Willis Earl Beal recieves a great amount of acclaim whilst being tagged an oddball. The same oddball label that gets used to describe anyone from Joanna Newsom to Bjork to Tom Waits to Roots Manuva to Captain Beefheart feels misleading. For me an oddball is someone like Cheryl Cole or Gary Barlow or that alien cunt Will.I.Am. Strange straight laced day-jobbers who gets into something as subversive and interesting as music without any nuance of art or desire to do things a little differently, who channel their talents and abilities into producing what is expected exactly off them for the consumer. These manufacturers of straight forward product with their airbrushed personalities and same-nesses are the true oddballs, what Willis Earl Beal, like the others mentioned do, is simply creating great art through music. If there are noted quirks in his personality, well, don't we all have these?
Back in the nineties, what killed grunge? Britpop? Changing Fashion? I offer the suggestion of a wave of machismo that utilized the genre tropes of loud/quiet/loud and plaid amongst others to create crushing, boorish man rock. There is very little similarity between the backwater howling of Sub Pop pioneers like Mudhoney and Tad and what would mutate into the stadium chest beating of Puddle of Mud. The original waves of music that would later constitute grunge had an outsider fragility that even the most aggressive vocal and axe shredding couldn't hide. Kurt Cobain, the obvious and unwitting genre ringleader/scapegoat frequently played with gender identity and wore the T-shirts of outsider pop groups yet none of this vulnerability would transcend into the roaring postulations of those directly influenced by his voice and his habit of treading on a distortion pedal just as we get to the CHORUS.
Teen Suicide have a loverlorn fragility to every aspect of their music to create a brittle, Sebadoh-esque racket of the highest order. You can check their album here
Tom Hyena returns with another immaculately assembled collage of library music, soundtracks and exotic psychedelia. Over this hour long journey you'll be confronted by flutes that blatantly want to be squirrels, mischiefous middle eastern scales and the ruins of what was once built as an ode to futures never trod. It's all a little like regressing towards childhood and perfect for nights where you decide to flick on the heating.
The climax of Stay Positive's ravey anthem here sounds like being swung around your garden the way an over enthusiastic Dad might to a young child. We get older and Dad's can no longer do this, which is why we turn to Rave. I'm not a Psychiatrist.
Sun Glitters' remix of Where Beats Die excels in the way it drags shoegazed out reverb vocals through the kind of compression usually employed by French men dressed as robots