Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Dudebox "Track Of The Autumn"

Happy Christmas, Dudebox readers, and a Merry Nu-Year too! As 2010 draws to a blissed out snowy climax, what better way to end the year than with one final Dudebox Review Of Some Local Bands’ MySpaces? This time on the 'turntables' it's MMT & Phil, musing on another great few months on the MK Music Scene!

(regular disclaimer: these bands haven’t asked us to review their MySpaces, we’re doing it because we dig local music and are always trying to bring you something new. Something you might not have come across before – it’s a big town. So jump in - and don’t forget to place your bets now as to what point in the reviewing Phil is going to first mention Sonic Youth!)

“Ideas For A Weekend”: SOUTH SEA COMPANY
[[Only formed this year, but SSC have already played some notable gigs, and their sound is an intriguingly refreshing indie rock one]]

MMT: Sounds like a slightly post-Britpop, melodic… very well produced. It’s not far off the edge of some shoegazing bands actually, got a sort of… reverby vibe to it.
Phil: It’d be good driving music, actually. The sort of thing I might put on in the morning and listen to while I’m driving along.
MMT: This is the song I like best on their MySpace.

“Let Me Go”: CANVAS
[[A boy-girl acoustic duo, though I can’t tell if they’re still gigging. If they ARE, we’re interested!]]

Phil: I’m enjoying this straight away. It sounds modern. Indieish, but slightly bluesy indieish. I like it.
MMT: Reading on their MySpace it looks like they may have evolved into a full band more recently, though I don’t think I’ve ever seen them advertised anywhere. It’s a funny world, MySpace. I still don’t like the new layout.
Phil: I’d like to see them at an open mic or a gig.

“We are here, we are waiting Pt. II”: WEAREWOLF
[[If it seems like we review an inordinate amount of intensely proggy and / or metally bands from MK, it’s only an indication of how many there are proportionately on the local scene at any one time! Here’s another, who played some high profile gigs at The Craufurd Arms in the last few months…]]

MMT: Interesting that the recordings by all the metally bands in Milton Keynes is, on average, of a much higher production standard than any other genre.
Phil: I’m liking it so far… I love all this melodic stuff at the beginning. I like the chilled out bits and pieces. There are a lot of bands doing this well right now.
MMT: Where do you stand on the Screamy Vocal / Singy Vocal dynamic generally?
Phil: I would prefer just a Singy Vocal, though I don’t mind a little bit of Screamy.

“Lemonade Pockets”: DUKE OF MARMALADE
[[A hard-edged indie rock act who we were lucky enough to see play live recently when they stepped in at the last minute to help us out in our ‘dress rehearsal’ for the new “Monkey Kettle Presents…” music promotion!]]

MMT: One of my favourite things about them when we saw them live was the little… footwork the lead singer was doing while he was playing – what he was playing was quite complex as well. Clearly very tight musicians, performance-wise. They made it look deceptively easy.
Phil: I liked the diversity of their set too. I liked the deliberate feedback – too many bands try and go for a polished sound all the time. I enjoy this track.

“No Tomorrow”: SAHARA C
[[Zimbabwean-born but living in MK, Sahara is an RnB singer who’s done very well in national songwriting contests over the last few years.]]

Phil: I have to say, RnB isn’t really my genre –
MMT: (astonished) It’s not?
Phil: - but I’m liking her voice, and the little flourishes of the production. It breezes along. You can imagine hearing it in a bar somewhere.
MMT: It sounds like mainstream RnB. I mean it sounds ‘national’, not ‘local’. It’s summery.
Phil: It’s professionally put together.
MMT: Have you ever liked any RnB?
Phil: (long pause) … I kinda liked the first Rage Against The Machine album.

[[A diverse-sounding bunch: indie, dub, post-rock, instrumental, punk, hip-hop, folk – s’all on their MySpace!]]

MMT: It’s an eclectic mix of styles… It’s good that you can’t pigeonhole them into one thing.
Phil: Yeah, I enjoy the random sound. I really like them.
MMT: I like this bit that’s gone down into just bass. And I really like their band manifesto on MySpace [which includes ‘…if you can’t understand us, f**k off and listen to the radio”].
I think that’s right. That’s why it reminds me of Sonic Youth, really. When you get things that are really ‘different’, it’s hard to say if they’re good or bad. It’s preference.
MMT: I really like how this has turned out, the kind of chuggy reggae-beat bounce…
Phil: What I liked when I saw them live [at the “Shocktower” Halloween festival] was how their songs would blend into each other as well. It’s music without rules. It’s definitely something I like. They’re a box of tricks – you don’t really know what you’re going to get.

“Alejandro”: INVOCATION
[[A bit of fun, maybe – but definitely worth a listen! Last we could tell, Invocation was the side project of one of the guitarists in the brilliant Machinist – this is a genius prog metal remix of a pop fave!]]

Phil: It makes her sound like Evanescence!
MMT: It’s actually one of my least favourite Lady Gaga singles, but he’s made it better…
Phil: I think it sounds great!
MMT: I just love the fact it even exists!
Phil: People should do more of that, playing around and messing around with music.

“Ophelia”: GLASS TEARS
[[An experienced folky jazzy trio such as you might see on the Stony Stratford circuit or at a chilled out festival in a field]]

Phil: I quite like this straight away, it’s very Joni Mitchell, very 60s / 70s kinda vibe. It’s very folky. Folky pop music. Thoughtful, lyrical stuff.
MMT: The recording is very clear, you can hear the nice calm bass. It’s gonna sound very muso-ey, but I like the sound of the guitar. And I love the way – though this isn’t necessarily ‘my kind of music’ – that it’s built into a more emotional…
Phil: I like the building. You get sucked into it. She’s got a great voice. It’s done with heart.


“Thalassophobia”: SCARED OF THE OCEAN
[[Yes, it’s another Milton Keynes metally outfit – but definitely at the ‘upper end’ of the genre]]

MMT: Thalassophobia means ‘fear of the sea’, hence ‘Scared Of The Ocean’, that’s very clever!
Phil: It’s good – I’m liking the bass just now.
MMT: It’s ‘broken down’. I love that echoey vocal in the middle – and there we are back into the metal! I mean, fair enough, it’s metal – but it’s got angles to it. Layers. I dig it.
Phil: Really like them. Definitely my favourite of the more metally bands this time round.


“Never Returned”: FAULTLINES
[[We saw this off-kilter progressive indie trio play at one of the Sunset Acoustic Lounge’s spin-off music nights at the Red Dot Bar, stadium:MK this Autumn, and absolutely loved them! And their MySpace recordings are just as impressive!]]

MMT: I love that guitar sound. I dunno what effect that is? Is it distortion?
Phil: Distortion, definitely. Though it might be flanger and / or a phaser. They were the most exciting band on that night.
MMT: Some of it is reasonably straight-forward hard rock, but just some of the… sounds being created by the guitarist, and the unpredictability about where each song was gonna go… ‘where are they going to go next? Oh, they’ve gone that way, that’s brilliant!’
Phil: To me, this sounds timeless.
MMT: Lovely solo as well, one of those ‘space solos’ I really like. Beamed back by satellite. And then back in with the riff. Cool.