thanks to Hanging Rock Comics
Filed under: Bands, Narc, Reading | Tags: Bridie Jackson, Shrag, Some other shite
They let me review the singles in Narc again. Will they never learn?
“his feet are cold, his piles are playing up and the last thing Lee Fisher needs is more indie folk flummery. But here it is anyway…”
A song of snowy days and marital tragedy sees Bridie Jackson & The Arbour at their haunting, wrenching best, Bridie finding new bluesy shades to her voice and the often acapella arrangements and mournful violin really adding to the utter desolation of the song. Stirring stuff. Keeping it local, bEAK are on grand form on Night Owls, which sounds like a tarted up Why Can’t I Be You? by The Cure, while Get Your Beak On is just fucking stupid, in all the right ways. Rivals’ new single Wax isn’t exactly reinventing punk rock but it’s urgent and bratty and the riff gets under your skin.
Snakadaktal are ‘big in Australia’ and now they’re trying to bother us. But judging by their Air / Dance Bear single (equal parts Coldplay stadium indie plod and insipid Frazier Chorus whimpering) I hope they don’t stick around long enough to get homesick. The Correspondents are a London-based swing/hip-hop duo. If that doesn’t make you puke, the fact that Well Measured Vice sounds like an electro-swing Curiosity Killed The Cat will. Utter balls. They’ll be everywhere at Glastonbury – slip into your nearest K hole rather than endure them. Tooms are a fucked up blend of digital hardcore, doom metal and D&B and Disgraceland is a blisteringly crunchy single, all hardcore assault and scary monster vocals. Wonderful.
How a Brussels-born African ends up making Associates / Japan-style icy synthpop is beyond me, but that’s what Petite Noir is up to on Disappear and it’s impressive stuff. Also tapping into 80s synth pop but adding a dash of Vangelis’ proggy soundtrack vibe are Apollo Gets The Girl, who’s single Kitten survives the band name to marry edgy rhythms and sparkling melodic touches to quite lovely effect. Eliza & The Bear (Upon The North / The Southern Wild) simply remind us how out of control this creeping Mumfordism thing is, more ‘rousing’ indie folk flummery with one eye on the pyramid stage and the other on that crucial Boden demographic. Finally, Shrag are the best indie band for years and now they’ve split up and it’s your fault because you were too busy buying fucking Mumfords records and you’ll hear the indie pop AWESOMENESS of On The Spines Of Old Cathedrals with its brilliant lyrics and cheeky New Order ripoffs and you’ll punch yourself in your stupid face for being so utterly WRONG. I hope.
Filed under: Bands, Narc | Tags: Caitlin Rose, Frontier Ruckus, Pissed Jeans, The Rockingbirds
Caitlin Rose – The Stand In (Names Records)
Caitlin Rose’s debut album Own Side Now was something of a gem: classic country songwriting with enough ‘indie’ elements for the hipsters, and dominated by Rose’s amazing vocals – powerful without being overwraught, never resorting to warble or melisma. Here, Rose sounds even better, but a bigger budget means things have got fuller (great organ and brass, even some gospel-tinged backing vocals) without being remotely overegged. There are covers, a collaboration with Gary Louris, even a loveable crack at Dixie jazz that works a treat. But mostly there is Rose with her solid gold songwriting and breathtaking voice and songs like No One To Call and Golden Boy that show up Shania and Taylor and the rest as shiny, empty clichés.
Frontier Ruckus – Eternity Of Dimming (Loose)
Over the course of 20 songs, 90 minutes and around 5000 words, songwriter Matthew Milia and his utterly beguiling band take you back to their 90s Michigan childhoods and you simply won’t want to leave. This third album is getting much-deserved exposure courtesy of Loose and songs like Black Holes and Dealerships have enough melodic shimmer for the radio. As ever, the songs are driven by banjo and musical saw and Milia’s astonishing words – full of small sweet details and a hazy summer’s end melancholy that manages to be deeply personal in its specifics and yet universal in its emotional impact. Almost overwhelming in its beauty and lyricism, this album will burrow into your heart and stay there.
The Rockingbirds – Return Of The Rockingbirds (Loose)
The finest country band this island has ever produced, The Rockingbirds split up before someone sent out the memo saying it was cool to like country again, so it’d be a mean ornery soul who wouldn’t welcome them back. And the new album is a cracker – Alan Tyler’s voice still has that rich, oak-aged tone, the band are on wonderful form and the songs are even more immersed in the vintage country rock sound Tyler that inspires them. Of course, we’re all a bit older now and the songs have more mature concerns and perhaps a little less fire in their belly but there’s nothing MOR about this album, just beersoaked ballads and honky tonk shitkickers and pure country goodness.
Pissed Jeans – Honeys (Sub Pop)
Honeys is scuzzy, aggressive and depraved. It’s a heady cocktail of early 80s hardcore – Black Flag, Flipper and their ilk – and the low-end filth of bands like Butthole Surfers and KIlldozer (especially on the darkly fucked up Cafeteria Food). There are traces of blues too, like if Pussy Galore had morphed into Jesus Lizard rather than Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. In other words, it’s fucking great. Songs flare into life and collapse in a heap, there’s a sense of petulant, snotty disdain and it’s basically a 35-minute long ‘fuck you’ to you AND yo’ mama. You get the feeling Pissed Jeans gigs end up with everyone naked and covered in beer and that’s all you want from a band really.