Thursday, 29 January 2015

No. 15 Arctic Monkeys - Leave Before The Lights Come On

Another cracking tune from the Monkeys. This one is more pleasing because it didn't feature on either the first LP or the second. There's always something a little bit special about the one-off single I think. It was also promoted with a decent Sheffield-filmed video, featuring Paddy Considine. 

The b-side is a bit of an oddity though; a one off collaboration between the Monkeys and the 747s (nope, me neither). It's a sixties cover, that hints at the territory Alex Turner would explore with The Last Shadow Puppets.

If I was pressed to make a list of favourite record labels (oh go on then) Domino would certainly feature. Not only have they signed a collection of consistently interesting bands over the years (Clinic, Four Tet, Sebadoh, Elliott Smith, Joh Hopkins off the top of my head) but they've also ploughed profits from bands like Arctic Monkeys into interesting projects with little chance of making much profit; the beautifully put together Triffids reissues spring to mind.

Oh, and it came with a free beer mat, which was nice.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

No. 14 Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor

It's hard to believe that this is a now very nearly a decade old. The second Arctic Monkeys single, and the first that was widely available (only 1,500 copies of Five Minutes with Arctic Monkeys were pressed) went to number one in the UK singles chart (my last number one single bought on vinyl I think) and is surely one of the best pop songs of the '00s. The a-side is, for me at least, a timeless classic and the b-side, Bigger Boys and Stolen Sweethearts is pretty fine too.

Despite living in Sheffield for the last two decades I've never seen Arctic Monkeys live, and I suspect I never will. I vividly remember the buzz in the city when they first started playing live; fellow gig goers and students at school were raving about them long before the album came out, but we were busy adjusting to being a family with the arrival of the first-born, so I never made it to the legendary Leadmill or Grapes gigs. I could probably pick up a ticket the next time they play some bland enormodome locally, but it very much feels like the moment has passed.

It's also easy to forget, in this increasingly post-MP3 age, that they really broke the mould back in 2004, by allowing demo versions of their earliest material to circulate widely and build their reputation. By the time Domino released this in 2005, most of these songs were pretty familiar. As I recall they were one of the first bands to see this as a way of generating huge amounts of interest. Given all this, there's a lovely irony when Turner drawls "Don't believe the hype" at the start of the cracking video. Enjoy!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

No. 13 Animals That Swim - All Your Stars Are Out

Picture discs; they're a bit rubbish aren't they? As is invariably the case with the medium, this plays like someone is hoovering in the background and pops and clicks from start to finish. Which is a great shame as its an absolutely lovely song. It was also their last single, sadly, before they all went off to pursue what were almost certainly more lucrative careers. The b-side, While You Were Learning To Fly, is, for once, a cracking tune too; a glaring omission from their final LP. Whilst putting this together,I discovered they did briefly re-form in 2011 and put out a single on iTunes. Who knows, perhaps they'll reunite again some day and I'll finally get to see them live.

Next up, we'll be heading for more populist and more geographically local sounds.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

No. 12 Animals That Swim - The Moon And The Mothership

More loveliness from Animals That Swim. This 2001 single pre-empted their final album, Happiness From A Distant Star. It's a lovely thick slab of vinyl and a cracking tune. The b-sides are oddities; a short instrumental and a spoken word piece describing methods of covertly consuming alcohol whilst working in a bar. There's a video too, which has a lo-fi, low budget charm as well as featuring a space-hopper, for no entirely obvious reason. This is one of only 500 of these lovelies (number 390 to be precise); feel free to gaze upon it in envious awe.