Thursday, 25 March 2010

Mad March = Great Records

So when Howard Hughes greets the “interplanetary indiepop pickers” in the intro to The Pocket Gods’ new record he isn’t going too far wrong in addressing the average sanity, and musical taste, of potential listeners to Plan Nub, Behind the Fridge. In fact, by the time he invites us to “loosen those space belts and prepare to go down, deep down into Nub country…”, you’re either in or out. Luckily for ShadowPlay, we’ve already ripped off our leather waist strapping (it was purely cosmetic anyway, three quid from the British Heart Foundation) and are rolling in a veritable pig sty of bonkers tunage. Ahem. Billy Childish Enters the Space race gives an excellent early sign of the witticisms, perfect riffs and off key singing in store. Alien Xmas Song displays the indie poppers in a rare contemplative move, coming over all lighters in the air but, before the hankies are out over the irresistible slow strumming they’re singing “there’s a nipple fight in the car park, nipple nipple nipple fight..beautiful manboobs”. Perfect and bizarre, indiepop at its finest.
ShadowPlay’s favourite Barcelona-based ridiculously traditional folksome singer, Peter Loveday, returns with a new album, Standard Ideal, recorded last summer. Always full of erudite phrases and clever little imagery (“As the trucks roll by I step out of the way/I’m in no hurry and there aren’t that many anyway”), Loveday has beguiling, cracked voice now backed with some complementing vocal and violin tones by Naomi Weldman and Sarah Davison. Some of the duets here work better than others but there’s a genuine skill in the songwriting that make him worth investigation for lo-fi fans across Europe.

Talking of lo-fi, the crayon cartoons scribbles across Islands Lost At Sea’s new record (pictured) belie the stylish CD packaging with a bunch of funny bookmarks (sample “Read Thicko”) spilling out from its bambuzzling form on unfolding. It would be easy to get distracted from the music then, but this Staywarm Records release is a particularly charming piece of indiepop wizardry. A mix of plaintive peaens, chirpy tunage and even the odd carefully weaved in beat keeps the island floating on towards success. Oh, and the packaging’s actually a bookend, neat.
Not for the first time, Sunday Best are band on form. Well, more specifically their artist Dub Pistols are, with Rodney P taking some of the limelight on new A-side Ganja. We know what to expect from Dub Pistols – the slight warped reggae, the inevitable catchiness – but the added element of Monsieur P shouting “they got us under prohibition like it’s 1932” gives it an edgy, exciting top layer – to be skimmed off and enjoyed as 2 Bit Thugs and Nitenoise play around with it in subsequent mixes.

Elsewhere Skeletons, aka Nostalgia 77, releases Smile on Impossible Ark Records – a clever ‘act of mindless fun’ combining West African earnest jazz with more fun, upbeat offshoots. The man behind is, Benedic Lamdin, says Skeletons “is a made up band” as the musicians were never together in the studio and, after playing around with what was in vogue, he couldn’t stop. Whatever the process, it sounds good and very, very hard to turn off. Oh, and Alice Russell fans – get this if only for her usual supersonic display on Adam and Eve. Funk and soul act The Bamboos finish us off, Tru Thoughts luminaries they’ve been around for a while now and new album ‘4’ displays perfectly why their stock has risen steadily in the last few years. Turn It Up has the dusty feel of a classic while you can hear the stilettos squeaking on the two tone floor in Like Tears in Rain, retro stylings in its finest. A stellar month then, go forth and multi-buy!

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