All 5 entries tagged Holly Cruise

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October 15, 2006

Seafood

Writing about web page http://www.seafood.uk.com

Seafood might just be the indiest band in Britain today. They are so indie that even though the rise of indie has catapulted bands as esoteric as the Futureheads, and as pointless as Jet, into the spotlight, it really does look like Seafood won’t be making their way into the pages of the Sun’s showbiz column. Perfect for the hardened indie snob who intensely hates the idea that any band they love could possibly have anything so vulgar as recognition but a little sad for anyone who possess, oh I don’t know, ears!


From Seafood’s website.

None of the descriptions of them I’ve seen seem to really do them justice. Post grunge is sometimes applied as if that was a proper description and not just some ridiculous concoction seemingly created by someone who lacks imagination. It’s not post grunge. Nickelback are post grunge and we all know what that means. Ick.

Maybe they need hoisting by their own petard. They claim inspiration from the Pixies and Sonic Youth… except they’re somewhere between the two in terms of how ‘pop’ they sound. Too noisy and squalling to be the sinister children of ‘This Monkey’s Gone To Heaven’ but not quite as wilfully obtuse as them there Youth. They even advertised, when forming, for a male drummer and a female bassist to really get close to their inspirations. It’s therefore gratifying that they ended up with a female drummer and a male bassist. It’s little cock ups like that can make from great music. The closest you can get in recent times to their style is probably some sort of step along from Blur’s self titled album, something influenced by American college rock, but more British. We’re not talking Union Jacks at dawn here, more a reluctance to do anything the simple way.

seafood1
(c) Holly Cruise, 7th October 2006 – Coventry Collosseum

What am I wibbling on about? In short Seafood make an odd sort of music. For want of any better descriptions they make the saddest sounding happy music you’ll hear. Their music is like the soundtrack to chasing ghosts down the roads in the town you were born in whilst watching as it decays around you. But the lyrics don’t point that way. They are almost optimistic at times, a strange way. It’s a world where your friends are assassins and you are too. When your lover is both irresistible and your enemy in some bizarre game of mortal combat. But it’s not the sound of confusion. All these contradictions are just presented as the way things are.

Most bands are writing songs which are musically and lyrically about going to the pub and having a drink (with consequences both good and bad). No wonder Seafood ain’t cracked it. The new literalism in music won’t sit easy with lines like “walking into corners/not facing straight/I’m begging for attention/in this silent space/so keep tearing out the splinters/it all starts here/it looks good on you/it does” (‘Splinter’). You’ll have a room full of achingly trendy indie haircuts all crammed into the corners… actually on second thoughts that’s not such a bad thing, hehehe.

seafood2
(c) Holly Cruise, 7th October 2006 – Coventry Collosseum

Anyway, Seafood have four albums and a mini album of this sort of thing to get your paws on. The best place to start is middle release When Do We Start Fighting which is probably their most accessible release. From there we offer you the superlative ‘In This Light Will You Fight Me’, the sort of three part piece which is more instant than a three part song with no obvious chorus should be.

Seafood – ‘In This Light Will You Fight Me’ MP3 Expired

Their latest album, Paper Crown King, is also very good. It’s a little heavier than When Do We Start Fighting and serves as a good bridge between that and their first two releases, the mini album Messenger In The Camp and the proper album Surviving The Quiet. ‘Between The Noise Part 2’ does pretty much exactly what a Seafood song should do. And the title doesn’t really make sense which is nice. Stab stab, take that literalism.

Seafood – ‘Between The Noise pt.2’ MP3 Expired

Then there’s their third album, As The Cry Flows. It’s a bit of a divisive album, some fans love it, some dislike the disjointed nature of it and use the skip button rather a lot to pinpoint the better songs. Recorded after singer David had been in hospital with serious lung problems (and causing many cancelled gigs in Coventry which this writer really wanted to go to) it is more laid back, and somewhat alt.country in tone, it still has some classic Seafood style songs. Perhaps the fact it can be categorised more easily than the others is a hint. Anyway, we’ve included ‘Heat Walks Against Me’ which might just be their actual best song ever. It’s huge, all floatiness and light one minute and then BANG!! Immense soundscape of joy/doom/invention.

Seafood – ‘Heat Walks Against Me’ MP3 Expired

The indie community’s last hidden gem. What have they done to deserve this?

The Albums

Messenger In The Camp (mini album)
Surviving The Quiet (2001)
When Do We Start Fighting (2001)
As The Cry Flows(2004)_
Paper Crown King (2006)


August 10, 2006

Wire

Wire's Essential Albums

Wire - Pink Flag

Pink Flag

Wire - Chairs Missing

Chairs Missing

Wire - 154

154

Click on album art to buy from amazon.co.uk

Punk wasn't about being stupid. The poor musicianship was a result of the egalitarian sentiments it espoused not the movement's principle tenets. People who sneer at any music which has the audacity to have more than three, poorly played, chords is an idiot and not punk. Anyone could play guitar. That was the point. And sometimes those anyones were quite good at it. It was allowed for people to be clever, although there was a line that could not be crossed (if you believe the hype that line was labelled "Beyond This Point Lies Pink Floyd"). 'Good' clever meant having songs shorter than the normal punk shortness (30 seconds was sometimes enough), or smart lyrics, or being daring. Doing any of these things would be enough to make your band quite ace. Rather sensibly Wire did them all.

From direct steals to the subtlest of acknowledgments, Wire have had a tremendous impact on modern indie, even for bands who probably don't realise they've been influenced. With every incident of Elastica running off into the night carrying entire riffs (or songs), to The Futureheads' disregard for traditional verse–chorus–verse, to anyone who ever decided to not even bother trying to fit in, Wire have shown it's allowed in music to be a bit cleverer than the rest. They were students, again something which some 'punks' saw as a kind of class treachery. Anyone who thinks this is an idiot and I'm not just saying this as a student.

In three albums Wire tried a massive experiment – was it possible to get in there, make your point, and leave without being pinned to the floor by your record company and then abused until you've stretched out your songs to 'traditional' sizes? As it happens the answer was "no". Ish.

Most of Wire's songs were as long as necessary. 'Field Day for the Sundays' was merely 28 seconds of joy. Sneeze and you could probably miss many of the songs on their debut, the wonderful Pink Flag. Cramming 21 songs into 35 minutes doesn't leave much room for... well, any flab at all really. Even when they decided to be a bit less frantic on their followup Chairs Missing they still sat on the suitcase to get those 15 tracks into their alloted 42 minutes.

But the beauty of all those tracks, short and not–at–all–long alike, is that they sound like they were released yesterday. Seriously. Being an evil bitch I like to play people their songs, exclaiming "they're the next big thing", and then tell them that those tunes are 25+ years old later. Riffs which are everywhere in indie don't sound out of time when you hear those who came up with them first. And lyrically it's great – Pink Flag opener 'Reuters' is a worryingly accurate sounding description of any of the world's conflicts, with it's sinister chanted vocals and the agonised yell of "rape" at the end. In contrast 'Ex–Lion Tamer' has the humour telling of the titular hero with his "three fingers all in a line". Obtuse but comprehensible. This is where The Futureheads are coming from.

And then there's their near hit, 'Outdoor Miner'. As mentioned, Wire weren't immune to record company meddling and 'Outdoor Miner' the single version was expanded to bump it up to the length of a short but normal pop song. It works, surprisingly, by shoehorning in a quite lovely piano solo to one of their more laid back numbers. Of course the record company then buggered it all up by making errors in the single's release so it wasn't eligible for the charts. There's probably a moral to this story somwhere.

In any case we heartily recommend their first three albums as essential indie albums

Top notch short arse songs to be sampled in a frenetic surge of adrenaline:

Wire – 'Outdoor Miner (single version)' from Chairs Missing - MP3 Expired
Wire – 'Ex Lion Tamer' from Pink Flag - MP3 Expired
Wire – 'Field Day For The Sundays' from Pink Flag - MP3 Expired

Buy Pink Flag from Amazon

Buy Chairs Missing from Amazon

Buy 154 from Amazon

+1 to Andrea for already being down with the Wire love.


July 26, 2006

McLusky

Writing about web page http://www.toopure.com/mclusky/

As strange as it may seem, McLusky were failures. Looking at what they did and how they did it, it seems quite clear that they wanted to be super abrasive, to trash the eardrums of all those unfortunates who had the audactity to cross their path.

They picked as producer Steve Albini, the man who seemingly believed the best way to produce a band was the set angry wasps on them then record the resulting noise in a bucket using the crappiest taperecorder he could find in the local charity shop… then rubbing the resulting tape with sandpaper.

They sang radio friendly lyrics like:

If you can cope in this hopeless hepatitis pissrag/Molotov cocktail monobrow shithole baby
Fuck this band/Cos they swear too much/It's an obvious ploy/And irresponsible

And yet… and yet they had a shameful flaw. It's not hard to be borderline unlistenable yet they couldn't do it. Every morning it would appear McLusky woke up in bed with Mr Tune. We cannot be sure if this was a cause of shame, the terrible hangover kicking in as they realised there were classy and (yes) affecting melodies at work in their songs. Maybe they liked it, the dirty buggers. They certainly got more tuneful as anyone listening to their chronological best of McLuskyism can hear.

So who should listen to them? Everyone?

Maybe. For a start there's a clue in the lyrics quoted above – they were clever. Very clever, and produced some of the best lyrics of the last ten years, crude, rude, funny and sharp. It's hard not to emit to a small titter (or in my case great huge laugh out loud) on hearing the lyric to 'Random Celebrity Insult Generator' which promises much mayhem but settles purely for informing us, repeatedly, that "Nick Berry had talent in a previous life". The desire to channel pure insults into song form is McLusky's ace. The shockingly melodic 'She Will Only Bring You Happiness' has a beautiful middle eight with some nice vocal harmonies (or as close as you get with McLusky) which sooth you right up to the point you realise that they're actually singing "Our old singer is a sex criminal".

Where's best to start? Probably the aforementioned Best Of, Mcluskyism which gives a helpful overview as to what you might hear. The early stuff can probably strip paint off walls (although the paint round here could be stripped off by Sigur Ros it's that badly done) but their second and third albums, McLusky Do Dallas and The Difference Between Me And You Is That I'm Not On Fire are great and should at least be listened to even if they too do bad things to your house's paintwork.

The antidote to emo? Maybe. If we must have long song titles then McLusky are showing the way forward, less annoying pretentiousness, more songs called 'Dave, Stop Killing Prostitutes' and 'Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues'. And it is them showing the way forward but no longer leading. Sadly they split up last year leaving us bereft of McLusky but in possession of spin off bands Shooting At Unarmed Men and Future Of The Left who may yet prove that trying to hurt ears + being frisked by the Tune + great use of words = the way forward.

Fuck this band/Yeah fuck their holes/But if they split up/You're responsible

Oh yes…

Tracks are for sampling purposes only and will be deleted two weeks after this entry.

McLusky – 'The World Loves Us And Is Our Bitch' MP3 Expired [Buy McLusky Do Dallas from Amazon]
McLusky – 'Fuck This Band' MP3 Expired [Buy McLusky Do Dallas from Amazon]
McLusky – 'Random Celebrity Insult Generator (SBN Session Version)' MP3 Expired [Original version found on 'Alan Was A Cowboy Killer EP' buy from Amazon]

The albums (each wonderfully named)
My Pain and Sadness Is More Sad and Painful Than Yours
McLusky Do Dallas
The Difference Between Me And You Is That I'm Not On Fire
McLuskyism


July 16, 2006

Khonnor

Khonnor

Acoustic singer songerwriter guy. Bloke with guitar. He walks into a bar and sets up his stool before strumming gently and bubbling away about something mildly inconsequential… At least, that's what he does 999 times out of 1000. But someone's always got to be different. Maybe he doesn't want to be armed just with a guitar, especially when we are engulfed in a wave of male singer songwriters who are so devoid of rough edges (i.e. interest) that they are making us pine for the days of such uber–fascinating characters as David Gray.*

That person, on this occasion, is Khonnor. An eccentric from Vermont, Khonnor has taken the gently strummer singer songwriter pattern and dipped it in the pot marked 'Electronic Things Which Go Whoosh!'. It's not a very subtle pot. It drenches his work in all sorts of sweeps and unexpected sounds. It also adds a somewhat unsettling ambience to proceedings. It's quite alright to find yourself looking around the room wondering where that noise came from before you realise it was very probably meant to be on the track you're listening to. Probably. Best check just to be certain.

Like a sci–fi version of film score legend Ennio Morricone, Khonnor creates things which are less songs than soundtracks which seep out of the speakers and envelope the room, colluding with the furniture, the lighting and your own feelings to shift you somewhere unworldly. His songs are curious, sometimes it's hard to recall what they sound like, yet the second the first sound (sometimes a note or chord, sometimes just that, a sound) hits you you will remember the song.

The songs below are two good examples of what to find on his album Handwriting (buy it y'hear ) which is the best place to start. He apparently has new stuff coming out as Khonnor later in the year but for those who find this to be not quite enough there is also his alter egos…

Khonnor – 'An Ape Is Loose' MP3 Expired
Khonnor – 'Man From The Anthill' MP3 Expired

Grandma is a more electronic sound than Khonnor, distorted vocals and even (shock) a scattering of beats which you could conceivably dance to (though don't expect a hi–NRG workout to burn those calories off). Downloads of Grandma's EP 'For Your Broken Heart' can be found at Monotonik's website.

More electronic still is his releases as I, Cactus. These are less unnerving than his other pieces, more chilled and relaxed. Each track is a new cactus based experience.

It might not be what you're used to hearing but isn't it worth giving your eardrums something a little different from time to time? If this concept does not appeal then piss off to Radio 2 where I'm sure some bloke with a guitar is waiting to serenade you with bilge about something–or–other breaking his heart. Bet he doesn't use the pot marked 'Electronic Things Which Go Whoosh!'.

Buy Khonnor - Handwriting from Amazon

*Who is quite good if you can get past the ubiquity of certain tracks of his.


July 05, 2006

Meet The Contributors – Holly Cruise

Name: Holly Cruise
Number one in UK when I was born: Wham! – 'Freedom'.
First album bought: Catatonia International Velvet. Still one of the best ever.
First gig attended: Space at the Stoke Sugarmill (I think) in 1998. I was 13 and went with my mum.
These following questions are going to look like a proper Manic Street Preachers love-in so I shall also mention things I like which aren't political Welsh rocker shaped...
Favourite album: Manic Street Preachers Everything Must Go but after that Elastica - Elastica.
Favourite song: Manic Street Preachers - 'Design For Life' but after that Interpol - The Specialist.
Favourite gig: Manic Street Preachers at V2002 or possibly Arcade Fire at Leeds 2005. This is pretty much a tie.
Favourite band: Work it out…
Favourite genre: Indie, but I'm fairly unfussy.
The band you like but are embarassed about/feel is a little out of place in your collection: Girls Aloud own pop.
Number of CDs bought since 1st January 2006: 45 with others acquired (legally) for free.
What musical event would you most like to see happen: The ghosts of John Lennon, Kirsty Maccoll and Richey Edwards (he's dead) chasing Simon Cowell, Louis Irish fella and all other pop svengalis who think dull dull ballads are enough to justify pop groups' existences, off the white cliffs of Dover.
Musical hero: John Peel. He liked what he liked, regardless of genre or whether anyone else liked it.
Music's biggest enemy/ies in my opinion are: The aforementioned pop managers who believe that image is enough to sell records (an aural experience) and have corrupted pop as a result. Good pop is about good songs as well as the image. We are slowly remembering this but tripe like Westlife still exists so beware.

Three tracks I love for your pleasure

Doves – 'Sea Song' MP3 Expired [Buy from Amazon]
Manic Street Preachers – 'Prologue To History' MP3 Expired [Buy from Amazon]
The Futureheads – 'Cope' MP3 Expired [Buy from Amazon]
The Knife – 'The Captain' MP3 Expired [Buy from Amazon]

Tracks are for sampling purposes only and will be deleted two weeks after this entry.

I work very hard but I'm lazy, I can't take the pressure and it's starting to show...


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