1. WATCH: Metronomy - The Bay

    I’ll put my hands up; I don’t like Metronomy’s third album “The English Riveria”. It’s not that it’s no good, it’s a fun pop record. I just believe they’ve lost the little quirks and idiosyncrasies that made them exciting and interesting on “Nights Out”. Newest single The Bay is closest in sound to their second album, and has a rather excellent video accompanying it. Making Torquay surprisingly glorious, the video is steamy, slightly silly and brilliant. There’s a good chance this will end up the hit of the summer.

  2. Barclaycard Mercury Prize shortlist announced

    It’s that time again. When the nation turns its ears to a group of artists most have never heard of, when hipsters flock to betting shops, when obscure jazz-fusion-dubstep-punk beat combos from the Outer Hebrides garner more attention than ever. Yes, it’s the annual Mercury Prize, won in recent years by The xx, Elbow and, erm, Speech DeBelle. For those unfamiliar with the award, to be nominated, albums have to have been released in the last year or so by a British or Irish artist. The shortlists tend to be on a scale from big crossover success to the aforementioned “no one’s ever heard of them, or will again after this” jazz anomalies. But without further ado, the nominees are:

    • Adele - 21
    • Anna Calvi - Anna Calvi
    • Elbow - Build A Rocket Boys!
    • Everything Everything - Man Alive
    • Ghostpoet - Peanut Butter Blue & Melancholy Jam
    • Gwylim Simcock - Good Day At Schloss Elmau
    • James Blake - James Blake
    • Katy B - On A Mission
    • King Creosote & John Hopkins - Diamond Mine
    • Metronomy - The English Riviera
    • PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
    • Tinie Tempah - Disc-overy

    First off, the big omissions. Wild Beasts and The Horrors can feel rightly snubbed, as both albums were previously seen as surefire inclusions and likely winners. Arctic Monkeys also should feel like they’ve missed out, Friendly Fires too; Radiohead also seemed likely nominees, purely for having written a record about trees. Smaller acts such as Gold Panda, Esben & The Witch, Cat’s Eyes and The Joy Formidable could’ve all staked a claim for a nomination with their superb debut albums.

    On to the actual nominees. Of the more well-known names, the list is curiously made up of albums that you feel people have been told to buy. Adele, James Blake, Tinie Tempah; all usually stock names for those in middle age to reel off in an effort to seem cool and eclectic. The inclusion of Katy B is slightly baffling considering she’s the most boring popstar since Ellie Goulding, whilst Tinie Tempah has to be the least threatening rapper since Will Smith. Anna Calvi is good, producing is atmospheric gothic rock, with a few Jeff Buckley-esque guitar flourishes here and there, but nothing worthy of nomination.

    Elbow arguably have the best album on the list, but whether Mercury would want to give them the prize twice in such a short space of time is doubtful. Metronomy's third album is a more mature and slick affair than previous efforts and it would be great for them to gain the recognition and wider exposure. The same goes for Everything Everything and their unclassifiable brilliance. Ghostpoet could be a dark horse, purely for having the best album name on the list, but also for an excellent debut, combining the everyday touch of Mike Skinner with the atmospherics of The xx and their dub influenced peers.

    If you’re looking for a safe bet, then PJ Harvey looks to be it. A former winner in 2001, Polly Jean’s eighth album has been superbly-received across the board, even earning a rare 10/10 from the NME. It’s folksy, poetic and has just the right amount of weirdness to win over the Mercury judges. This writer is yet to be charmed by “Let England Shake”, but it does seem a likely winner.

    However Hitsville U.K.’s Mercury Prize pick is:


    It would’ve been Ghostpoet, but he’s quite a longshot. It would’ve been Elbow, but it’s unlikely the judges will pick them so soon after “The Seldom Seen Kid” grabbed the prize in 2008. So Hitsville U.K. is getting right behind the Devon four-piece.

    The winner will be announced at an award ceremony on September 6th.


    To call this track a remix would have been wholly incorrect. It doesn’t desecrate the track by whacking whirring, relentless beats and rave synths on it, nor does it turn it into some godawful dubstep track with a load of sub-bass and choppy vocals. What Alkan does instead is pick out the many hooks from the brilliant, song-of-the-summer original and rearranges them into a near-ten minutes of danceable perfection.

    (Apologies for Fearne Cotton trundling with all her awfulness at the end of this stream, unfortunately this is a radio rip of the track.)


    Following on from Wild Beasts’ remix, Metronomy are the next indie band to rework Gaga's slightly shite new single "Yoü & I", pretentious umlaut and all. Throwing out the Shania Twain-esque piano stabs and stock stadium guitar, Joe Mount introduces a subdued electronic backing, which sounds a little like James Blake in a good way. A rare instance of a remix being infinitely better than the original song.


    Everyone’s favourite member of Girls Aloud (well, everyone who doesn’t like glossy robots singing about the club) released her album Cinderella’s Eyes on Friday, and here’s a live version of the track "I". Joe Mount's production is clear to see; bassy guitar lines, synth stabs, it could actually be a cover of a Metronomy song. We’ll have a review of the album up sometime this week, but for now, enjoy what’s sure to be one of its highlights.

  6. Plays: 30


    That title is hella misleading. Instead of some incomprehensible distortion, Adelekan serves up a slinky Afrobeat dancefloor filler. It’s not hard to envisage that transatlantic croon propelling Adelekan to a mainstream spotlight. Hell, if Ed Sheeran can do it, it’d be a travesty is Seye didn’t. It also seems predisposal for moody dance tunes runs in the family, as Seye is the brother of Metronomy bassist Gbenga. 

  7. The premier pop star on the planet collides with a host of indie darlings and producers on Born This Way - The Remix. Is it an attempt by Lady Gaga to grab some alt. cred or is she just embracing the lesser known acts she loves and wants to shine a light on? Well, I don’t know, you’d have to ask her, but it’s difficult to imagine Ms Germanotta bopping away to The Horrors or Wild Beasts (before going on stage to shoot fireworks from her bosom (or whatever her stage show consists of now)

    Also, a quick question; why do remixes always seems to last double the original track’s length and turn the most harmless pop songs into dull club fodder? On …The Remix, only three tracks clock in at under four minutes, with eight others lasting past five. Zedd's rework of "Born This Way" stretches out and outstays its welcome, going from thrilling to bland after three minutes, whilst Foster The People take a shot at making "The Edge Of Glory" a euphoric monster, but retain none of the camp fun of the original.

    But it’s not all monotonous beats. R&B blog idol The Weeknd is the man charged with the task of reworking Gaga’s newest single "Marry The Night", and succeeds fairly well in putting his own stamp on the song; throwing in damn fine beat and dreampop synths, before dropping everything for a second half made up of moody piano. Goldfrapp's take on "Judas" is banger, pitchshifting Gaga’s vocal resulting in something that sounds a little like Hercules & Love Affair, only superb. Metronomy's "Yoü and I" remix is far removed from the MOR original, stripping it to the bare, almost ambient bones and is possibly this writer’s remix of the year (it also far outstrips Wild Beasts’ attempt, which isn’t bad but has nothing on Metronomy’s version).

    Rounding out the British indie contingent are The Horrors, Hurts and Two Door Cinema Club. The former’s version of "Bloody Mary" is as you’d expect; slow-burning krautrock synths to make The Radiophonic Workshop proud, whereas Manc duo Hurts go a bit dubstep for their “Judas” remix but retain their trademark synthy bombast. Two Door Cinema Club’s remix of "Electric Chapel" is fairly routine, bouncing along with a nice groove that may point to an electronic sound for their second album. The final fifth of the record, made up of Twin Shadow's “Born This Way”, Royksopp's ten minute version of Judas and The Edge Of Glory remixed Sultan & Ned Shepard, makes for a fun close to the record. Twin Shadow’s mix sounds almost like classic era Michael Jackson with one hell of a funky bassline and a pure honest pop nous that’s all but disappeared from the charts, Sultan and Shepard channel Daft Punk to good effect for their track whilst Royksopp present us with a near unrecognisable ten minutes of icy Scandanavian beats.

    The rest of the record is fairly dull and predictable save for a few tracks; "Scheiße", "Americano" and "Black Jesus + Amen Fashion" are your typical euphoric club tunes that never seem to get played in clubs. You begin to think they’re only included for mainstream radio airplay or to lure in those who prefer their dance music dumber that a Transformers movie.

    Born This Way - The Remix is one of the better remix albums to be associated with a top level popstar and it helps that Gaga (or her label) has been fairly eclectic in her choice of remixers. God knows no one wants a Skrillex or James Blake remix anywhere near Gaga. The fact that her songs can be moulded and morphed into pretty much any shape is a sign that Lady Gaga is here to stay.


  8. Going soft-rock might not be a common or cool musical direction, but it’s the path that Metronomy strolled down with aplomb on their third album. Taking their idiosyncratic indie disco formula and streamlining it with influences like Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles worked wonders for the Devon four piece, earning them plaudits across the board, including your votes to make The English Riviera your Number Eight album of 2011.

    A love letter to its geographical namesake, The English Riviera is the sound of British pop music right now; smooth, sharp, funky and packed full of hooks. From “Corinne” to “Everything Goes My Way”, this is the sound of a band hitting its stride, full of confidence. They’ve also produced a classic British pop song in the form of “The Bay” with its slowly building bass ‘n’ synth intro that culminates in groovy dancefloor euphoria. It’s no wonder band leader Joe Mount was drafted in to work on Nicola Roberts’ poptastic solo debut. With albums like this, expect Metronomy to become one of the big bands on the scene over the next few years.

  9. It’s over. We can no longer keep posting filler “end of year” lists. It’s back to real blogging now…

    The Hitsville Albums Of 2011 List, as voted for by you, in full:

    1. Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See
    2. Laura Marling - A Creature I Don’t Know
    3. Bon Iver - Bon Iver
    4. The Horrors - Skying
    5. Wu Lyf - Go Tell Fire To The Mountain
    6. Jay-Z & Kanye West - Watch The Throne
    8. Metronomy - The English Riviera
    9. Wild Beasts - Smother
    10. Tyler, The Creator - Goblin
    11. Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness
    12. Bombay Bicycle Club - A Different Kind Of Fix
    13. The Chapman Family - Burn Your Town
    14. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
    15. James Blake - James Blake
    16. Nicola Roberts - Cinderella’s Eyes
    17. Slow Club - Paradise
    18. Mastodon - The Hunter
    19. Elbow - Build A Rocket Boys!
    20. Drake - Take Care
    21. The Weeknd - House Of Balloons/Thursday
    22. Johnny Foreigner - Johnny Foreigner Vs Everything
    23. Friendly Fires - Pala
    24. Nicolas Jaar - Space Is Only Noise
    25. Youth Lagoon - The Year Of Hibernation
    26. M83 - Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
    27. Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx - We’re New Here
    28. Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo
    29. Noel Gallagher - Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
    30. Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost
    31. Lil B - I’m Gay (I’m Happy)
    32. Radiohead - The King Of Limbs
    33. Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto
    34. Terius Nash - 1977
    35. The Antlers - Burst Apart
    36. Yuck - Yuck
    37. Shabazz Palaces - Black Up
    38. The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar
    39. The Vaccines - What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?
    40. Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - Everything’s Getting Older
    41. Battles - Gloss Drop
    42. Tom Waits - Bad As Me
    43. Real Estate - Days
    44. Smith Westerns - Dye It Blonde
    45. Noah And The Whale - Last Night On Earth
    46. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
    47. St. Vincent - Strange Mercy
    48. Childish Gambino - Camp
    49. Death Grips - Exmilitary
    50. Patrick Wolf - Lupercalia

    There you have it, your fifty albums of the year. Pretty eclectic bunch aren’t you? Some superb picks alongside some, well, not so superb picks. At least Lulu wasn’t in there…