Sunday, 30 May 2010



This is a handsome and grotesque release all in one shot.  There is a beauty in gore and noise and here are two bands that cleverly tap into that notion while attempting to make you go deaf and bloody your ears.  Housed on a seven inch shaped like a splat of puke (and with a similar colouring of texture) you just feel you cannot lose with such sickly packaged music.  You can only lose your hearing.

The Locust are just frightening.  I saw them once and never again.  It was one of the most violent pits I have ever fallen into, one that filled me with such aggression and violence that I started kicking out and attempting to hurt people for stepping on my toes.  I was in the wrong.  Meanwhile on stage creatures resembling insects barely moved while producing the most devastating of sounds.  They were flattening all they were coming in contact with.  For this split single their side of the record contains five tracks, the longest of which clocks in at forty three seconds.  Indeed some of their song titles feel longer than the actual tracks themselves (“Wet Nurse Syndrome Hand Me Down Display Case” and “Spitting In The Faces Of Fools As A Source Of Nutrition” being the best examples).  I was wrong to think this was music to dance to.

In contrast the free noise of Arab On Radar is somewhat more harnessed.  There is repetition to frame proceedings, a repetition that resembles a pulse.  The guitars do not sound like guitars, the drums sound cheap and broken and then when the vocals finally drop in suddenly it all sounds very Melt-Banana in a most agreeable manner.  It all feels like music constructed from bloodied lab coats.  The experiment went wrong but the results were great.  The final conclusion: your music is too fat.

Today I find myself playing this record at ear-splitting volume with view to drowning out my neighbour’s shit selection of Madonna hits and other chart mediocrity.  It is a resounding soundclash, one in which I am unlikely to emerge the victor as a scene akin to the annoyance of Driller Killer abounds and sadly the state of affairs descends to complete antisocial mobility.  One day they will die.

Thesaurus moment: overall.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010



At the end of the day the sad truth/reality was that this was the only release I bought on Record Store Day that I actually wanted beforehand. And I only got it out of good fortune when one of the Rough Trade clerks happened across some copies and did a shout out to the people in the queue to see if anybody wanted one. I swear half an hour before this moment I had seen a man the age of Mark E. Smith carrying a pile of about fifteen copies of this record to the counter. That should not have been allowed but in a way it all seems apt

Despite now being on their best record label for years The Fall artwork remains wonderfully incoherent, messy and looking tossed off in seconds. There are just some things that remain reassuringly constant.

“Bury” is another great slab of vinyl. Perversely it reminds me of a lo-fi version of “No One Knows” by Queens Of The Stone Age but it is also so much more. We have a Bury here in East Anglia but it is nothing in comparison to this.

In many ways The Fall is a better act than ever. Without doubt Mark E. Smith runs a tight ship and with its revolving door of musicians these days it’s not so much a band as an outfit with a squad mentality akin to the greatest football clubs. This is the modern way of doing things, deal with it. With this process in mind you can’t help but think in another life Smith might have made for a great football manager. Maybe Manchester has a successor for Fergie after all (pending a reverse Tevez dose of treachery).

Wonderful distortion welcomes this song into the world which is then promptly pursued by a fine stomp and seemingly random musings from Mr Smith. It’s all about Mr Smith. This is the stuff of legend, it still sounds great after all these years and uses terms such as “municipal buildings” which you will be hard pressed to unearth anywhere else in music. In a time when we need this music the most it truly comes to the plate and pays off tenfold.

Thesaurus moment: reliable.

The Fall

Sunday, 23 May 2010



Here is another limited edition release from Record Store Day. By the point of this purchase I was just snapping up any cool looking or sounding release in order to bump up my goodies and prevent the people at the counter giggling at my pathetic collection of rubbish sucker releases. I’m not so sure that this release should have made the cut however.

I have actually see Villagers and it was not an experience I would care to share or repeat. The buzz was good with them being signed to Domino and all but the reality was trite and laboured. For this I blame Bon Ivor and his log cabin bullshit.

Hailing from Ireland unfortunately this means Mr Conor J. O’Brien possesses a singing voice that reminds me of Feargal Sharkey gone through an auto tuner. And we all know what happened to that guy.

It is all very impassioned and aimed (maybe cynically) at an audience experiencing a crisis and mentally drifting off into the distance as life becomes difficult for their kind. Am I being too harsh?

Taking a deep breath and endeavouring to listen to this afresh things don’t really manage to improve as his storytelling style of lyrical narrative portrays a slow version of life that I just cannot relate to, one where a person has too long to dwell on the whimsy of life and little in the way of an arc existence. I bet skinny people have sex to this music.

I still blame The Wicker Man.

Thesaurus moment: grandiose.


Saturday, 22 May 2010



The second release from Culture As A Dare hailing out of Southend is an exciting one, a split twelve inch featuring three tracks a piece from two exceptional US indie influenced outfits.

Listening to the music of The Hillmisters is a joy, a genuine and stunning breeze as their sound encapsulates a wonderful time in my musical education.  They operate within a great manner that sees their sound pleasingly hang in the air prior to bombing proceedings in a most satisfying fashion.  At this risk of tarring the band with an overused brush they sound like a triumphant hybrid of Pavement and the Flaming Lips in full flow.  The gargled vocals appear to be spewing out the kind of lyrics that emerge from a bitter crossword capturing the sights and sounds of a moment in time that is about to turn nasty.  All in all it reminds me of going through a tunnel of love.  Then they offer up a song entitled “Jeanie”, almost as if they were mocking me.  The bust is that good.

(((Oh Dear are not quite as an awkward proposition as the spelling of their name might suggest.  With a singer that sounds like Lou Barlow there is a natural leaning towards brimming/beaming like Sebadoh.  As the pace droops and female vocals drop in for backup the band begin to remind me of the finer moments of The Delgados on their second track “Raise The Bar” before things eventually run out in a Crazy Horse manner with “Last Friend” as a lazy blues number gets interrupted by a side order of noodles.  Given time and exposure people could easily fall in love with this.

Thesaurus moment: exhibit.

Friday, 21 May 2010



I hope I never live to see the day where labels are no longer releasing split seven inches.  This is the king of formats, the kind of release that should exist the beginning of every serious band’s career and appear at the beginning of every indie label’s catalogue as their single digit releases.

Plantman are a hazy lo-fi outfit whose lyrics resemble more throwaway observations than poetic couplets (in a good way).  In execution the band sound very much like Yo La Tengo offering dubious promise of better things while exhibiting some kind of summertime nostalgia.  There is a distinctly bright and sunny tone attached to proceedings and swiftly the band is soon done demonstrating an access to a better state of mind.  In execution “The Tide” acts like a comforting breeze.

Elsewhere is Neon Harvest who remind me of Granddaddy with their drum machine based wailings that pulse in a lo-fi order with a threat and promise of ripping through the orchestration at any moment with their beards.  This song sounds like it is being delivered in an altered state, right at the eye of a very nasty storm.  Destructive and disturbing this is not necessarily cleansing to the soul.  Eventually it rolls out sounding like Steven Malkmus doing a mantra with a drum machine beat that could easily double as the sound of a ticking bomb.  Pretty unnerving ultimately.

I like this seven inch, it gives me pleasure.

Thesaurus moment: chill.

Culture As A Dare

Thursday, 20 May 2010



This single arrived at a confused point in proceedings.  January 1993 turned out to be one of the more eventful months of my life.  After enjoying a grunge related Christmas when so many gifts were alt rock related stepping into the new year I found myself on work experience from school at Dixon Electronics in Clacton-on-Sea.  This was not rock, this was not what I was destined to do with my life.  This was not what my walkman was soundtracking.

As confusion rained suddenly one of my favourite bands released a weird cover version that saw it shifting units and finding success in the charts.  I knew the song “(I’m) Easy” by Lionel Richie and wasn’t exactly a fan but by fuck did Faith No More change that opinion.  Then again this was never a band shy of doing a cover version and making it their own.  Still, we were loyal to the brand and happy to indulge.  It is interesting to note how the artwork refers to the song as “I’m Easy” and being written by “Lionel Ritchie” offering a distinct air of something being quickly cobbled together.

More than anything else this track always demonstrated the diversity and musical prowess of the act.  It was a track that Mike Patton easily stretched his voice around as Roddy Bottum carried the music with his keyboard while you imagined Jim Martin chomping at the bit to attack the guitar solo towards the end.  With Martin now on his way out of the band you can’t help but wonder whether the Patton address of “ewww” that leads to the solo is directed at Big Jim.

To me it still sounds weird.  It is polished and quite frankly I find it ridiculous how it is stuck on the end of Angel Dust.  Basically it’s a decent but I really need to be in the mood for it and am most likely to switch off the album after “Midnight Cowboy”.

Keeping with the band’s usual direction and seemingly a gesture to keep the faithful happy, the second a-side is the playful “Be Aggressive”, a song about being vocal during sex (thus the declaration in rant “I swallow, I swallow”) while containing a weird chorus sample of kids spelling out the song title in a seedy cheerleader cum cheesy Sesame Street style.  Its all very sport fucking and unsurprisingly aggressive.  Up until that point it is a healthy pummel of a song but that element just kills.  This would not have been my immediate choice for a single.

Moving on the b-sides are live recordings of “A Small Victory” and “We Care A Lot” from Munich on the 9th November 1992, the first of which is playful and heavy while the second is somewhat subject to a re-model.  It ain’t Patton’s song, he don’t care what it sounds like as he briefly bastardises it with a call to “Jump Around”.

The gentle art of making an audience.

Thesaurus moment: tender.

Thursday, 13 May 2010



I bought this seven inch straight from the hands of Roger Miller from Mission Of Burma after one of their gigs thinking that he was something to do with it but as far as I can see or tell he ain’t anything to do with it at all.  Really?

That aside, Logikparty are something of an impressively dense proposition reminding me of Drive Like Jehu sporting a female front.  The band exhibits wilfully scratchy guitars as more vocals in Slits territory rule the roost in menacing fashion.  With this Lydia Lunch and a heavier version of Teenage Jesus And The Jerks springs to mind.

The band hails from Dublin and describes their genre as concrete, which is a trait that soon becomes apparent with their relentless flow and nasty disposition.  This is pained and damaged music to listen to benefiting from all good things post-punk without falling into the usual traps of outfits attempting ideas so angular.

I think once upon a time I would have found this music empowering and invigorating as it would represent a stark and hostile reasoning to existence.  And that emotion is still fed but as I grow older my capacity to derive anger from such things is slightly dimmed and lessened.  I remain angrier having bought the release thinking that it involved Roger Miller and was something of Mission Of Burma offshoot.  I am idiot and Logikparty have exposed me.

This is a band for you; take it as a gift from me.

Thesaurus moment: excrescence.

Monday, 10 May 2010



For the final EP Front And Follow have really snagged a musical pioneer in the form of Leyland Kirby.  Currently operating out of Berlin, Stockport native Kirby is famous for his various sonic stunts and assault over the past couple of centuries in his various guises including V/Vm and The Caretaker.  Indeed Kirby in a previous persona of V/Vm was involved in a similar project entitled “Root” that was created by Thurston Moore.

In keeping with his recent modern compositions, Version 14 of track 1 is suitably orchestral and ethereal, exhibiting delicate keys and heartwrenching movements in a highly echoed manner serving to lift the process and plateau proceedings to a better place.  The music screams darkness and solitude, of early hours marked with loneliness and a gasping need/desire for faraway places both physically and mentally.  The imagery is emits of the listener languishes long after the track has gone.

From here the version of track 2 looms heavy as Kirby stretches and extends the work longer than most contributions in the project (second only to the expanse of BLK w/BEAR).  The miniscule distortion suggests a destructive fire down below as waves of hysteria fly past the piece bubbling ahead of execution.

The overhaul of track 3 offers an extensive ringing and worrying call in ghostly fashion.  As the remix clocks in at over ten minutes for some reason it reminds me of the Withnail & I soundtrack and the calming influence it had on the end credits after so much craziness occurred before it.  The music has remained eternally bittersweet and as the cathedral of this piece plays out you can’t help but become melancholy and expectant of glory that never comes.  A heavy price comes with this work.

The final track of the final EP of the project is an emotional work once more relying on a distant sound and the heavy key playing of a lonesome organist.  As the strained notes echo into oblivion the listener is offered a time out to reflect on the action occurs around them and how best it is to respond to them.

Thesaurus moment: colossal.

Front And Follow

Tuesday, 4 May 2010



It doesn’t start well.  What happened to her voice?  Probably the same thing that happened to her band.

Things pick up as “Skinny Little Bitch” at least possesses some kind of bite, displaying the degree of anger that once made this lady extraordinary and this band (as was) exception.  It all still sounds a bit too slick though.

When I saw the tracklisting and “Pacific Coast Highway” initially I thought that this was a smart take on the Sonic Youth song of the same name but instead it would appear that it is Courtney making a petty gesture to niggle them, to steal the title of one of their finest moments.  These things just don’t quit.

A strange thing happens as while I listen to the song “Honey” I find myself beginning to sing “On Your Own” by The Verve.  Now this is something I was not expecting from this album.

This record feels like the continuation (and indulgence) of her Fleetwood Mac fantasy.  Gone are prior moments of punk snap as stock gestures and big budget production defang and declaw what once was a very exciting proposition.  Far too often the songs plod, opening with an acoustic introduction that I guess is supposed to explode into incendiary rock guitar which never really packs a punch.  Also there are strings and piano, often a clear indication of an act turning flat.  The absolute worst moment comes with “Letter To God” which is literally that, Courtney reading a letter to her maker all done to the intro of Stairway To Heaven.

As I said a couple of times there are high tempo tracks such as “Skinny Little Bitch” and “Loser Dust” that do remind of Celebrity Skin but these moments are too few and far between.

Lyrically it feels like a stage, pretend breakdown seemingly designed to hide/cover up the real one that is occurring.  Song titles such as “How Dirty Girls Get Clean” and the final declaration of defiance “Never Go Hungry” are indicative of just how try hard it all is.

This is a bad album.  But what did I expect?

Ultimately it is perhaps a good thing that Kurt never saw the day that this thing came to exist.  With this in mind you begin to wonder what Frances Bean thinks of it.  Is she ashamed?  Is she embarrassed?  Or is she just relieved that some income is finally coming in and that they can go back to three square meals a day.  In a way you almost imagine the Frances Bean existence to be that of Saffy from Absolutely Fabulous these days.  Much like this music, it does not paint a pretty picture.

She brought it all on herself.

Thesaurus moment: funnel.

Monday, 3 May 2010



Sometimes some bands’ names are so tasteless and gauche they are pure perfection. Guns N’ Rosa Parks are such an example of this.

This is hardcore music, the kind perfectly designed to piss your neighbours off on a Saturday night when they are listening to their pop music ever so slightly too loudly for your liking and tastes.

Growing up listening to this music I have always gawped on in despair as hardcore music has slowly become more metallic and moronic as a result but thankfully here is a band just the right side of the aggression, of exciting time changes and a solid rhythm section that doesn’t get rinsed over by needless and unnecessary guitar solos.

Squeezing ten songs onto two sides of seven inch classic will never get old or boring for me and when songs possess titles such as “I Hate Assholes”, “Can’t Relate” and “Hungry Hungry Hippocrites” there is more than likely always going to be something for me to grab onto.

With a quick burst of energy now my neighbours (whoever they may be) appear to have lowered the volume on their own shitty music although the strains of “La Bamba” are decipherable in the background. This is a range war.

Guns N’ Rosa Parks can have my seat at the back of the bus any day of the week.

Thesaurus moment: much.

Guns N’ Rosa Parks
Give Praise Records

Sunday, 2 May 2010



This was a freebie promo I picked up at Record Store Day, a four song taster from the latest joint of Liars.

Liars burst onto the scene a few years ago with a genuine flurry and sense of excitement and adventure attached to them that had long felt missing in acts playing the field.  They arrived as part of that whole New York scene/movement that somehow was equal parts post-punk and disco.  At a time when post-rock had really ground guitar music into the dirt thank God some people remembered how to jerk and be jerks.

With that Liars proceeded to wow with sharp stop start motions/gestures and wayward words.  When they kicked into a groove you could not help but move.

Then things went a bit angular, a bit pear-shaped.  Satisfying their muse they investigated odd avenues and less than pleasing directions.  Much of the goodwill earned went away.  You only listen to a drum in so many ways.

Liars are now back with Sisterworld which is their fifth studio album and as ever there is the hope that it destroys.  Please destroy.

The first track of this sampler is “Scissor” which is a suitably odd and disorientating offering.  It’s a slow building burn, like a cult or gang waking before entering the day with gestures that are batshit crazy.  With patience/patients there is pay off.  Following is the excellent entitled “Scarecrows On A Killer Slant” which maintains the movement with further suggestion of a band with blood on its hands and little on its conscience.

Third up is “Proud Evolution” which is a drawn out almost Krautrock excursion.  This is the kind of material that has traditionally served to derail the Liars efforts.  Here however it holds up, holds out being a song that flourishes before your ears.  And the final track is the appropriately entitled “Goodnight Everything” which rolls at the expected pace with all kinds of peripheral items scoring/scouring the surroundings.  Delivered like Beck at a death scene it feels almost slow motion.  Now whether that is a good thing for any kind of music is another question.  It wails then blows its own death.

It’s going to be all right.

Thesaurus moment: gander.