Thursday, March 19, 2009

The shock of the new

We have this massive ongoing list of Myspace addresses that every so often we like to dip into and see if anything genuinely excites us. More often than not we just end up wondering why on earth we ever thought to put that on the list. Oh, quite a few of them this pruning around. Here's some more new names, or at least they were new when we listed them, to conjure with.

We thought we'd written about Penny Broadhurst before, but apparently not. Leeds based Broadhurst used to be, and sometimes still is, a performance poet and that tack-sharp social wryness and by turn darkness has been allied to a pop sensibility - not pop like we usually say about pop when it's vaguely melodic, although this is, but the newer songs here betray a far more sophisticated take on stuff that might sell in lesser forms. All over the place stylistically, though, which Polydor would immediately blanch at but works out just fine, from lilting country-tinged acoustic to laptop Xenomania-on-a-budget, especially now she's started gigging with a band, The Maffickers (including a guitarist on hire from those that used to be the Chiara L's and now, in a triumph of lexicography, are now The Kiara Elles) Recalling everyone from Billy Bragg to Bis, the only surprise is that the cult following isn't all encompassing already.

Awkward trios hotwiring Fugazi, Shellac and/or McLusky get a fast track into our Myspace roundups, and so it is with Southend's Fashoda Crisis. These are very much the children of Falkous, what with their love of a cutting aphorism, opaque lyrics with politicised undertow, bass that'd power a village for a fortnight and wall of distortion guitar. Their currently available mini-album Mischief Of One Kind And Another spits its righteous fury from inside a seal-packed environment of their own.

As are Triple School, except they're one fewer in number. There's a lot of two-pieces around at the moment but not so many that just pump the fuzz guitar up as far as it'll go and let the drums hammer away like they're banging on Valhalla's own door to SST via the Jesus Lizard. And they're giving away their debut EP for free. And we've not even mentioned yet that shouter Giles Bailey used to front Dananananaykroyd.

Celebrity Chimp are also a duo, but one whose output is, if no less committed, somewhat calmer. Not much less odd, though, not least as Andy McKay, also of Song By Toad Records Appalachian folk outfit Nightjar, specialises in banjo, making them essentially bluegrass punk, with their driving rhythms, wry lyrics and, well, banjo hammering. They have a five tracker called Celebrity Is The New Royalty and a load of London live dates, and we reckon that would be a pretty decent night out.

Something less immediately rollicking for a change of pace. With the whole Sonic Cathedral thing and return of dreampop - alright, shoegazing, then - to the scene hazy, droney soundscapes and half distinct vocals are the new black. Manchester's Young British Artists bring the whole thing - punchdrunk tremelo'd guitars, thick old basslines, claustrophobia to go - to the party, crossed with the odd Interpol/Chameleons flick and a Kyte-ish desire to plan out grandiose new soundscapes add up to impressively drowsy effect.

Bath's Kill It Kid are certainly worth memorising if only for Chris Turpin's, um, distinctive voice, like Wild Beasts' Hayden Thorpe shrugging off laryngitis for a night down the old timey Americana club night. Already signed to One Little Indian and with John Parish producing their demo, they come across like a post-Sufjan take on Delta blues, with strings swirling round and pounding drums as the driving force. That they can go from the melodrama of Send Me An Angel Down (a future single, apparently) to the Carter Family country hoedown of My Lips Won't Be Kept Clean to the rootsy without being that primal rock'n'roll pervasiveness, like Mumford & Sons deprived of their banjo and attached to a Standard rocket. You'll definitely be hearing a great deal about them soon enough.

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