Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Jock Rock

First up sorry about the title and I hope that no one is offended. What has actually happened is the I've very recently caught up with the latest releases from two Scottish bands for whom I must say I was not too keen on before. Let me try to explain. I've always thought that a Bands name was important, as are the names they give to their releases and the artwork, after all there are literally one hell of a lot of bands trying to grab your attention and your hard earned money. Now there are certain forms of music that have never really done much for me, one of which is the more gentle side to the c86 movement, that has come to be labeled as Twee. Honestly even the name is enough to put you off! Now if you are inclined to this sort of thing I can recommend Tweenet and Indie-mp3 both of which should keep you happy as you realise that you are not the only one. Returning to band names, the Field Mice hardly conjures up an image of Spinal Tap guitars turned up to 11 does it? And their record label, Sarah now what kind of name is that for pill popping indie rock gods? No wonder Primal Scream never signed with them! Another band that has long been pigeon holed, as far as I'm Concerned with the Twee family is Glasgow's Belle And Sebastian, named after a French television show about a boy and his dog that manages to make The Little House On The prairie seem like cutting edge stuff. I always wondered how a band with such a name could come from Glasgow, when I was a kid it was reputed to be one hell of a hard town, and latter in life I got to know a group of Glaswegian brickies living in the big smoke, and I can assure you that he that argued with them was a very foolish, or maybe suicidal man. Now despite these stupid prejudices that I have I will still read the reviews of their records and maybe who knows if they are tempting enough I will maybe just take the plunge and purchase something by them, the problem I have is that my pockets are not bottomless and my resources are indeed limited. It is for this reason that I have been a member of the EMusic subscription service for many years, and after reading the glowing reviews concerning Belle And Sebastian's sixth album 'Life Pursuit' I was happy to see available as a download and got my mouse clicking away. I was not disappointed with the first tracks, one of the undeniable advantages of downloading is that you can purchase song by song, and so I continued until the whole of the album was taking up space on my hard drive. The album manages to mix elements and influences as diverse as glam rock, blues and Mowtown while keeping the feel very much sixties. The end result is very pleasing on the ears and certainly didn't send me to sleep as feared. 'The Life Pursuit' comes highly recommended, check out 'The Blues Are Still Blue' where they mix T. Rex with a little bit of Status Quo to come up with something fresh and lively.
Another (Glasgow) band that have a name that left me cold and as such not really motivated to the check them out is Camera Obscura, I think the name sounded too arty, now don't get me wrong I have loads of unlistenable records in my collection that I keep because they are art, important or something else, and at my age my intellectual pretentions are well behind me. Again good reviews and the album being up for grabs at EMusic means that I am now the proud owner of their third album 'Lets Get Out Of The Country', so called because it was recorded in Sweden? Maybe a little bit more easy going than Belle And Sebastian but definitely has its merits including the country tinged 'Dory Previn' and the tongue in cheek tribute to fellow Scot Lloyd Cole (I wonder where he is now?) 'Lloyd I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken'.
So there you go despite the recent changes at EMusic, the introduction of a European and UK service, for copyright reasons, I would say that the money is still well spent as it allows me to discover new talents, my latest downloads have been Destroyer, Spoon and Centro-Matic for whom I doubt I would never have found the spare 15 euros to buy the albums (I pay about 15 euros a month for 65 downloads) and do believe that we should buy our music and so support the artists that we listen to.

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