Sunday, August 15, 2010

Grand Mal’s “Clandestine Songs” (Groover Recordings) is like one of those old faithful New York City albums. Fans of old time Lou Reed and Elliot Murphy will find much to savour in Bill Whitten’s worldview. It has the feel of the pre-Guiliani metropolis before Manhattan got turned into a theme park that approximated that location’s one-time greatness. Cool stories set to hard boiled tuneage the way they almost never seem to make them anymore.

There’s a rumour of Television too in terms of the mercurial guitar interplay. The piano is what skews it and ultimately adds that all important x ingredient. These are head turning tunes alright. If you heard one on the radio then you’d stop the car so you could write down who it was.

“Praxis Tape” is the most peculiar cut, like Santana if they’d started out in CB’s circa ’65. “You Done My Head In” is like a cousin of Mose Allison’s recent “My Brain”. David Dundas’ “Jeans On” as realised by the Velvet Underground. “Children of Light” is St Marks Place Motown. Classy gear.

“Slowpokes” by Rebecca Turner is one of those albums that creeps up on you. It features my old friend Rod Hohl on guitars, that was a nice surprise. Some of you might recall his playing with Mary Lee Kortes way too long ago. 11 songs delivered without fuss or clutter in a pop Americana style.

Rebecca has a voice that’s easy on the ear, maybe a little downwind of Suzanne Vega or one of The Roches. She calls the content “a casserole of styles” and that pretty much sums it up. If comfort food were songs then they’d sound like this.

Ludwig Bell of Dreamboy (singular – not to be confused with the Peter Capaldi/Roddy Murray/Craig Ferguson combo) is just about to release his debut solo set on the rarefied imprint of Razzia. It’s a grandiose Aztec Camera-esque feast of sumptuous pop, all in Swedish.

I’m thinking of adopting “Jag är en Idiot” as my theme song, whaddaya reckon? Check out the video for “Kärlek Slutar Alltid Med Brak”. The Stockholm locations make me homesick for a session at Tranan. I am in relative awe of the roster that this label has a beat on.

Listen to all the upcoming Razzia gear...

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