Heaters – Holy Water Pool

hwp

I’ve chewed on this one a bit, because of how much trouble they seem to go to in order to make the listener think this thing was actually recorded in the 60s. But I’ve come to the conclusion that such a view is the wrong angle from which to look at it.

The most important thing, of course, is the content. How good is this thing on its own terms? Well, for my money, the songwriting is brilliant and the playing is superb. There is a real thrill to the sound; I can imagine the pulsations of excitement of being locked in a room whilst these boys do their thang. The movement is palpable. If they play my part of the UK, I’m interested.

As alluded above, it has been bothering me when people seem to go out of their way to fit a niche. But I need to look at it from another angle, don’t I? Imagine an actor, a theatre one. How convincing is s/he without the mask and costume? A good actor will be regardless, but the accoutrements add to the effect, and this feeds back into the performance itself. This I have understood from experience – when playing in a band whose main purpose is to get the audience excited, an excited audience feeds back into and propels the performance into even further excitement.

So let it be when using a musical mask, perfecting a particular sound. It can be pretty dull recording in a studio (it’s only glamorous for people who have never done it). If you want to make exciting music, then it is entirely legitimate to use whatever hack you can to bring out the excitement in the playing.

It can also be looked at this way: when you go to make something, you choose certain tools. The tools you choose are essential to the finished product being what it is. Sometimes tools are chosen because they are what is at hand, other times you have to narrow down what can be used lest you end up with an incoherent work ruined by using too many unnecessary tools, something which has ruined alot of music over the years.

Heaters are clearly excited by the (sound) tools they’re using, and that is why this sounds as good as it does. Having bloody good material is a help, though. For a reference point, if you know Holy Cobras, these aren’t a million miles away, although maybe less yelpy (technical term). It’s a kind of surf-garage-rock mix, and it has a very 60s sound similar in spirit to the Joe Meek thing.

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Oneida – Positions

So I mentioned a while back that Oneida walk amongst the Gods when it comes to music (at least in my universe, which I can categorically state is not flat), and they’ve gone and released another thing to confirm what I’ve said. This makes a nice change on artists who I go nuts over subsequently releasing something which is far less exciting. I shall not mention names cos that’s not what I do.

positionscoverApparently, two of these tunes are covers of tunes by This Heat, who rumour has it are some kind of legends. To my shame and eternal un-coolness, I have never investigated them.

The three tracks on this release are all pretty different. Opener ‘S.P.Q.R.’ reminds me in style of their classic album Rated O; ‘Under whose sword’ is a much more ambient affair, and closer ‘All data lost’ morphs from squall-tastic free jazz mayhem at the start (very similar to the afore-linked recent People of the North album) into out and out krautrock of the most legendary variety.

Whether this classes as an album or an EP is not for me to say; I’m beginning to think such distinctions are unimportant. A release is a release, and as long as the work is appropriate to the artists intention then its existence is justified.

(Their website is normally here, but not displaying today for some reason. I’ll leave this link though in the hope that the problem is temporary)

Lobi Traore

a4065602372_16Having mentioned that I’m fond of the desert blues (which to my mind is a lazy way of saying ‘music made by people who live in the desert regions of North Africa using guitars’ but I am NOT going to call this ‘world music’), I figured its about time I posted some of this stuff. SO here’s one I bought as one of my recent payday treats.

Lobi Traore was from Mali and made several albums in the 90s and 00s before an untimely death. There is a description of his life here which is much better than I can do.

What I really love about the music from this area is that you can hear the space so vividly. This naturally leads me to make many musings on the idea of what the other music that I listen to says about the environment of the people making that music. Of course, this may only be true of ‘honest‘ music.

Some time back – many years, in fact, because this is a story about TV and I don’t watch that by choice since many years ago – I watched a program about the blues. The point was made by one of the African people interviewed that the main difference between African music and the blues was that the blues had a sadness and a bitterness due to the maltreatment of the slaves which tumbled down into the music of subsequent generations. Although admittedly not an authority, my dad reckoned that was bollocks because he thought there was a lot of joy in the blues, on account of how much of it is basically songs about fucking, and things don’t get all that much more joyful than that. I don’t think this is an either/or question though; music has room for both, and more besides.

This music here sounds more on the joyful end, to me. The sheer pleasure of playing is evident in the recorded performance, which must have meant it was even more evident in the flesh, hence why the guy had such a reputation in his backyard.

 

Evil Blizzard – Everybody come to church

Blizzard-Church-album-cover-300x300I mentioned that I was going to buy this album, and buy this album I did, on CD. And unlike the twerp who writes the weekly email updates from Norman Records, I rather like it.

Evil Blizzard are not a band you come to in order to radically rewrite your conception of self and/or music, unless your conception of self and/or music is so limited that it cannot include fun and theatre. I would say they are much more about the live experience, but there still has to be decent material, and this material is very decent indeed, especially ‘Sacrifice‘ (that link takes you to the version from their split with Mamuthones earlier this year, which is a different recording but not a fundamentally different version).

Their last.fm page (boy has that site gone downhill with its latest upgrade – I may very well desert it) mentions ‘more sonic madness than Hawkwind,’ which is a fairly accurate general ballpark description, although I’m not sure about ‘more.’ A couple of songs have a guitar on, though, despite their line up being only bass players and a drummer – unless my ears have been very cleverly deceived.

It’s fair to say that the world needs Evil Blizzard.