South

SXSW records

Phases and Stages

South

From Here on In (Kinetic/Mo' Wax) Trusting your ears to the ever-fickle British music press is about as reasonable as trusting our government. Goodness knows we Yanks have a right to be skeptical in these troublesome times, but occasionally and amazingly, NME and their ilk get it dead on. That's the case, anyway, with South, a UK trio whose whirlpool of sound comes off like Stone Roses meets the Verve for tea at their U.N.K.L.E.'s house in the country. Frontman Joel Cadbury sounds for all the world like the missing link between Joy Division's Ian Curtis and Richard Ashcroft, and South's lazy, guitar-inflected electronic groove on what may well be the import single of the year, "Paint the Silence," aspires to (and attains) a level of bleak joy not attempted since Ashcroft and Nick McCabe released "Sonnet." Occasionally, South veers into treacherously arty territory -- the slide guitar on "I Know What You're Like" comes as a shock at first, cold water in the face of "Silence's" almost epic sprawl -- but even those moments are infused with a quiet, steady passion. Signed to UK indie hotspot Mo' Wax, their remix work a few years back with U.N.K.L.E.'s James Lavelle on Ian Brown's "Dolphins Were Monkeys" was the best of some very, very good stuff. (And there's that Stone Roses thing again.) In other words, this is the first absolutely essential UK disc of the year. Apparently, From Here on In, it only gets better. (Saturday, March 16, Element, 9pm)

****

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