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Archive for April, 2005

The greatest venue in Glasgow

Posted: April 14th, 2005, by Marceline Smith

We went to see Joanna Newsom last night, partly because I like her album lots, partly because it was free (ahem) but mostly because it was at Glasgow’s Grand Ole Opry which I have been trying to go to for years. As Glasgow’s premier Western themed venue I had heard tales of unbelievable decoration including abundant cacti and cowboys. So you can bet I jumped at the chance to go there without having to endure the weekly line dance night (or whatever they do there normally). It turned out to be much smaller than I expected but that made it even cuter, like a mini-Barras. We were immediately overwhelmed by the padded, neon lit saloon bar and stars and stripes bunting but soon became aware of the enormous wall murals of, yes!, cowboys and cacti! Even greater was the 3D cacti and cowboy boots stuck to the walls. Joanna Newsom was rather overwhelmed by it all. Maybe she thought it had all been decorated in her honour.

Anyway, decor aside, there was bands to see. I missed most of the first guy but White Denim seemed pretty cool although sadly we used them as background music as we were too tired to stand up and there were comfy seats and people I had not seen for ages. Joanna was great though. Coming onstage like a kid in a school play, simultaneously shy and delighted by the attention, she just started singing unaccompanied and it was lovely. Then we got pretty much all of her recent album and a few other songs, some just with the harp and some with a flautist. You can forgive her anything, even the lyrics about wizards and fairies, for her harp playing. Such a playful instrument, it suits her childlike vocals perfectly. And she’s no wispy pixie girl once you see her supergluing her fingers up so she can keep playing. She finishes up with an exuberant Inflammatory Writ on the piano and disappears off the cloud painted stage, grinning like a loon.

Mogwai / Chunklet

Posted: April 13th, 2005, by Dave Stockwell

Here’s a genuinely good thing my flatmate (hello Dave) pointed out to me:
Mogwai have got the boys behind inconsistently published/consistently hilarious magazine Chunklet to answer the usual barrage of moronic questions they receive at the hand of their Q+A section this month. Let’s hear it for unparalleled levels of abusing your own fans! No seriously, it’s great.*

http://www.mogwai.co.uk/qanda.html (click on ‘4’ underneath ‘2005’)

*Ish.

DATA PANIK – Cubis (I Love You) (self-released)

Posted: April 10th, 2005, by Marceline Smith

I expect everyone knows that this is the reincarnation of bis, back together after taking some time out with their other (excellent) bands The Kitchen and Dirty Hospital. If they were hoping to fool anyone with the name change they’re going to be disappointed. I first heard this playing in Monorail and it was immediately obvious who it was as Steven and Amanda have such recognisable voices. Sadly there’s a large proportion of people who have some kind of Kandy Pop Amplifiers that make all bis songs sound like Kandy Pop to them despite the enormous progression bis made over their 4 or 5 albums. But it’s obvious from this single that Data Panik just don’t care about them any more.

Lead track Cubis is so catchy it’s been stuck in my head since that first hearing with its jaunty chorus and mix and match girl boy verses. But on closer listen, it’s the music that impresses and delights me with a gurgling bassline, some brilliantly 80s electro flourishes and what sounds like half the Nintendo music archive crammed into the background.

Sense Not Sense is more typical of latter-era bis and could fit into Return to Central quite happily; all bubbling beats, stopstart guitars and Amanda’s slinky vocals. I can’t wait to see what they do with a whole album. Fantastic to have them back.

Data Panik

Wow. I discovered a new band today

Posted: April 9th, 2005, by Chris Summerlin

They aren’t about “promo” – what they’re about is kicking the shit into the kids, man. They see music as a void. In the capital (thats London) there is a disgusting trend for style over substance. This band buck that trend. They mix Krautrock and Electronica. They are also crazymental and drink and do drugs. They are from Leicester.
They are KASABIAN.

Howdy

Posted: April 8th, 2005, by Chris Summerlin

Howdy. I can’t get Cute FTP to work on this PC so I’m going to plug something on the Weblog instead.
The Telescopes were part of the whole shoegazing scene back in the 80s and were on Creation Records. That kind of sums things up in a neat way but doesn’t really do them justice. One of the reasons I ended up in Nottingham is because I made friends with Emily Kawasaki who lives up here and so I ended up coming to the city more and more. She is a mentalist Telescopes fan.
They split, became Unisex and then reunited as a new beast: no drums, no bass, just some old samplers and plenty of noisy guitars. Anyway, they’re playing Nottingham next Tuesday the 12th April with Fog (Ninja Tune) and because of holiday date confusions, I’m playing guitar for the night so if you’re near here then come along and support my nervous brain!
It’s at Cabaret (The Old Vic) on Fletcher Gate and tickets are at www.damnyou.co.uk

CALAMATEUR – Tiny Pushes vol. 2 (all the wrong buttons) (Autoclave)

Posted: April 6th, 2005, by Simon Minter

Far more restrained and almost traditional compared to Tiny Pushes vol.1, I think I prefer this. It seems to show a more considered approach to songwriting, with a combination of guitar and keyboards delicately mixing with samples and sequencing. The ten songs on here total less than thirty minutes, meaning that none of them outstay their welcome. Whilst vol.1 seemed to be more about almost random snatches of tune and sound fading in and out of a sometimes messy whole, this is more of a Complete Album: the songs, however short, pack a real emotional resonance, and their subtle textures remind me of Low and, at times, recent Hood records.

It’s an album which is available free to download, and I can’t complain about that value. Not that this is this some kind of quickly knocked-out freebie, it’s cleanly and nicely put together, reflecting – it would seem – a genuine altruism in trying to share some high quality music with whoever wants to hear it.

Calamateur
Autoclave

Black Metal

Posted: April 6th, 2005, by Simon Proffitt

The Top 10 Most Ridiculous Black Metal Pics Of All Time

The Top 10 Worst Black Metal Records Of All Time

And to prove that I don’t get all of my stupid links from Popbitch:
The Top 1 Most Sexy Croatian Keyboard Virtuoso

HIS DARK MATERIALS PT 2 (AKA Easter in London – Part 2)

Posted: April 4th, 2005, by Marceline Smith

This was my main reason for being in London this particular weekend as it was the last chance to see this theatre production of Philip Pullman’s ace fantasy trilogy which is something of an Elidor/Tolkien anti Narnia and thus much beloved in my house. I’m not going to try and summarise the plot for you but its epic plotline encompassing a myriad of alternate worlds and the death of God and featuring a cast of humans, witches, “daemons” and ARMOURED BEARS, it was obvious this was something I really had to see live. It’s also unable to tour as it needs the stage at the National Theatre which rotates and has all manner of rising platforms making it both incredibly exciting to watch and easy to show the passage between alternate worlds.I was in the crap seats but this meant being three rows from the front at the same height as the stage which was actually amazing. I may have missed some of the overall picture but seeing the actors 3ft away gave it a whole extra level of realism. The stage was used brilliantly throughout the show with characters able to cut through doors and walk into another world or climb up from underneath. It also meant they could have 3 different sets on different levels and move them up and down to show the action in different places.

Even more impressive than this was the way they brought the non-human characters to life. Some of the major characters in the book are the daemons of humans – basically their spirit in animal form which can interact with other peoples’ daemons and generally act like another character. These were done with puppets made of translucent material and lit with lights. It was astonishing how a puppet being obviously moved and voiced by a visible actor dressed in black could feel as emotionally affecting as the human characters. At other times this was done for laughs with the tiny Gallivespians being marionette style puppets moving in very obvious jerky puppet movements. The armoured bears were also great – despite just being men dressed in shaggy clothes and armour with a puppet style bear head and plastic claw they were quite believable as the bears.

The real life actors were also generally very good although some were overacting a little too much. Lyra even had a perfect annoying accent which made me accept her immediately as the book Lyra (whose annoying accent took a long time to love in the book).

I’d pick out my highlights but it was all just wonderful and even all the major changes to the book (mainly for length reasons) worked really well. I wish I could see it again, especially since the film versions sound like they’re going to cut so much stuff out they’ll hardly be the same story. My only fear now is that any future visits to the theatre will be nowhere near as exciting as this.

NO-FI SOUL REBELLION – Lambs to the Slaughter (Wäntage USA)

Posted: April 2nd, 2005, by Simon Minter

Weird-ass dancing music – a combination of kranging guitars, jerky rhythms and sex-tinged vocaaals. I can’t tell if I like this or not. Something like a cack-handed Beck without the expensive studio trickery, or a garage-bound !!! with some dubious hobbies. Gets the toes a tappin’, which ever way you feel about it.

No-Fi Soul Rebellion
Wäntage USA