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Archive for September, 2008

Mid Nineties Gold

Posted: September 30th, 2008, by Chris Summerlin

You Tube Gold, having something of a nostalgia-trip today but how cracking are some of these tunes?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9of3sefxY4[/youtube]

 

SCARCE – ALL SIDEWAYS

Love this song. The guitar is so bendy. I think I saw Scarce once but unfortunately my brain is shot through like Swiss Cheese and I can’t decide if I dreamt it or not. Phil Welding swears he saw Page & Plant play the Ballroom in Nottingham and there is NO WAY that happened. Mind you, I only know I saw the Jesus Lizard because I can pick me out in the footage from TV show The Beat.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnQ0mUoyKCg[/youtube]

 

SENSELESS THINGS – HOLD IT DOWN (Live)

If these guys had done less speed and cider and slowed it down they’d have sounded like Neil Young. Of course that means I wouldn’t have dug them in 1993.  More from The Word in a moment…

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diskant rewind: Mild Head Injury #11

Posted: September 30th, 2008, by Simon Minter

(Originally posted August 2002)

Mild Head Injury by Simon Minter

Quick! I ran out of time to get a proper, well thought out, carefully structured and reasonably argued music column together, so I’ve instead thrown together a collection of quickly dashed off, barely thought through first impressions of a few CDs and records which have been passing through my crappy stereo of late. Now that’s professionalism.

Study of the Lifeless
CD, American Pop Project AMPOP207CD

Nasty, nasty cover; as if the sleeve of My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Loveless’ has been scanned in badly, and the contrast has been turned way up in Photoshop. And that’s a shame, because this album of shoegazey-style atmospheric music generally hits the spot in a ‘more upbeat Slowdive’ sort of way, with lots of blurry guitars and distant dual vocals. It falls short of the great heights of any MBV, or even Ride’s ‘Nowhere’ (probably because of the lack of aggression featured in much of those two examples), but it’s certainly a pleasing way to pass the time. >>>

Sterling Roswell
Girl from Orbit CD single
Mint/Jungle Records

Sterling Roswell used to be known as Rosco and used to be in Spacemen 3, which means he’s always going to be a stand-up kinda guy to some degree. This is his debut single as SR and sounds like the Shadows duelling with the Shadows of Knight in exceptionally slow motion, in an echo chamber, on the set of Battlestar Galactica, using instruments left behind by Phil Spector several decades earlier. And it can’t be made any clearer than that. It’s somewhat boring, though, strangely enough. Maybe he should have called himself Spacemen 1 and joined the ever-popular tribute band circuit. >>>

Sonic Youth
Murray Street CD
Geffen

On the Sonic Youth website at the moment it proudly features the quote ‘…their most accessible album in years’, which to me seems very wrong. Because whilst ‘Murray Street’ is a good album, full of beautiful melody and the usual intertwining/ meandering guitar lines which have become familiar over Sonic Youth’s recent couple of albums, it also leaves me wishing, to some degree, that they’d go back to their mid-80s peak of weirdosity and rock out in a goofy stylee some more. I love them, everybody knows I love them, and I’ll play this a lot. But not as much as I play ‘Sister’, ‘Evol’ or ‘Daydream Nation’. >>>

Misty’s Big Adventure
I am cool with a capital C CD single
Awkward Records AWKD003

Wow, this is weird, the press release drops all kind of names – Broadcast, Pram, Plone, Bentley Rhythm Ace – but this sounds like one of those literary style bands in the vein of Tindersticks, Jack and various things which used to come out on Setanta. It’s all eclectic instruments, self-consciously ‘knowing’ lyrics, pin-sharp production and arrangement, and I-just-wasn’t-made-for-these-times obliqueness. That’s all well and good, but music along these lines sometimes has a strange habit of making me angry… but I don’t want to burden you with my hangups. >>>

Phlegm, Telemak, Electroscope, Stasola, Francois Michaud
Lykill Records sampler CD

NOW! Watch me fit in detailed and explanatory descriptions of the three different records showcased on this CD. The Phlegm/Telemak 12″ is three tracks from the former (from soporific repetitive, wonderful intensity to angry, dazed riffing) and one from the latter (Rachel’s meets GYBE! in a random way). Electroscope and Stasola share a 7″ with scary-childrens’-books-stream of consciousness music on one side and Can-styled deranged and stretched out blues on the other. Francois Michaud and Stasola on another 7″ get all ‘le drum et le bass’ on your ass. This is a great CD. >>>

Primal Scream
Evil Heat LP
Columbia 508923 1

God bless you Primal Scream for sounding like a combination of early Pink Floyd, gospel choirs, Suicide, The Byrds, pissed-off Depeche Mode, Atari Teenage Riot, Motorhead, Loop, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Kraftwerk, The Fall, White Album-era Beatles, and all of your earlier records combined! This is a fantastic album which seems to have taken the angry elements of ‘Xtrmntr’ and made them angrier! A sharpened bolt of light directed straight into the centre of your eye. As a friend recently summed up, “Primal Scream! Fucking yes!!” >>>

Zine Roundup

Posted: September 29th, 2008, by Marceline Smith

What have YOU done this Summer? Well, Alistair Fitchett (he of the Tangents website and Unpopular label) has made not one, but two zines. Both issues of Don’t Forget To Dance come beautifully designed with tracing paper details and free badges, and of course packed full of great writing. Almost defiantly self-indulgent, Alistair writes about whatever he damn well pleases, from indiepop to cycling to books. Luckily for us, his writing is always interesting and engaging regardless of the topic. Issue 1 has stuff on Glasvegas, The Kinks, George Pelecanos and Phil Wilson while issue 2 features Nestor Burma books, Pauline Murray & The Invisible Girls, The Playwrights, The Bomb Pops and Slumberland Records. Go get! Both issues are available from the Unpopular shop on Folksy for just a little over a quid each.

I got sent a copy of The Illustrated Ape magazine last week, as they’d used a quote from my Paul Cannell interview. I’d never seen it before and it’s an amazing looking magazine, as much about the illustration and design as the writing. This here is their Heavenly Records issue which was hugely nostalgic for me. As well as the article on Paul Cannell (Heavenly and Creation artist), there’s a great rambling interview with Heavenly founder Jeff Barrett, a group reminiscence session with all the key players of the Heavenly Sunday Social, poetry from Nicky Wire, a piece by Kevin Pearce and some lovely illustrations by the likes of Rob Ryan. There’s also a bunch of random oddness and fiction which verges on the self-indulgently baffling but overall it’s a great read. Have a look at their website for info on stockists.

I myself made THREE zines this Summer, get me. Okay, one of them was a compilation of some good bits of diskant and one was a print version of my Tokyo Shopping Guide but the third is an all-new telling of my fun times in Tokyo last year. If you want to read about everything I got up to during ten days in Tokyo, from kawaii shopping to sightseeing to eating everything in sight then this is the zine for you. You can get all my zines from my shop.

Have you made a zine recently? If so send it over so I can read and review it!

diskant rewind: Mild Head Injury #10

Posted: September 26th, 2008, by Simon Minter

(Originally posted July 2002)

Mild Head Injury by Simon Minter

This’ll be an interesting movie column if for no other reason than my complete lack of movie-watching action over the past month. But hey – don’t use this as a reason to hate me, or to follow me down the nearest dark alley in order to assault me whilst my mind is on other things – because I AM NOT ENTIRELY TO BLAME FOR THIS SITUATION.

Here’s the deal, see: up until recently, I shared a house with two of my friends, and many a happy evening was spent watching videos, or going down to the cinema, or indeed simply sitting around discussing the post-modern Brechtian tendencies of so much of the work of Don Simpson as producer AND ALSO actor. Then, just as life couldn’t be any more perfect, one of my friends decided to move away down to Brighton, where the pebbles are smooth and the hair is styled, and as he moved out I came to realise exactly how many items of furniture, electrical equipment and cutlery in the house he actually owned. Can you see where this is leading? Correct. My video recorder – and I do consider it MY video recorder, simply as a result of having shared a house with it for about five years – now lives in Brighton, which means a three-hour train journey simply to watch crap like ‘Jeepers Creepers’ or ‘Dude, Where’s My Car?’, let alone the exciting new ‘Apocalypse Now Redux’ edit or ‘Psych-Out’ once again. And that’s like, too much, man.

You might be thinking “why doesn’t he just go to the cinema, like anybody else?”. But to be honest with you, if you’re thinking that, you obviously haven’t been reading all my previous columns and hanging on my every fucking word like I expect you to. Let me run through it once more, though, for those of you not paying attention: I live in Reading, where there are two cinemas within easy distance – one walkable, one not – but both of these cinemas show, pretty much consistently, THE WORST KIND OF HOLLYWOOD SHITE THAT EVER WASTED VALUABLE CELLULOID. So, are there any other options? Well, one: the local university has a film club kinda thing which shows your more art-house and your more obscure films, which is a short car journey away.

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Not the famous Clash

Posted: September 23rd, 2008, by Stan Tontas

Apparently a Dundee-based music magazine is getting ~£230,000 public funds to fund its digital expansion.

the company also produces most of its journalism in London, in words of O’Rourke, carrying out “the nuts and bolts” work on the magazine and the website in Dundee.

It is an approach that has brought them wide plaudits, winning several industry awards and an exclusive interview with Paul McCartney on the release of his new album last year.

I’ve never seen a copy. Is it any good? (I mean by the standards of magazines that value exclusive Paul McCartney interviews in the 21st century….) Suppose its cool that there’s work there for typesetters, etc (though there seems to be a shortage of proofreaders if that Sunday Herald extract is typical) but what does this mean, “massive digital expansion of his brand”.

Yeah, I’ve seen a music website too. I could name a couple of people who’ll do you one for less than half a million and all.

Someone is missing the point, probably it’s me…

diskant rewind: Mild Head Injury #9

Posted: September 23rd, 2008, by Simon Minter

(Originally posted July 2002)

Mild Head Injury by Simon Minter

It’s a real American sitcom thing to start a sentence with ‘So,’ don’t you think? As in ‘So, I was in the coffee shop and that girl I like spilt her mochachino all over my Danish’ and all that. I prefer using ‘Anyway,’ as in ‘Anyway, I went blind momentarily and ended up in the dock on a handling stolen goods charge!’. The intricacies of our fair language, eh?

So anyway, I saw SONIC YOUTH play live the other night and woooo I was excited about the prospect. They’ve been my #1 favourite band (if it’s not too teenage to have a favourite band) for over ten years now, and I only ever saw them play live once before, when they performed a Birmingham date of their ‘Goo’ tour for my acid-addled brain. It’s a bit strange how I felt about it this time, though, as I travelled home afterwards – and it got me thinking about how I actually feel about them as a band. I’ve not bought ‘Murray Street’ yet, and I didn’t buy ‘NYC Ghosts and Flowers’ yet either, which must be some kind of insight into something or other. I used to rush out and buy everything I could get my hands on by them. I still do, in fact, quite happily shell out for rare bootleg live albums from ebay or vinyl versions of their albums I already own on CD. Maybe it’s something to do with the music I grew up with, or the number of times I’ve listened to some music, but I’m much more comfortable with ‘Sister’ or ‘Daydream Nation’ than their more recent LPs. I’m not saying I don’t like the recent LPs, it’s just that I seem to like the older ones (especially that mid-to-late-80s-phase) a whole lot more. This would lead you to think that perhaps I’d have been super-happy about the split of songs played at their recent live show being pretty much 50/50 old/new material. And I was, to a degree, but I kept thinking “why are they letting me off easily like this? shouldn’t they be forcing me to appreciate and experience their new music, rather than treating me to a fanboy’s set of ‘the classics’?” It’s an odd situation. While I hear that their ‘Goodbye 20th Century’-style show at ATP a couple of years ago was excruciating to the point of delerium, I think I’d still like to have been there, forcing myself to accept the challenge of listening to music I wouldn’t normally experience. Sonic Youth have this role as ‘musical pioneers’, and that’s what I always want them to be – never a greatest-hits-played-for-solely-Goo-owning-dullards band.

So anyway, phew! They rocked on, regardless. And I dug them severely. They even played ‘Making the nature scene’.

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PORT-ROYAL – Afraid To Dance (CD, Resonant)

Posted: September 21st, 2008, by Simon Minter

A quick mention of this album as it’s been on repeat here in my work room for the past week or so now, soundtracking my exciting world of designing, writing, computer gaming and sitting blankly staring at a monitor, without ever becoming tiresome or irritating. This is very subtle, very relaxing electronic music, meandering through the ambient world in which Aphex Twin, Orbital and Underworld have left trails (obvious names to use as comparison I admit, but it’s true). The emphasis is on warm, comfortable pillows of sound – as a whole, this album is one long, shimmering glow. Good music to work to, it would seem.

Port-Royal
Resonant

diskant rewind: Mild Head Injury #8

Posted: September 19th, 2008, by Simon Minter

(Originally posted May 2002)

Mild Head Injury by Simon Minter

Mulholland Drive. The Devil’s Backbone. Storytelling. Bully. What do these films have in common? They’re all interesting-sounding films, films which seem to offer something aside from the norm, and all films which I’ll be watching over the next couple of months! That, you may notice, is the future, and currently we are in the present, or at times the past, and so I’ll have to make do with telling you about some other, less interesting movies instead, but still, movies which I’ve actually seen. Damn you Reading, and your shoddy selection of cinemas! Stay awake at the back. It begins.

First up in this rollercoaster ride of low-quality, second-rate programming we have LEGALLY BLONDE. To be fair, however, this isn’t really so low-quality or second-rate. It’s very Hollywood, very safe, very ‘nice ending’, and yet it’s still very watchable and I enjoyed it. Okay? I can hear your cries of “but it’s a girl’s film!”, but you know what? If this is a girl’s film, then goddammit, I’m a girl. No, hold on, I’m regretting saying that now. I’m not a girl. But I enjoyed this. It’s just further evidence of the world being screwy at times. Anyway, this ain’t no trial, and I ain’t no defendant, so get off my back, alright? I can’t control my likes and dislikes any more than I can control my drunken limb placement, and it just so happens that I like these cutey-pie, heart-warming, troubled-teen type movies. I own records by both the Fat Tulips and Bouquet, for Christ’s sake, and if you know who either of those bands are, you’ll understand what it means to own them. But I ain’t no cutie pop fan no more. It’s ROCK all the way for me, oh yes, a souped-up V12 RockMobile is what I drive to the video store and back. Right on. But I digress. This film is about a Valley Girl-type Californian ‘dumb blonde’ who, in order to attract the affections of her straying boyfriend, successfully enrols at Harvard Law School to impress him and spend more time with him. “With hilarious, and emotional, consequences”. You can guess how it turns out. But in the same way that CLUELESS seemed to avoid any over-sentimental nightmares of cheese, LEGALLY BLONDE seems also to tread a fine line between stupid and clever. Er. Whatever that means. And Reese Witherspoon is just great in the lead role, playing dumb-is-cleverer-than-you-really-think with exactly the right combination of sassy and naive. Aah, if you don’t like this, you’ve got no heart.

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Finland invades Glasgow tonight (gently)

Posted: September 19th, 2008, by Stan Tontas

I nearly forgot about this at the CCA tonight. Plenty of unpronounceable but genius Finnish artists on Fönal Records are playing.

  • KEMIALLISET YSTÄVÄT & AXOLOTL
  • ES & FURSAXA
  • ISLAJA, BLEVIN BLECTUM & SAMARA LUBELSKI
  • DREAM TRIANGLE (TOMUTONTTU & SKATERS)

If this had happened 2 years ago I would’ve exploded with joy; now I’m just excited, in a tea and knitted jumper kind of way. First gig for a long time where I’ve thought “just £10? excellent.”

diskant rewind: Mild Head Injury #7

Posted: September 16th, 2008, by Simon Minter

(Originally posted May 2002)

Mild Head Injury by Simon Minter

MY CHILDREN! Walk with me. Walk through the forest of popular (although some would say unpopular) music as I guide you through an inky morass of badly-formed sentences and hasty reviews of some bits of plastic what have been spinning on my dusty, antique turntable and within my shiny, laser-guided compact disc unit. These are the tunes you should be digging like a weathered cemetery operative whilst you go about your daily business, and whilst you relax in your silk pajamas after a hard day’s hanging out.

EMETREX
Curve of the earth
CD single
Seriously Groovy LLL2125CD-S

I was scrabbling for literally HOURS in the back of my mind to place what ‘Curve of the Earth’ reminded me of, and it’s just come to me in a literally blinding flash. fdsluc cuicoui900 cjk;sa;e;e .. Ho Ho. I’ve not really been blinded. Anyway, it’s Grandaddy it reminds me of, in a similarly bass-driven, laid back kinda way, very nice indeed oh yes. I like it. It may not be particularly original but this kind of unoriginality is still streets ahead of the most original dour indie-goes-AOR shiterock which we’re forced to think of as ‘alternative’ via the media of the NME and Radio 1. But you know that, right? Otherwise you wouldn’t be sitting here with me, reading this over my shoulder (which, incidentally, is very rude). But, enough of that. There’s two more tracks on here which are a bit more half-asleep vocal in style, ‘langorous’ is a word which I don’t understand but which seems to sum it up. Like Built to Spill in a waking dream blah blah blah.
www.seriouslygroovy.com/emetrex.htm

I AM SPARTACUS
Forward
CD

Gringo Records 012
Hello like, antelope Greg marceline rocks xylophone. Seven at times unconnected words, here connected to form a sentence which ultimately reads as a slew of gibberine. But look between the words and that’s where you’ll find meaning. Or maybe not. But you get what I’m driving at, right? I’m drawing parallels, see, between music and poetry. It’s as obvious as the nose on your face. Which brings almost too neatly to this album, which I found in my little bag after visiting All Tomorrow’s Parties this year. Did anyone from diskant mention that we’d been to ATP? It was pretty good, like. And anywhere that you come back from with records and CDs in your bag which you never previously owned has to be pretty good. Unless they’re stuffed full of heroin and you’re passing through a Middle Eastern airport, in which case look out! Them internal searches can be hell on the organs. But you do the crime, and you should do the crime, you know what I’m saying? Anyway. Don’t annoy me, and let me get back to this album. It’s great, very restful, a kind of slow builder, like Godspeed You Black Emperor! (or A Silver Mt. Zion, I’m told) in its use of mournful, scraping cello (?), chattering violins, plucked guitars and intricate, yet relaxed and spacious, melodies and textures. It’s about as post- as post-rock goes, which some could construe as unoriginality, but it’s so warm and welcoming that you can’t get angry with it. Hurray!
www.gringorecords.com

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