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   Wednesday, September 11, 2002  
Meanwhile, back at the Mercury Music Prize betting...
Having previously dismissed the chances of David Bowie, Gemma Hayes, Electric Soft Parade, Doves and Beverley Knight, Guy Barker and The Bees, who's left? Ms Dynamite would be the industry's ideal winner, an excellently marketable vehicle for sales, but take out the slivers of Brit attitude and the spray-on urban R'n'B is hardly anything we haven't heard before. Roots Manuva's fairly unremarkable clubby dub doesn't offer much breakout potential, can't see it doing a Roni Size, and can't quite see The Coral's precocious hand-me-down eclecticism being this year's Gomez either. Which leaves us with the two fiestiest contenders, poles apart in the betting and every other respect. Could rank outsider Joanna Macgregor be the first of the ritual token classical nominations to triumph? It would be the biggest-ever turn-up but reallyrather is slightly tempted to ignore precedent. In the same way that P J Harvey's win last year, decent tho' Stories..was, smacked of "solid body of work", Macgregor is at a v. similar point in the cycle. Play is bravura stuff, resolutely contemporary (even when playing Bach) but not trendy, and apparently a particular favourite of the judging panel chairman.
The Streets also has plenty of life about it, albeit of the low variety. Set against a slate of fairly snappy Garage-y beats are Mike Skinner's depressingly accurate snapshots of days & nights in the life of your average urban geezer - getting hammered on Kronenbourg, scoffing KFC, flaunting your Nikes, dodging your dealer coz your skint, scoffing KFC, getting smashed, pulling birds and hoping your girlfriend doesn't find out, getting stoned, etc etc. "There's no choice," says Mike at one point, but there is: Don't buy it.
The continued nomination of a 'serious music' disc with the unspoken proviso that "Of course, it can't win" is surely an unsustainable farce. Unless, unless...
So, with a weather eye on Ms Dynamite, it's The Streets at 7/4 (and Joanna Macgregor at 33/1 if you're feeling bold/reckless...)

The Streets are part of nascent UK label 679 Recordings's select roster which has just been substantially swollen by the signing of The Polyphonic Spree in a deal rumoured to be worth around £400,000...

Another upstart label, LA's Trampoline Records, seems intent on hoovering up all the under-appreciated melodic rootsy-rockers in Tinseltown. The debut compilation features the likes of Pete Droge, Jukebox Junkies, Gingersol, Evan Frankfort (Melodine), etc. 'The plan is to continue releasing compilations,' reports Billboard, 'but the label would also like to put out full-length releases from the Junkies, Minibar, and Gingersol. [Co-founder Marc Dauer] notes, "They all have records ready to go."' The last pair are on the road together right now. See Gingersol's Steve & Seth joined by Wallflowers' Rami and a Minibar bloke at the recent inaugural Trampoline bash...

Josh Rouse comes back to the UK for a few dates next month. This is good enough news in itself but with the addition of Hayden the shows surely become autumn essentials:
Oct 15 London, Borderline
Oct 16 Sheffield, Pheasant
Oct 17 Bristol, Bonaventure
Oct 18 Birmingham, Glee Club

reallyrather is also mildly excited about upcoming new releases from:
Fizzle Like A Flood - the Ernest Jennings Recording Co. puts out Flash paper queen, Doug Kabourek's "latest conceptual opus...if you were lucky enough to hear Fizzle's critically acclaimed 2000 release Golden Sand And The Grandstand you'll know why we are so excited about this". reallyrather was, and understands...
Denison Witmer - hasn't put a foot wrong so far, can the boy wonder keep it up with Philadelphia songs? Find out Sept 24...
Rilo Kiley - The execution of all things on Saddle Creek drops Oct 1, a week before..
Tahiti 80 - Wallpaper For The Soul appears on MintyFresh. Actually, based on the taster track, rr isn't in that much of a hurry to hear the frothy French anglophiles overdue follow-up to the nifty Puzzle. One curiosity is the involvment of Richard Hewson: "We were big fans of the first James Taylor [it's that man again!] record, which was released on Apple, and always wanted to work with him," Xavier Boyer says. "It was only after we contacted him that we found out he also worked on The Beatles' Let It Be..."

Finally, to Sweden: "It feels great and it's gonna be a killer!" Unrestrained optimism - and why not? - from Swedish pop marvels Holiday With Maggie as they pull together tracks for a new album due Oct/Nov. All we've had from them to date are the six slabs of excellent bouncy/slack Wilson-meets-Weezer pop on Librarian types - as someone accurately summed, "This is just one of those things you get, put on, and instantly know you love!" | hear
   posted by SMc at 11:08 AM |