Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Fresh and energetic Post-Punk Indie Rock from the Noisettes

I love the library. The Pop/Rock section contains everything from Neil Diamond to the Sex Pistols. Jazz has everything from Ornette Coleman to Kenny G. It’s all lumped together with little division in the broadest categories possible. If the cover of a disc itself gives up little information – and some covers are utterly enigmatic – you really have no idea what you’re going to get. I really enjoy this process. I pick stuff up with no preconceived notions and simply listen.

I’m always a little sad when I put something in and it bores me, because I always listen to at least half of a disc so I know I’m probably looking at a wasted half hour. Often, though, there is at least one track that’s really good. I find a lot of mediocre discs either begin or end with a good song, which I get from a sequencing standpoint. The best part is I hear stuff I would simply never buy, but then I have an artist whose other music I will go out and buy.

Noisettes Whats the Time Mr WolfThat is exactly what happened to me this weekend when I picked up Noisettes’ debut release, ‘What’s the Time Mr. Wolf?’ The cover at least gives you a good look at the band, a funky-looking trio – a black woman and a couple dudes, all in the flamboyant hipster rock-star dress code – climbing out of a plastic or maybe paper mache mouth. Could be interesting or entirely forgettable.

What a pleasant surprise! Overall, the sound has on old school rock or punk revival feel, but it is approached with a raw creativity and honesty that reminds me of maybe The White Stripes. The music is inventive and strong, veering from melodic to raunchy. What really grabbed me was the energy. From beginning to end, this album sizzles with enthusiasm and a fresh artistic joy. Even the ballads simmer just below the surface and occasionally do seem to leap from their seats and dance for a moment or two. This album peaked at #75 in the British charts after its release and had a couple tracks picked up for commercial use on TV, but they never got a lot of play in the U.S.

I really did like this entire album, but if you want to listen to 4 of the highlights, check out these.

  • Cannot Even (Break Free) – The lead vocals, provided by bassist Shingai Shoniwa, and the accompanying instrumentation are light and pretty in the verses, but they build to a raunchy and powerful chorus each time. Shoniwa’s vocal performance is, well, ballsy.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo – I love the inventive vocal melody and interesting lyrics. Even when they’re just bouncing along and she sings scat in front of them it’s engaging.
  • Scratch Your Name – “Scratch your name into the fabric of this world before you go.” You can hear the desire to be more, to prove oneself. This is a song by a hungry young band. If this song sounds familiar, you may have heard it in the final episode of The Sopranos in 2007.
  • Don’t Give Up – This is an old school rocker with a somewhat familiar guitar riff, but Shoniwa gives a vocal performance as fresh as if they invented this form.

Noisettes released their sophomore effort, ‘Wild Young Hearts’ in April of 2009. I haven’t heard this yet, but on the strength of the disc I got from the library, I’m going to purchase this one. I’ll let you know how it goes, but I have high hopes.



August 17, 2009 - Posted by | Alternative, Indie, Popular, punk, Rock

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