LoudAndQuiet Zero pounds / Volume 03 / Issue 17 / 100 percent cosmic
wooden Shjips Captains of new drone rock I AM V
q u ie d an d f lo u o n s o r so 5 yea _o ut t h e LP
plus Caribou Neu! Future Islands Seams Mount Kimbie Athens Polytechnic Woods
Beard you’re fashionable If beards are not cool (and they’re not), this issue of Loud And Quiet is as hip as a Kate Nash comeback album…with a beard. It’s full of face fuzz, from Ripley Johnson’s greying ZZ Top chin funnel to Neu!’s mutual shunning of razors. Brooklyn acid folk gang Woods have a Grizzly Adams thing in their midst; Ethan Kath of Crystal Castles is these days working (?) a Brent-esque goatee. It’s like a Noel Edmunds annual, and that’s not cool. Issue 17 is, however, a testament to how alternative music transcends the state of jaw-lines and what is physically regarded as youthful and exciting. Wooden Shjips, for example, are making the most hypnotic and powerful guitar music around, playing two-hour-long live sets of meandering 60s psychedelia that glue your feet to the floor and oil the 02
stiffest of torsos. It’s only after an hour of listening to them that you realise they might possibly be playing the same two wigouts over and over, by which time you’re too entranced to care. Woods, meanwhile, are writing sunny garage folk that sounds like the best bits of The Shins and Neil Young, while Neu!’s pioneering efforts in krautrock have made countless new records possible, not least The Horrors’ ‘Primary Colours’. And besides, when you’re godfathers of a music genre beards are wholly excusable. Those inside without cheek foliage include ambient electro types Mount Kimbie and Seams, the second artist ever to be awarded the hallowed Loud And Quiet 10/10 for his latest album, Caribou, and Baltimore post-punks Future Islands. It’s enough to have you stroking your chin. www.loudandquiet.com
C o n t e n ts
06 | 10 LOUD AND QUIET ZERO POUNDS / VOLUME 03 / ISSUE 17 / 100 PERCENT COSMIC
WOODEN SHJIPS CAPTAINS OF NEW DRONE ROCK I AM V
PLUS Caribou Neu! Future Islands Seams Mount Kimbie Athens Polytechnic Woods
AND QUIET OF LOUD 5 YEARS LP_OU T SOON THE
Photography by phil sharp
07 .................. . Prisoners / Torment / Gaga 08 .................. . Tina / Says / Rubbish 10 .................. . Soggy / Boy / Sprayed 13 .................. . Free / Pig / Shit 16 .................. . Sucking / Food / Products 18 .................. . Phoney / Pop / Prats 24 .................. .Thousand / LSD / Trips 26 .................. .The / Cameron / Youth 32 .................. . Scooby / Doo / Hippies 36 .................. . Crystal / Petulant / Castles 37 .................. . IOU / Mad / Love 38 .................. . Haunted / By / Genius 40 .................. . Sex / Gone / Wrong 45 .................. . Lee / Ryan / Dead 50 .................. . Robbie’s / Dodgy / Guts 04
firstname.lastname@example.org Loud And Quiet 2 Loveridge Mews Kilburn London NW6 2DP Stuart Stubbs Alex Wilshire Art Director Lee Belcher film editor Dean Driscoll Editor
Bart Pettman, Chris Watkeys, Daniel DylanWray, Danny Canter, DK. Goldstien, Dean Driscoll, Eleanor Dunk, Elinor Jones, Edgar Smith, Frankie Nazardo, Holly Lucas, Janine Bullman, Kate Parkin, Kelda Hole, Gabriel Green, Lisa Wright, Mandy Drake, Martin Cordiner, Matthias Scherer, Mike Burnell Nathan Westley, Owen Richards, Polly Rappaport, Phil Dixon, Phil Sharp, Reef Younis, Sam Little, Sian Rowe, Sam Walton, Simon Leak,Tim Cochrane,Tom Goodwyn,Tom Pinnock This Month L&Q Loves
Merlin Jones, Nathan Beazer, Nita Keeler, Lucy Hurst, Sam Willis The views expressed in Loud And Quiet are those of the respective contributors and do not necessari ly reflect the opini ons of the magazine or its staff. All rights reserved 2010 © Loud And Quiet.
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06 | 10
When videos go bad The return of M.I.A and a controversial promo film that we shouldn’t consider a mindless stunt Wr i t e r : D a n n y C a n t e r
Since my Sky+ subscription expired, leaving me with little more than The Friends Channel, The Friends Channel +1 and a glut of misspelt music stations that feature more texted-in piffle on screen than moving images (channels like FLAVA and Starz TV that give Dan from Kent the platform to broadcast, ‘Bet I’ve got the best car outta everyone here!’ to other Justin Bieber fans), I’ve not watched music videos as much as I once did. In the vacuous non-space of the Internet, music promos are swallowed whole and bullied aside by porn clips and nerds singing about ‘Chocolate Rain’, so getting an MTV fix there isn’t a real option either. For a while I started to believe that bands had stopped making music videos altogether, perhaps from as far back as the Top Of The Pops axing. And then, on April 26th, MIA floated her eventual comeback single ‘Born Free’ and, more importantly, its accompanying mini film, which in nine brutal minutes does for the golden age of attention-throughcontroversy what ‘Thriller’ did for Hollywood/pop music relations in 1982. For those yet to see ‘Born Free’, it’s still tossing up a host of opinions at www.miauk.
com. Directed by Romain Gavras – the man that gave us the stylistically similar and forceful video for Justice’s ‘Stress’ – it depicts, with zero uncertainty, US troops storming a desolate, urban landscape, kicking in tower-block doors and beating anyone not already being beaten. Before long it’s clear that the prizes of the siege – whom have been bundled into a prisoners’ bus – are all redheads. They’re then marched into the desert and forced to run across a minefield, hunted by their gun‘n’stick-wielding captors, in what appears to be the most needless, frightening and ultimately fatal war torture game ever imagined. Like so many examples of masterfully executed filmmaking, it’s completely harrowing. The track itself, despite being MIA’s first in three years, could only ever play second fiddle to such bold scenes and as the film’s own dialogue kicks the single further into the wings, it’s made practically forgettable. And perhaps it’s this fact that’s horrified some more than the video itself. Jaded by the sight of Lady Gaga using her wang to dial as she calls Beyonce, it’s little wonder that after watching ‘Born Free’ and having a moment of
silence many might consider it a cheap (or not so cheap, considering its movie stylings) trick – a get-banned-to-getknown stunt. Sure enough, the video was almost instantly deleted by Youtube, “MIA’s new video is dark” was re-Tweeted almost as much as “Cameron is a snake” on its release date and we’re still talking about it now. But for that to be your final thought on the matter would probably be missing the point and importance of the film – a promo, lest we not forget, for a politically vocal artist whom we’d surely like to hope is above such charlatan antics. It’s important to point out that throughout the video there are only two moments of blatant, gruesome violence, both of which could easily be removed without affecting the overall, heartstopping effect of the film. What ‘Born Free’ trades on is something far more real than the pantomime blood and guts that the gore-dependant videos of Marylin Manson et al. implement so theatrically. It reminds us of the horror of war, genocide and, ultimately, man. It’s a film to wince at because we’re fully aware that such inexcusable torment has gone on and, quite unbelievably, continues to go on around the world. And that’s far
more shocking than Samantha Morton stuffing a rotten squid up her dress for The Horrors’ ‘Sheena Is A Parasite’ video. None of us felt the sinking feeling of guilt when we first saw that. Ian Hamrick, the 12-year-old star of the video told celebrity trash site TMZ, “I think [MIA] was trying to show violence to end violence,” which is pretty astute for a boy not yet a teenager. It makes you wonder why we didn’t think of that, before you remember Lady Gaga and her phone again. But as for the song being low in the mix and lower in our consciousness as we watch this suggestive film, maybe that was a sacrifice that MIA was willing to make to get her views heard. And maybe that’s all ‘Born Free’ really is – MIA using the attention that her comeback was bound to generate to shine a light on something she cares about. As speculative as that is (much like saying, ‘Bet I’ve got the best car outta everyone here!’ is quite the random guess), ‘Born Free’ is such a potent and poignant film that perhaps we should be willing to give MIA the benefit of the doubt and simply be happy that music videos can still cause such a stir.
By Janine & Lee Bullman
Falling and Laughing: The Restoration of Edwyn Collins.
I AM V
5 years of Loud And Quiet magazine What the (wo)man on the street makes of our first compilation LP
As proud as we are of our first LP release (the commemorative ‘I AM V…’ compilation that celebrates half a decade of Loud And Quiet), to review it ourselves just wouldn’t be on. Nevertheless, we’re going to anyway, but in the interest of fairness we’ve got a second opinion from someone equally as trustworthy as ourselves – my own mother, Tina Covington: a 55-year-old connoisseur of The Beatles, George Michael, Wet Wet Wet (all mums like Wet Wet Wet, aye?) and, most recently, Michael Bublé. There are ten exclusive-torare tracks that make up our limited 12” (out June 1st), all from bands we’ve most enjoyed interviewing over the years, and while we were sure they were, it turns out that they’re not for everyone. A1 – Do The Right Thing Metronomy
W r i t e r : s t u a r t s t u bb s
We say: Previously released on the ‘Made For Love’ EP, this is less an off-cut from the brilliant ‘Nights Out’ LP, and more a perfectly forlorn stopgap between Metronomy albums. Tina says: “Not bad, nice intro, I like this one. Out of 10, I’ll give this 4. You could play it in the background but I wouldn’t listen to it. If you were having your dinner it’d be quite soothing.”
A3 – Pill Program Teeth!!!
B2 – Peaky Caps Gold Panda
We say: Demonic, danceable and featuring a metallic, grinding synth that sounds like HEALTH doing J-pop techno. Obviously great and previously unreleased. Tina says: “It’s like Lady Gaga – I could imagine her singing this. I do quite like it in a quirky sort of way. I wouldn’t like an album full of it but it’s alright as one song. I’d give it a 5.”
We say: Gold Panda’s first ambient dubstep album is sure to be a highlight of the year. This crackling, downtempo instrumental won’t be on it though. It’s only here. Tina says: “I quite like this. It sounds like something frying in a pan. It’s interesting… maybe not. It’s boring now. Does it do anything else? No. No good. Zero.”
A4 – Warrior The Bitters
B3 – Today The Truth Chapter Sweetheart
We say: Dredge the mire of current garage bands for eternity and you’ll still not find a song more melodic or cleverly cryptic. Tina says: “I’d give this one 5 as well. It’s got a bit of a melody and hopefully her voice will get better over time. It’s got potential.”
We say: Beautifully aggressive, ‘Today The Truth’ proves that a jazz approach to hardcore might be the last original sound in alternative music. Tina says: “Oh my god, no! I don’t like this at all. I don’t mind the music but I don’t like the singing.”
A5 – Lie Lie Lie Comanechi
B4 – Strangling Good Guys Trailer Trash Tracys
We say: If you’re wishing that Yeah Yeah Yeah’s still made songs like ‘Art Star’ you’re not alone, but this could have been straight off of that band’s debut EP. Until now it’s lived on the Japanese version of Comanechi’s ‘Crime of Love’ LP. Tina says: “Horrible discord. Hurts your ears. Zero!”
We say: A song we’ve never obsessed over more, ‘Strangling Good Guys’’s Twin Peaks bass and skyward vocals are too enchanting to not be on here. Tina says: “I like this one. I think I would give it 7/10. It sort of flows along. It reminds me a bit of John Lennon, but I don’t know why.”
A2 – Heat Telepathe
B1 – In Violet (Hidden Cat Remix) HEALTH
We say: If you’ve got ‘Heat’ already you’re one of a handful of people, and probably American. It’s only been released in the US on a super limited Fader 7” before now. Really, its raggaeton thrust should have had it on the band’s debut album. Tina says: “No, don’t like this one. I don’t think she’s got a very nice voice. Too tinny.”
We say: An epic way to start side B, and exclusive to this release. It bobs toward the 7-minute mark morphing from kraut rock into 90s euphoria like only a HEALTH remix can. Tina says: “If this was a CD I’d fast forward it because I think the silence at the beginning is rubbish. I’d think the record player had broken. I’d give it zero.”
B5 – Nineteen [Lost Version] Christmas Island
We say: If anything embodies the spirit of a magazine first made on a home printer, it’s this naive, rattling home demo of a song about being the big one nine. Tina says: “I like this one. This beats the one before so it gets an 8. It’s simple and it’s got a little hook that would get stuck in your head.”
‘I AM V: 5 years of Loud And Quiet magazine’ is strictly limited to 500 copies and released June 1st. It’s available to pre-order now from www.loudandquiet.com.
By Grace Maxwell (Ebury Press) Orange Juice man’s warm tale of
rock’n’roll and redemption --------------------When Edwyn Collins – Orange Juice frontman, vintage guitar obsessive and highly regarded solo artist – fell seriously ill in 2005, the initial diagnosis didn’t look good at all. Falling and Laughing is the story of how Collins, with the unfailing love and support of his partner Grace and teenage son Will, set about overcoming the huge obstacle which circumstance placed before him. The book offers a heartwarming tale of rock’n’roll and redemption, told with more heart than the miles of run-of-themill rock biogs currently clogging up the shelves of your local Waterstones. It’s simply a lovely, warm, intimate book, highly recommended.
The City of Abacus. Volume One: MX-41 By David Allain, VV Brown, Emma Price (www.thecityofabacus.com) A promising first volume of a new, music-tinged graphic novel --------------------The first instalment in a series of graphic novels, The City of Abacus is the result of a collaboration between singer/songwriter VV Brown and filmmaker and illustrator David Allain, with artwork by Emma Price. It’s a dark, futuristic tale of corruption, rebellion and adventure set in the eerie city of Abacus, presided over by the evil ruler Queen Virusos, where music is banned, creative objects have become mysterious relics and the city’s people have their thoughts controlled by the MX-41 brain washing device. Only orphaned heroine Freeda is unsettled by the conformity all around her. Volume One of the series is well drawn and intelligently written – an assured beginning that offers a glimpse of great things to come.
s i n g les & E Ps
01 Washed Out Life of Leisure (Mexican Summer) Out June 14
This time last year Earnest Weatherly Greene was just a 26year-old Georgian who grew up in the middle of an isolated peach orchard. He was making lo-fi rock under the name Lee Weather, but few people cared about that. Then he spent a summer concocting dreamy electronic pop, which those apathetic sorts quickly labelled ‘chillwave’. He’s spent the last ten months or so being sprayed with excited blog juice and hanging out with other hazy hip types like Small Black, so needless to say this UK debut EP is as widely welcome as Greene was at this year’s SXSW, where he promptly made most too soggy to tweet about the sun-dappled, euphoric time they were having. On paper, it should be right
up our street. The reason it isn’t is because ‘Life of Leisure’, while perfectly nice, down-tempo easy listening, simply isn’t worth the hype. Where people seem to have gotten carried away is by believing the false power of Washed Out when listening to him as the sun sets and the BBQ sizzles. That would certainly make for a gently giddy experience - euphoric even if you throw in a beer and a day off - but on its own musical merits, ‘Life of Leisure’ is pretty forgettable stuff, much like Whitest Boy Alive. Bear in mind, though, that these are Greene’s oldest tracks, released in the states in Autumn ‘09. New track ‘Belong’ is a vast improvement.
Standing Stone Demos
Going Away Party
Gold Panda You
(Sleep All Day) Out May 17 -----
(Re:Peater) Available exclusively at live shows -----
(Chess Club) Out May 17 -----
(Notown) Out now -----
London four-piece Colours are openly obsessed with American trash culture, from the burgers they live on to the motels they hit on a pilgrimage across the Land of The Free some years back. It’s perhaps not surprising then that they sound something like No Age collaborating with Sonic Youth to sound-track a teenage road movie. ‘Desert Dessert’ is their debut release that hangs onto the back of one massive statichappy chord and Yankee, detached vocals. Sure, you’ve heard bands like this before, but that takes nothing away from naive sonic rush here, or the melancholic ‘Losers’ found on the B-side.
To get your hands on ‘Standing Stone Demos’ you’re going to have to go and see Glasgow psychobillies She’s Hit play live, which pretty much means travelling to Scotland if you’re not there already. Regardless of the mileage involved it’d be worth it, as you’d come away with four Cramp-ish, murderously perverse, surfy punk tracks that slither the line of Rocky Horror Show and ‘Strange House’-era Horrors in Lux Interior PVC pants. They grave rob from Pink Floyd’s ‘Lucifer Sam’ one minute and order us to cut off our hands the next. And it’s such a convincing homage to ghoulish punk we might just do it.
Forget the name, 1,2,3 are a band of twos. They’re a duo for a start, from two different cities (L.A. and Pittsburgh), and depending on which side of this 7” you play you either get yawnsome, all-American, acoustic folk or Anglo disco glam. ‘Feeling Holy’ is the former - a lazy, heel-swinging pop track that tries to spoil the giddy mood set by the rather brilliant ‘Going Away Party’. It’s got its work cut out though as the Aside quick-steps with no uncertain amount of funk to falsetto-flirting vocals that sound like Tim Burgess. It’s the sort of pop that we wish Sam Sparro would make.
Gold Panda’s glitch symphonies rightfully landed him on countless Ones To Watch lists at the beginning of this year, but we had to wonder how he was going to match the oriental, continually charming stutter of ‘Quitters Raga’. ‘You’ is as definite an answer as they come. It’s still GP chopping up dubstep beats and cartoonish vocals - even if the scissors aren’t going in as deep this time - and it’s just as playful as anything else the Essex chap has given us so far. But for its heightened simplicity (the breaks less dramatic, the pace more contestant) it’s also infinitely more beautiful.
Reviews by D. Canter, S. Little
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he phone of G. Lucas Crane, tape technician of acid folk jammers Woods, rings. “Right on time,” he excitedly says by way of hello. “My neighbours are doing something really weird. One of them appears to be slaughtering a pig in a room the size of a closet. And then in the same room there’s also a flat-screen TV and a guy doing Tai Chi in his underwear while they’re watching Iron Man! I went to get my binoculars to take a closer look at the pig and noticed that the guy slaughtering it is wearing earrings and makeup.” More phone conversations should start like this.
“In the apartment just next to them there’s this nerdy white kid reading Infinite Jest in his living room. He has no idea what’s going on through the wall.” It’s 2pm in Brooklyn where Crane is playing Rear Window, sat atop the roof of his warehouse apartment. The rest of his band – Jeremy Earl [vocals/ guitar], Kevin Morby [bass] and Jarvis Taveniere [everything else] – live a couple of doors down in a similar space they call Rear House: a rehearsal space-come-studio and label HQ for Earl’s Woodsist imprint, much like Minor Threat’s nerve centre, Dischord House.
Crane handles most press matters simply because, “I’m the one who talks,” he says “and if you want a one word answer you’d ask one of the other guys.” The quartet have also known each other long enough for one to speak accurately for all, and besides, Woods hardly give interviews, giving away little when they do. For this reason, Crane’s forthcoming, excitable tone is all the more welcome, brought about, no doubt, by Woods’ current success as much as the baffling sights across the street. In a world of Brooklyn garage bands, Woods are an anomaly; folk where so many others are
surf; rustic and rural in their ‘campfire pop’, as it’s more and more frequently known. They’re fresh water (as new album title ‘At Echo Lake’ suggests), not coastal. In many ways they couldn’t sound less New York, or less urban at least. “I’ve thought about this,” says Crane “just because of the kinda shows we play in New York and stuff, and the bands we consider our friends who sound nothing like us, but I think you need to look no further for an explanation than the very nature of New York State itself. New York City being what it is, it’s world renowned – it’s this cool paradise of the country – but
WOODs They’re a secretive bunch, but Woods’ knack for melodic garage folk is steadily becoming common knowledge Writer: stuar t stubb s
it’s situated in a state that goes all the way to Canada and it’s extremely rural, and full of up-state mystery – hillbilly mystery; Appalachia, shit like that. It’s confusing because of the bands we tend to play with.” The bands that Earl releases through Woodists muddies thing even further, wavering from neighbourhood, beachy lo-fi types like Real Estate and Vivian girls to west coast psyche and skateboard garage from Moon Duo, Wavves and Thee Oh Seas, none of which help to accurately place Woods on a map of the US. Crane’s explanation that shames our blinkered view of New York is unquestionably valid, though.
There are vast fields of tall grass and babbling waterways outside of the city, and you can hear it in Woods’ new folk, which sounds something like Neil Young fronting The Shins. “We’ll take the Neil Young things,” says Crane, still talking at a hundred miles an hour “because of Jeremy’s unique voice – he, like, sounds his voice in himself, and that’s a big part of what makes the band sounds so strange, his weird-ass voice that he’s figured out at some point. So yeah, I’ll take Neil Young. Love Neil Young, as a creative force and as a musician, just like the weirdass shit that he was doing conceptually with his albums, and all of the awesome song writing. That. Is. Totally. Known!” Crane pauses for a half breath. “I dunno… the Shins thing, that’s just what people say when the vocals sound really nice. I like The Shins but that’s a little further away.” On ‘At Echo Lake’, it’s the delicate, hay-smoking, otherworldly and completely serene ‘Pick Up’ that particularly harbours back porch philosophies similar to those of Young – their ‘Heart of Gold’, if you will. But live, and unrestrained by the time restrictions that recordings impose, Woods are far more likely to jam into the barmy night. If anything, they’re more like Young then when at Rear House. “You can come and see us live for something different,” says Crane “where we play for an hour too long.” These never-ending wig-outs have sometimes been under the name Woods Family Creeps,
inspired by the band’s album of the same name and wholly dependent on how they feel when arriving at any given show. They resolutely – and rightly – believe that “music is about freedom”, which is why three of them remain silent and even the affable, chat-a-box Crane has avoided over-explaining ideas and concepts in the past. Ambiguity, in a world of 24hour Twitter feeds and bowel movement updates, is important to Woods. They’re covered in code and cryptic symbols, from Crane’s own ‘Tape Technician’ title (“Well, here we are in 2010 and tapes are an instrument,” he laughs. “No, it’s just how I handle my samples. I make sound collages for Woods, and for me it’s not about digital files, it’s about concrete blocks of sound that you can hit.”) to the recurring eye that finds its way onto every piece of Woods artwork, as well as many of Woodsists other releases. “OH MY GOD!” says Crane. “He’s really cutting that pig apart,” he laughs. “Oh shit, he just cut it completely in half – half of it just fell on the ground… Err, the eye, yeah, it’s personal iconography, man. We all use personal hieroglyphics in our art, in the way the guitar solos are worked out, in the tapes… Yeah, it’s kind of personal, sure. Like, I have a particular problem sometimes where if I go into a very introspective place in my life, or if something dramatic happens to me, I have this recurring, crazy vision of this giant eyeball floating in the sky – when the darkness comes through
me, that’s where it comes from, like this thing, this eyeball that sucks inwards, into the pupil, like a vortex. But that’s just me,” he says cheerily. “An eyeball crops up in other people’s iconography in the band also, so it has resonance with all of us.” When asked to explain the difference between Woods and Woods Family Creeps by Canadian music website exclaim.ca, Crane explained, “On the cover of the album that came out before ‘Songs of Shame’ there are three words: “Woods,” “Family” and “Creeps.” If you want to have an album by Woods Family Creeps that’s self-titled, you can. If you want an album by Woods called ‘Family Creeps’ you can have that too. Sometimes we’ll play a show as Woods Family Creeps if we roll into town and that’s how we’re feelin’.” Such an enigmatic stance could easily point toward music that is pretentious to a fault; for ones so lawless, Woods could be little more than selfindulgent stylists. But they’re not, just like they’re not a typical, 3-minute, US garage band that sings about surfing. They’re ultimately tunesmiths; super cool, Brooklyn tunesmiths, with their own record label and more real hip friends than you’ve got dowdy Twitter followers, sure, but their selfreleased albums and singles are fad-free. Because under the secrecy, the weird-ass tape loops and the NYC headquarters, Woods make a brand of new folk that’s blissfully whimsical, happily nostalgic and, most importantly, classically and simply melodic.
Cari bou The impressive, ever-evolving non-career of Dan Snaith that’s lead to his fifth and best album yet Photographer: leon d i aper Writer: R eef Youn i s
Dan Snaith categorically doesn’t do careers. It’s unlikely you’ll see him defiantly trying to beat the commuter rush, avoiding the dead-eyed stares of suit-clad robots or hopping onto a crowded underground train ripe with the bitter coffee fug that hangs like a brown mist on the breath of any professional the wrong side of 9am. “I don’t think in a careerist way at all,” he states. “I think I’ve been really lucky to do what I do and have it continue, go on tour, and have people interested the music I make. What more could I ask for?” A brief bit of trouble with a legal name wrangle (Manitoba was taken, it seems) has marked the only blip on what’s been a steady, if unspectacular progression from bedroom producer to ambient genius. Having found homes on the likes of Domino and City Slang, Snaith been given the time to create, develop and mature. Now on his fifth full length, it’s a process that’s neatly paid off for the best part of a decade. Still, when we catch up with him post a triumphant in-store at Rough Trade, he’s clearly got a few things to contend with. “Yeah, I’m pretty busy,” he smiles. “The day we leave to go on tour is tomorrow basically so we’re trying to get everything done before we go but the Rough Trade show was fun, actually. I’ve never done any in-stores before, and I’ve just kind of avoided them in some sense, thinking they were going to be weird things to do. It was good though, even if it was kind of trial by fire.” Despite the intimate confines, and for a band who have a dynamic twin drum line-up backdropped to a maze of bugged out visuals, those who squeezed into the shop could have expected a somewhat stripped down version of Caribou. “We didn’t have video projections and lighting stuff. It’s a tiny little stage and we’re just cramming all this shit on to it and all the technical people are staring at us like, ‘what the fuck are you doing?’. It was really the first time we trialled anything out and I’m just amazed, because of it being
the first gig everything usually falls apart. It went surprisingly well.” For anyone exposed to Caribou’s latest offering, ‘Swim’, it should come as little surprise that the live show has been anything but a triumph. The album is layered, intricately condensed, and bears all the hallmarks of the consummate beauty Caribou has made his signature. It transcends and translates, and stands as a record to gush over and revel in, and one its maker is particularly proud of. “All of the things on this record feel the most comprehensively me,” he explains. “It’s got things from all the music I love and have listened to, and have had on albums in the past. It feels like I’ve just let everything in but at the same time there are things that seem new to me. It’s not quite a summation of my previous albums but it’s the most forward-looking record I’ve made.” It’s a bold, personal statement from an artist who’s constantly evolved and re-invented the Caribou dynamic with each release. His fifth studio album (Manitoba releases included), it seems ‘Swim’ was driven by his defiant desire to create a record for himself as much as it was a reflection of that particular time in his life. “I was really, really excited about the record when I finished and I always hope that’s going to translate. I also thought a lot of people were going to dislike it or it would confuse a lot of people, and those who’d heard ‘Andorra’, which is very different, would be like ‘What the hell’s this?!’. “I expected it to alienate people more than it did but at the same time I was really pleased with it and had this defiant attitude and I’m happy people seem to be up for it. I’m in a fortunate position where the expectation is that my albums are going to be different from one to another, which is great for me. If someone released four albums and they all sounded the same, I guess the reaction would be more hostile.” Associated with the likes of Four Tet and Junior Boys, in an
age where links become increasingly tenuous, there’s genuine feeling and a sense of mutual appreciation for the others’ work. And where there’s been a noticeable shift in appreciation for intelligent, ambient electronic on the back of a series of wonderful releases, it seems the spotlight is moving with the good feeling, regardless of whether Snaith et al. are ready for it. “If so, I’m completely oblivious to that,” he says. “In terms of being associated with Kieran, this is the guy who got my music released 10 years ago and who’s also one of my closest friends. And Junior Boys, who are also close friends... they’re totally sensible connections for me. I’ve always felt a kinship with musicians if they’re somehow personally involved in my life. “I think it’s just because we’re doing reasonably, distinct, similar things. Kieran is probably the first person to finish the half-finished track because he lives just down the street, and Jeremy from Junior Boys mixed half of this record. It’s like a community in a sense but it’s just a case of being friends.” “When I first started releasing music, I thought, is it about substance or a media consensus and what determines whether I’m able to keep releasing music? I always fundamentally feel if you make good music, people will be interested in it.” It’s a mantra and definition that not all can sustain, and where sales are paramount, and not all artists are afforded the luxury and comfort of understanding, loving labels, it’s increasingly becoming an ideal that rings truer less on a mass scale. And while the sentiment is undoubtedly a wonderful one, it’s easy to forget that it’s underpinned by a desire and determination to create, evolve and sustain. It’s a lesson Dan constantly takes to heart and explains the indulgent focus of ‘Swim’. “I’ve learned so many different things from making different kinds of music. ‘Andorra’ for me was learning how to arrange and compose, thinking carefully
where the arc of the song was going to lead and to be really precise. I thought of it as a craft more instead of making this big noisy mess. “I feel like this album [Swim] I’ve incorporated...there are kind of moments of meticulous precision where I’ve spent a lot time making sure all the different layers of things interacted in the right way. Then there were also moments where I was content to let things go their own way and just turn things on, hit things on the fly and generate that sense of excitement. It kind of balances the two things for me, that kind of spontaneous performance but also paying attention to every detail.” And it’s that thought and consideration that has contributed to one of the albums of the year. It’s a testament to the fact that, even five albums and a over a decade in, he’s still picking up new tricks, tinkering, tweaking and refusing to cede to anyone’s creative will but his own. “It’s funny for me to think of it like that,” says Snaith. “Every time for me seems like a fresh start because I want to do something different. If I tried to make this record 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have known to have got certain sounds out of my own head or I wouldn’t have approached the songs in the same way or been confident enough to do something different. There’ve been times in the past where I’ve re-appropriated or used bits of context from other types of music but it’s not about paying homage to anything. This time I actively rejected doing that. “Even the music I’m really excited listening to, I don’t want to incorporate any of the elements of that music, I want to push the idea of making my own as far as possible. This is what makes this album personal to me and is perhaps what my previous albums did less successfully.” Not quite stubborn, more modestly single minded, Dan Snaith will never admit to having made Caribou his career. Why would he when the learning curve has been as glorious as this?
Mount Kimbie A curious, grumpy meeting with a duo responsible for the new sound of dubstep Photographer: Edwar d B i shop Writer: i an roebuc k
“It’s finished, I was up all night and I haven’t even been to bed yet,” says Kai Campos, one half of Mount Kimbie, in the oppressive basement that broods beneath the Big Chill bar. Of course he’s talking about the dubsteppers debut album, a highly anticipated collection of songs set to tear apart the step movement and open up new sonic realms in the process. Judging by his malevolent mood, though, you’d have thought he’d been up all night sucking oval shaped food products. “We are totally knackered as well, I had an argument with a cabbie just now and I feel like punching somebody,” continues Kai who seems to have adopted Burial’s anti-interview perspective. His disposition really should be better. In the few short years that Kai and Dominic Maker have been together they’ve set alight dubstep, pushing and pointing in new directions, all the while just doing what comes naturally. “When we first started we were trying to make bangers,” explains Kai. “That didn’t happen though so we sort of progressed from there.” “We couldn’t do that so we just do what we do, it’s our personal response,” continues
Dom, the quieter of the pair. Both friends met at university on the Southbank. “Yeah, we were on the same course but we met in halls,” Dom starts. “It’s not very interesting,” adds Kai. It’s tempting to vocally agree, but for fear of a slap in the chops. The friendship paid dividends though, and soon the two were ripping out tracks that were quite groundbreaking, their educated ears bending and twisting existing dubstep to form a new foundation. It was Hotflush records who first picked up on the early material, back when Mount Kimbie was just Dom playing about at home. “I put something on a dubstep forum about six months before I met Kai and Paul Rose (Hotflush founder) was the only person to get back to me and he asked if I had anything else like this. I said no at the time but when Kai and I clicked Paul was our first port of call.” The speed at which they’ve blown up typifies the industry’s current shape – Pitchfork approved and a few shared bill’s with Joy Orbison, including the Transmediale festival in Berlin, has seen attention turn towards MK, but they seem more concerned
about returning to Europe. “We were in Berlin for 5 days but it just wasn’t enough,” says Kai. “I never got my bearings so we are heading back in July.” Their first EP, ‘Maybes’, struck a chord in all circles, its lo-fi sensibilities clashing with the unique experimental rhythms of hip-hop and dubstep. Bringing the bpm right down, introducing stuttering starts and ambient washes hardly constitutes genre stereotypes but they’re refreshing to hear. The duo are prone to recording in interesting ways, although not prone to talking about it with smiles on their faces. “We don’t do it that often but we recordnatural sounds,” says Kai. “On our EP there is a track called ‘William’ where we went out on the Southbank and recorded percussion elements, say a skateboard or a bike going by,” he says, somewhat reluctantly. How does the process translate on to stage, because you can’t bring your board or bike in. “Well I was thinking it would be nice to get the bike up on stage, in terms of lugging the kit around though it just isn’t happening, it’s enough of a pain in the arse as it is!”
It’d liven them up though, perhaps, the joys of touring not particularly immediate for Dom and Kai. “It’s a lot different recording and playing at home than it is live, but the two end up merging alright. When you practise tracks different ways of recording emerge. We are used to Dom’s garage now and the new live set has happened as we have been writing so we’ve spent an awful lot of time together.” Maybe that’s why Mount Kimbie aren’t jumping for joy having completed the record – they seem to be sitting poles apart and never bounce off each other. With one based in Brighton and the other London, Dom and Kai are used to this way of living, intense one minute, distant the next. “Yeah there isn’t really a pattern to how we work,” says Kai “we are both up and down to Brighton a lot and constantly on the move. We do our own thing, have initial ideas then we’ll send stuff to each other and personally have a look at what we’ve done before sending it back.” Displaced, remote and morose are terms that could easily apply to Mount Kimbie’s music. After today’s meeting they’d suit the men too.
Future Islands The heart-on-your-sleeve Baltimore band who’ve done the improbable and made a listenable, unapologetically emotional record Writer: stuar t stubb s
‘Getting personal’ can have varying results in the world of popular music. Often, an artist’s insistence on ‘telling all’ either ends up smelling like fame-money-and-swanburgers-ain’t-all-they’recracked-up-to-be-y’know? (Robbie Williams/Lily Allen), or has us hugging our knees to the laid bare warbles of Antony & The Johnsons, wishing we’d put on ‘Walking On Sunshine’ to fish us out of despair, not what must be a leaked counselling session tape set to music. A musician saying, “It’s a very personal record,” basically means, “love meeee!” or, “don’t you dare love me, I don’t deserve it.” Occasionally, though, a band vent via their music without being phoney pop-prats or tooearnest-for-comfort. The Smiths did it with wry wit; The Cure in a pantomime parade of eyeliner and backcombing. Baltimore-based Future Islands manage it with choral electronics and the unapologetic growl-come-wail of singer Samuel T. Herring who flirts with self-reflective distress one minute and nostalgic optimism the next. ‘In Evening Air’ is their new album, and one that’s deeply personal and powerful, thanks, in no small part, to Herring’s willingness to read from his diary pages. “I’m really proud that you feel that way,” says the frontman, cheerily. “I like to feel that I take it all out and leave it all out on stage. I take great pride in my words and how they convey a message. This record came from a very hurt place for me, but I can’t imagine singing about something I didn’t feel strongly about, or something I didn’t believe in, and it’s easy for me to perform with a lot of emotion, which I do get criticised for.” Herring often grimaces his way through large sections of Future Islands shows, wearing on his face the pain of tracks like ‘Tin Man’ as he croaks them out like a post-punk Louis
Armstrong. Other times he gently sways and looks to the lighting rig, clutching at air and softly singing. “Seeing us live is the truth,” he says, a fact he considers right of neighbouring post-hardcore friends Double Dagger. “To be honest with you I look at a lot of other writers who inspire me because their words are so simplistic, in speaking about love and loss,” he continues. “When I discovered Daniel Johnston it just blew my mind because I found myself wrapping my own emotions in poetry where he would just come out and say, ‘I love you’, or, ‘You broke my heart’, which I would never say. But to be able to say that is amazing.” Herring, William Cashion [bass] and J. Gerrit Welmers [synthesisers/programming] moved to Baltimore from Greenville, North Carolina, approximately a year ago, shortly after the departure of their drummer. “I was pretty certain that Future Islands was going to split up,” explains Herring “so I decided I was going to move to Baltimore to be around music because I was living in the middle of nowhere and was losing my mind. And then William was like, ‘I’m gonna do that too’. And we eventually got Gerrit to move up, begrudgingly. “Moving here was great for us because it took us out of our comfort zone of being around our good friends and the routine of life. It put us on edge and got something out of us.” Essentially, that something is the band’s second album ‘In Evening Air’ – a post-wave (as they call it) record of fearlessly delivered inner feelings that aches chapters of lost love, heartbreak and homesickness to eventually reveal a resonance of new beginnings. “The opening track [the Arcade Fire-ish ‘Walking Through That Door’] is kind of about that move and about old memories of back home,” says Herring
“especially for me and times in my life I’ve felt I missed out on because I was in a really bad state. Like, I had some really bad problems when I lived in Greenville. That line, I want to be the one to help you find those years that you’ve been talking about… dreaming of the south – to me it takes me back home and reminds me of those old days. “Y’know, it’s important that we, as human beings, I mean, get out and live something else to make ourselves stronger, but, y’know, you’re always stuck in
those ideas of remembering those times when you were 19 or 20. They seem so distant and like the best days of your life. A lot of the album comes from all of those feelings and feelings around the move – leaving our loved ones, going through the loss of love. Like, Gerrit split up with his girlfriend, William was dealing with those feelings of really wanting to go back home, and at the turn of the year when we started writing this album I’d just broken up with a girlfriend, so there is a
combination of those feelings in there.” Herring openly admits that a large majority of the record is about his ex, ‘Vireo’s Eye’ a final goodbye to the lady in question. But it’s not as if his head is on my shoulder. He doesn’t even sound glum as he talks about the past. Perhaps that’s because, as he says, he leaves it all on stage. Future Islands seems to be his therapy, and in turn our gain. On paper, ‘In Evening Air’ should be uncomfortably honest,
but Welmers’ pitch-bending synths and mid-tempo, programmed drums prevent the anguish of Herring and sombre bass of Cashion from being overwhelmingly sad. It’s a dark/ light formula that many try to concoct and few master. If anything, the music of Future Islands is largely danceable and ambiently joyous. Back home Herring used to rap, and is all too happy to discuss underground hip-hop (he’s particularly a fan of early 90s East Coast, anytime
West Coast and the first releases from Anticon) and to recount the days that he’d battle, and occasionally “get stomped on”. “Yeah,” he laughs. “I went to a rival high school basketball game once and I was searching kids out to battle and I found this kid who was supposed to be really good who had his whole crew around him. I was by myself and I started rapping and they all just starting booing me, y’know, just because, and I was a white boy rapping. Then he started spitting writtens at me
and people were chanting along and then they all went crazy. I was like, this is terrible! I was 16 or 17 and it really took the ego out of me. I couldn’t rap for six months, and that’s kinda the power of words, which is amazing.” Today, Herring uses the power of words not to shout down others but to call out to them; to convey the most personal of messages, the overriding one being that emotional, honest pop music, when done right, can be very powerful indeed.
se ams â€œI just wanted to make sounds in my bedroom for people to listen to on their headphones and absorb themselves inâ€? Photographer: owen r i c har ds Writer: R eef you n i s
eally soul-destroying!” It’s about as apt an appraisal of pushing around a glorified shopping trolley, dodging the laser-guided missions of selfimportant customers and loading the items people are often too lazy to pick up themselves can be. The ins and outs of being an online trolley monkey isn’t often an opening gambit you can casually drop into conversation (unless you’re actually working in Tesco, that is) but when you’ve walked through the valley of the aisles of death, you feel a certain kinship with another retail survivor. One time home shopper, current student and increasingly prominent Gold Panda tour mate, James Welch – aka SEAMS – has been making friends, and noises, in all the right places. “The association with Gold Panda has made the difference in terms of approval,” he admits “and touring with him and Dam Mantle has helped me so much. There’s been loads of jamming around, loads of ideas and I love how loose it is. Everything seems as though it could fall apart at any moment but it makes it exciting.” From self-proclaimed bedroom producer to Pitchfork phenomenon (two tracks featured in one week is a phenomenon, right?) it’s marked a growing swathe of appreciation for SEAMS following his ‘Nightcycles’ release. Languid, mellow yet skittish in places, it bears some hallmarks of Four Tet at his incendiary best, but James isn’t about to commit to any definitive style just yet. He couldn’t, it, erm, seems, even if he wanted to. “The Pitchfork thing feels like a stamp of approval. As soon as they went ‘Pitchfork Approved’ a few people started asking if I can do a remix for them and it’s just a bit bizarre because you’re a teenager reading up on stuff, and the next thing your record is on the page next to a Warp release. “I’ve always kind of wanted to make stuff but I was never really sure what I wanted to make. The idea of mixing lots of elements together and transforming those elements into something different always appealed to me. “For a lot of the stuff I’ve made so far, I’ve always had an idea of a technique or an experiment that I want to try, then I‘ll make a big mess and tidy it up into something not so song-based; something that
resembles more of a track. It’s like, ‘can I make a track out of one guitar note?’ It’s that kind of approach and it’s just... fun.” It’s a resoundingly simple ethos, even if the approach is a little haphazard, but James is anything but reserved in his critical analysis of himself and his music. “I definitely wouldn’t ever say I’m a DJ or try and do a DJ set,” he states. “I have no idea about mixing or anything. I haven’t come from that background where I learned to mix then wanted to make my own music. I just wanted to make sounds in my bedroom for people to listen to on their headphones and absorb themselves in.” From the modest intention of cocooning listeners in a world of spatial, headphone meandering, there’s a darker side to SEAMS’ work. With the promise of mixing it up for his next release, it appears James has engaged himself in a battle to nail the definitive SEAMS sound. “I released ‘Nightcycles’ because I figured I wasn’t going to use it for anything but it’s a lot different to the stuff I’m working on now. This stuff is a lot darker, a lot bassier with a bit of techno, a bit of hip hop... and it’s strange, because if I listen to the album, ‘Nightcycles’ and the newer tracks, I still can’t quite hear the thread between them.” It’s a challenge for a man working with experimentation in mind, but it’s a self-made motivation and mentality that reflects the thought and the process that seduced James in the first place. Like any music obsessive, he’s guided by a desire to devour, deconstruct and do it all over again, regardless of how long it takes. “I would like to spend all my time somewhere that isn’t my bedroom mixing songs. I’ve got another stand alone single and an EP written and recorded but I’m in an attic room and it sounds dreadful. I’d just quite like to tuck myself away in a studio and get that done. But I’m back to Uni in September, so I’ve got a bit of a deadline.” As he juggles work, study and a quickly burgeoning place amongst electronica’s elite, you can’t help but feel that despite his introspective analysis, if he’s got it this right first time round, SEAMS’ mean side promises to be something quite special indeed.
On leaving krautrock robo-gods Kraftwerk, Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger formed a band equally as influential in expansive, experimental music. Edgar Smiths spoke to Rother about his frustrating relationship with Dinger, shunning the blues and releasing a new Neu! definitive boxset Michael Rother is Krautrock’s great survivor and, considering that the necessarily freeform approach in that genre has made its history more splintered than almost any other, this is no small achievement. Last year, when Kraftwerk played Bestival, only one founding member was on stage. Can legend Damo Suzuki is permanently on the live circuit, endlessly looking for the future in half-lit rooms, with results that vary from cosmic to appalling. Fuck knows what Amon Düül are doing. Rother, by contrast, is still blowing the minds of ATP crowds with his Cluster collaboration Harmonia and has this year put together a band with Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley and members of Tall Firs and School of Seven Bells. ‘Hallogollo 2010’ is part live project, part Neu! tribute and coincides with the release of a vinyl box set; a fan boy’s wet dream and a consummation of everything Neu! have ever done. It’s a history that’s worth celebrating, not only as a way into understanding their strange, beautiful compositions but also for its part in shaping art, design, alternative pop and electronic music and anything else worth your time. However, it began in a landscape that lacked most of the mesmeric distractions we take for granted. Rother’s talking to me from Hamburg, as the Iceland fiasco has screwed with his journey to Rough Trade East. “Yeah, that crap made all my plans crash. It was disgusting, haha! You know, I had everything packed and in the middle of the night, 4am, I checked the airport and found out that the flight had been cancelled.We have this Neu! twelve-inch specially for record store day, also a Harmonia remix CD and of course I wanted to do some
interviews and meet some friends actually.” As it happens, the friends he wanted to see were our last month’s cover-darlings Fuck Buttons. Once the casual chit-chat’s over, we get down to the more serious matter of growing up under a generation partly complicit in some pretty welldocumented atrocities. “After the disaster of Nazi Germany, the disaster of War and all that shame on German culture, everything was destroyed,” says Rother “and after about 15 years of restoration with a conservative government still trying to cling to authoritarian structures, this virus of change arrived. I was a student at the time and I remember having that feeling of ‘I don’t belong here, the professor up-front, he wants to be a God’. There was a strong desire to change society, for instance I refused the call to military service. It was a tough time, it wasn’t just filling in a postcard, there was a real court ruling.” Having managed to dodge the draft, he found work at a mental hospital, something that would lead to a stint in Kraftwerk. “There was another conscientious objector working there and he was also a guitar player,” remembers Rother. “I don’t even remember his name, I think it was George but I’m not sure, and erm, we were on a demonstration in Dusseldorf. He had this invitation to join a band in the studio to do some film music and he asked me to join him. I didn’t know Kraftwerk at the time, I thought it was a stupid name, Hahaha! but I decided to go along and that’s where I first met Ralf Hütter. I jammed with him and it was a musical revelation, you know, to find out that I wasn’t alone in this approach to harmony and melody. Florian Schneider and Klaus Dinger were also in the studio and everybody I think knew that there was something in the air. Shortly after, Ralf left the band and Florian asked me to join them.” The wild early days of Kraftwerk, misrepresented (according to Rother) by the unbalanced, feedback-deprived TV footage available, was an attempt at self-realisation, independent of 60s pop imports. “It was apparent that we had something in common; an approach to a music that was different from British and American music, that wasn’t based on blues,” says Rother. “It was something based on Central-European traditional forms which, even though I don’t play Bach harmony cycles or anything like that, was deep inside my culture, and blues wasn’t. Of course my mother played Classical piano when I was a small boy at home so I was already, how do you call that, not infected, but I was impregnated maybe? I was a big fan of The Beatles,The Kinks, even Cream and Jimi Hendrix, but of course you had the resentment of the Vietnam War in Germany and that made many people in my crowd critical of America, American culture, American politics and its approach to worldruling, interfering with other nation’s business. German musicians were realising that they had to shake-off this cultural domination from English-speaking countries. Jimi Hendrix was a hero but there was already a Jimi Hendrix and it wasn’t me, so I dropped everything and just went back to one note, one idea.” 1971 was a musical year zero and, having abandoned Florian Schneider’s tensionriddled project, after a failed attempt at
recording a second Kraftwerk album, Rother and Klaus Dinger formed Neu!. “Klaus and I had more in common, that was apparent without even talking.We had this idea of a fast, forward movement so we just decided to start Neu! and to record our album with Conny Plank, which was of course the perfect decision.” He’s audibly nostalgic when quizzed about the first two records: “The excitement in the studio when you’re doing ‘Hallogollo’ for the first time… we were very lucky to take that away from lucky circumstances – yes, I think the drill [that starts the excellent ‘Negativland’] was just from the sound archive, that was just an idea that we needed this disruption, some of the other sounds were field recordings – Klaus rowing in a boat with his girlfriend – but the outcome could’ve been quite different.We had very little time, not much time for dreaming along, we had to make quick decisions and after I think four nights, we had finished.” After creatively idyllic beginnings, the relationship between them took a steady nose-dive until Dinger’s heart stopped in 2008. Rother was the introvert counterpart of his drummer’s entropic mania; the schizophrenia in the band perfectly expressed in the half glacial ambience/half death-throws kraut-punk structuring of their third album, ‘Neu! 75’.Things got particularly bad as the pair attempted a fourth record in the 80s. “We worked on ‘Neu! 86’ for maybe 6 months, then realised that nobody wanted to release it so we agreed to meet at a later stage to pick up the work and both went back to our solo projects.Then the 90s came round and Klaus was getting more difficult every year. He got bitter and just said no to everything.”You can hear the anger and frustration in Rother’s voice, even though it’s blanketed by three decades worth of
exhaustion and pity. “Hsssh, I mean he said this on one of his websites so I’m not being, what is the term, insecure? Insincere? But he was proud of taking more than one thousand LSD trips, which I think that had a very negative effect on his mind. He was on a different planet than I was and nearly everyone else I think in fact. His view of reality was so different from mine that we just couldn’t agree on a Neu! album.” Though the two seemed to have reached an insurmountable creative impasse, the music world was still desperate to get there hands on more Neu! material. “You know that Daniel Miller for several years wanted Neu! on Mute records,” says Rother. “He was one of the first to approach us, he was very eager. Also, other big companies tried to convince us but in the end, everything crashed because of Klaus. “He can’t defend himself so I am cautious about what I say; I’m sure he would have different ideas of what went wrong, but he was wild, he was crazy, and he never… he didn’t care what other people felt, how many problems he created, that was something that never crossed his mind or never seemed to cross his mind, he just focused on what he wanted to achieve and everything else could go to hell. It’s very difficult to cooperate with a guy who doesn’t care. “I guess many factors came together, it was his personality, something that made him a strong artist in the early days, something that impressed me in such a great way, he was such an impressive musician.We had different characters, different qualities but they added up to something that worked. In later years I guess the effect of what he did to his mind and the connection with the psychological aspect of his personality, that really had a very negative effect on Klaus being a social element. I mean, he could charm people, that was so funny. I often speak to people and they tell me ‘Oh, I met
“Klaus was proud of taking more than one thousand LSD trips. He was on a different planet than I was” 24
Klaus and he was charming’ – Yes, I know my Mother even liked him, you know? Hahaha! but she didn’t have to work with him! Problems came up when something went a different way from what Klaus had in mind.You have to have social qualities to be able to distinguish between what you want to achieve and what others want to achieve and then compromise. If your not willing to do that, you should live on an island or work as a solo musician. “The climax of the thing was when he sent me this fax saying, ‘Congratulations, Neu! 4 will be out in Japan tomorrow’. He was hi-jacking Neu! from me because he felt isolated at the time as an artist and he was desperate for cash, also. He had taken our material and messed around with it, made some wrong decisions, made artwork that did not reflect Neu! in the proper way and made an album that nobody wanted to listen to. I think in Mojo it said ‘avoid Neu! 4’, and they were right because it’s a real failure.” Considering the heart attack’s worth of emotional baggage, the box set represents the putting to rest of several ghosts. It includes a Rother-amended version of Neu! 4 (now ‘Neu! 86’), approved by Dinger’s widow, along with Anton Corbijn photos in a book with a Rother write-up, a Neu! T Shirt and Neu! stencil (why not buy a spray-can, introduce your whole postcode to
Kosmische and ruin your bedroom walls?). You might harbour an aversion to ‘deluxe’ editions and pricey box sets full of superfluous crap (A Lemon-shaped USBpen, Stone Roses? Really?), but Rother would be keen to separate his from the herd. “I’m aware that many fans will have to scratch the pennies to get the box but then the record label isn’t making any money, so it’s not that we are shovelling loads of money into our pockets with that, no one’s making any money! Haha! The actual media from which you hear the music is not important really, I love listening to very poor cassette tapes with wonderful music and I think the best idea is to focus on spirit of the music and not so much the means by which you hear it. Of course vinyl has the advantage of size; all visual elements are so much more beautiful than on CD – that was always very disappointing, when people loose interest in the visual aspect of an artist. But I invested so much energy in that picture book because it’s so important, nobody who was getting paid by the hour would do that. It’s not about making money, you have to have money to pay the rent but this is about love, we believe in it and we want to have it beautiful. It’s the final point for Neu! I will keep on working as long as I can but Neu! is Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother and that’s definitely the end.”
Athe ns Polytechnic Anti-fashion punk from south London. No, really! Photographer: k elda ho le Writer: d k go ldstei n
In a vast six-bedroom house in Lewisham, five guys in their early twenties are shuffling around looking for enough mugs for a tea round. As far as students go, they submit to stereotype in their dimly lit, cluttered dwelling with beer cans scattered around the drum kit, amps and wires that are sprawled across the floor. The search is successful for all but one so Tommy Simpson, one of the frontmen of this dual-vocal quintet, resorts to a washed out tin can with a tea towel wrapped around it. Having migrated to London from all corners of the country, the guys eventually met through a political direct action group at university. “Just sticking it to the man,” Simpson smiles. But it was while occupying Deptford Town Hall, part of the grounds of Goldsmiths College, for two days during the Gaza war that they really got to know each other. “Because we had to spend every waking moment together,” Rory Porter, the other singer of the band informs us “we decided we may as well spend every waking moment together drunk; it was an intense bonding experience. And we wrote a chant and that became pretty much our first song.” Everyone laughs at the in-joke and I can’t resist asking what it was. “It was about scholarships for the Palestinian students to the tune of ‘Ooh Aah Just A Little Bit’ by Gina G.” And then they all erupt in laughter again before singing it. Now at just over a year on they’ve accumulated an albums-
worth of lo-fi garage-punk songs about not fitting in, “but not in a bitter way – not fitting in can be as cool and as liberating as much as it can be oppressive and shite,” Porter is quick to assure us before Zak El Tanamli, the bassist, interjects. “I think we try and make them somewhat humorous,” he says “but not in a ‘Vindaloo’ sort of way. ‘I Beat Obesity’ is obvious and ‘Cameron Youth’ is a straight up joke in a lot of ways.” Of course the humour is difficult to pick up on when the vocals are so fast and loud, which seems to be the running theme in all their tracks; of just playing as though their lives depended on speed, accompanied by simple, catchy riffs. “The tagline is, ‘I want you for the Cameron youth’,” Porter continues, regarding the song. “Imagine if one of the young Conservatives tried to pull a girl in a bar using David Cameron’s buzz words that he’s been using on his campaign? And in ‘Other Shoes’ there’s the line, ‘Come on man, I don’t like Bryan Adams’ – it’s quite a whingy song, but if you just catch that bit you’re like, ‘Ooh’. Because I don’t think anyone wants to hear us go on about how hard it is to be white, lower-middle-class and study something you’re really interested in while getting loads of money from the Government, but if you put it in a character maybe you can get away with it,” he jokes and they all join in laughing again. And the jokes don’t stop there because even their name
was born of humour. “Why are we called Athens Polytechnic?” Tanamli asks, as curious as we are. “Because Athens is the centre of classical knowledge and polytechnics were shit, so I thought it was a funny juxtaposition,” Porter enlightens us before Ben Levy, the quiet guitarist speaks up. “Polytechnic is the Greek word for university, so there is an Athens Polytechnic. It’s not a funny juxtaposition at all.” “No, but it is in English. In translation it gains something,” persists Porter. “It just kind of happened, it is a shit name.” But Tanamli disagrees: “I don’t think it’s a shit name because so many people ask what it is. What else are we gonna be called? The Shits?” You wouldn’t know it to listen to their accelerated Damned-ness slash Cramps jives, but Athens Polytechnic are a band who are serious about their Kraftwerk, among other influences such as The Clash, Motown and The Housemartins. “So much Kraftwerk,” Porter ponders “because where Kraftwerk were growing up in a cultureless post-war Germany where everything had been obliterated they could do whatever they wanted, really make themselves.” Which is channelled into AP when they go about making music. “It’s a very organic process,” says Allan Crocker, the drummer who has been slouched in silence in the corner of the sofa up until now. “Someone writes a song and plays it at practice, and then
in two weeks it’s a completely different song,” explains Tanamli. “Because everyone’s so wary of everyone else’s ego,” Porter defends “you can’t ever call it a bit shit, you’ve just gotta make incremental changes. We started jamming them out recently but it’s really frustrating because it’s hours and hours of going, ‘No, that bit. The bit that we played 17 minutes ago. Put that bit after the bit that we just played.’” “The amount of times someone’s said, ‘The pre-chorus, the pre-chorus!’” cries Tanamli in frustration. “I don’t know what you’re on about!” “And the lyrics are influenced by stories and weird witticisms,” Porter carries on “like Waits and The Streets or Jilted John.”
“I’m gonna go out on a limb and say Springsteen,” adds Simpson while Porter keeps talking: “We’re really interested in cultural references that Americans won’t get. Singing songs about BBC4 and how it should not have to close down during the day because some people are unemployed and still want to watch quality programming.” A quick glance at the band’s Myspace page (wearefashionable), compared with a think back to the meaning of the tracks and a mention on their blog about the ‘cool bands’ in London, would suggest that Athens Polytechnic have a collective chip on their shoulder about this whole fitting in business. “Well, we were never very good at it,” Simpson states. “I think ‘we are fashionable’
is just a catchy few words,” adds Crocker. “And it’s a little bit of a taunt at the whole London band scene,” says Porter “where you don’t have to be good, you just have to be fashionable. I don’t think that we should record with the guy from the Test Icicles and then put out a seven on his label, get picked up and write the fucking soundtrack to the summer. I just want every single show we play to be the best show yet and you’ve gotta do whatever is necessary to do that.” “We don’t really know what we’re doing, we just play songs that we think sound cool,” puts in Tanamli before Levy tells us that they rarely engage with anyone else at shows. “Sometimes we just play our set and leave,” he says as Tanamli laughs about the fact that he really doesn’t
know why people like them. “None of us can really play our instruments,” Crocker establishes “so that limits us in what we can do, which means that we have to rely on good songs.” “If people like it I’m really pleased,” Porter joins in. “If people don’t like it we take strength in that, the five of us pulling together for something.” “It’s the Blitz Experience,” Crocker grins. “There is no plan,” Potter concludes. “We don’t wanna make friends or make money.” But then why should people bother listening? “Because we’re giving it our all, all the time,” he answers before Simpson justifies that: “It’s just high octane rock‘n’roll with a bucket full of choruses.”
The Beat goes on Photographer: Ph i l Shar p Writer: Edg ar s m i th
For a band of ‘no San Francisco’s are quite the en psychedelic forc in and create a h of repetition, gr never-ending rh People are making a fuss about LCD Soundsystem at the moment and, as the band are releasing what is (apparently) going to be their last ever record, quite right too. One of the subplots snaking about though, largely absent from previous rounds of James Murphy interviews, is his age. He’s forty. How, runs the overarching media angle, did a man three years off Nick Clegg manage to pull that off? Now, I’m guessing – and this is a deduction made with somewhat sub-CSIlevel beard and grey hairs analysis – that Wooden Shjips, who only started in 2006, are about the same age (more on that in a second).They might sound nothing like Murphy’s punk-funk demigods but they are an alternative guitar band and, if you were to split alternative guitar music of the last decade down the middle (weeding out all that commercialist post-Strokes bollocks as you go), you’d create a broad camp of crossover disco-punk and another of fuzzedout, grunge-indebted garage.While the spirit of what LCD and The Rapture kicked-off has already come to a stale, MOR conclusion, embodied by the mind-numbing likes of Delphic and Hurts, the second wave (think Crystal Stilts, A Grave With No Name, Best Coast), is still riding a creative high and at the top of the crest is our San Franciscan cover-stars. Back to the age thing, quickly. If you’re a music-obsessed metropolite in your midtwenties, think back over all the songs, LPs, live concert DVDs and venues you’ve discovered over the last ten-to-fifteen years.
Now triple all that and you have something approaching the catalogue of musical reference-points and revelations in these guys’ heads. Add to this the kind of perspective gained from living through a few psychedelic revivals, C81 and 6, Acid House, Public Enemy, the rise of dance music, Nu Metal, the return of guitar rock… you get the idea. In a fragmentary, post-post-modern time – one in which we’d like music’s emotional content to be a little more complex and subtle than ‘God Save the Queen’ thank-you-very-much – older, more considered musicians make for better songwriters. McLaren’s dead, Lydon should be, and so is the idea that young people make better rock and roll. I’m hoping to glean some of the Shjips’ wisdom in the tiny strip of backstage smoking area at Bush Hall on Uxbridge Road, a venue known for hosting delicate folksy types and, more recently, bombastic Hoxton-prog kids These New Puritans (who, incidentally, prove that previous point about young musicians). Bush Hall has never witnessed a wall of sound quite so concrete as the one it will hear tonight.The band, passing around Heineken cans, all smoking those organic American Spirit cigarettes favoured by Zen 90s DJs and other MyBody-Is-A-Temple weed smokers, look impossibly relaxed, like they could be at a friend’s BBQ. A dark brown chicken walks around in a coop on the other side of the fence from us, I forget to ask them about it and it goes unexplained.
“Yeah, so with the first version of the band, the idea was to have a bunch of nonmusicians play stuff inspired by bands like, Trad Gras Och Stenar, Amon Düül, Electronic Hole and things like that.” Frontman Eric ‘Ripley’ Johnson is delving back to the time he put this operation together.The importance of his musical identity to the band is evident in the similarity of side project ‘Moon Duo’, which he does with his girlfriend and whose debut album, ‘Escape’, blew Loud And Quiet’s collective mind a couple of months back. Wooden Shjips is his brainchild and so he does pretty much all the talking. Omar (on drums) is the next most vocal, occasionally cutting across Ripley with a slightly divergent angle, keyboardist Nash, the “resident stoner”, says little and classicallytrained bassist Dusty, the most musically attuned member of a very, very tight band, stays almost completely silent.When I ask him what classical instruments he can play, he says “most of them,” with a nervous laugh. “No drums, I don’t play any drums.” And that’s it. The band as it is today came-together in a different manner from the meeting-pissedat-a-Nine Inch Nails-gig kind of story you usually hear. It was conceptualised and orchestrated. “It was an idea I had,” says Ripley “I wasn’t playing in any bands at the time and so I got some people together… Nash was in that band, he played guitar and wasn’t a guitarist.We never played any shows and it
sort of fell apart. It didn’t have any momentum because it takes a lot of energy to put on shows and be in a band and, for non-musicians, it’s not a primary thing in their life.” Ripley’s “primary thing” was working in IT as a Systems Administrator. Nash was a geologist. Luckily, they stumbled upon two friends, Omar and Dusty who were looking for something beyond their respective careers in Pharmaceuticals and Film postproduction and were actually able musicians. Things started working out. “We released a ten-inch [with Sick Thirst] and then a single, self-released.We actually gave away the first ten-inch for free, just paid for it, it cost like twelve-hundred dollars maybe.There was no cover, just a record in a sleeve. So anyway, JW from Holy Mountain contacted us ‘cause he had got a copy of that.” Having put out another single – the excellent ‘Loose Lips’ with Sub Pop – they set-about producing two albums and two “compilations of hard-to-find tracks” within three years for Holy Mountain, a label responsible for releasing the earth-shaking likes of Om and Six Organs of Admittance. Phenomenally prolific, “vinyl oriented” and by its nature self-mythologizing, this process has made Wooden Shjips seem as if they’ve been around for longer than they really have – commentators tend to point out that they sound as if they simultaneously predate and inherit the sound of their influences, folks like The Grateful Dead and Suicide.They’ve
on-musicians’, Wooden Shjips ntrancing, rce,who exist hypnotic world groove and hythmic jams The wooden sh ips at B u s h H a l l S h e p h e r d ’ s B u s h , 2 010
(perhaps deliberately) turned themselves into something of a modern classic and, though they share sonic turf with California’s burgeoning no-fi scene, they have none of the throw-away, ADHD qualities that come part and parcel with that younger generation; Wavves, No Age and the other satellites of LA’s The Smell. “We don’t know any of them, not that particular scene,” says Ripley “but I think, and I don’t want to speak too generally about this sort of thing, but I think some people are going for a spontaneity and amateurishness there, which has a kind of vibrancy to it. Another thing I would say is that a lot of those no-fi sort of bands come from a pop perspective – a lot of times I hear pop songs underneath all the noise.Well, we’re not really about pop at all; we’re more about the repetition and the trance and the drone.We’ll have a song in there somewhere but as little as possible – Heheheh! The song kind of comes second to the feel and the rhythm.” Not in dispute – or at least not until Governor Schwarzenegger implements his plan of sending LA to the moon – is the geographical turf they share with these bands and with fifty-odd years worth of mindbendingly good rock music. Having each come from separate, rural areas of the US, the band settled in America’s most populous sub-national entity in the mid-nineties, specifically in the Bay Area of San Francisco, aka Birthplace of Western Psychedelia.While there’s too much going on in their eyes, and www.loudandquiet.com
in the minute details of their outfit, for them to be a cliché, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who couldn’t guess, first time, what city they lived in. Plaid shirts covering lowkey T-Shirts, loose jeans, hair either long, straggled and paired with a moustache/beard combo (plus small glasses for Dusty) or curling wildly upwards, they look like they sound: freaky and cosmic.Through the limited lens of someone who’s never been to the US, there’s a contradiction between their kraut-ish, improvisational and stoner-rock approach and previous comments they’ve made that separate them from hippy-type jam bands. If you want an example of what they might mean, check-out self-confessed pizza obsessives and disgustingly positive ‘Ham-Jam’ band Still Flyin’, who last year tried their hardest to ruin Secret Garden Party and who might possibly be the Worst Band In The World. Anyway, as it turns out, the whole psychedelia-hippy-Golden State subculture matrix is a little more complicated than it looks in Scooby Doo. “Really?” asks Ripley (he can’t remember any anti-hippy comments). “I don’t mind hippies, though there’s a certain type of hippy that can be very, very annoying. I don’t even know what a hippy is anymore, really.There’s these sort of neohippies in San Francisco, they tend to be like urban, well-to-do, older hippies that can be somewhat annoying but huh - I’m not sure hippies even really exist,” he ponders “other than those people who are sort of yuppified hippies, yeah exactly, driving around in their fancy Volvo Station Wagons with the Greenpeace sticker on it.” “I think in the US, when The Grateful Dead were still touring a lot and they would come to town, it would create this massive scene because all the Dead Heads would come out of the woodwork.Thousands of people who follow them would show up and they were just incredibly annoying when they would follow them…”
“…Congregating,” Omar chips-in disdainfully. “There were good things about them,” counters Ripley “but they would take over a city and a lot of them were just drug addicts, sort of free-loader type people and the jam band scene has kind of grown out of that vacuum. I find it incredibly annoying myself but I mean, once The Dead went away, that sort of mellowed-out a little bit, it’s not so much in your face.” Well, thank God for the death of Jerry Garcia, a tragedy that roughly coincided with Ships’ arrival in the city and which sparked an explosion of creativity. “Yeah, for a long time when we first moved there,” says Omar “there was a lot going on, a lot of independent venues and stores and then a lot of them closed down, partly because of the Internet perhaps, but then recently the pace has been picking up again. San Francisco is associated with that Sixties thing but that was long ago, it’s not a day-to-day thing now.” Back to the present, though, and the “Bay Area Bubble”, as Omar puts it, is still a haven for ideologically left-wing art types, tramps and anyone who’d rather get stoned than get with the program. So, what is it about the place that’s inspired such a huge and consistently brilliant musical output? “California’s a little more like a country, it’s so vast and there’s such a variety of stunning natural environments, the mountains, the desert… so that part of it is really magical,” says Ripley. “San Francisco itself is one of, in fact the most progressive city in the United States, so much so that right wing talk show people who rally against gays and liberals and all that stuff call them ‘Berkley Democrats’ or ‘San Francisco Democrats’. It’s a stigma on the Right to be from San Francisco, it’s almost like being French – Heheh! The city is very progressive, so people are very open, like there are a lot of homeless people because people in San
“We’re not really about pop at all; we’re more about the repetition and the trance and the drone.We’ll have a song in there somewhere but as little as possible” 32
Francisco don’t generally think it should be a crime to be homeless.There’s all sorts of things that go on that are progressive, everything from needle exchanges to foodnot-bombs in the park, healthcare for all employees…” “Domestic partner benefits,” adds Omar. Ripley again: “The gay marriage thing. Whenever someone runs for Mayor, they’re both on the Left, you know, and whichever one’s a little more to the Right, they’re cast as like ‘The Evil Pro-Business One’. Gavin Newsom, who’s the mayor now, that’s how he was cast in his election but then he was the one that tried to legalise gay marriage in San Francisco and that set off this huge movement in the United States. Basically, San Francisco tries to create its own little utopia, which makes it a great place to live. It’s just a different reality and then you go out in to the rest of The States and it’s completely different. None of us grew up there, we all just ended up there. It’s one of those cities where half the people are from somewhere else, people sort of gravitate towards there who grew up and were interested in arts and music. It attracts people who are kind of freaks, you know, you can go there and be comfortable, you can be gay or a freaky artist, you can have crazy hair and you’re not going to get beat up, people aren’t gonna give a shit. Also, it’s not a strivers’ city. People go to New York to ‘make it’, people go to LA to ‘make it’. No one goes to San Francisco to ‘make it’!” they laugh. “They just go there to do their art, do their thing and be freaky.”
“They’ve been to those other places and tried to ‘make it’ and then they’ve given up and come here,” suggests Nash. “Or they’ve been to those places,” says Ripley “and then they don’t like it ‘cause it’s not fast enough, it’s not a big media hub. It’s got a reputation as being kinda mellow and when you go there, because it’s quite an expensive city now, it’s been gentrified and whatever, if people are going to do something, they have to really try and so the things that go on are cool because people are working really hard to make them happen.” “Yeah,” the rest agree.
ffortless though they might seem both on and off stage, they can certainly be counted amongst the progressive crowd, working hard at ‘making stuff happen’. A clue as to the modernity of their braindamaged driving rock, is the difficulty one finds in pinning it down, despite its clear resonances with past rock stalwarts and obscure gems. It does and it doesn’t sound like The Stooges, it does and doesn’t sound like Silver Apples and so on for Mary Chain, Comets on Fire, Neu!, XTRMNTR-era Primal Scream, July, Suicide and endless others, each likeness falling just short of what Wooden Shjips really are.This uniqueness stems from an ingenious bringing-together of wah-riddled psych wig-outs, garage fuzz and punk’s stripped-to-the-bone simplicity, all brought in line with a krautrock-like
when we got the four of us together,” says Nash. “I don’t know how to do fancy things but I know what a cool sound is so if it sounds awesome I’ll just go with it for a while, then next time I won’t remember what I played so there’s a lot of improvisation.” “I listen to a lot of jazz,” adds Ripley “and to me, improvisation can be a very pure way of communicating an emotion because it’s not literal.There’s little to get in the way of the message, and to a degree it requires that the listener meet you half way.” Music that’s intelligent and danceable? Well, with any luck that LCD Soundsystem reference doesn’t seem quite so tenuous now. Here’s hoping that Wooden Shjips turn into the massively influential crossover success they deserve to be; it’ll make the next five years sound a lot better. sense of self-discipline and repetition. “I think in the history of rock music,” offers Ripley by way of explanation “there’s very primitive rock and roll, then the sixties happened and things got a little more exploratory and then I think maybe cocaine ruined everything. People just started showing off and it got into this weird territory where it wasn’t rocking any more and you couldn’t dance to it. Punk kind of brought it back to a straight-on kind of thing but they kept the songs really short and they were against guitar solos, you know. so…” he trails off as if he’s talking about a party he’s been kicked-out of. Fitting in with neither the indulgent fret-wanking guitar crowd nor the three-minute, glue-addled noiseniks, they threw a party of their own. This middle way between oversimplicity and over-indulgence “was a conscious choice from the very beginning, with the very first band,” says Ripley “because when you have musicians who can’t play instruments, you have to play, well, we played one chord songs.The idea of repetition and trance we’re very conscious of, but we’re approaching from a rock perspective because we’re all rock‘n’rollers. It’s very reductive.When you hear some stuff where the drummers just don’t stop, like constantly playing fills and there are all these other things happening… we purposefully got rid of that because in a way we just found it more powerful.” “The Silver Apples comparison is flattering,” says Omar. “I’ve found that playing basic and repetitive rhythms has made me much more present and focused in the moment, much more than when I used to try and play drum fills, which I was never very good at, anyway.” “You know, if people complain about our music,” picks up Ripley “they’re like ‘it’s the same thing over and over again’, but they would never hear an electronic or dance record and say ‘well, the beat just goes on and on’ because that’s the point.Well, I think originally with rock‘n’roll, that was the point, people played rock‘n’roll as dance music and the rhythms are what it’s all about.” This devotion to repetition in the rhythm section might put some punters off, although that’s hard to imagine when the basslines are as breathtaking as on ‘For So Long’ and ‘Fallin’, to name but two. At the show later, combined with between-song field-recordings, treated samples of Steve Reich’s ‘It’s Gonna Rain’ and a confluence of disco ball and projector lights in the right hand corner of the ceiling, it works to it’s usual time-distorting, trance-inducing effect; pasted over with free keyboard and guitar improvisations. “I feel like I never play the same thing live because I only started playing keyboards www.loudandquiet.com
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Crystal Castles Crystal Castles (Polydor) By Stuart Stubbs. In stores May 24
First time around, Crystal Castles managed to fuck off most who dealt with them. Still, armed with ‘Alice Practice’ and that HEALTH remix their petulant paddies were almost justified. They sounded brutal, uncompromising, completely original and just as exciting.Then they released their more-ambient-thanexpected debut album and the feet-stamping and cancelled shows grew increasingly unwarranted. Not wanting to look silly, most of us continued to give them the benefit of the doubt. In terms of recorded material, this second album (also self-titled in characteristically difficult fashion) tells a similar tale to the first, only heard with ears now tired of the glitchthrash model, here still very much in its 1.0 state. Where ‘Alice Practice’ would have been,
‘Fainting Spells’ opens ‘Crystal Castles’, not ranting over video game zaps but wailing in a mess of static and menacing feedback. And yeah, it’s enough of a thumper to grab your attention, just before airy, pop single ‘Celestica’ castrates the Toronto duo by sounding like the kind of ethereal, dreamy house that revisits Club 18-30 each summer. ‘Year Of Silence’ – a near twin of the band’s ‘Crimewave’ remix that speaks gibberish in backward tongues – is genuinely brilliant though, as would ‘Doe Deer’ be if its deranged organ riff (inspired by Metronomy’s ‘You Could Easily Have Me’ and ordered to leave no man, woman or child alive) hadn’t been needlessly recorded on an iPhone and constantly in the red.The result of such a decision, while welcome in its desperation to dirty the more overtly pop elements of this album, means that Alice Glass’ retches and banshee shrieks are almost drowned out by the speaker-blown crackle. ‘Suffocation’ takes ‘Courtship Dating’’s scuffing drums and sets the once sexy beat to
yet more soaring synths and sung, pop lyrics by Alice; ‘Baptism’ is a Frankenstein’s monster of a track, also compiled of elements from the band’s first album, although god knows which track it sounds most like - a majority of them are in contention. And this, unfortunately, is the overriding state of ‘Crystal Castles’ - a second album that impressively lacks progression and winds up sounding like a CDR of the record you’ve had for two years already. If only there were more tracks on here like ‘Empathy’, which takes a simple, hip-hop, 4/4 beat and adds the kind of shimmering synth loop that makes Timberland the King Midas of production that he is. In its current climate it’s a unique glimpse of Crystal Castles’ potential indeed. But what ‘Crystal Castles’ boils down to is 3 definite highlights that, if matched, would have meant that Ethan Kath and Alice Glass could have stropped around for another year, forgiven. With 11 tracks that are largely undecipherable from previous efforts, though, it looks like they might need to learn how to behave themselves.
Album title here please
(Jagjaguwar) By Ian Roebuck. In stores May 17
(Ecstatic Peace) By Gordon Anderson. In stores May 31
(Moshi Moshi) By Reef Younis. In stores June 7
Please Turn Me Into The Snat (Phantasy) By Nathan Westley. In stores June 7
(Fortuna Pop) By Tom Goodwyn. In stores June 14
To make an album inspired by 10cc’s ‘I’m Not In Love’ is a brave move, but to do it enlisting the talent of over 25 musicians from across the United States is cheesefor-dinner-demented. Producer Ryan Olson roped in Solid Gold members Adam Hurlburt and Zack Coulter to do just that and the results are a flawed but strangely fantastic record, brimming with studio invention. Guests range from Andrew Bird’s jazz saxophonist Michael Lewis to Bon Iver ripping out his familiar falsetto and, even better, some Bone Thugs’n’Harmony style R&B. If Gayngs are a musical super family then they’re the Burbs, but this lot would blubber Tom Hanks with their bass guitars. In ten years time ‘Relayted’ will be either consigned to the cellar of dismay or it’ll be the only album worth listening to and for that reason alone we like it.
Michigan/Brooklyn three-piece Awesome Color mine a squally, American garage-psych sound, making like Dinosaur Jr Juniors on a cosmic (school) trip.They do, however, also have some major consistency issues on this, their third album.The ace card is ‘Vision’, a heart-pumping, threeminute blur that leaps out of the speakers, all energetic riffola, nimble bass and indecipherable hollering. Suddenly it’s 1969 and you’re freaking out – in a good way. Quality control slips, however, with ‘Zombie’, which sounds like a mid-tempo Kings Of Leon with a broken microphone, and on ‘IOU’, which repeats a pedestrian riff for 393 seconds.There’s a groove of sorts here but it’s largely too restrained to rock out to, and desperately lacking in voodoo magic.While it’s refreshing to hear unforced, organic music-making, here it’s also a frustrating affair.
“We only write about two feelings: one is the first day of summer when you and all of your friends are standing on the edge of a cliff watching the sun set and being overcome with all of your hopes and dreams at once.The other is when you’re walking alone in the rain and realise you will be alone forever.” It’s perhaps the most eloquent way to sum up The Drums, even if the band wrote it themselves. Perennially bouncing in between the surf spirit of the Beach Boys and 1950s flashbacks to days of quintessential American diners and dances around Wurlitzers, the bands’ unashamedly basic pop origins are given added character with melodious backdrops, dripping harmonies and the anguished laments of lovelorn teens that’s enough to have you eyeing up any classic jukebox enviously. All that hype has nearly been justified.
The opening thirty seconds of this record is enough to clarify that the occasional electro-harp-wielding New Zealand troubadour Connan Mockasin possesses all the armoury required to become an underground cult sensation; he is not your everyday, over-glossed singer-songwriter. As time ticks by and the digitised track counter increases, it becomes more and more apparent that he is not one for penning straightforward three minute psychedelic-flavoured sixties pop songs, nor is he one that immerses himself fully in obscure avant-garde thinking. Instead what he does is place one foot firmly in each sphere, his hands grabbing handfuls of their roots and weaving them into peculiarly pleasant bundles of sound. Unconventional and with a distinctive habit of sounding unique, Connan Mockasin’s music will leave an impression on all who hear it.
It’s always a mistake to think that any act’s name will reflect what they sound like. But in the case of Allo’ Darlin, they couldn’t be any further away from the Zoo Magazine-reading and wolfwhistling their moniker brings to mind.Their self-titled debut in fact has quite a sedate, whimsical feel to it. It’s effortlessly cool, with a kind of Kings Of Convenience, Au Revoir Simone feel to it. Breezy and light, it’s late night listening distilled perfectly, especially lead off single ‘The Polaroid Song’ and the 80s twee-tinged ‘Woody Allen’. They don’t offer anything you could call innovative, but their songs are well crafted and improve on repeated listening.This record will have you playing it lots of times, though you may never be sure why, and released by Fortuna Pop, who gave us The Pains of Being Pure at Heart last year, Allo Darlin could be 2010’s surprise hit.
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti Before Today (4ad) By DK Goldstein. In stores June 7
Ariel ‘Pink’ Rosenberg is back, again, with his twelfth studio album and he’s brought the ghoulish group of Haunted Graffiti with him. Sticking to his freak-folk roots, this Angeleno has recorded and produced (with a little help from Sunny Levine) himself an indie-folk album slathered in retro quirks and funky bass lines. With the amount of synthesized organ there is here it’s like a medley of adverts from the seventies.When the ethereal mixed harmonies of ‘Round and Round’ kick in they could be promoting a new detergent before cutting to the seedy cop show on next, which ‘Beverly Kills’ provides the intro for as sirens blare over a ‘Thriller’-tinted brassy synth and character voiceovers overlap each other. ‘Butt-House Blondies’ provides the glam-rock with swirling guitars and the fuzz whacked up, while ‘Menopause Man’ slows right down, takes a simple walking bass line and Pink’s melancholy vocals growl over the top. It’s a real pic’n’mix that gets the tongue frothing to try all the flavours of ‘Before Today’. www.loudandquiet.com
Al bums 04/10
Here We Go Magic
The Three Kings
(Secretly Canadian) By Chris Watkeys. In stores June 7
(4ad) By Polly Rappaport. In stores June 14
(In The Red) By Stuart Stubbs. In stores May 24
(Warp) By Matthias Scherer. In stores May 31
(Xemu) By D K Goldstein. In stores May 17
There’s been a fair bit of quirkiness emerging from New York City recently, and Here We Go Magic clearly also feel the need to be different, to produce something oblique and unconventional.There are good and bad ways of achieving that aim, though. All shuffling beats and abstract backdrops, opener ‘Hibernation’ is dangerously close to improvised jazz levels of self-indulgence, while the wibbling drivel that is ‘Old World United’ seems almost endless.When the band do forget their preeningly self-conscious otherness, things improve dramatically – ‘Land Of Feeling’ is a wide, reflective soundscape, and a high point of the record.Yet the point of music is surely to engage, reflect or induce in us a range of emotions – and for the most part, like a more irritating Vampire Weekend, ‘Pigeons’ either induces frustration, indifference, or both.
Hard though it may be to believe that summer will ever put in an appearance, it probably will, and seeing as every summer requires a soundtrack nowadays, this trancey burst of Spanish sunshine might just fit the bill. From the start of the record (hopelessly blissed out track ‘Stay Close’) it’s apparent from the effortless blend of ethereal vocals and subtle, building beats that Delorean bounced into this day-glo world leaning more towards the remix side of dance music.The sound is ravey and euphoric, drawing exhilaration from both house music and guitarbased pop – indie-filtered techno, if you will, with an inexhaustible supply of musical momentum feeding increasingly into each track on this, the band’s third album.This is blissful stuff; energised yet laid back, danceable and dozeable. If summer doesn’t hit England, let’s all move to Spain.
What, you might ask, is haunting George? Well, apart from an overwhelming sense of silliness (he also goes by the name Weird George, Skullface George and Graverobber Steven, despite his mum calling him Steve Pallow, or perhaps Little Stevie), ‘American Crow’ suggests the desert recluse is tormented by The Cramps, Leatherface and that flesh-happy bloke from Silence of The Lambs, all of whom he could have quite easily butchered and eaten. George barks a doomy growl to speedy garage blues from the bottom of his bowels. He hacks up his bilious lyrics with demonic flare, shredding like a black metal high priest. And yet his hellishly fuzzy riffs and locomotive-rattling drums tear along with almost a cheery optimism that allows us to make it to the end of ‘American Crow’ not speaking ill of the dead but thanking them for the visit.
Starting a review with a line taken from the press release is normally a cast-iron cringe guarantee. But in the case of the Born Ruffians second album, the bumf accompanying it hits the nail on the head with impressive accuracy. “If their debut was the result of a talented gang of freshmen”, it reads “their follow-up would be the project they left college to finish.” With the 2008 crossover hit ‘Hummingbird’, the Canadians had raised the bar for their future output. ‘Say It’ sounds more workman-like than its predecessor but retains the Talking-Headsinspired jerks and twee guitar lines, and the “I just wanna set the world on fire” hook in ‘Retard Canard’ is as infectious as anything on (the similarly smart) Vampire Weekend’s debut album. Less boisterous but also – crucially – less irritating than their first effort, this isn’t quite a first, but a very good 2:1.
The lads in Dead Meadow must be an optimistic bunch. It takes someone with a pretty positive outlook on the world to think that what the record-buying world craves right now is a live album by a stoner/classic rock band and an accompanying film that is half live material and half sequences about “biblical Bedouins”. But there are also five new songs among the ones recorded at the end of a 2008 tour, and they stand up well. First single ‘That Old Temple’ is a languid, woozy slab of fuzz with some excellent drumming, and ‘Push ‘Em To The Crux’ has some lovely female vocal harmonies floating over the psychedelic rhythm.There is a lot of superfluous wah-wah riffing and, length-wise, it’s pretty testing, but if you like your mystic musings with slow-mo riffs and extra heaviness, this album-come-film is for you.
Perfum Genius Learning (Organs/Turnstile) By Omarrr. In stores June 21
It’s not a cheesy leap to suggest that every track on Perfume Genius’s (aka Seattle-born loner Mike Hadreas) debut has a different scent. Like Jean-Baptiste Grenouille – the protagonist in Suskind’s eighteenth century novel Perfume (about a perfumer who goes around killing women to steal their odours – you should read it) - you get the impression that every note Hadreas tapes is also a ghost laid to rest. It’s haunting, graphic stuff. In the most part he plays a kind of rickety piano that sounds like it’s been unearthed from the potting shed after decades. And it might well have been since Hadreas’s day job is delivering furniture. But where this bruised removals man’s tinkering is mournful and weary, his lyrics are striking and frightening - tackling death and inadvisable sexual exploration (“No-one will answer your prayers/Until you take off that dress,” he mews on opener ‘Learning’). Not an easy listen, sure, but like a gory comic it’s one you’re drawn back to.
Escape From Kraken Castle
(Southern) By Chris Watkeys. In stores May 24
(ATP) By Kate Parkin. In stores May 31
(One Little Indian) By Sam Walton. In stores May 31
(Tiger Trap) By Kate Parkin. In stores June 7
(In The Red) By Reef Younis. In stores May 24
A lot of bands (or more often, bands’ PRs) speak glibly of taking the listener on a ‘musical journey’ (for which, read ‘a few different styles and a bit of weird shit’). ‘Crush Depth’, however, has a justifiable and unpretentious claim to do just that. From the outset, you’re plunged into a nightmarish whirlpool of noise and voices. Like the soundtrack to a vaguely disturbing sci-fi film, the music leaps and lurches, wibbles and rocks, shrieks and slashes.There are extended instrumental passages, flabby and proggy; sharp vocal stabs and sections of brain-shaking sonic chaos. It’s theatrical stuff.While the length is oppressive and almost smothering, at its conclusion, you half expect the band to remove their grotesque musical masks and reveal coyly knowing, laughing faces, but it never happens. Chrome Hoof, it seems, are deadly serious.
It’s as if Woodstock never left, as you stumble out of your tent, bleary-eyed, to the sound of Sleepy Sun. Hendrix ‘Star Spangled…’ style guitar intro and dreamy harmonies mix with a laidback Californian drawl as ‘Marina’ breezes through, joss stick clasped firmly in hand before the band’s torch songs, like ‘Ooh Boy’ and ‘Sandstorm Woman’, provide a welcome break from the tangled mass of noise. And while this is an album that could nestle quite happily next to your dads Pink Floyd collection, Sleepy Sun’s swooping vocals sound refreshingly new.They, and ‘Fever’, are the antithesis of over-produced pop, with more bombastic kick than the wispy mutterings of new folk pals Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes.With lighters held aloft, ‘Wild Machines’’s prog odyssey could prove an epic festival closer. Don’t let this band pass you by.
Dan Sartain is not of the modern world. His press shots have him in a natty blazer/Brylcreem/hornrimmed specs combo, cradling a vintage 50s guitar. His records are pure zombie-rockin’ voodoo retrorama, all twanging bass, surf guitar and rockabilly strut. Needless to say, Jack White digs this groovy cat, and so it is that this LP is co-produced by the White Stripe and frequently drips with the sexy sound of teenage rebellion long past. However, when you work within such a vintage aesthetic, avoiding pastiche and faux-irony is tough, and ‘Lives’ falls foul pretty regularly. Songs like ‘Bohemian Grove’ have an eyebrow arched so high that it feels as if Austin Powers is about to appear with a troupe of pneumatic dancers in cages. It’s a problem that leaves the LP as a whole disconcertingly self-aware and, paradoxically, very modern.
Purveyors of scuzzy synth drenched indie, Applicants dredge influences from colourful surrealist noise rockers Melt-Banana to GameBoy noises and moustachioed African dictators. ‘School Kids In Japan’ explodes in a fluorescent hail of keyboards and erratic bursts of guitars. Like stumbling across your hidden stash of Bis records, ‘Tesco Metro Disco’ is a full-on shot of 90s nostalgia that lives up to its ‘riotous’ tagline while ‘Crash Mat’ smashes into the room like a brawl in a Super Mario game and pitches the band further on a musical collision course. Like Ash when they were still wiryhaired and angry, Applicants know their way around a hook, in their tuneful ditty about the exploits of African Hitler-in-waiting Robert Mugabe particularly. Always tongue in cheek it manages to steer clear of the navel-gazing that blights most indie records.
You might not quite recover from Brad Eberhard’s awkward, gangling vocal or Wounded Lions’ equally haphazard brand of skinned, fuzzy garage pop but you won’t switch off either.Well, not straight away. The Los Angeles band’s debut is as rough around the edges as a halfchewed hobnob but somewhere, battling away, is a Pavement kind of pretty. Dirty, dishevelled and likely to sound the exact same whether they’d played in your front room or a proper venue, ‘Wounded Lion’ is rife with intent, even if it’s grunted, mumbled and absently warbled for the duration of the album.When they do pull it together, though, tracks like ‘Carol Cloud’ and closer ‘Silver People’ hastily and filthily tailspin into their own Marshall dirge and it makes you wonder what took them so long to warm up, moments before to you realised you don’t care. Oddly endearing.
Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster Blood & Fire (Black Records) By Tom Goodwyn. In stores May 31st
Ask anybody who’s even vaguely interested in alternative music about The Eighties Matchbox BLine Disaster (EMBD) and their response will almost certainly be, “Oh them, I liked them, what happened to them?”The answer is a long and torturous one featuring line-up changes, a new record label, substantial amount of drugs and a spell in more conventional employment. Fortunately though, it ends with “They’ve got a new album out!”. ‘Blood And Fire’, is officially their third album, and is a return to the sound of the band’s early, pre-mock goth career in that it brings back the frenetic energy and furious pace of that era. Guy McKnight’s distinctive bluesy vocals are again sounding like demented war cries over a barrage of cheese wire guitars and the influences remain as strong and diverse as ever – The Misfits,The Cramps, Nirvana, all are heard in snatches. It’s brilliantly inventive and heralds a terrific return from a great band. www.loudandquiet.com
Al bums 07/10
(Last Gang) By D K Goldstein. In stores May 31
(Drag City) By Mandy Drake. In stores now
(Young Turks) By Stuart Stubbs. In stores now
A tribute to Roky Erickson & The 13th Floor Elevators
When the OED entered the word ‘pleasant’ – “giving a sense of happy satisfaction or enjoyment” they forgot Mother Mother. ‘O My Heart’ is more pleasant than eating ice cream at the beach when you were nine. In 12 tracks the Vancouver quintet has managed to combine the buoyancy of Ok Go with the bass lines and vocal spec of the Pixies and The Shins. Frontman Ryan Guldemond belts like Black Francis with an affectation of James Mercer at the height of all his notes, especially throughout the title track. But beneath the cheer lurks dark lyrics. Single, ‘Hay Loft’ recounts barnsex gone wrong (“My daddy’s got a gun, you’d better run”), while the ‘C-C-C-Cinnamon Lips’-esque opener boasts afterlife regrets (“I cried hard because I’d died and you’re alive”). Not a life-changer, perhaps, but cleverly like a sweet apple with a rotten core.
Y’know when you go to see a ROCK band and they end a song by vigorously wanking off their guitars to the sound of Tourette’s drum fills and cymbal rolls that see the Keith Moon of the hour toss his head back and perhaps even stick out his tongue? Well, that’s what ‘False Flag’’s opener, ‘Waldorf Hysteria’, sounds like… all the way through. Rangda are an improvisational, instrumental post rock trio, with emphasis on the former.They’ve only ever played as a full two-guitars-and-drums band once at real length, and that was to record this 6-track debut. Needless to say, it’s a raw, experimental and wholly self-indulgent effort. It’s also got some (or one) half decent ideas on it – namely ‘Bull Lore’ that soundtracks a baddy walking into a Wild West saloon bar at high noon for the average length of six minutes. Nearly but not quite worth your time.
Holy Fuck’s second album yawns to life with the uncharacteristically ambient ‘1MD’ – a track that awakens with all the patience of fellow expletives Fuck Buttons. Their most atmospheric song yet then makes way for their funkiest as ‘Red Light’ bounces on a Rapture-esque bass brag. And from then on the groove never leaves ‘Latin’, whether overtly throbbing to the classic piano of ‘Latin America’ or subtly morphing biscuit-tin bossanova drum raps into dramatic, military snare rolls throughout the filmic, standout ‘Stay Lit’. At rare intervals (and throughout the skyward, krauty blemish ‘Silva & Grimes’) things feel a little less encapsulating, but as with any post-rock, completely instrumental record, that’s almost to be expected.What makes ‘Latin’ such a clever and well-executed success is its undeniably taut, precise energy.
(Sonic Cathedral) By Polly Rappaport. In stores June 7 A play on the similarly titled 13th Floor Elevators album, this is a tribute to both the band and its highly influential frontman. Aptly featuring a selection of thirteen artists, the record opens with a live track from fellow Austin psych rockers The Black Angels, backing by Erickson himself, his harsh bark sharply contrasting the winding, insectile guitar limbs of ‘Roller Coaster’. Meanwhile, Dead Meadow positively nail ‘Kingdom of Heaven’, wrenching vocals and all, tapping into the sinister, stomach-churning vibe of the track and drawing out the murky blues-weighted pace. Sarabeth Tucek’s eerily sweet take on ‘Splash 1 (Now I’m Home)’ strays the furthest from its original but is also one of the most poignant covers on the compilation, expressing what a diverse body of artists have been influenced by Erickson.
(Seayou Records) By Sam Walton. In stores now The Pharmacy are a Louisiana three-piece who play no-fi grunge-flecked tweepop with an attitude towards commercial appeal that’s probably kindest described as indifferent. Not that that matters terribly – the overarching feeling on ‘Weekend’, their third LP, is of total insularity, and that’s how they seem to like it. When the group’s sense of total self-absorption works, their disregard for the wider world is genuinely captivating – ‘Children on TV’ and ‘Stoner Girl’ are lovely slabs of whimsical indie that rise above the almost aggressively careless production, and the record’s ‘Interlude’ (longer than most songs here) is pleasingly eerie. But generally, ‘Weekend’’s listlessness is off-putting – the LP is so distant-sounding that it makes the listener feel as if they’re overhearing the band’s set from an empty festival tent.Two fields away. On a Friday lunchtime.
Mountain Man Made The Harbor (Bella Union) By Nathan Westley. In stores June 14
Not so long ago the utterance of the word ‘folk’ was enough to secure a record’s fate. Once discarded as grown up music loved by people who drank traditional ales and possessed several handfuls worth of aging face fungus, times have changed. Its good exponents – the records that are worth investigation, such as this – are now given the opportunity to be discovered by a wider audience.This isn’t your everyday folk album though, but rather creeps with the Sixties American folk revival reverberating through every pore of its being.While some artists feel the need to cover every audio frequency with sound, Mountain Man have factored together an album that frowns on this tendency and instead hoover away any excesses, leaving behind an album that is barren in design and relies purely on minimal guitar and vocals and leaves enough space that silence almost serves as another instrument. It brilliantly, calmly quakes with the distilled spirit of the Mississippi’s muddy blue water.
No Fools Here
The Barfly, Camden, London 26.04.2010 By Phil Dixon Photography by Owen Richards
Every so often a band comes along that reaffirms your faith in the importance of live music. A band that builds upon and extends their songs, adding vibrancy, energy and spontaneity that can’t be felt on record, to create an all-consuming, irresistible experience. Fool’s Gold is one such band. That only six songs are played in a set lasting well over an hour shows how – unlike those other afrobeat popularists Vampire Weekend who condense things into three-minute indie pop – they’re content to play the most out of a song for a good ten minutes or more.The set never once drags, and is completely free of any musical grandstanding. In fact it’s the simplicity that gives Fool’s Gold’s music its power; the unfaltering rhythm section and Luke Top’s simple basslines that repeat until you can’t help but move along with them.This forms the foundation for more complicated flourishes from flute, saxophone, or Lewis Pesacov’s lightning-fingered guitar. Myriad other
instruments are produced and played at various times by tonight’s relatively sparse line-up of six, making for an intriguing sight as each seems to work individually on creating their own music – and moreover having their own good time – yet creating one unified, multi-layered harmony. It’s a phenomenon echoed in the songs themselves, as rather than feel repetitive or giving the band a definable ‘sound’ each track has its own unique personality. Opener ‘Nadine’ is a laid-back, oceanic waltz, perfectly illustrating the marriage of their African influences to their Californian origins and Jewish upbringing, with its part-English/partHebrew lyrics. The sing-song guitar of ‘Surprise Hotel’ introduces us to a sun-soaked summer groove, encouraging the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd to make what space they can to dance their cares away and start the party proper. And just as it seems to come to an end an almighty drum roll sounds and things instead go doubletime in a multi-instrumentalist frenzy of drums,
guitar, bongos, saxophone and all manner of shakers and cowbells. ‘Poseidon’ bears the most obvious African sound, tinged with an 80s feel of its original crossover heyday and bringing to mind Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’. ‘Ha Dvash’ is then a much calmer ballad, but what it lacks in tempo it more than makes up for in conviction and intensity before the hyper-kinetic sonic assault of ‘Night Dancing’. Closer ‘The World Is All There Is’ is the jewel in the evening’s crown, its constant “whoa” refrain and clap-a-long beat impossible to resist as the band down instruments and make their way into the midst of the crowd. Now the band and audience are in unison as we are brought low to the floor for a communal love-in and brought back up for one final flourish of Masai-like leaping, chanting and dancing. It’s clear from this that a Californian band who have never set foot in Africa aren’t just plundering the depths of world music to be knowingly edgy or different, but because it’s so enjoyable – for them and for us.
Hole Brixton Academy, London 05.05.2010 By Stuart Stubbs Photography by Kelda Hole ▼
Hole are one original member ahead of the Sugababes these days, but with that member being grunge gran Courtney Love, who, incidentally, can still whine a husky, trailer hick whine like it’s 1995, it doesn’t seem to hold them back. Or at least not musically it doesn’t. Courtney is something of a poisoned chalice though – the only reason we’re here and the chief reason to slink off early. Occasionally she’s as eccentrically charming and funny as she plans to be (like when insisting that Bush’s ‘Swallow’ is about her “What does that tell you?” she eye-rolls), but more often than not her insecurities and need to be loved are only thinly veiled by her potty mouth that spends half of the evening revelling in the ‘F’ word as if she’s a
9-year-old who’s just discovered it, and the other half stamping her feet to remind us that she’s still the boss. She constantly moans that she can’t see the audience because the house lights are down (at a gig? Outrageous!) and there’s an overwhelming sense that we owe her for turning up. “I need some love!” she says to cheers from the crowd she calls “fucking assholes”… to more cheers. Her keyboard player is even sent out to make us scream louder if we want an encore. After the new not-terrible-but-plain-boring songs, and a cover of The Smiths’ ‘Suffer Little Children’, I’m not sure that I do. It’s a typical Courtney Love that totters the line of spoilt brat rock star and the embodiment of obnoxious, deluded despair, I guess, but as tragic as the woman on stage is, playing in her underwear for attention and talking about her tits, the real shame is that all of the inter-song bravado detracts from her earliest and best work, which still sounds pretty gnarly when the band finally get around to playing it.
LCD Soundsystem Brixton Academy, London 23.04.2010 By Omarrr ▼
Like a husband who’s decided to exit an over-ripe marriage, LCD’s string-puller James Murphy looks like a rejuvenated, (almost) carefree man now that he’s declared that third album ‘This Is Happening’ is to be their last. Perhaps made all the more triumphant considering their twoday drive from Spain (blasted volcano) it is a refreshingly relaxed Murphy and Co. we find here tonight.The huggable frontman chats away between songs (murky sound means we can’t decipher any of it, and it does cause momentum to crash a little) as he teeters over the edge of the stage. After restarting opener ‘Us Vs Them’ twice we get spiky power-throughs of ‘Pow Pow’, ‘Losing My Edge’ and ‘Tribulations’. Meanwhile, ‘All My Friends’ reinforces itself as one of this century’s finest songs as does ‘Daft Punk Is Playing In My House’.They finish on an unexpectedly fragile note – ‘New York I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down’ as a cloud of white balloons fall silently from the ceiling; a reminder that now Murphy’s made his mind up there might not be many more moments like this left. Somehow this feels less like a gig and more like a euphoric wake. It’s only after that the grief sets in.
yacht Madame Jo Jo’s, Soho, London 20.04.2010 By Polly Rappaport ▼
If you’ve only experienced YACHT on record, you’ve been dealing with a rather tame beast – the boy/girl vocals delivered in that quirky American deadpan, while the layers of samples and offkilter rhythms squirm restlessly round the precise, clockwork beats, all contained in the controlled environment of a plastic disk. Let the creature loose and you’re in for a weird ride - think Annie Lennox meets The B-52’s, infused with the slightly maniacal enthusiasm of a cheerleading squad and a solicitous confidence akin to evangelicalism. Singers Jona and Claire might as
well be a pair of faith healers (Claire reaches out to a member of the audience, sagely placing her hand on their forehead and shoving with an ‘I cast thee out, Satan’ flourish), were it not for their frequently anti-religious lyrics and neatly synchronized dance moves – everything is punctuated with a gesture or pose, even their between-song banter is translated into surreal sign language. Rapturously bouncing around to backing band The Straight Gaze (har har),YACHT take their mathy-tropical tunes and poker-faced non sequitur raps to the next level of what-the-hell-isgoing-on-here, with lashings of camp that would make Richard Simmons proud.They are definitely safer on the stereo, but if you catch them live, you might just be converted.
Uffie Concorde 2, Brighton 24.04.2010 By Nathan Westley ▼
It’s been a long time coming but electro songstress Uffie is now teetering on the edge that separates people from being an underground hipster icon and a mainstream household name.The transition is almost certain, her debut album release is imminent and it features enough high profile collaborations to get tongues talking, but tonight’s performance may have left many of her early embracers in doubting. Though the music remains true to its original cultured electro backing and her distinctive off kilter vocal flow enough that recent accusations proclaiming her as being the person whom Ke$ha stole the majority of her act from are almost justified, the stumbling block is her stage demeanour. Where once it was wild and unpredictable, but now seems toned down to such a level that it feels like she has recently graduated from the school for pop sirens – it’s both clichéd and tame. Flanked by a DJ on one side and a keytar player on the other it feels like she is going through the motions, rolling out one traditional move after another; even the RnB staple of perching on a stool for a song is not off-limits.The once credible face of hipster pop is reaching out for the mainstream.
Bear In Heaven Brudenell Social Club, Leeds 25.04.2010 By Kate Parkin ▼
Bear in Heaven. Pic: ANDY COOK
Pipes. Pic: D. K. GOLDSTEIN
As New Yorkers, Bear In Heaven prowl onto the stage, a skinny trio of Ron Burgundy moustaches, the pounding drums of ‘Beast In Peace’ pulling the crowd out from its Sunday evening stupor. Singer Jon Philpott massages the synths with almost pornographic delight as he fixes the audience with his penetrating stare.Wallowing in layers of feedback, they cast darker shadows with the melancholy sonic distortions of ‘Deafening Love’. Drummer Joe Stickney writhes around drenched in sweat as they attack it from all sides with an unrelenting barrage of white noise. Restlessly seeking perfection they plague the sound guy with endless little adjustments and when they finally loosen their grip ‘You Do You’ bursts with passion as guitars dart out of fluttering drums. Close you eyes and you could be at an early Smashing Pumpkins concert, with Jon as the perfect Billy Corgan substitute. The brooding swoon of ‘Lovesick Teenagers’ illicits nods of recognition from the crowd, who start reticently shuffling out of the shadows. Cocooned within a swirling mass of sound, the band add in clever little pauses and unexpected flourishes that make them stand out from other synth rock, which makes us think that this is what MGMT should sound like live – understated and stealthily euphoric.
Shy Child ICA, London 22.04.2010 By Chris Watkeys ▼
High Places. Pic: ELINOR JONES
When you’re having as much fun playing music as Shy Child’s Pete Cafarella appears to be, the old cliché which runs “if anyone else likes it, it’s a bonus” really does ring true.Throughout tonight’s short but sweet set, Cafarella seems to have a wide perma-grin plastered across his face; either that, or my eyes are deceiving me and it’s actually a grimace. Either way, the sounds coming from the duo onstage are a joyous thing. It’s like Hot Chip meets first-album
MGMT, minus the guitars and at a higher bpm: a swirling, fast-paced kaleidoscope of melody-soaked psychedelic dance.The nuts’n’bolts of synth and drums are accompanied more often than not by overkill strobe, turning the dark black box that is the ICA gig room into an aural and visual sensory overload. Penultimate track ‘Drop The Phone’ is a standout moment, threaded with urgency and a chaotic klaxon call balanced nervously on a knife edge. But setcloser ‘Criss Cross’, from new album ‘Liquid Love’, is the real high point - all-enveloping, synapse-energising and hypnotising to the point of euphoric abandon. So, whether that’s a grin or a grimace on Pete Carafella’s face, he can rest easy that tonight, everyone else likes it.
The LIKE Old Blue Last, Shoreditch, London 05.05.2010 By Martin Cordiner ▼
Way back when (alright, 2005), The Like were a female three piece from Los Angeles with some laid back grungey rock. Since then they’ve decided a more danceable approach is the key to longevity, recruiting organ player Annie Monroe to produce a more buoyant formula. The first single from their imminent Mark Ronson-produced second album, ‘Release Me’, is pretty representative. ‘He’s Not a Boy’ bounces around a catchy vocal hook and ooohing backing vocals from Monroe and bass player Laena Geronimo (who is sporting an Austin Powers-style frilly cuff number).While they still use their slinky attitude in certain songs, they’re bigger on foot tapping rhythms, seemingly trying a bit harder to please. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but for those of us keener on the take-us-or-leave-us approach it feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. “This is our last London show for now,” lead singer Elizabeth ‘Z’ Berg tells us, but drummer Tennessee Thomas’ sudden song intros prevent further interaction (and, rather amusingly, catch her band mates off guard on several occasions). Sharper hooks, less attitude – but, I’m sorry to say, some of the allure may have gone with it.
Hudson mohawke Nation of Shopkeepers, Leeds 23.04.2010 By Kate Parkin ▼
They’re running late, but the crowd don’t seem to care, bouncing to the beats and tweets of Hud Mo and his crew. Cheers erupt as the rumbling bass ripples through the floorboards and ‘De De Mouse’ blends the chirruping synths of Four Tet with serious gangsta swagger. Recently signed to Warp, the room is packed with a mixture of diehard fans of the hiphop producer/turn-tablis and curious bystanders.While some tunes would sit comfortably on Westwood’s iPod, with gunshots galore, others like ‘Fuse’ are pure chav cool.The crowd lap it up though, singing along to the whistling keyboards like an amped-up football crowd, high on adrenaline. Cutting a gangly figure looming over his machines, Ross Birchard gains his street cred through his pimp daddy MC, who sprays the crowd with exploding noises and ‘word up mo’ fuckas’ at will.The smooth lounge room vibe of ‘Ice Viper’ adds a touch of class, even though it does sound like it’s been lifted from a 70s porn film. Bedroom tweakings like ‘Twistcliploop’ are catchy, but the mixing is clumsy and lacking the polish of the recorded version, supporting an overall feel that, to compete with class masters likes DJ Shadow and Yoda, Hudson Mohawke needs to up his game.
The Hundred In the hands The Barfly, Camden, London 26.04.2010 By Stuart Stubbs ▼
TWhen you’re faced with a boy/ girl duo playing drum machine electro obvious comparisons spring to mind – the glitch thrash of Crystal Castles, the J-pop trash of Heartsrevolution, the ravey thrash-trash of Sleighbells. Brooklyn’s The Hundred In The Hands are more akin to the Italo Disco of The Golden Filter, which is certainly no crime, but it does make their live show far less persuasive.While the above noisy folk blind with strobes and berate with bass so heavy that they must
be brilliant showmen even when they’re not,THITH’s tricks are more slight-of-hand; more subtle. Unfortunately they’re far less engaging too, from Jason Friedman’s delay-heavy guitar that seems to play itself to the synth samples that could have been taken from anyone from La Roux to Little Boots. Does it help that The Barfly is full of its usual, restless clientele talking over the band about life at Foxtons? Of course not, but it’s not as if we’re watching The xx – talking over the band shouldn’t be possible.What puzzles most is where’s the bass? If the pair are tripping drum loops and organ riffs, why not stick a bassline or two through those boxes of wires too? Instead, Friedman switches from six strings to four on various songs, meaning that one vital instrument is constantly missing and THITH forever sound as thin as the jabbering crowd suggest.
Talk Normal Penelope’s, Sheffield 28.04.2010 By Daniel Dylan-Wray ▼
The darkly clad duo from Brooklyn seem somewhat out of place stood before the gold glitter backdrop that hangs like something from a seventies bingo hall.They set up and start in the corner of the room whilst most people are still sat talking to one another. Soon Andrya Ambro’s howl begins to spread through the venue reaching every dusty corner and sounding like an unhinged or even demented Karen O. In reverse, the guitars provide something of a cover backbone for the drums, as the beat eclipses them both stylistically and rhythmically.The drum playing is relentlessly captivating - for such fragmented and disjointed cadence’s they are played with a smoothness that resembles the rolling pistons of a steam train – and while a perplexing juxtaposition, it’s also a gratifying one.The guitar playing eventually falls somewhat by the wayside as a result of such innovation, and when that accounts for fifty percent of the output, it does at times suffer as a collective output. However, when this duo are both at their best, creating a synergy, it becomes an engaging and at time ferocious cacophony.
BEST COAST Madamme Jo Jo’s, Soho, London 04.05.2010 By Matthias Scherer ▼
Does Best Coast believe in the saying “less is more”? It’s hard to tell. On the one hand, her whole schtick – bedroom-y, feedbackladen guitar pop without luxuries like bass lines or middle 8s – is endearingly and engagingly minimalist.Tonight, however, she seems intent on bombarding us with as many songs as possible, hoping that at least one or two will stick.The new, fast-paced pop punk gem ‘Far away’ is a highlight, as is the meandering sing-a-long ‘Make you mine’. A lot of the new songs aren’t as immediate though, and the set’s length means that they tend to drift in and out of each other with little momentum. Bethany Cosentino’s vocals, luckily, are strong throughout, cutting through the air like a Swiss army knife, while her adventurously coiffed guitarist’s fuzzy licks more than make up for the lack of a bass player. Just because the topical ground covered in her lyrics (her liking boys, some boys not liking her) would fit on the back of a matchbox and the 45-minute set consists of variations of basically two tempos and four melodies, it doesn’t mean that the gig is boring, but you do wonder what cutting the set short by 10 minutes and one or two new songs would have done.
Deerhunter The Cockpit, Leeds 05.05.2009 By Daniel Dylan-Wray ▼
“It’s like I’m talking in French to you people,” states a bemused Bradford Cox as he attempts to win over a lethargic and apathetic crowd. However, try as he may, it seems (at least from where I’m stood) that people are more interested in chit-chat and texting than watching Deerhunter tonight - which does nothing but prove what a bunch of morons they are. Tonight Deerhunter exude sounds that create moments of cathartic beauty and ethereal textures with blistering ease.The bass lines sink and resonate way below the gut and the guitars glow with a
warming and visceral tension that is only further highlighted by the equally sparse and furious drum patterns. ‘Nothing Ever Happens’ is pulled apart into a frantic yet moving rendition that stretches to ten-plus minutes, managing to replicate the most thorny task of remaining relentlessly engaging throughout its repetitions moments of Television and Neu! dip their way in and out of its vast sonic landscape.The band flawlessly manipulate their sound to weave between verdant atmospherics and seething aggression, and the result is a perpetual joy. Bradford may have called the venue a “Hell-Hole”, but he certainly threw some fuel onto its fire.
Penguin prison C.A.M.P., Old Street, London 30.04.2010 By Stuart Stubbs ▼
There was only ever going to be one way to get me inside a Penguin Prison show, and that was to trick me. Admittedly, it doesn’t take much these days; seemingly the sentence, “Oh, that band you want to see are on at 10,” does the job. Expecting baroque, electronuts ColouringIN but getting New York funk-popper Penguin Prison is a heart-in-the-mouth kinda deal. Gordon Brown must have felt a similar sensation as soon as he realised his microphone was still on.What’s most bizarre, and yet oddly respectable about PP – real name Chris Glover: a man somewhere between a Lee Ryan disco comeback and a Jackson 5 Butlin’s tribute – is that he plays this major label, pre-packaged pop of his own volition, having only release previously via the hip, camp Neon Gold imprint. He clenches his fists and pulls them to his chest of his own accord; lets out JT, sharp “ah”s into the mic without training; fronts his Maroon 5 lounge indie with no shame. And, actually, he’s extremely good at it. His bassist clapping above his head is perhaps pushing the FM pop star clichés a little too far, and sure, I’ll be saying, “Are you sure it’s the band I want to see???” from now on, but if, for some ungodly reason, you like Penguin Prison’s previous singles, you’ll scream like a teen at his live show.
Pipes Montague Arms, New Cross 23.04.2010 By D K Goldstein ▼
Down in the bowels of New Cross, where no art students tread, lays a dark and beguiling pub full of taxidermic animals, skeletons and what looks like the contents of a shipwreck – a Lynchian paradise perfect for Pipes’ eerie Crampsesque undertones. On stage they’re like a bunch of misfits – the tall, bulky singer (Luke) to the guitarist Tom, who can’t keep still, and their bespectacled drummer (Chris) at the back eating a banana. But it’s the right kind of awkward to suit their gawky guitars, especially in ‘Juried Art Show’ where the riffs fight against the bass, vying for centre stage. ‘How I Killed Your Mother’ is then full of rim-taps and a sporadic ‑beat that Luke groans and deadpan-chatters over, while ‘David Icke’s Childhood Kite’ spins a tale of regression and lunacy. It’s not music to show your mother, it’s the dirty little secret you hide up in your room.
HIGH PLACES The Harley, Sheffield 07.05.2010 By Daniel Dylan-Wray ▼
High Places quietly slip onto the stage and begin in an almost tentative manner after a softly spoken introduction. It seems their dreamy almost tropical take on pop is also representative of the pair as characters.The vocals at times range from a taint restrained murmur to floating, trance-like melodies that float throughout the venue like a lost soul. Interestingly, although two guitars are played, they are never once strummed, just persistently picked to create almost funk-like rhythms.The set dips between moments of stark, bleak instrumentation and fully blown electronic-infused pop – at times to glorious effect and others to a slightly underwhelming outcome. When it works, it really does; it amalgamates the subtleties and delicacies of ambient electronic music with stomp-your-foot, inyour-face beats that never over shadow the fragile undertones. When it works less well, it simply meanders rather than moves and it
can get bogged down in its own mid-tempo slog. However, for its slight inconsistencies it’s still a rewarding and engaging show from an inventive duo.
She & Him Koko, Camden, London 07.05.2010 By Stuart Stubbs ▼
The ‘She’ is Hollywood, quirksome cutey Zooey Deschanel; the ‘Him’ ever-credible indie folk bloke M. Ward.This is their debut UK show; one of a few that acts as a warm-up to their Pavement-curated ATP appearance in eight days time. Add that it’s squeezed in before Koko turns into its weekly Kasabian-fest (Club NME) – and thus with a super early stage time of 8:30 – and it’s perhaps not surprising that a certain amount of nervy hurry and detachment from the allshapes-and-sizes crowd is present. Ward bounds on stage while the slight Deschanel bounces to the mic like an excited child, grabs a tambourine and continues to jump up and down - the kind of adorable presence we were expecting from the star of 500 Days of Summer. Her voice also matches expectations, as the accompanying band (that make it She & Him… & Him & Him & She & Him & She) begin with a slice of upbeat, 50’s doo-wop and it takes all of ten seconds to realise that Deschanel can sing astoundingly.When it comes to speaking though, she appears either grumpy, petrified or both, and so quickly aborts that for the next thirty five minutes, the band pausing for applause, a continual heckle of “I love you Zooey!” from a manic-sound girl, and little else. As they press on through more beach melodies, slow waltzes that could have featured in Grease (such as ‘Thieves’) and twee, tuneful indie, She & Him sound and look faultless, and yet the lack of interaction is akin to when you’re a waiter clears your plate as you’re still chewing - do they want out of here asap, is a recurring thought. Around the point that the duo are left alone for a poignant, acoustic rendition of ‘You Really Got A Hold On Me’, they finally loosen up though, and become as coyly charming as the love songs they play. Nerves it was then.
film By DEAN DRISCOLL
Four lions Starring: Kayvan Novak Riz Ahmed, Benedict Cumberbatch Preeya Kalidas Director: Chris Morris
Kate Hudson and Casey Affleck in The Killer Inside Me
Cinema Preview Lawmen on the edge of sanity is where it’s at this month, with Nicolas Cage’s very Bad Lieutenant running riot in New Orleans and Casey Affleck wrestling with inner demons as a small town Texas sheriff -----Even the title of Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (released Friday 21st May) makes it sound like a straight-to-DVD sequel in the vein of S. Darko and American Psycho 2: films with the flimsiest connection to the originals they’re leeching from, made for the slimmest of budgets to make the quickest of bucks. When Bad Lieutenant 2 was announced, most were quick to denounce it as a prime example of witless studio money-grabbing – and the casting of Nicolas Cage, in the Harvey Keitel role, only served to heighten that perception, with Cage himself no stranger to absolute clag (e.g. Bangkok Dangerous and Ghost Rider). In the early stages of the film’s development that may have been true, but the announcement of Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man/Rescue Dawn) as director stopped everyone in their tracks – what was a respected filmmaker and documentarian doing directing this knock-off schlock? Not that it slated the original’s writer/director Abel Ferrara, who has made his own feelings on the matter known to anyone within shouting distance. Ever the contrarian, Herzog himself openly declared not to have even seen the original and cared little for those who took objection to him doing a Hollywood sequel, as you may expect from a man who takes most things in his stride (this is the man who was shot during an interview with Mark
Kermode and carried on as if nothing happened). It started to feel less like a disaster waiting to happen and more an interesting curio with genuine cult potential. Early word has been good, with Cage on gloriously deranged form and Herzog’s iguana-vision section only heightening the sense of mania. Meanwhile in West Texas, the always-brilliant Casey Affleck is the lawman with issues in The Killer Inside Me (4th June), the adaptation of a Jim Thompson novel by Michael Winterbottom, the British director of 24-Hour Party People and Road To Guantanamo. No stranger to controversy after the furore surrounding 9 Songs - which attracted the brickbats for the graphic, very much real, sex between its leads - Winterbottom’s latest has caused something of a stir for its depiction of savage violence perpetrated by Affleck’s unhinged sheriff on the film’s leading ladies, Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba. It’s by all accounts a difficult, troubling movie to watch – which Winterbottom argues is precisely the point, and might even be in part a reaction to the criticism of 9 Songs. At that time, he argued that it was absurd that any film showing real sex is labelled as hardcore pornography, yet relatively graphic depictions of violence often seem perfectly acceptable in familyfriendly movies. On this occasion,Winterbottom takes the audience to the other extreme – unflinchingly showing realistic, brutal violence with its distressing consequences rather than the softcore variety audiences are all too accustomed to. Whether the results are too much for most to take remains to be seen - though it’s probably not one for Alba and Hudson fans who are more accustomed to their previous rom-com roles.
Let’s make it clear right off the bat – Four Lions is not a new episode of Brass Eye. Chris Morris himself has said he’s moved on from satirising the media: as demonstrated by the reaction to Brass Eye’s paedophile episode, the media is now beyond satire (as viewers of Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe will attest). Morris is more concerned with the people at the heart of Jihad – the ordinary young men who become radicalised and set about planning these acts of horrific violence against the countries they’ve grown up in.What he discovered during his research into the subject is that these groups of young guys are just like any other: they’re not masterminds – more often than not they’re just twats.The media barely figures in Four Lions, and with flashes of Jam’s dark absurdity, the previous Morris work it has most in common with is the Brooker-penned Nathan Barley. It should be remembered that this is the director’s feature debut, and as such he’s concentrated on character and narrative rather than comedy set-pieces.That’s not to say that the movie isn’t at points as hilarious as any Brass Eye episode, but that there’s also more heart here than people might have expected.The principal cast are fantastic, especially Riz Ahmed – who continues to prove that he’s one of the UK’s most exciting new talents – as Omar, the de facto leader of the would-be cell. It’s arguable that the film doesn’t delve enough into why these men are so radicalised – particularly Omar, who has a young family and resents his brother’s preaching of the Koran – yet that’s also Morris’ point.Trying to organise an attack on Western imperialism, Omar is beset at every turn by the idiocy of his peers, all of whom – including Omar – appear to be never less than incredibly confused about what they’re doing or why.With a few well-placed jabs at the authorities reactions to the threat of terrorism, Four Lions avoids preachiness and by the end delivers an unexpected emotional punch. At its heart it’s a Ladykillers-style Ealing farce that happens to be dressed up in terrorist clothing.
I AM V
5 YEARS OF LOUD AND QUIET MAGAZINE The limited 12â€? compilation featuring exclusive tracks and rarities by Metronomy_HEALTH_Comanechi_Telepathe_Trailer Trash Tracys Teeth!!!_Gold Panda_Chapter Sweetheart_The Bitters_Christmas Island Available to pre order at loudandquietcassettes.bigcartel.com
party wolf Photo Casebook “Party on Robbie: Pt 4”
) I’m sorry Gary nicked your girls mate. Maybe we should forget me ever re-joining Take That
) FUCK OFF! A fight?! With my glass jaw and dodgy guts? There has to be another way. Have you tried calling Jason?
Lonely hearts “It’s not weird, it’s a sexy Facebook”
GoOutWith MyFriend.com David
43, looking for Brits Area: Children: Diet: Employment:
“ You know he can’t work the telephone! This is the only way! I found this old picture of the band from the Could It Be Magic Tour. If want it back you’re going to have to beat Barlow’s arse!
to be cont...
London British Britain Oh y’know!
Boris has this to say about David: Dave is such a wheeze! I’ve known him for yonks - since our Buller’s days actually. I envy many things about him, but most of all his ability to engage with people from all walks of life. I’ve seen him tip a polo captain £1000 at Henley; I’ve seen him speak to a tramp (it was an immigrant Tesco worker I recall); I’ve seen him punch a fox to death. I’ve seen it all. And when he’s not listening to The Killers, he’s doing totally normal thing like tending to his moat or patting a horse. Gosh, I might ask to court him myself! Pip Pip! David responded by saying: Oh Bozzer, on three... “You drink the port and kick the poor, I’ve got money but I want more!” Har Har. Buller’s rules!
Disclaimer: The representations of the persons herein are purely fictitious.
Nonsense mate, I didn’t fancy them much anyway - bully Barlow can have ‘em. And besides, I’ve got a new plan to get you in mate... an old fashioned dust up
I was out of control.Women would come back to my hotel or semi-detached house and I’d have them pull their trousers up high and wear a black T-shirt. Either I’d call them Simon for the entire naughty evening or I’d make them call me Mr C. Sometimes both. My infatuation with my co-worker had spun into a bizarre world, much like one where Jordan had small breast and not those big ones that I’ve interviewed on so many occasions. Did I know I needed help? Yes, in hindsight I probably did, but they say you have to hit the bottom before you can get your life back together.The problem was that every time I thought of that phrase I found myself wishing to not hit the bottom, but rather Simon’s. It was Amanda Holden who finally made me see sense with some old fashion straight talking. I hated her so much, but she’d noticed my decline in sanity and took me to one side. “You’re a toad!” said the witch. “And an ugly one at that! You’ll never be Simon so pack it in!” Once the murder trial was over, I vowed never to even watch Simon on TV again. Except on X Factor.
] I need to floss!