mercoledì 30 settembre 2009

Sugar "File Under: Easy Listening"

Dopo la furia dell' EP Beaster Bob Mould e i suoi Sugar sembrano riprendere fiato, ma lo fanno alla loro maniera, con le chitarre che sanno ancora saturare l'ambiente e la melodia che emerge in modo prepotente. Power Pop che incrocia l'acustico in momenti come sempre indimenticabili. (1994 Creation)

Given Bob Mould's reputation for searing electric rock & roll, it may be easy to think that the title of File Under: Easy Listening is ironic, and it is to a certain extent. But beneath the loud guitars lie the friendliest, most relaxed pop songs Mould had ever written. "Your Favorite Thing" and "Can't Help You Anymore" are two of Mould's most direct, pop-oriented songs, driven by instantly memorable melodies and hooks; they are also the most conventional songs on the record. The best moments come when Sugar push the boundaries a bit, whether it's on the country-rock of "Believe What You're Saying," the swirling "What You Want It to Be" and "Company Book," the searching ballad "Panama City Motel," or "Explode and Make Up," which bristles even at its most delicate moments. Mould throws in one classic spite-fueled rocker, "Granny Cool," but the record's finest moment is "Gee Angel," a powerhouse melodic scorcher. (Stephen Thomas Erlewine - All Music Guide)

- Gift
- Company
- Your Favorite Thing
- What You Want It to Be
- Gee Angel
- Panama City Motel
- Can't Help You Anymore
- Granny Cool
- Believe What You're Saying
- Explode and Make Up


Sugar "Copper Blue"

3 momenti importanti per Bob Mould: Husker Du,carriera solista e Sugar, fantastico gruppo che univa chitarre belle toste a melodie clamorose, un power pop da brivido!! Muri di chitarre, non shoegazer, però di certo belle muscolose, dalle quali emergeva la sua inconfondibile voce. Difficile trovare un pezzo migliore, il livello qualitativo è altissimo, certo che l'acustica If I Can't Change Your Mind incanta per secplicità e immediatezza. Un classico senza tempo. (1992 Creation)

During Bob Mould's coming-of-rage in the mid-to-late Eighties – when he was the tormented guitarist and frontman for the seminal thrash-rock band Hüsker Dü – he masterfully mixed atom-smashing guitar fury and savvy popcraft. But after the airy melodies and moody atmospherics on Workbook, his pared-down 1989 solo debut, Mould reprised the Hüskers' tumultuous roar on Black Sheets of Rain – in which his melodic gifts were nearly buried in a howling squall of overamped guitars. On this debut by Sugar – a visceral power trio featuring former Mercyland bassist David Barbe and ex-Zulu Malcolm Travis on drums – Mould once again creates brisk power-pop contexts for his eloquent grunge and careening, stacked-guitar collisions.
Mould's propulsive acoustic strumming lends "If I Can't Change Your Mind" a British Invasion buoyancy, and the playfully Beatlesque "Hoover Dam" employs a backward drum track, synthesized strings and a cheesily baroque harpsichord sample in a wry tribute to Sgt. Pepper's orchestral-pop grandeur. But although the snappy tempos on Copper Blue suggest that Mould has seen a little light, the lyrics reveal that he can still slip into darkness. "Slick" details the harrowing imagery of a tragic auto crash, while "Helpless" indicates that Mould is resigned to the inevitability of human transgression. And fueled by Mould's chiming guitars, Barbe's ominous bass line and Travis's locomotive drumming, "A Good Idea" describes a Southern-white-trash scenario that ends in death by drowning.
Mould the songwriter has always been a soul in conflict for whom the unleashing of clamorous guitars and primordial rhythms is an act of catharsis, even transcendence. Judging from the evidence on Copper Blue, he has once again beaten back his demons. (Kevin Ransom -

- Act We Act
- Good Idea
- Changes
- Helpless
- Hoover Dam
- Slim
- If I Can't Change Your Mind
- Fortune Teller
- Slick
- Man on the Moon


martedì 29 settembre 2009

Mo Ho Bish O Pi "Vitamin Ep"

Decisamente eclettici ed eterogenei i ragazzi, fin dal nome, possiamo ben dirlo!
Tra chitarre pop punk, elettronica, rumore e melodia il frullatone di Beck, Flaming Lips e Pavement è servito. (1999 Ff Vinyl)

- Fall A Part
- Take A Target
- Prosthetic Groove
- Vacuum
- Gay Fad

Mo Ho Bish O Pi

sabato 26 settembre 2009

My Vitriol "Between The Lines"

E' un pregevolissimo completamento all'album questo Between the lines, raccolta di b-sides e rarità che si trova nell'edizione doppia del disco d'esordio. Mio fratello ne ha trovato una copia giusto pochi mesi fa a Verona. Pensa te!
Comunque poco da dire, anche qui sonici come sempre e visioni shoegazer che si rincorrono in modo pregevole, ma anche nuove versioni di brani presenti sul disco. (2001 Infectious)

- Deadlines
- Wait A Minute
- Windows & Walls (piano version)
- Safety Zones & Crumple Zones
- Vapour Trails
- Taprobane/Losing Touch (acoustic version)
- Oh Father
- Spotlights
- Moodswings
- Game Of Pricks
- Another Lie
- It Came Crashing
- Static
- Always Your Way (live acoustic)
- Breakfast (live)
- All Of Me


My Life Story "The Golden Mile"

Secondo lavoro per i My Life Story. Non ho mai amato più di tanto la teatralità e l'orchestralità a tutto campo di questo gruppo che invece ha molti estimatori, ma nello stempo anche parecchi detrattori. In effetti la ridondanza dei pezzi può facilmente dare alla testa, ma tra 1 epicità e l'altra devo dire che qualche pezzo, magari dove i ritmi calano, beh, è piuttosto buono.(1997 Parlophone)

Qui sotto una bella sfilza di recensioni prese da :

The Golden Mile: Q Magazine
My Life Story's Jake Shillingford is plainly partial to a bit of glamour as befits a native Southender with a penchant for silver suits. His grand design for pop firmly dispenses with the need for grubby guitars, preferring instead a grander canvas that positively demands the use of labour-intensive strings and brass to underpin his very English affection for the absurd, the mundane and the vernacular. Yet, with the exception of the two singles, Sparkle and 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, the execution never quite lives up to the billing, not least because, lyrically, he's nowhere near as acidic as obvious peer such as Baby Bird's Stephen Jones or the Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon. With no real bite to the songs, all the orchestral pomp in the world can't make The Golden Mile much more than a fitfully entertaining parade of largely empty gestures.

The Golden Mile: Select
How difficult is it to make a dreadful album? Not just a bad one, poorly played or badly sung, but an album so relentlessly abysmal, so irredeemably worthless, that it causes you to sit alone by a pond for a while, reassessing your whole value system.
Ideally there should be a large gap between the artist's perception, what they think they're up to, and the final numbing result. In Jake Shillingford's case it's a yawning eternity, the space between two stars. He's been trawling this ersatz charabanc aroud for years now and clearly thinks he's some kind of artist. In fact, all he does is steal from some - Scott Walker, Lionel Bart, The Divine Comedy. And like some dribbling remedial cutpurse he doesn't even know what to do once he's nicked this stuff. So he breaks it. With his grating howl and the feigned expertise of brass 'n' string arrangements, "Golden Mile" would be atrocity enough, but coupled with such alarming lyrical stupidity as "Claret" - "Vineyards crying for your wasted years/Hear the vineyrads cry" - the whole experience comes close to sounding like some artless tone-deaf Cockney operatta performed by the inmates of Bedlam Asylum. Under the direction of Lionel Blair.

My Life Story Fact: This is the worst album ever made. But much, much worse. 0/5. Soundbit: "Golden Showers".

The Golden Mile: Smash Hits
Opening with 12 Reasons Why (the best pop single of last year not to feature the Spice Girls), My Life Story's second album declares its musical intentions right from the start. Vocalist Jake Shillingford does not do things by halves, not only can he boast more shiny suits than Burton's, he is the captain of the only pop outfit who could field a football team. And they are all here, so if you like your pop to feature lush strings and bouncy brass then look no further. More importantly, Jake is a great pop star and though he is still to capture the live sizzle completely, this album may get him the audience he deserves.

The Golden Mile: Vox
Jake Shillingford has waited ages to take his pop orchestra into the mainstream. But string-soaked flamboyance is his calling, not a passing novelty and, after all the record-company hold-ups, all the ground lost to lesser talents, his time seems to have come.
With richer production and a much stroinger set of songs than the band's patchy 1995 debut "Mornington Crescent", "The Golden Mile" is packed with hooks and epic choruses, and comes closer to recreating the technicolour spectacle of their live shows.
The lyrics may be slice-of-life seducytions and melodramas, but the real love-match here is between Shillingford and showbiz itself.
There's a lot of Marc Almond touches, a yearning for the Kinks/Small Faces' dandy mod-world and enough mood changes to keep the dramatic orchestral swoops from getting formulaic. "The Golden Mile" does fade a little after a stomping first half, but still comes close to realising Shillingford's sparkly fop-pop masterplan.

"The Golden Mile" - My Life Story Even more than the fantastic glitter romps for which Jake is famed, it is the ballads ("Claret", "You Can't Uneat The Apple") that make "Golden Mile" such satisfying escapism. Taking life's mundanities and making them magical.
(Melody Maker, 20/12/97, 'Albums of the Year 1997)

- 12 Reasons Why I Love Her
- Suited And Booted
- Marriage Blister
- Strumpet
- Claret
- Mr Boyd
- King Of Kissingdom
- I Dive (Unanswered Questions And Questionable Answers)
- You Can't Uneat The Apple
- Sparkle
- April 1st
- November 5th
- Duchess


venerdì 25 settembre 2009

My Vitriol "Finelines"

Io mi chiedo perchè? Perchè un gruppo così meraviglioso ha fatto un disco solo e poi è praticamente sparito nella semi - clandestinità? Io personalmente li avevo visti dal vivo a Milano ed ero rimasto incantanto. Li giudicavo il gruppo più vicino agli Adorable: sferzate di chitarre shoegazer (echi anche a MBV!!) che andavano a cercare la melodia. Intensi, brucianti e rumorosi sapevano anche smorzare i toni ma con un senso di disturbo e di nervosismo sempre presente. Non sono un gruppo da singoli, e da questo disco ne hanno estratti parecchi (memorabile Grounded con il video che vede Vincent Gallo come interprete!!), perchè tutto l'album vive e respira dalla prima all'ultima canzone. Io li attendo, ancora, per il secondo disco. E so che prima o poi le mie preghiere sarannio ascoltate!! (2001 Infectious)

Hailing from the same University Of London digs as Coldplay, and reaching for the mantle of Yank-inflected indie-rock when nu-metal is in the ascendancy, youthful Brit-rock four-piece My Vitriol should really have found this debut album business a bit of an uphill struggle. Somewhat surprisingly, though, they've delivered the goods; at its best, Finelines suggests the dynamic scissor-kick choruses and sleek power-pop of the Foo Fighters, as envisaged through the effects pedals of My Bloody Valentine sound-alchemist Kevin Shields--the spirit of shoegazing spiked with guts, adrenaline and adolescent fantasies of towering walls of noise. Thankfully, too, this is far more substantial than many debut albums; more than just a smattering of hit singles amid a sea of filler, Finelines is pieced together by slick segues and thoughtful sequencing. Even the effortlessly pop moments, such as roller-coaster-grunge peaks "Always: Your Way" and "Losing Touch", don't show up the occasional mellow forays into creeping-feedback guitar ambience. Any criticisms? Only that the reedy vocals of frontman Som Wardner lack a certain soul, making the actual emotional viscera of Finelines a little indirect. Still, on the basis of this fine debut, there's no reason why My Vitriol couldn't be serious "Voice of a Generation" contenders. (Louis Pattison -

With all the nu-metal shenanigans that have been bombarding the alt-rock scene recently, it would be easy to confuse a band called My Vitriol as an identikit Slipknot/Amen noise-machine. You know, the kind of band that pretend they have their morning's cornflakes swimming in sulphuric acid.
Thankfully, My Vitriol are nothing of the sort. This London-based quartet deal in good old-fashioned indie rock. Their debut album, 'Finelines' boasts a collection of deliciously raucous songs, dripping in bittersweet lyrics that'll smart your throat every time you try to sing along.
If you've heard the singles, you'll know that frontman and songwriter, Som Wardner, has an excellent ear for radio-friendly, catchy tunes. Current single, 'Always Your Way', and last year's releases 'Losing Touch', 'Cemented Shoes' and 'Pieces', drift along with dreamy guitar hooks and powerfully soft vocal harmonies that tease you towards ballad territory, before furiously dragging you by the hair to the mosh pit. He also delivers classic rawk anthem choruses with a delicate vitality and pop-melody that would be right at home on a Foo Fighter's record.
But don't be fooled into thinking that 'Finelines' is an easily-digestible ray of indie sunshine. There's an unnerving dark calm seeping through tracks like 'Infantile', 'Ode To The Red Queen' and 'Under The Wheels', with the spiralling, reverb-drenched indulgency reminiscent of Slowdive and early Verve offerings. Then there's 'C.O.R', half a minute of Nirvana-style, thrash-tastic guitar and pained screaming. Vitriolic indeed.
'Finelines' is like waking-up with a head-caving-in hangover to find you're still in the clothes from the night before and there's a stranger chucking up in your kitchen sink. But as you wonder where it all went wrong, something assures you that it's gonna be alright after-all. In fact, having someone to share your cornflakes with is uncomfortably satisfying. Great, almost. And that's exactly what 'Finelines' is.
But just like Pinkie in Graham Greene's Brighton Rock, where this band get their name, you've got that bottle of vitriol in your pocket. Just in case...(Nichola Browne -

- Alpha Rays
- Always Your Way
- The Gentle Art Of Choking
- Kohlstream
- Cemented Shoes
- Grounded
- C.O.R.
- Infantile
- Ode To The Red Queen
- Tongue Tied
- Windows And Walls
- Laprodane
- Losing Teach
- Pieces
- Falling Off The Floor
- Under The Wheels


Fierce Panda Compilation "Otter Than July"

Compilation della mia adorata etichetta referita. Se ne sentono delle belle. Come sempre. (1999 Fierce Panda)

- Fraff "You Tripped And You Messed Up My Rugs"
- Rosita "Sugar"
- Pop Threat "Fallen Spike"
- Hofman "The Girl With The Storm-Damaged Hair"
- Mo-Ho-Bish-O-Pi "Kate Is Cool"
- Scribble "See You Soon"


giovedì 24 settembre 2009

Compilation "Help: A Charity Project for the Children of Bosnia"

Me lo ricordo bene quando fu pubblicata questa compilation benefica. Vi comparivano nomi grossi e si sa, quando c'è da fare beneficenza tutti si mobilitano, se non altro peer dire...ehi, c'ero pure io.
Qualcosa di buono si trova comunque. (1995 Polygram Records)

1. Oasis And Friends - Fade Away
2. The Boo Radleys - Oh Brother
3. The Stone Roses - Love Spreads
4. Radiohead - Lucky
5. Orbital - Adnan
6. Portishead - Mourning Air
7. Massive Attack - Fake The Aroma
8. Suede - Shipbuilding
9. The Charlatans - Time For Livin'
10. Stereo MC's - Sweetest Truth
11. Sinéad O'Connor - Ode To Billie Joe
12. Levellers - Search Lights
13. The Manic Street Preachers - Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head
14. Terrorvision - Tom Petty Loves Veruca Salt
15. One World Orchestra - The Magnificent
16. Planet 4 Folk Quartet - Message To Crommie
17. Terry Hall & Salad - Dream A Little Dream
18. Neneh Cherry & Trout - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
19. Seymour AKA Blur - Eine Kleine Lift Musik
20. Paul Weller - Come Together


Luke Haines "Das Capital (The Songwriting Genius Of Luke Haines And The Auteurs)"

Si celebra e ne ha ogni diritto il buon Luke Haines in questa raccolta dove vengono rivisitati alcuni classici della sua produzione. A questo punto non ci resta che leggere la sua autobiografia e poi sarà il momento di proclamarlo santo! (2003 Hut)

For those unacquainted with the work Luke Haines and The Auteurs, newcomers could be forgiven for forming the opinion that 'Das Capital' is the work of a conceited and immodest egotist. Especially given the LP's subtitle "The song writing genius of...." and the accompanying, self-penned sleeve notes in which Haines reviews his back catalogue, repeatedly using the word “masterpiece" and awarding himself five out of five stars. Those more familiar with Haines' caustic sense of humour will take this with a large pinch of salt.
Bombast aside, over the past ten years Haines' song-writing has matured into one of the greatest unsung talents England's tired shores have seen. And, while it was Blur who received all the plaudits back in 1994 for their rather clichéd and nostalgic take on Englishness on 'Parklife', it was Haines and the Auteurs who, two years earlier in 1992, took a snapshot of the darker underbelly of English society, singing about house breaking and junk shop clothes.
As a song writer Haines has never been too concerned with the mainstream, instead happy to snipe from the wings and tackle subjects most artists would flinch at the very though of. Take, for example, 1995's 'Baader Meinhof' LP - a concept album dedicated entirely to the former German terrorist group. Commercial suicide perhaps, but, like most of Haines' scores, utterly compulsive listening. And hence to the irony of a 'greatest hits' package. This is no orthodox hits album, however. Disconcerted by the lack of continuity that would have resulted by throwing together songs recorded over a ten year period, Haines has set about re-recording them with the aid of a seven piece string section, with the inclusion of three new songs for good measure.
The result is quite stunning, from the self assurance of the opening track 'How Could I be Wrong' from debut long player 'New Wave' through to 'Future Generation' from 1999's last official Auteurs album 'How I Learned to Love the Boot Boys'. The orchestral treatment sits easily with Haines' selections which, albeit briefly, spans all of his career to date, with the exception of 2001’s solo outings two - 'The Oliver Twist Manifesto' and 'Christie Malry's own Double Entry' soundtrack.
The vital 'Lenny Valentino' particularly benefits from the addition of strings as it rises and swirls, while 'Satan Wants me' is the pick of the three new songs. Only on 'The Mitford Sisters' does Haines' sense of Englishness appear to be trying just that little bit too hard, cross-referencing Oswald Mosely, the Home service and Sir Walter Raleigh in quick succession. 'Bugger Bognor', an obscure reference to the last words of King George V on his death bed, gets things back on track again pretty swiftly. Fittingly 'Future Generation', the closing track of the last Auteurs' album, also finishes things off here with Haines singing "this music is for a future generation, this music could destroy a generation". Only time will tell. (Denzil Watson -

- Intro
- How Could I Be Wrong
- Showgirl
- Baader Meinhof
- Lenny Valentino
- Starstruck
- Satan Wants Me
- Unsolved Child Murder
- Junk Shop Clothes
- Michael Powell
- Bugger Bognor
- Future Generation


mercoledì 23 settembre 2009

The Auteurs "After Murder Park"

Adoro questo disco. Così crudo e diretto (la mano di Steve Albini in produzione ne è sicuramente responsabile), ma anche così intrigante e pieno di fascino morboso. Luke Haines scive le canzoni su una sedia a rotelle causa incidente in Spagna, l'uomore dei testi e delle musiche ne risente parecchio. Ancora una volta mettiamoci in ginocchio. (1996 Hut)

The pairing of two curmudgeons like Luke Haines and Steve Albini in a studio seems like a marriage made in heaven to some, and the very thought triggers an instant headache to others. The Auteurs are unlike the typical downtrodden U.S. indie bands Albini works with, but they nonetheless walked out of Abbey Road Studios with their nastiest-sounding record. That's probably what Haines wanted, and that's what he got. Grittier guitars and sharper drums don't get in the way of the more intricate arrangements that involve strings and a dash of horn every now and then. First single "Light Aircraft on Fire" is probably the most feisty Haines song yet, kicking down the doors with the opening line, "When you cut your lover's slack, you'll get a f*cking monster back." Haines' guitar lines sparkle during the chorus but dig like claws during the verses. Ace utility man James Banbury, in his usual Auteurs role as secret weapon, contributes threatening organ swells during the seething "New Brat in Town." After Murder Park serves the usual combo platter of growlers and barbed lullabies, but Haines definitely sounds more embittered than usual, quite possibly the result of watching too many of Albini's wildlife videos. He paints plenty of "sucks to be you" scenarios with sneering flair, exposing the corrupted side of humanity just as well as his engineer when he's on the other side of the glass. Not many fates could be worse than having Haines write a song with you as the subject, but listening to him air his insightful dirty laundry is an entirely unique experience. Pretentious and snotty as Haines might be, he's one of the sharpest tools in the shed. (Andy Kellman - All Music Guide)

Working with the super-producer Steve Albini in the haunted Abbey Road studio, the Auteurs prove they've lost zero edge since their New Wave debut and 1994's grimier Now I'm a Cowboy. This third release is like a rock & roll dispatch from a parallel universe: glam, punk, early Bowie and the Beatles being taken apart and put back together all wrong.
Nothing here should work, but everything does, from the snarling insistence of "Everything You Say Will Destroy You," which frontman Luke Haines sings over a languorous strum, to the menacing march of "Buddah" and the frankly cheery visions of child murder in the title song. After Murder Park spins out its vaguely ominous, vaguely paranoid warnings of political and emotional betrayal with hypnotic, almost unvarying slowness. The Auteurs have achieved a kind of twilight status as underground superstars, but they're at the top of the charts in some other lucky dimension. (Arion Berger -

For three years now, The Auteurs have stood apart from the growing maelstrom of Brit pop. Sure, they're English and Luke Haines writes what could be called pop songs, but they just don't fit the mold. They're the square pegs who look askance at the round holes of formula. That may be why they chose to have Steve Albini produce this. The Auteurs sound good here--strong, crunchy. Some muscle has replaced the feyness of their previous releases, as if they've been spending time at the musical gym. It helps that Luke's songwriting keeps improving, and he's looking outside himself for subjects. James Banbury's cello and Hammond organ have become fully integrated into the sound and they're not afraid of dragging in strings and horns. But when you get down to it, the song's the thing, and Luke's written some beauts. "Unsolved Child Murder" could almost be the younger, darker cousin of "Eleanor Rigby." "Light Aircraft on Fire" and "The Child Brides" fairly crackle. They'll never be Oasis, or even Pulp, but they don't want to be. The Auteurs have finally established a real identity of their own. The only question is, After Murder Park, then what? (Chris Nickson -

- Light Aircraft on Fire
- Child Brides
- Land Lovers
- New Brat in Town
- Everything You Say Will Destroy You
- Unsolved Child Murder
- Married to a Lazy Lover
- Buddha
- Tombstone
- Fear of Flying
- Dead Sea Navigators
- After Murder Park


The Auteurs "Now I'm A Cowboy"

Se penso all'eleganza in musica penso a questo disco. Classe e raffinatezza. Ma Piero Scaruffi qui sotto non la pensa esattamente come me...(1994 Hut)

Negli anni '80 in Gran Bretagna la nostalgia per l'era hippie tocco` vertici da manicomio con gli Auteurs di Luke Haines. Il cantante assumeva ora i panni di Donovan ora quelli di Marc Bolan. Le sue canzoni erano un po' piu` forbite della media del brit-pop, non fosse altro perche' Haines tentava di cantare argomenti piu` profondi e personali.
A rivelarli fu l'album New Wave (Hut, 1993), con le melense American Guitars, Showgirl e Junkshop Clothes. In teoria la novita` degli Auteurs era lo sfogo amaro e vitriolico di Haines, ma in realta` l'unico fatto saliente di queste canzoni era che non potevano competere con il meglio del brit-pop perche' Haines non sapeva scrivere liriche decenti, il gruppo non sapeva suonare e i ritornelli erano scadenti. Di conseguenza l'album mascherava l'insuccesso del loro banale pop con ambizioni intellettuali (un po' come aveva fatto il padre di tutti gli illusionisti pop, David Bowie).
Il successivo singolo Lenny Valentino e` il loro brano piu` rock, ma non e` rappresentativo dell'album Now I'm A Cowboy (Hut, 1994), fitto di tocchi classicheggianti di pianoforte, organo, oboe (James Banbury al violoncello) e ancor piu` vicino alla sensibilita` del glam-rock (Chinese Bakery). Si tratta comunque per lo piu` di ballate soporifere che raramente scalfiscono la superficie di un melodismo fine a se stesso. Con questo lavoro lambiccato e aristocratico gli Auteurs tentano di costruirsi una personalita` in un genere che vive della mancanza di personalita`. A loro mancano pero` i ritornelli, che vantano i loro concorrenti senza personalita`. (Piero Scaruffi -

Exuding a barbed, sexy impishness, Auteurs mainman Luke Haines may be the grooviest pop fantasist since glitter guru Marc Bolan. His guitar leads echoing Mick Ronson's, he's plainly a glam rocker at heart. A terrific sequel to last year's New Wave, Cowboy finds him giving further shape to his fascination with all that darkly glimmers: femmes fatales, taboo love, cracked actors ("Lenny Valentino" imagines a dream fusion of Lenny Bruce and Rudolph Valentino). On cello-graced fare like "New French Girlfriend," "The Upper Classes" and "I'm a Rich Man's Toy," he drops cool names (Bob Dylan, Truman Capote, Toulouse-Lautrec); his casual, literate wordplay stings and delights. And he can turn out catchy tunes like a jukebox. (Paul Evans -

- Lenny Valentino
- Brainchild
- I'm a Rich Man's Toy
- New French Girlfriend
- The Upper Classes
- Chinese Bakery
- A Sister Like You
- Underground Movies
- Life Classes/Life Model
- Modern History
- Daughter of a Child


martedì 22 settembre 2009

The Auteurs "New Wave"

Riappropriamoci della musica intelligente e dell'Inghilterra, ecco cosa grida Luke Haines, ecco i suoi intenti che vanno tutti a buon fine in questo magnifico esordio. Basta chitarrone grunge, basta vestiti squallidi, basta camicioni patetici, basta capelli unti. Guitar pop di matrice britannica con testi incisivi, corrosivi e intelligenti. Luke Haines è un genio, prendere o lasciare. Qui c'è talento puro. Beh...solo 1 come lui poteva intitolare un disco così. Sfacciato e presuntuoso se volete, come è sempre stato in tutta la sua carriera, che qui mostrava già i primi segni di splendore! (1993 Hut)

Three bands released albums, 14th February 1993. One was Radiohead, one was Saint Etienne and one was The Auteurs. Of those three names, you may only know one - and that's Radiohead. But who released the better of the three? You're looking right at it. Still not the best album released in 1993, mind you. That honour falls to The Boo Radleys amazingly kaleidoscopic classic 'Giant Steps'. By now, those of you rooted in classic rock and unfamiliar with UK indie music of the eighties and nineties are probably scratching their heads and moving onto another web-site to read something else! But, persevere. Just because something is ( relatively ) new, doesn't mean it's bad! This works vice-versa. There are many music fans who hold anything released more than five years ago as being irrelevant. Still, none of this matters, I suppose. I'm just a guy who gets interested in such things, forgive me. Let's move forwards, shall we? Okay, then! The Auteurs 'New Wave'? Nothing New Wave in the musical sense about it, but a breath of fresh air circa 1993, anyway. Music that is elegant, somehow. Music with poetic lyrics that remind you of Ray Davies of The Kinks a little. An album seemingly obsessed with stardom, but from an outsiders point of view. The opening 'Show Girl' was the top 41 (?!?) hit single that launched The Auteurs. Luke Haines is the leading creative force, singing, playing the guitar and writing the songs. He's backed up by a drummer and a bass player. Occasionally a cello player too, most attractively. Anyways, 'Showgirl' is a story, evocative - the vocals are double-tracked through the verses as Luke seems to sing harmony with himself. It's a great, rich, glorious sound. From a showgirl to mentions of stardom failing in 'Bailed Out' through to a dig at the US grunge scene with 'American Guitars', which ironically, features plenty of guitars. More so than other songs here, but of course that was the point.
The sense that 'New Wave' is a wonderfully constructed album comes through in the clarity, richness yet simplicity of many of the musical backings but also in the fact the songs move well into each other. Each one of the first three songs are different to each other in tempo and musical feel, yet all share the same musical feel, if that makes sense? It's something many of the best albums manage to do. Not sounding like a dozen different bands, but not sounding like you've taken one song and repeated it twelve times either. So, we're somewhere in-between and 'Junk Shop Clothes' is so lovely yet with a helping of humour, too. 'Genius' is a word you may care to throw around. The opening 'Show Girl' had been an instant classic. 'Junk Shop Clothes' and 'Bailed Out' aren't too far behind. We've more mentions of stars in the uptempo, melodic and guitar led 'Don't Trust The Stars', which is followed, of course, by 'Starstruck'. Don't you see a theme developing here? 'Starstruck' is a beauty of a ballad in any case.
Thinking back to The Sixties for a second. Was Luke Haines thinking back? Perhaps he was taken by certain things. Albums used to be constructed with a hit single to open and another hit single somewhere around the middle, usually to open the second side of the ( then ) vinyl album. And so it is with 'New Wave', second single 'How Could I Be Wrong' is akin to 'Showgirl' but with a different lyrical feel and a different, more biting guitar sound. The same, yet not the same. 'House Breaker' launches straight into such a fabulous melody and such wonderful lyrics that grinning is a distinct possibility. Opening lyric? "When I first met you / You were not housetrained", and so it goes on. A nice, spine tingling musical touch and attention to detail is the harmonica that arrives through the instrumental break. Similar attention to detail turns 'Valet Parking' into something that brings me to tears, tears of absolute joy. Glockenspiel? Well yeah, but it's used so sparingly. The entire album sounds wonderfully fresh, even ten years after it was first released. Timeless, I suppose. The closing three songs are good too, yet merely repeating what's gone before. Well, the closing 'Home Again' starts all strummed acoustic then eventually launches into Luke singing over himself - the cello appears. It's just so fucking beautiful, you know? (

With their 1993 debut album, New Wave, the Auteurs established themselves as one of England's best guitar bands of the early '90s. Driven by the bittersweet, ironic songwriting of Luke Haines, the band's carefully crafted, three-minute pop songs are in the vein of the Kinks, the Smiths and the Beatles, particularly the songs of George Harrison. Yet the band never sounds like imitators -- they combine their influences into a signature sound, distinguished by Haines' sharp lyrics and sighing melodies. (Stephen Thomas Erlewine - All Music Guide)

- Show Girl
- Bailed Out
- American Guitars
- Junk Shop Clothes
- Don't Trust The Stars
- Starstruck
- How Could I Be Wrong
- Housebreaker
- Valet Parking
- Idiot Brother
- Early Years
- Home Again


lunedì 21 settembre 2009

Rialto "Rialto"

Avete un cuore e vi soffermate ad ascoltatlo? Lo sentite battere? Lo sentite soffrire, gioire, emozionarsi per quello che vi accada nel corso della vostra vita? Bene, allora siete pronti per la musica dei Rialto. Louis Eliot dopo l'esperienza dei Kinky Machine da vita nel 1997 assieme al chitarrista Jon Bull ai Rialto. E che l'incanto abbia inizio. Il gruppo riesce in qualcosa d incredibile secondo me, arrivare al cuore. E non sto scherzando. Questa non è musica di plastica, questo non è intrattenimento puro e semplice, qui è qualcosa di profondo, di vero, di sincero. Melodrammatici, palpitanti, melodici, struggenti, epici. I Rialto incantano per sapienza di melodie, per quel cantanto così emozionante e che cattura, per quel romanticismo così forte che emerge da ogni singola nota e da arrangiamenti magnifici. Forse un disco irripetibile. Non lo so. Certo che davvero, se credevate che il Brit Pop fosse solo finzione e facciata, beh, ricredetevi al più presto ascoltando questo vero e proprio gioiello. (1998 China Records)

Pretension and melodrama have been key ingredients of British pop for years, but while many bands have sported the right pout, listened to the right soundtracks, and written the right kind of populist lyrics, their music has been sorely lacking. Enter Rialto, whose lush self-titled debut threatens to reverse the trend. The record impacts with the drama of Pulp and the melodic thrust of Oasis. Strings glide, harpsichords twinkle, and guitars cut lonely, aching swaths across the band's sonic vistas. Even when the vocals croon about unfaithful women and missed opportunities, Rialto's songs are never too precious or self-important to forsake the kind of hooks that keep listeners hitting the rewind button. (Jon Wiederhorn -

Rialto's self-titled debut falls halfway between the brash melodicism of Brit-pop and the stately, symphonic chamber pop of such artists as Eric Matthews and the Divine Comedy. It's a heady mixture, to be sure, and there are times when the entire enterprise collapses on the weight of its own ambitions. Still, there's something to be said for a debut that harbors such ambitions, and when everything does come together, Rialto's sense of style and song is enthralling, and that's what makes this such a promising debut. (Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide)

- Monday Morning 5:19
- Dream Another Dream
- Broken Barbie Doll
- Summer's Over
- Untouchable
- Hard Candy
- Quarantine
- Lucky Number
- Love Like Semtex
- When We're Together
- Underdogs
- Milk of Amnesia


domenica 20 settembre 2009

Witness "Before The Calm"

Accostati spesso ai Verve (più che altro per l'interessamento di Nick McCabe al gruppo stesso), gli Witness devo dire che mi sono sempre piaciuti.
Creatori di atmosfere intense e affascinanti, sapevano davvero incantare con le loro melodie. Ritmi bassi e malinconici che sapevano però esplodere in riverberi più intensi.
Da notare la presenza di due ex Strangelove nel gruppo,ovvero il batterista John Langley, ma sopratutto il talentuoso chitarrista Julian Pransky-Poole, anche se l'asse portante del gruppo è formata dal duo Gerard Starkie alla voce e Ray Chan alla chitarra.
I due proprio recentemente hanno ripreso a suonare insieme, riproponendo brani del gruppo. (1999 Island Records)

The proven rock'n'roll method is to load up on arrogance, aim for a massive, public blowout, then carry on 'til they call the cops.
While many top acts have entertained us thus, all that noise and fury can get tiresome. That's why Witness are so valuable. Their music hardly rocks at all. The lyrics never try to flag up attention. Humility rules. And once you get used to this sublimated style, the smallest detail takes on a world of significance.
Witness are like a bonsai tree in a huge, sky-shagging pine forest. Surely that's one reason why they came up with the title 'Before The Calm'. It's a zen thing, man. It's also a lovely and inspiring record. Just listen to 'My Own Old Song'. It starts with a murmur and builds, ever so gently, into a story of one man's desolate quest. A piano line arcs forlornly. A xylophone plinks. By the end, Gerard Starkie is practically raising his voice. He's that upset. You might already know the single 'Scars', with its beat-up rhythm, echoing DJ Shadow (or maybe Radiohead's 'Airbag'). It's a discourse on phoney personalities and the urge to connect with another human being. The idea of 'close approximations' is rejected. The potential lover wants the whole deal.
Listen closely and the startling lines emerge. Try the survivalist code on 'Freezing Over Morning', which sings the worried man blues with tremendous power. "Sometimes I stride like royalty", the boy muses, "while other times I crawl". You shiver and move on.
You hear the spectral voices of American Music Club, early REM (especially on 'Second Life') and Joy Division. This would tend to suggest that Witness are high-grade glum-merchants. But that's not really accurate, as there's an old-fashioned reliance on compassion here. In lesser hands, 'My Friend Will See Me Through' would sound trite. Actually, it's just fine.
Bands like Travis and Puressence are on a similar, vaporous trail, but Witness are well ahead. They've made an astonishing debut album; stripped of all affectation, daring to be understated when others would be tempted to hit the anthem button. This revolution will be internalised. (NME review -

- Second Life
- Scars
- Freezing Over Morning
- Hijacker
- My Own Old Song
- So Far Gone
- Cause And Effect
- Heirloom
- Audition
- My Friend Will See Me Through
- Still


Louis Eliot "Long Way Round"

Decisamente spiazzante questo disco. Più che altro, come già dicevo a proposito del singolo, perchè l'autore ci aveva abituato a ben altri suoni.
Qui si lavora sulla semplicità, sul suono intenso di chitarra e voce, con arrangiamenti volutamente spartani o comunque non invasivi.
Le cose più belle però rimangono quelle versioni acustiche di alcuni pezzi immortali dei Rialto. Non me ne volere Luois, ma ti preferivo là! (2004 Irl)

Frontman with Kinky Machine and Rialto and model for Vogue, Eliot had an interesting '90s. Now he's decamped to Cornwall to record his solo debut, pitched as echoing Neil Young or Elliott Smith. Despite some sweet I'm-a-mature-father-now lyrics, it fails to convince. The better songs are half-built "Wonderwall" retreads, the rest are dismayingly bland, making Lloyd Cole sound like Nat King Cole. "She Is Moving On" declares, optimistically: "I told her I was nearly famous". (

- Warmth Of The Sun
- Emily
- Party Games
- Heaven's In Your Eyes
- She Is Moving On
- Everybodys Loves You When You're Dead
- Falling
- Heart Shaped Bruise
- Tonight
- Country Life
- Go To Sleep
- Monday Morning (Acoustic Version)
- Warmth Of The Sun (Acoustic Version)
- Untouchable (Acoustic Version)
- Heart Shaped Bruise (Acoustic Version)
- The Last Day Of Summertime (Acoustic Version)


giovedì 17 settembre 2009

Louis Eliot "Everybody Loves You When You're Dead"

La folgorazione sulla via dell'acustico. Chissà perchè succede così spesso. Ecco che anche il buon Louis, dopo le chitarre elettriche dei Kinky e gli arrangiamenti debordanti e grondanti romanticismo dei Rialto, decide di buttarsi sulla via dell'umiltà in musica e degli arrangiamenti più semplici e raccolti. Questo è l'ep che precede il suo disco solista. (2002 Iodine Records)

- Everybody Loves You When You're Dead
- Country Life
- Go To Sleep
- Warmth Of The Sun


mercoledì 16 settembre 2009

The Goya Dress "Ruby EP"

Non c'è niente da fare, adoro la musica dei Goya Dress. Sensuale, raffinata, evocativa, intelligente. E poi adoro Astrid Williamson. Mi faceva impazzire nei Goya, la venero ora nella sua veste solista. Se un giorno mi capiterà di vederla dal vivo so già che mi inginocchierò davanti a lei, baciandole i piedi.
Anche in questo Ep la magia del gruppo si apre davanti ai nostri occhi. Incantevoli. (1995 Nude)

- Ruby Ruby (Radio Edit)
- Valentina
- In Me
- Closer


Republica "Republica"

Che bello vivere di rendita per un singolo! Lo azzecchi e ti cambia la vita. E tutti a ricordarsi di un gruppo per una canzone. E basta. A dire il vero dei Republica mi ricordo anche per la bellezza della cantante...super sexy a mio avviso.
Ma poi...dimentichiamoci il resto per favore! (1996 RCA)

- Ready to Go
- Bloke
- Bitch
- Get Off
- Picture Me
- Drop Dead Gorgeous
- Out of the Darkness
- Wrapp
- Don't You Ever
- Holly
- Ready to Go (original mix)


martedì 15 settembre 2009

Hurricane #1 "Hurricane #1"

Che cosa ci facesse Andy Bell in un gruppo così io non lo so. Nel senso che dopo l'esperienza con i Ride, finita male certo, ma ricca di fascino e splendore shoegazer, il buon Andy si adagia su un tranquillo pop rock di matrice Oasis e da il via all'avventura Hurricane #1. Sia chiaro, abbiamo sentito anche molto peggio, perchè comunque in questo disco i pezzi buoni non mancano, forse è perchè nelle orecchie avevamo ancora degli echi "rideiani" e allora questa normalità ci sembra strana. Sempre meglio comunque che suonare il basso negli ultimi disperati e imbarazzanti Oasis. (1997 Creation)

Andy Bell lascia alle spalle il prezioso dream pop dei Ride e con Weller in testa, i Beatles nel cuore e Noel gallagher nella chitarra crea gli Hurricane #1, uno dei gruppi più famosi del britpop. Il gruppo si move a suo agio tra chitarre cariche di overdrive e ricordi di scena Madchester, dimostrando che ha ottime carte in mano: un sound massiccio e compatto che ama anche perdersi in territori psichedelici (Mother Superior), la capacità di creare ottimi motivi pop in stile 18 wheeler (Let Go Of The Dream), un groove degno dei migliori Charlatans (Just another illusion) e quel gusto di jammare che può essere tipico dei Seahorses. L'unico neo, forse anche troppo grosso, è l'eccessiva dipendenza dal NoelRock, che se da un lato fa nascere canzoni di una bellezza più unica che rara (Step Into My World) dall'altro abbandona il gruppo in giri e accordi troppo abusati (Lucky Man). Ma poco importa perchè, bisogna dirlo, si tratta sempre di ottime canzoni e in fondo le miglior rock song non sono mai state un tripudio di accordi diminuiti o in undcesima. E se alcuni di voi storcono il naso, cercando qualche cosa di più impegnativo all'interno del disco, troveranno pane per i loro denti con gli 8 e passa minuti di Stand in Line, canzone psichedelica che paga un forte tributo alle melodie sognanti e acide dei Beatles come Strawberry Fields e i am The Walrus. Un disco che consiglio vivamente agli amanti del pop inglese. (Francesco Sciarrone -

After its 1996 album Tarantula, the British band Ride called it quits thanks to the time-honored "creative differences" between songwriters and guitarists Andy Bell and Marc Gardener. Gardener was always the better singer, but Bell was the band's real visionary, and he was the first to resurface in America with a new group and a new album. And regardless of what the sales figure show, Hurricane blows the Gallagher brothers away. Bell successfully charts a course between the live-in-the-studio energy and immediacy of Tarantula or 1990's Ride EP and the heavily orchestrated, psychedelic arrangements of 1994's Carnival of Light, Ride's best album. He's still enamored of '60s rock sounds-the phased vocals, Mellotrons, Hammond organ, tabla, and vintage guitar tones-but he's a much more skillful synthesist than jokers like Lenny Kravitz, Matthew Sweet, or even Oasis. Songs like "Just Another Illusion" and "Stand in Line" recall the spirit of '67 more than the specific recordings, complete with Bell asserting the classic rock & roll themes of independence and individuality."When I turn the lights on and see my baby dancing, then I'm a lucky man," Bell sings, and his passion is such that you feel lucky for sharing it with him. (Jim Derogatis -

- Just Another Illusion
- Faces in a Dream
- Step into My World
- Mother Superior
- Let Go of the Dream
- Chain Reaction
- Lucky Man
- Strange Meeting
- Monday Afternoon
- Stand in Line


Gene "As Good as It Gets: The Best of Gene"

Fare una raccolta dei Gene non è certo facile. Perchè? Beh, è una questione di qualità, ci sono troppi pezzi buoni e troppo poco spazio in un disco solo. La selezione operata su questo album è tutto sommato buona, non mancano i grandi classici ma si va a pescare pure tra le b-side, il che non è male, visto le perle che il gruppo ha saputo regalare anche nei lati b dei singoli.
Una raccolta che non sarà indispensabile, ma che celebra comunque 1 grande gruppo. Questo si. (2001 Polygram)

- As Good as It Gets
- For the Dead
- Fighting Fit
- Olympian
- We Could Be Kings
- Sleep Well Tonight
- Fill Her Up
- You'll Never Walk Again
- Where Are They Now?
- Haunted by You
- London, Can You Wait?
- Speak to Me Someone
- Mayday
- I Can't Help Myself
- Drawn to the Deep End
- Be My Light, Be My Guide
- Town Called Malice


domenica 13 settembre 2009

Fluffy "Black Eye"

Si, si si!! Io amo il pop punk fatto dalle fanciulle. Amo la loro grinta, amo vederle incazzose, amo vedrle vestite in quel modo così aggressivo...w le signorine e w il punk. Se poi le signorine dal punto di vista estetico hanno anche delle buone qualità, allora la partita con me è vinta in partenza. Peccato che per le Fluffy il sogno sia durato ben poco, nonostante tour importanti e comparsate in un sacco di giornali non hanno avuto un grosso successo di vendite, ma la mia missione è di far si che non vengano dimenticate...e quindi eccole qui!! (1996 Capitol)

Fluffy are preceded in North America by their reputation, and it's hard to tell if this reputation is well-earned or well-manufactured. For your consideration, I submit exhibit A: Fluffy (from England, let the record show) played their very first gig at New York's legendary CBGB's. Wow! Money just can't buy that kind of punk credibility...oh wait, maybe it can. Exhibit B, your Honour: Fluffy are keen to let you know they are hated by Courtney Love. Let's face facts here: Ms. Love once decked David Gedge (of the Wedding Present) merely because he knew Steve Albini, so telling everyone you've pissed her off is about as impressive as telling everyone you've figured out the riff to "Smoke on the Water." Finally, exhibit C: in response to accusations that they were just a bunch of upper middle-class girls "slumming it" as Riot Grrls, they fired their original bass player, the unfortunately-monikered Pandora Ormsby-Gore. Oh, they'll tell you it's because she couldn't play...
But enough of that. As the well worn adage goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. And what do we get? For all the packaging, the cover shot of a Siamese cat lunching down on a white lab rat, the group photos of a band trying to look nasty, full of "attitude" and yet alluring at the same time, we get...something quite banal, actually.
It's not that Fluffy don't have the riffs; Black Eye is chock full of the punk standard riffs that we've come to know and pogo to courtesy of the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, Nirvana and (during "I Wanna Be Your Lush") even Superchunk. That three-chord rock is still a viable commodity is testament, though, to the ability of bands such as Superchunk or our own Pluto to reinvent the format. Fluffy just seem content to bash away, a tactic which would work well enough live, if carried across with enough energy. On record, however, it bores the living shit out of you as one track blurs indistinguishably into another.
Lyrically, the album disappoints even further. Admittedly, you'd be loath to expect poetry the likes of Tennyson or Yeats to pop up in a genre of music designed as a counterblast to navel-contemplating dribble such as "Scaramouche! Scaramouche! Can you do the fandango?", but Johnny Rotten at least had a point. Most of what singer Amanda Rootes has to say seems to revolve around vague observations about truisms such as "hangovers are bad" in "Technicolour Yawn." Sample lyric: "Woke up in a bed of vomit / I think I hate myself / Woke up in a bed of vomit / I lost my pink wig and I'm in hell." Eh? The moral of the story is "The low just isn't worth the high." Well, that's the record set straight there, then.
Efforts to deal with more important issues such as rape ("Scream") and spousal abuse ("Dirty Old Bird") are rendered inconclusive by Rootes' uncanny ability to write a grade 8-level poem that simply describes the event without offering any opinion or insight on the matter. Still, you don't see many bands using words like "horrid," "effervesce" or "Botticelli" these days.
Fluffy may inspire teenage girls to go out, learn to play an instrument and start a band of their own. Fair enough, but one wonders if this inspiration would be better accompanied by a viewpoint that isn't as half-baked as Fluffy's. There is nothing shocking about women singing about their sexuality these days -- in fact, it's almost de rigeur. The only shocking thing about Black Eye lies in a band trying to pass themselves off as Riot Grrls when in fact they pack as much "Grrr" as a slightly vexed Yorkshire Terrier. (Darren Gawle -

- Nothing
- Hypersonic
- Black Eye
- Scream
- I Wanna Be Your Lush
- Crossdresser
- Psychofudge
- Too Famous
- Technicolour Yawn
- Cosmetic Dog
- Crawl
- Husband
- Dirty Old Bird
- Cheap


Electronic "Raise The Pressure"

Mah, che dire? Uno si immagina che a mettere insieme due testoline come Johnny Marr e Bernard Sumner (aiutati pure da Karl Bartos dei Kraftwerk) possa uscire l'album perfetto. Beh, forse non è proprio così. O meglio, dipende da cosa si vuol fare, perchè se la buttiamo sul guitar pop qui c'è un pezzo come Forbidden City che ti fa battere le mani, ma se la buttiamo sul versante elettronico qui ci sono dei pezzi che a mio avviso ti fanno giusto battere la testa, si, ma contro un muro. Prendere o lasciare! (1996 Virgin)

Whether it's an unfettered Bernard Sumner or a Johnny Marr free to make merry with a hook that's responsible for 1996’s Raise the Pressure's shameless gaiety makes no difference. Both were the poptastic bastard children of their respective groups, and the combination of the two is enough to pen a song called "If You've Got Love." That's all we really need as an entry point—Sumner is as loveably indecipherable as ever, Marr's guitar, when it does appear, is as intrusive as a wounded lover hammering on Bernie's door in some swank Ibiza hotel. Which, to be honest, is where most of Raise the Pressure seems to talk place.
All of which is good, if sometimes nauseating. Strident chords, house-y piano breaks, rave-era curlicue synths, acoustic-sounding guitars through the chorus pedal, that vocoder effect, smoothly generic backup vox—all are present and accounted for. Thankfully, lush and vapid has been proven to age much better than self-consciously "relevant": Raise the Pressure is joyfully free of the trendy "ambient" touches that now date Republic as indelibly as a Notary stamp reading "1993." On the other hand, every song on Raise the Pressure is replete with hooks, bells, whistles, pacifiers, and candy necklaces; every song treads a fine line between aww sweet and ick banal; and every song raises that eternal question within the listener's mind—do I want to mount Bernard Sumner or simply choke him to death?
Dig "For You." It's a summer's kiss of a tune, charming and ripely forgettable—the kind of unconsciously-eternal tune that must descend upon you as you enter the halls of Pop's own Valhalla. "Can we meet on the street, maybe tomorrow / See the world at our feet, naked and hollow" sings the Barney. Words to live by, says I. The countrified breakdown makes me forget about the fascination I have with my own feces, says Salvador Dali. "Dark Angel" reminds you that this pair are about making some dance music, godammit, and if "love comes too late," well at least it comes with a hard-house breakdown that could fill Danny Tenaglia's trousers. "Second Nature" makes good on the New Order-gone-R&B-vibe promised by Republic's "Liar"—evilly-smooth funk so monolithic even Marr's chicken-scratch guitar can't defang it. The song itself, featuring one of Sumner's most concise lyrics, appears to be about overcoming one's own brutally self-aware past and living a life filled with the kind of cosmic naivete that's been the man's bread and butter since "Thieves Like Us."
Which, in the end is the bleeding point of this much-maligned record (i.e. to present Bernard Sumner's wordview in a series of heroic pop vignettes, every song an anthem an every anthem almost a song). If "One Day" envisions the future where naked come the nude, "Freefall" puts us right in the middle of it. It would have fared better as a single—a triple-stacked Mitsubishi tripping straight to the heart of rain / euphoria metaphoria. On an album of this length (it's 1996, remember) it might be one pill too many. "How Long" and "Time Can Tell" to the rescue, then. The former sighs over love's tenacity, while the latter has the audacity to question it outright even as it reaffirms the anthemic "work it out" spirit of the album ("Will we still be together / In a year from now / Or do we hate each other / We're gonna get through somehow"). It's one of the most accurate portraits of love-in-conflict ever painted—set to Mediterranean guitar strums and a hazy proto-downtempo backbeat, it's no wonder it got lost in the shuffle.
By itself, the sentiment of "Time Can Tell" would be nice enough—it's a hopeful ode that one might drop on the end of a mixtape made for a lover during a difficult point in your relationship. Coming at the end of an hour's worth of anthemic statements dedicated to a Love Triumphant, it's nothing short of sheer bravery. Why the acknowledgment of the ephemeral vagueness of love at the tail end of an album seemingly dedicated to founding an entire wordview on its certitude? This very notion, sheathed in the delicate armor of almost-perfectly disposable pop, is what makes Raise the Pressure paradoxically both easily dismissible and utterly essential. Much like love itself. (Mallory O’Donnell -

- Forbidden City
- For You
- Dark Angel
- One Day
- Until The End Of Time
- Second Nature
- If You've Got Love
- Out Of My League
- Interlude
- Freefall
- Visit Me
- How Long
- Time Can Tell


giovedì 3 settembre 2009

Baader Meinhof "Baader Meinhof"

Album difficile per chi veniva dalle sonorità degli Auteurs, ma che da uno come Luke Haines non sorprende più di tanto.
Il gruppo, che prende il nome dal gruppo terroristico tedesco degli anni 70, si muove su coordinate elettroniche e sintetizzatori, accenni funky, percussioni, con un Luke Haines oscuro e provocatore come non mai.
Un disco controverso. Decisamente. (1996 Virgin)

Back in 1993 when the auteurs pioneered Brit pop, few could have predicted the bizarre detours that the band's leader, Luke Haines, would take – and the pariahlike status he'd acquire along the way. Haines had always juggled a film student's romanticism with a peculiarly English misanthropy.
But as his output flirted increasingly with the second half of that equation, he found himself a willing exile from the '90s British music community he helped found.
Still with us? Good, because the dark side of the '70s revival starts here.
These days, Haines has temporarily shelved the Auteurs to record under a new name, Baader Meinhof.
The album serves, he says, as the soundtrack to an imaginary film about the ultraleftist '70s German terrorist gang who, via PLO-backed kidnappings, bombings and hijackings, ruthlessly committed itself to the overthrow of Germany's government.
Baader Meinhof eschew the powerchord politics of Haines' one-time punk heroes the Clash in favor of a more ambitious musical hybrid comprising broken funk, Middle Eastern string sections and cheesy blaxploitation synth sounds.
All of this is allied to part sinister, part tongue-in-cheek lyrics ("Do it for God/Do it for Allah/Put your faith in Captain Muhmad and Al-Fatah," from "Meet Me at the Airport"). Echoes of Innervisions-era Stevie Wonder and exotic violins vie for supremacy on "There's Gonna Be an Accident," while Haines' ear for perfect pop harmonies is at its solid-gold best in "It's a Moral Issue," a sarcastic retort to a record-company employee who dared question the singer's scruples.
Other highlights are the snare-drum-crack-driven staccato of "Back on the Farm"; the ornately orchestrated, Zeppelin-esque riffery of "Kill Ramirez"; and the beguilingly pretty "Mogadishu."
Haines' latest direction may seem borne of extremism for extremism's sake, but Baader Meinhof is ultimately redeemed by the music's bitter wit and adventurousness. At his best, Haines even succeeds in playing with our accepted notions of what a pop album should be. What's next? A drum-and-bass homage to the IRA? (Mat Smith -

With Baader Meinhof, Luke Haines, frontman of The Auteurs, experimented with a more aggressive, political style of music.
The tone of the music, with fuzzy yet harsh guitars and assaulting keyboards, is at once crude-sounding, over-produced (in the best way), and decidedly pop-oriented. It's hard to say exactly what Haines is protesting, but rest assured that it's something quite artsy. One thing that's certain is that he has some fascination with the German terrorist group from which the band, the album, and two songs herein take their names. Like Haines' work with Black Box Recorder, there is a pretentious quality to most of the songs, which actually ends up being quite endearing.
Singing leftist lyrics over perpetually distorted instruments on "Meet Me at the Airport" and "Theme From 'Burn Warehouse Burn,'," Haines and company have created confused sociopolitical statements that are never less than keenly interesting. "There's Gonna Be an Accident" mixes strings with breathy vocals and more terrorist lyrics towards a fun, funky goal.
The overall feel of the album is of a crunchy, finely arranged series of art attacks. As a side project of The Auteurs, Baader Meinhof seems to work as a minimal, pop ode to free will, whether the socialist views are simply affections or truly felt.
Though Haines is sometimes criticized as being a lightweight because of his pop leanings, these ten appealing songs clearly promote the artist as an accomplished, underrated songwriter.
Invoking alternative worldviews instead of the ennui of Black Box Recorder, this piece is quite accessible and full of pop gems, despite or because of the politics inside the tunes. (Tim DiGravina/All Music Guide -

Drawing inspiration from sick and sensational headlines is nothing new in underground rock: In his influential mid-'80s group Big Black, Steve Albini delivered provocative ditties about a child sex ring in rural Minnesota and kids who were hooked on torching things with kerosene.
But with his first release outside the Auteurs, Luke Haines tries to push things even farther. He takes the name of a notorious early '70s German terrorist group; uses the members' mug shots as album art, and crafts a conceptual effort based on the inner musings of sinister souls ranging from the sadistic rebels in Mogadishu to the legendary hit man Carlos "the Jackal" Ramirez.
I know what you're thinking: "Yawn. If I want shock rock, I'll listen to Marilyn Manson." But like Nick Cave's Murder Ballads, Baader Meinhof succeeds because Haines is a very literate pervert. "Christ was an extremist/With a kamikaze soul/Happy birthday, Anna/You're 29 years old," he sings in "Mogadishu," effectively capturing the mix of political fervor and messianic delusion that can cause a normal middle-class kid to start playing with Uzis and plastic explosives.
Haines may be a creep, but he can certainly turn a phrase. What's more, the music matches the lyrical sophistication.
Two drummers create a loose, clattering foundation of herky-jerk percussion; a violinist saws away in an understated, melancholic way, and the moody minor-key melodies sound as if they've been sampled from a futuristic funeral parlor.
Through it all wafts Haines' surprisingly chipper and tuneful vocals, and they somehow turn these unlikely ingredients into strong pop hooks. You'll never have more fun singing along with a more despicable group of people. (Jim Derogatis -

- Baader Meinhof
- Meet Me at the Airport
- There's Gonna Be an Accident
- Mogadishu
- Theme from "Burn Warehouse Burn"
- CSG-29
- ...It's a Moral Issue
- Back on the Farm
- Kill Ramirez
- Baader Meinhof


The Auteurs "Showgirl"

Con 1 esordio così. Beh. Che dire? Classe e perfezione stilistica. Si delineano già ora i contorni di una carriera....(1992 Hut)

- Showgirl
- Glad To Be Gone
- Staying Power


The Auteurs "Chinese Bakery"

Un grande singolo tratto dal secondo disco di questa formazione, tanto talentuosa ma anche tanto sottovalutata. Incantevole per raffinatezza e melodia. Arrangiato in modo superbo. Ma qui si sta parlando del genio di Luke Haines. E davvero di genio si tratta. (1994 Hut)

- Chinese Bakery
- Government Bookstore
- Everything You Say Will Destroy You


mercoledì 2 settembre 2009

Elastica "The Menace"

Il ritorno dopo una lunga attesa. Coordinate musicali praticamente uguali. Si poteva immaginare un disastro, invece il disco si mantiene tranquillamente a galla e ciò basta e avanza. (2000 Deceptive)

For listeners who know their British post-punk history, Elastica are the ultimate guilty pleasure. Their 1995 debut, Elastica, still sounds like the work of cheeky plagiarists with taste so cool and tunes so smart that the group's blatant thievery from bands like Wire and the Stranglers is more than forgivable. The Menace, the long-delayed follow-up, finds Elastica in an unrepentant mood, scuffing up their terse, trashy guitar rock with fun-house noise while adding a handful of ambient mood pieces that sound like Aphex Twin castoffs. "My Sex," with its murmured vocals and church-y organ, suggests a prayer service, but this album is anything but reverent.
Elastica are still borrowing from old friends. The teeter-totter guitar riff from Wire's "Lowdown" is recycled in the ominous "Human"; Elastica's insidiously catchy "Nothing Stays the Same'' nicks the chorus from Wire's "Kidney Bingos" and blends it with echoes of the Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale." Elastica faithfully cover Trio's underground-single-turned-car-commercial "Da Da Da," and the Fall's Mark E. Smith pops up on the album in a caustic cameo.
But it is Elastica leader Justine Frischmann's eat-this attitude that carries The Menace. "You're so dead in the water," the singer-guitarist snarls in "Generator," one of several sharp kicks to the sternum that make the album hurtle by in under thirty-nine minutes. Garbage-can drums, rinky-dink keyboards and corrosive guitars also make a fine mess of all those secondhand melodies. Elastica may not be particularly original, but they're boisterous enough to make that shortcoming beside the point. (Greg Kot -

Ci sono voluti 5 lunghi anni per il completamento di ,The Menace" (Deceptive, 2000). Il nuovo acquisto, il chitarrista Paul "Shag" Jones, contribuisce al songwriting e la conseguenza di cio' e' che il suono e' piu' fresco rispetto all' album di debutto. Nonostante l' influenza Wire sia ancora palpabile, stavolta la band e' riuscita a mescolare una porzione piu' creativa di futurismo e retro, di finezza e vigore. ,Generator", ,Mad Dog God Damn" e ,Image Change" conservano tuttavia il consueto appeal commerciale. (Piero Scaruffi -

- Mad Dog God Dam
- Generator
- How He Wrote Elastica Man
- Image Change
- Your Arse...My Place
- Human
- Nothing Stays the Same
- Miami Nice
- Love Like Ours
- KB
- My Sex
- Way I Like It
- Da Da Da


Elastica "Elastica"

Copia di qua, prendi di la, ricalca su, fai pari pari giù....e il gioco è fatto. Questo disco degli Elastica diventa uno dei simboli del brit pop, uno di quei dischi che salta sempre fuori se si parla di quegli anni. Fresco, melodico, furbetto e intrigante. Non una nota che non si conosca già, pop punk che guarda adorante e in ginocchio il passato, con una cantante famosa anche per le sue storielline con altri idoli brit e una chitarrista molto carina, ma proprio tanto! Insomma tutte le carte in regola per sfondare...e così fu. (1995 Deceptive)

Gli Elastica di Justine Frischman (che aveva brevemente militato negli Suede) hanno trovato il successo copiando piu` o meno pedestremente l'incalzante disco-punk degli ultimi anni '70, quello di Blondie, Cars e Wire , Wire e Cars, ma con un piglio punk che ricorda semmai i Modern Lovers. A rivelarli furono i singoli Stutter (Deceptive), ottima imitazione di Blondie, Line Up (con un singhiozzo reminescente di I Am The Fly dei Wire) e soprattutto Connection (che incalza come No Fun degli Stooges, blatera come Never Say Never dei Romeo Void e Three Girl Rhymba dei Wire).
Elastica (Deceptive, 1995) conduce comunque una delle cariche piu` efficaci del'anno per via di una serie intrigante di canzoni punk-ma-non-troppo che rileggono la storia della musica rock. In Annie risuona l'inno di Can't Explain degli Who; Waking Up praticamente ruba il riff a No More Heroes degli Stranglers; Smile ha le scariche chitarristiche e il passo martellante dei Velvet Underground. Car Song e` un blues-rock sposato ad armonie da gruppo vocale degli anni '50. Hold Me Now e` un'epico garage-rock cantato nel registro annoiato di Lydia Lunch. La seconda meta` dell'album contiene alcuni brani concisi che riflettono una piu` autentica vena punk-pop, ma sfortunamente impallidiscono al cospetto delle "imitazione" di classe della prima meta`.
La cantante ha il merito di vivacizzare questi nobili plagi con un registro plastico che oscilla fra Chrissie Hynde dei Pretenders e il registro petulante dei vecchi girl-group. Gli Elastica sono uno di quei gruppi che hanno a portata di mano la possibilita` di fondare la scienza dell'irrilevante. (Piero Scaruffi -

As albums that fall off a genre’s radar go, Elastica’s eponymous debut ranks high. Entering the chart at No. 1 in 1995 and nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, Elastica is a neglected gem from a time when bands were dominated by effervescent lead singers – none more so than the first lady of Britpop, Justine Frischmann.
Frischmann was more than just Damon Albarn’s muse for the all-powerful Blur – her contribution can be seen in young female artists like Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse – brazen and brassy – Justine added a hint of androgyny into the mix and became the tomboy next-door that the NME craved.
Elastica is as memorable a record as the pretenders to Frishmann’s throne at the time – Sleeper with Louise Wener and Republica’s Saffron – were forgettable. The openly suggestive lyrics of groupie-bating ‘'Line Up'’ and dangerous sex in ‘'Car Song'’ are as crude as nudge-nudge-wink-wink tunes get, but they are no less fun for it – ‘'Vaseline'’ almost pips ‘'I Touch Myself'’ by Divinyls to the 'is she really singing about you-know-what?' award.
In ‘'Connection'’, Elastica produced their blueprint for what Britpop should sound like – it was punchy, pithy and built on a massive rip-off of a Wire riff that they didn’t care about – well, if it’s good enough for Oasis…
Frischmann’s monotone voice never becomes dull during the 40-minute blast and when they finish with the uncomfortably effective poke at impotence in '‘Stutter'’, so does their contribution to Britpop. She booted the door in, pouted and bitched until the drugs shut her up – for good. (Anthony Leaver -

- Line Up
- Annie
- Connection
- Car Song
- Smile
- Hold Me Now
- S.O.F.T.
- Indian Song
- Blue
- All-Nighter
- Waking Up
- 2:1
- See That Animal
- Stutter
- Never Here
- Vaseline


martedì 1 settembre 2009

Drugstore "Drugstore"

Grande atmosfera, magia e sensualità per i Drugstore, almeno in questo buon esordio. Andamenti rumorosi alla J&MC con voce alla Mazzy Star ma anche cose più intimiste, giusto per capirsi. Non sono mai stato un loro grande fan a suo tempo, devo dire che li ho (ri) scoperti con piacere in questo ultimo periodo, ricordandomi di averli visti anche una vita fa aprire per i Radiohead nel tour di The Bands proprio a Milano. (1995 Go Disc)

After a slew of singles that won praise for their smoky and sweet feelings of Jesus and Mary Chain/Mazzy Star strung-out psych-and-bliss late-night atmosphere, Drugstore went ahead and created an album that lived up to those expectations. But that's a too simplistic comparison in some ways, thanks largely to the inspired singing from bassist Isabel Monteiro. A just-confrontational-enough character in interviews, that quality carries over to her recorded work as well, able to hit aggressive points more than Hope Sandoval ever could and unafraid of not always being cool like the Reid brothers. No trace of her Brazilian accent surfaces -- if anything she sounds like she could be a cross between Patsy Cline and Marianne Faithfull, with all the ability and control that implies. Consider "Alive" as a particularly fine example, her simple conclusion of "I am burning" suiting the circular feedback loop and hint of violin that concludes the track, or the low-key backing vocals overdubs on the hushed "Saturday Sunset." As a group, Drugstore clearly has its inspirations, but the result is thoroughly attractive while retaining a strong sense of individual drama. Guitarist/keyboardist Daron Robinson knows how to crank it up and keep it calm, and while it becomes something of a formula by the end of the disc, it still works very well. Call it a sense of loud/soft dynamics in a different setting, rather than repeating the obvious Pixies/Nirvana conclusions so many other '90s bands ground into the dust. "Favorite Sinner" is a fantastic example of same, with a soft sense of building threat as Chris Isaak-styled reverb twang turns into a slow burning feedback frazz and retreating again before an abrupt ending. "Solitary Party Groover" and the wonderful "Starcrossed" received the most attention due to their appearance as singles, but this whole album is an excellent, quietly enveloping treat. (Ned Raggett - All Music Guide)

Drugstore, founded by vocalist Isabel Monteiros (Brazil via Britain) and drummer Michael Chylinski, is a British band that plays atmospheric country-rock in the vein of Cowboy Junkies and Mazzy Star, albeit filtered through a shoegazing sensibility. The singles Alive (Honey), Modern Pleasure and Starcrossed (Go Discs) led to debut album Drugstore (Go DIscs, 1995), a work of subtle seduction that employs a skewed strategy a` la Pixies (Superglider, Nectarine, Solitary Party Groover, Fader). The album betrays a Velvet Underground fixation, both with Lou Reed's decadent boogie and Nico's icy litanies. Guitarist Daron Robinson is a mere accessory. The album was followed by the single Injection. (Piero Scaruffi -

- Speaker 12
- Favourite Sinner
- Alive
- Solitary Party Groover
- If
- Devil
- Saturday Sunset
- Fader
- Super Glider
- Baby Astrolab
- Gravity
- Nectarine
- Star-Crossed
- Accelerate