reviews may 2003

Vic Twenty, Txt Msg (Mute) CDS

m/f b-box cnth POP! vg :-)

Various, Like Music To Their Ears Vol. 1 (Mechanoise) CD

I never did French at school and I haven’t progressed far enough in my beginners’ French class (once a week in dinner breaks at work – je suis Jimmy Possession, et vous etes?) to be sure what the sleeve notes say. Mostly it seems to be about the physical, disruptive, effects that noise can have on the human body. There’s something about the number of ways sleep can be disturbed by noise too, but I don’t think the sounds on here will be giving anybody nightmares. I’m finding it pretty soporific in fact. Sure, this isn’t a selection of nursery rhymes played on muted xylophones and sung in a whisper by your mum. But then it’s not exactly a full-frontal assault with all guns blazing either. So there’s noise and distortion and concrete and long wave radio and yada yada whatever, but it seems to bleed out of the speakers and lap up against your ears, not shoot out of the bass bins intent on rupturing your spleen. Picks of these gentle manoeuvres belong to our old friends Tin.RP whose noise is a steam-powered factory starting up for the day and Hirochimiq who manages to sound huge by blending strings in to the atmosphere of a chapel. (Hirochimiq:, Tin.RP:

SK, Geezer Style (Tumbledown) CDR

So there’s this band called The Streets. You might have heard of them. Anyway, SK was in a band called Uniq with this chap, Mike, out of The Streets. Then Mike hit The Road and SK was stuck in The Cul-de-Sac. But no longer. Geezer Style is a drunken Brum slurring his way round tongue twisters that rhyme with and revolve around Stella Artois while the beat pumps at hip hop speed and a tuba or something provides the stabs. It’s about as subtle as a Villa/Blues match ("I’m the fuckin’geezer from the Dingle/ Pop cherries like I’m poppin Pringles") and I’m lovin’ it.

Immi Wood, Margaret (Soft Stars) CDS

Total nonsense ("Margaret, we need you here to get the skies off of the cloudness") that mixes the Velvets and The Beach Boys over just a bass guitar and brushed drums. It sounds like it was recorded at home in one take with a fairy godmother present. Magical. 2007 Wilshire Blvd #810, Los Angeles, CA 90057, USA

We’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons, Jesus Loves The Demons (Beware The Priest) CD

So much bullshit has been written about music over the years. And, yes, mea culpa, I’ve contributed plenty nasty to the steaming heap in my time. But this is ripe stuff: "[Demons] .. left a trail of broken guitars stretching right across the South Coast.. the band have gigged and recorded sporadically wielding the sound of Sonic Youth making Shellac sick, while Les Savy Fav clean up the mess and the Icarus Line laugh in the corner." Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. Sixth form, local newspaper, fanzine editor, Steve Lamacq bullshit. The only thing missing is "they’ll be huge and on Top of The Pops one of these days."

But it’s not all bad. One word and 10 tracks redeem the Demons. The word first: "rocknroll." Simple. Not bullshit. The Truth. The Rock Truth. Check the record. Check the guys’ rock record. rocknroll. Not Rock’n’Roll or Rock and Roll or Rock & Roll. rocknroll. Hard. Fast. Dirty. Unpunctuated. Ungrammatical. Untaught. Understand this: rocknroll ain’t noise pollution. rocknroll ain’t gonna die. rocknroll is grimy and sleazy and writhes around on the floor dribbling pre-vomit down itself and pokes you in the solar plexus and grabs your crotch and kicks you in the head and changes your life forever. rocknroll is six strings and attitude. rocknroll is that manic thrill, that carefree rush, that amphetamine surge, that wired-in, wired-up headlong freefall. rocknroll is a way to live your life.

And a way to make your music. 10 tracks. 10 tracks of full-on abandon. 10 tracks of barely holding it together. 10 tracks of scrawled geetar riff, trap set abuse, Porkbeast bass and Marlborough lung vocals. Recorded like it was live. It’s alive. Forget all the bullshit. Believe in rocknroll.

Pulby, The Soundfreeze EP (Dead Digital) CDS

Do you yearn for music that can cocoon? Are you a womb-seeker? Do you harbour cotton-wool mummification fantasies? I’d like to say that Pulby do but they might be big fuckers and live down the road or something, so best to play it safe. Highlight, track two on this cold slice, is heaven – if you have the audio comfort fetish. Electronic sounds pulse out of the speaker, enveloping all in their path with a Reddy Brek glow. A dub disco dream. Big White is even better, dropping a funk tablet and coming on like some kind of dread spiritual version of PIL. PO Box 94, Manchester, M19 3WY

Foibles, Songs About Shoe People For Shoe People (Fickle Fame) 7"

Devo on a budget. And more drugs. The half-baked genius concept is that "two-dimensional mood-sherpas" hijacked Dave’s life and wrote a load of songs, which he recorded at high speed with loads of stop-start jerking about. It’s mad. And probably sad. But I love it. Especially the kazoo solo. Alstromerg, 32:16, 1tr, S-112 47 Stockholm, Sweden

Shell, Gimme Shell (Abaton Book Company) 7"

Blue for a boy, pink for a girl. Two girls, in fact. But pink vinyl for these four tracks. Four tracks that could be an opera. No, four tracks that are an opera – soaring, soaraway dramatic tension and theatrical grandness, storytelling vocals twisted around a spiralling trajectory and scored by reversed violin and dulcimer and compacted down onto the perfect pop format. Shell make music like no-one else. And they make music like no-one else. 100 Gifford Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07304-1704 USA

Polanski, Bite The Bullet (Slow Graffiti) CDS

John, Simon, Mark and Zuk. Remind you of anyone? John, Paul, George and Ringo? Only in the 3:1 distribution of normal:silly names. Bite The Bullet is over the top, but You Know Who whips up a slow swirling whirl of Radiohead and an indefinable specialness.

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