Monthly Archives: January 2012

Have The Ting Tings torpedoed their own career?

To anyone else in music, permanently deleting songs you’ve recorded simply because your record label likes them would be lunacy. Not if you’re The Ting Tings.

For a large part of  2008 they were Les Inescapables. If they weren’t blasting from every radio near you they were aurally assaulting you in that incessant iTunes advert. Critically as well as commercially their distinct brand of shouty pop did well – bagging them a Novello Prize in 2009 before they disappeared, presumably back to Salford to plot “WHAT NEXT?”

“What next?” indeed…

Perhaps hoping to start their own Bowie-esque Berlin Trilogy they then decamped to Berlin (it’s never Middlesbrough with these things) where they rented an old jazz club to record in. There they spent 9 months quietly working on a follow-up, influenced by dance and techno.

The product of all this was supposedly at one stage going to be an album called Kunst, which is German for ‘art’ – and sounds a bit rude in English if you mispronounce it. ‘Hands’ – a really rather good first single was released, but after they refused to perform on the most watched British TV performance slot because it just happened to be The X Factor it stalled at No.29, like any other single from a band returning from a 2 year break with minimal promotion.

This is when things started to go a bit mammaries-up…

Columbia, their label decided to have a first listen to the fruits of their labour. After hearing them rave about how brilliantly radio-friendly the 10 or so tracks were, The Ting Tings decided that only sensible thing to do would be to DELETE THE LOT. And then bugger off to Spain to start again from scratch.

They attempted to justify this in their recent interview with The Observer by going on about it being too easy “to quickly bash out any old shit off the back of the first album. Get it on the radio, have a cheap nasty hit. And we didn’t want to do that.”

Making statements like you’d “rather puke on your feet” than fit in with the likes of David Guetta is all very noble, but when second albums by major labels often sell 90% less than debuts there’s a fine line between artistic principles and a total lack of business acumen. And if the songs had really been so awful in the first place then it’s doubtful they would’ve presented them to the label in the first place.

What we have here ladies and gentlemen is a case of MGMTitus…

Rewind back to 2008 when MGMT were everywhere. Oracular Spectacular’s singles, particularly ‘Time to Pretend’ and ‘Kids’ were the curse of every montage/TV drama trailer. Voicing their discomfort with this new-found fame, they returned in 2010 with the psychedelic Congratulations, a deliberate u-turn away from anything that had brought them commercial success. When in uneasy interviews forced to promote your new record you describe it as “a collection of nine individual musical tours de force sequenced to flow with sonic and thematic coherence”  while at the same time declaring “no hits, no singles…it’s not like we’re entitled to have tons of people care about our artistic vision.”

Does any of this seem familiar to you?

The Ting Tings are a bit like a teenager who’s just dyed their hair a ridiculous shade of maroon. Tell them that the ridiculous shade of maroon compliments their bone structure and makes their skin look quite nice (for a change), they’re liable to snarl at you before reaching for the clippers and doing a Britney.

As it hasn’t been released yet, it’s hard to say for certain whether their new album Sounds from Nowheresville will utterly bomb. The reaction to its leak a week ago has been mixed, with the band themselves asking their label via Twitter to rush-release it; “Come on … let it go!!!” showing that they’re not completely commercially contrary as they’d have you believe.

With their most recent single failing to chart at all and their fan-submitted cover art featuring the two of them as grinning, rotting corpses, The Ting Tings at least seem 100% committed to making their destiny come true. Whatever that is.


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So this is what JANUARY 2012 gave you…

Music today isn’t all Fearne Cotton ruining your favourite bands, discovering and becoming bored of an ‘EXCITING NEW ACT’ in the space of 9 minutes thanks to Twitter and lamenting The Good Old Days when you’d pop into Woolworths on a Saturday to see what exciting new single by S.O.A.P  & co was out. But there is a fuckload lot of tripe out there, so the least you can do is take the good with the band and seize on it all with GUSTO.  With that in mind, welcome to Put the Needle on It, the blog equivalent of  your really embarrassing Auntie.

No Shade

What in fresh hell happened to the ‘Sisters?! Actually, once you get over the fact that ‘Shady Love’ is  closer to LMFAO than Elton John’s toupee it’s easy enough to embrace. Pulsating and close enough to generic, without being over the Jessie J scale of shit –  radio should lap this up. They’ve been quietly recording a follow up to their already iconic dance opus Night Work in seedy Berlin. Boy George and Kylie (!) have voiced their approval of the results so far on Twitter, so needless to say we’re all in for a big treat.

Bye bye, Boy Banned

Sad news for fans of Eurocreme’s NON-PORN export.  After enough line-up changes to confuse even the Sugababes but with a few decent songs hidden behind some incredibly dodgy videos, the lads have decided to call it a day after member Ethan was offered a solo deal.  So farewell Boy Banned, if any of you end up doing any actual porn – you know where we are.

OH my god

Nadia Oh’s new song is fucking amazing. And is called ‘Fqn Amazing’  So you won’t be calling Advertising Standards on everyone’s favourite indie Ke$ha today. Just the Grammar Police.

Back (vengeance pending)

As well has being a year where we have returns by the likes of everyone from Madonna, Ladyhawke, Placebo and Estelle, 2012’s pop soundscape looks set to be even more phwoarsome by confirmation by Alphabeat and Dragonette that they too are unleashing themselves on unsuspecting ears. The latter have even given us a tiny tease of their first single ‘Let It Go’ which sounds like they’ve not strayed far from collaborator Martin Solveig. So long as Madonna doesn’t swoop down like a musclier version of Gollum and nick any songs like she did with ‘Turn Up the Radio’,  the song he wrote with Sunday Girl, all will be well.

Don’t Panic!

Blondie’s first album in eight years, Panic of Girls, released last year was surprisingly good – proof that whatever Debbie Harry’s doing (or not doing) these days she should keep at it.  And like any other musician in this day and age she’s not immune to leaks. ‘Restless’, a track from the studio sessions that never made the final cut has surfaced.  Gawd knows how long it’ll be until we get another offering so have an aural shufty.

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