Friday, December 31, 2004

Milo says relax



Must Hurry! According to their – frankly amazing – website , Copter are: “Five men and one robot, needle-down rock & soul from outer space to your inner ear. They play with a fierce right side of the brain and are all about fire and soul. They don't understand why you are crying. They don't care why you are crying. They just want your sandwich.” Now, that’s not really a Manifesto, is it? The website is full of these quirky stories. So they came from out of space, and landed in Birmingham? Of course they did. Now, you’d think a band like Copter are going to sell themselves – this humour, and their own unique style make these songs work so well. They sound like a mutated amalgam of The Make-Up, Man or Astroman and Turbonegro (See, you’re already interested, aren’t you?) I mean, I heard those comparisons and I was immediately interested. Actually, forget that, I was excited. I’m still excited. Think fast punk rock with electronic noodlings and some heavy sampling and you’re almost there. Copter have their own theme tune (M.I.L.O’s Theme) and their own Comic strip! – You can download it if you have Adobe Acrobat. But more than that: This is garage rock, maybe not as we know it, but it's real – Just not human apparently.

They play the Liars Club on Thursday February 13th (With hopefully some more gigs coming up…?) Click here to view their website.

Copter - MILOs Theme

Copter - White Chocolate

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Fuck art, let's rock.

So that’s Christmas over with. I got drunk, watched television, “socialised” and err, drank some more. I’ll be working on New Years Eve so there is nothing to look forward for me there I’m afraid. In fact, when you look at it like that, I was entirely justified in spending a fortune at Selectadisc today. Wait a minute, you’ve read about Selectadisc on here before and you obviously have had no idea what I’m talking about…

It isn’t really important, but I’m going to let you in on a phenomenon that is more or less exclusive to Nottingham and London really; I mean, they only have two stores, so there is no reason why you should have heard of them outside of those places. Selectadisc has been at the forerunner of the independent music scene since 1966. From rock and soul to blues and folk, to house and hip-hop, reggae and beyond: Selectadisc cover everything. Nottingham is their spiritual home. It all started there, and well, it’s just incredible. I really could trawl through those racks all day long, and now you know. It really does make everything else obsolete in comparison – Well, in Nottingham at least. The Fopp is good though.

Anyway, in Selectadisc, I came across the first Dictators album literally for a bargain price - how could I say no? Go Girl Crazy was released in 1975 and although it is often name checked as one of the pre-punk albums it never translated into sales for the band. The Dictators are perhaps more famous with crossing subject matter — wrestling, fast food, TV, beer, dope, cars, scandal sheets — with loud, hard, fast rock'n'roll and thus creating an doctrine that was, well unique at the time. Originally formed as a homage/response to the MC5, New York Dolls and the Stooges, The Dictators legacy has endured for them to be considered an important band in their own right - Even if they weren't fully appreciated in their own time.



The Dictators began as a quartet: Adny Shernoff (vocals/bass), monster guitarist Ross the Boss, Scott "Top Ten" Kempner (rhythm guitar) and Stu Boy King (drums). Legendary Bronx party boy Handsome Dick Manitoba (Richard Blum), who had joined his pals' band as their roadie, was photographed in wrestling regalia for the cover of their first LP. The Dictators Go Girl Crazy! is a funny, catchy, teenage masterpiece of over-the-top rock'n'roll, and genuine proof that anybody could make the major-label record they always imagined - there are a lot of Pixies in this band band too and visa versa. The album has covers ("I Got You Babe," "California Sun") that unravel history, and the original surf-rock gem, "(I Live for) Cars and Girls."

An absolute classic released years before their label could even begin to imagine how to market it.

The Dictators - (I Live For) Cars And Girls

Please. Visit their website and/or buy the album

Oh, and i'd like to welcome Dan to the team. Good job, dude, that Q and Not U album is amazing. One of my New Year resolutions is to not write everything on this site so there should be some more guest writers on board soon. Thanks for reading.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Everybody ruins

One thing that's been making me bang my head against the wall in an increasingly pointless fashion is reading every major publications end-of-year lists; mediocrity and banality lifted into the spotlight and given laudits beyond their actual worth. Were Mike Skinner's tales of the modern relationship set against a backdrop more spartan than can be mustered after five minutes on Music 2000 for the Playstation One really better than Noxagt's incendiary The Iron Point - thirty three of the finest minutes of anyone's existence - overdriven, cathartic & exhilarating avant viola-induced messiness played so hard, Nagasaki becomes levelled again. Similarly, Jake Shears of The Scissor Sisters is an extremely good-looking man - however, so was Fabio, and he was useless at music, too - so can The Sisters' extremely cloying, retarded Studio 54 knock off be considered to be even playing on the same ballpark as Of Montreal, who for their latest recording (Satanic Panic In The Attic) saw them slimmed down to just the muse of Kevin Barnes, and yet managed to record one of the best arranged, genuinely funny, sad and affecting 'pop' records of the history of recorded music, let alone the year. And, these comparisons could made across the board (The Arcade Fire > Razorlight, to name one more) - accompanied with a burst on the perils of aggressive marketing versus letting a record find its own way into the listeners hands...but pah - in your heart you all know the arguments. Go and find the stuff yourself.

All the ballots were useless anyway - record of the year, by some considerable margin, was Q And Not U's Power. If you have to get two of your friends to help you write thirteen tracks to justify your place in time, then on Judgement Day, Harris Klahr, John Davis & Chris Richards will pass through the gates of the righteous - because, if he jams like we're led to believe, God loves Q And Not U. Thirteen tracks of pure beauty, excitement, handclaps, falsettos that work through your veins like silk, rhythms as hard as diamond - melodies that rouse, yet leave the faintest traces of melancholy, delivered from three people who have actually experienced and felt, rather than read and plagiarised. Most bands would kill for a hook like the scratchy guitar at the start of 'Wonderful People', let alone the whipsmart rhythm section and the gentle cooing of the 'softly running running' breakdown - a perfect appropriation of mainstream pop by white boys on Dischord; of a similar stripe are the Sly and Family Stone nods on 'Wet Work' - rallying, irresistably (and I use this word very rarely) funky and lyrically aware ('Something beautiful gets shot down every day'). If you're looking for the future Motown or Stax writing and production crew, they're in DC, and they're listening to Circus Lupus as well as Motown Chartbusters.

Unlike the second side of 'Different Damage', where they became unstuck, the slower tension relievers on Power are just as effective as the poppier numbers; 'Passwords' is understated and brilliant, 'Throw Back Your Head' life-affirming & 'Collect The Diamonds' amongst one of the greatest songs ever written, full stop. It's actually that good. To try and understand the necessity of a band this good, and with so much to say in 2004 - when, it must be said, we did stop confusing the health of the music industry with the health of music - is difficult. To witness in a live context what a burst of manic spontaneity that comprises 'X-Polynation' is to re-appraise what you feel towards music; can you really accept a Keane when you can have so much more for so much less? To talk about more scientific (and therefore anti-feel) appraisals, such as sequencing and 'cohesion' - they are without peer - live and on record. It's an entirely new method of communication; lyrics fragmented and half caught in shade, pieced together and made into one grander narrative - a band that rewards particpation, questioning and insight - but doesn't forget to write a memorable hook and line for those who lack the inclination to throw themselves deeper in. Make little mistake, Power is not just the best album of 2004, it is the album of 2004 - it documents more high and lows, charts more emotional territory and says more about the state of life in 2004 than any end of year round up will - and it'll be around for longer. It's no indulgence. You need this.

Q And Not U

'Wonderful People' MP3

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Mixing it up...



Who is TM Juke? He is the twenty-four year old also known as Al Stylus. On his debut long player "Maps from The Wilderness, TM Juke puts years of practice in the art of instrumental music to great effect, incorporating it to more modern ideas of mixing; incidentally, he first picked up a sampler six years ago. As a producer, TM Juke draws on soulf, funk, hip-hop and jazz influences, while at the same time managing to make his creations both varied and uniquely his.

So why have I made a post about some essentially downbeat music? Well, this is experiment into the unknown for me too: I was listening to "Closer" by Joy Division this morning, and that is something that I can more easily identify with. All I can say is that this album came highly recommended and it’s interested me enough to write about it on here. TM Juke is signed to the Tru Thoughts label. From what i've gathered Tru Thoughts formed in Brighton in 1999, and immediately took off with the increasing interest in the new down tempo scene, but you can find out more through their website by clicking here.

If it wasn’t for my newly formed interest in Hip Hop I doubt an album like "Maps from The Wilderness” would have even registered, having said that, if you are looking for something different and if words like mellow, uplifting, Jazz and Soul don’t immediately put you off then you can do much worse than checking out this release. "Maps from The Wilderness” has been designed to be heard to in one sitting, so choosing a particular track is both difficult and possibly unfair in illustrating how good this album really is – but i’m going to try anyway. “Knee Deep” is the first track on the album, and features Jim Oxborough and Alice Russell who duet on this, the first single to be taken from the album – it was released earlier this year. It’s not really indicative of the album, but as the first track it’s reasonably emblematic of the mood that TM Juke creates - An excellent debut.

TM Juke - Knee Deep feat. Alice Russell & Jim Oxborough

You can buy the album through Tru Thoughts, but if you have time, check out some of their other artists - They have MP3's avaliable for download.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Helicopter riffs

I finally managed to view the (complete) Pitchfork 2004 albums list. I suppose they must have had a lot of traffic on their server today. I was actually looking forward to seeing this; despite the criticism I seem to read about their overtly obscure taste in music, they have alerted me to some great albums – that cover a broad selection of musical genres – over the last couple of years. There are far too many to list here. But… I was slightly disappointed with this, especially their list of top ten albums. Now, I don’t want to take this too far because I know they are only opinions and therefore subjective, but all the same, Joanna Newsom? Devendra Banhart? (The Streets!) Animal Collective? All in the top ten. Words cannot comprehend how mind numbingly boring (I think) this whole “freak-folk” scene is…Is it really William Oldham's fault? I won't believe it. Ahh well. They didn’t even have the Hot Snakes album in their list! But look, they have in avertedly allowed me to start a discussion on “Audit in Progress.” Aww, they shouldn’t have…



Some historical context: Hot Snakes consist of guitarist/vocalists John Reis and Rick Froberg, drummer Mario Rubalcaba, and bassist Gar Wood. Reis was better known as Speedo (Rocket From the Crypt) who also played in the acclaimed Drive Like Jehu with Froberg, who himself had gone by Rick Farr and Eric Froberg. And so it goes. The most interesting thing about this band is that – before this year at least – had no plans to tour. I managed to catch them live in October. They really put on a great show. I’m sure a lot of people were expecting them to mostly play tracks off the new record, they didn’t, but they kept the same intensity going throughout their set – Mario Rubalcaba drumming is just as dominant as it sounds on record. Oh, and did I mention that I bought “Audit in Progress” on limited edition (red!) vinyl after the gig, and that Speedy and Gar Wood signed the album for me? Oh look, I just did.

This is a record that I can talk about excessively, but then talking about this record is rather pointless really - It’s an album that speaks for itself. Hot Snakes aren't out there to impress anybody; their mission, or rather their existence is based on creating short, swaggering, and pummelling hard-guitar-riff rock and roll. That’s it. There is nothing else to get. Listen to “Hatchet Job,” and let it pierce your fragile little minds. Play it at home. Play it in the car. Play it to other people! Just play it, and forget about everything else.

Hot Snakes - Hatchet Job

Buy it from Insound today.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Left of the Dial



The Replacements remain an interesting band because they were always referential of their heroes. Of course, this was often conflicted by the fact that the band didn’t all have the same heroes, but it didn’t matter – and they never really took themselves that seriously anyway. Or did they? Prior to the recording of Pleased to Meet Me , Bob Stinton had left the band (allegedly brought about because of his drinking habits), and you could be excused for believing that The Replacements really were a band in hiatus. But things are never that straightforward, and although and Pleased to Meet Me hails a significant change of direction for the band, it’s even more clear that Paul Westerberg was calling the shots now.

He of course was a frontman looking for mainstream success – and the opportunity to be taken seriously – but self-doubt continued to linger on. Nevertheless, despite reviews that describe a stifling, clean and focused production by Jim Dickinson, tracks like “IOU” and “The Ledge” are unhinged and delirious masterpieces of rock and roll reverence. But like I said before, there is nothing straightforward about The Replacements, and it goes doubly for this album. Paul Westerberg might have had his artistic control, but his outlook is on the band is summarised perfectly in the aptly titled “I don’t know” when he half rasps and half screams, "One foot in the door/The other foot in the gutter,” because he doesn’t know what do next.

Now I was going to focus on “The Ledge," which is perhaps, the most straightforward song on the album. This track was penned as a song about teen suicide, but it gained notoriety for it's introspective first-person lyrics (I'm the boy they can't ignore/For the first time in my life I'm sure/All the love sent up high to pledge/Won't reach the ledge), apparently sung in the voice of a confused teenager (Paul Westerberg) crouching outside a high downtown window – the final squeal of the closing chorus suggests that he has even jumped. Now, it’s undoubtedly a fantastic song, but I’m going to leave you with the first song on the album. It’s slightly more positive and equally as raucous; It also perfectly sums up why I got into The Replacements in the first place:

“So what do they sound like?”
“The sound of a barroom brawl!”

The Replacements- I.O.U

Buy the album from Amazon and click here for The Replacements scrapbook.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Why do you want a title?



There was a thought process involved in me posting this track. I was watching a Richard Linklater documentary earlier this week: St Richard Linklater of Austin: The Reverend Richard You know, the guy who directed Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise, its sequel Before Sunset, Waking Life and his biggest hit so far, School of Rock. Now, I’ve still not really formed a view of Richard Linklater. He seemed like an interesting guy, but the documentary was really open ended; he effectively ended up interviewing the journalist who came to interview him! Of course, the interviewer went there with an agenda. He wanted to know the thought process involved in the making of his films, and the underlying philosophy that unites his films – We soon learn how futile his mission really is. The more I think about the documentary, the more I begin to understand how his films work. His films are character and narrative driven films, but the one thing that he does stress in the documentary is that: “a person's job shouldn't be all there is to them.” Now this was closest that Richard Linklater came in giving any kind of answer and it was kind of skipped over. Having said all that, it was an entertaining programme on a fiercely independent person with views on most things. But yet again, i’m waffling, and this really isn’t going anywhere.

Part Two: Where nonsense and a Richard Linklater documentary collide.

So how do I go from Richard Linklater to “Free Ride” by The Edgar Winters Group? Well, the song appears on the soundtrack to the 1993 film Dazed & Confused (Even More Dazed & Confused to be exact)– which as you already know was directed by Richard Linklater. I doubt he had any input in the soundtrack, but it’s a great song by another group I know very little about (It’s also a 70’s rocker, and I haven’t posted one of those yet.) The song itself could be construed as a Sly and the Family Stone type song, but it’s all about the rock baby! It’s a Funky, electric guitar driven rock and roll song that does a great job of embodying the spirit of the film and remaining relevant to this day *big smile*. It’s also…Ah, I don’t know. I’m not going to get any blog cred for posting a song like this, but it’s a Sunday, and err, it’s a Sunday. If there is any consolation, I could have posted a far more embarrassing song, but I think I would have needed help. Cheers.

Edgar Winters Group - Free Ride

(Oh, and by the way. If you head over to Teaching the Indie Kids to Dance you can hear some tracks by yet another great Canadian band who go by the name of Magneta Lane - This may go some way in redeeming myself. If you have already heard Magneta Lane..)

You can buy the soundtrack to Even More Dazed and Confused here.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Do you follow me?

Now I’m not one of those people who dwell on the past or anything, but good music is good music, and there will always be good music out there (believe me). I’d like to think that I don’t settle for the lowest common denominator, but you’re always going miss out on things, right? It stands to reason. But regarding reissues. Why is it that every magazine makes a point of telling you that: “You must own this.” This ancient artefact, neglected and ignored but essential nonetheless blah blah blah… Is it ever really that essential? Well, you have to be sceptical, but some sneak through. Some good stuff sneaks through. Which of course is mostly down to the Internet – it has to be said. So the theme of this “article” – as you might have guessed – is reissues. Now, I’m not going to preach to you over how the following artists are going to change your lives, but it’s interesting to see the imperfections on the records that were never given a chance for whatever reason. So here we are:



Many people view The United States of America ’only LP as the album that got away. An album of such genius, and originality that it’s reissue earlier this year was well, about time. Now, I must say, it’s a good record and certainly worth some of its press, but the outrageous superlatives that go along with this album are exaggerated to say the least. They were undeniably different, but I’m not convinced that they are as life changing as I was led to believe. This record does improve on repeated listening, but what is really different about this music other than their savage obsession with electronic noise? The record itself is grounded in psychedelia and the avant-garde, but it’s fairly disorientating and I must admit to liking that.

United States of America - Coming Down



Anyway, moving swiftly on. Michael Yonkers Band is an interesting insight in the realm of well, music that never really influenced many people, but remains interesting nonetheless. This Minnesota man, Michael Yonkers, recorded the majority of his material for his only album (Microminature Love) in 1968, but the music contained on this solitary recording is anything like typical of this period in time. It’s a ravenous mess of noise, Sixties garage and seventies punk – Even if it was made in 1968. Michael Yonkers custom built a lot of the instruments that were used in the process of making this album. An album littered with cheap guitar distortion, weird effects and even stranger vocal delivery.

Michael Yonkers Band - Hush Hush

God knows what might have happened if more people had listened to bands like The United States of America; of course, them breaking up after two year together hardly helped…Sadly, there has always been an underground, but it seems all the more important nowadays.

Buy both albums from Amazon or Insound. You might be able to track down a copy somewhere else, and they're not hard to get hold of.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Ch-ch-cha-check this out...



Some Context: The Glimmers are long-time friends David & Mo, two Belgian DJ’s, who remix everything from old school hip hop to new wave and beyond – I’d genuinely like to see their record collection(s). Their new CD, which is entitled: “Remixed, Re-edited And Ph#cked Up” has recently been released on the Eskimo label and brings together tracks from artists as diverse as Whitey, Jungle Brothers, Roxy Music and Liquid Liquid so seamlessly that words like “original” and “unique” are words that immediately spring to mind. Compilations as eclectic (I normally hate that word) as this can often seem contrived and even arrogant, but The Glimmers are not so much DJ’s as genuine music loving archivists – No, it’s not always same thing, trust me – and never seem to get too carried away.

But anyway, I’m starting to get carried away. Jungle Brothers mixed with Optimo was always going to be interesting prospect. I mean, old school hip-hop and krautrock-like/new wave – albeit with avant-garde funk leanings – just doesn’t work together, surely? Well, those Glimmer boys make it work. For me, this is genuine highlight on this setlist because it takes risks, while managing to maintain the party atmosphere they clearly strive for. Try to imagine 20 Jazz Funk Greats and Cocaine Blunts going head to head on the decks; it’s utterly unique and ridiculous, but you know, what’s wrong with that?

Jungle Brothers feat Optimo (Remixed by the Glimmer Twins) - I'll House you (A House is not a Hut)

You can visit The Glimmers website by clicking here. To buy the album try Amazon, but you might find it cheaper to hunt down a copy in the shops (Hooray for Selectadisc!)

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Remembered



Well - Yet again, I must apologise for not updating the site in a while, but what with work, and the organising that went along with Wednesday night i've been pretty busy. But hey, you don't want my excuses, right?

How did the night go you ask? I'm bound to say it, but Wednesday night went really really really well. The bands were great, and for their performance alone, The Beat Poet are going to go down as one the best live bands i've seen in a long time. God they were loud. The drummer really had a foot on him - That's putting it mildly. The bassist just wouldn't stay in the room. He played on top of a radiator, on the floor, but he especially seemed to enjoy blocking the exits and playing on the staircase. They were really tight. If you ever see them on a flyer/ poster remember to check them out. Oh, and I don't want to be premature, but we're hoping they might play again early next year... We're moving the whole night over to a Thursday slot in 2005, so hopefully, we're be able to draw in some bigger crowds; i'll be happy if people just stay in the room after the gig really.

Anyway, back to the music. The Exploding Hearts were definitely a band to look for. I say ‘were,’ because their debut album: “Guitar Romance” was gathering a lot of good press and the band were on the verge of signing a record deal with Lookout! Records, until in late July their tour bus crashed on the way back from a gig in San Francisco. Adam “Baby” Cox, 23, Jeremy “Kid Killer” Gage 21, and Matthew “Matt Lock” Fitzgerald, 20, were all killed in the accident. As their debut album shows, the band definitely had a lot of promise….

I won’t talk about the album too much, but it was easily one of the highlights of last year. No filler and all killer *cough cough*. But further than this, you can also pick up some of their singles that seem to be languishing at the moment, or being sold for extortionate prices somewhere…What i’m trying to say is that don’t settle for just the album. (Making) Teenage Faces for example, is pure power pop, bouncy, high-energy instant classic with an amazingly catchy chorus and throwback 70’s Punk riffs. It was available on their site for a while but the link doesn’t work any more. My God it’s a good track. Don’t wait around too long to get a copy of the album too, it’s pure gold.

These guys obviously didn’t get a fuck what people thought of them.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Your performance is wild



Must be quick, must be quick!

Jason and the Astronauts are the new (and original?) Disco punk rockers. Tumbridge Wells' finest do rock the hell out. So much so that their isn't much else I can say about this band really. I'll try though. They have a LP ("The Mourning After Math") out, but the label (Unlabel) don't have any more in stock. Then again, there weren't more than 200 to begin with - and I might just be plain wrong about the label not having any copies left. I've read a lot of good reviews concerning this band over the last couple of weeks, and I was not left disappointed after deciding to buy the label sampler, just so as to hear their ONE track - that's bad isn't it? Ah well, I know it's not good, but it's definitely got me itching the hear the album, which is of course, the whole idea of "samplers." Unlabel seems really good actually, and well 23 tracks (80 minutes of music) is always a good thing, right? Right.

They describe themselves as Disco tinged post punk freakout, with electro warblings and replete with shouting; but their also something ambitious and dare I say grandeur about their music - All this from a guy who has listened to ONE of their tracks. I'm sorry, it's just the vibe i'm getting. They certainly seem to be a band to look out for though, and they definitely stand out. That's if you can catch them live. They don't like playing on the stage apparently, so I don't know how it all works out, but they make the crowd dance! As apposed to just standing there with their hands in their pockets - Hey, we're all guilty of that, aren't we? The backlash (might) start here people. Well it would be pretty cool.

Jason and Astronauts - Passe Disco

Buy from Unlabel and scour the country for a copy of the new LP. I will be. YOU WILL LOVE THIS TRACK.



Booze fuelled something...



Right – First off, I’m sorry for not posting anything in a while, I know, there are no excuses.

There is good news though. Over the last couple of days I’ve discovered two new magazines: Artrocker and Truth. Artrocker is a “weekly” London based magazine, and although it has been going for a while, it’s only recently been available to buy in its current glossy format; they even have their own label (I don’t actually know which came first). There is a website to peruse at your leisure, so you know, take a look. The other magazine is not as straightforward. FACT, while also free, is produced in conjunction with vinyl factory, and has articles that encompass everything from music, to fashion and art. Click here to view their website. They were both recommended to me, and I’m recommending them to you, so if you do see them, pick them up - They're free afterall. I especially enjoyed the NME burning in Artrocker. They didn't just burn them, they were mauling the pages and burning them on the street...But in all seriousness, the reviews were good, and I didn't even realise The Flesh LP was getting released this year.

So down to business. This post will actually concentrate on two on the bands that feature on the Artrocker label. The first band go by the name of, Gin Palace, and have been compared with bands like The Cramps, The Stooges and even Johnny Cash. They’re eventually get lumped with bands like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but besides being lazy, it’s just well, not fair really. Album opener ‘Kicking on’ perfectly demonstrates their intent. They really mean it. You believe it when you Meaghan Wilkie screams: “Bottles of Whiskey, Bottles of Wine / Looks like we’re having a good time”; and when I say she screams, she really does scream. Gin Palace lean towards a blues/ garage rock sound, so while you really shouldn’t expect anything more than that, if you give them enough time they certainly manage to convert you. Powered by their drummer (Stuart Bell), and guitarist Jon Free (ex- London swamp-rockers Penthouse) they waste no time in coaxing you into their world of drunkenness and debauchery. For Meaghan Wilkie it’s all very straightforward: "Stuart plays the drums viciously, Jon plays the guitar viciously, and I sing – viciously." They’re even afraid that the addition of a bass player might lessen their impact? Well, I don’t know about that, but they’re the sort of band you wish John Spencer Blues Explosion sounded like, and that’s good, because I quite like(d) them to be honest.

Gin Palace– Kicking On



Next up are the Electric Shocks. Now, these guys are completely different from Gin Palace. Their songs might be short, but the band are far more energetic - and they have hooks! Pop hooks even. Lester Bangs hated the use of word "hooks," (FACT: The word was first used in the Rolling Stones review of Shocking Blue's 60's album "At Home") you know, but they're certainly catchy. They’ve been likened to the Buzzcocks, the Undertones and the New York Dolls. They sound discordant AND edgy, and their website even mentions that the addition of a Stylophone to their stage line-up has seen them likened to Wire. Interested yet? Well, they've recently toured with Art Brut, Moving Units and The Rocks, and their new album "Wild Dog Setting" has been described as "a ferocious animal of an album."(Logo Magazine). Listen with your own (two?) ears:

Electric Shocks - Old Flames are Dead Matches

So visit artrocker and pick up the magazine while it's still free! You can purchase albums by Gin Palace and Electric Shocks from their label site. Here

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Can I count on you if I fall apart?



December 1st: The countdown is now ON. No doubt you all awoke early to open the first window of your advent calender? Good good...

Well, are Mission Of Burma the best band to come out of Boston? Who knows. I know a few people that would disagree with that afterall. What I would say is that their music has aged really well, and they continue to influence bands to this day; bands like the Pixies, Nirvana and even bands like The Futureheads owe a lot of Mission of Burma. I shouldn’t really say that Vs (1985) and their other scattered recording (EP’s/ Live albums) have aged well, because I mean, they’re still going aren’t they? OnOffOn (2004) might be the first record Mission of Burma have recorded in twenty one years, but it really does destroy any myth that their legacy lives on because of their relatively short (1979–1983) career, and I know many people who would consider that album to be one of the best records released this year. Formed in February 1979 when guitarist/vocalist Roger Miller and bassist/vocalist Clint Conley, decided to join forces with drummer/vocalist Peter Prescott, who had just parted company with the Molls. Mission of Burma worked as a trio until they could draft in another member (Martin Swope) to fully realise the sound they wanted to create. Vs is the culmination of all their work, and perhaps the greatest artefact on this band.

The album is just a relentless sonic assault of the senses. Walls of feedback, crushing bass sounds and discordant riffs - Mission of Burma explored sound that only emerges when you play music as loud as this band did. If you had to label them with Proto punk (Stooges), art punk (Gang of Four) and even the first wave bands (Buzzcocks)that often referenced when attempting to analyse their influences, you also have to understand that they were much more than that. I mentioned before that this band played loud, and only when you consider that Roger Miller's extreme tinnitus (ringing of the ears) prevented the band from even carrying on, can you really understand how loud they actually played. But it wasn’t just about the sound they created. Their lyrics were often witty, insightful, and tinged with dark images of paranoia and isolation. Mission of Burma truly deserve to be ranked alongside the greatest of American rock bands, and Vs is one the greatest albums released in the 80’s.

I was going to share “That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate” with you all, but since I own the remastered version of the original CD, I thought I’d include one of the bonus tracks. I know, I know, the four extra tracks weren’t on the album and shouldn’t really be included, but it’s a great tune.

Mission of Burma - Forget

Please buy the album at Insound or wherever else you see the special edition (remastered/ extra tracks) CD...They also have a website. Get on it.