Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The music that moves you

We know we said these would be up on Saturday. Things happened. OK?

Shearwater have made three albums before 2006's Palo Santo, reissued by Matador this week in 'Special Edition' guise (an extra CD of out-takes and demos, everything else remastered and/or re-recorded), but this is the one where they've broken free from the looming presence of Okkervil River, the band Jonathan Meiburg and Will Sheff began collaborating in. While Sheff continues sharpening his lyrical nous with that band Meiburg, who has also been out playing piano with Bill Callahan this year, has taken them in a dissonantly elegant direction, and if that sounds like a horrible contradiction it's the best way of summing up how the album, dedicated to and apparently inspired in whole by Nico, sounds, ranging from Talk Talk serenity to folk to John Cale to full-on histrionics.

Shearwater - Nobody

Reading's SixNationState have toured with the Maccabees and the Holloways but don't particularly share that much Libertine DNA with either. Studio guests on Dermot O'Leary's Radio 2 show last week, they've been compared to the Coral and Zutons by, erm, us, when we saw them at Truck last year, and they've been invited back for this time round. Their self-titled debut, issued on the reactived Jeepster Recordings on 24th September and produced by Iain Gore (Brakes, Rumble Strips, Larrikin Love, Blood Red Shoes, Les Incompetents), is full of darkly summery moods inflected in ska and dub as much as the sheer contagiousness plenty now strive for and few achieve. Or something.

SixNationState - I Hate The Summer

Alexandria Quartet went down in STN folklore when they became the first band to send us badges with their CD, one of which reads 'I'm here tonight 'cos the zeitgeist couldn't be bothered'. It's a lyric from their EP The Daydreams Of Youth, released in June on Walker & Orfing Records, which either deals in poetic folk balladry or, as here, trousers-on-fire railing against the day's ills in a style that reminds us of the Pogues and Whipping Boy. Which in itself is interesting, given they're North Londoners rather than Irish.

Alexandria Quartet - Through The Back Door

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