The NBt Review 56

13 Songs – Lonnie Kjer and Stefan Mork (independent release)

The camera pans across the room and then zooms in, slow steady, almost threatening in its advance, zooms in till centre shot we have the sensual bass, and we feel the elegant strum and swoon and though the song has been there always, now, truly the soundtrack has begun.

The singer takes our hand and says in art and thoughts we could escape. This is a wry smile of a possibility because the song paints the fire and its attractive captured dancers oh so well.

They sing in sweet harmony, they sing of couples drifting OUT from harmony, this is the secret; that sadness of the lonely never sounded so heavenly when created as a duo. One sigh begins as another breath is taken and we the listener become complicit in their fragile undertaking.

There is ambiguity and shadow within these songs, take Invisible Man for instance, is this a spurned lover talking or a brother or even a son, or, as it seems to me, a delicate disturbing mix of all three?  Then there is the quiet satire of a Helpful Man, a story a tune that rings oh so true, of desire taken to a tragic yet happy (in a twisted way oh yes) conclusion.

In these relationships there is a tangled push and pull, the actors the characters, want this, need that and seldom are the two ever the same thing. They fumble with the light and make more shadows than answers, but the joy is in the singers trying to catch the soul of these puzzles, these ragged hesitations that we all commit.

This is a graceful collection of stories of the lost, the wounded and the (hopeful forever) seekers.

Hear tracks from this album on the NBT Podcast going out on the 1st April

Also in April read more about the artists and their music on the NBT Portal website


The NBT Review 55

Thunder Buffalo – Thunder Buffalo (Dig/Sarathan)

Switch on the stereo of giddy distorted, pick up the speakers as they howl and throw them out of the window, this is the sound of them falling. Hitting the ground and bouncing UP back, into the room.

Like the 13th Floor Elevators, tripped up even more, Thunder Buffalo bend these songs into squawky- screechy bubblegum shapes, as the Butthole Surfers, the Residents hoot and howl and jive along.

All is not chaos and glitter though, swooshed up in eternal 3am sinister reverb stolen from the nightclub of the lost phantoms, Gloomy In Us All swings like a 50s rockabilly ballad time warping into nugget era America. Several songs too evoke the spirit and the sheer infatuation with the blues that Jeffrey Lee Pierce had when he pushed out Gun Club screams into the world.

And if there is some kinda justice in the world then in a year’s time, YouTube will be swamped with earnest young mad men women attempting the pathos of the fragile If I Leapt.

Sure this is not always a comfortable listen, but is delicious and noisy and fuck it really  makes me want to dance. A personal favorite.

Thunder Buffalo — Gloomy Download

Turtles EP – War Tapes (Sarathan)

One night REM playing within their most PoP defined pose mated with an Interpol dressed in the finest dark glitter hooks. The resulting child was this new collection from this (for now) LA based band.

We sit enthralled in a cinema full of shadows, the slow burn drama of the song catching on to the light stream, this is bedroom epic, bathroom poetical intense, the harmonies, the illuminated and the secret entangled smooth.

The percussive echo, the heartbeat of the extremely nervous or the over thoughtful, his voice effected, the ragged man asks the ghost to join in the dance, and the music builds, the stormy noise tornados around, around, around, till all is the whip, the wind and the breathing. This is a song for those who want, need, perhaps, the freedom of being scared.

This is a crush on fear, adoration of the vulnerable, and the love of the fatal paths that we sometimes slip down, it is the sound of: when COOL bangs up against warmth and ricochets straight into our studied detachment.

The War Tapes have the potential and yes, the will, to straddle both the mainstream airwaves and like the gloomy magnificence of Michael Gira’s Swans capture the heart and soul of the alternative scene.

Watch out for their debut full length release coming out in May

War Tapes, Turtles EP:

Listen to tracks from both these bands on a special broadcast of the NBT Podcast going out on the 9th April

Also in April read about Sarathan Records, listen to tracks view pix and vids on a special feature showcased on the new NBTwebpage portal

The NBT Review 54

Across The Atlantic – Sarah MacDougall (Copperspine Records)

Her voice on the radio, the only companion in the loneliness of the long distance night. She tells of the girl and the train and when the song transforms, enfolds into its self then shudders sweetly outward, then the girl is her, the girl is us. WE now jump into this adventure. It is delicious the way her voice strolls slow, even hesitant, as the music rambles along jolly clitter-clattering down the tracks.

The theme of moving, out, away, stays with us. Here is a song for a hitchhiker standing in that wondrous painful delicate quiet, that elastic time between the departure of the last kind car, and the arrival of the next headlights of some new hope.

Her world is full of dishonest romantics who have love on their side anyway, and strong protectors who find their strength in the ones they rescue. Her world is not in black or white and certainly not grey, it is in the colour of mist and running water and twilight and whispers.

Stand out track for this listener is the beautiful title ballad. Home is where the heart is, sometimes… not always… sometimes your heart stays, ‘Across The Atlantic.’

The arrangements, the production of these 10 songs, keep them swaying from clear alt country, into sharp focus pop, and back into atmospheric roots rock, never muddy, never lazy, instrumental voices often slyly shyly fading in, twisting the girl here then there, never distracting from the sound of the TRIO, this is after all their music and they delight in sharing it.

You can hear tracks from this album in April on the NBT Podcast

Lyrics from Across The Atlantic featured on the NBT Portal website

The NBT Review 53

A Little Closer To The Truth – Dizzy Gotheca (Independent Release)

The first song is salvation. The music is fine tension wrapped around this (maybe) angel; I hear the end of the things for the ragged person she is singing to. Will she push him alive or is she taking him further down his destruction? It’s complicated yes, (she sings that and it is true) but it’s also simple. The First song is salvation.

The slow motion of the disco dancer, every detail of the dry ice, the coloured lights, the reflections the darkness just off the floor, the other tumblers tumbling, spinning too, are blurred howls, and every movement leaves delicate traces. You long for the explosion into focus, the release of pressure, but beauty like this has a price and instead you stay, still, entranced, haunted. This is Little Beat.

This is that angel watching an elegant version  of the hedonist game of drinking like its suicide, it is the vibrations of losing it forever and what is on the other side of those vibrations, the angel is the girl and the girl is questioning always questioning, and the music is stretched tight across the exits  allowing the thoughts,  the emotions,  to bounce there in the spaces of the room.

The drama is in the shadows, in the space, in the near empty, the indefinable drop, fall into this and allow yourself the freedom of not knowing, where this seduction will take you.

The musicians take this fear and make hymns. Modern electronic hymns.

Catch Dizzy Gotheca on the NBT Dark Electric podcast

Illusia – DarkLily (©Vyolette Svana)

Do you fear, but love the dreaming, the letting go? Do you dread and desire travelling into the strange virulent mists of some unknown ‘other’ world? Do you find this fear enchanting, and with deep breath and heart beating hard, wish to succumb utterly to it.

Then this collection is for you.

Sometimes we enter sepia tinged room full of old sunlight and hear the piano making crooked echoes against the cobwebbed experiments , sometimes we are shown through a haze, tragedy and despair, disasters from ‘ago’ taken from fading pages and made new, not shiny though, heartbreaking yes.

The gloom of mythology, the heaviness of this sweet relationship prison, in the drama and wonder of that hell, the singer/composer finds slithers of bright white hope in the sweet torment, makes it quietly erotic exotic mmmm we can almost hear her smile.

Deeply romantic, unafraid of the poetical, darklilly keeps her stories and sighs firmly rooted in the speculating, questing soul of the modern electronic artist. Her creations are measured and classical almost aloof, yet never too detached, they engage us, bombard us with thoughts and regret and deliverance.

You can download this exquisite album here:

Illusia is the NBT album of the month for April

Darklily can be heard on the NBT Dark Electric podcast

AND the NBT Flagship podcast going out on the 1st April

The NBT Review 52

(read a great review with Farrad on the NBT homepage.. )

The Time Is Now – Farrad (Beulah’s Baby Entertainment)

Welcome to the Pop Dramatic, landing, bang in the centre of the smoke, wrapped in enigmatic articulate harmonies and covered by pressing bass squelch, Farrad displays his intent, his desire to capture our dance-Soul from the opening track, Misunderstood, a sly mix of Prince Gymnastics and the modern strut.

The cool thing is, Farrad doesn’t let the Tech, the FX and the Hustle drown out the soul, his sweet vocalizing holding sway, adding warmth to the extravagant arrangements.

And then the third track, an instant club classic, the one that makes you want to attempt complicated moves and boogie the night away, this is edgy delightful seductive bubblegum of the highest order, breathtaking and imaginative, simply Pick Your Face Up Off The Floor is one of the tracks of this year so far.

Now that he has captured us, the twist, the trip the worship of the beat continues, sure there are ghosts on this dance floor, in the neon reflections, but these spirits are fashionably in the NOW, fresh and alluring. With this set every track a potential single.

Listen out too for the electrifying ballad, Destiny, where the voice soars against shivers of strings, and some sultry gospel sneaks into the night waltz, and the surprise RocknNewWave of Twisted, where Farrad’s true sense of adventure shows itself in all its metallic sheen.

If this excellent collection isn’t enough for you, there is also a scintillating album of ‘’Pick Your Face Up Off The Floor’’ remixes available on Farrad’s Homepage.

 Catch Trax from this collection on the NBT Podcast going out on the 16th March 2010