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diskant rewind: Asking For Trouble #8

Posted: April 14th, 2009, by Marceline Smith

(Originally posted November 2002)

Asking For Trouble by Marceline Smith

Hah. I went out specially and bought the new …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead single so I could review it in last month’s column and then it all got a bit hectic and I never managed to write my column. At the time I couldn’t believe I was spending FIVE POUNDS on a slab of weird looking picture disc containing two songs I don’t even like. I’m listening to it now to see if I’ve changed my mind. Relative Ways I liked at first but I am so bored of it. And particularly when there’s literally three better single type songs on View > Source Code, as the album’s not called. Hardly set the charts alight either did it Interscope? eh eh? Great video though. Blade Runner is still an overlong piece of instrumental arsing about. Apparently there’s good stuff on the CD version including Hot Roman Scandal Action but I was so horrified by the horrendous cover art that I haven’t been able to bring myself to buy it as yet.

Right, onwards with the new stuff I have been sent which has been providing me with some much-needed new listening material since I still don’t have a job or any money. Sob etc.

So, hurrah for Econoline and their new album Music Is Stupid [Seriously Groovy]. I get thanked in this which is always a nice surprise, especially when I’ve done nothing to deserve it and even more so when I get can one over Simon Minter. Haha etc. I like Econoline a lot. They’re refreshingly straightforward which sounds like an insult but when there’s so much twiddling post rock and clever-clever instruMetal around it does your heart good. Full of fuzzy/loud/jangly guitars, and tunes, you won’t likely find a better indie rock guitar album this year. From the fast thrills of I’m Plagued to the impassioned epic-ness of EmV to the quirky dynamics of Buddy Bradley it’s quality through and through. Somehow you get the feeling that the only reason the NME hasn’t gone mental for Econoline is because they haven’t got interesting enough hair.

‘Hate The Delgados‘, it says here on promotional stickers and badges for their new album, er, Hate [Mantra]. Unfortunately they’ve used the wussiest selection of colours and fonts ever so from a distance of more than 1cm it actually says LIGHT BLUE. Well, I’m intimidated. But since when have The Delgados been intimidating anyway? We love the Delgados for their purity, their dreaminess and their honesty, all of which fill this album to bursting. The Delgados have a knack for sad songs that sound happy and happy songs that sound sad, starkly portrayed in All You Need Is Hate, a joyfully chirpy song about hate that twinkles with christmas number one cheer. Elsewhere there’s soaring choruses, and lots of strings, brass and choirs. At times it seems a bit too much of a continuation of The Great Eastern and like they’re heading off down a road marked ‘Sunday broadsheets and sensible middle class audiences’ (they’re touring with Doves for heaven’s sake!) but I’d hate to lose them to Dido fans. Be nice if they could lose a bit of the polish next time before they catch Godspeeditis and get stuck on a moebius strip.

Ooh, moebius strips, what part of my brain did that spring from? Here’s how to make one. With pictures!

The new Errol Records double 10″ compilation should be issued with an instruction booklet or sold only to people with a degree in Engineering. I got it through the post one morning and struggled pathetically with it for about half an hour, first figuring out how to open it and then failing miserably to slot it back together. Still, it wouldn’t be an Errol record without intricately wonderful packaging and if I had managed to seal it up I’d probably never have tried again and would thus have missed out on the contents. The bands hail from various corners of the globe but share the same large patch of musical ground. That being, erk, post-rock for want of a better word. Stay with me though ‘cos this is good stuff and I’m as bored with post-rock as the rest of you. Highlights include Canadians Hollowphonic who kick the whole thing off, although they don’t really kick much, being all dreamy and sleepy with half heard lullaby murmurings and then proving that instrumental music doesn’t have to last two hours to be good with their short wistful slip of a second song. Denmark’s Diefenbach prove they can rock with some chiming organ and sprightly guitars. Giardino di Miro from Italy I liked already, partly because I met one of them on the Isle of Bute and partly because their album was rather good. Their song here has a travelogue feel, full of jaunty rhythmics. disoma do the loud/quiet thing well by sticking in quirky cute bits and then having a mental screaming fit half way through. Lemko Hall mess around with their timings a little in a friendly way, keeping one step ahead rather than running you round in circles and Cerberus Shoal finish things up with a whole shedful of odd sounds, jerky rhythms and chanted vocals. This is a bargain any way you look at it – a chance to hear some great new bands from around the world without having to skip past twelve identikit Oasis wannabes.

And let’s give Errol a rather large hug for the smart move of releasing the new Reynolds album, Love Songs. This is going to be very high up my records of the year list, I tell you. I’ve been lucky enough to have a copy of this since, ooh, February, and it rarely stays off my stereo long enough to get filed away. The thing I like most about Reynolds is that they take their time. That’s got its downside in that they take literally years in between records, and indeed shows, but the upside is that their songs never seem thrown together. That’s not to say that the songs are really long, more that they’re never rushed. They have a thoughtful pace like every note, every beat and every pause matter. Reynolds write some of the most emotion filled music I’ve ever heard and it’s the more complex array of emotions that they invoke. They prickle with unease and glower with bad humour, hovering over the songs which, at their best, drag you in and change your mood. After listening to the likes of Stopper you’ll have to shake off the scowling mood that envelopes you while the measured pace, seasick guitars, perfectly echoing drums and brooding cello on the second track will clear you head no bother. I can’t emphasise enough how good this album is and how great an accompaniment it will be to your winter and soggy spring trampings. Buy it!

PS. The Bilge Pump album Let Me Breathe [Gringo] is tremendous but John Coburn has written the definitive review and I don’t dare compete. I expect you read his column before mine anyway and have already rushed out to get it. If not, what are you waiting for? You can even buy it online from Gringo!

Marceline Smith

Marceline is the fierce, terrifying force behind diskant.net, laughing with disdain as she fires sharpened blades of sarcasm in all directions. Based in Scotland, her lexicon consists of words such as 'jings', 'aboot' and 'aye': our trained voice analysts are yet to decipher some of the relentless stream of genius uttered on a twenty-four hour basis. Marceline's hobbies include working too much and going out in bad weather.


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