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Archive for November, 2006

THE FORE – Demo (CD)

Posted: November 19th, 2006, by Simon Minter

This is fantastic – The Fore sound like they haven’t listened to any records except for a scant collection of pre-65 Beatles and Rolling Stones 45s. They’re so carefully studied in the sound and style of the Brit Invasion that it’s hard to believe that this isn’t some long lost recording discovered bricked in to the back wall of the Cavern. Each of the three songs on this demo, none of which come in at longer than two and a half minutes, seems to display a different aspect of The Fore’s obsessive reverence of a particular sound. ‘In So Deep’ is cheeky, jangly pop with melodies picked out over snappy arpeggios; ‘Love For Sale’ is a slightly slower, more reflective-sounding song with a Beatles-all-over bright guitar line driving it along; and ‘We Were Meant To Be’ goes in a more Stonesy direction, with stabs of guitar and jittery rhythms holding together some snarling, garagey vocals.

They may be forty years too late to make the most of this music, but that’s besides the point. This is incredibly authentic-sounding in its song structures, vocal and musical styles, and recording quality, and The Fore must know they’re destined for no more than tiny hipster’s clubs and underground beat venues. If they can stay away from the dreaded tribute act/wedding band situation of becoming more of a jaded parody than an exciteable, real group – and on the basis of these three songs they’ll have no problems doing that – they can’t cease to charm.

The Fore

TD LIND – Come In From The Cold (CD single, Tall Tale Records)

Posted: November 19th, 2006, by Simon Minter

TD Lind is a English bluesman who honed his chops with travels through Paris, Kentucky, Memphis and New Orleans. Now, that might sound like the stuff of nightmares to some – a pale-faced Englishman soaking up the histories of those who have led harder lives than he – so it’s good that ‘Come In From The Cold’ is a nicely subtle, upbeat slice of fuzzy guitar blues. Alongside the odd scrape of slide on guitar strings, the underlying, repetitive riff that forms the core of the song is overlaid with some lovely, complex fingerpicking and almost hidden drums and keyboards. Lind’s vocals are kept nice and low in the mix, and work all the better for it, as they don’t speak of years of torment and pain, but sound more like a good voice singing over a great backing. The song slowly builds to a quietly chugging density, and succeeds through seeming devoid of any connection with modern music.

Two further songs, ‘Let’s Get Lost’ and ‘I Don’t Miss You’, bring the vocals more to the fore, and lose the lead track’s smoky sense of impromptu musical thoughts accidentally captured onto tape. Straying too close at times to the unpleasantly mainstream, warbling, bland style of singers like James Morrison and – ack – James Blunt, these songs retain at least a modicum of emotional depth and musical simplicity that hasn’t been completely over-produced and polished. I get the impression that TD Lind could be pushed into the mainstream with the help of a hitmaking producer and an integrity-free manager; but that he’s not going to let that happen.

TD Lind

Music for your eyes

Posted: November 19th, 2006, by Marceline Smith

What with the rise of YouTube and “the download generation”, everyone is now rushing to offer as much multimedia content as our brains can handle. Two of Scotland’s festivals have put this idea to good use, making available all kinds of video, audio and photography on their websites.

Instal has been sadly under-covered on diskant this year (I didn’t make it along in the end) but if you wished you were there, you practically can be thanks to Instal Live, a new section of the website where attendees are encouraged to upload their photos, videos and comments on the sets. As well as this, there are free MP3 downloads of all the sets from this year including Keiji Haino & Tony Conrad, Sachiko, Tetsuya Umeda, Blood Stereo & Ludo Mich and literally loads more. There’s more content promised soon including stuff from Resonance FM so it will quite likely take you until Instal 07 to work your way through this lot.

Triptych are a little less giving as most of the music is in streamable form only but it’s still a good introduction to the breadth of artists that make up the Triptych line-up. There are also full live sets to listen to in the Triptych Player from the likes of Kieran Hebden & Steve Reid, Jamie Lidell, Candi Staton and Boom Bip. Newly added are some of the short films about the festival by aspiring film-makers which we got a sneak preview of at the GFT a few weeks back. There’s a fairly basic overview of the festival by Roseanne Davidson and a clever, glitchy A-Z by Jonno but everyone’s highlight was My New Job by Jorn Utkilen of Schneider TM, a witty and hilariously deadpan film of his rise to Triptych fame as a pop star complete with fish slice guitar and backing group of cuddly toys. Well worth a watch.

THOSE AT WORK BEWARE – the Triptych site will launch with sound on.

FRIDAY BRIDGE/KELLY SLUSHER – Split 7" (Surreal Ceremonies)

Posted: November 16th, 2006, by Maxwell Williams

Here’s a pop record put out by a brand new California-based label, Surreal Ceremonies. They’ve gathered two really nice bands to put out a 7″ with.

Friday Bridge are a nice little beat-driven Swedish band whose lead singer sounds a little like Kahimi Karie and a little bit like Annie. The band is just a shade more lo-fi and looser, which is to their credit, because no one wants to hear an indie band try for well-produced new wave. Their contribution “The End of the Affair,” is shimmery, yet dark and utilizes a very trance-y synth arpeggio throughout the song, which I’ve heard used to similar affect by the old Creation band Pacific. The more I listen to this song, the more I like it, in all it’s Cardigans echo-grove bliss.

I’m a little more familiar with Kelly Slusher, ever since she worked with Rocketship’s Dustin Reske on a quiet little record a few years ago. Her addition, “Be There,” is the first I’ve heard from her since, except for her work on the Kitteridge Records Homemade Hits compilation with the band Boothby, which I quite enjoyed. Slusher’s vocals make your ears swoon and pine and when she sings, “Let’s go crazy for just one night” so delicately, you can’t help but think about a time when you’ve thought that thought. Her guitars catch up with her anxiousness on the chorus and the fuzz blends into the pretty river of keyboard melody, creating that perfect blend of nostalgia and déjà vu.

-Maxwell Williams

Surreal Ceremonies

ANTIFAMILY – Antifamily (CD, Difficult Fun)

Posted: November 14th, 2006, by Pascal Ansell

It’s about the time when you read the latest CD sleeve-notes from the revolving door of musicians known as Antifamily that you want to fling it out of the window, hopefully onto a passing fan. This is because Antifamily pretentiously describe themselves as “the beat-group as an elementary kinship structure”, the press-release hailing them as ‘avant-punk’. Argh! But, you know, what with books, covers and judging nowadays it’s almost impossible to get away with writing a review just by glancing at the sleeve-notes as per usual, so having picked up the old quill I gave it a rather good spin…

Not too bad at all! The busy and rather interesting pop ‘Law of the Plainsmen’ fashionably bows down to Devo, smudging eyeliner, while ‘The Shaft’ shakes hands with Krautrock while acknowledging the Post-Punk explosion that followed. There’s a hell of a lot going on, I hear nice blips and solid bass-lines in each song; previous pain alleviated, massaged even. Each song has bunches of simple nuances played with sundry instruments: synths and steel drums on ‘Work Cheap’, plus cello and weird percussion on ”The Final’. Singers swap, languages change but are still sung in the same nonchalant tone, the pouting “jah?” kind of way, yet it would all seem hair-tearingly pompous if it was delivered with such fantastic acerbity. “Jah” indeed.

Like a toddler hours past bedtime, the album drags on with agitated and tedious energy, Antifamily releasing slithers of shiny silver pop poo on their Kraftwerk bed-sheets while crying to the nanny state. However, this child insolently defies authority with a pre-pubescent mysteriousness of Nico and an upbeat nature akin to Debbie Harry, leaving the table early to read ‘Nouveau-Poet Monthly’ in its rebellious little beret. I hope to God I won’t have a child so irritatingly talented as this.

http://www.antifamily.org/

BREED 77 – In My Blood (En Mi Sangre) (CD, Albert Productions)

Posted: November 13th, 2006, by Simon Minter

The worlds of heavy metal, Hard Rock, squealing guitar solos and testosterone-fuelled vocal histrionics are kind of a mystery to me. In my varied forays into these worlds – through the NWOBHM Satanic seriousness of Venom, the odd dabble into Norwegian black metal and the doom-laden sounds of Sunn o))), the metal-for-indie-kids of Le Force and The Fucking Champs, not to mention hours of sitting in pubs with Iron Maiden, Metallica or System Of A Down rumbling away in the background – I often find it hard not to listen without a certain sense of irony and cynicism.

That’s in part how I first react to this eleven-track album. It seems to tick all of the boxes: chunky, monolithic riffs; amazingly adept guitar solos thrown into any available space of each song; pained-sounding vocals that speak, I’m sure, of the ills of the world. However, despite my instinctive aversion to some of the softer, more ‘sensitive’ aspects of Breed 77’s sound – as on the piano-led ‘Look At Me Now’ (sounding to all intents and purposes like a Boyzone-go-heavy out-take) and the flamenco-tinged ‘So You Know’ – I have to admit to a certain sneaking enjoyment in most of the remaining tracks here. When Breed 77 are doing their uptempo guitar-twiddling aggressive metal thing, it’s strangely satisfying. To my uneducated ears I have to admit it sounds, at times, remarkably cliched and unoriginal, but who knows. The addition of Spanish lyrics and a few Spanish and eastern European musical flourishes make for a few interesting twists. So what I’m saying is, I suppose, that this may well be good music for you heavy metal people out there. For you pasty indie kids like myself, it might also push your buttons.

Breed 77
Albert Productions

MANICURED NOISE – Northern Stories 1978/80 (CD, Caroline True)

Posted: November 13th, 2006, by Crayola

The other night I was sitting in a pub with Rob Lloyd, catching up on news and gossip and discussing a project that we’re getting involved in.
“I got a copy of the Manicured Noise retrospective in the post this morning”, I slurred.
“You know – when I knew those guys back in the late 70’s I thought they were a theoretical band. You know, a bunch of friends who pretended to be in a group cos it sounded cool”, RL replied.
“It wasn’t until I was given a copy of the CD last week that I knew they’d even recorded anything.”

Last night I got round to listening to the album for the first time and it’s a gem.
New label on the block Caroline True have released it in a beautiful 6 panel digipak with lots of lovely photos and words and stuff – in fact it’s almost worth buying for the wrapper alone.

But I’d best talk about the music.

Manicured Noise were a 4 piece from Manchester – they existed between 1978 and 80 and made, I think, 2 EPs and recorded a BBC session.
They played a bunch of gigs at venues like The Factory in it’s Russell Club heyday and had some recordings produced by David Cunningham at This Heat’s studio, Cold Storage.

Now that’s a pretty neat bunch of info right?
Does it make you think “this might be interesting”?
Well it should.

Manicured Noise really liked Talking Heads.
And they really liked Ornette Coleman.
They were also partial to Chic and Northern Soul.

What the 18 songs on this retrospective do – what they certainly did for me – was make me smile.
A huge grinning, stupid-faced smile.
MN were a fantastic band – full of energy, nerve-y as hell, they do bear a remarkable likeness to early Talking Heads but there’s that Manchester violence seeping through.
The sax playing in skronky sex and the tunes stick in your brain.

So why weren’t Manicured Noise huge and famous and revered?
God only knows they should be.

Manicured Noise
Caroline True Records

MAN AUBERGINE – Bastard Brother/Twin Sisters (7", Run Of The Mill Records)

Posted: November 12th, 2006, by Dave Stockwell

This 7″ has been out for a month now, so apologies for the tardiness of the review. I can give you a one-line review though:

ANOTHER WINNER FROM A FANTASTIC LITTLE LABEL. HOORAY!

Run of the Mill don’t release a lot of records, but their series of 7″s (and a CD by Quack Quack!) have been uniformly excellent. They are always satisfyingly weighty, beautifully packaged and, most importantly, the music is *always* interesting and entertaining. And this one is just as good as the others!

Man Aubergine are a brand new band to come out of Londinium and this is their debut release. A predominantly guitar/bass/drums trio that excel in breezy harmonies and quirky lyrical themes, this 7″ contains a song per side and works fantastically well as a showcase for their bubbling promise. Drummer/occasional banjo player Steve Blake apparently has a history in the local American Old Time music scene down there, and this influence is the primary drive behind Man Aubergine’s music. Ably flanked by guitarist Will Saunders and bassist Richard Gledhill, Blake leads the trio down a mazy path of old timey music infused with a wonderfully perverse sense of humour. It’s an endearing and wholly successful combination, and the performances are incredibly assured and relaxed for such a new band, which just makes the music more welcoming. It’s all great stuff.

Both songs on the 7″ are short and sweet, getting to the point and ensuring that some wonderfully breezy melodies and harmonies get firmly embedded in your head before stopping. After flipping over and playing through both sides you’ll find yourself thinking that it’s awfully short. In actual fact, it’s a perfect length: you’ll keep coming back to this 7″, and I, for one, am eagerly anticipating future releases from both Man Aubergine and Run Of The Mill. GO TEAM!

P.S. You can hear both sides of the 7″ and two new songs at Man Aubergine’s Myspace site: www.myspace.com/manaubergine

www.runofthemillrecords.co.uk

www.savagesound.com

Posted: November 11th, 2006, by Chris Summerlin

Take a moment out to read through this site:

www.savagesound.com

I don’t live in Chicago, or in fact the USA at all for that matter. I went to Chicago once, it seemed refreshingly community-based for a big city. I post on a Chicago-based forum from time to time and it was on this forum that I heard about Malachi Ritscher. Malachi Ritscher lived in Chicago and from accounts seemed to have devoted his life to supporting the musical community of the city. He is known best as a live performance archivist and many of his ‘field recordings’ from gigs have made it to official releases on the artists’ albums.

*

The instant quality of the internet is both a blessing and a curse. How many times have you fired off an e-mail to someone in a fit of rage only to regret it a split-second later? With the internet it is possible to offend an enormous amount of people with the click of a mouse. However, with the internet it is also possible to stream photos of a plane hitting the Pentagon to a punk rock music forum and thus make the readers of the Forum (for those few minutes) the most knowledgable people on the planet about current events, right in the moment.

I think everyone has read about people making rash decisions to end their own lives by posting a “Do I or don’t I?” message on Myspace and no one responding. I think the figure is something like one third of all Americans with access to the internet have their own blog. We are used to seeing people’s opinions and feelings immediately thrown out to the world to the point where we can detach the words and pictures from a real person at the end of the internet connection.

Have a read of these:
http://www.savagesound.com/gallery99.htm
http://www.savagesound.com/gallery100.htm
http://cbs2chicago.com/local/local_story_307085813.html

There is something perverse and unsettling about reading things that should be this personal in an environment that is totally opposite to that. It normally makes me recoil at someone’s self-centredness. This has similarities for sure – the person concerned carried out their actions to draw attention to the things they were writing about (to put it in simplistic terms) but in this case what they were writing about and what concerned them needed that attention.

Anyway, have a read of it all, it’s what the internet is there for.

V/A – Six Doors (Housepig)

Posted: November 11th, 2006, by Pascal Ansell

Hark! What’s that noise? Well, it’s a fairly new compilation from Housepig records, and it really is noise. Housepig are an established ambient-electronica/experimental label from Minneapolis, and this compilation is a sparse listen with each song averaging 11 minutes of atmospheric synths, throbbing soundscapes and minimalist bruumpling, for need of a real word.

It starts of gently, Unicorn’s ‘Sleeper Wave’ lulling you into a false sense of security with a beautiful three note synth line strung out to barren echoes, but from then on it’s pretty daunting stuff. Japanese maverick Aube kindly offers us ‘Shackle’ – 5 minutes of cicada noise and scraping metal, then another half of piercing blips which gently slice the eardrums in a strange, almost seductive way. Contrary to what you may be thinking, this is oddly inspiring. The song reaches places in the sonic spectrum of which I have never heard before. It’s not just inspiring. This is fantastic, the song “tickles the ears” in a sense. Noise terrorists Bastard Noise unleash pure rage to terrifying extent on ‘Flesh Near Automation’ – like ‘Come to Daddy’ stripped to the vocals and background noise. Lovely ambient telephone bleeps with radio static and dark soundscapes disperse the remaining 3 songs, and the description may not sound incredibly appealing but it definitely is interesting. Pressing ‘stop’ on the player shocks you, this album becomes part of the background, filling the room with dense waves.

This album forces you to consider the possibilities of music without, err, the music. This then prompts the question: is this actually music? After all, Aube – real name (big breath): Akifumi Nakajima agrees: “I don’t think of myself as a musician or an artist. I’m a designer. I therefore consider my sound works to be designs as well.” They do say that music is ‘organised noise’ and this, in my opinion, is indeed noise but masterly pieced together, with a huge emphasis on space.

Reviewing this was like trying to describe something awful but equally attractive at the same time, and I really think there is something to get out of it. This compilation comes highly recommended to anyone with serious horizon broadening to do, or anybody with an open mind looking for a whole new way of listening to music.

http://www.housepig.com/index.php?audio