Black, A Club Called Destiny (Sensible) CDS
Crackingly original stuff, but whinge first: the title track falls prey
to Obvious Radio Friendly Syndrome (it's the weakest of the lot). The
vocals are great, the idea and attitude original, but ballsiness is lacking.
It goes all staccato, but any edge has been glossed away - shame, as it's
got witty place-specific lyrics and lots of lovely cowbell.
"What are the idea and attitude, you mean-souled old git?"
I think. Played by snotty teens with smarts, and no cheap rockist trickery.
Doesn't that sound cool?
it is, as the other two tracks leapfrog expectation. Sorrowful Swine is
sliding, eliding guitar and bitter voice, melding with harder percussion
into something less melodic but somehow hookier - circular but dynamic.
This is ultra-modern country music, as is Lurker On The Abram Sham. It's
got depth and mystery, protest, panoramic sustained notes and an air of
being traditional but utterly unorthodox; pastoral but intense; it's hypnotic.
Captain Scarlet was always a goody-goody bore anyway. (Greville Wizzard)
It's like when you suddenly realise that you really fancy the plain one
who's been just a friend for a long time, perhaps you taken them a bit
too much for granted. Now you notice what a looker your chum really is,
but what to do? You affect a slightly studied nonchalance whilst flicking
through a 'zine featuring an interview with The Autons and heaps of reviews,
but the cat's out of the bag now. Curse you Vanity Project for being such
a fox on the quiet. Can we still be friends or must I always regret my
surprise outpouring? Oh, you're such a cool pal - thank you. (Laurence)
The newsletter from Burning Emptiness Inc of France. A single double-sided
A4 sheet being enough to dispense a cameo of wit and wisdom upon each
of two dozen plus works of musical art with inordinate attention being
paid to packaging (jewel case - ooh, very bad; card cover - good). A strong
slant towards the experimental noise end of the musical spectrum from
a journal that professes deep loathing of most reviewers - another new
friend made then. (Laurence)
More wonderful whimsy from young Mister Alex, who bestows great care and
attention upon the old cut'n'paste format. Thought provoking too, in a
gently encouraging kind of way - the article on the Media Carta being
particular food for thought; the loneliness of the gig-goer being another
off-kilter insight. Each issue's a little treasure in it's own different
This is the current version of their CDR. It changes as time passes
- some tracks disappear and others replace them. A continuous work-in-progress
perhaps. This latest version has a definite US country feel, close your
eyes and you're in a bare candlelit shack in Nebraska or Idaho listening
to achingly beautiful music. Then you open your eyes and you're back in
your own room again, but still listening to achingly beautiful music.
Haunting and fragile are a couple more words that would fit, but why cram
so many into one review? Less is more, and this is just lovely. (Laurence)
Electricity is Your Friend (3 pin) CD
This is the first compilation from 3 pin and as a snapshot of the
label mindset it's pleasingly fractured. Dark often, different always,
hard to pick highlights for sure. You can get a taster on the CD with
Robots 16 but here's today's standouts:
Or Emperor never know what to say. They sure know what to play. Fuzzed-out
bottom-heavy iron-clan stoner-rock, over-hyphenated and crazily-vocalled.
In the gaps between the riffs the dragon, or perhaps the emperor, surely
on a mixture of helium, nitrous oxide and something seriously hallucinogenic,
tries to get the words out. Occasionally, he manages to do this. More
often he sounds like an out-take from a particularly weird episode of
the Goon Show. And then the riff kicks back in. Full marks.
plays Herbert with snatches of processed voice turned into techno and
overlaid with untreated children saying "I really can't remember"
and "I don't know." For some reason this comes across in a rather
destroys Strawberry Fields under a barrage of repetition, a haze of echo
and that sound a CD makes when it's stuck. Entirely disorientating and
entirely apt, the recognisable elements dissolve in front of your ears
and you're left with the ghosts of something that once meant something.
in front of a tractor while having a shave and pouring milk into a metal
churn, John Cake talks too close to the microphone. We like JG and, admittedly
in a backslapping way, we like the fact that he and 3 pin have been collaborating
after finding each other through Robots. It sounds cheesy, but putting
people in touch with music is what we're about.
Future Family and DisinVectant sound like close relatives. We've already
lauded DV in these pages - Brummie dissatisfaction through a veil of alienation
and a hailstorm of beats so grimy they'd need more than Fairy liquid and
Ainsley Harriot's elbow grease to clean them up. Sitcom Future Family
take the same basic framework, but simplify the beats and leave the vocals
clean. And sing now and again. Not exactly a generation past, but sounds
like something old school.
others not mentioned here: CJ Pizarro, Daniel Padden, Sara Ayers, dead
western, Man Manly, Jowonio Productions, Mark Vernon and Terms None.
Baker Boys, Driftwood Boats (Unlabel) CD
I could listen to this all day. In fact, I did listen to this all
day. Except for the bit when I played Jerry Reed's When You're Hot You're
Hot. And then the Smokey and the Bandit soundtrack album. Then I stopped
to pick cherries off the tree so Donna Donnelly could make us a cherry
cake, And I had a chat with Jakem from the shop whose back yard backs
onto ours, and he took a few cherries off me and I told him he could have
all the ones that were hanging over his side of the fence. He seemed happy
about that. Then I took Donna Donnelly's Mum and Dad to the coach station.
But apart from that I've been listening to this all day.
was listening to it yesterday as well. That was the first time I'd heard
it, yesterday. But it felt like I'd been listening to it for ever. And
to be honest, even when I wasn't listening to it today, it felt like I
was listening to it. It feels like life, and we all hear that.
and Dave Baker. Father and son, revelling in the music that they can make
together, just a guitar and mandolin, conjuring something out of nothing,
sharing the pleasure, the joy, the communion and communication, and feeding
those feelings into the music. That's powerful stuff, for sure. And when
the tunes and songs are tunes and songs that've been passed down and on
and down and on and down and on and down, sung by friends and families
for their friends and families round campfires, and peat fires, and kitchen
fires, on mountains, on boats, on prairies, at home and away from it,
that's the sound of life, for sure.
Is All, Busy Doing Nothing (What's Your Rupture) CDS
Nice to see Love Is All getting some major label exposure (through
Parlophone.) I hope it happens for them. We reviewed them a couple of
Swedish (Gothenburg), the label is American (NYC), the record was produced
by Woodie Taylor (Comet Gain) and the sleeve is hand-screened (pink and
silver.) The pick of the songs is Spinning and Scratching and its sound
is somewhere between 60's girl group, spaghetti western and white noise
hand-screened cover on this promo and there's less fuzz, but this is still
great. We liked another record from the same stable, Ninjas, at around
the same time :
sent an email hot on the heels of the anonymous disc: "Eric, who
is the Ninjas, recorded that record with the help of a great friend Assman
on bass. It's an untitled record full of non-stop hits." [..] It
starts with a squall of feedback and then launches into two sides of that
murky, bootleg-quality, simultaneously too-trebly and too-bassy, you-had-to-be-there,
rehearsal room cloud of sound.
on, Parlophone. As Delia would say, let's be 'avin yer.
Dead End (More Noise Less Music) CD
I've heard so much crap punk/hardcore (and their post-varieties)
over the years. I've spared you reviews of it. (You know you prefer it
that way, even those of you who don't like our policy of only reviewing
records at least one of us likes.) The list of influences on the blurb
for this Czech outfit's second album include Mudhoney, Fugazi, Dead Kennedys,
Sonic Youth and Husker Du. With these greats ANYWAY share the knack of
a melody and the notion that they can do what they like on their records.
The fact that they got a review should tell you everything else you need
A Stuntman, Stan Places (Highpoint Lowlife) CD
Stuntman? Nothing remotely dangerous here. Unless the record was
recorded in a shark tank, or on a bed of nails, or in a room with moving
walls, or standing in a cardboard box hanging over a cliff while a candle
burnt through the ropes or something. Maybe it was recorded with an old-fashioned
engineer who couldn't get his head round the technology/acoustic thing.
And perhaps he had a gun in his beard. Years ago, when it was less Pentium
and more Portastudio, Like A Stuntman's glib review description would
have been Like Guided By Voices. These day's it'd be Like Four Tet. Both
would've been unfair. There's an edgy wild weirdness (wilderness?) that,
even though it does it gently, clutches your lapels and holds you there
until it's done.
We'll forgive George Gargan the dig at Plan B but we don't need
to get into some kind of we-addit-ard when-i-werra-lad thing. Suffice
to say George knows where he came from and his background informs his
music. His music. George and acoustic guitar. Pretty and complex, pretty
complex, melodic and intricate, fragile and full all at the same time.
William Hindle, Joshong (Early Winter) CD
There's a descending run - you could hardly call it a riff - on
1983, the second track here, plucked out on a banjo that's magical. The
only other sounds are a tinkling noise, some stretched aaaaahhhs and a
one-two bass, maybe on the same banjo. And James William Hindle singing.
It must be late at night. It's definitely a time for reflection. He's
probably alone. He probably doesn't want to be. And he shouldn't be. This
is another beautiful folk record from Early Winter, limited to 250 hand-made
Gateau, Bad Trip Big Boy CD3
He's a friggin nutter, Jean. On record. I've never met him in real
life. We spoke on the email. The jury's out so far, but let's say I'm
erring on the side of wariness. Bad Trip Big Boy is about the first day
of school. As is normal in Gateau's world, it's a monologue delivered
through a misbehaving mic accompanied by a variety of sounds more usually
found in a foundry than class 1a. And it's peppered with expletives. In
fact, through the lazy distortion, the expletives are about all you can
hear on the first listen. The aural equivalent of an itchy scab. I don't
like the look of it, but I'm fascinated and I can't stop going back to