Monday, December 12, 2005

120 Minutes (Hour 2)

Continued from the previous post...

17. Decoder Ring: "Somersault." Or, as the captions have insisted on calling them for over a month now, Decoder Ing. This is the title track from their album, and we're somewhere in a hinterland between Sigur Ros and One Dove. Apparently it's a soundtrack album, which would explain why there's so much random footage in the video. Anyway, it's quite beautiful in its way, and I approve.

18. Minotaur Shock: "Somebody Once Told Me It Existed But I Never Found It." Or David Edwards to his mum. It's another piece of pastoral electronica which doesn't really go anywhere, but sounds awfully nice while doing it. Alt-lounge music, I suppose. Very slightly too jaunty to stay in the background, and unaccountably happy. Apparently he strongly rejects the "folktronica" tag, but it's the easiest way of describing it. I ought to get this guy's album, actually.

19. Parisman: "A Place That Glows." Okay, back to the guitar bands. This is the sort of thing that used to pad out the Steve Lamacq show. Decent riff, though, and unlike a lot of these bands, they've actually got more than one idea. Choruses go off in a completely different direction. Kind of growing on me. Can't imagine myself actually wanting to hear it again, though. (Listen for yourself.)

20. Roots Manuva: "Colossal Insight." This has been out for ages, but I suppose it's one of the token tracks we've heard of. Roots Manuva has been around for years and has somehow managed to achieve the status of an elder statesman of UK rap without ever actually selling very many records. Mind you, for most of his career, it's not like anyone in UK rap was actually selling any records. "Colossal Insight" is a really odd record, based on a bizarre synth loop that somehow ends up much more catchy than it logically ought to be. Probably my favourite track of his, actually. (Watch for yourself.)

21. Radio 4: "State of Alert." Um. Radio 4 are another of those bands who go in one ear and out the other. It's not that they're bad - quite the contrary, they're solidly above average. But they sound like so many other people. All I really get from this record is a moderate sense that they're quite annoyed about George Bush, and a strong sense of what's in their record collection. It's quite good, but has more skill than personality. (Watch for yourself.)

22. Ampop: "My Delusions." Never heard of them. Google informs me that their previous album was acclaimed as the best Icelandic album of 2003, which probably explains what they're doing on this show. This is pretty decent, in fact. It's a very old-fashioned pop song with a slightly unusual arrangement, and sounds like it ought to be a cover version of a little-known classic. Yeah, thumbs up to that. (Watch for yourself.)

23. Dungen: "Panda." Swedish prog indie, anyone? They've been playing this rambling psych-rock thing for months despite its evident lack of crossover potential, and it's been steadily growing on me. Just when you think it's spinning totally off the rails, it loops back to a wonderful, strong chorus. The video is straight out of the "Number 7 on the Chart Show in 1988" school of editing, but the track is seriously good. (Watch for yourself.)

24. Sleater-Kinney: "Entertain." Didn't know Sleater-Kinney had another record out. I've got two of their albums, and now I think about it, I'm sure I can find use for a third. The UK music press tended to pigeonhole them as sullenly political types, and while there's a germ of truth to that, it's wildly misleading. Primarily, they're just a damn good rock band. Sounds like they've done a better production job on this album, too - sounds a bit fuller than earlier stuff. (Watch it yourself.)

25. The Young Knives: "Weekends and Bleak Days." A 120 Minutes pet record - a ridiculous low-budget video making an utterly cliched point about the office being dull, which somehow ends up being far better than it has any right to be. Actually a very strange and spiky record, and it's grown on me a lot from repeated plays. It's also the sort of video which is never going to get played at a better timeslot than 2.30am on a Sunday. (So watch it yourself.)

26. The Infadels: "Can't Get Enough." Ooh, it's a sort of guitar/electroclash hybrid. In theory, I'm all for that. In practice, it's a very good arrangement propping up a decidedly underpowered song. Oops. Long outstays its welcome, if you ask me. Mind you, as the closest thing we've had to a dumb, dancefloor-friendly record, I'm sure a lot of people will think it's the best thing on this list. (Watch it yourself.)

27. The Morning After Girls: "High Skies." Back to the guitar rock. Hmm. My head says I don't like this, because it's not original in the slightest and there's not much of a song there. But that's a damn good guitar sound they've got there. Also, screaming. Against my better judgment, thumbs up. (Watch it yourself.)

28. Jamie T: "Back in the Game." Oh, I've seen this one before. Guy with an acoustic guitar doing the sort of song you'd normally expect somebody to use a full band for. Works infinitely better than I'd have thought. The one-shot performance video is the right call. Very, very good, in fact. I recommend this one strongly. (Listen for yourself.)

29. The Wedding Present: "I'm From Further North Than You." Oh yeah, I'd heard the Wedding Present were back together again. Or rather, Cinerama decided to go back to using the Wedding Present name, which is what it really amounts to. 120 Minutes is playing a slightly glitchy version of the video, which they seem to do from time to time when they have a record they really like but don't have a properly working video. The last New Pornographers video was aired in with perfect sound but almost unwatchable visuals. Naturally, it annoys me intensely. This is... a Wedding Present song with a cuddlier arrangement than they used to do. Rather bland on first hearing, but a second play confirms that the lyrics make it. Cute backhanded love song about a rebound relationship. ("I'll admit we had some memorable days / But just not very many.") Nothing you can't live without, but rewards you for actually listening to it, at least.

30. Ladyfuzz: "Monster." Ooh, spiky. Great chorus, not sure about the verses, middle eight is a mess. But the good bits are really good. And it's still stuck in my head after a first play, which is always a plus. Definitely on the right lines. Shame I can't find a link to it, actually - the band's website doesn't have the video up yet, which is bad.

31. Queens of the Stone Age: "Burn the Witch." Oh, come on, this doesn't belong in 120 Minutes. QOTSA are on the daytime playlist. It's not even one of their better singles. Wind!

32. Sigur Ros: "Hoppipolla." No episode of 120 Minutes would be complete without a heartwarming Sigur Ros video depicting ordinary life in Reykjavik. They start out beautiful, they build to epic scale, and then they generally blow it by droning on 50% longer than strictly necessary. This is the usual, basically. Plenty to love, but could stand to be a bit more concise. To be fair, it might help if I spoke Icelandic and could understand the lyrics. (Watch it yourself.)

33. Sons and Daughters: "Dance Me In." Oh, I remember this one. These guys are from Glasgow, as I recall, and unlike most guitar bands, they've remembered that a song about dancing should be something you can actually dance to. Every time this comes up I end up re-playing it, and considering its possibilities as the launchpad for the new genre of alt-ceilidh. Love it. (Watch it yourself.)

34. Lostprophets: "Last Train Home." What? WHAT?!? I choose to believe they've just forgotten to put up the closing caption. This show does not do nu-metal, no matter how Welsh.