Sunday, May 14, 2006

In shops tomorrow: 15/5


It's a summer of Spectorisms ahead, which is probably for the best given his trial date's been moved back to next January. Get in while you can, we say. Among the leaders in the race to take a small budget and turn it into a Wall Of Sound are Glasgow veterans Camera Obscura, whose album we raved about on the last Weekender and of which you can get the first proper taste of with the release of perhaps too late Lloyd Cole and the Commotions answer record Lloyd I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken. Lovely for the turn of the weather. Conversely, in case we get a wet one after all, it's also being lined up as the summer of glacial post-shoegazing of the type picked out by Oxfordshire's Fell City Girl, whose Swim is dramatic and darkly poetic in the manner of a far less overwrought Muse or Doves' most windswept moments. It's also going to be worth keeping an eye on their label Lavolta, currently edging Liam Frost towards a breakthrough. Frank Turner was not so long ago leader of Million Dead, a cut'n'shut of post-hardcore dynamics and politically motivated polemic that burned for two albums before extinguishing while still rising. His debut solo EP has the near-perfect title Campfire Punkrock, being blues-Braggian acoustic guitar social commentary of the highest order. The Like's What I Say And What I Mean is neither of those things but it's very much fair enough power-pop of a type nobody seems to do since Fountains Of Wayne's video director found out Rachel Hunter's agent's number.


If we have a problem with ¡Forward, Russia!'s Give Me A Wall, it's that the mask of impersonality has been allowed to slip. Call us silly, but we quite admired the fact that they were Tom, Whiskas, Rob and Katie, and that was just it, all we needed to know. Suddenly we find in the liner notes 'All songs Woodhead/Nicholls/Canning/Nicholls' and it's become all familial. Almost certainly just us, that. Anyway it's a mighty work of emo-while-not-actually-being-emo, less post-punk template than most have shepherded them into, propulsive and secretly melodic. There's a documentary on Radio 1's Lamacq Live tomorrow to tie in with it, but you can hear it in advance here. Spiritual fathers of a kind Dinosaur Jr have remastered and expanded Green Mind and Where You Been from their post-Lou Barlow, major label phase, full of J Mascis soloing and temporal changes aplenty. If you're here for the post-punk, may we highly recommend Rip It Up And Start Again: Post-punk 1978-1984, the spinoff of Simon Reynolds' excellent book which has just come out in paperback, a primer that doesn't take the easy options and mixes up the family favourites (Fall, Specials, early Human League), cult heroes (Associates, Cabaret Voltaire, Raincoats) and those to whom this may act as a jolt into wider notability (Fatal Microbes, Thomas Leer). It's fair to assume David Gedge listened to a lot of this growing up, and that knife-edge intensity pervades to this day in the Wedding Present's work no matter what prevailing trends, as recent roundup Search For Paradise: Singles 2004-5 shows. And for calming influences, Grandaddy perhaps get out at the right time but not without giving things a long, hard think on Just Like The Fambly Cat - now there's a band who'll require re-evaluation in a few years, as The Sophtware Slump seems not to have delivered on its deserved promises of greatness - and Shack retake their melodies for the ages territory on Noel Gallagher label-issued On The Corner Of Miles And Gil. Yes, 60s counter-culture, we get it.

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