September 11th, 2007 1:02pm
There Are No Barriers For Shame
Kate Nash “Merry Happy” – Kate Nash’s songs primarily deal with minor relationship drama, but more specifically, the way teenagers and young adults must learn to interpret these events in their lives when they haven’t got much first-hand experience, but are overly familiar with how these sort of things play out in books, television, and pop songs. Nash deliberately calls attention to the banality of her situations, but doesn’t ever discount her emotions, resulting in jaunty yet melancholy pop tunes like “Merry Happy” that are simultaneously self-effacing and self-absorbed, i.e., the typical mindset of a lovesick student. When Nash reaches an epiphany — “I can be alone” — it’s a little bit funny because it isn’t at all profound, but it’s also a bit sad and sympathetic, as most people can relate to having the same moment of self-revelation and feeling that sudden, somewhat illusory sensation of emotional strength. (Click here to buy it from Amazon UK.)
Future of the Left “Manchasm” – A.K.A. McLusky with a new bass player and a different name. Andy Falkous continues to be Andy Falkous — witty, bitter, venomous and cryptic, kinda sorta like an aggressive Welsh punk rock version of Dan Bejar. The only major difference between the bands is the presence of a synthesizer, but even when that element is prominent, the songs play to Falkous and his partners strengths. “Manchasm” begins with a manic organ vamp, but it moves on to a series of abrasive, repetitive hooks, an eyebrow-raising reference to disgraced Republican paedo Mark Foley, and a creepy round at the end that recalls the brilliant finale of “She Will Only Bring You Happiness.” (Funny, if you watch that video, you can hear that they changed the “our old singer is a sex criminal” line to “our old singer is an ex-criminal” for the single version!) (Click here for the Future of the Left website.)
Elsewhere: Ben fucking Foster, ladies and gentlemen.