Wednesday, 25 November 2009



Produced by Tim Burgess (but don’t let that put you off) there is plenty to take from An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump. For starters (a point I have laboured before) they look fantastic and are the kind of band you want to be into just in order to boast to your friends. In addition there is quite a sense of darkness and danger attached to proceedings, healthily crafted witches of grunge persona that transcends your usual white bread Goth types.

“Silent Hour” leads the release sounding much like PJ Harvey back when she used to make records with Steve Albini. With tortured vocals delivered at the helm, the sparse content of the music and eventual swoops of guitar malice display an attitude that is so valued at a time of so much fresh and cleanliness attached to music inhabiting this genre.

Moving on the tribal like drums that remind of Moe Tucker continue to pound through as “Smear” maintains the Harvey vibe addressing similar sort of territory as tracks such as “Dry” did previously. All is assisted by guitars the JAMC would have dug and bludgeoned. Also knowing this band’s tastes it is probably also a nod to everyone’s favourite Germs guitar player.

Flipping over “Only In Death” rises in the manner of Huggy Bear with a bouncy chant and winning smile. This is sensibly uncomfortable.


Thesaurus moment: perturbation.

Sunday, 22 November 2009



It’s a relief to consider that the big Blur comeback of 2009 was able to avoid embarrassment or blushes and despite their age the band were able to kick it with exuberance and gusto that suggested the band were still in it for the sport as opposed the money. These great songs being performed at the risk of sounding cheesy and rusty managed to avoid such pitfalls as the band pulled together at just the right time before it was too late and they were too old.

This is a live CD that was given away with the Sunday Times in November 2009 collecting together ten songs from various performances over the summer. It came coupled with an exclusive and extensive piece serving as some kind of promotion for their “All The People” live recordings.

It begins with two songs from their gig at Goldsmiths College (domain of the brat) in the form of “She’s So High” and “Girls & Boys”, the first of which sounds more beefy and mature than ever.

The third song on the compilation is the selection from their hometown gig at the East Anglian Railway Museum, which being pedantic is actually in Wakes Colne and not Colchester. That very night the annual Abandon Ship gig was being played at the Colchester Arts Centre, which was always the more obvious of stages for the band to be doing their hometown return show on. Ironically here a live version of “Badhead” is selected from the show which was the song covered by local heroes Hissing At Swans at said Arts Centre. When all is said done the strength of the song powers through as it would seem both versions that June night were magnificent.

From here it moves onto a version of “Parklife” recorded in Southend where Damon Albarn takes on the Phil Daniels parts as the band tear through the song at breakneck speed. This song has always sounded weird with Albarn doing the duties but with additional brass it manages to paper over the cracks as the new pace of the song suggests they’re just doing it to get it out of the way.

The Hyde Park summer shows are represented here by “Song 2” and “The Universal” but in most people’s minds (those who were not there) the shows are now represented by the Youtube video of those two Chavs dry humping at the back while the band rock out in the distance. Modern life is indeed rubbish.

In the end though it was their headline set at Glastonbury that was seen by most people when it was triumphantly beamed live on BBC2 that Sunday night. With all the momentum behind them they sounded as good as ever, jubilant in a sharing and affectionate manner where everybody wins and no flags were waved. As the coverage had to step away for a breather the BBC went straight into brash coverage of The Prodigy headlining the other stage and suddenly it felt like all music came from Essex for a moment.

You would have to be slightly blinkered to say that it all sounds amazing but it definitely doesn’t stink. These were the better songs of an era/movement where there were more villains than heroes.

Thesaurus moment: reciprocate.

The Times

Friday, 20 November 2009



When Katy Perry first released “I Kiss A Girl” I used to sit opposite a lesbian at work and whenever the song would arrive on the radio with its charged intention I couldn’t help but snigger at the posturing of a silly little girl acting up as I would look straight at Claire wondering just what was going on inside her mind at the time. Was this the song that permanently resonated within her mind? Is this really the girl nation soundtrack?

Displaying the best and worst that Essex has to offer Kunt And The Gang return with a special four song tour single to accompany his riotously offensive live show that never fails to cross several boundaries of good taste.

It will probably come as no surprise to discover the “I Sucked Off A Bloke” is an homage to Katy Perry’s “I Kiss A Girl” faux homosexually tomfoolery. The rhythm and stroke of the original tune remains in his voice as the music that accompanies it resembles something of a cross between John Shuttleworth and Wesley Willis gone x-rated.

“She’s bound to take it out of context.”

This is the kind of music would suspect a person might get arrested for. As during the second song “My Nob Is Bigger Than Your Nob” Kunt compares his knob to looking like “Justin Lee Collins eating a sausage”. Later Kunt also accuses Little Kunt of a knob so cheesy it could be bait in a mousetrap. If by this point you are still listening your threshold is fine, strong even and generally in life you will definitely do all right.

Additional delights arrive in the form of “That’s My Erection” and his “Michael Jackson Tribute” both of which generally serve to make a person feel like a better person of tuning in.

In such politically correct times these songs serve as a refreshing beacon of freedom, where people can make their own choices and decide for themselves if they do not want to pander to the rules of behaviour (accepted social conventions) that television so cunningly subversively enforces on us through the mediums of GMTV, Vernon Kay et al.

This is not Forrest Gump. Forrest Kunt maybe but not Forrest Gump.

If only everything from Essex was so great.

Thesaurus moment: homage.

Kunt And The Gang

Tuesday, 10 November 2009



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.


Monday, 9 November 2009



The Abominable Mr Tinkler is a long standing member of the Colchester electro scene.  And thus is he is also one of the loudest, most important figures in what is a compact movement.  For those about to sock(et), we salute you.

The reputation of Tinkler is one of caffeine driven gestures of sonic obliteration.  Nobody gets out of here alive, nothing remains in one piece.  For some reason Tinkler has always remind me of Wax Trax, not necessarily in the output but certainly in the aesthetic and intent.  It is a harsh realm to exude.

It kicks off with a suitably bombastic entrance, building to a hearty explosion off the back of a tense build up and landing.  The echoes attached feel like space screams, of the unexplained doing bad, doing wrong.  On the way, you find yourself drunk.

The second encounter proves equally surprisingly restrained as some kind of zonal marking tags a windswept ordeal that remains a calming affair until thirty seconds from the end when machine drums and drill sounds slap in a droop seemingly in search of reaction.

There is a kind of desolate menace attached to the remix of track 3 that reminds heavily of The Terminator score.  Of course that peace is soon shattered by the intrusion of what seems some kind of malfunction.  Then come the random break beats delivered in no sensible manner, a sequence that spews scorn all over the track and indeed the listener.  Its what they do.

The final version proves barely recognisable to the original as a screwy set of organs take control and mashup proceedings in juvenile gabba fashion.  This feels like aural equivalent of hiccups.  Then just when you think they are done, it bounces back.  Tinkler always will.

Thesaurus moment: deface.

Monday, 2 November 2009



This was the moment for our generation where it all appeared to come together, where everything felt right and that our people had won the culture war regardless of the direction and what was deemed permissible by the industry and our parents.  Of course it was all fleeting and ultimately an illusion but what an amazing time to be part of such a movement.  Nirvana was a band with purpose.  They were stoically to the left but not weak with it.  This was the heaviest band on the planet and somehow their might came coupled with amazing songs and a truly exciting and infectious perceived way of being.  By acknowledging how bleak our collective experience of existence was it felt empowering and a general threat to the old guard in power running thing.  Then three things ruined: Kurt killed himself, the internet ruined everything and 9/11 slammed the door closed on what had felt accomplished ten years earlier.  It happened.

Nirvana headlining Reading 92 was a great thing.  The majority of the set was broadcast on Radio One that week which lent an immediacy to proceedings and managed to capture the moment; helping us stuck in our bumfuck towns feel part of the event.  Over the years however the truth has emerged as to just what a horribly miserable and muddy experience the weekend was.  That said despite the conditions a line-up consisting of Public Enemy, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, Beastie Boys, Mudhoney, Pavement, L7, Rollins Band, Public Image Limited, Shonen Knife, Manic Street Preachers, Teenage Fanclub, PJ Harvey, Melvins, Screaming Trees, Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy makes it the greatest rock festival lifetime of our (my) generation.

After much suggestion and rumour over the weekend that the band would not even be performing eventually the band literally rolled onstage Sunday night as Everett True brought out Kurt Cobain in a wheelchair sporting a large blonde wig and a hospital smock.  As Novoselic followed onstage shaking his head in concerned manner this was the “Kurtney”.  From here it rose from the wheelchair to “sing” the first few lines from “The Rose” (which Mudhoney had covered on the Sub Pop 200 compilation a few years earlier) before falling backwards in seemingly an unhealthy state.

Then the band rose and stormed into action opening the set with “Breed” in waspy and ferocious manner.  From here faultless versions of “Drain You” and “Aneurysm” follow as the ball truly gets rolling on one of the greatest sets in rock history.

As the band tear into “School” they are now more than warmed up as one of their oldest tracks also sounds like one of their heaviest with a really nasty sound that resembles a band truly on fire.

After this track the band begin playing up to rumours that they were splitting announcing that it is their last gig “tonight” before declaring that they’re about to do a new record before launching into a tidal wave version of “Sliver”.  It closes with Dave Grohl stating “we practised last night”.

In Bloom” follows which was a rare airing for a song they seemed to seldom play live.  This then leads into “Come As You Are” and after only twenty five minutes of play we have already been handed our arses.

The infamous singalong for “Lithium” occurs next.  Considering that this was around the time of their appearance at the MTV Awards doing this song, this performance is somewhat tighter.  This version was previously included on the “Live! Tonight! Sold Out!!” video originally released in 1994 just over six months after Cobain killed himself.

As someone in the crowd yells a request for “Sub Pop Rock City” (actually a Soundgarden song) Grohl eggs on Novoselic to tell a joke as the band gears up to play “About A Girl”, the first song in the set that fails to growl.

At this point Grohl calls out to the bootleggers to record as they band tear into a song called “The Eagle Has Landed” which actually became the song’s name in various music publications for a while.  The song is actually “Tourettes” and this version of the song actually previously appeared on the “From The Muddy Banks Of Wishkah” live compilation put out in 1996.

Then they play “Polly” and kill it all.

Much like “In Bloom”, next “Lounge Act” gets a rare live airing.  Perhaps it was just a tough song to play live as the version here certainly does sound plodding in contrast to the version on Nevermind.

After this song Dave begins drumming a cover of “Satisfaction” by Devo before Kurt tears into his own cover version of “More Than A Feeling” by Boston which Dave and Chris happily sing along to before Kurt regains control and rips into a wonky version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” which remains defiant and powerful despite his apparent nonchalance and sarcasm.  Pixies rip off.  It seemed like Kurt did everything he could to ruin the song on this night but he just could not murder it.

Continuing to chew up the scenery “On A Plain” drops in the heaviest tone followed by a machine gun entrance and incendiary run out for “Negative Creep”.

Prior to another new song Kurt dedicates the track to his “all of day old daughter and my wife” and due some “pretty extreme things being written” about them he says that she now thinks “everyone hates her now”.  With this in mind he gets the audience to yell “Courtney we love you” before the band purr into a version of “All Apologies” that possessed slightly different (and in my opinion better) lyrics to the version that wound up on In Utero.  With all the singing towards a sun/son it feels a very paternal song and even if it wasn’t written about his expectant child it certainly gives off such an impression adding a heavy degree/dose of emotional weight to the piece.  It was so exciting to hear this song at the time, the new material was promising so much and this was definitely a band that appeared to have a huge and great future ahead.  This was why the band was the greatest on the planet at the time and right up until their demise eighteen months later.

From here the band churn into the always muddy “Blew” which was often a set closer (ironically cast considering it being the opening track on Bleach).

When the band return for an encore Kurt wishes “a happy birthday to Dave’s mother” which causes the audience to sing a round of “Happy Birthday” before Dave declares “the power of the bootleg”.  With this the band then strolls into “Dumb” before ripping things up once more with an incendiary play of “Stay Away” motored by more rapid drumming from Grohl.  Listening to this you can almost forgive him his subsequent indulgence with the Foo Fighters over later years.

“Spank Thru” soon follows and as ever never fails to entertain even if this is not the best version of the track that there ever was (that version resides on the Sliver EP).  On this night it just sounded a bit too much like Elvis Presley was on the vocals,

For some reason (probably licensing/royalty/legal) the band’s cover of “Love Buzz” is sadly missing from the CD release of this concert which is a real loss because on this night their performance of the track was by far the greatest I have ever heard.  As Kurt wheels out an extended noisy introduction when the song finally boots in it is as powerful as things ever got.  This version even tops the one that almost saw Kurt lose his life to a promoter early in their career.

After the cover the band roll out a few bars of “Smoke On The Water” before launching fully into a cover of “The Money Will Roll Right In” by Fang which Mudhoney themselves had recently covered and included on a fantastic Sub Pop compilation called Revolution Come And Gone.  Personally I always preferred the Mudhoney take on the track but there was mistaking that the sentiments of the song were prevailing wholesale at that moment in time.

As the band began exhaust their material they chipped in with another cover in the form of “D-7” by The Wipers which had appeared as a b-side on the “Lithum” single in addition to the Hormoaning release in Asia that fans were now shelling out big bucks for.  The lacklustre nature of the song was conducive in signifying the end was nigh.

Then it all comes to a climax as Chris sarcastically rips into his rendition of “Get Together” by Chet Powers before the band tears into “Territorial Pissings” which they charge through in minutes ahead of the inevitably equipment trashing that saw Cobain playing the “Star Spangled Banner” in a modern take on the Hendrix.  Then with Krist banging a snare and Dave swinging around a broken bass guitar it concludes at 11.33PM with Kurt giving his guitar to the audience and the lights coming down as “Bustin’ Surfboards” by The Tornadoes begins ringing around the arena.

This was our once in a lifetime music moment.  How green was our fucking valley?

Thesaurus moment: everything.