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Careless Demos Cost Lives: #4

Thee Moths, A Small Glass Ghost Pts 1-6 CDR

Pts 1-6, yes, but actually one long track. Starts. Ahh. Ahhhh. Ahhhhhh. Ahhhhhhhhh. It's a load of old ahhs. Where is this going? I'm wondering the same thing myself. Stops. Then. Blam. Urgency. A folk song at pop speed, stumbling and falling over itself, on the edge of falling apart, like something from Neutral Milk Hotel only just boy/girl and guitar. Stops. Silence. Buzz. Stops. Tick tick tick. A song from a 50s film musical where the high-pitched hero starts to doubt himself, but his lady joins in at the end and all is well again. Oddly, there was only a beatbox and large bass for accompaniment. No time to wonder why. Stops. Now acoustic guitar and double-tracked to haunting effect. The bloke sings faster than the girl. This is lovely. Now there's violins as well. Mmmmm. I hope it never stops. Stops.

Pants Yell CDR

Showing the kind of practicality not often associated with musicians, Pants Yell's effort comes with a To Do list. Showing the kind of mentality often associated with musicians, Pants Yell's To Do list does not feature the kind of tasks that yours or mine might, viz: Fred check, grind stone, 3 drawings, supplies, read, draw, tape w/name. Of these, Fred check is the most intriguing. I have visions of Mr Yell trailing through the streets of Boston with a clipboard and a large marker pen. On encountering any Frederick on his list, he draws a huge tick on their face and scampers sprightly off. But there's music as well. And it's the kind of music you'll like if you like intelligent chaps writing intelligent and wry songs and recording them at home in voices that only half-broke and only half in tune with dischordantly melodic backing on 4-track machines. (Milky Wimpshake etc.) And I do. So I do. 5 Murdoch Terrace, Brighton, MA 02135, USA

Uter CDR

Do you remember when the first Flying Saucer Attack album came out? Do you remember the thrill of playing it for the first time? Do you remember goggling at the photocopied sleeve notes that advised you to tape the LP with the recording levels too high and listen to that instead of the record, for full enjoyment? Do you remember how right it sounded when you did? Would you like a small hit of that fidelity buzz today? Try Uter's JAMC cover on this demo, recorded down a sewer with Kraftwerk's instruments. Then stick around while Uter's mate, The Sultan of Browney, rewrites one of Uter's own cuts by sticking a huge beat and a rap on top of it.

Salter Cane CDR

Long Gone sounds like Nick Cave back from the sessions for the Johnny Cash album and inspired. Injecting the mildly poisonous, mildly hallucinogenic venom of a Texan snake into his band, he races them along a dark countrybilly trail while he intones like a preacher at a funeral.

Man With No Pseudonym CDR

Once a week I go to a French class in my dinner break at work. This week's new words leave me able to remake Man With No Pseudonym roll off the tongue in a way that the English singularly fails to do: Homme Sans Nom. (Any other bands requiring this service, please get in touch through the usual channels.) The music flows better than the name and Option B is the kind of stripped-down breakbeat nod fodder that got us all excited about Discordia a couple of years ago and still sounds fresh today.

A Lion, Crayons CDR

Bands that send crap press releases (see previous demo columns for examples) are likely to have crap music, in my experience. (My advice: if in doubt, send nowt.) Bands that take a bit of care over the words will definitely take a lot of care over the music. Lion's words are better than average.

"Dear Careless Talk Costs Lives, you are named after a series of posters circulated during the Second World War. Are you aware that the war is over? ... This being the case, maybe you ought to think about changing your name to something more relevant ... I expect you get a lot of competition from the other music monthlies like Your Country Needs You and Loose Lips Sink Ships. We've sent you a CD. Sincerely, A Lion."

Crayons is a bunch of tracks that sharpen up the guitars and scribble them into a maelstromic noise. RAUS has a Joy Division dark vibe while Quiet Party takes the post-Bleach Nirvana sound and stretches it. The Mouse That Realised How Small It Was drags things out in an off-colour Slinty way and Venice Ghosts is just loud. All of them are not your average fare.

Birdengine, 4-track TAPE

It's like a little story, this journey through Birdengine's cassette. Faster Little Man, Fire at the Aviary, Birdengine, Deadmermaid, What I Do Is Secret, Thoughts of a Falling, Glass Man, Please Don't Take My Soul. It starts off pastoral. Can you call something pastoral without it sounding like a vicar's tea party or a village cricket match or a Miss Marple mystery? Faster Little Man introduces Birdengine to the world by sounding like a dulcimer being played rapidly in a sunny copse while the birds in the nearby aviary sing loudly. Pastoral. But it goes downhill and continental from there on. Fire At The Aviary drags itself along on all fours and dissolves into mournful fuzz. The dirge continues but with a bouzouki on top and we're at a Greek funeral. Soft and sad and affecting and a tale told. It's like the Lone Pigeon and King Creosote stuff on Fence at the moment.

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