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ISSUE 22 Regina Spektor

Raekwon

White Denim

Andrew Weatherall

Peter Bjorn and John

Fol Chen

Grizzly Bear Mika Miko and more... 1


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�ontents A-Z

Page 5 - Editorial Page 6 - Mika Miko Page 8 - Plants and Animals Page 10 - Peter Bjorn and John Page 14 - White Denim Page 16 - An A to Z of music genres Page 20 - Fol Chen Page 23 - Regina Spektor Page 29 - Grizzly Bear Page 31 - Bombay Bicycle Club Page 32 - Sweet Baboo Page 34 - Raekwon Page 36 - Andrew Weatherall Page 39 - Three Trapped Tigers

Page 41 - Music Sounds Better With Huw Page 43 - On the Road: Skylarkin Page 45 - Read the Label: 50 Bones Page 47 - Pop Will Eat Itself: Slow Club Page 49 - Top of the Shops: Diverse Music Page 50 - Inside Story: Thats Entertainment! Page 54 - News Page 57 - Album Reviews Page 64 - Live Reviews

�egulars

Page 66 - Competition

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editorial, concept & design: Mike Williams (mike@krugerlabs.com) Michaeljohn Day (michaeljohnday@krugerlabs.com) Joe Howden (joe@krugerlabs.com) reviews editor: Helia Phoenix (kruger_reviews@yahoo.co.uk) news editor: Susie Wild (susie@krugermagazine.com) staff writers: Jen Long Rhian Daley Ioan Morris research: Helen Weatherhead

Language and lists. Categories and communication. What would we do without them? Grunt and buy the wrong things from Tesco for a start. Then grunt some more. Then try and cook with the wrong items that we bought, because we couldn’t tell the check out person that we’d got the wrong things, and we wouldn’t know we had either. Only there would be a checkout person, or even a checkout, and certainly no cooker, because we’d all be running around naked in a forest, wildly trying to gesticulate meaning to ourselves and the other people galloping around confused. Big brains – language - lists = epfighifbvauolp;HD&*E£$%p.

contributors:

Put stuff in boxes for cripes’ sake. File them in order. Write them down on a bit of paper, and if you’re not understood, point and speak slowly. It’s worked for globetrotting Brits since 670BC. This issue is all about lists, and all about categories, and even more about the way which we communicate what the categories are for. It’s also a succession of articles about good music, which is basically the same thing.

Words: Steph Price, Jon Davies, Neil Condron, Simon Roberts, Dan Tyte, Akira the Don, Adam Corner, Huw Stephens, Ewan Jamieson, Matt Bowring, Barnaby Sprague, Betti Hunter, Sofi Goodrich, Si Truss.

The next issue of Kruger will be out on September the 14th. Until then, consider this... according to our in-depth reader research, each issue of Kruger is read by 4 people. 4! And 47% go to at least 1 gig a week! 47! Is there a link? Who knows?

Images: Christopher McLallen, Kamil Janowski, Dandem, Tim Cochrane, James Perou, Jack Hudson, Mei Lewis, Jessica Long, Liam Henry, Matt Hilde, Lucy Johnston, Eleanor Stevenson.

Check out www.krugerlabs.com for more great stats.

advertising: Nick Taylor (nick@alive-advertising.com)

thanks to: Nick & Zoey @ Alive, Jennifer Clavin, Dan Laura & Aiofe @ Anorak, James & Keong @ 9PR, Nathan @ Dogday, Leah @ Sainted, Andy @ Warner, Alison & Sarah @ Hermana, Claire Roberts @ Marigolds, Tactile Bosch & Visible Art, Danna 'KEGGER' Hawley @ Fabric, Simon FTH, Alexandria Beano, Amanda @ Freemanpr, Matt Jarrett,Lucy Begent, Eleanor Stevenson, Sally Rowlands, all our advertisers and all our contributors. Diolch! Published by Kruger Laboratories, Studio 2A, The Hub, 5 Torrens Street, London EC1V 5NQ. Printed by MWL Print Group Ltd, Units 10-13 Pontyfelin Industrial Estate, New Inn, Pontypool NP4 0DG All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the kind permission of Kruger Laboratories.

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�ditorial


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ďż˝ is for AAAAAA GGGGGHHHHH

Mika Miko have got a lot to yell about. Steph Price catches up to talk yarling, babies and why they're definitely NOT a chick rock band.

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AAAARRRRRGG HHH!!! It’s a rainy Saturday afternoon in downtown Brooklyn. Inside a greasy Chinese take-out joint, the five members of Mika Miko have managed to squeeze themselves into a booth that looks as if it comfortably seats oh… two people. But no one seems to mind. I guess when you’re used to touring the country with four band mates, a merch dude and a minivan full of instruments, space isn’t something you come to expect. “I can’t even imagine what it’s like to have a lot of room. I’d probably feel uncomfortable.”

That’s singer Jenna Thornhill- picture Kristen Schaal from Flight of the Conchords but with a deeper voice and dryer sense of humor. She’s been in close quarters with the girls (and boy. We’ll get to that later) of Mika Miko since their LA high school days when Jenna and her friends Michelle Suarez and sisters Jesse and Jennifer Clavin decided to start a band. For the hell of it basically, according to Jennifer: “We used to go to shows every weekend, so at one point we were like ‘why don’t WE just start a band?’” So they did. A loud, high energy, punk/noise band that grew a steady following at their hometown venue, The Smell, and years later led them to where they are today- touring the US and opening for the Black Lips in Europe (who, I’ve been told, gave Mika Miko some amazing performance advice that they refuse to disclose). Over veggie lo mein, with the sounds of car horns and screeching subway tracks in the background, I ask Mika Miko how their sound has evolved over the years. Jenna responds: “I think we’re more okay with singing now, instead of aggressively beating people with it. I’m more in to yarling- like Creed style singing.” We go off about Scott Stapp and all the overthe-top dudes cranking out power ballads these days: “You can tell they’re dicks while they’re singing. But I recently found out I sing like those guys. I don’t think I ever would have done that in the past.” I recommend Jenna take one for the team and get pregnant so the group can have more emotionally charged material. Jennifer says they’ve joked about it: “We were talking about that today actually- whoever gets pregnant first is the winner of the band.” Before clarifying, “we passed this sign that said ‘free pregnancy’ so we were trying to figure out who would win.” Amazing. And although their songs or lyrics aren’t particularly emotional (they have a track called Turkey Sandwich) Jenna and the rest of the band admit they probably wouldn’t have liked the music they’re making now, back when they first started: “I feel like me at 14 would be listening to our songs thinking… I’m a little too punk for that.”

Punk or not, Mika Miko are making a name for themselves. And with a new drummer (Seth Densham), a new album (the 22 minute We Be Xuxa), and a new cross country tour underway, life couldn’t be better. So

“We didn’t come to New York to be fucking drunk assholes. We came to play music.”

Photography by Christopher McLallen www.christophermclallen.com Check out Mika Miko's exclusive Ivy League Session at www.krugerlabs.com/ ivyleaguesessions

what if most days are spent crammed in a minivan, putting up with Jennifer’s “violent” lane changing… Every night they get to play a new gig in a new town and as Jen points out, they’ve discovered fans in surprising places. “Small towns are the coolest. I feel like our two craziest shows so far this tour have been in Lubbock, Texas and Greensboro, North Carolina. When we’d pull up I’d think ‘uh… this is gonna be weird’ but they’d end up being crazy. So many excited kids came up to us afterwards saying like ‘this is how we do it in our town!’” Michelle agrees: “When you go to small towns the people are like ‘why’d you come here?!’ They’re totally grateful and it makes you really happy to be doing what you’re doing. It’s like “Oh yeah, this is why I’m not home for a month.’ It’s totally worth it.” Sure, they’re not always that well received. They played a show in El Paso, Texas on the way out to SXSW that Jesse described as “something out of a David Lynch film- ten people were standing in the corner just staring at us like we were so weird.” A far cry from their normal supportive fan base of “sweet, young gay boys and 15-year-old stoners.” It’s funny how punk fans have changed over the years, from the art school students and skinheads to young, sweet boys. Jenna speculates: “I guess there’s other stuff for skinheads to go to. They’re not into beating up people who were clearly beaten up yesterday.” No matter who comes to their shows, it’s clear Mika Miko love their fans. And they love them, as proved by all the excited comments the band gets on their blogs and videos. And of course, all the free drinks they get bought on the road. I ask who (apart from their old drummer Kate who was a notorious binger) can’t handle their liquor. Jesse laughs and points to her sister. “I pick Jen because people always buy her drinks. And she’s thrown up more than anyone.” “I’ve thrown up on twice so far and joke about how I’ve been roofied more than once on this tour.” Sure Jen… Someone slipped something in your drink- it’s called alcohol. But in all seriousness, the band has made a conscious effort to keep their partying under control and stay healthy on tour. “We didn’t come to New York to be fucking drunk assholes. We came to play music,” Michele explains.

S

o what’s next? Well for one, Mika Miko has gained new attention recently. Jennifer’s noticed even the crowds at their usual LA venues have begun to change: “There are the kids that are excited to see us and then there is a group of people standing behind them. The onlookers that are like ‘okay, I’ve read about this band, so I’m coming out to see them...’ Lately The Smell shows have been like that and it’s really weird.” This new interest in Mika Miko is both for their music as well as their image as a cool, underground chick rock band. The “allgirl” label however, especially annoys Mika Miko, who’ve had male drummer Seth Densham, for the past year now. “It makes it dumber when that’s the thing about you.” Says Jenna. “I’d rather people just say we suck than describe us as the all-girl band that sucks.” But they seem to have a hard time shaking the misperception. “Michelle did a phone interview recently and they said our new drummer was named Steph.” Yep, that’s right kids, I’ve given up writing to play drums in Mika Miko. I wish. But I suppose they don’t need me. Seth is filling the role just fine and is having, as the girls put it, “the best year of his life!” All of them, actually, seem to be having the time of their life. And despite what people say and the hardships of being on the road, Michelle says there’s nowhere else they’d rather be. “I was supposed to get a scholarship to play softball but I decided to do this instead. Maybe I’d be in medical school right now but I don’t give a fuck cause I’m having fun. There’s always time for school but this is what I’m doing now and it’s super rad.” 7


�lants and �nimals W

hen you encounter a band that embrace such a plethora of sounds as Plants and Animals, pigeonholing isn’t going to work. Listening to their fantastic debut, Parc Avenue, you can hear flashes of folk, post-rock, prog and straight up, ole fashioned rock and roll. They cram more ideas and hooks into one song than most bands care to squeeze into their albums. It’s a combination of sounds that could easily sound disjointed, but with this band it seems - fitting considering their moniker - natural. The three men in the band, Warren C. Spicer (Guitar & Lead Vocals), Nic Basque (Guitar) and Matthew “Woody” Woodley (Drums), are more than happy to discuss the sometimes hilarious comparisons they’ve faced. Warren takes the helm: “We’ve gotten a lot of different stuff from all over the place. Some of it makes sense; some of it is completely ridiculous. But I’m sure every band deals with it unless you’re doing just one specific thing. We keep it simple and just call ourselves a rock band and then like the rest of it doesn’t really matter.” Surely the Montreal connection must have had its fair share of mentions

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by now? With a familiar nod Warren agrees. “It happens in the beginning, when people don’t know how to make sense of you. They jump to ‘Oh they’re from Montreal; oh they kind of sound like that. That works so le’s write it’.” The band are unanimous in the desire not to appear ungrateful or to want to disassociate themselves with their fellow countrymen, they’ve just come to expect what happens to all rising bands. Woody adds: “It’s inevitable. People want reference points and when you’re only reading words and you don’t have access to the sound then you have to describe it in some kind of way.” With a band that produces a sound that’s so hard to pin down, the temptation to question them about their likes and influences is too hard to resist. But would you be familiar with the strange prog bands they’ve spent years studying? Far from it. All the guys agree that they simply wouldn’t exist as a band or musicians without The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. As Warren states: “There’s so much information in those albums as a musician and for people interested in music production. You can go to school on those records for a very long time and never come anywhere fucking close to them.”

I

t amuses me that Plants and Animals’ main influences never seem to get picked up on. Have there ever been any comparisons that have come as a complete shock? They answer in unison: “Queen”. The spandex clad falsetto of Freddie Mercury may not have stirred the musical desires in the Canadians, but the comparison upset them. “I was happy, it’s happened a few times,” chuckles Warren. “In my mind writing music and working on songs I’d never thought we gotta make a Queen song, y’know? It just kind of happened. We were like ‘we gotta listen to more Queen!’ It’s kind of cool, not a lot of people are doing Queen stuff right now.” Woody pin points the comparison to the opening track of their album. “I think all it took in that song, it’s called 'Bye Bye Bye', we had a lot of vocals singing stacked, a la Queen. I think if that wasn’t in there then people wouldn’t have done it. That’s the clincher.” With one album and an equally excellent EP under their belts, the band are in no hurry to try and capitalise on the praise they’ve had so far. Thir management and label consist of people who have blossomed and developed into close friends of h the band, and while Warren notes that the

lure of money and overnight success would be hard for any band to turn down, the reality of the situation is that the success can disappear as quickly as its came. “They [the label] are growing and getting more connected as we’re growing. In a lot of ways it’s good and in some ways it can be frustrating. Things might not happen as quickly as they would on a big label, but then who knows what that may be like? It’s nice to grow with people you can be close to. And trust. The slow build keeps the hype machine at bay a little bit. Because if people are just there to check the hype, then it just goes away so quickly. We’re really after something more long lasting”. Words by Jon Davies Photography by Kamil Janowski www.kjanowski.com


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For the record...

Peter Bjorn and John 10


Before a certain ubiquitous song, featuring a whistled hook that was catchier than AH1N1, made international indie heroes of Peter Bjorn and John, band vocalist Peter Moren was retina-deep in text books learning the principles of information science. Who better, then, to flick through the Swedish pop archives and tell us one of its most intriguing success stories than our would-be librarian friend himself?

Words by Neil Condron Photography by Dandem www.dandemphoto.com

2007-2008: ROCK. SEASIDE ROCK.

PRE-1999: ALL THE YOUNG FOLKS Pulling the top drawer of the filing cabinet out so far that the weight nearly pulls it on top of us, Peter reaches deep inside for the oldest file. Opening the binder, he skirts over the different members' pre-PBJ careers. "We'd always been doing music, all of us, since we were kids," he asserts. "John (Eriksson) was a professional classical musician, playing in symphony orchestras, percussion ensembles - contemporary, arty stuff! Bjorn (Yttling) had been producing other artists, playing keyboards in other bands as a touring musician. I'm actually the only one who hadn't been playing music full-time." 1999-2005: ALL BY OURSELVES Rifling through the documents, Peter clutches at a file detailing the period during which the band released their first two albums, the self-titled debut and Falling Out - records which we in the UK wouldn't hear except via import or after a very long wait for their eventual distribution. Around this less-than-hedonistic time, Peter decided to further his education, heading to university to study information science. "When the third album became a hit I was well into my course," he explains. "I have no thoughts of finishing it; I'd rather do music if I can, y'know? Back then, we did everything ourselves. We'd be working with small Swedish indie labels, ran by maybe one person, so we'd have to do it all." Such lessons in life seem to have served the band well. "We still try to keep that level of contact, making the main decisions, choosing record covers, track listings - the finer details. We still self-produce," he continues. "We played a lot of small shows where not many people showed up, had a few songs played on Swedish radio, but we never thought about international success." 2006-2007: YOUNG FOLKS COME OF AGE With the prospect of hit records far from a concern for the band, it was difficult to adjust when success did come - in the form of seminal single Young Folks and the accompanying album Writer's Block. "The main thing that changed was being able to do it for a living," says Peter, barely needing to look at the notes in this well-thumbed file. "We

didn't have to do those jobs that we didn't want to do. At first that was confusing - if I wasn't touring or recording, I'd be sitting there thinking: 'What do I do now?' I was used to a nine-to-five existence! "I think that's why we all started side projects - to keep busy. Now, everyone's found a pace. And as we're a bit older, we've turned down a lot of gigs we maybe wouldn't have refused when we were 22. We have girlfriends, maybe children on the way - it's a problem but it's also an advantage. Having had a life before this and proper jobs, you appreciate success more, unlike some spoilt 20-year-olds getting all the headlines."

“We have girlfriends, maybe children on the way - it's a problem but it's also an advantage. Having had a life before this and proper jobs, you appreciate success more.�

Helped along by The Concretes' Victoria Bergsman, PBJ became an international phenomenon on the back of Young Folks, the rudimentary drum loop and lip-pursing melody popping up everywhere from Kanye West's debut album to, latterly, furniture ads on TV. A lesser, or perhaps more mercenary, band may have been tempted to follow up Writer's Block with a record of 12 boy-girl duets, all bells and whistles (ahem) attached. Instead, we were presented with the limited release of Seaside Rock, a mostly instrumental album of some beauty but little throwaway appeal, and one that Peter claims he would rather listen to than any of his others. "I guess it was our way of dealing with our new life, letting the guard down after the touring and promotion - just having fun in the studio. We wanted to make something fast; it didn't need a big single. We'd been talking about doing an instrumental album even before Writer's Block, and it seemed like the perfect time to surprise people and make them think: 'What the hell are they doing?' At the same time, it's still very accessible, with nice melodies... I think it's the one you'll maybe still be going back to when you're 65. My grandfather likes it, actually, so... " 2009: THE KING OF POP IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE DANCING QUEEN With Bjorn Yttling - whose production CV includes Lykke Li, Primal Scream and The Shout Out Louds - onboard, sonic circumnavigation has always had its place in the music of PBJ. While new album Living Thing bears more in common with Writer's Block and its predecessors in terms of the songs themselves, the minimalistic, percussive sound of the record represents an evolution of the genetic strand running through Seaside Rock. Peter describes how the main difference between Living Thing and their earlier records is in the "framing" of their classic pop tendencies, and I suggest that single Lay It Down sounds a bit like Animal Collective producing a pithier take on Maxwell's Silver Hammer. "There is a lot of weird percussion on the album," he nods. "We always have to explain to people, who are saying 'you've gone all electric with these drum machines', that we haven't! "All the sounds are of objects we found in the studio - empty bottles, knives, popping a balloon, ripping paper, beating empty cans - which we'd then run through the computer. Plus, we were in this 1960s studio in Stockholm that Abba used to record in. It's a good mix of analogue and electronic." While on the subject of pop legends, I have to ask Peter about the video for their latest single, It Don't Move Me, which features the talents of a Michel Jackson impersonator. "It's spooky," he laughs, eager to reassure me that the video was made way before MJ danced his way to the big disco in the sky. "The impersonator is just 16 and he's pretty amazing - we're actually going to use him onstage at a festival in Sweden, which would be a great tribute. Maybe they shouldn't have cancelled all those O2 gigs? They should have just brought our guy in, asked him to dance around a bit!"

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FURTHER READING: OTHER WORKS BY THE AUTHORS As well as Bjorn's production work, PBJ's extra-curricular activities include a jazz project from the multiinstrumentalist, a solo album from Peter and an EP from John. Do the trio ever worry that these projects may get in the way of PBJ's success? "It's a kind of like a creative domino effect," offers Peter. "When you have the time and the funds, you want to do more and more. "I've just started writing for other people and we'd like to spread out, maybe do film music. All of us have that much music in us that to squeeze it all into one band, recording only every two years, wouldn't work."

2009-THE FUTURE: BLANK FILE Having thumbed his way through each episode in the band's history, we realise that PBJ's is a file far from closure. Indeed, the archivists may find themselves clearing another few drawers out yet before the story reaches its conclusion. This year will see the boys supporting Depeche Mode in the US - a tour that will bring their music to crowds large enough to fill venues such

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"All the sounds are of objects we found in the studio - empty bottles, knives, popping a balloon, ripping paper, beating empty cans...�

as the Hollywood Bowl - while 2010 will usher in a second solo album from Peter ("a really funny record - kinda influenced by old soul and funk, but in Swedish") and, if all goes to plan, a very different new record from PBJ. "At this stage, you never know. But I think we're gonna make it a bit more like what we sound like live, a bit more like the new wave, power pop of our early stuff - more guitar-based," Peter reveals. "Plus, we're going to work with an outside producer for the first time. After five albums of doing it ourselves, we need someone to bring in some fresh ideas. We've no idea who it'll be yet. Any suggestions?" Put on the spot, I suggest that Lee Mavers might be an interesting choice for a rougher, more garage-y PBJ.

THE STORY SO FAR

Peter Bjorn and John (2002)

Falling Out (2004)

Writer's Block (2006)

"Is he still alive?" he enquires. Well, yes he is. But it might take you a little bit longer to get the record finished. "Oh, that's a problem. We're fast workers. Maybe we could record that one with him, release five others in the meantime, then put out his one!" Somehow, I think PBJ will be keeping a much closer rein on the coming chapters than they're willing to let on.

Seaside Rock (2008)

Living Thing (March 2009)


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(�huh - aye -

(�eh 14

- nii -

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The band to see at SXSW 2008, White Denim justified the hype with their excellent debut, Workout Holiday; a whatyou-see-is-what-you-get of an album that gave us the modern garage classic Let’s Talk About It. With second long player, Fits, about to drop, the Austin trio invited Rhian Daley to read their lips. Phonetically, of course.

P

hoentics are funny things. That jumble of letters and symbols you see in brackets next to words in the dictionary. They’re there to make it easy for you to understand how to pronounce things correctly, but sometimes they’re just plain confusing. The phonetics of US garage-bluespsych-rock band White Denim are a lot easier to grasp, breaking down the simple story of three boys from Texas and how they’ve got to where they are today. Behind the Travelodge on the King’s Cross Road lies a small grassy roundabout, offering a peaceful resting place just moments from the hustle and bustle of central London. It’s here where White Denim sit under the shade of a generously sized tree, nursing hangovers from the previous night at East London festival Stag and Dagger. Playing a late slot at Hoxton Bar and Kitchen, the blues-rock trio drew a phenomenally large crowd, which almost saw things get nasty as people tried to push and shove their way past door security. Once in though, you will have witnessed arguably the set of the festival as the band showcased material from new album, Fits, alongside old favourites from their 2008 debut, Workout Holiday. Tonight will see them travel to Leeds for the first time to play the second leg of the festival but in the meantime, let’s reflect on last night’s show some more. “It was really fun, we had a good time”, offers lead singer and guitarist James Petralli. “I lost a pedal that I loop with so we couldn’t play some songs. I need to get a new one when we go home.” Home for White Denim is Austin, Texas and not somewhere they see much of, if they’re tour schedule is anything to go by. But it’s here where they formed after two of their former bands played a show together at the Beerland venue. Post-gig Petralli and drummer Josh Block asked Steve Terebecki to play bass for them in Parque Torch, the group the two had formed with friend Lucas Anderson.

“What mostly influences our playing is years and years of listening to records and bands that we can respond to. Bands like New Addition, Silk, The Doobie Brothers... we all like R’n’B, stuff like R Kelly.”

Shortly after, Anderson swapped Austin for Russia and the remaining three promptly changed their name to White Denim - chosen, according to Petralli, because they “wanted to be called something we’d be embarrassed about.” Of course, Austin is not just home to Britain’s soon to be new favourite band but also South By South West, which sees essentially the whole music industry decamp to the city for gigs, parties, conferences and barbeques. Playing there, you’d think, would be the same as any other hometown show although it seems you’d be wrong in making that assumption. “I don’t know,” ponders Terebecki. “There’s a lot of out of towners so it feels more like an out of town show. I guess we do see our friends there at certain shows but you play so much that it seems like we’re on tour. We do get to see loads of bands though so that’s cool.” Compared to other bands though they admit they’ve got it easier, being familiar with the surroundings and “know[ing] how to manouevre the streets a little better.” Block grins, adding “most bands complain about having to lug their gear ten blocks. We wouldn’t do that, we know how to get around.”

W

hen back in the southern States, White Denim spend their time in a very structured manner and, whilst they don’t have to endure the humdrum of the 9-5 like the rest of us, do their best to work at least some eight hour shifts. “We like to get in at least 4 or 5 rehearsals before we go on tour,” explains Petralli. “Everything we do, we try and treat it like a normal day job. We take breaks and chat like it were an office, y’know. We’re not super intense about it but we like to be there for at least forty hours.” On the road, they don’t take things lightly either, packing in as many dates as possible - sometimes intentionally and other times not. “I think the biggest tour we’ve done in terms of the longest was probably the Tapes ‘n Tapes tour”, Terebecki recollects. “That turned into about 10 weeks straight. We were in the UK and then we toured the whole of North America, couple of stops in Canada and then we came back to the UK”, explains Petralli. The three of them break down 2008’s tour schedule which Block describes as “insane, everything just kept linking up” before his bearded frontman observes that the same thing appears to be happening this year as well. “This year’s going pretty much the same way”, Petralli states to assured nods from his two colleagues, before adding that they’ve been trying to take it easy in the first half of the year. That seems to be going out of the window now though, as a quick glance at the long list of shows displayed on their MySpace page will tell you.

A

s we’ve established, hard work is not something White Denim are afraid of; in fact, they seem to take pleasure in it. Adding even more to their list of duties, they also do all their own recording and production, with Block taking the helm. “We trust Josh as an engineer and a big part of this group is allowing one another space to be creative,” explains Petralli. “I see us sticking with Josh for the long haul, really. Its working fine right now, we all feel like the production on the second record is an improvement on the first so if we can keep going in that direction it’ll be great.” Words by Rhian Daily Photography by Tim Cochrane www.timothycochrane.com

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An

A- Z �

is for...

of music genres...

ANTI-FOLK

is for...

COUNTRY

Before he discovered his magical pelvis powers, Elvis Presley was one of country music’s most promising musicians, known to the masses as ‘The Hillbilly Cat’. This nickname refers to country and western’s original name of ‘hillbilly’, which was discarded in the 1940s as it was thought to be degrading. Artists: Woody Guthrie, Johnny Cash (pictured), Dolly Parton See also: Crunk, Cowpunk

is for...

FOLK

Traditionally thought of as the music of the lower classes, folk music’s origins are in 19th century storytelling. In the 20th century, musicians such as Joan Baez and Bob Dylan used the format to write “protest music”, which dealt with important social and personal issues. A new generation of folksters now own the moniker, led by the likes of Fleet Foxes and Joanna Newsome. Artists: Bob Dylan, Bert Jansch, Joni Mitchell (pictured) See also: Fightpop, Funk

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is for...

BRITPOP

The Anti-folk movement kicked off in New York in 1984, and has since become popular in the UK. Raw and experimental, anti-folk is defined by its lack of sincerity, mocking both itself and the pretensions of mainstream music. Modern day anti-folker Jeffrey Lewis upholds this tradition through his comic book-aided performances.

Britpop began in the early 90s as a reaction to the US phenomenon of grunge, and ended in 1997 at Tony Blair’s ‘Cool Britannia’ party (though the death throws continued into the 2000s). Notable survivors of the genre include Blur, last seen headlining Glastonbury 2009, and the Bluetones, last seen at the Feel Good Festival in Rochdale.

Artists: Lach, Jeffrey Lewis (pictured), The Bobby McGees

Artists: Blur (pictured), Suede, Elastica

See also: Afrobeat, Art Rock

is for...

DRONEDOOM

Also known as drone metal, dronedoom consists of sustained notes or chords (drones) that are repeated throughout each very long track. Dronedoom also is largely characterised by reverb/feedback- heavy guitars. Some dronedoom includes growled or screamed vocals, although they may be hard to hear over the high levels of feedback.

See also: Baile Funk, Bluegrass

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ELECTROPOP

Although the term was first used to describe 80s bands like Soft Cell and The Human League, Electropop’s popularity has flourished in the 2000s. Characterised by catchy hooks and pop sensibility set to repetitive beats, designed to get kids pogoing – or at least posturing – on dancefloors nationwide.

Artists: Sunn O))) (pictured), Boris, Earth

Artists: Hot Chip (pictured), La Roux, Peaches

See also: Dubstep, Disco

See also: Emo, Elevator Music

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G-FUNK

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HOUSE

Forget the gangsta posturing of Fiddy and Diddy, G-Funk was the era that made being a guntoting, weed-smoking, gin-drinking thug sound super fun! Set to P-Funk breaks and telling tales of street life, the laid back tones of Snoop, Dre, Nate Dogg, Warren G, Kurupt and the crew made Compton sound like Pontins. With Glocks.

The genre that spawned a thousand subgenres. House is a style of 4/4 electronic dance music that originated in Chicago in the late 70s, and has undergone transformations from Detroit techno to UK acid house, US funky house, progressive and minimal. Its influences are disco, Latin styles and live percussion.

Artists: Snoop Doggy Dogg, Warren G (pictured), Dr Dre.

Artists: Kevin Saunderson, Masters At Work (pictured), Carl Cox

See also: Garage, Grunge

See also: Hardcore, Horrorcore


I

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ITALODISCO

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JUMP BLUES

Italodisco originated in Italy in the late 1970s, although pre 1983 it was known as “disco music from Europe”. It is characterised by futuristic sounds and its main lyrical themes of love, robots and space. Italodisco has seen a revival of late via bands such as Heartbreak, and is now the hottest thing to claim to be influenced by.

Jump’s beginnings run to America’s deep south in the 1890s. From blues came swing, from swing emerged jump, which consists of five to ten instruments, usually including horns and a rhythm section, and a lively vocalist, sometimes singing scat. Think Blues Brothers, but more raw, earthy, and swinging.

Artists: Heartbreak (pictured), Giorgio Moroder, Glass Candy

Artists: B.B. King (pictured), Louis Jordan, Big Joe Turner

See also: Indie, Island

See also: Jungle, J-Pop

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LO-FI

Lo-fi music possesses a lower sound quality than what is usually expected, a result that is actively strived for by some artists and achieved by either reducing the quality of the audio or using less advanced equipment to record with. The term Lo-fi is sometimes used to excuse unintentionally poor quality records. Artists: Guided by Voices, Pavement (pictured), The Microphones See also: Lounge, Lowercase

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OUTLAW MUSIC

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METAL

Metal is characterised by heavy distortion and ‘vigorous’ vocals which, in some variations of the genre, can be screamed or shouted. Subgenres of metal include glam, thrash and black metal, whilst key fashion pieces for any metalhead are chains, metal studs and leather jackets. Glam metallers are a more effeminate breed, using makeup and hair spray to make themselves more presentable. Artists: Mötley Crüe, Black Sabbath (pictured), Deep Purple See also: Mathrock, Mong Pop

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KRAUTROCK

Krautrock is the name given to the bands that emerged from the German experimental scene of the 60s by the UK music press, although most involved distanced themselves from the label. Genre heroes Faust thought that the Brtish hacks were “taking the piss”; especially when they started calling the typical Krautrock 4/4 rhythm ‘motorik’. Artists: Faust, Can (pictured), Tangerine Dream See also: Kuduru, Kwassa Kwassa

POP

An offshoot of country, Outlaw musicians found their calling in the counter culture promoted by the Beatles and Bob Dylan, rejecting the rigid rules of the Nashville sound and embracing the ideas of the hippies and rockers revolutionising the coasts. 1976 album, Wanted! The Outlaws, by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter and Tompall Glase confirmed the scene’s credentials.

Originally a catch-all term for popular music, pop now stands for accessible and radio-friendly songs, and remains the biggest unit-shifter in today’s market. Michael Jackson may have just checked out, but he is the undisputed King of pop, with 14 US #1 singles, the biggest selling album is history (Thriller), and a back catalogue of timeless classics..

Artists: Waylon Jennings, Willy Nelson (pictured), Jessi Colter

Artists: Michael Jackson (pictured), Elton John, Madonna

See also: Oi!, Obscuro

See also: Psych, Post Rock

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NINTENDOCORE

Nathan Winneke of HORSE the Band is responsible for the term Nintendocore, starting the genre as a joke. Also known as NEScore, Nintendocore musicians combine other genres with the sounds of 8-bit video game music, or sometimes just remix NES game theme tunes, such as Mario and Tetris. Artists: HORSE the Band (pictured), Sky Eats Airplane, Totally Radd! See also: No Wave, Newgrass

Q

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QUEERCORE

Queercore was created by J.D’s, a fanzine run by G.B Jones and Bruce LaBruce. The movement is distinguished by its discontent with both general society and the “oppressive agenda” of the gay and lesbian community. Bands belonging to the Queercore movement create music in a variety of styles, from Synthpop to No Wave to Noise. Artists: Gay for Johnny Depp (pictured), Gravy Train!!!!!, Limp Wrist See also: Quiet Storm, Qasidah

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ROMPOP

S

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SMELL

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TWEE

Genre invented on the 21st of April, 2009 to describe the pretentious posturing of London scene band ColouringIN on a poster for a gig we were putting on, Rompop has since broadened its scope to include the dramatic brilliance of Wild Beasts and the West End power of Rhydian (who, incidently, is from the future http://tinyurl.com/mo2836)

Less a genre and more a club in LA, The Smell is known for its DIY ethic, and its nurturing of the local experimental punk and noise scenes. Smell regulars include Abe Vigoda, HEALTH, The Mae Shi, Mika Miko, and No Age, while the influence of the club extends far beyond LA, with London bands like TEETH!!! giving the sound a UK slant.

Based around the C86 movement and labels like Sarah Records, twee has been described by some as a “revolt into childhood”. Key features of twee include jangly guitars and xylophones, whilst stylistically, cardigans are an integral part of any twee musician’s uniform. Tweesters embrace the DIY punk ethic, and many create their own fanzines and badges as a result.

Artists: Wild Beasts, ColouringIN, Rhydian (pictured)

Artists: Mika Miko, The Mae Shi, HEALTH (pictured)

Artists: The Pastels, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (pictured), Beat Happening

See also: Rockabilly, Reggae

See also: Screamo, Synthpop

See also: Techno, Thrash

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UNCLASSIFIABLE

Genre used by itunes. But who decides on the tag? Is it the band, the label or the chap at Apple (or Gracenote) that loads the info? The first two seem pretentious, the third, just lazy. On our itunes it says Polysics, Iron & Wine and Regina Spektor are unclassifiable, and they sound nothing alike. We say digipunk, folk-rock and eccentric pop, in that order, proving that pigeonholing does work. Artists: Polysics (pictured), Iron & Wine, Regina Spektor

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VIKING METAL

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XOOMII

A type of throat singing in which the singer manipulates the resonances (or formants) created as air travels from the lungs, past the vocal folds, and out the lips to produce a melody. At least that’s what Wikipedia says. It also says that the partials (fundamental and overtones) of a sound wave can be selectively amplified by changing the shape of the resonant cavities of the mouth. Artists: Chukchi people, Inuit people (pictured), Kai-Chi See also: Xhosa, Xian Rock

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WIZARD ROCK

A subgenre of heavy metal, identified by its emphasis on Norse mythology, paganism and the Viking Age. Viking Metal is noisy, chaotic and fast-paced, and features death growls as well as clean singing. Its anthemic, bleak sound is driven by guitars, drums, keyboards and occasionally traditional Nordic folk instruments.

Based on American teenagers’ obsession with Harry Potter, there are thought to be over 600 Wizard Rock bands, with its figureheads being Massachusetts group Harry and the Potters. Wrock bands write songs exclusively about the Harry Potter stories, usually from the point of view of the character in the band’s name.

Artists: Bathory, Enslaved, Amon Amarth

Artists: Harry and the Potters (pictured), Draco and the Malfoys, The Moaning Myrtles

See also: Volksmusik, Vaudeville

See also: Unblack Metal, UK Garage

Y

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YODELLING

Popularised in films such as Heidi, and made cool by Emma, the old drummer in VEG Club, a yodel is an extended note that changes in pitch, making a high-low-high-low sound. Developed in the Swiss Alps for communicating between mountain peaks, yodelling entered mainstream culture when some kids on America’s Got Talent did it. Artists: Heidi, Talented Americans, Julie Andrews (pictured) See also: Yo Pop, Yorubeat

See also: Waila, Wong Shadow

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ZOUK

Zouk means “party” or “festival”, and is a style of rhythmic music originating from the islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique and Haiti. An off-shout of zouk is zouk-love, which is slower and more dramatic than the non-love style. Zouk is also a word we made up for “the end”. THE END Artists: Kassav, Exile One (pictured), Grammacks See also: Zolo, Zulu.


JULIAN PLENTI 2009

Julian Plenti is... Skyscraper

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AUGUST 3rd

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AUGUST 17th

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AUGUST 17TH

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SEPTEMBER 7TH

TIMES NEW VIKING Born Again Revisited

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SEPTEMBER 21ST

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�ol �hen Y

ou know that feeling when you’re put on the spot? Your mind clouds over, words form a blockage at the tip of your tongue, and you’re left fumbling, face contorted, like a child being regaled with tales of sexual endeavours by an elder sibling. Well, that’s me playing word games. Instead of identifying a true member of our English language I resort to truth bending, story telling, and outright cheating. And right now, I feel like Fol Chen are playing my game. “It is a secret” refuses Samuel Bing as I push for the meaning of the words Fol Chen. “No one else knows. It’s the phonetic spelling of a French word. A noun. It’s pronounced the same way, but it’s phonetic spelling.” Fol Chen are a mystery. I caught them twice in Texas this March at SXSW and instantly liked them. Dressed in matching costumes with dark stripes painted across their eyes, the LA quintet played layered, rhythmic pop, with a dark underbelly. Samuel told me they were a secret society. I took their record home where it remained on repeat, each song clinging to my speakers with soft sentiment and subtle simplicity. So now, I’m sat in a warehouse with two leading avengers of the Fol

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Chen, Samuel Bing and Mellissa Thorpe, attempting to peek under their veil of mystery. Masks removed, I ask Samuel how the whole secrecy thing is going. He nods positively. “So far we’re still incredibly obscure.” “Our first show was in March last year,” he continues, leaning back from the small, dusty table which separates us. I ask if they celebrated their first birthday. “No” he frowns. “We should have” realises Mellissa. “We can have a two year birthday party.” A self-destructible invitation is offered and I enquire into the type of games we’ll be playing. “We would love to play some word games,” states Samuel, before turning to Mellissa. “Is Scrabble popular?” “What is up with that Scrabble that everyone is playing on Facebook?” she retorts, scanning. “Scrabulous? I don’t know if that’s so hot.” I ask Samuel if the Internet is so hot. “No, it’s just over,” he breezes with a brush of one hand. “We’re working on this pyramid…” Wait. Is all this secret society stuff a front? Are Fol Chen just a pyramid scheme? “It’s like a pyramid scheme…” he begins in defence, “Except we don’t make any money.” So Fol Chen is a non-profit organisation then. But what exactly do

they do, aside from the awesome pop music. Maybe fight crime? Maybe fight indie crime? “We don’t strum any guitars,” nods Samuel, leaning forward as his speech swells. “I feel like strumming is one of the biggest indie crimes. Like strumming an electric guitar. D’you hear that people? Fol Chen coming to get you!” What other indie crimes the vigilantes have identified over their brief caper foiling careers? “Sucking. Right?” He affirms. “At this point, a glockenspiel” adds Mellissa with a curl of the lip. “Also, bringing an extra floor tom,” continues Samuel as Mellissa clarifies. “For the lead singer.” They sit back, tongues in cheek. “We do kind of perpetrate some,” admits Samuel. “You know, we do a lot of handclapping, but handclapping is fun for everybody.”

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earing the end of a week of handclapping shows in London, their focus seems to have turned to making trouble. “We like to torture our label man here,” giggles Samuel. “I like to ask him, like, ‘Oh, where is Goodgewell Green?’” “Or, ‘Oh, where is Finsbury Muse?’” exclaims Mellissa. “And make stuff up.” “And he’ll be like, ‘I don’t know.’ And we’re like, ‘Ha! It’s not real!’” “Like,

‘Where’s Tottenham Court Muse?’” “Tottenham Green?” On the topic of misconception, several early reports on Fol Chen suggested their secrecy could be put down to one member forming part of NY noise aggressors, Liars. “I just play tour guitars for them,” shrugs Samuel. “I had nothing to do with that.” “Wasn’t there one that said Fol Chen was spawned from the ashes of Liars?” asks Mellissa with a wry smile. “Liars must have been shocked to read that. Like, ‘Oh, we’re done.’” Suddenly a bell sounds and smiles snap straight. After a moment of tension both relax. “That’s kind of like in our headquarters” excuses Samuel. “We have a bell like that, so I immediately thought that we had to go fight some crime. Someone’s using the floor tom! Someone’s wearing a too tight sweater!” Someone doesn’t own the Fol Chen record. Words by Jen Long Photography by James Perou www.photosimian.co.uk


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Categorically Speaking Regina Spektor breaks genres and hearts with her abstract vignettes that defy categorisation. On the morning after her sell out Serpentine Session, Kruger meets her for breakfast... Words by Mike Williams

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he evening light drifting in through the gaps in the tarpaulin walls creates a phony dusk under the high, heavy roof of the giant marquee. Three and a half thousand people are stood inside the huge pavilion, which sits itself on the bank of the Serpentine, the long and winding lake that cuts through the centre of Hyde Park. The tent is full, but roomy. People chat happily, sharing drinks, taking pictures, stepping outside for cigarettes before wondering back in to the exact same spot where they’d started. Outside the tent, the sun is keeping the stragglers warm. A lot seem to have come directly from Glastonbury festival, which ended the night before, straight to this, the first night of this year’s Serpentine Sessions. A sense of excitement hangs in the air. Expectancy too. The predominantly female crowd senses activity and turns to focus on the stage. A hush sweeps across the tent, and for a second the only sounds are breaths and heartbeats. Then Regina Spektor steps on to the stage, and cheers replace the air, rushing from the crowd like a wave of welcome. She looks like it knocked her off guard. She’s beaming, but startled. She thanks the crowd, who are still cheering, and sits at her piano, trying to look composed. She’s joined on stage by a cellist, violinist and a drummer, and she looks at each of them, smiling, readying herself. She places her fingers on the keys of her piano and begins to tap out the opening lilt of Folding Chair, a track from her new album, which is greeted like an old favourite by the crowd. “Come and open up your folding chair next to me,” sings Spektor, and three and a half thousand people sing back. The song closes to the kind of applause you’d expect at the end of a two hour epic from a much higher profile performer, and it continues like this throughout the 20 song set, which includes 9 tracks from new album Far, as well as a spattering of her most recognisable songs, including Us and Poor Little Rich Boy from 2004’ Soviet Kitsch, and On The Radio, Samson and Fidelity from her 2006 breakthrough album Begin to Hope. Spektor is in her element, growing in confidence by the track, gaining in composure, leading the crowd on a journey into her eccentric pop repertoire. When it’s over, she leaves the stage, still a little startled, and clearly blown away by the reaction of the crowd to her songs.

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his was Regina Spektor’s biggest headline show to date. Far had been released a week prior, and two days earlier she’d wowed the crowd at Glastonbury, a performance that NME described as ‘a dream’, and the guardian called ‘the first great set of the weekend’. The album debuted at number 30 in a chart dominated by Michael Jackson and Jackson 5 records, testament to her growing reputation. It’s a reputation that’s been growing steadily over the last 3 years, since the release of Mary Ann Meets the Gravediggers, a compilation of the best tracks from her first three solo albums, complied and released by Transgressive, and Begin to Hope, the album that first brought her to the attention of a mainstream audience with many of the tracks being used on TV for shows like Gray’s Anatomy and Brothers & Sisters. It was Mary Ann... that introduced this Jewish Russian American to the UK, revealing a woman with a style as hard to categorise as her ethnicity. Tracks like Oedipus and Prisoners revealed the depth and lack of limitations to Spektor’s song writing, while Us showcased the ability to write the killer pop song, doing so with all the verve and gusto of her more experimental moments. These early albums saw her strongly linked to the NY anti folk scene, with Songs (2002) and its predecessor 11.11 (2001) self-released and sold at shows, before Warner imprint Sire Records picked up third album Soviet Kitsch. While Soviet Kitsch completed the trilogy of albums that would make up Marry Ann..., Begin to Hope was the first page of a brand new chapter in the career of Regina Spektor, and now, Far, is the next. It’s her most ambitious album to date, and as brilliantly diverse and charmingly incoherent as you’d expect from her, while at the same time achieving a more direct and easy appeal than anything that she’s produced in her career so far. Enlisting the skills of four different producers - ex-ELO frontman Jeff Lynne and Fiona Apple mentor Mike Elizondo among them – the album veers between dreamy childish fantasy to real adult drama, and shows that while she often drives at high speeds towards the incomprehensible in her songs, she’s just as comfortable taking her foot off the gas and letting the scenery tell its own story. If the first chapter in her career was illustrated by Edward Gorey, then this second so far is full of searching self portraits.

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he morning after the Serpentine show, I meet Regina for breakfast at the K-West hotel in Shepherds Bush. She’s tired after last night, having only had about 4 hours sleep. She says that she only drank one beer, but still feels a little hungover, and orders fruit salad as well as Quorn sausages and eggs, which she picks at through the interview, but doesn’t finish. Despite her lack of sleep, she’s alert and engaging as we talk about the new album, last night’s show, her distrust of twitter, and how she’d really rather prefer it if you didn’t put her in a box.

“I don’t feel connected to any one kind of music and I don’t think about it when I write songs. I don’t sit there and go ‘this is very classical, I think I should wear a wig and play the harpsichord’.”

Kruger: Last night’s show was quite special. You seemed overwhelmed at the beginning. Regina Spektor: “I was. I’d been jetlagged all day so I went to sleep for an hour and every time they would call me for a wakeup call I’d be like, “Noooo!” because it didn’t feel real. And then I went to soundcheck and I was falling asleep again, and then I slept on the bus and they called me to do the show and I was like ‘get up, get up, get up’, and I was so dazed… all of a sudden I was on the stage.” K: You must have felt like you were hit by a wall of sound. RS: “I did. My sound engineer said that my sound was like 96db and that the crowd was 103db.” K: Were you expecting that kind of reaction? RS: “No, I think that someone has to be insane to expect that. It’s completely special... it’s amazing how different my shows are. Royal Festival Hall was completely silent, and there’s this, which is like completely not. I almost wonder if the people like contact each other and go ‘What’s up? Let’s be like this’.” K: I expected everyone to know the older songs, but everyone knew the songs off the new record too. How long has that been out? RS: “A week! A week today, in fact. Yeah, it was crazy, I don’t know…” K: How did the crowd sound from the stage? RS: “It was very intense for me, a couple of times I had to try hard not to cry. It’s just so emotional. I don’t know, I think it’s not very often that people gather in groups and connect and talk to each other. Everybody has these universes in their heads, so they’re talking to someone for like a second and you hear all these stories about my family or my grandfather, children, diseases... you can’t make stuff up in movies, you can’t write that in scripts. When you’re going through something and you’re connected to


like 3500 people. That’s, like, that’s... I don’t know. I feel like I’ve got so much responsibility ‘cos they’re connecting with each other, and I’m like the focal point over which their connecting so I don’t want to shadow anything. It just makes me really happy, like there’s so much good feeling in this place, all good energy you know. It’s amazing.” K: There were also people that were just stood there feeling like they were alone with you, and that’s quite an amazing thing to do. RS: “It was really amazing. I’m so happy that I got to stand there and play guitar too, because you get that feeling then. Actually, my first guitar songs I wrote in England ‘cos I studied in Middlesex. I was going mad ‘cos I couldn’t write anything. My friend had a guitar in her room that she didn’t play. It was her dad’s and I asked her to borrow it and someone showed me like three, err... shapes?” K: Chords? RS: “Chords! Yeah chords. I don’t know, they just showed me these chords and so I started writing and I wrote a few songs on guitar. And those are actually the only songs I know on guitar, but I’m so happy I know them cos it’s the only moment I get to get up from behind the piano and like look at everybody straight on. Guitarists have a good life, they get to stand and look at everybody all the show and I’m sideways off in my own world.” K: You grew up dreaming of being a classical pianist. You must have been shattered when you realised it wasn’t going to happen. RS: “Yeah, it was very hard. At that point I hadn’t figured out that there was any other thing you could do in music. It didn’t even enter my mind. I don’t know why. I knew that women could do classical music but all the bands that I love, even singer/ songwriters at the time, the Russian ones were all men. There was this one duo who were husband and wife but it was the man who wrote all the songs. The Beatles, it’s all guys. But later I found out about Joni Mitchell and Ani DiFranco. But yeah, there was like a couple of years where it was really disappointing. Something that I loved more than anything in the world, you know, I couldn’t do myself.” K: Making the piano the central piece of your show and your song writing, does that make up for the not being able to be a classical pianist? RS: “Um, no, no. But I feel very happy. I mean, I think the piano is the main part of it because it’s the only thing I’m not afraid of. But I don’t feel like it went away, all the things that I studied. I feel like, in a way, I’m continuing my piano

tuition ‘cos I’m always discovering something new and that can only come out of thousands of hours of playing. Certain things just won’t happen until you’ve played 500 shows or 1000 shows, they just come with time. You can’t speed it up, you know. It’s like something else can happen early on, like creative cool things but there are some things that will only happen naturally. It’s weird but it’s true. People told me that, like something will only happen on your 100th show, you can’t learn it before. You have to go through 100 shows. I was like ‘what?’ My friend was like ‘just wait until your 500th show. Something will happen, something will be different. You can’t put your finger on it. Nobody can teach it to you. You just have to play 500 shows and then it’ll happen’.” K: Do you have any contemporary influences on your piano playing style? RS: “Most of it I would say is classical, but you know, I grew up also listening to the Beatles and Queen and you know, the way Paul McCartney plays piano and Bob Dylan plays piano, it’s really different. But I’m not much of a fancy player…” K: I agree with that. You’re not a fancy player. I think you do what’s necessary. If it needs a single note, then it gets it. If it needs something more intense, then it gets that. RS: “Yeah, that’s pretty accurate, I should have said that. I’ll say that next time I’m asked!” K: So why do you think you connect so well with the UK crowds? RS: “I don’t know, I don’t think of it like that; ‘what is it about me?’. Every single friend I have in America that is a musician, you get them talking about England and they will talk all night about it. All American musicians love playing in England, and that’s just a fact. Most musicians I’m friends with are American, but I bet it’s musicians all over the world who say that, because it’s very different over here; a completely different attitude towards music. I was hanging out with my American agent the other day; she’s very New York. She was just saying how like it’s completely crazy that Glastonbury and Serpentine were happening at the same time and they weren’t scared that this won’t sell because everyone just goes to everything. There’s something to that. It’s a small country but everybody cares about music. It’s a national thing. You’ll never find a person who’s indifferent about music Everyone has different taste in music, and radio will play stuff that hasn’t sold like a million copies or isn’t mainstream. It’s all around more open, people are interested, you know?”

K: Lets’ talk about your records. You’ve been on tour for three years since the last record came out. Does that explain the long gap between that one and this new one? RS: “Yeah, every time I sat down to write, there was somewhere else I needed to go…” K: Begin to Hope was a breakthrough for you… RS: It’s been different after that record definitely. It’s funny ‘cos when I was doing it, it never felt like that. That’s a myth, you know. I believe there’s certain types of myths that are propagated in music. One is of someone being discovered, of discovering someone - that’s a myth. And also the myth of breaking, those two things are myths because it’s really just a slope. And you’re being discovered every time you play to somebody and then next time, they bring a couple of friends to a show, so I’ve been discovered for ten years. But I did feel that when I looked back, it was different towards the end of the last record. I started to get to places that I’d never been before. I was so used to and I’m still so used to showing up in a place where I haven’t played and standing in front of 100 people or 200 people. In my mind, that makes sense to me because that’s how it started everywhere else. When I got to Australia, I was playing to like 3000 people in Sydney, off the bat. That’s strange. Its like ‘hmm, so that’s what it means’. It’s really weird, the main difference how I view it is just the amount of people who come to shows.” K: Do you use the internet to promote yourself a lot? RS: “I’m not very active on it. I’ll write a blog on MySpace and I have a website. And on my website there’s a very nice forum where all the people on it are so nice and it just makes me happy cos they’re like a little community. But that’s really about it.” K: Do you Twitter? RS: “No but I had a fake Twitter! Last time I was over my record company said I was in the London Times Top Twitter that people followed, and I told them that I wasn’t on it and it turned out it was someone pretending to be me, and they had like 23,000 people following them. It’s very weird! See, it’s not good to not know about these things, to not know that this is happening.” K: Is Twitter taking the mystery away from musicians? Do you care what they’re doing right now, or what they had for breakfast? RS: “And that’s just one aspect of it, although it is an important aspect of it. You’re shackling all your music to your breakfast and your music is 25


already shackled to you pretty well. It’s like being your child, your look, your voice... your everything. Why shackle it down even more? I think loads of people who are trying to play music are trying to expand and get as much outside of themselves and to bring it into these physical, mundane things, which is such a punishment for music. It’s like taking something that’s otherworldly and stuffing it into details. But also besides that, I just think that on a personal level, it’s so... I want to be careful when I talk about this because I have friends who are very active on it, and it might be something that I just don’t get and I don’t want it to seem like it’s a character attack, but to me personally, it seems a little bit like ego America. You can’t just dip in and experience something and be happy and let moments wash over you; you’re busy building this other giant monument of words and they’re using every experience that comes your way. It’s no different to hanging giant images of Mao or Lenin or Stalin, hanging giant images of yourself smoking and spitting this nostalgia over yourself. It’s just weird, you’re using every experience that comes your way and you’re judging it; will this entertain people? Will this get people’s reactions? Ooh look at me, look at what’s happening to me. And instead of experiencing things you’re already thinking about how you can use that to benefit from that experience, and it’s just weird. I don’t think it’s doing very much good for our culture because I think it’s taking away that rare time we have to unwind and just experience something.” K: I guess people are editing their lives and who they are. Maybe it’s because in one way or another everyone is seeking some kind of approval. If they can have these seemingly innocent boasts, essentially, on their Facebook or Twitter going ‘hey, guess what I did today’ and then somebody says ‘hey, that’s really cool’ they’re getting these little portions each time where they feel good for a second. It’s a strange way of getting your kicks really, isn’t it? RS: “Right, it’s temporary... it’s weird. But you know, it’s one of those things where I would never do it, just like I would never... there’s a lot of things I would never do. I’m not interested in someone’s ‘I did this, I did that’.” K: You clearly feel very strongly about it. Another thing that you feel very strongly about is not wanting people, or yourself, to analyse your lyrics. Why is that? RS: “Well, I don’t listen to like A Day in the Life and have to know absolutely everything, and there are some people 26

that are after the truth. And it’s like wait, which part is real? Does this person really exist? It’s like reading The Little Mermaid and asking which part is real. It’s all real, you know. It’s like, are you feeling something? Are you connected to it? Then it’s real. Like, is this real [points around the room]?” K: The record that turned the UK onto you was the Transgressive record, Mary Ann Meets the Grave Diggers. The subtitle to that is ‘and other short stories’. Do you feel that your songs are little stories or vignettes? RS: “Most of the time, I think I connect to stories more than something documented, it’s just like if someone wrote like a cool concept on that Twitter thing I would connect a lot more to that. When I listen to music that I love I never ever want to know [more about it]. Sometimes people are like ‘I just want to sit with you over coffee and ask you everything, ask you all these questions I have about your music,’ which is really nice that they’re interested but it’s like, are you serious? I just want to be free. But it’s just so sweet as well because there’s a lot to think about in the world, and people are choosing to think about what makes up my songs. It’s not like I think people are stupid, its just hard for me to erase how I feel.” K: I’ve got this idea that because you moved to the States when you were 9, and at that point you weren’t an English speaker, I imagine that you’re not that precious with the rules of English and you’re trying to be more creative with the language, allowing yourself to use new sounds, accents, languages, all intertwined. RS: “Very early on you see language as subjective. One moment you watch and you understand everything and the next moment you don’t understand anything just ‘cos everyone’s speaking a different one. But I’m really creative with spelling. I’m the worst speller in the world. I think that in a way it could be that... there’s people that just make sounds or make patterns. And all the beat boxers. I think it’s natural to make your own, like making music, your body makes your own sounds and it’s like the way you pick up an instrument. Like the way I am with the piano sometimes. It’s like I’ve played this thing for twenty years and then I find this thing I’ve never found before and I think it’s like that with words. Sometimes I really like it when I get sick, ‘cos my voice will sound totally different, I love that. I mean, I’m glad it doesn’t last forever but it’s really fun, just discovering new ways to sound. I think it comes from that too, a lot. It’s like a toy. I think people should

approach themselves like a toy, in their minds.” K: That’s a great way to look at it. I like it. This record then; some people think of it as the most accomplished, expansive and ambitious thing you’ve done. Other people will think it’s over-produced... is it just a natural evolution for you to want to create a bigger sound? RS: “Begin to Hope was like my first discovery of more... it was my first time when I actually had time and a budget. I wanted to have atmosphere so it was not just about parts but the sound of those parts. It’s like, you’re a writer, so let’s say you only have enough money for a pen, a pencil and a really shitty notepad, then you’re going to write on that. Then you know, you have a bigger budget so you have more time. So you don’t have to just hand in your handwritten thing, you’ve time to rewrite, got time to edit. Maybe you get a really cool editor who sits with you and you get together for coffees and be like ‘I think it’s great, like you space these three words here and it’ll create space between these two concepts and why do you box everything in?’ And that’s sort of the producer thing or whatever. And then you have someone giving you money and you have the beautiful thing and you have it bound and designed and in the end it’s like someone goes ‘what about...?’ It’s just I had more money and more time, and I’m happy with it. Just because you’re broke the first time it doesn’t mean you have to forever keep having the music in your head, you know.” K: I just wanted to finish by asking you about how your music is classified. This record is a really ambitious pop record, and as someone who I can imagine doesn’t like to feel that you need to be boxed or pigeonholed, you’ve got people throwing genres like anti-folk, folk, classical and jazz at it. How do you feel about the music being called one thing or another? RS: “I think that, you know, I have a hard time classifying music. I mean, what’s Tom Waits? Sometimes he’s jazz, sometimes he’s punk, sometimes he’s soul, sometimes he’s folk. I don’t feel connected to any one kind of music and I don’t think about it when I write songs. I don’t sit there and go ‘this is very classical, I think I should wear a wig and play the harpsichord’ or ‘this is very punk’. I mean, I’ve written country songs before. I don’t ever want to fit into one category.” Regina Spektor’s new album, Far, is out now.


27


Grizzly Bear 28


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erner Herzog is known primarily for photographing spectacular landscapes and lending his directorial teat to celebrated baby Klaus Kinski, father of Natassja and legend in the arts of the Hissy. It seemed only natural for Herzog to direct a film documenting the infantile shit chucker and mal-contented bear hugger, Timothy Treadwell. The Grizzly Man had been living with the Silvertips, in Katmai in the Alaskan Peninsula, following them about, watching them sleep, eat, shit and fuck. Then they killed and ate him. The audio of the ordeal was recorded on a video camera. Treadwell had been filming his interactions with the Grizzly’s for 13 Summers but didn’t have time to remove the lens cap before he and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, were savaged and partly ingested. Herzog chose not to play the tape in his film, instead we watch him listening to it on headphones. ‘I believe the common character of the universe is not harmony, but chaos, hostility, and murder.’ He says. I asked Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor if Herzog’s taxonomy was correct, are the Silvertips a chaotic, hostile, murderous species, like the rest of the Universe? He replied no, well certainly not from the perspective of this Grizzly. He has lived among humans for years and has never, ever eaten one. He was implicated and pulled in for questioning by the police, but with no blood in his fur and a tight alibi, he walked. When asked to comment on Treadwell’s demise, he decided he “just couldn’t possibly comment.” Like Treadwell, Grizzly Bear are very well versed in the ‘fish out of water’ narrative. From Ed Droste’s solo effort, Horn of Plenty in 2004, Grizzly Bear were signed to Sheffield’s original Rave gargantuan, Warp Records, alongside tech masters Autechre, Luke Vibert, Squarepusher and Aphex Twin. “It was a weird call from Warp but I guess we wanted to see what would happen. I know Warp were changing up their bag... I think maybe we were a bit of an experiment. I’m influenced by a lot of electronic stuff and when I’m producing records, I’m always trying to pull in sounds, to reference electronic and I’m really into hip-hop and r&b production, so I pull a whole range of inspiration from non guitar based music. I really don’t know if that’s coming through to them...” I think it is. These days, Warp are the audio-visual equivalent of the Oliviero Toscani Benetton campaigns. Cellotaped beats from Hudson Mohawke and Flying Lotus, doctorate applied mathematics from Battles, Post Punk Pop from Maximo Park, Stevie-esque Wonders from Soul Boy Jamie Lidell

(with whom Chris will be working with in the very immediate future). Grizzly Bear cuddle in nicely with Broadcast, both bands sit like a rabbit and a deer who have just narrowly escaped the pot, delivering soliloquy over painfully beautiful orchestration with cinematic leanings towards the European order. In reality Warp has never been a ‘Dance’ label, it’s more a mood and as Raymond Borde and Etienne Chaumeton suggest about Noir, it is difficult to avoid the oversimplification of classification as merely oneiric. Essentially, Warp inject some sex into the flaccid cock of genre categorisation, proving musical equivalence to cinematic masters Akira Kurosawa or Andrei Tarkovsky, where form and narrative negate prior expectation. “They (Warp) just have that great reputation for good taste and for signing good music. You can listen to anything from the label... In Europe there have been some totally die hard Warp fans in the Warp t-shirts and they come up saying, ‘I just love Warp and it’s great to see you guys’ and that’s the cool thing about Warp.”

W “I try and make sure everything in the track is sucking you in, like a good movie, you can’t take your eyes off it, it just kind of unfolds.”

Words by Simon Roberts Illustration by Jack Hudson www.flickr.com/jackhudsonillustration

arp is the enfant terrible of the Music Industry, providing sublemon soundscapes for the ears of the informed since the ‘89 digestive epidemic, and to celebrate the 1040 Wednesdays that almost scraped a ‘Woods Was Here’, a list has been compiled byw fans, artists and label bosses, detailing the top 20 Warp tracks for the WARP20 anniversary compilation. Grizzly Bear were pipped by Drexciya’s Detroit masterpiece, Black Sea and came in at No. 21 with Knife from 2006’s Yellow House. They accrued 31% of the artist’s votes. “We didn’t get to vote, we were deep in the middle of recording so we were unable to be a part of it....but I’ve seen pictures of it. It looks as if it’s gonna be really pretty.” Although Veckatimest is their first long player since Yellow House in 2006, the Bear has put the time in, stealing hearts from picnic baskets all over the world. Touring with TV on the Radio and Radiohead, they became a very popular band. Sold out shows in SXSW prove they are an amazingly popular band. Johnny Radiohead’s favourite band. “It was so great. To be open up for such an amazing band [Radiohead]. They were really sweet people and stand up for such great things. I look up to them so much and to be able to be on their stage was a real honour.” Grizzly Bear are being housed with the Brian Wilson School of Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors and Beirut. I can see it partly but not through generic feature, it’s more about the originally of the orchestral, vocal and harmonic arrangements and the music press just don’t know what to do with them. “The Dirty Projectors and Beirut are my friends, I produced Rise Above [Dirty Projectors] and that was an amazing creative experience and I so look up to him and his new album is so fucking good, for anybody to even compare us to the Dirty Projectors, that’s too friendly, too nice actually.” Modest Mice aside, Grizzly Bear placed No.8 on the Billboard album chart with Veckatimest and are creating quite a wave on the chat show circuit with their live performances. The European press have been gushing over this album and stateside, they are equally damp knickered. 2006’s Yellow House was an elegant arrangement of fragmented polaroids of a collectivised memory of a subjective experience. Veckatimest is shot in Cinemascope and runs at 24 frames per second. It encapsulates landscapes worthy of Herzog’s lens and displays an emotional purity and the enigmatic anonymity of Kaspar Hausen, the man without language who wanders into a town after being locked in a darkened cellar since birth. “Oh, man, don’t even get me started. That is one of my biggest dreams. I’m such a Werner Herzog fan, I’ve totally thought about it... to write music for his documentaries, or his movies, just anything... I don’t know if it would ever happen but that would be my favourite thing. From a music production standpoint, I think a lot about how directors set up the scene and the vibe and the atmosphere and I try and make sure everything in the track is sucking you in, like a good movie, you can’t take your eyes off it, it just kind of unfolds.” Acoustically, the record seems like an auditory representation of the final lines of Yellow House’s On a Neck, On a Spit. ‘What now, what now, what now?’ For me, Veckatimest represents humanity’s ability to comprehend the inevitability of death but its inability to understand ‘why?’ Although the questions have been posed and they may become more or less rhetorical as time passes, for now, any response is welcomed, no matter how redundant, because we mask the infinity of the unknown with epistemological taxa which can never compensate for our incapacity to attach meaning to both objective and subjective existence. We shouldn’t be asking what are Grizzly Bear and where should we put them? And if the Bears themselves are still contemplating the dichotomy in every human exchange, our taxonomies reflect an illusion of order when really there is and will never be conclusive evidence of anything, other than we exist and Grizzly Bear were not the bears who waited outside Treadwell’s tent and rendered him limbless like that purple headed cleft, Tony Harrison. 29


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�ombay �icycle �lub

T

he need to have everything in easy to find, simply defined categories is perhaps both a pro and a con of modern society. It saves time if you can find what you want straight away with little to no effort; just pick up the phone book and flick to the service you need, all helpfully listed in an efficient order. Go to C for a cleaner, or H for a hairdresser but where do you look for gorgeous, compelling British indie? Try looking under B... Jamie MacColl, guitarist in North London ascending stars Bombay Bicycle Club, is out in his garden when I call. Having played three sets at Glastonbury the previous weekend, you’d think he’d have spent the past few days having a well earned rest. You’d be wrong. The previous night, BBC kick started their ‘Tour for Lulu’, a short tour of venues that might not normally be graced by up and coming bands, kicking off with a trip to Bournemouth to play in a beach hut and eat paella, an experience Jamie describes as “a bit bizarre”. In the schedule is a mine shaft, some castle ruins and a puppet theatre; far from your standard tour. The idea behind the tour is to “play places we wouldn’t normally go to. It gets a bit boring to play the same venues every time you go on tour.”

The tour also coincides with the release of BBC’s first full-length record, I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose; an album that has been a long time coming for those who’ve followed the group since their V Fest performance back in 2006. Produced by the same man who has been behind the desk for all of their releases, Jamie recounts the time spent with Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Ladytron): “We first worked with him three years ago. It was very intimidating, him having worked with all these big bands. He can be an intimidating guy as well, he likes to work hard and maybe we didn’t to begin with. He’s got great musical pedigree and he definitely improved the album.” The band could though have chosen to produce the album themselves, with Jamie asserting “we would be more than capable, all of our demos were either done by us and my dad or by Jack [Steadman, singer/ guitarist] in his bedroom. Some of the songs on the album, like Always Like This, are just built up from one track demos but with us layering it up, but it’s basically still Jack’s stuff.”

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aving set up their own label, Mmm...Records, to release their first EPs, and a single release on Young and Lost Club, BBC have just recently signed to Island, with whom they’ll be releasing their aforementioned debut album. The intention, Jamie states, was not really “to sign to a major label. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need a record label but out of all the majors, Island has the best musical history.” With the album finished before the label came on board though, the group found themselves in the “pretty good situation” of having “complete creative control” over their first record, something the guitarist sounds understandably upbeat about: “You want a bit of time and you don’t want to be pushed into doing something you don’t want to do, so as a result I think we’re really happy with our first album.” Formed when they were 15, if the boys of BBC had continued on in the education system, they would have just finished their first year at university. All four of them hold places at various higher education institutes but decided to spend a year first giving the band 100% of their attention, to see if they still enjoyed it when it was their main focus. So far, so good, as Jamie explains: “I think at the start of

the year we would’ve liked to have had the album out a bit earlier... I still don’t know if we’re going to need another year or not! It’s been great though, it’s been so different to being at school. We’re probably going to keep going with the band... I hope my university doesn’t see this!” Not that it would matter if they did; if they keep making records like their debut then Bombay Bicycle Club will be around for a long time to come. Words by Rhian Daily Photography by Tim Cochrane www.timothycochrane.com

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Sweet Baboo L

ovely lovely language. It's what sets us apart from the birds, bees and beasts, right? Helps us let people know when we're mad, bad or sad.

Some people like language so much they write down little words and set them to a bit of a tune. Their language isn't just on the page. It's sung, shouted, screamed or sighed right into our little ears. And we want to believe what they're telling us is the truth. The god's honest. Prince almost definitely parties like its 1999, Hendrix drove 90 mph for sure and we all know Gary Glitter has asked people to be in his gang. Okay Freddie Mercury didn't think fat bottom girls made the rocking world go round, but stick with me here, kids. Sweet Baboo is a songwriter too. And his songs are about his life.

"They’re all about me and what’s happened to me. Although my mum did think that one of my songs, Come on Beef, was about paedophilia. She said ‘Is that about paedophilia?’ and I said ‘No, it’s about going out and getting pissed.' Which I thought was funny. I think if you listen to my songs, they only really make any sense if you know who I am.’ Don't let this put you off listening to them (not the misunderstanding, the fact you don't know him). It’d be a crime if only Sweet Baboo's circle of friends got to hear the beautifully bitter-sweet ditties of love, loss and light-bulb moments on his second album, just released on Businessman Records. Sweet Baboo (or Steve Black, to those of you who do know him) is a north Walian misplaced in Cardiff, a romantic well placed in the macabre and, if there's any justice in this world, a soon-to-be superstar. Having started off recording on 4-track at Mummy and Daddy Baboo's house and pestering John Peel with regular correspondence to no avail, Steve moved south and started playing in a band called JT Mouse, in the days when Boobytrap Records gave Cardiff bands a leg-up to a bigger listenership. When they split up he thought he'd take the Sweet Baboo project a bit more seriously. Well, a bit more: "I did a few gigs, just me and a few friends, and we just used to get absolutely off our tits. Only on booze and stuff like that. But I hated playing and I wanted to be a serious artiste, a bit like Spiritualized. But we just used to get absolutely trollied and they were really shambolic gigs. I did an EP that was gonna be released on Boobytrap, but it never was because they ran out of money. I eventually released three EPs, then me and my housemate recorded the first album (The Mighty Baboo) in our loft and in a church in Cardiff. That was in 2007. I promoted that, kind of, last year. And then this year I recorded another album. With a band. Which is now."

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he album is called 'Hello Wave' and you should, erm, wave hello to it, pack it some sandwiches and take it with you wherever you travel. Through the language of its folky, countryish, bluesy songs the listener is taken on ten little journeys with Steve. Whether he's trying to get from A to B, with a girl or from the cradle to grave. And like the best kind, sometimes the journey is the destination. Sometimes misty-eyed and often morbid, they fill you with hope even if you don't always get there. Much of this comes from the delivery of the train driver on the journey of Hello Wave. While Sweet Baboo might be singing about his dead rabbit that he never got to meet, the honest, optimistic and playful delivery sugarcoats the pill. "That’s not a conscious thing; I think it comes from all the music I really love. You know if you listen to really great sad songs sometimes they can be uplifting. There’s a brilliant Nick Cave song called Love Letter. It sounds sad but I don’t really know what he’s going on about. I’m rubbish, I never listen to people’s lyrics really. I don’t know, I just like the kind of sound of them. Spiritualized is a good example. All the lyrics are really simple and really sad. You know, they’re all about him breaking up with his girlfriend or taking

“There’s something kind of nice about not believing in something but saying it anyway.”

drugs, but when I listen to Spiritualized, his sadness makes me happy. Not the fact that he’s sad, it’s just uplifting music. I love country music and old time bluegrass music and folk music and they’re always about killing people or committing suicide." What they're also always about is God and heaven and hell. And when he's not talking about girls or drinking, then Sweet Baboo is talking of a higher plain. "Generally all my songs are roughly based around girls and my experiences with girls and how in love you are with them or how pissed off you are with them, but a lot of the time when I write things, I say something about God or something about the Lord. I’m not religious in anyway and we’ve never had any religion in our family. I don't know why I talk about God a lot but I do. My dad said to me ‘You should tap into the Christian market’ and ‘All your songs sound really religious, it’s a bit weird Steve.’ I think it’s a lot to do with the music I listen to and it's probably because I like country music. Even if you don’t believe in it, it’s a big emotion and also I don’t want to say it, but maybe I use it for a bit of shock value. There’s something kind of nice about not believing in something but saying it anyway. And I don’t know, it’s kind of similar that feeling of being with God and being with a girl. Kind of. Everyday common man music is one kind of music that I really can’t abide. Jonathan Richman sings about everyday occurrences, and they’re really good, but I don’t know, Jamie T, does he talk about going down the chippy, or The Streets, 'I have ten pints of Stella and then I beat my girlfriend'. I don’t want to talk about things like that." And he doesn't. And Mark Riley loves him for it and so does Huw Stephens, who has included one of his songs on his new compilation cd. And you will too. Just maybe don't expect the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth from the songs. Song number one on the new album, If I'm Still in Love When I Get Back Home From Travelling (America), does contain the line 'I'll tell you stories that never really happened': "I suppose I do make things up. But there’s another weird thing when it comes to music. I was watching a Bob Dylan documentary the other day and Joan Baez was saying that he’d write a lot of things and go ‘What does that mean?’ and then she’d really think about it and tell him and he’d go ‘Great, that is now what that means.’ So I do a lot of that. You write things and subconsciously or not maybe things come out and you can normally piece things together. Luckily so far there’s been some kind of narrative in the songs and if there’s not, then sometimes the words are quite nice." So maybe Prince stays in of an evening and watches the tube. Maybe Jimi drives sensibly. And maybe Sweet Baboo uses lovely language and toetapping tunes to embellish a little bit sometimes. So what? If he's telling the stories, the journey will pass in no time. Words by Dan Tyte Photography by Mei Lewis wwwmissionphotographic.com Thanks to Clare Roberts at Marigold Costumes Info@marigoldcostumes.co.uk 02920 644664.

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Akira the Don meets Chef Raekwon, and it's one big Kruger love-in...

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This is the world famous Kruger A To Z issue, right? Right. So, assuming the rest of this fine publication’s professional writers have got all the other letters covered, can I bag “W”? Yeah? Nice one. See, if you were Elmo, or Big Bird, or any one of those furry lunatics, and you waved a great big fuck off 3D “W”in my face and asked me what it was, I would say, nay, scream, “WU-TAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAANG!” Then I might emit a high pitched, “SUUUUU UUUUUUUU UUUUUUUU UUUUU!” (Try it at home if you are able. It is fun.)

Y

es, it is true, that is exactly what I would do, because the letter double-you stands for nothing but the WU. Not “wine,” not “women”, (and most certainly not “song”, for more obvious reasons), but Wu, as in Wu-Tang motherfucking CLAN, the greatest rap group of all time. Yes indeed. See, this one time, I met The RZA, and he taught me the theory of mathematics, which is how I became the world renowned polymath wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a tigerskin duvet that I am today. And for a while, I have been wondering how to advance to the next level of Awesome. So when Kruger Editorial sent me one of those sexy digital messages that don’t actually exist in any kind of physical sense, asking if I, Akira The Don, wished to go to a swanky hotel in Llindain to meet Chef Raekwon, from out of The Wu, well, guess what I said? You’re right. And they said, no, we won’t pay you, but you should do

it anyway. And I said, ah, fuck it, OK, even though everybody says that Chef Raekwon is really grumpy and doesn’t like answering the crappy questions of crappy music “journalists”, and I ask notoriously crappy questions. So fuck it, I went. It was a fine summer morning, and I rode on my bicycle. I was wearing my Wu-Tang Iron Flag long sleeve T shirt and some vintage black-with-silverlining Wu-Wear jeans. So vintage, in fact, the bottom of the right leg is falling off, and got caught in my spokes just as I was going round a roundabout, and I nearly got run over by a bus. “That’s how you rock ‘em though,” drawled an amused and pleasantly toasted Raekwon, through a fug of Gin’ ‘n’ Juice flavoured blunt smoke, when I told him about this. “That’s how you rock ‘em baby.” Moments earlier, Rae welcomed me into his admirably tidy hotel room wearing a silk bathrobe, a black skullcap, and waving the aforementioned smoking device, his new single Wu-Ooh blaring out of the speakers. “You want me to turn this down?” he asked, and of course I didn’t, but he did anyway, then he took off his robe (calm down) to reveal a fetching black T shirt with a painting of a wolf on it, sat his ass down, put some shades on, assembled himself another blunt from the little green mountain on the glass coffee table in front of him, and complimented me on my excellent T-Shirt.

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ater on, once we were done licking each others’ nuts (calm down, it’s a metaphor), I thought I’d better ask him about his new album, the long rumoured and seemingly mythical sequel to his ’95 classic, Only Built for Cuban Linx. “I been working on it for like, I’d say two and a half years though, you nahmean?” drawls Rae, breezily. “Casually though, not like everyday but you know… I’ve definitely been developing that production side of it, you know. We made the production side more bigger this time because not only we got RZA, being one of the top producers in the game, but we went and got you know, J Dilla god bless the dead, Dr Dre, Marley Marl, Scram Jones… It’s a good album though, it's definitely a good album.” I’m excited, I tell him. The first single’s megadope. It’s got Method Man on it, sounding better than Method Man’s sounded since Tical 2000. And the beat is straight classic ’95 Wu

Tang. Rae was famously unhappy with the sound of the last Wu LP, 2008’s 8 Diagrams, blaming the whole thing on RZA, calling him a “hip-hop hippy,” and accusing him of messing with the rest of the Clan’s money. “I mean, you know, at the end of the day, RZA is a scientist and he likes to go other places,” says Rae, generously. “He likes to go way beyond sometimes where we want him to go, you know. And as a producer you know that’s his job to make different kind of beats, but I was only complaining about the direction that he was going with it being that people haven’t heard from Wu Tang in a long time and I felt that they wanted the classic Wu. So you know it ain’t no personal thing with RZA, you nahmean?” Which is nice to hear. Rae and the rest of the Wu are still gonna do a whole album, called Shaolin VS Wu-Tang without him, but he's in the Wu-Ooh video. He’s got some nice sideburns going on. “Hue hur hur!” laughs Raekwon, happily. “Looking like Christian Bale a little bit!” It strikes me that Raekwon doesn’t seem very grumpy at all. “Like I said though,” he adds, “it ain’t no beef with the family though, you know. Everyone’s on the album doing their thing.” “Even Baby U?”, I ask. “Oh yeah,” beams Rae, “you know U-G? You like U-G?" “Well,” I say,”I don’t know U God, but, yeah, I love that guy. He just comes in and spits even if it’s the wrong fucking beat.” “Yeah, yeah, nahmean,” agrees Rae. “Classic killer.” I remember a legend I once heard about the pair. Apparently, when they were tiny little kids with no hair on their nuts, U-God nearly killed Raekwon. With a gun. “Yeah you know, we was kids though, you know what I mean,” reminisces Rae, dreamily. “Playing with guns out there young doing shit that we ain’t supposed to, and we had some guns one day and we were playing with them in the house, and you know how people will just be playing with them, clicking them back and you know, pointing at shit.” I nod, fondly remembering my old man’s gat gun that got me

suspended after I took it school and made bullets for in art class out of clay. “And you know,” continues Rae, “he pointed at me playing around, laughing, and me, I was smart enough to know ‘yo, don’t point no guns at me’ you nahmean… So he could like, nahmean, see that I wasn’t playing. And he pointed it out the window and then BOOM! Next thing you know shit went off. Nahmean?!” We laugh. “It’s not that funny really,” I say, “I don’t know why I’m laughing.” “It was crazy though,” nods Rae through a blizzard of weed smoke. “Word.” But enough of the past. What of the future? “I mean, you know, I just wanna let everybody know first and foremost that I’m gonna nail this Cuban Linx part 2,” he says, with shimmering sincerity. “I’m gonna give y’all a classic. It’s not gonna be today’s hip-hop, you nahmean? It’s gonna be real hip-hop… like I say, it’s really just made for y’all.” He leans in, pointing a serious finger accusingly. “As a catalogue lover, if you don’t go and get this album, it’s like, something’s the matter with hip-hop.” I agree. And, our time coming to end, I get up to leave. “You got that crazy energy son,” says Rae, beaming, and gives me a pound. Sheeee-it... He’s not grumpy at all! We swap mixtapes, and I show him OhWord.com’s WuTang/Peanuts comic strip. He laughs like a big bear. “Hur hur hur!” he rumbles, reading out loud, “’yo Lucy, where my killer tape at man?’ Hur hur hur!” The killer tape is coming soon, bubba, don't you worry. Cop that ish. Photography by Jessica Long www.jessicalongphotography.com Chef Raekwon was in London town to play at Matter. Only Built For Cuban Linx 2, The return of The Purple Tape is out on September 8th through EMI. Akira The Don’s The Omega Sanction is out now, via akirathedon.com Wu-Tang VS Peanuts: http://tinyurl.com/n6ten2

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“I love being surprised by my own music – it keeps things interesting.” Producer, DJ, and soon to be solo artist, Andrew Weatherall has been digging in crates and crafting his record collection for the best part of 35 years. But as he tells Adam Corner, “there’s nothing like a system. It’s organised chaos!”

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A

nyone even remotely familiar with UK underground music over the past 20 years cannot fail to have encountered the stylishly grimy figure of Andrew Weatherall. Having dabbled in proto-house music, wall-of-sound indie, pounding dub techno, growling electronica, and satanic rockabilly, he is a composer and producer of music who knows no boundaries. Whether as a part of Warp records duo Two Lone Swordsmen, spinning records under his own moniker, or at the helm of Primal Scream’s genre-defining Screamadelica, Weatherall has consistently reinvented his sound. Never one to rest on his laurels, he is currently producing the forthcoming Fuck Buttons album, and preparing to release A Pox on the Pioneers, his first full-length album under his own name. And, as you might expect, the dark prince of punk-posturing is an obsessive collector of music. Charming, articulate and blunt, a lifetime of collecting music has shaped his personality: “I remember exactly the first time that music made me feel funny. I was about 10 or 11, and I heard the soundtrack to That’ll Be The Day, with all these late 50s records on it. Then, one day I was digging around in my parents’ garage, and I found this box of 7” records. I recognised one of the songs, and suddenly this whole world opened up. And in the boxes of records, there were all these artefacts of this world to plunder. That’s when music first made me feel funny.” Many a misty-eyed word has been written about the demise of vinyl and the rise of the mp3. It’s easy to overlook the fact that records are unwieldy, expensive and weigh a tonne – but somehow its difficult to imagine a comparable story coming from the musical pioneers of 2050. Will they fondly remember streaming their first podcast? Reflect on the day they downloaded some of their parent’s digital library? Somehow, adding a bundle of files to your cart doesn’t have the same romanticism as stumbling across a dusty box of 7” records in the corner of the garage. “I know some people will be like ‘shut-up Grandad’, but I think I’m associated in people’s minds with vinyl. I won’t play mp3s because they sound shit, and in some of the gigs I do, the crowd are purists. They demand vinyl! The rockabilly clubs I play would laugh me out the door if I brought CDs with me – it’s got to be the original 7” records for them. And even in the techno clubs, I tend to play records. It’s not out of snobbishness or anything like that – it’s just what I know.” And while the advent of digital music has heralded something of a democratisation of the process of finding, owning, collecting and cataloguing music, the brave new world has its downsides too. “It’s the postmodern dilemma, the classic punk problem of letting everyone have access, of letting everyone participate. It’s great that more people can get into something that might have been out of reach before, but it also means that the quality level can get dangerously low. When I first started deejaying, I used to be really grumpy about people knowing what my records were!” laughs Weatherall, “I’d put stickers over the labels saying ‘Fuck off nosy’ so that people didn’t know what I was playing – I got there first, that’s why I got to be the one playing the records, you know what I mean!” No-one crowds around CD decks trying to read the scrolling display. But it isn’t just deejaying that has been altered by the digital revolution in music. The very concept of a music ‘collection’ – something to be catalogued, nurtured, defended and displayed – is changing too. A stolen hard drive is a pain in the arse, but with a bit of strategic backing-up, major heartbreak can be avoided. Losing records, on the other hand, is something that cant easily be fixed: “I left boxes and boxes of 7” records round a flat that I used to share. I was too lazy to go and pick them up, and then one day when I went round they’d gone. It was my own fault really – but that was a bad day. I’ve still got loads of my first albums, but a lot of the singles I’ve lost…and I won’t ever have them back! Still at least if someone else is getting pleasure from them, that’s the main thing…”

B

Photography by Kamil Janowski www.kjanowski.com

eing involuntarily separated from your treasured records is an unhappy experience. As any vinyl collector knows though, sometimes records have to be intentionally culled. “I’ve got about 5000 records that I need to get rid of ” says Weatherall. “I’m going to just get some geezer to give me some money and come round and take them when I’m not here. I’ve tried selling music before, and it was a disaster. I kept finding records that I couldn’t bear to let go of, even though I hadn’t listened to them for years and I knew I wouldn’t listen to them again. The guy ended up going away with about half of what he’d come for.” Most of us have probably got a similar section in our own collections - although maybe not 5000 records deep – marked ‘don’t like but can’t get rid of ’. Again, it’s difficult to imagine this uniquely pre-digital dilemma arising in the music collections of the future. Run out of space? Buy a new hard drive. Want to keep the duff ones away from the gems? Create a new folder. Weatherall claims to have no cataloguing system for his vast collection: “I’ve got shelves where certain types of tunes are, places where I know to look for certain genres, but there’s nothing like a system. It’s organised chaos!” But whereas alphabetising a horde of vinyl is the preserve of the very bored or the very lonely, computerised music collections are by definition clinically managed. “One of the things I love about not knowing where everything is, is finding something you love but had completely forgotten about. Recently I found an Alan Hawskaw’s Discophonia record that I had no idea I owned. I love being surprised by my own music – it keeps things interesting.” Keeping things interesting is something Weatherall knows more about than most. With his album dropping in August, and a raft of international festivals lined up (including an off-shore Croatian boat party at the Electric Elephant event), Andrew Weatherall shows no signs of slowing down. “I’m looking forward to the Electric Elephant gig, I’m going to stay and have a holiday there. But my natural habitat is a junk shop, or a record shop – sniffing around for something unique. I’ve got a bit of a reputation for making life hard for myself you see…that’s why I cant quite see the attraction of just getting your music through your ipod shuffle function. There’s records that I really want that I could get digitally, but it’s not the same is it?” Wise words indeed from the vinyl auteur – and proof that an automatically alphabetised collection of mp3s can only get you so far in life: “Itunes is like gorging on a box of chocolates: nice for a while, but it makes you feel a bit queasy in the end!” 37


Three Trapped Tigers O

f all the things that could send a band to sleep, a telephone interview with some distant, unfamiliar hack that’s done approximately three minutes worth of research is high up the list. Luckily for Tom, one third of London’s noise crashing Three Trapped Tigers, I’ve done near seven. Do you get bored of the question, “So, what’s it like to work with Gordon Raphael?” I ask down a line that finds him sitting in a sunny park somewhere on the South side of the Thames. “YES. Yes I am bored of that question. By all means put that in.” Three Trapped Tigers, also known as Tom, Adam and Matt, make a kind of music that’s hard to categorise. It glitches and jerks, roars and bleeps. First it’s pinning you up against the wall by your collar, and then the grip releases, and you fall into a torrent of epileptic drums. One thing is for sure though; it’s really, really fucking loud. Let’s start at the beginning. It may not be the most original place to start, but Tom is more than happy to oblige. “Having seen a load of bands in London who were doing a live electro thing which has really, really taken off over here,” he begins as the line crackles. “It’s great and it’s kind of awesome, but a lot of them were

38

using backing tracks. What they were really doing was focusing on standard back beat stuff, which was purely to make people dance and what I felt it was missing was the real importance of electronic music, which was the kind of electronica scene in the 90s in Britain which centred around Warp records which focused less on making people dance so much as pushing the musical barriers to do with technology and rhythm.” “I’ve always been interested in that,” he states, pausing for emphasis. “The starting point was, how do we do Squarepusher live? How do we do Aphex Twin live? All that crazy drum programming that’s whole very essence is that it’s impossible to do live… How do you do it live? How do you recreate it? Intrinsically in that project is a flaw, is a failure. You can’t do it. There’s no way that you can replicate a drum machine going at 250 beats per minute, it’s humanly impossible. But the attempt will throw up something really interesting.”

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aving wrapped their teeth around EP1 in Berlin with the aforementioned Strokes producer, EP2 is on the brink of release, and yet again, all the song titles are numbers. “Unfortunately the number

thing has become something of a distraction and a lot of interviewers ask about it,” yawns Tom. “We might have to give up on it. A lot of people think we nicked it off Forward Russia.” I ask if song titles bore him as much as the questions about them. “Song titles don’t bore me, they just confuse me slightly, or I think they would confuse people in this context,” he continues, after clarifying that the numbers thing was in fact taken from classical music, not the aforementioned stagnant band of t-shirts. “To be honest, it wasn’t a conscious thought where I was like, ‘Oh, let’s just number the tracks.’ It was more a case that I couldn’t think of anything original to call them and I didn’t necessarily enjoy any of the other methods bands use to title their tracks. The last thing I want people to feel is that there’s some kind of interpretative thing on this music. I want people to approach it with a totally open mind and be able to use it for what they will.” And then suddenly something clicks, “Oh, I tell you what; sound checks. Sound checks bore the crap out of me.” I tell him that I don’t understand what could be so dull about the monotonous drone of “Kick… kick… kick….“

“I can’t be bothered with them. Half the time I don’t actually believe that they work. In all honesty, Three Trapped Tigers is such an easy band to sound check and it really upsets me when sound guys see our set up, cos it looks vaguely complicated cos we’ve got two keyboards each and vocals, and guitar, and this complex drum rig. In all seriousness, it’s really easy to do it. Just turn it up loud, and you know, make sure the bass is fat.” One thing's for sure, whatever the volume, there will be no sleeping when these cats take stage. Words by Jen Long Photography by James Perou www.photosimian.co.uk

ZZ

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do something different

Thu 17 Sep 7.30pm

Neko Case + support Barbican debut of American alt. country artist performing material from her marvellous new album Middle Cyclone. Possessing a voice of rare power and immense control, Case jumps from cowgirl honkytonk to pop muse to American banshee with ease and grace. ‘Indie’s greatest singer.’ Rolling Stone

Wed 28 Oct 7.30pm

Efterklang and The Britten Sinfonia performing Parades

Rare chance to see Danish collective Efterklang's Parades (2007) scored for band and orchestra. Orchestrations by Karsten Fundal, performed here by always-adventurous Britten Sinfonia. ‘The album Björk wishes she’d conjured in her mind when realising Vespertine.’ Drowned In Sound

Tickets from £12.50 Book Now www.barbican.org.uk/contemporary 40


Music Sounds Better With Huw © BBC

Hello again. What it is, right, is this. I have lounged at Latitude, wandered round Wakestock, tweeted my way at T in the Park, swooned at Sonar and rummaged in the noise at Rock Werchter of late. So while I'm excited about the bands we're booking for Swn Festival this year (October 22-24th in Cardiff), to sit down with this issue of Kruger, carefully nestling both a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit on my manly lap, is indeed a treat like no other. Here’s my three bands to check out...

Yr Ods

Ungdomskulen

Ellie Goulding

If Emily Eavis would have had her way, Yr Ods would have won the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition this year. You can see why too, the band (featuring one Gruff, one Griff and two Osians. Oh, and a Rhys) have that certain je ne se quoi

Norway, Norway, Norway. How does the green and pleasant country produce and maintain such excellence in music? Or maybe, why do we fall for it so? Recently during a particularly horrific dj set at a Ball in Liverpool when this one girl came up and just shouted 'Oi, Dich-ead, play some R'n'B' at me

During a late night voyage into late night music broadcasting recently, a track by this lady, remixed by Jakwob, made itself known on Twitter. In between Dimbleby & Capper and Bass Clef, it made prefect sense on air and sounded so gentle and beautiful yet deep and dirty at the same time,

three times, I nearly lost faith in humanity. Then the Biology students came up and asked for Casio Kids' Fot i Hose, and the night was saved. Same recently too, when during Stag and Dagger I made a very fine decision and went to see Ungdomskullen. This band are a ridiculous amount of fun with the best side burns since Elvis in his heyday. Theirs is a blend of melodic math rock with a confidence that oozes from every riff and a stage presence that would put other bands to shame. Oh, and their album is called Bisexual.

we didn't know whether to swoon or bang in to each other in the studio. Ellie's voice is stunning and soft, you could listen to it all weekend. She's done a Frankmusik collaboration and her Bon Iver cover of The Wolves is showstopping. Reminds me of First Aid Kit doing Fleet Foxes' Tiger Mountain Peasant Song. Her collaborations and in-studio experiments with Starsmith show even more promise, but her piece de resistance is Starry Eyed. A song so beautiful and haunting, it's the perfect place to hear Ellie for the first time.

myspace.com/ungdomskulen

www.myspace.com/elliegoulding

that other indie outfits so desperately lack. Their tunes bounce, they sing in both Welsh and English, they have indie pop songs to make you sway to and fro, and an attitude so refreshing you could end up wanting to marry one of them. They sing about crazy girls on the streets amongst other things, and their new demos ooze punchiness. Exciting times for Yr Ods. The Yr is Welsh for The, in case you were wondering. and the attachment is the edited down on the road... myspace.com/yrods

Huw Stephens presents on BBC Radio 1 at 9pm and midnight on Wednesdays. Catch him at summer festivals, and curating Swn Festival, Cardiff October 23-25. Oh, and he’s on Twitter too: /huwstephens 41


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On The Road

Sky Larkin

The last 12 months have been nothing short of amazing for Sky Larkin. They travelled the world, signed to Wichita and released and amazing debut album. With a string of festival dates in Britain, Belgium and Holland coming up, frontgirl Katie Harkin give us the lowdown. Have you ever tried to kill one of your band mates on tour? Not yet, our tour manager thinks we have the most hilarious band dynamic of any band he's worked with as we are all so different. We're like three little islands that belong to the same nation. Have any of them tried to kill you? Probably, but I was probably asleep. Who has been your favourite band to lark around with on tour? Los Campesinos are certainly our brothers and sisters of the road. Who would you most like to support or have support you in the future? Our friend and sometime Horse The Van co-pilot Mechanical Owl makes wonderful music and now has a live band, so I hope we can take his gang with us sometime soon. Have you ever been in a festival toilet that has been knocked over with you in it? I haven’t, but I do know someone that knocked over an occupied toilet at Reading when he was 15 who shall remain anonymous If you could curate your own festival stage what would it be called, who would you book? It would be called Heckles, I would invite the most hideous bands I could think of to play and shout at them. What is Sky Larkin’s festival survival motto? Our most shouted general tour/festival/ life motto is probably "MAN UP!" What's the difference between Holland and Belgium? The chocolate.

Photography by Liam Henry www.liamhenry.co.uk

You’re hoping from festival to festival this summer. What's the first thing you’ll make sure you pack in your suitcase? Chargers for all the electronic devices I rely on, and books for when they run out. And what's the thing you're bound to forget? Guitar picks, so tiny and seemingly insignificant, yet so essential. How do you travel? In Europe in our trusty steed, Horse The Van (named after Horse The Band). He's an old Royal Mail van that was put out to pasture a few years ago and we gave him sanctuary. What's the biggest tour you've done so far? Probably with Conor Oberst in Europe. We played in a giant place by a lake in Switzerland that was really beautiful, especially the elderly skinny dippers. What do you miss most from home when you're on the road? Good food and girlfriends are the obvious categories, but I do miss time alone to write as I find it really hard to write properly on the road. I can gather ideas but I can’t really reflect on them. Do you enjoy touring? Absolutely, I worked out the other day that we have been to 17 countries this year! We were also able to go to the site of the driving of the Golden Spike in Utah on our US tour, which was really remarkable. I wrote song about being inspired by a place from afar, and being able to actually go there blew my tiny mind. What festival are you particularly looking forward to this summer? We're headlining a tiny festival called Fell Foot Sound right next to Lake Windermere, it looks idyllic and there's lots of ace bands playing, like Copy Haho.

Read Sky Larkin' s exclusive tour diary online at www. krugerlabs.com/blog For full tour dates go to myspace.com/skylarkinskylarkin 43


Kruger Live Listings We love to support live music! Here’s a few of the things we’re involved in over the next 2 months. 11 July

Sleepy Sun + The Keys

12 July

Hawk & A Hacksaw + support

19 July

Latitude Festival

Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

The Gate, Cardiff

Kruger DJs - Lake Stage all day Sunday Southwold, Suffolk

22 Marnie Stern + support July The Croft, Bristol 24 25 26 July

Indietracks Festival Teenage Fanclub, Emmy The Great, Camera Obscura (pictured), Au Revoir Simone and more...

28 Aug South East In East Festival - 3 Sep Brick Lane, London Seven days of musical showcases presented by Off Modern, Too Pure Singles, Kruger, FACT, No Pain in Pop, Holy Roar and Backyard Records at Vibe Bar, Brick Lane. Featuring great new acts plus some super established bands too. On top of the music there will be arts shows presented by exciting young London collectives. Kruger Picks: Super Tennis, My Tiger My Timing, It Hugs Back.

Tickets : Day - £7 from www.seetickets.com More info: www.southeastineast.com

Midland Railway, Derby

28 First Aid Kit, Blue Roses + Kill It Kid July The Lexington, London 29 Sweet Baboo, Cate Le Bon + support July Slaughtered Lamb, London Final Fantasy (Owen Pallett) 2 Aug The Gate, Cardiff Laurel Collective + Kruger DJs 6 Aug Wilmington Arms, London

20 Aug

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros The Cold Sweats + support The Lexington, London

www.threesyllables.com 44

13-20 Sept

Incubate Festival Tilburg, Netherlands

Incubate is an annual celebration of independent culture. Expect a diverse angle on indie culture, including music, contemporary dance, film and visual arts. With more than 200 cutting edge artists in an intimate context performing to an international audience, it should be a hoot! Where else will you see Black metal next to free jazz, eh? Kruger Picks : Soap&Skin, Jonquil (pic).

Tickets : Day - €10 Weekend - €22.50 | Week - €40 More info: www.incubate.org www.electroacousticclub.com

www.rockfeedback.com


Read The Label

50 Bones

A very clever label with one foot in the future and a toe dipped in the past, 50 Bones is a quickly evolving indie that keeps things tangible in a virtual world. With releases so far from the likes of The Rhythm Method, We Have Band and Little Boots, Top cat Alex As our Qs. What’s the first record you ever put out? Knockout, by The Shoes. Each came in a bag with a Polaroid of a musicians shoes. These included Johnny Marr and Get Cape. Diverse we are. What is 50 Bones doing to embrace the digital age? We've hooked up with one of those digital aggregator people who email us every now and then to tell us we've made £40, which is nice. What’s your favourite release so far? To date we've only had 8 releases, all of which are amazing, of course What got you into music in the first place? For us both it was growing up and being immersed in music from an early age. Not because we're the off-spring of Bono or Sting or anything, just a really early passion for music. What will be different about record labels in the future? They'll be more than just a 'record releaser'. Managing, promoting, throwing parties, publishing... these are all areas that 50 Bones are moving into too. What qualifies as a successful release? I could get all gushing that having tracks that we really love and want the world to hear is success enough. But in reality its having an cracking finished product with a great insert. And of course selling all 500 copies of the single really quickly. What’s your next release going to be? Mickey Gang, from Brazil. The b-side is called 'With Love, Prince', so the insert is 500 Valentines cards, each signed by a different musician or famous type. You won't know who you've got until you buy and break the seal on the release.

What would you say to someone that wants to set up a label? Get a really good concept for the look and the direction of the label. Find people that are with you creatively and that will do the accounting for you. What kind of relationship do you have with your bands? Many of them are good as family now. There's a couple who don't fall into this category, only because they're too big to talk to us... Are you going to release albums? We are indeed. Our first one is scheduled before the end of year and is by Cabin Fever. It's going to be on limited 10" only, just for the vinyl purists. Why do you give away a gift with every record? Everyone likes a free gift right? The packaging is definitely an extension of the release and we want to make it as exciting as possible. We've had rosary beads ('Ho Lord'), call-girl cards (The Virgins) and temporary transfers (Little Boots), amongst others. What has got you excited recently? Fireworks. Blur's comeback. Smash Hits' comeback. The Tour De France being on. Booking our next series of club nights in London; It's a 50 Bones Party. What has pissed you right off recently? Other labels ripping off our house style on their releases. Can you finish on an interesting fact? There are no animals that have exactly 50 bones. Or so says an extensive look on google.

Win 50 Bones records! Go to www.krugerlabs.com/competitions 45


The Kruger Singles Club is a free download record label, releasing a free download single on the first Monday of every month. Members of the Singles Club also get access to six months of archive singles to download, with the full archive available to stream at www. krugerlabs.com/singlesclub. It's free to become a member and anyone can join. Go to our website and sign up today.

www.krugerlabs.com/singlesclub

�ownload �ow!

t Ou ! w No

THE NEW WINE

ZWOLF

Erland Oye-approved Bergen residents The New Wine are a band making classy dance music in a quintessentially Norwegian way. Slick disco beats, ultra cool synth riffs and a charming pop sensibility make for a very exciting single.

Zwolf claims to have been "bitten by an Atari at the age of 15," and has been "weaving binary ear weapons out of old typewriters and plumage" ever since. We think he’s lying, but it goes some way to explain his darkly brilliant DFA-esque electronic.

myspace.com/newwinemusic

myspace.com/zwolfzwolfzwolf

Captain Credible 'Golden Spaceships'

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The Mice Girls 'Twitchcraft'

Sweaters 'Sky Mall'

Tin Can Telephone 'Recycling Is Cool'

t Ou r 3 d g Au

Canaries 'Birds Of Prey'

Kruger's download club is like a cannon, firing heavy duty slabs of outrageously great new music every month

It's an amazing free music system from Kruger Magazine. You can always rely on them for good stuff

After two years of uncovering musical treasure, the Kruger Singles Club is yet to fail. 100% free, 100% ace

DiY Label Of The Week!

Bethan Elfyn - Radio 1

Lauren Laverne - 6Music

Jon Hillcock - XFM

Radio 1 Introducing


Pop Will Eat Itself

Slow Club

Where are we? C: We’re in an S&M restaurant with lots of chains, leather… R: And sexy women. And they’re playing Relight My Fire on repeat. Do you like bangers and mash? C: I love bangers and mash! It’d probably be my last meal Which of you is the best cook? R: I’m all right and Charles is all right too. We’re equally all right at cooking. I got taught by an ex-boyfriend how to cook a curry really well so that’s all I ever do. C: I get a bit carried away with the spices. I cooked a broad bean that completely blew my head off. What are your dietary requirements? R: Charles tried to be vegetarian once but he ended up being grumpy. Before you signed to Moshi Moshi what was your average meal? R: Before? We’ve not changed. Now that your albums out what will you be eating? C: I’ve stopped eating so much carrot cake and I’m moving on to granola. R: If we can’t get to an M&S Food then honestly, we both want to kill ourselves. If we have to go to a Road Chef, there’s one delicacy that we both indulge in... C: Ginsters Chicken and Mushroom, followed by a Yorkie, followed by 3 cigarettes. It’s our 3am meal of choice. What can people expect from your debut album? R: Massive, mega fun. Party tunes with some sad songs umm… Why did it take so long to come out? R: We were always on the road. That’s the beauty of being on Moshi Moshi, there was no pressure and no demand. Have you got a favourite song about food. C: Eggs and Gammon, Poor Rhiannon, by John Shuttleworth

Have you written any songs about food? C: Yeah, mashed potato in one of our first songs, Pirates. The lyric went “mashed potato islands, where the trees are made of broccoli.” Where is the best place to eat in Shefield? R: There’s a place called Devonshire Chippy across the road from Bungalows and Bears, which is one of the best bars to go to. I once played a Johnny Cash tribute night there and I got so drunk I got my friend to go over there and get me sausages, chips and gravy which I ate in 0.5 seconds. Then I made him go and get me another and I didn’t give anyone any of it. 2 massive portions in under 15 minutes. It was pretty harrowing. You’ve got an American tour coming up? Have you been before? R: We went to New York and Texas in March. We had a great food experience in Texas. Charles ate salsa for breakfast and went blue. What Ingredients go into a Slow Club song? C: Take a load of sugar and slop it into the frying pan until it’s brown, then you’ve got the basis for Slow Club cake only it’s not a cake, it’s a pie. What is the Recipe for a successful career? C: What was it Chris Akabusi used to say? R: “If you truly believe and conceive you will achieve.” PMA and that. Which 5 people would you invite for dinner and a sing song? C: David Garland; he’s a folk artist and a really interesting guy. And Carl from Wave Machines cos he talks good talk. R: The whole of Hot Club De Paris because they do a wicked cover of the Fresh Prince theme. And My brother cos he does an ace cover of Mysterious Girl. And Jay Beans On Toast, he’s amazing!

Photography by James Perou www.photosimian.co.uk

If it’s true what they say, and you are what you eat, then Sheffield duo Charles and Rebecca from Slow Club compliment each other perfectly, mixing fluffy comfort with gristly truths. Or maybe they just like sausages and mash.

Slow Club's debut album, Yeah So, is out now on Moshi Moshi. Thanks to S&M Cafe. www.sandmcafe.co.uk 47


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Top of the Shops

Diverse Music

What was the first record you ever bought? Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet on cassette in 1987. On vinyl, maybe an Alice In Chains picture disc. How many cool points have I just lost? Where did you buy it from? The picture disc was from Applestump in Cwmbran, sorely missed. It shaped my musical taste during my teens. Give us a brief history of Diverse Music. Formed in 1988, it’s been here on Charles Street about 10 years. The mail order started in the mid-nineties and has gone from strength to strength. Owned by Paul and Mark, and they employ me. Staff turnover is low. What’s your role? I mainly oversee the shop side of things, but I help with mail order too and I’m organising a shop refit at the moment. Does the store specialise in anything specific? Vinyl. Over half the stock in the shop in on LP, new releases, reissues, audiophile, if it’s out on vinyl then we have it or can get it. CD wise, we do a bit of Alt-Country, Indie, Punk, Rock, World and Jazz too. How much of your business comes from online sales? The vinyl mail order accounts for 80% of our total sales. What else to you do to promote the shop? We put on the odd gig under the Diverse banner, Alt-Country gigs under Hot Burrito and Rock and Indie gigs as The Joy Collective. Our myspace lists all our ticket sales and has links to local bands and labels that we like. What events in recent years have had a negative effect on Diverse? Obviously downloading has affected CD sales. Getting people to walk up the hill to Diverse when they can sit in front of their computer is proving ever more difficult.

What events have had a positive effect? The resurgence of vinyl. Our vinyl sales have always been steady but have gone up and up in recent years. The fact that many LPs are now coming with download codes is going to help too. Have your relationships with major labels changed in recent years? I’ve noticed a definite change in attitude of the major distributors since the demise of Zavvi and EUK. Indies were never important to them but the odd sale or return option is cropping up now which would never have happened before. What’s selling well this month? Future Of The Left’s album, Broken Records, Wilco, Leeroy Stagger and The Decemberists. Diverse Records’ latest release, The Cowboy Junkies Trinity Revisited is our best seller on vinyl right now. Strangest request / order? A woman asked me for Rhydian’s album on cassette the other day. Who’s your most famous shopper? Nicky Wire and the GLC pop in but we not exactly swamped with stars. We’ve had Van Morrison, Liam Gallagher and Robert Plant when they’ve been in town and David Tenant bought a few things when they filmed Dr Who in the shop. Why are 90% of people who work in record shops miserable? The miserable people should quit and let other, more appreciative people have a go! Apart from Diverse, what is the best record shop in the UK? Ooh, tough one. Piccadilly in Manchester is good, so too Rounder in Brighton. Obviously our neighbours in Spillers too, they even come to Newport sometimes.

Photography by Matt Hilde www.flickr.com/matthilde

In the first of our brand new series that shines a spotlight on the independent record shops of the UK, Kruger meets Matt Jarrett from Diverse Music in Newport, a cave of vinyl treasures with a thriving online marketplace.

Visit Diverse online at www.diversevinyl.com 49


�nside �tory

That’s Entertainment! Lauded as one of the greatest albums of all time, Gang of Four’s seminal debut was a radical experiment of art, politics and intellectualism, and a triumph of insistent dance floor punk. As the band celebrate 30 years since the release of Entertainment!, Nat Davies joins Andy Gill and John King in the studio as they work on new material, and hears the story behind one of the most influential records ever to come out of Great Britain.

G

reat Britain in 1979 is on a bit of a comedown. After the flash and heat of the first wave of UK punk in 1976 the most proudly underground sub-culture has found itself at the height of mainstream popularity. The early punk puritans have intentionally offended every middle-class right-thinking adult over a certain age in the UK and accidentally spawned the coolest new musical movement since Beatlemania. But for every new fad there are individuals who stand aside and refuse to take part, and to four art students in Leeds, punk was simply another new way to say ‘rock’ and ‘roll’ and there were at least fifty black men doing it better than Sid Vicious anyway.

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Andy Gill, Jon King, Hugo Burnham and Dave Allen, were preparing to record one of the most striking and original debut albums in modern history. Along with Talking Head’s Fear of music and Wire’s Pink Flag, Entertainment! marked a new period of experimentation and intellectualism in British music. Influenced by developments in electronic music, modernist art, theatre and experimental film, situationist philosophy and fine art, Entertainment! transformed lofty ideology into aggressive dance music. “What we were doing was of great importance to us and I thought about it a great deal,” says Andy Gill when I meet him in his basement studio in Clerkenwell. “We had done stuff

together since we were about 17. When we started writing songs in Leeds, some of it was entertaining ourselves. As art students you have a bit of time on your hands and sometimes we’d spend an afternoon just sitting about in one of our bed-sits strumming a guitar. When we started putting the stuff together some songs turned out to be more serious than others. I mean serious in the sense of more ambitious.” Those early bedsit compositions which were “almost sub-Rolling Stones or sub-Velvet Underground” drew from experimental rhythm and blues bands like Dr Feelgood and Muddy Waters because “everything was sharp, they embraced artifice with no attempt at being natural.” While these early musical experiences shaped the sound of Gang of Four, there was always a desire to be original and they wanted to write songs that broke away from both the naturalism of noodling guitar work. “People that come up with music with a genuinely strong identity are very often driven by that thing not being there,” says Andy. I liked Dr Feelgood but at the same time the lyrics were just standard bollocks - rock’n’roll guff - and I loved Muddy Waters but he’s talking about his grinding and his mojo. We couldn’t sing about that. It

would be absolutely absurd.” Equally, while punk bands like The Clash had gone some way to making music that was more political aware and reflective of the huge unemployment and political polarisation of a late 1970s Britain, to Gang of Four’s artistic sensibilities such wholesale adoption of leftist political ideology smelled suspiciously of opportunism and yob-mob conformity. “I didn’t really feel very much in common with them or with the music,” says Andy. “People used to sometimes talk about The Clash and us as if we were somehow linked because we were supposedly left wing but I couldn’t see that myself. You know that painting that Coldplay put on the front of their album, ‘Liberty leading the people’ by Delquar. I always say that they (The Clash) reminded me of that painting. It was all ripped shirts and bravado, one foot on the monitors and a red flag leaning into the crowd. It was a just little twist to their rock and roll persona. Whereas with Gang of Four there was a fundamental and genuine enquiry into our condition and what it was that made us tick. How do we relate to the cultural, economical and ideological forces in society? To what extent we are shaped by those things


and to what extent we are shaped by our own personalities? Those sort of things fascinated us and that’s why it’s different.”

“We’d never been in the studio before and nobody gave us any guidance. It never occurred to the A&R guy to get a decent engineer down there to give us a hand.”

T

hese interconnected ideas of individualism and consumerism shaped their songs into abstract collages of disaffection. Love and relationships are presented in terms of commercial contracts but in a typically contrary turn history, war and culture are treated with suspicion, reduced to anecdotes or obscure references, belittled, distanced and distorted. They were always wary of presenting ideas as a form of reality: “I loved theatre and was very excited by the idea of an actor stepping outside of his role and addressing the audience. That commentary, and that destruction of the make believe and suddenly being real, which is sometimes referred to as being Brechtian, was all very exciting.” As they prepared to go to the studio they began assimilating these ideas into their music. Angular guitar deformed from reggae and ska rhythms became the Gang of Four’s instrument for slicing through the irregular but compelling bass lines, dual vocals and a clean, almost mechanical drum sound pared down by a minimalist attitude to production created right feel for their

slippery, post-modern lyrics. But no one in Gang of Four knew quite how this was going to be captured on a record. “We did it in this studio called The Workhouse on the Old Kent Road and nobody really knew what they were doing,” reflects Andy. “We’d never been in the studio before and nobody gave us any guidance. It never occurred to Chris Briggs, who was a fairly famous A&R guy at the time, to get a decent engineer down there to give us a hand. We just had whoever turned up on the day and had to figure it out for ourselves. “At the time I didn’t understand what a compressor did and how it changes the sound and we were just discovering the notion of reverb. I knew what it was because I had a spring reverb on my amp and I knew you could have more or less reverb, and that it gave you this big cave sound. But the idea of having controllable reverb that you could put on drums or a voice, that was relatively new. “We used an improvised version of a reverb chamber, which was a speaker suspended over the toilet and a microphone pointing into the bowl. That was our reverb. And being us we would sort of argue about how much to use: ‘Oh no! There’s too much of it. 51


You’ve made it too reverby. That’s kind of bourgeois’. There was a constant argument about whether adding reverb was tarting something up that wasn’t real. There was a constant internal dialogue. We very much embraced the artificial providing that it was really clear that it was artificial; So you can imagine the knots we got ourselves tied in. What was artificial and hiding it and what was artificial but embracing its artificiality.” Perhaps the best example of their new approach to making music is the last song on the album, Anthrax. For over a minute guitar feedback screeches over a punchy bass loop. It sounds like he is hacking at the strings and playing sparse, freeform notes in what Andy calls an ‘anti-solo’. While Jon wails in anguish about love being like a brain-eating disease, Andy delivers an off-hand monologue on the idiocy and unoriginality of writing a love song: “Love crops up quite a lot as something to sing about.. It's because these groups think there's something very special about it, either that or else it's because everybody else sings about it and always has… “We‘ve sometimes said that we planned that song out on a piece of paper first. ‘There’s going to be noise and guitar, then one voice comes in

52

over another voice…’ but we definitely didn’t have the whole thing planned out before we started,” says Andy. “On the very first version of Anthrax I think I was mumbling about the recording process and the equipment and stuff. By the time we came to recording Entertainment! a year later, I had decided that it should be about what Jon’s singing and ruminating on why is it that 98.7% of all pop songs are on the love subject.” This was Andy taking the piss out of his mate and, for all their serious ideology and cultural criticism, Gang of Four are essential making music to dance to. “I think there’s quite a lot of humour in early Gang of Four where you do something or say something that’s a bit wacky but you say it with a straight face,” says Andy. “It was slightly outrageous that these four English nobodies would call themselves after these internationally famous Chinese radicals, but we liked the idea that they were cultural revolutionaries. We thought ‘Well, we’re cultural revolutionaries. That’s what we are.’ And we said it with a straight face.”

T

hirty years on and Gang of Four are working on new material and preparing for a series of shows in September to mark

“It was slightly outrageous that these four English nobodies would call themselves after these internationally famous Chinese radicals, but we liked the idea that they were cultural revolutionaries.”

the 30th anniversary of their seminal debut album. With a new line-up original members, Jon King and Andy Gill, plus Thomas McNeice replacing Dave Allen on bass and Mark Heaney on drums - the band are writing and recording new songs for an as-yetunnamed album due for release in January 2010. Sat in Andy’s studio in Clerkenwell he touches a button on the sound desk and the room is shimmering with the pitchy clanging of a guitar severing the rhythms of a drum machine. Jon King’s voice wobbles out of the speaker. It is slower and cloaked in more production but underneath it all beats the furious heart of the Gang of Four. Photography by Lucy Johnston www.lucyjohnston.co.uk


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�ews

Sometimes interesting things happen in the world of popular music. Words: Jen long & Susie Wild

Druids Bless Green Man. No Rain Guarantee! Fed up of muddy UK festival? Then cheer up, because help is here. The annual mud bath that is the Green Man Festival (21-23 August 2009) will be transformed into a tropical sun trap thanks to five Druids who have blessed the festival site in Wales. Rollo Maughfling, Archdruid of Glastonbury and Stonehenge, said: "We performed a genuine Druids' blessing ceremony to celebrate the Spring Equinox, bless the Green Man Festival site, and the Green Man Festival itself in August." Fiona Stewart, Green Man Director said "It's a tradition that we have a site visit at the start of spring and sample the first cider of the season. This time we thought why not go one further and organise some really scorching weather. This blessing will bring guaranteed sunshine to all festivals this summer - it's amazing no-one's ever thought of doing this before." What would Michael Fish say? Leave the wellies at home then. Instead bring sun cream and enjoy the following delightful noise makers: Animal Collective, Jarvis Cocker, Wilco, Bon Iver, Noah and The Whale, Vetiver, Peggy Sue, Cate Le Bon, Richard James, Sweet Baboo, Jonny and the fabulous ones to watch, No Thee No Ess. This year’s folkey dokey event also boasts a new stage: Ethical chill-out café Chai Wallah will host a chilled out stage with “an unrivalled line-up of the very best in emerging dub, hip hop, blues, jazz, world, spoken word and folk music.”

No Plan B The June issue of Plan B was the last. As staff writer Kicking K explained on Drowned in Sound, “Plan B is funded mainly via advertising from indie labels – who are selling less records – and thus…have less to spend on advertising.” Everyone at Kruger would like to wish the staff at Plan B a bright future. It was an often peerless magazine that remained challenging and loyal to its faithful readership right to the end. Shunning sentimentality, the magazine bowed out with Speech Debelle on the cover, and not a self-congratulatory pat on the back in sight. As Phil Hebblethwaite put it so well in his obituary in the latest issue of Stool Pigeon, Plan B was an inspiration to anyone with ideas of publishing a music magazine, and for that, amongst many other reasons, we’ll sorely miss it.

2 million Spotified A good month for Spotify. As we go to press the peer-to-peer music streaming site is about to reach the 2 million UK users mark despite hitches and security glitches earlier this year. It turns out that they should be rubbing their hands with glee. Especially as The Times has reported that the company is looking to be valuated at around £200m, treble what it was worth last autumn. Spotify founder Daniel Ek is quoted in the paper as saying that the business is doubling its revenues monthly: “We are probably in better shape than most other companies in this market.” Quick, befriend their staff members and get them to take you buy you things. Failing that listen to Spotify mixtapes made by friends of Kruger here: www.krugerlabs. com/spotify-playlists/ and be glad that the free Spotify library continues to grow with new songs too, with 1,345 albums and singles added so far this week.

Lovvers Rock It only took three years – Lovvers have a new single, album and tour this August. Following a hectic time touring with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and playing a heap of shows at SXSW, they’ve set about making an album that in their own words is “an unconventional weird pop record”. Put together in Jackpot! Studios (owned by Larry Crane, editor of Tape Op Magazine) in Portland, Oregon OCD GO GO GIRLS is released as a 7” and download through Wichita Recordings on August 3rd while the LP OCD GO GO GO GIRLS (note the extra ‘GO’) follows on August 10th. LOVVERS frontman, Shaun Hencher reckons the UK should champion home grown acts: “With bands like Shitty Limits, Hipshakes and, hopefully, us raising the stakes, surely it's time for people to stop listening to what they're told and make up their own minds.” www.myspace.com/letscommunicate 54


No Beef for McCartney The last surviving Beatle (apart from Ringo), Sir Paul McCartney, has insisted that he is neither upset, nor bitter, that his one time pal and collaborator Michael Jackson decided against leaving him his share of the Fab Four’s back catalogue in his will. Macca felt obliged to comment on his website that at no point did he expect MJ to hand back the rights to the Beatles songs that he bought controversially in 1985, and went as far as insisting that there was no rift between the two big sellers, saying: “Though Michael and I drifted apart over the years, we never really fell out, and I have fond memories of our time together. At times like this, the press do tend to make things up, so occasionally, I feel the need to put the record straight."

SHHHHHHHHHHH! The time for library hush is over as The Clash’s Mick Jones is all set to unleash a guerrilla Rock'n'Roll library of some 10,000 artefacts including stage clothes, plane tickets, and access badges from his personal archive onto the eyes and ears of the public. Based amidst 3000 square foot of former office space under the Westway motorway, Jones’s five week civic project will aim to: “encourage visitors to enrol, interact with the archive-exhibition...Also uniquely by request users will be able to scan certain objects and via memory stick carry them away.” Organisers assure us that there’s no need to shhhhhhhhh! when flicking through the 30 years of memorabilia: “Please note visitors to the world’s first, resolutely alternative, Rock n Roll Public Library shouldn’t expect peace and quiet.” www.theclashblog.com Turn it up to 11, from the 18th July to 23rd August 2009 at 2 Acklam Road, Portobello for free.

The Smaller Chill The Big Chill festival will launch a new bar in Bristol on October 1st. Spearheaded by Dave Smeaton and James Savage, local promoters behind ace pub the Spotted Cow, The Big Chill Bristol will be free entry daily – including New Year and plans to have “highly acclaimed DJs from the Bristol scene and the festival spinning sets in the bar every day.” FREE STUFF: The Big Chill people are offering Bristolians a Special Launch Offer, namely the chance to buy festival tickets from The Spotted Cow with no booking fee (www. www.thespottedcowbristol.com). Those who take up this offer also get a complimentary £30 food and drink tab redeemable at The Big Chill Bristol in October... If you have already bought a festival ticket, pop into the pub with your festival ticket and get the £30 voucher. Nice one. www.bigchill.net/bristol

Taking the Peas Apart from the wonderfully witty line, ‘I’m so 3008, you’re so 2000 and late,” it’s safe to say the majority of new Black Eyed Peas album The E.N.D. is in fact quite 10,000 times lame. That is, unless you’re Adam Freeland, the British producer/DJ who’s suing the charmless pop group for plagiarism. According to Freeland, album track Party All The Time sounds pretty darn similar to his earlier record Mancry. Celeb blogger Perez Hilton wrote, “According to reports, Black Eyed Peas member and producer will.i.am was at an event last year where Freeland performed this song in question." This news comes under a month after Perez pressed charges against the group’s tour manager after an attack outside a nightclub in Toronto, Canada. In a video statement Perez claims he was punched in the face for calling Will.i.am a faggot and their grotesque singer Fergie, ‘fugly’. It’s all so 2009, y’all.

Label in a Jam as Jay Z does one It’s one thing for an artist to be dropped by their money hungry, success thirsty, A ‘n’ Rseholes… But to drop themselves? From their own label? Well, when you’re Jay-Z, you’re not just any artist. After sticking two to the Gallaghers esq. and half of the British Glastonites last summer, Jay-Z has now turned his back on Def Jam out of frustration with the label’s distribution deals. And just to seal the deal, he’s revealed that new album Blueprint 3 will be distributed via Atlantic Records. He admitted feeling underappreciated by the label of which he acted as CEO, being bought out for a reported $5 million in 2004. Speaking to Billboard Magazine, he said: "I’ve sold companies for huge amounts of money. I’m an entrepreneur that’s what I’ve been all my life. I can’t just sit here and make records and not do anything else. I felt underutilised."

Coyote eats Dog Sad news in the Osbourne household. One of Ossie’s dogs, Little Bit, was eaten by a coyote while family watched Michael Jackson’s memorial on telly. Apparently they were so engrossed in the ceremony that they couldn’t hear it screaming for help as the coyote attacked. Kelly Osbourne broke the news to the world on her Twitter account, saying: 'My dad's dog Little Bit was eaten by a coyote last night in L.A. and he is devastated.’ Luckily, Little Bit was one of 18 dogs owned by the Osbournes, so there’s plenty of them left. In fact, if you work out the percentages, that’s only a 5.5% loss, which any farmer will tell you is good stats when dealing with a savage wild beast attack on the heard.

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Album �eviews Jay Reatard/Watch Me Fall/Matador

The brilliant and muchmissed Boobytrap Records once released a compilation called Punk Snot Dead It Just Sux Now, and every time I hear about a new band that are apparently influenced by, or reminiscent of, thisor-that legendary punk band, I get a pang in my stomach – a cynic’s pang if you will – and I’m reminded of that title. More often than not you know what’s coming even before you’ve heard the music; the same predictable, regurgitated shash squeezed out with zero innovation, imagination or conviction. Those responsible are not only wasting everyone’s time, they’re contributing to the death of this planet and would be better off ending it all now to save on the carbon footprint. Listening to new punk bands – and I’m not talking about hardcore / post-hardcore / insertyourown-core groups, I mean bands that consciously attempt to emulate everything about punk in the ‘classic’ sense – is painful. It’s embarrassing. On the other hand, there are those – the chosen few – who can turn the ordinary and the done-todeath and make it sound vital, even original, fresh as the daisiest daisy slathered in a rich Lenor marinade. It’s a rare skill. On Watch Me Fall, Jay Reatard essentially does the same thing that’s been overdone hundreds

of times over by hacks far less talented than himself. But then he’s worked hard, been phenomenally prolific, and is frankly good enough to transcend the Punk Rock 101 rulebook of thrashing power chords and being really very angry indeed, and fashioned some stilts in order to rise above the boggy mire of rotting sewage that represents his peers (and make no mistake, at least 90% of what surrounds the good stuff is a feculent stench which sticks to the hairs in your nostrils and will bring a thick carroty bile to your throat). Jay possess a knack for melody that many of his counterparts lack. This may not sound like much (it is a ridiculous notion to write songs that people will remember, after all), but when your sound is so heavily indebted to the past, a decent hook can make all the difference. His songs are largely simple, even simplistic, but deceptively so and with many choruses that others would sell their corporately branded souls for. Here, the influences seep through, and the production and recording methods seem as much like loving tributes as a lo-fi necessity. It’s an act of passion but equally of calculation, yet in no way does it feel contrived or forced. What else does he have? The inability to compromise, the word ‘integrity’ tattooed inside his eyelids, anything but a mohawk. Clichéd though it is, nothing that will get you respect as an artist can be manufactured, bought or sold. That iTunes commercial will ensure a festival season’s worth of bookings, no doubt, but what else? Nobody’s going to thank you for that one good track on your album in six months time. And Jay Reatard knows this. Workaholic that he is, musician that he is, that sort of shite is incidental. It barely registers. His business is writing and performing, and that is exactly where young Mr. Reatard excels. I swear he makes The Beatles’ output look lethargic. Countless bands, projects, side-projects, and bits-on-the-side compete for Jay’s affection and yet, somehow, he satisfies the needs of

each and them some. Clearly, he was a prolific bigamist in a past life. Previously, Jay Reatard (& Co.) LPs have been released with less pressure – songs recorded as they’re written and released when there are enough for a compilation. Here, Jay’s got the weight of expectation – he’s had a delivery date. What’s immediately clear is that he’s thought about the set as a whole, and the adjustment from writer of twominute punk singles to writer of 12-song magnum opuses is none too shabby. It’s hard to believe that this is only his second solo album proper, although it's still a little bumpy here and there. He’s also mentioned in interviews that the album will be mellower, and true to his word, it is. But then ‘mellower’ than his usual raucous style is hardly twee. Harmonies are the main addition his idea of a concession to the wider market presumably. Sound good, though. Watch Me Fall is in no danger of pushing technical or production boundaries, but what it does do – aside from being yet another fine collection of concentrated garage rock and, on this occasion, classic pop – is reveal further depth to Reatard’s

talents. Beyond the superhuman turnaround of his previous output, it’s clear that Jay could – if he wished – turn his attention to almost any genre of popular music, and do it successfully. On its own merits it’s not quite the best piece of work he’s produced, although it’s certainly among the most consistent. This is an album is that’s not so much a compendium of what’s gone before, but rather an indication of what Jay Reatard will be capable of in the future. And that’s a scary thought. Ioan Morris illustration by Eleanor Stevenson www.eakdesign.com

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�lbum �eviews Bizzy B

Bowerbirds

The Cave Singers

Cougar

Retrospective

Upper Air

Welcome Joy

Patriot

Planet Mu

Dead Oceans

Matador

Counter Records

Jungle has always been the musical equivalent of leprosy. Whilst Jesus devotes many posts to the canonisation of jungle in his blog, fuckyouindiesp unknuggetsi’mjesus.com, its scabbier remainders are only appreciated by the Bangface Hardcrew, myself and my legal advisor, Dr Llewellyn. Bizzy B never received love from the Nazarene, perhaps because Bizzy is more Darwinian, he’s the jungle Attenborough shoots where stone-faced chimps masturbate to camera like some intertextual Orwellian version of Pasolini’s Salo. So, if like the Bonobo, you substitute sex for aggression, B’s retrospective is for you. If not, best do yourself like Adolf and Eva, cos we’re coming for you with our dicks in our hand. Simon Roberts

Upper Air is comprised of ten warmly haunting and harmonious expressions of human nature through the lens of nature itself. The North Carolina duo of Phil Moore and Beth Tacular make music that can technically be described as folk Americana but is perhaps better described as that which makes you feel like you’re laying underneath a willow tree on a windy summer day. On their second album, Bowerbirds show a more personal sidetelling of love, pain, and dreams through the imagery of jagged mountains, desert moons, and howling leaves. Favorites include the duet Beneath Your Tree and the vulnerable sweetness of Crooked Lust. Acoustic rumblings from the great outdoors. Enjoy. Stephanie Price

Halfway along a dusty, carcass-strewn highway - between Archie Bronsonville and Two Gallantstown - lies this forlorn, post-folk haze of shadowy, tender, whisky-tinted psychospheria; the ideal soundtrack for necking sours in a saloon, in a long-forgotten ghost town, as the setting sun licks your scuffed heels. This is more iron than wine; this is as simple as it is dramatic; this is sleeping with your spurs on. If your girlfriend ever runs off with the Sheriff this’ll get you through the tumult. Well - this, a redneck lynch mob, and a Stetson full of peyote. Because cowboys cry too, you know. Ewan Jamieson

Sitting somewhere between the cinematic soundscapes of Mogwai, the fidgety tension of Battles, and the clinical precision of electronic artists like Ben Frost, Cougar’s debut album sounds like the work of a band that have been honing their sound for a long time. Guitars and synths hum and buzz around polyrhythmic drumming, clicks and melodies cascade and repeat. Managing to invoke the dramatic tension of raawk without sounding clichéd, and import the stuttering production of electronica without making a mess of it, Cougar sound like the real deal. Massively recommended. Adam Corner

The Dead Weather

Deastro

Discovery

Forest Fire

Horehound

Moondagger

Discovery

Survival

Third Man Records

Ghostly International

XL

Broken Sound

There are things in this world that are just meant to be: fish and chips, strawberries and cream, Cohen and Death, Coxon and Allbran, Custard Creams and Milky tea, now Mosshart and White are together joined by Fertita and Lawerence. This album is what I have craved since giving up the smokes. Addictive as nicotine, and smokier than a Working Mans club before the ban. It conjures up death, funeral homes, Midwestern blues, sludgy garage psychrock. Mosshart’s vocals and White’s production and ear for rhythm make this a sultry, slutty affair, the kind that leaves your sheets gloriously messy. Matt Bowring

I expect more nihilism from the youth of today. Their rhetoric suggests that the 80s were cool and Deastro’s narratives of Moon-daggers defeating Evil Kings perpetuate the myth of Capitalism. The 80s wasn’t cool, it was cold and the Evil King, or Queen in this case, took the mystical Moon-Dagger and stabbed it up our knife and fork haircut wearing, dole-scum, arses and now your pocket money doesn’t cover your cocaine habit. Just remember what happened to the hippies after Manson, because it’s about to happen again. But the wistful chord progression and the fantasy novel ideology provides hope for Deastro’s hopeless demographic. SR

Some idiot journalist wrote somewhere that Vampire Weekend sounded like Fela Ransome Kuti and this musical méconnaissance led to me comparing VW to recording Art Garfunkel wanking off Chevy Chase as a percussion track for Paul Simon's Graceland. The more I listen to Vampire Weekend, the more I think Art Garfunkel wanking off Chevy Chase as a percussion track could have been Paul Simon’s Magnum Opus. Vampire Weekender Rostam Batmanglij and Ra Ra Riots’ Wes Miles’ Discovery project is being compared by other idiot journalists to T-Pain with production suitable for Destiny’s Child. I don’t see it myself. But the record is awesome. SR

Recorded over eight months between two locations in New York and Portland, Forest Fire's Survival has the feel of an album on the move. It’s unsettled and unsure, jerking from rough and grating strain to soft, curving hums, and then back to echoing percussion, darting off the walls of whichever space they’d chosen to record in. You can almost picture the four of them round one mic, wooden studio walls, a beat up car parked outside. It’s natural, almost earthy, but then an artificial noise interrupts. This is folk that likes to fuck with you, keeping you moving along as it goes. Jen Long

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�lbum �eviews Jay Haze

Julian Plenti

Kong

Lightning Dust

Fabric 47 Julian Plenti is Skyscraper

Snake Magnet

Infinite Light Jagjaguwar

Fabric Records

Matador

Brew

You would struggle to find a more unique figure in the all-too-anodyne world of dance music than Jay Haze (aka FuckPony). His Tuningspork and Contexterior labels are touchstones for loose-limbed tech-funk and razor sharp techno respectively. But his past (spells of homelessness) and future (donating all profits from this album to a Democratic of Congo development charity) mark him out as much more than a musical firebrand. His Fabric mix is all clever contrasts – ghetto soul rubs up against minimal crunch, measured melodies compete with deranged vocal snippets. The high point is an exclusive new track by Michael Ho, and it’s a beautiful thing to behold. AC

The press release accompanying Julian Plenti is Skyscraper is making me cringe. After acquiring Logic Pro, the “possibility of making music with an orchestral palate was an irresistible lure.” Are you kidding? What difference could one piece of… Oh no. Wait. Yeh, that’s pretty brilliant actually. This is one guy? The way the tracks build, the atmosphere, the production techniques; this sounds like it was made by, well, at times Interpol. In all seriousness, this is a great record that sways from classically tinged indie rock to heartfelt, sentimental pop. See what you can do with just a little logic. As you were press HQ.  JL

Every pub sweat-box should have a resident Kong raging away in the corner. Nihilistic, gnarly hardcore sounding like a caged animal scraping its fingernails on a blackboard. Courting the obvious Shellac comparisons, there’s added quirkiness in their goofy animalthemed titles. There’s the appalling yet charming album name, a lead single Blood From a Dove, not to mention the simian band name (I mean, why not name your rock band after a giant gorilla?). Snake Magnet isn’t exactly a seminal moment of genre-defining brilliance. It’s a nose bleed. From Manchester. By a band who play gagged in sellotape. Barnaby Sprague

Magnolia Electric Co. Josephine Secretly Canadian Kruger are on a deadline. The sun is flaming in the sky, the air is close, and the blinds are drawn to minimise screen glare. And from the tinny speakers of my smouldering laptop comes the coolant. Written as a tribute to fallen bassist Evan Farrell, Josephine is a balancing act. Part darkened lyrics and searing guitar, part light strings and warm layers. It never falls too far in either direction. On the surface it’s beautiful, but scratch below and you’ll reveal the depths its intentions reach. It’s as perfect for an outdoor autumn evening as this black summer’s day. JL

Martin Carr

Múm

Ye Gods (and little fishes) Sing Along to Songs You Don’t Know Sonny Boy Records Martin Carr is no stranger to the musical spotlight – as well as being leader and chief songwriter of the Boo Radleys (who gave me my musical introduction to Britpop as a naïve 14 year old - ah, the glory days), he also released a string of records on the fabulous Wichita label. But Ye Gods is Carr’s debut solo effort, a collection of summery, harmonious, melodic, multilayered pop that’s fuzzy, sometimes introspective, always feelgood. I’m sure he doesn’t dwell on the fact that Wake Up! was nearly 15 years ago, and with new material as good as this, you needn’t either. Helia Phoenix

Morr Music Surprisingly prolific and ever, ever so lovely are experimental Icelandic outfit Múm (that’s “Moom”). Despite missing some founder members, the band still sound effortlessly at home in a leftfield pop genre they helped create with Finally We Are No One in 2002. Sing Along… might surprise the scenesters with its candy colours despite Múm’s relative maturity. Funked up with the bonging and clanging of Breastmilk In The Wind and laced with beautiful lyricism – “you’ve dreamt this all before /  it was in another bed, that’s all” – Sing Along marks Múm’s ascension from hippy outsiders to pop starlets. Loverly, loverly stuff. BS

Black Mountain collaborators Amber Webber and Joshua Wells put their golden touch to good use once again on Lightning Dust’s second record. Infinite Light is a luscious and incandescent long player of beautifully arranged masterpieces that will carry you along on its rollercoaster of emotions. Whilst Lightning Dust is very much seen as a side project to Webber and Wells’ day time pursuits, Infinite Light deserves to be treated as more than just that; it’s far too breathtaking a record to be simply cast aside and relegated to the sidelines. Magical melodies for a long summer. Rhian Daly

Oneida Rated O Jagjaguwar Triple album of Brooklyn electro, you say? Sounds like an enticing prospect to these ears. Especially when they hear Rated O is by Brah Records honchos Oneida. As the second part of the Thank Your Parents trilogy, Rated O isn’t solely an electro record, flitting between genres across its three discs, from the heavier synth-rock of Luxury Travel to the perhaps more typical (if there is such a thing) Oneida sound of closing track (and twenty minute long opus) Folk Wisdom. Whilst it may be a bit long, it’s definitely worth sticking with for some eye-opening moments. RD

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�lbum �eviews Rumble Strips

She Keeps Bees

Slow Club

Soulsavers

Welcome to the Walk Alone

Nests

Yeah So

Broken

Island

Names Records

Moshi Moshi

V2

Mark Ronson blah blah blah. Cast aside your preconceptions of records ruined by too much brass and prepare for a string-soaked second album masterpiece (and not in the usual cheesy indie-band-with-strings way) from the Rumble Strips. If you’re not using Welcome to the Walk Alone as aural life support after the first three tracks (the slow and stately title track, free download giveaway London and You’re Not the Only Person - the tale of a house robbery gone wrong - respectively), then you might want to get yourself seen to sharpish. RD

She Keeps Bees are Brooklyn-born Jessica Larrabee and Andy LaPlant, creators of a sound so raw I get the feeling you really need to be watching them live to get the full effect. They are strange in a mystifying Sian Alice Group sort of way; each and every tune proving to be equally as glowering/painfully moody as the last. Incidentally, the album is followed well by 1980s The Smiths. Perhaps not suited to everyday listening, or a sunny drive to the beach, but in a dimly lit basement in Camden, She Keeps Bees might be just the kind of sting you’re after.   Helen Weatherhead

These days the next big thing is here and gone in the blink of an eye, so you’re better off investing your love of music in acts with more endurance potential – like Slow Club. Their kitsch, cutesy brand of twee folk-pop won’t be going out of vogue anytime soon – cos it was never hugely fashionable in the first place. And therein lies their charm. Yeah So is a beautifully carefree, unpretentious album full of choruses begging to be sung along to and lyrics sweeter than a builder’s cuppa. It’s Bright Eyes with a Blighty twist, and if you don’t love it you’re either deaf, mad or both. Betti Hunter

Ambition is key to life’s triumphs. Without ambition there is no soul, nowhere to aim for, nothing to grasp. It seems that with Broken, Soulsavers have ambition in abundance, the guest list is a who’s who or rock crooning; Mark Lanegan, Jason Pierce, Mike Patton and Richard Hawley who all lend their vocal talents to this, the third Soulsavers album. Some might argue that it’s a little too by the numbers, and no matter how many times I listen, it’s very Spiritualised. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The soundscapes are vast, the production is lush, and the vocals on each track are impeccable. MB

Telekinesis

The Wave Pictures

Thieves Like Us

Yacht

Telekinesis!

If You Leave It Alone

Play Music

See Mystery Lights

Morr Music

Moshi Moshi

Shelflife

DFA

Sorry in advance. This review is completely biased. I love Telekinesis. Ever since I saw them live in March, bought their Coast of Carolina EP, and fell head over heels for their own brand of heart-swooning pop. Telekinesis is the work of Michael Benjamin Lerner from Seattle. He plays every instrument on this record. And he plays them well. He even recorded the previous EP that’s included as bonus tracks on this UK release. So that’s sixteen pieces of glorious, intelligent, melting pop. Please buy it so they tour over here and I can fall for them all over again. JL

Fronted by the engaging Dave Tattersall, The Wave Pictures are proving to be quite the fruitful band. This is their second album in as many years and is likely to be rapturously received by the band’s burgeoning fan base. The Wave Pictures' genius lies in their ability to capture the morose details of relationships and everyday life:“I wrote my name on a banana peel, there should always be a meal with my name on it” is just one of the many memorable lines that will jump out at you. The lo-fi – yet quality – production may put some off, but those who persist will discover a gem. Jon Davies

Berlin’s Thieves Like Us popped up on the radar when Drugs In My Body appeared on Kitsune Masion’s fourth compilation. The lite disco track proves to be a great introduction to the band but unfortunately the rest of the album can’t quite compete. Unsurprisingly, given their name, the band borrow heavily from New Order. Album opener Program Of The First Part recalls the Mancunians’ more subdued moments during Technique. Ultimately this might not quite engage on that level, but there certainly are moments worth investigating, and they’re a force to be reckoned with live for sure. JD

Neon Neon took 80s’ cock-rock and cocaine camp as their cultural co-ordinates for an electronic pop masterpiece. Yacht have pulled a similar trick, but mined the energy and sex appeal of a garage stomp and sprinkled disco deviance on top. It’s masterfully produced – every beat drips out of the speakers – and despite being so synthetic it could catch fire, it sounds life-affirming (in the same way that, say, David Bowie and Prince starring in the musical Hair would be life-affirming). It’s just possible that something this accessible will sound tired in a year’s time – but fuck a year’s time, this is recession-busting pop in all its glory in 2009. AC

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�ive �eviews Glastonbury, Worthy Farm, Pilton – 24-28/06/09 Glastonbury has always been appealing to anyone with an interest in music; but there has always been the deterrent of the typical musically disinterested Guardian-reader-type hippies, that flock there just so they can say they camped near the Green Fields, helped paint anti-global warning posters and feel like a ‘free spirit’ in the battle against ‘the man’ before driving back home in their Winnebagos to mortgages and office jobs.

Photograph Rick Pushinsky

They may be annoying in the real world, as are the many other varieties of people you’d normally choose to avoid, but they're always going to be there. So they may not like Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds as much as you do, and they didn’t have to sell their grandma’s false teeth to afford the ticket; but once you’re sleeping under the same sky and using the same revolting Portaloos, all is forgiven. Festivals are always great for bringing people together, but none quite like Glastonbury. This year, the line up was so enormous and so fantastic that you really had to carefully hand pick your own personal lineup for the day from the highlights of the entire lineup, which had a very classic feel this year. Want an example? Status Quo hit the Pyramid Stage, but they were merely a warm up act for Spinal Tap, who are hilarious, as well as good live musicians as it turns out. And for the people at the back, your mum and dad and so on, Jamie Cullem was invited onto the stage to rock his little socks off for a synth solo. This entrance wasn’t as warmly welcomed as Jarvis Cocker’s though; in fact, poor Jamie even got a few boos. Jarvis was up for a quick tune before the sun came out to give everyone that welly-upwards festival tan. Bruce Springstein was another rock hero that everyone seemed to be excited about. There were so many people there to see him, Bruce thought it best to play all his songs to make sure there would definitely be something everyone could sing along to, in a massive set that went on for over two hours. Boss work indeed. Continuing the Rock and Roll theme, to the surprise of many Pete Doherty showed his face. There were rumours of some kind of bender shortly before show time. Regardless of that, he showed up to a massive crowd looking rather sober. He even managed a few covers like Song For Lovers. Tom Jones was good daytime fun, for all the family, unless you were stood where I was - quite 64

close to a teenaged drunkard who reenacted the Full Monty to You Can Leave Your Hat On. Being so high on the hill, this was witnessed by a few thousand people, which I imagine he definitely wasn’t expecting.  The Glastonbury weekend was opened to the news that Michael Jackson was dead. There was suspicion of a few tribute acts, but most seemed to stick to their original set list. Lilly Allen did wear one white glove though which seemed like a nice little mark of respect, and Dizzee devoted a portion of his stage time to mc-ing over a Jacko track. Lady Gaga seemed most likely to do a Michael Jackson cover. She was talked about as a highlight of the whole festival, something which was frankly shocking. The only interesting thing about her act was the way in which she showed that she hadn’t been forced to used the dreaded latrines like everyone else. The real highlights of the weekend were The Specials, Madness and Blur. The Specials were never going to be a disappointment. Great fun, great crowd, great message: F#@k the BNP. Madness were definitely the most fun of the weekend, playing every song you could have wanted them to play, and a few other favourites you’d forgotten about. The whole valley was moving throughout the set as people of all ages were dancing for as far as the eye could see. Blur are one of those bands that - post Britpop - can't sit in a pigeon hole, because of the vast range of genres they cover. This range meant they had to play something from every Blur-era to make sure none of the thousands of people in front of them were disappointed. With the incredible performance and atmosphere, and of course several encores, no one would have left the Pyramid Stage feeling unsatisfied that night. As people sauntered back slowly in the heat on that last night, the air was full of Tender and The Universal floating up to the campsites. Beautiful. Sofi Goodrich


�ive �eviews Thee Oracle, Curly Hair, Pagan Wanderer Lu Shunt, London Bridge 02/07/09 Later, two people stand atop of a table and chair, one with a xylophone, the other a guitar, both barefoot. Curly Hair like to “use the space”, hence the unconventional positions they’ve taken for their final song. Previously from the stage, the duo (who are temporarily without their drummer) endeared themselves to those present, playing sweet twee-pop songs about 11+ exams, living in dirty houses and siblings who can’t say your name right. It’s cute and endearing but not so much that it’ll start to annoy you after the third listen. Back on their new elevated podiums, Curly Hair finish off their set to warm applause before hopping down to let Thee Oracle take their place. As the man behind Brainlove, you’d expect John Rogers aka Thee Oracle to create something as experimental and fresh as the music he puts out on his label and obviously he’s not one to disappoint, as he a fittingly haunting and eerie sound to match Shunt’s ghostly atmosphere. RD

Phtograph: John Rogers

Down damp and dingy corridors, eerily lit by only a handful of floorlevel candles, wafts the sound of music. Beyond an old wooden door on the left, Brainlove Records present a night of unique and exciting acts that make those regularly lauded in the music press look like sheer amateurs. In the small dimly lit room Pagan Wanderer Lu stands on stage with dusty crates and an oldfashioned lampshade behind him and a small group of spectators in front. With the aid of his Mac and various retro looking devices, he treats the audience to a brief set of his innovative and experimental electropop. Songs like Bridge of Sighs, Ten Cities is Not a European Tour and Good Christian, Bad Christian draw more and more people into the space before PWL races back out to the corridor to play the first half of The Memorial Hall on a conveniently placed piano, finishing the song off back on stage and subsequently ending his slot with the ridiculously infectious Tree of Knowledge.

Jamie T

Deerhoof

Let’s Wrestle + Islet

Dutch Uncles

Moho Live, Manchester

Scala, London

Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

The Corner, Manchester

23/06/09

(01/07/09)

01/07/09

03/07/09

London’s Let’s Wrestle and local support Islet have two very different agendas. Islet are a new band, and almost everything they do is an experiment. They try to be everything to everyone, sounding like ten different bands all at once in the process. Somehow, through sheer talent, they can pull it off and as a result are a very exciting prospect. Let’s Wrestle, on the other hand, play straight up indie in the vein of Pavement and Nirvana. And that’s fine; who doesn’t have a soft spot for Pavement or Nirvana? And they’ve got great songs. Pop songs, with hooks and everything. And that’s great. Perhaps Let’s Wrestle are unlikely to change the world but they’ll make a lot of audiences happy along the way. Islet, however, just might go on to reinvent the wheel. Either way nobody is going home disappointed tonight. Si Truss

We wedge ourselves sweatily into The Corner, barely able to lift a drink or throw a shape in anger. It’s not a problem Duncan Paton has, taking full advantage of the space he’s been given at the end of the bar to swing his pants to the sound his band are making. It’s no mean feat either considering Dutch Uncles’ propensity for jerky time signatures and keep-you-guessing rhythm changes, features which add a techie cleverness to the gauche charm of songs like Jetson and Doppelganger. They hurtle breezily through their German release album, throwing in flashes of Talking Heads funk and Japan-like piano motifs along the way, offering a masterclass in 80s-inflected punk pop. Dutch Uncles: they might no, should - be giants. Neil Condron

It wasn’t that long ago that I saw Jamie T in Cardiff, renamed myself Helen T and bagged an oddly angled photo of the pair of us, but since releasing latest single Sticks ‘n’ Stones, the Londoner has pulled in a new, and far more excitable crowd. In Moho Live, the new material ensures anyone who isn’t fanning themselves with flyers, is dancing. They can’t get enough, and neither can I, and whilst spitting out the lyrics to a  metal pillar (it’s either this or the sweaty back of a six-footer), I discover, to my happiness, not only a dog-eared but unused fan on the ledge behind me, but a growing feeling of admiration for Jamie T and his stories of London life. Welcome back good sir. HW

There aren’t many bands that can tempt a crowd of people into a dark sweaty room during a blast of unseasonable London heat. But Deerhoof can certainly make this claim. Their bewitching melodies - fronted by singer Satomi Matsuzaki’s ethereal voice - are enough to distract a packed Scala from the perils of dehydration. Tearing through a set that satisfyingly dips through their back catalogue, Deerhoof display a perplexing level of musicianship in their performance. Guitarists John Dietrich and Ed Rodriguez’s interplay is outstanding without entering the realms of fretwanking, while Matsuzaki commands the crowd, despite being barely visible on stage. It’s not often you’ll see an audience having as much fun as the band, but Deerhoof ’s goofy grins are matched tenfold by the beaming crowd. JD

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�ompetition Win Tickets to Øya Festival 2009! Øya Festival return once again in 2009, bigger and better than ever. This year’s line up includes Arctic Monkeys, Crystal Castles, Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors, Erol Alkan, The Bronx, The Soft Pack, Jay Reatard and First Aid Kit as well as a whole host of ace Norwegian bands. The festival takes place in the Medieval Park in the centre of Oslo on the 11th–15th August 2009, and you could be there thanks to us! Yay! We’ve got a pair of tickets to the festival to give away to one lucky winner. The prize doesn’t include flights or accommodation, but hey, you can’t have

everything. Wise up with the info by heading to www.oyafestivalen.com where you can see the line up in full and find out about the cool things going on at the ace ØyaNight.

To make it easier for you, we’ve started it off for you and given you a couple of the trickier ones.

23.

24.

10. 1.

30.

2. 25. 28. 21.

7.

11.

27.

26.

20.

6. 12. 14.

29.

13. 16.

22. 15.

18. 3.

19.

4.

17. 5.

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Good luck!

All you have to do to win this AMAZING prize is take a look at the picture on the right. As you can see, we’ve drawn around all the shapes in the picture of Sweet Baboo from page 32, and numbered each one. Why? Well because they each represent a letter of the phonetic alphabet of course!

9. 8.

Just fill in the rest and send your answers to compo@krugerlabs.com by midday on July 25th.

A: 20 Alpha (Sony Alpha Camera) B: C: D: 7 Delta (Delta Angle) E: F: G: H: I: J: K: L: M: N: O: P: Q: R: S: T: U: V: W: X: Y: Z: 10 Zulu (Michael Caine in "Zulu")


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Craig Richards / James Lavelle / Terry Francis / Ali B / Jon Marsh / DJ Hype / Tony Humphries / Deadly Avenger / Pure Science Howie B / Tyler Stadius / Grooverider / Hipp- e And Halo / John Peel / Radioactive Man / Plump DJs / Slam / Jacques Lu Cont Doc Martin / Fabio / Swayzak / Bent / The Amalgamation Of Soundz / Bugz In The Attic / Michael Mayer / J Majik / Stacey Pullen / DJ Spinbad / Tyrant / Nitin Sawhney / Eddie Richards / Adam Freeland / Akufen / Aim / Baby Mammoth, Beige & Solid Doctor / Andy C & DJ Hype / Andrew Weatherall / The Freestylers / John Digweed / Joe Ransom / DJ Heather / Meat Katie / Adam Beyer / Scratch Perverts / Ivan Smagghe / Death In Vegas / Rob Da Bank / Diplo / Carl Craig / High Contrast / Global Communication / The Herbaliser / Matthew Dear As Audion / DJ Format / Wiggle / Evil Nine / Tiefschwarz / Cut Copy / Rub-n-Tug / Stanton Warriors / Marco Carola / The Glimmers / Luke Slater / Tayo / Ralph Lawson / Spank Rock / Ellen Allien / Krafty Kuts / Ewan Pearson / Marcus Intalex / Ricardo Villalobos / James Murphy & Pat Mahoney / Steve Bug / Caspa & Rusko M.A.N.D.Y. / Craze / Robert Hood / DJ Yoda / Mark Farina / Noisia / Luciano / Simian Mobile Disco / Âme / Freq Nasty / Metro Area / Switch & Sinden Present Get Familiar / John Tejada / Commix / Omar S – Detroit / A-Trak / Claude VonStroke / LTJ Bukem / Jay Haze Forthcoming: Toddla T, Radio Slave, Filthy Dukes, Magda, Buraka Som Sistema www.fabriclondon.com 68


Kruger Issue 22