Tuesday, September 2, 2008

half empty? half full?

A promise is a promise. I said to my virtual friend, Mr Hugger, that I’d try and review his latest Indiecater Volume 2. Once again he’s gone and compiled a few tunes that have been submitted to him by various bands from around the globe. I’ve got to admire his capability for getting these together. What started as an idea on his blog has quickly borne fruit. At only €4 to download it you’re not going to get a better bargain this side of TK Maxx. I should warn that this is only half a review. I’ve only managed to listen to five tunes from the album because when I downloaded it the file corrupted. To heck with it, lets review the five that I’ve got.

Montag – Going Places.
Lo-fi drum machine action. Even more lo-fi than the first David Kitt album. It picks up the pace as new and interesting things start appearing in the mix. It’s a bit of a stop start affair but that doesn’t offend my musical sensibilities at all. I kept thinking it had ended and then it would start again. It’s actually the kind of tune that makes me think I should drag out the old Roland and start recording my own stuff. Then I remembered that I had none of my own stuff to record. Ah well.

Mumblin deaf Ro – What’s to be done with El Salvador.
It just so happens that unbeknownst to Mr Def Ro we’ve spent a bit of time exchanging chat at the counter of Road Records here in Dublin. He seems like a very decent chap and he was well dressed to boot. First impressions last. On listening to this song he hasn’t got the strongest singing voice, but fuck it, neither do most singers. Also it’s not a very long tune but on the basis of it I’ll definitely check his other stuff out.

Ned Colette – The country with a smile
The singers voice reminds me of someone but I can’t make out whom. The whole thing is a very modest understated affair but its very well put together. There’s even a little bit of noodly saxophone about one third of the way through and some keyboards near the end that remind me of the soundtrack to ‘War of the Worlds’. I kept singing that line ‘the chances of anyone coming from Mars are a million to one she said’. It’s worth listening to for that bit alone. I wonder if its there on purpose?

The Ruby Suns – There are birds
This one has the sound of sleigh bells all the way through it but it doesn’t sound like a Christmas tune. In fact it transports me back to about 15 or 20 years ago to some of the music that was coming out of the indie scene in England. As such I like it. I liked it even more when at the end of it the tune tails off into something else altogether. I’ve always admired the element of surprise. If you want to be surprised you can see them play in Crawdaddy on November 1st.

The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock
– In Country Dark
Half-country, half-skiffle and with a bit of an eastern feel thrown in. I’m loving it. If I’m not mistaken the 13th Lock from which the band/person get their name is somewhere near Lyons Hill in Co. Kildare. I remember fishing there years ago. I probably caught some manky old pike. The tune is a nicely honed affair, nice melodies and a touch of brass to bulk up the backing track. At times it begins to sound like kraut-rock but once again that’s a good thing in my book. There’s a nice little echo/delay fade out at the end. It’s got everything.

Some people scorn compilations but I think they’re a wonderful thing. There have been some very dodgy comps released by major labels with millions of tunes at their disposal. In this instance all of that shit is bypassed, the compiler has gone straight to source. It’s more reminiscent of old folk recordings in the way that it’s put together. It’s not that everything on it is going to float your boat but it does offer a diversity of compositions that you might not otherwise hear or even know about. For that reason alone it’s worth spending a small sum on. I’ve gotten full value already and I’ve only half the album.

UPDATE: Hugger was kind enough to sort me out with the rest of the album. I'll get around to telling you all about it shortly.

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