Good morning Daphne - can you arrange a meeting R.E:
. . . f o e u s s I w e The N
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OK team, its time for the new issue of Kruger... Lets Brainstorm!
Kruger has many contributors. Here they are in order of appearance:
Neil Condron, Natalie Davies, Gethin Jones, Dan Tyte, Simon Roberts, Jen Long, Laura Byding-Citizen, Grace Todd, Helia Phoenix, James W Roberts, Chris Saunders, Daniel Owens, Adam Anonymous, Holly Martin, T. Daryar, James Anthony, Felicity Wallace, Matt Clift, Pranam Mavahalli, Janne Oinonen and Adam Corner
Images Casey Raymond, James Perou, Mei Lewis, Lele Saveri, Lucy Begent, Lee Goldrup, Tim Cochrane, Eleanor Stevenson, Steve Fessey, Gideon Conn and Hannah Truran
Contact, Comment, Contribute
firstname.lastname@example.org myspace.com/krugermagazine Kruger Magazine Issue 13 Editors: Mike Williams, Joe Howden, Mike Day Reviews: Helia Phoenix Research: Helen Weatherhead Printed by: MWL Print Group Ltd. Units 10 -13 Pontyfelin Industrial Estate, New Inn, Pontypool NP4 ODQ contact email@example.com Thanks to: Al Power, Dean@darling, James@pomona, Claire@infected, Tones@triad, Will Skeaping, Spillers Records, Alison@ hermana, everyone who sends us cds to review, all our advertisers, Nathan Warren, Tom Whitehead and especially Junior, Emily Bob, Susie, Nat, Jen, Wooderson, Phoenix, Heather, Hastie and Sparky. Bless up! Produced by Kruger on the loudest street in Cardiff. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the kind permission of Kruger. The opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily the opinions of Kruger. All work by Mike Day, Mike Williams & Joe Howden unless otherwise credited. All words, photography and illustrations are original and specific to Kruger. Kruger is a quarterly magazine and is distributed throughout the UK. Advertising enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
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OMG! Check out this great NEW magazine I’ve found!
L.O.L! CSS NEW? Whatever! I like, totally heard of them ages ago
Honey, Where’s my NEW copy of Kruger Magazine?
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I used it for NEW lining in the budgie cage
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so, we find ourselves in the midst uger; an issue ng at the very concept of newness itself and asking: what the fuck does it mean?
Take, for example, Mstrkrft: a DJ/producer duo from Ontario, Canada whose debut The Looks is fresher than a blood-covered foal to many people here but has in fact been knocking about across the ponds for a few months now. An act of whom one half we already know and love as Jesse F Keeler from short-lived punk hedonists DFA 1979. Ah, DFA 1979. A two-man rock whirlwind that left depravity in its wake wherever it hit, but which was also crippled by an internal communications breakdown that led Jesse to describe its death as being like that of a faltering relationship. “It was like when you break up with your highschool girlfriend – it seems like a big deal, but it’s not really. It’s only a big deal if you’re not looking towards the future,” Jesse tells us, as he travels away from the American west coast towards the next stop on the Diamonds tour with musical partner Alex Puodziukas and British house legend John Digweed. “Mstrkrft is totally different, as Al-P and I have known each other for almost ten years,” he explains, alluding to the fact that Al-P had produced Jesse’s band Black Cat #13 back in ’98. We’re guessing Al is more of a keeper than his previous high school romance. “Y’know, we’re much better suited to each other. But it’s hard to describe without sounding really gay!”
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Y’know, we’re much better suited to each other. But it’s hard to describe without sounding really gay!
With the adage in Kruger’s mind that many a true word is spoken in jest, we put it to Jesse that perhaps, using his own metaphor, working in musical partnership can be seen as a procreative activity, with Jesse moving on from his juvenile fumblings with Sebastian Grainger to a deeper kind of union in Mstrkrft. Has, we wonder, Jesse’s experience with DFA 1979 contributed to make him a more considerate partner? “I’m definitely much more skilful now,” he laughs. “You do become much better at doing it well. I suppose the high-school metaphor can be extended pretty accurately!” Another paradox of Mstrkrft is the fact that, despite being at the frontier of the great dance-indie crossover of 2006-07, they’re also perceived as being ‘a bit retro’. As is the case for Justice, Alan Braxe, Switch and Eric Prydz (“Prydz and the whole Swedish Mafia – they don’t do anything but bangers,” purrs Jesse), the early synthetic sounds of the ‘70s and ‘80s is far from sacred ground for the Canadian house revisionists. “Well, yeah, I guess it is classic in that sense,” he concedes. “We try to draw influences from things that have stood the passage of time rather than things that come and go.” Is this, then, a conscious musical stance on The Looks or just the Mstrkrft way? “Everything that we’ve done has been pretty natural. It’s not totally ‘unplanned’, but whatever has felt right – that’s what we’ve done.” While the praise continues to pour in for The Looks in the UK rather like the champagne that Al-P reportedly poured into a girl’s mouth
“from a great height” after their set the previous night, Mstrkrft have already got 18 tracks ready for their second album. Kruger learns that the record will be mastered in June and ready for a worldwide release next year. So then, what can we expect? “It’s definitely harder. Not always darker, but certainly way more serious” he teases. “There are no ‘non-club’ tracks on this record.” With Jesse describing the progression between albums as similar to Daft Punk regressing from “Discovery” to “Homework”, Kruger asks him if he thinks Mstrkrft might be heading backwards. “I think, as you progress, you gain some clarity of purpose as to what it is you want to do,” he argues. “We’re making music that has an express purpose – it’s for dancing. Everything else is secondary.” It’s an approach that’s reflected in Jesse’s view on where the future of dance music lies. “It’s gonna get harder, a bit more Chicagosounding. A lot of kids get exposed to it one way or another, and it’s like a drug problem – you get into it then you want something harder,” expounds our favourite dealer. Beyond the current itinery, Mstrkrft are also busy buying the rights to many of their countless remixes for release on a forthcoming compilation. With record labels worldwide desperate to get the Mstrkrft touch on their artists’ records, Kruger imagines that it must be a job in itself selecting what tracks to rework. “Our manager screens
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most of them, so we don’t get to see the really stupid ones,” Jesse clarifies. “We still say no to most of them. We don’t like remixing things that aren’t dance tracks already. It’s such a stretch and it ends up being a bit of a compromise. Remixing dance music is so much more fun.”
“We’re making music that has an express purpose – it’s for dancing. Everything else is secondary.”
After Jesse tells us that Mstrkrft will be next in the UK for a couple of unconfirmed festival dates in August, we allow him and his fellow passengers to continue their journey eastward – a direction that will have an extra significance for Al-P. “I’m totally married, and my wife is pregnant,” says a temporarily celibate Jesse. “But Al-P has no excuse. The west coast isn’t easy. But we’re heading east now. The gates are opening.” New states, new dawns. A new music borne out of old sounds and an old friendship. If Mstrkrft are teaching us anything about what’s new and what’s old, its that they’re both relative. And, as part of that vanguard of dance acts currently refracting the sounds of the past through the dirtied glitterball prism of 21st century disco, Mstrkrft are well placed to deliver that advice.
Words by Neil Condron Illustration by Casey Raymond www.caseyraymond.com
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shopping ace? I maybe a hardened aanarchosyndicalist, but capitalism gives m me nice things, like cds and sexy shoes. I’ve become a bit of a whiz at spending, no dither ditherer am I. If I like something I get it. Sometimes I might not even like it, but then I find not owning it is justification enough. I got my first glimpse of my rampant inner consumer at the tender age of 14. After years of being given rubbish gifts for Christmas, Splott market rip-offs instead of the labels that might buy me a slim margin of social acceptance (The Sweater Stop instead of The Sweater Shop- Oh the mortification), I took matters into my own hands. I asked for money in a Christmas card and went shopping in the sales. When I bought my first pair of red leather ankle boots I felt I’d found my spiritual home. They were exciting and made everything else I owned look dull and unsophisticated in comparison. That’s the point of new things. They speak of your aspirations. Clearly in this case I aspired to be a Thai Masseuse, but you see my point. It’s so exciting, and the shops are so obliging! Changing their stock every few weeks so there’s always some new treasure to covet. Yes sir, I love to shop. So when I set out to meet a shiny new group called The Toy Band, I decided to show them a little of my world in exchange for a peek into theirs. It’s a brilliant concept so I’ll walk you through it; I like shopping and they are called The Toy Band, so I decided to take them shopping for toys! Genius. I met them at a café on a sleepy Sunday afternoon where Jamie, the lead singer sat bent over a cold cappuccino and sudoku. He looks very young and a bit twee and he is wearing an outlandish shirt that is so hideous
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that I’m sure he was wearing it ironically. I think he told me it had been a joke present from Joe, his housemate and fellow guitarist in the band, but I was so bedazzled by the hi-tech purple graphics that I wasn’t able to take much in. Very clever, really. I should have expected sharp tactics from a band who broke in a new drummer three days before a new bands competition because the prize was a recording session at Abbey Road studios. The drummer, Pete, turned out to be something of a demon
We want to be popular and the music we make is fun
It was time to crack open the Kruger piggy bank and take the boys shopping, lording it over sycophantic shop assistants a la Pretty Woman, with me as a (more) effeminate Richard Gere. We set off together towards one of Cardiff’s many arcades - me purposefully striding forward, businesslike black umbrella in hand, my toy boys following nervously behind. “Where are we going?” Joe asks. “Relax”, I say, turning to coax them on. “I’m a professional. I’ve been known to source, locate and purchase an entire outfit for a summer wedding INCLUDING sky blue satin wedge sandals and accessories in a 2 hour lunch break. This, young man, will be a breeze!”
on the drums and, with Jim on bass completing the line-up, The Toy Band was assembled.
We enter Poundstretcher to see a pair of oversized padded lips which play Right Said Fred’s ‘I’m too sexy’. “What about this. Funny?” I ask, holding them up under my mouth while flicking my pelvis at them in a sordid little dance. Instead they head straight for the toy section lost in the wonder of a thousand acrylic miracles, bleeping and blinking at them through their battery powered shells. Jamie’s eyes fall on a cherry red guitar. “That is MINE!” he yelps as his frantic stabs at coloured buttons produce Wyld Stallionz style shrieks from the phony axe. “I’m not playing acoustic guitar again, this makes noises better than what I can make myself... and it’s only a fiver!”
All they needed now was a name that suited their pop sensibilities. “We started off as The Toys because it was colourful and fun, and then The Toy Band gave it a slightly more interesting twist. We want to be popular and the music we make is fun and colourful and poppy- like a band of toys”, explained Jamie with a resigned look on his face, clearly thinking this was going to be another factory line question and answer session. Wrong.
Despite what their name and Jamie’s purchase may suggest, The Toy Band don’t actually play toy instruments on stage. They all study at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and are accomplished musicians. But despite their classical background they take their influences from a variety of sources; Nick Drake, The Coral and Blur amongst them. So I ask them in a ‘Daddy or Chips?’ stylee whether they think of their sound as retro or modern?
“That’s a difficult question. Lyrically, we are pretty modern but musically we like good old dirty riffs. It certainly wasn’t planned, but it seems to have panned out that in a few of our songs we have got into a groove where we have a big old dirty riff choruses and more folk inspired verses. But after we have done that for a few songs we want to try something different.” Says Jamie.
Jamie. “We’re not about giving answers, cos we haven’t got them, we just ask questions and that is the point we’re asking what his (Tony Blair) legacy will be. The point is we have all been left confused and don’t know what to think”.
on it to make your voice like this… oh wait that’s completely the same or like this… now I sound like Barry White”. Convinced, Pete and Jim step in and offer Joe the rest of their money. It brings a lump to my throat. It’s a good time to leave.
“We are still looking for where we are going to end up,” adds Jim. “Then we’ll move on from there. Cos it takes a band years to develop their sound. When we started we weren’t getting many gigs so we had lots of time to finish off ideas. We’ve got loads of songs behind us but not necessarily anything we would want to play. Things get phased out you know. But everything we do might come back again in a different form, it’s all experience.”
An electronic voice booms across the shop floor, snapping us out of our sojourn into social
Jim excitedly offers me his robot claw hand to shake. “I bought a robot hand so I can fondle Joe without getting myself into trouble, because it’s the robot doing it not me. It’s a sex toy basically. I gave my other £2 to Joe to buy his- that’s togetherness.”
Unlike many new bands who are still learning to play their instruments, they can beat the shit out of any time signature they choose. Like proper band-geeks, they lean towards perfectionism which comes from a childhood of lost afternoons sat in front of a piano. At their aforementioned recording session in London they spent two hours running around the studio looking for ‘the perfect knock’ for their song ‘Knocking on that Door’. With this in mind I decide to show a bit of shopping leadership. Pete is happy to find a pirate set for £2. It has a sword, an eye-patch, a telescope and a plastic hook but the other two boys have nothing and we are working on Sunday hours, so I shepherd them onto the toy shop next door. Jamie hangs back while the boys run in and go bananas, trying y ng g on fake glasses with eyes on sp springs other. glas ses w rin and throwing bouncy ballss at each h ot h Despite th the of tthe band and th their music there he inherent ere playfulness fu ul he ba h e are songs wit with a more serious such Legacy, an w us element m h as a Anthony’s nth ode to Tony Blair. it’s important to say w what we think” says a “We think it’ m
I bought a robot hand so I can fondle Joe issues. Joe has found a voice changer and he is yelling at Jim who is attacking him with a grabbing robotic hand. The voice changer is a remarkable bit of technology; Joe sounds like a Dalek, alek then a robot, then a Dalek again. Brilliant. wellll o over h hiss b budget, so ant But at a £9 it’s we he gives it the hard sell: gi h se el “It makes your yo voice ic sound ou u like a robot. ot. You Yo can change the he levels ev
Money changes hands and the boys amble off into the distance with their new playthings. Perhaps one day that shiny plastic guitar will make an appearance on stage, god knows they could probably even get a half decent tune out of it. That’s the thing about new bands, they are free from other people’s expectations. All they need is the equipment, and I like to think I may have helped them in that. All I need is catharsis, and The Toy Band have helped me for sure. Words by Natalie Davies Ph Photography by James Perou www.myspace.com/photosimian w.m co ho
The Kruger Free Singles Club! It’s a club, where you download singles, and it’s free! Available exclusively from www.krugermagazine.com , the Kruger Singles Club aims to enrich your hard drive by imbuing it with the freshest new sounds we get our mits on. First up is The Toy Band, and their amazing ‘Riff Song’ b/w ‘Anthony’s Legacy. All you have to do to download the single and the exclusive artwork is register as a Club Kruger member. Do it... today! issue 13 layout.indd 12
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VENN KRUGER AD?#/22%#4PDF
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The English Gentlemens Club issue 13 layout.indd 15
When Kruger asked me to interview Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club for an issue based around the theme of newness, I didn’t quite get it... Sure, there’s an urgency to their music that lends them a sense of immediacy, in fact songs like Ban the Gin (my personal favourite) sound approximately a third of a second to the immediate future of the band itself, all hot-off-the-press yelps and deliberate, ADHD drumwork. Also, they always look pristine – smart, skinny and unquestionably art school. But Kruger doesn’t want an essay on aesthetics, so I don’t get it. And then I meet them, and I get it. The newness is actually twofold: here we have a band constantly on tour, always meeting fascinating new people, for whom strange and novel experiences are a way of life, and an interviewer – me – who’s never done print, is painfully unable to operate a minidisc recorder and is making a twat of himself with about a mile of tangled headphone wires, battery charger leads and microphone cable, most of which is plugged into the wrong thing. VEG Club are nice about it. They offer me a beer. I explain that I’m driving and, much as I’d love to, I’d better not. “You can have one surely?” offers bassist Louise. “It might help”, I can hear her think. By the time I start the interview, VEG Club are on about their third tinnie each. I think they’re worried that they’re in for a long night. In fact, they probably wouldn’t mind if they were. Touring consistently has taught them to be patient; it’s also deprived them of the ability to deal efficiently with being at home, with no pressure to do anything in
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particular. “You come back home and the whole routine of normal life’s gone, like working and doing normal things”, muses Adam. And this, Emma tells me, is how they like it. “It’s a good way to be, you get used to not having any money and not having any possessions and not needing anything – you have a van with your instruments in and that’s all you need. That and clothes”.
like it because we can’t speak any language apart from English. Obviously we’re ashamed of this, so we get him in and pretend that we’re bilingual”. But the plan isn’t foolproof. “In Germany he just yelled really loudly at everybody. In French”, says Louise. Adam also voices reservations. “He specialises in smoking in countries where it’s banned. Wherever it’s illegal, he starts smoking in restaurants”.
VEG Club’s lifestyle is undeniably romantic. Chatting to them gives you a real sense of how much fun it must be to be in a touring band. “In Berlin we played in an airport! It’s an odd 1930s airport, and they haven’t bothered to take down all the third Reich eagles...”. The stories continue. “In Italy we played in a venue that had a snake in it. It’s a venue but it had an aquarium in the wall that had this big snake in. I don’t know whether snakes can hearr but right u it was rig ht next to the stage. It was huge! The owner was this little sleazy Goth. He said D DO YOU WAANT O YO UW AANT TO SEE MY SNAAAKE? And I said no thank you. He said I WAAANT TO P PUUT MY SNAAEK U T M Y S AAEK ALL OVERR YOU!”.
Venice will be different. For a start, the band rider includes a guided tour of the city. An
So where next for our punk nk rock hobos? hob hobos “We’re off to get visas tomorrow”, says Emma. “Then we’re going to Venice for a day, then we come back and about an hour later we go to Texas”. I ask them how they deal with always being the new kids in town, never knowing anybody. For European dates, they tell me, they have a strategy – sound engineer French Dan. “Dan likes to be European and speak French. We
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exited Emma tells me that this is amazing. “We’re exactly Don’t “W e e expecting x e ing it tto look o e tl lilike D Look Now, which is one of my favourite films. aren’tt small children in re red ja jackets If there h re aren ckets II’ll be very disappointed”. “It’s a good rider, that”, aagrees re s the ever understated Adam. Adam Then off to Texas, for South By Southwest. I putt it to the them tthat on tthe p a o e theme h m off newness, this is quite interesting. That the whole point of SXSW is to be new, to be about to happen, to be the next big thing. Adam’s having none of it. “Badly Drawn Boy’s playing! He’s not very new is he! I guess most of the English bands will be unknown to the American people. We’ll be very new. But for us it’s just a way of going to America for free”. Clearly, they’ve thought
about this and they’re not going out there expecting their worlds to change. “It’s not like a normal festival where everyone just has fun. It’s all corporate. Our label told us not to go but we want a holiday”. And then it’s back to the UK for more touring. I wonder whether everywhere starts to look familiar after so many shows in so many cities. “Yes”, says Louise, “there’s one big fat man in every town in Britain who comes to our gigs. A different one in every town!”. They start laughing. Adam explains: “a big fat man with advice. Always like that was good but what you need to do is… When I saw Wire in 1979 what they did was..! And I’m like, Jesus. It’s because we did that tour with the Wedding Present and everyone who came was over forty, so that gave us a lot of…”. He looks to his band mates ffor answers. “Fat “F t fans!”, they chorus. And with that I star start to untangle my wires and say bon voyage. The twenty minute interview only took an hour. They h make me promise to email them if I think of better questions. There’s nothing reallyy for them to pack, so I leave them tto d i k a few more beers and whittle down drink the clock until it’s time to hit the road again. Victorian English Gentleman’s Club: catch them soon in a town near you. Words by Gethin Jones Photography by Mei Lewis www.meilewis.com
A group of chimpanzees have been spotted by leading animal behavioural analysts hunting with spears. But before you begin concocting images of PG Tipsters riding in Ipswich-bound taxis with a sex-crazed, knickerless Britney, let me relay what I read. In the darkest depths of Senegal, manâ€™s closest genetic cousin has discovered that sharpening a long, straight stick with your teeth and thrusting it through a hole in a hollow tree can produce a meal with far less effort than chasing after your prey and repeatedly bashing its head against the floor. In fairness, neither way is particularly elegant, but let us be clear on one thing: certain animals have used tools and traps throughout history, but this is the first instance of an animal fashioning and using a weapon to kill another living creature since that old hatchetman Adam and his offspring. Is evolution happening before our eyes, a re-enactment of our own first foray into time-saving slaughter? Or have the primates mimicked man, learning from experience that the mind is mightier than muscle, and that weapons rule? Either way, we as a species had better keep an eye on them.
Kid HARPOON 18
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When I relay this story to Kid Harpoon he agrees, “That’s fucking amazing,” he says, reclining on a battered leather sofa in Nambucca on north London’s Holloway Road. “I can see all these explorers running out of the jungle chased by a load of monkeys screaming ‘fuck you, you bastards!’” Not sure we’re at quite that level of dystopia yet, Kid, but this level of enthusiasm fills me with hope for the rest of our workshop of a day…
the room jumping using only his voice, a guitar and an arsenal of devastating self penned tunes. Which is why we’ve come here today: to write a brand new song from scratch with one of Britain’s brightest young songwriters. So what does a song say about newness, the theme of the issue that you hold in your hands? It occurred to us when we were researching that a song will remain new so long as it continues to be heard by fresh ears. The life of the song itself however, is a different matter. A song on the radio might be an exclusive first play, but for the band that conceived it, wrote and recorded it, it is anything but. So we visited a song at the point of creation, to see, like our chimps, just how it would evolve.
“Yeah, Yeah yeah yeah… ma m maybe a it’s a paranoid ssong. p ong. I like o l to get an emot a emotion iion across across through Maybe m songs. my s songs M b that’s May where th w the e story teller t side of m o me e comes from from. m I kind of tthink hink a song should shou have a sstate of mind mind.” After a quick discussion Hailing from northeast London, Kid Harpoon – or Tom Hull to his Biology teacher - is a ramshackle indie troubadour with a rare talent for writing songs. Countless tours opening for the likes of The Mystery Jets, Fionn Regan and The Rumblestrips have seen him hone his foot stompin’ brand of energetic Americanatinged indie into a totally encapsulating one man show. Whether stood in front of a packed London Astoria with The Aliens, or in the corner of a pub (like this one), Tom can get
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about Johnny Marr and the glory of the Smiths, we start to talk about the process of songwriting. With over a hundred tunes written and recorded, it seems like something that comes easy to Kid Harpoon: “It certainly comes a lot easier now than it used to,” he says, his guitar lying faithfully at his feet. “Ages ago I used to think of each song as a miniature masterpiece, but after a while I realised that songs are only a masterpiece to whoever writes them. People hear songs all the time and I was getting a bit too precious. Bob Dylan said that he thought
every good songwriter should write about 10 songs a week and throw away 9, which is a good philosophy. Some of my best songs were written in a couple of hours.” Great news for this exercise; I ask him what interests him as writer: “There are things that I like to write about and I’ve spotted them, but they’re not really intentional. I do like to write about the natural world though… There’s a line in a poem by Arthur Rimbaud that mentions a tiger in the night, which is such a vivid image you can almost see it. I’ve tried to use that idea a lot in my songs, using really strong images from the natural world.” I put forward the idea that we write about the spear-toting Chimps of Senegal. Tom initially seems unconvinced, but as he thinks
When I’m m writing rriting lyrics lyrics, I always a ask myself elf ‘is e is this saying g something, or am I just talking shit with a good d melody? it through and picks up his guitar, I see him warm to the idea. “I suppose you could have a line about monkeys with spears…” He tinkers away at a few plucked chords, humming quietly to himself. “Yeah, yeah… maybe it’s a paranoid song. I like to get an emotion across through my songs. Maybe that’s where the story teller side of me comes from. I kind of think a
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song should have a state of mind. Maybe this song’s about a paranoia of an evolutionary overthrow. It could be like… “One of my fears, Monkeys with spears, hmmm hmm hmm hmmmmmmm hmmm…” He plays the refrain over a couple of times. “Ok, we should start writing this down.” And with that he’s off. Lyrics get scribbled down as quickly as they are scribbled out, chord progressions are written and scrapped and bit by bit, the song begins to take shape. He talks me through every creative decision he makes, constantly referencing the work and techniques of other writers from Bob Dylan to Thom Yorke as the song develops. Before I know it a verse has sprung from nowhere and an unsettling staccato guitar part scores the tale of a crazed man, preaching to passers-by of their imminent demise at the hands of these tooled up mammals. It’s quick, intense and very impressive. With Tom deep in the creative process, I take a minute to recap on how we found ourselves at this point. Touring constantly last year resulted in a healthy amount of label interest and plenty of offers from major labels. Attracted by their policy of investing in the artist and the sight of MIA pritt-sticking her album cover together in reception, Kid Harpoon opted for XL, home of Tapes n Tapes, Dizzee Rascal and the afore mentioned Thom Yorke. Since then, he’s been a busy boy, flying out to Chicago to record with Modest Mouse producer Brian Deck and forming his own band, The Powers That Be, spending months in rehearsals developing his one man show into a full live set. I wonder
whether one day this embryonic sack of a song will ever end up in it… “’They’re coming for your soul…’ That’s the worst line in the world,” he mutters, getting critical with the scrawled manuscript in front of him. “I’ll leave it for now and go back over it later and tighten up the lyrics.” This isn’t the first time he’s drawn attention to his dissatisfaction with some of his lyrics, pointing out throughout this writing process the flaws and issues that he has with various lines, improving some as he goes and leaving others to be considered and returned to. Bad lyrics are obviously something that really irritate him. “People write really good pop songs with great melodies but terrible lyrics that say absolutely nothing. It really annoys me when I hear bad lyrics when you have a chance to say something. When I’m writing lyrics, I always ask myself ‘is this saying something, or am I just talking shit with a good melody?’’ I ask him if this is how he always works, getting the song written quickly, developing the structure and the idea and then taking time over the lyrics, re-writing and editing until the message is clear? “Yeah I suppose so… You get the idea in your head really clear and then it’s about succinctly putting it across. It’s much easier to write it down and take time over it. With this one, it’s hard because I’m like ‘this bit needs work and this bit and this bit’ and we’re not going to have time to do that. We’re nearly at the end though…” I suggest to him that though clearly not finished, the song shows a lot of potential.
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It might be a bit feral, but there is a lot of potential for it to evolve. “It sounds to me like it’s good but it’s not quite a song yet,” he says, agreeing. “With melodies and lyrics… you’ve got to try out everything, Ideally you get it to a point where you can play it all the way through, which is where it’s at now, record it and leave it, then come back to it, because it might change completely or it might not.” I feel satisfied with that, and well I should. Arrivederci, Roma wasn’t written in a day, but something has been born on this one. I’m not sure exactly what it is yet, or how it will develop. It’s the runt of the Kid Harpoon repertoire right now, but that is more a reflection of the body of work this young writer has produced thus far than a condemnation of our little ditty, which I have to unashamedly say is pretty amazing. But then nature can be cruel. Maybe its mother [Tom] will reject it, or a rival sibling [one of the other 9 songs he’ll write this week] will oust it from the family group. I ask him what he plans to do with it: “We could record it now then I could go away for a couple of days come back to it with better lyrics and then re-record it? You could put it on your website, maybe?” And so that’s what I decided to do, ending this cautionary tale of bloodthirsty superchimps with a song and a web address. www.krugermagazine.com go and download it now. Photography by Lele Saveri www.lelesaveri.com Special thanks to Will Howden.
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“I know, lets move to an industrial wasteland and form an art noise pop band!” is not a turn of phrase commonly heard in Sixth Form common rooms across the country. But then Middlesbrough-based Das Wanderlust are smarter than the average band. Thanks to their mix of equal parts shouty girl-scratchy guitars-wonky keyboards, the North East of England hasn’t seen so much fun since hordes of Vikings raped and pillaged the neighbourhood hundreds of years ago. However, itss not all powerpop giggles for Das Wanderlust. From Billy Elliot’s ot’s unsym unsympathetic father to Gazza’s sad realisation that he’s actually grown rown a real p pair of those comedy breasts he used to lark about it in, the people of the t Tyne-Tees hinterland have always had a cross to bear.
Front girl Laura spills “Our drummer left a week ago. She did it all over email. It’s a modern break-up.” Guitarist and keyboardist Andy says “It left us about a week and a half to prepare for this tour.” This jilting at the altar is not a new scenario for the pair. Andy explains the Spinal Tap-esque revolving door policy “We’ve had eleven members so far.” To summarise, Laura starts band. Records demos with Henry and Natalie. Bam! Henry left (too embarrassed to play a gig). Wham! New members Andy and Nobby join. Bam! Nobby left (joined a cult?) Wham! New member Ian
joined. Bam! Ian left (got married) Wham! Another new member Phil joined. Double Wham! Another new member Emma joins. She played flute. But not the drums. But practiced really really hard and nailed it. Bam! Phil left (to learn blacksmithery?). Double Bam! Natalie left (didn’t want to tour anymore). Triple Bam! Emma left (‘bit of a falling out’). And then there were two… After shedding their skin more times than, well, a very old snake, it’s as if Das Wanderlust have become a new band every few months… but with the old two of Laura and Andy as constant
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as Andy Capp’s wife’s nagging. If they ever hit the big time, there’s gonna be (a) lots of bitter Pete Best characters sniffing about and (b) lots of action figures for die-hards to collect. The band’s onstage solution to touring sans drummer seems to add to their ramshackle charm. “Our old drummer recorded for us, using real drums at home” says Andy “We wanted the sound of acoustic drums and turned the tape up loud to get a kinda lo-fi sound. A lot of bands sound like they’re trying to be cool when they’re using drum machines”… Laura “…and we’re really not cool.”
While new member, the recorded drum, might be a new addition to the onstage percussion, Andy still carries a flame for an old faithful “I still use a toy keyboard that I had for Christmas when I was seven. I wrote a song on it using all the black notes and called it The Chinese Song cos it sounding stereotypically Chinese. Do-do-do-do-do-do-doo-do-do-do-do-do… I’m not saying that all Chinese people make music like that but c’mon, I was seven.”
now, so we must be the newest new ravers in the world. Or postnew rave. Bands are forming now to fit this new thing the NME have latched onto from a joke by Klaxons. It’s a ridiculous situation. It’ll be post-skiffle next week.”
The new and old discussion turns to genre de jour new/nu/poo rave. Andy reckons “We’ve got three keyboards and a drum machine
New single Sunday School isn’t likely to start the post-skiffle revolution but it does have has recorders in it. Which everyone loves. Washboard or no washboard, it should be your new shit.
Last single The Orange Shop was an apology song to Laura’s boyfriend after she said Sherlock Holmes was better than him. In spite of, or perhaps because of, his opium addiction and latent homosexuality, Holmes was a great man. To be called inferior to Poirot, now that’s break-up stuff.
Words and photos by Dan Tyte illustrations by Lucy Begent www.lucybegent.co.uk
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The Noisettes The Foals issue 13 layout.indd 24
Henry has based himself on Meatloaf. Rollins ha I don’t know if anyone noticed this at SST. I doubt if anyone really remember remembers who Rollins is is.
He was about 2 minutes before skinny jeans and techno for people who hate techno but love guitars, and apparently, he’s got an MTV reality show now, scheduled to follow Gary Glitter’s tea time smash ‘My Super Sweet Pre-teens.’ (MTV Europe, 14th Oct, 9pm Greenwich Mean Time, and I mean TIME - like six foot cocks in arses on remand.) But I wouldn’t really know. I only watch ccancer ncer m vies on n Ha lmar aand nd oc ca io a y movies Hallmark occasionally Eastenders, to see how Stacey Slater is doing. y Turns out she’s fucking her ex-boyfriend’s fa th r an in sso o she’s he s bro ke tthe e fir father, and in d doing broken firstt rule of commerce: Never fuck anything with w hit eyelashes. ye ashe Se ems an e as enough nough white Seems easy commandment to follow. Far easier than not sstabbing abbing someone to death with a carrot in the supermarket, or stealing the whisper from The W histle Te st B ob H arr s on n a BB C6 R ad o Whistle Test’s Bob Harris BBC6 Radio Broadcast. S pe ki g Bo ar s has a w it e el shes an d Speaking Bob H Harris white eyelashes and there’s many a story to tell about the dangers of having relations with him, but it was on Speaking Bob’s radio show that I discovered that Henry Rollins must have modelled his whole persona around Meat Loaf, like Eddie Murphy around Richard Pryor. They even look alike, separated at birth even (one with a dumbell, the other with an abattoir), like my Grandmother and James Brown, or my mate Orcop and Quagmire. Giggidy. I’d concocted a plan to interview them together, and have them fill in the blanks of quotes
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about each other and publish the quotes about Meatloaf with Rollins’ answers and vice versa, but Meatloaf’s speech-ape was poorly, and Rollins didn’t have enough money to get the cab into Cardiff, so with Noisettes and Foals together at Clwb Ifor Bach, they could prove an able substitute. The Foals had been described by the music press as math rock, and as Black Flag were a precursor to the genre, I thought maybe
According to Shingai, The Foals are ‘the most delectable manure in Britain.’ I liked her instantly with statements like that. Having the ability to translate ebonic meaning into the Queen’s is something I admire. It’s not dying on a cross or ratting on a T.V. scrounger - that’s a moral battle - but having the ability to manipulate a sentence is something rare in modern Britain, like finding a 13 year old who isn’t a total cunt, or reading an article that doesn’t compare Yannis’ vocal style to Alex Ounsworth from
‘It’s the conventional line up of Pollock, Bream and Chubb that powers the Noisettes’, according to Yannis. I didn’t agree. It was Gordon’s and Schweppes that powered Shingai at least, and she polished off everything I gave her like a ‘fabulous industrial cleaning machine’. lead singer Yannis would know something of Rollins, and there’d be nothing Noisettes counterpart Shingai couldn’t tell you about the flesh-based baker Meat. But as it turned out, neither could provide any conclusive evidence to support my theory, so they filled in the blanks of quotes about each other instead, and if you think you’re about to learn anything in the next 1000 words because I’ve stolen a game from QI, you should be as unemployable as I am.
Clap Your Hands Say Plagiarism. The Foals sound fuck all like Talking Heads, they sound something like math rock but they certainly don’t sound like ‘an afro-beat Don Cabellero’ as some twat from Franz Ferdinand described them. That’s like a Gabba Nick Drake or a Roots and Dub Screwdriver, they’re a fucking ‘Orwellian gout ridden enigma.’ The sort of sound they create can loosely be compared to Ian McKay’s Embrace and the less technical Emotional Hardcore, but
certainly a far cry away from the crimped fringed masturbatee you see standing in Barfly moaning about the packed lunch his mother made him instead of giving him dinner money he could spend on entering Enter Shikari’s bassist or buying digital bangles from Topshop. Don Cab are Savant when the Foals are Scientific Calculators, Math rock is ADD, Foals OCD. Shingai reckons you’d ‘have to have some serious calculations to get down on their frenzy’ but she also said ‘they’re like a counselling group for Jade Goody, unable to o find d aanyone ny ne to o bellydance with them.’ That was two hours before gig and be or ttheir e g g an d nine hours before we left eft DJ Food at The Mutty Wango party, but th that’s tale bu at aanother ot e ta e that pills and vodka has me o of. a rrobbed b dm
As they played Don’t Give Up, a girl I stood next to said she sounded like Alanis Morrisette. I spent the next ten minutes drying my crotch under a hand drier I was laughing so hard, and I was late for the second part of the The Foals interview, and didn’t have time to let Yannis decode his illegible penmanship before he and his band left for Paris or somewhere equally cool as I headed down the docks with Shingai in the freezing fucking cold.
could send me a postcard of post-modern piss and punitive alliteration and I’m sure you’d have made this easier for me to write. But we dig our own holes, and the Noisettes ‘couldn’t give an excrement about whether the tumour is the size of the great wall of China. They’re starting to enjoy it and are taking turns to prod it.’ I don’t know or give a fuck what that means, I’m not even sure it’s what he wrote, but he is right however it reads: records never make any sense, and just like Yannis’ sentences a e just us b in sstreams reams are blind of arbitrary adjectives, music is virtually i p ss bl to de sc ib impossible describe, like love, smack or child birth, c ild b rt something omet ing changes, something you y u don’t don t understand but you know that it’s happened. ap ened It can can be b good, bad or ugly. It cannot, however, have white eyelashes and white ey la hes an d it cannot explain how Bob Harris lost hiss Bob H ar is lo st h Anne Frank Complex and decided the Nazi’s were far enough away to speak at a normal volume. It can, however, uncover the truth of Henry and Meat, and although I haven’t explained why I hold these contentions - and it is certainly true that I am only in the initial stages of hypothesis - as the years wear on you will see what I mean.
I was late for the second part of the The Foals interview, and didn’t have time to let Yannis decode his illegible penmanship before he and his band left for Paris or somewhere equally cool as I headed down the docks with Shingai in the freezing fucking cold.
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We mainlyy talked shit about Eastenders ab ut E as ende s and Jerk Chicken, nothing of music because there isn’t anything as important as Eastenders and Jerk Chicken, not to a Bermondsey Rude girl. Shingai, as Yannis described, is ‘a lung based beauty...’ and her ‘orgasmic yelps’ will inevitably draw comparisons to the obvious, Polly Harvey et al, but the Noisettes will somewhat undeservedly, at least in my memory, be dubbed as angry vagina music and contrary to their musical categorisation, there are members with members in the band which should hopefully nullify a falsehood.
And that was the best place for us really. If you were in the Point in Cardiff Bay that night you would have seen this ‘boombastic perversion with sex and horns’ guzzling down gin like she had gills, and ‘it’s the conventional line up of Pollock, Bream and Chub that powers the Noisettes,’ according to Yannis. I didn’t agree. It was Gordon’s and Schweppes that powered Shingai at least, and she polished off everything I gave her like a ‘fabulous industrial cleaning machine.’ If you were at the gig, you
Words by Simon Roberts Photography by Lee Goldrup www.myspace.com/lee_goldup_photography
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Cansei De Ser Sexy Music is my hometown. My hometown is music. Is music my hometown? Three statements, the same four words: all meaning pretty much the same thing. Yes, the latter is a question, but indulge me; it’s rhetorical. Nothing’s changed really, but each statement is different; re-mixed, re-worked, reinvented; it keeps it fresh, exciting. So, when you’ve been touring the same set for 2 years and the enthusiasm wanes, just how much can you manipulate your music without leaving fans dazed and disorientated? Let’s cut back; music is my hometown, and it’s a great place to start, although discovering where CSS call home is a slightly greater
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challenge, “We’re touring so much now that we are like gypsies, we’re not staying anywhere.” That’s leadsinger Lovefoxxx – you’ve probably seen her clad in lycra and sprawled across a speaker or surfing over another sea of hands at another gig. It’s early evening as I join the homeless hipsters in a small dressing room somewhere in another city; after seven months on the road this could be anywhere. “I am homesick, I miss my own room and my own bathroom and my family and stuff but it’s not that I miss Sau Paulo, I just miss this personal stuff, it’s more the feeling of going home” adds unbearably relaxed guitarist Luiza, pushing curls from her face as she reclines on a plastic chair. Around the room everyone sits, separated by laptop screens and myspace pages, conversing occasionally in Portuguese or broken English. Olive skinned and swigging from bottles of Newcastle Brown Ale, they’re a geographic mash-up - so can they find a home in the virtual world? I’ve heard some electronic rumours that
CSS constructed their own success across the blogosphere? “Some of us, we used to work all day in front of computers” explains Lovefoxxx, “I would be online all the time, and when you’re working, you’re not really working for those eight hours, you’re just slacking. That’s how we started uploading our stuff, and before the band had songs we used to have a fotolog.” So from Sau Paulo they signed to Seattle based Sub Pop – that’s the power of the web, eh? Well, no, that’s the power of the Postal Service (pun intended). Having generated interest on the net, their manager reverted to stamp, parcel and pigeon to deliver, not mp3s, but compact discs (them shiny things) to many a record label. But there’s a b-side to the story which Lovefoxx tells with excitement; “A friend of ours was at the Sub Pop building and he saw that they were listening to a CD a lot, and then he saw the back of the CD and there was the logo for a Brazillian label so he was like ‘Man, why didn’t
you send me that CD because I was at the Sub Pop building and people were listening to that non-stop’ and then when Eduardo heard that he got in touch with them like ‘Hey, let’s do something!’”
“We were released by Sub Pop” adds Lovefoxx, her speech quickening with each word, “And it was so funny because, I remember at the beginning we used to write to everybody who
I really believe that we are very pop.
So, they signed a deal, released a single, snuck right in to the Sub Pop roster? “I think we stand out a lot” reasons Lovefoxxx with a faint smile, looking to Luiza; “They like the fact that we’re really ok with being pop. It’s funny coz they’re like ‘Do you want to do this thing on the radio?’ and we’re like ‘Yeh! Yeh sure!’ So it’s fun for them and for us and we really like each other as friends.”
the room. It seems as though the group didn’t just find the right label, but that CSS made Sub Pop the right label, brightening those eight hours a day in front of computers for their staff members. So, are CSS a pop band? It’s clear the nu-rave subject has been broached far too often as Lovefoxx prepares to reel off a defence; “I really believe that we are very pop. I don’t think that for my mum it’s pop. I think for her it must sound very weird, but I think that for us, it’s very pop.” But it’s a mix of pop in the broadest sense from a gang who’ve spent too much time in headphones.
I don’t think that for my mum it’s pop. I think for her it must sound very weird, but I think that for us, it’s very pop.
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works in there and leave drunk calls! We have a very nice relationship with them.” Eyes look up from screens and smiles cross faces around
“We used to have a party when the band started and there we would DJ all the stuff we listen to, like Beyonce, and different things” explains Luiza, “But we all get along on the dancefloor and, that’s how we met.” “We all get along on the dancefloor!” sings Lovefoxxx, cracking up, dancing in her seat. It’s not just the music that defines their pop, it’s the attitude; it’s fun, it’s a show. CSS are a live experience; fast, sweaty and fired up by a frontwoman with an infectious enthusiasm. But after seven months of playing the same songs, how can you maintain that enthusiasm? “We’re going to go to Brazil in March so we can rehearse a new show and start playing new songs because we cannot handle this show anymore!” exclaims Luiza, frustrated hand gestures exaggerating her point; “We’re going crazy with it! But it is a completely different show than we used to do” she adds, thinking.
Set on record in 2005, it’s only right to think that those eleven album tracks would have changed with the band over this last year; remixed, re-worked, re-invented. And they’re not afraid to play with the work of others, having
else like, ‘CSS SUXXX! CSS SUXXXX!’” shouts Lovefoxx, “And then the end would be like, ‘Yeh, we do, but we’re never gonna suck you!’ FUCK YOU, you fucking ugly journalist! Because it was a bunch of journalists saying bad things about us, but like massive bad things about us like ‘those girls are ugly as hell’ – what the hell?!”
CSS SUXXXX!.. Yeh, we do, but we’re
never gonna suck you!’ FUCK YOU, you fucking ugly journalist!
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previously re-mixed the likes of The Mules and label-mate Lonely, dear. Even Lily Allen’s after a slice of the decks for recent chart stormer, Alfie. Tonight CSS will come on stage covered in black cloth to album opener CSS Suxxxx, reworked with 2 Unlimited’s anthemic No Limit. This is how they perform an album live and it takes us back to Sau Paulo; “Originally, it was supposed to be for us to record something
What the hell?! It makes you wonder what the new material will focus on; the over-pricing at motorway service stations? How many keys sound-technicians really need? Whatever Britney’s done this week…. But maybe not Sau Paulo. Is music my hometown? Let’s take that rhetorical back and answer it with a resounding fuck yes. Words by Jen Long Photograhpy by Tim Cochrane www.timothycochrane.com
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Willy Mason â€œI always keep a pretty grand picture in the back of my head that I guess youâ€™d call idealist, but at the same time I operate... I operate within the rules of this society that I live in, you know, and uh, because I think that, at the moment, I can get more out of that. I think that makes sense.â€? 32
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talking to Willy Mason about changing the World. He tried it once. It worked. He’s not quite uite sure what changed, but he know knows it was inside same kid nside of himself, that he’s not the sa wrote Where the Humans Eat,t th who w the same kid who told us he’d help us breathe when whe we were ‘drowning and weak at the knees’. He’s seen a world outside of the dreams of an islander, imprisoned by the water that would always call him home, where reality jostles with ideals, stirring an ocean rougher than he could ever write about. Here is a man who understands that to put something of yourself into what you do is to make a commitment to reshape the things that surround you. At 19 years old he wanted the weight of the world on his shoulders. Now at 22, torn between the idealist of his youth and the realist the wider world has created, he has to decide which breath to exhale; the changing wind that he always swore he’d blow, or the resilient expel that says, ‘I made it, I’m still here’? For the month preceding this interview, Willy has been on the road. A living room tour around the UK has taken him far and wide, from a converted Mill in North West Wales to a tiny terraced house in London; the direct interaction with his audience, the “exchanging of ideas”, as he puts it, a bigger attraction to him than a place on a stage under a spotlight. He’s tired, but inspired. Long days driving and long nights partying have taken their toll, but also imbued him with a sense of meaning, an idea that this is how he’d like to see the future.
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Sitting in the Blue Post in Soho, following a typically and handsomely understated instore performance at Sister Ray down the road, I ask Willy about the living room tour, how he chose the venues and what he drew from it: “It was great. I had about 400 requests, and I picked out the most unusual ones. I tried to keep it mixed. Some in the city, some in the country, some with families, some with school kids, some with older people. They were all really good, all really different. I still haven’t really had time to digest it all. I made really good friends everywhere. People gave me books and cds, and I had really good nights with everybody. It was a little bit overwhelming, I ended up doing almost one every day in the end, so I ended up driving all day and partying all night. I’m trying to find out a way to do it that’s more of a sustainable thing, a way to... a way to kind of get to know a country, to know the people.” The son of folk singers Jemima James and Michael Mason, Willy moved to Martha’s Vineyard, a Massachusetts island off the tip of Cape Cod, when he was five, leading to the confused relationship with his home that would so heavily influence both Where the Humans Eat, and new long player, If the Ocean Gets Rough. His debut permeates his idea of hope that the world means more than the 90 square miles of rock he calls home, that the lucid images of outside he’d honed and perfected in his head since he was a child could exist. The current album is antithetical, the result of an imploring call home that rattled inside him as he wrote song after song on roads around the world. I asked him to explain this to me a little:
“I knew that when I was growing up, I grew up pretty quickly, you know, when I was like really young. I think part of that was because of an unstable household, I took on responsibilities that people my age didn’t always take on, and that made me want to get out of there, escape. But I think what happened is, you know, after enough travelling, at the rate that I was travelling, I was really seeing and learning a lot, so I was beginning to feel as though my legs were crippled, because actions I did one day didn’t always translate to the next day, you know, and it also felt like, after seeing everything I’d seen, I felt like I could, um, I had a stronger sense of wanting get reinforcements, like coming home, because I’d seen all his stuff, and now it’s like, I’m trying to get through it, you know, I’m trying to get to the other side of something” I suggested that he has changed a lot in the last three, four years. He agreed: “I think I grew up, you know. I think growing up I learned to rely on myself more, and realised I had to rely on myself. I couldn’t wait and depend on other people, I had to make things the way I wanted them to be, myself. And so, in doing that, starting with the personal, you know, getting to the point where I’m just living the way I want to be living at this time, and starting there, rather than forgetting about myself, and spreading myself out trying to fix all the problems in the world, the problems of my family, the problems of my friends, but actually sorting myself out to the point where I could actually be of use to them. To be efficient, and to have as many skills to help people as I can.” It sounds oxymoronic, concentrating on
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yourself in order to help others, but not only has it helped Willy work through his troubles, it has also shaped the new album, because through thinking about what he needed, he heard the first calls of home, deciding to involve his friends and family in the process. He explained to me why he decided to do this: “I kind of needed to have them around me. Because when you’re around people that you know, there are very subtle little ways that people rub off on each other, like when you walk into a room, the way you’re perceived has certain effects on you, one way or another, and I was trying hard to do a lot of growing, to cope with everything to see, and to do that it was helpful to have people around me whose perceptions were tempered by years and years of knowing me from the time I was a little baby.” The album was recorded on Longview Farm, Worcester, Massachusetts, a recording studio where his mother Jemima worked in the early eighties, cooking and cleaning for the likes of Arlo Guthrie, The Rolling Stones and John Bellushi. She sings on a couple of tracks, one being the morose folk march of We Can Be Strong, where her harmony on the chorus supports her son like a crutch. Brother Sam, as on the first album, plays drums throughout, and other friends pop in and out of the album like fleeting but always welcome visitors, reminding him how good it is to be home by the water, which plays such an important referential role on the album. He told me what water represented to him on the album: 36
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“It’s a lot of things in the record you know, it goes a lot of ways, but the main two things on my mind... like one thing is wanting to get home to the ocean, and then when I did get home the ocean was my rehabilitation from being on the road for so long, swimming in the water kind of like brought me back to life, and then at same time there’s a constant buzz of anxiety in the background of the ice caps melting and the water taking over everything.” This sense of helplessness at the hands of an automotive changing world explains a lot about Willy Mason and his pragmatic eagerness to save himself, hoping that by doing so he saves a few others on the way. It’s like he now understands how to change things. Look inside, not outwards. To finish the interview I asked him about his plans for the future. The realist spoke first: “It’s kind of vague you know, because I’m trying to juggle taking care of the family, working with the record business, making music and living my life. In the summertime I’m looking to get a bit more time to do some more house concerts, and I’m hoping to kind of level into more of the house concert things and, because when I’m doing that it’s a lot easier to research. When I got in to the business, I decided to join it for the sake of having a vehicle to travel in, to meet people, so I’m hoping to travel as much as I can to see the world, get to meet people, pick up ideas from them, see how they’re living, exchange ideas, ways of dealing with the world, and then at the same time, I’m going to work on the home front a bit, try to settle my family into a fairly sustainable place, both ecologically and financially, try and get a little business
going with my father, it’s like an online retailer which we might turn into a record label and see where it goes from there you know.” And then the idealist: “I think that culture is going to become more localised, you know, and I’d like to be there on the front line of that. I went to Berlin and I felt the closest that probably I’ve ever been to like, the fucking kingdom walls, you know what I’m saying? Because like in Berlin, there’s still a squatter village in the middle of the city. And nobody bothers them, you know, and I’d like to seek out those front lines and see how far I can look past them and at the same time kind of document it, meet people, try to get people excited about being from where they’re from instead of... when I grew up on the island, it was like, all this incredible music and art and stuff going-on on the island, but nobody feels like it’s valid. Because only people know about it on the island it doesn’t mean anything because it’s not on the tv, and people don’t know about it in New York City and shit. That’s just a couple of ideas you know, it’s changing all the time. It’s hard to have time to keep everything balanced you know, trying to do what I have to do, take care of business, hold myself down a bit without fucking jumping ship.” I left the interview confident that he wouldn’t. Willy Mason: Musician, son, realist, idealist. He breathed in deeply and everything was different. Photograhpy by Tim Cochrane www.timothycochrane.com
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You’re born. You live. You die. It’s a pretty deﬁned timeline from Zero to Zilch. But every so often, something on your doomed journey from dust to dust shakes your little world up so much that, like an Arthur Daley motor, the clock goes back to the start. You ain’t half-way dead anymore, you’re a bald-balled newborn and this is a whole new fucking dawn.
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The first time you got drunk on cider or the first time you took a bad trip and thought your mum was your prom date. They’re the personal equivalents of the Kennedy assassination or the moon landing; you know where you were and you know there’s no going back to your old life knowing what you know now. Whether you lost inhibition, innocence or your anal fucking virginity, things just ain’t like the old days. Some records do this to you. The Kings of Leon make such records. Rewind the clock back to 2003 if you will. The success of The Strokes has opened the floodgates for a shitstorm of copycat bands to come over here and steal the hearts and wallets of the kids. But then along came the Kings of Leon; not just for our hearts and wallets, but for our souls. Raised by a Pentecostal preacher on the roads of the Deep South, the Followhills moved from hick town to hick town in the back
of a purple banger bus singing in choirs and rocking at rodeos while Pops spread the good word. It was this grounding in soulful style and country kicks, mixed with raw rock n roll, that made Youth and Young Manhood such a rip it up and start again record. That summer from every party, every car, every disco, you could hear Molly’s Chambers or Red Morning Light playing loud, hard and fast. And on repeat. Amongst the slew of new young hopefuls, Kings of Leon stood proud. I caught up with Nathan, who told me about those days: “The way we looked at the time of the first record, with the beards and the hair, kinda fitted with the sound of the record which worked well I suppose. In those days, it was all about the story behind us, of how we’d grown up and our dad and all that.” And so onto the difficult second album. After YAYM got played ‘til the grooves ran
loose, Nathan told me the simple philosophy behind the next long player “With Aha Shake Heartbreak we just wanted to get the taste of the first album out of everyone’s mouths.” As contemporaries faded away or burned less bright, the Kings of Leon went for the ultimate mid-show costume change; they shaved the beards off. While the buzz-cut was the beginning of the end for Samson, the new clean-cut saw the band add expansiveness and maturity to their old breakneck rawk without losing any of the Southern Swagger that made us love them in the first place. Songs like Slow Night, So Long and Milk built and built to crescendos and displayed a fragility that had lain hidden under the hair until now. New look, new levels to the sound, same old fucking results. Fast forward to Spring 2007. The clock’s moved on two and a half years and it’s ticking its last before being thrown out of the window
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Forget about old times, they’re gone and you can’t change them. You can control the new times and Kings of Leon can control them with you.
by forthcoming album Because of the Times. Nathan tells me about the new record: “It has lots of love songs on it…but not conventional ones.” Damn straight. Opener Knocked Up is a seven minute spine-tingler; all layered guitars and drums leading to vocals declaring to-fuck with what her mother says, the baby stays. Charmer sees Caleb scream as if possessed about some trashy broad (a “nice little ditty” Nathan tells me), while The Runner is a paean to talking to the Lord in those hard times. Nathan reckons the themes of the three albums have evolved: “The first record was about the things we wanted to do, the second record was about the things we did…” I finish Nathan’s sentence “…so is the third record about the things you wish you didn’t do?” “Yeah, you could say that….”. The new collection of songs is the work of a ballsy band comfortable with what they do. Nathan explains “We feel like a new band. We were much more confident in the
studio this time around and would do things like layer Caleb’s vocals or play around with the guitars. We were trying things we wouldn’t have before because on the first two albums we were trying too hard not to fuck up.” Make sure you catch them when they head out across the UK to tour the album this summer. I saw them on the last tour. Someone punched me in the mouth and ripped my new shirt. It was that kind of night. One of the best shows I’ve ever been too. Having been on the road almost their whole lives, Nathan tells me how they’re old hands at the game: “When you’re out on the road with your crew, you’re in your own little world. You get a spirit kinda like commandoes. It’s like Gulf Tour Syndrome. Touring as a band is kinda similar to before. Moving on all the time, only staying in a place for a small amount of time... Except now it’s much easier to meet people ‘cos you have a great big bus to go back and hang out on. We would have to invite people round and get
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‘em in the back of our dad’s van before, which wasn’t quite as good.”
With every album, Kings of Leon plough the old genres of hillbilly rock, head-down indie and soul and blues, but somehow manage to breathe new life into the formula every time. “You can put the same album out time after time, but you’re only gonna get the same kids buying it” says Nathan “We want all the 70 year old moms buying this record.” I’m left with a final rallying cry “Forget about old times, they’re gone and you can’t change them. You can control the new times and Kings of Leon can control them with you.” It’s time to reset the clock again. The next stage in your life’s about to begin… Words by Dan Tyte Illustrations by Ellie Stevenson www.eakdesign.com
RICHARD JAMES THE SEVEN SLEEPERS DEN MY KUNG FU
SHIT DISCO KINGDOM OF FEAR FIERCE PANDA
THE MULES SAVE YOUR FACE KARTEL
THREATMANTICS DON’T CARE CIWDOD
TIGER FORCE A WASP IN A JAR MARQUIS CHA CHA
EUROS CHILDS BORE DA WICHITA
FIELD MUSIC TONES OF TOWN MEMPHIS INDUSTRIES
SILICON VULTURES SILICON VULTURES CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY
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me tell you about Bo Boom Bip’s new P, yeah. It hasn’t even b EP been released et. No, not the one w yet. with Gruff Rhys hat’s not even finished and anyway that’s th t’ ffar ttoo new ffor this early on that’s in the article, (already the new is getting old). Right where were we again? Oh yes, Boom Bip’s new one, it’s a solo five tracker entitled, SACCHRILEGE, which he has rather sacrilegiously spelt wrong. I’m already under the impression this Boom Bip character is going to be a bit of a handful but speaking to the man himself Bryan Hollon, I am, all at once, pleasantly surprised. It’s beautiful morning where he is, in Echo Park, Los Angeles. He moved there from Cincinnati, Ohio a few years back. It’s a picturesque part of a slick city and as he ambles through breakfast and papers, he’s pensive about rehearsal this afternoon. Half his band is off to SXSW, leaving them only a week to get the set right for the forth-coming European tour. Did I say band? Yes, I know he’s famous for his ultra fine experimental hip-hop electronica but he plays it with a band. Bryan Hollon was just a regular kid once, into Sonic Youth, Hendrix, Bowie, playing drums in the garage annoying the neighbours, but by 1992 about the same time Warp Records was forming across the pond, he was playing his own blend of Madsract music on WAIF 88.3FM. An all volunteer community radio station with the motto “what radio is meant to be” which shared its frequency with the local school channel and as such only broadcast from 3pm to 8am on a school night. There are only five such radio stations like it in America, a non-profit organisation; of the
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people, by the people and for the people they’re rare precious jewels in this day and age. And so is this guy, such gracious ideals would set him straight for the future, to be what he was meant to be. It wasn’t long before Boom Bip was on everybody’s lips. Playing in coffee houses and small clubs but his ability to put together complex textures and unique intricacies with floor filling Jazz and Hip-Hop would set him
“Well, life’s not a competition and if two people are up to the same thing, then they probably have a lot in common, and I’m all for that” apart from his contemporaries and soon enough the offers were rolling in. Unprovoked, he confesses to deliberately doing weird in the early days so to stand out, be interesting and side step the mainstream. It’s an honest declaration but essential to his cause because it’s the little eccentricities that makes music extraordinary. When a DJ mixes familiar tunes with an unfamiliar beat or vice versa, its fond memory and new excitement that satisfy the listener. Boom fast went from local hero to signed artist with the release of
Low End Sequence on Mush Records, way back in 1998. But the sampling and mixing staple of a DJ soon became redundant for a guy who exudes originality and after years of genre defining work, He realised a long time ago that re-using old beats was not expressing his own environment but someone else’s. He wanted to be free of comparison, to be judged by his own merits and ideas and so fearlessly wiped the slate clean and started anew. Boom’s style of music evidently comes from his compassionate view of the world we live in. He is aware of the complimentary colours in nature as well as the unacceptable ones and he willingly combines them to create a new inflection, regardless of the result. Fortunately this mad professor has his procedure under control and whether his music is ambient in its delivery or bitingly abrasive, there is still a real sense of harmony at its core. He had by now cemented himself as the flagship sound of Lex Records -Warp’s deliberately prettier sister, with the release of his debut solo album Seed to Sun in 2002. His earlier work Circle with Dose One, was a genre-defining masterpiece, John Peel famously hailed him the new Captain Beefheart. After that he was in the position to work with his pick of amazing musicians and producers, we’re talking Four Tet, Boards of Canada and Mogwai, but perhaps the most important connection was on made on a tour of America in 2003 with Super Furry Animals. It began with a remix on Phantom Phorce, followed by Do’s and Don’ts with Gruff Rhys, which was eventually released as a limited edition 7 inch, due to popular demand. Everyone agreed the two should
record a whole album together, but for now they were too caught up in there own nets to find the time. BB went on to release Blue Eyed in the Red Room and Gruff turned out Candylion, which would confirm what Bryan already knew about his new friend, that he was a good man and true. With Boom Bip’s harder, faster SACCHRILEGE EP about to be released, I wonder why the sudden return to the darker side? “Well, all my records have a different direction but they all call come from the same place”, he says, and he’s convinced me, adding “And there are so many options now, I’m spoiled for choice.” I imply that there is no new anymore, that everything has been touched upon at some point. “You make it sound so depressing”, he says solomnly. That’s the last thing I want but I can’t help feeling that the future is fleeting and somehow somewhere someone is about to do what you thought only you were doing. “Well, life’s not a competition and if two people are up to the same thing, then they probably have a lot in common, and I’m all for that” Bryan freely admits taking inspiration for some of his work from a book called Bahai Life by Jessyca Russell Gaver. The Bahais believe in one nation, under god, incorporating all nations to make one race, the human race. Seems obvious really, but this kind of reading has probably gone some way to help him maintain the high ideals, he has been striving for all his life. With every new record come new expectations, will it be better or different from the last? 44
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“It’s like the Madonna Syndrome, you have
to keep constantly reinventing yourself. Obviously no-one takes it as far she does but then I don’t need to”
“It’s like the Madonna Syndrome, you have to keep constantly reinventing yourself. Obviously no-one takes it as far she does but then I don’t need to”
That’s the thing with Intelligent Dance Music, it has a brain, plus it’s absence from the mainstream means it doesn’t have much of a persona to alter - Boom Bip has made it onto magazine covers but he doesn’t make his living out of it. This kind of music almost stealth’s its way into your heart, you hear it on adverts and computer games, most listeners probably never identify the author but that’s probably all about to change. This SACCHRILEGE EP and tour will see Boom Bip stand and be counted among the prevailing new wave of new rave. You can find his tour dates on his myspace and website. Check him out. Just before you go, there is at last word of that other even more new record in the pipeline, the one that has got people so excited it has almost overshadowed his latest work already. It’s called Neon Neon, it’s so new they had to name it twice. Neon being the Greek for new but of course you already knew that, you probably already know about all things new. But in case you’re so up to the minute that you can’t remember anything because all your thoughts are constantly replaced by new ones - here’s the low down; Neon Neon is the new project by Gruff Rhys and Boom Bip, it features vocal contributions from Pharcyde’s Fat Lip. Spank Rock and choral arrangements from Magic Numbers, to name a few. It’s not even finished yet but while you wait, why don’t you make friends with them on myspace.com/neonx2. Words by Laura Byding-Citizen Illustrations by Steve Fessey www.insearchofsalvation.co.uk
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Gideon Conn I love my job, I really do, Iâ€™m a lucky girl. I work in Spillers Records, the oldest record shop in the world, and one of my most loved aspects is our in-stores. Imagine, some of your favourite bands coming to play in your place of work, itâ€™s great, and a couple of weeks ago I had a call asking if a gentleman by the name of Gideon Conn could come play in our shop.
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I was curious; I liked his name (it doesn’t take much to arouse my inquisitiveness!), but I have to admit it was a new one on me. I asked a few peeps ‘in the know’ and was regaled with tales of captivated audiences at Manchester’s In The City last year. One of the wowed masses was Huw Stephens, who quickly gave Gideon a Maida Vale session (and deservedly so).That was good but I wanted more, alas all I got was ‘’Oh he’s fab, very quirky’’. Alarm bells usually ring when I here such descriptions but I kept my mind open.
Ok, so we’ve established how much we enjoyed hearing him, but I haven’t given you much to go on as far as actual sound goes. It’s a tough one! His sound is pretty unique. Sunny; happy go lucky songs with a sprinkling of rude boy, hip-hop flavourings and a smattering of jazz smoothness that was a million miles from naf. All this was delivered in a dead-pan, yet sincere style. His lyrics
The gig saw more humorous and idiosyncratic lyrics from Gideon, enhanced by a very versatile bunch of musicians. Gideon filled me in, ‘’I met them at Salford uni, but can’t remember where the other one came from! They are a diverse bunch of multiinstrumentalists’’ Having this diversity serves Gideon’s music well, his appeal is that he hasn’t set out to meet any kind of musical stereotype, he doesn’t want to stick to one genre. Having songs that aren’t about just one type of sound, and band members that can adapt with him is what makes it work, he explained. How refreshing!
Only those of you with the
stoniest of hearts will leave without a smile on your face.
Consequently, I was severely uninitiated in the ways of Gideon p on a typically yp y when he walked into our shop wet, grey, miserable Friday. I was greeted g man with a great by a smiley, polite young i uss some ome jumper who said he’d come tto sing songs. And he did, and bloody well too. He g took to the palette we proudlyy call a stage and entertained and enthralled us, I had a grin on my face for the entire 20 minutes or so inning I was he played, and when I wasn’t g grinning ‘awwwing’ or being hugged by Dad who was equally charmed. Now that’s a major point . Very little new music excitess Dad. In his opinion few today compare to the greats of that ‘bygone era’; The Dead, Neil Young, John a si s the h Cale , old blues and rock and ro rolll classics, soulsters…………..
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g y are honest tales of everyday life, if a slightly surreal, dreamlike life (in my opinion the best kinda life to inhabit!).Gideon told me his lyrics k with h the h dog, usually form during llong walks or after extended soaks in the bath, which e d yd e m like ik e ss n e helps explain ttheir daydream essence. Before his gig later that night I was touched witn ssing ng him quietly drawing T The Silve witnessing Silver Spurs during their support slot. I asked him if this was a way of calming pre gig nerves b e explained x a ned how h j d sketching k butt he he enjoyed gigs as it was an expressive way to capture the atmosphere, and also a nice memento p ci ttimes. m s G e n w ebsit h as loads o d off special Gideon’s website has more of his pictures; it’s his bread and butter at the moment. Painting to pay the bills!
One of myy favourite songs is one he calls Londonderry. In it he asks a girl ‘Why don’t we p payy each other for a hug’. I can’t imagine anyone who hears this man’s music not wanting to give him a hug. Gideon’s world sseems eems a ni e pla nice place to be, surreal, trippy and heart-warming. Only those of you with the stoniest of hearts will leave without a smile on your ur face. He’s one of those types who restore your faith in humanity. An astute comic genius with a good heart and a h plethora off great songs. Words by Grace Todd Self S lf Portrait P by b Gideon G deon Conn C www.gideonconn.com
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Ivan Smagghe If you’re reading this and know the name Ivan Smagghe, chances are you’re the kind of person who might - over the last 12 months - have shook some booty to the crossover electro-indiedisco sounds of Justice versus Simian’s peak time wailer We Are Your Friends, Fedde Le Grand’s dirt bass Put Your Hands Up For Detroit, the D Ramirez remix of Bodyrox’ Yeah Yeah or more recently the unavoidable Gossip’s I Will Survive for our generation,
Standing In The Way Of Control
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(Headman remix, of course). If you haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about, don’t worry. Hopefully this insightful and informative interview with bookloving, bullshit-hating Ivan will shed some light on the subject for you...
The current indie-dance crossover wave has breathed much-needed life back into a dance industry dominated by Ministry of Sound compilations and Hed Kandi reunions; likewise putting the fun back into listening to indie again (shoegaze twindy nu-folk, anyone?). For those of us who’ve been keeping the dance music fires gurning in the interim, the new attention is both exciting but also unwelcome. Like when the band you discovered on John Peel suddenly started getting played on the Evening Session (gutting). But if you’ve been DJing for over fifteen years - prior to that a music journalist - then radio host and producer, you’ve probably got a pretty good insight into the genre. So Kruger decided to target Ivan Smagghe for brain pickings. Parisian, ex-Rough Trade employee, Jesus-a-like, posing on CD covers as half of the androgynous Dysfunctional Family (along with gender bending French DJ Chloe), add a Fabric mix here and the phenomenal dark disco of Blackstrobe there (of which he forms half - although we’ll come to that later) … and we’ve found our man. On a frosty spring night in deepest, darkest Cardiff (well - the top end of Queen Street, more accurately) Ivan Smagghe played to a sold out Cool House, which is where we actually found our man. Having flown from Glasgow where he played a gig the night before at the Arches (he doesn’t appear to have been to bed since either), he’s a formidable sight: all angles, glossed with the sweating dirt of hundreds of people dancing in front of him, foaming slightly at the mouth, eyes rolling and mouthing out the sounds of the tunes he puts on (mostly vinyl but a CD here and there). The
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gig is awesome: everybody’s moving, the dance floor is rammed as the music dips and dives from deep progressive beats to thunderously bleepy electro. Everyone goes fucking mad for two and a half hours, and might have continued going mad had some eager local residents not elbowed Smagghe off the decks 40 minutes after he was due to stop. I was a little surprised at the interruption to his set: when so clearly on a journey with the music, why make him stop? I’m not sure that stopping your headlining DJ just because you want to have a go would have been promoting etiquette five years ago. But then dance music culture has changed considerably since then. Or is it him? “I’ve changed a lot actually,” he says. “At some point, the whole nightlife thing may have fooled me to the point of thinking it was a “way of life”. What a load of bollocks! I am ten times more happy thinking it’s a job, because it leaves much more room for everything else: my life with the girl I love, movies, books, what ever you want. I love music, but night life can be pretty shallow! Not always, but often. Music still is key to me, “club music” still is a kick sometimes but you just see it differently after a while.” He should know. He’s been doing it long enough. Having DJed in a breathtaking list of cities, across the world. When asked about how electronic music scene differs geographically, his answer betrays a man who sounds like he’s seen his fill. “England is surely the place where music is culturally the most important, but also where it has become a capitalist product in its fullest form. I could quote millions of details: Berlin is unattractive to me because it has no edge: people do not need to work as it’s cheap
as hell, they just party, make minimal music without any social content in trendy cafés and take pills until Wednesday. Italy has changed a lot: from a glitzy funky house dictatorship to baseball caps and “minimale” house, Portugal still has the hardest late morning parties, especially in the north, French people still have no clue about music ... and then, each town, each club is different really. I don’t think the national determinant is the most significant one.”
When Richie Hawtin uses all he can to make something incredible, I clap my hands. When a paid DJ downloads on Beatport because it costs him less, and uses Final Scratch because he can’t be bothered carrying his record box, I can’t support. Technology is fine when you actually use it for something else than your little comfort.” And amen, says Kruger. The dialogue between vinyl and CD/MP3 is
vinyl sounds better and looks nicer talk” does not move me either. It’s just what I’ve been using for years, but I am not an evangelist.” It’s clear he loves what he does. Maybe he just wants to stop talking about it. To finish off, I decide to steer the conversation away from music and to his (non-musical) influences. He says there’s far too many to mention. “I read a lot, watch even more movies (but no TV). subjects of interest come and go. I’ve been bred on classic Hollywood and still read a lot of weird history books, but anything worth my while really. Very few things actually related to music though, apart from Jim Dodge who is the only rock n’roll writer I know.”
“At some point, the whole nightlife thing may
His indifference at “important” locations for music culture seems to underlie this Kruger reporter’s feeling that he’s getting tired of the constant probing into a world he’s inhabited for so long. Especially here in the UK, where music as capitalist product seems interested only in jumping between easily marketable, flash-in-the-pan fads (Britpop/liquid funk/nu rave, anyone?). Maybe we’ve just caught him on a bad day, but this extends to answers we try to glean about recording the forthcoming (or is it?) Blackstrobe album (apparently recording the album has proved a very difficult experience and he wants to take some distance with the project right now). Erm, right then.
have fooled me to the point of thinking it
was a “way of life”. What a load of bollocks! I am ten times more happy thinking it’s a job, because it leaves much more room for everything else
But (luckily for me) he’s very forthcoming when asked whether he think Djing will start moving towards only using new technologies. “I think it probably will. I draw the line on creativity.
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a lively one in DJ culture. Part of the reason people argue in favour of vinyl is the physical form; DJ Pinch made the point well, when he said that on vinyl, music becomes a tangible thing that the DJ manipulates to create a journey, and become part of the music themselves. Smagghe falls (so I’ve heard) in the traditional camp with regards this debate, so I decide to ask him about it. “I suppose this come from age and culture,” he responds. “I’ve been buying records since I’m 11 and I’m 35. Of course, I always rediscover records but I am not a vinyl fetishist, and the whole “journey,
And what about the best best book he read last year? “Hedi kaddour, Waltenberg... but it’s only in French.” Of course it is. We decide it’s probably time for Ivan (bless him) to get some rest. He wanders off to find his hotel, while Kruger, fighting the sunrise, heads off in search of one of those Portuguese late morning parties. Words by Helia Phoenix Photgraphy by Mei Lewis www.meilewis.com
issue 13 layout.indd 53 2/4/07 15:40:21
>>>>>> > >>>>>> >>>>
MAGAZ INE I N G L >>>>>> ESCLUB >>>>>> >>>>> >>
>>>>>>> >>>>>> EXCLU FREE D SIVE OWNLO AD SIN KRUGE GLE R
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“The only religion that’s
proven, ok, everything else is based on myth and legend, ok, it’s not science, they want you to believe in an afterlife, that’s a promise, of paradise after you’re dead, but that’s like having to ask your dad if you can borrow the car, and it’s even worse, it’s like having to ask dad for the car when your dead, and it’s hard to drive when you are dead, and it’s even harder to get a date, so that’s no good, I’m offering you the keys to your own car.”
These are the words of
dressed as a small girl, priest or a tranny PE teacher, Conn always raises the bar of lyrical opulence, and with his band (Including wife Monica Boubou on violin) The Glass Gypsies weaves a sound that pilfers from the finest prog to the finest punk. The eight minute epic Vanitas that kicks off his latest opus shows no change in tact. “Well, we wanted to continue our tradition of expansive and ambitious noise,” reveals Conn in his reassuringly relaxed tone that kind of hits somewhere between an Illinois self-help guru and a deviant preacher man. “So why not have an eight minute fried epic as the first track on a new record, I mean if you don’t get it then you probably shouldn’t be listening in the first place and you’re an asshole.” Following a spell in 80’s prog band Conducent, Conn went solo and immediately impacting with a brace of EPs and a wild live show drenched in kitch comedy that has made total and no sense. Following his breakthrough album Rise Up, Conn has remained with the Chicago
Bobby Conn ...or Jeffrey Stafford, to his family, self proclaimed antichrist to fans, found on his sixth and latest album King for a Day, where the Chicago based one-man indie salmon, swimming against the tide of trad rock is found in all his David-Koresh-meets-David-Bowie glory. For those unaware, the diminutive Conn has been responsible for some of the most eclectic, mind bending and wonderful music for over ten years, and now, he’s back. Conn is a beacon of reinvention and beguiling innovation - whether
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label Thrill Jockey and subsequent albums, The Golden Age, Homeland and King for a Day have always explored religion, fanaticism and the more nutbar realms of Uncle Sam’s utopia, whilst leaping into territory his peers are afraid to tread. “Religion is a fascination of mine,” reveals
Conn, “especially in the States, and the hold it has over so many people’s lives, some of it is pretty weird and that is what I like to weave in with my views on contemporary society.” When suggested King for a Day offers a more upbeat and optimistic than say the dark and doomed Golden Age Conn is somewhat taken a back. “Wow, I would never think of it as uplifting, I always write with thoughts of the apocalypse never far from my mind. The Golden Age was pretty heavy in terms of the sentiment and this record is just carrying on that theme with a slightly different perspective. Y’know, my outlook has changed slightly since becoming a father, but I never stray far from the ‘we’re all doomed’ sentiment, so y’know Bobby Conn is always fun for all the family. “It’s been well documented how I feel about the current administration,” states Conn, “I mean I don’t actually want the to guy to fail - I look at Bush with a degree of pity, something I tried to convey in Homeland. With Bush in charge I think the feelings of fear have totally turned to a degree of pity, trying to see where this guy has gone wrong with all the things like Hurricane Katrina and obviously Iraq and Afghanistan. “I mean, say with Kosovo, Bush would have done nothing. Simple as that. Despite all Clinton’s faults, at least he was responsible in part for intervening, but Bush would have completely ignored the issue, in many ways the problems in Kosovo have direct comparisons with the Katrina disaster and show what a dick we have in charge.”
The omnipresent issue of MySpace is something that has been embraced by the shape shifting and genre merging Conn, and has allowed him to delve into his fan base, and, like any good preacher man, keep abreast of new kids on the scene. “The whole MySpace phenomena has definitely been a positive,” enthuses Conn, “I admit I’ve only recently grasped the whole concept and the idea that random people can get in touch directly is intriguing and scary at the same time. I have found it to be great to get new stuff out there to a new and old audience alike and it’s nice to be able to cut out the bullshit and communicate directly. I have actually discovered some great new artists, including some beautiful Welsh language stuff, the name escapes me.” Conn and his awesome troupe of Glass Gypsies will be unleashing their stuff on an unsuspecting Blighty public, throughout the year, and this promises to be a spectacle that should not be missed. “Yeah, myself and Monica played Bristol a while ago, we had problems getting all the Glass Gypsies with us so it’s great to have the full band in the UK. I love playing the UK, unfortunately I seemed to have missed the recent Big Brother thing, so hopefully something similarly insane will be along to accompany our tour.”
“I always write with thoughts of the apocalypse never far from my mind”
Words by James W Roberts Illustrations by Hannah Truran www.hannahtruran.co.uk
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Death, love, the rising tide of anxiety in the modern world. Welcome to the church of The Arcade Fire: where passion and fear are coupled with exuberance and joy in a melee of instruments and a cacophony of the finest noise you have ever heard. Take a pew kids, and prepare to kneel: if there is one message to cling to here, it’s that it rarely gets better than this. They would hate you for saying it, but comparing watching The Arcade Fire to a religious experience isn’t that far off the mark. When they come out tonight, to the backdrop of a monochrome video of an evangelical preacher, the stage buffered by red neon strip lighting, there is a palpable sense of anticipation: a sense that tonight could change your life. Or at least, that this is a band who very rarely fails to deliver something which has the power to both make your hairs stand on end and be unable to sit still. They might have swapped the real churches for the grander confines of Brixton Academy, but when it comes to the delivery, they are clearly already preaching to the converted. Bounding straight into the Springsteen-tinged Keep The Car Running, it’s easy to see why. Quite simply, there just isn’t anyone else who can combine the intricate with the grandiose, the subtle shuffle with the all out footstomping circus and the thoughtful lyric with the guy running around the stage slamming his head into a drum. Usually all at the same time. It can look a mess – but it’s a glorious one to listen to. The lights dim, and you can only make out the shadows behind the neon glow as front man Win Butler kicks off Black Mirror, a slow-burner more Bad Seeds than The Boss. The foot has come off the gas, but it’s an indicator of their new material: brooding at times, anxious at others, less immediate but more developed than before. Their power lies in the genre-busting switch which each member, be it on accordion, keyboard, horn or god knows what seems to have and wield at every given opportunity. Crown Of Love begins in waltz time, ambling around the walls of the Brixton Academy before combusting into a last minute Motown extravaganza, and when Win tells the crowd to help him and his infected sinus’s out with Neighborhood 1 (Tunnels), they suddenly become adept at the thousands strong sing-a-long. Likewise, Rebellion (Lies) sees Regine (Mrs. Butler) throttling the drums through uplifting key-changes and
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The politically tinged Windowsill begins low-key with acoustic guitar and the string section, before evolving into a full band affair – it’s angst and unease captured perfectly in Win’s straining vocals. It’s a new string to The Arcade Fire’s already burgeoning bow: a pleasing distrust in the modern world and it’s relentlessness – made clear by the bands shift from joyous high stings and carnival spirit to somber musing. There is a definite swing from the innocence of past efforts to an all-together darker and bitter creature – one that revels in overwrought melodrama and a good dose of cynicism. They finish tonight with the suitably anti-climatic Neon Bible, band members tearing the pages out of pamphlets in time to the drumbeat. As the paper hits the floor, a solemn Butler casts an eye across his flock and grins: the world might be coming apart at the seams, but devotion like this must make it all worth while. Chris Saunders
Brixton Academy 15/03/2007
near to maniacal fervor from the band and the fans. If you don’t have goose bumps by now, there really is no hope for you at all.
The Arcade Fire
B.R.M.C + The Killers
Manchester Academy 05/03/2007
The Point, Cardiff 01/03/2007
Glasgow SEC 22/02/07
The Thekla Social 24/02/2007
We’ve all heard Amy Winehouse. A lot. She is ubiquitous at the moment, winning best female artist at the Brits, and with a radio and TV presence reserved for a very select few. It is difficult to get through the day without hearing Rehab, either on record, or sung by teenage girls on the night bus. Many who have been in her position before have very quickly found their cultural omnipresence snatched from them due to tiresome overkill. Winehouse will thrive, however, because she is a formidable singing talent, a writer of classic soul numbers, and has a particularly appealing line in breezy mid-sixties nostalgia. When she manages to turn up for gigs, she is also a charismatic live singer, delivering a record-quality vocal performance even in the smoky and crowded Academy in Manchester. Her audience is a bizarre mish-mash of emo-haircuts, middle-class lecturer types, and transients, but all are unified by a love of Winehouse¹s music. They play a couple songs from her debut Frank (including a lively rendition of Fuck Me Pumps as part of the encore), and two covers (the Zutons’ Valerie, and Monkey Man by Toots & The Maytals), but the majority of the set is made up from her stratospherically successful Back To Black. Her band is funkier in the flesh, with familiar material transformed through enthusiastic playing into mid-seventies funk work-outs. Perhaps this will be her future direction. Predictably, Rehab and Back To Black bring people leaping to the stage front, but there is no respite in audience enthusiasm throughout. DO
The aim of the game is to dance to your arse off and get as drunk as a sailor and whilst this may only be implausible if you’ve; A) Lost your anus in the Falklands; Or B) Don’t have blood that the booze can circulate through; It seems fairly inevitable when given the variables and spending time with what are arguably the best live act on the Island, we were all winners, even the dude in the wheelchair with sick all down his front. SR
Although the American backlash against The Killers’ new album ‘Sam’s Town’ endeared them to me no end, you’ve got to do more than just enrage the American media with an overproduced-but-alrightalbum to make a point to this girl’s mind. Having not checked the listings properly, I was horrified to find BRMC the supporting act: nudged on and booted off smartish. After an eternity of projected Gary Numan music vids, The Killers came on, and ran through the motions of their unenthused set, although they improved towards the end. Altogether an Antiques Roadshow of gigs. HM
As the years pass, I’ve developed a worrying fondness for whiskey. I don’t know whether it’s a taste that comes with age - truth be told I tend to hit the bottle after I’ve sunk at least three or four beers. But it warms you so, and after a good few hours solid drinking I weaved across the car park like a juvenile taking their cycling proficiency test. Nights at the (wonderfully refurbished) Thekla have a tendency to end in total blackouts or arguments with girlfriends in the car park, or at least one person being sick on someone else (if it’s a particularly good night, count on multiple retchees). Tonight was no different. Support act the Bishops were excellent although I think I might have annoyed the singer by constantly shouting ‘Marmite!’ in the breaks between tracks. Maybe it was the booze, but Little Barrie’s set seemed to be over awfully quickly. ‘Cash In’ was a most enjoyable romp, and even though the set touched on slower, get-your breath-back moments mostly my memories are of a boat full of people pogoing to glory when the band went off, reappeared briefly for a thunderous encore (which I think included ‘Pay To Join’ and old skool Barrie ‘Free Salute’, although they could have been playing Abba covers by that point and I’d have been none the wiser) - and then disappeared. I came round outside, alone, sat on the curb, marvelling at the band’s jeans - the tightest I’d ever seen. Not phat, but sooooper skinny. TD
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The USA is a Monster Dempseys, Cardiff 07/03/07 Nuclear missiles could be raining down outside and The USA Is A Monster’s pedal-stomping guitarist would still be oblivious, trance face in place, mouthing into thin air, sending out his own sonic shockwaves. As it is, imminent threats of noise complaint-facilitated heddlu interventions are the only worry he’s unaware of, but dishevelled dreadlocks and unfussy dress sense straight from the 2007 I Live In A Transit Van range positively scream “Fuck the police” regardless. It matters little that the whacked out spazz-prog duo busting outta similar Brooklyn districts as Notorious BIG did years before don¹t know the trouble they¹re causing. For as they line-up one final structural assault, even the undead would appreciate such a magnificent racket. AA
New Young Pony Club 100 Club, London 08/03/07 NYPC combine my favourite things sexy birds, moody blokes, speaky vocals, punky cowbells: score! At this super trendy soldout gig at London’s premier mincing ground, the 100 club, the music’s great & the crowd are going mental. NYPC are New Yawk through and through which depending on personal preference is AWESOME / monotonous after a while. NYPC are Marmite: smear them all over yourself and dance on the tables, or lurk around the back thinking ‘am i bovvered?’ looking for underaged girls to molest. When in doubt, clap! TD
St Davids @ Spitz
Forward Russia! + Cursive
Bat for Lashes
Spitz, London 01/03/07
Bierkeller, Bristol 04/03/06
RNCM, Concert Hall 07/03/07
Manchester Academy 10/03/07
I’m at the bar, and I can hear fucking Welsh accents! In the middle of London! I’ve been here nearly 10 cocking months, and I didn’t realise how much I’d missed that beautiful lilt. Julia Harris is as sweet as she’s always been (except bigger and hairier), cracking a few jokes. She plays a few classics even, but can’t quite seem to gel with the crowd until Beatbox Fozzy takes the stage with her. He does a bit on his own, doing an entirely vocal rendition of Real to Reel’s ‘I like to Move It’. Which nearly makes me pee, but in a good way, like an excited dog. Still, I feel sorry for Julia. It’s never good to be upstaged by your support act. Spencer McGarry are something else. Tight as Davina McCall’s forehead on surprise eviction night, and complete with affable crowd banter, they rattle through easily a top-selling album’s worth of material, despite having only self-released a threesong EP. ‘Leader of the Chain Gang’ really has to be seen to be believed. I think it’s about working in the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff. That’s how I imagine it, anyway. Major big up goes to Sweet Baboo on bass as well. Talented chaps, all. They impress everyone so much, the mix of Taffy and Cockney in the Spitz won’t let them leave the stage, and they retake it to play a note perfect (but sped up) cover of Manfred Mann’s ‘Tears of A Clown’. The knackered chaps leave to chants of “one more tune”. JA
Is this emo? A question that¹s caused countless arguments, awful haircuts and one that the bands tonight would probably hate anyone contemplating about them. But there¹s no escape from pondering whether the sheer ‘emotion’ of Cursive¹s performance warrants the term. Tim Kasher’s voice owns the stage, toying with vocal melodies as the almost uncomfortably intimate lyrics determine him to convulse and scream. The authentically troubled vocals fought with driving rock, always kept interesting by showers of samples and angular movements. Unadulterated, passionate performances seemed to be a requirement tonight as ¡Forward Russia! enter to a heavy reception and proceeded to pound the stage with frantic, unrelenting beats. Melodious, yet raucous, ¡Forward Russia! were possessed by their music who cares if it’s emo or not? FW
Who plays what depends on the song so goes the philosophy of Bat For Lashes, also known as 27 year old Brightonian, Natasha Khan. The range of instruments is mind-boggling in its range and obscurity. Autoharp, harpsichord, and boxes full of percussion accompany more familiar instruments like guitar and piano, and it works so well. Khan herself is extremely likeable and convincing as vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, and her band are versatile and sensitive musicians, contributing beautifully folky violin parts, terrifying avant-garde bass drones, and simple syncopated hand-claps. Originality is a rare quality, and where conventional guitar bands increasingly choose to wallow in their own orthodoxy, Bat For Lashes offers material ranging from Pentangle style folk, terrifying downbeat vocal choruses, to massive thundering trip-hop breaks. Excellent. DO
James Murphy is a very serious man. That’s certainly the impression you get from his onstage persona. The labelboss/producer/remixer and general clever bastard, cuts a very determined figure as frontman for his side-project LCD Soundsystem. Frowning while fiddling absently with the microphone, Murphy is accompanied by a very coollooking band who launch into the first of several new tracks in front of a packedout Academy audience. The crowd, filled with rockers, ravers and weekend misbehavers, are as keen to embrace the new material as they are to have a good party. And so, worries about Murphy’s performance as a frontman soon dissipate. He’s helped by the strength of the songs, which blossom when played live. The grooves are tight, the lyrics focussed and the band apply themselves with gusto, especially given that the room is blindingly hot, forcing the drummer to sweat like a geek at a Star Trek convention. LCD Soundsystem’s energy isn’t lost on the crowd, with the Manchester faithful reacting wildly to the band’s biggest hits. Daft Punk is Playing in My House and an extended version of Yeah get the best receptions - the latter responsible for people some authentic ‘big fish little fish’ moves among the assorted throng. Sadly the excitement of the night is too much for the monitors, which burn out before the end of the set, forcing the band to leave without an encore or even playing their biggest hit Losing My Edge. But smiles on the punters’ faces suggest it wasn’t even missed. Proper. Good. Fun. PM
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The Noisettes + Goodbooks
93 Feet East, London 09/03/07 From around the age I started to masturbate, Shingai - lead singer of The Noisettes - was always the imaginary muse I focused my attentions on. Retrospectively, anyway. 93 Feet East is full of self aware teenagers staring jealously at each other for having better hair/belts/ accessories. Support band GoodBooks are a fun, quirky little opener, while The Noisettes are a wonderful blitz of passionate and punk, and while they might not be the most accomplished band, they certainly made my childhood reminiscing more enjoyable. MC
Half Man Half Biscuit The Point, Cardiff 07/03/07 The first time I saw Half Man Half Biscuit I was 15 years old. It was in Ystrad Rhondda Sports Centre and King Tuv stage dived into a crowd that split and his head did likewise. 15 years on and the same people saw the same band only this time no-one’s head got smashed to bits because we are all too old, too married, too tired to jump around like a box of frogs, but we still hate Nerris Hughes and in answer to HMHB’s question Why is Rod Hull Still Alive? He isn’t. SR
The Hidden Persuader
Kings of Leon
Late Night Shopping Akoustik Anarkhy
Electrocratic Access Tonal Communications
Because of the Times Colombia
To many people, sitting in front of their TVs, late night shopping probably means buying some box-set of power ballads off QVC. To Autokat, holed up in their Mancunian practice room-cum-studio, it’s the street slang uttered by the scallies loitering outside, hooded-up and on the rob. But, crucially, it also means the butterfly-blend of excitement and fear that that shoots through every note of these 11 tracks. Holed up in their Ancoats hub, Autokat set to work on their debut without any busy producer to tell them how he thinks their vision should appear. The results? A gritty record rinsed in realism and charged with urban tension. OK, it’s fundamentally a set of rock songs and certainly not some kind of Doves-esque stoodio piece but it’s the kind of bleak, post-dance rock for which perhaps only their peers The Longcut are aiming in the UK. Two instrumentals are deemed strong enough to represent Autokat on this first statement, one of which ‘Dealy’ ranks among a number of highlights, but new single ‘Shot’ fires the first, er, shot, howling like some echoing cry from the soul of Manchester before giving way to untamed, beaten rock’n’roll. Best of all is ‘Fill Your Cup’, on which Autokat strangely sound more like the bastard lovechildren of Radiohead and Supergrass all yelping vocals, slowly erupting melancholia and searing guitars. ‘The Drive’ pushes it close, ticking ever-onward with clockwork chimes and canting vocals while the rumbling bass propels us to the album¹s close. At once brittle and steellike, ‘Late Night Shopping’ rings as certain as a siren in the night. NC
The secretive electronica label Access Tonal Communications is a goldmine for quality underground techno, and this release is among their best: all intelligent melodies, subliminal political messages the label is famed for, wonky offbeats and fat thundering basslines. Staying just leftfield of the mark throughout, they’ve got the zoned out, druggy, driving electro techno drone down to a tee. Having said that, it’s the tripped out, half-tempo block party hip hop breakdowns with the skewered vocals that provide some of best bits. With song titles Cardiff Electro Bass and Electro Job Seeker it’s nice to see the overtly political can also have a bit of a sense of humour. Pounding, powerful, and pure 4am: just the way we like it. www.rewirethefuture.com for more. HP
“You gotta let that boy boogie-woogie. It’s in him, and it’s got to come out,” John Lee Hooker counselled on Boogie Chillen. Nearing 50, Nick Cave’s clearly taken heed of the twelve-bar titan’s advice. We’re used to catching the gangly bard of Brighton conducting graceful poetic recitals at the keyboard. Backed by Bad Seeds chums Martin P. Casey, Warren Ellis and Jim Sclavunos, Grinderman is the steaming sound of Cave chopping the piano to matchsticks en route to the Gothic chaos-splattered batcave of his 80’s outfit the Birthday Party. Such belated attempts to revisit past glories usually end in embarrassment, but Grinderman achieve their objective to Get It On, as the fuzzed-out Bo Diddley beat of album opener puts it, with hip-shaking aplomb. In the lyrics department, the highbrow religious and mythical themes are ditched as Cave unleashes what could be described as a portrait of the artist as a sexually frustrated middle-aged man, with dollops of self-mocking comedy. Musically, scuzz-blues, Neanderthalian rock ‘n’ roll and feral funk dominate the adrenalin-drenched agenda, best exemplified by the explosive single-chord vamp No Pussy Blues (guess what that one’s about), complete with a screeching guitar “solo” that sounds like the poor instrument is being bashed against a brick wall, and (I Don’t Need You To) Set Me Free, which works up a loping groove sharp enough to slice diamonds. Man In The Moon’s elegy to an absent father adds a tear-stained drop of disarming tenderness to the snarling proceedings. The most potent side project ever? You’re damn right. JO
Generally, there are two kinds of album in the world. Actually there are three ones that are simply utter cack, then ones that are brilliant and immediately grab you by the balls, and finally ones that are brilliant but that it takes you time to become friends with. The trademark Kings’ yelping and thrashed breakdowns are all present, but the album points the band in a slightly different direction than previously: there’s less anger, more bliss. Which, unless drug or alcohol induced, isn’t very rock’n’roll, is it? But actually, it is. You get the marvellously morose Knocked Up, growling thunder and yelping of Charmer, the semi-ska flow of Ragoo and the sad sunset of Arizona. While Aha Shake Heartbreak and Youth & Young Manhood and were definite sack twisters, expect to give Because of the Times a little longer to creep over you, like flu in a terminally rainy Welsh seaside resort. Only better. HP
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Richard James The Seven Sleeper’s Den My Kung Fu Gorky’s Zycotic Mynci guitarist Richard James’ sparkling solo debut of bucolic psychedelia and fingerpicking folk glows with genuine, soothing warmth. Comforting like a hearty hug from someone special, the slow-burning beauty of The Seven Sleepers Den is as much of a welcome relief amidst the prevailing stadium-bound bombast as the clockingoff whistle at the end of a phenomenally shit day. Electricity-dodging folk-hued fare’s oozing from every orifice these days, but James has the skills to make oft-sampled templates sound irresistably fresh. Despite its dozing-friendly title, this is guaranteed to do the exact opposite of lulling you to slumberland.
Herman Dune Giant Source This bacon buttie of an album opens with the most head-nodding, obsession inducing ditty this writer can recall. Like a submissive girlfriend, it gives repeated pleasure with every whirl you give it, and even though in a month you will have killed it, it was great while it lasted. Never have a chorus line sounded sweeter, never have the words ‘and I’m like’, sounded more urbane. Buy the album on this song alone. JJ
No shouts, No Calls Too Pure
Kingdom of Fear Fierce Panda
Heros and Heroines Clean Living Records
Friend Opportunity ATP
This is Electrelane mark II and by god they’ve cheered up. No Shouts, No Calls captures breathy vocals, pop choruses and their trademark instrumentals within eleven distinct songs. There are more lyrics than on any of their previous works and musically they have developed a softer sound, introducing new instruments like a ukulele on their kooky anti love-song Cut and Run. In Tram 21, the piano gives way to psychedelic organ over driving Motorik rhythms and by Between The Wolf and The Dog they launch into some pretty heavy riffing that would give Dead Meadow a run for their money. Overall the album is an absolute gem; more accessible than ever before without losing any of their grunge. Breathtaking. ND
Don’t listen too closely to ‘Kingdom of Fear’, or else you might just hear signs of intelligence. These Glaswegian fantasists are witty fuckers, and they would have you know it. But that¹s not where the fun of this riot-on-plastic lies the joy of entering Shitdisco’s magic kingdom is in realising what a lawless, anarchic state it is. Sheer brainlessness (check the gabba stabs of ‘Reactor Party’ or the Alec Empire-bludgeoning ‘Lover of Others’), cheeky pop thrills (‘Disco Blood’), speed-wrap punk funk (‘I Know Kung Fu’) and sheer brutal insistence (‘Another’) run amok in what is barely-controlled madness. Shitdisco are coming around for tea armed with the most raucous debut this side of the Beastie Boys. Fuck Klaxons this is where things get really silly in 2007. NC
After much to-ing and fro-ing I finally got my hands on the new EP from the west country’s favourite underground band, The Novocaines. It’s a lovely little piece: ‘Isolated Love’ is an intelligent Britpopesque gem, while ‘Heroes and Heroines’ is a great uptempo jangling party music. Fuck the comparisons, this is tightlyplayed, bright, shimmery guitar pop at its glorious lo-fi best. Look out for the hidden interjection of (live) drum&bass too: rinse out! And refreshing in these days of Mygeneration bands (who can’t play live for shit). Wicked. HP
Wolf & Cub
Save your face Kartel
I went to a barndance once. Moonshine, pissed pants, hay bales. All I remember is a medley of NKOTB, Sharice & Hall&Oates, but I wish we¹d been listening to Save Your Face, debut album for The Mules (London-based psychobilly extremists). By turn speed-fuelled bluegrass hoedown or sad, spooky tale of regret & sometimes both: it¹s bananas, but oodles of fun. First single release rinky-dink We Are Good People - also features the Brazilian treatment as porno-for-emos CSS chews it up and spits it out. Cow slappin good. HP
Adding another Wolvine moniker to the growing list of similar band names, Aussies Wolf & Cub could be mistaken as unimaginative. Using two drummers to pound a forceful rhythm and keep up with an enormous, looming bass could sound pretentious. However, Vessels is a beautiful surprise of post-rock harmonies complementing heavy guitars with disguised drive and distorted vocals that never really matter much. Sometimes lacking in immediacy, this record will occasionally grab at your attention but always soundtrack your subconscious. JL
From the very first chord, as this album thunders into life, you know this is going to be good. OK Computer good. Pet Sounds good. Ball achingly, brain numbingly good. This is a band overflowing with creative ideas, an embarrassment of musical riches. One of those rare albums that knocks you for six on the first run through, then steadily improves with every listen until its firmly lodged in your subconscious as a seminal reference from that point on. Its unsurprising to discover that they have toured with Radiohead, although don¹t be mislead by this Deerhoof are emphatically their own thing, a musical tornado that has sucked in elements of melancholy Americana, fizzy electronica and brooding alt-folk, only to spew it back out again in glorious Technicolor, leaving a shattered mosaic where the musical landscape used to be. The sheer weight of talent in the opening tracks The Perfect Me and +81, and the genius lunacy of Kidz Are So Small are initial highlights, although clearly this is an album that will only too gladly mould itself to your listening agenda. A perfect pop album, in every possible sense of the word. AC
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Viking Moses Swollen and Small Fine Recordings This raw and ragged homage to the off-kilter tunecraft of US indie oddballs Neutral Milk Hotel resembles someone stumbling through their favourite tunes at the end of a marathon moonshine session. Intentionally so, says titanic troubadour Viking Moses, who moans, wails, snarls and weeps through these nylon-stringed strummathons (You’ve Passed) and gnarly barrages of deafening distortion (Gardenhead/Leave Me Alone) in barbed-wire tones that suggest plenty of gravel from his extensive travels has lodged in his voicebox. A fine warm-up to the imminent re-release of the cult band’s 1996 debut On Avery Island. JO
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Competition Win some new things! The winter has gone and sunshine is on the way, but don’t go getting soft on us this summer. You know, you’re sitting around the pool all day, chasing the muff around. Breakdown! To keep you all on your toes, here are some brainteasers to exercise the mind. Get them right, and you could win new stuff. That’s right. NEW STUFF!
Global Gathering Tickets If you would like to win 2 VIP passes to this year’s Global Gathering, which is on the weekend of July 27th & 28th at the Longmarston Airfield in Stratford on Avon, and get a weekend pass, luxury camping and all that kind of brouhaha, then answer this one, egghead:
Dr John is not a qualified medical practitioner: True or False? Send your answer plus your name to email@example.com. Closing date: May 31st
Paul Frank Gear And you, Poindexter, you might be smart, but can you answer this one? If so, you could win a limited edition Paul Frank Lego t-shirt + another nice top. We’ve got one for a girl and one for a boy:
Richard Madeley is a shoplifter: True or False? Send your answer plus your name and size to firstname.lastname@example.org. Closing date: May 31st 66
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DOUBLE CD OUT NOW
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