Speakers Push Air

February Album Reviews For Narc
February 3, 2013, 8:28 am
Filed under: Bands, Narc | Tags: , , ,

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.

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