Mick Neely – Tiger King
The original, famed, US, and UK punk-contingent used to hint at violence while performing their three-chord blitz-rock to a terrified audience. The Birthday Party and the Pop Group performed their music while audaciously suggesting violence could well be on the menu while performing their songs to audiences, usually, as viciously inclined as the people on stage.
Mick Neely’s “Tiger King” sounds like the latter. The opening bass riff may carry a whiff of funk about it, but that’s where the dancing stops. Neely begins his fire and brimstone routine, but the one preaching to, seems to be himself.
According to the author, he was dared into writing a song about the current covid crisis. Instead, he wrote about his penchant for alcoholism and missing meals. Musically the instrumentation sounds like modern jazz or Avant-rock. Either way, it makes little sense, other than to make the listener feel as pressed and pushed as the author seems to have been while writing the song.
Mick Neely is a poet, but not the kind I’d like to meet on a dark, winding street without sufficient witnesses.
Graves – It’s Not All Doom & Gloom
Graves, as their name would easily suggest, have a maniacal glee about presenting macabre motifs in their music, in the same way, that a dog has about chewed on their favourite squeaky toy. This satisfaction extends to the sounds. Graves incorporates a diverse selection of tones, all brash, angsty, and delivered with the confidence of a band ready to headline Wembley.
On “It’s Not All Doom & Gloom“, presumably a humorous comment on their overall vision, the band enters with a simple, coordinated intro manoeuver. Over it, the vocals pile on like a preacher warning against depression. The speech ends in a holler before the band launches into what sounds like a funk rendition of the Birthday Party.
There’s even room for some guitar pyrotechnics and more vocals that while, frankly, dissonant and annoying fit the mood of the song perfectly. Graves is an interesting group, one that challenges you to like them for everything they are, like a bad relationship that’s hard to walk away from.