Mstation Pop etc Commentary, Reviews Valid RSS pre Dec 04 reviews are here

Thu, 01 Dec 2005


Wilco, a ghost is born
LP, nonesuch

This was actually out in 2004 and there's a new album in the pot which you can get preview download tracks from at their website. In case you've somehow missed Wilco, they've been around a while and "progressed" from to an interesting and thoughtful mix of close-by-the-mic vocals and guitar to weirded-out beat rockscapes that stay on the alt side of the road as opposed to disappearing into the neverland of trendy clubism.

[] permanent link


Trabant, Maria and Pump You Up
DVD, Southern Fried

Trabant is an Icelandic band named after an East German car that is apparently no more. The game is political satire with a high energy pop-synth backing. These two tracks do zip along pretty good with interesting breaks and changes.

The DVD features a couple of live clips of the band as well as studio cuts. There is quite a strong element of cabaret in the first track with the lead singer getting around in his y-fronts and generally extending the song for a long time. For this track you should be in a hot, sweaty room, and be a little drunk as well. There are also band still photos and bio information on the DVD.

[] permanent link

Little Man Tate

Little Man Tate
4 track CD, demo

We've included this demo because they do have a website that you can check out and because it's coming up to Christmas ... normally we listen to demos but for review, the track/s must be available to the public.

Little Man Tate hail from Sheffield in England and produce really nicely crafted rock with some grit to it. And if you're a fan of Northern Soul, this isn't it but there are faint stylistic traces there. If you're not a rock fan we don't imagine this will win you over but if you happen to be in a pub they're playing in maybe ...

[] permanent link

Jamie Lidell, Multiply

Jamie Lidell
CD, Warp Records

Jamie Lidell has been described as "British music's best kept secret, about to be unleashed" and is gaining a reputation as a highly creative and extrovert performer, using various styles whilst maintaining a definite 60s soul feel at the heart of it. His single "Multiply" contains four different mixes of the title song. The first is "Radio Edit", presumably for radio and is in the traditional R&B style, the second is entitled "Herbert's Hoedown Bump" with a distinctly modern adaption of the American dance with drum effects akin to those of eighties power ballads. The third ("Hot Chip's Mouth Remix") is a more obscure-sounding dance version, that wouldn't sound out of place in a nightclub. The fourth ("Gonzales - Multiply (in a minor key)") is my personal favourite, strictly "unplugged" with a wonderful blues bar piano accompaniment (although I'm still not entirely convinced that it's minor!).

Having never heard him before, I would recommend anyone to buy this or any of his other releases as he shows that he can perform in any style and as a result has something to please everyone. (M. North)

[] permanent link

Hush the Many

Hush the Many, Mind the Spawl
EP, Handspun Records dist by Cargo

We have quite a bit of background on this group in interviews and even a slice of a recent live gig on podcast.

On a recent tour they were, with the addition of a drummer, a five piece, while on this five track EP they are a four piece with interesting textures and a general spaciousness. Generally, the pieces develop slowly with voice, cello, and FX laden long guitar lines (plus guest violin on two tracks) taking you along on small, almost orchestral journeys.

In a way, it is modern chamber music: modern in its timbre and modern in its sensibilities. And "chamber" in its intimacy and historical connectiveness. (thunderfinger)

[] permanent link

Richard Hawley

Richard Hawley, Coles Corner
Single, Mute

Sweet tones, a softly crooning voice, and an orchestral background might seem just right for some circumstances but somehow take on an ironic or kitch component when they come from someone like Mute, even if the publishing is owned by BMG.

The second track, "I'm Absolutely Hank Marvin", starring the Hank himself, absolutely underlines the kitch feeling. Both are nice tracks though, and Hank's slow tunefulness could have you smooching in a corner somewhere. (thunderfinger)

[] permanent link

Goldfrapp, Number 1, Beautiful

Goldfrapp, 2 Track single - 'Number 1' with B-Side 'Beautiful'
CD, Mute Records

Goldfrapp are the fantastic English duo who have taken electronic music mixed with voice to the highest levels of classic pop/alternative music to date. Their previous albums; Felt Mountain and Black Cherry, were both nominated for two of the most prestigious awards - Mercury, and Brit respectively.

This latest single, Number 1, blends perfectly that age-old sound of the electronic synthesiser, beautifully voiced by the gorgeous Alison Goldfrapp. When I heard this music a few old names came to mind; Chemical Brothers, and Madonna. A strange combination I know, but I think you will know what I'm getting at.

The second item on this single is the B-side 'Beautiful'. Rachael Stevens comes to mind with this one. That tension in the voice creating that unmistakable seductive, chocolaty sound of hot, steamy...indeed! On one level I prefer the feel of this track to the previous. The beat is stronger, and it really leads you to her as she pulling you in on an invisible string. I did once hear someone say that B-sides are the best - well I won't go that far just yet.

Number 1 is definitely a feel-good song over seductive so has the advantage as an 'any moment song'. It will keep you up if you are, and pick you up if you're down.

(E Walton)

[] permanent link


Decemberists, Sixteen Military Wives
Maxi CD single, Rough Trade

This is a good-natured romp which might have been done by Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It's that sort of style -- retro, with well-crafted parts and delivery and little stories told over the top.

The fiction is that this is all from a land called Portlandia -- a place where global sentiments, easy to understand lyrics and power chords might not draw out our deepest emotions. (Dr Boots)

[] permanent link

Catskills Sampler

various, Catskills Sampler Volume 5
LP, Catskills Records

Catskills Records are one of those interesting smaller labels that put out a reasonable variety of stuff rather than just stick to a very narrow road. On here we have Husky Rescue, Ch3vy, Hardkandy, Bushy, Nylon Rhythm Machine, Aldo Vanucci, Pepe Deluxe, and Black Grass. It's definately worth a look and a listen if you're into things that are a little off the beaten commercial path but like reasonably normal listener accessibility as well.

[] permanent link


AFX, Hangable Auto Bulb
LP, Warp

This is pretty cool: Fast-paced, with broken beats and ever changing textures along with a sort of minor interval quasi- sadness about it. Actually, it's quite frenetic and well suited to dancing for those who are untroubled by breaks and changes.

Another thing I liked about it was the full spread of sound from the tops to the bottoms. This gives a nice wide open feel that contrasts nicely with the minor intervals and vaguely dark feel of the notes themselves. The textures used include FX-laden drum sounds, synth, and occasionally, voice.

The fact is, this CD is ten years old. This was Richard D. James's (aka Aphex Twin) first flutter with breaks and the original releases had become very rare and sought after by collectors. So, here's a second chance. (Dr Boots)

[] permanent link