Dartz


I’m not able to post it here right now, but I’ve just reviewed Working For A Nuclear Free City’s ridiculously eclectic new double-album (with the second disc taken up by a single half hour track no less). It’s brilliant. Here is a tiny selection of the musical references I wrote down while listening to it:

Thom Yorke – The Clock (YSI)
Dartz! – St. Petersburg (YSI)
Sebastien Tellier – La Ritournelle (YSI) (Removed by request)
Two Door Cinema Club – Undercover Martyn (YSI)

Disparate no?

So let’s begin where we left off shall we? I really can’t be arsed with a full day-by-day review of Glastonbury this year, sufficed to say it was brilliant, apart from the near intolerable heat. I made many a wise choice throughout for once, opting for The Flaming Lips over Gorillaz which turned out to be the best stage show I’ve ever seen (as anyone who’s seen them live will attest to) and risked huge disappointment by heading to The Park Stage whilst Mos Def was on because of an unsubstantiated rumour that Radiohead would be playing. Luckily, it soon became wonderfully substantiated (well, Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood played anyway).

That weekend also acted as a watershed moment for me as it became the first time I’d ever felt like a proper journalistic ponce after I managed to “network” with both artists and other bloggers. First, I met Matthew from Song, By Toad at the Meursault performance, who I managed to babble incoherently to – I actually became starstruck by a blogger, which strikes me as a little pathetic, but will hopefully act as a compliment to him. The next day, I bumped into Tom Williams of him & the Boat fame. I’d watched them earlier at one of their seemingly endless string of performances and, after he realised I wasn’t a creepy stalker or drug-peddler, his eyes got a little less wide and he turned out to be as likeable a fellow as his emails have suggested to me. Finally, I made yet another correct decision in watching Grizzly Bear (victorious) over the England team (defeated), and ended up behind two of the girls from Mountain Man, who actually recognised me. Unfortunately, it became clear that this wasn’t because my fame had spread far farther than I had reckoned for, but because they’d seen me simultaneously singing and spilling chocolate ice cream onto my prized Johnny Flynn T-shirt in the front row of their performance earlier. Nevertheless, they were absolutely charming and provided added entertainment when one of them suddenly realised that their cousin was on stage. As a member of Grizzly Bear.

The moral of the story – talk to those in the business. They all seem very nice.

Meursault – Crank Resolutions (YSI)
Tom Williams & The Boat – Train Station Car Park (YSI)
Mountain Man – Buffalo (YSI)
Dartz! – Network! Network! Network! (YSI)

Sometimes, for no apparent reason, you remember an album that you got a while ago, and only really listened to once. Sometimes, you’ll re-listen to that album out of interest. Sometimes, you’ll realise that that album is absolutely fantastic. This happened to me with Dartz!’ debut album, This Is My Ship.

Described variously as indie, math-rock and post-punk, the truth is that this Middlesbrough-based band don’t really fit in any of these genres, but rather take them all in and then spit them out in some kind of brilliant gobbet of musical weirdness. There’s no doubt that Dartz! are a product of Noughties indie, but they’re certainly a left-field version of that, eschewing straightforward indie-pop chords and lyrical conventions for something a lot more interesting. The drums are far more prominent than in most indie bands, pushing the band faster and faster, filling songs with symbol crashes whilst overlapping dual vocals increase the frenetic pace of the songs.

There are some genuinely brilliant moments too – the main guitar riff in “Prego Triangolos”, if given some serious overdrive, wouldn’t sound out of place in a metal song, and the song itself is a jerky mass of brilliant interchanging sounds and strange falsetto backing vocals. “A Simple Hypothetical” is all about mad scientists and the breakdown into call-and response shouts of “Lab coats?” “Check!” “Oxygen?” “Check! Check!” is maddeningly catchy. In fact, every song seems to brim with lovely little flourishes and ideas that make you appreciate what’s gone into creating them. This isn’t some join-the-dots album of filler, every song has had genuine effort put into it to create a record that never lets up, and never makes you want to let go.

I haven’t heard their newer mini-album (apparently a concept album about a made up village, interestingly enough), and apparently they’re now on hiatus to finish their degrees (an admirable decision that I salute them for), but this album alone is enough to make me rank this band amongst some of the most interesting and satisfying to listen to in my iTunes, and I certainly won’t be ignoring this little gem again.

Dartz! – Prego Triangolos (YSI)
Dartz! – Once, Twice, Again! (YSI)


Well, I feel a little more connected now. I’ve been formally accepted by the wonderful Hype Machine, and may actually have an audience beyond the three people who may or may not be interested in my scribblings (love you guys!). Here’s a lovely, and topically named, piece of indie-art-punk.

Dartz! – Network! Network! Network!