Playlist review: Banned By The BBC

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 at 3:48pm

Nothing shifts records quite like a moral panic, controversy, or best of all, being banned by the BBC.

With that in mind, superstar playlist creator, Lasse Nordgren, has pieced together a collection of tracks that Auntie Beeb has banished from her airwaves over the years, for whatever reason - be it sexual or political content, for being morbid, advertising, or for simply saying a naughty word.

Here’s our top five banned by the BBC tracks:

Sex Pistols - God Save The Queen

We begin with arguably the most infamous banned track of all time, by one of the most controversial bands in history, Sex Pistols.

The group’s second single shocked one of half of the nation while galvanizing the other, when it was released during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations of 1977 – unsurprisingly, it only reached number two in the charts.

The Rolling Stones - Let's Spend The Night Together

Due to the subject of the Stones ’67 classic – which seems incredibly tame by today’s standards – most radio stations including the Beeb opted to spin Rub Tuesday, the other track on this double A-side.

An amazing tune featuring Jagger, Richards and Brian Jones on organ.

Prodigy - Smack My Bitch Up

Perhaps the most controversial track of recent times is this absolute club-banger by Prodigy.

Released in 1997, the third single from The Fat of the Land attracted widespread condemnation not only for its lyrical content but for the extreme nature of its video, directed by Jonas Åkerlund - which you can watch here (parental advisory blah, blah, blah).

The Kinks - Lola

Strange one this, but Lola was incredibly banned for the line, “Where you drink champagne It tastes just like Coca Cola...” which was later changed to “Cherry Cola” to obtain airplay. Not the most rock and roll of bans, but a ban none the less.

Dead Kennedys - Too Drunk To F***

We can’t possibly imagine why this punk classic was ever banned, but the BBC refused to play it and when the track inevitably hit the charts it was referred to as simply, “Too Drunk To."

The sticker issued with the CD by the band read "Caution: You are the victim of yet another stodgy retailer afraid to warp your mind by revealing the title of this record so peel slowly and see..." – genius.

Banned by the BBC

You can check out the full, brilliant, playlist by clicking your mouse here.

Many thanks to Lasse Nordgren for another quality playlist.

Gary Evans

Album review: This week's round-up

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 at 2:01pm

Kelly Rowland - Work - The Best Of

Probably still most famous as one third of Destiny’s Child, along with Beyonce and the other one, Kelly Rowland has carved out a pretty successful solo career for herself – so successful in fact it’s warranted a somewhat premature ‘Best of.’

Despite the slightly unfledged nature of this release – likely to be purely record label orchestrated as opposed to the work Rowland herself – Work still has enough legs, r&b bangers and ballads to pass a worthy addition to any fan's collection, despite lacking her more recent commercial house, Guetta-produced, tunes.

Monster Magnet – Mastermind

Veteran stoner-metalers, Monster Magnet, are back with their eighth studio album and the first since 2007’s, 4-Way Diablo.

Hallucination Bomb gets proceedings under way with a trudging rock epic before Mastermind twist and turns through Hawkwind and Kyuss sounds with primal drums, myriad guitar effects and huge vocal performances from Dave Wyndorf via some textbook metal lyrics: “I just want to drive my car / I don’t where I’m going but at least I ain’t standing still / I’m feeling nervous and my doctor says to me / Boy that ain’t nothing that pill won’t cure” – a return to the sound of their earlier work which is sure to delight fans.


Rumer – Seasons Of My Soul

After quick perusal of singer-songwriter Sarah Joyce, aka Rumer, and her debut album, Seasons Of My Soul, it would be easy to dismiss her as yet another retro-peddling, homogenous, female vocalist for Radio 2 and the broadsheets to swoon over.

Further listens reap rewards, however, with tracks like Take Me As I Am, Healer and Aretha offering a considered, elegant and understated approach to song writing – if a little guilty of some questionable key changes and clumsy sentiments.

Rumer has attempted to crack commercial success under several guises and monikers but never with quite as much aplomb as Seasons Of My soul. The album sampler is available to listen to now on Spotify by clicking here.

The Kinks - Misfits

In terms of their singles back catalogue, The Kinks are regularly mentioned in the same breath as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and rightly so, despite never receiving the same acclaim as an albums band – Face To Face never charts as high as Sgt. Pepper's or Exile On Main Street on critics ‘Greatest Albums' lists, for example.

1978’s Misfits, however, showcases Ray Davies unquestionable ability to construct a coherent, fluent album - although released some years after his creative peak.

Compelling, acute and incredibly candid this body of work offers considerably more than merely a couple of singles padded out to form a full LP.

Misfits is new to Spotify and available to listen to now by clicking here.

Gary Evans

Singles Club 01/11/10

Monday, November 1st, 2010 at 12:54pm

Diana Vickers - My Wicked Heart

You may have noticed that here at SMP we're not overly fond of talentless, talent show goons, which should make little Di Vickers the perfect target for our caustic tongue.

However, My Wicked Heart is bizarre, disjointed and, get ready for this, absolutely brilliant.

We're not quite sure what the hell she's banging on about half the time - bellowing about 'honeybees,' 'whoopsie daisys' and 'Lie-lie-lies' - but we're damn sure we like it. All staccato verses and aggressive brass, this Bjork-like quirky-pop effort is simply brilliant.

Best Coast – Crazy For You

Crazy For You is the magnificent title track taken from the debut of LA surf-pop peddlers, Best Coast.

Weighing in at just under two minutes, it's laconic, lo-fi and completely gorgeous - a joyous relationship lament that sounds like driving a convertible around summertime Los Angeles feels, probably.

If you haven't heard Bethany Cosentino and chums yet, it's probably best that you click here rather sharpish.

Mystery Jets – Show Me The Light

Another masterful slice of enchanting indie-pop from Mystery Jets on the latest release from the Eel Pie Island band's fourth album, Serotonin.

Show Me The Light finds the Jets in melodic disco mode, chirping and stomping its way into your cerebellum - defying you not to dance.

Hafdís Huld - Synchronised Swimmers

Icelandic Hafdís Huld may have previous with some of the coolest names in underground dance music, Tom Middleton, Ewan Pearson and FC Kahuna, but the title track from her second solo album, Synchronised Swimmers, is pure autumnal folk as opposed to anything beat driven.

The track gathers pace beautifully while Huld's saccharine voice is balanced by a slight huskiness, ensuring it doesn't become annoying, and a delicately layered acoustic arrangement. Definitely one to watch.

Killing Joke – European Super State

A 30 year career, spanning 13 albums, forays into the occult and LSD breakdowns make it a miracle that Killing Joke are still alive, let alone making coherent music.

European Super State is the influential post-punks at their urgent best on this anthemic, industrial-electro cut taken from latest album, Absolute Dissent.

Gary Evans

Playlists review: Friday party-playlists

Friday, October 29th, 2010 at 11:52am

It's Friday; the weekly war is won; the battle is over and it's time to get loose and enjoy the weekend.

However, everyone knows that the weekend is worthless if you haven't got the right tunes to soundtrack your (mis)adventures to - and that's where SMP comes in.

We've hand-picked the finest party-playlists to ensure your weekend goes with a bang.

Step this way for house, drum and bass, dubstep and electro:

Deep techish house

We kick things of with this masterful deep and tech house playlist.

Laconic and brilliantly structured this is the perfect soundtrack to any after-hours shindig. In particular, check out tracks by Gamat 3000, Poul Luis and Lusine.

Strictly Drum and Bass... Part Fourteen

If you like your music with more of a beefy bottom end then this playlist will be right up you street.

This is the fourteenth edition of syknyk's series and features the likes of Nu Elementz, Magnetic Man, Serum and the Netsky Remix of Plan B's The Recluse.


An Introduction to Dubstep

If dubstep's more your bag, of you just want to know what all the fuss is about, then this is the playlist for you.

All of the heavyweights are here with tunes from Skream, Burial, Diplo, Jack Beats and Chase and Status.

Kieron's Electro Vol.4

We keep things moving with SMP's head honcho, Kieron, and the most recent in spectacular electro series.

A magnificant party-playlist and if you like what you hear, check out the rest of his collections here.

Easy Like Sunday Mornings Vol.2

Every skilled hedonist should know when to call it a day and when the parties over it's time for some, soothing, down tempo sonics to nurse that hangover.

If the super-smooth tones of Al Green, Teddy Pendergrass, Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield don't easy you back to full fitness, we don't know what will.

Gary Evans

Introducing: Japanese Voyeurs

Thursday, October 28th, 2010 at 7:49pm


Allow us to introduce to you London based, five-piece, grunge merchants, Japanese Voyeurs.

If you're in the market for lo-fi, scuzzy sonics, vocals that are both saccharine and scathing and enough hooks to hang your coat from, then this is the band for you.

The quintet have just finished recording their debut album in America with Garth Richardson, of Rage Against The Machine fame, on production duties. It promises to be a monster - expect tribal drums, spewing lyrics and psychotic riffs.

Click here sample their sound for yourself.


The band's next single, Milk Teeth, is out on November 29th with their debut album, Yolk, dropping early next year.

If you can't wait that long, you can catch Japanese Voyeurs on tour with Young Guns throughout November and early December - check out for more details. 

Japanese Voyeurs are: Johnny Seymour (Bass), Rikki Waldron (Keys), Romily Alice (Guitar/Vocals) Steve Wilson (Drums) and Tom Lamb (Guitar) and they've kindly put together this brilliant playlist that we suggest you you listen to immediately:

brute all heavy as this october

'Heavy' is the key word on this playlist with big tracks by the likes of Black Sabbath, Mastodon and Torche. Click here for the full playlist and a track-by-track guide from the band.

Forbes Deceased Rich List

Thursday, October 28th, 2010 at 3:36pm

Forbes Top Earning Dead Celebrities

You know your famous when you are still earning money after your death and in some cases, earning more then you did when you were alive. Although it may not be of any use to the people in it, Forbes has released its annual celebrity rich list of the dead.

With the harsh entry requirements of earning at least $5 million between October 2009 to October 2010, most of the people in the top ten are either inventors, writers, Sports or Hollywood Stars. There is still a small but strong contingent from the music world. So, in the style of Jimmy Saville, here's your top ten (well 11 otherwise Jimi Hendrix would have missed out). How about that then!

11. You guessed it, Jimi Hendrix. Even though the iconic guitarist died over 40 years ago now, Hendrix is still reeling in the money from when he bust onto the scene in the late 60's, and the numerous albums made following his death. Check out a few here.

10. Richard Rodgers. Who? My thoughts as well, but it turns out that even though he too died in the 70's, he has managed to rake in $7 million in the last year. The reason being, he is responsible for composing the songs for some of the most famous musicals of the previous century (Oklahoma!, The King and I, and The Sound Of Music).

9. George Steinbrenner. Former boss of Major League Baseball's New York Yankees, Steinbrenner only passed away in July of this year but he has still managed to earn a comfortable $8 million.

8. Albert Einstein. Doesn't really need much of an introduction. Probably one only a few people in the list who has actually worked to earn his millions. Even from the grave he can be seen declaring his love for gluten free bread. No rest for the wicked.

7. Dr Seuss (Theodor Geisel). The best selling children's author in history, Dr Seuss is most famous for writing The Cat In The Hat and How The Gringe Stole Christmas. After dying almost 10 years ago, he is the first of the celebrities to hit double figures with $11 million.

6. Steig Larrson. Author of the books The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, he died before the trilogy became famous so little would he have expected that they have made him $15 million in the past 12 months.

5. John Lennon. As we were celebrating what would have been Lennon's 70th birthday earlier this year, EMI was releasing 'Gimme Some Truth' campaign which saw the re-release of much of his back catalogue and subsequently, a rise in the record sales. Here's some of his best work.

4. Charles Schulz. The American cartoonist who was famous for creating th e Peanut brand died back in 2000. Earlier this year Iconix bought the cartoon and its characters for $175 million, Schulz yearly earnings were $33 million.

3. J.R.R. Tolkien. The author of the Lord of the Rings books is still reaping the benefits of the trilogy which ended 8 years ago but with The Hobbit movies in the process of being made, interest has risen in his original books again.

2. Elvis Presley. His earnings rose buy a measly $5 million to $60 compared to last year. Hardly enough to keep Graceland's cleaners employed, but hopefully the 200 plus merchandise deals he still has going will keep the people of Memphis employed for another year or two.

1. Michael Jackson. The King of Pop's stock rose and rose in the past 12 months since his death in June 2009. Beating his rivals hands down, Jacko managed to scrape together $275 million this year. Just imagine how many antiques he could have bought with that!

Ryan Gibbins

Massive Kings of Leon stadium tour 2011

Thursday, October 28th, 2010 at 1:31pm

The Kings of Leon are set to take their new-found stadium sound out to its rightful home, actual stadiums, by announcing today that they are to embark on a huge UK tour this summer.

The band have just released their fifth album, Come Around Sundown (read our review of it here), which is the fastest selling album of 2010 and looks set to be the biggest selling album of the year for, arguably, the biggest band in the world right now.

The tour dates are as follows:

Monday May 30 - Coventry Ricoh Arena

Friday 17 June - Sunderland Stadium of Light

Sunday 19 June - Machester Lancashire County Cricket Ground

Wednesday 22 June - London Hyde Park

Sunday 26 June - Edinburgh Murrayfield Stadium


Check out these crackin' KoL Playlists to get you in the mood:

Best of Kings of Leon

A brilliant career-spanning playlist taking in everything from Molly's Chambers, The Bucket and Charmer to Revelry, Use Somebody and Sex On Fire.

Ultimate Kings of Leon

The KoL camp is split into two factions these days, fans of the old stuff and those that are only aware of their newer sound. Luckly this playlist included a bit of everything from Youth and Young Manhood, Aha Shake Heartbreak, Because of the Times and Only by the Night.

Kings of Leon - Reading set

Sample what the band will play this summer by taking a look back at their headline Reading set which includes Red Morning Light, Fans, Four Kicks, On Call, Black Thumbnail and many more.

Playlist review: Q - 500 Greatest Lost Tracks

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 at 5:35pm

Q - 500 Greatest Lost Tracks

The maxim, ‘Lost Classic’, is as overused as it is ambiguous. You see, some stuff gets lost for a good reason – “that brown corduroy jumper you bought me? I can’t find it anywhere, shame isn’t it” – while others things inexplicably get overlooked for seemingly no reason at all.

Q Magazine may have shied away from using the word ‘classic’ but that is the perfect way to describe most of the 500 hidden gems on their ‘Lost Tracks’ countdown.

Here's our top eleven (we couldn't get it down ten; it's too hard; try it for yourself):

Nick Drake – Tow The Line

Arguably the greatest folk singer of all time has become the victim of innumerable posthumous albums full of 'previously unheard tracks' that are actually anything but. With the exception of Tow The Line, that is, which is autumnal, brooding, driving and quite simply spectacular.

The Fall - Lost In Music

Maniac he maybe but captivating front man he defiantly his. Check out Mark E. Smith doing what he does best on this track from 1993's The Infotainment Scan.

John Coltrane - Ole Coltrane

From post-punk hero to Jazz legend next, with John Coltrane and his innovative, boundary-pushing epic, Ole Coltrane.

The Walkman - The Rat

Quite simply, one the greatest tracks of the last ten years. If you haven't heard it listen immediately - pointed, urgent and magnificent.

Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band - Express Yourself

The sample famously pilfered by N.W.A is best heard in it's original, inspiring, state. A true classic.

New Order - Lost Vigilantes

The Manc superstars are famous for far more than Blue Monday as this superb rarity proves.

The Velvet Underground - Stephanie Says

Perhaps the coolest band ever to walk the planet, The Velvet Underground don't get anywhere near as much acclaim as they deserve. Stephanie Says is a masterful, hippie lament that you need in your life.

Fionn Regan - Snowy Atlas Mountains

Mercury-nominee, Fionn Regan, is one of the most gifted and poignant folk musicians around at the moment. If you haven't heard of him this is a great place to start - taken from the equally beautiful The End Of History.

Jose Gonzalez - Hand On Your Heart

Summoning the spirit of Nick Drake, Swedish melodist, Jose Gonzalez, highlights that he has far more to offer than simply songs for bouncy ball adverts to flog televisions, with this captivating track.

Bill Withers - Harlem

"Bill Withers, who thank the Lord is still with us," as Alan Partridge famously once said is in fine form on this brilliant soul classic - get listening.

Sonny Boy Williamson - Checkin' Up On My Baby

We round things off with a legendary bluesman and one of his lesser-known masterpieces, Checkin' Up On My Baby - some of the finest music you will ever hear.

We could go on, and on, and on as this playlist is literally hours upon hours of fun for music geeks like us.

Click here, hit shuffle and enjoy. Long live the mixtape!

Gary Evans

Album review: This week’s round-up

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 at 2:39pm

Charlotte Church - Back to Scratch

Fair play to Churchy, she’s funded (from her sizeable fortune) the entire Back to Scratch project herself, from the recording and production process right up to the music videos.

It’s been five years since her last album, Tissues And Issues, and the half-decade break has given rise to a new folk sound with tracks such as Ruby and We Were Young backed only by the faintest of guitar tickling while The Actors and the title track find Charlotte in more familiar diva-pop territory.

Stand-out track, however, is the bluesy stomp of Don’t Think About It - “So don't pay no mind / Don't even think about it / He's just another mad man / Trying to get at it,” she snarls showing the full range of her unquestioned vocal talents.

It’s clear to see why the Welsh warbler had the temerity to back this album with her own dosh as it offers far more than most of the female singer-songwriters overwhelming the charts of late.

Joe McElderry - Wide Awake

Here we go then; get ready for some first-class, caustic, X Factor-bashing – McElderry fans might want to look away now.

The first six seconds of album opener Ambitions are fine(ish), but when whimpering Joe begins to sing it’s clear that the album is plummeting south, rapidly, from here on in.

His ‘Ambitions,’ it transpires, are to sing vapid, pointless-pop abominations with a vocal sound somewhere between Mika and posh-goon, Tom Chaplin, from Keane – is there a worse, more beleaguering, place to be?

The song writing is lifeless, the lyrics are laughable and the sentiments are sickening – it’s therefore garneted to be massively successful.

Swedish House Mafia – Until One

Although we may never see anything quite as repugnant as the days of the superstar DJ and superclubs of the late ‘90s ever again, spinners like Tiesto, David Guetta and this lot, Swedish House Mafia, are not a million miles away.

The Scandinavian trio earned their stripes by tirelessly gigging through clubland resulting in a lucrative summer residency at glamorous Ibizan club, Pacha.

Commercial success has followed with singles, One and Miami 2 Ibiza, and now, with a collection of their favourite beat monkey friends, they’ve released an album, Until One.

It almost seems unjust to be unpleasant towards people who have as much fun playing and making music as Axwell, Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso do, but ultimately it’s entry-level house music for ears that can’t concentrate for more than thirty seconds without a senseless ascent through a scale, a needlessly grandiose breakdown or a torrid vocal.

Belle & Sebastian - Write About Love

Scottish indie royalty, Belle & Sebastian, are back with their eighth studio album and they’ve brought some guests along from the ride.

Boring, broadsheet favourite, Norah Jones, adds little to the dreary Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John while actress lady-person, Carey Mulligan, chips-in on the playful, B&S-by-numbers, title track.

There are still moments of the old Belle & Sebastian, saccharine and delicate magic on show here but for the most part it’s overwhelmed by underwhelming, lacklustre indie-pop.

Gary Evans

SMP nominated for Best Music Startup in the TechCrunch Europe Awards 2010

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 at 1:19pm

The accolades just keep on coming for SMP as not only have we been nominated for The Good Website of the Year Award 2010 (read all about that and vote for us here), we’ve also bagged a nomination for Best Music Startup 2010 in The Europas, the TechCrunch Europe Awards 2010 for European tech companies.

The awards are held on November 19 in London and you can vote for us by clicking here.

We really like awards; they make us dead happy and stuff so if you could spare us a few second of your precious time to vote for us we would be eternally grateful.

It only takes one, quick, click of your mouse to vote, so do it now! Thanks very much.

Long live the mixtape!