Sunday, 27 June 2010

Around the World (Cup) In 30 Days: Italy

In a race against the clock - otherwise known as the final on July 11th - H-T-A is attempting to check out artists from around the 32 nations competing at the World Cup Finals in South Africa. Check out the rest of the posts to date here.

Most certainly not wanting to discuss the day's footballing events, the only way to make things marginally more acceptable is to focus on one of the  Euro big guns that fell at an even earlier stage than the clowns in red today. Having crossed France off that short list, only Italy remains and it's here we check in.

The Italian music industry has many of its own little eccentricities and a very inward focus, meaning that bands can do perfectly well in their home market but not be adequately pushed outside those borders. Occasionally one gets noticed by purveyors of a niche genre, however, and happily it was so when North Carolina's Deep Elm Records got a hold of Bolognan angular rockers Settlefish.

Taking cues from genre standard-bearers Fugazi, Settlefish deliver jagged, staccato post-hardcore with just a hint of their homeland mixed in. The bombastic melodies can be attributed to the kind of rock you'll often hear emanating from Italy, though the dynamic alternating between tight, quiet passages and frenzied sonic thrashing owes much more to the DC scene of some two decades ago. 

MP3: Settlefish - Oh Well (zip file via Deep Elm)
Taken from the album The Plural of the Choir, out now - BUY


It's an engaging mix and one that fits well with their chosen home, a robustly independent label with a penchant for varied sounds across the alternative hallways of hardcore. For a taste of their current crop, check out the latest sampler, We Dream Alone.

Sometimes the 'quirky' nature of Italian bands can become quickly tiresome (Linea 77 spring to mind), but Settlefish retain a depth of influence and engaging style that keeps their tunes sounding fresh as you revisit. Unfortunately they went into hibernation as of late 2008 and haven't emerged since, so it can only be hoped that they feel the urge to make a push again some time soon. Let's not wait four years as our national teams will have to do though, eh boys?

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