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   Thursday, August 28, 2003  
Autumn gig frenzy! If reallyrather was to get into the show promotion business it could hardly have come up with a better list. Get these, people:

Rilo Kiley - yes, really! LA's indie-pop marvels finally reach the UK, quite brilliant considering still hardly anyone's heard of them here. They played a hometown open-air show (with The Tyde & others) last week - not to put too fine a point on it, this pic should convince you to make at least one show! As things stand you've got four chances:
- Tue 9 Sep London Camden Dublin Castle
- 10 Sep Nottingham Maze
- 25 Sep Glasgow Nice N Sleazy's
- 26 Sep London Camden Barfly
Denison Witmer returns! Touchy-feely singer-songwritery stuff crucially and most excellently devoid of preciousness, Denison will be pulling up a stool and playing just about anywhere people want him. Brixton would be handy, Denison - hey, you beat me to it!
-14 Sept London Brixton Windmill
-15 Sept Brighton Hanbury Ballroom
Broken Social Scene - Toronto's wonderfully eclectic indie-rockers zip back for few more shows
-9 Oct London ICA
-12 Oct Stoke Sugarmill
-13 Oct Leicester Charlotte
-18 Oct Glasgow Barfly
Okkervil River - playing amongst other places the fine (and FREE!) Sunday afternoon/evening session Come Down and Meet the Folks at the Fiddler's elbow
-11 Oct Brighton Prince Albert
-12 Oct London Fiddler's Elbow
-13 Oct Manchester Tmesis
-14 Oct Sheffield Casbah
-15 Oct Leicester, The Musician
And, would you believe..
..Tracker! Yep, creators of reallyrather's 'Best of '02' runner-up (Polk) will tour Europe supporting Transmissionary Six in November.
Also on the way that month is young Haley Bonar. Touting her promising release ...the size of planets [reviewed here June 20], she'll be opening a few shows for the latest neo-blues revivalists Blackeyed Snakes.

Phew, etc...

Probably also coming over sometime this year will be Centro-matic and new Munich Records labelmates The Long Winters. Mainstays from both bands turned up for low-key acoustic showcases at the 12 Bar last week. Rather appallingly, managed to miss virtually all of Will Johnson & Scott Danbom's set but, slightly contrary to expectations, the LWs' John Broderick and Sean Nelson proved full value by themselves. Paring their full-band sound down to just one guitar and keening harmony vocals, the guys gave the, how shall we say, select gathering more than they deserved, interspersing numbers with plenty of off-the-cuff drollery. Not sure if their one cover was also a joke but Paul Simon's Only living boy in New York seemed overly coincidental given Nelson's striking resemblance to (a force-fed) Art Garfunkel!
Only 2 or 3 tracks on the first Long Winters' album really stayed the course. They've upped the ante on smart follow-up When I pretend to fall which has six, maybe seven strong slices of zesty, hard-boiled pop-rock. The first four off the bat hit home (esp. rr song-of-the-moment Shapes) backed up further in by crackers like New girl, Stupid and The sound of coming down. You may like even the ones this blog is less keen on (as Allmusic does); it's 'just pop music' but the Winters' definite stamp makes this record a comfortable 'Buy!' (ahead of, say, the Pernice Bros. or Fountains of Wayne...)

And so to two more guitar bands with instantly identifiable sounds touting consistent new collections. However, the main effect for this blog of listening to Leap of folly by Philly's The Trolleyvox and Sing me a song from WashingtonDC's Hurricane Lamps has been to be sent back to their respective sparky predecessors. Both bands' sounds are rooted in electric '60s pop-rock but rendered timeless and distinctive; they'd make a good touring pair, TV dazzling you with sparkle as the Lamps' punch your lights out. The albums each have a fuller, slightly more rounded out sound but not quite the crackling, clattering verve of the ones which came before.
Some widescreen harmonies and a cleaner 'ching!' to writer/guitarist Eric Tischler's brisk three-chord trickery leap from the Lamps'Sing me a song. There are plenty of numbers here - For a good time, Dive, A home, etc - straight from the established, er, template but they fall shy of the pulse-quickening stop-you-in-your-tracks quality of, say, Suffocate or The list. It's maybe something to do with the drum sound which here is flatter than the sonic boom captured last time around. But the patterns are now more varied with some nice changes of gear in numbers like the aforesaid For a good time and particularly Dead drop where they approach the sound of Archer Prewitt's more straight-ahead moments.
The Trolleyvox's latest offers up another delicious tangle of driving jangle, tambourines and Beth Filla's high-wire vocal act (seemingly going to fall flat any moment but amazingly never does). Leap of folly is a melodic wall-to-wall guitar fest but without the grandstanding, mainman Andrew Chalfen never losing focus. The shimmering One day is a perfect encapsulation of the TV sound, living with the best of debut album Ephemera for the future; Le fleur de lys, Outerborough getaway and Green light cascade also make the grade. Maybe best (and certainly shortest) of all is Chesterman, a zippy instrumental (nothing personal, honest, Beth). Overall, LoF falls just short of the inspired tunesmithery and light & shade of the band's debut.
reallyrather gladly recommends support for both these bands, simply that you start with albums before last...

Also recommended is the appallingly non-PC but hugely entertaining Jerry Springer - the opera, soon to transfer to the West End following it's sell-out National Theatre run. All together now: 'Dip me in chocolate and throw me to the lesbians'...
   posted by SMc at 11:45 AM |

   Sunday, August 17, 2003  
Excuses: Heat, holidays, Hutton, etc...

It didn't say 'Gig+sauna' on the ticket but that's what those packed into the Camden Barfly Tuesday night got - a hot show and no mistaking! Given the conditions, 'OK' just wouldn't have been good enough to keep folks in the room so the fact so few exited before the band themselves did bears testimony to Broken Social Scene's pleasure-giving powers.
A seven-piece this night for what was the elastic Toronto outfit's UK debut, the show resembled their terrific album You forgot it in people in as far as it was bookended by numbers far less compelling than all that came between. The first of many highs came in the second number as the four guitars, bass and drums drove Cause=time to an air-punching crescendo. New UK taster single Stars and sons followed, all levitating bass and handclaps a-gogo. A song called Do the 95 is apparently the 'B' side; heard by this blog for the first time tonight, this equally ace slice of anglo-indie makes the single a fairly compulsory purchase.
Interchanging roles frequently, four different vocal leads were featured during the show. Andrew Whiteman and Leslie Feist combined in the blissfully cool Looks just like the sun and the latter also topped off the dubby delight of Shampoo suicide. Superfine stuff..

..the promise of more of which lead rather more folks than could be accomodated to Rough Trade's tiny basement shop in Covent Garden the following lunchtime. Squeezed into a corner just inches apart from one another (and us) the band flung out an improbably crisp Almost crimes and more. With a good:not-so-good tunes ratio of about 8:1 and unfailingly good-humoured whatever the circumstances, Broken Social Scene expect to be back here in October. reallyrather respectfully suggests you be there to greet them...

And you really ought to also be at the 12 Bar this Tuesday (19th) for a cracking bill featuring Will Johnson & Scott Danbom of South San Gabriel / Centro-matic and John Roderick & Sean Nelson of Seattle's The Long Winters making their UK debut...

'Call it "progressive power pop" or "experimental west-coast roots" or the next small thing,' says the Riverfront Times - heck, just call it Gingersol...

'A mix of Mazzy Star, Flying Burritos, Love, Carpenters, Sparklehorse, and Little Feat, they slide neatly alongside the likes of Beachwood Sparks and My Morning Jacket.' Or so says South London's best - OK, only - indie/roots venue, the Windmill on Brixton Hill ahead of a show Thursday by Loose Shoes, 'a new south London/LA 8-piece formed by longtime Mojave 3 member Ian McCutcheon'. At 3 quid, has to be worth a go...
   posted by SMc at 8:38 AM |