alive naturalsound

  • king mud
    beyond the stars

    These two discs were each made (mostly) by a two-piece band, drums’n’guitar; and vox and guitars, respectively. They’re both something I wouldn’t have believed possible: successful two-person rock’n’roll that sounds fantastic. Each album does have a few other elements, but they’re precious few and … and again, I wouldn’t have believed it, but … you don’t really miss the others that much. Why?

    In King Mud’s case, the songs and the delivery gain, hold and manipulate your attention; their two covers (you should be familiar with at least one) taken over by the Mudders to such an extent they may as well have written it themselves.

    King Mud are Van Campbell from the Black Diamond Heavies and Freddy J IV from Left Lane Cruiser. They’re full-on rock’n’stuff, the kind of busy guitar which tells the story, shoves the song forward and devil the details. There’s a distinctive ‘70s American style to the Mudders, but you can clearly hear innumerable UK influences as well.

  • victory motelThat this would be very good was a no-brainer. Van Campbell from Black Diamond Heavies and Freddy J IV from Radio Moscow in the same band? Yes, please.

    This is raw blues with a dash of soul which is no surprise considering the principals’ main bands.. As you might expect, the band format (it’s not quite a duo - there is a bass player, probably added in post-production) strips it back to basics.

  • west of anywhereDM3 are from Western Australia and make peerless powerpop. If you didn’t know that already here’s another chance to catch up.

    Chances are you do already know that DM3 are Dom Mariani and (mostly) Pascal Bartalome on drums and Tony Italiano on bass. With surnames like that it’s no wonder Italy adores them as much as Berlusconi loves bunga bunga parties. You could think of DM3 as a musical version of the family-sized Neapolitan pizza: Chunky pieces of melody on a solid base of guitar - and easy on the cheese.

    If you listen hard enough it will be apparent that it’s all in the hooks. Chronologically-speaking, Dom assembled this band after the ‘60s pop of The Stems and the even sweeter pop of The Someloves. Stylistically speaking, DM3 sits somewhere in-between them both.

  • dirty streets white horseNo, I’ve never heard of them either. Dirty Streets are an assured, big sounding, thumping rock outfit from Memphis whose style of music I normally run a mile from. But “White Horse” is a compelling listen, if you can manage it in between bopping around the room.

    See, there’s a sense of joy and excitement pouring out of Dirty Streets. They love playing, and there’s a real freshness to them. The production, recording, mixing and mastering is damn fine, too. It’s really up-front and vivid.

    Back in the actual ’70s I think I was well and truly horrified by many of the bands everyone else seemed to love; that Dirty Streets can get me to revisit this terrain, and have me interested enough to want to hear more is high praise from this grumpy old goat. Perhaps it was just that I kept hearing the plod-plod of it all, the absurd pompous prattery more clearly than those around me …

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