Capsule zine no.5

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ALRIGHT BABS?!!!!! Here’s a new Capsule zine for you to flick through in the pub or pour over on the bus. As ever you’ll find some info about all things Capsule, as well as Supersonic news and how it feels to be a quiz show champion. We’ve got some great pieces from local illustrators and a spot of colouring in. We’re always looking for submissions, so come in to the bosom of Capsule and email with your articles and doodles.

Illustration: Ben Walters


Michael Rother is a Krautrock legend. He was a founding member of the bands NEU! and Harmonia, and played in an early incarnation of Kraftwerk. The influence of NEU! has spanned several generations, their minimalist groove enchanting and inspiring countless artists over the years. Everyone from David Bowie, to Devo, to Stereolab claim them as an important influence and despite releasing their last record in 1975 they still sound familiar (LCD Soundsystem, The Horrors..) and relevant today. In 1973 Rother formed Harmonia, initially a collaboration between himself and Roedelius & Moebius of Cluster, which also later came to include Brian Eno. Eno is quoted as saying Harmonia were the world’s most important rock band of the 1970s. NEU! are one of my favourite Krautrock bands (along with Can), so Hallogallo 2010 is a pretty exciting prospect. It will see Michael Rother bring along friends Steve Shelley, drummer in Sonic Youth, and Aaron Mullan, bassist in Tall Firs, to play the music of NEU!, Harmonia and a selection of his solo work at just a handful of shows over the summer. A Pitchfork review of their show at ATP earlier in the year said that ‘the band tapped into that thing NEU! could do so well, sounding both heavy and expansive, like a large mass gliding over the earth while a few inches off the ground’, which means they were awesome. Hallogallo are to play Supersonic 2010 alongside Michael Gira’s newly reformed Swans, Birmingham Grindcore pioneers Napalm Death and Godflesh (it will be their first UK show in over 10 years). Moving dates from July to October, this year’s Supersonic will be held on 22nd – 24th October 2010 @ The Custard Factory. For more information and to find out who else is playing head to Words: Ben Stevenson Illustration: Ed Clay -

February 2010 The time, what’s the fucking time? I’ve been stuck in the BBC Studios (Weakest Link Division) for an interminable length of time, I’m feeling like a session with the Spanish Inquisition and Gestapo combined would be about as heavy as the systematic ‘Death By Quizshow’ that the BBC – a body funded by the taxpayer – are putting me through. When it started, I felt like Rocky Balboa, ready for that underdog-inspired round. Now, I feel like I’ve just been kneecapped by the IRA. Survival, not prestige or the money, is all that matters. They’ve all gone – the Welshman, the Geordie, the dinnerlady, the DJ, the psychic, the Mancunian, the single Mum. Just me – the student – and the pensioner left. Youth vs wisdom, and £1510 to be snatched. So he thought GK Chesterton wrote a collection of stories about Father Ted, and I thought you needed a Permit to Ride (damn the Beatles!), but this is the ultimate battle now. Anne Robinson, a much-stretched hag with a manner somewhere between that of Thatcher and your least favourite elderly relative, hangs in the manner of a bat in Notre Dame, surveying those to beneath who dare to peer on her imperious surroundings. Sadly, she’s not upside-down, but I’m sure she can afford to have her face look more like a Picasso painting if she tries. I thought I’d have used up my luck long, long before this moment, so the initial nerves were gone and I’m just knackered and wanting to go home in one piece, yet still anxious to keep going. It’s been a long day, and I have to get on. Pensioner’s starting to crack, I think, as Sudden Death questions approach. Sanguinity is flooding through me as he misses his first penalty. Robinson barks out my first question/penalty. I step up as it becomes apparent that I don’t have the faintest idea what she’s on about. Something about molluscs and their precious stone. Amber – no, I’ve seen Jurassic Park, it’s mosquitoes that produce them. Emerald? Can’t think of anything else. Nope, it’s pearl, I blast over the crossbar and it’s still all-square, the pensioner’s missed too. Who cares? 0-0. Read the full article here

Words: Ken Searle Illustration: Tom J. Hughes

Home of Metal is set to really make its mark upon Supersonic this year. Cast your mind back to last years instalment where Capsule managed to nab doom lords par excellence Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson of Sunn O))) fame –taking a breather from gloom axes and sonic doom - to yarn alongside Johnny Doom about the influence of the bands from this region on their personal and musical lives, most notably Black Sabbath, Napalm Death and Godflesh. Fast forward a year (and a bit) later to the inaugural autumnal Supersonic festival and the Capsule ladies have managed to go one further, signing up two of the aforementioned Brum brutalisers, namely Napalm Death and Godflesh. Both bands are real coups for the festival, with Napalm playing their first show for Capsule, and Godflesh are going one better, with Supersonic being their first show in the UK since they disbanded almost a decade ago.

Both acts are inherently interlinked and similarly deeply important to the development of not only the local music scene, but of extreme metal in general, on a global scale. It was way back in the recesses of 1987 that Napalm Death unleashed their debut Scum upon an unsuspecting nation, with its two sides played by differing lineups but still managing to coalesce into a furiously apoplectic whole, with influence taken from a wide range of burgeoning extreme styles, for example 80s US hardcore (Siege, Deep Wound), UK proto-crust (Discharge and Disorder) and early death metal (Repulsion). The sheer velocity of their tracks was arguably the single most identifiable and immediate facet to their sound, although for guitarist Justin Broadrick a slower, moodier sound was at the forefront of his mind. After leaving Napalm and enlisting cohort Benny Green on bass, Godflesh announced their intentions to the world in 1988 with their self-titled debut EP before really coming into their own with the following years Streetcleaner LP. A stark, oppressive beast with electronic percussion and drawn out, hypnotic atmospherics taking equal influence from the likes of Killing Joke and Swans, as well as the nascent power electronics scene. Godflesh, much like Napalm before them, heralded yet another newfound genre, in this case the cold, urbanised Industrial subgenre, later popularized by the likes of Ministry and Fear Factory. With Godflesh having endured a saddening, gremlin-riddled appearance at this years Hellfest festival in France, it’s easy to imagine the band firing on all cylinders come October, where all being well no-one well leave disappointed, or more to the point with their hearing intact. And with a consistently savage performance courtesy of Napalm Death to warm things up elsewhere on the bill, you’d be forgiven for closing your eyes at this year’s Supersonic and imagining yourselves back upstairs at the Mermaid pub twenty years ago.

Words: Duncan Wilkins

Fronted by a girl / boy duo, Tunng write sweet electro-acoustic British Folk songs, and while there seems to be an abundance of those lately, Tunng were doing it first. Having outgrown the restrictive genres they were once boxed into, their fourth album, And Then We Saw Land, sees them draw on the well-crafted blend of electronic samples and organic percussion of their previous offerings, while building on them with a warmer fuller pop sound. The well worn musical eccentricities are still there but, pianos, guitar and singalongs all have more prominence. Tunng are to play the outdoor Arena at the recently renovated mac Arts Centre in Cannon Hill Park. I managed to catch them playing at a festival earlier in the year and they provide the perfect soundtrack for a warm (hopefully) summer night. For fans of: Animal Collective, mĂşm, Folktronica

Advance tickets available from Words: Ben Stevenson

Modified Toy Orchestra make experimental electronic music. But, unlike most experimental electronic music there are no laptops, no midi, no samplers and no synthesisers. In fact, no conventional instruments at all. Instead, the dreamy, glitchy, and at times fun sound is created using a series of children’s electronic toys, rescued from car boot sales, and taken apart to utilise new connections within each toy. By liberating the surplus value always held within the previously disregarded circuits, questions are asked about our desire for the constant upgrade and our relationship with the next new gadget. Wednesday 8th September will see Modified Toy Orchestra perform a UK debut of their new album, Plastic Planet, in their home town at the iconic Birmingham Town Hall. The album, four years in the making, has received critical international acclaim and builds on their debut Toygopop, continuing to create unique uplifting electronic pop music. Anyone who caught them play 3 years ago as part the Town Hall reopening celebrations will know that this is not to be missed. For more information on Modified Toy Orchestra, go to For fans of: Fuck Buttons, Barbie

Advance tickets available from Words: Ben Stevenson Illustration: Tom J. Hughes

An opera singer turned folk artist; Josephine Foster always fascinates me with her intriguing vocal work. My favourite album of hers, This Coming Gladness, is full of dramatic vocals that swarm over interpretive guitar and harp sound explorations. This special performance will see her with a full band, collaborating with Spanish artist Victor Herrero as they recreate Spanish folk songs from the 1930s. Support comes from Wolverhampton based sound artist Swallows who forms haunting collages of free sounds. For fans of: Vashti Bunyan, Joanna Newsom, Grouper Advance tickets are available from

A pre Supersonic gig we can all really get our teeth into. Red Sparowes may be a ‘post rock supergroup’ (having featured members of Isis and Neurosis) however their breed of this genre exudes a looseness that sweeps you into its core instead of leaving you on the sidelines to observe the technicality. Fists in the air, this will be epic. For fans of: Isis, Pelican, Russian Circles

Advance tickets are available from Illustration: Tom J. Hughes

Vocalist Lola Olafisoye manages to be sultry, scary, endearing and terrifying all at the same time; her futuristic shades, figure-hugging catsuit and finger extensions giving the appearance of a particularly hard end-of-level boss in some Japanese sci-fi video game. Duncan Wilkins

An evading concoction of space age Roland synths with snake-charming guitar riffs, making the audience succumb to a hypnotic trance performed by true Pied Pipers. Ross Cotton

Once the set had concluded, the assembled crowd had the dazed look of road crash survivors washed across their faces, and it undoubtedly took a while to acclimatise yourself to the real world (and sharp bright sunlight) once you’d left the room. A truly awe-inspiring performance by a band that deserves whatever so-called hype they’re accused of receiving. And final kudos to Capsule for crafting a bill that turned out to be a perfect juxtaposition of earthy, primal roar and otherworldly, spiritual transcendence. Duncan Wilkins

‘I’m closing my eyes until the colours appear’, sings Matthew Houck. As though he wants everything to change for the better, and we believe him. A hard hitting implication which has only previously been achieved by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. Ross Cotton

This was the first gig I went to. It was a pretty nerve wracking experience to go to the big, dark grown up rock club alone, especially with Swans’ reputation for brutal noise levels and police involvement to halt gigs. I bought a lemonade and stood on my own near the back. Some men behind me offered me a spliff: I refused, remembering what had happened to Zammo only the year before. The men, I noticed, were also taping the gig. Would it be bad form to refuse the drugs but ask for a copy of the tape? (Some of the songs later turned up on the Feel Good Now live LP). The support act were Dust Devils: I thought they were the Swans initially, as I was young enough not to have yet encountered the convention of the support slot. They were pretty exactly what I wanted: loud, fast and aggressive. The drummer had to keep tightening up his cymbals to keep up with the pace. Swans in the flesh seemed impossibly cinematic, statuesque or unreal. Their jawbones alone looked apocalyptic. The threatened onslaught of sound didn’t come: they were merely very loud that night rather than sickeningly so. The set list was almost entirely songs from Children of God - they were focussing on a more melodic, lighter sound and approach. Listening back via Feel Good Now there is still plenty of tension and power: maybe brighter light was casting darker shadows. After the show, I called my father for the promised lift home. He wasn’t there, nor did my drunken mother know where he was. I found my way home and felt the presence of the Swans with me.

Words: Ben Waddington Illustration: Alex Botten -

TOFFEE PECAN CAKE All is not well in Cake Towers. The temperature knob on my fantastically shit oven fell off a while ago and although reattaching it was easy (a tube of Locktite can resolve almost any problem, particularly when it comes to icing which isn’t thick enough), it appears that I was too hasty and have stuck it on so that it is not pointing where it should be.

To resolve this I’ve attempted a sort of baking trial-and-error, finding cakes which need fan assisted at 180°C and seeing how things turn out. It’s only recently occurred to me, but this is obviously utterly stupid. I’ve had soggy bottoms and burnt tops, burnt bottoms, bubbling over, sponges that turned into rusks and burnt tops and burnt bottoms (this should be impossible?) as I slowly and incrementally adjust the gauge towards correctitude. Overall summer has been a season of baking failure (excepting a particularly good Victoria sponge that somehow rose perfectly, considering that it is a particularly temperamental cake to make). People who regularly read the Lakeland catalogue which comes with the Mail on Sunday will cry: “But Richard, why not use an oven thermometer from Lakeland?!” and to them I have replied: “Fuck you, you read the Mail on Sunday, so you and your opinions are null.” But for the first time in their racist little lives they’re probably right, I could have saved myself money, time and bakingrelated shame. There is truly no shame so keenly felt as a bad cake when everyone is expecting an orgiastic mouthful. I will, for the next few months, be trying to have my slum landlord install me an Aga. It took him six months to arrive with a broken lawnmower so my chances are slim. I’d still rather trust to hope than have to buy a copy of the Mail, though. Toffee Pecan Cake is easy to make. Seems to go from being ‘done’ to ‘overdone’ quite quickly, particularly with the nuts on top, so keep your eyes on it.

250g pecans, halved 140g stoned dates 200g butter, softened 200g light muscovado sugar 1 tsp mixed spice 4 eggs 150g self-raising flour 1) Tip 100g pecans into a food processor and process until fine, then tip into a bowl. Put the dates in a small pan with enough water to cover, boil for 5 minutes until very soft. Drain, removing the liquid, and then process until smooth. Leave to cool. 2) Heat oven to 180 °C, 160 °C fan, or gas mark 4. Butter and line the base of a 23cm cake tin. Beat the butter, sugar, and spice together until lighter and creamy, then tip in the dates, ground pecans, eggs and a pinch of salt. Beat briefly until smooth. 3) Mix in flour with a metal spoon, then spoon into the tin and level the top. Sprinkle the remaining nuts over the top (don’t press them in) and bake for 40 minutes or until risen and a skewer comes out clean. TIP: Sometimes the pecans can start to blacken in the oven, which you don’t want as it will impart a bitter taste. Either cook for ten minutes and then place them on top or cover with a foil/greaseproof paper to avoid this.

Words: Richard Dowsett Illustration: Tom J. Hughes

Is there a better way to spend a warm summer’s day than inside with a spot of colouring-in? Nope, didn’t think so. Grab your felt tips and get cracking, then send your efforts to to see your masterpieces on the blog. Remember to stay within the lines, kids!

RECOMMENDED EVENTS Illustration: Mya Munnelly 13th August

Tunng @ mac 14th August

Ramleh + Ze’v @ Wagon & Horses 28th August

Dirty Bristow Summer Fete @ The Edge 8th September Capsule present Modified Toy Orchestra @ Town Hall 10th September

Birmingham Zine Festival @ various locations 10th September

Cum Clubbing @ VIVID 17th September

Shearing Pinx + Bitches @ Sound Bar 21st September

Capsule present Josephine Foster @ Hare and Hounds 2nd October

Mouse on the Keys @ The Public, West Brom 11th October

Capsule present Red Sparowes @ Hare and Hounds 22-24 October

Supersonic Festival @ Custard Factory

Cover illustration and zine design: Tom J. Hughes -