A collection of posts from my original weblog...or the inscrutable rantings of a madman...could be both...

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Alright musos--back again..first off, thanks to my man C-Dog and whomever else helped to get rid of the annoying tyranny of the dreaded "banner ad" that used to be at the top of the page..a hearty "Schizoid Man" cheer to you!! Hurrah! A correction from my last post--The Coral's debut EP is called Skeleton Key..not just "Skeleton". I *did* get a copy of the full-length Coral record (thanks to you again, Flaming Pixie)..and it's in similar style to the EP..more Day-Glo pirate lyrics and 60s musical overtones..they expand their sound vocabulary a bit on the record, with some early Pink Floyd moments thrown into the garage-psych mix.
I also have a copy of Martin Grech's debut record, Open Heart Zoo. Grech is a British singer/musician..and a mere 19, but he shows a lot of promise. Musically, he's a bit all-over-the-place--some near metal guitar moments will be followed by a quiet tune with a falsetto vocal. Those who don't fancy a bit of Radiohead will probably want to avoid "Open Heart Zoo", however, as Thom Yorke & Co. seem to be Grech's biggest influence at the moment--in fact, Grech could win any "Radiohead Karaoke" contest for miles around. He even does pretty well assimilating Radiohead's recent electronic forays into his own sound. It's not necessarily slavish, but Grech's got Thom Yorke's vocal style down. Still, he's got talent and if he can ease into more of an individual sound, I would think he's got some good tunes to release in the future.
Out of curiousity, I picked up the new record by Anglo-Swedish (!) outfit, The Soundtrack Of Our Lives. The album title is Behind The Music--and despite the unwieldy band name and goofy record title (I don't know if it's taking a swipe at that "Spinal Tap"-in-real-life rockumentary show on VH-1..or if they had no clue about the show and really wanted to call the album that)--it's very good. I can't recall who they've got in the production booth, but the mix has a very "full" sound..but clean enough to be able to distinguish individual instruments. They sound a bit like The Beta Band, but maybe a bit less daring than those wacky Scotsmen--more "straight-ahead" rock than pastoral weirdos who got lucky enough to make an album. The Soundtrack use plenty of up-front, driving rhythms--and make the best of their production and the fact that most of the members are multi-instrumentalists. Their only weak point are the (sometimes) cliched lyrics--things like "Don't throw your pearls at swine"..they even have a song titled "Mind The Gap". They're lucky they've got an Englishman in the ranks, otherwise that would be one *big* non-sequitir..a bunch of Swedes name-checking London's Underground railway. The album cover uses the ol' "life-masks-of-the-band" standby..it would be cool, if Roy Harper hadn't already done the same in 1973..and a bunch of others, I'm sure. For new music from a band I've heard mentioned in a few hipster journals, though, I've gotta say--I'm suitably impressed. I wonder what these guys sound like live..if The Beta Band can do it.....anyway, check this one out if you get the chance...it's gotta be a lot better than most of the slop that's finding it's way into record stores at the moment.
So, yeah, the new Massive Attack record came out today...I'm stifling a *yawn* as we speak...the last holdouts of the Bristol, England 'trip-hop' scene from the 90s..are limping along with just two members left..after Tricky went solo in '95, and gradually brought his early promise to a halt with increasingly lame albums. Another member, 3-D left just last year as they were still recording the new album--apparently because they were heading in more of a "rock" direction (evidenced on "Mezzanine"--their 1998 record). Early buzz on this one was positive, but I don't know--I think it's just been too long between albums--and they've lost the momentum they had going with "Mezzanine". Couple that with all of the tension in the group and the "Bristol scene" virtually disappearing (Tricky's bad records, Portishead either splitting up or on hiatus--Beth Gibbons' solo record is very far-removed from that sound), and you've got a Massive Attack album that's dead-on-arrival. My prediction is that the die-hards will buy and keep them afloat for a little while--but this will probably be it for them..though they may play a few festivals in England this summer. Maybe Tricky will be persuaded to join them on-stage for their "Crosby, Stills & Nash" moment..Oy vey...