Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Rock Paper Scissors - Fly Paper Jet

Out of respect for the medium, I don’t often listen to a local band’s recordings before I’ve heard them live. That’s one of the beauties of this scene, after all –you can have it proud, loud, and in the flesh.

But Fly Paper Jet’s facebook flyer for this week’s gig boasts recent conquests like sell-out shows in Grahamstown. That’s quite an achievement; considering the fest’s excesses make “sold out” a rare term on the prolific fringe and centre stages and one more appropriate to highly talented musicians being thrown together randomly in a state of unnatural selection (it worked, naturally. Big up to the sponsors). In addition to this sort of claim, the name Fly Paper Jet is one we don’t hear a lot in the land of bums on the barstool. In addition, their very pretty pictures whisper integral professionalism instead of slick, pretentious marketing. Even one of the godpapa’s of the scene from Mabu Vinyl says they bring something new to the Table. So I listened to Let’s Go Back To The Carnival on CD. Jissis, it’s naas.

Compositely, it’s easy listening, easy dancing, easy everything and no, you won’t be able to make a doubly-bubbly-barrelled, mishmashed title-splicing genrelisation about them – they defy genre because they know real music is more about intuitive choices than sticking to a style. They can be described, though. Take a tingle of acoustic guitars embodied by modest electric, a smattering of spoken word against the rhythm, and add sensitive sprinkles of digital bliss. It’s all ground up by a groove underscored with lilting vocals. It has lots of space. Open expanses of it. And delicate melodies. And upbeat bass lines. And finger-tapping, foot-licking (I mean.) frequencies that’ll reorder your SAD (Seasonal affect Disorder –which is not another word for coldplay). You can tell the Jets are married to music – their phrasing is select, and they can match a mood shift with the right riffs. They don’t just visit genres for effect or borrow from them like desperately degenerate country cousins; there’s a reason they’re called Jets . They fly through funk, pop rock and country like they were brought up on it and it gave them good memories.

Were they? Well, pop down to Albert Hall Thursday night (23 Aug) at nine pm sharp and ask them. Josh and Lance will be armed with two guitars and two voices - a new take on the album tracks. Yes, 9pm - this is not another of those ‘the cooler we are, the later we play’ bands which actually means ‘the cooler we think we are, the drunker you have to be to listen to us’ - this is principled professionalism.) don’t know where it is? let the Goo show you!

I bet they listened to:
Simon and Garfunkel

Arcade Fire
(early) Crimson King
The Cat Empire
Death Cab For Cutie

(and if they didn’t, you now know that I do!)(sometimes)

one day they should listen to:
Abstract Truth (and so should you)(sometime soon) (ask Andrew)

(photos courtesy of Fly Paper Jet’s online gallery)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

cutting what?

it is. my suspicion. that often the more popular music is with the populace, the more middle of the middle it is. which is not to say it's not good; just... easy.

music means many things to many souls. it doesn't have to claim your concentration, and it doesn't have to foreground your growth.

but if often helps if it does! ask the best. and their (real) friends...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

kILLING mE sOFTLY (the sleepers)

photos.helen wesctott (hermanus. the next night)

A hallowed howl came out of R.O.A.R from the throats of The Sleepers last Friday night. It gargled blood, love and heaven and finished with a fine climax that brought inner walls crashing in on themselves.

Each time this band gets up on stage and breaks it down, the veneer of bourgeois bliss peels back another layer. Not that it’s about class - these boys with expensive toys work hard and play harder. (and anyway, we all know it’s a cult/ure war, not a class war (sorry, zinaid)). With their evil, equal mix of dark and light, The Sleepers are slowly waking us up to the fact that there is more to their music than meets the ear, and more to the mutliverse we call our hometown than withering winter wails.

Give Adam Hill, Steven Jacobson, Jordi Reddy, Nicolai Roos and Simon Tamblyn a chance and their scheming riffs and raids on rhythm will prove that the range of emotions broiling in slaapstad psyches extends beyond spring hope and summer bliss and winter blues into rage, reverence and wry detachment . I make no mistake with my take: The Sleepers herald a new season of the soul.

There’s a bit of a crossover going on here, and dissonance is a distant dream against the power of their sound. The harmony’s in their devilry. the guitars are so tight they meld and I haven’t heard a more articulate and delicate (sic) drummer in the city since kesivan cut the chords of my education (his is jazz fusion, by the way, and this is dark rock). Simon’s dissenting vocals offset any expectations that the popover may have left us with (a popover’s what you get when the morning after listening to too much commercial radio, and is best remedied with silence.) Altogether it mixes madly into something south of sane.

You’ll come out of The Sleepers gigs inspired. They carve catharsis out of sound, they curl toes and turn the night around.

Expect the ordinary and you will be sorely disappointed.

( in other words)