Welcome to the first installment of the All England Club's Monthly Missive. From this point forward, the AEC will be providing a monthly insight into all of the musical happenings in the UK. We may stray sometimes from the path of strictly music, but we promise to keep it interesting. In the next few months, look for our tips on new bands to watch, scoop on the hottest controversies abroad and maybe even a few reflections on the shopping habits of footballer WAGs. We promise to keep that to part to a minimum.
Let's get the (foot)ball rolling with UK controversies. First of all, NME released its annual Cool List recently to the ooohs and ahhhs of the adoring masses. While most people stateside usually end up scratching their heads on the majority of the entries, the AEC wants to weigh in from a bit more informed viewpoint. While we were giddy to see Caroline of Glasvegas near the top this year (the AEC has an overwhelming crush on this band), we can't help but bristle at some of the entries. Alice Glass from Crystal Castles at No. 1? She's cute -- but the coolest person in the world according to the UK music intelligentsia? Fail. MGMT members above any member of Oasis? Let's be honest. As usual, the NME did its job in raising our ire, but we imagine that's their intention, so fair play to them.
"I'm Gonna Get Stabbed" by Glasvegas
"Alice Practice" by Crystal Castles
"Time To Pretend" by MGMT (Violens Remix)
Also in the controversy department is the uproar on BBC Radio 2 over Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross. (Let's count this as a music item as Russell is the lead singer of the fictional band Infant Sorrow -- as seen in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and its upcoming sequel and bff with Noel Gallagher as we heard on his radio show for the majority of the last year.) The controversy began when Russell and his guest Jonathan Ross were to interview Andrew Sachs (of Fawlty Towers fame) for Russell's Saturday night radio show. Sachs failed to answer his phone when called, which led to some childish ranting from Brand and Ross. The problem became a bit more of an imbroglio when Brand revealed on Sachs's voicemail that he had slept with Georgina Bailie, Sachs's granddaughter. Jonathan Ross repeated the point, voicemail after voicemail, and like the lads that they are, they made it the punchline for the entire show.
Now let us weigh in, if you please. First, the BBC loves banning people -- just ask The Who -- so this is somewhat expected. Second, Miss Bailie is a member of a burlesque group called The Satanic Sluts. The sexscapade with Brand apparently happened at Brand's home, where many of the aforementioned Sluts were congregating. Now, perhaps we are being judgmental, but if a Satanic Slut goes to the home of an internationally notorious lothario like Russell Brand, it seems a bit hypocritical to claim that his mentioning of your dalliance publicly on-air, and to your grandfather, was an offense. We thought America had carte blanche on puritanical outrage. Guess not.
Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross Phone Call (uncut)
Of course, the NME hotlist didn't just fuel our ire. It also gave us a few new bands to watch, so it's not all bad. Our first new favourite from the list is S.C.U.M., an atmospherically gothic outfit that helps satisfy our lust for Bauhaus bloodlettings and industrial doom. Also, give a listen to Late of the Pier, who already have tongues wagging as the post-nu-rave critical darlings.
"R.I.T.U.A.L.S." by S.C.U.M.
Late Of The Pier "Bathroom Gurgle"
Another hot tip came to us outside of the NME Cool circles in the last few weeks, in the form of a group called the Bookhouse Boys. Somewhere between Richard Hawley and Nick Cave, these guys reminds us a bit of Cousteau with an added dash of surf guitar reverb. Check out their MySpace, and of course we'll keep tabs on them and keep you posted.
Bookhouse Boys "Polaroids"
In other news that has us giddy, when we last left Glasvegas, they were on their way to Transylvania to record a Christmas album. We at the AEC love Christmas music and also love Glasvegas, so our excitement about this project is palpable. Since then, we have received some video updates that have whetted our appetites even more. Enjoy.
Glasvegas "Please Come Back Home"
Adding to our holiday cheer is also news that the Arctic Monkeys latest is almost complete. While we really loved the Last Shadow Puppets record, nothing can replace the AMs. So what can Alex Turner and Co. do this time around to wow us in 2009? Besides the promise of some sort of Josh Homme collaboration, we don't know much. But really, we don't need much more than the promise of a new record. We trust them completely.
Arctic Monkeys "From The Ritz To The Rubble"
While we are professing our love, we should make note that the AEC adores The Duke Spirit. In 2008 alone we've seen them about five times and they just get better and better. (Check out their exclusive acoustic session with The Tripwire, recorded in April.) It warms our cockles to see a band put in so much work on the road touring relentlessly and then see that work pay off. Their stage presence and performances right now are tops and Leila Moss is also getting loads of attention from the fashion world since she was noted as the muse for Alexander McQueen's latest collection. We love it when British art, music and fashion collide.
The Duke Spirit "Dog Roses" (Tripwire Acoustic Session)
And finally, we would like to lament publicly the fact that we will never get chance to see Girls Aloud in the U.S. Yes, we understand that they are pop drivel, but we love them unapologetically. The Girls are on yet another sold out tour of Europe, and we can only sit here in agony knowing that we'll never see the wonder that is Chemistry live, not to mention the wonder that is Cheryl Cole. Sad times for us, but perhaps if we are good boys and girls, Santa will hear our cries.
Girls Aloud "The Promise"