Thing of the Day

A Bag of Things: Good Police, Herpes, Scumbag Philosopher and Not Otherwise Specified

July 18th 2011

Several Things today:

GOOD POLICE are a mathy post rock band making their first moves, Berlin’s HERPES have a new album, and yes it is catchy, Norwich’s SCUMBAG PHILOSOPHER have their geeky jerky new album, and finally NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED have a full mix of North American hard rock and old school prog.

First up, some early mathy moves from Aberdeen’s Good Police

Good PoliceGOOD POLICE – Initial steps and first recordings of an instrumental band from Aberdeen. The Scottish two piece are raw right now, but they’re exploring positive ideas somewhere near the fields where bands like Don Caballero or Slint plough their musical seeds. Early days yet, but the shoots are already looking and sounding promising.

Fresh tastes of mathy post rock, and yes very Don Cab in terms of the flowing texture and the way things feel, some tasty bits of raw complexity from a band still searching for a finger print of their own. Good Police are a band still finding themselves, a band worth checking in on already, this four track EP is more than worth your time, they clearly are still growing into their clothes and it can be little bit obvious in places right now, but we do look forward to the next moves from Good Police. There are signs here that they may just take it all somewhere rather interesting sometime soon, this is more than a healthy first set of recordings.

Next, yes, Berlin’s HERPES are ca…

HerpesHERPES – Symptoms And Ailments (Tapete) - Some wise guy around here just said, bet this lot are really catchy, as the Herpes CD was thrown at the music cruncher we feed this endless mountain of discs into… The wise guy was right, Herpes are as catchy as… (fill in the rest of this sentence yourself). 
Herpes are from Berlin, this is their second album, the follow up to their debut Das Kommt Von Kussen (or It Comes From Kissing in English). Not entirely sure what they’re on about, as they, reasonably enough, sing it all in German. They sing in a spiky staccato style, an angular new wave Krautrock drive, all angular and obtuse and awkwardly fluid, wired art rock of a Devo meets Gang of Four, Mekons nature. 

herpesThey talk of Krautrock, they insist their take on the style is not the “hippie-blues-rock idea of Krautrock, but rather the Neu style..”   Fluid punky krautrock, spiky pointy delivery, straight at you, no messing, metronomic goodness and all a little manic, suicide covering Pere Ubu, rugged yet solid and flowing with such urgently good Germanic elegance - very, very good.

Symptoms And Ailments is out in the UK on July 25th  


Scumbag Philosopher follow their recent declaration that god is dead so they listen to Radiohead, with their new album…

Scumbag PhilosopherSCUMBAG PHILOSOPHER – It Means Nothing So It Means Nothing (Words On Music) -  - They’re awkwardly good, they sound a little geeky, like they might spend their time cataloguing their vinyl record collection and sing songs about simple trigonometry and mathematical shapes and god being dead so they listen to Radiohead. Scumbag Philosopher are from Norwich, they were once called Fuck Dress and now they’re not, they deal out call and response lyrics, him out front calling, her on drums responding. They know what time the buses run, they know where to go to find their fun. Not many songs about CB radios these days, got your ears on? Have you moved on? State of the art, now garage sale? You can’t let vinyl down… All kinds of Wire and Fall and Gang Of Four staccato angles and pointy stabby post-punk tunes and English eccentric goodness with an added bit of New Wave geek..
It Means Nothing is out now

More Scumbag Philosopher Organ coverage here…

And finally, NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED, proper North American hard rock flavoured old school prog…

NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED – Judgment (self release) – What we have here is rather healthy mix of energetic full-bodied proper prog rock. Prog that comes laced with a North American hard rock edge that flavours the rather classic, sometimes very British sounding, 80’s flavoured sound.  Judgement is an album alive with those glorious early Marillion style guitar lines that fly alongside classic bits of chunky Pallas or Geoff Mann period Twelfth Night sounding keyboard passages. The whole Judgement cocktail is driven by the hard rock feel of late 70’s US bands like Styx, Kansas or maybe even Montrose - that’s right, classic mix of American hard rock and early Eighties British class of ’83 Marquee Choral Society proper undiluted cool as f*** prog rock.   Big fat chunks of meaty prog that does everything you want it to, totally unoriginal and nothing anywhere near anything you haven’t heard before, but hey, who cares!?   
   Not Otherwise Specified talk of Spock’s Beard and Dream Theater as influences, but no, this is coming from a time before prog got blanded out by the awful Dream Beards of this world, a time when prog rocked and people demanded a bit more than the sanitised non-adventure the Spock’s Theaters appear to get away with serving up to their not very demanding audiences there days. Not Otherwise have far more life than the Spocks Beard types – there’ s more edge, more bite, more anything - let’s be frank here, Dream Theater are tediously average, Spock’s Beard are boring, it may not be something to admit in public, but early Marillion still sounds good, 70’s Styx still sounds cool, those keyboard lines of early Twelfth Night still sound glorious, and so does this album. All aforementioned elements are here: the blend of hard rock and classic prog. 
   Look, if you’re not an old school proghead who likes their music delivered with a bit of balls, if you don’t have a taste for late 70’s North American hard rock of say Sammy Hagar, April Wine or Triumph,  if you don’t still appreciate the glory days of early Marillion, Twelfth Night or Pallas, then is very much not for you.  Dream Theater are playing in a park next door to us next week, we’ll be keeping the windows closed, this on the other hand is progtastically bombastically good. Main man Craig Kerley has a killer voice, he’s got the guitar just right, he’s got the keyboards even more just right, he’s got everything just about right, Judgement certainly doesn’t sound like one guy, from Atlanta GA, with a self-released album, it sound like a very very tasty, totally unoriginal slice of American hard rock laced, late 70’s, early 80’s prog rock… you’ll either love it or you’ll not want to go anywhere near it. Shame about the cheesy artwork, naff website and awful band name, but hey, all about the music right? Right.  

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