Thursday, 12 March 2009

ALBUM: The All-American Rejects - When the World Comes Down (Interscope/Doghouse Records)

The All-American Rejects - When the World Comes Down (Interscope/Doghouse Records)

Although I don’t think the magazine I read that contained the interview in which Tyson Ritter went on about how ‘totally different this album is’ was the NME, it seems like enough of a preposterous lie to have been published in that reputable publication.

I should point out now that I like (tense?) the All-American Rejects – even if I was into black eyeliner when I heard their first album, its adorable teen peppiness still isn’t lost on me now, but I have to say, ‘Gives You Hell’ does exactly what it says on the label (SEE? The title isn’t even creative!!!) What really grates about this album is that 7 years later they might have actually regressed as a band – it physically hurts hearing a 20-something write lyrics like ‘I’ve figured it out/breaking’s what your heart is for.’ Maybe that’s why I think the Jonas Brothers are worse than STDs (they’re roughly equal in destructive terms but those teen pop tossers are catchier). But I digress, the point is, studio polish will never be a decent substitute for imagination, and patriotic rejects’ eyes are blanker than my list of things I like about Miley Cyrus.

Standout Tracks: Do I have to? Fine, I guess ‘Real World’ was momentarily distracting, even if its namesake is the kind of show that would sink to using this album for a soundtrack.
Ollie Khakwani

ALBUM: Dead Young Club Vol. 1 - (Dead Young Records)

Record label samplers are always a good way to get a quick snapshot of fresh, new bands and Dead Young Records’ latest release is no different. Showcasing four of their newest signings, ‘Dead Young Club Vol. 1’ spans the genres from bluesy indie to epic Welsh glacial scores.

‘Edward the Confessor’, provided by Liverpool’s The Cubical is a jaunty, blues tipped psych pop song that would be straight out of the Black Keys’ back catalogue if it wasn’t for the slightly menacing, growling vocals. Perfect for cutting some 60s shaped rug to but perhaps not so much for putting the kids to bed to…

A Love Supreme are a more child-friendly prospect with the emotional and driving ‘I Know You Got Soul’. Slightly self-indulgent with the guitar solo at the end but otherwise just the right sort of momentous and raw sound new and old bands alike should be trying to create.

Fuzzy JAMC pop has seen a bit of a resurgence of late, Glasvegas being a prime example. The Lucid Dream are a bit less current indie than the nation’s new favourite band from north of the border, instead sounding more like they’ve stepped into a time machine in the 1960s and somehow ended up in 2008. ‘I Got the Devil’ is a sparkling 5 minutes of distortion and noise proving the Lucid Dream to be something to look out for in the coming months.

Last but not least comes Yucatan, creating epic Sigur Ros-esque scores that represent and reflect the Welsh valleys. Singing entirely in their native Welsh language adds a more magical touch to the music although occasionally the whole thing does smack a bit of jumping on the aforementioned Icelandic group’s bandwagon a bit.

Standout track: The Lucid Dream – ‘I Got the Devil’
Rhian Daly

SINGLE: Tallulah Rendall - Lay Me Down (Transducer Records)

Remember Mercury award winners Anthony & the Johnsons? Tallulah Rendall is essentially a British female version of focus point Anthony Hegarty, but with slightly less mystique and allure. ‘Lay Me Down’ is an almost timeless sounding single, all enchanting vocals and delicate piano accompaniment woven with other atmospheric instrumentation to create a haunting yet beautiful four minute wonder that will have you charmed from the very first beat.

Rhian Daly

SINGLE: Subliminal Girls - Self Obsession is an Art Form (PopArt London)

“Vodka makes me act like a fool, I’m not very cool” sings Jim Rhesus on a ‘Self Obsession is an Art Form’, a song that will strike chords with many with it’s “I’m too drunk to carry you home, you’re too drunk to carry me home” chorus and descriptions of messy nights out. Wittily charming, it leads nicely into ‘Posh Girls Names’, a more confusing piece of synth-pop to get your teeth in. Underneath Rhesus’ vocals runs a spoken-word commentary that provides your brain with the conundrum of what part to concentrate on most. As a result, it ends up getting fairly annoying quickly as you try and snatch snippets of each separate vocal. Final track ‘Electronic Hearts’ is far more straightforward and easy to listen to and scores highly with its Sonic Youth referencing and dry, sarcastic lyrics cutting through melodic guitars and 80s synths.

Although sometimes they’re hard work, Subliminal Girls are worth the effort, once you get your head around them. Plus, they’re always coming up with something interesting – for instance, this latest single will set you back nearly £1500. Not a money-grabbing rip off, but an investment in art, with the record being housed in a special screenpainted box designed by Stuart Semple. Perhaps not the best timed move considering the current economic climate, but interesting nonetheless.

Rhian Daly

EP: Milky Wimpshake - One Good Use For My Heart EP (Fortuna Pop!)

Fortuna Pop! can generally be trusted to release music by only the most interesting and exciting artists and this occasion is no exception, with the slick indie this time putting out Milky Wimpshake’s latest EP. Stalwarts on the Newcastle scene, the simplistic yet sophisticated pop group have been going strong since their formation in 1993 and have an “indie celeb” fan in Ross Millard of Futureheads fame.

All this is well and good though but it doesn’t count for much if the music isn’t up to scratch. It’s hardly surprising to find that the ‘One Good Use For My Heart’ EP is way above par with five jangly post-punk indie tunes to keep you entertained in the miserable dark evenings this winter. They do tend to overdose a bit on brackets in song titles but surely they can be forgiven for such a crime this time; after all, if you’ve written a song as witty, catchy and downright wonderful as ‘(If You Wanna Know the Time Ask a) Policeman’ or the self-referential ‘Milky Cliché’ then you can probably get away with a bit of punctuational over-indulgence.
Standout track: Milky Cliché
Rhian Daly

SINGLE: Le Reno Amps - Send Me on My Way (Drift Records)

Scottish might be a phrase you’ve come to dread, knowing that you’re in for a dull and painful listen but instead of running for the Highlands, perhaps you should give one particular quartet a try.
Le Reno Amps are the antithesis to the aforementioned dirge merchants, instead bringing to the table a fun and cheerful take on things. ‘Send Me on My Way’, their first single on Drift Records, shows the two sides to the group quite clearly with the title track falling more into the country camp and b-side ‘Airwaves’ fitting snugly under indie. Both are superb displays of musicianship that should have you up out of your chair and cutting some rug, although the lead track may be more of an acquired taste, with its successor a bit easier on the ear. But everyone knows good things come to those who wait, and after a little perseverance you’ll love both songs as if they were your own children.

Rhian Daly

SINGLE: Kora - Cabaret Voltaire Versions – ‘Kora! Kora! Kora!’ (Shiva Records)

If you’re after some bog standard electro trying to be innovative by cutting and pasting sections of post punk legends, Cabaret Voltaire then look no further for Kora have created the perfect record for you. However, if you’re looking for something a bit more interesting and, y’know, above average then your best bet is to move along and fast.

Rhian Daly