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Archive for December, 2006

2006 in Review

Posted: December 31st, 2006, by Chris Summerlin

I’m going to do an A to Z of 06 when I get chance, possibly tomorrow to cure the inevitable hangover but in the meantime…

MUSIC
Bo Diddley
Groundhogs
Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac
Loren (MazzaCane) Connors
Marc Ribot
Monorchid
Skull Kontrol
Wrangler Brutes
Comets On Fire
Erase Errata
Daniel Higgs / Lungfish
Bilge Pump
Sailors
Geriatric Unit
Nels Cline

LIVE
Spiritual Unity at the Festival Hall
Brotzmann/Bennik at ATP
Stooges at ATP
Whiteout w/Nels Cline at ATP
Bonnie Prince Billy/Harem Scarem in Easter Ross
Monorchid at The Note, Chicago
Touch & Go Festival in general (PW Long, Negative Approach, MOAM?, Ted Leo, Enon etc)
Powerhouse Sound at the Hideout, Chicago
Part Chimp every time I saw them this year, especially Latitude Festival and in Glasgow too
Bilge Pump every time I saw them
Comets On Fire in Nottm
Birds Of Delay supporting Magik Markers in Cambridge
Unit Ama and Lafaro in Easky, Ireland
The Gossip, Dinosaur, Boredoms, Big Business at April ATP
Lightning Bolt in Nottingham
Tom Verlaine and Jimmy Rip at Latitude
The Horse Loom in Nottingham
Hey Colossus in Brighton
The Good Anna a whole load of times
Carla Bozulich in Nottm
Erase Errata in Nottm
Chris Corsano at Nottm Raffles
US Maple and High On Fire Supersonic
Earth in Birmingham

FILM
Saw very few new ones. Enjoyed:
Get Carter
Idiocity
The Devil & Daniel Johnston

BOOKS
The Psychic Soviet by Ian Svenonius
The Biggest Secret by David Icke
Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut
How To Live Like A Lord Without Really Trying by Shepherd Mead
Them by Jon Ronson
Love & Death by Halperin & Wallace
The Sweeter Side Of Robert Crumb by Robert Crumb
Billy F Gibbons: Rock n Roll Gearhead by Billy F Gibbons

MAGS
Stop Smiling
Vice
MOJO

WEBSITES
Flickr
I also discovered the joy of Soulseek this year

BEST THING
It’s been a good year, personally, for music stuff
Going to Chicago

WORST THING
It’s been a frustrating year, personally, for music stuff.
The United Kingdom going down the pan

OVERALL
Not bad not bad.

2006 in Review

Posted: December 29th, 2006, by Ollie

Good call.

MUSIC
Raccoo-oo-oon
Meneguar
Woods
Lords
The Goslings
Church of Misery
Electric Wizard
Growing
Mouthus
Prolapse
Om
Excepter
Iron Monkey
Animal Collective
Comets on Fire

LIVE
Sunburned Hand of the Man in Cambridge [March]
Boredoms at Primavera
No-Neck Blues Band at Primavera
Lords and Hey Colossus in Cambridge
Bilge Pump in Cambridge
Lightning Bolt in Nottingham
Dinosaur Jr at Primavera
The Flaming Lips at Primavera
Ligament in London
Comets on Fire in Nottingham

FILM
Watched so many films in the last 2 months that it’s kind of hard to come up with any kind of list of favourites. Here then is a random selection of things that weren’t shit:
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
X-Men 1-3
The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue
Psychomania
The Wizard of Gore
The Gore Gore Girls
Satan’s Slave
Frightmare
Con Air
Vampyres
If… / O Lucky Man / Britannia Hospital

BOOKS
Promethea by Alan Moore
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware
Notes From a Defeatist by Joe Sacco
Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo [again]
Buddy Does Seattle by Peter Bagge
Been a bit rubbish with actual books this year.

MAGS
Found
Dirty Found
Psychotronic
Little White Lies

BEST THING
Barcelona/Primavera

WORST THING
Crippling illness

OVERALL
Had it’s moments, but not a patch on 2005

My Favourite Things of 2006

Posted: December 29th, 2006, by Marceline Smith

You may have noticed that our annual Favourite Albums and Films of 2006 articles are now online. Go enjoy.

While doing the above, people complained that they couldn’t vote for stuff that didn’t come out this year or for gigs so I promised we would do it on the blog. We used to do this on ye olde diskant YahooGroup but that has really and truly died after EIGHT wonderful years of complete and utter timewasting. I’m sure the YahooGroups stormtroopers will miss us.

So, make up your own categories for the stuff you wanted to write about. I’m not doing ineligible albums of the year as I still intend to post my Songs of the Year thing.

MOST LISTENED TO BANDS (according to my iTunes)

Errors
Otterley
Findo Gask
Pet Shop Boys
Mogwai
Joanna Newsom
Burowelt
Girls Aloud
Gay Against You
Dananananaykroyd

It seems I am a walking advertisement for Glasgow.

GIGS

Lightning Bolt/Gay Against You @ Grand Ole Opry, Glasgow
Sonic Youth/Stooges @ ATP Minehead
Findo Gask @ The Arches, Glasgow
Ladytron @ Cross Central, London
Errors @ Stereo, Glasgow
Mogwai @ The Barras, Glasgow
Danananaykroyd/CSS @ Indian Summer, Glasgow

WEBSITES

Flickr – I live my life on Flickr. It’s my MySpace
Popjustice – Still hilarious and almost always right
Design*Sponge – has cost me an absolute fortune in buying cute things from design shops.
No Rock’n’Roll Fun – Makes most of the music press pointless
I Was Just Really Very Hungry – Intelligent and inspiring food writing
Wonderland – Computer gaming be fun!
Remember The Milk – has literally changed my life

FILM/DVD

NANA – Film of the Japanese manga
Everything is Illuminated – Amusing and then unbearably poignant
Bring It On – Cheerleading, cliches ahoy and Kirsten Dunst – what more do you want?
Hustle and Flow – Ridiculous
Whisper of the Heart – Finally on DVD with proper subtitles, my second favourite Ghibli because I am a sap

BOOKS

Harumi’s Japanese Home Cooking – my new bible
The Best of Smash Hits – All the best stuff from the classic 80s period
Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash – will make you horribly aware of every single thing you throw away
Paradise Kiss – My favourite manga for having a depressing undercurrent of realism underneath the fashion and relationships stuff, for being short and for not having a happy ending.
NANA – 2 girls called Nana, one a punk singer and one a cutesy ditz. Taking absolutely forever to get translated and getting darker by the week (if you sneakily watch the animes which are way ahead)
100 Posters, 134 Squirrels – Jay Ryan’s amazing posters. So good I bought a real one.

COMPUTER GAMES

Animal Crossing: Wild World (DS) – I am still playing this daily. I sent everyone in my town a “festive” tree and am currently trying to build perfect snowmen to get furniture (when dung beetles aren’t running off with my snowballs) while helping the Museum owl to get over his morbid fear of insects.

Cooking Mama (DS) – Learn to cook literally seven million Japanese dishes under the watchful and rather scary eyes of Mama. Making sushi and dumplings is hilarious fun – measuring rice and not dropping your steak on the floor less so.

Chibi-Robo (Gamecube) – Tiny robot runs around the house making everyone happy by cleaning and tidying and fixing problems. Why isn’t tidying the house this much fun in real life?

Tamagotchi Corner Shop (DS) – Just ridiculous. I really spent far too much time hanging out with a bunch of bunny-shaped things and puddings with eyes making them cakes, washing their clothes and decorating their teeth. Happy Tamagotchis thanking Stu for decorating their teeth with I HEART HITLER will live with me for a long time.

EVENT OF THE YEAR
ATP – Was good to be back and the new site made it doubly exciting, not to mention all the good bands, the company, the continental cheese, the chalet, the excellent television and that unique Butlins experience.

THINGS YOU DID MOST THIS YEAR
Eat Japanese food
Play with my DS
Put photos on Flickr
Make things
Read millions of blogs via RSS
Stand at bus stops
Wait for/on delayed trains
Order stuff off the internet

PLACES VISITED
Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara)
Oxford (three times!)
London (twice)
Brighton
Newcastle

LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2007
Going back to Japan!
2006 being over

Merry Christmas from diskant

Posted: December 24th, 2006, by Marceline Smith

Things will inevitably be quieter for the next couple of weeks though, with our recent level of activity, I doubt anyone will notice much of a difference. Our annual best albums and films of the year articles are almost done and will hopefully be up sometime next week.

I’d like to take this opportunity to name and shame Findo Gask, Dot To Dot, Dananananaykroyd and Try Harder Records as the lazy/busy people who have been keeping me as the winner of my interview slackness stats. Particularly the first two who have been hoarding their interview questions since FEBRUARY! Hopefully we will see all these interviews sometime in the new year. Apologies go to Errors and 1990s who I have been failing to interview all year, mostly because both bands are doing so awesomely well.

While you wait for all this goodness here are some excellent year-end things by other sites that we love:

The Popjustice A-Z of 2006
No Rock’n’Roll Fun’s exhaustive round-up of the year’s happenings
– Pitchfork’s Top 100 Tracks and Top 50 Albums of 2006

Have a good Christmas and thanks for reading. Don’t forget to have some pie.

From the desk of the diskant Overlord – December 20th

Posted: December 20th, 2006, by Marceline Smith

Where does the time go? It’s practically Christmas and I still have a million things to do. And, as I’m working through the festive period, very little time to relax and do all those things I never have time to do. I’ve been making big efforts to make presents and buy handmade giftss and it’s been so much fun, especially getting such beautiful things in the mail and being able to avoid the mad rush round the shops. There are so many talented people around and I’ve been adding my favourite sites to the Links page.

Since it’s Christmas we will be presenting diskant’s favourite albums and films of 2006 very shortly. I’m just awaiting the last few comments from our voters and then you’ll be able to see what caught our fancy this year. I’m glad to be able to say I’ve listened to a whole three of the top ten albums though I have seen only one of the films. At least I have some new additions for my rental list.

In the meantime, you can read about our exploits at The Nightmare Before Christmas, curated by Thurston Moore. It was the first to be held in Butlins, Minehead but everyone seems to agree the chance was mostly for the better. I’m not rushing to sign up for either of next year’s events (especially after seeing how the current wish list for ATP vs The Fans looks) but it was great to get back into the ATP swing of things.

There’s still time to join the diskant newsletter if you haven’t already. The final issue of the year will go out sometime next week and we’ll have some more exclusive competitions coming up next year.

Finally, thanks for reading diskant this year and have a great Christmas and New Year.

Current listening: Joanna Newsom, Gay Against You.

PETER BJORN AND JOHN – Writer’s Block (V2 Scandinavia/Wichita Recordings)

Posted: December 15th, 2006, by Maxwell Williams

My building has a free wireless network, so last night I peeked and saw that my neighbor’s iTunes had a few Peter Bjorn and John songs from their new album Writer’s Block. She had a bunch of Cat Power and Joanna Newsom and a couple newer things like New Young Pony Club. But Peter Bjorn and John? I hadn’t even heard the whole record yet and I’m an editor at a New York culture magazine, which made this casual listener’s iTunes a testement to the incredible word of mouth success the sophomore record from the Swedish pop trio is enjoying despite limited marketing in the US, thanks largely in part to the rediculously infectious lead single “Young Folks.”

“Young Folks” revolves around a crisp whistle solo, gentle beats and some of the most alchemical boy/girl switch-verses this side of “Don’t You Want Me,” with the Concretes’ Victoria Bergman cooing indifferently about the hipsters, and choosing the unsure Peter over all the other boring people with even more unsure lines like, “I would go along with someone like you.” The romance of the song is new and intriguing, like when you just say fuck it, and you finally dive into that relationship that’s been brewing, but you’ve never been really sure until now.

Lyrically, the simple expression of small joys and slight losses seems to keep this album always clever and surprising. No one will ever confuse Peter Bjorn and John with the Beach Boys in terms of vocal harmonies. In fact, none of the trio’s almost equally used voices are all that great, but they’re sincere and they’re placed flatteringly with the various emotional highs and lows of the music.

It’s those various shifts in the music that makes Writer’s Block so compelling. They jangle for the Byrds, chime rhythemically for the Chills, bounce along for the Lucksmiths, croon for Jens Lekman. Always there’s a hidden dulcimer or Spanish guitar that climbs its way through the songs and the whole thing just sounds joyous and fresh in a way no other record has sounded to me this year. Too bad I caught on so late.

-Maxwell Williams

V2 Scandinavia & Finland
Wichita Recordings

Some Nightmare Before Christmas Thoughts

Posted: December 11th, 2006, by Alex McChesney

The Good

The new site at Butlins in Minehead features clean, well appointed chalets with widescreen-TVs and DVD players. You didn’t see that at Camber Sands.

Meeting fellow Diskanteers who had previously just been names at the bottom of reviews.

Alexander Tucker’s wonderful folky-melodies, which are looped and layered and looped again until building to a wonderful and soothing drone. I’m keen to check out some of his recordings, none of which, sadly, could be found at the merchandise table.

Decent weather for the first couple of days.

Lots of friendly folks who are happy to chat to you even when sober.

David Tibet and Nurse With Wound in hip-hop collaboration shocker!

Getting in to see the Stooges on the second day (despite not having the “correct” wristband). This was the last band of the festival for us, and after three days of chin-stroking, some all-out rawk showmanship was the perfect closer.

The Bad

Lengthy queues to get into the two main venues at any time after about 8pm. You didn’t see that at Camber Sands. The best tactic seemed to be to pick the stage which featured the most acts you were interested in, find a comfortable spot, and stay there. Gone, sadly, are the days when you could flit from stage to stage and potentially catch every band of the festival.

The mad crush to get on the coach to/from the nearest railway station. On the way there we opted to avoid the crowds and get a taxi, only to be scalped £45 for the privilege. On the way back we had a lengthy wait in the rain in order to have a reasonable chance of getting a seat on the first bus, and there was plenty of pushing and shoving in the scramble to get on board.

Jackie-O Motherfucker cancelling.

Third-day noise fatigue.

Our neighbours inviting the whole camp back to their chalet for a party at four in the morning.

The Ugly
Dead Machines’ samey noise and urine-popsicle story.

MJ HIBBETT & THE VALIDATORS – We Validate! (CD, Arists Against Success)

Posted: December 11th, 2006, by Crayola

“Tell Me Something You Do Like” sings Mr. Hibbett in the opening song of this prettily packaged album.
Well, OK Mr. Hibbett, I like your new album.

I’ve been listening to it now for a good two months and you seem to have been stalking me for the last 20 years watching me go to gigs, nearly get beaten up, fall for girls, fall out with girls and act like an arse.

You see, MJ Hibbett is a master of the minutiae of life as an indie schmindie record buying, spectacle wearing clever clogs.

You know that moment you visited London for the first time and got trapped in a tube carriage with a bunch of Gay Activist marchers?
Well, Hibbett was there too and he’s telling the world all about it.
Or the time when you finally realised that, after spending weeks and months telling people, “The Smiths are rubbish”, that deep down you adore them even though they’re hip.
Yup, you guessed it.
He’s way ahead of you again.

This album is witty, fun, clever and intruiging.
Musically it’s a bunch of old fashinoned (in THE BEST sense of the term) indie guitar pop.
Guitar pop like guitar pop used to be.
But then surely that’s part of The Validators schtick – picking up threads of life as it was, things that have happened, and singing them so you KNOW THEY WERE THERE.

As many of you already know, i don’t like music very much.
But this is an album I LOVE.

CAPDOWN – Keeping Up Appearances (CD single, Fierce Panda)

Posted: December 6th, 2006, by Simon Minter

‘Keeping Up Appearances’ steams in with a certain amount of choppy-guitar riff rock power before quickly striking up a ska-punk vibe that makes me think of grown men with carefully-fashioned mohicans, jumping in V-shapes with baggy shorts whilst a thousand teenagers nod along during a four-hour long Tony Hawk PlayStation session. It’s hard to deny the immediacy and upfront energy that seems to be inherent in Capdown’s music, but it’s hard (for this reviewer, at least) to hear it as much beyond simple, cartoonish punk pop music that often edges more in the direction of Busted than Dead Kennedys.

B-side ‘Serious Is Not A Sin’ is confusing with its combination of a dour title and more of the same high-speed, super-efficient and super-polished glee-rock. Despite some attractive pseudometal widdly-diddly soloing, and in spite of some tentative dub-light passages, it seems too simplistic in its effortlessness: I prefer more chaos and more mess in my music, and Capdown here seem unfortunately polished to the point of being bland.

Capdown
Fierce Panda

SUPERKINGS – Secret Chiefs (Feedback Records)

Posted: December 3rd, 2006, by Anna Chapman

Any band with pretensions of making it ‘big’ needs at least one killer track in its musical arsenal. You know the one, the track that jerks you from your sonic dogmatic slumber and makes you believe in the power of song again. It makes you say to yourself, “Now that is a blinding track” while sinking its aural hooks into you.

Well, I heard one of those today. It happened when I played Secret Chiefs, a demo EP from a band called Superkings. The track’s called Hit The Ground Running, an understated epic of a song, brim-full of imagery and allusion, a tale of ennui and yearning in a strange, seemingly perpetual and intense sexual relationship.

And it’s not a one-off either. Secret Chiefs contains two or three first-magnitude gems, and showcases a band that seems remarkably at ease with itself, one that can turn its hand to a number of styles while retaining its core sound. Superkings are a group that appear to know that while they might not always be flavour of the month in the fickle world of the music press, they are nevertheless ready, and expect, to make the break from obscurity.

I, for one, would not be surprised. This band is a definite ‘one-to-watch’ for 2007.

Superkings
Feedback Records