Iâ€™ll admit â€â€œ I missed quite a lot last year. Unfortunately itâ€™s a cycle that will continue forever as Iâ€™m still playing catch up on music thatâ€™s been released about 8 years ago, so the chances of me ever getting ahead are remote. Youâ€™re more likely to see a Woolworths opening again than me catching up with todayâ€™s music. Anyway, from scanning my shelf I realised Iâ€™d missed scribbling in my own childish scrawl, some words about several albums that slipped through the net from last year. They were briefly mentioned in the ‘you should buy these as wellâ€™ bit, but I feel several hundred words on each wouldnâ€™t go a miss as a reminder to say â€œLOOK, HEREâ€™S SOME GOOD STUFF YOU MAY HAVE MISSED!â€Â
Band â€â€œ Dillinger Four
Album â€â€œ Civil War
Label â€â€œ Fat Wreck Chords
Release date â€â€œ Autumn 2008?
With the kind of gap between album releases that only Nine Inch Nails could do (although this analogy has been quashed since Mr Reznor decided to be Captain Prolific) Dillinger Four finally released ‘Civil Warâ€™ or ‘C I V I L W A Râ€™ if you want to be a dipshit and write in massive stupid capitals; an album that has been six years in the making. So how does it compare to their other releases? Well for a start, itâ€™s a decent sounding punk rock album with their trademark goofy humour, incomprehensibly barmy song titles and a somewhat tongue in cheek poke at America with a political edge that is thankfully not as preachy and depressing as Green Dayâ€™s last effort (or indeed the next one.) The 3 part vocal-harmony/gruff shout-along attack is still present, but each vocalist is given time to enunciate his lyrics, clearly and carefully, something which seemed rushed on their earlier albums. Itâ€™s still just as fast and frantic, with that ever prominent bass heavy lurch, juxtaposed to lighter, more poppier elements such as ‘Gainesvilleâ€™, which grabs you by the shirt and screams â€œSUMMER ANTHEMâ€Â in your face. ‘Civil Warâ€™ is a welcomed, yet long-overdue return. Now, about that UK tourâ€Â¦
Band â€â€œ Tim Ten Yen
Album â€â€œ Everything Beautiful Reminds Me Of You
Label â€â€œ Pointy Records
Release date â€â€œ October 2008
AsÃ‚Â far as writing brilliant records go, Tim Ten Yen has pretty much nailed it. If Iâ€™d have got round to reviewing this before the end of last year it would quite possibly be in my top 8. As such letâ€™s say it sits just outside, scratching at the door in a respectable ninth place. Pointless chart positions aside, ‘Everything Beautiful Reminds Me Of Youâ€™ is incredibly silly and charming at the same time. Mr Yen, who resembles a bank manager clutching a casio magic light keyboard is without doubt one of the finest musicians that hardly anyone has heard of. Itâ€™s unclassifiable, but I suppose piano-led electro-pop would be a good starting point; laden with hooks the size of a planet, ridiculous guitar solos (see ‘M.O.R.â€™), dodgy white-boy rap and a cheeky innocent charisma that only the truly dead inside wouldnâ€™t like. I hate to sound predictably soppy, but itâ€™s an album that lifts your spirits – from the swing-vocal lead, through to the jaunty bounce of tracks like ‘The Bear and The Foxâ€™ and the punk-ish ‘Runaround Getaroundâ€™; a brilliant collection of songs from a man with a big heart, a sinister cat and a miniature keyboard.
Band â€â€œ Blakfish
EP â€â€œ See You In Another City
Label â€â€œ Big Scary Monsters
Release date â€â€œ July 2008
I actually got this around the same time I purchased the Shield Your Eyes album, but it was released sometime last year, so technically I did miss it back then. Blakfish are a quartet from Birmingham signed to Big Scary Monsters, a label know for itâ€™s huge array of tappy, guitar twiddling legions. Blakfish are a different prospect and take many elements of post-hardcore and fuse them with a rapid-fire punk delivery, alternating between screamed/sung vocals. Okay, you may not think this is anything particularly new, but itâ€™s done in such a tight and concise way, that the changes in sound are startling and refreshing. The shift from the heavy to quiet dynamic is shown in ‘My Stomach Feels Like My Throat Has Been Cutâ€™, as well as adding in the intricate and layered guitar tones that were last seen on the Meet Me In St. Louis debut. The dual-vocal interplay is something else Iâ€™m a big fan of, with the harsher, brattier vocals complimenting the sometimes refined lead, which every so often deviates into a screeched and pissed off growl (see the excellent yet angry, ‘Carnival of Carnivoresâ€™). A quality release from a band that I look forward to hearing more of, and according to BSM, their debut album ‘Championsâ€™ is being released in August â€â€œ get in!
By Ross Macdonald