Destroy All Monsters is hopefully going to be a regular article by our contributor Godzilla Blues. The format of which won’t be fixed but don’t be surprised to find it containing a review or two of any singles, EPs, albums, current or otherwise that takes his fancy at the time. Anyway, whatever it contains we hope it will be an interesting browse for FnS regulars. To kick off the series he’s having a look at local record label Tuff Wax and then reviews the latest EP from Be Like Pablo and also includes a wee discussion on allocating genres. Anyway, enough of the intro, over to Godzilla…
The powers-that-be at FnS have kindly given me a corner of the site to contribute reviews and whatever else takes my fancy. Since I buy too many CD’s, watch too many films and do little else of note this will likely form the backbone of my blatherings unless a particular topic takes my fancy, at which point some of the most ill-informed nonsense since Jeremy Clarkson opined on climate change will ensue… look for Destroy All Monsters updates on the right under ‘Words’…
Tuff Wax Records is a new label based in Aberdeen and run by local lads Tom and Adam. The label intends to distribute vinyl-only releases (albeit with a free download option that is given away with each vinyl purchase to keep things available digitally) and their hope is to release music by a wide-ranging variety of artists covering an eclectic mixture of styles – rock/pop/funk/dub/soul/hip hop and dubstep to name but a few. In addition to the label itself, various spin-off ventures are in the pipeline, such as podcasts and a label-orientated club night, the first of which is scheduled for June 5th at The Tunnels.
The label recently held a release night for their very first offering, a double A-sided 7″ by Scottish band Be Like Pablo… ’The Post It Song’ b/w ‘Julianne’ , complete with free mp3 download, and in a limited edition of 322.
Be Like Pablo hail from the town of Forres in the Highlands of Scotland. The tracks on this single were recorded at Ca Va Sound in Glasgow and apparently they are in the process of recording an album.
They have been described as ‘powerpop’ which is one of those genre labels that always confuses me, in fact genre labels in relation to music are something that I have a hard time with in general. For some reason I have found myself listening to an increasing amount of metal as I age, whereas for years I only really ever had AC/DC and Motorhead covering that section of my music collection, and I live in mortal fear of ever having to become embroiled in a discussion on which branch of metal a particular band inhabits, this requires some form of convoluted chart that I would never look at. My definition of metal is a picture of Lemmy.
‘Powerpop’ as a genre I just don’t get at all. ‘Pop’ music in my mind is that kind of forgettable pap that used to inhabit the Top 40 – you know, like endless Stock, Aitken and Waterman conveyor belt nonsense that was around in the 80′s. I’ll let them off with Kylie, but it should be noted that she improved immeasurably once she had moved on from their stable. This demonstrates that I am getting on a bit and I’m sure the modern-day charts has its own equivalents of SA&W acts. Probably something connected with Simon Cowell, our omnipresent cultural demi-god with haircut sponsored by Flymo, who is now so powerful his opinion on politics actually is front page news (Conservatives, the champions of the rich, surprising huh?) but I pay no attention to such things in general.
Anyways, Be Like Pablo for me come quite simply into the ‘alternative guitar band’ bracket, which in itself is wide-ranging and can cover the good, the bad and the inconsequential. They present the more upbeat end of the spectrum, which again can often present some issues in my mind.
It’s a fine line between songs that are perky, make you smile and just feel glad of the existence of music and those that are perky in an annoying, cloying way that makes you want to rip your ears off and keep them in a box in the attic to avoid future torment. I can’t explain why I enjoy Supergrass, who had songs about feeling ‘Alright’ and slightly wacky videos with them zooming round country lanes on a bed and hopping round on pogo sticks but absolutely hate Dodgy, who probably soundtracked many peoples mid-year period with that uber-perky ’Staying Out For The Summer’ song, but inspired me to get so drunk at TITP on year I fell asleep and got badly sunburned and missed most of the afternoon.
Perhaps in my old age I am mellowing, but Be Like Pablo have joined local Aberdeen band Cast of the Capital in my ‘happy alternative guitar band’ section.
‘The Post-It Song’ features dual male/female vocals that call and respond and join forces in a very well worked out manner that recalls a slicker variant on Kurt Cobain-endorsed Scottish treasures The Vaselines. The Highland accent shines through undisguised and actually gives this band an air of distinction that helps set them apart from other bands treading the same path. Both the male vocal style and slightly off-key female vocal actually brings to mind The Subways and there is a similar youthful exuberance found here albeit with a less aggressive musical approach. The track also features a distinctive synth motif that gives the song a melodic flourish that raises the game from a purely guitar based song. Apparently BLP favour vintage Moog synthesisers which possibly explains why first listen brought Stereolab to mind although the overall style is completely different from their approach.
Flipside ’Julianne’ again features a strong synth line on top of a mid-paced guitar track that sounds like something that Weezer would have knocked out in the ‘Blue’ album period. A male lead vocal dominates for this song before some lovely boy/girl harmonies take over at the end.
I can’t find anything to fault on this, it’s well recorded, the songs are well structured and I enjoy listening to them, so – 5/5
The weather is still trying to decide what it’s doing, political doom and gloom ensues and Britain’s Got Talent will no doubt spunk out another no-mark to dominate headlines so if you want to find your own summer soundtrack to try to cheer yourself up, you could do worse than to start by buying this single and simultaneously support Tuff Wax Records, it’s good to see some ambition to create something of note for our local musical landscape and hopefully music devotees will support the venture in some way.
The single is available now in One Up, The Cavern and via the Tuff Wax online site.
If you have any musical offerings (or anything else for that matter) that you would like reviewed, please get in touch and I shall provide my considered opinion. I wish add however that I am quite forthright in my opinions and will be honest, so if you only want to hear the good stuff and can’t handle balanced criticism it may be best to send your offerings elsewhere. Cheers! Godzilla Blues
Be Like Pablo MySpace