Monday, July 31, 2006

Atlantic Gold: 75 Classics from the Atlantic Vaults

If you go into your nearest Fopp and get this it will be the best five pounds you spend today. Unless you buy an extra copy of Dummy and some sweets.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Low, Koko, London, 27.7.06

Low's Things We Lost in the Fire apparently falls into the genre of 'sadcore', which 1. is even sillier than 'grindie' and 2. sounds like something a panicked MP would say if he was asked about cannabis in front of a group of sixth-formers. Also, I wouldn't say Things was sad so much as uplifting (although that in itself is a bit of a Richard and Judy's Book Club expression). Anyway, Thursday's gig was probably the most moving concert I've ever attended, but then how could it be otherwise?

In case you're unfamiliar with the concept, Don't Look Back (which is an appendage of the All Tomorrow's Parties series of festivals) ask bands to play their magnum opus in order from start to finish. Simon Reynolds has coined the term 'anachronesis' for what might be seen as a sterile obsession with reproducing past glories, but I think such criticisms are frankly pretty sadcore. The biggest triumph so far has been (so I'm told) the Stooges doing 1970's Fun House last year. Things We Lost in the Fire, by contrast, came out in 2001, which is not very long for an album to enter the canon, but I can't believe people won't still be listening to it in another thirty years – it's a record of staggering beauty and emotional penetration, a true work of art. And I'm clearly not the only one who loves it, because the original gig sold out so fast that ATP added a second night. There wasn't a dry eye in the house on Thursday, except, of course, among the journalists, as it is now standard in the industry to have your tear ducts surgically removed so that, in their place, can be put a hunk of extra brain tissue specifically designed to help you cope with the psychic trauma when your editor forces you to write something nice about Keane.

There were no surprises. Alan and Mimi Sparhawk were joined by a bassist, violinist, and keyboardist, and they faithfully reproduced the album in all its slow, haunting glory. I could really have written this review before the gig. (The only thing that threw me was how loud it got. Low are known as a quiet band - or they were before The Great Destroyer - but they pull no punches live.) Some might wonder if there's any point to a gig that's quite so predictable, but seeing the emotion on Alan Sparhawk's rugged face was really something. Plus, they pulled out some other songs for the encores, like 'Canada' from Trust and 'When I Go Deaf' from The Great Destroyer, although sadly not my personal favourite, 'Two Step' from Secret Name.

So where next for Don't Look Back? I'd love to see ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead do Source Tags and Codes.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


"Crazy ass line-up tonight," boasted the flyers for this party and judging by the queue to get on board half of Paris was in agreement. Ed Banger records have swiftly built a formidable roster of new acts and have defined themselves in the same way Gigolo and Skint records did before them. Though not linked to a scene people do talk of liking 'the Ed Banger sound' which seems to fall somewhere between Head Ed Banger Pedro Winter's favourite album - The Beastie Boys' 'Check Yo' Head' - and Daft Punk, the band he manages. The full Ed Banger crew are present in full pirate outfits, Vicarious Bliss even opting for a diseased parrot on his shoulder though first must-see act tonight was Uffie. The Miami born hip hop pixie lives in Paris and is produced by Mr Oizo, she comes across like a less ominious, much younger Peaches. Winter followed playing crunk and old school hip hop before paying respect to his mentors by dropping Daft Punk's 'Da Funk'. Justice seem to have dropped the pop records that infested their sets last year for a more focussed, (very) full-on rave sound which was both exciting and histrionic culminating in their own 'Carpates' which sounded like a cats chorus dragged across a killer bassline. 2manydj's were the special guests - Stephen Dewaele looking more like a New Romantic Simon Le Bon than a pirate - and they played a one-off 'back to 2001' set, the year that rock, pop and electro aligned. Belgian rave gave way to Vanessa Paradis' 'Joe le Taxi' and the likes of Tiga, Felix Da Housecat and New Order were followed by the Dolly Parton/Royksopp nexus from their best (and still) selling Radio Soulwax compilation. It all but brought the boat down and concluded one crazy ass party indeed.
Ed Banger

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Adventures In The Beetroot Field know how to throw parties, having proven their worth at Glastonbury, Bestival, Koko and Fabric they are setting their mish mash of bands, dj's and booze afloat by manning the Queen Mary on the Thames every Sunday until August bank holiday. After spinning a few records myself (was tempted to play 'Waterloo Sunset' but at 3.30pm the sun's hat
was still very much on) I spent a few hours on the deck listening to Riton's kraut rock classics (the boat is moored though Neu! may have sounded better in motion) and then went below deck to watch Shychild (2 men, a synth and a drum kit), Battant (shouty pop punk) and New Young Pony Club (same set I reviewed last week) before surfacing to bob about to Andrew Weatherall whose techno and post punk attracted the attention of a passing police boat. In the coming weeks they've got The Horrors, Good Shoes and Jamie T. Go to for the full line-ups.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The next Lily Allen-style internet sensation?

A Brighton sound artist called Dave House is giving away an album of 'music composed entirely from field recordings made in New Zealand and Indonesia'. It's tropical glitch-drone-house: like Akufen meets Sublime Frequences. Wonderful.

Friday, July 14, 2006


So Various Production's much-hyped The World is Gone is out on Monday. Already this year we've had LPs by Burial, Boxcutter, and Benga, plus Dubstep Allstars vol. 3, mixed by Kode 9. Still to come there's LPs by Distance, Skream, Loefah, and Kode 9, plus Dubstep Allstars vol. 4, mixed by Hatcha and Youngsta, and the Roots of Dubstep compilation also on Tempa. That will make at least eleven essential dubstep albums in 2006. I seriously doubt there will be eleven essential rock albums in 2006.

Two conclusions. Firstly, this is an incredibly healthy scene. Secondly, the mainstream media has absolutely no excuse left for ignoring it. They'll tell you the average reader has no way of hearing club-based underground music, but this just isn't true now that dubstep's embraced the album format - and even if it hadn't, you can get dozens of crucial singles on, which is no harder to use than iTunes. They'll tell you dance music is faceless, but what about Space Ape, Warrior Queen, Crazy D, Sergeant Pokes, and all the other hot dubstep MCs? Sure, most people aren't going to like music that's so much about fear, austerity, and heart-attack sub-bass, but dubstep is a hell of a lot more interesting than DIY indie or whatever other haircut-fixated non-scene is getting repped this week.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Chart Biopsy

So Justice vs Simian gets to number 20 in the UK singles charts, nearly five years after it first came out. Is this evidence that the bigger record labels (Virgin in this case) 1. really are as sluggish and out-of-touch as everyone suspects or conversely 2. are genius strategists who have been biding their time until electro-house seeped into the pop mainstream? They've retitled it from 'Never Be Alone' to 'We Are Your Friends', presumably because so many people just refer to it as 'that we! are! your friends! song'. Anyway, it confirms what I've long suspected, which is that this Paris disco-synth-punk thing could easily cross over. Justice's astounding remix of Scenario Rock's 'Skitzo Dancer', in particular, is a number 1 waiting to happen. Meanwhile Madonna's new single 'Get Together' sounds exactly like Booka Shade's minimal-trance modern classic 'In White Rooms'. Pop eats the underground.

Friday, July 07, 2006

New Young Pony Club, Sin, London 6.7.06

We tipped NYPC in our Spring issue off the back of two great 7" singles - Ice Cream and The Get Go. They hadn't quite nailed it live at the time though, with their bass player prone to the odd scissor kick at a gig I saw at the ICA in March (only Pete Townshend is allowed to do this). They've since signed to hip Oz/UK label Modular (Cut Copy, Wolfmother) and at tonight's label party were a revelation. They've become a must see live act. Though their primary influence is punk funk their future lies in pop as they boast a surfeit of melody and shout-a-long choruses; Tight Fit has an outro that could have been prised from an early Madonna album. The super salacious Ice Cream is out again in August for those that missed it first time around.

New Young Pony Club Myspace

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sufjan Stevens: Messiah

Sufjan Stevens' new LP, The Avalanche, a collection of 'outtakes and extras' from the magnificent Illinois, is out on Monday. You can read my gushing review of it in the most recent Dummy, so I'm just posting to link to this hour-long Sufjan special on Chicago Public Radio (scroll about a third of the down). Is there a greater songwriter alive today? Not likely.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Four Tet - DJ Kicks

Kieran Hebden's new DJ Kicks mix is sadly not a patch on his brilliant Late Night Tales from last year. As he writes in the liner noters, 'analogue synths and electronic effects mixed with live drums seem to be a consistent sound here,' and, yes, it gets tedious. There are a few detours into disco, jazz, and hip hop, but nothing very memorable. Also, if you're picking one track to represent grime/dubstep, why pick a shoddy instrumental by So Solid Crew? Apart from Autechre's 1994 B-side 'Flutter', the best thing here is actually 'Pockets', a new track by Boba Tet himself, which consists of (good grief) yet more analogue synths over live[-sounding] drums, but borrows its groove from the Neptunes and its atmosphere from 70s cop show themes. Bodes well for a return to form after the self-indulgence of Everything Ecstatic and the Steve Reid sessions.