From The Corners Of Your Mind #1
Pigeon-holing music. Annoying though it can be, everyone does it and in the reviewing game, often a necessary evil. How else are readers going to know whether the no-name rock kids you are reviewing are the next Metallica or, heaven forbid, Menswear? There are albums, however, that studiously avoid the path of least resistance and flummox iTunes classification the world over. This, therefore, is the first in an occasional series that will introduce a few of these more off-kilter releases that may otherwise pass you by.
So, without further ado let’s dive straight in with stranded space rockers Man Or Astroman? Blazing a trail for nigh on twenty years Your Weight On the Moon collects together their first mini-album and two EPs into a riotous fusion of fuzzed out surf-rock and b-movie snippets that is fit for visiting aliens, royalty and anyone with a penchant for fun.
The surf-rock/b-movie motif continues with Halloween Album from Southern California’s Thee Cormans, a group of garage rock aficionados whose name give a clear idea of their influences. Although obviously designed to cash in on the spooky festivities this really is an album whose schlocky delights can be enjoyed the year round.
One for the jukebox of any self respecting dive bar is The Spits V. A short and spunky collection of no-nonsense garage-punk with song titles like ‘Fed Up’ and ‘My Life Sucks’ that may imply emo-like naval gazing but actually comes at you like a down at heel Ramones fronted by Lurch from The Addams Family - and is all the better for it.
While the previous albums have used snippets of film to good effect it seems only fitting to move on to music from, and inspired by, a film: The Solitude of Prime Numbers from erstwhile Faith No More frontman Mike Patton. It is an esoteric (and not exactly riveting) collection of tunes with plinky, plonky orchestration, weird swirling noises and occasional disembodied voice that may work perfectly as an accompaniment to the film of the same name but here is only mildly diverting. Likely to be a severe disappointment to anyone buying it on the basis of the composer’s name.
Much more engaging is The House of Bones, a faux film-noir soundtrack from producer and remixer extraordinaire Matthew Ker aka Majiker. It tells its spooky tale with a swirling, dream-like quality that would work just as well as the accompaniment for a weird old horror movie or a chilled out evening on the sofa. Sadly the lack of a famous name is likely to see this getting far less attention than the lacklustre Patton offering - and that is a real shame.
On first listen Staring At The X, the second album from New Yorkers Forest Fire appears to be a unkempt collection of Americana, shoegaze, psychedelia (along with the occasional discordant horn), and does little to ingratiate itself. Repeated spins however find you drawn in to their weird yet oddly hypnotic world and if you aren’t swooning at the mellow slide guitar of the title track then you truly have no soul.
Finishing things off in a rather downbeat tone is the eponymous debut from Canadian troupe Orienteers who owe an obvious debt to Sparklehorse. Their superb whispered, fractured Americana (or should that be Canadiana?) is a beguiling listen that could almost make you forget that we will hear no more from the late, great Mark Linkous. Almost.