Rob V Task
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Rob Vs The Task Force – Week 10

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One of our most enjoyable and rewarding Twitter features is the New Song Task Force – where one group of community members suggest new songs for another group of members to vote on. The songs are showcased throughout the week with the results of the vote being issued on Sunday evenings.

We are always looking at ways to improve or expand our interactive features and so for the New Song Task Force we asked regular EIO40 contributor Rob Morgan @durutti74 if he would pen capsule reviews as he listens to each song for the first time (and second time just to make sure) then pick his three favourites. We also wanted to showcase each week’s songs with a bit more depth by seeing them from a listeners perspective.

We will publish Rob’s review of the week’s songs on Sunday afternoons after the voting has taken place. In the build up we are also asking people to rank their Top 3 of the week with prizes up for grabs if you match Rob’s Top 3 in order. So you may discover you have won a prize when you have finished reading this.

There is also a playlist of the songs at the start and links to any songs not on Spotify so you can listen along with Rob.

So here is Rob’s review of the Week 9 songs.

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Kodiac Island – The Narrows

10 seconds in and its head nodding time, warped rhythm and guitar and echoing vox. Already I’m interested. That little acoustic guitar lick is catchy as hell. Each little section is a delight, there’s so much going on. Even the breakdown is interesting. There’s strange ethnic percussion whizzing around my ears. Great production and the song deserves it. Lyrics intrigue too. I’d like to hear a dub mix of this, or an extended mix. Is Jo Bartlett singing about the Underground at the end? Second listen – hearing how the song builds up over time now. Loving how elements drop in and out, maybe I don’t need a dub mix after all. Really enjoying this, moody mix of electronics and guitars. I’d like to hear more like this.

Her’s – Harvey

A gentle introduction before… Hang on… Is that my old Casio? Well stone me! And whoever the artist is, they’ve programmed their drum machine in the exact pattern. I am DEEPLY impressed by that feat. Ok, let’s get back to the song. Deep spoken vocals remind me of the Magnetic Fields and the verses are quiet and – I’m sorry that Casio is so distracting for me because it’s mine. I can play you my old tapes with it on… Concentrate, Rob…. This song is great, I love the change from quiet verse to expansive chorus. Second listen. Ignore the Casio, Rob. I’m guessing the lyrics are based on the film “Harvey” which is a personal favourite. Or maybe it isn’t. Why would an invisible rabbit make a phone call? This is a cute little song. I’ll be singing that chorus all day. Delightful.

Fufanu – Listen To Me

Oh the joy of listening on headphones, that intro whizzing around my head. And the rhythm seems out of kilter at the start. Very nice electro pop. I would have killed to make something like this when I was younger. Moody vocalist too. It even dares to almost completely stop with only a sustaining note playing (like the godlike “I didn’t mean to turn you on” by Robert Palmer). I like this a lot. Oh hang on, there’s a section with proper singing – that was unexpected but good. And it doesn’t end there. This is fab. A one note guitar solo? This keeps getting better. Sudden stop surprises me. Second listen. That intro is fab. This second listen is only going to confirm how great this song is, really. How the one note guitar solo changes to a strange up and down scale – great idea!

Black Honey – I Only Hurt The Ones I Love

Nice synthetic intro, then glam rock drums and bass and surf guitar. I can imagine this going down well on 6Music. I like this – modern smart pop music. Sometimes keeps nagging me that it reminds me of Transvision Vamp. Only better than that. Lots of cool surf references and Morricone spaghetti westerns, quite a melange  but it all works. That vocal melody in the chorus is catchy as hell. Oh that’s an ending! Lyrics are clever too, I think this would be a proper hit if the charts were more amenable these days. Really great pop music.

Jetstream Pony – Self-Destruct Reality

band I know of. Nice intro, sets up the main riff gently before the rocking main part. Lots of head nodding and toe tapping here. Not as hazy as previous Jetstream Pony songs I’ve heard, almost sounds like the Wedding Present in places. Lines of lyrics leaping out… Interesting. I do like the way the rhythm changes slightly on the chorus. “Keep the world outside”… Hang on, I wanted that to go on longer than that! Let’s listen again. Definitely like the move from intro to muscular verse. This has the air of a late Sarah Record (which is a high compliment). The guitar riff is so simple and so insistent – that will ring out in my mind for the rest of the day.  Is this going towards an album? I hope so.

Trust Fund – Kind of CM

Sweet little introduction, wasn’t expecting what happens after that. Lovely fuzzy guitar pop, with handclaps. There aren’t many songs that can’t be improved by handclaps. Maybe not Durutti Column songs. That’s a debate for another time though. That guitar solo! Second verse is cute and quiet, makes the return of the fuzzy guitars more powerful. Where’d those backing vocals come from? PCSOs? I think a second listen may reveal what the hell this is about. Great chorus, mind. What’s CM? And that closing “it feels very important” vocal at the end grabs attention. Second listen being distracted by reading the quite hilarious notes on Bandcamp. Still not sure what the lyrics mean, but I think a few more listens may make things clearer. That’s a great ending.  That’s a great song too.

Hotel Lux – Berlin Wall

The intro sounds like a Britpop I can’t identify, but there’s enough dissonance to make it different. Lyrics already intrigue. There’s an odd vibe to this song I like. Reminds me of Idles in a way. I take back the Britpop comment to be honest, it’s nothing like that. More Gallon Drunk than Shed Seven. I don’t know what to think about this, I like it but I don’t know why. That closing chorus is insistent, just on the verge of annoying. But I still like it, I just don’t know why. Sorry… That’s a weird one. Second listen. What the hell was I talking about before? Britpop? This is better second time around. I still don’t understand it, but sometimes you don’t have to understand something to know you enjoy it. I want to hear more, to see what else they can do.

The Beths – Future Me Hates Me

I know the name (yes, Josh has played them before on It’s A Jangle Out There) The title makes me smile. The fuzzy guitars are great, the verse brings the tension… Hang on, they’re throwing a brief chromatic descent in and I LOVE that. Ah, here’s the chorus, going in directions I didn’t expect which makes me happy. Probably shouldn’t mention that the singer reminds me of Katy Perry. This is fab, really enjoying this. That chorus is fantastic, for not being expected. Lots of “baa baa” vocals in the middle, like Teenage Fanclub channeling the Association. And then they turn into proper backing vocals at the end – this has been a constant and very pleasant surprise, brilliantly constructed and perfectly executed. Second listen confirming all of the above-mentioned points. As I would say in my diary…. “SONG!”

(Post-listening note – after two plays this song continued to reverberate in my head for the next hour or so. After two plays!)

Avey Tare – When You Left Me (Geologist Remix)

Well this is different! Moody background noises, heartbeat bass drums, is that a… sitar? Very interesting. (Looks at Bandcamp page) Eleven minutes??? Ok. I’ll make myself comfortable then.

(Minutes pass)

Oh, hang on, there’s something happening. This is progressing in such infinitely tiny ways that any change sounds huge. There’s odd things passing by and never appearing again.

(More minutes pass)

(Checks Bandcamp page)

Only seven minutes left. I’m being unfair to this, I’d rather hear the actual song than a remix of it. It might give me a better idea of what’s happening.

Oh, that cowbell type noise has stopped. Hang on, is that a guitar? Or a synth? They’ve really thrown the effects boxes at this. I wish it had got to this part sooner, this is more interesting. But still this niggling doubt that I would rather hear the song than a remix. And welcome back cowbell thing. And we’re back to strange drones. This is a palindrome of a song, as far as I can see. Only by going back to the start I realise I’m wrong on that.

(Second listen? Second listen is the actual song not the remix. And it’s a lot more my thing. I don’t hear any of the source material in the remix. I suppose that’s normal these days)

The Irenes – Paper Thin Excuses

Rumbling bass into nicely clipped guitars and a solo melody, intriguing mix of lead and backing vox in the verse – are they talking to each other? Oh that wasn’t the chorus…. Sounds like too many words in the chorus . I like this a lot, how it builds back in the second verse. That bridge is growing on me too. I really can’t think who this reminds me at the moment. It’s going to bug me. Classic guitar solo. Oh it’s all dropping away again…. And back again. The chorus is really sticking now. Second listen…. That opening riff! It’s classic but original too. That’s it…. The vocal interplay, the choppy chords…. It’s “Subway (Smokey Pokey World)” by The Tickle. You may laugh, but that is a brilliant slice of psych pop. Filter that through 90s indie and this is what happens. I’d like to hear more by these folks.

Favourites?

There’s something to be said for all of them really. Fantastic spread of songs. But my favourites this week are….

3 – Trust Fund
2 – Jetstream Pony
1 – The Beths

That song by The Beths is one of the best songs I’ve heard this year, instant, catchy but with depths and swerves. They’re definitely ones to watch.

_________________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rob writes about music and other less important subjects at his blog A Goldfish Called Regret (https://agoldfishcalledregret.wordpress.comand also creates podcasts for Goldfish Radio (https://m.mixcloud.com/robmorgan589) and hosts the Everything Indie Over 40 album listening parties over at @eio40LPParty

He never achieved his ambition of making a Sarah Record.

_____________________________________________________________________________

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading Rob’s review of the Task Force songs. If you want to follow the New Song Task Force and get involved head over to @indieover40 on Twitter and check out the feature hashtag #newsongfaceoff

 

Read more

Rob Vs The Task Force – Week 9

Comments (0) Latest, Rob V Task

One of our most enjoyable and rewarding Twitter features is the New Song Task Force – where one group of community members suggest new songs for another group of members to vote on. The songs are showcased throughout the week with the results of the vote being issued on Sunday evenings.

We are always looking at ways to improve or expand our interactive features and so for the New Song Task Force we asked regular EIO40 contributor Rob Morgan @durutti74 if he would pen capsule reviews as he listens to each song for the first time (and second time just to make sure) then pick his three favourites. We also wanted to showcase each week’s songs with a bit more depth by seeing them from a listeners perspective.

We will publish Rob’s review of the week’s songs on Sunday afternoons after the voting has taken place. In the build up we are also asking people to rank their Top 3 of the week with prizes up for grabs if you match Rob’s Top 3 in order. So you may discover you have won a prize when you have finished reading this.

There is also a playlist of the songs at the start and links to any songs not on Spotify so you can listen along with Rob.

So here is Rob’s review of the Week 9 songs.

________________________________________________________________________

 

The Essex Green – Don’t Leave It In Our Hands

Nice intro, reminds me of “Cannonball”. Wasn’t expecting the mixed male female vocals, that’s a good mix, nice harmonies on the chorus. Oh, hang on, is this the chorus? No – THIS is the chorus. This makes me think of the last New Pornographers album. Nicely building up in the second verse. The final chorus … Oh it does that thing I love, chucking in a new modulation on the melody and chorus at the end. That is fantastic, really didn’t expect that. I could play that guitar solo. I want to hear that again immediately. (Listens again). That’s going to take some beating. (Plays for a third time) What a great song.

Simmer – Juno

Gotta love some chorused guitar strumming. Intro has got my head nodding. Nice vocal mix, that little guitar lick is tasty. The guitars drone and jangle in a shoegazing way. Vocals too low for comprehension on first listen, which encourages another listen. I’m enjoying this. I bet they’ve worn out their copy of “Vapour Trail”. Those harmonies on the chorus really push things forward, very good.

(Listens while reading the lyrics)

This reminds me of Afterglow, a little known Australian shoegaze band on Summershine. That isn’t a criticism. This is growing on me. Nicely atmospheric.

Gruff Rhys – Oh Dear!

Gruff Rhys – energetic start, I need that this morning. Unexpected but rather cool string arrangement. Lyrical ideas intrigue. Reminds me of Glen Campbell for some reason. That is good. Ooh it’s doing that modulating thing I adore. Ends too soon for me. That means I’ll have to listen to it again. Not a problem. There’s something naggingly familiar about this song. It will come to me eventually. In the meantime this is great.

Whimm – Not My Kind

Good intro, rising tension… Oh hang on, that wasn’t what I expected to happen. This reminds me of the Very Things. A bit gothic, but recorded in my garage. Nicely discordant guitar. Ah, here’s the drummer, better late than never. Still sounds like the Very Things. Very peculiar mix. Where’d did that piano come from? And the saxophone. It’s not a piano? Oh. Dark and moody. This is winning me over, I want to hear it again. Overlapping vocals always a good idea. Second listen. Oh, the sax has been there all along. I can see this fitting into a Peel Show from 1985, I can almost hear him back announcing it.

A LilyPaint Me With Your Blood Again

“Rolling?” “Rolling”. I love that kind of thing. Quiet tension, lots of interesting little touches already, pizzicato guitar plucks… Is this the chorus? No? Ok the bridge into the chorus is fantastic. The chorus itself resolves the tension. There’s a lot going on but it’s well arranged, not cluttered at all. Second verse – I miss the bridge. I like the vocal a lot,  subtle harmonies on the chorus. The middle section nicely combines the quiet and loud contrasts. I’m saying nice a lot, this is really interesting, I want to hear it again. Five minutes? Didn’t seem like it was that long at all – a good sign. Second listen, I still think that bridge is the best and could have been expanded. What do I know?

PoppelConceived Ideas

A name I know from Josh Meadows’ It’s A Jangle Out There show. It’s possible I’ve heard this before then. It does sound a bit familiar, or maybe that’s the general vibe of early Teenage Fanclub. I’m guessing they are American, based on the air of slackerdom. I do like the build into the chorus – the arpeggio guitars are great. Good head nodding summer music. Hang on… It’s over? Too soon for my liking. Second listen while reading their Bandcamp page…. They’re Belgians? Well it doesn’t show. Definitely like that chorus and the guitar interplay. And that ending.

The ChillsComplex

No introduction necessary here, I’ve loved the Chills for many years, and there’s an instant familiarity to their sound. Martin Phillips still sounds conflicted and confused, the song rocks as passionately as “Male monster from the Id”. And of course I’ve heard this before, Pete Paphides played it on his show earlier this week. What can I say – it’s the Chills! Love the fairground organ on the instrumental section. The kind of intelligent melodic pop we’ve come to expect from the Chills. Hope the album is all as good as this.

Andreas Doraus & Gereon Klugs – Feelingsgefühle

This is just pure pop! Within seconds my head is nodding and my toes are tapping. My O Level German is being pushed too, spotting a few words as the second verse progresses. Subtle string arrangement and Beach Boys harmonies…. This makes me think of the long hot summer of 1976, for some reason. Perfect summertime pop music. Nice little breakdown towards the end… And a key change! Absolutely wonderful.

Mazzy StarQuiet, The Winter Harbor

Again no introduction necessary. Woozy, waltzing and graceful. It sounds like… Mazzy Star. The fact they’ve defined their own sound which has influenced so many since doesn’t diminish the power of their music. When the slide guitar and brushed drums come in, it’s really quite heavenly. I can see this soundtracking some moody scene in a film – the heroine gazes into a sunset…You get the idea. That’s lovely.

Mikey CollinsFalling

Simple opening allowing the lyrics to be heard immediately and they catch me straight away. Another song with male female vocals, especially the chorus. Oh I like the introduction of synths in the second verse. Use of the word “pricks” is a surprise, in such a gentle way. This is rather sweet, not in a sickly way. Second listen – the lyrics are becoming clearer. Intriguing. It sounds like falling in love. That’s appropriate I suppose.

Favourites?

3. Gruff Rhys
2. The Chills
1. The Essex Green

Though I do feel bad for Poppel – if the Chills and Gruff Rhys hadnt been in this week they’d be number two. Definitely a band to listen out for. But oh boy that Essex Green song is tremendous and I listened to the album after that and it’s all just as good.

_________________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rob writes about music and other less important subjects at his blog A Goldfish Called Regret (https://agoldfishcalledregret.wordpress.comand also creates podcasts for Goldfish Radio (https://m.mixcloud.com/robmorgan589) and hosts the Everything Indie Over 40 album listening parties over at @eio40LPParty

He never achieved his ambition of making a Sarah Record.

_____________________________________________________________________________

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading Rob’s review of the Task Force songs. If you want to follow the New Song Task Force and get involved head over to @indieover40 on Twitter and check out the feature hashtag #newsongfaceoff

Read more