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.


Dinosaur Jr
Sonic Youth
Bill Callahan
Jeffrey Lewis
Florence & The Machine
Resonance Association
The Roe Family Singers
The Peter Parkers

2008 Reviews
2007 Reviews
2006 Reviews
2005 Reviews
2004 Reviews
2003 Reviews
2002 Reviews
Best Of The Blog

News on submissions is here. Find me on MySpace and LastFM see what I'm listening to.

Who I Read
Advanced Theory Blog