SINGLES & DOWNLOADS
Nadine Coyle first shot to fame with Girls Aloud, Steve Mason is ex-Beta Band and Kele used to be in (yes, yes we get it now) Bloc Party. So it’s a ‘solo project’ party to kick things off in The List’s singles swag bag this issue. Sadly ‘Insatiable’ (Black Pen Records) ●●●●● is a shockingly dated stab at electro rock (that’s you Coyle) so it’s up to Mason’s ‘Boys Outside’ (Domino) ●●●●● and Kele’s ‘On The Lam’ (Wichita/Polydor) ●●●●● to lighten the mood. And they do of sorts, both are spectacular in a beautifully melancholy way – so we’re smiling through the tears. . .
‘Terrible Love’ (4AD) ●●●●● by The
National, Bob Hillary & The Massive Mellow’s ‘Hear Mi’ (soundEthic/Sonic360) ●●●●● and Hurts’ ‘Stay’ (Sony) ●●●●● are up next and all pretty sweetly sob-worthy too, so let’s move swiftly on to something perkier. MEN’s ‘Off Our Backs’ (IAMSOUND) ●●●●● will do the trick; it’s a disco pop treat. Next The Saturdays shock us by actually being good for once with the hugely infectious ‘Higher’ (Fascination) ●●●●●, and the ‘Sunburst EP’ (Warp) ●●●●● by Rustie is mindbogglingly brilliant in a video game music meets prog rock, electro and techno kind of way.
So by the time Edinburgh-based trio Night Noise Team treat us to the gorgeous ‘Burning’ (Permwhale Recordings) ●●●●● well, we’re positively beaming. Kings Of Leon and Duffy attempt to spoil things with the depressingly lacklustre ‘Radioactive’ (Columbia) ●●●●● and insipid M&S ad soundtrack-in-waiting ‘Well,Well,Well’ (Polydor) ●●●●● but we bat them off quicksmart-ish with not two but three contenders for Single Of The Fortnight. There’s the heartwarming indie pop of the ‘Golden Ether EP’ (Bubblegum Records) ●●●●● by Maple Leaves, Wolf Gang’s superb ‘Lions In Cages’ (Atlantic) ●●●●● and the haunting guitar buzz of London foursome Wild Palms (above) whose ‘To The Lighthouse/Draw In Light’ (One Little Indian) ●●●●● is as complex as it is emotion and energy-fuelled. So they take the glory, but only by a whisker. (Camilla Pia)
60 THE LIST 4–18 Nov 2010
INDIE-POP/DISCO THE CONCRETES WYWH (Licking Fingers) ●●●●●
These Swedes are again guilty of attempting to flog a dead horse, just as they did with 2007’s Hey Trouble – both albums having arrived since the messy departure of singularly gorgeous of voice frontwoman Victoria Bergsman (whose post- split solo output has been little more satisfying).
WYWH doesn’t want for stylish playing and production amid its enveloping sheen of loungey disco. It just lacks the warmth of voices and melodies that were once the ornate Stockholm indieists’ speciality – former drummer turned lead singer Lisa Milberg’s vocals are simply too anaemic to make us forget Bergsman’s radiant tones. We do indeed wish The Concretes were here. (Malcolm Jack)
NOISE-ROCK MUSCLETUSK Ask The Universe (Braw Records) ●●●●●
Tripping straight out of Leith, Muscletusk have been honing their at times terrifying aural assault course across an array of tapes and CDRs for some time now. The seven cuts on this vinyl-only release run together to create a relentlessly sludgy stew that’s too excitably disparate to be stoner rock, despite sharing some of the same strung-out credentials.
Scattershot drum- powered metal guitars collide with washing
machine electronics and manic wordless vocals that in the record’s quietest moments sound like some feral alien cave-creature’s mating call straight out of Quatermass. A perfect hallucinogenic Halloween accompaniment; this is an earth’s core horror movie soundtrack in waiting. (Neil Cooper) SHOEGAZE ENGINEERS In Praise of More (Kscope) ●●●●●
Londoners Engineers have reshuffled their deck since 2009’s Three Fact Fader, the long- delayed follow up to their much-hyped 2005 self-titled debut. Out go a couple of founder members, Dan McBean and Andrew Sweeney, in comes German boffin of dreamy electronica Ulrich Schnauss. Shoegaze obsessives – and you rarely meet a casual shoegazer – will be salivating at the prospect of such a match-up, and probably won’t be disappointed by In Praise of More, as Schnauss’s twinkling atmospherics waft between towering, MBV-alike guitar washes and Simon Phipps’ barely-there vocals. Everyone else may shrug at a set that, however luscious, lacks enough emotion and oomph to feel more vital than it does merely revivalist. (Malcolm Jack)
KRAUT POP STEREOLAB Not Music (Duophonic) ●●●●●
Stereolab once released a record called ‘Stunning Debut Album’. It was neither their debut, nor an album. You can therefore rest easy that Not Music –
the motorik-pop voyagers’ twelfth long- player – is entitled with a similarly cool approach to verity. While it’s no great departure from the beloved London-based group’s unmistakable sound (vintage keys, astral beats, chanson- on-ice), Not Music boasts some fine brass theatrics (‘Supha Jaianto’) and an interstellar krautrock wig-out (‘Silver Sands’). Stereolab announced
a recording hiatus last year. (These tracks date from 2007). Let us hope they’re as wry with their proclamations as they are with their record names. (Nicola Meighan)
POST-PUNK VIC GODARD AND SUBWAY SECT We Come As Aliens (Overground) ●●●●●
Without South London’s existentially inclined postman, the history of Scottish pop from Orange Juice and Fire Engines onwards would’ve sounded a whole lot less jangular. Godard’s latest incarnation of Subway Sect produce a glorious mélange of post-punk Northern Soul and supper-club show-tunes to dress up a collection of acutely observed social-realist protest songs delivered in Godard’s nasal drawl.
Godard even manages to make Francoise Hardy’s 1960s chic-beat pounder, ‘Et Meme’ come on like a thrashier two-chord take on the Kursall Flyer’s kitsch-in- synch smash, ‘Little Does She Know,’ sounding as appositely English as fish and chips here as on the barbed critique of the big Society con-trick everywhere else. (Neil Cooper)
BOX SET ORANGE JUICE Coals to Newcastle (Domino) ●●●●●
A small review isn’t nearly enough to
express the wonders of this six CD and one DVD box set by the Edwyn Collins’ fronted floppy-fringed dandies who effectively invented indie-pop as we know it. Recorded over a startling four years from 1980–1984 from the sublime lo-fi glories of the Postcard years to the out-of-step white funk of major label albums, there’s a knowing clever-clogs archness to Collins’ plum-in-gob delivery that belies the material’s apparent naiveté. Complete with John Peel sessions, TV appearances and a video of late single ‘What Presence?!’ directed by Derek Jarman, this is an essential insight into how the geeks inherited the earth by way of a slow-burning jangular pop revolution. (Neil Cooper) ALT FOLK SWEET BABOO I’m A Dancer / Songs About Sleepin’ (Shape) ●●●●●
Alt.country crooner Sweet Baboo is a deadpan Welshman with a penchant for farmland. His third long- player, I’m A Dancer, sees the troubadour – real name Stephen Black – on typically entertaining form while singing indie-pop paeans and anti-folk yarns about anatomical romance (‘Yr Lungs’), robotic ambitions (‘I Wish I Was Made Out Of Steel’), surplus digits (‘Three Thumbs’) and dancing moles (‘Two Moles’). A sometime backing multi-instrumentalist for Euros Childs, Cate Le Bon and Daniel Johnston, the scrabbly, virtuosic Black is best experienced in a live capacity, but his wily