sabato 26 febbraio 2011

Look See Proof "Between Here And There"

Accidenti, qui siamo quasi ai giorni nostri.
Sembra ieri che io, insieme agli eroi di sempre (Rouge, Ricci, Laura ed Elena) eravamo alla Casa 139 di Milano a vedere i LSP dal vivo, e a dire il vero insieme a Laura avevamo pure fatto 1 bella intervistina.
Ma il tempo vola, e i ragazzi, dopo solo questo disco, hanno già gettato la spugna.
Peccato viene da dire.
Me lo diceva il mio buon amico Gabriele (alias Franco Scaluzzi) che sarebbero durati poco o niente, ma io no, non ci stavo...vedrai che questi durano, vedrai che questi decollano, gli dicevo io.
Alla fine ha avuto ragione lui. Come spesso accade a dire il vero.
Comunque dicevamo i ragazzi si sono sciolti e a me rimane un gran senso di rammarico, non tanto in qualità di un live un pò fracassone a dire il vero o per il fatto che avevamo scambiato due chiacchiere insieme, quanto per un disco piacevole e fresco che viaggia ai mille all'ora in ambito pop.
Melodie gustose, chitarre rumorose e tutto ovviamente già sentito mille volte, ma a noi andava bene così.
Evidentemente a loro no. (2008 Weekender Records)

The sound of skinny jeans, youthful vigour and guitars worn up around the collar bone, ‘Between Here And There’ is as suitable an accompaniment to summer as barbecues and beach wear.
Technically, the record’s as simplistic as you like, but then LSP aren’t about instrumental hi-jinks. Their trick is capturing the excitement (and disappointment) of being 20-something and living for youth. Single ‘Casualty’ is the first example of the band finding fun despite the inevitability of modern reality, yet taken as a whole the entire album plays like a celebration of new found adulthood, with tracks like ‘Standard class’ and ‘Bishopsgate’ sticking two fingers up to middle-aged rat race executive-types.
So it’s spiky, it’s comedy, it’s so toe tapping it’ll wear out your Converse, and best of all it’s utterly now.
The natural antidote to last year’s threadbare new rave scene. (Matt Thompson -

Two tracks into their debut LP, Hertfordshire quartet Look See Proof hit the nail firmly on its noggin.
Timing is absolutely critical in music, isn't it? Zeitgeist: great sounding word (go on, try saying it... satisfying, huh?), albeit one used and abused by agenda-setting journos everywhere, but totally, utterly relevant when talking about Look See Proof's debut album.
Had Between Here And There dropped three or four years ago, we might have been talking about a fresh, exciting new band with several potential crossover hits on their collective hand, but now? Commercial appeal or not - since when was that ever a true barometer of quality? - it's a sound that's worn severely thin on these ears.
It is, after all, a copy of a copy of a copy.
Gang Of Four/Josef K abrasive guitars twinned with plentiful harmonies and urch-rock charm? You'll be wanting The Maccabees' LP. That is, of course, assuming you didn't wear out the first Futureheads record; a more bookish, complicated and ultimately rewarding take on that formula, minus the Fred Perry.
Like your guitar-slingers dressed in tweed do you, sir? Step this way, and meet Young Knives. Alternatively, take early Bloc Party, or Good Shoes, or... or...
You've actually got to feel a little bit sorry for Look See Proof - for one thing, they've toured with both The Twang and The Fratellis - because what they do isn't absolutely awful but just so, so uninspired.
It's derivative to the point of parody and, even though it's still full of honesty and gusto (see: 'Discussions' and 'Start Again'), this is certainly a record to endure rather than enjoy. (Rob Webb -

- You Don't Get It
- Casualty
- Obstruction
- Keeping Mistakes
- High Horse
- Standard Class
- Local Hero
- Bishopsgate
- Competition
- Discussions
- Do You Think It's Right
- Start Again


Black Box Recorder "Facts Of Life"

Possiamo metterci in ginocchio e adorare il dio Luke Haines? Ancora una volta un disco superbo. (2001 Jetset Records)

We like the idea of writing songs for disturbing, disturbed people". So say ex-Auteurs frontman Luke Haines and Jesus and Mary Chain alumnus John Moore, the multi-instrumental backbone of Black Box Recorder.
The band's 1998 debut, England Made Me, provided ample evidence of a brilliantly unhealthy lyrical preoccupation with varieties of trauma, tragedy and damage as well as with the kinds of banal, quotidian woes and ennui that Morrissey put on the pop map. Having negotiated cheerful, inviting titles like "Girl Singing in the Wreckage", "Hated Sunday", and "It's Only the End of the World", listeners found themselves in a world of grim, kitchen-sink realism with an intelligent pop soundtrack.
Key to the formula were the emotionless, clinical vocals of Sarah Nixey, singing songs of dysfunction, death, boredom, despair and wife-swapping. The first single, "Child Psychology", contained the tough-love admonishment "Life is unfair, kill yourself or get over it", and was promptly banned from UK airwaves.
The recipe is a familiar one on The Facts of Life. Suggesting a musical hybrid of Portishead, Air, Mono and Saint Etienne, Black Box Recorder continues to trawl the gloomier and seamier sides of life. The band's sensibility and attitude remain unmistakably English, its songs steeped in a tradition of comfortably ironic, darkly humorous, self-mocking misery.
The Facts of Life is the sound of post-war Britain-as-usual, bearing up and soldiering on after the bursting of the Cool Britannia bubble and the broken promise of New Labour.
Like England Made Me, The Facts of Life makes for compulsively uneasy listening, owing to its reliance on a simple, basic contrast: the breezy, addictive pop surface of the songs and Sarah Nixey's beautiful vocal melodies are generally at complete odds with the content of the lyrics, which is at times harrowing. (And therein lies the comic thrust of the album.)
The success of The Facts of Life hinges in large part on the contribution of Nixey, who comes across as the evil twin of Saint Etienne's Sarah Cracknell.
While her vocals are often breathy and honey-coated, she's also capable of the aloof iciness of Nico, frequently combining the two registers within the same song to sublime effect. Her most withering vocal deliveries seem to be directed at masculinity, in both its nascent and full-blown stages.
The best example can be heard on the standout title track, which bears an uncanny resemblance to All Saints' "Never Ever", albeit through a trip-hop filter. The choruses are rendered with exquisite, sugary vocals, but the body of the song is another story. Nixey appears be reading -- in exactingly proper, scientific tones -- from The Annotated Guide to Male Sexuality and Socialization (With Full Color Photographs).
As she methodically and dispassionately charts the horrors of puberty and adolescence, it's rather like listening to someone broadcast your cringe-inducing private memories to the world at large. On "The Art of Driving", she trades deadpan (automotively related) innuendo with Moore.
To the accompaniment of a sparse, echoing beat, she consistently cuts down his sexual advances. At the same time, she fleshes out the song in a voice that's nothing but sweetness and light.
Listening to tracks like "Weekend" and "May Queen", in particular, it's impossible not to draw comparisons with Saint Etienne. While Black Box Recorder builds a similar retro sound around rich melodies and female vocals, the likeness also manifests itself in the way that the band recycles British pop culture references.
Playfully nodding at Alan Sillitoe's Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, the chorus of "Weekend", for instance, draws on precisely the kind of cultural coordinates that inform the music of Saint Etienne. Additionally, the subtly motorik "The English Motorway" -- Black Box Recorder's answer to "Autobahn" -- uses the thoroughfare in question as a metaphor in dissecting a failing relationship, much as Saint Etienne did on "Like a Motorway".
But of course, Black Box Recorder are not copyists and their sound is far from derivative. Haines, Moore and Nixey hold up a noir mirror to the sound of Wiggs, Stanley and Cracknell.
Although Black Box Recorder and Saint Etienne both specialize in pastiche renderings of British '60s girl-pop a la Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield and Sandie Shaw through a contemporary lens, Black Box Recorder completely empty their version of any of the glamour associated with that model.
Black Box Recorder's variant differs markedly in that it conceals a wry, weary cynicism, its kitschy bittersweet songs leaving a distinctly sour taste in the mouth.
Sometimes that bad aftertaste comes simply from a focus on the brutally mundane.
With its title playfully alluding to Roxy Music's "Street Life", "Straight Life" concerns a milieu that's quite the antithesis of the hip, glam world of the early '70s chronicled by Bryan Ferry -- namely, grotesque middle-class domesticity and the repressed, dead-end existence of Philip-Larkin-type Englishness.
The insistence of a dull, metronomic drum-machine beat throughout the song perfectly translates the colorless monotony of its subject matter.
However, things get truly unsavory on "Gift Horse". Despite its wholly un-sinister floating melodies, it seems to deal with John Christie, one of the nation's most infamous mass murderers, who was hanged in 1953.
With its dreamy atmospherics, "The Deverell Twins" goes back even further in history as Sarah Nixey takes a swim with two boys who drowned in the River Thames in 1886.
Still, The Facts of Life isn't all gloom and doom. The Air-meets-Serge-Gainsbourg number, "French Rock 'n' Roll", is a heartwarming little song about the redeeming power of music. Sounding like Jane Birkin on "Je t'aime" -- especially during the chiming, la-la-la choruses -- Sarah Nixey tells the hilariously improbable tale of a woman brought back from the brink of suicide by, of all things, French rock 'n' roll.
Its Gallic flavor notwithstanding, The Facts of Life serves up a wonderful slice of traditional English miserablism.
Like Pulp and Blur, Black Box Recorder has mastered a pop culture aesthetic inextricably linked to the post-war decline, one that turns complaining about how dreadful everything is into a supremely ironic, comic art form. Even more ironically, Haines, Moore and Nixey may think they're critiquing the contemporary socio-cultural landscape, but what they're doing is absolutely symptomatic of it.
Insofar as its music displays that same ambivalent relationship with the horrors of everyday English life, the band perpetuates the very culture on which it purports to comment.
So, as Morrissey might ask, is that joke funny anymore? I still think it is. After all, England made me too. (

While not quite notorious, Black Box Recorder earned at least a tad of infamy when a song of theirs was banned from UK radio in 1998. Their first single, "Child Psychology," cooed wisdom in its chorus: "Life is unfair; kill yourself or get over it." Sure, they were just being wry and British, but it didn't matter to the powers-that-be; apparently, kidding or not, telling people to commit suicide was far too scandalous.
It's important to note that our own MTV Yank also refused to air the video until the line was edited. And so it was. The video was aired, like, once on "120 Minutes" (naturally), and Black Box Recorder slipped into the typical obscurity British bands can come to expect in America.
It didn't really matter though, because their debut, England Made Me, was an unremarkable bit of pretentious moroseness that pleased itself more than it could possibly please most listeners.
The Facts of Life isn't necessarily a conscious move to keep censors and listeners happy, but it's bound to do both much more successfully than its predecessor. With this record, the Black Box Recorder crew-- John Moore, ex-Auteur Luke Haines, and vocalist Sarah Nixey-- trade straight-faced, desert-arid humor for genuine grins.
Musically, the album is more finely crafted than England Made Me, even if it follows the same minimalist, laconic approach to pop music. But this time out, the bare-bones approach is more lush and rich, paradoxically proving that "minimal" does not necessarily have to mean "sparse."
The album's opener, "The Art of Driving," is a majestic, sweeping number that uses an echo-laden beat, sodden bass, and lightly strummed guitar to create a pillow of sound. The chorus of "French Rock 'N' Roll" is graced with a searing guitar hook that intensifies the canned drums and xylophone twinkling. "Straight Life" is as subdued as the rest of the record, though buried is a perfect midtempo, subdued electro beat.
It's all extremely pretty, and without seeming completely manipulative or cloying. Black Box Recorder, however, are still a bit dopey when it comes to lyrics.
True, they're no longer fretting over the end of the world and all things maudlin. Instead, they exhibit a preoccupation with transit, on tunes like the aforementioned "The Art of Driving" and "The English Motorway System." Vocalist Sarah Nixey still sounds faulty in her cleverness and smugness.
The male-female spoken banter on "The Art of Driving" plays like a British answer to Mad magazine's "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions" as Nixey is asked "Do you believe in love at first sight?/ Do you believe in fate?" Her terribly silly answer is: "I believe that good things only come to those who wait."
The lyrics fare no better when the subject turns to sex, as it often does. The title track sports a lite reggae beat and melody that sounds all too similar to Dido's "Thank You." We find Nixey staccato, nearly rapping during the verses when she takes the role of a fifth grade health teacher: "When boys are just 11/ They begin to grow in height/ At a faster rate than they have done before/ They develop curiosity/ And start to fantasize/ About the things they've never thought of doing before."
Similarly "naughty" (or at least, they seem to think so) is "Sex Life," which tries its hand at being provocative with lines like "Girl on girl/ In your dreams/ Girl's on top/ In between/ Girls together/ Girls alone/ In your dreams/ In your dreams." She goes on to substitute girl with "boy," which is obviously not enough to make the lyrics any less laughable. Plus, Blur beat them to the punch with "Girls and Boys."
But Nixey isn't utterly at fault since she's merely a mouthpiece. She doesn't write any of the lyrics (or music, for that matter) that she sings, which may account for her sleepy delivery.
When she's not merely speaking and opens her pipes to really sing, she proves herself a righteous puppet. Her delicate, melismatic approach is often gorgeous and perfectly suited by the music the boys lay under her.
Her voice is uncannily similar to Olivia Newton-John's and what's even scarier is that it works.
The Facts of Life, contrived bawdiness and all, probably won't cause the stir of "controversy" that the first record did, and Black Box Recorder sound all the better for it. Still, there's no telling what the UK or our great nation may deem inappropriate; even Newton-John's "Physical" was banned from a few radio stations in Utah.
Apparently, some Mormons even frown on euphemism. No matter, because the question here isn't so much, "Have you never been mellow?" as it is, "When have you not been mellow?" For Black Box Recorder, it's been a long time. Let's hope they find themselves even more chill when it comes time to write lyrics for the next album. (Richard M. Juzwiak -

The first Black Box Recorder album, 1998's England Made Me, was originally conceived by Auteurs and Baader Meinhof frontman Luke Haines as a typically baleful response to the cultural and political hysteria--respectively, Britpop and Tony Blair--then gripping Britain. Recorded with the help of former Jesus & Mary Chain drummer John Moore and singer Sarah Nixey, it did for Britpop roughly what the film Carrie did for the senior prom.
The Facts Of Life, the follow-up, maintains the withering glare, but fixes it this time on the personal.
The songs here obsess with unnerving clarity and mordant wit on the banal, cruel details of human relationships, and are narrated perfectly by Nixey. Where her perfectly English-accented whisper infused England Made Me with the air of a bored aristocrat finding contemptuous amusement in the misery of others, on The Facts Of Life she has located an edge of taunting viciousness all the more diabolical for being so understated.
The tunes, as ever, are sweet and insidious, perhaps best thought of as Saint Etienne turned feral. Highlights on an album full of them are "English Motorway" and "The Art Of Driving"--BBR triumphantly reclaiming the American rock & roll prerogative of the road song for their damp, claustrophobic homeland.
The Facts Of Life is a masterpiece. (Andrew Mueller -

- The Art Of Driving
- Weekend
- The English Motorway System
- May Queen
- Sex Life
- French Rock'N'Roll
- The Facts Of Life
- Straight Life
- Gift Horse
- The Deverell Twins
- Goodnight Kiss


venerdì 25 febbraio 2011

Black Box Recorder "England Made Me"

Come faremmo senza il nostro Luke Haines. Sempre in veste sarcastica e oscura eccolo nel progetto BBR....e noi siamo come sempre in estasi! (1999 Jetset)

A side project conceived by The Auteurs' Luke Haines and John Moore, formerly of The Jesus & Mary Chain, England Made Me is an evil pleasure indeed.
Vocalist Sarah Nixey sounds like a head girl captured and brainwashed by the malevolent male duo, made to intone their deadpan, amoral lyrics ("I trapped a spider underneath the glass/I kept it for a week to see how long it would last") over creeping, spidery guitars and the odd, sinister overdub. England Made Me is more darkly comic than chilling in its nihilism ("Life is unfair/Kill yourself or get used to it," sings Nixey on "Child Psychology") while their bleak take on "Uptown Top Ranking" by one hit wonders Althea & Donna is like a photographic negative of the original.
It reflects Haines' perverse obession with 1970s kitsch as does the album cover, a shot of glam-wrestler Adrian Street posing incongruously with his coal miner father. Exposure to that bizarre decade in English culture, he implies, made of him the deformedly ironic creature he is today. (David Stubbs -

England's Black Box Recorder is what My Bloody Valentine might sound like without all the tape loops, ear- splitting amplification, and confounding network of effects gadgets. On second thought, maybe that's a stupid comparison.
The photograph on the cover of England Made Me-- the young girl, sitting up in bed under the covers, looking bored and morbidly introspective-- tells you most everything you need to know about this unhappy English pop band fronted by the Auteurs' Luke Haines.
And, of course, there's the obvious tragic connotations of the moniker Black Box Recorder. The band is named, as I'm sure you're all well aware, after a recording device that captures the final moments of an ill- fated airplane and its crew. We eventually learn, that to the societal malcontents in Black Box Recorder, life is basically an airplane spinning out of control, spiraling toward the ground, and meeting its end in flaming catastrophe.
And England Made Me is their own personal black box recording, in a sense. I mean, what else can they do but record the last desperate cries of their tormented lives before they, too, in the Year 2000, crash and burn out like everyone and everything else.
But while they're still stuck here in this meaningless void known as modern life, I guess the band figured, "Aw, what the heck.
We may as well sign with a hip label and make an album that examines the ontological riddles which complicated our respective childhoods and rendered our subsequent adult lives deeply confusing and unsatisfying." England Made Me is also an anti- tribute to the shame, horror and general degradation that must naturally come with being born and raised in post- Restoration England.
But is this album good, you ask? Well, it isn't bad. In fact, it starts out with the immaculate "Girl Singing in the Wreckage," on which vocalist Sarah Nixey sweetly croons, "My 18th birthday I'll die of boredom/ My private world is smashed wide open." Then we have the undeniably pristine, haunting melodies of the excellent title track. "It's Only the End of the World" epitomizes the twenty- something detachment and their going- through- the- motions view of life at century's end.
The apocalypse is nigh they say, but who really cares? The spontaneous combustion of the Universe could only be an improvement, so sayeth Black Box Recorder.
About midway through the album, though, the song cycle lapses into barely- tolerable redundancy. The album really loses the casual, deliberate momentum it'd been building upon. The sheer simplicity of their approach to songwriting begins backfiring to some degree.
"Life is unfair/ Kill yourself/ Or get over it," goes the chorus to "Child Psychology." Honestly, "Child Psychology" is the most ridiculous, sorry- for- itself disaster of an indie rock song I've heard in a long while.
It's a spoken first- person narrative concerning the stunted intellectual and social development of a particular little shit, and the irreparable damage done by misguided and misinformed parenting. "I stopped talking when I was six years old/ I didn't want anything more to do with the outside world," Nixey deadpans.
And so it goes that these lament- loving Brits just keep churning out more quaint songs about resigned depression. Sample the cynical detachment on "Wonderful Life," and get a load of the mournful "Hated Sunday:" "Close the window/ Draw the blinds/ I can't stand it if the sun shines on Sunday."
Okay, enough is enough with the hollow malaise and paltry middle- class problems already! Try more coffee, guys-- shock treatment, St. John's Wort, Babar bedtime stories, anything.
Yep, after a time, you're just left with empty sorrow and overly reflective gobbledygook over rhythmically- static, lightly- strummed reverb- treated guitar. The same pouty, subdued vocals continually ooze from Nixey's lips.
In fact, Black Box Recorder finally carry the fashionable woe- is- me depression thing way over the edge, and chalk up major demerits for covering Jacques Brel's loathsome pro- suicide sing- along, "Seasons in the Sun."
Black Box Recorder convey a kind of mildly morose but slightly tongue- in- cheek Sylvia Plath- meets- Paul McCartney pop sensibility, with a fairly evident Portishead affectation thrown into the mix.
Singer Sarah Nixey has the type of one- dimensional soft whisper that's certainly pleasant enough to draw you into her world without hope. But soon, you just feel yourself aching for her to begin screaming her dainty lungs out, just to shake up the melancholic monotony a bit.
The childish existential suffering is a just bit more than this reviewer can stomach. (Michael Sandlin -

- Girl Singing In The Wreckage
- England Made Me
- New Baby Boom
- It's Only The End Of The World
- Ideal Home
- Child Psychology
- I C One Female
- Uptown Top Ranking
- Swinging
- Kidnapping An Heiress
- Hated Sunday


mercoledì 23 febbraio 2011

The Music "Music"

Mamma mia che testone a suo tempo avevano fatto questi The Music. Pretenziosi già dal nome i ragazzi. Li descrivevano come la versione dance dei Led Zeppelin...mio dio e potrebbe esistere qualcosa di peggio? No.
Il disco non mi piace, anche se devo dire ha avuto un buon seguito anche qui in Italia.
Se non erro il gruppo ha fatto anche altri due il dramma iniziò qui! (2002 Virgin)

The Music, the much-touted quartet of schoolmates from Kippax, Leeds, signal their self-titled debut album's intentions straight from the off. Opener "The Dance", with its psych-rock swirl intro, a Beatlesque "yeah yeah yeah", and then a crashing, impatient chaos of guitars, drums and dubby effects, with Robert Harvey howling Robert Plant-ishly about "angels", is a ridiculous blast of unrestrained noise. The Music are not about subtlety or coffee-table good taste.
The Music gives a sideways nod to baggy beats and the Stone Roses' Second Coming, but is mainly a wild, almost desperate mix of Led Zeppelin blues-metal histrionics, and the stadium end of 1980s alt-rock, particularly the Chameleons, the Cult and U2.
The lyrics are little more than excuses for Harvey to howl and wail, but the constant twin-guitar invention of Harvey and Adam Nutter, taking in everything from bluesy riffs through funky wah-wah to Edge-ish atmospherics, keep you endlessly guessing and enthralled by their sheer recklessness.
Put simply, it's a breath of fresh air to hear a British "indie" band who are so unafraid to rock, so blatantly uninterested in choirboy self-pity, and so almost comically in thrall to chest-beating Big Rawk. (Garry Mulholland -

If nothing else, The Music make a great first impression. Putting their disc in and cranking the volume, I was knocked down by the hard rock: the best production money can buy turned their electric guitars into blurry flames, and shot the singer's Robert Plant wails right through the ceiling.
My furniture bounced, doors shook in their frames, the cat humped the dog. Then I played it on headphones and it sounded like shit. What gives?
This barely-legal Leeds quartet sounds more exciting than many recent British exports. For all the ways they're derivative-- owing to the hard rock of Led Zeppelin, the Stone Roses and The Verve, and oddly even ZZ Top's Eliminator-- The Music also show signs of a style to call their own.
The problem is they just can't flush out a solid album yet: not unlike their recent US tourmates The Vines, The Music's debut sounds overproduced and underdeveloped.
Which isn't to say they're just another industry product.
What record label would let a band go out there with a name as fuck-you stupid as The Music; not only is it ridiculous, it makes them impossible to find on the web and the butt of any number of easy jokes.
But The Music might get away with it, because when they're on, they're gargantuan: Robert Harvey has all the lung capacity of his arena-rock idols, with a whiny twinge and enough of an accent to make it his own.
He can do the banshee wails and the blood-drenched yelps, as evidenced on the ululations during the chorus of "The People". Alex Nutter wires his guitar through every gizmo the label could give him, and though it sometimes saps the sexual energy, it also makes his axe more thunderous.
"Take the Long Road and Walk It" churns and roils before the band slowly unfurls "Human" and "Too High"; the latter track is their epic, and they expertly pace it from the ethereal opening sheen to a scorching crescendo ushered by bleating vocals.
We already knew they could rock-- the title track from their first EP, You Might as Well Try to Fuck Me, rubs Nutter's raunchy guitar against those squeeze-my-lemon beltings in a no-nonsense, badass single that's certainly earned a place on some future Nuggets box set.
The change-up is how The Music flirt with becoming a dance band on this debut full-length.
Not just anyone can pull off the rock/dance mix that's so popular nowadays, and as expected, the record has its misfires-- particularly the thudding beat on the second half of the abysmally named "Disco" (remember, that title came from a band called The Music).
But then there's "Float", which is a complete blast: Harvey pulls off the switch from stage-dominating rock singer to party-starting MC, and we discover how Phil Jordan's sharp, crisp drums suit the crossbred electronica.
Harvey's cries drive an invisible rave that jumps higher and higher, almost smearing into sheer white noise before they cut it off.
After "Float", however, comes the bloat: The Music creep up to the hour-long mark-- breaking that seal with the U.S. bonus tracks-- which gives you far too much time to evaluate these guys.
Under the ruckus, they aren't great songwriters. For example, their most stripped-down tune, "Turn Out the Light", is the worst power-ballad Diane Warren never wrote for Aerosmith. Harvey's take on the chorus is catchy, but the melodramatic guitar riff is cliched from the first note.
Even when they have nothing to say, they keep on screaming as one emptily smoldering guitar solo bleeds into another.
At some point, your temples become battered by recycled melodies and silly lyrics, which teeter between nu-druid ramblings and Successories uplift about "hope" and "dreams," and you just pray for it all to fucking stop, already.
More than Zeppelin, The Music resemble latter-day Rush, where technical achievement sterilizes sweat and fretboard filth-- but even Rush knew how to pace the technological tricks they employed.
In short, the Music either need to grow into their overwrought arrangements, or write more than three catchy pop songs. (Chris Dahlen -

- Dance
- Take the long road and walk it
- Human
- Truth is no words
- Float
- Turn out the light
- People
- Getaway
- Disco
- Too high


domenica 20 febbraio 2011

Vatican Dc "We Carnival EP"

E avanti tutta con i Vatican DC! (2005 Red Flag)

- Smiling Dogs
- Pink Hotel
- Foolish Things
- Anti-Social


Vatican Dc "Say Nothing At All"

Facciamo un salto quasi nel presente, con un gruppo che iniziai a seguire perchè tra i musicisti si trovava il buon Chris Gentry, ex Menswear. Capii ben presto che i Vatican Dc erano molto più "brutti, sporchi e arrabbiati" rispetto al gruppo che faceva furori nel Brit Pop.
Un gustoso 7". (2004 The Red Flag Recording Co.)

- Say Nothing At All
- Nice Nice Friend


giovedì 17 febbraio 2011

Scaletta della puntata di Melting Pop del 17 febbraio 2011

Melting Pop, il mio programma dedicato all'indie pop rock, va in onda ogni giovedì sera alle ore 21 sulle frequenze di Radio Popolare Verona.
Lo si può ascoltare sul sito di RADIO POPOLARE VERONA in streaming dalle ore 21, ma anche in replica, il venerdì pomeriggio dalle ore 17 sul sito di YASTARADIO

Buon ascolto, ed ecco la scaletta di stasera...

Camp Lion..... Clever
Longpigs..... Whiteness
The Sunshine Factory..... Domino
Hiawata!..... Animal
Chapel Club..... Widows
Puressence..... This Feeling
Ovlov..... Startup
The Record's....... Rodolfo
The Last Fight...... Tom's Dealer
Did.... Ask U2
Sikitikis..... Tiffany
Yuck.... Shook Down
Gli Allenatori.... Bianco e Nero
Esmen.... Motel Nord
24 Grana.... Ombre
Glasvegas..... The World is Yours
Hurts..... All I Want For Christmas is....

Heavenly "The Decline and Fall of Heavenly"

Adoro gli Heavenly. per la loro semplicità, l'immediatezza, ma anche per questi testi così ironici e sagaci e per un guitar pop fatto in maniera impeccabile. Terzo disco per loro. (1994 Sarah Records)

Heavenly has always rooted their music pretty firmly in upbeat '60s pop, and The Decline and Fall..., more than any of their other albums, points this out.
While their previous (and probably best) release, Le Jardin de Heavenly, was well in line with indie-pop conventions, and the release that followed (Operation Heavenly) drifted into almost new-wave rock, The Decline and Fall... is a cleanly produced sequence of bouncy, guitar-based pop songs -- and fans of the band know just how good they are at writing bouncy pop songs. The only problem with The Decline and Fall is that it's so painfully short. (Nitsuh Abebe -

- Me And My Madness
- Modestic
- Skipjack
- Itchy Chin
- Sacramento
- Three Star Compartment
- Sperm Meets Egg, So What?
- She And Me


Hefner "The Fidelity Wars"

Secondo disco per gli Hefner e le parole da spendere sono ben poche. Ascoltatelo! Tutto qua...(1999 Too Pure)

Lots of bands write songs about girls. Some bands don't write anything but songs about girls. And then there are those select few bands that elevate writing songs about girls to a hallowed art form.
If David Gedge (erstwhile Wedding Present leader and current Cinerama frontman) is the president of this club, then Darren Hayman, the cocky leader of Hefner, is surely the up- and- coming VP.
On Hefner's second album, the aptly- titled Fidelity Wars, Hayman and Co. run down the list of romantic entaglements. From the sad- sack self- pitying of "A Hymn to the Alcohol" to the brazen lust of "May God Protect Your Home;" from the sincere "why'd she leave me" lament of "We Were Meant to Be" to the unrepentant tale of cheating detailed in "Fat Kelly's Teeth," pretty much every angle on relationships is explored, sometimes in excrutiating detail.
However, while literally every song on The Fidelity Wars is directed in some way at various women, Hayman is imaginitive enough to keep the proceedings from getting boring.
The bizarre Trojan War love fantasy "I Stole a Bride" is a great example: interspersing bits of story from the Trojan War and Hayman's own romantic travails, the song very nearly comes across as the delusional rantings of a madman, but actually manages to work (more or less).
The band has also added different instrumentation to the mix: for example, there are subtle DJ scratches on "I Love Only You," steel guitar licks grace "The Hymn for the Alcohol" and "The Weight of the Stars," and a theremin rears its squiggly head on "Don't Flake Out on Me."
The new flourishes bring out the individual character of each song very nicely, and contribute to a varied, interesting album.
Musically, Hefner have expanded quite a bit from their debut release, Breaking God's Heart, while still maintaining a core sound, and even giving a few concessions to more standard Brit-pop fare.
While the buzzing guitars featured in "The Hymn for the Cigarettes" would hardly seem out of the ordinary on a Blur song, they would have seemed quite out of place among the folky rave- ups that featured heavily on Breaking God's Heart.
This is not to say that Hefner have gotten blander, only that on this release, they reveal that they're capable of maintaining their quirky edge while creeping a bit closer to the mainstream. (Jeremy Schneyer -

Cogliendo l’occasione di una generosa ristampa appena uscita (corredata da lati b, versioni alternative e brani sparsi dell’epoca), parliamo volentieri in uno spazio dedicato solitamente a dischi magari sotterranei ma, a loro modo, storicizzati, di un capolavoro minore; un dischetto, se volete, nel senso migliore del termine, che, con il lessico ingenuo dell’indie pop ha cantato l’amore (e le sue pene) come il più colto dei poeti.
Gli Hefner, trio capitanato dall’occhialuto Darren Hayman, arrivano e se ne vanno dall’orizzonte della musica inglese in una manciata di anni.
Un esordio fulminante, un seguito, questo “The Fidelity Wars”, eccezionale, poi una decadenza da manuale: dischi a qualità alterna, qualche bella canzone quà e là, infine il vuoto. “Le Guerre di Fedeltà”, fin dal titolo, è un album epico, sussurrato magari, ma non di meno epico.
Canta della normalissima epopea del cuore: prendersi e lasciarsi, piangere e baciarsi (gli Hefner tra l’altro avevano il vizio di scrivere “Inni”, qui incontriamo quello “alle sigarette” e quello “all’alcol”, in passato quello “al servizio postale” e “alle cose che non abbiamo fatto”).
Tra gli accordi, si cantano amori lunghi e brevi, incontri di una notte, tradimenti e speranze; tutto, e qui sta il bello, sorretto da melodie fuori dal comune. (Marco Sideri -

- Hymn For The Cigarettes
- May God Protect Your Heart
- Hymn For The Alchohol
- I Took Her Love For Granted
- Every Little Gesture
- Weight Of The Stars
- I Stole A Bride
- We Were Meant To Be
- Fat Kelly's Teeth
- Don't Flake Out On Me
- I Love Only You


lunedì 14 febbraio 2011

Hefner "Boxing Hefner"

Sempre gradite queste compilation di b sides e di rarità di un gruppo.
In questo caso tocca agli Hefner che ci delizia con pezzi di difficile reperibilità! (2000 Too Pure)

- Christian Girls
- Lee Remick
- Pull Yourself Together
- Blind Girl With Halo
- Hello Kitten
- Destroyed Cowboy Falls
- The Hymn For The Coffee
- Mary Lee
- The Hymn For The Things We Didn't Do
- To Hide A Little Thought
- The Science Fiction
- Twisting Mary's Arm
- We Don't Care What They Say


venerdì 11 febbraio 2011

The Animalhouse "Wasted EP"

Non ci fosse il mercato giapponese, come si farebbero ad avere queste belle edizioni, di solito limited, che tanto fanno gola agli appassionati?
Appunto. Per fortuna il mercato giapponese c'è.
Ecco in questo caso l'ep degli Animalhouse, che come sempre per questo gruppo, non ci regala chissà quali perle, ma dei dscreti pezzi.
Più che la ciondolante Wasted apprezzo maggiormente la visionarietà di Chase e la grinta di Sound. (2000 BMG)

- Wasted
- Chase The Sun
- One Night Only
- Ready To Receive - Drum'N Bass Mix
- Sound


The Popguns "Love Junky"

Un pregevole disco di guitar pop rock. Ne più ne meno.
I Popguns venivano da Brighton.
Voce femminile, quella di Wendy Morgan, ottimamente presente e ben calibrata e melodie che si rincorrono pezzo dopo pezzo. Questo era il loro terzo disco. A me fanno venire in mente gli Smiths in certi frangenti. Un gran bel lavoro. (1995 3rd Stone)

- (I'll) Take You Down
- Get Out
- Star
- Second Time Around
- Someone To Dream Of
- Under Starlight
- A Miserable Boy
- How To Face It
- Here In Heaven
- Over Your Head
- So Cold


mercoledì 9 febbraio 2011

AAVV "Radio 1 Sound City Newcastle-Upon-Tyne"

Avanti tutta con le compilation targate NME. Anche stavolta egregio lavoro. (1998)

Stereophonics - Carrot Cake And Wine (Live)
Fatboy Slim - Kalifornia (Simon's Edit)
Rocket From The Crypt - Lipstick (Live)
Six By Seven - Get A Real Tattoo
Tiger - Root Cage
Hefner - Pull Yourself Together (Didjeridu Mix)
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Hush The Warmth
Clinic - Kimberly
Super Furry Animals - Gucamole
Terrorvision - Spanner In The Works
Campag Velocet - Harsh Shark (Live)
Mogwai - I Don't Know What To Say
Plastikman - Are Friends Electrik (NME Edit)
Symposium - Circles, Squares And Lines
3 Colours Red - Be Myself
Gene - Olympian (Live)


domenica 6 febbraio 2011

AAVV "Independent and All Still Taking Liberties Volume 1"

Continuiamo a pescare dalle compilation targate NME, tutte piuttosto ben fatte e anche questa direi si difende con ottimi pezzi. (1998)

Garbage - Dumb
Feeder - Suffocate
Grandaddy - A.M. 180
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Red Right Hand
Naomi - The Dancer
Snapper - Buddy
Mercury Rev - Tonite It Shows
The Paradise Motel - Derwent River Star
Babybird - Take Me Back
Cable - Hexagon Eye
Rialto - The Underdogs
The Wiseguys - Search's End
Sound 5 - Heavy Transit
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Attack
The Strike Boys - The Rhyme
The Egg - Number Cruncher (The Porridge Gun Mix)
Space - Disco Dolly


venerdì 4 febbraio 2011

Consigli di letture: Mark Aston e Ideals e scaletta della settimana di Melting Pop....

Visto che anche su questo blog trovate i due dischi degli Addict, mi permetto di rimandarvi a questo link: INTERVISTA CON MARK ASTON, per leggere la mia chiachierata via mail con questo pregevole artista, ex voce appunto degli Addict, che da poco ha fatto uscire un disco solista molto ispirato.

Il sito Indie Rock poi ospita anche una mia intervista con i talentuosi Ideals, che nel 2010 hanno mostrato di avere le carte in regola per aspirare a un posto al sole nel panorama indie britanico, grazie a dei singoli magnifici.
Ecco il rimando all' intervista con loro: INTERVISTA CON IDEALS

Visto che ci siamo vi metto anche la scaletta della mia puntata del 3 febbraio di Melting Pop , il mio programma indie rock che va in onda ogni giovedì sera su Radio Popolare Verona....a voi...

Melting Pop - 3 febbraio 2011

Visitor......... Los Feeling
Mark Aston...... Breathe In
Joycut...... Garden Frey
Union Sound Set..... My Curent State
Bedroom Eyes..... Motorcycle Daydream
Tennis..... Marathon
Ideals..... Significant Other
White Lies.... Bad Love
Chapel Club..... Surfacing
Beatbullyz..... Human Nature
Anna Calvi..... Suzanne and I
Joan As A Police Woman.... The Magic
My Chemical Romance..... Summertime
One Night Only..... All I want

mercoledì 2 febbraio 2011

NME Compilation "Creation For The Nation"

Gustosa cassetta targata NME che racchiudeva un pò di perle targate Creation. C'erano pezzi in anteprima, demo, b-side, insomma tutte le cose che fanno felice un collezionista.
La cosa più rilevane è forse il pezzo degli Oasis, una versione di Live Forever ai 2 all'ora datata 1993, ma ci può stare. (1997 NME)

Oasis - Live Forever (demo)
Arnold - Twist (demo)
The Boo Radleys - C'mon Kids
Teenage Fanclub - I Don't Care
Edward Ball - Trailblaze
Ultra Living - Homesick
3 Colours Red - Nerve Gas
18 Wheeler - Prozac Beats
Super Furry Animals - Arnofio/Glo In The Dark
The Diggers - Circles
Hurricane - Just Another Illusion


Unbelievable Truth "Solved"

Ascoltando questo singolo mi viebe da pensare che forse il fratellino più bravo era lui!! (1998 Virgin)

- Solved
- Nevermind
- Yesterday Never Leaves
- There If You Want It