Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Solex vs. Cristina Martinez and Jon Spencer - Amsterdam Throwdown, Kingstreet Showdown!

Reviewed by Helen Stephenson

Having never heard of Solex, Cristina Martinez or Jon Spencer, ‘Amsterdam Throwdown, Kingstreet Showdown’ was a bit of a wildcard for me. So I was pleasantly surprised to find myself listening to some funky beats as the opening track ‘Bon Bon’ got into its stride. ‘Bon Bon’ rolled straight into ‘Fire Fire’, and I was hooked. This isn’t just plain funk, this is off-the-wall, ‘yeah stick that sample of that erotic-sounding posh woman in’ music, which is always going to catch you off guard and personally I couldn’t be more pleased than if I had just been given a free head massage. ‘Galaxy Man’ thrilled me equally, and by this point I was searching around to find out if these guys will be touring the UK any time soon (sadly they are not). It was at this point that I discovered this snatch of a press release on the Solex website:

‘Punk rock royalty Jon Spencer and Cristina Martinez have joined forces with Dutch electronic heroine Elisabeth Esselink, for the most exciting collaboration/confrontation since The Jetsons meet The Flinstones. Imagine if you will, a fisticuffs of funk, garage and soul between Captain Beefheart and Ike & Tina, with a sprinkling of hip-hop courtesy of Mike Ladd.’

Well I hope that helped you out. Press releases are often more of a hindrance than a help. Try not to be misled by the bit about punk rock, this isn’t even close to punk rock. This is funk, and by Jove it's funky.

This is the kind of music that I love stumbling across in a venue I’ve never heard of and finding myself delighted beyond belief. ‘Amsterdam Throwdown, Kingstreet Showdown’ is, quite simply, a treat. The one sad note to add though, is that there does not appear to be a UK tour lined up to go alongside this release.



Straight Lines - Persistance In This Game

Reviewed by James Fairfield

Kicking off with a decent fast paced dose of rock & roll in the form of their previously released EP track, Versus The Allegiance. Straight Lines have created a pretty impressive debut album that demonstrates a quick and sharp style of rock that is equally catchy and enjoyable.

Like many British rock/indie bands the potential is evident here whether or not they continue to find critical and commercial success is less clear. In tracks like Runaway and Loose Change it is easy to see the commercial appeal and thankfully these numbers are accompanied by other songs that have a more artistic edge to them and fully equipped with decent riffs and lyrics, see track 5 – Antics.

However by the end of listening to the album there are not any tracks that individually stand out as classics and many of the songs seem to merge into one without out much to distinguish one from another.

Persistence is in Game is not a bad album and is likely to circulated well around the indie rock circuit and does make for easy listening and works well as background music but not exactly what you would have on repeat on your itunes.

Will and the People - Addicted

Reviewed by James Fairfield

Kicking off with a Madness style cheeky intro Will and the People’s single Addicted is an odd mix of alternative rock with a hint of popular indie in it. A song about addiction that according to the band was written in one night specifically to do with someone you can’t leave even if you wanted to.

It’s quite a funny track but not one for frequent listening even though the instrumental is likely to get annoyingly stuck in your head.

N. Wolex - I Don't Wanna Be Your Hero

Reviewed by Jennie Mitchell

The press release for N.Wolex didn’t give me much enthusiasm to hear their latest single. The accompanying description of a song “about a girl who rebels against her parent’s wishes’ for a ‘safe’ career path” left me expecting little more than a generic whine from an artist desperately clinging to the angst of their adolescent past. However, what I didn’t expect was just quite how bad it would be. The track opens with a bizarre criss-cross of musical styles, from a pitiable endeavour at a string orchestra, to a monotonous plod from a haphazardly selected piano key and jarring electric guitar with an attempt at a hip-hop Bollywood mash up. Basically I struggled to listen to the full 3 minutes and 38 seconds of atrocity, painfully accompanied by strained screechy vocals, which caused me to hesitate over the artists’ gender. I’ll give N. Wolex some credit, it is different, but here, in the interests your own auditory wellbeing, it’s definitely worth sticking to what you know.