Welcome to my blog!

UPDATE: Mediafire have suspended my account and locked my downloads. Having endured the tedium of re-uploading everything I had previously hosted on Mega Upload onto Mediafire earlier this year, I can't be arsed re-uploading everything again.

So please don't ask for things to be reuploaded!

I undertake this venture knowing that I don't have the spare time to do it, but feel that these artists NEED TO BE HEARD (please excuse my shouting!). Or is that I think I need to be heard? Or that there are (or have been) some great music blogs that have inspired me to wanna jump on the bandwagon? Probably all of the above??I hope you enjoy the blog. If I turn one person onto these bands that turned me on then it will all have been worth it!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Underground Lovers - Leaves Me Blind

In my earlier G. W. McLennan/The Go-Betweens post I suggested there were three great Australian bands: The Go Betweens, The Birthday Party, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

They hold the first three positions, in no particular order, in my imaginary league table of Australian bands.

The next three positions, again in no particular order, are held by Happy Patch, Smudge, and the subjects of this here post, The Undies!

The Underground Lovers emerged during the shoegazer era. While they have musical similarities to that scene, they didn’t fall into the trap of drowning their music and vocals in reverb. And there were three other factors that separated them from that scene: they weren’t cute, they didn't have a member named Tarquin, Crispin or Tristan, and they were (wait for it) Australian! To the UK music press at the time (i.e. NME, Melody maker, et al.), being Australian equated to being as credible as Miley Cyrus! I remember being so incensed by the NME’s condescending review of a Smudge single around this time that I pledged to never lay my eyes on that poor excuse for a magazine again – a pledge it has been easy to keep. This was of the same navel gazing fervour that led to the ridiculously hyped Britpop scene. But I diverge…

The Underground Lovers were a good live band with interesting songs and ideas, who let their music do the talking. There were no gimmicks or posing. Their sound encompassed elements of JAMC (Jesus and Mary Chain), Sonic Youth and My bloody Valentine, although with a greater appreciation of rhythm. There was a definite cinematic feel to their songs, so it was no surprise when vocalist/guitarist Vincent Giarrusso later emerged as the director of the feature film Mallboy, which was selected for the prestigious Director's Fortnight at the Cannes Film festival.

It was a toss up between featuring their second album, Leaves Me Blind, or their fourth album, Rushall Station. The former is more diverse, while the latter is more straightforward heavy guitar pop but with arguably better songs. I’ve elected for Leaves Me Blind in this instance – though I’ll make Rushall Station available if there’s enough interest.

Leaves Me Blind starts with Eastside stories, in my opinion one of the great pop-rock songs of all time (I get chills up my spine just thinking about it, let alone hearing it!). The song starts with an ominous drone that continues throughout the song, before the band kicks in. The rolling tom-tom beat is similar in style to Sonic Youth’s Expressway to yr skull. The guitar is savage and the bass has a great bottom end sound. The song ebbs and flows, rising up to a crescendo, and then dropping back down to just vocals and the drone. Fantastic stuff.

Promenade follows up with a great contrast, being poppy and uptempo, with JAMC-like distorted guitar layers. I was right starts with synthesised drum and bass before the savage guitar returns, with acoustic guitar providing a counterpoint to main riff in the chorus. Phillipa Nhill’s vocals are reminiscent of My bloody Valentine’s Bilinda Butcher. The guitars drop back down, and fade in and out. Another great song. 

Holiday is pure synth pop, with a subtle Manchester-style synthesised drum dance beat, an atmospheric keyboard wash, and dreamy Phillipa Nhill vocals, this time with a Sinead O'Connor influence. Got off on it is a mid-tempo track with JAMC like guitars, which builds tension by delaying the introduction of the drums. The dynamics are provided by the guitars, which rise and surge as appropriate.

Your eyes is a mid tempo track propelled by a funky baseline and a nice groove. Interest is maintained by different instruments providing the focus through different parts of the song, though being eight minutes long it outstays its welcome by a few minutes.  Ladies choice features laid back drum and bass, and is spaced out and dancy. Trip hop before there was trip hop?

A good, but not quite great, album - it ends not with a bang, but with a whimper – the last two tracks pass by almost apologetically! But don’t let that put you off…

Underground Lovers - 1992 - Leaves Me Blind

1. Eastside Stories
2. Promenade
3. I Was Right
4. Holiday
5. Got off on it
6. Daze
7. Waves
8. Your Eyes
9. Ladies Choice
10. Get to Know
11. Whisper Me Nothing

FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3

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