I’ve spent the last two weeks really enjoying two tracks by the band BabyGravy. They remind me of The Slits and The Mo-dettes and take that same punk energy, snottiness, and humour. Farewell To Welfare is a song of insults – I particularly like the withering “You’re old enough to be my Daddy, but not in a sexy way” (and yes, it is probably true in my case).
I’m Not Like That is a girl protesting her innocence to a bloke trying to get her to get down and dirty. It bounces along with a Pop energy I haven’t heard for a long while. At the end the singer says “Oh my god, we really suck”. That bit is wrong…
BabyGravy on mySpace
I have a number of Italian CDs that I didn’t review due to my year off. Time to settle that account for my favourite two.
Monsters and Humans- Horrorific and All New! by Showstripsilence
Gloriously energetic pop-metal from Italy. Showstripsilence use horror-show imagery like The Cramps, storm along like the Supersuckers on uppers, and add a bit of Hardcore guttural shouting. it’s beautifully done and infectiously enthusiastic (ignoring the one ballad that just doesn’t work). Fast and loud enough to wake the dead.
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A Growing Fire by Showstripsilence (clip)
The Shadow Over Arkham by Ilid
Ilid play a kind of theatrical rock not a million miles from Evanescence – full of anthemic female vocals and dense instrumentation. This is a four-track EP and every track is decent. For some reason I keep on thinking back to Prog music of the 1970’s. It’s as if I am linking this to a band from that period, but all I can think of with a female singer is Curved Air and there is no direct similarity there. Ilid are good musicians, write good songs, but what really stands out is the quality of Natascia Pribac’s voice – it is rich and resonant.
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Envenomation by Ilid (clip)
The latest issue of Shadowplay is out now. Strictly speaking, it is four issues wrapped together with a piece of cloth but it all comes for the same tiny price. You get music reviews, a sly look at Public Sector institutions that reveals more than 5 years subscription to the Daily Mail, and remembrances of some football grounds. For those of you who have noticed my predilection for misery, you will not be surprised that I was most taken with Shadowplay #23 – a piece of writing lamenting a lost love. I think it is always good to be reminded of what a broken heart feels like. As elegant as any song in my Drowning In A Well Of Sadness series.
Get a copy for 50p or an SAE from Shadowplay
I’ve been offline for a few weeks now (not just technical problems but payment stuff). Finally back, I went to the Friday Session tonight to catch up with the latest show. But I will have to finish the rest of it later in the week because the second track really got under my skin. It’s called Butterfly Skin by David Mumford and Ria Parfitt and it is so addictive. Plenty of PJ Harvey influence vocally (no bad thing) and a creation of a chilled but erotic atmosphere – I think Mr Mumford has a lot to do with that.
The track is on the David Mumford MySpace but have a listen to all of the tracks on Ria Parfit’s MySpace because she has something intriguing about her voice and her songs.
Want to hear something new? Want to hear something spectacularly good? Then take a listen to Little Fish. They are an unsigned band based in London and I’ve just heard them on Radio Oxford’s Download Demo Reviews.
Singer Juju is originally from Oxford. She has a voice with a similar power and soul to Grace Braun (DQE and a brilliant Slow River solo album). A voice rich in Blues and passion. The music is stripped down guitar, voice, and drums (they are a two-piece) but the dynamics and intensity they achieve is stunning. Take a listen to Am I Crazy on their MySpace site and weep at the sonic embrace they can create.
Shivers down the backbone and cold sweats for me. I love this feeling.
I generally worry about getting to hear a band at the early demo stage (ever since I rated This Et Al as promising but too Radiohead influenced). Even Thieves are a London band currently gigging and building up a reputation in The Smoke. The thing that brought them to my attention was their MySpace address etched in the dirt on the back of a lorry I was following on a motorway. This was not an accident, they do it deliberately and it obviously works as a promotional tactic.
They have four songs on their MySpace. The first two, Cynthia Maybe and The Divide don’t really work for me even though I can understand that they are very popular live. In the venues they play the sound probably is not too good and these would suit the acoustics and exude real energy. Subtleties would possibly be a bit lost which brings me to the two tracks I really like. The sense of space and atmosphere in Down The Line is pretty special. There’s a more organic feel and lilting rhythms recall The Go-Betweens and I will even mention Cattle and Cain as in the same vein. Fact Of The Matter follows on with a chorus of ‘There’s got to be a better way’ that slightly grates with me (is it too obvious a melodic structure with those descending notes?) but the rest of the song exhibits, through music and lyrics, a despairing passion that is very affecting. I think Even Thieves will go on and make some good records.
I received this album as part of a mass submission of Italian Hardcore/Prog. I had hoped to get some other people involved in reviewing and I sent this batch out to them. Since I know reviewing is not as easy as it might seem, I did at least keep ripped copies.
This album by Ensoph was the most intriguing of the lot. There are elements of Prog Rock, Metal, and hardcore Punk. It is a potent and powerful mix. Dark, Gothic atmospheres with desperate vocals and full of heavy guitar riffs. It is also designed to appeal to pretentious literary sods like me with the Russian Trilogy songs. I grew up ‘reading the Russians’ and love to hear that pessimistic view of human affairs applied in music.
Probably the most fun you could have while keeping your PVC gear on.