Maddening Monday: We're Gonna Take That Dancehall Back
Bloc Party - She's Hearing Voices - So, Bloc Party are officially Hot Shit™, what with the glowing Pitchfork review, a sold out show in NYC last Thursday, and the fact that their single, Banquet, sounds almost exactly like Gang of Four. To be honest, I wasn't impressed with their earlier single, "Tulips". I believe I dismissed it as "Frannz Ferdinand meets the Get-Up Kids". On relistening, I'll stand by that statement. But then, on Saturday night, almost entirely at the urging of Cameron, I came out of my cave and saw them play in the basement of the Tribeca Grand Hotel. The night began horribly, with just about every "Damn, I guess I can't get in to this show now" moment happening in rapid succession, followed by daringly more or less sneaking in to an overcrowded room full of aging hipsters who didn't know what to make of a DJ that went from Interpol to Black Flag to Minor Threat to Op Ivy (Speaking of Op Ivy, thats a band that really needs a post. For another day however). The band though, destroyed any doubts that the EP or the crowd had left in my mind. Bloc Party is not the next Killers, though they might be the next Franz Ferdinand. "She's Hearing Voices" is easily the best song off of the EP, if a bit uncharachteristic. The instrumentation is kept spare, with the rhythym section pounding away eternally, and a vocal chant style that sounds a bit like David Byrne covering Gang of Four and issuing dance commands, all punctuated by frantic stabs of guitar, inserted at key moments for the greatest of urgency. While the song itself is not explicitly political, (and thus not really fare for a Monday here), the band is somewhat obsessively so (can Gang of Four be referenced enough when talking about these guys? Hell, they even both have Communist inspired band names), and it's sufficiently 'of the moment' that it deserves to be heard. The song gives me high hopes that the band continues in this direction - it's a marked improvement over their first release.
[Buy Bloc Party's EP from Insound!]
Leftover Crack - Gay Rude Boys Unite - Leftover Crack produce one of the most brutal, searing fusions of hardcore punk and ska ever put on record. They also hate you, and everything you stand for. As political as bands come, Leftover Crack have, on their latest album "Fuck World Trade" developed a bit of an anti-cop fixation thats keeping me from posting a track from that album today. They're horribly inconsistent, but when they hit a good note, they hit it hard. So, instead of a new track, here's "Gay Rude Boys Unite" which is as good a note as they've ever hit, managing to sound equal parts Op Ivy and Minor Threat, the song serves as a callout to the various proudly "anti-racist" musicians out there who still manage to be homophobic assholes. Particularly targeted at the ska and raggae music that the song simultaneously imitates and lampoons, and where the same problems linger today, the song manages to be at it's most effective in it's choruses - the verses, as with most Leftover Crack songs, fall flat under the burnt out vocals and pretentious attempts to put down the rest of the world. Nonetheless, when the band keeps it simple, the band shows a knack for a rallying call and that chorus always manages to get me cheering along.
[Buy Mediocre Generica from Leftover Cracks store on Interpunk.com!]