NBTMusicRadio TWO reviews 2

nbttwo 2

In which Marc Presley embarks on a nostalgic voyage and delivers an intricate review of Andrew Kay’s new album. This is bookended by two short mini reviews by Martin Smit (creator/owner of the NBTMusicRadio) of tracks from artists featured across our 24 hour stream

Anilore – Mimicry and Murmur (from the album ‘’Lull’’)

In the Bandcamp notes for the album, Andrew Malenda calls the music ‘lonely’, but I will have to respectfully disagree, this (and especially this track) is all about contact, with like minds, battling against the timid, the ignorant, the vast deliberate unknowing. It is children holding hands in a storm, adults sharing half secrets once hidden in shy smiles. Uplifting and beautiful the song creates victory from quiet tragedies. It is rare to find such a balanced almost non dramatic mood inside the so called ‘shoegaze’ genre or such (rock) weight within ambient pieces and while the music recalls both the Rachels and Charalambides, there is a clutter and sigh that is all their own.

https://anilore.bandcamp.com/

 

Andrew Kay – Brand New Suit  (A Review By Marc Presley)

(buy it here: https://nbtmusicradio.bandcamp.com/album/brand-new-suit)

I don’t recall the first time I met Andrew, but I do remember the first time I saw him play. It was at the Rhodes University Great Hall in 1983.
I don’t recall the main act that his band, New Releases, was supporting, but I think it may have been Via Afrika. The reason I don’t recollect what the headline band was is that New Releases were so startlingly inspired and original, that they owned the event.
At the time, Rhodes was heavily inhabited by “Rhodesian” expats: mostly bitter, racist frat boys, and Andrew spat “The Rugger Bugger Rap” at them while Mark Osborn ran around like a mental patient freed from his straitjacket, in pyjamas, bashing a steel tray with an Old Brown Sherry bottle.
I was in awe.
I grew up in Uitenhage, a small, conservative town. For me, South African music was dudes in pubs playing “Hotel California”, and Juluka’s hard-to- find first record. After seeing New Releases and Not Even the TV, I was utterly blown away. I would never have picked up a guitar, nor ever stood in front of a microphone (unless being questioned by the police) without those two bands.
We became really close when I failed Sociology 3 and had to repeat. Andy was doing the same course, and we had immense fun with a prissy new lecturer, Afrikaans, who was slathered in make-up, wearing high-heeled shoes straight out of a porn movie, fresh out of uni, teaching the course on, of all things, Marxist feminism. We would sit together in her class with our feet up on the desks, chain-smoking, snarling and flicking ash on the floor. She once asked us, incredulously, “are you ALLOWED to smoke in here?” Andrew’s like, “we’re lumpen proletarians!” I’m, “It’s the means of production!”. That kinda stumped her. The poor woman.

After moving to Johannesburg, I formed Live Jimi Presley, and Andrew and Mark Osborn formed a two-piece, Pulse. Later Mark went on to spawn Sparky’s Magic Piano, and even later Mark and Andrew teamed up with Tilo von Brandis to create Tardishead. We were all very close. Hung out together, and shared rehearsal space.

Apologies for the rather long-winded introduction, but it is needed as a caveat for any perceived bias. Andrew’s one of my dearest, most beloved friends, yet I shall, in all honesty, try my best to give an objective critique of the record.
Here goes, then.

Firstly, don’t expect any information in or on the album’s sleeve. There is none. There is a small ball on the front and back, and the colour of the ball varies, depending on which edition you got. Inside, there is a song listing. That’s it. No production credits, no songwriting credits, no musician credits, no blurb; nada, zilch, just sweet fuck-all.
And I love that. It’s only the songs. That’s what Andrew’s always been about: the songs. Nothing to see here. Just put it on and listen.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: the songs. Because you know, songs are kinda the most important thing about a record. I hope nobody minds my comparisons to other bands, as Andrew’s influences are abundant and clear.

#1: We’ll be together

I have a special fondness for this one. I’ve always maintained that in another time and another place, it would have been a chart-topper. Most pop songs sound simple, but try playing Beatles and Abba songs.
I played rhythm guitar live on a couple of occasions as a guest for this song, and I had to practice for weeks. It’s pretty complex. I think it’s gorgeous. What I like is that Andrew has retained his original guide vocal; gritty and edgy. The slide guitar is magnificent. However, I have two problems with this production: 1:The brass is great, but I would have liked to hear the original guitar riff over it on occasion. 2: Remove the “baybeee”s. Try it. It sounds much better.

#2: Lucy in the sky with headphones

This is the best production on the record. Lush and gorgeous. It showcases how Andrew is one of the very few indie SA artists who can actually sing and harmonize. A marvelously constructed piece of psychedelia.
Produced by Tilo von Brandis. Respect

#3: God refused to hear

Excellent lyrics, but I just can’t get Santana out of my head when I hear it. Lame ending. Marc refused to hear.

#4: Book of love

I’ve said this before: the guitars sound like The Verve; the vocals Gabrielesque. It’s nice.

#5: Friday morning month end

The most intensely personal song on the record. I have a great admiration for artists who can document the everyday with sincerity and honesty. A good little country song, reminiscent of Neil Young and Kris Kristofferson’s more candid moments. I want to cry every time I hear the Max lyric.

#6: Superboy

David Bowie circa Aladdin Sane. I’m surprised Andrew hasn’t been sued for this. Still, a solid pop song, though. Andrew writes good pop songs. Lovely piano.

#7: Ear of an innocent

Hmm. Seagulls. That’s original.
I find the verses a little Syd Barretty, but the chorus is sublime. Love the bongos or congas or whatever they are.

#8: Long dark road

My favourite. What Andrew has done here is miraculous: combined the sadness and melancholy of traditional Country with lilting, joyous instrumentation. The incongruity and contradiction is astounding. A very clever and virtuosic piece of music, with a bit of Rock ‘n Roll thrown in for good measure. I’m always astonished to hear non-Americans play Country so well.

#9: Fat Elvis

Solid pop song. Great brass. A tight piece of Rock that may have been better as a ska song. Just my opinion.

#10: Easy

A nice Britpop Beatles thingie. Sounds too much like Oasis, though.

11: Revolution of love

I like this one. It’s one of Andrew’s older songs. Lenny Kravitz guitar with Ministry vocals. One of the less retro songs on the record.

12: Baiting Mr Big

I’m torn here. Whilst I love this song and was involved with Sparky’s Magic Piano, I cannot fathom why it’s on the record. It’s great that it’s getting out to an audience that have never heard it, but it’s a Mark Osborn song. Andrew doesn’t even play on it.

13: Big time love celebration

A great song. Andrew in celebratory mood. He tends to do that under the most dire stress. The most positive person I’ve ever met. But stop with the fucking “bayyybeees” already!

In conclusion, Andrew Kay is probably the most unrecognized, inspired and eclectic pop artist to come out of my generation. The fact that he is a consummate musician as well as a wonderful person, notwithstanding. The record is technically flawless. He just writes fucking beautiful music.

Again buy it HERE:  https://nbtmusicradio.bandcamp.com/album/brand-new-suit

you can also buy it in a bundle with the NBTMusicRadio Compilation (25 songs from 9 countries) AND the NBT theme song single..at huge discount.

Ric Gordon – I Will Always Be There (from the album ‘’ Standing Here’’)

Mr Gordon runs the Russian Winter Records label which is as eclectic with its roster as is NBT with its playlist, shoegaze, punk and electro all find a happy home there, but with this EP he takes a different route. Combining elements of Byrd like jangle attached to a Nick Lowe way with melody and lyric, this could almost be called acoustic new wave and this track in particular would have found a most welcome home on a Stiff Records compilation back in the day. Remarkably it is not at all dated nor does it have that feel of the deliberate ‘retro’ that sadly is now so in fashion, rather it is honest, timeless and rather damn catchy. Lovely stuff

https://russianwinterrecords.bandcamp.com/

all this music can be found  swimming freely deep down in the ocean of sound that is the NBTMusicRadio-Two

http://nbtmusic.de/

http://nbtmusic.de/2ndradio/

(Always: wonderful works in progress)

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The NBTMusic Review 142

review 143

The Random Playlist Experiment

Older Reviews (1 – 123) can be found here

So I thought I would try something different, Take three very talented, very different artists, throw all their new songs into a folder and let my player spit out the music at will, and I will attempt to convey my emotional, my sensual, my heart’s response to what hits me, and for three tracks from each artist I shall discover what private movies are created, what memories are triggered. I shall leave the technical dissection for other worthy critics; they have my permission, to conduct strenuous autopsies upon the verse and chorus of each song.

The three albums I will listen to are:

Monsters by Dudley Saunders (Strange Troubadours)

Tokyo’s Fifth – Tokyo Rosenthal (Rock and Sock Records)

Long Way Home – Max Carmichael (Independent Release)

So as a famous pair of lips once said in a cult film one dark rainy night, ‘’let’s get to it boppers’’

The first track up is Rosenthal’s ‘’What Did I Used To be’’ a reflective dark start to the proceedings.  3AM fragile where sunrise seems a lifetime away, and the hope that kept the younger man going seems in short supply. What surprises is how gentle this is, perhaps this is how depression hits us not with blunt force, but cloaked in sweet melody.

Saunder’s ‘’ What Rats Are We’’ stays in that temperamental time zone,  part of the night where time slows to a crawl, but this is  jazz romantic, neon sign reflected in puddle moody, kinda hip as the ghosts of Marlon Brando and Miles Davis are evoked. These too are lost men, but watch for the proud tilt of the head, the small wicked smile.

And so we leave the street and enter a packed club, An impossibly cool band whose members all look like Max Carmichael are playing on a tiny cramped stage, the song is, ‘’ Yellow Mud’’, we think of the Beatles, but not in Hamburg, rather in CBGBs, Jonathan Richman looks on and takes notes, a yuppie in the corner is loudly demanding a coloured drink, perhaps because his girlfriend is paying too much attention to the band.

Speaking of the Beatles, Tokyo takes back control of their ‘’Helter Skelter’’ but with none of the affectation of U2. This is country fiddle joyful, recalling a glorious time in the mid 70s when the American charts were full of country rock boogie, sing along anthems devoid of guile, you know, like when the Doobie Brothers were NOT slick, NOT polished, and there wasn’t a genre called adult contemporary.

Carmichael’s ‘’Plateau’’ comes skipping in, keeping the party vibe going, Everly Brothers overdosed on Paul Simon sanctioned subliminal afro rhythms, the singer enjoying the insecurity of sunshine through clouds,  we feel we are on a roundabout ,things become a pleasant blur, tension and giggles in equal measure.

Dudley Saunders brings back the fear, but oh how tactile, stirring seductive he makes it, in ’’ The Man In The Game’’ we cuddle up nervous next to one of his curiously broken characters, find an understanding for the approaching horror, glory in the detachment, this is how nightmares should be written, not with screeches and bombast, but rather with a slightly dangerous empathy.

Rosenthal’s ‘’Waste Of A Heart’’ with its traditional Oprey feel, and shy lilting harmonies from Andrea Connolly, makes us wish that Leonard Cohen, had written more Country songs. Regret and acceptance he moves out towards the dawn at last

In ‘’Zero Out (In These Boxes) ‘’ by Dudley Saunders,  we discover how memories can trap the soul, how powerful inanimate objects can be, as if they are magic, that just by looking at them, taking them out of that box in the attic or the top of the cupboard, they bestow the not  completely welcome gift of time travel. This for me is the most personal track on this album and all the more beautiful for it.

And finally we head down into Max Carmichael’s ‘’Rifted Valley.’’ What amazes me here is suddenly we are no longer in the artist’s beloved New York post Punk Loft dreamscape, but somewhere deep in that intellectual alt Americana that folks like Andrew Bird inhabit. It is fitting that this is the last song of this random journey, because the music is epic, growing, dense and like all that we have heard today, full of ideas, but never disregarding the raw emotion of it all.

Find out more from these artists right here:

http://www.tokyorosenthal.com/tokyo_rosenthal/home.html

http://www.dudleysaunders.com/index.php

http://www.maxcarmichael.com/

And you can hear LOADS of tracks from these three albums on the NBTMusicRadio 24 hour stream

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/
TuneIn (for Windows Phone, Blackberry and Android):NBTMusicRadio

iTunes: Click on ‘Advanced’ then ‘Open Stream’

and paste: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

or search Under ‘radios’ /’eclectic’

stream thru your Media Player: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

The NBTMusic Review 140

Older Reviews (1 – 123) can be found here

Light in Cages – album launch Zack’s, Wilson’s Wharf 28 October.

By Helge Janssen

I first came across Rowan Stuart when he opened for a Jaspar Lepak gig @ St. Clements in Musgrave Road more than a year ago. He had already become well known via Cynosure a “quirky fun-pop-rock band” in the words of Rowan himself. At St. Clements, he had a way with creating guitar loops and backing beats that grew the sound beyond he and bassist Jared Collison’s stage presence. All the while Rowan’s eyes would dart around: audience to guitar, drum beat/loop to audience, microphone to foot pedals….as if he was looking for something unfathomable, seemingly out of reach. At the same time he was having fun experimenting before a highly appreciative audience. But quite clearly the glint in Rowan’s eye (a single eye peering through the curtain of his fringe) was searching for a greater challenge.

Light in Cages – Rowan’s solo project alias transmuting into a band for performances – literally burst onto the Durban rock scene @ Zack’s on a rainy Sunday night. Heading the line up was multitalented Rowan (lyricist, vocals, lead guitar, synth programming); Jared (bass); and Jude Kendrick (drums). I sensed immediately that there had been a shift in Rowan, a shedding, displaying a masterful command of his performance that was grounded, driving, inimitable. He has been hard at work, realigning his planets and taking stock of his life, allowing his lyrics and songs to speak for themselves. As such, this break-away venture bares all the courage of self-exploration within a context of philosophical portent. But I also sensed there is a lot more in dynamo Rowan – in perfect voice, a voice with a range of which great legends are made – that wants to kick ass. He certainly has rock star looks and style, wearing black shirt, black skinny-jeans and hipster black and white checked belt. Long time collaborator Jared was solid on bass, complimenting Rowan with confident ease. Newcomer Jude gave a vigorous and beat-perfect performance on drums.

There is certainly light – and darkness – with immense intelligence in the lyrics, which are most epic. The melodies are haunting and memorable. There is magnificence in the musical arrangements that are many-layered, which I see (given time) being performed with full orchestral accompaniment. Time will prove just how far ‘Light in Cages’ has raised the bar in this genre and as such this is indeed an exciting and much needed addition to South Africa’s rock scene.

The CD cover is a direct link to this projects name: a man in a state of ecstatic abandonment with light emanating from his chest cavity, and who is surrounded by a bleak landscape swathed in darkness. The immediate impact is of a soul trapped in a human body yet forever free. It is of note too, that while the rib cage is an ‘entrapment’ it is also a flexible protection.

The CD has been expertly produced and recorded by Rowan with Brent Quintin mixing and mastering. The talents of Sidney Rash were used on drums, with Rowan completing the range of backup musical instruments: bass, guitars, programming.

I have at least two best best favourite tracks: “Symphony” and “The Labyrinth”.

Here are the lyrics courtesy of Rowan:

SYMPHONY

They say that we were once beasts
Who rose from the ground
We were bound and displeased

They say our thirst never died
As we grew in our numbers
So we grew in our pride

I say that beasts we may be
But blessed with the ability to better are we

So come on, come on baby please
Won’t you close your box of vanities
Cause there’s a symphony
It’s called Humanity
And every note, every beat
Is an angel reborn

If we choose to live and let live
To create and to wonder
And take less than we give

We can break from these cages of skin
Becoming humane and not merely human

So come on, come on baby please
Won’t you close your box of vanities
Cause there’s a symphony
It’s called Humanity
And every note, every beatIs an angel reborn
Is an angel reborn

There’s a symphony
Called humanity
And every note, every beat
Every note, every beat
Every note, every beat
Is an angel reborn

————————-

THE LABYRINTH

Curse of birth or gift of the divine
Sworn to walk this trying maze of mine

I’d just watch the sky to stay strong
And dreaming between the stars
I’d forge on

Cause I could never stop this search, it is my fate
To walk the labyrinth

And every time you tear me down I’ll recreate
Myself inside of it
The labyrinth
It’s in my veins now

Whispers and stirring bones
Of those before
So few find the prize
We die for

But I could never stop this search, it is my fate
To walk the labyrinth

And every time you tear me down I’ll recreate
Myself inside of it
The labyrinth
It’s in my veins now

This is rock music at its fledging best!

If Rowan were a fine artist, I would call this the world’s first rock instillation art piece!

It is going to be interesting to see if Rowan will succeed in enticing people to buy into his music rather than into his name or image, or whether there is a calling of which he himself is as yet unaware. After all rock music is very much about lifestyle and performance that marries and drives home its liberating message.

On its own, the CD is an astounding achievement. Get your copy now!

Visit Light in Cages web site at: http://www.lightincages.com/fr_music and get a free download of a track.

You can also visit the Facebook page at:
https://www.facebook.com/LightInCages?ref=ts&fref=ts

Tracks from this album can be heard all over the NBTMusicRadio 24 stream, specially though, during the hour of 7 PM Berlin time (that’s 6 PM UK,  1 PM New york)

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/
TuneIn (for blackberry and android):NBTMusicRadio

iTunes: Click on ‘Advanced’ then ‘Open Stream’

and paste: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

stream thru your Media Player: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

 

 

The NBT Review 135

Whitehorse – Whitehorse (Six Shooter Records)

Let’s mood swing for a moment into this new dream. Old time radio filtered captured thoughts, a lazy ghost drifting across wild western desert or is this hazy vision really Russian winter bleak? The music hints that both worlds could be here, within this fragile opening.

We are taken from this delicate tension, (almost Wim Wender Serene Soundtrack like) into the echoed dramatic of, ‘’Killing Time Is Murder’’ the ghosts become rock n roll real, a finger snapping delightfully urgent harmonic surge, the girl boy balance fine tuned, so it’s not truck driver macho or even ethereal femme detached, but rather that space in between.

Even when Luke Doucet takes on lead vocals, there is enough of Melissa McClelland’s dream pop sensibility to make these songs a wonderful fantasy version of what Okkervil River might sound like mixed lovingly with Beach House.

What delights here is that, just when you think you have tied down this duo to some genre or other, they jump/dance away from the label and throw in something else. There is haunted rock-a-billy here, there is AM radio power pop,  there are slivers of wounded wondering Folk songs and there is even that old time roots pop that the Loving Spoonful got so very right which makes their version of Springsteen’s ‘’I’m On Fire’’ a natural marvel.

Indeed they construct rare beauty in songs that make the listener think of Ryan Adams for a few seconds, then KD Lang for a few more, while never losing their own trance logic, an ‘other’ worldly shimmer that is their own.

Find out more about this incredibly seductive band here:

http://www.whitehorsemusic.ca

You can hear tracks from this album spread ALL over the 24 hour stream that is the NBTMusicRadio

But specially during the ‘’Essence Of The Song’’ Hours which go out every day

3 and 4 PM Berlin Time for our European listeners (2 and 3 PM UK Time)

And 9 and 10 PM New York time for our USA and Canadian Listeners.

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/
iTunes/TuneIn (for blackberry and android):NBTMusicRadio

Stream thru yr media player: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

Burner – TERRANOVACAIN (Independent Release)

I confess to have succumbed to the jagged post punk soul of this album, so my thoughts are those of the converted, are purely spiritual , personal, chaotic random and deep as thought can be in the moment of the music, so critical detachment, a cold clear look or listen is not what happens here. But maybe like this collection, it is something more, more true to the ambition inside the rhythms

This is all oiled machine flirting though with the rust of hard use, it is all friction versus the fluid, the darkest sigh against the pounding hammer. It’s Stax era funk, folded smooth into white boy need, jittering and jerking, animated clown, loose limbed new wave under the mirrorball at 4 am in the morning.

It’s disco with abrasive guitars, it’s the Bass as half robot half panther, these songs never stop prowling, disturbing, they are electro shock without terror, but embracing the fear as a wicked jive partner.

These songs are songs of hope from a cynic’s point of view, where defeat is ever on the edge of its seat, grinning with excitement only to be surprised by the magic and love, the ultimate daring of what comes next.

My job is to listen to those that call themselves ‘’Independent’’ and I have noticed how few earn that title.

TERRANOVACAIN wear it with pride.

Find out more:

http://www.reverbnation.com/terranovacain#!

You can hear this band’s music ALL over the 24 Hour stream that is the NBTMusicRadio

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/
iTunes/TuneIn (for blackberry and android):NBTMusicRadio

Stream thru yr media player: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

The NBT Review 134

Physics for Poets: Nick Darcy-Fox

A Review by Helge Janssen

ISBN 9781466462106

Physics, distinguished from that of chemistry and biology includes: mechanics, heat, light and other radiation, sound, electricity, magnetism, and the structure of atoms.

Poet: a person possessing special powers of imagination or expression

This is an exceptionally well-written uncontrite and at times humour-filled tale of seemingly trite White South African life in the dying days of apartheid….into the crossover of the ‘new’ reality…where the relatively sudden adjustment of having to accept that the ‘swart gevaar’ was to be the New Government was as difficult to grasp as any interrupted dream might be. Set in Durban between 1988 and 1990 this is an earnest coming-of-age story of teenage angst as it negotiates a way through sex, drugs and alternative music.

And then a gap in this nightmare: ‘Faces’ nightclub….a fissure enough to affirm a vital perspective.

Relating events is Charl Forth (roughly fifteen in the earlier parts of the story) who is in the throes of realizing that things are not quite right in this land of Nod. Not to mention the omnipresent emotional dishonesty bred through political disinformation that is fostered hand in hand with contorted truth. This reality check is eventually highlighted with the release of Nelson Mandela causing disparate political undercurrents within relationships to become starker: life was indeed very dire hanging at this abyss-edge of total onslaught. One scenario: as Belinda (the girlfriend) and Charl boringly await the release of Mandela from prison (poor T.V. coverage) their dialogue reveals Belinda’s racism and growing sense of threat welling up as a need for sexual affirmation.

The narrative of ‘Physics for Poets’ interweaves subtle allegorical cross linkages and nuances of sexual current/oppressive heat/weather/human behaviour/political change perceptively and craftily within the backdrop of contortions within family life. As such this tale becomes a most poetically inventive, linguistically ingenious, politically left convolution of these problematic times. The over-all dynamic of the text – where sentences and imagery constantly clip-flip into place – gives a sense that Charl is dealing with the intricacies of a South African Rubik’s Cube.

A troubled youth attempting to find cognizance of life’s profound imports while being held in the travails of its ubiquitous cavernous insanity: apartheid – perversely in every nook, cranny, classroom and graveyard. Charl is not only trying to negotiate his way through matric, he also has to face his own demons.

The grim prospects of a warped education system….hell bent on indoctrination….robbing white South Africans of authenticity – is well captured. To not be sucked into the convention needed a cutting edge intelligence counter balanced by a willingness to live in the moment. But, as Syd Kitchen famously said: “South Africa is not for sissies” we realise it is for those who somehow manage to plumb some depth into their psyche honestly, that salvation is possible. This twist of cognizance comes as a calibre that cannot be earned lightly: a spiritual mettle that cuts through the silly double-speak and one-upmanship with deftness….while at the same time realising that the bigger picture is far more serious….if not just a pack of cards so easily collapsible. Charls’ anarchy therefore rests in his spontaneity and he emerges as the antihero not indifferent to the scores he settles (private and political) launching his broadsides with startling accuracy. As such the innate (poetic) mien of his nature is affirmed. He represents the LIFE apartheid tried so hard to quell. The crime (for those who are not aware) is that this is any person’s automatic birthright.

The language is sharp and the sentences bristle with inventiveness and perspicacity. The pace is measured and, as such, creates space for the undercurrent to surface. The situations unfold effortlessly yet surprisingly. I could not put the book down – until closing it with a broad smile on my face. A must read.

ps: the club ‘Faces’ referred to – and experienced – in the novel quite clearly is PLAY at the Community Arts Workshop in Walnut Road. This barn-like building stood next to what became Tilt Night Club and was demolished in 1989 to make way for the multi-story Bureau de Change.

http://www.bookdepository.com/Physics-for-Poets-Nick-Darcy-Fox/9781466462106
10.66

Otherwise the kindle can be found here:
http://www.amazon.com/Physics-for-Poets-ebook/dp/B006NZFX8K/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1329442134&sr=8-8
as well as the actual book here:
http://www.amazon.com/Physics-Poets-Nick-Darcy-Fox/dp/1466462108/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1329442134&sr=8-3

The NBT Review 130

older reviews (1 – 123) can be found here

The NBT Review 130

Lossless – Lilo (Independent Release)

Reviewed by by Cobus Rossouw AKA 88KOS

Picture © Ryan Joffe

Confession: This album has so many personal touchpoints for me that it is inevitable that this will be a good review. The source of this bias is threefold and relates to the personnel on LILO’s new album “lossless”.

The first is Alexander Sudheim. He has been the genius behind LILO for more than a decade, running through many incarnations. Once, many years ago we shared the stage for two nights, at the Abelarde Sanction and at Silver Creek in Pretoria. He has steadily championed an alt country/lo-fi aesthetic and I rank him alongside Malkmus as inspiration. If you can find “Light me a Lucifer” from 2002, buy it.

Lossless, his latest offering, also features the talents of Chris Letcher and Richard Haslop. Chris Letcher is responsible (alongside Matthew van der Want) for one of my favourite albums of all time, “Low Riding”, and Richard possesses the kind of musical knowledge that means he is always right about everything musically. His print articles are part of my staple diet of music lit and his radio shows (when I managed to catch them) have always been enlightening in their scope and depth. He also plays a truly mean guitar!

So you have a trio of minds; a challenger of convention, a musical savant and a library of all that has gone before, contributing to a stripped down collection of songs. Forgive me if reviewing this effort is therefore slightly daunting.

The songs are, with the exception of “Forgiven” and “To FloreAnne on her 25th birthday”, arranged for guitars and voice. This leaves space for the songs to build an atmospheric tension, the kind you feel before a highveld thunderstorm. Sudheim’s lyrical intensity is undiminished (how do you maintain this kinda output for over a decade?) and his words carry the songs throughout. No mean feat considering there are 17 tracks on this offering. The density of his imagery is such that the album only unfolds after several listens. This doesn’t mean it’s a hard listen, in fact the music is immediately accessible and for an album of such sparse arrangement there is ample instrumental meaning underpinning Sudheim’s voice. Letcher’s skills as an arranger and Haslop’s way with a guitar create the perfect backdrop for Sudheim’s dark muse.

Honestly, sometimes I don’t even know how they’ve achieved this sublime sound. When Butcher Boy unfurls into techicolour rivers of strings (at 1:50), combining, flowing, twining… I find myself transported to a place where only Tindersticks could have taken me before. It’s a heaven that I love, it’s what angels sound like in my religion. If that single minute was all they’d produced I’d still feel they were gods, but this beauty doesn’t stop, each track builds its own character. Take “Sonnet for Tamara” – here the guitar builds from a simple twanging figure over a slide guitar into shimmering surf chords that eventually break into distorted walls of reverb wash. It’s like an anxiety attack that hangs behind the lyrics and it makes my little brain pop.

Lyrically there are recurring themes of circular reference, exercises in futility, failures in understanding. The loves, the hurts, all the despair is carved out in relief, our detachment, our inability to deal with each other in any honest manner, all laid bare. A way with words, Sudheim should get far more attention from the South African music press and I can only hope that more of them will listen to this album.

Lossless is almost entirely flawless. I say almost because there is one track that I simply do not understand. Not the song itself, but the way in which it is presented. It’s a personal feeling, a personal preference that makes the last song on the album a bit of a letdown, but the first 16 songs are of such transcendent quality that I would not be surprised to find that I am alone in this sentiment.

You can hear tracks from this album spread ALL over the 24 hour stream that is the NBTMusicRadio

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The NBT Review 127

older reviews (1 – 123) can be found here

Native Sons (deluxe reissue) – The Long Ryders

by Cobus Rossouw AKA 88KOS

Reviewing a reissue of an important and influential album from 1984 is a very challenging prospect for someone who has never heard the original. Some of the greatest albums ever made cannot stand outside of the context of their time and so it’s worth pausing to reflect on the history surrounding The Long Ryders’ “Native Sons”

By 1984 the genre of country-rock had been reduced to a pale shadow of its potential. While bands such as the Eagles had produced memorable songs and had advanced the style in terms of popularity, lyrical content had suffered and so this music had become associated with an anodyne middle-of-the-road sensibility.

Bear in mind that by this time The Sex Pistols had been and gone and the charts were filled with Culture Club, Keny Loggins and Lionel Richie. By the end of 1984 a day-glo Wham would plead with us to wake them up before they went.

The Long Ryders’ Native Sons entered into this market perception with a set of songs that, musically, embraced every riff, bassline and phrasing in the country-rock canon albeit with far more lyrical meaning than their immediate genre predecessors. The impact of the album was such that it peaked at number 2 on the NME Indie Charts in 1985, only kept out of the number 1 spot by Meat is Murder.

Look no further than “Ivory Tower” for this content. In two verses the Ryders sum up today’s slacktivist culture as if they had been privy to some prophecy.

In their version of Mel Tillis’ “Sweet Mental Revenge” I hear tribute to the vocal style of David Byrne, in “Tell it to the Judge on Sunday” there are moments when the voice of John Lydon calls out instructions and “Wreck of the 809” could have been included on “Sandinista”. The music on this pays homage but stands on its own feet, stands tall.

It’s a fascinating album, always surprising and filled with meaning. This is a band that could play anything, in any style. From the bass on “Wreck” to the banjo on “Never got to meet the mom” every instrument is appropriate and perfectly played. This combines with a vocal capability that manages to reference (as far as I’m concerned) every significant vocal contribution in the preceding 30 years. On top of that they do this without ever sounding like a gimmick, everything blisters with intensity, the Long Ryders mean every word.

I should have listened to “I had a Dream” in 1984.

you can tracks from this album all over the 24 hour stream of indie music that is The NBTMusicRadio and you can loads of cool 88KOS songs too!

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