Welcome

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

Archive for the 'all about us' Category

http://honeyisfunny.blogspot.com/

Posted: January 20th, 2009, by Chris Summerlin

I’ve decided to do a blog of my own as well as writing on Diskant. It’ll be an anything goes type thing, photos, artwork, music and writing. You can guess I am sure: http://honeyisfunny.blogspot.com/

2008, yum yum

Posted: January 14th, 2009, by Pascal Ansell

– – ALBUMS – –

Stunners:

Flying Lotus – Los Angeles. Real headphone hip hop. Massive beats and dirty samples – it’s rare to call a rap album beautiful but this sets the yardstick. Yum Yum Flying Lotus.

Volcano – Paperwork. Read my review!

Flake Brown – Help the Overdog – ditto. Good old, peculiar folk.

Gang Gang Dance – Saint Dymphna. Wildy danceable – a dizzying 11 tracks. Grime track Princes surprised the hell out of me but is the album’s best.

Not Too Shabby:

Bjork – Volta. Good tunes but where the hell were Chris Corsano or Brian Chippendale ?

Jonquil – Lions

Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

Gushpanka – Gushpanka

– – GIGS – –

Brudenell Social Club = my new home:

Acid Mothers Temple,

Oxes + Bilge Pump,

Daedalus,

Oxes,

Dalek + Zach Hill

Others

Charlottefield – Wheatsheaf, Oxford, 12th Jan (last gig??)

Volcano! – The Library, Leeds

DJ Yoda’s Magic Cinema Show – Oxford Academy

– – 3 GOOD THINGS – –

Sweden

Mackerel

Flying Lotus

– – 3 BAD THINGS – –

Damon Che – Drums,

Gene Doyle – Guitar,

Jason Jouver – Bass

(WHAT are Don Cab doing???!?!)

Desert: Delia Smith’s How to Cook Book 1, singing Dream of Gerontious, Thame Choral Society and the Bernwode Singers, an England-free World Cup = great and unbiased viewing, Sweden, Czech Republic: teaching English + tasty Czech beer, Leeds Uni, interviewing Zach Hill, Leeds Festival Chorus, Oxfam Headingley, Room 237, Scandinavian Soc, North Hill Court, Samba and Reggaeton, Exodus at the West Indian Centre, Leeds University Union Music Library, Reggae Reggae Cookbook, Moscow Philharmonic + sardines at Leeds Town Hall, meeting Judith Bingham (blog here), Viva Cuba’s house band, BBC Manchester, Poulenc: Gloria

Overspill Poets

Posted: January 12th, 2009, by Mandy Williams

Overspill Poets were first conceived in a Tyneside flat by guitarist George Kitching and singer Tim Taylor before Kitching progressed to nineties Kitchenware outfit Hug. After a long gestation this new reincarnation sees the pair deliver a promo CD of material for their new album due out later this year.

 

It’s very much an alt-country affair. I played this in my car on a long journey and found it to be ideal road trip soundtrack but perhaps more suited to a sun drenched Interstate 5 than the rainy M62. The gorgeous ‘Neon Lights,’ begins the first leg.  London’s gear when you grew up round here,’ sings Taylor over huge curling slide guitar licks that skate off into ad hoc riffs. ‘Sound of Sirens’ starts a little like Jersey rock but the voice ensures it stays more within the realm of Teenage Fanclub. Mid journey ‘Summer,’ changes route with a reggae/dub mix without veering far from their trademark enticing beat driven melodies. While the Dylanesque ‘Boxing Gloves,’ finds ‘the neighbourhood curtains twitching again as he buys you roses and sleeps with your friends.’ I’m always a sucker for a song that name checks Holly Golightly and the reference to Hazey Jane makes me think of the Nick Drake quality of the vocal. There’s a little pit-stop for my favourite track ‘Ricochets.’ It’s actually quite a simple song but one that engages immediately as the instruments rebound to reflect the title and compliment the lyrics, ‘bind it to me with promises, live in transit to the edge.’ ‘Independence Day’ has an upbeat Ryans Adams feel to it. With ‘Walking Tall’ and ‘Northern Star’ we are now firmly dwelling in the house of Americana. The former with a psych perspective, the latter has an authoritative hook. Next they muse on finding ‘Inner Space,’ ‘I don’t need a volunteer to bang a drum and bend my ear, pull me out of here before I lose another year.’ The vocal now reveals a deeper timbre. Journeys end comes with ‘Vital Signs,’ a bluesy piece – think Ry Cooder meets The Doors with the backing track from ‘Loose Fit.’

 

Throughout the collection of songs Taylor’s distinctive vocals tower above the attendant instrumentation and keep the resultant sound firmly on this side of the Atlantic. Whether understated or extravagant, Overspill poets make a promising return with a richly crafted piece which comes from the heart.

 

 

http://www.myspace.com/overspillpoets 

Ron Asheton

Posted: January 6th, 2009, by Chris Summerlin

Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events which are causally unrelated occurring together in a meaningful manner. In order to count as synchronicity, the events should be unlikely to occur together by chance

A post-Xmas browse of charity shops turned up a copy of Gimme Danger by Joe Ambrose, the biography of Iggy Pop, for a pound. I bought it and set about reading it. The introduction details how the author was present at the J Mascis & The Fog show in Shepherd’s Bush in 2001 where the band encored with Stooges covers joined by Stooges founder Ron Asheton. It led to an unfortunate incident where Bobby Gillespie brained some kid for (rightfully) vocally slagging his onstage Iggy impression.

I was at that show too. It was something of a pivotal night for me. Through a weird series of events I ended up breaking up with my long term girlfriend as a result of going to the show. I met someone else there and then got some bizarre life advice from none other than Mike Watt who mentions the incident in his tour diary from the time.  I saw the Fog 3 times on that tour (once with Asheton) and they played Stooges songs for the encore every time and completely blew me away and re-introduced me to the Stooges back catalogue with vigour.

A short while afterwards I went to see Asheton Asheton Mascis Watt – the Stooges reformation Pt I (Iggyless) at the LA2, a show notable mainly for being awesome but also for sowing the seeds of the Dinosaur Jr reunion when Lou Barlow got up unannounced to sing I Wanna Be Your Dog.

Never one to miss the chance to make a buck, Iggy finally reformed The Stooges (with Mike Watt replacing the late Dave Alexander who Iggy had fired in 1970 and who died in 1975) in 2003 and I was lucky enough to catch them play Funhouse in it’s entirety at the Odeon in Hammersmith in 2005. I still think that’s the best gig I have ever seen. They absolutely killed it. I gushed about it on Diskant back then: http://www.diskant.net/blog/2005/10/10/the-stooges-hammersmith-odeon-30805/

It looked a bit like this:

I’m on the left somewhere. Probably laying on the ground.

The Iggy biog has made it something of a Stooges Xmas period for me. Even before I bought the book, at the first proper practise with a new band we did a little bit of TV Eye for fun.

Then last night on the way to the supermarket, my housemate and I were chatting about how awesome the Thurston Moore ATP ( http://www.diskant.net/features/atp-2006/ ) was and how we snuck in to both Stooges shows by waving the wrong wristbands at the security accompanied by some Ben Kenobi mental force that made them see them as the right colour. Getting a bonus Stooges show (on the cusp of my birthday) somehow made us all go mental. The first Stooges show was hardly sedate though, I’d dislocated my knee on the first day of being there and was in huge amounts of pain trying to stay upright in the front when Iggy stagedived on my head and it popped out again. I loved it. At the end of the second show, covered in beer and sweat, I managed to get this like a total fanboy:

I was so stoked. Then to top it all off I got to see the MC5 straight afterwards.

After getting back from the supermarket last night, my friend Lucinda texted me out of the blue to say

“Iggy Pop is advertising car insurance! X”

This seemed in keeping with Joe Ambrose’s book. I’ve long suspected that despite his claims and reputation to the contrary, Jim Osterberg is a regular American who sees his counter cultural standing as a marketable tool like any other. Ambrose is a man after my own heart when it comes to the Stooges (with the glaring exception of calling Raw Power their “undisputed best” LP). Despite the book being about Iggy, it’s a must read for fans of the other other Stooges, specifically Ron.

Iggy went out of his way to discredit Ron and his brother Scott and their input into the band. He used his superior public position to slowly whittle away his former bandmates’ reputations, saying at one point that they “couldn’t put together a home aquarium” (much less an album of the power of Funhouse) without his involvement. This is despite quotes to the contrary that credit the music on Funhouse and their self-titled LP to Ron. He took to berating Ron for living with his mother and seemed to delight in throwing an occasional carrot the brothers way only to turn his back on them again when something more lucrative showed up.

I thought it might be fun to write an Iggy de-bunking article for Diskant and I started planning it in the bath last night as I read about the dissolving of the Stooges in the 70s amid disinterest and crippling drug addictions. Iggy interests me immensely. He’s probably the greatest performer ever and is (was) a concise and brilliant lyricist. However, he is also a careerist and a schemer who would sell his own mother’s feet to get a break, who only turned to his former bandmates after it became apparent that the general public was more interested in a Stooges revival than in Iggy performing with Sum41 or Green Day – yet more choices made by Iggy to cling hold of a ‘career’ in the ‘biz’. As a constant reader of Mike Watt’s journals (I even got sacked for it once) it is very easy to read between the lines and see Osterberg as a diva, travelling to gigs on his own in a limo (while the band get the van), separate dressing rooms, fine wines, efficient de-briefings – anything to maintain the brand of Iggy Pop.

I wrote on Diskant once of my excitement that The Stooges were going to make another record. I regret my excitement. The Weirdness couldn’t be more aptly named. It is absolutely awful in every respect. We think of The Stooges as counter cultural figures in the terms of today, but really these guys are old school pro rockers, no matter how outrageous their reputation. The underground back then was far from it. Even the furthest reaches of strangeness were on major labels and made their music as part of the industry and hustled for money to maintain that. To expect these guys to have come through 30 years selling their trade to make a buck with their good taste intact was asking too much. I wanted to love it though. It seems to me like they recorded it in the style of Funhouse with a credible no-nonsense engineer (Steve Albini) and then dealt with the results and the subsequent mixing in the same way as Iggy might have dealt with a stab at commercialism in the 1980s. So they record everything live, warts-and-all and then mix it according to a hierachy of ego, so the vocals have to be up front and loud even if they weren’t recorded with that in mind. And let’s not mention the bass. Or lack of. Or the lyrics, or lack of. It seems popular to blame Albini for the way the record sounds but I’ve never heard him mix something like this before. The stench of Iggy Pop’s ego is all over the thing. I don’t blame Ron. His riffs are pretty good in fact.

However, even with the new songs in tow they remained an absolutely devastating live act. Iggy may have had some of the finest backing musicians around throughout his career (I recommend checking out the 4 piece Stooges-style line-up with Eric Schermerhorn on guitar from the 90s) but somehow the Stooges songs never sound as good as when the Asheton brothers are playing them. And that’s with or without Iggy as the Mascis shows proved.

With all this Stooge-thought in my head it was absolutely bizarre and upsetting to hear the news today that Ron Asheton had been found dead (of a suspected heart attack) at his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan aged 60.

When you consider that Ron was always the (relatively) clean-living Stooge, it’s ironic that he should bow out before his brother, Iggy or latter-era Stooge James Williamson.

Ambrose’s incorrect (IMO) assertion that the Stooges’ finest moment was Raw Power does at least include great praise for Ron’s bass playing after Iggy and Williamson unceremoniously demoted Ron to the bass role. Even then they only did so after moving to England on David Bowie’s coin and failing to find any natives to do the job (or take their shit for long enough). But where Ron was a great bassist, he was an unbelievable guitar player. Ron Asheton was no Jimi Hendrix (and you can often hear moments on record where his hand overtakes his brain) but by stripping down the playing of Hendrix and the first wave of British bands in the US (like Cream or The Who) but keeping the raw sonic element he was the bridge between the far out rock of the 60s and underground rock music as we know it today. He understood, whether by instinct or design, that regardless of technical ability the sound of the electric guitar alone was a political statement in itself. It’s worth remembering that whilst Jimi Hendrix opened doors to every noodling pub blues band you’ve ever heard, there were some people who were just as excited by the noises between the notes as the notes themselves and that’s where Ron (and Hendrix too I suspect) fitted in.

Whereas his peers littered their playing with tell-tale signs of the era, Ron’s two-footed gung-ho approach and truly revolutionary ways of broadening the band’s sound with drone-based riffs and overdriven two-fingered chords still sound contemporary.

As mentioned, his story is one of frustrating under-achievement that (despite his ‘underground’ credentials) is mirrored across the genres of music. Post-Stooges he played in New Order (not the UK band) and Destroy All Monsters before coming full circle and involving himself in Stooges-related projects with J Mascis and Wylde Rattz who provided the modern Stooges re-recordings heard on Todd Haynes’ film Velvet Goldmine. He even acted in some low budget trashy horror movies that you can read more about on the IMDB.

Meanwhile, Iggy toured the world as the Godfather Of Punk with a succession of guitar players playing Ron’s riffs but somehow not quite as good. Ron’s dry wit and cynicism is his saving grace. Embittered though he undoubtedly was, he was never short of a sharp quip about his former bandmate or his current comparable predicament. It must have been very satisfying to be able to re-emerge and command so much attention for playing Stooges songs without Iggy himself at the start of the millenium and even more gratifying that the public wanted a Stooges reunion infinitely more than another Iggy solo record.

Two of my favourite experiences in my life were the aforementioned Funhouse London show and also getting the chance to ‘be’ Ron in a Stooges tribute band a few years back in Nottingham. We played a Xmas show and a wedding as The Sneinton Stooges. I got to dress in aviator shades and a Nazi hat and play through 2 amp stacks on 10. It was the best. It also improved my guitar playing endlessly. Ron might have sounded simple and to the point but simple and to the point is often the hardest to do.

So, January 6 2009 sees the end of the greatest rock band of all time. The Stooges are no more. I hope Jim Osterberg thought the same thing when he found out the news and not “I wonder what James Williamson is doing?”.

That’s harsh on Iggy though. I figure the reason he dissed Ron so much is the same reason he reunited with him: he knows Ron is the greatest.

 

  Ron Asheton, Detroit Grande Ballroom, 1970

 

STOLEN GEAR ALERT: Souvaris

Posted: January 4th, 2009, by Dave Stockwell

Sorry for the lack of fun or looking back at 2008 in this post, but on New Year’s Day 2009, the following equipment was stolen from Souvaris’ gear storage space in Nottingham:

Fender Musicmaster

1 x 1978 Fender Musicmaster (serial number S811832) –  Original black finish sanded down to natural wood. Brand new black scratchplate with distinctive 2x white single coil pickups, 2 x white knobs and 1x white 3-way selector switch (all custom installed). Guitar has black Fender typeface on headstock and piece of silver gaffer tape on rear holding an allen key. Large gouge in back of neck from when I lobbed it across the stage at Toynbee Hall Arts Cafe when we supported Explosions in the Sky back in 2003. Neck has been sanded down from original gloss finish. In a black soft case bag.

1 x Black Ibanez Stratocaster-style guitar – All-black guitar, relatively new. 2 x black humbucker pickups. Black headstock. In a black soft case.

1 x Korg Triton Classic Keyboard – Silver – Large, with several signs of wear and tear. Couple of the knobs missing, a big fat scratch above the pitch bend, a cigarette burn over on the right hand side.

1 x Clavia Nord Lead Keyboard, Mark 1 – Red – Medium-sized with distinctive red body. Several keys do not make any sound and keyboard overall has to be “coaxed into life” to function properly.

1 x Behringer 4 track mixer

2 x guitar pedals (a boss overdrive and a blue delay pedal missing battery cover)

1 x Gator keyboard case

If you hear anything about any of this stuff, please let me know. Anything at all… we desperately need to get this stuff back. I’ve had the Musicmaster since 1999 and it has huge sentimental value (if no real actual value due to various homemade ‘customisations’). It’ is also tremendously unique due to the pickup/selector switch arrangement and sanded down neck.

Simmo has had his entire keyboard setup stolen, and we have no idea how to even begin to afford to replace it, let alone reproducing the unique sounds stored in the Triton that powered the vast majority of our music.

You can email us at ichbinsimmo at gmail dot com, or call Simmo on 07807 221082. Please pass info about the stolen stuff on to anyone you can think of (especially musicians in and around the Nottingham area), and feel free to repost this on message boards, etc.

Thanks.

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…

 POSTERS

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?

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.

Vessels

Don Caballero

Don Fanallero – great fansite

Pascal Ansell

Shameless Self-Promotion ALERT: Dead or American & Souvaris @ The Captain’s Rest, Glasgow on Sat 1st Nov

Posted: October 30th, 2008, by Dave Stockwell

Apologies for this, but seeing as Souvaris has been an ongoing concern for over 8 years now and have visited many strange and exciting lands (and venues) in our time, it’s always been a minor scandal that we have never ventured over the Scottish border. HOWEVER! This will change on Saturday, as we will be coming to Glasgow FOR THE FIRST TIME to help local heroes Dead or American to celebrate the release of their second album “Thaumaturgy” (that’s the art/science of miracle production, fact fans) on Predestination Records. With only two bands, it’s going to be a proper PARTY and hopefully both bands will get the chance to stretch out a bit and let loose. When your songs are as long as ours, it can only be a good thing. IT’S GOING TO BE A DOOZY!

So that’s £4 in, doors at 8pm and it’s at the Captain’s Rest. See you there?

http://www.myspace.com/predestinationrecords

http://www.myspace.com/deadoramerican

http://www.myspace.com/souvaris

Audioscope 2008

Posted: October 28th, 2008, by Marceline Smith

The days might be getting shorter and winter may be on its way but at least it’s almost time for this year’s Audioscope. In case you haven’t been paying attention, Audioscope is an annual musical extravaganza organised by diskant’s own Simon and Stu in aid of homeless charity Shelter. This year it takes place at the Jericho Tavern in Oxford on Saturday 15th November with a seriously good line-up including KID606, BOXCUTTER, THAT FUCKING TANK, SOEZA, HEY COLOSSUS and of course SUNNYVALE NOISE SUB-ELEMENT. There’s also a couple of warm-up gigs in the next two weeks including DON CABALLERO, ooh.

Sadly I cannot make it this year (sob!) so I hope you’ll all get yourselves along and report back on the fun. If you want a taste of just how much fun it can be, have a look-see at all this from the diskant archives:
My review of Audioscope 2006
Chris Summerlin on Audioscope 2004
Me again on Audioscope 2003
Stu’s diary of Audioscope 2002
Simon’s column on Audioscope 02
Review of the Audioscope CD compilation

Tickets are available RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW and all the info on the bands, Shelter and all that gubbins at the lovely Audioscope website.