3 INCHES OF BLOOD -
Christ, here we go again...
MR. HUDSON AND THE LIBRARY - A TALE OF TWO CITIES L.P / ASK THE D.J Single
Most of the time, at least 90%, I receive a certain amount of blurb which accompanies the records Mr. Rose force feeds me through a small crack in the floorboards. With this record, I'm in the dark. Confronted by a blank word pad presentation, it becomes a daunting task to describe certain records adequately. This included. It's an eclectic mix, certainly. Like listening to good Bowie, you don't know what's happening in terms of arrangement. To the more skilled listener, it's probably nothing short of a piece of piss to get on with songs which gravitate back and forth between straight forward and subtly chaotic. There's a lot going on here. Soul, reggae, mish mashes of rhythym but even this doesn't even begin to articulate the mood of the record. The pace never gets above that of a nice gentle meander through a leafy glade (with the odd skip here and there because life is after all, so very good). The single, Ask The DJ, wouldn't really be out of place on your average daytime radio playlist (don't let that put you off) but would probably be ignored for being a bit too 'odd' and not in that quirky, Flaming Lips sort of way. As far as I'm concerned, if you're after a relaxing listen to something which has had an unhealthy amount of thought go into it then this is a good place to go looking first. Like good Bowie. But not. Pretty bad band name though, come to think of it. There's always something.
Available through Mercury Records.
It's good to know someone was 'doing' Mika before even Mika even thought about holding onto his testicles with a mighty grip when recording vocals. B.C Camplight released his first album in 1995 which is rather a long time ago now. I wouldn't be surprised if it sank without a trace, surrounded by Britpop 'also ran's', it would have failed to even raise an eyebrow. Nowadays, it's a good thing. A very good thing. The opening track manages to incorporate that weird synth that makes everything sound like the old theme tune to Grange Hill. That's generally a good sign to me. Evoking shades of very tender (no pun intended) Graham Coxon, Ben Folds Five and (agreeing with the blurb I DID receive with this one) Burt Bacharach. However, don't let the very tiny comparison with Mika alter your perception of this. It's a lot more clever. Better melodies, better arrangements. On the whole, just better if you happen to have a problem with everything in the world and prefer to spend your time hiding in a compost bin than throwing bricks through windows and setting yourself on fire in Tianamen Square. You can't hate a record when the composer has the simplicity of mind to call a track 'I've Got A Bad Cold'. You just can't and if you can then you're one soulless bastard. Everyone should really own this record if only to stop the poor boy from throwing himself off the cliffs at Beachy Head onto the rocks and shoals below. Have a heart, come on.
Available through One Little Indian Records.
No blurb. So again, I'm in the darkest of darks with any sort of background surrounding this group. I think it's German (where are you all going?). It's hard rock of a kind. Hard melodic rock like a MORE depressing Feeder but no so nauseating. Although, any Feeder comparison can't come without a Foo Fighters comparison as well. It's done very well though! I've noticed a lot of copyists of genre tend to make a very poor, distilled version of what they're trying to emulate but this doesn't, really. There's a time and place for this sort of thing though and without the use of time travel, that time and place has gone. I have no doubt they'll be very popular within a group of 'hard-melodic-rock' mainstays but I can't listen to anymore without having some sort of aneurysm. Yeah, it's derivative but it's not without its merits. They know what they're doing and as long as they stick to that, they won't be bothering me ever again.
Available through Steamhammer Records (can you feel the rock just dripping off that name?)
This I was looking forward to reviewing. 3 Inches Of Blood have always been known to me without actually having been heard by me. I'm filled with an ecstatic joy listening to this record, as any band who wouldn't be out of place soundtracking a medieval confrontation have something of a special place in my twisted, perverted heart. Perhaps I'm looking at it in the wrong light but it's brilliant. I can't imagine any fan of this band would be disappointed and if they are then I'd be very interested in knowing why. Metal fans are a curious breed of people. Seemingly condemning and condoning new and old metal bands for either seling out or innovating for an unrecognisable reason, unbeknowst to those outside of the metal genre. Like the rules of Hopscotch, it's a mystery. You don't need to know it sounds like Iron Maiden. You don't need to know it sounds like Judas Priest. All you need to know (if you're either a metal fan or, like me, a metal fan with a sense of humour which is neither ironic, po-faced nor post modern) is that it's brilliant. I've said all I need to about this. I'm just so happy I've had the chance to hear it.
Available through Roadrunner Records
This charming little London based band, originally hailing from Toronto are seemingly picking up a lot of attention in the right places. There impressive collection of support slots should certainly spell a very bright future, as should there resolutely off-track interview technique. However, I can't help listening to it and thinking two things of this band. Firstly, they sound a little like Pulp and secondly, they sound a lot like Arcade Fire. Perhaps that's what everyone wants these days. Hopefully, they'll age like Pulp whereupon the songs will get better through time unlike Arcade Fire who now seem trapped in the deepest voids of their own arseholes. One comparison which is not often drawn is the similarity to that of British Sea Power (infinitley interesting and sadly, in hiding). I'm not beyond liking Arcade Fire but where they fall short for me, Outside Royalty encounter the same stumbling block. Grandiose, ethereal, melancholic, uplifting at times but depressingly mundane in their inaccessability to the more simple minded barbarians that like music which inspires something inside them other than that of wanting to stab themself in the neck with a broken ruler. I'm by no means going to condemn this band. They deserve many an accolade and they deserve to be lauded in a land saturated by scratchy, junkie art bands like Razorlight and Babyshambles (whom, incidentally, they've supported). I also wanted to like this for the more simplistic reason that there artwork is nothing short of brilliant (long term 'fans' will know I appreciate a good set of artwork). Perhaps it's time for me to stop judging the book by its cover.
For more information, visit www.myspace.com/theoutsideroyalty
Bright Eyes came to my attention by means of an accident. I was unfortunate enough to have picked up a copy of the NME, you see and inside those very pages, a very handsome gentleman by the name of Conner Oberst was having a small chat with one of their dreadful journalists about his music, his life and all that balls. I also came upon 2005's I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning purely by accident. As if to add insult to injury, I tripped over the video for a single who's name escapes me. You might remember it; assembled persons, some in couples, were press ganged into listening to the new single through a set of headphones while the cameraman filmed their reactions to the sickly sweet tones being pumped into their ears in a more friendly scene reminiscent of Alex's torture in A Clockwork Orange. I approach this L.P expecting more of the same and it doesn't disappoint. To be honest, I'm sick of hearing Violins, which this record and two of the previous records from this months batch, have in spades. Essentially, Bright Eyes will be known to many of us as the American Ed Harcourt but without the sense of humour or the same talent. Where Ed Harcourt impresses and amuses and manages to improve upon his own sound, Bright Eyes don't to any great extent. At least not to the same extent which leaves me, personally, with the sense of satisfaction that I'm not listening to the same record again. It's not a bad record. It's a welcome change to what is usually forced upon you by radio and the songs are well constructed with wonderful flourishes of arrangement and layer upon layer of dynamics. This is the second place to go for that nice, relaxing, yet slightly depressing, gentle record.
Available through Polydor Records
What a curious little beast this is! It has been remarked that this band blend 1940's cabaret (whatever the bollocks that means) with a more modern, popular sound. I'm not hearing 1940's cabaret here although that might be more to do with the fact I don't own any other than anything else. However, saying this is highly comparable to No Doubt would be fairer. It's No Doubt through and through. From production, to vocals, to weird, white man reggae-ish guitar. There's not a lot to go on with this single, as the two tracks provided are the same song but different in length (the radio version beind depressingly shorter, possibly to eliminate that 'troublesome' middle section which is actually the most interesting part of the song) but on first listen, if you like your pop music 'real', with some energy and can't abide what Gwen Stefani is doing now, this should fill the void quite satisfyingly.
For more information, visit www.thevincentblackshadow.com
When you're given a metal band (and I use the term loosely in this case) who actually WANT to capitalise on Emo by incorporating it into their own sound, you should be wary. Very fucking wary. It ceases to be anything like metal when the band in question just want to make an entire album out of re-writing Run To The Hills. It's also something to be afraid of when an accompanying press package makes a point of how old the musicians in question are. I don't care. I honestly don't. The Trivium/Arctic Monkeys line of 'ooooh, aren't they young?' doesn't wash me. If you like Trivium then you'll probably shoot arcs of never ending semen from your shaft over this band. I however, am not going to waste anymore electricity on listening to them.
For more information, visit www.civilian.co.uk (at your own peril)
Hmmm...these could be guilty of proliferating the modern trend of indie. I'm suitably impressed though. Without thinking of a direct comparison, it'd be safe to say that it fits all the pre-requisites for being an 'indie' record and that really, should be enough. However, it's a touch more interesting than that. The flip side of this record, Buttercups is a hell of a lot better than the A side but it would only fit nicely here, as a complimentary piece to the aformentioned. Keep an eye on them, pop pickers. They could be saturating the air waves and the gig circuit in a matter of months. However, the press packet makes the fatal error of pointing out how young these young chaps and lass, are. Still, she's either 16 or 17 so therefore subject to any dirty fantasies you might have about shagging a musician who doesn't know any better. Is this a plus point to me only?
Available through Way Out West Records (and also www.myspace.com/cajundanceparty if you want to ogle the keyboardist)
No information on this band other than a badly handwritten (or rather, hand scribbled) note on a torn piece of paper so you'll have to bear with me on this one. I don't think I'd be wrong in assuming this band take some influence from Queens Of The Stone Age. Because of this, I'm going to be fair because all recent QOTSA recordings have been so mind fuckingly poor that anyone who wants to fill their shoes is welcome to. So, from this we draw hard rock, lots of pounding drums and driving guitars which ricochet between sounding mudy and murky and jagged and serated. The bass is nice and chunky which is just how I like it and the song structure is refreshingly Mudhoney-lite.
As it should be, any band which surf in on the wave created by another should be stopped at the festival gates and told to fuck off back to where they came from. This applies rather nicely to a lot of bands (Editors, The Enemy, Maximo Park) but The Noisettes have managed to ride in on the crest of the wave created by The Yeah Yeah Yeah's and as a result, have drowned all the competition in one care-free dismount of the board. Sounding not unlike YYY's but also sounding like something all the more hellish and fun, The Noisettes would sit nicely on any self respecting indie fan's shelf.
Available through Universal Records
It's a constant worry of mine why some bands are not promoted or recognised as much as they should be. Hamfatter wouldn't go amiss amongst the indie elite but you could ask any of those self satisfied arseholes if they'd heard of Hamfatter and they'd look at you blankly. It's not fair. So infuriatingly unfair. As if it wasn't enough to know that Kirsten Dunst is going out with that fuck witted little troll from Razorlight. This, their third L.P (savour the death) is choc full of nicely composed melodic pieces which, if we lived in a fair world, would have them at the mainstream festivals every year, playing to fields full of adoring fans who would be singing every word. I implore everyone to give this band a go and if you're not caught under the idiosyncratic Britishness of their sound, you are merely a walking shell of a man (or woman).
Available through Pink Hedgehog Records (Visit www.pinkhedgehog.com)
Forgoing both the dreadful band name and even more vomit inspiring album title, this band aren't too bad. Standard brit-rock fodder which is never a bad thing these days. It would have been, say ten years ago. Nothing world altering, nothing new in fact but the sense of fun permeates through this record which would see them as a nice follow up to Hamfatter in the festival of my mind. If you're so inclined on going for a trip down memory lane without having to go through all that trouble of actually remembering things, stick this cd on and feel like you're back swilling moderately chilled lager in the pub garden while the sound of the jukebox wafts serene, 'Britain fucking rocks!!!' waves of joy and jubilation over the land.
Available through Nede Records