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Archive for August, 2005

The music/violence crossover

Posted: August 18th, 2005, by Simon Minter

Just read this, about recently-reviewed Cadillac’s recent gig:

“If ever there was a baptism of fire for any band, it would have to be Cadillac on Wednesday evening. Playing their first ever paid gig in the UK, the Norwegian rockers and crew, all smiles after a storming gig at the Brixton Windmill in London, left the venue armed with their evenings earnings of just £26 only to be held up at gunpoint!

Although they survived the ordeal without lasting injury, they lost all the money they received for doing the show. In an effort to cheer themselves up, they’ve spent the afternoon eating pizza, presumably on their cash cards. Bless.”

Looking forward to my band playing at Brixton Windmill next month…

Plan B All Day Party

Posted: August 17th, 2005, by Marceline Smith

I don’t normally self-publicise (ahem) but the upcoming Plan B alldayer in Glasgow on August 28th is shaping up to be awesome and not because of my involvement. Not only will there be some great bands and DJs but the first part is FREE and you’ll get to see me on the panel of the B Your Own Boss discussion along with Stephen Pastel and people from Plan B and Rock Action. Come along and ask some (easy) questions.

What a difference 14-15 years makes

Posted: August 17th, 2005, by Simon Proffitt

Last time I went back to my parents’ place, they gave me a stack of old Q magazines that they found in one of my bedroom cupboards. They’re all from 1990-91, and they are not mine. I can prove they’re not mine, because there’s a live review of an Erasure gig in one, and over the photo of Andy Bell wearing a white corset, suspenders and black high heels, someone has scribbled GAY BASTARD in blue biro. Anyway, I’ve been flicking through them, and it struck me that there was a lot of terrible music being produced in the early 90s. Obviously there’s a lot of terrible music being produced nowadays too, and there was some good stuff being produced in 1991 (any year that can deliver Loveless can be forgiven anything), and true, Q isn’t the best source of finding out what’s really going on in the music world, so the comparison is a little unfair. But still – there are three page articles on The Farm, for God’s sake. And the Milltown Brothers. And Tinita Tikarum. Joan Armatrading. Bedazzled. Definition Of Sound. Northside.

Meanwhile, it’s only August, but here are some of my contenders so far for Record Of The Year:
The Psychic Paramount – Gamelan Into The Mink Supernatural (I can’t adequately explain how awesome this record is)
Thuja – Pine Cone Temples
Jesu – Jesu
Thuja/My Cat Is An Alien – From The Earth To The Spheres Vol.2
Lau Nau – Kuutarha
Islaja – Palaa Aurinkoon
Fursaxa – Lepidoptera
Autechre – Untilted
Sinistri – Free Pulse
Minamo – Shining
BJ Nilsen & Stilluppsteypa – Vikinga Brennivin
Mukai Chie & Gary Smith – Eight+
Konono No1 – Congotronics
Coachwhips – Peanut Butter & Jelly
Six Organs Of Admittance – School Of The Flower
Dead Meadow – Feathers
Hood – Outside Closer
Guapo – Black Oni
Giuseppe Ielasi – Gesine
Bohren & Der Club Of Gore – Geisterfaust
Bologna Pony – Early Summer (ha ha!)

and that’s just the ones I’ve heard. Times are good for music.

John Loder R.I.P.

Posted: August 16th, 2005, by Dave Stockwell


CADILLAC – Locomotive (Pop Fiction)

Posted: August 15th, 2005, by Fraser Campbell

According to the accompanying press release, Cadillac aspire to the dizzying heights of QOTSA and At The Drive In in terms of “…drive and aggression”.

This single, produced by Black Crowes stalwart Rich Robinson, doesn’t quite scale the summit of their ambitions, despite boasting a truly profane guitar sound they can all reflect upon with some pride.

The problem? “Locomotive” isn’t really a single. It’s a fiery, rocking number to be sure, which starts well but waits far too long to bring in what sounds like a slung-in chorus and the song in general rather pales in terms of a melodic hook when compared to backup track “The Saint”.

Stylistically, the band appear to want to draw parallels between themselves and fellow Scandinavians Glucifer and The Hellacopters, but musically they still seem to be searching for a peg to hang their coat on, blending Monster Magnet, Screaming Trees and latter day Cult in solid but ultimately uninspiring fashion.


ZEA – One Bomb Fits All (Transformed Dreams)

Posted: August 13th, 2005, by Marceline Smith

Remix projects are always a bit odd, especially those that try to bridge the gap between indie and dance. I’m not too familiar with Zea, a Dutch electro pop duo, but this is some line up of remixers, a quadruple A side 12″ of international talent. The 1-Speed Bike remix is massive breakneck jittery glitch techno with one of the nastiest and catchiest basslines I’ve heard in a while. In all honesty this would have been better with less of the indie vocals. Surprising for a sometime member of Godspeed but marvellously so. Similarly surprising are Melt-Banana with an out of character, delicately restrained piece that seems to build on the original rather than remove and replace. On the other side Jason Forrest aka Donna Summer feeds things through some banging techno with hints of sweetness peering through breaks in the madness. Felix Kubin finishes things on a downbeat note with beats and brass before going a bit nutso with weirdy electro and distorted vocals. So, I loved this but it’ll be 1-Speed Bike and Felix Kubin I’m excited to hear more from before some Zea originals. Probably not the intended result.

Transformed Dreams

SONGS OF GREEN PHEASANT – Songs Of Green Pheasant (Fat Cat)

Posted: August 10th, 2005, by Alex McChesney

I played this album without first reading the accompanying press release, not twigging that the whole thing was recorded on a 4-track in a kitchen. Not that it sounds impossibly polished given the available hardware. It’s more that the recording process has wrapped these songs in a warm and dreamy fug that so perfectly compliments their gently ambiguous nature that I had assumed that it was the product of deliberate, and brave, production choices.

And what songs they are. This is an album steeped in folk tradition, but refreshingly dogma-free. Although wistful harmonies and acoustic guitar dominate (performed by one-man-band Duncan Sumpner) , the arrival of a drum loop or a distortion pedal through the mist doesn’t shock and disjoin as it might. Things are kept safely free of nu-folk cliche, contributing to some bravely ambitious arrangements, and finding new scope in a field that lesser acts would find restrictive. Lyrically, this is an album of sweet obscurities and half-caught imagery that refuses to force itself upon you, preferring instead to insinuate rather than demand, and opting not to give into ego and push to the front. Every component feels as though it has been placed with surgical precision and a rare sensitivity for both the needs of the listener and the bigger picture that is the song itself. On a first, casual, listen not much might seem to be going on, but boredom is unlikely. Having said that, I defy anyone to listen to trance-inducing closing track “From Here To Somewhere Else” without adopting something of a glassy stare. This is traditional music filtered through a post-rock lens, expertly smuggling it past the modern listener’s cynicism filter to give it a new lease of life.

Apparently there are plans to go on tour with a full band. Would I enjoy these songs live, face-to-face and unmasked, kitten-soft dreaming replaced by the awful consciousness of a sweaty, noisy pub? I fear that the qualities I admire in this record have a fairly low evaporation point and would soon vanish under spotlights, and are best appreciated under carefully controlled conditions in the home. And what of the second album? There’s no doubt about the pedigree of the songwriting, but I (pessimistically) can’t imagine a big-budget follow-up quite recapturing the same fuzzy warmth. But I’d love to be proven wrong.

By keeping the listener at a slight distance, Songs of Green Pheasant gives the impression of a performance that would take place whether anyone was listening or not, granting it a purity increasingly lacking in a world of arm-waving “look at me” acts wetting themselves in desperation for a fragment of the public’s micro-attention span. This is a record that genuinely deserves your full attention for its entire length. Please give generously.

Fat Cat

I love Soulseek

Posted: August 8th, 2005, by Dave Stockwell

Yesterday I found not only Fugazi’s rejected Steve Albini-recorded session for In On The Killtaker, but also the legendary original Albini mix of Nirvana’s In Utero. This is why file-sharing will never die!

THE SOUND EXPLOSION – The Sound Explosion (Captains Of Industry)

Posted: August 7th, 2005, by Simon Minter

I think that The Sound Explosion have, in their own minds, lined themselves up in the rock lineage which stems from the blues-based stomp of the Bluesbreakers, wading through the excesses of Led Zeppelin and ending up in the murky place inhabited nowadays by bands like the Hellacopters, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Primal Scream. I’d tend not to disagree, either; all of the requisite parts are here – hard-riffing bluesy workouts with liberal doses of wah-wah, topped off with impassioned vocals which speak of a life made up of sex, drugs, rock’n’roll and nothing else. Whilst the lyrics – and vocal delivery – make me think that they’re not quite living the life which they would have us believe, the music is packed full of enough vigour and energy to make this CD album, if nothing else, one to play whilst punching the air on a long night out.

Captains Of Industry
The Sound Explosion

Cut and Splice

Posted: August 6th, 2005, by Marceline Smith

This is the most fun I’ve had (online) in ages. Cut and Splice is an online exhibition of sound art over at the BBC Radio 3 website. It comprises mostly of pieces acting as “a visual music system, which allows users to compose new pieces of music”. In reality this means beautiful Flash/Shockwave screens which you can interact with by drawing shapes, moving stuff or just dragging your mouse around randomly to create your own unique piece of music. I’m particularly taken with rechord‘s Cubop which makes rather soothing electronica out of something I do often enough – draw rectangles with my mouse – and tinhoko‘s rhapsody where pixellated container ships and bizarre octopi enlarge and change while you scatter coloured squares around making music as you go. Don’t bother unless you have a spare half hour and some speakers. I took some photos while I was doing this – see them on my Flickr.