All England Club Monthly Missive

By Miguel Banuelos

Happy 2009! As great as 2008 was, we are already digging into what should be a great year in British music. So let’s get right to it…

One of the worst things that 200 brought us was the surprise stroke that afflicted Long Blondes’ guitarist, Dorian Cox. With that news came the unfortunate break-up of the band, and some serious AEC heartache. But the new year has good news, not only has Cox begun to regain the use of his right hand (thanks to a bionic hand no less?!), but we have also recently read that Long Blondes lead singer Kate Jackson has plenty of plans for 2009. Not only has she recently recorded a song called "Kickstrasse" with Glasgow’s 1990s, but she is also reportedly writing new material with Bernard Butler. We’d think our love for Butler would be obvious, but in case you couldn’t guess, we figure any former member of Suede, who has since produced records for Sons and Daughters, Duffy, Manic Street Preachers, The Veils, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and countless others is pretty much a god in our eyes. Well chosen, Miss Jackson. We approve of all of the above.

Long Blondes - "Once And Never Again"

In other AEC deity news, Morrissey has spawned a new record. It’s out on February 17th on Lost Highway in the US. We have heard it, and can honestly say we are swooning. His last few efforts have been more than satisfying, but this new outing is brimming with rock and roll flair, and finally brings more of what the Morrissey live experience is all about. If you have seen Morrissey in concert, you know what we mean. And if you haven’t, you should remedy that right away. Lucky for you, Moz tickets for the US tour are going on sale now for venues all over the US (including some very intimate venues). Unlucky for us, we were shut out for NYC tickets. But we have faith.

Morrissey - "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris"

The end of 2008 brought us some hot tips on plenty of new bands as well…

Right before the end of the year, we were very pleased to see Ipso Facto not once, but twice in one week. The quartet of ladies is very young, very attractive and very exciting. Their music leans toward all things dark and gothic, but with a decidedly feminine swing. Add some great looking hairdos and outfits, and this band embodies most of the things we love. We have high hopes for these ladies in 2009 and hope to see them again soon.

Ipso Facto - "Six And Three Quarters"

Coming from a totally different angle, but still so very feminine, our new pop favorite out of the UK is Alesha Dixon. Formerly a member of Mis-Teeq, Dixon has gone on to marry and divorce a member of So Solid Crew, win the Strictly Come Dancing 2007 crown (the UK’s Dancing with the Stars) and, most recently, she has released a cracking new pop gem of a single, “The Boy Does Nothing.” Sure, it's 50 percent Beyonce and 50 percent Xtina, but to us, that’s not a bad thing. Now, we know the chances of Dixon’s music seeing release stateside is pretty slim, but we also know that we will be sadder because of that. We’ll enjoy it from afar.

Alesha Dixon on 'Strictly Come Dancing'

Alesha Dixon - "The Boy Does Nothing"

We have also been feeling particularly “electronic” of late. Luckily, we have three new totally different acts to keep tabs on in 2009. The first is Errors, who we first heard about through Alan McGee’s “tips for 2009” list, and soon enough heard even more that helped their cause. Not only are they a McGee favorite, they are on Mogwai’s label, Rock Action, and they are pals with Sons and Daughters. Oh yeah, and the music is pretty great, too. A mix of Ghostly International electronics and Mogwai’s sonics, Errors have our attention. Let’s hope they make it stateside soon.

Errors - "Pump"

Also in the electronic vein is the release of The Whip’s debut, X Marks the Destination. Now, we have been waiting for this record to hit the US for a long time, since we first heard of them doing remixes for AEC faves Editors, Hadouken!, and… Sons and Daughters (three mentions for S&Ds in one missive! That must be a record). Now their debut is finally coming out and we got exactly what we wanted. The 4-piece deliver sharp electro dance rock like The Faint, White Rose Movement and the rest of them, and at its core is simply made for dancing: hard, fast and fashionable, of course.

The Whip - "Frustration (Van She Remix)"

Also in better-late-than never US release news, AEC darlings Late Of The Pier finally released their debut, Fantasy Black Channel via Astralwerks today [January 13] actually, (it came out in the UK last July).

Late of the Pier - "The Bears Are Coming"

And, finally, our most exciting new find is Zomby. Yes, Where Were You in ’92? is retro, and, in fact, it’s meant to be. The thing is, as much as this record is an homage to the rave/hardcore/garage choons of the early 90s, what sets Zomby apart from other less talented revivalists, is that the music is not only reminiscent of our early rave days, it embodies the sounds as well as the spirit. It’s not simply the cosmetics, but the true essence. Every time we put this one on, we smile. Meet our 2009 pre-party record of choice.

Zomby - "Where Were U in '92?" MixTape

And finally, we leave you with a NSFW link. One of our current favorite TV shows is BBC America’s "Skins." We are one season behind here, but we just got wind of the new extended trailer for the 4th season, and, wow. As usual, the teen drama pushes boundaries, buttons and the legality of what can be seen on television. Thank God for "Skins." American shows should take note. This is how you scare the parents:

"Skins" Trailer (Somewhat SFW)

Enjoy! And until next time, please send all gripes, tips, and glowing praise, directly to us.

All England Club Monthly Missive