STUPID HAIRCUT COMES GOOD!
ANDREW ST JAMES "DOLDRUMS" (ISLAND JAR / FORTUNE)
RELEASED? Out now.
SOUNDS LIKE? The artiste is eighteen, but going on fifty, if you listen to the words and the words are what will make or break this album for you, yes, you, so sit up straight and pay attention; Andrew St James is pretentious, precocious, observant,
vulnerable and arrogant
by turn and by twist and
still managing to prick
your ear and swing your
hip and doing it with
cynically popped up and
old, old, old, REM guff
like ''Cassidy'' and the
Johnny Cash as a
toddler single, ''The Lost,
The Vain'' and it's just
too easy to say that
Andrew St James is a
child and that he lacks
life experience and that
''Doldrums'' is all fluff and tantrums and these emotions have been articulated by experts and we really don't need another American teenager with silly sunglasses and a bad haircut chuntering on about life and relationships, but we do. See, the likes of Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell are gifted and have craft, but Andrew St James has the hormonal urgency and gut twisted drive that makes his stuff innocent, and dumb and, despite the pr shit slick, the album is the genuine article.
IS IT ANY GOOD? Yes. It steals from everyone and everything and the grown ups involved have been pushing the obvious buttons, but Andrew St James still sounds and feels like the real deal. Stipe is dead, let someone else document the pain, the boredom and rage.
WHERE IS IT? www.facebook.com/andrewstjames
Stipe ain't dead until I say so.
BLIND" (ALL IN
RELEASED? Out now.
SOUNDS LIKE? A
lightweight version of Hey
Negrita trying to pick up
the change that Jamie T
dropped while nearly
pulling off the ''I'm a regular
geezer, but brainy'' job.
Now, we are told that this
artiste was fired and
inspired to create by a
near fatal accident and
that's a silly pr card to play because Mr Kate Moss, the Jamie Hince formerly known as an artist, also had a very bad smash and he woke up and knocked out 'The Glue Hotel Tapes'' and that pisses all over ''Half Blind'' because ''Half Blind'' is half of something and everything. Lyrically it's cliche a go-go and sound wise it's scuffled, posh pub rock or trite pop shite, I mean, ''Way Back When'' is more Craig David than anything else and ''Sometimes'' is countryfied fun, but... Actually, there's no 'but' it's a bit of all fucking right, but let's not ruin a hatchet job, eh? Look, our McMahon is a pleasant and modestly gifted young man who has, as he sees it, been given a second chance at life and he's grabbed it with both feet. ''Half Blind'' has a few lovely moments, but so does sex and that also takes less talent than you've been led to believe.
IS IT ANY GOOD? Like an old fashioned Christmas pudding, mainly traditional stodge, but the odd sixpence makes it inexplicably worth sitting down for.
WHERE IS IT? www.mcmahonmusic.co.uk/
DAVEY HENDERSON IS IN THERE...
MASCOT FIGHT "ABSCOND AND HEY PRESTO!" (BANDCAMP)
RELEASED? 18th November.
SOUNDS LIKE? Scottish. No, really. The fey, but tough and interesting stuff usually comes from Irn Bru central and Mascot Fight are all of those things, fey, tough and interesting, but not Scottish, unless they actually are, maybe I should read the press release, but the record is already playing and I'm already hooked.
You should know, before we get into this, that they have a track called ''Ted Danson Dream'' that has both brutally industrial, spot on drumming and a cute little na, na, na style riff. So, ''Abscond And Hey Presto!'' is, by the second track, a brilliant album. It's still a brilliant album after I've annoyed everyone by sending them clips and pointing out the goodness, the intrinsic Scottishness and the echoes of Ballboy and the woozy edge failing to paint out the poppy punk edges of ''Played A Hand''. And that ''Everybody Forgets Edgar'' is almost as space rocking as ''The View From The Window At Le Gras'' is a carnival holiday with The Small Faces. All of which brings us raggedly to the conclusion that Mascot Fight are XTC with a sense of humour and ambitions to both annoy Franz Ferdinand (they're also band, history students) and actually be Hawkwind.
IS IT ANY GOOD? Yes, I really like this one, it's great and although Mascot Fight come from Derby there's a track on Youtube that didn't make it onto the album, although the video was filmed in, altogether now, Scotland.
WHERE IS IT? http://mascotfight.bandcamp.com/
Are you ready to annoy Franz Ferdinand?
MACHINES BURNING SLOW!
ATLANTER "VIDDE" (JANSEN PLATEPRODUKSJON)
RELEASED? Out now.
SOUNDS LIKE? Stunning. A compelling and complex melange of music where the brain informs the balls and the balls put the brain straight on that. This means that Atlanter
are casual masters of every genre, technically peerless, but sweating and laughing as well. It's possible that the Nick Cave mugging Kraftwerk throb n burn fun of ''Kaktos'' defines that, but that doesn't even mention the solid gold fact that the same track sports some kind of liquid guitar trickery and, AND, you'll note, also the plastique guitar perfection deployed by Bowie on ''Diamond Dogs'' and Bolan on ''Zinc Alloy''. Now, we all listen to a lot of music, but it's going to be a long time before we find another band who can elegantly skin early Genesis with an instrumental like ''Ling'' before rattle snake shaking a slow route into some kind of Iggy Pop on mandrax croon into Dylan's living room.
IS IT ANY GOOD? Fan fucking tastic. If you buy one album this year, buy ''Vidde''.
WHERE IS IT? http://atlantermusic.com/main/
GETTING B-SIDE YOURSELF
ORIGAMI HORSES "TRASHOLA!" (MAGNETIC EYE RECORDS)
RELEASED? Out now.
SOUNDS LIKE? Everything you should have in your record collection. T.Rex, Will
Oldham, Superqueens, Patti Smith, The Archies, Blondie, Cream, Brian Jonestown Massacre and so on and so forth, fifth and on again, because Origami Horses are a perfect synthesis of the mad, the bad and the sub fucking lime. ''Trashola!'' is one of those albums that I'd rather listen to than talk about and Idon't want to be lazier than usual, but if you have any affection for or inclination towards the pop, punk, grunge, garage, indie, arty, brutal or joyful, then ''Trashola!'' is an album you will love.
Yeah, I'm still in here
QUIET LIKE YOUR MOTHER'S WOMB?
GAOLER'S DAUGHTER "HOW TO MAKE TIME" (BANDCAMP)
RELEASED? Out now..
SOUNDS LIKE? Doesn't matter, I like it, which is odd because the eighties were not an outstanding decade for popular music and Duran Duran were especially
hateful and Gaoler's Daughter sound nothing like Duran Duran, more like Led Zep, but they do have that pop sleekness that informs every track here. Even the lovely ''How Do You Know?'', all bounced up backbeat, lazer guitars throwing bolts to wrestle with the sweaty bass and art, art, artifice a go go for vocals.
look smug in this?
MAKING THE CASE FOR YOKO
JOHN PARKES "BLEEDING EDGE / DISTANT PAST..." (AAZ RECORDS)
RELEASED? 4th November.
SOUNDS LIKE? Looking at the credits and the track record, I probably lack the maturity and clarity, not to mention the purity of thought needed to comment on an album like this. So, let's do it anyway and let's do it the old fashioned way, track to track and no skipping...
PAUL IS DEAD
This is a band in love with the noises inside in their collective head and a band
obsessed with getting those noises from that head to yours. You get a brain
stabbing spike like ''Velvet Rock'' and you'll hear what I mean and where the
T.Rex ref' comes from. You'll get the Cream from ''Rock'', that's the one where they nail the whole rock, squalling blues explosion thang in some ninety seconds, you could call it a tour de force, but neither of us would know what that meant, so let's just say that ''Rock'' rocks in a way that very few do and that is, pretty much, the story of ''Trashola!'' We stand in awe of bands like this, artful, but artless. They do what they do because they are driven by the muse, by anger, by boredom or bloody mindedness not because they want money and fame. Bands like this are few and far between, know that and know them.
IS IT ANY GOOD? Yes, and yes, Origami Horses have managed to write, produce and release an excellent album and we used an old video because Origami Horses haven't done one yet.
WHERE IS IT? www.magneticeyerecords.com
terms, but there are touches, flourishes, echoes and hints that more scream than suggest that Karina Crystal may have made a classy album of the safely moderne, but the real artist is still in there, somewhere.
IS IT ANY GOOD? Make no mistake and do not be fooled by this faultless slab of
music, the real KC is yet to come.
WHERE IS IT? https://www.facebook.com/Karina.K.Crystal
There's a lot to love here and the fact that a band can sound like old sweats and sugar rushed puppies on a debut album is remarkable. Gaoler's Daughter have already nailed their own sound, vaguely phased n fuzzed rock pop that roils easily through through the shapes, rock, blues, vague funk and detours to math rock central. The favourite at this end is '7th Wave', a riff so designed to stab
that you could be arrested just for humming it, so take care.
IS IT ANY GOOD? Yes. When a miserable and old fucker tells you that it's all shit and there hasn't been a release worth owning since 1968, play them this while jumping on their head. ''How To Make Time'' is an excellent album and a fucking stunner for a debut.
WHERE IS IT? http://gaolersdaughter.bandcamp.com/album/how-to-make-time
''Brand New Day'' is McCartney doing the horrible things that he does, both pleasant and hateful because if it wasn't for Paul McCartney being so disgustingly good with a melody there'd still be a Beatles and there'd still be a John Parkes wandering around with a brain free of terminal fucking whimsy, didn't like that one.
''Don't Be Seventeen'', I like the organ swirling around and it all builds in a sub Traffic kind of way, but the harmonica is jarringly out of place and the lyrics bring trite to a subject already dealt with, with elegance, passion and simplicity by Cat Stevens, for a start. ''A Strange
Affair'' sounds great, what with that
organ doing love-war with some
punchy acoustic guitar ranks and a
vocal that's perfectly pitched and
mixed both for the track and to
smear out the lyrics. Which brings
us to ''Roses / Bees'' and the piano
is an absolute delight and I'm fed up with doing track to track, so let's get at the meat; John Parkes is surrounded and endorsed by the cooler end of the music industry and lauded as a wordsmith as much as a tunesmith. Well, beefing up Nick Drake and dredging the late sixties for the music is fine by me, but setting maudlin as a major against a minor of the tediously obvious and flagging up lyrical excellence isn't doing it for me.
IS IT ANY GOOD? No is your flat answer. It's also your fully inflated answer and your straight and bendy answer as well.
WHERE IS IT? www.johnparkes.com
IT'S ALL GONE WILLY
KARINA CRYSTAL "HEARTFELT"
RELEASED? 4th November.
SOUNDS LIKE? A river of warm, chocolate
money. This woman has a gorgeous voice,
but everything on this album is so well
within her range and her capabilities, it's
hard to avoid the worry that 'Heartfelt' is
also an album well within her current
ambition. Ms Krystal has an interesting cv,
including moments where she chose to
stretch herself rather than fill her wallet. All
of this is, and I do mean all, a superior and
very contemporary collection of tracks,
none of which can be faulted in their own