Thursday 10 February 2022

Green/Blue - Offering

Green/Blue play with a frenetic mania that suggests a fire alarm went off in the studio and they were racing to finish the songs before they went up in flames.

Offering is jagged and intense post-Pavement rock, like the first two Parquet Courts albums. But it looks a bit further back to the post-punk experimental age with furious, enigmatic Wire riffs and Mission of Burma post-rock predictions.

Even though there’s a lot going on, Offering is immediately attractive and endlessly rewarding.

Friday 4 February 2022

Semi Trucks – Vs. California

Have you ever wondered what The Pastels playing Mazzy Star would sound like? Wonder no more. Brendan Sepe (for he is Semi Trucks) shares Stephen Pastel’s lugubrious drawl and the music is pitched between Mazzy Star’s desolate desert blues and The Pastels’ 1991 brace of bangers.

Come on, Motorbike Riding Star has got to be a nod to Speedway Star. But Vs California is no pastiche and way more than the sum of its parts. It’s equal parts upbeat pop and downbeat introspection, jangle and cinematic despondency.

Bless My Soul by Shawn Lee & The Angels Of Libra

The soul revival scene has been quiet - or short of neo classics - in recent years. Hang on, though, because Bless My Soul channels Curtis Mayfield - the vocal phrasing is uncanny, the stabbing horns just so and the pleading desperation on point.

Souvenir on the b-side drops the beat down to midtempo to hit the jackpot again. Every mod club in Europe will have worn the grooves out of this single by summer’s end.

Moonlove - May Never Happen

The recent compilation Strum & Thrum: The American Jangle Underground 1983 - 1987 gave the impression that every band was either produced by Mitch Easter or wanted to be. Enjoyable though this snapshot is, it’s only part of the American indie saga.

Moonlove’s 1985 recordings offer a corrective to the riff-based heartlands rock template, suggesting that Fables of the Reconstruction rather than Murmur can be the starting point for REM influence. Or like They Might Be Giants, who also debuted in 85, they were leaning to skewed country-folk.

Maybe they were aware of Flying Nun’s strum & thrum - morosely melodic jangle with violin. At least, these songs are contemporaries of The Bats’ And Here Is 'Music For The Fireside'. Who knows? It all comes back to Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground (the clearest musical influence), being young and frenetic and making a raw, loose clatter.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: every great cassette-only release gets issued on vinyl. It’s taken 36 years in this case, but justice has been done.

Artsick - Fingers Crossed

No fuss all fuzz guitar pop. Perfect for anyone missing the Shop Assistants or maybe Slumber Party or anyone who thought 2009 belonged to Brilliant Colors and Dum Dum Girls when the Brooklyn scene was taken over by Southern California.

But even if those bands mean nothing to you but the aesthetic of direct hits, all the needles on red, racing for the prize and crossing the line first means everything, then this is the record for you.

It’s Rockaway Beach transplanted to the west coast (chewin' out rhythms on bubblegum in San Francisco). It’s garage punk snarl and girl group sass. It’s the Shangri-Las reincarnated as a motorcycle gang - tough stance, heartworn songs.

I just knew this album would play at 45rpm. Every song could be an a-side.