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Archive for March, 2007

Free Fopp instore shows

Posted: March 18th, 2007, by Simon Minter

Lovely sell-’em-cheap-and-drain-your-wallet superstore network Fopp have a new wave of free instore shows in the near future, by a selection of bands that you may or may not be interested in:

19 March
Ghosts, Glasgow, 5 pm
The Ripps, Leamington, 4 pm

21 March
Ghosts, Nottingham, 6 pm

22 March
Ghosts, Bath Westgate, 6 pm
The Rumble Strips, Bristol Park Street, 5 pm
New Young Pony Club, London Camden, 6 pm

23 March
Ghosts, London Tottenham Court Road, 6 pm

I’ve only heard The Rumble Strips out of that lot, and to me they sounded like B-list Dexy’s knockoffs, but free gigs whilst buying cheap CDs can’t be sniffed at.

Dates for your diary

Posted: March 17th, 2007, by Marceline Smith

It is literally ALL HAPPENING. For instance:

SUPERSONIC, July 13-14th
Birmingham’s “eclectic and experimental playground” have announced their line-up for 2007 and it’s a stunner with Mogwai, Zeni Geva and OM headlining along with Jazkamer, Wolf Eyes, Tunng, Modified Toy Orchestra, Kling Klang, Miasma & the Carousel of Headless Horses and much more tba. Plus there’s films, exhibitions and cake! It’s a mere £35 for the weekend and I am so there.
More info

BEARDSTOCK, Saturday May 19th
Yes, our favourite Glaswegian music and facial hair zine, Beard, is having an all day festival. I hope this is is to launch the new issue which has been a long time coming. Acts confirmed so far include One Ensemble, PuMaJaW, Lucky Luke and Napoleon IIIrd, and they also promise psychedelic projections, artwork and photography, a fanzine workshop and more! It’s at the Regal Social Club in Glasgow and tickets cost £10.
More info

KILL YOUR TIMID NOTION, 12th – 15th April
Dundee’s annual international festival of experimental music, film and visual art is coming up very soon at the DCA. The musicians include CUBE, Querel, Gaelle Rouard, Lionel Marchetti, Jerome Noetinger, William Raban, Keith Evans + Coelecanth, Joe Colley and AVVA: (Toshimaru Nakamura + Billy Roisz) plus there’s installations and films.
More info

More experimental music from the Instal/KYTM people, this time at the Sage in Gateshead and with a line-up including Junko + Jerome Noetinger, Gary Smith, Diamanda Galas, Angharad Davies, Tisha Mukarji, Andrea Neumann, Los Glissandinos, Jean Phillipe Gross, Rhodri Davies + Terry Day and Aufgehoben.
More info

INDIAN SUMMER, 14th-15th July
Glasgow’s previously sodden Indian Summer festival is to take place over a much more sensible weekend this year. Line-up details will be announced shortly but tickets are available now if you like surprises.
More info

From the desk of the diskant Overlord – March 16th

Posted: March 16th, 2007, by Marceline Smith

I have returned from my holidays and much fun was had. I was over in Holland with my mum and sister and got to see our old family estate, the only remaining family windmill and the bust of my great great Grandfather which resides in the Zaandam windmill museum. It’s quite exciting having all this history in our family and great to see it all in real life. We also ate a lot of cake and did a lot of shopping, and I even got to further my ambition to visit as many botanical gardens as possible. Amsterdam’s is lovely. You can see all my photos by clicking on the picture above.

Speaking of photos, we have set up a diskanteers photo pool on Flickr so you can see what we’ve all been getting up to. Whether we’re away on holiday, out at a gig, off on tour, creating stuff or just eating pie we’ll post a few photos for you to see. At least you’ll have an idea why nothing’s been updated on diskant. There’s a Flickr widget on the weblog showing them all and they’ll also appear in the weblog RSS feed as they’re posted.

You can catch me in crafty action at two DADA/Miso Funky Markets this month – Glasgow on the 18th and Edinburgh on the 24th. All the info is here and you can get a sneak preview of my wares at my Etsy shop. I hope to see you there!

Don’t forget to fill out the DISKANT READER SURVEY if you have a few spare minutes. We really appreciate your feedback and we’re already acting on it.

Current listening: Margaret Berger, Trans Am, Errors, Findo Gask. diskant interview slackness stats: Interviewees: 0, Me: 1

DR. DOG – We All Belong (CD, Park The Van Records)

Posted: March 15th, 2007, by Simon Minter

On We All Belong, the third album from Philadelphia’s Dr. Dog, and the first of theirs I’ve heard, spirits of joyousness and positivity emanate from the speakers throughout. Not in any kind of lame-ass lightweight hippy pop way, but in a dark-edged way: the band are piano-led and certainly possessed of a jauntiness and high-scale-reaching tenderness; but they counteract one-dimensionality with strange stabs of guitar, lingering background noises and lysergic weirdness that are as much Country Joe And The Fish as they are Polyphonic Spree.

The clearest reference point here seems to be Flaming Lips around the time of Clouds Taste Metallic and Transmissions From The Satellite Heart: essentially simple songs, drenched in lush arrangements and strident changes of pace and tone. So, ‘Don’t Pretend’ and ‘Alaska’ share vocal similarities with Wayne Coyne’s slightly-broken singing style; and ‘The Girl’ is driven by a hefty four-note riff which frequently breaks down into a wailing vocal bridge.

At times Dr. Dog seem to be too reverential and obvious followers of the Flaming Lips; but they manage to just about strike out with their own individuality and unique touch. ‘Worst Trip’ opens like a ’60s Motown number, then morphs into a Divine Comedy-esque operatic pop tune, before exploding into a fantastic, uplifting guitar break. ‘We All Belong’ references John Lennon’s solo, mid-paced work, before crossing over into a Beach Boys-style chanted ode to joy.

I get the impression from this album that Dr. Dog are more a product of similar influences to Flaming Lips, than simple followers of that band. We All Belong takes in aspects of the aforementioned bands, along with Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Band, David Bowie and The Beatles’ ‘I Am The Walrus’. It’s downright bizarre, but endlessly enjoyable, entertaining and life-affirming. Cynics among the world won’t find much to maintain their pessimism here, but at this time of year, as the winter fades away, this is perfect listening.

Dr. Dog
Park The Van

Geek required!

Posted: March 13th, 2007, by Marceline Smith

Here at diskant we are planning some big changes, mainly behind the scenes stuff for better organisation and to make adding and finding new content easier. At present, all the techy geeky stuff is done by me but I am no real geek so it is a constant challenge for me and my brain to get everything working as I like it. In short, I could do with some help from someone who actually knows what they’re doing and thus could do it in a tenth of the time it takes me.

So, if you’re a fan of diskant, have geeky knowledge and have some spare time please get in touch. We’re looking for for someone who knows about some or all of the following: PHP, Javascript, CSS, RSS/XML, mySQL, Majordomo, Blogger, WordPress, Web 2.0 and, of course, pie. Having time and enthusiasm is more important than actual technical skillz as we have people to fill in the gaps here and there. PHP is the main thing we desperately need.

We can’t offer you any money but, um, you can hang out with us (if you don’t already) and you’ll be fully credited for your work. I could do a whole spiel about how rewarding and fun it is working with all the new web technologies and widgets and how it’ll look good on your CV and how you’ll be giving back to the community but you either know that or you don’t care. So, email me and let me know how you can help.

Yes, I am back from my holidays. It was great, thanks. More later.

THE DIAGRAM BROTHERS – Some Marvels of Modern Science (CD, LTM)

Posted: March 6th, 2007, by Crayola

I’ve not even finished listening to the marvellous Manicured Noise retrospective that I reviewed a little while ago and what should drop through my door but a retrospective of fellow early 80’s Mancunians, The Diagram Brothers.
I have to admit I know very little about them other than the fact that Andy Diagram is now one of David Thomas’ Two Pale Boys.
I also know their records were released by Richard Boon’s legendary New Hormones label.

Get past some of the humorous titles – “Ron! The Morris Minor’s Gone”, “I Didn’t Get Where I Am Today By Being A Right Git” – and what you have is a really exciting new wave art rock band that owe as much to the No Wave of the Contortions as they do to the UK punk scene and the art rock of Pere Ubu.

The guitars are all stainless steel clean, tones you could cut your finger on.
There’s some beautiful percussion, hints of both Devo and The Slits in the time changing and call and response chants, and bass playing that could be a forerunner to the avant noodling of Stump’s Kev Hopper.

The only downside is the ocassional low of some of the lyric writing. It can sometimes be a little too cleverly naive.
But then what would you expect from a group of young men making music where and when they did?

“Postal Bargains” is my current favourite – It’s all fighting guitars, driving rhythm and get-in-your-head annoying singing.

Don’t worry if you, like me, don’t know a great deal about The Diagram Brothers.
Regardless of whether or not you’re interested in experimental english pop of the late 70’s and early 80’s, if you like your pop music guitar driven, interesting, thought provoking, hummable and catchy then you’ll dig this to pieces.

THE SCARAMANGA SIX – The Dance Of Death (CD, Wrath Records)

Posted: March 6th, 2007, by Crayola

That’s not really enough is it?
I don’t really know how to describe The Scaramanga Six in a way that is both truthful and won’t put you off.
I’ll just go for the truth – S6 are a hard-rocking, indie-tuning, Meatloaf-operetta-singing, tongue-in-cheek-progging, murderous gang of thugs.

I’ve been a fan since I was given a copy of “Strike! Up The Band” album way back in 2003.
That’s 4 years of listening to deftly written pop tunes augmented by huge stadium filling riffage.

This, the new album, sees the band refining their sound even further.
There’s a timeless quality to some of the song writing – “Helvetica” being a case in point, building from a grimy little signature into a full scale indie-prog dream, all soaring vocals, sudden key changes (showing off their Cardiacs fandom) and BIG guitars.

The final, seven minute mini epic, “The Towering Inferno” is worth the price of admission alone, opening as it does with what can only be described as a Bastard Son Of Jim Steinman hook – you know, augmented pianos swooshing under chandeliers in a heavy storm before the songs explodes into the biggest chorus you think you’ve ever heard.

Buy this album NOW.

SPRAYDOG – Karate Summer Camp (CD, Ferric Mordant Records)

Posted: March 5th, 2007, by Simon Minter

Spraydog are a band that would’ve fared much better if they’d have been operating in the American underground scene of the early-to-mid nineties. Their fuzzy, simple, sweet-natured songs, with dual male/female vocals struggling for space amongst warmly overdriven guitar lines, remind me of the output of labels like Simple Machines and Slumberland. They share a sense of hopefulness and melody with bands of yore like Velocity Girl, Lilys and Tsunami – stretching the parameters of indie rock with odd touches of dissonance and faltering lo-fi production, but never forgetting to keep the tunes in the foreground.

Over Karate Summer Camp‘s fourteen tracks, the mood is mainly one of forward-looking resolution; of making the best of unfortunate situations. There are nods towards the influence of a variety of bands – the Sonic Youth ‘Mote’-style opening of ‘Prizefighters’, the dreamy My Bloody Valentine vocal style of previous single ‘Allison Blaire’, the Codeine/Low slowcore pondering of ‘Bring All Your Sorrows’, for example – but in the main Spraydog’s sound, whilst not devastatingly original, is slowly becoming something all their own.

I’ve listened to this album over and over recently, and it doesn’t seem to do anything but repay such repeated listening. There is the odd touch that isn’t entirely in character for the band, like the aggressive yelped vocals of ‘One Big So-So’, which don’t quite work, but in spite of a very few faults this is still a solid, successful album, that marks out Spraydog as a band with a big heart and an uncanny knack with melody.

More on diskant:
Review of 2006’s ‘Allison Blaire’ single
Interview with Ferric Mordant Records

Ferric Mordant

Win Glastonbury tickets

Posted: March 2nd, 2007, by Simon Minter

Home of expensive booking fees Aloud.com are currently offering a pair of Glastonbury tickets to a “lucky” “winner” who enters their draw before the end of 5 March: see here.

Never been to Glastonbury myself but I imagine the experience can be recreated by sitting in an expensive real ale pub which is over-filled with braying middle-class white kids having mad drug experiences, whilst the jukebox volume is jammed on extra-loud and broadcasting nothing but the most pedestrian chart-friendly indie music available.


Posted: March 1st, 2007, by Marceline Smith

Hah! I scoff at your ATP full of all those bands who have already played ATP fourteen times before. Instead I will be at TRIPTYCH 2007, the annual music and films festival taking place simultaneously in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen (hence the name) over April 25-29.

Just lookee at that line-up! Damo Suzuki, CSS, Erol Alkan, Evan Parker, Ute Lemper, Pajo, Cat Power, Einsturzende Neubauten, Bobby Conn, The Pastels, Field Music, Cinematic Orchestra, Electrelane, Gruff Rhys, Bat For Lashes, Fujiya & Miyagi, Errors, Park Attack, Paper Cut Out, 65daysofstatic and more more more. Plus a special show tieing in with the Ballads of the Book thing Simon mentioned on here featuring the likes of Sons & Daughters, Idlewild, Norman Blake, King Creosote, Alasdair Roberts, Emma Pollock and Aidan Moffat.

I literally can’t wait. Full show line-ups, info, tickets and streaming music available now at www.triptychfestival.com.