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Archive for November, 2004

ULTRANOIR – But They Can’t All Be Loved

Posted: November 15th, 2004, by Stuart Fowkes

Help me, I am in GOFF HELL.

Ultranoir – it means really, really black, y’know. Their demo comes with a Manifesto of Noirism (no, really), which variously describes the band as “the vacant content of everyday” and “whores of the self-repeating cliches of the commodity known as art”. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but their take on things seems to descend directly from the tenets of futurism and surrealism… nope, hang on, snakebite and black and pewter jewellery with dragons on it. Anyway, the music. Kicks off with sample from The Prisoner – yes, the same sample as Iron Maiden used back in the day, but let’s not hold that against them, eh. What we might hold against them is that their first tune is called ‘Angst Macht Frei’, and sounds like a six-year-old Trent Reznor pissing about with his first Goth-O-Matic Doom Anthem machine. You’d warm to it a bit more if it was presented with a twinkle in the eye, but it’s all Neil Gaiman, role playing games and Crow sleepovers round these parts. Even the CD is black, goddammit.

While there’s a certain ice cold bleakness permeating ‘Schoolboy Deathwish’ that makes me think this could quite easily have formed an alternative soundtrack to some Cure completist’s musings while they waited for Robert Smith to pour out his latest, the biggest problem is that the pomposity of the sentiments accompanying the CD is in no sense matched by the music. For the most part, it’s GOFF-by-numbers dark synth pop, which – naturally – has little in the way of soul, but also nothing individual enough about it to separate it from the pack, or to back up their overwrought posturing. Ultranoir’s parting shot is “making sure each drop of their sweat, blood and piss is going to the eyes of the ones who don’t care”. I’m keeping well out of their way until they CHEER UP.


THE LONG BLONDES – New idols (7", Sheffield Phonographic Corporation SPL005)

Posted: November 13th, 2004, by Simon Minter

The Long Blondes’ split single with the Boyfriends was reviewed earlier in these hallowed, er, web pages, and now here they are with their very own 7″ record, on glorious heavyweight pink vinyl. This record is continuing the affirmation of Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation in my mind as an indie-pop label like there used to be – effortlessly combining DIY values and 60s style. One step away from hand-coloured foldaround 7″ sleeves in plastic bags, I tells ya. Magic!

Fans of super-high production values and flashy musicianship will find little to latch on to here. That’s not a criticism of the record – it’s a criticism of those people. This record is sheer unashamed pop music, which sounds like it was recorded about five minutes after deciding to start a band. As such, it slots right into a long line of bands (maybe roughly going from The Shaggs to X-Ray Spex to The Fat Tulips to The Long Blondes). There’s elements of a Spector girl group in here, of new wave female-fronted bands, of the Shop Assistants… get the picture?



Posted: November 12th, 2004, by Chris Summerlin


A little piece of slight self promotion but an interesting blog anyway hopefully: here in Nottingham we often pontificate over a Sunday luncheon about how great it would be to curate ATP. After 4 years or so of waiting for someone to ask us we decided FUCK THIS and went ahead and booked our own version.

Nottingham recently has gone stale. The venues in the town are now all owned by the one corporation and it makes things weird. It’s good for some things but not for others. It got us down, we stopped doing gigs. But recently we became re-energised and the last few things we’ve done in the town (El Hombre, Christina Carter, Growing, Evens) have been successes for us. We got together and had a meeting with everyone who books shows independantly in the city and decided we wanted a festival.

We actively saught out more than we can chew.

So please take time to visit www.damnyou.co.uk for info about


Allow me a brief over-view. Its staged from Dec 4 -10 and basically sees a series of seriously eclectic bands playing venues you don’t usually go to, or that you might not have been to for a while. Each one has a door price as per normal but a £20 ticket is available for the week to save money.

So, without further delay


Record swap and bakesale in the afternoon followed by





SNEINTON GREENS MILL OLD SCHOOL HALL (off off the Sneinton Dale – map at the website)









+ one more








BAR NONE! (opposite the college, a few doors up from the Old Angel)




plus more



HOOVER (yes, the Dischord band)




J.V.C. F.O.R.C.E. – Strong Island

Posted: November 12th, 2004, by Dave Stockwell

I’ve been trying to find a useful link or audio sample for this group/track for days of scamming off work, but have so far had no luck. Oh well, you’ll just have to bear with me, or dig out some old-skool hip-hop compilations (such as ‘Hip-Hop Don’t Stop’ Vol. One). If anyone knows any good hip-hop archive websites, please let me know.

Anyway, as a contrast to Mr Summerlin’s detailing of songs that plague his life; here’s a song that I wish would plague my life – no one I know has even heard this damn thing, yet it’s a classic slice of mid-eighties hip-hop that encapsulates everything I love about the DIY approach and ramshackle form of this music’s earliest days. I thought I’d lost my copy when my CD with it on got scratched to shit a good five years back, but a recent rediscovery and tentative play yielded surprisingly good results. Moreover, it still sounds FUCKING AWESOME.

‘Strong Island’ is built from an insistent guitar sample that I know I recognise from a record by a sixties/seventies band, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it is. Even if I did know, it couldn’t detract from the power that it instils this song with, roughly coupled as it is to a basic but goddamn heavy drum loop with some serious dub-informed echo. The first time you hear the drums crash in, it seems like they’ve not bothered to check whether the sample, drums and echo actually match up at all, but if you wait… dum… dum… dum… somehow it all fits together. This slightly off-beat, misaligned feel permeates the whole track, giving it a real if-it-even-vaguely-sort-of-fits-let-it-fly feel. Be sure brother, this ain’t no seamless piece of ultra-slick modern corporate ‘hip-hop’, it’s got soul AND it sounds far better than anything the man previously known as Puffy could ever produce.

I could listen to this song for days, and I’m not even sure what J.V.C.F.O.R.C.E. are even talking about half the time. I’m fairly sure it’s to do with representing; the whole thing seems to be an ode to how great they are, and I couldn’t agree more. You see, there’s another piece of genius to this song. Remember Snap’s ‘Rhythm Is A Dancer’, with its infamous line “I’m a serious as cancer”? Stolen wholesale from here. And it actually makes sense in this conext. Honestly. Well, kinda.

So here’s a simple key to amazing hip-hop: (obscure guitar sample)+(dubby echo effects)+(fantastic/hilarious lyrics)=pure genius. Now repeat ad infinitum, adding only a marked ‘trip hop’ influence if you’re on the Anticon roster.

Next week: the fucking misanthropic genius of Schooly D. Or maybe The Geto Boyz.

STARSHIP – Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now

Posted: November 12th, 2004, by Chris Summerlin

I take it all back.
“Summer of 69” by Bryan Adams is a walk in the fucking park compared to this


It would be just about passable were it not for one moment. Allow me to take you through it.
The song is a male/female duet between two of the most annoyingly voiced people to have ever been allowed in a recording studio. This, again, is ignorable with some effort until the moment the female singer launches in, two footed, with this line:


But the pronunciation and style with which she executes this line shatters all known boundaries of aggravation. It’s more like this:

I can’t do this justice. It goes beyond the aural and into a new realm where it touches all senses simultaneously. It is easier for me to compare the effect to less musical events. Example:

  1. Soapy residue entering urine hole of penis.
  2. Running barefoot through doorway and slicing 1mm of bottom of foot off on slightly raised metal carpet edging.
  3. Taking a leather football full pelt in the face on a frosty day.
  4. A pigeon flying beak first into your eyeball.

etc etc.

It is delivered in such a chintzy, Broadway Musical, American, stageschool, nightmare of a manner.

Phil Collins’ Easy Lover came on the radio afterwards and it was a simple and effective joy of a song after this had bummed my ears.

I would like to kill the female singer from this band by dropping all existing copies of Summer Of 69 by Bryan Adams, together with Bryan Adams himself, on to her in a metal crate from a height of 2 miles.

SARANDON – The miniest album (7", Run Out/Banazan RUN001/BAN011)

Posted: November 10th, 2004, by Simon Minter

A quick wee mention for this single, featuring diskant’s very own Joe Morris on bass!

Sarandon rock just like it’s C86, in many ways… there are seven tracks on this fizzy record which whip by at a jerkily furious pace. Everybody’s loving the whole world of jerky/angular/80s-style noisy pop right now, we’re told, so maybe this is Sarandon’s time! Ridiculous music industry trends aside, this is a fun and funny single; anybody with more than a passing interest in the lineage of Josef K – Fire Engines – Stump – Bogshed – Big Flame – Yummy Fur will, I think, find something to make them smile on here.


HOOD – The lost you (2×7", Domino RUG187)

Posted: November 9th, 2004, by Simon Minter

It’s been great following Hood’s musical career from the days of their early, scratchy, super-lo-fi demo recordings in the early 90s (split demo tapes with Boyracer, ah, happy days…) right up to their status nowadays as low-key underground superstars. They’ve proved, amongst many other things, that a band can get to a point where it sells a lot of records and plays concerts all around the world, without the slightest deviation from their intent or musical purpose.

Yet still they get themselves out of playing Audioscope each year. But that’s another story.

Anyway, here’s a new single as a taster for the forthcoming new album, and it tastes good. ‘The lost you’ is fantastic – if I was David ‘Kid’ Jensen, I’d say this is ‘classic Hood’ – building from sketchy sample jitters, piling on the layers of guitar, typical sad-sounding vocals, driving guitar, piano?, feedback and so on right up until the point of takeoff at the end of the tune. Seriously, this would have Number One written all over it if the charts weren’t full of shite.

Four further tracks back up ‘The lost you’ with a diverse selection almost designed to showcase the band’s confidence and range – reverb-heavy fuzzy drawls, skippingly upbeat pop tunes and spooky sequenced mantras. Certainly a band which I’d like to watch playing live. Perhaps at a festival. Called Audioscope.


Stressed Volume 1 (Stressed Records)

Posted: November 9th, 2004, by Stuart Fowkes

I must confess to having been unduly excited by the prospect of this dropping through my letterbox, constituting as it does an overview of bands from in and around Derby. I’m an East Midlands boy myself, but having spent far more time in venues in Nottingham and Leicester and then decamped to Oxford, my experience of Derby’s bands only goes as far as Intentions of an Asteroid, Fixit Kid and a few others at the Victoria.

So it was with some enthusiasm that I started to dig my way through the eighteen tracks on offer here, and it seems like there are enough interesting things going on in the Derby area to hold up to most cities in the UK. Sure, there are a few moments of lumpen metal or generic punk rock that I can happily live without, but there are also plenty of highlights, including:

The Minor Fall – ‘Ivory Sirens’: Echoey guitar work and a pyromaniacal lyrical edge lend this a bit of an epic eighties feel – this’d go very well on a nicely-packaged 4AD 12″.
Lardpony – ‘I’m In Love (With a Noxious Gas)’: A quirky synth-pop departure from the serious guitar noise on offer elsewhere. A song about the insubstantiality of love through the medium of falling in love with various gaseous substances (no, really) with some nice burbling keyboards. Top marks for rhyming ‘pores’ with ‘weeping sores’, too.
Fixit Kid – ‘Horrible B’: Hurrah! Fixit Kid are still ace. Big slabs of guitar that sound not unlike the opening of ‘Il Porno Star’ by Shellac rough you up a bit, before they turn the aggression up to eleven with a convincing display of focused noise.
The Atoms – ‘Don’t Wanna Disco’: Cutesy disco pop a bit like The Bangs if they?d gone to the Blue Note every Friday during their formative years. Tsk, ex-girlfriends, eh?
You Judas – ‘Rats With Wings’: A fantastic, brooding soundtrack to all manner of wholesome activities, like strangling or poisoning. Brings me to mind of Part Chimp covering ‘Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More’, and the towering instrumental coda really means business. This is excellent.

And the clincher? The compilation?s only three quid. Including postage. You can own Derby(shire) for THREE QUID. Off you go.

Stressed Records

THE BOYFRIENDS/THE LONG BLONDES – split 7" (Filthy Little Angels singles club)

Posted: November 8th, 2004, by Stuart Fowkes

Now there’s nothing like wearing yer influences on your sleeve, but for large portions of this split, The Boyfriends are completely in love with the idea of being The Smiths the way you might have been in love with Morrissey before he came over all rubbish. First track ‘No Tomorrow’ is all precise enunciation and loping Hook bassline. The chiming guitars and booming baritone promise great 80s-inspired fun, but the whole thing’s weighed down by some pretty hackneyed lyrics: “Live like there’s no tomorrow/ This very day could be your last” and variations thereon. Second track ‘I Love You’, although it’s the 387th song I’ve heard by that title, pushes things a bit further, opening with a torrid squall of white noise that makes me sit up and listen. But unfortunately I then find myself listening to couplets like “Cupid’s scored a direct hit/I’d do anything for you” – more’s the pity, sung without a trace of the detached humour that might save the lyrics from the banality to which they unfortunately consign what is otherwise a pretty decent tune.

On the flip, we get a couple of tracks from The Long Blondes, who presumably would make a lovely couple with the Boyfriends, and whose take on things is pretty straightforward, female-fronted jangly pop music of the sort that’s been on seven inches for decades and will hopefully remain so for a long time to come. ‘Autonomy Boy’ crosses the line between the punkier edge of Comet Gain and The Would-Be-Goods stripped of much of their tweeness. A promising start, but the (roughly) eponymic ‘Long Blonde’ is loads more fun, adding a rough-hewn surf-pop edge and a welcome change of pace in the spoken-word middle eight. The Ramones, relationships and rock ‘n’ roll – these girls sing about the important things.

The Boyfriends
The Long Blondes


Posted: November 8th, 2004, by Dave Stockwell

I hate to be a self-plugging whore, but Jesus, this took a lot of work. But now it’s finally done! Well, barring some additions and amendments. Please take a look and let me know your thoughts/reports any faults/etc. And can I encourage you to go to this page and view the photos of some band or t’other playing at Brown’s, Coventry, from last month? They’re some of David Moult’s finest camerawork to date (and fully justify having to wait around for 130kb images to load).