The Easy Gramophone - July

5 songs you can legally download and listen to - free

Feature by Sean Michaels | 15 Jul 2006
  • Yo La Tengo

1. Loki - Across the Room
Loki may be the first great Scottish rapper. He's got a hard Glasgow stare and a south side brogue, raps like an elastic band snapping paperclips into the dark. With a suppleness that faintly recalls Nas or The Streets, Across the Room is melancholy without being trite, honest without being sentimental. Heartbreaking hip-hop that reveals Dry Your Eyes for what it is: candyfloss, soap-opera, anachronism.
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2. Brent Gorton and the Tender Breasts - That Photograph
Is it the best band name ever? I'm pretty tempted to say yes. But this is not a gang of leather-clad punks, no riot grrrl synth group. It's instead a trio from Albany, NY, one Mr Gorton and two lovely ladies - and I will not comment on any of their chests. That Photograph is McCartney bounce and Lennon persistence. THUMP THUMP THUMP go the double toms, kids clap in the back, a pop song snakes a circle round your balmy room. Take out your kites and cameras.
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3. Lenin I Shumov - In C
Probably the crowning work of this defunct Toronto band, a track that does for Terry Riley's In C what Guy Fawkes almost did for Parliament. While his band sways and tumbles, Eugene Slonimerov roars in Russian or gibberish or both, long lungfuls of madness while the piano resounds. More Mark E Smith than Tom Waits, more Velvet Underground than Gogol Bordello, more mosh-pit than funeral parlour.
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4. Jacob Borshard - Grass Stains
Some people have soft-spots for boys with fringes. Others like girls with pearly painted nails. Me I just like the ukelele. Borshard sings a love-song that's bashful, gentle and, one must admit, a little sexy. He wants your bra off, he wants the stars out, and did I mention he has a ukelele? Also a drummer, it seems. So here's a tip, free of charge: the final chorus, jingly and strumming, is a great way to close side 1 of a mix-tape. Anything can happen when one of you gets up to turn it over.
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5. Yo La Tengo - Bean Bag Chair
There are a few things that Yo La Tengo do well. Yes, one of them is long jams of guitar feedback. But the other is jaunty songs with pep and pop, husband-and-wife harmonies. This one also has trombone. If you need a song for the honeymoon, as one of you chases the other round the suite with a wooden spoon and a slightly lusty grin, well look no further. It's a new track from their upcoming record. Apply your cherry chapstick and get to kissing.
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