ELEVEN KNOCKOUTS I played on repeat in MAY!
A dazzling cocktail of red-hot rippers & crazed grooves
activating all my senses and itchy limbs this past month! TURN UP THE VOLUME! Here’s the May knockout team!
Who: “The seeds of Crooked Teeth germinated in Glasgow, where Rob and Jo met when playing and occasionally collaborating in their respective bands. Upon moving to London, this mutual respect blossomed into a formidable songwriting partnership and, once their friend Sam had been recruited on guitar, Crooked Teeth were in business.”
Track: THE AMERICAN DREAM – A song about “growing up in the Nineties, we were spoon fed this prophecy of a Western utopia of wealth and uniformity. This song is just a reaction to that mirage and is driven by the effect that thousands of events like the mass shootings in Oklahoma and Columbine have had on us.”
Score: Starting with a smooth electro-pop beat that makes your head sway from right to left and back and your feet tap, this impressive stroke turns midway into an overwhelming, skyey symphony that activates your bloodstream’s flow on the spot. A masterly twist giving this track an epic touch before it reaches its reflective finale. Impactful score, splendid composition. Experience the imposing performance right here…
Released: 7 Sept 1979
PITCHFORK wrote: “When the group first formed, they couldn’t play their instruments for shit. The songs on the album offer an amalgam of punk’s abrasive DIY WTF-ness and the spacious relaxed rhythms of dub reggae. This album is a keystone for any and all punk-based grrrl movements. And– though it goes without saying, it’s often said anyway– this album is terribly, terribly important in the history of the rock music and the grand scheme of canonical flippity floo flap.” Score: 9.3/10 – Full review here.
TURN UP THE VOLUME says: “experimental vision, wicked sing-along songs,
turbulent live presence, glorious DIY yourself punk reggae party.”
THREE TOP TRACKS‘: Typical Girls / Instant Hit / I Heard To The Grapevine
* TYPICAL GIRLS
* INSTANT HIT
* I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE (cover Marvin Gaye)
As a devoted fan of Tanya Donelly‘s superb vox and her tremendously affecting songwriting, it feels vibrantly amazing that BELLY‘s comeback longplayer (third LP)
is a striking achievement. DOVE , released on the 4th of this month, is a shiny pearl.
A mixed emotions beauty with various aspects of love in the middle of it, therefore recognizable and able to touch people’s hearts and souls in various ways. Donelly‘s
sonic reflections and bewitching musings are essentially about being human and
her experiences of its evolution. Then, now and tomorrow. Life doesn’t take a break.
The alluring tone of her passionate and glamorous pop voice turned, to my pleased
ears, from twinkling and fairylike in the 90s, to gracious and majestic today. From luminous silver to solid gold. Donnelly‘s real-life emotions are wrapped in ravishing, addictive, guitar driven melodies. Radiantly orchestrated and colorfully arranged.
Overall Belly does here exactly what we all expect from great pop music. Oh yeah!
No fillers, all killers. That’s a cliché, I know, but a significant one as I only used it
three times this year. Capture DOVE’s gorgeousness and magic, right here, in full…
. 1/ Mine
Its groovy mid-tempo beat and seducing rhythm sticks instantly… “All the gents who stole my breath and not one was mine / Like you are mine”
2/ ‘Shiny One’
Without a shadow of a doubt one of this year’s best singles… ‘Bless me, my son, yeah / Bless me, my son, yeah’
3/ Human Child
Marching drums, melancholic flow, entrancing melody… ‘It’s a beautiful night, I’m here to drag you outside Pull your ass out of the shade, my sun-blessed babe’
Glowing sentiments with Tanya‘s vocals standing out… again ‘I tell your face that I can’t hold you up but I can’t watch you drop’
5/ Suffer The Fools…
One for the midnight hours with the lights dimmed… ‘You keep my key and my lazy letters
I’ll keep the angel that you bought to watch over me’
Who’s that Girl? Another mid-tempo pop gem… ‘She brings it all and the time has come
For her song to be sung’
7/ Army Of Clay
Multi-layered guitar electricity, doubting sentiments… “You can’t be brave if you’re not afraid
You can be saved and come out unscathed”
8/ Stars Align
In dreams, going sky-high… ‘Superman, watch who you save
Take care with whom you fly away’
Candlelight splendour, poetic guitar solo… “Is there a rock high enough to climb above the tides that come?”
Country feel, Linda Ronstadt echoes… ‘Don’t give up yourself to the sad man
That’s not for handy well handed’
Affecting acoustic lullaby for reflective moments… ‘Heartstrings come rigged
With horns and wings You gotta lift them up
Starryeyed (bonus track)
Sorrowful looking back reverie written in one day…
“Tear up the contracts we drew/Our hands gave up too much too soon”
The most fascinating performance I witnessed last weekend at the two-day indoor London Calling Festivalin the wonderful city of Amsterdam, The Netherlands was by a
band called PORRIDGE RADIO. What started as the bedroom project of Brighton based singer/songwriter Dana Margolin turned into a full 5-piece team. I think she wanted some sonic help from other like-minded musicians to get rid of her gnawing demons. Her 2017 LP ‘Bad Breath‘ is not an easy-listening-journey. It clinks and feels like Margolin recorded it in her basement instead of her bedroom. Far away from the daylight, far away from the world’s daily shit. Her minimalist reveries remind me at times of Public Image‘s 1981 album ‘The Flowers Of Romance’ where doubt, fear, anger, rage, despair and questions without answers come together and do your confused head in. The sound of being human in
an inhuman world. Have a listen for yourself right here…
Live, last Saturday, full orchestra Porridge Radio created a séance-like atmosphere with Margolin’s intimate introspection on record turning into a sort of exorcistic happening.
I was wondering all the time when the band would explode, when their fiends would
show up on stage, when their cutting lullabies would turn into deafening nightmares. Thirty-five minutes of tremulous tension messing up our minds. Loud/quit/loud/quiet reflections with a razor-sharp, melodic edge. A, both, weird and compelling experience. Can’t wait for their next step.
Released: 1 Sept 1986
ALL MUSIC wrote: “If there was a should-have-been year in the Chameleons’ history, 1986 would clearly be it, and Strange Times demonstrates that on every track, practically in every note. Signed to a huge label, with production help from the Dave Allen/Mark Saunders team who worked on the Cure’s brilliant series of late-’80s records, The Chameleons delivered an album that should have been the step to a more above-board existence on radio and beyond.” Score: 4.5/5 – Full reviewhere
TURN UP THE VOLUME says: I still can’t understand why The Chameleons/Mark Burgess‘ highly gripping, captivating and stirring songwriting didn’t touch much more troubled
souls around the globe. ‘Strange Times’ was/is their foremost achievement. A heavy-hearted masterwork.”
Committed Canadian trio AUTOPILOT creates, despite their name, high-spirited music
for vivacious hearts and sprightly souls. Their new single WEIGHTLESS is a cutting sonic illustration of this band’s profound passion. There are a lot of big’s in play. Big melody,
big orchestration, big emotions, big vocals and a big chorus. All the right elements for
a sky-rocketing anthem, for a red-blooded momentum, for an emotive eruption. Feel
the mountainous excitement right here…
FALLING MAN is a boisterous 4-headed groove machine turning the inflammable combination of intoxicating riffs, kick-ass licks, battering drums and a riveting vox into absorbing songs with a lasting impact. Slow/fast, loud/quiet, haunting/ecstatic. Different paces, different moods. But always sound-exploring and highly fascinating. Last year’s second album GHOST showed/shows a tight band at the peak of its rousing game. A captivating work of mixed emotions, gripping sentiments and electrical reflections about life’s daily struggle. A record for bluesy hearts & troubled souls. Enough reasons to learn more about this blustery quartet. But let’s start the sonic acquaintance with one of the highlights of the new LP. Here’s ‘Beach Blues’…
Hello Falling Man, Welcome at Turn Up The Volume!…
1/ What’s the story behind the band’s name and the group’s sonic identity?
“Is there a story? Our guitarist Paul came up with the name after reading Don DeLillo’s novel ‘Falling Man’, written shortly after the 9/11-attacks. People often ask us whether the name of the band refers to the man falling down, like a contorted modern dancer, from one of the WTC-buildings. But it doesn’t. It’s a reference to a character in DeLillo’s book: a street performer in Manhattan who lets himself fall from the sky, over and over again. As to the sonic identity: we play sharp, angular and edgy guitar music, echoing sixty years of rock noise and pop music. It is often loud, harsh and ugly, it can be delicate and melodic,
it always has a groove going on.”
2/ Lou Reed said in his final interview back in 2013 that the bass is
a crucial instrument in pop, rock and classic music. I suppose you don’t
agree as FALLING MAN has no bass player. Why is that?
“Falling Man has no bass player because there’s no need. Not more than five people
in 10 years time have told us they were missing a bass player during the live-shows.
A couple of bass players have asked us whether we needed one, because they were
keen on joining the band. But we never felt the need. Influenced by bands such as Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and also Dÿse – they use an octaver-pedal, which lowers the
guitar tone with an octave – we tried the set-up with 2 guitars and it worked right away. Both our guitarists Paulie and Lode both wanted to get rid of their bassplayer-history
and focus on the guitar. In fact, we both have a style of playing guitar that mixes
bass loops and guitar chords or noisy stuff. We also get deep bass-sounds out of
a foot-triggered sample unit.”
Six strings band…
3/ Which song do you consider as the band’s signature track so far?
“The band has been through some changes recently; I think that the signature track
before the release of our second album – Ghost’ – was ‘Stripper’, a song that we don’t play any longer. Ever since vocalist Sander joined Falling Man, our sound has slightly changed, has become a little more ‘poppy’; someone once called it ‘industrial blues’ of ‘Ruhr Area Rock’. A song that fits that description perfectly, would be ‘Robot Kaput’, as it combines both the poppy aspect and Falling Man’s love for noise and tearing guitars.”
4/ Your new album is called ‘GHOST’. Who is he/she?
“No one in particular. It was Paul’s 10-year old daughter who came up with the name, and it kinda stuck. Throughout the recording process we noticed that many songs dealt with the theme of loss, people disappearing, leaving loved-ones behind. The ones who leave become ghosts or the ones who are left behind become a half the person they were. Hence, the name.”
5/ The LP’s artwork looks mystifying in accordance with its title.
Who or what inspired the image?
“It was Paul’s idea, coming from his great love for geometrical design and figures. The photographer is Kaat, guitarist Lode’s sister. Thing is that this picture almost never existed: we took it in October, and the sun almost did not cast any shadow. We took this picture in a parking garage; it’s Paul’s shadow, combined with a ventilation grid.”
6/ Any rituals before going on stage for a show?
“Not really. The drummers tend to get on everyone’s nerves while practicing rudiments
on any object he can find. There’s a lot of bantering too, taking pictures, laughter and
the occasional beer. Well, we try to keep stay focused on stage. When we first started
we played a drunk show once. It got the girls dancing, which was nice.”
Trying to make the girls dance…
7/ Which movie would you pick to visualize FALLING MAN’s
music on a big screen while playing a concert?
“Well, actually: none.”
8/ If the band were an animal, which one would it be?
“A wolf, maybe? Or a hyena? Once we get the attention of the audience, we don’t let go. Or even cats? Cats do what they want, they’re unpredictable. And when they’re horny, they make noise. We are horny cats?”
9/ If you could go back in time on which artist’s front
door would you knock and ask to have a selfie together?
“Oscar Wilde, while writing ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’.
That could be fun.”
10/ Next step for FALLING MAN?
“The idea is to keep on playing, cause that’s what it’s all about. We don’t plan, we play. There’s no outline, no direction, no strategy. Playing brings us to places we could never plan on going. It makes things happen.”
New frontman Sander…
Thank you for the chat, guys.
May the road rise with FALLING MAN!