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Archive for September, 2006

Quiztionaire

Posted: September 19th, 2006, by Jon Goodwin

Hello strangers.

First record you bought and do you still own it?
Push by Bros, on casette. Lost to history I’m afraid.

Last record you bought
I had a spree on Saturday and bought Motorhead, Charles Mingus, the Best of Blondie (my favourite Blondie record) and New Nina Nastasia and Uzeda records.

Last song you downloaded
Don’t really do much of that, the 21st century is not for me. I listened to Dananananaykroyd and Field Music on Myspace yesterday, if that counts.

Last song/record you went to enormous lengths to find
Pass. I’m a very lazy man.

Most elaborately packaged record you own
I can’t think of anything particularly elaborately packaged. The Unit Ama CD has a ribbon around it, I have some nice looking Shellac seven inches. Records on Run of the Mill sometimes come with free elastic bands.

Last song you listened to
‘The thought of one’s own death’ by Sweep the Leg Johnny.

Favourite mixtape someone made you that you still listen to
First in a while came from Mr Nick Jones for my birthday and it was very good.

What records are you going to buy next?
new Shellac and Joanna Newsome when they come out, and perhaps Noxagt. John Fahey, Nico, Discharge and Dirty Three are on my ‘old records to buy’ list.

What are your top 10 most listened to songs on iTunes/last.fm/whatever.

What? er, here are 10 songs I like –

Greater than Symbol by Dananananaykroyd
Escort of Soda by Valina
Human Canonball by Butthole Surfers
In Context by Field Music
Dead Song by The Birthday Party
Government Center by Bilge Pump
Ace of Spades by Motorhead
Futures and Pasts by The Fall
Square King by Nels Cline
Charlies Laptop by I Had An Inkling

Very quick

THINGS I LIKE
Fanny’s Ale and Cider House, bike-riding, eggplant, zucchini.

And NOT
Lack of free time, the vegetable ‘fennel’, framing pictures.

Were these last two questions supposed to be music-based? Sorry.

Quiz

Posted: September 18th, 2006, by Ollie

What better way to break my rather lengthy blogging absense than an annoying Myspace style quiz? Would have posted this as a comment to Mar-C’s but it had too many line breaks apparently….

First record you bought and do you still own it?
Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em by MC Hammer, on cassette, and no.

Last record you bought
Moon Pix by Cat Power, ebay bargain.

Last song you downloaded
New Harvey Milk album.

Last song/record you went to enormous lengths to find
Trunk edition of The Wicker Man soundtrack. After what seemed like years of looking I scored a pristine copy on ebay for £20, which was fine by me.

Most elaborately packaged record you own
The Harmony of the Spheres 3xLP box set on Drunken Fish. Real nice.

Last song you listened to
Flight of the Eagle by Om

Favourite mixtape someone made you that you still listen to
No one makes me mixtapes (HINT)

What records are you going to buy next?
Top of the list right now are:
Gareth Hardwick/LOTRH lathe cut
Comets on Fire – Avatar
Om – Conference of the Birds
and a million others.

What are your top 10 most listened to songs on iTunes/last.fm/whatever.
1. Animal Collective – The Purple Bottle
2. Scout Niblett – Miss My Lion
3. Panda Bear – untitled
4. Growing – Freedom Towards Death
4. Growing – untitled
6. Animal Collective – We Tigers
7. Neutral Milk Hotel – Song Against Sex
8. Neutral Milk Hotel – Oh Comely
8. Animal Collective – Grass
8. Black Eyes – Some Boys

In other news I have been ill in one way or another pretty much since 2006 began. Which has been rubbish. I did attend Cambridge’s annual Palimpsest Festival last month, which was as excellent as last year led us to expect. Some very special sounds in particular from Sunburned Hand of the Man, Directing Hand and Alasdair Roberts. And as Mar-C mentioned not so long ago, ATP is only a few short months away. If anyone would care to join me in pushing the carnage envelope please do speak up.

Very quick THINGS I LIKE
The films of Herschell Gordon Lewis
The onset of autumn
Newcastle Brown Ale
Alan Moore’s Promethea

And NOT
Missing Blood Red Shoes at the Portland tonight
The public

Music Q+A

Posted: September 18th, 2006, by Marceline Smith

Random music-related survey. Do your own if you like.

First record you bought and do you still own it?
When Will I Be Famous? by Bros on 7″ and I do still own it, though I haven’t listened to it in a long time.

Last record you bought
The Last of the Real Hardmen/Gareth Hardwick lathe cut 8″. It looks lovely. I haven’t listened to it yet.

Last song you downloaded
A song called Hugs by a band called Kawaii. It sounded too cute to miss. It is very cute Scando-indiepop

Last song/record you went to enormous lengths to find
The theme song to the Paradise Kiss anime series by someone called Tommy february6. It’s a delightfully bizarre Japanese/English hybrid called Lonely in Gorgeous, whatever that means. I ended up on Limewire, for shame.

Most elaborately packaged record you own
Definitely has to be the Aufgehoben album on Fourier Transform, being as it is the only record I am too scared to even attempt to open.

Last song you listened to
Something Kinda Oooh by Girls Aloud which I “acquired” at the weekend. It is fantastic.

Favourite mixtape someone made you that you still listen to
Kompilatione ist Rad by Simon Bond, a friend from my Ride days. It includes an amazing remix of DOSE featuring Mark E Smith that I have never managed to track down plus Doorstop Rhythmic Bloc by Prolapse and He’s on the Phone by Saint Etienne.

What records are you going to buy next?
I’m looking forward to the new Bertine Zetlitz album and I think I’m going to have to give in and buy the CSS album since Alasdair won’t let me borrow it again.

What are your top 10 most listened to songs on iTunes/last.fm/whatever.
1. Rachel Stevens – Crazy Boys
2. Girls Aloud – Biology
3. Hood – The Lost You
4. Errors – Mr Milk
5. Rachel Stevens – I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)
6. Girls Aloud – Models
7. Girls Aloud – Wild Horses
8. Errors – songos ya mongos!
9. Rachel Stevens – Funny How
10. M.I.A. – Galang

Introducing the diskant team #3 – Alex McChesney

Posted: September 15th, 2006, by Marceline Smith

Although we do have writers based around the globe, there’s a small majority of us living in Glasgow. I cannot deny that part of the reason for this is me trying to offload CDs from our overflowing review box on to anyone I happen to meet. Alex McChesney, however, claims quite the opposite, having originally run his own music review website back in the day. “After meeting Marceline and seeing the excellent diskant, my need to come over all self-important about music was re-awakened, and I volunteered for reviewing duties. Duties which I have been somewhat negligent about lately. Er… sorry.”. Alex has mainly stuck to reviews so far but that ranges from getting thoughtful about Songs of Green Pheasant to getting hyper-excitable about Lightning Bolt live. He’s also diskant’s resident movie buff helping collate diskant’s Films of 2005.

When not reviewing CDs, Alex spends his days writing “the world’s most boring computer software” and his evenings as a member of electronic-rock combo Sister Blades, and making occasional unpleasant noise in podcast form. He is also married to the lovely Rebecca who will be joining us on diskant’s review pages shortly.

Unfortunately Alex is less lazy than I anticipated so these answers are now ever so slightly out of date. Hopefully this means we’ll get some words from him about his trip to Iceland soon to go with his marvellous photos. A-Z of Iceland, Alex, come on!

Where do you live and what do you like about it?
I live in Shawlands, on the South Side of Glasgow, which is a scant 15 minute train journey from the city center, has a great number of decent shops, bars and restaurants, including what is (in my opinion) the best Italian restaurant in Glasgow – Bacco Italia. (Now what are the chances of them reading this and offering me a free meal in return for plugging them? Rather slim, I suspect.). The South Side. It’s “the new west end” dontchew know. Still, it could do with a record shop or two – there was one in the arcade that was ok, if a bit heavy on the alt.country, but I went to look in the other day and it was cold and dead.

What have you been listening to/reading/watching/playing recently?

Everyone’s sick of hearing me bang on about the Nintendo DS, but it really is my favourite games console ever. I’ve had it for about two months now, and I’ve already been tempted into buying almost as many games for it as I have my PS2, which I’ve had for around four years. It’s a little white box of fun.

I’ve just bought an album called “Hypnotic Underworld” by Ghost, who are a sort of folk-prog band from Japan who I have heard many many positive things about, and have meant to get around to listening to since their collaboration with Damon and Naomi some years ago. Some records you buy and can form an opinion on by the end of the first song, but this is one I can’t quite decide if I like or not. I’ve thrown it on my iPod for listening on the train, so maybe I’ll get the bottom of it one way or another.

I find myself listening to more music in work than anywhere else nowdays, which is a far from ideal situation. I own some great music that just isn’t appropriate to programming to, so isn’t getting played.

Watching? Not a lot. There’s nothing on TV that interests me at the moment, and I haven’t been to the pictures in quite a while. I do, however, have a pile of DVDs bought cheap from the Blockbuster up the road that need watching. Oh, and we bought “Screaming Masterpiece”, the excellent documentary about Icelandic music. But more of that in a minute….

Tell us about your favourite local bands.
Gay Against You rule the roost as far as I’m concerned. I enjoyed Park Attack the last time I saw them. And we just played with Beaches of the Proud and Captain Haddock, who approach instrumental ambience from opposite directions but are both ace in their own ways, in addition to being jolly nice folks as well.

What are you planning on writing about next for diskant?
I was thinking about doing an article about the original Wicker Man, in time for the release of the shite-looking remake.

What are your favourite articles/interviews on diskant?
Chris Summerlin’s diskant Gets The Blues is a tour-de-force, but the yearly Instal round-up is always a good read too.

What are you looking forward to this year?
I’m going to Iceland in September! About which I am stupidly excited! It’s just for a long weekend, but already I have become a total Iceland bore. Go on – ask me anything!

What have you learned during your time at diskant?
That the diskant Overlord is not to be trifled with.

PERFECT BLUE – Sunshine EP (CD)

Posted: September 12th, 2006, by Simon Minter

With a name like that, I was expecting an MOR indie band with their eyes on the major label stardom prize, for some reason. Turns out, to my immeasurable joy, that Perfect Blue are in fact creators of abstract, blissed-out soundscapes that recall the less beat-y moments of Seefeel, the floating repetition of Pink Floyd’s ‘Live at Pompeii’ set and the subtle, intricately textured layers of Main.

The four tracks here shift in and out to form a blurred whole; multilayered planes of sound building up a many-frequencied core that’s reinforced by occasional, muted beats and vaguely human sounds. At times it threatens to go full-blown into ‘Loveless’-style lysergic overload, especially on ‘In Fear of Fear’ which twists up the tension rating a notch with carefully looped sounds of (perhaps) heavily treated strings or feedback.

Just staying on the right side of lame chill-out blandness, Perfect Blue inject enough darkness into their relatively sedate music – sinister echoed tubular bell sounds here, shifting bass sounds there – to maintain the attention. Like some of the finest music for relaxing to, it relaxes you in a way that’s slightly frightening and intimidating.

Perfect Blue

From the desk of the diskant Overlord – September 9th

Posted: September 9th, 2006, by Marceline Smith

Does the festival season ever end these days? This year mine started back in April with Triptych and will end in December with ATP, taking in Cross Central, Indian Summer, Audioscope, Instal and goodness knows what else in between. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not. It’s certainly a lot more expensive than going to a bunch of smaller gigs but it’s good to discover bands you wouldn’t otherwise have gone to see.

There really is no reason to leave Glasgow at the moment with all the fantastic new bands around at the moment (and an actual summer this year). Expect some interviews here soon with the best (i.e. least lazy) of them soon. RIP to Arab Strap and data Panik though. Everyone seems to be going solo these days. Is that now just Mogwai left from the original Chemikal Underground signings? That really would be the end of an era.

I did pop down to London the other weekend but that was mostly to visit my sister, eat cake and buy armloads of Japanese food at the JapanCentre. There’s still so many things from Japan that I miss so much and only a few of them can be found over here. Someone start importing Qoo and Fanta Grape please, and the tubes of tiny cakes.

In other news, the webzine/fanzine axis has flipped again with Plan B going monthly and now available in all kinds of mainstream newsagents, Is This Music? now on issue number 23 and a new issue of Beard due imminently. This makes me very happy, especially with my RSI. The only music website I seem to bother with these days are Popjustice and No Rock’n’Roll Fun. Is there anything else worthwhile? Let us know! I think a complete overhaul of the diskant links section is long overdue so tell me what sites you love to visit .

Most things are long overdue on diskant but hopefully we will get back up to speed with the coming Autumn. I am steeling myself to make a promise to write one record review a week but for now, I am ill and I’m going to make Japanese curry and watch some anime.

Current listening: The Pipettes, Bertine Zetlitz, CSS, Ladytron, Aztec Camera.
diskant interview slackness stats: Interviewees: 2, Me: 3

Modern Day Festivals – some thoughts

Posted: September 4th, 2006, by Marceline Smith

I don’t normally go to festivals – too much of the camping and the terrible NME bands and the travelling for miles and the overpriced tickets. Up until the still genius concept of ATP my festival goings had consisted of 1 day at T in the Park when it was just outside Glasgow, 1 day at the Leeds festival courtesy of Trail of Dead and 2 days at Gig on the Green in central Glasgow. In the past week and a half I have been to TWO festivals. They were Cross Central in London last Saturday and Indian Summer in Glasgow this Sunday past.

Some good things I will concede about festivals:

FANTASTIC BANDS
This for me is the winner. I do not see the point in going to a festival if you don’t want to see any of the bands, however good the “vibes” are. Standing around watching crap bands while shouting at your friends is one of the most tedious things I do. Thus I was a little put out when Cross Central dropped a whole bunch of bands from the bill including Animal Collective, 1990s and Four Tet (who DJed instead). Indian Summer did the opposite, adding an extra stage that pushed the bill from meh to worth paying money for.

Some fantastic bands I saw:

Shy Child – loud and fun and a nice surprise since I knew nothing about them, and still don’t.
Ladytron – sounded HUGE with the bass almost drowning out their icy charms and playing all the songs I wanted them to, meaning I wasn’t too upset at missing Ellen Allien.
Dananananackroyd – just brilliant; an entertaining controlled mess of hardcore/emo/postrock that sounds wonderfully fresh.
CSS – a proper fun festival band with tunes, cute girls, choreography, polite stagediving and charm (“we love you! buy us drinks!”). I loved them. I didn’t buy them drinks.

CENTRAL LOCATIONS
Maybe this is the winner actually. Festivals that are so central you’re not even allowed to camp. Cross Central took place in some warehouses in Kings Cross which was so exactly like a festival site made out of concrete instead of grass it was slightly disconcerting. I don’t know what they use this place for normally, unless most disused train depots have a fully functioning club/bar tucked away in the far corner, but it really was ideal for this kind of thing with lots of big areas for stages (with real ceilings!) and lots of courtyard space and arches for hanging out in. Their major mistake was having three of the four main stages all situated upstairs with only one entrance/exit and then sticking some DJs just inside that so it was a constant bottleneck and made random checking out of stages not worth the effort. At least it all dried out quickly after the rain though. Indian Summer was a bit less central, held in the lovely Victoria Park in the West End, a good 10 minute walk from the bus stop. Still, being able to get a bus practically door to door was pretty awesome.

RANDOM MEETINGS
The bit that makes me feel less like a friendless loser and more like I know EVERYONE. I love the bumping into people you haven’t seen in forever, seeing a couple of bands with them, losing them one by one as you all find other people, repeat.

Bad things about festivals you cannot deny:

TERRIBLE BANDS
Possibly the only good thing about these bands is for bonding with people you’ve just met about how appalling they are and for giving you a break to go get food etc. without missing anything worth seeing. Luckily for the terrible bands at Cross Central, I have forgotten your names. Unkle Bob, you are less fortunate. Maybe I would have hated you less if you weren’t sandwiched between Dananananackroyd and CSS, or if I hadn’t missed Errors but seen you. But maybe I would. But let’s face it, at least half the audience was there either to get a good spot for CSS or to shelter from the pissing rain. Not terrible but disappointing were Camera Obscura who have either lost their sparkle or are not quite suited to the main stage in the mud and Gang of Four who I could clearly hear had been great back in the day but were now tedious. Drum solos, I ask you.

STUPID SCHEDULING
I can see this turning into WHY ATP IS GREAT. With ATP you get the running order with times days before the festival and you get a booklet with descriptions of the bands encouraging you to see them. Other festivals seem to be happy to force you to buy a laminate to get stage times and line-ups and with zero information on the bands. I managed without one at Indian Summer but Cross Central’s layout was so confusing and unsignposted that it forced you to buy a laminate for the map so you could try and figure out where to find anything. Not knowing the times meant I missed Errors (opening Indian Summer at a ridiculous 2:45pm) and arrived way too early at Cross Central (I’d have rather had a nap and done 10:30pm-5am than an exhausted 8pm-3am). I’ll also mention No Pass Outs here which is the single most moneygrabbing evil capitalist thing about festivals. You have our money already, must you force us to stay all day and eat your crappy overpriced food as well?

SOUND BLEED
Stop trying to cram so much into too small a space. If you can hear Camera Obscura when Dananananackroyd are playing you’re not getting it right. If you can hear what’s happening in the next stage while Ladytron are playing the loudest set ever you’re not getting it right. Call me ungrateful but I’d rather hear one good thing than 4 good things at the same time. Also stop cramming so many people in. What’s the point of DJ sets if there’s no room to dance?

GLASGOW = RAIN = MUD
If you hold a festival in Glasgow in September it will rain. If you call it Indian Summer it will definitely rain. What were they thinking? The first 10m in front of the main stage was a mudbath and everyone talked of the Dance Tent’s floorboards in awe. The only saving point was the fact that the audience appeared to consist of everyone from Glasgow who goes to gigs and thus is well used to rain. More than one person pointed out that we all stood around chatting in the rain while there weren’t even any bands playing outside. It was also freezing. Please move to early August next year, thanks.

So, in conclusion. Festivals are rubbish, except when they’re good. See you at ATP!

Sad news

Posted: September 4th, 2006, by Chris Summerlin

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/5311298.stm

Steve Irwin has been killed by a stingray in Queensland. Anyone who has spent an afternoon in their pants eating cheese on toast will have watched one of his programmes open-mouthed in amazement or laughing their heads off as he leapt onto a crocodile 3 times his size while his daughter Bindi watched on.
I turned into a massive Steve Irwin fan when I was in Australia. I was outraged when the press turned on him for the ‘baby stunt’ (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/3364733.stm) and I almost changed my plane ticket home, risking a prison term by breaking my Visa, in order to see him at local Australia Day celebrations.
His death appears to be the first of it’s kind in Australia. You can bet he was probably french kissing the Stingray. Or at the very least licking it’s face.

Loveblobs

Posted: September 2nd, 2006, by Simon Proffitt

Who here knows Tim Cedar personally? Or even virtually? Can someone please ask him if he has a copy of the Loveblobs Peel Session from 1992? I taped it off the radio when it was first broadcast, but lost the tape in a bizarre automobile fire not too long afterwards. I’ve since been totally unable to trace it – the BBC have routinely ignored my pathetic, pleading correspondences, no-one else I know even heard it. I can’t hold it in any longer. I must hear those songs again. For the past 13 years or so I’ve had to make do with singing the same few seconds of half-remembered blistering scuzz-rock in my head over and over again. It’s a sorry situation. crunch crunch-crunch crunch SAVE MY! crunch crunch-crunch crunch SAVE MY SOUL!*

*probably not the actual lyrics, but those are the ones I rock myself to sleep with every night.