The NBT Review 41

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Here She Comes a Tumblin’ – BirdEatsBaby (Birdeatsbaby)

Once there was Cat-Scratch Glitter and wounded cabaret howls, charged shots of glowing liquid poured across lips of the harshest red. Everything shuddered, everything shivered, and the laughter was strange and sometimes cruel.

It was beautiful.

Now keeping those thrills, but adding extra dimensions, comes this collection.

Bravely, we are now not only shown the garish stage and the freaks, puppets, divas, exhibitionists, scary sexy monsters but… the quiet bedrooms, the rumpled beds where partners may or may not sleep, the view of empty streets from its lonely windows.

We are made curious about the sadness, the stillness that may go on BETWEEN these songs.

Make no mistake this is still a thrill ride, full of carnival hipsters hustling supreme, and frantic punters screaming along with the dangerous rides, but here, and there, and here again, not so hidden away, the girls and boys dare to show their tenderness, even their dreams, unfolded carefully and placed in our grubby hands.

On one page selling this CD they are described as emo, but please don’t be fooled, there is no soft boy rich kid pampered star angstNwhines here. The lipstick is smeared from the sheer exuberant kiss and the eyeliner stains are from tears arrived honestly from fits of giggles and tears that fought hard to escape the calm internal.

There are pop songs to be sung loud by party girls, alive and free holding tight to the simple expectation of a great night out, and there are lullabies of the crooked kind that soothe and push the soul into a welcome unease with extra measure.

There is magic here. Give it a listen to.

http://www.birdeatsbaby.co.uk/

Karkari –Mammut (Record Records)

I could tell you that Mammut sound like a frosty and refreshing mix of the best of those American 4AD groups (Belly and Throwing Muses) a bit of Bjork, a spoonful of Sonic Youth twisted into the pop sensibilities that Catatonia got so right. I could tell you that the band has had (already)  three number one hits in their native Iceland and managed to cause a stir at the SXSW festival. I could leave it at that, and move on, pretty happy that you curious gentle reader, will go seek out the band and their music. Or you could think I am spitting out (politely of course) a bunch of facts and you will remain sadly disenthralled.

I shall instead shake the songs up in a virtual hat of the finest cloth, and let them hit the senses, and report what occurs.

I am reminded of old toys, cherished by teenagers in smiling nostalgia for their innocent child hood, toys that are still picked up and loved and kept in view as new makeup is applied and new adventures of the heart dreamt about. These plaything have an endearing roughness to them, all is not shiny shiny and plastic disposable.

I think of glam rock bands strutting their stuff on small Televisions in untidy sitting rooms early Friday evenings, the smell of dinner overpowered by the sweeter smell of the night (clubs) ahead.

Some songs make me think of mosh pits and bodies and beer bottles disengaging themselves from sweaty hands and crashing kamikaze to the pavement to join the wrecks of their fellow soldiers. Some songs make me think of almost empty studios, musicians huddled in the centre of a landscape of once twisting now still cables and wires and leads.

Some songs make me close my eyes and fall back, not thinking of the getting UP. Some songs make me want to grin and cook and dance and shop.

See what they do for you

http://www.myspace.com/mammut

 

Catch both bands on this NBT podcast

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=526901

With much more to come.

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The NBT Review 40

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Barely Exposed – Grindhouse (Droolboy Productions)

Brightly glowing machine gun splatter and squelch counterpoint sounds from some wicked exotic elsewhere nightclub of the senses. The girl swims among the clitter clatter drumming, sings, ‘’Life is not so ordinary,’’ indeed.

This is twisted bubblegum, pulled out into quirky shapes, bleeding dark red beneath the plastic manipulations, a futureShock dance club as imagined by time-travelers from the 80s, their eyeliner smudged with true tears, their lipstick smeared hard against the cold glass of now.

Cold hearted telephones, jittery machines, syncopated sighs, often slide into the swing forward march of the grind house, bringing feathery fear and nervous delight along with frantic little stops, stop-motion, stop-starts.

Stop

Then start all over again.

Then a curveball, a teenage ballad almost, something to show off with her first necklace, first small earring, sometimes it seems the rain is always here, see how it makes everything shine so.

This is euro electronica filtered thru American new wave carried with care by rough souls who are learning to twist and fly, who are hoping to find out, if the clouds are really candy floss sticky.

Make your own decisions

 http://grindhouse-music.com/

Puppetbox – Puppetbox (Independent Release)

The PowerPunks met the New Wave at the high school prom, the pretty keyboard (in her best dress) asked the Guitar for a dance. He put down his bottle of beer and gave her this hectic twirl. And as the bass and the drum stomped along, it was, love at very 1st sight.

This is the Cars zoomed into the new century, the sly children of (before) Kiss and (tomorrow’s) Killers. It is also a document of a time that is already changing, warping, melting in front of our very eyes as the Puppets make a new box of sounds.

Which leads us to

Runtime Error – Puppetbox  (Independent Release)

The puppets grow up, discover the sensual and discover the darkness. Their parties are louder, the chaos is gentle with hints of horror film glee. The puppets still want you to dance, they want you up against the wall wide mirror, reflected and distorted at the same time.

There are howls in the verses now, the rolling thunder is sped up and coughed out, the lightning illuminates and ambiguously camouflages. Those wicked old uncles from Kraftwerk have paid a visit all the way from Germany and in Triple Down made themselves totally at home.

The box is still full of hooks though, gleamy shiny bright hooks, making sure the songs attach themselves to the charts in our hearts and never ever leave go.

And still the puppets mutate, listen out ask for, the Disco Riot demo and find out for yourselves

http://www.thepuppetbox.com/

hear trax from both of these bands on the NBT Dark electric podcast going out slightly later than planned this Tuesday 15th Sept 09.

http://nbtdarkelectric.podomatic.com/

The NBT Review 39

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Bending The Knotted Oak – Melody Klyman (BlackWing Records)

 The singer attacks at dawn. Through the mist, she gallops drumPoP powerful, the tribe swirl around, advance with twisted cool ballet moves.

Now through the haze a hint of Natasha Kahn (but with dirt on her face and charcoal smudges on her fingertips), now through the glare a glimmering of Florence Welch (but with restrained elegance). Now through butterfly wing reflection we catch sight of Melody, a gift of drama and richly chaotic dreams, perfect for these dull yet troubled times.

Then the mist evaporates and we salute the wasted DJ, dancing under neon and primal flowGlow bouncing colour. The robot plays the hook, mechanical messy longing to be Superhuman, just like the singer.

Pounding (angry?) piano introduces Thrill Seeker, which is followed by Calico the name suggesting a softer approach, but the vapors here solidify, the harmonies weave a strange fear into the sensual, the song digs closer, closer to the core of us and we listen and we stop time.

Is it strange, when listening to I Isolate to be reminded of Peter Gabriel, the times he allowed himself to be caressed by Mistress Kate?

Finally we are invited to Sink Then Swim, to let go and let the soulful voices take us where they wish. The ambiguous swirls within this song, this collection actually, allow us to drift right close up to the internal, the personal, the very secret heart, and then with glamour and glimmer and charm, deflect us away.

We can only wish, to start the song again,

And this time wonder

What will be revealed?

Find out more for yourself of this beautiful music here

http://www.melodyklyman.com

Trapeze – HuDost (Open Sesame Music)

A lot of bands would close their show with a song like the opening storm here, Trespasser, epic and elemental; it grows from a driving folk ballad into a barely restrained rock creature. No false dramatics here, no insincere power chord Frankenstein, singer floating in the clouds and guitarist growling posing for the mosh pit. No. Here are musicians completely in sync with one another, letting the rhythms unravel, tangled breathless, fiery.

One of the delights of this collection is that it refuses to be pinned down to any one genre or style, but still does not lose its sense of self, its essence of something serene and complete. So we are invited to travel from world music to poignant alternative country, from sly hints of old time progressive, to examples of sheer pop ingenuity.

Knowing the backstory of the albums creation (during the making of Trapeze singer/writer Moksha Sommer was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to prepare herself for surgery) one expects some degree of angst and perhaps fear to pervade the tracks, that it is not the case at all, is a tribute to the strength of Sommer and her partner Jemal Wade Hines.

Rather the songs and the words and the music they float upon showcase a brave steady and rather breathtaking sense of acceptance and hope. This is an album full of the quiet huge joy of living and dreaming, and even when there is loss, it is golden.

For this reviewer, still in awe of Europe’s winter (detached as I am now from the heat of Africa), the mini suite First Snow –Waking-Last Snow is the stand out wonderment in this set that roars from delicacy to raging. In their world there is never total darkness, rather a Dawn, waiting to happen.

Share the light

http://www.hudost.com

Catch songs from both of these albums on the NBT Podcast going out on the 9th Sept 09

http://www.nextbigthing.libsyn.com

The NBT Review 38

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Beyond The Headlights – Keith Miles (House Of Trout)

Some songs seem to have been comfortably living with us forever. From the drop of the 1st beat they soothe us, set us free from petty tensions. They make us un-self-consciously grin.

Keith Miles and his band of ultra accomplished musicians have crafted tunes of hope and subtle power.  Deceptively simple things these, hiding intricate arrangements of steel guitar, and mandolin gliding sweetly along with the bass, country pop at its finest.

These are songs about not just the journey, but the better places that journey might, no, WILL take us if we just decide to keep driving.

All is not sugar coated however; Miles swings deep into the soul and loneliness of the long distance driver, as he travels across the dark night and contemplates sorrows and stories from the shifting past.

The call and response ghostly and thrilling cover of ‘Samson and Delilah’ and the almost break of dawn nightclub feel of ‘Sweet Waters’ showcase the diversity of both the band and the production moods.

A sincere, heartwarming collection.

Find out more here

 http://www.keithmiles.com/

 

Miracle Girl – Beth Wimmer (Independent Release)

Floating, they say the tempo  is floating, and it does, it sneaks in sleepy sensual, it shuffles in along side a languorous guitar solo, the seduction, the come on is the very thing, melting the present, fading out into a dreamlike future.

Then in ‘Ten Four’ taking a macho subject and subverting it like Aimee Mann likes to do, Beth steps up the edgy a little and glancing sideways, throws herself into new wave reggae and the daylight shows itself. This girl doesn’t need her Lover from Last Summer, it’s a put down in a pop song, the best way to be (slightly, honestly) nasty.

And then the ambiguous anti war song, she wants to know how it would feel, she wants to maybe taste the craziness, she says she is not at all strong, then she sings this epic, take her hand and she will pull you as close to the darker edges as she can.

After the intense internal of ‘O my Brother’ (another shy epic) a genuine pop country hit, the shuffle is faster, the words tumble harder. The giddy swing delights. this is ‘Dreams Bring Me Down.’

And in the Neil Young cover, she takes what was always fragile, and adds her own quiet sadness, her own female perspective of the danger and despair of love.

Finally, take the put down described earlier, times it by rock n roll boogie, add thumping drums and wooshing guitar,  and you got this violent cool kick in the pants, F Ya, big sister to ‘Your So Vain ‘ just with way more oooomph.

Find out more

http://www.bethwimmer.com

Hear Keith Miles on the NBT podcast that went out on the 1st September 09

http://www.nextbigthing.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=521432

And Beth Wimmer on the NBT show going out on the 8th Sept 09

http://www.nextbigthing.libsyn.com/