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!

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Archive for August, 2009

dumb/SULK trigg-er

Posted: August 24th, 2009, by Marceline Smith

Cast your mind back to the glory zine days of the late 1990s when pretty much everyone in the UK wrote a zine. You probably wrote one too, or at least stuck some pound coins in a SAE and posted it to some random stranger in the hope they’d send you back something awesome. Of course, diskant grew out of this zine scene – I first met all of the original diskanteers through zine-related shenanigans.

And it’s not just rose-tinted nostalgia speaking here – those zines were AWESOME. I still have 3 boxes of the things which I re-read on occasion and every so often I get a little sad about all the zines I never owned or knew about at the time. Sometimes people like Al Burian or Cometbus get a book compilation of their zines but, for the most part, these zines are only available to the handful of people who bought them at the time. This is a sad state of affairs.

Luckily, enterprising folks like Roger Simian still exist. Roger was in weirdo-mentalist band Dawn of the Replicants and also co-ran the much-missed Scottish magazine Sun Zoom Spark as well as writing his own zine dumb/SULK trigg-er. He now runs his own label Shark Batter while playing in new band The Stark Palace and has just put out a compilation of the best bits of his zines and writings. This is great news for me, as my sister was the one who bought all the original zines, so I haven’t read them in ten years.

It’s still all good stuff – long interviews with Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth, Lisa Carver and Traci Lords, fiction, a letters page featuring half the UK zine scene (and our own JGRAM)  and one of my favourite articles ever, where Roger goes to a Prolapse gig in Glasgow and hassles every minor lo-fi scenester of the time with a dictaphone. Nostalgia ahoy. You also get a tiny minizine and a free mixtape CD featuring The Stark Palace and their favourite songs.

I have no idea how much Roger wants for this but I’m sure it’s a bargain. Hit him up on sharkbatter AT googlemail  DOT com and tell him diskant sent you!

And if everyone else who ever wrote a zine could do a compilation of the best bits and send it to me, that would be great, thanks.

Treetops – Eternal Sky (CS, Monorail Trespassing)

Posted: August 20th, 2009, by Justin Snow

There’s a few different Treetops bands out there but this particular tape is from Mike Pollard, the dude who runs Arbor. Knowing that, it seems a bit strange that this tape came out on Monorail Trespassing. I’m sure he was just spreading the love.

Eternal Sky is suuuuuuper minimal. Though not quite as minimal as, say, Phill Niblock or Yoshi Wada. But this is still some bare bones drone. The opening track, “Hope Always,” sounds like the wind is breathing and “Voice Of Man” could be the sound of clouds meditating. Everything has a strong organic quality to it, even though I’m sure the only instruments used are synthesizers. But I’m pretty sure synths are one of the only ways you can make such stretched out, blob-like drone.

This is some special stuff. It’s not exactly blissful, but it’s certainly elevating. Simultaneously dense and airy. You close your eyes and lose yourself in it for long enough and you’ll wake up finding yourself levitating in your seat. Absolutely gorgeous. Highly recommended.

Monorail Trespassing

News from the diskant staff

Posted: August 10th, 2009, by Marceline Smith

Some stuff we’re up to:

– Tickets are now on sale for Simon and Stu’s annual charity event Audioscope. It takes place on Saturday 17 October at the Jericho in Oxford and has a pretty cool line-up so far: MAPS, THE LONGCUT, REMEMBER REMEMBER, BRONNT INDUSTRIES KAPITAL, TALONS, UTE, CATS & CATS & CATS and BITCHES. Get your tickets here.

– Simon also took part in Antony Gormley’s One & Other a few days ago, becoming a “living monument” on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. You can even watch the whole thing here should you have a spare hour.

– Chris Summerlin has all but ditched us for his own blog but he’s also selling off a load of his lovely gig posters – buy 3 and you’ll get a fourth poster for free. Find out more here.

– If you haven’t picked up a copy of JGRAM WORLD, Jason’s entertaining book of the blog that got him sacked then you can now buy it from my shop right here for a mere £6.

– You can also find me and my ever-growing stock of kawaii products at Duckstock next weekend (Sunday 16th August). It’s an all-dayer at The Flying Duck club in Glasgow (sister to Mono and Stereo) and promises about 20 different acts plus DJs and other fun. It starts at 1pm and it’s FREE! See you there!

Did I miss anything? Post it in the comments!

MJ HIBBETT & THE VALIDATORS – Regardex, Ecoutez et Repetez (CD, Artists Against Success)

Posted: August 6th, 2009, by Alex McChesney

Are you a male, 30-something IT professional with an undying nostalgia for the music of the 1990s?  I am, I’m afraid.  So is MJ Hibbett, and, being an unpretentious sort, his songwriting eschews complex metaphor and sticks to simple tales about his everyday existence – songs about workplace crushes and getting older and settling into suburban life.  That’s admirably honest, I suppose.  In fact, if you’re in a similar boat, you may find yourself thinking “Great!  A songwriter who sings about my life.”  After all, isn’t most pop music aimed at teenagers?  Isn’t it about time we had a champion?

I found myself reacting to this album in that way, then feeling a little bit guilty about it.  There is value in finding the beauty in the mundane, for sure.  The films of Mike Leigh are rightly praised for exactly that.  But there’s not much art to what Hibbett does, and I’m not sure that it’s healthy to enjoy something just because it validates your own existence.  Not at my age.  I should be looking for transcendence in my art, lifting my soul out of the world of mortgages and washing-up, not reiterating it over a dated britpop soundtrack.

But there is a degree of good-natured humour here without tipping over the novelty-band precipice, and I can’t help but smile at images like that of Sir Clive Sinclair on the cover of Heat.  And that dated britpop soundtrack is implemented with confidence, some nice hooks, and the occasional moment of joyous bombast.

So maybe I just need to pull my head out of my backside and admit that I quite liked it.  Sometimes it’s ok to be everyday.

MJ Hibbett’s official site

Prehistoric Blackout – Stone Reaper (CS, Pizza Night)

Posted: August 4th, 2009, by Justin Snow

Prehistoric Blackout might not be a name recognized right off the bat. But Taylor Richardson, the force behind PB, also works with Daniel Lopatin in Infinity Window. And Daniel would be the dude who’s making everyone blow their load as Oneohtrix Point Never. So there’s a roundabout way of why Prehistoric Blackout should matter and appeal to you, as if just my saying so wasn’t enough.

Stone Reaper is a murky mess that doesn’t leave you feeling filthy when you’re done. Great, right? You get all the joys of rolling around in grime and then you just get to stand up when it’s over and say, “That was a fucking blast” and not have to worry about taking a shower or anything. Your palette is somehow already cleansed. Don’t ask me how it works. I’m just passing it along.

I haven’t the slightest idea what Taylor’s using to make these sounds. Guitars and synths most likely. Regardless, though, it rarely sounds like any straight up instruments. Kind of like a field recording/purely electronic hybrid. Sometimes you got the churning sea ready to explode when the storm comes, other times it’s fairy bubbles popping in a stuttering breeze. But of all the different sounds are coming out of the speakers, it’s always drone. Hypnotic drone, dynamic drone, dull drone, bright drone, it’s all here. Except for the last half of the B side, with lots of clomping around, making something that could be considered a beat, and a caterwauling guitar, almost like Richardson’s attempting to make a pop song. A totally fucked up pop song that would never ever get radio play, but we know what’s what. And this is definitely a pop song at heart.

Prehistoric Blackout
Pizza Night