Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Feel good hits of the 11th February

1. 'Silhouettes' - Viet Cong
Being a 37-year-old father of one, I don't get along to many indie discos these days. But I imagine that if I did, 'Silhouettes' - a thrillingly edgy post-punk take on Interpol and The Walkmen - would have me leaping about the dancefloor like an absolute loon. Drowned In Sound's Robert Leedham got very excited about it, and with good reason. On this evidence, Jagjaguwar's profile is set to rise - and not before time.

2. 'Used It All' - Nadine Shah
Hurrah - another Geordie artist I can wholeheartedly endorse! Until New Year's Eve, Nadine Shah was a complete unknown to me (thanks for the enlightenment, Alison!) - which only goes to show that the prediction of the Guardian's Paul Lester in October 2012 that by the same time the following year she would have "won all manner of plaudits and been endlessly praised" sadly never came true. The plaudits and praise would have been deserved, too, as her debut Love Your Dum And Mad (from which this simple, despairing piano ballad is taken) is very good indeed, cut from a similar cloth to PJ Harvey and Anna Calvi - dramatic, lip-curling, bloody, noirish tales of love and regret. Perhaps the follow-up, due for release this year, will be her breakthrough.

3. 'Comb The Feelings Through Your Hair' - Grooms
Like Nadine Shah, Grooms were until very recently completely unfamiliar to me, but this song - circling, swirling Daydream Nation guitars assaulted by a clatter of drums - is sufficient to suggest that I should get to know the Brooklynites much better, starting with the forthcoming album of which this is the title track.

4. 'Bring The Sun'/'Toussaint L'Ouverture' - Swans
It's a definite source of pride that when this 34-minute-long beast kicks in, Stanley feels compelled to leap to his feet and jump around in with agitated excitement. We'll brush over the fact that he's also recently been witnessed trying to morris dance to songs on Absolute 80s.

5. 'Solace' - EMA
A strong contender for the best track on The Future's Void. Am I alone in thinking that, while St Vincent's self-titled album has been universally fawned over, this record has been largely and unjustly overlooked?

6. 'When Night Is Almost Done' - The Raveonettes
Complete with title and lyrics pilfered from poet Emily Dickinson, 'When Night Is Almost Done' is perhaps The Raveonettes' finest ballad to date - shrouded in fuzz and static, the very bleak penultimate track of what is a very bleak album (Pe'ahi).

7. 'Tough Luck' - Eagulls
Not to confused with The Eagles, though there's not too much chance of that if you listen to 'Tough Luck'. Confusing them with any number of gloomy early 80s post-punkers, on the other hand, would be quite easy.

8. 'Skippin' Town' - The Drums
A chance encounter with this song in a coffee shop yesterday had me digging out their self-titled debut album. Lightweight it may be, but there are a few charming little songs on there. I didn't bother with the follow-up Portamento but Encyclopedia is on the shopping list on account of its lead single 'Magic Mountain'.

9. 'No Medicine For Regret' - Mogwai
It's a shame that there isn't such a medicine, isn't it, Stuart? If there was, I imagine you lot might be prescribed some for delivering the first properly underwhelming Mogwai album. This track is a cut above most of the rest on Rave Tapes, at least.

10. 'Fire Spirit' - The Gun Club
Like blues? Like garage-punk? Like slightly deranged wayward semi-geniuses who have a very tenuous grip on reality but undeniable star quality? Then The Gun Club are worthy of your time. 'Fire Spirit' is one of the best tracks from their 1981 debut Fire Of Love, reissued last year. Go on, get yourself burned.

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