The NBT Review 108

  The Man With Two Brains – Dirk Speksnijder ( Independent Release)

 There is always a place in this indie world for the English Eccentric, from Syd Barrett to Julian Cope, from Ray Davies to Robyn Hitchcock, there thankfully is a music that transcends the ageing process, and can provoke and excite the modern listener while seemingly twisting away in a time warp made up from fabric poached from the Incredible String Band and McCartney’s more fanciful daydreams.

This is PoP but not as we know it, Jim, this is Folk but from those strange Folk, those travellers and Pranksters, and this is joyful, funny and yet with a tinge of the melancholic twinkling darkly underneath the shiny shiny reflected surface, as the opening track’s lyrics go, ‘this is war, and we don’t know what we are fighting for’ all echo and multi tracked harmony.

The songs are linked quirky/mock sombre with orchestra and spoken word adding to the overall ‘otherness’ of the record, but also giving the concept a sly unity: within the mostly sparse arrangments there are a lot of giddy touches that make each track a new discovery every play, from the opening riff of ‘Hot Air Balloon’ which wouldnt be out of place on Alice Cooper’s Killer album to ‘Going Out’ which could be made in an alternate universe where Blur was a late sixties band.

Dont think for a moment that is is just mere novelty, take a listen to stand out track ‘Two O Eight’ which lifts itself off from Space Oddity via Paul Weller and becomes its very own entity. Listening to this album makes me really want to hear Dirk’s Alter Ego, Phil Knight’s next offering, whatever and whenever that maybe..

For now though, this gentle love letter to a certain type of wonderfully warped songwriting shall have a cherished place in the cd player and radio rotation for the many months to come

 hear more

http://www.myspace.com/dirkspeksnijder

 you can hear tracks from this album on the NBT Podcast going out on the 30th Jan 2011

 http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com

 

The NBT Review 103

Smash My Box/Electroboxx –iCON (independent release)

You get a set of songs to review, you play the first track and think you know where you are now heading, think you know what the mood of the piece will be, what degrees of crazy the writing will fall into to suit the music. Think you know whether vibrant short shots will suit, or rather languid thoughtful sighs perhaps.

Then you get these swell indie chameleons and your journey is thrown into delicious disarray.

Oh the strobe lights strut, the glitter-cool. From the first seconds of ‘Do or Die Moon’ it is clear this is no shy shuffle, no shoegaze insecure, and no bedroom anti-social. This is bright bang (pow !)party music.
Ok I know this band. I think I Know where they fit.

Ok NO.

Here comes the 1st of many gratifying curveballs. Next track up is nothing like that. ‘Giant’ slides into focus over delicate piano and builds into a Tori Amos meets Siouxsie chart contender, the kind of glossy not quite ballad full of hooks and surprises that make good pop music so refreshing

This is a band equally at home, playing the mainstream but coming out proud and uncorrupted, or creating songs awash with strings and dramatic arrangements where the shift from club gigs to stadium dates is inevitable.

The Electroboxx tracks show yet another side to the band, now they are Disco Darlings, with a soupcon of camp, a dose of day glo funk(you know the kind that Prince would dreamWrite and CSS managed on their first album) and an honest love of the fun side of Bubblegum- Rock.

Brought to the attention of the right listener, this is a band that could easily make up for the disappointment of, say, the new TingTings album and dominate the airwaves in 2011.

Personal fave for me is ‘Take You Back’ a driving dance mix ten parts giddy, hundred parts exuberance.

http://www.myspace.com/iconsmashmybox

Tracks from these EPs will be featured on both NBT podcasts
this week and next week

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com

http://nbtdarkelectric.podbean.com/

 

 

 

 

The NBT Review 84

The Electric Mist – Metaform (Just Records)

Imagine if you will, an intimate adventure, where we try to capture the electronic soul from the ghost of a disco dancer. The ambiguous tale of the doomed and the sensual, told with a songwriter’s detachment, and a sound creator’s charm.

What is kinda thrilling about this collection is the way even languid slinky Soul, is seductively corrupted by an Indie Kid with a love  of noise and movement, and rock song hooks that prowl the spaces. And for once, the use of production tricks on the vocal add to the suspense, even the humanity in the songs, somehow the technician reveals a heart.

The Track OCD is a playful ambient miniature, Coldcut meets Lynch back at his place, for drinks and a sway around the statues. Like a lot here it hints at the hedonistic, the full on rave ruckus, but prefers the instability of the outsider.Elsewhere it’s pretty cool hearing an American take on the challenge of the Brit dance indie bands such as Bloc Party and get it totally right, this is indeed the Future Frolic.

Kele hire this guy for some remix work right now.

Metaform even finds a place for giddy theatrics crafting a piece in, ‘’It’s Gotta Be’’ that is all camp Soft Cell, totally free of the retro 80s prison though,  with slivers of Flying Lotus and other such innovators.

And in, ‘’Introversion’’ there is even a droll take on the sort of Instrumental dream pop that the Love Unlimited Orchestra would attempt, The Isley Brothers 3007. Smooth but not smooth, it goes down a treat.

This is not for the purists (of any genre) but then again what fun cool music really is? And will make as many enemies as life long fans.

Which one will YOU turn out to be I wonder.

Find out here: http://metaformonline.com/fr_store.cfm

Metaform will be featured on both NBT podcasts during August and September

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

http://nbtdarkelectric.podbean.com/

If you use Internet Explorer you can stream snippets of a couple of the Tunes here

                               http://www.nextbigthing.co.za

  (After the intro Click on the ‘#Just want to look around# text it will take u thru to next page)

   A chart made up from browsers rating and listening to the song streams can be found here:

                                      http://nbttopten.podbean.com/