Singles: Blur, Martin Carr, The Darkness, Chris Brown, Cullum, Faulkner

Published on July 5th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams

Get yer singles! Fiveferapahnd! Et cetera! Let’s see what’s in the box this week…

Blur – “Under the Westway”


Blessed with the kind of big, open plain production that graced Think Tank and elegiac melody that this bunch could always hit you with at a moment’s notice, “Under the Westway” sounds as if it could take its place alongside the likes of “The Universal”, “This is a Low”, “Tender” and “Best Days” as a classic Blur ballad that raises thousands of little lights in the air so you festival crowds don’t have to. It’s a joy to hear Damon Albarn open up and sing like this, not least because it would appear that the smokily impassioned croon he came to develop has dimmed not a jot. On this form, a new studio album would be most welcome.

Rocksucker says: Four and a Half Quails out of Five!

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Blur – “The Puritan”


Talk about rolling back the years – daft keyboards, tumultuous Coxon guitar, la la la-ing, spotlight-on-society lyricism and all over in three and a half minutes. We could bang on but there’s an awful lot of Blur scribbling to come what with all albums being reissued, so we’ll keep it snappy and get to the quail-doling.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Brandy feat. Chris Brown – “Put It Down”


Brandy? As in “The Boy is Mine” warring with Monica? And is the introductory caption at the beginning of the video meant to say ‘starting’ rather than ‘starring’? Anyway, the juxtaposition between the annoying, sped-up title refrain and Chris Brown is a striking one insomuch as it’s the latter that proves more of a challenge in terms of giving it more than thirty seconds of your time without resorting to self-flagellation or even seppuku. Said video comprises largely of Brown and another fella hanging out in a car being rubbish together, serving up the one billionth song this year alone whose lyrics basically amount to “you look spectacular, m’lady – would you care to satisfy my animalistic desires?” Splendid. So where’s Brandy?

Ah. It would appear that Rocksucker got confused. Here’s Brandy…

Well, that’s at least a little bit better, but in terms of a comeback – if that is indeed what this is – this is roughly the equivalent of meeting a long-estranged friend or family member while dressed, acting and sounding exactly the same as them. Come to think of it, that would be considerably more noteworthy than this thinly veiled invitation to grind up against someone’s posterior in Cafe de Paris.

Rocksucker says: One and a Half Quails out of Five!

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Comanechi – “Major Move”


As riotous, faintly sinister and bat-excrement-barmy as you’d want from these guys, and goodness knows what she’s screeching about but Akiko is still a total star and very possibly the girl of Rocksucker’s dreams. Business as usual, then, and thank goodness for that.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Jamie Cullum – “Everything You Didn’t Do”


Just when you thought Jamie Cullum couldn’t get any more loveable, he turns up advertising San Miguel lager with a song so piss-weak it should be flogging Foster’s, and a Spanish-language guest rap that sounds at any moment as if it might say “disco baby, sexy baby, HOT!” This will drive you to drink, but not in the way it intended.

Rocksucker says: Half a Quail out of Five!

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The Darkness – “Everybody Have a Good Time”


Thanks. We didn’t, though. Video’s worth a watch if you like people in bear costumes, though.

Rocksucker says: Two Quails out of Five!

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Dirty Projectors – “Gun Has No Trigger”


Nice sassy ooohs, nice shuffling beat, prominent vocal that treads a thin line between grating and enjoyably enthusiastic, just about falling on the latter side courtesy of the odd pleasing moment of exuberant phrasing. Bloke looks a bit like a young Nick Cave, too. This is okay, and next to Cullum’s offering it sounds like bloody Pet Sounds.

Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!

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Newton Faulkner – “Clouds”


No, not having it. This Faulkner chap has been billed as being surprisingly good, but there’s nothing surprising about this ‘motivational montage’ fodder, which we accept is well placed to earn its irreconcilably dreadlocked creator a shed load of music industry brownie points. This WILL get used cloyingly during the coverage for the next Comic Relief, and Rocksucker intends to use it as evidence should anyone else try to recommend Faulkner as a singer-songwriter with any semblance of originality. Maybe he was to start with, we neither know nor are inclined to find out, but if he was then he’s gone badly, badly wrong.

Rocksucker says: One and a Half Quails out of Five!

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The Gaslight Anthem – “45”


“Have you seen my heart?” No. “Have you seen how it bleeds?” I told you, I haven’t seen it. “Eeeeehhhhh, turn the record over!” – their words, not ours. My, you can almost smell the second stage at Reading and Leeds.

Rocksucker says: Two Quails out of Five!

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Gossip – “Move in the Right Direction”


Didn’t they used to be THE Gossip? At least the dull indie-disco beat remains intact, because it would appear Beth Ditto and chums are realigning their target audience, making a play for the teeny-boppers since everyone else decided that they could get by without a series of diminishing returns on “Standing in the Way of Control”. This sounds like it could be from Marina and the Diamonds’ latest album, and oh boy how we loved that.

Rocksucker says: One Quail out of Five!

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Johnny5thWheel&thecowards – “Nancy”/”In My Laboratory”

“She stared at me with one gigantic eyeball” – aye, the recent Rocksucker interviewees have not disappointed with the sparse, acoustic lunacy of “Lucy”, which also includes a sinisterly seethed appeal to a library to give our protagonist every book they have. Stick around for the Shyamalan-worthy twist at the end.
“Genghis Khan is coming round for tea” claims the even loonier “In My Laboratory”, clippy cloppy of percussion and discordantly, eerily jocular as it is. Imagine early Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci running away with the circus. Jolly good show, what!

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Martin Carr – “Sailor”/”I Will Build a Road”

As you may have gleaned from all the fuss on here, former Boo Radleys and bravecaptain guru Martin Carr is back with a brand new double A-side single…and we are delighted to announce that it’s a doozy. “Sailor”, written for Carr’s one-year-old daughter of the same name, gets cracking with a big ol’ fizzy synth line before pounding itself into a golden, typically sun-kissed rush of Beatlesy delirium – harmonies, innate sense of melody, fuzzy lead and all. “It’s looking alright to me” proclaims our hero, and so it bloody should do. Here’s hoping the world takes notice this time.

“I Will Build a Road” is a more world-weary affair, shuffling along over one of those annoying noises that everyone’s falling over themselves to base whole tracks around at the moment in the name of hit-making, but which sounds great when given a relatively low-key role amidst Carr’s arsenal of tricks. “Don’t you cry, my Suzanne / ‘Cos the overdraft is under fire again / Those bills we have to pay, they’re gonna have to wait / And the children must depend on the kindness of our friends” – it’s a damn sight more human than Chris Brown’s afore-posited “I’m sipping on that brandy / That liquour comes in handy / And girl I know you fancy / But this party I’m financing”.

Rocksucker says: Four and a Half Quails out of Five!

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Maverick Sabre – “These Days”


Samples The Turtles’ “You Showed Me”, as The Lightning Seeds did to such great effect a few years back. This is a pretty smart little number, even gets quite stirring with its big singalong chorus, but it is quite hard to get over the fact that it’s basically Finley Quaye singing over someone else’s song.

Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!

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Katy Perry – “Wide Awake”


Can you believe there’s a film coming out about this sinister talent vacuum? If she’s not going to take her clothes off in the video then there really is no point, and that’s more of a comment on her place in the grand scheme of things than any personal desire of Rocksucker’s to see Perry once again mount a challenge to drag 12-year-olds’ minds into the gutter. Truly dreadful, and fully deserving of this week’s Dead Quail.

Rocksucker says: Have a Dead Quail!

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Plan B – “Lost My Way”

Hey, listen everyone, Plan B’s rapping again! Very nice production, entertaining deployment of raised-pitch vocals, a bluesy nocturnal vibe – yep, this just about makes up for warbling in that wretched “my friend’s in a band” advert. “Lost My Way” is multi-faceted and adventurous in a way that, say, Maverick Sabre doesn’t get close to, and there’s even a remix with Raekwon on it. Fine work, Mr B.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Rizzle Kicks – “Dreamers”


Kudos for the utter cheapness of the video. As for the song itself? Unremarkable but certainly tolerable, and that feels sadly like a glowing endorsement.

Rocksucker says: Two and a Half Quails out of Five!

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Wye Oak – “Spiral”


Baltimore duo release swaggering, reverb-drenched spot of ’80s (the good bits of it) loveliness, with a looped vocal sample that drags it forward a decade before retreating back into subtle, marimba-propelled splendour. It then ditches all but the marimba – or whatever it is – and chucks a sudden blast of distortion at you during its extended outro. There’s not much more we can say other than more stuff like this and less like Cullum, please!

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Gaggle – Ninja gig at Selfridges


Not a single, granted, but this is ace and we’ve nowhere else to post it. Click here to read our interview with Gaggle ringleader Deborah Coughlin.

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About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.