Temple Songs… last of the international prayboys

Neil Mason — Neil Mason @ 15:29

We like to kid ourselves, when we’re sifting through our inbox, that we know what we’re looking for. Emails from musical people come in all shapes and sizes and, surprisingly, in very large quantities. It’s hardly an exact science, or in fact any kind of science, how we choose the music on here, but even we surprised ourselves this week.

We were listening our way through the MFNB inbox and nothing grabbed us until Temple Songs. Never ‘eard of them and their email told us almost nothing about them, but it did invite us to the launch of their new single, ‘Past Caring’. And there, right at the bottom, a lonely YouTube link. Video fires up and it’s like The Monkees playing through loud hailers. A swirling, tambourine fest, overloaded guitars, louch vocal… cor blimey.

After a little rummage, we found the above brilliant picture (love the empty pint glass and ashtray) and discovered that Temple Songs are from Manchester and they did a frankly unfathomable interview with IMN (here…) and Zane Lowe played the single the other night, which makes us look like toady bandwagon jumpers. Had no idea Radio One were as hip as us. No idea.

So, the lesson is we thought we liked skilfully penned missives with charming tales about how the band met in a laundrette or some such in our inbox. Thing is, that’s our job. Their job is to write the songs. On another day, without that lonely YouTube link we would have missed this lot entirely. Bands do the tunes, we’ll do the words. Deal? Deal.

More hear…
FacebookSoundcloudYouTube.
– Pre-order the ‘Past Caring’ single here

Mayors Of Miyazaki… hip cop don’t stop

Neil Mason — Neil Mason @ 13:54

Blast. This oddly-named London-based three-piece are good. It’s not often you get to write a sentence with three consecutive hyphenated phrases is it? Been wondering if it’s grammatically correct, not quite sure it is, but hey ho, it’s our blog and we make the rules. So anyway, thanks Mayors Of Miyazaki for providing us with that little literary moment.

We have a very feint recollection of their debut 2008 album ‘Buffalo!’ mainly because it features a song called ‘Force Feeding Morrissey A Bacon Sandwich’. Bit daft admittedly, but not as daft as ‘David Manning Bernard Matthews David Manning Bernard Matthews’, which features on the same album. But there’s something rather wonderful at work here, despite the daftness. Other titles from the same album include ‘Baloot!’, ‘Butter Stinker’, ‘Hot Kids’ and ‘Beggar Wears Like A Monk’. We do like people who have a nice way with words.

And then there’s the music. You’ve gotta love a three-piece, in fact it is the law round these parts. This lot are tight as heck, fast as chuff, bright and breezy with shouty girl/boy vocals and songs that stab away like Hannibal Lecter in a pig farm. It’s really delightful choppy, stuttering stuff with a solid dash of pop. It’s not just loud loud loud, it’s full of tunes too. Sold? Wait until you actually hear it. Their new album, the excellently entitled ‘Holy Cop’ came out on We Be Records a week or so ago (yes, we know, finger on the pulse as usual), there’s a far better review than we can muster at keepitfast.com if you haven’t had enough and you want some more.

So. Question is, Why the heck aren’t this lot proper famous. They’ve been feeling a little love from 6 Music with both Tom Robinson and Steve Lamacq giving them a spin, which is a start, but come on. We’ve banged on before somewhere about how the internet only makes it harder to be in a band rather than easier. This has to be case in point. What on earth are a band this good doing pedalling their wares on such a small scale. In the olden days they’d have been snapped up by some label or other and would be ripping a new hole in venues all over the place.

Thankfully, The Mayors have a really healthy attitude, which you’d guess is a good thing. It’s a case of buy their stuff if you can, but if you can’t they encourage illegal sharing of it, because, in their words “it’s not going to listen to itself”. And this stuff really does need listening to.

More hear…
website-y thingBandcampFacebook
– Buy the new album, ‘Holy Cop’ from here… or have it on cassette from here, the choice is yours.

Georgia Ruth… pine time

Neil Mason — Neil Mason @ 12:24

Georgia Ruth ‘A Week Of Pines’

Okay, so we were sifting through our inbox, which is a total beano of bands and singers and songwriters of all shapes and sizes, and Welsh Wales’ Georgia Ruth caught our ears, but mostly her lovely video caught our eyes.

You kind of hope all the photos are of her growing up, but suspect it’s a much slicker operation than it appears. This is, after all, an artist who has caught the flapping attention of 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, that Huw Stephens off of Radio 1 as well as Jo Whiley and, erm, Terry Wogan on Radio 2. Whatever, it’s a great video and a rare treat in these days when people can – and boy do they – shoot videos on their mobile phones. Bit of thought gone in, just saying.

So anyway, GR. We really like the thrum of the title track from her debut album ‘Week Of Pines’ (buy buy buy), which has been out for a couple of, erm, weeks on Gwymon Records. Yup, Welsh, which as our regular read knows means we have to write about her. It’s in the contract. Recorded in Snowdonia’s Bryn Derwen studios with members of country-folkers Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog, easy for you to say if happen to be Welsh, the album sounds corking if what we’ve heard is anything to go by. As usual we’re weeks right behind that curve with The Independent already falling over its own arse and reviewing it twice. Two good reviews to boot, which in music journalism world is something of a minor miracle.

Talking of music journalism world, been writing for a new online mag (Electronic Sound) of late and was talking to the Editor the other day about how critics tackle stuff these days. There’s so much music swilling around that writers don’t tend to bother with anything unless they like it. Why waste time saying you don’t like something when there’s so much good stuff to fill your waking hours? Added to the fact there’s so few critics getting paid these days that writing mighty smites for free seems counter-productive somehow.

There used to be a time when there was a finite number of releases each week. As a reviews editor you’d make a big pile and get it all written about, good, bad and ugly, and it mostly led to reviews pages that were enormously good fun. Seems that approach only really kicks in these days when there’s big release in town, say a Depeche Mode or a David Bowie or a Radiohead. I find it terribly sad to think that my former profession is actually dying out. Adapt and survive and all that, but, oh you know.

And a lack of music writers can only make it harder, not easier, for new bands. Best not get started on that… got work to be doing…

More Hear…
– A website then that you can choose to read in Welsh or English … there’s TwitterFacebookSoundcloud
– That link to buy the album again then… linky linky.

Jetboy DC… is that a rocket in your pocket?

Neil Mason — Neil Mason @ 16:33

Jetboy DC ‘She’s So Fine’

Jetboy DC then. Will you look at that picture? They were so very, very good and we’ve been meaning to write about them for an age, but, oh, you know. So as part of our occasional series where we raid the old boxes tucked away in our back room for no other reason than there’s some amazing stuff in there, we bring you Jetboy DC. This would have appeared on our much neglected sister site rippingvinyl.co.uk if only it were on vinyl. Sadly, it was CD only. And yes, we did think about cheating, but doing the right thing gets the better of us all eventually. Wouldn’t have been able to sleep for weeks had we done that.

So… This is pretty much the only thing Jetboy DC released, save a track on a Fierce Panda single and few other dibdabs on compilations. This was released on our friend James’ Monkeyland Records, again, don’t think that label made it past this debut release. Might be wrong. You might be interested to learn that Jetboy DC came forth out of the ashes of the very fine Submarine, for those of you who don’t know about them, boy have you missed out. There’s a good piece here about them that will save me a bit of time.

Anyway. Jetboy DC released this first and only fruit in August 1997. I wrote the below piece about them for Melody Maker’s Maker Breaker section. Think it was published. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure it did actually run, but it should have done. For some reason we did the interview in a park, think it was St James Park, on lovely summer’s evening. We sat on the grass and honked laughing throughout. Lovely chaps, very funny, total rent-a-quote in the nicest possible way. In fact, during this interview they coined a line, which to this day I’ve never forgotten – “Deadly earnest? Dull but worthy?”. If I had a band they’d be called Deadly Ernest…

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
Phil Spector with feedback. Imagine “Be My Baby” by The Ronnette’s (i)and(i) The Ramones being played at the same time. Voila Jetboy.
“Do you want an instant hit from music,” asks frontman Neil, “or do you want to piss about getting into what the lyrics mean?”
Instant hit please. Oh look, it’s Jetboy’s debut release, “She’s So Fine”.

WHY BUY IT?
You need another reason? How about the single isn’t really called “She’s So Fine”?
“When Damien our guitar player made up the CDs, he got the name wrong,” splutter the boys in disbelief. “F***ing doughnut. It’s actually called “She’s So Cool”, which is a lot better isn’t it?”

TELL US MORE. . .
“She’s So Fine’ is about erm, this girl being. . . well, fine. They’ve also got a song about a superhero who’s too busy saving the world to get his end away. . . and they tell jokes on stage. Example? What goes in and out and stinks of piss? The oakey-cokey at an old people’s home. And why tell jokes on stage?
“You can go and see some band get put through the grinder or you can go and see some guys having a good time which then rubs off on you,” offers sticksman El Ponco.
“Deadly earnest? Dull but worthy?” scowls Neil. “BOLLOCKS. People want to see the band beat the crowd up.”

BEST LISTENED TO?
Live by the sounds of it.
“This guy got on the stage recently,” recounts Neil, “and kicked a load of leads out. The next thing I know, Rob’s head-butted the guy.”
Rob?
“I’d been silenced mid-song and I looked like a bit of a twat so I thought I’d take it out on him. I don’t know whether we’ll see him again. . . He bought one of our singles though.”
For a band as unmissable as this, he’ll be back.

ks Rhoads… trip

Neil Mason — Neil Mason @ 16:59

For heaven’s sake. Two lowercase letters and then some uppercase? Did ks Rhoads not go to school?

And once again we find ourselves in the States, Nashville, Tennessee to be precise where Mr Rhoads is well-known. And by crickey you don’t have to wonder why for very long. He’s blooming brilliant. Looks great, sounds great. Again, veering severely to the left of the field where all the music we know we like lives, but heck can he write a song. He can.

The track above – from his new album ‘The Wilderness’, which has been out since early March – has a real Pink Floyd-y vibe for a bit, then there’s some late night whistling, a huge string section breakdown, a choir, massive drums… oh, you know, it’s all a bit lacking in ambition. It’s a huge sound. And it’s not confined to just this track, the whole flipping album sounds that big, huge, vast. It’s like they’ve chucked everything they can get their hands on at it. Opener ‘Orphaned’ is ‘Be My Baby’ writ x-large, ‘Invincible Fortress’ has a haunting Beach Boys undertow to it and it pumps itself up before bursting with delight and if any advertising types are listening, the intro to the ridiculously jaunty ‘This Is Where I Come From’ really should be snapped up for some ad or other. Get in first eh and send me my finder’s fee? He even goes totally off piste with a bit of hip hop. Both ‘Chains’ and ‘Hiyayayayayaya’ have an Eminem vibe, but mostly, neither lose sight of the tunemongery on show.

Here is a man who crafts songs so hooky they catch fish while you’re not looking. He not only looks like a proper star, but like the sort you’d enjoy a beer or two with. Best of all though, he makes seriously clever pop music. The funny thing is, it’s so mainstream you have to stop and wonder why we’ve not gobbled ks up on this side of the pond. Talk about missing out. Funny old world.

Oh, and we really love the album cover. Made us smile.

More hear…
– Do yourself a favour and invest in a copy of the album. $10. Bargain.
– a websitetwitteryoutubesoundcloudfacebook.

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