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Ed Lines (Those Darlins – Screws Get Loose)
A feast of 60s/70s rock ‘n’ roll nostalgia created for 2012, Those Darlins are a rare all female rock ‘n’ roll combination (bar the drummer boy, but he’s just there to look at) that haven’t been put together by music corporates because they look hot and can kind of sing. Admittedly it’s rather perfect that they have a blonde, a brunette and a ginger, but there you go; you’ve got to market yourself. Jesse Darlin, Kelley Darlin and Nikki Darlin, (like the Ramones, I hear you say) Yes. Okay, the corporates have done some work.
Onto the music. Their second album Screws Get Loose ought to come with a warning about how retro it is, but I’ve found it really addictive. Hailing from the South, the Tennessee girls’ first album was apparently completely country, complete with southern drawl and yeehaws. Although the country remains in Screws Get Loose, pop-punk, rock ‘n’ roll takes over. The subject matter is innocent and playful; batting away the advances of boys that want to get in their pants is on their agenda. Intriguing.
Signature track: Screws Get Loose.
Harry Harland (British Sea Power)
The phrase “landfill indie” is one that has been bandied around the music press over the last few years to describe the numerous moderately-talented bands who rode to success on the coat-tails of the indie boom over the last decade. The Others, The Cribs and dare-I-say The Vaccines are all examples of bands who have ridden the hype and achieved undeserved praise as the cool cats (not a band, although would be an excellent name) sought to talk up the ‘next big thing’.


Now that the wave of that particular scene has subsided a bit, it’s easier to sort the wheat from the chaff with the additional perspective that hindsight affords you. The expression “landfill indie” has been used as a stick with which to purge the mediocrity from the history books.


British Sea Power are a band who have lasted the duration of this cycle and one who, conversely, never seem to have received the recognition that they deserve. After four excellent albums (plus a film soundtrack), they appear no closer to stardom than when they first started to be mentioned ten years ago. Additionally, they are an excellent live act (what’s not to like about having stuffed animals adorning the stage, or ending their set with an air-raid siren amid a wall of feedback?) and have that quintessentially English quirkiness about them. I can’t think of many other bands who would write an ode to an Antarctic ice shelf that fell into the sea (Oh, Larsen B) for example…


Anyhow, I can strongly recommend any of the four albums displayed above. They’re hugely enjoyable and easy listening, whether they’re more guitar-led such as tracks like Remember Me, poppy and uplifting (Victorian Ice), lengthy and pretentious (Lately) or even doing a very good impression of Arcade Fire (Waving Flags). Below are the videos for those four examples of the band’s breadth of songwriting. Give them a try and dip into one of their back-catalogue. You won’t be disappointed.


Besides, who knows, they might follow the likes of Elbow or the Black Keys in getting some deserved and well-overdue success…