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Friday, October 10th, 2008

Don't Dumb Down

A while back – a long while – I got an email from a reader asking if I could perhaps help him identify a video he’d seen somewhere by an English band and which featured a single take of the singer riding a bicycle around London’s streets (or street – most of it’s a single circle). Not the most original idea for a vid, but apparently memorable enough to warrant hunting down. I’d never seen the clip, however, and was no help but he eventually tracked it down and let me know that the song was “Motorcycle” by a band called The Rumble Strips. Naturally my curiosity was piqued and I checked out the video myself and, indeed, it’s a fun little vid and a memorable song with jaunty horns, simple yet clever lyrics and a big-voiced singer who seemed to appreciate the proper balance between showiness and restraint.

Which eventually brought me to their debut album, Girls & Weather, released last year in the UK but only getting a North American release this Fall. Everything that made “Motorcycle” a good time is here in the proper doses, with a charming blend of working-class soul, ska and ’50s-era retro pop that in the wrong hands could wear out its welcome quickly, but in this case retains its appeal over extended listens – and this is from someone with very limited patience for horns in his pop music.

Credit for this goes to the band’s ability to tap into their innate flair for the dramatic judiciously while maintaining a boisterious sense of fun delivery throughout. Frontman Charlie Waller, in particular, has an engaging on-record charisma to go with his powerful pipes and demonstrates an equal lyrical facility for pathos and humour, with more depth to his words than you might initially guess. Girls & Weather is a rare record that succeeds no matter how closely you want to listen.

The Rumble Strips are currently undertaking their first North American tour and will roll into the the El Mocambo on October 29 with San Francisco’s Birdmonster. In addition to the tracks below, the band has a few more MP3s available to download over here. Waller talked to Clash about having UK uber-producer Mark Ronson helming their next album, targeted for a March 2009 release.

MP3: The Rumble Strips – “Time”
MP3: The Rumble Strips – “Motorcycle”
Video: The Rumble Strips – “Girls And Boys In Love”
Video: The Rumble Strips – “Alarm Clock”
Video: The Rumble Strips – “Motorcycle”
Video: The Rumble Strips – “Oh Creole”
Video: The Rumble Strips – “Time”
MySpace: The Rumble Strips

According to this pre-order writeup from Rough Trade for the first single from Emmy The Great’s First Love, the album is now set for a January 2009 release. Obviously some months later than I’d like but at least it’s sorta firm.

Liam Gallagher talks to Spinner about the vibe in the studio whilst making Oasis’ Dig Out Your Soul and bitches about England. NME reports that Liam Gallagher would like to beat up the guy who beat up his brother. Tangentially, The Mirror has compiled a list of the best Noel Gallagher quotes from over the years, and yes there’ve been some doozies.

The Quietus talks to Jim Reid of The Jesus & Mary Chain. And part two.

Peter Hook, formerly of New Order, discusses the process of going through the band’s back catalog for the forthcoming series of reissues – due November 11 – with Spinner.

The first three Swervedriver records will be remastered and re-released with bonus tracks on November 3 in the UK and January 6 in the US. Magnetic Morning, Adam Franklin’s project with Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino, will release its debut album A.M. on October 21 and you can hear a sample over at Stereogum and read an interview with Fogarino at Plug In Music. They play the Horseshoe on October 23.

Pitchfork is streaming the first single from the as-yet untitled third album from Asobi Seksu, due sometime in the new year. They’re at the Horseshoe on October 20.

The Duke Spirit, whose tour with System Of A Down offshoot Scars On Broadway has apparently been cancelled, have found another tourmate in Eagles Of Death Metal – they’ll open up their November 13 show at the Mod Club.

NOW talks to Will Sheff of Okkervil River, who’re at the Phoenix on Sunday night.

The AV Club plays Random Rule with Kurt Wagner of Lambchop. NPR also has a video “Tiny Desk Concert” with the man.

Rolling Stone has a video session and interview with Gemma Hayes.

Even though the release date for Of Montreal’s new album Skeletal Lamping has been pushed back from this past Tuesday to October 21, Spinner is still streaming the thing in its entirety. There’s also a track to download. Rolling Stone has a profile of the band, who are at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on October 28. NPR are streaming last night’s performance in Washington DC.

MP3: Of Montreal – “Id Engager”
Stream: Of Montreal / Skeletal Lamping

QRO interviews The Jealous Girlfriends.

Jay Reatard has got an in-store scheduled at Sonic Boom on October 16 at 7PM. He’s at Sneaky Dee’s that night.

New Pornographer Carl Newman chats with The Sydney Morning Herald.

Liz Powell talks to Spinner and Blurt about being the newest part of Broken Social Scene and oh yeah, her other band too. The Star-Tribune has an interview with Brendan Canning. Broken Social and Land Of Talk are at the Sound Academy on November 27 and 28.

By : Frank Yang at 8:29 am
Category: General

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RSS Feed for this post2 Responses.
  1. whatlofi says:

    No introduction to the Rumble Strips is complete without the Vincent Vincent and the Villains feud backstory. Tell ’em Frank!

  2. Frank says:

    I know not of this feud – YOU tell em! Us!