Yes the calendar has rolled over into another new month and therefore I’m back with more random ramblings and rare recordings for your delectation. This is the 6th edition of the Found Of Confusion, taking us from new discoveries 21 through to 26, and therefore theoretically to the half way point of the year long challenge. I say theoretically because, on the basis of my laissez faire approach to work and the barely palpable public response, band 27 will be lucky if they ever get to see the light of day! For now though we crash on and, as an exercise in neatness, we’re spending a significant portion of this month back where it all began in the North East Of England. They’ve already given us ‘Polarsets’, ‘Lanterns On The Lake’ and ‘Shields’ and now the Geordies, Mackems, Smogmonsters, Sandancers and Monkey Hangers are offering us 3 more acts to get stuck into, so howay then these songs diven’t play themselves yer knaw*....
*apologies to anyone out with the UK...or outside Northumberland for that matter, I realise that complete sentence means absolutely nothing to you – just go with it please.
Shall we begin with a band with a bit of a strange name again? I think we will, TOMAHAWKS FOR TARGETS you're up! Truthfully I’m not 100% sure what a Tomahawk is. I do know from my youth that it was the name of a ‘signature move’ by ex WWE (nee F) wrestler Tatanka. He liked to dress up as a red indian and hop around the ring going: ‘Woo, woo, woo, woo, woo!’ before bringing his hand down in a chopping motion on his baffled (and usually rotund) opponents head - so that suggests it might be an axe. Of course it’s also the name of a missile that the Americans like to fire every so often ... emm I’m saying no more about that as I really don’t want a pre-emptive strike on this blog.
So who knows where these lads got their name, but where they got their musical style is a bit more apparent. ‘Sputnik’ is a lively combination of falsetto vocals and rhythm section led indie rock, and if you liked hearing ‘MY KZ UR BF’ on your radio last year you’ll almost certainly love this track - because essentially it’s exactly the same song! (well it got Everything Everything some Ivor Novello nominations so as borrowing goes it's an astute choice). The thing is though that TFT (that’s short hand!) might actually have a bit more about them than their adopted Mancunian comrades. May's 5 track 'More Of The Savage EP', brims with the same skittish, frenetic personality that launched near neighbours The Futureheads and Maximo Park and there’s no reason why Tomahawks For Targets shouldn’t aspire to tap into that ready made audience, so crack on gents and strike while the iron axe is hot!
Now up next we have a man who appears to have a somewhat unnatural obsession with cats. Let’s be clear I like felines, many was the time I fantasised about having a pet panther sleeping on a branch at the end of the garden, or of feeding my sister to the friendly neighbourhood tiger. I’m not sure however that I’d name a high percentage of my recorded material 'cat this' or 'cat that'. Thankfully WASKERLEY WAY can get away with this quirk because the music he’s making comprehensively overshadows any naming oddities. The bedroom producer takes hip-hop and house beats then builds around them with keyboards, guitars and luscious strings, before saturating his creation in effects and mixing in vocals so faint that at times you could wonder if they're an audio mirage. ‘Holly’ is what DJ Shadow might sound like if you listened to him while submerged at the opposite end of a swimming pool; ‘Haram Haram’ is a hazy take on Daft Punk and 'Hyper Hazard' places classical music and techno in an unlikely union. February’s ‘Waterfall’ LP is available from his bandcamp page, as is a 5 track EP from last December, and as both are ‘name your price’ why not go and pick them up and have him grinning like a Cheshire cat!
Our third ‘founders’ win the award* for my favourite artwork of the year so far. It's not so much the dartboard that appeals to me or the row of happy teddies in front (though I do like them!) but more the fetching shade of blue these items are surrounded by. To approximate for you, I'd describe the colour as almost identical to the magnificent blue that a Sir Shaun Goater was wearing when he was generously presented a football by one Gary 'Chuckle' Neville in front of an appreciative Maine Road crowd......GOAL! It’s a lovely colour indeed.
The band displaying the impeccable taste are MAUSI and the artwork in question comes with their debut single 'Follow Me Home' which was released earlier this year through their own Racecar Records label. The four piece have spoken of their admiration for Phoenix and the influence of the Parisians is very evident in the punchy pop gambol of the lead track and its excellent b-side 'Kiss So Slow'. Vocal duties are traded on both songs between Milanese born brother and sister Daisy and Thomas Finetto and it looks like they might have hit on the perfect stepping stone between the jangly charm of Standard Fare and the energetic explosion of The Subways. As first singles go this is as cracker and the presence of a third track, 'Racecar', on their Soundcloud page suggests the follow up could be every bit as good – Congratulations Mausi you pass the Found Of Confusion test with flying colours!
*just to be clear there isn’t an actual award (in case they turn up expecting a ceremony and goodie bag)
After nice fluffy cats and cuddly toys the next logical step is obviously a bit of murder...hang on that doesn’t sound right *checks notes*.... err I think it’s safe to say our latest arrivals to the blog have been cut from very different cloth to the last two!
RETRIEVER are a trio from South Shields with some dark thoughts and the music to match. On ‘The Rattle and The Hiss’, the title track from April's 6 song strong EP, singer Jackie Miller spits: ‘I was born in the eye of the storm’, and by the sound of it she’s bottled that storm and brought it along with her to the recording studio! The product of their outpouring is the kind of noise you’d guess Mr Bobby Gillespie will adore; the relentless baselines would slip seamlessly on to Primal Scream’s 'Xtrmntr' LP, while the heavy clinical drumming and layers of fuzz are archetypal The Jesus And Mary Chain. If there’s a softer side they’ve not shown it yet, both ‘The Rattle And The Hiss’ and September's ‘Murder/Lion EP*’ are full steam ahead in attitude, but it doesn’t take a massive stretch of the imagination to believe that in their quieter moments they could be capable of following in the footsteps of The Ravonettes, adding a touch more beauty to their belligerence. That path may have to wait though, for now they’ve got that storm to unleash!
*We’re back to cats again
WARNING: Video contains flashing images.
The bodies of this month’s fifth and final group may be ensconced on Tyneside but their spirit is located approximately 140 miles to the south and west traipsing the damp streets of Manchester. The bands eponymous debut EP of last November has all the hallmarks of a long lost 80's demo tape that's just been found down the back of a battered sofa in a dingy Whalley Range practice space. The songs in question however haven’t been misplaced by James, nor have they been discarded by A Certain Ratio or dumped by The Durutti Column, nope they’re in fact the property of a much newer quartet who go by the name of CULT IMAGE
While the lead track ‘Faces’ may not be particularly inspiring, it’s the two recordings that accompany it that make this worth investigating. On 'The Rallying Call' guitarist Chris Knight and bass player Anthony Hethrington take on the unenviable task of emulating The Smiths Marr and Rourke and do a more than fair job, of it too, managing to pull together something that could pass for an early incarnation of Rubber Ring. ‘Astray’ has other northern legends at its heart. The chiming guitar and driving base is akin to that of The Stone Roses a la Garage Flowers era, while Sean McMahon’s hollow vocals guide the mood in the direction of local legends The Chameleons. These are bands that cast lengthy shadows and at the moment Cult Image's song writing doesn't stack up in comparison but they’ve got the right idea - aim for the gods and even if you fall short you might still land on one of those accommodating mancunian rainclouds.
Time for a stottie and some Newcy Brown, see you again soon foundees.