Since I started working from home last month, I’ve been trying to tidy my room. That might not sound too difficult, but it is, mainly because of all my CDs. I have a lot. And they keep coming, more every day, through the post. It’s great because I love music and, being something of a Luddite, still prefer CDs (and vinyl) to MP3s. The problem is that there are just too many, and I have piles of promotional CDs cluttering up floor space and generally getting in the way. So I’ve been going through them, listening to ones I maybe didn’t get around to when they first dropped through the door. There’s some awful ones, but I’ve also discovered some really interesting stuff. Here’s some.
A few years ago, I was really into a singer-songwriter known as Jay Jay Pistolet. He wrote sad, gentle songs with a lilting folksy edge that were really quite wonderful. Unfortunately, that seemed to just end. However, using his real name, Justin Young, he teamed up with three other guys to form The Vaccines. Based in London, they’ve already been surrounded by a swirl of hype, and their retro, scuzzed-up take on ‘60s pop looks set to dominate the music world next year. It’s nothing that hasn’t been done before, but it’s good stuff nonetheless.
Bit of a coincidence, this one. I saw her support Interpol a couple of days ago, having just received her CD. Half-Italian but hailing from London, she has a voice like Patti Smith, which she sets to stirring, tribal tunes, and which is just as impressive live as it is on record. Her debut album comes out in January next year and is full of tender yet tense songs that build up and up in a dramatic, evocative crescendo. In this day and age of indentikit indie bands, she really is a welcome breath of fresh air.
Lonely The Brave
This CD arrived just the other day, and I’ve been playing it over and over again. A four-piece from Cambridgeshire, Lonely The Brave make startling raw and honest music that brims with a nervous electric energy. There’s a similarity to early Biffy Clyro in their fraught, shimmering songs, but at the same time there’s something incredibly original about them. Give it time and their large-sounding anthems could well be filling huge venues across the country.
I don’t know where this CD ended up, as it must have arrived quite a long time ago, but I’m glad I found it now. The band, consisting of two brothers, formed in 2005, broke up in 2007 and released their debut (and only) album – the brilliantly-titled We’re Gonna Walk Around This City With Our Headphones On To Block Out The Noise – last year. Dominated by erudite lyrics delivered deliberately sloppily, its 10 songs take you on a journey around modern England as they recall previously lost childhood memories with humorous yet heart-wrenching passion and an unhealthy dose of fretful anxiety.
Boy Jumps Ship
A Newcastle four-piece, Boy Jumps Ship are putting out their second self-released EP early next year. Considering they’re doing it all themselves, it sounds incredibly impressive – spiky, poppy songs that straddle indie and punk before merging them with catchy, upbeat choruses and anthemic background gang vocals. It could well be that 2011 has big things in store for this lot – let’s wait and see!
Mischa Pearlman is a music journalist living in London who writes for a bunch of music magazines such as The Fly, Kerrang!, Clash, Record Collector and Alternative Press. He does this purely for the love and less frequently for the money, and is always hoping to fall in love with his next favourite band so he can tell you about it.