Noise Annoys: Ned's Acoustic Dustbin, Acoustic Dan and Arborist
Noise Annoys goes unplugged this week with new music by Ned's Acoustic Dustbin, Acoustic Dan and Arborist...
WELCOME to the first Noise Annoys of 2020, in which I bring you words on new releases from three very different favourites...
:: Ned's Acoustic Dustbin – Ned's Acoustic Dustbin (Good Deeds)
FORMATIVE Noise Annoys favourites Ned's Atomic Dustbin are best known for their thunderous twin bass guitar-powered strain of catchy/crunchy alternative rock, which incited mosh pits around the world in the early to mid 1990s.
Despite eventually succumbing to frenzied multiple stab wounds inflicted upon them by the once all powerful Weekly British Music Press (RIP) during the Britpop (RIP) boom, these gleefully anti-cool West Midlands-bred rockers have enjoyed a deserved 21st century renaissance, with their annual tours once again attracting faithful fans from around the globe who are eager to hear favourites from yesteryear played live and loud by their reunited heroes.
Although no new music has yet been forthcoming from the Ned's, singer Jonn Penney and guitarist Rat have just recorded this 14 track CD on which they tackle a career-spanning selection of Ned faves in a lively acoustic style – and very good it is too.
Jonn's voice, always as much a part of the Ned's' signature sound as their much vaunted twin basses, remains as croonsomely powerful as ever, while Rat makes an admirable fist of condensing the melodic and rhythmic ingredients of multiple bass and guitar lines into one deftly strummed/picked attack.
Highlights include footstomping interpretations of their 1991 single Trust, Are You Normal? album tracks Intact, Spring, Leg-End and You Don't Want To Do That, key Brainbloodvolume moments Stuck (AKA 'the Ned's ballad', now even more slow dance-friendly than ever), Song 11, All I Ask and To Be Right, plus God Fodder anthems Grey Cell Green, Happy, Cut Up and Capital Letters.
Sadly, there's no Ned's Acoustic Dustbin reworking of their most famous tune Kill Your Television – or, indeed, Kill Your Remix, its wonderful acoustic guitar intro and arpeggiated outro being one of the few bits of Nedding that Noise Annoys can play on the guitar with any degree of accuracy, doncha know – but then you can't have everything. Sure where would you put it?
The main 'take away' from this album is that Ned's Atomic Dustbin are not the disposable fringe-flinging noiseniks the music press painted them as: they have great songs, dammit, and the Acoustic Dustbin album is a compelling 'exhibit A' for their defence.
Rat and Jonn are celebrating the release of the album with a short run of Acoustic Dustbin dates in En-ger-land, which kick off at Manchester's Night & Day on January 24 with top drawer support from Inspiral Carpets man Tom Hingley and include an already sold-out stop at The Lexington in that London on February 8. These are must-see shows for any fan of this band, the bouncing beer/sweat-sodden mosh of their full electric gigs replaced with joyful mass sing/stomp-alongs.
Full tour and ticket details at Nedsatomicdustbin.com, where you'll also find info on how to get hold of the Ned's Acoustic Dustbin CD.
:: Acoustic Dan – The Little Kid Who Sells Smack (promo, self-released)
ON THE subject of acoustic guitar-fuelled songwriting goodness, Belfast singer/songwriter Acoustic Dan sent me a CD just before Christmas there by way of promoting his show on December 29 at The Black Box.
Sadly, said disc arrived too late to form the basis of a preview piece, but I nevertheless feel duty bound to share some words about it – and not just because he thoughtfully included a Buckfast miniature with the package (cheers sir, up with this sort of thing).
I've been a fan of Acoustic Dan AKA Dan Gregory ever since seeing him open for Dundalk maverick Jinx Lennon years ago, but he's been infamously reluctant to actually release any music in a physical format.
However, he did put out an EP on CD late last year called Salty Beef Rings, from which all three of the tunes on this promo CD are taken; B.M.Smack Bikers, Gluebegs and Ma.
The latter is an unusually sentimental (yet still brutally funny) ditty for Dan in which he recounts funny memories of his ma and the important life lessons she taught him – "money and brains and power and all that stuff is just a lot of s***e if you never learn how to be kind" – a catchy, timely reminder to us all to show our motherships some love a bit more often that may leave you with something in your eye if it catches you at the wrong/right moment.
By contrast, Gluebegs is a more typically hallionism informed Acoustic Dan affair, a misty-eyed/crusty nosed recollection of shutting out the world while huffing EvoStik Impact (other solvent-based adhesives are available) in the damp discomfort of an improvised den.
As for the lead tune, this pretty finger-picked ditty offers a slice of real street life in modern Belfast that's sure to become the soundtrack to the next tourist board advertising campaign – or maybe they'll go with his previously (un)released ditty Violent Teenagers With Umbrellas in Their Hands instead.
The full 7-track version of Salty Beef Rings (which technically makes it a mini-album, I think) is available online now at Acousticdan1.bandcamp.com, where you'll also find his ribald collection of locally flavoured Christmas classics Belfast Nativity (Half a tank of oil and a bottle of Cava).
Maybe buy them or, you know, offer to release an album for him.
:: Arborist – Here Comes The Devil
THE final new release for your consideration is the latest single from Belfast alt-folksters Arborist, culled from their forthcoming new album A Northern View which is due out early next month and available to pre-order right now via Arboristmusic.bandcamp.com.
It follows the album's superb lead single Taxi, a wistful and hugely atmospheric spoken word affair narrated by Arborist mainman Mark McCambridge featuring a brilliant Sam O'Mahony directed video starring Irish actor Barry Ward – don't miss the deft Seamus Fogerty remix which gives it an even stronger Arab Strap kind of flavour.
Swoonsome strummer Here Comes The Devil finds Mark and co going all gothic country with a pretty, moody tale of repressed desires.
There's another excellent Sam O'Mahony video to go with this one which marries the tune to some stylish vampire flick inspired happenings.
Watch it and then investigate Arborist's upcoming live dates at FB.com/Arboristband – expect a full album review and/or Mark interview to appear in an upcoming edition of Noise Annoys