Strange Waves

New sounds from across the pond

By Benjamin Smith

Your writer is getting married to a wonderful woman on Sept. 7. One of the countless wedding details we’ve obsessed over this summer together concerns the reception setlist. I’m pretty pleased with the final selection: Beatles, Motown, James Brown, disco-era Rolling Stones, early Madonna and even Falco’s “Der Kommissar” (a monumental victory for the groom-to-be). Of course, in choosing songs for a wedding reception, you need to choose songs that most of your guests will actually know. (So no Interpol.) Alas, in an ideal world I would sprinkle a few tracks from each of these four albums just to jazz shit up. I can see it now – standing in the middle of the dance floor, as deluded as Caligula, I glare at the DJ, raise my fist, and command: Unleash the Hot Cakes!


Album: Hot Cakes

Artist: The Darkness

Label: Play It Again Sam

Release Date: August 2012

Country: United Kingdom


Perfect For: Spontaneous Air Guitar Showdown


Late one night in the autumn of 2003, while sitting on my couch guzzling Guinness and watching MTV2, I caught footage of The Darkness performing their first single, “Get Your Hands Off My Woman.” Instantly I found the four-piece disturbing and intriguing: a gang of flouncing Visigoths eager to tear down the civilized achievements of my precious Britpop. Although the U.K. press labeled them silly saviors of rock n’ roll, The Darkness fell during the mid-2000s in a streak of drug addiction, sibling rivalry and bald bassists. Third album Hot Cakes showcases the reunited band’s resurrected strengths: slick riffs, gonzo vocals, a sense of humor and no surprises. Opener “Every Inch Of You” may bore, but the catchy “Keep Me Hangin’ On” is pure radio gold; fans of stadium stegosaurus Boston will surely piss themselves in pleasure. The rest of Hot Cakes sounds exactly as it should.


Album: @reverend_makers

Artist: Reverend and The Makers

Label: Wall of Sound

Release Date: June 2012

Country: United Kingdom



Perfect For: Mom’s Oblivious Boogie


Most of us look completely ridiculous when dancing. Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that the latest dance-rock offering from John McClure (“The Reverend”) and his Makers is the very definition of ridiculousness. Behold these lyrics: “I’m coming out of the shadows, I’m coming into the light/I’m stepping out in the sunshine, ‘cause it’s the end of the night.” Christ, these chaps make Steve Miller look Shakespearean. (And don’t get me started on the record’s doltish title.) I’m convinced only Brits could embrace this – the U.K.’s love of dodgy clubish music is infamous – yet Americans should at least appreciate its unashamed energy and refreshing absence of Important Messages. Maybe McClure and Co. banded together in the wrong decade; “Shine The Light” and “Bassline” might’ve been hits back in the heyday of the Stereo MCs (1992−1993) and the Lo Fidelity Allstars (1998−1999), respectively. Dumb fun.


Album: The Glorious Dead

Artist: The Heavy

Label: Ninja Tune

Release Date: August 2012

Country: United Kingdom


Perfect For: Soul Train Line By The Bar


Every wedding reception must feature some soul music, and The Heavy supply this joyful noise with a gilded rock-funk slant. (Think “Big Trouble in Detroit City: The Musical”). Whereas the songwriting on their third album is strong and dramatic – indeed, over the top at times – the real power and heart of The Glorious Dead lies in the voice of singer Kelvin Swaby. He is The Man. Dig his Blaxploitation rage on “Same Ol,’” his Aerosmith magic on “Just My Luck,” or his kick-ass preacher stance on “What Makes A Good Man.” Props also go out to guitarist Dan Taylor for bringing, of all things, a Kasabian-esque craziness to the party. While not at all novel – “Be Mine,” for example, seems a subtle copy of The Eagles’ “One Of These Nights” – The Glorious Dead is a welcomed work of 1970s nostalgia. Barry White, James Brown and many other departed artists would’ve been proud. Get down!


Album: 099

Artist: Comtron

Label: Magnetron Music

Release Date: August 2012

Country: The Netherlands


Perfect For: Champagne Sipping & Shagging


Formed 10 years ago by electronic music producer Bas Bron and percussionist/drummer Rimer Veeman, Comtron claim to love “the corporate world, fraud, greed and finance.” As a result, they create vacuous dance music for imaginary empty suits. The follow-up to 2007’s Follow The Money, 099 presents the sounds of limitless ambition and acquisition merged with cheap synths and beats from the Yuppie Era. Close your eyes to “Fraud,” and your writer wages you’ll see visions of sordid acts on private jets. This is not necessarily a flaw, my friends. Then there’s “Ok1k$,” on which the spirit of Bootsy Collins showers down funk over ringing cash registers and possible prostitute dialogue. The enterprise is utterly louche and ironic, but that’s 99 percent of its charm. (Also ironic is the fact that this odd ode to excess clocks in under 25 minutes.) A random yet bold elopement between Falco and Mitt Romney.

Reach DCP freelance writer Benjamin Smith at Benjami

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