Sunday, 28 February 2010



The Sone Institute are one of those acts that produce a wide series of sounds that exhibit a huge scope of imagination and lengthy influences that provide a distinct setting for the task ahead. Listened to with a clear head, yours will be a mind soon muddled and disfigured by the sounds and images imposed onto your soul.

In the past Sone Institute have displayed a talent for spilling beats over the most cautious of tones in a style similar to Broadcast while mixed with an easy listening intellect and kitsch awareness (appreciation) akin to that of Jonny Trunk. Within such a gesture there is true fluctuation of two grand and downbeat worlds convulsing and marking something wholly fresh into the ground. With Curious Memories they have expanded further on this premise extending their arsenal and truly succeeding with every avenue they visit.

The album begins with a thunder bolt followed by crazed and disorientating fairground attraction atmospherics on the wonderfully named “Inter Asylum Cross Country”. The track sounds like something RZA may have cooked up and used on one of his scores. Truly a song to come with stitches.

With “The Wind Began To Switch” the record reaches a frenzied pace as handclapping hysteria coupled with grandiose strings that sound straight out of an American television cop show from the seventies bursts onto the scene. The crazy beat sounds excessively like Lalo Schifrin’s work on Dirty Harry only now bettered to a blistering pace.

Eventually it all mellows out quite significantly, changing identity like a chameleon on a mirror, touching zones that you might expect as output from acts on labels such as Ninja Tune and Kitty-Yo. A true blissed out harvest of an experience occurs as ambience overrules the exotic early impetus of proceedings in assaulting fashion. It has to be said the swinging of systems in such schizophrenic style does make for a difficult listen.

For some reason I come away from listening to this record with the theme music from The Professionals running around in my head.

This is music for the movies.

Thesaurus moment: flick.

Sone Institute
Front And Follow

Thursday, 25 February 2010



I used to have an online buddy hailing from Norway. In fact I feel when she disappeared from the cyber world I actually lost a potential love for in Line Larsen I truly feel I met (in an online capacity) a potential soul mate. Our interests were similar and we exchanged similar worldviews and a sense of fondness prevailed that could have remained/lasted strong for a long time. When she disappeared off the face of the internet I truly feel fearful that something bad occurred to her in real life. I really wish she would get back in touch I miss her so.

At this point the single has almost concluded as I acknowledge that the first time I am playing this seven inch I am paying absolutely no attention whatsoever to it. My bad.

Beach House appear to have come out of nowhere, they are being lauded by all quarters as a sudden stream dreamy (sometimes drippy) bands begins to overwhelm indie pop. If it were a bit louder you might compare it to the shoegazers.

It all feels rather minimal. Half the time the vocalist (I’m loathe to say singer) appears to be making up words, exchanging lyrics for noises they appear to be making up on the spot.

There appears to be a prevailing leaning towards an eighties slickness and sensibility to sound at the moment. I am truly struggling to decide whether this is a good thing or not. Here with “Norway” I am being presented with a layered set of sounds padding out a strange set of sentiments being exhibited by the frontman that be. With creeping, underlying sonics I would not be surprised if new My Bloody Valentine material were to sound like this (or at least the demos might).

Perversely this ultimately sounds to me like the singer from the Wannadies fronting the accompaniment of Ryuichi Sakamoto in “Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence” mode with a dabble of MBV effects stirring underneath. Random.

The b-side sounds a bit like Scrawl.

They’re from Baltimore but not like in The Wire (the TV show not the magazine).

I think I missed the point.

Thesaurus moment: hut.

Beach House
Bella Union

Friday, 19 February 2010



On The Beach is a club night at the Buffalo Bar in Islington on everything third Friday of the month.  It plays a gross mixture of dirty underground and unpopular songs covering US indie, post punk, electronica, hardcore, grime and sometimes even pop. 

This is a compilation CD that was given away at their club night in February 2010 I believe to celebrate their tenth night.  What do I know though; when I picked up my copy of the disc I was drunk and just had a McDonalds.  It features eighteen tracks typical of what gets played at the club proving something of an eclectic soup selection.

The disc opens with “I.O.U.” by The Replacements, a thumping case of hard rocking classic American indie that people have heard of but mostly have never actually heard.  This then melds into the backwards electronic beats of Dan Deacon and my stereo player is already reeling.  You too will be reeling once you’ve had enough of that cheap Eastern European beer that the Buffalo Bar puts on as “special” on the night.

Not wishing to be too white and middle class they drop hip hop (sometimes even grime) in the form of Dominique Young and Roll Deep in addition to the classic that is “Witness (1 Hope)”.  This will help you swing your pants.

Essentially you can’t help but feel the heart of the club is in US indie being that the club features many faces that frequent All Tomorrows Parties.  This point is well made by the inclusion of Polvo, Cap’n Jazz, Ted Leo and Health, a band I defy anybody to attempt to dance to.  Good luck fucker.

Also no selection of knowing modern hipster music is complete without its silly pun band names as represented today by Hudson Mohawke and Joy Orbison.  Laugh it up.

Elsewhere “Roadrunner” by Jonathan Richman pops up at some point not feeling out of place like the scary nonce in the corner.

Then that is it.  The lights come up and it seems time to go get a kebab except I am actually here at home sat listening to this record in my pants.  Where did my life go wrong?

An education.

Thesaurus moment: promo.

Friday, 12 February 2010



The Truth About Frank is a duo from Leeds otherwise known as Ian and Alan.  Their intention appears to grind out the greatest sounds from the resources offered them.  Yes, they use leads.

From the off their contribution sounds submerged and troubling, an explicitly industrial gesture sans the gothic beats.  Again as with much of the project it distils a troubled motion seemingly based in agony, solidly spliced with ear-splitting assaults on the brain.  It’s a gnarly adventure, easily one of the noisiest Long Division With Remainders to date.

The frequency changes for the second track as the cascade of the piece remains but now comes coupled with a fresh array of heavy movements and frightful pounding that halfway through digitises into something quite subhuman and horrific.  The swirling decadence attained offers to engineer a freak based breakdown and argument with a tunnel of words.  The it ends abrupt.  Mission accomplished.

As the EP moves on it arrives at an industrial pace with track 3 and what appears to be the sound of a derelict factory experiencing a ghostly flashback.  Before long the seeming loop of a generator gives way to a full on power drill, which ultimately can only prompt a migraine for the listener.  Now that wasn’t very nice.

It ends with fluctuation, with the sound of what appears to be a mind pacing.  Then a quarter of the way through, booming drums arrive as if in epiphany.  With this a solid groove ensues as if the listener is being made to meet their maker.  It’s a drone that kills.

Thesaurus moment: plant.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010



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

Tuesday, 9 February 2010



The Dandy Warhols were never cool.  Their credentials were hip and to be honest their music was never mind-blowing good.  With this their career came and went much in the same way one record chancers such as Bush would manage to etch out a career (well, income stream) in one foul swoop.  Then suddenly Dig! came out and suddenly the band were viewed in a whole new/different light.  Unfortunately it just came too late for them.

When the Dandy Warhols broke in the mainstream it was with a real sense of cashing in on the final days of cashing in on the alternative nation.  With this the band rocked a look that appeared druggy and weird and would pull stunts such as having their lesbian keyboard player perform encores topless.  What a statement, so forced.

As with bands such as The Strokes this was an “indie” act that found themselves bigger in the UK than they were in their home country.  This must be such a disorientating and polarising sense of accomplishment and the manner within which the UK music press was set up being that the coverage was weekly and actually more national than the US being a tastemaker nation if done right our scene was an easy nut to crack.

Then there was the thing with the Brian Jonestown Massacre that pretty much absolutely nobody knew about at the time.  If only Anton Newcombe’s plan to turn them into the new Blur vs Oasis had have come off what a great set of appearances on Top Of The Pops that would have produced.  Brian Jonestown Massacre didn't get the career of the Dandy Warhols but they definitely had better songs.

This was their second album and the one with the hits.  I have to concede I have great memories of getting drunk and dancing at an indie disco to “Every Day Should Be A Holiday”, a song that always for always be too closely for comfort resembled “Hungry Like A Wolf” by Duran Duran.

What always let the band down was just how weedy their guitar sound was.  This did not feel like a rock band let alone a cutting edge alternative act.  They may have had the look of something interesting and dangerous but painfully all too often that would prove to be style over substance.

Certainly the band does not help things by opening the album with seven minutes of nothing.  “Be In” is a frustrating cart of aimless noodling and gradual growth, the sort of thing that sounds great when you’re fucked up on drugs.

Then they drop the first single of the album with “Boys Better”.  Its actually a pretty decent soup of many sounds that delivers a catchy hook of empty sentiments and silly intentions.  Its vacant in exploration so it is best to just hang onto the snappy parts that glisten.  Noticeably high in the mix are the keyboards.  Pia was not to be outshined.

With “Minesotter” the band sounds like Brian Jonestown Massacre.  Whether this was intention or even maybe actually vice versa is open to debate.  Then Courtney opens his mouth and he sounds like Black Francis.  Were they going for the Pixies on downers?

“Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth” with hindsight now feels written directly about Anton Newcombe.  This is probably their most famous track, certainly the one with the most controversial set of lyrics although the actual message of the song is quite open to debate.  It was quite relieving to hear in Dig! that the band hated the video for the song.  Sure enough they looked like prats in it.  Then three minutes later it is over and I am none the wiser about the world and certainly far from feeling like I am under the influence.

There was always a shoegaze and psychedelic side to the band that for me would remind of Echo And The Bunnyman (certainly with “Good Morning” on this record).  Ultimately though these songs were just not catchy.

Late on the album serves up “Cool As Kim Deal” next to “Hard On For Jesus” as you can’t help but feel this was the band trying too hard, to take weird swipes at one icon while endeavouring to garner favour from another.  And vice versa.  Except the band just wasn’t in with these circles.  That said I have to express a fondness for the latter.

It all ends with “The Creep Out” as the album crumbles to a mess.  They just had too much time and budget to explore these things.

A comedian (Robin Ince) gave me this CD while he was having a clearout.  About halfway through the disc gives up the ghost as initially it repeatedly skips, and then drops out before eventually spinning to a halt.  This is a fine metaphor.

Thesaurus moment: fabricate.

Monday, 8 February 2010



The debut record from Sleater-Kinney is something of a much more blunt affair and one that comes as a surprise after hearing them be so attractively structured over the years with their almost overground nudging “hits.”

I actually wound up possessing this record by accident as it was given away free at a Robin Ince gig as he found himself having a clear out at home, disposing of records that he felt he has grown out of while freeing up space at home.

These are the real royal roots of Sleater-Kinney in Riot Grrrl.  The songs hold a subtle menace in the dark playing of guitars that appear to hover and loom over proceedings.  Even though the band were not slipping into baby doll cliché there is a shared sound in their playing that goes with early Hole and Babes Into Toyland as failing persuasion remains constant in the motored motion of their songs.  This was also a sound often executed by bands like Drive Like Jehu displaying an uncomfortable and uneasy trait.  There aren’t many laughs attached to this record.

Elsewhere there is a definite Bikini Kill and Huggy Bear vibe (especially on “Sold Out”), albeit one with as much shouting.  On the whole this was a band displaying leanings towards the smarter side of the movement.  At the end of the day though I would argue that technically this band was superior to all the female bands that came before it as they abstained from filling out their sound with bass and incorporated intricate guitar part one after the other to produced a layer sounded of hidden depths that provides many riches for those who invest a closer a ear.

Clocking in at just under 23 minutes it is almost impossible for this album to outstay its welcome.  Perhaps stifled slightly by low budget recording funds the songs take their force from other elements such as the empowering message of “The Day I Went Away” in addition to the self defensive tone of tracks such as “How To Play Dead”.  Also there is no denying the hooks of “Be Yr Mama”.

Also at this stage the vocals were still yet to manifest themselves into their later shriek and instead find themselves delivered in a more menacing mumble.

Worth noting is that Janet Weiss did not play drums on this record as instead Lora Macfarlane performed the duties.  Basically this was a band still finding their way.

The record ends in a kindly manner displaying the softer side of the band prior to one last blast of screaming offering clear demonstration that there was more to this act than was tasted here.

Way to begin!

Thesaurus moment: flourish.

Thursday, 4 February 2010



There is a Bombay Bicycle Club in Holland Park.  I have never been inside because I do not ride bicycles.  There is something rather Darjeeling Limited about this band’s moniker, a name that captures an image and sense of better times for our empire, a period when we actually appeared to possess some sway and influence.  There is also a prostitute in Holland Park I know but that is beside the point.

This band has one terrible name.  It belittles them, conjures up an image that does not necessarily sum up an act you imagine is interesting or any good.  Inventiveness does not appear on the agenda if so much consideration has been put into such a wacky band name you figure these are now spent mental forces.

Riding against expectations “Evening/Morning” is a wonderful song.  It has forced me to take interest in a band/act that I was determined to give a wide birth.  Within the confines of this tune there is a subtle hint and suggestion of greatness, a trait that serves to elevate.

The first third thirty seconds of this song is made up entirely of build and anticipation.  It is the musical equivalent of starting up, of being exciting in the most subtle fashion.  It’s in the small things.  Then with this some distorted bass grandstands and slaps some direction to proceedings.

I think the delight in this song is the simplicity of proceedings.  The form structure is unconventional, more about blocks of direction rather than a traditional verse chorus verse delivery.  In many ways it shouldn’t work but royally it pays off in abundance as a delicate charm exudes in the strange vocals on offer and the restrained manner in which the band is playing.  This is music for those away from the norm but who still listen to Radio One.

In the most upbeat way I am reminded a lot of Maximo Park (the vocals) and a little of Yo La Tengo (the music).  Some will also hear a bit of Biffy Clyro and possibly Super Furry Animals in there too.  It’s all gravy.

It’s all downhill from here.

Thesaurus moment: enriching.

Monday, 1 February 2010



This in theory is the kind of record I ordinarily hate. There seems to be nothing genuine in the article. The girl is indeed beautiful but her warbling traits really ruin the picture. Not only do they not fit the face but they also come over as truly insincere as a result. Also the story being told attached to the tale of the song sounds just plain ridiculous. There is no way I should be buying into this. Unfortunately however I am.

With warbles that appear to suggest some kind of female Bryan Ferry, despite the load of old toss that are the lyrics it is a very catchy and infectious pop song. This just might be the female chart equivalent of being persuaded into doing something very bad by a pretty face.

At the moment I’m struggling to decide whether this girl is a truly innovate (innovatively marketed) artiste with a genuinely distinct voice or if she is a polished up version of Hazel O’Connor or Lene Lovich. The whole “Hollywood” spiel raises a few questions suggesting that she both sees it for what it is but also still yearns a piece of that pie.

Her looks will get her everywhere. Welcome to this year’s Lovefoxxx.

Thesaurus moment:

Marina And The Diamonds
679 Recordings