Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Katsen - It Hertz!

Katsen - It Hertz! Release Date - 28th September Label: Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation

You think this cover is pretty messed up. And you're right. But be warned, this is just the beginning. It folds out into a full on assault on the senses, a collage of cats heads on girls bodies, superstars of the 50's (Curtis/Taylor/Newman/Lancaster), an accordion, more cats, the Eiffel tower, leopardskin print, keyboards, lipstick, a trench coated cat detective wearing a fez... I'd best to stop there before I have a seizure. Frankly, it's one of the the most batshit insane covers you'll ever see. It will fry your mind, and I urge you to examine it in it's full glory should you ever get the chance.

There's no way the music could match the impact the cover makes, but the Brighton based boy girl electro-pop duo of Chris Blackburn & Donna Grimaldi are decent enough to give it a go. Opening with 'Let's build a city', it's obvious via smooth waves of Casiotone, beeps, blips and crisp drum sounds that Katsen's aesthetic is drawn from crunchy 8-bit and smooth 80's synth pop. And the combination works most of the time, on the single, in the straight, reverent cover of The Passions new-wave-classic 'I'm in love with a German Film Star'. When things start to go off piste, there's usually a redeeming quality to the songs to make them worthwhile. 'I'm a Doctor' is simplistic and appealing story, but there isn't much to the song. It's made (or saved, depending on whether you see the glass as half empty) by a decaying sample of a child moaning 'Not wellllll'. Their Pixies cover, 'Cactus', is more plaintive than the original, but lacks the meat on the bones that a clanging guitar offers. It feels honest, a good attempt, but slight.

These plusses are balanced out by the ZettaOmegaFail of 'Island in an Island'. Sample lyric: "He's an island in an island in an island, with a camera taking photos of a photograph". It's a looping mantra, a tautological feast. There's a number of ways you could interpret a lyric like that. Could it be a simplistic look at the reflexive nature of photography? A veiled reference to music criticism? A nod to the idea that a moment can never truly be experienced except when lived first hand? As the lyrics circle and the delivery grows more terse, the realisation dawns that it doesn't really matter. The sound is straight from the Shoreditch of old, sounding like it's been knocked together by a bunch of arch Hoxton chimps with Garageband and a G5. Ostensibly, when the naiveté of this duo is taken away, so is their charm.

The title track is a well constructed instrumental held together by a throbbing early Cure bassline (from an actual bass guitar), with what sounds like a half-cut Kraftwerk trying to get a song done in one take playing over the top. The record then does what few albums seem to do, in that it closes strong. 'Constellation' and 'Where nobody can find us' sound like the sort of singles that would have sneaked into the top 100 for a week and made the Festive Fifty in 1984. It closes with another excellent Kraftwerk nod in 'Florian', named after the founding member who left at the start of the year. A paean of fan love, genuine and very pretty, and easily the best thing on here, it shows Katsen as ones to watch. It Hertz! isn't a perfect album , but then I doubt it was created with perfection in mind, and the final few tracks are a pointer to where Katsen could be going. It's good enough, and it shows promise. That's enough for me as a listener. Perfect debut albums are so 2004, anyway.



Sunday, 27 September 2009

End September, End

Another faintly emo Spotify playlist. You can never have enough though.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

The Posies - Frosting on the beater

Lost my copy a couple of years ago, had to buy another in the week.
Stuck it on this morning, and it's even better than I remember it being. Solid power-pop gold! Why weren't they massive? Dream all day, Solar Sister, Flavour of the month, BURN AND SHINE, How she lied by living, Coming right along...

If anyone's reading this and haven't heard this album, don't seek it out on Spotify. It isn't there. Once more, good old Youtube comes up trumps.

Burn and Shine (session)

Solar Sister (song only)

Dream all day (Mmmm 1993 video!)

Flavour of the month (song only)

Coming right along (song with Basketball Diaries stills)

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Monsters of Folk / New Foo Fighters greatest hits announced by Rolling Stone
Very pleased with it, but missed a couple of proofreading errors. For shame. All fixed now.

Katsen review is in, more to review today.

New Foo Fighters hits comp outlined in Rolling Stone. Just goes to show you how fast they fell off since 2002. A complete double disc chronological singles set with perhaps a limited best of the B-sides bonus disc would have been more worthwhile for the fans. But I'm sure there's some weaselly little fucker in marketing who thought that was a bad idea. And of course, two versions of Everlong was a good idea. Their tracklisting.

All My Life
Best Of You
The Pretender
My Hero
Learn To Fly
Times Like These
Big Me
Long Road To Ruin
This is a Call
Skin And Bones
Word Forward
Everlong (Acoustic)

Monday, 14 September 2009

Slayer to tour UK

It's hot for me, but then I love a bit of metal.

London dates are 25th/26th of November. The later date is preferable, because you'll only have one day of extreme whiplash at work, then a weekend to recover from that and those terrifying moshpit bruises.

Tickets go on sale Friday, 9 AM.

You snooze, you lose.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Darkside / Lightside

Got a Cave Singers review up on DiS that I forgot to mention a couple of weeks ago. Felt bad for slating it, but people have got things harder now. Not Depression era hard, but a little more hard in the way of spending choices; a tenner spent on a bad record is a tenner that can't be spent on a good show. Belts tightened and all that. People don't like writing bad reviews for bands thay like though, and I've got to say, that wasn't a fun one to write. Doesn't mean I like getting trolled though. You've only written two comments and one of them is disagreeing with me, or rather slating my review approach? That is in no way suspicious, sir.

In related news, a trip to Canada is being funded by selling tickets on the internet. I feel bad about it, really bad, because I remember what it was like to not be able to get to shows because they'd sold out thanks to tout scumbags. Recently I was dismayed to have almost have missed out on the show of the year thanks to touts. Now I am a tout. Maybe not on purpose, at first. But I'm selling two standing Pixies tickets for the last night at Brixton. Two days left. Eighteen watchers. £123. That's a full 100% profit, but damn do I feel dirty.

Recently picked up 2 Ash tickets to a tiny London pub show (see previous post). It's sold out, and tickets are up for a buy it now price of £49 from a tout. I'm considering offering up the ones I've bought at face value to an Ash messageboard to redeem myself, bring a stroke of good karma back around. If you're angling for the good karma, looking for the payback, does it count?

Other news... Bella Union free show tonight near Liverpool Street. I'm hoping for a Dirty Three/Explosions in the Sky/Snowbird triple header. Any one of those would do though.
Will take pictures and write up if I can find a few minutes tomorrow.