The Dave Adair Reviews Page
Submissions are the life-blood of any fanzine worth its salt. Who wants to read the same opinions from the same hatful of hollow haters every 2 & a-bit months? Vive la change. Vive Dave Adair.
Dave Adair tMx 22 11/05
Over the last couple of months Dave has been submitting away quite regularly – building a body of work beyond the normal scope of your average tMx contributor. In the last 8 weeks alone Dave has contributed over 7,000 words of analytical consideration on a wide variety of musical shapes & formats: LPs, 45s, gigs, interviews – Dave has pretty much taken over a whole damn page to himself. Way to go!
Our thanks & best wishes go out to him:
Babyshambles - ‘Down In Albion’ (Rough Trade 14/11/05)
Have you ever heard the saying; “Tell the joke on yourself, before others take pride in doing it”? Well check out these lines sung by a reflective and laid back Pete Doherty intheopening number ‘La Belle Et Le Bete’;
“I’ll tell you a story, but you won’t listen.
It’s the story of a coked up pansy:
spends his night in flights of fancy.”
This shows Babyshambles on a mission, with the music being toned down to make way for the poet to shine and tell of a sordid and downtrodden tale. The bluesy and woe releasing ‘The 32nd of December’ is one of the songs penned solely by Pete Doherty and is quite jazzy instrumentally to juxtapose his moody rambling vocal style that is both longing and gripping. ‘Stick and Stones’ puts a bit of ska into the musical blender, with weary vocals punctuated by some timely whistling to aid a woe begotten tale about the power of the spoken word.
The defiant nature of the outfit comes out in the previous top ten single; ‘Kilamangiro’ that glosses this turbulent sixteen track collection of poetic thoughts and reflections. ‘Down In Albion’ has deliberately been put together to sound almost like a jam at times. This gives off a raw and uncompromising feel, with tit bits of Doherty’s eccentricity oozing out, like his brief nursery rhyme intro to ‘8 Dead Boys’, before itunfolds into the rockiest and most brazen piece on show. Diversity is proffered in the guest track; ‘Pentonvile’ that is a reggae fuelled foray into the unknown, performed by General Santana who Pete became acquainted with on his stay in Pentonvile Prison, by all accounts.
‘What Katy Did Next’ throws a musical crust to starving Libertines fans and will surely spark rumours that Pete’s part in that group will soon no longer be but a memory. The acoustic sparked new single ‘Albion’ is a piece of crisp musicianship that rides slowly with Pete’s softer and more soothing vocal style,oozing sincerity and helps keep the album going nicely. ‘Down In Albion’ on the whole, is a big disappointment for the many critics who wanted it to be tripe and were relishing the sight of the group floundering. Sorry, maybe next time you cynical sourpusses.
Motion City Soundtrack with support from Maple State, Circa Survive and Copeland (Manchester Academy 2, 16/09/05)
A fledgling Manchester band that only formed in 2004 and go under the name of Maple State, provided a pleasing set of post mod/indie against a back drop of 70s rock instrumentals to instigate an evening of varied sounds. Influences such as Arctic Monkeys, The Libertines and Razorlight came across via the rustic vocals of Greg Counsel adding a hurried and catchy feel to the set. The stirring ‘You Can’t Put Hotels On Mayfair’ demonstrated plenty of the raw bemusement that has helped catapult the aforementioned bands into the limelight. More numbers like this could see this swirling quartet heading in the same direction.
This tour represents the UK debut for the Philadelphian fervid post rock/punk outfit Circa Survive, who produced a focused and curious set with haunting harmonies and the straining, piercing and sullen vocal style of Anthony Green (ex Saosin). The orbital instrumentals rose up alongside Green’s vocals to produce emotionally rising numbers such as ‘Act Appalled’ and ‘In Fear and Faith’ that stood out for their harrowing and sombre feel. Circa Survive were the least mainstream band on the bill and stood out most for being the furthest away musically from tonight’s headline act. Therefore, the crowd were a little bemused at first, but believe me; this band will grow on you.
Soaring and a little bemused, US rockers Copeland came on to an air of expectation and rode it all the way with their nifty/mournful rock with patches of indie. On opener, ‘Wasteland’, the hearty and cutting vocals of Aaron Marsh careered around the room and caught the attention of many - but the set did ebb and flow - lacking any real cohesion. However, Copeland possess the ability to portray downtrodden feelings better than George Orwell, something that shone out in the careering set ender; ‘No One Really Wins”. A collective shrill cry was emitted from the floor and it marked the entrance of Motion City Soundtrack, who hurled themselves into the haphazard opener; ‘My Favourite Accident’. This found immediate favour with the light-hearted and fun spirited crowd, as the bleach haired and jovial lead man Justin Pierre, set his Tom De Lange with a splash of Jordan Putnik sound into the air like cigarette smoke.
Endearing pop punk was the order of the set and was epitomised in the firing, un-inhibited; ‘Don’t Call It A Comeback’. The quintet oozed pride in the choice of supports acts that were on show tonight, humbly requesting vociferous cheers for each one of them. They kept the audience pretty much on a leash before letting things go when the rasping falsetto vocals of Pierre really took off in old favourite ‘The Future Freaks Me Out’ that saw the mosh circle start motoring (although it did end up more like a triangle in the end, as pop punk regulars and debutantes probably don’t get much practice at this routine). For seven quid, value for money was never in doubt, although with over five years of material at their disposal you get the impression that Motion City Soundtrack are beginning to wear their sound out ever so slightly. Perhaps they will need to experiment a little in order to spark a broader interest in their material by the time of their next album.
3rd Dan with support from Geiger (WA1 Bar, Warrington 07/10/05)
Heart on sleeve rock with traces of emo fired out with precision and passion provided an honest and no artificial additives start to the evening. The piercing and harrowing opener ‘Alone To Say’, along with the personal follow up, ‘Ten Feet Small’, underlined the lucid and longing vocals of Dan Harding. His style drew a line between Paul Rodgers and Josh Homme - with bits of Trent Reznor appearing through the cracks. The endearing indie side of this outfit came out later on in the crisp ‘South Side Of Me’ that helped along a well polished and heart rendinghalf an hourfrom a powerful Warrington quartet.
Despite the modest crowd size, tonight’s headliners 3RD Dan threw everything into an earnest post rock setthat spilled over into elements of punk and even metal, as they let rip with abrasive bass lines and scything guitars. The careering opener ‘Coffee’ was delivered with pride and belief, with the gruff and troubled vocals of lead man and keyboardist Rory Nellis, demonstrating the correct dose of gritty rawness and heartfelt power.
The band would often use slow and creepy musical interludes, akin to those that would often accompany an axe yielding maniac’s ascent up the stairs to its prey, in an old fashioned horror film. This would provide perspective from the rambunctious and biting bits that would grab hold of you and stood out in ‘Guess I Wanted More’ and ‘Flux’. This Liverpool based quartet confronts life’s contradictions and stands up to them with robustness.They produce entertaining numbers that grow out of the roots of their gripping post rock sound. 3rd Dan is ready to strike and you would be advised to watch out.
Kaiser Chiefs with support from The Cribs and Maximo Park (Manchester Apollo 15/09/05)
The three Jarman brothers whose brand of Wakefield based woe releasing rhythmic rock makes up The Cribs, elected to adapt the V set up on stage (rumour has it that is Sven Goran Erikson’s chosen 3-a-side formation!). Earnest and focused drummer Ross occupied the centre rear and the two vocalists Ryan (Guitar) and Gary (Bass) were positioned at either side of the stage, negating the need for a discernible front man. The latter two produced stirring performances to give the sound a coated and almost forcible football fan style feel, as they provided a rally cry for the underdog. I for one heard it loud and clear.
Having produced more albums than the other two acts in attendance tonight put together, they concentrated their efforts on latest and third full length offering: ‘The New Fellas’. The commanding and rhythmic ‘Martell’ instigated the first Saturday night shimmying and was built upon in the forceful and flighty ‘The Wrong Way To Be’ - incorporating a boyish speaking narrative that was juxtaposed with yearning choruses. This made for a gripping end to a magnanimous and friendly introduction to a much underrated outfit.
The fact that they were still firing on the publicity of being a Mercury Prize nominee, ensured that Geordie disco rock quintet; Maximo Park were greeted with glee and enthusiasm. The vibrant, thoughtful and groove friendly ‘The Coast Is Always Changing’ leapt out from a launch pad of careering guitars and provocative falsetto vocals. It appealed to the contemplative members of the crowd, as they were able to shake off their woes, but still think at the same time. Hearts strings were tugged at with force and feeling in ‘Kiss You Better’, with events becoming livelier and livelier, before ‘Maximum Pressure’ was applied with precision and melody to complete the warm up.
I went to see a great play in Albuquerque a few weeks back (‘Frozen’ by Byrony Lavery, for the benefit of any curious literary buffs) - what made it so memorable was the fact that it raised many more questions than answers. Well, tonight that is what the Kaiser Chiefs came on and did after the intriguing war like video documentary intro. Could they justify the hype? Given the success of their debut album ‘Employment’, getting the crowd going was always going to be easier than getting Charlotte Church to have a drink. However, Ricky Wilson’s infectious ability to give the band’s well noted choruses extra force and life in a live setting, may well mean that the one album wonder tag that so many wanted to place on this outfit (ok, I admit it - I did too), was emphatically ripped off. ‘Saturday Night’ and ‘Born To Be A Dancer’ would not have been many people’s first choice of an opening double whammy, but Wilson’s exuberance and craft made them both a lively and relaxing commencement.
Despite the well placed utilization of the frantic favourites of ‘Everyday I Love You Less And Less’ and ‘I Predict A Riot’, more striking were the slower and more yearning new single ‘Modern Way’, a wistful new number that produced a bit of soul to Wilson’s vocals and their ability to finally perform ‘Employment’ live. This raised the question that maybe the Kaiser Chiefs do have the steel and depth to maintain their lofty status? Also, they may not be mere Brit pop revivalists playing the nostalgia card?
Wilson occupied the stage and the floor in front of it with almost, dare I say it, Freddie Mercury-like confidence. By way of house raising finale ‘Oh My God’, the Chiefs put the lid on a masterful and intriguing evening. Many people, especially the rugby fans present were left to ponder when the last time a Leeds outfit strode into the heart of Manchester and dominated proceedings with such ease?
Engineers with Support from Magnet (Manchester Academy 3, 19/10/05)
Wandering Norwegian rock, built from the solid base of the earnest; Even Johansen heartbased vocals that take a trip through Lennon country passed the border of Ollie Knights to the final destination of Bruce Springsteen. Crisp and crafted instrumentals from a talented and hardworking backing group made Magnet amasterful centrepiece. The stirring ‘Peacemaker’ from latest offering ‘Tourniquet’, set a soaring yet sombre and thoughtful tone, as Johansen was focused and forceful during songs, yet personable and fun spirited between them. The bolting ‘Believe’ sent positivity charging around the venue, as Magent connected with the crowd and instilled self belief into them with this power ballad.
Previous set closer and self-titled debut album final track ‘One in Seven’, featuring a haunting and troublled beginning that built up toa stirring rock jam, was made into an opener tonight. This introduced the baggy renaissance promoting sound of the part Manchester and other half London group; Engineers. The deeply personal debut album was mingled in neatly with more universal and brit pop skirting new numbers. The humble and unassuming singer and guitarist Simon Phipps with help from deft accompaniments, including the drilling percussion of Sweeny, pulled off a gripping and feeling packed version of ‘Come In Out Of The Rain’. This took those gathered in these close knit surroundings along on the journey to the redemption of a moral-less person.
Another cathartic jam fuelled offering; ‘A Given Right’ meant that the main set ended in a similar way to its commencement. This obviously took a great deal out of the band, as a coy Simon Phipps returned alone for the encore clutching his guitar for comfort. He lost himself and the crowd in an endearing and intimate rendition of the pleading ‘Forgiveness’. This number pushed home the personal nature of theself-titled album.While the new songs will draw more people into the intriguing web of the Engineers, it is to be hoped that the debut album is not overlooked; being a vital construction in the career of the bunch of candid musicians.
Duels – ‘Pressure On You’ (V2 Records 07/11/05)
Stabbing rock that would pierce the heart of a stone man, introduces the Duels by way of a snappy and pace filled number. They draw on a firm ground of Queens Of The Stone Age-esque guitars and clanging percussion to make their point about stress and pressure in this tension-releasing romp. This quivering quintet struts alongside contemporaries The Others and The Paddingtons, building upon the brusque vocals of Jon, to produce a pummelling introduction to their wrath demolishing world.
Echodine – ‘Fragments From The Wilderness’ (Out Now)
Crushing bass lines from Simon Dennis produce grit and determination to elevate this post rock/grunge quartet in opener ‘Drip-Dry’, with Nick Kearns’ combination of Layne Staley and a modern kick of Colin Doran voice being thrown into the mix to provide honesty and focus. Echodine adds a wandering, dreamy accompaniment to their make up, building up the suspense and a runway for Nick Kearns’ bellowing singing style in the brisk ‘Common Dominator’.
The influence of Biffy Clyro is a common trickle through this tormenting and promising four track offering. Echodine are steadfast rockers with a close knit feel, but their sound is broad enough to welcome in a range of music lovers.
Funeral For A Friend – ‘History’ (Atlantic 14/11/05)
A strolling instrumental build up sees this usual rollercoaster emo rock outfit taking a step back and dwelling upon matters. There is a painstaking pleasure that was prevalent in Jeff Buckley’s troubled voice that’s comes off from Matt Davies’ vocals, something that has not been prevalent before. A trundling bass line helps to pull off a longing feel that has been a FFAF trademark for sometime. This show of maturity and composure represents a step forward in the continuing journey of this gathering of Welsh passion filled players.
Leaves with support from The Fallout Trust (Night & Day Café, Manchester 07/10/05)
Brisk sounding and earnest Bowie type vocalsproffered byJoe Winter were powerfully ejected from the stage to grab the attention, as the Bristol born, violin featuredindie/rock n roll of The Fallout Trust created a stir. Their sound that has evidently been polished by a trip to Berlin’s Hansa studios was noticeable for its compactness, standing out in ‘Before The Light Goes Out’. The sextet certainly had understanding, with each musician being locked in their own performance, but the music the createdwould meetlike old friends, with the throbbing percussion of Matt Watson seemingly guiding the way through a disco tainted set.
The cushioning and thoughtful instrumental heavy approach of Icelandic outfit; Leaves offered music to accompany the obvious conjecture of the gatherers, whose mind was churning over the issue of the fact that there was a guitarist missing. Drummer Noi Starn Einarsson commented at the end of the gig that this was merely a temporary arrangement. However, with the Leaves having playing the same venue a few months back, their new look provided a fresh aspect to their sound, illuminating the keyboard element and giving off an even more relaxed feel. This shone out in first album highlight ‘Breathe’, with the roving instrumentals echoing around the sound concealing café.
Of the newer numbers extracted from the ‘Angela Test’ album; ‘The Spell’ stood out, combining the yearning vocals of Arnar Gudjonsson to bring to mind Radiohead with an undercurrent of Sonic Youth. The wandering instrumentals produced in set ender; ‘Shakma’ demonstrates a bolder and more experimental approach to this temporary quartet, bravely sailing into the territory of The Fridge, Four Tet and to a lesser extent M83. This ensured that the band left to a rousing response and more importantly, when they return with a full strength squad they will be welcomed likeas though itisreturn of the prodigal son.
The Beauty Shop – ‘A Desperate Cry For Help’ (Snapper 31/10/05)
Freewheeling country rock from a pungent outfit indigenous to Illinois, who combine rhythm and melancholy to mix up Ryan Adams, Nick Cave, Johnny Cash and Alabama 3, displays for all to admire; The Beauty Shop. The story of a hard man living a hard life is conveyed with a calming narrative sincerity by John Hoeffleur, who appears to be the Morgan Freeman of the band world with his convincing storytelling ability.
The range broadenson this three track foray to take on a longing and sombre direction in ‘Somewhere’. The insurgent and roving ‘Breaking The Law’ brings out the fun side of this endearing outfit and puts the lid on a brisk and bold offering.
Isobel Heyworth – ‘Close Your Eyes’ (Out now)
Having created an album that contains her tranquil sound without a blip on a budget far less than that of a Channel 5 documentary, the charming and soulful North West songstress; Isobel Heyworth giggles in the face of the merciless cash happy music purveyors out there today. The album title is a wise instruction to follow upon listening to the second track; ‘Falling Through The Cracks’, as it possesses enough depth to float you away. The full band’s comforting and strolling guitar led accompaniment punctuates the stirringly warm Carole King and Joni Mitchell type vocals, exposing the folly of cheap words when it comes to heartfelt emotions.
The album is a compelling mixture of bold full band offerings like the throbbing popstyled ‘Rio’,as well as intimate and personal acoustic driven numbers like the battle hardened ‘I Am Worn’ and the stirring ‘Lilac Time’. The latter offering displays Isobel’s poetic nature, with her vocals rising up a notch to exclaim the points made about planninga perfect rendezvous with the object of your heart’s desire. The poetry in motioncontinues into ‘Just For You’ that oozes positive vibes and comfort. Isobel has passed the test of defying financial gravity to serenade us with refinement and soulfulness, the test is now with music lovers out there to burrow through the hype and falseness to locate it.
Omerta – ‘One Chance’ (Northern Ambition 10/10/05)
The initially careful, slow rising nature of the A side to this 2nd limited edition single from a careering Manchester outfit, provides a moment of contemplation before the Doves style chorus kicks in like a paprika. This sees lead man; Aaron Starkie throwing his voice with the belief of a choir singer. ‘One Chance’ is a pleading number that operates from a base of longing guitars and frantic percussion to punctuate the pleading and earnest cries of Starkie.
All the band need is an M.U.F.C. tattoo to adorn their body and their mancunian roots will be on full show. ‘Synchronise Your Smiles’ sets off as a mesmerizing reminder of the dreamy power of The Charlatans in their early days before turning into one of the closest modern tracks to the sound of The Stone Roses. However, it is clear that this sound is merely a symptom of their feelings and upbringing, as oppose to an attempt to ride on the coat-tails of their heroes. This single, much like their sold out debut; ‘Everyone Is Frozen’ will be seized upon frantically by those seeking nostalgia and authenticity in the same bottle.
Pellumair – ‘Summer Storm’ (Tug Boat 14/11/05)
Jaymie Caplen and Tom Stanton parade with impunity their playful, powerful and drum-less sound, while standing out for their unashamed approach to making music for the love it,as oppose to music for noise. They are as much an endangered species as the Giant Pianda. ‘Side For This’ commences the subtle persuasion to their ways, with deft guitars that reflects the inner peace of the pair using them. The enchanting, yet worried Neil Finn vocals on display in ‘Lucy’ have the ability to shake the proudest listener.
With a commanding air of serenity; slow and meandering numbers such as ‘Seventy’, along with the echoing and choral natured; ‘See Saw’ bolsters belief that the path to tranquillity is paved mind-raking discovery. The prominent acoustic nature to the album provides a warm backdrop,to highlight the boldermusical tit-bitsand the carefree vocals of Caplen. The title track displays thatwith the craft of an artist; Pellumair blurs the boundaries betweenvisions and memories, as the streaming guitars and vocals bring the two concepts together.
The pace picks up in the hurried and wandering ‘Silk As Her Era’,with Caplen singing as though heis saying goodbye forever to someone on the 14;12 trainto Brighton. The haunting and troubled; ‘Postcards’ builds upon a throbbing guitar riff toplace a blanket over the range of emotions explored on this thrilling debut, from Southampton’s most earnest and candid musos.
The Kills – ‘No Wow’ (Domino Records 31/10/05)
The black magic indie outfit of thepart English (Hotel,akaJamie Hince) and the rest American (VV, aka Alison Mosshart), provide a rumbling offering that increases in intensity when the femme'svocals reach boiling point. Mysteriousness and darkness collides in this title track from their second album, making a compelling conglomeration that is facilitated by the bruising drum machine beats.
‘No Wow’ is given a spacey feeling by way of a MSTRKRFT (alias Jesse from Death from Above 1979) remix. It is surprising how malleable the sound and The Kills themselves are, given their uncompromising nature that came across viathe coveted debut album; ‘Keep On The Mean Side’. A throbbing drum n bass style mix by Backstage Sluts of fellow 2nd album offering; ‘The Good Ones’ promotes the number to a tripped out dance floor crasher. We are certainly seeing the enigmatic pair in a new light here.
The Kills with support from Be Your Own Pet (Manchester Academy 2, 27/10/05)
Three young musical bucks excitedly made their way onto the stage and patiently waited for the buoyant entrance of singer Jemina Pearl. The singer’s provocative, exuberant and confident stage and vocal manner brought to mind a young Katie Jane Garside, as these gruff Nashville upstarts dove into a post punk pearl of a set with a sound that has caught the attention of Caleb Followill (Kings Of Leon).
The cutting and fiery ‘Adventure’ satisfied appetites of an intrigued, compelled and expectant crowd. The band invited everyone to join the party, although maybe it is just a tad early in their career for full on mosh pit action, as guitarist Jonas’ ill-fated stage dive implied, with him falling to the floor quicker than the Backstreet Boys will plummet down the charts. Previous single ‘Fire Department’ washed gatherers with a refreshing spirit, being built upon abrasive guitars and Jemina’s deep vocal style that belies her youth and sent out a warning that Be Your Own Pet have just started firing.
The second album of The Kills; ‘No Wow’ was not the only evidence of the growing nature of the British and American crossed outfit on show, as VV’s luxurious mop is creeping further and further down her back with each visit to Manchester. A forward looking set started off with title track from the second album and saw focused looking Jamie Hince producing a rumbling guitar riff, to underline VV’s P.J. Harvey and slice of Patti Smith vocals. Matters became more laid back when the bluesy ‘The Way You Love’ revealed a slightly more tender side to the vocals. VV prowled the stage in a cat-like fashion and seemed, at one point, to be scratching her back on an amp to the side of the stage.
The first album huggers had to wait until nigh on mid-set for the first airing of a ‘Keep On Your Meanside’ Track. However, it was definitely worth the wait, when the pair’s microphones were crossed to make for the lateral mind; a heart shape that could me only one thing; ‘Kissy Kissy’. This was performed with the usual intense gusto by the pair and is surely now on the way to becoming a theme tune for modern relationships? The popular ‘Fried My Little Brains’ and the snappy ‘Cat Claw’ saw the tempo build up neatly for an insurgent finale by way of ‘Fuck The People’. The Kills demonstrated tonight that their ability to daze, amaze and confuse people is only growing.
Morning Runner with support from The Race (Night & Day Café, Manchester 24/10/05)
The Race strode onto the stage to set the pace for an evening of exploration into the more hurried end of the indie genre that came out in the thrilling 'Raising Children’. Front man Andy Aitken and his four musical musketeers, possessed vitality and made a stern effort to shake off their Monday blues and everybody else’s for that matter, especially with their disco kick. A stirring sound whipped around the cosily rustic surroundings and was on full show in the resounding and bolstering; ‘Amersham Road’. Aitken’s yearning vocals trundled along on the back of strolling guitars to pull off a contemplative offering that gave some depth to the set.
The crowd huddled together towards the front like cold trick or treat players, as they were keen to catch a prolonged peek at the band that has wooed Coldplay gatherers and added oil to the expectant, indie rumour mill. The epitome of the no thrills, but straightforward and honest ethos; Morning Runner hit off with the crashing keyboard catapulted; ‘Work’.
Mathew Greener’s presence was intriguing, as his powerfully commanding vocals were juxtaposed by shy and retiring between song utterances. Whereby, he struggled to splutter out his message to the crowd to discard all that they had heard about the band and to judge them on tonight’s performance. However, it was a message well heeded going by the rousing reception given to the fourth number and previous single ‘Gone Up In Flames’. Greener’s voice became deeper and possessed a nasal approach for this worried tale that is an anthem for the lacklustre.
Bassist Tom was the navigator in this band’s musical journey of self discovery; playing with boldness and focus all evening, reaching a high point in a wandering offering; ‘The Great Escape’. Considering that this band formed under two years ago; they display compactness and a great understanding to produce captivating numbers like the pleading new single ‘Be All You Want Me To Be’. Those seeking some good old fashioned Rock & Roll featuring a throbbing jam, were duly indulged in set ender; ‘Burning Brides’ that will be just one of the tracks to look out for when the debut album hits the public domain. The air of expectancy is rising like fog on a November morning around this Berkshire outfit, but on tonight’s performance they are more than ready for it.
Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man – ‘Shitty Zombies’ (Out Now on TNS Records)
Thewhirlwind of Good Riddance meets Snuff and asnippet of Tiger Army crasher ‘Here’s One For You’,creates achilling and bold punk beginning; vocalist Andy demonstrates urgency and gives the indication that this band has a lot to say and not enough time to say it in. ‘Alcohol Is not a drug (it's a drink)’ is pumped along by Jim Lindberg style vocals and chugging guitars, as the topic of toil and struggleis dissected with precision.
This Manchester homed outfit, while sounding nothing like the Buzzcocks, possesses the samespirit, punk style and that little something that comes out the thumping,forceful and fiery hardcore skirting; ‘That was a negative (and now I need too positives)'. A tint of blues comes out in the title and the winding introductory guitars of ‘Wrong Way In The Morning’ thatsends a volley of hitting bass lines, frantic No Use For a Name type guitars and Dustin Kensrue vocals with strong and brusque backingdown onto the listener. 'Straight Hedge' juxtaposes Sham 69 vocals with bubbly flower/psychedelic pop instrumental interludes, as the guys seek out people who runaway and plead for them to be bold.
The downtrodden ‘Rita, Sue and Bob Too’ catches mundane life and puts it into a blender with The Ramones cockiness, Good Riddance urgency and Goldblade-esque backing vocals that fire home a downtrodden tale. Guitarist and singer Andy has set out the pioneering and eccentric nature of their well received live shows;
“We are the first band in history to create the ‘Moshage’; that’s a mosh pit with dog toy strings of sausages flying around instead of fists. It’s more dangerous than it sounds!”
It was hard to picture the above mentioned concept, but these rasping numbers open your imagination and make it possible. Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man has set a blueprint for a quirky, commanding and eccentricmusical career that can put the fun back into punk.
A warm welcome to the ripping world of Orange (Orange Interview)
A bunch of US based kids who go by the name of Orange,have exorcised the punk spirit from ghosts of the past, sprinkling in some youthful exuberance that comes out in the piercing debut album; 'Welcome To The World Of Orange’.
Vibrant young scamps: Zak, Mike, Jack and Joe speak openly about their love of life/punk and reveal the story behind their prolific poignancy.
trakMARX - You all seem to have quite colourful upbringings. Describe the inception of Orange.
JOE - Hey I’m 17, you can’t use big words like INCEPTION! Just kidding. Mike and I formed Orange 4 years ago. 2 bass gtrs and a keyboard. That was it. Ready to rock. Then after about a month we realized having 2 bass gtrs just wasn’t the sound we were going for. It’s so funny to think of those days. We used to have really bad lyrics like:
“I can’t go to school, this sure as hell ain’t cool, ain’t cool...”
That was really about the edge of the creative boundaries in those days. So then we got Jack in on guitar - then Mike made the switch to rhythm guitar - then after a few years of different drummers, Zak came along and was a perfect fit.
We all knew what we wanted to do with our lives from a pretty early age. So that’s all we did: practice, practice, practice, play shows & practice some more. Jack and I dropped out of school at 15 and Zak got kicked out of 2 schools because of that. We really had no life apart from music, and that’s the way we wanted it.
trakMARX - Describe your song writing process. Is it a democratic affair or is that outdated these days and does one person write the lyrics and you build from there? Also, where do you do most of your song writing? Is the venue important?
JACK - Joe writes all the songs, and the rest of us tell him if it’s shit or not. We may change a riff every once in awhile if it isn’t a scorcher.
JOE - I write all the songs at home on my computer using the ‘Garage Band’ programme (usually in about a 5-hour period in which love, sex, and rock n roll all combine as I hit the record button – ho ho!). Some songs take weeks, others a few hours. The biggest reward I get from song writing is actually being able to listen back to my thoughts and feelings spewing back at me through the speakers at ear-splitting volume! Its truly a wonderful feeling to have a song completed that you put you heart and soul into writing and making it the best song you can. Then after that I’ll bring it to the boys at band practice and they completely ruin it!!!. Just kidding! They then add their own musical fresh air scents to the mix too. Like Mike wrote the ‘Affirmation Song’ intro guitar riff and jack writes all the solos. And Zak is my bitch; he does what I tell him.
trakMARX - Your self-titled debut album combines irreverence and frustration to create a modern punk album to be proud of. Is this your affirmation album? It promotes the positive mindset of self-belief. How hard has it been for you to retain self belief given the falseness of the world that you swipe at in the piercing ‘Hollywood’?
JOE – I’ve been thru a lot of crazy shit for someone my age. Stuff some people will never experience no matter how old they get. But thru all the shit, I find that, no matter what, something good always comes from it. Whether it is a stronger relationship with your parents, or your sister. Or whether you gain a whole new appreciation and perspective for life after it. Something life changing usually does happen when bad shit goes down. If you can keep a positive attitude there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and I like to be the light. There’s always a bright side. And remember, no matter how dark it gets, one only has to remember to turn on the light...
trakMARX - A simple question; has modern punk lost its way? (Also, what does the term punk mean to you guys?)
JOE - Punk to us is doing what you want when you want! It’s not a style of music or a safety pinned shirt. It’s about spirit. And as long as you have spirit and courage to do whatever it is you want to, like wearing glitter lipstick for example, then you can call yourself a punk.
ZAK - With so many different styles of music going around I think the term Punk has lost, not it’s way, but its power. Punk Rock in America means a totally different style of music to the term Punk in England. Over here it’s created a very narrow minded group of people and some others who are totally open minded, like us, whereas in England I think it opened up a lot of people minds to the fact that music could be simple and uncomplicated and still be good. The spirit of ‘76 rocks on, for me at least.
JACK -It hasn’t lost its way - it has just evolved. Different groups of people have different things to say. So all these different sounding ‘Punk’ sub genres were born, like the So Cal scene, and the New York Scene. I see punk as the weapon of choice of people who have put up with a lot of shit and have something to say about life.
MIKE - I don't think modern punk can loose its way, doesn't "modern" mean it has to change with the times?
trakMARX - What does it feel like to be an American Citizen? Have your feelings changed much over recent years?
JACK – I’m British and proud of it - but I’m guessing most Americans would feel pretty shitty about the way their ‘Cuntry‘ is perceived. Bush is a grade A piece of shit.
ZAK - WHY CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG? I’m an American by birth and Bush is a complete embarrassment to ALL Americans. FUCK Bush AND his dumb lame ass policies. America is quickly becoming a Police state. 1984 has arrived, Orwell got the year wrong, he should have called his book 2005!. LETS ALL MOVE TO CANADA!!!!!!
JOE - Well actually I’m not an American Citizen. I was born in England and moved here when I was 6.I’m British and extremely proud of it. You don’t realize how Great Britain (pun intended) is until you live in a shit hole like Hollywood. In England people are genuinely creative and talented and mostly modest about it. My views on America have changed a lot the past few months. It’s very corrupt in some ways. It really seems, and I’ve just noticed this, that if you don’t wear a tie and work at a computer soft wear company then you’re pretty much guilty of anything the cops want you to be. I have a real hatred of authority - I fucking hate it. It’s terrible to talk to someone like your so fucking special and mighty. What the fuck have you done with your life that’s so special for you to say that shit to me? That’s really my attitude. I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that anymore.
MIKE - It feels the same as it always has been to be an American Citizen. It’s not really a big deal, to me I'm just a 17 year old who lives in Los Angeles and anyone who sees me as more than that is thinking too hard.
trakMARX - A question for each of you to answer individually; what song, book, T.V. Show or poem sums you up and why?
ZAK - The book that sums up my life would be an, as yet, unpublished work called ‘Zak Glossermans Guide To Rockin And Rollin’ - other than that it would probably have to be ‘The Day of the Locust’ because it profiles how shitty life in Hollywood is, even back in the Thirties.It’s my belief that Hollywood is just a straight up horrible place and it always has been, and it always will be.
JACK – ‘Ballrooms of Mars’ by T. Rex. Why? The line "You talk about day, I'm talkin bout night time" really sticks out and reminds me of me.
JOE – “I once found a hotdog that looked like a thumb. Oh, what fun, to gaze upon a hotdog without the bun.”
I wrote that when I was 9. It’s a true story too. I chose that because it was for a school project and I never took school seriously. I didn’t learn anything about the real world from school. Watching The Simpsons taught me more about life than school ever did - and I never take ANYTHING too seriously because where’s the fun in that? Never take yourself too seriously and always have a sense of humour about things. That’s my motto.
MIKE – ‘Live Forever" by Oasis. Because who doesn't want to live forever! And Noel wrote that about his Mom - and that’s cool
trakMARX - Were you alarmed about the relevantly recent court case in America where it emerged that record labels pay DJs to play their artists tunes? What implication does this have for struggling non mainstream artists trying to make it these days? Is the music industry up for sale?
JACK - That doesn’t surprise me. Payola has been going on for decades. To be honest, if I was in the DJs position, I would probably take the cash. And most DJs don’t get to choose what they play anyway.
JOE - Well actually, I haven’t heard that before till now. That sounds ridiculous but I’d believe it. Radio is so mainstream these days. Well I guess it always has been - but it really seems hard for new bands to break mainstream radio these days. Indie 103.1 is great though! They play what they want when they want to. That’s punk, remember? Ha-ha. Steve Jones has a show called ‘Jonesy’s Jukebox’ and he plays anything he feels like, where as say a big station like KROQ has been playing the same fucking songs for the past 10 years! As great as some of those songs are, when are they gonna stop playing songs from ‘95 and start playing songs that actually did come out this year?. Nearly every Radio station has a strict play list so it’s not the DJs fault.
trakMARX - It seems far more important for a band to be great live these days. Does this suit you guys and what do you want people to take out of a live Orange Show?
JOE - Our live show is WAY better than the album. Its faster, bigger, meaner and in your fucking face! Fun, energetic and crazy! We don’t stay in the same place for more that 2 seconds usually. I love our live shows, we have a great time and the audience responds really well with a nice mosh pit or 2. Everything becomes so worth it when you’re on stage. It’s truly magical. I love the energy and excitement playing live generates.
JACK - I think putting on a show is one of our stronger points. I want people leaving our show thinking: "Damn, I’ve gotta start a band." That’s what we’re all about really. Trying to inspire people to pick up guitars and do what we did. If we did - so can you.
trakMARX - Which of your songs sums up your current mood and why?
JOE - Currently, I’d have to say... ‘Never Too Late’. Because it’s one of the most positive songs on the album - and its got a killa catchy chorus! I love playing it. It’s so uplifting and wonderful to play songs that you actually love and care about. ‘Never Too Late’ is really inspiring, I think. It’s all about how when you think your time is up and there is no where else to go. But there’s this driving feeling inside that says, “keep going - you’re almost there”. That’s what I love about it.
trakMARX - How do you guys resolve any creative differences that arise?
JACK - By throwing temper tantrums and acting like babies.
JOE - The manager... Blame it all on him.
trakMARX - Finally, how many crowd surfers have you had at your gigs and what do you think of this pastime? How do you feel that it is becoming like smoking and is now banned in some venues?
JACK - I’ve never seen crowd surfing at our shows, but there is quite a bit of dancing, which I’ve never seen anywhere else. Some of my friends have gotten kicked out of other shows for crowd surfing and I think it is ridiculous.
JOE - Crowd surfing is SO much fun, I love to do it and it’s great to see that same energy that you experience in the crowd but this time the crowd is for you! I think its stupid and lame that it’s getting banned. But don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone at our shows that your doing it.
Let me leave you with this:
“Never take a moment for granted. This Life is all we got. Love it. Live it.”
Cut Copy – “Going Nowhere” (28/11/05 Modular)
Ripping the free-spirited, Aussie, modern rock blueprint out of the grasp of Jet and turning it into confetti is how this sure and steady quartet, with help from cockiness and a country pop/disco tinge announces their arrival. This singlebuilds from a zapping and spacey commencement that leads craftily into the rambling, authoritative and clear vocals of Dan Whitford, who possesses more than a hint of the sound of Brandon Boyd in a reflective moodthrough his brisk style.
This offering is extracted from the proud parade of gusto that is their debut full length; ‘Bright Like Neon Love’. ‘Going Nowhere’ is commanding and catchy enough to pick up ears in the same manner that The Killers and The Bravery did last year (it seems so long ago now, doesn’t it?). The public do not seem to be tiring of this sound and with elements of Daft Punk sprinkled on top and it beingdelivered with an intriguing amount of belief and unashamed pride, it is not surprising in the least.
The Rasmus – “Sail Away” (MCA 14/11/05)
Melodic Finnish rock that shows a bigger heartthan an Ox on Valentines Day is the latest exposure of this Lauri Ylönen fronted outfit’s exploits. It may surprise you to learn that The Rasmus have seven albums in its proud armoury, but their hardcore fans tend not to talk about them, solely because they cannot get hold of some of themfor love nor money.
This offering from the ‘Hide From The Sun’ album is a soaring rock anthem about leaving it all behind. It sends a message out to those who doubted this band’s broadness and staying power, especially to those who bottled them off at the Reading Festival in 2004.
The Paddingtons – “First Comes First” (31/10/05 Mercury Records)
After a ripping highway to Hull tour, this Hull based freight train arrives comfortably at its destination to deliver a CD of tension releasing and free spirited indie punk to the masses. ‘First Comes First’ is an even tempo offering starting off with the breezily strident; ‘Some Old Girl’ that exposes urban life with the openness of Phillip Larkin.This song's guitar hooks,the provocatively throaty vocals of Tom Atkinand tours with Babyshambles and The Libs themselves, renders the obvious tag of being a Northern The Libertines tough to shake off. Would they want to anyway?
Catchy previous single; ‘Panic’ slides alongside contemporaries; The Rakes and The Others to give this end of the indie market some beef. The rebellious title track is the most rhythmic number on show that features a catchy and cruising guitar solo, to highlight the musical dexterity of the outfit, alongside the commanding vocal touch of Atkin adding to their compactness. ‘Loser’ bites back at name tags with snappy angst, possessingtrue punk spirit to give this offering a caustic edge.
The Paddingtons have produced a debut album with a beat, a passion and a simplicity that is both catchy and convincing, no wonder they have had Bez gyrating like a cobra to their sounds at some shows. Northern grit, determination and spirit oozes out of this outfit, makingithard not to stand up and take notice.
Boy Sets Fire – “The Day The Sun Went Out” (Equal Vision)
By switching to a new label more befitting of their hardcore punk status, Boy Sets Fire not only seem to have an added ping to their angry strut, but have become all nostalgic with this re-release of their raw and pummelling 1997 full length offering. Nathan Gray’s snarling vocals make the battle call in opener ‘Pure’, both striking and believable. The searing and Mat Krupanski facilitated, crushing percussion fuelled; ‘Another Badge Of Courage’ aptly demonstrates how this feisty Newark, Delaware outfit became noticed. With lyrical pungency they hit out ferociously at nonchalance;
“And I can’t reach for a reason to look in your eyes like it doesn’t matter at all.
Falling down, crying out.”
The intensity in Gray’s vocals grabs you and draws you into their cause. Boy Sets Fire shows that even early on they were flag-bearers for the hardcore punk genre, with their brazen riffs and ability to tear right into the heart of any subject matter. This is borne out in the haunting, ripping and insurrection inspiring; ‘The Power Remains The Same’ and the caustic ‘Toy Gun Anthem’. The latter number takes on added bite and meaning this time around, being a slower lament against liberal firearms use. This outfit remind us of their deep and meaningful roots, while at the same time, demonstrating that their bite is getting stronger.
Calvoon - CominOnStrong2TheMaximum (Joyrider Records 14/10/05)
Intergalactic ass kicking indie zaps out and immediately shakes you into action in opener ‘CominOnStrong2TheMaximum’. The frenetically orbital instrumentals lift up the Tom Meighan stargazing with Liam Gallagher vocals to produce a stomping anthem that would even get a statue gyrating. A choral style backing and chorus helps to highlight this outfit’s vigour and high spirits.
B-side ‘Feeling The Feeling’ has a flowery Lynryd Skynyrd kick to it, featuring twanging, roving guitars to give off a neat 70s feel. This provides the intriguing Calvoon with a bit of robustness.