Sometimes there’s a man. He’s the man for his time and place.
He fits right in there. For the late eighties, early nineties
that man was (and is) J Mascis. He’s emblematic of a golden age.
Every Morning is exactly what you’d expect from a solo Mascis:
upbeat acoustic guitars are layered with bursts of truly beautiful
electric guitar squall. Mascis’ mumbly, croaky vocals betray the
joy of the music with a mantra of ‘every morning makes it hard
on me’. It’s bittersweet and it’s what we’ve come to expect. I
don’t know about you, but I take comfort in that. It’s good knowin’
he’s out there, wailing away for all us sinners.
Rentals - '1000 Seasons'
Forget for a minute which of The Rentals was in what band or
other (Weezer in this instance), '1000 Seasons' is a fizzingly
tuneful summer powerpop anthem that a few bands and other musicians
might covet or wonder exactly where they heard those melodies
the first time. Right from its synth led intro its sunnily summery
tune puts a techno gloss on some of the most blatantly Emo lyrics
I've heard this year - 'one more summer / one more season / one
more winter by yourself' intones Matt (formerly of Weezer) Sharp
although he doesn't sound very fed up with things and neither
do his finely tuned backing band. It's 1979 all over again round
at The Rental's place. www.therentals.com
Faith - 'Trouble With My Baby'
No-one really wants to hear the words 'trouble' and 'Paloma Faith'
in the same sentence, but it looks like she's having a bad one
this week, done up like a film noir villaness and wondering who
nicked her watch but enough about the CD sleeve, it's a big jazzy
soul number with a Motown twist and vocal coaching by Aretha,
and as Paloma bemoaned her ill fortune I started wondering exactly
what the problem is although the follow up to this snappy lil'
foot tapper probably isn't 'I'm On Jeremy Kyle Next Tuesday'. www.palomafaith.com
Atkins - 'Who Killed The Moonlight'
Sometimes an artistes PR does it all for you. In her own words
: ‘In the dream I lived next door to four magical and beautiful
Sicilian sisters,” Nicole explains. “They were preparing me for
a wedding. As the night fell we went to the riverside to toast
the new full moon with wine. As we toasted the moon slowly fell
from the sky and landed in the river. Slowly flickering off and
on like a light and dying. As it died, all the fish died, then
the birds, then the air and everything with it. Yet [though] it
was sad or scary, it was beautiful.”' Various people involved
in producing 'Who Killed The Moonlight' have worked alongside
(deep breath) Nick Cave, The Cramps, Franz Ferdinand, The Cardigans
and with it's spag western guitar riff and deeply dark lyric -
'we are by the riverside / in the water the moon is dying' you
might mistake this for a track written for Nick C in his late
90s prime until it all goes a bit disco in the middle. Who killed
the moonlight? We did. All of us ... www.nicoleatkins.com
Courtesans - 'Genius'
The shadow of Trip Hop lowers notably over this moodily performed
piece of bad girl blues : 'I'm a genius / truly poisonous' runs
the lyric and the Courtesans themselves turn in a mercilessly
defiant video performance with all four of them tied to a stake,
waiting to be cleverly poisoned you might expect until the talk
turns to 'fingerprints on gloves' and after much grimy growling
and hints of genuine wickedness in the background some not very
clever person sets the stake alight although all four Courtesans
do in fact survive their ordeal, which is what listening to 'Genius'
could resemble, depending on your own mood. www.thecourtesans.com
Family Rain – Hunger Sauce EP (Mountbatten
There’s something a bit early noughties about this EP and it
sounds great. From the plinkety opening salvo of the drum machine
on ‘You Should Be Glad You’ve Got a Man’ to the Supergrass sounding
‘Tarantula’ there’s something wistfully retro about each of these
tracks. But there’s also a bit of acerbic wit in the lyrics such
as ‘We are in love, you just don’t know it yet’. We end with a
nice crunchy 2 minute pop song, part Arctic Monkeys, part Monster
Mash. Shouldn’t work but bloody well does. 8/10 www.thefamilyrain.com
the Henge – Recurring Dream (SRM)
A bit of a baroque intro anyone? This is seriously energetic
stuff from the mysterious 6-piece Tankus the Henge and could be
the soundtrack to Papa Lazarou’s circus. 6/10 www.facebook.com/tankusthehenge
with the Wolves – The End of
I don’t really know enough about this sort of music to write
an authoritative review here. Suffice to say it’s pretty raucous
stuff and the dual vocals are conveniently split between clean
and scream parts – very good of you Alone With Wolves. But I know
enough to know that this is a pretty polished effort and I loved
plenty of the guitar parts, especially the breakdown in the middle
of the title track. Good work wolverines. 7/10 www.facebook.com/alonewithwolves
Sea Kings – Bible John (Iffy Folk)
This has got one of those rollicking good 70’s style bass lines
that sound merges mainstream rock and country plus it sounds a
bit like it is being sung by a Glaswegian Morrissey. What’s not
to like about any of this? 7/10 www.theseakings.com
– I Say
I actually watched Eurovision for the first time in my life this
year and reluctantly have to admit I found it rather enjoyable.
And before even reading that Dagny was a Norwegian singer song
writer I was querying the grey cells to try and recall if this
was actually one of the tracks I’d heard on that fateful night.
It wasn’t as it turns out but it does have a kazoo solo and a
slightly satirical lyrical slant. 6/10 www.dagnyofficial.com