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Archive for the 'rants and stuff' Category

Oh God no

Posted: April 28th, 2008, by Chris Summerlin

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tommm_sykes/2436782237/

http://www.myspace.com/summerlin 

Can I be the first to say…

Posted: April 21st, 2008, by Stan Tontas
  • where the fuck is the 13th Note?
  • Who goes to Brel for music? (A: people who think Ashton Lane is Glasgow’s East End)
  • The Scotia kicks the arse of the Halt Bar if you want authentic.
  • When did the folk in Nice N Sleazy become “painfully well-dressed”?
  • You put your page break in the wrong place.
  • But again, where the fuck is the 13th Note?

Meh I always fall for this kind of commercial website flame baiting. Use the AdBlock firefox extension if you follow that link.

Comicreliefland

Posted: March 26th, 2008, by Stan Tontas

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency on TV the other night was so charming that it would be churlish to criticise it. But as a non-servile peasant, when I see the words “Written by Richard Curtis” I get angry so as to avoid diabetic coma.

I freely admit I know nothing about Botswana. Maybe it really is a sunny, idyllic place where problems can be solved with goodwill and 2 typewriters. However that’s not where No.1 is set. This looks more like Comicreliefland to me.

Comicreliefland is where Africa’s problems are related to us by wealthy Londoners. It’s populated by wide-eyed, tragically cute children. Without shoes. A land whose poverty is unrelated to Western exploitation. Not a result of the deliberate policy of “our” governments, but a fact of nature, cruel fate to be borne in stoic silence until a rich man gives you charity, for which you thank him respectfully in over-annunciated English (so charming!). Most insidiously, all the continent’s problems are waiting to be solved by honest businessmen, if only they weren’t hamstrung by corrupt African politicians.

Let’s look at the problems here and how they’re solved. We have an insurance scam perpetrated on a businessman so saintly he offers to pay the money to charity and the same charity as that favoured by the fraudster. Moral: don’t try and improve your lot, your boss is your friend, he has your best interest at heart.

There’s sinister human sacrifice hinted at. Moral: muti and by extension other traditional ways are dark, sinister and evil. Only corrupt politicians and backward peasants practice it.

There’s a powerful and corrupt political figure. But where does he get the money for his Merc from? The muti? Not from any Western agency or corporation (nowhere to be seen). Moral: Corruption is a property of Africans, not a result of Western economics.

The problem’s not that No.1 isn’t a reflection of Africa’s real problems. It’s escapism, that’s not what it’s there for. But it would be nice to see Africa through the eyes of Africans just once. Make a change from Edinburgh doctors or Notting Hill writers

Signs that the 1980s revival has gone too far

Posted: March 18th, 2008, by Stan Tontas
  • skinny trousers
  • massive asymmetrical hair. (We didn’t ban CFCs because of the ozone layer…)
  • banks collapsing
  • house prices falling
  • stock market crises
  • Chinese government crushes citizens with tanks
  • Your pal sells 10 copies of Class War‘s magazine in under two hours.
  • Rambo in the cinema

Any more?

ANGRY

Posted: February 5th, 2008, by Chris Summerlin

http://www.vbs.tv/player.php?bctid=1399286289&bccl=Mjg0OTUyNzA0X19FVEM

This makes me want to fucking puke. Of course, no one in England plays in shitty venues without a stage, plays in 5 bands, has a work ethic. No chance. We all just play on TV in quaint bands. Our ‘underground’ runs as deep as the Arctic Monkeys. How I wish American bands had the chances we have here.
Bullshit.
There is an underground to the ‘underground’ in the UK that somehow connects popular culture of the last 10 years or more and no one ever gives it credit or even notices it. It takes in Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, Foals. It even takes in Graham Coxon.

Serge from Kasabian

Posted: August 2nd, 2007, by Chris Summerlin

Everytime I open a music magazine, this moron is spouting some ill-informed guff back at me. First of all it was saying that, although he didn’t know that guy from Franz Ferdinand, he was positive that he didn’t think about his music with as much care and love as Serge thinks about the work he does in Kasabian.

That kind of pissed me off. “That guy from Franz Ferdinand” was putting on DIY gigs and playing in countless under-the-radar bands when old Serge was probably putting on an anorak and heading to Knebworth to see Oasis.

But, that’s cool. He’s missed the point. He was aiming his anger at something he mistook for something else. Everyone misses the point from time to time. I’m always doing it. That’s OK.

This month I opened up Q in WH Smith’s and browsed the Top Guitar Tracks selected by rock stars past and present. Serge had been quizzed and had chosen Cherry Red by The Groundhogs.

This threw me into a spin. Perhaps I had been hasty in labelling the guy a knee-jerking talentless fuckwad? Maybe he really does have good taste and maybe he’s actually a good guy.

But no.

He manages to get The Groundhogs in Q and then states he only heard the song a year ago and had ‘had a listen to the rest of the band’s stuff’ and ‘none of it compares’ apparently. In fact, he goes as far as to say Cherry Red is their ‘one good moment’, therefore dismissing a band’s entire recorded output and influence in exactly the same way future generations will (rightfully) dismiss his. Or more accurately, he dismisses a band with a 30+ year back catalogue in the same vein as an obscure one-hit wonder he’s dug up for the benefit of the world who, up to that point, were in the dark.

Serge from Kasabian: EAT A SHIT.

Aspects of gallic folk cocktail doom

Posted: April 16th, 2007, by Chris Summerlin

Deep space gloomp and wind-tortured drone-silence. A total purging of the nervous system in four iron-clad movements populated by machine gun phase, rib-throbbing microphone feedback, whole orchestras of alarm codes and the kind of sensory blitzkreig that brings to mind Lester Bangs on LSD and Metal Machine Music dominated by ludicrously monolithic psychedelic guitar gravities and blow after blow of tone-fractured bass groan reigning down through a maze of fuzz and contemporary noise muscle that comes in splattered sprayed case with insert artwork by French… totally sick. Hand numbered edition of 35 induces foul heart exploding spasms dominated by ludicrously monolithic psychedelic guitar gravities.
First side is a wheezing grunt through spliced and glued shards of rock noise, B-side is a beautiful dart shot straight through the heart of Aerosmith. They fucking deserve searchlights probing deep beneath walls of flesh while expressway trains hum and sing in your veins and huge steel jaws draw protesting blood straight from the air threaten to dissolve into luminous feathers of breath and flatten themselves against the sky. Very beautiful. On shrimp coloured vinyl.
Oppressive levels of amplifier torture given the shape of massive raptor blades via the psychedelic application of ribbons of reverb and fuzz “recorded through a refrigerator and toaster oven”. Combines monstrously degraded post-NWW chance electronics with an extreme Godz/Hijokaidan approach to free clatter and an almost autistic relationship to smeared noise detail.
Honey comb like fly visions slow motion ascent flying into a candle moving into thin beams of flickering steel-filed brain-drilling that matches tiny ECG eruptions with the chatter of instant mechanical sculptures with individual pockets of time that are so mutually incompatible that you feel your mind peeling apart in an octopus of directions.
Growing out of the motorik clank of knuckles rapping on a giant disintegrating metal structure, contact mics are thrust head first into the gut of a gurgling furnace, reporting back whole macro-systems of unknown tonal potential. Waves of amplified insect tongue swarm around bass frequencies bloodier than an exhibition of glistening abattoir victims, while disembodied palms hover over hot-wired theremins like phantom faith healers. The side unravels into a slow motion wheeze of bronchial electronics offset against lightening flashes of degraded walkman rewind that sounds like ticker-tape electronic SOS voices broadcasting from fleets of submarines lost somewhere beneath the ice and elbows of pure aural threat. This is ambitious, florid psych that should please anyone who digs the more dramatic UK sugarcube moments as much as the more enjoyably complex Euro prog shit. And if that ain’t you, who the fuck is it? All sounds generated using an epilator designed for removing leg hair, albeit with the source sonics manipulated to new depths of infernal dreamtone. Sounds great.
High-energy acrobatics with guttural, devolved beast talk that has as much to do with Link Wray, Hasil Adkins and The Legendary Stardust Cowboy as it does Marion Brown, Han Bennink and Alan Silva. Features “The Physical Brain As The Tomb Of The Ancient Clairvoyance” and peaks at a whole new level of barbarous sludge with what sounds like a fleet of electric razors burying steel raptors in six feet of concrete while the Angus MacLise Orkestra play pre-Lapsarian Morse codes on a handbuilt steel drum containers and whole choirs of ghosts sing madrigals somewhere just over the horizon where hypnotic vapour trails of solo synth dissolve like tiny coronas of smoke in a way that feels as ancient and otherwordly as the earliest of scientific Americans, with a sci-fi dance-of-the-Pleiades feel and the kind of soft, mushroomy, organic logic that makes you wanna wrap it around your ears and sink straight to the bottom. Highest recommendation: strap this fucker on and get gone.
Huge lungs of void cut up with diamonds of percussion and lone metal tone in classic globe-gobbling style weed-damaged monolithic free rock blare, post-Blue Humans strings/drum-think in studded leather mittens and stained Bob Marley shirts. Who the fuck would’ve believed it? Another killing side from this devastating free rock monster. Very limited.
Head harvesting.
Unrelentingly heavy on the high end; electrified dog whistle shocks are intersected by explosions of enraptured primal balling and drum machines collapsing due to their own sheer animal urgency. Locomotive bolts of damaged FX discharge from makeshift mixing desks birth slow drugged processionals that sound like huge butterfly wraiths coiling slowly around your spine, phased drone-spikes that mirror the sun coming up on a field-full of stop-motion poppies and some beautifully wasted testimony-to-oblivion arcs of rotor drone, shadowy bursts of non-specific machine friction and what sounds like a fleet of iron lungs sailing lonesome through an infinity of NWW-styled cold dark space: the first in a projected series and features a side of distressed solo vocal murk that crosses distraught wordless codes with loops of desiccated tongue and a side of solo guitar that sounds like a sky-full of cathedral organs.
Limbs forced deep into the kinda bastions of freedom associated with a buncha exclusive outside music streams like psych rock, hardcore grunt, primitive field blather and – of course – fire music and beyond looped metal teeth tearing tiny holes in saturated analogue tape to the sound of raw circuitry invaded by light and flesh.
Packaged in a hand-sewn and hand-stamped onionskin sack with insert.

LOVE IS LOVE

Posted: August 21st, 2006, by Chris Summerlin

Marceline has been hassling me (and all the diskant crew) to do some more music reviews and I kept putting off answering until finally I had to admit that I’m not that into music anymore. Or rather I’m not that interested in new music or listening to things that are put in my lap.
However, I am hugely into music and about 99% of it at the moment is Lungfish.
When I first got into Dischord Records, Lungfish were a total oddity among the deep back catalogue of the label that I was investigating (they still are in a lot of respects). It wasn’t an instant conversion by any means, in fact I didn’t really like them. I remember talking with someone who knows the Dischord people and he spoke incredulously of the excitement shown by Ian MacKaye when the final mix of the new Lungfish record was delivered to him. I remember we laughed.
Then I got a tape of The Unanimous Hour LP about 5 years ago maybe. I remember clearly driving in my car with a girl I had just started seeing and putting the tape in and saying to her:
“I don’t know if I like this album, I just can’t stop listening to it” like I was apologising. I don’t know why I did that but I think it was because if there’s one thing Lungfish isn’t, it’s ‘now’ music or ‘music of the moment’. It isn’t stylistically current. And when you’re impressing a lady I think it’s important to be current right?
The thing is Lungfish songs (or the later ones at any rate) don’t have any changes. For someone digging math rock and every weird time signature shit I could put my hands on in 2001, having no changes was as revolutionary and mind blowing as hearing Trout Mask Replica for the first time.
I think during the approximately 365 baths I took in 2001, I probably listened to that tape for at least 300 of them, still not really sure why. I just found, increasingly (and still so) that when I stare at all my records it tends to be Lungfish that jumps out.
There’s something really all-encompassing about the music they make. It’s for all times. It’s not like putting on AC/DC on a Saturday because you feel hyped or listening to Smog because you want to wallow in bad feeling or listening to Brian Eno to go to sleep. It seems to serve all purposes and be the right thing at all times. Again, I can’t fathom this.
I also can’t fathom what Daniel Higgs is singing about. I think the ambiguity is a big part of the band and their power in that he sings about things that, from time to time, really strike within me like it’s something I’ve heard before or I know already. It’s powerful but yet it has no feeling of lecture. The symbolism he uses rings bells in my head about bizarre cultish practise, the cosmos, power balances and religion but it’s never direct.
When I was in Australia in 2003 I was really down when I found out the band were playing Nottingham in my absence.
I asked Phil what it was like. He said he went to soundcheck and the sound engineer went through the drums and bass etc and then finally asked for guitar. Phil said as soon as the guitarist Asa played a chord it became Lungfish and he remembered why he was there. How many bands can you say that about?
I got lucky when they were added to the 2004 ATP festival. Looking across the front row I think I knew maybe 9 out of 10 of the people clutching the barrier. Live they were bizarre, requiring a certain amount of submission on the part of the listener, i.e. you had to go with it. I love bands like that and I loved them.
I had the bizarre experience of watching the sea with Higgs, Steve from Unit Ama, Neil, bassist Sean Meadows and my girlfriend later that night and I had no idea what to say to them or how to chat to them about anything which sounds completely corny but I’m not usually lost for words or freaked out by people.
Anyway, I’m not even sure what’s going on with them at the moment. Their last LP Feral Hymns is mighty. I heard they may not be operational right now, I know Higgs is playing solo shows.
The reason for writing this is that I stumbled across what might well be Dan Higgs’ only radio interview and it’s a real piece of work. Listen and enjoy!

Link to interview

Ups and downs in Glasgow

Posted: November 26th, 2005, by Marceline Smith

Following on from my previous post:

Worth looking forward to: SNOW

We got snow sooner than expected, on Thursday. The light that morning was eerie, amazingly clear and so beautiful. I even noticed entire buildings I never noticed in six months of walking up Queen Margaret Drive daily. As I stared around in wonder, clouds of doom crept in, the sky went dark and the snow started falling. When I got off the bus ten minutes later the snow was thick and swirling all around me and I was so happy I thought my heart would burst. I’ve never been so wide-eyed and over-excitably talkative at 9am on a work morning. I love Glasgow so much.

Not worth looking forward to: playing with Data Panik

Excuse me if I go off on a rant here but I am so disappointed, angry and upset about this. As a huge bis fan, and having seen DP play about 5 times now, I was so excited to get asked to support them. But we ended up pulling out of the gig in the afternoon because of what we consider to be unbelievable and ridiculous promotion. The gig was promoted by a well-known, experienced local promotion company and was part of a local council sponsored and heavily advertised festival. But by the time we pulled out these were the conditions we had apparently agreed to by accepting the invitation to play (maybe we should have asked more beforehand but maybe they should have told us sooner than the day before the gig and without us having to ask):

Running order of support bands, number of guest list places and all payment for the night to be entirely decided by amount of advance tickets sold personally by each band by 4pm on the day of the gig.

So if we sold zero tickets we wouldn’t even get our expenses covered even if 50 of our friends turned up on the night and paid on the door. Am I being mental here or is this just wrong?

We’ve played a lot of gigs in the last 18 months, including some high profile ones, and never been treated like this. Every gig we’ve done has been promoted by enthusiastic, friendly, helpful people who have given us all the information we needed and either paid us very generously or at least given us our petrol money and some beer.

I’d heard about these ticket deal gigs before and always vowed never to play any of them. Maybe my principles are too strong here but after 15 years of doing things DIY I won’t be a part of something that plays bands against each other and doesn’t treat them as people (and people with jobs. Our presence at soundcheck was also demanded for 4pm) with basic requirements. It just seems so corporate.

I’d be interested in what the rest of you who are in bands/promote gigs think about this.

(The Girls Aloud album better be great now)

UPDATE: Our official band response to the promoter is now on our website which explains things in more detail.

The Guardian, live music, and Clear Channel

Posted: July 30th, 2005, by Dave Stockwell

Yesterday The Guardian contained an article by Alexis Petridis about how 2005 is a new golden age of live music in the UK:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/fridayreview/story/0,12102,1537784,00.html

Interesting sentiment (from someone who has no idea about what is actually going on in terms of music being performed at venues of a capacity of less than 200 people?), and it’s nice to hear from Feargal Sharkey and whatnot, but something of a concern in the last paragraph courtesy of Steve Lamacq:

“Live music is going through the kind of renaissance that football went through when clubs realised that their grounds were unsafe or rubbish or not good enough and piled some money in. Then it becomes popular and the big companies come in. We’ve already had [multinational media corporation] Clear Channel arrive. I’m not saying for a moment that Clear Channel are Roman Abramovich, but . . .” He pauses. “Do you see where I’m going with this? The thing is that they’ll make big gigs really good. But instead of getting the best players, they’ll get the biggest names in rock and I think that some people further down the chain will go out of business. There will be exclusivity clauses saying if you don’t play this venue, you can’t play this other venue we also own. Where can it possibly end? Can it just get bigger and bigger? My advice to people is to make the most of it now. Enjoy it while it lasts.”

Or you could try and do something about it Steve. Make no mistake, having fucked over a huge amount of people in the USA, CC are now turning their attention to Europe and I’m really upset about it.

Look here for more information:

http://archive.salon.com/ent/clear_channel/ – a good introduction to the monopolising and bullying policies of CC.

http://www.clearchannelsucks.net/ – a central resource on information on CC

http://www.hailtocc.org/u2-2005/u2.en.html– part of a manifesto revealing quite how detrimental to grass-roots, DIY and independent live music promoters and venues CC has been in Belgium, and how they rope in the biggest rock stars to help them do so.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Clear Channel Worldwide – some more information on CC’s ties to the Bush administration and pro-Gulf War rallies (no, I’m not kidding).

http://blog.stayfreemagazine.org/2005/05/radio_free_clea.html – an incredible article about how Clear Channel set up its own pirate radio station specifically to mock its other stations and generate publicity – check the comments.

Clear Channel may be able to pull its various strings together to bring big rock stars to big venues around the world, but their corporate muscle also prevents anyone who isn’t part of the elite (i.e. anyone who doesn’t submit to their demands) access to information, venues, markets and whatnot. Because they can infiltrate so many aspects of the music market, they can demand that booking agents and promoters have to work exclusively with CC-owned venues at CC rates, with CC-approved bands, in CC-approved towns, working exclusively with CC-owned media (radio/newspapers/magazines). Do you know CC also demands that in their venues all bands that perform have to surrender a hefty percentage of any merchandising revenue (not a new shady practice, but one taken to heady new levels, considering they’ve got fuck all to do with it)? You should definitely read about their tactics about dominating and homogenising the American radio market, and their links to highly conservative Republican groups (not to mention their playlist policies after the World Trade Center attacks in 2001). What’s freedom of speech again? Oh, and Clear Channel owns literally every venue in Boston, meaning that any band not wishing to toe their line can’t even play that city in America. Nice.

You may not realise it, but CC are already making headway into the UK. They already own Mean Fiddler and the Reading & Leeds Festivals, and have a 39% stake in Glastonbury. But here’s the most surreal – and worrying – thing: CC is now trying to infiltrate the UK music industry by pretending to be “indie”. You may have noticed a couple of independent gig promoters have suddenly managed to start booking up some bigger names to do some unique or intriguing gigs of late, quite out of the blue. I certainly know that they’ve approached a couple of independent promoters that you have probably been to gigs by (and maybe attended a festival by the sea organised by), offering to throw them money and access to the CC universe if they covertly surrender their freedom and independence in some unholy alliance. Thankfully, the people you’re probably thinking fo right now todl them where to stick their dollars. In additon to this, I’ve recently heard about booking agents having a nightmare trying to sort out tours for bands if they are associated with CC, having to work within strict ‘pre-approved’ boundaries of clientele when it comes to bands, venues and promoters.

I had been informed that indie ‘zine Drowned In Sound‘s own label, Drowned in Sound Recordings had been funded by CC, but DiS have come back to us to assure everyone that this is most definitely not the case. Phew! However, apparently CC did indeed “invite” DiS the magazine to have it’s own tent at the highly prestigious (CC owned) Wireless Festival earlier this year, apparently only to get some kind of ‘credible’ badge on their ‘indie’ stage. Their abuse of this ended up being pretty galling. This from DiS editor Colin Roberts:

“Yes, we ran a stage in conjunction with the CC-run Wireless Festival and were well-and-truly fucked over. We had very little say in the artists that played, but did manage to use the corporate might of one of the world’s largest media companies to draw a few more people to our web-site – essentially using the rich to bring something to the ‘underground’.”

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about this.

Getting back to the main point, though it is heartening to hear that not everyone is willing to sell out their ideals about independent music, it is still obvious that a scary amount of people are willing to jump into bed with Clear Channel as they disingenuously try to seep their way into the UK’s live music venues and promotions through ploughing new money into the ‘market’ for live music. Unlike Mr Lamacq, I don’t have mixed feelings about this situation: I think it’s fucking awful, and I encourage you to do something about it. It’s quite simple. Read some articles at the above links, get yourself informed, and – if you can – avoid Clear Channel-associated products, gigs, venues and labels at all costs. It’s currently not too hard as their grip is fairly marginal, but only proactive action is going make them reconsider their policies. Fuck these bullyboys, their exploitative machinations and their heavy-handed dealings – support musicians, promoters and labels not willing to jump into bed with these soulless bastards for the sake of a quick buck. It seems like a pretty simple and obvious thing for me to say, but it’s always worth doing it just in case someone at the back wasn’t listening. Just do what you can. If you have any interest in music made and performed independently of the mainstream industry (and by reading this I would assume that you do), you can help.

“Support DIY” – I should have this on a placard that I have to drag myself around with, like a monkey on my back.

If anyone wants to update me or set me straight or anything, or even debate any points, please feel free to comment or email me at dstockwell(at)diskant(dot)net. I’m trying to spread awareness here. Please do speak up if you’ve anything to say and let’s get some dialogue going about this situation.

In other news, never heard of fearmongering? Now you have: http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=18911

What a load of bullshit.

/soapbox