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Archive for May, 2007

The Tielman Brothers – Rollin’ Rock

Posted: May 14th, 2007, by Ollie

Dutch Indo-Rock. Sensational rock ‘n’ roll show. Live Dutch TV January 1960. With lead-guitarist, singer Andy Tielman, the uncrowned king of Indo-Rock.
Lineup: Andy Tielman (lead gt.), Reggy Tielman (2d lead gt.), Ponthon Tielman (double bass) and Loulou Tielman(drums).

Indonesia once was a colony from the Netherlands, leading to mutual influences. When Indonesia finally gained independence many Indonesians came to the Netherlands, which secured the still lasting Indonesian influence on the Dutch culture.
Just as it spiced up our food it also spiced up our music. The ‘invention’ of rock ‘n’ roll lead immediately to the invention of ‘Indo-rock’. The Tielman Brothers one of the most important, if not the most important, bands of the Netherlands,
shaped rock ‘n’roll in the Netherlands, added the necessary sex element through their great and acrobatic shows and left a vast collection of music.”

Well, you learn something new every day. Absolutely spectacular.


Posted: May 14th, 2007, by Ollie

As mind-bending what-the-fuck acid-flashback warped terror freakout flicks go, Alexandro Jodorowsky’s 1973 opus The Holy Mountain has to be in the 95th percentile. Where to even begin…. The film’s (at times extremely) loose narrative follows a central christ-like figure and a band of oddballs on a quest for the titular mountain, and the secrets of enlightenment and immortality held by it’s nine shadowy keepers. Along their journey we are treated to an unforgettable visual feast of often grotesque and sacrilegious scenes surrounding those seeking the mountain and their leader (played by Jodorowsky). What unfolds is a vast universe of surrealism, humour, nausea, nightmare, satire, spirituality, blood and delirium. It’s difficult to explain in words the aesthetic level The Holy Mountain resides on, but suffice to say I’ve never seen anything else that even comes close.

Rather than struggling to make sense of what is being presented, and dismissing any aspects of the film which don’t have any obvious immediate or symbolic relevance, you really have to let yourself go with this one. Don’t fight it, feel it (man). Years ago I would have thought of this film as being completely overblown and far too obtuse and difficult for it’s own good, style over substance if you will. These days however, I really relish in the way Jodorowsky forces you to put as much into the film as you can hope to take with you having seen it. If you’re willing to put in the effort, a very rewarding film.

Cleverly I managed to see The Holy Mountain in the afternoon and Jodorowsky’s first film El Topo in the evening. Given the choice again, I would have liked to have seen them the other way round but what can you do, I had a rainy Sunday off and both were almost at the end of their run. The director appears again as El Topo or “the mole”, a wandering man-with-no-name figure in what begins as a beautifully shot but almost straightforward western (at least in comparison to THM). Again, the central figure has a very heavy jesus-vibe, and Christian and Kabbalic imagery is rife throughout. While there are still long sequences that don’t make any immediate ‘sense’ in a traditional way, things generally tend to subsequently come together somewhat with long forgotten elements of the film making a comeback when you least expect them to.

Again, visually this is absolutely incredible stuff, and as with THM, the scale of the production is frequently amazing. The heavy contrast between the first and second ‘acts’ is played to incredible effect, and there are moments when the bold statement on the lobby poster about this being the greatest film ever made begin to see quite reasonable.

The Holy Mountain and El Topo have both just been given a full DVD release for the first time courtesy of those excellent folks at Tartan.


Posted: May 11th, 2007, by Simon Proffitt

I’m in the middle of one of those situations where I’ve just discovered something, erm, wonderful/bizarre/ridiculous/thrilling/absurd about one of my favourite bands, and in sharing this wonderful/bizarre/ridiculous/thrilling/absurd thing with you people, I risk becoming the laughing stock of the world because of course everyone else has known about this thing for, oh, at least the past 325 thousand years and I’m dreadfully out of touch for only having just found out about it.

Here it is:

Between 1994 and 1996, Prolapse‘s Linda Steelyard and Mick Derrick starred in 79 episodes of Chez Lester, the greatest soap opera of the modern era, which was broadcast on Leicester cable TV station Cable 7. For those of you that don’t have access to cable TV, or Leicester in the mid 90s, the good news is that all 79 episodes are now available to watch on YouTube. Hooray!

Chez Lester Introduction
Chez Lester Episode 1
The other 78 Chez Lester episodes
Chez Lester on MySpace

Observant Diskant readers may also recognise Jonathan and Matt Kerry of The Freed Unit, who created and shot the whole series. Good on ’em.

THIS IS ENGLAND (dir: Shane Meadows)

Posted: May 10th, 2007, by Alex McChesney

After leaving the cinema, still with that punched-in-the-stomach feeling that Meadows’ films tend to invoke, we flagged down a cab to take us home.

“Man, what a fare,” the driver said in an exasperated voice as soon as we moved off, clearly hoping that we’d ask what was up. Stupidly, we did so, triggering a lengthy story about the “black gentleman” who had gotten into the cab before us, and had given directions in some kind of incomprehensible “jive talk”. This segued into an extended diatribe on the english-language capabilities of what felt like every nation under the sun.

I so, so hoped that, story exhausted. he would eventually fall-back on the standard “what were you up to tonight?” conversation-starter, whereupon we could straight-facedly reply “we went to see a film about racists,” but sadly he never did.

Not that it’s that simple. This Is England‘s skinheads aren’t two dimentional thugs, nor cyphers in the service of some leaden moral point, but skillfully-drawn to the extent that you’ll find yourself empathising, if not sympathising, with even ringleader and de-facto baddie Combo (Stephen Graham). It’s really newcomer Tomas Thurgoose’s show, whose turn as Shaun, a schoolboy living in a crappy run-down suburb, recently deprived of a father during the Falkland’s war, who falls in with a bunch of harmless local skins. The initial third of the film moves from kitchen-sink “grim-up-north” drama to gentle comedy as he finds a sense of belonging and a surrogate family with his new gang, who want nothing much more out of life than to have a bit of a laugh and listen to ska records. It isn’t until their former mate Combo gets out of jail with a head freshly filled with far-right sympathies that events take the expected dark turn. Both Meadows and Thurgoose make the transition seamlessly, with the latter proving himself to be a young actor with an exceptional range.

This Is England is by turns witty, sad, violent and profane, and certainly not for the faint-hearted. It’s also the best film I’ve seen so far this year.

IMDB page for This Is England
Shane Meadows’ Wikipedia entry

24 hours of Flickr

Posted: May 6th, 2007, by Marceline Smith

Yesterday was 05/05 and Flickr organised a 24 Hours of Flickr event. Everyone was invited to take photos of their day and post the best one in the group pool with the best ones being used in a charity photo book in aid of Médecins Sans Frontières. There’s currently almost 3000 photos in the pool and it’s an interesting view of what goes on around the world in any one day. My submission is here. 05/05 was a fairly uneventful day for me with most of it taken up with categorising diskant blog posts and eating homemade bread. The pool is open until May 21st so if you took any interesting photos yesterday, why not join in.

UPDATE: Yay, my photo made it into Interestingness, the 500 most interesting photos of the day.

PISKIE SITS – The Secret Sickliness (CD, Wrath Records)

Posted: May 5th, 2007, by JGRAM

I always wondered sometimes if the “lo” in lo-fi to a large extent was also a short indicator for “low self esteem”, as my suspicions are raised with this record. Veering more towards the Trumans Water/Pavement noise side of lo-fi rather than the song based side of lo-fi, this is the kind of purposeful music that was all part of the “scene” at the turn of the century but seems less so on the agenda these days.

With their fake American accents and badly recorded drums, the Piskie Sits plunder through eleven tracks of heavily Pavement influenced ditties complete with leanings towards country rock tendencies without fully turning Americana. Likewise the backing “vocals” resemble the shrieks of a drunkard just released from the hole that morning. Plus points all. During proceedings I also find myself thinking of Magoo, the great lost Chemikal Underground band, and the much missed Ligament (before they mutated Hulk-like into Part Chimp). At times, with the way they hold their influences so heavily on their sleeves, more than once I think of the Brian Jonestown Massacre also.

The pick of the tracks here really is “Good To Eat” (great song titles all) which plays on the album at a point where it really begins to reach its stride, battling and winning the war over the poor production values as the songwriting prevails and the nuances touch my right nerve. “El Capo” is the track that has the hooks with the album having sailed the eye of the storm and by the time “Lotta Bad Things” arrives with its screaming killer chorus of intent and awkward tempo changes I am feeling an enormous sense of lo accomplishment.

As an album the record is somewhat all over the show, experiencing natural flaws, and the quality of the songs are spread across the board but there is enough personality and potent (in this music climate) to carry the effort further than most new efforts around that I am hearing currently.

I really thought the lo-fi thing was long over, this indicates a return to good times.

Thesaurus moment: sanguine.

Piskie Sits
Wrath Records

UNSANE – Visqueen (CD, Ipecac Recordings)

Posted: May 5th, 2007, by JGRAM

I think it is unlikely that there will be a nastier sounding record released in 2007 than Visqueen, the 6th album by New York’s Unsane. Featuring an album cover that features a dead body wrapped in cellophane and dumped in a New Jersey swamp (supposedly), it is a suitably blood splattered affair that keeps in line with both previous album covers and the sheer weight and sound of an Unsane record.

With a track record that includes deceased ex-band members (unlike the Dwarves), acceptance into the heart of the skate punk community and a support slot with Slayer amongst their achievements, Unsane are a band that have managed to hold onto their indie credibility whilst maintaining crossover respect and remaining a serious proposition being one of the original gnarly (and remaining) propositions to come from the AmpRep legacy (once almost a genre in itself).

Following up the, in my opinion, career best album “Blood Run” this is most definitely an Unsane album, a sound pretty unique to themselves that I cannot delude myself when I would have to make the admission that it is a record tough to distinguish from the remainder of the Unsane back catalogue. And this is perhaps what explains the lack of fanfare attached to this release.

Unsane circa now though I feel really finds them at the height of their powers. Better than ever the recorded sound captures their power than all their original indie albums combined. The pulsing intimidating rhythms have always been present but now more so than ever does it represent an emotion/soundtrack to what I would imagine the sensation of riding a New York subway at the height of intimidation and unease. And as ever Chris Spencer delivers his terrifying wail in the style of Noddy Holder distorted on a killing spree, busking a dustcart sound of a guitar in accompaniment. The jolt of energy and emotion I experience when listening to Unsane easily matches that of many, more respected noises in the general vicinity of The Jesus Lizard and other true American noise heroes, often far surpassing the fraudulent feeble latecomers to the scene.

Of the tracks on offer here the opener “Against The Grain” sets the tone perfectly with a menacing noir while the sound effect driven “East Broadway” bookends the album in a typically Unsane cinematically way. In between tracks with titles such as “Last Man Standing”, “Disdain” and “Only Pain” perfectly describe the horror on offer while “This Stops At The River” sees the record at its snarling best. This is a proposition that could produce depression, migraine and nausea out of the best of us.

Thesaurus moment: coercion.

Ipecac Recordings


Posted: May 5th, 2007, by JGRAM

Here’s a demo from a new breed you generally expect the Myspace page came before the physical demo. I have to say initially listening to this three track disc I cannot tell/distinguish whether this is actually a solo work or a band. Upon closer investigation of the press release it is a band, probably from the Woking area as there is a local press quote on there from that area (further investigation sees it is actually Guildford).

Taking their name from a political term, these is something very well intentioned about these songs (and the band in general) but ultimately I can’t get away from the gut reaction that what I am listening to is something rather died in the wood, sounding worryingly like acts/bands I sense the Satellite State would spit on me for comparing them to.

The expansive guitar sound of the demo opener taps into something rather Thurston Moore in lofty and laidback mode (whether this is intentional is open for debate) it unfortunately it becomes a little trite like, dare I say, Travis when the vocals kick in, a combination of sounds which ultimately nod towards a sound I would compare to Snow Patrol.

Any band whose press release/point sheet quotes the Wikipedia entry to explain its meaning is one that should really suffer questioning with a raised eyebrow of the most judgemental of kind. Well I visited that webpage and I partly suspect the political mentality of this act is that they would have ideally preferred to calm themselves “Palestine” with one eye to subverting the mainstream with bland guitars. I just don’t understand!

Thesaurus moment: feigned.

Satellite State


Posted: May 3rd, 2007, by Marceline Smith

I love His Dark Materials and having just seen the ‘behind the scenes’ trailer for The Golden Compass it looks like the film version might not be as terrible as feared (though I await Lyra’s accent before maing a firm decision). At this stage it looks better than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (which I thought was fine, if not brilliant). However, the first book has a clear story, isn’t very contentious and is full of armoured bears which should help. I predict that the second film will be okay and the third film will be terrible and a cop out but hopefully so terrible that it stops the Narnia people even considering making The Last Battle into a film.

Anyway, see for yourself.

The Golden Compass – official website. You can make your own daemon! Mine is a spider.

Brought to you by the letter X

Posted: May 2nd, 2007, by Marceline Smith

Have you ever looked at this page which lists all the diskant record reviews alphabetically? I have just updated it and we finally had something to list in the Y section. Now all that eludes us are records by bands beginning with the letter X. It seems a little surprising that in 2 and a half years of review blogging, we’ve never had a band beginning with X. Are they all rubbish or do they not exist at all? X is also the only letter I don’t have anything listed in my iTunes library for.

So, bands beginning with X. Some recommendations please.