After 3 hard to find edition of 500 twelve inch singles Bent have put out this great full length. Frequently tagged as "the British Air" (the vocoder vocals on track 3 have that "Kelly Watch The Stars" sound), Bent are definetely not an Air ripoff at all, they just happen to use some of the same tools. In fact, I like this record better than Moon Safari. It has more dimension to it. And speaking of dimension, the last track contains two hidden tracks in addition to the track itself - and those 2 songs might even be my faves on the disc. The first of those 2 tracks uses a monkeys call, and the second of them incorporates a childrens version of "London Bridges Falling Down." Bent are 2 guys who pride themselves on constructing their songs out of sampled bits of junk records. I don't mean that they collage samples like DJ Me, DJ You. I mean that they make flowing downtempo songs with vocals out of stuff that would probably sound a lot less cool if you listened to the source material alone. Even though I love the Lolita Storm record below, this disc is my fave of this weeks adds. I had bought the second of their three 12"s from Rough Trade and 2 of the 4 songs from it are here. The song I would first play anyone I wanted to like this band would be #5 ("Invisible Pedestrian"). It is an instrumental and has a real cool strummed bass sound like Peter Hook might play. If you like a female vocaled chilled sound with beats (trip-hop) "Private Road" and "Swollen" are great. "Chocolate Wings" is a song that would probably catch the ear of listeners, with its Ghost and Mrs. Muir styled spoken vocal and a chorus with a tune that sounds like Billy Idol's "Eyes Without A Face". "I Remember Johnny" uses the whistling from the first few seconds of a live album and the "Alright" of whoever it was as the top layers of an otherwise Air-like track. It is done very cleverly. Many of the things woven into these songs will catch your ears.
September 19, 2000
The Bobby Hughes Experience are an instrumental band of Norwegian soul jazz funksters. This 12" has 2 tracks from their 'Fusa Riot' LP and 2 new mixes. There is a "Swag Velour Dub Remix" of Piper Cherokee along with the original mix of "Piper Cherokee" which has killer flute and great rhodes. "Theme From Skidoo" is presented in it's original form and as a Groove Armada remix. All tracks have live drums and percussion as well as hammond organ, flute, the occasional fender rhodes, all done with great production and programming throughout. It has a definite jazz-funk feel and afro/latin/samba under currents with a retroish sound and even has a "live" feel to it. Here is a good review of 'Fusa Riot' if you wish to read about that record.
If you like Woodbine you will be a fan of North London's Broken Dog. They have quietly put out 3 albums and 5 singles already. This 7" is on the label run by Quickspace. The only other bands which are on the Kitty Kitty label (besides Quickspace themselves) are Novak, Penthouse, and Ligament. Working off the high profile of Quickspace and Novak, Broken Dog come with a fair amount of expectation right off the bat. Their sound would fit with Quickspace's last single, which was much more melodic and reflective than they have been. Quickspace must be mellowing a bit, as they also started a new label (Spinney Records) whose first release is the reissue of the 1970 LP by Vashti Bunyan "Just another Diamond Day", which contains female vocal English folk with members of Fairport Convertion helping out on the first track. As for Broken Dog, both songs are filled with female vocals, acoustic and picked electric guitars, cello, and a calm that warms. Parasol says this about Broken Dog: "Members of Tram, (and helped out Monograph on their Shinkansen release) bring you dream pop epics". Magnet says "Since the Cowboy Junkies and Mazzy Star have been spotted hanging out at the recycling center, it's up to England's Broken Dog to carry the torch for glacially paced psych/folk. Vocalist Martine Roberts makes you believe every exhalation might be her last, and Clive Painter adds just enough guitar to the canvas.
The (locally) infamous tour single for this Rhode Island no wave styled band. The hand screened inner and outer sleeve is pretty special in itself. The music is kind of like a male vocaled Scissor Girls, very percussive. The A-side was recorded live on WMFO (Tufts University radio in Medford MA, a suburb of Boston) and the two B-sides were recorded at Fort Thunder in RI. Even though this is a new single, it is very hard to find and has been hard to find right from the start. If anyone who is reading this is in the Boston area and wants one I saw a copy today at the Fresh Pond Newbury Comics location.
Just as The Ramones once unintentionally created bands like The Lurkers by touring England, Lolita Storm owe debt to Chicks On Speed, as well as England's own Skinned Teen from a few years ago. Whereas Chicks On Speed are friends with many of electronic's finest in Munich and beyond, Lolita Storm have found shelter in the DHR stable, and have allied themselves with the digital hardcore sound, but in the most creative and listenable incarnation of that sound yet in my opinion. Lolita Storm have the same cheerleader chant vocals that Skinned Teen used. Yes the disc's 15 songs are only 25 minutes long, yes it contains both sides of their second single and the A-side of their third single, but it still is great. Both sides of their first single "Goodbye America" (added to WZBC in the 8/31/99 gullbuy ) are not here, as well as the B-side ("Boy") of their current "Red Hot Riding Hood" 7". The CD has 3 videos of them playing live, but the real treat of the disc is what you hear on the music part of the disc. Lolita Storm's sound rests comfortably right between Cobra Killer (slightly crazier) and Mum & Dad (not quite as crazy sounding).
Billy Childish is beyond trends or fashions. His sound made it's own fashion, maybe only finding a parallel in the 60's band The Downliner Sect, with whom they collaborated on 2 records. Many people have said that the entire Headcoats catalog could be viewed as the art of how many times you could rewrite The Kinks "You Really Got Me." While in many many cases that comment is spot on true, you've got to admit that The Kink's hit it on the head with that song, so why not refine that riff into your art? 50 songs spread out over 2 discs. Another thing people say is the Thee Headcoats were the only band who had increasingly poor production as their career went on. I'll never forget how Billy Childish couldn't even sing when Thee Headcoats came to Boston several years ago. I'll also never forget how he made that potentially disasterous night into a pretty good show nonetheless, despite his throat preventing him from singing more than a song or two. Spread between these 2 discs are 8 songs that are almost perfect (and remember that NOTHING is perfect). There are several covers too, most notably (for me) at Lurkers cover (Shadow), an ATV cover (Action Time Vision), and a Johnny Moped cover (No One).