Alternative music reviews

October 7, 2018

Bethlehem Steel

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I watched this session live on Youtube as I have a liking for their Party Naked Forever album. It was enjoyable. I wasn’t sure about some of the vocals that were low in the mix and maybe some monitoring problems but the guitars were playing beautifully. I was already classing this as a very good session but hadn’t yet elevated them into my favourite bands.

And then this happened. The singer puts the guitar down. A bass line worthy of Joy Division starts. You witness a Shamanistic ritual. Look into her eyes and she’s not there in the studio. She’s in a different place and a different time and she means it. I’ll be very shocked if I get to see anything quite as impassioned and inspiring as this.

June 12, 2018

Hell On by Neko Case

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I’ve been listening to the new album from Neko Case. I have always liked Neko Case for her glorious voice and the soaring melodies that she creates, particularly in thee early albums. I didn’t think of her lyric writing as a stand out feature. On the opening track she sets the tone with a dazzling set of metaphors and similes.

My voice is not the liquid waves the perfect rings round a heron’s legs…
or
My voice is a fracture of a shin bone’s lust

It’s time to re-acquaint myself with her music.

April 5, 2018

Sloppy Jane

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JamInTheVan gave me Ruth Lauren Ward two months ago. Like the gift that keeps on giving they now present me with Sloppy Jane. Firstly there is the completely over the top vocal performance. A few comparisons came to me as I watched it – certainly there is a bit of Alice Cooper in there with the theatricality and Iggy obviously with the crawling around. It may not be to everyone’s taste but I love it. Musically this is great with that detuned violin and brass in the background. These are no musical primitives. I haven’t found their other material to be so exciting but this track/performance is going to be one of the highlights of my musical year.

March 29, 2018

Lauren Ruth Ward

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I first saw Lauren Ruth Ward on Jam In The Van. She is quite simply the real deal. She has a traffic-stopping vibrato and writes songs that are completely honest and deeply felt. I think there is a Janis Joplin comparison in the way she feels what she is singing. But this is no throwback to the Sixties, no playing with image by dressing up in Psychedelic clothing and stealing music from the past. She is herself, a hairdresser from Baltimore who went to LA to play music and shout out who she is.

She’s also an entertainer in that she has dance moves with songs where she isn’t playing guitar. Not just standing there and singing There’s a crotch grab when she sings ‘the border the bitch gets’ on Sideways that is so overtly sexual that JITV had to switch camera. Hard to take my eyes off her – and a nightmare at parties as the video shows.

March 22, 2018

Sorry Part II

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As mentioned two days ago, Sorry are putting out the Home Demo/ns Vol 2 and it arrived on YouTube today. Credit to whoever planned/directed the video because it is full of whimsical ideas and fun to watch. Musically this is playful but lyrically it is deadly serious.

I really can’t figure out where this band is coming from. What influences are coming out? Feel free to correct me but does anyone else produce work like this? I am a little bit awestruck at just how different this sounds to other music I hear. I think my first description of them as a guitar Indie band was just so wrong.

March 21, 2018

Super Unison

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I joined Facebook social media platform last Thursday. I finally decided that it was the only way to stay in touch with working bands. I linked to my twenty favourites and now can see what they are doing. Obviously I have no friends and will keep it that way because that would interfere with the music posts.

I was disappointed to see that Super Unison hadn’t posted for about a year but that changed a few days ago when they posted a picture from inside a recording studio called LP2 Day 1. This carried on to Day 5 before they headed for a gig in Chicago. So we should get to hear some more wonderful music like You Don’t Tell above. It will be interesting to see whether they veer towards the Hardcode or Sonic Youth style of the above track. It’s been a wonderful trip so far and it’s great to see it is going to continue.

March 20, 2018

Awake Again

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It has been around nine years snce I last posted. I think that should be long enough to drive away anyone who might have read this site.

So, why start again?

Firstly, there is just so much great music about that I need to talk about it. There are just so many great bands making music now that it reminds me of 1979. It doesn’t seem to matter that there is likely no-one reading this but it should stop me boring people who really are not interested in the sort of new music that enthuses me.

Secondly, there is a chance someone will stumble across a post while investigating a band. Hopefully they can get a few pointers to other bands they might like. Maybe (depending on the type of post) I can put a little historical context or at the very least a name drop of a band from the past that has some similarity.

Thirdly this gives me a change to expound a few theories such as all the good music is being made in the US by female fronted bands (though I can also tell you about the exceptions).

Lastly, it will be a sort of musical diary to remind me in my old age what was going on.

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