Tuesday, September 08, 2009
DOWN LIKE A LED BALLOON
The annual jolly that is the Mercury Music (read: commercial music) Prize has thrown up another nominee who, while not necessarily token, probably have zip-all chance of winning... though if there was anything called musical justice, they would walk it. Led Bib (who also have a kind of anti- web page and can be heard on their MySpace) "mash up art rock, jazz, funk and good old-fashioned noise" according to the Beeb. In other words they operate somewhat in the anarcho-jazz zone opened up by the likes of John Zorn, but with rather more recognisably melodic content. Other comparisosn might include Acoustic Ladyland, Basquiat Strings and Polar Bear... with attitude.
On 'Yes, Again' you get a good feel for the way Led Bib (who are touring from September onwards) tread the line that joins head music and body music. Says John Eyles of their nominated fourth album Sensible Shoes : " Contrasting their power with more reflective interludes makes [their] punch more potent when it arrives... The sound of saxophonists Chris Williams and Pete Grogan is Led Bib’s hallmark. The two altos frequently work in tandem as a horn section but both are also fluid, confident soloists."
While I'd be prepared to eat my iPod if they come out ahead of the likes of Bat for Lashes and Kasabian tonight, they have the kind of attitude which might just make it possible for judges to swing their way. BBC Radio 6 will broadcast the verdict. Singer-songwriter Lisa Hanningan is also worth checking out, by the way. I'm no fan of the Mercury, but it has turned out occasional interesting victors like Dizzee Rascal. At least we don't have the previous farce of a contemporary classical entrant who really would be there to be patronised, and Led Bib ought to sell many more discs than would otherwise be the case. You can catch them at the London Jazz Festival and at Ronnie Scott's in London on 29 September '09.