Er, no, they're ugly spods and they are CARDIACS - the greatest band in the history of music and the single most spectacular contribution to the world of pop ever made!!! Worship them, dear bastards, because they could change your life forever. Genius, my friends, is in short supply in these shallow and poop-flecked times and Tim Smith (CARDIACS' head honcho) has it gushing from every orifice. Describing CARDIACS is a bit pointless because they are unique in a way that the vast majority of bands are most assuredly not, and so I will merely direct you to my reviews of their most recent two albums, located here and here. You may also wish to check out the official CARDIACS site located here.
Now obviously I like more than just the one band, so here's a few more of my favourites with some handy links to help facilitate your musical enlightenment. Firstly, why not venture timidly into the world of Heavy Metal? Go on, don't be such a fucking pussy.
The first port of call for Metal newbies must be the splendid Black Sabbath (without whom...etc). Having recently reformed, partly due to a massive resurgence in popularity, the Sabs have re-affirmed their position as the true originators of the Heavy Metal blueprint, and there are still very few bands with a back catalogue to rival their series of astounding albums made in the early 70s.
Another essential member of the Metal hierarchy is, of course, the legendary Iron Maiden, a band for whom I have a special sentimental attachment (it's a long story!) and whose recent history (i.e. the return of vocalist Bruce Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith) suggests that if anyone can drag Metal screaming into the new millennium, it's them. Again, a huge and impressive back catalogue of albums (most of which are great and even the less great ones contain plenty of classic tunes) awaits your perusal. Iron Maiden epitomise Heavy Metal in its truest form, and long may they reign!
But it's not all nostalgia and wall-to-wall legends round here! How about something a little bit more extreme? Well, if you like the idea of a deranged mixture of hardcore Metal, Hip Hop and jazz then look no further than New York's very own Candiria - currently my favourite thing in the entire world, and a musical experience not to be missed, particularly if you have a taste of the unconventional and deeply fucked-up.
Returning once more to the groovy, blooze-soiled roots of the genre, try the magnificent Cathedral, one of the finest UK Metal bands of all time and one of a great number of wondrous things brought to us by the UK's finest underground record label, Earache Records. Over the last ten years, Lee Dorrian's Metal crusaders have brought us some of the most memorable anthems since Black Sabbath's halcyon days, incorporating all manner of traditional Metal hooks, pychedelia and downright loopy disco vibes, inadvertently contributing to the rise of the so-called Stoner Rock scene along the way. Again, essential listening for the long of hair.
Finally, in my extra special Metal recommendations, comes the mighty Opeth, progressive Death Metal warlords from sunny Sweden. If the more extreme end of the Metal scene has ever seemed a bit impenetrable and tune-free then these masters of melody and power should be more to your taste. Epic, imaginative and resolutely progressive in flavour, Opeth's four albums - all, it has to be said, utterly splendid - are as absorbing as any the broader genre has produced, and standards in production and arrangement have risen greatly across the scene since their emergence. Wonderful, life-affirming music which has nothing to do with trends and everything to do with beauty and creativity. Yeah right Dom, whatever....
Right, sundry fucknuts, there are literally squillions of other Metal bands who deserve your attention, so here's some handy links to get you started.
As I mentioned before, my favouritest band of all is the mighty CARDIACS. Do check them out, because they are simply magnificent. I also have a great deal of time for the splendid Mr Bungle (featuring ex-Faith No More vocalist Mike Patton, who is also a member of the equally great Fantomas), whose three albums to date are all classics. Oh yes they are. Then, of course, there are my guilty pop pleasures, ranging from XTC - the most underrated pop group of all time and the only band genuinely fit to be compared to The Beatles, whoever they were... - and the not-terribly-obscure likes of Blur, Radiohead and Super Furry Animals. I'm also a huge fan of Julian Cope - both as a singer and an author; check out "The Modern Antiquarian" if you've got a spare thirty quid lying around - whose back catalogue is enormous and lovely. What about Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds? They rule. Tom Waits? A genius. Captain Beefheart? Frank Zappa? John Zorn? Jim Thirlwell a.k.a. Foetus? Creative titans all - trust me! There's always time for a bit of Gang Of Four too - another greatly underrated band, featuring Andy Gill, probably my favourite guitarist of all time. Then there's The Smiths who provided the soundtrack to my acne-ruined adolescence, and old Morrissey is still definitely worth the admission fee. David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, Talk Talk, The Clash, The Fall......just a few more of a seemingly endless list of cool stuff. Then there's my Hip Hop fixation. After starting off, back in 1987, with Eric B & Rakim, Ultramagnetic MCs and Public Enemy, I subsequently moved onto Cypress Hill, Wu Tang Clan, Busta Rhymes, Company Flow, Kool Keith, Mobb Deep, Gang Starr, Gravediggaz, Organized Konfusion, Rakim and a whole host of superb lyrical and musical tomfoolery. I know lots of people have strange, irrational prejudices against Hip Hop, but I genuinely think it's a vibrant and inspiring genre with a great number of extremely talented people working within. Similarly, the dance music scene has produced its fair share of noteworthy records. I'm a huge fan of the Digital Hardcore Recordings label - special mentions required for EC80R, Atari Teenage Riot and Bomb 20 - and the few extreme gabba records released by Earache Records (i.e. Delta 9, Disciples Of Annihilation and the brilliant Industrial Fucking Strength compilation). If you fancy a neat combination of extreme gabba beats and grindcore guitars then definitely check out The Berzerker and their eponymous album, recently released by Earache. It'll tear your face off. I like loads of other stuff as well, from obscure UK legends Bog Shed through to the immensely groovy Captain Beyond, early 70s US rock merchants. If you want to be bored to death then mail me - I could, and probably will, go on for days.
Finally, here's a list of my all time favourites, and my current play list. Enjoy!
DOM'S ALL TIME TOP TEN ALBUMS
Subject To Change At A Moment's Notice!!!
DOM'S UTTERLY THRILLING PLAYLIST - MAY/JUNE 2000
OK. Had enough? Well fuck off back then!