Wednesday, July 19, 2017

40 From 40: 1993

Reading back contemporary overviews of music from the end of 1993 it's striking how US rock was grouped together as one intransigent whole, which means that Nirvana, in the year of In Utero and the recording of Unplugged In New York, are usually mentioned in the same (usually negative) list and tone as the Spin Doctors and Counting Crows, because they're all American guitar bands coming over here selling their records with their hair and moaning, aren't they? Of course this had long since essayed its own music press backlash, put into true being by April's Select magazine Yanks Go Home! cover, as Stuart Maconie coining the term Lion Pop first in a Cud album review a year earlier - having already put in his notice at the NME, the final straw being Superchunk appearing on the cover - lit the touchpaper for much to follow. We didn't know it yet, but a band signed by Alan McGee that May would come to lead that line. 1993 was a curious year all round, the charts full of second gear reggae revival and one hit wonders - 4 Non Blondes, Snow, Culture Beat - while a lot of big names ended up in litigation of various kinds, whether Michael Jackson and Jordy Chandler, George Michael and Sony or what was now The Artist Formerly Known As Prince and Warner Brothers. Meanwhile all this happened... (no Huggy Bear on Spotify, which you'd likely have expected were it not for how another of their albums is on there)

The Breeders - Cannonball
PJ Harvey - 50ft Queenie
Unrest - Make Out Club
The Fall - Why Are People Grudgeful
The Boo Radleys - Lazarus
The Afghan Whigs - Debonair
Sugar - Tilted
Elastica - Stutter
Nirvana - Scentless Apprentice
Huggy Bear - Her Jazz
Bikini Kill - Rebel Girl
Leftfield feat. John Lydon - Open Up
Sub Sub feat. Melanie Williams - Ain't No Love (Ain't No Use)
Saint Etienne - You're In A Bad Way
Stereolab - French Disko
Seefeel - Plainsong
Björk - Human Behaviour
KRS-One - Sound Of Da Police
Wu-Tang Clan - Da Mystery Of Chessboxin'
Pet Shop Boys - Can You Forgive Her?
Frank Black - I Heard Ramona Sing
Squeeze - Some Fantastic Place
The Lemonheads - It's About Time
Madder Rose - Swim
The Auteurs - American Guitars
Eggs - The Government Administrator
Animals That Swim - Roy
James - Laid
Gigolo Aunts - Where I Find My Heaven
Pulp - Lipgloss
Blur - Coping
Suede - Animal Lover
David Bowie - Jump They Say
New Order - Regret
The Smashing Pumpkins - Cherub Rock
Radiohead - Anyone Can Play Guitar
Tindersticks - City Sickness
Liz Phair - Stratford-On-Guy
Red House Painters - Katy Song
Mazzy Star - Fade Into You

Previously amongst the 40: 1970, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009

Friday, July 14, 2017

40 From 40: 1973

Clearing up another pre-Year Zero year as we continue through four decades of pop, one which features a lot of big important albums and international starmaking turns. Ziggy retired, Led Zeppelin got their private plane, CBGBs opens, we lost Gram Parsons, we nearly lost Stevie Wonder right at the peak of his powers - he spent four days in a coma as a result of a car accident - and the oil crisis meant a shortage of vinyl manufacturing ability to levels not seen again until Record Store Day began. The last track here is there because it felt right.

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band - Next
Tony Christie - Avenues And Alleyways
Wings - Jet
Mott The Hoople - All The Way From Memphis
John Cale - Child's Christmas In Wales
Lou Reed - How Do You Think It Feels
David Bowie - Cracked Actor
Pink Floyd - Money
Steely Dan - Show Biz Kids
War - Me And Baby Brother
The Doobie Brothers - Long Train Runnin'
The Chi-Lites - Stoned Out Of My Mind
Stevie Wonder - Higher Ground
Ike & Tina Turner - Nutbush City Limits
James Brown - The Payback
Kool & The Gang - Jungle Boogie
Incredible Bongo Band - Apache
Can - Spray
Funkadelic - Nappy Dugout
The Isley Brothers - Summer Breeze
Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On
The Wailers - Stir It Up
I-Roy - Black Man Time
Dennis Alcapone - Cassius Clay
The Maytals - Loving Spirit
Joe Gibbs & The Professionals - African Dub
10cc - Rubber Bullets
Golden Earring - Radar Love
Hawkwind - Born To Go
The Stooges - Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell
New York Dolls - Trash
Roxy Music - Do The Strand
NEU! - Fuer Immer (forever)
Faust - Krautrock
David Essex - Rock On
John Martyn - Solid Air
Gram Parsons - A Song For You
Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Tom Waits - I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You
Mike Oldfield - Sailor's Hornpipe

Previously amongst the 40: 1970, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009

Monday, July 10, 2017

STN recommends: 10/7/17

As every year, the Indietracks Festival compilation features plenty of pop thrills, and at £4 for 45 tracks and all proceeds to the Midland Railway Trust you'd be a fool not to take on its delights. For one, there's The Office Worker from the new Mammoth Penguins album John Doe, a concept record featuring Sophie from Haiku Salut, presumably on the electronics. We know little about the record thus far but more should be revealed when they play our night at Leicester Firebug on Wednesday 26th July supporting Chorusgirl, with awkward noisepoppers Jesuscarfish opening. Also sneaking back with their swooning jangle present and correct, if slightly beefier and feedback-y, come fellow STN Presents alumni The Understudies with the lovelorn Is There Gonna Be Dancing? Oh, while we're on Emma Kupa, her immediate release concern is The Heyman Kupa Band's long promised album out on the 21st, Over's Now Overdue bittersweet summer pop finding its meter in this weather.

It's six years since we've heard from Emil Svanängen's awkward pop noir as Loney Dear, his self-titled seventh album released via Peter Gabriel's Real World Records on 22nd September and previewed by Sum, built on bruised confessionals and apreggiating synths like a low budget Bon Iver. Similarly melancholic in an expansive field of modernity is Lost Horizons, newly signed to Bella Union for album Ojalá out November 3rd, which is reasonable given it's Simon Raymonde's own project with Cocteaus-associated 4AD band Dif Juz's Richie Thomas and a selection of guest singers, here the Innocence Mission's Karen Peris swooning in widescreen and making the album a fascinating prospect. The unexpected about-face of Wolf Alice continues - breathy, hazy, built on layers of synths and shoegaze dynamics that devolve into open road dreaminess and sounding nothing like Yuk Foo, it bodes fascinatingly for Visions Of A Life, out 29th September. Ghostpoet's Dark Days & Canapés... well, it has a terrible title, but the album out August 18th promises to be uneasily brooding in an adjacent way to his previous work, very reminiscent of Massive Attack's incoporation of darkly menacing post-punk into their dynamic on Mezzanine.

Hey, time for white indie boy to write about grime, and Dizzee Rascal's back amongst us! No superstar producer, no big name guest slots and definitely no shouting James Corden, Wot U Gonna Do? is self-critical dark drama, Boy In Da Corner grown up and paranoid for what he did with all those years. Skepta, two years Dizzee's senior but who took the long way round to a comparable level of fame, goes in - and not just on the traditional HATERZ - on surprise new track Hypocrisy.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

40 From 40: 1982

Does anyone read these spiels? Maybe we should just save them for the book version that'll never happen. Here's forty top songs (39 of which are on Spotify) from the magnificent pop year of 1982, and no, Dollar's inclusion is not a mistake. Trevor Horn, good man. By the way, yes, we know Shipbuilding came out in 1982 but was included in our 1983 list. It happens. At least it's represented.

The Passage - XOYO
New Order - Temptation
Yazoo - Don't Go
Visage - Night Train
The Human League - Mirror Man
Prefab Sprout - Lions In My Own Garden (Exit Someone)
The Associates - Party Fears Two
Scritti Politti - Jacques Derrida
Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force - Planet Rock
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - The Message
Kurtis Blow - Tough
Soft Cell - Torch
Bucks Fizz - My Camera Never Lies
Dollar - Videotheque
Weekend - Drumbeat For Baby
Dexys Midnight Runners - Let's Make This Precious
Orange Juice - I Can't Help Myself
Michael Jackson - Billie Jean
Blancmange - Living On The Ceiling
Nick Nicely - Hilly Fields (1892)
Kate Bush - Suspended In Gaffa
XTC - Senses Working Overtime
The Jam - A Town Called Malice
Echo & The Bunnymen - The Back Of Love
Siouxsie & The Banshees - Fireworks
The Pretenders - Back On The Chain Gang
R.E.M. - Carnival Of Sorts (Boxcars)
The Monochrome Set - Jet Set Junta
Mission Of Burma - That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate
Descendents - Myage
The Fall - The Classical
Cocteau Twins - Wax And Wane
Joe Jackson - Steppin' Out
ESG - Dance
Kid Creole & The Coconuts - Stool Pigeon
Gang Of Four - We Live As We Dream, Alone
Fun Boy Three - The Telephone Always Rings
The Clash - Straight To Hell
Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Beyond Belief
Bruce Springsteen - Highway Patrolman

Previously amongst the 40: 1970, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009

Monday, July 03, 2017

The story so far: STN's top 40 albums of the first half of 2017

So now we've covered the best tracks of the year so far on a month by month basis, let's move on to the longform stuff. Feel free to remind us of these come the end of the year when something else from these six months overtakes the lot.

Algiers - The Underside Of Power
At The Drive-In - in•ter a•li•a
Big Thief - Capacity
Celebration - Wounded Healer
Christian Fitness - slap bass hunks
Cloud Nothings - Life Without Sound
Craig Finn - We All Want The Same
Fazerdaze - Morningside
Fleet Foxes - Crack-Up
Gallops - Bronze Mystic
Grandaddy - Last Place
H. Grimace - Self-Architect
H Hawkline - I Romanticize
Hurray For The Riff Raff - The Navigator
Idles - Brutalism
Jane Weaver - Modern Kosmology
Jens Lekman - Life Will See You Now
Laura Marling - Semper Femina
Los Campesinos! - Sick Scenes
Meursault - I Will Kill Again
Milo's Planes - Individual Development Plan
The Mountain Goats - Goths
Napoleon IIIrd - The Great Lake
Novella - Change Of State
Perfume Genius - No Shape
Piano Magic - Closure
Post War Glamour Girls - Swan Songs
Priests - Nothing Feels Natural
Ralegh Long - Upwards Of Summer
Rose Elinor Dougall - Stellular
Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 3
Saint Etienne - Home Counties
Sean Rowe - In Darkened Rooms
Spiral Stairs - Doris and the Daggers
Spoon - Hot Thoughts
Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner, James McAlister - Planetarium
Storm The Palace - Snow, Stars And Public Transport
Sweet Baboo - Wild Imagination
Why? - Moh Lhean
Wire - Silver/Lead

Sunday, July 02, 2017

STN recommends... June 2017

Sorry about the lack of recent posts, but everything we've really liked in the last fortnight or so that's on Spotify is included regardless in the sixth monthly roundup of what we've loved lately:

Things that aren't on Spotify that we've liked since the last post: Warm Digits' electrifying glam-kosmiche stomp promising ever more for album Wireless World out 4th August;the bewitching twisted psych-indie of The Graphites; Parenthetical Girls' Zac Pennington going solo with left of centre string-soaked bruised romance as Comedienne; longserving Birmingham scene noisepopniks Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam; the effervescent harmonic jangle of Charmpit; charmingly offhand lo-fi pop from Jetstream Pony (featuring sometime members of the Wedding Present, Trembling Blue Stars and the Fireworks); the (supposedly) unaffected sunshine pop of Baby!; Floreana's MJ-recorded charging punk-pop shapes (self-titled debut out now); and the return of The Indelicates, and the only logical response to finding that Simon and Julia have written a glam racket about Jimmy Savile is "what took them so long?" The album Juniverbrecher (usual array of magnificent crowdfunding options therein) also features a track called The Bins.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

40 From 40: 2006

The second year of STN's existence, so most of this is an unashamed Greatest Hits of that year Los Campesinos!' demos changed everything and we generally got our raison d'etre into gear, as it were. Out in the wider world iPods became big things, leaving the Zune and Creative Zen behind like so much Betamax as it expanded and took over the listening world. Just as Malcolm McLaren predicted with cassettes a quarter-century earlier or so, so the music industry valued digital players so much the actual content of them ended up being devalued, music ending up as another thing to put on your phone. Meanwhile Myspace became a thing, its discoveries like YouTube stars but with actual value, as Lily Allen's blog became the must-read of its day, Arctic Monkeys were labelled an ultimate Myspace Band off the back of their debut album sales despite never having touched the thing and Sandi Thom briefly became a star for having a webcam. 2006 was the year the singles chart really embarked on its becalmed path to irrelevance as digital sales tentatively started being added - Gnarls Barkley's Crazy going to number one a week before the physical media came out - and Top Of The Pops breathed its last, as did Smash Hits and CD:UK. A strange old year for the commercial sector, all told, as Paris Hilton and Katie Price bombed, Take That returned as a "man band" and picked up where they'd left off, a major label tried to make out folkie Seth Lakeman was the obvious new James Blunt, and then Amy Winehouse tore the limelight asunder by making a virtue of what would kill her five years hence. Girls Aloud and Justin Timberlake perked up a moribund pop landscape illuminated, if that's the right word, only by Britney's slow breakdown. Pete Doherty went to court seven times, was arrested six times, was implicated in some nasty business, stayed with Kate and inadvertedly launched a thousand impersonators. New Rave happened. So did emo as big business with My Chemical Romance's number one, leading to the infamous Mail piece and the NME's subsequent impression of a War On Emo. In the year of the Ordinary Boys' Preston on Big Brother there was still an outsider culture after all. As for this list, the Spotify set is 38 strong, missing the great underappreciated Anathallo (one of whom would later have a number one as a member of Fun.) and Final Fantasy/Owen Pallett, which disappeared between our compiling this list and posting it. Them's the breaks.

Klaxons - Atlantis To Interzone
The Victorian English Gentlemens Club - Ban The Gin
The Thermals - A Pillar Of Salt
TV On The Radio - Wolf Like Me
Hot Club De Paris - Clockwork
¡Forward Russia! - Fifteen Part 1
Tokyo Police Club - Nature Of The Experiment
Clinic - If You Could Read Your Mind
Hot Chip - Over And Over
Peter Bjorn and John - Let's Call It Off
The Pipettes - Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me
Amy Winehouse - Rehab
Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
Jamie T - Sheila
Mystery Jets - Diamonds In The Dark
Lucky Soul - Lips Are Unhappy
Camera Obscura - Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken
El Perro Del Mar - God Knows (You Gotta Give To Get)
Final Fantasy - This Lamb Sells Condos
Anathallo - Hanasakajijii (Four: A Great Wind, More Ash)
The Hidden Cameras - AWOO
Arctic Monkeys - A Certain Romance
Field Music - In Context
Midlake - Young Bride
Grizzly Bear - On A Neck, On A Spit
Jeremy Warmsley - Dirty Blue Jeans
Sondre Lerche - Airport Taxi Reception
The Broken Family Band - It's All Over
The Hold Steady - Stuck Between Stations
Band Of Horses - The Funeral
Cat Power - Lived In Bars
Guillemots - Sao Paulo
Scritti Politti - The Boom Boom Bap
Gossip - Listen Up!
The Decemberists - The Perfect Crime #2
Bat For Lashes - Prescilla
The Rumble Strips - Oh Creole
I'm From Barcelona - We're From Barcelona
Sparks - Dick Around
iLiKETRAiNS - The Beeching Report

Previously among the 40: 1970, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009

Saturday, June 17, 2017

STN recommends: 17/6/17

Right then, let's start with some premium STN content, Trust Fund feat. Gareth Campesinos. Their contribution to Art Is Hard's Postcard Club sees Gareth fulfil his Heaton fantasies with a version of the Beautiful South's I'll Sail This Ship Alone that transforms it from tender ballad to muscular fuzzpop. Also new on Art Is Hard, through more conventional means, are the established psych-popper Oliver Wilde and Lucky Shivers' Nicholas Stevenson (who we're pretty sure was a promising solo artist himself at one point) by their powers combined Oro Swimming Hour, Martial Arts Washing Cars being just over two minutes of a more restrained version of campfire Animal Collective, all harmonies and odd sounds. Album Penrose Winoa is out 28th July.

Hey, Everything Everything are actually now back after what seems like months of something being "impending"! You wouldn't really confuse Can't Do, from A Fever Dream out August 18th, for anyone else with the jittery elastic beats, tricksy guitar interruption and semi-cryptic lyrics in nasal, occasionally strained falsetto vocals, but it's evolution rather than revolution and ties in better with their debut than what's come since. A band who've been away for rather a lot longer, Ride, have slightly underwhelmed with their track choices thus far, but Lannoy Point, the opener to Weather Diaries, does the trick, classic floaty shoegaze to a fault with a fluid motorik undertow and Andy Bell set to 'chime'.

Here's a band we've never written about before - Wolf Alice. It's surprising given they pretty much have the kind of bases and influences we generally thrive off, but it just hasn't happened for us. Turns out all they needed to do on Yuk Foo (and maybe Visions Of A Life, out 29th September) is turn away from their radio friendly destiny and instead become Bratmobile. While we're on two minute ire and dynamism, Charmpit are two Californians based in London who deal in harmonic sparkly lo-fi garage pop, this Free The Burbs (a song they're on record as wanting Peaness to cover) from Jelly EP out 14th July. Across the self-sufficient way, part of that ever fluent Leeds DIY scene that we've featured plenty of bands from in the past, "post-punk pop party pack" Crumbs are a jittery, danceable, form that recalls the Au Pairs. Their debut album Mind Yr Manners is out July 28th. Are The Popguns spiritual parents of the scene? So Long, from the just released second post-reformation album Sugar Kisses, suggests their emotionally damaged janglepop has barely aged at all. From a slightly different place Superglu's songs aren't much longer, through a more restrained but still vital melodic indie-punk template with joy forefront on Communion Singles Club offering Welcome Home.

And now for something completely different, the post-apocalyptic industrial soul of Algiers. Inspired by the killing of Tamir Rice and the concept of injustice, Cleveland sees Franklin James Fisher deliver his best righteous fire-eyed preacher delivery over looped gospel samples and a surprising Detroit techno passage. The Underside Of Power is out Friday and might even top their stellar debut, our third best album of 2015. Meanwhile The Horrors have gone industrial on Machine, churning Cabaret Voltaire-style warped beats and synths replacing the shoegaze synths and pedals prowling around in the shadows looking for something to take on in a way their forthcoming tourmates Depeche Mode would recognise from circa 1983. Perhaps surprisingly, Paul Epworth is the man at the controls.

The Surfing Magazines are Dave and Franic of the Wave Pictures, Charles Slow Club and... a drummer, and they have an album out on 1st September. Even though Charles takes lead on Lines And Shadows the Wave Pictures influence is pervasive, at least in their laidback soulful variant and definitely sounding like that hallmark of sounding like they're casually tossing a melodic marvel off just because they can. Yes, of course there's an abrasive Tattersall solo. It's not difficult to imagine many of the records lying around in their studio are also in the collection of Ralegh Long, whose Sleeping On My Dreams commands power-pop and 1970s US radio rock for a homebrew English version of classic rock, if classic rock tended to last only 2:19. That kind of track length seems to have become this week's accidental theme.

Monday, June 12, 2017

40 From 40: 1977

You know God Save The Queen didn't really outsell Rod Stewart in Jubilee week before the BBC or whoever is supposed to have been responsible fixed the chart, right? Nobody's ever provided more than hearsay proof usually second hand from Malcolm McLaren or Richard Branson at their most quote-searching, the record was banned from chart return stores all over the place (remember "total sales" and "total sales registered for the official chart" were not the same thing, BRMB basing their returns on diaries compiled by up to 750 nationwide stores), the NME chart placing often brought up as proof is all over the place due to print deadlines and the difference in the type of shops diarised leading to natural differences between that and the main list (and it peaked at 5 in Melody Maker's chart, and somehow Never Mind The Bollocks topped BRMB but not NME), it's been officially registered as selling less than 300,000 for the year, and The First Cut Is The Deepest was shown as ahead when the BPI opened up their audited sales reports some time ago. 12,000 was the difference that week, apparently, at a time of a general sales level meaning that if Stewart really had been outsold two to one that week as often claimed his double A side wouldn't even have been number two. Also John Lydon says he was never bothered about whether it was fixed or not, so you can drop about it if he can. Anyway, a lot more than you're ever going to want to see has already been written about how 1977 was a watershed year for that whole punk thing, so here there's loads of angry/angular men with guitars (and the odd female singer) plus a wodge of early and thus fascinatingly exploratory electro, a handful of funk, disco and reggae, some more streamlined pop and AOR inventiveness, and also Mr Blue Sky, because it may now be illegal not to register it when you have the chance. This is the twentieth 40 From 40, so be reassured that at least there's only this long again to go.

X-Ray Spex - Oh Bondage! Up Yours!
Penetration - Don't Dictate
Ramones - California Sun
The Saints - This Perfect Day
Sex Pistols - Holidays In The Sun
The Clash - Career Opportunities
The Damned - Neat Neat Neat
Buzzcocks - Boredom
Wire - Ex-Lion Tamer
Ultravox! - Young Savage
Dead Boys - Sonic Reducer
The Stranglers - (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
Suicide - Ghost Rider
Brian Eno - King's Lead Hat
Kraftwerk - Trans Europe Express
Giorgio Moroder - From Here To Eternity
Donna Summer - I Feel Love
Space - Magic Fly
The Rah Band - The Crunch
Electric Light Orchestra - Mr Blue Sky
Dennis Wilson - River Song
Fleetwood Mac - The Chain
ABBA - Knowing Me, Knowing You
Mink DeVille - Spanish Stroll
Commodores - Brick House
Evelyn "Champagne" King - Shame
Parliament - Flash Light
Talking Heads - Psycho Killer
Iggy Pop - Nightclubbing
Elvis Costello - Watching The Detectives
The Congos - Open Up The Gate
Willie Williams - Armagideon Time
Bob Marley & The Wailers - Waiting In Vain
Culture - Two Sevens Clash
Althea And Donna - Uptown Top Ranking
Wreckless Eric - Whole Wide World
Television - Prove It
Ram Jam - Black Betty
Peter Gabriel - Solsbury Hill
David Bowie - Heroes

Previously among the 40: 1970, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009

Thursday, June 08, 2017

STN recommends: 8/6/17

Quicker one today. The Camp extends PJ Harvey's new line in songwriter journalism, a collaboration with Ramy Essam based on the displaced refugee children of Lebanon's Bekaa Valley - all proceeds go to Lebanese non-governmental organisation Beyond Association - a deceptively straightforward strum given weight by the words and the conviction of Essam, an Egyptian dubbed the voice of the country's 2011 revolution. Nadine Shah's own politicised turn, unveiled in full on Holiday Destination come August 25th, continues on the brooding Yes Men, adopting her emotive keening to desperation at the ruling classes with low-key approaching menace.

Katie Crutchfield's second album as Waxahatchee, Out In The Storm, is approaching on July 14th, and opener Never Been Wrong bodes well in terms of upping the ante on the focused anger of someone wanting their say too much to unravel and associated laser pointed single-guitar attack, breaking free of a pop son structure in the process. You almost don't need to be told B-Boys are from New York, such is the recognisable cool quotient spikiness of their debut single Discipline, from debut album Dada out on the 16th, twisting art-rock shapes originating somewhere between Fugazi and Parquet Courts around each other uncomfortably. Finally, "a bit like Radiohead" is both an overdone description and usually an invitation to head for the hills, but it's a decent back of the hand description for Looks by Brazen Head, a hesitant, twisted piece of slow building tension in the way of OK Computer without the electronics or guitar heroics but with a piano part designed to pull the melody in a different direction from everything else. Suspiciously little made public about a band who sound so accomplished from the off, but this is more than a fascinating start.