Kelela + Neneh Cherr y Craig Richards Wild Beasts Andy Holden
CASTLE PARK BRISTOL UK
A SAGITTARIUN • ABA SHANTI-I • ANNIE MAC • APEX • AQUAKE • B.TRAITS • BLACK BUTTER BODHI • BREAKAGE • CHRISTOPHE & LUKAS • CLEAN BANDIT • CONGO NATTY W/ NANCI & PHOEBE CRACK • CRAIG RICHARDS • CRAZY P SOUNDSYSTEM • CYRIL HAHN • DAN WILD • DIGITAL SOUNDBOY • DIRTY TALK • DISMANTLE • DJ Q • DUBKASM • DURKLE DISCO • DUTTY GIRL • EATS EVERYTHING • ETON MESSY • FALLING UP • FEEL THE REAL • FELIS • FELIX DICKINSON • FIRE MAN SAM • FOUNDATIONS • FRANCIS INFERNO ORCHESTRA B2B FANTASTIC MAN • FUTUREBOOGIE GENTLEMAN'S DUB CLUB • GOTSOME • GREG WILSON • HACKMAN • HERCULES & LOVE AFFAIR HORSE MEAT DISCO • IDLE HANDS • JAKWOB • JOE90 & DAVE HARVEY • JUS NOW • JUST JACK KIDNAP KID • KOVE • LAID BLAK • LIVITY SOUND • MARIBOU STATE B2B PEDESTRIAN • MOKO MOTOR CITY DRUM ENSEMBLE • MS DYNAMITE • MY NU LENG • NENEH CHERRY AND ROCKETNUMBERNINE • NINA KRAVIZ • ORIGINS • PARDON MY FRENCH • PBR STREETGANG PEOPLE LIKE US • PIFF • SHERWOOD & PINCH • QUANTIC LIVE • SAM BINGA FT. REDDERS SHAMBARBERS • SHAPES • SHY FX • SIP THE JUICE • SNAKEHIPS • SOLOMON GREY • SOUL TRAIN SPECIAL REQUEST • STYLO G • SUBB-AN • TEACHINGS IN DUB • TESSELA • THE BLAST • THE DANCE OFF • THE HEATWAVE • TODD TERJE LIVE • TOM RIO • TRAP • WOZ • 4OURS & MUCH MORE TBC
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A BUMPER WEEKEND OF LOVE
OVAL SPACE MUSIC 01/03/2014
DENNIS FERRER DJ QU RICK WADE JOZIF 22:00 - 06:00 Tickets ovalspace.co.uk
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ICA ICA ICA
Exhibitions Exhibitions Exhibitions Richard Hamilton at the ICA Richard Hamilton at the ICA Richard 12Hamilton at the ICA 12February February––66April April2014 2014 12 February – 6 April 2014
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Jane Jane Drew Drew (1911-1996): (1911-1996): Jane Drew (1911-1996): An An Introduction Introduction An Introduction 12 12February February––23 23March March2014 2014 12 February – 23 March 2014
Events Events Events NTS NTSPresent PresentPalindrome Palindrome Curated bybyTrevor Jackson Curated Trevor Jackson NTS Present Palindrome Tue 8pm Tue1818Feb, Feb, 8pmJackson Curated by Trevor Tue 18 Feb, 8pm ‘anExhibit’: Exhibit’:ananExhibition, Exhibition, ‘an Artwork,aan aCollaboration Collaboration ananArtwork, ‘an Exhibit’: Exhibition, Fri 22 Feb, 2pm Fri 22 Feb, 2pm an Artwork, a Collaboration Fri 22 Feb, 2pm ICAQuickfire: Quickfire: ICA ICA Quickfire: CaroleeSchneemann Schneemann Carolee Tue 25 Feb, 6.45pm Tue 25 Feb, 6.45pm Carolee Schneemann Tue 25 Feb, 6.45pm WimWenders Wendersand andMary MaryZournazi: Zournazi: Wim Inventing Peace Inventing Peace Wim Wenders and Mary Zournazi: Wed 26 Feb, 6.45pm Wed 26 Feb, 6.45pm Inventing Peace Wed 26 Feb, 6.45pm IntroductiontotoRadical RadicalThinkers Thinkers AnAnIntroduction Jan2014 2014––18 18Mar Mar2014 2014 21 An21Jan Introduction to Radical Thinkers
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artists. UlrikeOttinger Ottinger Ulrike 19Feb Feb 19 Ulrike Ottinger 19 Feb
Sun 16 Feb, 3.45pm Institute of of Contemporary Contemporary Arts Arts Institute The Mall Mallof London SW1Y 5AH 5AH The London SW1Y Institute Contemporary Arts 020 7930 3647, www.ica.org.uk 020 7930 3647, www.ica.org.uk The Mall London SW1Y 5AH
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09 Issue 38 | crackmagazine.net
Kelela The LA artist whose voice is at the forefront of RnB’s new chapter, by Davy Reed Kelela shot exclusively for Crack Magazine by Nate Walton zmftw.tumblr.com
Craig Richards The fabric resident takes us through the years, live from the establishment embroiled with his success, with Thomas Frost
EDITORIAL Crack is changing face. Keeping it real though
Recommended Our guide to what’s going on in your city
NEW MUSIC From the periphery
Turning Points: Evian Christ Artists pinpoint five moments that shaped their career. This month, Davy Reed speaks to the rapidly ascending Yeezus producer
CHEATAHS The multinational shoegaze band crafting sincerity amidst the noise, by Billy Black
Awesome Tapes From Africa Robert Bates investigates the blog-turned-label which unearths gimmick-free treasures
Crack Fashion The Girls Next Door
Reviews Gig reports, product reviews and our verdict on the latest releases in film and music
Digressions DJ Nicknames, being Rick Ross, the crossword and advice from Denzil Schnifferman
20 Questions: Mogwai Stuart Braithwaite talks tombstones, LSD and Slipknot with Geraint Davies
MediaSpank Christopher Goodfellow welcomes you to 2014. It’s not all that different from last year
Andy Holden Augustin Macellari visits the Bedford studio of a postmodern renaissance man.
Wild Beasts Angus Harrison sits down with the eccentric four-piece reflecting Britain’s landscape with a broken mirror
Jim’ll Paint It Your mind’s stupidest recesses brought to life in MS Paint, by Geraint Davies
Neneh Cherry The sharp-tongued icon sizes up pop culture’s condition in anticipation of her Four Tet-assisted comeback solo record, by Joshua Nevett
fabric fabric Feb/Mar Feb/Mar 2014 2014
08 FEBRUARY 08 FEBRUARY
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Craig Richards Craig MotorRichards City Motor City Drum Ensemble Drum Ensemble Point G (Live) Point G (Live) Neville Watson Neville Watson
Craig Richards Craig Richards Seth Troxler Seth Troxler Adam Shelton Adam Shelton
fabric 74: Move D fabric 74: Move D CD Launch CD Launch Craig Richards Craig Move Richards D Move D Juju & Jordash (Live) Juju & Jordash (Live)
Apollonia Apollonia Dan Ghenacia Dan DyedGhenacia Soundorom Dyed Soundorom Shonky Shonky
Joseph Capriati Joseph Capriati Cari Lekebusch Cari Lekebusch Chris Stanford Chris Stanford
Terry Francis Terry Francis Blawan Blawan Lucy Lucy
Terry Francis Terry Francis Dave Clarke Dave Clarke Black Asteroid (Live) Black Asteroid (Live)
Marcel Dettmann Marcel Dettmann Terry Francis Terry Francis Samuel Kerridge (Live) Samuel Kerridge (Live)
Jaunt Jaunt Ed Davenport Ed Davenport Blackhall & Bookless Blackhall & Bookless Richard Rowell Richard Rowell
Hypercolour Hypercolour The Analogue Cops The AlexAnalogue Jones Cops Alex Jones Cedric Maison Cedric Maison Ste Roberts Ste Roberts
mUmU 6th Birthday mUmU Virginia6th Birthday Virginia Lee Rands Lee Rands Chris Maran Chris Maran Henry St Social Henry St Social
Brawther Brawther Dungeon Meat (Live) Dungeon Meat (Live) Samuel Deep Samuel Deep Blunt Instruments Blunt Instruments
Executive Editors Thomas Frost email@example.com Jake Applebee firstname.lastname@example.org Editor Geraint Davies email@example.com Marketing / Events Manager Luke Sutton firstname.lastname@example.org Junior Editor Davy Reed Editorial Assistants Anna Tehabsim Billy Black Art Direction & Design Jake Applebee Alfie Allen Graeme Bateman Film Editor Tim Oxley Smith Fashion Marija Vainilaviciute Hattie Walters Keiko Nakamura Andrea Martinelli Contributors Christopher Goodfellow Josh Baines Duncan Harrison Tom Howells Adam Corner Joshua Nevett Augustin Macellari Angus Harrison Robert Bates Steve Dores Gabriel Szatan Leah Connolly Jack Bolter Andrew Broaks Nathan Westley Paul Martinovic Alistair Hardaker Photography Nate Walton Tom Weatherill Jon Bergman Illustration Lee Nutland Tyler Spangler Christopher Wright Advertising To enquire about advertising and to request a media pack: email@example.com 0117 2391219 CRACK is published by Crack Industries Ltd © All rights reserved. All material in Crack magazine may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of Crack Industries Ltd. Crack Magazine and its contributors cannot accept any liability for reader discontent arising from the editorial features. Crack Magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any article or material supplied for publication or to edit this material prior to publishing. Crack magazine cannot be held responsible for loss or damage to supplied materials. The opinions expressed or recommendations given in the magazine are the views of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the views of Crack Industries Ltd. We accept no liability for any misprints or mistakes and no responsibility can be taken for the contents of these pages.
CRACK WAS CREATED USING
Crack's gone in on the rebrand. Like, all in.
Real Estate Talking Backwards Your Funeral I Wanna Be You Weekend Coma Summer Air Conditioning Accept Your Paralysis/Cephalexin Actress Rims The Men Different Days Blank Realm Back To The Flood Katy B I Like You Tracks Mans On Road Loretta Meets The Obsolete The Myth Of The Wise Mac Demarco Let Her Go Ratcatcher Motion Untold 5 Wheels The Sonics Shot Down Pleasure Planet Animals Amadou Sangare Dit Barry L’histoire De Moussa Pere De Sabally Henrik Schwarz & Kuniyuki Takahashi Once Again Dan Beaumont Trippy Pumper The Smiths How Soon Is Now? The Units High Pressure Days (Rory Phillips Remix) Pixies Greens And Blues Peter Jacques Band The Louder Paul Johnson Get Get Down Johannes Volk Glare Iamsu! Who Do You Love (Freestyle) Tinashe Vulnerable Ft. Travi$ Scott Eagulls Soulless Youth Neneh Cherry Everything (Villalobos & Loderbauer Remix) Daniel Johnston Some Things Last A Long Time Young Thug Danny Glover Loudon Wainwright Iii Motel Blues Schoolboy Q She Like Lives Of Angels Ascension Arthur Russell Me For Real Ryuichi Sakamoto Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence Queens Of The Stone Age Give The Mule What He Wants The Field Mice Emma’s House Virtue And Slammer Don’t Go (Gammer Remix) Mayyors Ghost Punch Burmese Only The Good Die Nai Harvest Hold Open My Head Glorious Din Tenement Roofs Orchid Chaos Ain’t Me Aphex Twin Xmd5a Explosions In The Sky The Birth And Death Of The Day (Jesu Mix)
Such a gentle word, such an unintimidating, benign word. It sounded like a hoot: kick back over Christmas, we’ve got two months to work on the fated ‘rebrand’. Turns out ‘rebrand’ translates loosely as ‘change the lot’. Pretty much everything’s different. We changed the size, and the shape. We asked Stuart from Mogwai to rate Danny DeVito out of 10. We changed the font – one of the team claimed that every time he saw two ‘g’s next to each other in the old one it sent him cross-eyed, but he’s probably exaggerating. But seriously, this font thing has taken on a life of its own. Never has so much ire been spilt over a lower-case ‘n’. Casting a glance over history’s great rebrands, it seems like they mostly involved changing colour. Apparently there was a time when Father Christmas dressed in black and if you’d been good he’d give you a line of coke. Something like that. There was a time, back in the yonder mists of 2011, that Cardiff City played in blue. And know what, we swear that when we were kids Cheese & Onion crisps were green. The Man insists that’s not the case, but as the adage goes: Fuck The Man. Changing your name is at the more drastic end. No one gave a shit about Pink Floyd when they were called the Meggadeaths, or Megadeth when they were called Metallica. Coco Pops were called Choco Krispies for about a fortnight until the powers that be realised no one wants to eat that. And don’t even get us started on Insignia and Scope. Yeah, we’ll stick to Crack. Like an ill-advised teenage tattoo, that’s with us for life. And let’s not forget the full 180s. Apple used to be a bit of a shonks, Skrillex was in an (admittedly, quite good) post-hardcore band, and poor old Dev Hynes can’t decide what he’s up to from one week to the next. So it’s plain to see, some rebrands are more successful than others. We think ours is pretty good. We’ve always been quietly proud of this thing we turn out eleven times a year, and hopefully you’ll think we’ve kept it appropriately real. We even changed colour, a bit. Geraint Davies
Issue 38 | crackmagazine.net
Respect Connan Mockasin Christophe Alice Moore Millie Newman Becka Maskell Johnny Black Andy Toone Tom Weatherill Jodie Banaszkiewicz Seb Burford
O u r g u i d e to w h a t 's g o i n g o n i n yo u r c i t y
EIGHTEEN NIGHTMARES AT T H E L U X Shacklewell Arms 7 February
E A S T I N D I A YO U T H The Lexington 6 February
PL ANNINGTOROCK Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen 18 February \ £10.50
E AT S E V E R Y T H I N G XOYO 15 F e b r u a r y
B U GG E D O U T W E E K E N D E R Dixon, Julio Bashmore, Eats Everything, Paul Woolford Pontins, Southport \ 7-9 February \ From £159
C AT E L E B O N Islington Assembly Hall 7 February
One of the UK’s longest running club events, Bugged Out! were behind early shows for The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk and Green Velvet back in the day. Now, on the 20th anniversary of those inaugural events, their flagship weekender gets a new home. The 2014 installment takes place in Pontins, Southport: good news for those fans that live in the North, and even better news is the range of on-site accommodation, pool parties and daytime activities they’ve got in store. As for the line-up, Bugged Out regulars Andrew Weatherall, Carl Craig and Green Velvet celebrate the milestone alongside Innervisions’ consistently brilliant Ten Walls playing live, UK techno mainstays Boddika and Joy Orbison and the endlessly eccentric Seth Troxler among many, many others.
Berlin-based, Bolton-born Jam Rostron is better known as the artist behind multimedia project Planningtorock. For those uninitiated, Planningtorock aims to subvert all preconceptions. In the same way that The Knife raged and slightly baffled us last year with Shaking The Habitual, Rostron’s new project/album All Love’s Legal tackles the same political issues within the confines of unhinged electronics. Song titles Human Drama, Let’s Talk About Gender Baby and Beyond Binary Binds give you an inkling of where Rostron is going with this, so expect a thrilling and challenging live performance of some very important work where music meets gender politics.
ALPFRESCO Axel Boman, Session Victim, ItaloJohnson Söll Resort, Austria \ 23-27 March \ Prices vary Last year, our team left behind an empty office to attend the debut snow festival from Alfresco Disco, Bristol’s legendary 4/4 party institution. It was awesome. Riding off the inaugural year’s success, they’ll be taking over the Söll resort again with a line-up that includes Axel Boman, Session Victim, Waifs & Strays, Futureboogie DJs and Jane Fitz of the similarly innovative Night Moves events among many others. With top quality slopes and nighttime parties dedicated to good vibes, why hang on till summer for your unforgettable holiday of the year?
BLOOD OR ANGE Village Underground 19 February
WILLIS EARL BEAL Village Underground 18 F e b r u a r y
PA R Q U E T C O U R T S Electric Ballroom 15 February \ £17
BILL CALLAHAN Royal Festival Hall 7+ 8 F e b r u a r y
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Parquet Courts make drinking music for smart people. To us, this awesome Brooklyn-viaTexas garage rock band sound like the kind of taco munching, beer guzzling bros who also make time to do the crossword and read books about sustainable fishing methods. Shit, even when they went all hip-hop on us with that recent He’s Seeing Paths tune they ended up sounding like the Beastie Boys’ jock-fearing little brothers.
GOBLIN Electric Ballroom \ 23 February \ £22.50 + BF
GENE HUNT Dance Tunnel 15 February
YO U N G FAT H E R S Electrowerks 13 F e b r u a r y
W A R PA I N T Koko 18 February
Goblin are probably best known for their cult horror soundtrack collaborations for the films of Italian fright master Dario Argento, but did you know they also wrote some of the best prog rock the nation that brought you such delights as pizza and bunga bunga parties has ever produced? Sadly though they probably won’t be playing any of their Genesisinfluenced back catalogue at the Electric Ballroom because everyone just wants to hear that bit off Suspiria when the camera pans out and the pretty girl’s all dead on the floor and that.
PANGAEA FabricLive L AUNCH fabric 21 F e b r u a r y
OF MONTREAL Oval Space \ 20 February \ £15 With their spiritual peers in Neutral Milk Hotel taking to the road for the first time in absolutely yonks it’d be easy to overlook the fact that Kevin Barnes and his merry gang of surrealist pals are embarking on a huge jaunt themselves. An Of Montreal live show is not something you’ll want to miss, and if you haven’t seen them you’ve yet to have your musical perceptions twisted by five fully grown men prancing around a stage with more collective glitter than a discount stationery store during the
13 N E N E H C H E R RY R o u g h Tr a d e E a s t 25 Februar y
ST VINCENT S h e p h e r d 's B u s h E m p i r e 20 Februar y
TIEF: PROSUMER Corsica \ 22 February \ £13
O VA L S PAC E M U S I C : INNERVISIONS PRESENTS ONE NIGHT WITH ÂME Oval Space, Bethnal Green \ 28 February \ £22.50 We don’t need to tell you how prolific Innervisions is by now. Dixon scoring RA’s number 1 DJ, Ten Walls’ Gotham becoming the subtle summer banger while label co-founders Kristian Beyer and Frank Wiedemann of DJ/production duo Âme are found consistently flying the flag for deep house with feeling. Not many had a better 2013 in dance music than them, which is why you should probably head to Oval Space for another stellar installment of their in-house series. With a knack for extended sets that tell a story, you could do much worse than put your night in the hands of Âme.
AMIR ALEX ANDER D a n c e Tu n n e l 21 F e b r u a r y
Prosumer is everyman’s DJ. Making his name at Berlin’s infamous Panorama Bar, where he stood as a resident for two years, Prosumer’s taste goes far and wide, and while his house and techno finesse can make a grown man cry (honestly, we’ve seen it), it’s the impulsive obscurities that place this DJ in the hearts of many. So, on a line-up alongside The Mole and Arttu, and a tendency to shirk house and techno for more hair-raising delights, Crack can’t think of much else more liberating then letting your hair down to this insatiable big-hitter.
Z O M BY XOYO 7 March
TINARIWEN Village Underground \ 6+7 March \ £22.50 + BF This group of Mali musicians formed in the 80s around a burning resentment toward Colonel Gaddafi and their long, fruitful career has led them right up to 2011’s Grammy winning album Tassili. Now Tinariwen are back with a new album in the works, and if you’re unfamiliar with their sound – a blend of western guitar music with African textures and rhythms – then now’s as good a time as any to join the rebel party.
DENNIS FERRER Oval Space 1 March
ISLANDS Bir thdays 27 F e b r u a r y
ICA \ NTS PRE SENT: PA L I N D R O M E C U R AT E D BY T R E V O R J AC K S O N ICA \ 8 February \ £5 The dynamic dream pairing of the ICA and London’s pioneering community radio station NTS have been brought together by a common thread as they strive to offer a pioneering platform for music, art and culture. The curator for their inaugural Parallel Lines event is a similarly ingenious proposition: the iconic DJ and art director Trevor Jackson. With a 20 year career of eroding distinctions between the audio and the visual, his boundless DJ sets span acute post-punk, new wave, techno and psych, and are invariably a thrilling education. With an introductory talk on the 7th (ICA Cinema, £5) under the Culture Now banner, there’s a whole lot to get your teeth into with this stirring three-way collab. Don’t assume.
MOVE D : f a b r i c 74 L A U N C H fabric 22 February
DARK ROOM : HE LE NA HAUFF Dance Tunnel \ 22 February \ £5-£10 Helena Hauff made all the right moves last year, with releases on Werkdisks, Blackest Ever Black and PAN cementing her place as a great producer alongside her obvious skills as a DJ. Longtime associate of mad-hat Hamburg club the Golden Pudel, Hauff’s sets tend to run through oddball techno while exhibiting her devotion to electro, new wave and EBM. An ideal Darkroom guest, Helena Hauff spans genres and decades spinning esoteric electronics and all things dark and righteous.
Issue 38 | crackmagazine.net
JUNGLE Village Underground 4 March
FAC T O T U M Bristol two-piece Factotum are making their mark as part of a new, inchoate, fuzzed-out garage scene. And like all good unholy unions, these racket slingers met in the pub. Singer and guitarist Alex told us, “I met Karl [Gowing, drums] when I played a gig at [Bristol venue] The Grain Barge with my other band The Bad Joke That Ended Well. He was behind the bar, we talked guitar pedals and fell in love.” Since then the pair have been sharing bills with the likes of lairy newcomers Taos Humm and Stolen Body Records labelmates Brown Brogues, whilst recording relentlessly in their Bristol studio. Their sound is a clamouring mix of scuzzy garage and grainy noise rock, a stripped back lo-fi din that marries Alex’s crunching, distorted guitar and throaty howls with drummer Karl’s loose crash and screeching hollers. They’ve just released their debut album Knife Gun through Stolen Body (we streamed it exclusively over at our internet house) and are planning on releasing a follow up later this year. “We got another record coming out,” they revealed, “it might be part of a special Record Store Day release, it might be just a 7”. Either way, it’s just about finished.” Never ones to miss out on a chuckle they let slip a working title. “So far it’s called Loose Cannon Cops with Big Fat Heroin Hands.” This year will see the band destroying it at their old haunts, and they’re sure be playing a fair few UK dates over the next few months so keep your eyes peeled – their frantic live game is something you need to see to believe.
V TGNIKE The latest album forthcoming on Nicolas Jaar’s Other People label comes from Moscow’s unpronounceable producer Vtgnike. Vtgnike is part of Moscow’s ‘RAD’ movement, a likeminded collective of producers and DJs complete with promoters and ‘key strategists’ with a passion for guerilla rooftop events and a handful of releases – or ‘MOOD Episodes’ – under their belt. While that may all sound a little overwrought, the tunes stand up. Presenting an exploration of his intricate sound, Vtgnike mingles the rain-flecked ambience that oft provides the backdrop to Jaar’s own production with the brighter ends of experimental hip-hop and warm, soulful jungle mutations on debut album Dubna, available from online subscription service otherpeople.net.
LY L A F OY Last time Sub Pop signed an act from these shores it was the punk-leaning trio of bros Male Bonding, and in reflection of the definitely-not-just-a-grungelabel’s diverse music policy, they’ve now welcomed Lyla Foy to the roster. After realising her previous psuedonym Wall didn’t exactly make for the most enticing clickbait, the London songwriter switched names and has married sepia-toned folk influences with warm indie electronics for her forthcoming album Mirrors In The Sky. So where’s the best place to start? Check out Feather Tongue, which sounds like the long-delated response to The Cure’s Close To Me.
O Feather Tongue Charlotte Gainsbourg, Martha Wainwright : lylafoy.com
O Panorama Bar Shitt Machinedrum, Lee Bannon : vtgnike.bandcamp.com
S E IXL AC K If you fancy taking time out from your day to discover obscure beats this month, we urge you to take a chance on Brazilian producer seixlacK. Tele-Sexo, eight gorgeous minutes of bright, flickering techno taken from the Seu Lugar é o Cemitério (translated as ‘Your Place Is The Cemetery’) EP, sounds like early James Holden, like melodic Underground Resistance material from Mad Mike and The Suburban Knight, like trains through the British countryside, and sunlight somersaulting through trees. Plucked out of relative obscurity by The Washington Post, this emerging Brazilian producer is part of a collective putting out music on the Rio-based 40%Foda/Maneirissimo label, which Crack is eagerly digging through as we speak.
O Tele-Sexo The Field, The Suburban Knight soundcloud.com/seixlack
Born in Buenos Aires, Valerie Teicher has since lived in Bogota, Vancouver, Montreal and Boston before settling in New York, where she’s since been crafting her Tei Shi project. Her debut EP Saudade (a Portuguese and Gallic term that has no direct translation, but “describes a deep emotional state of nostalgia or melancholic longing”) dropped at the end of last year, and it’s fronted by the warm, beautifully languid M&Ms and ends with the courageous acappella track Heart Shaped Birthmark. We’re strongly recommending this, and if Teicher can keep up this magic, there’s no reason she shouldn’t be huge in 2014.
O Nevermind The End
B AT P I S S This triumvirate of Melbourne dark-cloud-gatherers have been creeping their way up bills with their bitter stoner-crust-punk lambastery for a little while, but 2013’s debut full-length Nuclear Winter gathered 11 of their worst together under one collapsing roof. Their most infamous moment came with the tongue-in-cheek but still pretty horrifyingly gory promo vid for Loose Screws, which sees a hirsute fellow embark on a hearty rampage with a screwdriver, only to bump into someone with a similar plan and instantly fall in lust. Having shared stages with brothers-in-arms METZ and 90s riff gods Helmet, this lot are spreading their bad vibes further and further afield, all the while with a malevolent gleam across their grotty chops.
1 Kelela, FKA Twigs soundcloud.com/tei-shi
O Powerjam 1 Ty Segall, The Oblivians stolenbodyrecords.co.uk/category/factotum
JUNG LE PUSSY Surely Junglepussy has got to drop Satisfaction Guaranteed soon? Since the release of her debut track, the DJ Mustard-esque ratchet booty-clapper Cream Team, this hyper-sexual Brooklyn MC has fed her online buzz with an arsenal of equally raunchy bangers, twerk-heavy Vines and a hilarious Twitter account. And it just keeps getting better. Her latest track Curve ‘Em featured the rightfully hyped Chicago rapper Tink on a beat by the Le1f-affiliated producer Shy Guy. He’s produced the whole of Satisfaction Guaranteed, and his adventurous style is the perfect formula for a rapper who’s too bizarre and far too raw to be dismissed as another cookie-cutter Azealia Banks imitation.
O Curve 'Em 1 Lil Kim, Dai Burger twitter.com/junglepussy
O Drag Your Body Pissed Jeans, Wet Nuns : batpiss.bandcamp.com
Issue 38 | crackmagazine.net
O Track File Next To : Website
Issue 38 | crackmagazine.net
“Pointing to the problems and issues without being a victim to them, that’s the focus. I avoid any lyrics which sound too damsel-y or needy”
Following a transatlantic union of underground producers, Kelela has uncovered her route to uncharted territory
“I’ve been listening to this moment ... I think it’s something like 24 minutes into the mix”. Kelela Mizanekristos is at her LA home, skipping through a SoundCloud stream to find the precise moment where DJ/producer Total Freedom blends a track by Chicago house legend Larry Heard into one of her own, and she’s holding the phone up right up to the speakers to make sure we hear it. “It’s ... glorious”, she sighs. She’s elated by the mere fact that someone felt compelled to explore the possibilities her voice. And after Kelela’s Cut 4 Me mixtape dropped last October, it’s a voice that’s attracted considerable attention. Reviewers have drawn comparisons to Aaliyah, Faith Evans, Mariah Carey, Amel Laurrieux of Groove Theory and Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano, who personally encouraged her to divert from the RnB cannon in order to develop her own vocal style. She first became familiar with Total Freedom through her connection with LA collective Fade To Mind, who teamed up with their sister label, London bass pioneers Night Slugs, in order to create the thrillingly original, transatlantic formula heard on Cut 4 Me.
The release of Cut 4 Me was soon followed by the Saint Heron compilation. Curated by Solange Knowles, the album features Kelela’s Morri$-produced Go All Night among a tracklist that signals a new wave of innovative and independent ‘post-Timbaland’ RnB artists. European underground club goers have long nurtured a strong connection with RnB due largely to bass producers’ tendency to sample, chop and chipmunk the vocals of Brandy, Aaliyah, Cassie et al. And in recent years the alternative music press has also embraced the genre, perhaps in response to a circular flow of influence where bedroom producers with an affection for mainstream RnB are increasingly seeing their experimental sounds being soaked up by high profile artists enjoying prime time radio play. So how does Kelela feel about journalists categorising her with this so-called new movement? “I have questions as to why it’s happening right now, and what that means for music when you frame something as ‘alternative’ or ‘peripheral’. Beyond it being about sheer numbers of how many people listen to the music, it can also colour the way people interpret the sounds if it’s
written about in that way prior. So I have critiques about that”, she admits. “But it doesn’t cloud my ability to see that people are acknowledging something positive. And if you’re asking me the question: ‘How do you feel about being put on a list of innovative RnB artists?”, I’m elated”. Alongside all the ‘RnB Artists To Watch in 2014’ articles, Kelela’s end of 2013 victory lap landed her high spots across countless ‘Best Of’ lists and a post on Beyonce’s blog, The Beyhive. She was also shortlisted for BBC’s ‘Sound of 2014 poll’, but don’t let that put you off. The hype, however, took some time to generate. Kelela moved to LA in order to pursue a music career four years ago, and until recently was still supporting herself at a call centre, approaching 30 and worrying she’d missed her chance because of the industry’s increasing favour towards astoundingly young artists. But a pivotal moment, she says, came in the form of a blessing in disguise. “I crashed my car, and then I got my first call to do two gigs with Solange while it was in the shop. After the shows I got a call saying that the bad news was that my car was totalled, but the good
Words: Davy Reed Photos: Nate Walton
18 news was that I’d be getting a cheque for more than what I paid for the car. So I used the cheque to support myself. I was just like ‘OK, I’m just gonna go for it’. I felt like something might be going, that momentum had been created. I still have no car, but you know, I’m not a telemarketer anymore!” Riding off that huge rush of momentum, Kelela seems determined to make 2014 another banner year. She’ll be touring internationally, both solo and with a unique live project involving Night Slugs and Fade To Mind’s roster, where the DJ sets up a multi-genre obstacle course and Kelela sings her own songs, fragments from RnB classics and improvised melodies while viscerally embracing the dark, inhibitioneroding context of the club. Right now she’s laying the foundations for her debut album, but in the meantime a single with Night Slugs co-founder Bok Bok is due in March. “What’s great about working with Kelela is that she’s really active on all the fronts of a collaboration”, the producer enthuses. “It’s not like she’ll just deliver a vocal to you and say, ‘OK whatever, we’ll see how that one turns out’. She’s really keen to get involved with the arrangements and the production side, and her melodic ideas are really, really strong.” And although Kelela has molded her own aesthetic with Cut 4 Me, she’s eager to diversify. During her early album sessions she’s been brewing ideas and
demoing with Evian Christ, FKA Twigs producer Arca and Hudson Mohawke, all uncompromising beat-makers who were dug out of the underground and assembled last year by Kanye West to form his Yeezus task force. “They’re putting really innovative sounds together in a resonant but also fucked up way”, she says. “And they’re making such a ruckus that people at the radio want to see what the deal is. That’s what I want to do with vocals, I want to be resonant, but to also fuck you up a little bit.” And fuck you up a little bit she does. While Cut 4 Me has its fair share of sensual pillow talk and gorgeous falsettos riding phased out, ethereal synths, Kelela isn’t exactly made of candy floss, and you can feel undertones of pain and anger rising in her voice. Take the sparse and menacing my face/ Breathing down my neck, better back up off me now” are punctuated by the sound of glass breaking, or the way she intimately confronts the psychological tug of war that activates sexual desires on the breathy, nocturnal track Do It Again. As a former student of International Studies and Sociology and an infatuated fan of strong, politically active songwriters such as Tracy Chapman and Miriam Makeba, there was a time when Kelela aspired to let her ideology do the songwriting. “I used to imagine that when I did write music, it
Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano on first impressions and Kelela’s appeal She came out to some of our shows and was a really free-spirited, sweet girl with good vibes. We hung out and kept in touch for a bit. I think [the new generation of RnB artists] is inspiring and important. RnB makes some of the best hits by some of the best vocalists, but it can often feel a bit predictable. So it’s really exciting to hear artists like Kelela.
would deal directly with what was going on in the world in a literal way, to make the point very clear that I was outraged. But when I started writing I remember being mad that it wasn’t coming out that way. For the most part, my body wanted to sing about really personal issues.” You could argue, however, that there’s an inspiring potency to the way Kelela explores the personal realm. She definitely agrees, for example, with the suggestion that confronting heartache from a feminine perspective can be empowering. “This is the way I’m courageous on a track, I’m trying to say the thing that’s the hardest for me to say. Pointing to the problems and issues without being a victim to them, that’s the focus. I avoid any lyrics which sound too damsel-y or needy.” As a cliché-dodging artist who’s compelled to explore the spaces between genre and culture, part of Kelela’s appeal is the way she eschews rigid categories. She was born in Washington DC to Ethiopian parents who emigrated in the 70s, and later moved to the suburbs of Rockville, Maryland, where she has described growing up among a primarily white crowd. Did these experiences lead to her developing an outsider mentality? “Mentality is a strong word” she says, “but being second generation, there’s a
framework that is required to navigate in upper middle class white spaces, or just to navigate in spaces where you’re not American, or where your family isn’t identified as American. It’s shaped so much of my life, for sure. I’ve had a lot of experiences that have been, like, othering. And those experiences have definitely shaped me being comfortable not fitting in. I grew up listening to RnB. Then when I got hip to being outside solely black places, I got hip to music outside of RnB and jazz.” And while she’s reflecting on her background, we ask her if she feels that it’s directly influenced her approach to music? She pauses for a moment, carefully considering the question. “As someone who deals with the tradition of RnB, but whose contract is basically outside of that, I’m housing vocals that are familiar to me in an unfamiliar context. That’s sort of how I’ve always felt about it. I’ve never said that out loud, but that’s abstractly how I’ve felt about it. I have to make music which reflects where I am, in the mix, and in this Venn diagram of genre. That’s where I’d like to be.” Cut 4 Me is available now via Fade To Mind
Button Factory, Dublin March 25th Art School, Glasgow | March 26th Morri$ recalls Kelela’s introduction to the Fade To Mind crew
Ritz, Manchester | March 27th Coronet, London | March 29th
I met Kelela really naturally through Kingdom and Prince William. Everything with Fade To Mind is a family affair, so in a way she kind of came nestled in the overall package: a diamond in the rough. Immediately I loved and understood her sensibility and, perhaps most importantly, her potential. I realised that she possessed some intense qualities that we in turn distilled into the music you hear today.
Night Slugs' Bok Bok on Kelela’s dynamic live show An idea we felt would be interesting, and that Kelela was also very into, was getting her to ride a DJ set in the same way that an MC might ride the set. So it’s kind of freeform, there’s no real plan, she’s responding to the track, exactly the same way an MC would with lyrics, but she’s doing it with song. She could be applying songs she already has, or covers, or ideas that just come out of the blue, so we’re being really responsive with each other.
Issue 38 | crackmagazine.net
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Turning Points: Evian Christ
During the final days of 2011, trainee teacher and football fanatic Joshua Leary uploaded a couple of tracks he’d recently made from his home in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. Fusing elements of contemporary hip-hop with boundary pushing ambience, his Evian Christ project immediately caught the attention of various record labels and publications. His new Waterfall EP is out in March, and since his debut Kings and Them mixtape just two pieces of his work have been released: an abstract mix inspired by a derelict Soviet signal transmitter called the Duga-3, and I’m In It, a track from Kanye West’s platinum-selling, era-defining album Yeezus. Speaking to us via Skype from an apartment in New York, the 24-year-old producer broke down five specific moments in his brief but intense career so far.
December 2011: Uploading the First Tracks “I initially uploaded them to send to a couple of friends of mine who were also producers, and they were the first proper tracks I’d made. It wasn’t even perceivable to me at the time that it could blow up, or that it’d be a thing that people outside that circle would listen to. I just started getting messages like ‘this magazine has posted this’. In hindsight, I didn’t really get what was going on, I didn’t get the whole online cycle of magazines and stuff. A bunch of people hit me up, but Robin (Carolan, Tri Angle Records owner) seemed the most genuine.” February 2012: Tri Angle Records Showcase “It was an incredibly quick process from making and uploading my first finished tracks to playing them in a fucking big trendy warehouse club in London. I’d only been to London once before that, and at that point, at least, I wasn’t very well travelled. The party was kind of weird. The snow that weekend was seven or eight inches deep, it was really busy and people couldn’t get in. There were loads of problems with the sound, loads of problems with the lights. It was really stressful. But after that show, I felt like I could deal with anything.”
June 2012: Completing University “I’d been putting off music as much as I could because I was doing a PGCE course to be a primary school teacher. It’s a lot of work, like you do a full day’s unpaid teaching, then do all the coursework and lesson planning when you get home. So I literally had no time for shows, no time for press. But a few days after I finished, I went and did a full US tour with Purity Ring and I haven’t really had time to look back since. I do want to go back to teaching at some point though.” January 2013: The Yeezus call “That was really, really strange. And completely out of nowhere. One day Robin was like ‘I’ve just got a really weird e-mail’. One of the guys from G.O.O.D. Music had been in touch but they were being kind of cryptic. Robin met them in New York and they told him, on the low, that Kanye was working on this really electronic, experimental record, and that he’d be in the studio in two days time so I’d need some beats to send. So I stayed up for two full days and nights just making beats. I didn’t hear anything for a while and then one night, just as I was about to log off and go to bed, I got this message saying ‘Kanye wants you to come to Paris immediately, can you get on the next flight please?’ And that was that, I went over.” Present: The Waterfall EP “The EP is about to drop in March, it’s noiser and more banging than my previous stuff, and that’s just kind of where I’m at now. I’ve been going to a lot of noise and techno orientated shows, I saw Pete Swanson in London and that was a big influence on this EP. I went to see Vatican Shadow and that was inspiring in terms of abrasion, and allowing the volume to become something super physical. But I’ve been keeping the ambient elements in there. I’m trying to mesh something together which shouldn’t make sense.” Waterfall is released on 17 March via Tri Angle Records. Evian Christ appears at Field Day, 7 June
"'One night, just as I was about to go to bed, I got this message saying ‘Kanye wants you to come to Paris immediately, can you get on the next flight please?’ And that was that, I went over"
Burrowing into the Farringdon underground to face DJ luminary Craig Richards on his home turf Words: Thomas Frost Photo: Tom Weatherill
Crack has always harbored a desire to run around a desolate fabric. Wandering around the rooms that have shaped formative clubbing memories for so many isn’t the eerie experience you might expect. It’s more of a total unmasking. The rooms look clean, varnished and pristine, as does the upstairs Room One bar that serves as our interview area with the man responsible for shaping London’s most consistent clubbing venue. There’s a serenity about Craig Richards that belies the weeks after weeks of late nights, the searing techno and the discerning house. His softly spoken Cockney inflections offer a rewarding vocabulary and his wonderfully debonair vintage dress sense demands respect. This is a man who has been on top of his game and – due to the nature of those who have passed through these doors over the years – on top of everyone else’s game for 14 years. So how do you assess a record collection that has formed the fabric of this iconic club? “A lot of it has only come into its own in recent times”, Richards muses. “Because in doing this for so long I have a huge mixture of old and new records and there is a distance and some range within that. A lot of what I’m playing is old and it’s very similar to what’s being made now, and the combination of that is very interesting in that there’s a common thread running through our record collection. It also makes some difference as some of the records were never put on the internet. They aren’t available. If it’s a record from 1994, there is something that feels undiscovered about it.” The synonymy of Richards with the UK’s premier nightspot is now engrained to a level that goes beyond mere association. Richards has never sought to move too far away, and while a somewhat belated discovery of his talents by some has increased his demand, he’s never looked too much further than the iconic exposed brickwork and a Room One DJ booth to die for (that on current inspection contains seven CDJs). It’s a club that continues to thrive and as resident, Richards’ ability to adapt to those he plays before or after is at the core to its success.
“I think that’s the fun. Certainly I’ve been on before or after all kinds of people in three different rooms. I like playing after people who’ve banged the fuck out of it, but I don’t think I’ve spent any time consciously thinking about adapting. One adapts with the music you buy in the shop and you keep moving along that way.” Richards is also coy about the current wave of popularity that has seen him become many DJs’ DJ of choice. “In the past I’ve had periods of being as busy as I can cope with and I’ve had periods when I’ve concentrated on just playing here [in fabric]. I’m spoiled in that having a residency like this means every Saturday is taken care of if I want it to be, because I’m not necessarily the best traveller and I also don’t really see the point of being on tour.” Not really a “tour guy”, the security and comfort of fabric’s hold renders Richards immune to the diet of disillusionment and disparity that can consume DJs on the road. “Travelling can be hard on the mind and hard on the soul, and with the luxury of a really amazing residency every week, I don’t travel as much as I should. It’s a constant battle of how much I should push myself.” So what of Richards the DJ, the vinyl specialist, the techno student and collector of unheralded oddities? One of Crack’s favourite pastimes when watching Richards used to be trying to identify any of the music we were presented with on any given evening. It was a near-fruitless, but ultimately edifying challenge. Craig Richards plays records you’ve never heard and, in many cases, are never likely to hear again. It’s this commitment to the canon to which he has devoted so much of his professional life that means he can frequently be seen on any given Saturday going from room to room exploring new music, even when he’s not DJing. “Most people that come here I’m interested to listen to” he says. “There’ve been some great live acts here through time, and I’ve been really lucky to be here when those live acts have been on. Cause it’s three rooms, you can get to see a lot of people.” His dedication to the fabric institution has seen him share stages with every major
name in techno and house. Late morning back-to-back sessions with Ricardo Villalobos have become the stuff of legend, and fabric's 30-hour Birthday marathons have continued to be the clubbing highlight of the year for the more devoted electronic music enthusiast – many of them shared with the Chilean master. He’s a character Richards talks about in glowing terms. “He’s very different to me. He’s tall, I’m short. He’s a Chilean that grew up in Germany, and I’m a Welsh Cockney that grew up in the New Forest. He’s very inspiring. He’s very loose and unpredictable and I love that about him. I always walk away having heard music I’ve never heard before.” Those mythologised morning into afternoon sets draw particular reverence. “When we play those sets, you get to a point where the people in front of you aren’t going home and you can just put records on and let them play regardless of mixing, just listen to them on the sound system. That’s the dream for me in this club. If everyone buggers off home then there’s no point. But it’s special times for the crowd as well, when a few people have gone home and you have no one around you, you can be a bit freer in your personal space. There’s not many clubs in the world where you can do that.” Richards’ commitment to innovation has seen his bespoke night and label, The Nothing Special, take on a much greater significance in his life. With his p aintings forming the cover of each release and a strong commitment to unknown and exciting new music, the releases serve to frame Richards as much as an artist in the traditional sense as well as a selector of the highest order. With his production work also moving further into the foreground, he’s in a rich vein of creativity at the present time, and he claims this is partly down to a decision to move to the South Coast with his family. “It’s a good time. I’ve got a studio in my garden where I paint and a studio in my house where I make music. I’m working regularly and feeling more inspired because of it. I was distracted in London as there was always something on and someone was
going to see this and that, so moving away has meant I’ve done a lot more creatively. The fallow years of not producing anything are really to do with having too much of a good time. “I don’t have any big plans or ambitions for it right now other than to release music with my drawings and painting on the cover and sell as many as we can. It’s available digitally as I don’t think a vinyl-only release was the right thing for it, even though initially that would be the way forward. So many people don’t want records. I’m a massive vinyl collector but I don’t understand why you don’t want it in as many households as possible. If you’re making fringe music with a limited appeal anyway, why limit it any further?” The conversation with Richards winds to a close with a pertinent piece of advice, a distinct truism born from his time helming the club, and something many aspiring DJs would do well to take on board. “It used to be record shop – records – club. That was before we started Googling things. It was when we started Googling things that we ended up entering the era of too much information in the form of a flood. Now the most important word is filter. You just have to filter. If you don’t filter, you’re fucked. “You have to work out what’s good for you, and the people that seem the most appealing in life right now are the ones who have this amazing filter system and know who they are, what they want and what they need from that enormous quantity of information.” Craig Richards is one of those people, every Saturday night. Craig Richards appears at: Love Saves The Day, Bristol, 24-25 May Gottwood in Anglesey, Wales 19-22 June The Garden Festival, Tisno, Croation 2-9 July
“In this era of too much information, the most important word is filter. You just have to filter. If you don’t filter, you’re fucked”
Cheatahs: An Englishman, a German, an American and a Canadian walk into a bar
They're a restless bunch. Since the release of their debut EP Coared, these multinational lo-fi indie rock upstarts have found themselves on a US tour with slacker punk heavyweights Wavves and Fidlar, sharing stages with the likes of Dinosaur Jr., and still somehow factored in the time to write and record their hugely impressive album. In our minds, that high-profile tour must’ve been six months of beer bongs and skateparks. “It was exactly like that” says vocalist/guitarist James Wignall with more than a hint of sarcasm. “Yeah, imagine that and then times it by ten and you’re kind of there” adds their other guitarist/vocalist – and token Canadian – Nathan Hewitt. They then returned home to chill and write, spending a week in isolation in an old Cornish cottage before heading back to their natural climes in Dalston to record the songs that would eventually become that first record. 2013 was a hell of a year for Cheatahs, and when we caught up with the lads in their East London flat they were more than happy to explain the secrets of their success.
“We did a bunch of the album before the US tour last year” Nathan tells us, “then went and used the tour to test the songs and see what was working and what wasn’t.” He and James are enthused about Cheatahs’ trajectory, but content to be finally kicking it at home after a year of near-constant touring and the fixings that accompany it. “It was six weeks around America” says James, “right in the middle of recording the album really, so it was kind of a blessing and a curse.” He pauses. “More of a blessing in the end.” We’re still sniffing around for tales of pool parties and giant bags of the devil’s lettuce, but they aren’t forthcoming. “I don’t think we do actually [fit in with that scene] so that was an interesting test. Playing shows where not many people had heard of us in America. There were a lot of all-ages shows as well, and what we’re doing isn’t really pop punk like the other two bands. People seemed to be into it though, which is good. Personality-wise they’re all great guys, but music-wise we’re mining different paths.” Nathan mentions the age difference. “They’re a lot younger than us too, eh? They’re kinda singing about stuff we used to do and we’re talking about things we do now. The way we see the world now.” Cheatahs’ sound is a dense, layered affair that appears to be as much influenced by 90s Camden shoegaze as it is by Canadian contemporaries like Fucked Up – perhaps a result of their multinational membership. Their mostly indecipherable vocals are low in the mix, a result of the heavily textured and purposefully emphatic placement of the rest of the instrumentation. When we suggest what sets them apart from a lot of their peers is their ability to craft great pop music amongst the noise Nathan explains, “the easiest way to think about it is; I wrote a lot of these songs acoustic, at home. For me if it works acoustic and you can make it sound really interesting dry, then when you put distortion or effects on it it’s gonna sound way better, right?”. James adds “We definitely find out what we want to write about through the music rather than vice versa, and then when we do get the ideas for lyrics we take them very seriously. We work on them, aware that people are gonna read them cold on the page. I’m personally very proud of our lyrics.” It’s clear Cheatahs approach their music with an admirable sincerity and integrity. That career-launching appearance soundtracking upper-class heartbreak on Made in Chelsea isn’t in the pipeline. “There’s no danger of us doing T4 On The Beach” jokes Nathan. “We won’t pander to that stuff” James stresses. “With this record we’ve tried to make the record we’d like to listen to at home. It’s an incredibly simple idea but a lot of bands often forget that, and we’ve made a record we’re really proud of.” He pauses one last time. “Now if we could just pay our rent…”
Words: Billy Black Photo: Jon Bergman
Cheatahs is released on 10 February via Wichita
26 Words: Angus Harrison Photo: Tom Weatherill
Tom Fleming and Hayden Thorpe are talking about London. We are sitting in a thoughtfully decorated meeting room, an island in a bright grey industrial estate.
but dressed up in ‘arty’ clothing to make it look more involved. We’re trying to make it as simple as possible.”
This investment in aesthetics is a central philosophy to how they work as a band. We begin discussing the lyrics of Wanderlust, the first single from Present Tense. The lyrics unpick contemporary cultural conflicts, largely the hegemonic influence of class and wealth. It also hones in on British bands leaning on Americanised styles. Many have taken this to be a dig at Arctic Monkeys, but Tom hastens to add “We should clarify the words Arctic Monkeys never left our lips!” Rather, the songs take aim at a wider artistic point about authenticity and reflection.
Following the embrace of digital tools, Wild Beasts are reflecting the grey skies of the Present Tense
“This feels like a new phase. We feel more like the band that made our first album than ever before – it’s a side effect of living in a big city where every fucker is a musician!” Tom laughs. “We feel more like our own little continent.”
Wild Beasts initially formed in their Lake District hometown Kendal, and after a few line-up shuffles, eventually released their first album Limbo Panto in 2008 to a unique sort of confounded acclaim. Thorpe’s sordid falsetto and carnivalesque jaunts, along with Fleming’s contrasting baritone and lyrics that romanticised lower league football and chips with cheese, gave it a divisive yet inimitable status. “I think we exist in isolation and Limbo Panto was our mission statement,” Hayden remembers. “I suppose on the new record we are reaffirming those mentalities that galvanised us in the first place. The mental state behind Limbo Panto is still there, but it’s now re-imagined.”
“Making music should be a positive thing,” Tom adds. “Whatever it is, you should be proactive rather than just going against something. ‘Re-imagining’ is a word I would return to. All of my favourite musicians have themes they return to, but communicate in different ways.” Wild Beasts have certainly communicated some relatively esoteric sounds to increasingly broad audiences, but in providing such a welcome deviation from the norm they’ve earned an ‘art-rock’ association they perhaps aren’t wholly comfortable with. And following their last two albums, 2009’s Two Dancers and 2011’s Smother, they’ve come to occupy the status of a ‘band’s band’: ripe for beard scratching and over-analysis.
“The problem with being a ‘band’s band’ is it’s like being a ‘man’s man’. You’re desperate to be popular with the ladies but you can’t get their attention,” Hayden suggests playfully. “We don’t just want to be interpretable by musos. I don’t want people to have to pontificate or have to intellectualise our music, that’s not what it’s for. It’s really got a pop philosophy.”
Tom agrees, “our music is as accessible as it can be without dumbing it down. On the other hand I hear a lot of music that is basic
“We are far more proud of condensing an idea into its simplest form than trying to make something that is detailed and complicated,” Hayden continues. “It’s a far harder task to condense something, also because you’re not necessarily relying on craft, you’re relying on the innate – which is all the more mysterious.” We talk more about what this means; the dangerous middle ground between condensed, productive pop music and something insincere and commercialised. It was a conflict central to the production of their new album Present Tense, a record which sees the band edge ever closer to those boundaries thanks, in part, to a movement from their traditional sound palette to one more electronically inclined.
“The dark shadow of ‘sellout’ was looming a little during the recording process,” Hayden considers. “All I can say is, believe or not, it was the nature of the songs and where we were at. It wasn’t a business decision, it was a creative decision. Also to, in some ways, fulfil that prophecy that we do make pop, because at other times we have really stretched the skin of what pop is. It felt necessary to say we can do this.”
Tom smiles, “I heard our new single on Radio 1 and I was like ‘Why are they playing this?’ It doesn’t sound like it fits at all! But that’s a great feeling. I still quite like people not knowing what to do with us.” So are they worried about a backlash? The British populous can be notoriously protective over the guitar, and notably scathing of bands who abandon it. This topic has both Hayden and Tom knowingly guarded, finding the attitude towards British guitar bands humorous and frustrating in equal parts. “The guitar is just part of the tapestry, we just don’t feel the need to be all over it. I find it bizarre that it’s something people focus on so much,” Tom stresses. “I love the idea that you’re pussying out if you don’t play the guitar – like you’re only a man if you’re playing a man’s instrument. The layers of stupidity in that are just unreal.” Hayden laughs along in agreement. “It’s purely an aesthetic decision. An instrument after a while becomes predictable to you. And the guitar, after a point for me personally, became associated with things we didn’t want on this record.”
“It’s definitely about mythologising,” Hayden unpacks, “which is the hardest task: dignifying those elements of your life that you find harder to capture. The point I was trying to make is that it’s all too easy to lean on somebody else’s mythologies because they appear more attractive. I don’t want it to come across as patriotic, I’m not proud to be British, but it’s a strive for sincerity. I think we do make music on an emotional level and I think that requires a sincerity that can only come from an awareness of the world around you. I suppose we wanted to make something that reflected the grey skies, not just the blue ones.” In addition to the grey skies, their scope of influence is wide and constantly open. While discussing the pace and electronic textures of Present Tense, the internet was a recurring topic. Tom explained this connection as central to the album’s urgency. “We’ve drawn on the present. I think being plugged into everything means the art benefits from looking at the world more, rather than being in a library.”
“I think it affects people’s patience,” Hayden remarks, cautiously building on Tom’s point. “I think we’ve destroyed superstition and we can attain whatever we want. It’s a dangerous place to go because we’re trying to go faster and faster, and I think that’s reflected in this record. You become numb to horrific scenes, just as you become numb to graphic porn. It’s all part of the daily cereal, which is unnerving.” Technological construction and synthesis sound firmly intrinsic to the album, even down to the production process that saw the band compose on computers before recording with any instruments. Hayden considers the benefits of new technology in terms of provoking something equally new. “We were writing with our eyes at first. It was important for us to return to a learner capacity that presented us with challenges. We were really wary that we could have
made another Smother quite easily, so we had to go against our nature.” Their nature is also clearly democratic, working as a band, for the band, with little regard for auteurs. “I think we’re quite old fashioned in that respect,” Tom comments, “we all play a few instruments and we compose together.” Returning to the railway lines and torn tarmac outside the window, Hayden considers the relationship between technology and the great mundane. “This is a concrete record rather than landscape. We definitely want this to be a period piece. I don’t mind if it sounds aged in 10 years. It should. It came from when it came from.” Present Tense is released on 24 February via Domino
Issue 38 | crackmagazine.net
“I love the idea that you’re pussying out if you don’t play the guitar – like you’re only a man if you’re playing a man’s instrument. The layers of stupidity in that are just unreal”
With his Awesome Tapes From Africa project, Brian Shimkovitz turns the spotlight on the continent’s movements in sound for love rather than commercial gain
Lots of westerners spend time in Africa. Many return with tourist tat, shit anecdotes and an unctuous slacktivism that irritates more than it nspires. Brian Shimkovitz, however, spent years in West Africa studying and collecting music, later deciding to share it on his blog Awesome Tapes from Africa; it has since become an essential resource for anyone with an interest in African music. Along with labels like Soundway, Sofrito and Strut, Shimkovitz has done a lot to disseminate African music across the globe. At first, Shimkovitz offered music for free, but then felt selling vinyl on his own label could “make a bigger impact”. Some have dubbed what he does ‘vinyl colonialism’ – that he is just the latest in a long line of westerners bent on extracting African goods for their own profit. Shimkovitz handles such accusations with disarming genuineness: “I am not making any money so it doesn’t really apply. I am hoping to get the artists a chance to tour and make a bigger thing out of their music internationally”. It’s working: the label has been a resounding success, now gearing up for its fifth release. This is part of a more general increase in the popularity of ‘African music’ (a “clunky phrase”, he rightly points out) in the West. But how does he respond to another charge – that African music is only popular because it’s “esoteric, retro and exotic”? He says those things are “part of the appeal, but I think it’s an over-simplified statement to say it’s the only thing attracting listeners. I love hip-hop and disco and reggae. All these have roots in African music, and when I hear things I identify with or relate with or recognise and love the sound of, a pleasing connection is made in my head that has nothing to do with the music’s otherness”.
Linked to the above is the fact that more and more western dance music producers are sampling African music these days. While Shimkovitz says “it’s hard to generalise”, there appears to have been a shift from the gimmicky days of Douster’s King of Africa to now, where artists like Midland draw on African music as they would any other – for its effect on the dancefloor. It works both ways: “African artists are getting quicker access to current music from outside their locales so things are going to keep getting weirder – in a good way”. This is the kind of crosscultural exchange that might appear new, but actually isn’t. “There have been several phases of international music growth spurts in the past 100 years” states Shimkovitz. You might counter that the internet has prompted an explosion of so-called ‘World Music 2.0’, of which Shimkovitz’s blog and label are a part. Perhaps his own charming humility prevents him for taking credit. 2014 will see Shimkovitz continuing to DJ his awesome tapes, and to release more records – if he “can track down the right people and do it properly”. While Shimkovitz has (literally) thousands of tapes he could put out, it’s this attention to quality that’s won fans – and will retain them. As any writer wishing to slyly advertise their degree in African history & politics will imply over the course of an integrated interview feature, most West-Africa relations are burdened with ethical problems. Is what Shimkovitz doing exploitative? Is the appeal based on "otherness"? In his case, neither applies. Shimkovitz is not embarking on some anthropological package tour of African music – this is just music he likes that happens to come from Africa, and if he wasn’t releasing it, perhaps no one would.
Words: Robert Bates Illustration: Tyler Spangler
Issue 38 | crackmagazine.net
Working primarily in sculpture, Andy Holden has been gaining momentum over the past years. A piece in TATE Britain and solo shows across the UK, he's a postmodern renaissance man He’s in a band, he’s curated a festival, he’s staged plays and he’s lectured on Ornithology. He lives in Bedford, and works in a cold but cosy three room studio, seven minutes drive from the station Crack arrives to, in the rain. Arlesley station in the rain is no fun. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, 35 minutes out of Kings Cross, it’s grey and without shelter. Deeply unwelcoming, we wait here on the platform for Holden. We’re picked up, taken to HQ, tea is offered and conversation segues into interview so seamlessly that we almost forget to turn the dictaphone on.
Words: Augustin Macellari
The scope of Holden’s practice is as broad as he is talkative. Sculpture is ostensibly his thing: large scale works with a recognisable shabby aesthetic; giant boulders (referred to, by the artist, as ‘Dumb Motifs’) made
Towards a Unified Theory of MI!MS, Installation View, Zabludowicz Collection, 2013
from bent MDF boards perched in various landscapes; knitted sculptures, monumental in scale (some murmuring), inhabit galleries. He works in plaster, too. Large stalagmites are built up in coloured layers. His studio is crammed with things. A table is covered in bird's nests, materials from his work with his father on an Ornithology lecture he’s staged; an ashtray, cautiously used (it might be a sculpture, you see. Probably is, doesn’t seem to matter); boards covered in stickers, familiar from his latest show Maximum Irony! Maximum Sincerity 1999-2003: Toward a unified theory of MI!MS (hereafter obbreviated to M!MS) at the Zabludowicz collection, are packaged in bubble-wrap and leaning against the walls. The multicoloured plaster stalagmites are there, as are beer bottles, covered with the same plaster. He sold these as merch,
for £20, outside the gallery where the big plaster works were exhibited. He makes us another tea and bums a cigarette. There appears to be an interesting disparity to Andy Holden. Though his practice is diverse, it is always united by a distinct aesthetic contiguity; a kind of clean shabbiness. His sculptures have something of the crafty about them. They seem wholesome, and homemade. His plaster stalagmites look quite delicious, something out of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. As mentioned, a table in his studio is covered in bird’s nests. His works are friendly and welcoming. His discussion of them, though, can be impenetrable. There’s something jarring in the disjunction between output and self. “There’s this strange idea that complex ideas have to be inaccessible,” he tells us when we mention it. “It shouldn’t be that for something to be clever or complicated, it also has to be visually austere.”
His sculptural practice, through its approachable aesthetics, disguises the weight of the intellectual rigour behind it. “Often big questions are incredibly accessible, you just have to trust that people want to engage with those things. If the material brings you in and allows you space to be comfortable, hopefully the minute you start to engage with it, it has a way of unfolding.” One of Holden’s biggest projects to date has been the staging of Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, David Foster-Wallace’s seminal collection of short stories. Holden was drawn to it, in part, he says, because “someone had made something that was right on that point of high-postmodernism tipping over into something else, something new. A different position to referentiality, to reflexiveness, that brings together a kind of new emotional space that comes through the reflexivity that we’ve been brought up on.”
Foster-Wallace’s writing offers a way, as Holden puts it, of, “knowing a thing outside of our knowing the thing.” The decontextualisation of an emotion, feeling or thought from the tools we have at our disposal to process it. “David FosterWallace finds access to things that seem to be an emotional space outside of language. He gets there through his brilliant excess of taking almost every position and moving it around; his materiality of language is something that really resonates with me.” Holden seems to do the same, but with his own, self described, “language of materials.” Where Foster-Wallace fills in space, relentlessly, with words, describing every possible outcome and feeling a situation could engender in photorealistic detail until a picture becomes clear, he highlights the negative space outside that picture, the “emotional space outside of language.” Holden attempts the same with materiality.
32 The Naturist (Unofficial Sculpture for the Festival of Britain, Jaywick, UK), plywood and timber, 2011
“There’s this strange idea that complex ideas have to be inaccessible. It shouldn’t be that for something to be clever or complicated, it also has to be visually austere.”
M!MS is a sprawling show. It recreates the movement for which Holden and chums wrote a manifesto. A response to the angsty reflexive trap of adolescence, “being very self-conscious, but wanting the sincerity of direct experience,” M!MS argues for a paradoxical state, a kind of doublethink, the kind that simultaneously allows one to be scornful of a minor chord change and find it stirring. Images, film, music and sculpture are packed into the exhibition. From YouTube videos to carefully performed scenes taken from the artist’s and his M!MS colleagues’ memories, he bombards the audience with reflexive information, until the strangely tautological M!MS dichotomy filters through. The volume of information to process renders the concept more and more intellectually opaque, but it sharpens and focuses the emotional clarity, until what is left is a distinct but almost impossible to articulate sense of M!MS. “The idea of maximum irony, maximum sincerity was that both these things drop away and you have a whole new way of thinking about something, which is to embrace these things ‘bothly’, simultaneously. It’s not ironic or sincere, it’s this other thing that’s both these things at the same time.” In Laws of Motion in the Cartoon Landscape, Holden and co-lecturer Tyler Woolcott deliver a seminar on the proposed rules governing physics in the universe of cartoon slapstick, to explore how “cartoon physics will predict how the landscape after art history might happen.” In the lecture he talks constantly, “I want to get a massive amount of information into things, to make
something that might require a couple of viewings.” Laws of Motion was, for Holden, an early exercise in accessing the same conceptual zone as David Foster-Wallace does through his “materiality of language.” “You can navigate that emotional space through the construction of objects but only in relation to setting up these interpretive frameworks around them, then looking at the tension between the object and the framework you put the object within. Laws of Motion was the first experiment of that. The theory is a work within the show, so you have to treat the words of the idea as equally as the materials.” Holden’s conceptual concerns make up an expansive network, but there are reference points to which he always returns; most especially the material. “Narrative is one way of giving a sense of time, but when an object gives a sense of time something else happens to me. Something which I’ve always described as this ‘thingly time’. A sense of materiality, of duration.” The power of materials, both as a context and as objects, is always at play. “I started thinking about the construction of thought from a material point of view, outside of language. The imagery that you keep around dictates the way you conceptualise your own past, and therefore your position within the present. What informs your memories structures the way you interpret the present; the conservative politics of the small town is informed by the constant belief that the past was somehow better than the present.”
Totem for Thingly Time, (plaster, household paint) 2011
Eyes In Space, Collage, 2013
The point is that for Holden, materiality does function as a language, capable of informing thought like language, capable of marking time like narrative. Towards the end of our interview, Holden alludes to “metonymic movement”. This is the easiest way of parsing the materially disparate aspects of his practice; if the projects he works on seem disconnected, these movements are the points of overlap on the Venn diagram of, say, sculpture and music. “It’s about running several discursive groups together,” he says of his different projects, “and seeing what they do when they come into contact.” So on to his band, The Grubby Mitts. It’s kind of trendy for artists to have musical side-projects at the moment. “I think art in its closed off state is finishing,” Holden speculates. “How it incorporates itself and reacts with different disciplines now is an interesting position.” This kind of answers Crack’s next question; whether his music is to be taken as external to his practice, or as part of it? “It’s both, it really is. It destabilises my practice and brings in collaborative elements that aren’t there. Music is a very articulate way of describing a temporal shift. It can take a duration and transform those minutes, expand them and contract them through playing with how something unfolds. Organising musical practices forces me out of studio routine and gallery routine and moves me into scenarios and dialogues with brains I wouldn’t necessarily encounter.” This last point is important; for Holden, an essential facet of the band is the negotiation that
comes from working with people from another discipline. “With me coming from an art background, and them being primarily interested in the craft of music, them forcing my hand and me forcing theirs, we make these things that meet in the middle as both sculptural art pieces and musical works. That feeds then back into the practice. I start to think of objects as songs, and songs as objects.” And so we’re back into the “language of materiality,” the metonymical nexus that lies at the core of Holden’s practice. Our interview is scheduled to last an hour, but the dictaphone is turned off after exactly two. The wide breadth and high output of Holden’s practice is reflected in his discussion of it, which is at times extremely hard to follow. Like David Foster-Wallace, though, the volume of information he presents eventually gives way to clarity. And if we find it hard to follow at times, so does he: “Sometimes I feel like I have no strategy in the world. When you’re trying to make some kind of a larger system, sometimes you just get lost within it.” Maximum Irony! Maximum Sincerity opens at Spike Island, Bristol 3 May
This poster was made exclusively for CRACK by Will Kendrick willkendrick.co.uk
Jim'll Paint It: Turning the stupid stuff in your head into awesome stuff on MS Paint since ’13 There was always a kid in your class who was good at drawing, and was made to suffer for it with an endless flow of requests to draw dream robot monsters and fantasy landscapes. Being able to take all the ridiculous things that crop up in your big, stupid head and transport them to paper with a degree of competence is a timeless skill. It’s probably the second oldest profession in the world, after ... what is it again? Probably something to do with HR.
So what if that process gets multiplied by a factor of Internet? Jim’ll Paint It, that’s what.
(295,000 at the last count). And now he’s presenting his work in exhibition form for the first time. It’s in his hometown, at the unassuming Gloucester Road watering hole The Golden Lion, and so we thought now would be the perfect time for us to give him a shout.
Jim’s also kindly agreed to contribute next month’s middle-page poster based on your suggestions. Send us what you’ve got to firstname.lastname@example.org marked ‘FOR JIM’ and we’ll pass them on.
I’m usually happiest with the latest thing I’ve drawn, probably because I’m still learning new tricks and techniques all the time. But Brian Blessed and Goldie riding hoovers on Rainbow Road is still my favourite, if only for the subject matter. How do you have the time to work your way through all the ideas you get sent? The truth is I don’t anymore. I just about see everything that gets posted to my wall but I still get sent private messages on Facebook even though I have over 11,000
Through offering up his uncanny ability with the none-more-retro medium of Microsoft Paint around a year ago, an unassuming young man from Bristol called James has become an online sensation. The use of MS Paint taps into a distinct sense of childhood nostalgia. Memories of getting your first computer and drinking in the possibilities. Painstakingly painting footballers and waiting half an hour for the pictures to print. Lustfully sketching nude torsos and gazing agog at their profound thereness for 10 seconds, before breathlessly erasing them for fear of being rumbled. In an age of internet artists showing off hyperrealistic iPad art, the appeal of Jim’s work is in its knowability. Handing the power to his audience was ingenious. In doing so, he opened the process beyond the appeal of crude software used like a pro. It became a challenge, to conjure the most surreal and ludicrous scenes imaginable; familiar faces transported to distant, dreamlike lands of anthropomorphised buildings and Lovecraftian creatures, context as a fragile notion which exists to be smashed. Or, simply, ‘Jeremy Clarkson can’t eat cereal’. And all the while, James quietly went about churning out these visions. His Tumblr became inundated, drawing attention from everyone from The Independent to influential design blog It’s Nice That and The Sun. He got the thumbs up from surreal comic masters like Graham Linehan and Bob Mortimer. His Facebook page amasses legions of followers
crap. The pipette is actually not as useful as you might think. I did experiment with eye dropping skin tones and stuff from photos, but when you’re painting in a cartoon style you really have to play to people’s expectations. I learned this when I used the actual skin tones from a photo of Oprah, only to have about 200 comments asking why I’d made her white. I now have four set skin tone palettes that I use regardless; white, black, pasty and fake tanned. So why did you choose The Golden Lion for your first exhibition? The Golden Lion appealed to me for a few reasons. I like the fact it’s primarily a pub and music venue. A picture of Jim Bowen evading the police in a speedboat is more likely to be appreciated in that sort of environment than it is in a conventional gallery. The thought of someone standing silently in front of my work stroking their chin is as intimidating as it is ridiculous. Also I live on the same street. The owner didn’t know this when he contacted me. Just one of those mental coincidences. Have you ever thought about using your success to branch out – animation, for example? I have dabbled in Paint-based animation but wasn’t so happy with the results. I think it’s best to stick to what you’re good at. I don’t want to become some sort of Tesco Value David Firth. I spend a lot of time doing non-Paint based art and even electronic music, but I’ve never been tempted to push that on people via Jim’ll Paint It. That’s not what people are interested in.
So how did Jim’ll Paint It come to life? I brought this on myself. One day, when I was bored on my lunch break, I asked Facebook if anyone wanted anything drawn on Paint. A couple of weeks later it got a bit out of control, and before I knew it people I didn’t know were asking for stuff. I blame my mate Carl for it getting as weird as it's got. He’s the one who wanted to see a giant prawn battling an anthropomorphic New York skyline, and that seemed to set the precedent. Are there any paintings you’re particularly proud of?
unread messages on there. I did originally ask people to only post on my wall but seriously … you can’t get people to do stuff just by asking. That’s not how the internet works. What’s your favourite tab on MS Paint? Bet the pipette is invaluable. I actually spend most of my time using the curved line tool. Took me a while to get used to it but now I find myself using it more than the actual paint brush … possibly at the expense of some ‘rawness’, but then I was never out to make anything look intentionally
Is it more fun to invent your own tiny specifics, like the framed picture of Gordon the Gopher in Phillip Schofield’s house, or to follow the very finest details of the people who write in? Some of the funniest pieces have been the ones with the simplest requests. I’m with you. I really do think the simplest requests are not only the most fun to do but end up having the most visual impact too. It is fun to occasionally flex my skills by taking on a ridiculously specific list of demands, but simple ideas are best because they allow me to get more carried away. I remember painting ‘David Mitchell’s garden
39 Words: Geraint Davies
Dear Jim. Please can you paint me Jim Bowen and Bully making a break for it in the Bullseye speedboat... perhaps in a Thelma and Louise-style leap to freedom? - Matthew Mella centre rampage’ and just adding more and more explosions and carnage while laughing like some kind of panto villain.
Very few people in real life that I come across have heard of it, which usually leads to some pretty awkward explanations.
You must be constantly impressed by the imagination shown by your fans. It is amazing, really. I must be in possession of the single greatest library of bizarre ideas in existence. It’s quite a responsibility in some ways. I hope one day some budding MS Painters will start taking on some of the brilliant ones I’ve missed.
It’s interesting to watch how much your work has improved since your early pieces, though you would probably have been just as successful if you hadn’t actually improved as an artist. As I said, I’ve never been intentionally raw or loose besides using a clunky, outdated piece of software. The challenge has always been to make it look as good as possible and I’ve just been refining my technique every time. I couldn’t go back to the old style now even though in some ways I wish I could. I’d certainly get a lot more done.
Both Bob Mortimer and Graham Linehan have come out as fans of yours. As someone who’s clearly into surreal comic imagery, it can’t get much better than that? I was really buzzing about that. I’m a big fan of both, obviously. I had a lot of fun paying homage to Father Ted with the Exorcist picture knowing there was a good chance Graham Linehan would see it. Is the fact that people like that are paying attention to what you do still difficult to take in? You seem like a really down-to-earth guy, but you’re massive. I don’t feel like I am. Because it’s on the internet there’s this sense of detachment.
Are you a fan of other artists who dip into comedy? David Shrigley, for example? Funny you should mention David Shrigley as I’ve been a fan of his for ages. I’ve ruined two of his books by leaving them in my bathroom for five years. But I’m struggling to think of more legitimate artists who dip into comedy that I like. I guess I’m generally more into comedians who dip into art. Harry Hill’s Tim the Tiny Horse
books are fantastic. I’m also a big fan of The Perry Bible Fellowship. I think what I do falls somewhere between art and comedy. I’m not really comfortable with it being categorised as either. Maybe it’s just the world’s most pointless public service. Finally – sorry – who would win in a fight between you and Chris (Simpsons artist)? I love Chris. Why would we be fighting? If he wanted to fight me I’d try and talk him out of it, but I can’t see it really. He’s far too wise in his ways.
Jim’ll Paint It is exhibiting at The Golden Lion, Bristol until 15 February. Send your suggestions for next month’s middle-page poster to email@example.com
Jenny Chiffon Shirt | American Apparel Wool tank Top | Orla Kiely Trousers | Rokit Johanna Jumpsuit | Rokit Chiffon Blouse | American Apparel
Next Door Credits Photographer | Gareth Rhys @ God & Man Models | Jenny Bishop & Johanna Dahl @ FM Stylist | Charlotte James assisted by Kirsty Bennett Hair Stylist | Jamie Benny assisted by Tom Atkinson Makeup Artist | John Maclean using Mac Cosmetics
Rainbow Fur Jacket | MaryMe-JimmyPaul Printed Swimsuit | MaryMe-JimmyPaul Earrings | Claudius vintage
Off the shoulder dress with stars | Alessandra Rich Sunglasses | Claudius vintage Fur gilet | Rokit
Crochet Dress | Yulia Kondranina Turtle Neck | Cos T-bar Shoes | Ursula Mascaro
Issue 38 | crackmagazine.net
Cropped Jacket | MaryMe-JimmyPaul Flared Trousers | Claudius Vintage
Issue 38 | crackmagazine.net
Johanna Fruit print sheer shirt | Vintage Versace at May The Circle Remain Unbroken maythecircleremainunbroken.tictail.com Checked Trousers | Rokit Jenny Cherry Print Shirt | Meadham Kirchhoff for Topshop Wool Trousers | Vintage French Connection at May The Circle Remain Unbroken
Her 30-ye musical legac echoes thro contempora culture. Now N Cherry is retu to the fold
Issue 38 | crackmagazine.net
47 Words: Joshua Nevett Photo: Kim Hiorthoy
Neneh Cherry is excited. When Crack calls up the idiosyncratic stepdaughter of jazz luminary Don Cherry in the run-up to the release of Blank Project – her first solo album in 17 years – her ebullience is hardly surprising. It’s “absolutely snowingballing” outside, she tells us from the comfort of her couch in Stockholm. “But it’s totally fine, it’s not a complaint”.
ear cy still ough ary Neneh urning d
It was 25 years ago this May that Raw Like Sushi was put out to pasture. That debut album launched Cherry’s club-friendly US hit Buffalo Stance, a track she famously performed on Top of the Pops whilst eight months pregnant with her first daughter. Front-loaded with confrontational rhythms and rhymes, the record sauntered through the peripheries of the mainstream, heckled hip-hop’s materialistic caricatures and reminded narcissistic junk fondlers that boasting about “the size of your dick” will only attract Phoney Ladies. This inaugural hip-hop excursion has since made its repercussions felt – inadvertently or not – in the works of contemporary female artists such as MIA, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj, Angel Haze et al. You know the types: un-fuck-with-able firebrands with rabble-rousing agendas and subversive attitudes. All children of the Cherry. Blank Project sees her move away from the wildly experimental jazz wanderings of 2011’s The Cherry Thing – a collaborative covers album with Swedish trio The Thing – to working with Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden, who was hired to oversee production duties, along with London-based duo RocketNumberNine. The LP’s eponymous lead track has a tunnelling, paranoid and propulsive feel to it, with a sharp tongued Cherry on a typically confrontational tip. Cherry’s not resting on her laurels though, it’s not often she goes the whole hog with a new hook up. “To make a solo album, I think you’ve got to feel like it’s validated,” she says. “I guess I needed to vent 17 years of accumulated shit out of my system somehow.” It’s in this stifled eruption of musical ideas that we find a charismatic, experimental, forward-thinking musician with an infinitely cool proclivity for adolescent abandon that belies not just her age, but her generation, genre and gender.
After 17 years of solo album radio silence, what compelled you to write songs again? I started writing the songs on Blank Project about three years ago, some are a bit newer, but it just felt like I’d finally got to a place where I had that edge to start the
next part of the trip. I’ve not been stuck for 17 years, I’ve hopefully been on some kind of growth trajectory all the way through. Raw Like Sushi came out when I was 25, so by the time (1996 solo album) Man was done, it felt like a natural break to try some other stuff and reinvent myself. I was kind of tired of myself. Life’s so short and so precious, I had to feel like I’m not just doing this to fill up empty space with empty words. A record is a forum to sort things out, take a step back to look at the good the bad and the ugly, the funny and the ironic, a place to laugh at myself, or even just cry a bit. In between Man and Blank Project, how did you cross paths with The Thing and how does this collaboration tie in with your stepfather, Don Cherry? When I came back to Stockholm after living in London for a whole bunch of years, I was aware that [The Thing] had named the band for one of my dad’s song titles, so my
process was as natural as possible. What can you tell us about your collaboration with Robyn, who appears on the track Out of the Black? We had a really nice day recording that track together, I think I’m slightly in love with her, she’s a little diamond, that girl. Out of the Black was actually one of the tracks I was struggling with, and Kieran suggested we should get Robyn to lend her vocals to it. It was a tune that was screaming for something. It was missing her, basically. What’s your take on women in the contemporary music landscape? I would like to classify myself as someone who’s always been really proud of women, stimulated by them and dependent on their influence. Especially women that really hit hard. I think it’s easy to sit back and diss – and I have done – a lot of the obvious things you can diss in the mainstream picture. That’s the easy, obvious thing to do. Screw that. I really like
“I think the over-sexualisation of women in hip-hop fucking sucks. It’s really boring and it’s not even hot or sexy. Actually, it’s not even dangerous” good friend Connie Lindstrom introduced us. They’d always very loudly voiced how big of an influence [my dad] was. They just have this energy that really feeds me, it’s raw and I suppose we’re from the same generation. When my mum passed away four years ago, I knew that I was vitally desperate to do something, so I hooked up with The Thing. It wasn’t about sitting down and writing a bunch of songs, it just felt right to do cover versions and make that a meeting point. It was a saving grace for me; it just catapulted me out of that really dark place. You hooked up with Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet and electronic duo RocketNumberNine for the recording of Blank Project. How would you describe their stylistic contributions? Blank Project couldn’t have a better pilot, Kieran is kind of a magic person. I think stylistically you can feel and hear Kieran in the record. You can even feel his breath, he’s definitely in there. He’s not a manipulative person at all, he was totally candid. We had five days to record these ten tracks, and the concept was to record it live to ensure the
MIA, Patti Smith, actually I love Beyonce, I think she’s amazing. I wish I had some of her fucking energy. I think Martina TopleyBird is amazing as well; she’s a kind of genius. But we are overly dependent on a few vital women, and I think we have to create more space. How far engrained a problem do you think misogyny and bigotry are in the context of hip-hop? I think it sucks. I think the oversexualisation or even the total desexualisation of women fucking sucks. You get guys standing around in ten layers of clothes smoking cigars and the chicks are walking around in bikinis saturated in oil. OK, is that really how you’re going to sell records? There is a rage and there is a different blood of people coming through, that’s why I like MCs like Joey Badass, that’s why when you hear MIA, people respect her message. People are saying, ‘that’s enough already’ and it creates a rage and then all of a sudden there’s a voice of people who are saying perverse things.
I feel we’re at one of those places now. There’s a predominant voice, even in hiphop, that’s hopefully going to run this old fashioned nonsense off the road. It’s really boring and it’s not even that hot or sexy. Actually, it’s not even dangerous. How do you differentiate between female artists that blur the lines between risqué freedom of expression and feminism? Is the ‘sex sells’ mantra still a predominant mindset? I differentiate between the two because of the way that artist makes me feel. If an artist makes me feel like I want to lie on the floor, or scream, or have sex, then I embrace whatever emotion I feel first. If that artist makes me feel something then that’s surely a good thing. I think some people choose to go a certain way because they want to be famous; they make these compromises because they’re convinced that’s what’s going to get them to a particular place. We all want to make a living out of what we do and make a name for ourselves, but I think it’s down to where you make your compromises. But it’s not my place to criticise people or preach what’s better or worse. I don’t think that’s helping anybody. How would you compare the role of a current female MC to that of your 16-year-old self, performing with feminist punk game-changers The Slits? The language they speak and the sounds they use have all changed, but I think fundamentally we’re voicing the same things. When I hear a 16-year-old now it cuts straight into my heart, because I understand it. It’s not my job to sound like a 16-year-old, but I understand it and I can relate to it. I have a 17-year-old daughter who’s making music, and I can relate to it because I’ve been there and I’m watching her in that same headspace. All of her female friends call themselves feminists, and that’s really cool. But at the same time, you never stop learning and observing, and that just makes me think, ‘what the fuck, I still feel unqualified’. Blank Project is released on 24 February via Smalltown Supersound. Neneh Cherry appears at Love Saves The Day, Bristol, 24-25 May
Products Faces Tee Malmo £35 malmolondon.net
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Late Century Dream : Movements in the US Indie Music Underground Ed. Tom Howells Black Dog Publishing £19.95 blackdogonline.com Taking its name from a song by underground heroes Superchunk, Late Century Dream is a heartfelt and well-researched collection of six essays and interviews about the American musical landscape from an alternative perspective, brought expertly together by editor Thomas Howells. From fascinating vignettes about Austin’s thriving punk community to enlightening insights into the resonance and foundation of the highly influential movement in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the book goes some way to explaining the phenomenon of snowballing local scenes, the attraction of the underground and the togetherness that mutual musical appreciation can create. The pictures are flipping great too.
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Coffee is serious business. Crack Magazine is serious business (seriously). Which is why lately we've been fuelled almost exclusively by the black tar that comes out of this thing. The innovative plunger / filter combo allows the use of a finer grind, which means a purer, more intense flavour, and most importantly MAXIMUM CAFFEINE.
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PHOTGRAPHIQUE COMPETITION If you're into taking photos of anything more interesting than your cat, then you'll no doubt be aware of Lomography. Initially produced in the Soviet Union in the early 20th Century, the cheap plastic Lomo LC-A camera that kickstarted the whole thing was rediscovered by a group of Viennese hippies in the 90s and has since enjoyed a cult status among those with a penchant for all things analog and fuzzy. We've teamed up with the excellent camera people at Photographique to offer up the high end La Sardina Splendour model for the very reasonable price of a correct answer. Which of the following is not a founding member of the international photographic agency Magnum Photos? A. Robert Capa B. Henri Cartier-Bresson C. Jamie Jones Send your answers with subject "LOMO" to firstname.lastname@example.org
Is It My Body? Kim Gordon Sternberg Press £40 sternberg-press.com Though Kim Gordon’s legacy is indubitable, the latest from Sternberg Press presents those surprisingly overlooked writings from her Sonic Youth heyday. Guiding us through Gordon's direct, unadorned prose, the book comprises selected works from the 80s and 90s ranging from art, music and her own position as a woman on stage, as well as discussing the work of Glenn Branca, Rhys Chatham, Tony Oursler and Raymond Pettibon. Published this month ahead of her heavily-anticipated memoir Girl In A Band, Is It My Body? chronicles, contextualises and dissects Gordon’s position at the epicenter of a crucial era for New York’s music scene.
An indispensibe document of this rare British success story, this weighty tome is brimming with stills and memorabilia from the modern classics Warp has produced in its extraordinary 10-years of existence, alongside a collection of 10 DVDs. The product itself is exceptional: sleek, immaculately designed and reassuringly high-quality, all neatly packaged in a clear blue case that somehow oozes the Warp brand. The DVDs offer the full scope of Warp’s output, with controversial efforts like Snowtown, hauntingly affecting tales of grim reality like Tyrannosaur and This Is England, and some refreshing levity from Submarine, a char ming tale of Welsh adolescence in all its glory. Any Warp enthusiast will find this luxurious set both wistful and fascinating, a journey into the background and nuances of one of the UK’s most successful and forward thinking production companies.
EAST INDIA YOUTH Total Strife Forever Stolen Recordings And lo, propelled by a veritable blitzkrieg of hype comes William Doyle’s first full-length as East India Youth. Initially, we were perplexed; on first listens, Total Strife Forever came across as a perfectly competent, stirring and interesting record, though most striking for its subtle similarities to underrated Saddle Creek also-rans Now It’s Overhead. Not a bad thing by any means, but hardly worthy of the myriad proclamations of genius being chucked at it. Now, though, maybe we get it. Sonically, this is pristine stuff, and TSF is at its most satisfying when Doyle ditches the earnest gospel grandeur and yearning vocals in favour of hi-def, glittering synth workouts peppered with technoid and kosmiche inflections, and spectral waves of headily ambient oscillatory noise. The eponymous four-track suite, Glitter Recession’s Hecker/Emeralds amalgam and the ecstatic closing minutes of Heaven How Long are all wonderful, though it’s the shimmering pinprick haze of Midnight Koto that acts as the record’s transcendent core. Maybe it’s harsh to suggest that Doyle should have cut this down to an excellent EP rather than run with a merely very good full-length – and perhaps the more we soak up Total Strife Forever the more we’ll eat our words – but there’s more than enough here to indicate the unveiling of a nascent and hugely capable auteur. ! Thomas Howells
LEE BANNON Alternate/Endings Ninja Tune
Taken at surface level, it could be easy to get the wrong impression of The Men – from their masculine name, them being another Brooklyn based band reared on a love of garage rock and classic guitar pop, or the fact they have their tongue far enough in their collective cheeks that they’d christen their fifth album Tomorrow’s Hits; if you wanted to take a dislike to The Men, you wouldn’t need a GPS system to find a reason. But those not in a rush to arrive at a destination, will find their fifth album in as many years is a musical journey heavily distilled with old school rock ‘n’ ideas. The sturdy riffs of Different Days recalls The Replacements at their most driven, whilst the 60s jam band flecked vibes of Sleepless sees them fall into a non-offensive, slumbersome groove. At other times such as Get What You Give nods to The Velvet Underground appear and then slowly drop off further into a fog of primetime rock. The Men’s sturdy retroism is solid, reliable and so safe that it would come with an NCAP rating if tested. Tomorrow’s Hits is unlikely to set pulses racing.
“You want them to see you like they see any other girl/They just see a faggot.” It’s a far cry from the anarchic yelps of a discontented young punk with a battered acoustic guitar, but then again we’re not listening to Against Me! as defined by Tom Gabel anymore. We’re listening to Against Me! as defined by Laura-Jane Grace. The album’s title track couldn’t be more honest if it tried, and in fact that’s what makes it real – Laura isn’t trying. She’s just being Laura. Against Me! might sound more like Bruce Springsteen than they used to and the basements and bookstores Grace once sang about might have turned into the arenas that she once reproached, but what remains is honesty, emotion and personality; an intimate portrait of Grace’s personal transformation. Drinking With The Jocks is possibly the toughest song they’ve ever written while True Trans Soul Rebel has the rabble rousing capability they’ve captured so flawlessly since those early days. This record ain’t flawless, but that’s not what Against Me! is. Against Me! is about reinventing Axl Rose, not being afraid to be open and being yourself. Reinvent they have. Long live Against Me! Long live Laura-Jane!
Darren Cunningham doesn’t make things easy. Each of his previous records as Actress – the onomatopoeic Hazyville, the bubbling jerk of Splaszh, R.I.P’s pointillist take on Milton – took weeks, months, to reveal themselves fully to the listener, required them to attempt to enter the same headspace the producer inhabits. Ghettoville, billed as the end of the Actress persona, is no different. It’s an obtuse take on hard-edged, steely, abstract techno, a crushed, warped, broken-kneed crawl through the hinterlands of the outer reaches of IDM; a defiantly ugly album. Cunningham’s skill is to take this ugliness – an aesthetic of abjection – and make us, as listeners, reframe it, recontextualise it, noticing the moments of a spectrally perverse beauty that emerge from sites of disarray. The beauty comes, as it is wont to do, from juxtaposition. Take songs like Rims and Frontline for example: the former rides on a metallurgist’s approximation of a G-funk rhythm track, the latter is a Berghain banger that’s been left to rot for a few years. Both layer their percussive beds with the slightest of melodical hints; a seeping synth here, a mirage of dystopian-ambient waft there. The light coming through the cracks – in this case an energy saving 30W bulb attempting to illuminate the entirety of a long-abandoned abattoir – is what causes to you to keep the faith. Actress’s music has always beguiled, always refuted easy explanations, always negated the potentiality of it making itself too obvious. Luckily, it’s always been good enough to get away with that. Ghettoville is no exception: a slate-grey masterpiece.
It’s an interesting time to release a record like Alternate/Endings. With the distance between excitement and cynicism ever narrowing, the prospect of an American releasing what has been described as a ‘jungle album’ on UK mainstay Ninja Tune could easily come across as a well-timed attempt to cash-in on a trend that already has its days numbered. But this isn’t a jungle record. It’s a record inspired by Bannon’s past and informed by his present, where the jungle and drum & bass that soundtracked his youth rub against the dusted hip-hop that made him and the droning vistas that currently surround him. By making his own breaks rather than sampling the culturally embedded Amen building blocks to create ‘false memories’ – as Paul Woolford’s Special Request project aspires to do – he is free to use them as he wishes. Here they act as glue, binding together ideas and inspiration pulled in like meteors to a celestial body. If you step back and take in his discography as a whole, it’s clear Bannon is a producer that doesn’t want to be pigeonholed by one record, one sound or one genre. And despite Alternate/ Endings at times blurring together into an amorphous whole, there are enough ideas on display to speculate that Bannon can go exactly where he wants, and make it his own when he gets there.
! Nathan Westley
! Billy Black
! Josh Baines
! Steve Dores
AGAINST ME! Transgender Dysphoria Blues Total Treble Music THE MEN Tomorrow's Hits Sacred Bones
ACTRESS Ghettoville Ninja Tune / Werkdiscs
REAL ESTATE Atlas Domino
PANGAEA FabricLive.73 fabric
VARIOUS ARTISTS 10 Years Of Phonica Phonica
As the winter months wrap their frosty, frigid tentacles around our dancing feet, it’s cathartic to picture a utopian future where slow-burn, mid-tempo disco house has emerged as the nation’s favourite genre. In this wonderful world, 6th Borough Project have built a big, louche mansion on top of a sexy hill and filled it with happy people having happy times. Borough 2 Borough (the duo’s second album) is on the stereo, pumping out the seductive snarl of U know U, the snakehips slo-mo strut of The Call Back and the laconic lament Back to Black. Borough 2 Borough is by no means a perfect album. The smooth Through The Night is perhaps just that little bit too nice n’ easy – and there’s a (very) thin line between semi-ironically appropriating the aesthetics of cheesy, sleazy funk and simply regurgitating it. Interestingly, the few moments which slide into darker territory provide a welcome contrast, with The Vibes providing one of the album’s stand-out moments: wonky disco that clatters along with an uncoordinated but enticing stagger.
It’s hard to discuss Kevin McAuley without comparing his career trajectory to the other two-thirds of Hessle Audio. So we won’t. Let’s just say that with FabricLive.73, Pangaea clears the swamp of expectation and emerges with a confident statement of intent. Ostensibly a techno mix, there’s a sense of osmosis permeating the whole thing, with a number of tracks melting together so fluidly you’re not quite sure what happened, or when. But it’s the bits between which reveal a rudeness informed by and indebted to the continually evolving canon of UK dance music. It’s there in the broken snap of Adam Jay’s Refraction, the dubbed-out momentum of Reeko’s ... err, Momentum, and most notably Hodge’s snare-happy Resolve (a track which later re-appears as a ghostly techno-apparition in the form of Manni Dee’s Romantic Self). There are no troughs to speak of, only rolling tundras broken by the occasional huge, jutting monument. It also doesn’t feel like a journey in the way that traditional techno seems to pride itself on. Where most mixes of this stature tend to be bookended by thoughtful ambience, FabricLive.73 opens with a kick drum and ends with the fading-out of a record in full swing, charging in and out of our attention with a palpable confidence. Now can we judge Pangaea on his own terms?
This writer’s main memories of entering one of Soho’s classier institutions involve shuffling up to the rows of blokes with satchels and super-rare Nike Airs by the new techno releases, double-taking at the price of whatever slab of vinyl caught his eye before shamefacedly tiptoeing over to the bargain bin, taking some Italo represses to the counter, then realising that the eight quid he was about to splurge would be better spent on some pulled pork at the Bodeans across the road. So let us praise all those involved in this expansive three CD compilation: in an age of austerity, they’ve offered us an abundance of riches – two discs of previously unreleased material bundled with a final platter of tracks curated from Phonica’s in-house label. As an overview of contemporary club culture it can’t be faulted: taking in the likes of Roman Flügel (with the off-kilter slump of Giant Talking Vegetable), Mr G (going in with the rugged thump of My Thursdayz) and Legowelt (all grind and bump on Lovecraftiannature), dishing out hot new jams from Joakim and DJ Kaos, Joe Clausell and John Morales, Steve Moore and Special Request. Some curmudgeons might argue that a compilation of this kind sucks the fun out of crate digging, instilling a sense of laziness in the consumer, providing them with a readymade record collection that’s on-trend enough to act as a barometer of considered, studied taste. Fuck them and their deep, deep pockets.
Kicking off the year in frim fashion, Sacred Bones continue their mission to be one of the world's coolest labels. Not only are they they continuing to release records by bands at the forefront of the new avant-garde, but they're also re-releasing painfully underrated gems from the annals of alternative music. Killed By Deathrock is a nod to the punk collectors series Killed By Death and features 11 cuts of jarring, creepy rock and roll and post-punk as selected by Sacred Bones head honcho Caleb Braaten. Essentially, Braaten has dusted off some forgotten treasures and put them on the mantel for everyone to enjoy. American punks Glorious Din’s Tenement Roofs is a new wave masterpiece, completely saturated by haunted reverberation while tracks like Baroque Bordello’s Put It Down are more standard, downtuned punk affairs playing heavily on the minor key ghoul sound. There’s a likelihood that unless you’ve got a major chubby for death rock this will be your first flirtation with the tracks assembled here, so if you’re looking to dig a bit deeper than the bourgeois cannon of post-punk then Killed By Deathrock isn’t far off the best place to start.
! Adam Corner
! Steve Dores
! Josh Baines
! Billy Black
6TH BOROUGH PROJECT Borough 2 Borough Delusions Of Grandeur
VARIOUS ARTISTS Killed By Deathrock Vol.1 Sacred Bones
New Jersey’s Real Estate are a living, breathing, recording embodiment of one of the most pertinent sites of difference between American and British pop culture: the suburb. While we tend to deride the places we grew up in as little more than a high street full of shops you’d never want to shop in and a few pubs you’d never want to drink in, our transatlantic cousins view them as white-fenced-green-lawned sites of potential rehabilitation and places in which youthful vigour and innocence can be refound by even the weariest of late-20s city dwellers. The band’s perfectly calculated sad-slacker pop chimes and chirrups as charmingly as ever, with Ducktails man – and everyone’s current favourite indie pin-up – Matt Mondanile’s synaesthetically-seafoam-green guitar lines underpinning the structure of the whole record. That Atlas doesn’t chart a huge progression from 2011’s Best-OfThe-Decade-Contender Days is no bad thing; yes there’s another surf-y instrumental, yes bassist Alex Bleeker once again takes the lead on a country-ish downtempo number, no the lyrical content hasn’t really moved on from boys being sad about ex girlfriends, no they’ve not ditched luminescent suburban ables for thrash metal explorations. But none of those ‘faults’ matter: Atlas, somehow, is another near-perfect record, an album you want to carry around with you at all times, an album that makes you want to invite friends round just so you can play it to them, an album that seeps in and stains you with its indelible wonder. An album that’s quietly-casually, or casually-quietly, cemented Real Estate as one of the most vital bands in the world today. ! Josh Baines
MØ No Mythologies To Follow Chess Club As a strong Danish female plucked up by Sony and embedded into our subconscious by soundtracking international mixed fruit cider promos, MØ’s electronic sound is strikingly quirky. As you might expect, her inaugural full-length No Mythologies To Follow branches off the beaten track. Opener Fire Rides showcases MØ’s brilliant vocal harmonic range, layered and produced to sound ambitiously numerical, as though from some witchy, almostchoral congregation, bursting alongside power riffs. Then comes the smooth-rather-than icy Maiden, taking a simpler route that smoulders with indigent but loving content and a subtle loop of Spanish guitar. But a third of the journey in is where the route takes an awkward U-turn. Red In The Grey forms an irregular, programmed Euro-beat marriage to her abnormally warbling vocals, where the later Glass initiates akin to a Christmas advert jingle, followed by over-enthusiastic synths and a horrendous attempt at a ‘trap’ beat. When her most dazzling work such as Waste Of Time and beautiful Lana Del Rey charm on Dust Is Gone are lost in a haphazard union of R&B and creepy electronica that fail to fuse, we’re left with an uphurl of eccentrically tacky, disparate tracks, overpowering her potential for bold brilliance. ! Leah Connolly
02 BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN High Hopes Columbia Records
BRANDT BRAUER FRICK DJ Kicks !K7 What do you do when the DJ Kicks series comes knocking? Some artists pick a genre and bpm – say, modish deep house – and knock out a 90-minute mix based solely on that speed and style. Nothing wrong with that – but it’s hardly an expression of musical mastery. Other artists forget the beatmatching and just select prime cuts. Few are able to achieve what Berlin’s techno naturalists Brandt Brauer Frick have here: genuine eclecticism expertly blended into a continuous mix and without a mash-up in sight. So, we are treated to some Minimal Wave-esq weirdness early on (Dollkraut’s Rollercoaster), the life-affirming machine funk of French Fries (White Screen) and the cracked, crumbling space-age optimism of Galaxy 2 Galaxy. Peverelist, Bok Bok, Jam City and Machinedrum all make an appearance, and if that’s not enough to get you salivating, consider this mind-melting nugget: BBF recorded the entire thing in one take on vinyl at the Watergate club during daylight hours when it was closed to the public (the tracks they couldn’t source on vinyl they had pressed to wax themselves). There are two brand new Brandt Brauer Frick tracks nestled in the mix, which wraps up sumptuously with the saccharine strangeness of Thundercat and Dean Blunt. 2013 might have been all about John Talabot’s DJ Kicks, but Brandt Brauer Frick have opened 2014 in hugely impressive style.
Eminem once quipped that “Will Smith don't have a cuss in his rap to sell records”, and at one point it might have been fair to say that nobody could have created a wetter approach to rap than The Fresh Prince unless it had been written and performed by his on screen cousin Carlton Banks himself. That is until now. That is until Childish Gambino dropped his second record Because The Internet. The difference here though is Donald Glover was never an integral part of our postschool, pre-homework routine. He did however once run his own YouTube channel and, to be fair, he did a pretty 'funny' bit on it about the 'hilarity' of not being able to skateboard because you have Parkinson's disease. The clip is almost as misjudged as Glover's attempt at making the transition from profound online twerp and sitcom writer to credible recording artiste, and ironically enough we only discovered all of this because … well … the internet.
There are reasons to be really, really excited about the release of this record. Since Metronomy’s inception, their consistently great albums have always had a quintessentially English feel – a characteristic that’s all the more desirable in a time when, let’s face it, British indie music isn’t exactly at its zenith. 2011’s almost-flawless The English Riviera hinted that Metronomy were ready for bigger stages, and after the band first teased a 10-second looping sample of infectiously catchy ‘shoop-doop-doop-ah’ vocals from recent single I’m Aquarius, you’d be forgiven for assuming they were about to take the leap. But Love Letters isn’t that record. And if you’re waiting for a Radio Ladio, a Heartbreaker or an Everything Goes My Way to punctuate your first listen, you might be disappointed. However, there’s also the feeling Joe Mount would shrug off such a criticism, that he makes whatever record he wants. After all, Metronomy’s discography has seen them gradually evolve from a digital project to an increasingly physical incarnation, something of an anti-careerist logic according to thinkpieces declaring the Death of Guitar Music by referring to the fact that AlunaGeorge and Disclosure are simultaneously dominating both pop radio and ‘alternative’ festival bills. From the acoustic strums and syrupy guitar solo of tender opener The Upsetter, the epic and love-struck Motown backing vocals of the title track and Month Of Sundays, to The Most Immaculate Haircut – which is essentially an ode to Forever Changes – the finest moments of Love Letters have an overtly 60s feel. But rather than slip into contrived retrogression, Mount has maintained his studio prowess and Metronomy’s seaside tweeness, and so the songs feel written from the perspective of a present day crate-digger, flicking through dog-eared Stax records at a market stall while inhaling the coast’s salty air. It couldn’t be further from ironic light-up costumes and indie-dance anthems, and it’s due to Joe Mount’s refusal to stay still that Metronomy have outlived his late noughties peers.
! Adam Corner
! Billy Black
! Davy Reed
Childish Gambino Because The Internet Glassnote
METRONOMY Love Letters Because Music
Bruce Springsteen’s 18th studio album opens with a shuffle of strummed acoustic and percussion, cut through with a subtle yet identifiable squawk from the guitar of Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello. Springsteen’s gravel-throated yell builds to where the E Street Band should come busting in, whereupon we’re instead confronted by sassy brass and the mediocre titular refrain of “I got high hopes”. Alarm bells start to ring. As the introduction to a patchwork record of covers, re-workings and unreleased numbers, it’s hard not to wonder if those hopes shouldn’t be so high after all. But then Harry’s Place cuts in. Leaving the rollicking trumpets behind, a bubbling 80s synth bass drives through a neon city where Clarence Clemmons’ poignant posthumous sax floats on the air and a hush-voiced Boss warns “You don’t fuck with Harry’s money, you don’t fuck Harry’s girls.” It’s dark, menacing and absolutely intoxicating. It’s also a definite peak on an album that continues to fall and rise, frustrate and reward. At times the overblown dramatics take hold again, especially in the baroque guitar solos of Heaven’s Wall and the blustery ‘rock’ rendition of The Ghost of Tom Joad. Elsewhere, the bone-shakin’, victory-makin’ E Street family put the pedal to the floor in the glorious countrytinged Frankie Fell In Love, while on The Wall Springsteen revisits the familiar well-spring of Vietnam in a touching tribute to a New Jersey musician who never made it home. With too many moments that elicit a wince, High Hopes is unlikely to be lauded as a milestone in Springsteen’s 40-year (and counting) career, but there’s enough here to be convinced the Boss isn’t ready to be put out to pasture quite yet.
Following three single releases in 2013, Temples start the new year with their debut full-length. Whilst previous singles bore more than a slight resemblance to fellow Australians Tame Impala, Temples’ Sun Structures pays a more honest debt to the First Wave British rock that so closely inspired this style of production. Yet the songwriting is at times totally eclipsed by this style. Shelter Song lacks a a hook; a 60s pastiche and one of the record’s weaker moments, over mercifully quickly. When allowing themselves to have fun, they leave the constraints of The Cavern Club for phased, marching psychedelia. The first release from the album, Mesmerise, is a spokesperson for Sun Structures in its mediocrity, but the diamonds are buried deeper; see the second half of A Question Isn’t Answered, the specifically Eastern desert-scape of SandDance, and the bright and sparkly The Guesser. With elements of The Shins, Flaming Lips, Tame Impala and equally hat tips to The Kinks and The Beatles fighting for your ear, it’s more a documented identity crisis than a smorgasbord played out over 12 songs.
! Andrew Broaks
! Alistair Hardaker
TEMPLES Sun Structures Heavenly Recordings
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“In short: thIs Is a techno mIx – a really good one.” – Fact
Pangaea has become synonymous with a singular brand of off-kilter, sub-heavy music, releasing on some of the most reputable labels to emerge in recent times, as well as the Hessle Audio imprint that he helms alongside Ben UFO and
Pearson Sound. With FABRICLIVE 73, he steps up to deliver a mix that’s as visceral as we’ve come to expect from the prodigious youngster, and one that exemplifies the fiercely unique approach he takes towards his work.
Forthcoming in the series: Move D, Jack Beats, Maya Jane Coles, Elijah & Skilliam. www.fabriclondon.com
LUKE@CRACKMAGAZINE.NET TEL: 0117 2391219
CASS MCCOMBS The Lantern, Colston Hall, Bristol 8 January We arrive slightly late. Colston Hall’s second room ‘The Lantern’ is filled with a silence offset only by the nervous laughter of a southern American gent who appears to be tuning a banjo. This man is Frank Fairfield. After what feels like hours of murmuring and tuning, Fairfield announces “I really didn’t think I’d have this much time to fill” before executing a near-perfect rendition of classic American minstrel song Bye, Bye My Honey I’m Gone. Before we’ve had time to throw our roses he picks up his violin, his battered old six string and his banjo and walks off stage. We’re as charmed as we are bewildered. But it’s McCombs, that fabled nomad, that spinner of tales of the bleak American dream, whom the crowd have gathered to see. As he struts into view we’re presented with less the apocryphal troubadour, more the young man in a brown T-shirt surrounded by three slick session players. Not ones to be deterred by bruised illusions, we attempt to look beyond the less-than-perfect image, and what we’re treated to is both pleasant and serene. Unfortunately though, this professionalism, this relentless efficiency, only succeeds in pulling the story we’d so desperately wanted to believe further from our grasp. The dream of the last real American cowboy is realised tonight by Frank Fairfield, while our man Cass is left looking somewhat like, well, a young man in a brown T-shirt surrounded by three slick session players. ! Billy Black
ADAM G RE E N Dingwalls, Camden \ 24 January
D E S PAC I O Hammersmith Town Hall, London \ 19 December It’s hard to think of a single night last year more flush with anticipation than this. Consider the credentials: two brothers who both cannoned and canonised the nascent mash-up genre at the turn of the 00s, coupled with a man who could logically be titled MVP of the entire past decade, armed with crates of rare records, a specific set of honed principals and a fiendishly complex custom-built system. Not a bad pretext. The initial batch through the doors peered curiously at the McIntosh stacks, a set of 70s wood-panelled ham radios tied up with guy-ropes infused with a radioactive glow, drinking in the palpable weirdness. Up on high, scruffy Mr Murphy and the besuited Brothers Dewaele were getting limber, tossing out cuts from Stereolab’s Emperor Tomato Ketchup and channel-panning spaghetti western soundtracks that sounded like jet planes swooping overhead. The sound was earth-shattering but of startling quality, shaping an unbelievably precise 3D mould of each track in real-time before our eyes. Moreover, the attention to detail was spot-on: in Hammersmith Town Hall they had scoped out a classy space, inserted a cocktail bar and mini-deli, stuck a gigantic disco ball above the dancefloor with a dozen shuttered light bars atop the speakers projecting at it in sequence, and tailored the flow exactly as they wished. By the halfway mark, the atmosphere inside Despacio was electric: if perhaps not total communality, there was a rare freedom to really shake it out and simply have a great time unburdened by judgmental stares. A heavily-pitched down Flat Beat sent up cries of joy, and from there they didn’t let up: Is It All Over My Face?, He’s The Greatest Dancer, Chic dubs fed into Lindstrøm & Todd Terje with left-turns into weirder territory: early EBM, Siriusmo, Beck’s remix of Philip Glass. We even got some Guetta hands from James Murphy as the juddering bassline from Adonis’s Lack Of Love tore a fissure through everyone’s spleen. Nothing was left to chance: a bunch of unnoticed Christmas trees illuminated after midnight, their fairy lights strobing in time to Imagination’s Music and Lights, naturally. Across the board, from the sonic capabilities to the impetus placed on openness (both spatial and emotional), it was unparalleled. There’s pretty much no criticism to offer up. The inaugural London edition of Despacio was total class from faders up to lights up. ! Gabriel Szatan N Cosmo K Nash
G R O OV E T H E O RY x S N OW S K U LL : DA N I E L AV E RY 10 Feet Tall, Cardiff \ 23 January The release of Daniel Avery’s Drone Logic at the tail-end of last year was greeted with unanimous critical acclaim – and rightly so. His thoughtful, ambient, but tight as hell techno marks him out as a shining new star of the dance music leftfield. And his Cardiff show proved that he can whip up a dancefloor while still maintaining a continuous, unbroken line back to his shoegaze and psychedelic influences. Avery was brought to Cardiff by visual artist Snowskull (aka Matthew Evans). The occasion was the launch of Snowskull’s website to showcase his own striking paintings and an accompanying EP featuring some of the city’s best electronic producers, and the night kicked off with the criminally underrated Jauge (an artist on the EP). Jauge’s set of nostalgic, glitchy, garage-influenced love letters was the perfect way to set the tone for Avery, who has the sort of melodic dynamism and rhythmic dexterity on the decks that only a handful of master-craftsmen like Michael Mayer can lay claim to. Sprinkling hands-in-the-air moments from his own album over a foundation of layered, looping, luxurious electronic compositions, Avery’s set was one to watch and savour as much as leap around to. Catching him at such an exciting time on his upwards trajectory in a venue with only 200 people was a treat: his chiming, pulsating, acid-flecked material is only going to propel him further skywards as word gets around. ! Adam Corner N James Morgan Rees
Since his early noughties split from The Moldy Peaches, Adam Green has largely replaced the cute, scruffy recordings made with Kimya Dawson et al with dreamy, sweary, and very funny ballads. This acoustic show at a packed Dingwalls was a welcome opportunity to see Green perform that excellent solo material for the first time in a while. Tonight he dresses as a pirate-captain hybrid, in a frilled shirt, waistcoat and some kind of nautical official’s hat. There’s no explanation for this – maybe because we’re next to Camden Lock? He comes backed only by Moldy Peaches guitarist Toby Goodshank. Whilst a competent guitarist himself, having Goodshank provide the only instrumentation for much of the show frees up Green to fully focus on his deep crooning and impish movements across the stage. It ends up being a rather special show; Green’s songs are stripped down to their bare bones, highlighting the perfect simplicity of them, whilst his lyrics are allowed to hang clearly in the air. Early on he rolls out a wry narcotic celebration double-header of Pay The Toll followed by Drugs, both from 2006's Jacket Full of Danger. After playfully jaunting his way through renditions of classics including Gemstones and Emily with Goodshank, Green returns to the stage alone to perform an encore containing songs from his most commercially successful album, 2003′s Friends of Mine, providing a timely indie singalong. Set closer The Prince’s Bed encapsulates Green: witty, beautiful, yet oftentimes smutty lyrics set to very pretty music.
! Jack Bolter N Carolina Faruolo
CON NAN M OC K A S I N Shepherd's Bush Empire, London \ 28 January It was but a few minutes into the show before the gorgeous, beading bass slides of Faking Jazz Together presaged a most handsome truth; Connan Mockasin’s landmark Shepherd’s Bush show was going to be one of only pure, exquisite, passionate, intergalactic musical love-making. And it was as divine and intersexual an interaction as it could be, beamed by a frontman whose genderless vocals spoke only of alien love in a futuristic world. Cyber guitar wails parried paradoxical humans and their peculiar Tamagotchi expressions as a phantasmagoria of colour swept a dense and squealing audience. Generous helpings from his fantastic debut LP complimented the cream of the recent, Caramel – which was well and truly squirted with the mass sing-a-long of I’m The Man That Will Find You. It’s Choade My Dear from the former, too, was met with some truly amorous eruptions. But it was the truly emphatic encore that crowned this sensational evening. A slipping, soaring medley that transcended a spectrum of volume and tempo cast the crowd into blissful silence; a marvel of the most grandiose and entrancing musicianship: 20 full minutes of Forever Dolphin Love. In those three words the mesmerising experience is ultimately defined. ! James Balmont N Carolina Faruolo
ALFRESCO DISCO NYE : THE AMBASSADOR’S RECEPTION Guild Hall, Bristol \ 31 December We’re all familiar with the annual pandemonium during the run up to New Year’s. Will I end up slumped in front of Jools Holland’s Hootenanny? Am I going to look rude if I leave this stupid Facebook thread? How is it even humanly possible for Eats Everything to be doing 12 gigs in 48 hours? And for those living in the South West, there’s the most common question of all: are you doing Alfresco this year? So with their Bristol competitors bidding for huge names for months leading up to their 15,000+ capacity events, why is there such a frenzied ticket scramble over this party which doesn’t announce its venue, or even its (generally low-key) lineup until hours before the doors open? Alongside the quality of their affiliated DJs, the answer lies in Alfresco’s innovative use of unconventional spaces and a committed, quality-over-profit ethos. The only tip we had of the nature of the event came courtesy of ‘The Ambassador’, whose reception we could expect to be an extravagant affair. On the evening, news broke that tonight’s party
would be taking place bang in the city centre. Bristol’s huge Guild Hall building is plain by sight, something you’ve walked past a million times. Entering the party is overwhelming. The building’s massive corridors and countless staircases lead to courtooms, libraries, prison cells, hammockdraped rooms for downtime. Immediately you realise that any attempts to meet up with your mates via text would be futile. But while at most nights of this size, the sensation of being shifted around the venue like cattle is sadly to be expected, tonight the number of staff is refreshingly low and there’s room to breathe. It feels liberating. As always with Alfresco, dress code is key: if you’re not dressed up, you’re letting everyone down. Prepped by the Ambassador’s message, welcoming the classiest ladies and gentleman from every corner of the globe, foreign diplomats mingled with Arabian princesses, Russian generals, Sheikhs, relics from the war, the Ambassador himself, a flurry of 1920s flappers and plenty of
blokes in suits, all accentuating the night’s charming aesthetics under one intricate, lofty ceiling. Attempting to get our bearings – an achievement that never quite transpired – Crack glided upstairs to the library where our very own residents and Alfresco mainstays Pardon My French were laying down the foundations for their midnight slot. Warm, diverse selections made way for the ball drop on the now heaving space. Leading the countdown heroically, and never ones to tamper with such curatorial influence, the midnight slot came soundtracked by guilt free singalong moments courtesy of LCD Soundsystem’s bittersweet anthem All My Friends followed by How Soon Is Now?. We set off to spend the entirety of the night exploring and investigating our ostentatious surroundings. ‘Go this way down
that stairway (maybe), take a right, then take a left, no, not that left’, and stumble into some of Bristol’s most beloved DJs (as well as Parisian special guest Brawther) in bespoke spaces, or another hidden smoking terrace, or a heartfelt 5am rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams in full, then retreat to do it all again. Each piece of the expansive puzzle was rewarding, and demanded your attention. From chandeliers and candelabras, projections and spaced-out ambience in the old courtrooms to grime in the secret cells for hapless rummaging, or the library complete with two ornate, stained windowed entrance rooms and walls fully stocked with children’s books, you were never more than a grandiose stairway away from something absurd, something mischievous, something essentially
Alfresco. At one point, we grab a cocktail in a bar room where a group are crowded around the grand piano in the corner. Turns out the piano isn’t real, it’s a replica that’s been built by the set designer and fitted with a MIDI keyboard so that the punters can play it. This is the level of effort we’re talking about. Spending the most fervently hyped night of the year wide eyed and discovering a previously unused Grade II listed Gothic hall felt defiant, coated in the smug gratification that once again sticking all your eggs in Alfresco’s illusive, hypnotically persuasive basket came up trumps. Cheers, Ambassador, until next time.
! Davy Reed + Anna Tehabsim N Jonathan Taphouse
The Waiting Room Weds 5 February
Fri 14 March
HOLY WAVE NEILS CHILDREN
GENTLE FRIENDLY MOON GANGS PLUS MORE TBA
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KING CEASAR (MF DOOM)
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-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Thurs 12 February
WHITE FANG AUTOBAHN PLUS MORE TBA
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PATTERNS RELICS PLUS MORE TBA
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Thursday 6 February
Thursday 20 February
MATTEW & ME -----------------------
Friday 7 February
Saturday 22 February
FUTURE HITSTORY -----------------------
MIDNIGHT A GO-GO -----------------------
Saturday 8 February
Tuesday 25 February
Wednesday 12 February
Wednesday 26 February
BETH ROWLEY -----------------------
JAMIE ISAAC -----------------------
Thursday 13 February
Thursday 27 February
THE LUCID DREAM -----------------------
Friday 14 February
Thursday 6 March
EXECUTIVE REALNESS -----------------------
Saturday 15 February
Mini festival at The Shacklewell Arms March 14, 15, 16 2014
GENTLE FRIENDLY MOONGANGS SPECIAL GUESTS BEACH CREEP djs March 15
WHITE FANG THEO VERNEY AUTOBAHN KEEL HER March 16
PATTERNS RELICS Poster • Zine • Record • Tape Fare Craft Ale Festival • Food Stalls Tickets: events.lanzaroteworks.com The Shacklewell Arms
Tuesday 25 March
TOM WILLIAMS AND THE BOAT -----------------------
Film While resisting the urge to enter hibernation for the winter, we traversed back to Middle Earth for a more exciting, if somewhat bemusing, sequel to the trilogy that should never have been three. All the while animated family films continued to tumble off cinema’s factory line and into our movie theatres with no real success. We began 2014 by immersing ourselves in drama a la Americana – we take a look at America as it takes a look back at itself through period pieces from the time of slavery, New York’s Greenwich Village folk scene, and two crime sagas. We also enjoyed one of the most visceral documentaries created in recent years, which came swimming across our path in a local independent cinema
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS dir. Ethan Coen, Joel Coen Starring: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman For their latest offering the Coens, as they do, combine pulp charm with intellectual depth. Against the backdrop of a quasi-real Greenwich Village in 1961, we meet folk singer Llewyn Davis (based on the real life Dave Van Ronk), played by Oscar Isaac. Again, the Coens loosely adopt a Homeric narrative paradigm via the influence of James Joyce’s Ulysses, where previously they configured America’s depressed deep south to Homer’s Odyssey in O Brother, Where Art Thou? The film begins with Llewyn performing (all the film’s musical performances come courtesy of the actors), by which we’re instantly transported to this time and place via the authenticity of the music. At first it serves as a more than satisfactory vehicle to get there, but the interspersed songs, though beautifully captured, begin to splinter off from the story itself. We travel through the ilm comfortably, as one would expect from these particular filmmakers, but rather than encapsulating the mood of the scene, the songs feel more like set pieces. Their intended naturalism edge towards artifice and pastiche. It’s difficult to be too critical of what is obviously a labour of love, with Isaac and Mulligan’s performances of particular note, but an eventual lack of bite leaves Inside Llewyn Davis finger picking with too much sentimentality. Then again, that could be Mumford’s fault for ruining folk music for everyone, ever.
! Tim Oxley Smith
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET dir. Martin Scorsese Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill It’s quite possible that The Wolf of Wall Street, Martin Scorsese’s biopic of notorious Wall Street fraudster Jordan Belfort, simultaneously holds the records for the most and least number of fucks ever given by a movie. In a literal sense, there’s 506 of the fuckers to be found in Terence Winter’s uproarious script, but on the flipside there’s approximately zero present in either Leonardo DiCaprio’s joyfully liberated, Gordon Gekko-by-way-of-Doctor Gonzo lead performance, or in the now septuagenarian Scorsese’s jittery, exultant, turning-back-the-years direction. In fact, it’s the pair’s refusal to moralise or downplay Jordan’s hedonistic lifestyle that has led many viewers to slam it for glorifying this said lifestyle, a point of view apparently borne out by news, that bottom-feeding finance types across the world have booked out cinemas to go and cheer and clink glasses every time a line is snorted, a hooker is debased, or a gormless client gets chumpatised. Ultimately, however, you have to regard what bankers think of The Wolf of Wall Street as about as relevant to us proles as whether sharks enjoy Jaws, so if you’ve got a strong stomach, a sense of humour, and understand the difference between depiction and endorsement, there’s no reason you won’t view this laugh-outloud nightmare as the preposterously entertaining masterpiece it is. ! Paul Martinovic
LEVIATHAN dir. Lucien Castaing-Taylor + Véréna Paravel Of the various reviews for Leviathan that have surfaced so far (the film has been making its way around the art house cinemas of the world since August 2012), many words are spilled in the praise of its unique visual aesthetic and revolutionary approach to cinematography. And while this is completely and utterly justified (sit right at the front and the effect is overwhelming), for Crack it was the sound of the thing that truly compelled us. There is no music at all, save for some heavy metal briefly heard through a thick pane of glass. But between the constant, relentless rhythm of the ocean that pervades literally every shot and bursts of whiteish noise that leap from waves, machines, chains, birds, mouths, metal – an abrasive and immersive soundtrack is created, one which serves to highlight the crux of this film: the unnatural lengths we will go to to satisfy our need for the most natural of resources. That it also happens to be one of the most intense, visceral, disconcerting and discombobulating things we’ve ever seen on a big screen is just the batter on the cod. ! Steve Dores
AMERICAN HUSTLE dir. David O. Russell Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence We couldn’t fathom exactly why American Hustle was the winner of best film at the Golden Globes. Then we realised it won in the ‘Comedy or Musical’ category (with 12 Years A Slave awarded ‘Best Drama’). But still: Hustle’s neither funny or a musical, so we’ll regard this category as something equivalent to a tragic Fair Play award at an under-8s football tournament. If director David O. Russell were to pour the ingredients of this film out on a Ready Steady Cook worktop it would definitely get Ainsley excited: a crime thriller with a sizzling hot cast. It promised big performances, but not all are successful. Jennifer Lawrence is intoxicating but not given enough screen time to get under our skin; Bale is solid but perhaps forgettable; Amy Adams’ navigation between a ruthlessly sexy but sensitive soul is the most effective, whereas Bradley Cooper fails to stamp any impression at all. American Hustle, as the inspired title describes, is about con artists and the USA’s federal legal system. It successfully portrays America’s boner for bureaucracy, but perhaps furthermore its delight in beating it. Even though this character-driven film has an air of class, Crack’s distance from the protagonists is the result of a lacklustre story with no notable attempts to draw us in, leaving us wondering what’s for tea – and not because we’d seen anything particularly appetising onscreen. ! Tim Oxley Smith
12 YEARS A SLAVE dir: Steve McQueen Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch In 1939, Gone With The Wind – widely regarded as a hallmark film – romanticised life on a plantation. It took 75 years before cinema was ready for 12 Years A Slave: a new hallmark. With it, director McQueen has not only managed to illuminate us to these horrors but has also shown, perhaps more poignantly still, our inability to cope with them in the past. Besides from relaying the true story of Solomon Northup, a free man kidnapped into slavery, McQueen dispels the preconception that this part of history should be untouchable in mainstream cinema. We can acknowledge through learnt history, but by experiencing (albeit acted) through film, we encounter perhaps a more affecting confrontation of slavery than ever before. Understanding the responsibility which comes with the emotional resonance of this subject is an achievement in itself. Take the recent Django Unchained; Tarantino’s malcontent bulldozer discourse of American slavery rode the crest of media controversy (as most Tarantinos do), but the solidarity McQueen and the cast finds within 12 Years... cuts far deeper in both the critical and the public psyche. Along with his masterful storytelling, McQueen extracts a typically profound venture into a character’s subconscious with another successful Fassbender collaboration, who appears as a plantation owner whose persona is symbolic of slavery’s wider atrocities. This, matched by Ejiofor’s delicate and passionate performance, embodies the whole project’s humble but nonetheless emotionally cogent and potent messages. ! Tim Oxley Smith
CAGED ANIMALS TUES 4 FEB SEBRIGHT ARMS MIKHAEL PASKALEV THURS 6 FEB ELECTROWERKZ CATE LE BON FRI 7 FEB ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL
ST VINCENT THURS 20 FEB O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE CASUAL SEX TUES 25 FEB SEBRIGHT ARMS NAKED (ON DRUGS) MON 3 MAR SEBRIGHT ARMS
HATCHAM SOCIAL TUES 18 FEB THE LEXINGTON
JUNGLE OUT TUESSO4LDMAR VILLAGE UNDERGROUND
T EZRA FURMAN OU LD FEB WEDSO19 SEBRIGHT ARMS
HOCKEYSMITH THURS 6 MAR THE WAITING ROOM
RAFFERTIE THURS 6 MAR SERVANT JAZZ QUARTERS
THE MEN THURS 27 MAR VILLAGE UNDERGROUND
COUSIN MARNIE MON 10 MAR SEBRIGHT ARMS
WILD BEASTS TUES 1 APR O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON
MENACE BEACH WED 12 MAR OLD BLUE LAST
LA FEMME WED 21 MAY SCALA
THIS IS THE KIT FRI 21 MAR THE LEXINGTON
HOSPITALITY MON 26 MAY SEBRIGHT ARMS
MOLLY BEANLAND MON 24 MAR SEBRIGHT ARMS
ARCADE FIRE FRI 6 & SAT 7 JUNE EARLS COURT PARALLELLINESPROMOTIONS.COM
KITSUNE CLUB NIGHT — SAT 15TH FEBRUARY — VILLAGE UNDERGROUND
DJ FALCON / ALEXIS TAYLOR HOT CHIP GILDAS & JERRY BOUTHIER / CLANCY PANDA / LET THE MACHINES DO THE WORK
SUBSOUL — SAT 15TH MARCH — THE LIGHTBOX
DJ EZ / TOYBOY & ROBIN / TACHES BEN KNIGHT / SUBSOUL DJS NEON NOISE PROJECT X VULTURE — SAT 5TH APRIL — THE LIGHTBOX
ALAN BRAXE / DJ FALCON / CRYSTAL FIGHTERS CLANCY / XANDER MILNE RANDOM MAGIC — SAT 3RD MAY — FIRE-LONDON
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My girlfriend has run away with Connan Mockasin. I took her to see the Kiwi psych-pop maestro on his recent tour, and the evening was going smoothly until he played some slow-burning love jam and she suddenly froze. Things got weirder: she climbed onstage and refused to leave, staring into his eyes, spellbound. As you can imagine I was pretty miffed, so I stormed out. I haven’t spoken to her since, but a friend told me they saw her strolling around Manchester’s Northern Quarter in a white gown. What’s he got that I haven’t?
Following a successfully dry January, I feel like there’s potential for me to turn over a new leaf. But my mates haven’t been so supportive. The new habits I picked up – half pints of lemonade in the pub, partial vegetarianism and coughing every time cigarette smoke drifted my way – were subject to heartless piss-taking, and in some cases, flat out social rejection. Do I need to need to find new friends?
I’ve recently enjoyed some success as a lifestyle blogger, but I’m getting a little frustrated with all the trolling. Yesterday I posted an entry about my favourite organic food shop in north London, and within minutes I’d been accused of being a socially blind, gentrifying capitalist pig and there were at least four comments about my appearance. That’s despite the fact that only my hands were visible in the picture of me clutching a fresh batch of locally sourced Kale. Should I shut down the comments section?
Denzil says: When I paid a brief visit to the Crack office to collect my paycheck last month, I was shocked to hear those degenerates listening to something groovy for once. It was Mr. Mockasin's sophomore LP. See, not only has that lad got an air of class about him, he understands what women want and, as a musician, he appreciates the merits of a decent blues lick. In fact, in many ways he reminds me of Denzil Schnifferman circa 1974.
Denzil says: While my enviable physique might lead you to assume that I advocate the life of a saint, let it be known: Schnifferman still enjoys a walk on the wild side. Sure there’s all these statistics about Britain’s high levels of alcohol consumption. But you know why that is? Because the people of this nation know how to have a laugh. You’ve got to let loose once in a while Mike, otherwise you’ll end up like my bloody brother-in-law. Every time that guy brings up the subject of his soya margarine company at one of my dinner parties he clears the room faster than a stink bomb.
fresh cuttings lingers. You soft shoe down the steps and through the hedgerow into the pool area. An inflatable dolphin idles in the deep end, buttressing occasionally against edges. Slunk onto a sun lounger, you try to feel inner peace. But the water doesn’t look real. Sometimes you don’t feel real either. It worries you. To escape the mind you decide to swim a few
lengths. Become a body again. Your reflection on the undulating surface: medallion obscuring half of you. You take off the sunglasses but it doesn’t make things clearer. Time passes. You are still dry. You haven’t moved. Time passes. You are on your knees, breathing hard. Your craned neck, your bowed face. You gaze. You don’t
Jamie, 27, Bristol
All The Money In The Port Of Miami by Josh Baines
You are Rick Ross and it is a Thursday morning in early August. You open a pair of French doors, making a concerted effort to minimize glass-smudginghand contact, and step onto the veranda. An uncut cigar sits snugly in your shorts. You are carrying an over-iced tumbler of orange juice. The grass was cut yesterday and the last splash of a spritzer scent of
Michael, 35, Shrewsbury
Lucy, 42, Islington Denzil says: To be honest Lucy, I’m not the greatest person to ask about technology and the cyberweb and so forth. To this day, I’m still never sure if a Mac computer is properly turned off. But from what I’ve heard, these comment sections seem to attract a bizarre species who only ever surface to purchase a pouch of Golden Virginia in the dead of night. And if you’re someone who enjoys a healthy social life, then I’d presume they’re more afraid of you than you are of them.
understand. You collapse. You are subsumed. You are a body again. For that minute everything vanishes except the beating of your heart. Money would be worthless down there. You could live without it. It would just disintegrate, or rust. The cars would rust too, becoming nothing more than submerged shells.
The Crack Magazine Crossword Across 03. Welsh cheese on toast (7) 04. To repress (6) 06. Dried grape (6) 09. Main character (11) 10. The mentalist perched behind the kit for The Who (5-4) 12. Dre’s ubiquitous headphone brand (5) 13. Provide stimulation (9) 14. Geek rock heroes with a penchant for Buddy Holly (6) 16. To baffle; a little bit left over from a felled tree (5) 18. Traditional English pud (6) Down 01. Odd (8) 02. Lily Allen reckons it’s hard out here for one of these (5) 05. Brainfeeder honcho Stephen Ellison (6,5) 07. Device for bouncing up and down and up again (10) 08. New Zealand’s psych prince Connan (8) 11. Poison (5) 13. The central figure in The Big Lebowski (3-4) 15. A gun designed to be fired from the shoulder (5) 17. Fizzy drink (3)
Solutions to last issue’s crossword: ACROSS: 5. FRUMPY, 6. RAT TAIL, 7. MUTTON CHOPS, 8. BACKBONE, 11. ANGLOPHILE, 13. BANGS 14. LET ENGLAND SHAKE, 17. PETRI DISH, 18. BACON 19. COMPILE, 20. TAPAS DOWN: 1. CHER, 2. PLOY, 3. MULLET, 4. SEATTLE, 5. FRANCOPHILE, 9. KILIMANJARO, 10. SCRUNCHIE, 12. NUGGET, 14. LUIGI, 15. SPLATTER, 16. SLIPPER
While many might perceive the nightclub as a hub of sinful activity, New Jersey garage legend and general nice fella Todd Edwards would beg to differ. After breaking through in the early 90s, Edwards took the opportunity to spread spiritual messages with chopped vocal samples (see Saviour Tonight, God Will Be There, Dancing For Heaven) in his productions. Known to be something of a pioneer among the late 90s/00s 2-step movement, he wasn’t so impressed with certain grime artists saying nasty things over rhythms borrowed from the genre: “glorifying evil for the sake of evil, I just can’t get into it, man” he once told an interviewer, which is fair enough. And remaining loyal to the Big Guy upstairs seems to have paid off, because after over two decades in the game, Edward’s career is still going strong. Hallelujah!
20 Questions: Mogwai Rave Tapes is the eighth full-length since Glasgow post-rock titans Mogwai first opened their doors in 1995. The record mines the same potent refrain as their finest work, and it’s testament to their ongoing relevance that it hit the Top 10 UK Albums. Oh, and they’ve released their own scotch too. Naturally, we leapt at a chat with the band’s de facto leader, Stuart Braithwaite, but rather than inundate him with the same tired topics, we decided to ask the questions we really want to know the answers to. In fact, we asked him twenty.
Do you support a football team? Yes, Glasgow Celtic. What’s the most overrated album ever? That’s a hard one to answer cause if I don’t like it I probably haven’t heard the whole thing. I’ve never heard Dark Side of the Moon. Oh, and my friend Mark’s just said it’s pish, so I’ll say that. But who knows, if I listened to the whole thing maybe I’d think it was good. Nope, Mark says I wouldn’t. Favourite board game? Scrabble.
What was your favourite cartoon when you were a kid? Hmm, probably the Ewoks. Who’s your favourite Wu-Tang Clan member? That varies, but I’d probably say the GZA. I think he’s the best rapper basically, and he seems like a cool guy. One time me and Dominic (Aitchison, Mogwai bassist) saw him playing chess in the park with the old guys in Manhattan as well. I thought that was awesome, that it wasn’t just a schtick. Wu-Tang were actually out, playing chess. And your favourite Slipknot member? We’ve actually met them. I think I liked the Pig the best. You know he’s dead? Really? Shit. I feel like I’ve lost a friend.
Happy hardcore or jump-up drum ‘n’ bass? I don’t know what ‘jumped up drum ‘n’ bass’ is, but it’s probably that cause happy hardcore is pretty horrific. Wayne’s World or Bill & Ted? Oh, Wayne’s World, definitely. What are you wearing? Err, a grey hoodie. It’s a bit sweaty actually, I need to go for a shower. If you could pick a surrogate grandparent, who would it be? I’d probably go with Iggy Pop. Ever taken acid? Yes.
"We actually met Slipknot once. I think I liked the Pig best"
How was it? Which time? I’ve done it lots of times. The first time was at a Primal Scream concert, on the Screamadelica tour, when I was about 14 or 15. It was pretty amazing. Is there a piece of advice you’d give to yourself 10 years ago? No, I hate advice. I hate getting it and I don’t give it. What’s the furthest you’ve ever run in one go? Fuck, well a few years ago I was really into running, I probably ran about 20k. But I’m back into skateboarding now, so I do that instead of running. It makes you kind of fit. Have you ever been arrested? No. Never? You sound surprised! [laughs] That’s racial profiling. Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met? I met Aiden Gillen, who plays Lord Baelish in Game of Thrones.
Would you go for a pint with Kanye West? Yeah, sure. I’ve got a few of his records, he’s probably quite an entertaining guy. Rate these actors in order of how much you like them: Danny Dyer, Danny DeVito, Daniel Day-Lewis. Out of ten? OK: Dyer 1, DeVito 4, and Day-Lewis can have 10. Do you ever send post second class? I do it all the time cause I sell a lot of crap on eBay. I’d never send something second class to someone I know though. Describe yourself in 3 words beginning with S. Short, syncopated ... skateboarder? [laughs] What would you want written on your tombstone? Err ... short, syncopated skateboarder! I don’t know, nothing, I’d just like there to be a date on there that’s in the very, very, very, very distant future. Rave Tapes is out now via Rock Action
WELCOME TO 2014!
By the time you pick up this beautifully revamped edition of Crack the Christmas credit card bill will have landed, your resolutions dropped and the news cycle will continue grinding its cogs of despair – but there’s still hope for 2014. This time last year we discovered Black Beauty hadn’t gone to the big glue factory in the sky, but was probably slaughtered, ground down and served to us in the microwave lasagnas that we stuffed into our faces in front of Gogglebox (the show that serves us videos of ourselves watching TV, mis-labelled as original programming). Gogglebox’s endless meta-loop toward the nadir of broadcast television seems harmless compared to Channel 4’s current January smash hit Benefits Street. In a supposedly titillating PR move we were shown the real poor people behind the numbers we’re always told about. That said, there’s a startling information gap around what their lives are actually like – hopefully we can learn and understand what the cuts actually mean this year, and not eat such shitty processed food. February last year saw the Catholic Church
make a divine PR move calling on God to appear to Pope Benedict and tell him to go fishing. 2014 looks even more positive for Catholicism, with a papal Rolling Stone cover showing Francis above the Dylanreferencing strapline: “The times they are a-changin.” It’s amazing to think that the Catholic leadership could be wrenched from conservatism, that Francis used his first major written teaching to rail against unchecked free-market capitalism and answered “Who am I to judge?” to a question on homosexual priests. Margaret Thatcher died in spring last year and Osborne shed what appeared to be a tear, but was in fact the distilled juices of poor people’s dreams, at her funeral. My friend saw her at a high-brow do a decade ago and said she was “madder than a box of frogs”. In 2014, the economic recovery is going from strength to strength and the Tories are finding it hard to control their excitement as David Cameron’s face slowly eats itself in rolls of smug. It’s great that we’re back to growth; now the Tories have to shake
off the stigma of exactly the kind of nasty, cut-making Tory party image Thatcher embodied and address the recovery’s structural issues with inequality. Justin Bieber’s escapades were limited to giving away a hamster (#rippac), and shouting at a cameraman or something in 2013. It didn’t even register on the rock n’ roll scale of one to Keith Moon driving a Lincoln Continental into a swimming pool after knocking out his front teeth. But this year he’s already given us ‘drag racing and driving under the influence’ and being belligerent to the cops – that’s a solid two Baby Biebs! The VMA awards gave a Beetlejuice-garbed Robin Thicke an opportunity to sexually harass the world’s online columnists. Except instead of being summoned when someone says his name three times, he says “I know you want it” three times to summon a Gene-Simmons-tonguewrangling Miley Cyrus who, apparently unbeknownst to her handlers, had just gone on heat. By contrast, January’s Grammy Awards gave dozens of couples, some gay, some
straight, the chance to wed as a guy who wasn’t Kendrick Lamar performed Same Love, an anthem for legal gay marriage. It’s encouraging to see an awards show used as a platform for something positive (and something that doesn’t involve Kanye’s ego or Miley’s foam finger grinding). In 2013, King Richard III’s skeleton was found rotting underneath a car park next to Gerri Halliwell’s music career. In 2014 we discover that an old pelvis that had been lying in storage might by that of King Alfred the Great’s … but it looks like Halliwell might be brought back to life to represent the UK at Eurovision. Can’t win them all I ‘spose. Words: Christopher Goodfellow mediaspank.net twitter.com/MediaSpank Illustration: Lee Nutland leenutland.com
Featuring Kelela, Neneh Cherry, Craig Richards Wild Beasts, Andy Holden, Jim'll Paint It, Awesome Tapes From Africa, Cheatahs, Evian Christ...