Miss Conduct, Golden Section, Thomas Tantrum, Be Like Dad - MySpace Monthly: October
With all the bombs and the bird flu, we're probably gonna be dead soon, writes Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy. Well, dead, no, but ill, from flu and stress over workloads means a lightweight MySpace Monthly this month. Unfortunately, some things do have to take precedence…what do you mean you thought this was a paid job? Here, in any case, are some outstanding little artists which you should go and take a listen to right NOW. Come on, you know it's better than trying to friend-whore Big Brother contestants.
There are, it's fair to say, certain expectations when sleepy Chichester band Golden Section's MySpace headline references Art Brut. But just half a minute into 'Peppermint' those expectations are shattered…with a Casio keyboard. This song spends two and a half minutes dishing out avant garde computer noises and tinny drum machines with 80s Duran Duran vocals, before slowing down into a plastic meltdown, and building up again into a more categorical outro, with electric guitar and mellow piano tinkling. It is, after all this, absolutely brilliant. More electro-pop chivalry follows, with just a hint of The Automatic in the chorus to 'Pack Up Move Away' with its wailing synth sweeps, while 'Narcotic Dustbins' has yet further twiddly Snes computer noises, punctuated with a thumping drum machine and robotic vocals.
Finally, the 10CC-esque vocals on 'Be A Daemon' backed by a low bass and drops of echoing electro sounds in between sections of a filthy guitar riff make this sub 2-minute track a sharp shot to the senses, the mourning verses opposed by the harder rocking choruses. This entire track-by-track of Golden Section's profile has been a real pleasure, and in a world of success stoires for Los Campensinos, Boy Least Likely To and Hot Chip, this band sit somewhere, thrillingly, between the three.
Menawhile, over in Southamton, what's this? Dissonant picked guitar lines, a vocalist who sounds like a cockney whore, swanky shuffling rhythms (on 'Pshandy'); this is Thomas Tantrum, new music with a London sound at its most promising…and most testing. The hypnotic repetition of 'Armchair' at the beginning to, uh, 'Armchair', the two-part guitars and stuttering rhythm, it sounds like Pete Doherty and Kate Moss busking at 2 in the morning. In as much as that could ever sound decent, somehow it does. The third and final track 'Trust Rhymes with C…” (which C?) features more of this London-accented, unflinching vocals and understated bedroom guitar and drums, rounding the evidence up in a compact manner. Thomas Tantrum have been recommended to me, and now, I must recommend them on to others for this well thought out, subtle rock that sounds like it's coming straight out of London Town.
But arguably the find of the last few weeks is this band. Miss Conduct would have to be quintessential choice for a 'band of the month'. Even ignoring the accessible, feel-good factor of their music; guitar that's metal enough to be alternative yet still mainstream enough to reach the radio; and lyrics you might just find yourself singing along to, this band has one feature you can't afford to miss: Kim Waterson - and it's not just her pin-up appeal. Kim's vocals will blow any competition right out the water; and we've got her marked as the next Gwen Stefani. Sadly, since signing to Visible Noise, one of their best tracks ('6 Feet Under') has disappeared and their newest release ('First Loves Denial') is only a 30 second sample. But with 16100 friends and counting, we can't be the only one who think these guys are destined for greatness.
From that decent enough play on words for a moniker to our next pick. Maybe not the best name in the world, and certainly a little known choice (judging by their friends list, at least),
Be Like Dad are some young lads who - while undeniably good now - will definitely get better with age. While nothing groundbreaking, every track is at least worthy of being played in the background while you're chilling out or doing the washing up: it's that kind of music. That's kinda a similar attitude people have to Coldplay as well, so if you love them you'd probably make something much 'deeper' out of Be Like Dad - but on this evidence they're just a great 'chillout' band, and worthy of much more recognition than they currently have.
Those with allergies will do well to read the ingredients before trying our next band. With a singer named Rev (who is slightly reminiscent of a young Ozzy in a top hat) and songs like '5 Things That Won't Give You Cancer', you know you're in for a ride with
May Contain Nuts. As the name suggests, no band member is quite fitting of the term 'normal' - but Doc, Rev, Nurse and Adumb know ska is nothing if not done in the name of fun. There's no denying they're talented, but be prepared for the running themes of beer, farts and Osama Bin Laden. A lot of people start a band as a joke. The difference with May Contain Nuts is they're so GOOD at it they have - probably inadvertently - become a credible band.
They have to be commended for lines like,
“Why do you hide out in a cave, man? Going out back exits like a gay man. And yes we have our assholes too - like Bush and Blair to name a few - but they don't blow up buildings with a plane, man..” It's about comedy, not politics, and their carefree attitude towards topics like terrorism and cancer are a breath of fresh air in an age where punk rock seems all about negativity and Iraq (thank you Fat Mike). Atop of which, anyone who can write songs like 'Caveman' and 'Five Things That Won't Give You Cancer' (a brush, a dog, a tiny rug, a Bunsen burner and 'an enormous shed', in case you were wondering) deserves some kind of creativity award.
Finally for this month, a quick mention to Along Came Man. For some reason
Along Came Man always seem reminiscent of No Use For A Name. While never particularly famous in their own right, they always write catchy songs that stand out a mile on compilation CDs.
This month, it was Dan Grosvenor and Tim Miller who bravely raided the deep dark vaults of MySpace Music, emerging victorious with another set of aural jewels. You're rich!