Issue 50

Brakes, Bitterzoet Amsterdam 09/05/09

...proof yet again that Brakes are possibly the most talented, versatile and (frankly) enjoyable band to slip under the general public’s musical radar.

Hermas Zopoula – Espoir

Hermas Zopoula is a car mechanic in Burkina Faso. He’s also a bloody talented lad, because he’s written an absolutely beautiful LP full of Hi Life-style pop.

Alpha – The Sky is Mine

What is this? 1996? Well, in a way, it is. Alpha have been around since the mid nineties and their music carries a great deal of that decade still: the good bits at least.

Matteah Baim - Laughing Boy

Everything is slightly weird, and understated in its malice; Big Cat boasts the most chilling whistling committed to record…

Tim Hecker – An Imaginary Country

The usual swathes of beautifully manipulated feedback and samples are here for all to enjoy. But this is such an accessible record; you could almost call it his pop release.

The Hayley Faye Band – Baby Sleep Mode

And I’ll tell you something else, these are bloody good pop songs, simple direct, fearless and possessing a pop kick to knock you into next week.

Pink Mountaintops – Outside Love

A thumping, trashy, beautiful, and above all, ridiculously Glam release.

Bill Callahan – Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle

There can be few finer songwriters than Mr. Bill Callahan. It remains a source of constant wonder to me that he is not revered more highly than he is.

The Vaselines – Enter the Vaselines (Deluxe Edition)

...listening to the Vaselines brings back very personal memories of girl hang-ups, posing in what I thought were 60s threads and playing records in my bedroom.

Manic Street Preachers - Journal for Plague Lovers

Journal for Plague Lovers cannot help but feel like a victory, combining quiet bravery with a surefooted musicianship to fashion a classic yet contemporary sound.

Love is All – A Hundred Things Keep Me Up at Night

The whole thing is up-tempo, using that sort of Franz Ferdinand stomp that I suppose isn’t trendy anymore. But who cares about trends?

Andromeda Express Mega Orchestra – Take Off!

I’m really not sure what the man behind the music, Daniel Glatzel, was looking for when he wrote the score for his very large and ‘eclectically instrumented’ band.

La Minor – Oboroty

Apparently this LP contains polkas or slow waltzes and tangos. But you wouldn’t know as the band doesn’t stick to strict interpretations of any musical convention.

ATP vs. The Fans Part II: The Fans Strike Back Butlins, Minehead, Somerset, UK.

Looking back on all this fun, it’s amazing to think I managed to watch any bands. Yet, somehow, between making stoned jokes about Nazis, bellowing along to Pulp at 3 in the morning and receiving FIVE panettones on my chalet doorstep from persons unknown, I saw some pretty awesome stuff.

Polska Rootz – S/T

Time for this reviewer to tell you that you won’t pick up a more surprising and enjoyable LP this year.

Skipper – Q-Bus, Leiden 22/04/09

It’s a shame for such a talented band as this one to show so little regard for stage-craft.

Cryptacize – Mythomania

Nodding its head to 50s and 60s stylings, ever so slightly Gothic (in the Vampyros Lesbos kinda way) and charmingly mysterious. Why ask for more?

Charlie Parr – Roustabout

The cover drawing of a rooster is a very good visual indication of the music on this LP; namely feisty, direct, brazen and no-nonsense folk.

The Show is the Rainbow – Wet Fist

I’ve always liked Darren Keen’s attitude and brand of self-assurance and his stuff is a lot of fun, for sure.

The Rakes – Melkweg, Amsterdam 18 May 2009

The Rakes seem to be getting better with each passing year, which is a scary thought, because they’re a formidable force as it is. A force to be reckoned with.

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