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Janelle Monáe Pop has a brand new space cadet Dexter Killing in the name of… Mystery Jets Playing the long game Adebisi Shank How to make that easy second album

How to make friends & influence people

Soulwax / Phil Kieran / We Are Scientists / Adrian Crowley / James Chance / Axis Of / Everything Everything AU Magazine— UNKLE / N.W.A. / Kasper Rosa / Sleigh Bells / Nouveaunoise / M.I.A. / Stephen King / Full Time—1 Hobby / Iceland

my inspiration Glen Hansard

I have dined with kings, I’ve been offered wings and I’ve never been too impressed Bob Dylan

Is Your Love In Vain? out now

Photography by Zoran Orlic IS YOUR LOVE IN VAIN written and performed by Bob Dylan

—2 issue 67—





“I think everybody is basically homicidal”


“This is definitely a morning-after record. It’s quite bitter.”


“Someone said that a young artist waits for inspiration, and an older artist just gets to work. I think that’s how I feel I fit in at this point in my life.”


“Vinny just locks it in. He’s always been on the same wavelength as us because he wants to do shit and have some fun.”

54/ JANELLE MONAE “I’ve always been into big ideas” IMAGE:



—3 AU Magazine—

EDITORIAL You know that saying, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’? Well, I’m going to twist that saying and state ‘don’t judge a band by its coverage’. That might sound rich coming from a magazine that provides coverage for bands, but hear me out. All publications have a flavour, and direction in which they lean. Here at AU, we’re a pretty diverse bunch, but if you poll a load of people about the style of music AU specialises in and the answer is probably going to be ‘indie and alternative’. That’s fair enough, but read between the lines and you’ll see all kinds of good electronica, dance and so on. I’m digressing. The point is that sometimes bands can be associated with mags and styles. This is what happened between Tokyo Police Club and I. In my mind, they were glued to a certain style of uninspiring indie-rock that the NME were pimping at the time, and that I wasn’t a fan of. As a result, I simply disregarded their music, believing I had them pegged. Then, in the office recently, Kim started playing this album she loved. After a few listens I couldn’t get enough of it either. Great tune after great tune, quality song writing throughout. It turned out that it was Tokyo Police Club’s new album Champ. I had to take it all back. I had been wrong about this band, and misjudged them entirely. The moral of the story is, don’t write bands off without hearing them, based on their media portrayal. Unless you’re basing your opinion on AU’s views. You can trust us. Jonny

STUPID THINGS SAID THIS MONTH Translink give us a united Ireland already. I want someone from the Eighties please. Let's celebrate economic and social achievements! It's just part of your god complex. Get a turkey to pee on it? Can we get some kind of chili based craic? I fell asleep in a bar in Hoxton on my birthday and got woken up by Sting’s daughter. Who's gonna sit on your face when I'm gone?

ROLL CALL Publisher / Editor In Chief

Jonny Tiernan


Chris Jones

Contributing Editors

Francis Jones Edwin McFee Ross Thompson


Jonathan Bradley, Niall Byrne, Barry Cullen, Neill Dougan, Barry Fahy, Mickey Ferry, John Freeman, Lee Gorman, Niall Harden, Matt Hazley, James Hendicott, Lisa Hughes, Andrew Johnston, Adam Lacey, Ailbhe Malone, Kirstie May, Nay McArdle, Darragh McCausland, Karl McDonald, Aine McEntee, Kenny Murdock, Lauren Murphy, Joe Nawaz, Steven Rainey, Kyle Robinson, Eamonn Seoige, Craig Sheridan, Jeremy Shields.


Stuart Bell, Tim Farrell


Shauna McGowan Mark Reihill


Sean Conroy Alan Maguire Suzie McCracken Tom McGeehan Loreana Rushe

Distribution Manager

Kim Barclay

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 kim@iheartau.com a line. She’ll sort you out. —4 issue 67—


8 9 10 11 12 14 15 16 18 19 20 22 26

The AU Stereo Iceland: Rising From The Ashes Five To One: Gig Disasters / Band Maths: Muse Phil Kieran / Unknown Pleasures Soulwax / Heartwork Label Profile: Full Time Hobby Kasper Rosa / Mouthing Off Adrian Crowley / My First Band: We Are Scientists Belfast Music App Do You Remember What The Music Meant? With Unkle / Nouveaunoise On The Road: Axis Of Incoming: Exit International / Young Legionnaire / The Heartbreaks / Sleigh Bells / Everything Everything / Tango In The Attic / Mountain Man / Baths Hey You! What’s On Your iPod?


29 30 32 36 38

Flashback: The Kursk Disaster History Lessons: James Chance A To Z: Death Respect Your Shelf: Stephen King Classic Album: N.W.A.


58 Album Reviews 66 Unsigned Universe 67 Live Reviews SUBBACULTCHA

69 72 74 76 78 80 81

Most Wanted Games Arts Comics Back Of The Net In Pictures: When You're Strange / DJ Shadow The Last Word: Gilles Peterson

To advertise in AU Magazine contact the sales team Tel: 028 9032 4888 or via email: jonny@iheartau.com 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: info@iheartau.com For all general and editorial enquiries call: 028 9032 4455 IMAGE:



AU Magazine graciously acknowledges funding support from the Arts Council Of Northern Ireland —5 AU Magazine—

The AU Stereo



Walk (Mirror Universe Tapes) Cut from the same cloth as last month’s Incoming star Perfume Genius, Yu(c)k is the haunting, piano-led side alter ego of fuzzy indie types Yuck. Taken from the cassette-only EP Weakend, ‘Walk’ is a near-seven minute track of heartbreaking majesty, Daniel Blumberg’s voice cracking with emotion as the lo-fi recording crackles and pops underneath. Let’s hope that there is plenty more where this came from. CJ


Ólöf Arnalds

Surrender (One Little Indian)

A touring member of múm, and not to be confused with her cousin Ólafur Arnalds, Ólöf returns with more celestial freak-folk. Produced by Sigur Ros’ Kjartan Sveinsson, and featuring a little known Icelandic singer going by the name of Björk, ‘Surrender’ is five minutes of picked guitars and ethereal incantations, with the two White Witches casting a siren’s spell. JF


Lovely Bloodflow (Anticon) A crackling, choppy, electronic The Books-esque track that pulls at the same heartstrings as Kieran Hebden’s best work (i.e. all of it) and sounds not unlike the result of a raunchy three-way between Broken Social Scene, Grizzly Bear and Washed Out, this track from Cerulean, the debut album of one Will ‘Baths’ Wiesenfeld, is one of 14 incredible album tunes. Sublime. AL

Scoundrels Hangman’s Lament (One Fifteen) After spending three months living on a houseboat on the Louisiana swamps to get in the mood, London’s Scoundrels decamped to Steve Albini’s Chicago studio; voodoo blues still coursing through their veins. ‘Hangman’s Lament’ is the lead single from their debut album; it drips with bourbon and the sweat of a Cajun bordello like a punk version of The Black Crowes. JF The Books A Cold Freezin’ Night (Temporary Residence) The central track from electronic experimentalists The Books’ latest album The Way Out uses children’s voices trading insults to chilling effect. The track comprises chopped-up statements from the under tens (for example, “I’ll kill you”), all set to

—6 issue 67—

a relentless post-Animal Collective rhythm. Blood-curdlingly great. DMc Phosphorescent The Mermaid Parade (Dead Oceans) Matthew Houck has managed to channel everything good about real country music (Nelson, Kristofferson, Jennings) in this sublime and heart-achingly lonesome tribute to the dissolution of a relationship from the excellent Phosphorescent album, Here’s To Taking It Easy. A song so good, it sounds timeless from the first moment you listen to it. AL The Coral Walking In The Winter (Deltasonic) Taking in the rich, sun-and-gin-soaked harmonies of retro Seventies acts before swerving to some dark, reverb-heavy Eighties indie and topping it with a splash of their own

trademark waggishness, The Coral’s new album Butterfly House is never more astounding than on the gorgeous ‘Walking in the Winter’. A devastating demonstration of songwriting evolution and diversity if ever there was one. LM Avi Buffalo Truth Sets In (Sub Pop) With their eponymous debut album already snuggled high on AU’s ‘Album of the Year’ list, the Californian quartet can do no wrong in our eyes. New single ‘Truth Sets In’ is another divine slice of blissful stoner jangle, with Avi sounding so laid back as to be horizontal. Packed with sunbeams, it’s even got cute little handclaps in it, for chrissakes. JF Jaill Everyone’s Hip (Sub Pop) Jaill is a bunch of Milkwaukee misfits that are

about to release their brilliant second album after its predecessor (recorded in the basement of a former funeral home, apparently) made the bigwigs at Sub Pop sit up and beg for their signatures. This brisk little slice of Ramonesmeets-Weezer-meets-Lemonheads ramshackle rock may thumb its nose at the scene, but if it’s not a future indie disco floorfiller, we’ll eat our handcuffs. LM Ceo Come With Me (Modular) Ceo is otherwise known as Eric Berglund from buzzed-up Swedes The Tough Alliance. The lead single off his debut album soars like a bird with a gigantic wingspan on eddies of hot air over a Balearic island. The lyrics and the explicit self-harm depicted in the video are a different matter entirely. Those Swedes, eh? They always chuck a healthy dose of gloom into their prettiest melodies. DMc


Upfront Feature




What springs to mind when you think of Iceland? Cheap frozen food aside, a few years ago the answer may have been a combination of its startling geography, Björk and Sigur Rós, and perhaps a country too prohibitively expensive to actually visit. A current view may be somewhat different: that Iceland is bankrupt after a catastrophic recession, and general annoyance at the disruption of travel plans due the eruption of the unpronounceable Eyjafjallajökull volcano. On a recent visit to the island, AU found that the Icelandic music scene is central to enticing back the tourists. Words by John Freeman

Lying 800 miles north-west of Ireland, Iceland is a magical place. Even on the drive from Keflavik airport to the capital, Reykjavik, the scenery is lunar; a barren rocky tundra flecked with long grass and lupins. And it is huge; the main road which encircles the island is 1400 kilometres long. Further exploration reveals its true majesty – steaming volcanoes, imposing glacier fields, tumbling waterfalls and countless geothermal pools. It’s easy to see how the country’s unearthly nature inspires and informs Icelandic artists. Björk isn’t bonkers – she’s merely following her Icelandic muse. Iceland is a place of Vikings and romance, where oddities of topography are explained by ancient stories about trolls and elves: so a strange, turdshaped hillock was mythically formed when a giant troll defecated. It’s a place of midnight summer sunshine, endlessly dark winters, fabulously beautiful people and hákarl – a peculiar national dish which turns out to be stinking putrefied shark.

Iceland’s most important ambassadors.” One of AU’s favourite Icelandic groups are Hjaltalín and one of the reasons for our visit is to see the baroque-pop ensemble play a concert with the world renowned, Grammy-nominated Iceland Symphony Orchestra. We arrive on Iceland National Day; the celebration of the island’s independence from Denmark is in full swing. Reykjavik is awash with free concerts, processions, kids with candyfloss and happy drunks. We’re immediately taken to a bar – once owned by Damon Albarn – which is chock-full of musicians. Iceland’s music community may be small in numbers, but seemingly boundless in scope or imagination. It’s a cauldron of inspiration. Anything goes.

And Iceland is place of music. For a country of only 320,000 inhabitants, it punches way, way above its weight on the global scene. Björk and Sigur Rós may be their best know exports, but artists like Seabear, múm and Emiliana Torrini have also gained international acclaim. “There is a lot of innovation, creativity and flexibility in Icelanders,” Dóra Magnúsdóttir, from the Reykjavik Tourist Board, tells AU. “We are tremendously proud of our great musicians and in our opinion they are

—7 AU Magazine—


Upfront Feature

“It’s a very fertile, varied scene with so many people doing different things,” Högni Egilsson – Hjaltalín’s Thor-like lead singer – tells us over a beer. “People just realized after Sigur Rós, music can be better than just three chords, a straight rhythm and simple lyrics. Music senses have grown.” But, if this all sounds a little bit too perfect, Iceland’s sense of wonder was smashed in 2008. When the country’s three main banks collapsed, the nation was plunged into crisis. Many jobs were lost, and a rise in inflation meant that Icelandic people suddenly couldn’t afford everyday items. Benedikt Stefánsson, from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, explains, “Our currency depreciated by more than 50% against major currencies. A large number of people lost their job and most households have also experienced a reduction in wages and hours worked.” Benedikt believes the psychological scars run deep. “Icelanders are normally very optimistic but the tough lessons of the last couple of years have brought public morale to a historic low. Trust in politicians is severely eroded.” Sound familiar?


glory. Recession never sounded so unrestrained.


As an ‘impoverished musician’, Högni found adjusting a little easier. “It affected the way we think – to focus more on real stuff, and what really matters. I don’t really care about the money side of it. Of course, you can’t buy rocket lettuce and Parmigiano cheese. That’s just way too expensive for people to buy every day, but just go 10 years back and eat normal salad!” It’s fascinating to observe how the economic crisis has changed the Icelandic philosophy, causing people to re-evaluate and modify their outlook and aspirations. For musicians, the close-knit community sought solace via collaboration, and songwriting was not untouched by the situation. For Hjaltalín, who were recording their second album at the time of the collapse, the effect was one of liberation. “We wanted to do a really expansive, grand album that wouldn’t show any signs of being self-detrimental or feeling bad about everything,” says Högni. “Nobody wants to hear ‘recessionpunk’ in Iceland; it’s such a lame thing to make lyrics whining about the situation. We wanted to do something that people would think, ‘Oh, there is no cutting back there’. That was the mentality of the album, and I think people found that a little refreshing.” The resultant album Terminal – a huge success in Iceland – is an epic, orchestral blaze of —8 issue 67—

Conversely, while many Icelanders struggle, the economic situation has actually made Iceland far more affordable for tourists. “The Icelandic krona has weakened since the economic crash, which means that Iceland is much more affordable than before,” says Dóra Magnúsdóttir. The other problem that Iceland has faced recently was not of its own doing. Back in March, a volcano going by the name of Eyjafjallajökull erupted, spreading an ash cloud over northern Europe. Ash is a danger for jet engines, and thousands of flights were cancelled. Perhaps illogically, the image of Iceland was tarnished once more. “There was a distorted picture in the heads of many


people that the whole country was covered in ash after the eruption,” says Dora. “The truth is that only a tiny part of the country was directly affected.” Geologist and volcano expert Ari Trausti Gudmundsson explains further, “There was no direct effect on 98% of the population – besides air transport problems. For the remaining people, the eruption meant several days away from home. In some cases help was needed to clear ash from farms, or assistance in attending the domestic animals.” With no detectable activity since late May, it is likely that Eyjafjallajökull is entering a dormant phase. But Ari has a warning: “Volcanoes like Eyjafjallajökull are known to pause between eruption phases. If it turns out that the eruption is over, then decades, or more likely centuries, could


elapse until another eruption. On the other hand, if the current days are only a pause, the next eruption phase could start within weeks or a few months.” Yikes.

seems to love the experience – avantgarde pop music mixing perfectly with the jaw-dropping sonic fireworks of a shit-hot orchestra. Anything goes, remember?

Not surprisingly, when we ask Högni Egilsson about the volcano, he is rather more fatalistic. “The President of Iceland said there is something beautiful about the world creating itself.

Afterwards, Högni is still misty-eyed from the show. “It was a special musical experience, such grandeur and power. Maybe we’ll never get to do it again; but I guess that’s why you’re in this type of business – to get those kicks.”

There’s nothing we can do about it – it just happens. I thought the eruption was nice,” he says with a wicked grin. “It was this little country of Iceland that nobody loves and everyone was getting fed up of – it was very funny. We were on the lips of everyone in the world for about a week.” That night, we witness Hjaltalín’s concert with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra at the Háskólabíó Centre. It’s a triumph and typical of the Icelandic desire to unshackle emotions. The band are placed in the epicentre of the orchestra, and, conducted by the hugely talented Daníel Bjarnason, the tracks from Terminal are given even greater grandiosity and pomp. Everyone

The Icelandic people are a defiant bunch. Their banking collapse was the largest suffered by any country in economic history, and if an angry volcano has rubbed ash into the wounds, they remain unbroken. Thrillingly, the music scene is at the forefront in the quest to restore the nation’s reputation. And it is not a place that is easy to ignore. “We live here and of course, it’s true, a mountain is just a mountain,” says Högni. “But often I wake up and think, ‘Damn. Iceland is really, really cool’.” www.inspiredbyiceland.com Hjaltalín’s album Terminal is out now.


—9 AU Magazine—


Five To One / Band Maths








Curtis Mayfield At Wingate Field On August 13, 1990, American soul and funk legend Curtis Mayfield was paralysed from the neck down when a freak gust of wind blew a lighting rig down on him during an outdoor show at Wingate Field in Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York. After the accident, the ‘Superfly’ guy could no longer play guitar, but he wrote and sang 1997’s New World Order, recording his vocals line-by-line while lying on his back, the only way he could get enough air into his lungs. In 1998, his right leg was amputated due to diabetes, but Mayfield survived to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the following year, before finally checking out on Boxing Day, 1999. The Murder Of Dimebag Darrell Ex-Pantera guitar hero ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott met his end on December 8, 2004, at the hands (and Beretta 92F semi-automatic pistol) of a crazed fan, who blamed Darrell and drummer brother Vinnie Paul for the break-up of his favourite band. The metal stars were playing a gig with their new group Damageplan at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, when former US Marine Nathan Gale climbed onstage and opened fire. The paranoid schizophrenic – who also believed the Abbotts had stolen his lyrics – murdered Darrell, Damageplan roadie Erin Halk, a club bouncer and a concertgoer, before being killed by cop James Niggemeyer, who was subsequently nominated for a bravery award.

Words by Andrew Johnston





Monsters Of Rock 1988 The 1988 Monsters Of Rock line-up at Castle Donington – now the site of the Download festival – was a dream ticket for heavy-metal fans. Iron Maiden, Kiss, David Lee Roth, Megadeth, Guns N’ Roses and Helloween played to a record audience of 107,000 on August 20, but the dream turned to a nightmare for rockers Alan Dick and Landon Siggers, who were accidentally trampled to death during GNR’s performance of ‘It’s So Easy’. The tragedy was blamed on a sudden surge to see Axl Rose’s then red-hot mob combined with muddy conditions in the rain-soaked field. Axl’s parting shot of “Have a good fuckin’ day and don’t kill yourselves!” came too late. The Day The Music Died Immortalised by Don McLean in his anthem ‘American Pie’, February 3, 1959 claimed the lives of rock ‘n’ roll pioneers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP ‘The Big Bopper’ Richardson in an early-hours small-plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa (pilot Roger Peterson also died). The musicians had just played a show at Clear Lake’s Surf Ballroom, a doomed booking if ever there was one. The date was a last-minute, Mondaynight addition to the trio’s three-week, 24-city US winter tour. Frustrated with the heating system on the dilapidated tour bus (drummer Carl Bunch was hospitalised with frostbitten feet, and Richardson had caught flu), Holly chartered a plane to get to the next gig – with disastrous consequences. The Station Nightclub Fire Great White were just another Eighties hair-metal band on the US nostalgia circuit until the evening of February 20, 2003, when their pyrotechnics set fire to the Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island. 94 fans, four club staff, the show’s MC and Great White guitarist Ty Longley died in the blaze, and 200-plus more were injured (official records state there were 462 people in the 253-capacity venue). Tour manager Daniel Biechele got 15 years in prison for 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter, though he served less than two. Great White, meanwhile, just kept on going. In 2007, displaying either remarkable insensitivity or brazen nerve, they played the Alrosa Villa – scene of the Dimebag Darrell shooting.

BAND MATHS NO.3: NO.1: MUSE U2 34% Queen 21% Yes 19% Radiohead 11% Rachmaninoff 6% Cackhanded conspiracy theories 5% Nice middle class boys 4% Fireworks an’ shit —10 issue 67—

Phil Kieran / Unknown Pleasures


Techno king Phil Kieran on touring, releases and his new label venture

Niall Byrne digs deep to uncover the freshest new music CIVIL CIVIC

7” - Civil Civic This Australian duo who now live in Europe have dispensed with the need for a live drummer and plunged headlong into fuzzy guitar and bass grooves. The drum machine sounds like it was recovered from an Eighties pawn shop, leaving the band sounding like a scratched-to-shit Ratatat record. Get their brilliant ‘Run Overdrive’ b/w ‘Fuck Youth’ direct from the band and receive a personal thank you with a strange photo for the privilege. Buy it from shop.civilcivic.com Mix – Danger Mouse’s epic summer playlist We’ve all been at house parties where the laptop gets hooked up to the stereo and frantic YouTube searches for songs abound. The mix of music degenerates into Nineties dance cheese and hip-hop, invariably including Warren G’s ‘Regulate’. Producer Danger Mouse has the answer to all those times with this 170-song summer playlist culled from his collection and available on YouTube, Spotify and iTunes. bit.ly/dangermouseplaylist

With a spanking new record label, a string of pending releases and stage full of homemade music technology gadgetry, Phil Kieran has been a busy man of late. When we catch the Belfastbased techno titan, he’s just back from a trip to Argentina. “I get very excited about playing in Buenos Aires. I love the place so much, I can’t get there quick enough,” smiles Phil. “It’s great every time, I’m never disappointed. It’s always huge crowds I’ve played to there, like around 2,000, always intense. The people in Argentina love techno – I’ve got a small, loyal fan base there that love what I do and for that I’ve got to be thankful – I buzz off it.” With a focus on production, Phil has made an effort to calm down the heavy schedule. “I’ve been working on the new album and have written about 15 new tracks, which is something that’s hard to do in the home environment,” he says. “Working 12hour days is not always feasible but when you’re locked away with no distractions that’s just perfect for me”. Phil Kieran Recordings is Phil’s latest project. “It’s just me wanting to make something I’m proud of musically and creatively,” he explains. “It’s good to have your own output and release anything you want. It’s a freedom thing.” The first release, a rerelease of Phil’s mammoth ‘Skyhook’, is out soon

with remixes from Felix Martin of Hot Chip, Adam Beyer, Jesper Dahlback, Green Velvet, Ricardo Tobar, and one of Phil’s latest inspirations, Berlinbased producer and Hotflush label boss Scuba (aka SCB). “I’m really interested in working on melodic stuff, something with emotion and feeling in it. I think that’s me thinking about the second album, but as far as club music goes I’m into that whole dubby, techy sound. I also like a lot of the Snork stuff plus Kevin Gorman, Psycatron, Gary Beck and Matador.” Over the coming months, Kieran has further releases on Snork Enterprizes, Cocoon Recordings, International Gigolo, Electric Deluxe. After a year of touring far and wide, Kieran returns to Belfast on July with a DJ set at the Stiff Kitten. His set-up is more complicated than most, with “two laptops, Ableton, Arkaos and many boxes from Maplin” and his audio-visual rig allows him total control over the dancefloor experience. “The live show is all made up of boxes and wires we made ourselves,” he says. “The glasses are made from small TVs and soldered together, and we use the software in new ways, linking computers together so they would trigger the visuals in real time to the music.” Craig Sheridan

Compilation – Ayobaness! The Sound of South African House Another fine slice of music from South Africa courtesy of German label Out Here. Where European house has a tendency to indulge, the SA version mixes in its native hip-hop – kwaito with funky African rhythms and techno touches. Recommended if you’ve moved to DJ Mujava’s ‘Township Funk’, Diplo’s global dance mixes or Portugal’s Buraka Som Sistema who are heavily inspired by South African house themselves. www.myspace.com/ayobaness 7” – Korallreven – The Truest Faith Sweden is the land of super fresh, sun-kissed music at the moment, Last month’s recommendation Kendal Johannsson, jj and Air France all spring to mind. Air France’s label Acephale Records just released its debut 7” on white/maroon vinyl. The A-side ‘The Truest Faith’ is a beguiling slice of Balearic sparkling pop. This is limited to 500 copies. www.myspace.com/korallrevenmusic


Blog Buzz - Tennis What better way to write songs with your partner than to sell your house, buy a boat and sail around the North Atlantic coast for eight months, writing songs as you travel? That’s exactly what Denver’s Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore did. Rather than kill each other or suffer from cabin fever, the couple wrote lovely nuggets of breezy indie-pop. ‘South Carolina’ is amongst the duo’s first dispatches from that time, due to be released by Fire Talk from mid-July. Nautical! www.myspace.com/tennisinc


WWW.NIALLER9.COM —11 AU Magazine—




2manydjs’ David Dewaele relishes yet another trip to Belfast STEPHEN AND DAVID DEWAELE: BELGIAN WAFFLE

"We never expect that people will ask us back!” insists David Dewaele, one half of Belgian DJ royalty 2manydjs. “It’s always a happy surprise.” Just who is he kidding? For the last decade, David and his brother Stephen have toured the world as 2manydjs, while enjoying parallel careers as part of indie-electro band and in-demand remixers Soulwax. They have been to Irish shores many times before, and in anticipation of their Belfast appearance at the Belsonic Festival as part of both 2manydjs and Soulwax (live), it seems appropriate to mention the fact that the Dewaeles are far from strangers to Belfast. In fact, Belsonic will be their third visit in a year, not to mention the various gigs at Shine, which are now the stuff of legend…

hard during the week and then at the weekend they just want to get fucked. And we just happen to be lucky that they want to get fucked to our music.” Soulwax haven’t released an album of original material since 2004’s Any Minute Now, but that’s not to say the brothers Dewaele aren’t busy. They tour constantly (we catch David on his way to play in Gdansk, Poland, having played Ibiza the night before), and they recently completed remixes for Late Of The Pier and LCD Soundsystem (for ‘You Wanted A Hit’), but it’s a mammoth new 2manydjs project that really intrigues. In August, the Dewaeles plan to launch a series of 24 hourlong mixes, each with visuals, tied to a specific theme – riffs, intros, sleeves with naked women on them – and containing a head-spinning number of

—12 issue 67—


Heartwork In Praise Of Random LP Art

“Are you saying you’re getting sick of us?” David asks, knowingly. “Yeah, it’s true that there are a few places that we seem to come back to quite often. Barcelona is one of them, Portugal, Japan. Belfast is definitely one of them. There’s just something about the higher up you go in the UK, the crazier the crowds get! It’s great. It’s such a positive atmosphere to play in.” Is there anything about Belfast in particular, in comparison to other cities in the UK and Ireland? “It’s tangibly more intense than, for example, Switzerland or Holland,” says David. “I do have a theory that in general, the richer the countries are, the more boring the crowd is. If you go to places like Leeds and Liverpool where there’s a real working class, you tend to feel that people work

tracks, in true 2manydjs style. “We’re making 24 compilations, and it’s basically a day of music,” says David. “It’s impossible to release, so we’ve taken a radio licence – we’re going to stream it as Radio Soulwax. Everything’s mixed, and when I say mixed it’s more like a collage of sounds. It’s rare that a track will play longer than a minute. It’s the best pieces of the gems that we’ve found in our record collection. There’s some really rare stuff and some that isn’t so rare but maybe you haven’t heard in a while… it’s really cool.” Chris Jones


It’s not often that we are lost for words at AU, but boy oh boy does this cover leave us speechless. We even thought about renaming this section ‘Hatework’ this month, because we genuinely can’t condone or support this piece of downright nastiness. Honestly, it’s a piece of misogyny too far, and we really hope that Tonedeff has been the victim of some nasty venereal diseases lately. The funny thing is, you might be looking at this cover and thinking ‘Oh, I get it, auld Tone is disappointed because at the age of 28, he has finally convinced some girl to get jiggy with him in his mums car, but her questionable hygiene has left him reeling’. Not so fast, though. What has actually happened is that Mr Deff was under the impression that he had picked up a high quality transvestite, but under closer inspection he has found out that his pick up doesn’t have a penis after all, hence his disappointment. He also heard in school that if you combine all the colours of Magic Tree together, that they develop powers that grant wishes. All he wants now is for a penis to grow down there, and this was a last ditch effort. Instead he just tastes the bitter tang of disappointment once again. What a total loser.

—13 AU Magazine—


Label Profile: Full Time Hobby


started out as a really strong folk label but then morphed into the label that signed Love and The Doors, MC5, The Stooges, Tim Buckley, that whole thing. I was so blown away by how incredible that roster was and the ethos that they had, I would say, was a major, major influence.” What was your first release? Adams: “It was a band called Viva Voce from Portland, Oregon. We worked with them for three albums and lots and lots of singles. They were great fun, I absolutely loved them. Very early on, we had an album called Dream Brother, which really helped kick things off. It meant we got to work with a lot of bands like Tunng and Micah P. Hinson for one song, and then ended up signing them later on. Everyone was covering a Tim Buckley or Jeff Buckley song. Sufjan Stevens in the early days put a track on there, The Magic Numbers… It was a really fun project and it really helped get things rolling.”


Founded: 2004 Based: London Run By: Nigel Adams, Wez Key Acts: Tunng, White Denim, School Of Seven Bells

Founded in 2004 by Nigel Adams (ex-Infectious) and Wez (ex-Mushroom) after both labels were swallowed up by Warner Bros, London label Full Time Hobby has, in its own unassuming way, built a reputation as home to a cosy stable of eclectic and eminently lovable acts – from psyche folkies Tunng and American singer-songwriter Micah P. Hinson at one end to dream popsters School Of Seven Bells and garage outfit White Denim at the other. As they prepare to release a new compilation, Hobbyism, we collar Nigel Adams for a chat about the label.

When you started the label, was there any particular ethos you wanted to espouse? Nigel Adams: “The name of the label said a lot in the sense that we really didn’t feel like it was a job because we loved it so much, and we wanted to maintain that. We always wanted to have that feeling behind it, that we were getting involved with bands that we hadn’t got involved with for on purely commercial terms – that we really, really loved it was the primary concern. Then everything else could flow from that, because you got the first bit right. We don’t sign a lot of stuff, and I wanted to make sure that everything we sign, we hand-on-heart absolutely love. It’s not always easy but we want to stick to it as much as we can.” Are there any other labels that you saw as role models? Adams: “Yeah, I read a book in 2001 or whenever it came out called Follow The Music by Jac Holzman, who’d set up the Elektra label in the Fifties. I’d always been a massive fan of that, and reading that book really inspired me. Elektra

You have quite a small roster – are there any criteria that you look for in a potential signing, or is it just gut instinct? Adams: “It’s completely that. It’s nothing more or less, just that we love them and we really want to work with them and that’s it. We’ve had quite disparate bands, like White Denim on one end and then Micah P. Hinson or School Of Seven Bells – they’re all pretty different and I really want to keep that. To keep the love behind it as the hub to it all.” As a label, you are a product of the internet age. Has it caused you problems or have you been able to work with it? Adams: “It’s been a gradual process of learning, really, because we started the label in 2004 but I started working in the music industry in the mid-tolate Nineties. I remember the day we first got email, this kind of thing. So it’s just been a gradual shift every few years. You can’t pretend it’s not difficult, but also some things are a lot easier. I remember when I was working at Infectious, with every single you would have a massive mailout to the fanbase, physically sending out a postcard or whatever, and that would cost so much money. But now you can do it at the click of a mouse. On the one side things are getting harder because of downloading, but on the other the way of delivering music to people is so much more straightforward.”

Hobbyism is out now on (you guessed it) Full Time Hobby

Words by Chris Jones


—14 issue 67—


Kasper Rosa / Mouthing Off


Belfast post-rockers Kasper Rosa on their “symphonic” new release


Andrew Johnston vents his considerable spleen for your pleasure “You go to church, you kiss the cross / You will be saved at any cost / You have your own reality / Christianity.” So guldered Tom Araya on ‘Jesus Saves’ from Slayer’s classic 1986 album Reign In Blood. Fast-forward 20-odd years and old Tom is born again. “Christ came and taught us about love,” said the ageing screamer in 2004. “He’s an all-loving God.” It’s enough to make you want to burn your Slayer records. Other one-time godless motherfuckers to have turned their backs on the dark side include Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, Alice Cooper and Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden (his 2001 pledge “to use my life for God” sits awkwardly with tracks like ‘The Number Of The Beast’. Even arch-Satanists Deicide have a Christian guitar player these days.


Hailing from the windswept shores of Portstewart – famous for its ice cream, scenic promenade strolls, boredom and proximity to Portrush – Kasper Rosa’s Ryan McCormick chats to AU while supping a pint in Edinburgh. Currently on tour with fellow NI rockers A Plastic Rose (whose motormouth frontman Gerry Norman can be heard chattering in the background), the experimental post-rock troupe are gearing up for the release of their EP2. Combining gargantuan post-metal sludge riffs à la Isis with the grandeur and tact of acts like Mogwai, the past year has seen Kasper Rosa hone these bombastic soundscapes, sculpting them into what McCormick calls their “big symphony”. “We didn’t want to break the EP up in any way,” he says. “The CD is for one listen; I’d never suggest picking the songs from it. You gotta put it on from the start: it’s one journey with many different sections.” And he’s right. Each track smoothly blends into one another, and the EP rolls along beautifully, with colossal riffs effortlessly fading into jazz piano interludes with the help of static crunches, samples and lethargic, dizzying fade-out guitar lines. Reflective subtlety instantly explodes into extrovert bliss; the five stages of grief with a jubilant ending.

Having supported drone lords Earth and more recently instrumental glitch mob 65daysofstatic (“We thought the place was gonna be empty because there was three acts and we got put on pretty early, but the place was actually really packed. It was amazing”), they have a loaded diary for the rest of the year. “After the last few Scottish dates we head back to Ireland for a few shows with Friend? from Dublin, then we’re gonna do a lot of work with A Plastic Rose. We’re planning a split release; well, not a split release, but actually Kasper Rosa and A Plastic Rose on the two tracks together.” Although EP2 is being released on the English label Field Records, a DIY ethic is still close to the band’s hearts. “The whole EP was recorded in a series of rooms in our house, with our own producer Clark Phillips. Clark is fantastic, and very pushy in what he wants; if something doesn’t sound right he’s not going to lie to you.” Phil Spector, hide the gun. The clear, precise production job gives its brittle concoction of genre and instrumentation room to breathe, prompting AU to comment that it’s definitely different to what’s out there at the minute. “Yeah, we thought so too,” says a happy McCormick. Kyle Robinson


news shorts Congratulations are due to Derry boys General Fiasco, who have scooped a nomination for Best British Newcomer in the Kerrang! Awards. The band are up against Deaf Havana, Out Of Sight, Rise To Remains and Throats (no, us neither), and the gong will be handed out on July 29.

The good folks at Belsonic have confirmed a blockbusting eight-night line-up for the August festival, which takes place in Belfast city centre. Florence & The Machine, Stereophonics, Paolo Nutini and Kasabian are the latest additions, joining Paul Weller, 2manydjs, Biffy Clyro and David Guetta as headliners, with many more acts to be announced.

Aussie electro-indie stars Cut Copy have finished recording their third album – the follow-up to 2008’s stellar In Ghost Colours – and anticipation is such that their Dublin gig on July 20 has been upgraded from the Button Factory to Tripod. Get yo tix yo. Liverpudlian weirdos Clinic are still going strong, it’s true, and

they have confirmed details of their sixth album. Famed for tracks like ‘Distortions’, ‘The Second Line’ and for supporting Radiohead on their Big Top tour way back when, the band’s new effort Bubblegum will be out on October 1 via Domino Records.

As for the punk scene, there are hundreds of spikyhaired God-botherers shrieking for your attention. There are even a couple of dozen dedicated Christian punk labels, the most notable – or the most vomitinducing, depending on how much you loathe the idea of sub-Blink-182 bollocks with lyrics about Jesus – is Tooth & Nail Records. These guys don’t want to get pissed or to destroy anything. Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against religious acts in music (I recently saw and surprisingly enjoyed The Priests), and I’m not saying that rock bands should advocate Satanism, or that punks should all bang on about smashing the system. Worshipping the Devil is just as dumb as throwing your lot in with any other imaginary friend, and anarchy seems to have been invented by people who have never met another human being. But I want my rock ‘n’ roll stars to remain feral, rebellious and wretched, to sing about sex, fast cars and the wild side of life. Although religion has been around almost as long as humankind itself – and therefore must have served some sort of evolutionary purpose – it just doesn’t make sense from a 21st century perspective. By various reckonings, there are anywhere between 30,000 and 750 million different religions or spiritual traditions in the world, each with its own idea about what happens to us after we die. According to these belief systems’ own internal logic, this means that between 29,999 and 749,999,999 of them must be wrong. Clinging to the hope of an afterlife can rob us of the chance to feel true happiness here on Earth. Many religious types are so busy preparing for the next life that they often forget to live this one. It’s a beautiful planet and a wonderful existence, not that many of the world’s Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Judaists, Bahá’ís, Confucians, Jains or Shintoists – the 10 largest faith groups – appear to notice. They’re too busy kneeling, praying and, it seems, playing in classic metal bands to care.

—15 AU Magazine—

Adrian Crowley / My First Band



Adrian Crowley on critical acclaim and his biggest gig to date

With Keith Murray from We Are Scientists Adrian Crowley is in fine old form, which would of course be expected of the winner of the prestigious Choice Music Prize. His fifth album, the stately Season Of The Sparks, didn’t only see off stiff competition from the likes of The Duckworth Lewis Method, Bell X1 and ASIWYFA that evening in Vicar Street back in March, it marked a long overdue plaudit for this most mercurial of ‘singer-songwriters’. It was his second nomination, and this time around, the already considerably chilled Crowley said he decided to play it cool. “Last nomination [in 2007], I got a bit excited. This time, I just decided to sit back and enjoy it with no expectations. So I was really having a good time and then they went and called my name. I had no speech. I wasn’t even at the side of the stage where they call the winner up!” It was for songs like the ethereal, elegiac single ‘Wishing Seat’ that Crowley eventually won. He’s been plying his much-admired craft for over 10 years now: evocative, rich personal narratives and that even richer, sonorous voice in an ever-improving succession of albums which defined the ‘critically acclaimed, commercially challenged’ equation. That of course may all change now with the Choice Award. Either a sense of modesty or mystery prevents Crowley from being able to closely collar his muse and he admits to never listening back to completed work. “I suppose that songwriting is a mystery that I don’t really want to solve, if that doesn’t sound too precious.” The man who Ryan Adams allegedly described as the “greatest singer-songwriter who nobody’s ever heard of” has a very busy summer ahead of him. On July 24 he’s staging his “most ambitious ever” gig in the Button Factory, Dublin, backed by former Arab Strap scribe Aidan Moffat. Then there’s a second appearance at Electric Picnic with his band and also a new album in the offing. —16 issue 67—

“The gig at the Button Factory is going to be great,” he enthuses. “It’s my biggest yet, I’d say. Getting Aidan Moffat on board has been a thrill. I was always a big fan of Arab Strap and he doesn’t play live very often, so it’s all going to be pretty special.” Reprising his memorable appearance two years ago, Crowley was one of the first names revealed for this year’s Electric Picnic. His brilliantly languid Sunday show was, this writer recalls, the perfect antidote to the weekend’s festival debauch. “I hope I didn’t make your hangover worse,” he laughs, and then, checking himself with unfailing courtesy, “That’s assuming, of course, that you did have a hangover.” I did, I admit. “Playing with the band at Electric Picnic is something I’m really looking forward to. We have a chance to play around with songs and it’s always a great atmosphere.” Crowley says that the follow up to Season Of The Sparks is a work in progress but he doesn’t want to rush it. “I’m writing for a new album now. But as ever, I don’t want to push it. I’ll let it happen as it comes. But hopefully I’ll be recording in winter and release it next year. I’m still buzzing from winning the Choice Prize. It’s been undeniably great for me, but I can’t help but look forward to the next challenge and the next project. It’s like when something’s been achieved, it loses its mystique.”

BAND NAME: UNTITLED (THOUGH MAY HAVE BEEN ALONG THE LINES OF ‘NECROTIC LOVE’) AGE: 14 "We had no name and no singer, but we met in Jeff Hendricks’s parents’ garage on Saturdays or Sundays and would run through our repertoire of Nineties alternative rock covers. We played ‘Bombtrack’ by Rage Against The Machine, ‘Alive’ by Pearl Jam – we were mainly just into riffs, especially because we couldn’t sing at all. We would simply play with the instrumental riffs of all of these songs incessantly, and incredibly badly. We had no singer because nobody had the skills. Certainly, nobody had the skills to be an Eddie Vedder.

"I think we thought we were awesome – the best band in the Broward County high school circuit. "We played the South Plantation High School talent show, which fortunately was not my high school – it was the high school of the other guitar player, Juliano. Fortunately, it wasn’t one of those talent shows that involves a panel of judges and a victor, because surely we would have not won. I think we thought we were awesome though – the best band in the Broward County high school circuit.


We broke up because all of us went to separate colleges. It was simply the way university rends so many friendships, and our band was destroyed! The other guitarist Juliano lives in New York City now, he and I hang out every once in a while, and his brother Bruno lives in San Diego so I see him much less frequently but when I’m in San Diego, he and I hang out."





Fortunately, it’s not a charge that’s going to be levelled at Adrian Crowley’s music any time soon. Joe Nawaz

6th - 12th

September 2010

Cathedral QuarteR Belfast

MUMFORD & SONS WilcO Seasick Steve Iron & Wine Modest Mouse White Lies Old CrowMedicine Show Dave Rawlings Machine The Felice Brothers The Low Anthem VILLAGERS Lissie Field Music LOWLY KNIGHTS Napoleon Nathaniel RatEliff Panama Kings Moulettes Captain CameroN Kowalski ExLovers Matrimony PEGGY SUE Andrew Davie Joe Pug Morgan O' Kane & Ferd 4 Chess Club DJs AU DJS COMMUNION CLUB NIGHT



—17 AU Magazine—

Belfast Music iPhone App


APP-SOLUTELY FABULOUS Belfast in world first with new iPhone based music tourism application

Words by Jonny Tiernan


iPhone apps are big business. Millions upon millions of mobile apps are downloaded across the world each month. They range from the quite useful to the completely pointless. According to a well-known TV advert, whatever you can think of, “there’s an app for that.” Of course, this doesn’t take into account tasks like open-heart surgery, but you know what they are trying to say. Against the proliferation and waves of existing apps, you’d think it would be almost impossible to come up with a fresh and innovative iPhone application, especially one that was the first of its kind, anywhere in the world. You might find it even less likely that one would originate in Belfast. In reality, this is exactly what has happened. The Belfast Music iPhone app is a brand new concept, recently launched as part of Belfast City Council’s Music Tourism initiative, supported by the Oh Yeah Music Centre, CultureNorthernIreland, Filmtrip, BBC Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and European Regional Development Fund and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Broadly speaking, the aim of the initiative is to celebrate the rich musical heritage of Belfast, and to cement the city’s reputation as a vibrant cultural hub. The app itself consists of a variety of features, including a Hall Of Fame detailing a host of Belfast’s music legends, a video section encompassing hoards of notable Northern Irish artists, a comprehensive gig listings section, and the jewel in the app’s crown, an interactive music tour narrated by BBC broadcaster Stuart Bailie. Developed by media maverick Gawain Morrison and his company Filmtrip, the application has been over a year in the making. Now anybody who owns an iPhone can simply visit the app store, search for Belfast Music, and then download the application for free. They’ll then be able to use the GPS locator to go on an interactive walking tour round spots of —18 issue 67—

Belfast, guided by the narration of Stuart Bailie, with a soundtrack of Northern Irish greats such as Neil Hannon, Therapy?, Ash and more. You might be thinking to yourself that the city isn’t interesting enough to sustain such an idea, but you’d be wrong, as Stuart explains. “Belfast has a story that’s like no other,” he says. “We have fierce punk rock and heart-breaking folk. People like David Holmes and Terri Hooley are pure Belfast – they don’t suffer nonsense, they are true to their contrary impulses and they tell the greatest stories. We are a mess of history, blues, conflict, heavy industry, repression and guilt.” And Gawain is hopeful that when people do pay

“Belfast has a story that’s like no other.” Stuart Bailie, Journalist. attention to the bands we have from here, that there may be a knock-on effect. “We’ve had some amazing success stories to be collectively proud of. We should be proud of what our country has to offer. It’s ok to have a wee dig if you don’t like a

band, but if the world checks out an NI band and likes them, then they’ll probably see if there are any others from there that they might like, and new bands are found this way.” This app isn’t just for tourists, though. Even if you are a Belfast native, there are new things you can learn from the tour, like this gem of a fact from Stuart. “When Kate Bush was recording her Hounds Of Love album in Dublin, she saw a documentary about the marching traditions and decided she wanted a Lambeg drum. So she put the call out through EMI Records. Mike Edgar from Belfast act Cruella de Ville was signed to the label and he sourced her a drum from Sandy Row. The old fella in the shop wanted to know what Kate wanted painted on the side – King Billy or some Orange lilies. Kate asked for some fluffy clouds, so they charged her extra. You can hear her Lambeg drum on the single ‘Running Up That Hill’. Bonkers.” It’s difficult to overstate just how impressive it is that this app is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. It’s a new experience that has been opened up to both music fans of Belfast, and visitors to the city. It could represent the turning point we have reached in this country, and help to permanently change perceptions about Northern Ireland. Stuart sees the importance of this, and the effect it could have. “Music and cultural tourism is massive and that’s what helps to sell a city,” he says. “When I go to Manchester or Memphis, I want to see those rock and roll places. And that’s what brings a lot of people to a city. We tend to talk ourselves down, but when you bring people to the sites associated with Stiff Little Fingers or Van Morrison or Rory Gallagher, they get a thrill out of it. Sometimes they get the magic that we are too jaded to notice.” These Belfast Music Tourism products have been developed with Belfast City Council support, and part-finance from the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland, administered by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. Download the Belfast Music iPhone application now for free from the App Store. For further information check out www.belfastmusic.org

Do You Remember?



The Dublin-based electronic duo beginning to find their feet

With: James Lavelle of UNKLE


Which three albums would you force a total stranger to listen to? Massive Attack – Blue Lines Beastie Boys – Check Your Head Fleetwood Mac – Rumours

it had a huge impact on me – seeing people like that defined what you wanted to do and how you found an identity.

What was the last band or artist that you became obsessed about? The last band that I really got obsessed about, big-time, was Queens Of The Stone Age, about seven or eight years ago when I first met them. I got into them from Rated R, but I got really into them as a band from going to the preshow for Songs For The Deaf. And just that whole community – Chris Goss, Mark Lanegan… That was the last genre of music that felt like discovering something completely new for me.

Do you have a single favourite album? I think it’s an impossible question, but probably Blue Lines. Growing up in the environment I did, and obsessed with American culture, it gave me a sense of identity. It was the music, the attitude, the design, the whole mythology of it. It was mysterious, it was dangerous, it was quite subversive and also very unique. It was the sense of something completely new happening.

What record would you use to seduce someone? One of the best records in that way has always got to be Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On. But ‘100 Days’ [by Mark Lanegan] has always been a late-night classic round mine. Who was the first ever band you saw live? Good question! I saw Soul II Soul, though it wasn’t really a band. I didn’t really go to see bands when I was a kid. I was more interested in what was going on in DJ culture. So that was a really influential moment. I was 14 and

What else was influential for you growing up? I remember seeing Public Enemy and Run-DMC [in photos], and it was like seeing something completely alien. I felt like England was in black and white and America was in Technicolor. The bands that made you want to be in a band; the bands that made you feel like you could do it. That was massive, really. WHERE DID THE NIGHT FALL BY UNKLE IS OUT NOW ON SURRENDER ALL. WWW.UNKLE.COM

Sporadic as rainbows, Nouveaunoise appear every once in a while. Over the last few years the musical experimentation of Nial Conlon and Conor Gafney has developed in its own bright streak, leading to the release of the debut album Paraphrase Accolade this month. How long has it taken to finish the record? “Anywhere from 32 yards to five years and a few months,” quips Nial. That is indeed a long way from their first live performance supporting Super Extra Bonus Party in 2008. “We met in art college in Galway which was short-lived as we both found music for us was more rewarding,” reveals Nial. “We spent that year tinkering away with tapes and effects after deciding to move to Dublin. It was still another two years before we decided that we were actually a band. We were just doing our own thing at home.” With the album finished, we can expect to see a lot more of Nouveaunoise, but why so few live shows? “It has taken us a while to figure out what we want to do live,” Nial admits. “Since we finished the album a few months ago we’ve been working on making the live show a spectacle, which we’ve really enjoyed. Also, we’ve spent large chunks of the last two years

living in New York and Madrid so we just haven’t been around. It was only when we met up at Christmas that we realised we had about 30 tracks floating around, enough for a potentially coherent album. After realising this it was then a matter of mixing and getting things ready. “We put most of our emphasis on producing rather than playing,” Nial continues, explaining the process that led to the completion of Paraphrase Accolade. “We are getting quicker now, though, because our knowledge of production has become more professional. We were fortunate to obtain some beautiful tape-machines to record our instruments to. We sampled from those and jammed for a while. Everything is away from the computer until it comes to the sequencing and mixing.” With the album launched and a tour in the works, Nouveaunoise are regulating into a dedicated musical outfit. After this colourful new streak, what lies ahead? “We’re really enjoying a fresh start at the production side of things and the tunes are flowing so we hope to have something new out before the end of the year.” Nay McArdle

Paraphrase Accolade is out now. www.myspace.com/nouveaunoise —19 AU Magazine—

. On The Road .


Committed to doing things the DIY way, north coast punks Axis Of have painstakingly built a fanbase all over Northern Ireland by sheer force of will, hard work, and their ferocious live show. And now they are spreading the word. Last month they embarked on a gruelling tour of the UK, and this is Ewen and Niall band’s-eye view. Photos by Tom McGeehan

—20 issue 67—

On The Road - Axis Of

but it is also far from strenuous. With a good bit of planning – setting up places to crash, suitable driving distances between gigs – eating healthily and avoiding take-outs when possible and resisting the temptation of “we’re a band on tour, we have to drink every night”, you can actually keep your standard of living near to what it would back home. The drives and large amount of shows don’t have to have a detrimental effect on your health or mood. A lot of touring the way we do is based on trust. A lot of the people we work with are people we either know vaguely or don’t know at all, so unlike playing gigs in Belfast we take gigs as they’re offered and hope that the night we’re on is to a suitable stature. Obviously at this stage we can’t expect to turn up to cities and play the equivalent of [Belfast showcases] Radar or Two Step but at the same time we hope the promoters have actually promoted the gig to give us a fighting chance of pulling a crowd. We’re sad that the tour’s over. We miss our tourmates The Death Of Her Money. But we’re touring again very soon. So happy days. See you then!


Ewen Friers (vocals, bass): For me the lasting impression I get from touring, this tour in particular, is that there are people all over the place who are simply generous and selfless. Legions of folk all over the UK and Ireland who will help out a small touring hardcore band for no other reason than to HELP OUT. We’re honestly so appreciative. Let the battle of Larkhill continue! Niall (guitar, vocals): Our first gig of the tour is in a small Welsh town called Pontypridd. We chanced upon this place on our very first tour over the water. Coincidentally it was also our first gig of that tour too; we had never met any of the people involved in the gig and were really just turning up with no idea what to expect and hoping for the best. We were treated amazingly and played to a small but extremely responsive crowd. This time round we doubled the crowd we had last time and got an extremely unexpected encore, to which we duly obliged. It just goes to show that although we weren’t an especially great band when we first went over, a bunch of what


were essentially strangers give us another listen and responded amazingly to the Axis Of we are today, but most importantly this wasn’t the only case – many people all over the UK have showed this same belief in us and that has enabled us to become the band we are now.


There were many highlights on this tour: from playing a near-packed London show for the first time, to winning over a middle aged crowd who came out to see a cover band. The three guys in Derby screaming the words to ‘Port Na Spaniagh’ right in front of our faces proved to be a particularly memorable moment. A major highlight was the actual lack of negatives. The token bad gigs had many redeeming features, the four of us managed to avoid major arguments and performed as an effective touring unit, and besides a crazed bloke storming the stage and throwing his weight about in Manchester all other audiences were extremely responsive. Even in some cases when we weren’t the band they came out to see! The kind of touring we do is far from glamorous



—21 AU Magazine—


Exit_International, Young Legionnaire, The Heartbreaks




MEMBERS: Fudge Wilson (vocals, bass, noise), Scott Lee Andrews (vocals, bass, synth), Adam Thomas (drums). FORMATION:  Cardiff, Wales, 2008. FOR FANS OF:  mclusky, The Martini Henry Rifles, Pulled Apart By Horses. CHECK OUT:  Debut EP Sex W/ Strangers, out July 26 on Undergroove Records. WEBSITE:  www.exitinternational.co.uk

MEMBERS: Gordon Moakes (bass/vocals), Paul Mullen (vocals/guitar), William Bowerman (drums). FORMATION: Newcastle, 2009. FOR FANS OF: Brontide, Grammatics, Big Black. CHECK OUT: The single ‘Colossus’ is out on August 16 via Holy Roar. WEBLINK: www.younglegionnaire.com

MEMBERS: Matthew Whitehouse (vocals/guitar), Ryan Wallace (guitar), Joseph Kondras (drums), Chris Deakin (bass). FORMATION: Morecambe, 2008. FOR FANS OF: The Crookes, The Smiths, Glasvegas. CHECK OUT: The single ‘I Didn’t Think It Would Hurt To Think Of You’ is out on August 2 via Fierce Panda. WEBSITE: www.myspace.com/heartbreaksband

South Wales strikes again. Led by bass abuser Fudge Wilson (ex-The Martini Henry Rifles) and featuring not one single six-stringed instrument in their threestrong line-up, Exit_International come roaring out of Cardiff in a manner not dissimilar to mclusky, all those years ago. Like Belfast’s Girls Names, who formed their band in order to support Wavves, Exit_International got together as an experiment when the Melvins needed local support for a Cardiff show in 2008. Trouble was, they were soon bumped off the bill in favour of a tour support. Undaunted, the trio ploughed on, becoming the go-to opening band for any number of noiseniks gracing Cardiff’s grimiest dives – The Bronx, Pulled Apart By Horses, The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster to name but three. On the strength of their debut release, one imagines that the fledgling band gave their elders a run for their money. Barely eight-and-a-half minutes long, the four-track Sex W/ Strangers EP is a riot of fat, rumbling basslines and pummelling disco drums, with Wilson’s shriek leading the way. In fact, it does precisely what a punk rock primer should – it violates your ears with cathartic noise and spit-soaked attitude and gets the hell out of there in double-quick time. Happily though, the likes of ‘The Chainsaw Song’ and ‘Lights Out’ can boast big pop hooks among the sandpaper punk rock. And very little gladdens AU’s heart more than that particular combo. Chris Jones —22 issue 67—

Beware! Indie supergroup alert! Young Legionnaire are the result of Bloc Party bassist Gordon Moakes getting together with The Automatic’s Paul Mullen. Their mission was to create huge guitar riffs with a view to blasting your eardrums. “We got into a first rehearsal with the idea of literally just plugging in and playing loud, and doing some big riffs – we’re all big fans of heavy music,” Paul explains to AU. “We couldn’t really do that in our other bands.” Indeed, there is little sonically to connect Young Legionnaire to their ‘other’ groups. “It’s a different band; as an artist you’ve got to try different things,” Paul says. Moakes and Mullen first met when the latter’s previous band Yourcodenameis:Milo were doing their Print Is Dead collaborations project. “We did a track together and always said we should do something else,” Paul says. “It just took a few years due to Bloc Party becoming world-beaters and me joining The Automatic.” The first offering is the, ahem, colossal ‘Colossus’ single, which rages in all the right places, like a furious Smashing Pumpkins track. An album is to follow early next year. “More big riffs and we’ve detuned quite a bit” is Paul’s promise. “The new tracks are a bit more rhythmic – we’ve turned a bit more into a rock outfit!” Be prepared and be warned. John Freeman

Ian Brown once said, “It’s not where you’re from; it’s where you’re at.” Lancastrian quartet The Heartbreaks may beg to differ. The coastal town of Morecambe has very much shaped their musical identity: songs awash with rain-lashed seaside romance, built on a love of their parents’ Northern Soul records, The Smiths and a need to be different. “Being the only band from Morecambe, we had to dig deeper and look at other types of music,” singer Matthew Whitehouse explains to AU. “And you’re at pains to be different and stand out. God forbid people stop laughing at your clothes. The day that they do, you should jump in the ocean.” The new single, which boasts the Morrissey-esque title ‘I Didn’t Think It Would Hurt To Think Of You’ is full of lovelorn bluster and jilted hopes. Is has a timeless feel, which is central to the band’s masterplan. “We are passionate about creating something with some longevity that in 10 and 20 years people will still think is brilliant,” says drummer and songwriter Joseph Kondras. Live, The Heartbreaks combine their Northern romance with some increased voltage. “We’ve honed our craft in small, sweaty venues; it’s a lot more of a punk show,” says bassist Chris Deakin. “We do a pretty good version of ‘Summertime Blues’ by Eddie Cochran – it’s a bit Mary Chain.” Sea, sand and feedback – what could be better? John Freeman


Sleigh Bells


mom and a bellyful of Dutch courage, Alexis told Derek of her singing talent. Within weeks they were making sweet, fucked-up music together.

MEMBERS: Alexis Krauss (vocals), Derek Miller (songwriter, guitarist, producer) BASED: Brooklyn, New York. FOR FANS OF: Crystal Castles, Liars, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. CHECK OUT: Debut album Treats is out now on Mom + Pop. WEBSITE: www.myspace.com/sleighbellsmusic According to their PR biography, they come from the epicentre of the musical universe, Brooklyn. However, judging by the clanking, clanging noise terror showcased on their debut album Treats, you’d as soon guess that Sleigh Bells were forged in the heat of the devil’s smithy. Of course, the pair did not bump into each other in the ninth ring of Hades, but in a rather more conventional setting. He was working as a waiter in a cocktail bar – yes, really – when Alexis and her mother called into his establishment – the Miss Favela Brazilian restaurant in New York – and proceeded to down a whole lotta mojitos. After a little prompting from

Their backgrounds in music are somewhat contrasting. Krauss had been singing for TV, film and the theatre from an early age. For a while, in her teens, she ended up singing and playing bass for Ruby Blue, a clean-cut pop band signed to an offshoot of Sony Records. Miller, meanwhile, had played guitar for Florida’s experimental posthardcore act Poison The Well, before quitting in 2004. You can still detect something of their individual musical pasts in Sleigh Bells’ present. Together, this unconventional boy-girl duo makes industrial electro-pop, Derek Miller masterminding the senses-blasting sounds and Alexis Krauss adding the fallen angel vocals. Live, it is Krauss’s whirling dervish figure that captivates, loosing a series of alternating coos and grunts as Miller stands coolly behind the kit, Alexis’s pretty, Scottish-Italian looks offset by a Suicide Girls uniform of tattoos and black garb.

Teetering between utterly abrasive and intoxicating sweetness, the pair have found an alluring balance in their music. Amongst those who’ve found themselves succumbing to Sleigh Bells’ pulverising siren sound are filmmaker Spike Jonze and M.I.A. – the latter was spotted admiring the band's performance at this year’s CMJ and has since brought Miller onboard alongside regular collaborators Diplo and Switch for her new album. It’s easy to understand why Maya was so bewitched, hearing an echo of her own music on tracks like ‘Rill Rill’ and ‘Run The Heart’. Elsewhere, the pair sound like Ministry gone pop, or that they’re writing the soundtrack for a postapocalyptic world, the anthem for a land way beyond Thunderdome. Opening track ‘Tell Em’ suggests ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ fed through an industrial mincer. So come on, stand up and salute the sound of their depraved new world. Francis Jones

—23 AU Magazine—


Everything Everything


falling out of the record industry later, Everything Everything have just launched their debut album. Jeremy is philosophical about the length of time it took to produce the record. Shrugging, he concludes that “we weren’t a safe bet. We’re not the kind of band that people are crazy about for 20 minutes, and then get signed for a huge amount of money. It was always going to be a slow burn.”

MEMBERS: Alex Everything (guitar, vocals, keys), Mike Everything (drums, vocals), Jeremy Everything (bass, vocals, keys), Jonathan Everything (vocals, guitar, keys, laptop). FORMATION: Manchester, England, 2008. FOR FANS OF: Radiohead, Philip Glass, Wild Beasts. CHECK OUT: Debut album Man Alive, out now on Geffen. WEBSITE: www.myspace.com/everythingeverythinguk “People from record labels came to our shows literally from the first gig we ever played. There were, like, 25 people in the room, and two of them were A&R. There was lots of, ‘We’ll have a chat, let’s have a chat’ and then we’d have a chat, and nothing would happen. Also, there was a really dry period when nobody was signed at all. There was a big hole between Klaxons and now. There were a lot of Greatest Hits compilations...” In a sweaty London pub, bassist Jeremy Everything (not his real surname, just “something we put on our Myspace, and it seems to have stuck”) is detailing the beginnings of his band. Three years of false promises and, well, the bottom

—24 issue 67—

“A safe bet”, Everything Everything certainly aren’t. Mixing a falsetto that would make Hayden Wild Beasts howl with jealousy with a rhythmic skittishness that switches from simple to compound time at the drop of a hat, they’re not exactly ‘marketable’. Oh, and did we mention the doomladen, heavily metaphorical, almost indecipherable lyrics? You’d be forgiven for wondering how they ever got signed in the first place. Except for the overriding fact that they can write songs with more hooks than J.M. Barrie. Debut album Man Alive ricochets between ‘awesome’ and ‘WTF’ every seven seconds. “There wasn’t any exact breakdown point,” says Jeremy of the stresses of making the album, “but there were moments where our judgement left. Every song gets about 60% done, and then you

begin to worry. You lose touch with your instincts, and you start to get paranoid.” It’s a remarkably varied record – like a hummable Radiohead. The ‘R’ word is God in Everything Everything land. For them, Radiohead represent the ideal – creative freedom and a decent living.“We’d love to emulate Radiohead’s career,” says Jeremy. “That said, I don’t think that there’s a realistic template for bands at our level any more. It does feel like we’re entering a new era. I don’t think any vaguely credible band is ever going to be really wealthy. If you could have a career whereby you don’t repeat yourself, stay credible and are wealthy, then that would be the ideal.” So, don’t peg ‘em as the new Kings of Leon? Definitely not. Laughing, Jeremy leans back in his chair. “I sometimes think, ‘If we changed the music, if we wrote in a certain way, we could be so wealthy. We could make millions. We could actually be a really big band’. We’d never sit down to write a stadium rock song though.” Ailbhe Malone


Tango In The Attic, Mountain Man, Baths

TANGO IN THE ATTIC MEMBERS: Daniel Craig (vocals), Jordan Craig (guitar), Jonathan McFarlane (guitar), James Crook (drums), Paul Johnson (bass). FORMATION: Glenrothes, Fife, 2008. FOR FANS OF: Vampire Weekend, Foals, The Virgins. CHECK OUT: Debut album Bank Place Locomotive Society, out now. WEBLINK: www.myspace.com/tangointheattic Updating the upbeat, afro-centric rhythms of Paul Simon with contemporary indie cool may be de rigueur these days, but few practitioners prick AU’s interest quite like Fife five-piece Tango In The Attic. Like Vampire Weekend minus the arty detachment or Foals with a sense of fun, the quintet make this music sound as joyous as it was no doubt originally intended to be. Sparkling debut album Bank Place Locomotive Society showcases the group’s scintillating musical vision, building on the success of well-received tracks ‘Seven Second Stare’ and ‘Jackanory’ with a set of sprightly but affecting pop songs. Rumours abound of the quintet’s mischievous approach to music-making, from a name allegedly derived from TV cheese-fests Tango And Cash and Cash In The Attic to onstage hybrid instrument ‘Shelby’, constructed from a cowbell, a traffic cone and a road bollard severed by the band’s tour van. Road-related obstacles permitting, we await future shows with bated breath. Lee Gorman



MEMBERS: Amelia Meath, Alex Sauser-Monnig, Molly Sarle. FORMATION: Bennington, USA, 2009. FOR FANS OF: The Be Good Tanyas, Bonnie Raitt, My Brightest Diamond. CHECK OUT: Debut album Made The Harbor is out now on Bella Union. WEBSITE: www.myspace.com/mountainmansquint

REAL NAME: Will Wiesenfeld BASED:  Los Angeles, California. FOR FANS OF:  The Books, Toro y Moi, Four Tet. CHECK OUT:  Debut album Cerulean, out now on anticon. WEBSITE:  www.myspace.com/bathsmusic   From the prolific glitch-beat Los Angeles scene comes Baths, aka Will Wiesenfeld, signed to anticon. and serving up a surefire 2010 classic with his Cerulean album. Having previously been involved – in either a solo or group capacity – with [Post-Foetus], Nephews and Geotic, his current incarnation as Baths seems to pool the aesthetic and essence of these projects to create smart, joyous, glitchy, collaged, found sound electronic music with some ethereal falsetto and childlike vocals, reminiscent of the current crop of ‘chillwave’ (Washed Out, Toro y Moi), some cutting edge electronica (The Books, Flying Lotus, Daedelus) and a heavy dose of head-nodding brilliance (Themselves, Why?).

Neither Mountainy nor Men, Mountain Man surely have the market cornered in confusing band names. In actual fact, this lovely trio of ladies met at Bennington University in south-west Vermont rather than having grown up in the midst of the nearby Appalachians. Not that you could tell by their sound. Crystal clear harmonies, as close as twigs to a fire, with minimal instrumentation, this is what Au Revoir Simone would sound like if they chucked out the synths, signed to Bella Union and would condescend to get their feet dusty in the woods. Though Mountain Man’s name and sound may border on Olde Worlde, their lyrics certainly aren’t. Focusing on their collective experiences as Modern Young Women in America – No, wait! Come back! – their music manages to glue together the current with the past, seamlessly and timelessly. ‘Dog Song’ scans, “Give me back my bones / then maybe we can talk / Between the sheets / it was just you and me / screaming so loud / staring so proud / of love.” They played their first gig with a microphone at SXSW this year (it was, come to think of it, one of their first gigs ever), and over the course of the week, they enchanted everyone at the festival. Don’t sound so surprised. You’re next. Ailbhe Malone

Tracks like ‘Apologetic Shoulderblades’, featuring Wiesenfeld’s choirboy voice layered over slatherings of tap-dripping beats and sliced ‘n’ diced crackles, create an impression of a heaven where Four Tet is the resident DJ and everyone is invited to one chilled-out party. What will give this Baths project longevity is the ability to manage all the sounds he floods the tracks with and make sure he creates proper earworms, with thoughtful lyrics and enough sampled vocals and snippets to keep even the most ardent audiophile slobbering gleefully over his/her Stanton T90 turntables. Adam Lacey

—25 AU Magazine—


Hey You!

What's on your iPod? •


Niamh mcdonald The damned – Disco Man Kate bush – Child In His Eyes ac/dc – Hells Bells Interesting fact: Niamh has an amazing voice, she proves this by being in not one, but two bands.

Words & Pics By Sean Conroy

ken mooney anne sexton – You’ve Been Gone Too Long The kinks – Waterloo Sunset Paul weller – Back In The Fire Interesting fact: If his sideburns aren’t perfectly straight, Ken can’t stand up straight.

tony corbett glasvegas – Daddy’s Gone Florence & the machine – Cosmic Love cat stevens – Wild World Interesting fact: Tony believe ‘they’ are out to get him, but he’s not paranoid...

Jonathan mayhew lcd soundsystem– Pow Pow huggie bear – Her Jazz KTL – Snow 2 Interesting fact: Jonathan has no interesting facts about himself. He just ‘is’.

Yurika higashikawa Escape the faith – Not Good Enough Temper trap – Sweet Disposition Slipknot – Eeyore Interesting fact: Yurika recently ‘skated a bowl’ for the first time. I hope she washed it after.

daryl hegarty A perfect circle – Three Libras tool – Aenima Panthera – War Nerve Interesting fact: Daryl practices ‘Fire-Staffing’ and despite some minor burns is not giving up anytime soon.

stephen woodnutt rolling stones – Gimme Shelter BRuce springstein – Murder Incorporated The doors – Roadhouse Blues Interesting fact: Stephen works in Eager Beaver and recently found himself in the same space as the legend that is Slash.

Siobhan bracken Queens of the stone age– Burn The Witch Kate bush – Running Up That Hill Neutral Milk Hotel – King Of Carrot Flowers (Pt 1) Interesting fact: Siobhan claims she invented the question mark...

Leah Byrne Cat Stevens – The First Cut Is The Deepest Eminem & rihanna – Love The Way You Lie Villagers – The Pact Interesting fact: Leah loves nothing more than her Raleigh Chopper.

Danny carroll eddie bo - Check Your Bucket The smiths – A Rush And A Push And The Land Ss Ours Queens of the stone age – Do It Again Interesting fact: Danny recently had a phonecall with Gary Jarman of The Cribs.

enda roche gorillaz – Stylo Avett Brothers – Slight Figure Of Speech Laura Marling – Tap At My Window Interesting fact: A super star DJ in the making, Enda is one half of Brown Bread Mixtape. He’s the quiet one.

—26 issue 67—


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 Friday:

Every Thursday:

RAD IAT IO N 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 ….

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.







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 Real hip hop and funk with Mr. Ripshop

Classic Funk, Soul and Rhythm & Blues with Paul Mod Revival




—28 issue 67—

Flashback - The Kunsk Disaster


hit by an explosion, almost certainly killing the men stationed there. This blast then tore into the adjacent compartment, something which should have been stopped by the bulkhead doors. Fire and toxic fumes spread through the submarine, affecting the command post. An emergency rescue buoy had been designed to be released if such a set of circumstances were to occur, but it had been disabled during a recent Mediterranean mission, for fear that it could alert the US military to their presence. By this point, the vessel had sunk to the seabed, with the resulting impact setting off further torpedo explosions within the ship.


10 Years Ago

All this took just under two-and-a-half minutes. Twenty-three of the men gathered in the secondary escape tunnel, as the ship was torn apart by the two explosions. Thankfully, the nuclear reactors went into shutdown, preventing the Kursk from going into nuclear meltdown. At this point, the survivors were lead by Captain-Lieutenant Dmitri Kolesnikov, who took down the names of the men, as well as writing two other notes as the emergency power shut down, leaving the survivors trapped in the icy blackness of the Arctic deep. In shaky handwriting, Kolesnikov wrote, “It’s dark here to write, but I’ll try by feel. It seems like there are no chances, 10-20%. Let’s hope that at least someone will read this. Here’s the list of personnel from the other sections, who are now in the ninth and will attempt to get out. Regards to everybody, no need to be desperate. Kolesnikov.”


The Kursk Disaster, August 12, 2000 The initial panic couldn’t have lasted more than a few minutes. Failure followed failure, and within moments, the souls of 118 men lay at the bottom of the Barents Sea, in the Arctic Ocean. Arguably, the sinking of the Kursk was more than just naval tragedy on a grand scale; it was another nail in the coffin of one of the greatest military powers in the world. Words by Steven Rainey The rigours of the Cold War had taken a hearty toll on the Russian military force. Amid food shortages and economic collapse, the dissolution of the Soviet Union also led to drastic cuts in military spending. These cuts hit the Russian Navy hard, with many ships in the fleet being scrapped, whilst a general decline began to seriously affect the overall military power of the country. Whereas once the two superpowers of the USA and USSR had seemingly been locked in a struggle to the death, the post-Soviet decline was sudden and harsh, with the former world power being reduced to a shadow of its former self. With poverty and economic inequality escalating, Russia faced a situation where death rates were rising as its citizens struggled to exist in a reformed society. Against this backdrop, the military quietly continued its own steep decline, attempting to maintain a unified front, but struggling to cope with the enormous demands being placed on it. Whilst resources were being cut, leading to many of the navy’s fleet not

being maintained, training and readiness were also cut to such an extent that by 2006, the Russian navy had 50 nuclear submarines, with only 26 operational, a dramatic decline compared to the 170 operational in 1991. However, perhaps the darkest moment came on the August 12, 2000, when the Russian navy had its failings laid out for the entire world to see. The Kursk submarine had been taking part in military manoeuvres, with an overall view to reorganising the fleet, and restructuring Russia’s military power. The exercise was ultimately to have concluded with the deployment of the Admiral Kuznetsov, the Russian flagship. The Kursk was to fire two dummy torpedoes as part of the exercise, when an explosion shook the submarine’s hull. A missile propellant had leaked, causing a build-up of pressure in the torpedo tube. What followed was a catastrophic series of equipment failures, as disaster after disaster hit the stricken submarine. The torpedo tube cover and the internal torpedo tube doors were blown off, with the compartment being

As to what happened next, we will never truly know. Whilst recovery teams speculated that the survival time could have only lasted three hours, discarded chemical cartridges designed to absorb carbon dioxide suggest that the sailors survived for several days. In a final tragedy, the survival cartridges may have ultimately been responsible for their death, as forensics testing indicated a fire had broken out in the compartment after one of the cartridges was brought into contact with oily water, setting it alight. Whilst some sailors plunged under the water, the resulting fire led to the survivors asphyxiating. Whilst this was taking place, Russian President Vladimir Putin was on holiday at the Black Sea. Although immediately notified of the disaster, it was five days before he returned to Moscow and commented upon what had happened. Amid claims of “minor technical difficulties” or “bad weather” the Russian government rejected the assistance of the British and American navies for four days, during which time the survivors almost certainly perished. On the fifth day, Russia accepted assistance from the British and Norwegian governments, and the hulk of the Kursk was reached, with all survivors lost. The world watched as the Russian Government appeared to try and deflect attention from the disaster, unsuccessfully. Ultimately, the Kursk sank because its crew was dealing with decaying, outdated equipment, and that crew died because their government appeared to be unable to ask for assistance, or admit failure. It appeared that post-Soviet Russia had paid a greater cost than many had thought in its journey towards social and political reform. —29 AU Magazine—

History Lessons

James Chance Words by Steven Rainey

Contort Yourself! James Chance and the no wave explosion

—30 issue 67—


In the dying days of the 1970s, New York was a very different place; a crumbling, decaying maze of streets, full of danger and possibility. Amid this gothic setting, a group of alienated and dispossessed people gathered to express the only feeling they knew they had left – howling nihilism. Join us as we gaze into the void with the man who kicked jazz so hard it became punk: James Chance. “You know in 1976, ‘77, I had a couple of little jazz groups playing what they called ‘loft jazz’ at the time,” begins James Chance, with the sound of downtown Manhattan rumbling behind him. “But I started hanging out more at [legendary NY punk venues] CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City and I started to feel that I fitted more into the rock and roll scene than jazz.” Travelling from his native Milwaukee to New York in the mid-Seventies, Chance arrived in a city on the threshold of devouring itself. The punk scene was starting to come to global prominence, with the likes of the Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, and Television all signing record deals and preparing to take their music outside of the city. At the same time, the city itself was on the edge of bankruptcy, having suffered a serious economic decline since the Sixties. Punk grew directly out of this economic crisis; rent was cheap, making music was cheap, life was cheap. “At that time, it was really chaotic, especially downtown in the Lower East Side… it was almost a war zone! There were all these abandoned buildings all over the place, or empty lots where buildings had been torn down. People selling drugs in the street, lines of people waiting to buy heroin, y’know, a very edgy, violent vibe. But I always felt really comfortable there.” Out of this social climate emerged a group of people who felt that punk music wasn’t extreme enough to reflect their attitudes. This predominantly younger group viewed punk rock almost in the same way the punk rockers viewed their elders, and began to express their own sense of alienation, forming bands and creating their own scene. “We were all making violent music, and a lot of that came from our surroundings, but there was a lot of violence within us anyway. I met Lydia Lunch, she must have been only about 16 at the time, and she’d come down from Rochester in upstate New York and needed a place to stay, and she ended up moving in to my apartment. She showed me these little songs she was working on and I encouraged her, and that became Teenage Jesus and The Jerks.” Before long a fertile scene had emerged, producing a small, but dedicated band of musicians, all intent upon wreaking their own brand of havoc upon music. Mars and DNA tore apart rhythms and melody, replacing it with an aggressive and atonal, but tightly crafted assault on the senses. Chance soon left Lydia Lunch to concentrate on his own projects, and whilst she brought her discordant slide guitar and

History Lessons - James Chance

confrontational stage presence to the fore, he put together a band that would mix the aggression and nihilism of no wave, with the instrumental dexterity of funk and jazz. The Contortions were born. “I had no confidence that what we were doing was commercial,” he explains. “But I knew that what we were doing was important in some way. But no-one was pretentious about it and I think a lot of people missed the humour in it. A lot of the audience was made up of these arty people that took everything so seriously, and also thought that they were so cool… That was actually the reason I started attacking people in the audience.” One of the enduring images of Chance in this period finds him sprawled on the ground, amidst a tangle of limbs, having just leaped off the stage to “liven things up”, by attacking noted New York music journalist, Robert Christgau. Chance is unapologetic for this attention grabbing spectacle, aware of both the relative merits and shortcomings. 30 years later, he is able to speak with a detachment which was notably absent at the time. “Well, I’d always been a fan of Iggy, and Alan Vega from Suicide. And that was another reason why I stopped playing jazz – I always thought there had to be some kind of theatrical element to it. It had to move beyond a bunch of people standing around playing music. “What I actually started doing to provoke the audience – it was not a planned thing – was at a benefit for X Magazine. It was held in a place without a stage, so the band was on the floor with the audience. And all these people, they were just sitting on the ground! And that just drove me up the wall!” In the face of this lack of engagement, Chance reacted in the only way he knew how. “Where I’m from in the Midwest, you got up and danced. So I walked out into the audience and started pulling them up by their feet, and they still didn’t react, so I started slapping them around a bit. It got me a lot of publicity, that’s for sure! But after a while, there’d be a certain element that would come to the shows just for that. “One time at Max’s, a guy hit me in the face and knocked me out cold. After the show, I went to the emergency room to let them take a look at me. I just

told them I’d gotten into a fight, and the cop said, “Oh yeah! We heard there was some guy in a band, just going round hitting people!” So I started to reconsider this and realise that I could be getting into some serious problems if I continued with this. In fact, one time after the scene moved uptown to Hurrah’s, they made me sign an agreement that I wouldn’t leave the stage.” Whilst he ran the risk of this grandstanding behaviour upstaging the music, Chance and the Contortions were making an absolutely incendiary noise. Fusing punk, funk, and jazz, they released two classic albums: Buy, credited to James Chance and the Contortions, and Off White, credited to James White and the Blacks. “Michael Zilcha who started ZE Records, just gave me a budget and told me he wanted me to make a disco album, with whatever my idea of disco would be. He didn’t really give me any more direction than that. I started playing around with the idea of white people doing black music, and it didn’t really end up – to my ears – sounding that disco.” By this point, no wave had already started to fracture, with a Brian Eno produced compilation entitled No New York, and rather than being a celebration of what the scene had achieved, it proved to be its epitaph. Chance ploughed on with pursuing his muse, facing off challenges from a record industry that was ill-suited to such a character. Poor distribution prevented his later albums from gaining the recognition they deserved, leading to him being regarded as a cult figure, his reputation entirely resting on those two classic albums. With his work becoming more widely available, it’s time to re-assess the career of one of the most uncompromising figures in music. “I’m capable of doing a lot of different things, besides just punk or no wave, but I always put my own stamp on it. One thing that I really consider myself to be is an entertainer, in the old-fashioned sense. Every minute that I’m on stage, I try to do something entertaining.” Twist Your Soul - The Definitive Collection by James Chance is out on August 2 via History Records


—31 AU Magazine—



Eeeek! Death, eh? The Great Destroyer. The Black Angel. The Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse. The Dreadful Bastard (ok, we made that last one up). What place, you might ask, does such a weighty topic have in an ostensibly light-hearted alphabet-based article? In response, we would refer you to that well-known fun-loving japester, poet Philip Larkin, who wrote about the “costly aversion of the eyes from death.” In other words, it’s coming to us all, so get used to it, chumps. When your time comes to check out, we recommend that you square your shoulders, clench your fists, look Death right in the eye and go out with a massive fight. Or you could just try running away very fast, that might work. Up to you, really. Words by Neill Dougan Illustration by Mark Reihill

—32 issue 67—


A is for:


Hooray for heaven! When we do shuffle off this mortal coil, it’ll be no big deal, as we’ll be magically transported to a land of eternal bliss, living on a big fluffy cloud, sporting a massive pair of angel wings, strumming a harp, supping ice-cold beers with God. Or so AU has been given to believe, and we certainly have no reason to suppose otherwise.

B is for:


Preferred method of execution in the middle ages, ranging from the grisly ‘hacking at the neck with a massive axe’ approach in mediaeval England to the clinical guillotine of revolutionary France. Of course it’s all rather inhumane, and mankind has moved on immeasurably since then. Insofar as we now have the means to do away with miscreants using lethal injections and electric chairs. That’s progress, eh?

C is for:


Beloved cult singer-songwriter of Athens, Georgia, who penned the best song this writer has ever heard on the subject of death – the beautiful ‘Flirted With You All My Life.’ Sadly, Chesnutt passed away late last year, committing suicide after a long battle with depression. And yet Jedward continue to live and breathe unmolested. It’s a strange world sometimes.

A to Z - Death

the actual ‘Charles Darwin Award’, which celebrates endeavour in the rather more prosaic field of zoology.

E is for:


Jim Morrison – rambling, shamanic frontman of The Doors – surely had mortality on his mind on this, the epic final track on the band’s classic self-titled 1967 album. “This is the end, my only friend, the end,” he wails. Mind you, in the same song Morrison also sings “C’mon baby take a chance with us, and meet me at the back of the blue bus,” so God knows what he’s on about really.

F is for:


Charon was the name of the Ferryman of Hades, who would carry newly dead souls across the River Styx. A coin would be placed in the mouth of the recently deceased as payment for the journey. However, according to popular balladeer Chris de Burgh in his 1983 hit ‘Don’t Pay The Ferryman’, under no account should the titular sailor receive financial recompense “until he gets you to the other side.” Thanks for the handy theological advice, Chris!

G is for:


Personifications of Death take many forms, but the skeletal Reaper – complete with cowl and scythe – is surely the most famous. Not necessarily a sinister figure, he pops up occasionally in Family Guy as a light-hearted joker, and in Terry Pratchett’s comic Discworld novels as a regular schmoe with a horse called Binky, who just happens to have a bit of a shit job. And who speaks in OMINOUS CAPITAL LETTERS.

H is for:


C D is for:


These tongue-in-cheek accolades honour those who remove themselves from the gene pool by rendering themselves either sterile or – more commonly – dead through acts of their own idiocy. Like, for example, Toronto lawyer Garry Hoy, who liked to highlight how unbreakable the windows of his 24th floor office were by repeatedly hurling his body against them, until one occasion when they did in fact shatter, causing him to plummet to his doom. Not to be confused with

This is where you’re bound after you finally pass on, if you don’t do as the Good Book says. Since that pretty much rules out anything even remotely interesting, it’s safe to just assume that we’ll all meet each other there one day, roasting for eternity over the open fires of Satan’s inferno. Yes, it’s a scary thought, but remember – hell doesn’t actually exist. Phew!

I is for:


Now, AU doesn’t want to appear callous here. But you have to admit that Death does seem to occasionally demonstrate a sense of (appropriately dark) humour. Witness the 1974 passing of Basil Brown, a health food devotee, who drank himself to death with carrot juice. Or Felix Powell, writer of ‘Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag And Smile, Smile, Smile’ – sometimes called the most optimistic song ever written – who committed suicide. Mortality, eh? What a lark!

J is for:


Thus far, the only person in history to have recovered from a nasty case of death, even if it did take him three days. Bit of a show-off, really.

K is for:


Rather gruesome tactic adopted by the Japanese army in the closing days of World War II, whereby pilots would intentionally crash their planes – laden with full fuel tanks, torpedoes and explosives – into US warships, killing themselves in the process. Generally regarded by the Japanese as an honourable death, and by everyone else as completely and utterly batshitcrazy.

L is for:


Not only should you – as a general rule for living – laugh in the face of death at every opportunity, but it’s also possible to actually laugh oneself to death. For example, in the Third Century BC, Greek philosopher Chrysippus is said to have expired of uncontrollable laughter after getting his donkey drunk on wine and watching it attempt to eat figs. To be fair to the guy, what’s funnier than a drunken donkey?

M is for:


The anarchic English comedians had the right attitude towards death, poking fun at it at every opportunity. Most notably they declared, in ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life’: “Life’s a piece of shit, when you look at it / Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke it’s true.” An extremely popular funeral song but, according to recent research, not as popular as James Blunt’s ‘Goodbye My Lover’, possibly the only tune that could make a funeral more depressing than it already is.

N is for:


Spooky goings on are said to sometimes occur when people are either near death or temporarily clinically dead. Characteristics of so-called NDEs include intense feelings of peace and contentment, immersion in an intense light, and moving through a tunnel. Of course, you don’t need to nearly die to experience freaky shit like this. Just take a load of ketamine [Ahem, AU in no way endorses the taking of a load of ketamine].

O is for:


AU likes to think that these were the last words of Monsieur Franz Reichelt, a French tailor who in 1912 fell to his death from the Eiffel Tower while testing out his new invention: the parachute coat. What a genius. —33 AU Magazine—

X is for:

P is for:



Pills and powders are dangerous things, whether you obtain them from a chemist or a less, uh, ‘legal’ vendor. One minute you’re having the time of your life, throwing ridiculous shapes to some hard house and thinking it’s a good idea to remove your shirt, the next you’re dead in a bathtub having choked on your own vomit. Actually it’s best to just stick to booze, which as everyone knows is completely harmless.

Game 28-year-old Russian Sergey Tuganov suffered a fatal heart attack in 2009 shortly after winning a bet with two women that he could have sex with both of them non-stop for 12 hours. Well, at least he died doing what he loved, even if he never got to enjoy his $4,300 winnings.

Y is for:


The phrase “scared to death” is bandied about freely, but it is actually scientifically possible to die of fright. It’s all to do with the body’s ‘flight or fight’ response to perceived danger, which floods the heart with adrenaline. Unfortunately, too much adrenaline is toxic, so before you next stick on a massive, risky bet on your William Hill account, spare a thought for your poor old ticker.

Z is for:

ZOMBIES Q is for:


Quicksilver, also known as mercury, is quite a dangerous chemical indeed and should not under any circumstances be ingested. Just ask Qin Shi Huang, Emperor of China in the third century BC who – in a gross miscalculation to rank alongside Be Here Now by Oasis – drank a mercury elixir in the mistaken belief it would give him everlasting life. He could hardly have been more wrong, as his subsequent liver failure, poisoning and brain death attests.

R is for:


Ancient Indian religious belief that, upon death, the spirit is reborn in a new body. If it’s true, AU wants to come back as something really vicious like a pitbull or the ebola virus. Then you’ll be sorry. You’ll all be sorry. Just you wait.

S is for:


Unpleasant form of ritual suicide known to ancient Japan, this involved cutting one’s own stomach open and was initially part of the honour code of the Samurai, who felt death was preferable to falling into the hands of their enemies. Still, could have been worse – they could have chosen a really agonising, lingering way of offing themselves. Oh, wait...

T is for:


This so-called ‘funerary text’ contains advice for those about to die, and the newly dead, on how to navigate the spiritual path between death and rebirth. Handy if you want to avoid coming back as a dung beetle or – worse – a politician.

Like vampires, zombies have managed to escape the chains of mortality. Unlike their smooth undead cousins, however, the zombie’s lot is not a happy one. Occupying the grisly middle ground between rotting corpse and animated biped, the zombie’s sole preoccupation is his lust to feed on live human brains. For all that, they’re still better conversational company than Coldplay.

U is for:


These noble souls do the jobs that few would volunteer for – from embalming corpses and comforting grieving relatives to organising the funeral service. And, if the plot of TV series Six Feet Under is in any way accurate, taking loads of drugs and having lots of random, loveless sex while they’re at it.

V is for:


Forget religion, healthy living and all those other doomed attempts to stave off the attentions of the Reaper. If you really want to live forever, just get yourself bitten by one of these suave undead types and – hey presto! – instant immortality is yours. You can spot a vampire a mile off – they’ll look all pale, moody and cool and will have a gaggle of adoring teenage girls trailing in their wake. Robert Pattinson, basically.

W is for:


“War!” hollered Seventies soul sensation Edwin Starr on his hit of the same name, “Huh! Good God, y’all! What is it good for? Absolutely nothin’!” Well, Edwin, technically speaking, war is good for keeping the population of the world under control by wiping out large numbers of people in increasingly unpleasant ways. But we’ll concede that you were making a slightly different – and certainly a much funkier – point.



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—35 AU Magazine— This project has been part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland and administered by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.


ShelfRespect Yourrs’ Guide The AU Buye

Steven King Words by Ross Thompson Illustration by Shauna McGowan He’s the 2oth century’s most lucrative, prolific writer. He has penned dozens of novels and scores of short stories. So why is Stephen King derided as a hack writer of torrid airport fiction? Why do hoity-toity academics and critics sniff at promotional copies as if they have been smeared in a noxious substance? Admittedly, quite a few of the film adaptations, of which there are tenfold, are dogs – and mangy, inbred dogs at that. But they have little connection to King’s books, which when they are good, are very good indeed. To call King a meagre horror writer is reductive: he evokes a shadowy hinterland a curtain or doorway beyond our own, where all the bad men and scaly things from the gloomiest recesses of our imagination slither and coil and bargain for our souls. King is the one who sets them free...

—36 issue 67—



You’ll immediately picture a crazed, wolfish Jack Nicholson going bug-nuts with a fire axe, splintering doors, face gurning with pain as he bellows for the little pigs, little pigs inside to let him in. However, while Kubrick’s movie (1980) remains a masterpiece of sustained psychological terror, it bears scant resemblance to King’s novel. Whereas the famously taciturn director was solely interested in the mental crumbling of a man stretched to the belt buckle on his tether, King catalogues the history of The Overlook, the troubled holiday resort which has seen enough celebrity scandals and suicides to keep Perez Hilton in snarky blogs for the rest of his life. King is a master at suggesting that something is not quite right: the idea that it’s the hotel, not its occupants, which is possessed is disquieting to say the least. The way in which King turns innocuous everyday things into objects of terror has become one of his touchstones: the sequence in which young boy Danny is followed by animated topiary animals is particularly unnerving. Superficially, The Shining is your classic haunted house yarn, but King loads it with enough slowbuilding scares (twin girls, the contents of Room 217) and Jungian symbolism to ensure that most folks will leave the nightlight on after reading.

the stand


Though King came late to writing, before long the words and the books those words formed were surging out of him at an alarming rate. Not content with bumping off a few cheerleaders and hotel janitors, in The Stand he wiped out most of the earth’s population with a plague as virulent as that which befell ancient Egypt. King’s entire oeuvre is infused with religious imagery, but here it’s pushed to the forefront, as he pictures a fallen world smitten by an act of Old Testament judgement. Randall Flagg, the Devil by another name, walks this terrestrial plane recruiting soldiers for an apocalyptic showdown with those fighting on God’s side. The classic King trademarks – a ragged band of survivors fighting impossible odds, a fixation on retro American ephemera, overt political undertones, the triumph of good over evil – are present, but what is most impressive is the book’s weight. Not only in the literal sense – seven hundred pages of tiny type – but also as a metaphor: King builds towards a finale that is histrionic but undeniably gripping. The end of the world shouldn’t be this entertaining.

La Triviata: Offcuts from Kubrick’s title sequence in which the family car winds along the road to The Overlook were reused for the credits of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982).   Sample Excerpt: “Jack awoke from a thin and uneasy sleep where huge and ill-defined shapes chased him through endless snowfields to what he thought was another dream: darkness, and in it, a sudden mechanical jumble of noises.”

La Triviata: Flagg, whose denim cowboy appearance was inspired by the man who kidnapped Patty Hearst, appears in eight of King’s other books.     Sample Excerpt: “Everyone was dead. The place was an echoing tomb. He was the only one alive and he couldn’t find the way out. At first he tried to control his panic. ‘Walk, don’t run’, he told himself, but soon he would have to run.”




Everybody knows it: nothing is scarier than clowns. Their painted-on smiles, honking red noses, pompoms, white gloves and oversized shoes. They’re plain creepy, and no amount of balloon animals or dropped trousers can detract from that. King knows that too, and in the character of Pennywise he created a monster worthy of entry into the Horror Hall of Fame. The fact that this razor-toothed Krusty, who drags tots into storm drains and gobbles them up, plays such a secondary role in It should illustrate the scope of King’s ambition. He has never been frugal with the word limit, but even by his verbose standards this is a whopper. Comprising multiple storylines and time periods, the book tells of how a small town can be slowly poisoned by unspoken misdemeanours and dirty secrets. ‘It’ is really the dark void which is powered by every broken family, every homophobic assault, every cruel sin. It might be disguised as a werewolf, a vampire or a childmolesting Ronald McDonald, but it’s always the Devil. If this nightmarish fable was King’s only novel it would be a commendable achievement; the fact that it’s one of many is phenomenal.   La Triviata: In-jokes ahoy: It references, amongst many others, Shawshank State Prison, a spectral red Plymouth Fury and Hallorann the psychic cook from The Shining.   Sample Excerpt: “The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years – if it ever did end, began, so far as I know, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.”


King’s short stories are always value for money. In compendiums like Night Shift and Skeleton Crew he cuts loose with his weirder, funnier offerings: randy teens being terrorised on a lake raft by a slick of flesh-eating gloop; a return visit to Salem’s Lot; a jellied redneck with an intense craving for cheap beer. To be fair, King’s most recent output hasn’t exactly been stellar, but the collection Everything’s Eventual is his most consistently enjoyable, and finds him pulling away from those elements of his writing which now border on cliché. Best of the bunch is ‘Riding The Bullet’, a truly tragic account of terminal illness that puts a neat spin on the archetypal ghostly hitchhiker tale. Arguably, King has already let loose all the good novels he has in him, but he’s more than capable of honing these shorter jewels.   La Triviata: King decided the stories’ order by attributing them to playing cards then shuffling the deck.     Sample Excerpt: “This is probably the single great subject of horror fiction: our need to cope with a mystery that can only be understood with the help of a hopeful imagination.”



On paper the idea of a vengeful, supernatural automobile is not too far away from Herbie, but when King puts it to paper it whips off the page, leaving flaming tyre tracks on the ground behind it. Like most teenage boys, Arnie Cunningham becomes infatuated with a car – a blood-red ’58 Plymouth Fury. It’s appropriately named, as the titular motor has more problems than faulty brakes. At first the gawky Arnie feels manlier and before long he’s picking up chicks and driving them to make-out points like a sexed-up Fonz. But the power is intoxicating, and Christine is a jealous lover who won’t share. Pretty soon the bodies, all fender-bent and rubber-tire-faced, begin to pile up. As with most of King’s work, the central concept is a distraction from what’s really going on. Like in Carrie or The Body (written as Richard Bachman and filmed as Stand By Me), Christine reminds the reader of the pain of being at high school – those sad, gangly years during which Mother Nature enacts her retribution on adolescents, the time when even the most welladjusted teen will wish for a deadly accomplice like Christine.    La Triviata: The book is largely set around Monroeville mall, Pennsylvania, the location for Romero’s Dawn Of The Dead (1978).   Sample Excerpt: “Christine’s duals suddenly came on, pinning him in harsh white light. The Fury ripped toward him, peeling out, the tyres screaming black slashes of rubber onto the pavement.”

HIDDEN GEM The King canon is a veritable treasure trove of material, but as a palette cleanser you may want to check out On Writing (2000). Part manual, part memoir, it tells you exactly how he does what he does, but the most revealing chapters involve accounts of his own years of addiction and his near death experience with a minivan on a remote backroad. Enthralling.

—37 AU Magazine—

Classic Album - N.W.A.


Classic Album


Straight Outta Compton (1988) “A young nigga on a warpath / And when I’m finished, it’s gonna be a bloodbath / Of cops dyin’ in LA.”

The infamous lyric from the track ‘Fuck Tha Police’ is still pretty shocking – 22 years after N.W.A. released their extraordinary second album. Straight Outta Compton gained a band, which included Eazy E, Ice Cube and Dr Dre, instant notoriety and changed the outlook of rap music forever. Job done. N.W.A. (or Niggaz With Attitude) were formed during the mid-Eighties in Compton, South Central Los Angeles – a black ghetto ruled by gang culture. Their music struck a chord with America’s youth – intriguingly irrespective of race or social status. A ragtag bunch of former hustlers and drug dealers, N.W.A. ensured that the newly-named genre of gangsta rap became big business – Straight Outta Compton sold 3 million copies – and shifted rap’s epicentre west from New York to LA. These were mighty times for rap music. A couple of years earlier Run DMC’s ‘Walk This Way’ had punched a hole into global consciousness and rap suddenly had a voice. Highly politicised acts such as Public Enemy and KRS-One vented their spleen – indeed the former’s brilliant manifesto It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back was released only three months before Straight Outta Compton. Against such a backdrop, N.W.A. felt different. They documented the chaos and carnage they saw around them in the ‘hood. They were electric; charged with venom and bravado – the blueprint for gangsta rap —38 issue 67—

– and chillingly unapologetic for their glorification of violence. Politics was suddenly off the agenda. N.W.A. created a platform for American gang culture to be idolised and romanticised, while undoubtedly gagging the black community’s articulacy in the process. While the production was rudimentary, and the music a mish-mash of electro, scratching, laid-back beats and the odd inspired sample, it was the subject matter and sheer audacity of the delivery which gave Straight Outta Compton its seismic impact. ‘Fuck Tha Police’ – banned throughout the known universe – was actually a smart protest song against police prejudice and injustice. The track predates the LA riots, which were sparked by the acquittal of four cops after incident of police brutality on a black motorist, by several years. And N.W.A. were business savvy; the funky lope of ‘Express Yourself’ was both a call for youth liberation and their insurance policy. Taking a sample from the 1970 Charles Wright track, it contained not a single profanity, enabling the song to obtain radio coverage and becoming a huge hit in the process.

Words by John Freeman

On the title track, Eazy E boasts about being “A brother who will smother your mother.” He’s a right little charmer, isn’t he just? It’s hard to take him very seriously; while he was very much ‘fo’ real’, his squeaky rapping style rendered him the pantomime villain of the posse. The languorous style of Ice Cube and Dr Dre packed much more menace. Straight Outta Compton was N.W.A.’s moment – the chief protagonists destined for greater things. Ice Cube became a huge solo star and a Hollywood actor. Dr Dre would create Death Row Records and produce Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent. Sadly, after spending his final years feuding with Dre, Eazy E died after contracting AIDS in 1995 aged just 31. More than most bands, N.W.A.’s legacy is complex – were they merely violent misogynists who hastened the acceptance of gang culture, or unflinching social commentators reporting on their desperate surrounds? They were probably both – and Straight Outta Compton still sounds like a sledgehammer to your liberal sensibilities.

—39 AU Magazine—

—40 issue 67—



Words by Ross Thompson

Nobody comes more likeable than Dexter Morgan. Quiet, unassuming, committed to his job. A keen listener. Faithful boyfriend to Rita and doting surrogate to her two children. By day he hunts bad guys, working studiously as a blood splatter analyst for the Miami Police Department. He’s good at his job – some might even call it a gift. By night he hunts bad guys too: he trails his prey, sedates them, tapes them to a gurney, tortures them and cuts their corpses into neat little pieces which he tosses into the bay or feeds to the alligators. When he’s cleaned up, Dexter heads home for a sandwich and a cuddle. It’s true what they say: it’s the quiet ones you have to watch... And nobody comes more likeable than Jeff Lindsay. Author of the bestselling Dexter books, he is affable, charming and devoid of even the slightest whiff of pretension, he immediately puts sets you at ease by chatting unfettered as if you’re old college buddies.

but...’. So it took a while, but since that time it has been a lot easier because presumably people know what kind of person Dexter is when they pick up Dexter Is Delicious. I’ve got that advantage to play with: ‘Oh, this is the one about the sympathetic serial killer’.”

“I tell you, I think I might live,” Lindsay laughs, his voice calm and friendly, much like that of Dexter himself. “I’m sitting on top of a mountain looking into the sunset with a cold martini in my hand. It would be ungrateful to complain, wouldn’t it?”

The success of the television series played no small part in creating that advantage. Broadcast on Showtime, home to edgier fare ike Weeds and Californication, Dexter is now striding into its fifth season.

The image of a man kicking back with a highball is at odds with that of the pleasant, fastidious serial killer who dismembers his victims with power tools. Of course, Brett Easton Ellis did the same thing with Patrick Bateman, but his gauche, buttoned-up collar yuppie was a hugely dislikeable douche to whom the reader can never possibly relate. With Dexter, the audience will always feel complicit in his actions. In the first chapter of debut Darkly Dreaming (2004), the reader champions the mild-mannered sociopath to catch and kill a paedophile priest. It comes as quite the shock when he actually does so. We are not just onlookers. We have willed him to do these things. We are part of the crime.

“The people at Showtime have treated me like a rock star from day one, and I would be lying if I said that doesn’t feel good. It’s been a very positive experience for the most part. To put it right on the crassest bottom line the show sold a lot of books and made a lot of people aware of the books that weren’t or wouldn’t be. Apart from that I’m not involved at all. I talk to the producers and one or two of the actors. I try to visit the set every season. But they don’t call me to ask, ‘Would it be okay if Dexter gets a beige sofa?’. There was a time when I could have pushed a little and gone out and written for the show, but both my wife and my agent told me that was forbidden. When the two of them agree on something, it’s over right there.

“That was one of the things that originally got the idea going. Dexter is not a good person at all. I wanted to see if people would like him anyway and then think about what that meant. Which is not a good thing to do with the first book, I found out. A lot of people would read the first three or four pages and go, ‘Oh God, this is horrible, I’m not interested’, and I would get a polite letter saying, ‘Thank you for submitting your manuscript,

“Anyway, I like it where I am. I tried Hollywood and I didn’t have much fun. I like living in Florida where I can take my boat out and go fishing and come back and not have to deal with, ‘There’s a meeting, there’s a rewrite, we have to talk to the money people over at Sony’. I don’t need that. Beyond that it has gotten a certain amount of renown for the character and by extension for me, and it has given me a little bit of elbow room with what I want to do.”


Storylines in the small screen incarnation of Dexter may have branched off from the source material but the central conceit has remained the same. One knock-on effect, however, is that it has allowed Lindsay to be more daring with the novels’ content. One of the most intriguing plot developments involves Dexter’s relationship with his adopted family, Rita and her children, and the suggestion that the sins of the father will be revisited upon the son. “That puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?” Lindsay muses. “I forgive my father’s temper a lot more now.” Initially, Dexter might seem to be an emotional zombie, but it is falling in love – as close to that as our antihero gets – that forces him to change. ‘Adapt’ is a better word, the way that a hunter in the wild acclimatises to its surroundings in order to survive. “There are certain conventions that I have to follow, but Dexter changes – everybody does – he develops book to book. When his baby is born it changes the way he looks at everything. That’s the first chapter of Dexter Is Delicious: him realising that everything is different now. I’m not consciously doing that: it’s not as if I say, ‘Oh, he must evolve’. It’s just stuff that happens. I’m not sure yet, but in this next book he’ll get a cat. But it will be a psychotic cat. That’s because my daughter brought home three psychotic cats. So in many ways Dexter sees things the way that I do.” —42 issue 67—

This link between author and character is fascinating: does Lindsay ever find himself thinking, saying or doing something Dexter might think, say or do? “Not unless I’m sitting there in the chair being Dexter. As I’ve said before, I think everybody is basically homicidal,” Lindsay replies, chortling. “I don’t know how you go to work in the morning, but when you go tomorrow you might want to think about that. If you drive or take the tube or the bus I promise there will be two or three times when you will say, ‘Son of a bitch, I wish he was dead’. The difference is that Dexter does it. The other difference is that he is sociopathic and he doesn’t see things the way that I hope you or I do. Still, his impulses are in all of us.”   This poses an intriguing question: how far each of us would go to protect the people we love.   “I don’t have questions about that. I don’t think I could stalk somebody, tape them up and torture them, but if they’re going to break into my house in the middle of the night they will absolutely be met by a hail of lead. It’s the only time I think that the gun laws in the United States are good. We’ve had people come to the house and say (puts on voice of unhinged maniac) ‘I have to talk to you about something very important that the voices just brought up’. That’s when I went out and bought a handgun. If somebody threatened my children or

my wife I know what I would do. I don’t think that makes me a monster.” Perhaps this is why people savour reading Dexter novels: it gives them a glimpse of somebody who is courageous or perhaps emotionally detached enough to do away with due process and take matters into their own bloodied hands.   “It’s the same thing that we think when we see anybody getting away with something. Somebody goes on a chat show and says, ‘I haven’t paid income tax in 20 years!’ and you respond, ‘Wow. Son of a bitch, I wish he was dead, but if I could do it though...’. If somebody is doing something they are not supposed to but they are getting away with it there is a part of us that wants to do it too.” One of human nature’s most curious aspects is our necessity to exalt people as heroes. Many members of Lindsay’s audience read things into Dexter’s character that simply aren’t there. They want him to be romantic or justified when he is none of these things. It is ‘The Need’, as he calls it, which drives him, the unspoken hunger which pushes him to pursue his quarry. “They want to make Dexter into Edward in Twilight. He doesn’t have morals at all. He has no ethical code. What he does have is a set of rules and he follows them because he was taught


1. Jeff on set with Dexter co-stars Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter. 2. Jeff Lindsay. 3. Jeff on set with the stars of Dexter: Season One

that they work. Without that he would be just as happy killing you or me or the ice cream man or the preacher. Anybody. It wouldn’t matter. A lot of people say that Dexter is a vigilante, but he’s not. Dexter doesn’t care. He kills people because he likes to and he kills bad people because he has been taught that it works: follow those rules, kill these people and you’ll get away with it.”   Dexter, particularly in his portrayal by Michael C. Hall, is so far removed that he almost appears bemused by human behaviour.   “This is another area where I overlap with Dexter. There are a lot of times when I find myself looking on and thinking, ‘I can’t possibly be a member of that race’. Perhaps my parents were aliens, though they told me they weren’t. I think all writers feel a certain outsider thing to some extent; it’s part of the disease. It is part of what makes people write: you feel as if you are observing from a distance and need to point something out to everybody who is involved in it.” The difference is that when Dexter looks on, unblinkingly as a shark might, he is thinking about decapitation and disembowelment. One wonders if Dexter’s mind-space is a difficult place to visit or if it is just work. “There are times when I am off in Dexter-land and I come out of the office and have to pour

myself a really big glass of wine and read Winnie The Pooh to the kids just to balance myself out. For example, Dexter Is Delicious is one of the funnier books in the series but it’s also one of the more lethal. The research I was doing into the whole thing about cannibalism was hard. There are – I’m not making this up – chat rooms on the internet for cannibals. If you look up ‘recipes for human beings’ you’ll get amusing returns. They all say, ‘Hang the body up by the heels and open the cavity to bleed it...’ and then they talk about how to marinade the meat to make it better. That’s a hard place to go. The worst bit was that there were people writing emails into these chat rooms saying, ‘Please eat me. All I want out of life is to be eaten’. People reading this book will go, ‘Haha, great entertainment, bye now’ and not think about the reality of it.” One final, nagging question raises its head, like one of Dexter’s plastic-wrapped dirty secrets bobbing to the surface: how much longer he can keep on killing without being rumbled – or worse. “There was a time in book three when I wanted to kill him right then and there and have Cody take over the business. Realistically, I have a blue collar ethic about the whole thing: I worked so long and so hard to get something that people like going that I feel that I have an obligation to keep it going as long as people like it. If I lived in big capital city like Los Angeles or New York or London my ego would take over and I would say, ‘Screw it, I’ll do

what I want’. But I live in a small town in Florida and I have kids who keep me level by humiliating me any way they can. It keeps me anxious to make every book as good as I can make it and to do it as long as people enjoy it. That’s the blueprint. I don’t have a long plotline for the entire series. Just as long as people want to read them I’ll keep writing them.” With that, Lindsay tells us that there is a hawk circling overhead, observing those people and animals below with an air of detached bemusement. It is a fitting image with which to close our talk. Somewhere out there, wearing a head stocking and with a sports bag full of cutting implements, Dexter Morgan is doing the same: skulking in the shadows, mouth watering, heart beating, The Need calling, his stomach rumbling for that snack and cuddle.   DEXTER IS DELICIOUS IS OUT NOW, PUBLISHED BY ORION BOOKS. JEFF LINDSAY APPEARS AT THE QFT, BELFAST ON JULY 22.

—43 AU Magazine—

—44 issue 67—

Mystery Jets

Newly signed to Rough Trade and with a sparkling third album on the shelves, Mystery Jets frontman Blaine Harrison tells AU why the old adage is true – slow and steady really does win the race.

“It’s happened to us our whole career that our peers have eclipsed us. For a couple of tours, Jamie T was opening for us. It’s just something that happens.” Speaking down a crackly phone line from outside a Bristol venue, Mystery Jets frontman Blaine Harrison is mulling over the group’s lot. Part of the NME new wave of quirky indie, Mystery Jets were formed in 2004 and looked well set to either join the echelons of stadium alt. (see Arctic Monkeys) or plumb the depths of bathrooms on the Shockwaves Awards Tour (o hai, Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong). Somewhat surprisingly, neither option occurred.

Words by Ailbhe Malone

“From when we came out, there have been a lot of bands that have risen to fame quicker than us who have split almost as fast,” says Harrison. “We’re lucky that we’ve had the sustenance to stay around until now. It’s not that hard to pump a load of money into a band and see them get to the top of the charts, but to keep them there is another thing altogether. So I’m not that envious. We’ve had a much slower gradient – something that’s been building and building and building, rather than losing momentum.” A ‘slower gradient’ is right. Currently on album number three (technically number four, if you count an amalgamated US release), Mystery Jets’ star has never burnt anything but consistently. Now signed to Rough Trade on a shiny new record deal, the band may just have made the album that turns their star supernova.

out loud, it didn’t sound right – it sounded like someone else’s album. I don’t know what it was, so we quickly scrapped the idea. Then our manager called us up, and said, ‘You’ve got 12 hours to name the record, otherwise it will be called Mystery Jets', which would have been a disaster. So, we thought, it’s got to be Serotonin.” In gestation for approximately two years (the first track to be written was the crushing ‘Too Late to Talk’) Serotonin took shape during the period of touring their previous record Twenty One. If that was a teen party record – all illicit kisses in kitchen corners, and chugging cider in the garden, then Serotonin is the grimy aftermath of the next morning – picking up empty bottles out of the sink, and wondering why your best friend got the girl. Harrison agrees, “I think Twenty One was a very youthful record. There were all these love affairs winding in and out of it. This is definitely a morning-after record. It’s quite bitter. That’s not to say that it’s all gloom – there are happy moments on there as well – but it’s a more apprehensive record.” He pauses, considers and adds, “I wouldn’t call this a heartbreak album; I think it’s more about what happens after the heartbreak. ‘It’s Too Late To Talk’ is a good example of that. It’s more the afterthought of what’s happened. When love’s gone, it’s just a barren wasteland. Maybe not believing in love anymore, that’s a theme that runs through it.

“A lot of bands have risen to fame quicker than us, and split almost as fast” Serotonin, the group’s new LP, was recorded in “a caravan in Cornwall” with indie legend Chris Thomas. Responsible for producing the work of Pink Floyd, Sex Pistols and others, Thomas cut his teeth working on, y’know, The White Album. So no pressure there, then. How on earth did they coax Thomas from a four-year lull (his last production credit is 2006’s On An Island by Dave Gilmour)? They wrote him a letter, naturally. “Rough Trade suggested that we work with this guy, who we’d all heard of, but we’d never really associated any distinct music with him,” Harrison admits. “And then we did our research, and we found out that we’d been listening to his records all our life. And so I wrote him a letter, because he’s kind of a technophobe – which is odd for a producer. But anyway, I wrote him this long rambling letter. It was very old-fashioned. But then he wrote back saying he’d love to. “Thinking back to it, we kind of felt comfortable straight away. We invited him out to Berlin, where we were playing a series of secret gigs. And that was a really great ice-breaker. We just got drunk together, and rambled around Berlin. By the time we got back into the studio, we’d actually shared a lot of stories. We realised that we shared a lot of similar ground, and he’s really just a friendly, affable bloke. It wasn’t as daunting as it could have been.” Originally to be named Luminescence, the album was eventually called Serotonin – a word equally charged with both science and emotion. What changed? “I thought ‘luminescence’ was such a lovely word,” recalls Harrison. “And the photographer Ryan McGinley had done a series of cave pictures with models that kind of captured the spirit of luminescence. I remember I told Steve Lamacq about it on the radio, and when he said the title

Love only happens once. When you’re young, it’s hard to say. We need to hear the fourth instalment, to find out what happens.” Although Harrison is remarkably open as a songwriter, at times he has found himself almost wanting to shut the door on his creative impulses. “‘Flakes’ is a song on our last album where I almost didn’t want to write it. It was like a diary entry; there were things which I felt really strongly about. I wrote the song in the space of a couple of hours. It came out so quickly. They were all things that were running around in my head – I didn’t even have to think about it, they just spilled out onto the paper. I find that those are the best songs, the ones that just instinctively come out of you. It doesn’t happen all that often, but when it does, you think, ‘Shit, I had all this stuff inside of me, that I didn’t even realise I felt’.” Not all the tracks he’s written have been quite so confessional, however. Laughing, he mentions his earlier, more ‘conceptual’ work. “I think the first thing I ever wrote was a song called ‘Rastamadeus’ which was on our first ever demo tape. We were about 10 or 11. It was a kind of concept piece about Bob Marley meeting Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the street and them having a really surreal conversation. They both died at the age of 35, you see, so they have this shared rock heritage middle ground. We thought that was interesting territory worth exploring via the medium of pop music. That was one of the first ever songs that we wrote. You could probably find it on Limewire, I hate to say. I urge you not to look for it. I haven’t heard it recently, there’s nothing I’d rather do less!” SEROTONIN IS OUT NOW ON ROUGH TRADE WWW.MYSTERYJETS.COM —45 AU Magazine—

—46 issue 67—

How to make friends & influence people

—47 AU Magazine—

On September 10th as part of this year’s Open House Festival, one of the world’s most acclaimed rock bands, Wilco, will play in Belfast for the first time in their 16-year career. Although the Grammy-winning Chicago collective are prodigious tourers and have played south of the border many times, it’s still a source of embarrassment to their head honcho Jeff Tweedy. “We’ve never made it to the northern part of Ireland – I don’t know how that’s happened,” he admits to AU. Words by John Freeman

When we catch up with Tweedy, he and the band have just completed soundchecking ahead of a gig in Tenerife that night. He sounds relaxed and admits that the Canary Islands are “treating him well”. Come September, the good people of Belfast are in for a treat – Wilco are renowned for delivering blistering gigs and Tweedy is willing to suffer for his art. As a child he suffered from frequent migraine attacks, and although these are now less frequent, they still plague his life. “They don’t just affect your head, they affect your soul,” he says. “I have actually soldiered through gigs with a migraine on more than one occasion, vomiting at the side of the stage between songs. It was very difficult, we didn’t play an entire set, but I’ve done it.” That’s an incredible

—48 issue 67—

feat, for, as anyone who is having a migraine would agree, a rock concert is probably the worst place to be. Tweedy certainly earned his fee on such nights. Wilco were formed in 1994 out of the ashes of the influential alt.country group Uncle Tupelo. Once described as ‘the American Radiohead’, they are one of the few bands who seem in complete artistic control – and able to shape their own destiny – whilst keeping themselves financially afloat. While Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt are the only remaining original members, a pragmatic philosophy seems inherent to Wilco’s aspirations. “Our goals have been pretty realistic all along,” Tweedy admits. “We haven’t tended to aim for ‘household-name’ status – we gave up on being a ‘sensation’ a long time ago! Our highest hopes would have been to support ourselves by our music. I still think that’s the thing I feel most fortunate about, that it has continued to be a feasible way of taking care of my family.” AU notes that Tweedy has slipped from the plural to describing his own situation. There is a perception that after numerous line-up changes (Tweedy famously fell-out with guitarist Jay Bennett who then sued Tweedy for breach of contract in May 2009, before dying later that month), Wilco is Jeff Tweedy plus a transient set of ‘others’.

As you might imagine, Jeff doesn’t agree. “I think it’s probably pretty safe to say that most people wouldn’t consider Wilco to be Wilco if it wasn’t my voice and my songs – I’ve been at the centre of how it’s been defined. But, if you ask me about how Wilco operate as a band and as a collective of people, it’s very egalitarian – it’s a spirited group of collaborators.” Artistically, Wilco have been incredibly successful; their latest record – Wilco (The Album), released a year ago – was received with a reverence only commanded by rock royalty. It was, typically, a

“I am more excited about what the next record is going to sound like,” he says. “The last one definitely cleared a little path to start playing some music that we are not completely sure we know how to play. The last record, in particular, felt like it was us being very comfortable in the music that we are good at. We put a whole record together in what we’ve claimed for ourselves as territory – and that we know how to navigate,” he says, the cadence of his voice laced with intrigue. “That’s opened a lot of doors for how the band is looking at the next record. I think it will be really

Similarly, there is no grand musical masterplan, each album created in a bubble of creativity, allowing Wilco to explore a range of styles from country, folk and rock to the more experimental leanings on albums such as A Ghost Is Born, which included ‘Less Than You Think’ – 15 minutes of electronic noise. It was the “track everyone will hate”, Tweedy predicted at the time. However, this hand-to-mouth approach is a sense of immense pride to Tweedy. “We look at it on a record-to-record basis. Each record opens up some territory to the next record and I think we’ve

“We haven’t tended to aim for ‘household-name’ status – we gave up on being a ‘sensation’ a long time ago.” fantastically good American rock record. Like many ‘career’ musicians, Tweedy seems relative dispassionate about his most recent work. “We play the songs [from Wilco (The Album)] every night and people seem to be responding to them and in some places even more than to the older material. I am very pleased that the songs are still interesting to us to play and feel fresh to us. That’s all we can hope for.” What really seems to ignite enthusiasm in Tweedy is moving quickly on to the next chapter for Wilco.

fun for us to not have so much to fall back on.” Tweedy will not be pushed as to what a new, experimental Wilco album could sound like, but rest assured “it won’t be dubstep”.

taken all of those opportunities to make different records each time. I’m proud of that – I don’t think we’ve made the same record twice. I want the next album to be the best album we can make.”

As is often the way with more established bands, Tweedy sees Wilco more as “a job” and songwriting as part of the daily grind. “Someone said that a young artist waits for inspiration, and an older artist just gets to work. I think that’s kinda how I feel I fit in at this point in my life,” he explains.

This artistic freedom, which many bands do not enjoy, has been fought for by Wilco via a mix of bloody-mindedness in the face of major record label intransigence, and by that huge work ethic when it comes touring. “We’ve never really counted on making money from the records. We’ve built our whole band around playing shows

—49 AU Magazine—


FUN HOUSE What else is on offer at the Festival? The Open House Festival is now in its 12th year. Based around Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, this year’s event promises six days of top bands, fun, frolics and beard-grooming. Wilco aside, here’s AU’s guide to what else should not be missed.

MODEST MOUSE Although now Johnny Marr-less, the Seattle indie heavyweights are still a formidable live act. Expect new songs, maybe.

Villagers Dublin’s Conor J. O’Brien looks set to provide the festival with Elliott Smith-style brow-furrowing intensity.

Field Music The Brewis brothers' recent album Field Music (Measure) is an orgy of Seventies rock, cool funk and angular, experimental pop, and one of AU’s favourites this year. Go see.

White Lies If all this sounds like too much fun, you can watch White Lies play, and contemplate death. And blackness.

The Low Anthem Came to prominence last year with their excellent(ly-titled) Oh My God, Charlie Darwin album – another shit-hot American folk band.

The Felice Brothers Appalachian hoodlum Americana at its finest and one of the best live bands around.

ChilliFest Two days of ‘hot American music and ice cold beer’. Includes chilli-eating competitions, Helium karaoke, Strictly Come Barn Dancing and the opportunity to trim your beard. One word – awesome.

Kowalski/Panama Kings Just to ensure Open House doesn’t become a complete American love-in, two of our very own finest bands provide local interest.

—50 issue 67—

and that’s all we do. Luckily, the last handful of records have all made a bit of money, so that’s a bonus.” It is a wonderful business model for their fans, who get to see them play on numerous occasions (unless, of course, you live in Northern Ireland), but how have Wilco survived as a band, with almost constantly being on the road? Even longstanding bands like R.E.M. and U2 interject numerous ‘gap’ periods into their career. “Lots of people work at jobs for a long, long time, so I’d be curious as to how they keep it going,” says Tweedy. “For us, it’s gotten easier every year. Somehow, fortunately, we’ve been able to do it a little bit more comfortably every year. We managed to get a bus, then we got a tour bus, then we got two buses, and then we each got our own hotel room. We’re older and the shows can be harder, because we play long shows and they take a toll on our bodies, but it’s a really fun way to get to make a living.” The travel is easier too. “I know my way around most cities much better and I’m much healthier than I was for the first 14 years of travelling around, so I’m able to see a lot more of everywhere we go,” Jeff confesses, alluding to years spent suffering from depression, panic attacks and an addiction to his migraine medication. “It’s maybe a good idea to be debilitated for a long time if you are gonna have a long career, as you can then have a second career where you really enjoy it!” So Wilco are a ‘going concern’, they are profitable enough to sustain themselves as a band and they are in control of their future output. It seems they are trundling towards being part of the establishment, the sort of group who are cited by new bands as a source of inspiration. Jeff is excited by such a notion, “The most extremely gratifying thing that you could hear as musician is that you inspired someone else to make something. I’m thrilled if that is the way that anyone came to their music passion, if it came through a Wilco record and went backwards to Woody Guthrie or whatever. I’m thrilled to be part of that continuum.” The concept of a continuum is fascinating; when AU asks for a career highlight, Tweedy passes over platinum albums, Grammy awards and picks out an event which happened in January. “We played a MusiCares benefit at the Grammys this year – the day before, they have this charity event – and it was in honour of Neil Young. We were asked to play a song, so we played [the Buffalo Springfield classic] ‘Broken Arrow’. We learned all the parts and the interludes, and we played it exactly how it is on the record. We were the only band that Neil stood up and cheered. Afterwards, Elton John and Elvis Costello, and this whole parade of musical heroes, came back and were really complimentary about our performance. There was something really exciting and gratifying about it. It felt like a real triumph.” Tweedy seems to derive as much pleasure from his heroes’ approval as from Wilco being the inspiration for younger musicians. And do Wilco find time to keep up to date on new music? “I probably listen to more new music than anyone else in the band. I like the new Here We Go Magic record and Avi Buffalo. There are a group of girls who sound like a female Fleet Foxes, called Mountain Man, that are really good [see p.25 for more on them –Ed.].” With age comes responsibility, and Tweedy is a father to two sons – 15-year-old Spencer and Sam, 10. Both are musically inclined, as you would expect, with Spencer joining his old man on last year’s 7 Worlds Collide charity record. Is there any chance that either of his boys could officially join Wilco when they come of age? “It would save us a lot of money,” Jeff laughs. “It would be really great, as you would have more than one family pay cheque coming in. It’s an open door, but I doubt that either of them will take that route. Of course, it’s a real dream to see them play – I don’t have anything I enjoy more, to be honest.” All seems well in Camp Wilco; one of America’s finest bands is happy, healthy and coming our way. So, just what can people expect from the Open House Festival show? For perhaps the first time during our conversation, Jeff takes a pause before providing a considered reply. “A whole shitload of Wilco,” he cackles. Hopefully migraine-free, for everyone’s sake. The Open House Festival takes place between 7 to 12th September in the Cathedral Quarter, Belfast. www.openhousefestival.com Wilco play the Festival Marquee on Friday 10th September, supported by The Felice Brothers and Field Music. —51 AU Magazine—

—52 issue 67—

Adebisi Shank

This is an interview with a man from a band called Adebisi Shank. They make highlystrung, melodic metal-math rock music on bass, drums and guitar. There are no lyrics, fuss or hyperbole. Unfettered by style or opinion, they stand for fun and fulfilment and stop at nothing but the last bars of their own songs. As South African stadia buzzed with the excitement of the World Cup, AU intercepted Mick Roe between bouts of recording in home studios. In a strange turn of events, the second album has seen them come full-circle. Words by Nay McArdle Photo by Loreana Rushe

“Myself and Lar [Kaye, guitar] were childhood friends, we grew up together.” Over a pint of beer in Dublin’s Ulysses pub, Mick harks back to his childhood in County Wexford before he got involved in Dublin’s post-hardcore scene. “We were in Terrordactyl and Lar was in Vimanas too. We were playing with the same people all the time – you’d always see Barry [Lennon, Roe’s partner in the Richter Collective label], you’d see Dylan Haskins [Hideaway House/Records] and you know, BATS, Roy who’s in Squarehead now [with Ian McFarlane of Vimanas], and Vinny [McCreith, bass]. Vinny was doing his Vinny Club stuff. It was just totally organic. We’re very different people but we’ve been jamming since we were kids. I think it all works out and Vinny just locks it in. He’s always been on the same wavelength as us because he wants to do shit and have some fun.” So began Adebisi Shank, named after the leader of the Homeboys gang in the cult prison drama Oz. In 2007, they released an EP on Armed Ambitions/Organised Ideas, Barry Lennon’s label that merged with Mick Roe’s own Popular Records to create the Richter Collective shortly afterwards. It’s been a productive few years since

There are no sign of nerves in Mick’s voice as he carries on. “We’ve had a lot of time to play around. We’re so into production – all three of us do recording ourselves and we love the process of production. I think this time, it may be the best of both worlds. We did the EP ourselves but we didn’t really know anything. It was all just winging it but that’s something we like about the EP. We kinda like that naive element on it and on the new album, I hope to think we’ve bridged a gap between the two. It’s more free, less regimented, the songs are definitely longer. The entire album is longer. I think the EP and the album were slightly uptight. I guess now we know people do really like it, we’re happier and a little more relaxed.” One of the criticisms of Adebisi Shank’s first album was that it didn’t quite capture the true energy of their live performances. People who’d been into the band from the beginning said that they’d heard them play better live. Surprisingly, Mick agrees. “Maybe this new album captures a bit more energy just because we’re not as tense or uptight. And you know, there were no unperforming musical heroes this time [such

things. We’ve stripped down but at the same time it’s more cohesive. It’s just relaxed, not musically relaxed but weird, personally more relaxed. It’s gonna be interesting to see what people think.” Adebisi Shank’s debut album rode into 2008 like a cataclysmic anti-hero ready to take on the sterile singer-songwriters who’d dominated the music scene for the best part of a decade. At the time of its release, unconventional bands were faced with enormous opposition from the music industry and media. Yet the impact of Adebisi’s album coupled with the blistered trail of energy left across the country by good friends And So I Watch You From Afar saw Irish music undergo a massive cultural shift, and the scene was faced with a challenge: adapt or die. Less than a year later, the ‘Shank had supported Faith No More and were headlining Dublin’s Hard Working Class Heroes festival. A short time later, Music From Ireland chose to send them to Canadian Music Week while ASIWYFA went to SXSW. They have fulfilled their desire to have fun: what lies ahead with The Second Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank? “It would be nice to get a rest at some point and

“It’s definitely not the difficult second album – it was a difficult first album for us” and 2010 sees the release of the band’s second fulllength album. “We’re doing it ourselves this time, in different places which is similar to how we made the first EP. So far, Vinny’s bass is done and so are the drums,” says Mick with one eye on the Brazil vs. Chile match on television. “Lar still has to do the guitars and we’ve also got a few guest people who are going to be sending in parts as well.” Indie bands often have a hard time with second albums as they struggle to retain their individuality. As an alternative outfit, Adebisi Shank don’t have the problem of having to keep their songs radio-friendly. How has recording this time around compared to the first album, 2008’s This Is The Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank, which was recorded in Boston, Massachusetts? “There’s a lot less pressure on us than there was with the last album,” says Mick. “Going away meant everything had to be absolutely perfect. It was so tense but it was probably the best we could have done with a first album. And then, everything since that just seems like a walk in the park. Hopefully it will continue on. It’s definitely not the difficult second album – it was a difficult first album for us.”

as the debut’s producer, TJ Lipple], it was just between us as a band so we had a laugh and did things our way. “There were high expectations of the first album because of the EP. It’s more about us this time. I suppose that sounds a bit weird but it’s more about what we wanted to play, what we like and what we wanna do. We have complete control. I think we’ve already achieved what we wanted by just being happy with the songs and every aspect of production. It would be nice if people liked it again!” With the band in their element, front-row fans should be pleased with what they hear. What about those who are hungry for change and development? At the time of writing, the songs were still carefully under wraps. “It’s all pretty much new material – we haven’t played any of the songs live yet! Hopefully people who like the old stuff will like the new; we didn’t want to make the same album. There are songs that are similar to some older songs on the album that will appeal to die-hard fans and will hopefully interest new people. We don’t wanna give anything away but yeah, we’ve been able to incorporate a lot of new

go back to Japan,” says Mick. “Parabolica will put the album out there and we also have a UK label, Big Scary Monsters. We’d like to go back to mainland Europe, especially France – it’s such a great place to tour. Definitely America where we have a growing base of contacts and fans. It’s kinda hard to get a tour together in the US, I’ve tried it before a few times. Hopefully at some stage we’ll get over, there are a few bands we’d like to tour there with like [French band] Papier Tigre and ASIWYFA, so hopefully we’ll just wait until ASIWYFA get really big in the States... then we’ll just follow them over! “It’s funny, we never expected the band to go past the rehearsal room. It’s weird that this is the band that has succeeded above all those other bands we tried to be in. We were just gonna rehearse and test ourselves, just as friends having fun.” At that moment, Brazil send the ball to the back of the net. The score is 3-0 and there are 10 minutes left of the game. I take my cue to leave and tell Mick to enjoy the rest of his beer. He sure has earned it.... WWW.MYSPACE.COM/ADEBISISHANK


—54 issue 67—

Janelle Monáe

Janelle Monáe is a bit special. With the backing of Sean ‘P/Puff/Daddy/Diddy’ Combs and the patronage of Outkast’s Big Boi, amongst others, her debut album The ArchAndroid is a colossal 70-minute, 18-track kaleidoscope of styles and images. Oh, and it is utterly brilliant. And Ms Monáe has lofty ambitions, too. “There is a mission that has to be accomplished, a message that has to be delivered, and lives that have to be changed.” Move over Gaga, the future has just arrived. Words by John Freeman

So what’s all the fuss about? Pushing the rhetoric, the honed style and the heavyweight backing aside, Monáe’s music is pant-wettingly awesome. The ArchAndroid slips effortlessly from genre to genre, inventing a few on the way. She can do dirty funk, urban folk, sweaty Cuban swing, straight-up rock. She can rap and has an astonishing vocal range, going from menacing dominatrix one minute, to cooing angel the next. It all sounds incredibly futuristic, like Blade Runner colliding with a troupe of funky astronauts. On a recent Letterman, she performed a version of the single ‘Tightrope’ which is so exhilarating it’s as if vintage Prince has joined forces with James Brown’s (great) granddaughter.

She is proud of her blue-collar upbringing. “I come from a very working class background, my mother was a janitor and my father drove trash-trucks. My step-father worked in the post office. So I wanted my music to be an inspiration and a motivation.”

When AU gets some of Monáe’s increasingly precious time, she’s in London to play her first UK gig (which is sold-out, obviously). During our interview, Monáe displays all the base characteristics of a superstar in the making. In a hushed monotone, she manages to be searingly insightful, both incredibly self-aware and hilariously pretentious, and ever-so-slightly off her rocker. She talks in a mixture of weird businessspeak and non-ironic psycho-babble, and is firm and polite, especially when correcting AU’s pronunciation of her album’s title (“It’s ‘arc’ and not ‘arch’, if you please”).

According to their website, the Wondaland manifesto states, ‘We believe women are much smarter than men – and strive to act accordingly’. OK – so we’re basically talking about an urban Girl Power thing? Janelle descends, once again, into ever-so-slightly alarming psycho-babble,

After moving to New York to study theatre, Monáe dropped out, relocated to Atlanta and met Big Boi and the Outkast crew. Monáe then co-founded the Wondaland Arts Society which she describes as “a collective of individuals who prevent gender from being a barrier to reaching our goals – we are visual artists, street artists, actors, musicians, novelists, graphic designers, you name it.”

“We are using our superpowers combined together to fight against oppression, fear – all those things that keep us from being our true selves. We want to promote diversity in the music industry and we believe that imagination inspired a nation and music is our weapon.” It should be noted that the

“I like to think of The ArchAndroid as an ‘emotion picture’” Musically, The ArchAndroid bears similarities to Prince’s mighty Sign ‘O The Times double-album from 1987, which was vast in scope as His Royal Purpleness nailed a smorgasbord of genres with ease. But that was Prince’s ninth album; The ArchAndroid is a debut. Monáe’s vision is highly impressive. “I’ve always been into big ideas and I never tried to be deliberately different, but I’d never shy away from being an individual. I want to help promote more diversity in music and in people – for them to be comfortable in the things that make them unique.” This is typical of Monáe’s patter; shifting from a candid reflection on her personality to preachy manifesto sloganeering in the same breath. Born in Kansas City, the 24-year-old Monáe wasn’t always into music. “When I was a child, I wasn’t musically inclined. I always loved to sing, but it wasn’t until after my high school years, my eclecticism came.” She then rattles off a whole host of influences, including classical music, Jimi Hendrix, Judy Garland, Stevie Wonder’s Songs In The Key Of Life, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, movie scores by John Williams and the artist Salvador Dali. “My list can go on and on,” she says, finally pausing for breath.

Wondaland manifesto also states, ‘We believe songs are spaceships’. Back on Planet Earth, Janelle Monáe is not an overnight sensation; she released her debut EP Metropolis, Suite I: The Chase, back in 2007. A track from the EP, ‘Many Moons’ was nominated for a Grammy – a fact that Monáe seems indifferent to: “I never get too high on accolades and praises and never get too low on critiques.” The ArchAndroid is a concept album and, wait for it, the next chapter in the story of Cindi Mayweather, the heroine of Metropolis, Suite I: The Chase. Ms Mayweather has apparently been sent to free the good citizens of Metropolis from the Great Divide, a secret society using time travel to suppress freedom and love throughout the ages. No giggling at the back. “It’s said that when the ArchAndroid returns, it will mean freedom for the android community,” explains Monáe without the slightest hint of irony. “Cindi Mayweather realises that she is indeed the ArchAndroid.” It’s, of course, a load of rusty old bollocks, and like most concept albums, it’s better to simply ignore the concept and enjoy the lavish music on display. Thankfully, —55 AU Magazine—

Janelle Monáe

The ArchAndroid works on a simple lyrical level with songs addressing love, self-development and freedom of expression. But, in asking about the album, a button has been pushed and Monáe begins to talk, as if almost from a script, in a rather android-like manner. “I like to think of The ArchAndroid as an ‘emotion picture’ – I wanted this album have emotions that people can connect with for a very long time. There was a quote I was inspired with in Metropolis by Fritz Lang – ‘the mediator between the mind and the hands is the heart’.” Secretly, we’re getting way out of our depth now, and struggling with the concept of androids and mediators – and just who is this Cindi Mayweather? “She’s very inspirational. She’s my muse – she is the heart, the mediator between the mind and the hands.” AU then asks a dumb question, something along the line of, ‘What will happen next to Cindi Mayweather?’”

But surely there is a tension between being highly creative and making ruthless business decisions? “There’s a balance between them. There are certain times when I don’t talk about business and I’m focused on art and creating, and there certain times when I’m very involved in making decisions and making them logically. There is a balance and I have a great team, at my label and at the Wondaland Arts Society. We’re very honest with each other and our goals are the same. We want to preserve art and create a blueprint for the next generation.” Everything about Janelle Monáe seems perfectly crafted. Visually, she’s a beautiful woman and her fashion style would make The White Stripes seems extravagant. Working almost exclusively from a palette of just black and white, she wears tuxedos with two-tone men’s shoes, suit jackets, jodhpurs

Aguilera, Britney Spears and even Madonna seem to be running scared. In, perhaps, the best example of Monáe’s super-confidence, she sees Lady Gaga as a merely a peer. “I like her, I think she’s awesome. She has vocally expressed that she likes me as well,” Janelle purrs. “I’d never say anything negative about her, she has her journey, and I have my journey. For me, I have always been a lover of women controlling their image, coming up with their ideas. I think we have that in common.” She also has Gaga’s drive and sense of purpose. You can describe Janelle Monáe however you like, just don’t put her in a box. “Labels were created by Man, and it’s something I just don’t trust. I’m definitely not married to any label or category.” Her mission is one of unshackling people’s minds. “I’ve always wanted to get the music I’ve created out to motivate and inspire.

“Labels were created by Man, and it’s something I just don’t trust”

“I can’t tell you that!” she screeches. Somehow, a faux pas has been committed.

In her press blurb, Janelle Monáe says she wants “to be seen as a leader and a businesswoman.” Having already set up Wondaland, and having the nous to use Sean Combs’ financial clout and Outkast’s ‘wow factor’, she’s stacked The ArchAndroid with a host of eclectic talent. Hiphop poet Sean Williams guests on skittering rap of ‘Dance Or Die’, while psychedelic-punksters, and fellow Georgians, of Montreal add muscle to the fabulous ‘Make The Bus’. With Combs and Big Boi acting as ‘executive producers’ (although we’re never sure quite what that means), it appears that Monáe is maximising her chances of success. “They’ve been inspiring and very helpful,” Janelle says of her executive producers. “They’ve been project champions, campaign advisors, and creatively they just support everything that we do.” Project champions? That’s highly prized if you’re playing business-speak bingo. —56 issue 67—

and riding boots. Her hair is gravity-defying; it’s either a front-leaning beehive or a quiff so huge that will have Morrissey immediately shrivelling into a bout of self-loathing. The whole effect is a refreshing antidote to the ‘there’s-so-much-flesh-on-displayput-it-away-woman’ vibe of, say, Lady Gaga. And as you would expect, Monáe’s look is a statement. “It started out as me thinking of black and white as a uniform and paying homage to my mother, father and stepfather,” she says. “It was a uniform thing for the working class, and having working class parents. That’s how it started and then it became a fashion thing, which is cool, because I think it’s redefining how a woman can dress, how a woman can be sexy, how she can wear her hair, shoes and all those things. It went hand in hand.” It does seems that we live in a post-Gaga landscape; major female artists like Christina

We’re effectively fighting against the great divide, which keeps us categorised and labelled and all those crazy things.” As is sometimes the case with our musicians, Monáe admits to being “quite shy” and “doesn’t like being looked at.” So how is she coping with her life in the public glare? “I think I’m dealing with it very well. I think, or I hope, I’m being a very nice person. That’s good, because people don’t have to like you or your music, but if they do it’s a beautiful thing and I don’t ever take it for granted.” It’s likely that many more people will like her music than won’t. The ArchAndroid is a staggering piece of work, and Janelle Monáe is a unique talent. Go and enter Wondaland. The album The ArchAndroid is available on July 12th via Atlantic/Bad Boy. www.jmonae.com

NEW ‘N’ IMPROVED WEBSITE If you go down to iheartau. com today, you’re in for a big surprise. Yep, our little old website has had a sexy new revamp, making it nicer to look at, easier to use and more in keeping with the fine magazine you’re currently reading. As well as providing you with top-notch eye candy, you can expect all this: NEWS// The latest local, regional and international music news BLOG// Free downloads, brand new videos and anything else that tickles our (and your) fancy REVIEWS// Loads of web-exclusive album and gig reviews, plus the best of the mag ARTICLES// Fresh interviews with your favourite acts, and plenty of archive goodness GIG GUIDE// Stay up-to-date with the best upcoming gigs in your area SHOP// Get yer subscription here! —57 AU Magazine—

M.I.A. - /\/\ /\ Y /\


pg 58 Record Reviews | pg 66 Live Reviews |pg 67 Unsigned Universe

Illustration by Mark Reihill

M.I.A. /\/\ /\ Y /\ XL

In this age of infinite information, constant album leaks and short memories, you have to have a pretty big personality to make it as a bona fide pop star. To manage that feat while consistently making some of the most exciting, boundary-pushing pop music the world has ever heard is more difficult still. But M.I.A. has cracked the code. The London-born Sri Lankan’s career trajectory has been a classic exponential curve, but with the twist of instant internet notoriety. Demoes released while she was still unsigned caused a major kerfuffle in 2004, leading to a bidding war won by XL Recordings, who put out the debut album Arular the following year. It was a minor hit, spawned the singles ‘Bucky Done Gun’, ‘Sunshowers’ and ‘Galang’, and copped a Mercury nomination. All the while, Maya Arulpragasam’s star was on the rise. Young, photogenic, utterly unique and politically outspoken – particularly on the subject of —58 issue 67—

her parents’ homeland of Sri Lanka – she began to attract more and more attention personally as well as for her music, which was itself strikingly fresh. By the summer of 2007, therefore, anticipation of the follow-up, Kala, was huge, and the album – a globetrotting hotchpotch of styles – did not disappoint. It was her second huge critical success and this time it shifted a few copies, too, even containing a genuine hit in the Grammy-winning ‘Paper Planes’, which got a huge boost from being featured in Slumdog Millionaire. Moreover, M.I.A. herself continued to mouth off at every opportunity, using her Twitter account to call out the Sri Lankan government for alleged human rights abuses and even publishing the telephone number of a journalist she felt had wronged her. Now, in 2010, M.I.A. is a genuine, impossible-toignore star. This time, it’s not just music geeks that are feverish in anticipation of the next chapter. This time, perhaps, it really matters. /\/\ /\ Y /\ is what we have been presented with. Again, Diplo, Blaqstarr and Switch contribute their production talents, while dubstep producer Rusko is also on board to lend some wobbly mids and stomach churning low-end. Leaving aside the quality of the songs for the moment, one of the best things you can say about this record is that no matter what

style M.I.A. turns her hand to – and there are several – she never sounds quite like anyone else, or that she is in any way subservient to her production collaborators. Whether dabbling in electro-pop (‘XXXO’), dead-eyed, Suicide-sampling punk (‘Born Free’) or, yes, dubstep (‘Steppin Up’, ‘Story To Be Told’), M.I.A. herself is the star, avoiding the pitfalls of token genre nods and guest stars and instead putting her own twist on absolutely everything. At times, the effect is electrifying. As to whether this set of songs is as strong as Arular or Kala? In truth, it’s hard to separate the three albums. If anything, /\/\ /\ Y /\ is the most fearless – and least commercial – of the three. At times, it borders on the truly difficult (‘Teqkilla’, the Sleigh Bells-sampling ‘Meds And Feds’) and genuine pop songs are thin on the ground. But what this album does demonstrate is that M.I.A.’s sense of adventure remains, her creative impulses are in fine working order, and her star remains utterly undimmed. Chris Jones



Janelle Monáe The ArchAndroid

Mystery Jets Serotonin

Kasper Rosa EP2




Every once in a while an album arrives which is so huge in scope, so visionary in its ability to fuse genres, and so pristinely executed, that the listener is almost rendered in a state of shock. When such an album is a debut it should come with a dose of smelling salts. If The ArchAndroid doesn’t make a global star of Janelle Monáe, then more fool the human race. We need her – such is her prodigious talent. So, OK, the album has a dreaded concept – some tosh about an android saving the planet – but ignore it and lose yourself in the music. The single ‘Tightrope’, featuring ‘project champion’ Big Boi, is shit-hot cosmic funk, the wonderful ‘Locked Inside’ a soaring Cuban salsa and the dreamy ‘Wondaland’ is honeysweet soul. And so it goes on; Monáe’s chameleonic vocal range nailing every genre that’s thrown her way – be it rock, folk or even Broadway-inspired show tunes. The ArchAndroid ends on the epic ‘BaBopBye Ya’; nine minutes of schizophrenic opulence that sounds like every Bond theme you’ve ever heard, with our heroine bouncing between Bassey and Beyoncé. Space cadet Janelle Monáe has not just reset the bar; she’s moved it out above the ozone layer. A mad, magnificent masterpiece. John Freeman


Escape Act Balance VOLTE-FACE

Sing it loud, they’re back and how. Belfast’s very own Escape Act return with a new, improved album of artful anthems and love-lorn lullabies. Beginning (naturally) with opening track ‘Single Thought’ and its sweeping choral outro and ending (let’s keep this chronologically correct) with intricate, intimate closer 'Flat Ocean', their second album showcases a band who clearly haven’t been resting on their laurels in the couple of years they’ve been away. Where Loosely Based On Fiction, their scruffy and spontaneous gem of a debut, brought sweet dischord, Balance brings harmonies, not to mention a production both polished and punchy. Luckily, in spite of all this new-found maturity, they haven’t lost their way around a simple guitar pop thrill (the chiming single ‘Salt In Your Eye’ for one). The limber Escape Act of old haven’t actually gone away you know, they’ve just manned up to most impressive effect. Joe Nawaz


Have you ever been in love? Blaine Harrison has. He told me all about it and, damn, but the Mystery Jets frontman must have known his fair share of bad women – that girl two doors down has obviously done him wrong. If I didn’t so like the music the soppy bugger’s heartbreak inspired, I’d suggest he build a bridge and get over it. However, Serotonin is a lovelorn classic, the concerns that weigh Harrison down finding their balance in music that floats free of earthly concerns. Raised on a diet of prog-rock, the Eel Pie Island five-piece colour outside the edges of pop music, giving what would otherwise be quite conventional songs startling new dimensions. ‘Flash A Hungry Smile’ is a cut and shut of a song, melodies welded together to winning effect, some opportune whistling thrown in and the line, “Have you heard the birds and bees / Have all got STDs?” raising a smile. They add a little electro oomph on the title track, abandon themselves to the ragged guitar meets sugar-spun synth embrace of ‘Lady Grey’ and punctuate ‘Waiting On A Miracle’ with blasts of MBV-style fuzz. Such thrillingly odd pop music is the preserve of few songwriters – think Paddy McAloon and Green Gartside – and something of a British speciality. On ‘Dreaming Of Another World’, we are urged to “Just try, try to scrape the sky, only once, once before you die / Do something that would make your mother proud.” On the basis of the heavens-blasting pop of Serotonin, Mystery Jets’ mums must be well chuffed. Francis Jones


Oriol Night And Day PLANET MU

If we told you Oriol Singhij was of SpanishTrinidadian descent, what sort of music would that bring to mind? Something sun-dappled, upbeat and über-groovy, perhaps? Well, that assumption would be absolutely correct: Oriol’s full-length debut is an almost impossibly exuberant record. His is a warm and soulful take on house music, steeped in Seventies and Eighties soul and funk, and ‘Joy FM’ – the the aptly-titled opener – sets the tone, all Eighties synth swoops and gleeful disco beats. Album highlight ‘Coconut Coast’, meanwhile, is a particularly euphoric slice of electro, while the irresistible title track sees Oriol essay a tropical variant of drum n’bass. That album title is spot on: this is one for those long summer evenings that just stretch on and on until morning. Neill Dougan


1977 is famously referred to as “the year punk broke”. Its low barriers to entry – cheap equipment, cheap talent, expensive clothes – meant any disillusioned buffoon could start a band, thus overloading the scene with generic three-chord sheep acts, and what was initially the genre’s greatest benefactor became its downfall (alongside heroin). The Noughties have seen something similar happen to post-rock: the genre is now stuffed, as a production line cranks out pretentious wannabes and their 10-minutes of derivative, ‘atmospheric’ tremolo picking and 45-word song titles. AU blames home recording and beckoning blogosphere notoriety. Thankfully Belfast’s Kasper Rosa ram a knife into this post-rock wound and twist. While maintaining an epic sprawl, they factor in diverse influences, and though their sound often skips and jumps it at all times remains a seamless melodic journey. Piano interludes (‘There Is No Such Joy In The Tavern’) embrace heavenly guitar, violin and horn epiphanies (‘Good Luck With David’) to create an EP with a pungent stench of prog (the words ‘theatrical’, ‘movements’, and ‘otherworldly’ all spring to mind). This combination of beauty and brawn make it one of the year’s best Northern Irish releases. Kyle Robinson


Larsen B Musketeer OLD RADIO TUNES

Musketeer is a collection of beautifully crafted, pastoral, folk-inflected, pop songs that will probably see them compared to acts like Mumford & Sons, The Leisure Society and Noah & The Whale. While it is impossible to ignore the similarities, if you listen a little more intently, you may hear more influence from the other side of the Atlantic. ‘Codeine’ is a beguiling opener, its simple piano melody evolving into an uplifting crescendo over and over for a blissful four minutes. ‘Atlantis’ feels like an Andrew Bird lullaby picked out on banjo and woozily augmented by bass and snare, while album closer ‘Tailgate’ starts with one chord strummed repeatedly on an acoustic guitar but develops into a soaring, choral hymn reminiscent of The Arcade Fire’s elegiac debut. Highlight, though, is ‘Stitch’, where Paddy Smith’s gorgeous falsetto perfectly compliments the quirky, left-of-centre feel to the track, like the very best of The Shins. Debut album of the year? Kenny Murdock

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘STITCH’, ‘MARILYN’. FOR FANS OF: CLEARLAKE, THE SHINS. —59 AU Magazine—


Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin Let It Sway POLYVINYL

SSLYBY return with an invigorating new release that will prick up the ears of anyone who is partial to solid two guitars, bass and drum music with a distinctive West Coast sound. ‘Back In the Saddle’ is a rousing opener that sounds like The Byrds coming up with a teen summer anthem, mixing righteous harmonies with jaunty, choppy guitar play. ‘Sink/Let It Sway’ kicks into gear like midEighties R.E.M., while ‘Stuart Gets Lost Dans Le Metro’ is a mellow, piano-driven sojourn that alters pace and temperament like a summer romance. For all the maturity of their influences, SSLYBY have a vibrant, youthful approach to songwriting, the results of which will clear foreboding clouds away and have you throwing indie guitar shapes like never before. Jeremy Shields

‘King Of The Beach’ is a cracking start with Williams in bullish form, insisting that attempts to thwart his rise are futile; ‘Super Soaker’ is a concise blast of surf-punk that benefits from the superior production on this album, but ‘Linus Spacehead’s, “I’m stuck in the sky, I’m never coming down” refrain begins the downward trajectory. ‘Convertible Balloon’ is a poorly conceived, poorly executed abomination of a tune and facile sentiments like ‘Baseball Cards’, “time takes its toll” would be barely tolerable from even a stalwart like Springsteen – at least he’s paid his dues. They say you should make music for yourself and if anyone else likes it, that’s a bonus. Question is, will anyone else like it? Kenny Murdock (41 ¼)

memory long after the initial rush subsides, and you sense listeners will be returning to this record for years to come. Lee Gorman

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Anyone who has seen Sweet Jane live can testify to their onstage prowess. On record, they are indeed a different animal. Sugar For My Soul follows on from the EP Blackboots & Blackhearts and sees the band weave old school rock with dream-pop lullabies. After guitar-packed opener ‘Bleed’ it becomes a much more understated (but never underwhelming) affair. From the Beach Boys-esque intonations of ‘Save A Little Place’ to ‘Where’s Your Money?’ a pure Stones-inspired rock track, the album is a melting pot of influences. It is, however, Mazzy Star that the band share most with – throw in the sexy vocal interplays between Lydia Des Dolles and guitarist Danda and you have a glorious debut. Lisa Hughes


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Macc And dgoHn Some Shit Saaink



Deer Tick The Black Dirt Sessions FARGO

The Black Dirt Sessions emerge as proof that after years of fluctuating personnel, Deer Tick have stumbled on an effective formula. The addition of former Titus Andronicus guitarist Ian O’Neill sees the band’s sound bolstered with a compelling fractiousness to complement the occasionally oversedate piano of mainman John McCauley. Whether the subject matter is death, religion or simply drunkenness, the gruff but heartening voice of McCauley is so versatile that it seems perfect-suited. Indeed, the vocals are delivered so earnestly that the undeniably West Coast sound of the Providence, Rhode Island natives on tracks such as ‘When She Comes Home’ never comes close to sounding trite or forced. Jonathan Bradley


Wavves King Of The Beach FAT POSSUM

Depending on your point of view, Wavves’ Nathan Williams is either the cosseted adolescent who displayed all his insecurities so publicly at Primavera in 2009 or a prolific, tortured spokesperson for a generation. If it’s the latter, you’re probably one of Nate’s bestest friends, for surely those are the people for whom this record was made. Gone are the universal themes of the debut’s ‘No Hope Kids’ and ‘So Bored’, replaced by self-promotion, in-jokes and thinly veiled references to Williams’ hedonism. In short, this is the musical equivalent of a Facebook homepage. —60 issue 67—

This is the first full length from the archives of London-based producer duo Macc and dgoHn (pronounced ‘John’), and it is is full of breakbeatdriven gems. ‘Bamba’ is a fine example of fresh and creepy drum ‘n’ bass production; the intro is a haunting, low tone; heavily-modulated enough to bring on sea sickness, and then on come the clipped beats, spooky whispers, and smooth subs. A more direct number is ‘Mustard Greens’. It starts straight into a heavy break with sizzling cymbals before the filtered low end fills out the track with a menacing groove. All the edits and programming are tight, but there is another crucial element to the mix; soul. There are some tough modern sounds here, but plenty of timeless human swing at play making it worth repeated listens. Barry Cullen


Tango In The Attic Bank Place Locomotive Society BELIEVE

OK, let’s get this over with right away: Scots quintet Tango In The Attic really do sound a lot like Vampire Weekend. Those jaunty keyboard runs, funky bass, the afro-beat rhythms, wiry guitar lines… it’s uncanny. Were it not for Daniel Craig’s conspicuously Caledonian lilt, you could almost swear Bank Place was the New Yorkers’ latest offering. Almost. For the key to Tango In The Attic’s success lies in where their sound differs to that of their illustrious transatlantic peers: in the subtle melancholic hues which become more apparent as the album progresses, the emotional resonance of the voices, the sense of triumph of heart over art that the studied cool of Contra never quite manages. Thus, tracks like ‘Seven Second Stare’ and the excellent ‘Leftside’ stick in the


Sweet Jane Sugar For My Soul REEKUS


Various Artists Dark Matter: 2004-2009 MULTIVERSE

2010 will probably be the year that dubstep goes mainstream. Thankfully, the people at Multiverse want to remind us just how special the last six years have been in its evolution and in a way, this compilation also lets us realise just how good the future of the underground will, inevitably, always remain. Based in Bristol, Multiverse is a collective of labels comprising such legendary imprints as Tectonic, Kapsize and Earwax. Dark Matter showcases a ream of absolute gems that have appeared on these labels over the last six years and to be perfectly frank, there isn’t a dull moment across this compilation’s 24 tracks. From the dark, garage-step riddims of Vex’d, through the warmed-up funk of Joker, this compilation shows the diversity and complexity that exists within a genre that is a lot deeper than many people first realise. Another true beauty of this release is that more or less unknown artists like Cyrus and Emptyset drop huge, throbbing tunes into this already brooding mix, leaving the listener stunned by the end. Whether you’re a newcomer to the world of dubstep or a rave-seasoned bass head, this compilation has something, and everything, for the stepper in us all – it will lift you up, spin you round and most likely leave you in puddles by the end of it. Matt Hazley



PVT Church With No Magic WARP

You might know PVT better as Aussie band Pivot, who impressed with 2008’s O Soundtrack My Heart. Sadly they’ve been forced into a name change by the threat of legal action from a similarly-monikered US band. And that’s not the only adjustment: their third album features, for the first time, widespread singing, courtesy of multi-instrumentalist Richard Pike. It’s a winning gambit, Pike’s bold, reverbladen vocals – variously recalling Mark Hollis, Ed Droste and (on dramatic, atmospheric closer ‘Only The Wind Can Hear You’) Graham Sutton of Bark Psychosis – adding a new melodic counterpoint to the band’s muscular instrumentals. Musically the new album is less math-rocky than its predecessor (with nary a guitar to be heard), but still furiously percussive and bass-heavy, as demonstrated by the pounding, noisy ‘Light Up Bright Fires’. It’s decidedly frantic stuff, although the stately ‘Waves & Radiation’ is a welcome change of pace. Moreover, the trio never forget how to write a tune, as evinced by the utterly irresistible ‘Window’. Name changes and legal action be damned: PVT have rolled with the punches and, with Church With No Magic, come up smiling. Neill Dougan


Grasscut 1 Inch / 1/2 Mile

Illness Gifts From God EP



There’s something reassuring about songs sung in Received Pronunciation (see also: Mojave 3) – as if the music has been handed down by some benevolent patriarch – in this case the ever-excellent Ninja Tune. Grasscut take a quirky, scattershot approach to craft their sample-heavy, cinematic pop (half of the duo is a TV score composer), underpinning everything with variously jazzy breaks, jarring electro beats or (twice) utterly wrongheaded big rock, as in the horrible (in a good way) ‘Muppets’ and the horrible (in a bad way) ‘Passing’, which seems to take its dynamics from nu-metal, ruining an otherwise lovely song. Another slight wobble comes with the ambient, detached spoken word piece ‘1946’. More often, their wild experimentation is surprisingly sharp – the gramophone and strings combination in ‘The Tin Man’ works brilliantly, and there’s a welcome Oppenheimeresque shimmer to ‘The Door In The Wall’. Their subtle use of unusual musical textures throughout is reminiscent of the much-missed Hood. Niall Harden


Originally conceived as a university engineering project, Brighton duo Illness eschew vocals and traditional song structures in favour of strippedback, primal riffs. The pair delight in wringing thrilling, visceral noises from a single guitar and drumkit, playing at breakneck pace and cramming countless great ideas into half a dozen sub-twominute tracks. It’s a necessary brevity – the EP is threaded with melody and clever rhythmic variations, but succeeds on its sheer intensity. Belying its eggheaded origins, Gifts From God is proof that instrumental rock need not be the sole preserve of the chin-stroking brigade. Lee Gorman


James Chance Twist Your Soul - The Definitive Collection HISTORY

It’s a testament to the uncompromising vision of James Chance that this music still sounds fresh and uncompromising now, over 30 years since some of it was first recorded. Emerging as one of the leading lights of the New York ‘no wave’ scene,

Chance and his un-merry band of men and women seemed intent on forcing jazz through a ‘punk’ shaped hole, regardless of what it looked like when it came out the other side. Tribal rhythms, discordant saxophone, and atonal guitars all mesh in a bizarrely clockwork fashion to create a truly unique sound. The post-punk violence of The Birthday Party is a touchstone, but Chance stakes out a territory all of his own. This two-CD retrospective charts his development from angular, confrontational punk upstart, to angular, confrontational jazz upstart. The studio recordings might get slightly more polished, but that ‘difficulty’ still hangs heavy over the proceedings. A late Eighties rendition of Gene Pitney’s ‘Town Without Pity’ might have a reasonably straightforward backing, but Chance’s presence still gives it an indefinable edge. The live recordings are of varying quality, but capture another side of Chance – that of an alternativereality James Brown, striving to bring out a bit of showbiz, but bending it out of all recognition. Dancing meets punk rock attitude, and there are no survivors. You’ll want to move, but you’ll be throwing shapes that don’t exist. As the man himself was prone to say, “Contort yourself! YOU GOT TO!!!” Steven Rainey



The Coral Butterfly House DELTASONIC

The skill of pinpointing artists with potential longevity is a rock journo’s greatest quarry. Who doesn’t want to look back in 30 years and say of an esteemed artist, ‘I saw their talent then’? To be, well, not the one who touted Gay Dad, but the one who recognised the might of Muse?

Tokyo Police Club Champ MEMPHIS INDUSTRIES

When Tokyo Police Club released Elephant Shell, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. Sure, their debut album had its moments – and it was nothing if not competent – but its sounds were already common currency amongst their indie-rock contemporaries. Being unkind, it sounded as if they’d consulted a focus group prior to recording. Such calculation is an admirable trait in business, but isn’t always so becoming in a group of musicians. Champ shows greater sincerity; you believe the emotions that frontman Dave Monks conveys and the intimate tableaux he depicts, and whilst they’re hardly foraging at indie-rock’s avant-garde edges, it’s nowhere near as domesticated as its

Nonetheless, close scrutiny continues to reveal telltale signs of the acts that moulded them, be it The Strokes-aping drawl of ‘Wait Up (Boots of Danger)’, or the Weezer-echoing punk-pop of ‘Gone’. Ultimately, they’re unlikely to become as iconic as those that inspired them – not many are – but, on the evidence of Champ, they might yet be contenders. Francis Jones


Cats And Cats And Cats If I’d Had An Atlas

Aqualung Magnetic North



This debut full-length release sees Cats And Cats And Cats move away from the Cursive-inspired math of their impressive split EP with This Town Needs Guns into rich, layered indie-folk territory. Strings, chimes, horns and group chants weave through the constantly-evolving landscape of If I’d Had An Atlas, the group’s adventurous spirit channelled through multi-part epics like the magnificent ‘The Boy With The Beak’ without falling into the trap of proggy indulgence. Add in a wonderfully spacious, organic sound and you’ve got one of the year’s best albums to date. Lee Gorman


predecessor. What they do brilliantly, then, is to marry the feral enthusiasm of 2005 mini-album A Lesson In Crime to more fully-formed melodies. The choruses have been honed to soul-skewering points, be it the electrified charge of ‘Bambi’, or the heartbroken lamentation of ‘End Of A Spark’.

Matt Hales – aka Aqualung – nearly quit music altogether two years back, after struggling to clamber from the shadow of his own ethereal smash ‘Strange And Beautiful’. Magnetic North, his sixth effort, is a turbulent emotional rollercoaster, dripping with tales of loves won and loves lost. The stylised, piano-driven efforts and crooning vocals will be instantly familiar to fans, and in moments like the touching ‘Fingertip’, Hales edges towards his career’s more memorable moments. For the most part, though, Magnetic North – despite taking advantage of a number of talented female backing singers – is just a touch too same-old to really break through that ‘one hit’ barrier. James Hendicott

From slightly inauspicious beginnings – the manic ‘Skeleton Key’ springs to mind – The Coral become with every step more of a classic act. From the Smithsian jangle of ‘Rowing Jewel’, there’s a brief moment of pure Merseybeat, calling to mind all those great Northern pop moments like ‘Bus Stop’ or ‘Needles And Pins’. But where Sixties acts like The Hollies and The Searchers are forever frozen in the teenage frame, The Coral have a maturity to their sound on this sixth album that gives goosebumps. From the gentle folkiness of ‘Walking In The Winter’ through the soaring vocal harmonies of the title track, The Coral’s music has so far stood the test of time like no one could have imagined. They have a touch of Traffic’s psychedelia and The Beatles’ tunesmithery, and their vintage is only improving. Always interesting, and always a pleasure. Kirstie May


Fennesz / Daniell / Buck Knoxville THRILL JOCKEY

Christian Fennesz has always been known for the quality of his collaborations, Sala Santa Cecilia – recorded with the legendary Ryuichi Sakamoto – being a distinct highlight. Knoxville, on the other hand is a very different kind of collaboration. Recorded in 2009 at the Big Ears festival in Knoxville, Tennessee, the one-off performance brings together Fennesz on guitar and electronics, David Daniell on guitar and Tony Buck on drums, each summoned personally by the festival organisers to channel their atmospheric energy into something darkly unique. From the outset of this performance, the initial, tactile drones morph into waves of beautifully textured sounds, bathing the listener in melodies that ebb and flow above the murky, disjointed percussion below. Although the release is split into four tracks, it flows as one, offering an aural experience quite like no other. A true experiment in sound, then, like some sort of sonic rain. This is for the dreamers, the introspective wonderers and the people who aren’t afraid of something they can’t understand. Matt Hazley

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Luke Abbott Holkham Drones

Baths Cerulean



Norfolk producer Abbott follows a handful of well-regarded EPs with his debut album for James Holden’s Border Community label. Fans of Holden will find much to admire here, not least the insidious groove of ‘Whitebox’ and the incessant throb of the stunning ‘Brazil’. The tracks on show exhibit a messy, homehewn quality, full of hiss, static and distortion, and that’s not to denigrate them. On the contrary, this is wildly inventive stuff, full of eerie melodies, and discordant, discomfiting drones, exemplified by the driving, shapeshifting title track. ‘Sirens For The Colour’ is another highlight, its crisp beat giving way to an altogether lovely ambient middle section. Perhaps a touch overlong, Holkham Drones is nevertheless unsettling, otherworldly and oddly beautiful. Neill Dougan


Tobacco Maniac Meat ANTICON.

Maniac Meat is the second album from Tobacco, alter-ego of Black Moth Super Rainbow frontman Tom Fec. Opener ‘Constellation Dirtbike Head’ is indicative of the dilemmas on the first half of the album. As implied by the title, Tobacco tries to squeeze multiple ideas into each song, muddying pleasing melodies with unnecessary and random industrial samples. Even the cameo by Beck on ‘Fresh Hex’ feels superfluous, his trademark slacker cool lost in a fuzz of distortion. The waters clear on the latter part of the record, however. ‘Six Royal Vipers’ is slinky and seductive, like The Knife mixed by N.E.R.D. and ‘Creepy Phone Calls’ throbs like vintage Kraftwerk. If Tobacco’s people are reading this, strip ‘Sweatmother’ of the annoying race-car drone and sell an organ to convince Kylie or Britney to coo provocatively over its Beastie Boys riffage. The boy could retire. (P.S. Send my cheques c/o AU at the usual address.) Kenny Murdock

21-year-old Will Wiesenfeld is not a newcomer to the music game – he has previously shown his face in the [Post-Foetus] project – but nevertheless there is nothing to do but marvel at his debut album under a new moniker. Cerulean – a shade of blue, fact fans – spits out comparisons at every turn, almost as if it spends its runtime nonchalantly name-dropping – a touch of J Dilla’s soulful beats here; some bucolic, Four Tet-esque loveliness there. And it’s not too much of a stretch to say that Baths can feel comfortable in that kind of company – Wiesenfield has developed a sound just made for lazy summer days, the perfect marriage of bookish, glitchy hip-hop and the kind of hazy electronica defined by Boards of Canada, Four Tet and the whole chillwave thing. Toro Y Moi is an especially close bedfellow, the two connected by their mutual love of hip-hop. While chillwave acts like Neon Indian and Washed Out deal in almost-there pop songs and halfremembered nostalgia, though, Baths’ music is much more direct, not least when he is singing. ‘Lovely Bloodflow’ is an early peach, ballclenchingly tight funk topped off with an alarming falsetto vocal. ‘You’re My Excuse To Travel’ is another that employs Wiesenfeld’s high register, coming on like Dilla remixing Temper Trap. Meanwhile, he croons his way through the eerie ‘♥’, sounding for all the world like an entirely different vocalist – and songwriter. Despite all the vocal fireworks, however, the gold-plated highlight is ‘Aminals’, a mid-tempo hip-hop track that will surely become Baths’ calling card. Riding on a bouncy bassline and sprinkled with samples of playground chants, it positively drips with languid joy. Wiesenfeld is no fly-by-night: Kieran Hebden et al should watch their backs. Chris Jones




School Of Seven Bells Disconnect From Desire VAGRANT/GHOSTLY INTERNATIONAL

It’s not often an album throws someone so thoroughly and immediately into a feverish haze of nostalgia, but Disconnect From Desire is one such work. The second LP from the trio of Benjamin Curtis (ex-Secret Machines) and twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza is a much fuller offering than its predecessor, Alpinisms, with a far bigger and less hazy sound that touches on Eighties Depeche Mode, Madonna and the usual shoegaze-y types like Ride and even a touch of the mostly-forgotten Veruca Salt in the gorgeous vocal delivery. This is a wonderfully crafted album with a libidinous, dreamy spine running through it, songs that never sacrifice melody for a smart synth or effect and tracks like ‘Babelonia’, which could have soundtracked every university ‘indie music night’ upon which this writer ever embarked. Adam Lacey


The Books The Way Out

Zero 7 Record



At the end of ‘Group Autogenics’, the first track on The Way Out, a self-help guru style voice implores the listener to “take off your undergarments / and go deeper and deeper and deeper.” It’s a stylistically confusing start, mixing pop psychology cliché with a smutty joke, and one that The Books fail to resolve across an album that seems to have its tongue wedged in various depths of cheek as it intermittently astonishes the listener with dazzling musicianship. Continuing in a broadly similar vein to their ultra acclaimed back catalogue, The Way Out draws primarily on the spoken voice as a source of inspiration and the album’s long gestation period is borne out in such extraordinarily tricky sonic collages as ‘I Didn’t Know That’ and the creepy Sesame Street on ketamine wigout of ‘A Cold Freezin’ Night’. However, perhaps influenced by the dizzying ascent of Animal Collective over the last few years, the album sounds much more bass-heavy than previous efforts. A few of these tracks could keep a dancefloor happily ticking over without the benefit of a remix. Musically then, it’s hard to find fault in The Way Out. It’s only when you stop listening to the sound of the voices and listen, instead, to what they are saying, that you hit on the album’s Achilles heel. As more self-help platitudes and not-very-funny jokes emerge from the mix you wonder if it is intended as satire or to be taken seriously. If it is the first, it’s a joke we’ve all heard before. If it is the second, then The Books ought to lay off the bong. Darragh McCausland


Record is a compilation of Zero 7’s decade-long career that has seen a Grammy nomination for The Garden and a succession of gold-selling CDs. For anyone seeking a mood compilation, stuck in a particular groove, then this is not the release for you. The vibe swings from the Playboy Mansion sway of ‘I Have Seen’, to the Love sound-alike ‘Futures’, to the laidback club chill-out of ‘Throw It All Away’ and on to the ambient festival vision of ‘Waiting Line’, whose mission is to remind you of why you’re in a field with like-minded contemporaries, rather than being stuck in a dark satanic mill of a call-centre or some equally spiritsapping drudgery. ‘The Pageant Of The Bizarre’ would be equally at home on Screamadelica if auditions were being held. Not forgetting the uptempo folk of ‘Swing’, this is an eclectic selection. Check out the remixes if you get hold of a copy, with a great rework of ‘Futures’ courtesy of Carl Craig. Jeremy Shields


Eliza Doolittle Eliza Doolittle PARLOPHONE

Cor blimey ‘enry ‘iggins. Eliza Sophie Caird is a child actor turned E4 starlet who has emerged from the pop swamp of Norf Lahndahn, replete with a major label contract and the contorted vocal inflections of the prole she quite clearly isn’t. Rather, she’s Lily Allen stripped of that redeeming titter of wit. Songs like ‘Mr Medicine’ may well be

designed to invoke a sense of carefree, summertime abandon in its target demographic, but the clammy hand of corporate manipulation smears its grubby prints over every track. ‘Skinny Genes’ is nearpalatable until you realise, that in a sick kind of postmodern joke, it’s a dreadful hybrid of Allen and Kate Nash. Apparently the song ‘Back To Front’ sees Ms. Doolittle travelling backwards so “we can learn to laugh again, like when we were children”. Seriously, ban this sick stunt. Joe Nawaz


Benni Hemm Hemm Retaliate KIMI

What’s in the water up there? Benni Hemm Hemm is the latest son of Iceland’s small but prodigious musical scene. Retaliate, his debut release in English, is an outstanding five-track EP of perfectly formed grandiose songs, tapping into such assorted themes as vampire bloodlust and gold pioneering. The story goes that Benni recently relocated to Edinburgh and opted to record Retaliate in the humble confines of his apartment, with dramatic results. The stark, evocative beauty of mournful piano dirge ‘Church Loft’ is soul stirring stuff, title track ‘Retaliate’ an extraordinary blend of exquisite, multi-layered vocals and highlight ‘Blood On Lady Lawson’ a glorious torch song reminiscent of Leonard Cohen reworked by Sufjan Stevens. This guy’s here to stay. Eamonn Seoige



Mount Kimbie Crooks & Lovers

Max Richter infra



After dazzling with their two EPs so far, hopes were high for Mount Kimbie’s full-length debut album. And have they delivered? Well… yes, but Crooks & Lovers is not the masterpiece many expect. The duo of Kai Campos and Dominic Maker have already shifted their sound around considerably, with EPs Maybes and Sketch On Glass both drawing on dubstep but using it as a launchpad for their own flights of fancy – spacious and eerie on the former; tight and intense on the latter. Here, there is no such overarching mood – which is probably to its detriment – but evidence of the pair’s production skill is all around. As such, it’s perhaps to be admired more than to be truly loved. Individual highlights include the gently bumping ‘Would Know’, whose grainy noise and popping percussion are redolent of Maybes, and the following ‘Before I Move Off’, which is built around a simple guitar riff and a minimal hip-hop beat. Again, the production is wonderfully dense and nuanced. Just when you feel you have a handle on where the album is going, though, Campos and Maker drop ‘Blind Night Errand’, its rubbery synths and garage minimalism at odds with what has gone before and sounding slightly out of place. It’s not the only one. What the album lacks in cohesion, though, it makes up for in pure sonic bliss (check out the sublime ‘Ruby’), and the knowledge that Mount Kimbie have only just got started. Chris Jones


Various Artists Premeditation Vol. 3 PREDESTINATION

This compilation is a laudable exposition of exciting new music by Glasgow label Predestination. There’s plenty. Over 23 tracks, we’re introduced to a plethora of bands, both Scottish and blow-in, bound together almost without exception by a single aesthetic tendency: loudness. ‘On The Reg’ by Glasgow’s Citizens is gasket-blowing smart-punk that lands somewhere between Lovvers and more austere post-hardcore fare. Dutch guests Boutros Bubba do an excellent line in uncomfortable, excitable post-hardcore, and the pillowy respite provided by Olympic Swimmers’ ‘I Won’t Sleep’ is rendered the lovelier by the fact that it seems to have ended up on this unapologetically heavy compilation by taking a wrong turn. Wexford’s Adebisi Shank lend perhaps their most absurd song, ‘Snakehips’, but on the whole, unselfconscious grunge or metal trappings surface too often for it to be a truly impressive set. Still, plenty to dig through and decide on. Karl McDonald


With infra the Latin for ‘below’, ambient piano composer Max Richter has chosen a perfect moniker for his latest long player. Putting this album on headphones is like slipping below a surface, and floating slowly into a pool of deep, clear reflections. The pieces on the album were initially composed for a ballet featuring art by Julian Opie (creator of the iconic portraits of Blur on their Best Of). Opie’s preoccupation with the fluidity of human movement is reflected strongly in music that moves fluently, filtering stark yet melodic compositions through sheets of electronic ambience. While this haunting work is a must for any serious fan of ambient music, its mastery of melody and harmony make it worth checking out for casual listeners too. Darragh McCausland


The Blue Eyed Shark Experiment The Fluffer SIDEWALK 7

With a past that includes tales of childhood adoption, parental loss, a wayward adolescence and a battle with cancer, The Blue Eyed Shark Experiment is equipped with a scope for subject matter that is probably beyond his years. His musical landscape is equally as varied, from the muddy ska groove of the title track, to the vocally layered chorus of ‘Goodbye My Little Friend’, which recalls Poses period Rufus Wainwright. The pop flavourings extend to downright pleasant radio-friendly catchiness on ‘What To Do’, which ironically deals with BES’s cancer scare. It’s hard to guess where this album is going next. However, BES’s casual Lou Reed-styled vocal endures throughout all the balladry and jaunty piano led indie-pop to make this a smooth, consistent debut. Mickey Ferry


Dios We Are Dios BUDDYHEAD

Picture the scene: it’s 1968, and the hippie dream is fading. The referee calls time on time itself. Someone slips the space-time continuum an acid tab and a 42-year leap forward occurs. A 21st century Charles Manson decides that The Beatles are a tad passé (what was that Rock Band thing all about?), and now Dios are the soundtrack to his trippy, brainwashing madness. We Are Dios fills Topanga Canyon with swirling sample loops, dollops of overblown vocal reverb, hazy acoustic lines, lazy sunshine harmonies, and Charlie’s impressionable halfwits (and the rest of us) writhe

to their bright, barren pop-psychedelia. Though faced with an opening line as cringeworthy as “alcohol and dumb decision go hand-in-hand when they’re around”, it’s fair to suggest that future Charlie may have swiftly dragged his MP3s to the recycle bin before he even had a chance to wallow in Dios’ delights.. Kyle Robinson


Tender Trap Dansette Dansette FORTUNA POP!

Twee-pop always had a dark side, a twisted, confrontational attitude that lurked just beneath the surface. Whilst the general public saw cardigans and lollipops, in reality it was all about sex and naughtiness. “Does he have to please you? Psychologically. Does he have to tease you? Gynaecologically,” sing Tender Trap, setting the tone for a bit of girl-group inspired pop action. Tinny, distorted guitars rattle along, swimming in a sea of reverberation, whilst sugary harmonies coast overhead. All the usual Sixties-via-Eighties references are thrown out (The Jesus and Mary Chain, Ronettes drumbeats etc) and it’s intentionally ‘disposable’ stuff, meant to provide that sugar-rush pop thrill and little else. And if you’re not predisposed to twee-pop, you will hate it like you hate nothing else. Even after all these years, the gentle ones still possess the greatest capacity to cause rage. Which is exactly the way they like it, I’d imagine. Steven Rainey


Moon Duo Escape WOODSIST

Continuing the stellar run from the roster of emerging New York label Woodsist comes Moon Duo’s debut LP Escape. Despite consisting of a mere four tracks, the album weighs in at 30 minutes of distorted lo-fi punk. Like the majority of their labelmates, the pop sensibilities at the band’s core are as prominent as their penchant for the distortion pedal, despite the first listen being dominated by buried vocals and psychedelic, droning guitar. The formula rarely deviates far from the template established on sister band Wooden Shjips’ albums, but it is the interplay between the duo that ensures such an engaging listen, with the blending of guitar and piano proving especially innovative. Jonathan Bradley


The Phoenix Prestige / Reviews

Unsigned Universe

Words by Chris Jones

The Phoenix Prestige The Bullet Catch Based in China, with no plans to tour much further at this stage, Irish/American trio The Phoenix Prestige may struggle to build a sizeable fanbase elsewhere in the world. However, those that do lend them an ear will be impressed with what they hear. The band can boast a wonderfully complex and well-developed sound for just three people, with electronic elements and maudlin songcraft mingling with an expansive, almost orchestral approach. The opening, instrumental ‘Death Defyers’ sounds like And So I Watch You From Afar gone widescreen; ‘The Decay’ is soaring, Doves-style indie rock; and the nine-minute closer ‘Antarctica’, provides the coup de grace – a hypnotic, sample-heavy slow-burner of a track. Excellent. WWW.THEPHOENIXPRESTIGE.BANDCAMP.COM

The Cahier Collection The Leading Role Relative newcomers on the NI scene, Carrickfergus four-piece The Cahier Collection aren’t offering anything particularly innovative, but ‘The Leading Role’ serves useful notice of their promise. The band inhabit that grey area where garage punk (The Clash, The Libertines, The Undertones) meets art-rock (The Cribs, Franz Ferdinand, The Rakes) – high tempos, needling guitars and breathless, heavily accented vocals that positively drip with disdain. B-side ‘Islands’ is no filler, either, as it provides ample support to the lead track. What they do, they do well. Good packaging, too. WWW.MYSPACE.COM/THECAHIERCOLLECTION

Captain Kennedy Stretch That Penny Drawing on a rich cocktail of folk, country, trad and rock, Lurgan’s Captain Kennedy impress with this double A-side, a taster of their just-released debut album. ‘Stretch The Penny’ is an ode to the recession which fizzes with bar-room energy – all clanking piano, swooping fiddle and Ciaran Lavery’s rich, gravelly vocals over the top. ‘Sweetest Friend’ is a gentle country ballad and, though you can’t fault the playing and recording, the song will be a touch saccharine for many tastes. That said, at least as many listeners will fall hook, line and sinker for its classic melody and smooth harmonies. WWW.MYSPACE.COM/CAPTAINKENNEDY —66 issue 67—



Hangzhou is also a sprawling city full of China’s wealthiest businessmen. As a musician, Hangzhou’s scene is infantile. There are very few venues with decent stages – many people are only interested in live cover bands and pop DJs, but that’s changing rapidly – there’s is a great underground community of musicians. Also, Hangzhou is only 90 minutes from Shanghai by train which is like an ant-hill of activity – tonnes of venues, music, fans and bands. Generally, China has a lot of great venues and bands, it’s just a huge country so everything’s well spread out.

It’s not often that we get post from China, so a package from the south-eastern city of Hangzhou was always going to pique our interest. Turns out that the four-track EP The Bullet Catch is the work of The Phoenix Prestige, two Limerick school friends – singer and bassist John Carroll and guitarist and electronics man Brendan Donnelly – and American drummer Jay Iverson, making their way as an experimental band in China’s vast and nebulous music scene. John answers the questions.

What has been the reception to your music in China? A lot of very mixed reactions. Some people seriously dig the rock and the energy we put into our shows; they come up to us after shows and say how much they enjoyed it. It’s really endearing to hear that that kind of passion and magic still exists for music fans here because many of my musician friends in Ireland and USA feel that the West is so saturated with choice that people have become totally apathetic to it.

What brought you and Brendan to China in the first place? Basically, we had just come out of Limerick Art College, with zero prospects of a job and no idea where to look; I think we were both in need of a new beginning. We had lost contact for a few years. Brendan was travelling in north China and I was in South Korea. I contacted Brendan in Christmas 2007 and said I would be in China, so he sent me directions to Hangzhou. We did a lot of catching up and talked a lot about music and began working on the building blocks for The Phoenix Prestige. Since we’d known each other for so long I think it was just instinctive. The guitars came out almost immediately. We wrote a few new songs, demoed them and began The Phoenix Prestige as a two-piece.

Why have you named the EP after [pretendChinese illusionist] Chung Sing Loo’s infamous Bullet Catch trick? Chung Ling Soo is an inspiration – creating that sense of magic and wonder in something you’re passionate about no matter how many times you’ve been told it’s impossible. His inspiration transcends impossibility – I’m starting to sound like an adidas ad, but even punk rock that started as something socially anarchic can transcend into an amazing piece of art.

What is Hangzhou like to live and play music in? Hangzhou is a city of roughly six million people. It’s a very laidback place surrounded by the Longjing tea mountains and the calming West Lake.

Your sound is quite complex and layered – how does it work live? Brendan is mainly responsible for the sampling and electronic soundscapes. He’s got a great ear for finding the peaks and troughs in a song – compositionally, artistically, emotionally etc... At shows, we use various guitar pedals layered together with the midi we’ve prepared on a laptop, and build the band around it.

Pearl Jam / Willowstone / Sea Sessions

Live Reviews


Pearl Jam Odyssey Arena, Belfast Twenty years in the game and Pearl Jam are still knocking it right out of the park. From the opening salvo of ‘Sometimes’ to closing set lynchpin ‘Yellow Ledbetter’, the band play well over two hours and barely dent their tremendous back catalogue. Aside from a brace of newer songs mid-concert, the quality and energy don’t dip. Doubters will argue that it’s the money that does it: the monolithic speaker stacks, the illuminated backdrop bearing the group’s name and minions tuning and chauffeuring guitars between each song would give anyone such swaggering confidence. This is unfair. What permits Eddie Vedder et al. to stride onstage with such pomp can be explained quite succinctly: they have great songs. ‘Do The Evolution’ and ‘Animal’ are ferocious, whilst lesser sighted album tracks ‘No Way’ and ‘Tremor Christ’ receive a welcome airing. Elsewhere, rarities like ‘State Of Love And Trust’ are greeted like number one singles. There is, if the constant whooping and hollering is anything to go by, a lot of love in the room, even if the singer’s joke, “You gave us Michael Flatley and we gave you the Iraq War” causes a fluttering of boos. And what a room it is: the Odyssey might be big enough to house the SS Enterprise, but Pearl Jam’s music fills the whole of it. They take great pains to make the audience, from those languishing in the box seats to the lowly punters at the very back, feel that they belong at the party. Vedder patrols all corners of the stage, air-shaking hands with the fans, whilst guitarist Mike McCready jigs and pogos and tosses his plectrums to those in the front row. But once again the songs are key: ‘Alive’ and ‘Even Flow’ still sound fresh long after the plaid shirts have faded, and ‘Better Man’ and ‘Given To Fly’ scatter lighters and mobile phones in the air. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how you play a gig. Ross Thompson

LIVE Willowstone Festival Killyleagh, Co. Down Willowstone is only in its second year but is already making a huge impression on the crowded NI festival scene. It has everything that a festival should: great location, great bands, great facilities, great weather, and most importantly great people – attributes that have seen the attendance double in the last year. The festival is situated in a country park in Killyleagh, County Down, and the gentle surroundings instantly settle you into the festival mood, despite the fact you still have to deal with a tent you haven’t looked at in a year. The campsite is situated at the top of a hill where the Strangford Stone stands, and from which you can see the whole of Strangford Lough and the Mourne Mountains. For many people this is enough – no need to even go to the main site until well into the day. The entertainment is set in a walled garden, which only adds to the relaxed atmosphere. The hog roast and beer tee-pee served up by a local brewery add to the earthy and familial ambience, and family is a key part of this festival. Around half of those attending are families with kids, and some with grandparents… The acts playing are all of high quality and variety. Folk-jazz ensemble Katie and the Carnival are

followed by electro-pop from Dublin band Dark Room Notes and Cashier No.9’s laid-back grooves before headliners The Answer’s uncompromising, all-out assault on the eardrums of all those in attendance. But Willowstone is not just a music festival. There are a number of performance artists ranging from belly dancing, to throwing paint-bombs at a canvas, to a hall of mirrors where the only escape is to play Queen’s ‘I Want To Break Free’ on keys in order to unlock the door. Whilst dressed as Freddie Mercury. All in all, a grand day out. Barry Fahy

Sea Sessions Bundoran, Co. Donegal Banish those visions of Glastonbury-style muckfests and wellie boots – the punters are delighted to see the sun smiling on them at the start of the Sea Sessions open air beach festival in Donegal. In fact, for three glorious days of the seaside event in Bundoran, the sun shines on music lovers, drinkers, revellers and milk bottle white bathers. Over 50 acts are scheduled to perform on three stages across the weekend and as predicted the concert tents are packed out to see Paul Weller and the Fun Lovin’ Criminals take the stage. For fans of Weller, seeing the Modfather belt out hits from his impressive back catalogue is superb. Admittedly, there are glitches in the sound which prompt Weller to leave the stage and come back when all is fixed, but the crowd don’t heckle one bit.

Well not that it’s possible to hear from a squished mosh pit, anyway. It is at this point late on Saturday night, squeezed up beside all the other hardcore Weller fans that it becomes evident how sunburnt everyone is. Jumping around to ‘A Town Called Malice’ is physically painful as arms brush against the painfully red scorched skin of others, making me think the only race in the world not to wear sun cream is the Irish. Fun Lovin’ Criminals, David Holmes and Andy Weatherall are all on form too, no doubt ably boosted by all the love in the sea-salty air. On the negative side, the queues for the booze are extremely long and – naturally – pricey enough, although Sea Sessions is not the only place this happens. Again, the sound from the PA system is dodgy in places and leads to many sitting on the sand outside the tent to get better sound. In all, though, the festival is a major success and should pat itself on the back. The organisers managed to bag some major headliners and other acts such as Tom Baxter, Cathy Davey, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and David Kitt, and the people have arrived in their droves. And it isn’t all geared towards music, as Bundoran is regarded as one of Ireland best surfing spots. The more active among the guests turn their hand to surfing, mountain biking, tag rugby or even power boating while the more lazy of us sunbathe at Roguey Rocks. All told, a session worth waiting for. Aine McEntee —67 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 info@iheartau.com. 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: —68 issue 67—

Sc Subbacultcha

Most Wanted - Glasgowbury


GLASGOW KISS For those about to (Eagle’s) Rock, we salute you!

In the last 10 years, Northern Irish music has gone from strength to strength. With bands like The Answer, In Case of Fire, And So I Watch You From Afar, Fighting With Wire and General Fiasco all establishing themselves far and wide, arguably the root of this success has been the continued support and encouragement of Paddy Glasgow’s Glasgowbury festival.


the initial 100 people who attended the first one, to the 4,000 who were there last year to see almost 50 acts, Glasgowbury has remained a vital breeding ground for the best in Northern Irish music, largely due to the unwavering faith of Paddy Glasgow. The man’s commitment to the music scene here is simply staggering, and on this 10th anniversary celebration, he has pulled out all the stops to create a stellar line-up headlined by the mighty Fighting With Wire. “Fighting With Wire have been with us from the very beginning, playing in bands, working as stage crew and tech support and generally being great supporters of the event,” Paddy explains. “Given their recent successes and the plan to release their new album later in the year, I think they will be the perfect headlining band to help

us celebrate this iconic milestone and put a cap on a decade of Glasgowbury.” Alongside FWW can be found an embarrassment of riches – Duke Special, LaFaro, Not Squares, Fight Like Apes, The Lowly Knights, A Plastic Rose, General Fiasco and many, many more. Arguably, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival almost exclusively populated by local talent which has such a strong draw. Add to this all manner of on-site entertainment and attractions, and you have an absolutely unmissable day of Northern Irish musical goodness. Steven Rainey GLASGOWBURY TAKES PLACE ON SATURDAY 24TH JULY AT EAGLE’S ROCK, DRAPERSTOWN. TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW. WWW.GLASGOWBURY.COM

Ensconced in the serenity of the Sperrin Mountains, Glasgowbury has emerged as the “must see” event on the Northern Irish musical calendar. Showcasing the finest that Northern Irish music has to offer, the festival has gone from strength to strength in recent years, being voted ‘Ireland’s Best Small Festival 2009’. As it celebrates its first decade, the time is right to look back (and forward) at this uniquely Northern Irish phenomenon. Beginning when Draperstown-based singersongwriter Paddy Glasgow decided to promote some local bands to raise money for the Ulster Cancer Foundation, the festival has grown beyond what anyone could have thought possible. From


—69 AU Magazine—

Sc Most Wanted


Most Wanted Liar, Liar

Some bands almost never play Ireland, so it is incumbent on us to tip our hats to those that do so on a regular basis. Into this vaunted and much appreciated position go Liars, who have been weirding us out on a regular basis since 2002. Latest album Sisterworld is a superbly spooky addition to their oeuvre, but while the band’s back catalogue includes neck-snapping dance-punk and industrial noise from the first two albums, it is from Drum’s Not Dead’s exquisite oddness and the last two albums’ otherworldly pop that they are most likely to draw. The statuesque and utterly compelling Angus Andrew – Nick Cave Mk II – is your host. Liars play the Black Box, Belfast on August 10 and Whelan’s, Dublin on August 11. liars

Words by Chris Jones

Audio Nasties So legendarily offensive are their song titles and album sleeves, you almost think of New York’s Cannibal Corpse as a fictional band. Not so. The now veteran death metallers bring such radio staples as ‘Hammer Smashed Face’, ‘Skewered From Ear To Eye’ and ‘Necropedophile’ to Dublin and Belfast at the end of August. You might not be able to see the band for flailing hair, but you’ll probably hear them in Sligo. Cannibal Corpse play the Academy, Dublin on August 21 and the Spring & Airbrake, Belfast on August 22.

Striking A Balance





Belfast indie-rockers Escape Act have just released their second album, Balance (see our review on p.59, and they have continued their idiosyncratic approach to self-promotion. Their debut Loosely Based On Fiction was initially released to various bloggers, one track at a time, before the whole thing became available in a variety of formats on their website – from an absolutely free download up to a pricier, but utterly lovely, deluxe edition which included a T-shirt, 7” vinyl and card set. This time, they are spending the afternoon before the album launch performing and collaborating in a disused shop space in Belfast city centre as part of the Out Of Place project – we are promised lots of musical interaction with the general public. Full details at bit.ly/outofplace.

—70 issue 67—

‘Plane Sailing Born out of the old Diston crew, who hosted many a legendary rave in the Belfast Art College and elsewhere over the last decade, Acroplane is now the standard bearer of underground electronic music in the city, especially now that the closely related Ecker nights are no more. Last month, Acroplane started up a monthly ‘Bass Sessions’ residency at Mynt, and this second edition is being recorded for BBC Radio 1’s Introducing in Northern Ireland show. Therefore, a top-banana line-up is on offer, including Dublin’s Sunken Foal and Automatic Tasty and hometown producer Kab Driver. Bass in the place, Belfast. Acroplane Bass Sessions #2 (in cooperation with BBC Radio 1) takes place at Mynt, Belfast on Friday, July 16.

Lofty Ambitions The local music scene in Belfast seems to be going through a difficult spell, with the Two Step showcase now on hiatus, and promoters struggling to fill the venues to hear new bands. One night that seems to be thriving, however, is Up In The Attic, the grassroots showcase run by Bruised Fruit Promotions, and it celebrates its 100th show this month. The likes of And So I Watch You From Afar, General Fiasco and Two Door Cinema Club have all trodden its boards in the past, and this special show will feature the cream of the new breed – Pocket Billiards, Colenso Parade, Strait Laces, Black Bear Saloon and more. Up In The Attic’s 100th show takes place at the Limelight and Katy Daly’s in Belfast on Sunday, July 18.

Most Wanted

Best Of The Fests Yes, we know we did a festival guide a couple of issues ago, and we’ve had some sweet highlights already, but things are about to get bloody mental. In Belfast, trans continues until the end of July with a smorgasbord of events all over the city, while Belsonic has attracted some big names to Custom House Square, this time over eight (count ‘em!) nights and the Open House Festival kicks off at the start of September with an excellent line-up featuring Modest Mouse, cover stars Wilco and more. Elsewhere in the north is Fermanagh’s Forfey, while down in Cork you’ve got Cork X Southwest and Indiependence, and the Midlands can boast Castlepalooza and Le Chéile. Then of course there’s Electric Picnic, which promises to cap the summer in fine style. Get in. It’s festival season. Check iheartau.com/gigguide for dates.


Just Backward Of Square Ah, what could be better of a summer afternoon than kicking back at a cricket ground with a pint in hand, listening to the crack of leather on willow in the distance? Okay, it’s not for everyone but it’s an appeal understood by Neil Hannon and Thomas Walsh, creators of one of last summer’s surprise hit albums – the cricket-themed The Duckworth Lewis Method, named after an arcane method of deciding a rain-shortened match. Side-projects being what they are, live appearances have been few and far between, but the band are profiting from the end of the World Cup and the remainder of a sun-dappled, cricketing summer and pitching up at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre at the end of July for their only scheduled gig as we went to press. 'Owzat?

Dublin’s Twisted Pepper is as reliable as any venue in Ireland for top quality dance and electronic shows, but one event in particular stood out a mile this month. Minimal techno artist Hendrick Weber – aka Pantha du Prince – has been something of a crossover success this year with his third album Black Noise, released on Rough Trade in February. Its lush production style, chiming percussion and atmospheric ambient tracks make it much more than fuel for the dancefloor, but expect the live set to go off in a big way. In support is another of Berlin’s finest, Ben Klock, who is a regular at the techno mecca Berghain, and whose DJ sets would make him a worthy headliner on any other night. A hot and sweaty taste of Berlin. Pantha Du Prince (live) and Ben Klock play POGO @ The Twisted Pepper, Dublin on August 7.

The Duckworth Lewis Method play the Olympia, Dublin on Wednesday, July 28.

In Live Music


Saturday, July 17 In Case of Fire, A Plastic Rose, Axis Of. Black Box, Belfast Adebisi Shank, Not Squares (DJ Set) Twisted Pepper, Dublin Sunday, July 18 Escape Act McHugh’s, Belfast

Tuesday, August 3 Fear Factory Spring & Airbrake, Belfast

Monday, July 19 Kristin Hersh Whelan’s, Dublin

Friday, August 13 The Cast of Cheers, Enemies Whelan’s, Dublin

Tuesday, July 20 Black Moon Black Box, Belfast

Saturday, August 14 Telepathe Whelan’s, Dublin

Cut Copy Tripod, Dublin

Wednesday, August 18 Feeder Mandela Hall, Belfast

Subject is Three: Troy Pierce, Kyle Hall, Billy Scurry and more Twisted Pepper, Dublin Moon Duo Crane Lane Theatre, Cork Tuesday, July 27 Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy Empire Music Hall, Belfast (then touring)


The Handsome Family Spirit Store, Dundalk (then touring)

Wednesday, August 4 Katatonia Limelight, Belfast

Saturday, July 24 Adrian Crowley, Aidan John Moffat Button Factory, Dublin

If the aforementioned Cannibal Corpse aren’t your thing, there is plenty more metal around to shiver your timbers this summer. Rock titans Metallica and Kiss have already been and gone, but fear not – classic ear-tremblers like Soulfly and Fear Factory are doing the rounds and two of the biggest acts in rock are also bound for these shores. The apparently immortal Iron Maiden release their 15th studio album, The Final Frontier on August 16, and they kick off their European tour with a date at the O2 in Dublin on July 30. Guns N’ Roses aren’t what you would call ‘great survivors’ – they’ve long been reduced to Axl plus hired hands – but they too are touring hard again. They play Belfast’s Odyssey Arena on August 31 and the O2 in Dublin – if it’s still standing after Maiden have finished with it – on September 1.

Monday, August 2 Soulfly Spring & Airbrake, Belfast

Josh Ritter, Villagers Iveagh Gardens, Dublin

Friday, July 23 Moon Duo Whelan’s, Dublin

Elemental Metal

Iron Maiden play the O2, Dublin on Friday, July 30. Guns N’ Roses play the Odyssey, Belfast on Tuesday, August 31 and the O2, Dublin on Wednesday, September 1.

Dot Dot Dot... The Best Of The Rest

Sunday, August 1 Jens Lekman Whelans, Dublin

Thursday, August 19 Feeder Academy, Dublin Monday, August 23 Suffocation Limelight, Belfast The Besnard Lakes Cyprus Avenue, Cork Girls Academy, Dublin Tuesday, August 24 The Besnard Lakes Academy 2, Dublin Sunday, August 29 Rock The Lough Festival Enniskillen Thursday, September 2 Chief Auntie Annie’s, Belfast —71 AU Magazine—

Sc Subbacultcha



Console Yourself!

Our regular round-up of the new releases: how to tell a Donkey Kong from a dumb ape.

SINGULARITY (Activision, PC / PS3 / Xbox 360)

Rush ‘n’ attack... The new IP from the Raven software team starts with a bang, quite literally, as your Black Ops helicopter plummets into the ocean near a remote, gothic looking island. This is no glamorous holiday destination, but Katorga-12, the site where Stalin headed up heinous scientific experiments during the Cold War. It’s good to see evil Nazis getting a break, but it seems that those damned Ruskies are just as bad. The fruit of their wicked labour is the Time Manipulation Device, a fairly nifty glove gizmo which enables the wearer to speed up and slow down time, prematurely aging or reinvigorating both objects and people – point it at a soldier and he will turn to a dust

"A knowingly silly, at times atmospheric romp which never takes itself too seriously" Words by Ross Thompson —72 issue 67—


mannequin. It’s a neat spin on the well-worn time splicing motif. Katorga-12, like the island in Lost, exists in two different time-zones, and as the game progresses you will hop between them in order to solve puzzles. The downside is that so much of this has been done before: Singularity becomes a mishmash of elements pilfered from previous first person shooters. There is a decrepit, bomb-blasted Russia (Metro 2033), bungled research testing of a potent radioactive element (Wolfenstein, also by Raven) and subservient laboratory drones being turned into slavering, twisted limb mutants (Dead Space). The most obvious influence, however, is Bioshock, most notably the presence of audio logs, ghostly visions and faux period propaganda. Then again, if you’re going to plagiarise you should crib from the best. That said, Singularity is a knowingly silly, at times atmospheric romp which never takes itself too seriously. It doesn’t claim to reinvent the wheel, but it does spin the wheel pretty fast.


SKATE 3 (EA, PS3 / Xbox 360) New skids on the block... Not that long ago Tony Hawk was king of the consoles: each successive release in the skating grandmaster’s videogame series caused fans to play until their fingers cramped and their wrists dislocated. And then Neversoft went and spoilt it all by involving tools like Bam Margera and stoopid challenges such as nose-grinding down a rollercoaster track. The Skate series, in contrast, has always been housed within the real world. There’s no flip-tricking over bungalows or ollie-ing a rhinoceros here, thank you very much. The emphasis is on building up your own skate brand by working your way from noob status to the hottest skater in Port Carverton. You do this by filming show-reels and taking pictorials of your best stunts, designing your own gear and entering competitions with rival tricksters, all to the strains of Dinosaur Jr., Beastie Boys and Them Crooked Vultures. Skate 3 has a loose storyline, but more fun is to be found free roaming the city taking on the scores of challenges as you please. Lots of time will be wasted on the eye-watering ‘Hall Of Meat’ where the aim is to inflict as much pain upon your character as possible. Ouch.  

LEGO HARRY POTTER: YEARS 1–4 (Warner Bros., DS / PC / PS3 / Xbox 360 / Wii) Tricks with bricks...

Is there no franchise that Traveller’s Tales won’t render in ickle yellow plastic form? What’s next: LEGO Loose Women? LEGO Texas Chainsaw Massacre? We’ve had dinky representations of Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Batman in close succession so you might expect the brand’s latest iteration to be thin on the ideas front, but it’s good to report that this isn’t the case. Whereas the Harry Potter films are generally solemn, humourless affairs, the game is bursting with energy and irreverent visual riffs on the series’ most memorable set-pieces. The addition of spells and incantations make stud collecting and unlocking characters less of a chore before, and any



whiff of boredom is shooed away by the sheer amount of things to do. Hogwarts makes for an immersive environment, too, as every nook and cranny is stuffed with secrets to discover. This, you should understand, is coming from someone who would rather shave off his own kneecaps than watch an entire Harry Potter movie. Plus the whole escapade is aimed squarely at the under-10s. It should keep them very happy. If you know any under-10s, you should also know how difficult a trick that is to perform.

UFC: UNDISPUTED 2010 (THQ, PS3 / PSP / Xbox 360) Fighting talk... It starts ominously, with shaven-headed hard men cast in shadow speaking into the camera about the buckets of blood, sweat and tears it takes to be as badass as they are. There’s a nice morphing effect strangely reminiscent of the Michael Jackson video for ‘Black And White’, though one suspects the King of Pop would have moonwalked his way back to Neverland as far as his sequined slip-ons could carry him rather than get in the ring with these fighters. This is accompanied by music so hyperbolic even Simon Cowell would say that it was a bit much. After it calms down, UFC reveals itself to be one of the most in-depth sports games around. It’s not a beat-‘em-up in the strictest sense, as it doesn’t involve sonic booms or hadoukens or cartoonish characters. What it does involve is real life mixed martial arts athletes knocking the melt out of each other inside a metal cage. Bouts both online and off are tense and relentless, and the

learning curve unforgiving, but give it a while and you’ll be pummelling the best of them into the canvas.

TILT TO LIVE (One Man Left Studios, iPhone /iPod Touch)  

Full tilt... Sometimes the simplest ideas are indeed the best and small ones are more juicy. This incorrigibly addictive app takes the template laid down by Geometry Wars and runs with it, resulting in the kind of game that will force you to miss your bus stop or to sit on the toilet until your legs go numb. Confined inside the four immovable walls of the screen, you must avoid malicious red dots which multiply exponentially until there is little room to move. Your only help is a range of power-ups. At first the game feels all fingers and thumbs but after a few goes you’ll find yourself racking up the points. For a game this small the presentation values are high too: there’s a clatter of Xbox style achievements, and the interface animations are sharp. A low budget treat.  

TRANSFORMERS: WAR FOR CYBERTRON (Activision, DS / PC / PS3 / Xbox 360 / Wii)

Robot wars... Mercifully nothing to do with the execrable Transformers 2, a film so bad it is screened on a loop to prisoners – they normally confess after half of one screening. This time the action takes place on Cybertron where the Autobots and the foul-blooded Decepticons are engaged in all-out war (sorry, there really is no way to make this nonsense sound good). The fact that you can play as either side is a clever touch, though as with last month’s Lost Planet 2 the non-stop, noisy shooting, exploding and smashing does get confusing. At times there is so much transforming and trash talking going on that it’s difficult to tell which robot is which. However, with its alien skyscrapers and self-constructing bridges and freeways, Cyberton is an impressive creation. The visual spectacle never really lets up, particularly when it comes to taking down enemy gunships or wading into the boss battles. Throw in a fistful of multiplayer modes and lots of references to the animated series and you’ve got a fan-pleasing package. —73 AU Magazine—


Exploring the dark side of J.M. Synge with Dublin novelist Joseph O’Connor Words by Deirdre O'Brien

—74 issue 67—

Arts: Joseph O'Connor

The bestselling author of Star Of The Sea and Redemption Falls, Joseph O’Connor speaks to AU about the final part of his historical trilogy – Ghost Light – and how he came to be inspired by one of Ireland’s legendary playwrights, John Millington Synge, and the woman he fell in love with. Ghost Light is a tale of joy, sadness and love. Set in the early 20th century and jumping every few chapters to a single day in 1952, the novel is primarily a celebration of a little-known love affair between one of Ireland’s best known playwrights, J.M. Synge, and an actress from the Liberties, Molly Allgood. On this fateful 1950s day, the reader is introduced to the faded actress, whose glory days of her loves and career have long since passed. Through her memories on this day, we are given a glimpse of the tempestuous, passionate and secret love affair she had with Synge. Joseph O’Connor has over the past 20 years become one of Ireland’s most distinguished and celebrated novelists. From his early semi-autobiographical tales of adventure and despair (such as Desperadoes) to his critically acclaimed, best-selling historical fiction culminating in Ghost Light, O’Connor’s name has become synonymous with good fiction both in Ireland and across the world. A far from normal upbringing shaped the O’Connor family in such a way that creativity became second

nature to them. “I owe an awful lot to my parents, who were big readers,” O’Connor says when we meet in the Central Hotel, Dublin. “They had a very turbulent marriage which was a powerful combination when you’re a bookish kid, or musical as my sister was. The world of the imagination becomes a safe place where you can control things: a place of refuge.”

and beautiful things can happen. I thought that structurally – considering the two previous books had been so big and so symphonic and operatic and there are dozens of narrators, time zones and all sorts of fireworks going on – it would be nice if the last book of the three had a kind of a purity; more like a ballad that a Wagnerian opera, to have enough possibility to have been all of our stories.”

Since O’Connor was a child he has always had a fascination with John Millington Synge. The O’Connor family lived just down the road from where the playwright lived with his mother. “I used to walk past that Victorian house every day in the Seventies and early Eighties and it was a bit rundown and dilapidated and sort of spooky at night. When you walked past it you could almost feel the ghosts. I knew that Synge had lived there and my late mother, who died in 1985, was a great reader. She loved this story and she would tell us thatin the last few years of his life Synge – this great respected figure who wrote Playboy of the Western World [and a Protestant] – had a tempestuous love affair with this woman from the inner city; a Catholic of different social order and class. I thought it was an interesting story and nobody really knew about it.”

When O’Connor speaks about the Ghost Light and its principle characters Synge and Allgood, it is with deep intimacy; as if he is talking about very close friends. For the three years it took to write this novel, these characters were close companions and the novel that has just been published is a very different one to what he had initially planned.

For O’Connor, Ghost Light was a story that he had been waiting to tell all of his life and, after the bleakness of Star Of The Sea and Redemption Falls, he decided that he wanted to end the historical trilogy with something more uplifting. “I thought it would be great to write a short book about love just to remind myself that that was possible, and that the world – as Molly says – is not an abattoir

Originally featuring Synge and Molly on more of an equal setting, the female lead came to life before the author’s eyes and took over the limelight to such a degree that it is not the famous playwright but his little known and long forgotten actress fiancée that became the centre of O’Connor’s attention. “It took a while to get that realisation that Synge would have to be sidelined as I had a draft that was narrated by Synge but, even in that one, every time that Molly came into a scene she burst into life and she was already saying ‘Let me in here’. So I moved him out to the edge and the more you moved him out towards the edge the better the book would be.” How appropriate it was for O’Connor to bring such vivacity to one of the most pivotal figures in Synge’s life. Over the course of their relationship, which lasted until his death of Hodgkin’s Disease in 1909, he wrote countless poems and letters for her and created two of his most famous characters for her to play; most notably Pegeen Mike in Playboy Of The Western World. Ghost Light is a fascinating tale of real characters whose secret relationship has been imagined for us in the most intimate and heartbreaking way. O’Connor’s skill as a storyteller comes to the fore in this sometimes tragic, sometimes humorous and sometimes uplifting tale. The story itself is a suitable celebration for a relationship that was hidden because of the era in which it existed, as well as for a woman who was many years ahead of her time. And while she tragically faded to obscurity, her influence still lives through Synge’s legendary work. GHOST LIGHT IS AVAILABLE NOW, PUBLISHED BY HARVILL SECKER.

Arts Shorts


by Adam Lacey

Andy Brown has brought artists together from all over Northern Ireland to open up an underground art scene gallery in Belfast. The gallery is running on the funds of the local artists displaying their work. It has one-night-only shows each month – the last show was named ‘Life After Vinyl’ and it consisted of showing over 200 vinyls from different types of artists, who may not be widely known. The gallery is based in the Smithfield Market, Belfast. Keep an eye on www.

sellmeyoursocks.com for news on upcoming exhibitions. Horrible Noise, a new play about rock journalist, Lester Bangs, was written by Ray McGahan and Paul Doran and charts Bangs’ meteoric rise to the very middle and his glacial slide back to rock bottom. The play charts the career of the self-destructive talent whom Greil Marcus called “the greatest writer in America”, his addictions, his passions,

his brushes with the law and his battles with Lou Reed. After the play, Donny Pervert and The Crusty Pockets will play a set of psychedelic garage noise and sweet bubblegum pop with classics by The Sonics, Thirteenth Floor Elevators, Count Five, The Troggs, The Ramones and The Archies – just the way Lester would have liked it. Horrible Noise: The Sights and Smells of Lester Bangs, Thursday July 22 at the Black Box, Hill Street,

Belfast. Doors at 8pm and admission £5 A new website showcasing a wide selection of photographs, formatted into a stream of imagery and specific sections is up and running, showcasing local Northern Irish talents Colenso Parade, Kasper Rosa and The Rupture Dogs. Planned for the near future is Crystal Blue In Other Wavelengths, an art/music exhibition comprising 10 of Matt Patton’s music photographs as re-imagined on canvas by local

artist and MC, Andrew Dunbar. At a wider level, it will continue annually, bringing in, growing and showcasing other artists and their methods. Check the website for further news of installations and exhibitions: www. pavelware.com A dark and menacing exhibition, originally inspired by all things Gothic, King Rat presents a series of artworks by some of visual arts most original

international voices. The gallery will transform in to a space filled with a sense of unease and discomfort, the stuff that nightmares are made of. A carpet made of thousands of black pieces of paper will create a striking landscape from which sculptures rise, paintings hover above, tapestries loom and text speaks. King Rat runs until September 4 at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin and admission is free.

—75 AU Magazine—

Sc Subbacultcha



The Incredible Hulk’s “other son” makes his way to Earth this autumn for the mother of all family reunions. Someone call Jerry Springer….

By the time you read this, Marvel’s summertime smash-fest World War Hulks will have reached a violent conclusion, but that isn’t the end of ol’ Green Genes’ story, True Believers. This September, series scribe Greg Pak will launch the biweekly Incredible Hulks: Dark Son, which sees the second of Bruce Banner’s sons arrive on Earth and he’s not here looking for his long overdue pocket money, as the writer explains… Words by Edwin McFee

Hi Greg and welcome to AU. First off, why the change from Incredible Hulk to Incredible Hulks? Greg Pak: “It’s a funny title for a book about a hero who’s spent most of his existence saying he just wants to be left alone, eh? I’ll just say that this is a natural culmination of themes and plots we’ve been building from Planet Hulk through World War Hulks. The Hulk is all about anger and if you look into Banner’s past, you find that writers like Peter David have laid incredible groundwork basing that anger in Banner’s unbearably tragic family history. We’re about to take that theme of family to the next big step.” What led you to team up with writer Scott Reed on this biweekly story? Pak: “Scott picked up the storyline of Hiro-Kala, the Hulk’s other son with the Realm of Kings: Son of Hulk mini and with the backup stories in Incredible Hulk 609 to 611, so it just made sense for us to co-write the Hiro-Kala-centric parts of Incredible Hulks.

"I don't want to spoil too much here, but let's just say that Banner's slipped back into a very familiar skin." —76 issue 67—

Just to fill in some of the newer readers, what can you tell us about Hiro-Kala? Pak: “Everything you need to know about HiroKala will be revealed in Incredible Hulks 612 and 613 in the stories co-written by Scott and me and illustrated by the insanely great Brian Ching. The short and sweet version is that Hiro-Kala is the long-lost twin brother of Skaar who was left behind when Skaar unleashed his Old Power and goaded

Galactus into eating Planet Sakaar. So Hiro-Kala might have a bone to pick with Skaar. Hiro-Kala’s also become convinced that the Old Power, if left unchecked, will ultimately destroy the universe and Skaar just happens to be the highest profile wielder of the Old Power around at the moment...” Hiro-Kala’s arrival on Earth couldn’t have come at a worse time. What’s everyone’s mindset going into this new arc? Pak: “Yeah, it sucks to be irradiated with gamma rays at the moment, doesn’t it? I don’t want to spoil too much here, but let’s just say that Banner’s slipped back into a very familiar skin, while Skaar’s in an entirely new frame of mind. Each character’s incarnation will provide brand new ways for him to address the coming of Hiro-Kala.” How is Bruce coping with his gamma-related issues at this moment in time? Pak: “Not good at all. We all know the potential consequences when Banner loses control and now Banner may be faced with an impossible choice as he’s torn between his two sons and possibly his beloved Betty. I’ll also go ahead and confirm that yes, we will see a distinct Banner and a distinct Hulk. I spent most of Planet Hulk and World War Hulk developing ol’ Jade Jaws and I spent most of my run since then focusing on Banner. Now we’re going to explore both sides at once.” Greg, these days Hulk fans regard you as the god of all gamma-powered goodness. How do


you top everything you’ve done so far? Pak: “In terms of emotion, things can’t get much more high stakes [than] when family’s involved in a life and death story like this. In terms of smashtasticness, we’re dealing with planetary scale action. Can’t reveal too much for fear of spoilers, but Hulks will indeed smash.” Finally, for those who are still a bit undecided about Incredible Hulks: Dark Son, what would you tell them to get them on board? Are there any moments you can tell us about that you’re

particularly pumped about us seeing? Pak: “There a scene in 612 involving Bruce and Betty that might be one of the best things I’ve written all year. I’ve been hungry to delve into that relationship for years and now we’re really cutting loose. There are also some massive scenes involving Steve Rogers and some of his new pals that might blow a mind or three.” Incredible Hulks: Dark Son hits comic shops this September. For more information check out www.marvel.com.

My Favourite Comic Morgan Brown

“The character that really got me into reading comics was Wolverine via the six-player Konami X-Men game at 313 Gameroom in my hometown of Waterford, Michigan. When I was informed it was based on a comic, I pretty much went directly to Comics ‘N’ Cards (the local shop) and bought a fistful of Claremont/Lee X-Men and Hama/ Silvestri Wolverine comics with money I begged my dad to give me. I was instantly hooked. “I have loved lots of stories over the years, but ‘The Age of Apocalypse’ is capital. I read all of my trades on a fairly regular basis, but I definitely run through that one quite a bit more often. I wish it ran longer and explored more of its potential, but it’s brilliant as it is. I even sniff around online for more information on it as if it’s still running and pore over what’s there. Morrison and Quietly’s ‘E is for Extinction’ got me back into comics after a hiatus, and Barry Windsor-Smith’s ‘Weapon X’ story is pretty clutch. Today it still reads incredibly well, but I can’t imagine reading it when it first hit the stands. I probably would’ve lost my mind!” MORGAN BROWN IS A SINGER FOR BANG CAMARO. THEIR CURRENT ALBUM BANG CAMARO II IS OUT NOW.

SUPER SHORTS It looks like the momentum for the upcoming X-Men: First Class movie (based on the comic of the same name) is gathering pace at the moment, as most of the cast have been officially announced. Telling the story of the X-Men’s early days, the film is written by Jane Goldman (Jonathan Ross’ delightful missus) and will

feature James McAvoy as Professor Xavier and Michael Fassbender (who played Bobby Sands in the excellent Hunger) as Magneto and, at the time of going to press, Alice Eve has also been strongly rumoured to play Emma Frost. It’s shaping up nicely, then. Sticking with film adaptations

for a minute, Tommy Lee Jones has signed on for Captain America: The First Avenger. Slated to play the part of Col. Chester Phillips, the movie is mooted to be out for July 2011 and this writer for one is as excited as a 13-year-old lad seeing the video for Katy Perry’s ‘California Gurls’ for the first time.

This month The Boys artist Darick Robertson has confirmed that contrary to reports elsewhere, he won’t be leaving the Dynamite published series and, despite what his previous online posts may tell you, he’s happy to continuing working with our very own Garth Ennis. In a bit of an about turn, Darick apologised

for his criticism of the workload involved with the book and is happy to have fill-in artists come in to give him a break from time to time. So there. Congratulations for former Dr Who/Marvel Comics writer (and thoroughly nice chap to boot) Paul Cornell who has announced that he’s signed

an exclusive contract with DC Comics. The scribe is currently helming the beyond legendary Superman title Action Comics and he also plans to take on a few other, unnamed books later in the year. We don’t know about you, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a Superman/Dr Who one-shot!

—77 AU Magazine—

Sc Here's Looking At You(Tube) / Weird Wide Web


Here's Looking At You(Tube) Un-original Gangsters

Imitation, goes the old saying, is the sincerest form of flattery. Well, yes, but it must be quite irritating to the imitated party, all the same. Picture the scene: you’re in a band – you’ve spent countless hours writing your songs, practising, honing your sound and developing a style all of your own. Then you flick on the old wireless one day and discover, to your horror, that some bunch of absolute chancers have shamelessly stolen your schtick. What an outrage! Sadly, the likelihood is that everyone else – apart from perhaps your lawyer – is just going to find the whole thing quite amusing. Ah, ‘tis a cruel world and no mistake.


CALL THE COPS Since they themselves are somewhat – ahem – ‘indebted’ to Joy Division, New York gloommeisters Interpol can have no real complaints about this – but it’s still pretty jaw-dropping. This is the dubiously-named ‘Uni_Form’ a Portuguese band whose single ‘Shadows’ is so uncannily reminiscent of the Interpol style that there must genuinely be grounds for legal action of some kind here. Of course, Uni_Form’s lyrics actually make more sense than Interpol’s – even though English is their second language – so that’s a point in the Portuguese act’s favour. Overall, not entirely unpleasant – and certainly better than that other well-known Interpol rip-off act, Editors. - TINYURL.COM/PORTUGUESEINTERPOL MOZ BE SOME MISTAKE




Words by Neill Dougan

WEIRD WIDE WEB Surf Far, So Good POLICE PLEASE ME Kids say the funniest things, eh? Or, to be more accurate, kids talk a load of off-the-wall gobbledygook – albeit of an often highly entertaining nature. Recognising this, 29-year-old comic artist Ethan Nicolle started transcribing the nonsense playtalk of his five-year-old brother Malachi – and then turned it into a web-comic. The result? Axe-Cop, an adventure tale so gloriously surreal that it could, indeed, only have come from the mind of a child, as the eponymous axe-wielding law officer is joined by Dinosaur Soldier, Leaf Man and, perhaps best of all, Vampire Man Baby Kid. Classic gibberish. - WWW.AXECOP.COM —78 issue 67—

“Don’t plagiarise or take on loan,” cautioned Morrissey on 1986’s ‘Cemetry Gates’. Clearly not heeding this sage advice at all were Bristol twee-poppers The Brilliant Corners, who in 1988 released ‘Why Do You Have To Go Out With Him When You Could Go Out With Me’, a single

COMFORTABLY NUMB Self-proclaimed home of “useful, useless info”, Feelnumb.com is a handy source of quirky trivia and unusual titbits that you never knew you cared about, but which, once you stumble upon them, are strangely compelling. From all the specs on the actual bus used by The Beatles on their Magical Mystery Tour, to a recording of the first ever performance of Oasis’s ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ (complete with Noel declaring “I only wrote it on Tuesday!”), to the strange dating habits of George Michael. And that’s all just on the first page. Best not to look at this site if you have any pressing matters to attend to, as it may cause spectacular levels of procrastination. - WWW.FEELNUMB.COM YOU BELLICOSE WAR-MONGER! Our interest piqued by their recent appearance at the World Cup, AU wanted to find out more about North Korea. Turns out it’s a pretty strange place. That much is evident from reading the bizarre, farfetched and occasionally – despite the tragedy of it all – amusing propaganda emanating from the secretive

that – with its jangly guitars, baritone vocals and self-deprecating, vaguely humourous lyrics – might as well have come stamped with the disclaimer: “We really, really love The Smiths.” Ultimately, the main difference between this and The Smiths is that Morrissey and Marr’s lot were actually good. - TINYURL.COM/QUITELIKETHESMITHS IT’S A GAS Kurt Cobain’s death in 1994 was pretty distressing. But almost more upsetting was the rash of piss-poor Cobain copycats queuing up to cash in on teenage angst both during and after his life. 16 years on and still they keep crawling out of the woodwork. A particularly egregious example is Seether, a thirdgeneration Nirvana tribute act from South Africa that makes Bush and Nickelback look like paragons of originality. Of course, no Nirvana song ever boasted a lyric as downright cringeworthy as, “I wanna waste her monthly blood / Wanna get some on my love.” Listen especially carefully and you might just hear Kurt slowly spinning in his grave. - TINYURL.COM/NIRVANALITE

regime’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Their pronouncements are collated at NK News, a database of North Korean propaganda, where you can search by topic or peruse the Kim Jong-Il regime’s most outlandish pronouncements in the KCNA Hall of Fame. And don’t forget to have a bash at the KCNA Random Insult Generator. You loud-mouthed militarists. - WWW.NK-NEWS.NET Words by Neill Dougan

Story Of The Video / Aaagh! Me Eyes!

"aaagh! my eyes!"

The column that has to go and lie down in a darkened room for a while

Its special effects budget slashed, Transformers 3 was ultimately a disappointment.

Story Of The Video Not Squares


Produced by The Vinny Club (aka Vinny McCreith from Adebisi Shank), Not Squares’ new single ‘Release The Bees’ is an eightminute juggernaut of shuddering electro. The Belfast band again enlisted Andrew Wood – whose video for their previous single ‘Asylum’ was his first – to man the cameras. We got him on the phone to talk about its gloopy shapes and ghostly dancers. This is a very different video to ‘Asylum’. How did the approach differ? I was playing about with my camera one day, with a red blob in front of the camera, editing

it to the sounds they were doing. This song was very synth-based, very electro and it made sense that the visuals reflect that in some way. I didn’t think about it too much – I just got on with it. They liked the initial stuff I did so we continued down that line. Unlike ‘Asylum’, there’s no performance element to this video. Why was that? There’s some footage that we had of them playing live that was a little bit distorted and we thought might work. That was in the edit until somewhere near the end, and I realised it didn’t really work. The rest of it was quite clean and smooth and that was quite rough and ready and didn’t really fit. It just seemed right for them not to be in it. It seemed more theatrical. How exactly was it made? Was some of it recorded live and distorted afterwards? Yeah, a lot of different stuff. Some of it was me at home, and the blobs are basically my finger in front of a lens – almost like pinhole photography, only letting a little bit of light in so it makes a red blob. We also filmed some friends dancing in front of a sheet with light behind them, so you got a silhouette on the sheet. And I filmed a few bits with Keith [Winter, drums and vocals] – the bits of his mouth when he was singing. Were there any particular influences as regards other videos or pieces of film? There’s a lot of music videos, but the main influence was a guy called Norman McLaren who used to work in the Fifties on film. He’d scratch directly into the film to make abstract shapes and stuff. I used to look at his work when I was a student, so that was the main influence.

Words by: Chris Jones


The Taliban’s innovative ‘Cat Mines’ were a constant problem for US bomb disposal experts. tinyurl.com/CatMine


Dave eventually rued his decision to exceed the stated dosage of his ‘Beefcake’ protein shakes.


Tinyurl.com/TooManyMuscles Words by Neill Dougan —79 AU Magazine—

Sc When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors @ QFT

In Pictures

Una & Laura

Peter & Alicia

Fergal & Conor

Bobby & Jim


Aliza & Zach Katie Blue

Robert & Matthew

Rachel & Neil

Neil & Nora

When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors QFT, Belfast When You’re Strange, a film by Tom Dicillo about The Doors and their raucous history, opened on July 6th in Belfast’s much loved QFT. Johnny Depp’s narration guided a room of music lovers and hardcore Jim Morrison wannabes through the recording and performing of nine albums, with the footage chronicling the effect of Morrison’s destructive behaviour on the rest of the band. There was also, of course, endearing footage of Morrison which seems to have rubbed off one theatre-goer in particular... ‘Jim’ is definitely channeling Jim in the photo above. Words & Photos by Suzie McCracken 63— —80 issue 67—


Evan & Laura

Hugh & Victoria

DJ Shadow @ Ulster Hall, Belfast

DJ Shadow, Drums Of Death Ulster Hall, Belfast 11 years after his last Belfast show, DJ Shadow triumphantly returns as part of the trans festival to court some new fans and gratify the old ones. After support from Drums of Death and quite a bit of technical tweaking, DJ Shadow eventually appears and bids a wave to the onlookers before disappearing into his orb. His visuals are projected onto it and these animations, coupled with the vibration of every brick in the Ulster Hall, makes for a euphoric seasickness as the crowd obediently jump and yell. However, there’s a certain hysteria that visuals can’t prompt, and when Sir Shadow reluctantly spins his globe to talk directly to the fans things it’s clear he’s made Belfast very happy.



The pod inside which DJ Shadow played

Words and pics By: Suzie McCracken

DJ Shadow

Finian & Noleen


Kelly & Richard

Connor, Rory & Conor

Sophie & Eithne

Phil & Colin

The Ashley Crowd


—81 AU Magazine—

Sc Subbacultcha The Last Word

The Last Gilles Peterson 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 With: Gilles Peterson

When was the last tine you did something you regret? I don’t believe in regret. When was the last time you felt guilty? Summer. Summer is for naughtiness.

What was the last thing that annoyed you? Arjen Robben

When was the last time you threw up? What was theI last of good adviceproduction. you were given? Every time hearpiece a David Guetta

When was the last time you bought a band t-shirt at a gig? When I went to se Maze live at the Hammersmith Odeon in 198… something.

bandmate], regularly. What was the last thing you downloaded? Smokey – ‘We Had A Love When wasRobinson the last time you cried? So Strong’. Properly, solidly? When my nephew and niece were born

When was the last time you offended someone? I told someone they were too old to be a pop star!

Famous Last Words

When was the last time one of your heroes disappointed you? My heroes never disappoint. Philip Larkin, poet When was the last time you felt guilty? (August 9, 1922 – December 2, 1985) I“Ifeel guilty most of the time. am going to the inevitable.”

What wasMedic the last piece of good advice you were Unnamed in Call of Duty given? “I'm sorry! I'm sorry! It's just...so many guysgive are up gettin' killed out there...it's To smoking, about 30 years ago. I didn’t just...oh, God, they're shootin' medics listen, though. too! Oh, God...”

When was the last time you cried? It was last week, watching the Ian Dury movie.

This Issue Was When was the lastBy... time you time you had a Powered fistfight?

Office moves, Jack Frost, Mini Eggs, newfour of them In Corsica last summer – there were threads, multi-jobbing, passing driving but I was protected by Un Prophète. tests (and failing them), charidee, mass

recycling, the cut and run. When was the last time you doubted yourself? I do it most days at around 4pm. —82 issue 67—

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.

“Have a word with yourself” – from James [Watkins,

last year. Just so overwhelmed.

What was the last thing you Googled? When was thein last time you were embarrassed? “Dutch girls orange” New Year’s Eve... it’s a long story.

What was the last good book you bought? What was your last argument about? John Niven – Kill Something stupid andYour smallFriends about the details of the single cover. These intricacies are seemingly endless.

When was the last time you were scared? When was the lastfor time time hadRoberto a fistfight? Going on stage myyou first gigyou with It’s never happened. Fonseca and Havana Cultura in Bordeaux last week.

When was the last time you threw up? My birthday in December. Sambucca. I was What was the lastsleeping bad job had? floor under ALLEGEDLY found on you the bathroom Some gigAllegedly. in Istanbul.. fur coats. What was thethe lastlast goodtime record youwere bought? When was you in hospital? nota much of ain record buyer. I know that sucks, but you II’m had facelift 2007. just get given so much... Anyway, last record I acquired

was The Big Pink, and I like it a lot. If the world was about to end, what would your words What was the last last thing yoube? downloaded? Space is thesex place. Colin Farrell tape. No joke. It’s pukey. What was the last thing you Googled? Serial killers. I love plays Googling killers. Chances are, Gilles Peterson theserial Waterfront any venue inBar, any city, in the on endless hours waiting Penthouse Belfast Saturday, July 24to sound check I’ll be there on Wikipedia, perusing. as part of the trans Festival, in association with Hydroponic Music.

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 eye. I’ve been pretty wary of fire – candles etc. – ever since.


John Dillinger, bank robber When22, was the last –time you were in hospital? (June 1903 July 22, 1934) I had meningitis in my late teens. That was an absolute riot. “You Whengot wasme” the last time you broke the law? I never, ever break the law.

Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars Episode When was the last(1977) time one of your heroes IV: A New Hope disappointed you? Have can’t you seen the Darth. Iggy PopIfcommercial? “You win, you strikeHe’s not selling car insurance, he’s selling time, apparently. Also Patrick me down, I shall become more Swayze, for dying. powerful than you can possibly imagine.” When was the last time 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.

This Issue Was Powered By...

If the world was about to end what would your last words be? “TIGGO!!!!!!!!!” In an Australian accent.

The World Cup, a barbeque summer, the IS OUT CHEW LIPS’ DEBUT ALBUM UNICORN year of ON rockKITSUNÉ and roll death/a footballing NOW peak, carnivals, class, acute stress, WWW.CHEWLIPS.CO.UK toothbrush moustaches, reanimating plants, new neighbours, Wimbledon.

—83 AU Magazine—

Belfast Waterfront and the Ulster Hall present

Festival 2010

3-24 July

Gilles Peterson

DJ FORMAT FELIX DA HOUSECAT www.transbelfast.com Tel. 028 9033 4455

—84 issue 67—

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AU Magazine Issue 67  

AU Magazine Issue 67 featuring Wilco, Dexter, Janelle Monae, Mystery Jets, Adebisi Shank, We Are Scientists, Gilles Peterson, Stephen King,...

AU Magazine Issue 67  

AU Magazine Issue 67 featuring Wilco, Dexter, Janelle Monae, Mystery Jets, Adebisi Shank, We Are Scientists, Gilles Peterson, Stephen King,...

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