Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008
The Stars Whiteout
Photo via MySpace
When Nottingham’s Seachange quietly called it a day in March of last year, not too many noticed. Never critical darlings nor commercial successes, they also never seemed to get lumped in with any particular musical movement in the UK – the sort of phenomenon that may be maddening for artists but certainly makes getting press and attention easier. And so when they called it a day following the release of their second album On Fire, With Love, it probably got no more than a passing mention in the NME.
And it’s a damn shame, really. As I mentioned two years ago, I’d never paid them much attention until I was sent a couple tracks from that final record and was quite won over by their sound, heavy on words and melody, a dry yet soothing aesthetic and a knack for both a well-placed bit of guitar skronk and violin line. Kind of a slightly snottier yet no less romantic Idlewild, with an similar facility for balancing anthemic rockers with more introspective, folk-inflected numbers. It wasn’t necessarily anything new, but it was done really well and there were more than a handful of really excellent songs on there – it’s quite a testament that even after all this time, it still gets moderately heavy rotation hereabouts and this is from someone with a pretty lousy attention span.
They had one posthumous release in last year’s Disband In Bonn, which as the title implies was a collection of live tracks recorded on their final tour in Germany. They’ve now done a little more cupboard cleaning, however, and the result is the The Stars Whiteout – an 8-song mini-album that they’re giving away as a free download to whoever wants it. It’s mostly new songs, plus an alternate version of an On Fire song and a cover of fellow underappreciated Nottingham-ers Six By Seven’s “IOU Love” (which in itself was a crib of The Church’s “Under The Milky Way”, but let’s not get into that again). While it’s kind of a bit late to act as a way to get into the band – at least in any sense that’ll do them any good – it’s a good listen and maybe it’ll be enough to encourage you to scrounge up a copy of On Fire, With Love and enjoy it as the excellent record it is.
eMusic has pretty much their entire catalog available for download – which reminds me that I still have to grab their Matador debut Lay Of The Land – and if you’ve only got five minutes and forty-three seconds to spare, I suggest devoting them to “In”, my favourite track off On Fire.
And speaking of scenes (and fitting into them or not), Brett Anderson tells The Guardian that Suede were never a Britpop band, no matter how many Union Jacks he posed in front of in the early ’90s. Sure, Brett. He’s got a new solo record out entitled Wilderness.
Santogold is coming to the Phoenix on September 24, though I can’t help notice that that’s the same date as the Mogwai show… Mogwai versus Santogold. That, I would pay to see. I assume this conflict will be resolved one way or another. Full dates – correct or otherwise – at NME. Update: thanks to Daniel in the comments for pointing out that the show is now at the Guvernment. That post-rock/dance-rock showdown for the ages will have to wait for another day, but believe me – it’s coming.
Zoilus has posted the the complete email transcript of his interview with Silver Jew David Berman that went into the piece in Tuesday’s The Globe & Mail. I opted to skip the show at Lee’s on Tuesday night – how was it?
There’s another installment up in the Okkervil River Stand-Ins covers project – this one is “On Tour With Zykos” covered by, of course, Zykos. The Stand-Ins is out on Tuesday and Okkervil are at the Phoenix on October 12.
Video: Zykos – “On Tour With Zykos”