domenica 31 gennaio 2010

Parva "22"







Allora, perchè i Kaieser Chiefs abbiano avuto successo mi rimane un mistero. Sicuramente non è un mistero capire perchè i Parva, ovvero i Kaiser prima di chiamarsi così, non lo ebbero. Perchè erano mediocri. Spesso la mediocrità viene premiata, ma dovevano cambiare nome per ricevere lodi e onori, ai Parva andò male. Comunque ecco il loro (mediocre) disco. (2003 Mantra Recordings)


- Heavy
- Good Bad Right Wrong
- Couldn't Contain
- TV
- Don't Sweat
- Country In
- God Bless America
- Hessles
- Scu22
- Sitting On The Prince Of Wales
- Don't Get Me Wrong


PARVA

Northpole "Weekender"



Prendo l'occasione, postando i Northpole, di raccontare una storiella. E ritrono indietro con il tempo, con la memoria. Quando ero giovanotto e si usavano ancora le lettere e non c'era il monopolio della mail. Amavo scrivere ai gruppi inglesi e mi facevo aiutare da mio papà che con l'inglese se la cavava meglio di me, io scrivevo in italiano e lui traduceva e poi la letterina partiva per posta. Che bei ricordi. Alla fine pure mio papà era curioso di sentire questi famosi gruppi con i quali in parte anche lui aveva una corrispondenza, perchè poi mi facevo aiutare anche nelle risposte, quando arrivavano! Un giorno scrissi anche a John Peel, nella mia ingenuità gli volevo chiedere se aveva delle compilation delle sue Sessions o del suo programma (che a quel tempo solo Claudio poteva ascoltare, perchè aveva un super impianto satellitare e andavo a casa sua in adorazione, per sentire John peel e BBC1) e dove si potessero trovare, perchè mi avrebbero fatto comodo nella mia (nascente) attività di dj. Beh, due sono le risposte via lettera che conservo come fossero reliquie: una è quella di Piotr degli Adorable, che mi rispose scrivendo addirittura a macchina, l'altra fu la risposta di John Peel, che di suo pugno mi scrisse alcune righe, parlando delle sue Sessions e facendomi in bocca al lupo per il mio programma. Che emozione!! Sorrido a ripensarci adesso. Uno dei DJ più famosi del mondo che trova i ltempo di scivermi....fantastico.
Perchè ho fatto questa premessa? Beh, perchè John Peel all'uscita di questo ep era decisamente innamorato del sound dei Northpole e li definì la miglior indie band italiana, invitandoli addirittura in trasmissione, beh...e se questo ancora non vi ha fatto venire voglia di ascoltarli, allora davvero non ho parole.
Grazie John. Grazie Northpole. (1997)

- Wonderboy
- Not On Mondays
- Car Crash
- Weekender
- Parade


NORTHPOLE

Lush "Gala"







E che lo splendore abbia inizio! Vengono qui raccolti i primi 3 ep del gruppo e la forma, la magia, il sogno dei Lush inizia a prendere forma. La grazia dei Cocteau Twins ma anche la grinta di un gruppo come le Throwing Muses...gli esordi di un gruppo che sarà un pilastro del movimento shoegazer. Incanto puro. (1990 4AD)


- Sweetness And Light
- Sunbathing
- Breeze
- De-Luxe
- Leaves Me Cold
- Downer
- Thoughtforms (2nd Version)
- Baby Talk
- Thoughtforms
- Scarlet
- Bitter
- Second Sight
- Etheriel
- Hey Hey Helen
- Scarlet (long Version)



LUSH

Fool's Garden "Go and Ask Peggy for the Principal Thing"



Si possono dire tante cose su un disco, ma certe volte bastano ben poche parole. Bello, semplice, immediato e pop. Ecco la parola magica, senza tante sperimentazioni o alchimie. Il pop vince. Il pop fatto di melodie immediate, di chitarre gentili che percorrono forse strade già battute mille volte...e allora? Sono queste le strade che voglio percorrere! Buon ascolto! (1997 EMI)


- The Principal Thing
- Emily
- Why Did She Go?
- Why Am I Sad Today
- Martha My Dear
- And You Say
- Probably
- Nothing
- When the Moon Kisses Town
- Rainy Day
- Northern Town
- Good Night


FOOL'S GARDEN

mercoledì 27 gennaio 2010

Biglietti omaggio per il live di Brett Anderson, 3 febbraio a Milano

Anche questa settimana, nella mia puntata di Melting Pop, regalerò 2 biglietti omaggio per un concerto milanese.
In questo caso sono i biglietti per i live di Brett Anderson, ex voce degli Suede, che arriva a Milano il 3 febbraio, al Tunnel.
Ecco il regolamento:

Il 3 febbraio 2010 l'ex cantante degli Suede, Brett Anderson, arriva al Tunnel di Milano per presentare il suo ultimo lavoro solista Slow Attack, che la critica ha salutato come il suo lavoro migliore.
Sarà ovviamente l'occasione buona anche per risentire i classici del suo precedente (ma anche futuro, visto che è già annunciata la reunion) gruppo, e dalle prime scalette viste su internet, beh, le sorprese non mancheranno.
Al contrario della sua precedenti visita milanese Brett non sarà in acustico, ma accompagnato da un gruppo vero e proprio.
Radio Popolare Verona e Yastaradio, in collaborazione con Ja.La Media Activities e Indipendente Concerti, mettono in palio 2 biglietti per questo concerto.
Durante la puntata di Melting Pop di giovedì 28 gennaio sul 104 fm di Radio Popolare Verona e di venerdì 29 gennaio su www.yastaradio.com sarà fatta una domanda (semplice, giuro!) agli ascoltatori interessati al live che riguarda i Suede, la risposta deve essere inviata a radiopopolarevr@libero.it insieme a nome e cognome entro le ore 22.30 delle due serate (fa fede la data d'invio della mail).
Tra tutti i vincitori ne saranno estratti due che potranno vedersi gratis il concerto milanese.
A questo purnto direi...buon ascolto e buona fortuna!!

Northpole "Faccio Tutto Domani"



Inizio con questo Ep (e mi dispiace non mettere la copertina ma ho lo scanner che non va più!! Mannaggia!!) il discorso Northpole, attendetevi quindi prestissimo l'ep in inglese e il loro album. Con queste cinque canzoni i ragazzi di Castelfranco Veneto cambiano un pò le carte in tavola e dopo tanto inglese (con notorietà importante in UK e ottimi tour), passano all'italiano. 5 pezzi ottimi diciamolo subito. Musicalmente parlando il guitar pop è sempre pregevolissimo, figlio di influenze tanto americane quanto inglesi, che si sposano alla meraviglia. Il futuro era roseo...(1999 Artes)


Non so quanti di voi sappiano del glorioso passato dei Northpole, band attiva ormai da 6 anni e uno dei casi più eclatanti di gruppi 'senza contratto'. Non che i ragazzi di Castelfranco Veneto siano rimasti con le mani in mano, ma penso non capiti tutti i giorni registrare un demotape (Is it too pretentious? del 1994), vincere con quest'opera la rassegna "Ritmi Globali" e poi essere chiamati per aprire i concerti di gruppi quali Come, Gene, Fleshtones e Uzeda.Come se non bastasse il dj inglese John Peel li chiama a Londra, negli studi della BBC, a registrare le famose session (se non vado errato, nello Stivale prima di loro ci sono riusciti solo la PFM e gli stessi Uzeda). Arrivato il 1997 i nostri registrano Weekender , 5 pezzi cantati in inglese dalla notevole caratura, con gli Smiths nel cuore e l'indie-rock di matrice americana nell'anima.
Seppur coccolati dalla critica, in Italia (guarda un po') ce li siamo cagati in pochi e fra questi non c'era un discografico, anche fra le indipendenti, che volesse puntare seriamente su di loro. Naturalmente il quartetto non si scompone più di tanto, trova la via italiana al proprio 'rock' e adesso esce con un ep di altri 5 pezzi naturalmente superlativo. Se è vero che al Nord-est c'è stato un miracolo, penso che molti si siano sbagliati a pensare che fosse quello economico: Estra, Northpole, Libra, Valentina Dorme, sono band di primissima categoria e (stranamente) il business musicale è ancora distante anni luce, ad esclusione degli Estra, dalla loro proposta.
Nel caso specifico di Faccio tutto domani è piacevole (ri)assaporare quei passaggi sonori classici dei Northpole, anche se stavolta le parole sono scritte in lingua madre. Colpiscono moltissimo le linee di basso, si segnalano le chitarre sospese tra il noise e il pop, è sempre presente la batteria e, per finire, la voce di Paolo Beraldo ha un timbro assolutamente personale. Insomma, il quartetto indovina tutti i pezzi - dal rumorista Prima cosa alla 'sporca' cavalcata di Sport, passando per gli accenti 'à la Supergrass' di Liquidi deluxe, l'andamento smithsiano di Un sonno tranquillo e il pseudo lo-fi disimpegnato di Rover, forse il brano più interessante - e si merita di essere inserito fra le vostre (e le nostre) prime scelte.
Se i fantasmi di proposte 'mtv-oriented' affollano le vostre giornate, "Faccio tutto domani" è il rimedio ideale ai vostri problemi; peccato duri poco meno di 20'. (Faustiko - http://www.rockit.it/)

La prima volta che avevo sentito parlare dei Northpole era stato in occasione del M.E.I., quando intervistai Giulio Casale degli Estra (i due gruppi appartengono allo stesso management). Ora finalmente ho avuto la possibilità di recensire questo mini cd (5 brani che sfiorano i venti minuti di durata) e ne ho ricevuto un'impressione abbastanza interlocutoria. I primi due pezzi "Prima Cosa" e "Liquidi Deluxe", ad esempio, con quel loro intreccio di chitarre "soniche" e voce altera sembrano presi direttamente dal repertorio dei Marlene Kuntz. Meglio il repertorio restante dove si affaccia una matrice inglese più spiccata (tipo My Bloody Valentine) e le composizioni trovano un respiro più ampio. Un timido inizio per una formazione troppo attenta alla forma e poco alla sostanza. (LucaM. Assante - http://www.freakout-online.com/)

- Prima cosa
- Liquidi deluxe
- Un sonno tranquillo
- Rover
- Sport


NORTHPOLE

Echobelly "Gravity Pulls"





Spiritualità? Beh, diciamo così. E' un gruppo nuovo quello he troviamo in questo disco. Decisamente sulla scia del penultimo lavoro, ma ancora più vaporosi e delicati, quasi spirituali, come dicevo. L'anima rock è stata messa da parte, ma le melodie non mancano di certo, basta solo chiudere gli occhi e sedersi...mentre una volta, con gli Echobelly, bisognava farsi largo sulla pista da ballo! Come cambiano le cose. (2004 Takeout)


Echobelly briefly found fame back in the mid-90s during 'Britpop'. At the time there was a huge amount of bands with a photogenic lead singer and a group of anonoymous looking blokes. So, despite the fact that Echobelly counted the far from faceless Debbie Jones as a bass player, they were lumped in with Sleeper, Belly, Salad and so on.
However, Britpop soon went sour and as with many other such 'movements', the public moved onto something else. Yet while Louise Wener started writing novels, Tanya Donelly launched a solo career, and Marijne Van Der Vlugt just, well, disappeared, Echobelly stuck together and continued releasing albums.
Gravity Pulls is the band's fifth album, and displays a different type of sound from their earlier days. Echobelly's trademark used to be infectiously catchy little pop songs married to some subversive lyrics, as on Give Her A Gun or I Can't Imagine The World Without Me. On Gravity Pulls, the intelligent wordplay remains but the melodies appear to have given way to a more 'mature' approach.
This is a shame, as Sonya Aurora Madan always had an ear for a decent tune. Tracks such as Close But on Everyone's Got One and especially former single Great Things were songs that were hard to get out of your mind but remained resolutely likeable not annoying. Here though the emphasis is more on dreamlike song structures and a very laid back approach. The results, while pleasant, can't help but be a disappointment.
There is some good stuff here though. The title track is a suitably beautiful opener and gives early notice that the band's indie days are long behind them. The pace rises slightly with the excellent You Started A Fire, which is probably the album's only concession to a commercial sound. Best of all, Strangely Drawn is a lovely, stately piano ballad. The minimal backing allows Madan's voice to really shine - a rarity here since the muggy production sometimes dulls her usually soaring vocals.
Too many of the songs though lie on the wrong side of blandness. The vast majority of the songs are mid-paced and sometimes come across as plodding. Tracks such as One In A Million and Djinn drift by pleasantly if unremarkably and sadly there isn't much to bring back the uncommitted listener for a repeat playing. It's good that the band have chosen to develop and evolve rather than produce pale imitations of former glories, but in ditching their previous sound they've lost what made them stand out in the first place.
Fans who have followed Echobelly throughout their career can buy Gravity Pulls safe in the knowledge that it continues and refines the direction followed in their previous release People Are Expensive. Others who only remember them from their heyday will probably be disappointed though. (John Murphy - http://www.musicomh.com/)


- Gravity Pulls
- To Get Me Thru the Good Times
- You Started a Fire in the Heart of a Wasted Life
- Djinn
- Big Sky Mind
- Strangely Drawn
- Good Day
- What You Deserve
- One in a Million
- All Tomorrow Brings

ECHOBELLY

Echobelly "People Are Expensive"




A me questo disco piace. Tocca momenti molto intensi, ragionati. Un gruppo che non parte più con l'accelleratore giù, ma riesce a calibrare grazia e grinta con precisione. Molti pezzi partono piano, con la chitarra acustica in rilievo e si muovono così, su coordinate più riflessive. Sonya pennella gentilmente. (2001 Fry Up)


Echobelly always looked like an exciting band on paper. Fronted by an articulate Anglo-Asian female singer and a black lesbian guitarist, they were a direct challenge to the laddish Britpop movement - but their records only occasionally matched the rhetoric and they faded from public view. This comeback album is a surprisingly muted affair, built around ambient experimentation and melancholy ballads rather than their old brand of guitar pop. It's a worthy effort but most of the songs sound alarmingly weary and dejected; ultimately there's very little here that really grabs the attention. A shame. (Andrew Lynch - http://entertainment.ie/)

Echobelly's fourth album, People Are Expensive (their first without core member Debbie Smith and the safety net of major label backing), sees the group finally rectifying the contrast between Sonya Aurora Maden's voice and her band's songs. Echobelly paint in far broader sweeps of emotion now, and this lustrous lusciousness works far better with Sonya's voice--a soothing caress, its emotional timbre worked uneasily on brash early numbers such as the Morrissey-esque "I Can't Imagine the World Without Me" and "Great Things". The elegiac "Dying" and mournful "Ondine", the laidback "Fear of Flying" and mantra-like "Kali Yuga" all deal in generals, not specifics, and the result is a far more coherent, mature version of Echobelly on their fourth, rather pleasing, album. (Jerry Thackray - http://www.amazon.co.uk/)

- Fear Of Flying
- Tell Me Why
- Down To Earth
- People Are Expensive
- Digit
- Dying
- Kali Yuga
- Everything Is All
- A Map Is Not The Territory
- Ondine
- Point Dume

ECHOBELLY

lunedì 25 gennaio 2010

Gene "Rising for Sunset"




Decisamente un buon live questo dei Gene uscito in edizione limitata, che testimonia due show tenuti al Troubador a Hollywood nel giugno del 2000.
Ci sono invero alcuni pezzi che non sopporto, ma Your love, It Lies mi mette in pace con il mondo e poi il finale (diciamo da For The dead in poi) è veramente esplosivo. (2000 Contra)


- Does He Have a Name? [Excerpt]
- Fill Her Up
- British Disease
- Where Are They Now?
- London, Can You Wait?
- Mayday
- As Good as It Gets
- Your Love, It Lies
- Rising for Sunset
- For the Dead
- Be My Light, Be My Guide
- Speak to Me Someone
- Olympian
- You'll Never Walk Again
- Somewhere in the World


GENE

sabato 23 gennaio 2010

Gene "Libertine"





Sprazzi, frammenti, momenti in cui rivedo gli splendidi Gene del passato, ma sono davvero attimi. Il disco fila via per lo più nella noia generale. Piatto come una tavola da surf. Forse solo la canzone d'apertura mi da un sussulto, con il suo buon arrangiamento, poi il resto faccio quasi fatica a ricordarlo, se non la canzone We'll get what we deserve, più che altro imbarazzante con la sua andatura reggae: faccio già fatica a vedere Martin in jeans, immaginatevi cosa vuol dire per me sentirlo cantare su una squallida andature reggae (il genere che io detesto più al mondo, assieme allo ska!). Indegna chiusura di un gruppo che comuqnue rimarrà nella storia. (2001 Contra Music)

Gene were once hailed as the likely successors to the Smiths' mournful guitar-rock throne, but then quickly and dramatically fell out of favor. Having weathered the Britpop years, however, the group resorted to setting up its own label to release this album. As a result Libertine is less grandiose and more emotional than its major-label predecessors, with lyrics steeped heavily in disintegrating relationships. Gene have lost much of the swagger that characterized their classic debut, Olympian, but they have not lost their soulful edge. "Is It Over" is a gorgeous piano ballad in the mold of the Style Council, while "Walking in the Shallows" revisits the bruised guitar rock of its vintage years. The adversity has not entirely done Gene in. (Aidin Vaziri - http://www.rollingstone.com/)

The music industry is an ideal setting for testing Darwin's theories of natural selection. To survive, you have to be strong (U2) and you absolutely must be able to adapt (Madonna). Some beasts are strong for a while but are unable to adjust to changing climes (Soundgarden), and are soon chosen for extinction. It's actually a beautiful thing to witness if you can maintain objectivity. Nature (the buying public) takes the reins from Man (the music industry) from time to time and corrects man's mistakes.
The English lads in Gene, however, don't fit in with any of these groups. Olympian, the band's debut album, surfaced in 1995 during England's Britpop heyday. They were lumped in with the Britpop bands, even though they belonged more with the jangle pop bands of the late '80s and early '90s like the Ocean Blue and Trash Can Sinatras. They were so late for the jangle party that the parents, Mother Morrissey and Father Marr, had already come home and called the police. By the late '90s, British rock was all but banned from US radio. Darwin's death knell for Gene seemed loud and clear.
Against all odds, however, Gene has found a way to survive. Their presence on the singles charts was never massive, yet like their beloved idols the Smiths, they have built a fiercely loyal following. Libertine, their new album, won't make anyone throw away their copies of Parklife, The Queen Is Dead or What's the Story (Morning Glory), but it is considerably better than one would expect. It lacks the guitar punch of their earlier work like "Fighting Fit", but that's almost beside the point. They're not the same band they were back then, which is all for the better.
"Let Me Move On" –- a recently recorded bonus track, no less -– starts things off, and it instantly recalls the other band with a hairdresser name: Travis (We will not count hairdresser forefathers James, as their status is in serious question with the recent departure of singer Tim Booth.). It's a perfectly fine mid-tempo number surrounded by, yes, jangly guitars and Martin Rossiter's Mozz-o-rama vocal trill, but nothing particularly special. They saved that, apparently, for song two.
"Does He Have a Name?" just might be their best work yet. It begins as modest chamber pop but slowly evolves into a brooding epic with a heavenly string-driven finale. Some bands learn economics over the course of their existence. The lesson Gene seems to have learned is trust. "Does He Have a Name?" and "Yours for the Taking" take their time to blossom –- the shorter of the two is six and a half minutes –- but these aren't Dave Matthews-type noodle jobs. The band has a purpose; they're simply not in a hurry.
"Is It Over" is a surefire candidate for breakup song of the year. "Do you want another lover / Do you tire of me", Rossiter moans. Drawing the word "over" out over about six syllables shows is perhaps slightly over-emoted, though it could be argued that with love songs, it's impossible to over-emote. In either case, Jarvis Cocker (Pulp) must be proud.
In fact, Cocker, along with his mates in Pulp, appears to be a sly influence here and there. "A Simple Request" feeds Rossiter's shaky tenor through what will now be known as the Bono Box (that processor U2 used on Achtung Baby and Zooropa) and suddenly what used to be Mini-Morrissey is now Could-Be-Cocker. The music also slinks along like those truculent cads that Cocker commonly sings about as well (Think "I Spy"). Since Pulp's career post-Different Class has been remarkably spotty at best, it's almost better to get Pulp songs from Gene than from Pulp themselves.
"We'll Get What We Deserve" answers that long unasked question: What would it sound like if you took a reggae beat, accompanied it with a Marley-esque organ, and filled in the rest with dirty blues guitar? Atypical Gene, to be sure, and something that probably shouldn't be pursued on the next record. Thankfully, the next song, "Walking in the Shallows", will erase "Deserve" from memory banks in a nanosecond. Impeccably crafted, filled with hand claps and woo hoo hoo backing vocals –- surely, the Lightning Seeds are seething with envy –- "Shallows" is sparkling British pop of the highest order.
While fans may dispute it, there is a reason why Gene never vaulted to the big leagues of Blur-Oasis-Smiths-Stone Roses-Radiohead status. They're a good band, but they're not a great band. But better to be a good band that doesn't reach superstar status than a lucky band with no chops that by sheer cosmic fluke scores a hit single. Libertine is proof that, as the saying goes, living can be the best revenge. I wonder what Darwin would say about them. (David Medsker - http://www.popmatters.com)


Libertine is the fourth album by Gene. Arriving at the height of Britpop with their 1994 debut Olympian, Gene were met with acclaim and the not-unjustified tag of London's answer to The Smiths. But as Britpop waned so did interest in Gene. Still, their defiant streak kept them going; rearing their heads at regular intervals with singles--"Fighting Fit", "We Could Be Kings", "Where Are They Now?"--clearly aimed at reminding the world of their existence. While their Libertine desperately lacks the kind of instant anthems that might reverse their fortunes, it is their most considered and affecting album to date. The Smiths references still stand proud in Martin Rossiter's voice and the dry wit of lyrics such as "O Lover"'s--"They're only broken plates / at least it's not your face that has to be Replaced"--along with grooves that slink as The Style Council's once did. And their resolve is similarly undiminished according to the 10CC-style hobo-country-reggae of "We'll Get What We Deserve". But it's the quietly epic "Does He Have a Name?" and "A Simple Request" --in which Rossiter pleads "When will I start happening for me?"--which assure that Gene have lost none of their grace or charm. If anything the slow-burning magic here suggests Gene thrive on all the blows life throws at them. (Dan Gennoe - http://www.amazon.co.uk/)


- Does he have a name?
- A simple request
- Is it over?
- O lover
- Let me rest
- We'll get what we deserve
- Walking in the shallows
- Yours for the taking
- You
- Spy in the clubs
- Somewhere in the world


GENE

Gene "Revelations"







Ci sono dischi che fin dalla copertina si intuisce che saranno brutti. Ecco, questo è uno. Dopo splendide copertine i Gene piazzano queta oscenità, e già la cosa mi preoccupava. Per non parlare poi di Martin con quei capelli!! Il singolo apripista non era poi così male, un bel pezzo pimpante e melodico con un testo bello tosto, ma l'attesa fu totalmente disillusa. L'inizio della fine, possiamo chiamarlo così questo album. Giunti al terzo album i Gene perdono in qualità e intensità, ma in modo verticale purtroppo. Certo, non siamo alle vette di decadenza dell'ultimo lavoro "Libertine", ma rispetto ai due precedenti lavori, beh, si rimane esterefatti di fronte a tanta povertà. E' come se fosse una collezioni di c-sides. Melodie sbiadite, tentativi disperati di innovazione (Fill Her Up e il suo coro da "cosacchi" mi fa rabbrividire solo al pensiero), idee poche e mummificate. Forse ci si concentra troppo su testi dal sapore politico, ma le melodie latitano drammaticamente. Per fortuna non tutto è disastrato, basti pensare alla magnifica You'll Never Walk Again che chiude in modo commovente ed epico il disco, pezzo in crescendo che può tranquillamente essere avvicinato ai momenti migliori del gruppo, ma è 1 episodio singolo, non supportato dal resto del lavoro. Fu davvero un gran dispiacere per me. (1998 Polydor)

By the release of Gene's third album in 1999, the popularity of the Brit-pop wave had all but dried up. Many of the band's peers had already headed off on a one way ticket to the great beyond, and Gene were generally considered to be the next victims. It really didn't help that the band's record company had recently gone through a buy-out, and the label were now in the process of sheding acts left and right.
Thusly, after spending a lot of time and money on Gene's sophomore album 'Drawn To The Deep End' with very little financial return, the label only gave the band a paltry four weeks to record the following LP 'Revelations'... And if that wasn't enough of a burden alone, Gene also decided to completely change their image and musical style.
The huge quiffs were shaved off, the grandad suits were swapped for Burberry polo shirts and the emotive, understated music of yore was thrown out for a set of rough and ready pop songs. It was a gauling and confusing time for the band's loyal fans, with the change seemingly supporting everything that Gene had once stood against (perhaps in order to rebell against the constant tag of being a Morrissey clone).... And then there was the disapointment of the album itself.
But perhaps we're getting off on the wrong foot here, because 'Revelations' isn't a total train wreck. In fact, it contains some of Gene's greatest ever songs. Big ballad 'Angel' demonstated that beneath all the bravado, the band still had a soft side, whilst the stomping autopilot glide of 'Something In The water' was a pleasent hark back to the early years. The power-pop guitars of 'Mayday' also provided something of a mild thrill.
And then there was the album's highlight in the form of the epic closing track 'You'll Never Walk Again'. Building up from tinkling piano, the track accumulates layer after layer until the whole thing finally erupts in a fountain of distorted guitar and fist-in-the-air anthemnics. It's a wonderful moment, and amoung the band's best.
But these tracks sit side-by-side with some of the band's worst. 'The Looker' is a slab of hookless guitars and clumsy lyrical odes to prostitutes(!). 'Little Child' has a lovely lyric about parenting, but is framed by an over-cluttered acoustic rock backing that murders the whole thing.... Talking about murder, what's with the lyrics of 'The Police Will Never Find You', with once fey-softie Martin Rossiter growling "Here's a note and a forcast / Because you hurt me too much / Those kneecaps look tender / Is a hammer enough?"...? This being from the same man who once crooned "I'll wait for the day / When you creep through the window and hold me / Smash into my life and just hold me / Don't let me go." GOOD LORD! The remainder of the tracks on the LP range from quite good ('Fill Her Up', 'In Love With Love') to completely mediocre ('Love Won't Work', 'As Good As It Gets').
In the end 'Revelations' turned out to be a mildly entertaining pop album that was nowhere near as good as the band's previous work. And was, both at the time and still to this day, a huge disapointment. But at least they got the whole 'hardman' thing out of their systems and moved on...
Although it didn't help them much, because the label still dropped them shortly afterward. (Tokyochuchu - http://www.sputnikmusic.com/)


ON GENE'S fourth album, the self-pitying swoons no longer dominate, as they did when the band trod too reverently in The Smiths' footsteps. Instead, Martin Rossiter and co have discovered political commitment, just as the New Labour administration appear to have lost theirs.
With sentiments such as "The greedy live off you and me/ This is the code, we can't break history" and "Strike first, the rich must be deprived", Revelations is probably the most overtly Marxist album released in the past four or five years - though the music is, sadly, rather less revolutionary, sticking firmly to the band's narrow indie purview. Still, tracks such as "As Good as it Gets" and "Mayday" accurately evoke the sullen disillusion of a land betrayed "when red became blue".
Gene's is a more positive move than most of their peers have managed in the face of indie decline, though the new "hard man" Rossiter, as evidenced on the last tracks ("The Police will Never find You" and "You'll Never Walk Again"), is less convincing. All that nonsense about Stanley knives just sounds so Morrissey, to be honest. (Andy Gill - http://www.independent.co.uk)


- As Good As It Gets
- In Love With Love
- Love Won't Work
- The British Disease
- Fill Her Up
- Something In The Water
- Mayday
- Angel
- The Looker
- Little Child
- Stop
- The Police Will Never Find You
- You'll Never Walk Again


GENE

giovedì 21 gennaio 2010

Mull Historical Society "Us"



Geniale, commovente, intenso, acuto, visionario. Un disco magnifico a mio avviso. Vola altissimo Colin e il suo pop diventa voce degli angeli. Tra mille rimandi (Smiths, Beatles, Grandaddy, Ed Harcourt, e chi più ne ha più ne metta) il sogno si fa a volte malinconico altre si inonda di luce abbagliante e ci porta a sorridere. Se l'indie pop deve avere un principino, beh, lo abbiamo trovato! (2003 Blanco Y Negro)


Colin MacIntyre, the creative force behind Mull Historical Society, has been jotting lyrics and blunting thumb tips since the age of six. Growing up on the Scottish island of the same name, the influence of his uncles touring tribute band led to a propensity for ego-free pop; music for the sake of shared enjoyment, instead of sucking in cheek cavities for the camera.
Years later, the result is a subtle, often mesmerising lyricism and playing style. 2001's Loss was a sunny, feel good, rabble rousing debut album. Us, however, is full of breezy melancholia and expands upon his outsider aesthetic to conjure a sense of magical otherness.
"The Final Arrears" creates an indie-lullaby with shades of Christmas carol, "Am I Wrong" treads a similar path; giving post break-up analysis an unreal calm. Shades of earlier, bouncy chart single "Xanadu" return for "Live Like The Automatics", which is perhaps the most commercial of the current bunch. It's certainly a much-needed antidote to the likes of "Asylum", which slides a little too close to Coldplay's excessive introspection for comfort.
Part Royston-Vasey, part Peter Kay, it's the minutiae of life on the fringes, of small town whimsy and wry observations that prove to be MacIntyre's currency. Up one minute, down the next, if Us were a mental condition it would be manic-optimistic. Fellow Scots Belle & Sebastian potter in similar kooky territory, while the occasional skirmish in the percussion cupboard recalls the trimmings of Super Furry Animals. The likes of "5 More Minutes", "Can" and "Us" peel back the production even further; exposing the accomplished singer songwriter by virtue of an almost solely acoustic delivery. In fact his closest musical kin would seem to be Ben Folds (formerly of the Ben Folds Five). Both being unassuming masters of their trade (Folds of the piano, MacIntryre of the guitar), elevated to the position of bedroom evangelists.
If the meek shall inherit the Earth, Mull Historical Society shall provide a template for the new world order. (Bren O'Callaghan - http://www.bbc.co.uk)

Mull Historical Society is the alias for one manband Colin MacIntyre. His second album, Us, could be seen as his Pet Sounds, especially as the resolutely sunny choruses and quirky sounds of his debut album, Loss, pegged him as the Inner Hebrides' answer to the Beach Boys. Where once bric-a-brac accompaniments lent idiosyncratic charm to his sweetly optimistic take on the trials of small-town life, here he creates magical landscapes. Even without the cosseting arrangements, the cosily swaying "Oh Mother" and "Clones" would be beautifully tender. "Live like the Automatic's" would be a rousing, headlong charge and the tear-stained "Don't Take Your Love Away from Me" would no doubt still have a tragically hopeful ring. But wrapped in an unobtrusive, yet fantastically sensual blanket of Beach Boys harmonies, swirling organs, tubular bells, plaintive pianos, woozy strings and twinkling harps, the innocence of MacIntyre's tunes is turned from twee to beguiling. With an ease of pace and heart-warming glow that's about as divorced from the grim trudge of reality as anything can be, there's nothing better to daydream to. (Dan Gennoe - http://www.amazon.com/)

- The Final Arrears
- Am I Wrong
- Oh Mother
- Asylum
- Live Like the Automatics
- Don't Take Your Love Away from Me
- Minister for Genetics & Insurance M.P.
- 5 More Minutes
- Gravity
- Can
- The Supermarket Strikes Back
- Clones
- Her Is You
- Us/Whiting of the People


MULL HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Mull Historical Society "Loss"





Dio salvi la Scozia, e in questo caso il buon Colin MacIntyre, uomo/gruppo che sfornava un gran bel dischetto. Ricco di tanti di quesi suoni che la metà bastano. Se guardate nelle recensioni è piano di riferimenti ad altri gruppi. Che dire? Beh, la carne al fuoco non manca veramente. La materia pop viene presa e modellata in tutte le sue forme, anche se il fatto di venire dalla Scozia la dice lunga su quale sia il punto di partenza, musicalmente parlando. Buon divertimento (2001 Blanco Y Negro)

Do you long for the pop of a past era-- say, the early 70s? Do you like lots of instruments, whether they all belong in a song or not? Are you into artists who seem to be full bands at first, but then turn out to be just one guy with lots of musical friends? Well, if you answered yes to any of those inquiries, come with me, I'd like to take you on a tour of the Mull Historical Society. If you answered no to all of them, come along anyway-- we won't be long.
As your guide to the Mull Historical Society, I'd like to note that it's not my job to stick up for the Society's output so much as it is to inform you about the Society and all it has to offer. With this in mind, let's proceed directly to an overview before delving a little more deeply: Mull Historical Society is not a full band, nor even a society, but rather the creative vehicle of songwriter Scottish Colin MacIntyre. MacIntyre nets a massive haul of guest players, choirs and orchestras to serve his compositions, in much the same way that Neil Hannon used to for the Divine Comedy, or, perhaps more aptly, in the same way that Jake Shillington does for My Life Story. The vintage of his songcraft is probably about 1971 or so, though the production and arranging techniques he implements are more modern.
MacIntyre's voice is a high, nasal whine, extremely similar to Kevin Junior of the Chamber Strings, or kind of like Lindsay Buckingham with a slight cold. It serves his classicist pop melodies quite well, and you could never accuse him of writing out of his range or being off in his delivery. The real problem arises from the fact that, while his songs are fundamentally simple, MacIntyre would prefer you didn't realize how basic they are, piling on everything and the kitchen sink in a transparent attempt to cover up the lacking songwriting. The supersize approach works for some of the songs, but by and large, these tracks suffocate under overambitious arrangements.
The good news is, there are some really good songs here-- even if some of them are hidden under impenetrable piles of arrangement. And there are even a few that aren't hidden at all, like "This Is Not Who We Were," one of the few songs that gets up off its ass and ramps up the tempo up a bit. It almost rocks! "Animal Cannabus" gets by mostly unscathed, too, though a preponderance of add-on synths and bells threatens it several times.
The best song, though, is probably "Watching Xanadu." Why, if it had only been released 27 years ago, you'd be hearing it on those midnight ads for those AM Gold CDs that nobody actually seems to have in their collection when you come to visit. Still, it'll certainly get the guilty pleasure juice boiling in your loins, with its remarkably infectious chorus and swooning Burt Bacharach candor.
But then there's the rest, and though you could hardly call any of it flat out bad, most of it suffers from one or more afflictions that keep it from being all that engaging. "Barcode Bypass" is probably the sparsest song here, and its weird, dark choral ending is pretty neat, but god only knows why they chose to drag it out to the seven-minute mark, stretching it further than it could realistically stay interesting. "Public Service Announcer" and "I Tried" collapse under their own weight before they can really get going anywhere; "Only I" is like Rufus Wainwright Jr. with a bigger orchestra and an overload of trumpet bombast.
"Mull Historical Society" functions not only as MacIntyre's signature song, but also as his project's aggressive human resources department, beckoning "Come on and join us" over and over again amidst a ridiculous arrangement of horns, synthesized steel drums and electronics that's so cluttered it makes my desk look orderly. The Mull Historical Society Children's Choir struggles to inject life into the leaden beat of "Instead," but can barely be heard over the orchestra and a barrage of effects.
And that concludes our little tour. At this point, you should have a fairly good idea of what to expect from Mull Historical Society. Really, if MacIntyre didn't overpopulate his songs with so many sounds, he could have a pretty decent record on his hands. But as it stands, he does, and it hurts this album a lot. Less is more, and Loss is middling. (Joe Tangari - http://pitchfork.com/)

Mull Historical Society seem to live in a hermetically-sealed world on Loss, like their indie peers Clearlake and Belle and Sebastian, where reality is glimpsed only through a filter of fanciful fantasy. Named after a genuine society, dedicated to the preservation of tradition on their home island--the Isle Of Mull, in the Inner Hebrides--Mull are a Scottish band of a familiarly twee mould. A mere duo, consisting of frontman and songwriter Colin MacIntyre and bassist Alan Malloy, their sound is bolstered on this debut with a jumble-sale haul of queer, quirky little touches: an alarm bell ringing in the background of "Public Service Announcer"; a children's choir, accompanying the whimsical, gently unfolding "Instead"; and a mixture of samples, electronics, and imaginatively-utilised household instruments, billowing out of this record's numerous nooks and crannies. It's easy to see whispers of Mercury Rev--albeit, a Rev transplanted from the backwoods of Middle America to the sandy, windswept beach of a remote Scottish island--providing an inspiration for some Mull's wide-eyed tales. If you can hack MacIntyre's occasional simpering tone, the likes of "Barcode Bypass"--the tragic tale of the closing of the local cornershop--or "I Tried"--heartbreak, rendered as a chugging, theremin-accompanied indie-rock anthem-- offer a world so pure, so untainted, it's got to be worth a visit. (Louis Pattison - http://www.amazon.co.uk/)


- Public Service Announcer
- Watching Xanadu
- Instead
- I Tried
- This Is Not Who We Were
- Barcode Bypass
- Only I
- Animal Cannabus
- Strangeways Inside
- Mull Historical Society
- Paperhouses


MULL HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Monaco "Monaco"





Secondo disco e fine della festa per i Monaco, che anche qui fanno un bel minestrone di suoni, colori ed emozioni, passando dal pop alla dance in men che non si dica. Resta un disco piacevole, anche se lo scintillio dell'esordio si è perso per strada (2000 Papillon)


- I've Got a Feeling
- Life Apart
- Kashmere
- Bert's Theme
- Ballroom
- See-Saw
- Black Rain
- It's a Boy
- End of the World
- Marine


MONACO

martedì 19 gennaio 2010

Fool's Garden "For Sale"





Decisamente più riflessivo e intenso rispetto ai lavori che precedenti. E la cosa non è certo un male. Certo il pop quando arriva è dolce come una caramella di zucchero (penso a Suzy o She's So Happy to Be), ma i ritmi si fanno anche più languidi e rallentati, con cognizione di causa però, non certo perchè l'aria che tirava era quella del guitar (brit) pop che stava un pò andando in disuso e allora era necessario il cambio di rotta forzato. Sotto il primo ascolto di malinconia i nostro tedeschi piazzano ancora melodie piacevolissime e il tutto scorre in modo intenso e naturale! Bravi! (2000 BMG)

German quintet Fool's Garden's fourth album combines a fondness for radio-friendly pop with what, on paper, would seem like a contradictory affection for AOR/prog rock atmospherics -- splashy guitar solos and wailing strings. In reality, the formula works decently enough most of the time, producing a bunch of songs that are tuneful and accessible, if occasionally prone to excess. A good half of the songs on For Sale are cast in the chirpy, bouncy mold of Fool's Garden's one hit to date, 1998's "Lemon Tree." "Suzy" steals Robert Plant's vocal wail at the end of "Stairway to Heaven" and turns it into a synth riff on a song that already boasts an inescapable vocal hook and an infectious, sub-reggae rhythm. "Pure" sounds like it escaped off the Beatles' Anthology. And "Allright" is tuneful all right, but would have fared better, perhaps, if guitarist Volker Hinkel hadn't used it as a forum to air his chops so emphatically. When the band chooses to indulge its fondness for easy pathos, it results in overproduced, melodramatic tunes that just cry out for a lighter touch -- like "Save Me." This failing is what makes For Sale no more than eminently listenable. Next time, perhaps, Fool's Garden will go on to make the joyous full-on pop album that seems to be trying to emerge from the failed experiments on display here. (Leslie Mathew - http://www.cduniverse.com/)

- Who Are You
- Allright
- Suzy
- Missing
- Save Me
- She's So Happy to Be
- It Can Happen
- Interlude
- In the Name
- Still
- Pure
- Monday Morning Girl
- Noone's Song
- Happy


FOOL'S GARDEN

Fool's Garden "Dish Of The Day"





Parto dal presupposto che mi sono avvicinato con tanta diffidenza ai simpatici tedeschi, perchè queta dannata Lemon Tree proprio non mi andava giù. Tutt'ora la trovo una canzone terribile. Ecco che, sbagliando, mi immaginavo un gruppo povero di idee, buono giusto per la pubblicità. Appunto sbagliavo. Melodie semplici, un guitar pop rock di pregevole fattura che rimanda a gente come Beatles, Queen (una spruzzatina), Sting (ma si, pure lui) o gli U2, che tutto sommato sono sempre un buon termine di paragone. Melodie solari e decisamente accattivanti in qualche particolare frangente, con arrangiamenti che veleggiano sicuri e tranquilli. Un disco ben fatto, decisamente. E quindi grazie a voi, cari lettori del blog, per averlo richiesto a voce alta! (1995 EMI)


- Ordinary Man
- Meanwhile
- Lemon Tree
- Pieces
- Take Me
- Wild Days
- The Seal
- Autumn
- The Tocsin
- Finally
- One Fine Day


FOOL'S GARDEN

lunedì 18 gennaio 2010

The Cardigans "First Band on the Moon"





Arriva il succeso grazie all'adorabile "Lovefool" e tutto fila via alla perfezione, dolce come lo zucchero filato, ma leggero come una brezza sulla spiaggia...(1996 Island)

I Cardigans cambiarono radicalmente le loro tonalità malinconiche con altre più allegre con First Band on the Moon (Mercury, 1996), e questo li fece conoscere al grande pubblico, Lovefool segnava la quintessenza del loro kitsch barocco. Il resto dell'album era leggermente superiore allo standard della band (Your New Cuckoo). (Piero Scaruffi - http://www.scaruffi.com/)

They're from Jonkoping, Sweden, and if cocktail pop becomes the next musical fad, they will be the biggest band in the world in addition to being the first band on the moon. Or to have released an album called FIRST BAND ON THE MOON at any rate. The Cardigans play the sort of jazzy, immaculately-arranged, long out-moded music popular in cocktail lounges back in the '60s.
England's Mike Flowers pop (who took a cocktail pop version of an Oasis song into the British charts) and Japan's Pizzicato Five (who do songs with titles like "Twiggy Twiggy/Twiggy vs. James Bond") are contemporaries of the Cardigans... but they're less strange. One of the Cardigans' favourite movie is THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER. They're influenced by old cartoon theme music. They do jazz-lite Black Sabbath covers or acapella Ozzy Osborne songs on their albums.
For FIRST BAND ON THE MOON, their third album, the Sabbath anthem of choice is "Iron Man," and hearing Nina Persson sing "ooooh, Iron Man" and then tag a string of boop-boop-be-boop beep-beep-de-beep's to tne end of the song is bound to strike a perverse chord in anybody's soul. If you've heard the original and find yourself grinning like a lunatic even as you sing along to the Cardigans' take on it, don't worry, you're not the only one.
The opinions of the founding fathers of heavy metal on these dubious tributes have yet to be recorded, but personally I'd like to hear Ozzy sing background harmony on the chorus of "Lovefool," the first single from this album, a song so unfeasibly bouncy and full of inane "love me love me" lyrics that it deserves to be a hit. Like "Rise and Shine" from their previous album, LIFE, it's the kind of song that's so chirpy it musically gives you it's happy-happy-joy-joy message irregardless of what the lyrics are. If you don't succumb, you are either Dr. Chee Soon Juan before the Special Privileges Committee, or are just having a really really bad day.
Most of the album, however, doesn't share with "Lovefool" it's bubbly optimism. Even though some of the songs on FIRST BAND ON THE MOON swing in the same carefree, sunshine-in-the-countryside way of those found on LIFE, the general swing is towards an uncharacteristic, even disturbing melancholia. The horns and flutes are still there and are as candy-sweet as ever, but the beat is less irrepressible, the melodies are moodier. "Heartbreaker" works in a dolorous Black Sabbath guitar to lines like "Lies make me feel fine although it is sad," and "Losers" plainly features characters who are "fucked up and annoying." "Choke" ends the album with "We'll never have the guts to discover/we'll choke on it and die...." Ugly.
Elsewhere, things are more cheerfully off-centre. Nina Persson seems to be up to some deliberate mischief when she sings on the "kinky thoughts I'm thinking all because of you" on "Happy Meal II," and on "Been It" she tells her "Baby boy... I've been your sister, I've been your mistress/Maybe I was your whore/Who can ask for more." Who can indeed.
These are lean days when angst instead of humour and creativity seems to be thought of as musically credible. Eccentricity which isn't a one-off novelty is something of a precious commodity, and a band whose members like Thin Lizzy, yet can't play rock n' roll, and who hail from a country where "the sun is so dark," yet come up with songs that are full of sunshine, is a veritable godsend. And anyway, who can ever have enough cocktail pop covers of Black Sabbath. Ladies and gents, have some pink soda pop in a champagne rummer and drink to the Cardigans. (Gerald Tan - http://gt.webvis.net/)

In this world of cookie-cutter, post-alternative bands, the Cardigans are fueled by a deep and abiding faith in novelty. The word kitsch has already earned a permanent place in most descriptions of this Swedish band, which is inevitable when the straw that stirs your particular lounge-pop drink is often a flute. The flute is an important part of the Cardigans' musical armory, as are the melodies of Black Sabbath, which they cover with alarming regularity. And in a radical break from Swedish tradition, the Cardigans' name doesn't begin with the letter A.
Yet with First Band on the Moon, their second U.S. album, the Cardigans prove to be more than the sum of their gimmicks. The music remains cotton-candy sweet, but vocalist Nina Persson and guitarist Peter Svensson temper the giddiness with strikingly downbeat songwriting. Persson is a coy, supercute bubblegum vocalist – Betty Boop meets Kirsty MacColl – but Persson's airy lack of affectation actually deepens her dark, romantic sentiments when she chirps cheerily about her status as a willingly deceived doormat in the hitworthy single "Lovefool" or commands "Tell me I'm good/I know I'm bad," in "Heartbreaker."
The Cardigans' busy orchestrations and quirky adornments drip with the fizz of '60s pop and cocktail jazz, but the group doesn't hide behind its cleverness. First Band on the Moon, with its insinuating melodies and carefully crafted, bittersweet fun, is truly sophisticated and irony-free, except for the Cardigans' take on that most iconographic of Sabbath anthems, "Iron Man." It's a thrill to hear Persson purr, "Heavy boots of lead/Fills his victims full of dread," over a Jim Hall-style jazz-guitar figure. But in the end it can never be anything but a joke. Especially if it gets released as a single. (Jason Cohen - http://www.rollingstone.com/)


- Your New Cuckoo
- Been It
- Heartbreaker
- Happy Meal II
- Never Recover
- Step On Me
- Lovefool
- Losers
- Iron Man
- Great Divide
- Choke


THE CARDIGANS

venerdì 15 gennaio 2010

Echobelly "Best of Echobelly: I Can't Imagine World Without Me"






Concludo la prima parte dela crociata pro Echobelly, in attesa degli altri due album, con questo Best Of, piuttosto ricco e completo. (2001 Epic)


- I Can't Imagine the World Without Me
- Insomniac
- Call Me Names
- Great Things
- World Is Flat
- Here Comes the Big Rush
- We Know Better
- King of the Kerb
- Cold Feet Warm Heart
- Atom
- Close... But
- Father Ruler King Computer
- Bellyache
- Iris Art
- Give Her a Gun
- Today Tomorrow Sometime Never
- Car Fiction [French Version]
- Dark Therapy [Single Version]


ECHOBELLY

Echobelly "Everybody's Got One"









Esordio magnifico e bruciante. Descritti come degli Smiths con voce femminile gli Echobelly sanno comunque muoversi ottimamente con le loro gambe, forti di pregevolissime melodie e di una fanciulla come Sonia che ha grinta e personalità da vendere, piazzando anche dei testi tutt'altro che banali. Qui è storia signori e signore, la storia del Brit Pop! (1994 Epic)

The album is Everybody's Got One or EGO for short, thus the pun and point of the title. Given that Echobelly's work clearly echoes one of the great English self-obsessives, Morrissey, it's an appropriate enough tag for the quintet's full debut. Madan perhaps gained a little too much U.K. press attention based over the surprising fact that she was non-Caucasian and non-male as opposed to her own qualities straight up -- a pity, because they're considerable. While her singing voice comes across a touch weak here and there compared to the crunch of her band, lessening the overall impact as a result, she hits the spot more than once to make an impact. That she does indeed have something of Morrissey's vocal swoops and tics, and that guitarist Glenn Johansson knows his Johnny Marr and more, means Echobelly aren't a truly distinct and great group, but certainly have the foundations for a good one, as shown throughout. Madan's own life experiences provide some sharp grist for the mill. "Father Ruler King Computer" obliquely tackles the expectations from her Anglo-Indian family background of being a housewife and solely that, while "Give Her a Gun" heats up the feminist rhetoric further with smart, sharp lines like "Half the population/one percent of the wealth/blame the mother/sell the sister." At the band's best, though, Madan grapples with personal politics and dreams full on -- "Insomniac" and "Close...But," with its pictures of relationships fracturing on all fronts and resolution to look beyond them for something better, make for entertaining blasts of inspiration. Perhaps most outrageous and outrageously successful is the group's best single, "I Can't Imagine the World Without Me." With trumpet and strings adding to the anthemic rip and soar of the mid-song break, it's a sparkling mini-masterpiece of Brit-pop; sassy, tuneful and memorable all at once. (Ned Raggett - All Music Guide)



- Today Tomorrow Sometime Never
- Father Ruler King Computer
- Give Her a Gun
- I Can't Imagine the World Without Me
- Bellyache
- Taste of You
- Insomniac
- Call Me Names
- Close...But
- Cold Feet Warm Heart
- Scream


ECHOBELLY

Echobelly "Lustra"






Il disco giusto ma al momento sbagliato. Lustra non riceve tutta l'attenzione e le recensioni che merita e così segna l'inizio della parabola discendente per gli Echobelly. Eppure qui c'è un pò la summa di una carriera, con il guitar pop intenso del gruppo che si dimostra versatile anche in arrangiamenti nuovi, più elaborati e ricercati. Sonia ci delizia come sempre. (1997 Epic)


- Bulldog Baby
- I'm Not a Saint
- Here Comes the Big Rush
- Iris Art
- World Is Flat
- Everyone Knows Better
- Wired On
- O
- Bleed
- Paradise
- Angel
- Lustra


ECHOBELLY

Echobelly "On"












Se penso agli Echobelly penso Brit Pop. Li adoravo, ma non scherzo. la mia era proprio amore e venerazione, e pensare che non li ho mai visti dal vivo, ed è un grande rimpianto. Guitar pop iper melodico e l'angioletto diabolico Sonia che ci delizia con la sua voce. In questo disco poi ci sono, a mio avviso, i singoli migliori del gruppo e il resto è su pregevolissimi livelli. Figli del loro tempo, certo, ma di una freschezza assoluta. (1995 Sony)


...L'album On (550 Music, 1995) ripete il trucco, sfoderando pero` un paio di riff brucianti (Car Fiction e King Of The Kerb) e la radiosa melodia folkrock di Great Things (forse il loro capolavoro). Go Away sfrutta per la millesima volta il trucco di un ritornello puerile su una distorsione galattica e da li` in poi il disco e` tutto in ripida discesa. L'elaborata Dark Therapy tenta invano di costruire armonie piu` coraggiose. Questa volta il nerbo c'e`: mancano ancora le buone canzoni. (Piero Scaruffi - http://www.scaruffi.com/)

Echobelly leader singer Sonia Aurora-Madan is a 90s kind of female pop star: she's really got nothing to complain about, but, in every interview I've seen with her, she seems to be intent on being seen as relevant. Unfortunately , her confused socio-political rhetoric often makes her come off as the very bubble-headed stereotype she so vehemently decries. Aurora-Madan is the kind of girl Michael Stipe could love (and indeed, he does love her band): a sloganeering, politically correct mouthpiece who spews hatred directed at all the proper "isms" (race/sex and so on) but whose actual commitment (besides getting her name in the music press) is seemingly quite questionable.
I must admit, having read a lot of Aurora-Madan's interviews before hearing her band, I was hoping to be able to totally write Echobelly off as an entity as shallow as she often seems. Yet this album, the follow-up to last year's UK Top 10 Everybody's Got One, does contain its fair share of pleasing pop. At its best, this music that makes you feel through sheer inspired craft: Aurora-Madan's affected vocal style--while surely not for everyone--more often than not meshes agreeably with the shimmering, gigantic riffing of Glen Johansson on guitar. Even the clunkers usually have a redeeming, hum-alone feature or two that elevates them above the merely mundane.
The album leads off in fine style with "Car Fiction," a fast-paced number inspired by (according to Aurora-Madan) the work of Quentin Tarantino - which at this point is surely a bit of bandwagon-hopping, but at least it rocks. It's very early 80s new-wavy, with lost of guitar-driven energy, and lyrics that are merely serviceable: "Run run away / maybe we can run away". This is Echobelly at its best: nothing profound, not trying for anything beyond its grasp. It's over fast, and you'd like to play it again.
"King of the Kerb" is also mid-tempo hooky, with a vague lyric seemingly berating young male hoodlums who hand out on street corners and get mixed up with street crime. As is usual with Aurora-Madan's lyrics when she tries to get all messagey, the result is both confused and confusing. "They're the kings of the kerb / and everybody knows what they're worth" is fine as a near-rhyme, but upon closer inspection seems a bit smug and lacking in depth, somewhat like the singer herself. In Aurora-Madan's utopian world-view, everyone would be nicey-nice and lovey-dovey, but she seems at a loss to offer a roadmap to this promised land, indicating that, as in her interviews, she's tackling subject matter here which would be in her case better left alone.
"Great Things," a UK hit, is Echobelly at its most chirpy and vapid. "I wanna do great things / I don't wanna compromise" is at least as heavy a sentiment as is usually offered up by that other great philosopher, Belinda Carlisle; it's hard to afford Aurora-Madan her oft-stated demand to be taken seriously when she comes up with clunkers like this, an obvious attempt at a hit single and pop "sooper-stardom" (even if it does sneak in a masturbation reference- tres chic!). Believe me, Elastica this ain't. However, it may do for those who think Rod McKuen is a poetic genius.
Happily, most of On avoids the actuality of "Great Things," and instead strives--if not always achieving-- for what that song theoretically embraces. The record picks up steam as it winds through tracks like the agreeably dramatic "Natural Animal," Aurora-Madan's take on the nature vs nurture question in which she discards the analysis and goes for the passion instead. "Go Away" veers a little too close to the obvious, sappy territory of "Great Things," but "Pantyhose and Roses" springs things back to life with a witty take on bourgeois manners and the twisted passions that lie beneath (ok, it's not original, but the quirky little reggaefied riff and Aurora-Madan's feisty delivery save the day).
Frankly, what really keeps me listening here is the totally rockin' guitar that Johansson splatters all over tracks like "Four Letter Word," forcing Aurora-Madan to sink or swim. "Nobody Like You" also shakes a bit, but it may remind those familiar with glories of the Smiths (to whom Echobelly is oft-compared) of a kind of B version of the same. Johansson may be able to approriate Johnny Marr, but the profundity and wit of Morrissey at his best is out of Aurora-Madan's artistic reach.
Echobelly are thus at their best when they stay within the limits of guitar-heavy pop with a slight twist; true greatness will never be theirs, even if the likes and Stipe and Courtney Love are now lining up to court them, whiffing a possible breakthrough. As downright competent and pleasing as it can sometimes be, On won't be causing Justine Frischmann any sleepless nights. (John Walker - http://www.westnet.com/)



- Car Fiction
- King of the Kerb
- Great Things
- Natural Animal
- Go Away
- Pantyhose and Roses
- Something Hot in a Cold Country
- Four Letter Word
- Nobody Like You
- In the Year
- Dark Therapy
- Worms and Angels


ECHOBELLY

mercoledì 13 gennaio 2010

Biglietti omaggio per Ian Brown, 19 gennaio Milano.

Per la prima volta faccio un post senza dischi.
Mi spiego.
Come sapete io conduco una trasmissione radiofonica che si chiama "Melting Pop" dedicata all'indie pop rock. Va in onda tutti i giovedì sulle frequenza di Radio Popolare Verona (104 fm) e la potete anche sentire in replica ogni venerdì dalle ore 21 sulla web radio www.yastaradio.com
Potete leggere le mie scalette ogni settimana qui sul blog...direi che le cose buone non mancano.
Spesso metto anche biglietti in palio per concerti vari. Ho pensato che potrei usare il mio blog per segnalarvi quando ci sono in palio dei biglietti per concerti davvero interessanti, così anche chi non ha mai ascoltato MP potrebbe avere un valido motivo in più.
In questo caso i biglietti omaggio riguardano il live di Ian Brown a Milano il 19 gennaio. Personaggio storico per il pop Uk che quindi con il mio blog va a nozze!!
Eccovi il comunicato e buona fortuna (e buon ascolto ovviamente)...

Indipendente Concerti e Ja.La Media Activities mettono in palio 2 biglietti per il concerto di Ian Brown, ex cantante degli Stone Roses, che il 19 gennaio sarà ai Magazzini Generali di Milano per il suo unico live in Italia.
Gli ascoltatori di Melting Pop, in onda giovedì sera dalle ore 21 su Radio Popolare Verona e venerdì sera dalle ore 21 su www.yastaradio.com, potranno partecipare al concorso per aggiudicarsi i 2 biglietti.
Ho deciso così, in modo da dare la possibilità di vincere sia agli ascoltatori di Verona e provincia, sia a chi ascolta la trasmissione in replica perchè ovviamente non trova Radio Popolare Verona fra le sue frequenze radio.
Nel corso della puntata passerò un brano di Ian Brown, entro le ore 22.30 (farà fede l'ora di invio della mail),sia giovedì 14 che venerdì 15, sarà possibile inviare una mail a radiopopolarevr@libero.it indicando da che album è tratto il brano e nome e cognome di chi partecipa al concorso (un nome solo per mail, grazie).
Fra tutti quelli che risponderanno esattamente saranno estratti 2 fortunati vincitori che saranno ovviamente contattati via mail con le indicazioni su come ritirare i biglietti vincenti. Beh, buon ascolto e buona fortuna!

Aloha. Ricky

Dweeb "Turn You On"







Diamo atto ai ragazzi che almeno al disco ci sono arrivati, e hanno pure messo tre bonus track. Cosa volere di più? L'elettro pop punk del trio segue decisamente la scia dei Bis, ma lo fa con meno ironia a mio avviso. Eppure in certi momenti riescono ad affrancarsi da uno stile ripetitivo e pescano dal cilindro melodie e arrangiamenti di tutto rispetto! Li ricordo con gran piacere, questo si! (1998 Blanco Y Negro)

- Intro
- Oh Yeah, Baby
- 100 MPH.
- Beautiful Thing (She's So Radical)
- Scooby Doo
- Everything's Fine
- Buzzsong
- Intermission
- I.O.U. Everything
- Me & You
- Last Girl In The World
- No Hit Wonder
- I Need You
- Elastic Love
- Retard
- Goodbye


DWEEB

Silver Sun "B Is For Silver Sun"



Certo che in alcuni casi i giapponesi sono proprio fortunati, pensa te che i SS hanno fatto ben due dischi di B-sides per quel mercato.
Ecco il secondo, e naturalmente a pensare a questi pezzi come B-sides ti viene un colpo. I primi trionfali Silver Sun, tutti power pop, super melodie sulla spiaggia a duettare con i Beach Boys mentre le tavole da surf sono pronte per lanciarsi sulle onde. Fantastico! (1997 Polydor)

- Tokyo E Ikitai
- 17 Times
- In Nature
- High Times
- It Couldn't Be You
- She'll Do
- Angel Eyes
- Made For You
- Reasons To Live
- American Metal


SILVER SUN

martedì 12 gennaio 2010

Silver Sun "Neo Wave"









Se il primo disco era un tripudio scintillante di Beach Boys nel paradiso del pop uk, con un power pop da capogiro, il secondo disco dei Silver Sun frena decisamente gli entusiasmi e dello spirito dell'esordio sembrano essersi un pò perse le motivazioni e gli stimoli. Certo sono sempre loro, e ogni tanto si sente che il tocco magico non è poi svanito del tutto, ma il tono è più dimesso, si punta anche su ballate, e le armonie vocali non sono più così acute e splendenti. Peccato. (1998 Polydor)

Silver Sun's debut album was filled with sunny harmonies that sounded like The Beach Boys cross-bred with Cheap Trick, and despite the novelty value of that combination, the songs worked. Getting it to work again, however, is more difficult. With Neo Wave, Silver Sun have created a disc that is a blatant throwback to mid-70s power-pop (see the Cheap Trick lyrical reference on "Mustard": "Don't try this at home kids, it's a cheap Cheap Trick") and while at times the formula works, it often falls flat. Some songs, such as "I'll See You Around" and "Would've If I Could've" recall the exuberance of the debut, but the album is weighed down with several shoddy ballads and one pointless instrumental as well as a lot of needless filler. When they hit the mark, such as they do a few times on this album, Silver Sun is great late '90s power pop. When they miss, as they do on much of this album, the result is at best embarrassing. (Jason Damas - All Music Guide)



- Cheerleading
- I'll See You Around
- Would've If I Could've
- Too Much Too Little Too Late
- Scared
- There Goes Summer
- Sharks
- Prophet Of The Prairie
- Mustard
- Pixie Pixie
- Hey Girl Friend
- Only A Girl
- Special Powers
- Fire And Blood
- Patients
- Dead End


SILVER SUN

Haven "Between The Senses"











Qui andiamo proprio sul classico. Quel guitar pop made in Uk che grande ha fatto un gruppo come i Travis o i primi Coldplay, in realtà negli Haven ci si possono trovare dei veri e propri slanci lirici e di intensità che li possono quasi accostare ai Puressence. Se Johnny Marr è un "faroguida" del gruppo, beh, direi che il biglietto da visita è assai interessante. (2002 Radiate)


If popular journalism is to believed then the future of indie guitar rock lies in young upstarts such as Hundred Reasons or Lostprophets. In all honesty groups such as these offer little but light relief for the highly lucrative teenage angst market. On their debut album Haven aim a little higher, with half of this album being satisfying on more than one level. Allied with some intricate guitar playing is Gary Briggs's impressive vocal register; both attributes comparable to the soon-to-be reactivated Puressence. First single 'Say Something' inclined towards safe Coldplay/Travis territory, but the next single 'Til The End' and also 'Out Of Reach' proved them to be purveyors of intense, melodic guitar music. Just as the album seems to descend towards a rather pedestrian ending 'Is This Bliss' and 'Keep On Giving In' lead to a quietly impressive finale. With a couple of possible directions open to them after this album, it will be interesting to see which route Haven choose to travel next. (http://www.leonardslair.co.uk/)

Between the Senses, the debut album by tender Cornish rock balladeers Haven, shuffles into the spotlight with no mean amount of expectation resting upon its slender shoulders. Not only was this band relocated to Manchester under the guiding hand of Joe Moss, ex-manager of The Smiths, but Between the Senses was produced by that band's stellar guitarist, Johnny Marr. This pedigree suggests that there's something truly great brewing in the imaginations of these four young men. Far from The Smiths' sprightly witticisms, however, Haven display a grounding in more traditional rock touchstones like Buffalo Springfield and Quicksilver Messenger Service. These are songs of sweeping anthem and ornate ambition, songs that pad along the well-trodden path of earnest indie-rock, snapping hungrily at Coldplay's heels. While "Beautiful Thing" and "Say Something" swoon up there with the best of them, Between the Senses does feel a little threadbare towards the end, let down by a reliance on mid-pace rock songs and a limited palette of moods. Ultimately, this is a sturdy, competent debut. But for Haven to really live up to their much-vaunted potential, they're going to have to come up with something that resonates with a power that right now sounds maddeningly just beyond their grasp. (Louis Pattison - http://www.amazon.co.uk)

- Beautiful Thing
- Where Is The Love
- Say Something
- Out Of Reach
- Still Tonight
- I Need Someone
- Til The End
- Lately
- Let It Live
- Is This Bliss
- Keep On Giving In
- Holding On



HAVEN

Murry The Hump "Don't Slip Up"



Altro singoletto per i ragazzi. Qualità sempre alta! (2001 Too Pure)

- Don't Slip Up
- Pigs On Parade
- Kebab Or Shag

MURRY THE HUMP

domenica 10 gennaio 2010

Murry The Hump "Cracking Up"



E questi ci sapevano davvero fare!! Gran bel singoletto. Niente da dire. (2001 Too Pure)

- Cracking Up
- No Girl No Sex
- Travel

MURRY THE HUMP

sabato 9 gennaio 2010

The Cardigans "Emmerdale"







Un magnifico esordio....in punta di piedi. Toc Toc...chi è? Sono Nina, l'angelo biondo. E in ginocchio apriamo la porta e che l'incanto abbia inizio....(1994 Trampolene)

For most folks, The Cardigans is the very definition of Swedish pop. That's regrettable given the criminal neglect on these shores of Sweden's finest exports -- The Merrymakers, Eggstone, and This Perfect Day. Still, you can't deny the irresistible appeal of Nina Persson's cooing, the jazzy chords, breezy melodies, and ironically dark undertone to some of the most cheery, bubblegummy-sounding music of the last 5 years. As evidenced by their first album Emmerdale, issued here for the first time along with a 4 track bonus disc, The Cardigans were perfecting this gold formula well before "Lovefool" broke them out of Euro pop obscurity here in the States. "Sick & Tired" could well be "Lovefool Part 1," while "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" is a tribute to seemingly incongruous love for heavy metal that a majority of these bandmates share. (Sarah Zupko - http://www.popmatters.com/)

Il chitarrista Peter Svensson ed il bassista Magnus Sveningsson (che aveva suonato in alcune band heavy metal), formarono a Malmo i Cardigans. La cantante Nina Persson divenne ben presto il principale punto di attrazione della band grazie proprio alla sua voce sensuale, morbida, e sognante. Il loro primo esordio, Emmerdale (Trampolene, 1994), è un album triste e introverso, che sembra risentire molto l’influenza degli Smiths, ma come minimo i brani Sick & Tired e Rise And Shine dimostrano che la band ha la capacità di realizzare musicalità emozionanti e per niente superficiali. (Piero Scaruffi - http://www.scaruffi.com/)


- Sick & Tired
- Black Letter Day
- In The Afternoon
- Over The Water
- After All...
- Cloudy Sky
- Our Space
- Rise & Shine
- Celia Inside
- Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
- Seems Hard
- Last Song


THE CARDIGANS