The Dirty Dozen – July 2010
After too many months of letting rock stars have their say, <b>Darren Carle</b> retreats to his listening chamber and takes the Dozen back to its roots
First to face the Dirty Dozen’s scrutiny this month are Swedish punks Refused, who tore metal a new one in the nineties and are now polishing off their influential album The Shape of Punk To Come with a reissue of single New Noise (****, 5 Jul). It’s a snarling, moderately epic buzz of high drama hardcore, perfect for blowing away a decade's worth of cobwebs.
Hot on the heels of last year’s eponymous debut, Miike Snow follow up with brand new single The Rabbit (***, 5 Jul). It isn’t much of a progression on their sparkly electro pop, but as an added bonus to the upcoming deluxe edition of their debut, it doesn’t really need to be.
Edinburgh sextet The Last Battle work on the other end of the spectrum with Ruins (****, 5 Jul), a beautifully low-key, country strum with an uplifting chorus which will find good company amongst fellow Auld Reekie staples Eagleowl and Meursault.
Stornoway’s Colin MacLeod picks up the baton as The Boy Who Trapped The Sun. Katy, (**, 12 Jul) bounds in as a buoyant bluegrass toe-tapper that sadly becomes a little too shrill after a few minutes.
Hooting and Howling (***, 12 Jul) by Wild Beasts works best when singer Hayden Thorpe’s falsetto is countered by busy drum fills and chiming guitar work. At other times his croon hogs too much of the spotlight, but overall it’s fine stuff.
Ever wondered what Balearic dance crossed with sappy boy-band indie pop would sound like? Us neither, yet Diagram of the Heart answer a question only they posed with Dead Famous (*, 5 Jul). Like many crossovers it fudges both influences and is unlikely to appeal to either camp.
If the Party Like It’s 19909 Remix wasn’t clue enough, I Wanna Be Your Telephone (**, 19 Jul) finds glitchy soul-boy Jamie Lidell in full Prince regalia, tongue firmly in cheek when delivering line after line of cheeky phone analogies like “even though you’ll trade me in for a faster kind, I don’t mind”. Mildly diverting.
According to their bio, Milk White White Teeth “push the boundaries of what it means to play music with a group of people in modern times.” The catch however is that bands who do push boundaries would never spout such shite, meaning Ingrid Won’t Smile (**, 19 Jul) sounds EXACTLY like a group of people playing music in modern times.
Any chatter of Jack White taking a backseat on his other-other side project The Dead Weather will surely cease for the three minute duration of Blue Blood Blues (***, 28 Jun). Another fuzzed-out, dirty garage lick with White on lead vocal duties, spitting some bone-cracking, onomatopoeic verse. Nicely done.
After repeat listens to In The Summer (****, 5 Jul) by London (via Navarre, Spain) hipsters Crystal Fighters, we’ve still no idea which planet it approached from. One slant would be to say it’s like a Mortal Kombat victory jingle written by Yeasayer that got out of hand when The Go! Team dropped by, but that really only scratches the surface of this unquestionably ace oddity.
The epic, visionary album concept of Janelle Monáe’s The Archandroid may be lost on lead single Tightrope (***, 5 Jul) but it’s an able slice of upbeat, trimmed-down R&B with brass trimmings that suitably sees Outkast’s Big Boi return the vocal favours the young diva delivered on their Idlewild album.
With the sophomore Foals album having slipped somewhat under the radar, second single Miami (****, 5 Jul) chastises such ignorance with groove-laden melodrama and high production gloss that would make lesser indie heroes baulk. It seems that Yannis Philippakis’ bunch are not ones to be straight-jacketed by their own hype and should accordingly be saluted for this Single of the Month.
Foals play HMV Picture House, Edinburgh on 31 Oct.http://www.crystalfighters.com