Yet More Reviews
in judgement
Yet More Reviews – tMx11.

Jet Johnson – “Micropolitan” – Seroiusly Groovy Records.
Yr head hurts, yr heart aches, yr life is hanging in the balance – but still you listen. The door to your mind has been left slightly ajar - an autumnal draft nibbles at the edges of yr soul. How did it come to this? Take Codeine, take Stina, take heart & embrace the melancholic melodies within. Jet Johnson have come to warm yr cockles.

Formed in London in the very recent past, Jet Johnson employ the haunting voice of Caroline Nesbo (bass) & decorate it with minimal fuss using the angular gtrs of Gavin Baker & the fingersnap drumming of Kevin Smith. The press release claims Caroline could end the career of Bjork at any given moment – I’m not quite sure why – she doesn’t immediately appear to be a threat to anyone, yet alone a pint sized Icelandic ex-Sugarcube who’s already proved she can stick up for herself in the biffers dept – but there you go – someone has to write press releases.

“Micropolitan” is the debut LP by Jet Johnson & a sure fire panoramic vista it is too – a veritable mannerist canvas – a cornucopia of fragility held together with angels hair, fairies shoe laces & hope. Take the beauty of Midnight Choir, the space of a frozen tundra & the wings of an albatross – set them a course for the heart of the sun & watch in wonder at the silhouette they cast across the partial shadows of our hollow lives.

Jet Johnson will bring a tear to yr eye, the salt will sting, & the track it leaves as it falls to your cheek, & then to the floor, will point the way forward forever. Emotional

The Barcelona Pavillion – “It’s The Barcelona Pavillion” – Meccico Records
We 1st heard this on ET’s CTCL show & it bit our nipples clean off. They are Canadian & mysterious - & that’s about all we know. Their names are Ben, Kat, Maggie & Steven & they have recorded the kind of EP that will sell for silly money on Ebay in about 6 months time. “New Materiology” is so fierce it could take a Panda’s face off @ 40 yards. Fall quoting & screech-laden – it’s the key moment here. “Tidy Up Tidy Up”, “Die Welt” & “Die Welt Ist Schlect” come a close second, third & fourth. Proper music for real people.

The Rapture – “Echoes” – Vertigo
“House Of Jealous Lovers” screamed ‘TUNE’ nearly 18 months ago now – that’s how long (some) people have been waiting for “Echoes”. NYC, DFA – this is “Entertainment” for the Noughties – so good you’ve already got it. If only you could find it. I know where title track is – it lives in PIL’s “Metal Box” under the stairs – I think some of The Rapture’s other songs live there too. “Olio” has obviously been stolen from Robert Smith’s house (they could have re-upholstered it) & relocated to a mid 80s tenement acid house (lite) full of bubbling simplistic synths & electro break dance drum patterns. As an exercise in taking several genres of music that have absolutely no business hanging out together & welding them into some kind of un-cohesive whole, “Echoes” is a sterling success.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – “Take Them On, On Your Own” – Virgin
They’re back - & this time they’re vaguely pissed off – at what we will probably never know – it must be tuff being in a street level rock n roll rebel band – mustn’t it? It’s also gotta be tuff being a Yank @ the moment when the whole world hates your guts with a vengeance. It’s enuff to make you wanna write a song about it – really take the buggers to task - give them a piece of your mind: “US Government”?

What does it mean?

Has there ever been such a venomous, vitriolic attack on this shadowy new world order of ours?

Why are they SO angry?

BRMC caused more than their fair share of hilarity last time out with their hand crafted, auto-assembled, songs written by numbers. A hardcore base of 60s nuggets rip offs, a dash of Jesus & Marychain Goth lite throwbacks & the pretentiousness of a lecture theatre full of social commentators. This time out there’s a touch more Oasis in the mix, especially on opener “Stop”, which will please Noel Gallagher no end. If you liked “Whatever Happened To My Rock n Roll (Punk Song)” from their debut LP then you’ll be double made up with “Six Barrel Shotgun” because it’s pretty much the same “song”. Elsewhere it’s all drab introspection & implied importance. BRMC are the bar tribute band from hell & that’s more than a good enuff reason to start going to church on a regular basis. Acoustic “ballad”, “And I’m Aching”, makes a good case for the immediate destruction of every CD playa in the tMx Bunker. The sky has clouded over, the darkness is descending, a fire is burning in the east & it lights the horizon like a comet strike. Women & children are running from the area, some carry cold water & wet towels, people are screaming, streaming for the exits, sirens wail - a dawn chorus of ring tones play: “Poptones”. BRMC have left the building.

Stellastarr* - “Jenny” - 20-20 Recordings
Stellastar* - today’s next new band from NYC – are possibly some kind of complex conceptual joke. With a vocalist who sounds like Eddie Tenpole doing David Byrne whilst painting everything Frank Black - & a song-writer over fond of the halcyon days of Ned’s Atomic Dustbin – this is one bunch of hip-slinging Pixies aping hepsters you’d be best to avoid. Unless you like puerile crap.

Pretty Girls Make Graves – “The New Romance” – Matador
Despite being named after a Smiths song, Pretty Girls Make Graves are a million miles away from Salford Boys Club. “The New Romance” is their second LP & quite possibly the one they’re “pinning their hopes on”. If you like At The Drive In that much that you want a female version - then Pretty Girls Make Graves might just be the combo for you. They do cultured emo, extremo-light & pure retro pop. In a few places it’s almost convincing – after all, some hacks are getting well worked up over them – but mostly we’re talking boys replicating their heroes shapes & a girl singer with a largely anonymous voice. Imagine the second Penetration LP – only without the tunes.

The Fiery Furnaces – “Crystal Clear” – Rough Trade
NYC brother/sister duo’s 7” 45rpm debut is an absolute stormer (& on see-through crystal vinyl to boot). Taken from their excellent debut LP (reviewed elsewhere in this issue) – “Crystal Clear” is everything everyone else from NYC is trying to be at the moment – only better. Patti Smith would turn in her grave – if she was dead, of course.

Kiosk – “One Day I’m Going To Go Stratospheric On You ..etc” – The Hearse Foundation
This record is so fucking heavy that if you dropped it on your foot you’d be in trouble – if you were wearing open toe’d foot wear – or cheap slippers – or were dancing bear foot in the moonlight with Patti. When I say heavy – I mean 220mg vinyl – not a Deep Purple cover. Anyway, Kiosk are that Donald Ross bloke who does damage for Julian Cope on gtrs & a lady called Claire Nicolson on vocals. The racket Kiosk make is pure garage nonsense of the very highest order. This record is very good indeed. Now fuck off & buy a copy.

Razorlight – “Rock N Roll Lies” – Vertigo
The other half of the original Libs returns with his newly assembled bunch of Scando session mates to bring us his interpretation of the magic of Television. Derivative is as derivative does & this is about as pointlessly derivative as it’s possible to be without being Muse. Johnny Burrell you are a chancer - & a charlatan - & your band is way gay.

The Libertines – “Don’t Look Back Into The Sun” – Rough Trade
Aaah – that’s more like it – a proper fucking record. The sadly estranged Libs are back with their best ever tune – yet! A rollicking, rampaging raconteur of a 45 rpm disc – this should have them dancing in the aisles of the Bermondsey Smack/Crack Addiction Shack like there’s no tomorrow.

My Morning Jacket – “It Still Moves” – RCA
Third time out – first time at full length – My Morning Jacket (or My Yawning Jacket, depending on which side of the back yard fence you sit) have been cooking nicely on the promising back burner in the Sounds A Bit Like Neil Young kitchen for some time now. Wide-screened purveyors of Americana tinged alt.rock‘n’roll,- is what it says on the box. A very boring attempt to replicate the contents of a 50 something’s record collection – is what I wrote on this scrap of paper last nite at about 1.30am. Why do they send us this shit? Do these cunts even bother to read the damn zine – at all – ever? If they did – even just a few paragraphs – they’d surely know not to send us this shit. Wouldn’t they?

Ivory Springer – “32 Points On A Canvas” – Purr
More excellence from the entirely loveable Purr stable. Shellacian shapes a go-go - except with songs - from this hard hitting Bristol trio. Earnest, integral & not at all unconvincing. This is the sound of angst being ridden for all its worth & if you have any interest in guitar abuse then you’d be advised to visit:

The Locust – “Plague Landscapes” – Anti
Future-core Sci-Fi barnstorming of the highest order.23 slices of maximum minimalist cheesecake sprinkled with electronic squiggles & Star Trek samples. More complex than the Pax Americana conspiracy theory, thicker than George Bush & twice as dangerous as The Bildeberg Group. “Plague Landscapes” is The Locust’s big label debut – with one eye on chartland - & the other on the mental asylum. Tom Waits is in good company. At The Drive In @ 78rpm. Play it at yer neighbours.

Million Dead – “A Song To Ruin” – Xtra Mile/Integrity
Talking of At The Drive In (for the 3rd time in a handful of reviews) you can surely judge the gauge of their influence by the number of new groups emerging presently that are painting from the very same mannerist canvas. Is it homage? Is it parody? Is it really worth it? Sure, there are crunchy bits, there are screamy bits - & there are the obligatory tuney bits – but is the sum of your ambition merely to re-record “Relationship Of Command” with a regional accent? Social & sexual hierarchy, indeed. A least they get a bit political on your arse whilst they’re getting on your nerves. Which, I guess, has to be applauded. I’m sure if I’d never heard ATDI I’d love it to death – but there you go.

Tribute To Nothing/Three Minute Poetry – Lockjaw Records
Let battle commence. A Split CD EP on Lockjaw Records featuring Germany’s Three Minute Poetry & Malvern’s Tribute To Nothing.

TTN have grown up at a hell of a rate since their late 90s debut as one of the youngest groups on the hardcore scene. Criminally ignored by many organs in their time, their particular brand of sonic terrorism has been pillaged by many a passing fad but they remain resolutely independent – fiercely, even. With vocals vaguely reminiscent of a young Ozzy on Ketamine & a powerhouse on fire behind them - TTN live up to their name - & long may they continue to do so.

Three Minute Poetry hail from Duesseldorf & deal in melodic, emotive, evocative & concise rock n roll. The sweet to TTN’s hardnut – “Hans Solo”, “Joey & Amy” & “Over It” are wonderful tunes – dressed, as they are, in all their Friday night finery. Excellent fair, indeed. Germany 1 – England 0 (AET).

Check them at:

Midasuno – “When Bulls Play God” – Lockjaw Records
Merthyr Tydfil’s Midasuno have spent the last three years honing their take on melodic metal-tinged (rusted?) hardcore. Hot on the heels of The Lost Prophets – but nowhere near as bombastic – there’s a tautness here that belies their age. Superb vocal delivery & tonal detail from Scott Andrews – powerful tunage – savage fretwork - & death metal-esque kit abuse. Like the press release says: Midasuno won’t be Wales’ best kept secret for much longer. Who are we to argue?

The Phobics – “The Terminal EP”
The Phobics are a punk rock n roll band (see elsewhere in this issue for the full story) – a punk rock n roll band that remind me exactly why I fell in love with punk rock n roll in the 1st place. Superb old skool shapes for the kind of people who don’t think the New York Dolls were only half a great band and that Johnny Thunders never realised his full potential. The Phobics are worth your time – investigate.

The Wisdom Of Harry – “Crash Helmet” – Matador Records
Beguiling new 45 from former Loft leader, Peter Astor. He’s been making swoon-some, bookish neo-pop under this moniker for a while now – but that’s absolutely no reason to dismiss him out of hand. “Crash Helmet” doffs its cap to the VU – in a totally English manner, of course. The Wisdom Of Harry is that he never knows when to stop – Godbless – whether he eventually profits or not is anybody’s guess – but I wouldn’t write him off just yet. Plush.

Johnny Forgotten – tMx11 – 09/03
Check it:

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