Mandarin Movie


Last Drop At Hideout


If Gold Was Silver and Silver Was Gold

[Highpoint Lowlife,]

Rawar Style


Just a bunch of disparate records?
Mandarin Movie is a new outfit fronted by once cornetist, turned computer freak Rob Mazurek. Their self-titled record is a noise feast of the highest order. Joining Rob in this sextet are one-time Bongwater member Alan Licht on guitars, bassists and electronic gurus Matt Lux and Jason Ajemian, trombonist Steve Swell and drummer Frank Rosaly. I guess all the pieces should be credited to the band as a unified unit. This is some of the more intense jamming I'd heard recently. But it's not just senseless jamming. It actually serves a purpose. Alan Licht's guitar riffs sound as if they're recycled and looped for eternity. Percussion and trombone fight it out for supremacy, though this is unlikely, considering the full-frontal attack of the two bass players. Then, we get to the electronic aspect of the record. This is present in a form of some sizzling fizzles on the fringes of either the right or left speaker or in the form of humming. "The Green Giraffe" starts out like an ear-friendly pop ditty, only to disintegrate into a metal fest. Then, at the end, it turns out the same listener-friendly motif is played again, only to remind us this is music with a purpose. Some of the best duelling here is between Alan Licht's overwhelming power guitar and Steve Swell's equally downright dirty trombone work. Majority of the pieces are up-front, in-your-face assaults, which is the reason my favourite track on the record is the closing 13 minute opus "The Highest Building in the World". The approach is all over the damn map. From this lovely fuzzy computer-generated noise, through to a section of some huge metal jams, finally adding some feedback and more computer glitchings. This is Mandarin Movie's business card more or less. Throw everything into the pot and hope it comes out in the mix. Question now remains whether Mandarin Movie will be a one-off project or whether this will last a while.

Glasgow natives Park Attack bust out of thin air to produce their debut "Last Drop at Hideout" EP. Trio is made up of guitarist and vocalist Rob Churm, drummer Lorna Gilfedder and Tom Straughan on synthesizer duties. They supposedly esquire the "what wave" sound [no wave died a quick death in NYC a while ago, so this was the next term they grabbed onto] which means they stand somewhere between rock's boundaries and punk's front door. Smeared, distorted vocals, along with dirty guitars and that lovely synth sound that never shows off its sweet side are all ingredients that go into this mix. Don't expect this band to be heavy on melodies. Their close friends are dissonance and cacophony. Rob's vocals are nonsensical for the most part and sadly are buried underneath this thick wall of sound. It doesn't necessarily mean that chaos rules on the release. All six pieces are short but that doesn't really matter. What the band needs to say is perfectly said in the shortest possible span of time. From the maddening feedback of "Switch The Switch" to the catchy synth doodling on "Tongue'n'Groove", this trio shows some real potential. Let's hope they can carry these expectations through to their full length which is due out any minute.

Another Glasgownian outfit - trio known as Fuck-Off Machete - unleashes their new EP "If Gold Was Silver and Silver Was Gold" on un-expecting public. Guitarist Paul Mellon, drummer Callan Dickson and bassist/vocalist Natasha Noramly like their songs with a bite of fury. If you think you're hearing shades of Breeders, Patti Smith and Sonic Youth, then you're right. Natasha has a Kim Deal sort of a growl. Attentive and furious one minute and pissed off another. Her livid nonchalance is amusing to say the least. Title track is full off contradictions. The on-again, off-again guitar/vocal teases are highly effective. "Copper and Lead Fight" is more of the same. When Natasha growls "cause you taste like a sugar", you're not sure whether she's ticked off or if she's singing a song of devotion. Lots of growling, sarcastic sneering and loud guitar-drum-bass powerhouse fury. This same sort of energy should be evident on their full-length which is due to be unleashed on the world early next year.

Chicago based The Eternals have been around for nearly a decade now. Their second release "Rawar Style" is exactly what the doctor ordered for those lame-assed lazy r'n'b posses that do nothing but whine about the size of their bloody cars. Former Trenchmouth vocalist Damon Locks has this voice that some will call lazy, while others [myself included] will call gloriously understated. The way he rips into a tune is a marvel in itself. This guy is really restrained. He doesn't yell nor does he whine out loud about poverty or humiliation of being born on the wrong side of the tracks. Rather, he prefers a soft-spoken approach. The way these tracks evolve is like real-life stories without all the bullshit tension that most acts throw in only because it sells records. The music is infused with lots of dub, jazz, soul and some jungle. How these disparate style all work together is a mystery to me but they do in fact gel. The transitions are smooth but the message is unsettling. The beats are mellow but the overall picture is not pretty. These are the tensions that make "Rawar Style" not a good record but a great one.

- Tom Sekowski

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