Singles Review 1 – March 24th

Hello future me, hello future everybody! How did we do? Are we all dead yet? Or did it work out okay? Fingers crossed.


musicI’m writing this on Sat 22nd March so we might all be dead by now, killed in some hideous bio-weapon retaliation over what we’re allowing our compatriots to do. Maybe there should be a war, but it’s only been on telly for a few days and already I’m bored and angry. Gritty JPEGed live feeds of a Baghdad that’s blood-red and burning would be thrilling but there are real people under that rubble. Entertainment? It just makes me sick.

One Minute Silence seem to agree. They’re one of the better nu-metal bands, Jesus Lizard/Faith No More/Tool style rhythms and riffs with extra power chords and politics. “We Bounce” is decent value for money: two versions of the title track, two session tracks and a live video. But in view of recent events the CD itself is irrelevant given that the cover features a globe wrapped in the American Flag with the stars replaced by Swastikas.

Calm down. Think happy thoughts. Okay. Beth Orton‘s “Thinking About Tomorrow” will help. ‘Tired but I ain’t sleeping / Thinking about some sad affair’. Gentle acoustic guitars, muted organ, wah-wah pedals and prominent strings. It could have been a mess but it isn’t thanks to Beth‘s serene voice. It’s relaxing and calming; balm for a troubled soul. Useless as a single though. You need to put on the album and sink back into a warm lavender bubble bath, let your skin get soft and pink. Mmmmm.

Mis-Teeq‘s “Scandalous” is pants but I’ve yet to like any of this R&B, girl band, nu-soul or whatever it’s called nonsense. Some nice acid synths, garage (the other kind) bass burbles and bit-depth reduced drum programming spread over four remixes but it’s not enough, sorry.

One of the remixes is by Jazzwad. Does he not have any friends to tell him how stupid his name is? There’s an MPEG video on the CD too, and the lousy compression used on the audio makes for the best sound of the lot, so if you want it just download the MP3. Or the ring tone.

I had reservations about Dr Rubberfunk‘s “Latin Player” too but it isn’t all that bad. The synth strings, acoustic hip hop beats and keyboard bass are decent enough and they’re really only there to support the tasteful flamenco guitar which, despite flamenco being a Spanish phenomenon, gives this a nice Latin feel. Maybe. What’s a Latin feel anyway? The guitar’s tastefully played and it’s a proper tune not just a couple of bars of loop. Refined bistro muzak.

Dr Dre is standing right behind 50 Cent so as you’d expect “In Da Club” sounds as fat as his ass. Despite being co-published by Ain’t Nothing Going On But Fuckin’ Music you’ll probably hear the clean version and have to reconstruct what it’s on about for yourself. My guess is: ‘Go Go Go / It’s your birthday / You’ll find me in a club / Bottle full of Bud / You need to feel the buzz / I’m going to have a sex aid / So come give me a hug / No need to be rough / Dre if you gotta show me love / We can play groupies love / I walk with a limp’. There’s an instrumental B-side for freestyle or bootleg purposes.

Harry is a woman which has something to do with her “Under The Covers EP” sounding like Garbage. Also, if she wasn’t female and somewhat stunning I don’t think she’d be sprawled over the cover wearing silk stockings and a blank expression.

The three songs are covers: Bauhaus‘ “She’s In Parties” is a bit more industrial goth; Salt ‘n Pepper‘s “Push It” a bit more happy hardcore and Belouis Some‘s “Imagination”, the lead track, is just total Garbage studio-geek techno-rock. No, I’ve never heard of Belouis Some either, despite “Imagination” reaching no.17 in 1986. I reckon he/she/it is the evil genius behind this, going for maximum songwriting royalties and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Saving the best for last, Moving Units self titled debut EP contains four tracks of syncopated, lopsided punk-funk-rock that really does sound like it was recorded in a garage. Imagine Wire‘s “Pink Flag” but without the annoying barrow boy vocals, 25 years late and about 5% better.

The bass takes a lot of the melody, the drums clatter boisterously along while a scratchy guitar crawls about on top etching urgent little rifflets around and in between it all. As rock music goes it’s experimental, but they’re using the exact same apparatus available in the late 70s resulting in the same awkward, controlled explosions. The best song is “X AND Y” whose title even sounds like Wire.

I like this stuff. A lot. But with this bunch, the lascivious Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the semi-random scribbles of Erase Errata we’ve got plenty of it for now. So if you’re thinking of starting another musical re-enactment society pick a different era or style okay? I’m already sick with melancholy for a time when we only had the cold war and impending nuclear winter to fret about.

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