Martin reviews new releases from
The Bastard Groove Orchestra
And Manik (the host of the NBT Bullets From The Belfry Podcast) reviews the new EP from
Kings Die Kings
Fuzzy Jank – The Bastard Groove Orchestra (Mello-Drama)
In the world of the bastard groove, it is always 3am. The neon lit Main Street drenched in swagger and slow falling rain, leads off to scary alleyways, their gloom promising sensual ghosts and finger clicking adventure.
It is a world where the dead dance a reverb twist, a twilight zone 50s movie of a place. A world where the women are beautiful and scary, mostly worshiped sometimes scolded gently to the ever present sway of the teenage delinquent bass.
This is the sound of nervous tension. Plug ugly barmen who know all the words to every Elvis tune. The room full of Exotic dancers with broken hearts, and musicians who having seen it all, play the blues to prove it.
This is rough sly grinning rock n roll.
This not all a swagger though, in the song ‘Time and Place’ the Orchestra even finds time to deliver some tenderness and an honest yearning.
Onus – Kings Die Kings (independent release)
Ok, admittedly the opening chords (well the whole thing, really) of Anticipate are soooooooo Interpol circa Antics but any talk about Kings is going to involve Interpol, Editors and of course, ultimately, Joy Division. And of course, my bias towards the music of that particular trio of acts will permeate any review I’ll do of Kings Die Kings, who are in the self-same vein.
But damn this is a fantastic quartet of songs, Kings from the outset have worn their Joy Division influence proudly, Keith Routledge’s vocals (if not lyrics) solidly in the Ian Curtis mould, especially on ‘Exhibitionist’…”…No regard to reason, here’s the price to pay. Senseless isolation where love should’ve been made…“
‘In the Grips’ continues the powerful punch, the frenetic robotic drumming of Simon Goundry grinding the song to its abrupt conclusion.
‘The Onus’ rounds off this release, a slowly building piece not a hundred miles from ‘Transmission’, Routledge’s bittersweet vocals slowly combining with Ros Armstrong and Andy Grant’s twanging guitar swirls, the drums and Sam Poullin’s pounding bass climatically building to a cliff face of distorted sound before collapsing onto a wistful piano outro…
Hören – Hören (independent release)
11 songs of 3 am flame flicker drama. The Joy here is in the subtle instrumentation, a hint of brass here, a twang of guitar there, taking the mood from the bedroom to the window to the world, the movies behind the walls of the surrounding buildings.
This is a creation full of the seriousness of the gothic, but developed into something far more by a sly playful knowledge of Pop and Electronica.
There is angst here to be sure, but this singer is not afraid to dance while scraping the lyrical knife across the flesh of (past?) lovers.
Arrangements that reveal more each listen and layered vocals that entice and enhance all add up to a collection that rewards the audience.
Songs Of Hope And Despair – Antiqcool (Sick-Note records)
It is a sunny afternoon and the schoolgirl lies on her bed, her diary open to the days events, a portable radio hanging from the door sends out harmonies and nostalgic snapshots. It is a time when the music was more important than the Dj’s jokes and the craft of the pop song was a delicious adventure.
The girl could daydream her hours, her crushes, her flirting with melancholy, and the band on the radio would soundtrack her sighs and smiles.
The clever lyrics would make her want to write poems of her own, and she found her thoughts drifting to times before she was even born, and black and white TV.
She fell asleep with the music playing soft over her, and as she dreamt she found her herself in a strange new chaotic century, cynical, ugly, and mostly just noise, but she was not afraid.
She had the music, the creations of Antiqcool, to keep her safe.
Listen to all these bands either on the nbt podcast going out on the 14th April
Or on the latest edition of the ‚Bullets From The Belfry’ podcast