Rilo Kiley – Rkives (Little Record Company/ April 2 2013)
By Iain Orkisz
Rarities compilations aren’t meant for the casual listener. This degree of lucky dip for the first time listener is reserved for ‘best of’ and ‘hits’ collections. Of course many venture no further than aforementioned easy-pickings discs, which is a shame. On the other hand, bands collating lesser known tracks (usually B-sides and obscure covers) can be judged as a hindrance in appealing solely to the hardcore followers. The Manic Street Preachers 2003 release Lipstick Traces is a fantastic example of one of the more imaginative collections of this nature, though in truth this was partly a response to criticisms from their turgid hits collection.
In the case of Rilo Kiley, this band were never destined to shell greatest hits collections by the bucketload, and thus have understandably hedged their bets and taken the more adventurous option of releasing Rkives, sifting through their back catalogue for less celebrated tracks. What this does represent is a reminder of Jenny Lewis and her edgier side before her more accessible efforts with the Watson Twins, whom feature on a small number of tracks.
Wolf People – Bedford Esquires, March 28 2013
By Iain Orkisz
‘Underrated’. Now there’s an overused term virtually stripped of any true meaning when referring to bands or musicians yet to gain wider media coverage or critical acclaim. If anything this usually leads to disproportionate exposure and proclamations about their value to their chosen art (Razorlight, anyone?)
Alas, in the spirit of such proclamations, Wolf People are the best pigeonhole-proof collective you’ve probably yet to discover, but with their second album Fain released on the April 29 for which writer and comedian Stewart Lee has provided a wonderful and imaginatively-titled ‘non press release’ (which can be viewed here, since you asked), and a session for BBC 6Music’s Marc Riley, the band’s stock is slowly but surely rising. Like the non-pantomime elements of progressive rock? This is for you. Like earthy folk-rooted lyrical melancholy akin to Led Zeppelin? Open your ears.
“The underground is over ground, the overground will pull us down.”
So writes Johnny Marr, finally stepping out of the shadow of Morrissey as a songwriter, and indeed a vocalist. Marr pays tribute to the defiance and persistence of young bands in the brutally gung-ho world of the music industry, indeed his acceptance speech for his ‘Godlike Genius’ gong at last week’s NME Awards, encouraged youngsters not to give up on their musical dreams.
At last a record to finally distinguish herself from Lily Allen‘s Academy of Gobby Pop Starlets. Rather in the same way that Muse had to release three albums before the Radiohead comparisons ceased to plague them, Miss Nash, while always carrying the independent ethos of her key influences (which include the ‘riot grrl’ sounds of Bikini Kill and Comet Gain, as well as 60s girl groups), needed to convince her audience lyrically. While hits like ‘Foundations’ and ‘Do Wah Doo’ are distinctive little pop nuggets in their own right, Nash’s free spirit has been screaming to be let loose. She describes her latest album Girl Talk as a “‘mission statement of what it’s like to be a woman”.
If you plan on listening to one track from a newly released album while driving alone along a dark deserted woodland road, make it this one.
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds released Push the Sky Away, their fifteenth album, and first without founding member Mick Harvey. It is what you would expect from a record from Cave and co – a 42 minute spine-tingling grand haunting statement. ‘We No Who U R’, the opening track will bring the shivers out of the casual listener, though this is Cave at one with nature, a pensive melancholic effort. If you making that aforementioned lonely road journey, remember – no one is ever completely alone.
Behold the band that Biffy Clyro could have been if they’d taken a second thought before churning out dreary rock ballads akin to Stiltskin‘s hit from the Levi ad.
Dinosaur Pile Up are a trio from Leeds. It is fair to say their sound is strongly rooted in grunge. Some have thus flinged them into the post-grunge pigeonhole. This is both wrong and offensive, the kind of bile one would reserve for Nickelback or Puddle of Mudd. Dinosaur Pile Up have far too much youthful energy to stoop to such depths.
May I precede my ‘Song of the Day’ with my ‘Bad Mark Everett Related Joke of the Day’? No? I will anyway!
“Did you hear that Mark Everett from EELS‘ was making his own home brew?
Mr E’s Beautiful Booze.”
Fortunately the new material needs no godawful puns to punctuate its release. Mark “E” Everett’s project released their tenth studio album, Wonderful, Glorious, from which this, the first single/”radio lead-off track” is lifted. As ever, Everett approaches the darker side of humanity with his trademark deadpan humour. Musically, ‘New Alphabet’ is a lo-fi number, which could easily have been lifted from Josh Homme’s Desert Sessions. ‘E’ may not thank that analogy, though the air of deserted lonelines sits well with his lyrical offerings. And indeed;
The Cribs don’t really do hit singles – and if they did, it wouldn’t feel right.
That said, it hasn’t stopped the Jarman brothers from releasing their first singles collection, Payola, due February 25th, which includes this brand new track, due a fortnight ahead.
You can sense though that ‘Leather Jacket Love Song’, for all its rough diamond rawness, wants to be a pop song in the vain of ‘Hey Scenesters!’ or ‘Men’s Needs’. And by including it on a comparative retrospective (or whatever you call a collection of your first decade’s work), one would hope Wakefield’s finest have a few more rough diamonds stored up their sleeves. Perhaps even a few more albums worth…
So, fresh from their money-spinning revival tours, A-ha are back, and seem to have incorporated new-wave guitars into their…what? This is The Strokes new single?
OK…let’s start again.
So, freshly rising from the mediocrity that was 2011′s Angles, the generation-definining New Yorkers are back with this, available as a free download from their website. While tracks like ‘Under Cover of Darkness’ and ‘Machu Picu’ tried to incorporate a vaster sound, ‘One Way Trigger’ maintains such ambition, minus the air of complacency the previous album carried. Singer Julian Casablancas, who frankly sounded disinterested on Angles, displays the vocal range of a man whose found a new creative lease of life. The critical reaction thus far may have been fixed, but this is the shot in the arm The Strokes need to help make another era-defining record.
My first Song of the Day choice of the year-of-our-lord 2013. I am loath to bang on too much about artists who will be ‘big’ this year, or ‘ones for the future’, because purely and simply Lucy Rose is not an artist to be looked back upon retrospectively as someone who defined a period, she is to be enjoyed NOW!
Amid these falling temperatures, the summery tones of Rose’s latest cut contrast with the winter-esque lyrical loneliness, the proverbial theme of lost love and sleeping alone at least sweetened by the singer’s assertion that she has moved on from the song’s very subject. And to be honest, it’s his loss!