I guess this could be the last Dudebox Track Of The Season review in this format – as this year has gone on it’s become more and more apparent that MySpace is well Over. Always a slightly clunky format, it looks like it’s been finally killed off by the twin attack of YouTube and Facebook. I’m finding more and more that new bands haven’t bothered with it, and old bands aren’t updating theirs. So until Facebook allows you to listen to bands’ music without Liking them – or until I decide I’m happy to Like every single band I come across, we might be approaching a Reviewing Impasse!
Still – that doesn’t mean we haven’t got some more great local music for you to listen to right here! Get it while you can!
((As always, I am duty-bound to announce the Disclaimer that none of these bands have asked us to review their music – in fact I’d be surprised if any of them ever realise we’ve done it! – but the point of the matter is to try and shine some lights onto all the corners of this always-surprisingly-large-and-vibrant-and-various local music scene. Break out the cutlery and let’s have some dinner. A dinner of Rock!))
“All Burned Out”: KASTAPHOR
Forget MySpace or Facebook - Kastaphor are professional enough to have their own website with music on anyway – they play gigs in London, all over the adjoining counties, and at The Stables! They’ve got that kind of ‘polished’ ‘adult’ vibe, without being dull. Singer Emma has an incredibly soulful voice, there some excellent guitar soloing, and although it’s not really my sort of music it’s unarguably an accomplished song which you can imagine going down perfectly in a smoky rock club.
“Mexican Doom”: VOMIT WHORES
We reviewed Vomit Whores way back in our first ever Dudebox Track Of The Season review a couple of years back, and at the time I wasn’t sure if they might even be a joke band – but this is much better! The kind of queasy funk-edged metal you’d expect from Mike Patton fans, muscular and relentless. A punchy treat that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
We discovered this on DJ Michael’s Basement Music compilation, and for me their session version of this track was the standout track on that CD. It bounces along in an incredibly jaunty semi-acoustic manner, and then when the backing vocals kick in in the chorus you think “blimey, this is something special”. There’s even a bass solo! It’s the sort of song I feel compelled to learn the words to so I can sing / chant drunkenly along to – and I can’t give much higher praise than that!
“Hold Your Own”: KEEPER OF THE RIFLE
This season’s MK Metal Korner! As hairy and intense as you’d imagine, but reassuringly still has a strong sense of melody in amongst the shouting and growling. And as we’ve noted before in these reviews, the local metal bands seem to have no problem whatsoever in producing studio-quality recordings, this could easily be a long-established national band by the sound of this track. Love the solos too. (flicks devil horns)
“Farewell Goodbye”: ROSES AND PIRATES
Another lovely song by the R&P ladeez, our Track Of The Season winners last Summer with “The Rose”. This is altogether more reflective, a gentle lullaby for the end of a long and testing night. You can almost hear the bar staff trying to clear out the audience, who won’t leave till they’ve heard the final beautiful note fade.
“Flaming Sun”: WITHOUT REASON
Surfing the quiet-loud dynamic as well as any local band I’ve heard recently, this mixes beautiful vocal harmonies, a persistent groove from the bass, a casual yet cool solo and occasional full on hard-rock choruses. Another new name to me, but I’m hoping to catch them live very soon. We don’t have enough bands who sound like this.
“Is It Real Yet?”: FALL SHORT FOR GLORY
Some beautifully intricate lead guitar ushers us right into this sugary slice of punk-pop – it feels like a sunny day in FSFG’s world and I’m happy to be in it with them! That spiralling solo effect is almost mesmerising, but the rest of the song is impressive too – melodic, upbeat, well produced and an intriguing first experience of this band for me. I’m keen to hear more.
“Don’t Believe Her Smile”: ISABELLE
One of the most prolific of local bands – I can’t believe they’ve also got time to fit in running the excellent Sno!Bar Open Mic as well as their Leighton Buzzard gigs and social lives! – are back with another new album... and they’re so prolific that thing song isn’t even on it!! I love the keyboard on this – or it could even be an actual organ! Summery, soulful, sumptuous. They can’t miss at this kind of stuff.
RUNNER UP DUDEBOX TRACK OF THE SPRING
“Red, Green, Black”: SOUTH SEA COMPANY
We may have reviewed them last time round as well, but this track especially shows a definite step on since we first heard them. It’s confident, mature (in a good way!) – the bass drives along a slowly building indie-pop gem. This is a really impressive song, indicating not just a good present but a very good future if they’re already at this standard!
DUDEBOX TRACK OF THE SPRING
“Shyrite”: HOUSE OF JOHN PLAYER
Whatever else, it’s the different stuff that I really get excited by! Loops, synths, shuffly beats and vocals drifting between emotionless droning and an emotional falsetto. This is an excellent track – a standout among a bunch of almost-equally as impressive tracks. This dude played at the Sno!Bar a month or two back and I missed it – will be looking out for him in action again though. Hypnotic, a midsummer day’s dream.