Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Band You Should Be Listening To – Working for a Nuclear Free City

Welcome to the first installment of a semi-regular (read: whenever I feel like it) feature called Band You Should Be Listening To. As you may guess from the title, the purpose of this feature is to alert you to bands/artists that you otherwise may have never heard of. There are only two criteria that will land any artist into this pace; 1) a general lack of buzz or attention from the traditional mediums of music discovery (magazines, TV, radio, popular websites, etc.) and 2) they have to make really fucking awesome music (as decided by me).

The inaugural subject of this feature series, Working for a Nuclear Free City, was actually introduced to me via the love-them-or-hate-them (or both, in my case) indie juggernaut known as Pitchfork Media. While you may think this disqualifies them from the first criteria, positive reviews notwithstanding, WfaNFC has still received very little attention from the Pitchfork crowd. Which is a shame, because the music they're making is leaps and bounds better than what I've heard from other ‘buzzworthy’ bands (I'm looking in your direction, Battles)

Their name comes from their peacenik hometown of Manchester celebrating its 25th year of being a “Nuclear Free Zone,” yet it wouldn’t be inaccurate to describe some of their music as “radioactive.” Much of their superb self-titled debut album owes its psych-dance sound to Manchester legends like Primal Scream, 808 State and Happy Mondays, while also borrowing Slowdive’s noisy guitar drone and (at times) beats reminiscent of early Chemical Brothers.

What makes their debut album so great is how each song flows from one to the next, like the whole album is one composition with many different movements. Songs like “Dead Fingers Talking” and “Innocense” could find a home on any dance floor, while the atmospherics of “Over” and “Quiet Place” provide a perfect soundtrack to the build up and comedown of an all night outing in the city, respectively. Another standout track, “So,” shows off WfaNFC’s range by taking you on a psychedelic ride punctuated with distorted guitars and a popping beat that sounds like firecrackers being set off.

The band recently put out an excellent EP titled Rocket and is currently slated to issue their first proper US release, Businessmen & Ghosts, which is supposed to be the self-titled album plus the Rocket EP and other previously unreleased tracks. Look out for it October 6th. Until then you can stream the entire album over at the Deaf, Dumb + Blind Records website.

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