Saturday, July 23, 2005

Finally getting around to putting mitt to keyboard with regard to some recent(ish) releases so here goes...

"Breakin’ It Down" by The Midnight Evils from Minneapolis is on Estrus. They had sonic blacksmith, Tim Kerr nail the horseshoes to their frantic, hopped up fracas. Timeless high octane shit-kicking and punching, simple framework, solid deliverin’ rockin’ which will delight fans of The Lazy Cowgirls, Nine Pound Hammer and any of that which fits between those two (bar)stools. “Party, Party, Party” is nothing but a blatant steal of “Someone’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In (Tonight)”. Bravo.

DMBQ’s "The Essential Sounds From The Far East" comes on like Hendrix with jumper cables connected to his entire Experience. There’s a relentless rawk haul going on here that would probably scare the bejeezus out of your conventional metal fan. This Dynamite Masters Blues Quartet deliver a heavy, heavy monster sound. Even at a medium volume, this sucker feels loud. “Mo-Ya, Mo-Ya” sounds like Sabbath only way more visceral. There was an earthquake in Tokyo today, did anybody think to check if these guys were playing last night?

The Meows “At the Top of the Bottom” on No Tomorrow is a soul-kissed rockin’ sensation outta Barcelona and comprising 5 guys that are well versed in what it takes to cut some rug. The most obvious reference could be The Real Kids but there’s an additional dimension to their shindiggin’. If this combo is half as good live as this album suggests then there a lot of bands in a whole heap of trouble. There’s a nice Fleshtonian edge to it too, that super rock swathe that’s not easy to pull off. They’re packing an understated muscle, considering there are 11 original songs here plus covers of Ike Turner’s “This Man’s Crazy” and Sly Stone’s “Don’t Burn Baby” (complete with a raj wee “Pretty Vacant” moment on the close. The Meows are dishing up some incendiary dance music here. It’s a long way down from the dizzy heights this baby’ll take you to.

"Sonic Seducers" by The Intercontinental Playboys is a farfisa-charged palette of Garage flavours with a mix/match ratio that could only be mustered in Australia. There are all kinds of familiar nooks and crannies in their instinctive flair for reinventing that age old recipe. It’s a fun ride. The almost vaudeville aspect of their performance suggests a level of showmanship which could really set these songs off. With the right lighting and the requisite throb, the kids could have their heads turned by something as crafted as this. Their strength is the ability to ham it up without resorting to outright pastiche.

Dollsquad are also from Australia and combine a 70’s powerpop wallop with a penchant for the sixties. Their "Retro Dolls From Hipsville" is somewhat reminiscent of our hallowed Boonaraaas without treading on those ladies Chuck Taylors’. These 4 songs offer respite to anyone with a shine toward the girl group genre in general. Dollsquad swing in a most agreeable fashion and this niftily art-directed CD-EP sets the stage for a full length release, hopefully later in 2005. They should do a short 10” vinyl run of this in the meantime to stoke the fire. Enquire about the Dollsquad action figures while yer at it.

The Diplomats Of Solid Sound are “Ambassadors of Instrumental Soul”.Their “Destination…Get Down” on Estrus is a cool breeze. This Iowa City dwelling, Hammond fuelled delight provide an understated groove that will blow over you like some fine air conditioning. With elements of Booker T and Jimmy McGriff, the Diplomats drag those barbeque jams into fresh territory, blurring the join between when this music was new and making it now. “Loaf and Jug” is not a shopping list, or a London pub but a brand new dance that’s breaking out everywhere these guys play.
Those folks at LONESOME HIGHWAY in Edinburgh have an extensive schedule mapped out until the close of '05 including Ms Laura Cantrell in September and those Hacienda Brothers in October. If you're in and around these parts then get the heck on down. Y'think they organise these shindigs for the heck of it?

Uh oh, I guess THE STEPBROTHERS shows in Spain are over, this coming week they're in Southern Ireland though, check local press for details...

July 28th - Galway - venue: Roisin Dubh

July 29th - Cork - venue: tbc

July 30th - Dublin - venue: Crawdaddy

Three centuries ago, I used to work in a record shop down the town centre here in Grangemouth. This was in times before these out of town megaplex hellholes were invented. Better times for sure. This morning, I spent more time down there than I have in forever because the BMX Bandits, as mentioned earlier, surrealistically appeared in the square like some kinda holographic installation. It made me think about those olden days, before some of the people in this version of the band were even born. What I was thinking was, who could ever have predicted this!? But anyway, it happened and I have witnesses. I even "captured" the songs as mp3's if anybody out there with broadband would like them e-mailed to their in-box. I think one is just over 3mb and the other 1.5mb.

As part of the broadcast, the band did two songs in the first segment and another in the second. Hearing "That Summer Feeling" lapping from the stage at 10.10am on a Saturday morning is something one could get used to, even without Dan Penn to sing his verse like he did on the 45. Incidentally, Sanctuary have just issued SERIOUS DRUGS, a "best of" collection that includes their stellar rendition of that sublime J. Richman chestnut and a host of other songs from their Creation period. Anyway, their latest recruit Rachel MacKenzie adds an extra dimesion to their winsome pop. She'll appear on the soon to come (hopefully) new Duglas T solo outing.

The band is in great form and ripe for discovery by a whole new generation so let's keep our fingers crossed for that. It was all over by 1pm and it may have seemed like a dream or hallucination there are even photos to prove that this really did go down. I wonder if Duglas is in line for a cake voucher with regard to the plugs he gave Greggs on air? Must be worth a couple of "steak bakes" at least.
Dunno if you've come across this James Blunt guy that's storming the UK charts. Good for you if you haven't. He's like a creepy cross-pollenation of Chris De Burgh and David Gray and almost makes Dido seem like Tina Turner. Well, to these ears, for this particularly insidious strain of terrorism, the closing theme from The Incredible Hulk TV show has been copped to sculpt what must be the most horrendous, sickly #1 single in a long time.

Hearing the opening coming from the other room, I thinks to myself - is the TV on? but no, this guy starts to squeal and I'm filled with horror. And so early in the day too. A shock like this could drive someone less balanced into doing something drastic. The whole fabricated "industry" which seems to surround him gives me the heebs and it almost makes a guy want to hear a Keane song. Steady, I qualify that with an "almost" now...

Anyway, there's a bizarre situation going down in Grungemooth town centre this am and I'm aff (a variation on off) to investigate. There could even be some pictures later today. Take that as a threat brought upon by the aforementioned trauma if you're so inclined.
RIP - Long John Baldry

also Michael "Mick" Smith.

Like the great bard says... "Everybody's dying, what's going on?".