April Music Review

By londonist_mark Last edited 217 months ago

Last Updated 28 April 2006

April Music Review

Once a month Londonist sits down with a pile of the months releases that have dropped through our letterbox. Since we're almost at the end of April, we'd better get on with it.

victorian_hermit.jpgThe Victorian English Gentlemen's Club - Amateur Man (Single released 3rd April on Fantastic Plastic)

A double jab of schizotic art punk on the VEGC's second single. It has all the energy of a rendition of Knees Up Mother Brown in an East End pub on Christmas Day replete with howls, yowls, handclaps and jerky guitar stabs. Live, this will be almost impossible not to thrash about to. Note to self, better go see them then.

Coldcut featuring Roots Manuva - True Skool (Single released 17th April on Ninja Tune)

Talking of dancing, here's Coldcut dropping some hideously infectious scratched up North African sounding beats and wails under Roots Manuva. It's instantly wonderful, a little urban, a little mystical. A bit like getting a genie from rubbing a can of Stella. For those who like that kind of thing there's five remixes to play with.


Thee More Shallows - Monkey Vs Shark (EP released 3rd April on Monotreme)

The third release from San Francisco's Thee More Shallows is our first contact with them, and we're more than happy to have finally made their acquaintance. Non too comfortable with cosying up to the alt.country tag, TMS draw from America's hinterlands whilst painting their songs in a haunting cinematic light. If Michael Mann ever remakes The Searchers they might be heads up to do the soundtrack. Somewhere in the darkness between Slint and Richmond Fontaine, Dee Kesler's voice flits between a near intangibility to an eerie sociopathic stalker's voodoo lament on their cover of The Temptation's Can't Get Next To You. Awesome stuff. If we had to, then it's our pick of the list.

About - Bongo (Album released April 10th on Cock Rock Disco)

After three years and four collapsed lungs one might wonder whether Dutchman Rutger Hoedemaeker aka

About would even see his debut album released. And whilst only the man himself could argue as to whether it was worth it, it's certainly a welcome addition to our music library. A true rock / techno hybrid, Bongo sees the energy and passion of a full on rock band delivered primarily through drum machines, mixers, laptops and whatever else seems to be close at hand. Scratches and stutters take the place of frenetic bursts of feedback, breaking up rhythms disrupting flows; so much so that on first listen you're likely to end up taking the CD out every few moments to give it a clean. Overall it's a little like getting on a transatlantic flight with the mother of all hangovers. If you can see that as a good thing. The songs stumble through a host of styles (you name it, it's there), often all at once, and yet still come out fighting. It's an insane patchwork quilt of William Boroughs proportions, leaving you unsure of whether to dance, nod, shake your fist or to keep on playing it in the hope that it will all make sense.

Ral Partha Vogelbacher - Shrill Falcons (Album released April 3rd on Monotreme)

As band names go, Ral Partha Vogelbacher gives absolutely nothing away. Frontman Chadwick Bidwell's lyrics- most relating to the death of his father are set to music written by The More Shallows' Dee Kesler. But whereas Monkey Vs Shark floats happily about the post-rock stratosphere, RPV is laced in fuzz and feedback, more reminiscent of the kinds of obtuse post college rock practiced by the likes of Pavement or Guided By Voices, whilst still keeping a rope tied to space rock central. Aeroflot, for example, sits on an ominous repeated one chord riff before exploding into the kind of noise your heart might make if it just exploded with the power of the HIroshima bomb one day. Snatches of oriental influences pepper some of the tracks written whilst in China, blended into chiming guitars. It's moody as hell, perhaps to be expected from such a painful personal subject, and yet shot through with moments of fragile beauty, electro-rock fuzz blankets, and good old fashioned six string distortion.

Cerberus Shoal - The Land We All Believe In (Album released 24th April on Monotreme)

Named after a Massachusetts sandbank, Cerberus Shoal provide yet another tricky proposition. Another eclectic collection of sounds that for the sake of argument we'll call post-punk art-folk. TLWABI spins like a top between traces of bluegrass and full-on Tom Waits gypsy jazz on Wyrm. After 9 minutes it's like being at a Balkan wedding where everything is being subtitled for you. In Korean. And then it drops into some electro beats before turning down Flaming Lips close. Which just happens to be full of cabaret singers from a schizophrenic performance of something by Gilbert and Sullivan. Is that weird enough for you? It was definitely weird enough for us. Certainly weird enough for us to play again. But not that often. Quite probably a hit the next time you're in a room full of Monty Python fans off their heads on acid. See you next month.