Monday, May 30, 2005

You know you want it, you want it, GET ON IT!



A few things: Dot to Dot came and went yesterday. What can I say? Punish the Atom, Black Wire, Jason and the Astronauts, Radio 4...The list goes on. The line-up was to die for; and lived up to all expectations. Jason & The Astronauts disco-tinged-punk-rock mayhem stood out in particular - I knew they'd be good. I knew I was looking forward to checking them out (so much so that I had to miss out on Snow White - who are amazing live too! ) but I never expected a set like that. To say they were good was an understatement; they were quite literally on it! Making their Nottingham debut (I think?), and showcasing some new material ("Dancing on the Grave of Mary Whitehouse") - it's not really like they had old material in the first place. Then again, there might be some people who managed to hear "Passe Disco" when I posted it on here, and the album has been out on Unlabel for a while... They need more gigs in the Midlands, so somebody make it happen. You won't regret it.

Right, down to business: If you haven't already hear Gssh! Gssh! Records, I think it's time you became aquainted with each other. This Madrid based label describe themselves as a pretty little underground label, but what they lack in stature they certainly make up in quality. Delorean for instance. This band are probably best described as Jason the Astronauts foreign counterparts - really, these kids from Zarautz could even be related. Of course, they reference all good stuff (PiL, Devo, early Cure, Gang of Four - which rhymes), but they also twist and turn it into more than a camp disco freakout. Dark electronic synths shrowd deep cutting baselines, and looping noises that threaten to consume all; unless we keep on dancing. If you like Cut-Copy, Delorean are a fantasy, the dream. I suspect it won't be too long before they fall under the hype bubble.

Delorean - NYO Gaps

You can make a purchase at the Gssh! Gssh! .

That's right Delorean have an album and it's out RIGHT NOW

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Legend in the making

I'd like to start this next entry by reminding you all that, well, you are welcome to leave comments . I'm as guilty as the next person when it comes to stuff like this; but at the same time I would genuinely like to hear what you have to say, and it won't take up too much of your time.



That said, I feel I might have accidentally put a downer on things and that's not my intention. If you didn't already know, Hot Snakes are gracing our little island for a few days in June. Actually, they're speeding across Europe at the moment and I feel it is my duty to shout it out loud for all to hear. I shouldn't have to do it though. I mean, we're talking about Hot Snakes here. Rick Froberg and John Reis back together again. the same pair that brought you Pitchfork and Drive Like Jehu. Of course, John Reis never stopped; what with his commitments to Swami (The famous San Diego label that he established) and Rocket From the Crypt - should have been huge. Now they're touring everywhere, slaying audiences, bewildering the naysayers and it should be a big fucking deal. A statement on their site claimed that they didn't even have plans to play at this point last year, and most of us thought we'd never get a chance too see them. So where is the press? It's all rather embarassing from where i'm sitting. Actually, i'm not primarily hear to harp on about Hot Snakes this time around. No, this is all for the benefit for one-man wonderkid, Dan Sartain. Who Swami enthuasically describe as "more talented than a thousand talented dudes." If you're intrigued, keep reading.



Alabama-based Dan Sartain has been described the most promising talent to emerge out of, err, Alabama in the last couple of years. His debut, while relatively well known to American audiences, is all set to shake up Swami fans when he flexes his reputation for the first time next month, in support of Hot Snakes. Regularly compared to artists like Johnathan Richman, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash; you can't help feel that his reputation leaves him with a awful lot to live up to. Fortunately, he relishes the opportunity to win over people and if you're expecting a straight laced punk revivalist at work then, think again. While certainly in the mould of the ramshackle rock n roll of old, he fixation on soul music and love hip-hop in general is also apparent. His debut album is an exploration of these ideas; disjointed, although pleasantly interesting. For instance: I doubt anybody would really expect the album to start ("Tryin' to say" is an all out rocker, and relentless at that) and finish ("Got a Feeling" is a slower affair which even incorperates horn sounds) in the way it does, but it's part of the Dan Sartain appeal. Still searching. Still in it's infancy. He is most at home within a live setting; suprising audiences with singer/songwriter performances with an acoustic guitar and generally adding a lot to his own mystique.

Dan Sartain & The Serpientes - Tryin' to say

Anyway, my work is done, other to say that you have to check out Hot Snakes anyway you can. Wherever you live: I don't care. Look to the recent live EP for further evidence. Oh, and did I mention that it's also famous as being the last live John Peel Session...Look to Swami for all Hot Snakes and Dan Sartain releases.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Dance: bitch!



The Chinese Stars were formed last year from the ashes of Arab on Radar and Six Finger Satellite. While Six Finger Satellite kinda fizzled out a couple of years ago, Craig Kureck and Eric Paul disbanded Arab on Radar during a wave a relative popularity for the band, and a lot of people were suprised. Fortunately, when people first heard The Chinese Stars, all was forgotten. Well, that was until they released their first record. Don't you find it's pretty hard to keep folk interested after you released an EP? The Moving Units are generally regarded as fucking up in this regard. They waited around too long to release their debut after an excellent EP. Of course, this would have been ok if they hadn't just released an extended version of the EP years later. Nobody is interested it that shit. Turbo Mattress for instance, had been greeted with raptuous praise, but the critics either had serious reservations or plain hated A Rare Sensation. It didn't tend to involve a tirade against the band, but it was acknowledged that the variety and spontiety of their live shows - and of Turbo Mattress - just didn't translate to the full length. Which a roundabout way of saying they were lazy and made a run of the mill "dance-punk" record.

THEY SOLD OUT!

I don't agree. The record sounds like Prince fronting Les Savy Fav whilst in bed with The Mae Shi's spazzed out imrovisations. Others would say it's Arab on Radar albeit with a slightly more polished electro sound, and that kinda rings true too, but at least they're not fucking up like The Faint did. Err, so yeah, while they're more accesible, the part filthy and part non sensical lyrics are by no means the standard in any New York-lite band at the moment either. In short: if you want to hear some needle down funk-punk driven mayhem, then The Chinese Stars are clearly the guys for you. They're touring like mad at the moment, so check out their live page to see if they're playing near you anytime soon. I'm going to post a track off the album, and hopefully it will sway you enough to check out either the EP on the album. Hell, if you can catch them live anytime soon you could probably pick up both on the cheap, so do that.

The Chinese Stars- Electrodes in Captivity



Actually, you lucky lucky people, i'm gonna leave you with the fucked up sounds of Arab on Radar. If the photo above doesn't already suggest that these guys might be lunatics, the track below proves it. Prepare yourself for a complete lack of melody, mumbled riffs, fractured vocals and lots of disortion. Woohooo!

Arab on Radar - My Mind is a Muffler

Buy from Insound, kids. Oh, and thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Drink that, it's milk

Quest Let's try to disregard the mythical status that Oasis seem to occupy in this country for a minute. I was played "This God Thinks i'm Able" the other day and couldn't help think that if someone else had written that - don't ask me who, I don't know - it could be huge. It's exactly the sort of stuff they should be making now. Honestly, if they kept their heads down and wrote music like this then everything else would be forgotten; but since they're clearly not going to do this any time soon, maybe I should just keep my mouth shut.They have a niche in the market, and we'll leave it at that, shall we? I'm far more interested in the Kieran Hebden's work for instance. You listen to Four Tet and you're searching for influences. I mean, you're actively looking for his musical references, and to form an impression of where he gets his ideas and what he could be listening to. Actually, you don't have to do any of this, but if you are a nerd like me then you appreciate the way in which he pushes boundaries and that he's restless in all the right ways. He complained in a recent interview that the "folktronica" moinker even annoys him. Well, the world would be a lot duller without characters like Dan Snaith and Kieran Hebden - even if they are only enjoyed in ever depreciating circles. Or just mine.

Well, down to business. I hear Apples in Stereo are reforming for a few shows in US over the summer and I wanted to write something about them. I didn't actually realise this until the other day, but I probably first heard Robert Schneider and co in The Adventures of Pete and Pete (I should have dedicated a whole week of posts to the show you know). Magnetic Fields and a whole host of other bands and artist contributed music to the show, and you can't comprehend how important music was to these episodes. It really is quite impressive when you think about it. I hear that the OC (I still haven't watched an episode yet) has been given permission to use music from bands like Interpol and The Arcade Fire. They're hoping OC fans will buy the soundtrack and become interested enough to buy their material - Of course, you already know that. I doubt that was the primary motivation in Robert Schneider giving Pete and Pete permission to use their music, but I suppose it all works in the same way and i'm trying to build this into something bigger than it really is. The point is: music. Yes, music. There are a lot of people who could tell you a whole lot more about Elephant Six than me and the other bands on their rosta. Neutral Milk Hotel are synonmous with the label, and everybody has to like "The Aeroplane Over the Sea", don't they? Yeah, it's an unwritten rule to acknowledge that record. The same goes for "Spiderland". If I was going to include an album that Pitchfork and other magazines often leave out of their "lists" i'd have to include "Fun Trick Noisemaker." I just think as first albums go, it's got to up there. An accidental classic if you will. I wouldn't say it was lost or even misunderstood entirely, but I listened to it again recently and honestly can't escape the harmonies and hooks in these songs.

Whether it be the crashing cymbals in "She's just like me/Talking" or the guitar riffs in "Winter Must Be Cold" I defy you to listen to these songs without smiling; you just instantly fall in love with this album - I'm not talking in superlatives here either; Well, if I am, I can't help it. Psych pop might have sounded better, but i'd say Apples in Stereo aim to take it somewhere else here. Slightly garagey in parts; I wish I listened to music like this when I was a kid....I'd also like to say that while I actually kinda like the new Coral track that's playing everywhere at the moment, you should probably just go out and buy the real thing. That's if you don't want to hear the annoying piano sounds - that sound like steel drums?

Pretty much essential, yeah.

Apples in Stereo - Tidal Wave

Visit Apples in Stereo and buy here

Monday, May 16, 2005

Wax my nose hairs!



If you recognise the picture above you probably already have some kind of idea where this particular post is going; if don't, you're honestly in for a treat. The Adventures of Pete and Pete was a show that Nicolodeon ran in the early nineties which I kinda used to watch off and on, but not when it was first aired. I could go on about how I watched it religiously, but it was honestly a bit too oddball for me at the time. There were some crazy characters and even crazier guest stars...LL Cool J, Iggy Pop, Hunter S Thompson, Micheal Stipe to name a few. Anyway, i'm constantly reminded of the show; whether it be through the characters (Slackers) ; or the music. Oh the music. Music For Robots ran a piece on the band Polaris a while back and obviously referred to the show extensively, but I think it's a subject that warrants more attention. Mark Mulcahy is also playing a few shows in June, so if this can encourage people to check him out then well, this has all been worth something.

Polaris were kinda Miracle Legion (minus one band member)- who despite releasing a couple of albums in the late eighties and early nineties were never really found the commercial success of some of their peers. Actually, none of these bands really found commercial success really; and REM are probably more reverred for their 90's output, but you know what I mean. I could tell you about how their record label screwed them over and they were just basically lucky, but you've heard it all before, right? It's true, but I won't dwell on it. Mark Mulcahy has lamented that Miracle Legion "may have ended up being like R.E.M's 'little brother,' but they were really more influenced by the Gun Club, Mission of Burma, Husker Du - even the Clean." I know i'm mainly talking about Miracle Legion, but Polaris weren't strictly speaking a band in their own right. They were effectively made up for the show, but you can't deny these songs either. Miracle Legion might not have been able to make music but wasn't about to stop Mark Mulcahy from doing something. He is continually suprised how people approach his music from the show, but how can you not like the music? It's timeless wholesome early nineties indie rock (pop?) music with a pulse. Equal parts jangly guitar pop and melacholy. Wonderful stuff! The perfect accompaniment to the summer you had (or never had) as a kid, and definitely not REM.

Polaris - Coronado II

Well, like I said. Mark Mulcahy is over the UK in June and he'll be playing a select few dates to accompany his new solo material:

1st June - Sussex Arts Club (Brighton)
2nd June - Glee Club (Birmingham)
4th June - International Arts Festival (Salisbury)
8th June - Bush Hall (London)

You can buy the Polaris CD from Amazon in all it's glory, and the first Series of The Adventures of Pete and Pete will be avaliable to buy on DVD for the first time later this month. You can read about that here

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Stop-start again



Just a quick post today i'm afraid.

For more information about the image above, click here.

Actually, there isn't that much I tell about DDD (Daryl Wollaston) except for that this recording combines as his first release and as the first official release on British indie label One Hundred Records. His music has come as somewhat of a relevation to me over the past days - I have John Brainlove to thank for that - and is the kind of distorted lo-fi acoustic ramblings that you would have expected to hear from Spoon or Love As Laughter a few years ago. Of course, the vocals are far more warped and strained here, and Daryl Wollaston exuberant manic ramblings and spikey guitars lend themselves more to punk rock than indie, but it's certainly something i'd like to hear more of. Check it out for yourselves. Well, that is if you like short acoustic blasts of raw attitude and undeniable talent. Just nod your head, eh?

DDD - Can't Explain

Buy I Can't Explain for a measily £2 at Rough Trade. C'mon, it's a Bargain!

Want some brain power? Check it: Brainlove Webzine

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Ginormous Dirge



I don't know what to say!!! It's been a really good weekend for gigs. I travelled down to Birmingham on Friday to witness the mighty Arcade Fire. The hype around these guys is incredible at the moment. They might not be household names, - and let's face it, they're never really going to be with their classical arrangments - but since they signed to Rough Trade they've been getting a lot of positive press in all the UK music magazines. Anyway, they were tremendous on Friday night. The album hasn't stayed long stayed out of stereo since I bought it on Merge last year, but they've really have brought "Funeral" alive. Trust me, everything becomes clear when you see them live. An Amazing band. Eggstock or rather Scatter + George + Oddfellows Casino + James Green(Big Eyes)+ Zukanican + Dragon or Emperor AND Fabulous Foxes) came and went yesterday. It was an utterly fantastic day all round really. There were delays and lots of confusion, but the music on offer was at it's most quirky and avant guard best. There was a great knowledgable crowd of people that came to support Leicester's hardest working independent label in action - It's just a pity I had to leave slightly early (FUCK!)

Well, anyway, like i've been saying: I managed to hear some great music at the festival yesterday. The event was held in honour of the new Pickled Egg complilation Jar which professes to somehow catalogue the amazingly diverse selection of music - that Nigel does his best to promote in a musical climate that isn't exactly nuturing to small independent labels. Pickled Egg Records have remained fiercely anti-mainstream ever since their inception in 1998 and well, I see no sign of this changing in the future either. Why fuck around with greatness? Anyway, i'm here to post a track that I hope will get your heart racing and chins well and truly stroked in "Hmmmmmm, very interesting, Mr Bond" admiration. Ladies and gentleman, put your hands, feet and chairs together for the mighty collosus that are:



Dragon Or or mutha fuckin' Emperor, kids.

Dragon or Emperor are the recently formed two-piece of Aaron Moore (Volcano the Bear, Songs of Norway) on Drums/vocals, and Stewart Brackley (Black Carrot, Songs of Norway) on bass guitar/vocals. They've been compared to the offspring of Pere Ubu and Lightning Bolt, but you have your Krautrock and Jesus Lizard-like (albeit more stoned) influences in there despite the miminal dirgy sound they create as a Bass and Drums "duo." I've seen them three times in the past couple of months and they've yet to disapoint. In fact, they're getting better all the time, and to deserve to play wherever there is a bar! An enormous sound that marries their intense mixture of fun and chaos, love the following track and please please please PLEASE buy Jar at Pickled Egg headquarters:

Dragon Or Emperor - Deepened Automatic

The following track isn't avaliable on Jar and as thus is somewhat of a DorE exclusive. Anyway, once again, I implore you to check out the Jar compilation. As a double CD with 40 tracks to it's name there really isn't a risk and it gives you an incredible insight into the work of the label over the past couple of years. Early tracks from The Go! Team (before they signed to Memphis Industries) and the mightly rock and "pop" pioneers, Need New Body are here, but the whole CD is something to savor.

Dragon Or Emperor - I Don't Know What To Say

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Post-disco-miseralbilism



Woah! If you haven't already caved into the hype surrounding the Edan album, then you should check out the article posted on Spoilt Victorian Child earlier this week. I'll tell you now, "Beauty and the Beat" is fast becoming one of my favourite releases of the year - I know, I know, I say that a lot. There was also a great track I heard on Teaching The Indie Kids to Dance Again last week by a band called Midnight Movies (I still have to follow that one up actually..).

The Shocking Pinks sound like The Cure, Joy Division, and Gang of Four, with a slight difference - they're better. Why can't they be better? Alright, they're from New Zealand, so what? You can't blame them for, err, somebody help me out..? I can't remember the name of the band. The NME liked them last year (for a couple of months)...They were that memorable. Anyway, i'm not talking about them. The Shocking Pinks. Yes, them again. Ok, they may or may not be better the aforementioned bands, but they certainly transcend their influences. That is, they at least try to create their own sound. I know, it's inconceivable! That's probably not fair, but i'm not prepared to retract any of that either. I'd take this record over the offering from !!! (Chk Chk Chk) too. It just has that raw sound nailed. Gargantuan, you might say. Sorry, I just gave myself the opportunity to use that word, did you see that?

Dance The Electric Dance gives the impression of a kind of a run of the mill electroclash album - whatever that actually means - but it really isn't. If you read any information about this band on the net (few and far between), although it's their debut album, the members of this band are themselves accomplished musicians; and feature ex-members of The Brunettes and Solaa. What I mean to say is: it doesn't sound like a debut album. They obviously thrive on improvisation, which works extremely well on the album; making it once funky and disco like. But i'd consider it fairly unique, regardless of all the other bands they have been compared to. I'd definitely recommend this to anybody who bought the new DFA Compilation/ Controller.Controller EP, it's more "earthly" but they certainly have that dance-punk mode switched fully on at all times. I've actually heard that the band are either in hiatus or that they've broken up all together; I don't even think they were happy with the sound of the album, but if you ask me, err...Just check out those baselines...

The Shocking Pinks - Lovehate

But for information on how to buy the album click here Hipsters ready. Set. Go (their homepage)