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Archive for September, 2003


Posted: September 30th, 2003, by Ollie

before i start, that was some good stuff from chris there. i really need to try and write about some of the weird things that i see every time i leave the house (of which there are many). until then…


after literally years of anticipation i finally got to see this band live on sunday, and i’m happy to report that i wasn’t disappointed in the slightest. despite a number of factors which could have made the evening a thoroughly horrific experience, the lb pulled it all together in one big skull shattering half hour. but first, the some of the downers. i was convinced as soon as we walked into the texas ballroom that i had stumbled into a bumper issue of the face, the month when it and i-d hatched a plot for try-hard hipster fucks to take over the world. i hate to be too judgemental, it’s nice that people want to go to some effort in an attempt to be different, but on this scale it was just too much. i felt overweight, underdressed and highly scrutinized.

next was the support bands. there was four, and despite the fact that none of them played for very long, it made the first part of the evening a lot more tedious that it should have been. here is a run down:

#1. some dude (don’t know his name) running around in his pants shouting over disco beats. people danced.

#2. some arty types who looked very moody and serious and sounded like harry pussy or something at first and then sounded like deerhoof but more shouty and noisy. that’s a bad description but they sucked. one of their songs was called “everyone wants to be my friend” or some crap.

#3. shouty punk band from baltimore. the singer complained a lot about hipsters (the fool) and was generally preachy and annoying. kim pointed out that he sounded a little like the singer from bob tilton/wolves of greece, which was true, but to mention the two in the same sentence seems somewhat sacrilegious so i’ll move on.

#4. the first band whose name i caught (necronomitron) and the first band who were any good at all. very “now” in that they sounded like a mix of lightning bolt, sightings, noxagt and orthrelm, but they were still very enjoyable. i wasn’t totally convinced that there were people actually playing the music though, because i couldn’t see a single band member. they must have been lying on the floor or something.

and finally, by the time necronomitron had finished, lightning bolt had set up their stuff on a piece of carpet right in front of me, which was nice. they began with brian c. standing up playing air guitar and making some crazy super distorted noise with the mic on his mouth. i was on the verge of insanity by this point, and if i wasn’t hit in the face by a thunderous barrage of noise within the next minute, bad things may have happened. thankfully, i was. they whipped through a mix of new songs i didn’t know (which incidentally sounded amazing) and stuff from wonderful rainbow, and everyone freaked out and it was very very loud indeed and at times i started to feel like my mind was separate from my body. dracula mountain was a huge sprawling beast, whipping around on the floor at my feet, daring me and everyone else present to dance and jump and fall around even harder. unfortunately the building wasn’t up to the task, and people started freaking out because they thought the floor was about to collapse (it probably was to be honest). people spread out a bit and they played another song, but we were all still dicing with death apparently, so lightning bolt were told they had to stop. being the true gents that they are though, and on the condition that everyone stood against the walls, leaving a big space in the middle of the room, they did play one more. by this point i was spent, and happy to watch from a distance as the audience swarmed around brian c. as he pulled his drums out to the far side of the room as they finished. they might not have played for very long, and they might not have played any songs from ride the skies, but it was still more than i ever hoped it could be. it was hot, chaotic and very fucking loud, and by far the best thing i have seen in years.

before the show, we also had some fun in chicago. we went to reckless records were i bought lps by vincebus eruptum and neil young, and kim got the new dirty three. i also saw the cat on form album in there which was exciting. i didn’t get it though, i’ll wait for the vinyl i think. we also ate some very good thai food and wore coats for the first time in months. hooray for autumn.

Things I learned in America

Posted: September 28th, 2003, by Chris H

– New York is more interesting at night
– the Subway’s not that scary, Harlem’s not that scary and Brooklyn’s not that scary
– everyone downtown looks like a model and/or is trying too hard
– midtown is boring, downtown is fun but expensive
– on my first night I missed more good gigs than I would see here in a month
– barstaff who get tipped are more helpful and chatty and give you free drinks
– people like Scottish accents and they say “I’m scottish too”
– nobody goes to Central Park to relax, they go to Do Things, like run in a very determined manner
– Johnny Cash’s death got as much attention as some sitcom “star” I hadn’t heard of
– there wasn’t a shortage of people to tell me how much they disliked George Bush
– Boston has more bikes than the whole of Scotland (maybe)
– the Lucy Parsons Center on Columbus Avenue is my favourite bookshop
– even I am better than the average American at football
– any kind of weird music you like, you can easily find a bunch of people who are into it here
– taxi drivers really do keep talking at you after the journey’s over. I met a revolutionary socialist from Romania
– trucker caps are out
– it’s hard to find shops that are interesting and not just big
– you can read the most beautiful poem ever but in a competion you’ll always get beat by the girl talking about giving head
– CBGBs is like punk was never happening; Bowery Ballroom is a top venue
– USA doesn’t get youth hostels

I take back everything nasty I’ve ever said about the place.

James Orr Complex, Monorail, Glasgow

Posted: September 28th, 2003, by Marceline Smith

While Ollie was having his ears assaulted (see below) I was having mine caressed by the gentle sounds of the James Orr Complex AKA Chris Mack of Eska with an acoustic guitar and that wonderful voice of his. A launch night for his debut album, which seems to have taken the best part of two years to finally see the light of day, in the tiny confines of Monorail I was not likely to be missing this. Always a friendly and natural performer, we got a lovely selection of some of the highlights of the new album which we were then encouraged to buy a whole three days before release. Hurray!

Which led to conversation later, namely ‘Monorail, a record shop in a pub – best/worst idea ever?’. If you’re anything like us, it’s hard enough to avoid spending all your money on records as it is. Add booze, a relaxing, friendly atmosphere, a stomach full of comforting vegan food and the company of your drunken friends and all hell may break loose on your pocket. And don’t think your usual saving grace applies here; Monorail has every record you’ve been meaning to buy EVER, on cd and vinyl and with a nice selection of second hand stuff, magazines, zines and gig tickets to boot. Plus there’s a reasonable likelihood of you getting to place your money into the hand of Stephen Pastel himself. If Mono was my local I’d be penniless by now.

The James Orr Complex album is excellent though so go buy it for these quickly-approaching winter evenings.

Wolf Eyes / Black Dice

Posted: September 27th, 2003, by Ollie

we drove down to kentucky to see some bands the other night, and it was good. the first 2 bands, death beam and hair police were pretty dumb but fun to watch. both bands played about 10-15 minute sets, and there was lots of awkward jerky guitar yelps from death beam, followed by screaming and fighting and noise by hair police.

next up was wolf eyes. prior to this gig, all i had heard by them was their dead hills picture disc on troubleman, which didn’t do anything for me at all, and more recently their dread lp on hanson, which was much better. however, neither record could have prepared me for the live experience. they lulled me into a false sense of security with their first song, which was a kind of laid back affair with horns and tape loops. after about 5 minutes though, they decided enough with the ambient shit, and launched a sonic attack vicious enough to make even the most hardened of noise fans piss their pants. we all agreed that, while it wasn’t really any louder decibel wise than other bands we had seen before, it was a different kind of noise. wolf eyes manage to do something with the sound they create that has some very interesting physical effects on the listener. my nostrils were vibrating throughout, something i can’t remember ever happening before. breathing became a less than simple task on more than one occasion. i found myself suffering from frequent pains in various parts of my head and neck. for a while it felt like i was being repeatedly punched in the chest. the few times when the wolfeyesdeathbeats? reached a point that could be defined as a “hook”, and fists began punch into the air, i started to feel like i was witnessing some kind of revolution, like life wouldn’t be quite the same when i left the venue. it’s very hard to write about such an obtuse band at my pathetic gcse-level, but needless to say i recommend that anyone who is curious to get some wolf eyes stuff. marvellous.

the common opinion after they finished was “how are black dice going to top that?!” and sure enough, they didn’t. their show in london earlier this year was bland as shit, and to be honest i was only enthusiastic about this gig because of the other bands playing. i have listened to beaches and canyons recently and quite enjoyed it, so i thought if nothing else i might recognize some of the set this time. well, i did, but it still wasn’t very good. they basically did the same thing they did in london, wobbly birdy sounds with a little bit of guitar and tribal drumming, apart from the fact that a) they only played for half as long, and b) they injected the odd burst of roaring cacophonous white noise every now and then, which certainly broke things up. i just don’t think black dice are a good band to see live, it’s just fucking boring. to be honest, it takes a lot to bore me at a gig, i’m a simple boy and don’t need much to entertain me, but black dice can’t even supply that. still, i didn’t care at all because wolf eyes had made the evening more than worthwhile.

further reading:




tomorrow we are spending the day in chicago, and then seeing lightning bolt. fucking lightning bolt.

Weekend of art

Posted: September 17th, 2003, by Marceline Smith

We went to The Lighthouse on Sunday, Glasgow’s design and architecture museum. I love The Lighthouse, the way it’s hidden away in the back streets of the city centre, the way the staff always want to know where you’re going, the millions of escalators, the shop filled with expensive wonders and designer geek stuff and the restaurant right at the top where you get lovely crumbly shortbread free with your coffee.

Anyway, we took our dad (yes, I realise my dad visits a lot – there’s one reason for this and you spell it I-K-E-A) since he’s an architect and we wanted to see the Contemporary Japanese Posters. The posters were pretty cool but, really, once you’ve seen the one for Ueno Zoo, the rest don’t look so great:

We didn’t brave the hundreds of stairs to the top of the Mackintosh tower this visit (exhausting but worth it for the best view of Glasgow outside our bathroom) but we saw some newspaper photographs of the year and sat in the mobile cinema (which was pretty dull, sadly) and then spotted a fantastic little exhibition of self-assessment forms called Everything in Moderation. The idea is you take one home and keep track for a week of your eating, drinking, excercising and leisure habits and then tally it all up at the end to see what you learn and then take it back in to display with the others. I’ve got mine stuck up at home to fill in each evening but I doubt I’ll remember to bring it back in. Which is a shame as I enjoyed looking at the ones there. I’m also ashamed at quite how amusing I found the one that someone had filled in as Darth Vader but it was done with such detailed care and seriousness that I couldn’t help it.

Also good (good meaning fantastically tremendous) was Spirited Away which I have been looking forward to for EVER but I’m glad I waited to see it in the cinema with an audience who were totally into it. Sadly the dubbed Disney version but actually really well done unlike the crappy Princess Mononoke one. Anyway, it’s a total Alice in Wonderland tale of Chihiro who wanders into an abandoned amusement park (what were you thinking?!) and inevitably ends up trapped in the spirit world with her parents turned into pigs and has to get a job in a bath house to free them and get back home. Not the most exciting of plotlines but it’s all really a context to bring in the wonderful characters. The spirits range from creepy to ugly to cute to hilarious with my favourites being the sad-masked No Face and the return of the soot sprites from Totoro as coal carrying slave spiders but really there’s not a single character that didn’t have me enthralled, one way or the other. I can’t wait to see it again. GO SEE.


Posted: September 10th, 2003, by Marceline Smith

I’m not sure what I think about this article about ATP on Freaky Trigger. I like the way it’s written, the way the half thoughts instantly remind me of my own ATP experiences and yet seem entirely personal. I think where it goes wrong is in a certain smugness and superiority over the music. There seems to be a whole layer of Belle and Sebastian fans who feel emotionally attached to ATP purely because of the pre-cursor Bowlie and spend a weekend each year trying vainly to recreate it at what is technically and actually a completely different festival, both in terms of organisation, music and audience. Although very few people would say they go to ATP purely for the music, I would hope most people go because they’re interested or intrigued by the line-up and want to hear some new and exciting music. In the FT article, there’s a patronising air that the bands were unimportant, unmelodic and a mere distraction from the real attractions of beach, pub, singalongs and television. If the music is such a minor part of the experience and the audience considered further and further from the twee ideal, maybe they should pack up their ‘We were here first’ indie cred and invade the Kerrang Weekender instead where they can really feel like outsiders. Or just go for a weekend in Skegness.

Audioscope 2003

Posted: September 9th, 2003, by Marceline Smith

Well, AUDIOSCOPE was brilliant, again. People mocked my seemingly insane plan of sitting on a train for a total of fourteen hours to spend a day and a half in Oxford trapped inside a small dark venue but I WAS RIGHT. The best line-up yet, lots of nice people to talk to, the opportunity to blow up lots of Shelter balloons and my usual seat at the merch stall, I couldn’t have been happier.

My favourite bands of the day were undoubtably Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element for setting the level of LOUD and ROCK for everyone else to follow; The Edmund Fitzgerald, following on afterwards and being unexpectedly marvellous and all noisy and abrasive and young and Electrelane who I hadn’t heard before and turned out to be tremendously enjoyable and very cute. But really, it was non-stop fantasticness all day and there wasn’t a single band I would have wanted to miss. Oh, except Six By Seven who I thought were DULL DULL DULL. Not to mention boring, rude and arrogant. But top day all round and big cheers to Simon, Stu, Hanna and Jo for organising it. hurray! The only bad thing that happened was being beaten at GIANT Connect 4 by Max Tundra. But, er, obviously I let him win since he’s a popstar. Ahem.

Mixing It

Posted: September 1st, 2003, by Chris H

Excellent edition of Mixing It last night which you can stream from Radio 3 for the next week or so. It was about the music scenes in Glasgow and Edinburgh and illustrated quite nicely how much more there is going on at this side. Featured interviews with Mount Vernon Arts Lab, The Pastels, Future Pilot AKA and folk you mightn’t have heard of but should do. Good coverage of some of the music I’ve been most interested in here lately, the improv and electro things happening. Tantalising clips of tracks by Frog Pocket, Colditz and the mighty Scatter.

Some of the interviews took place at Tchai Ovna, officially The Nicest Place in Glasgow, who were telling me at the weekend about their upcoming Tea in the Shop festival on the 27th September. Lots of folk playing: Scatter, The Pendulums, and Future Pilot DJing confirmed so far. Tickets are £10 and the money goes to Spirit Aid for to restore a bombed-out and landmined flour mill in Afghanistan (remember Afghanistan? It was like Iraq but the bad guy had a beard instead of a moustache).