The Dirty Dozen - June, 2009
Plenty of new music in the D-12 sack this month, but <b>Nick Mitchell</b> finds that there's just no keeping a few Britpop veterans down
In September’s column I reviewed Death. Not the concept itself, no, but a debut single of the same name by stately indie rockers White Lies. Eight months later they return to the Dirty Dozen with a follow-up called, er, Death (**, 22 Jun). It’s obviously a reissue, but this time they lose a star for repetition. San Franciscans LoveLikeFire have similarly grand ambitions, with their female-fronted-Killers schtick and straining guitar lines. And while bombastic new single Stand In Your Shoes (**, 15 Jun) does absolutely everything it can to fill a stadium, the end result, by contrast, is an empty space. Despite their name, Essex pop-punks Baddies are worryingly safe. Sure, they try their damnedest to be England’s latest hard-rocking heroes on new single Holler For My Holiday (**, 1 Jun). Trouble is, they come off sounding more like Green Day on a bad day.
If any band is the epitome of the teenage stereotype, it is Enter Shikari. They may actually be in their 20s, but their lug-lacerating electro thrash is the sonic manifestation of hoodie-clad, hormonally-imbalanced experimentation. Juggernauts (**, 15 Jun), though, is just another uneasy mix of happy hardcore and transatlantic emo. While Enter Shikari attempt to forge something new from the clash of two genres, unsigned London trio Tape The Radio sound like an overly familiar swirl of any number of indie acts of the past ten years on their debut single. With its echoes of Interpol and Bloc Party, Save A Life (**, 15 Jun) is polished but stiflingly derivative. The Scandinavian conveyor belt of indie-pop keeps rolling this month. Hailing from Copenhagen, the excellently named No and the Maybes rekindle some of the wide-eyed pop of Blur’s pomp on Petra Petrified (***, 1 Jun), a richly melodic song that bodes well for their future.
Last month I was quite ungentlemanly in my comments about three female solo artists. So I’m happy to report that I have some good things to say about La Roux. Apparently there’s a bloke behind the scenes too, but that’s beside the point. Bulletproof (***, 15 Jun) is sheen over substance, but didn’t The Human League prove that this in itself can be no bad thing? In a similar vein, Canadians Metric return from, well, no hiatus at all, with the first single from their recent fourth album. Sick Muse (***, 1 Jun) is an oddity: a glitzy pop song dripping in lyrical vitriol. It suffers from a stilted intro, but picks up nicely with Emily Haines’ pleading chorus.
When he’s not installing himself in Parisian art galleries, Jarvis Cocker is still pursuing his musical career (must be about his third by now?). This limited edition 7” reissue of his Record Store Day contribution, Angela (***, 15 Jun), is a passable attempt at glam rock, though hardly an artistic masterpiece. All my instincts warn me that a new single from Placebo should be bad. Really bad. But while For What It’s Worth (***, 1 Jun) is basically just more of the same woe-is-me whining over big meaty rock, it’s actually not as terrible as I’m making it out to be. But one indie veteran is still worth his salt. Former Delgados frontman Alun Woodward has evidently not lost his ear for a disarming pop melody with his latest incarnation, Lord Cut-Glass. Look After Your Wife (****, 15 Jun) comes in two parts: an upbeat, acoustic first half with ornate violins, followed by an edgier, accelerating coda.
But enough of the oldies. June’s Single of the Month comes from a band so new I’m struggling to find out anything about them. London-based but with a suspiciously Scottish sounding singer, Django Django take Hot Chip’s musical toolkit and build compact, weird little pop songs. Storm (****, 22 Jun) is their stomping calling card.