British India – The Time
Listening to this song alone and making a connection with their name, you might make the incorrect assumption that British India is some sort of fusion between British rock and Indian strangeness. But no, this song is a one off foray into such quirky territory. Their main style would probably be better described as straight out garage rock. What makes them special however, is that with this and another favourite Outside 109, they’ve already proved they’re capable of producing quality rock music. Such an energetic and entertaining style also has me dying to get the chance to see them live.
For some reason I always think film clip when I here this song. It creates a definite sense of excitement throughout so I’m sure the clip would involve some sort of frantic chase, were it ever to be made. From the moment I heard it I’ve been in love with it’s refreshing sound. Usually such songs pass through my attention pretty quick, however this has managed to stand the test of time.
British India – The Time
Red Riders - I Think You're Blind
I find it strange how you can listen to a band, not think anything of them, then weeks later hear them again and feel like you’ve always loved them. This emergence of dormant feelings towards music seems to be a common occurrence for me. In fact it seems that none of the bands I really like appealed to me at first. Well anyway, this is what occurred with Red Riders. I’d heard their EP off my brother’s friend’s brother a couple of times, but only upon seeing them did I realise how much I liked it. I think the liveness has something to do with it, for the same thing happened with their second EP. Available on their website, I was disappointed with these songs which felt in comparison to the first. But when I heard them perform it live at the launch, this view completely flipped and I listened to nothing but, for the next few days. The moral of this story, is that you should NEVER JUDGE A SONG UNTIL YOU”VE HEARD IT AT LEAST 5 TIMES. Perhaps even leave a week between listens to see if your mind subconsciously stores it away for later enjoyment
This song is in fact my second favourite off their new EP. By that I mean second song to be my favourite, for over time my likes have evolved. Should I have included Hey Kid because it made a quicker impression on me and would likely do the same for others? No. For while it is indeed good, I believe this to be the better song.
Red Riders on Myspace
Listening to Figurines I am always very aware of the tempo. It ranges from ultra-fast to sparse and to all the betweens. As any listener would know, such tempo is measured by toe tapping and when listening to this album you’ll be doing plenty of it. The singer’s voice is yet another unique sound, the type that makes you wonder how odd they’d sound in normal conservation. As with most of the bands I feature, variation is plentiful here, something I very much value. Strangely enough I seem to pick up elements of country in many of their songs. But believe me, I would not be posting it here if it resembled any traditional country sound. Rather it seems to add a welcomed charm.
All Night – The second and third songs on this album, to which this is latter, were the first to catch my attention. Their erratic fast pace allowed them to drill hole directly into a soft part of my brain, where they remain to this day.
Ambush - It sure is a great feeling when you struggle to pick a song due to the sheer abundance of quality, rather than a lack of it. It contrast to the above, here I wanted to pick a slightly slower piece. A honourable mention goes to Race You, a powerful ballad oddly placed at track one which I’ve really warmed to. But in the end, the song you see here emerged winner, though many more equalled it.
The Eames Era - Go To Sleep
Why do I like this song? Somebody please tell me because I really can’t understand, it just seems at odds with what I’d normally go for. Discovering a few months back, I have been dying to share it with the world. What really perplexes me here is that despite liking this one song I have not bothered to seek out more of their material. So to be honest I really can’t tell you whether this band is all round incredible or have produced just this one gem. I’ll have to put it on my to-do list. While I might not be able to explain why it appeals to me, I can definitely say what: her voice. It would be disservice to describe it in words. So give it a listen and tell me, am I delirious or is it really as great as I find it to be?
Maritime - I find it hard to find the right words with which to describe Maritime. Perhaps the name of the first track is supposed to give me a clue, calm. This is indeed true; for the most part, this album remains at a fairly low intensity. But what you do get is an album filled with pleasant music. Each song is well crafted and flows well into the next. The version I got actually contains two bonus tracks, which I encourage you to look out for. Before You Were Born, one of these tracks is a favourite of mine though I figured I should stick to standard album content here.
Parade of Punk Rock T-Shirts – This is one of the more up-beat songs on the album, its consistent tempo being nicely surrounded by a mix of vocal and musical variations. I’ve picked it because it does well to sum-up Maritime’s style
Twins – A good indication of what the best songs on an album are, is which you find yourself singing the most. While this song was not an obvious stand-out, I found myself repeatedly reciting it and made me realise how much I liked it.
WARNING - Longevity ahead
The Grates - Gravity Won't Get You High
Every time I go to a festival I undergo a massive background check. I search out material from bands I’m unfamiliar with and go over the bands I do know. That way I know exactly what I want to see on the day and reduce the chances of missing awesome bands that I’m yet to hear of (Big Day Out 2004!!). It’s actually a rather efficient way of getting to know a lot of new bands. In preparation for the first Come Together festival, an impressive collection of underground Aussie bands, one of the first bands to go under the microscope was the little known band, The Grates. Going by what I’d heard on the radio and what was available on their site, I came to the conclusion they were some whiney little band, not worth my time, largely due to the song Sukkafish, which I found unbearable.
A good while later, namely about a month ago the song, 19 20 20, was featured heavily on JJJ. I actually thought this song was not bad, but it only brought back negative memories, so I wasn’t about to change my mind. Then the praises began raining in. First my brother and then a friend, both of whom I respected greatly their tastes in music. It seemed I had no choice but to go out, get their album and judge it for myself. I’m glad I did.
This album is simply bursting with energy. The atmosphere is built right from the start with a quirky introduction. After this we are treated with Lies are Much More Fun one of the most diverse tracks on the album. Speaking of diversity, this album delivers in spades. The songs range from complex, single-worthy pieces to a variety of simpler, more straightforward songs. These latter songs are what I would call ‘niche’ songs - more experimentation in a particular sound than a fully-fledged song. They may seem ordinary when examined on their own but they actually serve the album quite well. I think this is why I like it so much, each song has different sound making it an overall well-rounded album.
The standout song in my opinion is Science is Golden, this is where Patience’s vocal style (more on her later) really shines. Most of the other songs just blend together in my mind, though this is in a good way. Believe it or not, I’ve even come to like Sukkafish; it really has to be heard in context, that is, the album as a whole. The only criticism I could give is that sometimes the lines are pushed a bit too hard. Occasionally repetition is taken just a bit further than I’m comfortable with, especially in the ‘niche’ songs. Being gimmicky, I think they could have done with a bit of cutting room treatment, to keep them short and sweet. But then that’s just my opinion.
What The Grates are best known for are they’re ‘fun’ live shows, mainly thanks to Patience. Stories of her jumping around and interacting with the crowd are told far and wide. A combination of this reputation and the energy I can feel in the album give me a strong desire to see them live. Unfortunately by the time I got into them, the only nearby gigs were supporting the Arctic Monkeys, and as you can imagine, these were LONG gone.
The Grates are a completely unique band and Gravity Won’t Get You High definitely proves this. While it isn’t perfect and may make you cringe occasionally, there’s enough creativity here to make it a worthy addition to any record collection.
THE CAPES - When somebody recommends you music that you gave to them in the first place, you know something’s wrong. But when you’re overwhelmed with loads of great music, the slip can be forgiven. Once my oversight was rectified, I gave The Capes’ new album Hello its deserved play-time and it was indeed worth the recommendation. In short it’s a diverse serving of energetic pop pieces filled with innovative guitar and keyboard riffs that sounds fresh to the very end.
Mexican Broads – Just listening to the first few seconds, you know you’re in for something good – SYNTH. Yes, The Capes actually have two keyboard players and this results in synth goodness throughout. The variety in this song is great. The guitars, keyboards and vocals all incorporate a number completely different sounds and on top of this, there’s a nice uplifting atmosphere.
Tightly Wound – Synths are not the only thing that make this band good. This song is an example of their more energetic, guitar centred music. Opening with not one but two complementary guitar riffs and then direct and catchy vocals it quickly launches into the even catchier chorus. The vocals here are more spread out and get progressively higher to great effect. The relatively small presence of the synth is more than made up for by the overlapping guitars. But most of all, who could forget the crafty backing vocals, some of the best hooting I’ve heard in a while
ISLANDS - I surprise myself how many times I mistakenly refer to this band as The Unicorns. Now why would I do such a thing? Well because this band is in fact half Unicorn. Yes, Islands is the official next project of members of everybody’s favourite quirky singing duo. Unicorns’ singer Nicholas Thorburn and drummer Jamie Thompson formed the band after the 2004 break-up and while similarities may be drawn, this is a brand new project, complete with a new sound. Speaking of new sound, some of their songs even feature a couple of rappers strutting their stuff. This is just one example of the wide variety of sounds they incorporate, a variety that works quite well. Their debut album, Return To The Sea, has been receiving high rotation in my cd player and I highly recommend it. Here are a couple of songs off it:
Rough Gem – This was what you would call the typical single on the album. Short, sweet and minimally abstract, it’s perfectly suited to radio airplay. It is also the first song I liked off the album, probably do to those mentioned reasons. But what this song really has going for it is Nick’s vocals. This may sound odd, but I simply love it when he has to strain his voice. He unleashes a dormant power that's a pleasure listen to. While this will likely be an early favourite, I encourage you to listen closely to the other songs, whose quirkiness you will surely warm to.
Swans (Life After Death) – In contrast to Rough Gem this is the epic of the album. It feels a bit odd at track one as you feel like three songs have passed before you get to the 2nd track but never-the-less it is a great track. It does however suit the opening track in that it is a nice warm up. Just when you think the pace is getting to a critical point, it pulls back to a calm melody – another great song.
This site exists at the moment as I'm getting it ready for when I start which I have decided will be 17th May. This is because I am currently finishing off my Get With The Times series and I now only have one episode remaining. Once I finish that I'll get straight into this........Anyway because I'm feeling generous I think I may do a sample to whet people's appetites and give them an idea of what's to come.