Greetings, people who still think Freddie Hubbard is a legend (he is). Welcome to another edition of our “off again, off again, hey it’s on again!” single reviews column. Yes, the second one of this week. Granted, some of them aren’t singles, but I liked them and made my stupid human collaborators review ’em. Mahalo.
This week’s singles come courtesy of Billy Joel‘s fantastic music and the realisation that him and Michael Keaton look quite similar, especially in the 80s. I’m supercereal, you guys. With bananas, skimmed milk and maraschino cherries.
Ah, singles, right:
Gregory and the Hawk – First Flying V / Cupid Come (MBV cover)
Every single album from this lady is full of surprises, as the constant element of change is the one that really keeps me hooked to her music. ‘First Flying V’ becomes the first single of her upcoming album for 2012, where new styles are presented.
This is again the sound of a full band with acoustic guitars excluded. Gregory and the Hawk goes electric and explores retro sounds. There are quiet sounds that at some sentences (specially at the end of them) remind me of country styles, to then evolve into a 70’s ballad.
At this point, Gregory and The Hawk include distortions and effects to her music, still preserving that pounding and unique heart of every song through her voice. There’s nothing better than an artist looking for new sounds and things to express themselves.
There’s a “B” side to this new song. Cool! And this B side happens to be a cover to My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Cupid Come’. Could I be happier? I don’t think so.
I’m in the middle of another case of “I like the cover the better than the original song”, as Gregory and the Hawk completely reinvents this tune giving it a more intimate atmosphere, like talking with our hearts in our hands (I love the capacity of this girl to give her heart to the audience so easily).
This track becomes organic with the sound of an acoustic guitar, some reverb and incidental ambient sounds giving a new soul to this classic, becoming an honest, clean and heartfelt note.
Wot Gorilla? – Is
I really like how this band can evolve through each and every song and EP they have released, feeling like lessons learnt in motion.
‘Is’ definitely provides more mature notes, as there is still this amazing Math-Rock soul permeated in every idea, but it seems that through time the band has mastered their ability to constrain their sound, being the band members the masters and owners of their sounds, instead the other way around.
This amazing song develops through five distinctive parts, starting with a rather accelerated and irregular time signature and syncopate. Every bridge to join the patches of this quilt becomes another way in which the band members show their dexterity in their instruments. Excellent voice accompanied by a cascade of music notes. I loved it!
VSP – Parrot Song
“Mixed feelings”: this is the sentence du jour as it becomes the overall sensation conveyed by the band, including the ornamental sentence of “the band is just doing whatever they want and just because”. Well, that’s one excellent premise.
This is an acoustic song with chorus such as ‘my cookies taste better than yours’, and considering this is a parrot song it totally makes sense (and becomes puzzling, though).
It is an acoustic song with an exquisite sound of drums, excellent combination of sharp and deep sounds converging into one descending motif, making of this meeting place the richest point of the song. This track includes two parts, namely riff A and chorus, where vocals incorporate vocals seamlessly, and the song as a whole simply unfolds as silk into your ears.
Austin TV – Despierta Wendy
Free single offered by those nutcases called Austin TV, which are frankly brilliantly and I missed them to bits. Anyways, they just celebrated ten years together as a band and gave away this song from their album Caballeros del Albedrio (which is a fantastic album).
‘Despierta Wendy’ (‘Wake up Wendy’) is a slow lamentation (love the melodica!) that feels like driving through the cold, unforgiving ranges of Sierra Madre Occidental (it’s December, I miss my family in Tampico). The slow tempo yields some calm rockiness (“faster but slower” said Martin Hannett) that again disappears back into the mist… of a b-side, called ‘Arrostrar la metralla sereno’ (‘Calmly facing shrapnel’ I guess…). Although a slightly rough demo, it sounds very good and I for one wish it could get a little tweaking to make it even better. As it is, rocks, though.
You can download it here. It includes a cover you can make yourself. Who says us Mexicans aren’t good at tinkering? -Sam
Castrovalva – She tastes like medicine
Oh, yeah! The crazy trio from Leeds is back with a very spiteful song that speaks to so many levels of my Mexican psyche, specially the brokenhearted/angry/RHARGGG! part of it. Yeah, it’s a loud song (and a free one too!) from Castrovalva, full of their staple frantic vocals, mad rhythm and a lot of cool tricks.
Slightly grimey but always poignant, this is a nice taster of things to come from this mental band. The perfect remedy for the drearyness of the end of the year when things get a bit dry and the mood goes a little down. Go thump your feet with this. –Sam.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaand that’s it. Until next time, I’m Orestes Xistos and I rule this dump. See ya and kisses and (((sholay))) (((hugs))). I just got an email from Onslaught. He DOES want an interview. What do you think, readers? Should we interview him instead of Hey Sholay?