ROSY CHEEKS ON THE WEST BANK STAV g "MANAR'S SONG" (SOUNDCLOUD)
RELEASED? Out now. SOUNDS LIKE? Stav g is a voice coach, so you'd be right in thinking that her vocals are crisp and clear and that they slide effortlessly and elegantly into the mix. Into the mix of a track that's more than slightly overdone, over wrought and I get that the lyrical content of "Manar's Song" is set on a beach and that explains the sonic dappling and the tidal yaw of the bass.
I even get that it's a song of outreach, across the political divide, but Stav g seems to have nothing about the Israel / Palestinian conflict on her personal or Facebook sites. So, the 'sounds like' question is answered like this; Polished, professional, cynical, soulless, cinematic and a waste of vocal talent. IS IT ANY GOOD? I am offended. WHERE IS IT?www.stavgerman.com
THEY FOUND IT IN THE DIRT LAST LEAVES "OTHER TOWNS THAN OURS" (MATINEE RECORDINGS)
RELEASED? Out now. SOUNDS LIKE? Well, we couldn't unzip the zip file, so we monstered the sampler tracks and the headline is that Last Leaves sound like a whole lot of things, I mean, "The World That We Had" isn't totally unlike the recently departed Tom Petty, albeit crossed with the Edinburgh Bedsit Sound. This means that Last Leaves are big on strong melody lines, guitars, guitars and more guitars. Not in the gonzoid, metal or indie-landfill sense, but there's lots of smart chugging, feedbacking, fuzzing, bubbling and wandering lead lines spark and babble throughout.
Everything here is bang on the money, too sharp for moping lyrics, crisp percussion, joy in the attack, love in the execution, sometimes, see "Something Falls", it's almost like Billy Bragg had a conscience, or that the PIL remembered how to make art from chaos and you need to check "The Hinterland" for that. IS IT ANY GOOD? Oh yes, Last Leaves are flexible and inventive exploiters of the pop n roll format. Dip in and check out. WHERE IS IT?http://matineerecordings.com
TOO FRENCH FOR FILTH
WILD ONES "INVITE ME IN" (TOP SHELF)
RELEASED? 6th October, SOUNDS LIKE? Shuffled happy-doom-swoon. I think that covers it, apart from the soooo close to bratty, but smearing and elegantly swerving away into adult intent vocals. The wary child to hopeful adult seems to be the theme, loving hopefully and that's nice, but the killer tambourines guiding the post-Portishead drift are the best bit, or maybe the too French for filth backing vocals, or, let's hit the future swinging, maybe it's the total tech mastery and all of the little fills and flourishes that make something simple so luxurious.
IS IT ANY GOOD? Yes, "Invite Me In" is a pure pop masterclass. Studied, crafted, worked on, worked over, but still raw and real, it really is pop. WHERE IS IT? www.wildonestheband.com
BUBBLEGUMMED PUNKOID CHROME SWEAT THING COUCHERON with ARY "UFO" (SOUNDCLOUD)
RELEASED? Out now. SOUNDS LIKE? The coolest of the coolest and smilingly insolent metaloid-punk-anime-tech-mashed things you'll find, ever. There, now fuck off, plug into it and if you're coming back to say I'm wrong, come armed. Before you go, "UFO" sounds like Bow Wow Wow setting fire to shit with Shampoo and the seven million Jap-Girl garage bands that formed yesterday.
IS IT ANY GOOD? This is what we live for. Something that stands out from the sluggish slick of beige shit that seems to leak from nearly every speaker in the world. WHERE IS IT?www.instagram.com/coucheron/
SAME OLD STORY PLASTIC PICNIC "PLASTIC PICNIC EP" (HIGHLAND PARK)
RELEASED? Out now. SOUNDS LIKE? Well, there are lots of tags and opinions on offer, but Plastic Picnic sound like a reboot of the whole euro-pop-synth thing that set up the pension plans for Nina Hagen, Nena and other sharply cut popsters. The fact is that Plastic Picnic are well named because they are just that. Sharp, shiny, bright, machine tooled, ticking all the pop-rock boxes with ease and no little style. They push and they do rock and there's even some feedback, but it is sonic junk food. Delicious, fun, convenient and all that, but I won't cry when they split, neither will I demand that you skip their tracks. IS IT ANY GOOD? It's fine, but there's a lot of it about, you know. WHERE IS IT?soundcloud.com/plastic-picnic/ep-1
BITE HARDER, PLEASE SOFT FANGS "FRACTURES" (DISPOSABLE AMERICA)
RELEASED? Out now. SOUNDS LIKE? Elastica in soft focus,opiate drift mode and, or World Party in the sneakily back, back, back to the Beatles every now and then kind of way, although The Eels are in there, somewhere. Yes, you can see that Soft Fangs are lovely and while Soft Fangs do, generally, stay with low-key brooding they can roll out the artillery too. "Shells From A Smoking Snail" opens with feedback and lurches into something more muscular with some pretty nifty guitar bursts and "No Cops" is a naggingly insistent stamp around a woozy core.
I'm guessing that they're a heavier proposition live I'm thinking that I'd like a show like that.
IS IT ANY GOOD? Oh yes. Soft Fangs have a 'sound' of their own and "Fractures" has a place on our playlist. You can try before you buy at Spotify. Do that. WHERE IS IT? www.softfangs.com/music.html
NEWS FROM THE BANKS OF THE OLD OHIO... GEORGIE CHAPPLE "ONE" EP (I-TUNES)
RELEASED? Out now. SOUNDS LIKE? Olivia Newton John when she was good, slightly lower vocal register, but Georgie Chapple has absolutely nailed the country-pop-noir thing, hard. Interesting that Georgie is from Germany, via London and is delivering this Olivia Neutron-Bomb update come Shania Twain, worrying that we're liking it as much as we are.
Thing is, Georgie Chapple does sound sincere, does sound compelled and does not sound careerist or cynical, that may come, but for now we're enjoying the innocence of undisguised influences, the passion and the engagement and the flat out simple country sweetness of the vocals and the beguiling pop hooks. IS IT ANY GOOD? Yes, we are now believers and accept that cool country can come from Germany. WHERE IS IT?www.georgiechapplemusic.com/
LOOKING DOWN AT THE GUTTER Pt 738 PROTO IDIOT "LEISURE OPPORTUNITY" (BAD PAINTINGS)
RELEASED? 3rd November. SOUNDS LIKE? If Hunter S Thompson formed a band with Alan Bennett their records would sound like this. For those of you who don't do literature, this means that "Leisure Opportunities" is the long awaited collision of Nashville Pussy and The Damned and "Leisure Opportunities" is one of the best albums we've been given to wibble on about.
Hilarious, brutal, elegant and bleak, this is a slab that could pass muster as a top notch post-punk thing, a retro-punk piss-take or an homage to Marco Pirroni and there should be more of them, obviously. IS IT ANY GOOD? Yes. Much like our new, best friend, Coucheron the good people of Proto Idiot make the surprisingly samey and tedious world of 'new' music a lovely, interesting and cleverly chaotic place to be. WHERE IS IT?https://proto-idiot.bandcamp.com/
NEVER UNDERSTOOD YOUR LOVE SUMMER HEART "FOLLOW" (BANDCAMP)
RELEASED? Out now. SOUNDS LIKE? Clanky, bendy, breezy and insolently superior summer pop-noir. Yes, it sounds lovely, all tikki percussion, wave-washed, distressed denim, sweetly salt tortured summer hair, gentle dance beats, artful keyboards going slyly off message while the lyrics soothe and smooch through a tale of summer romance gone awry. It's very cool and it's about time that some perceptive, playful or piss-taking artist brought The Fall and Haircut 100 into the same song. IS IT ANY GOOD? Yes. Pop comes in many guises and everything is subjective, but Summer Heart is a project of sincerity and purity and it also sounds great and it also comes from the current "101" album that is available on the bandcamp link given below. Get to it. WNERE IS IT?https://summerheart.bandcamp.com/
SHIT SMELLS GOOD! PAPERHAUS "TOLD YOU WHAT TO SAY" (MISRA RECORDS)
RELEASED? 6th October. SOUNDS LIKE? Joyfull and interesting. Sorry, that's just a first and pretty stunned word dribble to finding that it's possible to replace backing vocals with some wriggly-muscled synth riffery. So, yeah, this is synth heavy, cool keyboard prog-pop-rocking that's lusher than a jungle made of warm memory foam. Paperhaus do the complex with style and the simple things well, very well. The guitar riffs sting, the keyboards bounce and smear, the vocals are loftily detached and float above all this loveliness, as well they might.
It's clear that Paperhaus are a mature band and a burgeoning project, but it's equally clear that they've accessed the likes of Arthur Brown, Hawkwind, Gong, Julian Cope, Yes and a zillion more, but their synthesis (ha!) is a fresh thing and "Told You What To Say" is a smart intro to the imminent new album, "Are These The Questions That We Need To Ask?" This is why we have stepped back two years to flag up their old "So Slow" track, neat, eh? IS IT ANY GOOD? Yes, yes and yes again. Paperhaus have got their shit together and their shit smells good and sounds even better. WHERE IS IT?www.paperhausmusic.com