I have been meaning to review these CDs for some time but I haven't had a gap to properly listen; today is a catch-up day and in between bouts of moving rubbish from one side of the house to the other ('tidying up'), I have been listening intently.
Snezhina Duevska heads the band No Frames, three women and a man who make powerful, sometimes punky, sometimes rocky and at other times surprisingly delicate music. I have heard Snezhina performing some of these tracks live and it's testament to her songwriting that the songs work just as well as solo performances as they do fully realised with a band. This CD, Positive Manipulation, demonstrates a very wide dynamic range of moods, all held together by her extremely powerful and dramatic voice. there is nothing false about Snezhina's singing style; forget the Britney sub-gospel purring or faux-naif girly-voices. She gives it all she's got and this album blew the dust out of crevices in my mind that I didn't even realise were there. Best tracks are Trannie and Waterfall, which are both good to hear live as well, and the opening track, A Dreamer in Tuscany.
Next is the preview copy that Zillah gave me of Rubella Ballet's forthcoming album, Planet Punk. This is a fast and furious album that thunders angrily out of the speakers, articulating anger and disappointment in equal measures through layers of speech, guitars, samples (including football crowds), and both Zillah and Sid singing and chanting. It is the sort of album that warrants multiple listening to really get into the sounds and the messages and sonically it takes the language of the earliest of punk and updates it with the contemporary feel of 'now', almost a diary of the concerns and issues of people who still have that apparently rarest of attributes, a conscience.
I allowed myself to be carried along by the songs, which are well-crafted and refreshingly direct. The sound crystallised out and the sense of the whole album became remarkably effective; I realised that I haven't listened to music like this for a long time. So what were the stand out tracks? My copy has no track listing, so I'm guessing theses titles: Information Terrorist, Estimated Lifespan and Such a Wonderful Life had a strong impact on first and second listening, but the album is best taken as a whole.