Music Record Reviews
INDIE POP SUPER ADVENTURE CLUB Avoid Zombies (Armellodie Records) ●●●●● Avoid Zombies, eh? Good advice indeed from this Glasgow trio’s latest release, but that’s the only sensible thing
about it. The opening track is called ‘Hip Hop Hot Pot Pot Noodle’
LABELS OF LOVE
SAY DIRTY RECORDS Advancing the DIY credo and cultural fetishism of landmark indie empires like Cherry Red, Creation, Fast Product and – particularly – Postcard, Glasgow’s Say Dirty has celebrated the sound of young Scotland (and beyond) since 2006. It’s run by identical twins Erik and Björn Sandberg (above, you may know them as Wake the President or The Noisy Lovers), and revels in the axiom ‘Because We’re Small Enough to Care’.
What artists have you released to date? Endor, Bela, Zoey van Goey, Wake the President, Peter Parker, Paper Planes, The Sexual Objects and The Noisy Lovers. Does your A&R strategy reflect any particular musical style or ideology? We do stuff that excites us; it’s not unknown for us to go hungry for a month just to get a record out.
To what extent are physical packaging and a visual identity key to your label? We prefer physical product to digital, and we feel groups deserve a tangible vindication for their efforts, but we have to be more creative if we’re going to continue to sell it. We’ve been working with an artist called Mac McNaughton: he’s really improved the presentation of our 45s. It’s great to have guys like Mac and Stephen McCaffrey [of kindred imprint and co-releasers Lucky Number Nine] on board: people who’re as passionate about cultural production as we are.
Will people still seek out (and pay for) pop artefacts, in your experience? I think they will if the quality remains high. We employ unique limited edition runs – that way our fanbase can obtain a covetable object. We’re not interested in the production of bags, T-shirts, compasses, mugs, umbrellas or any of that rubbish. We like badges though, postcards with a group’s artwork on them, fanzines and pamphlets. There should be more stuff like that. What releases/events have you got coming up? The Sexual Objects/Peter Parker split-single is out at the end of April. A Paper Planes mini-album is scheduled for early summer. We’re looking for new acts to work with in the autumn. We’ll also be entering the Chem19 studios ourselves in October/ November. (Nicola Meighan) ■ www.myspace.com/saydirtyrecords
62 THE LIST 29 Apr–13 May 2010
forchrissakes, and from there on in the Super Adventure Club madness unfolds in a typically brilliant and chaotic, off-kilter indie pop kind of way. Songs start and stop, switch time signatures and direction, make bizarre references (marsupials, Steve McQueen, Nosferatu, Dustin Hoffman and stabiliser wheels are just a few) and at one point even advise us to ‘Think Like a Fish’. Super Adventure Club then; a weird bunch but utterly loveable. (Camilla Pia) ROCK/METAL SLASH Slash (Roadrunner) ●●●●●
Ever since Guns N’ Roses tore the world apart with their raw metal, Slash has been everyone’s go-to-man for a dose of instant cool and squealing guitar solos. So it only seems fair that Saul Hudson calls in a few favours for an album bursting with guest stars including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy (Motörhead), Kid Rock and even Fergie (Black Eyed Peas), who not only lend their vocals but co-write their specific track. There are some misfires (anything featuring Maroon 5’s Adam Levine is gonna suck), but the proggy swirl of ‘By the Sword’ with Wolfmother’s Andrew Stockdale or the metal stomp of ‘Nothing to Say’ featuring Avenged Sevenfold’s M Shadows keep things interesting. Or you can simply sit back and revel in the exemplary guitar work. (Henry Northmore)
COUNTRY/ROOTS- ROCK CHUCK PROPHET Dreaming Waylon’s Dreams (Decor) ●●●●● California-born Telecaster-master Chuck Prophet celebrates 25 years in
Thomas Brinkmann’s austere ‘Walk With Me’ has kicked in and obscure German new wavers Rheingold have provided some analogue relief, though, we slip into the realm of gorgeous, distinctive electropop, particularly ‘Don’t Call’ by Italians Do It Better’s Desire and Matias Aguayo’s ‘Walter Neff’. Irresistible, just like the majority of this compilation. (David Pollock) INDIE ROCK POP THE NEW PORNO- GRAPHERS Together (Matador) ●●●●●
Vancouver collective The New Pornographers bear a passing resemblance to fellow Canadians Arcade Fire, using folk and orchestral sounds to influence their anthemic indie. But there is something slightly underwhelming about this fifth album, main songwriter AC Newman and cohorts seemingly stuck between the bolshie bluster of their early material and the more introspective moments of 2007’s Challengers. There’s an undeniable pop sensibility to ‘The Crash Years’, and ‘Your Hands Together’ is a feisty slab of Fleetwood Mac- flecked majesty, but such moments are too infrequent in an album that will keep fans happy, but probably not gain many new converts. (Doug Johnstone) ROCK MALE BONDING Nothing Hurts (Sub Pop) ●●●●●
Sometimes nothing but a ferocious, flail-inducing racket will do. And in those darkest, riff-craving moments, Male Bonding are everything you need and more. Nothing Hurts is the debut effort from the London trio and it speeds along gloriously; 13 tracks of stripped- down guitar and breakneck-speed
the roots-rock business (the first eight with Green On Red) via this track-for-track tribute to hero Waylon Jennings’ outlaw-country LP of 1975, Dreaming My Dreams. Chuck’s been
dreaming it ever since he released his 1990 album, Brother Aldo, right up until last year’s Let Freedom Ring! (recorded with his band, The Mission Express). When you revisit the original five-star album, it becomes clear that 38- year-old Jennings had a sentimental streak for one so rebellious; lost here on 46-year-old Prophet’s harder-edged update. While it’s hard to recommend Chuck’s strained ‘I Recall A Gypsy Woman’, his versions of ‘High Time’ (very Duane Eddy), ‘Are You Sure Hank [Williams] Done It This Way’ and Jimmie Rodgers’ ‘Waymore’s Blues’, are just the dog’s bollocks. (Martin C Strong)
ELECTRONICA VARIOUS ARTISTS Fabric 52: Optimo (Espacio) (Fabric) ●●●●●
Optimo (the club) will be over by the time you read this, but you can now own another slice of Optimo (the sound) to recreate the glory days in your own living room. Just close the blinds, paint the walls black and turn this on. Despite the presence of Frank ‘Fad Gadget’ Tovey’s fearsome industrial anthem ‘Lady Shave’ to break in Fabric’s more conservative listeners, the preponderance of instrumental techno in the first half of this suggests a sop to the label’s regulars. Once
drumming all weighing in at just around the two- minute mark. Highlights are plentiful, just skip to ‘Weird Feelings’, ‘Nothing Remains’, ‘Year’s Not Long’, ‘All Things This Way’, ‘Pumpkin’, ‘Paradise Vendors’ or ‘Pirate Key’ and prepare to be astounded by the expert levels of skill and musicianship on display as the band pound through their perfectly honed noise pop. Spectacular. (Camilla Pia) ■ Male Bonding play next fortnight: Art School Vic Bar, Glasgow, Sat 22 May; Captains’s Rest, Glasgow, Sun 23 May; Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, Mon 24 May.
JAZZ LOOSE GRIP Looking Glass (Fabrikant) ●●●●● This is the debut recording of an Edinburgh-based band led by Canadian drummer Chris Wallace, with John Burgess on tenor sax, Malcolm MacFarlane on guitar, and Sean Pentland on bass. The opening track, ‘The Fool’s Confidence’, has a loping funk groove that sits well with the band, but they go on to
demonstrate that they have a much wider spread of approaches in their stylistic locker. Their own publicity
mentions John Scofield, Joe Lovano, Chris Potter and Dave Holland as touchstones for their approach, so they can’t be faulted for ambition. Wallace provides all of the nine compositions on the album, and it is the more up-temptunes that emerge most strongly – the slower material feels a little over-stretched at times.