Sunday, April 22, 2007

Once upon a time, in a cabin in the forest…

Many months ago, The modelesque Andy leaned over to me in the dim light of an armchair night and offered a precarious wisdom. ‘Band names with narrative, I tell you,’ he smiled enigmatically before i disappeared into the smoke, ‘it’s the next level.’ (ok, so I’m paraphrasing; his exact intonations have seeped through the holes in my whiskeyed memory into the cracks of forgotten conversations at various parties from two seasons ago, but that’s the gist of what he said. It was interesting, then, that I’d only I heard him playing once, and was still pretty dubious. Now I’m a fan. As far as integrity goes, theirs is a musical story unfolding. Here’s my progression for a pair of pretty talented boys that have really grown together over time, the way good wine matures and becomes inexorably magnificent:

  1. 1st time yonks ago, mildly unimpressed. Yeah, whatever. Pretty boys. Acoustic noise. Sigh. trying too hard to look like they’re not trying. Somebody buy me a drink.

  1. the Second time, last week, captivated by the crescendos..

  1. Third time, truly and positively entertained by their evolution. and hooked. Can I buy you a drink?

  2. Fourth time, two days later, swooning. Spinning in the Spanish plucks and brilliant vocal synergy. *(gary, sing more) nevermind the drinks. This is swallowing ME!

Dem be

Cabins In The Forest

And they will tell the story their way, so I’m just here to say :


almost emo, but dusted with gusts of pretty angst and gutsy punk notation that keep it real.

It’s white linen guitaraganza. Two men and four voices learning to complement each other. fullstring progressions whose perfectly incensed crescendos carry on for a lovely, long time. The way good climaxes should. And then a sudden silence


(notice how a lot of novice bands struggle to start and finish songs ?)

open your whole soul to their sound, coz when they’re done, they’re gone.

Cabins keep pushing themselves into new territory. Their notoriety has attached itself to their fans by now - their signature sound gets a round of applause in the first bar, but the new things they’re coming up with are not anything we’ve yet heard from them, nor really have names for. And I like it that way! If you dare to let music challenge you, you might too. Lend them your ears. But hang onto your heart.

On a sliding scale of musical evolution, these boys are picking up momentum. I’m excited for them. And well pleased for those of us who like them. There’s a lot more to come.

Bring it on.

(o. and happy winter. Even if it’s a little too early. Good time to stock up on firewood and longjons, kitlings, if you don’t have a fire of your own. Or a long jon of your own, for that matter.…)

(and no doubt this season will give Cabins a lot more to sing and play about.

Myspace it

Face it

Friday, April 20, 2007

thumbs down for Palms Up

Christ, hands up those who triggered that this trio and a half were singing about jesus… Surreptitious propaganda is intensely distasteful. So is deluded delight. If you love god, say so (matisyahu does, it works for him), if youre using his bloodey son to get chicks (or to try to), say it. If you actually “really want to get some” then don't call it justified love. Lust like that just aint about right or wrong, boys. If you say it like it is, at least we know you mean it, rather than sort of saying what you think I should be thinking. Hello?

here's really why they don't get my praise. For all their talent (which is tight and right), they aren't pushing boundaries, they're pushing buttons. the wrong ones, ones that say Freedom, but when you push em, just underline a whole lot of underlying, dogmatic crap. They're adept instrumentalists, with no lack of (*ahem*) charisma (at least the short one letting us see his package with dark undies through white trousers doesn’t), but they play a pastiche of others’ sounds and they sound like no one at all, least of all themselves. What coud I say about Palms Up? erm, well, something like, "oh ja, them, they're nice. they sound a bit like jack johnson and bette midler and tristan and The honeymoon suites ..." - huh? - a bit of blues, borrow a pop riff, eeeyuck: it's a mess, not a melange. My one question for the sons of god : do you know who you are? Or are you just trying to get onto the radio?

get real boys, and find your own sound, you might discover you're worth it by our standards, not those sky high ones that flutter down to you through the pages of outdated dogma... and maybe you should start singing the songs you really want to write..


The good news is they aren't likely to hold down much more than a sweet faced, undemanding UCT crowd, and they can be fun topimp your pump and grind to if you don't really listen to their music.<erp> if kirstenbosch approves, they’ll be bashing their bibliospeak to more sedate audiences that don't ask much of live music. none of these is a compliment. (and nice is a four letter word, btw.)

p.s. to put paid to them prosyletizing on my time, i wrote them a prayer :

Father, I just want to ask you to really just bless those boys, father. Bring their brains out of their asses so that they can just make some real music, lord. We know, jesus, that you try hard to make them instruments of your glory, and they just find it hard to face up to that, heavenly father. Bless them, father, that they may not doubt the joy and love and lust that you have sewn in their hearts, that they will, just, jesus, just fill the room with music that they really want to play.


Thursday, April 5, 2007

more violence

The violence has grown.
It gets better and better.
left breathless. Broken So bad by music so good.

There’s less Loedi on the backing vocals, and more Rian in everything
There’s less vocal lead, and more synergistic flow.
They’re tighter. Hotter. Harder.
It’s dark and light. But more light.

If these boys don’t take over rock n roll, then I’m not sure rock n roll really has a home in Africa.

They take that power that explodes inside you at your peak and play it out, undiluted, unapologetically, for a whole set.

Try and survive Taxi Violence.
It’s not a bad way to go.

For the record. Last Friday at Mercury, they got two encores.

I guess. We want more.