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   Monday, June 08, 2009  
If someone sees me, let me know...*

Flinging out skittering indie-pop goodness like their lives depended on it, Heart shackles is cracker no.5 this year from NY combo My Teenage Stride. Promising a track a month in '09, it comes hard on the heals of likes of the galloping Gallipoli now and the more typical Cast your own shadow, all well up to the calibre of last album, rr 2007 top tenner Ears like golden bats. Deny yourself no longer...
[my teenage stride]

In the curious way of things two acts whose albums have been hogging the player this past six weeks, one Swedish the other Canadian and hitherto quite unconnected, are right now touring North America in harness. Opening the shows is Gentleman Reg and his tidy band promoting new album Jet black, a record which if not quite scaling some of the individual pop peaks of predecessor Darby & Joan [see rr Nov04] collectively punches well above its weight. Even sounds great in the back of moving van!

That's the album opener Coastline which is followed hard by another four whipsmart belters: To some it comes easy's quick rimshot rhythm and urgent verse spilling into a great girl-enhanced chorus; the tumbling drums of You can't get it back; the lean bass 'n' drums beneath Reg's upclose double-tracked vocal on How we exit. It's pop the way we like it, and no mistaking.
The pace drops deliciously on things like the half-light questing of Oh my god and Rewind's lush, plaintive refrain (ace Katie Sketch counterpointing). Clipped and often kicking, that's Reg; light of voice, nimble of step and not shy of cutting reflection. The biggest sonic departure here is We're in a thunderstorm, wherein Vermue essays Pet Shop Boys' territory with all the expertise of the hardened gay clubber. It's another 'hit' that hardly anyone's going to hear...except you, right?
[buy jet black][gentleman reg]

Don't know about anybody else but this blog finds some records are just a bit too good for their own good. Confident of their ability to deliver the goods whenever you choose to listen you sort of..don't. They get taken for granted quite quickly instead of racking up the spins. The Weepies' records, they kind of fall into this limbo. But the album which prompted this recent realization has happily been reaping the benefits of self-revelation and been hammered almost daily this past month...

...Colonia by A Camp, should you ask. Heavens but this is gorgeous and a record running serious danger of giving superstar side-projects a good name. Nina 'Cardigans' Persson and friends have conjurred some classic then-but-somehow-now popsmithing given the sort of sterling production that a few bucks can buy you. Sixties- and Seventies-infused gems come thick and fast producing a whole which can hold its own in your collection, somewhere between your Jenny Lewis and your Dusty Springfields.
I signed the line is track 10 on Colonia. reallyrather just loves it when you get a tune as good as this so far down the running order and it denotes the confidence which flows through this whole set. Welcome to strength-in-depth city. Quite a few of these songs sound like the product of a fantasy Carole King/Chrissie Hynde collaboration; hook-laden and once-bitten.
Openers The crowning and Stronger than Jesus are a pair of swaying, stirring arm-wavers Jenny Lewis fans will surely swoon at. Amazon tells us that folks who bought Colonia have also bagged the new Camera Obscura, understandable but brandishing retro-classics the likes of Love has left the room, methinks Swedes trumps Scots. Chinatown summons the mellow spirit of '70s LA pop-rock - mmmmm - while My America is what Zooey Deschanel might've sounded like if she'd hooked up with Springsteen and not Matt Ward (now you don't ever have to do it, Zooey). And perhaps the biggest bonus of all is that the *lyrics are often as memorable as the quality tuneage: I will slip your mind, she sings. Wrong, Nina, double-wrong...

Due to an unfortunate clash with a pre-arranged date with Shearwater at the Union Chapel, reallyrather missed A Camp in London last month. But June 23 sees a rare UK visit for Kendall Meade aka long-time reallyrather favourite Mascott, now coincidentally signed to UK label Reveal who also put out..A Camp! Come what may this blog knows where its duty lies (specifically, the Slaughtered Lamb in Clerkenwell - be there...)
   posted by SMc at 8:33 AM |