So four CDs arrived in the mail. Your feedback would be appreciated.
JESSIE JAMES & THE OUTLAWS
The Price of Gum
Deceptively simple, warm lilting alt-country from the capital city...
Emanating from Wellington and boasting a horn section as well as a swag of guest singers and players, you’d be forgiven for guessing this long player is another pasta meets Rasta capital city offering. The Price of Gum does walk a well worn musical path, that of folk and 1970s country, but thankfully isn’t irritatingly derivative; rather dreamy and reminiscent like that timeless yet instantly recognisable space the Coen Brothers summon. Understated yet impeccable production adds to the charm of this release, with Lee Prebble guiding Jessie Moss’ song writing and James Coyle’s arrangement via a revolving door of talented guest accompaniments. The detached warmth of this debut album is evocative of The Phoenix Foundation, no doubt appealing to purveyors of folk and alt-country, as well as those who are unversed in either genre, but appreciate discovering quality recordings. Ideal listening time: the closing hours of a long summer day.
Spirit in the System
The sophomore offering from bourbon and ecstasy addled Brighton lads Qemists...
Fans of Qemists could do the world at large a favour by carrying around a swab and a wee bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol, such that when greeting them you’re not confronted by a discharge ridden eyebrow piercing. Qemist hail from Brighton, the city where Fatboy Slim produced an imminently better example of testosterone laced electronica, Better Living Through Chemistry, way back in 1996. Drawing obvious comparisons with The Prodigy and Pendulum, the former whose early work totally rates in this genre and the latter modern day heroes of this sound, Spirit in the System manages to maintain zero originality from beginning to end, with frustratingly generic drum and bass loops and paint by numbers ‘dance record’ vocals. If you by some chance missed either, Concord Dawn’s Uprising nails the style of drum and bass attempted in the production here, and The Prodigy’s Experience is a far better example of ‘ardcore.
THE BLACK SEEDS
The Black Seeds remixes and rarities: just in time for summer.
The Black Seeds occupy an interesting space on the musical spectrum in that they’re certainly not brain tearingly vapid commercial radio fodder, though neither are they altogether compelling or progressive. Couple this Ron Howard-esque knack for music with a solid live show, and you’ve got perhaps New Zealand’s greatest pub band. Specials is a compilation of B-sides, remixes, acoustic versions and dub mixes, the stand out of which is the acoustic version of Send a Message. Overall this compilation is best summed up as similar to the band; It’s certainly not offensive, but you probably won’t be going out of your way to get back to it in a hurry either – unless of course you have a mix of family and friends together over summer and are faced with that awkward combination of tastes and ages that makes albums like this so handy to have around.
Lost where I belong
A slightly disappointing debut album from the Ninja Tunes vocalist de-jour...
Having worked with Mr Scruff, Flying Lotus and Bonobo, Lost where I belong is the debut solo album from Andreya Triana. Triana’s vocal quality is without question, exemplified in her being the go-to for Ninja Tunes artists for a few years now, though overall this album never shifts from good to great. In a world seemingly filling by the day with jazz revivalists, Triana is one step of the way to rising above the pack via her involvement with Ninja Tunes, showing nous in comparison to someone with an equally strong voice who might choose to record jazz standards for a major label. But having said that, this is how this album feels – though the tracks are well crafted originals the overall vibe is generic, as is Triana’s vocal delivery - which is a shame as past collaborations have proven her to be otherwise. But still, an enjoyable excursion.