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Archive for November, 2008

Look at me!

Posted: November 28th, 2008, by Marceline Smith

Box of Delights exhibition

I co-organised this exhibition, and did the poster so I would be very happy if you would come along for a look. It’s a joint production by the Glasgow Craft Mafia and Ricefield Arts and Cultural Centre and showcases local artists with an Asian influence to their work. Each artist is displaying their work inside a specially decorated box so it’s like a whole bunch of tiny exhibitions.

It opens this weekend and runs through til the 23rd December so plenty time to make it along if you’re in Glasgow. Hope to see you there! More info here.


Posted: November 24th, 2008, by Marceline Smith

Now that I’m a sadcase work-at-home “freelancer”, I never have time to skive about reading stuff on the internets any more. I am thus VERY EXCITED about The Morning News‘ new annual so I can actually catch up on all the good writings I’ve missed this year. diskant and The Morning News have been web buddies since around 1952 and their trajectory of impressiveness has only been slightly outdone by diskant’s descent into grand idiocy. To prove this, they’re producing a beautiful hardback illustrated book with 21 articles by their excellent writers, which will look suitably awesome next to your photocopied diskant 10 year anniversary zine. I wonder if they’ll be up for a swap? If not, it’s on my Christmas wish list for certain.

The Morning News STORE
diskant zine (only about 20 copies left! Act now!)

CHOPPS DERBY – You don’t know what broccoli is? EP (12″, The Gull’s Trunk Records)

Posted: November 23rd, 2008, by Dave Stockwell

“I’d rather beanflick my granny.” Perhaps the best line in this old-skool style 12″ EP, with 5 jams on the A side and instrumentals with well dodgy skits on the B side. This here is the debut release from brand new UK Hip Hop label The Gull’s Trunk Records, and also the debut by (Droylsden) Manchester-based Chopps Derby – described by his own label as a “well hard bumbaseed turn bare sick emcee”. Make of that what you will.

Stick on the music and you’re greeted with some slinky rough-assed beats dumped on top of a load of samples – so far so good – and then Chopps Derby (barely) opens his mouth: “Have a fuckin’ good time… go down the dogs!”. Yep, ‘Down the Dogs’ is all about going down the track, getting blitzed and getting up to all kinds of filthy mischief. Further songs talk about Top Gear, Matalan, getting pissed, casual racism and bigotry, disgusting habits and driving like a prick around car parks (“Smashed into this kid riding a bike with stabilisers then I laughed / The pigs think I’m a twat cause I got on my fog lights /They keep sayin’ next time I’ll be fined – yeah right…”). Slick and smooth flow this is not: a bitingly  satire on modern UK culture it may well be. Whether you find it hilarious or not depends on how liberal your values are and just how strong your comedy stomach is. Chopps Derby is probably the musical equivalent of the morning after a lamb jalfrezi followed by a dozen pints of Red Stripe and then a dodgy kebab on the way home. Either you’re lovin’ it or you’re feeling slightly sick. Whatever the case, if you can put up with a chorus like “Open the window / put my nob in your gob / and now you cry like a tart,” you’ll probably be fine.

So, comedy hip hop. It’s a bit of an albatross tag, but Chopps Derby does his best to wear it well. His delivery is like a someone stoned on ketamine and probably doesn’t do much for ‘proper’ hip hop heads, but who gives a fuck about them? If you can make sense of it, it’s vaguely in time and – most crucially – if the words are good, it should be good enough. Think of Chopps Derby as punk hip hop if you want. Personally, I find moments on this EP genuinely funny and even occasionally snort-inducing. You may just be offended. Best way to find out? Watch the video below:




KUNT AND THE GANG – Men With Beards (What Are They Hiding?) (CD, Disco Minge)

Posted: November 22nd, 2008, by JGRAM

If you have ever laughed at a Derek And Clive record/routine you will have acknowledged just how funny and satisfying swearing and being crass can be.  In times of such hellacious judgement and subtle political correctness squashing almost every form of art containing an element of edgy humour or anything that challenges the status quo, you just need to blow off steam and go all out to offend with view to weeding out.

When Bob Weston pointed out at ATP that the audience resembled an “indie rock Taliban” he was very much onto something, he was also probably wondering to himself “what are they hiding?”  I sense your average guitar wielding may frown upon and fail to see the humour in such infantile musical exploits.

For a release to contain a “libel-free radio edit” this is generally a sign of good things in the bad taste stakes, an indication and suggestion of a person taking lyrical risks being playful in delivery.

Very rarely these days do you encounter releases that are enjoyable and challenging, that are genuinely likely to cause offence and sting with a true cavalier approach and attitude of being so carefree and callous?  Ultimately Kunt (and Little Kunt) is only saying what we are thinking but delivering it with skill in a manner the majority of us could only dream of.  This is visionary poetry.

Thesaurus moment: indelicate.

Kunt And The Gang

VOLCANO! + CASS McCOMBS + TIGERS! – The Library, Leeds, 18th November 08

Posted: November 20th, 2008, by Pascal Ansell

After 2005’s stunning debut album, a two-year break and another spectacular album (review here) Chicago’s finest trio, Volcano!, land upon the shores of Old Blighty exhausted but enthusing about the general British friendliness. Hurrah.

Volcano! play loose, twitchy alternative rock which provides the pastry base for the spicy mincemeat that are their other meanderings: glorious and ecstatic chaos, improvised gibberish and half-minute noise-ridden catastrophes. Volcano!’s vast musical blending and genre-bending just shouldn’t work. This is one thing many listeners emphasize but miraculously it does and it takes a bunch of very switched-on, very talented songwriters to achieve this. Tonight’s bands are respectively connected with Volcano! in ways of ‘wacky’ spelling and a shared hometown, thus fulfilling a fantastically tenuous line-of-thought to run through my review.

You’ve got to be pretty mental to have an exclamation mark in your name – step aside:

Godspeed You! Black Wussies,
You Slut!,
Panic! at the Disco,
Los Camposinos!,
The Go! Team,
Capeman! (this is just getting silly)
¡Forward, Russia! etc.

but pointless lists aside, the Leeds hardcore outfit Tigers! are tomfoolery-loving jokers and funnily enough the music’s good enough to stand for itself. Melt Banana and all the other grimecore lot have a HEAVY influence (pun central!) but Tigers! are infinitely more listenable than the bands mentioned. Like The Locust for the family, akin to listening a mad cartoon. Definitely worth seeing if just for the comedy wrestling costumes, the horseplay, the banter and ‘strong man’ muscle-pumping displayed at the triumphant finish of songs.

Cass McCombs has appeared on a variety of very impressive labels: 4AD, Moniter and Domini can’t be argued with. He and his Chicago-based band start off with a nice, lazy instrumental on the surf-guitar side of ‘50s rock and roll. Laid-back and bare, each song shuffles along with slight changes to the general theme; a gradual development progresses in its own sweet time (i.e. very bloody slowly!). This is well-executed and straightforward rock, Cass’ guitar playing comparable to the delicacy of Buddy Holly – soft and unobtrusive, a gratifying listen.

They may be at the end of a mammoth European tour, but never mind how physically-drained they appear before playing, Volcano! are just as explosive live as on record. Things get so loose and free that it’s best to simply stop trying to follow the (wonderfully frayed and ragged) thread of the music and instead lose yourself in its amazing disarray. The number of gadgets on bassist/electronics dude Mark Cartwright’s desk is phenomenal. He blows a wind piano, draws on a squishy electronic pad-thing while tapping a laptop and a couple of keyboards moments later. Pretty impressive as he doesn’t budge his multifarious sounds into too prominent a part of the mix. Sam Scranton is a magnificent jazz/rock drummer to watch – the collective channelling between beats and all-out improv is captivating. Stellar performance. Shame we’ll have to look forward to seeing them in a couple of years I expect.


Cass McCombs


Pascal Ansell

No shame whatsoever – buy some GIG POSTERS for a loved one this Xmas!

Posted: November 20th, 2008, by Chris Summerlin

It’s that time of the year again…


www.honeyisfunny.com has all the ordering detail and some thoughtful considerations on the Credit Crunch.

By way of offsetting this, here’s a playlist:

Red Eyed Legends – Monsters (from forthcoming LP)
Obits – tracks from immediately sold-out 7″ on Sub Pop that I don’t own
Zomes – S/T LP
Pifco – Live
Long Lonesome Go – Live
Charlottefield – awesome live bootleg from Nottingham that I keep promising to send them and then finding I’ve lost it because I never write on my blank CDRs. I found it again though.
Pissed Jeans – Hope For Men
Notorious Hi-Fi Killers – new stuff played live
Pearls & Brass – The Indian Tower LP
Enablers – Tundra LP
Hot Snakes – This Mystic Decade (from Audit In Progress LP)
Harvey MIlk – Live Pleaser LP
The Ex w/ Getatchu Mekurya LP
The Beatles – White Album
The New Year – Live
Qisa – new studio recordings
Jimi Hendrix Experience – Axis: Bold As Love LP
The Night Marchers – Fisting The Fanbase (from 7″)
Tanner  – Ill Gotten Gains LP

If you’re in Glasgow on December 12th, first head to see The Vaselines at ABC then hotfoot it down to Stereo to see Roads To Siam, the ex-Sourtooth folks of the awesomely-named Divorce and then last (and maybe least) the first show from Stage Blood, a rock and roll band with members of Eska, Mogwai and me on slightly-quieter guitar than Colin. The above playlist could perhaps indicate some of the sonic direction. www.myspace.com/stagebloodtheband is the obligatory Myspace page, devoid of any actual music so you’ll just have to imagine it.

Here’s a dilemma

Posted: November 19th, 2008, by Stan Tontas

I’m listening to Oval‘s 1990s glitch classic Systemich and, well, it’s skipping all over the place.

Do I clean the CD? Or do I go with the (ruptured) flow and treat it as a developing, self-remixing art object?

MIKA MIKO – Sex Jazz (7″, Sub Pop)

Posted: November 18th, 2008, by JGRAM

Succeeding where, say, Erase Errata failed, Mika Miko plunder through a barrage of Raincoats and Slits influenced sounds with the greatest of success able to achieve some kind of coherence that can so/too often alienate the listener from such base expressionate recordings.

As Mika Miko are fully aware, the introduction of saxophones into a punk song is a guaranteed short cut to post-punk cred and so as a result what we have here on number three of the latest edition of the Sub Pop Singles Club is a very deliberate and concise statement of affairs and nod to being a going concern.

In a climate where Magik Markers are able to get away with murder, here is what I would class a band that is a mid point between The Shaggs and Magik Markers, a comparison that would likely not be received very positively but said/stated with no insult intended.  Hey, I could have said they remind me slightly of the band from Gene Simmons Rock School TV show.

By the time you reach the Black Flag cover on the flipside they have rendered the song unrecognisable causing me to question if it is even a cover at all.  This is primal.

Thesaurus moment: instinct.

Mika Miko

Sub Pop

BEATGLIDER – Witches (CD, Enraptured Records)

Posted: November 18th, 2008, by JGRAM

From time to time these days you will discover (rediscover) a band is still playing well after you had figured them to be long gone.  My favourite example of this is Trumans Water who seem to appear every couple of years with a new record, doing a random show in town to celebrate and promote the fact happily acting as a timely reminder of how things can otherwise be.

As a similar example of this, today I find myself holding the new album by Beatglider, a band from Southend that was once almost part of a burgeoning lo-fi/post rock scene in Essex that was never allowed to get started (for various reasons).

Striding the fine line between post rock and shoegazing, this is an epic construction towering over twelve tracks that cohesively combine to make a sedate sonic elevation.

At a time when the (supposed) genre of post rock has mutated off in one direction to resemble the cuddly Sigor Ros and in another path the nastiness of Mogwai still prevails in the other version, there is distinctly still an audience looking to relish in such evocative and courteous expansive recordings.  Perhaps this is the standing strong of the prog rock gene.

There are many influential sounds on show here.  The more oblique of Lush’s output can be heard on “The Rattlesnake” while the occasional dipping in of vocals reminiscent of Syd Barratt give proceedings a slightly spooky tone (“Wasteful Is Love”).  There are also many true moments of naïve glee echoing the meanderings and conclusions of Flaming Lips at their most stirring (in the form of closer “Natures Arms”).  And “Where Time Stands Still” sounds like a cross between Snow Patrol and spaced out Pavement.

The highlight comes in “Wild Night” where an astute arsenal of instruments come together to echo all Chemikal Underground’s best hits squeezed into one composition.  Suddenly Southend begins to feel/sound strangely Scottish.

This record represents victory.

Thesaurus moment: bespelled.


Enraptured Records

DON CABALLERO + VESSELS – Brudenell Social Club, 11th Nov 08

Posted: November 13th, 2008, by Pascal Ansell

After an absolute travesty of a latest album (I can’t even say it…) Punkgasm, yes, Punkgasm, Don Caballero return as an even more cannibalised cover band of their original 1990s heyday. Until the turn of the millenium, Don Cab produced exciting and challenging instrumental rock unheard of before, inventing, whether they liked it or not, the genre now dubiously labelled ‘math-rock’.

It all went rather fishy in 2003. After the group supposedly ‘disbanded’, drummer Damon Che surprised fans by resurrecting a faux-Don Cab with the muppet members of one of their many imitation bands, Creta Bourzia. World Class Listening Problem was the resulting album – a decent effort but a portent of the disaster to come. The problem that Don Caballero now find themselves in is they’re imitating their previous style: Don Cab are trying to sound like Don Cab.

Terrific support comes in the form of Leeds-based four-piece Vessels. They start off with a good strain of Tortoise running through: revolving riffs matched with pleasant guitar chimes, like a plane running buoyantly close to the horizon. There’s a great deal of instrument-swapping going on, and it just escapes from being gratuitous. Two drummers (when it’s done) can often sound a bit crap, or doesn’t sound like two drummers at all. Vessels have the initiative enough to employ an interesting dialogue and switching patterns, with nicely scattered snare hits.

It would be easy for a band playing music of such a moody nature to mope around the stage, po-faced. Yet, anticipating the most Granny Comment of the review, it’s always nice seeing a band SMILE! In other words they’re not pretending to perform music straight from the gods. Lovely chaps.

Well we’ve had our thrills for the night because a decidedly solemn Don Cab has decided to rip through three godawful songs off the new album (it’s seriously called Punkgasm). Damon Che used to be one of the most interesting and skilful drummers around, but his performance seems filtered down into a toned-down, digestible version of his previous work.

Unfortunately Don Cabarubbish (see what I did there!) can’t even play their old songs with conviction. It all sounds hollow and contained – they were at least skilful to pull it off two years ago at the London Scala but this is just abysmal. There’s not the slightest bit of interaction between the musicians – it seems pretty clear that Che hates his bandmates. I don’t blame him. It’s by the time I have Che’s big sweaty, hairy manboob flapping in my field of vision I realise Don Cab have reached embarrassing lows – they really aren’t worth the effort any more.


Don Caballero

Don Fanallero – great fansite

Pascal Ansell