Who? Cold In Berlin
Title: Give Me Walls
Label: 2076 records
Tell me more: A relatively new band from London, who have been touring around the UK for the past two years, gaining a reputation and a following.
The Lowdown: The opening line from the first track is: “I had a girl and she was perfect, so I decided I would fuck her. And even though she had a boyfriend I knew I had to have her,” sung by Siouxsie Sioux-soundalike My. And herein we find a lot about the band: they like to swear, and are happy being confrontational. “There is no white horse, you stupid little fucker,” from White Horse – and the f-word gets a good airing in virtually every song. Porky approves, it appeals to his mischevious side, and no doubt to millions of schoolboys too. Reminiscent of PJ Harvey, particularly on her corruscating Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea, My is an uncompromising frontwoman and Cold In Berlin are a tight-knit unit, producing undiluted music that reminds me of the post-punk era of the late 1970s. But, whereas that movement produced something radical, and with feeling, Give Me Walls is repetitive and there’s a failure to find a formula that expands upon their passive-aggressive approach.
Who? Family Fodder
Title: Classical Music
Label: The State 51 Conspiracy
Tell me more: The Family were one of the more enlightening bands of the post-punk era, singing about how wonderful Debbie Harry was, while their debut single, Playing Golf (With My Flesh Crawling), was one of the most bizarre yet mesmerising singles of a highly productive period from 1978 to 1983. They left a legacy of radical music but achieved little in light of intense competition.
The Lowdown: I am delighted to say they haven’t resorted on reformation to recording, ahem, radio fodder, but have the same commitment to esoteric, left-field music, with a soundscape that appears to have originated in Asia folk music or from one of the Kenyan bands John Peel used to play. The man who’s name provides the title to Whatever Happened to David Ze? was a victim of the Angolan military regime’s repressive methods in 1978 although it is also about the many other murders committed by the junta. Suitably, it has an African feel, with touches of the sub-Saharan Rumba style. There’s all sorts of unusual instruments used on Classical Music, such as the mouth harp on Be More Wise but Primeval Pony is a minimalist track building on an imagined nursery rhyme.
Who? The Dunwell Brothers Band
Title: The Dunwell Brothers Band
Label: Nature’s Little Punchline
Tell me more: The core of the band is, rather surprisingly two brothers, Joseph and David, a duo for many years before expanding to a five-piece last year. They are the proud owners of strong Leeds accents.
The Lowdown: Porky generally feels it’s unwarranted to take a debut album and rip it to shreds; if you can’t give them encouragement, ignore ’em and hope they disappear. So, here’s a wee policy breaker, but it’s done so in a good cause. Like an unpleasant disorder ‘downstairs’, action should be swift in order to prevent further infection. And, so to preserve sanity, and the planet even, Porky is beginning a campaign to stop the Dunwell Brothers from developing beyond a cafe chain they are playing. It’s a safe, nice album you could play to your grandmother and her rest home pals, or have on a church stereo. It’s bland, turgid and sounds like a hundred acts from the 1970s and their revivalists. You know, Jack Johnson, that kind of lame-ass. So, c’mon guys, help me out here with the Prevention of Blandness – sign the petition, protest outside record stores, write to your MPs. Together we can beat this.
Anything else? The Dunwell Bros have recorded a jingle for Leeds Utd that gets played at home matches.
Who? The Puddle
Title: Playboys In the Bush
Label: Fishrider records
Tell me more: The Puddle made a splash from 1986 to 1993 as one of the many talented acts on Flying Nun. Alas, none of that material is now available so I can’t determine the quality of this period.
The Lowdown: What I am familiar with is the home-recorded The Shakespeare Monkey, released last year which impressed Porky with its “captivating tone and heartfelt lyrics”. But I also said that George D. Henderson’s voice is infuriatingly frail. That remains the case, especially when he sings “in the country”, but with far better production values through recording in a bona fide studio it means the music is predominant. Rainbow Bridge Airlines is melodic, English Speaking World is articulate, and Valhalla is a nine-minute rock opera, an epic of Lord of the Rings proportions. The Puddle are quite possibly New Zealand’s best-kept secret.
Anything else? London’s Sunday Times and Uncut have both given favourable reviews to the reformed Puddle.