Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Singles club

*Single of the week*
Electrelane – Bells/I Keep Losing Heart
(Too Pure)
One of the oddest uses of music on TV came last year in an episode of the OC, where beautiful Californians could be seen cavorting to the urgent sound of Electrelane’s On Parade. That was a surprise, let me tell you. Despite their flirtation with the glossy teen drama, Electrelane haven’t turned into the Killers. And thank goodness for that.
Bells begins in Neu’s Krautrock metropolis, simple piano chords slotting between the rhythm section’s elegent motorik pulse. Verity Susman’s magnificently haughty vocals lead us to the city limits as the groove builds until the break free onto the open road, pedal to the floor. Mia Clarke’s guitar revs and lurches while Susman pounds at her piano, like a conservatory musician possessed by the spirit of Jerry Lee Lewis. It rocks.
A thoughtfully plucked banjo graces the start of I Keep Losing Heart. It’s soon joined by the full band and a choir. Electrelane of course worked with the choir on last year’s majestic The Valleys, using the grand swell of their voices to bring musical colour to a Siegfried Sassoon poem. Here, however, the choir is used sparingly, enunciating each word in staccato vamps and swelling crescendos. And the lyrics Susman has given them to sing are a little more playful than last time. Add to all this a parping trumpet and some elegiac saxophone. Inspired.
Download from www.toopure.com

Thee Moths – Ppep EP (Pet Piranha)
A Scottish underground legend, Alex Botten came to my attention on the Jockrock message board by berating various ladrockers for their petty bitchiness and small minded attitudes. The fact these morons would sniff at his “music” (their inverted commas, not mine) only made me want to investigate further. The recent Folk EP was his most experimental yet, mixing folk songs with field recordings and laptop noise. This EP incorporates those elements into Botten’s melodic lo-fi fuzzpop with charming results. Having recently relocated to Sussex, Botten begins the EP by raising two fingers to two fingers to his hometown in Dundee Is A Smothering Darkness where a pretty acoustic song emerges from the lo-fi murk. Is he invoking his escape to the bright lights of Brighton? Who knows? It’s damn good all the same. The Bright Sun is ruptures wispy female vocals with digital flatulence while The Sounds Are There is a simple acoustic ditty put through a heavy rinse cycle. Gregorian hums and bird song flutter into the mix as it segues into the catchy Sebadoh pop of Close The Blinds. Yet even that song is sabotaged by some mischievous pitch bending. In the closing Are Your Feet Tangled Up In Roots? the machines take over completely, submerging voices and loping beats in a swamp of glitch and interference. Another great wee EP from Thee Moths.
Out soon??? www.petpiranha.com

Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies – Ores
(Fierce Panda)
“Please give them the cuttlefish…there are words inside my oesophagus!” Andrew Mears barks over careening guitars. Now that’s a lyric. It’s a safe bet that any band who comes up with stuff like that won’t sound like the Stereophonics and Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies don’t disappoint. Following in the footsteps of At The Drive In this Oxford quartet positively relish in tearing up the post-hardcore rule book, then pasting it together with pages plucked randomly from the rock history books. The result is a confounding yet tightly controlled four minutes of noise. Ores trashes into life amidst the cuttlefish before a few furious handclaps take us into a few bars of proggy noodling. Then we get a slower, moodier bit before the song settles into a melodic chorus underpinned by rumbling bass and stabbing guitars. From out of nowhere, a fuzzy synth bassline crashes the party, only to be ejected by guitar wielding bouncers.
It’s as if they’re involved in a game of one-upmanship with Yourcodenameis:milo as to how many different bits they can pack into one song. And for now, Youthmovie are on top.
Out April 25th

Tigs – And Again (Red ROAR)
Solid stab of indie rock, distinguished by cool and coquettish Chrissie Hynde style vocals. But unless they’re covering John Cage’s 4’33 this 7” could do with a b-side.
Worth checking out live if you’re in London.
Out now. www.tigofwar.com

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