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Archive for December, 2005

THE HUSSY’S – Tiger EP (Fat Cheerleader Records)

Posted: December 9th, 2005, by Alex McChesney

You know that ad that’s on at the moment, with the girl talking straight to camera about how she’s glad that she split up with her boyfriend because it’s given her inspiration for an album that she’s going to write, record and produce using Windows XP? Well, if that lass was real, then the first single off that album might sound something like this.

Four tracks, then, of spiky guitar tunes with strong melodies and lyrics about being young and working in a shit job and fancying someone and getting your heart broken, which, surely, are the themes upon which all great pop songs are built. In truth, however, this record made me feel a bit… well… dirty. Like illicitly reading a teenage girl’s diary. It’s just not for me. I’m still in my twenties (just), but I feel way too old for this record. I strongly suspect that it might be a great, and very fun, slice of indie-pop, but I’ll hate it forever for making me feel like my dad.

And marks off for shameless apostrophe abuse. Tsk – young folk today!

The Hussy’s

Hella/The Psychic Paramount/Zuinosin – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, 5/12/05

Posted: December 6th, 2005, by Simon Proffitt

Back when I was 10 years old (approximately), I got hold of Utter Madness, by Madness, on cassette. After listening to that, all other music that I heard at the time seemed ridiculous because it was too sincere and earnest. Why the hell would you want to listen to Spandau Ballet crooning about love when you could jump around the room to One Step Beyond, or Night Boat To Cairo? It’s doing Zuinosin the greatest possible disservice by mentioning them in the same sentence as Madness, but the relative emotions they conjure up for me are uncannily similar. Why the hell would you want to listen to Keane singing about love when you could watch Zuinosin jump around the room, screaming and flipping the bird to the audience? Zuinosin render most other music obsolete by nature of the fact that, among other things, they are:
a) insane
b) fantastically costumed
c) from Japan
d) brilliant musicians
e) having a lot of fun
If I was in a conventional band, I’d be emailing the other members right now to tell them that I quit. The only way that you can possibly follow Zuinosin is if you are a member of The Psychic Paramount, or a member of Hella.
Here are some other FACTS:
If you saw The Psychic Paramount walking down any street in any town in any country, you would instantly know that they were from New York.
The Psychic Paramount are responsible for the best album released in 2005.
The Psychic Paramount are responsible for my hearing loss.
Zach Hill is the world’s greatest drummer*.
Spencer Seim is the world’s most dexterous guitarist*.
Spencer Seim now resembles the ‘Juniper Bush’ character played by Terry Jones in Life Of Brian.
Hella are less thrilling with four members than they were with two.
Hella are still very thrilling.
Tonight was the best gig I have been to in a long time.

*I’m fairly confident that this will be difficult to disprove. If I press the Sun (the star at the centre of our solar system, not the newspaper) to your left cheek, and then Alpha Centauri to your right cheek, would you be able to tell which was the hottest?

QUACK QUACK – Self-Titled (Run of the Mill Records)

Posted: December 5th, 2005, by Dave Stockwell

Here be a five-track mini-album by three fine men of Leeds. There be a bassist known as Stu, and there be a man economically manipulating tiny keyboards through some choice pedals known as Moz, and the drummer be Neil Turpin of Polaris/Bilge Pump fame (as well as previously heavenly rhythmic propulsion for the likes of Snail Racing and Doug Scharin’s HiM project). This minimal trio have conjured up 20-odd minutes of sublime trance-like pop songs, chock-full of bubbly and fizzing analogue synths, badass krautpoppin’, busting and droning basslines, and the obligatory smoother-than-smooth cool cat jazz of Turps’ insouciant rhythms.

I’ve been in a few minds about what I like best about this recording: the drums are predictably fantastic and infuse QQ’s every move with a wonderful restless energy and groove; but then the spare and solid basslines are the real weight behind their drive; but then the keyboards carry all the hooks and some fantastic square-wave textures and splutters and spurts that really do sound particularly lovely. Unfortunately, it looks like I’m going to have to resort to that awful music critic cliche of saying:

“The band is more than the sum of its parts.”

The problem is; it’s all too true. QQ is a minimal beast, but the economy of music (nothing too fancy, no pointless notes or sounds, every texture seemingly carefully chosen) makes the record a delight to stick on. It’s not too long (in fact the brevity is sublime), it’s not too produced (the sound is predictably spot-on), it’s not too ambitious or overwrought (every song progresses as far as feels absolutely right), it certainly isn’t slapdash or careless (not a note out of place). It just hits a number of buttons really, really well. Their music itself doesn’t scream maddening originality, but they do clearly revel in their influences – lo-fi synth pop, mantronic krautrock, chilled jazz, whatever – and weave a wonderful web of these sounds to end up giving you a CD that probably sounds different to everything else you’ll stick on today.

When QQ supported with Pit Er Pat earlier in the year, they made that band of (really rather good) keyboard-toting, fabuloso-drumming, quirkomatic popsters seem limp in comparison. At the time I couldn’t work out if it was to my chagrin that they blew away the headliners quite so sumptuously (and seeming so effortlessly), but now I have records by both bands I know which one I’m going to be returning to on a regular basis.

The final conclusion? A rare pleasure. Bravo, you three fine men. Now give me some more.