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Archive for July, 2008

Synchronise diaries!

Posted: July 5th, 2008, by Marceline Smith

I am back now and have some exciting news. diskant will soon be TEN YEARS OLD and thus we are having an extravaganza on the eighth of the eighth of the eighth. This is not the actual date of diskant’s anniversary as I didn’t think it an event worth noting at the time but it’s the right month and it does tie in nicely with the only other diskant event, our gig on 02/02/02. However, that was a complete coincidence as I only noticed what date it was the other week.

Anyway, it will involve bands, tunes from the glory days of diskant, secret surprise guests*, PIE, free badges, an INDIE TOMBOLA with AMAZING PRIZES** and some other awesome stuff. I will announce more details soon but get your diaries out and make sure you’re in Glasgow that weekend.

*No, The Oedipus will not be reforming. OR WILL THEY? (No)
**If you would like to donate an amazing prize, or just some tat, get in touch.

diskant rewind: Bargain Bin Culture #9

Posted: July 4th, 2008, by Wil Forbis

(Originally posted December 2002)

Bargain Bin Culture by Wil Forbis

“Zarcon, your time has come,” I yelled out as I leapt through the glass canopy of the palace, causing shards of vibrant colors to shatter against the concrete floor. I too soon hit the ground, but managed to mitigate the impact by performing one of my practiced roll and flip routines that could not have been better executed by the finest ninja. Upon completion, I popped up, unslung my M-16, and gazed about the room. The was General Zarcon, the Middle eastern despot I had come to apprehend, surrounded by his two sons, Tweedle and Deedle Zarcon, as well as a host of other official dignitaries and guards. They had not been expecting to see me and were seated at a table with a game of The Justice League Collector’s Edition Monopoly laid upon it. Several of the guards reached for their arms but I coolly popped off a few rounds from the M-16 and they flew back against the wall, cooing out their final death throes. As I watched, several birds descended upon their bodies, plucked out their eyeballs and flew off to feed them to their hungry birdlings.

Leaping forward I…. Oh. I can’t help but notice that confused look on your face dear diskant reader. Is it possible that you haven’t read the two previous episodes of Bargain Bin Culture and need to be brought up to snuff? Well, first of all, shame on you for not partaking in the finest music review column dedicated to the obscure albums and CDs found in the used bins of the finest pawn shops, second hand stores and music boutiques across the land. But I shall allot you one instance of such neglect and fill you in on current events. I had been chosen by the United State’s elite military unit to become the superspy that would invade the camp of Middle Eastern despot and master of arcane music triva, General Zarcon. My first mission had been to approach his daughter, young Sally Zarcon, a probe her for whatever information might prove relevant (like the size of her cervix). Then… stuff happened… and I ended up here, determined to either apprehend the feared General, or spray his cranial matter across the walls before he could unleash his dreaded “LP Bomb” – a nuclear device that would eliminate record LPs worldwide, thus destroying the backbone of western culture. Make sense? Good, let’s get back to the story.

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Get Out

Posted: July 3rd, 2008, by Stan Tontas

Noticed last week that Pita‘s Get Out album has been re-issued by Mego / Editions Mego. While it’s weird that a record label would shift from releasing bold new material to releasing bold old material, it prompted me to get out my own copy, and I am glad.

I remember getting lost in the cover, an obsessive overlay of blue lines that grabbed me like “proper” abstract art never has. I’m not a visual person. The music stands up well. Some avantgarde / noise stuff dates, in a way that pop doesn’t, else it loses its appeal after a while because it turns out to rely on an adrenaline rush / shock of the new for its effect. Here I can’t hear the edges, or any sounds characteristic of 10-year old software presets.

The album orbits the 2nd or 3rd track, where melody and dissonance flirt with each other and fire off flinty sparks in a slow dance before coming together and erupting in a fountain of static wrapping the ghost of a tune. The pattern emerging from chaos for me shares a lot with raw guitar music, specifically the moment towards the end of Sister Ray, where the riff seems to fall apart only to re-emerge, glistening.

It’s a record that for all its metallic sound, feels organic and alive. I think that’s why it’s an avant garde record that it’s actually possible (for me, anyway) to love.

diskant rewind: White Denim

Posted: July 2nd, 2008, by Ollie

I have just realised I once did an email interview with a man who is now in one of my favourite bands. This Talentspotter dates from sometime in early 2004 I think, and Matt is now the rather eyecatching singer in household names Pissed Jeans.

Allentown, PA label White Denim has released some very fine cuts of vinyl by the likes of Nice Nice, Air Conditioning and Barnacled. Perhaps the jewel in the WD crown though, is the frankly spectacular Closet Full of Clothes comp, which features Dischorders Black Eyes, noise/puke boys Hair Police, and many more. Matt Kosloff was recently kind enough to provide the answers to the questions.

Could you start by telling us a little about how you got started, and how long you’ve been running?

I got started in the summer of 2001 with the idea of doing a label. I was always a huge fan of punk vinyl and wanted to start my own thing, basically because it seemed like such a huge source of fun and excitement. It’s all been downhill (or uphill?) from there.

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Stars of the Lid

Posted: July 1st, 2008, by Ollie

Just stumbled across these amazing snaps of an amazing gig I attended last month…

The gig was Texas/LA/Brussels duo Stars of the Lid at St. Giles-in-the-Fields church in London. Prior to this I was feeling pretty down on bands/live music in general, but I left the church on a cloud of delirium. Their set was like seeing your life flash before your eyes in the moment before you die, but stretched out over an hour and a half. Staggeringly beautiful.

What made the gig even more special was Lichens, the solo project of Rob Lowe of 90 Day Men. Real minimal vocal stuff with a bit of guitar that, over 30 minutes, whirled into a climax that left the whole crowd literally speechless as Lowe wandered down the center aisle and out of the door, still whispering his echoed mantra. Since this gig I haven’t been able to get enough of his recorded stuff, specifically Omns and The Psychic Nature of Being, both available from Kranky.

Opening the gig was the ever-wonderful James Blackshaw. He has a new album out on Tompkins Square which, if it’s half as good as the last one, will be a total belter. An incredible evening, and certainly the musical highlight of my year so far.

[Photos courtesy of Adrian Nettleship/Miles of Smiles]

Summer catch-up: Websites

Posted: July 1st, 2008, by Marceline Smith

Datassette.net / Daytrotter / Burning World
I haven’t been buying many records lately, due to extreme skintitude, but I am discovering the joys of free music on the internets.  I don’t go in for gratuitous piracy of full albums by bands who genuinely need the cash, but there are loads of sites from which to download single-track samples of new records, live bootlegs, or music by unsigned or just plain prolific artists who don’t mind giving it away from free.  Some of my favourites:  Datassette.net – Lovely glitchy 8-bit electronica and ingeniously evil mash-ups. Daytrotter – John Peel reincarnated as an American website.  Loads of exclusive sessions to sook down to your hard-drive. Burning World – Awesome MP3 blog.   Individual tunes plus occasional radio sessions from way back when. But visiting any of those, Firefox users shoud install DownThemAll, an exceptionally useful extension that allows you to automatically download all files of a certain type from a given page.  Ideal for grabbing a big handful of MP3s in one go.

Still love Flickr. They added video which means I got to learn to use Movie Maker and make short films about winning at badminton. Here’s a visual tour diary from March 2008 too. I also discovered the joy of FAIL blog – so simple, so effective at raising a laugh from me. Yes, I’m about 5 years late. Story of my life…

JMusic Ignited
I don’t think I would ever have known that bands called Bathtub Shitter and Ogre You Asshole existed were it not for the JMUSIC IGNITED website. And now I’m pissing my money away on JPop CDs on Ebay as a result. [JGram]

I honestly don’t know. But this has reminded me that I haven’t checked out Homestarrunner in years – I’m off to look at that right now. [Simon Minter]

I spend far too much time on Etsy, selling, buying and reading stuff in the forums. The place for handmade stuff, you can buy literally anything on Etsy, from original paintings, zines and handprinted tshirts to cookie dough soap, Super Mario coasters and knitted Yoda earmuffs. I only dabble in Etsy though, saving most of my online shopping love for Shopify, an online shop service so good and run by such awesome people that I made them a cake. Also, no day is complete without documenting every random thought I have via my Twitter. What are YOU doing? [Marceline Smith]

The internet’s so old hat now – hadn’t you heard? [Dave Stockwell]

diskant rewind: Bargain Bin Culture #8

Posted: July 1st, 2008, by Wil Forbis

(Originally posted November 2002)

Bargain Bin Culture by Wil Forbis

KIDS: You have to read the previous episode of Bargain Bin Culture for this to make any sense. Ahhh, who am I kidding? Nothing I write ever makes sense.

Surprisingly, I didn’t even blink when the Air Force Sergeant pushed me out of the airplane into an open freefall in the dark Middle Eastern night. I had several minutes to waste before I’d be below radar level and able to open my ‘chute, so I calmly reminisced on the events that had led me to this moment. I’d been tapped by the CIA to infiltrate the camp of the famed General Zarcon, a Middle Eastern despot set on worldwide domination. Whereas many other agents had failed to integrate themselves into Zarcon’s closely knit group of advisors, they had not had my secret weapon: an omnipotent command of pointless record trivia. You see, Zarcon demanded that his cadre of serviceman be able to answer any query he proffered about obscure musical groups both past and present. As the United States leading expert in such matters, I alone would be able to work my way into his camp.

However, my task at hand was a mere prelude to my final mission. Today I was assigned to sneak into an encampment containing General Zarcon’s beautiful daughter, Sally Zarcon, and do what I could to pump her for information. All in all, it seemed like a pretty cushy gig: parachute into a well-guarded fortress and convince the resident beauty to give up her allegiances to her father and provide me with whatever information might prove useful. Nothing I couldn’t handle in my sleep. After all I was an amazingly talented super-spy, I…

Egads! I’d reminisced so long I’d forgotten to pull the cord on my parachute. Now it was too late. The ground rushed up to meet me, closer, closer!

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