… I’d really like to spread the word about here. First, in 2007 a band by the name of USSA put out their debut album, titled ‘The Spoils’. Why should you care? Well, other than the fact that it’s a damn good album filling a need for whatever you want to call that heavier end of the spectrum that bands like THE JESUS LIZARD and MINISTRY used to fill, USSA is comprised of, yep, Paul Barker, original bass player from the aforementioned Ministry and Duane Denison, guitarist for the also aforementioned Jesus Lizard (as well as Mike Patton’s TOMAHAWK and the former DENISON/KIMBALL TRIO indie-jazz project). Paul and Duane are joined by vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Gary Call and drummer Johnny Rabb for a great album that sounds a lot like, well like The Jesus Lizard-meets-Ministry. What more do you need to know?
Next up is a complete 180 in sound if not aesthetic. BAT FOR LASHES is the name of a musical project which is essentially the one woman show of Natasha Khan. Very Reminiscent of old Cure, Bauhaus, Siouxsie Sioux, Tory Amos and PJ Harvey, Bat for Lashes’ first album ‘Fur and Gold’, released in ’06, triggers in me that same Doll’s House-era SANDMAN vibe that all those other bands I just name dropped do. They, or she rather, has an album coming out on or around April 6th entitled Two Suns and I’m psyched. I love most of Fur and Gold and I’ve heard one track from this new one and can tell you I’ll definitely be buying it. Support the underground shit or stop fucking complaining that there’s no Underground, that’s what I say.
CRUEL BLACK DOVE is going to get comparisons to PJ Harvey, there’s just no way around it. But, and this is a big but, while the similarities in Anastasia Dimou’s vocals are indeed there and the vibe definitely continues that great Harvey/Cave/Cocker(Jarvis not Joe) dark brit pop vibe, CBD stands very much on it’s own two feet. Put their ‘Full Powers’ album (E.P.?) in the 5 disc with Cave’s ‘…and No More Shall We Part’, Mick Harvey’s ‘One Man’s Treasure’, PJ Harvey’s ‘Stories From the City…’ and Pulp’s ‘Separations’, pour some red wine or Trappist beer and crack out the John Constantine: Hellblazer’s that Garth Ennis wrote all those years ago and you’ll be ensconced in a dark British trance the likes of which will find you staggering around town looking for sausage rolls and lager, a Happy Monday’s shirt torn over your drunken and disheveled frame and a Martin Amis paperback stuffed in your back pocket**.
Lastly for the time being I’d like to talk about what may have ended up, in retrospect, being the best album I heard last year (Yeah, I know I did a ridiculously long and self-important round-up list a couple months back, but this album was given to me just after that, okay?). FLYING LOTUS’ album Los Angeles is, as my friend who gave it to me put it, ‘to ’08 what BURIAL’S Untrue was to ’07’. I cannot pretend to understand exactly what delineates the genre, or perhaps ‘sub-genre’ of Dub-Step, but apparently that is what Mr. F. Lotus operates under. Whatever. For fans of Aphex Twin*, Thievery Corporation and Burial, Los Angeles is a dark and moody yet completely chill album of instrumental tracks that set a tone and stick to it, carving out some interesting rhythms and, I think it’d be safe to say, anti-rhythms all awash in underwater-type imagery.
Oh yeah, how could I forget? Everyone is talking about MGMT right? Well, Fuck MGMT. They are to the now what the killers were to whatever year they showed up with their bland and smarmy sense of self-satisfaction rock.
* Specifically the album ‘I Care Because You Do’. I find it helpful, when comparing things I want people to listen to to the work of Richard James, to be sure to mention which albums of his I’m referencing, as some of them are amazing works of art and others are complete and utter shite that appear to have been recorded either while high on Jenkum or as a complete Dadist joke.
** What the fuck does all that mean? I don’t know – it’s mood damnit!