Into Glory Ugly Heart (Cabaret Beatings, LP)
Alberto Veto have so many words waiting to burst out of them that they often go at it at a thousand miles per hour just to fit them all in. It’s these literate new wave thrills that give them the edge over other bands ploughing a similar furrow. Their songs are fiercely intelligent, yet still stay musically exciting and are all the better for it.
Opener American Porn is a spiky, sugary rush that makes you feel like you have just poured a massive bag of popping candy into your mouth and washed it down with a bottle of Lucozade. It’s a feeling that continues with the explosive, flamenco-scented guitars of Happiness and on through the rest of the album, which brings to mind the theatrical indie-pop of The Associates and other like-minded, intelligent souls who breathed life into the 80s music scene.
Only on the closing song Since We Withdrew does the album slow down; a grand, emotional, end-of-the-party style address with mourning slide guitars. With its intelligent lyrics powered by arty indie rock that rarely drops in pace, Into Glory Ugly Heart is a thrillingly enjoyable listen from beginning to end. Paul Klotschkow
Available from Alberto Veto's Bandcamp
Alright The Captain
Snib (Field Records, LP)
Whether you try to pigeonhole Alright The Captain as math, post or progressive rock, it doesn’t matter. What they do is take elements from all those genres - the odd time signatures, choppy guitar lines, syncopated rhythms, unusual song structures - and weld them together, creating a sound that is undoubtedly experimental and fresh.
More importantly it never looks down its nose at the listener; if anything, when the songs kick up a gear, like during the mind-melting moments of Soundtrack Your Death, it’s the sound of a band inviting the listener into their world. From one song to the next, you don’t know where this album will take you; there’s disturbing fuzzy bass, trippy guitar squeals, sheer white noise and even hints of thrash metal. The heaviness is counteracted by often tranquil, delicate passages that keep the album flowing along. Snib is like taking a trip to the moon and back, but the space shuttle’s GPS is knackered, so you end up veering off course and land on some tantalisingly unknown planet, and in true Captain Kirk style, start getting your groove on with all the cool looking alien chicks.
It’s totally out there - not in a chin-stroking way, but in a punching the air, chest-beating, celebratory “we love music” way. It’s sick, nasty, ill and ballin’. Paul Klotschkow
Available from Alright The Captain's website and at gigs.
The Burt Bacharak Fight Club
Kill Popular (Self Released, EP)
The world is obsessed with nostalgia, as if the only way to experience life is through images of the past. There is only one way to be truly futureproof, and that is to sound like you’ve come from the future.
Stepping out of the TARDIS, ladies and gentlemen: The Burt Bacharak Fight Club. Claustrophobic yet confident, the Kill Popular EP is an accomplished and complete record. Sounding like the soundtrack to a sci-fi horror film, BBFC have the sneer and acerbic wit of Public Image Ltd driven along by the immediate and relentless energy of Primal Scream, yet with a refreshing and forward-thinking twist. Opening track Blight starts as a haunting post-punk warning, before building into an infectious and schizophrenic piece of pop. Fuck Your Band is the sound of Mark E Smith receiving electric shock therapy, while Dr Superb is a fuzzy and frantic dose of super-new wave more than worthy of it’s name. Closer In The Miso Soup perfectly encapsulates the band: a delicate balance between eloquence and pogoing pop-punk fun.
I’d call them one of Nottingham’s finest and most interesting bands, but it doesn’t sound
like they’re from around here. More likely from Mars than Mansfield Road, The Burt Bacharak Fight Club sound like three twisted and weathered Anime characters that have seen the future, and brother it is murder! Andrew Trendell
Available from the Burt Bacharak Fight Club website.
Dick Venom and the Terrortones
Dick Venom and the Terrortones (Self Released, EP)
With a band name like Dick Venom and the Terrortones, it’s difficult to know what to expect; it’s a moniker that could imply either the worst music you’ve ever heard or some kind of psychotic brilliance. Luckily it’s the latter and the song titles of this three-track demo meet at the axis point of hilarity and horror, much like the music finds the midway mark between 1970s punk and 1950s rock and roll.
Opener Rock ‘n’ Roll Vampire is completely metaphor-free; it really is about a theoretical Nosferatu with a penchant for power chords. “I have to bite, it’s who I am” growls Venom, over a curious punk rock riff that seems to be just too slow. The subject matter of the stomach-churningly-titled Stench Trench is self-explanatory, but easily the best song here is the closer Attack Of The 50ft Frankenbride. Aside from being their heaviest tune on the demo, it’s got the most swagger as well.
But Venom and company are as much about the visual as they are about the music and their unpredictable stage presence is part of what makes them special. This is certainly an impressive demo, but they are a peerless live act well worth catching too. Gareth Hughes
Available from gigs and can be heard on Dick Venom and the Terrortones MySpace.
Ascending / Stag (Hello Thor, 7”)
Fists are one of those rare bands that bring about a sense of excitement and anticipation in just about everything they do, and this fine slice of 45 is no different.
Ascending is a loose fitting country ditty all dressed up in scuffed cowboy boots and its best western shirt, as slacker guitars, bred in the early 90s, hold together the rather sweetly sung melody. When the glorious, soaring guitars kick in for the final time they launch the song high above the clouds and it stays at those heady heights until its dizzying end. A hypnotising, helium-filled slice of indiepop.
Doom-laden, ominous drums that sound like they are straight out of sessions for The Cure’s Pornography open Stag, before the song skulks around like the Velvet Underground looking for a fight. There is a tangible air of menace throughout as caustic, rusty, barbed guitars square up to lyrics about ashtrays getting thrown around and teeth being spit out on to the carpet. This is the darkness to the flip-side’s light. There is something off-centre, yet captivating about this song and when a chorus of voices reaches out through the darkness against the backdrop of piercing guitar notes, it only adds to the strange and unsettling atmosphere. It is this sense of unease that makes the song so compelling. Paul Klotschkow
Available from Fists website and from all good record stores.
Long Dead Signal
Long Dead Signal (Self Released, EP)
Long Dead Signal are considered one of the local bands expected to step up another notch in 2011, and rightly so. Likening themselves to Buckley, Radiohead and Muse (and
these comparisons, it has to be said, are spot on), their self-titled EP roars through six tracks from intricate guitars and distorted vocals at breakneck tempo, through to calmer melodies backed by inspired effects and riffs.
Again & Again and Asleep at the Wheel demonstrate a vocal range with which Matt Bellamy himself has long been associated, with guitar reverb and a thunderous bass really igniting the atmosphere. In contrast to these thrashing tracks, A Question of Violence is a slower insertion that comes with a sinister guitar hook and an intense timbre. There is yet more drama to follow with Fight Or Flight, spiralling back to a Queens of the Stone Age-esque riff while puzzling background effects create a surreal sound to the track. With a shopping list of 2011 Nottingham dates to their name, catch them while you can. Their simply unique image - what looks like a cross between a Jim Henson fantasy and Alice in Wonderland is almost reason enough to see them live. Nik Storey
Available from gigs. Listen to it on Long Dead Signal's MySpace.
Afterdark (Elementz Productions, Mixtape)
Skiman’s second mixtape set steps into the realms of dubstep and grime. He sets out his stall with opening track Walk On, leading into the warning beeps of Star Wars-sampling single Darkside’s intro. This gives way to a bassline crushing enough to turn the Death Star into an Imperial trifle.
Skiman’s versatility really shines on this sophomore release; Too Hard sounds like Boy In Da Corner-era Dizzee. There are also hard, angsty bars over Lil Wayne’s Drop the World beat, which contrasts with the party-time punchlines he drops on club tune Mine. It’s like listening to a track by Devlin followed by a Chipmunk chart hit - except Skiman makes these songs specifically his own. Sorry sees a guest turn from fellow Elementz collaborator and all-round Nottingham legend, Karizma, with Starkey’s dubby bassline and relentless string sample providing a beat different to Karizma’s usual offerings. For the closing track Try Me, Skiman flips genres and goes straight hip-hop. This gem from
producer Onra sounds like a fight between a mariachi band, the Trojan back catalogue and a Vietnamese phrase book. Awesome! Then, after just 25 minutes, your time’s up. Fast, fun, and definitely not forgettable, you’ll be left reeling from a mixtape crammed with finely chosen beats and even finer raps. Shariff Ibrahim
Available to download for free from The Elementz website.
Skiman on MySpace
The Originator (Deadly Beefburger Records, LP)
It’s hard to tell whether this is meant to be a punk record, rap, or some iconoclastic spoken word art project. What you can be sure of, though, is that over the sixteen tracks, the aforementioned Lincolnshire stylist goes on a no-holds-barred acidic rampage, attacking everyone from Paul Weller to Cheryl Cole to Damon Albarn to Lily Allen to, well, just about anyone who has been in the public eye over the past couple of years.
These mouthing-offs aren’t just saved for those who show up in the tabloids; the people of Nottingham also get it in the neck, most notably on Whack It Up Bruv, where local clothing label One True Saxon and Dealmaker Records are singled out for a verbal bashing. Like The Streets, this album focuses on the grubby dramas of everyday life - although it’s more like Irvine Welsh hanging around the Broadmarsh Centre than a Brummie skulking outside a late-night kebab house.
Musically, SM spits vitriol over short Northern Soul samples, dub or British punk-aping circular guitar motifs. Whether this is in homage to the mod lifestyle or as a way of undermining it, you can’t be too sure. It’s fair to say that this is the North Notts answer to The Fall’s Mark E Smith - scathing, sarcastic and thoroughly enjoyable. Paul Klotschkow
Available from Sleaford Mods MySpace.
Kypes/ Pests/ Throats (Self Released, EP)
Formed from the ashes of Thousands of Reflections, Some Skeletons have created an adrenalin shot of explosive emotive altrock on their debut EP.
Kypes is unfortunately over as soon as it’s started but, in that short space of time, autumnal notes of guitar give way to introspective fuzz and vocal harmonies. Second track Pests packs more of a punch as it twitches like a man possessed between speakerfrazzling power chords, sonic wall of noise churning guitars and the odd moment of tranquillity.
The EP ends with Throats, a widescreen Molotov cocktail that contains enough force and
power in its opening moments to bring down a small army. Hints of The Pixies and Fugazi definitely lie in their aural assault, whilst Sonic Youth influences are stamped all over the song structures. But listening to these three tracks, a closer touchstone and more obvious connection would be Idlewild or the more obscure American Football, especially in the way Some Skeletons manage to fuse together bombast, melody, emotion and cranium-crunching riffs. The only downside is that it’s all too short - but I guess this is a good excuse to go and put it on again. Paul Klotschkow
Available from Some Skeletons website or at gigs.
Music Reviews: February-March 2011
What's been on the LeftLion stereo in early 2011...
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New College Nottingham
Pub Quiz 01/04
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Daniel Pearson 02/04
Venue: The Malt Cross
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Venue: The Approach
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Joe Strange Band & Good Times DJ 05/04
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The Indigo Psychic Show 16/07
Venue: Various Locations
Woe, Is Me 06/12
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Venue: The Rescue Rooms
Laguna Sunrise 06/07
The Gilded Merkin: Burlesque & Cabaret 11/08
Venue: The Glee Club
My Preserver 27/06
Venue: Rock City
Joy Fantastic 'The Launch Party' 24/05
Jim Lockey And The Solemn Sun 03/10
Venue: The Bodega
Sam Gray 05/10
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