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Archive for March, 2006

CHERUBS – Paper cut moon (Cargo CD)

Posted: March 29th, 2006, by Simon Minter

Maybe it’s just gaps in my musical education, or a listless, lazy and badly-thought-through response on my part, but much indie-mainstream-guitar music released right now seems drenched in Echo & the Bunnymen influences. Cherubs have that band’s spooky, echoed vocals, sweeping guitars and lush melodies in spades, but I’m happy to say that they also have a certain something that sets them apart. It could be that they’re aping the past so accurately that I’m fooling myself into memories of times gone by… but it could as much be that on ‘Paper cut moon,’ this single’s title track, and to a lesser extent on the other tracks here, there are enough great little turns of musical phrase – a major-to-minor key change here, a lovely Marresque guitar corner there – to suggest that Cherubs are at least able to put a good song together. In the current musical climate of identikit, style-over-content ‘indie’ bands, that counts for more than may be a good thing. But it counts for something, at least.

Cargo
Cherubs

I’m back…

Posted: March 29th, 2006, by Marceline Smith

THE ANSWER – Into the gutter (CD)

Posted: March 28th, 2006, by Simon Minter

You don’t give me much to go on here, do you PR people? A single-track CD, with scant information beyond a release made up of carefully-dropped names (“…support slot for Deep Purple”, “Produced… with the legendary George Young… at London’s Olympic Studios (Studio 1, used by Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix”). Okay, okay, the illusion of mysterious-yet-connected heavy rockers has been created. ‘Into the gutter’ starts up with a riff gnarled from Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’ and quickly power-chords and blues-slides its way into deepest yelping Led Zep/Who/The Darkness* territory. Utterly, utterly derivative and in no way contributing to the furthering of music in new and exciting directions; but I suspect that the band are happy enough where they are. Presumably they’d prefer to be supporting Deep Purple thirty years before now, but there you go.

*ack.

The Answer

Chapter #346c in the saga of amazing gig promotions…

Posted: March 22nd, 2006, by Dave Stockwell

Tying in amazing well with our recently-published DIY guide for bands looking for gigs, once again we receive joyous news via the rapturous medium of Myspace.com:

“—————– Original Message —————–
From: ******* Promotions
Date: Mar 20, 2006 10:35 AM

Hey guys, ******* Promtions [sic] are organising an all day BOTB on the 21st of May 2006 at the Old Angel in Nottingham and were wondering if you would be interested in playing at it? The prize will be a record contract with ******* Records!

After huge success with gigs of the same nature in Wakefield and Derby giving us 2 awesome bands on our label (** ** ******** and ******) we have decided to do some more!

All you need to do to secure your place on this awesome gig is to be able to sell 20 tickets for £5 each and then send us the money. Simple. This money then goes to the winning band in the form of a tour, merch, demos etc etc etc.

Hope you are interested if so please give us the address to send the tickets to.
Thanks
******* Promotions”

…All of which would be fine – horses for courses and some people see these things as opportunities, others (well, okay, us) see them as scams, yadda yadda yadda… read our guide for my personal opinion on such things, but feel free to form your own…

BUT.

…the guy had contacted Bologna Pony to ask them to take part in a battle of the bands. Without wishing to disrespect anyone, can you really believe that this guy took the time to actually listen to Bologna Pony before he invited us to play? Do you think he really does want a horrifically loud improvised noise/drone band to actually play in a musical competition (for a contract entirely funded by sales of tickets for the gig)? Jesus Christ, think of the punters who turn out for their mates in the other bands! Scratch that: think of the other bands!

And whilst we’re on the subject; just how is the competition decided anyway? Because, let’s face it, Bologna Pony wins. Sorry guys! Personally, I was thinking we should enter just to see how many people we could upset this time around, but Gareth told me he’s already said no. Another opportunity missed…

LOW SPARKS – Out Here In The Woods EP

Posted: March 21st, 2006, by Tom Leins

‘Out Here In The Woods’ is the refreshingly-odd new EP from London-based Low Sparks. Hipster-baiting opening track ‘She Was Always Cool’ is a cracking song that splices together Beck-style slacker-pop with British Sea Power-esque rural cheeriness before dragging you down the garden-path for some grin-inducing jazz-rock lunacy! Elsewhere their “stark English indie” claims are more-than backed-up with a jittery, literary mix of The Kinks and The Libertines. With so many new London bands convinced that faux-urban-deprivation somehow makes for great pop, Low Sparks are more than happy to trade-in over-familiar tales of council estates and smog for treehouses, fresh air and interesting tunes! A quirky, low-key delight.

www.lowsparks.com

CADILLAC – Magnetic City (Kong Tiki Records CD)

Posted: March 20th, 2006, by Simon Minter

The whole of this album is shot through with some fantastic fuzz bass, holding together a ramshackle selection of tunes with a sturdy, mean-sounding growl. The effect as a whole is akin to Ozzy Osbourne circa 1971 fronting a Queens of the Stone Age covers band made up of ardent Iron Maiden fans. For every dense, hard-riffing twist of a tune there’s a counterpoint of heavy metal mayhem – double kick-drum and portentous vocals aplenty – which delights and confuses in equal measure. As much a part of a just-created-for-the-sake-of-this-review new wave of hard rock spearheaded by the aforementioned QOTSA, Hellacopters and The Mars Volta, as they are a melodic NWOBHM Hard Rock tribute act, Cadillac are doubtless black-clad denizens of the night who occasionally kick back with their MC5 collection and consider their emotions. They rock, this much is true. Whether they rock with the new or the old school remains to be seen.

Kong Tiki Records
Cadillac

I’M GOING TO JAPAN! (part 74)

Posted: March 19th, 2006, by Marceline Smith

I really am now, tomorrow! I’m sure the rest of the diskant team will keep you entertained in my absence but for the next couple of weeks expect no major updates to the site, mail to go unanswered and many many review CDs to pile up on the kitchen table. I will be staying at this hotel in Tokyo! I see it has an internet room so I will endeavour to post some frenzied babblings mid-holiday. Woo!

Envy & Other Sins – Prodigal Son (Loog Records)

Posted: March 18th, 2006, by Alasdair R

This wee single was has suffered the classic diskant delay of indescision. It languished for a while whilst the robots that rule us wondered who to give it to for reviewing. I left it alone for a while too, mainly because I’m just lazy like that.

So, sorry for the delay guys but this track is a grower and has taken time to reveal itself. (If more than just two versions of the same track were included perhaps I may have reviewed sooner?) “Prodigal Son” is a fine mixture of sparky guitars, poised vocals and measured drumming. While not great, it only misses the mark by sounding too perfect. There isn’t a point where the whole song could come crashing down around itself and propel the listener to jump, cry, dance or gin. In other words it doesn’t quite have enough grit or soul to really take hold.

Envy & Other Sins look and sound like a band that really knows its stuff and I’m sure they will be capable of much more very soon. “Prodigal Son” is good fun and well worth a listen at least.

Envy & Other Sins
Envy & Other Sins on myspace
Loog Records

Brewer Phillips

Posted: March 16th, 2006, by Chris Summerlin

I thought rather than write a series of huge columns about recommended music, I’d just write a few pieces about unsung individuals – or more accurately, individuals who’s history leads to loads of unexpected listening pleasure if investigated. It’s nice when you get into something completely out of the blue and find there are another 20 albums like it and you have a new ‘well’ to dip into. So here goes with the first:

Brewer Phillips

Brewer played in the Houserockers, the now legendary band of Hound Dog Taylor. ‘Played’ is an understatement, Brewer propelled the Houserockers who provided the blueprint for the bassless band that is pretty much the garage rock norm these days. With Taylor knocking out cheeky lead slide on some of the most fucked up instruments you could imagine (check the photos that exist for this man’s guitar collection, seems like he wasn’t interested unless it has 16 pickups and a trem made out of a spanner), it was Brewers job to play everything else on his guitar. He apparently learned his craft from Memphis Minnie.

“I left Greenwood and moved to Memphis, and there I ran across the most beautiful woman, an angel, Memphis Minnie,” Phillips said in an interview. “She and Son (House) were in Memphis and I got to play with them. Then I met a guy named James Walker who made a little 78 (rpm record) with me and Roosevelt Sykes. That woulda been back in ’55 or ’56.”

I assume he played with his fingers to account for the simultaneous bass and melody runs you hear that’d put Hendrix to shame, all the pictures I’ve seen have him wearing fingerpicks anyway. His tone was squidgy as glue and he had a knack for playing the irresistible-but-not-cheesy that is unmatched. I get to DJ very infrequently and I can say without hesitation that it’s always a Houserockers track that gets someone to come up and ask “what is this?”, or better still, people properly dancing – sucked in by Brewers low-end groove.

The story of how the Houserockers formed is typical of the tales associated with these characters. Taylor was a larger than life eccentric. Bruce Iglaur saw him play with a Brewer-less pickup band:

“He would start songs for 15-20 seconds, stop and try to start another thing. Then he’d tell these incomprehensible jokes, crack up in the middle of the joke and bury his face in his hands. He’d light a Pell Mell, tell another weird joke, put the Pell Mell on the mike stand, start into another song that would fall apart instantly. But he was so funny looking- a tall, gawky guy, very thin, huge toothy grin. Everybody naturally loved him.”

Brewer went by Taylors house one day in 1959 to kick off at Taylor, who he suspected had stolen his guitar from a gig. He confirmed his suspicions but rather than bust Taylor in two he ended up playing guitar for him for 20 years. Go figure. He said of the time:

“We fought it for 10, 12, 15 hours a night for next to nothing. We’d play all night for $50. We were black-man rich.”

Igalur founded Chicago blues label Alligator purely to release the Houserockers’ material. The Houserockers were also pretty bad-ass characters as well, which always helps in the mythology-stakes. Taylor’s approach to leading a band was somewhat visionary for the time as Igalur recounts:

“Whatever they (the Houserockers) had a show, they didn’t rehearse. That was sort of a rule. They followed that rule very closely. They also followed the rule that you REALLY shouldn’t perform unless you had a reasonable amount of alcohol. He set an example for that. In that regard, he was sort of an exemplary bandleader.”

Tales of Taylor pulling a lady at a show, taking the car and leaving Brewer and drummer Ted Harvey hitching a ride home are hilarious. Or Taylor slapping a sound-asleep Harvey and imploring him to “wake up and argue!”

Get this (again from Iglaur):

“They also liked to tease each other about having sex with each other’s wives and girlfriends. I remember when Brewer said about one of Hound Dog’s girlfriends ‘yeah, I knew her when she was a whore on 43rd Street.’ In fact, it was a remark like that, directed at Hound Dog about his wife that led him to shoot Brewer in 1975, luckily not fatally”

Brewer won an award for a record he cut long after after Taylors death (of cancer in 1975). He had this to say about his album being declared Blues Album Of The Year:

“I don’t know why. It sounds like shit”.

He died of natural causes in August 1999, aged 69 or maybe 72, or 73. He wasn’t sure.

Go see

http://www.keno.org/hound_dog_taylor/hdhomepage.htm

http://www.furious.com/perfect/hounddogtaylor.html

http://www.bluespeak.com/feature/96/12/961259.html

econoline and me, George Square

Posted: March 16th, 2006, by Marceline Smith

econoline vow never to tour with Uter again as they ponder the further half hour trudge home at 3am in The Great Glasgow Blizzard of 2006.