|VG06 SOUTHALL RIOT "Quality
|These people eat a lot of instant mushroom noodles.
We know this because they have Xeroxed their grocery receipt onto
the front of their punk-as-fuck seven-inch sleeve, which was frankly
a major enticement to review them.
Inside we find trashed two-chord garage punk, frazzled lo-fi drum
loopery and garbled sequencer squiggles. Rudimentary stuff, sure,
but bursting with attitude and hard to dislike. Jim O'Rourke and BJ
Cole are apparently involved here somewhere, but bugger me if anyone
but their close friends and relatives can tell.
|The cover for Southall Riot's latest offering displays
a till receipt showing, amongst the mushroom noodles and relishes
purchased, two entries for 'sundry goods' at 99p and 79p. This set
me thinking about my dear friend who used to be married to a member
of Bad Company and who told me that for accounting purposes their
devil-may-care drugs expenditure was listed as sundries. "What are
all these sundries?" their bemused and be-suited accountant used to
say as he tried to juggle the tax bill. "If it carries on like this,
it won't be worth you doing it."
Well, I don't know what the nature of Southall Riot's sundry goods
are, but even if they hadn't managed to find them at such knock down
prices, it's definitely worth them doing it. In fact more people might
consider spending 79p the same way, because this, like their previous
two Eps, is a treasure-trove of unprecious experimentation, invention,
bewitching beats and charm.
From the brash opening of 'Kiss Me Robot, I Love You' with its slammed
snare drum and whimsical sound effects, layered with a yearning vocal
melody, the spell takes hold. "Summerhill" whirls further into the
5th dimension with its strobe light raw dance rhythm in the purest
possible form - a soundtrack for fire-eaters on a Goa beach, which
then falls almost imperceptibly into the giddy weirdness of "Groove
is in the Art". But before you wig out into weirdness altogether CRACK!
and someone's singing about Mrs Gold like Eddie Cochran gone moptop
in the most outrageously endearing pure pop glee.
True to Southall Riot tradition the whole of side two is given over
to one song - "Jetstream". With echoes of God Speed You Black Emperor,
this achingly melancholy instrumental resonates with the saddest of
memories that can't quite be recalled. Sounding like the lost sounds
found on a reel-to-reel in the bombsite of a mythical pop golden age,
Southall Riot are never sound quite of this world, which might be
why a lot of this world ignores them. A big mistake. Quality goods
|from Robots and Electronic Brains
|If there were European warehouses---like the ones that
used to handle the butter mountains, meat heaps, tinned plum peaks
and asparagus hillocks---and they contained piles of pop bands by
genre, then, next to all the industrial-sized corrugated iron barns
containing the dancing seals that jig across our television screens
all day long and the slightly smaller units with your favourite indie
chartsters inside, you'll find a shed with a small sign on the door
(a door that has been forced open), which says "maverick, pop." If
you were to look inside you'd see a couple of dishevelled blokes warming
their hands around a candle and slotting their last 10p into the meter
so they can listen again to their latest record which veers from the
trash glam of "Kiss me robot, I love you" to the droning low-tech
"Jeststream." Round the back you might glimpse The Freed Unit waiting
for their turn on the candle.
|Everything but the kitchen sink clanking bedroom pop
- 5 eclectic tunes with hints of electro, Latino (yip!), skiffle and
a Hood-esque smouldering gem on the B side.
|from AMG All Music Guide
|With their third EP, Southall Riot journeys further
into their now trademark lo-fi space rock universe and returns with
an offering of songs that are alien but familiar all at the same time.
Song numero uno, the irresistibly titled "Kiss Me Robot I Love You,"
finds the band playing with an air of confidence that was a little
less apparent on past releases. Calling to mind an avant mix of Turtles
and Enon, the song is led by a rocked-out, stomping rhythm set by
almost oriental-sounding keyboards and peppered with heavy-echo vocals
and sound effects that, given the song title, sound a bit like a robot
overheating (as sometimes happens in old cartoons and B-sci-fi flicks).
The instrumental "Summerhill" sounds quite strikingly like "Fashion
500" and "For My Beloved," both of which are instrumentals by the
late, great 1990s Ohio freak rock outfit, Brainiac. The similarities
being uncanny, one can only reason that the song is meant as an insider
joke or tribute to the band, or perhaps Southall Riot has happily
managed to channel the late Timmy Taylor via Ouija board or cosmic
theremin. Either way, it is a successful, droning, moody piece. "Groove
Is in the Art" thankfully forgoes the implied Deee-Lite-isms and is
instead a brief instrumental track composed primarily of a looped
string bend and clicking à la Newton's Cradle. Another of the Riot's
shining dream pop gems, with a pogoing bass line, "Mrs. Gold" is what
the Monkees would have sounded like had they been a lo-fi indie rock
band instead of prefab puppets (early on). (This is a compliment.
Truly.) The entire flip side of the vinyl is a single song odyssey
called "Jetstream," which unabashedly displays the band's love of
Pink Floyd - the exciting, trippy old stuff, not the latter wave of
David Gilmour-as-Pink Floyd drivel. A persistent beep reminiscent
of a heart monitor replaces the stereotypically Floyd-ian clock tick,
and waves of sound build and layer and then fade out in an enthralling
progression not unlike the sonic equivalent of a lunar tide cycle.
This band should have been superstars long before now. What's going
on? - Karen E. Graves
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