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Archive for May, 2007

Win Def Jux stuff

Posted: May 31st, 2007, by Simon Minter

Def Jux release some good records. If you visit their homepage right now, you’ll see a mysterious code. Work out what it means and you might win $150 to squander on Def Jux goodness. Bosh.

Anyone for Johnny Marr’s shoes?

Posted: May 31st, 2007, by Simon Minter

In one of those strange collisions between music and, er, cordwainery, Johnny Marr (ie the bloke from The Smiths and latterly Modest Mouse) has designed a rather nice-looking shoe. Take a look here. You collector types will love it, as only 216 pairs will be made. They’re to be sold via eBay from 10 July, with the proceeds going to a good cause.

Isn’t that nice. Perhaps the shoes will make one a better guitar player. Perhaps not.

ROTHKO – Eleven Stages Of Intervention (CD, Bip Hop Records)

Posted: May 31st, 2007, by JGRAM

Thankfully often more Mingus than Mogwai, the bass heavy bass led Rothko have been creating tuneful musical soundscapes for several years now, with each release often bettering the prior. Spread over ten tracks, this is Rothko’s Nth album and shows them yet again at the height of their strengths, their latest release since the A Personal Display Of Conflict EP on Bad Hand Records.

With song titles nearly each reference elements of the environment, this is another serious and sombre sounding collection of songs ideally saved for moments of relaxation or requiring clarity – this is truly a collection that establishes boundaries and a sense of perspective into the whole generation of a person’s purpose and place into the whole structure of proceedings. Seldom can and does post rock/soundscape music move me but there is a true uniqueness and individualism to the sheer weight of emotion that Rothko can muster.

The record opens with subtle Dirty Three-esqe strings as the tension within the engine of the album builds before moving on electronic buzzes that gives it a futuristic, cybernetic pipe feel that fuel it with something of a Far Eastern vibe. If Bill Murray returned to Tokyo in the future and made a sequel to Lost In Translation, this and not Kevin Shields would be asked along to score.

As the record proceeds the tone becomes darker in its beauty, layered with a grand variety of sounds and instruments each giving the song held within a new personality and character. Examples of this in action being the suspense created during “Be Invisible”, a track that would serve perfectly for some nuevo Asian horror movie with the juxtaposed dynamics of tender string harmonies complimenting the apparent menace giving depth. Likewise “Weather Every Storm” plays out like an eruption as it builds and finally explodes.

Served as an example of how to create a modern composition, this collection continues the legacy of excellence that has come to be familiar with any Rothko release and one that gives much hope to the future of post-rock music displaying that there are still avenues still to be ploughed and explored within the genre.

Thesaurus moment: poignant.

Bip Hop

DKDENT – Teenage Love EP (CD, Tony Music & Consulting)

Posted: May 31st, 2007, by JGRAM

Here is a release by a band that regularly chose to pester me on Myspace so to placate them I suggested “send me a CD and I will review it online”. I never actually thought it would materialise. Whoops!

When I say they “pestered” me, actually I have to admit that I probably brought it on myself when I added them as a friend basically because I thought the singer’s boots looked cool. Such are the strife “politics” of Myspace.

Hailing from Dusseldorf in Germany it seems; DKDENT are a most electro pop proposition. Had these guys bothered to research my tastes, preferences and previous online reviews, I suspect they may have experienced second thoughts and reservations.

So what can I say……it is very poppy. I feel it is too restrained to have been a nineties MTV Euro hit but at the same time it is too tame really to appeal to a leftfield audience that would appreciate some of the qualities that they do in bands such as St Etienne, Client and even upbeat Ladytron. I think the Client comparison is the one that rings truest, perhaps even stretching to being more Dubstar-esqe. And then the odds are upped when the second track appears to have a keyboard riff perversely taken straight from the Inspiral Carpets and the vocals are now delivered in French, which seems something of an advantage as you no longer actually know what the girl is bleating on about (what an old cynic I sound!).

The more Parisian the songs become (complete with a lot of accordion) the more they begin to resemble Serge Gainsbourg-influenced Blonde Redhead as the strength of the female vocals really impress and take centre stage (most definitely on the track “Song For James”). I don’t think the intention was to appeal to such an audience but it is mission accomplished.

Taken as music alone DKDENT turn out to be a more interesting proposition than was expected although what is behind the music still remains an element that is unclear to me, not least for the indie no-no of including an advertisement in the inlay for a video game on which their music appears coupled with all the “supported by” mentions on the back of the sleeve (unsurprisingly including Moog).

Thesaurus moment: unforeseen.

Tony Music & Consulting

CAMELONE – Where You Going EP (CD, self released)

Posted: May 31st, 2007, by JGRAM

Here’s a band whose name I keep getting incorrect, often mistaking it for Cameltoe and/or Camelove (and just a moment ago even Camelot) – there is a lesson to be learned here when you name your band.

Another CD sent by an act that was bugging me on Myspace to whom I told “put up or shut up”. Cameltoe….sorry, I mean Camelone deliver their CD “EP” in a really nicely packaged CD sleeve, complete with very British cultural references including a dated CND protest sign, Che Guevara and sixties Mick Jagger – so how does the music hold up in comparison? Does it represent such imagery?

On with the rock and….it is Hammond heavy, dare I say Mod from a band that definitely appear to have the Arctic Monkeys in their record collection. There is also quite a heavy The View vibe to proceedings, which isn’t really inspiring stuff. At times it does occasionally tap into the same taste buds that appealed to Supergrass but the keyboards really do overwhelm the songs, which isn’t necessarily a good thing when they remind of bingo halls, cinemas and Clacton pier. Aside from the occasionally lapse into ska moments, there really isn’t much difference between the four songs on offer – each song is lyrically like listening to an excruciating conversation that Paul Danan might have on a Saturday night.

Where You Going? I wouldn’t like to say.

Thesaurus moment: hackneyed.



Posted: May 30th, 2007, by Marceline Smith

A new feature here on the weblog as we pin down the organisers of the upcoming events we’re excited about and get them to tell us all about it.

First up the Gringo 10 year anniversary party. I’ve known Matt a looong time now since the very first issue of Damn You! zine and loved all the early Gringo bands – Hirameka Hi-Fi, Reynolds, Empire-Builder…I’m already blubbing with nostalgia. Gringo was even the first website we hosted here at diskant. Ten years later and they’re still releasing awesome records from the likes of Lords, The Unit Ama, Polaris and Souvaris and are planning a big old party in Nottingham to celebrate ten years of greatness. I hassled Matt to answer some questions.

Can you tell us a little about how Gringo started and what your reasons were?

Youthful enthusiasm for the IPU led five friends (Viva Joe, Jimi, Tom and Jason!) to blow their first pay packets on a slab of black vinyl put inside a badly photocopied paper sleeve. The mission: to put North East Essex on the musical map.

What have you got planned for the day?


Also, 11 Gringo recording artists past and present. Tears at seeing old faces and missing good people who could not attend. Chris Summerlin projecting my face on to a large white screen. Me pulling down Chris Summerlin’s trousers. A Gringo DJ set which may include cuts from Mr T, Dennis Waterman and Reel 2 Real feat. The Mad Stuntman. No doubt there will be a lot of mess to clean up.

What have been the highlights and lowlights of the 10 years of Gringo?

The highs: every release; the first Gringo website; anything to do with John Peel (his reading of my first fax, the playing of the first Gringo release, the playing of Empire-Builder at the wrong speed and his reading of my fax pointing this out, the first Gringo Peel session, the 10minutemen live sessions); Hirameka supporting Mogwai back in the day; Meeting glorious people; Getting to watch Gringo bands play in different countries; starting to break even!

The lows: Southern Records; falling out with people over stupid shit because we were all too young to know better

What’s happening next with Gringo?

Souvaris album out now. Sailors 7″ out soon. Second albums from Bilge Pump, Lords, Soeza and Eska sometime this year. The Unit Ama should record again soon, if they are reading this. I would like to put out a record by The Horse Loom. I will continue to stalk The James Orr Complex until he submits.

Anything else you want to tell us?

You can buy tickets from me. Or Selectadisc in Nottingham. Or online. Lots of people are travelling and I’ll do my best to find you a place to stay! Please someone drive from Glasgow so that Marceline and Colin Kearney can attend. [yes, do! – M]

Find out more at www.gringorecords.com

AIRPORT GIRL – Slow Light (Fortuna Pop)

Posted: May 30th, 2007, by Alex McChesney

A conceit used by most music journos is to pretend to know everything about a band’s ouvre before reviewing them. Maybe they don’t pretend, actually. Maybe they do research and stuff. I dunno. Anyway, I’ve never heard of Airport Girl, so I can’t tell you if this, their second album, is a massive departure from their first, though the accompanying press release seems to suggest so. If that is the case, then a cautious pat-on-the-back may be deserved, since I like the direction they seem to have taken, and if it’s a retrograde step then their last record must have been something pretty bloody amazing.

Yes, it’s a bit on the twee side, but on the strength of this relaxed and reverb-heavy record I could see Airport Girl becoming someone’s favourite band. That someone isn’t me. That person is someone a bit less cynical, and, by extension, probably a few years younger than I am. Airport Girl probably won’t even keep the coveted favourite band status for too long, but it these wistful and well-constructed songs will be the soundtrack to that summer where they went to that festival and got off with that girl/boy for the first time. It might even inspire their own musical exploits, the emphasis being on maintaining a warm multi-instrumental melancholy rather than technical noodling.

That there are similar bands who have explored similar territory, and that I personally would put on a Galaxie 500 record before this one, seems scarcely the point. Airport Girl provide a very acceptable entry point into that particular space.

Official Site
Their Myspace Page

WOMAN – Silver Wolf Dog (CD, Sea Records)

Posted: May 25th, 2007, by JGRAM

I understand that Woman hate being compared to Deerhoof which is quite a useful emotional gesture as they are not as good as them. Fortunately Woman are a fantastic band in their own right and happen to touch many of the exact right buttons with yours truly. In many ways it reminds of a loud guitar and maxed out version of Frank Chickens, a recent personal discovery of a great lost band from the eighties.

Sequel to the equally fantastic Das Hexer (which was in many ways the perfect album with seven songs clocking in at eleven minutes), Silver Wolf Dog tears in similar manner, this time running at six songs in eleven minutes. With a bizarre disco-esqe guitar sound accompanied by a polarised Japanese vocal of repetitive strains, Woman strikes a blow for endeavour. Lyrics are generally incoherent and hidden as the vocals are delivered in a manual loop of lunacy to match the short sharp bursts of calamity rock the band unleash behind it.

The album opens with the bubbly guitar sound of humping wah, starting proceedings in the correct manner and by the time “Beat Kids” takes the reigns the sound is akin to some kind of warped nursery rhyme of roughness. “Margarine Tree” is where the true pounding bounce rules supreme, seeing the album at its most energetic. The record closes with “Fever”, the true epic/opus of Woman, a track that almost takes up half the capacity of the release.

Words fail as to how much I enjoy, treasure and adore bands like this, brief but not curt, energetic but not obnoxious, childish but not ridiculous – on a good day this is exactly the soundtrack to my life. By executing the “less is more” tactic with the length of the release, the strategy is most definitely a success as I find myself baying for more music from Woman.

Thesaurus: merriment.

Sea Records

VARIOUS – Can Buy Me Love 3 (CD, Digital Vomit)

Posted: May 25th, 2007, by JGRAM

Tapping into the current Wrongmusic scene, this 27 track DIY compilation covers the spread across the board and consists of some truly inspiring dirty beats, enough truly sick gestures of sampling and sheer white noise that could well see anyone possessing and enjoying it, finding themselves locked into something heinous.

The line-up reads of established heroes, local legends and non-personas starring for just one night in the sickest Matthew Kelly style. Featuring an album opener by Junkshop Coyote (no, me neither) the initial sounds resemble Chewbacca “singing” with the KLF covering a Philip Glass song, in a suitably confusing and disorientating manner, which really sets the tone for the remainder.

Following is the first turn by one of the real “stars” of the compilation as the criminally underrated Scorpio Scorpio, direct from Australia, delivers a contribution that sadly seems more of a cut off, nowhere near representative of his frenetic live shows and general aura of danger. On the flipside, long time Ipswich hero Cats Against The Bomb supplies one of its strongest cuts to date, a cybernetic cover of “Pump It Up” that I am sure Elvis Costello will not be seeing a penny out of, a cover complete with a guitar sound Big Black would feel fitting. Not too many tracks afterwards his brother Big In Albania arrives with an electronic concoction of a bad Joy Division cover spliced with 2 Unlimited in a seemingly unabashed dig at “indie rock felching sessions”.

In the midst of so much squealing noise it comes down to the adrenalin thrash of Massive Hospitalisation to blow away the most cobwebs and sanction the most impressive appearance of the collection with its machine gun grind and casualty themed trilogy (and when I say theme I really mean Casualty theme).

The show continues with Mixomatosis sampling over immature sex noises, Rank Sinatra doing his warped distortion croon over a song I should recognise and the legendary V/Vm supplying something akin to a strip tease and/or helium fuelled Bond theme. And then the compilation ends with The Abs, a pointless and disposable Pogues-esqe drawl.

Just as people such as Digital Hardcore once predicted, this is the sound of DIY 2007, bedroom noise devoid of the overheads of such pains as recording studios and even instruments, cyberpunk is yet again very now. As the onslaught of cyber drum n bass becomes repetitive, does it serve a purpose?

Thesaurus moment: attainment.

Digital Vomit

RUP – Rup On Zebra (CD, Zebra Traffic)

Posted: May 25th, 2007, by JGRAM

I once played a variety of Rup tracks to a music publisher that looks like Danny Devito to the result of much ambivalence and disdain – had the guy liked them, that would have been the time to worry.

Shortening his name from originally Rup The Cunt and released on Brighton’s Zebra Traffic label, Rup is a genuinely talented wordsmith tapping into circa: now culture with his references in ways I have not previously seen or heard. There remains a real stigma about being a white boy rapper, and for the most part it is a very insincere form of “flattery” but when there is such substance to the whole package, it becomes a more than relevant entity in itself. This is the record Mike Skinner can only dream about accomplishing.

Rup’s debut record is more a compilation of cuts with various producers, many of which have previously seen the light of day as compilation appearances and singles. As a result a slight lack of coherence represents as a successfully diverse selection is served.

Early on subtle Jello Biafra samples on the first few cuts display where the record is coming from and a different kind of knowledge is executed, one very rarely expounded on a hip-hop release. Later when Rup describes himself as “heavy as The Melvins” there is much evidence of an indie/punk background being combined with DIY rap. Within one minute of the record Rup has told you that he “comes on rougher than wanking with sandpaper”, which is something I doubt you’ll hear any other rapper, either end of the spectrum saying. Upon hearing this proclamation the listener will either laugh or groan as it establishes the vibe and humour of proceedings and generally whether this CD is going to hated or loved.

The references and language within the delivery is of a context so wonderfully British, there is a true freshness in the mere reality of its sincerity and an aversion to just being a down streetwise wigger. With further lines such as “I drop lines like David James drops crosses” this is stuff only our generation should appreciation and decode. By the third track (“Timequake”) the composition and arrangements are to die for, switching from thumping bass driven numbers, to string samples, which as a track is subsequently followed by “Step” with tracking straight out of the John Carpenter sound book. When the record arrives at “King Cnut” (previously released as a twelve inch on Hear Today Records) there is little in the way to stop the momentum. The pace of the record reaches a pinnacle with “Rollin” and its truly sick bass loop. And before the album is quits there is still time for a return to Rup’s past with the telling and downbeat “Wilderness Kids” created with the masterful TM Juke (which previously featured on potent “Maps From The Wilderness” record by TM Juke).

Words fail me in my attempts to do justice to how stunning and refreshing this record sounds.

Thesaurus moment: charismatic.

Zebra Traffic