead female artists, poets and authors – and included bizarrely Mickey Mouse in that list).

Losing My Edge – LCD Soundsystem (2002, DFA Records)

Endless Art – A House (1992, Setanta Records)

And of course, you have ‘Thou Shalt Always Kill’ by Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip which is probably the best of them all.  Which considering how much I love ‘Losing My Edge’ is really saying something. 

 About halfway through this song, he tells us with some conviction that The Clash are ‘just a band’.  What should happen next is that tumbleweed should turn over and Pip and Sac should marched away and tried for crimes against humanity – as everyone looks away in embarrassment.  However, Scroobius doesn’t stop there, over the next minute or so, accompanied by a barely there video game noise beat, he proceeds to ritually slaughter several of our indie schmindie sacred cows, Radiohead ‘just a band’, Oasis ‘just a band’ by the time he gets to Bloc Party we are hooked, agreeing without even considering the consequences that they are ‘just a band’. 

Of course, its just part of a bigger list of things that we all shouldn’t be doing which includes “thou shalt not watch Hollyoaks”, “thou shalt not scream to go faster” and most importantly “thou shalt not question Stephen Fry”.  The orders come at you thick and fast some delivered with menacing venom, some are humourous, some simple common sense.  All of them brilliantly observed sections of social commentary. 

A Linked Series #4

Yeah (Crass Mix) – LCD Soundsystem (2004, DFA Records)

The fourth instalment of our linked series sees us stay in New York City but it sees us move across the city from the trendy art studio warehouse parties of say, Williamsburg, to the more gritty and urbane area of Brooklyn.  Here we find James Murphy and his merry band of cowbell bashing, keyboard mangling, guitar swinging heroes, LCD Soundsystem hosting the greatest party you have been to.

The Crass Mix of ‘Yeah’ was the second LCD Soundsystem track that I ever heard, the first was obviously ‘Losing My Edge’ and by the time I’d heard that I was already hooked.  The Crass Mix of ‘Yeah’ just hammered home the fact that LCD Soundsystem were about to become as important to me as Primal Scream, Spiritualized, and the Jesus and Mary Chain already were. 

‘Yeah’ is marvellous, it’s the sound of several songs banging on the same door whilst James Murphy and occasionally Nancy Whang repeat the words “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” over and over again (and you see why this song simply had to follow anything by the actual Yeah Yeah Yeahs).  Its starts off as a disco song, well sort of.  A cowbell bashing, acid inspired mash up of a disco song perhaps and by the end of it some nine and a half minutes later it’s smacking Josh Winks ‘Higher State of Consciousness’ round the chops with a knackered synthesizer.

It bleeps, it crashes, it bangs, strops, swoops, speeds up, slows down, man, It even contains bloody bongos and its still close to being the greatest fun you can have in nine minutes with your clothes on.

Frankly, I don’t want to leave this party, but we have to, our next destination is calling us,

Do we want to go and visit some other bands that Nancy Whang has sung with

E Talking – Soulwax (Nite Version feat Nancy Whang) (2004, PIAS Records)

Or perhaps we could check out some of the other bands hanging around the DFA label – and why on earth wouldn’t you – it’s one of the greatest labels in the world.

Happy House – The Juan McLean (feat Nancy Whang) (2008, DFA Records)

Actually, I’d forgotten that Nancy Whang is also in the Juan McLean from time to time as it happens – so this would be a double link…..then again she is in most of the bands on the DFA roster from time to time. 

But if we want to turn our back on hip New York labels and try something a little bit closer to home we can head to Glasgow and explore a different sort of soundsystem (and you should explore this because its incredible)

Back In the Dayz – Mungos Hifi feat Catching Cairo and Gardna (2021, Scotch Bonnet Records)

The Sunday Shuffle – #14

black screen – LCD Soundsystem (2017, DFA Records, Taken from ‘American Dream’)

Today’s randomly selected track was chosen by the power of Alexa.  I’d just got back in from the school run and asked her to ‘Shuffle’ and she choose a track from the wonderful fourth album from LCD Soundsystem, ‘American Dream’.  Which of course, everyone knows was the album that they recorded after they reformed in 2017, after a six year hiatus and the ‘Greatest Farewell Gig’ of all time at Madison Square Garden.

What might not be known is that ‘black screen’ is James Murphy’s tribute to David Bowie.  A few years before the band reformed, Murphy was asked to help on the production duties of ‘Blackstar’ the final Bowie record.  Murphy declined (although he did play drums on some of the album), a decision which he regretted deeply.

‘black screen’ details that regret marvellously, in a way that only LCD Soundsystem can.  A slow burning twelve minute ode to missed opportunities, and the fear of upsetting your heroes.  The whispery vocals echo around the speakers as an 80s synth bounces around mournfully.  Its tremendous.  Around five minutes in the magnitude of the level regret hits home as, Murphy’s voice drops and almost cracks as he sings “But I should have tried….more” the last word is an echo-y whisper and its eerily brilliant in a ghost like way.   Whether that is deliberate I know not.

‘black screen’ is so starkly beautiful, especially in what I will call the second phase of the song as the synths sink away into a single note and its slowly joined by a lonely sounding piano, which sounds almost classical, up against the synth.  Eventually the synth fade away into nothing and just a single piano chord is left. 

An absolutely incredible track.

The Best Stuff I Have Heard This Year #1

The current Lord of Indie

Most of the new music that I have heard this year has come from the Steve Lamacq Recommends show on Six Music. So I’m afraid that this week will be terribly unoriginal.

I’m also not doing countdowns on this blog. It doesn’t matter which is best or not quite as good as the other thing. So this is a run through, in no order at all, of some of the music that I have heard this year that I have loved or just liked quite a lot. I am not promising that it all came out this year either.

When I hear a track that I like I tend to write it down in the back of an exercise book that I was given on a work training course about two years ago. So all the tracks you read about from here having been lovingly scrawled in that book. Let’s start here….

1. Feels So Real – The Clockworks (single, 2021, It’s Creation Baby Records)

A rattlingly great single all about the nightlife of an unknown bit of London. Its wonderfully poetic as it talks about shopping trolleys being thrown in the river and the general urban decay that surrounds the band.

2. Runner Up – TV Priest (single, 2020, Hand In Hive Records)

Another rattlingly good single, this one sort of play homage to the line that Jim Bowen used to say at the end of weirdly popular darts based quiz show ‘Bullseye’. According to the band ‘Runner Up is about protestant work ethic, catholic guilt, games shows and not dancing at Christmas parties. I mean, what’s not to like about that.

3. What The Kids Want – Chay Snowdon (single, 2020)

Chay Snowdon are being likened to Muse, largely because they are from Devon (they are from Plymouth) and used the same producer as them for this riotous blast of high tempo excellence. That folks is where the similarities stop as this is pure garage rock, with added samples and a chorus so catchy that they are giving out vaccines at the local leisure centre to remove it from playing over and over in your head.

4. Let’s Dance to the Real Thing – Stone (single, 2021)

Stone are one of a wave of Liverpool bands that emerged just before Lockdown 1 ready to conquer the world. Only for that inevitable world domination to be delayed by you know what. ‘Lets Dance to the Real Thing’ is a massive bundle of fun, and sounds like the musical equivalent of four 8 year olds who have eaten too many flying saucers.

and today’s Christmas track is (shuffles random Christmas list…..)

Oooh tasty.

Christmas Will Break Your Heart – LCD Soundsystem