April Audio Assessments

posted on April 16th, 2006 by Anthony

It’s been a bumper month for discovery of new music, with several excellent new acts coming to my attention. Plus some not so good ones which I’ll mention later.

Quantic – Mishaps Happening

Qunatic’s been around for a good while, yet I was only vaguely aware of his existence.

My wrists need the mother of all slappings, cos this guy hits all the right nails on the head.

Quantic

Mishaps Happening is his third album, and was released nearly two years ago (Not bad for a 24 year old, who also plays guitar, dj’s and is generally a musical genius… I should hate him really). Yet I’d not heard a single track off the album. And that is despite it containing two awesome tracks featuring the vocal talents of Spanky Wilson – who is the voice behind one of my all time favourites (Her cover of the Cream classic Sunshine of your Love).

Mishaps goes through Quantics vast repetoir of beat mongery. The two Spanky tracks are full funk monsters (think DJ Format), while others are more jazz tinged and soulful. Throw in a bit of drum’n’bass and a pinch of electronica and you have a recipe for one the most exciting albums I’ve heard in years.

It’s an album that has restored a lot of my dance faith!

I only wish I’d discovered him a lot earlier.

Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock & Roll

Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll

If all that you look for in a band is pure musical talent, move along… quickly.

But a lack of musical talent never stopped the Sex Pistols (or umpteen failed Boy Bands, alas). See if music was all about talent the world would be boring place, and all we’d have is Coldplay or some other blandness.

Art Brut’s lead singer, Eddie Argos, can’t really sing. As he says in the album opener, ‘We Formed a Band’, “And yes, this is my singing voice”.

Eddie delivers lyrics a bit like a post man delivers mail – with little fuss. Apart from shouting a bit in the choruses, most lines are barely more than spoken.

That sounds rubbish doesn’t it?

Well it’s not – it’s bloody great!

He’s enthusiastically backed by an able group of four people bashing hell out of their instruments to produce a fantastic collection of raucous nuggets of substance-over-talent.

I have always had real trouble getting my head around lyrics, and generally I really don’t care what a record is about as long as the tunes are good. However, the simple fact that the lyrics of Art Brut’s songs are spoken makes it easier for me to understand what they are going on about.

This is good because what they have to say is pretty good. I mean how many songs have you heard lately about male impotence (‘Rusted Guns of Milan’)?

Overall the album is chock full of fun, energy filled gems. The stand out tracks are: ‘Emily Kane’, ‘Stand Down’, ‘Bad Weekend’ and ‘My Little Brother’

You get the feeling they had a lot of fun making the record, and it really comes across in their music – highly recommended!

The Rakes – Capture/Release

The Rakes

The Rakes are actually a lot like Art Brut, but their lead singer does a lot more singing, and the band (no disservice to Art Brut) are more able. The general vibe, though, is still the same – lots of vigour, fun and passion.

The band list the likes of Blur, The Stroke, The Specials, LCD Soundsystem, Dizzee Rascal, and The Go Team and that really comes across in their music. Whereas you have high quality rock fair in the album, there are a number of tracks that come on hard like a slab of Dutch Gabba! (mainly ‘Terror!’)

Mostly the band specialize in finely crafted bouncy bass heavy tunes with lyrics, that like a lot of bands of the moment, talk about nothing and everything.

For instance ‘Work, Work, Work (Pub, Club, Sleep)’, with a lines like “still smells like the smoking bit in a Weatherspoons pub’, charts the week of millions of young single blokes lives all over the country. As does ’22 Grand Job’

It’s all very blokey, but it doesn’t suffer for it. Every song is a short, punky, shot of rock tequila. Now that doesn’t make much sense, but it gives you an idea.

Overall the album has won a place on my full iPod, and think you should check it out. Especially if you like the Arctic Monkeys and Art Brut!

Secret Machines – Now Here is Nowhere

As I just mentioned my venerable 4G 20 gig iPod is completely stuffed. Even after a quick napalm of some the dead wood that had accumulated I’m still struggling to fit new stuff on.

The Secret Machines haven’t made the cut.

After a very encouraging start to the album with the fairly epic ‘First Wave Intact’, the rest of the album has completely passed me by. A lot of their stuff just sounded like very derivative hum that’s produced by a hundred hum drum Starsailors or whoever.

And I can’t afford to give up space like that, sorry!

Currently on iPod Probation

Looking Forward too

The Zutons!

I love the new single and most of the B sides, hopefully their ‘tricky second album’ that’s out on Monday will be a triumph.

Though I have heard some rumblings from unbelievers that it’s not up to much – but I have faith dammit!

Plus what we heard them preview on their Liverpool Boxing Day special seemed pretty awesome.