Where better to kick off this month’s reviews round-up than with a bizarre, disparate and confusing release? Ok probably with something straight forward but that just wouldn’t do. The concept of DJ Yoda and The Heritage Orchestra’s new release – ‘G.Prokofiev Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra’ – is an excellent one. Few would think to combine hip-hop and classical music (I mean, really combine them, not just a sample here and there) in a full length LP with movements and everything and the ambitious project has rightfully drawn some attention. But, well, it just doesn’t go far enough. As someone who likes their classical music I enjoyed the ridiculously sinister violins and the scratching combined nicely with the brass section but, well, where was the hip-hop? If Yoda, Mr Adventurous and supreme VJ was gunna take on a project like this I’d expect beats galore and those symbols to be sounding on top form, what we get is disparate, occasionally brilliant but far too often pulling up too short of its ambitious targets.
Those Northwesterly people at Cherryade Records have been busy as ever. Firstly they’ve released The Lovely Eggs’ record If You Were Fruit which, if a little sickly, brings a smile to the face of twockers (twee rockers) everywhere with their naïve lyrics. Secondly they glorious entity that is the Bobby McGees have release record L’Appropration Bourgoise De La bobby McGees and are on top form with opener Tractus Logico-Musica talking about innocent girlfriends and pepper spray and setting the tone from then on. The Bobby McGees are one of those special bands with perfect self-perception and an equally perfect lack of ego – they right fun songs with too many horns and far, far too many great hooks. Set aside a frantic half-hour.
From folk to funk, Bugz in the Attic have brought out a remixes collection, Got the Bug, which goes some way to displaying their sleek, undoubted talent and souped up version of Roison Murphy, Amy Winehouse and Bunny Mack tunes are decent but perhaps a little mainstream to attract core Bugz fans into this purchase.
Two beautifully packaged records in spray-painted wonderment reached ShadowPlay from Belle Records with Sol Gravy’s Sun Son proving a sombre affair with a beautiful harmonica and some nice lyrical touches adding to the jangly 70s dark folk feel of the record while labelmates Water were apparently one of THE Yorkshire bands of the end of the last century before their implosion through sex, drugs and ‘skullduggery’ fail to live up to the excitement of these pursuits with their flabby and meandering record Monkey Steps. Similarly attractively packaged, Bay of Islands’ Winter Vignettes, on Dizzy Records, provides a more soothing, intriguing record with the chirp of a scratched string and the sound of an undoubtedly talented pianist creating a sparse and beautiful record. Bear Driver’s Paws & Claws has a similarly lackadaisical rhythm to it with the Leeds-based psych-pop band displaying some promising signs with excellent vocals and an ear for when to make the tune go off on one, dancing into the woods without a cursory look back… Le Reno Amps return with their EP, the Stand Off, this month but, in all honesty, the grating lyrics and confusion over whether they want to be a straight up pop or kinda country-tinged indie band,a t least in the listener’s ears, is very off-putting.
Perhaps the prize for wild strangeness from a nutty duo this month goes to Misty Roses, the London/New York duo who, in their second album Villainess, create more mystery the Poirot puzzling over a particularly ripping Soduku. Singer Robert Conroy leads the tunes well and with ethereal backing and the skills of multi-instrumentalist Jonny Pearl, it’s definitely worth investigation.
A couple of harder releases come through TNS Records with the thrash of Revenge of the Psychotronic Man (and their barnstorming record Make Pigs Smoke, yep…) proving the custard shower effect, quite strange, fun once in a while but not for regular consumption. Meanwhile Halcyon Days are slightly lees all-out but provide some nice, threatening basslines and decent riffs, not to mention some quality boomed out harmonies. Good stuff.