New Soundbites: May 1-8


Bon Iver proves that three months in solitary in a hunting cabin can be a revelatory experience. Elsewhere Why?, Aiden Moffat, Boris, The Kooks and Courteeners hit the Getintothis decks.

Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever AgoAlbum Of The Week
Bon Iver is Justin Vernon and for three months in late 06/early 07 he decamped to a hunting cabin in Northwestern Wisconsin and instead of choosing the shotgun picked up his acoustic and laid down some of the most heartfelt music you’re likely to hear any-a-year.
Most of it sounds like the rustle of trees and the timid hush of the hinterland whispering into your soul. Other bits, like Skinny Love, simply sound like a man close to the edge of the end.
And in track nine, Re: Stacks – the final chapter of a truly special 37 minutes – Vernon has written something so beautiful it’ll leave you gasping for air. I’ve played it 174 times this month and each time instantly crave it again. Thank the Lord he didn’t pick up that shotgun.
For fans of: Chicken drumsticks.

Why?: Alopecia
This missed record of the week by some arbitrary stroke of WTF?
And for that I feel the need to apologise to Why’s? Yoni Wolf and his newly-acquired Why? bunch, for the simple fact is Alopecia is crammed with so many ideas, incredible turns of phrase and downright ingenious weirdisms that for sometime the sinking in process resulted in fewer spins than that of Bon Iver.
But, persistence paid off and what is immediately comparable to the white-boy hip-hop slacker-dribble of Beck becomes more defined and distinctive with every play.
Consider it to entering an expertly-cultivated National Trust maze, at first you’re lost amid the foliage and myriad of twists and turns but eventually you conquer it and can admire its skillfully constructed magnificence and can’t wait to have another go.
Yeah, so it’s a shit metaphor. It fits.
Oh, and his lyrics are so good he inspires discussion like this.
For fans of: Puzzle books, word birds, corduroy.

Boris: Smile
Southern Lord
Japanese mentalists Boris have been frying minds with their psych-doom-hippy-freakouts since the mid-90s rarely settling for anything less than ultra-punishing or ultra-out-there.
This is perhaps their most accessible in that it splices some of the flower-power lysergicadelica of their last record Rainbow with the spazz-fuzz fury of their masterpiece Pink.
Laser Beam is the best of the bunch as wind-milling guitars crunch with a mid-section which sounds like digital Samurai swords cutting through sheets of steel while Atsuo takes a Trojan warhammer to his drumkit.
The 15-minute untitled closer sees Sunn O))) Doctor of Doom Stephen O’Malley join in the fun layering guitar sounds which have more in common with shifts in plate tectonics than melody.
For fans of: Heavy duty shit. This.

Aidan John Moffat: I Can Hear Your Heart
Chemikal Underground
What is it with the Jocks? The former Arab Strapper narrates a semi-autobiographical audio Trainspotting for Generation Filth.
There’s Sick Boy tales of a truly salacious nature complete with ultra X-Rated gratuity, then there’s Renton asides as he cheats on his bird but feels guilt-ridden to the core and finally there’s machismo rants from a Begbie on the receiving end of phone pranksters.
It’s a great ride and there’s plenty to admire, Moffat‘s narration is laugh out loud funny and the musical accompaniment is spot on, but like Chris Morris’ Jam record, the question is how many listens will it take before you get bored, ken?
For fans of: Irvine Welsh, late night Jackanory, pish.

The Kooks: Konk
For fans of: Popsickles.

The Courteeners: St. Jude
Polydor UK
For fans of: Pigeons, detectives, Pigeon Detectives.
Hands up, who bought the first Kook’s record?
I did. I was in MusicZone, Williamson Sq, (shame that went eh?) and Naive was on the stereo and it sounded great. And it still sounds great. As does Matchbox and a host of others. Almost inevitably though this second offering is exactly the same. But poo.
I’d go on a Chris Martin Band rant. But that’d be like kicking a kid with down syndrome.
The Courteeners by contrast are the new school bullies on the block with bonza barnets and super-strut. But hilariously they’re utter turd.
Not quite Twang-level turd, but a turd’s a turd.
Liam Fray, chief Manc scowler and latest Liam G stereotype, wrote rather eloquently in the Guardian decrying suggestions they were ‘sneering, arrogant and aggressive’. Problem is, bless him, he didn’t address the fact they’re debut makes The View seem revolutionary.
File under ‘Y’ for yawny yuck yuck yuck.