When Will I Be Famous: The Beatings, Miss Black America, Datsuns

Steve Jelbert reviews tomorrow's bands today
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The Independent Culture

Though they are being plugged as some kind of London riposte to New York's vibrant scene, The Beatings look worn out enough to be the Strokes' dads (if they were leather-jacket salesmen, rather than millionaires). They live up to it, to some extent. The singer Nick's whine is refreshingly reminiscent of Richard Hell, while the band's take on punk is as much informed by the clatter of the Fall as the usual Stooges/Dolls tropes. Certainly, songs such as the coming single "Jailhouse" and the excellent "Bad Feeling" show real promise, though in experience they're years behind the rash of "new" bands from abroad who end up on these shores to promote their third album.

Described by the ever-prescient Time Out as "Bury St Edmunds' answer to the MC5", Miss Black America are the latest in a long line of concerned young men, rightly using their youth as the time for pretension. The singer, Seymour Glass (obviously not his real name, unless his parents were JD Salinger's biggest fans), is a classic small-town gobshite, clearly revelling in the opportunity that performance gives him to go 40 minutes without an unprovoked beating, and annoying as many of the audience as he impresses with his endless spiel. But MBA (nice acronym) definitely have something. Their effortless guitarist, Gish (who shares a name with a Smashing Pumpkins album), is a true star, powering through songs such as "Infinite Chinese Box" and their catchy, crazed title song, and the moment when the chorus of the new single, "Talk Hard", all comes together is truly exciting. MBA won't appeal to all, but, like the similarly shameless British Sea Power, they show there's still life in traditional indie art rock.

We're hearing a lot about The Datsuns, from New Zealand. Stories abound of MDs eager to sign them turning up in limos at unlikely, out-of-town venues; of demands for a quarter of a million up front for their unreleased album; and of their guitarist reaching his mid-twenties without having had a girlfriend (now that, if true, is dedication to the Rock Life). They are, thankfully, ridiculously great, as the two paying, non-business members of the audience will have noted. They're the perfect metal outfit, using only the best elements from 30 years of heavy rock, without the slightest nod to the crud that so titillates today's American teenagers. A vocalist who shrieks like Plant or even Bruce Dickinson, the gumbie thump of Mudhoney, duelling guitar action, more windmills than a Dutch cycling holiday and songs with titles such as "Lady", and "Super Generation"... you've heard it all before and it's fantastic. John Peel and Kerrang! both love them.