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Archive for September, 2008

nuts n seeds

Posted: September 4th, 2008, by Stan Tontas

Nuts & Seeds are maybe the most interesting gig promoters in Glasgow at the moment. The last show of theirs I went to was Vialka at the 13th Note, where they were giving away a cute miniature catalogue of their upcoming gigs, all of which looked good.

There’s one at the Flying Duck (hidden up the hill from Walkabout, but they’re too cool to advertise that fact :P) on the 10th September. It features Peeesseye, “yapping three-headed (former) NYC electroacoustic junkyard dog who evades lunk scumnoise pound & braniac improv leashes to dig up free music’s old bones & birth it’s own avant-mongrel sounds.”

Add in some guitar and big Taiko drum for a £4 door tax and it sounds like a good night…

diskant rewind: Mild Head Injury #3

Posted: September 2nd, 2008, by Simon Minter

(Originally posted February 2002)

Mild Head Injury by Simon Minter

Oh no oh no oh no, I’ve left myself way too little time to write this, and I can barely remember yesterday, let alone the whole of last year. What shall I do ? What shall I do ? First of all, I’ll calm down before I fall off my elegant brushed aluminium chair – deep breaths, it’s not a race – and the best thing is probably if I just get going with this. No guarantees for the reliability of this here list, and no apologies for neglecting to mention some of the brilliant releases of last year which I’m obviously about to forget. Let’s get on. Here we go now with…

(not all released in 2001, you understand. just my favourites of the year. OK? And they’re not in any order. So keep your bleedin’ shirt on.)

Remember that Trumans Water LP, Spasm Smash Ox Ox Ox and Assss, or whatever it was called? Well, beef that up a tad, give it more angles and poke its teeth with a turned-off power drill for a while and bam! there you have this OXES album. Hurrah!

And yes! YES! it is raining and cold outside as I type this – just as it should be. HOOD continue in the melancholic vein of their previous two albums, adding a touch of garble and a spring of hip hop to the mix. But they still haven’t managed to cheer me up, thank heavens.

Another reason/excuse for me to mention BUFFALO 66, one of the greatest films in recent history! Yip! Woo! Not that this album’s anything to do with it, unless you consider the trembling introspect on display here something of an aural equivalent to the visuals of the movie. I do. I haven’t heard the soundtrack to the movie, mind

ROCK! blart!! Proper old school metal played with a math-rocker’s eye for detail and a comedian’s eye for dual-guitar harmonic action.

Classy old compilation of sixties psych out mayhem featuring, among others, the wonderful FLIES with their drudgealong cover of ‘Stepping Stone’ and DANTALION’S CHARIOT giving it some flutey tripout magic too. I just wasn’t made for these times!

This looks neato in its little white box containing three seven inch singles containing the sort of repetitive drone-based noise candy you may well expect from TANK, PORTAL, LACKLUSTER, YELLOW 6, THE AND/ORS and STYROFOAM.

And wouldn’t you know it, this single was out on Rocket Racer Records too – the crazy old American alternotypes that they are. Rocket Racer I mean, not The Freed Unit. Hey, you know what I mean. This is their finest hour I think, a rollin’ ode just on the weird side of a weird Flaming Lips tune. Perhaps.

“My boyfriend looks like Phil May out of the Pretty Things” – anyone who tells me where that quote came from can have a special prize. More psychedelic madness going on here, with this – ooh – concept album which sounds like Rolling Stones go Beach Boys in a Brian Wilson stylee. Which is, pretty much, what it is.

OOOH class. An album which sounds like waking up after sleeping for a hundred years, breaking up with somebody you never really liked, reminiscing about the good times with that person, etc etc etc. Shame it’s CD only. Boo hiss. But at least the gentle chiming nature of the album doesn’t get interrupted by needle noise.

Oh, just because, alright? 50% of my time last year was spent listening to Sonic Youth.

Capsule needs YOU!

Posted: September 1st, 2008, by Marceline Smith


VOLCANO! – Paperwork (The Leaf Label)

Posted: September 1st, 2008, by Pascal Ansell

There has never been a more fitting title for an album than Volcano’s debut Beautiful Seizure. The Chicago three-piece introduced to an unsuspecting few a world of swirling electronics, spasmodic guitars and rolling, charged semi-improvised drumming – it’s one of my favourite albums. There’s no band that comes close to sounding like Volcano – a hot delicious juicy musical lava to be readily engulfed in. Actually, they sound a little bit like Storm and Stress, just not shit.

What sets Volcano from other bands is the choice you have to listen to any respective musician in any song and be entertained – each consistently provide endlessly interesting melodic lines, chewy noise or rhythmic rolls. Aaron With’s guitar is a scratchy, plucky delight with an abrasive and raw tone. The synths, laptop and bass player Mark Cartwright is even more intriguing to listen to, playing atmospheric rumblings and fuzzy keys; winding lines of bass guitar to all-out delicious noise, and he seldom stays in one mode for long. I might have read this somewhere before, but a perfect description of Volcano’s drummer, Sam Scranton, is that he resembles a jazz drummer playing rock. Like many a jazz hitter he’s delicate and soft in his execution, but with a generous enough groove to back up his bandmates.

The expectations laid upon Paperwork couldn’t be higher, but it is so good because it sounds in parts a bit, well, wrong. In ‘Sweet Tooth’ instruments are played how they shouldn’t; the faintly jarring guitar and keyboard are slightly out of tune with each other, and With’s muted plucking is a definition of understated beauty. ‘Astronomer’s Ballad’ begins with a floating splendour and carries on with a wonderful chaos, bordering on the free-improv. This is Volcano’s trademark sound: loose, wobbly, partially improvised, but somehow they never sound self-indulgent – and this is where Storm and Stress often fall flat on their skinny pretentious arses.

Apparently, ‘Paperwork’ is infused with cynical political stabs and celebrity-bashing, but With’s lyrics are often hard to make out. No matter. He’s got a ripe falsetto, a tremendous wail that’s relatively Thom York-ish in a more upbeat, less suicidal strain.

I doubt there’s a higher compliment you can pay a band or artist than to say that they are never, not even for the slightest second, dull. Volcano are always gratifyingly pricking the ears with some odd keyboard blip here and huge cascading wave of beauty there; they are a consistently entertaining listen. It’s hardly a problem that Volcano’s latest album is not quite as breathtaking as Beautiful Seizure because it’s barely possible for it to be bettered. To look at it another way, Paperwork is a more ordered and coherent listen than their debut, and is generally easier to digest. And the great consolation is that it’s an album you can play at the odd shindig without too many people scratching their heads.


Pascal Ansell