Fortune Drive, Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man, Strange Idols, Liam Scott-Smith - MySpace Monthly: November
This MySpace Monthly, recalling the 30 days that November had, has been delayed a little by the hurricane winds and Christmas shopping craziness that the first weekend in December has sprung upon us. No fear though, as none of us leave our darkened rooms where we sit in front of blinking computer screens amid artificially lit walls of Nirvana and Marilyn Manson posters. So the feat of finding anything to write about and not cutting it into our arms with a compass is pretty remarkable. Enjoy it.
Putting itself about as much as we do (internet sluts are us), GIITTV stumbled upon the rather brilliantly named Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man whilst reading one of the many forums we visit daily. They really are disarmingly odd: dark, quick witted jangling guitars, sea shanty rhythms, and a baroque vocal that pitches itself somewhere between Nick Cave, David Byrne and Django Reinhardt. They recorded their first tracks in a matter of two weeks, which, you'll agree, is a pretty quick turnaround. The pick of them is "I am the Future": obscene slide guitar, clipped drums, and lyrics full of twitching black humour ("His suit was better cut than one of Fred West's victims) before resting on a surprisingly catchy bastardized Beatles chorus of "money can't buy you friendship but it sure as hell can buy you friends". It will be in your brain for weeks. They're about to play their first live gig at Nambucca on the 2nd of December, we suggest you check them out and report back to me with your stalker's notes.
Our next choice is someone GIITTV was lucky enough to catch supporting The Young Knives two months ago, inexplicably below some mumbling dullness called Polytechnic. Since said gig, it hasn't escaped our attention that Fortune Drive are cutting a swathe through the consciousness of the outer regions of the music world at the moment with continued high profile support spots (with Idlewild) and headlining gigs.
Akin to fellow west coast of Englanders Manic Street Preachers (ha!), Fortune Drive make straight up rock sounding stuff with impassioned urgency, soaring rock textures and a frontman star in the making in the rich vocals of Bobby Anderson - most notably on 'Recent Advances Volume II' and 'Clown Factory', a glorious stomping monster of a song which is how The Killers should be sounding at the moment but, miserably, aren't. Unfortunately, Fortune Drive's MySpace is hideously overrun with media, music, gifs and the like, so take our word for it and watch out for these boys as they look to make it big in 2007.
The latest in a long, long line of singer-songwriters to come (not entirely by accident) to our attention,Liam Scott-Smith clearly knows where to market himself, or get himself marketed. Deliberately asked to review his upcoming single 'Radio' from his MySpace profile, we've taken the unprecedented step of looking over the rest of his stuff too. (Mainly to pad out a bit of space in this feature, if we're honest. (ed.))
There's something of Johnny Cash in his voice, and his softly softly guitar, violin and brushed percussion songs let that, more than anything, ring out clearly on the single. He would not be out of place beside this year's Mercury Award nominee Richard Hawley on Radio 4.
Cheaply, though, the other three tracks are only samples of their full selves. About 20 seconds long, they employ that same gentle guitar and vibrant violin over the top, with his dime bar voice: crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside.
Finally, and in a similar vein to flavour of the month's Lucky Soul, are London's Strange Idols, only their shiny Belle and Sebastian C86 indie is a male/female affair. But it's no less impressive for that, a refreshing alternative to the dross that currently passes for much of the "indie" music scene at present. The picked guitar work of Aztec Camera, being caressed by Sophie Ellis Bextor-esque vocals, and guided by harmonies to die for, it's music like what they used to make. Check out the divine "She's Gonna Let you" and their jangling Spector-ish last single "No Fun." Check them out at Take A Hike, a Macmillan charity fund raiser this Sunday, more info here.
And once more, you've reached the end of MySpace Monthly for another month. December's might miss out as we look to round up the best of 2006 in a definitive, better-than-NME cool list of cool music us coolies have been listening to on our cool iPods.
This month, it was Bill Cummings and Tim Miller who dipped their hands gingerly into Rupert Murdoch's back pocket, and pulled out a few diamonds in the rough.