Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

The Great Unwanted

Obviously 30-second clips isn’t the best way to be introduced to a new band – even if they do cut right to the chorus – but perusing this list of XFM’s 32 Best British Debuts of 2007 was a pretty interesting exercise. Mostly in that with a few exceptions – mostly the acts I was already somewhat familiar with, and that right there might explain why – nothing jumped out and caught my interest. I’m investigating a few further – Air Traffic’s MySpace got a hit, I dug the Jack Penate CD out of a pile and I was reminded that I’ve always meant to revisit that Maps record – but by and large most of the samples seemed unremarkable. Again – I’ve not passed final judgment on any of the listees, goodness knows that lots of my now-favourites started out with less than spectacular first impressions.

And so it’s a bit ironic that my pick for the best British debut of the year is a record that had me hooked within the first 30 seconds and is nowhere to be found on XFM’s list – Lucky Soul’s The Great Unwanted. I gushed about the record more than a little back in April and while it’s perfectly reasonable to think that in the intervening seven months, some of the initial sugar buzz and infatuation would have worn off but instead I’m using this rather tenuous tangent to report that I still love this record as much as I did this Spring, maybe more, and stand by everything I wrote then. And while they haven’t garnered the XFM love, they seem to have had enough success at home and abroad to tour internationally – jaunts around Europe and to Japan dot their upcoming itinerary – but nothing over this way yet. Hopefully the operative word being “yet”. The Von Pip Musical Express caught an interview with keyboardist Malcolm Young at the end of the Summer, they took part in Erasing Clouds’ “100 Musicians Answer the Same 10 Questions” series, Click Music has an interview with singer Ali Howard and guitarist Andrew Laidlaw circa this past May.

MP3: Lucky Soul – “The Great Unwanted”
Video: Lucky Soul – “Lips Are Unhappy” (YouTube)
Video: Lucky Soul – “My Brittle Heart” (YouTube)
Video: Lucky Soul – “Add Your Light To Mine, Baby” (YouTube)
Stream: Lucky Soul / The Great Unwanted
MySpace: Lucky Soul

And thanks to Torr for a) directing me to the XFM list and b) having the wisdom to include Lucky Soul on his companion list. Anyone else want to step up and advocate for any of the bands on XFM’s list or offer their own suggestions for impressive UK debuts this year? I know that my own tastes aren’t really in synch with what’s popular over there right now, but I’m always open to recommendations. And I should mention that the Jack Penate disc went right back into the pile when I was done with it. Eh.

Another British band that put out a pretty damned good debut full-length this year was FieldsEverything Last Winter‘s strengths have outpaced its shortcomings since I initially wrote it up, also back in April. PopMatters has an interview with the band wherein they discuss the band’s origins and debate the merits of othe bands with “Field” in their names. And I’d just like to say that their describing keyboardist/vocalist Thorunn Antonia as an “Icelandic sexpot” skeeves me out juuuust a bit. Is that really appropriate? I don’t think it is.

And some more UK bits in descending order of newness…

The Times introduces their readers to Patrick Wolf. And to give you an idea of the tenor of the piece, it ran in their Style section and the sidebar is titled, “Interesting boys to keep your eye on”. The Sydney Morning Herald also has a piece, more appropriately filed under “music”.

BeatRoute talks to Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith.

Doves give NME and Billboard status updates on the recording of album number four, due out in 2008.

Emma Pollock discusses life as a solo artist with The Independent and

Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and The Los Angeles Times have interviews with PJ Harvey about her new record White Chalk while Yahoo has video of a full live show she recorded for them. If you can, increase the video quality as much as you can – the sound really improves as well.

And finally Alan McGee, via his blog at The Guardian, argues that Ride deserve more respect than they get, though the photo they chose to run alongside the piece rather undermines his case. The comments get lively as well. And if we can’t get a proper reunion, how about at least a Don’t Look Back concert for Nowhere or Going Blank Again? I’d damn well get on a plane to anywhere for one of those.

See how I went from “recommend me something new” to “god I miss the past” over the course of the post?

By : Frank Yang at 8:33 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Scott says:

    My recommendation would be one you already listed as being worthy of a re-check… Maps. That album is so bloody good it’s frightening, IMHO.

    And thanks for the tip of Fields. I’d heard a couple cuts from Hymns… and liked them, but then everything else I heard since I’d thought was over-rated… and suddenly (when looking at those links) realized I’d managed to cross up Fields with Field Music and somehow was trying to shoehorn one into the memory of the other.


    Thanks… and

  2. matthew says:

    I listened to that Jack Penate album yesterday too…it sounded sort of like Arctic Monkeys, as interpreted by someone who likes Adult Contemporary…

  3. Matt Pilgrim says:

    Jack Penate is worth a listen.

  4. Matt Pilgrim says:

    I just realized that you said you weren’t feeling it. I think it’s catchy at the very least.

  5. Simon says:

    Check out Alberta Cross… they’re based in London, the two main guys came together through a shared love of Neil Young and The Band. It’s some really good country-influenced stuff that has a slight Shins/Band Of Horses feel. There is a mini-album and an EP so far.