Reviews

Emotional Response

Mick Trouble Here’s the Mick Trouble LP

The long-awaited follow up to 2017’s mysterious It’s the Mick Trouble EP (alleged to have been a long lost recording by an erstwhile DAN TREACY associate, originally slated for release on the Whaam! label but subsequently lost to history) that was later revealed to be the work of Jed Smith of MY TEENAGE STRIDE. The album picks up where the EP left off, with pitch-perfect TELEVISION PERSONALITIES pastiche. If indie pop scientists forced a bot to listen to nothing but the first TELEVISION PERSONALITIES singles and album for a year and then asked it to produce a song, the borrowed riffs, bedroom production, and cod Britishisms of opener “Bloody Blighty” is likely what would emerge. Luckily for the listener, TROUBLE/Smith expands his stylistic scope on the LP while still exhibiting superior songwriting skills and a knack for capturing the essence of the sounds of an earlier era on tape. Songs veer from mod-ish TIMES/O LEVEL territory into junkshop glam and FELT/DENIM indie pop, each one packed with hooks and wit. I believe Smith played all the instruments on the record, which is no mean feat, but I particularly want to call out the nimble, melodic bass playing, which is the secret weapon here (as well as on the JEANINES LP, which Smith also played on this year). What more can be said – I waited over a year for this album and it did not disappoint.

Neutrals Kebab Disco LP

What is there to say about a record that somehow evokes the view from a teenage bedroom in some Scottish new town circa 1982 at the same time as a modern mall food court in modern-day San Francisco? Tightly wound sounds formed in the nucleus of UKDIY and the post-JAM mod revival—the music is nostalgic: painting a picture of youth trying to escape a drab existence thru art school or technical college, dreaming of Italian adventures as their friends become motorcycle cops and hippies park their BMWs where their revolutionary dreams once were. This record is a crafty cigarette in a stairway outside an indie disco that plays STRETCHEADS into SHOP ASSISTANTS. This record bridges Glasgow in some mystical undetermined past with San Francisco in a very non-nostalgic present. Allan McNaughton’s very distinctive vocals will sound familiar to fans of GIANT HAYSTACKS and AIRFIX KITS, but this record has less of a D BOON paint coat than those groups, and more of an UNDERTONES 45s and cheap charity shop parka glow. Comes with a super sick lyric booklet, which is a true visual delight. Recommended!