Dollars to Pounds #3: Juggs & Crosses

July 11, 2007


This week's letter from London correspondent Sam Richards weighs in on one band we know and another that may have come up with the worst idea we've ever heard.





Whenever I meet an Australian in London they always make out like their homegrown music scene amounts to someone off Neighbours trying to play an acoustic gig in the corner of a Walkabout pub while the rugby’s on the big screen and pitchers of Fosters are 2-for-1. Which makes it all the more remarkable that the old colonies keep churning out these great synth-rock party bands who seem to instinctively know the exact ratio of indie grit to disco sleaze that will rock a London crowd.

Aussie label Modular—home to most of those synth-rock party bands including The Avalanches, Cut Copy, The Presets and Van She—already has a strong presence in London, putting on its own weekly rave-ups in Shoreditch. But the marvellous Midnight Juggernauts come courtesy of Paris label Institubes, a kind of bijou Ed Banger.

The Melbourne trio profess a love for John Carpenter soundtracks, which manifests itself in the foreboding analogue keyboard drones which add gravitas to their otherwise euphoric sound. Overall they sound like a rock band covering Lindstrøm and Clone/Bunker/Viewlexx space disco tunes, which is a pretty solid concept in my book. “Road To Recovery” proves they can write a deft pop song but they also confess that their rehearsals regularly descend into two-hour prog jams. Plus singer Vin is a dead spit for Neil the hippie from classic ’80s sitcom The Young Ones, which is a bonus.

The one show I’m cursing myself for missing last week due to amateurish diary scheduling was the London debut of Danish techno outfit Ink And Needle. They’re a shadowy classic rock-loving duo who peform from behind masks and vow to make “romantic minimal dance music”. So far, so Daft Punk. But Ink And Needle’s killer gimmick is that instead of giving their tracks a name, they get a new tattoo. ‘Tattoo Nr Five’ is currently ruling my world but at the back of my mind there’s a concern that when they get to their fifth album they’re going to look like this guy.

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Dollars to Pounds #3: Juggs & Crosses