Alternative music reviews

Various Artists

Bang On Target Aug 2003

Issue 5 of a new British alternative magazine comes with a free 16 track CD. As a general principle I like to buy any magazine with a free CD of music I haven't heard before (Uncut magazine at times defined my musical taste with their alt-country releases).

Elbow - Ribcage
They just look wrong even though they were hailed by the NME as the next great thing. But the truth lies in their music. It's a six and a half minute tale of longing and pain. Plenty of odd musical moments in the background and I can ignore the girlie singing behind the chorus bits. It's got a confidence and unusual quality that's very attractive - something that makes me want to hear more - like their new album.

Mogwai - Hunted By A Freak
I reviewed Mogwai's album Happy Songs For Happy People a month ago and I'm really enjoying revisiting one track. This one has the closest to a vocal on the album as well as violin type textures. It reminds me of why I liked the album.

Grandaddy - Now It's On
Makes all the right New Order moves (but pop melodies) - forgettable.

Evan Dando - All My Life
The Lemonheads were a great band (my only reservation was that Evan was just too good looking - ugly people make the best music). An insubstantial song but a good alt-country feel and he still has a great voice.

Kings Of Leon - Wasted Time
What made this band deserve television adverts about how great they are? Promotion rather than talent. It's a live track with a blues feel - The White Stripes understand the blues - Kings Of Leon just seem to be copying.

The Eighties Matchbox 8-Line Disaster - Whack Of Shit
Starts off like a continuation fo the Kings Of Leon but has a good chorus with some hardcore shouting that makes me forgive them. Bit of thrash is always welcome.

Jet - Last Chance
'Can You Give Me Just One More Try' - guitar hit with passion. Rock n roll sounds like it's still alive.

The Star Spangles - Stay Away From Me
More basic rock n roll but with great energy. They've read the chapter on dynamics and apply it beautifully.

Simple Kid - Evil Can Evil
A bit too clever for me and lacking in the basics of guitar rock.

Radio 4 - Calling All Enthusiasts
Can I reserve judgement on this? Some guitar that reminds me a bit of an unwooden Gang of Four.means that I need to listen to more by them.

American Analog Set - Hard To Find
I seem to have missed AAS in my listening. I was expecting something more radical but what I get is a chilled melodic vibe that is inspiring. Must get hold of more. The best track on this CD by a furlong.

St Thomas - Ride
Vocals sound a bit weak but when the chorus kicks in it makes more sense. I remember thinking the same of early Talking Heads.. Nice organ.

Shaun Rider - The Story
I really wanted to hate this - I was in 'Madchester' for 15 years and I never understood the scene, preferring obscure American bands every time. But the underlying rhythms are really nice. Luckily enough I hate the vocals over the top - sounds like a parody rather than a street voice telling a real story (even if I listened to the tale about the plane). Not as bad as I expected.

The Darkness - Bareback
Hackneyed 70's rock riffs from the raves of the RI:SE tv programme.I remember the stuff first time around (I loved Silverhead) and they wouldn't have hacked it back then and they don't hack it now.

Death In Vegas - Rekkit
Industrial sounds, bit of distorted guitar, arpeggiated analog synth messing about with the high pass filter. It's the sort of thing you do in improvisations on a Sunday morning. Great fun to play and, in this case, quite fun to listen to. I feel like getting the ARP Odessy out of the attic and doing the same.

The Ravonettes - Little Animal
Adolescent fantasies (let's get 'fuck' in the first line). Forgettable song - but enough feedback not to dismiss the band.

 

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