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Archive for March, 2005

Easter in London – Part 1

Posted: March 31st, 2005, by Marceline Smith

I was in London over the weekend for the first time in ages intending to go see all the things I never have time to go see. I stayed in an amazing hotel which has reminded me that I need to make loads of money so that I can be one of those crazy old rich people who live in hotels and wander around in my pyjamas carrying a cat.Easter Sunday was my Art Day which started with a lengthy walk past the Tower of London and across Tower Bridge to the Design Museum. I don’t know if they knew I was coming but they appeared to have organised the whole thing with me in mind. A whole floor on the history of maps, road signs, diagrams, typography and safety leaflets was exciting enough but the next floor had exhibitions on Penguin Books and Factory Records, not to mention an N64 with Mario to play on. The only disappointment was the shop which was a bit small and not as full of quirky things of wonder as I had expected. I did get some badges covered in the insides of envelopes though. I’m glad someone else notices these things.

After this I went over to the Tate Modern having heard great things about it. I loved the building but I was a bit disappointed by the art on show. There were very few things I liked that I hadn’t seen before and they seemed only to have inferior works by artists I like. I also found the new Modern Art is Important seriousness of the people there kind of tiresome. I think I liked it better when everyone scoffed at modern art, rather than thinking it’s all very serious and clever. Some of it, at least, is supposed to be fun so stop pondering it.

What did I like? The Rothkos were awesome in real life, sucking everything into themselves. All the pop art was fun to look at close close up to see all the human flaws that never show up in glossy reproductions. There was also a great room of prints by one guy, all with similar motifs of flowing body lines and flower overprints.

I was also impressed with the Bruce Nauman exhibitions – a room of colour treated projections of his studio recorded overnight, like a room of CCTV screens with nothing much happening. You’d get interested in the detail of one projection until a clank or thump made you think you were missing something on another side of the room. I could probably have sat there for hours. He also had a sound thing in the Turbine Hall with a series of speakers randomly muttering and hollering at you as you walked the length. It sounds a bit crap in print but in location with all the concrete and the high roof it was great; a child’s voice fading into sinister rasping fading into robotic repitition and so on. There’s a virtual version online.

To be continued with my trip to the THEATRE as I have not yet caught up on sleep and this is getting a bit long.

Mitch Hedberg / Bass Wolf

Posted: March 31st, 2005, by Ollie

Mitch Hedberg and Bass Wolf in the same day.

Today sucks.

HOOD – Outside Closer (Domino)

Posted: March 30th, 2005, by Simon Minter

This review’s being posted slightly later than originally anticipated, because I’ve had the album stuck on my turntable for a good week now, and not tired of repeated plays. This could either mean that in five years’ time it’s a record I’m thoroughly sick of and never play, or that it’s a rich and rewarding record which grows and intensifies with each listen. I’m pretty sure it’s the latter; ask me in five years’ time.

Comparing this with early Hood records is interesting – gone are the ultra-low-fi scratchy smears of disjointed pop; they’ve mutated into deep, layered and textured sound which, alongside artists like Bark Psychosis, stands alone from the current glut of aggressive noise which is out there. Hood’s very distinctive vocal style fits perfectly with effortlessly processed instruments. The processing is so subtle as to be almost invisible; but listen closely and there are loops of drums and guitars repeating, echoed sound holding them together to give the impression of straightforward plaintive melody. Listen even more closely and the careful arrangement of tracks becomes evident. Hood are pretty much out there on their own with this kind of blend of electronics and acoustics.


Free Big Macs!

Posted: March 30th, 2005, by Simon Minter


Make money by compromising your lyrical integrity – you might get some free Big Macs


Posted: March 28th, 2005, by Chris H

I’m DJ’ing at a benefit gig on Wednesday. I’m sure I’ll be great, so come along to The Vale, just by Queen St. station.

But there’s more than just me trying to inflict my taste on hapless punters: there’s bands and video projections and an Easter egg raffle.

The bands that are playing are Magdalena, Yuffie and Transient Noise. I look forward to hearing what they’re like, they doubtless rock.

We’re asking for a £3/£2 donation to The G42 Collective. The money will be going towards opening a social centre space in the southside of Glasgow. We know what building we want and what we can do with it, we just need enough to get the ball rolling. There’ll be space for film screenings, cafe nights, exhibitions, talks, workshops and allsorts.

CHAIN – Directed by Jem Cohen

Posted: March 28th, 2005, by Chris Summerlin

I think this allowed right? A film review?
I was excited about seeing this. I loved Cohen’s film Lost Book Found and the Fugazi Instrument documentary. This is billed as Cohen’s look at consumerism and the mall culture that dominates America. It’s also a narrative piece with actors rather than a documentary piece. With Cohen’s skill for the visual it sounds great – right?
About 45 minutes into this I was unsure whether or not to scream at the top of my lungs or run full pelt out of the cinema. By 100 minutes I wanted to strip off, paint myself red and run through town.
I challenge anybody to watch this film twice. It seems to last about 3 weeks. As an accurate representation of the monotonous, numbing quality of shopping malls it hits the nail on the head. But as a film, fucking hell. It’s my somewhat simplistic opinion that films should either entertain or enlighten and hopefully a mixture of both. Don’t mistake the word “entertain” for “shallow”. I mean, films should engage the audience and get them on board.
By the end of the opening sequence of Chain I had a good idea of what it was about, the angle it was coming from: consumerism = bad. I get it. Everyone in the cinema gets it. I can’t believe there are many people who would flock to a Jem Cohen movie who also like to check out the bargains on a Bank Holiday Monday or who eat at McDonalds. We’re all lefty liberal arty farty types, we agree with what’s being said so now what? Now nothing.
Considering his past work and the way he deals with subject matter this was like a sixth form film project. Sure, it looked amazing at times and the opening sequence soundtracked by Godspeed was phenomenal but there was a distinct lack of any depth in it at all.
The film centres around 2 characters: a young girl living rough and taking menial jobs, always centred around the mall (played by Mira Billotte of the band White Magic) and an Oriental businesswoman who ploughs a lonely path trying to push her business into America. They are both trapped by the world they’re in and even though they come from opposite ends they meet in the same place and live parallel lives.
Film students always make films about the homeless but because they’re so rich and middle class they make a hash of it. They get their mates to pretend to be homeless, or ill or whatever and it’s laughably one dimensional. The characters are like that in Chain. You’re never given a reason for why Billotte’s character is trapped going from mall to mall. You don’t know why she’s sleeping rough. It’s mentioned in passing that she ran away and she films herself for a tape to send home but the character is given such a shallow foundation you can’t empathise with her. You just don’t know whether you’re supposed to like her, feel sorry for her or even what she thinks. Ditto for the businesswoman. Both character’s monologues are delivered in flat, unemotional tones that serve to instantly remove any human feeling you might have for them.
I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking it sounds good because of this and I missed the point. You might be right but like I said, the point is a loose feeling of anti-consumerism and that is it. It’s a 5 minute short at best. It’s not a 100 minute feature.
You fucking sit through it.

I’m so bored

Posted: March 26th, 2005, by Chris Summerlin

I hate Bank Holidays. All my mates are somewhere exotic (Germany, Sacramento, Lutterworth) and I am stuck at home. I thought about buying a mail order bride for the holiday period but the delivery time is 6-8 weeks. I think this all stems from Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind or whatever the fuck that film was called.
I watched it on Thursday and I have been miserable since. Great film though, just don’t watch it if you’ve ever “loved and lost” as they say in the songs.
I’m going to go and play the drums.

Robert Crumb on Metallica

Posted: March 25th, 2005, by Dave Stockwell

Robert Crumb (‘The People’s Favourite Underground Cartoonist!’) on diskant favourite film Some Kind of Monster:

“Recently, I was watching a documentary film about the heavy metal rock band Metallica, and I thought, “Oh my God, the culture is totally fucked!” The film shows scenes of concerts where thousands of young men stand with their shirts off, raising their fists in the air, screaming and cheering to this shrieking heavy metal music. I felt like I’d just arrived from another planet. “What in God’s name is this about?” I wondered. It seemed to be about everybody thinking they’re a rebel, thinking they’re hip and angry against some square culture that barely even exists anymore.”

Taken from ‘The R. Crumb Handbook’ by R. Crumb and Peter Poplanski, 2005.

A bit of a Damn You! shaped plug here

Posted: March 24th, 2005, by Chris Summerlin

A bit of a Damn You! shaped plug here.
We have some fantastic, weird, unique gigs coming up in April. We’ve done a lot of heavy stuff of late so it might be coincidental but as spring arrives we have some perfect cool beer supping music on the horizon.
Friday April 8 sees a US double header with Thee More Shallows (Monotreme Recs) and Giant Haystacks ably backed up by our own progmeisters Souvaris and Brighton’s Projections who are ex-Cat On Form. Thats at the Bunkers Hill Inn and its £4adv.

Then on Tuesday April 12 we have moved heaven and earth (actually we got them to move a show in Germany) to get Fog to play. How can someone simultaneously play genius hip-hop inspired electronica AND sound like the best Will Oldham records? Come see. Last time he payed it was incredible. Not only that but you get an equally rare live outing from The Telescopes as support. Line opens up with his electrickery tunes. That one’s downstairs at the Cabaret and is £adv too.

Finally on April 20th we are super chuffed to present Chris Brokaw. Chris has played in/with (deep breath) Come, Codeine, The New Year, Consonant, Pullman, Evan Dando and GG Allin (!). He is the finest solo acoustic guitarist about. His show last time at the Social was perfect. Don’t miss this. Support is from me, aka Last Of The Real Hardmen, though for this one I have drums from Mr Gareth Hardwick and cello from Ms Lucinda. Two other bands will be playing, it’s going to be each of those bands’ first gig so I’m waiting on names…
That ones at the Bunkers and it’s £4 adv too.

We also have a special May Bank Holiday show on the Sunday planned for the Sneinton School Hall. It’s and it’s going to be the last-show-of-the-tour party for one of our favourite bands. If you like American Underground punk rock, wah-wah and the sounds of Prince you’re going to shit when we sort this out.

Click the link at the top for directions and tickets.

Trail of Dead, Glasgow QMU

Posted: March 23rd, 2005, by Marceline Smith

Hopefully I will get some of the new diskant stuff online tonight. I’ve been very busy lately for once and it is only going to continue what with it being MY 30TH BIRTHDAY ON FRIDAY, HINT HINT. All cutesy Japanese things, books and birthday greetings happily accepted.

Anyway, Trail of Dead on Sunday which was fun despite the shambles of trying to find a band member for interviewing purposes. Seems TOD don’t even soundcheck themselves any more! Is this the height of lazy rock star madness? We cornered Jason later with our buddies from Beard so look out for that in the next issue (haha, great photo of Jason and Conrad on Beardblog there). The TOD show was way better than the wee Tuts show last year. The album really does take a good few listens for its tuneful prog mentalism to take hold. Onstage fighting always good too. Sad I missed Conrad’s violin playing with The Black though. My highlight of the evening was definitely wee stuart singing an Uter song to me when describing how much they enjoyed listening to it through their huge PA. Yay.

Last night I went to see my workmates Fraser and Tom in their comedy sketch show You Owe Me Glue. I’m not a big fan of live comedy, particularly sketches but this was pretty funny. Certainly proved that running gags, ridiculous costumes and especially cuddly bunnies being evil is always funny.