Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Holy Hail sound like skinnydipping in neon. Born out of New York's surprisingly small new wave scene, rooftop barbecues and girlrap groups, the two-guys, two-girls band bring to mind Fleetwood Mac (without the sexual hatred), Clipse (without the murderraps) and Wire (without the dirge) in equal measure. If that sounds like they've taken away everything to love about those bands, and/or you didn't get round to seeing them when they toured with Bonde Do Role you have to get hold of 'Cool Town Rock', their synapse-tingling new new single on ACTH.
Where works best for songwriting?
Cat:, vocals: We're kind of like a jam band in the practice space! I have to say that we've written, like, three songs since we've been in London. We never write on tour, so there must be something about the place. There's definitely something to be said for the British appreciation of music. We were just chatting to the taxi driver about old punk and reggae songs. You have the best cab drivers here.
Is there something about the greenspace [it's there, somewhere] and the sprawl in London? You guys sound quite outdoorsy.
Kevin, keys: Yeah! London's so sprawling, it just goes on forever! We always listened to rootsy, outdoorsy music, y'know, ol' time Americana. We'd love to live in the country, we were just talking about this earlier actually. As "creatives", you have to be in a city, you have to be surrounded by people, you have to be in city that's constantly moving, but we are a daytripping band. New York County is so beautiful. It's very important to go to a lake for a swim.
What are the plans for next year?
Michelly, bass: We have an album to record. We were going to call it We Love The Government, as a joke, we thought that would be kind of ironic. I really like Kevin and Cat's lyrics, actually. We have this line No tricks, sidekicks, all we have is greatest hits. We could call the record Greatest Hits. That would be cool.
Any other plans?
M: I'd like to be able to play better! It would be great to be more technical in my bass playing. Sometimes it's hard to play what I have in my head, somethings get lost in translation, y'know? But I'm learning to get better, not to judge. Just go for it!
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Crystal Castles play their biggest London show to date at The Scala tonight plus Brixton Academy this Saturday December 6th with Klaxons and Justice although that one's all sold out.
Their debut album is scheduled for release in February in the US on Last Gang Records but a UK label is yet to be confirmed.
Tracklisting: Untrust Us’, ‘Crimewave’ (Crystal Castles vs. HEALTH), ‘Alice Practice’, ‘Magic Spells’, ‘Xxzxcuzx Me’, ‘Air War’, ‘Courtship Dating’, ‘Vanished’, ‘1983’, ‘Good Time’, ‘Love and Caring’,, ‘Knights’, ‘Through the Hosiery’, ‘Reckless’, ‘Black Panther’, ‘Tell Me What to Swallow’
Monday, December 03, 2007
Top talent from the last twenty years singing their hearts out in Maida Vale – with Fearne Cotton refreshingly out of shot. After generating a quiet storm of interweb hype, Nigel Godrich's From The Basement series of hi-def, lo-tech net TV got its first showing on telly proper over the weekend – Sky Arts broadcast the superlative first show, with performances from The Shins, Neil Hammond and The White Stripes. It's a lovely combination boxfresh stars and legendary artists – forthcoming shows include performances from Beck and Envelopes, Free Blood and Sonic Youth, with Thom Yorke (in rainbows, above) heading up this Saturday's edition. Register at fromthebasement.tv for news and behind the scenes bit and bobs.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Dan Deacon has been setting Baltimore basement parties on fire since the days of his MA in Musical Composition with his Venetian Snares-meets-Playmobil piano electronica. His new album, Spiderman of the Rings sounds like a Shostakovich record that makes you want to eat jelly till you feel sick and need to lie down and to celebrate his awesome seventh LP, Deacon came by to drop some science on us fools. Here are the Deacon ten commandments:
1. Get a loop/delay pedal. If as many people who played guitar played loop/delay pedals then music would really evolve at a much more interesting rate.
2. Stop using money. All it does is fuck you over.
3. Book shows in your house. Music, art, dance and theater shows in homes are vital. It creates an atmosphere that no other space can achieve and everyone can do it! There are endless touring artists that are just starting out and would be willing to play anywhere. If you live in a big, dirty house where it can get loud, have big, dirty, loud shows. If you live in a nice, clean place that has to stay quiet, have art shows or quiet shows. Put on plays in your basement. Just about any space is suitable for some sort of awesome shit.
4. Don't be lazy.
5. If you feel there an unbalance, then balance it.
6. Stop having children. We are building our species up to an extinction point. Soon disease and bacteria will re-balance the earth and it will be awesome. So I guess have tons of kids and quicken the process.
7. Listen to Raymond Scott and Conlon Nancarrow everyday.
8. Watch the movies The Apple and Zeitgeist. Make children watch these movies.
9. Stop renting and do all that you can to end the concept of land ownership.
10. Realize that the world is already the nicest place to live, forever.
Spiderman of the Rings is out now on Carpark Records.
Tour dates: 3rd December Edinburgh Cabaret Voltaire, 4th Glasgow Nice and Sleazy, 5th Manchester Ruby Lounge, 6th Liverpool Barfly, 7th London The Dome w. No Age
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Crystal Castles stormed the stage, dived into the crowd and broke the smoking ban. These New Puritans held the crowd in a concentrated trance and The Teenagers made one girl incredibly happy when they invited her to sing the female part of 'Homecoming'.
Monday, November 12, 2007
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Shy Child that two man, drum kit and keytar combo from NYC (think The White Stripes but without the lady, blues riffs or...actually don't think the White Stripes at all) release the rather good Drop The Phone on November 19th. Check the vid out.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Legendary electro duo Miss Kittin are to play an intimate gig in London on Thursday November 29th at The Hoxton Square Bar. This is their first gig in the capital since they stole the show at a Gigolo records showcase at Heaven in December 2001 at the height of electroclash and around the release of their The First Album. The duo reformed this summer and have been touring Europe showcasing new material and also classics like Stock Exchange, Frank Sinatra and 1982. Tickets from here
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Here are Animal Collective, born out of time and out of mind, ready to drop the motherfucking cathedral on us maggots. Last night, they played St Georges Church, a lovely old Georgian chapel in Brighton – and filled the space with people and noise. After Swedish support band Islaja (nice, but reminded you of an eighties Turkish Delight advert) finished their dull noodling, Animal Collective opened, glitchy as ‘owt, a single note tapped out over and over again, a raw electronic drone fuzzing away.Glitches, glimpses of melody fuzzed in and out. So far, so inescapably captivating, so what you'd expect from AC. It's not until 'Peacebone'’s irresistible, stuttering hook – the closest Panda and Avey's boys get to a Radio-Friendly – that something clicks into place about them: not only are they one of the most thrillingly experimental bands on the planet, they might also be one of the funnest. And they're alright to dance to. MC Avey Tare can’t keep still and is having the time of his bleedin' life: always silhouetted, but always nodding, bent over his mic or yelling up, over into the balcony's crowds. While their rock is leaves us mortals struggling for words wrapped round our headphones, grabbing at and trying to pick instrumentation (let alone influences) out of the yummy cacophony, when heard live, it comes together. Giving yourself a fake name and drawing pandas in a band with your best friends? That’s fucking awesome, man. Doing tricks like splicing forthcoming single 'Fireworks' into oldie 'Explosions' into a seamless wall of noise in a big church in Brighton while strobes flare around you? Fucking awesome, man. Chopping Carl Craig's elegant piano loops into The Beach Boys' harmonies with drone-era Sabbath blasting away, heavier than gravity? Well, who wouldn't?
As songs get screwed and chopped together, the melodies get lost along the way, fading in and out, touching from a distance. Oh, sod it. Their sonic bombast doesn’t need much explaining. This was Cathedral-sized rock fit to leave the whole world squirming outside. True, there is something that could veer close to prog here, what with all the abstract noise and mass, "conceptual" dynamics of a church. Lester Bangs once said, scathingly, after a coughsyrup-drenched Tangerine Dream concert in a planetarium that the thing about seeing God is that it is really fucking boring. But seeing Animal Collective isn’t like seeing God – it’s like having Him vomit rainbows on you forever. Awesome.
Tour Dates: November 1st London Astoria, 3rd Manchester New Century Hall, 4th Dublin Tripod, 5th Leeds Irish Center, 6th Glasgow Oran Mor
New single Fireworks is out on Domino Nov 5th.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Our (back) cover stars from earlier this year The Horrors are touring again. The black hand gang will be joining Arctic Monkeys on their tour of sheds in December but precede this with a special show at London's suitably down at heel Electrowerkz in Islington. The show is called 'all ages' but you have to be over 14 to get in and takes place on Dec 5th. More exciting than this is the news that the band will feature in a forthcoming episode of The Mighty Boosh to be screened in November. Whether Faris Badwan (pictured above) will be getting it on with Old Gregg remains to be seen.
The Horrors, Electrowerkz, Islington, London, Dec 5th
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
'Like an episode of Skins...'
More pictures at DirtyDirtyDancing.com
Super hot New York afrobeat buzz band Vampire Weekend play Emily Eavis' new night tonight. Like The Specials meet the Bundhu Boys in the Big Apple. Video above from last night's gig at the Borderline. Worth checking.
Album due on XL in the new year.
Download recent single 'Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa'
Friday, October 12, 2007
One of the singles that should have been a huge pop hit is seeing the light of day once again. Criminally ignored by Radio 1 over the summer D.A.N.C.E by Justice will hopefully receive some support from 'The Nation's Favourite' this time around. It is released on November 5th with a Les Rhythmes Digitales remix. Justice told Dummy earlier this year that the track is a true homage to Michael Jackson (the duo always argue they are a pop group not a dance act) and it features track titles from the King of Pop throughout. They had to audition singers from a children's choir (assembled by Damian 'Midfield General' Harris) and admitted they opted for an eight year old who was less slick than the rest (otherwise they were worried they may have a Moby record on their hands). In further homage news, the track is also a nod to Stand On The Word by the Celestial Choir which was made known through a Larry Levan bootleg (and was also championed by the Optimo dj's and included on the Pet Shop Boys Back To Mine album). Enough D.A.N.C.E facts? I think so.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
We just love the Arab/Jew hook up that is Chromeo. They are so 1985 that you can just smell the inside of their red codpieces. Their new video for Bonafide Lovin' references that year too as it seems to be influenced by the Dire Straits Money For Nothing promo. The video was directed by Nima Nourizadeh who has also done vids for Maximo Park and Lily Allen.
We were all over Robyn way before you. Honest. Way back in March. Mind you the album originally came out in Sweden last year but we don't live over there. Robyn's new single Handle Me is out on October 22nd and it's another fine slice of pop. Here is a live version shot at Cargo in London earlier this year. We weren't there but sure wish we had been. She'll be playing big sheds soon.
Man, who doesn't like Daft Punk and specifically who doesn't like their retina scorching, head spinning, cartwheels and hard ons live show? They know all this so they're putting the set out as an album called Alive 2007 on November 19th. It captures their amazing live set as recorded in their home town of Paris. "We hadn't played there for 10 years," said Thomas Bangalter recently , "It must have been a special night for the audience, as well as for us." You'll just have to kick back and conjure up the crazy visuals in your own mind dudes. Here is the full tracklisting over two discs written in SHOUTY CAPS as I've just cut and pasted them right out of an e-mail: CD1 ROBOT ROCK / OH YEAH / TOUCH IT / TECHNOLOGIC / TELEVISION RULES THE NATION / CRESCENDOLLS / TOO LONG / STEAM MACHINE / AROUND THE WORLD / HARDER BETTER FASTER STRONGER / BURNIN’ / TOO LONG / FACE TO FACE / SHORT CIRCUIT / ONE MORE TIME / AERODYNAMIC / AERODYNAMIC BEATS / FORGET ABOUT THE WORLD / PRIME TIME OF YOUR LIFE / BRAINWASHER / ROLLIN’ AND SCRATCHIN’ / ALIVE / DA FUNK / DAFTENDIREKT / SUPERHEROES / HUMAN AFTER ALL / ROCK’N’ROLL. CD 2 HUMAN AFTER ALL / TOGETHER / ONE MORE TIME (REPRISE) / MUSIC SOUNDS BETTER WITH YOU.
Boys Noize launches his debut album Oi, Oi, Oi at Bugged Outat The End on Saturday October 20th. Alex Ridha has promised "the best dj set of my life and I'm going to drop some tracks off my album. In fact I usually play almost every track depending on the time, crowd and mood." Of the lairy title for the album Alex says, "My very good friend and designer Paul Snowden (Wasted German Youth) came up with this idea when he looked at my sticker where Boys Noize was repeated three times. The "oi" was there each time. I thought it fits perfectly to the way I handle my label and myself by saying always "no" to managers, shitty promotion and things I don't like. It's kinda ‘anti’ but it fits to the music, as well. I know where the term/shout comes from and maybe it's a 2007 punk version of it. Punk doesn't just mean the music, it's a way of thinking and attitude. A techno party can feel like a punk concert!" Also playing at the party are Simian Mobile Disco (dj set), D.I.M - live whose 'Airbus Baby' has been big at the club this year, Hervé (aka Count of Monte Cristal) and Bugged Out regulars JoJo De Freq, Hannah Holland, Matt Walsh and Nadia Ksaiba. Tickets available from
Friday, September 28, 2007
A year on from the closure of Trevor Jackson's Output, one of the noughties' most influential indie labels, comes a compilation I Hate Music. This will mark the 100th release for the label and spans the decade it existed 1996-2006 over 2CD's and a DVD. It features tracks by Fridge, Four Tet, Colder, Blackstrobe, Manhead, Mu (Paris Hilton video above), Kate Wax, Circlesquare and Jackson's own Playgroup. It comes out on Nov 12th. Dummy phoned Trevor for a brief chat about it.
So is this really the last product to come from the label?
"Yes, Output is dead. It’s over. Finished. Someone else looks after the catalogue now (MRC). I made it to 99 releases so it makes sense to have this compilation out to reach 100. Also the DVD compilation is a good reason for doing this as there are nearly 35 videos that have hardly been seen before. The choices are basically my favourites, simple as that."
Why did you call it I Hate Music?
"Because at the time I hated music. I hated people. I hated artists. I hated everything to do with the music industry."
How do you feel a year on?
"I can be a selfish motherfucker now and just look after myself. I’m happy to just be getting on with my own music, there’s no pressure and I’m a better person for it. Expect some new music next year."
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
To read the interview in Dummy with Jack Penate click here.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Brighton's bonkers-but-brilliant British Sea Power (sorry!) have made new track 'Atom' available as a free download from the their website. 'Atom' is from the band's new 'Krankenhaus?' EP out as a digital download on October 8th and available exclusively on the band's upcoming tour:
30 Bristol Thekla
31 Leeds Brudenell Social Club
1 Reading Fez Club
3 Liverpool MV Royal Daffodil
5 Birmingham Barfly
6 Barrow-In-Furness The Canteen
7 Edinburgh Cabaret Voltaire
8 Newcastle All Saints Church
9 Swandale Tan Hill Inn
10 London Scala (White Mischief Event)
British Sea Power's new album is out early 2008 on Rough Trade.
Featured in the new issue of Dummy, These New Puritans are described in the mag as 'The Fall meets grime and history' (which sounds pretty cool) but also have the look and feel of a band that has a decent amount of respect for Joy Division. They're pretentious - a million miles away from the pub rock of the likes of The Pigeon Detectives, Kaiser Chiefs, Fratellis, The View - but carry it well and so far show no signs of bothering the Radio One playlist which makes them all the more interesting. Playing White Heat tonight - the best little club night in London - this feels like it will be one of those right place, right time kind of gigs.
These New Puritans
Monday, September 24, 2007
The NME Freshers Tour featuring The Go! Team, Satin Peaches and Dummy favourites Operator Please starts tomorrow. Dates below:
Edinburgh University (September 25)
Northumbria University (27)
Liverpool Guild (28)
Loughborough University (29)
Preston 53 Degrees (October 1)
Bangor University (2)
Cardiff University (4)
Warwick Students Union (5)
Plymouth University (6)
Bournemouth Old Fire Station (7)
London Astoria (9)
The Go! Team
Listen to White Chalk
Saturday, September 22, 2007
If you haven't seen Envelopes live yet then you should get to Push tonight at the Mean Fiddler in London as they are a truly awe inspiring live band who sound like no-one else around at the moment. They're due to support Late of the Pier on their upcoming UK tour so check them out before everyone else gets there first. Also their latest single
'Life on the Beach' is out on a beautiful 7" this week. In the meantime, if you haven't seen it already, here's their new video - a beach-based-zombie-B-movie-style low budget epic...
Friday, September 21, 2007
Check out Late of the Pier, Erol Alkan and Vitalic at Fabric tonight and pick up a copy of the new mag while you're there...
New issue is out now. In London you can pick up a copy for free from Rough Trade, Puregroove, Phonica, Sister Ray, Blackmarket, Dub Vendor and numerous clothes shops, pubs and bars including the Lock Tavern. If you live outside London you can get it from all good indie record shops all over the UK. If you don't manage to pick up a free copy, simply like the idea of having one posted directly to your door or you live outside the UK then you can buy a copy here.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
With news that 50 Cent is actually cancelling shows as a result of losing his sales battle with Kanye West it occurs to me that surely this is the way forward for all acts - resulting in a great big spring clean of the music scene. So how about:
Editors vs Interpol
Lily Allen vs Kate Nash
Coldplay vs Snow Patrol
Keane vs Athlete
Pigeon Detectives vs Little Man Tate
Paolo Nutini vs James Morrisson
Fratellis vs Kaiser Chiefs
Damien Rice vs David Gray
Babyshambles vs Dirty Pretty Things
Calvin Harris vs Mylo
CSS vs Bondo De Role
The Enemy vs The Twang
Justice vs Digitalism
Just an idea...
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
At last years MTV European Video awards So_Me, Ed Bangers records art director, was presented by Timbaland with the award for best video for his direction of We Are Your Friends by Justice and Simian. Kanye West was also nominated and, slightly pissed and pissed off that he didn't win stormed the stage to publicly complain that the award was rightfully his because his Touch The Sky video "cost a million dollars, Pamela Anderson was in it and I was jumping across canyons." West was always adamant that he was having a laugh (well, his comedy timing was spot on as host of a recent Friday Night Project) and extended an olive branch to So_Me by asking him to direct his new video Good Life. If THIS doesn't win best video, hell knows what he'll do...
Saturday, September 01, 2007
It must be exciting for an artist to start off on tour with a critically acclaimed, truly innovative album under their belts and in Kala, Maya Arulpragasam has just that. It’s a world inspired sonic tonic and as she takes to the stage at Fabricshe seems confident and ready to ignite and inspire the young crowd. Garishly attired, and accompanied by an MC who seems to finish off the higher notes for her, they rip straight into Kala opener Bamboo Banga (the one based loosely on Jonathan Richman’s Roadrunner) which builds thrillingly. The Bollywood disco pop of Jimmy follows backed by the video, though it’s the brooding 20 Dollar, based around Blue Monday, which is the true show stopper. 2005’s breakthrough hit Bucky Done Gun precedes guest Afrikan Boy (less a boy than a giant of a man) who joins her for the bouncy funk of Hussel. It becomes rather shambolic for ten minutes as they gather around DJ Sinden deciding what to play next – African Boy pops off for his I-Pod at one point! – and then they ‘do a Missy’ pulling the crowd up to join them for some amateur ass shaking (luckily she brings this to a halt when a bloke who looks like one of Fall Out Boy gets up). It all gets back on track for the encores: a stunning Paper Planes (despite Maya singing out of tune throughout) and old favourite Galang. Inventive party music, delivered with style and a holler. Go see her soon. .
Monday, August 20, 2007
Despite Bugged Out beginning at the tail end of 1994 this is the first opportunity we've had to document the music that has defined the night. The choices are subjective of course, what I may consider a Bugged Out classic may differ to someone who chose to go to the club only whenever we put a Detroit techno dj on or who enjoyed our brief flirtation with big beat. Also the choice of Tiga record on the collection may not be his finest moment but it's the one that means the most to the night. I wanted to include music from the early days but it seemed healthier to include more of the recent past. Dance music has been in rude health for the past six years (despite the media claiming it had carked it in 2002) and I wanted to reflect that. What was most heartening from this venture was that from my initial wish list there were only a couple of tracks we could not get. One of them we had to leave off as no one, artist included, could work out who legally owned the rights anymore! A few well placed e-mails to the artists themselves helped cut through some red tape with Carl Craig himself giving the thumbs up to let us include his superlative Desire track from 1995. Mark Bell from LFO also let us use a version of Tied Up that originally came free as a limited flexi disc with Jockey Slut. He didn't have the original anymore though so we had to master from the flexi disc. Despite being from the mid nineties it still sounds utterly contemporary, which I suppose is the point of techno. Of course now that the collection is out in the world I look forward to reading on forums and receiving e-mails about what amazing tunes have been left off. But then, hopefully, there will be a volume two...
John Burgess is co-founder and promoter of Bugged Out!
Bugged Out! Classics (3 CD set) is out now. Buy here
Friday, August 17, 2007
Plus 'video/making of doc' for epic new Miles Davis/The Doors/Led Zep influenced track 'Seahorse':
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Dummy cover stars Justice at the low on facilities but high on ideas Field Day in London's Victoria Park. With more toilets, bars and volume promised next year you've got to think that they will pull it off second time around...
Friday, August 03, 2007
Thursday, August 02, 2007
New London Dummy sponsored festival Field Day featuring Dummy cover stars Justice plus cult Yanks Battles, hot new bands Late of the Pier and Foals, Mercury nominee Bat for Lashes plus shock jocks Erol Alkan and Jo Jo De Freq is all sold out. See you there.
Field Day Myspace
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
When James Murphy sang Daft Punk Are Playing In My House on Saturday he was about as close to his dream as he could be. During LCD Soundsystem
set Thomas Bangalter and Guy Man de Homem-Christo were yards away backstage pulling on their robot suits and no doubt buffing their helmets to a gleaming shine. The Daft Punk
live experience is 50% about the music and 50% about the stunning visual display they project from within a pyramid structure. I was worried, as I took my place bang in the middle of the crowd, that only half the show would work as, at 8.45pm, darkness was some way off. My fears were cast aside when they appeared in their little robot suits and fired up Robot Rock, that this was one pyramid scheme that wasn’t going to go belly up. The set was a megamix of their hits from the three albums and the visual show was breath-taking with the ‘wow’ factor increasing as the show wore on. My only criticism was that musically the mish mash approach didn’t give you much time to enjoy some of your favourite moments or actually ‘get into a groove’. Da Funk and Alive were delivered in their entirety but other favourites like Superheroes only lasted half a minute. It was a bit like a Prince concert, here’s a verse of Raspberry Beret and now I want to go into a long funk jam before suddenly launching into the chorus of 1999. But, hey, that’s a minor quibble, especially when there is a pyramid that turns into a giant vortex prompting 20,000 to emit a loud, ‘OOOH!’
Sunday, June 10, 2007
So after the success of Vrioon, Insen, and Revep, Vienna's Christian Fennesz was probably a logical new collaborator for Sakamoto; but, personally, I've always been baffled by the adoration that Fennesz's 2001 LP Endless Summer seems to receive. Maybe I just don't like the Beach Boys enough. So although, to me, Cendre never even approaches the extraordinary heights of Sakamoto's work with Noto, you'll probably like it a lot better if you're not as deaf as me to Fennesz's sunburnt charms. Plus, it's bad form to compare people's new partners to their old ones too much.
But I will anyway. Insen was laboratory-clean – the merging of the two instruments was so frictionless, you almost weren't sure if you were listening to a computer processing a piano, or a piano processing a computer. Cendre has a less rarefied palette, with crackles of distortion and swirling strums from Fennesz's acoustic guitar; Fennesz seems to be less of a remixer than Noto was, adding more sounds of his own. But too often, as a result, Sakamoto's melodies float by in the background, when they ought to be the focus. (His playing, too, seems more ponderous, although I'll stop there before I wade out of my depth.) Where those previous collaborations were fearlessly minimal, this one is more conventionally ambient, and so never has the same impact. Still, here we have two performers with unique, unmistakeable sounds coming together yet a third unique, unmistakeable sound - and that, at least, is always a delight to hear.
Out now on Touch.
Monday, June 04, 2007
But there’s still interest here, despite the fact that hopelessly inept DIY music stopped having any intrinsic meaning decades ago. It’s extraordinary to see Genesis P. Orridge in the flesh. S/he (that’s what s/he likes to be called) used to be a man, and is now a gravel-voiced, deeply unnerving sort of woman. And their trademark industrial sound, which has inspired countless dance music acts, is still genuinely unsettling. It’s also interesting to hear them take on Nico, who for all her oddness always held onto a tune. Throbbing Gristle aren’t used to dealing with continuous melodies, and the clangs and clashes of their warehouse sound meld successfully with Genesis’ vocals, producing something approaching harmony.
On the other hand, you have to be a die-hard fan to think that this live recording session is worth paying money to watch. Any musician will tell you that recording can be a tedious, repetitive business. It’s especially so when the band members are devoted to cancelling out any modicum of craftsmanship in their music. It seems the punk spirit never dies.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Friday, May 18, 2007
Only once on Ongiara, on the contemplative Passenger Song, is that voice left unchaperoned with an acoustic guitar; for the rest of the album, Dekker is backed by banjo, drums, double bass, organ, and/or string arrangements by Arcade Fire-collaborator Final Fantasy. The strangely stop-start, wax-wane pace of many of these songs reminds me of Nina Nastasia, with whom Dekker shares a country-esque stoical melancholy; but Dekker, described amusingly as a 'pine-gazer' on Allmusic, is more likely to let songs like Changing Colours and I Became Awake swell, often beautifully, into a proper chorus. And although we've seen everything here before, Dekker does it all exceptionally well. That also includes the lyrics, which are a long way above the folk standard 'Oh, it's winter, look at the crows' or 'Wasn't it nice back then with your lovely hair?'; Your Rocky Spine, for example, is an elegant and sustained metaphorical riff on woman's-body-as-mountain-range over an uptempo banjo melody that could be Seven Swans-era Sufjan Stevens. (Although I don't know whether Backstage With The Modern Dancers is just about a modern dance show or whether it's really about, like, regret.) 2007 has been a huge musical disappointment so far, but I don't mean it as a half-compliment when I say that Great Lake Swimmers' slow, moving third LP may be the best thing I've heard this year.
Out now on Weewerk.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Ned adds: You could characterise The Blow as a sort of anti-Hadouken. Like the castaway in Watchmen who sales home on a raft of dead bodies, Hadouken have achieved NME-cover/Vice-party success by reappropriating cleverly from the failed genre of grime. The Blow, too, are white people borrowing from black music - in this case The Neptunes' click'n'b - but while Hadouken will probably sell ten times as many records as JME, The Blow, of course, won't sell 1% as many as Chad and Pharrell. Producer Jona Berchtolt, aka Yacht, is stealing from success to enrich their failure, not the other way round. And so, while Hadouken just peddle a carrion gimmick, The Blow's pastiche beats become a way of consciously contrasting their geeky, self-deprecating indie-electro against all that Billionaire Boys' Club platinum-record pop glamour, resulting in a deadpan bathos which fits their purposes far better than an acoustic guitar ever could. 'I may look pathetic now,' Khaela Maricich is saying, 'but imagine how much more pathetic I look when I dance badly to r'n'b at a house party with a guy who's out of my league.' It's not about irony so much as agony.
It could be that they're the anti-Hadouken, anyway, or it could be that they just worship a hot beat. On the evidence of this gig, it's almost certainly both.