The Torso Has Been Severed In Mid Thorax
After being marked out as a tip for 2007 at the start of the year right here on funfunfun, all has been a tad quiet at Meet Me In St Louis HQ of late, but thankfully they've come out of hiding and are about to open the cage on, what hopes to be, a beast of an album. Released on 24th September, Variations On Swing, their debut album which was produced by Alex Newport, is sounding intense , off-kilter and amazing, and thats only after hearing a couple of tracks off it. But to be honest, its live where this band really shine, where the intensity and passion that runs through their music gets pushed to the forefront and where you can really tell that these guys love what they're doing. They touring extensively with this album so there's no reason at all not to catch them.
Meet Me In St Louis - The Torso Has Been Severed In Mid Thorax
Buy Variations On Swing from BSM soon
The first line on The Mathletes myspace bio states "Contrary to popular belief, we are not a children's band. Or a joke band" and its a fair warning as their music sometimes sounds deliberately juvenile and whimsical. Just imagine Harry & The Potters singing songs about androids wanting to be toasters or a slightly less talented Unicorns warbling about a hornless unicorn. It may not sound that great and sometimes it isn't but when it works Mr Mathlete creates something cheery and jolly. Just listen to the last minute of Pinocchiobot when the harpsichord sounding instrument jumps aboard the already bouncy and pulsating rhythm, its ace.
On record they're just one man, Joe Mathlete, with a computer, plenty of instruments and a lot of enthusiasm. He's just recorded an album of covers, thats free to download from their site, some good, some bad, but its free so its worth checking out.
The Mathletes - Pinocchiobot
The Mathletes - Linger
The Mathletes - Les Os
Having the received and read the first ever issue of Drunken Werewolf zine - i was very impressed by it - i realised that i hadn't said i thing about DW's cover star, Kat Flint, and her lovely new album, Dirty Birds. Not yet released as Kat hasn't found a label to put it out yet (silly music industry people), she produced a limited set of 120 copies to give to those who help her create this wonderful piece of music, by donating any extra change they could spare. Funfunfun donated a handsome sum of £10 - all my student loan could spare - waited eagerly to see the outcome and i wasn't let down.
It plopped through my letterbox a few months and from the first look at the handmade cd case, all expertly folded, hand-printed cover and beautifully presented sleeve notes, you could tell that Dirty Birds was a labour of love without even having to listen to the music. Its such a treat to look at. Now the music...its beautiful, even more so that the packaging. Kat's voice has flourished with better production than on her debut ep and the instrumentation is even more expansive, there's a wealth of different noise-making tools to be heard and its not like its experimentation for the sake of it, it really works. The songs are strong and the lyrics all ring true, i only hope that Kat gets discovered soon and by a label who will just let her get on with things coz on this evidence, she at her best when she's left to her own devices.
Kat Flint - Go Faster Stripes
Kat Flint - Anticlimax
p.s. You may have noticed the appearance of the Vote For Me button on the side there...so if you like my blog, give it a vote and also vote for all the other great British blog i've got listed.
The Mules + Lightspeed Champion + Noah & The Whale @ The Big Chill House
Still on-going, the Mules' free weekly residency at The Big Chill House has boasted some impressive line ups over the past few weeks, Napolean IIIrd, Johnny Flynn, Emmy The Great, Eugene McGuiness but the one i choose to go to a few weeks ago (sorry for the lateness of this review) had the best line up of them all.
Opening were Noah & The Whale, who when i saw them last November, were a two piece comprising of a drummer and frontman and guitarist Charlie. The band now consists of 5 members and the extra waves of sound from the violin and keyboard filled out the already excellent tunes, making them rounded and smoother. Also that night, additional vocals by the amazingly cute and very talented Laura Marling added a femininity to the music that softened its edges - even though i just said the music was round. They played a few tunes that have been on consistent rotation on my playlist, like Rocks & Daggers with its subdued start and raucous fiddle-driven ending and 5 Years Time, their forthcoming single. The new songs they played were good..i think, but with the gig being so long ago i can't really remember. I do know i wasn't disappointed.
Then Lightspeed Champion took to the stage. This time round Dev was playing solo and i was intrigued as to whether he could pull off as good a performance as when i saw him, full-banded, supporting Final Fantasy. Helping him through the set were two lovely ladies, alternately on backing vocals, Flo of Florence & The Machine and Emmy The Great. Starting, as last time, with the comic book themed Mr Fisk, the performance was reassuringly assured but it seemed to lack something. As N&TW's music had progressed with the addition of extra instruments, the lack of them in LSC set seemed to diminish the effect of the songs, especially the lack of violin on Galaxy Of The Lost. A couple of covers, Buddy Holly with the help of Emmy and Green Day's Hitchin' A Ride with Flo lifted the crowd a bit but the performance was hindered by the lack of band. I hope next time they will be back.
When our hosts for the night, The Mules, took to the stage, i'd been standing for a few hours and had had more than enough rum and cokes, i was a tad sleepy but if you ever go to see this band, you'll soon realise that drowsiness is not a state that The Mules understand. From the word go, the music was fast and frenzied rockabilly indie. Ed, drummer, singer and all-round musical whizkid was just incredible to watch, i still don't understand how he plays those drum rhythms while holding the vocals perfectly. Their sound was all plunky basslines, soaring fiddle parts, sillyily crazy drum beats and lots and lots of fun. The band looked like they were enjoying themselves too and really translated to the crowd, who by the end of the set were all wearing face-stretching smiles. With two more shows left of their residency, i'm definately gonna try and see them again.
Noah & The Whale - 5 Years Time
Lightspeed Champion - No Surprise
Lightspeed Champion - Hitchin' A Ride
The Mules - Rhino
The Mules - Save Your Face
Cheers to Neb and Kate who help with the photography, which you can see more of on my flickr and here.
If It Ain't (Heart)Broke, Don't Fix It
Tim Kasher's (side)project, The Good Life, are set to release a new, and eagerly awaited by fff, album in September. Two tracks off the forthcoming album, entitled Help Wanted Nights, appeared on the Saddlecreek website and pretty much pick up where Album Of The Year left off.
Heartbroke, first single off the album, is a sprightly little number, clocking in at under two minutes but contains as much melancholy and drama as any of Kasher's work to date and You Don't Feel Like Home To Me is a slowburner of a song, until Kasher's vocals turn it up a notch and its expansive chords get struck to full measure near the end.
The whole album was meant as a soundtrack to a screenplay Tim was writing at the time and can be pre-order from the Saddle Creek website.
The Good Life - Heartbroke
The Good Life - You Don't Feel Like Home To Me
Vestibles, Inlets' debut ep, has been sitting on my computer, keeping itself to itself, for a good few months now and i'm really not sure where it came from. Via email? Myspace? Maybe it somehow just snuck through the phone wires and slipped itself between The Indelicates and Ivor Cutler on my playlist, waiting to be discovered.
I know i didn't get the ep on first listen, it was too slow, too easy to just let it pass you by, there was nothing that clung on to your ears and made them pay attention and so it was left to gather dust - probably the reason i don't know where it came from - but then i recognised the name on the latest Take Away show and so, intrigued, gave the videos a watch.
This time it hit me. The setting, autumn, Central Park, on a boat, on a rock, on a hill, all seemed to capture the natural nature of the music in all its stripped down and untouched beauty. The vocal harmonies and softly played instruments washed over me and instead of passing me by, as they did on that initial listen, surrounded me and, along with the camerawork, evoke such wintry feelings that it literally gave me chills.
Now i can listen to the ep and get these feelings each time and on multiple listens more and more subtle elements seem to appear out of the music, as if lying in wait until it was their time to be heard. Now i only wish i knew how i got it.
Inlets - Pictures Of Trees
Inlets - You Are An Effigy
Inlets - Roots On The Sidewalk
4 Or 5 Magicians Session
Me and Huw Stevens have a lot in common...well musically that is, altho i am half Welsh so we do have a bit more than most people. It seems that everytime i get interested in a band, they do a session on his show, which is good as it means more quality music for everyone and it gives me an easy post.
I championed 4 Or 5 Magicians here on fff a couple of months back and now they're releasing a single on BSM's sister label Alcopop! sometime this month. The session consisted of 3 tracks, one a cover of Sebadoh's Gimme Indie Rock, which is apparently a live favourite of theirs. The quality is alot better than the rough demoes i uploaded last time and this allows the quality of the songs to shine through.
4 Or 5 Magicians - In The Band
4 Or 5 Magicians - Forever On The Edge
4 Or 5 Magicians - Gimme Indie Rockp.s. I forgot to do this in the last post but cheers to James for helping me sort out the blog, Without Mr Spink's help it never would have happened.