Various Artists - Rip Off Your Labels (Angular Records)
Forget Pop Idol, Pop Stars, Simon Cowell and his ilk of supposed entrepreneurs and impresarios. If you really want to witness the cream of the crop Britain has then you need to trawl through the pubs, clubs and tiny venues, listen to demo tapes and keep an eye open. A good representation of this is on the Angular Records compilation "Rip Off Your Labels" which proves that talent is out there if you look hard enough for it. With a track each from fourteen very different bands "Rip Off Your Labels" is a platform for fledgeling newcomers to the scene.
The Long Blondes are five chancers from Sheffield who have got that DIY Punk Ethic. They're a mix of punk and indie with three chords, which may sound basic, but they perform with guts and passion. The girly vocal has a touch of Louise Wener (ex Sleeper indie icon) about it and a feel of vintage Blondie. More girls with guitars crop up on The Swear's track "Advert Boy" which brings back memories of early Kenickie, but ever so slightly heavier and also indie hopefuls Angelica. The singers request to "show me the time of my life" is tempting to say the least. A catchy tunes with some canny lyrics.
Welcome to the world of romanticized bedsit land with Gifthorse's "Happy Daggers. A strong bass line with atmospheric guitars with a nod to Morrissey and Belle and Sebastian with the vocals very low in the mix. Bonus points for the handclaps too. "Let Us Have It" by Luxembourg is a likeable rock / dance crossover track with it's tongue firmly planted firmly in it's cheek. The vocal is larger than life and extremely identifiably. The tune matches anything Franz Ferdinand have ever come up with. The spoken word segment and cheesy 80s synth moments are a highlight.
So next time you hear some old coffin dodger mouthing about "there being no decent music around since the 1960s", tell them about this album, the many good unsigned bands around and inform them that there's plenty of great music about, but a lot of it is outside the mainstream.
Nicholas Paul Godkin
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