Forget guns and forget ammunition
Rosey R*E*P*E*A*T takes aim with some verbal violence
Lily Allen : The Fear (Regal)
OK this may only be mid February but spring seems to have already started
to sprung; the snow has gone, bulbs are poking through the aching earth,
it's not dark all the time and there's a new Lily Allen single out.
The video juxtaposes the scathing lyrics with images of Lily skipping
around the set, dancing with oversized presents, perfectly complementing
this upbeat sap-packed ditty, marrying an optimistic electro-pop beat
to a girlie voice with intelligently biting lyrics:
It doesnt matter coz Im packing
And thats what makes my life so fucking fantastic
And I am a weapon of massive consumption
Its not my fault, its how Im programmed to function
I look at the sun and I look in the mirror
And thats when I know
Im onto a winner
Don't you just love it when a plan works out? 15 years ago 3 small
boys joined my guitar class wanting to play like a cross between Queen
and The Manics*. And here they are, well on their way to achieving their
From the opening riff, 'Apparition' is the sound of a band coming age,
with promise replaced by performance. The riff is so heavy it could
be used to crack conkers, the verse chugs along like an overheating
Scalextric car and the killer chorus kicks in like a playground brawl
. What makes this track stand out from a bunch of other rockin indie
hopefuls are the lead vocals, variously described as Morrissey mashed
with Jarvis Cocker, or like a Klingon on helium, which give the song
the supreme human vulnerability that makes it 4-real.
OK, so I maybe biased, the NME quotes on the press release maybe made
up and this may not even be genuinely their first single (what do you
call this then
boys?) but this apparition should startle you into taking notice, with
the hairs on the back of your neck crawling.
I'd have got away with my rock'n'roll indoctrination if it wasn't for
these pesky kids.
*And if anyone doubts the veracity of any of this, I'll
post the photos of you lot aged 7 all over the internet.
All-American Rejects : Gives You Hell
Here's my dirty little secret : I've quite enjoyed several past offerings
of The All-American Rejects. Shhh! They do that pop punk thing to perfection,
that crunchy guitar sound, the snappy drums, the minor-keyed pre-chorus
and then the killer hook. And it's done very well for them.
This single is not really one of my favourites from their oeuvre
any chorus that that has to prove its own sing-a-longability by adding
a crowd doing just that at the end of the track is always likely to
arouse suspicions. And as ever the shift to a more 'mature' sound disconcerts
me (see all my past reviews, ever); in The All-American Rejects case
this manifests itself in the employment of producer Eric Valentine who
seems to have grown up their thrashing pop-punk sounds in favour of
a soul-pop vibe.
Which is all well and good, but to me lacks the fun, sparkle and life
affirming air-headed frothiness I once admired in the band.
As if anyone cares what I think, this was number 2 on the i-tunes chart
behind The Killers.
Now this is more like it frantic, snarled, arrogant, mouthy and
just a tad unhinged, King of Conspiracy come at you out of your speakers
like a rabid dog. They outsnarl Rotten, they outpace Dwain Chambers,
they have more mad bells than a French hunchback, and they are ready
to wrestle your attention away from join-the-dots indie.
A kick to the throat of just about everything - part intellectual-salon,
part youth movement - the track is an uncompromisingly DIY blaze
of frenetic vocals, ingeniously off-kilter guitar lines, and fractious
dancefloor drums. They have been likened to McClusky, At the Drive-In,
and And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, but their schizophrenic
rantings and ramblings remind me equally of early 90s psychos King of
'Youth Against the Empire' will be available to download from all the
major digital retailers and signed copies of the limited edition CD
will be available both from Catcutter Record's website here
and via the band's myspace
This slab of 'anguished and jet-propelled art-punk' is released on
March 2nd dare you wait that long?
This is another frantic, energetic romp, nice one! The
band recorded the track live in one take after psyching themselves up
by watching the Bill Hicks sketch that inspired it (watch it yourself
below), and you can almost feel the integrity and swagger leaping out
of the CD and poke you between the eyes. Pummelling brainwashing drums,
an insistent stabbing guitar riff and several 'heys' all make for an
exhilarating, uplifting listen. No wonder it's endorsed by Bill Hicks'
It's A Misery Business : Anti Love songs for the Anti
We at R*E*P*E*A*T have long been a bit cynical about the purposes of
Valentines day, and now it seems that some record company execs have
realised there's some money to be made out of this cynicism. This is
a collection of anti-love songs, a scene conscious assemblage of loud
punk, rock, emo and metal, designed to drown out the misery of Valentines
day and turn even the warmest of hearts (and the label's bank balance)
There are some trendy headline names to entice you in and, admittedly,
they deliver the best that the compilation has to offer. Were
talking Panic At The Discos I Write Sins Not Tragedies, featuring
the memorable lyric: What a beautiful wedding what a shame
the poor grooms bride is a whore!
Simple Plans emo anthem Your Love Is A Lie is filled with enough
angst-laced vitriol, too as well as a radio-friendly, sing-along
appeal. And Biffy Clyro crop up with their majestic epic Mountains,
which deserves to win even more fans to their albums.
There's also some crap Nickelback's 'Something in Your Mouth'
was banned in the UK by their own record label. One listen and you'll
work out why.
To make up for that, here's R*E*P*E*A*T faves Gallows' punk rock riot
that is Orchestra Of Wolves. And then Amanda Palmer contributes a song
mysteriously called 'Leeds United'...
With a bit more thought and a bit less pandering to scenes, there's
the kernel of a very good idea in here. Pity I'm reviewing it on February
Gun'n'Roses : Better.
Now here's a bad that could teach old Axl about not letting down your
legacy. They maybe 30 years young, but the Fuzztones still possess the
raw energy, passion and ear for a top tune that marked them out as special
all those years ago, as Rudi Protudi and his rotating cast of Vox-wielding
maniacs continue to pound out snarling, spitting garage rock, oblivious
to trends and image consultants . Yeah they've got horns this time (Horny
as Hell, geddit?) and a female chorus, but the godfathers of garage
still revel in and rely on the dirty guitars and the charismatic vocals.
If you don't believe in longevity, you need to get Horny as Hell.
The View : Which Bitch (1965 Records)
The View's debut album was, for me, incredibly disappointing
a part from a couple of tracks, the songs were weak, a stark warning
of what can happen when a band is pushed into a rushed release by greedy
Nonetheless it was number 1.
This album is far more satisfying, it's got more balls, more crunch,
more imagination, more substance, more variety and far better songs.
I may have slagged off maturity once or twice in my life, but that doesn't
mean that I think things should be half-arsed and under prepared. This
album shows that once these imperfections are removed from their work,
The View are actually quite an interesting band worth taking a listen
The band are tight, starting to care more about ideas than image, and
these ideas are of a quality that make every song a possible single,
and importantly, they still seem to be enjoying themselves. Thank goodness
this is a band who have dodged, or shunned, the draining corporate mentality.
Not that it will do so well in the charts, as their fickle favouritism
seems already to have passed.
If you thought anthemic, lighters in the air indie-pop with soaring
choruses and huge hooks had had its day, then take a listen to this.
Track 2, the first single from the album 'I Get It Wrong, is probably
the best representation of what this band do. Its dirty, got a
chorus the size of Everest and showcases the great pop lyrics they possess.
They'd win no races for originality (The Killers, Arcade Fire and Power
of Dreams all spring to mind) but if you're after an uplifting pop moment
or two, The Race get the chequered flag.
Crystal Stilts : Alight of Night (Angular) (www.myspace.com/crystalstilts)
I do sometimes feel suspicious that so many bands are making records
that so blatantly appeal to fuddy duddy old timers. People like me.
This album is dripping with allusions to The Jesus and Mary Chain, Velvet
Underground, The House of Love and even Joy Division; what's even better
there's a scarcely hidden love for the New Zealand Flying Nun's label
bands of the 80s that I used to love so much The Clean, The Bats
and of course the fantastic Chills.
Should our pop pioneers really be so blatantly retro?
But then again, if the record introduces a whole new generation to these
bands and gives me a new lease of life, so what?
The quality of some of these tracks is awesome; dripping with reverb,
haunted by dreamy melody, drawled out vocals like the last gun slinger
in the West, aching with regret, Crystal Stilts make Glasvegas sound
like lightweight pop-punkers. Just as endearing are the subtle flourishes
and unexpected touches that accompany nearly every track, such as the
country twang of a steel guitar in 'Prismatic Room' or the achingly
nostalgic organ line in 'Crystal Stilts'. These help give the songs
individuality, something the band still needs to work on, while underlining
the fact that their strength lies not in breaking new ground but in
softly ram-raiding their influences and creating something new and beautiful
from their pilferings.
A few months ago I reviewed a blank copy of this album here,
and enjoyed it immensely for its political commitment and outspoken
bolshiness. Now thanks to the nice people at Beefy Marauder Recordings,
I have a (mostly) working copy of the album so I can enjoy it all over
And I can report that this isn't going to be an instant pop sensation,
but if you like your music slightly unhinged and very definitely lo
fi, you'll love this. The obvious humour in the lyrics (song titles
include 'Stable as a Table' and 'Practise Makes Purple') is reflected
in the mad bleeps, drum loops, unlikely samples, keyboard meanderings
and percussive virtuoisity that make up this record, which work together
to show that if you're inspired, you don't need millions of dollars
or a brain dead PR machine.
So to finish in the spirit of plagarism that has imbued a lot of these
reviews (though no one can accuse Engine of not being original), here's
the Baltimore City Paper
much of Fringe feels like lo-fi audio splatter paint--squirmy
synths, chirping electronics, back-of-a-cave vocals, and lots of samples,
of course it's the kinda thing that happens in a basement with
a bottle of something foul, a cheap microphone, and a sampler.
If this sounds like your trough of slurry, get your skates on
only 100 copies made! www.beefymarauder.tk
What's wrong with me? Maybe it's that spring weather I mentioned at
the top ...
When I mark a pile of school books, usually the ones at the bottom
that I look at once I've already been sat there for hours, get a raw
deal less time, less sympathy, less effort. And so it often is
with review writing. But not today despite the hours I've been tethered
to the CD player.
For here's Her Next Friend, all poppy and and rocky and fun,with muscular
beats, unmistakable big guitar sounds and songs that sound instantly
familiar in fact a lot of these tracks sound a lot like lost
classics, something an American Teenage fan club fronted Lou Reed would
have come up with. The reviewer who called them jangly-guitared
alterna-garage rock seems to have hit the nail on the head, not
quite there on a level with Super Deluxe but headed in the right direction.
So as I approach the end of my massive reviewing task, a theme seems
to emerge, and that is that cutting edge guitar music seems to be mostly
about recycling different past greats but what does it take to
be a 'new great'?
I'd suggest that to to add a little bit of the unexpected, to introduce
unlikely bed fellow, to add an explosive spark of inspiration.
Which is surely the next step for this band.
Which bitch about these reviews on our message boardshere