“I would be complete if you would let me in.”

“Starcrossed Lovers” by the Fratellis | For reasons long illustrated on this blog, I have been out of the loop with the British bands of my college years, or at least most of them. I know the Fratellis have done stuff since “Chelsea Dagger” but somehow not all of them stay stuck in my head, although the jangly “Seven Nights Seven Days” is an exception. And now, a new single. A new album, even. Perhaps me describing this to the Scottish indie of, again, my college years would prove that I know little. I never really dug deep into their discography. And besides, that intro gives way to something a bit more recognizably Fratellis. But, you know, this is a feel good song. I feel good after this. It’s easy, it’s happy… what else is there to say? [NB]


Things without words #27: neon-lit, almost-noir post-jazz

“Mount Ninja” by Me&Mobi | I was supposed to post this last week, but somehow I forgot – busy schedules, as always. But I listened to half of Agglo, the new album from Swiss-German jazz trio Me&Mobi, and I remember it being more accessible that it was sold as. It might be difficult, I was told, but actually, it isn’t. Am I showing off supposed jazz chops? I can’t play any instrument, and whatever jazz I grew up with is strictly smooth, the stuff purists might scoff at. But this, I immediately got into. It made an impression, the organized cacophony, that I knew how to write the review – but then, I forgot to. But impressions have been made, and now I’ve listened to Agglo in its entirety, and while there are bursts of weirdness some might find off-putting, there is a beauty in the cacophony – the patterns you don’t spot so easily, the permutations you don’t get on the first try. Perhaps you’re bombarded until it makes sense; perhaps you’ll find something to latch on quickly. It’s a swarming, buzzing, neon-lit, almost-noir, past-midnight trip. It’s a bit of escapism. It’s fun. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)

“We all need a shoulder to cry on once in a while.”

“Blackened Blue Eyes” by the Charlatans | Solely because I’m driving to Clark this morning – technically, I already have; I might be driving back as you read this – I’m posting about a song that really should make for a good driving track. It’s driving, it’s dramatic, it just spells freedom from whatever you glean from the lyrics. But then, this is Manila. There is an exact right moment for this song to play, but the traffic means your timing will always be off, and this song might come up just as you’re stuck in a jam, which would be terribly antithetical of it. And you can’t put this on repeat – or maybe it’s just me who hates repeats. But, well, good song. A modern, if not underrated, classic. [NB]

Review: Tearing at the Seams by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats

Tearing at the Seams by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night SweatsI’m supposed to feel something after listening to Tearing at the Seams. The second record from Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats – Nathaniel’s second mining the soul tradition, after working the Americana trade for years – sees the group work together on the songs, as opposed to their eponymous debut featuring mostly the vocalist on the pen. You can hear the results, to be fair: tight and solid, nice flourishes, a sense of excitement in parts, and if you listen at the right time, there are moments of emotional heft. But then you’ll really have to pay attention. Tearing at the Seams tends to be, well, a bit of wallpaper listening. It’s competent, perhaps pretty, but it lacks the spark, at least on record. It’s disappointing considering how I get that jubilant feeling from other records mining the soul tradition in the past few years (see Anderson East). It’s like I’m missing an element, but I know it’s there, but I also know it’s not. Maybe it’s better live? Maybe it’s more exciting on a dingy stage with beer in your hand? [NB]3/5