diskant is an independent music community based in Glasgow, Scotland and we have a whole team of people from all over the UK and beyond writing about independent music and culture, from interviews with new and established bands and labels to record and fanzine reviews and articles on art, festivals and politics. There's over ten years of content here so dig in!

 Subscribe in a reader

Recent Interviews

diskant Staff Sites

More Sites We Like

Archive for July, 2008

diskant rewind update

Posted: July 18th, 2008, by Marceline Smith

Bad news everyone!

– that was the last of the old columns from Wil Forbis. I hope you enjoyed them. If you want more, remember Wil’s book, Acid Logic: A Decade of Humorous Writing on Pop Culture, Trash Cinema and Rebel Music, is available now and is jolly good. He also writes regularly at Acid Logic, of course.

Good news everyone!

– Look out for an interview with Wil about his book, website and exciting life very soon. He might also be popping back here to blog now and again. Woo!

– We have a new set of old columns ready for you, this time by Chris Summerlin. I’ve been dipping into them and they get funnier and more enraged by the week so keep reading. There will be a new one every Tuesday and Friday for a couple of months. This ties in nicely with Chris gallivanting off to Australia later this month so you’ll hardly have time to miss him. First one up sometime today.

diskant party update

Posted: July 17th, 2008, by Marceline Smith

diskant 080808 gig poster

Poster time! Sadly we were too late for Summerlin poster action so flag-waving cupcakes is where it’s at. Who doesn’t like happy party cupcakes?

I have also made some diskant and pie-related badges which we’ll be giving away FREE until they run out so get there early. If you miss out, or can’t make it to Glasgow, you can buy a set right here for just £1.50.

diskant badges

Are you excited yet? More info here of course.

Name that tune

Posted: July 17th, 2008, by Stan Tontas

If someone who knows more than me about riot grrrl-y tunes could tell me what the song on this video is it would make me happy.


TONESUCKER – Slaughterhouse (Onoma Research)

Posted: July 15th, 2008, by Pascal Ansell

How many albums do you know of that were recorded in an abattoir? The noise/drone duo Terry Burrows and John Bowers answer that question under the name of Tonesucker, whose 2006 album ‘Slaughterhouse’ captures the intense claustrophobia of a filthy parade through an abattoir.

The album opens with a monolithic guitar chord repeated every twenty seconds, the track’s title ‘Hook’ ominously punning on the portent of the horror that the listener / cow awaits. As the song develops there are some wonderfully weird guitar crackles that begin to burn then gently fizz out – just a sample of the great tones and effects the two guitarists Bowers and Burrows achieve in this album. One of the most nerve-wracking songs imaginable is ‘Crush’: a glacier-slow raising of pitch and tension, which achieved (I would guess) by gradually moving a slide up the guitar’s neck. On ‘Slice’ the duo treat us to hypnotic wavelength vibrations – that underlying hum synonymous with Earth and Sunn O))).

It’s amazing to think ‘Slaughterhouse’ was recorded with just guitars (plus pedals and amps) – the array of sounds squeezed out of a couple of the instruments is immense. It’s an incredibly intense listen packed full of triumphant droning and delicious noise. According to Terry the final product of ‘Slaughterhouse’ insisted on “tortuous amounts of audio sculpting” – all worthwhile in a particularly effective four songs.

Listening to this album makes you wish there was a drummer somewhere in the mix, and lo, Tonesucker have done the right thing. Drummer Steven Elsey joined earlier this year, and the band will surely benefit from this addition.

Tonesucker Myspace

Pascal Ansell

diskant rewind: Bargain Bin Culture #12

Posted: July 15th, 2008, by Wil Forbis

(Originally posted January 2004)

Bargain Bin Culture by Wil Forbis

The Fantastic Forbis world of Film, Part 2

May (dir: Lucky McKee)

May is a horror movie for people who don’t like horror movies.

To be fair, it’s also a horror movie for people who do like horror movies, which makes it a horror movie for pretty much everyone, and not to be missed.

The set up is as follows. May Canady (Angela Bettis) is a socially awkward young woman with a wandering eye (corrected by glasses and contacts) and a penchant for talking to the ceramic doll given to her as a child. Having grown up with no real friends, May’s interactions with others are strained, often to a comical degree, and I found myself watching her with equal parts pity and bemusement. Having recently passed into the realm of womanhood, May becomes attracted to Adam (Jeremy Sisto), a mechanic whose shaggy mane and blue-collar clothing make him look like an amalgamation of all the members of The Strokes. In particular, May is fascinated by Adam’s hands, bringing to mind the Seinfeld episode in which George becomes a hand model (a reference that’s vaguely alluded to in the film.) Adam initially finds a certain charm in May’s naiveté and the two hit it off. But he soon notices a darker side to the waifish ingénue’s behavior and spurns her, sending her reeling into the arms of Polly, a lesbian cad and co-worker of May’s played by Anna Faris (Scary Movie).

As May is exposed to both the pleasures and perfidy that are inherent in modern sexual politics, she becomes more and more unhinged, and her psychological disintegration is represented by the slow cracking of the case in which her favorite doll is ensconced. Finally, May snaps and decides that since everyone has at least one ‘perfect’ part, she’ll take the best parts of everyone and combine them into a ‘perfect’ friend.

What will non-horror fans like about May? For starters, it’s original. May doesn’t go anywhere near the predictable path of a slowly mounting body count that most horror flicks follow, and instead looks to May’s disturbing inner battles to create tension. And cinematography buffs will appreciate May‘s eclectic angles and set design. While I’ve read reviews that compare the film to the work of Italian horrormeister, Dario Argento, I found myself more reminded of Cronenberg (The Brood, Naked Lunch) on his good days. May also has a contemporary feel, showing young adults who have a modern set of sexual mores as opposed to the pre-HIV mantra of ‘Let’s fuck anything’ that most accessory slasher movie characters seem to inherit. (This is may be the first horror film truly aimed at Generation Y).

Finally, May has an intellectual girth that would appeal to highbrow viewers – it’s a reflection on the lonely individuals who fall through the cracks of society yet yearn for normal interaction. But lowbrow horror buffs (a group to which I proudly claim membership) will find plenty to like too. Though the bloodshed doesn’t start until late in the game, it’s by no means sparse. And director Lucky Mckee proves more than capable of creating an unsettling mood throughout the film, imbuing the viewer with the notion that something’s wrong here, even if they can’t quite put their finger on it. Combine all that with – praise Jesus! – lesbian scenes with the divinely beautiful Anna Faris, and May definitely passes the mustard for the Fangoria set.

This is not to say May is perfect. I found the title character’s transition from timid geek to murderous chick a bit too sudden. (Though Angela Bettis certainly comes across as a capable actress – it’s more a flaw of editing). And the final concept of May Frankensteining together a perfect person wasn’t particularly intriguing.

Nonetheless, you could do a lot worse. The film is an excellent example of a self-actualized voice sneaking from the sidelines of cinema and using the limitation of a low budget as an impetus to get creative. The film easily trounces such recent genre offerings as Darkness Falls and Fear Dot Com, both of which operated with bigger stars and greater FX budget. With a little luck, the creative forces behind May can go far in the movie world.

diskant rewind: Bargain Bin Culture #11

Posted: July 11th, 2008, by Wil Forbis

(Originally posted October 2003)

Bargain Bin Culture by Wil Forbis

[A note from your editor…] Wil has been a busy man recently, and so you have been neglected from reading his deranged columns of late. I assure you that he is on the case and will be submitting new things very soon, but for now, may I present you with a couple of movie reviews which Mr Forbis has written in one of his ‘other lives’? You might not feel that these are strictly relevant in this day and age (ie, the films are quite old), but hey, that’s all you’re getting. Enjoy!

The Fantastic Forbis world of Film

Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn (dir: Sam Raimi)

Recently a friend of mine satiated my quest for 80’s kiddie porn by lending me a copy of the Molly Ringwald classic, 16 Candles. Upon its return my friend insinuated that I should reply to the favor by lending her a copy of one on the many fine films in my video collection. “How about Evil Dead II?” “I asked. “It’s just like 16 Candles, but with more flying zombies!”

In truth, Evil Dead II – Dead By Dawn is undoubtedly one of the greatest films ever made. Directed by Sam Raimi (Of current A Simple Plan fame) and starring his childhood friend, Bruce Campbell (a modern day Buster Keaton) the film is essentially a remake of the first Evil Dead with a much bigger budget. Really more of a comedy than a horror flick (albeit a comedy where all the characters either die or are hideously tortured) the plot ghosts the story of its predecessor – young people arrive in spooky house, summon forces of evil and then wackiness ensues. A lot of what keeps the film becoming a cliché of the Friday the 13th part 7 variety is Campbell’s wonderful overacting; he seems to have a continual body tic that offsets his “boy next door” good looks with spastic twitching. He then proceeds to heighten that effect with quietly mumbled curses in the flavor of Elmer Fudd.

Also impressive is the pure physical abuse Campbell takes during the film: he’s thrown from a car window, repeatedly smashed into trees, maniacally saws off his own demon-processed hand and has enough dishware smashed against his head to knock out Iron Mike. One gets the feeling that if Campbell wasn’t available for the role it would have gone to Roger Rabbit.

Despite the underlying farcical nature of the film, there is a moody eerieness. Raimi is one of the few directors who can use a fog machine in a way that doesn’t remind you of a 1989 Whitesnake concert and also has some patented violent camerawork that continually disorients the viewer and creates the illusion of panic. His “rushing along the ground” shot that represents an evil force we never really see is perhaps the most instantly recognizable and identifying camera shot of any director. (Though I just recently read the idea wasn’t Raimi’s but some forgettable AD or something.) There’s also some great claymation work right out of the Ray Harryhausen catalogue that it its own way seems far more impressive than the computer generated effects of films such as Deep Impact or Jurassic Park. You can see the elbow grease that goes into claymation; it’s strikingly obvious that the only way to create such effects is to diligently manipulate clay and camera for what must be days. The purity of the effort overcomes the obvious limitations on realism.

So the film moves along, humorously eliminating its human characters while Bruce Campbell’s alter ego, Ash, progresses from a nervous simp, to a kick-ass, battle ready simp. The plot leads directly into what was essentially the third Evil Dead, Army of Darkness. All three films are vital to any connoisseur of cult, but I do believe it is the second Evil Dead that stands the strongest. Evil Dead II also made a minor contribution to pop culture that I never really noticed until a visit to my friend Dan’s House, this past summer. “You know,” I mentioned. “I don’t think you really saw zombies with eyeballs until Evil Dead II” (A large grinning and eyeballed, zombie stares out from the EDII poster.) And this is true. The old style zombies of the Christopher Lee mummy films to even Ed Wood’s work have no apparent vision devices. But a few years after Evil Dead II, films like Return of the Living Dead (another classic, the film that got me into Punk Rock) or Scooby Doo on Zombie Island appeared, featuring zombies with full ocular abilities. I know many of you have often wondered when the undead first appeared with functioning eyeballs and hopefully this goes a long way towards answering your question.

Continue reading »

Last.fm makes musicians scrobble for pennies

Posted: July 11th, 2008, by Stan Tontas

Sarky IT news site the Register has an interesting article about Last.fm and independent labels. Apparently the site (now owned by the massive CBS) that used to be cuddly little Audioscrobbler isn’t passing much of anything on to the artists whose music it streams, despite shouting about how cool it is.

Just 10% of advertising revenue goes into the musicians’ pot, not any of the subscription revenue. Maybe it’s that I’m running AdBlock but I don’t remember seeing any adverts on last.fm.

The article continues an amusing analogy between “web2.0” sites and sharecropping, where lots of people do work on a small scale while one big site (i.e. landlord) creams off the revenue. It’s all about the Benjamins, no matter how many beanbags you have in your office…

23 Nuggets of Nintendo

Posted: July 8th, 2008, by Marceline Smith

While I was in Bangkok (did I mention that?), I purchased a handy memory card for my DS from a nice man in a shopping centre. To my complete and utter surprise, officer, it came complete with 23 full DS games! It was almost like I’d chosen a bunch of games I liked out of a book and then other similar games had been added til the card was full. Amazing.

Anyway, I thought I would give my opinions on these games in a series of posts. Probably not all 23 as a) some I already own and babbled about ages ago, b) the chances of me ever getting bored enough to play Nintendogs or The Urbz are pretty slim, and c) one of them is Tetris.

Pokemon Link
There’s a DASTARDLY PLOT afoot and only you can save the poor Pokemon by using a scientific breakthrough known as ‘lining up 4 matching Pokemon so they disappear into the transporter’. Yeah yeah, it’s a puzzle game featuring Pokemon in a sickeningly cute style. However, this is my favourite kind of puzzle game – one that has an Endless mode that you can literally play until your fingers fall off. And then some – after reaching even my limit of repetitive task fun, I stopped pressing any buttons and it still managed to play itself for a good 5 minutes before the screen filled up. It also has a cool RULES MODE where you have to clear the stages in the correct and logical way, not just by randomly stabbing the stylus around in a panicky way until it all eventually works out, as is my normal method. It’s never going to replace Zoo Keeper but it’ll make a change sometimes.

Mario Kart DS
Okay, who feels like an idiot now. Yes, me. Why the hell didn’t I buy this when it came out? This is literally the best Mario Kart ever. Not only does it have ace new tracks, actually cool new items and a fun mission mode but it also has a full set of 16 retro tracks straight from the SNES, GC, GBA and N64 games. I nearly cried. I pretty much unlocked the whole thing at 5am the other day with jetlag. SO YAY! Wifi play anyone?

Sonic Rush Adventure
Fascinating fact – the first console I owned was a Game Gear and I only ever needed 3 games for it – Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic 2 and Sonic and Tails. I could play those over and over and over.  Sonic Rush Adventure is clearly no Sonic The Hedgehog but it’s still fun running around levels doing exactly what Sonic always does. Sadly the developers seem to have decided this was becoming too much fun and so they broke it up with the lamest “adventure” story I have ever frantically button pushed my way through in my entire life. I just spent about 30 minutes tediously flamethrowing rocks only for Tails to pipe up that he can’t see any island out here and we should just head back to the village where he can tell me I should really get on the boat and go look for that island. ARGH.

Bubble Bobble Revolutions
I got confused and thought this was Bust-a-Move. Boy, was I disappointed.

Look look here!

Posted: July 8th, 2008, by Marceline Smith

New things!

– An interview with everyone’s favourite pixie-voiced geometry-loving indiemetallers BATTLES which took place in their chalet at ATP while watching King of Kong. They were surprisingly good fun and the interview is well worth a read. Go go here >>

– Narrowly escaping the fate of being branded the new “Oedipus demo tape” in diskant’s useless slacker hall of fame, Glasgow’s FINDO GASK finally turn in some answers for a Talentspotter profile. They made The Guardian so giddy they both used the word “ecclesiastical” and compared them to Aled Jones. Read read here >>

– I can also announce that Findo Gask will be one of the exciting live bands at the diskant 080808 birthday extravaganza, along with diskant’s own electronic pioneers Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element. Everything you need to know is on the 080808 page of INFORMATION. Party party here >>

Okay, I need a lie down now. ENJOY.

diskant rewind: Bargain Bin Culture #10

Posted: July 8th, 2008, by Wil Forbis

(Originally posted April 2003)

Bargain Bin Culture by Wil Forbis

I feel that over the course of my tenure writing this enlightening musical column I have been on a quest. I have been searching for a style, a format that could easily support my acerbic observations and all-knowing wit. For a while I was doing the “ten reviews in one column” format. Then I switched over to the “reviewing music in the context of a greater storyline” concept that plagued my last three columns. But lately, I’ve felt the need for the change.

I brought up this desire during my latest meeting with diskant taskmaster, Gen. Simon Minter, while we shared a pipe at the local opium den.

“Minty,” I said, “It’s time for something new. Something to shake things up.”

“What did you have in mind?” he asked between demure puffs.

“What if, instead of reviewing musical albums that can be found in the bargain bins of pawn shops and used record stores, I began reviewing the vast collection of homosexual child erotica I have pertained from the Internet?”

“Don’t think I can sell that to Marcy,” Minty replied. “What else you got?”

“Well,” I said. “I suppose I could usher in a new format where I review one record per column, starting with my truck stop purchased copy of ‘Sony Music Special Products: Blue Oyster Cult’?”

“Tell me more about the child erotica,” Minty opined.

Fortunately, cooler, less opiated heads prevailed, and I herald my new, one album per column format. Men stare in awe! Women swoon! Children squeal! (Whoops – make that “Men stare in awe! Women swoon.” The “children squeal” part was from one of my homosexual child erotica videotapes.)

Continue reading »