Reviews 25


Reviews 25

Singles Of The Issue:

Cheveu – “Dog” (S-S Records)

Cheveu are from Paris. Cheveu – the name – is a porn anagram. That’s about all we know.

“Dog” is fucking brilliant. A NO-FI mix of cheap distorted guitars attempting rock & roll licks, crap drum machines, broken pianos & French blokes a-whooping, a-coughing & a-mumbling. As I said: fucking brilliant! These kind of records come along once or twice in a lifetime. DON’T MISS OUT.

It wouldn’t be out of order – or far from the truth, for that matter - to say that this is the best French group I’ve heard since Metal Urbain. Believe me, trakMARXists - THAT GOOD!!

Go to the URL below immediately & order your copy by mail order. By any means necessary. You need this record.

Au revoir, mes amis!

Cheveu – “Clara Venus” (Royal/SDZ)

Fuck me! They’ve only gone & done it again! As if releasing the skronk-tastic “Dog” wasn’t enough for one month, Cheveu go & drop “Clara Venus”.

Based on the poem “Venus Anadyomene” by everyone’s favourite Symbolist, Arthur Rimbaud, “Clara Venus” races along on primitive beats & skronky keys before the guitars cut in with the choicest of anti-riffs & blow the roof clean of the shed. Don’t ask me what’s going on. This one’s sung in French - & despite many hours of ‘regardez, ecoutez et repeatez’ during in my scholastic years (& my massive collection of symbolist poetry!) – I’m afraid I’m none the wiser.

Not that that matters, you understand. “Clara Venus” is another copper-bottomed classic from the best new group in France, the best new French group in the new release pile – aw, fuck it – the best new group EVER!

Jean Encoule – tMx 25 – 06/06

The Playmates – “Smash Hits”/”Jackie Wright” (Wrath)

The Playmates rose from the ashes of former tMx faves - les Flames! – 18 months ago. This - their second 45 – is the spikey follow up to last year’s pogo-tastic “Damn Good” - & bloody good it is too.

“Smash Hits” is dirty & sarcastic:

“Where were you a year ago – playing in a shit band, sleeping with your left hand . . .”

Dirty & sarcastic - & pretty close to the truth.

“Jackie Wright” is punchy & addictive:

“And then it happened overnight – I fell in love with Jackie Wright . . .”

Thank God it wasn’t Jackie Brambles.

Urchin melodies. Buzzsaw guitars. Healthy disrespect. Questionable attitudes. Marvellous. Yet more indispensable popular music from those reliable Northern tykes at Wrath. More please.

Wayne Cocaine – tMx 25 – 06/06

This Et Al – “Sabbatical” (Jealous)

Leeds noiseniks This Et Al follow up their superb “Wardens” 45 with another slab of Sonic Youth flavoured left field pop.

“Sabbatical” smoulders like Mogwai having a fight with And You Will Know Us . . . like My Bloody Valentine after a particularly taxing week at Songsmith’s College Of Further Education . . . like Muse being beaten up by Josh Homme!

Robert De Janeiro – tMx 25 – 06/06

Luxembourg – “We Only Stayed Together For The Kids” (Dogbox)

If you hang out here @ trakMARX on a regular basis you will have read about Luxembourg before. We’ve been waiting patiently for them to happen for what seems like ages now. “We Only Stayed Together For The Kids” keeps the pressure on like a tourniquet. Find yourself a reflective place with a record player, place the needle on the vinyl, remove said tourniquet - & let the rush wash over you like a bag of brown after a hard day at the office. You know it makes sense. Now make it a hit.

Guy Debored – tMx 25 – 06/06

The Nightingales – “Let’s Think About Living” (Fake Product)

First there were The Prefects – Brum’s premier Punks – then came The Nightingales – Peel sponsored darlings of the post-punk underground. “Let’s Think About Living” reunites various original Prefects & original Nightingales on a robust but effective cover of Boudleaux Bryant’s rock & roll classic originally recorded by Bob Luman way back in 1960. This has been picking up tons of airplay on Radio 6 - with Phil Jupitus, Tom Robinson & Lard’s ‘Mint’ show bashing their vinyl bishops to within an inch of their respective lives. B-side, “Seconds”, is more traditional Nightingales fayre: angular, lyrically dextrous & ever so slightly dangerous.

Dylan Moron – tMx 25 – 06/06

The Vichy Government – “Suspended On Full Pay” (Filthy Little Angels)

The Vichy Government are married with eight ostriches! Who says press releases are full of shit? “Suspended On Full Pay” is further evidence of Jamie Manner’s genius status. Backed by the Microdisney quoting “Whore Of Babylon” – The Vichy Government are one top administration. Vote for them today!

Jean Encoule – tMx 25 – 06/06

¡Forward Russia! – “18” (Dance To The Radio)

“18” is one of the prettiest moments from “Give Me A Wall” – a progressive collective of massed angst draped in gossamer. Released on 2x7” 45s, CD & Digi Download, “18” sees Leed’s ‘daddies darlings’ ¡Forward Russia! undertake their biggest offensive yet. Objective: annex the higher reaches of the charts. Overground? To abnormality? Time will be the best judge of that.

Dylan Moron – tMx 25 – 06/06

LR Rockets – “Private Eye” (Demo)

East London’s LR Rockets are building a bit of a buzz via the pages of artROCKER & Spill Magazine. Still at the demo stage, they do have plans for a self-financed EP shortly – if they’re not snapped up by Fierce Panda or V2 in the interim - that is.

“Private Eye” pushes all the right generic garage buttons & sounds like it should have been recorded in Australia in 1978. It’s got something – even if it does feel a tad contrived. Apparently it sounds a lot less forced than your average East London beat combo. Glad I don’t live down South.

Guy Debored – tMx 25 – 06/06

V Formation – “Little Heart” (Double Dragon)

I like this. The guitars sneak in while the bouncers are looking the other way. The bass player can spell ‘melody’. The tubs thump. The singer reminds me of Mike Scott. The chords keep going where you don’t expect them to go.

V Formation are from Northern Ireland. “Little Heart” has ‘grower’ written all over it. Thank you, Belfast.

Wayne Cocaine – tMx 25 – 06/06

Awful Sparks v Plastic Passion – Singles Club 2 (Leaving Home Records)

Awful Sparks? Are they talking about me? Have I rewired their house? Did they get a pisser off of the sink? Did I forget to earth it?

Fame Academy? West Country public schools? Indie club promoters? Awful Sparks are OK if you like that kind of thing: clever clogs quirkyness. I don’t. I’m sorry.

Plastic Passion are named after a Cure song. Wait, come back.

Jean Encoule – tMx 25 – 06/06

The Stabilisers – “Do The Brane” (Acid Jazz)

The Stabilisers – Jon, Simon, Francis & Allan Crockford (The Prisoners, JTQ, The Headcoats, Solarflares) – make ’79 shaped punky waver mod that’s been suitably compressed for the noughties marketplace. The guitars cut like broken bottles left in the sand on the beach. The harmonies are tighter than Bob Geldof on a night on the piss with Fathers For Justice. The songs are strong - & worthy of repeated listens. Their earlier gear may have slipped under the radar due to poor distribution – but Acid Jazz won’t let that happen again! “Do The Brane”/”Wanna” heralds the group’s second long player (their first with Crockford) due for release through Acid Jazz in August.

Robert De Janeiro – tMx 24 – 06/06

Yes Boss – “More Or Less” (Dance To The Radio)

Another issue of trakMARX – another Yes Boss 45! The follow up to “Get Dropped Quick” is darker, grimier, squelchier, spacier - & - let’s be honest here – not as funny as the last one. Which is a shame. B-side, “They Think It’s All Over”, is also one football reference too many in the middle of what could only be described as the ‘silly season’. To quote another famous ‘son of the North’: “That joke isn’t funny anymore”.

Dylan Moron – tMx 25 – 06/06

Extinguish Her – “Hit My Head” (Valentine)

Excellent 7-track EP from Manchester’s Valentine records. Extinguish Her take Patti Smith’s “Horses” as their canvas & weave in strands of Breeders, Sleater Kinney, Bikini Kill & good ol’Peej. “Flowers In My Hair” blows the windows out of the garage. “Me & Mine” smoulders. “Like God” is an utterly riff-tastic juggernaut. “Virago” is haunted by Janis Joplin. “Making Little Boys Cry” could well be spiteful. Extinguish Her are a force to be reckoned with.

Wayne Cocaine – tMx 25 – 06/06

Underdog – “Sunny Estate EP” (Criminal)

Essex boys Underdog like a good harmony. They like proper ‘traditional song structures’ too. They quite possibly each own a copy of “The Very Best Of Crowded House”. Fresh from knocking them over at a Mr Magoo night at some shit club or other in London, Underdog seem set to emulate the success of Proud Mary & disappear up their own arses quicker than you can say ‘how many songs has Liam written for the new LP?’ As with anything to do with Mr Magoo – this sucks harder than Dyson. This is Dad rock & father’s day has been & gone for another year.

Guy Debored – tMx 25 – 06/06

Pete & The Pirates – “Get Even” (Stolen)

“Get Even”: a 7-track EP style affair that paints a vivid portrait of the collective talents of Pete & his Pirates. The moniker may be dodgy – cue jokes about it ‘not being a patch on their last one’ (aw, c’mon, you know I wouldn’t sink that low!) but the presence of talent is in no doubt whatsoever.

“Get Even”: a rambling hotchpotch of post-Libertine urchinity with the faintest whiff of patchouli oil. Pete & The Pirates – keep an eye out for them!

Wayne Cocaine – tMx 25 – 06/06

Vicious Cabaret – “Wallow” (Demo)

Sadly still unsigned, Leed’s Vicious Cabaret return with new recordings. “Wallow” rides a suitably filthy bass line (the VU jamming with Foo Fighters?) – recycling Joy Division riffs as it goes. “The Devil’s Got His White Tux On Tonite” is darker – more The Mission than ‘Transmission’. ‘La Petite Mort’ is my favourite track here – a glam shaped stomper that reeks of Bolan.

Robert De Janeiro – tMx 25 – 06/06

LP Of The Issue:

Jinx Lennon – “Know Your Station Gouger Nation” (Septic Tiger)

If Jinx Lennon’s guitar is a magic wand, then I’m happy to fall under its septic spell. These are tales of provincial border-towns told with grit and wit. Yeah, I’m reminded of J.C. Clarke or Tom Waites or even Dylan in the way Mr Lennon weaves his hugely entertaining, heinously humorous narratives over melodies that’ll have your heads nodding and your feet tapping – but it don’t worry me unduly!

From ‘Forgive the Cunts’, a truly uplifting tune about the desperate dead-space of unfulfilling, soul destroying jobs (sounds unlikely - I know - but this guy manages it), to the traditionally haunting echoes of  ‘St Brigids Shrine’, lent a sardonic sweetness by the honeyed tones of Paula Flynn, there’s a little bit of something for just about everyone here.

Even the grimmest of stories is delivered with winning conviction and a dangerously exposed funny bone. ‘Gobshyt In The House’ made me belly laugh - and the perfectly poignant ‘Flesh Taxi’ conjured images that made me both mad and sad to be woman in this world.

It’s relentless, and you might think: 20 tracks – fuck - that’s a lot of music for one album - but from track one to the bitter sweet end - 48 minutes later - you’ll be glad you did, wondering where you are and why it had to end so soon.

My advice? Go buy the second album cause that’s got 32 tracks! It’s nothing if not value for your money.

Debbie Hurry – tMx 25 – 06/06

Crack Und Ultra Eczema – “Crack Und Ultra Eczema” (Tes Fesses)

Strasbourgeois NO WAVE collective Crack Und Ultra Eczema peddle most excellent post-rock-art-house blues for the 21st century. Mates of Single Of The Issue heroes, Cheveu, Crackund could teach the UK’s insipid art faction a thing or two about being obstructive & constructive at the same time - without needing to melt your parents record collection down in the process: i.e. - The Young Marble Giants revival does NOT start here!

This is what their record label had to say:

“Sortie du premier album de Crack und ultra eczema le 29 Mars. Première sortie de Tes Fesses Records (tfs001) en CD. Le groupe strasbourgeois no wave-epileptic-dermato-core etc, comme vous voudrez, est en tous cas l'un des meilleurs groupes français de ces dernières années. Ils ont tourné ces derniers mois en Italie, en France et en Belgique (prochaine date au Recyclart à Bruxelles le 23 avril) avec entre autres Dada Swing, Cheveu et Kania tieffer. Le disque intitulé "What do you think you think" contient 12 titres parmi lesquels Buddy's a good boy, Mambo Mozarella, Holy Alabama... Les morceaux ont été enregistrés par Phil Scrotum et Homemade en 2004 et 2005. L'Artwork a été réalisé par Cheb Samir, Homemade et Julie Nulos. Le disque sera disponible le 29 mars 2006. Les précommandes sont ouvertes: plus de renseignements ici.”

If that hasn’t clarified things for you, visit:

Wayne Cocaine – tMx 25 – 06/06

Gallucci – “You-Wrecker” (TBC)

Label yet to be confirmed, the sophomore LP by Antipodean Stooges approved wonders, Galluucci, is a glorious expansion of their “Soca Punk” debut. Veering wildly from post-rock wig outs to concise Punk/Pop gems - & all the way back again, Gallucci’s self-belief grows with every release.

Title track, “You-Wrecker”, opens proceedings admirably - & we duly rattle through 21 cuts in 34 minutes 11 seconds: the longest song clocks in at 2.52! Evidence of Gallucci’s Stooges interface surfaces on “What! The Watt Hell” - whilst elsewhere a suitably crazed version of “Classical Gas (w/Guts)” raises an eyebrow - as well as a smile!

The LP draws to a close with the amusingly titled “How Do You Curtail The Jam Mentally While Practicing Stooges Tunes?” I guess once you’ve shared a stage with Ron, Rock, Steve & Watt, nothing really matters that much anymore - & you can concentrate on what you do best: enjoying yourself!

“You-Wrecker”, then, is the unmistakable sound of Gallucci relaxing & enjoying themselves.

Guy Debored – tMx 25 – 06/06

V/A – “S&LCD001” (Snakes & Ladders)

Debut compilation release from eclectic DIY East London label, Snakes & Ladders, is a glorious hotchpotch of contemporary mores. 18-tracks, 10-groups, 1000-ideas & one unifying objective: DIY.

The CD is split into two distinctive ‘sides’:

  • Side 1 - Snakes
  • 1. “Sister Fanthorpe” - Sam Soper
  • 2. “A to Markworthy” - The Roaring Twenties
  • 3. “Onward, Christian!” - Catnap
  • 4. “Prime Number” - The Total Drop
  • 5. “Cursor” - Kwes
  • 6. “Geological Time Includes Now” - Shock Defeat!
  • 7. “Plugs Demo Taster” - Plugs
  • 8. “Foreplay” - The Liquor Store
  • 9. “TV Viewing Habits” - The Fat Abbots
  • Side 2 - Ladders
  • 10. “The Odd Couple” - The Roaring Twenties
  • 11. “---“ - Catnap
  • 12. “An Educated Guess” - The Total Drop
  • 13. “Neon Moon” - Kwes
  • 14. “Terrified” - Shock Defeat!
  • 15. “Shallow Grave” - Plugs
  • 16. “Gothika” - The Liquor Store
  • 17. “TV Viewing Habits” - The Rhythm Method
  • 18. “Sister Fanthorpe” - (reprise) Sam Soper

Stars of the show are Plugs – whose insane “Plugs Demo Taster” & superb “Shallow Grave” are worth the admission price alone (which, at a fiver, is hardly taxing, eh?) – but The Roaring Twenties aren’t far behind.

Jean Encoule – tMx 25 – 06/06

Zeeb – “MockCockSpockShockRock” (Fiddler Crab Music)

Apparently, Zeeb landed in Shropshire in 1864 & have spent the last 42 years hiding. From whom, or what, the press release fails to mention, but one thing is for certain: Zeeb are one intergalactic sun shield short of a space-worthy craft.

Obsessions with girls, anal probes & ‘dressing like twats’ inform their popular shaped space rock attack. Like The Residents gone stoner, Zeeb are quite literally out their on their own: titles like “Lunchix Asylum”, “Galactic Sulk”, “Interstella Layby” & closer, “Mothership Earth”, leave you in no doubt that Zeeb’s political agenda is not going to get in the way of a good joke (i.e. - “ZEEB Ameoba”).

Possibly the end result of a weird genetic experiment involving Zodiac Mindwarp, his Love Reaction & Hawkwind, Zeeb are here to confound, amuse & entertain – they might have their tongues in their cheeks – but at least they haven’t got their heads up their arses!

Dylan Moron – tMx 25 – 06/06

The Longcut – “Call & Response” (Deltasonic)

The Longcut – Stuart (Drums, Vocals and Keyboards), Lee (Guitar) & Jon (Bass) – have been threatening to be Manchester’s ‘best new group sine The Stones Roses’ (it says here) for the last 18 months.

Influenced by the likes of Sonic Youth, At The Drive In, My Bloody Valentine, Dj Shadow, Neil Young, Love, Fugazi, Radiohead & Massive Attack, The Longcut have variously been described as sounding like Mogwai, Joy Division, New Order, Fugazi, Massive Attack, The Rapture, Sigur Ros – or - & this was all my own work: The Cure with a particularly snotty head cold.

Maudlin, moody & atmospheric, The Longcut’s world revolves around delicately picked arpeggios, oscillating analogue wave-patterns & roller coaster rhythms. This is bedroom angst of the most pretentious nature: it wants so hard to be something substantial - but can’t stop shrugging its shoulders & shuffling its feet. Arsed?

The Longcut stand for nothing. The Longcut believe in nothing. The Longcut advocate nothing. When ITV eventually launch Indie-Idol – The Longcut will win.

Wayne Cocaine – tMx 25 – 06/06

The Triffids – “Born Sandy Devotional” (Domino)

Originally released back in 1986, this stunning set by Perth’s (Aus) finest was held up by many a critical commentator as a masterpiece back in the day. This 19-track edition captures the original LP in 24-bit sound, 9 unreleased bonus cuts, all original artwork - & a limited 42-page booklet.

Anticipating the late 90s explosion by at least 10 years, The Triffids music was as big as the Outback - & substantially dryer. The relatively recent addition of ‘Evil’ Graham Lee’s pedal steel had brought an expansive new element to The Triffids sound - & the group were understandably eager to prove they had the ability to ‘go all the way’.

“The Seabirds”, “Lonely Stretch”, “Wide Open Road” & the epic “Stolen Property” caught the hearts & minds of lovers & fighters in equal measure - & for 5 minutes on the morning of 22cnd Nov 1986 - The Triffids were officially the hottest new group in the world (according to Zane Lowe’s mum!).

Sadly, it didn’t work out. The fickle UK record buying public simply refused to invest heavily in obscure Australian neo-noire - & despite recording their next LP in an achingly hip sheep dipping station 300 miles from the nearest water supply (with nothing but microdots & peyote to sustain them for 3 months) – it was adverse camber time for The Triffids tour bus.

Critics being critics (loving their darlings the way they do!) - the acclaim hung around like a particularly pea soup flavoured fog for The Triffids to record their other ‘classic’ LP, “The Black Swan”, in 1989 – before head Triffid, David McComb, jumped ship to form the Black Eyed Susan’s.

As if the above wasn’t sad enough, David McComb was tragically killed in a car accident in February 1999. The McComb family lost a genteel & loving family man – the rest of the world lost one of the finest Australian songwriters of his generation.

“Born Sandy Devotional” will explain all.

Jean Encoule – tMx 25 – 06/06

Flamin’ Groovies – “At Full Speed” (Rhino)

To many, the Flamin’ Groovies are remembered for one song: “Shake Some Action”. That isn’t half as bad as it sounds. Take it from me. A song like “Shake Some Action” is worth being remembered for.

Originally known as the Chosen Few - & then The Lost & Found – The Flamin’ Groovies hailed from Bay Area San Francisco, originally forming as far back as 1965. Musically, the Groovies blended 50’s rock & roll with 60s garage punk to fashion affecting power pop.

By 1976, Dave Edmonds’ production on “Shake Some Action” eventually brought them the attention they’d been seeking all along - & for a short while it seemed odds on that the Groovies would piggy back their punky Sire label-mates, the Ramones, all the way to mainstream success.

For the rest of Punk’s watershed year, The Flamin’ Groovies continued to court new wave credibility - even attempting a few shows with The Damned. Unfortunately, the Groovies underestimated the strength of ‘The Curse Of The Damned’ - & shuffled off in the general direction of obscurity faster than you can say ‘Beatle Boots’.

Having said that, the Sire years are the ones you want - & “At Full Speed” IS the Sire years – so go figure.

Guy Debored – tMx 25 – 06/06

Towers Of London – “Blood Sweat & Towers” (TVT)

D.U.M.B. Everyone’s accusing me!

Let’s get this shit down solid from the get-go: “Blood Sweat & Towers” is one fuck off stupid rock & roll record. Fourteen slices of totally derivative, inarticulate bollocks. That’s the spirit!

Drenched in Gibson overdrive. Fuelled by massed Marshall stacks. Lubricated with warm lager. Held up by ozone depleting stocks of super-strength hairspray. No thesaurus required.

Towers Of London are students of outrage. Sibling rivals, Donny & Dirk Tourette, took their long-standing admiration for the brothers Gallagher & bolted on their mutual appreciation of the Faces, the Dolls, the Pistols & the Manics, to fashion a cacophonous riot of sound that can punch it’s weight with any contender. Part punk, part glam & most definitely rock & roll all over, Towers Of London stand out from the crowd by their dogged refusal to conform to the confines of hip-dom (it says here!).

Back in the early 90s, Oasis were affectionately known as the Sex Beatles, & Noel never tired of ramming his love of “Never Mind The Bollocks” down itinerant (as in - from scene to scene) journo’s throats. The Towers Of London have taken him at his word - & duly stolen as much from the Pistols as they in turn stole from the Dolls (when Steve Jones met the Towers recently in LA he aptly nailed them as ‘a bunch of proper little cunts’):

“She was a girl from America” (“Beaujolais”) references “Bodies” - “She was a girl from Birmingham . . .”

“I’m so in love with myself” (“Seen It All”) quotes “No Feelings” – “Got no emotions for anyone else, you better understand I’m in love with myself, my beautiful selfish . . .”

Elsewhere the pilfering continues apace:

“I could be king” (“King”) scratches at the surface of the Thin White Duke’s “Heroes” – “I could be King & you could be Queen . . .” – whilst swiping arrangements from Aladdin Sane like Swiper The Fox.

“Kill The Pop Scene” borrows a lick or two from the Libertines’ “Last Post On The Bugle” while pretending to be looking the other way.

“On A Noose” lifts the riff to Blondie’s “Sunday Girl” while Debbie pops out to the toilet.

All intellectual property is theft, right?

Meanwhile back at the plot, Donny, Dirk, Stig, Nasty & Len (not their real names) have the look down pat: leather jackets, ripped drainpipes, blonde Keef-er-Ron-er-Mick fright wigs, Converse baseball boots, homemade tee-shirts, aviator shades & a rash of button badges. Proper rock & roll uniforms. No room for post-ironic irony here. This is stupid deep inside. This is loose. It shouldn’t work. We’ve heard it all before. Been done to death. Etc. So why does it sound such fun all of a sudden? Has the Anti Nowhere League revival kicked in, or what?

Utilising the lyrical dexterity of Motorhead, the subtlety of Discharge, the light & shade of Guitar Wolf & the romantic idealism of Crass – the Towers tiptoe through Peterborough Precinct in pursuit of sonic redemption. “I’m A Rat”, “Kill The Pop Scene”, “Beaujolais” & “Good Time” are balls-out-LCD rockers. The singles are all here too: “On A Noose”, “Fuck It Up”, “How Rude She Was” & “Air Guitar”.

Elsewhere, the epic glam of “King” wraps itself up in symphonic Sidisms & bombast, whilst “Northern Lights” manages to start off sounding like Oasis & end up sounding like the New York Dolls. Talking of Oasis, the ‘secret’ hidden track – which shall remain nameless – further betrays the Tourette brothers’ unabashed love for all things Gallagher - & somewhat undermines the work achieved elsewhere with schizophrenic panache.

At times it would appear the Towers Of London are not sure exactly who they want to be after all - & that rather spoils all the fun.

Robert De Janeiro

¡Forward Russia! – “Give Me A Wall” (Dance To The Radio)

Whiskas: Saviour of Leeds independent music sector? Or daddy’s boy with long arms & shallow pockets? The debate rages. Do we care? Does anyone care?

Small-town boy makes good. Jealousy ensues. They’ve sold out! Not as good as they used to be! Their first record was better! The one pressed on vegetable coloured vinyl & released in a wrap-around poster sleeve knitted by blind Belgian postal workers (including exclusive denim & cheesecloth hand-sewn family tree of the Leeds underground music scene!). Seen it all before.

The long-awaited long-player from Northish tykes ¡Forward Russia! is finally here. After a series of increasingly exciting numerically titled 45s - comes this collection - of numerically titled LP cuts: “Give Me A Wall”.

Taken in one sitting, “Give Me A Wall” can be overpowering. The constant shriek of Tom’s vocal grates after a while. The LP veers from extremely exciting to extremely pretentious – often during in the same song. The brevity & attack of the singles has given way to a vaguely progressive overview that eats away at the urgency of the group’s Kitemark sound. Not enough At The Drive In. Too much Mars Volta.

By the time we get to track-11 – post-ironically entitled “Eleven” – it suddenly feels like we’re lost inside one of Rick Wakeman’s keyboards - & there’s no way out.

Wayne Cocaine – tMx 25 – 06/06

Sarandon – “The June Bride” (Wrath)

The 4th in a series of 7-track 7” mini LPs (whaddya mean you haven’t got “The Miniest Album”, “The Big Flame” or “The Feminist Third”?) from the marvellous Sarandon. Featuring production values & backing vocals from not only The June Brides’s (ask Simon Reynolds - Ed) Phil Wilson – but also Big Flame’s (I was joking – I wouldn’t ask Simon Reynolds the time - Ed) Alan Brown – Sarandon prove that kinship through quality can bridge not only decades - but several generations too!

If you prefer your rock & roll with a high IQ - then Sarandon may just be the eclectic combo for you. They remember when pop music wasn’t crap - & probably even still believe that music can change the world. Bless.

Dylan Moron – tMx 24 – 06/06

Frustration – “Full Of Sorrow” (Born Bad)

Frustration hail from Pairs – this is what their myspace page has to say:

Formed in September 2002 by members of the Parisian "happy family": Anteenagers mc, Teckels, Operation S, No Talents, Steve & the jerks, Four Slicks, Les Terribles & Warum Joe. Frustration explore the dark, cold, sad, but tense side of rock & roll. Influenced by postpunk & coldwave bands such as: Crisis, Warsaw/Joy Division, Killing Joke, The Fall etc...

Mmmm. Just one listen to “Full Of Sorrow” confirms Frustration have fulfilled their mission statement. “Full Of Sorrow” does exactly what it says on the tin. Terse, tense & quite possibly bonkers, Frustration can only be applauded for sticking so closely to their guns. Make sure they haven’t got you in their sights. They’ll bring you down.

All the world’s a stage in Frustration’s theatre of hate.

Jean Encoule – tMx 25 – 06/06

Being 747 – “Health And Safety” (Wrath)

“Health And Safety” is the second offering from the Leeds based trio who declare themselves: Being 747.

First off, let me tell you that it’s eclectic. Both in musical style and subject matter, and I guess in a way that’s good, cause there’s bound to be something you quite like on this record - but if you’re looking for somewhere to hang your hat and warm your cheeks, you might be disappointed.

Dave Cook’s vocals sound a little hollow in places. There’s something about those slightly theatrical baritone rumbles that somehow grate on me. Maybe that’s because they remind me of Lloyd Cole - or maybe that’s just because being reminded of Lloyd Cole somehow grates on me - but I do know that I sat up and listened far more intently when the female guest vocal on “Retribution” came along. By the end of track thirteen I wished she’d been featured on at least more than one of them. Beings take note!

“Agree With Me And Sleep With Me” is clever and cute - and “Microlite” (which is about sabotaging someone’s flying machine, I think) is amusing - but without a doubt (for me) the most successful and memorable of these new BEING 747 songs is the aforementioned “Retribution”.

As the umpire puts the bails in his pocket & the side-screens are pushed back towards the hedge once again, “Health & Safety” makes for a likeable listen and there’s certainly nothing to hate here. It’s light, choppy, poppy indie-pop-alt-country-garage-rockabilly - don’t you know!

Apparently the Beings are currently working on an adaptation of David Attenborough’s ‘Life on Earth’. Nuff said!

Debbie Hurry – tMx 25 – 07/06

The Raconteurs – “Broken Boy Soldiers” (XL)

When the White Stripes arrived at the death of the last century they were a breath of fresh air: Punk Rock + The Blues x Macca-tinged-romanticism = the future of rock & roll.

Half a decade later that equation has changed: ‘Nuggets’ + Led Zeppelin x Macca-tinged-romanticism = will this do? The answer – not surprisingly – is: NO!

As you are doubtless aware, The Raconteurs are a super-group (as they were ironically referred to back in the early Bronze Age): a chance for Jack White, Brendan Benson & the ‘other two’ to live out their fret-wank fantasies (“The Song Remains The Same”) on your dollar!

The trailer single, “Steady As She Goes”, you’ll have heard before - it used to be called “Different For Girls” - & is usually credited to Joe Jackson. To say that it’s the strongest cut here gives you some idea of exactly how insipid “Broken Boy Soldiers” actually is.

The harder White’s guitars strive to replicate the soundtrack to Lenny Kaye’s dreams – the weaker Benson’s presence becomes. Lyrically appalling, artistically naïve & stylistically ham-fisted, The Ranconteurs have become a byword for pastiche in six short months.

Jack White’s reputation lies in tatters on the cutting room floor. History is written by winners, let’s not forget. Jack will doubtless be edited out of the final cut.

“Jack White’s lemonade . . .
He’s a secret lemonade drinker!”

Guy Debored – tMx 25 – 06/06

Jean Encoule – tMx 25 – 06/06
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