Archive posting originally published on the losing today web site….. February 2004 ….
Singled Out 32
“The further chronicles of the deranged ramblings of a dithering death as a post dilettante…”
Just who is that masked man?…….delivered on 21st February 2004
Hi Ho Silver……………..…….gone, gone, gone by 08th March 2004
Dedicated….to Kelly and Mark (never a minute passes).
As previously advertised the quick return of Singled Out, two in one week can’t be bad. Okay no chitchat except to say I have the AD Rates for the magazine, if you haven’t heard from either myself or any of the rest of the Losing Today team then please get in touch with me.
Still open for tracks for consideration on the cover mounted CD so if you can get mp3’s to me via email@example.com or Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org that’d be much appreciated. Projected street date for the magazine is May with deadlines pencilled for the beginning of April.
And in case these things make any difference (except for the neighbours whose persistent knocking on the walls shows some kind of passing interest, obviously) the albums that are currently hogging the well punished Hi-Fi….in no particular order or preference:
Juniper (a beautiful debut album); Tacoma Radar (another beauty of some measure); The Stands (the current Scouse new breed backlash continues with these friends of the Zutons and Hokum Clones…think Summer Hymns grooving with Dylan and ‘Rubber Soul’ Beatles); Electric Eel Shock (un-mastered cuts from their forthcoming album, each raised in Hell and baying for blood); Blue States and the Go Team (Memphis Industries seasonal collection, again un-mastered cuts from forthcoming long players); 50hz (teaser of their mooted forthcoming single, probably their best yet); Space (more scousers this time the old brigade back to show the new breed how it’s done); Baby Bird (just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, a best off); Nutron Stars (as barmy as hell and unrepentant with it); Fat Cat Split Series Compilation (Brighton’s, and for that matter, the undergrounds most eclectic label go, if anything, experimental big time with this best of); d_rradio (those Static boys just keep doing it…debut full length from the impeccable northern crew who manage to stuff in every thing from Morricone to Piano Magic and still have space to groove frantically); Silver Ray (Aussie instrumental group who make Mogwai / Explosions / Godspeed sound like chancers) and that’s just the tip of the ice bun, and you wonder why I don’t have time for gigs or sleep for that matter….ha ha ha.
And to this missives veritable slice of vivacious vinyl (aw come on who writes this stuff for Pete’s sake?…’You’…good innit….)….(cue fanfares being blown by oneself….)…
The Barbs ‘The importance of being evil’ (Mother Tongue). Woah hellish stuff indeed. Second outing for this spiked quartet following last years debut release ‘Massive Crush’ (which infuriatingly escaped beneath our radar). ‘The importance of being evil’ is a taster for the bands debut full length due soon and what a howling fest of spine snapping carnage it is and one of those records where the nailing down of everything that moves is deemed a damn good idea. Blessed with the kind of wanton tuneage that finds you before you find it, like a heat seeker this lock on at full throttle and pretty much houses everything you’d rightly expect from a razor sharp quotient of three minute hit ‘em and run aggression; frantic boy / girl vocals, tortured hooks, heart stopping prowling choke happy chord play and sounding like a seriously aggressive Penetration. Flip over and things get markedly better. ‘Alien Abduction’ cradles a devilish surf groove that manages to hone in on ‘Surfer Rosa’ era Pixies as though being fried alive by the Reverend Horton Heat, damaging stuff and well worth tracking down. Currently touring these fair isles with the equally deviant sounding The Rocks and Special Needs. Need we say more? http://www.mothertongue.tv
And did we just mention Special Needs, I’m sure people think I just throw these things together without any attention to thought or detail, so as if by magic so to speak…..
Special Needs ‘Sylvia’ (Twinstar Revolution). One of those records where you’re left wondering throughout where is it going, and that’s not meant disparagingly either. Both ‘Sylvia’ and the accompanying double A-sider ‘Tarts’ amble in without any kind of defined authority almost as though timid and scared of what you may think of them. Well really, they needn’t worry themselves sensitive souls as they are because both cuts are serious foot tappers well worth a cocking of the ear to. ‘Sylvia’ howls discordantly but when it settles boy those memories of all those classic Stiff releases and neatly hones in on the Modern Lovers ‘Roadrunner’ as though done by Vic Godard and the Subway Sect, cool or what. ‘Tarts’ well what can I say, sly soul that been nicked wholesale from beneath Kevin Rowland’s first incarnation of the Dexy’s noses and fused with elements of the Housemartins ‘Happy Hour’ and set packing with some seductively frayed riffing action. http://www.twinstarrevolution.com
The Stills ‘Lola stars and stripes’ (679). A taster for the soon to be released debut full length ‘Logic will break your heart’ and something of a welcome return following their ‘Rememberese’ EP debut last year which, it has to be said, had us whooping it up big time. ‘Lola stars and stripes’ packs in more urgent sounding guitars than many would consider wise in the short space of three minutes and will be a certifiable layer to waste of dance floors in time, pinned to the wall as we were by the velocity the Stills arm themselves to the teeth with a blitzing chime happy wall of feedback sound that had us harking back to the days of the Comsat Angels, several listens down the line though and I’m convinced that this is the nearest we are ever going to get at having Morrissey fronting classic Chameleons. Unmissable. http://www.679recordings.com
Nerine ‘Shallow’ EP (Self Released). The first thing your immediately drawn and made aware of when initially hearing the latest four track CD release from Nerine is the emotional turmoil bubbling just below the surface of lead singer James Stamp’s vocals, it’s such a distinctive sound and could serve as a key in time to setting Nerine apart from the growing pack of youthful rockers currently swelling the ranks of this already over subscribed genre. And while the vocals might prove to be the key one shouldn’t forget the melodic accompaniment which vacillates between high-octane wide screen dramas and impassioned power grooves that ultimately provide for an overtly professional sheen that probably befits ensembles deemed several leagues ahead of them by the majors. Nerine are by rock standards the full shilling, often compared to Pearl Jam and something which is well levelled and borne out by their set, they serve up darkly lit arrangements which when not erupting simply growl, ‘Shallow’ softens up the listener with its spidery chimes before festering up into a brooding blaze of hateful licks that might go some way to galvanizing opinions that the UK rock is doing the American sound better than the Americans themselves these days. ‘Blind’ has the effect of being caught outside amid a torrential storm lost and trying to find your way home through ever changing harrowing apocalyptic landscape, a daunting maelstrom of windswept war scarred planes. ‘Voices’ is pretty much a power ballad of the kind Whitesnake were so often apt to flick out with such seeming ease but with a hardened attitude skin, doom laden and hurting, rising to peaks of sophistication and dipping to depths of despair in the blink of an eye. Finishing up with comparatively sparse ‘Lost Alone’ which for me is the best cut of the set mainly because it’s pretty much a scorching upbeat rocker that loosens itself from the trademark dense dynamics and just goes hell for leather. All said and done a pretty nifty release and well worth seeking out. http://www.nerineweb.co.uk
Indofrumbah ‘Thank me know, I tell you later’ (Demo). A real mixed bag is what you’ll find on this 6 track demo, one thing is for certain you’ll be hooked after a couple of plays. Indofrumbah are a trio based in Winnetka, California who on the evidence of this debut demo release haven’t quite decided what they want to be, so as a result what you get is a pretty wide ranging collection of tunes that dip from some blissful sultry 70’s soul on the opening pop fest ‘Karie Owes Me’ to skanking reggae with a distinct prospect of somewhere or other lurking about an almost calypso styled take on the Vaselines ‘Molly’s Lips’ on ‘Sean’ which neatly manifests mid way through into a particularly lysergic take on They might be Giants. You already like the sound of it I can tell and why not. This EP will appeal to those lovers of the Two Tone Ska revival mixing curiously as it does a large quotient of the Beat, especially on ‘Hands on U’ with bits and bobs from current day skateboard punk and throwing in, curiously, the looser elements of the Clash’s ‘Sandinista’ for good measure on the reggae based ‘Indofrumbah’ while the punky pub rocker ‘Got a Reason’ is a ringer for the Knack doing Dr Feelgood while if your not totally convinced as to the merits of the wayward stature catch a sneak peak of the scratching wanna be hardcore-isms of ‘Eye Brew’ which even cheekily manages to coax within its fabric a brief spot of ELP. Quite smart all said and done. http://www.indofrumbah.com
The Features ‘The way it’s meant to be’ (Fierce Panda). Weee, cli-click-cli-click, woaaaeeee, bang, bang, bang, boom, boom, boom, can you guess what it is yet? See it’s not that easy playing the word version of ‘Never mind the Buzzcocks’ spot the tune is it? Welcome to the Features, the quick fire follow up to last years debut ‘The Beginning’ and for once a record that hits all the right buttons simultaneously, not content just to smack you between the eyes with one bouncing barnstormer but having the audacity, nay temerity to sweep you off your feet with three scrumptiously prepared feasts of prime pop. ‘The way it’s meant to be’ indeed as the title so rightly screams, is nothing less than pure, infectious, direct and straight to the point razor sharp punk pop rock that’s distilled into the classic formulaic package that slams an eagerly potent two minutes and four seconds of high-octane petulance to make early Supergrass outings seem like ever expanding progressive rock dramas. No sooner has the smoke cleared and in kicks the wayward ‘Someway, somehow’ which could easily be mistaken for Pavement after a few tokes, whirring electronics and Southern American blissfulness soon spontaneously combusts as they go ‘Pump it Up’ Attractions big time. Ending it all with the best cut, the goof like ‘Buffalo Head’ which manages to fuse together the best bits of Garlic with Cockney Rebel and the Faces into something remarkably dozy, daft and delicious. http://www.fiercepanda.co.uk
The Fiery Furnaces ‘Tropical Ice-Land’ (Rough Trade). One of the best songs from last year to be found vanquished to the realms of obscurity that is fondly called the b-side was ‘Cousin Chris’ over on the flip side to the Fiery Furnaces debut release ‘Crystal Clear’, an awkward fusion of tripped out psychedelia and abstract absurdities, it gave a glimpse as to sense of wicked darkening humour that lurking at the core of brother and sister Matt and Eleanor. ‘Gallowsbird’s Bark’ their full-length debut didn’t disappoint either, it revealed a daring originality so often found wanting these days, fraught with angular departures into punk and beyond it was a chemistry experiment dangerously teetering to the point of overspill, whereby everything of use from 30 years of rock pop was scooped up, crudely mixed with the resulting concoction left sitting and smiling on the work bench with a menacing glint of pop overtones and potent ‘avant’ new wave attitude. ‘Tropical Ice-Land’ was one of those rare moments where the pop overtone scheme of things shone through. This version is a re-recording and finds the New York duo casually taking Blondie’s ‘The Tide is High’ on a sunshine vacation for a fortnight on the beach, only burying it to its neck in the sand to let the night time tides do their damage, backward loops, warming breezes hell this could be a massive summer hit given enough radio play and this still being winter, the summer brought forward sharpishly. Oh yeah and it sounds like the Barracudas covering Cornershop’s ‘Brimful of Asha’, can’t fail can it?! What do you mean you’ve never heard of the Barracudas, some people…A hit, in a perfect world. http://www.roughtraderecords.com
Bussetti ‘The Itch’ (Realise). In need of something a little special, something a little sophisticated perhaps even a little sensual, then you wouldn’t be doing yourself any harm in investing a little time in this beautifully realised release. Bussetti are a London based 7 piece who have on occasion been favourably compared to the likes of Red Snapper, Lamb and the simply awesome Cinematic Orchestra. Not officially out for a few weeks ‘The Itch’ is a smouldering number that oozes an air of stately refinement, in truth the kind of sound-scapes that Goldfrapp probably would have progressed to had ‘Felt Mountain’ not become such a heavy chain around their collective necks. An intoxicating mix of late illicit in crowd smoky jazz clubs built upon a platform of sophisticated classically arranged Bond-esque back drops, casually engaging tempos that’s armed with a seriously sleazy partying sax and all finished off with the inviting allure of Nico-esque torn by a particularly husky Kate Bush vocal. ‘Debussetti’ turns things on their head to a greater extent, utilising splintered cut ups from both classical arrangements and old Kung Fu movies that combine to shove and push restlessly to give an awkward bullish sheen while endowing the whole mix with a goofy undertow onto which Charlie Miller gets to get up and personal with his in your face rapping, dangerous, groovy and eerie all at once. ‘Softly’ which rounds up the set is just, mmm, dirty. http://www.bussetti.org
Sixty Mile Smile ‘Our World’ (Sch!zo). Could have sworn that we’d featured this lot previously but I’ll be damned if I can find the review or for that matter lay my hands on the CD, not to worry. Okay Sixty Mile Smile are a trio hailing from Essex who are part of the ever growing tide of slam happy punked up young men who seem to be coming out of the woodwork all over the show lately all wielding guitars like they mean to do you serious damage. Sixty Mile Smile like so few in the same generic stable at least remember melodies. Reared up on a lineal descent that can be traced back past Green Day and Offspring to the much missed Mega City 4 but with a more muscular exterior and an angulated ticking bomb heart, SMS serve up a frenetic pogo happy trouncing of breakneck buzzing punk pop that recalls a less threatening early incarnation of Leatherface having open heart surgery performed on it by the melodic nouse of Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. http://www.sixtymilesmile.co.uk
Along came man ‘Short’ EP (Self released Demo). The sound of young Wales may well be in good hands if this three-track release is anything to go by, that is if the band hadn’t sadly decided to call it a day not long after I received this release, which in all honesty is a great shame because Along came man are or where a young trio who certainly know a thing or two about cutting a mean rocking ditty. Currently to be found making appearances on compilation albums for Never Gonna Make It and Openfire records, Along came man kick in with this tightly wound three track demo that has all the trimmings of very, very early Alarm and dusted with the same melodic pull of Mega City 4 c.‘Tranzophobia’, power punk pop dished out with rapid fire execution, just check out the youthfully energetic hook happy ‘Feel the Sound’ which kicks and slams about with a mischievous wide eyed spirit, while ‘Back Breaker’ is an acoustic cut taken from a radio session for The Wave on 96.4FM and to these ears has a distinct Stiff Little Fingers c. ‘Now Then’ influence about its edgy frame. That said it’s the lead cut ‘HOBO’ which rules the roost, good wholesome kick ass fun, melody packed punk rock metered out with sly grooves and so addictive you’ll be haunted by it rattling around in your head for days. Get this now and prove them wrong. http://www.alongcameman.tk
Melaleuca ‘Mid Air Collision’ (Self Released). Just how we like it, sharp and caustic. Melaleuca (pronounced I guess MELA LUCHA, who said you don’t learn anything around here, fountain of knowledge that’s me, not, furthermore according to my bumper ‘big words for playing scrabble with’ compendium there is no such word) hail all the way from Farnborough, Hampshire. ‘Mid Air Collision’ is the trio’s fifth release to date and what a roaring corker it. Primed with power packed riffs that swerve, jostle and move with unpredictable swiftness. Opening with the cranium crunching ‘Pocket Capulet’ a bludgeoning head on crash of stuttering math rock hardcore that fuses together to wallop the life out of a barely audible but nevertheless stubbornly present melody, a punishing calling card of aggressive no holds barred agitation, ‘Gone Driving’ is less subtle in approach going for the throat from the word go, a storm whipping slice of Killing Joke emo style. ‘Five Sundays’ on the other hand courts with a darkly dense dynamic, jerking rhythms that bleed with a volatile fast / slow / fast grind, gruelling stuff. Bringing up the rear, ‘End Communication’ the best cut of the quartet, seemingly takes the best elements from the three accompanying tracks and throws them into a melting pot, the resulting chemical reaction a frenzied apocalyptic howler that’s toxically charged, a bit like putting your head in a spinner with half a hundred weight of rocks, raging stuff indeed. http://www.melaleuca-uk.co.uk
Surfer Rosa ‘Lucky Lipstick’ (Versity). A quick return for Norway’s electro punk poppers following their debut EP ‘Neon Commando’ released at the tail end last year. Acting as a taster for their soon to be released full length ‘Shanghai my Heart’, Surferosa are the happy pill popping shrill antidote for all the usual sombre / maudlin grey brigade. This time round three new cuts that kick their debut into touch, its still squirmingly poppy but hey who cares. ‘Lucky Lipstick’ is annoyingly infectious so much so that don’t be surprised if you find yourself going into impromptu sing songs when you least expect or need it, lashings of 80’s synth action that’s more Kim Wilde and Cyndi Lauper bullying or being bullied in the cloakroom by Nena at a mid 80’s Eurovision re-union party, which if anything makes a change from the usual New Romantic re-hashes currently to be found kicking around, no matter how much you hate it and you probably will, you just can’t resist tapping them feet. ‘Long Lust’ has Mariann doing her best breathless purring impersonation of Wendy James being Clare Grogan routine, which is fine by us because when all eyes are on her the rest of the band have snuck out through the back door to nick themselves a few Sex Pistols riffs, damn neat if you ask me. Ending the set with a live cut ‘Bim Bam Boom’ which is ‘Pinky Blue’ updated and pitched with the scariest keyboard sound since Van Halen’s ‘Jump’, damn don’t you just hate catchy records? http://www.surferosa.no
Dogs Die in Hot Cars ‘Man bites Man’ (V2). We warned you about this lot last year when their debut single ‘I love you ‘cause I have to’ sent us all in a bit of frenzied dither. Now signed to V2 ‘Man bites Man’ is one of those singles perfectly made for radio, if Special Needs are Dexy’s c. ‘Searching for the Young Soul Rebels’ then Dogs die in hot cars (atrocious name for a band by the way) are Rowland and Co c. ‘Too-Rye-Ay’ dragging XTC’s ‘Senses Working Overtime’ for a countryside stroll with bits of Joe Jackson and a particularly frenetic sounding Howard Jones joining the parade. My personal favourite though is the rustic oddness of ‘The Queen of the Pumpkin Plukes’ which has all the idyllic soft psychedelia of the variety found on Partridge and Co’s ‘Mummer’ though found here as though executed by the Boomtown Rats who unbeknownst to the producer have brought along Radio 2’s Cliff Adams Singers to do a spot of uplifting la la la la’s, divine stuff. More daintily dreamy stuff with ‘Nobody teaches life anything’ how very true, reverse loops and plenty of pastoral teasing to be had, while the up tempo heart racing ‘Pastimes and Lifestyles’ skips the set to a merry conclusion, did someone say Talking Heads, no, right…Limited to 1000 copies you’d be a fool to miss out again. http://www.v2music.com
Owsley Sunshine ‘Somoer Day’ (Demo). Remember Top, Liverpool band early 90’s, rose from the ashes of the legendary Wild Swans, had a cult baggy classic with ‘Number One Dominator’ well take two parts of them add in some seriously stoned Stone Roses and lashings of Hammonds with a vibe of Charlatans ‘The only one I know’ and that’s pretty much ‘Somoer Day’. Okay there’s a little more, but you get the general idea. Owsley Sunshine are based in Lincolnshire which according to their press release is something of a music industry black hole, well stands to reason really if it can’t be reached via London Underground then you really are pushing your luck. Shame really because this is a damn smart single, the kind of thing Radio 1’s Mark and Lard would have hammered you into submission with in the good old days of pre-play-lists and late night fun broadcasting. At 6 minutes in length ‘Somoer Day’ is hazily anthemic, the perfect early Summer evening festival track that breathes a magical, nay, an intoxicating odour of chilled out 60’s hippy chic and drugged out blissfulness with coolly wasted psychedelic trimmings while passing off subtly guarded Beatles references to ‘A Day in the Life’, simply stunning. ‘I’m fine’ is a little more sedate by comparison, more loving like a classically tripped with softening reclining edges, as though both the Roses and Spacemen 3 had met in secret to collaborate, jammed a little, smoked a little and then exchanged numbers forgetting the whole incident. Turn it up and turn on. Several puffs of magic baccy ahead of the pack, a close call, but single of the missive. http://www.foundrycrew.net
The Tone Def Amigos ‘S-Bends’ (Demo). Scenester mates of Owsley Sunshine, the Tone Def Amigos run their buddies close to the wire. Two tracks on offer show a sophisticated and dare I say elegant approach to song writing. Relying on moods and offering a curvaceous edge to their sound, on the willowy ‘S-Bends’ TTDA gently guide the unsuspecting listener by the hand to enchanted realms, cascading chords melt delicately into one another while falsetto vocals lightly brush ghost like overhead providing for an intimate setting where lulling psychedelia is caressed by snoozing dream like classicism that’s only momentarily interrupted by a brief foray into space rock improvisations coming out the other side with the feint vibe of the Manics ‘If you tolerate this your children will be next’ in tow. ‘Evolution’ rounds things of nicely, breezy acoustics blend seductively with looped samples and chilled out rustic grooves, kind of like Ozric Tentacles partying with a seriously mellowed Happy Mondays to the sounds of those intimate Beatles moments penned by McCartney, damn smart if you ask me. http://www.foundrycrew.net
The New Shapes ‘Electric Shock’ (Demo). And do we like this or do we like this, yes sir. The New Shapes are a young quartet based in Well End who it seems (while every one else has been snaffling up either old garage punk favourites from the 60’s, new romantics relics from the 80’s or immersing themselves in the know how’s of post punk), have been doing a spot of research themselves visiting record shops and quietly investing in a few well chosen classics from 1976-1978. So here we have 3 tracks that simply ooze potential and pour forth subtle elements of the much loved (well in our gaff anyway) Flamin’ Groovies, a spot of raw friction courtesy of ‘White Music / Go 2’ era XTC, ‘Another music in a different kitchen’ era Buzzcocks and some neatly worked CBGB’s style art house proto punk which with a very big stick have all been thoroughly mixed to serve up a curious art rock come punk rock come pub rock blend as evidenced perfectly on the agit groove of ‘Electric Shock’ whose austere claws dig deeply into the psyche. ‘Just Paranoid’ barely kicks in shy of the 2 and a half minute mark and sounds like ‘Orgasm Addict’ as though re-written by the Groovies and performed by the Dead Boys but it’s on the potently nihilistic ‘I’m waiting for the Man’ in a gruesome head on collision with ‘Love comes in Spurts’ fusion within ‘Waiting for a God’ that spiked our ears, simply stunning and a release that all decent record collections should be gagging for. http://www.thenewshapes.com
Detwiije ‘Six is better than Eight’ (Self Released). Literally just taken delivery of this four track EP, so good it is I felt it couldn’t wait till the next missive, however that said a word of warning to the wise, just the kind of record you need when you think that your life has just fallen through the floor, as mine has several times in the last few weeks. ‘Bee’ in the space of 4 minutes and fifty eight seconds conveys every element and inner turbulence that those feelings evoke, a furious flux of anger, hate, confusion, bewilderment, hurt, loneliness and soul destroying despair all masterfully contained in one slice of storm baiting instrumental classicism. Gruelling sound-scapes delicately held together by sympathetic string arrangements map out a war torn terrain where upon the white hot caustic measure of early Mogwai finds itself tamed, harnessed and out gunned by the brooding overbearance of godspeed you black emperor’s full tilt atmospheric horror. Cinematically charged, this is Morricone tooled up to the eyeballs at the last chance saloon, violently awesome. ‘La Guerre des mondes’ (‘War of the Worlds’) no not the Jeff Wayne score, but nevertheless equally intriguing and chillingly apocalyptic and one assumes thematically centred around H G Wells classic novel. Notable for the UFO ray gun guitar sound effects, though an instrumental the quintet perfectly choreograph and give such vivid account that you can literally feel, smell and taste the unfolding confrontation as though actually there. Think of a doom laden Ride, feedback blazing, squaring up to My Bloody Valentine and tripped off with a seismic symphonic sheen. Brooding, elegantly delivered numbness is the order of the day for the wounded ‘Six is better than eight’ which lurches bruised for the best part of 2 minutes before revealing a harrowing sting in the tail and which leaves the epically serene ‘Waltz’ to pick up the pieces and clear the emotional debris, noodling post rock in the vein of Rothko and Billy Mahonie and priceless with it. An awesome release. Plans for the near future will see the 5-piece touring France and the UK this year with a gig at the Hope and Anchor, Islington, London on March 13th (which I strongly recommend you get your backsides along to) as well as the issue of an ‘experimental’ collection recorded in an industrial silo in Hull entitled ‘Would you rather be followed by forty ducks for the rest of your life’ which on title alone will ensure it gets top of the class treatment in our gaff. http://www.detwiije.com
Scarling. ‘Band Aid covers the Bullet Hole’ (Sympathy for the Record Industry). Okay admittedly a little late with this one, but hell sometimes you just can’t keep a good tune or three down. Currently to be found doing sizeable damage on the ‘Blisscent 2’ compilation from Blisscent Records and holding its own among a welter weight of gliding guitar ensembles most notably the Meeting Places, A Northern Chorus and the storm chasing Skywave, ‘Band Aid covers a bullet hole’ is the debut release from LA’s Scarling. a knuckle rapping taster for their recently released full length ‘Sweet Heart Dealer’. Scarling. are the latest in a long line of melody based noise niks currently setting alight Stateside, formed out of a chance meeting between guitarist Christian Hejnal and ex Jack off Jill vocalist Jessicka, this quintet (who incidentally look like the bastard offspring of John Cale with fully signed up membership cards to the local Jean Paul Sartre existentialist debating society) cleverly marinate varying degrees of goth and shoegaze with a hammer like noise attrition that appears all at once threatening, hostile and yet curiously beguiling. Pressed on red vinyl and housed in a sleeve depicting artist Mark Ryden’s ‘Wounds’ painting, ‘Band Aid covers a bullet hole’ is a chime happy bruiser with bite, a bit like opening a brightly wrapped present on Christmas day and finding you’ve just unlocked a Pandora’s box letting loose onto the world a scheming array of mischievous sprites and delinquent demons. Taking their cue from the likes of Lush, Bang Bang Machine and Curve, Scarling. offer up an alluring bait and like the fly to the spider your drawn instantly into their colourfully woven web, Jessicka’s almost child like naive vocals cutting loose deceptively from angelic invitations to sinister mockery perfect act as a foil for the dreamy wash of cascading melodies themselves routed by barking bursts of fuzz and life sapping fury. ‘H/C’ is a little more direct in intention, a curdling mix of locked down heavy bearing grooves, claustrophobic vibes and grinding swamp like menace that exudes such a wretched feel you’ll be itching for days. If you get the CD version you get the added treat of a cover of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ which if anything ups the self loathing factor by a considerable margin to spine tingling extremes and has the band giving a commendable chilling account of themselves. Essential, as if it was going to be anything less. http://www.scarling.com or http://www.sympathyrecords.com
Harvest of Souls ‘Who’ (Self Released). And with a name like Harvest of Souls I think it’s fairly safe to assume that this lot don’t write ‘strolling into the sun holding hands’ kind of songs not unless of course the sun in question is at the point of imploding into a red giant and the hand holding couple are the soon to be dead victors walking amid a landscape of destruction following a Revelations type conquest. Harvest of Souls are pretty much your archetypical hard rock outfit done with a gruel and groove make-over, never failing to waver or for that matter flinch, HoS don’t so much bludgeon you with out and out violent sonics but rather pensively insinuate and pull you apart from the inside. In Brian Sutor the trio have a vocalist who powerfully veers between Plant, Coverdale, Scott and Cornell and who is more than ably equipped to ride out the punishing slavish like emotional tides that the band undertake to grind out. Dipping cleverly to unify varying strands of rock’s ever evolving personality, HoS blend visceral elements of grind core / grunge and lighten the heaving equation with the merest of melodic dabs that are then themselves gathered together a fitted out with rumbling doom laden storm like atmospherics, the resulting sounds offer visions of bleak wastelands battered into submission by the cruellest of nature’s seizures, from the harrowing introspective open sores found stinging on ‘Who’ the bands collective surge literally pins you to the wall with its serrated claustrophobic hooks. ‘Love me hate me’ my personal favourite, gently unfurls hinting at a brooding epic in the making, classically etched with Whitesnake pretensions and gifted with some superbly scored harmonies. ‘Born to Heaven born to Hell’ can only be described as a funky Slayer playing Russian roulette with a grooving AC/DC with Jon Spencer loading the barrels, quite neat if you ask me. http://www.harvestofsouls.net
Riley ‘Sit Up’ (MI5). And just before I do the off something tasty with which to send this particular missive happily to bed. One of those records that could so easily have slipped the net but we caught it, and a release that given the right kind of airplay and word of mouth mutterings will see it flying out of the racks in no time to find itself in loving homes. Admittedly this is one of the most unassuming releases I’ve had the pleasure of hearing during the course of these missives for a fair old while, and don’t, I repeat don’t, be put off by the initial greeting of sound-a-like Travis / Coldplay colloquialisms, not that I’ve a problem with those bands in particular, far from it though safe to say that their mere mention give certain quarters the screaming ab-dabs, oh yeah and don’t be surprised if in the opening bits of the lead cut ‘Sit Up’ your found whistling Status Quo’s ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’. This is a crushing four track EP, the lead track itself housing a bruising left hook that Ali would be proud of, ‘Sit Up’ has enough of a flag waving feel good demeanour to match James’ ‘Sit Down’ ambling as it does gorgeously lost in it’s own daydreaming candour until from nowhere showered by an in invigorating chorus line of drop dead cool chiming guitars. A monster of a track. The tear stained ‘Forgiven’ just hurts and carries on hurting, a song of self realisation which swings from end of the pier mellowing sadness to salutary ‘indie’ magnificence. Porcupine Tree as though given a metallic sheen doing a toned down take on Led Zeppelin peak through on ‘Belief within the End’ yet it’s the parting ‘We’ll be fine’ that gets our nodding approval, snaking chords, melancholic pianos and an over feel so trembling you’ll be reduced to jelly. Consider yourself told. Deputy single of the missive. http://www.rileyofficial.co.uk
That’s pretty much for the time being for, shall we agree on say, 14 days? Okay fine. Haven’t a clue what’ll be in the next Missive safe to say we’ll dig around to bring you some of the best releases around to ensure that you have a record collection resembling something to be envied by the neighbourhood.
As always my eternal thanks for all those that have made these mumbling musings possible, too many to name, but you know who you are. Goes without saying a big thank you to you, yes you for at least stopping by and taking time out to read it, always appreciated.
So with that it’s farewell until next time, take good care of yourselves and be sure to mail me your comments or whatever, this cupboard don’t ‘alf get lonely these days.
Have fun and stuff,
Singled Out is prepared from the finest ingredients known to man, no animals were used in the process. Dosage. Take several times a day, if dizziness or any adverse effects should arise, withdraw to a darkened room, turn up the volume and repeat process.