Happy Days
Anna C funks it up...

HOUDINI- Smokers Cough

Houdini profess to have been raised on the best rock music of the 1990’s. It is hardly surprising then that ‘Smokers cough’ is an energetic, spiky affair of a song, a song that, thankfully, sounds nothing at all like someone hacking their lungs up. Still, if we must keep the smoking theme going, then if this single was a cigarette, it would be menthol. Smooth and perfect on a cold day, the London trio take expected influences of Nirvana and Fugazi and mix them with spiky British indie-rock circa Dirty Pretty Things or Arctic Monkeys to create a fantastic example of what is really just a great pop song. Sounding confident and assured as all bands in their genre should, and with an angular chorus courtesy of Appleseed Cast and a chugging guitar sound here reminiscent of trademark Weezer, the melodies on the title track and B-side Treading water’ also brings to mind OK Go. If all that doesn’t float your boat, it will please you to know that you can listen for yourself for free, which means that you can download it now and still have money for that next fag.


Released 26th July, 2010. I honestly didn’t have it through my letterbox then!


HAPPY DAYS (Volumes 1-4): Original Disco and Funk Joints Remastered.

I always wanted an afro. Shame then that my parents gave me the palest skin possible and poker straight hair. Still, I can pretend. And lo! Put two men together who used to escape out of their bedroom windows in London town, often travelling 30 miles or so just to hear the latest soulful funk and disco belters back in the day, and I have a soundtrack with which to do so. While four CDs might seem like a mammoth collection at first, what DJs Terry Farley and Dave Jarvis have actually done is catalogue a precious time in clubland history: whether you were there or not, this is a fantastic way to revive old memories or discover new ones, finding out where the house artists of today got their inspiration from, for those of us who still like to dance like no-one’s watching of a Saturday evening.

Opening with breathy vocals, a good horn section and some dirty bass courtesy of Chocolate Milk’s sexy ‘My mind is hazy’, there are many more epic funk pieces to follow. Tracks from legendary acts such as The Jacksons, Earth, Wind and Fire, Herbie Hancock and Nina Simone- (singing ‘The Pusher’ live- honestly doesn’t get much cooler than that)- sit alongside less familiar names (for me anyway!), bringing to the table more cheeky slap-bass, flutes, falsetto foreign vocals and ‘Shaft’-style strings then you could shake, er, an arse at. From the laidback latin-inspired ‘Love everlasting’ by Jon Lucien- contrasted by Lalo Schifrin’s dramatically funky version of ‘Jaws’- to a beautiful version of The Animals’ ‘House of the rising sun’ by Idris Muhammad, obviously these are just a few examples of what ‘Happy Days’ delivers, though all four volumes of ‘Happy days’ are absolutely essential in explaining where Freemasons, and other massive artists from recent dance history, nicked their samples from and bringing a summery feel to the next few depressing winter months. If you needed another reason to delve deeper, it will make you feel like your life is permanently one long seventies cop TV show. So buy it.

Released 13th September, 2010.