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!

 Subscribe in a reader

Recent Interviews

diskant Staff Sites

More Sites We Like

Author Archive


Posted: November 23rd, 2005, by John Coburn

Listening to– Stephen Malkmus, Gastr Del Sol, Tortoise, Birthday Pary, Mercury Rev, Eels ‘Electro Shock Blues’, Go Betweens, Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks, Detroit Cobras, Meat Puppets.

Reading– just been B.S. Johson biography, now Samuel Beckett ‘Ill Seen Ill Said’, next ‘Voice Imitator’ Thomas Bernhard.

Working on– stripping/plastering/painting house, thinking hard about future job strategies for when bulldozers demolish place of work .

Looking forward to– Christmas surprisingly, next Seinfeld DVD installment, reduced price Schwabenbrau at Lidl (6-pack £2.22), chucking snow about, having a party.

All Tomorrows Parties

Posted: March 29th, 2004, by John Coburn

Hi all. I’m now returned from All Tomorrows Parties, as I’d imagine most of the other web-hackers on this computer site are. Suffice to say, it was great. I’m not going to write much because my eyes are about to bleed from exhausation, but what I will say is this-

– Trans Am, Boredoms and Uzeda were my favourite three bands of the weekend.

– Everybody in attendance was equally nice and friendly, barring the sub-moronic, chest-beating neanderthal who kicked me as I tried to get past him during Shellac (performance #2). He should be killed.

– If one more person excitedly taps me on the shoulder to tell me Lightning Bolt are playing an impromptu gig in a toilet/cupboard/suitcase, I will vomit hard and long.

– I lost 40 pounds somewhere on the beach.

– ‘Western Train’ is the most unusal arcade amusement I am ever likely to experience in my lifetime. ‘Players enjoy to control our train directly’, and that’s a fact.

– ‘Festabulous’ isn’t a popular word.

Now sleep.

It was my birthday last Saturday

Posted: February 20th, 2004, by John Coburn

I’m now 24. I’m pretty sure I’m not the oldest blogger on here (Chris Haikney is 46), but by god, I think that’s rather old. 24 is closer to 30 than 17. A terrifying statistic, I’m sure you’ll agree. Being born on February 14th, aka Valentine’s day, I’ve always been able to deceptively brag about the number of cards I receive on that particular day.

(man who just thinks it’s Valentine’s Day and not my birthday)

“So then, John. Get any cards this year?”


“Yes, I got 23. And 14 of them contained cash”.

Some of those who know me have said this joke is tired and is well past it’s use-by-date. But y’know, every year I love getting the chance to say it and I’ve always found it funny (between the ages of 14-19, I might have used this line 5 or 6 times every birthday). And in a small kind of way, it makes me feel like a better man. But for the first birthday in a long time, I opted not to play the guaranteed top trump of a gag this year. Not because I no longer found it funny (it’s still funny), but because I only received 6 fucking cards. That’s awful! I’m aware that relatives and friends and aunties who aren’t really your aunties feel less compelled to send you a birthday card as you get older, but honestly, 6 cards is a really poor show! Some might say it’s the end of an era. I feel ‘comedy’, as a genre, is poorer because of it.

This next month will be fun. For the next week and a half I will be out and about with my band Paper Cut Out, playing some rock music for any interested parties. Glasgow, Manchester, Norwich, Brighton, London, Nottingham, Leeds, Belfast, Dublin, Newcastle, starting on the 21st (tonight!) and finishing on the 3rd of March, for those really wanting to know. So if you’re coming along, please say hello, buy my a drink, and maybe stick around for the bands? It’ll be great, I know it. Then on the 9th of March we’ve got the consistently tremendous Newcastle half-dayer 9×9 (No-Fi promote this- lots of innovation and rocking. Everybody come along), I know I’ll like that. Then it’s All Tomorrow’s Parties- I’m fearful the week I’m going (week one) is looking decidely inferior to the second! But who cares, everyone will still have a really good time, I’m sure of that. And then…at the very end of the month, my contract at work will hopefully be renewed! If not, March can only be remembered as a truly shit month.

And this, Ollie, is the 3rd blog of the day!

Posted: June 3rd, 2003, by John Coburn

Move out the way Mr Goalkeeper, it’s a weblog hatrick!

Despite believing digital television to be the most doomed venture since the Pyramint bar, I found myself actually enjoying some its mostly terrible output lastnight. Curb Your Enthusiasm is yet another’US comedy sensation’ to hit our TV screens. But rest assured, this is no ‘Dharma and Greg’. If you haven’t already seen it, it’s a pretend glimpse into the life of Seinfeld co-creator Larry David and is a great mix of bizarre Seinfeld-style scenarios and Woody Allen-esque dialogue. Choice moments included his thoughts on acting associate and bowling partner, Ted Danson (‘I can take him or leave him’) and his criticisms of starchy trousers that give off the impression of constant arousal (‘it’s just an innocent bunch-up’). It’s funny because it’s true!

It seems that yesterday was officially ‘National Mirth Day’. Other that the aforementioned televisual gem, I was treated to a good half hour of violent guffawing while working hard in the local library. Some flustered customer was desperate to get hold of some music by “the rock singer, Joy Davison”, after hearing one of her songs on Top of The Pops 2. It was only after 10 minutes of fruitless catalogue searching that I realised the man’s error.

“Can you remember any of the song’s lyrics?”, I asked, half-preparing for belly laughs.

“Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. It went something like ‘Dance, dance, I’m listening to the radio'”.

“Yes. I think you’ve misread ‘Joy Davison’.”

I now actually feel bad about how much I laughed, because I think he was a bit embarrassed, and I suspect, slightly insane.

The last few weeks have also been great for listening to good, inexpensive music. Other than a fantastic compilation tape I received from diskant disciple Ollie Simpson, for absolutely no charge, I snaffled the new Dirty Three album ‘She Has No Strings, Apollo’ – it’s no bad, reader) for only THREE POUNDS. Big hand for The Music Zone. And on top of this, I attended a free gig in which Italian band Zu gave a mind-bending performance. Their particular brand of twang is best described as avant-jazz-free-core-punk-improvisation directly from the source of Chaos. Wacky!

What a fun last three weeks!

Posted: November 20th, 2002, by John Coburn

So much to talk about…

October was probably the grimmest month of my largely uneventful year. Employment seeking had sapped all life and dignity out of me and replaced it with an overwhelming sense of despair. I had no money to buy records, watch bands or do anything else that required an exchange of currency for goods. And on top of this, a bugle (best described as a trumpet with no valves, for all those unfamiliar with military brass instruments) dropped onto my head from 6ft, seriously impairing my vision for 3 days.

But, christ on a bicycle, November has more than made up for it! Somebody gave me a job and I saw a load of great bands! I’ll start with my watching of Fugazi. Well, I’d heard so many conflicting reports about every show on this tour (read entries below, if you haven’t already). The main criticism seemed to be “the band weren’t really into it”. Well, the Leeds gig I saw was nothing short of life affirming. They played the right mix of songs, the right length of set (1 and and 3/4 hours), and Ian McKaye provided us with an entertaining selection of anecdoting and brief political commenting. But it was their absolute focus and fervent enthusiasm that made it all staggering to watch. They were completely and utterly into it. Watching Guy drop to the floor and flail his legs insanely, while McKaye barked every last gasp of breath from his lungs was staggering. And the quite beautiful and seamless transition from ‘Last Chance For a Slow Dance’ into ‘Sweet and Low’ and then into ‘Repeater’, was something I will always remember.

One week later, I found myself back in Newcastle marvelling at the sounds of Q And Not U and Red Monkey . Actually, my own musical ensemble opened the show with our brief debut performance. I think we all enjoyed and it did seem to go down quite well with the packed-out crowd. Even though, in a bizarre Laurel and Hardy moment, each of us managed to slip over on a rotten banana upon exiting the stage. Yes. A banana. On the floor. Anyway, Red Monkey were phenomenal as per usual, and remarkably tight despite the rumours they’d only practised once in 6 months, and I was really impressed with Q And Not U. Afterwards, every band celebrated the fine evening by attempting to drink some of my friend’s disgusting 98% imported Polish vodka (no, not 98% proof. This was actually 98% alcohol, like almost pure ethanol, vodka. NAILS. HARD AS). Upon mishearing that drinking enough of the stuff might cause blindness, Barry decided to test the theory by actually pouring it into his eye. Cue several minutes of pain. Two eye injury stories in one blog. Outstanding.

Next up, 9 X 9, a newly conceived nine-band half-dayer in Newcastle. All in all, an excellent mix of interesting rock music, extremely loud noise on computers, two-piece weirdy jazz bands and other eclectic wonders. My personal highlights were Brown Owl (clever quirk-rock from ex-Diesel Vs Steam, Dragon Rapide members), Cathode (purty electronica), Snail Racing (three bass guitars and drums, but with annoying three-way vocal action) and Futureheads (Yummy Fur meets Gang Of Four, with great four-way vocal action). Maybe band of the night though, was The Unit Ama. Totally unpredictable, post-rock style noise, complete with bonkers onstage moving about. They also played a blinder when supporting the mighty Econoline, who were without 75% of the band, a week later (by the way, nice meeting you, Ian!).

So yeah, one of the best November’s in a long time.

5 things I discovered last week

Posted: July 9th, 2002, by John Coburn

1. Home-grown chillies are not good for the stomach.
2. Damien Frost records are great.
3. The tv programme ‘Six Feet Under’ is great.
4. If you ask for a can of Tab Clear in a newsagent’s people will laugh at you.
5. Jimmy Saville was once a professional wrestler.

The first weblog entry from new-boy!

Posted: May 24th, 2002, by John Coburn

Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.

I’d say nice things about stuff except I’ve just watched Big Brother and I’m mad. 12 egomaniac pretty people spouting worthless guff whilst doing nothing. The televisual phenomenon of the decade? It’s just weird. I mean, one of the contestants got on through sending in a videotape of himself simultaneously bodybuilding and pulling down his pants in a muddy field.

(say the producers) “Giles. We’ve got our man”.

The only thing I can think of to out-weird that is this.