Thursday, August 31, 2006

Shallow Rave

You may have seen this article by Sarah Champion in last Sunday's Observer about the alleged rave revival. This is has nothing in common with the NME's 'neo rave' nonsense (a bandwagon lacking both a driver and wheels - feel free to parse that metaphor as you wish) except that both are basically empty journalistic concoctions. There's no evidence that raves ever went away - they just got smaller and more discreet. Actually, having only been to the odd little squat- and forest-clearing-based rave, I'm no expert, but all of the commenters beneath this post on the Observer blog seem to agree. They also confirm, depressingly, that raves have moved from hardcore and MDMA to psytrance and ketamine - not what I'd call progress. The most notable comment is by 'Tomtea' who says:
..this weekend numerous raves were shut down, often violently and with no section 63 excetera issued. The police had been issued with a zero tolerance command from the powers that be.

The reason? The guardian published an article a month or so ago claiming that multi-rigger so called 'megaraves' were planned across the country on a massive scale. Thhis weekend was just like any other, multiple small parties aceross the country...only this time the guardian whipped up a dreadful rumour that led to many casualties at essex and the army called in at wales. This is a direct result of the guardians 'megarave' claim.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Haven't made it to any gigs since coming to New York, so most of what I'm hearing is coming out of car windows, which is as good a place as any to find out what music really matters. Take a guess. No, not Fennesz, but reggaeton, which is not exactly the most engaging genre that mankind has ever formulated but at least it's not funky house.

Update: actually bollocks to car windows - on the way to the airport I saw a little girl and her brother, both about eight or nine years old, treat the whole subway carriage to a semi-improvised all-singing-all-dancing bravura performance of Chamillionaire's 'Ridin'. I was ready to be all English and irritated but I just couldn't do it. Sensational. You don't get that kind of thing on the Tube. (Obviously by 'the Tube' I mean the London Underground. If you want people dancing to 'Ridin' on YouTube, they are everywhere.) It was as if the city of New York was making sure I'd really miss it.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Buried Treasure

At Ladbrokes the Arctic Monkeys are now 5/4 favourites to win the Mercury Music Prize. How depressing. Is this the best we can do as a nation? Of course, we all have different ideas of how the Mercury should work. For example, Neil McCormick complains in this ludicrous article from the Daily Telegraph that 'the list conspicuously ignores the musicians the country has actually been listening to', apparently wanting the prize to be awarded on the basis of popularity – don't we have the Brits for that? (He also claims that the competition seems to be 'closed to anyone over 45', not realising that Scritti Politti's Green Gartside is 51.) Personally, I think it's vital that the winner should be making music that genuinely sounds different to anything that's come before – cf. Dizzee Rascal in 2003 or Portishead in 1994. We should be rewarding innovation, not stagnation. On this year's shortlist, only Hot Chip and the Guillemots even come close to qualifying, and neither of those are bands that really feel like they matter. The problem, of course, is that all the innovation in British music since about 1991 has been in dance music, and dance music produces great singles but rarely great albums. The recent exception has been Burial's self-titled release, but Hyperdub, his label, didn't even enter it – perhaps because £250, the entry fee, is a significant chunk of your earnings when your album has limited distribution and shamefully little press.

Update: [puts head in hands]

Friday, August 11, 2006

Peaches, Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, 9.8.06

I grabbed a spot of dinner round the corner from the Commodore Ballroom before this show and spotted a martini named after Canada's most infamous potty-mouthed electro rocker. Ordering a Teaches of Peaches I asked the waitress if she was going to the gig? She wasn't but exclaimed, 'Oh that Peaches , she's real comfortable with herself!' Her new show is rock theatre at its best. This one goes up to eleven.

1. With all eyes on the stage Peaches surprises by making her grand entrance on the left hand side of the ballroom rapping through the salacious R&B of Tent In Your Pants.

2. Peaches has fleshed out her flesh show with a four piece girl band to do new album Impeach My Bush justice. Her trusty drum machine is now complemented by an Amazonian blonde behind a huge kit (with a wind machine blowing her hair skywards).

3. The band are dressed in glam rock style baco foil suits. There are several costume changes - all of them taking place on stage. She's real comfortable with herself remember, no need to disrobe backstage eh?

4. She performs Rock Show with a Flying V guitar that comes down to her knees.

5. Lovertits is inexplicably performed from atop a Chopper bike.

6. The guitarist blows up an inflatable phallus with a foot pump. The erect penis is then placed on the drum stool while the Amazonian blonde brings her sticks to play a synth drum front of stage. The penis is later stretchered off by a couple of dancing roadies (it wasn't the best drummer to be honest having no hands or anything).

7. During Give'er Peaches removes her pink bra and panties to reveal...a black bra and panties.

8. Support band Eagles of Death Metal gamely line up on stage and goon around for Hankie Code. I guess their hankie code expresses a preference for cartoonish heavy metal boogie. Either that or they like rimming.

9. Peaches has a drum machine which glides acoss the stage as if by magic (though I think it has something to do with castors, a piece of string and a hidden roadie).

10. Her guitarists (one of whom is JD of Le Tigre who features in her own lesbian calendar available for purchase in the lobby) do press ups and then arm wrestle during Give'er. Not while still playing their instruments I hasten to add.

11. At the gigs conclusion Peaches awards all her band a medal each. And then the band award her a medal the size of a dinner plate. They are all WINNERS you see.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Pull Up!

Just heard Rossi B and Luca's murderous dubstep remix of Baby Cham's 'Ghetto Story' on Richie Vee's 1Xtra garage/grime show. They are on fire! Incidentally they've just relinquished their slot on Rinse FM but you can download several of their mixtapes at their Myspace page.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Kitchens of Distinction?

One of my favourite labels at the moment is Bristol's Sink & Stove. Founded in 2000, they peddle arty indie of the highest quality. They've discovered bands like Chikinki, Gravenhurst, and the Organ, all of whom have gone to big things (do I mean 'big'? - well, they're not on The OC, but they're somewhere). Right now Sink & Stove are repping the Bearsuit-esque You & The Atom Bomb, the Hood-esque Leave Land for Water, the Kenickie-esque The Vibration and many others.