NEWS FL News - Reviewed by Ontario reviewer Delmore

Afternoon, all
This is Richard, from Gappy Tooth Industries in Oxford.  You all played a gig for us, once upon a time. Some of you will have had awesome gigs, a few of you might not have found the crowd you were hoping for, and I dare say some of you don’t remember at all, but play you did, and we love you all.
Anyway, the reason I’m writing is just a little diversion, nothing serious.  I sometimes get involved in a little internet bit of fun, whereby people put together a CD of music, which is sent unlabelled to an organisor, who then doles out the CDs again to random people, who then review the CD online, unaware of the acts or any other info.  For the 8th time, I’ve submitted a CD consisting of tracks by GTI alumni, and, if you’ve not yet guessed, I used one of your tunes.  The review, written by a man named Delmore in faraway Ontario, is below: some of his comments are quite astute, and some of them baffle me entirely; he likes a lot of your music, but a couple of you get a mild drubbing, but I thought you’d be intrigued to read it anyway. 
Please bear in mind that I was trying to put an interesting mix together, rather than a showcase, so for some of you I’ve used brief or uncharacteristic pieces – I have now told him the identity of you all, and let him k now if my selection was atypical.  Look out for hits on your websites from Canada in the next week or so!  If you want to skip ahead to your bit of the review – and why wouldn’t you? - please note that the description comes before the track name, otherwise you’ll be really confused.  Finally, I know that legally speaking I’ve effectively stolen your music to do this, but only in a kind of twentieth century way, so I hope you can forgive me.
Oh, and for those of you who live nearby, we’re still doing monthly gigs in Oxford.  The next one is 29/4/17, and our 15th birthday event will be 20/5/17, so why not come along some time, if the mood takes you?
Track 1. This is music? The singer on this one is a real croaker, either way. I suppose it works but I certainly would not want to listen to a whole LP of this sort of thing. Were there such an album, I would see it as being playable to someone tied down to a chair in an interrogation room.
Sugar Darling – F#1

Track 2. This is a curious blend. Although it sounds like something from the rockier side of Brit pop there is a strongly pastoral quality emanating from it. Fields, meadows, little birds and butterflies. Not sure about the pseudo philosophical lyrics (actually they couldn't have been otherwise. There's an inevitability to the word/music connection which makes it a good song).

One of the outstanding tracks on the comp and perhaps the outstanding track. I think that's a tactical error, nothing afterward is as perfect as this. The ensemble has a tight feel, ie they make me rock my feet rhythmically, drums, guitar and bass shoosh along well together.

I'll certainly search out more of this group. I don't how much of the singer's voice I can take. He makes me think of a vicar's son who a] took a lot of acid once and b] has some kind of extension attached to his nose. But very interesting.

Unknown Soldiers – Summertime
Track 3. Actually yeah, I love this one too. One of a number of tracks with female voices featured, all sounding like strong personalities, which is another recommendation for this mix.

The beat is very mechanical but I like beats of that ilk. There's a guitar stabbing out distortions every now and then which kicks the pulse right up. A good use of nasty (I was going to type 'very good use' but suspecting who my compiler is, I'm trying to keep the perhaps more severely excrescent modifiers down). The singers accuse someone of being a fool in matters of love. That's a hoot because they're of opposite gender and maybe they're singing to each other.

Robot Swans – Pricks Of The Trade

Track 4. This one is totally bizarre (to me). Must take back what I about Track 2; THIS is the outstanding track. The recording alternates a minimally tuneful guitar thing with a lushly melodic section but without coming off like those stupid Led Zeppelin/Nirvana 'high dynamics' studio tricks. The lush part is very beautifully put together and I look forward to learning who was in charge.

The vocal is the most stentorian thing I've ever heard. It reminds of the singer on The Fall's The City Never Sleeps. I'd hate to get shouted at by her but the voice sounds lovely here.

Except for one recurring nonsensical line that disfigures an otherwise top ditty, a very good track.

The Balkan Wanderers – Candy Floss

Track 5. A nice switch over to a funkland beat here. The band assembled a totally weird pair of twin guitar licks that would be musically nonsensical by themselves but together they make your head go back and forth. Excellent use of repetition. It's almost 2 minutes into it before any sort of variety pops up and it's simply layered on top of the earlier stuff. The topic of the words is mysterious to me but interesting enough to make me curious what the heck they're talking about. I suspect, going by a mispronunciation on the very last syllable, that English is not this group's first language.

Raymonde Howard – Tide-Ride
Track 6. Ridiculous tune. The compiler decided to go a bit folkie here while the singer gives me images of music hall. There's an element of musical content that also gives that impression. It's highly accomplished in its ridiculousness but I don't know if anyone could stand hearing an extensive amount of such verbal prancings.
The 150 Friends Club – Cutting Corners

Track 7. This is very stimulating. The music is very sparse, only a few instruments taking turns. I think these persons listened to Beefheart before, judging by how this tune is built on an unmusical guitar chord and random harmonics on the other instrument. It owes something to One Rose That I Mean; not that's a ripoff, more of an Honouring the Forebears kind of thing. A set of elements unmusical and ugly in themselves but very pretty in company with each other. I suspect the compiler likes this type of approach, which is groovy of him/her.

Greg Larkin – U n t i t l e d  E i g h t

Track 8. More weirdness. Not because the tune is weird, rather that while reminiscent of Men At Work or even Phil Collins at his more egregious, their goal is to employ pop/commercial music styles in the pursuit of an honest obscurity. The beat has something funk-related about, ie the drums and guitar scratchiness imply these folks have listened to James Brown/Funkadelic. This song take the form farther, however, by having a hummable melody and more interesting temporal development than American musicians use.

I'm not very seized by this one, though. In fact the whole compilation from this point takes a downward arc and a number of the tracks don't reach the engaging heights of the preceding. Unsurprising, or something.

Yellow Fever – Jungle

Track 9. Contrariwise, this is a long bunch of inconclusive musical lines that are right beautiful, maybe because the guitar and keyboard tones are such. It's a meditative piece and makes me think the composer's telling us that they are looking for something that isn't there or anywhere. I wonder if this is Vini Reilly. I've heard some of his material that sounds like this, with guitar playing that owes nothing to the classic Guitar Player type musos, and also deceptively simple and childlike.

This track is fucking long. Fortunately that's not a problem, result of the musical content being fully sufficient to fill the space provided, indubitably. Vini Reilly is somebody I need to listen to more.

Ghosts In The Photographs – Gesturing Hands Seek Approval From An Empty Sky

Track 10. This continues the mediocrity-imbued trend set by the next-previous track. It's a big noise thing, thankfully short and not the sort of music that should interest anyone. Drums pound and roll away, bass and guitar grind out muscular feedback riffage and scary voice announces various dooms for the addressee. The compiler might be illustrating a point here, ie the distinction between originally-conceived art vs. relentless extrapolation of borrowed themes.

Nuff of that.

Vukovar – Lose My Breath

Track 11. As noted. A melodramatic chord progression and predictable 2nd part, where a chorus would be except this song doesn't have a chorus, more of an drawn-out coda people could sing along with. Can't tell why that section is so urgently pleading, that is to say, what the hurry is and why that person. I don't want to say much about it, might be the compiler's favourite tune.

Peerless Pirates – Your Grace

Track 12. The achievement level jumps back up for this one. I trace the drummer's approach back to Beefheart, not that it's unoriginal but the opposite. Verily unintuitive, nothing you would expect in support of the odd keyboards that lay out the chords without ever stating a melody. This one goes on the search-out list because the artiste just has their own way of doing things and puts unlikely elements together so they stick together. Also refuses to overload the content, stubbornly parsimonious buggers as they, they leave to imagine your own tunes.

Certainly commend and recommend this one.

Mesaplex – (Unknown – this comes from an old unmarked demo CD)

Track 13. A 60's Peter Gunn type music emoted over by someone with an impossibly high voice. I think some syllable are out of the humanly audible range. She spits the words out like bullets from a gun in a manner summat like the Japanese backup singer on Bowie's It's No Game. The borrowed tune is something I look askance at. On the other hand the singer vocalizes in such an original way and so strongly that one would need to hear more by this group before deciding if they're good or not.

Juliet & The Raging Romeos – Good Girl

Track 14. A lot of fun, this one. The singer sounds wrong for the background which switches from bluesy to grunge. Still the borrowed-ness of this song engenders a trace of doubt whether the rest of their work supports further involvement.

Slate Hearts – Dream Boat

Track 15. A detour into Kraftwerk-Land here. Unreal percussion and digitally channeled voices sing about real earthy stuff. An outre but clear and distinct idea. I'd like this anyway, but the way-deep synth bass drum gets one way down there. Musically it's the same thing over and over with teeny variations but it doesn't get monotonous at any point. Another group I'll look into.

Volkenfunk – Average Sechs

Track 16. Opens with an evocative guitar figure against a keyboard background and slippery backwards-sounding blip/percussion noises. It flows into a built-up led by a chord progression with otherworldly accents, probably one of those sus4 or 9th chords. I wonder if this is Radiohead. The way high pitched ululating of the singer and the increasing layering over time along with the apparently unstructured structure of the song makes it seem like Radiohead. A good one.

Kanadia – Into The Flames

Track 17. I have to rush on to a close here, with the library I'm typing at closing soon (it's a harsh world). This is an attractive piece with leaden drum and keyboard pulses lightened up by the ethereal falsetto vocal harmonies, as if the Bee Gees got into something off the wall. Another on the list of 10-14 pieces worthy of deeper research.

Neverlnd – Someone

Track 18. Takes a while to develop and in fact not sure it ever does. It's made up out of hints and musical red herrings; keeps you wondering where it's going to go and never goes anywhere. Excellent! Like Klaus Schultze compressed into 4:27. Other pieces by this outfit might or might not be worth hearing; hard to tell from this sample but the understatement bodes well.

Foci’s Left – Love Never Fails

Track 19. Not much to say about. Just couldn't go this one. A noisy attempt at being noise.

Neuroharp – E2

Track 20. Oh yeah, this one. The type of music I hate most of all. Slightly sad, gentle, folkie-country allusions to troubles with the other. Part of me likes it anyway, which must mean it's an accomplished example of the kind of thing it is.

The Epstein – Leave Your Light On
Richard Catherall
Gappy Tooth Industries - Oxford's most adventurous live music promoters since 2002
Abscess Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

...sent to Muttley on 2nd April 2017, it's given I a few imaginary hundreds of quid extra sales at least. Well, I get unknown deposits in my Barclays account, but this doesn't relate to my actual balance, so I've marked this with a "whatever".

Applause to the Catherall.

Maximum boost.

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