As a mere reviewer and blogger, I find it incredibly difficult to understand the life of a band before
a record release. That is, I don't really know why
a band forms, and I don't really know how
they even write and create their music. It's like if I attempted to learn Japanese just by listening to tutorial tape conversations, as opposed to true conversations with actual people, and not simply re-using textbook lines. For some reason, when I see a band comprised of a bunch of sad-looking, 5 o'clock shadow dudes, I think they must be in their band for fame or self-gratification. And that tends to be the generic press photo: 4 or 5 guys, all clad with creative t-shirts, flashy jackets, and well-worn shoes. Whenever I see this sort of thing, I immediately think "ah -- they just made the band to achieve a 'rock and roll' lifestyle." That's probably wrong of me, but it's what I think. You can't judge a book by its cover, and you can't judge a band by its photo. Or can you?
Well, anyway, I like seeing crummy band photos ... hastily taken, and poorly thought out. It's that sort of picture that reassures me that the band was created for the sole purpose of music. They didn't slave over a stupid picture for hours ... they don't need that photo to tell us listeners who they are.
So -- first off, we've got Good Shoes
, a fantastic London quartet. I can only describe their sound as British indie-rock. They almost sound like a hybrid between the Fall and Aztec Camera, with a bit of the Strokes on top. Their stuff is full of hooks, always upbeat, and nice and jangly. But the vocals are laid back ... sometimes a little lazy. That reminds me of the Strokes and the Fall for some reason. I looked so bloody hard for tracks by these guys, and finally came across a bunch of studio stuff they recorded ... listen to Small Town Girl
, a song which is getting them a bit of fame in the UK.
Now, the Young Knives
truly remind me of the Fall. Dissonant, yet structured (and also hooky) melodies, and strained vocals. But there's also something very ... Gang of Four about them. Maybe it's the precise drumming or the yelling vocalist. I don't know. Listen to a bunch of their stuff here