Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Band of Holy Joy - Paramour

The Band of Holy Joy have been away from more than eight years. Johnny Brown and crew have always dealt in a heady brew of Tom Waits string drenched melancholy allied to a bruised and battered urban realism. A cross between Ken Loach and Marc Almond, Scott Walker and Walter Sickett. Moments of beauty hewn from the mundane, the night set aflame. The prosaic turned to poetry, coal into diamonds.

Paramour is as vital, sweeping, majestic and magical as ever. A real beauty has just passed through.

Band of Holy Joy

Darkstar - North

Darkstar – North

In a year that retro synth acts have been tipped for success in the UK charts Darkstar seem to have somehow slipped under the mainstream radar. Whilst the hollow fasclime synth pop of Hurts and Delphic has hovered up the press and airplay the more futurist sounds of Darkstar have gpne unheard. The band scraped the first version of the LP as it hadn’t capture the sound in their souls.

Maybe it’s because the band have mined the icy blast of pre Dare Human League. The sounds, beats and glitches in production mark the band out as one that is looking forward rather than backwards. The glistening melodies and Dusseldorf beats married to James Buttery papier-mâché soul vocals are a delight. The dark heart of the North laid bare.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Gaslight Anthem -American Slang Number 8

Gaslight Anthem -American Slang

Brian Fallon and his cohorts returned with a short, sharp jolt of classic blue collar punk. The New Jersey band built on the solid foundations of The 59 Sound. It ten tracks full of the yearning shades of Springsteen’s heartland rock crossed with a punk sensibility. There was a shift in Fallon’s song writing with a rejection of the romanticism of youthfully nostalgia. This was replaced a hard won bitterness and maturity. The riffs were switchblade sharp and the heart was still tattooed large on the sleeves.


Lairs - Sisterworld - Number 9

Lairs - Sisterworld

The third instalment from the every wonderful Liars. As with everything Lairs do clichés are inverted and convention force feed shattered glass cocktails. Relocating to LA the band produced another brash, strident blast of anger, disgust and feral energy. Looking for the heart and soul of the city Angus Andrew located a hollow neon ennui. Murder, drug addiction and the Hollywood sign. This was no holiday in the sun.


The Books – The Way Out Number 10

The Books – The Way Out

A welcome return for art rock New York duo the books. The Way Out was born out of the discovery of a set of self-help casettes in a junk shop. The source material is warped, looped, spliced and sampled to form a different set of meta narratives. The sunshine and flower hippyness turned into something darker and more revalationary. The taped sources are welded onto lobsided funk, anti-pop and throbbing electronica. A real revolution in the head.