Alternative music reviews

April 17, 2018

Anna & Elizabeth

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I’m not a great fan of Folk Music. It’s all the trappings of the finger-in-the-ear and the funny Olde English accents that first put me off. The prejudice has carried over to American Folk but perhaps less so. There’s a couple of US Folksters Anna & Elizabeth that I’ve listened to on and off over the past year. Great voices and I always felt there was something different and special about them. Their latest album The Invisible Comes To Us is really quite special. The songs are re-interpretations of traditional Folk Songs – taken from the source. The arrangements are simple, evocative and makes the songs sound relevant and up to date.

April 15, 2018

Hop Along

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Hop Along’s new album Bark Your Head Off, Dog came out a few days ago. I’m not sure how much I like the album as a whole as I need to live with it for a while, but it certainly is likely to feature on any best of this year list I do. It does contain some great songs like featured above. Frances Quinlan’s voice is obviously something special and when added to the adept lyrics and energy the song is delivered with, it produces a perfect moment. Worth dancing along with this one.

Tropical Fuck Storm

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I had only just found the Australian band The Drones when they split up a couple of years ago. Out of the ashes came Tropical Fuck Storm (not looking for radio play with that name). I haven’t found their two EPs to be of the intensity and brilliance of the Drones even though the core of the band is the same. Looks like they were just biding their time and preparing their new identity in preparation for the first album. You should get a website and find somebody to help you, visit their website to learn more.

This is a track soon to be available of 7″ and on the new album. It is a restrained commentary on modern life that builds up relentlessly, even tunefully at times. It’s like Gareth Liddiard has learnt to control his anger but is still expressing his incomprehension. Not a man to go on holiday with.

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.

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