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   Monday, June 17, 2002  
"Our favourite place to play is definitely London. People pay attention there, over here most are just making the scene."
'Here' being Los Angeles, 'our' being The Tyde - Darren Rademaker interviewed in the latest ed. of UK mag SleazeNation. Given this declaration, reallyrather can confidently dust off the old Paisley shirt as the band are planning a short tour of Europe mid-August. A new EP, Blood Brothers, comes out July 1 via Rough Trade...

The tide also comes in on a debut release from Italian band Midwest, track 3 to be precise. A while ago this column arched an eyebrow at the notion of Italian alt-c. But heck if the UK can credibly cultivate it's own scene, why shouldn't our scooter-borne European cousins have a bash? But have this plucky quartet from Varese pulled it off? Having listened to the band's debut album Town and country for a couple of weeks, reallyrather says, 'Sort of'. First off, their are two tracks on here which would definitely make the cut were this column to ready a '2002 favourites so far' compilation. Their label says its Sparklehorse-meets-Califone which, while flattering them somewhat, does take you quite a way there. And there's a distinctly Rev-ish hue to several of the better numbers. One of three instrumentals kicks off the set, introducing the light and attractively uncluttered instrumentation which helps leaven the pair of plodders which follow. Not that red cheek and the Radar Bros.-like the tide are terrible, just uninspired. Things pick up nicely with the winningly jaunty Mountain song, infected as it is with the spirit of Ronnie Lane. With this the band hit if not quite a purple then certainly a mauve-ish patch. In your life sounds like 'M.Ward does M.Rev'; dapples of organ colour big green needle and, best of all, the very lovely ripple and rise. The run comes to end with another instrumental, eating dust, it's vaguely oriental flavour making it sound like the theme to a James Stewart movie that never was - Liberty Valance Rides East, maybe. Sung in heavily (but charmingly) accented English, the double-tracking of the lead vocal on several numbers is the album's most striking production detail. While reallyrather can't honestly say you're missing out if you don't hear it, this column is quietly pleased that it has...

Seemingly mining similar territory to Miranda Lee Richards, Shea Seger, etc, "shimmery layered pop rock" is apparently what we can expect next month on Little airplane, a debut album from F. Scott Fitzgerald's great-granddaughter(!) Blake Hazard...

..but if you want something a little stronger, darker:
'Not exactly a pick-me-up disc [but] simply gorgeous music'
'Serge Gainsbourg, Nick Drake, and Emmylou Harris rolled into one - only slightly darker, and slower..brilliant.'
'Beautiful to hear and a pleasure to have in one's home'
Snatches from reviews of the recently released (and Steve Albini-produced) The blackened air, the second album from New York noir-country diva Nina Nastasia...
   posted by SMc at 12:19 PM |