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Archive for June, 2005

HOT SNAKES – Nottingham Cabaret

Posted: June 17th, 2005, by Chris Summerlin

(wrote this at work and then forgot I wrote it so it’s a bit late)

HOT SNAKES – Nottingham Cabaret

My friend Joey Chickenskin has, on numerous occasions, expressed hardcore homosexual desires about John Reis, guitarist for San Diego’s Hot Snakes and a life in maximum prison lockdown as cell mates. Tonight, this very straight Henry Rollins lookalike is practically wetting his big girly knickers every time Reis lands another massive mountainous power chord.
There was a time when Hot Snakes were regarded in the shadow of Drive Like Jehu, the band Reis and vocalist Rick Froberg teamed up in previously. Which, in turn, was always in the shadow of Reis’ day job as Speedo in Rocket From The Crypt.
Maybe it’s the fact Hot Snakes have now made more records than Jehu. Or that Rocket seems to be in self-imposed limbo. Or that Reis has assumed the role of genuine bona-fide punk rock legend giving a stamp of quality to everything he does. But Hot Snakes seem to be less of a ‘project’ and more of a band these days. A fucking righteous one too.
Last time they came over some people expressed a preference for Jehu. In light of bands like At The Drive In – who definitely borrowed some of the forceful clang n scrape of Jehu – it’s unsurprising that the more direct approach of Hot Snakes wasn’t seen as much of a progression in certain camps. Fuck em. If you want to listen to Jehu, go listen to them. That’s the early 90s and this is now and what was once a triumphant display of confusing, technical ferocity would now come across as math rock grandstanding thanks to the watering down process administered by the band’s direct, lamer descendants while the Jehu went quiet.
What could possibly be better than marrying thumping guitars with impossible downstroke-per-second figures to the hamburger-throated vocals of Froberg? NUTTIN. That’s what.
So here we are at Cabaret for the biggest show Damn You! has ever attempted (guarantee-wise anyway). Hot Snakes 05 is a different beast to the one that made the early records – the keyboard bass of the first record remains (more of that later) but it’s doubled up with Gar Wood on electric bass. And with original drummer Jason Koulkarnis committed to Burning Brides and Scout Niblett, Mario (Clikatat Ikatowi, RFTC, Sea Of Tombs etc etc) takes his place.
They are loud, fierce, punk rock mecca.
They barely pause between songs and anyone who thinks getting older blunts a person’s commitment to live performance should watch Reis attack his Les Paul sometime. Let’s get this straight, Chickenskin is so right. I am GAY for John Reis. He is without doubt in the Top 10 guitar players I can think of. The man is a machine. LOUD LOUD LOUD. Thick globs of chunky wholesome KLANG straight into my eager eardrums.
But not as loud as the sub bass that rips my arsehole apart every time it cuts in. I think it’s being done on the desk from a synth but I couldn’t take my eyes of Reis long enough to check.
They plough through several little medleys of tunes from the records, in order as they are on the record. People fall on the stage. The band seem to be loving it. It gets quite warm. Froberg attempts a Nottingham accent.
They encore with Bullet Train To Vegas and Luau by Jehu. In this context the songs rip. BTTV is probably the most Hot Snakesish of the Jehu tunes but the complexity of Luau is morphed and extended and jammed with Reis’ guitar cranked right up and all 4 of them looking like there’s nothing on earth they’d rather be doing.

Sin City

Posted: June 16th, 2005, by Dave Stockwell

Quick Capsule Review: “Sin City”

“The coolest film of the year” it may be, but that doesn’t stop it being a tedious bag of shit. Bring me the head of Robert Rodriguez!

Ulysses Speaks

Posted: June 15th, 2005, by Simon Proffitt

Ulysses Speaks: currently showing issues 2, 3 and 4.

Bad news

Posted: June 15th, 2005, by Marceline Smith

I now have proof that computers are bad for you, work isn’t fun and I’m not invincible, as my doctor this week confirmed I have RSI. So apologies if diskant seems quiet but I’m trying to cut down on my computer usage. The Reviewsblog is being updated regularly though so don’t leave us! I don’t have the really scary kind of RSI so I hope to be better soon.

I’m not sure if this is RSI-related but I seem to be listening to an awful lot of pop music at the moment. I don’t think my aim when buying an iPod was to find myself listening to Girls Aloud while the on-bus TV screen was playing, er, Girls Aloud.

It’s not all bad news though as Nintendo have finally built the theme park I’ve been building in my head for years – PokéPark! I want to go to this so badly I could cry but sadly it’s in Nagoya, Japan. It has Pokémon merry-go-rounds and Pikachu shaped cars! Kill me now.

Okay, back to my non-computer fun. I am learning how to use a drum machine and relearning how to draw. By the end of the summer I expect to have formed a terrible solo project and written a new actual paper-based zine. Wish me luck.

Random Things

Posted: June 15th, 2005, by Marceline Smith

I now have proof that computers are bad for you, work isn’t fun and I’m not invincible, as my doctor this week confirmed I have RSI. So apologies if diskant seems quiet but I’m trying to cut down on my computer usage. The Reviewsblog is being updated regularly though so don’t leave us! I don’t have the really scary kind of RSI so I hope to be better soon.

I’m not sure if this is RSI-related but I seem to be listening to an awful lot of pop music at the moment. I don’t think my aim when buying an iPod was to find myself listening to Girls Aloud while the on-bus TV screen was playing, er, Girls Aloud.

It’s not all bad news though as Nintendo have finally built the theme park I’ve been building in my head for years – PokéPark! I want to go to this so badly I could cry but sadly it’s in Nagoya, Japan. It has Pokémon merry-go-rounds and Pikachu shaped cars! Kill me now.

Okay, back to my non-computer fun. I am learning how to use a drum machine and relearning how to draw. By the end of the summer I expect to have formed a terrible solo project and written a new actual paper-based zine. Wish me luck.

In loving memory of Prince

Posted: June 14th, 2005, by Simon Proffitt

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

1999 was released in February 1983. It’s a pop classic, and sold millions.
Come, pretty much a contractual obligation album, was released in August 1994. It flopped.

AMERICAN ZEN: Level 1 (Shaolin Records)

Posted: June 13th, 2005, by Tom Leins

“Coyote began playing flute after having a dream about living in a renaissance world where sorcery and sex destroyed a kingdom.” So begins the press release for ‘Level 1′ – the debut album by American Zen – “America’s first Buddhist Rock Band”.
Ageing frontman Coyote is a Spanish-guitar-strummin’, flute-tootin’, self-styled folk mystic. With a trailerpark haircut. After leaving school, Coyote hitchhiked across North America with only a harmonica and a Bowie knife. The songs on this album are apparently true-stories of Coyote’s conflicts with Mormons(!). The songs on this album make you wish that all of those nasty hitchhiker horror stories were true. (Queasy Mormon-baiting flute-pop aside, there is also a selection of eleven poems (mainly) about children.)
Over the years, Coyote has played with Mick Fleetwood, Badfinger, Supertramp and Frank Zappa; whilst ex-bandmates have joined bands like The Eagles and Chicago. Is he bitter? Hell, no! Who needs cash, coke and album charts when you’ve got a song called ‘Whose Heaven Is This?’ that “features ukulele by Rory G.”? Eat your heart out, Les McQueen.
I’ll allow Coyote the last word: “I probably could be in a big name band myself, but that’s not my path. I’ve got my own stories to tell. Nothing’s better than sharing your creativity and getting some applause for it.”
‘Keep creating Coyote. We’ll keep clapping.’*

www.americanzen.org

*Not my words…

BULLETPROOF: Bulletproof (Function Records)

Posted: June 13th, 2005, by Tom Leins

This is the eponymous second album from Jersey’s old-skool punk die-hards Bulletproof. It’s rough-around-the-edges and a bit clumsy in places, but, i’ll wager Bulletproof are probably the most exciting thing to happen to Jersey since Bergerac hung up his bomber jacket. They attack the usual worthy punk-rock targets (and spit plenty of venom in Dubya’s direction) but, with their re-heated Clash-isms, Bulletproof don’t really do anything that Rancid didn’t do much better ten years ago. Still, Rancid are punk-rock millionaires and don’t really need your support. Unless they are being bankrolled by fictional millionaire Charlie Hungerford (Terence Alexander), Bulletproof probably DO need your support. They’re not going to set the world on fire, but, in all fairness, who actually wants to set the world on fire?!

www.bulletproofonline.co.uk

THE THERMALS – Fuckin A (Sub Pop, ADVSP645)

Posted: June 13th, 2005, by Crayola

This is the first Sub Pop release I’ve heard for a whole bunch of years.
I thought the label might have moved on a little from the stodgy pub rock of the early 90’s, but oh no.

This is yet another three-piece playing 1st graders rock’n’roll.
We listened to it in the car this afternoon and it was only seeing the track counter move on that gave us any idea that we were listening to different songs. It’s that staid.

Unimaginative bass rumbles, erm, rumble, guitars slash half-heartedly, the drummer keeps a nice and steady 4 beat and the singer has discovered one tune which, when half spoken, can work throughout any Thermals composition.

Sub Pop always promised so much more.

POLYSICS – Polysics Or Die!!!! (Ki/Oon, KSCL686)

Posted: June 13th, 2005, by Crayola

Devo a la Nippon, anyone?
Polysics are self confessed Devo-tees. But their music is not Devo-by-numbers.
Not by a long chalk.
For sure, the influence is there in the construction of the songs but Polysics are so much more than that.
This album compiles songs from their 4 or 5 albums and numerous EPs (mainly released through Sony Japan) – a kinda ‘Best Of’ or ‘Introduction to’ I suppose.
There’s something about the way Japanese bands use Western Pop, bastardise Western Pop, transform Western Pop.
It’s been talked about so many times before that I needn’t bore you with the details. Needless to say this album excited me from beginning to end. There’s the rush of Melt Banana at top speed, the sonic blasts of Merzbow when the sun’s shining, and the bangs, shouts and yelps of pleasure spread across Jap-Pop hooks that make me want to jump up and down.
I’d never heard Polysics before, but I’ve been instantly converted.
The nearest Western Pop band that comes to mind, if you want a marker for this record, is probably Ultrabra.
Topping the whole thing off is a vocoder driven cover of “My Sharona”. It needs to be heard to be believed.
Absolute noisey pop bliss.