Super Mario Rags to riches: a plumber’s tale Devo Are they not old men? The Drums Life’s not really a beach Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti Tales from the underground
O N C E
M O R E ,
W I T H
F E E L I N G
The Gaslight Anthem / Kele / Hideaway House / Divine Comedy / General Fiasco / Ratatat / Dennis Hopper / AU In SA AU Magazine— —1 / Here We Go Magic / Roky Erickson / Steven Spielberg / Cutaways / Perfume Genius / Hunter-Gatherer Glasgowbury
my inspiration Paul Weller
The city’s hard, the city’s fair The Libertines What A Waster
Photography by Dean Chalkley WHAT A WASTER by Peter Doherty and Carl Barât.
—2 issue 66—
66 AU MAGAZINE
38/ SUPER MARIO
“The times might change, but the tubby wee plumber stays the same, still chasing after a princess who is perpetually peach-napped by an oversized turtle – we’ve all been there”
40/ ARIEL PINK'S HAUNTED GRAFFITI
“If you want to bring music into this operation, you have to bring music that you envision that I would be making in my head”
“I wouldn’t want to spend my life doing something that was some method joke, some ironic escapade””
48/ THE DRUMS
“We wanted to try and create music that was, in our minds, the perfect music. That should be every band’s goal.”
“If someone showed you, back in 1980, the world today with planes running into the World Trade Center and the oil spill and on and on, you wouldn’t have believed it”
—3 AU Magazine—
EDITORIAL It seems that at the same time every year the nature of this editorial ends up being focussed on how much things have changed for Northern Ireland in the July period, but there is a damn good reason for this. It used to be the case that most people would clear out of the country en masse for the ‘July fortnight’, but now more than ever people are actually being given reasons not only to stay in NI during this time, but also seriously good cause to visit, no matter where you are from. There is so much good stuff happening over July that it’s unbelievable. For starters, the annual Trans festival is back with its biggest and best line-up to date – Air, DJ Shadow, Gilles Peterson, the list goes on – we’re pretty blown away by what is on offer. Then of course there is the 10th year anniversary of the Glasgowbury Festival, with Fighting With Wire making their triumphant return to the headline spot. Plus we have The Answer headlining the second year of Willowstone Festival, and the continually burgeoning Celtronic Festival in Derry. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. It might sound cheesy, but there has never been a better time to be in Northern Ireland. If there is any justice July will soon become the time of year people choose to descend on NI, rather than the time they choose to avoid it. Jonny
STUPID THINGS SAID THIS MONTH They just look like normal, five out of ten teeth. Is that the drug that makes people behave like cats? Talk to me about the flavours. I could one two any blogger. Return of the mack...erel I just treated myself to a sit down pee. A lot of them Scandinavians commit suicide. Don’t you know who I am? I’m the west Belfast pitbull. I want the bin to ask him. I don’t know if they’re designy enough. I would tell Facebook I like Golden Cow. It’s the king of spreads. ‘My mind looks for innuendo in absolutely everything.’ ‘Inyourendo!’ ‘Get that in’ ‘That’s what she said’
ROLL CALL Publisher / Editor In Chief
Francis Jones Edwin McFee Ross Thompson
Kiran Acharya, Jonathan Bradley, Barry Cullen, Neill Dougan, John Freeman, Lee Gorman, Niall Harden, James Hendicott, Andrew Johnston, Adam Lacey, Nay McArdle, Darragh McCausland, Kirstie McCrum, Karl McDonald, Kenny Murdock, Lauren Murphy, Joe Nawaz, Steven Rainey, Kyle Robinson.
Stuart Bell, Tima Farrell
Rebecca Hendin Shauna McGown Mark Reihill
Ramsey Cardy Carrie Davenport Ciara McMullan Gavin Sloan Abe Tarrush
If you’d like to stock AU in your business, or you live in an area where AU isn’t currently stocked, but you’d like to see it available, then drop email@example.com a line. She’ll sort you out. —4 issue 66—
AU MAGAZINE | CONTENTS (CONTINUED) UPFRONT
8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 18 22 26
The AU Stereo The Hideaway House Five To One: Singing Drummers / Band Maths The Gaslight Anthem / Mouthing Off Kele / Heartwork Do You Remember What The Music Meant? With Ratatat All Hail Dennis Lee Hopper Head Shops / Cutaways On The Road - General Fiasco AU In SA Hunter-Gatherer / Unknown Pleasures Metal Wars Glasgowbury Incoming: Sepalcure / Double Dagger / Lorn / Here We Go Magic / Perfume Genius / Solar Bears / Veronica Falls / The Bewitched Hands On The Top Of Our Heads Hey You! What’s On Your iPod?
27 28 30 34 36
Flashback: Maradona Tests Positive History Lessons: Roky Erickson A To Z: Villains Respect Your Shelf: Steven Spielberg Classic Album: The White Stripes
56 Album Reviews 63 Live Reviews 65 Unsigned Universe SUBBACULTCHA
67 70 72 74 76 78 80 81
Most Wanted Screen Games Arts Comics Back Of The Net In Pictures: Late Night Art / Leftfield The Last Word: Neil Hannon
To advertise in AU Magazine contact the sales team Tel: 028 9032 4888 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org The opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the editor or the publisher. Copyright remains with the author / photographer / designer. Send demos / mail / material to: AU Magazine, The Marquis Building, 89-91 Adelaide Street, Belfast, BT2 8FE For more info contact: email@example.com For all general and editorial enquiries call: 028 9032 4455 IMAGE:
52/ FEATURE: DEVO
AU Magazine graciously acknowledges funding support from the Arts Council Of Northern Ireland —5 AU Magazine—
The AU Stereo
Janelle Monae & of Montreal
Make The Bus (Wonderland Arts/Bad Boy)
THE AU STEREO ENEMIES
The sci-fi funk-soul visionary Janelle Monáe has been delivering her slightly unhinged brand of warped performance pop art for a few years now. Recently, she’s finally got round to releasing her debut album ArchAndroid. For ‘Make The Bus’, the Kansas-born Monae teams up with the second campest frontman from Athens, Georgia, the equally ‘non-linear’ Kevin Barnes from of Montreal. The result is a perfectly insane, hideously catchy blend of baroque, schizoid P-funk which offers you a filthy big hit of the irresistible genius of Ms Monáe. JN
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
Say No To Love (Fortuna Pop)
Oh, how our hearts swelled when a new single by our favourite shoegazing poppets dropped into our lives. ‘Say No To Love’ is another slab of fuzz guitared, sunshine drone that wraps itself around you and cuddles you to death. And it’s actually about a girl telling a boy to grow some cojones. In the nicest possible way, of course. JF
Backaches & Cardigans (Richter Collective) The opening track of Enemies’ debut album starts with a blithe afrobeat rhythm before assembling a ferociously addictive bass groove, taut melody and crescendo-laden chorus to hurry things along. A tune that blisters and soothes within the same four minutes, the well-practised instrumental quartet should be causing their labelmates The Redneck Manifesto serious anxiety. As calling cards go, this is a fine, fine start. LM
TURZI (FEAT. BOBBY GILLESPIE) BALTIMORE (RECORD MAKERS) Inspired by the Baltimore riots following Martin Luther King’s assassination, French musician Romain Turzi wrote this juddering house track. Bobby Gillespie agreed to add vocals without knowing anything about Turzi. The result is angry beast of a tune, with Bobby G on top form, especially on the crunching punch of a Lynch Mob remix. In yer face summertime anarchy. JF
KANYE WEST POWER (LEAKED ONLINE) Everybody’s favourite/least favourite Bush-hating, fish-loving fan of caps lock who also raps returns. ‘Power’ is a reassuringly massive-sounding stomper with a reassuringly WTF sounding sample (King Crimson’s ‘21st Century Schizoid Man’) and some reassuringly egotistical yet neurotic grandstanding lyrics. Welcome back, Mr West. DMcC
EMERALDS CANDY SHOPPE (EDITIONS MEGO) Ohioan drone-meisters Emeralds’ latest album Does It Look Like I’m Here? shoehorns their usual lengthy, Kraut-influenced jams into smaller, poppier shapes. The move behooves them. Album opener ‘Candy Shoppe’ sounds like the opening credits of Final Fantasy III as reinterpreted by a wildly stoned member of Ash Ra Tempel with a laptop. DMcC
DJANGO DJANGO WOR (BONJOUR BRANCH) A four-piece with members hailing from Norn Iron, Scotland and England, Django Django play scuffed, twisted indie that’s seen them compared to The Beta Band on more than one occasion. Check out their second single ‘Wor’ for a real taste of their lofi experiments in pop melodies, sound effects and dark echoes of layered sound. Then go and obsess about everything else they’ve done. Awesome. LM
—6 issue 66—
THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART
HURTS ILLUMINATED (SONY) We’ve already fallen in love with modern disco classic ‘Better Than Love’ and the huge, simplistic chorus of ‘Wonderful Life’, but it’s tunes like ‘Illuminated’ that really give us hope for Hurts’ forthcoming debut. A slow-moving number with a rush of ticking drums, layers of synths and Theo Hutchcraft’s lean vocal thrum, it’s a song that scrapes skies and raises goosebumps. Oh Manchester, we’ve missed you. LM ELSINORE CHEMICALS (PARASOL) The title track from Elsinore’s recent EP The Chemicals spells/ spills out the group’s ambition and vision large. Post-romantic pocket symphony that it is, ‘Chemicals’ contains all the reactive ingredients that define the Champaign, Illinois quartet’s rapid rise.
Describing themselves self-deprecatingly as ‘a touring mid-western band putting in the time’ and their influences obscurely as Bill Murray and Wes Anderson, their forthcoming long player Yes Yes Yes will prove, simply, that they’re a band with a winning formula. JN BEFORE MACHINES RUNAWAY (SELF-RELEASED) Making a bold leap forward from their underpowered debut EP, noisy Belfast tykes Before Machines have just released a double A-side single for zip, zilch, nada. That’s a bargain in any language. Live favourite ‘Runaway’ is the second track and a perfect example of their M.O. – it’s turbulent, shouty and spiky but always beholden to the song, and in this case an explosively huge chorus. For those missing the salad days of Jetplane Landing, this could be your new favourite band. CJ
The Hideaway House
FAREWELL TO THE HIDEAWAY HOUSE The end of an era in the Dublin DIY gig scene
Four years after he first opened up an unassuming Dublin semi to nights of DIY gig madness, The Hideaway House’s 22-year-old promoter Dylan Haskins is calling it quits and moving on. AU went along to the last ever gig – the line-up a tantalising secret – for a chat with Dylan, and to savour the place before it’s gone forever. Words by James Hendicott Photography by Abe Tarrush
When AU rocks up outside a shabby suburban semi in Blackrock, South Dublin, there’s already a festival-like, summer sunshine vibe doing the rounds. Spiky-haired punks and flowery hippies drift about sharing nods and winks, whispering about possibilities for tonight’s secret line-up and sharing information on just how to track down a venue that’s something of a Dublin urban myth. It’s a Monday night, we’re 40 minutes from the Liffey and we have no idea who we’ve come out to see. This, according to founder Dylan Haskin, is life. “When you’re involved in a music scene for long enough, you experience these rare moments of raw passion and get this feeling, an affirmation that this is what it’s all about.” Welcome to The Hideaway House. When Dylan founded the venue, he was a motivated 17-year-old with impressive DIY-gig credentials, and the Blackrock venue was nothing more than a pointedly un-renovated semi set conveniently beside a bus stop. These days, the downstairs rooms are empty but for gig posters and discarded musical instruments sat against one wall, while the entrance has transformed into a tiny ticket booth, where a fiver buys entry for you and as much beer as you can carry. Out in the sunny back garden, punters wander amongst the musicians, playing the ‘who’s who’ game in trying to work out exactly who it is they’ve paid to spend their Monday night watching. This particular Hideaway House gig – having
been moved outside to the garage due to the impressive turn-out – is as close as most of us will ever get to watching big name musicians play in our back yards. “The DIY ethic is a fundamental cornerstone of any music scene,” Haskins argues, and having never paid himself for running a gig, it’s a philosophy he lives by. Listening to Dylan describe earlier shows, we get a sense of the utter chaos that often rules here. “The ceiling is abnormally low in the gig room, which makes any form of crowd-surfing physically impossible, yet some gigs seem to have defied the laws of physics,” he explains. “During the one gig Colin Skehan [of Adebisi Shank song title fame] somehow managed to float from the crowd, over Adebisi Shank and out the tiny window behind them. He’s not a small lad. Looking at the window, I’ve no idea
“Yesterday I went in to tell my elderly next door neighbour that I’d be having another gig in the house. She asked me if I needed any chairs.” —7 AU Magazine—
The Hideaway House
how it happened.” There have been more touching moments, too. “At the Calvin Johnson gig, he led the crowd from the gig room in a line like the Pied Piper, through the then jungle of a back garden, whereupon he began playing under a mass of overgrown ivy.” Some things could only happen in such a inimitable location.
Most of the acts at tonight’s finale play in a garage, stood on a mucky carpet as the crowd drifts in and out, replacing their cans and catching up with friends in a circle on the back lawn. Dublin rockers Jogging open with a set of lairy angst, before Logikparty entertain a dancing five-year-old – and everyone else – with their Courtney Loveinfluenced shenanigans. AU must admit to a childish ‘whoop’ when we spot Belfast’s own post-rock stalwarts And So I Watch You From Afar wandering around: the four-piece are tiring just to watch, and seeing them playing to the 200-plus who’ve made it this evening (topping a previous record of “128.4”) is the kind of sweaty bonanza you don’t forget in a hurry. Dylan tells us this is far from atypical. “The intimate atmosphere and excitement during the gigs is incredible. In the past, I remember holding the speaker during entire sets as it rocked back and forth. You often couldn’t really tell the band apart from the audience.” Tonight’s highlight sits perfectly with the ‘away from the hype’ ethos: local punk starlets ‘ Find A Way’, playing their final show and their fourth at the house, steal everyone’s thunder. Find A Way’s set might contain the odd cheesy Blink-182 cover, but to Hideaway House regulars the band represent everything the venue stands for. Dylan argues that the DIY attitude brings its own rewards. “The bands play lots of gigs, have lots of fun and do it for those reasons alone,” he says. “None of the bands I’ve ever dealt with within the local scene were ever trying to ‘get signed’.” Find A Way, for example – relative unknowns outside —8 issue 66—
IN THE GARAGE
HIDEAWAY HOUSE: HOW IT HAPPENED 2005 17-year-old Dylan Haskins is part of the Basta! Youth Collective, organising shows all over Dublin.
Dylan inherits a Blackrock house from his father, and proceeds to turns it into a gig venue. The venue is promoted mainly through word of mouth, and quickly starts to draw crowds of more than 100 for intimate ‘front room’ shows.
of Blackrock – can hand off the mic to a member of the audience and spend an entire song crowdsurfing. For them, like many of the other Hideaway House regulars, this audience forms the core of their fans. “Last time they played the house, there was blood on the ceiling from people’s knuckles,” we’re told. It’s not difficult to believe. You might expect a few complaints from the natives with such a raucous show going off next door, but that’s not how things have turned out. “Yesterday I went in to tell my elderly next door neighbour that I’d be having another gig in the house,” Dylan tells
A stream of well-known Irish acts grace Dylan’s front room, back room, and anywhere else he happens to feel inclined to direct them. These include Heathers, Patrick Kelleher, Adebisi Shank, Hooray For Humans and You’re Only Massive.
BEWARE LOW-FLYING CROWD SURFERS
us. “I braced myself and told her there would be a lot of people coming. She asked me if I needed any chairs.” Not only are the neighbours impressively accepting, Dylan is certain that his late father – from whom he inherited the house – would have approved too. “I think my Dad would have loved it,” he says. “Not necessarily the music, but the idea of it.” Of course, not all of Hideaway’s performers have remained ‘back garden’ bands. The biggest success story is Heathers, the Blackrock sisters who sweetened the house with their harmonies early in their career, and
went on to provide the backdrop to the latest Irish Tourism advert. Tonight they’re back to close the venue for good, playing a delicate acoustic set resplendent with offkey sing-along moments as the last glimmer of sunlight disappears over the garden hedge. The duo released their earliest recordings on the Hideaway Records label, so nothing could be more apt. Closing with an array of old-timers and local stars, Hideaway House’s final show may well have been its greatest, but even the best things have to end. After four years of unique and energetic shows, Dylan will be focusing his efforts on pastures new such as his new, not-for-profit, all-ages Temple Bar venue, Exchange Dublin. “I can trace the stages in my life right back to the house,” he says. “I was asked to review music on a new show called Two Tube on RTE Two last September, which I’m assuming was as a result of being heard talking about something
related to the house or label on the radio or in the paper. I took the job and then three months later I was asked to present the show. Life is weird.” In amongst his towering achievements, it’s easy to forget that Dylan is still of an age – 22 – at which most of us considered starting you own business at best a distant dream. For all his practical endeavours, though, it would be wrong to paint Haskins as anything but a committed music lover. His energetic dive from the speaker stack during Find A Way’s set has left him with a suspected cracked rib to go with the happy memories, a fitting tribute to the heartfelt energy that has gone into the venue over the years. Its beer and Buckfast-stained carpets and shambolic back garden will return to life as a standard semidetached in a quiet, pricey suburb. And the punters? We’ll just have to cling to the cheap, messy memories of a teenage rock fan’s wet dream come true.
THE FINAL SETLIST
—9 AU Magazine—
Five To One / Band Maths
FIVE TO ONE // SINGING DRUMMERS
Fyfe Ewing (Therapy?) Andy Cairns ruled the live shows, but Fyfe Ewing was the singing, songwriting and drumming genius behind early Therapy? The skinbasher sang lead on singles ‘Meat Abstract’ and ‘Teethgrinder’, while his athletic, dance-influenced beats set the Larne trio miles apart from the pack musically. Ewing left after the Infernal Love album, disillusioned with touring and allegedly irked by the band’s move into pop-metal. Subsequent Therapy? drummers have failed to live up to their predecessor’s multi-tasking talents, and the man himself hasn’t done much since ’96. Reunion, anyone?
Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters et al) He rarely sings and drums at the same time, but Dave Grohl excels at both. After Nirvana, Grohl reinvented himself as guitaristvocalist with the Foo Fighters, but he has kept a hand (rather, two hands and two feet) in drumming, playing for – deep breath – Mike Watt, Tony Iommi, Tenacious D, Queens Of The Stone Age, Cat Power, Killing Joke, Nine Inch Nails, Pete Yorn, Juliette and the Licks, Jackson United, The Prodigy and Slash. Not to mention metal project Probot and supergroup Them Crooked Vultures.
Words by Andrew Johnston
Mick Harris (Napalm Death) Mick Harris has been out of Napalm Death since 1991, but his drumming and vocals on the Scum and From Enslavement To Obliteration albums deafen down the ages. Harris led the grindcore pioneers through multiple lineup changes and musical shifts, exchanging screams with whoever was the lead growler at the time. After six years of annihilating his drum kit and shrieking like a particularly pissed-off banshee, Harris quit for the less terrifying world of ambient music.
Don Henley (Eagles) Eagles co-frontman Don Henley is a committed singing sticksman. At 62, Henley continues to croon classics such as ‘Hotel California’ and ‘Life In The Fast Lane’ from behind the kit. “I could stand out front and sing, but I think people enjoy watching me sing and play the drums,” he once said. “It seems to fascinate people. I don’t know why.” I’ll tell you why: because it’s bloody hard, especially for a drink and drug-addled specimen like Seventies Henley.
Phil Collins (Genesis) Unlike other legendary tubthumpers – Ringo Starr, Roger Taylor of Queen, Kiss’s Peter Criss – whose bands would let them sing a song here and there, Genesis percussion wizard Phil Collins got to warble whole albums, while engaging in astonishing drum duets at gigs with session man Chester Thompson. The Nineties and early 2000s were a quagmire of solo albums, big band projects and dumping people by fax, but the recent Genesis reunion put Collins back where he belongs: scampering between a sprawling drum kit and a mic.
BAND MATHS NO.2: NO.1: RADIOHEAD U2 38% - Introspection 22% - Dystopian dread 18% - Self-loathing 17% - Important People playing Important Music 4.5% - Jazz 0.5% - Fluffy bunnies
—10 issue 66—
The Gaslight Anthem / Mouthing Off
Screaming without screaming with The Gaslight Anthem
Andrew Johnston vents his considerable spleen for your pleasure It hit me at a Dangerfields show in Bordeaux recently how much the punk scene has changed. After a twoday, 752-mile drive from a cancelled gig in Bologna (which is a story in itself), we arrived at the venue, loaded in down the customary narrow flight of stairs, set up, soundchecked and headed for the rider. Usually on these DIY punk tours, it’s a couple of pots of vegan slop and some stale bread, which is fine by grubs like us. But on this occasion it was all meat – tuna, chicken, ham and whatnot. I asked the kid promoting the show if there was anything vegetarian. He looked at me like I had six heads, each sporting a flaming fez.
Standing on stage at Glastonbury, playing their anthem ‘The ‘59 Sound’ to the rapturous multitudes, must have been incredible for The Gaslight Anthem, but to be doing it with Bruce Springsteen at your side would be one of those truly unforgettable moments that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Already travelling at full steam ahead by this point, this moment propelled the band to a wider audience, bringing their ‘no-frills’ guitar attack straight to the heart of fans all over the UK and Ireland. Fusing that classic sound of the streets to the incendiary burn of punk rock at its best, The Gaslight Anthem stand out from the pack, unashamed to simply be a rock band, feeling no need to ally themselves to any genre or stylistic trend. “This is what we listen to!” laughs guitarist Alex Rosamilia over a crackly phone line. “Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, no-frills rock, y’know? Don’t bore us – GET TO THE CHORUS!” Whilst no-one would say that that band lack a sense of artifice or craft, this purity of sound is something that continues to draw fans of classic rock to the band like the proverbial moth to the hard rockin’ flame. “We’re back to that point in the Eighties or Nineties where everything had been taken to extremes. It was all ‘super thrash’ or ‘super glam’, and then grunge came about, stripping it back to the core. It’s music about music, and we’ve got no mission statement. The only thing I could ever sit and do all day is play and listen to music.” This sense of the band being ‘music fans’ first is
inescapable when listening to their music. The lyrics are peppered with references and quotes from the greats, musical nods and references abound, lending the music a sense that these guys know what they’re talking about. It’s not to say that it’s derivative, but they always say you should know the rules before you start to disregard them… New album American Slang still has these nods to the past (and the present), but possesses a darker edge, a suggestion that we’re going through some tough times. Discussing the recording of the album, the tone in Rosamilia’s voice confirms that the personal situation fed right into the creation of the music. “This record is dirtier than The ‘59 Sound,” he confirms. “Brian [Fallon, frontman] moved to Brooklyn from New Jersey and was right in the shit. We were always afraid of being that urban, but recording the album in New York started to filter through to what we were doing. I don’t know if the lyrics are more autobiographical, but I know that my guitar parts are as real as I could make them. It was like screaming without screaming; you feel better and we desperately needed that at this point. We’ve been through some real personal stuff…” He trails off at this point, refusing to be draw any further on the subject. “You know, I don’t watch television, and we all grew up with music – we were oversaturated with it. It’s more like a disease than an addiction, you can’t control it, and eventually it kills you.” He laughs, almost taken aback by what he’s said. “I don’t want to sound greedy, but I do this for me. I know who our audience is… me!” Steven Rainey
AMERICAN SLANG IS OUT NOW ON SIDEONEDUMMY
It’s bad enough that pap like Paramore and Fall Out Boy is what passes for punk music these days, but worse that none of these lame bands or their fans seem to care about anything. I have fond memories of a time – I’m talking mid-to-late 1980s – when punk meant more than just shopping at Cult and getting shit tattoos. I remember poring over the lyrics to Extreme Noise Terror and Napalm Death LPs as an impressionable teenager and being astounded by their righteous fury. I had wanted to be a vegetarian since I first made the connection between the lamb in the field and the meat on my plate, but my concerned mother had overruled me. At 15, with ENT’s ‘Murder’ blasting from the speakers, I finally found my guts. “450 million animals are murdered in Britain every year / To be shoved down your throat and shat out of your arse,” screamed razor-throated frontman Dean Jones. “MURDAAARGH!” After Anthrax’s skateboards and Slayer’s Satanism, this was hugely powerful stuff. I quit eating meat on the spot and have stuck at it these past 22 years. I was devastated to learn recently that most of ENT are no longer vegetarians and that they no longer play ‘Murder’. “I think now it’s more acceptable not being vegetarian,” whimpered Jones in a Terrorizer interview last year. They aren’t the only sell-outs. In the early 2000s Belfast punk scene, there was a trend for being ‘straight edge’ (a hardcore subculture where followers abstain from meat, cigarettes, alcohol and promiscuous sex). I had friends who got straight edge tattoos and lectured me for not singing about ‘real’ issues in The Dangerfields. We responded with ‘Fuck The Scene’, damning these “straight edge hypocrites” for being “fucking full of shit”. It was a simple-minded rant, but prescient. In 2010, most of these X’d up heroes can be found munching on bacon sandwiches, sipping martinis and puffing cigars at burlesque nights. To quote Napalm Death in ‘CS’, from 1987’s classic Scum album: “Paragon of virtue – paragon of shit.” I’m no animal-rights Nazi, but it is sad that punk rock’s values have gone out of the window along with danger, menace and kick-ass tunes.
—11 AU Magazine—
Kele / Heartwork
KELE IN DA HOUSE
The Bloc Party singer on his electronic departure
You can’t keep a good man down. Supposedly on a sabbatical, Kele Okereke grew tired of hitting the gym and furnishing his newly acquired apartment. Out this month, the fruit of his creative itch is The Boxer, an album produced by XXXChange of Spank Rock fame. At first glance it seems like yet another indie rock singer dabbling in übercool Balearic beats, so AU decided to step into the ring. This meant trying to draw some words of wisdom out of the interviewdespising Bloc Party vocalist. Our ‘chat’ was to last 10 minutes – an audience with the Pope probably weighs in at 15 – and Kele’s initial diffidence only melts when we ask about how the idea for The Boxer came about. “It started with me and the studio engineer and some old Moogs – and we just started messing around,” he says. “I had some initial ideas and went to New York, met with Alex [XXXChange] and began to patch things together.”
‘Tenderoni’ is a block-rocking choon but a misleading taster for the rest of the album. “That was one of the later tracks to make the album,” Kele admits. “I didn’t really think about it until Alex went away and made this kind of slamming dance track. I really liked it and it gave the album a really different flavour, although it’s not a wholly accurate representation of the record.” The album’s cover makes another significant statement. It features a stunning photo of Okereke oiled and toned, replete with corn rows and the bandaged hands of a boxer. The image screams ‘This is me!’ and Kele agrees. “I suppose much of the Bloc Party artwork didn’t really reflect us as people. With this record it’s me, my name, I wrote all the music and I wanted an image of me on the cover for the first time.”
—12 issue 66—
Make of that what you will. John Freeman THE BOXER IS OUT ON JUNE 21 VIA WICHITA/POLYDOR.
Heartwork In Praise Of Random LP Art
Okereke is positively verbose by now: “My point of entry into music was by playing the guitar, which was very melodic. This is more about rhythms and for the last two or three years, I’ve been thinking about rhythms and frequencies, and experimenting with sounds. There are songs on the record, like ‘Rise’ and ‘All The Things I Could Never Say’ that explore those shifts in frequencies.” Indeed, ‘Rise’ sounds like a gritty slab of pulsing, euphoric house. To be fair, recent Bloc Party releases have dabbled with electronica and various remixes, making Okereke’s dive into dance an obvious evolution for a man who has seemed increasingly inhibited by the constraints of a rock band. Lead single
Intriguingly, there is a between-the-lines sense that Okereke has rather enjoyed being his own man. The reason for the current Bloc Party hiatus is understandable. “We’d been on the road for the last five years and it was just a case of perhaps needing time to ourselves.” But when pushed a little harder about the band’s future, Okereke retreats into terse responses. Does The Boxer represents a watershed for the musical direction of Bloc Party? “I’ve no idea about the future really,” he answers. We push on: there will be another Bloc Party album, won’t there? “I’ve got no idea, actually,” is the curt reply.
GODDAMN GREAT DRUM MUSIC
If ever there was any doubt that naked women can be used to sell anything, then this cover dispels that notion, rendering it as absent as these bevies’ clothes. We can just imagine how it went down at the record company meeting. The musical brains behind the project is obviously some sort of drum prodigy, creating intricate and exquisite percussive delights that are layer upon layer of rhythmic awesomeness unparalleled by anyone, anywhere. They then presented their album, which had the working title Rhythmic Experiments and Drum Studies, and an artistic, lovingly rendered illustration of a drum as a human heart for the cover. The expectation was that it would be instantly lauded as a masterpiece, there and then, and promoted in all its glory. Instead, some greasy record company ganch – let’s call him Joe Black – took one look, thought it was too artsy fartsy, and decided instead to fire some naked ladies on the cover, and change the title to Goddamn Great Drum Music. It’s a fine line between crass and genius, and we’re pretty sure this crosses it.
Do You Remember?
DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT All Hail THE MUSIC MEANT?
Dennis Lee Hopper (1936-2010)
What is your earliest musical memory? Mike: I’m not sure if this is music, but I remember dancing to a record of buzzing bumblebees until I peed in my pants. I was about three or four years old. What is the first record you ever owned, and do you still listen to it? Evan: I bought DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper on cassette when I was probably nine or 10. I really liked ‘Parents Just Don’t Understand’. I haven’t heard it in a long time. What piece of music moves you to tears? Mike: ‘Glory of Love’ by Peter Cetera. Evan: ‘The Thong Song’ by Sisqo What three albums would you force a total stranger to listen to? Slayer – Reign In Blood N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton That Lionel Richie album [er…? -Ed.] Who was the last band or artist that you became obsessed about? Omar Souleyman.
What record would you use to seduce someone? Red Hot Chili Peppers – ‘Sir Psycho Sexy’ What was the first band you ever saw live? Vampire Weekend [may be a lie -Ed.] What about the worst band you’ve ever seen live? The Whom What would be your desert island album? John Cusack’s Greatest Hits What one song best captures your character? Red Hot Chili Peppers – ‘Sir Psycho Sexy’ Who is your all time favourite artist? Robert Motherwell LP4 BY RATATAT IS OUT NOW ON XL RECORDINGS. WWW.RATATATMUSIC.COM
At the end of last month Dennis Lee Hopper rode his flame-tipped chariot into the great unknown. Hopper didn’t so much raise Hell as rebuild his own private version of it; didn’t so much live life in the fast lane as he did rocketing up the wrong side of the freeway. This was a man who gobbled up everything life had to offer, and some of the stuff death proffered too: he drank every drink, snorted every drug, slept with every woman, ate every last meal. Hopper saw the good, the bad and the butt ugly, and came out the other end, scraped and rattled but still alive. “Hollywood is not a place where you want to try and survive,” he once said. But he did. Just about. Hopper was rousting about LaLa Land for more than a decade before he got a chance to swing for the big time, acting alongside Jack Nicholson, Paul Newman and, crucially, James Dean. The doomed actor had a profound impact on the still teenage Hopper. He once said, “He [Dean] tossed the script aside and just went for it.” Just going for it became Hopper’s maxim. He was, in his own words, “hell-bent on making a movie”. In 1969 he directed what would become his signature work: biker opus Easy Rider. It summed up the period’s psychedelic hoopla just as the hippy ethos was turning sour. The chalice, however,
proved to be tainted. Hopper had developed a fearsome drink and drugs habit. “We were all going to hold hands, take LSD, find God. And what happened? We ended up at the drug dealer’s door, carrying guns and in total madness.” The rest of Hopper’s career was equally topsy-turvy. After his sophomore directorial effort The Last Movie (1971) bombed, his time would be equally divided between respectable indies (Apocalypse Now, 1979; Rumble Fish, 1983) and direct-to-video pap. Frankly, he needed to either give up the go-go powder or fire his agent. He followed Blue Velvet (1986) with Catchfire (1990), another directing job so poor he pleaded ‘Alan Smithee’. For the former he excelled as Frank Booth, an oxide-snarfling madman fond of sexual torture. The sociopath at the very end of his tether, a role Hopper allegedly demanded Lynch give him (“I am Frank!”) became his calling card. With five marriages, countless lost weekends and close to 200 films on his rap sheet, Hopper certainly never did things by halves. “There are moments that I’ve had some real brilliance,” he said. “But I think they are moments. And sometimes, in a career, moments are enough.” Hopper certainly had more of those moments than most. Ride easy, good sir. Ross Thompson
—13 AU Magazine—
Head Shops / Cutaways
UP IN SMOKE
Ethical or not, should the Republic’s head shops be footing the bill for Fianna Fáil’s paranoia?
CUTAWAYS SAY GOODBYE Frontman Paul McIver on a very sudden break-up
GRAFFITI ON A BURNT OUT HEAD SHOP, TEMPLE BAR, DUBLIN
“Imagine, for the sake of argument, you own a sandwich shop,” says head shop employee Pat Monaghan. “One day, sandwiches become a little controversial. After all, sandwiches aren’t the most healthy of foods, but you’re selling them legally and you’re paying a lot of tax, so you don’t expect any short-term problems. Then, almost overnight, the government makes sandwiches illegal. They instruct the local Gardaí to storm your shop, shut you down and confiscate your entire stock. Then they do the same to your warehouses. Your stock could have been sold abroad, but now you’re hundreds of thousands out of pocket, your employees are out of work and you’ve been threatened with a long stretch in prison should you try to offload your valuable sandwiches.” Monaghan’s analogy might be a touch silly, but he makes a good point: the recent head shop debacle in the Republic has criminalised a lot of previously legitimate, profitable and tax-paying businesses. Shut down at a moment’s notice and forbidden from re-distributing their stock (abroad, for example) by strict enforcement, Fianna Fáil’s dramatic move to close the long-derided – and equally strongly defended – businesses probably did more damage to the owners than the mini-spree of vicious arson attacks that preceded it. In Monaghan’s eyes, it was equally unnecessary. Given the number of head shop-related deaths and a propensity for underage use, it was clear before the law change that the outlets were becoming an issue that needed looking at. Galway West TD Frank Fahey (Fianna Fáil) summed up detractors’ concerns with his pre-ban comments. “It is very possible that use of these so-called ‘legal highs’ can irreparably damage a person’s mental health and this is not something that we can or should ignore,” Fahey —14 issue 66—
argued. “We cannot let this issue drift. People using these products may very well suffer health problems in the long term and they will then be adding to the demand on our health services.” It was clear from the bustling queues outshealth issues were, by all accounts, rising. Equally, though, Ireland has passed up a chancide Dublin head shops that the issue was quickly becoming prominent, and e to examine the issue properly, rushing through laws when a temporary solution pending a thorough examination would have made far more sense. Instead, the government has ushered in a blanket ban that goes so far as to allow police to confiscate anything that they consider to be a mind-altering substance. As far as we can work out, that not only includes alcohol (which, according to the wording of the ban, is borderline illegal in Ireland these days) but could technically apply to Pritt Stick, too.
At the beginning of June, Belfast indie-pop trio Cutaways decided to split, leaving as their legacy an EP and a single full-length album, Earth And Earthly Things. The announcement came as a surprise to fans, and according to frontman Paul McIver it all happened incredibly fast – from decision to final gig in five days. “We had a wee chat and decided things hadn’t been the way we wanted them for a while, and decided to call it quits from there, really,” he tells AU. “Cutaways stood for a certain type of sound and the stuff we’d been doing [lately] had moved away from that and it got a bit confused. We just felt like, before anything goes any further we might as well just call it quits while it’s still on a high, before it peters out.”
Putting aside those that will go straight to the shady dealers instead – and no-one knows quite how many fall into that category – we can certainly see the point of protecting former head shop users. We can’t help asking ourselves, though, where are the analogies of individual substances? Where is the effort to make a law that avoids giving unnecessary power to a police force that many already see as excessively draconian? Where is the basic common sense in not allowing businesses that – until just a few weeks ago – were entirely legitimate, to close down in a sensible way?
Asked to look back on the band’s highlights, Paul reflects happily on the period around the release of the debut EP Start Stop, Start Stop, as well as touring in England and Canada. “There were a few months after the EP when I thought I was part of something special,” he says. And although he admits to tensions within the band, the old chestnut of ‘musical differences’ (our words, not his) was the main reason for the break-up, which was instigated by him. “There’s only so much you can make music that you’re not 100% happy with and you don’t believe in 100%.”
Whatever your feelings on the head shops themselves, amongst the arson attacks, deaths and debates, the government’s rushed final action – one that has given Fianna Fáil’s detractors yet another chance to accuse them of popularist band-wagon hopping – was arguably the least logical of all. James Hendicott
However, the frontman insists that he has plenty more music in him, with side project The Flora, The Fauna continuing, and a new band on the horizon. “I want to put something else together, but I’m not quite sure what it is just yet,” he reveals. “It’ll be a busy summer for me, anyway.” Chris Jones
On The Road - General Fiasco
of the King’s Hall. We are looked after really well and the gig goes good. The crowd are polite but a little stale for both us and The Temper Trap. That’s often the problem with gigs where tickets are free, giving it no real value to the holder. A few drinks with TTT and off to bed we go. Back to England tomorrow for more KIGH fun! Days 14-16 – Everywhere but home A week-and-a-half or so into the Kids In Glass Houses tour, everyone is in good spirits. The tour has been great, the gigs have been crazy with circle pits and moshing and merch have been flying out every night – it’s been easily the best support tour/audience we’ve ever played to. On the drive from Bournemouth to Falmouth, one of the back tyres on the van blows out whilst travelling about 70mph on a really busy A-road with no hard shoulder. Fortunately no casualties except the beaten piece of metal that used to be the wheel rim.
Enda onstage in exeter
ON THE ROAD General Fiasco
Hard-touring Magherafelt boys General Fiasco recently completed yet another UK tour, this time supporting Cardiff’s Kids In Glass Houses. Drummer Stephen Leacock takes us through the tour highlights, including a trip to Germany, a couple of near-disasters and some decidedly un-rock and roll behaviour…
Once there, it’s off to the Earl of Camden where we’re playing tonight. 15 minutes before we are due to play I get a call from one of our guests letting me know the door staff aren’t letting any of them in. There is no reasoning with door staff so we promptly let all our guests in the fire escape, including Jonny from Snow Patrol. Disaster averted. The gig itself isn’t without its problems but the crowd couldn’t be better. The place is heaving with people, a lot of whom know the words, and more people are queuing right round the corner being refused admission. There is no swinging from the rafters, but the climbing on tables and the bar will do for now. I’ll try to remember tonight next time we play a show that isn’t quite as good.
Day 1 - Camden Crawl
Day 8 - From Birmingham to Essen
We fly to London mid-morning as we have press the afternoon before the Camden Crawl show, leaving our unfortunate tour manager Darzo and merch guy Richard to bring the van via Dublin to Holyhead and then on towards London.
Today we are jumping off tour to fly to Essen, Germany to play a show with The Temper Trap for ‘Eins Live’ (One Live – the German equivalent of Radio 1, I guess). The venue for the gig is on an old abandoned industrial estate and reminds me a little
GENERAL FIASCO, 2008
OWEN SAVOURS THE ATTENTION...
The Falmouth show show is on a par with the rest of the tour so we begin our marathon night drive to Brighton for an afternoon show. We check in to our hotel just before 8am, quick wash and a snooze and we drive into Brighton for a few interviews and the gig at 1pm at the Prince Albert. The place is at capacity of about 100 as we hit the stage. Afterwards, we grab our gear and off we go across to the south-west of England for the last show of the KIGH tour in Exeter. This is our first time in Exeter and the response is great. Post-gig, everyone is in party mode in the KIGH dressing room where I try to blend in sober, choosing to abstain from drinking for a few days to give myself a fighting chance… rock and roll is dead. No rest for the wicked as we leave at 5am the next morning to travel back to Brighton for a day of press and the show that night. We hit the stage just after 10pm for the gig. There is a limiter in the venue of 103db which means if it gets too loud the PA shuts down and comes back on 15 seconds later. Fortunately we don’t trip this until the end of our set with the outro of ‘Rebel Get By’. We get our things together and GTF out of there on a night drive to Liverpool to get our boat home for a few days’ rest and rehearsal before it starts up again.
ENDA SIGNS HIS LIFE AWAY
—15 AU Magazine—
AU in South Africa
AU IN SA
The Top Ten Highlights
Words by Jonny Tiernan
seeing them roll about and play with each other was so cute that I almost imploded. I thought about smuggling one out, but I figured they’d need to eat a lot of Whiskas when they’re full-grown, so best to give it a miss. 8. Feeding The Giraffes Almost as good as playing with a lion cub was feeding the giraffes. They hung out in a field next to the lion cub enclosure, and they were so friendly that I couldn’t believe it. We were able to feed them from our hands, and their telescopic tongues were well entertaining. I considered trying to smuggle one of these out as well, but realised that they are even more conspicuous than lion cubs, and so quickly changed my mind.
TIESTO KILLS IT
As part of the Smirnoff BE THERE campaign, AU headed out to Johannesburg to cover the Tiësto experience. Of course, it would be pointless to travel all that way just for a single show, albeit one that is taking place in an aircraft hangar. We were treated to four days of activities and good times, and it made for a pretty much unforgettable experience. Here are 10 choice highlights of the trip. 1. The Ash Cloud Yes, we know that the dreaded ash cloud wreaked havoc for millions of people, and it resulted in a massive loss of revenue for airlines and tourism, but without it we would never have made it to Johannesburg. The bloggers’ trip was originally planned for a Simian Mobile Disco show in Berlin, but we weren’t able to make it to due to the volcanic effect. Tiësto in South Africa as a consolation, you say? Yes, that sounds perfect. 2. The Hotel When we first arrived at our hotel there was a mega amount of hustle and bustle, and the staff were extraordinarily friendly and helpful. It turned out that the hotel had only opened that day, and we were pretty much the first guests to stay there. We had to wait a good while for our rooms to be prepared, because they literally had never been ready for anyone else before. I don’t think I’ll experience that again, and coupling that with the fact that the hotel itself was amazingly plush, and you’ve got one happy bunch of bloggers. 3. The Company There was a really broad bunch of bloggers, filmmakers and content creators on the trip, with people coming from as far away as Australia and Venezuela to attend. It was a really cool group of people, and the South African hosts we had were all really knowledgeable and dead sound. —16 issue 66—
4. The Soweto Bike Ride On the second day of the trip we were taken on a bike ride round Soweto, and it was a real eye-opener. I’d never really witnessed poverty on that scale first hand, and it was mind-blowing to find out that the monthly rent on one of the tiny, run-down shacks was less than a bar meal in pubs just a short drive up the road. We also got to spend some time in an authentic Soweto shebeen, and sample a few traditional South African drinks, including some beer that was a little like alcoholic apple sauce. Quite nice though. 5. The Kitchener Bar For the second night of the trip, our South African hosts recommended we check out this small bar/club called Kitchener. It was completely unlike anything I would have expected to find in Johannesburg, and it wouldn’t have felt out of place in London. The place was filled with flamboyantly dressed hipster-types, with a fair degree of metrosexuality on display. The music was great too – loads of old funk and soul. The owner/late-night DJ of the bar was the real hero though. Not only did he look like a chubbier Ron Jeremy, but he followed up Bob Dylan’s ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ with some stomach-churningly heavy dubstep. Inspired and mental, in equal measure.
9. The Main Event The final night of the whole trip was of course the grand finale, Tiësto playing in an aircraft hangar in Johannesburg. You really need to hand it to Smirnoff, they know just how to set up a venue. It has two huge rooms, acrobats, graffiti artists, dancers and of course over 3,000 lucky ticket winners. BLK JKS play live in one room, and then afterwards Tiësto kicks things into a serious gear in the other room. It’s a top notch show, and the crowd go completely doolally. Top dollar. 10. The Cocktail Bar It might seem a bit off to be mentioning a bar as a highlight, but hey, we’re Irish, right? At the main event they had these cocktails bars scattered round the place. They were ‘mash-up’ themed, and they had all kinds of fruit behind the bar – kiwi, grape, melon and so on – and they were all labelled as a different musical style – punk, goth, hip-hop etc. You pick out what styles/fruit you want to combine, and the bartenders put it all in a glass, add whatever mixers etc you want, and then mash it up in front of you. They were great, and I lost count of how many we ordered, but by the end of the night the barman didn’t want to see another mash-up again. I could still go for one now though, tbf… For a full run down of each day of the Smirnoff BE THERE trip, check out www.iheartau.com/blog. For more info also check out www.facebook.com/smirnoffireland
6. The Random March While travelling between two locations on the third day of the trip, we randomly came across a protest march making its way through Johannesburg. They were dressed largely in red, and were dancing, whistling and generally creating a great noise. It took ages to pass, and was quite a spectacle. It felt really lucky to have experienced something like this so randomly. 7. Playing With Lion Cubs I think it’s safe to say that this part of the trip was universally a big highlight for all of the bloggers. As part of a trip to a lion safari park (which was itself awesome), we got to play with some baby lion cubs. I never thought I’d get to rub the belly of a lion, and
JONNY: WHY THE LONG FACE? GIRAFFE: NOM NOM, FUCK OFF, NOM
Hunter-Gatherer / Unknown Pleasures
OFF THE TRAIL
Words and Photo by Nay McArdle
From murderers to cemeteries with the mysterious Hunter-Gatherer Niall Byrne digs deep to uncover the freshest new music
7” – Kendal Johansson – ‘Blue Moon’ The 7” sleeve of ‘Blue Moon’ shows a long-haired girl naked from the waist-up in tall reeds, while Johansson’s Last.fm profile shows a cardigan-wearing pretty boy staring at a point on the floor. We’ve no idea whether either of these is, in fact, Kendal Johansson but we’re leaning towards the former. ‘Blue Moon’ is a Big Star cover and at less than three minutes, it’s got instant replay factor. Whoever it is, that voice is a heartbreaker. Buy it from sincerelyyours.se
With comparisons to Plaid and Aphex Twin, electronic composer HunterGatherer drew remarkable reviews for his debut album I Dreamed I Was A Footstep In The Trail Of A Murderer on its release in December 2009. Rather than take it easy or plan another album, this year the Dublin-based musician has elected to continue releasing new material in small, productive bursts. In May, ‘Serbia’ kicked off the Fingerprint Series, 10 free tracks to count across right and left hands. In July, two brand-new songs, ‘Père Lachaise’ and ‘Undergrowth’ arrive on 7” vinyl, HunterGatherer’s first physical release on a record label. “Père Lachaise is an extraordinary place,” he says. “It’s an enormous graveyard in Paris. When I was there years ago, I encountered a middle-aged man who explained to me that his 18-year-old son had died tragically the year before and that he was now travelling to all of the places his son had planned to see. He had photographs, maps, the lot – the accoutrements of a diminished and mournful man. He was like a ghost and his sadness trailed behind him as he meandered between the monuments and graves. Absolutely heartbreaking. “‘Undergrowth’ was inspired by a nightmare I had a long time ago. I have a specific image in mind when I listen to it and it reflects a very particular type of unease.” Emotion and memories are deep, deliberate recurrent themes in Hunter-Gatherer’s music, clearly evident on listening. Discovering that those feelings could be
married with sound gave birth to the early songs of the Left For Dead EP in 2008. “It’s all catharsis,” he says. “Things that inspire me to make music include fear, anxiety, sadness, shame, loneliness, heartache, memory, loss, guilt, unease, uncertainty and dread. It’s all adrenaline and fear, and I actually hope that comes across. I’d like to communicate some tension in a performance. “I started experimenting with old software in 2005 and gradually it became more than a hobby. Plucking a guitar never really went anywhere and the laptop came along at the right time. I like what the laptop can do; it’s awe-inspiring and daunting. I’m just a novice.” Independently releasing an album brought new challenges but July marks the transition to releasing on a label. Home to Dublin-based musicians Patrick Kelleher and Hulk, Osaka Records have welcomed Hunter-Gatherer to the artist roster. “I like the idea of releasing albums on your own,” he says. “An album is different. It’s more like a novel, or a year that’s been torn off your life. There are countless tiny details you need to look after. It seems to have worked out well – I learned a lot from it. “Osaka Records is easily one of the best labels in Ireland and I’ll probably continue to release a good deal of material digitally this year as well. Myself and Children Under Hoof have been planning to do a 12” split for some time now. Some other projects could see the light of day over the next year or two.”
Mix – Donal Dineen’s Summer Loaf mix The legendary late night DJ has dropped a mix for the sunshine days on Soundcloud with tracks and reworks of Solar Bears, Patrick Kelleher, Foals, Fuck Buttons, Madlib, Gold Panda and more. We’re sipping on lemonade in the garden to this one. http://soundcloud.com/fresh_air/sets/summer-loaf Compilation - Shangaan Electro In the ghettos of Soweto, the Shangaan people gather in the streets for public dances. The music played is rooted in traditional African melodies but mixed in with MIDI-sounding instruments and really fast beats. It sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before. Check out the Tshetsha Boys on YouTube, three grown men and a young boy in clown masks doing the craziest dancing you’ll ever see. London label Honest Jons release a compilation of Shangaan electro this month. http://tinyurl.com/shangaan Remix – Monarchy - ‘Love Get Out Of My Way’ (Holy Ghost! remix) We’re hearing good things about the debut album from Monarchy, who after a few months of mystery were revealed as pop rejects Milke. DFA’s Holy Ghost!, however, have taken album track ‘Love Get Out of my Way’ and given it a disco twist which ends up sounding like New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’. A future disco classic. Listen at The Hype Machine - http://tinyurl.com/ monarchyhg
‘PÈRE LACHAISE’/‘UNDERGROWTH’ IS RELEASED ON OSAKA RECORDS ON JULY 19
Blog Buzz – Summer Camp Another act who traded on enigma to get noticed, Summer Camp are from London, not Sweden as their MySpace claimed for a while. Their debut 7” features ‘Ghost Train’ – a perfect, breezy indie-pop ditty on a cool bassline – but all the other material we’ve heard has that nostalgic, hazy, water sprinkler pop sound. Never was there a band name more fitting. myspace.com/summercampmusic
WWW.NIALLER9.COM —17 AU Magazine—
Metal Wars / News Shorts
NEWS SHORTS Following the recent departure of arch-dandy Carlos D, Interpol have regrouped with a couple of high-profile live replacements. Regular gun-for-hire David Pajo (Slint, Tortoise, Zwan, YYYs) slots in on bass, while the Secret Machines’ Brandon Curtis will look after keyboards. But will the new album be any good?!
Words by Andrew Johnston
In the ultimate death metal faceoff, AU pits infamous Floridian Satanists Deicide against goreobsessed New Yorkers Cannibal Corpse. Sensitive readers should run to the hills now - this is going to get ugly.
Offensive Lyrics For a band whose moniker means ‘the killing of a god’, it’s not surprising that most of Deicide’s lyrics revolve around blasphemy. ‘Kill The Christian’, ‘Bastard Of Christ’ and ‘Death To Jesus’ are among nine albums’ worth of anti-religious venom.
1992 opus Tomb Of The Mutilated features such charming ditties as ‘I Cum Blood’, ‘Necropedophile’ and ‘Entrails Ripped From A Virgin’s Cunt’. Predictably, Cannibal Corpse have been banned in Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Korea.
Satanism Front-maniac Glen Benton named his firstborn son Daemon, and has claimed in interviews that he shares a “spiritual link” with Lucifer. Letting the side down is on-off lead guitarist Ralph Santolla – a practising Roman Catholic.
Party-hardy head-bangers Cannibal Corpse are more likely to be found worshipping weed and booze than the Devil. “We don’t sing about religion,” shrugged laid-back vocalist George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher in 2004.
Self-Mutilation Benton is renowned for the upside-down cross he has repeatedly branded into his forehead over Deicide’s 21-year career. Though the ageing growler has admitted to wearing a series of hats to cover it up of late.
Corpsegrinder and co keep the wounds and bloodshed for their outrageous, Vincent Locke-designed album covers.
Animal Cruelty During a 1993 interview with NME, Benton shot a squirrel with a pellet gun and boasted about torching live rats. The negative publicity led to attempted bomb attacks on Deicide gigs in Manchester and Stockholm by animal rights extremists.
Cannibal Corpse have not only never shot or burnt rodents, but they even made a cameo as a club band in animal-friendly comedy flick Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, performing ‘Hammer Smashed Face’ alongside confirmed death metal fan Jim Carrey.
Suicide Attempts Throughout the 1990s, Benton claimed that in order to achieve a life opposite to that of Jesus, he would commit suicide at 33, the age Christ died. The questionable logic of this plan was overshadowed by the fact that he didn’t do it. Benton is now 42 years old.
Cannibal Corpse are too busy selling 50-quid box sets of rare live tracks and obscure rehearsal demos to think about killing themselves.
War Support The song ‘Fuck Your God’ from 2004’s Scars Of The Crucifix has been used to scare military detainees in Iraq, making son-of-amarine drummer Steve Asheim immensely proud. “I’m glad I was eventually able to contribute somehow,” he drawled in 2008.
THE VERDICT Led by the supremely unhinged Glen Benton, Deicide are madder than a taxi driver on a shooting spree. But for cranking out a new album of cranium-crushing splatter rock every couple of years since 1990 and with an untarnished touring record (Deicide tend to cancel more shows than they play), the deadliest death metal mob has got to be Cannibal Corpse.
—18 issue 66—
Despite singing about torture and murder, Cannibal Corpse appear to be a peace-loving lot. “Even though we’ve got crazy entertainment now, our social realities are more civilised,” mused bassist Alex Webster in 2007. “We’re not hanging people or whipping them in the street, and I think that’s positive improvement for any society.”
DEICIDE PLAY SPRING & AIRBRAKE, BELFAST ON JUNE 28 AND THE VILLAGE, DUBLIN ON JUNE 29 (CANCELLED!). CANNIBAL CORPSE PLAY THE ACADEMY, DUBLIN ON AUGUST 21 AND SPRING & AIRBRAKE, BELFAST ON AUGUST 22. WWW.DEICIDE.COM WWW.CANNIBALCORPSE.NET
You know how long it’s been since The Avalanches’ debut album? 10 years, that’s how long. The Strokes were completely unknown then, Clinton was in the White House, and Lionel Messi was not long out of short trousers (insert ‘small bloke’ gag here). But a new album is apparently on its way, with the news that Ariel Pink (featured elsewhere in this issue) has been singing on it. Ooh! In double Californian surf dude news, both Wavves and Best Coast have albums on the way. Wavves’ second effort King Of The Beach is out on August 2 via Bella Union, while Crazy For You by Bethany Cosentino’s Best Coast gets a Stateside release on July 27. No news yet on when it hits our shores. Not much has been heard from Swedish acoustic guitar man Jose Gonzalez for some time, but he has regrouped with his original band Junip, who formed in the late Nineties, for a new album due in September. A quite stunning EP, Rope and Summit, is out now on City Slang. A blend of pastoral folk and gently pulsing Kraut, we highly recommend it. RAWWWWK! Guns N’ Roses (aka Axl Rose’s Magical Mystery Tour) have announced Irish dates for the end of the summer. They Chinese Democracy World Tour hits the Odyssey, Belfast on August 31 and the O2, Dublin on September 1. Naughty boy Chris Brown has been forced to cancel his European tour after he was denied entry to the UK due to his conviction last year for attacking his then girlfriend Rihanna. “We reserve the right to refuse entry to the UK to anyone guilty of a serious criminal offence,” said a Home Office spokesman. Still basking in the glory of his Choice Music Prize triumph in March, Adrian Crowley has announced a major, all-seated Dublin show for Saturday July 24. The Maltese-born, Galway-raised singer-songwriter will play The Button Factory.
12-16 Bradbury Place, Belfast, BT7 1RS, 02890871106 On The Top Floor: Every Thursday and Friday night: A request friendly poolroom soundtrack featuring classic tracks and up to the minute future hits. The combination of high class pool hall & a razor sharp playlist leads to an experience unique to Belfast and guaranteed good times. Make no mistake this is the best place in town to shoot some frames, hang out with your best friends & boogie on down when the lights go out.
Request-friendly DJ set by Dave F While you play pool
On The First Floor: Every Monday:
An eclectic Monday night mix with DJ Dave F. Doors 10pm. Adm £3 An across-the-board playlist featuring everything from Florence & The Machine through to AC/DC, taking in The Beatles, N.E.R.D., Pink Floyd, The Strokes, and loads more inbetween.
EMO / PUNK / HARDCORE: Dj Darren Craig Doors 10pm. £3 Playlist includes….+44, 30 seconds to mars, afi, against me!, alkaline trio, angels and airwaves, ash, bad religion, bearvsshark, biffy clyro, billy talent, black eyes, blink 182 ….
Eclectic Student Club: DJ Panda Hearts Pineapple Doors 9pm. Adm £3 TA'PP is a new weekly club brought to you by Panda//Hearts//Pineapple. Guest DJs, drinks promotions and give aways every week. Every Wednesday:
An up-for-it selection of party tunes and random anthems Doors 10pm. Adm £3 DJ Greg McCann takes charge of the decks to entertain the masses with a choice of tunes that knows now boundaries.
Indie & Electro: DJ Jonny Tiernan Doors 10pm. Adm £3 Brought to you by the man behind AU Magazine - Jonny Tiernan. You will hear modern classics, cutting edge underground tracks and unheard remixes, straight from the artists.
EVERY SATURDAY AT LAVERY’S Resident DJs:
GREGZ McCANN JONNY TIERNAN DARREN CRAIG
TWO FLOORS OF ALTERNATIVE SOUNDS
IN THE BUNKER AND THE BALLROOM!
On The Ground Floor: Every Monday & Tuesday
Live Traditional & Folk Sessions
Hosted by Buana, all musicians are welcome. This is an open session and all musicians of all standards are invited to play. Bring along your fiddle, flute, tin whistle, accordion, bodhrán, guitar or uilleann pipes and play along and Laverys will fill your cup.
Mondays: UPRISING Reggae, Ska and Dub with residents Leon D & Cozzie Tuesdays: CIRCUS OF SOUND Classic Rock and Soul from deep in the vaults of time
Alternative sounds from the last century with Gregz McCann Saturdays:
Every Wednesday - Saturday
Wednesdays: PERFORMANCE Singer-songwriter sessions with featured artists and open mic.
Genre-jumping mix of underground hits
Classic Chart Hits The Retro Disco every Friday and Saturday night with its playlist of the hits of yesteryear for those who love to party to the sounds of the 50s, 60s, 70s & 80s.
Thursdays: COUP D’ETAT Upbeat music mix with Rory McConnell
Classic Funk, Soul and Rhythm & Blues with Paul Mod Revival
Sundays: The RETRO DISCO TWO FLOORS OF ALTERNATIVE SOUNDSSOUL SOCIAL
—19 AU Magazine—
10 YEARS OF GLASGOWBURY Back in 2000, Draperstown musician Paddy Glasgow had the bright idea of putting on a gig to raise funds and awareness for the Ulster Cancer Foundation. Two years later, he had the beginnings of a fully fledged festival, and since then Glasgowbury has become established as the Northern Irish music scene’s flagship summer event, as music fans from all over Ulster descend on Eagle’s Rock, high in the Sperrins. This July sees the festival’s tenth anniversary, so we asked Paddy to indulge in a bit of nostalgia and pick out his top 10 memories of the last decade. Here they are, in the man’s own words.
Ash headline in 2003
Main stage, 2000
Fighting With WIRE, 2004
ASIWYFA AND FIRENDS 2009
Actually happening To be here for 10 years is one thing but actually getting that first festival off the ground, no matter how small it was, felt like my greatest achievement at the time. 10 acts, 80 people, good vibes and the beginning of something special. Few could have imagined what we started that day. Growth of music scene Since Glasgowbury started 10 years ago, the Northern Irish music scene has advanced massively and it’s an honour to have been a part of that. At the beginning we had the early makings of Fighting With Wire and LaFaro knocking about in different guises and here they are years later leading the way at the top of the bill for our 10th year celebrations. The ‘Fruit & Nut Club’ In 2002 the rain pelted down and we simply couldn’t afford to put on an outdoor festival. And so emerged the aptly named ‘Fruit & Nut Club’. Well, what other name could we give to an old chicken shed that we were using as a makeshift stage?! The council’s Health and Safety officers would have probably collapsed on sight – if they had known it was taking place! But it’s all part of the legend and that was easily one of the most memorable years yet. The Undertones begin something exciting In the early stages of the festival we had to be able to pull in established bands to be able to pull in the people. The Undertones were our first big headliners in a way and they really put their stamp on the festival back in 2003. There’s video footage from the stage when they launched into ‘Teenage Kicks’ – let’s
—20 issue 66—
PADDY GLASGOW ONSTAGE WITH ASIWYFA, 2009
just say I’m glad I wasn’t the security trying to hold anybody back. Neil Fallon turns up... eventually If The Undertones began a new era for headlining bands, then Neil Fallon from Clutch was to be another step in the right direction... if he had turned up in time that is. Held back by a thunderstorm, he still hopped the plane and made it here the following day to play his first ever unplugged, acoustic session. No shit, no hassle, and as down to earth a person as you are likely to meet.
THE FESTIVAL SITE, 2008
Our current site It took us six years and four sites to get where we are now, but Eagle’s Rock is our true spiritual home. 2006 was the first time we climbed the mountain and we haven’t looked back since. Over the years Red Organ Serpent Sound, Duke Special, Ash and And So I Watch You From Afar have all headlined main stages while looking down over the rest of the country. Fighting With Wire will finally take up the mantle this year. Ash Securing Ash, one of the biggest and most successful bands to ever come out of Northern Ireland, to headline Glasgowbury 2008 was a truly proud moment for the festival and would be the stepping stone for everything since. I was standing with Rick in the early evening and he turned to me and said, “This isn’t small but massive any more, it’s just massive.” That was humbling. Stage development From one stage in 2000 to five stages in 2010, it’s as much a compliment to the growth and expansion of music here as it is to the festival. Each stage has its own unique reputation from the Eagle’s Rock Stage (the location) to the G Sessions Stage (a reference to our monthly showcases) and from the Spurs Of Rock Stage (a literal translation of Sperrins from Latin) to the iconic Small But Massive Main Stage.
GENERAL FIASCO, 2008
Festival awards After picking up the Best Family Festival and Best Service awards at the Irish Festival Awards in 2008, we were overwhelmed to be invited to Dublin earlier this year again where we won another four. While holding on to the previous two the fans also voted Glasgowbury Ireland’s Best Small Festival with the Best Line-up. And considering we were up against the likes of Oxegen and Electric Picnic it was an experience the team and I will never forget. Looking forward... This is of course our 10th year of the festival and to still be here is a highlight. Times have sometimes been tough but as a festival Glasgowbury has matured and enters the new decade with a wealth of experience at its back. Naturally we have a few surprises up our sleeve to help us celebrate which you will have to climb the hill on Saturday 24th July to experience. Needless to say we’ll be giving something back to the people who have helped support us over the years – because without their support Glasgowbury simply wouldn’t exist. THIS YEAR’S GLASGOWBURY FESTIVAL TAKES PLACE ON SATURDAY, JULY 24 AT EAGLE’S ROCK, DRAPERSTOWN.
RORY FRIERS OF ASIWYFA, 2009
—21 AU Magazine—
Sepalcure / Double Dagger / Lorn
MEMBERS: Travis Stewart, Praveen Sharma (both production). FORMATION: Brooklyn, New York, 2009. FOR FANS OF: Joy Orbison, Mount Kimbie, Burial. CHECK OUT: Love Pressure EP, out now on Hotflush. WEBSITE: www.myspace.com/sepalcure
MEMBERS: Nolen Strals (vocals), Bruce Willen (bass), Denny Bowen (drums). FORMATION: Baltimore, USA, 2002. FOR FANS OF: The Mae Shi, Future of the Left, Ponytail. CHECK OUT: Masks EP, out now on Thrill Jockey. WEBSITE: www.posttypography.com/doubledagger
REAL NAME: Marcus Ortega BASED: Milwaukee, Wisconsin. FOR FANS OF: Flying Lotus, Aphex Twin, Boxcutter. CHECK OUT: Debut album Nothing Else is out now on Brainfeeder. WEBSITE: www.myspace.com/lornnn
Within bass music, it seems that each little label and scene takes its turn to have a day in the sun. In the early days of dubstep it was south London’s Tempa and DMZ who dominated, then the Tectonic label gave us the Bristol sound of Pinch and Peverelist. Last year it was all about Hyperdub, as Kode9 took centre stage and his charges defined the sound known as UK funky. 2010, however, could be Hotflush’s year. Already we’ve had the second fulllength from label boss Paul Rose, aka Scuba, as well as the Mount Kimbie remixes, warming us up for their debut full-length. But they haven’t forgotten the A&R side of things, and New Yorkers Sepalcure are the latest duo to roll off the production line.
When punk came, it brought simplicity, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be smart. Double Dagger, from the same Baltimore scene that spawned Dan Deacon and Ponytail amongst others, have stripped hardcore down to its most basic elements: distorted bass, drums and a singer. “It’s taking the essence and turning it up all the way. We keep it economical,” singer Nolen Strals explains.
Summer, eh – who needs it? All that daylight and warmth – bah! What AU really wants is to wrap ourselves up in some delicious darkness and to just wallow. To this end we’ve been getting well acquainted with Nothing Else, the debut album from Lorn. A compelling trip through the murkier end of electronica, the record caught the ear of Flying Lotus, who made the 23-year-old Illinois native the first non-LA based signing to his Brainfeeder label.
If there is such a thing as a Hotflush sound – and Joy Orbison and Mount Kimbie have much in common – then Sepalcure slot neatly into it. They’ve even given it a name… (wait for it)… lovestep. We know, it’s not ideal, but it’s neat shorthand for the hazy, aquatic sounds that they make. Like Burial and Joy Orbison, Travis Stewart and Praveen Sharma draw heavily on euphoric Nineties house, transposing those sweet vocals onto something altogether more melancholic, and imbuing it with nostalgia and a sense of pathos. It’s achingly beautiful music, yet more to add to an overflowing roster. Chris Jones —22 issue 66—
They get astoundingly loud for a band without a guitarist, but it’s not just aural assault. Strals and bassist Bruce Willen are also a design duo who have worked for the New York Times, and their facetious early self-designation of “graphicdesignercore” goes some way towards illustrating their approach. “I think we try and put a little more thought and feeling into it than just being rock and roll,” Willen says. “If you relate arty with our level of consciousness, then I guess that works, do you know what I mean?” Strals’ lyrics, half furtively spoken, half enthusiastically screamed, are often on familiar punk themes – suburbia, boredom – but lines like “figure out what it’s like to be posthuman” keep bubbling up over the solitary bass as a sort of musical knowing wink. “Wear ear plugs,” they advise as a parting shot before their Dublin show. Sound advice. Karl McDonald
It’s easy to see what attracted Fly-Lo. Full of melancholy and menace, Nothing Else is characterised by fractured, syncopated beats and minor key synth stabs. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Lorn himself seems something of a tortured soul, as evinced by his sideline in disturbing visual art (examples of which can be found on his MySpace page) and oblique references (in his few interviews to date) to a troubled childhood. For all that, Nothing Else is by no means dispiriting. Quite the opposite: it doesn’t take long for the twisted melodies on the likes of ‘None An Island’, ‘Greatest Silence’ and the superb ‘Cherry Moon’ to embed themselves deep into the listener’s consciousness. So screw summer: it’s time to draw the blinds, close the curtains and embrace Lorn’s Cimmerian shade. Neill Dougan
HERE WE GO MAGIC MEMBERS: Luke Temple (vocals, guitar), Jen Turner (bass, vocals), Peter Hale (drums), Kristina Lieberson (keys, vocals), Michael Bloch (guitar, vocals). FORMATION: Brooklyn, New York, 2008. FOR FANS OF: Can, Neu!, Ariel Pink. CHECK OUT: Second album Pigeons, out now on Secretly Canadian. WEBSITE: www.myspace.com/herewegomagic Beginning simply as singer-songwriter Luke Temple’s solo project, Brooklyn’s Here We Go Magic are fast gaining a reputation as one of the finest Krautrock-inspired bands around. With the eponymous debut album having been entirely constructed and produced by Temple himself, second album Pigeons proved a very different beast. As Temple explains to AU on a humid, hungover afternoon in Barcelona, “This time it was with the whole band and we rented a house in upstate New York – we were fully immersed in recording for
Here We Go Magic
like two months. With the first record, every night after work I would come home and just lock my door and work on it when I had time but this one was like, ‘We’re just going to make a record now’. We took about two months and we set up our own studio in the house.” Temple, never too happy in the skin of a ‘solo man’, explains the difference for him between his previous solo venture and the current incarnation as a five-piece. “Now I am part of a band whereas before there was the sense that the weight of everything was on my shoulders – I was like the solo guy. I was never really fulfilled with the bands I put together because when you’re a singersongwriter and you hire a band, that’s the way they perceive it – like they’re a hired band just doing their job. There’s something cold about that. Now we’re a band, we work together and a lot of our music comes from us jamming together and being inspired in the moment and improvising. Also, I get to play electric guitar which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time!”
rigeur listening stretched to some more familiar artists, too. “Yeah, on this one we were listening to a lot of Krautrock stuff like Can and Neu!. We also got into R. Stevie Moore, who’s this home-recording guy who has, like, 20 records all done on four-track – all with between 25 and 50 songs. They’re all these weird kind of ramshackle pop hits, like Ariel Pink. They’re like hits in disguise. What I took from him was not to be too precious. Let it be free.” And as for the live show? “We love it. What are we like? We levitate. I just lie flat on my face with a microphone," he laughs." No, we put a lot of importance on playing live. It’s different to listening to the record – we’re a jam band in a way, so there’s a lot of improvisation. The problem we have to solve is how to be loose and not take it too seriously so we can exchange with each other on stage, but there’s also this idea of performance and this idea of really giving to the audience. People have said there is almost a voyeuristic sense of watching us on stage and people seem to really like that.” Adam Lacey
Home-recording artists were a real influence on the first HWGM album but this time the de
—23 AU Magazine—
PERFUME GENIUS REAL NAME: Mike Hadreas BASED: Seattle, USA. FOR FANS OF: Daniel Johnston, Sufjan Stevens, Antony and the Johnsons. CHECK OUT: The album Learning is available now via Organs/Turnstile. WEBSITE: www.myspace.com/kewlmagik Very few people are prepared to open up their soul for public consumption. Mike Hadreas, a shy, quietly-spoken singer-songwriter from Seattle, has inadvertently done just that. His magnificent debut album, Learning, was written in self-imposed isolation as a means to purge himself of anger and frustration after spending his teenage years in a chaotic headspin of abuse, drug addiction and pain. He only ever intended his songs to be heard by a few close friends, but the fragile beauty of his piano-led hymns is as bewitching as anything we’ve heard this year. When AU catches up with Hadreas, he’s still bewildered at the wave of excitement Learning seems to be causing. “It’s a combination of being scared and also excited at the same time,” he admits in a whisper. Hadreas went to art school in New York, but his Big Apple experience soon went rotten; a mixture of bad luck and an addictive personality created problems. “I don’t think what I went through was that much. It wasn’t as tragic as for lots of other people. But if you have that [an addictive streak] already in you, it lets you do some things that you’d never think of doing.” The solution? “I basically moved back in with my folks.” Back in the Pacific Northwest, Hadreas began to compose songs, something he had previously struggled to achieve. “I knew I wanted it – it was kind of like the ultimate thing to do – but I never really could follow through to write songs. I always played the piano. I went to art school and I learned to paint and write and all that. But when I finally started songwriting, that entire creative thing clicked into music.” The result is a stunning album; Learning is breathtakingly honest, deeply sad and brave. ‘Mr Peterson’ tells the tale of a teacher who tried to seduce Hadreas (“He made me a tape of Joy Division”), while both ‘Gay Angels’ and ‘No Problem’ are eerie streams of consciousness, hinting darkly at the subject matters of suicide and perversion. Learning seems aptly titled, with Hadreas working out his issues through the creation of music. “I don’t know how much I was really thinking about that at the time,” he says. “Looking back I can see that was happening. I didn’t think anyone else was gonna hear it. I guess it was a way for me to map out things that had happened to me, and the perspective I had on those things. Writing music somehow kinda helped me. It was indulgent.” The album is tracked in chronological order, opening with the nursery rhyme-ballad of the title track – the first song Hadreas ever wrote – and ending with the complex layering of ‘Never Did’. Listening to it is like watching a newborn gazelle tentatively rise to its feet and take a first step. “I was getting more comfortable in what I was doing, a little. The subject matter didn’t really get any more comfortable but I guess I gained confidence in talking about it.” Hadreas never anticipated he’d have to play his songs live in front of an audience. “I played my third show ever recently. I get really, really anxious beforehand but it’s all kinda for nothing as when I actually play I’m OK. It comes out how is supposed to, whether I worry about it or not.” Now that’s a magical prospect. John Freeman
—24 issue 66—
Solar Bears / Veronica Falls / The Bewitched Hands On The Top Of Our Heads
SOLAR BEARS MEMBERS: John Kowalski (bass, guitar), Rian Trench (keys, samples). FORMATION: Dublin, 2009. FOR FANS OF: Bibio, Mogwai, science fiction films. CHECK OUT: Inner Sunshine EP, forthcoming on Planet Mu. WEBSITE: www.myspace.com/solarbears Emerging from Dublin’s “healthy backlash against the mundane”, Solar Bears blend the organic tones of guitar and bass with the technology of digital synths and samples. Formed just over a year ago, John and Rian’s friendship at college led to the creation of an EP and album destined for release on Planet Mu in coming months. The chance discovery of a video interview with label founder Mike Paradinas (aka µ-Ziq) prompted Solar Bears to send off their demos to the electronic label and a rapport was struck up instantly. Their songs stand alone and proud like short film soundtracks, making no effort to fit together into a cohesive whole. The band name comes from Tarkovsky’s original Seventies mind-bender Solaris, world cinema playing a hugely influential role in their creative process. The remix of their song ‘Crystalline’ by Leatherette has been played on Donal Dineen’s radio show and when a live performance is ascertained, it’s certain they will blaze a new trail. Nay McArdle
VERONICA FALLS MEMBERS: Roxanne Clifford (vocals, guitar), James Hoare (guitar), Patrick Doyle (drums), Marion Herbain (bass). FORMATION: London, 2009. FOR FANS OF: Crystal Stilts, Comet Gain, Vivian Girls. CHECK OUT: The single ‘Beachy Head’/‘Staying Here’ is out now via No Pain In Pop. WEBLINK: www.myspace.com/veronicafallshard Whatever you do, don’t liken London-based quartet Veronica Falls’ brand of gothpop to that of the current C86 revivalist bands. According to guitarist James Hoare, any association is merely an act of lazy listening. “A lot of the C86 music is fairly bland – particularly the current incarnation – and seems to have a slightly insipid following; people baking cupcakes, wearing distasteful clothes and knitting horrible jumpers. We don’t really associate ourselves with that scene.” So why the comparisons? “I think the fact that we have female band members and play Velvet Underground-style chord sequences is probably why people make this snap judgement,” he says. Indeed, there is a sense of macabre which connects Veronica Falls to the musings of Reed and Cale. Bassist Marion Herbain can explain the source of inspiration. “[Vocalist] Roxanne [Clifford] and I are into macabre things like the book Wisconsin Death Trip, for instance,” she reasons. “I really like the idea of ghost towns and things like disused amusement parks. I find it all very fascinating.” A new double A-sided single contains the jagged pop of ‘Beachy Head’, and of course, in keeping with their dark themes (a previous single was entitled ‘Found Love In A Graveyard’), the band shot the accompanying video at the notorious cliff-top beauty spot. “It’s an amazing place – very dramatic,” Marion says. “There’s a phone box on the hill top where the car park is with the Samaritans' number on it. It’s been there since the Seventies, apparently.” John Freeman
THE BEWITCHED HANDS ON THE TOP OF OUR HEADS MEMBERS: Marianne Merillon (vocals), Benjamin Pinard (vocals, guitar), Anthonin Ternant (vocals, guitar), Sebastien Adam (keys, guitar, vocals), Nicolas Karst (bass, vocals), Baptiste Lebeau (drums, vocals). FORMATION: Reims, France, 2005. FOR FANS OF: Arcade Fire, Girls, The Flaming Lips. CHECK OUT: Forthcoming debut album, details TBC. WEBSITE: www.myspace.com/handsbewitched Striking name, striking band. It might be that handle that first gives you cause to pause, but it’s the tunes that will keep you coming back to The Bewitched Hands On The Top Of Our Heads. This bunch of psychedelic crusaders write the sort of swoon-pop that could soundtrack the wistful daydreaming of a young Brian Wilson. Powered by no less than three guitars and a heaven’s worth of angelic harmonies, their songs marry winsome folk melodies and the sort of pop sensibility that appreciates the value of a dreamy hook, or several. Indeed, their tales of star-crossed loves and existential quests will entrance you quicker than you can read their name. In their endeavours they are blessed to have six songwriters operating within the band, and each of the group – five guys and one girl – is a capable composer in his or her own right. With this much musical knowhow in their armoury, it is little surprise that the French collective have been captivating audiences at high profile festivals and industry showcases, not least this year’s SXSW. Their debut album is set for a September release and from the clutch of tracks we have already heard, AU is duly bewitched, bothered and bewildered. So go on, let yourself be spellbound. Francis Jones —25 AU Magazine—
What's on your iPod? •
AU FINDS OUT •
MICHAEL KELLY MUSE – Citizen Erased 30 SECONDS TO MARS – This Is War BUTTERFLY EXPLOSION – Automatic Interesting fact: Michael had a near death experience by nearly drowning in the ocean (and is now in a band called Oceanfall!).
Words & Pics By Ciara McMullan
CLARE KELLY BRAND NEW – Limousine ARMOUR FOR SLEEP – Smile For The Camera FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND – Juneau Interesting fact: Clare dubstep dances while shes driving. I wouldn’t fancy being in a car with her very often, sounds dangerous.
SÉ O’BRIEN dj hazard – Machete PENDULUM – Tarantula QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE – Go With The Flow Interesting fact: Sé can pop his knee out of place due to 11 separate injuries.
CAT TWEED METALLICA – Master Of Puppets IRON MAIDEN – The Trooper Slipknot – People = Shit Interesting fact: Cat can hide the fact that she is a complete metal head very well.
ANDREW ARCHIBOLD AC/DC – Whole Lotta Rosie THE WHO – The Real Me led zeppelin – Dazed And Confused Interesting fact: Andrew has OCD.
KEARA MARTIN COUNTING CROWS – Big Yellow Taxi AC/DC – Highway To Hell KISS – I Was Made For Loving You Interesting fact: Keara has to eat the green skittles before any of the other colours...
MARK EASTON THRICE – Broken Lungs THE LAWRENCE ARMS – Demons machine head – Blood For Blood Interesting fact: Mark once climbed in to a closed bird sanctuary on Rathlin Island. Naughty!
Aaron NEILL JOHNNY CASH – Hurt BRAND NEW – Jesus Christ FIGHTSTAR – Paint Your Target Interesting fact: Aaron is an artist who likes to paint whilst naked. Picture that!
jade robinson ke$ha – Your Love Is My Drug N-DUBZ – Na Na shakira – She Wolf Interesting fact: Jade eats Brussles sprout once a year at Christmas dinner.
GARY TODD god is an astronaut - No Return inme – Just A Glimpse city and colour – Happiness By The Kilowatt Interesting fact: Gary was in the same room trying to sleep when his best friend lost his virginity. How romantic!
ROBERT MCMULLAN you me at six – Save It For The Bedroom Hillsong – Oh You Are Florence & the machine feat. Dizzee rascal – You Got The Dirty Love Interesting fact: Robert's hair matches his carpet and the carpet matches the cat.
—26 issue 66—
a professional game in two years. Nonetheless, the Argentine public clamoured for his recall to the national side and he helped them qualify for the tournament via a play-off. Their first game was against unfancied Greece. Argentina were comfortable – winning by two goals – when Maradona collected the ball 18 yards out in the 60th minute and rifled an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the Greek net. What followed has gone down in World Cup folklore as an absolutely crazed-looking Maradona sprinted off in triumph, appearing for all the world as if he might devour the nearest TV camera as he ran towards it, eyes wild, neck veins bulging, mouth agape in an astonishing display of aggressive jubilation.
16 Years Ago
After this frankly deranged celebration, and given Maradona’s history with cocaine, it was perhaps unsurprising that, following his side’s next game against Nigeria on 25 June (a 2-1 victory), he would be selected to undergo a drugs test – the result of which caused uproar. It was announced that the Argentine captain had tested positive, not for coke, but for ephedrine, a banned stimulant used to aid slimming. Maradona’s last chance at redemption with the national squad had imploded spectacularly. Sent home in ignominy, he received a 15 month ban that all but ended his career at the top level.
Maradona Tests Positive For Ephedrine, June 25, 1994 Diego Maradona’s career was already in the doldrums when he received a surprise call-up to the Argentina squad for the 1994 World Cup. Barely a week into the tournament and he’d been sent home in utter disgrace. But do you think he was ready to go quietly? Words by: Neill Dougan Illustration by: Mark Reihill The word ‘genius’ gets bandied about all too freely – and as often as not the recipient of the accolade is entirely undeserving of such high praise. It’s a notoriously slippery concept to define, but there’s surely one thing upon which anyone who takes even a passing interest in football can agree: if indeed the sport has ever seen a true genius, it was Diego Armando Maradona. By the time World Cup 1994 rolled around, the Argentine was a veteran who had already tasted the most glittering highs and the bitterest lows that a life at the pinnacle of his profession could offer. He had already appeared in three World Cups, most notably at Mexico ‘86 when he was in his glorious pomp, as near to unplayable as a footballer has ever been. Captain of an otherwise middling Argentina side, he almost single-handedly dragged them to the final, in the process scoring two of the greatest goals ever seen (against England in the quarterfinals and Belgium in the semis), but also notching
his notorious ‘Hand of God’ goal against England, punching the ball into the net to earn instant infamy. In the final against West Germany, his pinpoint pass created the winning goal. This, for Maradona, would be as good as it would get. Four years later, at Italia ‘90, a desperately disappointing Argentina side, with their talismanic captain carrying an injury, somehow found their way to the final, where they were beaten 1-0 by West Germany in what has gone down in history as the most dismal World Cup Final ever. Maradona broke down in tears at the final whistle. The messy decline had begun. And so to World Cup 1994, in the USA. The intervening period had been turbulent for Maradona: he’d been banned for 15 months in 1991 after testing positive for cocaine, and left Napoli (who he had transformed from also-rans to title and UEFA Cup winners) under a cloud. By the time he joined Sevilla in 1992 he had not played
Not that the fiery Maradona was prepared to meekly accept his punishment. Almost immediately the conspiracy theories flew: the Argentine claimed that FIFA, in need of a marquee name around whom they could promote the tournament in the non-soccer loving US, had secretly given him permission to take the drug in order to help him get in shape. It was also claimed that Maradona’s doctor (either by accident or in a deliberate act of sabotage) had given him a nasal spray containing the drug, which the player had taken unwittingly. No matter: for the greatest footballer in history, it surely was game over. Not quite. Maradona’s life since then has been the stuff of fiction: trying his hand at coaching (at which he was a dismal failure), his weight ballooned. He shot at journalists with a pellet gun. He was hit with a tax bill of some €37 million from the Italian government. His cocaine and alcohol addictions worsened and he was treated for hepatitis. In 2004, he suffered a major heart attack. Bizarrely enough, he recuperated after surgery at the Cuban home of his good friend Fidel Castro. And then, the unlikeliest of comebacks: despite his abject failure as a club manager, the man idolised as a God in his native Argentina (quite literally: there’s a Church of Maradona in Rosario) was handed the reins as coach of the national side in December 2008. After a topsyturvy qualifying campaign, his Argentina team qualified for South Africa by the skin of their teeth (he celebrated in classic Maradona fashion, telling his critics live on TV to “suck it and keep on sucking it” before later driving over the leg of a journalist). Which means that, after everything, Maradona is not quite finished with the World Cup just yet. His side aren’t among the most fancied teams this time around. But where Diego Maradona is involved, anything is likely to happen. We might just see that crazed, bug-eyed goal celebration one more time. —27 AU Magazine—
Roky Erickson Words by: Steven Rainey
Where the pyramid meets the eye
—28 issue 66—
Rewind - History Lessons: Roky Erickson
Change can be painful, and sometimes there’s going to be casualties. One of the original counter-cultural bands, Texas’ 13th Floor Elevators were at the vanguard of a cultural revolution, and found themselves coming in for special attention from the authorities, resulting in drug busts, the threat of imprisonment, mental institutions, and an alien visitation. Now, with his first album of new material in 14 years, frontman Roky Erickson is back with the help of Okkervil River. Ladies and gentlemen, buckle in as we delve headfirst into the psychedelic sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. Amidst the social and political upheaval of the 1960s, another kind of revolution was taking place – a chemically inspired revolution. The doors opened by LSD and marijuana proved to be hard to shut, and within a few years, it seemed as though the entire western world had gone psychedelic. With the beloved Beatles growing their Victorian moustaches and expounding upon the positive benefits of opening your mind, drugs and music were entwined to such an extent that it seemed hard to imagine one without the other. As the 1970s progressed, it became assumed that our rock stars were constantly living Bacchanalian orgies whilst quaffing mountains of drugs, whilst the late Eighties acid house scene was positively fuelled by Ecstasy. But someone had to lead the way with all this cultural trailblazing, and arguably that dubious honour falls upon The 13th Floor Elevators, Austin, Texas’s most ‘out-there’ band. The Elevators seemed to regard authority and ‘conventional society’ as something to be flaunted and avoided at all costs. Advocating LSD and a vaguely undefined sense of Eastern philosophy and spiritual awakening, they pioneered the notion that there was something else out there, and that you didn’t have to live the kind of life that your parents had laid down for you. As the western world was beginning to shudder under the pressure of a ‘youthquake’, this was a very potent message indeed, and the band found themselves at the forefront of the burgeoning psychedelic movement. Over 40 years later, songwriter Roky Erickson is a changed man. Having recently completed an album with indierock darlings Okkervil River, it would be pleasing to say that this is one of those heart-warming tales of an old master
Rock And Roll Stole My Mind! They say you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, and the same would be true with rock and roll. With all the glittering success and acclaim, there’s often a dark side, a downward spiral which can be difficult – or impossible – to get out of. Roky Erickson has been to the dark side and back, but not everyone was so lucky… SYD BARRETT The great casualty of rock and roll, Pink Floyd’s mercurial frontman pushed himself too far, and toppled over the edge of sanity with spectacular results. A true visionary of the psychedelic era, and one of the great rock and roll casualties. Essential Listening: ‘Jugband Blues’ from Pink Floyd’s 1968 album A Saucerful of Secrets is the aural representation of Barrett drifting off into the sunset, never to return. Chilling and beautiful.
craftsman passing down his knowledge to some hungry young whippersnappers, after a long and fruitful career. Sadly, the truth is very different.
laugh. “So I got a bunch. I told ‘em I wanted to kinda take it easy, so we got some slow ones as well and recorded ‘em!”
In 1969, Erickson was arrested for possession of one marijuana joint and faced a ten year prison term, the end result of The Elevators’ provocatively pro-drug stance. Instead, Erickson pled not guilty by reason of insanity, and eventually found himself in a hospital for the criminally insane, where he remained until 1972. Here, he was subjected to electroconvulsive therapy and antipsychotic drug treatments, amidst a number of escape attempts.
Sheff’s tone is almost reverential, the sound of someone suitably humbled by the opportunity he’s been presented with – a real fan’s delight. “Working with someone like Roky was great, it was a real honour. It also helps you grow as a musician. He has a really different creative process, and I had to really stretch and grow.”
By the time of his release, it had become clear that he was no longer the same person who had written such psychedelic anthems as ‘You’re Going To Miss Me’ or ‘Reverberation’. The songwriter, who had exhibited symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia prior to his drug bust, was now preoccupied with demons and zombies, and spent his days obsessing over people’s mail. In 1982, he became convinced that a Martian was inhabiting his body, and claimed that aliens were coming to harm him. At one point, he attempted to be legally recognised as an alien, in an attempt to convince the hostile aliens to leave him alone.
ALEXANDER ‘SKIP’ SPENCE A founder member of Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape, Skip Spence descended into drug hell, attacking bandmates with an axe, and ending up in a mental institution. Along the way, he made Oar, one of the most enduring albums of the psychedelic era. Essential Listening: Aside from Oar, Spence’s only solo album, ‘Omaha’ from Moby Grape’s debut would be enough to seal his reputation as one of the key figures in psychedelic rock. BRIAN WILSON
Sitting with Okkervil River’s Will Sheff, it’s clear that Erickson is no longer the haunted, disturbed individual he once was. He’s been comfortably supported and helped by his family, and has made a steady recovery over the last two decades. The dynamic between the two is warm and friendly, with Sheff looking out for Roky and helping him get to where he wants to get to, whilst Erickson is in a position to finally deliver the goods we’ve waited so patiently for all these years. “Well, they wanted me to get some songs together,” he begins with a guttural
Clearly the two men have a lot to share, and in doing so are helping to finally craft a record that has been in development for many, many years. Most of the songs come from old demos or song sketches that Erickson has managed to cobble together, but never release. As a portrait of his life over the past 20 years, it’s utterly compelling. Not that the man himself necessarily sees it that way… “I like it! I just haven’t really had a chance to put it on. I bought another record called Working Class Dog, y’know? By Rick Springfield? I put it on and it goes, “Hoppity! Hoppity! Hoppity!” across the track. And I was never so aggravated in all my life! I wasn’t real mad at them, but the record skipped! I think I can get it fixed.” “So you’re too busy listening to Rick Springfield records to put on your own record?” asks Sheff, laughing. “Well, I enjoy having records, you know? I think it’s really special for people to have something that you did and you can go over and look at it, and say, “Well, that’s alright.”” At this stage in his life, Roky Erickson can certainly be sure that he’s done “alright”. As one of rock and roll’s true survivors, it almost feels like he’s managed to pull off the impossible.
After suffering a psychological collapse in the wake of the aborted Smile project in 1967, the Beach Boy’s creative genius retreated from the public eye in a cloud of depression and drug use. Wilson was eventually diagnosed as being bipolar and after years of treatment, finally released Smile in 2004, returning to touring and recording. Essential Listening: Whilst Brian Wilson is justly canonised as the mastermind behind the ear-defining Pet Sounds album, perhaps one of his most heartbreakingly perfect compositions is ‘Til I Die’ a song from 1971’s Surf’s Up, a desperate plea for answers in the face of uncertainty. ROKY ERICKSON WITH OKKERVIL RIVER, 2010
—29 AU Magazine—
A villain is, quite literally, a necessarily evil. How boring would the world be if it was just wall-to-wall good guys? Superheroes would have no-one to fight. Crack crime-fighting units such as, for example, the A-Team would have no reason to exist. Manufacturers of hi-tech home security systems would go out of business in a matter of days. In short, a life without bad guys would hardly be worth living. Everyone loves a blackguard, a bogeyman they can fear and despise. AU recommends that you direct your feelings of loathing and revulsion towards these fine examples of villainy. Words by Neill Dougan Illustration by Mark Reihill
â€”30 issue 66â€”
A to Z - Villains
A is for
E is for
manner indeed. Pretty weird. So strange, in fact, that he makes Batman – a man who, lest we forget, feels the irresistible urge to dress up as a flying rodent – look fairly normal.
Star Fox. Woo! What a game. AU wasted countless hours as a young fellow plonked in front of the Super Nintendo version, trying in vain to defeat the demonic Andross, a demented, mad scientist-type who appears in the game as a giant disembodied head – a handicap which you’d think would limit somewhat his capacity for evil-doing, but apparently not.
Formerly known as Senator Palpatine, a politician in the Galactic Republic in the Star Wars movies, the creepy and disfigured Emperor manoeuvres his way into a position of absolute power through a series of thoroughly deceptive Machiavellian machinations. Oh, and being able to shoot electricity out of his hands. That’s always handy for the old manoeuvring.
K is for
B is for
F is for
007 has had many memorable antagonists – Dr. No, Scaramanga, Goldfinger – but the quintessential Bond villain has to be the balding, scarred Blofeld, head of global terror network SPECTRE. Memorably lampooned by Mike Myers in the form of Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies, Blofeld is also remembered for his fluffy white cat and, just like all cat-lovers in real life, is a thoroughly despicable person.
Oriental bad guy Fu Manchu first popped up in the novels of Sax Rohmer in the early 1900s and went on to become the archetypal criminal mastermind in a series of books, TV shows and movies. Not a character seen around so much these days, as some might say that it’s a bit racist towards Chinese people. Still, at least he left us with the quite superb, droopy ‘Fu Manchu moustache’, surely the very apex of all possible styles of facial hair.
C is for
G is for
ERNST STAVROS BLOFELD FU MANCHU
Jack Nicholson gives a riveting performance as nutjob Irish-American gangster Costello in Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning The Departed. Nicholson’s Costello is a deranged, violent, harddrinking, drug-abusing crime lord with a seriously wonky moral compass. In fact the character would seem to be a grave slur on people of Irish descent, if it wasn’t so uncannily accurate.
Slimy, avaricious baddie from Tolkien’s Middle Earth sagas The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings, Gollum will stop at nothing to regain his lost “precious” – that is to say, the mythical Ring Of Power, forged in the fires of Mount Doom by the Dark Lord Sauron himself. Funny, it’s usually women who are dying to get a ring on their finger. Wee engagement joke for you there. Moving on...
D is for
H is for
The classic sporting bad guy, this big Ivorian is a footballer so annoying that his own supporters have been known to boo him. A preening, prancing, moaning prima donna who appears to have no understanding of the concept of the ‘team ethic’, expect to see tantrums galore when he lines up for his country in the World Cup. For all that, the most annoying thing about him is the fact that he’s so bloody good. Git.
Super-intelligent computer from Stanley Kubrick’s trippy sci-fi epic 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL soon goes mad and begins killing off the spaceship crew. Tsk, bloody technology, eh? Give AU a pointy rock tied to a stick any day.
HAL 9000 I is for
Easily the most villainous of all Shakespeare’s characters, the nefarious Iago pops up in Othello attempting to undermine and ultimately destroy the eponymous protagonist by convincing Othello that his wife Desdemona has been unfaithful. Othello ultimately kills his entirely innocent spouse, before offing himself when he realises he’s been tricked. Not a comedy, in other words.
J is for
Arch-enemy of Batman, the Joker – portrayed with aplomb in the movie adaptations first by Jack Nicholson and then the late Heath Ledger – is a violent psychopath who gets his kicks by wearing clown’s make-up and behaving in a very nasty
Better known as the Unabomber, Kaczynski embarked upon an intermittent 17-year crusade of mail-bombing in protest at what he saw as the inequities of modern industrial society. Evaded the best efforts of the FBI to apprehend him until he was eventually shopped to the authorities by his own brother. Which should serve as a valuable lesson to would-be evildoers everywhere: before embarking upon your merciless campaign of terror, why not consider doing away with your entire family first? It’ll save you a load of hassle in the long run. Er... or not.
L is for
Bald, evil genius-type who is the nemesis of Superman. In the movie, Gene Hackman’s portrayal of Luthor is thoroughly tongue-in-cheek, but in the comics the character is a much more sinister super-villain who, at one point, even rises to become President of the United States. Which is pretty far-fetched, of course – I mean, the US President, a lying, power-hungry crook? As if!
M is for
Like James Bond after him, Sherlock Holmes battles many different villains over the course of his fictional career, but master criminal Professor James Moriarty is his most enduring adversary. A mathematical genius, underworld godfather and all-round whizzkid, he still somehow lets the hopelessly opium-addled smart-arse Holmes best him. For shame.
N is for
Kind of self-explanatory really, isn’t it? Y’know, with the whole Holocaust thing and whatnot.
O is for
Firmly in the ‘mad scientist’ category of bad guys, Doctor Otto Gunther Octavius is a criminal mastermind determined to crush his nemesis Spiderman, and to this end benefits from having eight mechanical arms fused to his body. Which, to be fair, is something we’d all surely enjoy from time to time.
P is for
Captain Planet and the Planeteers was a mid—31 AU Magazine—
Nineties cartoon featuring five youthful protagonists summoned by the spirit Gaia to defend Earth from various disasters. In doing so they came up against a gang of ne’er-do-wells called the ‘ecovillains’ led by Captain Pollution, who gave his lieutenants rings containing the powers of Super Radiation, Deforestation, Smog, Toxics and, er, Hate. Not quite sure, but there may have been an environmental message buried there somewhere.
Most barbers are ok. The worst you’ll have to put up with when you go for a haircut is a bit of awkward banter and that inevitable moment halfway through the procedure when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and realise they’ve made a complete mess of your barnet. Sweeney Todd was a different kettle of fish altogether. Not only would he give you a bad haircut, he’d also kill you by slitting your throat
Q is for
No, no, not the beloved Elizabeth II – she’s a bloody saint and we’ll fight anyone who says otherwise. No, we refer to the Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, an altogether nastier kind of matriarch. The kind who’d sell an innocent young girl a poison apple that would send her into a deep, enchanted sleep. Of course, in the end Queenie is defeated by a motley gang of seven dwarves, so ultimately she must be a bit rubbish. In fact, she was probably inbred, like most royals. But hey, we’re just speculating.
W is for
As a small child, AU made the mistake of watching the movie Watership Down. A film about rabbits, we thought: how scary can that be? Well holy suffering crap if we weren’t bang wrong. The bad guy – a demented, psychopathic murderer named General Woundwort – was genuinely, pants-shittingly terrifying. The result? A crippling, lifelong fear of lagomorphs. Damn lagomorphs.
X is for
The ‘Xenomorph’ is another term for the scary creature in Ridley Scott’s Alien movies and its sequels. Not strictly speaking a villain since, like all other animals, all it wants to do is feed and propagate its species. It’s just unfortunate that this involves picking off hapless humans one by one and laying its eggs in our stomachs. Circle of life and all that.
Y is for
MAHARISHI MAHESH YOGI
Transcendental meditation guru who got all chummy with The Beatles, persuading them to travel to Rishikesh en masse in 1968 for a spiritual retreat. However the lovable foursome were shortly back home amidst accusations that the dastardly Maharishi was a fraud who had made sexual advances towards some of the females present. Also Ringo couldn’t get baked beans in India, which was obviously of vital importance.
Z is for R is for
Memorably portrayed by an Oscar-winning Louise Fletcher in the movie adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’s Nurse Ratched is one hell of a memorable villain – cold, capricious, dictatorial and, well, a bit of a battleaxe. Meets her match in the form of the freewheeling RP McMurphy (Jack Nicholson in the film) – but yet McMurphy ultimately dies, while Ratched lives. So... is that a happy or sad ending? This ambiguity confuses and upsets us.
S is for
Evil overlord of Snake Mountain and would-be ruler of all Eternia, if only he could defeat that pesky He-Man. Terrified the bejaysus out of the young AU by having a skull for a face. Also possessed of a truly excellent villainous cackle, which should really be a pre-requisite for any selfrespecting baddie.
T is for
SWEENEY TODD —32 issue 66—
before his accomplice/spouse Mrs Lovett would chop up your remains and use them to make meat pies. It’s enough to make you wish you’d splashed out and just gone to Toni & Guy after all.
U is for
A seven-foot tall green mantis, Zorak was the main enemy of Space Ghost in the 1960s cartoon Space Ghost and Dino Boy. When the show was resurrected by Cartoon Network in 1994 as spoof chat show Space Ghost Coast To Coast, Zorak was reduced to bandleader and grumpy heckler which, despite his occasional protestations to the contrary (“I am the lone locust of the apocalypse!”) was a sad end to a once-promising career as a serious inter-galactic villain. Them’s the breaks.
Like Lex Luthor, Ultraman is a villainous counterpoint to Superman in the DC Comics universe. In fact, he’s a sort of evil parallel universe equivalent to the Man of Steel. So – for example – unlike Superman, Ultraman wears his underwear under his tights. Probably.
V is for
One of several pseudonyms of Daniel Dumile aka DOOM, the masked, enigmatic MC who likes to boast of his villainy at every available opportunity. Indeed his first album under the Viktor Vaughn moniker was titled Vaudeville Villain, wherein he declared himself to be “nasty as nosehair”. Which, as anyone who’s seen their Dad at work with the nasal clippers will testify, is pretty damn nasty.
—33 AU Magazine—
Respect Your ShelfThe AU Buyers’ Guide
Steven Spielberg Words by Ross Thompson Illustration by Shauna McGowan
The director’s name above is synonymous with modern cinema, so much so that it’s hard to think of one without thinking of the other. There’s something about that sibilant, alliterative double S which conjures up images of perfectly placed baseball caps and chubby cigars that cost more than you or I make in a year. It’s misleading, because in actual fact Spielberg is a genial, ever effusive average Joe who lucked out and made close to 10 billion dollars for the industry. His films, however, are far from average. They’re jars of lightning which deftly blend the magical and the mundane, where mystery can be found hidden between the blades of grass; where Neverland is just beyond the picket fence... —34 issue 66—
Though it frequently sailed close to Disasterville, Spielberg’s first fully-fledged feature made both his name and the notion of the Hollywood blockbuster. Peter Benchley’s lurid pot-boiler was an unlikely source of inspiration for a picture as efficient and streamlined as its titular killer shark. From caudal fin to snout this remains a textbook example of how to make a movie. It’s a relentless thrill ride whose sole intent is to make the audience spill their popcorn at regular intervals: the famed head in a boat scene (actually shot in a swimming pool clouded by milk) or the opening scene when a spot of saucy nightswimming goes awry – allegedly, the actress pretending to be chomped gyrated so vigorously she popped some ribs. By seceding to big studio demands and following his own instincts Spielberg not only created a brilliant tent-pole picture, but the template for how to make more. So good, Hitchcock praised the budding filmmaker’s breaking down of the proscenium arch. No, us neither. La Triviata: On good days when it was working, the animatronic shark was nicknamed ‘Bruce’, on bad ones, ‘the great white turd’. On one of the latter, George Lucas got his head stuck in the prop’s mouth. Every cloud... Best Bit: A spot of drunken male bonding is curtailed by Quint’s USS Indianapolis speech, partly written by the actor Robert Shaw: “Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, chief...”
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK E.T. (1981)
Harking back to Saturday morning serials of yesteryear, Spielberg and fellow beardee Lucas knocked out this Boy’s Own adventure as effortlessly as if they were buttering some breakfast croissants. Whilst taking time out from the pressures of Star Wars and Close Encounters respectively, the hotshots dreamed up the idea of a globe-trotting, tomb-raiding college professor with a bullwhip and a weather-beaten fedora. In doing so, they created one of cinema’s most likeable icons and gave Harrison Ford cause to give up the carpentry. Raiders rollicks breathlessly from one set-piece to another – scimitar duels, tavern shootouts, snake pits, spider tunnels – flashing and banging with a gusto that is sorely lacking from recent action jaunts. The idea of comedy Nazis chasing the Ark of the Covenant might be rooted in fact, but by spicing up proceedings with a dose of supernatural hankypanky, Spielberg forged a charming, glucosepumped treat.
Filmgoers had become so accustomed to images of Xenomorphs, Martians and Gorts frazzling puny humans that the idea of a friendly alien seemed, to quote the Vulcan hybrid Spock, highly illogical. However, this feelgood response to the dark side of sci-fi quickly became one of the most successful films of all time – several others on the list are by one S. Spielberg. It might seem churlish to admit it, but this tale of extraterrestrial friendship exhibits the director’s greatest flaw – what he might describe as fuzzly-wuzzly nostalgia, others will spit out for its cloying sentimentality. This Jewish retelling of the Nativity story (a visitor from above is discovered in a shed, performs miracles for his gang of followers, is killed by authority figures, is resurrected and ascends back to the skies) might at first seem laced with too much saccharine, but look closer and you will see the scars of the break-up of Spielberg’s parents’ marriage and a politically loaded attack on mob rule. Plus it looks wonderful: every frame glows with bellbottom blues and gokart reds, the colour palette which would become his trademark ‘magic light’.
La Triviata: Imagine how differently Raiders would have turned out had Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin or Jack Nicholson had been cast as Dr. Jones. Best Bit: The ‘melting Nazis’ finale, best viewed on a top-loading video recorder, was a highlight for any child of the Eighties.
La Triviata: For the 30th anniversary reissue, Spielberg digitally replaced the feds’ guns with walkie-talkies, a decision he soon regretted. Best Bit: It has to be the airborne BMX silhouetted against the full moon, just one of many seminal images the man has contributed to film.
HIDDEN GEM JURASSIC PARK
Pulling himself out of a creative slump (the one, two, three duffer punch of The Color Purple, Empire Of The Sun and Always did him no favours), Señor Spielbergo created his labour of love Schindler’s List. While it was slated for its supposedly lightweight depiction of the Holocaust, which, with its scenes of execution, torture and abuse, makes you wonder just how harrowing these critics wanted it to be, evidenced that the director did have a serious side after all. Ironic, then, that it was released in the very same year as this fable about genetically engineered dinosaurs. In terms of narrative, Jurassic Park is poor, an update of Jaws (humans pursued by beasts, lots of munching and screaming) with more CGI knobs on. In terms of spectacle, however, it towered above the competition. Our age is so bombarded waith vacuous, money-driven blockbusters that we have forgotten what it is like to be truly wowed. Jurassic Park, for all its cute kids and namby-pamby ending (a departure from Michael Crichton’s much nastier novel), is about as good an adventure as one can have without leaving the reclining chair. Nobody else but Spielberg could have made it. La Triviata: Can you spot the photograph of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the so-called ‘Father of the Atomic Bomb’ on turncoat scientist Nedry’s desk? Best Bit: The reveal of the grazing Brachiosaurus. Gobs were smacked.
The new millennium marked yet another purple patch for Spielberg, most notably with this underrated noir thriller equally inspired by Philip K. Dick and William Gibson. To envision what form a paranoid, cyberpunk future might take, Spielberg arranged a think tank with scientists, designers and writers and came up with a world of mind control, mass consumerism and special agents who operate computers like JeanMichel Jarre’s keyboards to stop crimes before they are perpetrated. Yes, there’s another twee denouement tacked on the end, a crime not even Spielberg could stop, but the road there is pleasingly downbeat. There are subplots about drug addiction and child abuse, while Tom Cruise is facially disfigured for a second time (after the concurrent Vanilla Sky), which makes for an interesting insight into his psychology. Minority Report feels like a fairy-tale, with a surprisingly likeable Colin Farrell as the bad wolf. It’s a twisted, odd film which in time will with any justice – precognitive or otherwise – garner the recognition it deserves.
Well worth seeking out is Duel (1971), Spielberg’s debut proper, a film significantly larger than its television origins. Taken from a classic Richard Matheson short, it’s essentially yet another version of Jaws, with an everyman business executive (called David Mann, incidentally) being terrorised for no apparent reason by a tanker truck. Close to horror in terms of its protagonist being pursued by an unseen, perhaps otherworldly enemy, Duel is riveting right from the outset. Better still, there isn’t exactly what you would call a happy ending.
La Triviata: Both Cameron Crowe and Cameron Diaz cameo (try saying that after a few wine gums) in Minority Report, whilst Spielberg appears as himself in Vanilla Sky. Best Bit: The jetpack chase up, down and through a fire escape clearly illustrated that Spielberg had not lost his touch with action sequences.
DUEL: OOH, MENACING
—35 AU Magazine—
Classic Album - The White Stripes
THE WHITE STRIPES De Stijl (2000)
10 years is an eternity in the life of Jack White III. In the year 2000 – before The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, Bond themes, a supermodel wife, Third Man Records and Jay-Z collaborations – he was simply one half of The White Stripes. Still largely unknown in the UK, the release of their second album, De Stijl, unfurled the musical blueprint for The White Stripes and lifted them into our consciousness. The Stripes were birthed out of the Detroit garage rock scene of the late Nineties. Their 1999 eponymous debut album was a fireball of guttural garage punk. It sounded like a (mind-bogglingly brilliant) demo – with Jack beginning to flex his muscles. 12 months later, the release of De Stijl was a huge sonic leap – it was clean, focussed and clearly mapped out White’s musical compass points. As a fanboy of Led Zeppelin, Leadbelly, Son House and Iggy, he interpreted their sound and distilled it via his own vastly improved guitar skills. Meg White’s rudimentary timekeeping kept the noise anchored, permitting Jack to strain at the leash. The White Stripes blueprint was set: raw energy, dead-eyed focus and a magpie’s eye for rummaging through the some of the greatest guitar music of the last 70 years. The difference between the speedball headrush of the debut and De Stijl is the latter’s sense of space. ‘Hello Operator’ is both primal and fresh, with moments of silence creating even more intensity to Jack’s jagged guitar and Meg’s thumping drums. There are clean lines running through the —36 issue 66—
music; the end-of-relationship downer rock of ‘I’m Bound To Pack It Up’ is lean and mean, its message sharp and full of rancour. These are the songs that saw Jack gleefully accept the challenge created by the constraints of a duo, seeing endless possibilities to push himself both musically and creatively. The red, white and black die had been cast. De Stijl also represents a seismic leap in Jack’s confidence as a songwriter. The album’s centrepiece, the wonderful ‘Truth Doesn’t Make A Noise’, is a harrowing Southern Gothic drama in which White rallies to the aid of an unnamed female whose “stare is louder than your voice.” It’s a brilliantly crafted song, and a mile away from the hormone-ravaged histrionics of The White Stripes. Indeed, the album contains some of the duo’s finest tracks; White bends and warps a guitar solo on the virtuoso rock of ‘Little Bird’, while ‘You’re Pretty Good Looking (For A Girl)’ is straight up pop, even if the girl in question’s “back is so broken.” Indeed, Creepy Jack is never far away – the McCartney-esque ballad ‘Apple
Words by John Freeman
Blossom’ (“Put your troubles in a little pile / And I will sort them out for you”) seems lovely, but there is a sense of menace just over the horizon. The title is taken from the Dutch artistic movement (De Stijl means ‘The Style’) of the 1920s, which extolled simple aesthetics – the use of straight lines, and primary colours combined with black and white. Not surprisingly, the Whites were rather taken with the concept and dedicated the album to one of the movement’s central figures, Gerrit Rietveld. In another historical cap-doff, Jack’s reverential love of Delta blues is showcased on the album’s two covers; breathtaking versions of Son House’s ‘Death Letter’ and Blind Willie McTell’s ‘Your Southern Can Is Mine’. The White Stripes would go on to further hone and refine their sound on the follow-up albums White Blood Cells and the global smash Elephant. But the controlled fury and distilled energy, and their vicious updating of blues, rock, country and punk were born on De Stijl.
—37 AU Magazine—
The History of Super Mario
o ri a M r e p u S f o ry o t is h -UP-MANSHIP // The
He is one of popular culture’s most recognisable icons. His upturned moustache, Mickey Mouse gloves and sky-blue dungarees might not be up there with Lady Gaga’s get-up as far as fashion statements go, but it can still be seen on billboards, magazine covers and screens small and large across the globe. Yet Mario does not exist: he is little more than a cluster of coloured pixels cleverly animated to wobble, twitch and caper from one platform to another. Switch off the console, set down the joypad and he ceases to be. Not that it matters: Mario might not be flesh and blood, but in the imaginations of several generations of kids and big kids he is very real indeed... Words by Ross Thompson For close to 30 years Mario, with or without the ‘Super’ prefix, has leaped, bounded and yippee-ed his way through chocolate islands and star roads right into the hearts of anyone who has put on his jumping shoes for a few minutes. The times might change, but the tubby wee plumber stays the same, still chasing after a princess who is perpetually peach-napped by an oversized turtle – we’ve all been there. One of the keys to the Super Mario Bros. franchise’s longevity is its simplicity. Whether it’s playing tennis, racing karts or racking up stats in an RPG, every gamer knows that you can pick up a Mario title and immediately know what to do and how to control the character. Gameplay is so intuitive that it feels like it has been coded into your genes. Your fingers and thumbs instinctively find the jump button and your ears prick up at the doink sound of a penny jumping out of a coin block. It’s a beautiful thing. This simplicity helps infuse it with an appeal which cuts across age and gender boundaries. The fluffy —38 issue 66—
violence of jumping on a koopa’s back to make it pop out of its shell is a far cry from the gung-ho bullishness of Gears Of War and Splinter Cell, thereby making it attractive to girl gamers turned off by the brutality of fragging random strangers. However, the urge to reach the finish flag or collect every power star on the map appeals to the pack rat in all of us, regardless of gender. I personally would not care to tally up how many hours I have been spent exploring every nook, cranny and pipe of the Mushroom Kingdom during my videogame career. Call it a compulsion, if you will. I call it fun. Mario has become the most lucrative videogame series of all time, an impressive achievement for a character who was dreamt into existence almost by accident. In 1981 Shigeru Miyamoto, the genius designer who would later magic up Zelda and Star Fox along with revolutionary technology such as the motion-controlled Wii, was contracted to create a game to target Western audiences. The
result was Donkey Kong, whose deceptively simple premise was to rescue a damsel in distress from the top of a construction site by avoiding flaming barrels and the angry stomps of a chest-beating gorilla – again, we’ve all been there. The hero, then known as ‘Jumpman’, soon became Mario, named after the surly landlord who rented out Nintendo of America’s warehouse, and history was made. Mario Bros. hit arcades two years later, a simple one-screen affair which appeared to take place in a New York sewer. There were no alligators though, just crabs and the trademark turtles. Oddly reminiscent of PacMan (1980), the game’s most notable feature was the first appearance of skinnier, dozier brother Luigi. Clad in green, he became Laurel to Mario’s Hardy, a pratfalling, wibbling numpty but no less loveable for it. However, Super Mario Bros. (1985) caused a paradigm shift in the gaming universe. This sidescrolling masterpiece remains the acme of
Illustration by Mark Reihill
The History of Super Mario
MISSPENT YOUTH - MEMORIES OF MARIO I grew up with that little red hatted fella. I remember it was Easter morning. I woke with a start, ran to the living room, not really sure why I was doing so. But then, upon arriving at said living room, I looked in and there it was! A little black and white TV set and the new Nintendo console! My heart raced as I put it all together, turned it on, and for the first time was able to jump the little fella around. It was science fiction! I could move these things as if they were myself. I was stunned. Amazed. And in that way, my life would never quite be the same. Mario still accompanies me on all my tours, tucked away in my backpack, waiting for a slow moment and the scent of boredom. Micah P. Hinson My earliest Mario memory (Mario-mery, if you will) is actually one of my earliest memories, period. I was three or four years old and obsessed with Donkey Kong Jr. on the Colecovision – the only game to feature Mario as the bad guy! The story goes that Mario has captured Kong and has him imprisoned in a cage. You play as Donkey Kong’s nappy wearing son and must rescue your furry forefather. Mario’s rarely glimpsed dark side is plain to see as the sits by the imprisoned Kong’s cage calmly smoking his pipe. Not to be trusted, that Mario. Vinny McCreith, Adebisi Shank/The Vinny Club ‘He’s an Italian plumber who captures mushrooms to grow twice his size, uses flower power to shoot fireballs, and stomps on his enemies’ heads. He’s trying to save Princess Toadstool from a dragon [koopa] named Bowser.’ This was my Grade 1 pal Merrill. On our walk home after school he was raving about a new video game and console he’d got over the weekend. Super Mario Bros. was the launching title for the NES. What it promised in the way of entertainment seemed too fantastic even for the imaginative minds of a couple of eight-year-olds. ‘I have Tee Ball practice and homework,’ he said. ‘You can come over tomorrow’. My head was spinning. The release of Super Mario Bros. 3 and the media blitz behind it coincided with my coming of age and my interest in pop culture. As summer break approach, it was the talk of the grade school graduating class. The Wizard, a movie about a prodigious gamer starring Fred Savage from The Wonder Years, had given eager kids our first look at SMB 3. It was the grading present everyone wished for. Jon Samuel, Wintersleep My initiation into video games as an art form came through Super Mario World on the SNES. What enthralled me was the world design: the consistency of surreal but connected characters and places. It felt like a world. But it wasn’t until Super Mario 64 that my love for games crystallised from casual pastime to something I wanted to personally create. The first time I saw the fat plumber leave the path he was following, leap over the fence and explore the ‘over there’, I was hooked. The potential of worlds in games unfolded before me. I think it was no coincidence that it was Mario who heralded this industry sea change. James Law, Cohort Studios I grew up playing Mario games and it seemed always to be at the forefront of the platform genre, constantly pushing boundaries and doing things differently. It has more or less paved the way for every 3D game which exists today, and has also successfully ventured into almost every genre there is, and made a dodgy movie appearance! Good man, Mario FTW. Enda Strathern, General Fiasco Mario Kart for me is not a game of skill but of who can be the sneakiest, especially in battle mode. I tried playing the SNES one recently on tour and completely sucked at it. It always has to be Bowser or Donkey Kong for battles because of their bulk, and Toad or Yoshi for speed in grand prix. Why is Mario so shit at his own racing game? That’s what I’d like to know. By far one of the worst racing characters. N64 Mario Kart FTW. Stephen Leacock, General Fiasco —40 issue 66—
1. Super Mario Bros. (1985) 2. Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988) 3.Super Mario World (1992) 4.Super Mario 64 (1996) taking a simple concept and rendering it expertly. Those wishing to plumb the fathoms of a dense mythology might have been disappointed, because in terms of narrative it didn’t make a puppy lick of sense. How can you explain the idea of a plumber who eats mushrooms to gain special powers to defeat his arch nemesis, the fire-breathing ectotherm Bowser? You can’t, you just have to enjoy it. Let your thumbs do the talking. Super Mario Bros., in both its arcade and home port versions, was almost infinitely replayable, littered with warp pipes, invisible bricks and other secrets. A bona fide successor to Space Invaders, it became a phenomenon in the truest sense of the word: those playing it would quickly adopt the kind of look which suggests catatonia but actually hides deep concentration. As the sequels followed, Nintendo became increasingly adventurous, re-colouring and tweaking the template Mario fans had come to love. “All I wanted was to simply create something that may surprise the world,” said Miyamoto-san recently, and he did just that with each new iteration of the Mario brand. There are too many great games to list here, but most notable are the umpteen million-selling Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988), which introduced animal suits to allow the portly Italian to fly, hop and swim, or the equally well received Super Mario World (1992), which added the fruit-guzzling, ultra-cute dinosaur Yoshi to the mix. Never content to rest on his laurels – or do any actual plumbing – Mario leapt into a new
dimension, quite literally, with Super Mario 64 (1996), a deeply imaginative 3D platformer where the hub-world of a fairy-tale castle branched off to multiple self-contained levels. Each of these was a richly detailed play-park of wonderment: you could jump through paintings, race penguins, swim underwater... by doing away with the flat background previously employed to conceal the limits of the map, the team created the sense that anything was possible. If you could see a platform, you could get to it. In all likelihood a star was secreted up there too. Super Mario 64 was truly revolutionary – sure, its graphics might look blocky and hazy now, but in terms of level design it’s astounding. Since then, Mario releases have arrived as regularly as Bullet Bill missiles (we’ll ignore the aberration of the justly maligned Super Mario Bros. film, given that the Big N had nothing to do with it), each one buffed to glimmer with the Nintendo magic duster. The latest of these is the spanking new Super Mario Galaxy 2. It is predictably terrific, but that doesn’t mean that it is predictable. From the opening scene where you romp through the pages of a storybook it’s joyously apparent that Miyamoto and his fellow developers are far from running out of ideas. The game is constantly inventive and, to use Miyamoto’s word, surprising. Our little friend ping-pongs from planet to colourful planet, the screen flips between 2D and 3D, from upside down to back to front, all the while propelled by ragtime, country and swing band versions of familiar Mario tunes.
The challenges are varied and there is a gallon of minigames sluiced throughout each level. These range from the casually difficult to the nightmarishly hard, but nobody understands the relationship between challenge and reward quite like Nintendo. The satisfaction of completing a run based on constantly flipping tiles is well worth the controllers you will have broken to do so. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the kind of game for which grown men will happily sacrifice their girlfriends and jobs, but it is just one glorious arc in an ocean of quality. No other videogame series is as consistent as Mario’s odyssey. Even the various outings for the Mario Kart label are made with real care and an attuned sense of how games work – or should work in an ideal world. We could talk about their great physics engines, but we could equally big up their innate philosophy that, regardless of how good they look or how little they lag, games should be enjoyable. Thirty years young, Mario is still as loveable as he ever was. Long may he run, jump and spin. SUPER MARIO GALAXY 2 IS OUT NOW FOR NINTENDO WII
—41 AU Magazine—
—42 issue 66—
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
ARIEL PINK’S HAUNTED GRAFFITI
Ariel Pink, the prolific pop oddity from LA who has influenced more bands than you can shake a stick at, has spent nigh-on a decade on the outside looking in. With his recent signing to 4AD and a careerdefining album under his arm, it looks like his time has come. Bring on the weird. Words by Darragh McCausland
“Indie labels suck. Major labels suck. Everything sucks.” Cult underground mainstay Ariel Pink, of Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, is on the phone to AU from LA and he is not mincing his words about his experiences within the record industry. To say the topic is a bugbear for the ‘colourful’ (as in downright, gloriously, bonkers) musician is an understatement, recurring as it does time and again throughout a discussion that touches on his new album, the perils of playing live unprepared, and the experience of working with a full band. While his experiences with industry machinations thus far have been fraught, something of which we will hear more later on, there is no doubt that, with his recent signing to 4AD (gleefully described as a “big push that’s gonna help [new album Ariel Pink Before Today] go off like a stink bomb”), Ariel’s doldrum days might finally be over. Pink has existed at the fringes of experimental American music since the turn of the last decade, a figure revered at first locally, subsequently in increasingly wider circles, for his series of enigmatic cassette albums (three were later released on Animal Collective’s ‘Paw Tracks’ imprint) which buried the tricks obtained from a lifelong love affair with AM radio (think Michael Jackson, The Police and Hall and Oates) in a wayward, deeply
the release of his older albums. The ‘Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti’ project was conceptualised as a coherent series, and Paw Tracks mixed the order in which the material was released. “They’ve been totally jumbled out of order in how they were released”, he explains. “Like, there is no harmony to them. I can’t do anything about it, though, it’s a lost cause. It’s a mad caper. I liken it to the Matthew Barney collection, the Cremaster series. [An absolute freak-fest of a video installation by the avant-garde artist and partner of Björk, consisting of five surreal films based on the muscle that lowers and raises the testicles. Perhaps Ariel is a little indulgent in his comparison here…]” Ariel accepts some responsibility as to why those larger indie labels never came a-knocking, admitting that it might have had something to do with his somewhat patchy reputation for being able to translate his recorded efforts into a satisfying live experience. He says, “I need to get a band together. I need to tour and get a really good live situation going, where we have an impact on an audience. There is no substitute for that, being able to leave good impressions. We don’t need people secondguessing their initial ideas of the band from me not taking it seriously as a live enterprise. I need to be
had to undertake without any label support. Evoking the spectre of Mark E. Smith, he talks about a process of “hiring and firing” band members to get to a bunch of musicians that he is happy to tour with. This impression is lent further weight by Ariel’s description of how he works with the current line-up. “I tell my band that they have to be my dream band, and that’s the challenge”, he says. “I mean, they hate it when I say it but it’s the truth. If you want to bring music into this operation, I tell them you have to bring music that you envision that I would be making in my head. It sounds egotistical, I know, in that they are really just fulfilling my dream.” Yet it’s not all orders from the top. Ariel, while obviously giving the impression of a controlling lead man, speaks fondly of his charges, too. He maintains that “there is nobody else who can do what they do” and that he is relying on them “more and more to do other stuff too.” He continues, “It’s not all me anymore – a lot of it is just playing my stuff note for note, but they are starting to help me in other ways. I don’t have that burning urge I used to have to make such a raw document of myself and they help me just to take my time to come out with something a little different; something good.” (As an aside, when Ariel speaks of writing a “raw
“When I started, I wanted to make the saddest music. I wanted people to hear the darkness in my soul.” mysterious fug of reverb and tape hiss voodoo. When you add to this his lyrical preoccupations with existentialism and sadness, his deep register vocals, his love of goth music (he cites The Cure as his favourite band), and his provocative, artliterate image, the figure who emerges is one of the most singular artists recording today. Yet for an artist so influential – for example, any number of the current crop of so-called ‘chillwave’ bands would be unashamed to cite him as being key in shaping their zonked aesthetic – the modest level of label recognition and financial success he desires (“enough to fucking live somewhere and record music”) has so far eluded Ariel. “When my stuff was coming out on Paw Tracks, my goal was to land on a real label,” he says. “You know, I was expecting to have major indies knocking the door, trying to get me on their label, like, straight away. It didn’t happen. And I was like, ‘Fuck, what am I doing wrong? When is someone gonna come and get me off this fuckin’ label?’ And nobody ever did.” His dissatisfaction with Paw Tracks was a result not only of how his finances were being handled, but also of how they ordered
professional. I need to have an engaging quality.” These statements are a far cry from the Ariel of old, a man who used to confront hostile audiences with a surliness and hostility of his own. It seems, however, that that situation was more complex, and he was, according to himself, putting up a front to hide his shortcomings as a live performer. As he puts it, “It was awful. What people saw some nights was a guy, me, us, toiling with a reality, with the knowledge, in real time, that we were unprepared. For a lot of people it was, ‘Oh God, that was the most awful thing ever, fuck that guy’. So ultimately I didn’t mind scowling and making everyone feel like it was an episode of The Office.” It’s impossible to react to his reference to The Office without imagining how cringe-worthy some of those shows must have been for both audience and performer alike. Thankfully, Ariel 2.0 is not short of self-awareness (in fact, he is quite long on it – a brief phone conversation with the man leaves the impression of someone continually re-evaluating himself), and he again returns to his need for a band to get the current album to work. He describes this recruitment as a difficult, self-financed, task that he
document”, it is worth returning to an earlier part of the interview where he describes the raison d’être of his earlier work. “When I started making music years ago, I wanted to make the most saddest music. The most saddest thing. I mean, that was my goal. I wanted to express my perspective. I wanted people to hear the darkness in my soul.”) How the new line-up works out live remains to be seen, but on the new record the input of the extra musicians is palpable. The album is being touted as potential breakthrough for Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, and it is easy to see why. A muscular intent runs through it, most notably on the thrilling lead single ‘Round And Round’, a tremendously melodic enigma of a song that channels VH1 Classic through dirty bong water by way of a wish to return to the womb. It’s less foggy than the earlier stuff, sure, but no less intriguing; in fact, it might be even more so. The label is behind him, the hype wheels are in motion, now all that remains to be seen is whether the world embraces this wonderfully peculiar keeper of the weird West Coast flame. ARIEL PINK BEFORE TODAY IS OUT NOW ON 4AD. WWW.ARIELPINKSHAUNTEDGRAFFITI.COM —43 AU Magazine—
FOALS FOALS —44 issue 66—
ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING —45 AU Magazine—
Clinical, calculated, too clever by half. Yes, you thought you knew Foals, didn’t you? But you thought wrong. A love of pop, desire to communicate to the masses and, above all, a hunger to express emotional intent – frontman Yannis Philippakis explains the impulses that fired the creation of new album, Total Life Forever. Words by Francis Jones
Once More, With Feeling
We encounter Yannis in the somewhat incongruous environment of a shopping mall in Utrecht, the old religious centre of the Netherlands. Foals are currently on the European leg of their tour in support of second album Total Life Forever and, later this evening, they will play the city’s Tivoli venue. Yannis is in ebullient mood, confident of the band’s achievements with the new record and keen to counter some of the common misperceptions of the Oxford-based outfit.
The ability to disconnect from external pressures and distractions has proven one of the band’s greatest strengths. The demands of fans, label and press rarely impinge upon their thinking. Instead the five-piece prefer to cosset themselves away at Foals HQ and set about making music within the splendid isolation of their imaginations.
“A certain amount of conflict is a good thing. It stops the rot” As we discover, he’s nothing if not self-aware and there’s a confidence to his statements and demeanour that seems somewhat at odds with the air of anxiety that shrouds much of the new album. After all, Yannis could have been forgiven for being apprehensive. Relatively speaking, Foals' debut album Antidotes was phenomenally successful, reaching number three in the UK album charts and cultivating the kind of hopes for its follow-up which would have caused lesser acts to wilt under the spotlight of expectation. Not so Foals. “We were really hungry to make this record and the only pressure on us was an internal pressure and an internal hunger to try and make something that was worthy,” Yannis insists. “We wanted to try and do something that was better than anything we’d done before. We hadn’t really been in contact with the record label or management people for about a year and had been left to our own devices when it came to
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making the record. We weren’t too calculated about it. If you are then you’re likely to make a bad record.”
“Living in Oxford helps [us disconnect], it’s kind of provincial in a way,” suggests Yannis. “Also, there’s the fact that we all live together in one house and we wrote and played music together in that house. We didn’t have to go and interact with anyone, if we didn’t want to. We had our own little base. If we belong anywhere it’s Oxford and, for us, the biggest source of inspiration growing up was the bands in Oxford.” Their remove from the de facto centre of UK music, London, coupled to a band of brothers’ mentality and communal living arrangements in Oxford – in their ‘House of Supreme Mathematics’ – created the impression in some minds that Foals prized their difference and outsider status a little too highly. “There are a lot of bands that we have a lot in common with, bands that we like,” says Yannis, refuting suggestions that the five-piece feel alienated from many of their UK contemporaries. “I think it
would be incorrect, though, to say that there was a scene. People have tried before to lump disparate bands and elements together into one scene, but it doesn’t really exist. It’s not a conscious thing; we don’t try and stay aloof. It’s just that there isn’t really a tight network of bands that are communicating, not that we’re part of anyway. We’re more interested in doing our own thing; we don’t want to be subsumed into anything else. We live together, tour together. Some of us have known each other for a very long time. And it extends beyond just the members of the band and includes the people we collaborate with; Dave Ma who does our videos and Tinhead who does illustrations. We all just share ideas and our lives together. It’s like a gang, I guess, a family. We are our own tribe.” According to rumour, there were one or two episodes of infighting amongst the ‘family’ in the creation of Total Life Forever but, as Yannis stresses, such conflict is both healthy and to be expected. “Every family has their arguments. But you never go to sleep on your anger. That’s something my mum used to say. Definitely, though, when you’re making records, a certain amount of conflict is a good thing. It stops the rot.”
Strange to think that the process of making Total Life Forever was, in a way, an act of conflict resolution. However, the emotional turbulence that was encountered in its making was vital, not only in shaping the sound of the finished work, but in ensuring its makers’ emotional wellbeing and in cementing their feeling of kinship. “There wouldn’t be a need for us to make music in this way if it didn’t come from somewhere that was sometimes quite fraught, or had that grit in it,” offers Yannis. “We’d be either a very different band, or not a band at all. Perhaps we’d not even be making music. It has to come from a place that is unstable. You’re then driven to create something that makes you feel stable. If we were all wellrounded, content and balanced people, then there wouldn’t be that impetus to try and create something. Whilst it’s difficult for me to guess what I’d feel like if I wasn’t doing this, I’m pretty sure I’d be frustrated in many ways. And it’s not specifically Foals, but just having a creative outlet, somewhere you can invest your time and energy into creating something and performing. If I didn’t have that I’d feel plugged up in some way.” Music is his conduit then, a means of channelling frustration. Perhaps that’s why Yannis dismisses the suggestion that making music must always be
an act of noble struggle, the artist wresting with his creative impulses and all that. And it seems he’s never heard of ‘difficult second album syndrome’, for contrary to the whispers that suggested the band were toiling to make a worthy successor to Antidotes, he actually describes the process of making the new album in a manner that suggests it was nothing short of fun. “We were happy to be writing the record, it felt good. Partly because we’d just finished touring, we were happy about that and excited about what was to come,” he recalls. “We got the house and spent the first two months building a studio, that was enjoyable and fulfilling in its own way. Then we spent time writing, which is something that we love doing. So it wasn’t fraught, really. I think it’s easy to over-emphasise things, it’s all just part and parcel of it. Perhaps we just have this reputation as being especially intense.” Well, yes, there is that perception, popularly propagated by much of the music press and not helped by Yannis’ occasionally solemn utterances. However, he makes no apologies for being serious about what he does. “Maybe it is because we’re not funny enough,” he says, with an exasperated sigh. “There are certain
PICK OF THE POPS SELF-AVOWED POP FAN YANNIS GIVES US A RUNDOWN ON THE ACTS THAT ARE CURRENTLY ICING HIS CUPCAKES. “Production-wise, a lot of pop music and contemporary hip-hop is incredibly forward-thinking and sounding, a lot more so than supposedly avant-garde music from other genres. I really like Caribou’s record, Swim, and Janelle Monáe, her songs are almost Broadway in the way she presents them and dances. I’m really liking the Pantha Du Prince album, Black Noise, not that you’d describe it as pop as such, and there’s also a little known band from Oxford called Trophy Wife.” —47 AU Magazine—
behaviours that are expected of bands at the moment. Firstly, that they’ll be quite ironic and, secondly, that they’ll be distant. I think that’s especially the case in British culture. There’s this distancing thing that goes on. It’s not particularly cool to be perceived as earnest, and often it gets labelled as pretentious, or po-faced, whatever you want to call it. But we do believe in what we’re doing. I wouldn’t want to spend my life doing something that was some method joke, some ironic escapade. It that was the case then I’d find something else to do. I wouldn’t be wasting my time, your time and the time of anyone who listens to our records. I want to create something that has an emotional intent to it, that communicates and is also enjoyable. I don’t see why those things should be mutually exclusive.” If Total Life Forever was, as Yannis suggests, a quest to create music imbued with emotional honesty, that made the listener feel something and which was simultaneously stimulating to the ears, then he can consider his crusade a success. In addition, it is musically more diverse that Antidotes, more textured and nuanced. One of the charges levelled against the band’s debut album was that it was overly cerebral, its emotional arteries clogged. Or, as Yannis describes the accusations, “That we were calculated, distant and pseudo-intellectuals.” Looking back, he —48 issue 66—
Once More, With Feeling
THE MAN MACHINE The title Total Life Forever is inspired by American inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil’s book The Singularity Is Near, a tome which envisages the time when man and machine will be united as one super life form and “the knowledge and skills embedded in our brains will be combined with the vastly greater capacity, speed, and knowledgesharing ability of our own creations.” Wow. Yannis expounds on the concept. “With the Kurzweil stuff in particular, it’s about how he can look at things that generally seem to be ignored by the mass consciousness, how new technology is infiltrating the way that we live and also how humans are incredibly adaptable and assimilate things. He magnifies and explains where these things are going to lead to and how that’s a far more drastic place than you think. I find it terrifying, but very exciting at the same time.”
thinks he can understand what gave rise to such unflattering assessments. “I think a lot of that – ‘calculated’, ‘clinical’, ‘coldness’ – came from the production of Antidotes. It was a debut record and was bound to have flaws and the production was the flaw of that record. The way that it was put together was quite inhuman and intentionally so. We were in awe of the idea of making this precise, structural, almost inorganic sounding record. That definitely come across and there is that icy feel. But, if you ever see our live shows, you’ll realise there’s nothing aloof about those songs. It’s dirty, it’s raw and it’s human.” Aided and abetted by Clor’s Luke Smith, Total Life Forever succeeds in showcasing Foals in all their unfettered glory. It feels looser, less thought-out and more organic than its predecessor. Or as Yannis puts it, “The spaces and feelings on the songs are more extreme, there are emotional swings and different dimensions. It’s less 2D in a way. That’s something we wanted to do. We previously had a tendency to be self-critical to the point where we’d destroy everything. It could get annoying, so we wanted to be more instinctive. There was the conscious thought of wanting the songs to be allowed to breathe a little bit more and be less frenetic. Also, we didn’t feel like we needed to repeat the past template
and make another record that was four-tothe-floor. That was the goal for Antidotes and we achieved it. We like taking risks and don’t want to play it safe. “If whatever we’d written had sounded similar to Antidotes, if that had been the natural outcome, then so be it. We just have to write what we feel like writing at the time, for it to be as honest as possible. Otherwise it’s plastic and pointless. Our third record could be anything. It could be poppy, I don’t know, but it’s gonna be whatever we feel like writing at the time. We’re not gonna be going, ‘Oh, this is the schtick; this is what people want to hear’. There are ways of making things that can become incredibly industrial and kind of gross. The one thing we feel good about is that we avoided that and didn’t allow fear to creep into the process.” Fear may not have been part of the process, but it’s certainly part of the product and part of Yannis’ psyche. In a recent interview he was quoted as saying that he perceived an “air of finality”, and that we’d, “seen the best days already”. AU asks him to elaborate on these statements and clarify if he was talking in terms of humanity generally, or was it a personal apocalypse he was alluding to? “I didn’t really mean it on a personal level, other than the fact that growing-up feels rather anti-climactic,” he says. “Maybe I had an overly romantic expectation of what life would be like, I dunno. I just feel
things could be better in every way, fairer, more benign. I got pretty obsessed at one point with watching [British television documentary-maker] Adam Curtis’ films; they’re kind of paranoid in a way, but question the idea that we’re freer now than we ever were. With humanity, I definitely feel… not let down, but we have amazing technology, better education and standards of living in the West than other parts of the world. But I think it seems like a mirage, and a sham.”
If unease permeates much of Total Life Forever, then Yannis is at pains to reassure us that such feelings are universal; that we’re all in this together, each burdened with our own uncertainties. He hopes that listeners can find consolation and a sense of community in the music Foals create. “I felt the lyrics on Antidotes weren’t communicating clearly enough, it was more fractured and I was too precious about it, clouding what I wanted to say with other images. With Total Life Forever I wanted it to be more direct. There were various sources of inspiration, things we were reading and watching at the time, to do with the future, feelings of change and instability. Some of the lyrics are quite instructional, almost maxims on wellbeing. When I was growing up, I used to take a lot of solace in lyrics that I thought were giving you a shared experience with the band and the songwriter. I wanted to
"The whole point of this band was to try and make something that communicated to a lot of people" convey that and often it came out of a personal thing, providing advice for myself.” This desire to communicate, to create the shared experience is instrumental. It also explains why Yannis identifies most strongly with that common and humblest of musical genres, pop. He even goes so far as to describe Foals themselves as pop. “I’m speaking on behalf of everyone in the band when I say that good pop music, executed well, from whatever era, is probably our favourite music,” he attests. “Records that trade on their intelligence, they only speak to a few people. The whole point of this band was to try and make something that communicated to a lot of people. I don’t think we are particularly intelligent; it all just depends on your scale of reference. If we were one of those ‘intelligent’ bands then we wouldn’t be doing this interview. At the same time, we don’t want to be facile, or totally dumb. We’ve made pop music, that’s why you’re interested. We want to make music that communicates with people; it’s not just for ourselves.” Followed to its logical conclusion, this need to reach out suggests that Foals’ greatest aspiration – unlikely as it might seem – is be to become a globe-bestriding, enormodomefilling goliath. “I wouldn’t be sad about it,” chuckles Yannis. “It’s great that music can speak to people in different cultures, all around the world. But, we’d still play the small shows too. We came from playing house parties and I feel sentimental about doing stuff like that. I like playing shows where you have the crowd’s sweat on you, and vice versa. The responsibility, ultimately, though, is to make music that people can take comfort in and enjoy. I think that’s a very honourable thing.” TOTAL LIFE FOREVER IS OUT NOW ON TRANSGRESSIVE WWW.FOALS.CO.UK
—49 AU Magazine—
THE DRUMS ON A ROLL
—50 issue 66—
On a Roll
It’s promising for Brooklyn’s The Drums that as they stand on the verge of big things, they’re beginning to divide opinion. They may have been white-hot tips for 2010 and are currently recruiting fans by the legion, but one wag recently described them as ‘Wham! covering Joy Division’. AU talks to guitarist Jacob Graham about his disdain for the ‘indier-than-thou’ attitude, the band’s drinking sessions with Florence Welch and a weird Jonathan Ross experience. Words by John Freeman
After several soaring singles pushed them onto the critical radar, The Drums – four, floppy-fringed, skinny-jeaned, clean-shaven boys – release their eponymous debut this month. It’s a riot of shimmering guitars, driving bass and singer Jonathan Pierce’s yelping odes to lost love. Even on first listen, it becomes apparent that the acquired Drums tag of ‘indie surf-rockers’ is misplaced. “We put out an EP called Summertime, and because we did that everyone assumes that all we care about is the summer and being on the beach, which obviously isn’t true,” the humungously friendly Jacob tells AU. “The album completes the picture of who The Drums are. People will understand more of what we are trying to do, rather than thinking we’re just beach bums. I couldn’t be more pleased with the album. It’s nice to really be proud of what you’ve done. It helps me sleep at night, I guess.” The nucleus of The Drums is Graham and singer Pierce, childhood friends after meeting at a Pennsylvanian summer camp as 12-year-olds. As in all the best friendships, a mutual love of The Smiths united the pair. “One night I was about to fall asleep and I heard someone playing some music from another cabin and it was The
success. Graham is still in technically in a band called Horse Shoes (“We played a couple of places in Sweden because that’s the only place where anybody likes us”) while Pierce and future Drums bassist Adam Kessler were part of Elkland, and were initially groomed for success. “They got snatched up right away by a major label in America but they were so young, and they were naïve about a lot of things. They got a bad deal,” says Jacob. “When it all ended, I think they just felt very disillusioned about the whole thing.” After these experiences, the idea of The Drums was born out of a desperate phone call between the two best friends. “I’d been living in Florida for a few years and Jon was kicking around Brooklyn. He called me and was like, ‘I’m really depressed and nothing is going on in my life’. He’s my best friend, so I was like, ‘Jonathan, why don’t you just pack up your things, move down to Florida, move into my apartment and let’s start that band we’ve always talked about?’ We had nothing to lose.” After recruiting Kessler and drummer Connor Hanwick, the four-piece moved back to Brooklyn and started to write together. “The first time we sat down to write a song together as The Drums we started out with synthesisers, as that’s all we’d ever
The band members are all well in to their twenties, and despite the excitement of being in The Drums during 2010, Graham admits to a certain sadness – he wants a girlfriend. “Once we went for it, and the ball started rolling, the human thing kicked in. It was like, ‘Oh, we’re in our mid-twenties and we’re single and now we aren’t ever in one place long enough to meet someone’.” AU is having none of it – surely their new status as bona fide rock stars means they get to meet lots and lots of girls? “For sure,” Jacob concedes. “But they all slip through your fingers the next day. But that’s what fuels The Drums – being lonely and depressed. So maybe it’s a good thing.” Last month, The Drums supported the mighty Florence and the Machine on a UK tour, although a hectic schedule restricted inter-band socialising (“We hung out a little bit”). But were there opportunities to go drinking with the legendary heavyweight, Ms Welch? “Is she a known as a big drinker? Not any more than the rest of us,” Jacob says, before admitting, “She gave me a run for my money.” Another baptism-by-fire was a recent appearance on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross; an experience which Jacob admits was pretty disconcerting.
“We don’t really have an agenda, and we don’t really have any goals. We don’t plan to evolve or progress in any way” Smiths,” Jacob recalls with genuine fondness. “I just couldn’t believe it! I jumped out of bed and followed the sound, and when I found it Jonathan was just sitting there. I just kinda marched right up to him and said, ‘That’s my favourite band’ and he said, ‘Really? They’re my favourite band too!’. I said, ‘Well, we should be best friends’ and that was settled and I went back to bed.” The boys soon discovered they had an almost identical love of British guitar groups, including Joy Division, Orange Juice and, in particular, a Glaswegian band called The Wake, who at one point included a young Bobby Gillespie. “We were really obsessed with them and we still are. They have a few songs which, in our opinion, are perfect songs and we wanted to try and create music that was, in our minds, the perfect music. That should be every band’s goal.” Fast-forward 15 years, and Jacob now gets to meet his idols, “We’ve hung out with The Wake a few times and they are really great people. And Mike Joyce from The Smiths came to our first ever show in Manchester. He came backstage and said he loved it.” After the summer camp meeting, both Graham and Pierce formed their own bands with limited
played, but we just thought it sounded boring,” Jacob admits. “My little brother had a guitar sitting in the corner and we’d never even picked up a guitar, and the idea of trying to use a guitar seemed very exotic and alien. I think that’s why The Drums sound the way we do. When we wrote and recorded a lot of those first songs we had no idea what we were doing – there is not a single chord on our record. It’s just one note at a time, because we don’t know how to play chords. I still don’t know a single chord. It’s almost like taking an alien from outer space, handing it a guitar and saying, ‘Start a guitar band’.” However, this approach has garnered suspicion and bitchiness from their New York peer group, as has The Drums’ keenness to create a stylised image for the band. For the only time during our chat, Jacob becomes a little riled. “Living in Brooklyn, other bands would say, ‘We only care about the music and we have a beard to prove it. We’re too busy with music to not have a beard’. Back home, a lot of people have also said negative things about us because of the way we look. But bands like The Ramones had a really specific look, and that was an exciting thing. When they walked on stage, you knew it was The Ramones. And you understood their music more, in a way.”
“It was a strange experience, I’m not gonna lie. We didn’t know who he was. Our manager says, ‘Good news – you’re gonna be on Jonathan Ross’ and we were like ‘That’s wonderful – what is that?’ Then you get there and you’re sitting in a pretend green room with Adam Lambert and Jake Gyllenhaal trying to make awkward conversation for an hour.” As for the future, it seems unlikely that The Drums will reset their aspirations. “We don’t really have an agenda, and we don’t really have any goals. We don’t plan to evolve or progress in any way. We want our next album to sound exactly like our first album, and our last album to sound like our first album. We might fine tune things, but we feel that we’ve set out these parameters for ourselves,” Jacob says. “Our only goal ever was to make a record we were proud of, which we’ve already accomplished. All the attention and all the other good things are just really wonderful byproducts of that. We never expected The Drums to get to this level. Ever.” THE ALBUM THE DRUMS IS OUT NOW ON ISLAND RECORDS WWW.THEDRUMS.COM
—52 issue 66—
Two decades after their last record and 33 years since their first, post-punk legends Devo are back with their ninth studio album, and guess what? It’s really bloody good. AU speaks to founder member and ‘chief strategist’ Gerald Casale about the album’s long gestation, the band’s peculiar marketing techniques, and why they were right about de-evolution all along… Words by Chris Jones
So, what happened in 1990? Argentina lost in the World Cup final, leaving Maradona crying like a baby. Nelson Mandela was released from prison. Mikhail Gorbachev was elected President of the USSR. Your correspondent celebrated his seventh birthday with cocktail sausages and pass-theparcel. And Devo released their last studio album.
haven’t collaborated or made new music in a long time, try to be current or imitate trends and go, ‘Let’s try to sound like MGMT!’, and we knew that that was silly. We would just be us, and work from the vocabulary and subject matter that we know, and be honest about it. So that’s what we did. And it sounds like Devo, but it sounds… modern.”
20 years is a long time, of that there is no doubt. But for Devo – bona fide post-punk godheads, counter-culture provocateurs and icons of the MTV era – it’s been a strange kind of hiatus. Not for them the sudden break-up followed by years upon years of silence and a high-profile reunion. In their case, they kind of just… stopped for a while, worn down by diminishing returns, falling album sales and plummeting critical and commercial interest.
So you work within certain parameters when you’re writing and recording? “Yeah, not really by decree – it just turns out that way. There’s just certain things that you do, and frankly it’s probably what people would prefer anyway. We do what we do, as the [new] song says.”
“After the 1990 release of Smooth Noodle Maps on Enigma Records, we never broke up but it basically became a sleeper cell,” is how Gerald Casale describes it. The 61-year-old formed the band in 1973 with Mark Mothersbaugh – still the frontman – and original guitarist Bob Lewis. Through all that time, Casale has been the bassist and – in an indicator of the extent to which the band is about more than just the music – ‘chief strategist’, becoming deeply involved in the band’s idiosyncratic visual presentation and often bizarre, pseudo-corporate pronouncements. After Smooth Noodle Maps, nothing was heard from Devo for about five years, until they shuffled into life again, playing gigs here and there and closing the Sundance Film Festival in 1995. Over the next couple of years, activity increased to 20 or 30 shows a year, with occasional Devo songs being written for video games, films and advertising. “It laid there on one level like that until 2007 when [new song] ‘Watch Us Work It’ came out on a Dell commercial,” says Casale. “Everybody in the business started calling us up – label executives, managers… like, ‘You’ve gotta do something!’. And Mark [Mothersbaugh], who’d spent 20 years saying no, said yes.”
That maxim also extends to the way in which the band conducts itself publicly, except now there’s the wide world of the Internet to have fun with. Devo have always plastered their behaviour with a thick coat of irony, appropriating the language and imagery of politicians and especially the corporate world in order to poke fun at and shine a light on the peculiar way in which corporations and governments make us behave. See ‘Devo Corporate Anthem’ – the first track on 1979’s Duty Now For
may buy it? Well, it’s marketing. So we thought, let’s take the marketing out of the hands of a label, who only dabble at it, and give it to a real agency. And they said, let’s use the techniques that we use for Dell computers or for Cheerios, and let’s be humorous about it.” As much as you have to admire Casales candour, its disheartening to discover that the whole Song Study schtick came from the minds of an ad agency, rather than the band itself. But Casale has been in the business long enough to know how things work, and how things have to work in order to get anywhere. Hes 61 years old not a naïve youngster. “The campaign is about doing business in the corporate world – how do you put out creative content in the corporate society?” he ponders. “So that was a post-modern idea of marketing it and having fun with it at the same time. You know, it goes all the way back to The Who Sell Out – it’s nothing new on that level – but we really embraced the techniques and did it, for real.
“Marketing is absolutely everything. Absolutely the beginning and the end.” The Future – for a prime example, one that is used to this day to introduce live gigs. Therefore it was to widespread amusement but no great surprise that the band launched the ‘Devo Song Study’ at the same time as announcing the new album. In it, Devo Inc. (the fictional corporate wing of the band, headed by the moustachioed ‘Greg Scholl’) ran a website featuring clips of 16 new Devo songs, of which fans could choose their 12 favourites. Fans were told that the 12 most popular would make the album. Simple. Amusing. Well-executed. And very Devo. Where did the idea come from?
Something For Everyone is the result, an album that stands as evidence of a band in extremely rude health, even as the four old-timers – Casale, Mothersbaugh and their brothers, both called Bob – hover around the 60 mark. To these ears, as someone who came to Devo for the first time only a few years ago in my early twenties, it’s as if that 20-year chasm never existed. Urgent, fun, goofy and packed full of neon-coloured, synth-splashed rock songs, it sits proudly next to the likes of Freedom Of Choice and Oh No! It’s Devo as the work of exactly the same, prodigiously talented band.
“It came out of talks with the ad agency, Mother,” says Casale, not even trying to claim any credit for the band or himself. “Mother is this kind of ‘adbuster’ ad agency. They’re definitely the coolest, funniest, cutting-edge guys, and we just realised that in a world where there’s far too much music coming out in a month, more than anyone could ever know about; in a world where nobody wants to pay for music; in a world where the old business model has imploded and the function of labels has imploded, and a new model has taken its place; in that world, marketing is absolutely everything. Absolutely the beginning and the end.
“Well, of course we can’t be anything except us,” says Casale, who is frank and affable to a fault. “It would be foolish to try. A lot of bands, if they
“Why should people care about your music? How would they even know that you made new music? How do you even get them interested so that they
Leaving aside the genesis of the idea, the execution itself was slick and multi-faceted. The on-screen presentation was cold and eerily detached, as ‘Greg Scholl’ guided the user around a sleek, sterile interface with which to listen to snippets of the tracks. And the method of choosing the track-list was ingenious, too – a comment on the power of the hive mind in these times of instant opinions and mass empowerment of television viewers? “Well, with the American Idol model and all the social networking models, people like to be involved – people like opinions and my god, they love to give them when they’re asked!” says Casale with a hint of mischief. “And so we invited it to see what would happen, and we really wanted to respond to the results. We probably would have taken it much further had we had more time and money. We would have even put up different versions of the same song – different mixes, different instruments, different vocal performances – and gone really far with it. It would have been funny to go so far as to say, ‘Would you like this song better if Adam Lambert sang it?’ [laughs] And then if they said yes, to try and get Adam Lambert to sing a Devo song.” In the end, the Song Study was revealed to be less than what was promised – although the fanchosen tracklist was announced first and will be released, it will only be as a digital download. The predetermined, ‘real’ tracklist (“88% focus group —53 AU Magazine—
approved!”) will be what features on CD copies of the album, while all 16 tracks will be available in a ‘deluxe’ edition. According to Casale, all this was a result of commercial pressure. “We are putting out more than one version of Devo songs, because we have to,” he admits. “The different retailers demand different things – iTunes wants this and that, and frankly the corporate partners, being Warner Bros. and Mother, they weigh in because of their contributions – they wanted certain things.”
marketing money is that they own our back catalogue – the masters of eight different studio records. They have a practical reason on a business level for taking the risk to give us the money to market the new record, and frankly we couldn’t have done anything without [their] money and Mother. So it was just good common sense.”
Make no mistake though – Devo are not selling out. Although they are seen as counter-cultural icons, they began on Warners – a major label – and they have routinely licensed music for use in TV shows and commercials. The use of ‘Watch Us Work It’ in a Dell commercial was the primary catalyst for this new album. And although Casale would clearly prefer complete artistic independence, he is candid about the need for compromise when you sign to a major label, as they have done again, despite his words about the current model “imploding”.
“Of course there is!” he exclaims, sounding – it must be said – a little exasperated. “I mean, let’s be real – nobody gives you anything unless
“It was the Devil Deal Or No Deal,” he says. “Frankly, all this hot air about, ‘You can create a sensation on Facebook and become famous for no money and everybody will know you’, or ‘You can go to a sponsor and they’ll give you the money to record your record and market it, or ‘You can go to big concert promoters like AEG and Live Nation and they’ll front you money for 100 shows and you can put it out yourself’… It’s a lie! We investigated all that and nobody was giving you anything, especially in this economic climate. “Nobody’s offering any money for music, and frankly the reason Warner Bros. ponied up the —54 issue 66—
Do you feel like there’s a loss of control there, as an artist?
“Well, it seems it all came true!” says Casale, the delight audible in his voice. “It’s even worse than we thought. If someone showed you, back in 1980, the world today with planes running into the World Trade Center and the oil spill and on and on, you wouldn’t have believed it. You would have thought it was some cheap B-movie – a bad sci-fi dystopia designed to scare people. But it all came true. “So when we said we didn’t think the world was getting better; we didn’t see progress; we didn’t see people getting smarter; we saw massive stupidity, we were definitely having a pose or making a kind of a warning, but we never thought that this
“De-evolution is real now, and it’s not a crackpot theory and it’s not shocking” they’re taking something from you. It’s always a compromise.” As the album is released into the world, though, it seems like a compromise worth making. Unlike many other reformed bands we could mention, Devo are not just cruising around the world and playing the hits while cryogenically frozen in time. They have had the stones to get back in the studio, create something entirely new, and tour it the old-fashioned way. And, perhaps best of all, they get to be incredibly smug about the reason the band formed in 1973 – the much discussed, often derided Theory of De-evolution that gave the band its name. 37 years on, what changes has Casale seen, and how do they fit in with the theory that mankind has reached its peak and is actually devolving?
would happen. I mean, this is beyond anything we thought! So de-evolution is real now, and it’s not a crackpot theory and it’s not shocking and everyone goes, ‘Oh yeah, de-evolution – that’s true’. And so we’re just part of it. We’re in it, prophecy fulfilled and here we are celebrating it.” 20 years after their last album, it seems Devo are more relevant than ever. SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY IS OUT NOW ON WARNER BROS. RECORDS. WWW.CLUBDEVO.COM
—55 AU Magazine—
Delorean - Subiza
pg 56 Record Reviews | pg 63 Live Reviews |pg 65 Unsigned Universe
Illustration by Mark Reihill
Delorean Subiza TRUE PANTHER SOUNDS
In the first Back To The Future film, Doc explains his choice of the DeLorean DMC-12 for his time machine thusly: “If you’re going to build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?” A similar rationale could be applied to the music of the Barcelona-based Delorean; namely, if you’re going to reanimate classic trance and Italo-house, why not do it with some style? And this lot have more style than their home city’s fashion week. Curiously, when the quartet started out a decade ago they were an act enslaved to the guitar and enthralled, reportedly, by the likes of Elliott Smith and Jimmy Eat World. However, from this indie-rock cocoon would emerge an entirely different and more graceful creature. Delorean MK II first kidnapped —56 issue 66—
our ears with last year’s Ayrton Senna EP and they have remixed achingly cool bands such as The xx, Cold Cave and The Big Pink. Now, they are the architects of the swooning, synth-pop delight that is Subiza, a collection of nine, perfectly-formed rave epiphanies. And, if Ayrton Senna soundtracked last summer, then Subiza – an exhilarating record, carried on a Balearic breeze, warm, entrancing and as joyous as a kid in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory – could well own summer 2010. It bounds off the blocks like Usain Bolt with rocket-powered running shoes – ‘Stay Close’ is a frantic call to arms, “Get up, get up, get up,” it pleads, Ekhi Lopetegi’s soft, blurred-roundthe-edges vocal meshing with female clamour, electronic whoops and those incessantly twitching keys. It’s about as ‘up’ as you can get without commandeering a space shuttle. We slide delightedly into ‘Real Love’, its classic club pulse driving us towards the next tender rumination and gargantuan piano breakdown. You’ll notice how brilliantly tailored the production is, each note riveted perfectly into place, the whole
polished until you can see the ageless Euro-disco visage gleaming back at you. It’s all as deliciously layered as mamma’s special lasagne, not least ‘Endless Sunset’, a blast of rhythmic bliss that is captivatingly atmospheric. Similarly ethereal is ‘Infinite Desert’, a close encounter with the cosmic congas of Sylvia Love’s ‘Extraterrestrial Lover’. Elsewhere, ‘Simple Graces’ strikes the album’s funkiest note, ‘Come Wander’ crackles and glows like Technique-era New Order and the final one-two of ‘Warmer Places’ and ‘It’s All Ours’ sound like Vampire Weekend with a bellyful of disco biscuits. Of all the tracks here, though, it is the tinkling, sand-slipping-through-fingers melody and zesty rhythms of ‘Grow’ that really plump our pillows. Listening to it is like being speared on a sunbeam, an experience that warms you to the core. Much the same could be said of the rest of this wonderful album. Francis Jones
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘REAL LOVE’, ‘GROW’, ‘COME WANDER’. FOR FANS OF: CUT COPY, NEW ORDER, M83.
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti Ariel Pink Before Today
Chrome Hoof Crush Depth
Dan Sartain Dan Sartain Lives
ONE LITTLE INDIAN
Existing in some strange Neverland on the fringes of the LA music scene for the last decade or so, Ariel Pink slowly built a cult reputation around a series of cassette recordings full of enigmatic music that seemed to bury snatches of radio-friendly rock in layers of damaged fuzz and awkward keyboards. While being hugely influential on the current crop of ‘chillwave’ bands, Ariel seemed doomed to remain the perpetual outsider. Not anymore. His step up to 4AD is matched with an album that is likely to take on all comers this year. While his singular weirdness, gloom, and gender bending lyrical preoccupations remain very much intact, the clearer production on tracks such as ‘Round And Round’ and ‘Menopause’ mean that the pulsating pop heart that animated so much of his previous work is visible in all its bleeding glory. And what a lovely, damaged sight it is. Darragh McCausland
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘ROUND AND ROUND’, ‘BUTT HOUSE BLONDIES’. FOR FANS OF: ATLAS SOUND, R. STEVIE MOORE.
Roky Erickson with Okkervil River True Love Cast Out All Evil CHEMIKAL UNDERGROUND
Perhaps spending a bit of time in the wilderness can be good for you? After decades of mental instability followed by a long road to rehabilitation, psychedelic survivor Roky Erickson teams up with Okkervil River to craft 12 slices of dynamic country-rock and plaintive ballads. The man who once sang about aliens and zombies now seems more comfortable, ready to look life in the eye and stand tall against his own demons. The backing from Okkervil River is stately, almost magisterial, providing a musical safety blanket for Erickson to comfortably fall back upon. The voice, cracked and broken at times, but still possessing a power and confidence, takes us through tales of loss and love, of darkness and light, beginning and ending with a meditation on the Almighty. The legendary weirdness is missing, and it’s all the better for it – a mature statement from a true rock pioneer, long after anyone thought he’d be capable of expressing anything but a howling void. Anyone expecting the freakshow had better pick up their coat on the way out. Perhaps there are a few too many ballad-y moments here, and one gets the sense that Okkervil River are threatening to explode into life at any point, but this is a grand return from one of rock’s true pioneers, and hopefully the first step on a road which will prove to be very fruitful in the coming years. Steven Rainey
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘GOODBYE SWEET DREAMS’, ‘BRING BACK THE PAST’. FOR FANS OF: WILCO, BONNIE ‘PRINCE’ BILLY.
“What sector am I in?” enquires a robotic voice at the beginning of ‘Crystalline’, and by the end of Crush Depth you may find yourself asking the same thing. Nowhere familiar, that’s for sure. The London 10-piece seems to have decided that as they marked out their territory pretty well on their utterly bonkers disco-doom-glam-funk-metal debut Pre-Emptive False Rapture, it’s time to change things up. Thus, we have guest appearances from cosmic disco dude JP Massiera and Kraut legends Cluster, as well as an even more experimental approach overall. There’s little quite as rump-shakingly funky as ‘Tonyte’ or ‘Pronoid’ or as balls-out rocking as ‘Death Is Certain!’ – rather, we have symphonic compositions like ‘One Day’, ‘Labyrinth’ (which sounds like an excerpt from Chrome Hoof: The Opera) and the Bond theme majesty of ‘Sea Hornet’, swathed as it is in swooping strings, John Barry-style. A progression of sorts, then, but as the thrill of the new has faded, so too have the strength of the tunes. Still a magnificently mental band, though. Chris Jones
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘CRYSTALLINE’, ‘SEA HORNET’, ‘DEADLY PRESSURE’ (FEAT. CLUSTER). FOR FANS OF: FELA KUTI, MAGMA, CLUSTER.
Enemies We’ve Been Talking RICHTER COLLECTIVE
Enemies’ debut is the latest release from the outlandishly overproductive and suspiciously consistent Dublin post-hardcore label Richter Collective, but while pedals are stomped on and time signatures are laughed to scorn during the course of We’ve Been Talking, the beast is of a different nature. Professing themselves to be “tropical rock”, clean, intricate guitars and an uplifting groove from the rhythm section drive Enemies’ best tracks. The Fugazi bassline of ‘Fierce Pit Bosses’ is subverted by loping, muted guitar lines, and the 7/4 riff of the title track almost comes off as an organic re-imagining of something like Four Tet done by guys who listen to plenty of positive hardcore. Anything progressive has the potential to be grating or taxing, but track lengths are kept to an average of about four minutes and there’s rarely a stare-at-theceiling moment allowed in the tight construction. With the risk of musical self-absorption dismissed, the only issue to find with Enemies is that of a slightly disconcerting earnestness that doesn’t slip for the whole album. There are no vocals, but this doesn’t mean that things don’t get a little too emo for comfort from time to time. Still, for something that hits the beat-counting head and the nostalgic heart equally, it’s worthwhile. Karl McDonald
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘FIERCE PIT BOSSES’, ‘WE’VE BEEN TALKING’, ‘NAG CHAMPA’. FOR FANS OF: TORTOISE, THE REDNECK MANIFESTO, AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR.
After enduring an apparent lifetime to hear some new material from Dan Sartain (okay, it was four years), the Alabama-based riff-slamma finally unleashes his knowingly-titled third record Dan Sartain Lives, and while he doesn’t change the formula too much, it’s an opus of effortlessly cool proportions. Perhaps the best thing about the album, though, is the fact that it’s so devoted to the retro sound, it could have been recorded in any decade from the Fifties onwards. Hell, you can almost hear the valve amps wheeze with exhaustion during the rockabilly stomp of ‘Atheist Funeral’ and ‘Those Thoughts.’ However, Sartain is far from being a one trick pony. The brooding waltz of ‘Bad Things Will Happen’ is both sexual and sinister and the canny lyrics of ‘Yes Man’ assert that the musician has little time for being ‘cool’ or in fashion and both are definite highlights on an album that is a more than welcome addition to his rapidly growing legend. While some folk might say his sound is clichéd, we like to think of it as classic. Edwin McFee
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘ATHEIST FUNERAL, ‘BOHEMIAN GROVE,’ ‘BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN’. FOR FANS OF: THE NIGHT MARCHERS, LINK WRAY, EL VEZ.
Nina Nastasia Outlaster FATCAT
That reformed noisenik Steve Albini returns to the production helm of another Nina Nastasia album should be some indication of this New York singer’s pedigree. He has of course been here from the very beginning, lending his not inconsiderable sonic (and moral) support to Nastasia since she first made waves with her striking and much loved debut Dogs some five or six albums back. It’s been a fruitful relationship for both and with Albini’s patronage, Nina Nastasia’s remarkable voice and stridently idiosyncratic lyricism has gained much deserved critical attention. Outlaster is, once more, a rather lovely album of evocative and richly narrative chamber-pop. Even though much of it is instrumentally sparse, it still contrives to stir up such swathes of aural sumptuousness that are as technically impressive as they are swoonsome. Witness the mad production dynamics at disconcerting play in the epic ‘What’s Out There’ for all the evidence you need. With young pretender Laura Marling in the commercial ascendant right now, Nastasia may well finally have the success to match her undeniably beguiling talent. Joe Nawaz
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ’WHAT’S OUT THERE’, ‘WAKES’, ‘OUTLASTER’. FOR FANS OF: LAURA MARLING, PATTI SMITH. —57 AU Magazine—
Devo Something For Everybody WARNER BROS
The Chemical Brothers Further EMI
So we are all sure this is a Chemical Brothers album? It’s just that there are no cherry-picked guest vocalists from next year’s Mercury Prize list to add a relevant lick of paint to the old motor, not to mention the lack of never-ending sitar jams featuring a member of New Order/Oasis/The Verve (delete as appropriate). And where, tell us, are the Beatles-aping blowouts which, while being excellent fun, are actually about as psychedelic as watching Ceebeebies on Sudafed? Throw us a bone, guys, not even the token breathy come-down featuring Beth Orton? Nope. No chance. You see, the thing about The Chemical Brother’s latest is that it can just as easily be defined by what it lacks as by what it contains, and Further lacks two things that have been consistently present through the duo’s career; guest vocalists and a sense of humour. The sound of Further is the sound of the Chemical Brothers getting serious. It plays like a late-career attempt to vindicate their doubters, the poohpoohing dance snobs who turned their noses up at the Brothers’ unsubtle, block-busting aesthetic. You
can hear the new found seriousness everywhere, but mostly in how reverently they now treat the low end of their mix. It’s like their balls have dropped. Tracks like the excellent ‘Escape Velocity’ (which, incidentally sounds like the beginning of ‘Baba O’Riley’ strapped to a pneumatic drill – no bad thing) and ‘Horse Power’ drag the ‘wobble’ behind them like unneutered bull terriers. All this sweaty propulsion makes Further a thrilling listen, which is enhanced by one remaining key element of the classic Chemical Brothers aesthetic that runs right through the album – their love of and appropriation of classic psychedelic sounds. The groove running through Orbital-channelling lead single ‘Swoon’ picks up where ‘Private Psychedelic Reel’ left off. Thrilling, then; cosmic too, but Further is lacking a little something – whether it’s a big goofy hook with its tongue in its cheek or Wayne Coyne singing about meeting up with the Devil, that magic spark has been extinguished. And you know what? The dance snobs are still going to turn their noses up and say Gui Boratto can do this sort of thing better. Darragh McCausland
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20 years after their recording career fizzled out, it seems Devo needed to go away for an extended period in order to rediscover what made them so great in the first place. Admittedly, that hiatus was somewhat extreme, but the results are worth it as Something For Everybody is a Devo album to rank alongside some of their best. As Gerald Casale tells AU this month, they “can’t be anything but us”, but why should they have to when they do it so well? Their signature robotic sound is shot through the album like a stick of rock, as are Mark Mothersbaugh’s inimitable vocals (no less strident for his 60 years) and the retro synths, which actually sound completely modern given this era’s obsession with the Eighties. And it all sounds perfectly natural, wedded as it is to a bumper collection of killer songs. What’s especially fun are the constant references to the modern world – internet memes (the refrain ‘don’t tase me, bro!’) and hybrid cars on ‘Don’t Shoot (I’m A Man’, GPS on ‘Please Baby Please’, texting on ‘What We Do’. But this is no comedy record, and in fact it contains a moment of rare sincerity on the ballad ‘No Place Like Home’, which turns out to be one of the album’s highlights. All in all, then, a triumphant return. Shame it took them so long. Chris Jones
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘FRESH’, ‘NO PLACE LIKE HOME’, ‘WHAT WE DO’. FOR FANS OF: POLYSICS, WE ARE THE PHYSICS, TALKING HEADS.
Born Ruffians Say It WARP
With their jokey PR material that focuses on eccentricity (a shared obsession with food, particularly cheese) and their eclectic electronic sound, Norwegian duo Ost & Kjex come across as a housier, more sophisticated version of Modeselektor. Their second long player, Cajun Lunch, is a picnic box of slinky, dancefloor ready treats that never takes itself too seriously as it confidently slips between funk, disco, minimal and house flavours. Reminiscent at times of Apparat, the entire album burbles along with a frothy intent, helped in no small part by Mr Ost’s soulful vocals, icing the entire cake. Darragh McCausland
This is the second long-player from Ital Tek, and it’s much more melodic than past releases. The keys are as warm as could be hoped for – there are hints of jazz in ‘Babel’ and haunted hardware in ‘Satellite’. An array of odd synths parp throughout the 13 tracks, swaying between organic and manufactured sounds. The beats are crisp with plenty of swing, and tight claps cut through the mix, as would be expected of any modern R&B production. It isn’t a collection of floor fillers, though, and there are thoughtful, beatless moments better suited to soundtracking a movie. This is a grower; make time for it when you can. Barry Cullen
It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that zing, and damn has Say It got plenty of zing. Red, Yellow & Blue, the debut album from the Canadian trio, was a delight, but this is a jaunty, hop, skip and jump beyond. The central cog is pop, with smaller, more artful wheels revolving around it. Produced by Rusty Santos (Animal Collective, Panda Bear) the sugar-kissed melodies are accompanied by stuttering rhythms, jangling guitars, and the just-stepped-on-glass yelp of frontman Luke LaLonde. Apparently the title and songs such as ‘What To Say’ concern the ability to communicate. For their own part, Born Ruffians excel at articulating ideas and feelings, be it the potential loss of love on ‘Oh Man’, or alienation of the outsider on ‘Retard Canard’. Like the skilled therapist, they tease out truths with great delicacy. Their music – fluent, inventive, joyous – is the scalpel which allows them to get to the knotty heart of the matter. That may seem heavy, but the overall feel of this record is one of lightness, a jittery excitement coursing through the veins of ‘The Ballad of Moose Bruce’ and ‘Higher And Higher’. Say it loud, say it proud, Born Ruffians are an indie-pop marvel. Francis Jones
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KEY TRACKS: ’CONTINENTAL LOVER’, ‘BLUECHEESEBLUES PART.2’. FOR FANS OF: INTERNATIONAL PONY, PRINS THOMAS.
KEY TRACKS: ’MOON BOW’, ‘BABEL’. FOR FANS OF: LACKLUSTER, PINCH.
KEY TRACKS: ‘OH MAN’, ‘WHAT TO SAY’, ‘NOVA LEIGH’. FOR FANS OF: VAMPIRE WEEKEND, GRIZZLY BEAR, TAPES ‘N TAPES.
—58 issue 66—
KEY TRACKS: ‘ESCAPE VELOCITY’, ‘HORSE POWER’. FOR FANS OF: ORBITAL, NINETIES TECHNO.
Ost & Kjex Cajun Lunch
Ital Tek Midnight Colour
Faust Faust Is Last
We Are Scientists Barbara
Here We Go Magic Pigeons
Is there anyone out there rubbing their hands together, wild-eyed with anticipation for a 2010 double album from wrinkled Kraut veterans Faust? Having created bona fide stonking albums in the early Seventies, they are now revered for ear-splitting, sheet metal-smashing and chainsawwielding live shows, with their albums generally floating under the populist radar. Faust Is Last runs the artistic gamut, ranging from the protoindustrial dissonance and bobbing Kraut rhythms of ‘GhosTrain’ (Music for Airports? Nay, this is Music For Fuck-Off Manufacturing Plants), to ‘Day Out’, a solo piano ballad backed only by a sorrowful organ.
After the somewhat disappointing Eighties synth stylings of second album Brain Thrust Mastery, We Are Scientists are back to their caffeinated indierock with pop froth best on Barbara. Opening with single ‘Rules Don’t Stop, it’s a record imbued with the rakish charm and exuberance that characterised their debut With Love & Squalor, where smartypants lyrical observations were matched to eminently hummable melodies.
Saying ‘Nein!’ to creative control, the album transmogrifies wildly: rolling riffs drizzled with blinking keys and muffled shouts (‘Feed The Greed’) bump into Stooges-esque garage punk (‘I Don’t Buy Your Shit No More’), which in turn collides with subtle ambient drifts (‘Primitivelona’). A brainstorming session gone loco, the end product has the sheen and pretension of highbrow art; you don’t really understand what is going on, but it all comes together and strangely works. After all these years they still don’t hit it and quit it; Faust Is Last carries their eternal rhythms to the edge of the earth and back. It must be the viagra. Kyle Robinson
The fist-pumping guitar refrain of ‘I Don’t Bite’ announces the first in a long succession of potential singles. On this record the chorus is the key, be it the cascading riffs and rhythms of the lovelorn ‘Pittsburgh’ – drums courtesy of former Razorlight man Andy Burrows – the slow-burn, relationship dissecting ‘Ambition’, or the zesty bounce of ‘Break It Up’. We’re running on empty towards the end, but for the most part Barbara delivers a collection of indie-disco dancefloor fillers par excellence. Throughout, the basslines are super snazzy, the guitars assume perfectly angular poses and the beats vogue with panache. As musicians continually espouse the need to innovate and explore pastures new, We Are Scientists have proven that, just sometimes, it’s good to go with what you know. Francis Jones
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KEY TRACKS: ‘GHOSTRAIN’, ‘FEED THE GREED’. FOR FANS OF: SUICIDE, CLUSTER.
KEY TRACKS: ‘I DON’T BITE’, ‘PITTSBURGH’, ‘BREAK IT UP’. FOR FANS OF: FRANZ FERDINAND, HOT HOT HEAT, THE KILLERS.
Teenage Fanclub Shadows PEMA
Shadows starts with the same two chords as Two Door Cinema Club’s ‘Undercover Martyn’, and thereafter sounds very much like the album their parents might have made, i.e. gently pretty guitar pop. The Fannies, for those who aren’t familiar, specialise in weirdly obvious, instantly recognisable yet somehow inconsequential slices of straightforward songwriting. Their consistency is stunning – there isn’t a bad song on this, their 10th album – but there’s a flip side in that there’s little if anything here that they haven’t done already. Like almost every Teenage Fanclub album before it, there are a few proper gems and a few more forgettable songs, all of which could best be called ‘wistful’. It’s their most sedate album to date, with the tempo down on last outing ‘Man-Made’ and more country influence than before; there’s some superb use of slide guitar. On ‘Shock and Awe’ you nearly think they’re going from wistfulness into geopolitics, but no: “Wake me when the conflict is over / I’m for the peaceful life.” Why change now? Niall Harden
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘DARK CLOUDS’, ‘WHEN I STILL HAVE THEE’. FOR FANS OF: WILCO, THE LEMONHEADS.
Rolo Tomassi Cosmology HASSLE
On first listen it appears that little has changed in Rolo Tomassi’s world. As ever, James and Eva Spence sound as though they’re gargling acid while the band whips up a furious racket behind them, a cacophony equal parts math-rock and scathing metal-core threaded with sinister, nursery-rhyme keyboards. Listen closely though, for subtle changes are afoot. The quintet have honed their knives this time out, their trademark rhythmic twists now sharper and more effective than on the debut, and as Cosmology progresses, the tracks lengthen and begin to exhibit signs of development. Snatches of melody, short sections of spacey synth and sweetly crooned vocals punctuate the customary fury. Unfortunately, these brief pockets of experimentation don’t really go far enough or blend convincingly with their ultraviolent surroundings (with the notable exception of ‘Kasia’). The album thus feels like a stepping stone to greater things, but should sate existing fans for the time being. Lee Gorman
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘KASIA’, ‘PARTY WOUNDS’, ‘COSMOLOGY’. FOR FANS OF: KISS IT GOODBYE, WILL HAVEN, THE JUDAS FACTOR.
Having blossomed from a Sufjan-esque solo troubadour, falsetto-voiced Luke Temple has expanded his Brooklyn-based Here We Go Magic bedroom project into a quintet, dipping their toes into the pool of Krautrock-friendly repetition, looping and propulsive percussion, while maintaining a cheerily poppy – if slightly off-kilter – approach to proceedings. The influences on Pigeons are far and wide, with a dash of Talking Heads here mingled with a sprinkling of Grizzly Bear and any Seventies prog or Kraut band you care to doff your cap at there. Headnodders like ‘Casual’ and ‘Collector’ instantly suck you in while ‘Bottom Feeder’ and ‘F.F.A.P.’ change the pace without too much jarring, still leaving room for tracks like the oddball synth jam of ‘Old World United’. Cracking stuff. Adam Lacey
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘COLLECTOR’, ‘F.F.A.P.’, ‘CASUAL’. FOR FANS OF: CAN, GRANDADDY, TALKING HEADS.
Harvey Milk A Small Turn of Human Kindness HYDRA HEAD
A Small Turn Of Human Kindness is a change of pace for Harvey Milk, with the revered Georgian trio offering seven tracks of superdoom which sound massive. The change seems profound compared to the band’s previous output; no track has the speed or relative dynamism of ‘War’ or ‘Misery’. The snare drum on ‘I Just Want to Go Home’ is a gamekeeper’s rifle shot. The guitar’s squall is the sound of a slowlydying elephant. The opening track, simply entitled ‘*’, is a forceful primer. A slow riff progresses with monstrous belches of bass and drums, heavy enough to test the largest PA. As the album progresses you attune to the leaden pace, imagining slo-mo lorry crashes giving over to visions of antiquity; eroded coliseums or the ruins of Leptis Magna. Creston Speirs’ vocals are stretched and emotive, following the riffs on their slow, often downward, trajectory. To complain about the mood – the sheer moaning broodiness of the lyrics and song titles – is to miss the point. The album is a seven-point atmosphere piece, honestly conceived if vocally questionable. In the wrong setting, penultimate track ‘I Know This is All My Fault’, vocals and piano only, would be as tiresome and witless as a four-hour phonecall with a drunk, depressive friend. But it allows the layered guitar harmonies of closer ‘I Did Not Call Out’ to rise, bookending the album nicely. Like a brilliant stone statue, A Small Turn of Human Kindness is grand, heavy, strong. Moving nowhere quickly, right enough, but remarkable for its restraint, its texture. Kiran Acharya
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘I AM SICK OF ALL THIS TOO’, ‘I DID NOT CALL OUT’. FOR FANS OF: PALEHORSE, SLOMATICS.
—59 AU Magazine—
Robert Hood Omega
The latest project from Robert Hood – a founder member of the Underground Resistance collective of politically right-on minimal techno producers from Detroit – is a fascinating proposition altogether. Omega is wholly based around a bargain-bin, cult 1970s science-fiction movie, starring Charlton Heston as ‘The Omega Man.’ As nerdier AU readers are already squeaking to themselves, this flick was remade a few years ago as the patchily scary Will Smith ego-juggernaut, I Am Legend. For a project so explicitly tied to a piece of cinema, the productions are perhaps less filmic than might be expected. Instead, Hood offers up a bunch of mostly hard-hitting (if ever-so-slightly spacedout) Nineties-referencing tracks such as ‘Alpha’ and ‘War In The Streets’, that feel more killer late-hours Detroit than they do post-apocalyptic dystopia. But wait, isn’t Detroit a post-apocalyptic dystopia these days anyhow? A very suitable soundtrack, then. Darragh McCausland
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘WAR IN THE STREETS, OMEGA (END TIMES)’ FOR FANS OF: DETROIT TECHNO, CLASSIC SCI-FI MOVIES, LISTENING TO DETROIT TECHNO DURING SAID MOVIES.
Melvins The Bride Screamed Murder IPECAC
It’s common knowledge that Kurt Cobain hated the Melvins. All loyal Nirvana fans know of the infamous contempt he had for frontman King Buzzo, his big stupid coiffure, and Melvins’ straight-from-the-oven slabs of sticky, sludge riffage. The Bridge Screamed Murder, their 15th studio album (which sees mainstays Buzzo and Dale Crover joined by Big Business twosome Coady Willis and Jarod Warren) contains plenty of these gargantuan riff beasts, but it’ll be the absurd eccentricities that confuse your stupid brain. The flannel shirt will be drenched in sweat as you sway to the colossal grooves of ‘Electric Flower’ and ‘Inhumanity And Death’, but then BAM! ‘Hospital Up’ closes with the squeak of someone letting down a balloon while a drunk crashes on a dancehall piano. WALLOP! ‘The Water Glass’s drum solo is followed by regimented motivational barks of “WE ARE READY!”. KAPOW! Closer ‘P.G. X 3’ ushers in echoic choir chants and slow luscious drones before concluding with absent spirits rhyming off “1-2-3-4” in dull monotone. And all that without mentioning the seven-anda-half minute glazed stoner dirge cover of ‘My Generation’. Riffs, craic, a cover, and it’s another Melvins minor success. Kyle Robinson
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ’THE WATER GLASS’, ‘ELECTRIC FLOWER’, ‘HOSPITAL UP’. FOR FANS OF: MUDHONEY, MASTODON, BORIS. —60 issue 66—
With their volcano’s effluence causing all mother of chaos, Iceland may not be on many people’s Christmas card list this year. Therefore, the island’s tourist board should be hugely grateful for Hjaltalín’s second album, Terminal, as national pride can be somewhat restored by this baroque-pop masterpiece. After last year’s lovely debut, Sleepdrunk Seasons, Högni Egilsson and his merry orchestra have unleashed their inner fury, and woodwind, brass and Egilsson’s husky croon produce 40 minutes of unbridled joy. ‘Suitcase Man’ gallops along like a clarinet-fuelled Mustang, while ‘Montibone’ resembles a supercharged secret track from West Side Story. Terminal is an essential listen – perhaps when sat in one, waiting for an ash-delayed plane. Unique, bold and utterly bonkers. John Freeman
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘SUITCASE MAN’, ‘SWEET IMPRESSIONS’, ‘MONTIBONE’. FOR FANS OF: CHRISTIAN SILVA, ARCADE FIRE, SUFJAN STEVENS.
Various Artists Popical Island #1 POPICAL ISLAND
In one fell swoop, the folks at Popical Island have cast a butterfly net through the multifarious ranks of Ireland’s indie-pop dreamweavers and created a scene that was waiting to happen but never quite there. There are semi-familiar faces such as Tuam’s So Cow, who provides a ticklish new Beat Happeningesque track about a bus trip to Dublin of all things. Squarehead’s ‘Fake Blood’ is an anthem right out of the box, getting the measure of Grandaddy and injecting a little more chutzpah. At 15 (admittedly short) tracks, there is a lag during a run of softer songs, but then most of C86 wasn’t exactly world-beating either. Certainly the beginning of something or other, one would sort of have to think. Karl McDonald
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ’SO COW – EXCLUSIVE EXPRESS SERVICE BUS LICENCE BLUES’, SQUAREHEAD – ‘FAKE BLOOD’, NO MONSTER CLUB – ‘THE LOTTERY’. FOR FANS OF: C86, BEAT HAPPENING, THE FLAMING LIPS.
Uffie Sex, Dreams And Denim Jeans ED BANGER/BECAUSE
‘Pop The Glock’, Ritalin and MySpace – how 2006 is Uffie? Quite, is the answer. It is tragic how quickly someone so young can become old hat, but time stands still for no electro-pop wannabe and, with Ke$ha appropriating her shtick and taking it mainstream, the “freshest sound” boast of ‘Art If Uff’ now seems somewhat laughable. Yer style stale, girl. Even Uffie’s collaborators, Mr Oizo and Mirwais, are redolent of an earlier era in electronic music. To be fair, belated though it is, the debut from the Floridaborn, Paris-based pop brat has an excess of attitude
that almost makes up for its innovation deficiencies. There’s an unlikely tenderness on parade too – catch the title track and the beats-driven ballad ‘Our Song’. Elsewhere, the collaborations with Pharrell on the rap-cliché ridiculing ‘Add SUV’ and former The Rapture man Mattie Safer on the spacey ‘Illusion Of Love’ provide good value. It’s a close thing, but having once been the most delectable debutante at the electro-pop ball, Uffie does just enough here to avoid being left on the shelf. Francis Jones
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘ART IF UFF’, ‘ILLUSION OF LOVE’, ‘RICKY’. FOR FANS OF: PRINCESS SUPERSTAR, LADY GAGA, PEACHES.
The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster Blood & Fire BLACK
If you’re going to return with a new album almost six years since your last outing, you may as well do it right. Eighties Matchbox appear to have got that memo, as Blood & Fire is everything fans could have hoped for. In a lean 38 minutes, the Brighton psychobilly quintet manage to crystallise the best things about the first two records, coming up with an album that rivals their astonishing debut Horse Of The Dog as the best in their catalogue. There are moments of sheer feral brutality (‘Monsieur Cutts’) but overall this is a big, meaty rock record – the kind they tried to make on 2004’s Chris Goss-assisted The Royal Society except excess drugs, booze and schlock horror got in the way. ‘Homemade’ and the closing, triumphant ‘Are You Living?’ have the air of a band chastened by the bad times, but utterly revitalised and ready to reap the rewards. Chris Jones
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘MONSIEUR CUTTS’, ‘SO LONG GOOD NIGHT’, ‘ARE YOU LIVING?’. FOR FANS OF: THE CRAMPS, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, THE STOOGES.
Ratatat LP4 XL
So... LP4, eh? That’d be Ratatat’s fourth LP then, yeah? Just like their third was called LP3? Seriously, what have these guys got against decent album titles? We shouldn’t complain: the duo have clearly chosen to concentrate on, y’know, the actual music instead, and fans will instantly recognise the gliding lead guitar, crunching beats and shimmering synth melodies. There’s much to admire – the strident hip-hop of ‘Bilar’, for example, which gives way to a lovely string-led coda, or the delirious groove of ‘Party With Children’. Some of the best moments come when they drop the boom-bap – as on the lilting, gorgeous ‘We Can’t Be Stopped’ or the lullaby-like ‘Mahalo’. Unlikely to win over any doubters, but existing followers will find plenty to admire. Roll on LP5. Neill Dougan
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘BILAR’, ‘WE CAN’T BE STOPPED’, ‘PARTY WITH CHILDREN’. FOR FANS OF: DAFT PUNK, MGMT.
Crystal Castles Crystal Castles FICTION
Crystal Castles’ beguiling music has so far been overshadowed by a few things – their über-hipster visual image, their occasional and unrepresentative blasts of digital noise, their reputation (whether deserved or not) for being complete and utter wankers. Perhaps now that the hype from their emergence has subsided, though, they are ready to be judged on the music alone. And if that is the case, they could have quite the career ahead of them. The Canadians’ second self-titled set is more a refinement than a revolution – the mix of sleek, ethereal electro with very occasional noisy blowouts is roughly similar and to the same standard – witness the glorious three track run of the sighing ‘Celestica’, the gnarled and unlovely but bracing ‘Doe Deer’ and the fabulous ‘Baptism’, with its thrilling, ravey chorus and chirping synths. To name but three tracks from an album that rarely dips in quality. At this early stage in their career, it seems that Crystal Castles are going to be one of those bands that find a niche to operate in and stick to it, but there’s nothing wrong with that as long as it’s done well. It certainly is here. Chris Jones
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘EMPATHY’, ‘CELESTICA’, ‘BAPTISM’ FOR FANS OF: THE KNIFE, LADYTRON, NINTENDO.
The Gaslight Anthem American Slang
Pulled Apart By Horses Pulled Apart By Horses
The Magic Numbers The Runaway
For many, the enduring image of The Gaslight Anthem is the moment when they were accompanied by Bruce Springsteen onstage at Glastonbury 2009, both cementing their position as Springsteen acolytes, as well as giving them a bit of rock and roll authenticity all of their own. And whilst the comparison is certainly legitimate, there’s so much more to the band, as evidenced on this follow-up to 2008’s The ‘59 Sound. Eschewing the strident, anthemic qualities of the previous record, American Slang has a darker edge; the bruised morning after the night before. The kickass rock guitar is still in place, as are the sing-along choruses, but there’s a wounded quality that wasn’t there before, a darkness on the edge of town. The characters in these songs limp through the dirty night, and then lick their wounds, trying to count the cost. But rather than being a sobering affair, we’re constantly reminded that living is WORTH IT; that ploughing on might be the best we’ve got, but that doesn’t make it any less important. If it’s true that the night is darkest before the dawn, album number four should really be something special. Steven Rainey
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘THE QUEEN OF LOWER CHELSEA’, ‘BOXER’. FOR FANS OF: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, THE CLASH.
Like being smacked in the kisser with a snooker ball in a sock, this long player from the Leeds quartet makes for a brutally violent, but hugely effective shock to the system. It all kicks off with ‘Back To The Fuck Yeah’ – get a load of the song titles – Pulled Apart By Horses charging like the riot police on a head-smacking spree, pounding at us with those drums, guitar scything in and Tom Hudson effectively appropriating John Reis’ demented holler. This is a brilliant portrait of angry young men, its frothing-at-the-mouth frenzy of rabid rock never subsiding, not for one sad, candy-assed second. Songs such as ‘High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive’ – all stabbing guitar and spat-out vocals – and the thrash attack of ‘I Punched A Lion In The Throat’ maintain the maniacal energy of the band’s renowned, high octane, high danger live show. They needle with the cyclical riffage of ‘Get Off My Ghost Train’, before tenderising us with the pummelling ‘Meat Balloon’. Come ‘Den Horn’ and its savage final round of sledgehammer rhythms and pickaxe riffs, you’ll feel like you’ve been in the ring with Tyson. In short, Pulled Apart By Horses have delivered a knockout debut. Francis Jones
In the la-la land of Romeo Stodart, it’s perpetually turning 1976 in Californ-aye-ay, the sun shines on the eternal highway of love and punk is no more than an unpleasant headline from a distant land. This, the third album from Stodart and co., is pretty much business as usual, with eyes firmly on the middle of the road. Despite the involvement of the more hard-shoulder-friendly likes of Valgeir Sigurðsson and Ben Hillier (on co-production and mixing respectively), The Runaway still has more than enough of the pre-requisite close harmonies and open chords to comfortably stake a place in the not-so-divine pantheon of FM Rock. In spite of the odd attempt to augment their wellworn sound with a kind of experimental ethereality, all embellishments are merely cosmetic and the Numbers are at their best when they keep it simple. For example, the peppy ‘Hey guys, summer’s here!’ bubblegum of ‘A Start With No Ending’ is definitive Magic Numbers territory and none the worse for it. It’ll soundtrack a million self-proclaimed sensitive souls’ barbecues this summer, but really, The Runaway is as ephemeral and intangible as a fastfading dream, which is what it becomes just seconds after the album stops playing. Joe Nawaz
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KEY TRACKS: ‘BACK TO THE FUCK YEAH’, ‘GET OFF MY GHOST TRAIN’, ‘DEN HORN’. FOR FANS OF: ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT, THE BRONX, THE JESUS LIZARD.
KEY TRACKS: ‘THE PULSE’, ‘WHY DID YOU CALL?’, ‘A START WITH NO ENDING’. FOR FANS OF: FLEET FOXES, FLEETWOOD MAC, THE MAMAS AND THE PAPAS. —61 AU Magazine—
Perfume Genius Learning ORGANS/TURNSTILE
The haunting beauty of Mike Hadreas’ music reveals itself early on the opening title track of his astonishing debut; “No one will hear your crying / Until you take your last breath,” he whispers. The Seattle-based singer-songwriter is Perfume Genius and Learning is a collection of songs largely based around simple piano melodies which explore death, abuse, addiction and on the final track, ‘Never Did’, redemption and hope. The subject matter seems so personal, so utterly transparent and open, that the record has a heightened tension created by a sense of voyeurism. Indeed, Hadreas told AU that these songs were written as a means to understand his troubled life, and only intended to be heard by close friends. There is an almost hymnal quality to Learning; on ‘Gay Angels’ a distant vocal and a gorgeous dirge of muffled keyboards sounds like the requiem of a fallen angel. Overwhelmingly magical – one of the albums of the year. John Freeman
band with a seemingly endless supply of charm, this record wouldn’t work in the slightest but Elizabeth Morris’s hushed, almost whispered tales of murky night buses to run-down clubs and faded memories caught on Polaroid are given such weight by their protagonist that they transcend her mundane existence. There is no place for near-perfect debut single ‘Henry Rollins Don’t Dance’ amongst the 10 tracks and gratingly there are more London colloquialisms than a Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse collaboration could ever generate, but this is still a brilliant pop record endearingly forged from equal parts nostalgia and romanticism. Jonathan Bradley
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘DREAMING’, ‘SILVER DOLLARS’, ‘THE POLAROID SONG’. FOR FANS OF: BELLE & SEBASTIAN, LOS CAMPESINOS!, STANDARD FARE.
Blitzen Trapper Destroyer Of The Void
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ’MR PETERSON’, ‘LOOK OUT, LOOK OUT’, ‘GAY ANGELS’. FOR FANS OF: DANIEL JOHNSTON, ELLIOT SMITH, ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS.
Porcupine Tree Anesthetize KSCOPE
Filmed over two nights in Tilburg in the Netherlands, Anesthetize is prog rock legends Porcupine Tree’s second live DVD and it features all the bleeding edge bells and whistles you’d come to expect from the technology-loving act. The first half of the set is a faithful run-through of their Grammy award nominated Fear Of A Blank Planet record (which is played in its entirety) and then the second half is a collection of tracks that’s as close to a greatest hits selection as a band like them get to. Needless to say, diehard Porcupine Tree fans will no doubt love poring over the two plus hours of footage and while the performance itself is note-perfect, this reviewer ultimately found the DVD unengaging and strangely lifeless. Edwin McFee
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ’FEAR OF A BLANK PLANET,’ ‘ANESTHETIZE,’ ‘HALO’.. FOR FANS OF: PINK FLOYD, NINE INCH NAILS, RADIOHEAD.
Allo Darlin’ Allo Darlin’ FORTUNA POP!
With twee-pop no longer a realm exclusive to those sporting barely ironic thick rimmed-glasses and elbow patches, Allo Darlin’s self titled debut comes endorsed by Steve Lamacq, Jarvis Cocker and just about everyone who has ever been on the payroll of 6Music. If it wasn’t delivered by a —62 issue 66—
On this, Blitzen Trapper’s third album, they finally show signs of escaping the achingly poignant, folk-rock torch songs of their previous two. Opener ‘Destroyer Of The Void’ is a swirling mess of ideas, blending Beatles harmonies with progressive time changes in an opus blatantly influenced by the imperious second side of Abbey Road. ‘Love And Hate’ is an unexpected foray into the stoner rock of mid-Seventies Nazareth, but everything else here feels familiar and when Eric Earley sings, “There is a love that sleeps inside the canyons of our deepest dreaming lives” on ‘Heaven And Earth’, you realise that it’s pretty much business as usual for the rest of the album. Earley and Alela Diane duet on ‘The Tree’, a beautiful ode to life and the elements that recalls the hazily, idealistic late Sixties of Dylan and Baez, but you can’t help yearning for a whole album of the title track’s adventurousness. Eric, if we hadn’t seen such riches, we could live with being poor. Kenny Murdock
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘DESTROYER OF THE VOID’, ‘THE TREE’. FOR FANS OF: THE LOOSE SALUTE, FLEET FOXES.
Wintersleep New Inheritors ONEFOURSEVEN
Wintersleep’s fourth album, released just as they seem poised for world domination after the brilliant Welcome To The Night Sky, finds them suddenly infused with a sort of ill-defined paranoia – a brave move, and one which works only sporadically. For one thing, Paul Murphy’s high-pitched, nasal voice just isn’t frightening, and where, say, The National paint vivid, gloomy pictures with their songs, the source of Wintersleep’s chagrin is never very clear, making it hard to really sympathise. In fact, large chunks of this album sound like a ‘National-lite’ – not in
itself a terrible thing, and, anyway, so did the last National album. Where New Inheritors is at its best is on the clever, R.E.M.-style rock songs where you can hear plenty of Stipeisms in both lyrics and melodies, but these are too few and the album feels longer than its 54 minutes (long by today’s standards). Hugely impressive string arrangements and production drag the score up. Niall Harden
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘BLOOD COLLECTION’, ‘BLACK CAMERA’. FOR FANS OF: SPARKLEHORSE, LOW.
Lorn Nothing Else BRAINFEEDER
The song titles tell their own story: ‘Army Of Fear’; ‘Void’; ‘What’s The Use’. Yep, it’s probably fair to say that Lorn’s debut album isn’t going to be a laughriot in Happy Fun Town. And so it proves: Nothing Else is an album of encroaching dread and ineffable sadness. It’s there in the mournful strings and martial beats of ‘Army Of Fear’ and the dolorous synth washes of ‘None An Island’ and ‘Bretagne’. Don’t be put off, though – this is a darkly inventive, strangely addictive brew, touching on dubstep, drum ‘n’ bass, hip-hop and the murkier avenues of electronica. It’s also catchy and accessible – doomladen, yes, but rich in melodic hooks and, at a concise 33 minutes, easily absorbed in one sitting. Of particular note is the utterly poignant ‘Cherry Moon’, which – along with ‘Greatest Silence’ and ‘What’s The Use’ – closes the album superbly. As dark, delicious and satisfying as a pint of Guinness. Neill Dougan
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ’CHERRY MOON’, ‘GREATEST SILENCE’, ‘WHAT’S THE USE’. FOR FANS OF: CLARK, BOXCUTTER.
Pernice Brothers Goodbye, Killer ONE LITTLE INDIAN
Prolific without sacrificing quality control, melodic without being mawkish, Joe Pernice is a formidable talent. Like Will Oldham, he may adopt various pseudonyms but each album he makes is guaranteed to be a rewarding, enjoyable listen. Backed by a loud band in small room and recorded as close to live as records get nowadays, Goodbye, Killer bristles with golden tunes and George Harrison guitar licks, and Pernice’s lyrics are as witty and poetic as ever. The caterwauling, outof-tune chorus of ‘The Great Depression’ aside, it’s a downbeat but enjoyable listen, full of regret and autumn leaves. Ross Thompson
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ’JACQUELINE SUSANN’, ‘THE LOVING KIND’, ‘NEWPORT NEWS’. FOR FANS OF: TEENAGE FANCLUB, MATTHEW SWEET, THE REPLACEMENTS.
METALLICA’S ROBERT TRUJILLO
LIVE Metallica Odyssey Arena, Belfast Teenage metal-heads, grizzled dad-rockers and would-be serial killers are marching en masse to the Odyssey Arena. Metallica have rolled into town for two nights at the venue, and fans old and new have come from every corner of the country. The make-up, the orchestras, the Napster battles and the – let’s be frank – shit new albums have tested people’s patience, but this is still the US thrash titans’ first Northern Ireland visit in 22 years, since laying waste to the Antrim Forum in 1988. Belfast is up for it. “Do you like heavy?” bellows frontman James Hetfield. “Do you want heavy? Metallica gives you heavy, baby!” Sadly, the ‘heavy’ in question is a pair of stinkers from latest release Death Magnetic. ‘That Was Just Your Life’ and ‘The End Of The Line’ are riffs in search of a song, and not even a dazzling laser display makes up for the anticlimactic clatter. It’s no way to open a show.
PHOTO BY RAMSEY CARDY
Thankfully, from there Metallica dive dick-andballs-first into the classics, with a triple whammy of ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’, ‘Creeping Death’ and ‘Fade To Black’. The diehards can’t believe it – three from 1984’s Ride The Lightning in rapid-fire succession. Elsewhere, necks are put through their paces during ‘One’ and ‘Whiplash’, while ‘Master Of Puppets’ is still the best metal song over eight minutes. ‘Blackened’ is a nice surprise, and ‘Enter Sandman’ is simply monstrous. The band charge about the expansive stage (not so much ‘in the round’ as ‘all around’ – it takes up most of the Odyssey’s standing area) like maniacs half their age. Lead guitarist Kirk Hammett is on his usual other planet, while drummer Lars Ulrich steps out from behind his kit to spit beer, chuck drumsticks and get smacked in the face by a Metallica-branded beach ball (“You owe me a tooth, motherfucker,” he scolds culprit Hetfield). New – and Metallica are one of those groups where seven years of service still qualifies as ‘new’ – bassist Robert Trujillo does his trademark crab-
walking, mane-shaking thing. The second night sees ‘Harvester Of Sorrow’, ‘The Four Horsemen’, ‘Battery’ and ‘Hit The Lights’ added to the set (as well as ReLoad muck like ‘Fuel’ and ‘The Memory Remains’ – but let’s pretend we didn’t hear those). At each gig, the foursome play a cover of an artist that inspired them – ‘Breadfan’ by Budgie on Tuesday, Queen’s ‘Stone Cold Crazy’ on Wednesday – and close proceedings with the scream-along anthem ‘Seek & Destroy’, from ’83 debut Kill ‘Em All. There are lighting rigs shaped like coffins, speaker stacks the size of tanks and enough pyrotechnics to start The Troubles II. The audience – including many non-Irish fans (meet-and-greet videos posted later on YouTube reveal not a single Ulster accent) – lap it up, with the consensus being that this is one of the most ass-kicking shows the north has ever witnessed. To clumsily paraphrase an old Metallica slogan, that head that hasn’t banged in a while just banged again. And it feels good. Andrew Johnston —63 AU Magazine—
Primavera Sound / Snow Patrol / Dan Sartain / Cutaways
Primavera Sound Parc Del Forum, Barcelona
Snow Patrol Ward Park, Bangor
Primavera Sound has always been the coolest kid in the festival playground – a stunning setting in one of Europe’s best cities, a ‘party all night’ atmosphere and a line-up topfull of the planet’s best leftfield acts. None of that seems like it is going to change any time soon.
Following support sets from General Fiasco, Band of Horses and Lisa Hannigan, the rapturous response to the opening notes of ‘Eyes Open’ signals the arrival of Snow Patrol. The atmosphere remains on the cusp of erupting throughout ‘Take Back the City’, before Gary Lightbody addresses the crowd at length for the first time. His assertion that “U2 once played to 40,000 people… this is bigger” draws a massive reaction but in truth the band should be at pains to avoid all Bono-related comparisons, being that U2 is the other notable band of recent times whose rising popularity seems to be in indirect correlation to their musical relevance.
Day one kicks off in earnest with Surfer Blood, the first of many bands to battle with the Pitchfork Stage’s awful sound, but their summery power-pop tunes come over well. Then The Fall, Mark E Smith sauntering onstage a good five minutes after his band have started jamming, and then spending the rest of the gig doing his ‘mad MES’ thing – ranting incoherently, fiddling with amps, butting in on wife Elena’s synth playing… It’s fantastic, of course. Broken Social Scene attract a big crowd to the Ray-Ban stage, which is witness to Kevin Drew’s continued transformation into Bob Dylan. There’s a lot of noodling but the setlist is crowd-pleasing, culminating with Tortoise’s John McEntire hotfooting it over from his own gig to add drums to the closing ‘Meet Me In The Basement’. Good vibes too for the reformed Pavement, who put in a triumphant turn immediately afterwards. They start with ‘Cut Your Hair’ and Stephen Malkmus is having a whale of a time. When they finish with a tender ‘Here’ followed by ‘Range Life’, it seems almost too good to be true. A fearsomely loud Fuck Buttons provide the palatecleanser, but we’ve already seen the performance of the evening. Best Coast is the pick of the early bunch on Friday, her fizzingly melodic surf-pop hitting the spot. Ganglians fall flat, but things pick up again with Here We Go Magic’s swirling, proggy indie-rock and then a classic triple salvo – Les Savy Fav and Shellac followed by the Pixies. LSF are hamstrung a little by technical problems, and they are overshadowed by an astonishingly intense performance by Steve Albini’s Shellac. Performance of the weekend, even in comparison to the Pixies who appear to have attracted the whole of Catalonia to the San Miguel Stage. A dream of a setlist, an impeccable (if disengaged) performance and everyone goes home happy. Saturday begins with Michael Rother and Friends (including Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley) delighting the beardy hordes with a set of Neu! material. Enjoyable, though not really suited to the afternoon sun. Things only really get going with No Age’s appearance on the Pitchfork Stage. Like Best Coast before them, the awful acoustics don’t matter so much when imprecise sound is a big part of your appeal anyway, and Randy Randall’s guitar fills the space from the ferocious ‘You’re A Target’ on. Now a three-piece with an extra member on whooshy effects, the new material sounds extremely promising, and the crowd-surfers approve. We dip into Gary Numan in time to hear him finish with ‘Are Friends Electric?’ before heading to ATP for Liquid Liquid and their “poetry of rhythm”, as Salvatore Principato aptly puts it. No guitar; no keys; just drums, percussion, vocals and a ton of restless energy. Superb. Iceland-based Aussie Ben Frost disappoints a touch with a set that is slow to get going, but no such problems with The Field, whose four-piece band further blurs the lines between techno, trance and Krautrock. When the drops arrive in ‘Over The Ice’ and ‘Everday’, though, you can taste the euphoria. Chris Jones —64 issue 66—
For every nagging doubt that must occasionally surface about their recent output, though, days like today will act as vindication. When making their first three albums the band had to sleep on floors and sell possessions in order to simply prolong their existence, but since the ideological change inspired by the success of ‘Run’ they’ve sold 10 million albums and now they play to crowds in excess of 40,000. The common ground between new and old fans is represented by the excellent singles from Final Straw, and these provide the highlights. ‘Run’ features more vocals from the crowd than from Gary, while ‘Spitting Games’ and a reworked version of ‘Chocolate’ also generate a positive reaction from both sides of the band’s dichotomy of fans. On display throughout is the consummate professionalism typical of a band of this size. Lightbody is able to stall to the degree that some technical problems go largely unnoticed, while his conducting of the crowd during ‘Shut Your Eyes’ is more akin to the control exerted by a teacher over a school assembly than a singer over an audience. Meanwhile, the return of Lisa Hannigan to the stage sees her adopt Martha Wainwright’s vocals from ‘Set The Fire To The Third Bar’ with ease and the striking performance sees the Irish songstress receive the reception her support slot deserved. As the radio-friendly ‘Chasing Cars’ and ‘Just Say Yes’ are followed by a prolonged fireworks display to bring proceedings to a close, the only conclusion to be drawn becomes unavoidably clear. While this is undoubtedly Northern Ireland’s biggest band, the days of them being one of its best are becoming a distant memory. Jonathan Bradley
Dan Sartain Auntie Annie’s, Belfast In the hands of other, less talented individuals, playing your first ever headline show in Belfast armed with a collection of tracks that Joe Public hasn’t heard yet is the sign of madness (at the time of the show his third album Dan Sartain Lives had yet to see the light of day). Thankfully, the self styled 'skinny man' knows exactly what he’s doing however and there’s a familiarity to songs such as ‘Atheist Funeral’ and ‘Bohemian Grove’ that makes the gig gel better than most would expect. Clutching at a guitar that’s wider than he is, the walking John Waters character’s nerdish charm is infectious from the start and in some ways we’re
unwittingly willing him on to great things as he debuts fresh cut ‘I Don’t Wanna Go To The Party’. Then, after a barrage of brand new songs, he produces the nu-surf classic that is ‘P.C.B. ‘98’ in a shaman-like fashion and we’re truly off and running. Tonight’s show is a relatively short and sweet set, but as we came here to see three-minute salvos of classic rock ‘n’ roll rather than nine-minute, acidfuelled epics, it doesn’t seem to matter too much. His performance is jammed with highlights too and ‘Yes Man,’ ‘Drama Queens’ and ‘I Wanted It So’ all soothe the soul in their own unique ways. As the Skinny Man shuffles off the stage while staring at his shoes, it seems that if he comes back in six months’ time (when everyone knows the rest of his songs) he’ll finally be ready for the big leagues. That is, of course, if he wants to join them. Edwin McFee
Cutaways, The Jane Bradfords Empire Music Hall, Belfast Paper flowers, penny sweets and free Corona beer. As well as happening to be a few of my favourite things, are also a few of the parting gifts from Cutaways on a warm and somewhat poignant summer’s night in the Empire. Like all the best things, Cutaways burned brightly, briefly and now it would seems have expended their creative oxygen. But it’s nothing so grim as a wake for a band who made some of the most glowing of day-glo pop music in their short time, and it’s entirely appropriate that everybody’s partying tonight like it’s 2009. Drummer Ryan, frontman Paul and ‘noises’ Grace are all also in great form all evening and there’s already talk of future projects in the offing. So don’t start the eulogies just yet… Fans, friends and freeloaders gather then to celebrate rather than mourn and before Cutaways take to the stage for the very last time, there’s a chance to see the recently augmented Jane Bradfords and hear some of their new material. The set is tight, the songs simply soar and in singer Deci Gallen’s spectral baritone, the Bradfords possess something of the hybrid love child of Ian Curtis and Scott Walker. As one band is in the ascendant, however, another must say farewell. It is with a frantic, kaleidoscopic burst of sound and energy that Cutaways play their last. And it reminds you exactly what made them special in the first place. There’s much good-natured banter on stage and when Ryan momentarily goes AWOL behind the kit just before they’re about to launch into live favourite ‘Lovers Are Lunatics’, Paul quips, “You see, this is why we broke up.” They run through their compact but impressive back catalogue of exuberant, joyflecked song and even play a new one – “for the first and last time,” explains Paul, deadpan to the end. As it happens, the new one is pretty bloody good and sees a belated maturity in Cutaways that leaves one wondering what might have been. It ends far too soon, for band and audience. There’s a “secret” after-show party of course, the “secret” address of which a Grace is giving to anybody who asks. “You’ve got bring a paper flower to get in, though,” she stresses, only halfseriously. But it’s an appropriately Cutaways moment – generous, silly and totally endearing. They will be missed. Joe Nawaz
Deadman / Reviews
Words by Chris Jones
Deadman Cerebral Frontier Jason Mills isn’t a man who likes to restrict himself musically, and this release – his first since 2004 – is proof of that, as its six tracks touch on moods from mournful to hopeful with a mixed palette of acoustic and electronic sounds. Though a couple of tracks feature Mills’ vocals (‘Pathos’, ‘Lonely Planet’) he is at his best as an instrumental composer, where his love for film soundtracks shines through on tracks like the swirling, beatdriven ‘Magick Roundabout’, the haunting ‘Lysergic Lasso’ and the ukulele-based pieces ‘Amygdala’ and ‘Murmuration’. There’s much to enjoy here, and the sense that if you gave this man a film to score, he’d be in his element. WWW.MYSPACE.COM/DEADMAN_MUSIC
Window Seats 'Miss Midnight'/'Awake' Belfast-based trio Window Seats have their eyes trained on your heartstrings with an emotionally naked pair of tracks. ‘Miss Midnight’ is the pick, a slow-burner featuring some lovely, atmospheric production, a strident vocal performance from Jude McCaffrey and a (faintly clichéd) lyric about drug addiction. There’s nothing shy or knowing about this – it’s hearts-on-the-line indie-rock, and just about pulled off with aplomb. B-side ‘Awake’ is less strong – meandering, mid-tempo and a little forgettable, but again the production is good. Lots of shimmering guitars. Not bad at all. WWW.MYSPACE.COM/WINDOWSEATS
Milan Jay Mellow Funk Galway native Milan Jay (John to his ma) has just released this debut album for free via Bandcamp, and it’s an auspicious start for the fledgling producer (despite its awful name). Although he claims not to be much of a fan of electronic music, there are echoes of the likes of Boards of Canada, Four Tet and Brian Eno all through the long-player. Jay has a way to go before he can stand tall in that company, and there’s the nagging thought that this is all a little dated, but it’s still a fine effort with some real highlights. The aptly titled, sun-dappled ‘Le Soleil d’Hiver’ (winter sun) is reminiscent of Boards’ Geogaddi, while in a departure, ‘A.I.H.I.D.’ is a swirling space-rocker with squalling wah-wah guitar and live drums. Worth remembering the name. WWW.MYSPACE.COM/MILANJAY
InProfile ACT: DEADMAN LOCATION: BELFAST REAL NAME: JASON MILLS (WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM DAVID BAXTER, SIMON MATEER AND OTHERS). FOR FANS OF: ENNIO MORRICONE, BEIRUT, DAVID HOLMES. WEBSITE: WWW.MYSPACE.COM/DEADMAN_MUSIC
Belfast’s Jason Mills is well known locally for his eclectic DJ sets as Deadman, bringing him regular guest spots at independent club nights around the city. However, his own production career has been on the backburner for some time. Recently, however, he has resurfaced with the six-track Cerebral Frontier EP, his first set of new material since 2004. Here, he chats to AU about what he has been up to, and the story behind the release. This is your first release in six years – why the long gestation period? Well, the first two Deadman EPs were recorded with my friend Simon Mateer in his bedroom studio. Obviously there were technical limitations with this set-up and after the last EP in 2004 we wanted to take it up a notch. There were numerous problems with the way the whole project was working though and we ended up with a bunch of half-finished recordings. It wasn’t until about six months ago when the opportunity arose to record in David Baxter’s studio that Cerebral Frontier finally started to come together. To what extent was this a collaborative effort, and is that the way you normally work? It’s very much a collaborative effort and always has been. I record all my demos at home but it’s not until we start messing about with synths and beats in the studio that the songs begin to fill out properly. David’s touches are all over Cerebral Frontier; he records his own electronic music
as Kab Driver and Filaria so is a bit of a wizard at the programming and editing side of things. Throughout the EP there are a few different musician friends drifting in and out, adding bits of bass guitar, live drums, backing vocals and piano here and there. Sometimes it’s a bit like being a frontman for an invisible band. Can you point to any specific influences on this release, musical or otherwise? I’m keen to avoid Deadman being shoe-horned into a particular genre and I have no interest in making a bunch of tracks that sound the same as one another. I like to let each song take on a life of its own. For example the opening and closing tracks on the EP were written on a cheap ukulele and I was listening to Beirut a lot at the time while the mournful, halfspoken vocals on ‘Lonely Planet’ would be related to my fondness for Arab Strap. I’m also influenced by cinema. The chorus of ‘Lysergic Lasso’ has a kind of Spaghetti Western, Ennio Morricone vibe. The opening track ‘Amygdala’ was originally composed for a postapocalyptic film I was working on at the time, Ditching, by the local arts group Factotum. I also sometimes thread samples from cult films through tracks; I’ll not say which ones in case I get sued, haha. As a DJ under the same name, you are known for playing drum ‘n’ bass, jungle and other intense electronic music – how do you reconcile that side of you with the more mellow material here? I see music as being interconnected so I don’t really think of it as a great conflict to begin with. I wouldn’t play a full set of one specific genre though – there needs to be a more interesting narrative to it. I think a DJ set should evolve in the same way a good album does, taking you through different moods with peaks and troughs. Last year at Rathlin Island festival I played Nine Inch Nails, Orbital and Bob Marley side by side – I enjoyed it even if nobody else did, haha. —65 AU Magazine—
Annual Subscription to AU Only £13 (€27) Yeah, that’s right, £13. Right now you are thinking one of two things. Either a) Hey, I picked this copy of AU up for free, and can do every month from now on, why would I pay, douchebag? Or b) Sweet! I can still get AU delivered straight to my door, and it’s even cheaper than before. Personally, we prefer people who respond with b). They know where the smart money is. They know that time = money, and by saving the time you’d spend going to pick up your copy of AU, you’ll actually be better off financially. Plus, they’ll get the download link to an exclusive subscribers’ compilation of new music. If you want to join the clever people in what we are now calling Column B, all you have to do is pop a cheque for £13 (or €27) made payable to Alternative Ulster Ltd in the post to AU Magazine, The Marquis Building, 89-91 Adelaide Street, Belfast, BT2 8FE. Alternatively, you can send the payment via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org. All prices include postage and packing. In fact, the price pretty much just covers P&P, that’s how dead on we are.
AU Subscription Form Name: Address:
Postcode: Email: Preferred Starting Issue: —66 issue 66—
MOST WANTED THE MONTH’S HOTTEST TICKETS MODEST MOUSE
MODEST MOUSE IN THE HOUSE Belfast festival wows with extended lineup A couple of months back, Belfast's Open House Festival released the line-up for this September’s event and true to form it was quite the doozy. The fact that Chicagoan alt-rockers Wilco were heading to Belfast was enough to make this writer do naked cartwheels through a rose thicket with excitement. They are a phenomenal, hard-rocking, ever-changing beast of a live band and luring them to our humble city is quite the coup. It wasn’t the only coup, however. Equally enticing are sets from festival stalwart Seasick Steve, folk outfit The Low Anthem, A. A. Bondy, Field Music, star in waiting
Lissie and... the list stretches like Pinocchio’s nose on a bad day. But come here, there’s more, as un-funnyman Jimmy Cricket used to say. If the line-up for this year’s Open House Festival wasn’t lip-smackingly good already, we can now reveal the other treats on the bill. White Lies, ably supported by local circuit heroes Panama Kings, will hopefully be unveiling long-awaited new material, while we are chomping at the bit to see Iron & Wine with The Low Anthem. The real sugar, however, is the return of Modest Mouse. Yes, you read that correctly: Portland, Oregon heavyweights Modest Mouse. It bears repeating – and perhaps in a loud voice. Fair dos to the festival curators who, in partnership with AU, have managed to lure the much admired indie rockers to this shore – the tickets are guaranteed to shift faster than a cheetah on a hover-board. With an angular, slightly manic sound, Modest Mouse bend tunes into unusual shapes like a party clown making giraffes out of coloured balloons. Yet no matter how far into the leftfield they stray, their sense of rhythm and melody remains intact. Modest Mouse have previously supported The National and R.E.M., and a sign of just how revered they are is that they managed to entice guitar supremo Johnny Marr
to join them for a quick spin around the block. It might sound like vanilla froth, but we should not underestimate the value of an event such as this. Regardless of whether or not you like Modest Mouse or any of their cohorts on the bill, one must accept that the Cathedral Quarter has become a hub of vibrant cultural activity. Events like this are something to be proud of, and we should appreciate them as long as they last – let’s hope they last a long time. Ross Thompson The Open House Festival runs from September 7 – 12.
—67 AU Magazine—
Sc Words by Chris Jones
Most Wanted This is an art attack
If you’re in Belfast and paying attention, you’ll know all about trans by now – Air, DJ Shadow, Gilles Peterson, Felix Da Housecat, Daedelus and oh-so-many more stars descending on the city throughout the month of July. But what you might not be so aware of is the largest project that trans takes care of every year – the Urban Arts Academy. Over the course of the festival, trans offer a dizzying array of taster courses, letting you try your hand at anything you might fancy – DJing to puppetry, journalism to free running. All courses are open to anyone aged over 15, so if you find yourself at a loss during the long, hot (ha!) summer, you could do worse than see what’s on offer. You never know where it might take you. The Urban Arts Academy is now enrolling. www.transbelfast.com
URBAN ARTS ACADEMY
The Knights Shall Rule The Empire
With all the veterans on the touring circuit these days, spare a thought for the troupers that have been plugging away all along, while the Johnnycomeback-latelys were sunning themselves on a beach/in rehab/embarking on an underwhelming but low-profile solo career. The slackers. Grunge overlords Pearl Jam are one such band – they’ve bee pumping albums out at regular intervals since 1991, with last year’s Backspacer the ninth of a storied career. And here they are on their way back to Irish shores, with dates this month in Dublin and Belfast. You know what to expect so there’s no point giving it the big sell, but despite a lack of comeback thrills or fireworks, they certainly deserve your respect.
It’s been a quiet year so far for Belfast troupe The Lowly Knights, but they are slowly reanimating and things are coming to a head. Now shorn of their female choir and down to a six-strong, all-male core, the band recently played Belfast’s No Alibis bookshop in front of 50 punters. Their next headline appearance, however, promises to be a grander affair. The band play the opulent Empire Music Hall on July 1, topping a bill of their own making. In support, three young bands that represent the best of Belfast’s young songwriters – the energetic piano pop of Rams’ Pocket Radio, folk trio Farriers, and the Queer Giraffes’ bruised but smiling country-rock. It should be a celebration.
Pearl Jam play the Dublin O2 on June 22 and the Odyssey in Belfast on June 23
Off The Scale Do the guys at Richter Collective not think they have enough to be getting on with? Not content with a brutal release schedule and work with their own bands, the Dublin-based label dudes have agreed to curate an entire stage at Meath’s Le Cheile Festival on July 31. You know what that means, right? Performances by AU favourites Not Squares, BATS, Enemies, Jogging, Hands Up Who Wants To Die, The Continuous Battle Of Order as well as guests Grey Mayhem and Dutchmen Boutros Bubba. Wowee! The rest of the line-up was TBC as we went to press. L W IL
—68 issue 66—
Le Chéile Arts and Music Festival takes place in Oldcastle, Co. Meath on July 29 to August 2
The Lowly Knights play the Empire, Belfast on July 1.
The Will To Tour For nigh-on 20 years, Will Oldham has been your go-to guy for whiskey-splashed, croaking sorrow – and some heartbreakingly beautiful songs under a bewildering array of names. Palace Brothers, Palace Music, Will Oldham, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy… it’s all him, and it’s all worth hearing. This summer he makes his return to our shores with a show in Belfast, two in Dublin, one in Galway and one in Skibbereen (at Cork X Southwest), all with his backing band The Cairo Gang in tow. Gigs rarely come more highly recommended than these. Bonnie ‘Prince Billy and The Cairo Gang tour Ireland from July 27 to July 31.
Dot Dot Dot... The Best Of The Rest In Live Music
He Bangs The Drums
Live, Kilkenny’s R.S.A.G. (aka Jeremy Hickey) is a bit of a one-man Gorillaz. He drums in time with a backing track, the visuals behind him depicting an animated version of himself playing the other instruments – keys, a guitar. But the inventive, creative drumming is the star, as Hickey is no ordinary tubthumper, augmenting his kit with oil canisters and all manner of pots ‘n’ pans. His new album Be It Right Or Wrong is on shelves right about now and in support of it, Hickey is out on a tour of this fair isle, calling in Limerick, Cork, Galway, Dublin and Dundalk. Go and see what the fuss is about.
For all that the Irish music scene is a vibrant and many-splendoured thing, it’s not often a genuine, bona fide all-time music legend turns up. We’re talking the kind of people that shaped popular music, beyond their genre. Hell, we’re talking about the kind of people that shaped the world as we know it. We’re talking about people like Stevie Wonder. The big man needs no introduction, so call this a reminder to beg, steal or borrow for a ticket if you have any way to be at the O2 in Dublin on the evening of Thursday, June 24. Just think – ‘Sir Duke’, ‘Superstition’, ‘Uptight (Everything’s Alright)’, ‘As’… And he might not even play ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’…
R.S.A.G. tours Ireland from June 15 to June 26.
Wizards Of Oz
Stevie Wonder plays the O2, Dublin on June 24.
Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz You known what that is? That’s the excitement humming around the AU office. Cut Copy are back, mofos! The Aussie party starters made one of the albums of ’08 with In Ghost Colours, paving away for Friendly Fires to clear up with their similarly hued indie-dance funtimes. They were also one of the bands of Electric Picnic that year, turing a large tent into a massive bouncy castles. And that means that the band’s upcoming show at the Button Factory in Dublin could be the gig of the summer, with the promise of tracks from the band’s yet-to-be-announced third album as well as the best of their back catalogue. Dancing shoes at the ready.
As recommendations go, this has to be a tentative one. But Snoop Dogg – Snoop Doggy fucking Dogg – is playing Cork and Dublin at the start of July. Now, it may be a complete shambles – Snoop doesn’t strike AU as necessarily the most reliably show-stopping of live performers – but he has one hell of a back catalogue, more charisma than you can shake a diamond-encrusted cane at and just the merest hint of entertaining danger. Add the actually-fairly-reasonable-for-a-worldfamous-rap-star ticket prices and you have the makings of a winning night out.
Cut Copy play the Button Factory, Dublin on July 20.
Snoop Dogg plays The Marquee, Cork on July 5 and the Olympia, Dublin on July 6.
Thursday, June 17 Turin Brakes Black Box, Dublin
Celtronic: Jon Hopkins (live), Ryan Vail (live), Arkeye (live), Stephen McCauley St Columb’s Hall, Derry
James Vincent McMorrow Whelan’s, Dublin
Friday, July 2 Mountain Man Crawdaddy, Dublin
Friday, June 18 Turin Brakes Whelan’s, Dublin Saturday, June 19 Cashier No.9 Empire Music Hall, Belfast Popical Island All-Day Pop Extravaganza (3pm, free) Whelan’s, Dublin Sunday, June 20 Scissor Sisters Olympia, Dublin Monday, June 22 Paramore King’s Hall, Belfast Tuesday, June 23 Pearl Jam Odyssey Arena, Belfast Blondie, Little Fish Nugent Hall, Belfast Celtronic: Andrew Weatherall, David Holmes, Phil Kieran (live) Sandinos, Derry Green Day, Paramore, Joan Jett Marlay Park, Dublin Keane Olympia, Dublin Thursday, June 24 Celtronic: Scuba, Boxcutter (live), Darren Allen Mason’s, Derry Friday, June 25 Volume Control: In Case of Fire, Panama Kings, The Wonder Villains, Before Machines (all ages) Oh Yeah Centre, Belfast
trans: Tom McShane – Album Recording Sessions Oh Yeah Centre, Belfast trans: Sasha, Psycatron, Ronan Scullion Ulster Hall, Belfast trans: Caspa, MC Rod Azlan, Ecker DJs Stiff Kitten, Belfast Willowstone Festival Delamont Country Park, Killyleagh Take It To The Bridge Festival Corbet Lake, Banbridge Sunday, July 4 trans: DJ Shadow, Drums of Death Ulster Hall, Belfast Bob Dylan, David Gray, Seasick Steve, Alabama 3 Thomond Park, Limerick Monday, July 5 DJ Shadow Tripod, Dublin Thursday, July 8 trans: Air, Cashier No.9 Waterfront Hall, Belfast Friday, July 9 trans:mission: Psycatron, Kab Driver, Nouveaunoise, Barry’s Electronic Workshop, Men in Speedos, Toby Kaa Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast
Team Fresh Stiff Kitten, Belfast
Saturday, July 10 trans:mission: Not Squares, Pocket Billiards, Kowalski, Team Fresh, More Than Conquerors, The Continuous Battle of Order, Girls Names, Heliopause Waterfront, Belfast
Celtronic: Joris Voorn, Psycatron, Radioactive Man Nerve Centre, Derry
trans: Oneman, Nez, Messyfuture, Monkphat, J King Black Box, Belfast
Grizzly Bear, Midlake, Camera Obscura, Villagers The Marquee, Cork
Tortoise Whelan’s, Dublin
Saturday, June 26 Unicorn Kid, The Wonder Villains, Chipzel Auntie Annie’s, Belfast Celtronic: Donnacha Costello (live), Space Dimension Controller (live), Deep Fried Funk DJs, Saalim St Columb’s Hall, Derry The Get Up Kids The Village, Dublin
Saturday, July 3 Jesse Malin Spring & Airbrake, Belfast
Monday, July 12 Converge Whelan’s, Dublin Wednesday, July 14 Angus & Julia Stone Button Factory, Dublin Friday, July 16 DJ Format Spring & Airbrake, Belfast
Sunday, June 27 The Get Up Kids Limelight, Belfast
—69 AU Magazine—
NO MORE HEROES
Axe falls on super show
Words by Ross Thompson HEROES: A CHEERFUL BUNCH
“I’d like to be Superman,” sang Sebadoh in 1992, “but you’re standing on my cape.” It’s an appropriate lyric for fantasy series Heroes, which started life brazenly striding over tall buildings but ended up being felled by plummeting ratings, script re-jigs and a whopping writer’s strike. NBC recently chose not to recommission the ailing show and its odds for revival now rest at somewhere between nil and zero. The question is: whatever happened to Heroes?
"Heroes rattled along at a dizzying clip, spilling out weekly revelations like one of Tiger Wood's exes." —70 issue 66—
When it swooped onto NBC just four years ago, Heroes was immediately greeted with doffed caps and ruffled cowls by the same fanboys who had previously slain any comic book adaptation that dared change the colour of Captain America’s tights. At once the internet was abuzz with excited chatter of how this new fantasy series would replace the likes of Lost in watercooler conversations across the globe. This was only partly true: people did talk about Heroes, but pretty soon they wouldn’t have many nice things to say. The early signs, however, were all good. Firstly, the central high concept conceit, even if it was lifted wholesale from X-Men, was great: unwilling superhuman misfits conceal their identity from the world whilst ignoring the nuclear Armageddon thundering over the horizon. They are spurred into action by a serial killer who specialises in bumping off closet mutants (cough, Alan Moore), the time-obsessed (cough, Watchmen) big bad later revealed as Sylar. His fetish for removing superhero brains gave Heroes an edge you didn’t normally get in mainstream television. Even Spielberg piped up about the violence – and he was a fan. Secondly, the likeable ensemble cast was diverse enough to appeal to a cross section of viewers. There was Hiro, a Japanese office drone who could bend the space time continuum by squinting – if any television executives are reading, surely there is untapped potential for a sitcom spin-off. There was Matt Parkman, a bumbling police officer with the Jedi-like to read minds. And there was Claire, a button cute cheerleader gifted with rapid cellular regeneration. In layman’s terms: fancy healing
powers. She spends most days jumping off buildings and mangling her fingers in waste disposal units. The combination of emotional vulnerability and physical invulnerability, if a little too close to uncomfortable viewing for adult males, was a winner: it’s not every day that you see a teenager sliding her own protruding ribs back into place. Ouch. Lastly, the show was backed by extremely talented comic book alumni. Jeph Loeb, the brilliant, empathetic mind behind Daredevil: Yellow and Batman: The Long Halloween, was on board as executive producer while his creative partner Tim Sale provided the prophetic paintings drawn by character Isaac Mendez. Meanwhile, the writing team struck the right tone from the start. In comparison with Lost, which meandered around aimlessly like a headless chicken in very slow motion, Heroes rattled along at a dizzying clip, spilling out weekly revelations like one of Tiger Woods’s exes. It was profoundly silly, of course, but like a good comic it obeyed the logic of its own universe. Or at least it did for a while. When the show returned for a second season it transpired that the writers were making it up as they went along, blindly fumbling their way through a coal shaft in search of diamonds. After the first run’s emotional climax they suddenly didn’t know what to do with the characters. Several disappeared for no explicable reason while one-dimensional poster boy Peter Petrelli was dispatched to Cork, where the native Oirish – red-haired and gap-toothed – dance jigs,
THE ANGER THERAPY SESSIONS WERE NOT GOING WELL
Dollhouse met the same fate as his previous project Firefly, and was cancelled after one and a half seasons. FlashForward went back in its box and Ugly Betty vacated the catwalk. The Sarah Connor Chronicles, despite generating warm reviews, was powered down, prompting writer Josh Friedman to respond, “Good shows are cancelled every year. Smart shows, worthy shows...”. The reason for this, as Friedman pointed out, is simple: “Every network wants a big fat hit.” Programmes are so expensive to make and promote that they have to generate money. To borrow a lyric from David Bazan, “If it isn’t making dollars / Then it isn’t making cents.” It’s got nothing to with art. It has nothing to do with critical appreciation. One could speculate endlessly about what might have happened if Heroes had followed a different path, or could question why Lost was permitted to limp to its divisive finale while this equally polarising show about normal people with abnormal abilities hit the skids. We might also talk about why, if it’s all about the Benjamins, an independent station like HBO continues to finance quality, offbeat programmes while the big boys flinch at the first sign of trouble. None of that really matters to those involved in making or who have invested time watching Heroes. Not even Hiro Nakamura could hold time on that one.
"Maybe Sylar had stolen the writers' brains, but Heroes broke its own silly logic, rewrote its own rulebook and as a result began to bleed out viewers." swig Guinness and steal things. Meanwhile, Hiro bounced back to ancient Japan, setting in motion a time travel yarn which was never quite untangled. Worse, characters were bumped off and reanimated in the most contrived circumstances, thereby eliding any possible tension the show once had.
out viewers. So negative was the backlash that scripter Tim Kring went on record to apologise for dropping the ball. “The fans wanted adrenaline,” he confessed. “We made a mistake.” Kudos to Kring (which sounds like a lost Superman sequel) for manning up, but it didn’t help that he did so slap bang in the middle of the infamous writer’s strike which effectively grounded the television and film industry. His statement was a PR boo-boo, but at least the break in play allowed Kring to retool the season’s final episodes. Nevertheless, the show’s powers, super or otherwise, were already beginning to drain. In subsequent seasons the storylines became more convoluted and desperate, with Claire indulging in a spot of harmless college sapphism and Parkman seeking spiritual guidance from a turtle. Yes, seriously.
Maybe Sylar had stolen the writers’ brains, but Heroes broke its own silly logic, rewrote its own rulebook and as a result began to bleed
The writing was on the wall for Heroes, particularly as shows occupying the schedules around it were culled. Joss Whedon’s
SYLAR'S PARTY GAME PASS THE SHIV ALWAYS ENDED BADLY
Short cuts Big but not clever... This Christmas Jack Black will star in a modern day version of Gulliver’s Travels, which eschews the original’s mordant social satire in favour of Black clowning around and pulling faces. To quote Jonathan Swift, “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”
Awww schmucks... Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Zach Galifianakis and Jemaine Clement can soon be seen in Dinner For Schmucks, a cringe comedy about monthly meals where idiots try to outdo each other. Just like Come Dine With Me then, but minus the sanctimonious voiceover.
Out of the Hobbit... Guillermo Del Toro will no longer helm the longawaited version of The Hobbit, citing a crowded slate and an unwillingness to commit to the required years of living and working in New Zealand. Fingers crossed that Peter Jackson sits down in the director’s chair.
Why the big paws... Children of the Eighties can look forward to the new, anime-influenced reboot of ThunderCats, which will be made in Japan but shown on the Cartoon Network. Fox Huntington... Megan Fox got (allegedly) booted off the Transformers 3 pony wagon but has been
replaced by British model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Clearly chosen for her acting ability then. Top Marks... Rhys Ifans is finishing up work on Mr. Nice, an adaptation of former drug smuggler turned raconteur Howard Marks’ autobiography. The trailer is available from all the
usual suppliers. Back from the dead... We never thought that it would actually happen, but Frank Darabont is currently beavering away on a six part miniseries of zombie comic book opus The Walking Dead, scheduled to be shown on AMC this Halloween. —71 AU Magazine—
Our regular round-up of the new releases: how to tell a smart bomb from a not-so-smart bomb.
"Alan Wake starts off in bizarre but intriguing fashion but all the faffling about in the dark soon wears thin." Words by Ross Thompson —72 issue 66—
ALAN WAKE (Microsoft Game Studios, Xbox 360) A novel approach... After a gestation longer than a Guns N’ Roses album, the new game from the bods behind Max Payne finally ambles into view. The plot, such as it is, can be explained thus: a hack novelist with writer’s block and his wife retreat to a remote American logging town, she disappears and weird things happen. By day Bright Falls is your average backwoods locale, with a diner full of stoned hippies and a police force comprising caricatures from a Jerry Bruckheimer film. However, by night mist rolls in faster than mist should roll and dark figures emerge from the pea soup, possessed woodsmen and truckers whose sole purpose is to cleave your sternum open with hatchets and, you guessed it, chainsaws. For protection you’re equipped with a meagre selection of guns, but the real weapon in your arsenal is a torch: shine the beam onto the baddies and it will suck the darkness right out of them, weakening their defences so you can unload six rounds of buckshot into their melons. It’s an interesting mechanic, but one which quickly grows repetitive, made more vexing by the fact that Alan, weaned on a diet of cigarettes, bourbon and complimentary lunches, gets out of puff when sprinting. The enemies, meanwhile, are annoyingly athletic and, like a rival racer in Mario Kart, will always catch up, swamping you against impenetrable scenery. It’s meant to create tension, but instead it’s just frustrating.
Conversely, the production values for Alan Wake are remarkably high. Switch on one of the televisions found in cabins and gas stations and you can watch episodes of Night Springs, a campy Twilight Zonestyle cheese-fest. Pick up pages littered around the game world and you will hear a voice dryly reading purple prose from a badly written novel. The twist is that the text contains in-game hints. Elsewhere, the soundtrack is fantastic: Nick Cave, David Bowie and the best use of Roy Orbison since Blue Velvet. It’s a shame that this attention to detail doesn’t run through the entire project. Like a dream from which you cannot stir, Alan Wake starts off in bizarre but intriguing fashion but all the faffing about in the dark soon wears thin.
BLUR (Activision, PC / PS3 / Xbox 360)
Vroom with a view... Have you ever wanted to race full tilt through a San Francisco waterway or tear along a Brighton promenade with the speed of a dozen boy racers? Well, thanks to Bizarre Creations, the bad boys behind Project Gotham Racing, now you can. The devilishly addictive Blur is a racing game with a twist, albeit one which has been twisted before. As in Mario Kart, your real world cars (Audis, Beemers, Jeeps etc.) can be pimped with power-ups scattered around the track, which allow you to fire rockets, mines and lightning bolts at rival drivers, thus scuppering their chances from bagging first place. The combination of actual locations with cartoonish weapons is a trifle unusual, but it works. Races, both in career mode and online multiplayer, are chaotic affairs which quickly descend into multi vehicle pile-ups. It is tremendously enjoyable watching a car jackknife off a pier or do a flaming tumble over the top of an underpass – more so if you caused it. Blur is built around a comprehensive levelling up system: you gain ‘fans’ by pulling off specific tricks and winning bouts, who in turn follow you on ‘RaveBook’ and ‘Inner Tube’. It’s a small indicator that the game doesn’t take itself too seriously – it’s not trying to steal the limelight from Forza – but that doesn’t mean that it’s childish. At times Blur rocks harder than a Slipknot show in a quarry, but it’s perfectly counterbalanced by the OMG (one more go) formula.
PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE FORGOTTEN SANDS (Ubisoft, DS / PC / PSP / PS3 / Xbox 360)
Assassin’s Creed 2, and the decision to move away from the cel-shaded lushness of the 2008 instalment feels like a step backwards. This is defiantly old school platforming, and to that end it copes well, though you may experience Gamecube déjà vu whilst playing. Combat involves mashing buttons to face off against hundreds of identical enemies, but the power to manipulate time is still pretty cool. Like many recent titles, The Forgotten Sands holds back its most enjoyable, brain-bending challenges until much later – trap rooms, spike pits and buzz-saw corridors which will have you using your rewind time upgrade again and again, not to mention thrilling sections set in a rapidly crumbling palace. The latest POP is by no means terrible, and is an ideal candidate for achievement farming, but it’s not even close to the standard of which the developers are capable. That’s a backhanded compliment, but a compliment nonetheless.
LOST PLANET 2 (Capcom, PC / PS3 / Xbox 360)
Sandy tick-tocks big...
Insects and violence...
Wisely released to complement the big screen outing for Jake Gyllenhaal in skin-chafing leather body armour, the latest entry in the tangled videogame franchise gets back to basics for this tootle about the exotic East. Sadly, it’s not entirely delightful. The controls are on the janky side, especially when compared with those of the tightly programmed
Blasting bugs should be fun. Lots of fun. Ripping a Gatling gun off a robot and blowing the legs off a clacking, toothy, winged insect or bombing the guts out of a screen-sized termite should be an absolute gas. It’s not rocket science. In fact, it’s not even science. It’s a simple formula: an army of insectoid creatures divided by one Muscle Mary with a rocket
LOST PLANET 2
launcher equals one very happy gamer. Unfortunately, Lost Planet 2 doesn’t quite add up to greatness. On one hand it looks absolutely stunning. The titular planet combines frozen tundra and vineblanketed jungles – one moment you are puffing your way through a frozen fog, the next sweating through a rainforest, each of which are creeping and crawling with the aforementioned beasties. These Akrids burst out of the ground with alarming force and lash out at all and sundry with multiple legs and claws. The resultant melee is gruff and crunchy and intense but it’s hampered by a seriously problematic controller layout which makes it feel as if either your fingers or the buttons are in the wrong places. It doesn’t help that combat is completely merciless, even more so than a regular Capcom release. The confusion extends to the menus, which compared to the streamlined front-end of the likes of Bad Company 2 are baffling. LP2 has the potential for absolute greatness, but like its distinctive creatures, it is burrowed deep down under the ground. A missed opportunity.
BORDERLANDS: DOUBLE GAME ADD-ON PACK (2K Games, PC / Xbox 360)
Keep on pushing my love over the Borderlands… Cracking sandbox RPG Borderlands gets a double dose of extra content thanks to this mini compendium of DLC, kindly placed on a disc for the benefit of those without access to an Internet connection. The new episodes are different in style, with The Zombie Island Of Dr. Ned being a more traditional jaunt to a small hillbilly town run amok with deadites and ghouls. The tone isn’t exactly horror – it’s more tongue-in-cheek than tonguethrough-the-cheek – but it boosts the lifespan of a game which has already claimed dozens of hours of playtime. In contrast, Mad Moxi’s Underdome Riot takes the now ubiquitous ‘Horde’ mode from Gears Of War and runs with it like a headless skag, shooting, screaming, kicking and burning. It only really comes alive when you have several other players on your squad, and the difficulty level is a bit squiffy, but it’s heartening to see companies continue to support flagship games, particularly those extras which dare to be a little different.
—73 AU Magazine—
ORWELL WITH AN iPAD The George Orwell Prize proves that the author of
Nineteen Eighty-Four can still cause controversy. But would he survive in the media-saturated 21st century? Words by Kiran Acharya Illustration by Rebecca Hendin
—74 issue 66—
Subbacultcha - Arts: The Orwell Prize
One man choked on his popcorn. Another held a videophone capturing the kernel’s arc. Peter Kellner, president of YouGov, had read the shortlist for the 2010 George Orwell prize for journalism. Contenders included Amelia Gentleman of The Guardian, Hamish McRae of The Independent, and Peter Hitchens of the – Kellner lowered his voice – Mail on Sunday. Surely the Orwell Prize, so closely aligned with the democratic socialist left, couldn’t be awarded for journalism appearing in a Conservative tabloid? Then: “The 2010 George Orwell Prize for journalism goes to Peter Hitchens.” “Well, that must have been difficult for you,” said Hitchens, accepting the £3,000 cheque after an extensive round of applause. The prizes, awarded since 1994, honour journalists and authors judged to have succeeded in Orwell’s goal of making political writing into an art. A third category for blogs began in 2009, this year going to Working With The Underclass (http://winstonsmith33. blogspot.com). The book prize was as remarkable as Hitchens’ win for journalism. Keeper, written by Andrea Gillies, is an account of her time caring for her mother-in-law Nancy, who succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease. It appeared to be the least political book on the list. Before tonight, the Gillies household called the award the ‘oh well’ prize. “My book is political in only a very oblique sense,” she said from the stage. “Keeper concerns itself with the politics of health. There is a tsunami of dementia coming our way. It continues to shock me that we treat this illness as an integral part of getting old. The official governmental approach is to regard its care as social; something optional, when for the ill person and their families it’s ruinously expensive.” Arts Shorts After the prizegiving, the evening was given over to red wine and speculative
arts SHORTS Northern Ireland’s leading dance company, the Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company, are to perform The Chess Piece in Derry’s historic Guildhall building – where 32 ‘pieces’ come to life on a giant chessboard. It will be performed by a mix of professional dancers and workshop participants of all ages. The Chess Piece performances will run from 23-26 June.
The Soundtrack to Nineteen Eighty-Four The classic dystopian novel was pillaged by the Big Brother franchise and Apple’s first television advertisements, but Orwell finds a natural kin in the nonconformist spirit of today’s rock musicians. These three songs are only a few inspired by the text. Rage Against the Machine ‘Testify’ The Bush-baiting video aims to show a lack of choice in the US electoral system, while the song quotes Orwell’s sinister Party slogan: “Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past.” Find it: The Battle of Los Angeles (1999) Radiohead '2+2=5’ If everyone believes it, does it make it true? The opening track from Radiohead’s sixth album is named for Orwell’s symbol of unreality. Find it: Hail To The Thief (2003) Muse ‘Resistance’ Unlike Winston and Julia in the novel, Muse are sure that true love can prevail against the menace of the thought police. But there’s no such thing as the thought police. Right? Find it: The Resistance (2009)
conversation. Keira Brown of The Bookseller asked the question that seemed to be hanging around. “So. What do you think Orwell would have made of this?” Difficult to guess, I said. He’d favour a good cup of tea and a few roll-ups. Right now he’d probably be scrutinising the Great Repeal Bill. She refined the terms. “Do you think he’d use Twitter? Or, can you see Orwell with an iPad?” It was fun to guess. Orwell disliked the motor-car, but he might use Twitter. John Rentoul, writing in The Independent, says that as a news service Twitter has revolutionised reporting, allowing concise sentences and data that might be buried in blogs to move quickly amongst journalists. Orwell would have liked the concision. In Politics and the English Language, an essay so regarded upon publication in Horizon that it was given to every new writer on The Observer in 1946, he distils six rules for clear writing. Number three: ‘If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.’ A ruthless editor might have cut that ‘always’, but the lines opening The Road to Wigan Pier could feasibly appear as tweets: GeorgeOrwell: The first sound in the mornings was the clumping of the mill-girls’ clogs down the cobbled street. GeorgeOrwell: Earlier than that, I suppose, there were factory whistles which I was never awake to hear. But that, we agreed, would be the limit. If Twitter is a tool used according to taste Orwell would use it to inform political writing, but couldn’t make that writing into art. Despite experiments in tweeting classic works of literature, Twitter’s artistic potential is yet to be established. The unique effects that come with inhabiting a text, making it imaginatively your own, cannot be replicated online. Scanning a stream of updates remains as dizzying as trying to read scrolling movie credits. The idea of an iPad, however, was ruled out completely. “Too much like the
telescreens of Nineteen Eighty-Four,” said Keira. Witnessing queues of people waiting to buy such a device would make Orwell tear his hair and fall down in a swoon. In 1991, Apple’s then-CEO John Scully imagined all Apple customers as consumers. Though the idea of the iPad preceded the iPhone, Apple’s ringfence approach to content delivery – buy our applications from our store, use them exclusively on our devices – runs contrary to the democratic principles of open source software, operating systems like Android, and Creative Commons licences. But Apple, with iPads selling at a rate of a million a month, say that they don’t sell computers. They sell ‘experiences’. Newspeak! Orwell wouldn’t buy that. If nothing else he’d rule out an iPad on the grounds of price: the proles and the dispossessed don’t have £429 lying around for gadgetry. As for eBooks, he’d still be smarting at Amazon. In a 2009 copyright gaffe they deleted paidfor digital editions of Nineteen EightyFour and Animal Farm from customers’ Kindles. Poof! Down the memory hole. No. If Orwell were around today (and if you can accept the idea that a life transposed to another historical period has any chance of playing out in the same terms) he would file online but write for immutable print, like Andrea Gillies, like Peter Hitchens, for the 15 million-odd Britons who don’t use the internet. In Why I Write, Orwell says that good prose is like a window pane. Peter Hitchens’ first-hand reports from Prague, from Kashgar, from Tokyo, offer a humane and impassioned glimpse of the world as clear as if viewed through a glassless frame. His victory has the bonus side-effect of encouraging people to check their prejudices and to read, as they say, against the grain. Orwell might not use an iPad, but he would appreciate Hitchens’ writing. Of that we were sure. WWW.THEORWELLPRIZE.CO.UK
by Adam Lacey
Pecha Kucha is a global creative event birthed in Japan, which means ‘chit chat’. Cities worldwide host Pecha Kuchas, in which they invite 10 speakers from the creative industry, be it fashion, product, textiles, design, photography, baking, gardening or music. Each speaker is asked to present 20 slides about themselves or anything they would like; they are allowed 20 seconds to talk about each slide.
Belfast’s Pecha Kucha is on June 23 at the Black Box between 7pm and 10pm. If you fancy a bit of traditional Irish music, a spot of dancing and you also want to show some support for a very worthy charity, you could do worse than heading to catch the Feile Women’s Singers and Cormac Ó Briain on the uilleann pipes, followed by buffet food and a dose of Regal MC on the
decks. All proceeds go to Friends of the Cancer Centre and Hospice. This music and charity night takes place at the Black Box on Tuesday June 15 and doors open at 6.45pm. Tales Of The is an online weekly blog-style anthology incorporating all types of creative media. Its aim is provide a platform for Northern Irish creators to showcase film, artwork,
prose, audio and just about any other type of creative endeavour you can think of. A new piece is published every Sunday. Visit www.talesofthe.com for more on this fascinating collaborative experiment. ‘One In Four’ is to present a cultural evening of selected readings and music featuring Roddy Doyle, Joseph O’Connor, Lia Mills, Tom Murphy, Nuala
Ní Dhomhnaill and Theo Dorgan, with music from Don Baker, Karan Casey, Eleanor McEvoy and Christy Moore. The evening takes place in St Stephen’s Church (Pepper Cannister), off Merrion Square, Dublin at 7.30pm on June 20. Tickets are €25.
—75 AU Magazine—
Marvel’s original mutant gets his first ongoing series in years
It’s been a while since Marvel’s so-called “first mutant” received his own on-going series, but this August sees the return of the slightly grumpy original anti-hero Namor, the Sub-Mariner to comic shop shelves. This month we talk to writer Stuart Moore about his plans for the character (who debuted in 1939) and why the time is right for the Prince of Atlantis to take back his crown. Words by Edwin McFee
Hi Stuart and welcome to AU. We believe that this is the first time you’ve ever written about Namor. What drew you to the character initially? Stuart Moore: “Namor is all attitude with the power to back it up. His biggest asset is also his greatest flaw [his pride] and it allows him to bull through almost anything, but also leads him to make gigantic errors with tragic consequences. In a way, he’s the grandest character in the Marvel Universe. He’s like Conan underwater, but in the modern world. Plus he has a whole world under the sea that the other heroes can’t share. As a kid, I loved that.” It’s been a while since we’ve had a new Namor ongoing series. Why did Marvel opt to do one now? Moore: “Well, I hope it’s a good time, but I’m mostly concerned with making it the best book I can. That said, there’s a real fascination with anti-heroes right now, and Namor fits right into that. In his very first stories, back in the Golden Age, he walked right onto land and started trashing New York, just because he was pissed off. Namor was hardcore from the start.” This time around he’s found himself more aligned with the X-Men universe rather than the Fantastic Four or Captain America’s world. Do you think he suits Cyclops and co.’s realm better? Moore: “He’s always been established as a mutant – it’s why he can fly, when no other Atlanteans can. So on one hand, he has an affinity with the
—76 issue 66—
X-Men; but on the other, they are surface people, so they’ll always be alien to him at best, and enemies at worst. He’s also fascinated with Emma Frost. I love that dynamic, especially as Matt Fraction has set it up. It shows you the decadent side of Namor, as opposed to his purer affection for Sue Richards.” How much of a role do the X-Men play in your first story arc? Moore: “The first story arc, Royal Blood, deals with Namor’s involvement in the vampire situation set up in the new X-Men title, which starts in July. Namor #1 plays a very specific part in that storyline. After that first issue, the stories diverge, though the X-Men will continue to appear in our book. I definitely want to do more with Namor and Emma, but as I tell everyone: this is a Namor story, not an X-Men story. The events of Royal Blood will rock his world to the core.” Where will most of the book’s action take place? Under the sea or on dry land? Moore: “The first storyline takes place largely undersea, as Namor and some new allies must dive down to the very heart of the underwater vampires’ lair. But a good number of Namor’s warriors are on Utopia right now – or actually underneath it, where they’ve established a new undersea base, so he’ll be travelling back there as well. As for Namor’s motives and loyalties, that’s the very core of the first storyline. I can’t get into too much detail, but in issue #1, he undertakes
My Favourite Comic Geoff Rickly
a mission on behalf of the X-Men and that kicks off some big, big trouble for the entire undersea world...” Looking forward, what are your plans for developing a supporting cast for Namor? Moore: “Right off the bat, I’m giving him some very different Atlantean allies. One of the things I want to do is make the Atlanteans a bit more relatable, more human, without losing any of their fierceness or warrior culture. Namor’s invaded the surface world so many times, the Atlanteans sometimes seem like just blue monsters. We’ll
be exploring some different sides to their civilization.” What about any plans for appearances from past villains? Moore: “It’s possible down the line. We’re setting up a new situation for Namor and some new supporting characters, and once that’s set, we’ll see who else shows up.” ISSUE ONE OF NAMOR: THE FIRST MUTANT SHIPS THIS AUGUST. CHECK OUT WWW.MARVEL.COM FOR MORE DETAILS.
“I’ll always remember the first time I got hooked on comic books. I went on a vacation to visit my grandparents and it was sort of like a retirement community that I was staying at. There was a drug store that had X-Men, X-Factor and I think The New Mutants there and I was super bored one day so I picked up the three issues and I got sucked right in straight away. I just couldn’t stop reading them after that. I got really into it. I kind of went backwards and kept filling in the details of X-Factor and X-Men and eventually collected every issue of X-Men as well as Wolverine and Spider-Man too. At the time I thought the artwork was just so striking and cool and all the characters had these really interesting powers. I got sucked in and started going to conventions and stuff to meet the artists. I loved Jim Lee, he was my favorite at the time. “I tend to read graphic novels or collections these days because I don’t get a chance to get to the news stands very often, so I’d like to have a whole contained storyline if I can. I liked Watchmen and From Hell and there’ve been a few others but I have to give a shout out to my friend Gerard from My Chemical Romance. The book he did called The Umbrella Academy was awesome. I really got into that.” GEOFF RICKLY IS THE SINGER FOR THURSDAY. THEIR CURRENT ALBUM COMMON EXISTENCE IS OUT NOW.
SUPER SHORTS As we’re sure you all know by now, Spidey 4 is in the works and it’s set to be a reboot of the franchise. Other than that, though, not much else is known about the movie which sees the entire original cast replaced by a more fresh-faced troupe. If internet rumours are to be believed, the producers have drawn up a short list of five
young bucks to play Peter Parker – Josh Hutcherson (Journey to the Centre of the Earth), Andrew Garfield (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus), Frank Dillane (Harry Potter), Aldan Ehrenreich (Tetro) and our personal pick, Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot). So there you have it readers. Get your arses down to Paddy Power, pronto.
Mark Millar is writing Kick Ass 2 as we speak and issue one (which features a brand new super team) will be on comic shop shelves this August. He’s also revealed that an anthology series aimed exclusively at the British market is in the pipeline and it will be called CLiNT (for obvious reasons...). Not only will CLiNT serialise Kick-Ass 2
(like they used to do in the old days) it will also feature strips from the likes of Jonathan Ross, Frankie Boyle and more and will be available in supermarkets and newsagents rather than comic shops. We’ll bring you more on CLiNT as we get it. Good news for fans of the socalled ‘bad girl comics’ from the
Nineties. Dynamite Publishing have bought the rights to most of Chaos Comics’ characters and are planning to breathe new life into the large-chested horror icons later in the year. Finally, we’d like to pass on our condolences on to the family and friends of the beyond legendary Conan artist Frank
Frazetta, who sadly passed away on May 10, 2010. Frank’s hyper-realistic art blazed a trail for future generations back in the Fifties and he continued to amaze us all right up to the present day. He will be missed. R.I.P.
—77 AU Magazine—
Sc Here's Looking At You(Tube) / Weird Wide Web
Here's Looking At You(Tube) Socc' and Roll
Soccer songs have a long and – let’s face it – utterly shameful history. We’re thinking here of the likes of ‘Come On You Reds’ (Manchester United’s diabolical collaboration with Status Quo) or Liverpool FC’s ill-advised foray into hip-hop, ‘The Anfield Rap’. If, like AU, the very thought of these crimes against music is enough to send a shiver of horror down your spine, beware: World Cup 2010 is in full swing, and you know what that means – the dreaded international football tune. Yeah, there have been maybe one or two decent efforts down the years (‘Three Lions’) but for the most part, when a group of footballers get together to big up their country’s chances in the biggest international tournament of them all through the medium of popular song, the result is more often than not utterly, utterly horrific.
WEIRD WIDE WEB Words by Neill Dougan
SAD BUT TRUE Sometimes, you just lose faith in humankind. Specifically, in this instance, the male of the species. Exhibit A: Truelad.com, a website where a load of blokey types contribute (supposedly) true stories about, among other things, stealing money from unconscious girls, fighting and drinking. Masturbation tends to feature quite heavily too, as does the word ‘LAD’ written in annoying capital letters. If you think Nuts magazine is the last word in humour, this is the website for you. Otherwise you will quite literally pray for the sweet relief of Armageddon. - WWW.TRUELAD.COM —78 issue 66—
For the 1982 World Cup in Spain, England released would-be anthem ‘This Time (We’ll Get It Right)’. About as inspiring and rousing as a bowl of cold custard, this plodding dirge is mercifully brief at less than three minutes long, yet somehow seems to go on forever. Perhaps that’s due to the presence of 22 blokes bellowing tunelessly about “the roar of the red, white and blue” over a vaguely militaristic musical backing that has all the production values of a Channel 5 daytime soap opera. Much like the bubble perm hairdo sported by star striker Kevin Keegan, this is a very poor and vaguely nauseating effort. - TINYURL.COM/ENGLAND1982 CAN’ DO “Who can lay down odds on the hearts of 11 men?” asks this quite unbelievably jaunty effort from the Canadian national side in honour of their qualification for Mexico ’86. ‘Oh Canada We’ll Proudly Play For You’ is an up-tempo, country-ish romp featuring namechecks for most of the players in the squad. Impressively, the video manages to convey the wholly inaccurate impression that the Canadians were a team of world beaters. Overall, this is actually not too bad – you have to admire a
Words by Neill Dougan
Surf Far, So Good
NOT QUITE RIGHT
ALL THE SMALL THINGS Never mind the big issues like the ongoing global economic apocalypse, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the escalating tensions between North and South Korea, it’s the tiny irritants that make day-to-day life so unbearable. Here’s a compendium of the personal bêtes noires of one man (comedy writer Jon Brown) presented in winningly cynical and witty fashion. The things that get Jon’s goat include: his dad, his friends, his Looney Tunes beach towel and – oh yes – the poor standard of amateur Indian erotic fiction. Petty grievances have rarely been so entertaining. - WWW.TINYTHINGSIHATE.BLOGSPOT.COM FALLING DOWN Downfall – Oliver Hirschbiegel’s 2004 film about the last days of Hitler’s life – is a very fine movie, although of course it’s hardly a barrel of laughs. This hasn’t stopped a veritable onslaught of socalled ‘Downfall parodies’, some of which you’ll no doubt be familiar with if you’ve glanced at YouTube in the last few years. Basically a take-
soccer song that has as its opening line the frank admission that “1000-1 are the odds they’re giving us”. Sadly Canada didn’t qualify this time around, thus depriving the world of the possibility of Arcade Fire or Broken Social Scene doing what New Order did for England in 1990 with ‘World In Motion’. Oh well. There’s always Brazil 2014. - TINYURL.COM/CANADA1986 PRESSURE DROP Probably rivalled only by Baddiel and Skinner’s ‘Three Lions’ in terms of the most commercially successful footie song ever, ‘Put ‘Em Under Pressure’ spent 13 weeks at the top of the Irish charts as the team qualified for the World Cup for the first time ever in 1990. Based on a Horslips sample, produced by Larry Mullen Jnr and featuring an intro from Clannad’s Moya Brennan, this could hardly be more Irish. With its “Olé, olé, olé olé” refrain, it was never going to win points for originality, while the boast that “Ireland is the greatest football team” was dubious at best. Frankly a bit naff, nonetheless it brings back happy memories of those heady days in June 1990 when the Irish nation went completely football crazy. - TINYURL.COM/IRELAND1990
off of the scene where Bruno Ganz’s Führer completely loses it upon finally realising the war is lost, the parodies replace the original subtitles with new dialogue suggesting Adolf reacting to some modern-day – usually trivial – calamity. At Downfallparodies.com you’ll find a compendium of these viral video sensations, neatly categorised for your ease of reference and mostly genuinely witty. Let the incongruous hilarity commence! - WWW.DOWNFALLPARODIES.COM
Story Of The Video / Aaagh! My Eyes!
"aaagh! my eyes!"
The column that’s seen too much
Poor old Noel Gallagher’s really let himself go since the Oasis break-up.
Story Of The Video PVT
TITLE: ‘WINDOW’ DIRECTOR: CLEMENS HABICHT
Many years after becoming friends with him at school in Australia, the Pike brothers from Warp Records’ PVT (formerly Pivot) managed to hook up with esteemed video director Clemens Habicht to work on the clip for their new single ‘Window’. It’s a point-of-view, fast-cut extravaganza that conveys the frenzied energy of the track, so we got on the blower to multi-instrumentalist Richard Pike for a chat about it.
Did you as a band have much creative input into the video? The idea was all his as he wanted to use these cameras that were new on the market – they’d only really been used in extreme sports footage. They’re really lightweight and cheap, and really high definition and wide angle, so he just thought, ‘I’d love to see your perspective of what you do on stage’. So we just started wearing them at gigs. We didn’t really have to think too much about it besides putting them on before and after the song, which was a bit confusing for people watching because we didn’t really explain to them what we were doing, and suddenly we had a little miner’s hat on with a camera on it. In the first half of the video, you are playing the track, facing each other in a small room. Where was it filmed? We did heaps of live footage, and because it’s hard to control lights when we’re touring, when we got back and checked out the footage, Clemens said, ‘Look it would be really great if we could get some good lighting’. So we went and did that in Sydney, in a rehearsal studio. We were literally playing the song back to back for about seven hours. We wanted it to feel live, and that actually worked out to be really great – that moment where it jumps to the live stuff. Initially it was going to be all live.
Test screenings of Spider-man 4 suggested fans of the franchise weren’t entirely happy with some of the new plot developments. - tinyurl.com/spideylove
Do you think the video does a good job of evoking your live performances? Yeah, definitely. I found it hard initially to imagine how that would work, because the feeling of being on stage is very different from chucking a camera up and try to evoke that. We wanted it to be quite rhythmical and moving, and Clemens got that, especially towards the end because you don’t know what the fuck is going on. At times, a live gig really feels like that. WATCH THE VIDEO ONLINE AT PVTPVT.NET/WINDOW Words by: Chris Jones
‘Tis the season... to mentally scar your kids for life. - tinyurl.com/frightenedkid Words by Neill Dougan —79 AU Magazine—
Sc Late Night Art @ Various Art Galleries, Belfast
Peter Courtney Katie Blue
Laura Herdman & Mia McConville
Kiaran McParland, Jack Cole & Rosanna Wilson
Late Night Art Various Art Galleries, Belfast The 1st July saw another evening of Late Night Art in Belfast City. Coach and walking tours visited galleries all over Belfast kicking off at the Naughton Gallery and finishing at the Black Box. The night is growing ever more popular in the city, with record numbers visiting the BMC end of year show in the Millfield campus this year. It turned out to be an excellent night of local culture and art on display. With talks, music and wine it was great to get a chance to talk to the artists first hand.
Words & Photos by Gavin Sloan 63— —80 issue 66—
Amy Esdale & Rob Hilken
Leftfield @ Ulster Hall, Belfast
Leftfield Ulster Hall, Belfast Leftfield last played in Belfast way back in 1996, and judging by a lot of the faces in the room tonight, most people were there the first time round. It feels like an old school clubbers reunion, and the weight of nostalgia hangs thick in the air. This is no bad thing though, and it just adds to sense of occasion. With no new material in 10 years, you always knew what to expect, but everything is delievered with aplomb, and the visuals and rotating guests keep things entertaining onstage. It would have been nice to hear something new, but maybe in the next 10 years, eh? Pics By: Gavin Sloan Words By: Jonny Tiernan
Victoria & Caitlin
Andrea & Jim
Caoimhe, Samantha & Oscar
Ciaran & Emma
Jonny & Catha
Fionnuala, Frances & Orlaith
Phat Skull, Emma Jean & Daithi
Paul, Lisa & Dearbhail
Conor, Stephen & Connor â€”81 AU Magazineâ€”
Sc Subbacultcha The Last Word
The Last Neil Hannon Word
The Last Word With Tigs of:
Chew Lips "I love Googling serial killers. Chances are, any venue in any city, in the endless hours waiting to sound check I’ll be there on Wikipedia, perusing. When was the last time you offended someone? Not for a good long while, unless I’ve done it unknowingly. I’ve always been plain speaking but you learn how to be less of an idiot as you grow up. When was the last time you doubted yourself? No memorable conscious moment of doubt, existence is more of a tightrope; you sort of wobble and lean towards these feelings from time to time, without acknowledging them. I contain doubt and self-belief simultaneously.
The Last Word
When was the last tine you did something you regret? I don’t believe in regret.
With: Neil Hannon from The Divine Comedy When was the last time you felt guilty? When was the last time you bought a band T-shirt at a gig? I never suited T-shirts, I really never bought them. I remember buying one at a U2 gig, just for old times’ sake. It was on the POP tour, so even now it was 13 years ago. I think it was good karma, because I ended up hanging out with them later that night – ‘I bought your T-shirt, you owe me this!’. When was the last time you offended someone? I make awful faux pas, usually when in the company of people I admire, for some reason. I just say stupid things. I remember, quite a while back, Simon Le Bon popped up, and I’d just been having Larkin, poet aPhilip conversation about how old he was. But then he (August 9, 1922 – December 1985) I went, just popped in front of me, so2,obviously “I am hi, going to the inevitable.” ‘Oh how old are you?’. And he jumped back like a scalded cat and said, ‘Well, I’ve sold a lot of Unnamed Medic in Call of Duty records’. The thing was, later “I'm sorry! I'm sorry! It's just...so many on guysthat are day we both separately tried to find each God, other to apologise, gettin' killed out there...it's just...oh, they're which was nice. shootin' medics too! Oh, God...”
Famous Last Words
When was the last time one of your heroes disappointed you? I hate to say this, but it was Midge Ure from Ultravox. I really loved Ultravox when was a teenager, and I bumped into him at something at the ofJack theFrost, evening. I was trying to be nice, Officeend moves, Mini Eggs, new threads, and I said that ‘Vienna’ was the first single I ever multi-jobbing, passing driving tests (and failing bought. Andmass he took it rather badly, them), charidee, recycling, the cut and run. as if I was trying to make him feel old. So I thought, ‘Well, that’s a bit much!’. I bear no grudge.
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—82 issue 66—
Summer. Summer is for naughtiness.
What’s the last piece of good advice you were What given? was the last piece of good advice you were given? It“Have was afrom radio plugger in James Scotland, because wordmy with yourself” – from [Watkins, regularly. Ibandmate], was travelling so light that I’d just squished my shirts into a little shoulder bag, and when I took Whenout, wasobviously, the last timethey you were cried?crinkled to buggery. them Properly, solidly? When my nephew and niece were born He said to fill up the bath in the hotel room with last year. Just so overwhelmed. hot water and hang them up in the bath, and sure enough, the next wereembarrassed? absolutely creaseWhen was the last day timethey you were free! steams them, brilliant. New Remarkable. Year’s Eve... it’sIta sort long of story.
What was the last meal you had? Earlier this evening I had vegetable chilli and broccoli, followed by homemade flapjacks. What was the last good book you bought? Choke by Chuck Palahniuk, but it was a gift. What was the last good movie you watched? Pretty In Pink on a gals’ night. For fashion warm fuzzies. What does the last text you received say? “Just to check you remembered its Dad’s birthday today” (I hadn’t) “Does this make up for me missing yours?!” from my brother. We’re not so hot with birthdays in our family. What was the last bad job you had? I used to temp. Good money, extreme boredom, but it ain’t factory packing meat so I can’t complain. When was the last time you set something on fire? I accidentally set myself on fire when I was 18 or so. I had problems sleeping and one morning, just before dawn, was lying in bed trying to sleep, smoking a joint. I obviously fell asleep smoking it, as when I woke up the entire bed was on fire. It was a very close call. I burnt the eyelashes off one Denis Diderot, French eye. I’ve been pretty wary ofencyclopaedist fire – candles etc. – ever since.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS (October 5 1713 – July 31 1784)
When was the last time you were in hospital?
What was about?you bought? What wasyour the last lastargument good record stupid and small about the detailsand of the single ItSomething was [Marlene] Dietrich in London, it was cover. These intricacies are seemingly endless. for five quid in a junk shop in Edinburgh. I went in therewas justthetolast buytime an emergency and there she When you time youtie had a fistfight? was, just happened. staring up at me, looking elegant. And it It’s never was a fiver, amazing value. Brilliant record, all the When was the last time you threw up? hits. Fantastic. My birthday in December. Sambucca. I was
ALLEGEDLY on the floor under When was thefound lastsleeping time you setbathroom something fur coats. Allegedly. on fire? [long spliff! But obviously it What pause] was theAn lastenormous good record you bought? wasn’t personal use,buyer. I wasI know just helping someone I’m not for much of a record that sucks, but you out… just get[laughs] given so much... Anyway, last record I acquired was The Big Pink, and I like it a lot.
What was the last injury you sustained? was the last thing you downloaded? IWhat was cycling in the countryside with my girlfriend Colin Farrell sex tape. No joke. It’s pukey. just yesterday, up in Cavan, and I have severe bruising in thing important regions on my What wastoday the last you Googled? body. Why don’t they make bicycle more Serial killers. I love Googling serial killers.seats Chances are, comfortable? I don’t it. Itwaiting was pretty any venue in any city, inunderstand the endless hours to sound check I’ll be there perusing. noise] up and rough going, lotson ofWikipedia, [makes juddering down over rocks.
I had meningitis my late That was “But how the in devil do teens. you think thisan absolute riot. could harm me?" (upon being warned When was the last time you broke the law? by his wife not to I never, ever break theeat law.too much)
Bambi’s Bambi When wasmother the last in time one of(1942) your heroes disappointed you? Have you Faster, seen the Iggy Pop commercial? He’s not selling “Faster! Bambi! Don’t car insurance, he’s selling time, apparently. look back! Keep running! KEEP Also Patrick Swayze, for dying. RUNNING!” (during the winter, just before shethe gotlast shot Man) When was timeby you bought a band shirt at a show? I haven’t. But I’ve been given a few, from doing gigs with other bands. The Veils one is particularly good.
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If the world was about to end what would your last words be? “TIGGO!!!!!!!!!” In an Australian accent.
European festivals, African CHEW LIPS’ DEBUTSouth ALBUM UNICORN IS OUT jaunts, World Cup fever, nice weather, NOW ON KITSUNÉ major stress, oversized office sound WWW.CHEWLIPS.CO.UK systems, distribution win, iPod fail, Devo, Spanish scammers.
—83 AU Magazine—
—84 issue 66—