Fr e Issue 17
The Cabinet of Contents
1. Picture Books in Winter 2. The Dodos 3. Alphabeat 4. Daedelus 5. Pulled Apart by Horses 6. White Williams 7. The Futureheads 8. Lykke Li 9. About our Singles Club 10. Lee Scratch Perry 11. Lovvers 12. Health 13.窶連llo 窶連llo to Les French 14. Reviews 15. Competition!
Page 6 Page 10 Page 14 Page 16 Page 20 Page 24 Page 26 Page 32 Page 38 Page 40 Page 44 Page 48 Page 52 Page 57 Page 66 3
Our Vision I believe that children are our future Teach them well and let them lead the way Show them all the beauty they possess inside Give them a sense of pride to make it easier Let the childrenâ€™s laughter remind us how we used to be - Whitney Houston
Kruger Magazine Issue 15 Editors: Mike Williams, Joe Howden, Mike Day Reviews Editor: Helia Phoenix Research: Helen Weatherhead Thanks to: Thanks to: Becky @ Darling, Laura @ Scruffy Bird, James @ Ninja Tune, Jodie @ Domino, Danna @ Fabric, Ruth & Beth @ Toast, Anna @ Dogday, Portable Records, Nita @ Goldstar, Al Power, Paul Sitx, Ben @ Runmusic, Neil Condron & Sophie Lawerence, Matt Rogers, Huw Stephens & Bethan Elfyn, John Kennedy & Jon Hillcock, Colin Francies, Ben Carter, Anna Rowlands, everyone involved with the singles club tour, all our contributers, all our advertisers and especially Helia, Susie, Jen, Dan, Laura, Ioan and of course Helen Junior. Blammo! Printed by: MWL Print Group Ltd. Units 10 -13 Pontyfelin Industrial Estate, New Inn, Pontypool NP4 ODQ contact nathanw@mwl .co.uk Produced by Kruger in The Daley Thompson Suite, Cardiff and Little Wee Studio, London. 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 speciďŹ c to Kruger. Kruger is a quarterly magazine and is distributed throughout the UK.
Advertising enquiries: email@example.com
Our Policies To avoid poor sales by giving everything away for free! To create more jobs through cockeyed concepts! To keep taxes low by not making any money!
Campaigns For the Generation Z voter, unfamiliar with paper, Kruger launched www.krugermagazine.com, where features, podcasts, news and reviews can all be found. The Kruger Singles Club tapped into the power of the airwaves by releasing a single every month. These singles are then played to the nation by a host of leading DJs
Taskforces Neil Condron, Manchester Ambassador, is working alongside a team of devoted lackeys to spread the word of Kruger around Lancashireâ€™s first city. Read his blog at www.krugermagazine.com At the start of 2008 the Kruger Party launched an independent distribution taskforce which will look at improving shopping trolley access in 20 of the UKâ€™s leading cities.
Contact, Comment, Contribute
Words Dan Tyte, James Skinner, Huw Stephens, Neil Condron, Ioan Morris, Steph Price, David George, Nat Davies, Jen Long, Alex Bean, Simon Roberts, DJ Moneyshot, Kate Parkin, Jon Davies, Ewan Jamieson, James Anthony, Sophie Lawrence, Sophie Goodrich, Barney Sprague, Susie Wild, Janne Oinonen, Adam Corner, T Darayar.
Images Mei Lewis, Tim Cochrane, James Perou, Rachael Burns, Christopher McLallen, Kamil Janowski.
picture books in
...and the Modern Indie Manifesto. Dan Tyte Reports
Pledge #1: Education, education, education
n 1919, when the Fascist Party dropped Il manifesto dei fasci di combattimento upon an Italian public looking for democratic change, two expectant parties gazed into each others eyes and dreamed of an idealistic future. Votes for women? Tick! A minimum wage? Check! A foreign policy based on pacifism? Yes way! But the latter was abandoned within a year, Mussolini tag-teamed with Adolf and all the early promises faded like first date bullshit. In the first flushes of a love affair you can kid yourself she looks great without her make-up on and you really don’t mind taking the bins out but when push comes to shove you want to live with a naturally beautiful nymph in a wastefree society but those kind of fairy
tales didn’t exist in 1920s Rome and certainly don’t in 21st century Britain. As in love and war, music is full of sellout tales. From Dylan going electric to Nirvana shifting ‘Corporate Rock Whores’ tees to hip hop’s love of bling, the history of music is littered with artists who upset first EP buyers, whether for the shiny dollar, a new sound or a basic lack of decision making. Oblivious to the weight of a history on their shoulders, fuzzy folk-rock newbies Picture Books in Winter met with Kruger to lay out their manifesto. Hey, for every failure there’s a Fugazi right?!
eaping the benefits of New Labour’s promise to cut class sizes and improve the knowledge of the youth, Will, Si, Becca, Jim and Stuart of Picture Books in Winter made their mums proud by aceing those A-Levels and making it to university.
drummer and things stuck like glue.”
Guitarist Si “I met (singer/guitarist) Will in the very first week of uni. When we were enrolling we got talking about Simon Pegg and walked down together to get our union cards, but all the way there, Will was getting really close to me and talking really quickly. I was like, ‘I need to lose this guy, he’s fucking weird’. But I never managed to get rid of him.” Will completed the line-up, “And then we met Jim who played bass, and Becca and Stuart the
Si explained, “We’ve always found with writing songs that it’s always when we’re under pressure that we actually start putting stuff together and finishing it off. We kind of need stuff to work to. It’s only when we’ve got a gig or when we got the session for Radio One that we’re like ‘ah, we actually need to write some songs now’
True to their pledge to the last, Picture Books took the eternal flying-by-theseat of your pants approach that every student takes to essay deadlines to their set.
Pledge #2: Introduce different instruments
icture Books’ long hours in the library made for sharp minds. In the days of anodyne, average indie, they were aware they needed to somehow stand out from the crowd. Will went on, “The first song we wrote was called Reykjavik, but it was just a standard rock song. It didn’t have a hook or anything unique.” Si chipped in, “So initially we wanted some kind of instrument that was just different. If we’d have met someone who played the trombone, we’d have been like ‘right let’s get the trombone in’.” Jim, “But it was when we found Becca and her violin that we became a band.” Final jigsaw piece Becca steps in, “We practiced for a while when you couldn’t actually hear what I was playing because I didn’t have a pick-up. We started working in little riffs over
the top of these tagged on violin bits, but it was used in kind of more of a guitar role really. Will vouches, “Mostly violins are used as background but on a good majority of our songs the violin is a main instrument.” Becca, “It really limits the instrument if you use it as just the slightly melodic folky icing on the cake.
“If we’d have met someone who played the trombone, we’d have been like ‘right let’s get the trombone in’.” - Si
Pledge #3: Sound profound, mean nothing
or every deep-thinking glasses wearer, there’s a Jack Duckworth. It’s the same when you’re a university educated string playing bandprojections of profoundness abound. Take their name for example. Jim “We were recording and the technician needed something to write on the CD. So we picked a book up from the studio and picked out the name from the first poem we saw.” Si continues, “The name kind of fits into the way that we write songs in that people think we’re being a bit more clever than we are. When me and Will come up with the lyrics we try and come up with something profound when it actually means nothing at all.” Will, “It’s not that we try that, it’s just that we’re lazy so it happens like that. Horizontally I’m Champion is actually
about the decline of former Blue Peter presenter Richard Bacon.” Si, “We did actually discuss doing a concept album called ‘Bacon Vs Bacon’ about Francis Bacon and Richard Bacon…” Will “I wish I could write a profound love song but I just can’t do it, it ends up sounding cheesy or pretentious or childish. If you bare your soul then people can really criticise you and hurt you. But if you don’t actually mean anything then you can’t”. Si, “So we end up writing songs about train stations. We have a song called Minor Delays which kind of sounds like it’s a song about a tormented soul, but it’s not. It’s actually a song about Bristol Parkway.”
ith their musical manifesto laid out, whether Picture Books in Winter stay true to their ideals is in their hands. As their song 100 Percent Polyester says â€œThe day I lost my punk rock ethics/ I discovered the appeal of designer shoes.â€? If they keep making such swirling, beguiling folk-rock mini mountains, then the electorate will surely turn a blind eye to a pair of handmade Italian brogues. Vote Picture Books in Winter!
Photography by Mei Lewis at Mission Photographic www.missionphotographic.com
The Dodos There’s a moment roughly halfway into The Dodos’ second album that quietly astounds; in its rough-hewn beauty and laudable simplicity, it kicked off a love affair with the band that has seldom seen said record (that’d be Visiter) leave the listening periphery of this listener since it first wove its spell. As the horns of Winter’s delightful instrumental break gracefully subside, the insistent banjo carrying the song mutates into a subtly altered, descending chord pattern that finds front-man Meric Long recognise and admonish the shortcomings of an erstwhile lover. Not the cheeriest of introductions, but one that seems apt given The Dodos’ capacity to confound and evoke through the simplest of mediums – whether it be an unerringly graceful melodic touch or none-moreimaginative percussive spark, they’re a band to fall for, and hard.
The San Franciscan duo (Long and drummer Logan Kroeber) were taking some downtime from a relentless touring schedule that saw them traverse North America taking in South By South West along the way (“We were playing, drinking beer and eating beef – for five days. Then we were sick.”), shortly before embarking on a run of UK shows when I caught up with Long via the medium of a crackly transatlantic mobile phone exchange. Once ascertained that I haven’t actually woken him up and am enlightened as to exactly what a ‘line chef’ is (“If you were on chickens it was like, 150 chickens a day. It was alright, but I’m pretty glad it’s over”), I quiz a cheery and relaxed Long on how his and Kroeber’s writing process works. As a two-piece, I wonder how the end product reflects the union – a shared vision – of the pair? Kroeber, lest we forget, has a background that right
“Logan’s very good at taking my idea, embellishing it and then playing like a million beats a second.”
up until The Dodos was focused on progressive metal drumming that doesn’t immediately sync with Long’s finger-picking, folkie slant… “We got a rehearsal space in 2006; we’d get in there and just play for like, two hours – usually it just ended up being some sort of hippie jam. Then usually I’ll come home, take whatever came out of that session and formulate it into a song, before coming back to Logan like, “can you do this thing?” – I have a very specific idea what I want from the drums which I can’t over-articulate – Logan’s very good at taking my idea, embellishing it and then playing like a million beats a second.” Long has in fact studied percussion himself in the past: “A little bit of West African drumming – when I started this band I really wanted the drums to be a big part. I feel like when I write parts – even on the guitar – I’m 11
always thinking about drums, always thinking about rhythm; I think I love rhythm more than I do melody. That’s definitely the point where Logan and I meet, where we come together.”
the energy we have when we play live, but we also wanted to take advantage of the fact that it is a record and not a live show, so we spent a lot of time playing other instruments.
The band have acquired a rather fearsome live reputation in the ‘States where they’ve accompanied US labelmates and incendiary performers Les Savy Fav on tour (“It was like playing and going to a great show all in the same night”). With the amount of stock they put into the drums’ primal strength, I’m curious – to what degree they see the recording process as different to playing live?
“The studio where we recorded is actually an old warehouse, and there were tonnes of instruments just lying around – organs, an upright bass – Logan played upright bass on a song and he’s never played it before – you know, even instruments that we didn’t know how to play; we just liked the sound of them. But at the same time we did want to keep it pretty focused on the drums and guitar. I can’t even remember how many mics we had on the drum kit!”
“With the first record I didn’t see recording as such a separate process – I thought: you write songs, you play ‘em live, stick a microphone in there and press record. On Visiter, we learned the idea of making a record and how different it is – we wanted to capture
The drumming and percussive elements of The Dodos are invigorating, refreshing, and perhaps the primary reason behind the ‘psychedelic folk’ tag that sees the band often bracketed
in with groups like Animal Collective. Long’s thoughts? “We’re basically trying to play heavy music with acoustic instruments. And if that sounds – if that’s what “psychedelic folk” is then I’m totally cool with that – I just don’t really think of it in those terms, you know?” Sounds about right to me; after a brief trumpet-related digression (I’m not long the proud owner of one while he’s struggling with a pocket-size he’s just bought: “It’s hard man! I’m used to playing trombone – and you’d think it’d take less air, but it feels like it needs more – my cheeks get all crazy puffy, y’know?” (I do indeed)), Long fills me in on getting his first guitar at high school (“liberating”), what it was like watching Prince at Coachella (“I think every musician in the crowd that night was just like, “what’s the point?””), the story of the album’s artwork and
misspelled title (they played a show for a friend’s learning difficulties class – the subsequent gift of drawings from the children comprises the sleeve: “awesome”) and Laura Gibson’s beautiful backup singing (whom he first witnessed play an open mic night in Portland: “I never expected to see someone really good”). In his freewheeling, generous conversational style I discern a trace of what makes The Dodos’ music so special – a fervent coalition between two innately talented musicians from notably diverse backgrounds – and leave him to go about his day off before cracking on Visiter at a suitably high level of decibels, all the while making a mental note not to sink to the depths of any easy puns about dodos/extinction when writing up the interview. Just about survived it too… Words by James Skinner
PETER MOREN The Last Tycoon OUT NOW - CD / Digital THE DODOS Visiter OUT NOW - Digital 14/ 07/ 08 - CD / Double Vinyl THOSE DANCING DAYS Run Run b/w Home Sweet Home 07 /07/ 08 - 7" / CD / Digital SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO Live In Japan 07 / 07 /08 - Limited CD
COMING SOON SMD “Sample and Hold: ADSR Remixed”, CONOR OBERST “Conor Oberst”, HER SPACE HOLIDAY “The New Kid Revival” and the new Wichita online shop launching soon at www.wichita-recordings.com/shop
Alphabeat White and Gleaming on the Campaign Trail with everyone’s favourite Scandinavian pop stars!
What I like best about Alphabeat is that most other people like them too. It’s safety in numbers for times when I’m scared they’re a bit too Miami 7 for comfort. And when some dissenting libertine says they’re a bit rubbish and sound like S Club I know I don’t have to jump in because someone else will, and I can back them up with stuff like ‘Well, what I like about them is that they’re a real band, and you can really see and hear that in a way you never could with manufactured pop’, like a nob. Actually, what I like best about Alphabeat is their teeth. I want to get really close to their faces with a little dentist’s mirror and discover all their pearly white secrets. Maybe they’re from some utopia where everyone pays a huge slice of their salaries into a big government pot which is then distributed to all the vital sectors such as housing, education and more importantly dentistry? Utopia = Denmark. But anyway, why I mention these things is that I’m certain that perfect teeth lead inevitably towards popularity, and that Winning Smile isn’t just an expression that’s been latched onto because someone once smiled after winning something, like 14
Tennis Elbow. It’s no coincidence that Barack Obama’s lead in the democratic race matches almost to the vote the amount of dental practitioners in the US surveyed as to which candidate had the best smile.
Musical, one part B 52s, all delivered with an unaffected élan. Same Difference it ain’t.
And smiling their way to success are Alphabeat, but there’s lots to love behind the teeth too. The lack of irony, the wealth of sincerity, the way their børn klubben ultrapop permeates the hardest skin like good pop always has. Lead singer Stine Bramsen thinks she knows why people who would usually turn their noses up have been drawn to them.
“We do try and make music that is universal and that everyone can relate to, and of course that helps in the charts because there are more people loving it.”
“If we were a manufactured band I don’t think any of the hipsters would listen to us, but because we’re a real band who write real songs, and because we’ve done so many gigs in so many types of place already, then people respect us more. And we’re not ashamed of being pop!” Fellow vocalist Anders SG agrees: “We know exactly what we’re doing, and we’re not afraid of making a video like Fascination, we’re not afraid of stuff like that.” If you’ve not seen the video, check it out on youtube and brace yourselves for a level of camp akin to Barrymore On Ice. The same applies to new single 10,000 Nights; one part High School
What’s the secret then? Stine fills me in:
“We know exactly what we’re doing, and we’re not afraid of making a video like Fascination, we’re not afraid of stuff like that.” - Anders SG
Ah yes, the charts. Fascination hit number 6 in the UK charts in March, with debut album This is Alphabeat following on at the start of June and probably equally successful (I wrote this 2 days before it came out). So how did a Scandinavian indie pop band end up making such universal music? Drummer Troels Hansen lets me know: “Fascination changed the vibe and what we were actually aiming to do. It was when [guitarist] Anders B wrote that song we found out which way we wanted to go.”
what Anders B was writing, and we just kind of added the stuff that we liked to it. We’re six different people with different tastes and different styles of song writing.” The six protagonists make the album suitably diverse, visiting the ballad with Rubber Boots, mashing up country with Nothing But My Baby and filling bags with heart-pumping pop like Boyfriend. Where albums by pop groups can often feel like cheap white bread carrying the prize winning ham of the hit single, This is Alphabeat is a complete piece of work by a living and breathing pop band, and it’s ace. Actually, what I like best about Alphabeat is their music, because at the same time as reminding me that pop isn’t something that you listen to before you discover real music, it’s the most fun, least cynical stuff you’ll find in the charts today. Photography by Tim Cochrane www.timothycochrane.com
“We’re all song writers in the band really” adds Anders SG, “and maybe that was a problem, because I might come up with a song that as maybe a bit too rock, and then Troels would write a song that was maybe a bit more indie, and then Anders Reinhold would come up with something, and we just found out that we could all agree on 15
He has the best name in electronica. I’m not even on about Daedelus, although borrowing your name from the Greek mythological craftsman and tragic inventor who, like this Daedelus, was so skilful he could invent images, seems like the most appropriate name for this hugely impressive producer and musician.
no hiding behind laptops as if he’s googling the local cinema listings for this man; he invented a sampler-boxthing that lights up at his command. You actually see the samples being triggered and layered on top of each other to create electro-hip-hop cuts like no one else around. There’s nothing tragic about this Daedelus.
I’m on about his real name, Alfred Weisberg-Roberts, LA resident, dandyism enthusiast and international globe-trotting man of mystery.
Collaborations with hip hop luminaries MF Doom and Busdriver have wowed all who’ve heard them, and with the release of yet another excellent album in Love to Make Music To on the ever dependable Ninja Tune label, there’s more collaborations that shine through in this one. Does he find it a liberating process working with different mcs?
His music is a squelchy mash-up of beautiful sounds and beats that’ll keep your head nodding for weeks. He is both the most modest and humble yet massively exciting sample-basher you’ll witness. See him live and it takes you to another dimension. There’s
“Any guest producer’s touch is always a reveal, and an emcee’s that much more so. I’m not one for putting words in another’s mouth, and when some meaning is made, say about ill villains, in the case of MF Doom, or a relationship that won’t leave alone
“I think the saying goes something about the buck stopping here, lines in the sand, and such, and anyways if it has my name on the album it needs to pass a certain measure.”
[Paperboy on Touchtone from the latest record] it is something I need to carry in the spirit of the song from then on.” Inspiring each other in the studio, the new album is full of guests to make a colourful, joyful long-player. This time I was lucky enough to be sent it by a radio plugger, but I first heard Daedelus randomly, when a chance spotting of his Of Snowdonia album got the better of me and I had to hear it. The closing track on said album is called Hiraethus, a uniquely Welsh word that briefly translates to ‘longing for something’, or ‘missing the homeland’. How does one of the world’s finest producers get to hear of Snowdonia, let alone name a track Hiraethus? “You are too kind”, begins Alfred (that’s the modesty again), “and if perhaps others like myself; Californian somewhat HipHop hopeful, Electro 17
delighting, and Victorian preoccupied can speak on such great subjects, then I’ll yell them at any great heights possible.” I love the randomness of his delight for Snowdonia, for Wales. When I was in school in Cardiff I’d lie and say I was a vegetarian, just to try and seem a little bit interesting. Over in LA, Daedelus was telling his classmates he was Welsh. “I’ve been confused about my Welsh origins since I was very young, lying about it in grade school, it is my shame somewhat in this way. But who cares really when you have elf-like creatures like Joanna Newsom, that dude from Of Montreal, or Bjork (who in her defence is Icelandic, and could be automatically pagan and some kind of fairy princess accordingly) parading around with much more unacceptably bizarre preoccupations then a fondness for Wales.” This, of course, is true. It’s the fact his music is so exciting that makes this extra angle seem thrilling to me. But back to the studio; if it’s Daedelus’ name on a record sleeve or lcd screen, does Daedelus get final say? “I think the saying goes something about the buck stopping here, lines in the sand, and such, and anyways if it has my name (or often pseudonym) on the album it needs to pass a certain measure. I have left whole albums on
the cutting floor as almost an act of karmic hope for perhaps an odd good tune. Actually come to think of it, Ninja Tune as a label really is the one that says yeah or nah in this case, I’m just doing the addiction, so to speak...” There’s always someone above you with a bigger say. Soon there’ll be a new American President. Does he feel the need to make his political feelings known through his music, listened to far beyond the fifty states ? “I had notions for a long while about letting the listener decide all context and only infringing on this with perhaps an album title here or songs refrain there, maybe some vague record jacket artwork to guide a story”, he says. “Everything was somewhere buried if the listener wanted it, but way below a casual spin. But push came to shoving, and with our current presidential cycle I stepped in a new very very blatant repetitive direction in support of Barak Obama. Call it my downfall if you will from obscure IDM noodling, and embracing simple words of praise and perhaps change. As sung by Taz Arnold, ‘This is real and not for play, I’mma vote Obama way, we hood, we voting, we throwing it up’. And I am.” Photography by James Perou www.photosimian.co.uk Words by Huw Stephens Catch Huw from midnight till 2am every wednesday night on Radio 1.
VOTE KRUGER And keep todayâ€™s youth under control! 20
As far as the Kruger party is concerned, no section of society is above exploitation when it comes to getting votes.
Here in my Manchester ward, I’m ideally placed to hear all about the issues affecting facing the youth of today. Whether it’s 13-year-olds carrying guns or gangs of emo kids tripping limply over each other outside the Urbis, there’s no escaping the air of disaffection that hovers over the city’s teenagers. Tap into that, and a generation of future voters will be Facebook friends for life. Taking not a little influence from Cameron’s hug a hoodie pledge and Blair’s brown-nosing around the likes of Noel Gallagher, our spin doctors have advised that to win the hearts and minds of these youngsters, we need to get a symbol of youth on our side. So, off me and party photographer Rachel Burns head to the UBiK night at Café Saki to meet Leeds’ Pulled Apart By Horses - a gang who seem to have as good a grip on the malaise as anybody. “We were talking about films the other day, and I mentioned Quadrophenia, which is about mods versus rockers,” recounts James, PABH guitarist and allround Leeds punk crusader. “But now
you’ve got mods, rockers, nu metal, emo, new wave.” Leeroy, the group’s drummer adds, amused: “No wave! Electro glitch!” I’m scribbling all of this down furiously. The reason why we chose to ensnare PABH for our youth campaign is that, well, they just seem to get it. Formed from parts left over by various Leeds bands including Concentration Champ and Mother Vulpine, they already have their home city’s punk rock kids in their back pocket. Alchemically fusing together three-minute pop joy with lots of noise and some very big riffs, songs such as I Punched a Lion in the Throat and High Five Swan Dive Nose Dive have seen them drawing admiring glances from places as diverse as Iberian tour promoters and Puddle of Mudd. “That’s the beauty of this generation,” says Leeroy. “I know for a fact that Puddle of Mudd’s drummer is a fan.” “We got a MySpace friend request from him - he had one of our songs on his profile,” laughs James. If the call came asking the lads to join them for a US tour, would they take it? ‘Fuck
yeah’ seems to be the consensus. “I’d love to turn up to support them,” imagines vocalist Tommy - a man who is no stranger to larger tours having supported The Eagles of Death Metal. “I’d crunch a load of Kit Kats, maybe do a little poo, and just leave.” Perhaps a Faith No More tour would be a bit more suitable; until then though, I’m interested to know how a band like PABH fit in back home. Along with acts like That Fucking Tank, Bilge Pump, This Et Al and many others, they’re part of a group of misfits that don’t sit readily with Leeds’ popular image as the home of the massive singalong indie produced by the likes of Kaiser Chiefs and The Pigeon Detectives. In a sense, they’re the skateboarders who congregate in city centre spaces on a Saturday while the chavs are playing football and the popular kids are spending their Topshop vouchers. “The DIY thing is popular; it’s just not perceived to be,” explains James. Rob, bass, continues: “It is a really strong undercurrent. A lot of the bands that come out of Leeds aren’t really that good a representation of the music 21
there.” “Leeds is so vibrant - we can all say that at least three of our five favourite bands are from the city,” adds Leeroy. The outsiders, it seems, are more than capable of looking after themselves. I ask them how they might react to having their music categorised - neither all-out metal nor punk, PABH’s sound is the result of a diverse collection of tastes well summed up by the band’s name. Taking this literally, Leeroy asks if he can be one of the horses. “I’d be a golden unicorn,” Tommy chips in. Pulled Apart by Golden Unicorns? “Yeah, that could be our magical side project.” Could it be that, beneath the anger, PABH - and indeed the nation’s youth - have a softer, more loving side just waiting to be nurtured? Such an image would suggest so, but when the boys reveal what they would like to call any future bands they might join, it becomes clear how much work the Kruger party has to do if it is to iron out the creases of violence in the UK’s school uniforms. “Kicked in the Cunt,” offers Leeroy. “I’ve Run Out of Eggs,” suggests Tommy, “I’d be fucking moody if I ran out of eggs”. Rob, the quietest and therefore - proverbially - the most worrying of the gang, outdoes all previous efforts. “Sorry Mum - Please Wake Up,” he deadpans. With ideas of what terrifying noises such an outfit might produce beginning to trouble your Kruger party representative, we choose to leave PABH to enjoy what’s left of the Ubiq line-up and return to our Manchester HQ. I’m happy that there’s more than enough among my notes to help shape our youth manifesto. PABH have taught me that it’s not about outreach programmes, community centres and more football pitches. No, Kruger will win the pimply vote with a squadron of horsemen and a truck full of rope. Words by Neil Condron Photography by Rachael Burns www.musicprovocateur.com
White Williams VOTE KRUGER To keep the kids in school White Williams is Joe Williams. Joe’s the main man. The head honcho. He’s charitable enough to use the word ‘project’ in front of his live band, but make no mistake; this is Joe’s show. And Joe is just about cool enough for school. His laptop powered one-man operation has been running for two years. It’s what you might term intelligent pop. An awful general description, I know, but it fits. Music that at first appears to be shallow and superficial yet fills its sharp edges with considered observations and a dark streak of menace. Take a quick peek at the articles, reviews, and interviews concerning Williams and you’d think he was a dead-eyed careerist or a robot, sort of like Pete Sampras. Terms like ‘air of jadedness’ and ‘arch disaffection’ litter his press, but quite where that reputation comes from I don’t know, because he’s actually nice as pie. Maybe it’s an image he’s intentionally trying to convey – a nonchalance that’s befitting of the music – or maybe he’s just shy. 24
“I’ve always written using the laptop and synths. I’m not an accomplished musician or anything, I can’t even play the guitar properly, so when I’m recording and it feels like the track could use a slightly idiosyncratic piece of bass playing or whatever I’ll get someone from the band to come play it. Otherwise it’s always me who writes the songs.” He definitely isn’t shy talking about his music, but he’s keen to add that signing to a record label has afforded him the luxury of being able to use other collaborators, be they musicians or mix engineers, although he remains happiest when doing everything himself. Quickly. “I’m used to writing a song and moving on to the next one. The thing of touring and committing a certain number of tracks to an album is new to me.” Debut album – Smoke – was recently released over here through Domino
imprint Double Six having been available in America since October last year. “It had been around for a while even before the American release. Those were some of the first songs I wrote as White Williams, so there’s definitely some distance from it, but playing those songs live and hearing how they’ve changed – it’s altered my approach. When I get home in the summer and start work on the second record I won’t be so worried about quantizing or getting everything perfectly in time.” Could he not write on the road? “I wish! There’s always something to do or somewhere to be. And being sat in the back of a car isn’t the easiest place to compose.” Fair point. Williams seems a productive sort of chap, he says he has files on his hard drive filled with nearly two hundred ideas for songs, so all this trying to sell the album foolishness is slowing him down.
It was during his high school years that Williams encountered noise rock. It’s an oft-repeated fact that at fifteen years of age he was the drummer for several noise bands in Cleveland, all or some of which (depending on where you read it) opened gigs for the likes of The Rapture and Melt Banana. “San Diego bands, DC stuff like Fugazi, it was so…umm” Angry? “Not angry, but hyperactive, maybe even aggressive. It appealed to me much more than the music everyone else listened to in High School. But, I mean, I was so young then. That was only the beginning of what I guess you’d call a musical education.” Even so, some of that hiss still seeps noticeably through into his White Williams incarnation. And, ah yes, musical education – Williams would surely get a gold star from teacher for impeccable taste. See, for instance, the influence of Glam on White Williams, particularly the vocals – the phrasing and the attitude.
Joe is said to be a fan of T-Rex and Sparks (honourable members of the canon of Glam). “Yeah, that was that something I got into later on. That whole scene had a big impact on the sound of the album, the double-tracking, that classic sound.“ And German music, krautrock? “Can and Neu! absolutely. I love they way they didn’t give a damn. They experimented with everything – the sounds and production techniques, the rhythms and song forms – even the way they dressed.” With an inquisitive mind, excellent work ethic, and an ear for a hook, Joe could turn out to be a star pupil. He may not be an A-grade student just yet, but as my end-of-term reports always used to say – he’s got the potential.
Words by Ioan Morris Photography by James Perou www.photosimian.co.uk
Future heads VOTE KRUGER Because we shouldn’t forget about the old folks
Let’s quickly skip the first six years to bring us up to date. They started out in 2000, releasing their first EP, Nul Book Standard in 2002 on the Project Cosmonaut label, before moving to Fantastic Plastic for the follow up 1-23-Nul, and then onto the major labelfunded 679 for their seminal post punk debut in 2004. A 2005 top ten hit with Kate Bush cover Hounds of Love turned them into one of the biggest bands in Britain, before poor sales of the second album, News and Tributes, in 2006 saw them unceremoniously dropped. Music years are like dog years.
New Tricks So what happened next? Well they started their own label, Nul, in 2007, which is a partnership between the four band members and their two managers, set up solely to release Futureheads material.
Music years are like dog years. One equals seven, roughly. It’s actually a bit closer to six, but whatever, eight years after their ﬁrst gig, four years since the release of their debut album, and two years since anyone last cared that they were alive, the Futureheads are back!
They then headed out to Spain where they recorded their new album, This Is Not The World, with Urban Hymns producer Youth. The band have described the three weeks they spent with the Killing Joke bassist as the most productive and intense sessions of their career, working fourteen hours a day, five days a week and ending up with twenty two songs which they trimmed down to twelve.
The first single from the album, Beginning of the Twist, was given Radio One A-listing before release, which is something they hadn’t managed with any of their previous singles, and up to the 16th of May, when I interviewed the band, Radio One had already played the song over two hundred and sixty times. I caught up with them in Brighton during this year’s Great Escape festival. While guitarist Ross Millard and bassist Jaff Craig were off being interviewed elsewhere, I sat down with lead singer Barry Hyde and his brother, drummer Dave. We talked about the new album, about growing old in an ever younger industry, and almost unavoidably, their acrimonious split from 679.
Skip to the End Before meeting up with the band I told myself I was going to skip over the 679 business as quickly as possible because I’d gotten a bit sick of reading about it and hearing about it over the last couple of months. I was at their UK comeback show at Kings College last November when a chorus of ‘Fuck 679’ had rung around the building, and I’d thought ‘go on lads, that’s the spirit!’, but after seeing and hearing and reading interview after interview of the same sentiment, I’d started thinking ‘blah blah blah blah give it a rest’.
But as we started the interview, and the subject was inevitably raised in the first exchanges, I sat back and let them talk about it, because nothing has shaped the new incarnation of the Futureheads more than this. “We’re not sick of talking about it”, is the honest start from Davey. “We don’t want to be talking about it all year, but at this point with the new record, it’s big news for us to be doing what we’re doing. It’s a big part of this new album.” “It’s something really important that has happened to us”, adds Barry. “We signed to a major record label just as the cracks were beginning to show, so the pressure to sell records was amazing. Now that we’re free of that and running our own business, we’re trying to destroy all notions of what it’s acceptable for record labels to be doing in order to sell music, so we’re trying to move with the times and be incredibly modern. We’ve managed to turn a really negative experience into a positive one, and we’re trying to set an example for other bands to follow.” When I first heard this back on the tape, all I heard was another load of blah blah blah, because a band with their profile prior to their dropping was always going to be able to claw their way back into some kind of career, but then I thought about how
much has changed in music since they last mattered, both in terms of the breadth of new and innovative sounds available to the most passive of music fans, and the steady crumbling of the industry itself, and all I could do was take my hat off to the fact that not only have they come back, but they’ve come back stronger. They’ve made an album of fast and direct punk songs that are as accessible to new ears as their previous album wasn’t. It sounds like a follow up to 1-23-Nul rather than News and Tributes. It sounds like a band at the start of something rather than one clinging on for dear life. It’s angry, punchy and immediate, and while for me it doesn’t quite match up to the eponymous debut, the fact that I even spent time debating it against one of my favourite albums of the last five years means that I must think it’s pretty amazing.
Old Heads So how have they done it? Barry reckons it’s all about going back to the beginning. “We’ve come full circle. When we started we were doing things DIY, with labels that were fully independent like Fantastic Plastic, and we felt like we were in control of what we were doing, which we are again now. We
“Kids who are coming to our gigs now weren’t even into music when Hounds of Love was released, they were like ten years old, they don’t even know what it is, they know us by Beginning of the Twist.”
made a punk record, and we’re out gigging all the time. The new album seems to be attracting a lot of younger fans. Like Hounds of Love for example, kids who are coming to our gigs now weren’t even into music when that was released, they were like ten years old, they don’t even know what it is, they know us by Twist.” “Everyone is so much younger now, bands, fans, everyone, but fucking hell, we’re still young aren’t we?!” says Dave “We started really young”, says Barry. “He [Dave] was 11 when we did our first band and I was 15. We started off as a teenage band, just like the Arctic Monkeys really, the same age. Dave did his first European tour at the age of sixteen, so we feel like we’ve been around for years, and we have! Thing is, people need to start remembering that musicians make music for life, they don’t just make one album then go back to working in a supermarket, if you’re a musician you can’t do anything else, so we’ll continue to make records ‘til we’re grey.”
- Barry Photography by Tim Cochrane www.timothycochrane.com
lykke li Rising star of the front bench
Political rallies are a bit of a spectacle, no? The grins, the hand shakes, the ridiculous amounts of confetti and balloons. And of course, thereâ€™s the theme song. Yessssss. Oh my, how politicians have a way of taking classic 80â€™s tunes and making them instantly cheesy.
This is Lykke Li, the incredibly talented 22-year-old singer who’s debut album Youth Novels, I’ve had on repeat for a month straight now. Turns out, she too hates when politicians use the power of the theme song. “They realise that music connects more to people than they do. So they use music to gain votes or gain trust. It’s just pure stupidity, it’s like - don’t even go there.” It’s Friday morning and I’m curled up on a couch with the shy, yet opinionated Lykke Li, talking politics. Alright, so not just politics. To be honest, most of our conversation consists of me rambling on about everything from bluegrass to the Real World while she smiles and stares up blankly. To her credit, it was early and I do talk way too fast. It also didn’t help that she was under the weather from her nonstop touring with fellow Swede El Perro Del Mar. “It would be a luxury to have 2 days off and sleep. I’ve been sick for like 3 months now. I’ve taken all sorts of weird stuff like Echinacea, propolis, Zinc, vitamin C, garlic, ginger teas… but it’s not working.” Before you start feeling too bad for her, keep in mind this chick’s had a pretty good run recently. Her 4-song EP was released earlier this spring just in time to get her on many an ‘artist to watch’ list leading up to this year’s SXSW. There, she played an impressive 11 shows in 3 days turning heads and making the demand for her full length even greater. Youth Novels, which already came out in Scandinavia back in January, will officially be released in the UK come June. In the mean time, Lykke Li’s traveling the globe playing a series of sold-out shows and doubling her fan base on what seems like a daily basis. Phew. But for Lykke Li, all this performing, no matter how taxing, is exactly what she’s always wanted. “For 20 years I’ve been just looking, like ‘what am I going to do? What am I going to do with all the energy and emotions I have?’ Cause I can’t be living a normal life. I only feel at home and truly happy when I’m on stage.” If you’ve ever seen her live, you can tell this is true. On stage, Lykke Li is in her element, delivering her own beautifully crafted, sometimes heartbreaking theme songs night after night. And like any good politician, she knows how to read her audience.
“I ride on the energy so if they give me back then I’ll give them three times as much but if they’re a calm audience than I’ll be quite shy as well.” By the way, when I saw her at the Bowery a few weeks ago, she was definitely in the ‘three times as much’ camp. As she sang, she banged on a drum, worked a sexy meets spastic dance style and whaled into the big gold kazoo that hung around her neck like bling. She’s original and she’s staying that way. “I have nobody who tells me what I should do and how I should be. I’m really fortunate in that way, I do exactly what I want, all the time.” Keeping this control might also have something to do with why she started her own label, LL Recordings. “Artists get screwed over time after time by labels, so I didn’t really want to be in that situation where I have an album but I can’t get it out cause they don’t like it. So it’s like fuck that, I’ll just do it myself.” Throughout our conversation, I began to learn that Lykke Li is a bit of a loner. And she’s had this same do it yourself/ make it alone attitude her whole life. Take her childhood for example. You gotta admit, she had kind of a interesting situation. Her dad is a musician, her mom’s a photographer and apart from going up in Stockholm, she’s lived in Portugal and spent winters in India. She eventually moved to New York at 19, completely alone. Surely, having such free spirited parents helped shape her, no? Not really. “I don’t know how much it has to do with my parents. I’m kind of free minded by myself, you know? I’m Pisces, I’m really sensitive and artistic, I think I would be doing this even if my parents didn’t…” I can’t finish that quote because my chatty ass cut her off. I’m thinking yeah, yeah of course. But come on, at least she learned that she didn’t have to take a traditional path in life, right? “They don’t have anything to do my career here or anything. They showed me that you don’t need to get a 9 to 5 job, but it’s not like they pulled the strings to make it happen. A lot of people are successful in music and have parents who work at McDonalds.” Fair enough. But apart from her parents, surely there have been people in her life who’ve taught her and advised her to get her where she is. I’m thinking Bjorn Yttling of Peter, Bjorn and John maybe. I mean, I know she’s worked closely with
the dude and he helped produce her album. And although she does admit that, “Björn has been such a help and inspiration, he gives me really good advice.”
“What make me cry is the same thing as everybody else, you know? When you feel lonely or when somebody breaks your heart or when the world just lets you down and you’re dreams and hopes fail you.”
She also points out that,
And in Lykke Li’s case it’s even more than that.
“At the same time I’ve been really kind of alone. I’m not part of this whole scene or gang so that’s been… I wish I was sometimes but I think it’s meant to be that I’m supposed to have a struggle alone.”
“It’s hard. Before I had such longing to do music and tour and everything but I couldn’t do it. It breaks your heart when you have such a desire to do something and then you’re not allowed to.”
See what I mean? Loner. Even when I bring up whether or not she feels any affinity with other Swedish artists or anything that suggests a sense of community, she’s quick to put me in my place.
But she’s doing it now and that may be where the source of her hope comes from.
“No, I mean I have an affinity with Edith Piaf you know? I see no reason why I should feel something more just because… (they’re Swedish). I feel connected to artists who have pain and who are on the outside and struggling.” I think what Lykke Li was responding to was how many people (okay, many Americans urg… myself included) feel the need to group musicians from a certain region together. To say things like, “Man! There are so many great bands coming out of Sweden right now!” Like it’s some sort of novelty to have great music all coming from the same place.
“For me like everything is possible and that gives me hope, that you can turn it around be in control of your own life. There are so many people who’ve gone from nothing to having everything. You can really turn it around.” Lykke Li is living proof of that. So. A killer album, sold out shows and growing international attention. What’s next? What are her goals apart from wanting to end our interview? “I have a lot of goals but it’s the same thing with dreams, you shouldn’t really say it out loud to everybody. But my goal is just to be able to do this for awhile and see what comes out of it.”
“Think how many bands there are from the UK!” she reminds me. And do it her way. As she always has. Lykke Li also doesn’t see the need for any forced patriotism. It’s not that she isn’t proud of where she’s from it’s just that she doesn’t want to be defined by it. So don’t expect to see her at a political rally any time soon, surrounded by balloons while something like “Dreams” by Van Halen blares in the background. “I’m glad I’m Swedish but that doesn’t mean I’m going to have a Swedish flag on me like ‘Yeah! Sweden is my best friend!’ Because it’s not that way.”
“I’ve been doing the same and I’ll be doing the same. And maybe now people like it and in awhile they won’t. I’m very unsure always of how it’s going to end.” I too am unsure of how it’s going to end, this story that is, so I’ll leave you with this. Lykke Li is one talented broad and she’s sure to get a lot of attention, with or without a theme song.
(For the record, “Dreams” by Van Halen is an awesome jam. Moving on.) If you’re familiar with Lykke Li’s music, you know it’s this kind of balance between heartbreak and hope. Believe, there’s a lot of crying on this record. But that rawness is perhaps why it connects so well with people.
Words by Steph Price Photography by Christopher McLallen www.christophermclallen.com
Singles Club www.krugermagazine.com
The Kruger Singles Club is a FREE download record label, releasing two tracks a month by one of Kruger’s favourite artists, and this is how it works... On the first Monday of every month, a new single is made available to download from the Singles Club section of our website. To download the tracks you have to be a member. Sign-up takes about 30 seconds and we won’t pass on your details to anyone else. Once you’re a member, you can download the newest single and everything still available in our archive! Listen out for Kruger singles on the radio. Steve Lammacq, John Kennedy, Tom Robinson, Huw Stephens, Nemone and Zane Lowe have all been playing our stuff.
Our latest release is Lost & Found by
Popular Computer which members can download now for free at
Modernaire - Distraction The Duloks - Lovelorn Unicorn Die Romantik - Narcissist’s Waltz Scott H Biram - Graveyard Shift Evils - You Must Conform Klanguage - Priceless Things Emmy The Great - Hold On Holy Hail - Endless Attack + Defend - DNA Sam Isaac - Carbon Dating The Hot Puppies - Party Gideon Conn - I Want You Around The Toy Band - Riff Song
And this is who we’ve released in the ﬁrst 13 months!
“Every single is a winner in its own way; Kruger ﬁnds some of the most exciting, freshest new music around.” – Huw Stephens, Radio 1
“Free music chosen by people with great taste, that’s the reason why The Kruger Singles Club is so good.” – John Kennedy, XFM 38
Free the MP3 Tour The Kruger Singles Club has just been on tour! 8 of our bands got involved as we took in Manchester, Bristol, Cardiff and London on a mission to Free The MP3! Check out the photo gallery online at www.krugermagazine.com. The London show was broadcast live on our website, which is pretty amazing! Watch it again in our new Kruger TV section! Photography by Mei Lewis at Mission Photographic www.missionphotographic.com & Rachael Burns www.musicprovocateur.com
. IVEg!.. S U L in z C a Not a
EXut it’s still am b
Lee Perry is the type of guy who music nerds love. His story is one full of intrigue, comedy and craziness; yet his achievements are copious and he stands tall as a genuine pioneer of twentieth century music. This combination of personality and serious artistic cache makes him someone who it’s easy to talk about. You go into an interview with Scratch on the premise that he’ll help you talk about the things which interest us as music nerds. For instance, how did dub tear away from its Jamaican nursery and go on to profoundly influence just about every type of modern dance music? This issue has been playing on the mind of Matt V, the architect of Dublime, a one-off night of bass culture at Fabric nightclub. Lee Perry has been invited to headline a showcase of dubinfluenced music and remind us why he is the godlike root at the bottom of 40
Lee Scratch Perry! a big, subwoofer-shaped family tree. I ask him how he feels about being given this status. His simple answer: “I’m happy. It’s a big thing.” You can sense that licking his arse for being a pioneer washes over him, kind of like fawning over a nun for being sexy. He quickly changes the terms of discussion. “You get called a pioneer but I call myself a doctor now,” he says. “The music is a patient.” And then you realise that this is a man for whom music is pathological, a profession, the way things are. What does it matter if he’s a pioneer or not? He’s got surgery to perform. So does he see music as some sort of sickly thing in need of rehabilitation? “Yeah,” he ponders in his soft, slightly wizened Jamaican voice. Then there’s a moment’s pause before his explanation: “I change it from muSIK s-i-k to muZIK z-i-k!” He punches out the final three letters of the two words
as if they’d been spelled like that since time began. It’s my introduction to the slightly, er, idiosyncratic world of Scratch’s reasoning. It’s an invitation to laugh with him for the first time and see his famous funny side. But, actually, it’s also one of the more straight-up answers he gives over the course of a fifteen minute interview which never strays very far from the surreal. One particular exchange stands out as emblematic. I ask him whether he keeps abreast of developments in modern music, particularly the genres being showcased at Dublime. What about drum ‘n’ bass for instance? “Yeah, drum ‘n’ bass is a pleasure because the drum and the bass is where you can create everything from,” he reminds me. Typically, an attempt to draw him into wider discussion falls back into chat about the fabric of actually
making records; he likes drum ‘n’ bass because it reminds him of his own methods, building everything on the solid foundations of a boss riddim.
“The croaking lizard is a special spirit in the house. If you kill him you’re gonna have big, big trouble.”
Then comes a slightly unprompted detour. He bizarrely claims, ‘I like reggae music but not too much. You wan’ music which can touch you in your soul, so you know what music I like?’ No – what? ‘SOUL!’ he booms. ‘You turn soul music into reggae, into reggae-soul, reggae-rock, reggaepop…’ I try to draw him on this, make him talk about the soul he loves. Does he still listen to classic American soul, the type which directly influenced so much reggae of his generation? His answer was the brilliant and complete misunderstanding, “Yeah, in America they like my music for a special reason, because I sound like hip-hop.” At least, that’s what he actually said. Initially I 41
thought I heard him link his music to Iggy Pop, a comparison which isn’t as preposterous as it first sounds, actually. Anyway, such was the fertile potential for crossed wires and mishearing – although, like all things with Scratch, it seemed to circle back into some sort of rhyme and reason. Ask him about his classic Black Ark period, when he churned out a quite indecent amount of seminal roots and dub, and you open up a whole new can of absurd worms. Super Ape is one of the greatest albums ever, I gush. What are his memories of making it? “A new creation,” he replies obliquely. “The ape was representing me in, like, a movie. The ape is the universe and a global reality. I could look into the future and see that the ape was made before man. The ape represented a generation of man. If you look at an ape, you will see a face just like ours
with two eyes and one mouth. Like a coconut!” Alright! Now we’re cooking Scratchwise. Let’s talk about one of Super Ape’s iconic tracks, Croaking Lizard, which contains the immortal line ‘Who feels it knows it’ and generally sets out an incredibly cool and dread vision. Scratch takes up my baton, agreeing that ‘Who feels it knows it’ acts as a sort of motto for reggae in general. But even better, he explains apropos of nothing the idea behind Croaking Lizard: “The croaking lizard is a special spirit in the house. He lives in the jungle or in the trees and when he comes down to the house he comes to make peace and to make the house happy. If you kill him you’re gonna have big, big trouble after that.” By this point I should know that getting
him to talk about his music in any sort of schematic way is futile. Still, I persevere. Super Ape doesn’t seem like a dub album to me – there are too many vocals and extra bits in the mix; the tracks resemble conventional ‘songs’ too much. It’s something different. How would he classify it? “A spiritual classic.” And this blunt answer shows that all the classifying and wriggling in the world is a bit beside the point. Like a true visionary, Scratch is resistant to probing and analysis. He’s as mad as they say he is and sometimes he seems almost unwitting of his massive, non-trivial achievements. But that’s probably why he was able to achieve them in the first place. ‘Who feels it knows it’ still sums it up pretty well.
Words by David George
A Live N
SE 2 3 4 7
GEMMA RAY “The Leader” OUT NOW
featuring the single “Hard Shoulder” "A startlingly good album" - Clash "With noir-ish hints of Lee Hazlewood's unearthly country/rock, Ray somehow sits midway between Nina Simone and Isobel Campbell, and is the better for it". MOJO "Imagine Norah Jones on Amy Winehouse's drugs" - Q
A Live Natio
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Also available: SEASICK STEVE- Dog House Music / Cheap / It’s All Good 43
Lovvers do not want your vote. They don’t want to be the voice of their generation or to occupy a subversive soapbox. They just want to play loud and hard and fast.
Lovvers came together inconspicuously. Shaun Hencher, the bleached blonde and blue-eyed vocalist met Henry Whithers, the lead gutarist, at a gig in Nottingham. They started working on some songs and decided to put a band together. Shaun met drummer Steve Rose at a Kamikazee gig and discovered that he was, coincidentally, from the West Midlands. Bassist Michael Drake had been closely involved with Shaun’s previous band, The Murder of Rosa Luxembourg, touring with them and handling their merchandise. A week later they held their first practise. Two weeks later they played their first gig; two days after that all four members were involved in a near fatal car crash. They walked away relatively unscathed and made their first record.
“That’s sort of how the band went: we had two weeks of rehearsal, a gig, a car crash and then another gig. After a couple of weeks we did some recording to give out at shows so people could know what we were playing,” says Shaun. Four of the five tracks made it onto their first record, the Lovvers EP; fast, ropey recordings of wantonly uncoordinated noise, punk and pop smashed together at high speeds and delivered with a quick flick of the bird. Despite the Murder of/Kamikazee credentials, Lovvers are not a straight punk band. Each member brings something a bit skewed to the group. Shaun and Michael came from a lengthy entanglement with the posthardcore scene. Michael particularly has a collectors knowledge of punk and American hardcore. Henry’s love of Graham Coxon and Stephen Malkmus comes through in his playful, off-kilter guitar solos and loop effects: “I liked the way Graham Coxon would
put a real skronky solo that was a little bit out of tune in the middle of number one singles like Parklife. It’s the creative guitar playing, able to do lead guitar without being pompous.” The end product is a mess of hardcore riffing, bright passages of guitar, snotty adolescent vocals and layers of noise: a punk band for Pavement fans. It is unaffected, direct and pissed at you for trying to fence it into descriptions. “I hate this kind of thing,” says Michael. “If you’re a punk, like into The Ramones and the Sex Pistols, then you’re into a fashion style and maybe you’re trying to ape that sort of sound as well.” “If you asked most hardcore punk kids what they thought of us then they would probably say we were an indie band,” adds Shaun. “I don’t like this kind of statement. It’s got really bad connotations. If you asked the guy on the street what he thought punk was then he would probably say the Sex
Pistols but if you ask some kid what he thought punk was he might say Minor Threat and we’re not really like any of those.” “There are a lot of people who are in socalled punk bands who will only play with other punk bands. They’ll dress in a certain way and for them it’s more about an image or a sound whereas for me it’s more of a thought process. It’s like, you can get some pretty punk folk bands. They’ll go out with just an acoustic guitar and a guy with a banjo and they’ll play wherever and do whatever it takes to get their message across. It’s about not accepting things and not pigeon-holing yourself. “ And it’s hard to pin-down a band who document so little of themselves. Aside from the three limited edition records- their debut, the Lovvers EP, Near Enough For Jazz / Special Needs EP and Laughing Man / Search For Gold - they are involved with quality talent45
spotters, One Inch Badge, on a four way split release EP. The record also features three other bands existing within the sub-genres of new punk. Tellingly they are all American: there is Best Fwends, a punk duo from Texas who mould electro and hip-hop into recognisable ‘skate punk’, the Casio-fiddling, happy hardcore of The Death Set and Knyfe Hyts, a psychedelic experiment formed from the ashes of the Ex-Models. You are more likely to experience Lovvers live than you are to get your hands on one of their rare vinyl releases. They have played everywhere from the mandatory tin-can dives to youth clubs, warehouses and universities. “We never say ‘we won’t do this or we won’t do that’ because you want people to hear your songs and check you out live,” says Shaun. “We could be the worst band in the world but for 20 minutes we’re doing it and they can either love it or hate it. It’s not a matter of trying to appeal to a guy in a suit it’s about trying to get to the kids and play wherever.”
This desire to meet an audience on their own terms is central to their identity as a band. Lovvers don’t want to be part of someone else’s tour, they want to forge their own experiences at each new show. When they play live, Shaun rejects the stage and performs within the audience; there are no barriers between them and the ‘kids’ they’re speaking to, and on occasion speaking for. “It’s ok for us. We can talk to you now and you’re going to write about it but for some pissed off kid in his bedroom there are very few things he can do. One is start and band and another is writing but not everyone gets a platform.” And despite his protestations otherwise, Shaun’s lyrics fall firmly within the tradition of punk-protest songs:
“It’s social commentary but it’s not political. We haven’t got a song about the war- there’s no political agenda or statement.” - Shaun
“All of our songs are based on a really simple idea that things currently are pretty shit. Current music, current fashion, media- it’s all pretty mediocre and average. None of it’s got any soul. You can’t believe in any of it because 90% of it is shit,” he says. “It’s social commentary but it’s not political. We haven’t got a song about the war- there’s no political agenda or statement. I’m not saying sack the government because I don’t identify with that. I’m not a political person. I’d rather write about things that I’ve experienced: things that I’ve seen.” In every cynic lies a crushed idealist. They may be reluctant leaders but in a climate of corruption and dossiers, unwarranted arrests and smear campaigns the world needs more clear thinking, straight talking outsiders to balance the bullshit. They may not have their name on the ballot, but I’m putting a cross next to Lovvers. Words by Natalie Davies Photography by Kamil M. Janowski www.clikpic.com
Free Blood ‘Part 2’ ACTH Recordings
Tom Mansi & The Icebreakers ‘Love On The Rails’ Kartel
Secondsmile ‘Years’ Big Scary Monsters
Smile Down On Us ‘Smile Down Upon Us’ Static Caravan
Neil Burrell ‘White Devil's Day Is Almost Over’ Akoustik Anarkhy
Jonquil ‘Lions’ Try Harder Records
Mockingbird, Wish Me Luck ‘Days Come And Go’ Blow Up
Texas Radio Band ‘Gavin’ Peski
at the party conferance Kruger Party Conference 2008 // Barry Island
Society has gone wild. As tax rates increase, banks shut their doors to borrowers and every television screen in the country is littered with talentless idiots performing like dogs for a bored nation; no one is thinking about the kids. Instead they’re left to wander the streets, swilling cider into their pregnant bellies and feasting on a combination of STDs and KFC. Dark times are approaching, we need a saviour. CRACK. A kick drum thunders in your ears. SMASH. A cymbal hits between your eyes. “It sucks for kids. We want kids to own their music. We’re trying to be that band for kids today” declares John Famiglietti of Californian noise terrorists Health, and a ray of hope flickers in even the darkest of minds.
Health’s original mission statement was a simple one. “We wanted to be a relevant band, kind of new and exciting” asserts John, and it’s one they’ve overachieved with an eponymous debut that not only sounds completely original, but rips through your ears and jerks with your head leaving you nervously exhilarated. “When we started, we were playing very traditional music and we were really dissatisfied and we had to write something new and we’d argue and we were really down about it” John continues in a relaxed tone. “So I guess the turning point is when I brought in, like a diagram for the first time when we really wrote something that weird, and after that we were like ‘Oh, it’s fucking weird.’ Then we just went off more and more after that and got rid of all the old songs.” In fact, Health spent the last couple of years not only perfecting a sound, but building allegiances to aid their campaign, beginning in their native LA
with allies such as No Age, and as John explains, the Mae Shi. “Mae Shi were this really crazy, spazzy rock band at that time and we were looking up to them coz they were really popular in the local scene, and they were playing all these cool places and playing tons and tons of shows so we were just like; ‘You gotta do it like the Mae Shi, you need to play four, five times a month, six times, whatever, just as many shows as possible until someone gets to know you.’ So we would literally take every single possible show and we just kept playing and playing.” Slowly, touring took them further afield on the campaign trail, and they began building The Axis of Awesome. “It’s actually a term I coined” boasts John. “It’s just LA and Baltimore, like the two best scenes in the country. The music is very different and Baltimore has a very unique sound, it’s just very exciting right now, when we go over there or they come here.”
However, the strongest support you’ll find in the Health corner comes in the shape of Canadian electro pioneers Crystal Castles. “We became friends with them very early on, before they went on tour with Klaxons and became so huge” John enthuses after a lengthy rave on what makes them such an exciting prospect. “We discovered them on the internet, on a blog, and just started talking to them over email and it’s ‘I like you, you like me’ sort of thing and we were talking about ‘Let’s do a split; you guys should remix a song or something.’ We kind of asked very timidly and they were very into it and then they did the remix, and that was on a tour CDR we had when we were touring, like DIY tours, like in basements and stuff, and that song didn’t really get released proper until last year.” Health are DIY, a benefit for any economy, recording their album for free at local venue The Smell. “It was 49
really hellish recording there” recounts John. “The doors don’t lock and it’s in a very bad area of LA, downtown, and just crack heads would be wandering in all day and we almost got robbed a few times. It was very difficult to record there. I don’t think I’d ever do it again.” Crime, drugs, security; Health have experience in dealing with all the issues society needs to address, but it’s the youth of today they’re really campaigning to save. “It just really sucks for kids” stresses John. “Their youthful angst rebellion is listening to music their fucking parents listened to. All this stuff; the most insane death metal, hardcore punk, anything you’ve got – everyone knows what that is and they know the response. Like your fucking mum would throw devil horns. No-one’s shocked. And it’s fucking, really old. Every single new band that comes out are just loved for and praised for how well they can emulate old bands... and all those old bands
are on tour right now so it’s kind of embarrassing.”
“We just want to take it to the next level. We want to do everything harder, better, faster... ”
“We just want to take it to the next level. We want to do everything harder, better, faster... ” John trails off and catches his breath before holding hand to chest and stating Health’s pledge. “We want to be immediate. It’s abrasive. We’re not going to turn down the intensity, but we’re not trying to sound like a fuck you or like we’re destroying music. We’re very much trying to make relevant music. We’re trying to make music for the kids. We’re trying to make something that sounds new.” We’re saved.
“. Words by Jen Long
Photography by Tim Cochrane www.timothycochrane.com
White DENim - - --- --- --WorkoUT HolIDA Y THE DEBUT ALBUM OUT JUNE 23RD ON CD / LP / DOWNLOAD “WORKOUT HOLIDAY IS A PARTY RECORD FOR THINKING PEOPLE, AND IT’S A SMART TIME TO JOIN THEM.” UNCUT “DEBUT ALBUM OF THE MONTH”- --
“...THE BEST ALBUM YOU’LL HEAR ALL YEAR.” -- ARTROCKER “ALBUM OF THE MONTH”--“...EARNING A PLACE AMONG 2008’S ESSENTIAL ACTS.” -NME-“...ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING NEW BANDS OF THE YEAR.” --DAZED & CONFUSED - --------------------------------- - ----SEE: DETAILS FOR JULY--/ --ON TOUR IN JUNE GLISH OM/BOPEN MYSPACE.C * M WHITEDENIMMUSIC.CO
** kruger17.indd 51
micah p. hinson and the red empire orchestra The new album out July 14th - CD - Spec.Edition CD (feat. two extra tracks) - LP - Download The single “When We Embraced” Out June 30th on Ltd. Ed 7” & DL See him live: Bush Hall, London on Wed 16th July (tickets from www.livenation.co.uk)
ALBUM OUT JUNE 2ND (FEATURING EX-MEMBERS OF HOT SNAKES AND ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT) “PERFORMING SOME OF THE BEST PARTY MUSIC FOR SMART PEOPLE THIS SIDE OF BLACK LIPS” ALTERNATIVE PRESS
** web: www.fulltimehobby.co.uk / email: firstname.lastname@example.org ** shop: www.resonancestore.com/fth / video: www.youtube.com/fulltimehobbyrecordings
** 3/6/08 02:04:33
Say ‘Allo ‘Allo to...
Kruger’s Foreign Minister Alex Bean takes us channel hopping with a special slide show presentation about our nearest and dearest neighbours...
Zoot alors, just what are they putting in the water in France at the moment? You can’t have failed to notice that a high percentage of records you’ve enjoyed over the past 12 months have come from across the Channel. These records don’t even have to own a French passport; the sound, style and comfortable arrogance of our neighbours has fully romanced the UK music scene, from Vicarious Bliss at 4am on the dance-floor right through to adoptee Feist on drivetime Radio 2. Does this mean that in the name of an anthemic ditty, we’ve finally cast aside our historical bitching with France? Hell, the Eurostar doesn’t even terminate at Waterloo anymore. I can’t help but feel that Kruger were prepared for a slightly compassionate account when they asked me for quick round up of the current French musical landscape; in the previous
issues I’ve spoken in questionable Franglais to Justice and Sebastian Tellier, I run a record label called Lost In Paris and my favourite Flight of the Conchords song is Foux De FaFa. I’m lock stock sold on the French music scene and have been since the explosion of French Touch around the millennium which gleefully brought us Cassius, Stardust and made household names of Daft Punk. So let’s start with the abundance of utterly glorious independent labels feeding us these gems. Right out in poll position is Ed Banger, the label is run by Pedro Winter (also known as DJ Busy P) who took a sidestep from managing Daft Punk to lead this gang of the coolest kids in town. Team Ed Banger include infant terribles Justice, the even-filthierthen-Peaches Uffie and disc jockey supreme DJ Mehdi. Operating from
a tiny office in the North of Paris inconspicuous from the outside yet containing desks heaving under MTV awards - Ed Banger have the best t-shirts, throw the most in demand parties and with inhouse designer So Me overseeing the entire visual output, have created a look which summarises the bottom line in sohot-right-now. Ed Banger also has ties with Because records, a label that’s home to chanteuse Charlotte Gainsbourgh and the Klaxons in France and who’ve recently gone all out in signing Metronomy for the world, taking charge of releasing their album in Blightly too. Another Brit band jumping in bed with the Frenchies is Cazals, who joined forces with uber-stylish Kitsune last year. With record sleeves featuring portraits of their collaborators, or ‘family members’, Kitsune have been servicing us with sexy 12”s since 2002, which have included cuts from Digitalism, Hot Chip and Cut Copy. Let’s not forget their super on-the-money Masion compilations which reached the 5th volume this year. Golly, they’ve even just opened their own clothing boutique in Paris. I’m also a fan of the petite but perfectly formed Disque Primeur, the label which is home to early releases from Chromeo and A-Trak in France and who also discovered Adam Kesher - a 6 piece band from Bordeaux who sound like the Liars
having a tumble with Velvet Underground. Adam Kesher are about to unleash a track called Local Girl on the world via the medium of a global Chanel advert, proving the French really do know to keep their cool in-house. But let us not underestimate the power of a thumping good party. Any label worth their onions are throwing allnight dance-a-thons, with the Parisan indie label Institubes leading the charge. The ‘Institubes Express’ night tours Europe showcasing their abundance of hot DJs, including Surkin, Bobmo and Das Glow and leaves a trail of limited 7”s, fluro t-shirts and hung-over fanatics in their wake.
Not up for the all night disco parties? More interested in the music coming directly to you? Don’t worry, there’s still the bands making their best come-hither eyes at the UK this year. How about Popular Computer? Known by his mum as Sylvain Dalido, this young knob-twiddler is fast gaining a reputation for straight up bangers after featuring on two of Kitsune’s aforementioned Masion compilations. Popular Computer has also recently dazzled with remixes of New Young Pony Club and Mylo, whilst his new single Lost and Found is gleefully reminiscent of Laurent Garnier at the peak of his powers. Then there’s TTC who first came to my attention with their track ode to commercialism Paris Paris. Honestly, my understanding of French leaves something to be desired so the lyrical content of their native language hip hop gets somewhat lost, but I sure do appreciate their heavy bass lines, their big as a whale leader Texi Latex and I’m dazzled by their love of all things pastel. Seriously, check their myspace for a feeling of being let loose in an icecream shop. On acid. I’ve already shouted about Adam Kesher, but also coming highly recommended are Klanguage (previous stars of Kruger’s single club if you will), Zombie Zombie, Kap Bambino and the delicate tones of Zooey. If these young bands represent the House of Commons, 53
then residing over affairs with aristocratic grace are number of key figures in the House of Lords. There’s Philippe Katerine, an artist who’s oft-cited as an influence among the hipsters, Christophe, a crooner residing slightly on the peripheries of sanity, yet of course the chief of Gaul remains Serge Gainsbourg, as Sebastian Tellier agrees: “Serge is the godfather of French music, his influence is felt across all artists in a diverse way, in every field, watching down on us, especially me. He continues to be an absolute inspiration” In fact, I reckon Tellier’s got his eye’s firmly on the title of being Gainsbourgh’s heir. He’s certainly making the right moves with the overtly suggestive album, this year’s Sexuality, he’s got the 6ftsomething looming stature and has only just presented himself as France at Eurovision. His work with musicians such as Kavinsky, Mr Ozio and SebastiAn meanwhile places him firmly at the heart of the current wave of French Touch Round 2. However, Tellier’s got an equallylooming contender snapping at his heels. Although not natively French, Gonzales (aka Jason Beck) is also doing everything in his power to place himself at the head of this prolific scene. Gonzales is about to release his 6th album Soft Power in the UK and after a diverse career spanning
electro-clash, hip hop, piano concertos and power ballads, he’s recently produced some of France’s most sacred names. He’s worked with Jane Birkin, produced that Fiest album (who in-turn has been fully adopted by France) and is also centred in French-Touch-Round-2 by working with the aforementioned Texi Latex.
Let’s take a moment to imagine what could be achieved if these two musical heavy- weights teamed up. I reckon they could easily instigate a fully beret-d coup, combined by the force of their outrageously camp suits, dazzling stage shows and bizarre press shots. I’m seeing them holding court at the very top of the French government, then a forward march on to leadership of Europe quickly followed by global domination, smoking Gauloises all the way. Alas, something that’ll never actually happen due to the fact they openly hate each other. Gonzales describes Tellier as: “A completely lazy artist. It’s like I love your image and everything but I just wish that there was a bit more coming out of the speakers. I find his really stuff cold.” While Tellier retorts: “I am not a fan of Gonzales. I have respect for him because he is obviously a talented musician, but then again his music is a lot easier to make then mine.” Ah well, Sarkozy is safe for a while then. So whilst the battle for the top position in the scene remains in contest, have we reached the peak of this French musical invasion? Will we be shunning our baguettes and So Me t-shirts by the end of summer in favour of something from slightly further afield or even dare I say - closer to home? I think we’ve got a few more Gallic anthems to woo us before our musical love affair comes to an end, and as Matthieu Beck from Adam Kesher mused oh-so stereotypically: “Has the French and the music scene peaked? Well it’s like when you make love for the first time; no one will prevent you from doing it again.”
FABRIC RECORDS SINCE 2001
OUT NOW FABRIC38: M.A.N.D.Y. Berlin-based creative duo M.A.N.D.Y. take their Get Physical Records roots and prime your ears for a full workout with their elegant fabric 38 mix. With standout tracks from Gui Boratto, Lucio Aquilina, Audion and the cream of the Get Physical crop, M.A.N.D.Y. map the motion between electro-influenced house, subdisco and techno on its way from subtle reflective inner vision to sheer dancefloor delight.
OUT NOW FABRIC40: MARK FARINA Mark Farina, one of the most important figures in the development of house music, steps up to the decks for fabric 40, a buoyant, essential soundtrack for summer that swells and melds with the jackin’ sounds of Derrick Carter, JT Donaldson & Uneaq, DJ Sneak and King Kooba.
OUT NOW FABRICLIVE38: CRAZE
OUT 16TH JUNE FABRICLIVE40: NOISIA
FABRICLIVE 38: Craze is a rally ride through 74 minutes of no-excuses dancefloor joy, shamelessly laden with guilty pleasures and renegade styles from one of the most skilled DJs ever to stand before two turntables. Taking cuts from the new school (Cool Kids, Bangers & Cash, Chromeo and Kid Sister) to stalwart sounds from N.O.R.E, Coldcut and Tuff Crew to licks less likely from Earth, Wind and Fire, Armand Van Helden and The Chemical Brothers, this is a mix’n’blend masterclass.
Dutch drum’n’bass trio Noisia push us willingly into the deep science of shadowy future tek jungle and breaks with FABRICLIVE 40, a relentless and complex collection of upfront dark beats. Featuring many Noisia tracks from their own two imprints Vision and Division Recordings, as well as labels Ninja Tune, Quarantine and Virus, this mix is a serious throttle to the senses, commanding all to stand to attention at the Amen as moody soundscapes encase the ears and get the dancefloor ready to strike!
OUT NOW FABRIC39: ROBERT HOOD fabric 39 stars the visionary Robert Hood: one of the founding fathers of Detroit's incomparable Underground Resistance and the innovator behind hypnotic minimal techno. Fabric 39 is simplified, intelligent music that moves and challenges at a fast, unrelenting pace, imaginatively mimicking the feeling of Detroit itself in all its industrial glory. A no-nonsense, trenddefying mix that doesn’t timidly tiptoe around the obvious; it boldly stomps right through the unfamiliar and unexpected.
OUT 14TH JULY FABRIC41: LUCIANO On fabric 41, Luciano gracefully dives into the swelling, playful sounds of summer with a sublime and rhythmic mix. Warm, colourful house beats connect the dots between the elements of Defected's dazzle, Strictly Rhythm’s soul and the consistent brilliance of Luciano's own imprint, Cadenza.
OUT NOW FABRICLIVE39: DJ YODA On FABRICLIVE 39, DJ Yoda manages to effortlessly bring everything and anything into the mix: from the most unpredictable to the stone cold classics. Yoda provides a fusion of old meets new, pulling together beats, bass and sounds from streets around the world – from London to Brazil to Jamaica to Baltimore. With New Jack Swing giving Baltimore house a twirl, Minnie Ripperton grabbing drum’n’bass by the hand, Salt N Pepa getting down with Baile Funk and dubstep grinding up next to Lord Kitchener, DJ Yoda brings it all together for some straight up fun times.
OUT 11TH AUGUST FABRICLIVE41: SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO Simian Mobile Disco take a step away from any misguided preconceptions and showcase an exemplary DJ set on FABRICLIVE 41: a plodding, head-nodding mix that shuffles with 4/4 rarities and old gems. SMD strip back and let loose with the thump of Smith N Hack, the disco shine of Metro 55 Area and the proggy sounds of Sisters of Transisters.
Bang Face Weekender Pontin’s, Camber Sands 25th-27th April According to my mate Paul, David Bowie once said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture. Writing about Bang Face is like wanking for the amputated. It really doesn’t translate into language, like onomatopoeic words, just strings of arbitrary prose describing sounds and movements. In second order signification, Bang Face can certainly be translated into innumerable lines but never, ever a sentence. If I’m honest, which I most certainly am not, the only things I really remember are a giant inflatable Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and Venetian Snares appearing in my chalet for an episode like the shopkeeper from Mr Ben. When I’m surprised, excited or on one, I tend to black out and make a giant inflatable arsemallow of myself. I’m usually replaced with my simulacrum, the one that asks his heroes how many midgets he can fit into a giant’s arse, or start pitching new genres like Wheelchair BukkakeCore, but luckily my chalet mate had already sold the Snares to Karaoke MimeCore and we spent the evening formulating our PR strategy crushing bones to Boxcutter in the true spirit of Rave. Speaking of Rave, it’s alive and well at Bang Face. It runs in line with the annual acid face moon my legal advisor, Dr Llewellyn and I, followed like the Three Kings following the star to find the baby Jesus. They found him in some horseshit house in Bethlehem. We found him in Pontin’s in Sussex. And all you indie nuggets that lost part of your brain somewhere in a field in Hampshire. The GABBA Chalet Crew found them, sampled them, then sped them up to 289BPM and are still there, banging it together with Hellfish and Producer almost a month on. But they were all on Cake. It’s a made up drug and makes GABBA sound like Easter Eggs. Jungle Chalet Crew, Acid Caravan Rave Club and Osama Spin Laden all got back to Coney but sorry boppers, the rest lost their heads alike Anne Boleyn. And they didn’t even find out until the following Wednesday. On the day currently being diagnosed as Black Wednesday by some practitioners, the United Kingdom’s NHS psychiatry client list rose by 16.8% and according to the Times Business Section, 64% of Cornish Ravers claim to lost up to 72 hours having been engulfed by a massive hole. The boffins think they can trace it back to Venetian Snares opening track Husikam Rave Dojo. Precisely with the line:
“Take Drugs, Smoke Crack, Get Fucked Up.” This message was not communicated through subliminal imagery or soundscapes, the devil isn’t in playing Ozzy vinyl backward, the GABBA Chalet Crew have him spinning at an ungodly oscillation, this message is totally un-coded, a lyric, the lines you’d normally be expected to read between had already been hoovered up (during the Luke Vibert and the Ragga Twins set) with a twisted up train ticket to Camber Sands. In the flesh the Snares is a very affable gentleman and he plays no part in the Breakfast Cereal Conspiracy theory and its subsequent epidemic. The truth is the average Cornish raver has a particular interest in drugs, which were designed to fuck up dinosaurs. And there were a lot of confused human beings at Bang Face. Most of us stayed at the Vic listening to Vibert, DMX Krew spin records and Bong Ra talk about something I can’t really go into with a catheter. Other than that, it was standing in the same spot listening to Normski on BangFace TV trying to decide whether to see Mike Dred do his Universal Indicator Set or go to see Shitmat. Do you go to see Bogdan Raczynski or Jackson and his Computer Band? Remarc or Modeselektor? Was that Richard D James or someone’s weird looking child in a mask and a blue parka? These sorts of questions will ruin you without sufficient closure. The mutual question on the Sunday of Bang Face was; do we go and see Squarepusher or go home with our heads between our legs? I chose the latter. Partly because I couldn’t physically exist as a human anymore and partly because I couldn’t face the thought of a three day pile up of really mashed potatoes, trying to find a beat that happened fifteen minutes ago. I have had this experience in every Squarepusher gig I have seen. The one where Ross is too fucked to dance and looks like Ian Curtis’s epilepsy. Also, Tom Jenkinson had moved into the chalet opposite on the Sunday and looked moodier than Dalston. No photos, no convos. Mr Jenkinson doesn’t like the journos or the snappers, or dogs, cows, chickens, geese or humans. He especially hates humans. But he was very polite, like Stevens in Remains of the Day. And politeness is the ideology of the Bang Face Hard Crew. We’ve got more peace and love than a bag full of hippies in a bin full of born agains. Only we just want to dance, or at least try to, or at least decide what we’d like to dance to. Well, we’ll do anything the acid face tells us to. Simon Roberts 57
DJ Yoda’s Magic Circus
Atlas Sound / Animal Collective
Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip
Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
Music Hall of Williamsburg, NY
9th May, 2008
22nd May, 2008
9th May, 2008
13th May, 2008
The prospect of seeing Yoda monkey around with a ribtickling blend of big-screen audio & visual DJing was enough to ram out the Cardiff leg of his tour. As we munched Yodabrand popcorn, he sweated over his specially developed Pioneer mixer, VJing an eyepopping array of cult films, internet remixes and TV show samples. Fresh Prince danced over Sugarhill raps, The Conchords boys did the robot, and Star Wars clips danced on screen under Yoda’s nimble fingers. This kid certainly stayed in the picture. DJM
Atlas Sound wants to clear something up. “You know when I said Animal Collective were the shit, you knew what I meant right?” Worried that his statement may have a different meaning across the Atlantic, he looks relieved when the crowd nods in agreement. It’s not only his enthusiasm that translates well; his blissful songs were the perfect warm up for tonight’s show. Accompanied by a guitar and laptop he gently prepares the crowd with a spectral set. While no one could ever accuse Animal Collective as being conventional, the continuing absence of guitarist Deakin from live shows has seen the band ditch a ‘traditional’ live set up. Panda Bear and Geologist take their place on opposite sides of the stage; their heads huddled over samplers and electronics. From centre stage Avey Tare plays guitar, sings and manipulates sounds through a variety of effects units. Even Panda Bear’s drumming duties have been reduced to the occasional use of a reduced kit. As strange as it sounds it seems more feasible to class Animal Collective as an electronic act these days, as a three piece they’ve shed their folk sound. Samples and drumbeats provide the spine of the music and when Panda Bear and Tare’s vocals combine, the harmonies they create cause an outbreak of tingling spines amongst the crowd. It’s a sound that resonates well - not only in Koko’s theatrical like walls - but also within the audience themselves. The Animal Collective live experience has taken on a shamanic like quality. I’d rather kill myself than use the expression “musical journey”, but the feeling I had after tonight’s gig was one I haven’t for a while. JD
Straight off, bass player Jesse Newman, drummer David Rogers-Berry & fiddler Bob Pycoir go topless. As they blaze through their set I understand why: these dudes get into it! O’death’s music is real and raw. It gets inside you, makes you lose your inhibitions. For the craziness, singer Greg Jamie sits calmly on his chair, wailing to the mic. And any band that can make you feel like you’re at a hillbilly barbeque and a NOFX concert at the same time has gotta be doing something right, right? SP
Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip are celebrating the launch of their Angles album tonight. XFM are recording it, which means by the time you’ve read this (AND NOT BEFORE), you can probably hear it online. Pip looks a bit tired at first, but it turns out he’s got his eyes closed, concentrating on firing hundreds of rhymes into the crowd. In between, he urges people to dance. Some do, while others prefer to listen intently to the “Serious Message” of the raps, with heads cocked. One of the former (hippy dancing people) goes “WOOO!” a lot. It is annoying. Kruger isn’t the only one to have noticed, but the pair jovially turn it into a game. “I like the response,” says Pip. “From now on, you’re not allowed to clap until someone goes ‘Wooo!’ first. Or we’re leaving. Seriously.” Sac and Pip are having a ball, with many drunken rambles and arguments: the highlights of their brief gay relationship, what Sac would do if they gave up music (wrestling), and Pip punctuating a spokenword number by pouring out rose wine to the people at the front, because he’s “got too much”. There is a spurious claim that they will “give up music forever if the album doesn’t reach the Top 20.” They also piss about with props a lot, and refer to tunes as “routines”, but because they are sharp of wit, these tend to be clever, rather than pretentious. There’s a tendency for people to dismiss Sac’s basic production, but after a while, the reasoning behind it becomes clear – its simplicity counterpoints the “Serious Message” within the poetry. At times, this is spoilt by the volume of the beats drowning out the rhymes, but the message still remains, as sharp as the razors mentioned in Magician’s Assistant. JA
Bon Iver / Iron & Wine Leadmill, Sheffield 14th May, 2008 Wisconsin born chap Justin Vernon, also known as Bon Iver is such an unassuming chap that he manages to slip through the crowd unnoticed. Despite easily passing for a slightly shabby roady his remarkable voice soon sets him apart. Instantly spell-bound, people shuffle closer as the shabby, heartfelt chords of Skinny Love pierce through the dark. Soft but strangely compelling this ramshackle band have echoes of The Beatles at their most laidback, making their home on the empty stage. Despite the innocent start of The Wolves Act I and II fragments of chaos collect around them. Wave after wave of whispering vocals flood out as it draws to a quivering close. Slowly gaining momentum as Sean Carey cautiously stalks the brushes across the drums ‘Creature Fear’ grows into a Mogwai meets Godspeed freak out. Endless spiking guitars fly out to the point of no return. Then as quickly as it started it’s over and they slip back, unassuming, to get lost in the crowd again. KP
Vampire Weekend Cockpit, Leeds 7th May, 2008 At last a band from New York who don’t ply predictable proto-punk or rubberyelectro-funk. Vampire Weekend ejaculate an addictive, imaginative mash-up of educated afro-beat, frenetic barbershop reggae and sun-dried prep-pop. This is Paul Simon for the YouTube generation; Arcade Fire with an afro; Ladysmith Black Mambazo if they hung out at Harvard frat parties in loafers. This could even be Hot Club de Paris if they were from a faux Soweto township in Massachusetts. Tonight their jaunty sunshine-laden polyrhythms ricochet and reverberate through this stagnant air raid shelter, breathing new life into everything. Almost every song incites and excites, including a handful of nameless fresh compositions. They apologise for not having enough songs, but for now it doesn’t matter. Vampire Weekend already own the summer, and will soon have a majority stakeholding in the smile on your blistered, gurning sunburnt face. EJ
Dot to Dot Festival
The Ting Tings
Daedelus & Friends
Various locations, Bristol
Rough Trade East, London 26th May, 2008
Leadmill, Sheffield 24th May, 2008
24 - 25th May, 2008 Experimental geniuses dressed in outrageously glitzy monk robes (Chrome Hoof); an unnerving Elvis impersonator rocking out 80s tracks (Heartbreak) and a Jane Fonda-esque front-woman writhing around in a sparkly leotard (The RGBs); this can only mean one thing - Dot to Dot, 2008. Saturday only brought a few highlights with The Ghost Frequency shifting the festival into gear late afternoon. Throwing out a mix of Head Automatica and Foals, the boys did Brighton proud (despite the lead vocalist’s freakish sideburns). Talk Taxis were the next band to drop onto the radar with their smoothass bass lines, indie-ska foundations and Artic Monkeys-esque lead vocals. Sunday was epic. After seeing the first band of the day - Rosie Oddie, with her mega-sexy husky voice and bluesy tunes, got Sunday swinging into action. Then Somehow we landed at the Academy waiting to see Rolo Tomassi. We were all slightly jaded from the afternoon drinking and windswept to buggery. However, this soon changed as we were slapped in the face by the atypical doom rockers - being completely in sync with one another, and knocking out some astoundingly complex riffs made for a powerful performance. Wrapping up the night in style, Chrome Hoof packed out the Fleece with their funky, feetstirring treasures. Everyone jigged around, hypnotized by the disco-diva that is Lola Olafisoye - reminiscent of Bette Midler out of Hocus Pocus! Pulling off combinations of electric violin with brass, synth and distortion guitar was nothing short of incredible - a dazzling act to round off a top weekend. SL
It’s not often that I get a true fan boy moment - y’know, pulling a complete Wayne & Garth? I came pretty damn close walking in to Rough Trade, catching the tail end of Spiritualized sound check. After which Jason Pierce casually walked past me and started chatting to some friends. I maintained a quiet dignity, just about. To see Spiritualized at arm’s length away was a rare and fantastic sight. J. Spaceman continues to feel the benefit of being plugged in. JD
Last time Manchester’s Ting Tings took to the stage in Sheffield, the reception was decidedly lacklustre. This time couldn’t be more different as gaggles of Skins extras and aging Smiths fans clamour for a better view. Dispensing with any niceties the band plunges from Great DJ into the jibing rant of Fruit Machine. Maybe peaking too soon, even the trademark robotic dance moves failing to rescue Traffic Lights from the doldrums. Singer Katie White is on fine form, hammering the hell out of the bass drum, becoming a blurry mass of swirling arms and hair. 6 Music classic That’s Not My Name ups their game, the crowd warbling along with ecclesiastical fervour to the ultimate Friday night put down. Returning for a single encore of We Started Nothing, drummer Jules remains stoic behind his glasses, shooting off rounds rapid-fire percussion as Katie twirls around the stage. Packing bags of attitude they are a sure bet for festival fun, just don’t call her darling, or Stacey, or Jane ... KP
Corsica Studios: great venue, fantastic sound system, scary location. It’s round the corner from Elephant and Castle shopping precinct. It’s part of two massive, seemingly subterranean roundabouts joined by a road, and at 2200 hours on a Saturday it’s fucking frightening. This really was one rather sexy party, mind. People in Victorian costume were given free Absinthe. Dressing up should always be encouraged! My fear for the contents of my wallet and the softer parts of my anatomy were quickly replaced by joy at the sights and sounds of The Correspondents. These two dapper purveyors of swing-hop derringdo pretty much stole the show. I’m proper feeling the vaudville approach to hip-hop (cf The Anomalies, Krugers passim), and The Correspondents are amongst the most charming to take that approach. Everyone had a sing-a-long with them. Aww. Find them on MySpazz - you’ll be glad you did (and relieved MySpazz still has its uses). For the main course, ‘twas time for Daedelus, who looked even more dapper than the sartorially elegant Correspondents. The ruffed collars on his velvety suit were flung to the four winds as our hero’s hands masterfully manipulated his Menome - a contraption formed by a reconfigurable grid of backlit keypads which connect to a computer. If you are familiar with steampunk, this was it personified. (Oh, and all of this is true, swear down. Go to monome.org) Corsica’s sound system deserves a mention, too. The bass reverberates in your chest and makes you want to poo a bit. If this is something that appeals, go in the back room when someone’s playing drum’n’bass (like they were tonight). You may well literally shit yourself. But in a good way. JA 59
Gatecrasher Summer Soundsystem
Northampton 23rd & 24th May, 2008 It’s nice that someone’s still taking care of the old skool 90s ravers, but it was also good to see such a wide selection of other music fans at GCSS. Whichever friends you went with, whether you were into old school, hardcore, electro or drum & bass - everyone could pick a favourite tent and have a great weekend. Some sets were canceled and a couple of acts couldn’t make it, but that’s bound to happen when so much is scheduled for one festival. The main stage was out of bounds on the second day because of torrential rains and camp site demolishing winds which meant that the whole line up had to be changed and moved to different tents around the site. A lot of people missed the Chemical Brothers’ re-scheduled gig in a much smaller, intimate tent. But spirits weren’t dampened too much by the cold and wet weather, the music and stage shows from the likes of Justice, Soulwax, Dizzee Rascal, DJ Marky, and The Prodigy kept everyone dancing and smiling the whole weekend. SG
Horse The Band / Rolo Tomassi
Camden Underworld, London 13th May, 2008 Horse the Band are great, bludgeoning us with horrible, wonderful noise that rivals anything you’ll hear in hardcore. Up next is Sheffield’s Rolo Tomassi, thrashing out jerky disco punk with guitars worn high and elbows everywhere. They’re punk throughout, learning on the hoof and proving a smack in the face for a toocool-for-school genre. They may be largely unknown, but they’ve been around a bit, get by on a no-budget and speak our language so surely they’ll be back. BS
23rd May, 2008
Sunny Day Sets Fire
Mary Anne Hobbs
Don’t Get Lost Or Hurt
Let’s take a little summer road trip, shall we? Our soundtrack of choice? None other than Summer Palace, the debut album from the magical, indie pop quintet, Sunny Day Sets Fire. So engine on, windows down, music up. Start it off with Stranger. It’s an upbeat, drum-driven jam that gets you pumped up for things to come. Then transition to Brainless, another fun driving tune. There’s a horn part, which could potentially swing towards a nerdy band camp direction but instead just makes you smile. The repetitiveness in Map of the World may drive people in your car crazy but if they’re Fiery Furnaces fans, they’ll dig. Next, keep it up with the beats on Adrenaline a more eclectic tune, a highlight of which is the way Onyee pronounces “adrenaLEAN.” In the middle, I’d transition to End of the Road which sounds a little like Johnny Cash driving through a ghost town at first, but transitions into a danceable track complete with clapping. Gotta love the clapping. Hollywood could follow with its twangy, minor melody. It has a little “bow wow wow wow” part in the middle ala The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song by The Flaming Lips. Except not quite as fun as that. Sorry. Several tunes like Wilderness, Teenagers Talking and Smallest Heart on Earth just kind of blend in. So tuck those suckers in the middle somewhere. When the energy has dwindled and everyone’s just staring out the window, in comes Siamese a mellow, haunting tune where Onyee’s voice sounds a bit like Kazu Makino meets Enya. Lastly, end with the simple Lack of View which incidentally is how Summer Palace actually ends. And there you have some sweet summer driving music courtesy of Sunny Day Sets Fire. Enjoy the ride. SP
This is Help She Can’t Swim’s Tom Denney (aka Lonely Ghosts) writing a love note to 90s indie. Denney takes the opportunity in his debut solo album to explore his abilities outside the group songwriting dynamic. Denney retreated into his home studio, and the resulting album pulls together disparate influences and indie/folk/electro sounds, blending them, with sweeping strings and the overtones of joy, heartbreak and touches of Idlewild. Lovely. TD
Dubstep has come a long way since Skream’s Midnight Request Line first bleeped and rumbled its way out of the pioneering London club night FWD. To this day, you can broadly split the dubstep fraternity into those who like to deconstruct its urban narratives on increasingly self-referential internet forums, and those who like to skank-like-they-robbed-the-bank to the grime-infused sub rhythms. Fortunately, Mary Anne Hobbs, the first lady of dubstep and longest serving mainstream champion, has pieced together a compilation that happily straddles the best of both camps – so we get the incredible, epic atmospherics of Ben Frost’s Theory of Machines rubbing up against Wiley’s irresistible anthem Local Lad and certified dub bangers like Unitz’ The Drop. With tracks from Claro Intelecto, Pinch and Shakleton, if you like the darker side of electronic music (but can’t be bothered with IDM) you should buy this on sight. Heavy doesn’t even get close… AC
If Kid Carpet is a sonic Banksy weaving a second hand tapestry of electro-splicing, thrift-synth-shafting, hi-NRG pop (he is); then this is his audio CV, metaphorically sprayed onto the side of an elephant and sent stampeding through your cerebral cortex. It’s lo-fi playground punk. It’s ironic, nostalgic parody pop. It’s political yet infantile bubblegum melodica. It’s popular yet resolutely independent. It’s purile yet intellectual. It’s ace like space. All join in immediately. EJ
Lulu Rouge Bless You Voices Basing its beats in minimal techno soup, Bless You also feature guest vocalists that breathe life; bringing a sweet humanity back to a genre that often errs on excessive automation, even drawing metaphysical lines between minimal tech and folk (and who ever thought that were possible). The instrumental tracks are delicious too. Eat up. TD FabricLive40: Noisia Mixed by Noisia Fabric Noisia might claim they’re not physically violent, but listening to the heavy swarming dnb they make and mix, you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Renowned for tunes that revel in apocalyptic breakbeats and shadowy darkness, this Fabric mix does nothing to convince me to let them babysit, but does convince me that they’re among best dnb producers we have today. Fact. Dirtier than taking a shit in the woods and accidentally pissing in your trousers. HP
She & Him Volume 1 Merge Records This collaboration is so good it almost makes up for every previous actor-does-music project inflicted on the world. This record is unabashed pop nostalgia. Zooey Deschanel can actually sing. She has a pleasingly round voice with a country tinge and her Brille Building three-minuters are a loving homage, a cosy reminder. M. Ward provides guitar and clever arrangements, only raising his voice to duet on the couple of covers, and allowing ‘She’ to take the spotlight. Warm and endearing. IM
So So Modern Friends and Fires + 000EPs Transgressive There is a temptation to litter this review with 1000 puns about how ‘modern’ this record sounds, but don’t worry, I wont’. Mainly because Friends and Fires + 000EPs reminds me more of bands like Supersystem and Q and not U than Crystal Castles or Death Set. They have that punky approach, glitchy keyboards, vocoders, but it’s the way the record jerks, even from track to track, that make So So Modern stand out against a lot of current acts. The record doesn’t flow, although this is not to the band’s detriment. Instead of feeling like an album it feels more like a collection of songs; stitched, stuck and smashed together by a group that switch their influences and songwriters quicker than tour costumes. Its length only adds to your unfamiliarity, it’s quite relentless, but never in an overbearing way. In fact the only thing that holds these 15 songs together is the pace and quality. Modern and original (sorry). JL
Aw Come Aw Wry
Hear O Israel
Never Never Love
Listening to Aw Come Aw Wry crackling warmly on my turntable, I’m reminded of the perfect dozen seeker in Clerks. On his knees in front of the chilled goods, he plucks imperfect eggs from their cartons and smashes them against the glass, his head bowed sadly. When it is suggested he might consider mixing and matching eggs from different cartons, he shouts: “It’s important to have standards. Nobody has any pride anymore”. Aw Come Aw Wry is Matthew Houck (Phosphorescent)’s first album, initially released in 2005 on Misra. The record is a celebration of lo-fi acoustic, a raggedy but orchestrated fold of golden geese in a farmyard, enchanting, with psychedelic yarns spun throughout, shimmering like spiderwebs after rain. The album combines the brightness of brass with cool steel strings; late summer on record. On its release, comparisons were drawn with Will Oldham and Jeff Magnum, even Dylan. It’s not hard to see why. Houck’s voice – by turn southern tonic or achingly vulnerable – breathes poetry into his music, weaving verses of heartache and joy. The album has been long admired on the underground, which is why Coppertree Records decided it should be available for fans the way it was meant to be heard: on vinyl, with a bullet. Now the album comes on an 180g audiophile vinyl pressing with colour inner sleeve and housed in doubleweight, embossed outer sleeve. Coppertree themselves proudly proclaim it is ‘truly is the most remarkable album we have put out’, and it’s a thing of beauty that no vinyl fetishist can afford to do without. Proof to all those that seek the perfect dozen: if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. HP
A claustrophobic, clattering collision of dancehall bounce and dubstep darkness, the Bug’s Warrior Queen-helmed ribcage-rattler Poison Dart catapults reggae straight into the 21st century – and sets the tone for dub veteran Kevin Martin’s brooding new platter. From Babylon-battering, bass-bingeing iration (Murder We, featuring Ricky Ranking) to minimalist ragga genius (Tippa Iriestarring Angry), London Zoo is a must for anyone taken with wobbly way-low frequencies, although a spot of sunshine wouldn’t go amiss amidst the relentless gloom. JO
This Hancock-starring 1968 session has languished in near-extinct obscurity for decades only to be rescued by champs of the esoteric, Trunk. The good lord knows why, as this mixture of Hebrew prayer ceremony and modern jazz isn’t some super-freaky skronk-fest spotted amidst the most unlistenable recesses of avant-garde honking. Blending meditative calm and virtuoso showing-off, with Hancock’s paws crawling cross the keyboard like a speeding yet note-perfect spider, this is heavenly fare. Nice, as a certain TV jazz appreciator would say. JO
Sexy fucker Pop Levi exceeds expectations with this flamboyant long player of sleaze rock and sunshiny eccentricity. The ex-Ladytron bassist has returned with a wipe-clean-shiny new album to prove himself eternally unique and LA Confident. With all tracks recorded in Hollywood at Quincy Jones’ old studio, home of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, back in the day before he went bad, the results suggest that all that VitaminD-drenched stateside living has done Pop no end of good, there are no dud tracks and even the break-up number Dita Dimone, despite singing of heartache, swells with sass. With Pop as his middle name, his career may well have been written out from the start but he’s certainly living up to it. The tracks dancing along from attention-grabbing Prince antics to the rock and chill of Bolan’s T-Rex, especially on uptempo glam number Oh God: “Oh God, what can I do? Baby, baby I’m a loser for you.” Wrenching us onto the dancefloor with a wink, Wannamama gets the party moving as it means to go on, Pop Levi slows it down to a make-out pace again with west coast harmonies in Semi-Babe, sensual soother You Don’t Gotta Run, and the Lennon-esque crooner Love You Straight, before throwing in some weird and wonderful danger pop (Mai’s Space) and distorted circus dub (Call The Operator) for a truly eclectic and loved up trip of psychedelic pop. Final track, downer Fountain of Lies sees us part the album shedding a tear, sad that it’s now over but knowing we will Always, Always Love the music. Lap it up. SW
Mockingbird, Wish Me Luck Days Come And Go Blow Up Taking their name from a Bukowski poetry collection, Mocking Bird, Wish Me Luck aren’t haunted by the misanthropy of the Poet Laureate of Skid Row, instead creating a world of wistful nostalgia that draws obvious comparison to Kings of Convenience and Belle & Sebastian. Everything from the album title and cover to the final note is drenched in a sepia hue, which while affording the album a timeless blush, suggests an over attachment to their influences, starting at Simon and Garfunkle and following a linear path through to today. As a fan of all of the above, it works for me, but some may find it too narrow. The real strength of the album lies in the orchestration, with trombones, flutes and fiddles adding a never-superfluous warmth to an already sincere album of hindsight and regret. Standout track Let’s Watch The Sunrise suggests the potential to usurp KoC as Scandinavia’s finest exponents of indiefolk. MK
65daysofstatic The Distant & Mechanised...EP Monotrome Taking a big stride beyond the “post-post rock” movement they hinted at with The Fall of Math, Sheffield’s favourite indie boys lead us blindly by into a cobweb of skittering textures and tinny beats. Both versions of Dance Parties do rather stuff-bag all their dancey intentions, but it’s the latter tracks Goodbye, 2007 and Antique Hyper Mall that glitter with insomniac class. A 17 minute EP that’s a telling indentity statement, ‘Static are groping their way towards an as-yet unimaginagable sound. Again. BS White Denim Workout Holiday Full Time Hobby It was a revelation when WD’s debut single Let’s Talk About It got all up in my face. It’s a ridiculously catchy, ballsy garage tune that grabs your attention immediately. WD’s schizophrenic energy creates flashes of brilliance, like frantic Darksided Computer Mouth. Riding the post-SXSW wave, let’s hope they can stay focused for their next record. JD
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Competition! We’ve got two pairs of tickets to this year’s Get Loaded in the Park, featuring Iggy and the Stooges, Supergrass and Gogol Bordello to give away. It takes place on Clapham Common in London on August the 24th. Tickets cost £35 each from www.getloadedinthepark.com, but you can get yours free plus a Get Loaded goodie bag full of cds and stuff by answering this easy question:
London is in which country? A) England B) Saint Pierre and Miquelon C) Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Send your answer along with your contact details to email@example.com. The closing date is the 10th of August.
Theme : Vote Kruger - Features : The Dodos, Alphabeat, Daedelus, Pulled Apart By Horses, White Williams, Futureheads, Lykke Li, Lee Scratch...