DM Stith - Heavy Ghost: Appendices (***)
Following emphatic praise for 2009’s Heavy Ghost, DM Stith presents its Appendices – two discs of remixes, demos and covers. Such an extensive document may seem indulgent, but these odds and ends work well enough together to warrant their separate release. With the single-disc review copy shuffling together a random assortment from across the twenty-two tracks, consistency and sequencing are difficult to gauge, but quality certainly isn’t in doubt.Covers of Diane Cluck’s Easy To Be Around and Randy Newman’s Suzanne are skewed through Stith’s distinct aesthetic, the latter adding ghostly loops and backing vocals to Newman’s twisted narrative. Better still is Be My Baby, delivered with an unsettling Doveman-style minimalism that recasts the lovers’ ode as a stalker’s demand. These help Appendices shrug the yoke of curio and stand firm as a worthy release in its own right, though Heavy Ghost itself remains the newcomer’s first port of call.
Out 5th July
Kid Canaveral - Shouting At Wildlife (****)
Kid Canaveral have four self-released seven inches to their name, lyrics that rhyme Smash Hits with Brad Pitt, and debut album artwork adorned with doodled cute animals. Egads, what twee nightmare lies in wait behind this squirrel sketch? None, silly: Shouting At Wildlife is a thrilling, uplifting and generally all-round spiffing combination of indie-pop skills, lyrical wit, and choruses sung through smiles.It doesn’t quite manage twelve full tracks of unbroken charm (Her Hair Hangs Down for one is disappointingly limp), but for a good portion of its run time, Kid Canaveral deliver winner after winner: You Only Went Out To Get Drunk Last Night skips jauntily on bouncy backing vocals; On Occasion somehow sounds like a less hormone-led Scottish Blink wan-eighty-too; And Another Thing is the pick of their softer side; while Smash Hits and Cursing Your Apples provide chuckles as well as indie-disco dance floor material.
Out 5th July
Tango in the Attic - Bank Place Locomotive Society (****)
When fresh-faced newcomers identify Paul Simon as a chief songwriting inspiration, cynics might well read between the lines and translate the citation to ‘Vampire Weekend’. For Tango in the Attic, Simon’s influence definitely feels filtered Chinese-whispers-style through the preppy New Yorkers’ recent successes, thinned to jaunty keyboards and the subtlest of afrobeat rhythms.
But this dilution is ultimately to the band’s advantage – let the comparison lie and other textures reveal themselves. For example, accents and a track entitled Whiskey In The Wind are only part of their debut’s Scottish connection, with shades of Frightened Rabbit’s emotional peaks in several choruses. Yet the VW-echoes prove resilient.This scribe hasn’t been to Glenrothes in some years, but either the dreakit Fife town of memory has benefited from significant, localised climate change or Tango in the Attic are simply very good at injecting sunshine into their melodies. Online weather reports confirm the latter.
Out 12th July