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Archive for June, 2006

BIG BLACK reform!!!

Posted: June 30th, 2006, by JGRAM

apologies for linking to another muic website but after reporting the Sleater-Kinney split I feel the need to even things up with some good news



Posted: June 28th, 2006, by JGRAM

They’re doing a few more final U.S. dates and then calling it a day it seems.

End of era.

From the desk of the diskant Overlord – June 20th

Posted: June 20th, 2006, by Marceline Smith

Yes, sorry, I have a brand new Nintendo DS Lite and I haven’t been doing much other than settle into my new Animal Crossing town, capture literally millions of escaped animals in Zoo Keeper (oh, the wasted hours) and do maths and sudoku under the kindly tutorings of Dr Kawashima. Thanks to the wonders of wireless internet I have picked up a message in a bottle on the beach from someone random I will never know and there’s hope yet for a diskant AC online meet-up. Oh the irony. It’ll be like diskant online Scrabble team all over again…

Thus there is little to report in the world of diskant. We do have a few reviewers set to join us so keep an eye out for them making some inroads into the review mountain. The Robot is almost too ashamed to respond to new review requests. I really will have to put the DS aside and dig in, as there’s been some wonderful stuff through lately which I have been enjoying. You might want to take the opportunity provided by this lull in activity by perusing the diskant archives, especially since I’ve gone to the effort of making this page load up a random article for you every time you come here. Have a look to your right and see what you find.

Also of extreme enjoyment has been a book collecting the posters of Jay Ryan, 100 Posters, 134 Squirrels, published by Punk Planet. Not only is it filled with one hundred colour prints full of his trademark fat, slightly idiotic looking animals but you get insights into the thought process, Steve Albini on good form, a whole load of facts about Wooly Mammoths and the greatest band name ever -which I may steal – Squirrels Taking Risks. I got my copy from Amazon for less than ten quid- go, go! I look forward to the Chris Summerlin edition in 2010.

Current listening: Pet Shop Boys, Sonic Youth, West End Girls, the Pipettes, Gay Against You.

diskant interview slackness stats: Interviewees: 2, Me: 2

Rather Ripped Off (aha ha ha etc.)

Posted: June 16th, 2006, by Marceline Smith

So, what do we reckon to the new Sonic Youth album? I’m finding it lacking…..something. It seems to have gone straight to ‘comfortable’ after 2 or 3 listens without either the immediacy that has you obsessed for a week or the difficult, growing to like it period. It’s like I already know it well and dug it out after a year except, of course, it lacks the nostalgia and memories. Maybe that’s what’s bothering me – it has a nostalgic quality but the only memories I have associated with it so far are getting the bus to work the other morning. Thoughts?

Also can we stop with the Special Editions already? Fair enough spending an extra 7 quid to get a whole extra album of brilliant remixes Christmas songs. videos etc. but extra money for two EXCLUSIVE UK ONLY tracks is just taking the piss. Yes, I should have bought the vinyl, I know.

KEIJI HAINO & SITAAR TAH! – Animamima (aRCHIVE Recordings/Important Records)

Posted: June 13th, 2006, by Alex McChesney

Having been seduced by nice packaging, the breathless recommendation of the record-store staff, and the loose purse-strings that payday always brings, however briefly, I took this album home wondering if I’d made a wise purchase. Having seen Haino perform at Glasgow’s Instal festival a couple of years ago, I knew that it would be an interesting record, if not an especially pleasant one to listen to. I was concerned that, having been played once, it would end up on on eBay, or, worse still, egregiously keep around solely for “my record collection is better than your record collection”-type bragging rights.

Man, was I wrong.

Which isn’t to say that this album marks Haino’s embracing of the pop song, but nor is it the straight-up unstructured guitar-noise that I had come to expect, and realize that I didn’t much enjoy listening to particularly often. Instead, it is an unexpectedly beautiful thing which builds slowly from a bare tickling of the ears to a powerful meditative thrum that made me feel quite peculiar. Staring into space for extended periods as it repeatedly found sympathetic frequencies within my skull, I felt oddly refreshed after taking off my headphones, as though I had just undergone the aural equivalent of being driven through a car-wash.

Sitaar Tah!, as the name suggests, are a 20 piece sitar orchestra, who, over the course of Animamima’s two tracks (One per disc. Both recorded live.) make wonderful drones which rise and fall like tides, while Haino is handed the keys to the school music department’s store cupboard and left to his own devices, adding, among other things, occasional flute, vocals, and electric hurdy-gurdy, precisely when required and never more.

Once in a while, a record comes along that reminds you why you are a music nerd in the first place. Animamima is a refreshing glass of ice-water after the dry cream-crackers of endless soundalike “The” bands.

aRCHIVE Recordings
Important Records

From the desk of the diskant Overlord – June 11th

Posted: June 11th, 2006, by Marceline Smith

It really is summer now and diskant is being neglected in quite a horrifying manner for which I can only apologise. But, you know, get off the internet and go and enjoy the sun. We are still plugging away at the overflowing Review Box and will hopefully bring it down a little once I stop obsessively listening to the new Pet Shop Boys album. It has gotten so bad that Last.fm gave up listing any other bands in my weekly chart. It’s not even that it’s the greatest album ever made or anything, but it does have just the perfect mix of optimism, heartbreak, electro-pop and theatrics to make it indispensible. My copy also has some amusing style of anti-copyright where it will play and be ripped happily on my laptop but is extremely reluctant to play in my stereo.

I can’t think of even a tenuous link but Glasgow’s Stereo closed its doors last weekend and will be sadly missed. There will be a new Stereo opening later in the year which I’m sure will be even better but I have a lot of happy memories of Stereo, both on and off stage. The Asking For Trouble record launch where Sunnyvale were awesome and I spent half of my band’s set hidden behind an enormous amp. The Errors/Uter gig where people threw paper aeroplanes at us with incomprehensible messages scrawled on them. All the great, great bands I saw there from my favourite vantage point between the sound desk and, er, the boys toilets. It’s one of my favourite things about Glasgow that we have places like Stereo, Mono and Sleazys where you can almost guarantee you’ll bump into someone you know, and random band members, whenever you go there. It’s one of the millions of reasons I am still in love with Glasgow, six years after I moved here.

Actually, I probably could have made a tenuous link involving Glasgow’s electrostupidnoise duo Gay Against You who are our newest Talentspotter subjects. As hoped, they have provided entertaining and illuminating answers to all questions and you should go read it now, and love them.

Current listening: Pet Shop Boys, duh. Sonic Youth, Girls Aloud, Findo Gask, Errors. But mostly Pet Shop Boys.

diskant interview slackness stats: Interviewees: 2, Me: 1

FIREWORKS NIGHT – When We Fell Through The Ice/Echo’s Swing (Organ Grinder)

Posted: June 10th, 2006, by Alex McChesney

Anyone watching the new series of Doctor Who, then? If so, then maybe you’ve been tempted on more than one occasion to just mute the TV and turn on the subtitles, so you can make out what’s going on without being deafened by Murray Gold’s incidental music. I know I have. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the Cybermen are about to take over the planet, or someone’s making a cup of tea, every scene is smothered by thick dollops of synth-strings that believe themselves to be accompanying the final action scenes of a big Hollywood blockbuster rather than a knockabout family adventure series shown at tea-time on the BBC.

I quite like Gold’s arrangement of the theme tune, but when music is used to tell a story then it is very much like an extra actor. When approached with subtlety and sensitivity, a well-judged piece of incidental music can bring out the best in a scene. Doctor Who, unfortunately, is lumbered with the musical equivelant of BRIAN BLESSED, SHOUTING all the time and CHEWING THE SCENERY.

Not that I’m suggesting that Fireworks Night should be soundtracking shots of Daleks exterminating folk, but my (admittedly strained) point is that with this single they prove themselves most capable of telling a story through the mutual interaction of words and music, knowing when to back one off and let the other have center stage, and that the banjo is a much-underrated and powerful tool for good.

A little too polite for some tastes, this might be music for wannabe doomed poets who imagine their lives to be far more tragic and romantic than they really are. But then, I think that’s why I like it.

Fireworks Night

JENIFEREVER – Choose A Bright Morning (Drowned in Sound)

Posted: June 8th, 2006, by Andrew Bryers

It is a curious thing that after three decades during which much of popular music has aspired to a posture of perfect cynicism, be it sneering (70s), aloof (80s), or bored (90s), that now in the mid-noughties (someone thyink of a better name for the decade, please!) a new breed of bands are making music that doesn’t so much want to spit in your face as put its arm around you and tell you at length how amaaazing the universe is. Maybe the ecstacy revolution has finally seeped into the collective consciousness. Maybe we’re just bored of being bored. Maybe (and this is my theory), youth culture and pop music, which are now getting towards sixty years old have got over the midlife crisis of the 80s and 90s and are now experiencing a second childhood through early onset dementia.

Whatever the reason, the latest band to attempt the Sigur Ros/Explosions in the Sky formula of taking the three seconds of orgasm and stretching them out to fill an album are five angular and interesting looking Swedes called Jeniferever. In common with the aforementioned Icelandic/Texan purveyors of wonderment, Jeniferever fashion long drawn-out bliss-fests out of echos, chimes, sparkly bits and Mogwai’s early classic Helicon 1 (given that the ‘gwai have been having far more fun indulging their darkside since then, this seems fair enough). In contrast, they ditch the no-vocals/
funny-falsetto-choirboy-vocals-in-made-up-language approach in favour of Kristofer Jonsen’s hushed breathy tones and even the occassional traditional song structure. The results are fucking great, songs that are light and airy but somehow rumblingly powerful, calling to mind many adjectives you can’t use in a music review without sounding like a twat: magical, bewitching, fluffy…

It might not hit you outright with the obviousness of your local emo band, but if you have the time, the inclination, and don’t mind being thought a bit of a pussy by your metaller mates, this record will richly rewards your efforts. Listened to in space, post-coitally on some kind of mid-strength hallucinogenic drugs, it would almost certainly cause you to explode in a shower of loveliness. My NASA application goes in this afternoon.

Fopp’s ‘Award for new music 2006’

Posted: June 6th, 2006, by Simon Minter

I’ve just been made aware that the deadline for Fopp’s ‘Award for new music 2006’ has been extended – it is in fact very soon (9 June). Now, I’m not normally a fan of these kind of schemes as they tend to involve hidden payments from, and bad deals for, bands involved. But this one seems pretty good. It’s free to enter, aimed at bands that are out there gigging and recording without a deal, and the winner gets to record for free, to get a free single release that’s distributed to Fopps around the country, and (maybe most importantly) to hang on to the rights of their stuff that’s released. Could be worth a go, it seems…

More info and form here.