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   Sunday, September 14, 2003  
"We feel like pussies compared to the other bands," said Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis ever-so-sweetly, the band having found themselves squeezed onto a hardcore bill at Camden's Dublin Castle for their UK debut. Sensibly deciding not to try competing in the pain-infliction and gurning stakes, RK stuck to their own brand of twinkly 'n' crunchy angst-y pop. And, though it lasted little more than half-an-hour, what a total joy it was to see them here at last. Elfin dynamic duo Jenny L. (resplendent in black velvet hotpants over bright yellow tights) and guitarist Blake Sennet led their quartet through a fine set which cherrypicked their most recent release, The execution of all things, capped by a ripping Spectacular views. Hopefully the band will get to play a bit longer when they return to Camden (Barfly) on the 26th - you're going, surely?!

Inverting the RK line-up but ploughing a not-disimilar indie-pop furrow, the three girls-and-a-bloke combo that is Dutch band Seedling have produced the album that Liz Phair should've. Dutch disease, The Upshot, Put your hand up my shirt and several others should provide ample succour to those underwhelmed by Ms. Phair's recent Matrix shopping trip...

To the Windmill in Brixton joining a select band of connoisseurs (and, sadly, the usual bunch of disrespectul windbags) for an all-too-short set from Denison Witmer. None of this blog's absolute faves got an airing but, hey, Steven, Los Angeles, Leaving Philadelphia will do to be going on with! Best of all was Closer to the sun, it's full-bodied chorus almost making you forget he didn't have a band behind him. This song is from first album Safe away which frankly, along with the more recent Philadelphia songs, EVERYONE SHOULD OWN. (Just in case you don't, go here). And if you're a European label looking for a singer-songwriter with classic-but-contemporary stylings, Denison's your man...

First time this blog got to hear Denison live was earlier this year at the 12Bar where he shared a bill with British counterpart James William Hindle. reallyrather has seen this guy several times but never really been hooked by his low-key folk-pop, which makes the near-unalloyed pleasure of his new record all the more surprising. On Prospect Park Hindle's songs are fleshed out perfectly by friends from nearly-bands like Aden and The Essex Green who add touches of electric guitar, organ, glockenspiel, etc in unerringly appropriate doses, producing a warm, rounded and highly-accessible set.
Spanning the spectrum between Neil Young and Simon & Garfunkel, Hindle has hit a rich vein of robustly melodic but soft-hearted songwriting. You will be safe and Hollow bodies are a great pair of gnarly chuggers a la Nadine; Doubt and Celebration lovely waltz-time plunkers garlanded with some spangly, twangly guitar. The shuffling, harmonica-laced campfire ditty Country song and jaunty Hoboken (think Bright side of the road as done by whimsical indie boy not Belfast bruiser) both score. Best of the bunch, however, are Come down slowly and Shadows cast a lie, shimmering, mid-tempo grooves which do all you hope they might - no wrong turns, natty solos, perfect hooks, and tambourines! There's a '70s feel to the last pair which isn't flagged up quite so obviously as on Josh Rouse's latest, but fans of his will feel right at home in Prospect Park. Personal themes and lightness of touch, all in all it's a bit of a revelation and an uncomplicated BUY! recommendation...

Without much fanfare, sonic wizard Adam Selzer's Norfolk & Western are now selling new cd Dusk in cold parlours (tho' it's not officially out 'til November). Details here, and some UK tour dates:

22-10 brighton, uk
23-10 london, uk
24-10 london, uk
25-10 nottingham, uk
26-10 leeds, uk
27-10 manchester, uk
28-10 liverpool, uk

'Featuring covers by Fred Neil and John Fahey, Double Roses is immersed in the heritage of vintage songcraft. 'Take a Rest, Driver' could be a long lost Harry Nilsson track, and the whole disc swims in the rarefied, space-cowboy vibe first exuded by the Byrds.' So says Denver's Westword of a new 8-track mini-album from Court & Spark: "It has less to do with country music than our other records,' they says M.C. Taylor, 'but I'm sure it'll just get called alt-country. There are a million horrible country-rock bands out there. Who wants to be one of them? It's totally boring."

And the Austin Chronicle this week brings together Okkervil/Shearwater's Will Sheff and Centro-matic's Will Johnson for a chat...
   posted by SMc at 9:53 AM |