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Archive for January, 2007

DESTRUCTO!

Posted: January 10th, 2007, by Chris Summerlin

I am addicted to You Tube. And specifically one micro-genre of films contained within – people trashing their musical gear at gigs (or, bizarrely, at home or in the yard). Seems like a mainly Americanised genre and most of the films are made by bands that are beyond awful or by surburbanite monosyllabic windowlickers. Lame as it is, I sort of get why you might do it at a gig – but in your back yard?
This has somehow made it appeal to me even more. It is addictive and often hilarious. It is occasionally excruciating.

Here are some of my favourites for you to enjoy – famous or otherwise, all totally pointless:

“I don’t come to the bus station and slap the dicks out of your mouth when you’re working do I?”.
My personal favourite.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4NXlkt_o_Q

I don’t know what the fuck is going on here.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=op_WDUaWZW8

Here’s about 7 minutes of Richie Blackmore acting like a nobber from 1974.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aQ9P4qi8uo

Kiddy toucher takes an age to break his guitar. His roadie loosens the screws for him too y’know. To make it easier. It’s true.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUY5oRd1lBk

And here’s the middle class big nosed art student doing it again. Ouch.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URfzAemzG2s

This dude trashes his guitar to stick it to the hippies man and then his band launch into the most fucking amazing full-on rock you’ve ever heard. It stirs me, emotionally.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLwrW77zTaU

The classic “switch to the shit guitar” trick. Genius. Great band too obviously.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7_9X0AN3Hg

Yngwie Malmsteen having a wank onstage. Check the drumming.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMVbDtNBX0U

Journey? What fascinates me about this one is the way he keeps strictly to his side of the stage, as per the stageplan. He collects the guitar each time and then retreats to his position.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FT_6C9mF-Ow

This is priceless. A fat dude in his garage.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzfzgGBctyw

A digger truck? Isn’t that cheating? And pointless?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jG8-nYHNF9k

Man in bike helmet with strange moustache miming in garage and filming himself. On his own.I have to admit this one pains me a little as it’s a nice guitar. Or was. He looks like Bob Log III too.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zrMb7HsRLI

OK, not strictly a guitar but this surely can’t be for real? It’s like watching myself deal with a mobile phone.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2krt04eO6s0

My housemate Gareth’s favourite and one of mine too. Practise in the school hall style. Note the kiddy’s plastic red n yellow car onstage and the recoil in fear as the guitar goes mid-air.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDkAZFrOF6Q

And, finally, the real way to smash something in two. With your stomach.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQTZEIDVVYc

A sub genre: the world’s need for those little red Grolsch bottle tops to put on their guitar straps…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKRJLz90NJI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l67oTM6FtIE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avSYPyQ2GWU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zx4K4A8r_-M

Some things to read

Posted: January 9th, 2007, by Marceline Smith

Some incredibly ambitious 2006 round-ups for you to enjoy. Makes our annual struggle to put together 10 albums look a bit pathetic.

Edward O counts down his Top 100 Singles of 2006 on Enthusiastic But Mediocre with much europop and, well, pop. His 2005 article was one of my favourite things and I am enjoying this year’s a lot so far.

The Silent Ballet write about The Top 50 Instrumental Releases of 2006 AND The Top 25 Instrumental Tracks of 2006 and still have stuff left over they have to put in an honourable mentions page. Hardcore.

Also, a small bit of self-promotion: Cake Tourism. We are eating cake around the globe, photographing it and posting it here for your delight. If you have eaten any exciting cake recently do tell us.

2006: already seems so far away

Posted: January 7th, 2007, by Dave Stockwell

It had its good points amongst all the crap, didn’t it?

MUSIC
This Heat – their boxset finally came out, and it’s better than anything else you’ve ever heard.
Rob Lee/Wax Stag – http://www.myspace.com/waxstag
The Beloved Music by Paul Flaherty & Chris Corsano
Crescent by John Coltrane
10th Avenue Freakout by Fog. I know I’m late.
Super Golden Original Movement by Golden
Mother of Thousands by MV, EE & the Bummer Road
Racoo-oo-oon
Busdriver
The Dead C
Led Zep
AC/DC
50 LPs for a quid down t’market.
The resurrection of Siltbreeze

LIVE
Trencher & Kraufort @ The Social (Jan)
Part Chimp, Hey Colossus, Lords @ Cabaret (Jan)
Jack Rose & Chris Corsano @ Raffles (Jan)
Earth & Sunn0))) @ The Custard Factory (Feb)
The Evens @ Sneinton Hermitage (Mar)
Thee More Shallows @ The Social (Apr)
Burning Star Core @ The Old Angel (Apr)
Smegma @ The Old Angel (Apr)
Magik Markers @ The Matilda (May)
Subtle @ Coventry Colosseum (Jun)
Charalambides @ Bunkers Hill (Jul)
Alasdair Roberts @ The Maze (Aug)
Steve Reich, Konono #1, Gavin Bryars @ The Barbican (Oct)
Erase Errata @ The Rose of England (Oct)
No Neck Blues Band @ Taylor John’s House (Dec)

FILM
The New World pissed all over every other film released in 2006 from a very great height. Actually, it pissed all over every pretty much American film released since Terence Malick’s last effort (The Thin Red Line in 1997). The only reason I can think that it didn’t get into the diskant poll was because no one saw it – it slipped in and out of UK cinemas with alarming speed, and predictably has made fuck-all money. You can now buy it on DVD for about six quid. I recommend you do so.
Also, the Harvey Milk DVD.

BOOKS
The Road by Cormac McCarthy – not only his best book for 20-odd years, but so much better than any other book I read this year.
How We Are Hungry by Dave Eggers
JPod by Douglas Coupland
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Mysteries of Pittsburgh & Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
Buying loads of second copies of books I already have in charity shops to thrust upon friends and insist they read them.

MAGS
I get more depressed at music journalism with every passing year – I don’t think I’ve bought a magazine in a good 3 years now. I did however finally chance across a copy of Simon Reynolds’ Blissed Out in a secondhand shop, which is always worth a dip.

EVENT OF THE YEAR
Finishing mixing the new Souvaris album after 3 months of sitting in a bedroom in front of a laptop, slowly going insane.

THINGS YOU DID MOST THIS YEAR
Waited at stations for trains that were either chronically delayed or cancelled. I’m biting the bullet and buying a car in 2007.
Complained how tired I was.

PLACES VISITED
Scotland’s southwestern coastline
The Lake District
Yorkshire
The Dales of Derbyshire
Sheffield
Taylor John’s House in Coventry

BEST THING
Love.
Rediscovering meat and how to cook it.
Rediscovering that decent electronic music is being made all over the world.

WORST THING
No time for love, Doctor Jones
So many boring noise/improv bands.
Labels and bands overkilling on the amount of stuff they put out that all sounds exactly the same. Again.
The Next Big Thing in music and bands covered by the mass media just seem to get worse and worse.

OVERALL
At some point I’m gonna catch up on all the sleep I missed out on. Maybe in 2008.

LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2007
A much-needed holiday. In the autumn.

DOLITTLE – Hello to the fortunate few (CD, Punk Elvis Records)

Posted: January 6th, 2007, by Simon Minter

Dolittle is a veritable early-90s-indie-fan’s dream, as the fine diagram to be found on their CD and website makes clear. Ange Dolittle, who did his time in years gone by with Eat, We Know Where You Live and Big Yoga Muffin, has teamed up with Oxfordshire brothers Mr. G and Rich in this new project; and this album is produced by Miles Hunt of The Wonder Stuff and Vent414. It’s like going back in time, and yet not going back in time.

The feel across the twelve tracks here is one of cynical, emotionally-damaged angst, set to a relatively gentle style of off-kilter guitar sing-song simplicity. The music isn’t going to set the world on fire, but it’s pleasant enough listening, with hints of not only the bands mentioned above but also a smattering of the weird guitar popitude of Pavement, Pixies and – at a stretch – Talking Heads.

It’s very much Ange’s show, with his voice mixed to the fore and lyrics delivered in a clear and considered manner. At times the self-consciously bitter and self-deprecating lyrics can grate; as if the desperation to seem as odd and as mixed-up as possible has resulted in lyrics that can be opaque and difficult to relate to. When the guard is dropped, though, as on ‘Shame’ and ‘Epicure’, Dolittle are a far more engaging prospect. They exude real emotion, rather than a shrouded, self-mocking posturing.

With at least two of the tracks here being reworkings of old Eat songs, and one a Wonder Stuff cover, it’s hard to place Dolittle in the context of anything except those happy indie-explosion days of the early 90s. I’m not sure that’s such a bad place to be. Sometimes the present can be too much of a challenge.

Punk Elvis Records
Dolittle

THE LIGHTS – Diamonds And Dirt (CD, Wäntage USA)

Posted: January 6th, 2007, by Simon Minter

New year, no relenting in the fanboy enthusiasm for everything Wäntage USA hurl out my way. The Lights, for all their twisted melodic pop sensibilities, can’t help but screw everything around with a knife-twist in every track, with a self-effacing need to psych out at the beginning, middle or end. The twisted new wave sensibilities of the Fall intermingle with a gently crazed take on late ’60s garage stomp, and the result is never far from being steamrollered by waves of feedback and noise.

The album opens with a downhearted drone arc of misery, but it lets more light in as time goes by. There are caveman-thrown rocks of melody all over the songs here, but the glorious thing about The Lights is their inability not to chuck in a cement mixer of chaos at the most inappropriate time. They never, however, lose grip of a fundamental danceability, and tracks like White Harlem and Up the Stairs, Out the Window reveal clicking rhythms that recall Q And Not U or early Liars. It’s this paradoxical combination of elements that attracts me to this music. ‘Diamonds And Dirt’ album reads like a mixtape of essentials garage/indie/rock from the past thirty years – but it’s a physically mixed-up tape, rather than a tape of mixed tunes.

This isn’t an album like no other; it’s a distillation and extension of the best albums by (at least) Melvins, Nirvana, Gang Of Four, The Fall, Devo. But which are the best albums? Take a listen and make up your own mind.

Wäntage USA
The Lights

SEMI ROYAL BLOOD – Shout Across Houses EP (CD, self-released)

Posted: January 6th, 2007, by Simon Minter

This is an impressively polished six-track EP, with tightness of playing and quality control that is surprising for a band that’s been together for less than a year. Semi Royal Blood may not be setting the world on fire with originality; these songs traverse familiar melodic and lyrical tightropes and suggest a cleaner Libertines, or a messier Razorlight. But in a world that’s currently rich with uninspired soundalike bands, Semi Royal Blood go beyond aping what seem to be obvious reference points. It could be the urgency of the vocals on lead track ‘Quandary’, or the up-there speediness of the keyboard-sprinkled ‘Take It Away’, or the subtly complex guitar lines on ‘Caught With A Feeling’, but here’s a band that seem to show glimpses of something beyond an average standard that’s often depressingly settled upon by many other bands.

For a debut, this is great stuff: it sounds to me like a collection of tracks that could easily stand up against the relentless avalanche of new bands mining this melodic, mini-epic-style of guitar pop. The challenge for Semi Royal Blood is to stay the course, and to hang on to the feelings of enjoyment and genuineness that are on display here. If they can hang in there, and develop their sound into something even more their own, they have a bright future.

Semi Royal Blood

DESALVO – Brown Flag/Cock Swastika (Rock Action 7")

Posted: January 6th, 2007, by Crayola

I’ve waited two whole years for a slab of DeSalvo vinyl.
It was worth the wait.

DeSalvo include members of Stretchheads, Dawson, Nostril and, um, Idlewild.
DeSalvo are almost certainly THE BEST metal band in the world right now.

Lurching violent riffs that can’t keep to a time signature for more than a couple of bars, Desalvo move from hulking black metal to atonal faster-than-light avant noise and back in the blink of an eye.

Towering over this racket is the unmistakable scream of P6, who just happens to be one of my favourite singers.
(singers? howlers/screamers/yelpers might be more fitting).

The only thing that’s wrong with this record?

To really hear and understand DeSalvo you need to see them live.
I’ve watched them reduce girls and boys to tears of fear.
They always make up in the end, but a DeSalvo live show is something to behold.

Oh, and the vinyl is BROWN.

All hail the new ROCK.

From the desk of the diskant Overlord – January 3rd

Posted: January 3rd, 2007, by Marceline Smith

Happy New Year! I welcome you to diskant’s ninth year of existence. Yes, we are planning some exciting things for our tenth anniversary, thanks for asking. I hope you all had a happy, fun and pie-filled festive season and are not finding the return to hard work as difficult as I am.

Having some time off our real jobs means that there has actually been a flurry of activity on diskant in the last couple of weeks with ou articles about our favourite albums and films of 2006 now online and our writers picking out some of the best things about the year over on the weblog.

We do have plans a-plenty for diskant this year. Hopefully we can increase the regularity of new content as well as bringing in some new features and tidying up some old ones. At least three of us have made resolutions to review more records this year so I hope it will be a while before the terrible excuses start. As always, if you have any ideas of ways we could improve do let me know.

I decided not to send out a December issue of the diskant newsletter as things were so quiet. Instead there will be a double issue for January, hopefully with a new exciting competition. Watch this space for more info or just join up now.

Current listening: Joanna Newsom, Bertine Zetlitz, Deerhoof, Lily Allen, Belle and Sebastian.

2006 chewed up

Posted: January 2nd, 2007, by Pascal Ansell

Albums of 2006

Battles – EP C/B EP –
Immense. Immense!!

That Fucking Tank – Day of Death by Bono Adrenalin Shot – quality gung-ho rock noise.

Squarepusher – Hello Everything – An updated, more major and hopeful Feed Me Weird Things which is sadly not as incredible as FMWT was back in the day. Gorgeous art work.

The Ladies – They Mean Us – Zach Hill, the drummer from Hella (all time favourite band), provides clean and quiet fills with Rob Crow from Pinback. Haven’t the slightest who Pinback are but an excellent slice psychedelic pop nevertheless.

Thom Yorke РThe Eraser Рnit-picked from depressingly huge hypermarch̩ in Calais Рnot proud of it but for once, crime pays. Mesmerizing art and beat-work.

Don Caballero – World Class Listening Problem – Damon Che is the best drummer I have ever seen – flashy but still tasteful. Some songs are even 4/4 and happy!

Kieron Hebden and Steve Reid – The Exchange Session Volume 2 – these boys really take their time – it’s pretty long winded electronic free jazz but it pays off – it’s a beautiful hypnotic journey through Hebden A.K.A. Four Tet throbbing melodies and some drummer geezer who played for the late James Brown.

Plan B – Who Needs Action When You’ve Got Words – Possibly the only album I’ve ever listened to that has made me properly empathise with a full-on, ‘shit your pants while crossing the street’ chav. Mike Skinner doesn’t get anywhere near this for shocking brutality. Ben Drew speaks, no, powerfully raps the awful truth and the truth hurts indeed.

Hella – Acoustics – Bought this one late so Muse is off the top ten. It’s the highlights of their 2 greatest albums: The Devil Isn’t Red and Hold Your Horse Is but just played on more acoustic-y instruments. http://www.hellaband.com/

Melvins – A Senile Animal – probably most accessible Melvins album, ever-idiosyncratic sludge of King Buzzo’s guitar to new bassist and two, yes TWO drummers! A colossal, heaving noise.

GOOD FOR GIGS
Polmo Polpo – Port Mahon, the most moving gig experience in all my days.
Black Dice – Oxford Wheatsheaf, cheers for the tinnitus boys.
Battles – Oxford Zodiac
Don Caballero + Todd – London Scala
Melvins – Zodiac
Animal Collective + Battles – Astoria
Suitable Case for Treatment + The Mules – last gig ever at the Zodiac

BOOKS
Haven’t read any published this year, but…
Music and the Mind – Anthony Storr
Any Human Heart – William Boyd
Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
Maribou Stork Nightmares – Irvine Welsh

DVD
Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace
Mighty Boosh Boxset
Pixies Live (when they’re old and wrinkly, won off Gideon Coe’s breakfast show on 6 Music. We talked about porridge and muesli mainly)
Twin Peaks Series One

MAGS
Stool Pigeon: http://www.feedthepigeons.com/

2 BEST THINGS
Singing tenor in a choir full of incredibly lovely old(er) people.
and
‘Wish you Were Here’ on beautiful blue vinyl.

2 WORST THINGS
Reading Festival, Saturday.
and
I’m not being funny here, but the execution of Saddam Hussein saddened me quite profoundly. I don’t want to jump on the soapbox just yet but I think it’s awful, merciless brutality. Do like the old emperor of China and employ him as a toilet cleaner.
Phew.

EVENT OF THE YEAR
Truck Fest: Battles + Drum & Bass in the Barn!! Going on a rampage with a marigold mysteriously on my left arm…

THINGS YOU DID MOST THIS YEAR
Mostly charity work and warming the hearts of crippled children…

PLACES VISITED
Pretty local: Sheffield, France, Somerset

LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2007
New Hella album
Going to Peru and cycling down a big volcano
Driving (learning to)
Reading some classic books
Room 237 in Oxford

OVERALL

“I’ll get a mop”

My 2006 in photos

Posted: January 2nd, 2007, by Marceline Smith

I was going to copy I Like and do 1 photo from each month but I appear to not have done anything in January and an awful lot in Feb/March. Plus 15 makes for a better screenshot. It’s difficult only picking one photo of each place I visited but it does look like I had quite a fun year.

L-R top to bottom:
1. Brighton Pier at dusk on the Uter tour
2. Me and Econoline at 3am in the great Blizzard of March, Glasgow
3. The hilariously twee wallpaper in my first purchased home. Yes, we kept it.
4. Todai-Ji Temple, Nara. My favourite photo of Japan.
5. Largs on one of the hottest days of the year
6. St Stephens Church in Dublin – again for an Uter gig
7. Visiting my sister in London
8. Best costume winners (but disowned by my own mother)
9. Another great Audioscope and a lovely afternoon with Parts & Labor.
10. Angel Bunny joins us for a weekend in Newcastle for crafting
11. I made so many things last year but my brooches were the most popular
12. Detour round Speyside while visiting my family
13. Meeting Bob the Builder at Minehead ATP
14. My handmade Christmas cards
15. Me. I look very different to me in 2005

Full photos here.