Blog Archives - England Swings - The BEST music from the UK
 
Manic Street Preachers have passed, during the last twenty years, from quirky Welsh band, to indie superstars, to grumpy rockers, and finally, in the last few years, into a British institution. They've never been well known in America, though, and that probably won't change with this album.


For a band that's been around so long, though, this new album is vibrant. There's a pattern on the record that the songs follow, for the most part. It's like Nicky Wire and James Bradfield decided to purposefully move away from oddness, and wholeheartedly embrace "classic" rock. Moreso than 2007's "Send Away the Tigers", and nothing like last year's "Journal For Plague Lovers", the Preachers have incorporated heavy-duty hooks, straightforward song structures, and a streamlined sound. 


First single "(It's Not War) Just the End Of Love" is a prime example. It's classic and classy, with a solid beat; as if it had been made in 1983 instead of 2010.


Nearly every other song has the same feel. The title track has grinding guitars and a nicely harmonized vocal. "The Descent (Pages 1 & 2)" is rock mainlined into a pop template. In "Hazelton Avenue", the guitars whir. the tune clangs, and Bradfield continues to deliver strong and occasionally nuanced vocals. 


There are some guest appearances on the album, but they're not necessarily an enhancement. Ian McCulloch from Echo and the Bunnymen shows up on "Some Kind Of Nothingness", and the song sounds like a cross between his old group and the Preachers. John Cale adds keyboards and "noise" to "Auto Intoxication", but it's the acoustic guitars that call the listener's attention. Finally, Guns 'n' Roses bassist Duff McKagan turns up on "A Billion Balconies Facing the Sun", but - let's face it - the bassline doesn't stand out on the song, so what's the point?


All in all, "Postcards..." is a solid and strong effort. But there are some problems as well . . . 


1). Strings. There are eight string players dedicated to the album, but for the most part, none of the songs that incorporate them are in the least improved by the sawing away. This was a misstep on the band's part; they could have easily done without them. 


2). The band was so careful to stick to classic rock riffs, that there's occasionally the danger of coming off sounding too closely like the influences. There are times on the album when the listener begins to wonder if he's hearing Bon Jovi. Or Journey. 


3). Including the strings, the choirs, and the often overplayed guitars, there's some serious overproduction going on on the record. 


All that said, "Postcards..." is a very pleasant listen. There are no songs that fall under the category of "awful", although "I Think I Found It" comes close to sounding like a Rod Stewart outtake. If you like your rock crunchy - but not TOO crunchy - then this one is for you. 


I give Manic Street Preachers a solid 7.5 on the England Swings scale of 1-10.
 
First, the playlist from last night's England Swings show : 


Carl Barat - Run With the Boys
Fenech-Soler - Lies


Madness - Our House
Villagers - That Day (Becoming a Jackal)


Marina & the Diamonds - Shampain (The Family Jewels)
Mumford & Sons - Blank White Page (Sigh No More)


Rolling Stones - 2000 Light Years From Home (Their Satantic Majesty's Request)
Just Jack- Astronaut (All Night Cinema)


Shakira ft. Dizzee Rascal - Loca
Aeroplane - Superstar


The Fab Four Freakout : 


Beatles - One and One Is Two (demo)
Beatles - I've Got a Feeling (Let It Be)
Beatles - If I Needed Someone (Rubber Soul)
Beatles - Misery (Please Please Me)


Paramore - Use Somebody (live)


TC Folkpunk - Bread and Circuses (Every Cloud Has a Sulphur Liining)
TC Folkpunk - Land Of Lukewarm (Every Cloud Has a Sulphur Lining)


Robyn - Criminal Intent (Body Talk Pt. 2)


Tired Pony - The Good Book (The Place We Ran From)


...and this week's top 5 songs in the UK : 


5). Alexandra Burke - Start Without You (-4)
4). Script - For the First Time (non-mover)
3). Katy Perry - Teenage Dream (non-mover)
2). Taio Cruz - Dynamite (non-mover)
1). Bruno Mars - Just the Way You Are (new)


TOP 5 ANALYSIS and REVIEW


A new number one. A crash for last's week chart-topper. And a bunch of non-movers. 


That sums up the British Top 5 this week, but it was a hairy finish, with the possibility of "Must Be the Music"'s winner Emma's Imagination in an early bid to take a position. On Tuesday, it was in the number two slot. By Wednesday, it was at number three. Thursday, it had dropped down to five. And by Friday, it was simply . . . gone. 


That left room for Alexandra Burke's "Start Without You" to move back to the number 5 position, a fairly precipitous fall after the song had spent two weeks at number one. 


It's not really a surprise, though, is it? Three weeks in, just listen to the thing. It's all fluffy and inconsequential. After you learn the hook (and it takes one listen to do that) it just kind of  . . . lies there. It's designed to appeal to tweens, really, and after they've all bought their copies, there wasn't much left. 


It's a nursery rhyme about booty. It won't be remembered a year from now - or, honestly, next week. 


On the England Swings scale of 1-10, this song gets a 5.5 this week. 


The Script has managed to keep "For the First Time" in the top 5 for three weeks now as well, but the difference is that the song has maintained it's highest position. 


I can recommend the song to fans of Coldplay and Snow Patrol; as a matter of fact, you might mistake it for either of those bands. It's developed on the same pattern, but it's done so well that you can't dislike it, either. See previous posts for a more exact description of the tune. 


It's not wearing out on me, either. I give it a 7 this week.


Katy Perry performed a somewhat lackluster version of "Teenage Dream" on Saturday Night Live in the USA last weekend, but the fortunes of the tune have already reversed in the homeland, with the song dropping from the top of the American charts to number 5 this week. I've said it before, but it's the best song on Ms. Perry's recently released album. 


Actually, it's the ONLY good song, although the other hit "California Girls" was listenable. 


The best part of "Teenage Dream" is the "Don't ever look back" line. The song has held onto a number 3 position in the UK, which shows a bit more staying power than its performance in the USA. 


I give it a 7 this week.


Taio Cruz' "Dynamite" has also lost some traction in America, with the song sliding to number 6 this week. Again, it's a UK hanger-on, not-moving at all from the second slot on the chart. 


Besides the vapidity of the lyrics, the song is clever and fun. Taio has established himself as a major star on both sides of the Atlantic, which is a rarity nowadays. I'm thinking, too, that he's just getting started. He's got the right sound for the moment, but I'm not sure how ephemeral the whole Euro-club sound will be in the future. He'll have to change some to remain viable, so it will be interesting to watch. 


"Dynamite" gets a 7 this week, too.


Okay, Bruno Mars did it all the right way, apparently. After guesting on a couple of high-profile songs this year, he took his buzz and ran it into a number one song in America and the UK. So what's it like? 


It's pretty smart. It's got a beat, but it's also sung beautifully. It's probably closer to the Script in this week's chart than it is to Taio. It's all earnest and yearning, with Bruno hitting those high notes guaranteed to give the heart a twinge. Bonus added attraction : your mother would probably like it. 


It's a well-deserved number one. I'm still absorbing the tune, so I'll go with a 7.5 this week. 


Album review tomorrow!
 

There's so much stuff going on today on the England Swings show that it's hard to know where to begin - ! Here's some of what we've got : 


- The best, brightest, newest, and coolest music from the United Kingdom.


- New songs from Carl Barat, Marina & the Diamonds, Mumford & Sons, and lots more.


- Older tunes from Madness, the Rolling Stones, and more!


- Some featured songs from amazing Canadian artist TC Folkpunk. 


- The Fab Four Freakout, featuring a rare Beatles demo!


- UK Music news : Which Sugababe was arrested?!


- Top 5 Countdown : the top-selling songs in the UK right now!


- Lots more!


You can tune into the England Swings show today at 6:00 p.m. ET :


In Northern Virginia : Cox and Verizon cable channels 37 and 837
In Reston, Virginia : Comcast channel 27
Anywhere else in the world : http://www.fcac.org/webr
 
Robyn is fulfilling her promise of releasing three albums this year. The second one, "Body Talk Part 2" has just come out, and it's a continuation of the synth-blasted power pop sound that she pioneered. Admittedly, she's cheating a little bit. The albums could be classified as "mini", since they're only eight songs or so each. The quality of the music, however, cannot be denied. She's also continued the pattern of the last album by having seven strong synth-based tunes, and one acoustic number at the end. With "Part 1", that song was "Hang With Me", which is revealed in its fully-formed version on this album, and has been the first single. The song is classic Robyn, ranking up there with her best. The synths grumble and burble, the beat is a straight trance 1-2, and the vocals hit the sweet spot. There are tons of people using this kind of synth backgrounding nowadays, from Katy Perry to Alexandra Burke, but they don't quite get it. There's an organic quality to the synthesizers used in Robyn's songs that makes them sound ALIVE. She and her producers really understand how to wring the utmost emotion from the instrument. Robyn explains this herself at the beginning of "Include Me Out" with the spoken words "It is really very simple. Just a simple pulse repleated at a regular interval". It's never really that simple, though. In this song, the pulse she's referring swoops and dives, multiplies and growls. Robyn's lyric-writing skills come to the forefront in "We Dance To the Beat". Ostensibly a robo-trance rhythm, she brings in interesting words : "We dance to the beat of silent mutation/We dance to the beat of your brain not evolving fast enough". Each new line is thoughtful and creative. "Criminal Intent" is all spooky and sliding, but also adorable. We've got a male voice intoning "Somebody alert the authorities/She got criminal intent", while Robyn slips in and out, using several filtered voices. We've got a guest star on the next-to-last track, and guess who it is! C'mon, take a guess.That's right! Snoop Dogg. Where doesn't he turn up nowadays? Obscenely hilarious, it's a conquer-the-world pop song with one of the best raps Snoop has done recently. "Even the Vatican knows not to f--- with me", Robyn breezes. The acoustic track is "Indestructible", and the accompaniment this time is a string quartet. Admittedly, it gets a bit monotonous after a listen or two, but it will be fascinating to see her turn it into a monster pop song on Part 3. I'll go so far as to say that Robyn is one of the best innovators and writers in the pop music nowadays. This album is nearly all strengths, and I can't wait to see what she'll do next. 

 
Timothy Cameron is a Canadian artist who also goes under the name T.C. Folkpunk, and he has released a mini-album which has some depth. "Every Cloud Has a Sulphur Lining" is  - true to the name - both folky and punky, mostly consisting of vocals, guitar, and occasional harmonica. In the tradition of punky folks, or folky punks, T.C.'s record is cynical, with bitingly satirical lyrics. Imagine a cross between Billy Bragg and early Elvis Costello, and you're getting close. Like Bragg, much of the content of the album could be classified under "songs of protest", and like Costello, there's a rough and ready feel to the music that complements the words. As a matter of fact, the music couldn't be simpler and more direct. The guitar style that Cameron prefers is an amplfied acoustic guitar, which produces a metallic and intense sound that's also reminiscent of early punk.The most successful tracks on the record are the rockier ones. "Bread and Circuses" is a lively diatribe against the corporate world, with some clever turns of phrase : "No need to question their integrity/All of the important stuff is on page 3" is T.C.'s screed against the sheep-like manner in which people accept the evil in the world while blocking it out - as John Lennon said "with sex and TV". "Video Video" is perhaps a modern answer to Costello's "Radio Radio". The Costello song was about the control that the radio of the 1970s had over the hearts and minds of listeners; Cameron's song points out that the same can be said for modern television. "Land Of Lukewarm" posits the gray-flannel existence that modern life creates.There's an energy in Cameron's music that shows a lot of potential. If he continues to explore this route, he could write some marvelous stuff in the future. Right now, he's attacking some easy targets : corporations (including tobacco companies on "Looks Like There's an Industry"), and television. There's some intelligence here, and it can only be hoped that Cameron broadens his aim in the future. I give "Every Cloud..." a 7 on the England Swings scale of 1-10. 
 
Here's the playlist from last night's show : 

Grinderman - Heathen Child (Grinderman 2)
Edwyn Collins - Losing Sleep (Losing Sleep)

Vic Reeves & the Wonder Stuff - Dizzy
Coral - More Than a Lover (Butterfly House)

Underworld - Bird 1 (Barking)

Count & Sinden ft. Mystery Jets - After Dark (Mega Mega Mega)

Wizzard - Angel Fingers
Pixie Lott - Use Somebody (live)

Phil Collins - Standing In the Shadows Of Love (Going Back)

The Fab Four Freakout : 

Michele Arnaud - Je Croyais (Yesterday)
Beatles - Chains (Please Please Me)
Beatles - Getting Better (Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band)

McFly - Party Girl
Danny Byrd - Ill Behaviour

Belle & Sebastian - Write About Love
Florence & the Machine - Dog Days Are Over (Lungs)

Electric Light Orchestra - Turn To Stone (Out Of the Blue)
Sounds Incorporated - Go 

...and this week's UK Top 5 : 

5). Olly Murs - Please Don't Let Me Go (-1)
4). Script - For the First Time (+1)
3). Katy Perry - Teenage Dream (-1)
2). Taio Cruz - Dynamite (+1)
1). Alexandra Burke - Start Without You (non-mover)

TOP 5 ANALYSIS and REVIEW

The dilemma that a person who blogs about the top 5 has is : what happens when the top 5 remains the same a second week? Since I'm the only person I know that blogs just about the top 5, then that dilemma has presented itself to me this week. The British charts have taken the unusual turn of barely changing at all, with the same five songs - slightly rearranged - remaining. 

So I'll have to find something new to say about each one of them. 

Okay . . . 

Olly Murs slides back a space to number 5 this week with "Please Don't Let Me Go", his reggaefied pop song that's guaranteed to offend no one, most especially those who were rooting for him on X Factor. I suppose a case could be made here for the blandness of the acts that have emerged from the show, but Olly seems to transcend that with this song. I think a case could be made that it's only the initial releases of the winners (Alexandra's "Hallelujah", for instance, and Joe McElderry's execrable version of "The Climb") that fit the definition of eXcruciating Factor. All told, there have been some not-bad-at-all songs from program graduates, and two of them are in the charts this week. 

Good things about Olly's tune : 
 - the scratchy vinyl beginning and ending
 - the competently tight musical backing
 - the theremin-like whistle
 - good vocals

I still can't quite get over the "da-da-deet-da-da" thing, though. I'm thinking that small moment should have been replaced with a half-second of silence. The kick-in of the next part would have more impact that way. 

Still, one can expect worse. I give Olly a 7 on the England Swings scale of 1 to 10. 

The Script have jumped up a place with "For the First Time" to number 4 this week, as their new album "Science and Faith" has topped the British charts. Here, I might say that the song follows the Coldplay/Snow Patrol template so closely that Chris Martin and Gary Lightbody should be seething. It's all there, from the double-tracked acoustic guitars in the verses, and the pumping piano and guitar in the chorus. We've even got one of those harmonized "ooh-ooh" things, which ends with a bent guitar note that sounds soulful and puts the perfect cap on it all. 

So I should absolutely hate the tune because of the lack of originality.

But, dammit. 

I like it! It is indeed all of the above, but it's so masterful that I almost don't mind. It's even got the right crossover appeal to be played on "adult contemporary" radio in America (I call it white woman radio). Against my better judgment, I give the Script an 8.

Katy Perry has now had the number one song in the USA for two weeks with "Teenage Dream", but the song has slipped back to number 3 in the UK. Putting aside the contradiction of a 24 year old singing this song, it's by far the best song on the latest album. Equal parts Pink and Joan Jett, the tune percolates through one's brain, so that (shudder) it's sometimes the first song you hear in your head when waking up in the morning. It's the "don't ever look back" part that does it, you know. 

I give Katy a 7.

Taio Cruz, purportedly the nicest man in show business, goes back up again with "Dynamite", landing it at number two. Interestingly enough, the song hit the top of the pop charts in America, but only managed a number two on the Hot 100. 

And let's face it, it's an absolutely ridiculous song. "I throw my hands up in the air sometimes/Saying Ay-o/Gotta let go"? I mean, c'mon . . . 

Of course, the semi-tranced out instrumentation is killer, and Taio, auto-tuned or not, sings it so that it sounds like fun. It makes you want to go there. Dynamite, yes! I give Taio an 8.

My cousin Alexandra is all ghetto and pumped on the song that manages to hold onto the number one position in the UK, a feat that has only happened two other times this year (Katy Perry's "California Girls" and Roll Deep's "Good Times"). There's a nice, deep sound to the track that belies the inanity of the kiddie-rhyme chorus. Of course, we've also got Laza Morgan doing a faux-Jamaican rap in the middle, which increases the street viability of the song. Sorta. 

Will this song be an American hit? I still doubt it, but you never know. Check back with me in eight months, which will probably be as long as it takes for it to insinuate into the American gestalt. 

I'm giving Alexandra a 6.5, because even though the track has stayed at the top for two weeks, it's going to wear out fast. It already is. 

Come back tomorrow for a dual album review!
 

The England Swings Show TODAY : September 19, 2010


This week, the England Swings show will present the best, brightest, newest, and coolest music from the United Kingdom, as it does every week. For an ongoing collection of the most wonderful stuff, this is the place to be!


We have new songs this evening from Grinderman, Belle & Sebastian, and Phil Collins. We have older tunes from Wizzard, Vic Reeves, and Sounds Incorporated. That's just a few of the things we'll be playing!


Our regular features :


Fab Four Freakout : Beatles tunes, this week featuring a cover song in French!
UK Music News : George Michael's in trouble again!
Top 5 Countdown : the best-selling songs in the UK TODAY.


When to listen : 6:00 p.m. ET
Where to listen : 


In Northern Virginia : Cox and Verizon digital cable channels 37 and 837
In Reston, Virginia : Comcast channel 27
Anywhere else in the world : http://www.fcac.org/webr


Come and visit us for a couple of hours of pure entertainment!
 
Phil Collins - Going Back


Remember the heyday of Motown, when the brash and beautiful sound of the city made its way out of Detroit? Remember all the great groups that were around? It seemed like every day, there was a new, irresistable song coming from the hitmaking factory that was Motown records. Remember how the racial barriers in pop music really began to break down during those days? Everyone was loving it!


Phil Collins remembers all this, and he's decided to remind you of it. His new album "Going Back" is a tribute to the great songs and timeless tunes that defined the era. He applies his drumming skills and silken voice to no less than 18 songs from that time, running the gamut from the early 1960s to the early 1970s. He's taken the time period, made it his own, and redefined the music. 


Okay, that's enough! You know the above is complete nonsense. What Phil's done here is seen an easy buck, and he truly remembers how he did so well in the past soaking old Supremes songs. So he's done a Rod Stewart and put together an album meant to represent his "roots". With the release, he's foisting it off on you, and will see how gullible you are. 


So, above we've had the rose-colored view, and the cynical view of Phil Collins' new record. Which is accurate.


Both, really. Yes, Phil has managed to release a record that many will write off as lightweight and unnecessary, but here's the thing : 


He's done an absolutely masterful job at it. 


Phil doesn't just sing the songs on the album, although that's a big part of it. He's also taken care (or perhaps it's the producer) to recreate the sound of Motown, music and voice, with remarkable accuracy. The album has a big, open sound, and in nearly all cases, the instrumentation of the songs is reproduced meticulously. That makes the listener a bit more reluctant to just dismiss the album. 


Listen to the single "(Love Is Like a) Heatwave", the old Martha and the Vandellas song. Beat for beat, horn for horn, the song recreates not only rhythm, but the entire atmosphere of the song. Phil's also successful in redoing several other hits, including the Four Tops "Standing In the Shadows Of Love", "Jimmy Mack", and "Going To a Go Go". 


That's not all, though, because he's also chosen several lesser-known lights in the Motown universe, and done justice to them. He resurrects Eddie Holland's "Take Me In Your Arms". He brings pathos and soul to the Impressions' "Talking About My Baby".


He also goes slightly out-of-genre on two songs, both made famous by British singer Dusty Springfield, and written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. Both "Some Of Your Lovin'" and the title track of the album are gorgeous. 


Not everything is perfect. When Phil sticks to the template, he's brilliant, but there's one song that he didn't attempt to recreate perfectly, and it's a stinker. The Supremes' "Love Is Here and Now You're Gone" sounds lackluster in all senses of the word. 


So, the more cynical listener may ask, it sounds good, but what's the point? If you wanted to experience the shine of Motown, why not just listen to the originals?


Good point. As careful as Phil is here, there's not one song that improves on the first takes. There's a few that come close to matching them, but what the listener is mostly left with is a sense of wonder at how good this music was to begin with. 


If Phil can tap into that feeling, then he's done okay. Unlike his peers, he's done a tribute album of old songs with perhaps a little more love in his heart than holes in his pockets. 


I give Mr. Collins a 7 on the England Swings scale of 1-10 for this album. Just because it's fun. 
 
Here's the playlist from last night's England Swings show : Manic Street Preachers - (It's Not War) Just the End Of LoveMark Ronson & the Business INTL - The Bike SongSpooky Tooth - Waiting For the Wind (Spooky Two)Magnetic Man ft. Katy B - Perfect StrangerTing Tings - HandsTemper Trap - Sweet Disposition (live)Lost Legions - Make Me (Thanks, Peter! http://www.myspace.com/lostlegionsband)Velvet Underground - Waiting For My Man (Velvet Underground & Nico)The Fab Four Freakout : Beatles - Instrumental/Blowin' In the Wind/Hare KrishnaBeatles - Savoy Truffle (The Beatles)Beatles - Don't Let Me Down (Let It Be)Monarchy - Love Get Out Of My WayElvis Costello - Little Triggers (This Year's Model)Chemical Brothers - Another World (Further)Billie Anthony - This Ole HouseBreakaways - SukiyakiMumford & Sons - Little Lion Man (live)...and this week's top 5 in the UK : 5). Script - For the First Time (new)4). Olly Murs - Please Don't Let Me Go (-3)3). Taio Cruz - Dynamite (non-mover)2). Katy Perry - Teenage Dream (non-mover)1). Alexandra Burke - Start Without You (new)TOP 5 ANALYSIS and REVIEWA few months ago I would have said that the British charts were becoming topheavy with urban music. Between the plethora of songs that Dizzee Rascal was churning out, Roll Deep, and many more, it looked like the current wave of popular tunes was tipping toward grime, rap, and R&B. It just goes to show that you never can tell. This week, we have a ton of pop at the top. There's some ersatz urban with Alexandra, but the rest . . . The Script release their most successful song in England since "The Man Who Can't Be Moved" two years ago. Unsurprisingly enough, the song is ballad that sounds a lot like, um, "The Man Who Can't Be Moved". Since that song broke in the summer of 2008, the Script have had an odd career arc. Several other singles in the UK didn't do nearly as well, but one of them - "Breakeven" - ended up becoming a fair hit in the United States. If you liked "Breakeven", or even "The Man", you'll like this. It's pleasant enough. Gorgeously harmonized vocals, thumping piano, a cello, and strummed acoustic guitars, followed by a chorus straight out of the Snow Patrol book of tricks. It's all good, if somewhat predictable. On the England Swings scale of 1-10, I'm giving it a 7.The enigma that is Olly Murs drops from the top position to number four this week, which might actually be longer in the top 5 than anyone expected. For a prefab X Factor runner up, it's not awful. There's a reggae lite feel to it, with a theremin-like thread in the song. He almost ruins it with the "da-da-deet-da-da" in the middle, but that's quickly over. All in all, I supposed it could be worse. A lot worse. I give the song a 6.A pair of non-movers occupy the numbers three and two slot on the British charts this week. First, we've got "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz. Based on the international hit status of the song, it's obvious that Taio has hit on the dream formula for UK artists : how can you be "pop" enough to succeed in England, and yet still "street" enough to climb the American charts? Taio's done it, with this frothy concoction with ringing guitars, squelching synths, and a deadpan vocal that fits the song perfectly. Cheers, Mr. Cruz! We give you a 7.5.And from the other side of the Atlantic, Katy Perry does exactly the same thing. At number 2 in England, "Teenage Dream" is by far the best thing on her new album. It has more of a rock bent (indeed, 1980s rock) than the Taio Cruise, but it also has the same ephemeral pop feel to the chorus. That sound has managed to propel the song to the top in America, FINALLY replacing the Eminem/Rihanna abomination that has ruled for seven weeks. See last week for a review of the album, but the mediocrity of the whole package doesn't take away from the fact that this is a great song. I give it an 8.Alexandra's back! She's still being forced into the groove that Simon Cowell and company have chosen for her, though. She's "urban", but it's urban with no edge - she remains a "safe" choice for most who want to seem all modern, but can't deal with the obscenities and innuendo of most modern rap/R&B. "Start Without You", based on an old Boney M song (and several nursery rhymes before that), has an American rapper who sounds Jamaican, some occasional auto-tune, and a bouncy synth rhythm. With every song that Alexandra releases, you can see the calculation in it. Every song is a carefully focused grab for the American market. But as usual, the producers have missed the mark. The song is STILL too happy and British for American ears. It's much closer to the Fast Food Rockers or S Club 7 than it is to, say, Ke$ha. Americans won't get it. Then again, what do I know? I mean, Mumford and Sons is catching on in the USA. What's up with that? Nope, I still contend that Alexandra is going to have to get a lot rougher to hit the American charts. This song ain't the one. I give my cousin Ali a 6 just for being joyful. Album review tomorrow!

 

The England Swings show TODAY : September 12, 2010


One of the great privileges of the England Swings show is the fact that we frequently are contacted by bands in the UK looking for a wider audience for their music. We've played several of these in the past, and today we're proud to present a track by a band from Jarrow named Lost Legions. Here's hoping this will gain them much-deserved recognition!  . . . and British bands? Send us your music and we'll be happy to play it!


The England Swings show is on the air every Sunday, presenting the best, brightest, newest, and coolest music from the United Kingdom. We can be found at 6:00 p.m. ET (that's 11:00 or even 2300 in the UK) :


In Northern Virginia : Cox and Verizon digital cable channels 37 and 837
In Reston, Virginia : Comcast channel 27
Anywhere else in the world : http://www.fcac.org/webr (there's a new webpage at this location - just look for the "stream radio" button!)


In addition to the above, we'll also have new tracks from the Manic Street Preachers, the Ting Tings, and Monarchy, and we'll play some older tunes by Spooky Tooth, Elvis Costello, and Billie Anthony!


Our usual features : 


Fab Four Freakout : The Beatles do . . . Bob Dylan?!
UK Music News : Winner of the Mercury Prize announced!
Top 5 Countdown : the best-selling songs in England today, with a new number one!


Tune in tonight at 6:00 for a couple of hours of merriment and celebration of British music!