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diskant is an independent music community based in Glasgow, Scotland and we have a whole team of people from all over the UK and beyond writing about independent music and culture, from interviews with new and established bands and labels to record and fanzine reviews and articles on art, festivals and politics. There's over ten years of content here so dig in!

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SUPERKINGS – Secret Chiefs (Feedback Records)

Posted: December 3rd, 2006, by Anna Chapman

Any band with pretensions of making it ‘big’ needs at least one killer track in its musical arsenal. You know the one, the track that jerks you from your sonic dogmatic slumber and makes you believe in the power of song again. It makes you say to yourself, “Now that is a blinding track” while sinking its aural hooks into you.

Well, I heard one of those today. It happened when I played Secret Chiefs, a demo EP from a band called Superkings. The track’s called Hit The Ground Running, an understated epic of a song, brim-full of imagery and allusion, a tale of ennui and yearning in a strange, seemingly perpetual and intense sexual relationship.

And it’s not a one-off either. Secret Chiefs contains two or three first-magnitude gems, and showcases a band that seems remarkably at ease with itself, one that can turn its hand to a number of styles while retaining its core sound. Superkings are a group that appear to know that while they might not always be flavour of the month in the fickle world of the music press, they are nevertheless ready, and expect, to make the break from obscurity.

I, for one, would not be surprised. This band is a definite ‘one-to-watch’ for 2007.

Superkings
Feedback Records

THE CUBES – Started Looking EP

Posted: December 3rd, 2006, by Anna Chapman

A quote from The Cubes’ press release states that if Syd Barrett were still alive today, he’d sound like the lead singer, Marc Donovan. Some claim indeed, and one that might have some credence if Mr Donovan came anywhere close either lyrically or musically. Unfortunately, he doesn’t. He sounds like exactly what he is – a twenty year old with a few precious songs which fail to escape their influences rather than drawing on them to create something familiar, yet still individual. This is hardly a surprise, though. On the plus side, these four songs aren’t bad, and there is potential here. But, hey guys, lay off the ridiculous hyperbole a bit and get on with finding your own musical voice. The musical elements and arrangements are interesting enough to suggest this is achievable.

PRINCE VALIUM – Andlaus

Posted: December 3rd, 2006, by Anna Chapman

Prince Valium is one half of the Icelandic duo Sk / um (the ‘um’ side of it to be precise) that produced the well-received electronica mini-album ‘I Thagu Fallsins’ in early 2003.

Andlaus is almost entirely instrumental save for one track, Crying Hearts, and really is a product of its environment. When you listen to this album, you really couldn’t imagine it being spawned from anywhere other than Scandinavia. It is crammed full of ambient Arctic, glacial soundscapes that are evocative of acts like Sigur Ros. It is a testament to Prince Valium’s skills that an album as sonically wide-screen as Andlaus could be produced entirely from his bedroom. And for this he should rightly be given great credit.

However, the album is fatally tied to its musical heritage if not Prince’s own influences. The ghost of Sigur Ros hangs over the whole affair. Indeed, given that Andlaus is produced by an Icelander, it feels like one already knows it will sound like Sigur Ros before the first track even begins. Even the vocals on Crying Hearts, has more than a passing, disconcerting resemblance to Bj√∂rk.

That said, there are moments of great beauty and reflection on Andlaus, particularly the opener, Mixed State. The tracks are expertly crafted in terms of mood. However, while there is much to commend Andlaus in terms of its addition to the canon of contemporary Icelandic music, there is not enough here to lift it out of that position, as there is so much here that one has heard elsewhere.