SINGLE OF THE WEEK
SECOND LANGUAGE EP (Rough Trade)
OH God, notes couldn’t spell out the score.
No band have robbed my speech and plundered my tears quite as greedily as Disco Inferno have this year. And, in the current pop climate, they grown more essential daily, a reason to believe rather than just another band. So much British pop is living in now-fear: bands that talk about British life from a rakish patronising distance of the “artist” and filter their “observations” back through a haze of retro-retreat and sickening cowardice.
Disco Inferno are beyond the poverty of such chicken-shits, they are the bravest band I’ve heard in too long; they insist on rendition not representation, they create the sound of living today there in your headphones, pouring from your speakers, there is no distance, they are VIRTUAL REALITY POP and they leave you gasping for air, clawing for words, shuddering stunned in the overwhelming truth and beauty of the music surrounding you.
No other band can make you feel this scarily alive, this acute sense of being on the brink of the big and wide. When the guitar at the end of the title track starts to bend and warp, writing difficulties set in. My heart skips a beat and then packs in two dozen in an instant. With this EP, perhaps their most gorgeous and accessible yet, I’m praying that one of those crazy moments when life actually works is going to happen.
Tattoo it under yer eyelids and sleep knowing it, you’re letting one of the best British bands of the decade slip through your fingers. There’s now reward for being ahead of your time but, on paltry planet pop, there’s no reward for being OF your time, either.
F***ing heroes, no question.
YOU DON’T LOVE ME (NO NO NO) [Big Beat]
After that camel’s abortion of a CJ Lewis single, it’d seem that the way to get a Number One is to find the most teeth-itchingly irritating old novelty hit and get some conveyor-belt toaster to Dalek out his drivel whenever the song runs out of words (depressingly often). I await Shabba Ranks’ take on ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’ and Buju Banton’s cover of ‘It’s Raining Men’ with terror. Hopefully, this song’ll hit big enough to banish all dire reggae-fied covers from the hit parade forever.
This is as catchy as crabs, with a vocal that’ll etch itself on yer mind all summer and a great early 70s “Tighten Up Vol.4” feel that could make it the best female reggae hit since the Soul Sisters “Wreck A Buddy”. A fab summer pop single and, oh yeah, play it next to Luscious Jackson’s ‘Daughters Of The Kaos’ and pat yourself on the back. Uncanny, aint it?
YOU know this already, of course.
You’ve put it on quiet at 3.30am to watch the rain run down the window and drag deep on your fag and nod slowly. You’ve let it buzz your ears on the night bus home and let the aching strings and sashay funk melt the tiredness and beer out yer head. You’ve been sat in niteklubs surrounded by couples slopping over each other, whispering to yourself, “I will not get alienated . . . I will not get alienated” and it’s come soaring over the system and you’ve clung to yourself and felt the warm glow of lonely happiness suffuse you.
You miserable old bugger.
Exquisitely measured defiance slips and slides into the terror of loneliness and, as ever, it’s gratifying to hear someone sing about life struggles who isn’t still a f***ing whiny adolescent or a solipsist sap or any of those clichéd lovelorn characters pop is choked with – just a person with all the attendant complexities, hang-ups and angelic neuroses that entails.
This has five mixes that you really don’t need but still, stack it up with “Hips & Makers”, “The White Birch” and Cassandra Wilsons incredible “Blue Light Til Dawn”, and keep several cold ones in the fridge for me. I’ll be round later.
CANCEL ‘EM ALL OUT (Vinyl Solution)
FROM the label that have already sunk vast craters in yer skull with Depthcharge, Eon and Gunshot comes more mind-bending future f***-cry from debutee Barry Blue. “Cancel Em All Out” is a blistering indictment of the music industry’s abject ignorance of British rap, and makes its best point simply by sounding like a hand grenade dropped down Matty Hanson’s nappies and a 100 times more powerful than any Snoop Lawdy Lawd drivel.
DJ White Child Rix masters the mayhem and is rapidly turning into the John Woo of hip hop. His mixing here is brutal and minimal, giving the mammoth beat a rawness that humps your woofers like a rutting rhino that’s been chewing on its own horn. Missus. Christ only know what they put in the water down at Vinyl Solution, so HE can fix me up with a double.
FITS OF GLOOM
You’ll hate it, inevitably. You’ll run out of cheap jeans shops to avoid it. It will follow you everywere. Building sites, taxis, HMV, kebab houses, passing Capris. In a pub, it’ll come on the juke and you’ll look around accusingly. You’ll turn to your friends and say, “God, I HATE this song.” You’ll make damn sure that everyone knows this kind of music is utterly anti-thetical to everything you hold dear in pop. And you’ll sadly watch it ascend the charts, wonder who is buying it, curse your generation.
And then when you’re in the shower in the morning and Steve Wright plonks this on, you’ll be singing your heart out, every single inane lyric, using the faucet as a microphone and generally acting like you should be wearing a one-piece sequinned leather body-stocking and playing “Pass The Mic” on ‘The Hitman And Her’ (still sadly missed). The Shower Test is the ultimate critical criterion of great pop and this passes it with barely a pause to reach for the loofah. You lav’ it, yoo filfy caaah.
GOODNIGHT IRENE, HELLO DOLLY (Org)
Y’KNOW how every now and then, when your faith in music is waning, a record seems to come out of nowhere and show you a whole new infinity of possibilities that need exploring? Happened with Public Enemy, Throwing Muses, LFO, The Young Gods, Rhythim Is Rhythim. And now Huge Baby.
This band are most intriguing. “Black Mama” turns from a Main-ish feedback wall into the dirtiest scuzziest blues I’ve heard in years, before stopping, starting again and finishing on a crescendo that even had the cat pinning her ears back. “Hopscotch” is a terrifying Slint-ish lullaby that will send you to sleep clinging to the sheets and bracing yourself for a restless night, and “Voodoo” is a cross between Pram and AC Temple, featuring a most astonishing vocal performance.
Thinking the record was warped, I got up to take it off but it wasn’t, she was doing that shit naturally! As I stepped back from the hi-fi, already a little spooked, whoevershemaybe’s voice abruptly mutated from a light croon into a frankly horrifying blast of vocal rage that actually physically sent me jerking away in fear. Good job I hadn’t eaten.
Fascinating stuff, and one to keep an eye on, albeit a widely-dilated, shit-scared one.
JERU THE DAMAJA
D ORIGINAL (ffrr)
WHOOPS, looks like Premier’s been at the ‘nana skins again. The Gang Starr axis have fully emerged as the true inheritors of Eric B & Rakim’s dark universe of avant-rap. This puts the boom in the bap and bites hard, topped off with piano madness like Cecil Taylor has found Jerry Mouse in his Steinway.
“Blackness” is still too often pushed as a signifier of relaxed sunny-side-up self-confidence, from Lenny Hernry to Ere Com De Lilt Mon to that kinda loosed-up orang-utan skank you can see a 100 kids suddenly adopt up and down the country whenever Cypress Hill gets played in clubs. Try and shuffle to this and your blood will run cold.
Chill Out And Die.
SLAVE NEW WORLD (Roadrunner)
I’M glad my parents didn’t call me Chili (think about it) as they once planned. They worked out that they couldn’t afford the inevitable psychiatry bills and settled for ‘Neil’ and pinning a ‘KICK ME’ sign on my back. I’m sure Max and Igor Cavalera are glad their parents didn’t christen them “Laughing” and “Vauxhaull” but they still don’t sound too happy on this, the final single from their excellent “Chaos AD” LP.
Where most death metal politics usually amounts to wanting to run round the house butt-naked and piss in the sink, Sepultura come straight from the war zone, their worldview is so totally monochromatic and medieval, it’s a ghoulish look into the mind at the end of its tether. Trouble is, the sublime precision of the music is so seductive, you’re half-tempted to go down the park with a three-litre bottle of Tesco’s cider and start saying things like “Love is a lie y’know” or “We’re all just walking corpses man” again like everyone did in the mid-Eighties.
Errrm, or so I’ve heard.
THE JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION
TRAIN NO.1 (In The Red)
MARY ELLEN CARVER
MONOPOLY QUEEN (Sub Pop)
SEEING as how usually, at this point of the page, a load of disconnected yet similarly (supposedly) ephemeral rap and dance things are collectively chewed up and spat out in one easily digestible bolus of of indifference, let’s turn the tables a tad shall we? Yeah!!
Grunge!! You would not believe how many records made by the geekoid offspring of of chipmunk therapists and racoon farmers from Inbrednaziville, Ohio I had to lug back to Coventry. There’s f***ing loads of this stuff and, trawling through it all, I was waiting for that Damascus moment, the new Shudder To Think or Thin White Rope to come searing out the sky. But, nope, 90 per cent samey heads-down gutbucket dirges all the way. These two stood out from the pack, though.
Jon Spencer was actually as good as that Sarra Manning review of him was, funky swamp blooze bedlam with that fat low end that Pussy Galore were always missing. This kicks ass and flicks ash in torrid abandon. And Mary Carver is comedy record of the week, she’s Lisa Suckdog’s (remember her?) mom, inspired by a dream, Lisa wrote this song for her about someone who just hadto win at Monopoly, and has set it to a hideously accurate Sixties light orchestra backing, replete with miaowing feline chorus and a musical director who looks like Charles Manson’s older brother. To be encouraged, I feel.