Greetings, readers who steal golf carts left to rust in your local parks! Welcome to another edition of our “off again, off again, hey it’s on again!” single reviews column. 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 The Hillside 19 mob, comprised of ninja penguins, barbarian seals, kamikaze sea lions and a rather handsome manatee. Oh, the manatee! How it hates us! Go listen to Gallops, btw. Back? Cool, now stand upside. Wave to the crowd. Get roses, kiss the girl (or boy or significant other) and now jump through hoops to get your creme egg.
Ah, singles, right:
Wet Nuns – Throttle
Aw, lawd! It’s the return of Wet Nuns after surviving on Bombay Mix for an entire tour. Which is one of your 5 a day for all dietary needs. ‘Throttle’ features the basic DNA of Wet Nuns: growling vocals mixing anger with panic, a pounding rhythm paired with that good ol’ crunching guitar and a pretty nifty video that has to be shared with every Catholic you know. I’ve done so and it has been a success. What the heck is an “ex-communication” anyways? Here’s hoping we get a steady diet of songs from these fellas that finally are getting some attention. – Orestes “P is for aPostate” Xistos
Mononoke – Windsor McClay / George Herriman
Hey, you, yes, you, the one that loves Math Rock and can’t stop drumming with some pencils over an empty tub of digestives, here’s a couple of proggy math rock tracks straight from York for your listening pleasure. You know the drill, syncopated rhythms and playful riffs mix together. ‘Windsor McClay’ is the deceptively slow ditty that descends into a Speedy González rhythm, which expands and contracts, sort of like what the Universe is doing but at a briskier pace. No CVEs nor Tom Bakers where harmed while making this one.
‘George Herriman’ (KRAZY KAT!) is even more playful and that’s probably what Math Rock is all about: playful mischief and that meeting point between jazz and rock. This is the hardest one of the two and, hey, it could soundtrack a good cat and mouse chase, complete with slapstick. Man, I need my fix of physical humour. Well played, Mononoke.- Sam
Toy Horses – Play what you want
Those darlings of Stephen Fry, Toy Horses, offer up ‘Play what you want’, a carefree sunny pop song that is as indie as a portable record player and as sunny as the intro to The Wonder Years. Don’t pull a frowny Paul face, just grin goofily like Kevin after getting his first kiss from Winnie, ’cause she was the real love of his life. And she grew up to have a PhD in Maths. Good looking AND talented? I’m on board. The song should be played on our wedding, because, hey, “play what you want”. Funky, sweet indie pop for your Friday.- Orestes “P is for Please Marry Me Winnie Cooper” Xistos
Cold in Berlin – …and the darkness bangs / the lie
Recorded in an old mental health hospital (uh oh… I swear I wasn’t an inmate), Cold in Berlin bank on that 80s nostalgia that seems to be doing the rounds (shame on you, J. J. Abrahms). Instead of the electronic, synth heavy genre, though, we get a throwback to classy goth rock. ‘…and the darkness’ bangs, with a lovable Hammer-esque title and atmosphere, is thick and rich, feeling like a very detailed chapter in a Mervyn Peake novel (love him to bits). The climax of the song is a great pay-off.
‘The lie’ is a punkier and edgier, while still retaining that gothic edge given by both the production and the choice of chords. If ‘…and th darkness bangs’ was a slow, molasses like liquid creeping on a surface, this is a tidal wave: unforgiving and strongly make its point. – Sam.
Gunning for Tamar – Chocolate Hooves
From their upcoming EP, Time Trophies (which arrives in the form of a wristwatch!), ‘Chocolate Hooves’ is that lovable mix of rock that keeps you on the edge, between the steady drum beat and the explosiveness expansion of the chorus, it’s as hopeful as it gets. A Math Rock bug bit them and although they might be creating antibodies, the symptoms still show. –Sam.
Jumping Ships – Talisman
Violence and Indie Pop Rock do not go hand in hand, but precious jewels do (with Indie Pop Rock, silly, unless you’re watching that tripe with DiCaprio and his shit accent). Jumping Ships’ ‘Talisman’ is an energetic rock song with an instrumental break that jettisons any sense of pop. Make no mistake, this is rock country and they are all batshit rocking for your attention. Well done. -Sam
Swaying Wires – Bluebird
Ooooh! Slocore! This we like! In the tradition of Red House Painters, ‘Bluebird’ by Swaying Wires is slowly swaying with you, with a brooding sense of foreboding that is eventually shaken when that wall of sound hits it just right. Chill-inducing is the right word for this dreamy one. A very sad dream indeed. Someone wake me up. –Sam.
Uno Moller – Riots / When you sleep I hope / Resurrection
Uno Moller‘s acoustic single (out on March 5th) is a triple treat for you lovers of folk. ‘Riots’, contrary to what the title appeals to, is a very intimate track and the duet with Ms. Lucy Swann makes it sweeter; both voices are tender but it’s a nice extra layer that adds warmth. The slightly noisy bits remind you never to let your guard down.
‘When you sleep I hope’, now, that’s the sad one. For those moments when you need a quiet one to reflect on how your life is panning out or just to see the wind blow a bunch of leaves (and the odd discarded supermarket bag), the track will be there for you. And then it will steal your biscuits. ‘Cause that’s how life is: you lose your sweets after someone is tender with you. Very sweet song and I love the sound of the fingers travelling through the frets.
*SPITS TEA* A Fear Factory cover? From their best (in my chafa opinion)? I mean…how? It’s like a fire at Sea Parks. I for one love unexpected covers and this is simply stunning: it shows the very tender and wistful lyrics of Burton C. Bell and company, while sounding extremely intimate. Love this. -Orestes “P is for Phrakkin’ ‘eck!” Xistos.
The Naturals – Concrete Sea / Finishing Moves
I love shoegaze! The sound of a thousand dreams, The Naturals add a slightly dancey, playful attitude to ‘Concrete Sea’, a track that makes you think you can hug the sky and take on the sea, plastic bucket on tow. Careful with the riptide, though, as it is quite treacherous and those last ringing sounds might not be a vibrato, but your last gasps.
Ehrm, ‘Finishing Moves’, which is the other side of this 7″, is less dancey but more expansive, if that makes sense. It soars and banks slightly to each side, without ever really deciding for an specific path, just enjoying that hang time up there, evading the odd seagull (and surface to air missile) and taking a few diving rolls to test faith. Easily the strongest of the two (that’s why it’s the A side instead of the AA). Ending is quality. –Sam.
Retro video of the week: The Police – Wrapped around your finger
HOLY FUCK! That song traumatised me as a kid. Not because of the sensual (SENSUAAAAAAL!) lyrics, but because, dude, it’s Sting, wielding a candle. I thought my number was up.
Until next time, I’m Orestes Xistos and I rule this dump. I’m the Lord of Darkness. I watched the Avengers Trailer 8 times in a row. I once ate a entire tub of Ginger biscuits and survived. See ya and kisses and (((sholay))) (((hugs))).