Who? The Bravery
Title: Stir the Blood
Tell me more: When The Bravery came to Porky’s attention in 2005, they were one of the Bright Young Things, a serious challenger to the wave of exciting bands on both sides of the Atlantic, such as Franz Ferdinand. The self-titled debut was excellent and the hit singles and TV appearances were forthcoming.
The Lowdown: Given the above, it’s justified to ask what happened to The Bravery. They haven’t come close to usurping their supposed rivals The Killers or gone on to achieve the success of some of their contemporaries. With this third album it seems The Bravery are anything but. Stir the Blood fails to do that, they haven’t really moved ideologically onward and seem to have become hardcore Sisters of Mercy fans. It has it’s moments, however, Slow Poison, is crisp and beautiful in its audicity and the oblique 80s indie feel works. But they still require some lustre and purpose.
Anything else? Is this something they want us to know – apparently singer Sam Endicott is the writer of Shakira’s She Wolf.
Who? Ten City Nation
Title: At The Still Point
Label: Sturm Und Drang
Tell me more: TCN hail from the east of England, a region that doesn’t have the same musical traditions as, say Liverpool or Manchester, but has had some great bands over the past decade and beyond. For more on Ten City Nation please check out the interview I conducted with Seymour Patrick last month, which will be either below or via the link on the right.
The Lowdown: As the band have progressed from their days as Miss Black America, they’ve become even more nihilistic. More guitars, more anger, more Stooges and Nirvana influences. The opener, Flashing Lights is very accessible – punk with discipline – but Room 10101 is, shall we say, the kind of thing that would scare mothers around the world. At times we need noise in our life. Not the Korn or Green Day form of noise, but something more digestible, even though At The Still Point might give you that bloated feeling after listening to all 12 tracks in one go. This is one Nation to cheer on at the Rock Olympics.
Anything else? Buy for a very reasonable price at http://www.tencitynation.com
Who? Chris Bradley
Title: At The Outpost
Label: 17 Seconds records
Tell me more: Second solo album from a member of uber-indie Scottish band Aberfeldy.
The Lowdown: Jolly pop songs with lightweight melodies and the odd slowdown. Running Song is bursting with harmonies; The Beatles was recorded in a gloriously genre-defying glam-rock manner and Hand-me-Down is the kind of thing Shack do extremely well. Bradley’s got a dandy voice and writes perky songs, but there’s a laboured feel to Outpost, as if it doesn’t really matter if it sells or not.
Anything else? Curiously, his website puts a lot of focus on his television and radio arrangement works: “Whether you’re looking for live instrumentation or sampled electronica, the limits of a musical solution end only where your imagination does.” Indeed.
Who? Don Franks
Title: ‘Safer Communities Together’ Blues
Tell me more: Franks is a well-known left-wing activist around Wellington. He also sings and plays guitar. The title refers to the New Zealand Police’s moto.
The Lowdown: Titles that namecheck unions, the police, the two main political parties, guns, and Mumia Abu Jamal earmarks this album in the “awkward left-wing buggers” section. I don’t have a problem with that, in fact, the more politics the better. Who else apart from Steve Earle or is actually saying something these days? Safer Communities Together Blues is predominantly acoustic with the odd burst of activity, as on Take the guns out of their hands, which frizzles with guitars. He sounds deadly serious, but sometimes comes over sounding like English eccentric John Otway. Adds new, and appropriate, lyrics to All things bright and beautiful and White Christmas (re-named Red Christmas).
Anything else? The album was recorded in a student flat “between strikes, demos, barbecues, cricket and Workers Party branch meetings.” To buy, email Daphna on firstname.lastname@example.org