Saturday, 14 March 2009

Dudebox "Track Of The Winter"

Reviewers: MMT & Phil.

At any one time in a City the size of our fair home, the number of ‘currently gigging bands’ runs well into three figures, going on local press and MySpace sites alone! Still... because of our commitment to covering local scenes and artists (in every genre), at various times over the last couple of months Phil and I have tried to convene with a laptop and a wireless connection in order to try and do a kind of “Milton Keynes Singles Review”. However, cos of MonKeyVision and my PC dying and a myriad of other excuses, it’s taken a wee while to get this off the ground. Therefore, instead of opening this (hopefully regular) series with a ‘Dudebox Track Of The Month’, sit back and enjoy the ‘Dudebox Track Of The Season’! Winter’s almost over, but the music never stops! ;-)

DISCLAIMER: These reviews were all carried out between January and February 2009, and as far as possible are entirely reviews of Milton Keynes-based acts. To the best of our knowledge. Also, we tried to steer clear of bands who’d applied to MonKeyVision. This time. Ta.

It turned out not to be an easy task. As far as I can tell, there’s no way of searching MySpace by “town”. Still, we persevered, blundering around at random looking for MK footage. Quite early on, we stumbled across a band called Nifty Fifty Cowboys who had a song called “If It Were Only Like The Movie” we liked:

P: “I’m liking this already… they sound enthusiastic about their music!”
M: “Something slightly Ska-y about it, in’t there?”
P: “It sounds a little bit like Wheatus.”
M: “I like this conversation he’s having with himself in the middle. Sounds really cool in a way.”
P: “If a mate of mine recorded this and then played it me, I’d be like, dude – that’s AWESOME. It sounds enthusiastic, it sounds fun...”

But then...

M: “So, just as we were liking it, there’s a notice on the MySpace saying it’s just one bloke, and he’s 'broken himself up' and he’s moved to a “serious site”, so we’ll go over there next..."

The new “serious site” where he’s an acoustic artist showed that he’s now based in Coventry – which kind of invalidates the whole thing anyway. Though the Nifty Fifty Cowboys were from MK. In 2007. Ahem. Back to the drawing board.

We turned up a band with the great name of Vomit Whores whose second track “Born With A Twat” makes me nostalgic for my teenage metaller years:

M: “They got a few Mohawks going on.”
P: “They don’t sound really happy, but they sound like they’re having fun playing this kind of music.”

But despite the browsing (and the wilful avoidance of MonKeyVision bands!) there was an easy choice to review: MK-based Silver Brazilians are receiving national coverage, so checking out their MySpace was a no-brainer. Our choice choon was “Kate Winslet”, also named “Coolest Song In The World” by “Little Steven’s Underground Garage”:

M: “Now, I’ve listened to The Beatles quite a lot, and that’s a spot-on Beatles pastiche.”
P: “I think it’s great, I love it.”
M: “A deliberately retro sound, but I like it. Accurate in it’s retroness... it knows what it’s doing. It still sounds cool, doesn’t it... still feels... Deliberate Retro Future Chic.”

We’re also keen to review other genres than guitar-based rock, so big up one time to Soul. His track “Come Down” was a genuine contender for Dudebox Track Of The Season, and “Broke” is good too:

M: “It’s funny that kind of... angry, dark songs are better for rapping somehow. Having said that, I dunno where you purchase a Gat in Milton Keynes? Maybe that shooting and tackle shop in New Bradwell.”

I think we can squeeze in one more before we get to the Winners - Our Man In The Bronze Age, who we’d seen live last summer at the Vicarage Party that me and Martin had also played at. No tracks stand out above the others on their site, but overall they're pretty darn ace anyway:

M: “When they came on at the Vicarage party, they were absolutely astonishing, and me and James, possibly – cos by then we were absolutely hammered – but we did sit there in stunned silence. It was proper dark by then and the lights were on them, and there was like steam rising, and it was pretty eerie. And at the same time great. And I think we decided they were the best band we’d ever seen in Milton Keynes. But that may have been the mood and emotion of the night.”
P: “I’m having trouble putting the set of events that happened that evening into a chronological order.”


RE-WRITING DESTINY: “You’re The One (recorded live)”

We started off the review by arguing the toss between Summery Girl Punkpop vs Teenage Boy Emo bands. Phil waxes lyrical about some band he saw in Australia called The Spazzys.

M: “There’s a vague hint of Sixties girl groups as well, isn’t there?”
P: “Her voice is really good. I like the fact you can hear her accent. She sounds like a suburban punk.”

But then I make the mistake of mentioning Liz Phair and Phil’s away. Just a tip if you're ever in conversation with the man. Keep quiet on the Phair. ;-) Still, kudos to Re-Writing Destiny. We’re planning to check ‘em out live sometime soon.


FELIX: “Back In Style (lala lepus remix)”

Admittedly, Felix aren’t entirely based in MK currently, but key member Lucinda Chua is a native, a member of ace post-rock orchestral combo The Holistic Cleansing Quintet who we frequently dug as Monkey Kettle Pitz Reviewers back in the day. Sadly unable in the end to compete in MonKeyVision, Felix were the sort of band Phil and I were after all along, and “Back In Style” is their finest MySpace track: a lo-fi vocal, wistful piano, subtle cello and even subtler “Twin Peaks” references. And then the beats kick in. You’re not going to hear a finer band round these parts often. So, basically, there’s an album, some kind of record deal, and a band The Dudebox is well into. Watch this space for more details, hopefully. Especially now we're getting the hang of this whole MySpace reviewing thing.