The NBT Review 50

With The Eye Of A Skeptic… – Bill Price (Grass Magoops Records)

This is old time Country dance, girl boy harmonies against a roots rocking band led by the jubilant skitter of the Cittern (a sort of large bodied mandolin.) This is not all though; this is the personal political, the thoughtful, the wishful, the dreamer making songs, the watcher singing.

We hear about the Junkman who learns about life in the bits and pieces he collects, the secrets we throw away without even knowing it. We debate within a blues swing room about the soul of modern art then to the strains of a lilting lullaby like tune we are taken flying.

In his dreams, in this flight,  years roll by jumbled, villains are given the chance to be heroes , history is scrambled and re-sighed re-written and hope is rescued from the cynic’s prison.

Price may see these things, these choices, with the eye of a skeptic, but his belief in good, in the right decisions maybe being made, the fact that the future is really fragile and can be broken into something beautiful; is what makes this collection a gift.

In the song ‘’Foot In The Dirt’’ the simple act, the lucid description of how it feels..Just to cast away the heavy of the day and ..Walk, touches this listener because that escape has often been MY escape too.

So jump slow and jump calm into these songs and stories, get caught up in the seemingly effortless virtuoso playing of all involved and welcome this gentle raconteur into your home.

Analog Love – Cassis and the Sympathies (Wunderblumenmusik)

Benign, serene coming down from the clouds willfully we slow dive into Analog Love, a neon lit lounge, default setting on sultry, though  soon enough we allow the lady to take our hand and dance us into a wide open cinema land.

This is new wave old romantic, ambient, impulsive, addictive, a darker Julee Cruise, a content Nico, still slightly dangerous, a sweetly lethal bubblegum, deep blue tripping over the rhythm disguised as sighs.

There is that skewed perspective that Lydia Lunch gave on Queen Of Siam, though this time the chanteuse is backed by a mixture of Yello and seemingly old time wicked jazz musicians playing for their souls.

In these songs disturbing desire is just, always JUST,  a finger click away. These are invitations to a languid version of Hell, an acceptably edgy version of Heaven. Piano and Accordion entice and bewitch in the guise of slick warped ballads, tears and escape, they urge us to close our eyes and


A cool journey away from the modern normal.

Hear Tracks from BOTH these albums on the NBT Podcast going out on the 23rd Feb 2010

The NBT Review 49

Lunchbox  – Richard Kapp and the Gowns (Independent Release)

It is a delectable irony that the opening track “It’s Too Loud‘‘demands to be played rather loudly. It‘s the kind of thing that gets the listener swaying about in their room, or on the street even (if heard on an iPod or mp3 player) conducting an imaginary orchestra. A song about loneliness perhaps but a song that uplifts at the same time, eccentric pop then.

Let this be said straight away, this band suits Mr. Kapp.  And his style, his droll take on love, life and other potential disasters suit this band. It’s almost like, mmm, that with fellow musicians aiding and abetting his creations he can get even more personal than previously allowed.

The title track now sweetly sways with nostalgia drifting from images of peace to feelings of loss then back again, then flying through wonderful harmonies, it quirkily goes schizophrenic on us.

‘’Selling Them Your Love’’ invokes the spirit of Belle and Sebastian, even a chamber pop version of the Lightning Seeds while ‘’So Dirty’’ is a gently elegant smutty show tune with added restrained vocals dips and dots from Woodstock Taylor. The Broadway version of Stephen Merritt would be proud!

Sometimes there is lonely heartbreaking trumpet, sometimes a swoon of crystal clear female vocals, sometimes the piano playing comes into sharp focus, sometimes all this and more fades away lost willingly in the ambiguous emotional heart within the collection.

Then in, ‘’Another Town’’ Kapp along with guest Ina Simone capture exactly what makes a pop ballad work. No whine , no angst, no over emoting dramatics here, something simple, almost country, utterly captivating for now this is my favourite song in the set. A Dreamy companion to ‘Wake Up’ from Asterisk.

As always this is an album that will reveal more every time it gets played and is the perfect progression for Richard Kapp and his band the Gowns.

Catch songs from this release on the NBT Podcast going out on the 23rd Feb 2010

The NBT Review 19 (part one)


The NBT Review 19 (Part One)

A whole bunch of stuff to get through,( it may take TWO blogs methinks) and in keeping with the NBT Ethos, a wonderfully eclectic bunch of sounds and clutter it is too. Before I begin, just one thing all those that read this ought to know: we here at NBT only write reviews on music we find/think/feel and BELIEVE is good, even maybe great, possibly future masterpieces even. If we think an album is crap, badly constructed, derivative, lazy or BLAND (the worst crime) we just won’t write about it. Independent artists have enough bother and difficulties getting their music out there without a whole bunch of negative opinions thrown together on blogs and podcasts. That doesn’t mean I DON’T sit at home and privately tear apart the latest clean cut emo worthy soul, or poke bitter fun at yet another fake punk with nice hair who got her dad or uncle to write some tunes for her :P. I am only human after all. J


Onwards to the music.


BirdEatsBaby reviewed by Martin Smit

Holmes reviewed by William Elliot


China Doll EP – BirdEatsBaby (Independent Release)

When Rock flirts with Cabaret, the thrills of the former (daring, egotistical, immortal) are chilled in red glow by the latter (fragile, sacred, self destructive).

BirdEatsBaby knows that the stage they create and inhabit is a strange often lonely place, just a shiny razorblade edge away from the most chaotic heaven or the most serene hell.

The voice in these songs is almost innocent, fresh, almost too pure, it’s the friend’s voice during an out of control drug trip, and makes you feel safer than you should.

The piano is sleazy, and the rhythms swagger like show tunes Bob Fosse dreamt violent before he died.

This is music from a candlelit room, windows protected from the cities howl by dark thick curtains, a mirror showing flame flicker and slightly distorted images of the lipstick smeared wounded.

And underneath this sadness, a smirk, a quiet heart beat, not lost for those that listen closer and drift down amongst the swoops and cackles.

Buy this EP here:


Basement Tapes EP – Holmes (Groove Gravy Records)

Take a warmer hearted Donald Fagen, mix in the skewed country that Beck sometimes orchestrates, and add a huge dollop vulnerability and you have some idea of the charm of this CD.

From the love/hate song for the singers computer, to the slyly jazzy groove of the David Bowie cover, the music is never less than gently captivating and honestly unpretentiously charming.

This is crafted pure pop, not too afraid to be called easy listening, but with out sacrificing depth and some degree of internal pathos.

Decide for yourself here

Catch BirdEatsBaby on next weeks NBT Podcast AND in December on the NBT WonderfulOnes Best of the year Specials.