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

GRAFFITI ISLAND – Pet Snake/Demonic Cat (7″, Fin Du Monde Records)

Posted: February 8th, 2010, by JGRAM

This is a terrifying seven inch that really has to be seen and touched to be believed.  Housed on one-sided vinyl the reverse of the release is snakeskin seven inch.  Lush.  Quite frankly it makes me feel queasy to touch, sick to experience and ill to move onto my turntable.  It is also a disco plate with one of those large jukebox holes.  In this day and age such aching decadence is purely criminal, this is most definitely the best way to go out.

With this record Graffiti Island do it again, this is all painfully great stuff creaking like coolest hula party never assembled in a manner that should cause Calvin Johnson to reconsider his output of recent times and take pride in the fact that he has influenced so many that are now doing things so much more better.

There is a Petsmart theme to this record, a tone of affection that comes with the wrong love of having angry pets.  Well, perhaps not but that is my interpretation.  Sue me.

At the fear of sounding too gushing the package just turns me on with its warped Snoop Dogg crossed with Garfield gone wrong cover artwork.  This is graffiti of the highest order, a demonstration of smut and angular thinking.

Returning to the music the pulse is strong with this one.  The rudimentary guitars are survived by vocals ascribing major intent as an echo blossoms to scintillating and terrifying degrees.  “Demonic Cat” in particular describes a high degree of mischief with its “666 lives”.  The lurching motions of the song perfectly describe the movements of somebody up to no good.  These songs would be perfect for the Batman TV series soundtrack.  If only Adam West hadn’t already made it.


Thesaurus moment: chum.

Graffiti Island

Fin Du Monde Records

WILD PALMS – Over Time (7″, Popular Recordings)

Posted: January 13th, 2010, by JGRAM

Whether or not this band was purposely named after one of the weirdest TV shows in recent memory regardless the music coming from this single is some of the wickedly spikiest guitar stuff I have heard in a long time.  For once here is a post punk band that actually sounds sinister and at home in possession of records by Wire and Gang Of Four.

Scratchy to the point of being disorientating, “Over Time” reminds me a lot of These New Puritans and Liars, which is a pretty decent prospect considering how the post punk direction can also be seen to turn bands into sounding like The Editors as well these days.  Its all about being successful purveyors of the spastic jerk time sequences, of unleashing and delivering it in a stand out manner that ideally transmits straight into the portion of the listeners mind that will cause their heart to pulse and legs to move.

I’m not really sure as to where this band and song are able to fit into my everyday existence and wellbeing, this isn’t the first time a band has sounded like this and most definitely it won’t be the last but in a climate such as the current this is a sound and trait that manages to stand out over the rest of the bands that are making it into the few remaining music magazines.

Its all going to be downhill from here.

Thesaurus moment: optimism

Wild Palms

Popular Recordings

THE DRUMS – I Felt Stupid (7″, Moshi Moshi Records)

Posted: January 6th, 2010, by JGRAM

The Drums are a funny band, they remind me of The Cure (without the taste of Goth) in the most unoriginal of ways.  This is a throwback to eighties indie that does not necessary serve anybody or anyone involved very well.

I feel I have to question the mentality behind this band and just why “the kids” are tapping into this music at this time.  As I close my eyes and envisage a stupid skinny kid in a cardigan wearing large coloured glasses and sporting a fringe that reaches his chin I can’t help but think this is not the future solution to the woes of the world.

Do I actually have anything good to say about this record?  I can’t help but feel the record arrived dead on arrival for me, why would a band call a song “I Felt Stupid” while displaying such front and egging on such a response from a listener such as mine?  I felt stupid?  You look fucking stupid.

Flipping over and flipping out I begin to feel nauseous as it appears I am now being mocked as “Down By The Water” is not a cover of the PJ Harvey song but instead some kind of feeble emotional outpouring of a future gang rape victim in a modern doo wop style.

And to think these people get their end away more than me.

Thesaurus moment: snare.

The Drums

Moshi Moshi Records

KUNT AND THE GANG – Xmas 2009 EP (CD, Disco Minge)

Posted: December 20th, 2009, by JGRAM

With all this festive talk of Rage Against The Machine versus Simon Cowell for the Christmas number one this really should be a time to reflect on what is important in the music industry, of what is pure and decent and away from all these Sony promoted monsters, of what is independent in spirit and ultimately more deserving of being played at the end of the Christmas Top Of The Pops just because it celebrates what is in earnest the happiest time of the year.

More in keeping with Fairy Tale Of New York and (Here It Is) Merry Christmas than the two pieces of shit whoring their way to the top of the charts, Kunt And The Gang is here to save Christmas music for everyone with a crass sincerity that should make X-Factor, Rage Against The Machine and Sony all bow their heads in shame.

This is not the first time I have championed Kunt And The Gang on these fine pages and at this rate it will not be the last.  Once you get past the blunt and puerile humour that fuels these songs things suddenly click into place as the tunes remain fixed in your head and his pop claws dig in.  The premise is simple, this guy is John Shuttleworth mixed with Wesley Willis reading from the pages of Viz all packaged in a wonderfully Essex manner.  For such foul mouthed content the songs are surprisingly upbeat, positive and happily despite the language despatched and involved not in the least aggressive.  Forget raging against the machine, forget being a wet lad covering Miley Cyrus – this is where the real fun in music is come Christmas.

OK, so the sentiments of wishing your neighbour a kuntish Christmas on “Kuntish Christmas” after he borrows and breaks your Strimmer are perhaps a bit negative but schadenfreude rocks in the right context.  Likewise referring to Mary’s snatch as a “sausage wallet” on “Jesus (Baby With A Beard)” is actually quite testing to the senses, exceptional both in the offensive and creativity stakes.

The closer is “Santa’s Sack” which features the tale of Kunt as a child discovering Santa Claus having sex with his Grandma, a song that more than once features the word “disturbed.”  Very apt.

This is as far removed from Scrooge and The Stooges as you can get.  Where’s me jumper?

Merry Christmas!

Thesaurus moment: chuckles.

Kunt And The Gang

Kunt And The Gang live

AIDAN MOFFAT – Knock On The Wall Of Your Womb (7″, Chemikal Underground)

Posted: December 7th, 2009, by JGRAM

At some point something really bad happened to Aidan Moffat.  I’m not talking about all the drunken antics and shenanigans his poor man’s growling MacGowan songs were talking about but it was some kind of moment of clarity, a weird epiphany it would seem that spoke to him and told him to “stay the course, you’re doing fine.”  Was it his inner child?  Did an angel Aidan appear on one shoulder and a devil Aidan appear on the other and the angel Aidan won?  Whatever it was that happened to him he just fucking changed.

Personally I no longer feel comfortable around his records.  Is this supposed to be some kind of serenade?  What is going on with the music that accompanies this?  It’s almost as if he is betraying his gin soaked roots.  Be foul, be nasty just don’t be like this.

Thankfully the flipside “The Lavender Blue Dress” saves the day as its Ivor Cutler crossed with Irvine Welsh wrapped up in a Dirty Fan Male delivery is the ramblings of a dirty dirty man, like a nonce reading from Dr Seuss.  Its not that content is x-rated it is that the person doing the reading is, the whole concept of the absurd positioning serves to make it seedy and when the inevitable moment of smut you expect is waiting around the corner never arrives once more you feel tricked by the most cunning of foxes.

The back cover of the single features Moffat lying on the floor in a hospital room next to some bedpans and a fan.  I hope he gets better soon.  There’s a ship coming in, its time to get well.

Thesaurus moment: dank.

Aidan Moffat

Chemikal Underground

DEERHUNTER – Vox Celeste 5 (7″, Sub Pop)

Posted: December 5th, 2009, by JGRAM

Initially I thought I was playing this record at the wrong speed but alas a change of speed did not improve things any and suddenly the realisation hit that Deerhunter do indeed sound like a shoegazing vision of The Strokes.  Forget all the My Bloody Valentine and Pavement comparisons, with warm and fuzzy vocals and train track straightness of the guitar line there is no question that they sound like The Strokes.  Now whether that is something to be treasured and/or trusted is another thing.

I have to concede away from the hype and away from the impossible comparisons to match in aspiration taken without preconceptions this is a joyfully mesmerising thing and as proceedings slowly/subtly grow into a swirling mess there is plenty of charm to be taken from the emissions.

The lauding of Deerhunter this year has served as a painful reminder of just how old and out of touch I really am and to now endeavour to party with the cool kids is running the risk of being viewed as some kind of nonce at a disco (or nightclub as I believe they are called these days).  Its all very warm and subtle, snugly in a manner that feels foreign and difficult to/for me.

Elsewhere on the other side “Microcastle Mellow 3” feels like something of an indulgence, a spit in the face of a person giving the band a benefit of the doubt.  Where am I going wrong with this band?  Should I trust my gut instincts or those of a pale skinny kid in clothes several sizes smaller than my own.  Growing old is devastating me.

Thesaurus moment: nook.


Sub Pop

TIMES NEW VIKING – Move To California (7″, Matador Records)

Posted: December 4th, 2009, by JGRAM

There is a distinct air of crappy on purpose attached to Times New Viking and as a result it is a beautifully damaged thing.

“Move To California” for me was one of the standout tracks from their last album Born Again Revisited, an album I initially thought was actually called Born Against Revisited in some barbed tribute to the band of the same name, such is the fractured snap of proceedings.

I’m not quite sure what California holds for these peeps but you do feel it is not much as here appears to be an act that thrives on misanthropy, of not fitting in or having peers or compliments.

The single is housed in a ramshackle package where the inner sleeve is made out of the crappy kind of brown crate paper that in bygone times you would have got your fruit and vegetables handed to you in.  Then slipping out comes the insert which you suspect is going to tell you the name of the pretty girl playing keyboard but instead it is a reprint of an angry email declaring how Times New Viking are the worst band that they have ever encountered.  The suspicion that this declaration is coming from the dude in Kasabian is still to be confirmed.

Boasting four tracks of true enlightenment I have to concede that I think I got my initial perceptions of their album completely wrong.  There is a genuine identity to this recording technique, one away from the origins of lo-fi that only adds to the conceit and methodology.  So as a result coupled with the exuberance and hook display on this single it is win all around.  I love this band.

Thesaurus moment: optimistic.

Times New Viking

Matador Records

MAYYORS – Deads EP (12″, self released)

Posted: November 9th, 2009, by JGRAM

This is a truly bold and nasty sounding statement of a piece of vinyl.  Stripped bare there is fuck all information held within the limited packaging giving the vessel something of an air of mystery seemingly with the intention of leaving things pure for the music doing all the talking.  With no Myspace or record label attached there is no dog and pony show necessary.

Charging out of Sacramento this is a severe and frenzied attack on the senses that recalls the heyday of the Butthole Surfers at full strength crossed with a host of acts on Gravity Records such as Antioch Arrow.  Also throw in the sensation of a speeded up Bardo Pond on uppers instead of downers coupled with Pussy Galore gestations and you have quite the sonic soup.

For a while now there has been a real buzz surrounding Mayyors as the band appears to be serving as a vehicle for a number of seasoned and accomplished musicians (primarily Chris Woodhouse of FM Knives fame) to let loose and take off in a new, more experimental direction away from their existing and established outfits.

As with all things swinging on a hype there is the risk the listener may eventually get their fingers burned but for now Mayyors rule the roost.

Highly recommended.

Thesaurus moment: ghoul.


SPUTNIKO! – Parakonpe (DVD, 360 Degrees Records)

Posted: October 19th, 2009, by JGRAM

This just might be the future of presenting albums: release it as a DVD of videos only.  No CD, just DVD.  Years ago Sonic Youth did it with their Goo video but the plums went and released it as a conventional record also.  Plums.

Sputniko! is a female Japanese artist currently residing (and inventing) in London.  Citing Takako Minekawa (Mrs Cornelius) as one of her many influences here possessed are thirteen tracks of demented and subversive chiptune, almost J-Pop songs in that neon manner only Japanese artists seem able to construct/contrive.  With the cute smiles they get away with murder!

Things begin with “Google Song” and the tale of shy Japanese schoolgirls too scared to speak to boys they fancy who instead put their name into Google as a fluffy adventure into subtle stalking.  Playing on stereotypes, perversion and a wicked sense of fun early Sputniko! reveals herself as a cunning exploiter of the listener’s awareness.

With the invention of Wakki Sputniko! demonstrates her invention of being able to play an instrument designed by herself with movements of her armpit.  On the DVD she later demonstrates that Wakki is a knitted soft toy with a Wii controller inside it and on “Wakki Song” this is where the gift is best examined and executed.

Live favourite “Chinko Song” continues the silly theme of the piece especially when considering that when this pretty young lady is repeatedly singing “chinko” as the chorus she is singing the Japanese word for “penis.”

Slowly the album begins to resemble the music equivalent of commuters reading Anime porn on Tokyo underground as “Child Producing Machine” becomes possibly first and definitely the most explicit ever pop song about a lady having her period.  During the middle of the song she gives birth in what feels an increasingly uncomfortable listen from a lyrical standpoint especially when considering the tone of the vocal delivery and the upbeat Nintendo music guiding the song.  With lyrics such as “I’d rather be a cyborg than a goddess” who can fail?  Here comes a nervous smile from the listener.

Basically here is the dark undercurrent that ripples beneath the beautiful neon lights of the Japanese experience, the one where cartoons are about killers, bears are gloomy and the females are not so subservient after all.  There is part of me that suspects she is something of a female Japanese Borat but at least a good one with it.

In this format accompanied by a grand set of clever videos expertly delivered on a small budget this is a really stunning offering caked in humour and cultural difference confusion.  Sumptuous.

Thesaurus moment: edifying.


Sputniko! live

360 Degrees Records

TRACY MORGAN – Life, Love & Lust (DVD/CD, UrbanWorks)

Posted: October 13th, 2009, by JGRAM

I have to admit that this stand-up DVD and album is a few years old now but thanks to his performance in 30 Rock Tracy Morgan has now gained worldwide exposure with his scene stealing moments and with some further investigation I managed to uncover this true gem of a stand-up comedy performance.

Released as a DVD but coming with a bonus audio CD of the show this is by far the best and funniest example of the stand-up art form I have seen this year.

Obviously a great black stand-up comedian is always going to be compared to Richard Pryor and there are definitely some moments that come straight out of his legacy but as with a lot of modern comedy the real strength comes in his invention with crassness.  With this he has that great assertive delivery that snaps and bites just on the right side of sounding aggressive.

As an individual Morgan is a very endearing and mysterious person.  A person widely known for wrestling with various demons his deliver contains a lot of confessional material and streams anecdotes for which a hyperbolic measure feels almost impossible.

Listened to through headphones on public transport this is embarrassingly laugh out loud stuff.  Delivered in a seemingly purposely dumb manner Tracy picks apart peoples tiny foibles with a distinct lack of bashfulness but never is humility a casualty in the piece.

When Michael Jackson passed away earlier this year it felt scarily apt to be listening to Morgan’s run down of his situation on “Don’t Be Like Mike” and how the guy probably just need “a plate” and some family compassion.  Of course Tracy also acts how he would happily boast of being sucked off on the spinning teacups by Michael to his homeboys but that is beside the point.

His admissions of porn preferences and sexual acts (“I like to eat the pussy until I burp”) is both enlightening and levelling as he points out flaws and hypocrisies on both sides of the fence in the war of the sexes.

After a couple of sharp and revealing family anecdotes about relatives tooting cocaine and his cousin Jimmy (“Negative Ass Jimmy”) being in a wheelchair but earning no sympathy in the process, the most genuinely funny material arrives in his observations regarding superheroes.  Or rather more to the point why there are no black superheroes.  After quickly dismissing the Hulk as just being “some drunk white dude” and revealing that Robin “wanna fuck Batman up” Morgan leaves the listener with a whole new perspective on the Marvel Universe.

It all comes together at the end with a bit too much information on the subject of love revenge (“Monique”) and Tracy Morgan fully earns his stripes as a scary talent housed in a scary human being.  Off the back of SNL and 30 Rock though the world knew this already.

Even if it isn’t, it feels fearless.

Thesaurus moment: jocular.

Tracy Morgan