The Best Music Recommender in the World. M.

This week, choices from Benin, Oman, Palau, Cameroon, Belize, Marshall Islands, Peru and Turkey were eligible for double points.

Ah, M. M for Music, M for Magnificent, M for Marvellous. M for The Mosquito.

Are you familiar with The Mosquito? It is a device that emits a high pitched buzz (specifically a 17.4 kHz buzz, accuracy fans) that most people under twenty five can’t hear but is incredibly annoying to teenagers. It is designed to stop young people congregating around shops and bus stations and has the added advantage of being far cheaper than long-term investment in education, youth services, mental health services, tackling youth unemployment, or any of those other things that might actually improve the lives of young people. But why improve a situation when you can move it, eh? Out of sight, out of mind, am I right? Kids today! All they are interested in is doing a drugs and then disrespecting statues of Churchill. It’s appalling! After all the money that dog has saved this nation on car insurance! It’s a fucking disgrace!

Where was I? Oh yes. The Mountain Goats. Everyone loves them, don’t they? Everyone except me. And even I don’t dislike their music in the way I dislike, say, Feeder, where I could put my thoughts about why I don’t like their music to paper; where I could explain my reasoning. No, my reaction to The Mountain Goats is like a teenager’s to that 17.4 kHz whirring. I. Just. Need. To. Get. Away. It’s visceral, instinctive, unexplianable. By all sensible reasoning I should like them. I like things that sound like them. And they aren’t bad people, I don’t think. I take mild offence at their twitter bio being “progressive doom metal from the British Midlands” (because if you are going to be a smart alec about other places at least have the decency to make your flippant comment geographically accurate) but it certainly isn’t something I would hold against them (and it is probably a reference to something that has gone over my head anyway, yeah?)

The point I’m waffling toward is that my problem with The Mountain Goats, it’s me, not them. I’m aware that I have a problem. I know nobody else should be punished for my failings. So what am I to do with the fact that two people recommended The Mountain Goats this week? The obvious thing to do would be to try to tackle my own prejudices and just listen to the albums. Well, I tried that, and niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrr. So, in the interests of fairness, because I am at fault, and because I suspect that deep down in the heart of every The Mountain Goats fan is the urge and the need for squares like me to just not get it anyway, I am awarding Slugger (The Sunset Tree) and Em (Transcendental Youth) twelve points each. Hopefully that leaves everybody reasonably happy.

As for everyone else…

  • Plashing Vole recommended Young Team by Mogwai…

    …despite knowing how I feel about Mogwai. In truth he recommended six albums and I rolled a die and it came out five and his Mogwai recommendation won out which is bad luck, sure, but I cannot control the fates. I know a lot of people love Mogwai’s unique brand of emo-jazz but it’s not for me. Soz, world. One point.

  • Justin Chisnall, in something of a break with tradition, asked me to listen to the song Nick the Chopper by Barış Manço eight times in a row…

    …and, as you can probably imagine, it was a truly terrible gambit on his part. The same song eight times does not an album make. I liked the song (a sort of Rasputin-esque number about a guy who chops wood) but by the eighth listen I wasn’t as fond of it as I was on the first. I don’t like to chuck around words like ‘inevitable’ and ‘foolhardy’ and ‘blockhead’ but even with the double points for Turkey it was always a tactic that was going to struggle to score well. Four points.

  • Donna Morris recommended Take a Break by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes…

    …and I feel bad for only giving it three points but there is a reason, and it’s a good one. No, really, hear me out… OK, so, as you may or may not know, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes are a punk supergroup covers band. On Take a Break they cover R&B classics. So far, so good, yes? Yes. HOWEVER, when they cover Where Do Broken Hearts Go by Whitney Houston they see fit to ignore the pause. You know the pause. The ‘where do (pause) broken hearts go’ pause. It is one of the finest moments in pop history. It should be in the V&A next to the first ten seconds of Hanging on the Telephone by Blondie. It deserves respect and, well (punks gonna punk I suppose) Me First and the Gimme Gimmes showed it none. They just 1-2-3-4’ed their way through the whole song. No pause. No respect. No class. Unforgivable.

  • George Sandison tentatively recommended Love Original by Mr Leo…

    …because he wanted those sweet sweet double points for Mr Leo being from Cameroon. He wasn’t totally convinced he had made the right decision and rightly so in my opinion, because it sounds suspiciously like Pitbull. Eight points.

  •  Graham Cox recommended Cell-Scrape by Melt-Banana…

    …and honestly, what was he thinking? Go big or go home, I guess. It was certainly a brave choice. But does Japanese noisecore impress me much? It’s alright, but it won’t keep me warm on the long, cold, lonely night, will it? Five points.

  • Desmond recommended Tender Pervert by Momus…

    …who, I am ashamed to say, I had never even heard of until he did a lockdown album that got him a mention on the news and everything. (Having said that, Ghetts is still not a household name so my shame is tempered somewhat by the fact that not everything gets the acclaim it probably should, etc etc). Anyway, I did a bit of research and he’s kind of a big deal, I think. He has released, what, seventy-odd albums or something. I suspect he is one of those the-more-you-put-in-the-more-you-get-out sort of experiences and that I was only ever going to get limited returns from one listen of one album. I also suspect that Desmond was assuming that I might be more familiar with Momus’ stuff than I am, and possibly less of an idiot. But I’m not, and I’m not, and so I can only stretch to six points.

  • Chris Bissette recommended End Measured Mile by Make Do And Mend…

    …but it was, perhaps, a little too loud for me. It’s a shame because he has been slowly climbing up the leaderboard and was becoming (and perhaps still is) a dark horse for the whole shebang. We’ll have to wait and see. For now though, seven points.

  • Daniel Carpenter recommended Young Man in America by Anais Mitchell…

    …that I thought sounded a bit like Joanna Newsom doing an album of Bruce Springsteen b-sides, which in theory would be right up my street, but on this occasion I liked a lot rather than loving. Eight points.

  • Picky Bastards picked Joa by Coco Mbassi…

    …which, like the Anais Mitchell album, I didn’t connect to (as much as I might later on) on the first listen but, unlike the Anais Mitchell album, was a choice from one of this week’s double points countries (Cameroon) and was therefore worth a much more useful eighteen points.

  • Mat Pringle recommended Dünden Bugüne by Barış Manço…

    …and in the process helped scientists finally confirm whether it is more sensible to recommend an album by somebody than the same song eight times. It is. It turns out that it is. Twenty points.

  • Georgia Boon recommended Gül Kendine by Mor ve ötesi…

    …who, fact fans, came seventh representing Turkey at the 2008 Eurovision final with 138 points. I’m only giving them twenty two points. That’s still pretty good though, I reckon. Yeah? Yeah.

  • Then, as previously mentioned, we have The Mountain Goat choices from Em and Slugger…

    …that I’m giving twelve points each.

  • jummo70 recommended Real Life by Magazine…

    …which gave me something of a dilemma. Right, I have a question for you. Is ‘Shot By Both Sides’ so good that it makes everything else by Magazine seem lesser by comparison, or did Magazine only have one good song? Because ‘Shot By Both Sides’ is, undoubtedly, brilliant, but everything else I hear by them slips from my brain like oil off something that isn’t really absorbent at all. In the interests of it probably being me, fourteen points.

  • Hannah Hunt recommended Box by Mellowdrone…

    …which I liked, but I can’t find anything pithy or amusing about, sorry. It’s hard work coming up with twenty-odd of these little summations every week you know. Blimey. Fifteen points.

  • Tom A recommended Grit by Madrugada…

    …which, if I’m being really honest, took one heck of a while to warm up. Seriously, three tracks in and I was like omg lol wtf etc, and not in a good way. Then it started getting all Mudhoney doing a big bad ballad and I was like omg lol wtf etc but in a good way. So a mixed bag all in all, but with very very good good bits. Sixteen points.

  • Nick Rayney recommended Frengers by Mew…

    …who describe themselves as ‘stadium indie’ and, you know what, I couldn’t put it better myself. Proper uplifting and that. Seventeen points.

  • William Mallin recommended Soul Makossa by Manu Dibango…

    …which is great, and in doing so made it two weeks in a row with the highest score, this time getting a  massive thirty six points. Can anyone stop this album recommending juggernaut? I don’t know. Probably. Maybe. What’s that? I’m trying to answer my own rhetorical question? No. You’re trying to answer my own rhetorical question in your face.

  • Dave Hartley recommended Monkeytown by Modeselektor…

    …which featured all the pleasing bloops and whoops that we have come to expect from the Hartley pick and therefore gave him a return of nineteen points.

  • Neal recommended Katropta by Sokratis Malamas…

    …which pleased me greatly, and twenty points, and yes I am running out of things to say but god damn it I’m up to nearly two thousand words here it’s is ridiculous.

  • Fat Roland recommended Lunatic Harness by µ-Ziq…

    …which the more observant of you will have observed starts with a µ not an m but actually I think capital µ is M and anyway µ-Ziq is actually Mike Paradinas so it, like totally counts you guys. Stop arguing. Twenty one points.

  • And our winner is Sleepy, who recommeded No Holiday by The Muffs…

    …which is just the most perfect collection of songs, isn’t it? So good. Twenty two points.