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New to you – Dot Dash

Washington DC currently resides under 7 inches of snow. That’s pretty chilly, but not everything glacial is bad. Have a look at one of the US City’s latest exports, post-punk outfit Dot Dash. Monochrome harmonies sit atop a spiky backdrop of slashing guitars and thundering basslines. it’s fundamentally then, now and timeless for those of us who like our rock angular yet accessible.

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From the Vault – The Jesus and Mary Chain with Hope Sandoval

If Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra were re-imagined by Tim Burton, they’d sound like this. East Kilbride’s finest – not saying much, to be honest, but still – and the stunning Mazzy Star frontwoman join for ‘Sometimes Always’, their classic slice of love gone dark back in 1994.


Pump up the Volume

If one believes the teachings of the punk wars, music should have a capacity for shock. Not in a Mary Whitehouse sort of way – anyone can shout a string of expletives – but by it’s sheer corrosive force. When I was a young pup, I was banned from playing My Bloody Valentine or the Jesus and Mary Chain when my Mum was in. This thrilled me in a way I cannot properly explain; this was mine, it was difficult and it was challenging and it made people turn around in confusion and, in the case of ELM’s matriarch, anger. Top work.

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Friday from the vault – The Jesus and Mary Chain

When discussing the great British bands of the 80s, the Jesus and Mary Chain often get more respect in America than they do in their homeland. Perhaps the Reid brothers aloofness made them less loveable than, say, New Order, but the music they made, coupled with their look and attitude, made them purveyors of genuine cool in an era of, let’s not be coy about this, fashion idiocy. Here they are from 1984 with ‘Never Understand’.

Glasvegas – Glasgow Barrowlands

Here at ELM we’ve had Glasvegas on our horizon from the outset, and always thought they were pish. However, learned people have told us that they aren’t, and that our continued hatred of them stems from a blinkered attitude that they are the bastard offspring of an unholy alliance between William Reid and Craig Reid in a Top of the Pops Studio in 1987. So, in the spirit of compromise for which this site has yet to fully embrace, we asked our good buddy Mrs. Morrissey to give us the low-down on their recent show at Glasgow’s Barrowlands. We aren’t a monoculture, so she was trusted to report without fear or favour. Here’s what she told us;

How were they? Well, Glasvegas put on a decent enough set. They have finally sorted out the sound problems which plagued them the first few times we caught them, although they have replaced this with an over zealous smoke machine which at times totally masked them and the stage.

On arrival I thought it was going to be a chav-fest as there was a wee bloke outside threatening to come back and shoot all the bouncers if they didn’t let him back in, amid a plethora of “quite colourful” language, but after going upstairs (sidestepping some puke on the way) found that the hall was filled with a big mix of people. Strangely, there were quite a lot of old people – like, grey hair, spectacle-wearing old; almost professorial-types. Okay, I was exaggerating, I saw two of them. But still. Finally, a lot of more mature, sort of growling hardmen type folks…I decided they were possibly family friends… and then just the rest, a mish-mash of different ages and people but definitely not youngsters, all very fired-up and committed (singing every word of every song.)

They did a 45 minute set and when they were good, they were very good but it has to be said that this was when they played the songs they have been touring behind for a couple of years now. ‘Your Cheating Heart’, ‘Go Square Go’ and ‘Daddy’s Gone’ were fantastic, absolutely spot on, but if I’m being honest, it was similar to when I saw them before; the rest of their stuff kind of made me zone out and start hallucinating imagining and wishing it was Jesus and Mary Chain standing in amongst the smoke. It’s a similar effect to when you listen to the album – the big tracks are immense, the rest is just filler.

Nice ending touch though; a ticker tape display a la Times Square at New Year flooding down on the audience. Very rock and roll!

Great atmosphere and crowd though, very devoted, plus me devoted-ish at 4 songs. Seen worse.

So, not the absolute five-star classic review which will get us going back and re-assessing them, nor the utter critical kicking you might have expected here on ELM. In the end, we think we’ve got a slogan for the advertising people behind them – “Glasvegas; Some of it’s not that bad.”

Glasvegas – geraldine

the Jesus and Mary Chain – Just Like Honey

Yes, We Can! – Optimistic Rock Hopes in the Obama Era

We are, in these isles, a cynical bunch. There are myriad factors behind this fact, but a fact it surely is. Yet even in Britain, one can detect the spreading of a little bit of optimism after last weeks US Election.

One week on, it still feels a tad surreal but no less amazing. That America could put aside it’s history and reject prejudice to elect a black man proves we live in special times; it proves that anything can happen.

I thought I’d take a moment to look at what could happen in music now that the glass ceiling has been shattered, now that the old rules don’t apply. This stuff will happen. I believe! *

(*I don’t.)

Madonna releases a new album and does not appear on the cover in her underwear.

Oasis release a new album which is universally hailed as being better than the first two.

Amy Winehouse marries Lembit Opik and renounces sex, drugs and rock’n’roll in favour of greener environmental policies and appearing in low-rent magazines discussing their love.

When asked his views on a pressing issue of the day, Bono replies ‘it’s not for me to judge. I really don’t want to ram my opinions down anyone’s throat.’

Bryan Ferry rejects his label’s overtures to release a Best Of.

Queen and Paul Rogers look at each other and say ‘seriously, what the fuck were we thinking?’

Robbie Williams finally faces up to it. You know what I’m talking about.

So does Morrissey.

Chris Martin sits through a whole interview without reacting in the same way as a Guantanamo Bay inmate undergoing waterboarding.

Glasvegas admit they were formed for a bet and donate all their earnings to the Proclaimers and the Jesus and Mary Chain.

The Bedingfields are found in a crack alley, smoking from a pipe and huddling against a dead rat for warmth.

The Verve realise what we all did a year ago and just give up.

A shite indie band from the 90’s announces a tour and doesn’t sell out mind-bogglingly big venues.

The Rolling Stones don’t tour.

An edition of Q Magazine contains a reviews section containing less than 25 four-star reviews.

George Michael refrains from humping unemployed builders in public parks for up to twenty minutes.

Slap bass becomes the next big thing and every club reverberates to the Seinfieldesque boinging.

Simon Le Bon is elected MP for Sedgefield after a close-run by-election. He gets in a platform of ‘Girls on film’.

Jo Whiley presents Glastonbury without mentioning ‘the vibe’ 876 times. On the first night.

Blaming him for the collapse of his marriage, Preston from The Ordinary Boys vows to hunt down and butcher Simon Amstell.

Goths cheer up.

Duffy makes a genuinely soulful album which in no way sounds like an ersatz 60’s album knocked up in 20 minutes by a cynical producer looking to fleece braindead halfwits out of a tenner in Tesco.

The religious rap movement meets the religious right movement to form the religious rap and right movement. Artists are sickened by their own albums and campaign successfully to have themselves banned from Wal-Mart, stating they are a danger to the youth of America.

All About Eve reform with Juliette Reagan replaced by Sarah Palin.

A politician is actually honest about what’s on his iPod rather than pretending to like the Arctic Monkeys.

Rod Stewart just fucks off and gives us all peace.

Hey, all these things could happen! Any others?

The Raveonettes – ‘Lust Lust Lust’ Review

With this Swedish boy/girl combo so in thrall to 60’s pop – their best-known number ‘Ode to LA’ featured Ronnie Spector – it was only a matter of time before they added a Mary Chainish layer of distortion and feedback and went monochrome. On ‘Lust Lust Lust’ that’s exactly what they have done, but luckily, their knack for a tune has seen them avoid them going completely down the copyists route.

Not that they haven’t tried to give any detractors ammunition to fire on that charge. There is a song on here called ‘You Want The Candy’ for Christ sakes. Short of calling a song ‘We’re From East Kilbride And Like The Velvet Underground’ you couldn’t come up with a title more synonymous with the Reid brothers. I’m at a loss whether to be offended by how cheeky that is or simply marvel at their chutzpah.

So banging echoing drums abound, guitars are fuzzed and basslines sound like they were taken from The Ramones. Add to that the insouciant cool of main singer Sharin Foo’s disembodied vocals and you have a package which will appeal to a lot of boys who loved Creation Records with a religious fervour. The guitar playing on some songs is strangely reminiscent of the Cure, lots of spiralling bright riffs spreading across the songs and lifting this album from mere pastiche to something better. Highlights include ‘Aly Walk With Me’, the single ‘Dead Sound’ and the moody ‘With My Eyes Closed’. It’s probably best not to dwell on the lyrics, which are pretty much standard love and drugs and leather jackets schtick. Never once do they sound believable. If the Velvet Underground were reporting, the Raveonettes are creative writing.

But where do they go from here? Hard to say. The Raveonettes always sound like they are paying tribute to the music they love rather than doing anything new. While it’s this good it’ll suffice, but it’s hard to escape the feeling that the Raveonettes will never be more than a footnote in scuzz rock’s history.