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Air Cav- Embers/Picking At The Bones (audioscribbler)

Air Cav: Embers/Picking At The Bones

July 27, 2008 by Simon Catling

Next year should be the one that ‘Air Cav’ step away from their role as one of the Manchester scene’s finest stalwarts and spread their wings further a field; this double A-side provides a rather fine gateway for the members of the Chorlton four piece to peer confidently through onto the surrounding world. ‘Embers’ and ‘Picking At The Bones’ are the results of a band content to do things their own way without rushing out wanting and ill-prepared for their fifteen minutes of fame; no, this is a band who are building from the foundations up and if this sometimes causes the more impatient of us to yearn for more widespread touring and more readily available releases then so be it; in the long haul it’s surely going to be worth it.

Like previous double a-side ‘Alliance/Branches’, the latest offering from ‘Air Cav’ is another infectious, sparkling, atmospheric twin attack on the senses. ‘Embers’ is a resolute, relentless beast of a song; that aching that you can feel on your face is a smile by the way. The folk-shoegazers don’t deal in the murky depths of despair, instead relying on simple but constant guitars and straining, heartfelt vocals that far from getting lost amidst the tumult of noise surrounding them, join forces to provide a solid unit of noise that pushes your serotonin levels up and up. ‘Picking At The Bones’ burbles and grows out of a vast expanse before taking a slightly greater contrast than its brother with a sudden roaring chorus that bursts out of a contrastingly held back verse. The rest of the song flies gorgeously on, the sound of ‘Air Cav’ using a big butterfly net to try and catch the swathes of noise that they’ve let out of their bag; which they do except for the violin that flutters and darts about in the air tantalisingly out of reach with the low-end booming percussion and frantic guitars.

All of which makes the band’s second release on ‘Surbia Records’ one of the singles of the year; limited to 500 copies there’s a chance you won’t be able to get your hands on a version of this but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bust a gut trying; alternatively you could just hold tight for a few more months because ‘Air Cav’ are a band who are about to take off into the stratosphere.

Date Released: Out Now
Label: Suburbia Records

See the video for 'Embers' at Youtube.

You can buy 'Picking At The Bones/Embers' from Surbia Records.


Fights Like Apes- Lend Me Your Face (Single Review GIITTV)

Fights Like Apes - Lend Me Your Face

Simon Jay Catling

Let’s forget about the A side to this for a cotton picking minute because the first thing I saw upon seeing this release was that the B side was none other than a cover of McLusky’s cult classic ‘Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues’. One has to give the Irish four piece some props for covering such an untouchable classic at the very least, especially as a butchering of it would most like be looked upon pretty sternly by a large section of their existing fan base. Yet, mainly thanks to the orgasmic shrieks of lead singer MayKay as she spits out the vocals, Fights Like Apes manage to heroically pull it off, in fact why not use this as the a-side? Falkous and co. could most definitely do with the royalties that’s for sure.

Lend Me Your Face itself is short, catchy and hook laden; keyboard synths jab and poke at each throughout like errr..angry apes, and in a time when no one under the age of eighteen wants to hear a band who haven’t sticky taped on a few synthesised noises here and there it’s quite likely that Fights Like Apes are on a pretty sharp trajectory upwards. Time will tell however whether they have enough in the tank to avoid the downward trajectory that seems too eager to follow most of bands of their ilk these days.

3 stars

Fights Like Apes video for the single 'Lend Me Your Face'

You can buy Fight Like Apes single 'Lend Me Your Face' from iTunes.


RasKatarsis- s/t (GIITTV)

rasKatarsis - rasKatarsis (K-20)
Simon Jay Catling

Nice as it would be to believe that the current swell of post-rock/instrumental/minimal acts has brought with it an increase in the quality of the stuff that’s out there; sadly, as many musical movements past have taught us, this isn’t always the case. Post-rock (I’m going to run with this name despite the kicking it receives) does not feel the burden of such a saturated market, for in this writer’s opinion it is one of those genres that has its opening height way and above other contemporary music of the moment. Yet on the other hand it is of course a lot easier to make poignant and passionate opuses when you’ve seen dozens of bands do the same before you.

And so Estonian group RasKatarsis find themselves in the unenviable position of dipping their toes into the wider world at just the time everyone’s beginning to tire of endless long haired guitarists staring at the stage and aiming to reach for the emotional stars with the aid of their instruments alone. This doesn’t make the Baltic’s choice of style a foolish one but it does set them at a slight disadvantage; thankfully for RasKatarsis, they come from a country which has thrived on being the underdog since it gained independence at the beginning of the 90s, and this band are no different. Their self titled LP manages to understatedly meander and climb its way into a niche that manages to sit comfortably amongst its constricted peers. Yes, the Explosions In The Sky comparisons can be fairly levelled at the four piece as can the Mogwai, Bark Psychosis likenesses et cetera. It would however be a shocking disservice to this LP to dismiss it as another jump on the bandwagon; why? Simply because unlike a lot of the groups shuffling about at the moment, RasKatarsis have stamped their identity all over these thirteen tracks. It’s the subtle things that make the difference, the jumps in key signature during fourth track ‘Lapsepolve Ja Tagasi’, the slight but affecting use of saxophone throughout that recalls the spaced out ambient jazz music of the likes of Jan Garbarek more than it does any post-rock band. Maybe, like with Sigur Ros, we as Brits could read too much into the titles of their songs; yet the spaghetti alphabet of the Estonian language portrays the music marvellously here: distant and otherworldly. The sparse ‘Ex Kaskaad’ fits this idea perfectly, two guitars striding simultaneously together through an otherwise bleak, vast expanse of space. Percussion on this album is almost an afterthought; brooding noises and rumbles push the music along far more effectively than the drum section here, which admittedly gives the some of the tracks a lack of focus and direction as you sit and wait for something to happen. For the most however the sheer thought evident in most of RasKatarsis sees the band shining through with poise and composure, never allowing themselves to fully put the throttle down and risk losing track of where they started from. Not even in the swirling, epic thirteen minute ‘Nomadia’ do they fully relinquish control; holding each intertwining melody on a leash as they threaten to break free without ever quite doing so; it’s also notable for one of the few times that the percussion does come into its own, putting the groundwork in steadily so as to gradually raise the pulse of the soundscape breathing above it and giving the track much needed depth.

The blissed out tempo of the album as a whole does mean that tracks can bleed seamlessly into each other almost without you realising, the similar themes too can at times show this to be an LP that retreads ground a touch too often and in a contemporary landscape where jumping out and arresting attention is becoming key it’s perhaps something that this slow burner of an album struggles with. Yet, because a slow burner is exactly what it is, RasKatarsis is a collection of music that ultimately does deserve your attention because with a bit of your time and focus the Estonians have provided a debut worthy of addition to any instrumental music fan’s collection.

rasKatarsis Myspace

4 stars

RasKatarsis- Nomaadia

RasKatarsis's self-titled LP can be purchased from rada7.


On the search for free music...The Depreciation Guild

Following a hearty recommendation from the Drowned In Sound boards, my quest for legal free music took me to Brooklyn two piece The Depreciation Guild. Apparently using only guitars and a Nintendo Entertainment System 2A03 sound chip, Kurt and Christophe made available the arresting album In Her Gentle Jaws available for free last year. Combining elements of shoegaze with a poppier edge offset by the sharp tones of the chipsets, In Her Gentle Jaws is a wonderful album that'd be a must get even if you had to pay for it; handily you don't!

Download the album from: http://www.inhergentlejaws.com/

If you need persuasion have a listen first:
The Depreciation Guild- Sky Ghosts


The Depreciation Guild's Myspace


The final PlayPauseStop :(

And so sadly PlayPauseStop, the free magazine from Manchester University's Indie society sadly folded along with the society itself. Without it I wouldn't be writing for the likes of God Is In The TV Zine and (hopefully, after an email from the editor) The Fly or just have the confidence to get reviewing and put my writing up there to be either lauded or ridiculed. Reviewing should be just all about the records of course but I defy you to show me a single music writer who doesn't try to leave a bit of themselves in a review. Anyway, PPS was ruddy excellent for the few issues it was around for; sure we all had different tastes thus making some of the articles pretty contradictory but overall the standard of writing really was excellent and I'll definitely miss it, I feel writing for the far more image conscious and right on student newspaper will not bring with it similar enjoyment next year; we can but hope...anyway, a couple of my articles made it in to the final issue; no Singles Monkey sadly, although he is back on Audioscribbler...

Click on the articles to read them. They include: a biographical piece on the quite fantabulous Manchester band Air Cav, a live review from way back in March when The Music returned to save us all, and finally a gushing icon article on ex-Suede man Brett Anderson, which I have to admit I'm really quite proud of. Do have a read! and Play Pause Stop? R.I.P.


The return of the Singles Monkey

Following the sad folding of Play Pause Stop it seemed like the end of the road for that loveable scamp The Singles Monkey, however this afternoon on Audioscribbler...


Editorial Gibbon Grief: The Singles Monkey #1

Lo’ and behold - what’s that unholy odour emanating from the dark underbelly of the basement that is Audioscribbler HQ? Why fear not readers for it is I, The Singles Monkey; here to digest and bring to you each week’s bag of single releases as the format tries to kick and squirm with a desperation appropriate for the dying animal that it is (just to put this article into some sort of context). Never fear though single lovers, because in these troubled times there are always diamonds just waiting to be ensconced from the rough that they hide in. What’s that? The Kooks have a new single out this week? ..shit..

Date: 07/07/08

The last band I remember who had a single called Shine On, Jet, were undeniably shit, and disregarding all that we already know about Brighton’s finest skinny jean clad indie bandwagon jumpers, this is as good an indication as to how The Kooks (Shine On, Virgin) new ‘un is going to go down. “Biting the hand that feeds”, oh if only they would and suddenly release an album full of soaring nine minute instrumentals and angel kissed poetic lyrics; they’d still manage to balls it up no doubt. Who cares though; because when your trilbies are that firmly fixed upon your head whose going to loathe you? Not the average sixteen year old in today’s Indie Britain that’s for sure.

Sticking to all things jangly and NME favoured for a moment, The Last Shadow Puppets (Standing Next To Me, Domino) are clearly everyone’s favourite pocket rockets of the moment and this release ahead of their debut shows is a great deal more impressive than either of cheeky young scamp Turner or cheeky young scamp Kane’s band outputs; how about packing in the day jobs fellas? No? Never mind, solace can be found in Metronomy’s continuously queasy yet catchy 80s sound (Holiday, Because). Happiness never lasts long though when Portishead (The Rip, Island) are in the room; look, there they are, all smouldering and dark. Youtube user XxTheeHeadXx claims that The Rip “is the shit”, and who am I, a humble jungle feline, to disagree with such a knowledgeable totem of all things minimal? No one that is whom, and it’s left for me to quietly purchase a 2 litre bottle of White Lightning, snort some poppers up my nose and flail wildly to the comeback SUMMER SMASH from former number 1 artist Basshunter (All I Ever Wanted, Hard 2 Beat); for your danceable goodness this week instead turn to the often underrated Junkie XL (Cities In Dust, Artwerk) who throws a sleazy house curveball the size of Andre The Giant’s fist at our collective ears. Hercules & Love Affair (You Belong, EMI) sounds positively tame in comparison, the much hyped act taking us all on a trip back to the 90’s so it would seem. If this was the 90s however we wouldn’t even be giving these chaps a second thought; and why would we? Not when the likes of Dr. Albarn, JX and Corona were still cheesing up dance floors nationwide! All together now: “it’s my life, my problems,” they sure are Dr A, they sure are..

N.E.R.D (Everybody Nose, Polydor) really are a bling encrusted world away from the delightful She Wants To Move; their latest offering dripping with about as much charisma as an Andy Murray pre-match interview (check out the up to the minute contextual metaphors there..) Dizzee Rascal (Dance Wiv Me, Dirteestank) fares little better; a rapper with prodigious talent slipping comfortably into the generic world that most successful UK hip hop artists inherit, sometimes I really do think that Scroobius Pip fellow’s right you know. So sadly it looks like the first weekly Singles Monkey is to come to a disappointing end…but wait, what’s that ramshackle ball of noise reaching these finely attuned lobes? Why it’s those loveable scamps Let’s Wrestle (I’m In Fighting Mode/Let’s Wrestle, Stolen) here to save us from the mundane with a glorious double A-side; the fact that one of the songs name checks both Hulk Hogan and Giant Haystacks is surely worth the purchase alone, and the chirpy singalong leaves your faithful Singles Monkey feeling as warm as he did when he took a bath with a hippo...until next week folks!

Words: The Singles Monkey

Yes it appears the flea ridden furball is back and this time it's weekly! Be sure to head to Audioscribbler every weekend for his latest musings on the upcoming singles.


Gig pictures at Audioscribbler

Forgot to mention that a few weeks ago Audioscribbler included some pictures I've taken from past gigs. They're not really proper professional styly pics because a) my cameras just a humble Sony Digital and b) I've never really been into photography, but they're up there and might interest you. Have a browse:


More reviews and MP3's will be on the way soon including the new Mogwai track as well as the possible return of The Singles Monkey...