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DISCOLOGY SINGLED OUT

WITH DAVE RUBY HOWE Axle Whitehead I Don’t Do Surprises (Sony BMG) Yeah, that Axle. But still, I can appreciate a Snow Patrol rip when it’s done this good. When it comes down to it, if my iPod is out of battery, jjj are playing Behind Crimson Eyes and I have to switch to ‘commercial’ radio, I know I’d prefer to hear this than Xtina. Britney Spears Break The Ice (Warner) Shit, this is pretty good. Awesome/ annoying synth repetition (always a must), thick production and a space choir. Oh, this is the instrumental. Damn. I kind of prefer it. After all, Britney is just an auto-tuned voice these days. Flo Rida ft. T-Pain Low (Warner) Ah, Shooters. How I’ve missed you. Masif, roight? Madonna ft. Justin Timberlake & Timbaland 4 Minutes To Save The World (Warner) Timbaland can do pretty much anything. With this he adds some banging horn-heavy marching band stuff to his arsenal. Unfortunately, Madonna can’t do it all. She sounds like an afterthought on this. That thin voice strangled by the mess of brass. And while the beat is hot they kind of forgot about getting a decent chorus. Not really single material. The Bedroom Philosopher The Happiest Boy (Nan & Pop) Dropping ref’s to Richie Benaud and Iced Vo Vos is always going to win points in my book. It’s no surprise that this endearing slice of both astral and naval gazing indie-pop comes from the esteemed Justin Heazlewood. With all the dry wit and lolz you’d expect from him, plus an extended flute backing, you can’t go wrong here. The Ting Tings Great DJ (Columbia) By all rights this should be huge. It’s got stick in your head lyrics (duh), a lo-fi shuffle, an eye for hipster culture and major label dollars pushing out to the kids. It’s good. Unfortunately that means that even if you’re sick of this in three months time, it’ll be hanging around on iPods and cleverly orchestrated ‘indie’ compilations belonging to those friends who just wish they could be as cool as you. Adele 19 (Remote Control/XL Recordings) In the early months of each new year, record companies foist fresh acts onto a hung over and bleary-eyed public with outrageous claims al la “the best new band of 2008” or the “it will be the best album

of 2008”. They’re as empty as midnight promises and usually as squalid as the pashes and fleshy gropes that soon follow. Adele is this years Amy Winehouse with a bit of Lily thrown in – albeit without the smack addiction, hair don’t, dental challenges, convict boyfriend or most importantly, talent, as 19 sadly proves. It’s an unremarkable start with a few ballads aiming for the understated smoky soul thing, which is all well and good, but the arrangements are forgettable and I swear there is an acoustic slap bass in there somewhere. Inexcusable. Ears visibly prick up on Cold Shoulder – only to realise it’s actually Massive Attack’s Unfinished Sympathy getting me excited; as a ploy it’s a savage reminder of enjoyment to be found elsewhere. It muddles along during which time there’s adequate proof Adele has an undeniably great voice but Right as Rain sounds suspiciously like the '80s new soul revival of Curiosity Killed the Cat or Lisa Stansfield, which is doing no-one any favours. The Dylan cover Make You Feel My Love, whilst a highlight, shines a light on the lacklustre original melodies and emotional pull on offer. In a world where Jack Johnson sells records by the thousands, a case could be made for 19 being a reasonable way to spend a loose hour. I won’t be making it though. Easter is now a memory so diminished capacity is no longer an excuse and 19 should not be contender for album of the year – it’s an amiable enough release that, stripped of its record company penned back story, is simply an easy distraction whilst waiting for the next Winehouse tabloid spazz out. JUSTIN HOOK Bullet for my Valentine Scream Aim Fire (Sony BMG) BFMV’s stated aim is to become ‘the biggest band ever to emerge from Wales’, a big deal when you take into account the not inconsiderable success of the Manic Street Preachers, Stereophonics, Funeral for a Friend and, um, Persian Risk. And whilst they are undoubtedly extremely talented – there are moments on Scream… that’ll have your metal meter leaning dangerously into the red – there’s still too much generic dicking about to really mark them down as true pretenders to the throne. Yet, there’s still plenty of time ahead for this absurdly young bunch of Celtic pups, and if they can continue honing the likes of Waking the Demon and the title track, whilst weeding out emo pants like Deliver us from Evil, and if vocalist Matt Tuck can put his doomed Hetfield/Shadows affectations to bed, then a bright future undoubtedly awaits. Frighteningly bright in fact. Bigger than Persian Risk, anyway. SCOTT ADAMS Cat Power Jukebox (Matador) Cat Power’s first album devoted to covers released nearly ten years ago is a highlight of her catalogue. Understated interpretations that didn’t suffer from the ‘how novel’ gimmick factor, which is quite an achievement given her inversion of The Stones’ Satisfaction. Since then, Chan Marshall has reigned in her legendary erratic behaviour, alcoholism, stage fright and only recently added a graceful and confident swagger to her repertoire. Jukebox is the sound of Marshall getting lost again but doing it

in a far less interesting and rewarding way. It’s not a return to the emotional fragility of her walking-off-stage-midsong years, but rather a discovery of a bland, tiresome and vacuous delivery style replete with vocal tics and mannerisms that wouldn’t sound out of place coming from an Australian Idol contestant’s idea of what smoky, ersatz bar jazz should sound like. Take for example Metal Heart from Moon Pix, which has been stripped of all its sparse edgy glory to be unnecessarily reborn as a plodding, vacant dirge. Exception can be made for her Dylan ode, Song to Bobby, but even its inclusion is a cheat – it’s an original. Long time collaborator Jim White is back, not that you’d know from the uninspired rhythms, and Judah Bauer charts some mediocre blues riffing light years from his explosive years. On the surface, Jukebox sounds like an obvious successor to the vastly superior The Greatest, but the feeling of emptiness engulfs quickly so that forty minutes spent with it represents wasted opportunity and an empty experience. JUSTIN HOOK Disfear Live the Storm (Relapse) WOOOOAAARRRGGGHHH!!!! It’s the only term that can accurately encapsulate the utter filth, fury and goddamn realness of this record. Swedes Disfear, the kings of this thing known as D-Beat (look it up on Wikipedia, I don’t have enough space to explain here), have really done the business with this, their sixth bona fide full-length. The sheer heaviness inherent here is staggering, and I really don’t think I can do this record justice with mere words. All I can say is you’ll get a massive surge of adrenaline every time you insert this and press play, and, well, just make sure anything in the vicinity regarded by your loved ones as ‘precious’ is strapped down safely for the duration. Utterly monstrous, near perfect, look – if you love Motorhead, Discharge, Christ, anything heavy, really, just put this down and go out and buy the thing now. SCOTT ADAMS High Contrast Watch the Ride (Mix Series) (Harmless/Inertia) And so marks another fantastic contribution to the world of drum ‘n’ bass by fro-sporting old timer Lincoln

‘High Contrast’ Barrett. The man has turned his deft ear for melodic cum hard-hitting tunes by plucking 25 little sonic nuggets and masterfully lacing them together. Like all good mix CDs, Barrett mimics a well built live set, bookending proceedings with some delightful dabs of old school rave (catch that intro piano), and guiding us through the prerequisite peaks and troughs. With a running time of a little over an hour, the mix moves swiftly, with decent sized blends deftly executed that exhibit, unlike the TC mix in this series, much thought on the sound and mood of the tune that follows. It’s a joy from start to finish, but the smooth energy hits a peak on Danny Byrd’s future gurn classic Labyrinth, before charging all the way to the finish. An enjoyable reminder of how drum ‘n’ bass can be like a smack in the face with a velvet fist. ALLAN SKO K.D. Lang Watershed (Nonesuch) K.D. Lang’s new album Watershed is like a musical version of my year nine time table. This album, produced by Lang herself, introduces you to a musical spectrum that includes pop (general studies), country (agriculture), some Latin rhythms (Latin) and a bit of Level 1 French with the track Je fais la planche (I don’t know what it means either) to broaden the young mind. On a different level the lyrics are poetically wise. I Dream of Spring introduces the album with the words “she arrives like Autumn in a rain storm,” and in the track Once in a While, Lang pens the lyrics “love beyond reason is a love so hard to find”. But if you have no flare for poetry, foreign languages and Latin, loving this album will make you fall in love with its mellow and unobtrusive sounds. Lang, who hasn’t released original material since her 2000 album Invincible Summer, has impressed on her return to our musical consciousness. Watershed was released February 5 and debuted at number three on the ARIA charts; this placement is definitely well deserved. Invest in your education and get a copy of this album. Public education works! EVA LUBULWA

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! (Mute) When Nick Cave was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame last year, the expected excoriations didn’t quite eventuate as predicted. Yes, there were a few snipes, but the most appealing moment was Cave’s gracious decision to overrule the ARIA committee and self induct members of The Birthday Party and The Bad Seeds, for whilst his name has become synonymous with epic, gothic, dark tales from the squalid gutter to the needle to the tender bedroom of late, it could never have happened without those rotating bunch of glorious musicians, in their own right assisting Cave paint the picture. On Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! The Bad Seeds certainly aren’t the same opiate, wiry band of Tender Prey, but the churning intensity is still there, hidden beneath the grinding sludge noise of Albert Goes West and the too obviously self-referential it can’t be true We Call Upon The Author. Through it all Cave’s storytelling abilities remain almost peerless, commanding a unique ability to thrust the listener into the author’s world in an instant – I’d happily rank American Music Club’s Mark Eitzel with him, and equally happily dismiss John Darnielle on the spot. It’s the remarkably vivid places and characters (Larry as Lazarus, Albert wigging out on a dude ranch and a late appearance by Deanna) he conjures with precise word selection that elevates this album to the upper limits of The Bad Seeds discography. And for those complaining of Ellis’ input somehow muddying The Bad Seeds’ legacy and throwing his focus off with the swamp blues side project, you’re utterly missing the point as Cave himself explains on Jesus of the Moon: “I’m more afraid of things staying the same/’Cause the game is never won/By standing in one place too long”. Long may they never stand still. JUSTIN HOOK

BMA Mag 298 03 Apr 2008  

Canberra's FREE Entertainment Guide

BMA Mag 298 03 Apr 2008  

Canberra's FREE Entertainment Guide

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