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diskant rewind: Asking For Trouble #9

Posted: April 17th, 2009, by Marceline Smith

(Originally posted February 2003)

Asking For Trouble by Marceline Smith

Righto. Another month, another …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead single to review. This month I have the European release of Another Morning Stoner [Interscope] which has the same tracklisting as the UK release but, get this, instead of three songs from the Peel session you get the same three songs but recorded for Dutch VPRO radio! What a stroke of marketing genius. I had to go to some lengths to get this, ordering online from a Swedish website. Nothing like entering your credit card details, skimming over some incomprehensible Swedish sentences and then clicking OK. Yes, I would like you to add three million kroner in Idiot Tax, thanks! So, is this a worthy addition to my stupidly excessive collection of TOD rarities bought for the express purpose of dragging out a column theme into a third year? Well, yes. Homage is riotous as ever with Jason screaming, wailing and drawling with his usual flailing abandon. Baudelaire I can never decide on. Some days it’s a great pop tune, other days it’s a just…there. This version sounds flat and the vocals hoarse and bored so it’s missing the spark. But don’t worry ‘cos we’ve still got Richter Scale Madness and it’s a topper of a version with Conrad rapping mid-song and some ferocious guitars. Not to mention an extended ending of squealing mentalism, crunched up disco drumming and the sound of broken equipment.

Les Flames! is one of the best band names I’ve heard in ages so I was looking forward to hearing them as one half of a split 7″ split-released by Wrath and Valentine. Are you keeping up? That’s two bands and two labels, okay? I’ll get to the other band in a minute but first the goodly-named Les Flames! Their track is called Wrong and I’m sure not going to slag any song with a chorus that goes “You’re fucking wrong!”. However, the overall sound is seventies punk metal, much like our own Torqamada so it’s pretty enjoyable, stupid and short. Not really my thing but I hope they do well. So, having been eager to hear Les Flames! it obviously then turns out that it’s the other side that rules. Which I would not have expected from a band named The Scaramanga Six. Their song is entitled You Do, You Die and turns out to be a rollicking riot of Yummy Fur/Bilge Pump style twitchy shouty rock fun ending with what the press release accurately describes as “a barking contest between the bands’ sibling frontmen”. Lesson learnt: don’t judge bands by their name.

Small Enclosed Area have pretty bad name but that’s maybe because it reminds me of Robert Tressell’s most stupidly Dickensianly named character in The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Sir Graball D’Encloseland. Er, anyway. Small Enclosed Area’s CD is called Quintana [Hackpen] and it contains four songs of an indie rock slant. Opener Samoflange is a bit downbeat and then goes a bit epic here and there but without resorting to screaming falsetto histrionics which is definitely in their favour. The other songs I find a bit too MTV2, whether it be the fast and loud power rock of Left Unsaid or the brooding epic ‘feel my PAIIIIN’ of Veil of Diffidence. Either way, I can see them doing quite well in the Kerrang scheme of things.

I’ve made it a rule never to review MP3s when people email and ask me to but sometimes you have to make an exception and that was always going to be the case when it’s a member of A Roman Scandal. Tyler’s new/other band is called Denim and Diamonds and you better believe I jumped on these MP3s. If you thought A Roman Scandal were having a laugh (and by inviting Jason Reece to drunkenly wail over their songs, that’s pretty much certain) then you ain’t heard nothing yet. Disneyland in Iraq was probably recorded by eavesdropping on some drunken robots hanging out in a lo-tech video arcade while Relics of a TV Past sounds like something Bender would listen to in a basement robot retro disco sex bar. Just the ticket for next time you’re entertaining your robot friends then. And, hey, thanks to the the wonders of the internet you can go get both these songs right now off their website.

By the way, NO, you’re not meant to take the above as an open invitation to offer me MP3s. Unless your band is as good as A Roman Scandal [hint: it isn’t].

With a name like The Lollies you’re not expecting anything too serious and, sure enough, the songs on Taste [Fortune and Glory] are short and sugar sweet but with the fizz of sherbet or pop rocks rather than any soft marshmallow stuff. They’ve got a chirpy girl group sound and a healthy sense of tongue in cheek humour so whether they’re singing about boys, boys or boys (it’s a major theme) you can hear they’re having a laugh. From the girly sha-la-la of Office Romance to the shouty weirdness on Like Wow, Groovy and the sassy girl power of Jonestown Mascara there’s rarely a dull moment.

No Rewind [mrw44] is an annual compilation from Edinburgh featuring some new bands of an adventurous nature. Death Cat start things off by trying to break our ears with feedback and scary distorted voices backed with twinkling harp sounds and picked guitar. Which is fantastic, obviously. We’ve also got the marvellous Hex who get two songs for being great. Hex make loud – no, make that LOUD – distorted guitar instruMENTALism and they’re only about twelve years old or something. The two tracks here show their loud rock side and their bass-heavy quiet side. Both are great. March of Dimes get two songs too and deservedly. It’s one man and his electric guitar stuff, the kind of guy you’d expect to see playing in the corner of some downhearted grimy blues bar to a bunch of guys playing dominoes and drinking bourbon. Other highlights include Fiend‘s weirdo noise soundscape, the soundtrack to your fevered creepy hallucinations and Polaris with their snaky, jerky riffrock. Definitely recommended so I’ll finish up now so you can go check the website and get yourself a copy for £5. They’ll even chuck in a free copy of last year’s comp featuring good stuff like Guapo and Late Night Foreign Radio. Hurray.

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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