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   Wednesday, October 01, 2003  
Heft. It's a good word not used half enough and one which this blog is only too pleased to press into service, capturing as it does an essential quality of the music of Nadine. Rusty, dusty pop-Americana anchored by a soft, weighty ache, this St.Louis band has quietly carved out a gorgeous back catalogue. Luminous, engagingly literate rock music unfussily rendered with acute rootsy instincts. And now finally, after what can only be described as bloody ages, the band's latest (almost year-old) recording has just emerged via nascent LA label Trampoline Records. Let's hope they know what to do with it because they've been lucky enough to have been gifted an album's that's, well, really rather fabulous. Fab-ulous, even.
Nadine are a band which has always sounded comfortable in it's skin. Those who might suggest it's actually often someone else's skin (a certain Mr N. Young) will doubtless say they're trying out that of others this time round (Mr J. Lennon & Mr P. McCartney). But, whilst Strange seasons undoubtedly carries some Beatle-y flavours - Bad at goodbyes and Got a feeling sound like they've been raised on the lush pastures of Strawberry Fields and Inside out closes out on a terrific 'Walrus'-esque vamp (probably a total mash-up live) - their core qualities, fundamental Nadine-ness, abounds.
How many of the 12 tracks here would make the 'Best of' compilation? Four, and that alone should be all you need to know to prompt immediate purchase. If this blog was given to star ratings, save the last track which reallyrather doesn't play (Something's gotta give, a distorted rocker slightly out-of-kilter with what's come before), nothing here would score less than 3.5.
The descending organ phrase about 50 seconds into opening track Friends and lovers immediately works it's reassuring balm. Add in the simple, heavy-footed percussive tread, the frazzled guitar fills, Adam's plaintive vocal...aah, the sheer Nadineness of it all. But this song is bettered in the medium-slow category by Rocking chair song which features another of Steve Rauner's beautifully spare Gizmo-aided electric guitar lines.
The other three 'Best of..' contenders here are all mid-tempo pearls: Poor man's vacation, complete with whistle solos just about the most straight-out pop thing they've done; a choppy, swinging beauty called Inside out featuring unmistakable vocal assists from Centro-matic's Will Johnson; and Different kind of heartache which is,well, damn near perfect in every regard. Classic, classic Nadine.
Recorded quite quickly using vintage kit, Matt Pence's immediate, relatively unvarnished production definitely plays to the band's strengths and keeps everything fresh and juicy. It's first-class rootsy guitar-pop awash with organ, tambourines and ear-catching lyrics ('Caught between a rock and a role that I was never really meant to play'). You should own it...

...and read more over at Playback magazine where Nadine are the cover feature for October...

Whether it was word-of-mouth, the Xfm promotion or just the fact it was Friday night reallyrather is unsure but how beautiful it was to see the Barfly in Camden rammed for the second London show of Rilo Kiley's debut European tour. More beautiful still was the band's decision to play With arms outstretched, inviting three or four girls up on stage to lead the community chorus. Almost regardless of who the act is, reallyrather must confess to finding those moments when an audience takes over the singing from the performer pathetically affecting. When it's a tiny 'unknown' band who could have little expectation anyone would know their name here let alone the words to any of their songs, well, let's just say it was emotional (and apologies to all those within earshot)...

And still their last album The execution of all things continues to pick up new friends - hey, so-called cutting edge UK zine Drownedinsound, where have you been?

Another helpful addition to the 'Ones to avoid' checklist courtesy of the Daily Telegraph's Neil McCormick: 'Jim Moray's debut the biggest leap forward in folk for 30 years'. Cough, splutter! Fair maidens+ambient beat-box=Great Leap forward? Er, no. Inadvertantly coming across Moray being (indulgently)interviewed on BBC Radio 3 a while back, reallyrather stuck with it hoping he might have more to say in his music than he did in his discussion of it. Halfway through a song called Longing for Lucy which sounded like a - whisper it - Hue & Cry reject, the off switch beckoned. But thank you to Neil for franking those suspicions...
   posted by SMc at 5:59 AM |