YOU ARE WHAT YOU WEAR.
Ice Cube Gangsta trippin’ Being Sane In Insane Places A creationist for a day Underworld The great dance survivors No Age Los Angeles, Ireland and Everything In Between
AU Magazine #69 The best number to ‘ave
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AU MAGAZINE ISSUE 69 | CONTENTS UPFRONT
5 8 10 11 12 13 14 16 17 18 19 20 22 26 28
The Definitive Articles Hot Topic: Fixed Gear Bikes ASIWYFA Torche Les Savy Fav Isobel Anderson / Mouthing Off An Irishman In New York Solar Bears / My First Band: HEALTH Shit Robot / Unknown Pleasures Therapy? Do You Remember What The Music Meant? Ólöf Arnalds / Yann Tiersen Label Profile: One Little Indian Incoming: Thread Pulls / Mitchell Museum / Teebs / Timber Timbre / Darkstar / Tropics / Dutch Uncles / Frankie Rose and the Outs Five To One / Band Maths Hey You! What's On Your iPod?
29 30 32 36 38
Flashback: Daniel Craig becomes James Bond History Lessons: The Frames A To Z: Blockbusters Respect Your Shelf: William Gibson Classic Film: Goodfellas
40 44 46 52 54
Ice Cube No Age Cee Lo Green Underworld Being Sane In Insane Places: A Creationist For A Day
57 Album Reviews 66 Live Reviews 68 Unsigned Universe SUBBACULTCHA
70 72 74 76 78 80 82
Screen Games Arts Keep 'Er Lit Back Of The Net In Pictures: Mark Ronson / Gigantic's 5th Birthday The Last Word: Mount Kimbie
To advertise in AU Magazine contact the sales team Tel: 028 9032 4888 or via email: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org For all general and editorial enquiries call: 028 9032 4455 IMAGE:
AU Magazine graciously acknowledges funding support from the Arts Council Of Northern Ireland —3 AU Magazine—
EDITORIAL So, what are we actually doing with all this superfast, on-demand information, then? Rather a lot, actually. Internet scare stories are as prevalent as ever, and many would argue that William Gibson’s dystopian visions of cyberspace have been born out almost to the letter (see p.36 for more on him) but take a moment to consider the good things the net has brought us. Recently we had the enormous leak of US military information courtesy of Wikileaks, bringing their conduct in Afghanistan into sharp focus. Then, of course, there’s pop culture, where – as in every other facet of online life – Twitter, Facebook and good old-fashioned email are the drivers. Sometimes it’s wholly benevolent – as we mentioned last month, this month’s cover star Cee Lo Green’s marvellous single ‘Fuck You’ was a viral phenomenon, picking up two millions views in its first week and a further eight million (across the song’s two videos) since. Then there is the other great viral phenomenon of the last month – the bitingly hilarious hipster bait ‘Being A Dickhead’s Cool’ video. See p.08 for more on that. But for all that fibre-optic heat, it’s good to know that a few old stagers are still knocking around. Two of the other artists featured this month owe next to nothing the Internet – Ice Cube and Underworld made their names when social networking was but a twinkle in William Gibson’s eye. But they each have a story to tell. Enjoy them. Chris STUPID THINGS SAID THIS MONTH If I was any better looking I'd sex myself. It's ok, I've got a really thick skull. We're so much cooler than every other media in Northern Ireland that it's not even funny. I'm not liking the disrespect. I'm all about sabotage. I like random hanging thing. You'll not be laughing whenever I have a hit single. I'd quite like some sex midweek. I love technology. Oh my god, it's Tony's sex face.
ROLL CALL Publisher / Editor In Chief Editor Contributing Editors
Photography Advertising Manager Office Intern
Jonny Tiernan Chris Jones Francis Jones Edwin McFee Ross Thompson Kiran Acharya, Josh Baines, Jonathan Bradley, Niall Byrne, Brian Coney, Barry Cullen, Neill Dougan, Barry Fahy, Mickey Ferry, John Freeman, Lee Gorman, Niall Harden, James Hendicott, Lisa Hughes, Andrew Johnston, David Kellett, Adam Lacey, Ailbhe Malone, Kirstie May, Nay McArdle, Darragh McCausland, Chris McCorry, Karl McDonald, Tara McEvoy, Louise McHenry, Jason Mills, Kenny Murdock, Lauren Murphy, Joe Nawaz, Dom Passantino, Mischa Pearlman, Steven Rainey, Kyle Robinson, Eamonn Seoige. Stuart Bell, Tim Farrell Rebecca Hendin Shauna McGowan Mark Reihill Stephen Maurice Graham Carrie Davenport, Alan Maguire Will Neill, Loreana Rushe Andrew Scott Ciara McCullough
If you’d like to stock AU in your business, or you live in an area where AU isn’t currently stocked, but you’d like to see it available, then drop email@example.com a line. She’ll sort you out. —4 issue 69—
The Definitive Articles
THE DEFINITIVE ARTICLES YOUR INDISPENSABLE GUIDE TO SUCCESSFULLY NEGOTIATING THE MONTH AHEAD
HARD WORKING CLASS HEROES
Words by james hendicott
Hard Working Class Heroes – Dublin’s annual jaunt for up and coming Irish bands – is back for another mind-expanding, citywide party on October 7-9. Featuring 100 bands across seven main venues, HWCH is invariably an ideal chance to cram in all those local loves you haven’t seen enough of this year, or an ideal intro to the Dublin music scene. This year they’ve also added a nifty new selection of free shows in various smaller venues to keep you busy during the day, and help you catch up on some of the things you’ll miss venue-hopping. If you just don’t know where to turn, here’s our pick of the fest:
THE CAST OF CHEERS
The Cast Of Cheers Without a doubt the outstanding Dublin breakthrough band of the past year, feisty math-rockers The Cast Of Cheers have made Bandcamp their own with a stunningly popular free download-only album. Tense, memorable lyrics and an on-stage energy that’ll leave first-timers reeling make this particular local band odds-on favourites to be Dublin’s next big thing. Sounds Of System Breakdown Rob Costello and co. have emerged from their shell in 2010, releasing a stunningly mature self-titled electrorock album that won the group numerous festival slots and sky-high comparisons to LCD Soundsystem. Sounds Of System Breakdown are yet to conclusively break into the Dublin scenester’s consciousness. This might well be the day.
SOUNDS OF SYSTEM BREAKDOWN
WE CUT CORNERS
Sleep Thieves Mellow electro three-piece Sleep Thieves have just had that landmark ‘Whelan’s headline’ moment, despite releasing only a single EP to date – that they’re able to do so is a sign of how many people are already sitting up and taking notice. An emotionally-tinged breakthrough smash could well be just round the corner. We Cut Corners Angsty, chart-ready folk-rock with an instantly catchy quality is hotly tipped twosome We Cut Corners’ style of choice. Quirky moments of playful interpersonal politics, wonderfully harmonised vocals and very danceable asides turn a good band into a potential festival highlight. Also look out for: Axis Of, Cloud Castle Lake, Grand Pocket Orchestra, John, Shelly And The Creatures, Noveaunoise, The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra, The Dirty 9s, Windings. Hard Working Class Heroes takes place around Dublin from October 7-9. www.hwch.net —5 AU Magazine—
The Definitive Articles
THE DEFINITIVE ARTICLES
THE SOCIAL NETWORK The new movie by David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club) tells the story of Facebook, from its beginnings as a bedroom project to its status as a 500 million-user phenomenon. Brushing over the boring business of sitting in front of a PC for days on end, The Social Network focuses on programming genius Mark Zuckerberg’s (Jesse Eisenberg) supposed propensity for drinking like a demon and seducing coeds. This never happened with Tom from MySpace. AJ The Social Network is on general release on October 15
When it comes to panel shows, the professional comics generally fall into two categories. The inoffensive cheeky chappies (Russell Howard, Jason Manford) and the inspired weirdos (Rich Hall, Peter Serafinowicz). Somehow, Sean Lock straddles both camps with a warm, geezer-ish persona and a taste for the surreal. Observational humour that amounts to more than just pub conversation is a thing to treasure. CJ Sean Lock plays the Waterfront Hall, Belfast on November 7
—6 issue 69—
Lawrence Paterson At The End Of The Day Imagine beating thousands of applicants to become the singer of your favourite band, then seeing the albums you record with them slated and the venues you play with them half-filled… Then being fired to make way for a reunion of the classic line-up… Then watching your wife die suddenly following a brain haemorrhage. Ex-Iron Maiden frontman Blaze Bayley has certainly been dealt some blows, and they are recounted in as upbeat a fashion as possible in At The End Of The Day. AJ Blaze Bayley: At The End Of The Day – Revised Edition is out on October 25
YOUR INDISPENSABLE GUIDE TO SUCCESSFULLY NEGOTIATING THE MONTH AHEAD
Halo: Reach By the time you finish this sentence Halo: Reach will have sold enough copies to rebuild the Albert Hall then fill it to the roof. The saga’s swansong goes out with a typically cinematic bang, but it’s the multiplayer which has truly shifted the copies – the game has a bigger online community than YouTube. RT
THE TV SHOW
THE FREE RELEASE
Austin, TX’s White Denim cook up a hearty stew with their wacked-out blend of garage rock, blues, jazz, dub and pop. Their last album Fits was a fine addition to the buzz-worthy debut Workout Holiday and now they have offered up a treat while we wait for album three: a 12-track free album consisting of mostly new tracks the band have been working on – “a little summer retreat from our ongoing work on the third full length,” says James Petralli. How generous. CJ
THE STAGE SHOW
Daniel Dumile is the king of underground hip-hop, with a back catalogue that includes records under the names of Viktor Vaughn, King Geedorah, Madvillain (with Madlib), Danger Doom (with Danger Mouse), MF Doom and latterly just DOOM. But his live appearances have been controversial, with allegations of noshows and even sending an imposter to lip-sync behind that iconic mask. A London performance in January was most certainly the real thing, however, and a show this intimate is not to be missed. CJ MF Doom plays the Button Factory, Dublin on October 12
Circus Of Horrors: The Four Chapters Of Hell This Circus Of Horrors ‘best of’ brings together the most outrageous performers from years past, which means daredevil trapeze artists suspended by their hair, whirlwind roller skaters, sickening sword swallowers and a musical soundtrack by Dr Haze & The Interceptors From Hell. The circus’s website claims the show is unsuitable for “children, people of a nervous disposition, chavs and sissies”. You can probably add DUP councillors, Free Presbyterians and Brian Kennedy fans to that list. AJ Circus Of Horrors tours Ireland from November 2-8
Grab it at bit.ly/freedenim
After months of rumour and fanboy pleading, the long-running zombie comic book series The Walking Dead finally makes it to television. Directed by Frank ‘Shawshank’ Darabont, it debuts on AMC just in time for Halloween. The advance footage looks terrific, perfectly capturing the bleak, violent tone of the source material. RT
The Walking Dead starts on AMC on October 31
Halo: Reach is out now for Xbox 360
White Denim Last Days Of Summer
The Walking Dead
Five Guys Named Moe If this show was a Nirvana t-shirt, it would say ‘Sassy, swingin’, floorshakin’, hair-raisin’, motherfuckin’ musical’ on the back. Join Eat Moe, No Moe, Four-Eyed Moe, Big Moe and Little Moe in, er, Newtownabbey, as they take their size-12 two-tone shoes to Glee’s ass. Tunes like ‘I Like ‘Em Fat Like That’, ‘Safe, Sane And Single’ and ‘What’s The Use Of Getting Sober (When You Gonna Get Drunk Again)’ prove that Mötley Crüe weren’t the first reprobates in rock. AJ Five Guys Named Moe appears at the Theatre at the Mill, Newtownabbey from November 9 to 20 (except 13 and 15) —7 AU Magazine—
Fixed Gear Bikes
IF XED GEAR BIKES: ARE THEY FOR DICKHEA
—8 issue 69—
We’ve all seen it by now. The viral phenomenon that is the ‘Being A Dickhead’s Cool’ video (2.5m views and counting – bit.ly/dickheadsrcool if by some miracle you’ve escaped its reach) gleefully skewers east London hipsters and their like in all manner of ways – low-cut vests, loafers with no socks, ‘new age fun with a vintage feel!!!’… and a fascination with slimline, lightweight, fixed-gear bikes. For years the preferred mode of transport for kamikaze bike couriers, in recent years they have crossed over to become the saddle to be seen on for Nathan Barley-esque meeja types and liggers. Or so the stereotype goes. We thought we’d get both sides of the argument… says London-based writer Ailbhe Malone Ever since Why?’s Yoni Wolf sang derisively (or delightedly, depending on which side of the fence you’re currently sitting on) of riding “on my fixie with the chopped horns turned in” in anti (or or pro-) hipster anthem ‘Simeon’s Dilemma’, fixed gear bikes have found their way into the realm of Whole Foods, self-rolled cigarettes and hilarious moustaches for boys (huge fringes for girls). Part of the draw is the attraction of the ancient in hipster culture – the older the item, the more cachet it has. It’s authentic, man. With quality vintage comes a quality back-story – all the better to write down in your sketchbook-sized Moleskine notebook. Or carve into your arm, Richey-Manicsstylee. To surmise, the more old-fashioned the better. Except, oddly with technology. If the above rule were to reply, every graphic designer in town
says Belfast musician and fixie fan Chris McCorry Fixed gear bikes have become the de rigeur accessory for hipsters the world over in recent years. It’s nearly ubiquitous, and it’s easy to mock; hipsters in skinny jeans cycling about brakeless on their ludicrously expensive Italian track frames bedecked with vintage Campagnolo, with their matching neon Aerospokes, and yet they never ride any further than the pub. I think that many hip types are drawn to them because it’s seen as a particularly edgy and dangerous way to cycle by those who either don’t ride fixed, or don’t ride at all. Perhaps I’m bursting the bubble here, but it’s really not any more dangerous than any other form of cycling. You can’t freewheel so it’s a little unusual at
would only operate using a sundial, and abacus, and a stick of charred wood on some vellum. Instead, technology is the only weapon in the Trendy Person’s arsenal which relies on being smack up to date. The desired effect is an overly-sanctimonious Amish – with an iPad (iAmish, anyone?). So, following on from the above it makes sense that fixed-gear bikes (let’s not call them ‘fixies’ – we’re not 14 and hoping to star in Jackass 3D) would appear to appeal to this level of society. They tick all the boxes. They’re old, they’re expensive (and therefore exclusive), they’re anti-consumerist (don’t you know how, like, bad for the, like air, buses are?) and they point towards a freewheeling (ignore that pun, please) lifestyle. Grand, let them at it. There’s a small problem though. Fixed-gear bikes are difficult fuckers to cycle. First of all, the science bit (SNORE). In contrast to normal bikes, a fixed-gear bicycle has no freewheel – it can’t coast. The pedals are always in motion when the bicycle is moving. The sprocket is screwed directly first, but 10 minutes on a fixie and you’re used to it. To the outsider it seems like only having one gear is ‘hardcore’ and ‘utilitarian’, similar to the way punk rock guitarists commonly only have one pickup on their guitars. People are forever asking, ‘How do you get up those hills without any other gears?’. You just work hard to get up them. Having one gear is initially a little disconcerting, and faced with only one gear you struggle up hills that were easy with a gear change. However, over time you get used to the gearing and get better at those same hills, and you become a stronger cyclist in the process. Personally, I was drawn to fixed-gear bikes after a year of riding a heavy, geared commuter bike. I’m not ashamed to admit that the first thing to catch my eye was that it just looked great. Much as I appreciate the aesthetic of vintage-style musical
onto a fixed hub. When the rear wheel turns, the pedals turn in the same direction. This allows a cyclist to stop without using a brake, by resisting the rotation of the cranks, and also to ride in reverse. (I copied that bit from Wikipedia, could you tell?) In layman’s terms, what it means is this: a) they’re murder to cycle up a hill and b) if you don’t know how to handle it, then you’re going to get very hurt very quickly. Two examples then. a) A good, cycling-mad friend of mine moved from London to Bristol, taking his homemade fixed-gear bike with him. He soon abandoned it, not only because of all the twats that were posing with theirs, but because of the number of hills in the city. Hills that would be nice to have a first gear for. b) My younger brother, influenced by those damn street-culture kids on the internet, naively bought a fixed-gear bike, and the next day cycled into the back of a truck, unused to stopping without brakes, and needed 10 stitches in his face. So, if you want a ‘fixie’, go ahead. As long as you know what you’re letting yourself in for. equipment, I was drawn to a retro-style track bike that I spotted in a local bike shop. I got rid of the commuter bike and went fixed. I like the simplicity of the fixed gear; for someone who’s relatively new to cycling it’s really easy to maintain – there’s very little to go wrong on these bikes. My bike has a flip-flop rear hub, with a freewheel cog on one side, and a fixed cog on the other. Despite having the choice, I haven’t ridden freewheel since the day after I got the bike, even on longer rides, and I think that only having the one gear has made me a better cyclist overall. I like the connection that you get from the lack of freewheeling, and the ability to control your speed more subtly than on a freewheel bike. I’m no fixedgear fascist though – I’m a fan of fixies but people can ride whatever bike they like, and as long as it gets them from A to B and they’re not riding on the pavement with their iPod in I’m happy.
HIPSTER STUDIES 101
Following the ‘Being A Dickhead’s Cool’ video, you’ll be wanting to top up your hipster humour reserves. But where to turn?
Look At This Fucking Hipster The premise: pics of ridiculous hipsters and pithy captions. Simple, but effective (and the source for a fair few ‘Being A Dickhead’s Cool’ stills to boot). latfh.com
Hipster Hitler Hitler was, like, soooo ironic, you know. The side parting and ‘tache are pure hipster territory anyway, but this inspired new webcomic adds a taste for T-shirt slogans (personal favourite: Death Camp For Cutie), oversized glasses and, yes, his beloved fixie bike. hipsterhitler.com
Hipsters Have To Pee We have to admit this is niche. Basically, it’s a photoblog consisting of pics of sickeningly skinny fashion models looking like they need a piss. But it works! hipstershavetopee.com
Hipster Runoff Less a pisstake of hipsters than a knowing joke from the inside, Hipster Runoff is run by the mysterious ‘Carles’, a man with several obsessions – ‘buzzbands’, ‘altbros’ and what it is to be ‘chill’. In fact, he invented the genre signifier ‘chillwave’, so decide yourself whether that earns him any respect. hipsterrunoff.com —9 AU Magazine—
NO REST FOR THE WICKED
ASIWYFA’s Tony Wright on the next album, touring the States and hanging with Dave Grohl SHIT ROBOT
And So I Watch You From Afar have barely stopped for breath in 2010. Since releasing the Letters EP in February, the Belfast-based instrumental quartet have been touring hard throughout Ireland, the UK and Europe, and they have just embarked on their first ever North American tour, supporting Japanese hardcore act Envy and Sacramento punks Trash Talk. Despite all that, however, the band have also managed to write and record their second full-length album. “It’s pretty much finished,” says Tony Wright when we meet in Belfast. “We’re all really fucking excited about it.” The band had about 20 songs written for the new record, but after working on them for some time, they “sacked them all” and started again from scratch, having sucked the life out of them and needing a fresh start. “One of the main things we’ve learnt is that we’re going to be playing these songs a lot, so we wanted to write something that was really, really fun for us to play and for the audience to lose their mind to,” he says. “It’s a lot more visceral, a lot more intense, there’s a lot more fast songs on it and less big, epic movie moments. If after the first three songs you’re not beaming from ear to ear and happy to be alive, then you might as well just die!” The album is slated for release in February or March next year but, true to form, there is —10 issue 69—
a lot of touring to be done before Christmas. These islands will be negotiated yet again but first there is the not-insignificant matter of a North American tour that began at the end of September. Tony, already a livewire kind of chap, becomes positively childlike with glee at the thought of it. “We’re going to tear the face
“Dave Grohl offered me a beer and started showing me pictures of his family” off a bunch of Americans. In the nicest possible way… It’s a coast-to-coast US tour, like. We’re going to be going to so many places where my heroes came from. I can’t wait to go to Seattle and I can’t wait to go back to New York and to go to Austin, Toronto, Baltimore, Philadelphia…” I tell Tony that I have never been to the States, and to go there seems an exciting enough prospect on its own, never mind touring there. “I’d never been either before this year,” he says, “and it was cool because when I was 13 I made myself a promise – ‘I’m not going to go until
music takes me over there’. I was a wee cocky teenager and it worked out that way.” If the tour is indeed the most exciting thing to happen to the band this year, it has tough competition in the form of their summer dates supporting Dave Grohl, John Paul Jones and Josh Homme – Them Crooked Vultures. Did the ASIWYFA lads get to see much of those giants of rock? “We did, yeah. In Luxembourg we were having a couple of drinks and smokes and I got a bit merry, so I was like, ‘A couple of my heroes are up there, I’m going to go and say hello!’. I knocked the door and Dave Grohl remembered my name and said, ‘Tony, come on in!’. Him and John Paul Jones were there and he offered me a beer and started showing me pictures of his family, and him playing for Barack Obama and stuff like this. “Me and him actually really hit it off, we were sitting slagging each other off and cracking jokes for about 40 minutes, exchanging tour stories – his were far better, he can pull out a Nirvana story here and there… I tried to get them to come to Belfast. I was pretty drunk at the time, so I said, ‘I’ll get you a gig in Lavery’s, you can crash on my floor, piece of piss!’” Chris Jones www.myspace.com/andsoiwatchyoufromafar
Sludgy Americans Torche exhaust dictionaries and take names
In times of great need, the amateur / ill-prepared / illiterate music journalist has three go-to words; words vague enough to arouse suspicion, yet just intriguing enough to garner an inquisitive chin stroke. These words are maudlin, meandering, and sprawl, so when Jonathan Nuñez, bassist with relentless riff churners Torche, lackadaisically rolls off the sentence, “We’re lucky enough to be one of these bands who has a meandering sound,” this AU ‘writer’ immediately finds his vocabulary sliced by a third. “It kinda goes in-and-out of heavy genres, be it metal or stoner rock,” he explains, “but there’s also indie, and there’s pop. When we write music there’s so many influences between the three of us that come through; influence and inspiration is inevitable – it’s going to shine through in the end product.” Featuring pummelling, Remissionera Mastodon riffs colliding with the band’s keen ear for a scuzzy punk melody, 2008’s Meanderthal steamrollered itself directly into the cranium of listeners and critics alike. “For Meanderthal we toured so much and that had a direct impact on the writing process for [new eight-track
album] Songs For Singles,” says Nuñez. “This one we wrote with the live setting in mind – with the non-stop energy of our shows, and sonically how we feel onstage.” Songs For Singles is a startling cardiac arrest: over within 25 minutes, breezeblock guitar lines lunge and tumble, scraping the grizzled vocal chords of Steve Brooks, as the unyielding, solid rhythm section only occasionally tap their brakes for respite (see the slow grind of ‘Face The Wall’). But this ain’t no derivative knucklehead racket. Torche songs are instilled with unique melodies and a sense of fun that is absent from a lot of today’s ‘heavy’ music. “In a live setting it might seem a little more of a uniform sound, but on the record you can probably tell there’s a lot of different influences, from stoner, old punk, pop even; the riffs are generally heavy, but we certainly have catchy choruses,” says Jonathan, sagely. Overused to the point that it is almost devoid of meaning, ‘unique’ is a word that few music hacks spout earnestly. But with Torche’s meandering sprawl it seems fitting. (With energy like theirs, ‘maudlin’ was unfortunately not applicable.) Kyle Robinson Songs For Singles is out now on Hydra Head. www.myspace.com/torche
news shorts He may have missed out on the Mercury, but the trajectory of Conor O’Brien (aka Villagers) continues skyward. O’Brien and band criss-cross the USA from October 19, before sliding straight into tours of Europe, the UK and
finally Ireland just before Christmas. The Vicar Street, Dublin show on December 21 will be a beautiful homecoming. Holy Richter Rock, batman! Wexford mathrock types Adebisi Shank
have announced a rather large headline show at the Button Factory in Dublin for November 20. Support comes from Richter Collective labelmates Not Squares, whose debut album is all done and dusted.
SPRING & AIRBRAKE - LIMELIGHT - AUNTIE ANNIE’S - KATY DALY’S SPRING & AIRBRAKE - LIMELIGHT
A BEACON OF HOPE
AUNTIE ANNIE’S - 7TH OCTOBER - 8PM
Plus guest Gavin Glass
SPRING & AIRBRAKE - 9TH OCTOBER - 7PM
EX - DEEP PURPLE AUNTIE ANNIE’S - 9TH OCTOBER - 7.30PM
LISBEE AUNTIE ANNIE’S - 10TH OCTOBER - 3PM (EARLY SHOW)
THE LIMELIGHT - 17TH OCTOBER - 8PM
ARCHITECTS SPRING & AIRBRAKE - 22ND OCTOBER - 9PM
STONE ROSES EXPERIENCE
Plus guest Rob Smith
SPRING & AIRBRAKE - 28TH OCTOBER - 9PM
GREG DULI Plus guest Ed Harcourt
SPRING & AIRBRAKE - 30TH OCTOBER - 8PM
THE CAT EMPIRE
Tin Pan Orange
THE LIMELIGHT - 4TH NOVEMBER - 9PM
CANCER BATS Plus guests Trash Talk
THE LIMELIGHT - 7TH NOVEMBER - 8PM
GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT THE LIMELIGHT - 10TH NOVEMBER - 8.30PM
darwin deez Tickets available from Katy Daly’s, Belfast
0844 277 4455 or www.cdcleisure.com
—11 AU Magazine—
SPRING & AIRBRAKE - LIMELIGHT - AUNTIE ANNIE’S - KATY DALY’S SPRING & AIRBRAKE - LIMELIGHT
Les Savy Fav
Les Savy Fav’s Seth Jabour reflects on what it is to be an indie veteran
LES SAVY FAV
When Les Savy Fav released their first album, Princess Diana was still alive. To a generation that matured during or after the whole NME recasting of indie rock in the early 2000s, they must seem like elder statesmen, and frontman Tim Harrington’s bald head, bushy beard and beer belly combination would hardly ingratiate them. But it’s funny, such an aggressively unslick image, combined with a tendency to give audiences the best night of the lives, is precisely what makes them relevant long after other Nineties births (such as Hanson, for example) have fallen by the wayside unloved.
“I think that we still have a fair amount of vigour for men of our age,” guitarist Seth Jabour explains. “To be honest with you I don’t know what I would be expected to write as a man in his 30s.” Their newest album, Root For Ruin, is nothing if not vigorous, with songs and song titles like ‘Excess Energies’ proving that Les Savy Fav are not only still with it, but better at it than younger peers, and full of a particular energy now partially lost in the mists of Nineties indie rock. “When we talked about making this record, early on, before there was much of anything, there was at least a discussion as to what kind of record we wanted to make. I think lately in independent music especially there’s been a trend to moving
representative of our roots in Les Savy Fav, what we’ve laid down.” They’ve been stalwarts of the New York scene too, refusing to cash in on their rise to press prominence and live notoriety in the early 2000s. “There’s something to be said for being tenacious, just plugging away,” says Jabour. “I’m only vaguely familiar with the New York music scene now. It’s not really the centre it was in 2002 when Williamsburg was pumping out Liars, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Everybody was looking almost specifically at Williamsburg as a hotbed of music. But there’s always been music in this city, and it was always from different places. And it’s beginning to do that again. I guess we’re somewhere in the ‘low brow
"There’s always been music in this city, and it was always from different places. And it’s beginning to do that again. I guess we’re somewhere in the ‘low brow brilliant’ spectrum of what New York has to offer." away from what brought us here in the first place. When I say that I don’t mean roots in blues or roots in jazz or Led Zeppelin. But more importantly, when we started out as a band, we listened to Jesus Lizard, we listened to Shellac, we listened to the whole Touch And Go stuff coming out of Chicago, we listened to Pavement and we listened to Superchunk and the whole Merge Records output, and those were the things that inspired us. “Freak folk happened recently with bands like Animal Collective and MGMT. I think that our approach to this was, we wanted to make a record that would be a good follow-up to [1999 second album] The Cat And The Cobra. Something that is
—12 issue 69—
brilliant’ spectrum of what New York has to offer.” Root For Ruin leaked during the summer and the band’s label Frenchkiss, run by the bassist Syd Butler, had to rush the release, as well as giving fans a chance to support the music by donating on their website after the leak emerged, with the added promise of cookies delivered by Jesus. Seth stands over the claim. “Yeah, Tim’s pretty tight with Jesus. I’m not sure what kind of arrangement they’ve worked out, but he’ll get you all kinds of stuff. Cookies, chips, whatever.” Karl McDonald Root For Ruin is out now on Frenchkiss Records www.lessavyfav.com
Isobel Anderson / Mouthing Off
STORIES FROM THE SEA
Belfast-based folk revivalist releases stunning debut
Andrew Johnston vents his considerable spleen for your pleasure Enough has been said and written about the catastrophic recent Guns N’ Roses Belfast gig. As for Dublin, the saga of Axl being bottled off after five songs, then returning to the stage close to an hour later to finish the set to a near-empty venue – presumably under pain of lawsuit – has been well documented across the world. The general consensus is that the shows were abominable, that Rose is a washed-up egomaniac and that the Guns N’ Roses name should be handed forthwith to Slash, who still has respect for his fans and an idea of what made GN’R popular in the first place.
Photo by El Porter McCullough
Some people merely piss their student days away – not Isobel Anderson. After relocating from Brighton to study Sonic Arts at Queen’s University Belfast, the singersongwriter has just released Cold Water Songs, one of the year’s most haunting debut albums, after utilising the college recording studio. “I’d get a couple of hours to myself and record a song,” she tells AU over a dainty cup of Earl Grey in a Belfast craft centre. “I’m not someone who churns out loads of songs. I only write a few songs, but the ones I write I feel proud of.” Cold Water Songs is a set of spectral lullabies, showcasing Anderson’s beautiful voice while capturing a distant melancholy. “They are very personal songs as I’d gone through the process of a break-up while relocating. There is a big sadness about the album. I used this album as a project to put those emotions to good use,” Isobel says, before admitting, “I did go out and get drunk a lot as well.” The album has constant references to the sea, and Anderson confirms that a number of songs were inspired by time spent gazing at the horizon. “I
think there is a big connection between the coast and songwriting, and, I guess, folk songs. ‘Seaside Suicide’ was written when I was spending a lot of time in Newcastle in County Down. The sky there is very odd in that it is very low and there are lots of clouds against the sea, so it feels like you look out for ever.” But it would be wrong to pigeonhole Anderson as merely a folk singer. Before moving to Northern Ireland she dabbled in “soul and even bits of hip-hop and electronica” and asserts she “would never want to box myself in” by merely sticking to one genre. What is certain is that she will be staying in Northern Ireland for the next few years. After finishing her MA, she is set to embark on a PhD, which will birth “another couple of albums.” The Belfast music scene has brought out the best in this genuinely enthralling new talent. “In London, the music circuit, or any of the art networks, can feel a bit tired and stale. I’m happy here and I feel supported and inspired by people I meet. There is a really open attitude. People really want things to happen; they want there to be a music scene, and a good music magazine like AU.” John Freeman Cold Water Songs is out now www.isobelanderson.com
news shorts Congratulations are due to the Glasgowbury Festival, who have been nominated in two categories at the UK Festival Awards. The Draperstown (ish) based shindig is up for Best Small Festival and The Grassroots Festival Award. You can vote for your favourites at uk.festivalawards.com
Rivers Cuomo may hate it (well, he maintained he did for some time) but Pinkerton, Weezer's actually-magnificent second album from 1996, is being re-released at the start of November, and it might just be worth forking out for it again. You’ll get a booklet
with photos and an essay, and you’ll also get 25 (count ‘em!) bonus tracks including all the B-sides and a raft of live tracks. It’s angsty gold, you know. Young Lisburn songwriter John D’Arcy is taking his music in a power-pop direction with the help of
ex-Oppenheimer producer Rocky O’Reilly and backing band The Great Bunch Of Lads, and the first fruit of the partnership is new single ‘Get Over Yourself’. It’s out on Terri Hooley’s Good Vibrations Records (The Undertones’ old label!) on October 8 or via johndarcy.com
I said as much in my review of the Belfast gig for one of Northern Ireland’s daily newspapers. “Axl looked like Mickey Rourke and sounded like a dying cat,” I wrote. “Sporting a beer gut and the ill effects of too much Botox, he cut a tragic figure.” Giving it two stars – a show featuring seven songs from the classic Appetite For Destruction album can’t be all bad – I bemoaned the absence of original members, criticised the band’s late appearance and mocked the hired goons’ noodling efforts to cover for Axl during his many absences from the stage. All fair enough, I thought. I certainly didn’t expect the review – posted on the newspaper’s website – to attract a barrage of furious comments from seething Guns N’ Roses fans. According to them, I’m an “Axl hater”, a “yuppie” and a “lazy journalist”. They accused me of not being at the gig, of stealing the review from The Guardian and even of not liking rock music. It’s bad form to respond to such internet abuse. After all, the readers are as entitled to their opinions of me as I am to mine about Axl Rose. They can call me names, ridicule my work and accuse me of plagiarism. I’m thick-skinned. I can take it. As a lifelong heavy metal nerd, the charge that I don’t like rock music is upsetting, but I’ve had worse said about me. It is clearly not advisable to allow the general public to comment on a review of a major act. Emotions run too high; obsession cuts too deep. I discovered this when a throwaway gag about oxygen tents in my review of Michael Jackson’s guitarist Jennifer Batten attracted pages of flak on the newspaper’s website. Even a positive review of Westlife – hey, they’re good at what they do – drew howls from the boy band’s hardcore followers. Regarding Guns N’ Roses, I’m not backing down. The current travelling circus is not the band I fell in love with in 1987. Still, I urge you all to go out and buy a copy of Chinese Democracy. You can never have enough items to throw at Axl Rose the next time he comes to town.
—13 AU Magazine—
An Irishman In New York
AN IRISHMAN IN NEW YORK
When Dublin student, blogger and journalist Karl McDonald decided to spend the summer in New York, he did so not as a tourist, but with the intention of experiencing the city at ground level. Here, he reports back.
Illustration by Stephen Maurice Graham
Firstly, let’s be clear. The streets of New York are not paved with gold. They’re mostly paved with concrete, like ordinary streets. But it’s not the streets themselves that make it the greatest place in the world. That’s the people. There are those who have made it, selling bank debt on bluetooth headsets as they order boutique coffee. Then there are those who are trying, like the jazz bar bouncer trying to get his short stories published or the furniture mover who makes instrumental hip-hop. And that’s before we even get started on hipsters. But evading any of these prebuilt categories are a different breed: Irish university students, over to exploit the US government’s curious decision to let them live and work in their fine nation for a summer with little or no restriction.
WORK Many of the aforementioned students find work in bars, cafes, shops, on building sites or doing promotional work. But as Buzz in Hardy Bucks once said, sometimes faking like you’re working is harding than working itself. So I braced myself and took the difficult option. In heat I’d —14 issue 69—
never experienced before, in surroundings I’d seen often in GTA IV, I took it upon myself to spend the entire summer either hungry or drunk. Although that’s not to say I didn’t work at all. I re-boxed legal files for a Korean immigration law-firm with about a 2:1 ratio of people with names other than Kim to people with the name Kim. I promoted a political social networking platform at some kind of forum event. I even tried busking in Central Park. But mostly, I did nothing. It was beautiful.
You tryna say I ain’t in here every day of the week giving you my custom?” “You come in here every day, and you try no pay.” “This is some damn bullshit! I ain’t never comin’ round here again! What you doin’ in my damn country anyways?” She storms out, informing passers-by of the base injustice in colourful language. Thirty seconds pass, and I pay for my 40oz of Colt 45. She comes back with a dollar. “Gimme two slices of cheese.” “You no say please?” “Aw man, fuck you.”
Some of the greatest cultural resources in the world are located in Manhattan, but most of them cost at least a dollar to get into, and by the end of July, that was 50% of my food budget for the day. The city provides, though. Living in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn (ancestral home of Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G. and Spike Lee among others) it didn’t take more than walking to the 24-hour deli on the corner to find entertainment. Consider the following exchange between a hardened Brooklynite female of circa 50 and the Arabic man behind the counter. “Ayo, I got 75c. I need two slices of cheese for my fry.” “Cheese is 50c a slice.” “Yeah man I know, but I need that shit for my fry, yo.” “Cheese is 50c a slice.” “Man, how you gonna do me that way?
There are many reasons to live in Brooklyn, but for me it was always music. Before I left, I saw myself rubbing shoulders with a Dirty Projector here, maybe a Grizzly bro there, in the hippest bars in Williamsburg. As I have explained, though, I had no money. Williamsburg is for pretending to be poor, not for actually doing it. Still, including jazz bands in bars, I probably saw a band 80% of the nights I spent in New York without spending a penny. And not terrible bands either. Dan Deacon. Beach House. Sonic Youth, even. A local told me that the reason there’s so much free stuff in the summer is because in the winter everyone gets bummed out by the weather and the hobos freezing to death. Luckily I had somewhere to be by then.
—15 AU Magazine—
Solar Bears / My First Band
The Dublin electronic duo making under-the-radar waves far and wide
With John Famiglietti from HEALTH Band Name: Blood Meridian Influences: Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, The Stooges Age: 16
One of Ireland’s best-kept secrets, in the last six months the blissful melodies of Solar Bears have enraptured the imagination of music fans. Signed to Planet Mu, the Inner Sunshine EP was released in August, followed in September by the album She Was Coloured In, a total of 21 tracks between the two releases, spanning a range of styles including electronica, indie, Krautrock and progressive, nameless identity.
bands. Plus a lot of bands stick to a formula, a kind of sound that they’re familiar with, they have a certain comfort zone.
“What we do is migratory, it’s almost gypsylike with our influences. We try to mix analog with digital, not being too loyal to either,” says Dubliner John Kowalski, art enthusiast and one half of the band along with Rian Trench, who owns a studio in Wicklow. The duo met while studying sound engineering. “We had 23 tracks so the label man Mike [Paradinas, aka µ-Ziq] decided it was best to divide some songs into an EP because they were very difficult to position on the album. A big thing for him and us is the actual flow and something like ‘Kill On’ was nearly impossible to place because it’s a brilliant piece, it’s an individual bit of music. I suppose we have a harder time tracklisting than other
These comparisons range from Ariel Pink and Prins Thomas to Boards of Canada and Bibio. They haven’t yet been asked to soundtrack a Russian space voyage but the positive consensus so far suggests that Solar Bears have hit the honeypot, with a rare gift for fluency in the universal language of music.“We’ve had some strange offers, comments from Australia and Europe but North America is the main area. Mostly we’ve been hearing from New York and Los Angeles but I can’t exactly pin point why, it just seems to translate.” Nay McArdle
—16 issue 69—
“The best way to introduce yourself is to surprise people. The feedback we’ve been getting has been positive so far. The EP set people up for the album, they’re very different but there’s a distinct relationship between the two. What people have seemed to pick up on in terms of influences is a focus on a colour and the strands of nostalgia that migrate through everything we’ve done. We do our own thing but at the same time, we are being compared to artists we respect which is cool.”
She Was Coloured In is out now on Planet Mu. www.myspace.com/solarbears
“It was fuckin’ awesome just being in a band. We got a gig at a real venue and we were really excited. We were all ready to go but the second we started, we were totally, totally off and there was this panic in my mind, like ‘Oh my God, this is going terribly!’. [laughs] At one point I stopped playing and jumped in the air towards the singer and collided with him in mid-air and we fell off the edge of the stage. He got so mad he started wrestling and trying to beat the shit out of me. The whole time the other guys were jamming, so I guess people thought we were a wild rock band or whatever!
"At one point I stopped playing and jumped in the air towards the singer and collided with him in mid-air and we fell off the edge of the stage." “We broke up after about two years. I got this empty house to move into and play there with the band. I had this shitty recording module and had these epic visions that we would go there and record these few songs we had and make this masterpiece EP. No-one was co-operating though and the guitar player, who was the most powerful dude in the band, wrote this really pretentious note of how he was quitting the band and all this stuff about high school and how it was fuckin’ stupid, and that was the end of the band. [laughs]”
Shit Robot / Unknown Pleasures
LONG TIME COMING
Twenty short years in the making, DFA’s Dubliner Shit Robot presents his debut album SHIT ROBOT
Niall Byrne digs deep to uncover the freshest new music
7” - Starfucker - Julius They used to be called Starfucker, then Pyramidd, and now they are back to using Starfucker or to be even more confusing, STRFKR. Having released a self-titled debut album in 2007 defining their sound with sampled dialogue, upbeat rolling synths and hypnotic choruses, the indecisive Portland foursome are now signed to Polyvinyl (Of Montreal, Vivian Girls, Japandroids). They release new track Julius this month on dark blue vinyl as the first taster for their 2011 album. myspace.com/strfkrmusic
Marcus Lambkin is living proof that patience is still very much a virtue. The highly respected deejaying Dubliner left his native shores for New York in the early Nineties, jaded by the Irish capital’s techno obsession and longing for a fresh start. But far from the superstar DJ culture of Europe, New York‘s musical landscape was an entirely different animal. There, the promoter was top dog and competition amongst DJs for the best residencies was fierce.
moved to southern Germany some years back, that I got serious about the record. I found it hard to isolate periods of time in New York, in order to undertake a project of that level. In Germany I was gigging only on weekends and had time to work on the outline tracks in my mid-week downtime.”
“While I was gigging in Brownies I ended up starting a business with a mate, Dominic Keegan. It was important to get established and meet some good people. As luck would have it, we were practically next door to James Murphy and the crew from DFA, just as they were kicking things off. We had our project Plant Records and also ran a venue called Plant Bar. A whole crew of people, including myself and often James, ended up hanging out there a lot on Friday nights, mixing punk, disco and acid house records. Also, my cabinet making skills came in very handy, helping to build James’ studio! He was the man who gave me the name Shit Robot and he’s been a huge influence ever since and was the album’s producer.” Making a record was always at the back of Lambkin’s mind, but during his near 12 years in North America’s great melting pot it was always on the long finger. “It wasn’t until me and my wife
A constant source of inspiration was great friend and co-conspirator Murphy, who was always keen to push the Shit Robot project as far as possible. However, Lambkin doesn’t plan to become a band leader any time soon. “No, unfortunately, I won’t tour the album with a band. I’m first and foremost a DJ and to do this record justice live wouldn’t be feasible. I’d have none of these amazing vocalists like James [Murphy], Alex [Taylor of Hot Chip] and Nancy Whang [LCD, The Juan Maclean] on stage and the experience would be hugely diminished. Nevertheless, I’m so proud of From The Cradle To The Rave. It’s been a big deal for me to finally get this sorted and hopefully, I’ll get around to number two a lot sooner!” Eamonn Seoige
After such a long period, the biggest challenge facing Marcus was condensing so many disparate ideas into one album. “The record really is a road map of my life in music. I moved to Manhattan and eagerly exposed myself to a world of different sounds and fresh ideas, from warehouse parties on the Lower East side to just picking up stuff on recommendation.”
From The Cradle To The Rave is out now on DFA Records www.shitrobot.com
Blog Buzz – Star Slinger J Dilla’s influence on beatmaking and hip-hop production continues to yield considerable results especially in the UK. Hudson Mohawke, Bullion, Paul White, Young Montana and now Manchester-based Darren Williams continue the streak. Download his free Volume 1 mixtape and sample his recent remixes of Deerhunter and Small Black. starslingeruk.bandcamp.com Compilation – Calypso Collection Boomkat’s 14 Tracks site curates a thematic mix every week from its digital catalogue. Taking a concept like the current recycling of Eighties sounds or a subgenre such as ‘psychedub’ as the starting point, the resulting mixtape is always interesting and often educational. Calypso Connection serves as an aural journey through Afro-Caribbean sounds; from early 20th century Trinidad & Tobago legend Lord Kitchener to the influence of West Africa and Costa Rica on the genre. Fascinating. 14tracks.com 10” – All City Series Dublin’s All City Records has been knocking out fantastic hiphop tunes for a few years now, with releases from Samiyam, Dimlite and Mike Slott. The Dublin label are at the forefront of instrumental hip-hop and they’ve just released the sixth instalment of their LA Series to prove it. Brainfeeder members Daedelus and Teebs get a side of vinyl to themselves to showcase their masterful production skills. shop.all-cityrecords.com Blog Buzz – Holy Other London-based blog Transparent has a successful label side which has already put out 15 limited vinyl releases from the likes of Washed Out, Perfume Genius, Summer Camp and Kisses. Their latest signing is Berlin-based Holy Other who they describe as purveyors of “slow jamz/space-age breakup elegies”. It also sounds like Burial trying to make witch house music. Their debut 7” is out now. transparentblog.com www.nialler9.com —17 AU Magazine—
THE PRODIGAL SONS RETURN HOME
Larne/Ballyclare legends Therapy? wax lyrical about their 20th anniversary celebrations
Photos by Carrie Davenport
“We never had a plan at all,” begins Therapy?’s head honcho Andy Cairns as he recalls his band’s two decade-long career. “We moved from step to step without thinking of years ahead. Our first ambition was to get a gig and our second was to get our self-financed debut single stocked in Caroline Music (R.I.P.). Being mates with Elton John and acting in hard hitting Channel 4 dramas was never on the agenda.” This month, Belfast gets pencilled in for a muchneeded metaphorical session on the couch with the trio (completed by bassist Michael McKeegan and tub thumper Neil Cooper) and as it just so happens to coincide with the band’s 20th birthday, they’re planning on playing all of their seminal second album Troublegum in its entirety, as well as other favourites from their much storied history. “Basically, someone at Sonisphere UK wanted us to do Troublegum in its entirety and after we agreed to it other Euro promoters got wind of it and the offers started coming in,” states the singer/guitarist on their decision to pay tribute to the album. “I’ve always liked ‘Unbeliever’ and ‘Brainsaw’ so it’ll be great to wheel them out again.” For Andy, remembering the heady days of 1994 is a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand the band finally booted down the doors of the mainstream music scene and became darlings of critics and fans alike. On the other, it marked a distinct change in how the band operated and they went from being —18 issue 69—
three noise-punk underdogs to bona fide rock gods who were constantly in demand and, if you pardon the pun, it was a short, sharp shock to their system. “I really don’t have that much of a recollection of that time of the band at all,” confesses Cairns. “It was just so hectic. We were either on tour or in the studio for over a year and communications within the band had started to break down very badly. What should have been exciting times was just a foggy miasma.” Still, while the aforementioned breakdown in communications led to band founder Fyfe Ewing leaving in January 1996, it didn’t deter Andy and Michael from their ambition of making truly twisted alt. rock anthems. The inspired lunacy that was Suicide Pact – You First, the menacing Never Apologise Never Explain and the utterly assured latest manifesto Crooked Timber ensured that there was much more to the band than three minute blasts of pop-punk. This November they release their first ever live album and from the sounds of it, it’ll not only serve as a cherished keepsake for the long-term fans, but it’ll also act as an excellent starting point for those eager to have their Therapy? cherry popped. “The live album is being released on Nov 5th. It’s called We’re Here To The End, it’s got 36 tracks on it and was recorded in London earlier in the year. We recorded 38 tracks but ‘Lonely Cryin’ Only’ was awful and ‘I Am The Money’ was a shambles so we left them off. The album’s got a great raw feel to it and we’re very proud of it. It covers everything from ‘Meat Abstract/Punishment Kiss’ right up to Crooked Timber.”
With the live album good to go, relations in the band at an all time high and their homecoming show on the cards, it seems it’s a good time to be in Therapy? However, with the three-piece planning on playing all of Troublegum, we have to ask-how are they going to recreate the vocals of Lesley Rankine and Eileen Rose on ‘Lunacy Booth’ and ‘Femtex’ respectively? Will they have to invest in some super-tight, bullocktorturing jeans for drummer Neil? “We’ve got some plans for guests but now that you’ve mentioned Neil in tighter trousers I’m going to ask: do you know any Spandex companies in County Antrim…?” Edwin McFee Therapy? play the Mandela Hall in Belfast on Oct 15. They also play Cyprus Avenue in Cork on Oct 23-24 and Vicar Street in Dublin on Nov 5. www.therapyquestionmark.co.uk
Do You Remember?
DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT THE MUSIC MEANT?
YANN'S HEART RUNS FREE Erstwhile film composer Yann Tiersen on the album he always wanted to make
With: Ólöf Arnalds
What is your earliest musical memory? My earliest musical memory is singing with my sister and my mother. We sang a lot in the home. We had lots of different voices and it was like a game. My mother was raised in London, even though she is Icelandic – so it would be Icelandic songs, or English songs, or even songs we were making up. What is the first record you ever owned, and do you still listen to it? The first record that was mine was a seven-inch of the Icelandic entry for the Eurovision, in 1986. The group was called ICY. It was a very special thing, because it was the first time that Iceland was in the Eurovision contest. I don’t knwo where the record is now. What piece of music moves you to tears? Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto Number 3, Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Maria Callas’ voice, Nina Simone’s voice, and Björk’s voice. What three albums would you force a total stranger to listen to? Bob Dylan - Blonde On Blonde Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy - Master And Everyone Björk - Homogenic Who was the last band or artist that you became obsessed about? Recently it’s been a Japanese band, Asa Chang. They make incredibly articulate music.
What was the first band you ever saw live? I guess it would have been the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra. I fell asleep, I was six. I think that is allowed. What about the worst band you’ve ever seen live? I don’t consider any music to be bad. All music fascinates me, as do the people who make it. So, I really don’t have an answer to that question. What one song best captures your character? That’s too hard. Maybe I should think about one of my songs, which are not really about my character. However, there is this one song, called ‘Seyðisfjörður’ – named after a town which is in east of Iceland – which I wrote myself and it doesn’t have a lyric or anything, but it is a very simple tune that is short. It’s very down-to-earth and simple, but certain of itself. So maybe, that’s the closest. Who is your all time favourite artist? Bach. No, let me rethink that. I think it’s Benjamin Britten – because I think the music he writes and the way he arranges songs comes from a place that is very inspired and passionate. Innundir Skinni is out now on One Little Indian. www.olofarnalds.com
Yann Tiersen apologises to AU for the dodgy phone line and spends the rest of the interview trying to find the 'sweet spot' around his Brittany home that ensures optimum communication. "It's because of where I live," I almost hear him shrug apologetically. The reason he’s bending over backwards to be heard, apart from being a very nice chap, is that his sixth album, the frequently magical Dust Lane, is about to be released and he’s touring it, taking dates in Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Galway en route. Dust Lane represents the triumphant marriage of Yann Tiersen, the composer of film soundtracks such as Amélie and Goodbye Lenin! and Yann Tiersen the ‘punk’ violinist and pop songwriter. He’s also eschewed the interesting but perhaps slightly superfluous celebrity collaborations of recent albums to make his most satisfying and personal work to date. Tiersen agrees. “It’s the album I always wanted to make, without being sure or knowing how to do it! At the beginning of my career it was either instrumental or vocal songs, but now I
worked out how to both these things at the same time,” he laughs. “And I feel freer than ever.” That sense of freedom is writ large all over Dust Lane. Layered vocals are used with orchestral flourish, analogue synths are broken out for the first time and songs are dedicated to both Palestine and Henry Miller. Moments of the mellifluous and the dissonant, the melancholic and the uplifting abound throughout, often within the same song – check out ‘Ashes’ for further proof. In short, it’s an album of thrilling contrasts. It’s also an album surprisingly devoid of grief, considering that Tiersen experienced a crippling double bereavement during the making of Dust Lane, losing his mother and his best friend. “It’s really not a sad album at all,” he affirms. “It’s about celebrating life and living it to the full.” It ends appropriately enough, on the lifeaffirming ‘Fuck Me’, written for his girlfriend. “Well, like the movies, I like a happy ending,” he says. I can almost hear him smile. Joe Nawaz Yann Tiersen plays Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Galway from October 22-25. www.yanntiersen.com
—19 AU Magazine—
Label Profile: One Little Indian
ONE LITTLE INDIAN
Words by John Freeman
Founded: 1985 Based: London Run By: Derek Birkett, Michelle Polley. Key Acts: Björk, Dan Sartain, Wild Palms, Ólöf Arnalds, Asobi Seksu. London’s One Little Indian was set up in 1985 by members of various anarchist punk bands, including ex-Flux Of Pink Indians’ Derek Birkett. Since then, the label has become a stalwart of the independent scene, working with artists such as The Shamen, Rocket From A Crypt, Skunk Anansie, The Sneaker Pimps and, most notably, Björk. AU catches up with One Little Indian’s Product Manager, Michelle Polley, to reflect on a quarter of a century of anarchy. The label was started 25 years ago - what was the original vision for One Little Indian? Does a ‘punk ethos’ still remain? Michelle Polley: “The goals are still the same. We’re all still vegetarians and vegans. We still maintain that DIY punk spirit – there’s still a lot of sleeping on random peoples floors while touring. There was never a vision or a masterplan. We just started out releasing our own records (Flux Of Pink Indians), friends’ records (The Sugarcubes) and bands that we liked, loved and believed in (Skunk Anansie, The Sneaker Pimps, Emiliana Torrini). Did we think we’d still be here 25 years later? No, we’ve learnt to never take anything for granted.” Björk is one of your most successful artists. What impact has her success had on the label? How important has she been in your history? Polley: “She’s not only been a great friend to us who’s been important to our history, she’s been incremental to the rich history of experimental —20 issue 69—
music as a whole. She’s a fearless innovator who never ceases to wonder and amaze us.” What do you look for in an artist before signing them? Is there a DNA that runs through the One Little Indian roster? Polley: “There’s no DNA as such. There’s not much correlation between any of our artists - our roster is more than eclectic. If you’re in a band with a good bunch of people and your songs are excellent, the music will speak for itself.” How did the label change as we entered the age of downloading? Polley: “Music’s certainly much easier to get hold of now; with programmes such as Spotify you have a whole world of music available to you wouldn’t have had 25 years ago. People aren’t so confined in what they listen to now. Saying that, there’s always going to be a market for physical releases. Sometimes a download just isn’t enough; people still want something to hold and to own. You can’t beat a beautiful package and the smell of vinyl.”
What’s your personal favourite One Little Indian release? Polley: “It’s hard to narrow it down to one, it changes all the time. Some releases stand out just because it was such a pleasure to work with those artists, such as Cody ChesnuTT on The Headphone Masterpiece and Björk on Vespertine. But that’s not to say some of the most recent releases on One Little Indian aren’t just as important, such as Asobi Seksu’s Citrus and Dan Sartain Vs. The Serpientes – we’re really proud of those too.” What can we expect from One Little Indian in the next few months? Polley: “There’s a lot of exciting stuff going on. The final mixes for Wild Palms’ debut album came in this week, which is a project that we’re all really looking forward to. There’s a track on that album, ‘Delight In Temptation’, which really stands out for me. There’s going to be new stuff from Björk as well, but we can’t say too much about that - it’ll ruin the surprise. Oh, and we’re keeping bees too, so expect One Little Indian honey in the not too distant future.” www.indian.co.uk WILD PALMS
—21 AU Magazine—
Thread Pulls, Mitchell Museum, Teebs
Members: Gavin Duffy (drums, vocals), Peter Maybury (bass). Formation: Dublin, 2008. For Fans Of: Can, Throbbing Gristle, James Chance and the Contortions. Check Out: New Thoughts, out now on Osaka Records. Website: www.myspace.com/threadpulls
Members: Cammy McFarlane (vocals, keys), Dougie Kennedy (guitar, vocals), Kris Ferguson (bass, vocals), Raindeer (drums, vocals). Formation: Glasgow, 2008. For Fans Of: Vampire Weekend, Flaming Lips, Animal Collective. Check Out: The Peters Port Memorial Service, out now on Electra French. Website: www.myspace.com/mitchellmuseum
Real Name: Mtendere Mandowa. Based: Chino Hills, California. For Fans Of: Baths, Flying Lotus, Prefuse 73. Check Out: Debut album Ardour, out on October 18 on Brainfeeder. Website: www.myspace.com/teeeb
Anyone ready to proclaim the long-player dead should look at the Irish underground’s graduating class of 2010 before administering last rites. As if a vintage crop of albums from Adebisi Shank, Fight Like Apes and So Cow – to name a small few – wasn’t enough, Dublin duo Thread Pulls arrive to the party with New Thoughts, a lean, hungry beast of an album built around distilled rhythms, unsettling atmospherics, and uneasy lyrics. Explaining the album’s minimal sound, the band’s Peter Maybury says, “It partly came about as a natural consequence of our line-up being cut down to just the two of us. I moved to drums, my first instrument, and Gavin [Duffy] switched to bass. So we looked for interesting ways to occupy the space.” It’s an approach that works a treat for Thread Pulls and, in a way that might perhaps draw comparisons with The xx, the spaces and angles implied by the music are as interesting as the music itself. While other instruments play a part in their sound, Thread Pulls are mostly about drums and bass. They describe themselves “as nearly a rock band” with their tongues in their cheeks but the truth is that further musical input would detract from the weird rootsy sound they create. It’s a sound as tight as snare drum and one look at their crammed touring schedule shows that it must be honed in part from live performance. Put on your best ‘bass face’ and go check them out. Darragh McCausland —22 issue 69—
Glasgow’s Mitchell Museum are something of a cultural anomaly. Their signature psych-pop sound is normally associated with some of our dearest friends from across the pond. The thriving metropolises of the USA’s east coast, including Baltimore and NYC, are the undisputed motherland to this thrilling subgenre. Nonetheless, while Mitchell Museum’s sound and songcraft owe an undisputed debt of gratitude to such luminaries as Vampire Weekend and Animal Collective, they’ve still managed to construct their own distinctive jangle. Debut long-player The Peters Port Memorial Service, released earlier this summer, has already become something of an underground sensation. It’s a feast of noisy, lo-fi, twisted pop gems, which brims with ingenuity from first to last. Cammy McFarlane’s provocative lyrical style and delivery drive the band’s frenzied melodies forward, and often reference life on Glasgow’s busy streets. TPPMS is high on youthful innovation, possibly overambitious at times, but makes for hugely pleasurable listening. Their rich jumble of impermeable vocal harmonising, jumpy synth hooks, wicked lines and blissful anarchy is sure to make Mitchell Museum a major mover over the coming months and years. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Eamonn Seoige
Tired of all the beautiful, ebb ‘n’ flow beat music that’s rolling out of LA at the moment? Us neither. Say hello (or FlyLo?) to Mtendere Mandowa – artist, skater, musician and part of the prolific Brainfeeder crew that seems to be the Fertile Crescent of American electronic music these days. “My Hollow Drum started in the summer of 2007,” Teebs says of his early project and humble beginnings. "Just some local friends who were into DJing. I was doing small art shows in Pomona, California, at the time and I would just have shows and they would DJ them. They were frequenting LA events and told me about Poobah records and how I needed to check that and [producer] Ras G out and also about [weekly club night, oft-mentioned by the LA glitcherati] Low End Theory.” And how does he view the two years it took to deliver the upcoming album, Ardour? “In retrospect, definitely a journey that I didn’t know would come to such an ending. I see it Ardour as a time capsule. I hope people get whatever they need or want from it… and also whatever they don’t want or need.” Things are looking pretty good around LA these days. Bill Hicks might have hated it but he didn’t get the chance to hear Teebs, did he? Adam Lacey
Timber Timbre Real Name: Based: For Fans Of: Check Out: Website:
Taylor Kirk. Montreal, Canada. Bon Iver, Devendra Banhart, The Tallest Man On Earth. Third album Timber Timbre, out now on Full Time Hobby www.timbertimbre.com
Taylor Kirk is a rambling man in many ways, but not when he speaks. The Canadian folkie – although to deem him a ‘folkie’ seems almost dismissive of the murky, atmospheric acoustic music that he creates – speaks in even tones, his clipped accent at odds with his gloopy murmur of a singing voice. When I speak to the man who operates under the Timber Timbre banner (occasionally with a band), he’s en route to Amsterdam on a dodgy tour bus with an even dodgier driver. He doesn’t mind too much, though; touring Europe is still a novelty for the Ontario native, even if he’s plugging an album that was first released in North America almost two years ago. Timber Timbre has already earned numerous accolades in Canada, where it was picked up by Arts & Crafts after an initial release on a small Toronto label in 2009. “Everyone there really dug it, and they got in touch and gave us a really nice offer, and yeah, it was impossible to turn it down. They’re an amazing label, and an amazing beacon for Canadian music. Do we feel like the black sheep of the family? A little,” he laughs. “I do feel that we are unusual for them; for the most part, it’s more rock ‘n’ roll music on that label, big bands. But I do think we’re a good match.” It’s taken a while for Kirk to make it big; Timber Timbre is his third album. What changed? Was there some shift, or recalibration of his spooky, old-time style? “I guess when I began, the songs that I was writing and the recordings that I was making weren’t things that I had in mind to be consumed by anybody. They were just things I was doing for fun, and yeah… maybe that’s what kept them from being accessible – the way they were recorded, and so on. Once I started to play those songs more, and play them in front of people, I guess that influenced what kind of songs I was writing.” Many of those early recordings were recorded in a wood cabin, hence the unusual moniker. Add that to the fact that he uses a pseudonym and an acoustic guitar, and the comparisons to one Justin Vernon aren’t too far behind, although Kirk claims not to be bothered by them. In any case, his music bears a more haunted, experimental feel than Bon Iver’s, and that eerie ambience is a spread generously through Timber Timbre’s eight songs. “I think recording with really lo-fi equipment like I did – those are the kind of things you just have to embrace, if you want to make it sound good,” he explains. “The atmosphere? I dunno. The reason those songs were ‘dark’ was because I was going through something difficult, and it felt really good to offset the vulnerability of writing really personal songs by kind of shrouding them in something that was really dark. It was empowering.” And what of the future? New recordings have already been laid down, and should by released by spring 2011, he says – but sticking to the minimalist folk/blues blueprint that he’s worked off for the past three albums isn’t necessarily a given. “I don’t really feel like I’m going to be the type of artist who hones their sound with every album – I’d prefer to do something really different with each recording,” he says. “So much of creating music is about trying on different things, moving between genres. I’m not too interested in cultivating a specific sound.” Lauren Murphy
—23 AU Magazine—
year a follow-up, the glitchy, melodic two-step of ‘Aidy’s Girl Is A Computer’, became one of 2009’s most talked-about underground singles. Now they re-emerge with something altogether different – a mournful, synth-laden, Eighties-influenced pop album featuring vocalist James Buttery. How did that happen?
Members: James Young (music, production, lyrics), Aiden Whalley (music, production), James Buttery (vocals). Formation: London, 2007. For Fans Of: The Human League, OMD, The xx. Check Out: Debut album North, out October 18 on Hyperdub. Website: www.hyperdub.net North, the debut album from London’s Darkstar, is the product of shifted lives and shifting musical priorities. As teenagers, James Young and Aiden Whalley travelled from the northern towns of Winsford in Cheshire and Wakefield in Yorkshire to the bright lights of London, where they met at the London College of Music and Media and settled into a creative urban lifestyle, away from the small-town drudgery they grew up with. Musically, too, their story is one of linear travel. Shortly after the friends started collaborating on music in their shared student house they put out a couple of dubstep-tinged singles on their own 2010 imprint. Soon after, they started to incorporate vocoders and pop melodies, and when Hyperdub label boss Steve Goodman (aka Kode9) heard a track called ‘Out Of Touch’ and wanted to hear more, the wheels began to turn. Young and Whalley sent him a brand-new tune, ‘Need You’, which became their debut single on the label. Last
—24 issue 69—
“We’d had enough, after ‘Aidy’s Girl…’, of doing off-centre two-step stuff and wanted to write a few songs and work the textures, and I think it sounds quite drawn-out,” says James Young in his soft – almost inaudible – north-west tones. It’s certainly not what fans familiar with the band’s singles to this point will expect, and it is far from what one would call a ‘Hyperdub album’, that label being synonymous with urban dance music from acts like Zomby, Burial and Kode9 himself. “I wrote a big email to [Kode9] about how I wasn’t sure if it was a Hyperdub record, and how it would fit in,” says Young. “He rang me and said he thought it was, it was definitely what he wanted and he loved it, basically.” And if the main man is happy, there is surely no point worrying. Nevertheless, first single ‘Gold’ is quite a statement. Vocalist Buttery came on board in order to record a cover of Radiohead’s ‘Videotape’ and stayed on to tackle the obscure Human League B-side, inspired by Young and Whalley hearing it slowed down at 33rpm. Drenched in piano and underpinned by a thick machine pulse, ‘Gold’ is a far cry from the band’s
beginnings and emblematic of a record that betrays an affinity with northern synth fetishists of another era – The Human League, OMD, Cabaret Voltaire. “‘Videotape’ was the first track James sang on, and then we started writing songs, basically, after that,” Young explains. “Then we got him on ‘Gold’. We used those two covers to get a method of working in the studio, to get a good working relationship with James, and then we started writing. We didn’t want to do 10 dance tracks. They’re the first nine songs I’ve ever written – I never wrote a song in my life before those.” Taken as a whole, the album has a sorrowful beauty, Buttery’s vocals gently manipulated and woven into the tapestry of synths, beats, piano, strings, guitar and, on the stunning, beatless ‘Two Chords’, choral vocals. According to James, the album’s title is significant – it’s essentially a love letter to the rather insular environment in which he and Whalley grew up. “From an aesthetic point of view, I thought it was a good title to go with,” he explains, “and we were up north quite a lot during the album, various things were going on. It’s like a little homage. I’m from a tiny little place, and I have a lot of really, really good friends and family up there, but I suppose it’s quite one-dimensional, creatively. It’s a great place, but I don’t think I could do what I’m doing if I still lived there.” Chris Jones
Tropics, Dutch Uncles, Frankie Rose and the Outs
Tropics Real Name: Chris Ward. Based: Southampton, England. For Fans Of: Solar Bears, Teengirl Fantasy, Washed Out. Check Out: Soft Vision EP, out now on Planet Mu. Website: www.myspace.com/claymoonmusic When the music historians of the future sit down to assess independent electronic music at the turn of the decade, they might draw a few conclusions. a) Early Nineties house music infiltrated everything; b) Producers liked to set their synths to ‘hazy’, ‘twinkly’, ‘whooshy’ or a combination of all three; and c) Vocals were valued as long as you couldn’t decipher the words. From Panda Bear to hip-hop kids Baths and Toro Y Moi; Solar Bears to house revivalists Teengirl Fantasy, synths ‘n’ a far-off gaze is the only look in town. Now welcome recent Planet Mu signing Tropics, aka Southampton-based student (yes, he’s still at uni) Chris Ward. AU’s interest was piqued by our very first exposure to him – the video for ‘Soft Vision’, aptly named for its soft-focus, Timotei advert-style imagery. “Haha, after first watching it I did feel a bit of an urge to step up my cleansing game and invest in some new body wash,” he chuckles. “I loved the idea of something visually ecstatic to complement the song, and I think Anna [Dobos, director] read my mind when asking to produce shots of smoke, beaches, and teen girls!” Ward is working on his debut album, which he hopes to release before the end of the year, and in the meantime he is concentrating on putting together a live show. If it’s as dreamily transportive as the utterly wonderful Soft Vision EP it will be quite a treat. Chris Jones
Frankie Rose and the Outs
Members: Duncan Wallis (vocals), Robin Richards (bass), Pete Broadhead (guitar), Dan Spedding (guitar), Andy Proudfoot (drums). Formation: Marple, Greater Manchester, 2008. For Fans Of: Field Music, The Heartbreaks, Foals. Check Out: The single ‘Fragrant’ is out on October 11 via Memphis Industries. Weblink: www.dutchuncles.co.uk
Members: Frankie Rose (vocals, guitar), Margot Bianca (guitar), Kate Ryan (drums), Caroline Yes (bass). Formation: New York, 2009. For Fans Of: The Breeders, The Rayographs, Crystal Stilts. Check Out: The album Frankie Rose And The Outs is out on 11 October via Memphis Industries. Website: www.myspace.com/saintoftherose
Marple may be a tiny mill town outside of Manchester, but it boasts impressive recent musical credentials. Both Delphic and Egyptian Hip Hop hail from the town, but it is indie-math rockers Dutch Uncles who may prove to be the most exciting. “We’d heard about the other bands at college, but we never knew them personally,” explains singer Duncan Wallis. “It was only when we started gigging in Manchester that we met each other.” And the reason for Marple’s success? “It’s coincidence, but Delphic’s success is an inspiring thing. It spurs you on.”
Frankie Rose already has a CV to die for. The ex-drummer of New York buzz bands Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls and Vivian Girls left each one as they verged on success. Personality clashes played a part in her departures, but plain old boredom also set in. “In the end I really did start finding the drums boring,” Frankie tells AU. “They stopped being creative for me a long time ago.”
New single ‘Fragrant’ is perhaps their most impressive song to date, chunky guitar riffs punctuating the bands trademark left-field structures. “Our idea was just to write four different choruses and have them in movements.” According to the band’s publicity blurb, ‘Fragrant’ is 'basically sex music.' Duncan laughs, nervously, “That was me quoting Alan Partridge, to make the idea of a song being about incest just a little bit lighter.” After releasing a 10-track sampler album in Germany last year, the quintet look set to release their “official debut album in the UK” in early 2011. “We’ve finished recording it, it just has to be mixed and we have to pick the songs. We’ve done about 18 songs for it, but we’ve made B-sides for ourselves, which feels right. Bands should pride themselves on B-sides. We wanted to have something that had a real flow to it, but ended up writing some very different sounding songs.” And perhaps not all of them about incest. John Freeman
A recent interview incorrectly diagnosed Frankie with something far more sinister than merely being easily bored – Attention Deficit Disorder. “It wasn’t true, that was something a journalist sensationalised. Next thing I know I’m ‘burdened’ with ADD; although I do have an incredibly short attention span.” What is currently sparking Frankie’s imagination is her debut album as an artist in her own right. With the aid of The Outs, Frankie’s sound is a dreamy, Mary Chain-like haze, drenched in reverb and stuffed full of seductive melodies. Frankie is close to finding herself. “I am fairly happy with how the record sounds. I have spent more time and energy on it than previous projects, so I think it’s a bit more true to how I would hear the songs in my head.” And while Rose rejects the notion of her being a Brooklyn scenester, she clearly loves New York. “There are so many people doing interesting things. It’s easy to start something totally new at any moment, reinvent yourself or collaborate with people that are doing something completely different. Options are endless; ‘scenes’ are endless.” John Freeman —25 AU Magazine—
Five To One / Band Maths
FIVE TO ONE // Dancers, Mascots, Whatever
Ben Carr (The Mighty Mighty Bosstones) Boston brawlers The Mighty Mighty Bosstones have a talented songwriter in vocalist Dicky Barrett, a world-class bassist in ex-Gang Green man Joe Gittleman and a ubiquitous, plaid suit-sporting dancer-mascot-whatever in Ben Carr. Carr – also the band’s manager – takes care of the image side of things, while Barrett, Gittleman et al conjure up the Motörheadmeets-Madness racket. Carr’s been there since the start, and is still shaking his bulk at the Bosstones’ reunion shows. If he contributes little to the sound of the group, his cohorts at least recognise the integral appeal of his stage shenanigans; Carr’s full credit is manager, dancer and ‘Bosstone’. Chas Smash (Madness) Chas Smash took the notion of punk – that talent is irrelevant – one step further (or beyond) with his role in ska legends Madness. Despite playing a bit of trumpet and a spot of acoustic guitar, Smash – known to the taxman as Carl Smyth – has mainly carved a 35-year career from prancing around behind Suggs, bellowing into the mic on choruses. In 1979, he got the band into trouble when he told the NME that Madness “don’t care if people are in the NF as long as they’re having a good time.” He made up for the faux pas by co-writing ‘Our House’ and ‘Wings Of A Dove’, and singing lead on ‘Michael Caine’.
Words by Andrew Johnston
Keith Flint (The Prodigy) To be fair, Keith Flint has been crucial to many of The Prodigy’s key moments. He sang lead vocals on ‘Firestarter’, co-wrote ‘Breathe’ and caused controversy with the apparently Rohypnol-endorsing lyrics of ‘Baby’s Got A Temper’. But, to remind the mohawked one not to get too many ideas above his station, main man Liam Howlett cut Flint from fourth album Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned. Downplaying the dancer’s past contributions, Howlett said the record was “about reminding people what The Prodigy was always about – the beats and the music.” Flint returned with his dancing shoes between his legs for the band’s 2008 comeback. Paul Rutherford (Frankie Goes To Hollywood) Liverpudlian pop peddlers Frankie Goes To Hollywood were huge in the 1980s. The gay icons had three number ones – including the timeless ‘Relax’ – and even launched their own computer game. But very little of it was down to moustachioed backing vocalist-cum-hanger-on Paul Rutherford. Following FGTH’s ill-fated, mid-’00s semi-reunion – which saw Rutherford and assorted ex-members forced to call themselves ‘Forbidden Hollywood’ to avoid legal wrangles with former singer Holly Johnson – the leatherwearing, toy gun-wielding ‘fifth Frankie’ retreated to New Zealand with his life partner. Bez (Happy Mondays) The son of a police inspector and a Moroccan belly dancer, Mark ‘Bez’ Berry is frontman Shaun Ryder’s maraca-shaking, acid-supplying sidekick in Madchester motley crew The Happy Mondays. Despite being little more than a glorified good luck charm, Bez has never been a humble sort. He quit post-Mondays band Black Grape over “artistic differences”, and, when asked by a journalist why he took so many drugs, shrugged: “Because it’s my job.” In 2005, the bankrupt star won Celebrity Big Brother, but the gravy train of TV reality shows – Pimp My Ride, Don’t Call Me Stupid, Celebrity Adrenaline Junkie – ended in August this year, when Bez was jailed for four weeks for throttling and threatening to kill an ex-girlfriend.
BAND MATHS NO.5: NO.1: THE U2 KILLERS 31% Bruce Springsteen 31% U2 13% The worst lyrics ever 12% Questionable facial hair 9% ‘Why won’t you take us seriously?!’ 4% Mid-00s indie discos
—26 issue 69—
—27 AU Magazine—
Words & Pics by Ciara McCullough & Andrew Scott
sinead flanagan, fermanagh biffy clyro – Bubbles Kings of leon – Radioactive green day – When I Come Around Interesting fact: AU got an exclusive confession from Sinead that she has a weird crush on Jimmy Carr. No harm in that, Sinead!
kerrie-ann logan, larne depeche mode – Enjoy The Silence depeche mode – Walking In My Shoes depeche mode – A Question of Lust Interesting fact: Err, yeah, so Kerrie-Ann is a bit of a Depeche Mode fan. She says you can blame her mum for her musical taste.
rachel mcgaughey, ballygowan b.o.b – Aeroplanes (feat. Hayley Williams) Shakira – Waka Waka eminem – Love The Way You Lie (feat. Rihanna) Interesting fact: Rachel is a massive Linfield fan! Not your average one either, we think it’s fair to say...
sinead reynolds, randalstown johnny flynn – Been Listening The Magnetic fields – All My Little Words The national – Apartment Story Interesting fact: Sinead is partial to a little skinny dip every so often. Find her in a Scottish lake in the middle of Winter.
scott wilson, belfast the smiths – Panic Bananarama – Cruel Summer The sweet – Ballroom Blitz Interesting fact: Scott is a sucker for velvet. Kinky.
james walsh, belfast bloc party – I Still Remember The Smiths – How Soon Is Now? Los campesinos! – The Sea Is A Good Place Interesting fact: James once broke both wrists when trying to ride his bike down the stairs. He was 11 and now agrees that it was definitely a bad idea.
aidan kelly, belfast owen – Playing Possum For A Peek the eighties matchbox b-line disaster – Rise Of The Eagles Godspeed you! Black emperor – Providence Interesting fact: Instead of an interesting fact, Aidan gave AU a Santa shaped bath bomb. Fair swap, we say.
malgoriaia kaczmarek, poland flying lotus – Tea Leaf Dancers Jimi Hendrix – Foxy Lady Parliament – Flashlight Interesting fact: Malgoriaia is a classical music fan at heart, but gave us these when AU looked at her blankly. She’s also partial to a parachute jump or two.
What's on your iPod? •
AU FINDS OUT •
peter mcreynolds, newtownabbey iron and wine – Naked As We Came bon iver – Skinny Love Weezer – Where’s My Sex? Interesting fact: Peter is off to France today to teach English in Paris. Goodbye, Peter!
—28 issue 69—
stuart geddis, belfast amon amarth - With Oden On Our Side The disturbed – Never Again Cannibal corpse – Evisceration Plague Interesting fact: Stuart likes to collect comics and action figures, his most prized possessions being a Mr T comic and CD called Be Somebody...Or Be Somebody’s Fool. Oh yes.
andrew wilson, carrickfergus evidence – Mr Slow Flow Brother ali – Take Me Home Rick Ross – Magnificent Interesting fact: Andrew is a complete fanatic about rap music. Good for him.
FLASHBACK: DANIEL CRAIG AS BOND HISTORY LESSONS: THE FRAMES A TO Z: BLOCKBUSTERS RESPECT YOUR SHELF: WILLIAM GIBSON CLASSIC FILM: GOODFELLAS
role as the spy in 1969, but Roger Moore took over the role in 1973, offering a more romantic, occasionally tongue-in-cheek approach to the character. Timothy Dalton took over in 1987, and Pierce Brosnan continued the tradition in 1995. The winning formula was now in place, and little would change over the next two decades: high-tech gadgets, the sexy Bond girl, a neat line in clever quips, and a healthy dose of action. So when in 2005 it was announced that Brosnan was stepping down, press speculation was rife as to what changes would befall 007. The last two Brosnan films hadn’t quite been as successful, once again lapsing further and further into campy nostalgia and over-the-top gimmickry. Indisputably, each actor brought their own take on the role, but what possible direction could Bond go in now? Daniel Craig had not seemed the obvious choice for the role, but when it arrived in November 2006, Casino Royale was a revelation; a startling return to Bond’s roots. Craig played Bond as a taciturn, career-driven machine, almost inhuman in his approach to completing his objectives. As the film progresses, Bond’s emotional side comes to the fore, and he lets his guard down – with disastrous results.
5 Years Ago
Completely gone is the gimmicky gadgetry of yore, the laconic quips, and the knowing winks to the camera; Craig’s Bond plays it straight, attempting to get as close to the original concept as possible, always with one eye on what might actually happen if this was real. Bond gets hit – he bleeds. He lets his emotions get exposed – he gets burned. The set-pieces still remain, although this time they’re rooted in a world of high tension, rather than the show-stopping fantasy of before.
Stepping Out Of The Light
Daniel Craig is announced as the new James Bond, October 23, 2005
Words by: Steven Rainey
It had all gotten a bit silly by this point. Increasingly ridiculous gadgets, elaborate set-pieces, the dreadful puns… The man once imagined as a grittily realistic agent of the government had now become a grinning buffoon, a parody of himself who winked at the camera when he cracked wise after offing another faceless bad guy. It was time to go back to his roots and tap into that primal intensity which had made him such a force to be reckoned with in the first place. Daniel Craig, meet James Bond 007 – there’s a table for you at the Casino Royale. When British journalist Ian Fleming wrote the first James Bond novel, 1953’s Casino Royale, he imagined James Bond as an exaggeration of his own persona. A suave womaniser with an eye for the finer things in life, Bond was a man of action; someone who was not afraid to cross the line in order to get
the job done. Ending on an uncompromisingly bleak note, the book was a success, spawning a sequel, and eventually leading to one of the most popular franchises of the 20th century.
Quantum Of Solace picked up where the first film had left off, showing a Bond completely adrift, possessed by the spirit of revenge. Whereas once this dashing and suave secret agent seemed untouchable, here he was, falling apart at the seams as everyone around him either came to distrust him, or found themselves on the receiving end of an assassin’s bullet.
However, it was not until Bond’s transition to the screen that he truly became the iconic cultural figure that he remains today. Beginning in 1963, the James Bond movies have become a cultural touchstone, an effortless blend of elegance, sophistication, humour, violence, sex, and fantasy. Over the following decades, a series of actors would each put their own spin on the character, with varying degrees of success.
The end result of this transformation remains to be seen. Whilst Casino Royale was met with rave reviews, Quantum Of Solace received a somewhat more chilly response. As of time of writing, the Bond series is in limbo, its future uncertain. One thing is for certain, though: akin to the gritty re-boot of the Batman franchise, Craig’s portrayal breathed new life into the character, completely revitalising the Bond brand, and attracting a whole new generation of fans.
For many, Sean Connery remains the definitive performance; charming, but cold enough to kill without mercy. George Lazenby had a one-off
As for what happens next – with Daniel Craig’s Bond, all bets are off. —29 AU Magazine—
The Frames Words by Ross Thompson
—30 issue 69—
History Lessons - The Frames
“We bypassed the music industry. The independent model was our revenge on dealing with fuckwits and eejits who were being paid out of money from our records which we would never see.” Eight albums, multiple line-up changes, miles upon miles travelled across various continents and one very successful movie. The unfolding incarnations of The Frames have packed a substantial amount into their rambunctious career in spite of the fact that they were, and perhaps still are, not an easy fit. Record labels fail to see their potential, or appreciate just how fervent a following they have nurtured in Ireland and further afield. After their prodigal appearance at Electric Picnic, violinist and original member Colm Mac Con Iomaire talks about the bumpy path which led there and back again... Once, John Carney’s keenly observed musical of sorts, was a success for many reasons, but the main one that it was true. Glen Hansard, the protagonist who was essentially playing himself, spent his formative years busking Dublin streets, not for the money, but for the music. “Glen had got some money,” Colm says, his demeanour at once disarmingly warm. “I think his mother went to the bank manager for a loan for an extension which never happened, and he made a demo. Island Records were interested and he put the band together from his busking friends. It was myself, Dave Odlum, Noreen O’Donnell, Binzer and John Carney, who was the precocious, up and coming bass player at the time.” That demo transformed into Another Love Song (1991), a rollicking debut whose vim, vigour and youthful exuberance concealed the fact that this group of friends were making it up as they went along. “It was ramshackle from the point of view of today’s standards where people go to rock school, or The X Factor, where it’s all about presentation and polish. It was very much a learning curve for us and our first time in a professional studio. We were entering a world where other people were experts so we certainly didn’t know how to articulate our ideas that well.” The wide-eyed joie de vivre didn’t last and playing footsie with industry hobnobs soon lost its lustre. The experience of “being ingloriously dropped by Island Records” clearly still rankles. “It was very much a poisoned chalice: we were the last band to be signed by Chris Blackwell on his last day in the office, so we were old luggage from the outset.” Being offloaded from a major label would have rent most young bands asunder, but it made The Frames stronger and hungrier. “It was definitely something that needed to happen. It was a good kick in the teeth,” laughs Colm, “like having your heart broken for the first time.” The next album, Fitzcarraldo (1995), was an infinitely more troubled affair, the sound of hopeful, naive teens being kicked in the teeth, having their hearts broken. “Another Love Song is definitely the smiling innocent whereas Fitzcarraldo is the innocent after he has been mugged,” agrees Colm.
A fresh dose of recording galvanised the band, and an acclaimed video for ‘Revelate’, made using a post office security camera on a budget which wouldn’t even buy P Diddy’s shoelaces, attracted the attention of another big-hitter record label. Hungrier but not, by Colm’s own admission, any wiser, the band swallowed the lure all over again. “ZTT offered us a deal, and having just got off one roundabout treadmill we foolishly went onto another one. It was completely the wrong direction.” The worst thing, the real kick in the teeth – and a bad kick in the teeth at that – was that Fitzcarraldo was released twice. The album was re-embellished with drum loops, filters and nice, clean sounds which went against the home-made ethos which The Frames have always held dear. “It wasn’t really about making the songs better from their perspective; it was about them owning their songs, about getting their hooks into them. It was quite a cynical operation where a record company was moving money from one pocket into another pocket through you. Record labels at the time liked to collect shiny things like follies, and we felt as if somebody had taken a fancy to us, but they had no vision or plan for us. But in the end we met our current manager Claire there, who went from gamekeeper to poacher as we like to remind her.” A transitional period followed, during which the band worked on Dance The Devil (1999) and relations with the label dissolved irreparably, and in doing so they rekindled the spirit which had first inspired them to give up school and respectable jobs in favour of busking to fill a woolly hat up with pennies. “What had happened over the course of Fitzcarraldo was that the live thing had picked up for us in Ireland. We started putting the money we made from gigs into making forays into east coast America. We had also invested our own equipment, so the label weren’t controlling our creative output like they used to. The independent side of it just took off. The label would flatly refuse to give us any money to America, so we would say, ‘Fuck ye’ and go anyway. We were quite stubborn in that way.” Arguably, this stubbornness might appear rather like obtuseness, an act of cutting off the nose to spite the face, but the intuitive will know that it is something much simpler: the truth. “You have to keep yourself interested and stimulated. Ultimately, the aim is always to make a record you would want to buy yourself rather than make one for everybody else. The law was always to make something you thought was worthy.” In the following years The Frames would buff and hone the independent formula which has become central to their approach. They would make For The Birds (2001) with Steve Albini (“It was definitely a
high watermark. There was such a sense of relief of getting off a label and to have your life and music back in your own hands.”) and Burn The Maps (2004), records which favoured the leftfield over the mainstream. “We bypassed the music industry. The independent model was our revenge on dealing with fuckwits and eejits who were being paid out of money from our records which we would never see. The key was to become wiser and not bitter. There was always a sense of incremental progress in everything we did, no matter how small. I think the redeeming continuum through all of this is that our gigs were always really rewarding.” Most recently, several members of The Frames have provided the lifeblood of The Swell Season, Hansard’s project which originated in part due to the popularity of Once. This project has thrown the future of The Frames into question, but he is quick to point out that this “parallel universe” does not spell out the demise of the parent band. “It has been a funny existence in that initially it started as Glen sheepishly asking, ‘Here, lads, would you mind sitting in on this tour?’. It was supposed to run for six months and here we are three years later. It’s about having the maturity to know that everything is in its own time and we’ll see what happens after. The Swell Season saved The Frames from having to call it a day. The best thing that could have happened to us was having a couple of years off.” After such a lengthy absence one can understand why the band’s performance at Electric Picnic last month created so much speculation, positive or otherwise. “The stakes were high for The Frames. You could hear the knives being sharpened – or rather, pencils being sharpened for obituaries. It was pleasantly surprising to find that the notes stayed in the body and that you we could play the songs. Electric Picnic certainly reignited our Frames passion again.” The show, as it turned out, was spectacular, and reaffirmed the reason why The Frames are renowned as one of the business’s most compelling live acts. It was inspiring, cheering, vindicating. “I remember getting my cards read in Dublin around 1996. They said that it was going to be another ten years before we had any success,” Colm says, laughing again. “It was very demoralising at the time, but I’ve had a great life up until now. When you talk about travails and fights with the music industry, that’s only a tiny aspect of hundreds of thousands of great gigs with great people getting loved-up every night, giving their energy. We’ve had a great run.” Another Love Song, Fitzcarraldo and Dance The Devil were recently re-released on Salvo/ZTT Records. www.theframes.ie —31 AU Magazine—
No, not ITV’s 1980s afternoon telly quiz, you dummy (although that was admittedly amazing). When we say ‘Blockbusters’, we’re talking about smash hit movies. A blockbuster can be a box-office-devouring beast of a film, the kind that rakes in millions of bucks, the type of movie that people pay to go and see in the cinema multiple times. But a Blockbuster can also be (for the purpose of this article at least) the kind of movie that seeps into the public consciousness, that gets quoted in the pub, that people go to see as kids and remember for the rest of their lives. Alternatively, it can just be a big loud piece of crap full of explosions and noise that you forget forever the moment you leave the cineplex. Michael Bay, j’accuse! Words by Neill Dougan Illustration by Mark Reihill
—32 issue 69—
A to Z - Blockbusters
A Is For
every time we try to watch it when we come in from the pub, we fall asleep long before the end. Seriously, dozy drunkards are never given enough consideration by Hollywood film-makers. It’s a disgrace.
The most recent effort from Box Office Emperor James ‘King Midas’ Cameron is also his most commercially successful. Making widespread use of – yawn – the latest in innovative 3D technology, the visuals in Avatar were admittedly impressive, and handily drew attention away from the fact that the story was pure baloney from start to finish. Cameron, you cunning devil.
E Is For
E.T. THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL
Bestriding the world of mainstream cinema like some kind of baseball-hatted colossus, practically every film Steven Spielberg churned out between the late Seventies and the mid Nineties was commercial gold. Most were pretty decent too, not least this touching story of a young boy and his alien friend. At least one childhood acquaintance of your correspondent was carried weeping from the cinema at the flick’s tear-jerking conclusion, while we laughed scornfully at the big wimp. Yes, AU was a cruel child.
A B Is For
BACK TO THE FUTURE
Anyone who was a child in the 1980s will sigh fondly at the memory of this knockabout time-travel classic. It had everything: a great cast, an enjoyably loopy plot (Flux Capacitor, anyone?) and – best of all – a super-cool car, the ever-awesome DeLorean. Truly this was the stuff of pre-teen dreams. Well... apart from a slightly disturbing subplot about Marty’s mother wanting to shag him in the past. Mmmmm.
C Is For
CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON
The highest-grossing foreign language film in the history of US cinema, Ang Lee’s award-laden Mandarin martial arts epic featured graceful, balletic fight scenes and a tragic love story, and paved the way for the success of subsequent mystical Chinese celluloid tales such as House Of Flying Daggers, Hero and Wafting Wind, Blow Me Softly. Oh ok, we made that last one up. Well spotted.
D Is For
THE DARK KNIGHT
Proving that superhero movies need not be a load of inane nonsense, Christopher Nolan’s second Batman feature was gripping and brilliantly acted, with the tragic Heath Ledger’s compelling portrayal of the Joker bagging him a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. AU’s one quibble with this movie is that it’s slightly overlong. We know this because
F Is For
Robert Zemeckis’s entertaining schmaltz-fest about the unlikely life of a dim-witted Alabaman asked audiences to suspend their disbelief and their cynicism – which they did in their droves, the film cleaning up at the box office. Forrest Gump even scandalously beat Pulp Fiction to the Best Picture Oscar in 1994, surely proving once and for all that there is no God. Or, if there is, that he has lousy taste in movies.
G Is For
GONE WITH THE WIND
The original blockbuster, 1939’s Gone With The Wind broke all kinds of records and, if ticket price inflation is taken into account, still remains the top film of all time at the US box office. It was also three hours 45 minutes long, signalling a future Hollywood preference for epics of arse-numbing duration. So next time you’re sitting through Mel Gibson’s latest weighty saga, wondering if you’ll die of old age before it ends, blame this bad boy right here.
And if that’s not a sentence to make you lose faith in mankind, we don’t know what is.
J Is For
Spielberg-directed 1975 classic about an unfeasibly large and vicious Great White shark that attacks photogenic teenagers off the coast of Amity Island. Features a great cast, some highly-quotable dialogue (“You’re gonna need a bigger boat!”) and that famous, spine-tingling theme tune. Anyone who grew up to be afraid of the water probably has Jaws to blame. Well, that and the fact that they’re pathetic wusses.
K Is For
This fable of a giant rampaging ape has been a smash not once, but twice: first in 1933, and again in 2005 when Peter Jackson, a huge fan of the original, shot a lavish remake. For our money, the 1933 version is preferable, for one simple reason: it doesn’t feature Jack Black.
L Is For
LORD OF THE RINGS
Peter Jackson’s gargantuan adaptation of the Tolkien trilogy was hugely ambitious and equally successful – taken together, the films comprise the fourth highest-grossing film series ever. They’re also somewhat lengthy – including bonus footage on the DVDs, their overall running time totals somewhere in the region of ten thousand million hours. Give or take an hour.
M Is For
The Wachowski Brothers’ dystopian sci-fi drama was a revelation to cinema-goers upon its release in 1999. The pair then proceeded to blow all the goodwill the movie brought them by devising two of the most bloated, ludicrous and downright bad sequels you are likely to encounter this side of Speed 2: Cruise Control. Good job, guys.
H Is For
N Is For
The phenomenally successful Harry Potter movies – based on JK Rowling’s phenomenally successful Harry Potter books – proved beyond doubt that kids of all ages are suckers for a good old-fashioned tale of fantasy and magic. And that they aren’t put off in the slightest by bad child actors and a load of dodgy CGI.
When this teenage hormone fest – sorry, ‘vampire movie’ – was released in 2009, starring the swoonsome Robert Pattinson, it set box office records for a midnight screening, ultimately surpassing even its parent flick Twilight in terms of commercial takings. It also generated a record amount of adolescent pheromones amongst its audience. Possibly.
I Is For
Roland Emmerich’s loud, explosion-heavy alien invasion caper reenergised the Disaster Movie genre (Armageddon, The Day After Tomorrow et al) and is the 25th highest-grossing film of all time worldwide.
O Is For
Steven Soderbergh’s star-studded heist flick made ripping off a Vegas casino look like a right barrel of laughs and became 2001’s top-grossing film. —33 AU Magazine—
However, two inferior sequels garnered less acclaim, and the series rather petered out – and this despite the effortless charm and roguish smile of leading man George Clooney. A sad indictment indeed.
Indeed, to this day the mere thought of Jar Jar Binks reduces AU to bitter tears of nerdy rage.
to do exactly what they’re told. Can’t think why.
T Is For
P Is For
W Is For
Wily director James Cameron used a horrendous disaster as the backdrop for a tragic romance starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo Di Caprio, and caused box office mayhem. The 1997 movie smashed all commercial records and became the highest grossing film of all time – thereby ensuring that millions of unsuspecting punters were exposed to Celine Dion’s appalling ballad ‘My Heart Will Go On’ over the closing credits. Now that’s just plain cruel.
Spielberg’s 2005 take on the HG Wells novel may have been a runaway success – the year’s fourth highest grossing film, in fact – but it was largely memorable for young actress Dakota Fanning screaming loudly. A lot. Truly, there has never been a more irritating noise.
Despite being roundly panned upon its release, Michael Bay’s noisy dungheap of a film somehow became one of 2001’s most commercially successful efforts, which goes to show that people are not so much strange as just monumentally stupid. In fact Pearl Harbor might just be the only thing more depressing than an actual, real-life war. Yes, it’s that bad.
Q Is For
Despite fairly negative reviews upon its release, this 1979 movie – based on The Who’s rock opera of the same name – soon proved highly influential, kick-starting the mod revival and boosting the profiles of The Jam and, er, Sting. Featured an impressive early performance by Phil Daniels, before he became a general all-purpose cockney-for-hire. And a twat.
WAR OF THE WORLDS
X Is For
Cashing in on the seemingly insatiable demand for cinematic adaptations of comic books, each of the three X-Men movies outstripped the last at the box office. However a dip in quality was evident over the course of the series, and by the time the uninspired X-Men Origins: Wolverine came along, sensible viewers were thoroughly tired of the whole endeavour. Of course it still scooped $373million worldwide, so sensible viewers were clearly in the minority.
Y Is For
Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN
An arty love story-cum-road movie that broke box office records in its native Mexico, this Alfonso Cuarón-directed picture was also more than a tad racy, and gives AU strange tingling feelings of which we are rightfully ashamed.
Z Is For
1998 adventure caper The Mask Of Zorro was a runaway critical and financial success. This may have been something to do with the famous ‘undressing of Elena’ scene, in which Antonio Banderas’s Zorro unburdens Catherine Zeta-Jones’s character of her shirt with just a few swipes of his sword. Mmmm, that’s definitely the best bit alright. Dear me, yes. Er, you’ll have to excuse AU for a moment – we have to go and lie down for a while.
R Is For
U Is For
Truly a staple of the 1980s, this ludicrously enjoyable romp took in rogue Nazis, fiendish booby traps and a whip-snapping, career-defining performance from Harrison Ford. Manys an impressionable young man was left bitterly disappointed when, under the influence of the cavalier hero, they pursued geology as a career, only to later discover that – shockingly – it was nothing like the movie made it out to be at all.
This Oscar-winning Pixar feature about a pensioner, his youthful chum and a house that floats away under the power of helium balloons scooped millions at the box office and was a thoroughly delightful cinematic experience. Or at least we think it was. The moving first 10 minutes left AU a blubbering, emotional wreck, to the extent that we can’t be quite sure what happened for the rest of the film.
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK UP
S Is For
Hands down AU’s favourite childhood films, the Star Wars trilogy broke new ground for science fiction, was a huge commercial hit and made a star out of creator George Lucas. Of course he then ruined the whole thing with those three appalling prequels. —34 issue 69—
V Is For
Successful Tom Cruise vehicle about a doomed attempt to assassinate Hitler. Many Germans were up in arms about Cruise’s casting due to his membership of the Church of Scientology – for some reason they didn’t seem so keen on cult-like organisations that brainwash members
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! —35 AU Magazine—
ShelfRespect Yourrs’ Guide The AU Buye
There’s an old saying that goes, ‘The future is unwritten’. However, back in 1984, an AmericanCanadian author decided to prove that maxim wrong, and set out to map the future in brutally unflinching terms. William Gibson’s Neuromancer reads as a blueprint of our own grim future, a world held in the iron grip of the corporations, where men in black suits pull the strings from behind the scenes, and the only escape is to exist in a world beyond the outer fringes of society… cyberspace. One of the true visionary authors of the 20th century, AU takes a look into the world of William Gibson, where the sky is the colour of television, tuned to a dead channel. Words by Steven Rainey Illustration by Shauna McGowan —36 issue 69—
BURNING CHROME The Early Years...
NEUROMANCER God Awakens
Collecting most of his early short stories, Burning Chrome is the perfect introduction to the world of William Gibson. Avoiding being drafted to fight in Vietnam by moving to Canada, travelling through Europe, and eventually re-settling in Canada in the late Seventies, it was arguably the arrival of punk that kick-started Gibson’s writing career. With the ‘NO FUTURE’ credo of punk ringing in his ears, Gibson set about imagining the kind of future that no-one could have been predicted, a civilisation where humanity had become increasingly commoditised, technology was our new God, and death was no longer the undiscovered country. Stories such as Fragments From A Hologram Rose, Johnny Mnemonic, and New Rose Hotel drew heavily from film noir, but were fused with a pulsing new technology that combined these low-life characters with a visionary sense of what was just around the corner. Cybernetics fused with cyberspace… welcome to The Sprawl.
And then, it was as if a world which had previously been in colour was stripped down to the flickering light of a computer diagnostic screen. Appearing after the 1982 release of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, Neuromancer pushed the world of cyberpunk into mass consciousness, bringing an awareness of this new kind of writing to a world which was on the threshold of making these visions a reality. Perhaps Gibson’s greatest creation, The Matrix was an inspired notion, a world free of the constraints of physical reality, a shimmering sea of data that users jack into, leaving their bodies behind. By the 1990s, cyberspace had become a reality, and people had started calling it the World Wide Web. Gibson’s tale of hackers and data constructs no longer seemed so far-fetched, offering up a blueprint for the world we were aspiring to create, as well as showing us what would happen if we got it wrong.
Best Bit: These stories introduced the world to The Sprawl, the setting for most of Gibson’s early work. A huge city spanning most of the East coast of the USA, it has become synonymous with cyberpunk fiction, the stereotypical ‘future city’ setting. In Gibson’s hands, The Sprawl is a living, breathing entity in its own right, a crucial character in the stories he had to tell.
Best Bit: The entire novel is packed with memorable twists and turns, but the opening portrayal of The Sprawl is where Gibson really excels. It’s almost as if he has looked into the future, and started writing it, in the hope that someone would invent it.
La Triviata: Both New Rose Hotel and Johnny Mnemonic were made into films, former directed by Abel Ferrara, the latter starring a pre-Matrix Keanu Reeves. Neither of them is particularly good.
La Triviata: In the late Eighties, a computer game adaptation of Neuromancer appeared, with the rights belonging to none other than LSD guru Timothy Leary. Perhaps Gibson’s time in the counter-cultural underground hadn’t been entirely wasted… so to speak.
All Good Things...
After attempting to leave the world of The Sprawl behind at the end of Neuromancer, Gibson found that the future wasn’t quite done with him yet. Count Zero followed in 1986 before he brought the trilogy to its conclusion with Mona Lisa Overdrive. Returning to the character of Molly Millions, who first appeared in the short story Johnny Mnemonic, Molly is the streetsmart “razor girl”, a mercenary for hire, with a few surprises up her sleeves in the shape of her cybernetic implants. Tying up all the loose ends of the story, Mona Lisa Overdrive represents the early high-point of Gibson’s storytelling style, with overlapping plotlines, seemingly unrelated characters and events, all coming together for a spectacular finale. And as if wanting to end on a high note that even HE can’t come back to, Gibson leaves us staring into a void as technology itself becomes self-aware, and the very nature of reality itself is broken down. Best Bit: Throughout the novel, we follow the story of Sense/Net star Angie Mitchell who is able to tap into cyberspace without the use of any technology… Given Gibson’s uncanny ability to see what happens next, is this something we’ve all got to look forward to? La Triviata: The Matrix trilogy is like a rubbish version of Gibson’s Sprawl Trilogy, only with more robots, and dodgy communal dancing scenes in an underground city. Or something.
Leaving behind the world of The Sprawl, Gibson’s next trilogy would focus on events a little close to home – San Francisco, in the ‘very near future’. Idoru is an incredible look at the disposable nature of celebrity, and a glimpse into how the online world would spill forth into our own lives. Telling the story of a virtually created music star and the various people she comes into contact with, it has all the classic Gibson hallmarks, an almost clock-work storytelling style where every event is directly related to something else, no matter how insignificant it might seem. But beyond the dazzling writing style, Gibson gets stuck into the big question of what actually makes us human. As we live in a time when almost all of us have a foot in at least two realities (the ‘real’ world, and our online existence), Gibson urges us to look beyond what we’ve come to expect, helping us embrace these new frontiers.
When the future has actually arrived, what else is there for the 20th century’s greatest prophet to write about? The present, of course. Gibson has finally left behind his visions of things to come, now coming to realise that much of what he predicted is commonplace. Writing in the post September 11 world, Gibson’s work still has the same themes of redemptive, yet adaptive spirituality, and the boundaries between humanity and technology. Spook Country explores the use of locative media, espionage, and the changing shape of celebrity, creating a world where we are no longer alone, and our every move is traceable. In Gibson’s hands, cyberspace has become an inescapable part of our physical world, something we no longer need to connect to, but rather an integral aspect of everything we do.
Best Bit: The various fan organisations of Rei Toei come together to share information and gossip in the online world, and the whole thing descends into a flame war. Yet again, Gibson was adept at highlighting one of the large pleasures/ irritants of the internet – bickering. Anyone want to discuss on the AU forum, perchance?
Best Bit: Spook Country is possibly the only novel where one of the major protagonists is a freelance journalist for a fictionalised version of Wired magazine.
La Triviata: Rez, the aging rockstar and frontman of the pop group Lo/Rez falls in love with a virtual construct, and perhaps shows us a new stage in humanity’s development with technology. Apparently, he was based on Morrissey.
MONA LISA OVERDRIVE
Much like in the real world.
La Triviata: The fictionalised version of Wired, Node magazine, actually became a spinoff website in its own right. Check it out at nodemagazine.wordpress.com
IN CONCLUSION: GIBSON'S LEGACY Gibson’s position as one of the most important novelists of the late 20th century is, by now, undisputed. His visionary style, coupled with some serious story-telling smarts have helped elevate him, and the cyberpunk genre, out of the cultish confines of sci-fi, and made it a mainstream concern. It’s arguable as to whether things would have turned out the way they have without him, but it’s been posited that Gibson’s novels have helped shaped the way we understand and interact with the internet. These days, he’s more of a sociologist than a future prophet, but we should ignore Gibson at our peril; as we plunge headlong into an increasingly digital world, we need to strive to remain close ties to our reality – whatever reality we chose to embrace, that is – and Gibson is the closest thing we have to a guide. —37 AU Magazine—
Classic Film - Goodfellas
Fast, funny and fearsomely intense, Martin Scorsese’s study of real-life gangster Henry Hill has gone down as one of the legendary director’s finest achievements. AU pays homage to a Mob masterpiece, and explains why livewire Joe Pesci’s Oscar-winning performance is only the start of its appeal. For around $2,000 an evening, plus expenses, you can hire the actual real-life Henry Hill to come round to your flat. He’ll cook you up a nice pasta meal, try and flog you some of his paintings (his top seller is a drawing of a rat, entitled Self Portrait), and give you a live commentary over a DVD of Goodfellas, the movie based on his rise and fall as a Mafioso in the Sixties and Seventies. He’ll even open the floor up to a Q&A session, although whether he’ll be too eager to discuss his post-Scorsese career, which has mainly seen him swing from 12-step programme to 12-step programme pausing only occasionally to be arrested on drug charges, be the victim of repeated domestic assaults, or end up homeless despite taking part in the largest ever airport heist in US history, is unknown. It’s probably best to stick to the simpler, less offensive questions, like, ‘Wait, Joe Pesci is supposed to be playing a 22-year-old in this film?’. In the mini-pantheon of turn-of-the-Nineties movie scenes that drunk people like to shout (Alec Baldwin popping down from Mitch & Murray, Sgt. Hartman opining on steers and queers and “Fuck you, funny how?”), Goodfellas is the only —38 issue 69—
movie that is, if not diminished, then at least poorly treated by being reduced to a single scene. Goodfellas throws at you a quotable line, a scenestealing cameo or a memorable concept as many times as it contains the word ‘fuck’ (precisely 300). Forget De Niro, Pesci and Liotta for a second. It took The Simpsons nine seasons to come up with as many memorable characters as Scorsese packs into this movie. Think about uber-paisano Frankie Carbone, a Kevin-Rowland-in-‘82 lookalike who condenses 300 years of Sicilian criminal stereotypes into a tight package of mumbles and shrugs. Jimmy Two-Times, who was going to go get the papers, get the papers. Lucky hat-wearing drug smuggler Lois, who appears to have wandered onto the set by accident while filming The Babysitter’s Club. Samuel L Jackson, who doesn’t really do anything except grin and wander about in his pants. And that’s just the minor characters. Is it too much of a challenging opinion to call Paul Sorvino’s performance as Paulie Cicero here the finest ever on-screen depiction of an old school, traditionalist mob boss? He moves through the film
Words by Dom Passantino
with the speed of a glacier, and only slightly less intimidating, and with a film that features a cokedup killing spree leading to bodies being found in meat trucks and dumpsters, there’s no moment loaded with more implied violence than him telling a junkie Henry, “I have to turn my back on you now.” So yeah, Pesci’s “What, I’m a clown? I amuse you?” antics are all well and good, but reducing Goodfellas to that one scene is like going to the theme park just to play the penny falls. Real heads know the finest 10-minute stretch of this movie starts with Billy Batts (an, as ever, seedy-as-hell Frank Vincent) “just breaking balls” and ends with Pesci, De Niro and Martin Scorsese’s mother arguing about whether deer have hooves or paws. But then most people enter this movie like Karen Hill enters Henry’s world for the first time: head spinning at so much going on that it’s hard to focus on any one thing in particular so you just come away with a tremendous sense of being seduced by everything on offer. Maybe ask Henry if he agrees with that conceit when you’re writing out his $2,000 cheque.
Cee Lo Green
“Having a song called ‘Fuck You’ that the world is just loving right now? That’s a lot of fun.”
“I was just a fan and I never thought I could do rap. Then, one of my classmates was bored and he said, ‘You write a rap and I’ll write a rap, and we’ll see which one will come out best’. Mine was the best.”
Being Sane In Insane Places: A Creationist For A Day
“Creationists set a lot of store by the concept of causality. The ‘first cause’ argument says that a creator god is the origin of all matter. I didn’t know about that. What I did know was that a letter written in May by a Northern Irish politician in Belfast had caused me to walk, months later, to a park full of chattering half-mad humans in a city more than 300 miles away.”
“Just like painters, film makers, rockers or whatever, a lot of dance artists from this scene have fallen on tough times. I’ve lost good friends, people who just never grew out of it. I look back on it all and I’m glad I wised up before it was too late.”
“The Smell instilled in us a lot of values that come across like common sense. It’s not even something we have to think about most of the time – it just seems to be the way things should work.”
—39 AU Magazine—
Ice Cube - West Side Story
• WEST SIDE STORY • Ice Cube – gangsta rapper, actor, scriptwriter, producer, in fact full-blown Hollywood star – has a new album out. If truth be told, it’s not his best, but that doesn’t matter. Ice Cube is used to polarising opinion and crashing against minds that have already been made up about his art. But however you view one of the original gangstas, his story is both compelling and revolutionary. AU chats to the self-proclaimed “crazy motherfucker”. Twenty minutes before the allotted time for our interview, we notice a missed call from an unknown number. Surely rap superstars aren’t ever early? Ten minutes later, and still ahead of schedule, the phone rings. We answer to hear a languorous Californian drawl; “Hey John, this is Cube.” It’s a very, very cool opening and helpful in the extreme. What do you call him? Ice? Mr Cube? Presumably only Momma Jackson gets to call him by his birth name, O’Shea (stop sniggering). So, it turns out to be plain old Cube. And Cube has become a bit of a phenomenon over a career lasting 20-odd years. He’s a rapper (N.W.A.’s debut album Straight Outta Compton can still shock and awe), a record producer and label owner, a film-star veteran of over 25 Hollywood movies (from the brilliant Boyz In The Hood to the Clooney co-starring Three Kings), screenwriter (the Friday series is just one of his notable screenplays) and has recently sealed a deal to screen 90 episodes of the TV version of his Are We There Yet? film franchise.
Cube would like to talk about his new album I Am The West, 15 tracks of stodgy bravado, primed to hammer home the importance of the West Coast hip-hop scene. “The record is not really an East/ West thing – it’s just a West thing. We feel that we are the step-kids when it comes to American hip-hop, and relegated to the bottom. So, we gotta represent where we are from or it will be lost. We have a lot to contribute to hip-hop and they are trying to bury our sound,” he says. For the only time during our chat, he seems off the mark and blinkered – having a chip on your shoulder is never pretty. But while he’s plugging his new wares, Ice Cube is savvy enough to realise that what is more interesting is the story of how this South Central LA kid pulled himself out of the ghetto. He claims to have never tried to rap until he was 14. “I was just a fan and I never thought I could do it. Then, one of my classmates was bored and he said, ‘You write a rap and I’ll write a rap, and we’ll see which one will come out best’. Mine was the best,” Cube tells us.
WORDS BY JOHN FREEMAN —40 issue 69—
Ice Cube - West Side Story
Soon after he would hang out at clubs with local DJ Dr. Dre and by 1987 he had formed the notorious Niggaz With Attitude with Dre and Compton drug-dealer Eazy E. For a man who lists pretty standard influences including James Brown, Prince, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Quincy Jones, N.W.A.’s debut album Straight Outta Compton combined dirty hip-hop with some shockingly in-your-face lyricism. The album sold over three million copies and its most infamous song ‘Fuck Da Police’ was a pre-LA riots call to arms. “With ‘Fuck Da Police’ I knew that was something that everyone in the world wanted to say. I knew that song would have impact, but in my wildest dreams, I could never know that the record would go as big as it did,” Cube admits. “At the time we thought these records would go straight underground. We never knew these records would see the light of day. We thought that only grimy, hardcore people were gonna find this music, because of how it was set up there was no precedent. Only heavy metal groups were pushing any kind of envelope, but it was still more of a fantasy trip. N.W.A. was about things that were happening on the street, as we saw it, and it took on a different complexity.” Straight Outta Compton was a critically important album for black music. Along with the likes of —42 issue 69—
Public Enemy, it ensured that the black youth had a voice, be it militant politics, or terrifyingly visceral commentaries on gang life. It was uncomfortable, but vital, listening. As you’d expect, Cube agrees, “We were a big moment for pop culture, because N.W.A. unleashed a whole generation of artists who were going to do it their way. They didn’t have to put on a façade to be as famous as some of the groups before us, who wanted to keep it clean even if they were living shady, you know what I mean? Now, you can be famous just being yourself – you don’t have to be super-clean.” The young Ice Cube was certainly brave and bold, and another characteristic marked him out – business acumen. From a young age, Ice Cube refused to be ripped off. “I had been in music since I was 14 years of age in some shape or form, even if it was just carrying crates for Dr. Dre when he DJ’d parties. So, I saw a lot of things, and I saw a lot of arguments over money; people doing records and not getting their cut. I was privy to all this and I saw young people of my age become entrepreneurs in their own way. OK, it was the drug trade, but it was young dudes running the show. So I knew I was gonna make sure everything was right moneywise.” In doing so, he was perhaps the pioneer of that entrepreneurial spirit which has seen artists like P. Diddy and Jay-Z amass business empires.
After N.W.A.’s initial success, inter-band relationships started to unravel. In disagreements about contracts and royalties, Cube began feuding with Eazy E and soon left to embark on a highly successful, and controversial, solo career. Cube’s solo debut AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted sold by the truckload but felt loaded with prejudice and misogynism. Perhaps his most startling solo album is the schizophrenic The Predator, which was recorded while the 1992 LA riots unfolded. The riots were sparked by the acquittal of several policemen, who were captured on video tape giving a black motorist, Rodney King, a savage beating. Like many people, Cube was deeply disturbed by the verdict. “It affected us because we felt like we couldn’t get any justice. It was inhumane, letting those guys just walk. We all felt in our hearts that these dudes were gonna be found guilty, as we had it on videotape and that had never been the case before. When it didn’t happen everyone was shocked, then surprised, and then mad.” It meant that The Predator was a tense mixture of light hope and dark anger. “You know ‘It Was A Good Day’ was on that record,” Cube reminds us – perhaps his best-known solo song, about a
"WE WERE A BIG MOMENT FOR POP CULTURE, BECAUSE N.W.A. UNLEASHED A WHOLE GENERATION OF ARTISTS WHO WERE GOING TO DO IT THEIR WAY."
peaceful 24 hours in the hood. “That record had got deflected in a lotta ways; it was on a different tack until that [verdict] happened.” By this point, Ice Cube had also taken to acting, and had already bagged some impressive movie credits. His first film role was in the acclaimed Boyz In The Hood, directed by the talented young filmmaker John Singleton. Since then he’s appeared in over two dozen movies, including fabled turkeys such as Anaconda, and the comedy-war flick Three Kings. Indeed, the last decade has seen Ice Cube concentrate more on his film career, allowing (perhaps sensibly, if I Am The West is anything to go by) his music to chill on the back-burner. Ice Cube’s excellent performance as Doughboy in Boyz In The Hood seemed effortless (admittedly, the role wouldn’t have required much method-acting) – but just how easy was it for him to ‘become’ an actor? “I worked hard at it – or I thought I was working hard at it – and you know I had some great actors there. John is a great director and knows how to pull it out of you. I’m looking at Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Cuba Gooding Jr. and these are people who can act, they are no slouches. So, going against these people, and John would have us improv[ise] and we did a lot of rehearsals before we even shot, so I got comfortable with the process. It didn’t come easy; it tired me out
and showed me how much harder I had to work.” A conversation with John Singleton sparked another major branch of Cube’s career. Singleton suggested that the compelling narrative of a rap could be transitioned to writing a film-script. Recalling the exchange, Ice Cube tell us, “What he saw was that if I could tell stories like that and make you see, on a record, then I could translate it and write movies. Without him giving me that encouragement, I don’t think I would ever have tried to write a movie.” And was Singleton right, did it come easily? “Well, Friday was my first movie that got made and it kinda launched a whole different career for me. Friday was my third script, so I had a couple of cracks at it.” Cube certainly sounds like a man who is comfortable with his achievements. During our time with him he appears disarmingly humble, and tells us “I’m a person who rides the wave of the world; I’m not a person who wants to make the world spin at my speed.” The father of four children, parenthood has further shaped his outlook (“It’s made me hungrier, not as wild and more focused. You realise that the world is bigger than just you now”) and even requires his kids' approval of any new work (“I got get their blessing; they gotta tell me if I’m whack”).
After famously feuding with the rest of N.W.A. for a number of years, we ask him about regrets. He doesn’t have any, perhaps due to years of selfrationalisation, “I always think that things happen for a reason, and by the same point things don’t happen for a reason. To be as blessed as I am and to have too many regrets would be crazy, and it would be disrespectful to those who are trying to get where I am.” As the interview begins to run over the specified slot, AU begins to fire tabloid-style questions at Cube. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? “Write your own cheques,” he chuckles. Have you ever been star struck? “I met George Clinton and I was excited,” Cube admits. And what’s the proudest moment of your career? His answer is both surprising and insightful. “Having the courage to leave N.W.A. It was major; it was the biggest decision of my career. It’s worked out pretty good so far.” It certainly has. I AM THE WEST IS OUT NOW VIA LENCH MOB WWW.ICECUBE.COM
—43 AU Magazine—
—44 issue 69—
As Los Angeles noise-pop heroes No Age return to Ireland on the back of new album Everything In Between, guitarist Randy Randall chats to AU about their travails with Ryanair, the sample-heavy new record and the inherent tension between a DIY ethos and being in a successful band. WORDS BY CHRIS JONES
Randy Randall is an affable kind of chap, and we get off on the right foot with that favourite pastime of the Irish and all who have visited our shores – slagging off Ryanair. Randall’s band, the Los Angeles noise-punk-pop duo No Age, return this month to headline Foggy Jam .01 at Whelan’s in Dublin (Mice Parade and Male Bonding are among the other names on the rather tasty bill), and we can only hope that this visit runs more smoothly than the last. In October 2009, the band were due to play at Dublin’s Crawdaddy venue on a Saturday night and at the all-ages collective art space The Exchange the following afternoon, but events – or rather Ryanair’s stringent baggage policy – conspired against them, leaving drummer and vocalist Dean Spunt stranded overnight in Oslo when he should have been playing a gig in Dublin. “Dean had two carry-on bags – a backpack and a case for the samplers – and they weren’t going for it; they wouldn’t let him on the flight,” Randall recalls. “Myself and our sound guy just stayed on the plane because we thought Dean was coming right behind us, but then they closed the door and started taking off and we were like, ‘Wait a second, something isn’t right here. We’re missing somebody!’.” A quick bit of mental arithmetic (one new ticket is cheaper than three) led to Randy and the sound guy making their own way to Dublin, leaving Dean to fend for himself, hence one cancelled gig and one hastily arranged one at the Academy on the Sunday night. Still, it gives Randy an opportunity to tell his Michael O’Leary joke. Take it away, sir: “The owner of Ryanair goes to a bar and orders a Guinness, and the bartender comes out and opens the bottle and pours it all over the bar. The Ryanair guy says, “What are you doing?!” and the bartender says, “Oh, you didn’t tell me you wanted a glass! That’s extra!” Ba-dum-tish. The gig at The Exchange was the first time a touring band had played there, and given No Age’s background, they were an appropriate choice. No discussion of the band is complete without mention of The Smell, a similarly conceived allages venue in Los Angeles, where No Age and friends including Abe Vigoda, HEALTH, Ponytail and The Mae Shi cut their teeth. The Exchange must have felt like familiar territory for the band. “Yeah, it kinda did,” says Randall. “It’s that sort
of open, free space, not really like a bar – more of a community space.” It’s not just the journalist’s need for an interesting angle that has led to No Age being so closely associated with The Smell. The sleeve of the band’s first major release – their wonderful EPs compilation Weirdo Rippers, which came out on FatCat Records in 2007 – is adorned with a photo of its dilapidated exterior, while below the CD tray lies a similar photo, except that standing and sitting in front of the venue are Randall, Spunt and a several dozen of their friends. At this stage in the band’s career, does Randall still feel connected to The Smell and its collective, grass-roots spirit? “Oh yeah, definitely,” he insists. “I think there are some limitations because we’re on the road so much and we’re not down there as much we used to be or as much as we’d like, but I think in terms of the spirit of it, our roots are definitely from that world. “It’s instilled in us a lot of values that come across like common sense. It’s not even something we have to think about most of the time – it just seems to be the way things should work. The shows are all-ages and run by volunteers and by people who want to be there, and you don’t need tons of security because nobody’s going to go crazy. It’s all things that seem like common sense to us.”
samples or slightly off-kilter, off-time melodic samples that were used as a jumping off point to write songs around. It was a challenge and as a band we’re always looking to challenge ourselves a little bit.” That last comment sounds like a classic interview cliché but it is to the band’s credit that they have so successfully changed their tried-and-tested way of working in the studio. Changes are afoot on stage, too, as a rotating third member has been added on samplers and effects, including the more electronic textures that enrich the sonic tapestry of Everything In Between. “In terms of song arrangement and writing, we’re open to the idea of these kinds of sounds,” says Randall. “That’s where the band Disco Inferno came in to play as an influence for us, because listening to their records there’s a real sense of mystery. We were inspired by that way of writing songs – making sounds where you don’t quite know if it’s found sound or studio trickery or maybe it’s electronic. When everything blends together it’s all in service of the song.” Though the addition of a third live member is ostensibly to allow Randall and Spunt to concentrate on playing their main instruments, it also serves to beef up the band’s live presence – sonically and visually. It comes at a time when the band finds itself playing to ever-larger audiences.
“Sometimes I miss the real nitty-gritty – basement shows every night” Randy confirms that when the band do get home, they are never far from what’s going on at The Smell and the scene that whirls around it. “We have a lot of friends who play in bands in Los Angeles,” he says. “If other bands from out of town are coming through we’ll help set up the gig if we can. Dean runs a record label called PPM, so he’s put out bands like Abe Vigoda, who are from Los Angeles, Wavves, Best Coast…” The band’s punk credentials are absolutely impeccable, then, to the extent that they once turned down a gig promoted by a “cool” magazine because they discovered it was being sponsored by an energy drink brand. That’s a bold stance to take in these straitened times. No Age’s profile will be heightened again by supporting Pavement in the States, and their upcoming dates in Europe are timed to coincide with the release of Everything In Between, their second full-length studio album following 2008’s Sub Pop debut Nouns. Randall accepts that the band’s sound hasn’t altered a great deal on the new album – that curiously successful blend of raw punk energy, washes of noise and wistful melodies remains at the heart of the band’s sound – but in the studio, he and Spunt completely inverted their normal way of working, largely inspired by early Nineties experimentalists Disco Inferno. “In the past, we were writing songs on guitar and drums and finding sounds that would augment those songs that were already written,” the guitarist explains. “This time around, we looked to collect this toolbox of samples that we liked the sound of, and then worked on arranging songs based on those samples. Then we’d add a little guitar for texture – flip the roles of samplers and guitar. “Disco Inferno used samples in a sound collage way that we were really inspired by – atmospheric
But is that at a cost to the band’s own sense of enjoyment? Though No Age remains essentially a DIY band – one that manages itself and often drives itself around on tour – it’s when we broach ‘the future’ that Randy starts talking in bittersweet tones. “Dean and I have both taken on different solo sideprojects around town in Los Angeles,” he reveals. “It’s fun to be able to go out and play music on a smaller scale. No Age has got to the point where we have to book a show months before we’re supposed to go on, so the spontaneity and the live craziness isn’t as much a part of No Age.” He catches himself: “Well, the live craziness is, but the spontaneity… Things get planned out so far in advance so a lot of times, if we’re at home and we have a friend who has an art show or some sort of event, one of us will do a solo set.” Is it frustrating that you can’t do a proper No Age show on that scale? “In some sense, yeah. I feel very fortunate that we have the opportunity to play these larger shows, but part of the process is committing to them far enough in advance. We try to keep our heads in the place where we’ve come from because we still have fun in that world and sometimes I do miss the real nitty-gritty – basement shows every night. I think it’s a good balance overall but if it ever arises, we are able still to do it, either as a solo show or a surprise No Age gig. Especially when we were making this record and we wanted to try out some songs live, we would just call some friends up and say, ‘Hey, can we jump on the show tonight?’.” The collective spirit continues to serve them well. NO AGE PLAY WHELAN’S IN DUBLIN ON OCTOBER 10. EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN IS OUT NOW ON SUB POP. —45 AU Magazine—
—46 issue 69—
… it’s Cee Lo Green After nearly two decades in the business with hip-hop crew Goodie Mob, pop-soul hitmakers Gnarls Barkley and as a songwriter and solo artist, Cee Lo Green finds himself with the second über-smash of his career, the 2010-defining ‘Fuck You’. AU chats to the man at the centre of a pop vortex. Words by Lauren Murphy
—47 AU Magazine—
Cee Lo Green
—48 issue 69—
It’s not every day that you get to hurl the phrase ‘fuck you’ with gusto down a phone line to a celebrity, and for the object of your outburst to respond with friendly enthusiasm. Then again, it’s not every day that you get to talk to the man behind one of the hottest singles of 2010. Holed up in a swish Parisian hotel suite, Cee Lo Green apologises for his groggy voice and general jetlagged demeanour. “I’m just off a plane from Atlanta, and I’m working already,” he groans good-humouredly. “Nah, it’s cool, though. I’m used to it.” After 18 years in the music industry, he should be – but it’s hard to figure out what the man born Thomas DeCarlo Callaway’s role in the business actually is. Thus far, he’s proved something of a chameleon. Genius? His track record would certainly insinuate such; he’s broken numerous sales records as one half of Gnarls Barkley, has gained huge levels of respect for his solo outings, and has collaborated with some of the biggest players in the R&B and hip-hop game. Modern philosopher? His rambling, tangential replies to some of the questions posed to him by AU – many, we suspect, deliberate attempts at sidestepping – would suggest so. Entrepreneur? Well, the rapid success of aforementioned single ‘Fuck You’ (a basic, place-holding video of the song went viral on YouTube, gaining 2 million hits in the space of a week) wasn’t strictly down to him alone – but he’s certainly aware of how the machinations of the music biz work. “Was I expecting it? Ummm, no. Hell, no,” he cackles. “I don’t really have any expectations, but I’m very optimistic, know what I’m sayin’?” You must have known that you had a catchy, hummable little ditty on your hands, though, I prod. ‘Fuck You’ is the kind of song you only need to hear once or twice before it sets up camp between your ears for a month. “Well, the only thing is that I expect ‘real’ to resonate. When something is real, when something is genuine, when something is quality… I assume that ‘real’ resonates at all times. But y’know, people aren’t necessarily entertained by reality all the time. People like science-fiction, they like comedy… it just depends on what you’re in the mood for.” As well as a list of collaborators longer than Stretch Armstrong’s limbs, Green’s work as a producer and writer (amongst his co-writing credits are the Pussycat Dolls' huge single ‘Don’t Cha’, as well as hits for Brandy, Solange, Amerie and Jennifer Hudson) means that his ear for a catchy melody serves him well when it comes to penning his own material. He may be a self-described ‘Soul Machine’, as his second solo album declared, but he’s also something of a hit machine, to boot. “Well, there’s no formula to what I do, but the common thread that weaves [all of my songs] together is obviously me,” he says. “They’re all an extension of a true self, my own personal good taste and preference in music. I’m very certain about myself, the things that move me and the things that compel me to write; that make me move, make me wanna dance, make me wanna get involved. But as far as people’s receptions right then and there? Well, something can be mismanaged and
mismarketed, you know? It’s not necessarily anyone in particular’s fault if a song doesn’t work in a particular commercial way. So you do have to have a plan of attack and a demographic, so to speak. But that’s someone else’s executive decision.” The music industry, he agrees, has certainly changed since his first forays into a recording studio with Atlantan hip-hop troupe Goodie Mob back in 1995. The traditional methods of marketing music have been replaced by sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, but they’ve “definitely worked out in his favour” – especially when it comes to ‘Fuck You’, a top 10 hit everywhere from Australia to the Netherlands. It’s not the only thing that’s changed, though; Cee Lo’s own style has strayed from the rap angle employed with Goodie Mob, and even parts of his first two solo albums …and his Perfect Imperfections and …is the Soul Machine. These days, he seems to be more of a soul-dominated man, occasionally dabbling in hip-hop. “Well, I guess I was a singer always and a rapper by profession, in the beginning – but I think that some people are pre-occupied with how they can stay the same, as opposed to, y’know, allowing an evolution to move you. I’m just an advocate of that – of becoming transparent, if you will, and allowing music to just push through me, to use me as a medium, as a vehicle, to the point that the music I make becomes a narrative of some sort. I really separate myself from it [the music-making process], I think that it’s something that’s beyond me, and I’m very flattered that it ‘picked’ me,” he says mystically. “When I was a kid and a teenager, I remember punk rock being more natural to me. That’s the soul of someone else, just stylised in a different way. To me, Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden is a soul singer. Steve Perry from Journey, or Steven Tyler from Aerosmith – to me, they got soul. Soul’s commonly associated with black music, but I think it’s all soul music, because we’re all singing from experience, and that’s what causes it to be relatable. Soul is the experience, it’s the centre of someone. People are very rarely bold enough to bare that naked part of themselves. But to me, it’s something that’s involuntary and voluntary at the same time. I don’t want to know what I’m doing completely; I like it when it just happens to me, when it’s just compelling. So it’s hard for me to take any credit, in that way. I’m present, but it’s truly an out-of-body experience, in a way.” His hazy assertions sound vaguely religious - does he believe that his gift has been bestowed upon him by God, in that case? “I’m more spiritually-based, as opposed to being religious,” he says. “Yeah, I definitely think that this has a lot to do with the spirit. What do you think, do I sound spiritual? Has anything about any of my music ever struck you as spiritual?” Sure, I say. Anyone with a voice as powerful as yours can’t help but move people in some way. But for all your talk of being the ‘Chosen One’ of sorts, where does that leave the new generation of innovative artists – particularly those from his native southern states, like Janelle Monáe and Lil Wayne? Does the mighty Cee Lo find it hard to identify with any of them?
Wash Your Mouth Out! Five songs with ‘fuck’ in the title
EAMON – ‘Fuck It (I Don’t Want You Back)’ First the bloke was condemned to being a rapper called Eamon (ever heard of a stage name, buddy?), and then his girl broke his heart. “Fuck you, you ho, I don’t want you back,” he crooned. It’s OK, fella, we know you’re really dying inside. Let it all out.
The Magnetic Fields – ‘How Fucking Romantic’ Stephin Merritt, you are nothing short of a bona fide lyrical genius, especially when you write lines as caustically droll as “How fucking romantic, must we really waltz? / Drag another cliché howling from the vaults.”
Fight Like Apes – ‘Ice Cream Apple Fuck’ We’re not exactly sure what an ice cream apple fuck is, or even if it’s legal. But we sure do like MayKay’s melodic yowling on this track from the new Apes album. Kudos for wedging the word ‘boke’ in there, too.
David Kitt – ‘Don’t Fuck With Me’ Ahhh, sure you’re just a big teddy bear, Kittser. Your stern warning doesn’t scare us. What’s that you say on your lovely, gentle, beat-driven tune? “Don’t fuck with me, don’t break me down?” Umm, if you say so. Come here till we tickle you under the chin, first, though.
Glasvegas – ‘Fuck You, It’s Over’ If ever there was a Dear John letter in song-form that left the recipient in no doubt where they stood, it’s this anguished cut from the Scots rockers’ Christmas album. “I’ve been lost since I woke up / Broken since we broke up,” bawls James Allan. Ahhh. Someone give that guy a hug. —49 AU Magazine—
Cee Lo Green
“I do believe that there’s validity in all expression, so therefore, I’m always pleased to see someone being open and expressive in art form, being progressive and pushing it forward – not going around in circles, so to speak,” he replies diplomatically. “But I know that there’s a balance between art and industry, too – so I know that certain images and ideals are perpetuated over and over again, from an executive point of view, and that’s not always the fault of the artist. So those who are able to be definitive enough to be seen in the midst of so much yakkery, I believe that it’s meant to be, it’s very fateful for a few of these individuals to exist. That being said, I’m inspired by all art. I’m an art enthusiast.” At the ripe old age of 35, (“Everyone thinks I’m older!” he half-heartedly grumbles), Green has seen and experienced enough to be held as something of a veteran. Yet there’s no doubting that without Gnarls Barkley, the group he formed with Brian ‘Danger Mouse’ Burton in 2003, and their smash hit ‘Crazy’, the name ‘Cee Lo’ may have been a lot less well-known than it is today. Perhaps being known as ‘the guy from Gnarls Barkley’ has been
“To me, Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden is a soul singer. Steve Perry from Journey, or Steven Tyler from Aerosmith – to me, they got soul.” a contributing factor to ‘Fuck You’s snowballing success, and what makes his forthcoming third solo album poised for prominence. It’s called The Lady Killer, and really – for a man who once sang “I wanna be inside you, literally / Girl, I wanna use you habitually” (from ‘Spend the Night in Your Mind’, a cut from 2002’s … and his Perfect Imperfections), would you expect anything less? “I’m still the Soul Machine, of course,” he wheezes. “No, I think I can describe the other albums as random gunfire: y’know, open fire on a crowded room, with no particular mark or target. With The Lady Killer, this album is a matter of marksmanship. It’s a righteous killlll, if you willlll,” he adds with a gleeful purr. Over 70 tracks were recorded for the album, which eventually had to be cut down to just 14. “That’s the hardest part, the hardest part,” he despairs. “You’re kind of emotionally attached to them all, in one way or another. And then with an album like this, where so many people are counting on it – like, my label really wants me to be a success, —50 issue 69—
they really want the best of me. So we’ve been going through quite a bit of politics – but politics, I’m not partial to. But I do understand that they’re a necessary evil and you have to make amends with that aspect of signing a record deal. It’s a hard process, but it’s for the best. “But all of the music is good, so y’know, lucky me for that. We’re coming up with creative ways to make use of the music that we recorded for this album [that won’t make the final cut]. I’m sure after this album is released, I’ll be gone into some other space. I’ll be ready to do another Goodie Mob album, then another Gnarls album. The things that I’ve recorded in relation to this concept of Lady Killer, the label have been very supportive in being creative and finding different ways to release the music, whether it be bundle packages, or seveninches, or on soundtracks. People are gonna hear the greater part of that music because y’know, it’s relative to right now. I have to do it now. Now, I say!”
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010
He won’t be drawn on whether any of his collaborators down through the years have returned the favour on this album, although he does confirm the rumour that Sade was asked to provide vocals on one track – and promptly ignored his request. “She didn’t respond,” he says with a sigh. “I think if I could have gotten Sade, that would have been all I ever needed. She’s never done a song with anyone, so I really didn’t have any unrealistic expectations of her doing it because of that reason – but I thought that I’d give it a shot. And that tingly feeling of wondering whether she would say yes or not – that was enough! The want, the desire, the anticipation; that was a great feeling. But don’t worry. You’ll have your hands full with me.” Despite his audible bleariness, it sounds like Cee Lo Green is enjoying life, and the prospect of yet another hit record – this time by his own hand alone - right now. “I do believe that nothing guarantees a result better than repetition, so I do believe that I deserve some good things to happen,” he agrees. “I’ve been pretty diligent about my career, and devoted to it, so I wouldn’t expect anything less. But I’m also very humble and very grateful. And I’m having fun, too. Oh yeah, I’m having fun. Having a song called ‘Fuck You’ that the world is just loving right now? That’s a lot of fun. The song has such a youthful playfulness in it… and you know, at my age, and with my experience and the amount of time I’ve spent in the industry, to have yet another record that has worked so well is awesome.” That’s all well and good, I say, but what about the prospect of ‘Fuck You’ becoming another ‘Crazy’ – a song that you must have performed hundreds of times by now? Aren’t you worried that the enjoyment will be overtaken by a sheer obligatory drudgery at every gig you do from now until the end of your career? “I think I’ll get tired of singing ‘Fuck You’ before I get tired of singing ‘Crazy’,” he insists. “’Fuck You’ is a sweet nothing, so to speak – but ‘Crazy’ is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s one of those kind of songs that you can seek shelter in. The door’s always open, it’ll always be there to embrace you. Then again, maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to say. If you separate yourself from the storyline of ‘Fuck You’, welll… at some point in your life some people are gonna be a nuisance to you and you’re gonna wanna be able scream out ‘Fuck You’. So that could possibly last forever, too!,” he concludes with a husky chuckle. “Who knows? As long as people wanna hear both of ‘em, I don’t think I mind singing ‘em.” The Lady Killer is out in December. www.ceelogreen.com
For more information visit www.ohyeahbelfast.com
—51 AU Magazine—
Underworld Now into their 50s, the duo of Karl Hyde and Rick Smith show no signs of resting on their laurels. Their eighth studio album Barking features contributions from experts in the fields of dubstep, drum and bass and trance - Karl Hyde joins AU to look back on three pioneering decades in dance. Words by Eamonn Seoige
Arranging this interview involved a lot of patience, and when AU eventually gets Karl Hyde on the end of a phone, we find a very busy man indeed. Nope, not up to his neck with promo work for the new Underworld album Barking, it’s something altogether more domestic. “I’ve got the builders in,” he sighs. “Oh, the joys! I’ve recently moved house in Essex and I’m just packing some stuff away in boxes.” Despite their position as one of the seminal acts of progressive house and techno, Underworld was strangely removed from the scene’s earliest innovations. “In the beginning, we really made music on a ring road, blindfolded!” he laughs. “The whole Chicago/New York/Detroit scene was happening, but we were gloriously oblivious to it. It was only when we toured the States later that I discovered who Juan Atkins or Carl Craig was! I can recall saying to people, ‘Ah, the Eighties was total shite’ and they were incredulous. This great music was happening under our noses but we were totally unaware...” During the Spring of ’91, four years and two albums after forming Underworld as a funky pop band, possibly their defining career moment took place. After a period of time-out, Darren Emerson joined Hyde and Smith to pursue a new venture, while still operating under the Underworld moniker. “We had got rid of a load of equipment and realised we couldn’t afford to gig properly or even be in a proper, old-fashioned band. I remember supporting the Eurythmics, then getting dropped from our label. We were totally bankrupt and finally decided, ‘Bollocks to this’! “I think it was originally Rick’s idea to change focus and veer more towards producing pure dance music. We had no PR support, no label, no marketing and yet we decided to take what little money we’d left and build a studio in Romford. It had only taken us 12 years to finally realise our true direction!” Around the same time, Hyde picked up some work as a session guitarist in the US. Rick stayed put in London, busy exchanging ideas with Darren. Darren’s fascination with house and techno, combined with their desire for experimentation, was the basis for the classic sound of Underworld. “I still had a longing to do the whole band thing and rock out on my guitar, so I got it out of my system, heading out on tour with Debbie Harry,” —52 issue 69—
he laughs. “Then it was down to work with the boys. It didn’t take us long to nail that early sound and we started off selling our first 12” releases out of the boot of my car, our first few quid profit in years! That was a big turning point for us. No longer were we chasing people for record deals, we were no longer trying to incorporate a standard vocal track in every song, sod it! We were our own management and doing it our way. It grew from there like a cottage industry... “It was a magic time. We were all based in London, had a company called Tomato on the go, which produced high-end TV commercials and graphics. The place was buzzing with great people like Goldie, Orbital, Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy. Soho and the West End felt like the centre of the universe! It was an amazing scene, no bitching, everyone helping everyone else out to get up and running. Even Björk was in town and we all hung out together in clubs, gigging and in the studio.” Ultimately, the release of Dubnobasswithmyheadman in 1994 was the breakthrough moment. It took Underworld to a new level. “House/techno/trance, you name it, has continued to develop over the past number of years, with various mixed styles developing over time. However, I still remember those early Nineties as the special years. Nobody in that scene cared about age, about being cool or stylish. It was an unpretentious scene where everyone was simply looking forward. It was always a case of what’s next? All the key people in this business are forward thinkers. It’s all about keeping the music fresh, working with new artists, thriving on new ideas.” On new album Barking, working with such modern production masters as Dubfire, High Contrast and Paul Van Dyk has offered Hyde and Smith a fresh challenge. They feel it’s important to remind one other that dance music is a celebration, entertainment. When people turn out for a show or buy a record they want a good time, to have a smile on their face. However, Hyde also admits that the image portrayed in the mainstream press is often far from a complimentary one.
of dance artists from this scene have fallen on tough times. I’ve lost good friends, people who just never grew out of it. I look back on it all and I’m glad I wised up before it was too late. I used to think it was a source of inspiration but these days I’m more prolific. I have more energy in my 50s than I had as a 30-year-old!” Far from craving the easy life, Hyde is determined to stay productive as long as possible. "It’s all go these days. I’m doing some work with Brian Eno for Rick’s new label and I have a painting exhibition opening in Tokyo. I wake up in the morning energised naturally! The new record has been a great buzz. When I rehearsed I suddenly realised that this great sound wasn’t been created by a group of strangers, they’re my mates!” The basic tracks were pulled together, on the road, over a three-year period. The consensus was that the set was beginning to sound old and needed freshening up, brought forward to reflect the times. “So, when we had the tunes finished, we played them on tour, tweaking them based on the live sound and the crowd reaction. Often, it was a little change here, a kick drum or hi-hat there. We took our lead from the audience, just as we’ve always done. I actually remember that ‘King of Snake’ got sorted in Dublin. We played in the Redbox and it went down so well we decided that’s fuckin’ it!” It’s always been their way. Going back to earlier times, Rick would play acetates in clubs and stand at the back to capture the sound and the response from the crowd. “With Barking we crafted all the tracks this way and then we set about finding people to collaborate with on the production. We then start this whole back-and-forth thing, jamming via the studio and online before deciding on a completed track. “As I said before, we’ve been really lucky to have met so many people on our journey. The scene is populated by a lot of gems and it was great to have some of them on board for the new album. If we hadn’t taken that fresh path, all those years ago, I’d probably be working in a covers band, scraping a living on the pub circuit!” BARKING IS OUT NOW ON COOKING VINYL
“I can totally understand why the scene gets picked on. It’s ideal media fodder, titillation for the masses, sensationalist stories of the carnage caused by drug and drink abuse. It’s a sad fact that just like painters, film makers, rockers or whatever, a lot
UNDERWORLD PLAY THE RDS, DUBLIN ON NOVEMBER 27 WWW.UNDERWORLDLIVE.COM
Fight like Apes
Being Sane In Insane Places
—54 issue 69—
BEING SANE IN INSANE PLACES A CREATIONIST FOR A DAY As the debate between religion and science intensifies, creationism has become more visible in Ireland. Politicians have promoted the idea, but does it hold up in the public sphere? Words by Kiran Acharya Illustrations by Rebecca Hendin
“I can calculate the motions of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people." - Isaac Newton Earlier this year, just like Northern Ireland Culture Minister Nelson McCausland, I endured a brief and shameful episode involving the notion of creationism. McCausland wrote to the custodians of the Ulster Museum suggesting they include exhibitions on “alternative theories of the origin of the universe” alongside displays of Iron Age metalwork and Jurassic ammonites. He was publicly ridiculed. He became the subject of scolding, outraged articles in the Belfast Telegraph and The Guardian. A blogger in Minnesota called him a “nutcase” and “a crazy creationist Bible-walloper”. The move to import creationist material into the public sphere offended secularists. The response was often personal. A Facebook group appeared; 500-odd people uniting to say that McCausland had “no right to lobby for the creationist agenda under the guise of constituency work”. McCausland appeared on Stephen Nolan’s BBC radio show pitched against Richard Dawkins, but sagely said nothing when asked to state when he believed the world began. It was difficult not to empathise with the minister after the flogging he received. Addressing the controversy on his blog, Nelson’s View, 11 posts finished up with him stating that he had no intention of publicly debating evolution, creationism or intelligent design. He got on with the demands of his office, publicly supporting work at Tollymore Forest Park, at the Linen Hall Library, at the John Hewitt International Summer School. Incidentally there was little mention of the Planet Earth festival at the Armagh Planetarium. There you can see Ireland’s biggest meteorite, a 140kg nickel/iron lump calculated to be 4.5 billion years old. All this talk of creationism had set off a big bang in my head. But it wasn’t until months later, at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park, that I realised how McCausland’s idea had affected me. Jostling amongst a crowd of Londoners and tourists, I stood on tippy-toes to catch a glance of a man shouting about breasts. “Women are outlawed
from baring their boobs,” he shouted. “But what about fat men? Offensive, parading flabby chests! No quarter for men with moobs!” The place was abuzz with people. Images of crowds curved in tourists’ sunglasses. Towards the coffee kiosk on the far side, elevated heads and waving hands of preachers rose above spectators and passers-by. A black man with muscular arms was in the middle of a machine-gun speech, a tirade against political apathy. “And who can name a southern African president other than Mugabe? Who?” He glared until an Australian man spoke. “Netanyahu is Israeli, you stoopid motherfucker!” Beyond, a workaday young chap in t-shirt and jeans stood patiently, holding a cardboard sign. ‘Free hugs'. People were sceptical. Few accepted the offer. I thought I had it figured out. Creationists set a lot of store by the concept of causality. The ‘first cause’ argument says that a creator god is the origin of all matter. I didn’t know about that. What I did know was that a letter written in May by a Northern Irish politician in Belfast had caused me to walk, months later, to a park full of chattering half-mad humans in a city more than 300 miles away. Researching both sides of the argument was confounding. The supposed truth of life beginning no more than 10,000 years ago versus the scientific truth of dragon-like dinosaurs in Romania, 80 million years ago. Keeping up with the stories shattered my concentration span. The internet had everything to do with this. I’d settle down with a cup of coffee and visit three creationism sites, check in on the Caleb Foundation, swing by the Dawkins forum, scan RSS feeds then news via Facebook. In the evenings I’d slump in the chair, watching consecutive episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air on YouTube. The storylines became impossible to follow. The theme tune was stuck in my head for weeks. Innn… west Philadelphia, born and raised… After rushing to brush my teeth I’d dive breathlessly into bed. Dreams were a heap of broken images. I’d read online about the neuroplasticity of the brain, about how we’re evolving to cope with the speed of the internet. I couldn’t retain a thing. All was dispersed. Then I remembered the epigraph in Michael Burleigh’s
Blood & Rage: a Cultural History of Terrorism. “In their basic relation to themselves most people are narrators,” it says. “What they like is the orderly sequence of facts, because it has the look of a necessity, and by means of the impression that their life has a ‘course’ they manage to feel somehow sheltered in the midst of chaos.” It was like the movie Inception. The verity of creationism grew in my mind. The narrative became consoling, offering unity and cohesion. My reading grew one-sided and I collected religious books like you seek rare records by a band. It wasn’t easy. In Foyle’s on the Charing Cross Road there was nothing on creationism, not even an idiot’s guide. Sections for Bible Studies, Buddhism, Hinduism, Philosophy of Religion... then Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Queer Theory. After that it was outright fiction. In a smaller shop I found Michael Behe’s The Edge of Evolution, which argues the finer points of intelligent design. Mint-condition hardback with jacket, in a bargain bin for £1. Online I found the 1973 classic On Being Sane in Insane Places, a psychology study with a controversial conclusion saying that it’s nigh-on impossible to deduce who is certifiably mad and who isn’t. I have what might generously be called a third-tier intellect. Nelson McCausland attended Worcester college at Oxford University. As minister for culture, I thought, he’s sure to have read canonical literature and philosophy. He’d be Schopenhauer-savvy, he’d know his Nietzsche. If such a man concluded that there was truth in the creation tale, it was good enough for me to co-opt. So on a bright Sunday, I lifted the Behe book and strolled to Speaker’s Corner, whistling the tune to ‘All Things Bright And Beautiful’… Speaker’s Corner is steeped in a history of free speech, public assembly, and subversion. In 1600 Charles II ordered that the dead body of Oliver Cromwell be disinterred from Westminster Abbey and put on trial for treachery and regicide. The corpse was found guilty and hung from a gallows across the road at Tyburn. Now, more than 400 years later, the assembly at Speaker’s Corner was vocal. The man opposed —55 AU Magazine—
Being Sane In Insane Places
to bare chests had kicked off a debate on banning the burka. Under the bough of a tree, past Mr Hugs, an older lady with deep tanned skin had attracted a crowd of 15, one person for every board leaning against the black railings. The boards were painted with slogans and quotations from scripture: ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’. An aging man, crooked like a question mark, shuffled about with a sign saying ‘I know the secret to eternal youth’. Another fellow with a peacock feather in his hair stood beside a whiteboard advertising poems for peace, recited in the old Romantic style. He looked like a wizened Jerry Garcia. You chose between three themes: peace, love, or understanding. “I’m on a quest for understanding,” I said. He mirthfully introduced himself as Kai Lung and recited a long verse celebrating the beauty of nature. “May prosperity attend your every footstep,” he said. “In what do you place your faith?” “Well,” I said. “There are politicians who hold fast to the truth of creationism. I suppose I’m testing the weight of the idea.” I mentioned the minister’s letter to the museum. He looked at the ground. “There are people who believe only in what they can see and touch,” he said. “And these people would probably find both you and your minister irrational.” He giggled inexplicably. “But where
there’s a politician you’ll often find there’s one other thing involved. Money. Heehee!” As far as I could see, the only money in creationism was in the printing, the design, the exhibits. It’s a creative industry. This struck me in 2006, when the Causeway Creationist Committee in County Londonderry angled to have the Giant’s Causeway officially explained in literal Biblical terms. Even then, the committee expressed that creationist material should appear in the Ulster Museum. So Nelson McCausland’s letter wasn’t a one-off, it was part of an ongoing evolution of ideas. An unfolding story. Who profits?
for human evolution. More than a quarter disputed the common ancestry of life. A DVD promoting intelligent design was shown to 49 biology teachers. Most took the material at face value. The worry is that new teachers aren’t able to discern between scientific and non-scientific theories. I felt overlooked. We had nothing on creationism in school. Nor in youth groups. On glowing summer evenings we young pups would sit cross-legged on a variety of fenceless County Tyrone lawns, issued with pocket-sized Bibles while a leader challenged us to speedily locate passages. I once won. The prize was a bag of penny sweets – pink and white vampire teeth. But reading the verse in front of the group was embarrassing. Psalm 13: 1. “How long, O Lord? Wilt Thou forget me forever? How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me?” In the County Tyrone of the early Eighties I’d never heard tell of creationism. If we kids had spoken of it we’d probably have been shunned as diabolists. I didn’t go to many Biblical youth groups after that. Though every morning, waiting for the school bus across from the Gospel Hall, I’d read Tyrone’s most dramatic wall painting. Romans 6: 23 in blackletter typeface: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Antireligionists invariably prefer the end-terrace painting visible from the Ormeau Bridge in Belfast:
“How can quantum gravity help explain the origin of the universe?” I mentioned this to a scientist chatting about the big bang. He wore a home-made sign: ‘Ask me about relativity’. A Scottish man asked how many big bangs there had been. “Good question. Either, one… or more than one.” The crowd laughed. “At least one.” Within earshot, an evolutionist spoke enthusiastically about nature’s crazy creatures. He showed pictures of axolotls. “They should have evolved into salamanders. But look at them, happy as they are. Amazingly if you introduce a single drop of iodine to an axolotl, you kickstart the evolutionary process. They become salamanders!” He had a curious illustration of a fish/crocodile combo. “Tiktaalik,” he said. “Tiktaaa-lik. One of our most important ancestors. You have humans, primates, you go back through fish until you find the shared molecular machinery in every one of us.”
There’s also the desire to include this stuff in the school curriculum – a good moneyspinner for textbook suppliers. In 1987 a number of American court rulings banned teaching creationism in state schools. The idea mutated into intelligent design, including scientific ideas to make it palatable to teachers. It says that life could not have come from random explosions and evolution and natural selection. Only a higher being could be responsible. “Bunkum!” said a young man. Blue shirt, sandals with socks. “I’m not related to an ancient fish.” In a 2009 paper named The Growing Visibility of “It’s no fish,” said the evolutionist. “It’s a fishapod.” Creationism in Northern Ireland, researchers at The air of debate was exciting and I knew a bold Queen’s University School of Education took a catchphrase. “You can’t make a monkey out of me.” sample of 112 pre-service science teachers and “How can you deny the evidence?” asked the found that more than a fifth doubted the evidence evolutionist. Then he twigged, eyeing the Behe —56 issue 69—
book. “I see. You read stuff that tries to poke holes in Darwin’s theory. Can I invite you onto the stand?” Public speaking terrifies me but I knew that if I were to die from shame or pure pretention it would be in the service of a clement god. It might even be my ticket to heaven. Opening the book made adrenalin flow like liquid conviction. I felt like Colonel Collins addressing the troops on the eve of battle. Total ownership of the moment. “The elegant, coherent functional systems upon which life depends are the result of deliberate intelligent des-" “Ah ah,” said the evolutionist. “May I take your book?” He took my book. “We’d like to hear an original contribution. Do you think for yourself, sir?” Confidence vanished quickly. There was a ring of expectant eyes, and I was utterly naked with nothing to say. Save for the theme tune to The Fresh Prince, which dribbled over my dry sponge tongue and died in the wind. One man laughed, guffawed really, and a lady slapped her forehead. My Behe book was tossed back – the corner struck my chest leaving a penny-sized bruise. The evolutionist called me a cheapjack and shook his head before moving on. The rest were quick to follow.
Evolutionists tell us that if a piano’s keyboard represents the history of the universe, human life appears only on the keys at the far right-hand side. Creationists tell us that the world was created by a divine being on October 23, 4004BC. The dispute will escalate. The Pope argues for religious voices in the public square. Philosophers like AC Grayling want to silence religious voices in the public square. Like McCausland on the radio, I should have kept quiet. Amongst all this bickering, the more it seems that both sides are shouting past each other. Nobody’s really being converted. Why fight, I thought. Who cares? Because somewhere in the middle of the quarrel is the fact that the average human life lasts less than a thousand months. Some aren’t even granted that. Faith remains a matter of the heart. Until there’s evidence of a bottom-up demand from the citizenry of Ireland, creationism has no place in the public sphere. Urging it into schools is like stocking the tuck shop with cigarettes. I left the idea in Speaker’s Corner. Scuttling away, I bumped into the man who had been silent all day. He asked if I’d like a hug. I couldn’t refuse.
Gold Panda - Lucky Shiner
pg 57 Record Reviews | pg 66 Live Reviews |pg 68 Unsigned Universe
Illustration by Mark Reihill
Gold Panda Lucky Shiner NOTOWN
After he stirred up an excited internet with the big stick that was the intensely strange sounding ‘Quitter’s Raga’, many wondered if Gold Panda’s debut album could deliver on that early promise. The answer is that he has, resoundingly; but in a different way than we might have expected. Perhaps the most telling detail of the anonymous producer’s short, incandescent career thus far was his stunning remix of the The Field’s ‘I Have The Moon, You Have The Internet’. He handled the track confidently, cleverly extending Axel Willner’s own pioneering style of chopped samples to manipulate an almost weightless abstract form from the source material. It was like musical cubism, and it evinced an understanding and regard for The Field’s sound which has come to the fore on Lucky Shiner, Gold Panda’s debut album. The shadow of The Field’s ambient techno classic From Here We Go Sublime falls far, and it is definitely in
evidence all over Lucky Shiner, from the exhilarating sense of gear-shifted momentum on lead single ‘You’ through the stretched melancholy ambience of ‘After We Talked’ (a track which sounds like a human heart being squeezed through a wringer). Yet the album isn’t derivative. Just as he managed with his earlier remix of The Field, he succeeds here in pushing these stylistic tricks into a place he can call his own. So while Lucky Shiner may wear its influences a little heavily, and while it not be as dramatically idiosyncratic as ‘Quitter’s Raga’ was, it has plenty of personality. It is, by any measure, a Gold Panda album. In addition to the whooshing passages of ambient minimal which illuminate the likes of ‘Vanilla Minus’, Lucky Shiner has another quality; a crackly, autumnal hue that is born of naive bashed-up acoustics and clockwork hip-hop. The recording of Lucky Shiner was apparently carried out in a pastoral setting while Gold Panda was house-sitting for his relatives and engaging in activities as wild and hedonistic as walking their dog and doing garden chores (in fact, ‘Parents’ features field recordings of a young Panda helping his Gran push a wheelbarrow around the garden). It is through these moments that Gold Panda’s individuality really manifests itself. There is a burnished, burning, often mournful sense of the personal that glows during the album’s quieter moments.
As the album moves through its arc, the listener is left with the sense that it is a ‘proper’ album in the old fashioned, pre-mp3, sense. It has a narrative coherence that can’t be separated into little blocks labelled ‘choppy techno bit’ or ‘sadface hip-hop bit’. In this respect, it brings to mind some of the early, pioneering album-oriented techno from Warp’s heyday, stuff like Boards of Canada’s Music Has The Right To Children and particularly, in some of its winding sunshine rhythms, Plaid’s Double Figure. This narrative arc is reinforced by the sequential song titles ‘Before We Talked’ and ‘After We Talked’ and by the album beginning and ending on a track called ‘You’. Not exactly what we expected, is it? After hearing Gold Panda’s early singles and remixes, who could have guessed that he was so old-fashioned at heart? Or that his debut album would be a carefully constructed ‘proper’ album about love and life and relationships and such? Indeed, while the Arcade Fire and Interpol huff and bluster with big blowsy disappointments of albums, it was left to a dance producer and his laptop to make the most emotionally engaging album of the year so far. Darragh McCausland
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘MARRIAGE’, ‘PARENTS’. FOR FANS OF: THE FIELD, PLAID. —57 AU Magazine—
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark History of Modern
Shit Robot From The Cradle To The Rave
A recent review of this album described OMD, rather glibly, as an Open University version of Joy Division. The fact is that they were like-minded purveyors of dark beauty and wilfully esoteric lyrics. Like Joy Division, OMD have spawned a hundred tawdry imitators. Unfortunately for Andy McCluskey and co, this seems to have depleted, not bolstered their credibility quotient. Perhaps it was the chunky sweaters… Musically, there’s little argument. Since their influential Factory-released debut Electricity, OMD’s dark, romantic obscurantism has become an enduring archetype in the crazy-paved pop canon. History Of Modern finds the original lineup together on record for the first time in over 20 years. It has the esoteric-futurist album title. It even has a snazzy Peter Saville-designed sleeve. What it lacks is the clutch of beautifully bleak electronic lullabies that comprised Architecture And Morality or the weird alienating allure of lost classic Dazzle Ships. It is an enjoyable listen though and a timely reminder of a band for whom the words 'puzzlingly underestimated' might have been coined. Joe Nawaz
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘NEW BABIES/NEW TOYS’, ‘SOMETIMES’, ‘BONDAGE OF FATE’. FOR FANS OF: DEPECHE MODE, CRYSTAL CASTLES, NEW ORDER
Heliopause Waltz Into The Sea
Like a pair of musical Zeligs, Skibunny duo Tanya Mellotte and Mark Gordon have been witness to some of the seminal events in Northern Ireland’s recent musical history. As DJs, producers, remixers and promoters their influence has been definite, but limited. They step more fully into the fray with debut album Hugs. It’s a deceptive record for, like the Tardis, you really need to get into it to understand just how much it contains. It kicks off on a definite New Order tip, Mellotte’s quivering vocal combining with giddy keys and hazy guitar on ‘Aah Ooh’. The brilliant ‘Walk Don’t Walk’ makes an early claim for the album’s catchiest moment, its chorus recalling none other than shoegaze-tinged Britpoppers, Lush. The needling melody of ‘Sun Sun Sun’ also takes little time to lodge in the memory, whilst ‘Stand Up’ is urgent and affirmative. Elsewhere, there are appearances from Maps’ James Chapman on the sweet, electro pitter-patter of ‘Remember Me’, whilst The Go! Team’s Kaori Tsuchida pops up on joyous anthem ‘All In This Together’. Are Skibunny capable of making the transition from cheerleaders to charge leaders? Hugs suggests they just might be. Francis Jones
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘WALK DON’T WALK’, ‘STAND UP’, ‘MILES IZ DEAD’. FOR FANS OF: SNEAKER PIMPS, NEW ORDER, OPPENHEIMER.
Torche Songs For Singles
Heliopause are often viewed as a curious proposition, a band that is ill-at-ease or perhaps even at odds with Belfast’s musical climate. With peers aspiring to be dance-floor staples or post-rock juggernauts they are undeniably dissimilar with their hushed tales of love, love lost and love yet to be had. But just as it is often the quietest child of the class who most possessed of inspiration, Heliopause’s debut proves a triumph.
For a less proficient band, beginning with a track as strong as ‘Little Ashes’ would be misguided, here however it only serves as a foreshadower of what is to follow. Against a powerful but far from overbearing rhythm, Richard Davis’s whispered vocals are dually subtle and forceful. The band are at their best when offering a pulselike cadence in support of a barely-there vocal, a style especially effective on tracks such as ‘The Moon & Sixpence’ and ‘Save for Me’. So consistent is the subdued style of the record that when the latent energy does come to the fore on the closing ‘Epilog.’ it proves especially striking. Jonathan Bradley
2008’s Meanderthal catapulted Torche to the frontline of modern heavy music. Fawned over in myriad ‘album of the year’ lists, it was starkly direct yet original in a way you couldn’t quite put your finger on; stripping away any extraneous posing or superfluous histrionics, it placed chunky sped-up stoner riffs alongside strangely melodic choruses. And it worked. Songs For Singles, this 8-track album, adheres to the same relentless, breakneck agenda. The last two tracks take up eleven of the 22 minutes on offer; giving the first six tracks 11 minutes of their own. The opener ‘UFO’ immediately kicks down your door with its furious staccato riff, and from there Songs For Singles savagely attacks with incessant combinations of huge hooks and amphetamineladled Greatest Driving Anthems In The World... Ever! style grooves. The final two tracks take a calmer, more measured approach – ‘Face The Wall’ is the only track that feels remotely downbeat – but even so, if you stick this on while driving, you’ll be guaranteed to fatally maim at least one jaywalker. Kyle Robinson
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KEY TRACKS: ‘LITTLE ASHES’, ‘SAVE FOR ME’, ‘EPILOG’. FOR FANS OF: MICE PARADE, FRIGHTENED RABBIT.
KEY TRACKS: ‘UFO’, ‘HIDEAWAY’, ‘CAST INTO UNKNOWN’. FOR FANS OF: KYLESA, MASTODON, MELVINS.
—58 issue 69—
Dublin’s very own turntable master, Marcus Lambkin aka Shit Robot, has finally delivered his first long player, some 20-odd years in the making. Having spent over a dozen clicks as one of NYC’s leading club DJs, Lambkin’s encyclopaedic knowledge of his craft shines through. With old friend James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) at the controls FTCTTR positively exudes that classic DFA sound across a string of mouth-watering electro-pop gems. Lambkin called in the heavies on this one, none bigger than Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor. The famed falsetto was persuaded, after a Hot Chip gig in Manhattan, to add a cracking vocal to the soulful electro brilliance of ‘Losing My Patience’. Nancy Whang of LCD and The Juan Maclean notoriety lends effortless style to the cheeky, disco inspired ‘Take ‘Em Up’, while Murphy’s distinctive tones adorn ‘Tuff Enuff’, a barely concealed tribute to Kraftwerk’s ‘Autobahn’. With an LCD Soundsystem hiatus imminent, Shit Robot’s timing couldn’t be better. Who says you can’t polish a turd? Eamonn Seoige
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘LOSING MY PATIENCE’, ‘TAKE ‘EM UP’, ‘TUFF ENUFF’. FOR FANS OF: LCD SOUNDSYSTEM, HOT CHIP, THE JUAN MACLEAN.
Timber Timbre Timber Timbre FULL TIME HOBBY
If the sheen from Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago has faded for you, turn an ear to Taylor Kirk, aka Timber Timbre, who also recorded in a woodframed cabin during his formative forays into music. It’s no surprise that this, his third album, garnered numerous accolades in his native Canada upon its release last year; Timber Timbre is a rich, earthy record that releases a delicious slow-drip of organic tunes trickle by steady trickle. Vocally, Kirk veers between M. Ward and Stuart Staples’s steady rumble and a lighter, Devendra Banhart-esque quivering warble, but musically, his tunes don’t sound in thrall to one particular contemporary. Overall, these are indubitably gentle tunes (‘Lay Down In The Tall Grass’ could be an early Veckatimest sketch), sure – but darkness abounds on the shady hypnotism of ‘Until The Night Is Over’ and the eerie, organsupplemented spookiness of ‘Trouble Comes Knocking’. There’s a sense that Timber Timbre still need some fine-tuning and minor renovations – a current of electricity here, maybe some insulation there – but try making an album like this in your garden shed. Lauren Murphy
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘LAY DOWN IN THE TALL GRASS’, ‘TROUBLE COMES KNOCKING’, ‘I GET LOW’. FOR FANS OF: M. WARD, BON IVER, DEVENDRA BANHART.
Darkstar North HYPERDUB
See the name Hyperdub and you expect dubstep or similar – from the flagship name Burial to owner Kode9 and young bucks Zomby and Cooly G, the London-based label has been integral in the rise of British bass music. One key single last year was the melodic two-step of ‘Aidy’s Girl Is A Computer’ by London-based duo Darkstar but although it features on North, their debut album, it is far from typical of it. Instead the pair – now with James Buttery on vocals – began to write songs rather than club tracks, partly inspired by their own covers of Radiohead’s ‘Videotape’ and obscure Human League B-side ‘Gold’. The latter is key here, but just as impressive are the band’s nine own compositions, which draw inspiration from British synth-pop of the Eighties but benefit from Young and Whalley’s own decidedly modern production talents. Buttery’s vocals are never crystal clear but always slightly submerged in the mix, beaten and frayed at the edges, and there is a sad-eyed atmosphere that has already brought comparisons to The xx. North is much less minimal, however – the title track clatters and bangs like Portishead’s ‘Machine Gun’, while the highlight is the utterly gorgeous piano-led waltz, ‘Dear Heartbeat’. Pop mavericks they may be, but Darkstar have produced a debut to rival Hyperdub’s very best. Chris Jones
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘DEAR HEARTBEAT’, ‘GOLD’, ‘DEADNESS’. FOR FANS OF: OMD, RADIOHEAD, THE XX.
Neon Indian Psychic Chasms/Mind Ctrl STATIC TONGUES
In what has to be considered a pretty bad oversight, Neon Indian’s genre-defining chillwave debut is only receiving its official UK release now. That’s a shame, because summer is over, and life signs for the micro-genre are dimming. Still, though it might no longer be fresh, it’s a pretty good representation of the kind of thing twentysomethings hear in their heads when they think of playing Nintendo in the summer holidays. It’s still impossible not to succumb to the loping, woozy charms of ‘Deadbeat Summer’, though Neon Indian’s gift is very apparently one of mood-setting rather than melodic knack. The remixes attached, as with most remix sets, vary from the totally pointless (YACHT, Toro y Moi) to the reasonably entertaining, with Javelin’s time-shifting ‘If I Knew I’d Tell You’ narrowly pipping UK IDM maestro Bibio’s stripped ‘Mind Drips’ as the best of the lot. Karl McDonald
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘DEADBEAT SUMMER’, ‘IF I KNEW I’D TELL YOU’ (JAVELIN REMIX), ‘MIND DRIPS’ (BIBIO REMIX). FOR FANS OF: TORO Y MOI, MGMT, BRIAN ENO.
Tinie Tempah Disc-Overy PARLOPHONE
Whilst other urban music stars offer only the sharp angles of a carefully cultivated image, the triumph of Tinie Tempah’s debut album is his willingness to show us the full 360 degrees of his personality. Bravado is undercut by insecurity, intelligence – he admits he’s a well-educated boy – is balanced by self-deprecating humour. He’ll segue into a profound statement by way of an extraordinarily silly rhyme, as on ‘Simply Unstoppable’ – “I like the taste of alcohol, I got wine gums / I don’t ever want to hear another siren / Them high rises can block your horizons”. Influenced as much by the sounds of American R&B and hip-hop as the local grime acts Tempah – real name Patrick Chukwuem Okogwu Jr. – heard growing up in Plumstead, London, DiscOvery encapsulates the push and pull between two similar, but different musical worlds. This is
reflected not only in the overall sound, but the choice of collaborators – Ellie Goulding appearing on ‘Wonderman’, Kelly Rowland on ‘Invincible’. The high sheen production of a stateside R&B record bristles against the house beats of ‘Pass Out’, the drum ‘n’ bass shudder that closes ‘Frisky’ and electro throb of ‘Miami 2 Ibiza’. In his appropriation of different styles and the broad scope of feeling and subject matter, Tinie’s most likeminded contemporary is not one of the many UK grime artists he’s often associated with, but Kanye West. After all, West’s records are driven by a similar eclecticism of sound and riven by inconsistencies of message. On The College Dropout, for example, its creator lusts after the booty and bounty of life even as he’s proclaiming his desire to walk with Jesus. And, like West, it’s not simply the message he’s selling, but the way he goes about making the sale, that makes Tinie Tempah so captivating. Francis Jones
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘SIMPLY UNSTOPPABLE’, ‘SNAP’, ‘FRISKY’, ‘MIAMI 2 IBIZA’. FOR FANS OF: WILEY, DIZZEE RASCAL, KANYE WEST. —59 AU Magazine—
No Age Everything In Between SUB POP
No Age have always harboured the sound of passionate twentysomethings clinging onto the careless freedom and frenetic energy of the idyllic Yank teenage dream. In a way not dissimilar to what the Smashing Pumpkins’ achieved with their seminal video for ‘1979’, No Age’s music almost yearns for the past: invoking a glazed nostalgia, the lo-fi fuzz of Weirdo Rippers aroused monochromatic daydreams of listless summer months, whereas Nouns, with its chunkier riffs and grimy punk fervour, summoned the fidgety reckless abandon that those years can contain. Although somewhat idealised, the riotous likes of ‘Sleeper Hold’ and ‘Teen Creeps’ showed Randy Randall and Dean Spunt for the enthusiastic, excitable skateboard scamps they were, and still are.
Junip Fields CITY SLANG
Before his worldwide solo success, José González played and sang with Junip, a three-piece from Gothenburg. They’d been on hiatus for some years before reconvening after González’s most recent solo tour to write and record their debut album, more than a decade since their formation. It’s an unusual sounding album; the band recorded it themselves and there’s a fuzzy quality to it, Tobias Winterkom’s excellent keyboards especially sounding distorted throughout, which sometimes lends a homely, warm feel to the recordings, but occasionally just sounds crap. Gone, for the most part, is the intricate fingerpicking so central to González’s solo work;
dOP Greatest Hits CIRCUS COMPANY
Junip’s modus operandi is apparently to improvise and it shows, there being a smell of jam session about the brilliant, Neu!-esque ‘Rope & Summit’, for example. There are, of course, risks to this approach. Some songs are more (there’s no other word) groovy than, well, good, and there’s a frankly unforgivable amount of bongo, but it’s a pretty record with touching vocals and a nice, Mice Parade-like feel to a lot of the playing. The gorgeous, vulnerable ‘Don’t Let it Pass’ is a logical extension of González’s cover of Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’. They do sound like a band who have been together a long time, but the album fails to hit the emotional heights of 2005’s Black Refuge EP. Niall Harden
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘IN EVERY DIRECTION’, ‘DON’T LET IT PASS’. FOR FANS OF: AMERICAN ANALOG SET, VILLAGERS.
Cloud Nothings Turning On WICHITA
Parisian trio dOP lurch from genre to genre on this, their first full-length album (ignoring the recent Watergate 06 mix that was entirely built from their own tracks) whilst retaining a trippy, deep house sensibility. The most impressive tracks are the ones where the group bring their latent melancholy to the fore with vocalist JAW’s singing being an affecting addition to the Kompakt-esque dancefloor prettines on display – ‘Assurance Me’ and ‘Final Drive’ are particularly lovely. Occasional deviations into faux-jazz wankery (‘Talk Show’) and selfconsciously ethnographic noodling (‘Happy Meal’) notwithstanding, Greatest Hits is a solid collection of wonked out, seasick house. Josh Baines
Cloud Nothings is yet another precocious US teenager unleashing an album of lo-fi, simplistic pop songs that take their cue from any number of Eighties or Nineties bands you don’t need me to list. But don’t take those words in the pejorative sense – Cleveland’s Dylan Baldi packs in enough hooks and harmonies to make Turning On stand out. Tracks such as ‘You Are Opening’ and ‘Real Thing’ have the pay-attention minor chord changes that stick and the 19-year-old manages to mush together enough Pixies/Weezer/Teenage Fanclub snippets to create a sound that’s timeless and headnoddingly poppy, albeit semi-disguised under a blanket of C60 hiss. Adam Lacey
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KEY TRACKS: ‘ASSURANCE ME’, ‘LOVE RIDE’, ‘NEW YORK’. FOR FANS OF: DJ KOZE, NÔZE, SUPERPITCHER.
KEY TRACKS: ‘YOU ARE OPENING’, ‘REAL THING’. FOR FANS OF: WOODS, WAVVES, NODZZZ, EAT SKULL.
—60 issue 69—
Everything In Between once again straddles their favoured line of experimentation. Initially it seems that, as on Nouns, dramatic shifts in tempo and attentive sequencing will be used to retain listeners attention – the fading feedback loops of ‘Glitter’ (with its slow, loser sing-along refrain of “I want you back underneath my skin”) abruptly swings into the restless, raw guitar line of ‘Fever Dreaming’ – but this unrestrained energy quickly fades and fails to make another real resurgence until track 12, ‘Shed and Transcend’. In between, ‘Positive Amputation’ and ‘Katerpillar’ explore harmless drifts of lite noise, and ‘Common Heat’ is a sparse, wastrel anthem that reeks of middle-aged depression rather than lazy, teen weariness (“There’s no way I can get out of bed now”). Having exploded onto the international indie scene in 2008, Everything In Between can come across as a sluggish, post-Nouns hangover recording, but one with undeniable quality. Give it time and let it all fall effortlessly into place. Kyle Robinson
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘GLITTER’, ‘FEVER DREAMING’, ‘SORTS’. FOR FANS OF: TIMES NEW VIKING, WAVVES, JAPANDROIDS.
Wonder Years The Upsides HOPELESS
Once you get over your disappointment at the lack of a Kevin Arnold voiceover, it’s difficult to dislike this Wonder Years record. Their fired-up pop-punk retains hints of a hardcore spine, especially in the rhythm section, but it is drenched in infectious melody and harmonies. Crucial to its appeal is its relentlessly positive message, the sextet consciously avoiding both contrived emo angst and the puerile idiocy of Sum 41 et al. If The Upsides does have a downside, it’s a tendency towards repetition across an overly-generous 16 tracks; trim the fat for optimum enjoyment. Lee Gorman
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘MY LAST SEMESTER’, ‘HOSTELS & BROTHELS’. FOR FANS OF: THE ATARIS, ALKALINE TRIO, THE ANSWERING MACHINE.
Superchunk Majesty Shredding ONE FOUR SEVEN
Though they’re one of the most vital alternative American bands to ever exist, Superchunk have, after signing Arcade Fire in 2004, been eclipsed by Merge, the record label they run. However, Majesty Shredding – their ninth studio album – should redress the balance. A wonderfully hyperactive, hyperkinetic record, it begins with the jittery ‘Digging For Something’. Its upbeat melancholy simultaneously looks back at the past while charging headfirst into the promise of the future and sets the musical and emotional pace and tone of what follows. ‘Fractures In Plaster’ is a moving requiem to all that’s been and gone, while ‘Crossed Wires’ and ‘Rope Light’ are full of a burning, passionate intensity. Closer ‘Everything At Once’ serves to further remind the world that, 20 years after forming, Superchunk continue to live up to the huge legacy of their back catalogue and record label. Mischa Pearlman
himself on pulsating analogue synthesisers. It’s not the most obvious creative marriage in the world, but Zombie Zombie’s driven sound is surprisingly suited to carrying the uncomfortable swells that characterise Carpenter’s themes. On ‘Escape From LA (Main Theme)’ the repetitive energy approaches something like Holy Fuck, achieving homage without kowtowing unnecessarily to retro sounds. But the digital renderings too often steal the atmosphere – which is pretty much the entire point – and leave only recognisable melodies without any of the affective power of the originals. The Halloween theme, easily the most famous, takes something that has soundtracked genuine terror in a fair few lives and makes it sound like a Nineties video game soundtrack, though admittedly a pretty grim one. Worth one listen and half a conversation. Karl McDonald
against the wailing lead vocal. Elsewhere, Sherwood’s reworking of the haunting ‘Brain Damage’ is simply epic, while Mad Professor’s wizardry works its considerable magic on ‘Money’. An ideal soundtrack to a lost weekend... Eamonn Seoige
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A year already?! Those Downpatrick boys sure know how to keep busy. Oh, you’ve released 26 original singles every fortnight for a year, have you? Well, I’ve… achieved nothing. Our hardworking threesome present an instalment of similar calibre to the last.
KEY TRACKS: ‘ESCAPE FROM L.A.’, ‘THE THING’, ‘THE BANK ROBBERY’. FOR FANS OF: NEU!, JOHN CARPENTER, HOLY FUCK.
Sivert Höyem Moon Landing
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘CROSSED WIRES, ‘DIGGING FOR SOMETHING’, ‘FRACTURES IN PLASTER’. FOR FANS OF: ARCHERS OF LOAF, THE GET UP KIDS, MODEST MOUSE.
Mitchell Museum The Peters Port Memorial Service ELECTRA FRENCH
The eagerly anticipated debut release from Glasgow’s gift to psych-pop has landed and what a beauty it is. Mitchell Museum specialise in producing magnificently melodious yet frenzied music, crafted in a dank flat above Glasgow’s Nice N Sleazy venue. The Peters Port Memorial Service brims with unsullied invention, unlike so many of their peers who merely genuflect at the altar of Wayne Coyne, Panda Bear etc. Cammy, Dougie, Kris and Raindeer’s churn of watertight vocal harmonies, synth rhythms, sharp lyrics and joyous chaotic abandon make for a hugely enjoyable listen. Now and then, the layers of instrumentation can seem slightly over-cooked, but overall, this one’s a winner. Among the frequent high points are the infectious stomp of ‘Tiger Heartbeat’, the dense melodic sway of ‘Copy + Paste’ and ‘Warning Bells’, a track that Animal. Eamonn Seoige
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘TIGER HEARTBEAT’, ‘TAKE THE TONGUE OUT’, ‘WARNING BELLS’. FOR FANS OF: ANIMAL COLLECTIVE, VAMPIRE WEEKEND, FLAMING LIPS.
Zombie Zombie Zombie Zombie Plays John Carpenter VERSATILE
Zombie Zombie are a French krautrock-influenced electro duo. John Carpenter directed Halloween and about 30 other horror films, which he soundtracked
For those in the know, Sivert Höyem was the lead singer of Madrugada. A Nordic musical monolith to dwarf A-Ha, Madrugada sold millions of records before guitarist Robert Burås died of a drug overdose in 2007 and the band called it a day. Moon Landing is Höyem’s third solo album, but the first since the twin loss of Burås and his father. The story goes that he withdrew to a cabin in the mountains to record this riposte to his own grief. There are moments on Moon Landing where a dark reverie takes hold, such as the Doors-y wig out ‘Shadows/ High Maseta’ but mostly it’s a sweetly earnest album of big, classic riffs and enigmatic lyrics. Unfortunately, it rather prematurely peaks with the humungous first track, ‘Belorado’. As the impossibly canny Artie once advised hapless manchild Hank on The Larry Sanders Show, “Never open with a show-stopper.” Otherwise, a decent effort. Joe Nawaz
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘BELORADO’, ‘GOING FOR GOLD’, ‘ARCADIAN WIVES’. FOR FANS OF: GRANT LEE BUFFALO, NEIL YOUNG, THE HOLD STEADY.
Easy Star All-Stars Dubber Side Of The Moon EASY STAR
You can be forgiven for being apprehensive about this remix album – is it simply a blatant cash-in on the massive success of the original dub reggae take on Floyd’s classic? In actual fact, empowering some of the genre’s finest producers (Mad Professor, Dreadzone, Adrian Sherwood et al) to re-interpret the Easy’s handy-work was an inspired decision. The emphasis here is very much on the ‘spaced out’ end of the dub scene with bass/echo-heavy remixes the order of the day. Dubphonic’s hazy take on ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’ is a joy, a swell of atmospheric reverberation set
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘TIME’, ‘THE GREAT GIG IN THE SKY’, ‘BRAIN DAMAGE’. FOR FANS OF: LEE ‘SCRATCH’ PERRY, MAD PROFESSOR, HORACE ANDY.
Ash A-Z Vol. 2 ATOMIC HEART
From perky electronic pop numbers such as ‘Binary’ – low on guitar but high on rhymes – to the dark, brooding vibe of ‘Spheres’ with its atmospheric piano, Vol. 2 bounces around emotions. Early-era fans should be placated by ‘Physical World’ and ‘Embers’ – big guitars, pounding drums. With its laidback groove, the sexually suggestive ‘Carnal Love’ is firmly tongue-in-cheek if the video – all oozing, dripping imagery – is anything to go by. But it’s the Rick-penned ‘Change Your Name’ that really stands out – a touching, simple ode to overcoming sorrow. Initially, this second collection may seem to lack the same punch as its predecessor but just wait – these catchy little sonic viruses will take hold. Louise McHenry
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘CHANGE YOUR NAME’, ‘SPHERES’, ‘DARE TO DREAM’. FOR FANS OF: CUTE ELECTRO-POP, UNNECESSARY GUITAR SOLOS, AMERICAN-POP ROCK.
DMX Krew Wave Funk REPHLEX
You only need a certain amount of faux-vintage electro-funk right? Ed DMX doesn’t think so. There’s a good, potentially great album of lugubrious analogue acid somewhere inside the exhausting two-CD set that makes up Wave Funk and it’s a shame that the likes of ‘Cherry Ripe’ (rippling, Lindstrøm-esque cosmic disco) and ‘I Can’t Control the Feeling’ (a melancholy vocoder workout) get lost in the mire. This collection of previously unreleased or vinyl-only tracks sags throughout, each great track being followed by three half-baked Aphex Twin cast-offs. Wave Funk hits the spot when the analogue electronics are instilled with a hypnagogic sensibility, halfremembered melodies breaking through clouds of fuzz (‘Byzantine’), but there are too few of these for the record to be enjoyable. Honestly, Ed, you can have too much vintage electro. Josh Baines
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘CHERRY RIPE’, ‘BYZANTINE’, ‘I CAN’T CONTROL THE FEELING’. FOR FANS OF: DAM-FUNK, ZAPP, ZOMBY. —61 AU Magazine—
Anodyne Remix EP PSYCHONAVIGATION
The Corrosion LP was the first official Anodyne release since his appearance on Skam’s Mask 500 compilation. This remix EP is a perfect complement to it, featuring a host of the producer’s heroes, who each take the originals’ components for a ramble through fun and furious territory. The result is a fantastic collection displaying some of the range of vocabulary possible within the field of upbeat electronic music. Black Dog use minor key noise blasts, Autechre bring ‘The Funky Drummer’ back to life, Lackluster chops out some novel stutter rhythms, Mick Chillage gets the jolly rave piano out, Mr Spring delivers hard electro, Anodyne goes full-on acid and Ed Devane delivers a high-tempo mash of fuzz beats. A tasty platter, best shared with friends. Barry Cullen
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘CLOSE YOUR EYES (CORPORATION STREET REMIX BY AUTECHRE)’, ‘WASTELAND (MR SPRING Z80 MIX)’, ‘HAZE (ED DEVANE REMIX)’. FOR FANS OF: SKAM, GESCOM, AUTECHRE.
Lupen Crook The Pros and Cons of Eating Out BEAST REALITY
Lupen Crook is a confused young man. In the press he’s occasionally depicted as being the kind of confused often associated with wayward genius. He is not. He is the kind of confused that leads to lyrical monstrosities like opener ‘Fantasist in March’. A song that is built around the unfortunate verse “Baby oh baby, I will never call you baby / But darling if you’re cheap / We will probably get on like a house on fire’. It does improve but this is the kind of record that attempts to make grand statements on almost everything while concurrently managing to say almost nothing. The one redeeming feature is backing band The Murderbirds, whose performance is credibly passionate given the pretentious nonsense they are often supporting. Jonathan Bradley
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘DON’T LOOK DOWN’, ‘HOPE’. FOR FANS OF: THE VERVE, EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY, KINGS OF LEON.
Benoit Pioulard Lasted KRANKY
Fans of David Grubbs will find much to admire in the way Michigan’s Thomas Meluch (aka M. Pioulard) weaves his bold, distinctive melodies into these collages – equal parts found sound, tape manipulation and expert songsmithery. The use of texture as a key (perhaps the key) part of the record is a brave move indeed. Not once do the experimental elements obscure the quality of the songs themselves – an astonishing achievement in itself – but they combine, one after the other, to give a strong (and presumably deliberate) sense of travel: the relatively straightforward bounce of ‘Shouting Distance’ seamlessly leads into the mysterious and graceful echo of ‘Fluoresce’, a trick repeated again and again without diminished effect on this meticulously well-crafted album. Niall Harden
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘GLOSS’, ‘TIE’. FOR FANS OF: JIM O’ROURKE, MAX RICHTER.
Various Artists We Were So Turned On: A Tribute To David Bowie MANIMAL VINYL
Exit Calm Don’t Look Down
Here’s an idea. Take a label no-one’s heard of with a roster of unknown acts. Throw in some ‘legends’ who couldn’t get arrested even in their own homes and give them the back catalogue of an artist who hasn’t been relevant for at least 25 years. Convince a reputable charity organisation (War Child) to come on board and watch the money roll in. Well, maybe not. Any chance this had disappears on track three when the only established name, Devendra Banhart (billed here as Megapuss), does his best It Ain’t Half Hot, Mum impression on ‘Sound & Vision’. The Vivian Girls’ ‘John I’m Only Dancing’ is entertaining for its ramshackle charm and A Place To Bury Strangers come on all Jesus & Mary Chain on ‘Suffragette City’, but the rest is just noise. Kenny Murdock
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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘SLEEPING LIONS’, ‘LEST WE CONNECT THE CROOKED FAMILY’. FOR FANS OF: THE LIBERTINES, FRANK TURNER.
Already burdened with the ‘best new band in Britain’ tag, it’s been announced that Exit Calm are on a break after extensive touring. Although they haven’t split up and have just released this EP, could Exit Calm be one of those brilliant bands who’ve imploded prematurely? Perhaps. Don’t Look Down is a slimline taster of the eponymous debut, mixing psychedelia with expansive elegies that don’t just grow on you but glue you to the spot. As the third track begins to flower in Wild Beasts-style it’s evident these lads see themselves in the great Romantic tradition with a capital R. Hypnotic and —62 issue 69—
slowburning, when the final track peters out to a reluctant halt, you realise how absolutely beautiful Don’t Look Down would be in acoustic form. That’s a measure of the songwriting. Lisa Hughes
KEY TRACKS: ‘DOWNLOAD BOWIE’S ORIGINALS INSTEAD. FOR FANS OF: TWO-BIT TRIBUTE ACTS.
Abe Vigoda Crush BELLA UNION
For their fourth album Crush, spunky tropical punks Abe Vigoda have taken the temperature down a couple of Kelvin in their pursuit of the oft-dreaded ‘new direction’. But don’t go fumbling
for the appropriate cynical aside just yet. The LA four piece have always had a pleasingly awkward angularity to their music and now with added synth and syncopation, not to mention something occasionally approaching brooding introspection, they’ve tempered the customary fire with (may some god or other forgive me) ice. That they’ve written a bunch of songs to withstand any cosmetic tinkering surely helps, but the twin keyboards-andguitar surge of the title track mixes the best of old Abe with the best of the cold-wave ‘zeitgeist’ to make a noise both vital and familiar. Joe Nawaz
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘SEQUINS’, ‘PURE VIOLENCE’, ‘THROWING SHADE’. FOR FANS OF: SILVER DAGGERS, FOALS, HOT CLUB DE PARIS.
Shrag Life! Death! Prizes! WHERE IT’S AT IS WHERE YOU ARE
On this, their second album, Shrag have successfully rejuvenated intelligent post-punk guitar pop. The dirty guitar riffs and shouting boy/girl vocal of opener ‘A Certain Violence’ hark back to a preBritpop London, where the underground was seductively populated with a similar elegant chaos via the likes of Prolapse and Jolt. The conversational drama of ‘The Habit Creep’, the melodic indie-pop of ‘Their Stats’ and the boisterous ‘Rabbit Kids’ have an accessibility and clever bite in the lyrics that may see Shrag break through to territory previously uncharted by their underground ilk. There is a fiery and spirited personality to this album that both shouts and laughs the more monotone, fidgety and witless aspects of contemporary indie-pop out of the room. Mickey Ferry
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘RABBIT KIDS’, ‘WHEN WE GO COURTING’, ‘FURNISHINGS’. FOR FANS OF: THE B-52S, PROLAPSE, ADVENTURES IN STEREO.
Frankie Rose and the Outs Frankie Rose and the Outs MEMPHIS INDUSTRIES
After drumming for a triumvirate of lo-fi buzz bands – The Vivian Dum Stilts – Frankie Rose has upped (or should that be downed?) sticks and come out to play. This eponymous debut is sublime; wave after wave of woozy, head-fuck space guitars that sit somewhere between a handful of shrooms, The Shangri-Las and the exosphere. Opener ‘Hollow Life’ is a gentle, yet insistent, gush while the simplicity of ‘Candy’ conjures up the image of Brian Wilson on oestrogen. And Frankie has even mastered the art of suspense, leaving her best song until last; ‘Save Me’ contains a melody so dreamy that wrapping it in chillaxed reverb and cooing melodies seem almost a subversive ploy to steal the heart from your chest. John Freeman
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘HOLLOW LIFE’, ‘GIRLFRIEND ISLAND’, ‘SAVE ME’. FOR FANS OF: THE BREEDERS, THE RAYOGRAPHS, DUM DUM GIRLS.
Carl Barât Carl Barât ARCADY
The mythology surrounding great bands is more interesting than the actual truth because fiction is just juicier than fact. The Libertines knew this, and exploited it to its fullest extent, so they were soldiers from Albion who lived like brothers. Since their demise, there have been dissatisfying and uninspiring records from Pete Doherty’s Babyshambles and Carl Barât’s Dirty Pretty Things – all of the swagger and none of the flair. Now Basingstoke-born Barât says bands are over for him, so solo he goes – and it’s not pretty. An exercise in self-aggrandisement, Carl Barât is packed with sixth form thoughts and rhyme schemes unbecoming of a 32-year-old. The songwriting magic that Barât unleashed with his former partner is missing here, as single ‘Run With The Boys’ showcases, with a Mark Ronson brass section and trite Londoncentric references. In the myth, it’s better to burn out than fade away like this. Kirstie May
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘THE MAGUS’, ‘JE REGRETTE, JE REGRETTE’, ‘CARVE MY NAME’. FOR FANS OF: THE LIBERTINES, DIRTY PRETTY THINGS, BABYSHAMBLES.
Groom Marriage POPICAL ISLAND
Before they banded together with a bunch of likeminded Dublin indie-popsters under the Popical Island umbrella, Michael Stevens and friends were already knocking out choice tuneage as Groom, and this third album is evidence of their talent. A concept album of sorts, Marriage is fixated with relationships, and the 10 songs flow together via seamless instrumental segues, but that is where the prog allusions end. Instead what we are dealing with is exuberant, creative, literate and impeccably produced indie-pop. Melodies and arrangements are grin-inducing good, but best of all are Stevens’ lyrics. The frontman has that rare gift of being able to convey real emotion and wry humour in simple, beautifully clever language – sparkling couplets shine from every song. Fans of Belle & Sebastian and Neutral Milk Hotel will find much to clutch to their bosoms, and in ‘Mysteries Of Life’, a tonguein-cheek tale of unrequited love from the school science labs to unfulfilled adulthood, the band have a genuine indie-pop classic on their hands. Chris Jones
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘MYSTERIES OF LIFE’, ‘MY BOHEMIAN LIFE PART I’, ‘DOORWAYS’. FOR FANS OF: BELLE & SEBASTIAN, NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL, LOS CAMPESINOS!.
Zola Jesus Stridulum II SOUTERRAIN TRANSMISSIONS
Like creeping fog, the music of Zola Jesus slowly envelops, Stridulum II providing for a dark and
Yann Tiersen Dust Lane
instrumentalists, but then, almost capriciously, he adds killer hooks and big shouty choruses for that extra ‘fuck-off’ effect.
For example, the lonesome harmonica and air-raid howl beauty that opens ‘Dark Stuff’ suddenly erupts into a sound that can only be described as industrial film noir. An instinctive musician and peerless technician, Tiersen never forgets to add heart to the art. All the hitherto disparate qualities that have made Yann Tiersen’s music commercially successful, epically filmic and easily enjoyed merge seamlessly on Dust Lane to produce a sonic artefact of some beauty. Joe Nawaz
Brittany’s most prolific musical polymath returns with his most personal and satisfying album to date. The slight melancholia at the heart of Dust Lane has reason to be there, with Tiersen losing his mother and a close friend during its recording. But the surprise is that the record isn’t more bleak than it is. Rather, it merely uses any sense of loss as a platform to explore a full and quite thrilling emotional gamut. Quietly sad and lovely passages of music often splutter into something ether-jumpingly uplifting. Tiersen shares some of that light/shade mood manipulation of the best of post-Satie French suffocating listening experience. The menacing sounds come courtesy of one Nika Roza Danilova, the young singer-songwriter’s witchy incantations combining with stark electronic mutterings to conjure an air of quiet desperation that recalls Fever Ray – an artist whom Zola Jesus has recently supported. In the main, the record’s hypnotic power derives from Danilova’s spectral vocal. She sounds like a spirit unable to cross over, forlorn and forsaken, reciting her litany of love and regret. The slightness of sound occasionally threatens to undermine the record’s fragile veil of magic, but for the most part this is a spellbinding collection. The title track sparkles like a dark jewel in a limbo land, where biting electronic winds blow across desolate plains. ‘Run Me Out’, meanwhile, is a masterclass in building dread, the beat pulsing stronger and the feeling of disquiet mounting with each sickly second. Unnerving, but impressive. Francis Jones
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘I CAN’T STAND’, ‘STRIDULUM’, ‘RUN ME OUT’. FOR FANS OF: BAT FOR LASHES, FEVER RAY, THE COCTEAU TWINS.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘PALESTINE’, ‘FUCK ME’, ‘TILL THE END’. FOR FANS OF: MAX RICHTER, GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR, AIR.
Thread Pulls New Thoughts OSAKA
Dublin duo Thread Pulls’ strong debut album sets its stall out from the very start. A treated vocal chant gives way to tribal drumming, a haunted trumpet hook (in as far as Kraut referencing post-punk can do hooks) and Gavin Duffy singing for all the world like Mark E Smith’s Irish nephew over the whole urgent concoction. This is music in thrall to the idea of rhythm. Lead guitars? No chance; they’d be a flourish too far on an album that snakes through a poisoned undergrowth of drum, bass, and occasional chopped-up fragments of trumpet and synthesiser. On their MySpace page, Thread Pulls describe themselves as “nearly a rock band”. They fib. New Thoughts has enough going on in the deceptively minimal shapes of the likes of ‘Dead Heat’ and ‘Weight’ to have your average meat-and-two-veg five-piece sick with envy. Darragh McCausland
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘DEAD HEAT’, ‘WEIGHT’. FOR FANS OF: CAN, THROBBING GRISTLE. —63 AU Magazine—
Wax Tailor In The Mood For Life LAB’ORATOIRE
Incorporating no less than nine eclectic special guests into his vibrant third album, French hip-hop starlet Wax Tailor has come up with a playful, charismatic effort that explores everything from admonishing rap to beautifully subtle flitters of cello blended with downbeat electronica. Amongst it all are mischievous skits breaking up the genres, giving the vibe of an inventive hip-hop compilation held together nicely with some understated recurring themes. This is not so much a full on assault as a demonstration of how varied, intelligent and downright enticing modern hip-hop can be; 19 tracks worth of wonderfully constructed urban aural art. James Hendicott
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘B-BOY ON WAX’, ‘I OWN YOU’. FOR FANS OF: BONOBO, DJ VADIM.
Action Beat Beatings TRUTH CULT
Underworld Barking COOKING VINYL
Just over 30 short years ago, Underworld began their pioneering trip. ‘Dance’ music was in its early infancy, a fledgling underground scene, light years from the lucrative business and multiple sub-genres of today. Karl Hyde and Rick Smith have seen it all and Barking stands testament to their longevity; it feels like a career-spanning celebration of their contribution to music. The focus here is on fun, and Barking features a plethora of friends and production wizards (Dubfire, Paul Van Dyk, High Contrast, Appleblim) with orders to cook up some good times. The emphasis here is firmly on banging dancefloor fodder, as opposed to the more abstract electro sprawl and stream of consciousness lyrics much loved by their dearest disciples. Barking is undoubtedly their most mainstream in sound
Republic Of Loose Bounce At The Devil ()
Republic of Loose albums are musical carnivals, places where your ears can witness the extraordinary and the freakish, and be dazzled by the sensory overload of competing sounds and ideas. If anything, what distinguishes Bounce At The Devil from its predecessors is the shift towards a more danceorientated sound – note the electro-blues of ‘The Blah Bounce’, a song which recalls the stuff of Moby’s breakthrough album Play. As ever, Mick Pyro is both ringmaster and clown prince. He’s a conflicted young man too, navigating by his own, skew-whiff moral compass. He hollers that his —64 issue 69—
and will most likely delight and disappoint their extended fanbase in equal measure. It’s a melodic, expertly produced effort, but one wonders if the added influence of collaborative production has stunted its vitality. However, many of the tunes are still very much in the ‘euphoric’ category, with some exceptional highpoints along the way. Opener ‘Bird 1’, is a pounding slow burner, which slowly elevates but avoids a conventional climax. Clubbers will drool to the poppy synth melody and uptempo beats of ‘Scribble’; ‘Between Stars’ evokes the haunting early Eighties atmospherics of Heaven 17 and closing track ‘Louisiana’ shifts focus dramatically with its mournful piano riff and unsettling vocal delivery. The edge of old may have deserted them, but what have they left to prove? Eamonn Seoige
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘BETWEEN STARS’, ‘BIRD 1’, ‘GRACE’. FOR FANS OF: THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS, ORBITAL, LEFTFIELD.
Apart from Marshall amps, improvisational noise mentalists Action Beat are without a doubt the best thing to come out of Bletchley, Milton Keynes in, well, forever. With the help of three drummers (yes, three) this second album perfectly combines the primal raucousness of early Sonic Youth with the savage playfulness of Japanese noise merchants the Boredoms. Virtually every track on Beatings is an effervescent, forward-thrusting exorcism; a thrashing for masochistic ears. With sonic onslaughts such as ‘Krang’, Action Beat safely pass the imaginary riff litmus-test with flying colours, taking you right inside the eye of their perfected improvisational storm. Still… lose a couple of those drummers, eh, lads? Brian Coney
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘SOLGUNN’, ‘KRANG’, ‘DON0)))VITO’. FOR FANS OF: SONIC YOUTH, THE EX, BOREDOMS.
The Sound of Camden (feat. Mutya Buena) The Sound of Camden STABLES MARKET
heroes are “dead prostitutes and hookers” (‘My Heroez’), whilst later, on ’99’, proclaiming to be a “prude”. This schizoid attitude extends to the music, from the soulful pop of ‘How Is Your Brain?’ through the gritty shaking beats of ‘Satan Bounce’ and onto the raucous synth-punk of ‘Horse of Fire’. On ‘I Love The Police’ they even provide a cheeky flip of N.W.A.’s ‘Fuck Tha Police’. So, whether you’re disgusted or amused by the antics of Mick and his rogue’s gallery of chums, you will, at the very least, be entertained. Francis Jones
Unsurprisingly, there a low points aplenty on this covers album (‘Come Back and Stay’ sounds like something that would be on the background while you get your legs waxed) but for the most part, when Mutya steps into the scene, it’s startlingly good (for the record, there are two other vocalists on the record – Sari Alfi and Gil Kalon). A perfunctory cover of ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ is monumentally less awful than it could have been, and Buena’s version of Pixies’ ‘Hey’ is what would have happened had the Sugababes sampled Black Francis rather than Gary Numan. What it’s got to do with Camden Market isn’t exactly clear, but hey, as a Mutya EP of sorts, it’s not half bad. Ailbhe Malone
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KEY TRACKS: ‘HOW IS YOUR BRAIN?’, ‘MY HEROEZ’, ‘THE BLAH BOUNCE’. FOR FANS OF: RICK JAMES, PRINCE, OUTKAST.
KEY TRACKS: ‘ANYBODY SEEN MY BABY’, ‘HEY’. FOR FANS OF: CYBERDOG, AGING PUNKS, THE NORTHERN LINE.
The Pipettes Earth Vs. The Pipettes FORTUNA POP!
Boasting a shifting cast of band members to rival Sugababes, The Pipettes return for their second album with a noticeable change in both sound and line-up. Whereas their first record was a simultaneous tribute to/pastiche of Phil Spector-esque girl groups, Earth Vs. The Pipettes displays a more futuristic side of the band. The results are varied. On the plus side, ‘I Always Planned To Stay’ is a lovely slice of daydream pop, ‘Our Love Was Saved By Spacemen’ is a celebration of rediscovered love as good as its title, and ‘From Today’ is a dramatic endnote, but they’re negated by the Abba-disco of ‘Thank You’, the kitsch sweetness of ‘I Vibe U’ and the Kate Nash-esque chorus of ‘Ain’t No Talking’. In theory, there are some nice ideas here, but their execution – even on the better tracks – tends to let them down after a couple of minutes, letting the kitsch gimmickry win over. Mischa Pearlman
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘I ALWAYS PLANNED TO STAY’, ‘OUR LOVE WAS SAVED BY SPACEMEN’. FOR FANS OF: THE RONETTES, KATE NASH, THE SHE CREATURES.
Lexicon Rapstars MODULE
Rapstars is embarrassing. Forty minutes of two untalented MCs, siblings Nick and Gideon Black, half-heartedly rapping about partying over crude approximations of ‘guitar music’. Lexicon sound like they heard N*E*R*D and thought, ‘Hey, this puny funk-rock with insipid lyrics thing is pretty cool!’ rather than turning the stereo off and snapping the disc in two. Which is the proper reaction. The mixtape keeps rap alive; Lil Wayne and Gucci Mane et al give away endless free music. You have to pay to hear this album. You want rap-rock? Listen to the Beastie Boys. You want music that sounds like it was rejected by the makers of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games? Listen to Rapstars. Josh Baines
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘SUMMER REIGN’, ‘BIG MONEY’, ‘CALLS’. FOR FANS OF: BEASTIE BOYS, CRAZY TOWN, LIMP BIZKIT.
Teebs Ardour BRAINFEEDER
It’s apt that 23-year-old Brainfeeder student Teebs began primarily as a visual artist. From the moment Ardour kicks in, pictures, images and colours seem to flicker into life and then dissipate in perfect time with the inhale/exhale beats, loops and samples that are tumbling out of the speakers. There’s something of the early morning about tracks such as ‘You’ve Changed’ and ‘Double Fifths’ as the sounds all appear to gush from a fountain from which the clickety-clack of daily life has been harnessed and used to make beautiful music. To be fair, that probably is essentially what has happened but Teebs’ approach is so deft, so chill and so inventive that it seems as though the sounds were specifically created
for this music. ‘Long Distance’ is an aural sunrise while ‘Wind Loop’ is as catchy a tune as you’ll hear this side of the summer. It’s FlyLo with a tepid splash of refreshing naivety. And it’s blissful. Adam Lacey
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘WIND LOOP’, ‘LONG DISTANCE’, ‘AUTUMN ANTIQUE’. FOR FANS OF: FLYING LOTUS, LORN, PREFUSE 73.
Shield Your Eyes Theme From Kindness FUNCTION
Shield your ears, more like! Seriously though, Theme From Kindness sounds like it was recorded in the bassist’s living room over a single weekend. Oh wait, it was. Unfortunately though, it doesn’t quite come off for the London-based band, mainly because vocalist Stef Ketteringham appears to have recorded his takes from an upstairs bathroom, almost always managing to sound like Jamie Lenman of Reuben channelling a pissed-up Mark E Smith from down a well. In other words, his grating vocals taint some truly impressive moments from this post-hardcore act. Shield Your Eyes aren’t a bad band per se, but the value of their music would be drastically improved if they went instrumental. Brian Coney
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘I TOOK MY LEAD FROM YOU AND YOUR KINDNESS’, ‘TOO LITTLE HAS BEEN GOOD FOR THE SOUL’, ‘PNEULOPE’. FOR FANS OF: POLVO, ONEIDA, REUBEN.
Shady Bard Trials FOREST INDUSTRIES
As far as concept albums go, the idea of a record inspired by a village decimated by fire is less than optimistic and yet somehow, Trials proves a peculiarly uplifting listen. The second album from the Birmingham sextet comes after increased interest and crucially funding due to stateside usage by both MTV and Grey’s Anatomy. Oftentimes a beguilingly languid intro gives no precursor to the sheer scope of what is to follow, with the band launching into soaring post-rock middles. The theme of natural disaster persists on the highlight, ‘Trials (Part II)’, a perfect encapsulation of the record, opening with a soft piano melody underneath observations on the disaster before majestically veering into a wordless orchestral crescendo. Jonathan Bradley
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘TRIALS (PART II)’, ‘IN MEMORIAM’, ‘NIGHT SONG’. FOR FANS OF: LOW, THE DECEMBERISTS.
Mimas Lifejackets BIG SCARY MONSTERS
Danish trio Mimas’s second album positively revels in its own glorious instrumental interplay, floating serenely over the chasm between post-rock and indie in a way not seen since the heyday of US figureheads American Football. Languorous,
intricately woven guitar sequences resonate beatifically over nimble bass melodies and deft percussion, gently nudged forward by gorgeous horn swells, group vocals and drifting smears of white noise. Engrossing as this sound is, what really separates the quartet from the pack is their refusal to conform to po-faced stereotype, flirting with neurotic white-boy funk on ‘Sodapop Stalkers’ and basking archly in such deep song concepts as ‘Manflu’ and ‘La Moustache Formidable’ (“Facial hair definitely gives me more confidence!”). Rarely has silliness been this affecting. Lee Gorman
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘APPLICATION’, ‘SODAPOP STALKERS’, ‘LA MOUSTACHE FORMIDABLE’. FOR FANS OF: AMERICAN FOOTBALL, GASTR DEL SOL, BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB.
Electric Six Zodiac CIRCUS COMPANY
Evolution, the process by which a species changes into a usually superior form, was pinpointed by someone smarter than your reviewer. In music, as in nature, one expects progression. Dick Valentine’s band of troubadours found fame with buddy Jack White, but the tongue-in-cheek humour started to wear thin around the second listen to ‘Danger! High Voltage’. Now on their seventh album, opener ‘After Hours’ – rhymed with whiskey sours – shows little musical growth, but the rap-lite ‘Clusterfuck!’ strikes right at the heart of the problem: Electric Six are not a good band. The musical equivalent of Judd Apatow movies, theirs is a world of ironic guffaws and unfunny innuendo. With any luck, evolution’s buddy natural selection will soon pick them off. Kirstie May
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘I AM A SONG’, ‘THE RUBBERBAND MAN’, ‘TABLE AND CHAIRS’. FOR FANS OF: EAGLES OF DEATH METAL, THE HIVES, WE ARE SCIENTISTS.
Grass Widow Past Time KILL ROCK STARS
With their well-regarded feminist ethos that has resulted in them boasting a roster featuring the likes of Bikini Kill and LiLiPUT, Kill Rock Stars was always going to be the label for Grass Widow’s first major release. At just over 27 minutes long, Past Time drags the San Fran all-female trio from the context of their post-riot grrrl milieu and fixes one’s attention solely upon their sound. With three-part harmonies and the elemental facets of post-punk such as lateral rhythms and interlocking guitar/bass lines, ‘conversational’ instrumentation is the key to Grass Widow’s approach. Tracks such as ‘Shadow’ tread the fine line between abrasion and melancholic delicacy, scouring the glacial, minor depths which make Past Time a light-sounding release heavy with many rewarding idiosyncrasies. Brian Coney
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 KEY TRACKS: ‘GIVE ME SHAPES’, ‘SHADOW’, ‘SUBMARINE’. FOR FANS OF: THE RAINCOATS, SLANT 6, THE SLITS. —65 AU Magazine—
Open House Festival Special
LIVE MODEST MOUSE PHOTO BY ALAN MAGUIRE
Modest Mouse, Kowalski Open House Festival Marquee, Belfast There are many reasons why you might not be here tonight; Villagers are showcasing their dark materials at the Black Box, Comply Or Die are getting raucous at Auntie Annie’s, whilst Keith Lemon is prancing about on Celebrity Juice on ITV4. However, given tonight’s line-up, any excuse for absenteeism seems insufficient. Kowalski get the blood pumping with an excellent and tidy set that suggests a band coming into its own. Their songs are unassuming, but insistent. However, when they’re in the mood, they can also do epic. Right now, they’ve got that feeling. —66 issue 69—
‘Asleep’, with its buoyant guitars, pleading vocal and thundercrack drums hurtles towards a dizzying close. They then smack us round the chops with a box-fresh new number, summoning a blizzard of petulant, stomping drums and silken guitar. It is urgent, catchy and glorious, almost a match for the ecstatic final breakdown of ‘Get Back’. It is time to get intense. Modest Mouse shuffle onstage modelling that yokel trucker look – old-school denims, caps and lumberjack shirts. Tonight, they’re hauling a serious cargo of tunes. “See that barrier?” frontman Isaac Brock asks us, “that’s because you’re dangerous.” Au contraire, Mr Brock. It’s because you are dangerous. Brock adjusts his thousand yard stare and fixes his sights on the horizon. He’s ready to get. it. on. To watch him perform is to see a man in the throes of self-
exorcism. He expels the words of ‘3rd Planet’, hollering sweet and insane, a choirboy gone sour, before manhandling his guitar during a furious rendition of ‘Dashboard’ – he doesn’t so much play the thing as wrestle it. The band are as polished as freshly shined brogues, slickly marshalling their parade of sounds and ideas. Effortlessly, they switch from the fervent ‘Black Cadillacs’ and aggro stomp of ‘Fire It Up’ to the tender, banjo-driven sound of ‘Autumn Beds’ and a sweetly meandering rendition of ‘Big Blue Sedan’. It’s a shame the onsite curfew curtails proceedings, Brock summoning his hangdog look as he tells us it’s time to go, but before the end we’re treated to the queasy shudder of ‘King Rat’ and a transcendent ‘Float On’, the audience bouncing to that joyous melody. Francis Jones
Open House Festival Special
Wilco Open House Festival Marquee, Belfast
To quote one of their most recent songs, “Wilco love you, baby.” The lyrics may be tongue-incheek but the sentiment is entirely genuine. Wilco do love their audience, baby. To mark their first time in Belfast for a long, long time they get going right from the get-go, throwing their all into ‘Ashes Of American Flags’ and ‘Bull Black Nova’. The latter, all discordant guitars, bell clangs and harmonics, makes more sense live than it does on record. Given room to breathe, it builds into a pulsing, cresting wave of sound which vibrates one’s chest in a way that could not possibly be healthy. Then again, none of the tastiest things are. Thereafter, the band don’t do things by halves – or even three-quarters – by playing every song as if it is the set closer. After the twelfth or thirteenth number Jeff Tweedy says, “We’re just getting started.” He’s right: there’s another hour-anda-half to go. The wooden marquee floorboards bend beneath our feet, the fairy lights glimmer on the sky black sky above dips and bows in the wind and some unfortunate fellow nearby exudes the kind of noxious funk one normally finds emanating from a nest of dead crows. Nobody seems to mind – the crowd, if a trifle understated, sing along with every word. Most impressive is the way in which the songs themselves interlock. Wilco albums are by nature diverse and unclassifiable beasts, but within the live setting the fuzzy electric light orchestral ‘A Shot In The Arm’ sits happily alongside the whiskey soul of ‘Country Disappeared’, whilst the folky murder ballad ‘Via Chicago’ rubs nudie suit shoulder pads with a particularly pedal-to-themetal ‘I’m Always In Love’. Fair dos to the sound guys for doing such a fantastic job: every nuance, every bass run, every guitar lick, every piano chord is crystal clear, making one realise just how complex and multi-layered the songs actually are. Wilco clearly love the music too. Whether it’s Nels Cline – who is a golden god, frankly – getting lost in the extended noodle jams which close ‘Impossible Germany’ and ‘Walken’, Glenn Kotche standing, mock rocker, on his drum-kit before ‘I’m The Man Who Loves You’, or Tweedy himself – whose voice has never sounded better – they make for a prodigiously talented unit. Tweedy promises not to leave it so long the next time. Please don’t. Belfast loves you, baby. Ross Thompson
Seasick Steve Open House Festival Marquee, Belfast
time watching them live, and it is clear that the newcomers are not disappointed. The songs are catchy; plodding drums, eloquent guitar playing and enchanting female harmonies that make the hair on the back of your neck stand to attention. Worth the ticket price alone.
inspiring a rapturous response in the bearded, tweed-capped legions of fans here tonight. They may be entitled The Lowly Knights, but if one thing’s certain, it’s that this band is surely destined for greatness. Tara McEvoy VILLAGERS
The whole place erupts as Seasick Steve comes on to the stage; the reaction of the bikers equitable to that of teenage girls at a Jedward concert. He explains his great love for the festival, which has described him as “an adoptive son of Belfast” and which he accredits for his success, saying that up until he played the John Hewitt bar in 2007’s festival he was considering quitting music – the crowd’s reaction spurred him on to continue in music. We’re glad he did. Seasick Steve is an enchanting performer, and the crowd watch in awe at his manic playing style. The tracks are more like loosely constructed jams than songs; he and drummer Dan Magnusson move with the timbre of the audience, the constant peaks and troughs of the music leaving the audience in a state of both euphoria and exhaustion.
PHOTO BY ALAN MAGUIRE
It is clear that this isn’t just another gig for Seasick Steve, but a thank you to the Open House Festival. As the band finish by thoroughly battering their DIY instruments, Steve stays on for half an hour to shake hands. The Prodigal Son has returned. Barry Fahy
The Lowly Knights, Matthew and the Atlas, Marcus Foster, Pete Roe Black Box, Belfast Founded by Ben Lovett of Mumford and Sons, Communion was established a monthly club night in London, and it soon inspired global sister events. And all because, as Lovett puts it, “Bands needed to be heard.” With that in mind, four of the UK’s finest have been lined up to ensure this Belfast bash gives these musicians the exposure they rightly deserve. Among these acts are the enchanting opener Pete Roe and the enthralling Marcus Foster, yet one of the highlights of the night arrives in the form of a stupendous set by London’s Matthew and The Atlas – it’s Mumford meets Willy Mason, and it’s pretty darn good at that. Striking, refreshing, eye-opening as the Atlas’s set is, few can surpass the sheer brilliance of Belfast’s own Lowly Knights. As they kick things off with the title track from their new Even Keel EP, a riotous, sprawling shanty, the band’s raw, unbridled power hits the crowd – and it’s like being smacked in the face by a tsunami.
Excitement is palpable for the return of Seasick Steve to the Open House Festival; a queue of people wait patiently in the rain for the marquee to open an hour before the support band, Peggy Sue, is due to play. Many are dressed as the modern blues legend, others trying to compose themselves after overindulging at ChilliFest a few hours earlier.
It is a set packed with flashes of brilliance, the highlights of which include a spectacular rendition of the epic ‘Devotion’, resplendent in its theatricality, a tender and beguiling version of ‘You Can Tell A Man By How He Lifts His Hands’, stunning in its simplicity – oh, and an interlude in which lead singer Neil Mullan regales the crowd with tales of being locked in a downstairs bathroom in nothing but his boxers at some ungodly hour.
Peggy Sue are greeted by a huge reaction from an already packed marquee. For many this is the first
Despite, then, (or perhaps, partially thanks to) toilet humour, the Knights blow away the crowd,
Villagers Black Box, Belfast A couple of years ago, as the lead singer of The Immediate, Conor O’Brien played this venue to a few dozen people. On his last visit to Belfast, he supported Owen Pallett in the Empire in front of 12 punters, or so he recollects. What a difference a Mercury-nominated album makes – tonight, the Black Box is sold out. It has been thus for a couple of weeks, and while support band the Moulettes’ politely rollicking gypsy-folk provides a pleasant diversion, tonight is about one man and one man only. A hush descends as O’Brien begins, performing the delicate ‘Twenty Seven Strangers’ alone with his guitar, his cut-glass diction piercing every corner of the room. Soon he is joined by his four-piece band, and though Villagers is a solo project, the five men perform as a band should – tight and locked in, their energy and the depth of the arrangements bringing a feral intensity, particularly during ‘Home’, ‘Becoming A Jackal’ and ‘Pieces’. At first, the latter seems incomplete without its swooping strings, but the repetitious, jazz-tinged sway, serrated guitars and O’Brien’s anguished vocals bring it to a resounding climax. And yes, he does the howls live – with more abandon, even. It’s a little uncomfortable, in fact, to watch such a small, cherubic man howling like a wolf in front of 240 people. You see, despite O’Brien’s appearance and the mannered vocals, there is a dark, almost gothic undertow to Villagers’ music, especially live. ‘I Saw The Dead’ and ‘Ship Of Promises’ are propelled by rolling, broiling piano and drums, while electric guitar is frequently used as a noise generator, but O’Brien is never consumed. He is fully in control, feeding off the band but not ceding to it. “I’m selling you my fears,” he insists in ‘Becoming A Jackal’. There are plenty here buying. Chris Jones —67 AU Magazine—
Comply Or Die / Reviews
Words by Chris Jones
Comply Or Die Invocation On the second EP since the release of their debut album, the uncompromising Belfast/Bangor trio serve up 20 minutes of music, and in all honesty the first two tracks – raucous blasts of highspeed riffage and shouting that they are – are overshadowed by ‘Nyl’, the 12-minute monster that closes proceedings. Here, the band sound unchained – unhinged, even – as they throw off the shackles of actual songwriting in favour of a deliciously neighbour-unfriendly noise jam. Drums hammer, bass throbs and Michael Smyth’s guitar gets up to all manner of grinning unpleasantness. More of this sort of thing please, lads. WWW.DIECOMPLY.COM
Rainy Boy Sleep Your Face/One After One Derry’s Stevie Martin paid his dues in little-known grungers Can Cite Scripture, but these tracks suggest that he is justified in striking out alone. Though the two songs here are based on guitar and (highly evocative) voice, these base elements are woven into an elaborate sonic tapestry. Second track ‘One After One’ is a little underwritten but ‘Your Face’ is an impressive opener. An intricate, Mice Parade-esque drum pattern underpins the track, while Martin’s voice, fingerpicked acoustic guitar and occasional piano are laid over some gorgeous washes of guitar noise. If he hones the songwriting, Rainy Boy Sleep could well be a contender. WWW.MYSPACE.COM/RAINYBOYSLEEP
Saint John The Gambler Trains For The Sea Named after a song by country character and notorious alcoholic Townes Van Zandt, Mark Baker’s Saint John The Gambler have finally rocked up in his native Ireland after forging a musical trail across South Korea, Canada and Cyprus. Trains For The Sea features a cast of 13 multinational musicians, but keeps the focus firmly on Baker’s deep, rustic, soulful vocals and a folktinged melodrama that sticks firmly in the skull. It’s all very heartfelt, with some nice accordion and alternative-Irish influences thrown in along the way. James Hendicott WWW.MYSPACE.COM/SAINTJOHNTHEGAMBLER —68 issue 69—
COMPLY OR DIE
InProfile ACT: COMPLY OR DIE BASED: BELFAST MEMBERS: IAN PEARCE (BASS, VOCALS), MICHAEL SMYTH (GUITAR, VOCALS), MATT CROTHERS (DRUMS). FOR FANS OF: TORCHE, NOMEANSNO, THE JESUS LIZARD. WEBSITE: DIECOMPLY.COM
Self-defined as ‘sludge-punk’, Belfast’s Comply Or Die (named after a racehorse, fact fans) have been kicking up an eardrum-worrying stink for more than two years now. With their latest release – the Invocation EP – causing something of a kerfuffle with its uncompromising riffage and frankly apocalyptic 12-minute closing track, we thought it timely to have a word. How, when and did the band get together? Michael: “The band started in Spring 08 – I wasn’t really a guitarist up to that point; I had played drums in every other band I had been in. I was just messing around with things I thought sounded cool, so I made this tape of four songs where I played everything and then decided to put a band together. Matt’s other band Coda was kinda splitting up at that point and he was looking for something heavier so we really lucked out there. Then I let Ian hear the tape and he was into it. He was the obvious choice since I’d been playing with him in various bands over the years. By June we played our first show and by September we had recorded our first full-length.” What was the idea behind the band when you started? Matt: “I’d got sick of playing in a band that was taking itself too seriously because of the way certain
members were worrying about what other people thought or what was trendy. So when we started Comply Or Die I just wanted it to be fun with no bullshit and to be in a position where we were doing things for ourselves and not trying to be cool or please other people. I think it’s worked and I’ve never been happier than in this band.” How do you rate the rock scene in Belfast right now? Michael: “In all honesty it’s just not something I buy into. Personally and as a band, we’re not interested in being part of any scene. We're happy to exist as our own thing – I see the scene as a lot of bandwagoning [sic], a lot of substandard music being promoted and pushed as the coolest band in Belfast or whatever. Just because you have a guitar doesn’t make you rock and roll and just because you have the latest haircut and fashions it doesn’t mean you’re rock. I don’t care how many times you rip those Topshop jeans, it doesn’t make you dangerous. I’m not saying that we’re the greatest band or anything but at least we mean what we do and it’s not at all posturing. Rock is The Stooges or The MC5 or Nirvana – a lot of what’s around now probably haven’t listened to two out of those three bands." What is in store for the rest of the year? Ian: “Once the [second] album is recorded next month we’ll be writing some more songs. We’ve already been branching out into some less structured territory, and playing around with using a synthesiser. Not in a sterile electro-pop manner, more in a heavy, psychedelic, punk rock and roll ‘fry your brain’ manner. We’re also playing a heavy sludge Christmas night in December with some of Ireland’s most floor-shaking bands. Lightweights need not attend.”
SUBBACULTCHA SCREEN On
Limbo reviewed: “There is no dialogue, no music
Belfast’s atered-down Modernism in their midst.”
Horrendous show-offs exposed: “Loyal readers, there are
Why, Joaquin, why?: “When Phoenix, or the made-up version of him, still in possession of a Unabomber beard, receives half-baked wisdom from a self-help guru, he nods appreciatively, smouldering with the intensity he has brought to other acting roles.”
Dead Rising 2 reviewed: “One moment you are escorting bunny girls to safety, the next you are fighting redneck hillbillies, the next still you are making ‘combo’ weapons out of baseball bats, nails, boxing gloves, bowie knives et al. for maximum carnage.”
A look at Martin Creed’s Sick Film, and ‘conceptual art’: “I must admit that I have occasionally stolen a sideways glance at the contents of my toilet bowl before flushing and considered that it would look better on a gallery plinth as a social comment on the lack of sanitation in Africa…”
Keep ‘Er Lit
Novelist David Mitchell interviewed: “We are hard-wired to want stories, and the supply side of that is guaranteed by the gratification writers feel when providing them.”
Ridiculous monologues: “When the speaker in this video recounts picking up a girl while out stealing trousers, it is evident that the love is star-crossed from the get-go. Seeing pictures of other men in her wallet, he confronts her. “Bitch, you got some siblings, and I don’t like it.” Classic storytelling.
—69 AU Magazine—
What's up, docu? Pheonix goes down in flames
Words by Ross Thompson
“The mind,” according to defunct noise merchants Ministry, “is a terrible thing to taste.” Particularly if that mind is flavoured with batfink insanity and the debauched kind of lifestyle that can only be purchased with Hollywood paycheques. Many celebrities have fallen headfirst down the rabbit-hole, but few have done so as outlandishly as Joaquin Phoenix. The versatile, critically lauded actor has spent the past two years razing his career and reputation with the emotional detachment of a joyrider burning out a stolen car. The question is: where did it all go weird?
“People don’t want to watch movies where people disintegrate into little pieces – that is why YouTube exists.” —70 issue 69—
Chat shows have a history of either making or crushing careers. Think of George Best appearing on Wogan, bourbon-eyed and boasting of bedding women, his beloved Irish burr slobbering with the contents of the green room. Or Meg Ryan clamming up on Parkinson, the silent treatment act rendered fabulously ironic by the whopping size of her recently Botoxed lips. Sure to be added to that list of celebrity meltdowns and impromptu lapdances is Joaquin Phoenix’s guest spot on The Late Show With David Letterman. Eighteen months ago the virtually unrecognisable actor, whose sunglasses, suit and bird’s nest beard combo made him look like the wolfman auditioning for The Blues Brothers, appeared to talk about his latest film. Instead, he spent a wince-inducing 10 minutes mumbling incoherently and burrowing deeper into the sofa. When Phoenix did form a complete sentence, he dropped the bombshell that he was giving up making movies in favour of making music. The audience’s gasps gave way to giggles when he said that his chosen genre was hip-hop. Immediately, the internet, the modern day equivalent of the water cooler, was awash with chatter about how dramatically Phoenix had lost the plot. Perez Hilton no doubt couldn’t think of enough snarky things to say about this celeb snafu. Other reactions ranged from the gobsmacked to the incredulous. How could this
prodigiously gifted actor, who had displayed Brando-esque depths in Gladiator and Buffalo Soldiers, not to mention an uncanny capturing of Johnny Cash’s spirit in Walk The Line, could throw it all away like a soiled rag, the bloggers cried. Maybe he had actually lost his mind, others reasoned. After all, Phoenix’s career had been written before it had even begun: his older brother River, another actor who was gifted with unearthly talent, had effectively destroyed himself, so what if the curse ran in the family? A few genuinely believed that Phoenix was intent on following Vanilla Ice and Eminem. Sean ‘P Diddy’ Combs was allegedly on board, but then he would lend his name to a can of chihuahua food if he thought it would buy him some more diamonds. Others, however, smelled a rat. It was a prank, they said, and Letterman was in on the wheeze. This was a media-savvy public who had witnessed the antics of Borat and, with lesser results, Brüno, so they were good at spotting a stitch-up. The latter, as it turned out, was closer to the truth. As the weeks rolled on, and Phoenix’s behaviour in public became more peculiar (most famously, interrupting a rap performance to clobber an unruly onlooker), word began to spread that he was working on a personal project of his own, a faux documentary in the style that was oh so á la mode at the time.
I STARTED A HOAX Joaquin isn’t the first person to pull the proverbial wool over the public’s eyes. Here are some of the best wind-ups, either intentional or otherwise... Radio Ga-Ga In 1938 Orson Welles and a small troupe of actors performed a version of War Of The Worlds in which they staged a series of fake news bulletins reporting that America was in the throes of an actual alien invasion. Listeners at home were so convinced that thousands either packed up their cars and drove like the clappers or frantically called the police. Welles was typically nonplussed. Reports Of My Demise... At the height of The Beatles’ fame, some enterprising fellow started a rumour alleging that Paul McCartney had perished in a car crash and had been replaced by a lookalike. Look carefully – occasionally, very carefully – at the album covers and song lyrics and you will spot coded references to Macca’s supposed death. In 1969 Life magazine ran the cover story, “Paul is still with us,” but the joke still persists to this day. Jim’ll Fixed Up When fearless satirist Chris Morris worked at Radio 1 he announced on air that Jimmy Savile had passed away. This came as quite the shock, particularly to a very much alive Jimmy Savile, who nearly dropped his cigar onto his prize tracksuit. Don’t Take It To Art On April Fool’s Day 1998, David Bowie invited a select number of privileged guests to celebrate the life and works of one Nat Tate, a relatively unknown and unappreciated artist who had committed suicide some time previously. As it turned out, Tate was a cipher, a non-entity, a figment of Bowie and his fellow conspirators’ imagination, but that didn’t stop several art critics boasting of their extensive knowledge of his work.
THE HIP-HOP UNABOMBER SPEAKS
This summation was bang on the money. Phoenix and his brother-in-law Affleck (Casey, that is, also a fantastic, intuitive actor) were working on I’m Still Here, a vitriolic lampooning of La-La-Land and the egocentric, soul-sucking vampires which populate it. Even with that people could not have predicted the content of the movie, which portrays Phoenix running through the gamut of human emotions and engaging in all kinds of human indecency. The dividing line between reality and send-up is constantly blurred. When Phoenix, or the made-up version of him, still in possession of a Unabomber beard, receives half-baked wisdom from a self-help guru, he nods appreciatively, smouldering with the intensity he has brought to other acting roles. When he snortles up all the drugs and drink money and a good agent can buy, one is led to wonder if he is acting or doing it for real, if this is actually happening or if it is a parody of Phoenix’s own real-life stint in rehab.
These are, of course, rhetorical questions which this film and films like it refuse to answer. Affleck has said of the movie, “My intention was never to fool anybody. There’s a big difference between fooling someone and asking them to think,” claiming that the experience saw both him and the picture’s ‘star’ nearly bankrupt and exiled from the industry. Nobody, Affleck said, called to see if Phoenix was okay after embarrassing himself on Letterman. At the time of writing, I’m Still Here, a curious echo of the Dylan biopic I’m Not There, has barely scraped a quarter of a million dollars in the States. Maybe Phoenix’s most recent Letterman appearance, in which he apologised for acting so oddly and insisted that ha ha it was all ho ho part of a hee hee cunning ruse, will change that. But one doubts it. People don’t want to watch movies where people disintegrate into little pieces – that is why YouTube exists. They want to watch movies about giant robots and nubile teenagers being hacked apart by backwoods madmen with axes. Phoenix might still be here, but his movie will soon be forgotten.
When Good Hoax Go Bad Oddball filmmakers the Coen Brothers are no strangers to mischief. Not content with claiming that Fargo (1996) was a true story, they also thought it would be funny to hide the ridiculous male/female symbol Prince was using at the time in the closing credits. We were led to believe that the diminutive purple pop munchkin played the man lying dead in the field. A tragic addendum to the Coens’ tomfoolery is that a Japanese woman had made a pilgrimage to North Dakota in search of the stash of money hidden in the snow at the close of the film. According to reports, she froze to death before she could find the non-existent treasure.
SQUEAKY BUM TIME
—71 AU Magazine—
DEAD RISING 2
Our regular round-up of the new releases: how to tell the Guitar Heroes from the F-Zeroes...
Words by Ross Thompson
Dead Rising 2 (Capcom, PC / PS3 / Xbox 360)
Death in Vegas... The original Dead Rising may have polarised gamers thanks a punishing difficulty curve and a save system kindly described as draconian. However, those who chose the path of most resistance uncovered one of the most interesting and original games available. Essentially an affectionate homage to classic horror movies, specifically anything by George Romero, it took place in a shopping mall populated by that most reliable of videogame tropes: the lowly zombie. The twist was that the player could use any stray object to decapitate, dismember and disembowel the recently deceased: chainsaws, katanas, golf clubs, umbrellas, shears, lawnmowers... dozens of items to ram into the festering craniums of hundreds of onscreen undead. The gore and grue were nicely balanced by a perverse, bugnuts sense of humour which also allowed you to change into women’s clothes or run around in your pants. For the sequel the action transfers to a casino city modelled on another shrine to materialism and gilded dreams, Las Vegas, where the outbreak has spread like the shuffling, moaning equivalent of wildfire. When all merry hell breaks loose on a Running Man style game show where zombies are squished and eviscerated for the public’s pleasure, its reluctant star Chuck Greene escapes
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with an infected, young daughter under his arm. A welcome note of human interest is added by the fact that she needs a fresh injection of Zombrex every 24 hours lest she turn chomphappy. As so many folks are gangrene about the gills, the drug is in short supply. This storyline imbues proceedings with a palpable sense of tension, which is ratcheted further by the clock ticking down until the army arrive and blow the silver strip sky high. The tone, however, still regularly pendulums towards wacksville. One moment you are escorting bunny girls to safety, the next you are fighting redneck hillbillies, the next still you are making ‘combo’ weapons out of baseball bats, nails, boxing gloves, bowie knives et al. for maximum carnage. All in all, Dead Rising 2 is a terrific piece of work. It manages to eradicate the niggles that dogged the first game whilst retaining everything that made it so fun and just doggone weird. Finally, the multiplayer, in which gamers actually face off in the aforementioned game show, does something innovative with a format dominated by staid shooters. It’s just one neat touch in a game packed full of neat touches.
"This storyline imbues proceedings with a palpable sense of tension, which is ratcheted further by the clock ticking down until the army arrive and blow the silver strip sky high"
Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 (Ubisoft, PC / PS3 / Wii / Xbox 360)
Plane and simple...
Mafia II (2K Games, PC / PS3 / Xbox 360)
Quite good, fellas... Burdened with a name like Vito Scaletta you could only be one thing: a car-boosting, tommy-gunpacking, fisticuffing, womanising, offer-you-can’trefuse-making gangster. Okay, so technically that list features several things, and all those activities are up for grabs in Mafia II. Kind of. The opening cinematic throws a glance askance at wiseguy movies of old: a Sicilian war veteran and swarthy stereotype returns home to weigh up his options. It isn’t long before he’s married to the Mob and up to his oxters in dirty martinis, dirty blondes and dirty cops. Sadly, after such a cracking cold open the game overplays its hand. The game’s location Empire Bay, a fictional facsimile of New York, is but an illusion of a living, breathing city. It certainly looks beautiful, as illusions should do, all awash with period detail and soundtracked by a cracking mix of doo-wop and big band tunes. Of course, all game worlds are illusory, but at least sandboxes like those in Fallout 3 and Red Dead Redemption provide the player with oodles of things to do. In Mafia II there is precious little to do – apart from collecting yesteryear Playboy covers, for some reason – outside the core missions which progress in a peculiarly linear fashion. It’s just as well that the missions are so satisfying, particularly those which involve shooting at jive-talking gangstas or indulging in a spot of Splinter Cell sneakiness around secure buildings. Such an approach may
SPACE INVADERS: INFINITY GENE
be somewhat restrictive for some tastes, yet others will appreciate the fact that this a title more interested in telling a thrilling story than offering infinite options. And the story, which plays just the right side of cliché and pastiche, is wonderful.
Space Invaders: Infinity Gene (Square Enix, Xbox Live Arcade / Play Station Network)
To infinity and beyond... Thirty years on and those pesky space invaders are still invading space. This downloadable title keeps the same maddeningly addictive game-play and primal desire to destroy other moving things but jazzes up the format with new modes and blippy-bloppy tunes which could have been composed by Aphex Twin. It makes for a title which can be instantly picked up and played by even the most inexperienced noobs. Be warned though: the relentlessly encroaching levels and strangely existential level titles will lull you into a rapid-fire trance. Get ready to wave goodbye to hours and hours of free time being sucked into the void, as you sit transfixed, gibbering, dribbling and eyeballs twitching as you try to beat your high score. However it is repackaged, Space Invaders, along with its retro gaming brethren Pac-Man, Pong and the like, has a quality which is hard to put your finger on – but it does make you want to repeatedly put your fingers on the joy-pad.
The original H.A.W.X. didn’t exactly cry out for a sequel but the design team have refined and streamlined the concept for those fans of the first game. Plonked somewhere between a flight simulator and a shoot-‘em-up, it offers a competent, if not exactly thrilling, experience. If that sounds like damning with faint praise, it’s because the results are so frustratingly uneven. Some of the graphics, most notably the planes themselves, look great, yet others appear sketchy and unfinished. The missions are equally varied. Some are exciting affairs which might inspire you to ask your best friend to be your wingman, yet others are slowpaced grinds. There is a good game hiding here, but you can’t help feeling that H.A.W.X. 2 should have spent longer in the hangar.
NHL 11 (EA, PS3 / Xbox 360)
Are you feeling pucky, lunk? Where sports games are concerned Electronic Arts are top of the league, with the Tiger Woods, FIFA and Madden American Football franchises on their roster. Each year they turn out well-made, wellresearched titles with enough content to appease both the fanatical sports jocks and those new to the pitch. NHL 11 is no exception in that regard. At heart it is a compulsive ice hockey title, the kind that used to swallow so many ten pences in the arcades, but it’s bolstered by a wealth of modes, stats, players and teams for those who gobble up this kind of thing. Although ice hockey is not as popular as, say, football in these parts, the speed and manly crunch of the game give the sport an edge. This is helped no end by the tweaked controls and improved AI. Good stuff all round.
Win a copy of Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep
To tie in with the release of Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep on the PSP we have two goody packs to give away. They contain postcard sets, art print packs and magnets and can be yours simply by sending your name, address and details to firstname.lastname@example.org —73 AU Magazine—
what constitutes art? Pondering an age-old question Words by Jason Mills
â€”74 issue 69â€”
Ahead of a talk by award-winning artist Martin Creed and a screening of his controversial Sick Film in Belfast, we consider the credibility of conceptual art… In 2005 I attended the global showcase of the art world, the Venice Biennale. Each country is assigned a gallery space or pavilion in which the work of that year’s chosen artist is displayed. The exhibitions varied wildly, including surrealist video projections, unsettling wood sculptures and, as I recall, a giant chandelier made of tampons. Some of it was intelligent and thought-provoking and some was ridiculous and infuriating. It is into the latter category that I would place that year’s Romanian contribution, which merely consisted of an empty gallery, devoid of a single item. A sheet of paper dispensed at the entrance explained that this piece was called European Influenza and was a comment on the issue of the expansion of the EU, which at the time Romania was on the verge of joining. As I watched various art aficionados walking around (sorry, ‘interacting with’) and occasionally photographing the blank space, it occurred to me that the artistry in this case was the faux-intellectual blurb which managed to persuade people that a bare room was indicative of socio-political issues and therefore worthy of contemplation. Four years previously, a work with striking similarities by Scottish artist Martin Creed had already won the prestigious Turner Prize, although in comparison to European Influenza it was positively riveting. Entitled The Lights Going On And Off, it too featured an empty gallery space, except on this occasion a timer switch turned the lights on and off at five second intervals. It was first presented in the Tate Modern gallery, who made a typically lofty attempt at justifying it – “Disrupting the norm, allowing and then denying the lights their function, Creed plays with the viewer’s sense of space and time. Our negotiation of the gallery is impeded, yet we become more aware of our own visual sensitivity, the actuality of the space and our own actions within it.” On his own website Creed is somewhat less pompous, revealing the gestation process as, “I wanted to do something in a room but I didn’t know if I should have the lights on or off.” Other artworks Arts Shorts by Creed have included a piece of A4 paper crumpled up, a bit of Blue-Tac kneaded and stuck
to a wall, and some beanbags stacked on top of one another. History is littered with high profile examples of the banal being presented as art in various forms; Andy Warhol’s painting of soup cans, Tracey Emin’s messy bed, Damien Hirst’s sheep preserved in formaldehyde. It is easy to dismiss all this as pretentious posturing, but the underlying question that these artists are propagating is one that has been around since the early 20th century – what constitutes art? Conceptual art is a catchall term used to describe works in which the idea behind a creation takes precedence over the item or medium used to transmit it. In theory this aims to encourage philosophical enquiry amongst its audience rather than appreciation of the craftsmanship of a material object. It has its roots in the Dada movement which emerged during the First World War as a protest against the dominant bourgeois cultural and
“It suggests that every person, object or event is potentially a piece of art. By that logic, there are live enactments of Sick Film being performed by budding young conceptual artists on the streets of Belfast every Friday and Saturday night after closing time.” political ideas of the time. Dada proclaimed itself to be ‘anti-art’ and set about realising its anarchic manifesto through performance, poetry and visual art which rejected traditional aesthetic values. In 1917 Marcel Duchamp, who had become disillusioned with life as a painter, bought a urinal, signed it under the alias ‘R. Mutt’ and submitted it under the title Fountain for the annual exhibition of The Society of Independent Artists. Although it had been stated that any artist who paid the six dollar fee could exhibit their work, the organising committee refused the urinal on the grounds that it was “by no defintion a work of art”. However, the fact that Duchamp had used it as a way of testing the resolve of the committee meant that it had served its purpose and gained it notoriety. The idea that you could take something
ordinary and utilise it as a tool of communication is at the heart of a debate that has endured to the present day. Which brings us back to the work of Martin Creed, whose Sick Film is due to be screened in Belfast’s Queen’s Film Theatre this month. It is 21 minutes long and comprises 10 segments in which 10 people walk onto a white backdrop and make themselves vomit, with varying degrees of success. On one level this is another example of using the commonplace, in this case the functions of the human body, as a medium for transmission of an idea. There are no materials aside from the static camera, the bodies of the participants, the white canvas and the vomit which they ‘create’. But what is the idea? Perhaps it is an attempt at confronting us with our own physicality and the fact that we tend to be repelled by the normal processes of our bodies (Creed has visited this subject before in a previous endeavour, Shit Film – no prizes for guessing the script). However, on another level it suggests that every person, object or event is potentially a piece of art. By that logic, there are live enactments of Sick Film being performed by budding young conceptual artists on the streets of Belfast every Friday and Saturday night after closing time. And I must admit that I have occasionally stolen a sideways glance at the contents of my toilet bowl before flushing and considered that it would look better on a gallery plinth as a social comment on the lack of sanitation in Africa. The debate is open-ended and ultimately the definition of what constitutes art is subjective to the observer. As conceptual artists would argue, it is the audience, their viewing of and reaction to the artwork which completes it. Now that you have read this article, is it art? Do you feel enlightened, angry, bored? As its creator, should I care? Perhaps I should have simply submitted a blank page under the title A Comment On Conceptual Art and you’d still be here staring at the space where the words should be, your head awash with metaphysical musings. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go and work on my next project, an avant-garde performance piece which subverts the outmoded notion that art needs an audience. The working title is Head On Pillow, Eyes Closed. Goodnight. Martin Creed will appear for a talk and Q&A session at the QFT in Belfast on October 22, before a screening of Sick Film.
Words by Adam Lacey
For the aspiring screen writers out there, the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing forum is currently seeking script submissions. They select three 10-minute script extracts from TV, feature film, short, sketch or sitcom and on the evening the winners will see their pieces acted out by professionals chosen by a casting director. An invaluable feather in the cap of any wannabe professional screen scribe. Send submissions with the release (available on www.
northernirelandscreen.co.uk) and the administration fee to Alex Cook, BAFTA ROCLIFFE SUBMISSIONS, BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LN. If you’re a fan of conceptual, minimalist or experimental art in all its shapes and forms, then the upcoming IMMA exhibition, The Moderns, will be right up your alley. Featuring loan pieces and some of IMMA’s own finest works by the likes of Evie Hone and Barry Flanagan,
this is sure to be a fascinating display of modern art. The Moderns will run from October 20 until spring next year in Dublin’s beautiful IMMA.
unusual Auspicious Reconstitutions display in the MadArt Gallery on Gardiner Street in Dublin, October 15 until the end of the month.
Boz Mugabe will be running his own art exhibition of the freakish, the tribal and the downright strange up until the end of October. The pieces really have to be seen to be believed but with a name like that, how can you go wrong? Check out Boz’s highly-
Unless you have a heart of stone, you cannot be anything but moved by Romeo And Juliet, one of the most heartbreaking love stories ever made. And when you throw ballet into the mix, surely it can’t go wrong, can it? Porcine-faced thesp Leo
DiCaprio may not be busting out the moves but this first Theatre At The Mill ballet performance of the autumn should be spectacular. Tickets are from £10-£14 and can be pre-ordered or bought at the box office. Romeo And Juliet will take place on October 26 at Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim. While stand-up comedy quality can vary wildly – as late night viewing on Paramount proves – one constant is a certain Mr
Dara Ó Briain. The always– hilarious, sharp and selfmocking Ó Briain is easily one of the best comedians in the land and will be hitting Derry, Belfast, Castlebar and Killarney in November as part of his current tour. Between November 8 and 13, Dara will play in Derry, Belfast (two nights), back to Derry, Castlebar and Killarney. Book online at www.daraobriain.com
—75 AU Magazine—
Keep 'Er Lit - David Mitchell
BEYOND THE ANORAK In conversation with David Mitchell
Controversially overlooked for a third Man Booker Prize nomination for this year’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, David Mitchell nevertheless remains one of modern literature’s most intriguing novelists. AU speaks to the Cork-resident Englishman about his career so far and the megalomania inherent in writing fiction. Words by David Kellett
David Mitchell first materialised in 1999 with Ghostwritten, a globetrotting novel consisting of nine interlinked narratives. A.S Byatt described it as one of her favourite debut novels. His second and third novels – number9dream (2001) and 2004’s genre and century traversing Cloud Atlas also made the Booker shortlist, before Mitchell bucked his reputation as a postmodernist trickster in Black Swan Green, a semi-autobiographical outing with an “ace” Nick Hornby-does-Adrian Mole Eighties feel. Mitchell’s latest offering, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet has shocked many by missing the shortlist for this year’s Booker Prize. Set in 1799 Japan, the story brings back to life the artificial island of Dejima, a trading post manned by the Dutch East India Company in Nagasaki harbour. The sole trading point between Europe and the then isolationist Japan, the site was a portal between two mutually suspicious cultures. The Thousand Autumns…combines adventure, historical romp and unpredictable love story, as the devout young clerk, Jacob, seeks to end corrupt business practices. This cinematic novel also continues Mitchell’s tendency to smuggle references to former works into new material: something that is strikingly noticeable when an ancestor of a character from his first novel appears in his latest. While some say that Mitchell has created his own cosmology, I suggest to him that his oeuvre is more akin to a cosmic Scalextric set – one that crosses continents, and is curated by a figure like the
—76 issue 69—
smiling shopkeeper in the children’s cartoon, Mr Benn. “Or how about a Hornby train set up in the attic?” suggests a playful Mitchell. But, apart from a desire to keep us anoraks happy, why all those references to earlier texts? “Firstly, I’ve no problem with anoraks: they’re wonderful coats and they keep your head dry. Secondly, the intertextuality is a replay of the themes in Ghostwritten, an assertion that the Dickensian web of coincidence is what the world is actually like. “Here’s a nice thing from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos book. He said, if you find the right viewpoint in even our small galaxy, you can make any shape you like out of stars. If you find the right place to stand, you can get the most improbable, contorted, symmetrical manmade designs. Similarly, if you find the right viewpoint in a story, then extreme Dickensian coincidence becomes entirely inevitable. A third reason, beyond the anorak... Hey! That could be a good title for this interview [adopts a strikingly authentic Alan Partridge voice]: ‘David Mitchell: Beyond The Anorak’... A third reason is that it makes my narrative net as big as it possibly can be. Now I’ll just change my metaphor. You know the astrophysics project, where they make one massive telescope by joining them all up? It’s an amplification device and, narratively, that’s what I’m attempting. “I started off wanting to write huge books,
Keep 'Er Lit
crossing continents and time. After Cloud Atlas, I’m more interested in a more modest scale. So, with The Thousand Autumns… it was more a case of my using a microscope rather than a telescope. More recently, I was going to say that I’m returning to the broader canvas. But maybe it’s more an understanding on my part that there’s no difference between a small canvas and a large one. And, whether you choose to zoom in or out, it’s all the same cosmology. I want to try and get the world.”
“You know the astrophysics project, where they make one massive telescope by joining them all up? It’s an amplification device and, narratively, that’s what I’m attempting.”
There are those who would say that this desire to colonise the world imaginatively is evidence of a power-crazed personality. “Firstly, you’re implying that novelists are horrid little megalomaniacs... and I would agree with you completely! We are hard-wired to want stories, and the supply side of that is guaranteed by the gratification writers feel when providing them. Secondly, I think you are asking whether by representing the world, you can come to own it in some way. Well, at some level, yep. To seek to describe the world is to seek to own it. Of course, that’s nonsense, but describing it is good enough for me.” Like Jason Taylor, the protagonist of Black Swan Green, the teenaged David Mitchell was a stammering, closet poet who had his work published pseudonymously in a parish magazine. The residue of this ambition can be seen in Mitchell’s tendency to drop lyrical depth charges into his work. In Black Swan Green, for instance, Jason Taylor returns to the place where he played the rough-and-tumble kids’ game British Bulldog with his peers one year previously, and reflects on the disintegration of that apparently safe world. It is tempting to conclude that Mitchell’s drive to create and populate fictional worlds is his way of keeping entropy at bay.
Whatever his motivation, any writer who can compress so much meaning into so little space is vastly talented. I wonder if these epiphanies are by-products of the narrative, or if Mitchell starts out with themes he wishes to convey? “For me, it’s plot and character first, but then I know they will take me somewhere interesting, which is why I was interested in that plot in the first place – even though I didn’t know why when I started out. It’s a bit like Picasso’s quote: ‘First I find something, then I go looking for what it is’.” Mitchell’s genre-hopping ability to inhabit a vast array of imagined characters, and his talent for disappearing into a narrative, make him the David Bowie of modern literature. But, despite these constant changes – and accusations from some that he lacks his own narrative voice – Mitchell’s books share a bedrock of quiet humanism. For all the panoramic vision and polyphonic narrative sprees, the work is built on sturdy core convictions, such as a belief that humility and communication are endlessly important. E.M. Forster is a writer whom Mitchell admires, and he has taken his humanistic ‘Only connect’ epigram to heart: signals and connections are a constant concern in Mitchell’s work. Moreover, his stories are built upon the belief that avoiding arrogance is an effective way to avoid hurting oneself and others. In this respect, Mitchell’s work shares the parable-like aspect of William Trevor’s stories. “Yes, it’s a belief, and I would agree with William Trevor. In my case, avoiding arrogance is self-protection, but there’s another angle to it, which is simply professional competence. I believe that an arrogant novelist becomes like an air/sea rescue operator with a fear of heights and water. That’s the beginning of the end.” This partly explains why Mitchell disliked speaking about the likelihood of his winning the Booker Prize. “Yeah, I’m really pleased when people like my work. However, at a review level, if you start congratulating yourself, that’s dangerous. You can see examples of older novelists who have done that and what their work is like now. The antidote to overindulgence is to focus on the work, and keep studying the great writers.” But man cannot live by stories alone and, having thanked me for thinking about his work, this agreeable megalomaniac is off to cook his family’s dinner, and dream up additions to his everexpanding model train set. www.thousandautumns.com
...with AU's very own super-scribe, Edwin McFee Hello there True Believers, and welcome along to our brand spanking new comics column, imaginatively titled ‘Comics News’. Each month we’ll delve into the murky depths of the world of four colour figures and bring you all the best stories that are circulating around the industry today. So, without further ado, let’s get started with the announcement that Mark Millar’s Clint magazine is set to have a spin-off sister title which is aimed directly at girls, ladies and dudes of a more delicate persuasion. While the aforementioned monthly British anthology comic has only just launched last month (and features strips from Millar, Frankie Boyle and Jonathan Ross) the Millar hype-machine has been put on overdrive and the female version of Clint is slated to come out next year (at the earliest) and adopt a more supernatural bent as the scribe has ascertained that men like superheroes and ladies prefer the paranormal. Issue two of Clint is out this month and you should all check it out as Kick-Ass 2 is worth the price of admission alone. Hugely influential superstar artist Joe Madueira has once again briefly left behind the world of video games this month to draw the cover for issue one of Dynamite’s new Vampirella comic and it seems set to make millions of hairy handed boys very happy indeed. We’ve seen a preview and it’s suitably bap-tastic. Written by Eric Trautmann and illustrated by Wagner Reis, the new title sees Vampi on the trail of Dracula and as the publishers have promised that this will be the wildest ride yet in the character’s 40-year-plus career you count us in for the journey ahead. Life’s looking up for former indie scribe Kieron Gillen. Not only has he signed an exclusive contract with Marvel Comics, they’ve also put him in charge of one of their flagship titles The Uncanny X-Men alongside Matt Fraction. Gillen’s run starts with issue 531 and we’d like to wish him the best of luck. Finally this month, the TV spin-off series of the iconic Robert Kirkman-penned epic zombie saga The Walking Dead is set to hit our screens on November 5 via the FX channel. Already a huge hit among comic fanboys and girls (issue one is currently worth a fortune) if the TV show is handled with the right amount of care then it’ll be a huge success. Telling the story of policeman Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead is a continuing tale of survival horror where the humans are sometimes scarier than the hordes of undead and if you haven’t read it yet we heartily recommend you read book one to get you started. VAMPIRELLA
—77 AU Magazine—
Here's Looking At You(Tube) / Weird Wide Web
Here's Looking At You(Tube) MonoLOLs
The monologue is one of the oldest art forms in our culture, from the blind bards of the Greeks, through Shakespeare’s soliloquys to the great orators of the Victorian era. Of course, in the modern day, YouTube gives us unprecedented access to every important argument, anecdote and apologia made on an unimaginable variety of topics. But who cares about those? What we want is viral videos of idiots speaking to the camera, totally unaware of how foolish they look and how many people will inevitably spend two minutes chuckling at them. And if we can’t get real ones, fakes will do.
Weak Ass MC MC Sniffy is the baddest MC ever to grace some part of rural Ireland, but his lyrics have got him into trouble. Join him as he stands in front of a hedge and unleashes a shameless a capella grovel designed to get him out of the beating someone thinks he’s earned. One choice couplet: “I swear to God, you’ll punch [sic] me in the ground, six feet under. I think you’re all fucking sound.” - BIT.LY/MCSNIFFY Woodland Woe
AB LE. ..
Words by Karl McDonald
WEIRD WIDE WEB Surf Far, So Good
Michelin Starred Filth Between work, home and refreshing Twitter, who among us has time these days to think about what we want for dinner? Wait! No need to reach for the takeaway menu, this innovative Tumblr has your back. “Why don’t you eat some fucking mussels with sherry, saffron and paprika?” Don’t like that? Click “I Don’t Fucking Like That” for more. Vegetarian? Click “I Don’t Fucking Eat Meat”. Simply keep clicking till you find something appetising. - whatthefuckshouldimakefordinner.com —78 issue 69—
There is nothing quite like a lovely lady to inspire eloquence from even the most unprepared orator, and when the speaker in this video recounts picking up a girl while out stealing trousers, it is evident that the love is star-crossed from the get-go. Seeing pictures of other men
Child’s Play Yeondoo Jung is a Korean artist whose work blurs the lines between fairytale and reality. But if dry ice-enhanced lake retreats don’t take your fancy, check out the 2005 Wonderland project, in which Jung decided to make real-life versions of children’s drawings. Five year olds don’t tend to respect the laws of physics in their crayon art, and this makes for some incredible photographs. Floating fairies, rainbow surf and malformed bunnies are the order of the day (right).
in her wallet, he confronts her. “That’s my brothers!” – but that’s not enough. “Bitch, you got some siblings, and I don’t like it.” Classic storytelling. - BIT.LY/WAFFLEFRIES Leave Britney Alone! Firmly in the internet hall of fame with 34 million views is this classic from some nutcase sitting in front of a drape. Directly addressing a public who have the utter gall to make fun of Britney Spears despite the myriad tribulations she has faced, Chris Crocker (for it is he) is in tears from the outset, and it only gets worse from there. Britney is a HUMAN, and after this monologue worthy of Demosthenes himself, there is no doubt that you will, indeed, leave her alone. - BIT.LY/LEAVEHERALONE
English. Sample: “I question the parental skill of women with piercings. It is unsettling. *laughs*” - twitter.com/English50cent Words by Karl McDonald
- yeondoojung.com Fiddy, Fiddled With Curtis Jackson’s attempt to threaten 3.4 million people every 10 minutes on Twitter is the greatest thing to happen to the internet since Kanye West started tweeting about his desire to edit film on a film-editing boat. And like every good meme, Fiddy’s web presence spawned a sub-meme of unending hilarity: a Twitter account entirely dedicated to translating his tweets into Standard
FROM THE CRAYONS OF BABES...
Story Of The Video / Get Your Clicks
"aaagh! my eyes!"
The column that can’t make eye contact anymore...
Story Of The Video Mojo Fury
Title: ‘The Mann’ Director: Tristan Crowe
When NI grungers Mojo Fury needed a video for latest single ‘The Mann’, they headhunted Tristan Crowe, director of the ‘Port Na Spaniagh’ video for north coast brawlers Axis Of. What he came up with is a squirm-inducing feast of claustrophobia and entomophobia (that’s the fear of insects, fact fans). Here, Tristan tells all. Where did you shoot the video? The main shoot took place one long evening in a derelict artist’s studio in Lisburn city centre. They
were in the middle of doing the place up, but it was still really dusty and dirty. We blew four bulbs through the course of the evening which we put down to the dodgy electrics. Then it was another short night with just me alone with my creepy crawlies! Where did the insects come from? What was it like working with them? eBay! £15 for five boxes of insects! I believe they are normally bought as live food for lizards etc. There were a couple of moths and a butterfly that came from the band’s house. Mike [Mormecha, vocals/guitar] convinced Ciaran [McGreevy, bass] to put one of the dead moths on his tongue for a shot. It turned out that it wasn’t dead after all and started moving about in his mouth. I missed the shot because I couldn’t keep the camera steady for laughing! There’s a really claustrophobic feel to the video – was that something you set out to do? It was something I had in mind but I really only decided to go that route during the second half of the evening. After doing a number of what I call the safe shots (i.e. wider shots that make sure that I’ve captured all the action) I experimented with going a little closer than I would normally. Then it was finally decided in the edit in what direction to take it all and what worked well. You have now made a few videos for NI bands. What are your plans for the future? There should be a new video for Robyn G Shiels in the next month or so to coincide with the release of his latest EP. The video is already finished and is a totally different to the pace of this one, as you’d expect, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that is received. Watch the video online at bit.ly/themann
Words by: Chris Jones
First it was just yuppies and new-agers. Then the ageing and infantile were Shanghai’d into it. Now, in a Finland zoo, a bear has taken up yoga. Lord save us. - tinyurl.com/bearyoga
So Mel Gibson hates pretty much everyone. And he’d have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for you pesky kids. Lucky he has this disguise. - tinyurl.com/melgibsondisguise
You thought it’d never happen, but it did. It’s the world’s largest rodent, sitting on a chair at a dinner table working on a complex jigsaw puzzle. - tinyurl.com/jigsawrodent Words by Karl McDonald —79 AU Magazine—
MTV Presents Mark Ronson & The Business Intl @ The Waterfront, Belfast
Lily, Darren, Lee & Hannah
Kelleigh & Caoimhe
Richard & Matthew
Aggy & Zoey Mark Ronson
MTV Presents Mark Ronson & The Business Intl The Waterfront, Belfast
Spank Rock and Amanda Warner
As Belfast’s Music Week drew to a close, MTV Presents showcased Mark Ronson’s new outfit, Mark Ronson & The Business Intl with their streamlined, contemporary aesthetic. Presenting mostly brand-new material, the pop numbers went down a treat, especially the recent hit singles ‘Bang Bang Bang’ and ‘The Bike Song’. With a short mid-show interlude to showcase Ronson’s DJ skills, the crowd were given a taster for what was to come at The Stiff Kitten’s aftershow party.
Jody & Jacky
Words by Ciara McCullough Photos by Carrie Davenport Phelan & Gemma —80 issue 69—
Suzan, Gawain & Anna
Gigantic’s 5th Birthday @ Laverys Bunker, Belfast
Gigantic’s 5th Birthday Laverys Bunker, Belfast Balloons, banners and champagne were at the ready as Gigantic celebrated its birthday at its home for the last five years, Lavery’s Bunker. Goodie bags for the lucky few featured sweets, a toy gift (think magic sets, moulding clay, play chalk boards and remote control cars) and a special mix featuring tracks requested by the regulars.
Antony, Bradly & Amy
Words by Ciara McCullough Photos by Will Neill
Isobel, Nicole & Emma
Sam, Danny & Thomas
Sarah, Caoimhe & Katie
Hyland & Laura
John & Ryan
Amy & Katie
Emma & Christen —81 AU Magazine—
Subbacultcha The Last Word
The Last Mount Kimbie 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.
The Last Word
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.
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.
With: Kai Campos from Mount Kimbie
What was the last good movie you watched? Pretty In Pink on a gals’ night. For fashion warm fuzzies.
What was the last meal that you made? I made a kind of chicken stew last night with potatoes, some chicken, onion. It was pretty simple, pretty healthy. It was good. I made enough for two days, and ate it all.
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 piece of good advice you were given? Me and the other guy [Dominic Maker] are thinking of writing a book for bands on tour – rules. Dom came up with a good one yesterday. The number one rule is always travel in shorts no matter what the weather is. If you’re travelling all day it’s far nicer being in shorts than in trousers, even if it’s raining. And if you have to leave at four in the morning, just put the shorts on and brave the cold. It’s worth it.
Famous Last What was your last argument about? Words
Me and Dom had a little argument about whether Philip poet go to this afterparty the other or not Larkin, we should (August 9, 1922that’s – December 1985) night. Ha, what 2,my life’s like now. He’s “I am going to the inevitable.” like my girlfriend in that I see him every day. He wanted go wild, andofwe had to get a plane at UnnamedtoMedic in Call Duty nine in theI'm morning, sojust...so we had many a little tiff. We “I'm sorry! sorry! It's compromised we went to the party for a little bit guys are gettin' –killed out there...it's just...oh, shootin' medics and thenGod, wentthey're back to the hotel! too! Oh, God...”
What was the last good record you bought? I bought the Shed album [The Traveller] and I thought on first listen it was pretty good, pretty interesting. But I think the last album I bought that I have sat down and really enjoyed was the L.A. Vampires/Zola Jesus that was Office moves, Jack Frost, Mini Eggs, newcollaboration threads, multi-jobbing, passing driving tests (and failing out a couple of weeks ago.
behind the bar at Bestival. It was the year it was When was theand last we tinewere you did something regret? biblical rain working 18 you hours a day I don’t believe in regret. and if you left then they took your passport and fined something. We lost our tent, Whenyou was £400 the lastortime you felt guilty? so it wasSummer three guys in a tent that wasn’t Summer. is for sleeping naughtiness. even big enough for one person. It was a really, What was the last piece of good advice you were given? really horrible four days. I said I wasn’t gonna “Have back a wordunless with yourself” – from James [Watkins, come I was playing. bandmate], regularly.
What was the last injury you sustained? When was the last time you cried? I’ve got asolidly? fucking abscess on my wisdom tooth Properly, When my nephew and niece were born right now it’s killing, and I’m running out of last year. Justand so overwhelmed. antibiotics so I should really get it sorted out, but When was the timeStates. you were I’m gonna be last in the Soembarrassed? I’m really worried New Year’s Eve... my it’s aface long is story. about whether just going to swell up to the size of a football. It’s quite disgusting. What was your last argument about? Something stupid and small about the details of the single What was the last book you bought? cover. These intricacies are seemingly endless.
I bought Eric Clapton’s autobiography which I read about a day because washad just fucked Wheninwas the last time you timeityou a fistfight? It’s never happened.wasn’t very good but it was quite up. The writing compelling and I just fucking rinsed it. When was the last time you threw up? My birthday in December. Sambucca. I was If the world was about to end, what would ALLEGEDLY found sleeping on the bathroom floor under your lastAllegedly. words be? fur coats.
[laughs] ‘Fuck!’ Do I really have to answer that question? Ahhhh. I’d record ring my and tell her What was the last good youmum bought? not much II’m loved her. of a record buyer. I know that sucks, but you just get given so much... Anyway, last record I acquired
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was TheAnd Big Pink, andby I like it a lot. Crooks Lovers Mount Kimbie is out now on Hotflush Records.
them), charidee, mass recycling, the cut and run.
any venue in any city, in the endless hours waiting to sound www.myspace.com/mountkimbie
What was the last bad job you’ve had? A couple of years ago me and Dom both worked —82 issue 69—
What was the last thing you downloaded? Colin Farrell sex tape. No joke. It’s pukey.
Mount Kimbie play the Róisín Dubh, Galway on October 12the andlast thething Academy 2, Dublin on October 13. What was you Googled? Serial killers. I love Googling serial killers. Chances are, check I’ll be there on Wikipedia, perusing.
What was the last bad job you had? I used to temp. Good money, extreme boredom, but it ain’t factory packing meat so I can’t complain. When was the last time you set something on fire? I accidentally set myself on fire when I was 18 or so. I had problems sleeping and one morning, just before dawn, was lying in bed trying to sleep, smoking a joint. I obviously fell smoking Drasleep Timothy Learyit, as when I woke up the entire bed was on fire. It was very close burnt the eyelashes off one (October 22,a 1920 – Maycall. 31,I 1996) eye. I’ve been pretty wary of fire – candles etc. – ever since.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
When was the last time you were in hospital? I had meningitis in my late teens. That was an absolute riot.
Carl Phillips in The War Of The Worlds (1939 Whenradio was play) the last time you broke the law? I never, ever break the law.
“The woods... the barns... the gas tanks of When was the time one of your heroes automobiles... it’slast spreading everywhere. It’s disappointed you? coming this way. About twenty yards to my Have you seen the Iggy Pop commercial? He’s not selling right-” [abrupt silence] car insurance, he’s selling time, apparently. Also Patrick Swayze, for dying.
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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.
If the world was about to end what would your last words be? '3am Eternal', The KLF in general, Woy's “TIGGO!!!!!!!!!” In an Australian accent.
Wubbish Wevolution, Deerhunter and No Age fanboyness, fucking off to New York, IS OUT CHEW LIPS’ DEBUT ALBUM UNICORN Hakka noodles, a new flatmate, 'coming NOW ON KITSUNÉ into some money', having new fun with a WWW.CHEWLIPS.CO.UK vintage feel.
my inspiration KT Tunstall
12-18 bradbury place, belfast, bt71rs In The Bunker Tuesdays
SING IT BACK
Real Alternative Karaoke
In The Ballroom
In the Bunker & The Ballroom:
Wednesday - Friday
Indie & Electro Club
Every Saturday Night
DJ set by while you play pool
Eclectic & Alternative Audio In The Gin Palace (Public Bar)
Mondays & Tuesdays
traditional folk music Live Trad Sessions
“...What is savage is in the deepest sense gentle and what is wild is kind.” Jay Griffiths
Wild: An Elemental Journey out now
Wednesday - Saturday
the retro disco 20th Century Classics
In The Back Bar Mondays
Reggae, Ska and Dub
CIRCUS OF SOUND PERFORMANCE Classic Rock and Soul
Real Hip Hop, Breaks and Funk
Alternative Music Retrospect
Mix of Underground Hits
Funk, Soul, R&B
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YOU ARE WHAT YOU WEAR.
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AU Magazine #69 The best number to ‘ave
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