Tuesday, 30 September 2008



Trying to make good, Make Model appear to be grafters on this appearance and very little else. Using the effect that makes a band sound as if they are playing through/down a telephone line, this band almost sounds like Bis being played at the wrong speed. If this is what the kids want then perhaps instead of serving this up, a branch should be extended to recommending those that came before in order to clear stock first.

I have to admit this is a confusing construction but one that is not entirely disagreeable, just one that struggles to appear purposeful. The belief (for me) was that Make Model were going to sound like The Delgados (before they came with strings attached) but instead it is a minor stomp with the female vocals that I would have expected to be in the forefront being most deftly switched to the background for groceries.

The b-side is entitled “Czech Neck”, an obvious reference to the students favourite. The mere reference alone hints at a superior sense of humour but the resulting track is sedate and without a tinge of jolly.

A few years ago I could see and imagine this band hanging around and comfortably slotting into the lo-fi DIY scene but as a scene barely exists anymore it is tough to imagine Make Model possessing any such desire to be so low on the indie rock food chain.

Right now as I write this there is a fox harbouring outside my window in the spacious building that is to become a supermarket. I would imagine Make Model are looking for similar growth and extermination.

Blame the accountants I say.

Thesaurus moment: delay.

Make Model
V2 Records

Friday, 19 September 2008



Released in 1997 this compilation pretty much represents the mindset of the moment.  Following up the equally cheesy original compilation Cult Fiction, with the Quentin Tarantino selected soundtracks of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction appearing in the racks chock full of obscure and weird sounding “lost gems” here was the opportunity for labels to jump on the bandwagon and cash-in breathing new life into passed over classics.  Fostered by the spirit of Loaded, lad culture, Trainspotting and the general optimism and musical backward glance of Britpop, these songs were generally where we wanted to be.

Collecting together twenty three tracks of movie music moments and TV themes here was a successful collision of kitsch with cool done in a beefed up manner and despite the packaging being cheesy, the goods held within were not.

All in all this is a pretty solid selection of songs mostly going with recognisable tunes, tracks that won’t fail and hits that don’t quit.  On the tracklisting coupled next to each title is the movie or advertisement that they come from.  Nothing’s subtle about this package.

The placement is key here.  Out of context many of these tracks would otherwise struggle to hold their own but offered here as part of this apparent movement it made sense.  Not that the album is excellent from the off…..

It begins with The Who and “The Real Me” from Quadrophenia.  There are better Who songs.  Then the album takes a real cheesy turn with the CCS instrumental cover of “Whole Lotta Love” followed by “All Right Now” by Free.  The latter song in particular haunts me off the back of its popularity with a certain friend at school that wouldn’t know good music if it fucked his arse.  That said he was the first of our gang to get his end away on a regular basis so with his Robert Palmer records and Dannii Minogue fixation I guess life was just trading off.

The tempo finally ups with the rejuvenated “Lust For Life” by Iggy Pop offered in connection to Trainspotting.  Then as a sense of euphoria grips proceedings up next is “Theme From The A-Team” by Mike Post.  Offered at full length the song seems funny, extended and overblown.  The once subtle guitar solos are no longer subtle or even bearable.  I pity the fool that bought this compilation.

Resuming the ruckus “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf and “Smoke On The Water” by Deep Purple follows seeming with the intent to turn the listener into their father.  Here are two tracks born to sit next to each other on a Top Gear compilation.  Petrol or diesel – who gives a fuck?

Another cover version arrives in the form of Echo & The Bunnyman’s take on The Doors’ “People Are Strange” from Lost Boys.  This was always a great track attached to a testing soundtrack.  It is very close to the original, subtly clothed.  And on the topic of cover versions also present on the disc is the Urge Overkill version of Neil Diamond’s “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon” which for better or worse became their career high appearing in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction during a key scene/moment.

Keeping things cheery comes “Werewolves Of London” by Warren Zevon taken from The Color Of Money when quite frankly it might better be suited to John LandisAn American Werewolf In London.  Essentially this is just a colourful bar song.

And with that the record finally begins to kick in with the obscure, weird exotica of Vampyros Lesbos and “The Lions And The Cucumber” taken from a better, trashier time.  It sounds like a Serge Gainsbourg track from his Melody period.  With that before comedown can be achieved the very Beatle-esqe “Porpoise Song” by The Monkees drops into the mix.  This was the band finding their own voice at the end of a long line of stimulants.  Drawn out and psychedelic is serves as a good gateway/pathway to “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane which appears off the back of its appearance in Platoon.  Finally in this section “Venus In Furs” by the Velvet Underground serves to solidly mark the mind.  Sadly the credibility of the track here is slightly tarnished by the fact it is only present through appearing in a Dunlop Tyres advertisement.  That said the pounding drums, lurching strings and twisted words of Lou Reed on this track will never grow old.

David Lynch’s influence makes a brief appearance as “Be Bop A Lula” by Gene Vincent appears off the back of its part in Wild At Heart.  It always sounded like a Elvis knock off to me.  “Green Onions” by Booker T And The MGs then arrives to sooth the scenery.

With this we arrive at the real reason I purchased this CD: “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen.  For years this was the great lost song in our scene.  We knew it but couldn’t find it in any record shops even though it kept appearing in so many movies including the amazing Animal House, the decent Coupe De Ville and the odd Quadrophenia.  In many ways this is the most perfect song in history.  Often it is the first song you learn to play when you first get a guitar.  And it is so blissfully sloppy.  It arrives here associated with the aforementioned National Lampoon’s Animal House in which is plays the ultimate in party roles as a heroic room of loser drunkards with personalities in reach of the viewer dance and celebrate while chanting along.  It’s a perfect moment.

From here the compilation closes out and peters off with a selection of instrumentals.  “Bring Down The Birds” by Herbie Hancock from Blow Up arrives seemingly based solely on being the baseline from “Groove Is In The Heart”.

The harmonica drive of the “Theme From Northern Exposure” by David Schwartz offers a smile and some joy as to hear the song play out for a full three minutes is an odd experience, as equally strange as using such Caribbean music for a show set in Alaska.

The duffest note occurs next as “Duelling Banjos” from Deliverance appears in the tracklist.  Who the fuck wants to listen to that?  Did you know the performers were Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell?  More importantly, did you care?  This is buggery.

Returning to television “Suicide Is Painless” by Johnny Mandel (incorrectly credited as Jamie Mandel) from M*A*S*H offers a late slash.  I always found it strange that this song had words.  For a while I even thought that the Manic Street Preachers had come up with them.  Just what connects these sad words to the Korean War remains something of a mystery to me.

A real gem arrives in the penultimate spot with the haunting Jevetta Steele track “Calling You” from the movie Bagdad CafĂ© (as opposed to the TV series).  The inclusion of this track shows somebody somewhere selecting the songs for this record knew what they were doing.  This is truly an obscure gem.

Then with that the CD plays out with “Cavatina” from the John Williams’ orchestrated Deer Hunter score appearing as if backing a set of imaginary closing credits.

This was a funny fucking compilation.

Thesaurus moment: stratagem.

Thursday, 18 September 2008



In addition to the first single featuring b-sides by Folk Implosion there was also this second CD containing three remixes by Unkle.

Natural One” remains a song that can be listened to over and over.  The laidback but sinister manner in which things are directed makes for a significant sense of cool.  The defiance put out by the words of Lou Barlow transplants the listener to a nonchalant and decadent moment of mind and time.  Placed into the context of being from the movie Kids, placed as being the mindset of a teenager about to be unleashed on the world the words “there’s no telling what we’ll do when we’re free” is downright frightening while also being quite titillating, offering older listeners the chance to recall more carefree and opportunistic times.

Moving onto the remixes the first reworking features a click tickling opening that soon melts into extended bass drone and scratching as Barlow’s vocals sound more phoned in than ever.  The new beats are clear as if inserted by DJ Shadow.  It all lends a new kind of movement to the piece offering a new degree of exploration and a more futuristic street feel to nonchalance.

The Instrumental Mix that follows does exactly what it says on the tin offering the above remix without the Barlow words and whine creating something very trip hop barely recognisable from the original offering of “Natural One”.  Here unlike before the piano line gets to stand out offering a sinister aside to proceedings.

The final Unkle No Skratch Mix actually doesn’t differ greatly to the initial remix and thus from a literal perspective fails to offer any additional to the track.  Someone had an easy day in the office with this one.

Sometimes enough is enough, there is no beating/bettering the original on this one.

Thesaurus moment: recast.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008



There is something horribly dirty about Kings Of Leon and the way they are peddling this soulful kind of fiery indie rock when to my ears it just solidly reflects that they own Afghan Whigs records.

The day I purchased this seven inch it was along with releases by The Strokes, Spinto Band, Bon Iver and Ladyhawke.  What the fuck happened to me and my music tastes?

In a way I am very surprised at how popular Kings Of Leon have grown.  I swear when they first arrived it was all about the beards.  They certainly didn’t come with much of a pedigree.  And now that the beards have gone, suddenly it is all about them being emotional and raw.  Enter “your sex is on fire”.

Just what does the band mean by sex being on fire?  Two bodies rubbing up so much that the friction actually bears flame?  Such is the ferocity?  At least Greg Dulli was subtle when pretending to be a slag.  Of course thick people jump at such sentiments, like to put themselves in the position of the now clean cut and slightly hunky Kings Of Leon.  I guess this was the kind of career decision that Bill Drummond wrote about in his manual, not that I suspect the band has gone anywhere near it.  This sounds like the Stereophonics for fuck’s sake.

Ultimately this is not a very good record.  Despite the cheesy hook, it is too light to rock but too rock to pop.  Mixed up mainstream people will dig it while people with pulses will mock it.  They gonna need to call the fire brigade at some point.

Thesaurus moment: singe.

RCA Records

Saturday, 13 September 2008



For what should be the alternative rock release of the summer there has been little (perhaps even no) real fanfare to celebrate the return of the colossal short man David Yow. At a time where the stage diving, cock wiping antics of Mr Yow look lost to the (rock) ages his muted return with California’s Qui initially caused much to be excited about and a true opportunity to dare to dream. So where are the parades?

If you were going to marry one rock front person you would have to be a pretty tolerant and special person to take on the Yow and that is just what has happened with the boys of Qui. Surprisingly going to the new(ish) Ipecac as opposed to Touch & Go, the marriage in itself seems reflective of the manner in which Yow often indeed at times sounds like Patton on this record (especially on tracks such as “Gash”).

All good things have to start as the open out in subtly metallic fashion that suitably houses the vocal stylings of the great. Obviously the natural desire, leaning and tendency is immediately to compare them to The Jesus Lizard and successfully all persons involved have managed to create something that sounds fresh, original and different. In other words they have not fallen down a mineshaft and into a trap. In comparison the music is less oppressive but not less effective as it strolls out display more math rock tendencies without diluting the impact.

It doesn’t take long to get good as “Today, Gestation” compliments all features, admittedly managing to sound like The Jesus Lizard devoid of a bass player. Who can fault something when it sounds so menacing though? Listen to the words and you sense life ain’t getting any better. Him and his demented scat.

More frenetic guitar follows on “Gash” and “Freeze” as schizophrenic patterns of playing lend a disorientating sense to proceedings as minimal verses erupt into chaotic choruses akin to the sound of a mad man chewing up the furniture.

At times the band remind me of Drive Like Jehu before switching gears as the sound becomes too comfortable and resuming some kind of spiteful air of distraction, in essence purposely plundering the momentum in its track. You sense really you are not supposed to be enjoying this band and in order to survive you have to earn your stripes.

With “Willie The Pimp” it reaches some kind of insane peak as all individuals involved collectively and individually sound truly demented. Then as per form “Belt” strikes as some kind of calm beyond the storm prior to tearing in for a second assault.

Then the album appears to die on closing track “Echoes” as they explore one another in a disturbing fashion. It’s a dirty ending.

Peaks and troughs. Peaks and troughs.

Thesaurus moment: stepdad.