The four-legged promotion team Ejector Seat are already somewhat legendary ‘round these parts (by which I mean both the geographical location of the UK’s south coast as well as the underground music scene that often operates therein), and it’s not like it’s without reason. They first introduced us to 65daysofstatic, they brought Bearsuit to play Southampton on a wet Thursday, and, as just about all the bands that they’ve invited to their gigs will attest, they cook a mean pasta bake. For these things alone we should applaud them until our knuckles erode. However they’ve also provided us with some of the greatest and most revelatory gigging experiences in the past year or so that they’ve been operating. A far cry from the turgid emo, unimaginative pop-punk and vacuous hairstyle bands that many venues willingly put on to reel in The Punters, ver ‘Seat exist to give spotlight to the sort of hidden magic and euphoria that would, for the most part, slip through the net otherwise. Because of this, the quality and variety of acts they’ve put on thus far has been extraordinary. During the Black Nielson slot last year you wanted a lie down ‘cos it was so mellow. After the hip-hop fusion of Captive State you wanted to hug the soundman for agreeing to put so much equipment up there. After The Retro Spankees you just wanted to hug everyone.
But I digress. To celebrate a predominantly successful year as promoters, the lads have put together this, their first compilation. Tentatively titled ‘The Theme Is Music’, it attempts to collate on disc a smattering of the various/varied artists they’ve showcased at that bastion of indie legacy The Joiners Arms. Of the aforementioned only Black Nielson appear (to which we attempt to hit that high note), in a collection that naturally includes a wealth of local talent. Scumhampton’s most-likely-to bunch The Objects appear early on, and prove that they’ve been dabbling in this Eighties synth-rockery before it became the latest Jamster-glamster accessory, only with added robotic hanky-panky, ferociousness and (whisper it) a better song than The Br*very will ever muster. The resident electronic scene is out here in force, with Birdpen doing their Beta-Band-go-even-more-electronic stuff so well and Bonemachine providing a mix of ‘This Ocean’s Angry’ that makes them sound like the trip-hop Mansun. There’s also a fair bit of post-rock presence, whether it be the mantra-like plucking and buzzing of Tri-City President’s ‘They Went Insane’ or the mammoth, celestial and, frankly, gobsmacking nine-minute wonder of ‘Blood Will Flow’ by Moly. Add to that the much-celebrated wispy twang thang from Goldrush, Alaskan Pipeline reclaiming epic ‘bed-wetting’ indie from the stadium giants, the piano-laced atmospheric balladry of Soma High, the dainty but unnerving beauty of The Sways…a mixed bag, full of goodies.
Indeed, some of it is a bit too good. For instance, tracks like the rollicking Blueskins stomp of ‘Trouble’ by Ill Starred Captain and the heavy-handed alt.rock of Daughters Courageous stand up well on their own, but considering they’re sharing plastic with spiralling mightiness like Turncoat’s ‘Heads Above Water’ they don’t really stand a chance. Not that that’s a complaint, though, as overall the ES two have done themselves proud. Whether you’re a local completist or simply hanker for something a bit different, then here’s where you should be directed.
- Various - Psych For Sore Eyes
- Various - Christmas Rules
- Various - Whatever Gets You Through the Night
- Various - Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute To Fleetwood Mac
- Various - Personal Space: Electronic Soul 1974-84
- Various - Wrongpop: Volume 1
- Various - Listen Whitey! Sounds of Black Power 1967-74
- Various - East of Underground: Hell Below