BEAT CITY 64 – Dry City (Sleeve Notes)

You can download Beat City 64 here

KITTEN “Fall On Me”

Like Blondie before them its easy to see Kitten being marketed as simply a pseudonym for their easy-on-the-eye lead singer Chloe Chaidez, and the ease with which the other band members (Kittenblokes?) have left then rejoined only to leave again would seem to bear this out in the case of Kitten.

The official band bio from a few years ago smacks of artifice, to be honest, namechecking all the correct hip names – Bowie, Zeppelin, Pet Shop Boys, My Bloody Valentine, Prince, Notorious B.I.G, hey that’s all the demographics covered, right guys?

So it would be very easy indeed to take the piss then dismiss.

But then you hear the bloody songs – by Christ, this is a great pop band. There’s a huge wall of sound backing the new single “Fall On Me”

Don’t be expecting any ad campaigns proclaiming “Kitten Is A Group” any time soon though.

This is from their first album from 2014 – it ain’t bad, but if “Fall On Me” is anything to go by the next album will be immense.

PRESS TO MECO “Family Ties”

There’s a few decent punky bands around at the moment and three of them – Croydon’s Press To Meco, Wakefield’s allusondrugs and Stockport’s Max Raptor – are heading out on a 16-date tour all over the UK from Feb 22nd culminating in a gig at London’s legendary Borderline venue.

Scuzz Throwdown Tour UK Dates

“Family Ties” is taken from Press To Meco’s excellent debut album “Good Intent”, as is this track “Manipulate”.

THEE VERTIGOS “Dry City”

“Dry City is taken from Thee Vertigos’ album “Shades” which is well worth your attention IMHO – another album that was lost a little bit in the pre-Xmas rush.

This is another track from it called “Matador”.

BLOSSOMS “At Most A Kiss”

Sal’s Indietastic Classic for this show is from the well-thought-of Blossoms from Stockport. By mixing a bit of dreamy psychey layered guitars but retaining the hard edge and – most importantly, as always – the tunes – they’re making a determined bid for that middle ground between the landfill guitar bands on the one hand and the likes of Temples and Cheatahs on the other.

2016 could be a great year for them – they’re headlining their biggest tour to date throughout February and March but you’ll have to be quick #nextbigthing

THE RAVEONETTES “This World Is Empty (Without You)”

Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo are The Raveonettes, who we’ve always loved here in Beat City – so much so that we named the blog and podcast after the first Ravs track we ever heard, back in the heady days of 2002. Used to use it as the theme tune to the podcast. May well do again some day, who knows?

In all honesty the last album was a bit sketchy – its always difficult to change a template that’s served you well over seven albums but this single definitely breaks the mould, at least instrumentally as it contains none of their trademark echoey buzzsaw guitar wall of sound.

I currently really like this track but time will tell whether that’s just because of the novelty.

FUMACA PRETA “La Trampa”

The band consists of Brighton-dwellers Stuart Carter and James Porch (of funk outfit The Grits) together with Alex Figueira, the Venezuelan-Portuguese founder of the Music With Soul record label and owner of Amsterdam’s Vintage Voudou record shop.

“La Trampa” is taken from the band’s forthcoming second album which is due out in April. Check out Beat City #75 for further tracks. The band did an interview with the excellent Now Then magazine which you can find here:

Fumaca Preta interview

… and this is a very raw track from the first album “Fumaca Preta” which you can buy direct from the band’s website for a fiver. Bargain!

Give Fumaca Preta money in return for great music here

DILLY DALLY “Ballin’ Chain” (from tha album “Sore”)

Like a Riot Grrrl Pixies, unreconstructed nineties indie noise from Toronto’s Dilly Dally, who have annoyingly just completed a tour of the UK but will be back in May for The Great Escape in Brighton.

Here’s another track from the album “Desire” which to be honest I’m now wishing I’d included instead of “Ballin’ Chain”, doh!

INDY DIBONG “Na So E Dey” (from the album “Squatting At Neverland”)

Indy Dibong is better known outside his native Cameroon than he is at home, which probably comes of living and working in France. A longtime collaborator of Tony Allen (Fela Kuti collaborator and co-creator of the Afrobeat sound) his album “Squatting At Neverland” contains a tribute to Allen, without whom according to Indy , he would not have had a music career.

THE DRINK “Microsleep” (from the album “Company”)

The opening track from The Drink’s first proper album “Company”.

Like many bands their live performance takes it to another level, the set opening with some excellent if standard 80’s Sarah-records influenced indie but somewhere towards the middle of the gig a switch is flicked and singer/songwriter/guitarist Dearbhla Minogue starts making with the highlife and Irish folk riffs, and then the grunge guitar shredding, all while the the rock-solid rhythm section of drummer Daniel Fordham and David Stewart on bass never misses a beat and keeps it all danceable.

Definitely a band to catch live if you can. Check out this very early live version of “Playground” from the new album – sound quality isn’t the best but if gives you an idea of what a powerful live act The Drink are.

ULVER “Moody Stix” (from the album “ATGCLVLSSCAP”)

The title of Norwegian black-metallers Ulver’s new album is an acronym of the twelve signs of the zodiac (starting with Aries and Taurus and ending with Aquarius and Pisces)
Ulver (which means “wolves” in Norwegian) were founded by vocalist (“singer” is probably not quite an accurate description) Kristoffer Rygg in 1993.

Their debut album Bergtatt, was classic folklore-influenced black metal, but since then they have continued to evolve and blend noise, rock and electronica with the symphonic and chamber music traditions to create a unique sound.

Also from the new unpronounceable album, this is “Glammer Hammer”

ANDERSON.PAAK “Heart Don’t Stand A Chance” (from the album “Malibu”)

Growing on me daily, this is fast approaching the status of this year’s “To Pimp A Butterfly”

BIG UPS “National Parks”

From their forthcoming album “Before A Million Universes” Big Ups describe themselves as nerdcore post-punkers but I think there’s a slight possibility they may be taking the piss. To these ears they sound like dEUS – that is to say, early dEUS which is of course the best dEUS.

If Big Ups continue in this vein then the new LP could yet be a better dEUS album than dEUS can make these days. Can’t wait!

PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING “Korolev” (from the “Sputnik / Korolev” EP)

This track, while conceptually in line with PSB’s second album “The Race For Space” harks back (sonologically speaking) to their debut “The War Room” EP, possibly on account of the subject matter.

Sergei Korolev was a Soviet rocket scientist who led the development of, among other things, cruise missiles during the thirties. It was Korolev who pionered the ideas and design of orbital satellites, and fought hard for these ideas to be turned into reality, including culminating in the Sputnik series of unmanned vessels and cuminating in the first manned spaceflight in 1961.

Korolev was living on borrowed time, however, having spent ten years in a Gulag labour camp in the Thirties and Forties under Stalin’s “Great Purge”, and he suffered a series of heart attacks, the first in December 1960, until his death in 1966.

Before his death he was often referred to only as “The Chief Designer”, because the Soviet leadership feared that the United States would send agents to assassinate him.[7] Only many years later was he publicly acknowledged as the lead man behind Soviet success in space.

THE CURST SONS “The Jumping Flea”

According to Americana UK the biggest appeal of The Curst Sons is ” they manage to stay true to American folk musics rich lineage, while throwing in enough curve balls to piss off the folk puritanicals”.

Their sixth album “Bad Sex And Good Whisky” is out in February and promises to be a belter. From it, this is “May Day”

Next week – look, I know I promised some Trembling Bells this week but there’s only so much I can squeeze into an hour. Next week for sure. Also Savages and Tuff Love and some records that I haven’t even heard yet!

Follow Beat City on Twitter

LONDON Gig Guide w/e Mon 20th Jan 2014

Here’s seven great gigs in seven great venues on seven different nights for your live music pleasure!

 

Tuesday – Slaves – Madame Jojo’s

White Heat is one of the most regularly reliable club nights in the indie calendar. Yeah, you have to walk past a lot of dodgy sex shops to get there, and I’m getting fed up of the assumptions that the reason a middle-aged Asian bloke is in Soho is to get his cock sucked.

This evening’s entertainment is way better than that are Slaves. A duo from Kent, Slaves are making a lot of noise as an unmistakably British punk act. They have gained a lot of attention for bringing raw and exciting performances that have a distinct lack of pretentiousness in a British music scene flooded with bands that are leaning more and more towards American-centric influences.

You can put that on the posters if you like, guys. “Better than having your cock sucked”. Just get the URL right.

Wednesday – The Curst Sons – Tommy Flynn’s (previously The Crown), Leytonstone

The What’s Cookin’ brand together with it’s predecessor Come On Down And Meet The Folks has been providing quality live music of a (semi-) acoustic nature for ten years or so. Upstairs at The Crown (as I suspect it will be known by locals for a good while yet) is a great room in which to drink and listen to music.

The Curst Sons drew the following praise from the occasionally-cynical-but-not-when-it-comes-to-music Mark Lamarr :

“Purveyors of good-time Americana, inspired by early American folk music – don’t matter if it’s Blues, Bluegrass, Old Time or Gospel – with a shot of urban grit and a dose of wry humour. Absolutely fantastic”

Thursday – Laura J Martin – Sebright Arms, Hackney.

Down an alley off the Hackney Road that will certainly confound your sat-nav if arriving by car, the Sebright hosts a variety of styles of music, Laura J Martin’s gig there on Thursday being one of the quieter ones of the year, but no less intense for that.

Multi-instrumentalist LJM spins oddly affecting lyrics around some bonkers combinations of instruments – ukulele, flute, harmonium and trumpet among many, many others – which always work perfectly for the needs of the song. Unmissable. I”ll be the big bloke down the front glaring at people talking during the quiet bits.

Friday – Slim Chance play Ronnie Lane – Borderline, Soho

The warm, wooden panellings of the Borderline give a country vibe to the venue, making it the perfect setting for ex-Small Face Ronnie Lane’s band. Lane formed Slim Chance on splitting from the Faces in 1974 and they produced some beautiful, reflective and occasionally rocking music. This should be a cracker.

Saturday – Dub Inc – Cargo

I love Cargo. Always have done. Some belting evenings here – Simian (before the Mobile Disco days with Fat Truckers supporting springs to mind.

Dub Inc are a troupe of highly energetic musicians hailing from St-Etienne and fusing dub and roots reggae with dancehall, ska and hip hop.

Sunday – Chris T-T & The Hoodrats, Oxygen Thief, Smallgang – Lexington

Emerging from roots in late 90s lo-fi and psych-folk, Chris T-T first gained acclaim for sarcastic, city-obsessed urban folk.

More recently he has developed into an influential figure of UK song; crossing barriers between punk, psych-pop and English folk.

He writes scathing, witty lyrics and is excellent live whether with full band The Hoodrats or solo.

Monday – Volkova Sisters – Shacklewell Arms.

Synth-based Hungarian band with some excellent tunes. I’m told by mates who take a drink that the beer at the Shack is excellent too, but I wouldn’t know anything about that now, sorr.

 

Something in there for everyone I reckon!

 

Check out the FREE Beat City Podcast

Follow the Facebook Beat City page and the Pinterest Beat City boards

and follow me on Twitter @tonylazarus