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  albums - june 2006

 

 

Pretty Girls Make Graves - Elan Vital (Matador) 

Pretty Girls return with their second album which begs the question, 'Why the bloody hell didn't I listen to their first one?" 

This is a masterwork of indie rock and post-punk. At times recalling the anthemic and building cascades of sound that The Arcade Fire once uniquely presented, at others great indie rock, edgy and pounding. 'Pyrite Pedestal' is a standout track and one that is a prime example of fist clenching restraint combined with clever and intriguing song-writing. The band are blindingly tight and make even the seemingly cliché lyrics 'Because I want/And I don't know what I want/But when I want it I want it' seem new and fantastic as 'The Number' twists and turns and builds and slows. Almost every track has a separate identity showcasing how a band can be complex and interesting whilst still being beautifully melodic. 

With song called 'Wildcat' and lyrics like "Tigers, vipers/Deadly is the strike/Hidden out of sight." It is an album that is at once gut wrenchingly cool but still very valid and worthy of all the acclaim it should reap. 'The Magic Hour' puts Franz Ferdinand to a very great. shame. To answer the question posed in 'Domino', "How do you like me now?" Very nicely indeed thank you for asking.

Will Edmonds


 

The Arrogants- You’ve Always Known When Best to Say Goodbye (Arrogant Music) 

What a novel idea, you put all your good songs from over the last two years on one CD inviting fans to take what songs they like and form their own personal EPs. And whilst we’re being novel, why not chuck in a documentary DVD as well? Most would say 23 songs on one CD would probably be a bit too much, and just how correct they would be. The majority of songs are savagely cut short when hitting the two and half minute mark, dampening the album’s potential glow. Songs yearn to stretch their legs and wander but are found abruptly stopping, only for the same thing to happen on the next song. The track Heroine at 6 minutes long breaks this strict convention and comes as welcome relief and contains some colour. The Cranberry’s heavy influence is numerous throughout, none more so than on tracks I Guess it’s My Sweet Time and My Better Half. There’s just enough diversity to keep your ears interested but the predictability and shortness of songs means you’d probably only achieve this feat once.  

Tame, humable and almost inoffensive, I say that because the initial innocent and beautiful vocals do become boring and annoying halfway through, gradually sounding more and more like a 7 year old trying to sing at a school performance. Having an “It’s all about the music, man!” moment, The Arrogants have modestly priced the album at just £7, a welcome fee for anyone gift searching for a elder relative. Say, isn’t Father’s Day coming up? 

Victoria Levitt


Radio 4 - Enemies Like This (EMI)

Exciting Brooklyn post punk fivepiece Radio 4 return with this album like a slap across the face in the form of opening title track ' Enemies Like This' which is full of slashing guitars and staccato drumming that would even get your granny tapping her foot in appreciation. Sadly, that is all I can tell you about this album as at this point, enter the glories of the copyright controlled CD which not only launched it's only media player (that failed to work past the opening track) but also managed to completely frazzle my own PC media player. Thank you very much. Short of buying a laptop computer and listening to the CD on my living room hi-fi it seems there is no way I am going to be able to write about this while listening to it. Shame, because what snippet I did hear sounded really good.
www.r4ny.com
watch video to 'Enemies Like These'

SB


 

Smokers Die Younger - X Wants The Meat (Thee SPC & [Detail] Recordings) 

Sheffield's Smokers Die Younger release their first full length album, and it's quite a noisy affair. Apparently The amateurish nature of the band is meant to be an endearing feature. Which at times I can see, and there are some good bits namely the lyric "I don't fucking love you, I just love fucking you", from 'It's coming straight for us!', which made me smile but then made me feel like I'd heard something like it somewhere else and was probably done somewhat better.  

I get this feeling because they offer a fairly in-distinctive brand of post indie punk that at the moment is being done a lot better by a lot of other people. But that is not reason to instantly dismiss as they do show promise. The eerie synth on 'Rubberlegs' makes for an interesting change but then nothing much happens. The fact that the band are clearly having a bit of fun and not taking themselves too seriously, as is evident on 'Three cigarettes in an ashtray' a slow almost pogueish folky ramble and 'Five-O', a bit like the B-52s gone a bit mad, a bit more mad. Hopefully in time Smokers Die Younger will further these good elements that set them a bit apart and translate them into a coherent whole.

Will Edmonds


 

Versus the Mirror – ‘Home’ (Equal Vision Records) 

‘Home’ has turned out to be a very pleasant surprise indeed. When listening to the first track ‘Birthed by Architecture’ my initial impression was that of a punk / post hardcore band in the vein of Boy Sets Fire or Planes Mistaken For Stars. Not really my thing and there’s a great deal of mediocre bands peddling music of this ilk. So I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of sitting through twelve tracks. But I was surprised when two tracks in I began to enjoy ‘Hope’. As well as being aggressive, Versus the Mirrors music is also very catchy. By the time the album had finished I was won over. I can’t imagine returning to this album a great deal, but as someone who isn’t a tremendous fan of this type of music I’m quietly impressed. If you like Planes Mistaken For Stars or Boy Sets Fire then ‘Home’ is definitely worth a spin.   

Michael Pearson


Various - I Can Count Volume 1 (I Can Count)

It's an interesting premise for a label/compilation. There is more music available than ever. The music is easy to access via MySpace, the internet, radio etc but Joe Public still likes a slab of vinyl or CD in his mits rather than an MP3 swimming around anonymously on his IPod. I'm not quite sure why anyone trawling through ITunes or MySpace can't sort out purchasing their own products rather than trusting I Can Count to spoon feed them a bunch of stuff but I guess I vaguely get the idea. And what's more, if you are going to do it, a massive album like this which includes 18 artists is the way to start.

Having said that, another good reason for doing a compilation is to get people listening to different types of music rather than just new acts. ICC Vol 1 falls down during the first few tracks which are all very pleasant but entirely mainstream. But David Sugar's 4 and 8 bit 'gameboy pop' track 'We Weren't Put Together' gives things a good kick up the backside like a Moog with tourettes. There's plenty of evidence of the influence of label acts like The Research judging by the large number of Casiocore tracks on display. But there is also plenty for the more 'sophisticated' pallette in terms of the acid-dance vibes of Deckshufflers and its atmospheric antithisis, the macabre folk noir of Mickey Charbagz. So if you can't be arsed to the legwork yourself and you are fond of all music of an electronic persuasion, you could do a lot worse than letting the good folk of I Can Count guide you through the mire.
www.icancount.co.uk

SB


 

Point B – ‘A Previous Version of Myself’ (Scsi) 

Point B sound a great deal like Autechre. Thought I’d get that out of the way, as there was no way I could see of writing about ‘A Previous Version of Myself’ without mentioning it. Glitchy electronica is very much the order of the day. As a friend of my once commented re Autechre “it sounds like a fax machine having a wank”. I think that aptly describes Point B also. However although there are a number of similarities to Autechre , the music of Point B is a good deal more accessible. It would be possible to actually dance in some fashion to some of these tracks. There are also a few more restrained textured tracks, such as the wonderful ‘Memory Slide’ which add a bit of variety to the proceedings. So not the most original release, but enjoyable nonetheless. 

Michael Pearson


Hi Red Center - Architectural Failures (Pangaea)

Never ones to follow the crowd of popularity, Pangaea may well have exceeded even their own high standards for challenging listening. Hi Red Center are a four piece who throw a chaotic number of sounds into their musical melee. In addition to lurching off kilter drum beats and classic 8-bit synth sounds there are a swathe of vibraphones, trombones and other electronic trickery.

Most tracks are like collages and would be difficult to describe in terms of conventional musical genres. The way that the drums cross across the intermittent (and quite raw) vocals and guitar parts seems deliberately set to be abrasive listening. This is consistent across pretty much all the tracks with the notable exception of 'Hollow Buttons' which is a magnificent warbling mechanical piece with only the most minimal of guitar and vocal parts actually working with the music for once, rather than against it. This  in complete contrast with tracks like 'Alarm Will Sound' and 'Famous Hero', the latter beginning with a promisingly accessible riff before collapsing into a clatterbang of discord and drums and eventually giving way to a frankly annoying electronic part (the theme tune from Battlestar Galactica?) for a whole minute or so.

Would I listen to this again on a regular basis? Unlikely. Would I play it in the car? Probably not. Would I prefer to hear this sort of thing just once rather than the identikit 'angular post punk' garage bands which seem to be ten a penny in our mail bag every month? Defintely.
www.hiredcenter.com

SB


 

Bill Wells & Maher Shalal Hash Baz - ‘Osaka Bridge’ 

This is brilliant.

A collaboration between Scottish Indie Jazzman Bill Wells and Japanese band Maher Shalal Hash Baz it is undoubtedly a strange album, mainly because the playing is wilfully shambolic; the players seem to miss cues and play with a drunken looseness so as to sound amateurish. This is jazz as played by a school band, but a school band in some beautifully sophisticated surrealistic foreign film. 

It is a beautiful album that somehow seems to encapsulate British Summertime. Watching old people tea dance at a rainy English coastal resort, being drunk and wired at 5 am, occasional days of hazy baking sun.

Not the type of album on which you have favourite tracks but if I had to: Tipsy Cat. You should buy this.  

MJL


Thee Sheffield Radiophonic Workshop - An Esoteric Collection of Electronic Artists from Sheffield (Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation)

Another month, another compilation. But you can always guarantee something a bit different from our friends at Thee SPC. This time, feeding off the rich electro legacy of Sheffield's pop past, Tiffin the Teaboy and co have put together 11 tracks from the current cream of the crop of Tandy Troublers and Maplin mitherers.

Having said that, there is a slightly unexpected air of sophistication from Kings Have Long Arms and The Lovers Gainsbourg-esque 'La Degustation'. Conrad, on the other hand, hits exactly the area of the PCB you would expect - like Bryan Ferry jamming with Heaven 17. The Pony Harvest are almost certainly on psychotropic substances judging by their high gothic take on electro in 'Medieval Hairdo' and Michael J Coxx's sensitive love ballad, 'Stinkfinger', airing the delights of anal probing, is further proof that some of the inhabitants of South Yorkshire's fair city are not quite right.

Heart Yeah give proceedings a mashed up darker nod with 'AAAend' which you should not listen to while suffering from any kind of headache. The Box Set who get a double outing, will almost certainly appeal to anyone who likes Black Moth Super Rainbow (reviewed last month). But it is left to the curators of this electronic flotsam and jetsam of the electronic world to have the last say on the album. 'Thee Sheffield Radiophonic Workshop' is a gloriously pompous and overblown public service announcement of a track, name checking the suburbs of Sheffield in the process. Not only do they get to make cool music but they also get to dress up in air hostess uniforms and wear fishnet stocking. Lucky buggers.
www.theespc.com

SB


 

Vetiver – ‘To find Me Gone’ (Fat Cat) 

‘To Find Me Gone’ is the second full length from Andy Cabic’s shifting and morphing band of folk luminaries Vetiver, somewhat of a folk super group but with more of a drifting membership. He has in the past found such company as Joanna Newsom by his side and this record is no exception with players including long time collaborator Devendra Banhart as well as the likes of Kevin Barker from Currituck Co.

Written whilst on the road touring with both Vetiver and as one of Banhart's players it would be fair to say the record has an air of being on the move and looking forward both musically and lyrically. On ‘No One word’ Cabic gently croons ‘so you come back home to the USA/ and your lips look new they have things to say, that I’ve never heard’ whereas on ‘I know No Pardon’ a man who has taken the wrong path through life begs for one last chance, as lines like ‘I didn’t see it coming but oh I'm watching it go’ speak of his weary desperation.

In addition to the actual tales of lives changing and people drifting in and out of lives Cabic has also been expanding Vetiver’s sound musically, in fact quite considerably. Whereas the first record felt like it was of one mood that gently shifted in tone ‘To Find Me Gone’ is a tour-de-force of styles and emotions that ebbs and flows so beautifully its hard for it not to take your breathe away at times. Elements of 70’s pop-rock ala Notorious Byrd Brothers era Byrds are mixed in with simple folk melodies, early Fleetwood Mac, traditional country and a huge dose of warmth and fragility. This is stripped from even a hint of over sweetening by moments where dark shadows drift across the record like on ‘You May Be Blue’ or with screeching rock outro of the brilliant ‘Red Lantern Girls’. It shows a man expanding his horizons and using musical reference points in order to steer his music wherever he damn well pleases whilst never once missing the target or sounding derivative.

Vetiver has entered the second stage of its existence with ‘To Find Me Gone’. Whereas before Cabic’s band could sound like an outfit finding there way, it is now clear they know exactly where it is they are going and are even drawing the map themselves. A beautifully crafted near perfect record that will have you wondering how the hell you coped before you owned it.

Luke Drozd


Ian Love - Ian Love (Limekiln)

I was instantly suspicious of this album as soon as I saw it. Whether it was something to do the rockstar name, the references to being a veteran of the New York hardcore scene or just the artwork, something didn't sit right. Which just goes to show how you can't judge a book by its cover.

Ian Love has produced a splendid little album, very much in the vein of fellow male guitar  troubadours Adem and Jose Gonzalez. 'The Only Night' is a fine upbeat opener with a catchy patter-cake drum beat that surfaces frequently throughout the album. Love not only shares a similar vocal sound to Gonzalez but also a distinctive clean picked and repeated guitar ring.

It's not going to make you jump out of your armchair but it is almost certainly impossible not to fall in love with this record.
www.ianlove.com

SB


The Year Of - Slow Days (Morr)

Ok, does anybody know what emotional charcoal is? Because apparently, The Year Of ‘filter electronics’ through the stuff. Oh and they’ve all been trained in ‘post-jazz’. Post-jazz?! Fuck off…

Anyway, despite the hugely pretentious blurb, Slow Days is a pretty engaging album – sung in heartwarming accented English and veering from ambient folktronica to quite straighforward velvet underground-type rock (‘Stephen Hawking’). It’s a very lush and full record with songs that aren’t instantly memorable so that it seeps into your sub-conscious the more times you listen. The lyrics are often quite political, and for me don’t quite work, but the quality of some of the tracks on here make up for all that. ‘Calling Sky’ is a beautifully upbeat post-rock-ish ‘epic’, and definitely the best piece of music here, with scattered beats and sparse vocals building up via electric guitars into a huge brass-laden crescendo, held together all the way through by a simple double bass line.

All in all, very pleasing listening.

Nic


Lousy Robot - The Strange and True Story of Your Life (Travelling in Place)

Three minute indie pop snippets that combine a wistful nostalgic sound with a dark undertone yet a an overall hopeful aura is the name of the game. Production pared back to the bare minimum, this is a proper four piece of just drums, guitars, voice and keys. No embellishments, no nifty effects pedals (other than the odd bit of scratchy fuzz).

There definitely seems to be a slight nod to the likes of the Pixies and Pavement in the song writing. Sadly, lousy Robot seem to lack the gift of being able to turn the corner of a song with one incendiary chorus or guitar part, preferring to veer towards a more indie-twee sound. Which is fine if you like that sort of thing. Personally, I'd prefer to hear something with a little more spice about it.
www.lousyrobot.com

SB


Wallspace - Nightweather (Laughing Outlaw)

For the second time this month I have surprised myself by correctly recognising an album track as a previously released single. You see - I am listening! Australian threepiece Wallspace are described as P.J. Harvey, Velvet Underground, White Stripes and that is a pretty accurate description. I'd argue that singer Savannah Elias lacks the same delicate touch of Polly but makes up for it in a more powerful delivery.

There are big pompous songs like 'Meet Me Up By the Lighthouse' evenly balanced with winsome coffee shop acoustic numbers like 'Should I Call'. there's a nod of Americana and a doff of blues. And a reggae riff in 'Where Has the Singer Gone'...well, the less said about the better. Some good, some slightly dodgy but well worth another spin.

SB


 

Scott Walker – ‘The Drift’ (4AD) 

Scott Walker has been called a lot of thing over the years and been given a few old labels to wear. Starting his career as one of The Walker Brothers he shot to fame with ‘The Sun Aint Gonna Shine Anymore’. Even then there was something odd and slightly dark about their pop music. The end to the life giving rays that keep our planet alive isn’t always what you hear the kids crooning about after all. However it was with his solo career that Scott Walker began to calve his own unique path. His ‘Scott’ albums of the late 60’s showed the work of a troubled genius beginning to emerge . From then on he has constantly surprised if somewhat sporadically.

Now some 11 years after his last full length we have ‘The Drift’ a record that is many things but certainly not simple to describe or pin point. At over an hour long it is a terrifying journey through a troubled mans psyche. It is like Tom Waits orchestral nightmare complete with drones, orchestral sweeps and terrifying clangs. That said though it is also a record of intense and uncompromising beauty. Track two ‘Jesse’ with its gentle backing is both doom laden yet extremely romantic for instance. All this is topped of with Walkers distinct vocal quality, a croon from the bowels of hell perhaps.

‘The Drift’ is not going to everyone’s tastes. It is odd and dark to the point of the absurd at times and I wont even insult you by pretending I like it all or that some of it isn’t just a little preposterous (hell he sings about punching a donkey at one point). However the records finest moments are among the best music I’ve heard in awhile even if it does leave you little baffled. A record to slip on late at night on you own in a darkened room. Then just let it carry your mind away though bare in mind it may not return.

Luke Drozd


Helios – ‘Eingya’ (Type) 

The second release by Keith Kenniff for Type following his release last year under the moniker Goldmund with the remarkable ‘Corduroy Road’. Kenniff returns now with a new name and a different sound as well. Helios still features his subtle, gasping piano playing but also adds to the equation with guitar, drums and some wonderful programmed production. The results are 11 instrumental tracks of gentle yet all encompassing and breath taking wonder which are grand in scope allowing you to truly lose yourself within them. Please file under glorious.

Luke Drozd


Rotating Leslie - Infrequent Mild Peril

“After being expelled from various schools, arrested and nearly driven insane by LSD, Rotating Leslie were born”…so goes the opening sentence of the press pack for this album, which made me not want to like it. Taking drugs and generally being naughty boys does not mean you are ‘rock and roll’, nor does it guarantee that your music is going to be good. Although in this case the boys in question have made a very good record indeed.

Opener ‘Fire!Fire!’ is a brilliant indie jump-a-long just waiting to creep into a university union near you, and is as good as anything the current crop of indie guitar bands have mustered in the last couple of years, managing to combine the angular-ness of Maximo Park et al with the dirtiness of that very overrated London band fronted by a Mr P. Doherty. There are some genuinely great ‘anthems’ on this album (despite the sometimes cliched lyrics) and even though it all sounds quite familiar and the songs afterwards never quite live up to Fire!Fire!, RL have definitely got something going for them.

Nic


Genghis Tron – ‘Dead Mountain Mouth’ (Crucial Blast) 

‘Dead Mountain Mouth’ is the debut full length from the Poughkeepsie, NY trio Genghis Tron following hot on the heels of their much lauded EP ‘Cloak of Love’. Now with those titles I know there will be some of you fearfull of fantasy hair metal leanings but I assure that couldn’t be further from the agenda. What Genghis Tron do deliver is a mix of avant-grind urgency, electronic beauty and songs so astonishingly good they’re impossible not to fall in love with. Just when you think you have them pegged they turn on a penny and are off in a different no less engaging direction. It is a sound dense and intriguing full of menace and ferocity and yet incredibly thoughtful and complex with it. Think perhaps of An Albatross’ more proggy and infinitely greater cousin but minus any pomposity that might suggest and you may be heading in the right direction.

‘Dead Mountain Mouth’ shows that Genghis Tron are at the front of their field. A brutal and beautiful dreamscape with roaring heights and subtle valleys this is probably the best record you’ll hear all year.

Luke Drozd


Neptune – ‘Patterns’ (Self Release Records) 

Neptune, for those unfamiliar with this Boston three piece, are a band of multi instrumentalists who not only play mind bendingly great music but also make most of the instruments they play themselves. How’s that for talent?

With Patterns we have their latest uncompromising release, a blend of urgent Albini-esque rock teamed with odd sounds, electronic hints and industrial wonder. Opener ‘#13’ is an instrumental track replete with repetitive rhythms and oscillators that sound like an robot dolphin song, following track ‘The Lighthouse shows them at their discordant yet danceably rocking finest while ‘Equestrian Fantasy’ is a song so addictive it should probably come with some sort of warning and may well be the albums highlight, its stomping backing ensuring its impossible not to find yourself caught in the beat.

Neptune are a band built on subtlety and rhythm something lacking from much of the avant-rock with which they share some of their sound. They prove with ‘Patterns’ that you can still sound challenging, push boundaries and offer a distinctive point of view and  create music that is textured and engaging without merely being gratuitous. A fine record from a fine band.

Luke Drozd


Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores – ‘The Smother Party’ (North East Indie) 

The latest in a string of blindingly good releases from North East Indie, Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores are a band of multi-instrumentalists taking their cues and influences from a host of musical stand points from throughout time and geography. Built around Redfearn’s accordion and vocals the songs are a kind of bizarre eastern European folk with a contemporary edge that are far from straight forward. Full of complexities, unsettling stories and frequently veering into wild distorted abandon at the drop of hat, including the wonderful noise of Refrearn’s distorted accordion, songs of murder and desperation are abound yet the record manages to avoid becoming bogged down in a depressing mire probably due to the scope and diversity of the record as a whole. In fact this couldn’t be demonstrated better than by the two finest moments on the record. First is ‘The Way of All Flesh’ a song with little apart from vocals, a solitary drum beat and the ability to haunt and the second is the 23 minute album instrumental closer, an over blown,folk-rock distorted freakout that is frankly bloody marvellous. A folk oddity that is sure to delight and enrapture with its dark and nimble fingers indeed. 

Luke Drozd


 

Our Brother The Native – ‘Tooth and Claw’ ( Fat Cat Records ) 

As ‘Tooth and Claw’ has been put out by Brighton’s excellent Fat Cat Records (who have released records by Animal Collective, Sigur Ros and Black Dice) it was never going to be a bad album. However how good Our Brother The Native are came as a shock. In the main this is an album of idyllic folk, but containing elements of drone and electronica. Strange samples and sounds litter this album, the closest reference would probably be the Animal Collective’s ‘Here Comes the Indian’. What’s extraordinary about this release is the contrast between the scratchy recording of the guitar and vocals and the electronic elements. This contrast makes the album sound at once like a forgotten classic and at the same time thoroughly contemporary. Superb.

Michael Pearson


Mad Science Fair - For a Better Tomorrow (Mud)

Cracking name for a band that. And a classic example of expertly performed indie rock - the accessible type that will be lapped up by MTV. And that is not meant in a derogatory way at all. Providing you can erase all knowledge of every Foo Fighters song ever written and recorded then you would think this was an exhilarating and fresh outing by Mad Science Fair. but by god, some of these tracks just sound so much like the Foo Fighters it is hard not to eject the CD from the drawer and check over the label one more time. The time changes, the guitar lines, the key changes, the vocal overdubs - they're all there. 'All I Do Is Wrong' could actually be a close fitting medley of a number of the Foo's tracks all mixed together.

So it's a good job I like quite a bit of the Foo's stuff. If Dave Grohl decides to swap his goatee for a pipe and slippers an time soon then there will be a massive opening for Mad Science Fair. If not, they'll have to stick to being what could be a very, very good covers band.
www.madsciencefair.com

SB


 

The Black Heat Procession - The Spell (Touch and Go) 

I’ve had this for some time, and frankly I’ve just not gotten round to actually typing up my thoughts on it….. Make of that what you will. Never before have I been torn between loving and hating an album so much. It’s a strange sensation.

I have never entirely been sold on The Black Heart Procession; granted, I did quite enjoy the bleakness of their first two records, but the release of ‘Amore Del Tropico’ was a step to far. The introduction of a much ‘poppier’ sound just didn’t sit well with me. But I know a lot of people who loved it….. So perhaps my opinion isn’t that valid at all.

With ‘The Spell’ the band seem to continue the natural trajectory from the last album, again creating a record that is bleak yet uplifting. I would have to say that it’s an improvement from ‘Amore…’ but still lacks the gloom of their first releases, or the sparks of genius created by Three Mile Pilot (who are reforming soon. So that’s something to look forward to…. Isn’t it?!).

There are tracks here that are great, and this is by no means a weak album, it’s just that I can’t seem to enjoy it quite as much as I should. Why? I have no idea…

Sorry for this being the least insightful review ever created.

Drew Millward


Soiled - Nil By Visual (Elm Lodge)

This album grates and judders into existence via '25k Stare' before exploding into the gloriously scuzzed up 'Nil By Visual'. As if sounding like the Propellerheads in a cement mixer weren't enough, there is still room for plenty more weirdness. The eerily muted 'Folk/Fook' introduces a few sampled guitars before breathing an electronic life like the alien sound effects from a bad B-movie.

There is a more thoughtful, introspective minimalism to the middle section of the album and the enigmatically titled 'Toytown Council Stunt Team' provides an early contender for title of the year. But it is not long before the warped metallic mechanations return and the Orbitally warblings of 'Residual Sofa Energy' bubble up.

Effortlessly cruising between the mean streets of hardcore techno and the gentle cul de sacs of poptronica, 'Nil By Visual' is essential electronic listening.
www.soiled.org.uk

SB


 

Francois & the Atlas Mountains – “The People to Forget” 

Another CD that I should reviewed ages ago…I’m truly, truly sorry, Francois! At least I can happily report that this is an album I’ve been enjoying for some time now. Recorded “mostly live” by the best players from Bristol’s indie scene, “The People to Forget” has the same rustic warmth as Belle & Sebastian’s “Tigermilk”, albeit with lyrics sung in both French and English. 

The music itself is atmospheric enough to stand on its own; while listening, I could easily imagine it as the soundtrack of an imaginary art-house film or liken it, in the case of the fairground fantasy “I’m So Glad I Met You”, to those moments in “Around the World with Willy Fogg” when Rigodon and Tico burst into song. Yes, it is twee and Francois’s rather ready tones make Stuart Murdoch sound like Leonard Cohen but, even if it’s not a record for all occasions, it’s one of the few I’ll still be listening to after I’ve finished writing this review. 
www.stitchstitch.com

Will Columbine


Every Move a Picture - Heart = Weapon (V2)

From the very opening bars of 'Mission Bell' it is clear that Every Move a Picture are one of these uber-cool Rapture-cum-Killers-cum-Bravery types. This particular brand is from San Francisco where they undoubtedly achingly hip. And to be fair they add a slight twist to the genre - the singer has a curiously English twinge to his style which gives some of the tracks an eerie modern day Echo and the Bunnymen feel to it. Come to think of it, there is a suspiciously Adam Ant feel to the double drumming at the start of 'Chemical Burns' too. Perhaps they went to an 80s party recently and decided it was going to be the next big thing, err, if you see what I mean. Either way, all good fare for your local indie disco but nothing particularly new or exciting to report here.
www.everymoveapicture.com

SB