Matt Riviere, Unkle feat The Black Angels, White Belt Yellow Tag, Eddy Current Suppression, May68 - Singles Round-up 29/03/2010

Simon Jay Catling 01/04/2010

This week's snuck up on me rather quickly I don't mind saying, so if the following few hundred seem a little spaced out I do apologise. Spaced out is something you couldn't label the following heartily impassioned souls: Richard Wink and TC have knocked out a couple of standardly excellent pieces on new releases from Ice Black Birds and Kill It Kid. Link-me-do.

Ice Black Birds- Ears To The Ground (Ice Black Bird Records)

“Ice Black Birds are fine musicians, but they shouldn't be releasing this material. It's irrelevant.” Read the full review here.

Kill It Kid- Ivy And Oak (One Little Indian)

“there's a generous splattering of sound, giving it a blustering swing that almost cries out for a full-on brass section to pump it up a further notch.” Read the full here.

Is it lazy for me to start my singles trawl this week in Manchester? Sod it, I'm doing so anyway not least because my current home has reached inside and plucked out some more electro-indie crossover types in the form of five-piece May68. Somewhat overlooked in our coverage of last year's In The City, they're turning heads now, debut single 'My Way' (Pure Groove) proving us wrong to ignore them with a stubborn bass stomp and Beth Ditto-esque vocals at either end of a swirl of electronic bleeps and simmers. Top work. Next up, not least because they share the same PR company, is proto-punkers Eddy Current Suppression ('Anxiety,' Melodic) who sound, as you'd expect, like Iggy & The Stooges- though theirs is a sound with slightly less surrounding guttural noise, a comparatively clean jiggling hook of a verse before the chorus fires up and rubs together like sandpaper. If the sensation of your ears being torn to shreds sounds appetising, the Australians are the ones for you.

So with my ears shattered, White Belt Yellow Tag have evidently decided to take siege on my seeing sense. The kaleidoscopic video to 'Always and Echoes' (Distiller Records) sure is making me question whether I've been an epileptic all these years, but in reality it's just hiding a pretty bland slice of synth-tinged indie. And I mean indie in the earnest, arena-aiming, unimaginative sense of the word. Slightly disappointing too is Unkle's 'Natural Selection' (white label), if only because they struggle to impose themselves on a collaborative effort with Texan psychedelic rockers The Black Angels, though maybe that says more for the latter's undeniable character- Alex Maas' trebly vocals dominate every inch of this. I miss it when James Lavelle could really terrify you with the sheer dark expanse of his creations and dwarf his collaborators in the process. As it is, it's The Black Angels 1 Unkle 0 here.

With Unkle not giving me a dose of bleak, attention turns instead to the decidedly on edge “pop” of Matt Riviere. There's something uncomfortable about 'Evening Drive' (Brainlove), methodical clunks and clatters ominously lurk in the background whilst Riviere's deadpan vocal is chilling enough to make you shudder at the prospect of sharing an evening drive with the man. These however are all good things, exhilarating even in the way that it drags you out of your comfort zone so easily- the drawn out, distorted strings are like fingernails on blackboard, yet manage to draw you in still further. They thus make The Drums seem like deliriously happy six year old boys in comparison, though in fact they sound like that anyway, a track named 'Best Friend' only adding credence to their reputation as uncorrupted stargazers, and most seem to love it. Me? Well I could point out that the song's frail vocals, too often repeated refrain's of “haa-aa” and simple hooks are more the sign of a band who haven't been given time to develop their ideas beyond two admittedly lovely songs, and that eventually when they've released another couple of these same-treading ideas the backlash will begin, but I'm still looking over my shoulder to check that Matt Riviere's not behind me.