The Dirty Dozen - October, 2008

Another month, another motley mélange of lad-rock veterans, zingy pop tarts, moody rappers and local upstarts. Nick Mitchell wades in...

Feature by Nick Mitchell | 01 Oct 2008

If this was the mid-90s and Oasis were in their pomp, The Shock of the Lightning (**, Out Now) would be an album track at best, and certainly not the lead single from a new album. But that says more about what Oasis have become than it does about the track, which tries to hide daft lyrics (“love is a litany, a magical mystery”) behind Noel’s bludgeoning guitar barrage. At least Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner knows when people are getting tired of the same-old. The Last Shadow Puppets, his side-project with the Rascals' Miles Kane, attempts to recapture the lush orchestral pop of the 1960s with some success, yet My Mistakes Were Made For You (**, 20 Oct) is still strangely underwhelming. Another band with an eye on the past are Attic Lights. Wendy (***, 6 Oct) is further proof of these Glaswegians’ harmony-heavy talents, but it doesn’t quite hit the dreamy heights of July single of the month Bring You Down.

Following in Noel and Alex’s footsteps before them, the Ting Tings can lay claim to being the most hyped band of the year, but will they sustain the adoration of the mainstream with this fourth single? Well, probably, and it doesn’t matter that Be The One (***, 13 Oct) is nothing like as brainlessly infectious as their preceeding efforts. It’s easy to see why Fight Like Apes are currently supporting the Ting Tings on their sold-out UK tour, because Jake Summers (**, 20 Oct) is just the kind of disposable, sugar-rich indie-pop that their audeince digs with a JCB. CSS were sorta like the Ting Tings of 2007: their dumb-but-fun electro-pop injected a shot of colour into our cloudy British summer. But judging by the frankly rubbish Move (*, 13 Oct) it looks like Brazil’s best musical export since Os Mutantes have misplaced their former charm.

You can’t beat a good song title, and Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants (****, 13 Oct) is a classic. It’s a pleasure to hear the singer of the band responsible, Wild Beasts, strain his falsetto around this tongue-twister, so who cares what it means? Edinburgh’s Kid Canaveral meanwhile prefer to focus their energies on crafting old-fashioned indie-rock. Second Time Around (***, 27 Oct) keeps it simple, down to the chugging beat, ragged riff and chorus of (something like) bah-bada-bah-bah-badaaa-bah-bah-bada-bah. Ace.

In the history of unlikely cover versions, Tricky taking on Kylie Minogue is up there with Johnny Cash doing Nine Inch Nails. Slow (***, 13 Oct) isn’t as disastrous as you might imagine, with the Knowle West Boy’s custom growl adding a layer of menace to the Minogue gloss. Staying urban for a second, we turn our attention to hyped Chicago hip hop duo The Cool Kids. Mikey Rocks (****, 20 Oct) is a good snapshot of their crystal-clear beats and inventive rhyming.

One of the best things about sifting through a pile of circular plastic every month is when you come across a sublime little tune from a relative unknown. Moscow State Circus (****, 27 Oct) by young Liverpudlian Eugene McGuinness is one such tune, packed full of haunting Midlake-style chord shifts and priceless lines like “I’m as subtle and as playful as a hammer-headed shark.”

Lastly Dananananaykroyd, Glasgow’s best syllable-heavy thrash-pop act, who can already retire happy having met Bill Murray on a plane recently, and also finally winning the coveted Dirty Dozen single of the month. Pink Sabbath (****, 6 Oct) is a full frontal assault of sinew-stretching shouts and finger-bleeding guitars. Oh, and B-side Chrome Rainbow might just be even better.

Dananananaykroyd play Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh on 4 Oct with Johnny Foreigner and The Barrowland, Glasgow on 5 Oct with Foals.