Late night blues from an NYC band
that have only been a name to me before now, and the ghosts of
Mazzy Star and the JAMC lurk unseen in the corners of 'What You
Want', a whirlpool of reverb soaked delirium that only gets more
intense as it progresses, or is this a smoothly paced meditation
on the warm darkness of a summers evening, and with an aquatic
themed video to add an agreeable frisson of barely suppressed
tensions? You decide, listeners, you decide.
Guns - Mad World
Karl Jung, when discussing
the concept of a collective subconscious, noted that Algebra was
effectively plucked from that collective subconscious simultaneously.
At least two people came up with algebra at the same time and
were separated by vast expanse. The world has wonder hurtling
through it and some are lucky enough to be in tune enough to give
word and deed to magic.
Something similar is happening with this review. Someone else
is also writing these words at a similar time to me. We race,
plucking words from the air and jockeying back and forth with
a sentence, clear for a moment, then engulfed by an identical
thought similarly expressed. Our positions alternate with dizzying
speed and the ceaseless aim to be better, express thought and
beauty more clearly spurs on those who would hope to have wide
eyes and clear thought almost as much as they would seek to spread
that kind of joyous enthusiasm that enriches whole continent.
Somewhere, these words fall from another mind and onto a different
page. Somewhere these thoughts may well be being similarly had
and as we have them, we look to that very ether and wonder what
we are, how we managed to fall in sync with the ancients and the
future and the present simultaneously and know something pure.
To know that Mad World by Young Guns is exactly the same song
as Conquistador by Thirty Seconds to Mars.
Woodes - 'The Thaw'
It is, as most of us know, winter in Australia just now and Woodes
is watching the ice melt in her Melbourne garden (I hear it can
get a bit parky round there) just so anyone that thought the mercury
never slips below zero down under is put right about that. Actually,
a lot of the lyrics of 'The Thaw' are direct references to snow,
as if New South Wales were experiencing blizzard conditions, with
the Antarctic creeping further northward every year, and leaving
me to wonder that if eskimos have over 100 words to describe the
white stuff then how many aboriginal names are there for it, plus
it's an alright tune, whatever the weather. https://soundcloud.com/woodes/the-thaw
Thousand Horses - 'Southernality'
What with an election or something happening across the pond
as I write this, I'm really unsure what's the best way to write
about 'A Thousand Horses' and their unabashed Southern anthem
- 'booze and a bottle / that's how we lean' (I think I heard that
right) - it's all about good old fashioned country rock and with
some neatly turned finger picking to go with the singalong lyrics
: 'yes sir yes ma'am / talking with a drawl', and A Thousand Horses
sure do like their JD from what I can tell. What I don't want
is to get pulled into inadvertently making politicised statements
relating to an event in which I don't actually have a vote or
any other kind of say, important as it is. Aside from that, if
you liked Lynyrd Skynyrd, you'll appreciate A Thousand Horses
rather a lot.
Brakes - 'Jump Start'
The great thing about being Turin Brakes, a band that have travelled
the distance from indie support act to national institution in
something like a decade and a half, is that even the least complicated
songs can take on a life entirely of their own when given a cautiously
arrange treatment that arches towards an epic conclusion, and
an imaginatively filmed video that has the Brakes drowning in
an enormous vat of Lucozade just about seals it for a band that
have garnered a consistent four-star response from any major publication
that has reviewed them. 'Jump Start' is the kind of song that
it's almost impossible to dislike, and Turin Brakes actually do
deserve their turn under the stadium spotlights, although part
of their enduring strength is a refusal to bow entirely to the
demands of the industry, like the Barfly stage troupers they really
Atlantis - 'True Colours'
Not the Cindi Lauper song but the work of Marques Toliver and
Compuphonic, 'True Colours' is a clubby track that owes less to
electronics and more to what sounds like live percussion and a
very loud thumb piano, or some other percussive African instrument
and for all the philosophical posturing - 'a reflective and euphoric
musing on humanity and sense of self' says the press release -
it's a breezy, summery anthem that will remind you to book your
holidays, if you haven't already done so. https://soundcloud.com/radioatlantismusic/true-colours-radio-edit
Bragg & Joe Henry - 'The
L&N Don't Stop Her Anymore'
'Railroad songs formed the bedrock of American popular music'
says the Bard of Barking in the press that accompanies this opening
salvo from a thirteen track re-recording of old timey songs about
trains, and from which Elvis's 'Mystery Train' is a notable omission.
The rest of the songs are a well chosen bunch though, beginning
with 'Rock Island Line' and I am interested to hear what they've
done with Leadbelly's 'In The Pines', a very favourite of my own
in the version recorded by Gene Clark in the late 70s. Anyone
that has seen Bragg live will know what a performer he is, and
while Joe Henry is a new name to me, their interpretation of 'The
L&N ...' is about worthy of 'Nebraska'-era Springsteen in
its unsentimental despair at the local yards closing down. The
album is due in September, when we'll all get to hear what Billy
& Joe have done with that other skiffle standard 'Midnight
Special'. I think I want to hear that.
Woods - 'Animals And Alleyways'
It isn't too often that vocalists display an audible debt to
the lowering tones of Iggy Pop, but whoever is handling the voice
functions on this - they're wearing masks so I can't tell which
of them it is - really does take on the grimy tones of Iggy in
his 'Idiot' prime and for that matter, the actual song is a convincingly
sequenced electrogrunge growler in its own right. Someone at a
radio station in Seattle (that would be KEXP) describes Ravenna
Woods as 'gloomy' in an acceptably talented sort of way but they're
several shades beyond just sounding a bit moody, like they've
run out of broadband too quickly again. www.ravennawoods.net