Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The return of Singles Club

Single of the Week!

The Pipettes
ABC

(Transgressive Records)

The Pipettes know that it’s the little touches that make the difference. An indie-pop take on the 60s girl group aesthetic, everything about them is perfect: the polka-dot dresses, the backing band’s matching tank tops, the choreographed hand movements and dance routines. The songs are witty and finely crafted nuggets of beat-pop, the lyrics an post-riot girl take on the teen melodramas of their spiritual heroines. If the Shangri-Las had gone to Grange Hill they might have come up with something like ‘Judy’, in which the protagonist falls in with the local bad girl but soon learns to see through her. ‘ABC’ wags a finger (Pips gigs involve a great deal of finger wagging, but school marms they ain’t) at bookish boys who’ve forgotten to be men. Finally, there’s Simon Says, a cheeky ode to mild S&M. Apparently Stuart Murdoch has a girl group project on the go, but he’ll be hard pressed to match the Pipettes for sassy, saucy fun.

Non-Londoners can order the single from Transgressive Records

Basement Jaxx feat Lisa Kekaula
U Don’t Know Me
(XL)

Not as good as ‘Good Luck’, their previous collaboration with Bellrays belter Lisa Kekaula, but an entertaining slab of punky disco nonetheless, even if the chorus is half-inched from Goldfrapp’s ‘Strict Machine’ (which was half-inched from Donna Summer in the first place). Kekaula’s take-no-shit vocals stand up to the slightly too polite garage guitars and bloopy synths. The ‘JaxxHouz radio edit’ is superior to the slower original, jacking up the beat and adding plenty of laser beam noises to a typically dense track.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Sons n Stripes

Thanks to Neil for keeping Beard blog alive this past month while I've been moving flat. I'm still not online at home, so Partick library has been my second office effectively. Beard 4 will be with you at the end of the month (honest!) and it's gonna blow your minds!
In the meantime, here are a couple of reviews of new albums out this week.

Sons and Daughters
The Repulsion Box
(Domino)


If David Lynch was to hold a ceilidh Sons and Daughters would be the perfect house band. This, the band’s full length debut, is a raw, energetic affair, propelled by rowdy rockabilly rhythms and bristling guitar. Adele Bethel lashes out at sleazes, cheats and killers in her marvellous Glaswegian snarl, conveying anger, mockery and hurt. Nick Cave and ‘80s roots-punks Gun Club are obvious reference points, but there are strong hints of Celtic folk in the windswept choruses of ‘Dance Me In’ and ‘Royally Used’. Dark, sinister and sexy, it’s as assured a debut as could be hoped for.

White Stripes
Get Behind Me Satan
(XL)


Elephant caught the White Stripes in their candy coloured pomp. It was their Big Rock Album, the behemoth that propelled them to headline slots and MTV Awards. As an album, however, it was a little unsatisfying, lacking the hunger or originality of their first three albums. And, man, was that squirrel song irritating. The sly references to the Jack ‘n Meg siblings or spouses debate were amusing enough, but ultimately disingenuous.
On Get Behind Me Satan the Stripes finally drop the brother and sister act and reveal themselves. In breaking their own rules they’ve produced something messier, weirder and far more engaging than Elephant. The disco-metal strut of Blue Orchid is atypical: this is largely an album of front porch strums, gospel-tinged piano and slapdash percussion.
There’s a newfound sense of mischief at work. When the spooky marimba led soiree of ‘Nurse’ is crashed by clatter of drums and distortion an illicit thrill races up the spine. It’s only the first of several noisy tricks Jack has up his sleeve. ‘Red Rain’ sees a fairground like toy piano melody morph into a ravaged blues riff, while the epic ‘Take Take Take’ has Jack’s piano fight it out with Meg’s timpani as he sings of chasing Rita Hayworth for an autograph, a clear reference to his newfound celebrity.
Hanging out with Beck seems to have put a spring in Jack’s step. ‘The Denial Twist’ is fresher and wittier than anything on the diminutive scientologist’s latest album, while ‘Doorbell’ is the Stripe’s most irresistible pop song since ‘Hotel Yorba’. Loretta Lynn’s influence looms over several tracks, notably the Appalachian knees up ‘Little Ghost’ and the closing ‘I Ain’t That Lonely Yet’. Reminiscent of Lynn’s beautiful ‘Miss Being Mrs’, itself a lament to lost love, it finds Jack alone and lovelorn at the piano, picking out a wistful gospel tinged melody.
They’ve said goodbye to the garage. Where the Stripes will go next is anyone’s guess.

Sons And Daughters will be back in Beard #4!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Book Club!

Why nobody anyone write good no more?

If I open any music magazine, actually, any magazine (but especially the music ones), I’m forced to endure the kind of sterile, cookie-cutter, “zeigeisty” journalistic ipecac that has NO distinctiveness, NO ideas, NO soul and NO identifiable reason for why I should be spending my heard-earned cash on it. It makes me sick.

Let’s make a broad statement: It is filthy discharge. Lazy, half-assed nonentities are getting paid for this. And I’m not.

New books blow big chunks too. Nick Laird? Have you read this torpid, flaccid little man’s jizzlobbing literary attempts?

Anyway- marginally aimless diatribes aside- welcome to a new Beard online feature: “BOOK WHAT WE THINK IS GOOD SO GO TO SHOP OR LIBRARY AND GET HANDS ON POST-HASTE.” It’s a working title you understand. This week:


Yes, it’s a compilation, but it’s a fucking good one. Big Gay Truman knew how to write and anyone with a passing interest in journalism, literature, or virtuosity should get this NOW.

Thank you for your time. Tune in for next week’s selection.