Sunday, 10 January 2010

Dudebox "Track Of The Autumn / Christmas"

Reviewers: Brian, Grahame, Matthew, Phil

Happy New Year, Dudebox fans! We’re kicking Twenty Ten off with a gigantic beast as we reveal the long-awaited latest Dudebox Track Of The Season: for the Autumny / Festive period that was Late 2009 – but this time with the added bonus that we attempted to review a bunch of MK MySpace tracks as a communal foursome!

Phil and I decided we’d like another (perhaps less overtly enthusiastic-about-everything!) voice, so we asked Brian along to temper us – and he arrived hotfoot from the pub with Grahame in tow too! As it turned out, we couldn’t use a lot of the stuff Grahame said – he’s clearly the Simon Cowell of our panel, keen on good production, accomplished musicianship, drum machines being in time etc etc. – but it was a splendid experience nonetheless, with plenty of cups of tea and much raucous laughter. And despite plenty of arguments over such subjects as how long “potential” can last before something more needs to be delivered – and loads on what constitutes “generic”, we even almost managed to come to a consensus. Plus Phil got in his now-obligatory mention of the Smashing Pumpkins. So we’re all good.

As always, thanks to the bands – almost exclusively they haven’t asked us to review their work, we’ve just done so by picking stuff almost at random off of their MySpaces. And our main aim really is just to try and bring you something new you might love. Why not try it yourself at home? The MK Music Scene – dive in!

“Sex For Cigarettes”: TOMBSTONE BULLETS
[[70s Hard Rock coming atcha from MOST of the members of MonKeyVision winners Harassing Anna]]

Grahame: “They’re playing something that really appeals to me.”
Phil: “What I like about them is they sound really noisy and really loud. The guitar sounds loud.”
Matthew: “Did you like them at the Waterside when they played [on the Monkey Kettle stage]?”
Phil: “I did. I would say I dug them. It’s interesting to compare them to Harassing Anna.”
Grahame: “They’re very very good. All of them are incredibly good instrumental players. They’ve got a really good pop sensibility.”
Brian: “It’s good, it’s accomplished, but I listen to that and I think ‘I’ve heard that all my life’”. But I’ve seen them play live, and they’re full of energy, they can really entertain a crowd.”
Matthew: “Playing Devil’s Advocate though, is there a sense that Harassing Anna are the ‘real band’ and Tombstone Bullets are them ‘having fun’? I’d be interested to know what they think.”

“Get It / M.I.A. / Used To Be (samplers)”: LIONSEX
[[Self-professed “balls-out” rockers, one of Brian’s total favourite local bands]]

Brian: “They’ve got energy, they’ve got a different look… They’re not scared to be different. They actually try and live it. They’re scuzzy Eighties throwbacks and they love their rock n’ roll. They’re very good value for money live, they know how to work a crowd. The lead singer’s got a great voice.”
Phil: “I think they’re alright. Sounds good, but it’s not really… I was never really into that anyway. I quite like the fake name thing. They’re doing their thing.”
Grahame: “They’re very tight, they’re very accomplished. I like the design of their MySpace. They’ve actually personalised it really well. Very slick.”
Matthew: “Compared to Tombstone Bullets, musically they’re doing similar things from slightly different eras - but with a different image too, I guess. They were one of the only bands at MonKeyVision that brought their own t-shirts as well, weren’t they? Which is pretty cool.”
Brian: “I own a Lionsex t-shirt, and I wear it with pride. [NB – no pun intended, we checked!] I think I’m a bona fide fan now. I reckon I’ll go and see them on a regular basis.”

“Saving Grace”: THE BITTER SUITE
[[Dark electro-pop duo who you could almost class as local music “veterans” now, having formed in 2004.]]

Matthew: “I really liked it. I’d like to go and see them play live.”
Phil: “The first time I saw them, I was drawn to the Waterside stage three years ago on account of they were playing a Smashing Pumpkins cover. The second time I saw them in Bedford – both times as a five-piece. Cure-y, Depeche Mode-y. I like it a lot.”
Brian: “It’s very much “These Guys Wear Black”. It’s not a comfortable type of music for me.”
Grahame: “You can tell they’ve been going a while, the calibre of the actual song itself is really good. I like the sound of his voice.”

[[Hard-edged prog metal six-piece still in their early days of writing and recording. In fact I think this may even be an unfinished instrumental track, so it’s probably unfair to review it at this stage. And here goes...]]

Grahame: “Musically it’s not that appealing to me. It’s played perfectly, it’s all in tune, it’s all very very well done, really nice quality recording as well, but for me… lacked the through line of a vocal.”
Brian: “They’ve got a sound, and they’ve got it down pat.”
Phil: “It’s more a tank than a sports car.”
Brian: “I think they’re going along the right lines. They need a vocalist.” [NB – they do actually have one now]
“What I’m really keen on, we’ve been waiting a long time to see them live, and I would like to see that.”
Phil: “The influence of Tool is massive. It’s slow… but that’s the idea. I think these guys could get really really good.”
[this section of the review descends into jokes about massive tools. Sigh.]

“The Seas / Vermillion” : BOBBY WOTNOT
[[Experienced producer of electronica as featured on National Radio!… not to mention a bona fide visual artist in his own right and of course mates with Jimi Volcano]]

Phil: “Perhaps it’s not really my thing. It feels very mathematical.”
Brian: “They’re very structured tracks… very… what’s the word?”
Grahame: “A bit of a feel of Bristol… trip-hop stuff. I don’t think it’s any of our kind of music. But I would listen to that, if someone played it in a club I’d dance for a while.”
Phil: “I think it would go well as a film soundtrack sort of thing.”
Matthew: “I like it. They’re still songs, every bit as much as the other bands. In fact, there’s more variety here than with many guitar acts. Different sounds, different vibes. Works for me.”

“Limosine”: SOCIAL RESIN
[[Kinda funky acoustic three-piece who describe themselves as “Like Engine Oil For Your Eardrums”]]

Phil: “It’s the sort of thing that goes down very well in pubs.”
Matthew: “It’s not really my sort of thing.”
Grahame: “There’s not enough of bands doing this sort of thing. I know it’s quite poppy, but I mean… I like that. They’re going for quite a soulful sort of sound there.”

“KyteFlying (GoiaGoia SuperRemix)”: KIDS PICKED LAST
[[Exuberant blipcore remix from Matthew’s favourite local punk-pop laser-toting scamps. Brian has to have “blipcore” explained to him]]

Brian: “I was a champion at Tetris when I was in my early twenties at university, and I feel like I’m on Level 17.”
Matthew: “Look… that’s a photo of their album in HMV!”
Grahame: “They’re playing with sound, which is good, because they’re experimenting… I don’t think they’re ‘There’ yet. They might well get ‘There’, because they seem quite confident to explore like, different combinations of sounds and timings.”
Phil: “The first time I saw them I was really drunk and did really dig the synth…”
Matthew: “They were one of the most exciting things I’d ever seen!”
Phil: “I like the idea, but I’m not quite as keen on the reality. Having said that, the song we just heard I loved. I just couldn’t help smiling all the way through it. This is not just great, but genius.”

[[More new work by prolific young Monkey Kettle fave Project W – this time just piano & vocals]]

Grahame: “I like that. It’s a really nice sweet little folky love song.”
Brian: “I’ve always been a person who’s enjoyed loud cranking guitars rather than voices… However, this guy’s thinking about the world around him, and he’s asking you to look at the world around him with him, through his eyes. And there’s not enough of that going on, so all power to his elbow.”
Matthew: “I love him for his lyrics. This song is beautiful.”
Phil: “It’s all about his lyrics. I think it’s a great song. Good stuff.”
Brian: “He’s got… he’s got something coming out of him.”
[predictable dissolution into childish laughter again]


[[A rare”traditional indie” local band in amongst the metal and the teen-punks, and all the better for it]]

Brian: “From that song, they’ve got a very catchy style, um… they hooked me and they had my foot tapping.”
Phil: “While I hear their influences too, I don’t mind, because I like the bands they’re influenced by. These guys don’t smile in their photos – and I know that indie bands never do smile in their photos, but um… I think it could be something they could start doing? This song pushes my buttons.”
Matthew: “It’s much more my sort of thing. I would like to see them live.”
[checks gig list on MySpace]


“Infected Lights”: 1000 HERTZ
[[Popular MK hardcore chaps, reviewed in Kerrang and everything - about to release their second album!]]

Matthew: “I like the screaming-stroke-melody of it, I liked the melody in the chorus. They’re confident in their playing. If I saw them live I would probably be quite scared… and stand near the side. But it makes me move around.”
Grahame: “Er… yeah – it was good, it was polished, it was tight, it was all those other sort of generic blank shit words you use… they’ve ticked the most boxes in terms of what I would say is good.”
Phil: “Strong drums, strong guitars. They’ve avoided all the pitfalls, really. Other bands fall in the trap of hair metal solos. It’s a great song.”
Grahame: “Confident is about right. A well put-together song.”
Brian: “I tell you what, there is something to that. There’s an awful lot of cleverness behind it, the musicians are very very tight. They’re thinkin’ about the music, I really like that. I can see me playing that in my car first thing in the morning as I was driving out of my driveway. And that’s actually a very important decision for me in my life.”