So people wanted to know what my rational method for assessing obscure bands turned up. Here goes with the tracklisting, and brief reflections on each.
2020Soundsystem – Shiver
Remember Robert Miles, “Children”? Sure ya do. Similar mood, vaguely krautrock underpinnings. But slightly average. Are we sure about this project?
Bloodgroup – Chuck
Ah, this is more like. Icelandic electronic fuzz, with inescapable dancemaking qualities. And the intro sounds like a news broadcast, with bassline synths; a similar idea to a public service announcement with guitars. Slightly too fast, as well. Considered FUN.
Ceci Bastida – Cuando Vueltas a Caer
Bright, Spanish, vaguely funky, rather good. Six words!
DJ Chicken George – Overthrowed!
DJ Shadow-ish, atmospheric, soulful horns, big urban spaces. But very “if you liked Shadow (or St Germain) you’ll like this”
FOUND – Some Fracas of a Sissy
Silly title, silly song. Sample-collage, wilfully eccentric, great if you like that sort of thing. Big atmospherics, again. Skating along the rail that separates fantastic and annoying.
Hypernova – Somewhere Far Away
Dark indie-dance, slightly too fast, depressing political lyrics. Another band with a serious echo habit. “Panic on the edge, thinking about tomorrow, I close my eyes and realise that all my life I was being lied to by the ones I so adored!” If that isn’t the zeitgeist I don’t know what is.
J-Boogie – Revolution
Wonky horns, quiet rappers, girl rappers, demanding revolution, probably coming to a cafe full of wankers near you. Which is a pity, because this is good.
Japanther – Um But Your Smile Is Totally Ruling Me Right Now
Title problem. Try to ignore it – this is an overcoming bias project after all. Noisy, cheerful lofi punk, bounce, yell about vandalising Clear Channel-owned advertisements.
Josh Martinez – Responsibility
Portentous loverman R&B, which people who like that will like a lot. What is it with echo effects? Another that sounds like it was recorded in a giant Korean shipyard drydock at dead of night. But there’s certainly some cross-prior appeal here. “My tolerance for low intelligence is almost all gone!” Well, that’s bang on the money at least.
Kamikaze Queens – Voluptuous Panic
Oscillates between brilliant and dire. It’s very much a 1 or a 5. Weimar nostalgia kitsch is a cliche, but the sudden punk eruption is fun. Probably works better live under the right conditions. But at time of writing it’s annoying me. Next!
Le Le – Breakfast
Well used sample, good tension, can’t save it from being routine misogynist rapper bollocks.
Los Pirata – La Telepatia
Described as Brazilian surf-pop. Does what it says on the tin. Pleasantly silly.
Kap Bambino – Red Sign
French electronic punk, as the Prodigy would put it. Loud. Fast. Messy. Singer sounds probably incredible live, but there’s always a chance they’re a couple of geeks who can only hit it surrounded by laptops. Music for demonstrations.
Lady Dottie and the Diamonds – I Ain’t Mad At Ya
Oh really? Big. Crashing. Drums. Too fast, again. Combination of too fast, drums, and Hammond fills, however, is a cocktail that fits me well.
Meliss FX – Love Is Your Attention
A DJ tool. Designed for purpose, shiny, drop-forged, chrome-vanadium steel, likely to give you a bad head if someone uses it on you.
Polly Mackey and the Pleasure Principle – Seriously
Heavyish indie rockers with big Welsh voice and a touch of intensity. Darker Catatonia. From Wrexham, perhaps more conventional than they think. Like Daniel Davies.
Popular Damage – Everybody got young in 2001
Bad title. Germans pretending to be from South London for some bizarre reason. Reminds me of Republica, if you remember them; electronic backing more interesting, but the German Lily Allen stylings are like being stuck in a bag of cats. Probably coming to a taxpayer-funded youth TV project. Or a shoe shop.
Skavengah – El Ritmo de la Vida
Frantic optimistic ska pop eruption. “Let’s go back a little time ago when the pace of life was a little more slow” is perhaps the most inappropriate lyric ever, as this is like eating coffee by the spoonful.
Skibunny – Up Down
Slickish electronic dramatics, but doesn’t get away from standard jingle jangle indie band (that listens to the La’s too much) structure down in the mix. I can see this one on Match of the Day. A well deserved break from all the speed, though.
Sky Larkin – Fossil, I
Turbulent indie band from Yorkshire, with that northern band up-on-the-hillside howling wind and grey skies thing – like the Verve, or the Manics (if you count Wales as the North). Vocals considered suitable, good dynamics as well. Keeps cranking up the tension.
Thao With The Get Down Stay Down – Bag Of Hammers
Typical American whimsical indie, works very hard at being eccentric but terribly, terribly neat. Puts the star in Starbucks. Mannered. Needs to see the band name doctor, as well.
The Ettes – No Home
Fuzzy, dark punkpop. Driving around dark urban corners to feel like you’re doing something. Likely to be too fashionable for any useful purpose in short order.
The Kominas – Sharia Law In The USA!
Paranoia! Cold War nuclear attack warnings and propaganda films! Made me grin. Just imagine how, say, Michelle Malkin would hate this.
The Krayolas and the West Side Horns – Twelve Heads in a Bag
Mariachi horns…and narco beheadings…da da dum…how many bands remind you of John Robb’s Global Guerrillas? Even if things have moved on, there’s no John Nagl Rockers yet, so this will have to do.
The Pepperpots – Lucky Girl
Instant sunshine. The British armed forces use the phrase as a nickname for a nuclear weapon. And this is the bomb. 2-tone glee, at a reasonably sensible pace, with good horns; sounds like a sunny day in Victoria Park with French people. If this gets on the radio they’re going to play it until the CIA start using it for interrogations, so listen to it while you still can without vomiting.
The Twelves – Works For Me
Nicely paced dance track; “I want to be in your pictures from last night”. A relief from some of the others here, which are more like “I want to be in your CCTV database”.
NASA featuring a whole long list of folk starting with MIA – Whatchadoin? (Villains Remix)
This is the only one I actually knew. Another dance tool, shining in the rack, clean, bright, and lightly oiled. Smells of hit.
Wave Machines – I Go I Go I Go
80s-influenced, danceable band…could enjoy this, even if it’s vaguely Prefab Sprout at some points.
Wild Beasts – Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyant
Falsetto Yorkshire testifyin’ white soulman. Tension and contrast. The Associates are an influence here. Cracking.
Wine and Revolution – Eager to Sail
Whatever other qualities they may have, the entire music of this song is…how can I put this…plagiarised from a 1980s British songwriter who I can’t fucking remember right now. Elvis Costello? No doubt someone will tell me.
Woodhands – Dancer
Turn the crazy back up. This is a great slab of noise, with hips, and someone being repeatedly interrupted by a crude yelling voice shouting “YOU A VERY GOOD DANCER! WHAT IS YOUR NAME? WHAT IS YOUR NAME?” like the crown prince of Brunei on a bad night. Yes.
You can download the lot in a monster ZIP archive from rapidshare, here. Update: New, more stable link.