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Archive for June, 2008

Errors album launch gig thing

Posted: June 15th, 2008, by Marceline Smith

Have you heard the new Errors album, It’s Not Something But It Is Like Whatever? It’s very good. It came out last week and they launched it with a gig at the new Stereo on Friday which I managed to drag myself out of the house to attend (and got the train in for free – in your face, SPT!)

First on were Gummy Stumps who I had not heard of before though I recognised their faces. By half way through their first song I hated them and wanted to kill them. By the third song I realised their frontman was the greatest loud drunken shouting man since at least The Magnificents and started to enjoy myself, People Being Loud and Ridiculous being one of my favourite genres. Their songs consisted of about 5 guitarists playing completely different things (impressive, as they only actually had one guitarist), some kind of groove, and aforesaid man shouting stuff off a sheet of paper he was holding. I’m not sure what he was shouting but he seemed to think it vital. He finished each song by bawling THANK YOU at us. I’m not sure I want to hear anything they might put on record, or even see them play again, but I’m glad they exist. I do think they have missed their point in time, which was surely to have a shoddily packaged 7″ out on Slampt but there you are. I’m not even going to look up any information about them on the internets because I DON’T WANT TO KNOW. THANK YOU.

After that were Copy Haho who are fast becoming my third, or maybe fourth, favourite band in Scotland. Hailing from my old neck of the woods in the North East of Scotland, they have that dogged will to succeed, or at least escape, that you often find in bands from small places. However, it’s coupled with youthful enthusiasm and a nice mix of self-assurance and humour that makes them very lovable. Oh yes, and songs. Really good wordy songs with hooks and noise and energy and structure (lucky you can listen to them on their Myspace). Despite a few sound issues, they were on good form and I hope to see them getting a lot more attention soon. Though not before I get round to sending them some questions for diskant.

After a short DJ set of bangin’ techno from Wee Stuart Mogwai it was time for Errors, who have definitely been getting a lot of much-deserved attention lately. I must have seen them play about 7 or 8 times over the last three years and it was almost like seeing a whole new band. Most of this was due to the excellent sound – 90% of Errors gigs for me have been spent wishing the soundman would turn ths synths up and thus feeling unsatisfied. This time it was perfect, making the songs sound as they should but bigger and louder and more fluid. The reason I like Errors so much that I turn into a girly puddle of goo is that they literally do sound like all my favourite bands squashed together into some kind of super-awesome ultraband. When I’m Evil Dictator of the World, Errors will be my kryptonite. They have the heart-swelling melancholy of Hood and Labradford, the dynamics of Mogwai and all the giddy joys of those random faceless techno mp3s I obsess over for 3 weeks and then drop. Not to mention synths that go URRRRRRR (my favourite sound in the world). Anyway, enough about me. Errors have been touring a lot and seem to have finally figured out this whole live thing, being both tight and fun to watch. The old stuff has been glitched up and strung out, and the new stuff worked in seamlessly and confidently. By the time they were dragged back on for an encore, the crowd were so delirous with glee, they jumped at the invite to come up on stage and dance and the whole thing ended in some kind of non-stop party wagon fun times orgy, soundtracked by Pump, a ridiculously amazing 7 minute showcase of everything good about electronic music, and the highlight of the album.

This is where I need a clever sign off. I don’t have one. Just get the album.

diskant rewind: Bargain Bin Culture #3

Posted: June 14th, 2008, by Wil Forbis

(Originally posted April 2002)

Bargain Bin Culture by Wil Forbis

Many a day will pass where I’ll be reclining in the Secret Diskant HQ (It’s location is so secret I can’t reveal to you where it is, but I will say it has a great view of the Eiffel tower) and young pups such as Greg Kitten or Ollie Simpson will approach me and say, “How do you do it, Wil? How do you get all the chicks? The birds go ape around you!” (I dunno how they found out about my dalliance with the London Zoo’s female gorilla, but that’s beside the point.) “Well, boys,” I’ll sagely reply, while taking a puff from my opium pipe, “You have to dig the right type of music. Girls don’t give a damn about all that indie-noise you waste your time with. You wanna know what gets chicks soggy? Fusion!” “Fusion?!” Greg and Ollie will say in disbelief. “That’s right, lads” I’ll say. “Nothin’ makes a woman hard like a twenty minute moog solo. Or a bass riff harmonized with a ten piece horn section. Or songs with titles like “The Struggle of the Turtle to the Sea, Pt. II*” “Gosh Wil,” Greg and Ollie will reply. “That makes perfect sense! Perhaps you could provide us with a brief review as to what you see as being some of the key fusion albums that can easily be pertained in the used record bins of your native America.”

Perhaps, I could, boys… Perhaps, I could…. Oh, you mean right now!

Continue reading »

Chart Show indie charts

Posted: June 12th, 2008, by Marceline Smith

Damn you, Sweeping The Nation. A mention of The Chart Show’s indie chart run-downs of the nineties and two hours later I am still watching them on YouTube. There are millions of them and I pretty much remember every single one. As a teenager, my life pretty much revolved around Wednesday mornings when the Melody Maker/Sounds/NME came out and every third Saturday morning when The Chart Show did its run down of the Indie charts and the thrill of wondering which two videos they would play. The early days were the best, when at least half the chart entries would be played over a dodgy press photo and even the two videos would be ridiculously obscure. Below is an amazing example where the two videos shown are My Bloody Valentine and Spacemen 3, on a prime-time Saturday morning TV show. Sadly the Bruce Willis video afterwards is cut off after a few seconds.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSR0-X6nwpA[/youtube]

Of course, the best part was the shoddy graphics and terrible ‘facts’ about the bands which became increasingly ludicrous. As the years progressed, the graphics improved, Britpop arrived and indie got more mainstream losing some of the thrill as the #1 video could just as likely be played in the ‘proper’ top 10 later in the program. It seems like an age ago, in these days of MySpace and Amazon. I’m glad I no longer have to buy all my records from adverts in the back of the NME or drag a tape recorder around the house to try and get a decent radio signal for John Peel because we didn’t have FM radio yet up North.

Of course, I can’t finish without mentioning the never-bettered Snub TV. It’s just too good to know where to start so just watch them all. Like you’ve got anything better to do.

diskant rewind: Bargain Bin Culture #2

Posted: June 10th, 2008, by Wil Forbis

(Originally posted February 2002)

Bargain Bin Culture by Wil Forbis

So dig this – I’m sitting back in the Wil-crib, grinding up my new batch of Tylonel 3 for a quick snort, when I get an urgent e-mail from Diskant content producer, Simon Minter, saying he needs a new diskant column “now, as in ‘pronto’ fuckface!” Apparently the theme for all the columns this month is “the ten best releases this year.” (Or maybe it was “five best” or “hundred best” .whatever, I’m doing ten.) Now right off the bat, that conflicts with the general concept of my column which is to review obscure record classics that have ended up in the used bins of record stores.

Obviously, one year is too short a time for someone to release a record and have it end up in the bargain slots (unless they’re Meatloaf) so I plaintively pleaded with Simon to give me some leeway – “What if I reviewed the ten best used albums I purchased this past year? Is that good enough for you?” Well, ol’ Simon demurely let it pass and I set out to gather my trophies.

Did I actually buy all these albums in the past year? Hell, I dunno. I can barely remember last week. But I could have, and that’s what’s important!

Now when you’re talking about used records, “best” is a subjective term, Granted, a lot of the albums I picked up this year, really were good. I mean, they sounded good, they had good lyrics, they conveyed whatever immutable quality it is we ascribe to music that we call “good.” But some of these albums were “good” in the sense they were bad. I mean, really fucking bad. If you look at some of my choices below you’ll see what I mean. Do I really think “Oral Roberts: On Country Roads” was a good album? Hell no, I think it’s a piece of crap and I’ll probably never listen to it again. But as a testament to the absolute ludicrousness of decades past, “Oral Robert: On Country Roads” seriously blasts the competition. As such, I tried to include a little of both kinds of “good” in this list – I’ll let you figure out which is which.

Continue reading »

diskant construction update

Posted: June 10th, 2008, by Marceline Smith

Sorry for all the banging and broken stuff around here. I have now fixed up the Talentspotter section into the new layout after it all went very screwy this morning. As I cut and pasted, I found myself re-reading a few interviews – here’s a few that caught my eye and are definitely worth a quick read:

Lords in full on gibberish mode and Gay Against You in crazy/intelligent modes
Pickled Egg and Gringo Records on the ins and outs of running a label
Foals before they even had any photos, plus The Young Knives and Youthmovies before they were famous.

I am now inspired to actually get interviews completed with all my favourite new bands. Also, who should we be featuring next?

diskant rewind: Bargain Bin Culture #1

Posted: June 7th, 2008, by Wil Forbis

(Originally posted December 2001)

Bargain Bin Culture by Wil Forbis

So this was it… this was supposed to be my big break. When diskant contacted me about writing a music column, I figured I’d hit the big time. No longer would I be a part time loser with a full time absinthe addiction, travelling the streets, forlorn and dejected.. By wielding the vast power and clout that came with an organization such as diskant, I’d be on the inside track of the music business. No longer would I have to stand in 100-person lines to watch the big acts; instead, the bouncers would simply wave me through. No longer would I have to hide in the bass drum to get backstage, I’d simply flash my diskant badge and I’d be smoking crack with Axl Rose and Dr. Dre. (On that note: Marceline, where is my diskant badge? You said you’d mailed it weeks ago.) THIS WAS THE BIG TIME, BABY.

The problem came when I sat down to write. As a writer, you’re not so much a self-motivated creative force as you are an ANTENNA TO THE UNIVERSE. You sit down, tune in to the cosmic A.M. and spit out what the great Gods talk at you. Unfortunately the Gods were about as quiet as Harpo in the Marx Bros. films. I just couldn’t get the juices flowing. It seemed a simple enough task – all I had to do was lay down my thoughts on the music of the day. (Sure, most music of today sucks, as did most music of yesterday and will most music of tomorrow, but there’s still plenty of chill stuff to hip people to.) It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say about it, it was just… it had all been said before. So, I was sitting there, feeling the rage of literary impotency wash over me and my eyes desperately cast themselves about my bedroom for inspiration. Could that pile of dirty socks speak to me about the state of modern music? For the first time, they were quiet. What about my collection of 1960s erotica? It too held its tongue. But then my eye settled on the darkest corner of my room and Shiva, Jesus, Elvis and all the other Gods of inspiration spoke to me. In that corner, you see, lay my record collection… my beautiful record collection… comprised mostly of obscure audio treats I’d picked up at a variety of pawnshops, garage sales and home invasions throughout the years. These records had eased the pain of many a lonesome night and spoke singularly about me – about my tastes and my ideas. Who else would have an album by the 1970’s progressive rock band, Kayak, next to the Broadway soundtrack for “A Chorus Line.” Or the Brothers Johnson’s 70’s funk masterpiece, “Light Up The Night,” sleeve to sleeve with Robert Goulet’s “Summer Sounds.” None other than little old me, that’s who! And I realized that I finally had a tangible theme I could work with! By examining records like the vinyl that lay resting amongst the filth-strewn contents of my room I could provide a look at the history of rock and roll. Because the albums that end up in the used bins and pawnshops truly are a genre unto themselves. They’re the one hit wonders and the no-hit flounders. They represented lifetimes of rock and roll dreams gone up in smoke due to record company bankruptcies, changing fads, lack of talent or plain ol’ tragedy. These records were the grimy old men who sit at the end of the bar… and at last someone would tell their story!

Continue reading »

EBay

Posted: June 6th, 2008, by Chris Summerlin

Amazing!

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=160246683389&fromMakeTrack=true

Plus, strange nudity trend:

http://www.snopes.com/photos/risque/kettle.asp

NEW NEW NEW

Posted: June 6th, 2008, by Marceline Smith

Things are finally happening again at diskant, you’ll be pleased to hear. Our first new feature in about 8 months is now online; a round-up of our fun times at All Tomorrow’s Parties (curated by Explosions in the Sky). There are a few more articles and interviews in the pipeline so hopefully we’ll be back to some kind of regular schedule soon.

It is diskant’s ten year anniversary this summer, so to celebrate I will be pulling some stuff out of the vast diskant archives and making it available again. We’ll be starting with a series of columns that Wil Forbis wrote for us a few years ago – a hilarious set of reviews of forgotten and unloved bargain bin classics. 3 of these columns actually feature in his awesome new book so consider it a taster for new readers. I’ll be posting one or two columns a week here on the blog and there’s plenty more good stuff to come after that.

I’m also pulling the main content of diskant (articles, interview, Talentspotter etc.) into the new diskant style but expect this to take a while. There is a new features index which will be updated as the new pages are created. The other sections will follow suit, eventually.

Artists versus writers

Posted: June 4th, 2008, by Stan Tontas

Not long after writing my rant about Michel Houellebecq, I picked up (for pennies) a book of essays (Some Recent Attacks) by James Kelman. He’s the author that best transmits Glasgow’s voice, but only famous elsewhere for being the Booker Prize winner who says “fuck” a lot.

One essay, Artists and Value, argues that stereotype and cliché are marks of a bad writer. Of course. But he goes further, making the connection between bad writing and bad attitudes:

“One thing you do find is that many writers who are described as “good” aren’t that good at all, not when you examine their work closely (…) the clichés, the shopsoiled phrases, the timeworn description; basic technical stuff. What it usually signifies is a striaghtforward lack of interest in, or awareness of, particulars. They don’t reach the concrete. (…) And by quick extension of that:

“Everybody on the broo is lazy. Jews are greedy. Black people are criminals. Red haired people are bad tempered. Irish people are ignorant. Peasants are hamfisted. Glaswegian working class males are drunken wife-beaters.

(…) Writers who use too many clichés or timeworn phrases or shopsoiled figures of speech either just don’t care or they’re being lazy.”

And why are we told that certain writers are “good”?

“In our society it isn’t only works of art that have a value placed on them by external forces, so do the actual creators themselves, the artists. The value is economic although it occasionally attempts to masquerade as aesthetic, and received wisdom brooks no distinction.”

JK Rocking! Best £1.50 I’ve spent this year. He wrote this ~15 years ago and it’s still both true and hardly recognised.

LOVVERS – Laughing Man (7”, Jonson Family Records)

Posted: June 3rd, 2008, by JGRAM

What was it that prompted me to fork out £3.49 for a seven inch single in this day and age?  One thing may have been the classily twisted cover art straight from the school of Raymond Pettibon displaying the vivid attitude that accompanied Big Black’s Songs About Fucking LP sleeve.  Perhaps it was the label it is released on, the wonderful Jonson Family Records who I had vague dealings with straight back to the first Stanton single released by them up to the Ten Minutemen vinyls and the Peel session(s).  Maybe it is the autographs and signatures on the back of the sleeve making it prime for Ebay!  Perhaps it is the jukebox hole in the centre.  Regardless they got my money.

Eclipsing all these elements however are the dirty sounding guitars and bouncing stride of confidence that accompanies all of the above.  With a set of influences that read straight out of my shelves/collection, here is truly one of the last remaining independent releases you will see in stores

In a time when guitars no longer whistle or scream, as inept guitar players take over the shop and make it boring, here is a house for the estranged and desperate, a tune so lumbering it actually helps to be obese to enjoy it.

The influences of this band are said to be Sub Pop grunge and I can hear that in a dirge that reminds me of the Thrown Ups and their ilk, the less conventional bands on the label during that prized era, the fallen heroes.  What the record reminds me of most are the early lo-fi punk songs of the Beastie Boys from the Some Old Bullshit compilation, an association in sound that is most welcomed.

And as a bonus you get a band member that looks like a younger version of the dad from Malcolm In The Middle.  Lovvers have everything and more!

Thesaurus moment: BBW.

Lovvers

Jonson Family Records