Who? Tom Allalone & The 78s
Title: Major Sins pt 1
Tell me more: A new band from Gravesend in Kent, England and there’s not a great deal known about this four-piece. Hell Hath No Fury, their debut single, didn’t exactly entice me to rip off my clothes and dance around the stationery section of the local supermarket naked. Pyschobilly meets indie rock.
Why the fek should I listen to this? They are one of the many British bands harkening back to their own good-ol-days. And unlike the Rakes or the Rifles or others who regard that halcyon sound as mod or new wave, for the 78s it’s the fifties as it would be delivered by Joe Strummer. Despite what I suggest about the single, Hell Hath No Fury, it fits in quite well in an album that, without stirring the loins, is a hearty bellowful of rock and roll about life and loving (and hating) in a smallish provincial town.
Or should I take it a stick to it and beat the shit out of it? Main songwriter Tom Allalone writes in a fairly humdrum style, and you feel that on songs like I’m Just The DJ, Allalone could develop the subject more tactfully.
Trivia: The Jitterbug delves on the possibility of a sub-plot, removed from The Wizard of Oz, about how Dorothy was getting it on with The Scarecrow.
Tell me more: They hardly need much of a run-down: two brothers who’ve won over Glastonbury many times with their own take on electronic music.
Why the fek should I listen to this? Porky is not great fan of dance/ electronica: he blames it on all those raves around the farm back in the 90s. He loves Orbital though, well, who doesn’t. Two decades of updating Kraftwerk’s computer melodies have resulted in a clutch of classic tunes like Chime (90), Funny Break (01), Style (99) and Are We Here? (94). Never predictable and always challenging conventional notions of albums and stage shows. Orbital’s Glastonbury performances are legendary not that many people would recall them as they would have been out of their tree at the time.
Or should I take it a stick to it and beat the shit out of it? Yeah, it’s all good but even on the best albums, they went off in tangents and you wondered what the fuck was going on. Not always a bad thing, but some tracks would have been better left for the outtakes collection. And on this collection, which is not their first, there isn’t any new tracks, although the hook for many people will be new remixes and a new life for now rare tracks like Omen.
Who? We Were Promised Jetpacks
Title: These Four Walls
Label: Fatcat records
Tell me more: A bunch of 21 year olds from Edinburgh.
Why the fek should I listen to this? There’s a particular trait in Scottish music, that’s manifested itself in the likes of Arab Strap, Idlewild and Ballboy. It’s pure indie. It entails heavily-accented vocals, of drugged-up weekends, and staring at bedsit walls, wondering if your lady is shagging one of the Proclaimers. Humour is optional. Jetpacks expand this with a shouty-loud manner, which the Wedding Present might appreciate.
Or should I take it a stick to it and beat the shit out of it? Listen at a volume not too loud, but just enough for the neighbours to hear it. Maybe, they’ll think, hey this ain’t as loud as that drum n bass pish the bastard usually plays. Give it time though and the police will be called round.
Trivia: Other Scottish bands include Selfish Cunt, Fuck-Off Machete and the Mull Historical Society.
Title: Break the Circle
Label: Drip-dry records
Tell me more: Opaque are everything that indie music should be about in the 21st century: the odd article in the local paper and a few hundred friends on MySpace, built largely through their constant live shows in England’s east and Midlands. I recall seeing this band at a student place in Peterborough’s town centre a few years ago while working for the Performing Rights Society. They sounded like Alfie or various other English bands that regard Syd Barrett as their spiritual father and Captain Beefheart as the naughty brother.
Why the fek should I listen to this? It’s the English tradition. Or it could just be the sound of deluded eccentrics. Opaque have added a little more meat to their body, some ribs to chew on and brain to ingest.
Or should I take it a stick to it and beat the shit out of it? Break the Circle grows on you as you sus out the myriad of meanings and adjust to the eclectic sounds, but, by God, it takes a bloody long time to get there.
Trivia: If you can get hold if it, buy the deluxe version that includes a remix CD as part of a gatefold pack with lyrics and poster. Me, I just got a burned copy with dark marker on the disk. Boo, but it has Porky’s name on it.
Tell me more: Back in the mid-80s in sleepy British towns like Worksop and East Kilbride, spotty teenagers discovered The Byrds and Love, got a guitar on hire purchase and within days were playing at the local Din and Racket. It was almost like punk all over again. But without the fury and the sense of resentment. And like punk there was some rubbish … this organic scene, where floppy fringes and fanzine interviews become more important than selling records, was complimented on a cassette (and later on vinyl) compilation, called, imaginatively, C86.
Why the fek should I listen to this? The line-up on these two disks (48 tracks) is just beautiful. Scouse mickey-takers Half Man Half Biscuit follow twee Jock rockers The Close Lobsters, the Jesus and Mary Chain’s fucked-up feedback frenzy mingles with uber-wimpy The Razorcuts.
Or should I take it a stick to it and beat the shit out of it? Like punk, the quality was not always the most crucial factor, and the do-it-yourself attitude gave many imposters an excuse to foist upon the world their attempts at music-making. Sadly, there’s little of this hilarity on CD86.
Trivia: Primal Scream would like everyone in the entire world to completely forget about their early twee pop days, which saw Bobby Gillespie wearing Paisley pattern shirts. The b-side from their second single, Velocity Girl, is the opening track on disk one, clocking in at 1.22 and must have made Bobby cringe like fuck. Screamadelica was five years and several tonnes of hallucinatory drugs away.