Heretics: Rick Wakeman + Duran Duran = Success

Feeling exhausted after yesterday’s ejaculatory splurge of enthusiasm over such youthful and refreshing music making, I now need a band that does all the hard work for me.

There are bands that make you do the sweating and bands that do that on your behalf. Look at old ANBAD favourites My Bloody Valentine – to see them live is to experience utter helplessness. There is nothing you as an audience member can do other than cower helplessly under the overwhelming barrage of noise emerging from the stage.

And Lo! Here’s Heretics, a band who have pushed all the faders on their vast bank of synths to the top, have summoned up their inner Rick Wakeman and have crafted – no, splurged – a handful of  overblown keyboard operettas.

Frankly, I feel like I ought to have a natural dislike for music formed so comprehensibly from such sloshy synths. Blame Duran Duran. But however ludicrous such massive songs may be, it’s hard not to be won over by such unyielding force.

We Could Leave is so deliberately dark, moody and Eighties that we ought to reject it outright. But you won’t – there’s something alluring and magnetic about Heretics‘ music. A strange pleasure. Prepare for comfort/discomfort.

>Ribbons, Brooklyn’s Mysterious Proliferation and Deeeeep Green

This is getting silly. Half of the bands I review now are from Brooklyn. Perhaps it’s a lot bigger place than I thought – or maybe there really is a raft of great new bands all emerging at once. I hope it’s the latter.

Ribbons are the latest Brooklynites to emerge, panting, from the mad cluster of bands that presumably forms the social make-up there. They have a loud, simple stripped-down sound – rock cut to Ribbons, if you will.

No Clouds‘ guitars peal quasi-automatically, a half-mechanical, half-alive looping chime of hypnotic beauty. Drums plod perfunctorily, the guitar drones and a flat lyric repeats: and really, it’s all that’s necessary – when the song finishes, the sadness felt over its passing is real and quite lovely.

Ribbons – No Clouds

And if Love Is Mysterious states the obvious in the title, the song doesn’t. A fade-in/fade-out, quick/slow, scattergun-drummed dash to the bleakest indiepop of the early 80’s and back again, it yearns and longs in the exact way most songs don’t.

If Ribbons were a colour, they’d be the very deepest of greens: dark, gloomy, but with the slightest, but entirely tangible suggestion of life. A band of direct beauty.

Image courtesy of

>Wild Palms, Terrorism and Haircuts

A few years ago, a frankly bizarre incident involving avant-garde noise-troubadours Godspeed You! Black Emperor, a confused petrol station clerk, and a crack FBI team who swooped to arrest them. Why was Oklahoma’s finest called into handcuff-clicking action so swiftly? Because the clerk thought they ‘looked unusual’.

On such small sartorial details the security of the free world pivots. And if GY!BE look like terrorists, then I’m surprised that Wild Palms can pop to the cornershop for milk without being bundled into a sensory deprivation cell.

They don’t look like terrorists, you see, just a bit… unusual. Put it this way: if sporting 80’s Liverpudlian scally haircuts and migraine-loud stay-press shirts was a crime, Wild Palms wouldn’t dare get on stage for fear of red laser-sight dots appearing on their foreheads.

Thankfully, this uneasiness of dress translates directly into their music – the punctuation-mocking ……Over…..Time….. is an odd, angular swirl riddled with awkwardness and a chopping guitar sound of real beauty.

Wild Palms – …Over…Time…

The beat insists but never touches the terrors of disco-rock, and shows an appreciation of 80’s Indie without slavishly copying any of it. ….Over….Time…. is a song that could propel the band to deserved renown.

If so, then many more will feel Reason Dazzled battering ears and hearts with its exuberance, all bare popping drums and shrieking guitars; Bleached White will thrill as a lost B52’s b-side covered by The Fall.

Wild Palms: too odd to be arrested, too good to be kept down. Great.

>The Platers, and The Unremitting Tedium Of Country And Western

Ask anyone and they”ll tell you, with a Harrumph!: New Indie isn’t anything like Old Indie.

But just imagine if your favourite musical genre never changed, and the bands simply ground out the same old songs time and time again. The tedium would be hell – unless of course you’re a country music fan, in which case you’d be in familiar territory.

Still, revisiting the past is fine as a nostalgic exercise now and then. The Platers make no bones about it: ‘Indie music like they used to make it’, indeed. And you know – they’re right. The Last Days Of The Holidays sounds like a Popguns record, with guitars that jangle so aggressively, crushing puny indie kids with a mighty wall of treble.

In Proper Indie Pop fashion, the song is wistful, trembling and slight. Fretting and not wanting to go home from summer holidays is the stuff of 80’s bedroom 7″ enthusiasts, all right. As is Stand And Fall, which shambles into a wonderfully soaring, chiming chorus that would sit perfectly on any TDK C90 mixtape.

The danger with so blatantly dipping into the past is that you run the risk of becoming a pastiche – and in a genre that values realness, this is the least Indie trait of all. Fortunately The Platers dodge this Indie Pop Crime thanks to a sincere love of the songs from the past, and their efforts to create their own pay off. Turn down the guitar fuzz and turn up The Platers!

>Today’s New Band – She’s Hit

>One of the most important, and thus one of the most difficult and enigmatic, jobs of any band is to grab the attention of everyone else. For ‘everyone else‘, read ‘record buying public‘. For ‘record buying public‘, read ‘our tickets out of these drab desk jobs and into rock fantasy land‘.

Anyway – Today’s New Band, She’s Hit, achieved this feat through the most unlikely of sources – a comically mis-read URL. Their Myspace address is – and if you can’t spot the bowel-movement-from-hell gag in that, the you, sir, are the sort of person who sat at the front of class and tutted loudly to please the teacher when someone farted in class.
So, attention duly grabbed, She’s Hit quickly dispel any Glaswegian scat fetishism worries with their louche, relaxed and dirty sound.
Part One begins with a trapped-CD buzz, slouches into a lo-fi, lo-down, tinny rock slumber, and then drifts into a lovely noise-fuzz-screech. Black Transistor Nightmares is close to being Jesus-and-Mary-Chain-meets-Dick-Dale surf rock, but studded with sinister and creepy noise.
She’s Hit: the sound guitars would make if they could shrug their shoulders and sigh loudly. Listen here!