Record Reviewis Music
‘Love in a Void' and ‘Metal Postcard‘
through the slinky fury of 2
‘Happy House‘ and
'Spellbound’. to Cities in E
Dust' and The Killing Jar', as they developed into an otherworldly pop beast
These sessions show the bare. vital elements that made them so fine: Budgie and Severin's undulating tribal rhythms. John McGeoch's endlessly inventive guitar and Siouxsie‘s singular howl. An extra DVD adds the best of their TV performances that range from breathtaking (Whistle Test. Something Else) to unintentionally hilarious (Top of the Pops). (Mark Robertson)
ACOUSTICA JAMES BLACKSHAW The Glass Bead Game (Young God) 0”.
A supernatural t2-string axe-slinger. James Blackshaw's extraordinary muse educes Philip Glass. John Fahey and Peter Walker: he is awesome.
The Glass Bead Game. Blackshaw's first album for Young God. (home to Devendra Banhart and Akron/Family), brilliantly exhibits the young Londoner's enthralling guitar narratives and melodic intuition.
While his aural bedrock resonates with the legacies of 608 folk/raga melting pot Takoma. (Robbie Basho et al), The Glass Bead Game sees Blackshaw divert his sublime and dizzying mantras via vocal alchemy ('Cross'), and piano incantations (‘Arc').
In short: go seek The
Glass Bead Game. it will
take your breath away. (Nicola Meighan)
POP SOUL PAOLO NUTINI Sunny Side Up (Atlantic) 0”
For his second long playing effort Nutini has thrown in so much to
‘(ﬁwlc t)0 u If";
the mix no one would fault you for trying to spot the kitchen sink in there. While These Streets showed he was equal parts pop tart. soul boy and apprentice folk troubadour, here we also get dark. spectral acoustica. parping swing beats and enough jump up ska to get Toots and the Maytals dashing off missives to their lawyers.
For all this disparity, again when his old man croon and growl binds with the material — most of which is self penned — there's pure gold to be had. He remains strongest when he's revisiting his SOUI idols Hathaway. Cooke and Redding but the delicate sweetness of ‘Candy' and the heavy lidded paen to that sticky green stuff ‘Coming Up Easy' are as sweet as you could wish for. A mess but a success.
THE MARS VOLTA
For five albums now Omar Rodriguez—Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Savala (for they are the heart of The Mars Volta) have been relentlessly pounding us with their dizzying musical overload — music of such frenzy it read like the musical manifestation of a fly writhing to escape the spider's web. Something had to give. and on Octahedron they pull back from the brink, employing more diffuse acoustic guitar work over Bixler's impassioned tongue
twister trills. The effect is '
THE GOSSIP Music for Men reveal a»
The Gossip’s extravagant firebrand Beth Ditto has bagged herself stardom in bountiful guises: disco-blues diva, brawling fashionista, feminist defender, media provocateur, political agitator — and, not least, the sexiest catsuit inhabitant
Eliciting and furthering the Riot Grrrl doctrine, while sonically implicating Janis Joplin and PJ Harvey, Ditto’s towering persona and soulful vocalisms are riled by 21 st Century contentions: body image, gender constraints, sexual oppression and American civil rights (as stridently exemplified on 2007’s Bush-bashing, same-sex marriage anthem, ‘Standing in the Way
still the same: this is pure drama out of a crisis and adds a few more shades and colours on the already cramped palette. Too much as ever but still compelling listening. (Mark Robertson)
INDIE . . .SORT OF GRIZZLY BEAR Veckatimest (Warp) 0000 Having an otherworldly, ethereal hum and echo to their sound like fellow Americans Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear sound
distant. warm. sunny, introverted and emotive. This is a brave. beautiful record that takes a long time to connect with. It floats around before
locking onto your synapses forever.
The sweet. sweet harmonies of Laurel Canyon's hippy elite are a true inspiration here but so is a willingness not to conform to straight indie pop
shapes. Theirs is pure
pop. recorded down a
well by a bunch of
geeks who don‘t know the power of what they say or do. The effect is startling. surprising and often almost magical. (Mark Robertson)
Yet most of all - lest we forget - Ditto can not
half belt out a song. Music for Men, the Portland trio’s fourth long-player, sees the stunningly- lunged Ditto - robustly flanked by Brace Paine (bass, guitar, synth) and Hannah Blilie (drums) - once more straddle the canons of dance music,
gospel, blues and rock.
Despite its much-touted counsel from legendary US producer Rick Rubin, Music for Men is no great departure from The Gossip’s previous albums. It is, however, a carnal riot of technicolour disco-punk (‘Heavy Cross’, ‘Men in Love’), parched guitar hoe-downs (‘Dimestore Diamond), churning synth balladry (‘Four Letter Word'), and funk-struck electro-pop (‘Pop Goes
Ditto bares her oral chops throughout and ensnares iconic props at every turn.
Sky & Country
(ECM Records) 000.
Fly are three very well known contemporary jazz musicians. saxophonist Mark Turner. bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard. That pedigree suggests something special and they pretty much serve up just that — an intelligent. intricate set of highly interactive ja/z (Ballard describes them
as ‘an intimate band with teeth'. which gets pretty close to what is going on shere).
While that kind of rarefied jazz discourse Suggested by the rhythm duo's connections with Chick Corea and Brad Mehldau is certainly the core of then music. it is inflected with more surprising deviations into hip hop and funk grooves. With a bit of ethnic influence thrown in. It's all very clever and highly musical, but it's not just clever — the players are clearly intently engaged with each other and the music. One of the classiest ECM releases in a while.
’i l':)1’) Jllfl L)()(lE?THE LIST 73