Monday, January 03, 2005

We Start This New Year With A List. No! Wait! COME BACK!

A Happy New Year to all my readers, and firm apologies to those of you still awaiting replies from emails/cards etc. over the holiday period and beyond. Also, I'm acutely aware the book review compendium I trailed on Friday has not yet materialised and I will be working on this as a blogging priority over the coming week to have it posted by next weekend at the very latest.

Dead Kenny trusts that you all managed to negotiate the trial that it is NYE safely and with a modicum of your dignity and bank balance still intact. At the Parallax View party we mostly spent the evening mildly amused with the notion that burying the London Eye in a near-napalm cloud of fireworks qualifies as a 'muted' celebration in the wake of the tsunami disaster. And with the considerable size of her mouth, BBC presenter Natasha Kaplinsky couldn't be muted if you kidnapped her and zipped her up in a gimp mask. But still, less about my fantasies and on with the first Parallax View Single Of The Week for 2005 which goes to Interpol who deliver 'Evil' from their second album 'Antics' for release from today (Jan 3rd, fact fans). Please buy the single even if you've got the album, because there's very little else out this week and I'd love to see them on CD:UK.

And so, because you're weightless, semi-erotic [and] you need someone to take you there, here is Parallax View's cut-and-paste guide to who to listen out for in the UK the first few months of 2005. In some semblance of alphabetical order, then, we start with -

The Arcade Fire - With the likes of The Stills; The Dears and The Constantines, Canada dominated Dead Kenny's headphones like no other nation in 2004. In 2005 they will be mount(ie)ing another challenge with Montreal's The Arcade Fire. They sound unusual, and indeed unusually good, which will be enough to get them plenty of deserved attention in the coming months.

The Beat-Up - Formerly known as The Beatings, and having survived bruising legal hassles and the rigours of building producer Kevin Shields' studio for him, they are finally ready to release their debut album on January 31, by which time their slightly grungy take on garage rock will sound almost as fresh as if it was 2002 all over again. Recent support slots for in-vogue Kaiser Chiefs should help raise their profile; Shields' production talents may provide the knockout punch.

Brendan Benson - While we're all old enough to know that life is very rarely fair, surely there's no-one more deserving of a little commercial recognition than Detroit's pop troubadour. Plus, there's just not enough people in the charts called Brendan these days, don't you think? So go out and buy his third album when it comes out in March, so he can finally go out and buy that meal he looks like he needs. Although, to be honest, we're including him in this selection more out of hope than conviction. Benson and hedges, then.

Bloc Party - The eagle-eyed and frankly slighty scary amongst you may have noticed that Dead Kenny was one of the few UK bloggers to omit BP's slick singles from my records of last year. But I can explain! 'Banquet' was a limited-edition exclusive feast and I was too late to the table, I didn't trouble myself with 'Little Things' and I only listened to 'Helicopter' on a strict rotor basis. However, they were excellent on 'Later'; their new single is lovely, and PV recognises an unstoppable force when it comes into collision with the immovable object that is Dead Kenny's musical preferences. With a good-looking singer, catchy tunes and indie-disco appeal, Bloc Party look set to reshape the indie ghetto into a totalitarian regime of their very own. Anything less than total surrender will be futile.

Kate Bush - After the critics stepped all over her 'Red Shoes' way back in 1993, KB went into a semi-retirement, licking her wounds and raising her son. We've been promised a follow-up for every new year since the Millenium but finally there seems concrete evidence that the album has been completed and is ready for release, possibly in March although PV doesn't recommend holding your breath until at least the autumn, by which time The Futureheads will no doubt be looking for new songs to moider. It had better be worth the wait, but given Kate's track record it almost certainly will be.

The Duke Spirit - If 2005 doesn't uncover Leila Moss as the great star she undoubtedly is, our loss will be greater than hers. If the band can go anywhere near recreating the dynamism of their live sets their full debut (due February/March) will be one of the significant releases of the year.

Hard-Fi - With its' ska-inflected electropop, new single Cash Machine (out on the 24th) is so painfully January 2005 it'll put a hole in our wallets and provide the Don Letts-approved Staines massive with a veritable licence to print money.

The House Of Love/The Wedding Present - Who needs The Beatles and The Stones? With the mid-to-late-80s surely due for some investigation by young bands looking for a new angle, these veteran outfits have surely done the smart thing by reforming in anticipation of the inevitable veneration. All Dead Kenny now needs is for The Popguns and The Edsel Auctioneer to reform and he can then die (again and again) a happy blogging caricature of a real person.

Ladytron - Nearly two years since Parallax View declared them Britain's Best Pop Band Ever(TM), Liverpool's latest favourite moptops look set to enjoy more mainstream recognition following their signing to a record label (they rock, they're on Island) finally able to lever them into the playlists where their hard and shiny electropop belongs. Ladytron's long-awaited third album hits stores and online shopping emporia(?) in March.

The Long Blondes - Three boys, two girls; self-confessed dandies who profess to Roxy Music as their chief influence, making pop music that sounds more to me like The Photos than anything else. Developing nicely, then.

Mylo - Slightly unsavoury-looking Scottish bloke whose simplistic, sample-heavy brand of dance music provides the missing link between Paul Hardcastle and Moby. Not a Parallax View favourite, then, but looking most likely to 'do a Snow Patrol' and crossover to a mainstream audience in the early part of the New Year on the back of year-end critical plaudits and a surfeit of record tokens in the hands of the frankly clueless. Be afraid, very afraid, then as album 'Destroy Rock'n'Roll' looks set to be worryingly ubiquitous in 2005.

Anyone you think I've missed? Let me know. I haven't forgotten about Kaiser Chiefs, I just couldn't think of anything remotely interesting to say about them, which I know doesn't stop me normally, but this is the New Year after all. And I've omitted The Others as a token gesture of fickle disgust at the shoddy lyrics of their new single 'Lackey' (released Jan 17).

Lambast me if you will for not being too controversial in my choices, but compare and contrast with this month's FHM which predicts the five big albums of 2005 will come from The Darkness; Coldplay; Dr Dre; White Stripes and Oasis. I know that if Nostredamus was alive and well and working for a big publishing company he'd probably have enough foresight not to work for a magazine with such limited shelflife future, but honestly, I know quadraplegics who go out on more of a limb than those guys. Stick to the glossy pics of pop strumpets in their skimpies in future, fellas, and leave the music predictions to those with more neck than anorak, like yours truly, Dead Kenny.

This post is 'so over' and out.

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