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Archive for June, 2005

CAPTAIN KENNEDY: Hard Time Wakin’ In The Mornin’

Posted: June 23rd, 2005, by Tom Leins

Amiable countrified post-Britpop shenanigans from new Northern Ireland-based record-collection-raidin’ five-piece Captain Kennedy. Opening track ‘Sweetest Friend’ echoes ‘Very Best Friend’ by widely-ignored Noel Gallagher acolytes Proud Mary in both title and tone, and the band set their retro stall out from the offset. ‘Hard To Find’ is a woozy mid-period Dylan shuffle and ‘Bill Bussa Blues’ is a coked-up ‘Second Coming’/’Be Here Now’ guitar workout that Noel himself would surely approve of. A perfectly respectable debut release, but next time around i’d like to see a bit more of their own personalities and a bit less of their record collections.


SMOKERS DIE YOUNGER – Kermit Song/Five-0 (Sheffield Phonographic Corporation)

Posted: June 23rd, 2005, by Simon Minter

This is an odd combination of cack-handed vocals, which bring to mind Pavement and – oddly – Dexy’s Midnight Runners, and light-hearted, drunkenly sprightly indie guitar noise. The two songs are shot through with some electronic burbling and the result is a smile-inducing slice of out-there-in-its-normality, ever-so-slightly-post-punk low fidelity pop. There’s nothing earth-shatteringly amazing or original happening here, but in a time when every other band I hear seems to have some kind of agenda and (often misguided) belief in its bleeding-edge newness, is that such a bad thing? Support the cause.

Smokers Die Younger
Sheffield Phonographic Corporation

LIKE A STUNTMAN – Reduce (Highpoint Lowlife Records)

Posted: June 21st, 2005, by Simon Minter

A 7″ packaged in a good-looking sleeve featuring photographs of what look like the fake trees you get to put next to your train set. Like A Stuntman are a lo-fi pop band with distorted vocals over fuzzy beats and rough guitars over Casio melodies. ‘Reduce’ fails to fully deliver – the self-conscious lo-fi-ness slightly overwhelming the tune and the song – but on the B-side ‘Homerun’, is great. Its Stephen Malkmus-style vocals float over a faux-epic miniature musical journey which builds and develops like a low-rent Brian Wilson offcut. It’s followed up with ‘Early career’, which should remind me of cool underground acts like Steward and Mahogany, but which instead reminds me of Blur’s knowingly simplistic pop. I don’t consider this to be a bad thing.

Like A Stuntman
Highpoint Lowlife Records

Wolf Eyes – Mono, Glasgow

Posted: June 20th, 2005, by Marceline Smith

We played with Wolf Eyes last night and it was FUN. The Wolf Eyes soundcheck was a thing of hilarious wonder as they started up something that made the noise of a revving motorcycle and then did a mic check of “CHECK CHECK WAAAAAAAAAARGH WOOOOOOAAARGH CHECK!” over it. Awesome. We seemed to go down pretty well although it was very weird playing in daylight and my hands were shaking all the way through even though I didn’t feel that nervous. Our egos were bruised somewhat by every single person in the venue immediately getting up and running over to the stage when Wolf Eyes started.

I’d been hearing varying things about the Wolf Eyes live show ranging from head breaking scaryness to lameass noise and unsurprisingly it turned out somewhere in the middle. They started off building up some quite mesmerising washes of subdued electronic noise that almost put me to sleep it was so relaxing and then had me sitting with a stupid smile on my face. After that they added in some heavy riffery and waves of searing feedback which was fantastic for a while and then got a bit dull in its unchangingness. They should stop trying to be scary and just make noise.

Make your own Bayeaux Tapestry

Posted: June 18th, 2005, by Simon Proffitt

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Make your own Bayeaux Tapestry with the Historic Tale Construction Kit

OPTIMIST CLUB – 3 song demo

Posted: June 17th, 2005, by Chris Summerlin

I listened to this and liked it before I started reading the press release. I am starting to get into the art of the press release writing stuff for Diskant. This one really trumpets the wrong things about the band and leaves a bad taste of them being after something I hope they’re not.
Because the music is good. The press release mentions Beefheart, Deerhoof and Jehu but this reminds me hugely of Elevate. The vocals are especially similar both in delivery and lyric. They have that same funk in the music as Elevate and their big brothers GVSB had. The rhythms jerk about but the songs are well conceived and have definable choruses and hooks.
It works best when you see it as a small concern, like most bands do except maybe AC/DC or the Crue. The press release makes me think these guys might be after more and I hope not. They seem to have a lot going for them as it is.

FUNCTION RECORDS – Label Sampler #1 (Function)

Posted: June 17th, 2005, by Chris Summerlin

8 band label sampler. S’alright. Lots of bands who seem really angry about something but I am none the wiser as to what it is that has narked them so. Escanna sound more metal than I recall. You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons remind me of Trail Of Dead (maybe it’s the name). I remember seeing them play and the bassist hammering living shit out of his bass within about 30 secs. Despite their track having a “nur-nur nur-nur nur-nur nur-nur NUH NUH” bit it’s rocking enough to do it for me. Menendez are the surprise package. A bit like Quickspace/Stereolab and all that jazz it makes a welcome relief from all the noise and it’s a proper tune too. For Trucks is a pretty, woosily tuned, Drag City styled deal with some really raging full on “I have had enough to drink thank you barman” vocals and the song lasts about 13 seconds.
The less testosterone the better I think.

KOJI ASANO – Takoyakikun (Solstice)

Posted: June 17th, 2005, by Chris Summerlin

Instrumental, guitar/keys/drums craziness from Japanese folks.
I have this theory about The Wire and all that shit. You can release any old guff and if you call songs ‘works’ or ‘pieces’ or ‘compositions’ (or anything apart from songs) people will think you’re really serious and the sound of your finger being wiggled around in your earhole could be released under the title “Fishing For Wax – a series of new compositions” and some tosser in a black roll neck will start comparing it to Keiji Haino or one of those other dudes that no one really listens to.
This album is hideous. I am really sorry. I wanted to like it, the first track cracks off with some guitar freakout action and the rest of it spans freedom and hard, rigid King Crimsonisms but the keyboards just make it sound either too jovial or too dated and it’s all from the head. Even when they really rear up and try and throw off their rider, these horses are just too polite and considered.

KINESIS – You Are Being Lied To (Captains Of Industry)

Posted: June 17th, 2005, by Chris Summerlin

I always think it’s weird to read things like
“Kinesis have always been anti-image, anti-media-led”
on a press release. I’m not knocking anyone for getting press shit together for a record but it makes me initially suspicious. Call me a cynic.
I thought this would be a hideous nu-metal album from the cover art but it’s actually a more eclectic brew.
The press release describes them as “a sonic stew of Muse, The Pixies and Rage Against The Machine”. I dunno, that sells them a little short but when you listen to a track like Everything You Thought You Knew To Be it should have read “a sonic stew of Muse, Muse and Muse…with a bit of a Smashing Pumpkins chorus”. The vocals especially and the rank, processed, unhuman quality of the guitar reeks of Muse so much it’s hard to handle and if it’s not Muse it’s Billy Fucking Corgan.
That’s not to say it’s all bad. Sometimes you think it’s going to go a bit Sparks, or Queen but it’s always held back by the vocals and the sonic qualities.
Apparently the band have split, which is a shame as this album should be their way of leaving behind 5 years of work and feeling proud but the sound of this record and the way they have dressed up and presented their songs is going to make this sound so dated in 5 years time it’ll be near unlistenable. But there’s a good quirky songwriter in there somewhere, underneath all the pap.

RAISING SAND – Riding The Blinds (EP) (Catfish Entertainment)

Posted: June 17th, 2005, by Chris Summerlin

I listened to this after around 20 other CDs Marceline dropped on me like the envelope of hot shit they were.
I will drift from the subject for a moment if I may… a few years ago myself and Matthew Ernest Newnham (head honcho of the Gringo Records Empire) each took a week off work on compassionate leave after we heard the devastating news that the Tight Bros From Way Back When had broken up. I was pretty down. Matt at least got to see them play.
Raising Sand sound a lot like the Tight Bros. I suspect this may not be deliberate. This EP is nearly awful, nearly. But it’s not. It fucking rips. It’s just the right side of cheesy but ultimately it’s immensely good fun to live with for the length of it’s 4 songs.
The press release says the guitarist is Graham Bartram. Graham, I salute you. You are a BAD ASS guitar player. This man knows how to drop a Billy Gibbons let me assure you. Raising Sand are more on the lines of AC/DC (albeit a little more Southern Rock) but the guitars are straight up ZZ Top at times. And they seem to have taste too. I admit when the closing track Witness To The Storm starts I feel a little bummed out, it’s a kind of rock ballad that all bands have on their albums or EPs because they feel they should do. Led Zeppish, nice solo but a bit dad rock. But, like The Chain by the mighty Mac, the start proves to be a stooge for the most bitching ending and any subsequent listen is influenced by this knowledge. Like trying to follow the plot in a film with a really rude shag scene in it. Impossible, because you know what’s coming up. And what’s coming up is yet more smoking riffery.
Vinny Foreman’s vocals too are pretty smoking. He doesn’t shy away from getting Bon Scott when it’s needed and thankfully his Bon never gets too Brian if you know what I mean.
Plus, these dudes are from Guildford.