Thursday, 29 November 2012

Fidlar

Ah, now this is fucking immense.

LA troupe Fidlar make really wickedly scuzzy, oldskool, surfy garage rock and roll. This has been done many a time, in disappointingly neutered fashion, by a veritable parade of would-be no-goods. This here, this is better. Much better. You do not get the impression these miscreants would fill onstage bottles of Jack with iced tea. They're self-denigrating and cut-throat, obnoxious but legitimately fucking fun. At their least interesting they sound like the Death Set, but elsewhere it's harder and faster and uglier.

They've been touring with the Hives and Jeff the Brotherhood, if that gives you an inkling to the kind of fun you're about to encounter. But unlike the Hives' cartoon punk or JTB's WOO! RIFFS! outlook, Fidlar's songs come with a bitter, serrated edge. Don't expect Proust - "I - DRINK - CHEAP - BEER - SO - WHAT - FUCK - YOU" is a sample of the wordsmithery employed by these dudes. But "White on White", above, is a compellingly nihilistic middle finger to the joy of being army drafted - the fast-and-fuck-you Stooges yell is the first thing you'll notice, but it gets a lot darker once you take in the words - a succinct account of a society drop-out being shoved overseas and out of the way to 'serve' his country.

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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Rebekka Karijord

You know the 90s revival is in full swing when singers start sounding like Sarah McLachlan again. Listening to the new Rebekka Karijord record. It's quite pretty, very melancholic, and if she's not wearing a long floaty dress and Doc Martens while singing this, then I've been lied to. This one's off the Norwegian singer's second LP. Maybe I sound a bit dismissive, but it's actually a beautiful record. I don't agree with the 'what a pioneer!' panting I've read about her though; the way she uses her vocals (melodramatic minor chords, great big tragic harmonies, vulnerable high notes and trills emerging from an obviously powerful voice, plenty of studio layering with lots of background aaaahs...) the soft, pensive piano... there's a thick streak of Lilith Fair running through the whole record. Familiar but certainly very listenable. She's got some UK dates in January, if this is your bag.

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Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Sweetheart Contract

I'm floored by “The Lonesome Death of the One-Man Cabaret Act” by Sweetheart Contract.

I can’t write about it for my usual spots, as it’s too close to home for me to feel comfortable writing about with my journo hat on - I’ve always avoided reviewing friends’ bands etc. It’s really, REALLY good though.

Love the clattering, whipsmart psychobilly drums, love that whizzing guitar slide and the jittery riff, and of all their songs, this is the one where I think the vocals work the best - starting out sly and kinda predatory in the verses, before it rips into this wailing chorus howl that clutches at your throat then crumples to the floor.

You can hear country and rock n roll influences in there but at its core seems to be the kind of emotive, literate punk thing that Jimmy Eat World did so brilliantly - melodrama without absurdity, a convincing now-or-never urgency. Just awesome.

Saw them do it live last night at the Windmill supporting country singer Lydia Loveless, and it ripped the heart out of the room. And they were giving out cds with this song on for signing up to their mailing list, so now I have a copy. They’re supporting Lucero at the end of November… I’m there with bells on.

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