It’s evident that Italian-born Stiv Cantarelli is a musical creature of his environment. Basing himself in the US in the ’00s, his records reeked Americana and a return to Tuscany in 2012 spawned a dirty alt-country album (“Black Music/White Music”).
Fast-forward a couple of years. “Banks of the Lea” finds him relocated to London with a reconstituted Italian band and churning out urgent, punky blues rock with a dark streak. Music of a time and place.
It might be a prime tourist patch but when you scratch the surface, London is just another very big city. Cantarelli immersed himself in the everyday ordinariness of Hackney, of all places, and this record is the result.
Not so much a clash of disparate styles as a brash melding of them, The A.C.C. (aka The Abbiati Cantarelli Conspiracy) harvests a well-cultivated paddock to come up with its own distinctive crop.
The A.C.C. is a partnership of Italian musicians Stiv Cantranelli and Ed Abbiat, and “Beautiful, All Night” welds blues, alt.country and punk. Abbiati supplies lead vocals and guitars while Cantranelli brings lead guitar and backing vocals. They’re joined by bassist Joe Barreca and drummer Antonio Perugini, two well-travelled roots and blues players.
Cantanrelli’s history includes Satellite Inn, an Italian band that was signed to US label Moodfood and toured America extensively. His own Silent Strangers and colaboration JD Hangover are worth tracking down if you're into stark and dark gutter blues-punk. Abbiati was a member of Italian roots outfit Lowlands and partnered with ex-Green On Red keyboardist Chris Cacavas on an album in 2014.
Bleak, industrial blues. That’s what you’ll immerse yourself in on this six-track EP. It’s one part Suicide, one part Delta blues, and fuck any compact with the Devil - if that was a soul left behind at the negotiating table in return for a bus ticket to the crossroads, it sounds like it’s being picked over by vultures.
Written on the road and recorded with minimal affectations, it’s a collaboration between Anglo-Italo blues rocker Stiv Cantarelliand studio collaborator Roberto Villa. And a drum machine.
Five Things - Smalltown Tigers (Area Pirata Records)
There’s nothing new in rock and roll. The same goes for punk rock. So get over it. Reinvention has always been a constant and the trick to being good at the caper is adding as your own unique ingredient.
“Five Things” is eight songs from three Italian girls calling themselves Smalltown Tigers. They come from Romagna in the country's north-east, cut their teeth playing Ramones songs at squats and beach parties and went into a studio in 2019, under the production hand of Stiv Cantarelli.
They're only been around a couple of years but you wouldn't know it. With a single in the racks before this, "Five Things" swaggers with confidence and loads of energy. It would be politically incorrect to say the girls have good looks on their side as well, so we won't. Image counts for much in rock and roll.