vrijdag 3 juli 2020

14 Singles, part 2 (P.S. ahum, 15)

Are there more singles being released in these Corona/Covid times? Or is it that I notice them more having always focused on albums? I can't tell really. Fact is that I notice a lot of singles and a lot of them are so good that I decided to pay more attention. This week there are so many that I decided to make two iterations of this series to make sure to get them all noticed. Here's part 2.

Stranded (Again). The Idolizers
Some more Rum Bar Records. The label is cranking out more records than I can keep up with. The Idolizers come with a dirty, hard-rocking punky song that allows for dancing and singing and merriment for all inclined to this kind of music. Part of the song seems an excuse to play a long guitar solo, as if the guitar caught fire and the guitarist knows this is his last one on it ever and it better be good. The message of the singer may be that he's stranded once more. What I remember when the song is said and done is that rock and roll guitar playing the song home once and for all. Like the afterburner of a fighterplane taking off. Elementary and trailblazing Stranded (Again) is. I can imagine that a whole album like this is too much of a good thing, this 2 minute something nucleus is perfection.

Seek To Hide. A Shoreline Dream
Seek To hide is A Shoreline Dream's first release since 2014 and a precursor to its album 'Melting' to be released mid August. All through the song I have the impression to be listening to at a minimum two songs together. It might be more, like in each instrument and voice one a piece. There is a lot going on and not necessarily to be digested together. The song is of the dark kind, the singing part of the whole. Double-tracked to make it sound more ominous. Feedback, distortion, fuzzed, it all suggests an influence from the shoegaze era. Taking it all in Seek To Hide seems to announce the end of time and to escape it we better start hiding now. The song is more urgent than good but certainly noteworthy.

A Song In Latin. Short Haired Domestic
The title is a bit longer actually: A song in Latin about the importance of comfortable shoes (radio edit). The music is recognisable as circa 1988 Madchester rhythms and guitar playing. Busy drumming in a mid-tempo rhythm. Accents laid down by an organ. Short Haired Domestic is producer/musician Tim Friese-Green and his wife Lee. And yes, there's Latin in the lyrics, sung with an English accent. Like most of the rest of the world I know Friese-Green for his work with Talk Talk in the 1980s.

A Song In Latin allows for slow, deliberate moving, not for abandon. For that it is too well thought out and serious. Listening better to the song there are a few nice details and an odd irritating one ("oohhh"). In the end the song is too one dimensional, so won't be listened to a lot after this review. Unfortunately quod non does not apply.

Never Die. Soft Set
The first single ever from the duo Soft Set originating from Barrie and now living in Toronto is a soft, dreamy song that simply glides into my ears. Two soft singing mail voices sooth the soul. I am reminded of an album by Lionlimb of about two years ago. The song is over within a song and a dance as it has almost no distinctive feature. It just seems to be. What I notice most is the sound of a cymbal that is mixed unobtrusively prominent into the song, coming in to support the acoustic guitar. A muted guitar plays the lead lines up front. Never Die is a song like the cymbal. It is unobtrusive and meanders along. Nothing in the singing nor the playing is drawing attention to itself, nothing really stands out as the mix, nearly, not totally, makes Never Die sound like it is one. This is not my idea of interesting music. Never Die is a nice introduction to Soft Set, James Gray and Nathan Athey, but 'Love And Dancing', the upcoming EP, will have to make true on its title to remain interesting to me.

Haal Jezelf Maar Uit Elkaar. De Breek
De Breek keert terug op dit blog met een nieuwe song, een demo zeggen ze zelf. Het trio, David Pino, Sander van Munster en Steef Hupkes, zoeken opnieuw hun samenzang op. Het nummer is bijzonder ingetogen, al is het niet moeilijk om hier een volledige band bij te denken in de stijl van De Dijk, om een andere band die met het woord de begint te noemen. Het is in mijn oren de subtiliteit die er voor zorgt dat Haal Jezelf maar Uit Elkaar interessant is. Opgeblazen nummers zijn er al genoeg. De melancholieke mondharmonica, in combinatie met de akoestische gitaar en droge bas, zegt het halve verhaal van deze song. Op deze manier is er sprake van een basale Spinvis die volkomen is geslaagd. "Ik hoor mijn moeder zeggen" eindigt het nummer en ik ben meteen decennia terug als we weer eens te laat voor het eten terugkwamen, na een zoveelste omzwerving door onze stad. Als jongetje was er zoveel te ontdekken.

Kiss My Tattoo. Jerry Lehane
Jerry Lehane is 59 years old, a plumber by trade and still at his main hobby: rock and roll. A musician who never made it big, like all the rock stars on Boston's Rum Bar Records label. Yet, their songs, admittedly not at level of The Rolling Stones or The Ramones, are so often so worthwhile hearing. So it goes with Kiss My Tattoo.

Lehane, formally of Dogmatics, recorded this song in 1991 but never got to releasing the record at the time. Almost 30 years later it happens and admittedly the song could have been recorded for Rum Bar yesterday. It simply fits the roster so well. Kiss My Tattoo is one of those extremely nice and timeless garage rockers. It may be a bit dirty, a bit rough, a bit like whatever the cat dragged in way past midnight, but instantly to be shouted along to. LOUD! and all night long.

"She said kiss my tattoo and I forgot all about you". After Nat Freedberg a second Rum Bar Records artist has a run in with the big cloven hoofed one. The anguish caused by the encounter is underscored by the lead guitar that is all pain and confusion. In other words it rides this song majestically making it so good to listen to. That is not all. I just love how the intro chords are banged out. So elementary and just so right. Later in the song the lead guitar chimes in making it rougher and even better.

In 2020 it has become a chore to put on 45s but this is definitely one where I would not mind it at all. Rock and roll!

We Are XTC. Death Star Discotheque
Three veterans of alternative rock and punk, Michel, Eugene and Roelof have come together under the name Death Star Discotheque and pound out a post punk rocker as if the early 80s have never disappeared in the haze of time. Do not expect anything subtle not even for a second. The drums kick the song off and then pound it home. Bass and guitar fill in the rest. The singing has a straight line to the late Wally Tax and a few other heroes of the 60s. The result is a surge of energy that is unleashed on the unsuspected listener. I can imagine We Are XTC will work better in a live situation as it will not stop before the whole venue has exploded in an orgy of dance and abandon. In the home it certainly will have to be used with care as not all living there will enjoy this song as much as I do. Apparently the fans of Death Star Discotheque wanted this song as a single. Here they have it and rightly so. Well chosen.

I'm Not Getting Excited. The Beths
And so it becomes 15 at the latest possible moment. I just noticed that The Beths have pre-released three songs from its upcoming album 'Jump Rope Gazers'. The three songs are indie rock songs if I ever heard some. Exquisite harmonies, tremendously up tempo, loud, yet subtle in their own way.

I liked the EP released last year ( a re-release on vinyl), 'Warm Blood', a lot, after having missed the debut album 'Future Me Hates Me', covered by Erwin Zijleman on this blog. The three new songs are so full of promise for the upcoming album that I can hardly wait until it comes out Friday next week. Somehow the three songs, 'Out Of Sight, 'I'm Not Getting Exited' and 'Dying To Believe', hold it all, with the loud and fast 'I'm Not Getting Excited' as my absolute favourite. All I can answer in response, sorry The Beths, but I am. So much so. This is one of the best songs I've this year so far.

The Beths manage to combine large swaths of musical alternative and punkrock history into new songs that sparkle and sound so fresh and new. Over the past weeks, especially, I am starting to become a bit irritated with bands who just want to sound better than their heroes of, especially 45+ years, old. Not The Beths. These three songs prove it is possible to be better and sound new, fresh and original. Three songs that floor me. It still happens. Lucky me and yesterday's question answered affirmatively.


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