Clearing out the Inbox: Vol. 1
No matter what I do, the music keeps pouring in. Here's my first attempt to tame the ever-growing stacks of CDs crowding my desk with a few short capsule reviews. Artists covered: Dirty Fingernails, Black Sheep, Vipe Out, The Monument, C'mon Crimson and Frantic Sunday.
Dirty Fingernails - Bruno (Northern Swing)
Who in their right mind, in this modern mp3 age, presses a single-song CD single, complete with slimline jewel case, and mails them halfway around the world hoping for review? Tossing in a collection of monogrammed sleep aids, ahem, hangover remedies, doesn't help much either, in fact it might give someone the wrong idea. It's the kind of "clever marketing" that reeks of total desperation and too much money to burn. As for the music, I'm sure this brother/sister duo relocated to London from Finland with the very best intentions, but their upbeat electro-influenced indiepop is merely okay. If you're only going to allow yourselves one song to make an impression, it'd better be a lot more exciting than this.
Black Sheep - Demo (self-released)
Ramshackle punk with zero aspirations. Like the best/worst tweepop, there's a level of ineptitude and naivety to this kind of stuff that's absolutely crucial and can't be faked. It's a thin line, but when done right, it's a beautiful thing. Black Sheep nail it.
Vipe Out - Dig your way out (Adore Music)
Please, for the love of god, if you're going to go for the grunge revival, start with Nirvana's "Bleach". Don't mess around with Alice in Chains or Stone Temple Pilots or any other latter-day bullshit, go straight to the source. If I wanted to hear bluesy rock'n'roll mediocrity, I'm certain I can find a similarly competent band as Vipe Out in almost any town come Friday night. Perhaps this plays well for the Sweden Rock crowd, desperate to hear anything with loud guitars, but I'm not having it. I close my eyes and see big belt buckles and stupid facial hair.
The Monument - s/t EP (self-released)
These gents play confident modern alt-rock that borrows just enough of Interpol's goth tendencies to give themselves a dark edge. It plays out fairly well over the course of this 4-song EP, especially on the slowest tracks, but they never do quite enough to distinguish their own personality. Not without potential, but even if they weren't a few years too late, there's far better bands mining similar territory for better results.
C'mon Crimson - s/t EP (self-released)
It shouldn't be so embarrassing for bands to aspire for the arena-rock grandeur of Coldplay or Kent, yet when they try and fail, it almost always seems so sad. Actually, C'mon Crimson doesn't fare so badly despite their lofty goals -- there's no air of pathetic longing, no sense that they're trying too hard to "make it", whatever that means in this day and age. It's not at all the sort of stuff I'd ever listen to by choice, but they aim high and somehow remain likable, so kudos to them. I wish them the best of luck.
Frantic Sunday - I'm your volunteer (self-released)
Ugh, funky indierock. The title track actually gets decent once they start mixing up the arrangement on the final chorus, the rest just sounds like a copy of a copy of a copy of a band I used to like.