Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Hardly art
Hardly starving
Hardly art
Hardly garbage

-- "No Culture Icons" from More Parts Per Million

Originally hailing from Northampton or London (depending on what review you read), Host are - or at least were, until a short time ago - a terrific scratch post-pop explosion of screeching guitars, three-part harmonies, and synth tabs, that frequently recall new-wave pioneers like XTC, but end up sounding a lot more reminiscent catchy lo-fi rockers, The Thermals - on a sugar and helium high.

Host then, were made up James Host (Drums), Jim Host (Electronics, Vocals), Rob Host (Bass, Vocals) and Stephen Host (Guitar, Vocals)...Yeah, most of the reviews I have read concentrate on their bizarre sense of humour. Nevertheless, they gifted the world one studio album; the aptly titled, Minimum Listening Guarantee (hitBACK Records), and a handful of singles on various like-minded labels. The songs they left behind are a short, erratic cacophony of guitar solos and are tailor made for the listener with a short attention span.

HOST - Mean Streak

HOST - Decisions


Visit the Host website (largely a historical document of demos etc) and hitBACK Records

Monday, January 30, 2006

I'd let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away

I love this band.

Formed in 1992 (Olympia), Lync may have only burned briefly, but they continue to be a major source of inspiration. I can't pretend to have been there from the beginning, but their impact on bands like Built to Spill and Modest Mouse is clear for all to see. They endure, because like Drive Like Jehu, they deserve to. I was indirectly exposed to them through Love As Laughter (as I imagine a lot of people were), but while Greks Bring Love and #1 U.S.A. might hint at the sludgier nature of Sam Jayne's musical vision, Lync were always a glorious mess; albeit a controlled one.

They may have only left behind one studio album ('These Are Not Fall Colors), but this 1994 K Records release accomplishes more than some bands manage in their entire 'career.' Expertly showcasing Sam Jayne's open tunings and frantic/shouty vocals; which combine with James Bertram's own heavy bass sound - we're talking Jesus Lizard here - to create a shitstorm of distortion and background hiss that's undeniably their own. Jayne and Betram fight it out for predominance, while Schneider plays the drums as well as anyone could hope to do under the circumstances. Actually, no, he's controlling things.

In all honesty, tracks like 'Hands and Knees' pretty much exist to disprove any lame comparisons I can muster; and counteract the lo-fi brawl that ensues over the frantic 'Perfect Shot' and the kinetically charged 'Silver Spoon Glasses.'

Lync - Perfect Shot


Issue Six of Loose Lips Sink Ships is avaliable for purchase online, and in all good record stores. I think it's total triumph and certainly worthy of your attention.

I don't get to see many new films, but Walk the Line is incredible and I can't praise the lead performances enough - Reese Witherspoon is a revelation. Watch it.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The slow burner

Love As Laughter have gone through a lot of changes since their original conception. The Greks Brings Gifts is pretty much Sam Jayne (post Lync) playing around with friends and recording lo-fi garage rock; which gradually morphed into their most recent line-up as a three piece: with lead singer/guitarist Sam Jayne, Zeke Howard on Drums and Brandon Angle on Bass. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the 'band' and they're playing a gig in NYC to celebrate. Their last album (Laughter's Fifth) was released in 2005 on Sub Pop and I was fortunate enough to catch them after the Slint ATP in February - shortly before the album was released.

I'd be the first to admit that I didn't really 'get' Laughter's Fifth to begin with. I thought it was a little to prestine and clever; and that it didn't take enough chances. Now i've come to realise it's just loose and they're just having fun with the material. It's brilliant album. A slow burner perhaps, but incredible when it finally comes to together. They'll never make another Sea to Shining Sea because they never rest on their laurels. I remember reading them being described as a cross between The Rolling Stones, The Stooges and even Led Zeppelin. Don't get be wrong, it's these comparisons that attracted me to them, but for me, they never sound contrived or even compromised by their love of the music from the past. I'm not saying that I approve of bands blatently and even fragrantly rehashing old ideas, but I do appreciate genuine homages, and the band make this clear from the onset. They celebrate everything you want to hear in a band.

The following track is a rollicking romping rock stomper of a tune [taken from Destination 2000]

Love As Laughter - Margaritas

Click here to visit the L/A/L Website. You can hear "Miss Direction" and "Temptation Island" on their website too. Buy their album(s) through Subpop. Shiny, shiny vinyl! One day i'll have a few words to say about Lync. Sam Jayne is so underrated it's unreal.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


It's true.

I have news. If you're unfortunate enough to be in Leicester on Wednesday night (18th January), then get thee to Bar Nova (Granby Street, near the Train Station) to catch Blood Red Shoes and Tera:Tora. Details below:

***Mesage end***