Soft Boys — Nextdoorland
(Matador OLE-553, 2002, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2003-02-01
I don’t think I would get much argument if I claimed that the Soft Boys were, in their original incarnation (1976-1981) the prime exponents of psychedelic punk music. The sheer lack of competition in the field assures them a place in history. Not that they were very punkish, though in true garage psych tradition they got pretty noisy at times. It would also be easy to say that the Boys were nothing more than the vehicle for leader Robyn Hitchcock’s rather unusual musical vision, though farther from the truth. While Hitchcock was always the songwriter, the band contributed a lot to sound, as can be determined by comparing Soft Boys records to Hitchcock’s numerous solo releases (at least twelve at this writing by my count). The twin-guitar sound of the Boys is what is missing. Hitchcock is a fine guitarist on his own, but when he has Kimberley Rew to play off of, something special results. This reunion album features ten songs with lyrics by Hitchcock and a bit of help from his old compatriots. The same odd lyrical twists you expect are very much in evidence, with my favorite being “If you were as hard as a diamond, you could be used as a cutting tool, right in the forefront of industry” in “Unprotected Love” (which is not about safe sex, but taking emotional chances). I would highly recommend this release to any fans of tuneful psychedelic rock. There are no long spacey jams, just twisted songs with humorous lyrics played very well.
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more