Releases moved back for a start: Camera Obscura's Tears For Affairs was written up well last week and then got pushed back seven days, which is nothing compared to Friends Of The Bride's suave post-Britbeat debut 7" Buckle Up, Sunshine!, originally due out on March 19th through some aegis of the great Young & Lost Club but moved back to tomorrow due to the entire stock being impounded by customs for a fortnight. First there was one grandiose Danish outfit with epic indie-prog ambitions, now there is another one of it. While Mew regroup and plan their next dimensional explorations The Kissaway Trail have arrived on Bella Union with the euphorically galactical Mercury Rev-esque sound of Smother + Evil = Hurt. Even the awkward song titles are in common. Orange Juice have been thoroughly excavated these last four years but there was always a pop element at their core that has only really ever been hinted at, so Wild Beasts have taken up the slack and added love/hate high-pitched vocals on Through Dark Night, their last independent single before taking up residence on Domino. Some really strong stuff vinyl-wise, not least the band already experiencing something of a backlash despite not really having had the build up bit yet. Foals are currently going through the 'but they're just ripping off Battles/The Rapture' (or, according to one online review, "a slightly less energetic Sunshine Underground", which would actually be going backwards in our view) period, which suggests a) nobody remembers A Certain Ratio and b) this comparison thing has really got to stop. Double A side Hummer/Astronauts And All lays bare a mastery of precise polyrhythmic groove, both mathrocky in its preciseness and spazz-out in its danceability. Apparently they're much better live, too. Much louder live, we'd guess, are Dinosaur Jr, J Mascis putting his underwhelming ...& The Fog project on hold to reunite with Lou and Murph. Actually Been There All The Time sounds like it could have come from post-Barlow album Green Mind most of all, but no worry. It's not even the best of their new material.
Most of this week's attention will be understandably taken by Arctic Monkeys' Favourite Worst Nightmare, especially if it sells less than 300,000 over the next seven days and the papers self-consciously delight in telling us how far downhill they've gone. Haven't heard it yet, but if they've sorted the wheat from the less thought out chaffish half that meant Whatever People Say I Am... never ascended the heights it could have it could take off in a completely different way to how that first album did. Or something. Alright, we quite like the Arctic Monkeys at times, is it such a crime? Of more immediate cred points is Feist, who we've never really got on with before but The Reminder takes her into Cat Power territory without ever being a straight replica of the Marshall plan. The range of styles and confidence in taking them on points to an album that's most likely only to grow over time, and recorded in less than a week with as few overdubs as possible with her touring band and usual array of collaborators it's as fine a way as any of taking lo-fi stylistic experiments some way towards the mainstream. The Electric Soft Parade have majored in a similar sort of thing in terms of fuzzily melancholic, psychedelically influenced power-pop and all it earned them was a cancellation of their major label deal. Now with Truck Records and working on a purely DIY basis, the White brothers have put Brakes and the many Brighton outfits they've leant a hand to aside for a moment and produced the spectrally efficient slow-burner No Need To Be Downhearted. The Kissaway Trail's self-titled debut is also out this week - see single passim. There's a presumably not Mark E-endorsed digipack reissue of The Fall's Hex Enduction Hour out. How did we describe it? "An astounding work, difficult to get into but impossible to leave be, such is the intensity and the tightly wound lyricism. The first Fall album to break the top 75, many have this down as the masterwork, if probably not the place to start your Fall collection." Oh, buy it anyway. South London duo I Ludicrous were inspired by and weren't/aren't a million miles from the Fall's acutely angled observations, albeit in a C86 jangly vein. 20 Years In Show Business, starring the glorious Peel favourite Preposterous Tales, also betrays a very Nigel Blackwell-like outlook at least in terms of song titling: Pop Fan's Dream (Sunday Lunch With The Geldofs), My Baby's Got Jet Lag, Are You Turning Round And Telling Me, Hats Off To Eldorado, Stuck In A Lift With Noel Edmonds, Carter They're Unstoppable, When The Computer Engineer Comes, I've Never Been Hit By Mark E Smith, We're The Support Band, Valediction (Like A Moron).