The NBT Review 119

Various Songs – New Pants (Independent Release)

 Sometimes the present is not enough, the mere reporting of what we find and what that discovery does for us does not suffice. Sometimes we are honour bound to be fortune tellers, to seek out the potential within, to see way beyond the beginning.

 So four songs tumble into my world. For once the facts are useful it’s NOT just the song, it’s the way the songwriters will progress that adds flavour, colour, excitement and most of all hope.

 Double Happiness shouldn’t work,doesn’t always work, its a sparkly thing, a cute hybrid of ‘jump’ era Van Halen (without macho guitar though) and  a whole bunch of French indie electro pop sounds ala Daft Punk or Justice or Air. EXCEPT.. it doesn’t have those bands hip factor or disco knowledge or experience (which sometimes makes even the most pretty things from these for-mentioned bands seem slightly jaded and too’knowing’) this song IS stuck in a time warp sure, but one gets the feeling its circumstance not deliberate. You get the feeling that its not old men looking back but rather young men learning as they go.. a far more enticing prospect.

 Go East adds a touch of Cars melodrama, a melody that reminds of that pastel pop hit ‘take my breath away’, but keeps the
production a step away from glossy, or pumped up. Give this song to whoever controls Gaga’s puppet strings this week and they would blow it up to blockbuster wide-screen proportion  and have this glossy soulless thing that would stay on the charts for months and then be instantly forgotten . The band does not go this way and I for one hope that they have the sort of brave advisers that will ensure they never do.

 Then we are rewarded with two tracks, Disco Girl and I Dont Wanna Lose You. And we can now see the future and
its glowing bright. It’s glowing bright because of the dust, the haze, the dirt, there is sand in the oil and the oil slurps into the
machine. The pop is there but now its the kinda pop that the J and M Chain understood, or Peter Hook likes to fool around with (even back in the Joy Division days he did), that made Peel love the Undertones and that was gutter instinct with the Ramones.

The band starts moving forward wonderfully secure in the lack of knowledge about the past, time folds into itself and its shoegaze and bubblegum and fun and noise all over again for the very first time.

 New Pants will either make a masterpiece of Indie music. Or they will be taken by the hand and led astray by technicians and
spin doctors and  those vampires that suck the lifeforce from old hits and make them the modern pop undead.

 Listening to the last two tracks here. I believe it will be the former option..

 After all.

Its all
about HOPE.

Find out more here:

NewPants

 New pants
are being played a LOT on the NBTMusicradio

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/

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 81

Waste The Right

Build It Down

Dr Night

Last Planet

Nu Dead Pretty – Mach Fox (all Independent Releases)

Set the controls for mirror ball and strobe light, where the dancers are mysterious and the shadows skitter shatter, conceal and deceptively reveal. This is nightclub music with a dark pulsing heart, and a pop grin, it is alien rock Guitar shot out at girls with fizzy drinks and sly sweet smiles. It is post new romantic, nostalgic new wave twisted modern.

Waste The Right combines that ‘dance with sadness’ thrill, and incorporates the militaristic almost nihilistic grooves of Nitzer Ebb (a cover of Hear Me Say) though adding an ironic funk to the proceedings.

Build It Down (released the same year as WTR) now has a detached sensuality to it, the guitar is slinkyFluid, it sneaks and crawls all over the melodies, and Miss K adds a chilled eroticism to the mix, making the songs of fright and fear and longing ambiguously seductive. Their cover of the Kinks ‘All Day and All Of The Night’ skews the sentiment in much the same sardonic way Wall Of Voodoo once did when they covered Ring Of Fire.

Dr Night is the artist virtually alone, and in Dying To Save he delivers his first warped epic, skittish samples drift over a trancelike journey, the tense guitar and sleepy vocals recall both travel and sleep merged into a beautiful blur.

This song is re-imagined on the next EP, Last Planet, and there is now a power to the artist’s writing and production, he is comfortable there in his strange space and it shows, the ghost of Frank Tovey still haunts and pursues the songs souls, but these now are Mach Fox creations, set in the here and now, speeding calmly forward into the Night’s adventures.

Nu Dead Pretty is exuberant, electro warrior cool, wicked, the balance of raw and dirty balanced just right with the machine cruel, we have listened to the star being born slowly, delightful, with screams and shudders and glorious shrieks, with the composer adding his own remote narration, keeping us dancing, enticing us to think and perhaps even surrender.

These EPs are only the tip of the building that Mach Fox has built, is STILL building, go here

Follow the links and download these collections for your self

 Or even better buy them (you make the price) http://machfox.bandcamp.com/

Hear trax from Mach Fox on the NBT Dark Electric Podcast going out on the 3rd August 2010

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/

Let’s get some Electro on the charts ok!

The NBT Review 60

Water On The Moon – Crazy Mary (Humsting Records)

When did new wave get this dirty, and oh I mean dirty in the way that MUST be taken as a compliment, like a kid that has spent his summer playing hard and exploring every abandoned warehouse, every enticing exotic cave and ditch and field, the dirt is a badge of honour is EARNED, defines the very soul of the free spirit.

Here the dirt is in the details, you THINK you are listening to a hard rock track, and suddenly there are slithers of alt country organ coiled sly within the throbbing motor of the melody. You THINK you are listening to a raw outtake of perhaps a Blondie b-side and then new wave morphs into no wave shudders from classic boogie into something sweet and now and possibly fatal.

It’s as if Grace Slick and Karen O were sisters and fronted an alternate universe version of the Replacements.

Well until the next song that is, then suddenly we are transported into the stranger era of our pop music history and we go progressive we feel folk, the ballad becomes this driving twisting epic thing, music to play when storms threaten.

Sometimes, just as you are feeling at home with Em Z’s bawdy take on the rocked rolled vocal, the band get eccentric, the harmonies get abstract and the mood gets spiky creative.

This garage band has a garage that has not only oil stains and wounded tunes, but shattered TVs, blistered comic books and stranded buckets full of soul.

Get twisting now

http://www.crazymary.com/

Crazy Mary will be featured on the 30th April NBT Podcast

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

The NBT Review 40

rev40

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 Manik Music Rant: Zorch Factory Records

So, anyway, trawling around my list of links, e-mails subscriptions and Blog reader whatsits I come across a lone line advertising a free download of a French band Camp Z’s 6 track ep. Whoaw…free, I gasp..”This last release mixes electronic

backgrounds along with dark feelings, raw guitars and post punk energy!” says the blurb…colour me interested – I’ve sort of rediscovered the whole French/Euro coldwave genre of the 80’s as of late and have subsequently kicked myself at being so damnably Anglo-centric in my musical gleanings in those bad old days – ok, there was no internet, and the genre was largely ignored by the (Brit/USA) press of the day any mention of which was probably quickly passed by by the likes of I (not being able to see anything in the flesh as it were, also didn’t help), I mean, I thought Plastic Bertrand was all there was!! So, consequently I devote the latest Bullets From the Belfry (and this blog) to Zorch!

 

 

 

 

 

Subsequent investigation led me to Zorch Factory Records and their eclectic stable of artistes from Europe (and other parts of the globe) in the dark indie/goth/deathrock/postpunk/coldwave/electronica field of things that i generally immerse myself in. Headed up by Manu, member of aforementioned CampZ, his dream to present a forum, a home, a promotional tool for some of the many truly independent artists forging out into the interwastes trying to elevate themselves to better things. All the material is published under Creative Common License free to download. His aim to create a fanbase for the bands so that interest is tweaked, demands made and the music industry swings their way, whether interest by some established label or enough interest is created to make music sales of future product viable. Manu’s dream is based on love, not profit, the artists free to move on to greener pastures whne their boat comes in!

 

 

 

 

After hastily glomming the CampZ goodies : a dark buzzsaw caterwaul of postpunk excess- with strong leanings back to coldwave, overlaid with Manu’s harsh, angry vocals – no fake Brit/Amerikan tones here….without meaning to sound condescending, the French accent is perfect for this music! I went for the rest with glee.

 

 

 

 

Joy Disaster, also from France have a recent live concert recorded in Italy up for grabs. I suppose any band described as postpunk and having ‘Joy’ in their name is going to be compared with, ah, Joy Division…well yes, the comparisons are there, perhaps an early JD, maybe even Warsaw rather, harsh, brash, angry (I entertain the notion that if Warsaw formed today and listened to Interpol a lot…) Cyclic, all music is cyclic but in doing so it does not have to immitate, re-invention is part of the game, re-interpretation, it does not have to cater to some fixed audience to ‘fill a dance floor’ ( She Wants Revenge….pheeggh!!!). I take emotion over polish any fucking day – I see big things for Joy Disaster.

 

 

 

Mmmmmm, Mexican goth/punk/deathrock, I love it, ever since I frightened folk off the dancefloor with the likes of Los Meurtes Vivientes and the Ultrasonicas! The Acid Bats have a couple of releases on Zorch Factory, an 8 track ep, ‘Exhumacion’ and a earlier demo recording…fabulous stuff, can’t wait to ever be invited back into a dj booth with this in my must play box!! (If I promise to play at least one She Whines Revenge track, can I ? Can I???)

 

 

 

The more eclectic Crimson Muddle do a wonderful cover of Joy Divisions ‘Means To an End’ on their ep, their sound veering into almost steampunk territory, but still with that endearing coldwave feel.Lamentations Psychotiques and Nuit d’Octobre round off the ep in a darkly whimsical manner.

 

On and on, it’s like stumbling into a sweet shop of delights, Les Modules Estranges evoke the spirit of Siouxsie Sioux on tracks like Crash, Cocteau twins on say Am I Blind. lovely vocals, fragile guitar, veering toeards but not drowning in shoegazer territory. More tracks including remixes are available here.

 

From Spain come the enigmatically titled Red Crayon Aristocratic Club, think Yeah Yeah Yeahs meets Ladytron whilst picking up The Cranes on the way… A splendid cover of The Clash’s ‘Stay Free’ is a gem on the cd.

 

Germany’s Monozid have 2 ep’s available on the Zorch Factory site, think postpunk, think Chameleons, early Psychedelic Furs, Wire here.

 

Rounding off the podcast this week- The Trespass, perhaps the most traditional goth/deathrock band on Zorch,’ traditional’ being a misnomer really in that their roots are solid postpunk, a bit of Echo and the Bunnymen lilting through their epical sweeping songs.

 

All in all, a valuable cause to support..and download, and hopefully, eventually, lay hard cash down for! Zorch Factory Records, Bullets From the Belfry salutes you!!

 

http://www.zorchfactoryrecords.com/

 

Listen to some of the amazing Zorch artists here on the BFB Zorch Factory Records Special Podcast

http://nbtdarkelectric.podomatic.com/