The Drops


Running Horses II

The Killers

This is another Killers song. It sounds like all the other Killers songs. It's deep and meaningless.

2 Stars

The Lightning I, II

Arcade Fire

So the in-crowd on twitter are musing over the fact that the lead singer of Arcade Fire has left the band and so we are distracted for a moment from war. Then coinciding with this announcement is the news that the band have/are releasing a new single and album. In the grand scheme of things, if a war is in vogue then the propaganda will be overflowing in the media sewers on both sides and the rest of us are left to be told we have no right to be happy in ourselves.

Arcade aren't happy either, they are staring at the departure of one of themselves and they are chanting that they won't quit, nor should have he. The song is dedicated to the recently deceased mother of another band member, so maybe this is she looking down to say don't give up. But then the pleading stops and a tempest starts. The remaining singer is lashing out and giving his side of the story. This is part II.

All in all, it is a typical Arcade Fire number and is a point on their timeline. There are equal measures of foreboding and hope and it's been five years since the last album so enjoy it while it lasts.

4 Stars

Stupid Followed Evil

Benjamin Adair Murphy

You will all have to forgive our radio silence for the best part of a week. We didn’t see anything in the mainstream get released worth talking about and we still haven’t got a business model whereby we can devote a lot of time to the site. (Hint: feel free to ping us for a paid review)

Anyway, thinking that it was time to do a bit of catching up, we set the challenge of going back through our most recent twitter follows and trying to find something that was at least four stars rather than getting all down on our readers and some unfortunate act. And so we come to Benjamin Adair Murphy. Never heard of the guy before but his website tells us of an illustrious back catalog and a CV of having plied his trade all over the world. His home page has a painting of a bar and a play button which unveils this seedy jazz blues masterpiece.

You can see the Tom Waits influence straight off, but Ben is not trying to be anyone he isn’t here and we are led through the smokey metaphor of evil bringing stupid to hell because stupid doesn’t know any better. This song truly belongs on a 45 on a turntable in a New Orleans bar after Mardi Gras has been and gone and left a ghost town behind.

5 Stars

Mrs Dixon

Keston Cobblers Club

Casting out the net far and wide on the Twitter machine on a daily basis, we get a lot of follow backs but we sense there isn't much of a market for music journalism. Everyone wants followers but no one wants to engage or be engaging. We get the usual percentage of 'Hey listen to my stuff and give us a follow' but in a lot of areas there is a dire lack of substance.

And so I come to Keston Cobblers Club who followed back and sent an extensive DM about their impending album and tour. Given the mood I was in, I was ready to give them a scathing review but I dug a little so as to not throw stones where they shouldn't be thrown.

The net has told me they supported 'The Beautiful South' previously and their website looked to be interesting though I don't go much for the pre order on Spotify con, especially when said steaming company has ripped every unknown act off ever since the service came online. However surfing their site, I came across the video for what I presume is the first single from 'Alchemy', and it was quite entertaining.

It's a skiffle number that is delivered with an air of tongue in cheek but really it is very caustic and we can only wonder who Mrs Dixon is. She quite vehemently is a national embarrassment if you're British and we know the bar is low there in that regard. I guess if they hang out with Paul Heaton they are going to be on the good side so I'm looking forward to hearing the album on a streaming service that pays when it comes out.

4 Stars

Human Crime

Pixies

Black Francis is back and he is getting melancholy in his old age!

This drop is a reflective Pixies telling the youth of today to be kinder to each other, otherwise it will come back to haunt you. One wonders what draws Black to the theme? Was he on the receiving end of a snotty kid or did his past come back to haunt him?

There is no wild explosive Pixies chorus here which tells us the Pixies are not as young as they used to be but we may very well be surprised by the next single that comes out, if its a screaming raging torrent.

Musically this is an ear worm and as I say philosophical so search it out in the streamer of your choice and have a singalong.

4 Stars

Rollercoaster

Asgard Raven

The opening verse of this tune comes out all patriotic and patriotism has no place on this site. We're not interested if you think God loves your country!

But then by the time the chorus comes in on a wave, it is almost transcendental. Lyrically the singer brings the song back and we learn the opening gambit is almost tongue in cheek and self effacing. Asgard is going to blow a hole in the sky and reach out into the stars.

We previously reviewed Spiritualized and it is coincidental that we stumbled on this track on our feed as it is music the spacemen would be probably very proud of and may have inspired in this bunch. I have found another single from the "band" (solo artist) and it is similarly inspired by another British genre but if you chart a projection, musically Asgard Raven sound promising.

4 Stars

Crazy

Spiritualized

I saw a review of Jason Pierce’s new album, “Everything was beautiful” and it fawned on how this album was a return to the highlights of their early career in that it was experimental and spacey to the hilt. I'm not sure if it's the case but this second single from the album is a straight forward country ballad. It is sentimental and Jason is in love, though this album was recorded 7 years ago and only finished and released now so one can only assume he is still in love.

There is a penchant for the music press to pour adoration on cue to their demographic acts and this is another example of where to listen to half of what you read and none of what you hear. The song is pleasant but its not ground breaking and it's not what we generally expect from Spiritualized

3.5 Stars

Until Liars Fear You

Duncan Evans

As I cast out the net on Twitter building the profile of this blog or music review site depending on how you see it, I realise that the world of music promotion is an uneconomical ecosystem of follow and follow back. Everyone is scrambling for a listen and it doesn't look like many are listening. We like artists and bands and a few will DM us a link with no conversation and no expectation that anyone is going to respond, just the hope that doing this will help them hit the big time.

So today Duncan Evans follows back and says "Thanks for the follow" and no hustle. This was enough to dig a little and see where he was coming from and we then come to his album release from last November, and I have to say "fair play".

The album is synth, guitar, bass, drums and vocals and it's gothic. It's not cartoon gothic, but you can tell Duncan has a vested interest in his themes. It's discordant when it needs to be and bombastic and anthemic when warranted. If this was coming out of New York, you would think it's Moby though there is a feel that in parts it is a soundtrack to a gritty Netflix series about an American school kid who isn't well adjusted.

I've been listening to the album for a few hours and I don't have any ear worms but then I don't think Duncan is looking for a Billboard hit. Yet at the same time, having the album on throughout the morning on the stereo is making me think this is a piece of work and not a clutch for fame.

I highly recommend you give his bandcamp page a going over

4 Stars

s/t

Lafff Box

These are a German bunch and this debut EP is what every self respecting punk needs as an antidote to all the major label rubbish out there. It was always the case that the bigger the label, the blander the artists so when a bunch of songs like this come along, you know these guys are destined for cult status.

The guitars are sonic and do most of the talking, though the boys do sing in English and musically they are cut from the same cloth as the Buttholes less psychotic stuff (well almost less!)

You can look this ep up on bandcamp, and you won't be disappointed.

5 Stars