Okay, we know that the planet is on fire and being driven by post-truth twats and there are more important things to focus on, but February has a silly haircut, skinny splash of intensity who is trying to run his train down rails that that have the Everly Brothers on one side and T.Rex on the other. Yeah, we couldn't ignore it either...
I'M NOT ALLOWED TO SAY 'FUCK'
POKEY LAFARGE "F*CK ME UP" (NEW WEST RECORDS)
I like this and for two very, very good reasons. When la Pokey says that he's invoking Everley Brothers he means the ones who fuck Everely Sisters and when he talks about T.Rex he's talking about the dirt-bag stuff and not 'Metal Guru'. Okay, chops are chopped, but where is the meat? It's here with "Fuck Me Up", the official video and the sort of single for the album. The video is, as you can see, a low camp,high humour thing that hammers a ropey piano in the way that makes me think that Pokey is more "Carney" meets "Tanx" than anything else. Still, he probably knows best.
On the other hand... "End Of My Rope" is more Johnny Cash kicking all the Everly boys through Eddie Cochran and you'll have to trust me on this or... look and listen it up and you should not trust me. On the other, other hand, you should,kind of, trust Pokey LaFarge. We don't know or care where his heart is, but his influences are rock solid gold and all the info is here: https://www.pokeylafarge.net/
THIS IS WHERE HAL JOINS THE BAND
WAVEWULF "GREEN DECAY" (BANDCAMP)
I really like electronic shit, electro shit, experimental shit and to save us time, I like synth shit. I also like the idea of the saving the planet we live on, but I have two problems with "Green Decay". One is the way that the concept is articulated. In this case the concept of imminent ecological collapse is made instrumentally and we, I and us can find it tricky to discern that concept via angry, comedy or sad synths.
This brings us messily and reluctantly to problem two. Largely, "Green Decay" isn't very good. I understand that the artist has a huge collection of Korgs and other kit that can make any sound known to man and that's what makes "Green Decay" so disappointing. All that technology and so little creative juice to oil it. On the bright side, it's good news for Hal because "Green Decay" makes it quite clear that the sooner we involve AI in the creative process, the better. Obviously, you're a grown up and might decide that "Icicles Melting" is quite fun and that you're not taking listening advice from anyone who voluntarily listens to Sigue Sigue Sputnik. So, get your Wave wulf here; https://wavewulf.com/
IT'S NOT ALL NAZI GOLD, APPARENTLY
GHOST LAGOON "STAY A LITTLE" (ALL PLATORMS)
Time for a letter; "Hi Unpeeled, Ghost Lagoon is a Swiss electronica / indie trio formed in January 2018. After several live gigs all over the country and one single release in February 2019 they finally released their debut EP in Feburary 2020". Well, that seems encouraging, but so did the Wavewulf bloke, spin it.
Oh my giddy aunt, it's blessedly mental and lacking only bagpipes to take it into the Funeral Music For Clowns hall of excellence. Seriously, the sideslipping, vaguely eastern wriggle is pretty neat, assaulted on all sides, as it is, by the sound of a boy band trying sing themselves free from the cellar with only sedated Scottish indie guitars to chisel with. If only the planet saving guy had their imagination. Ghost Lagoon can be found here; https://www.instagram.com/ghost.lagoon/
MAMA, MAMA, LOOK AT ME NOW
PSYPIRITUAL & THE LASSO "KIRLIAN" (ALL PLATFORMS)
This is flat out wonderful and an object lesson in how technology can be blended with ideas to pluck beauty from the void. "Kirlian" is a series of sweet torrents as instruments and influences are effortlessly lifted from all points and slipped or slapped into exactly the right places. "Kirlian" is very accessible, hopefully commercial and a genuinely compelling hip-rap-hop album.
If you do nothing else, strut some slouch along with "Jimi" and know that rap-hop, or whatever it now is, is culture and entrenched and robust, viable, flexible and confident enough to tap all influences without shame, apology or a backward glance.
"KIRLIAN" is fucking brilliant, so pay for it here; https://thelasso-mmg.bandcamp.com/album/kirlian
THIS, WHATEVER IT IS
KILL THE GIANTS "FAKE NEWS" (NUB MUSIC)
Thank fuck, thank fuck, thank fucketty-fuck fuck in a fucking bucket. I can't speak for the world, but we have an inbox that is awash with hopelessly shit anti-Trump tracks that we are too kind or dumb to slag to death with our hopelessly shit slag-fragging. So, it's a treat and a relief to release this, whatever it is, to your lovely ears.
As you can hear and see "Fake News" is a melange-massacre of rap-diddley-diddley and an audio-visual cut n waste that takes in survival instinct as well as the relflex action that makes many experimental artists steal, quite openly, from ye olde Cuban Boys. Kill The Giants are cheeky chancers, but they know how to edit the big news to a small, irrefutable truth. Salute. The even better news is that there is a whole Kill The Giants album here;
DROP DEAD FOR IT
AKA GEORGE "BAD FOR YOU" EP (ANTIFRAGILE MUSIC)
Funking hell, fat riffs, fatter feedback, it's the title track and it's like Gay Dad swaggering some muddy glitter and torn bacofoil around to see Primal Scream.
What is not to like? Every one on this five track ep is a sharp n crunchy filth monster that struts, leers, sneers and tickles every pop-rock g-spot without mercy or apology. Yes, I want it all as well. Follow the link and follow the screams.
SHOT DOWN AT THE DEALERSHIP
MARCUS DENSE "DO IT AGAIN" (SOUNDCLOUD)
Marcus Dense has not provided any kind of bio, unless you count these snippets; He comes from NYC (Nebraska Young Conservatives?)he had a hit single via Instagram and he coined the phrase "That boi good". I know, I know, but there's always hope, isn't there?
Just. There's only a couple of minutes worth and every down-tempo rap-crap trick n cliche is rolled into this spliff, but it's very listenable. You might say the boi done good.
MEANWHILE, ON THE POST FELLATIO FRONT...
CLUB BEIRUT "SOMETHING NEW" (SPOTIFY / SOUNDCLOUD)
Fresh-faced club banging that's very clean and sharp and busy and, er good. I think that "Something New" is the kind of thing that dead-eyed boy bands believe they'll be allowed to do as a reward for all the fellatio.
There is back story stuff, but it involved Falkand Islands, ineffective counselling and no one can dance to that. So, stick with their nifty name and nifty single. Club Beirut and all their doings can be found here; https://www.instagram.com/clubbeirut/
SELF-AWARENESS IN CUTEY CLEAN OVERKILL
ANNA SOFIA "SELF-AWARE BITCH" (ELECTRIC FEEL / REPUBLIC RECORDS)
We asked Robin Thicke to review this one, but he read the title and only stopped sobbing long enough to ask for a gun. So, here we are, with an 18 year old, multi-instrumentalist who describes herself as "Contagiously confident". It would be equally easy and equally rude to love, or hate her without bothering to listen to "Self-Aware Bitch", but we are with Absinthe and way past being able to spell, let alone do misogyny and we're spinning it...
It's a very slick, smooth and assured six track ep, half an album in old money and, staying with old money, everything is cleaned and sheened; bass lines bubble, keyboards tinkle and drums are lightly spanked and, apart from the jazzy seepage, it's all very inoffensive and unimpressive. Kinda more meh for the the meh heads. I don't want to be rude, but they'd be happy to play this on Cotswold FM. More here; www.instagram.com/mismatchedsocks
JULIE DRISCOLL & PENELOPE KEITH, TOGETHER AT LAST!
HOTWAX "PAT THE KILLER CAT" (YOUTUBE)
If hope truly springs eternal, I will be doing handstands for a while yet. Yes, I know that Hotwax are, on paper, ripe for some dismissive sneering, what with being as organised as a Labour anti-semetism policy, as middle class as Penelope Keith and singing about a cat, but they sound pretty sharp and here, that's all that counts.
See, the advantage of being white and middle class means that you may have grown up with Julie Driscoll and Sleater Kinney records lying around. You may also have the confidence or natural cruelty to steal what you like the sound of and then go on to boast about killing the cat. There's also a keyboard meltdown and feedback, so it's all very encouraging and they have a webshite... HOTWAX
MUSCLE MY ART RACKET
AUTRE MONDE "BRAIN UPON YOUR PILLOW" (STRANGE BREW RECORDS)
A special someone called Paddy Hanna fronts Autre Monde and he does it very well indeed. Autre Monde is a big sound, a big, but delicate construction made of slippery bass lines, slyly escaping percussion runs and threatened with collapse by chunky guitar chords and shoulders back, big lunged lead vocals. Yeah, I know he's slinking around the scales, but he's all over the towering infidel of an anthem that is "Brain Upon Your Pillow".
I know many things and I know that this is a little like post-Eno Roxy Music with Brain Ferrari shouldered aside as a real man takes on the vocals and also takes revenge for the bumped Brian 'Too Arty' Eno by deploying all manner of electronic games that truly enhance an anthem. Check him, them and it out. AUTRE MONDE
TOP OF THE POPS AT TOPMAN
BROKEN WITT REBELS "RUNNING WITH WOLVES" (SNAKEFARM RECORDS)
Smart, snappy, stadium stylee rawk from the delightfully regular guy looking Brummies who sound like they're already perched on top of Euro-Yankee aor charts. I think the chorus is the best bit, but that's often the case, eh?
Anyway, this is the single for the "Ok Hotel" album that's out any minute and all the info is at the end of the link. https://www.brokenwittrebels.com/
HMMMM, NICE FLANGE...
SERVANT LEADER "RAISED BY WOLVES PART 1" (BANDCAMP / I-TUNES etc)
Staying with wolves... The nice pr people think that this slab is for people who like Alice In Chains amd Soundgarden and stuff like that, they might be right, but we just turn this up and note that Servant Leader came to rock rather than make a career.
The barely skirting death metal of "Daybreak" kind of makes the point and the gonzoid muscle cum-shimmer riffing of "August Parade" shows that recreational drugs can be very useful indeed. Find and enjoy Servant Leader here; http://www.servantleaderband.com
WHINGE, WHINGE AGAINST THE DYING OF THE LIGHT
ROOKES "POP NOT POP!" (YOUTUBE)
And... we're back in the room. This is annoying, pointless and tedious. More to the point, Rookes is reviewing all of Pop in what she promises, or threatens, will be a series of videos. I could witter on for ages, but as that job has just been taken, let's go brutal and basic;
Rookes says that the Spice Girls changed her life, I'd have paid them to end it. Rookes is dressing up, padding out and tearing the tits off the basic truth that people get older rather than younger. A lot of those people look around and notice that Cliff is no longer the force he was and decide that this will not do.
If you're not careful, the next thing is something very like the video above and some idiot like me calling you an idiot, especially if your idea of good or correct pop is the sub-Lennox indulgence that Rookes peddles.