Fascinating Things : Issue 30

Some meandering thoughts this time around….I do have a pile of new things to go through but I have been otherwise distracted on getting things sorted for the forthcoming Hamsters EP, which is rather good.  Not many pictures or sounds this week either but plenty of vague utterances……

I don’t know about you but I get confused by genres. I’ve mentioned this before of course, when I was moaning on about the incorrect labelling of MP3s. But if you take a wider look at things there is a propensity these days toward over-elaborate genre classification, Bands get tagged with multiple descriptors which vary between the common place and the obscure.  I struggle to put some bands into genre boxes, for example where would you put Dave Graney in terms of genres?  “Alternative” is such a wide catch-all that it completely fails to describe his wide body of work on any number of levels. “Lounge” merely touches on some aspects of what he does. “Rock” or “Rock ‘n’ Roll” is what he does sometimes, and occasionally a bit of “Jazz” sneaks in as does some “Blues” and “Soul” and “Country”.  So with one artist you could apply so many differing tags and still not get close to the essence of what the man does. The “Fearful Wiggings” album is a case in point, how the hell do you describe what he is doing on that release? It’s utterly unique, and Dave steadfastly refuses to be shoe-horned into any convenient box, good for him say I. So in attempting to catalogue the myriad of new music that comes my way I’ve given up with genre labels as all they do is confuse and annoy.

I was thinking of Dave Graney in the context of both his forthcoming Demos album, and in that context the city of Melbourne,  which seems to have a disproportionately large amount of excellent output coming from its’ music scene. Every week I seem to come across a fine band from the city, this week, courtesy of the always reliable Tony Thornborough, I was introduced to Empat Lima

Anyhow, back to this genre thing, and what sparked off the ramblings at the start of all this, I noted that the new EP from Rodney Cromwell was described as a  “futuristic feast of analogue synth disco”, and elsewhere in the same promo his last album “Age of Anxiety” was described as “the best new New Order album this year”. All of that is fair enough, other than the “futuristic” tag,  it’s more retro than futurist with clear nods towards Moroder arpeggios, Guy Called Gerald vocal samples, Hooky like bass lines and song structures that would not have been out of place on Factory in the mid to late-80s. Now I don’t know about you but I’m not a big nostalgia buff, I can’t see the point of tribute bands and I do like it when musicians try to strike out on their own and create a new sound,  so,  whilst I like listening to the Cromwell EP,  i’m also left with a slight niggle that maybe he could have tried pushing the envelope a little more, I love filter sweeps but perhaps someone could try and do something different with them? The remix of “Barry Was An Arms Dealer” on the EP is so very Kraftwerk morphing into OMD  that it would fit easily into either one of their albums. Mr Cromwell is obviously a very talented guy, and there is nothing offensive about this release but I hope he turns his talents to creating his own sound in future releases.

Now then, talking of creating your own sound I was mightily impressed by the new single from ex-Stereolabber Morgane Lhote who is operating under the pseudonym Hologram Teen for a two tracker released on Deep Distance on 9th November. Whilst there are clear electronica tropes (airy Kawai K1M choirs for example) there are also so fascinating new ideas mingling under a series of synth layers. The dreamy “Post Apocalyptic Teacakes” cleverly uses differing elements to  create a unique sound. The other track “Tracksuit Minotaur” is a little more obvious with a sort of heavy Kraftwerk vibe mingled with a Goldfrapp rhythm to give it a sort of Tom Ellard/Severed Heads feel. The vocoder repetition is a bit clunky but generally this cuts the mustard as something new to listen to.

Disappears  embark on a European tour during November and December. The tour will see the band perform at Utrecht’s Le Guess Who Festival, before travelling through Belgium, the UK, France, Switzerland and Italy. London fans will be in for a special treat as – for one night only – Disappears will perform David Bowie’s Low in its entirety at the 100 Club. This corresponds to their upcoming live release, their reinterpretation of this classic album,  on 20th November via Sonic Cathedral. You can find more information and pre-order links for this release over at the Sonic Cathedral website. The only other UK  date is in Manchester at the Soup Kitchen on 24th November. Always an excellent band and well worth seeing live I would suggest.

Explosive, unapologetic and infectious, Mickey 9s are four friends from Glasgow who have been playing together since their school days. They describe seeing Daft Punk’s Alive Tour as “a spiritual-like encounter” that inspired them to try to make dance music without synths. After much experimentation, the band found their sound and everything else soon fell into place, right down to the enigmatic image of their masked lead singer, known as St. Cool. Having always chosen the unconventional route, Mickey 9s launched themselves by releasing fun music videos and comic strips to accompany their music as well as organising secret gigs, raves, and all-day pop-up festivals. Word soon spread about their blistering live performances, leading to Mickey 9s winning the 2014 Scottish Alternative Music Award for Best Live Act. After two years of gigging and unorthodox releases, the time has come for them to launch their highly anticipated debut album ‘The Party Manifesto’. The second single to come from the album is ‘Computer Inventor’, a perfect introduction to Mickey 9s’ big basslines, four to the floor pounding drums, cool riffs and intelligent, sharp vocals.

The Sneaky Nixons describe themselves as an angry, semi-political, semi-religious, part-feminist sloppy activist group who play riotous, steam-train guitar music. They have declared war on electronic dance music, guns, promoters, and non-believers of their Rock-n-Roll terrorism. Flashy, arrogant and with a startling superiority complex , the band say they have no time whatsoever for humdrum normality, preferring the out of control, dangerous and volatile, in order to live their lives in a brutal, riotous and rock-n-roll fashion. The Sneaky Nixons’ ‘Sex’ is taken from the forthcoming eponymous compliation album from Across the Ocean Waves Productions, which features the most exciting bands active on Liverpool’s vibrant music scene. All the tracks on the album have been produced by label owner Carlo Variola .

After a fast-paced year touring the UK and Europe, Hull (UK) based Counting Coins are to release ‘All That I Need’ as the second single from their forthcoming self-titled album on the 23rd of November.
The previous single ‘Don’t Look Down’ received airplay both in Europe and the U.S, with rave reviews from a range of music magazines and blogs. Follow-up ‘All That I Need’ is an infectiously upbeat ska/punk song with a bouncy feel and singalong chorus. It will be available across a global range of digital platforms including iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer. Counting Coins are set to continue spreading their music with their forthcoming European tour in late October followed by further UK dates being booked in for 2015 and into 2016.

….and that’s your lot for this week

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