Get Down With Dave Adair
Get Down With Dave Adair
It’s coming up, it’s coming up, it’s coming up – it’s Adair!
Greetings, trakMARXists, cheeky Northern tyke Dave Adair here – bringing you ‘the very best’ from the ‘more accessible’ end of the spectrum.
As usual, I’ve been very busy these past couple of months: listening, gigging, jiving, festivaling - and stuff - then going home - &, after me tea - writing it all up for you. You probably don’t realise this – but I write fookin’ loads of stuff for this mag every week - & 90% of it gets chucked in the wastebin by that twat Encoule because it’s deemed: not Punk Rock enough. I ask you – what a small-minded wanker, eh?
Never mind, I’ve managed to sneak a few records into the mix that aren’t by Anti Nowhere League, Conflict or Flux Of Pink Indians, so – here goes nothing:
Tobias Froberg - “When The Night Turns Cold”(Poptones)
Does the world need a one man The Mamas & The Papas? Of course it does - & Sweden’s Mr. Tobias Froberg has just handed in his C.V. for that very post. He receives a little help from some hollow and earthy percussive sounds, tingling instrumental variety and a journeying choral element. This simple plea for love and friendship continues the steady rise of a sincere singer/songwriter who has been helped along the way by recent media interest in the likes of Jose Gonzales, Ray Lamontagne and Paolo Nutini. This prelude to Froberg’s searching ‘Somewhere in the City’ album - due out 04th September 2006 - will certainly help the Swede ignite a spark of interest in his friendly and heartfelt sound.
Voxtrot – “Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives” (Playlouder Recordings)
Voxtrot are a Texas quintet that have patently been experimenting - overdubbing Stuart Murdoch’s vocals onto old Smiths’ tracks to entertain themselves down on the ranch. The title track is an apt display of their colourful vocal range - propounded by singer, Ramesh Srivastava - whose style contrasts with the murky guitars and steadfast, percussion clatter. ‘Fast Asleep’ is where this EP builds in a pleading nature from a quirky, ambient intro to make reaching the catchy indie groove a worthwhile journey.
In order to stay around in the competitive vulture pen of modern music, you need to be able to craft a snappy and proud pop pearl. ‘Rise Up In The Dirt’ achieves this feat with ease - and more than a modicum of sincerity - as Srivastava’s vocals drop a little in pace to hover around soothingly. A strolling keyboard and chugging drum-beat leads the way into a flighty final fling: ‘Soft & Warm’ – that succinctly illustrates the life-grappling nature at the heart of this thoughtful outfit. This five track foray could almost tag onto the end of debut EP - ‘Raised By Wolves’ - to make a colourful and lyrically troubled debut album with interludes of feel-good pop!
The Rapture – “Get Myself Into It” (Vertigo)
‘Echoes’ - with its rising riffs and funky vocal provocation - was undoubtedly one of the surprise albums of 2003. The Rapture have subsequently consolidated their success with some frisky and free-spirited live sets. Three years on - they’ve gone away - chilled out - and reassessed their debut – returning with some beard-stroking jazz paint to cover any gaps surrounding Luke Jenner’s clear tenor tone. ‘Get Myself Into It’ shows The Rapture in a more thoughtful mood - as they sidestep closer to the sound of their NYC contemporaries, Radio 4.
The Needles - In Search Of The Needles (Dangerous Records)
Rasping rock with rhythm, lyrical bite and swirling keyboards – the sinister ‘Let You Down’ and the murkily catchy ‘Under The City’ immediately transport you to a dingy underground venue - the year is 1975. We are then thrown forwards 30 years for The Cribs/Supergrass skirting ‘Girl I Used To Know’ as Dave Dixon’s vocals taking on a calming, yet grittily authoritative pitch. Already it is impossible not to be tempted to put this foray into the category of one of the freshest and most sincere albums of the year so far. It is a debut album, to boot, helping to render the disappointment of Razorlight’s recent lack of adventure as distant a memory as England’s World Cup campaign.
A sound similar to Kiss crashing a Ramones gig gushes through the first portion of the album & utilises the spindling bass virtuosity of Paul Curtiss - most noticeably propelling on the provocative ‘Devil At Your Door’ - and the pleading previous single ‘Dianne’. Feelings/emotions are never far away in a Needles song - giving them a genuine and emotive edge.
The Aberdeen quartet even finds time to put a loving arm around The Byrds and The Stands - embracing country rock with the album’s highlight - the lyrically cutting, instrumentally winding and ultimately roving ‘Poison Ivy’. This is the signal for a change in pace as pop craftsmanship is deployed to slow the journey down with ‘Up Against The Wall’.
The inter-song cohesion that is displayed without exception illuminates a band of true understanding - and the fact that they have been together since the late 1990’s has evidently facilitated this understanding - rather than straining relations - as oft happens when groups struggle to be heard. The big sounding ‘Delivery Day’ possesses the layered vocal approach that serves The Coral so well at their most potent. The slow ballad - ‘In The Morning’ - provides a reflective and tingling conclusion - quite fitting, really - as in years to come The Needles will reflect on this debut with pride and fulfilment.
The Human Value - Give Me (Big Deal Records)
The new wave of new wave craze is marching to the UK - and it’s potential US leaders - The Human Value - capture their buzzing sound and shake it like it’s a poor man’s money box. Blondie-eqsue provocation and XTC style eccentric frivolity. The crawling vocal approach of singer Turu has a mechanical effect that turns the wheels of this satiating grinder of an A side.
The hollow percussive build up to B-side - ‘Nashville #5’ - helps set a nostalgic feel - throwing matters into a reflective vortex - with throbbing instrumentals at the centre of their musical universe. There’s a lustful hunger that trickles through Turu’s stammering - lifting the number’s quaintness to a catchy higher ground. The vocals take a delightful turn towards the Katie Jane Garside end of the spectrum on the salacious glam/punk melting pot of ‘She’ - and keeps this purring first single ticking throughout its entirety.
Snowden - Anti-Anti (Jade Tree)
The maudlin, streetwise, worldly nature of Jordan Jeffares strikes you immediately - like a slow but well placed blow - in ‘Like Bullets’. It’s almost as if as - through his Atlanta outfit Snowden – he’s saying to all emo bands: ‘you’re thoughts may become clearer if you slow down enough to be able to notice them yourself’. A rumbling, ambient accompaniment creates a musical gravel pathway for Jeffares to vocally meander down. The downtrodden lyrics freshly dug from the recesses of his heart are emo to be proud of - or ashamed of - if you are a musical snob;
“I push the pull too but when I see you move I know it’s just business as usual. We can walk like bullets and talk like bullets In and out your face but you’ll never notice.”
There’s a ‘pub crawl’ aspect to the vocals as the album progresses - Jaffares’ voice appears to be slowly emerging from a pit of alcohol – piling on the downtrodden vibes – especially on ‘My Murmuring Darling’. Songs like ‘Black Eyes’ tell us that this is no soul-searching journey, however, but a washing line to dry everything – once dirty, now clean - that has been stained by the world's wicked ways. The instrumental arrangements throughout are chilling - think The Cure eats Sonic Youth -shrouding matters in reflection, reflection, reflection.
Marching percussion drags you headlong into the fuzzy guitar led, lurid web of backstabbing and deceit that is ‘Counterfeit Rules’. This approach lends itself to the sharp narrative of the vocals - enabling Jaffares to be at his most convincing. That poignancy is sadly present everywhere on ‘Anti-Anti’ - but what remains is still enough to keep you tuned into the mindset of this cohesive, haunting and troubled outfit.
The Needles – “Summer Girls” (Dangerous Records)
Tingling summer indie-rock - shimmering hanging vocals – it’s the second single from sharp Aberdeen quartet, The Needles! Fuzzy harmony-laden guitars - rhythmically trotting percussion – The Needles swerve provocatively close to Muse on occasion. Short, catchy and simple – but with elements of depth – the perfect soundtrack to a fine summer’s day.
‘How Come It Doesn’t Rain’ goes all reflective on us - & shuffles the pack to deal ‘vaguely psychedelic’ cards marked indelibly by the roaming keyboards of Richey Wolfe. Debut album, ‘In Search Of The Needles’ (see above) hits the public domain on 04/09/2006 - so for those who are finding Boy Kill Boy's attention seeking, limelight squatting a tad tedious right now - this date will not come a moment too soon.
Humanzi – “Tremors” (Fiction/SFR)
Four irate Irishmen – laden with ripping riffs and angst-riden 70s rock - prove that anger is not something to stay quiet about (it’s an energy! – Ed). The ricocheting riffs and cantering percussion of ‘6 Gun’ introduce us to the dragging, high-pitched howl of Shaun Mulrooney - who gushes out lurid defiance in response. There are fuzzy interludes too - as on ‘Out On A Wire’ - that slow the tempo and drive home a message of admiration and regret. Most of the songs here are searching and uncover some depth to Humanzi’s locker that is often hidden by the brazen sound.
A distorted vocal element gives ‘I Want Silence’ some gruff provocation to compliment the wandering, almost jazzy guitar-led romp that delivers a somewhat mystical message:
“You don’t need words to sing out.”
A piercing element permeates the album - Mulrooney’s presence comes across as raw and honest. AC/DC’s spirit is adeptly captured on ‘Song For Understanding’: the number builds from a slow, acoustic intro to a howling crescendo. As the album develops, an ambient shapes crop up on ‘Help Me In The Morning’ – keeping things fresh & varied. Humanzi do their thing with a rugged honesty that makes their brand of rock believable - as well as catchy.
The Human Value – “The Human Value” (Big Deal Records)
Right from the fuzzy bass led wanderings of ‘Give Me’, this trio of musical liberators from the West Coast, led by the provocative pitch of vocalist Turu, immediately erects a solid foundation from which to project their carpe diem message. This is off-set by a slower and mournful offering ‘You Want Him’ - built from the grinding bass of Hiram - that squeezes into PJ Harvey’s skirt to project feelings of longing and bemusement to an eerily ambient musical base. Previous projects - such as Kittens For Christian (Hiram) - and The Send Effect (Turu) - have laid the foundations for this expansive new wave and raw rocking outfit. A snappy and salacious exchange of vocals between Turu and Hiram on ‘Somebody’ eclipses The Kills. Chemistry oozes from the groves. It must be hair-raising live?
Tripping guitars and buzzing bass-lines help the positive ‘Won’t Be Long’ gush it’s message of endurance/patience/self-confidence. The vocals take a sure-footed but calming stance - the musical backdrop adds some grit to complete the life enhancing parade. ‘Won’t Be Long’ casts a dark, brooding shadow over the length of this daring debut – as does the haunting ‘She’.
There is an infectious spontaneity to The Human Value – they add a bit a depth and reflection to modern music - & that shouldn’t be sniffed at. “The Human Value” is going to make instant headway with music lovers who want more than meaningless rhythm and a catchy chorus from their hobby.
Dave Adair – tMx 26 – 09/06
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