Tuesday, May 31, 2022
David Berman meets Bill Callahan meets Jeffrey Lewis. Oddball indie, the eternally skewed smalltown American view of the world. Great name. Great record.
Monday, May 30, 2022
Washington D.C's Bottled Up's latest Grand Bizzare is an odd proposition indeed. A full on dystopian synth vision with its roots in the British New Wave of the early Eighties welded to the visionary overblown concepts of the likes of Bowie, Genesis, The Who or The Tubes.
The whole exercise has an immaculately smooth pristine sound. All slightly strange in 2022 but impressive nevertheless. A jerky paranoid record but a very realised one.
Sunday, May 29, 2022
Saturday, May 28, 2022
Brisbane band Ball Park Music's sixth album Weirder & Weirder doesn't sound particularly weird to me. More like a straight up Power Pop album, like the ones that they used to make. They certainly share no DNA with their hometown's best band The Go Betweens.
I like a bit of Power Pop as much as the next man but I don't really care greatly for it in its purest forms. I prefer R.E.M. to dB's for example and I vastly prefer them to the likes of The Knack or the Raspberries . There's something relentlessly cheerful about this record.
It's all perfectly listenable. Much of it would detain you briefly if it showed up on indie radio station daytime radio. It should fill mid sized venues and make plenty leap up and down inside them. It just didn't excite me very much really.
Friday, May 27, 2022
Thursday, May 26, 2022
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have a sound that immediately appeals to me. A crystalline gleaming guitar sound, three of them no less, intertwining and heading forward. Reminiscent of all time favourites of mine. Go Betweens, Television and The Chills. A lyrical approach most obviously indebted to The Go Betweens again, both Forster and McLennan.
I've written about them plenty in the past, yet I haven't posted my thoughts about their newest album, Endless Rooms,(their third in all), even though it came out several weeks ago. Why is that? It's probably because as much as I like their ingredients, a certain saminess has crept into their sound.
When Courtney Barnett first emerged, I wondered whether she'd ever top Avant Gardener an early highlight which announced her arrival as one to watch. Down the years she has topped it, or at least equalled it on numerous occasions. She's more than fulfilled her early bright promise. And more.
RBCF face a similar dilemma. On the 2017 their wonderful early EP French Press, and particularly its title track, set the bar pretty high for themselves.
They've put out consistently good records since but not notably great ones. It seems Endless Rooms is another to pile on that stack. It sometimes feels like they're running while standing still at one and the same time.
The guitar sound is quite gorgeous as always here. Lyrical concerns are more difficult to gauge. This is another fine, thoughtful alternative pop record without immediately striking me as an essential one. I'll give it a couple more plays over the weekend before deciding whether to go and see them live next week, where they're playing just around the corner from me.
A wonderful passage of text describing the British class journey from Evelyn Waugh through the Ealing Comedies and Kitchen Sink films to Cliff Richard and Billy Fury.
A down at heel Springsteen with similar intent on escape, but with less hope that he's going to make it out. Probably no hope at all. Tampa, Florida's, Thomas Dollbaum's debut's Wellswood is a decidedly glum but well crafted record.
He doesn't have Springsteen's inner strength. He cerainly doesn't sound like the Boss. He's not in charge. He sounds more like a cross between Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and Beck's eternal Loser. His voice is scarred and pained. A voice from the other side of the tracks. One more trip to the liquor store, when putting the money towards that motor bike would probably be a much better idea.
This isn't an easy record to listen to. It's essentially glass half full from the off. A realistic perspective for many in Modern America, or indeed America as it's always been. It's a very good record anyhow.
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Tuesday, May 24, 2022
I'm in big posting mood at the minute. Must be the move to Summer. So here's another series and a book I've written about begore. One of my favourite Pop Culture book. Michael Bracewell is a wonderful cultural commentator about what makes England what it is.
The first 25 pages nails its manifesto to the mast. It's so think with connections between films, literature and music you know you're going to have to hold on to your hat. He menntions Donovan's Gift From a Flower to a Garden and it's an prropriate starting point here as Donovan is a very, very English artist, even though he's actually Scottish!
Another recommendation from Darren Jones, consistent supporter of this blog for which I'm grateful as always. We have similar tastes, but he always has a knack of tracking things down that have evaded me in the weekly new releases.
His latest tip is Astrel K's Flickering i solo project of Rhys Edwards of Ulrika Spacek, one of the more interesting British alternative bands of recent years. Based in Stockholm and sounding much like it, it's an elusive, and perhaps not immediately arresting record but I found it drew me imperceptibly inwards as it played on and by the end of my first play I was both intrigued and won over.
It's released on Duophonic Super 45s, a label with a history of putting out records by the likes of Broadcast, Stereolab and Yo La Tengo. That's as good an indication as I can give of what Flickering i spunds like. Spacey, disembodied, other worldly. Altogether fascinating and staking a claim in a noble tradition that takes you back to My Bloody Valentine, Can and other Krautrock bands and all the way back to early Bowie and Roxy.
It's also delightfully poppy. A band that is regularly having hits in other universes but will never have any in this one. Mapping other galaxies. I'm always grateful when I come across records like these. So thanks again Darren.
Monday, May 23, 2022
For people like me, one of the best records ever made. The Langley Schools Music Project's Innocence & Despair, has finally come on the jukebox weeks after requesting it.
Meanwhile 500. Made it to 500. What am I doing with my life?
Sunday, May 22, 2022