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This week, Joe cups his hand to his ear.If the word “folk” conjures up images of finger-in-ear types a-hey-nonny-no-ing in strangely unsettling country pubs, while locals build giant wicker men in the beer garden, then you’re absolutely right, because that’s exactly what UK folk music is all about. That’s not blind, unfounded prejudice - that’s cold, solid-brass fact. However, if you’re talking about the new school of slightly tripped-out folk music from America – your Golden Apples, your Devendra Banharts – then it’s a different bag altogether.
Have a listen to Animal Collective featuring Vashti Bunyan’s sweetly hypnotic Prospect Hummer (Fat Cat) to hear why. It could well end up as your favourite record of the summer. Actually, we’re only pulling your leg about the British folk stuff – Bunyan herself is British. So if there are any irate UK folksters out there, please don’t slaughter a lamb and invoke an ancient pagan curse upon us.
From one skewed musical vision to another (smoothest link ev-ah)… The supremely strange and ambitious Jamie Lidell steps up to the plate this week with When I Come Back Around (Warp), a dotty ditty sure to delight his ever-expanding cult following and confound his confused doubters. Those long-serving (in indie terms, at least) Sleater-Kinney women roll back around as well, offering a very welcome and well-timed attack on wannabe 1982 post-punkers on the bone-rattling Entertain (Sub Pop). Hear this fiery riot grrrl racket and cower, all ye cut-price Gang Of Four copyists.
Emiliana Torrini is also one of those lady types, but she’s not nearly as riled up as the Sleaters (the Kinneys?) on Heartstopper (Rough Trade), which is either a lovely wispy bit of pop folk or a teeth-itching bit of whimsy, depending on just how much fey you can take. Kiss Of Death (Cool Badge) from ex-Atari Teenage Riot noisenik, Alex Empire, is really quite fierce though…
It’s all a bit up and down this week, isn’t it? Oh wait, here’s something that’s neither growling nor half-asleep: Dwight Trible & The Life Force Trio’s Equipoise (Ninja Tune), which is what trip-hop would’ve sounded like had everybody involved got really drunk instead of smoking weed all the time.
Free stuff: head to the website of www.britishseapower.co.uk, stick a contact email in the little box and grab yourself one of three free ditties from new album, Open Season – Windows Media Audio files only though, sadly.
All singles are released on 16 May 05.
Read members' comments.
the milk factory: panda bear
warp: jamie lidell
dhr: alec empire
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