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01 – The Little Ones: a LARGE disappointment 02 – GoodBooks: not GreatBooks 03 – Mumm-ra: more dead than a mummy 04 – We Smoke Fags: oh, leave it out!

One to botch Just as our ‘Ones To Watch’ list was completed we put a line through it. We’ve been burnt before, y’see. NEVER again! Last year we pondered, ‘do we champion the same no-brainers as everyone else (MGMT) or attempt to out-pretence others with bands so new that they’re still to acquire most of their instruments (the… erm…Chrome Slags)? In the end, having decided that featuring bands already flirting with overexposure was really pointless, we shouted about how our OTW were just some artists we liked, not necessarily Klaxons in the making. We then went and labelled We Smoke Fags as the new Blur, circa ‘Popscene’. Ouch! It of course took no time to transpire that the north London spiky trio were to be our Mumm-ra, Little Ones and GoodBooks, all rolled into one, underachieving to a brilliant extent. But it’s always going to be a no-win situation where yearly ‘tips for the top’ are concerned – safe bets make for boring reads but no magazine, paper or website want to look clueless once an outsider they’ve backed flops. Really though, the reason our list has already been recycled along with our Christmas cards is because Loud And Quiet is ultimately a continual ‘Ones To Watch’ project. We’ll feature the established if we really care (this month we’ve got Adam Green, The Maccabees and Pavement in here), and occasionally we’ll get swept up in a fad and feature ones (in the light of day) to avert your gaze from, but seeking out new, exciting music is what we’ll still be doing once January is over. Bands like Nine Black Alps, who are DEFINITELY the new Nirvana!


Contents 01| 09 Photographer: GUY EPPEL

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07 – Shit / The / Bed 08 – Grizzly / Lewd / Britney 10 – Cock / Gobbling / Albarn 12 – Gentle / Little / Beadle 14 – Charming / Vomit / Voice 17 – Crazy / Dirty / Pecker 18 – Real / Music / People 20 – Pavement / To / Reform 24 – Loose / Women / Devils 26 – Nazi / Bed / Danger 28 – Polishing / A / Turd 35 – Wet / Wet / Wet 36 – Hot / Model / Love 41 – Nine / Inch / Tales


CONTACT Loud And Quiet 2 Loveridge Mews Kilburn London NW6 2DP Stuart Stubbs Alex Wilshire LIVE EDITOR Kate Hutchinson ART DIRECTOR Lee Belcher FILM EDITOR Dean Driscoll EDITOR



Anna Dobbie, Ben Parkes, Benson Burt, Chris Watkeys, Danny Canter, Danielle Goldstien, Dean Driscoll, Elizabeth Dodd Greg Cochrane, Kate Hutchinson, Mandy Drake, Owen Richards, Rebecca Innes, Reef Younis, Sam Little, Sam Walton, Simon Leak,Tim Cochrane THIS MONTH L&Q LOVES

Alison Millar, Brianna Doherty, Jane Third, Nathan Beazer,Tiger Reid, James Sherry Pam Ribbeck, Richard Onslow The views expressed in Loud And Quiet are those of the respective contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the magazine or its staff. All rights reserved 2008 © Loud And Quiet.


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The Beginning 01| 09

WHAT’S IN A NAME? Everything says Danny ‘the crystal wolf’ Canter The ‘wolfs’ did rather well. Out of nowhere there was suddenly a Wolfmother, a Wolf & Cub, a Wolf Parade and an Economy Wolf. Then a Turbo Wolf, a Johanna And The Wolf, an Aids Wolf and a Fox’n’Wolf. For some unexplainable reason, the same beast that was once Michael J Fox’s teen trauma was universally cool... or at least within the world of alternative band names it was. Ashamedly, we panicked too, as the recruiting of a social slag called Party Wolf continues to prove. Now, the ‘crystals’ are catching up, be it Castles, Antlers or Stilts, and yet ‘Party Crystal’ fails to fill us with desired confidence, even if we could find a new hack with such a prattish name. We’ll probably give it a go though, because we’re suckers for a good name. On one hand, band monikers can be considered irrelevant. When Noel Gallagher insisted on his younger brother’s band changing their name from the

average ‘Rain’ to the dire ‘Oasis’, poor old Liam must have wished his sibling had just stayed on tour as roadie to The Inspiral Carpets. And yet, with the likes of ‘Live Forever’ and ‘Slide Away’ then under their belt, being associated to a woman’s High Street chain - or a posher Ribena – was not long a problem for Oasis. But you do have to be good. Arctic Monkeys good. Or Beatles good. Plainly, not many are, but the key is knowing just how limited your musicality is and filling in the gaps (often gaping) with clever wording that’ll look good on a bootleg top outside Brixton Academy – if you really are the second coming, “Get your ‘Turds’ tees ‘ere!” will suffice, if not, you’ll need a “Five paaand, ya ‘Shut Your Eyes And You’ll Burt Into Flames’ hoodies”. Of course, there’s a massive problem with this piece of advice – every teething band are wholeheartedly convinced that

they’re going to change the world, even the likes of The Pigeon Detectives who seem to have sidestepped the great name and the producing of little more than completely tripe material. To them, they’re the shit; there are no gaps to be filled with a name that makes music fans want to seek out what they’re all about; their music does all at the talking. The lesson, I guess, is police your arrogance, which means do a My Chemical Romance (metal/rock bands always have the best names really – Guns’n’Roses, Bullet For My Valentine, Slayer) and know that when your riffs and ramblings won’t seriously arch the eyebrows of A&R men, a provocative or intelligent name just might, until your budget allows for a daft, operatic ‘Black Parade’ tour. And whatever you do, steer clear of the ‘witty’ results from your latest brainstorming session. The chances are they’re

actually terrible to anyone who wasn’t high and present when you came up with them. Those conversations usually start with, “How about The Bare Naked Ladies? That way people will come to our shows because the posters will trick them into thinking they’re getting to see boobs!” All of this should ultimately be rendered irrelevant if you can’t play for dust, and granted, you do need to know that a Gm is not played on a Stratocaster by blowing into the end, but ‘The Horrors’ will buy you time that the yawnsome ‘Captain’ won’t, allowing us silly music journalists to get so excited about your name (and then hair, clothes and friends, is that order) that we’ll not even notice that you play out of time and tune to begin with. Thems the rules, obey they. I’ve gotta dash, it’s band practice night with my new lot, ‘Shit The Bed’. We’re fucking brilliant!!!


The Beginning


By Janine Bullman

Totally wired: Postpunk Interviews and Overviews. By Simon Reynolds (Faber & Faber) Interviews and insights to postpunk’s most pioneering artists. --------------------From the highly renowned rock critic and author of cult post-punk history Rip It Up and Start Again comes this companion book of interviews and conversations with the post-punk era’s most ground-breaking musicians and inspiring characters, featuring the likes of Bill Drummond, Edwyn Collins and Suicide’s Alan Vega. The book contains 32 interviews along with the author’s own reflections on the movers and shakers of the late 1970s early 1980s such as Leigh Bowery and Ian Curtis. Totally Wired is a spectacular insight to a period of huge cultural and musical significance written in Reynolds unique style.

SHERIFF DON’T LIKE IT Internet music piracy is getting more serious than ever, but is the self-appointed long arm of the law friend or foe, asks Holly Emblem Although the era of the Wild West is long gone, one brave, gun-toting figure in this piracyridden world has appeared and his name is…Web Sheriff. Of course, the Web Sheriff isn’t a relic from the Wild West and is actually a man named John Giacobbi who, according to The Guardian “patrols the internet” seeking out piracy. Although he has been “patrolling” for some time, it wasn’t until the release of The White Stripes’ ‘Icky Thump’ that Internet users noticed him. Previously, the Sheriff had been banning Moby fans from saying they were stalking him and making sure Britney Spears’ face wasn’t photoshopped onto lewd photos. But when the White Stripes’ album leaked, the Sheriff eagerly put a stop to bloggers posting links, suggesting that if they continued to link to the album they would be held responsible, or liable, “for all the resulting damage” that comes with not respecting “Jack and Meg’s creation and copyrights”. While the Sheriff’s threats sounded relatively hazy, his


persistent badgering meant that OiNK, an invite only torrent community, caved to his demands and was subsequently shut down. The creator of OiNK, Alan Ellis, was arrested and charged with copyright infringement. Ellis’ case has yet to be heard. It wasn’t until late last year that the Sheriff returned to the spotlight again. This time he was protecting the copyright of Animal Collective’s forthcoming album ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’. While there are countless tales to be told regarding the Sheriff’s approach to stopping the album leaking, the most interesting, and most truly bizarre, has to be his “numerous emails” to Ed Droste, of Grizzly Bear fame. Droste posted a link to ‘Brothersport’ – the final track on ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’ – on his blog. The Sheriff swiftly accused Droste of piracy and the incident has led to Animal Collective’s Panda Bear contacting Droste to apologise and Droste (jokingly) submitting on a music forum that Web Sheriff is “totally stoked”

about the leaked tracks and doesn’t blame Droste for “blogging the shit out of it”. Of course, the Sheriff was performing an ultimately ‘moral’ service, he was protecting the rights of Animal Collective, a band who, by their own admission “would have to take up day jobs” if they wished to release their music for free. In the past few years we’ve seen bands like Radiohead release albums for free and perhaps it’s merely greed that makes us hit out at figures like the Sheriff; we expect to get things that take time and money for free and when we aren’t given them we blindly hit out at those who deny us. Patrick Wolf perhaps sums up the dilemma best when, in a recent blog, he suggested “a musician…who works on an album for a year or more and then the album is taken for free… (it’s) as if all the goods for your store fell out the back of a lorry and were stolen.” Pick your side wisely this year.

It Still Moves Lost Songs, lost highways and the search for the next American music By Amanda Petrusich (Faber & Faber) One women’s journey to discover the roots of American music. --------------------Amanda Petrusich takes the ultimate road trip across dusty American highways as she sets out to discover the ancestry of Americana. From the Mississippi delta blues to the country stars of Nashville, Pertusich’s journey takes in the evolution of American roots music and tracks its influence on the country’s current music scene. It Still Moves vividly captures the American landscape and the music it inspires; as the highway unravels from New York to Memphis so too the soundtrack changes. Meticulously researched and beautifully poetic, It Still Moves is a captivating and enchanting guide to a Country’s culture that never fails to inspire or astound and Petrusich makes the perfect host.

The Beginning

COLD TURKEY Stuart Stubbs suggests New Year resolutions to get you through the bleak month of January

* The teeth-brushing thing may or may not just be a vicious rumour.



Christmas got nearer, the goose got fat and you put a penny in the old man’s hat. Only the goose was an economy turkey, the old man was 18 and a penny never seems enough when a steely knife is encouraging your wallet open. So Christmas isn’t what it used to be, but its passing remains a sullen time, made all the more harrowing by the thought of the dud month of January. One more DFS sale ad might even be enough to nudge you over the edge, but step down from the chair as you watch another out-of-work actor dive onto a three-piece-suite in slow motion. This is the time for new beginnings, introductory gym memberships, Weight Watchers’ boom of the financial year, and our chance to voice what you should being kicking to the damp curb in 2009, and what might just be worth a look in. Give It Up Bestival – Bestival – Not even

My Bloody Valentine could pull the Isle Of Wight festival out of its fatal tailspin last year. One year of horrific weather too many (not helped by the site’s main stage being at the bottom of a hill), and a louty newcomer punter too far, it’s the great casualty from the 2008 ‘Gig In A Field’ boom. Pop – …or those blabbing on about being “a band that just want to make pop music”. If you want to be a Simon Cowell wet dream (and who wouldn’t?) you’ve got to play the game. And no, there’s not a Shoreditch-synthoff round. Coke – As in the drug that makes you the most compelling of company. Reality TV – Because we’re one year away from cock-gobbling in a jungle looking a little tacky. Facebook – Although it would of course mean that you’d not be the first to hear of Jane becoming friends with Sally. Maybe nudge this to the bottom

of the priority list. Hating on ‘Cool’ – If you “hate the term ‘cool’” it’s because you’re The Fonz (a 40 year old living in a ginger boys garage) and not Richie Cunningham (a ginger boy making the best of the bad hand dealt to him). The London Lite – Because we’re one year away from cock-gobbling in London looking a little tacky. Pick It Up Offset Festival – The Hainault bash will be two this year, after a 2008 launch that saw the best indie line up of the festival season. The organisers strived to put together a weekender that didn’t feature “all the usual bands”, so they got Gang Of Four, The Wire, Black Devil, S.C.U.M. and the like involved. Blah-core – Haven’t you heard? It’s the new genre of music that everyone’s touching themselves about. It bummed New Grave at

New Year’s and was sick on Folktronica’s prissy face. Its forefathers are Banjo Or Freakout and Gentle Friendly and it’s going to be massive, until the monster we create turns on us in February. Coke – As in –a-Cola, the largest selling drink in every major city in the world, bar Glasgow, where Irn-Bru is the champion due to local government rule forcing all inhabitants to brush their teeth with the soft drink.* DBvsLQ TV – AKA our web-based video interviews, brought to you in partnership with clubbing partners Dirty Bingo. Oh, “that’s a shameless plug”, is it? Well we’ve got podcasts, blogs and exclusives at www. too. Have that! – Myspace meets Drowned In Sound, it’s proof that everyone can – and should – be a music journo. Hating on Damon Albarn – Oh, you already have. Excellent.

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GENTLE FRIENDLY Whatever this noise is, it’s proudly not pop music Writer: STUART STUBBS Photographer: SIMON LEAK When Nu-Rave prematurely snuffed it last year one genre was particularly noted at the wake. Lurking by the sausage rolls, ‘Pop’ was every bit the perfect funeral guest. There was a ‘pleasant young man’ in the well-groomed Esser, melodies for mourners in Ladyhawke, a mopequashing party-starter in Santogold. In no time, it was like nothing had been lost. But that’s sneaky Pop for you – forever waiting in the wings with its ‘default setting’ uniform on, ready for action as soon as a hyped alt. genre turns sour. But in these Klaxons-less times there’s also been a rising number of bands producing similarly original music. Bands like Banjo Or Freakout, High Places, Ponytail and Fuck Buttons. And now, with London noise duo Gentle Friendly fresh from releasing a new EP – and with an album on its way – all that’s needed is a mediafriendly name for this ‘movement’, and just maybe Pop will have to hop out of the limelight once more. “Dink Rock?” offers drumsmasher Daniel, against our ‘Blah-core’ suggestion [see page 6]. “Huge glistening party anthems and bummer jams,” says yelling keyboardist David before a rethink. “Actually, in reality, when people I know ask me what my band is like I tell them, ‘it’s noisy, with keyboards, you wouldn’t like it’.” Maybe we should come back to the name. For now, let’s concentrate on the facts. Gentle Friendly started when David dragged some beaten up drums and guitars from a skip outside of his east London flat. Having rubbed off the stains from discarded glo-sticks he invited Daniel to “come and mess with the stuff”. In no time, the pair were creating loopy, experimental music, somewhere between the hardcore punk of No Age and the possessed, digital shoegaze of Fuck Buttons.


With Daniel assaulting his once abandoned drum kit, and David both chanting delicately and yelping along to his broken Casio MT-40, the band’s support slots to Health, and later Ponytail, came as little surprise. In Daniel’s words, “awesome powers” are to be expected from such live shows. Wires and jack leads snake across the stage of Gentle Friendly gigs like black ivy, or spaghetti vomit. They enter an effect pedal here and exit a sampling box there, wrapped around an aiding iPod or two. Daniel crashes with vengeance and David, resting his instrument on an old suitcase, punches keys and lets rip into two microphones. Track like the fractured ‘XXXmas’ appear even more demonic and original than on record while ‘Five Girl Night’ is at its fuzziest and most joyous. All of this setting off loops and halting whirrs that fly from knackered amps does see like it’s a task easily avoided though. A couple more pairs of hands wouldn’t go amiss, no? “Sometimes it gets lonely up on stage,” concurs David “but we have often had friends and musicians helping us out. Memorable jams include G/F vs. Ponytail, where the ceiling almost caved in from dancers, and G/F vs. Banjo Or Freakout vs. American Spirit, which none of us can really remember. That night ended with 2 of said bands in a shower.” Daniel also gets his fair share of helping hands when bashing about in side project Buttonhead; an Animal Collective-toting five piece, very much part of the ‘dink rock’/‘blah-core’ uprising. “I think of both projects as ancient symbols that relate to wholeness,” says Daniel, perhaps with tongue embedded in cheek, perhaps not. “They combine the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. They each represent a journey to our own

centre and back again out into the world.” Riiiight. Lost yet? Well don’t be. Remember, this is the alternative to pop jumping back into bed with us and stealing all the covers for the next 12 months. Gentle Friendly were never going to be simple, which is why this duo aren’t inspired simply by other musicians and records (although, for your information, David has recently been into the new, freaky Nite Jewel album, Baby Venom and T.I.’s latest, even if “it’s no ‘King’”, while Daniel’s listening post currently features “a lot of Detroit House, Mahjongg, Bird Names and EPMD”). Instead the pair are motivated by a little-known life choice. “In all seriousness we take inspiration at the moment from a man named Wiley Brooks, founder of the Breatharian Institute of America and pioneer of breathanism,” begins David. “It’s an ethos where you eat nothing and soak up nutrients from the air. Wiley in fact does eat but is working towards a state where food is unnecessary to achieve humanity’s true dimension. Daniel used to be vegan but he is now breatharian.” Okay, now we’re lost. “There is much occurring in the world of negativity and of desperation at this time,” continues Daniel as he speaks of his hopes for the New Year. “It’s a necessity for those of The Light to put thought into rising above those things. Most definitely stay neutral and remain balanced!” Okay, where’s Beadle (or Ant & Dec as seems to be these days)? Except Gentle Friendly aren’t joking, unless they’re talking about Kurt Cobain still being alive, that is – “Kurt ain’t dead,” they protest. “It was Novoselic, man, why do you think he went to Croatia!?”. No, Gentle Friendly are two young men as complex as they’d need to be to create their

recent cassette EP, released via south London know-it-alls No Pain In Pop. And from the bonkers ‘Sky Burial’, which would be end-of-level-boss disco if not for its poignant thoughts (“Raising the dead never works,” warns David’s vocals) to the dynamic ‘Ride Symbols’ (a wellplanned mess of feedback hums and gritty fuzzes), ‘Night Tapes EP’ made us want more. Luckily, as Daniel says, this duo are obligated to rise above negativity, so more we shall have. “We’re planning on releasing new stuff as a ten inch, which will be coming out in spring next year on Upset The Rhythm,” explains David from the band’s Lewisham studio. “Its going very well, we’ve been recording all week and have about 5 songs done so far, but we always have loads of songs lying around so that could all change. We’ve been working on some of these for months, and some of them we made up on the spot. We’re really excited about this stuff anyway. There’s no title yet but it’s a record about extreme weather, love and cars.” Plainly, Gentle Friendly won’t be able to see Little Boots, La Roux and Frankmusik for dust in the race to the top this year. It’d be foolish to think otherwise. Ones To Watch lists are rammed with popsters for a reason; because they’re the safe bets, and no critic wishes to look like a fool come December. But when 2009 gets a little too ‘Smash Hits’ (and don’t you dare play the faux ‘I loved that mag’ card) remember that some bands have been too busy creating structurally and sonically original music to go grave-robbing with gobs full of wake nibbles.




Not every new band gets to mix their debut album at Abbey Road

Writer: IAN ROEBUCK Photographer: SIMON LEAK


KASMs don’t like wasting time. Having formed in October 2007, the Dalston quartet were hitting East London drinking dens by November. A self released EP followed in the new year and their debut album has just been recorded in a three day blur of tribal chanting and hair-tearing feedback. For the haunting presence of front woman RachelMary Callaghan, it was a natural birth – “We formed for a bit of fun,” she says now. “We had a gig to play even before we had made up any songs.” For any other band this admission would imply a certain arrogance, but anyone who has witnessed the magnetic energy and force of a KASMs live show will profess that this attitude comes from a different place this punk spirit is the real thing. Inspiration lay in waiting as the band watched Get Hustle play Barden’s Boudoir. They haven’t looked back since. Rachel was joined by bassist Gemma Fleet, Scott Walker on drums and Rory Bratwell on guitar. Rory himself knew a thing or two about band life after stints with Ratt:at:agg and Test Icicles. His experience and the bands ‘give a fuck’ attitude led to a spontaneous beginning for Rachel and the


group – “Our song-writing process has been very natural, from our very first practice,” says the scarlet-haired singer “so we always end up doing it quite quickly, we dive straight in there’’. And such organic fruition is reflected in the almost primal noise that comes from the small, charming frame centre stage at any KASMs show. Rachel’s vocals soar, sometimes a scream, sometimes a pitch perfect note. Already bracketed as ‘shriekbeat’ it’s an uncompromising sound but one completely comfortable in its own skin. And as everything fell into place for the band a new relationship started to form. One of the first to notice the ramshackle beauty of KASMs were Trouble Records, putting out 7 inch ‘Taxidermy’ in time for last summer. Rachel says: “They are really sweet, it feels like they are our best friends, and they are very supportive of everything we do and we like all their projects”. And what’s not to like? Next up on Trouble’s ever-expanding list of releases - which already boasts Crystal Castles, George Prinlge and Koko Von Napoo - are C-Bird, D-Bird and X-Bird, three women whose dark minimal sound make up An Experiment on a Bird in the Air

Pump. “They are really good friends of ours too,” Rachel continues, even if her desire to be true to herself shines through when pushed on the emergence of any underground scene that KASMs are connected to. “All these bands are great and a lot of people say we are dark-wave or goth but personally I just think we are a punk band. We don’t want to be associated with any scene.” KASMs’ fierce individuality clearly evident then, a DIY mind-set is stamped all over the next collaboration with Trouble Records also. ‘Bone You’ will be released in the new year, the single raising a few eyebrows already. “It’s self explanatory that it sounds rude,” says Rachel. “It was originally ‘I’d like to take you home’ or something boring like that, then we actually thought ‘why don’t we say I want to touch your bone?’ We just thought it’d be funny at the time.” Unwilling to compromise – and thrilling for it – the band follow ‘Bone You’ with an album already in the bag. The debut was recorded in Rory’s very own studio beside Hoxton Square. Having worked with such bands as Televised Crimewave (from the ashes of Leeds trio Black Wire), S.C.U.M and Graffiti Island, his

attention turned within. Just three manic days after the band began sessions the quartet defied convention by getting their tapes mastered at Abbey Road studios. “It’s quite ridiculous as KASMs do things on the cheap,” laughs Rachel “but it was definitely nothing to do with the Beatles.” Currently the album is untitled but KASMs’ morals remain firm. “We want it to be really hard and brutal,” enthuses Rachel. “I personally think Vom, as in Vomit, is a great name for the album’’ muses the enigmatic front woman. “One syllable words are good too, like ‘Bleach’.” There is even talk on the band’s much visited blog of welcoming the fans naming the record and producing the cover art, and what could be more punk rock than letting enthusiasts dictate the imagery and feel of their own beloved? So could a band like KASMs have plans for New Year domination or even a loose schedule in mind for 2009? Erm… not a chance. “God, no I haven’t given next year any thought,” says Rachel with no eye on the clock “we have the single and the album, then hopefully play some festivals.” For a band as exciting as KASMs time has no meaning.


“Does It Offend You, Yeah? is hurting us,” says Morgan Quaintance of his real side project


Writer: MANDY DRAKE Photographer: TIM COCHRANE The morning after the Loud And Quiet Christmas party, Plugs guitarist Morgan is feeling enviably chipper. Maybe he simply holds his liquor better than us, perhaps his band’s live set at the bash has steadied a turning stomach. There were hands in the air (at Morgan’s request, T4 On The Beach style), Santa-bating in the disco of ‘Imaginary Friends’ (sorry kiddies) and… wait for it… dancing! IN EAST LONDON! All from a band that are widely considered a side project to Morgan’s other musical venture. “I’m more into Plugs, definitely,” says the singer when asked about his two bands. “One hundred percent, definitely,” he reiterates. “That’s my main group and it’s been kinda nice because we’ve had a chance to introduce the band, but it is annoying sometimes because you get tarred with that brush and a lot of people don’t like my other band for specific reasons. And it’s annoying because some of those reasons are nothing to do with me. I may not have control of certain things that happen there but I’ll get people saying, ‘oh, this guy’s in that band’.” That band, by the way, is Does It Offend You, Yeah?, thrashing heavy electronic

sounds around like The Prodigy climaxing over Daft Punk’s seated area. Morgan joined the then-duo of James and Dan in order for the band to recreate their studio monsters live, but due to being handed a guitar and lead vocal duties he wound up being considered the group’s frontman and spokesperson. In Morgan’s mind – the man on the inside – it’s far from the case, and not only due to DIOYY?’s new album being largely written and sung by James. Plugs are where his heart lies. After all, this is a band that he formed nearly four years ago, an age before he joined James and Dan, turning side project allegations on their heads. And Morgan has always tried to keep both endeavours independent of each other. He says: “It’s funny actually, because I’ve always tried to make Does It Offend You? not get in the way of Plugs. If you go to the Does It Offend You? Myspace we’re not in the top friends. We don’t do bulletins through them. I rarely talk about the band in interviews, unless I’m specifically asked. I just wanted to do Plugs off our own backs. Some people reckon that Does It Offend You? are giving our band a perch and I’m like, ‘That’s

bullshit, man’. If anything it’s hurting us.” Loyalties solved, the inevitable discussed, on to Plugs. “We got together when I graduated uni,” explains Morgan. “Me and Dave [bass] were studying electronic music, but we formed just a punk band. We recorded some stuff but it wasn’t meant to be recorded, really, it was just meant to be heard played out. And in the end I think it felt like it just changed and I really wanted to do more of what I was doing before with electronics. We’d just played it out really. The whole band thing was a novelty for us. For three years people had just talked about sampling and all I wanted to do after that was play a guitar.” Through even the muddiest of hangovers this all makes sense to ears still ringing from a Plugs live show. Off the back of two limited singles – care of the People In The Sky label – we weren’t expecting what we got last night. On record, ‘Imaginary Friends’ is dreamy, psychedelic pop with electronic frills, while ‘That Number’ is its computer-bred sibling, a little less up for the party, infinitely more prone to chemically expanding its mind in

a solitary bedroom. Both are responsible for the banding around of Hot Chip when describing this trio, ‘Imaginary Friends’ being their ‘Over And Over’, ‘That Number’ a closer equivalent to ‘The Beach Party’. And it’s a comparison that stands up until you see Plugs live, harmonising to new wave pop, sometimes with Morgan’s degree present, other times not. “The Hot Chip thing, I can understand,” admits Morgan “because there aren’t many bands out there doing beaty stuff with just vocals. It’s really cool that people do come up to us and say ‘it’s a lot different [live], but I really like it’. Once the album comes out I think people will get the total picture of the band.” The last trio that told us that were Klaxons, who’s struggle to edge from their early pigeonhole proved relatively grease free once they delivered a debut album of clever, alternative electro, far broader than some thought them capable of. And now it’s Plugs’ turn, but not before they write the album this month and launch their task of releasing an independent download every month for the whole of 2009, for free. It’s enough to make you sick. Speaking of which…


MIXING DESKS & Returning albums of 2009


Occasionally bands aren’t dropped by their labels as soon as Radio 1 feed their playlist promos to Chris Moyles. Some should have been but are returning this year nonetheless, while others suggest that we are in no need of indie saviours just yet. Here’s a cluster of those promising to prove us right.


01 BAT FOR LASHES Bjork without the swan dress, Kate Bush without the leotard, Natasha Khan just couldn’t stop being compared to such innovators as her debut album first reached us in 2006. It was all due to ‘Fur And Gold’ proving to be as haunting and fragile – and yet as assertive and strong – as the work of such greats. And so it’s little surprise then that Bat For Lashes’ forthcoming album (‘Two Suns’) is set to progressively gallop on from tracks such as the sinister wails of ‘Sarah’ and the harpsichord-dancing ‘Horse And I’. Recorded in London and New York with previous producer David Kosten (aka Faultline), Khan’s sessions with world music bods Yeasayer have meant that ‘Two

Suns’ harbours “more of a beat-y, rhythmic direction” than its older sibling. Released at the end of March, it’s also said to be a record more experimental than the last with a notable nod to the Brooklyn scene that Khan has inhabited whilst writing and producing the album. And the crowning glory that might just prevent another disappointing evening at the Mercury’s: a collaborative duet with Scott Walker. While you patiently wait, check out Lashes’ cover of The Cure’s ‘The Forest’ on her Myspace page. We Say IT’S GOT YEASAYER ON IT!!!

When they first clattered across east London in a puff of cheap whiz and American Apparel sportswear, no one expected Klaxons to see out a year. But that was when the excitement of their live shows was still being soiled by the sloppiest of musicianship, when they were still calling themselves Klaxons (Not Centaurs). Really pissing off the haters who still insist “Nu Rave isn’t even real”, the trio then dropped the crappy brackets bit of their name, learned how to play their mutant disco properly and wrote one of the best debut albums of 2007. As you know, ‘Myths Of The Near Future’ went on to win that year’s Mercury Music Award. For album number 2, then, the band first planned to record with Dr Dre producer Focus, as well as Tony Visconti (David Bowie, Morrissey), but sessions were soon cancelled with both parties due to touring fatigue. James Ford was then once again called in to produce as studio time resumed in Paris last year. As new tracks ‘Valley Of The Calm Trees’ and ‘Moonhead’ briefly appearing on the band’s Myspace page, both suggested that this year’s record will follow the ‘completed-pop-song’ route of ‘Golden Skans’ rather than the shambolic ‘Four Horsemen Of 2012’. An album title is still to be decided, as is a release date, although we’re told that it should be with us this summer. We Say Don’t muff up the drums Stefan.





Cynics will no doubt question whether Patrick Wolf had a choice in self-funding his fourth studio album, but that’s exactly what he’s doing. Having parted ways with Universal (reports say that Wolf was dropped by the major label when he refused to write a direct sequel to 2007’s commercial-sounding ‘Magic Position’) the bleached-blonde singer has set up his own label, Bloody Chamber Music, and paired up with backing-seekers The deal is that fans can buy stocks in the appropriately named ‘Battle’ album at £10 a pop, in order to get Wolf’s latest body of work heard. The sooner enough stocks are sold, the sooner the album will see the light of day, which we predict will be before the summer considering how loyal his supportive fans remain (our Patrick cover issue remains the most ordered back issue of Loud And Quiet). In something of a confusing Myspace blog, the eccentric warbler also suggested that the record could be a double album. “Think Smashing Pumpkins, Kate Bush, I’m going double, double, trouble,” read a post from the singer “that’s why I’m taking so long. One disk is heartbroken and in deep despair, one is in deep dark joy, dedicated to my new love, my old and forever love, William The Conqueror.” “It comes more from the bottom of my heart than even ‘Lycanthropy’,” continued the singer “about my father’s cancer, my solitude... everything that has touched me to the core in the last year…”

We wouldn’t usually be ripping our hair out with excitement at a band’s 15th album but Sonic Youth just aren’t like most bands. 50year-olds who rock with more fervour and violence than sixth formers, these New Yorkers haven’t made a bad album in their entire career, it just depends which Sonic Youth you prefer – the avantgarde artists of ‘Confusion Is Sex’, the crystalline jamband of ‘Murray Street’ or the taut concept-rockers of ‘Sister’. Us? We’re hoping their 15th, ‘The Eternal’ – recorded at their own Echo Canyon studio and J Mascis’ Bisquiteen, set for release in June - is a mix of ‘EVOL’’s ambient noise, ‘Goo’s’ lightning-sharp pop and ‘Sonic Nurse’s’ myriad woozy textures. Whatever it sounds like, the signs point to something great. Newly signed to Matador, their first time on an indie since 1989, the group have been free to do exactly as they please without previous major Geffen breathing down their necks; a reaction to 2006’s quieter ‘Rather Ripped’ – a “super song” record according to Thurston Moore – might lead to a louder, noisier direction; plus, we’ve heard rumours their touring bassist, Pavement’s Mark Ibold, is in the band properly now. What’s not to like? Last year, Kim Gordon’s side project, ‘Free Kitten’, had their moments but this is what we’re really after.

Like a sometimes beardy/always geeky one-man Lightning Bolt, Dan Deacon is known for live shows that see him perform from within the crowd. Unlike the rapid hardcore of LB, this studious electro nerd encourages audience participation that goes a little further than walls of death and skull-thrashing until you’re blind. Deacon – 27 from Baltimore – wants his fans to get physically involved as he recreates his meticulous studio output. 2007’s ‘Spiderman Of The Ring’ – Deacon’s third and most recent album – saw him leave behind sound collages and instrumentals, and edge a little closer to the world of fully formed pop songs. ‘Wooody Wooodpecker’ may have sampled the most obnoxious 2D character in the history of animation but beyond its annoyance, and the 2bit lazer-zapping electronics of ‘Snake Mistakes’, ‘Spiderman…’ hinted at original material worthy of the praise received from LA experimenters, Health. This year’s ‘Bromst’, then, is pretty much impossible to call. We know that it’ll be with us on March 24th and we know that it features songs called ‘Woof Woof’, ‘Snookered’ and ‘Wet Wings’. It’s been produced by Brett Allen and then we draw a blank. But ‘Bromst’ is no doubt Deacon’s most important record to date. To progress on from sound collages is one thing but where next? ‘Wooody Wooodpecker’ was an aggravating false start, or at least we hope so. 2009’s offering, with any luck, will be the most original electronic album of the year.

Last we saw Dirty Projector they were pushing 2007’s ‘Rise Above’: a re-working of Black Flag’s ‘Damaged’. Skewed and heartfelt it was far more twee, pretty and math rock than anyone thought the material of Henry Rollins’ hardcore punks could sound. And now, Projectors leader Dave Longstreth has told Stereogum. com that this year’s follow up (his band’s 7th studio album) is to be “simple and as transparent as possible”, which might have been more believable had Longstreth not gone on to mention that the unnamed album – being completed this month – is related to Plaxico Burress; a New York Giants American football star who recently shot himself in the leg accidentally. Stereogum rightly went on to question the truth to this claim, on the ground that the band finished recording the album two months before the jock made headlines for carrying a loaded weapon in a nightclub. But whether Longstreth is throwing us a curve ball (wrong sport, we know) or not, this is sure to be anything but a simple record. It’s just not Dirty Projector’s way, what with being experimental Baltimore musicians who like to play around with structures and falsetto harmonies. It’s sure to be one of the most interesting albums of the year though as Longstreth is said to have compiled an alphabetically ordered Excel spreadsheet of 318 phrases to help piece together the album’s lyrics, once again, hardly the acts of a man making the simplest of sounding records.

We Say ‘Pecker’ is in the title for a reason. Please leave it alone Daniel.

We Say It’s so damn crazy it might just work!

We Say Potentially Wolf’s most emotional and brilliant work todate, equally so, smug o’clock for a now diva-free Polydor.

We Say: Come on, it’s Sonic Youth.



This year Zach Condon releases his third album – a collation of two very different EPs – to shake the acoustic pop apple cart. Here’s a reminder of why we should be bothered. Writer: CHARLOTTE RUMSEY

“Shouting the loudest no longer gets you the most attention,” says Zach Condon, the creative force behind Beirut. And in a very noisy world, this rings true. Beirut’s delicate melodies and nostalgic charm have caught more attention from the public and critics alike in the past two years than any ‘dance punk’ or ‘new goth’ could have hoped to. Bohemian and melancholy, Beirut’s music paints a nostalgic portrait of Europe – evocative of hazy Italian summers, gypsy fairs and faded glamour. It’s an image reflected in the band’s album artwork and, most strikingly, via the video for single ‘Elephant Gun’, in which Condon – front man, songwriter and multiinstrumentalist – cuts the perfect figure of a finely moustachioed young man transported from Bohemia via Long Island circa 1908; what he describes as a “purposeful but natural” image. It seems an odd concept for a 23 year old from Santa Fe, New Mexico, with a background in dance and electro, to pull off so beautifully. Previous projects include pseudonyms Real People and 1971, both electronically influenced. But then, Zach wasn’t the average American teenager, either wrapped up in the US Dream or violently rebelling against it. “My earliest obsession was of


Europe as a kind of Utopia compared to suburban America,” says Condon. “As a teenager I worked in an independent cinema that only showed European movies and these images of Europe sort of... caught my head. It was working there that I saw films such as ‘Peirrot le Feu’ [Jean Luc Godard’s French, new wave masterpiece] and the Italian film ‘The Way we Laughed’ that caught my attention.” As for the nostalgic atmosphere, found on debut album ‘Gulag Orkestar’ in particular,

“I picked up the trumpet to rebel against the guitar lessons my Dad arranged for me,” laughs Condon now. “I suppose that is the opposite of what most kids would do.” Similarly, Beirut’s original interest was in dance and electro music – something his family were keen for him to revisit. “Dance music is kind of my escape from Beirut. They’re completely opposite; it’s a real Jekyll and Hyde scenario. Real People [Condon’s electronic side project] experiment with very different sounds to Beirut.

“I picked up the trumpet to rebel against the guitar lessons my dad arranged for me” “I suppose certain interests, particularly in music, skip generations,” says Condon. “I grew up a decently shy child, and Santa Fe is really isolated musically. When I found anything outside of it, it caught my interest.” European folk is about as far outside of Santa Fe as one could hope for. Beirut began as a solo project, when a 17-year old Zach moved to New York and formed a live band to perform under the moniker. Although he continues to be the primary songwriter, his band contribute more to the

project as things move on, the current cast consisting of Kelly Pratt, Perrin Cloutier, Jason Poranski, Nick Petree, Kristin Ferebee, Paul Collins and Jon Natchez. And the 9-strong group is a perfect example of how rebellion and contradiction change according to what has become normality. Now that genres such as punk and metal are as mainstream as assemblyline pop, sweeping melodies and composition – in the same vein as Arcade Fire, Final Fantasy and Patrick Wolf - seem to be the alternative choice.

Although my friends and family told me they like the Beirut stuff, they still had a place in their hearts for the electronic music that I’ve always worked on. So they convinced me to collect a few songs and release them on the double EP.” Ah, yes, the forthcoming EP; a double disk release of ‘March of the Zapotech’ by Beirut and ‘Holland’ by Real People, a testimony to the breadth and imagination of Condon’s song writing abilities. Whether turning his hand to electronic music or working with a Mexican Funeral Band – as on ‘March of the Zapotech’, recorded in Mexico with the assistance of the 19-piece Jimenez Band – Condon’s songs retain a kind of elegance rarely found in “pop


music.” “I try to explain Beirut as acoustic pop, and keep it vague,” says Condon. “To explain it to strangers I’ve made up a few genres in the past but, at its core, it really is acoustic pop.” However, Beirut are a far cry from the average acoustic folk band. Musically they owe more to Balkan gypsy folk than to the usual acoustic pop influences of Bob Dylan and Neil Young, inspiration that was gathered on two trips to Europe with Zach’s brother Ryan, along with his general interest in European culture. Mandolin, ukulele, accordion, glockenspiel, euphonium [a brass instrument] and violin replace the more conventional pop instruments of

guitar, bass and keys. Along with Patrick Wolf, Condon is one of the considerably few people in pop who favour Ukulele over guitar, despite not actually knowing much about the instrument. “I was recently interviewed for a ukulele magazine,” remembers Zach who no longer plays much guitar due to a wrist injury, sustained falling off a bridge. “It was an interview just about the Ukulele as an instrument. It was pretty funny because I don’t know anything about the ukulele, other than the chords I play. It just interested me. I didn’t just pick it up as an alternative to the guitar, but because my wrist is slightly shorter it’s not easy to hold the neck of a

guitar.” Lyrically too, Beirut stray away from the usual ‘acoustic pop’ formula, opting for lyrics that are “Flowery but absurd,” as described by their author. “Lyrically, I take a lot from my brother, Ryan, who writes the blogs on my website. I try to sync my voice with his because I like the way he writes - it’s kind of flowery but absurd. But I dislike the process of writing lyrics. I get into a kind of fever when I’m writing music, and everything is building up and getting bigger and bigger... and then I have to slow down, basically come to a complete halt, and use a completely different part of my brain. It takes away the flow, because I have to suddenly become more

rational. It’s not a struggle so much, and I do like to have interesting lyrics, but it is a different creative process and involves engaging a very different part of my brain.” Beirut’s nostalgic and imaginative song writing is an inspiring alternative to the indie-pop average; ‘March of the Zapotech’ will be proof of that to the uninitiated and confirm Zach Condon’s versatility to the already familiar. Following in the footsteps of song writers such as Win Butler and Owen Pallott, this is intelligent and genuine music, evocative of a golden era and place that never really existed.


PAVEMENT There’s talk of a reunion, but Scott Kannberg say that his old band want to “do it right” Writer: TOM PINNOCK

The last few years have seen so many high-profile reunions – from the frustrating ‘one night only’ Led Zeppelin to Blur’s recent cessation of hostilities – that it’s hard to muster much enthusiasm for them any more. If John and George were still around we’d probably see a Fab Four residency at the O2. Californian indie legends Pavement would be top of our list though, and we can reveal that a reunion is looking more than likely to happen in the next few years, with band members all on good terms and the offers flying in... Formed in 1989 in the urban wasteland of Stockton, California, by two bored guitarists – Stephen Malkmus (aka SM) and Scott Kannberg (aka Spiral Stairs) – an eccentric, older studio owner and drummer Gary Young, Pavement were the jewel in the 90s indie crown. As a trio, they released three ultra-trashy lo-fi EPs – ‘Slay Tracks (1933-1969)’, ‘Demolition Plot J-7’ and ‘Perfect Sound Forever’ – before unleashing their slightly-less-lo-fi debut album ‘Slanted And Enchanted’ in 1992. A ragged mixture of deadpan drums, bumblebee fuzz guitar and some of indie-rock’s catchiest tunes, overlaid with Malkmus’ labyrinthine wordplay, it’s one of my favourite albums of all time. “‘Slanted...’ is probably my favourite of the early stuff,” Scott Kannberg tells us from his Seattle home. “‘Crooked Rain Crooked Rain’ was good and ‘Slanted...’ was good, but ‘Slanted...’ was with a different drummer, so I almost kind of consider that time a little different to the ‘Crooked...’, ‘Wowee Zowee’ and ‘Brighten The Corners’ eras.” Arguably even better, 1994’s ‘Crooked Rain Crooked Rain’ saw a new drummer, a full band and some crossover success on MTV. Indie puritans through and through, Pavement appeared to intentionally sabotage this with the following year’s eccentric and resolutely uncommercial ‘Wowee Zowee’. Nearly all their albums have been lavishly reissued over the last seven


years, with 1997’s ‘Brighten The Corners’ receiving the deluxe treatment last December. “It was probably one of the funnest records we ever made,” remembers Kannberg. “It was kind of the first record we made going in as a band, you know, all playing in the same room at the same time. It was cool, and I think it translates to the record. It’s probably our strongest record vibe-wise. “All our other records we’d basically put down the drums then the guitar tracks, then overdub everything, so it always sounded very disjointed at times, whereas [with] this record it kind of feels like everything’s in place, like a classic record should be.” After ‘Brighten The Corners’ it’s widely thought that frontman Malkmus took total control of the band, preventing Spiral Stairs, or any of the other members, from contributing. Uh, not quite true – more like they just didn’t have any songs to contribute, according to Kannberg. “With Pavement, everything was very kind of haphazard and disorganised, you know,” he explains. “On [final album] ‘Terror Twilight’ basically Steve kind of went through a little phase of writing a shitload of songs and the rest of us just didn’t really have a chance to, you know, do that. We tried, but then we got Nigel [Godrich] involved to produce, so we were kind of under the gun of time constraints and so we decided to go with Malkmus doing all of his songs. They’re still great songs and everybody contributed still. It’s still a good record, I think. We just didn’t know it would be the last Pavement record.” But surely relations weren’t too good between you guys by the time you split in ‘99? “You know, as with every relationship there’s gonna be times where everybody gets sick of each other. There’s a lot of stress, everybody was kind of away from their families. You know, we kind of worked very hard for ten years, and I think everybody was just ready to take

a breather.” Legendary status and an incredible back catalogue present and correct, then. Since the split, Malkmus has carved out a successful solo career with his more complex, proggy band, The Jicks, bassist Mark Ibold has been playing with Pavement’s idols Sonic Youth, Bob Nastanovic has become successful in the horse racing industry, and drummer Steve West fronts his band Marble Valley, while Kannberg has released two albums with his solo project Preston School Of Industry, and is set to release a third, under the name Spiral Stairs, this May. Reunion requirement no.2 – members on ok terms? Better than that. “Everything’s fine now,” says Kannberg. “I just saw Malkmus the other night, I see Mark Ibold sometimes and I talk to Westie sometimes, and yeah, everybody’s doing good. I think everybody’s doing their own thing and having a good time.” You’d hope talk of a reunion would have been included in the Malkmus/Kannberg dinner party conversation (alongside arguments about which Swell Maps album is the best, and whether Jazzmasters or Strats work best with Big Muffs, of course), and you’d be right. “There’s talk about of doing it in the future, but I’m not sure when,” reveals the guitarist. “Maybe in the next few years. 2009 would be our twenty-year anniversary too, so that’d be a good time to do it, but I think that’s too soon, it might have to be pushed back later – most people have kids and I think we’d want to do it right, we wouldn’t just want to do a one-off show and piss people off!” Don’t hold your breath for any new material though. “That kind of depends on how everybody feels, I think if you’re going to do shows you might as well give the fans what they want – you know, if I was going to see a band I really loved getting back together I don’t think I’d really want to hear any new songs, no matter how cool they were!” It must have been their lo-fi

dream when they started, but Pavement are now more famous and loved than when they were around, what with a host of new bands dropping them as influences and all the lovely deluxe reissues hitting the shops. Scott laughs at our suggestion that the group would be playing much bigger venues than ever before if they reformed, but he doesn’t refute it. “Oh yeah, for sure, that’s the word on the street! I don’t know, yeah, [we get offers], nothing that great. I don’t know what we’re worth. Nobody’s got any money now! Coachella keep asking our booking agent, but our booking agent’s pretty strong, you know, he’s waiting for the right number I think.” Talk of the credit crunch and the global financial crisis might well be leaving us without jobs and clogging up our news, but those with a selfish streak can take heart – if the members of Pavement fall on hard times the reunion might come quicker. After all, with the release of the deluxe ‘Terror Twilight’ in late 2009 or 2010, there’ll be no more Pavement archive stuff to release. “Oh no, there sure is,” Spiral Stairs chuckles. “We’ve got the very first show we ever did that I’ve still got to put out. It’s like a radio show and a lot of the songs we did never even appeared anywhere, they’ve never even been recorded. It was right after we did ‘Slay Tracks’ and just before ‘Demolition Plot’. We had this other guy drumming for us, my roommate from college. There’s talk of releasing stuff on vinyl too, all these different kinds of things we’ve been talking about.” Then there’ll be nothing left, though, right? “Then we’ll have to reform, ha! I don’t see why not, you know, it could be a fun thing to do, go and play your favourite songs every night!” With Pavement, the future’s bright. But, unlike some, you can be sure it’ll have nothing to do with a mobile phone company when this band do return.


19 21

ADAM GREEN Everything’s Peachy: conversation with a non-conformist Writer: PAUL STOKES Photographer: GUY EPPEL



ee if you can spot the blatant lie: In Germany, Adam Green is indie’s answer to David Hasselhoff. Adam Green’s grandmother romanced Franz Kafka and appears – albeit disguised – in several of his major works. Adam is famous in South America after one of his songs was used in a toothpaste advert, however, no one asked to use ‘Jorge Regula’ to flog the breath freshener and Green only discovered its existence after he was invited to pick up an Argentinean award. Remarkably, all are true.We could also add that the former Moldy Peach once sold Albert Hammond Jr the very suit from his own back. Or that off the back of teenpregnancy comedy, ‘Juno’, New York’s indie kingpin was invited on the US’ equivalent of Loose Women to perform ‘Anyone Else But You’. For its sheer berserker glory we could


also recount that live on German TV’s biggest chat show he claimed that he and the brothers from Hanson had fought together in Iraq in a special celebrity unit (look it up on Youtube). However, to merely restate these colourful chapters provides us with nothing of the man himself. Adam Green does not do these things for attention, they happen to him simply because he is Adam Green.To celebrate and toast one of music’s last true mavericks, Loud And Quiet met with him in his bus, backstage at some European festival. A tape recorder was left running, but what happened was not an interview in any conventional sense. Instead what surged from Green’s lips could be called an epistle, a pronouncement, an edict. It could also be called an unhinged conversation between two people whose minds were temporarily

not their own. The choice is yours, but with X Factor homogenisation coming from the left, the credit crunch eroding indie’s ability to fund gloriously doomed experiments from the right, Loud And Quiet is happy to doff its cap and genuflect before a true nonconformist.

The tape recorder has been running for a few minutes, pleasantries are exchanged, the noise of bottles being moved can be heard Adam Green: I made up a joke about my Keds.What’s the similarity between my Keds and the devil? Paul Stokes: Your kids? A: My Keds, they’re a wonderful brand of shoes.

P: Oh your shoes? A: Yeah.What’s the similarity between my Keds and the devil? P: I don’t know. A: They both have basically no sole/soul. [sniggering] It’s good right? A biting political joke, religious too. I have a religious riddle for you too. P: Ok. A: Four people are the last people remaining on planet earth,Two men, two women. They’re both relegated to two islands, on each island a man and a woman. One island is located in the Philippines, the other is off the coast of Ecuador. Now for some reason, these people on the islands can’t procreate. It’s not because of fertility, it’s not because of sexual attraction. Nothing to do with age or whatever… Why can’t they procreate, the last four remaining people on the planet?

P: Mmm. It’s a religious riddle? A: I would normally say the hint was science or history. P: Give up. A: It’s because of the ten commandments! P: They’re brothers and sisters? A: No because both of their island partners are each other’s spouses, and the Ten Commandments says ‘thou shalt not commit adultery’ and that’s why they can’t procreate. It’s an interesting riddle. P: Religion ends the world. A: It’s complicated. P: You got married recently, didn’t you? A: Yeah this tour has been like a marathon because I got married right before then we we’re off to do a couple of festivals and we took a honeymoon in Rome.We found a private swimming pool under the aqueduct and we spent like seven days in the swimming pool, which was really lovely. Then all of a sudden we are getting divorced and we both have lawyers and shit. Her lawyer is a girl and mine is a guy so it’s almost like THEY are getting divorced. It’s really a mess. It makes me sick the whole thing… P: It doesn’t sound like you want to talk about it. A: Yeah my interviewing style is incredibly personal. So anyway, I found a Roman coin in the ruins of the Palentine Hill. I was walking around the Palentine Hill, beside where the forum was and I found a coin under some sand. I don’t know how much it’s worth. I’m going to have to take it to the antique roadshow. Isn’t that lucky? P: It’s probably some ancient antiquity. It’s probably against the law to take it out of Italy. A: They can’t arrest me ‘cos my music is too handsome. Also, I tried to get an orange from one of the trees up there. I shook it and a rotten orange fell from the branch. I picked it up, realised it was rotten, inedible and then some punk came up to me and tried to charge me a Euro for it! P: Was it his tree? A: (pause) He was delusional. He was dressed as a Roman centurion. The conversation continues, Green suddenly announces he’s had the worst day of his life in Nottingham A: …it was all separate incidents, that’s what makes it so puzzling. How many things can go wrong in one night? I severed my ankle from my body, it was during a ridiculous stage antic and I wasn’t able to walk. After the concert my backing singer and bassist went to a kebab shop to get some chips and

I thought it was amazing that Iggy Pop had an opinion about the Moldy Peaches at all. He’s one of those wonderful people

humus and they found themselves in the middle of a catfight… so then the boyfriends joined in and a pregnant lady got kicked in the stomach and my backing singer got scratched in the face by some really long nails. Elsewhere in town, my guitarist Jon Whiskey Wiley was walking back to the bus when he came across a few baby girls, maybe like 16 year-old rock fans, and some dudes tried to move in on his thing with the girls and he got punched, which resulted in a black-eye.The girls, I would describe them as mingers, were hideous looking.They came into the back lounge on the bus when I was icing my foot, and first thing they did was ask me how old I was. I said ‘get the fuck out of the bus.’ As they were leaving they stole my bus driver’s computer and ran away into the night giggling. So Nottingham ruined us and it made me think ‘how many things could go wrong in a row before I would turn to heroin?’. I mean what if days like that just kept on coming one after another? I think at some point heroin would have to come around (laughs) and for the first time it would be welcome in my life. P: It feels like you should have an equation. Days in misery divided by outlook on life… A: It’s good to know it’s always out there waiting for me! Like a light at the end of a tunnel! So I found out we have an avid following in Eastern Europe, it was the first time I went over there. I went over to Budapest in Hungary. I found out that my family lineage is Romanian. My great grandfather was Nathan Abonick and he’s from Transylvania, we played in Budapest to like 10,000 people who were singing all the lyrics. I don’t know how they know the lyrics as my records haven’t even been released there. I started thinking we should just start moving one country over each time, we could go to Romania, then the Ukraine, push it down to go to Croatia, Bosnia and then over to Bulgaria. P: Turkmenistan. A: What place? I have to read about this place. P: The leader is the last dictator in Europe, he built a glass palace for no reason. A: I was touring with Sophie Ellis Bextor’s crew and I heard about her private performance for a Russian billionaire.That sounds like fun. I’d like to shake my ass in front of some real big money one day. P: that’s the dream for everyone really. Keep going east, head towards the oil. A: Yeah, keep going. Anyway Eastern Europe, I thought the people looked vampric, I was talking to a friend of mine, Francesco Mandelli, he’s an Italian screen-actor, and he wants to become a first time director so we

were going to try to write an Italian vampire film and shoot it in Transylvania, meanwhile we’re going to try to find my family. It’s funny because I traced the other side of my family to a shtetl-town in Russia called Rechesha near Kiev, incidentally the population is 200. Regina Spektor’s great grandmother is from the same town so we’re probably related. Like almost definitely, it’s a pretty small town.That was funny. P: Have you been tracing your heritage a lot? A: I had it really thrust in my face when I grew in popularity in Germany, because my mother’s grandmother was engaged to Franz Kafka. She’s well known there as Kafka’s muse and there’s a book published of love letters that he wrote to her and their correspondence. Her name was Felice Bauer. Bauer means farmer in German. My Grandfather grew up on a farm in Brooklyn where they grew marijuana. But anyway, Kafka wrote The Metamorphosis when they were together and she’s Fraulein Burstein in The Trial, hence the F.B. similarity. I had a meeting with a Kafka scholar last time I was in Berlin and he told me that my great, great grandfather is the Judge character in The Trial because apparently him and Kafka had a volatile… well they didn’t like each other. Apparently he humiliated Kafka by essentially “trying” him in a hotel room after my family heard that he’d made some advances on a friend of Felice’s.The Trial is essentially a situation of feeling guilty but feeling justified as well.There’s a Robert Crumb drawing I saw in a book of my great grandmother. I was trying to find out how I could get in touch with his estate because I want to purchase the drawing. He’s done so many, like one million drawings, so it shouldn’t be that much, he should just give it to me, Jesus it’s my great grandmother! I’ll pay him for the ink and the paper, and the postage. I’ll give him 500 bones. Dollars! Pounds are too expensive. So I don’t know if I’ve been that much into my family linage


I had a great idea for a Bowie record. It was a great, great idea that would have changed history. It’s right there waiting for him

but it’s been thrust in my face because of the internet.Two things wrong with the world: the internet, gangsta rap… ah Lil’Wayne is cool, you know, and Ice-T the original. P: Why? A: Gansta rap is dead, it’s about to seriously perish. And the internet unfortunately is still thriving. About a month ago I made a policy of no internet and my life has improved dramatically. Before I had the internet my life was much better, same with cell phones. I remember I used to go searching in record stores for obscure albums you could never find. Now it’s Amazon.There’s something to it man, you have to earn your weirdness you can’t just get it all on one day through Google.Whatever, it’s beyond the superficial, it lowers the quality of life. It’s like smoking four packs of cigarettes a day or something, it’s just a bad fucking… a bad idea. My new life, no internet. P: How is that working out for you? A: I read books and things, shit I’ve read like an Ernest Hemmingway novel. I read a book about organic farming. I don’t even like organic farming, I just read the book because I had so much free time, I was just checking my email for business. Fuck you internet! I went outside and stuff, it was interesting. There were no clips, I didn’t watch any clips. P: And what’s wrong with Gangsta rap A: Gangsta rap? It was responsible for my entire abuse as a child. I grew up in this neighbourhood where everyone was, I don’t know, everyone was from what I call the ghetto of their house. I know they’re not from the ghetto, but I guess they grew up in the shitest room in their house.That was the connection. And I wasn’t allowed to show my feelings back then. P: The box room? A: Yeah.These kids tormented me when I was a little kid, I used to get thrown down the stairs by these fucking meatheads that went to my school. I broke my leg once, which is weird because ever since I started playing music I’ve become absolutely


impervious to injury.That’s what surprised me about when I busted my ankle the other night, because I consider myself to be invincible. I’ve learnt now I am not invincible but it’s just like Achilles had his heel, I have an Achilles ankle. But this shit has already healed in like one day and I’m ready to rock the arse offa Cork, Ireland where they make Murphy’s which I do believe is better than Guinness. I do believe Murphy’s is a superior recipe and I’m not scared to say it. The discussion turns from stout beers to Picasso and his love of sailor’s outfits. Green states his desire to acquire a similar look, before explaining his love of military chic A: I just bought some Russian sailors’ shirts from this old Nazi but he was so nice, he didn’t even know he was a Nazi; it was as if he didn’t know. P: You like military chic, you have that East German jacket on the ‘Jacket Full Of Danger’ album sleeve. A: I enjoy it. I’ve always been pale and I’ve always had this Oedipal thing with my mum… she used to jerk me off when I was younger so I would go to bed. I was thinking about making a line of Military Jackets from tweeny-girls called “Little Pervert.” Now that the wall is down, I don’t fucking fuck with western any more, it’s all east for me! When I go to Germany, east! I love hanging out in busted out warehouses filled with rubble and propaganda. P: How is it going in Germany now? A: I think they’ve turned their back on me slightly, but it’s not a full turn.When ‘Gemstones’ came out – and I think this will surprise people in England because it wasn’t well received over there or in the States – it was so incredibly well received that it created an impossible standard or expectation that nobody could fulfil.Then I put out ‘Jacket Full Of Danger’ only nine months later because I was on a roll I thought, but that was the start of the backlash in Germany, ‘oh is he only going to do more of this’.The irony is it’s one of those records is really influenced by Germany. Like ‘The Idiot’ from Iggy. It’s just one of those German records that are really dark, people will like it one day. Recording that record is when I turned bisexual and I never looked back.” Then we’re on to Green’s recent tour, with the singer recounting the experience of eating a Langos, a deep-fat fried mix of sour cream and garlic found at a Hungarian “gypsy festival”.The artery thickening national dish is just the first of a series of new influences Green is keen to embrace. He

praises avant-garde Hungarian composer Goran Bregovic, Indonesia’s Gamelan Orchestra and Spanish dancer Jose Carrate.The latter blends Flamenco and Bela Lugosi’s Dracula and the Malaga dancer has clearly touched Green. A:… Jose Carrete was the most intense guy I’ve ever seen onstage. He was like Beethoven’s ninth as a man. P: Just through the sheer physicality of his performance? A: He had this little pocket watch and chain, and he was a skeleton- like guy, he’s really old, like maybe in his 60s, grey hair all back, just this watch chain and vest and did this crazy creepy dance with these Dracula like hands and nobody spoke.There wasn’t a sound, he did it for 20 minutes and it was just mesmerising. I went and introduced myself to him after the show and he gave me his vest. I have the vest from that performance, it’s one of my most treasured possessions. He actually really inspired me by giving me the vest and made me realize that people should be giving more sentimental stuff to strangers. Like today I’ve been touring around with Yeasayer a lot and I really like them and find them really interesting. I was wearing this necklace and I realised it has two things, it has Baltimore and Pennsylvania on it and we were talking and I realised that’s where they are from as a band so I gave them the necklace, that’s how it should be. P: Like the country music tradition of handing your guitar on to the newcomer. A: I love that. I don’t know what it means I just think it’s a wonderful thing, especially when you spend half your life travelling. I keep that stuff, the relics and things, like I have a lyric sheet of ‘What A Waster’ that the Libertines wrote out for me so when I was recording it I would know all the words. I kept it. Discussing his European tour further, Green produces a plastic bag of vinyl record’s he’s plundered from second hand shops while on the road. A: That’s the thing about going to Europe a lot you get to raid record stores for records that you can’t really find in America. Look at this, I found it in an Berlin antique store: Alan Vega from Suicide’s solo album.Why were they selling it in an antique store? Anyway, one of the greatest things on this tour for the band was that we played a festival in France with The Stooges.We got to dance onstage with Iggy Pop. After the show he came up to me and said ‘I just saw the Juno movie and I was laughing because

they sang your song really sincere and I always thought that song was more ridiculous’. I thought that was amazing that Iggy Pop had an opinion about the Moldy Peaches at all… and Juno. I would love to do a record with him, like co-write the songs and work on something like that. He’s one of those wonderful people, Iggy Pop, true blue one hundred percent.The Greatest ever. P: Did you ever get any response from Bowie after offering to write a record for him. A: No, I think Bowie is inundated with well he’s working out a lot I think. My friend told me Bowie was working out at her gym. She was on the treadmill and all of a sudden Bowie comes right next to her and starts doing the elliptical. When she went back the next week he was right there again. I don’t know why Bowie wants to work out at the gym with the other gay people.That’s really strange.That being said I had a great idea for a Bowie record. It was a great, great idea that would have changed history. I’m not going to tell anyone he might take me up on it, he should. It’s his last great transformation and I figured it out and it’s right there waiting for him if he wants it. P: Are you doing a record soon? A: Yeah I am, when I get home that’s all I’m working on. I’ve recently rented an office in Williamsburg. So I’m going to be in my office which I’m going to cover in shitbrown velvet and I’ll hang on the wall a piece by Al Hanson. Also I’m going to hang a picture of Mandy Moore eating a meatlesshamburger at McDonalds. A big print of that. Then I’m just going to work from there.This one I’m going to spend some time on, my intention is for it to be a hundred days so this one is going to be real. I’m going off the deep end for this album, we’ll see what happens. I hope it’s the most fabulous record I’ve ever created. P: Will you have your name frosted on the door, like a PI? A: Yes. I need to soundproof this shit. It’s in a warehouse. I’m writing this novel where it’s set in medieval times called ‘The Court Jester’ so I’m trying to work on multiple things. I’m trying to finish that and also I’m doing an artshow with Cory Kennedy that is sort of Graffiti based. P: How much work do you do a day? A: Not enough (laughs). P: Are you disciplined? A: I’m on tour now so I’m drinking a lot of beer, but when I get home I’ll be regimented again. I look forward to it so much; I just want to be back in gay old New York in the Gay scene. I think if I was bisexual that’s when I’d make my best records.




THE MACCABEES In the studio with a band as patient as their loyal following Writer: STUART STUBBS Photographer: SOPHIE JARRY Know that ‘polishing a turd’ phrase? It’s meant for this. In fact, it’s meant for all returning artists everywhere. Because immaculate timing, a Coldplay-wide promo budget or mass-hype matter little where musical comebacks are concerned. Just ask Britney or that ginger man who used to hang out with Slash from Velvet Revolver. You only get one chance to make a second impression, which is why The Maccabees scrapped half of album number two as soon

as they’d written it. “When we finished touring the last album we thought we’d written half of this one,” explains singer Orlando Weeks “but then we started demo-ing and it sounded so shoddy. So we went back to the drawing board and started again. It’s taken a while but it’s definitely been time well spent.” Shoddy as is samey and rushed, we presume? Orlando: “I think it was a mix. It didn’t feel like it had

moved on enough and it felt like, from what I was writing, that I was so tired of the stuff we’d been playing and touring that I wanted to do something so far removed that as soon as I got over the novelty of not writing for The Maccabees I stood back from it and was like, ‘actually, that’s shit’. And then I relaxed back into the fact that I’m in a band with these other boys and I know what we’re capable of doing. And I think everyone did the same

thing – we all went away and realised that when we’re writing we need to be writing for each other’s strengths.” Maccabees’ strengths, for those that missed previous album ‘Colour It In’, include writing beautiful, swooning melodies one minute (‘Toothpaste Kisses’) and playful, spiky indie the next (‘X-Ray’). Whether brashly leaping from or vulnerably sneaking out of Orlando’s chest, each track has always been lyrically honest and highly


emotional, even when seemingly about swimming pools (‘Lachmere’). And now the band are holed up in the most romantic heart-friendly city in the world, made for writers of songs called ‘First Love’. Truth be known, The Maccabees find themselves in Paris partly to escape English disruptions, partly because some arm-twisting meant that their label allowed it. “We did the first three weeks in Liverpool and Lincolnshire,” explains Orlando “and then we came out here just to finish it all off. We definitely didn’t want to do it in London, like you said, there’s just too many distractions of all sorts, and also we thought that if we could persuade the record company to fork out for us to come here, amazing. I’ve been listening to Echo & The Bunnymen a bit and I think Paris has a good heritage for producing good records and it’s a beautiful city, and we all wanted to come.” It’s bassist Rupert (the tallest, almost shy Maccabee) that seems to be really benefiting from the band’s Eurostar trip. His parts on the new album are all but finished, leaving time to broaden his knowledge and admiration for a new, unsuspecting love – “Rupert’s become obsessed with AC/DC,” says Orlando, confirming guitarist Felix’s claim in a recent Myspace blog. “Sometimes I wonder what interests him, but at the moment it’s AC/DC. He’ll be walking around Pere Lachaise listening to AC/DC. At the grave of Chopin, listening to AC/DC”. For the rest of the band (bar Rob who has handed over his sticks to substitute drummer Sam for the recording process) swatting up on ‘Back In Black’ in world famous cemeteries remains far from their agendas. Felix, Orlando and second guitarist Hugo are still


prisoners to the studio, slogging it out with producer Marcus Dravs (Coldplay, Bjork, Arcade Fire) before a Christmas break and a fresh start around the time your read this – Orlando: “We’ve been writing and working on it for almost a year and a half so I think it would be good to start the new year afresh, and not be thinking ‘oh, we’ve still got to do that guitar and that vocal’”. Inside their focussed hub they remain a close family of old friends (and two brothers in Hugo and Felix) and, this being The Maccabees, are as welcoming as any band could be. They point us to the new song sheets on the wall, pose politely for photos, chat freely and doctor the current issue of Loud And Quiet to feature Orlando’s face on the cover. We’ve of course met before, when the band were actually on page one of L&Q in April 2007, and reassuringly the pressure of album 2 shows no sign of dampening their spirits or blunting their exquisite manners. Except, we’re told, there isn’t any pressure. “There’s not really,” insists a relaxed Orlando. “More than anything, from my point of view, I just want it to be a step up, and I definitely think it is. I’m so proud of the first record but I never listen to it all the way though, because it would feel a bit weird to, but with this one I’d like to think that in six months I’ll sit down and enjoy listening to it. I’ve approached it in a fairly selfish way but that’s just how it had to be done.” So all of that ‘swooning melodies and spiky indie’ is no longer for The Maccabees? “As far as I’m concerned, the things I still feel capable of writing about, or feel like I’m allowed to write about because I know enough about, are still the

same,” says Orlando “being in love, or not being in love, and family, and those kind of things. I feel like I can justify writing about those. In terms of the feeling of this new record, it’s more about atmosphere. All of the songs compliment each other, which doesn’t mean that they sound the same at all. But I’ll use the word ‘feel’ because ‘vibe’ is such a horrible term.” Phew. The Maccabees will still be swinging from our heartstrings this year then. That’s good to know. It’s probably why most are so eager to hear another record, after all. It’s why this band’s absence hasn’t seen their fans grow impatient, bored and walk away. It’s why The Maccabees are most likely to ‘do a Mystery Jets’ this year. “I’ve kind of felt that [people want us back] quite a lot,” says a pleased Orlando. “When we’ve been out and about, contemporises have seemed really excited, as we are of them. I was desperate for a new Mystery Jets record and that was amazing. I can’t wait for Jamie’s [T] new record, it’s exciting. I can’t wait for Jack’s [Penate] next record, that’s going to be amazing. So I’m excited to hear everyone else’s.” When comparing recording sessions for ‘Colour It In’ to those of this new, as-yetuntitled album, the band talk of how studio time that came in “dribs and drabs” left the debut feeling like “it was a record of songs, rather than of a cohesive album”. This time around they’re intent on creating a body of work that feels more like a unit of sound. And they’ve noticeably grown as songwriters also. Grown but not ‘matured’. “What I think ‘Toothpaste Kisses’ had that a lot of the other stuff didn’t was a much

more grown up understanding of melody,” begin Orlando “and how to use harmonies, and less… hang on, this is all sounding stupid. This album’s just got a lot of what the first record had in the fact that it’s spirited, but it’s a lot more… I think everyone’s worked out how to make melody work… argh, I’m not really sure how to explain this at all. I just think it sounds a lot better. It’s not more mature because that’s more of a conscious thing. We wrote a lot of that old stuff when we’d not been playing our instruments for a very long time, and we’ve been playing for a lot longer now. And because I’m playing a lot more guitar on this record the other boys have got a lot more freedom. “The first record is a pretty straight record to be honest. There’s not much of a change on there sonically. But this one’s going to sound a lot bigger, and a lot more confident. Everyone’s being a lot more confident and a lot more daring. I hope that people who are aware of the first one will hear a step up there as well.” It seems like The Maccabees haven’t changed a bit and are yet a completely different band altogether. Perhaps they’ve changed as musicians rather than people. Orlando certainly seems like the exact same person we joked with on a Brixton rooftop back in April ’07, only more determine to prove himself. He says there’s no pressure, but he’s definitely ready for the fight. And second albums are a fight, even for a band like The Maccabees, with hoards of fans still waiting to be consoled and supported with emotional words and comforting guitars. Now all this band need to do is prove that there’s no need to ‘shine shit’ if what you deliver is already made of the good stuff.


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Animal Collective Asobi Seksu Crystal Stilts Dan Auerbach Emmy The Great Empire Of The Sun Fight Like Apes Grand Duchy Hot Panda Keith Micachu Oberman Knocks Telepathe The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart The Phantom Band Titus Andronicus Wet Paint Women Woodpigeon


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A Grave With No Name Bon Iver Dan Black Delphic Dinosaur Pile Up Franz Ferdinand Friendly Fires Frightened Rabbit Pens Shock Defeat! Televised Crimewave Underground Railroad Video Nasties We Have Band & Ezra Bang Youthmovies & Jonquil




Telepathe Dance Mother (V2) By Stuart Stubbs. In stores Jan 26



‘Pop’ is not a four-letter word. Not today anyway.Tomorrow, perhaps it will be once more, but for now it’s a badge of honour for everyone from thecocknbullkid to Frankmusik to clutch with varying degrees of sincerity - as they pledge their allegiance to mainstream acceptance.Towards some (the ABBA-loving Little Boots for example) we feel less sceptical than others; like Brooklyn duos, produced by Dave Sitek and released via hip indies such as No Pain In Pop, Merok and IAMSOUND.Yes Telepathe, we’re talking about you. But while ‘Dance Mother’ is certainly not the ‘Like A Virgin’ that these self-professed poplovers claimed it would be, it’s not a million miles from lunchtimes on Radio One either.

Tracks like ‘Michael’ are where Melissa Livaudais and Busy Gangnes get it most right, with a Whigfield bassline and hand claps being chased by lyrics to make your mum blush, not sing-along to on the Tesco run – “My greatest joy would be to destroy you” and “Go ahead and cum so hard,” chirp the duo simultaneously. Part melodious Ladyhawke, part dangerous Crystal Castles, then, it symbolises Telepathe’s strength to be not just style but a fair amount of substance, even if ‘Michael’ does fail to make the Jo Whiley show. ‘So Fine’ is in with a chance though, punching in its processed beat and pulsing in its multi-synths, à la Kylie’s latest album, ‘X’.Vocals are multi-tracked once more (Telepathe’s favourite trick, however much they flirt with pop one second and slag it about with trancy shoegaze the next) and, as ‘Dance Mother’’s opener, it even has us fooled for three whole minutes that this is a ‘pop’ band.The brilliant,

tumbling ‘Chrome’s On It’ fucks it all up though as it crumbles like a Tetris wall under fire. Still as baffling as when we first heard its limited No Pain In Pop release, it features some of the most original electronic loops that remain understated enough to be bearable. Like anything that Dave Sitek is behind (yes, even TV On The Radio), the success rate of ‘Dance Mother’ is under one hundred percent. ‘In Your Line’ is musically akin to Madonna at her most ‘love me, young people’, even if backing vocals do come from Kyp Malone.The closing ‘Drugged’ – queasy at best, plain dull at worst – is certainly no gear that we fancy either. But the waltzing, warm fuzz of ‘Can’t Stand It’, sounding like an off-cut from Sitek’s Scarlett Johansson project, and the spoken worded ‘Devil’s Trident’, make up for both. Thankfully, pop music has never sounded completely like this. If it had we’d be too dazzled – and confused – to invent The X Factor.






Grand Duchy

Wet Paint

Titus Andronicus

The Phantom Band

Dan Auerbach

Petits Fours

It Rots

The Airing Of Grievances

Checkmate Savage

Keep It Hid

(Cooking Vinyl) By Edgar Smith. In stores Feb 16

(Trial & Error) By Danny Canter. In stores Jan 12

(Merok) By Danny Canter. In stores Jan 26

(Chemikal Underground) By Edgar Smith. In stores Jan 26

(V2) By Mandy Drake. In stores Feb 10

For those who’ve seen Pixies doc loudQUIETloud, Grand Duchy is Black Francis and Violet Clark, who he’s about to marry in that film. Sadly for this project, love is blind. Blind and too permissive of the musical flab hanging onto this debut. Around Francis’ solid guitar work and Surfer Rosa-era bass lines; he runs on autopilot and she flits between Nina Persson, Kim Deal and (save us) verses of whispered French. Sometimes it works, as on probable lead single ‘Lovesick’, which suggests The Breeders on a ‘Hot Fuss’ tip or the Pixies-ish ‘Fort Wayne’. Mostly though, the record treads 90ssounding synth-rock ground: all vocoder-happy backing vocals, gated drum sounds, and almost Morcheeba-like production that’s too clean for it to rock or roll much.

Couldn’t ever get over the Chris Rea growls to really fall for the alt. country of Absentee? Always loved Economy Wolf ’s name more than their fuzzy shoe-gazing drones? Me too.Twice. But Wet Paint – a cut’n’shut of both bands – have stripped everything back to produce a Pavement-bating debut album that makes you want to buy back that guitar you pawned for a synthesizer. Brilliantly lazy, out of time and out of tune, the slacker rock of ‘It Rots’ doesn’t give a shit and yet can’t help to impress with its wonky guitars that occasionally blast like Pixies on ‘His Coffin’ and ‘Hug It Out’. ‘By Myself ’ is a perfect I-wanted-you-to-dumpme-anyway huff of a goodtimes anthem, ‘Save The Whales’ even smells of ‘Everything Must Go’-era Manics doing Americana. See, two wronguns can make it right.

Christmas is over, ‘Fairytale Of New York’ is back in the loft and thus the Irish folk punk of The Pogues has been pushed to the backs of most of our minds once again. Cue New Jersey slurrerswith-intent Titus Andronicus, drunkenly blurting along to rowdy twiddley-di-de-dees, and some straight up US garage rock. On tracks that aren’t the accelerating jig of ‘Fear And Loathing In Mahwah’, and the emotional, swaying breakdown of ‘My Time Outside The Womb’ there are also notable slabs of the good (Arcade Fire), the bad (Clap Your Hands) and the Boss (as in Springsteen). A mixed bag, then, which is what ‘The Airing Of Grievances’ is until the Ramones-pomp of ‘No Future’ sobers up even a listening Shane McGowan like a bucket of aqua… or gin, in the face.

“We’re the most self-destructive, directionless, negative collection of argumentative individuals I know,” says Andy, the wacky, self-satisfied organist of The Phantom Band. But don’t let that awful name and the wince-worthy things they say and do (they’ve played with a Stairmaster on stage) put you off. ‘Checkmate Savage’ was spawned from The Delgado’s Chemikal Underground label that has championed compatriots Franz Ferdinand and The Phantom Band ride on a parallel brand of taut, Glaswegian indie. Added to this is a discernable streak of kraut lite; most audible on Neu!-influenced instrumental ‘Crocodile’. Elsewhere, epic opener ‘The Howling’ and the Doo-wop breakdown in ‘Throwing Bones’ make them well worth checkingout at festivals this summer.

‘Going solo’ when you’re one half of a duo in the first place no doubt feels like having a big dump rather than losing an arm, but Dan Auerbach has done just that, presumably feeling the need to explore musical landscapes far from the blues/trad-rock terrain trod by his usual Black Keys, you’d think. Except mediocre Ryan Adams’ country (‘Trouble Weighs A Ton’) and large helpings of plodding soul (‘Real Desire’) aren’t nearly far enough removed from Auerbach’s day job, even if his smokers purr does lend itself perfectly to everything here. Put simply, a lot of ‘Keep It Hid’ can’t help but resemble Black Keys’ b-sides. It may harbour more groove and depth than any of his group’s offering but who wants that when we know this cat sounds so much better when turned up to 11?

Women Women (Jagjaguwar) By Danielle Goldstein. In stores Jan 19


‘Women’ was recorded on portable cassette recorders in a basement, under a bridge, in a “crawl space”.The result is one of claustrophobia and slight nausea before utter elation. Four months to get down, it sounds more like four hours of work, and in its promptness it manages to portray exactly how it was made – quickly and in confinement. A melee of lo-fi noise-pop, shoegaze and post-punk with a ‘60s vibe it sits somewhere between Fiery Furnaces’ ‘Window City’ and the Velvets, with vocals of the Spinto Band and Animal Collective. Puttering along clunkily, as soon as you relax into the tambourine-accompanied static of ‘Woodbine’ there’s a shift into the winding psychadelia of ‘Black Rice’.Then a triangle tinkles, a guitar gets stuck in a chord, but soon you’ll be passing banjo freakouts and skewed strings, so just enjoy the ride.


AL BUMS 08/10





Fight Like Apes


Hot Panda


Emmy The Great

Mystery of the Golden Medallion (Model Citizen)


Volcano... Bloody Volcano

Vice & Virtue

First Love

By Anna Dobbie. In stores Jan 26

(End Of The Road) By Pippa Pett. In stores now

(Mint) By Sam Little. In stores Feb 9

(Lucky Number) By Phil Dixon. In stores Feb 2

(Close Harbour) By Reef Younis. In stores now

With Be Your Own Pet resting in pieces, thank goodness for Fight Like Apes, who, unless you’re Bono, are being touted as ‘the best band in Ireland’ because of their anarchic live shows and psychotically bouncy electro-punk. Their pop is not to be messed with, spitting alcopop-flavoured cyanide over drum blasts, squelchy synths and singer Maykay’s bratty screams about 80s TV.The angry tweecore of ‘Digifucker’ can be credited to Los Campesinos! producer John Goodman, while ‘Jake Summers’ is a yelping proprofanity tribute to the California Dreams star, complete with humorously abrasive lyrics of misplaced violence. Bursting with sing-along hooks and hyperactive e-number-fuelled energy, Fight Like Apes are the brand new sound for those invented by cartoons.

Woodpigeon aren’t just a band, they’re a ‘musical collective’, which, in this case, it’s when people with folk/pop/rock influences join together into one big band and there are just so many ideas that the music becomes faceless and bland in the absence of a pull in one particular direction. If you’ve ever watched a morning of T4 you’ve probably heard this entire album in one American teen drama sitting. After track 8 there is a definite change in pace and the songs become bolder with much more interesting melodies and definite direction. Unfortunately they’re still sung by the same limpvoiced vocalist, have the same excessively wordy lyrics and have the same infuriating over use of one instrument. Makes you wonder what the other 7 band members are doing.

They’ve not made it easy for themselves, this Canadian quartet. The opening ‘Cold Hands/ Chapped Lips’ is such nauseous tweecore - all Los Campesinos!, textbook yaps to xylophones and, later, squealing synths - that it seems like the only way this panda is going to be ‘hot’ is if we set fire to it.The following ‘It’s Worth Eight Dollars’ is then where most will ditch this debut, deciding that it’s in fact not worth eight of anything. But then ‘Whale Headed Girl’ snarls a little in singer Chris Connelly’s voice before pulling in club croons along to an unstable, swaying section. It all whiffs a little more of Hot Hot Heat than the Talking Heads that Hot Panda insist they’re compared to, but it’s a start, and one that carries on for part of ‘Volcano... Bloody Volcano’. A warm panda.

With ‘Vice and Virtue’ Manchester pretenders Keith have created a store-brand version of Kasabian’s ‘Empire’: seemingly the same product but without the essential ingredient of costly production values.This is an album content to simply touch base with what has worked for popular crossover indie acts yet delivers them without conviction. ‘Up In the Clouds’ is ‘Me Plus One’ without the soaring strings; the poppy ‘You Don’t Know’ is Arcade Fire’s ‘Keep the Car Running’ by way of ‘The Time Warp’; and the ten-minute long title track’s Roses-esque ‘psychedelic’ breakdown is overlong, tedious and can’t conjure the sense of trippy wonder it aspires to. An amateurish effort that will fail to inspire others in the way that they’ve been inspired by the classics.

Emmy the Great might not have invaded any radio playlists but in a world of Kate Nash teapot kitsch and scurrilous Lily Allen gossip, off radar, Emmy’s been diligently going about her business and writing folk that challenges Laura Marling’s output. She might look all sugar and spice but there’s a candid brutality to what she sings. Taking her cues from poetry and literature, ‘First Love’ is a sweetly slanted version of the everyday, slyly subverted with mischief and blunt declarations, masked by Emmy’s butter-wouldn’t-melt delivery. Dressing up personal tribulations, the romanticism of the English countryside and the conundrum of what to hum at a funeral, Emmy delivers delicate beauty, introspection and a wicked sense of humour. She’s all set to quietly conquer.

Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino) By Reef Younis. In stores Jan 12



Quirks and foibles typically go a long way these days. Provided you don’t take the piss, a neat set of oddball characteristics can do a lot to differentiate a band. British Sea Power had their foliage and birds of prey,Wild Beasts have reminded us just how startlingly brilliant a wayward, operatic vocal can be. Hell, even Chris Martin tried to make himself interesting by writing little notes on his hand. As for Animal Collective – a mere nine albums strong – they’re still rocking the monikers Panda Bear and Geologist, and sound-tracking Little Red Riding Hood’s alternative, LCD induced soiree into the woods. ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’ has a little definition and, it seems, no pre-set destination.What it is though, is a quizzical,

puzzling long player that goes skipping off down the garden path to play in the Secret Garden at every opportunity. Bustling with wide-eyed curiosity, it’s an album that rejects conventions, losing itself in its own glorious lack of child-like concentration. Restless and unsettled, ‘Also Frightened’ strikes out from an inauspicious beginning and soon has Animal Collective shifting and scampering, entwining themselves in warped harmonies and skewed, spiralling melodies. Rhythms are tossed around with gleeful abandon, pitch is curved and caressed, and it’s evident that this band are in an abundantly playful mood. ‘Summertime Clothes’ buzzes with a kaleidoscopic, New Pornographers-style pomp, and ‘Taste’ carousels itself into an oddly sinister Magic Roundabout sound-along, but it’s closer ‘Brother Sport’ that steals the show – an infectious collage of Panda Bear and Avey Tare’s chameleonic vocals that colours every lovely detail on a delightful album.







The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

Empire Of The Sun

Oberman Knocks

Crystal Stilits

Walking On A Dream

13th Smallest

Alight Of Night

(Virgin) By Greg Cochrane. In stores Feb 9

(Aperture) By Mandy Drake. In stores Feb 16

(Angular) By Stuart Stubbs. In stores Feb 16

In these times of sweeping redundancies and expensive vegetables it’s hilarious to find a label throwing bathtubs of cash at a band. Cue Australians EOTS aka PNAU’s Nick Littlemore and The Sleepy Jacksons’ Luke Steele who are filming a high budget, globestraddling feature film alongside this debut LP. Decadent dirtbags! In interviews they’ll gabble about farming spiritual enlightenment and hairbands from far-flung lands like China and Mexico, and insist they met on a Mars-bound space bus. Musically, they dish up a bunch of Bacofoil space meals, all salted with a firm dose of futuristic nonsense,Tahiti 80, Fleetwood Mac and MGMT. It’s so brilliantly absurd it makes us want to throw wild proclamations around like ‘Empire Of The Sun just saved music’. Now, give us all yer money.

When Frodo puts on that ring and is welcomed by nightmarish visions and swirling white noise, screeching and seemingly whispering “I’m gonna cut you up, little man”, it’s both frightening and annoying, especially if your TV’s too loud. So it’s best to listen to Oberman Knocks’ experimental debut of odd, dark sounds at an introductory low volume, with all the lights on. And that’s only if you’re into avant-garde, paranoid soundscapes in the first place. If you’re not, run for the hills (not Mount Doom). Perhaps the 10 track names of ‘13th Smallest’ mean the world to creator Nigel Truswell, but they’ll no doubt seem irrelevant to most as each song relentlessly infects the next with dark, off beat noises from somewhere not of this world. One for the art students.

The swashing vocals that boom and reverberate through current single ‘Departure’ nearly had us thinking that Crystal Stilts were yet another band paying homage to Joy Division by way of a secondrate impersonation. But over singer Brad Hargett’s Curtis-mumbling groans, and Hooky bass paddings, come surf pop drums and jangling guitars to prove that The Editors this ain’t. Annoyingly, this fivepiece are from Brooklyn, of course, but not of the technically-obsessed camp of TVOTR and Telepathe, nor the Sunny D-quaffing, chirpy set of MGMT. Crystal Stilts’ psychedelic garage is darker than that, stripped to the bare essentials and almost designed for the modern recession.The funeral march of ‘Graveyard Orbit’ can confirm that it’s not going to be all right much but you can’t ignore this.

Jewelry (Accidental) By Stuart Stubbs. In stores now Through the muffled, muddy and plain awful production of Micachu’s ‘Jewellery’ come far more precious gems than nuggets of fool’s gold. So ‘Vulture’ sounds like it’s been dropped in the bath, it still whizzes around like a fuzzy turbine, sucking in hardcore punk drums here and tiptoeing around wonky pop there. ‘Curly Teeth’ may be falling off of its DIY hinges as it wheezes and creeks but it still sounds like a tape-looping, young Beck. ‘Calculator’ is potty bop music, ‘Floor’ is reggae, hip hop and shoe-gaze in one, ‘Worst Bastard’ is Weezer guitars played by a drunk Damon Albarn. And we thought this album was going to be collection of Kitsune/electro pop songs like ‘Golden Phone’. Thankfully not, as the influences pile on this debut to make an original and brilliant DIY magpie.

Self-Titled (Fortuna Pop) By Nathan Westley. In stores now Though the title may hint at longlasting emotionally driven rock, made by angst-ridden boys with delicate fringes and hastily applied mascara, the reality is quite different. Instead this sprightly New York four piece sound like they have locked themselves away in a trendy loft apartment with only albums by Belle & Sebastian, Lush, Chapterhouse and My Bloody Valentine to keep them entertained, the hallmarks of each being finely studied and delicately pieced together in one musical jigsaw.The result is a very traditional, non-shattering conclusion, where sprightly boy/ girl vocals manoeuvre their way over snug comforting choruses that are bathed in warm fuzz and topped off with a keen English pop sensibility. Far from painful.

Asobi Seksu Hush (One Little Indian) By Sam Walton. In stores Jan 26


Read any Asobi Seksu interview and an insistence that “We’re not shoegaze” will crop up at some point, normally after being asked about the striking similarities in their music to My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Ride et al.Their disowning of the tag is presumably to make sure they’re not seen as wholesale copyists of a 20year-old genre and, ironically, to try and stop every journalist writing the same thing. However, the contrary truth is that Asobi Seksu’s third long-player isn’t shoegaze, despite all its best efforts to appear as exactly that. Instead, ‘Hush’ is an average-to-good jangly pop album with some lovely melodies and singing that has then been given a dodgy paint job of faux-edgy production on top. Sure, all the standard

adjectives for the intended genre – “glacial”, “soaring”, “intense” etc – could quite justifiably crop up in this review, but scrape away the thin lacquer marked “epic” and you have an entirely different product. Left in their native states, both ‘Sing Tomorrow’s Praise’ and ‘Sunshower’, for example, would be charming twee-pop to rival Belle & Sebastian at their heart-melting best. But presented here, the added shimmers and washes negate any intimacy the songs may have once possessed, but don’t add enough to pull off the full stadium pomp.The only track that feels truly comfortable here is ‘Me and Mary’, which is a swift, no-nonsense blast of icy noise and crystalline vocals. Unfortunately, positioned penultimately, it’s too little, too late.This is a record of probably excellent pop songs, muddied by shoegaze-by-numbers production and making for an uncomfortable listen. Asobi Seksu are kind of right - they shouldn’t be shoegaze. But beware the band that doth protest too much.



Bang Bang Rock’n’Roll


Dirty Bingo Vs Loud And Quiet at The Macbeth, Hoxton 18.12.2008 By Jude Covington


When a pumped, black rapper is towering over you in a t-shirt with the word CUNT on it, it’s difficult to know if you should be singing along to a song called ‘White Power’. As Ezra Bang barks “We live in an age of white power, white power”, he’s clearly making an important social and political point to tonight’s predominately white crowd, and yet the refrain begs to mouthed with a joyous smile. After a minute of onlookers glancing sheepishly at each other it’s all air-punches and joining in. Melody wins out, which is always the case with Ezra’s three-way hybrid of hip hop, punk and buzzing synth music. He could be covering Gary Glitter’s ‘My Gang’ and we’d eventually dive on in. If a passerby were to peer through The Macbeth’s window right now, they’d see 150 band kids chanting “white power” along with a stacked MC ranting like Spank Rocks harder brother, and probably swear to give up the sauce for New Year. “Merry fucking Christmas,” spits Ezra, by way of an introduction to the opening, festively-

hostile ‘What You Can’t Kill You Must Envy’. A vintage Korgs then whizzes off like the beginning of a Late Of The Pier opus, running away with the simplistic pounding of punk drums. And it’s loud, especially at the front, where Ezra jumps into the audience (he does that quite a lot), flattening those that are already shellshocked by the volume. Keeping their heads down this evening are groovier single ‘Erotic Adventures Of John The Butcher’ and the new SMD Vs Justice-sampling ‘We On Top A Dis’, but in ‘Pussy Got Nine Lives’ – a track about whacking A&R men rather than how felines cheat the fickle finger of fate so unfairly – Bang and his Hot Machine allies have the birth of gangster zap, making Fiddy seem like Will Smith and Axl Rose like Willy Wonka. And then, Ezra having spent 25 minutes humping away at the floor and grinding hard his baby-maker,We Have Band are given the least enviable job in the Macbeth, surely pleasing the

previous title-holder in charge of bog maintenance. If you’re wondering how you follow that tshirt and those lyrics,We Have Band offer an answer – to play smart electronic dance music of their own, and ‘Westend Girls’ by The Pet Shop Boys. The latter is definitely the highlight of WHB’s 40-minute set, perhaps proving just how brilliant the Tennant/Lowe track is, perhaps suggesting that this trio’s self-penned material is currently just shy of enough originality to leap out from the electro-indie throngs. Because We Have Band, this evening at least, prove to be too polished; too calculated; too good even. As a collective – the operative word as all three members press synths, beat drums, strike sample pads, thwack guitars and harmonise vocally atop the Macbeth stage – they play tightly like studious music school graduates. And what they play – from the NYPC-swatting ‘Hear It In The Cans’, which somehow also brings in a bit of

DAN BLACK Barfly, Camden 05.12.2008 By Ian Roebuck ▼

Anyone disappointed by the reemergence of Steve Coogan and Eddie Izzard could do a lot worse than checking out Dan Black.The former front-man of London bland band ‘The Servant’ has struck out solo, signed to Kitsuné and got himself a new haircut - all this culminating in unintentional comedy gold.Thrust into the limelight with a canny cover of Biggy’s ‘Hypnotize’ it seems Black’s movements have been sculpted by an unseen power. Now verging on stardom both sides of the Atlantic the Francophile has been touted by purveyor of pap Perez Hilton. You’d think Perez’s premonition of greatness would be warning enough but an inevitable throng crammed into the Barfly to form their own opinion on the pop sensation in waiting. As the puppet enters stage right he gurns and throws shapes in a startling manner reminiscent of Mika. All too slick and lacking any originality Black has the Barfly split, although genuine bemusement seems to be the default facial setting for most. As he sings ‘you’ve got some nerve to stand and say you’re having a good time’ from current single ‘Yours’ the irony is not lost on many of the audience. British comedy at its best. Elbow quite brilliantly, to ‘Oh’, causing the band and audience alike to up the thrusts per minute – can’t be argued with either.These are well-crafted pop songs (epecially the gloomy ode to Depeche Mode that is ‘You’ve Had Band’), which hold our attention neatly for 15 minutes. But then something happens; a sense of The Ting Tings can’t help but to overcome the whole poptastic affair. And, as was the case with ‘That’s Not My Name’, catchy choruses become predictable, then boring, and finally ignored as the bar staff are suddenly rushed off their feet again. It’s the great pop debate we’ve already discussed in this issue: bands claiming to be “just pop, like our hero Michael Jackson”, but secretly (or not so secretly) hanging out with Klaxons in east London and vying for the admiration of squat parties.That’s in fact more than a little unfair of We Have Band, whom have never mentioned their

aspirations to be any kind of band, appealing to any specific audience, and that looks like it will serve this trio well in 2009. Currently, their indie/disco shtick has the New Young Pony Club factor, only with more ‘Ice Cream’s at their disposal.They’re hip enough to make Fearne Cotton blurt her standard “I love this band” approval all over Radio 1, and yet not so daunting that the blonde presenter will then listen to Ida Maria again as ‘You Came Out’ tinkles from her studio with it’s Peter Bjorn & John whistles intact. And lest not forget that Fearne, regardless of her rebelling penchant for shit tattoos, represents the everyman/woman. Erza may have the charisma and live show to be be hailed as the baddest motherhugger around but that doesn’t pay the bills. If there’s one band that you’ll hear soundtracking E4 trails, and as many sports montages to music this year, it’s We Have Band.

SHOCK DEFEAT! The Lexington, Angel 19.12.2008 By Phil Dixon ▼

Our ears are nearly bleeding but our feet can’t help moving, and it’s not just because we’re standing too close to the speaker.We’re not quite sure what we’re experiencing, but it’s the curious effect of singer Nic Carter’s ear-piercing vocal yelps and that irresistible, incessant drum beat. Combine that with slick basslines, noodly guitar-work, obscure time signatures and the quintessential cowbell and it would be easy for Shock Defeat! to be lost

in a sea of their contemporaries such as Foals, ShitDisco or The Rapture, with whom they share many common elements. As such the ignorant masses may dismiss them as not delivering anything new. But it’s precisely the madcap delivery, their genre-defying eclecticism and the musical greats they recall that sets them apart; most notably Talking Heads, Devo or Oingo Boingo (yes, that great). Taking their legacy from the gods of geek rock it seems these bookish lads have discovered the perfect formula for extracting the core elements of manic dancefloor anthems and creating the ultimate compound of a tight groove, and unflinching backbeat, courtesy of tireless skin-beater Charlie Michael. Shock Defeat! are the mad scientists of the music scene, and they’re here to educate you.

FRIGHTENED RABBIT The Windmill, Brixton 16.12.2008 By Chris Watkeys ▼

The Brixton Windmill is a battlescarred gig shoebox, which has seen hundreds, if not thousands of bands grace (and disgrace) its tiny stage. Enter Frightened Rabbit for the uninitiated, think Glasvegas on a folk tip, with a similar groundswell of sheer emotion carrying their music.With the crowd standing on top of the band, this venue lends itself to the more raucous end of the gig spectrum, and thus the Selkirk folk-rocksters follow suit. Frontman Scott Hutchison, sweaty and wild-eyed, wears his heart not so much on his sleeve, but strung up on his vocal chords, his serrated howl ripping through the thick air.The sound, to be fair, lets the band down somewhat – the drums too loud, the guitars too thin. But Frightened Rabbit’s copious emotional river somehow flows over this barrier. It’s a raucous, noholding-back kinda show; alternately heckled and praised by a heavily drunk old Scottish guy in the crowd as the band rip into the stomping, whiskey-fuelled mayhem of ‘Old-Fashioned’. ‘Fast



Blood’, though, is the set’s standout moment. Played raw, loose and ragged, it’s an emotional whirlpool from which the band emerge limp, drained and swaying. No disgrace for the Windmill tonight.

FRANZ FERDINAND Durrr at The End, Holborn 01.12.2008 By Stuart Stubbs ▼

Youthmovies at The Carling Academy, Oxford.

Franz Ferdinand at Durrr, The End. Pic: Alex Warren

Televised Crimewave at The Deaf Institute, Manchester. Pic: Tom Cockram

The plan was to bull-rush Durrr early, check out supporting Italo disco duo Fan Death and flee The End, not only before the venue is flattened for newly planned flats this winter, but prior to tonight’s ‘secret’ guests taking the stage. Only someone blabbed, and people - evidently - will queue for hours to see Franz Ferdinand perform in a poky dungeon. So we arrive to hear that “the two girls with a keyboard were shit”.That was Fan Death, we’d missed them. But hey, this is Franz Ferdinand! The once familiar power croon of Alex Kapranos will surely be surprisingly welcome? And it is, in part. Make no mistake, opening newy ‘Turn It On’ is worthy of little more than the static bodies being bored by it, but the following ‘The Dark Of The Matinee’ is embraced like a posttravelling friend you’d forgotten existed, and liked so much.Then, a second new track so dull the fortyminute, bitterly cold wait suddenly feels like a heinous act of shame. But then ‘Take Me Out’, complete with a bouncing Erol Alkan. And the rest of the set? Yawn, yawn, yawn, ‘This Fire’. Still, the Eggiest Face Award really goes to the gossip that bragged of knowing a secret as disappointing as Britney on The X Factor.

PENS Barden’s Boudoir, Dalston 05.12.2009 By Edgar Smith ▼

On record, and paper (read ‘myspace page’), Pens are quite an exciting proposition: a girl band


about 3 minutes old, making amiably unassuming lo fi grunge pop and set to support Wavves on the UK leg of their tour next year. Live, they disappoint. Frantic, shrill, and ridiculous, they cruise through an entirely unmemorable set of punk tunes played too slowly to have bite and too quickly to build the sense of brooding, posthardcore malevolence they may/ may not have been aiming at. It’s hard to know as they don’t appear to have any strong intentions; they genuinely don’t give a fuck and it’s painfully boring to watch.Their masterful capturing of the DIY aesthetic adds further problems as none of them can play in time, something they neatly demonstrate by all having a go at drums, one after another. Part of a wider practice of hyperkinetic instrument-swapping between songs, this was either the coke speaking or a true reflection of three woefully short attention spans.The result is more The Donnas-gone-shambolic than glorious mess and later, as California girl punks Mika Mako show them how it’s done, they are blissfully subsumed by the stage invasion after an ill-fated stage dive.

TELEVISED CRIMEWAVE The Deaf Institute, Manchester 03.12.2008 By Kate Parkin ▼

Televised Crimewave come ready packaged as skinny-legged hipsters for the Mighty Boosh-loving generation. Combining doomladen riffs with jerking bass, ‘Objects Of Desire’ plonks them firmly within this mould.Wired to the grid with nervous-energy singer Daniel Wilson hurling himself around the stage, he pauses only to stare pointedly at the crowd, sizing them up, challenging and even willing them to argue back. Spurred on by onlookers they power through the battle cries and driving drums of ‘Kids’,Wilson barely able to contain himself as he tares at his hair and launches himself headlong towards the ceiling.The ice-cool veneer briefly

cracks as ‘Red Room’’s stylistic nod to touring buddies Late of The Pier sees their guitars pack in. Juddering strobes capture them, suspended marionette-like in between poses, momentary prisoners to the lights. Daniel responds to every stroke of the drum as it courses through him, howling “I want to believe in something better than this” frantically. On stage posturing aside,Televised Crimewave are a band that desperately want to be liked. At the risk of sounding moribund, it’s a fine line between youthful enthusiasm and hopeless naivety. Perhaps they deserve more credit than that, and given their impact so far it’s a line they seem to be treading with ease.

FRIENDLY FIRES Koko, Camden 12.12.2008 By Chris Watkeys ▼

It’s possible to accuse Friendly Fires of peddling a slightly outdated, wholly imported sound – that of The Rapture, LCD Soundsystem or even Radio 4 – and failing to put their own spin on it. And for much of this set, it’s a pretty routine performance from the St. Albans quartet – going through the punk-funk motions, checking the rock-dance boxes. It’s far from poor, but never is there that shot of adrenalin, that defining moment to kick-start the performance. If it wasn’t for frontman Ed McFarlane’s crazy-ass, Ian-Curtis-doing-Mick-Jagger dancing, the most engaging thing on stage would be the light show. It’s part gig/part clubland night out, but somehow it manages to miss the raw scuzziness of the former and the pure hedonism of the latter.Then comes the payoff. The band kick into the melodic, epic majesty of ‘Paris’, and all is forgiven; suddenly, all the elements align, the atmosphere descends into pure, euphoric abandon, and all cerebral thought departs, leaving only pure visceral pleasure. So, it took its time in coming but it’s clear that on Friendly Fires’ watch punk-funk didn’t die.

A GRAVE WITH NO NAME Barden’s Boudoir, Dalston 13.05.2008 By Edgar Smith ▼

They’re the first band on a bill featuring the grim stylings of Disasterradio and (former Bis screecher) Manda Rin, and are therefore playing to a fairly empty Barden’s Boudoir. But AGWNN are not the types to be fazed. “Our guitarist’s disappeared,” it’s explained “so Ferry [of relatively successful Semifinalists] is playing. Thanks Ferry.” Ferry gives a Christmas jumper wave and the bassist, who, like his frontman, must have bought his full wardrobe in Seattle circa ‘95, goes and turns on the backing-track drums. Coming on like a Hyperglycaemic Slowdive, the band combine pulsing Pro Tools-built beats and fluid walls of guitar harmony, the vocals riding on top like a ghost track of Ben Bridwell. In a welladvised move, they steer clear of the sampledelic smatterings on their recorded stuff, which focuses their shoegaze sound. Drummerless, taciturn, and scruffy, they are sure to be hated by anyone who greatly values band/audience interaction, hails the Blue Man Group as musical demi-gods or is Alan McGee, but for the rest of us they are more than convincing. A sense of calm surrounds the five short songs and even when the bass’ E string goes in the fourth it is barely noticed. Quietly resolute, this is bedroom music that successfully survives live recreation.

VIDEO NASTIES Push at Astoria 2, London 29.11.2008 By Sam Bailey ▼

To be honest, I’ve never really liked the Video Nasties. I’ve always thought they were a bit generic. Tonight, however, my views are altered somewhat. First up is New Jersey’s Titus Andronicus, who fail to impress, sounding like each of the five members are going for a different sound.There’s some

interesting influences involved, but they need to pull together as a collective to make that sound genre-crossing rather than genreconfusing. Following a predominantly terrible noise-inthe-guise-of-a-set from them, the Nasties stroll out confidently and launch straight into a surprisingly (to me, anyway) good set, reminiscent at times of early Strokes and even The Stooges. Evidently at ease in these indiefriendly surrounds, they switch between rhythmic guitar-heavy rock and electro-based nuances. The sound on the record translates well, although the middle of the set treads a fine line between rhythmic interest and boring repetitiveness. Astoria 2 has certainly seen worse sets this year (step forward, Five O’clock Heroes), and the crowd at least seem suitably entertained.The standard drunken mosh-pit soon ensues with most of the gathered revellers having a great time, and seemingly that’s what Video Nasties are all about.

UNDERGROUND RAILROAD ULU, Holborn 02.12.2009 By Polly Rappaport ▼

What more could a young avantgrunge band ask for than a student union packed with sweaty, beerdrenched teenagers who would probably be thrilled to rip the place apart? While Underground Railroad have been known to rise to such an occasion (see Reading festival 2008) what is most striking about a live performance from this trio is not some display of rock’n’roll stage antics, but the tantalisingly slow release of simmering vitriol. Underground Railroad’s current set of songs is a collage of biting, dyspeptic clashes between JB Ganivet’s bass and Marion Andrau’s guitar, tumbling rhythms and brutal beats from Rafael Mura’s drums and candidly discontented lyrics. Latest single, ‘25’, has an intensely intelligent, meditative quality to it though Andrau’s delivery is one of barely restrained frustration, while ‘NYC’

relinquishes any attempt at restraint to Mura’s sinister pounding and ranting shrieks. As tonight’s set progresses so does the threat of a sonic meltdown, ferocious cries gaining weight and bile until final track ‘Pick The Ghost’ reaches a chaotic climax of screaming metal strings and rampant feedback.The venue remains intact but musically Underground Railroad have dealt it a blow far more profound than any physical smash-up.

JONQUIL & YOUTHMOVIES Carling Academy, Oxford 12.12.2008 By Elizabeth Dodd ▼

With nerve-shredding, centre-ofleft rock, Oxford comes together tonight to celebrate two of its latest experimental exports. Foals may still sit at the top of the bill tonight but the evening belongs the couple of bands propping them up. Jonquil – a spectacle enough with six people on stage – open with an elusive, toothy folk-rock sound; post ambient scope drenched with brass rasps and accordion whines. ‘Pencil and Paper’ sheds the layers generated by a half dozen musicians to emerge like counterparts Wolf Parade, a smart middle ground between abrupt and lush indie. Meanwhile, Youthmovies lack a bassist – he was stabbed in Woolworths, we’re told – and compensate by getting ravingly mind-altered.This makes for a shaky start. Songs lack their usual kick, swathes of confused noodling and a Miles Davies-esque trumpet vie for space. Abandoning song structure entirely - in the spirit of homecoming celebration the band finally let rip seamless noise rock with all the frenetic energy of early Nine Inch Nails. Guitars fly into the audience – prompting clawing audience participation – lead singer Andrew dives after them and cruises back to the stage as the glorious melange of sound screeches to a halt. Outside the pyrotechnic bubble there’s an understandably confused reaction; for those of us inside the hurricane, this we like.

DINOSAUR PILE UP The Harley, Sheffield 30.11.2008 By Kate Parkin ▼

With all the hype surrounding Dinosaur Pile Up, from music mags to Sunday Times supplements, a quiet night down the local hardly seems a fitting place to find them.Yet they look perfectly cheery in their floppy woollen hats, lolling up against the bar. And on stage things start out a little slowly too, until they build into ‘My Rock’n’Roll’’s chugging guitars. A bit too keen to get their best-known number out of the way, it lacks some of the fractious intent of the record, suggesting that their newfound attention doesn’t seem to have quite sunk in yet. Pursued by backslapping lads and doe-eyed girls alike they seem a little bashful, turning in a decidedly Weezer-esque direction as ‘I Get My Direction’ sees singer Matt Bigland display a bizarre vibrato while drummer Steve windmills his arms around. Obscured behind a mop of hair, Bigland finally starts to let go, even if the sparse audience does little to prevent tonight from feeling like we’ve wandering in on a band practice. So, a slow start – even by a Sunday evening’s standards – but eventually high fives all round then.

BON IVER Victoria Apollo, London 07.12.2008 By Rebecca Innes ▼

The Victoria Apollo is ordinarily home to the musical Wicked, but tonight the stalls are heaving for Bon Iver, aka poignant folker Justin Vernon. Opening with a solo vocal from tonight’s star, his hymnal calls resonate through the gloaming dimness of the auditorium as the audience fall silent. A few songs in, the bashful Vernon then feels at ease to introduce the title track from forthcoming album ‘Blood Bank’, due to be released in January. It’s loud and pounding, pulsating with an intense instrumental section and battering

drums.The theatrical stage set fails to detract from the sheer beauty of chilling vocal harmonies, performed with irresistible male insouciance, and with a special dedication to his dearest friend Trevor,Vernon welcomes friends and family in the audience and invites us all to sing, “what might have been lost” in ‘Wolves’. The encore then brings Sarah Siskin to the stage to perform her song ‘Love is for Fools’, heralding a standing ovation. It’s rare that at a venue as vast as this genuine emotion transcends the space. Bon Iver is entirely captivating.

DELPHIC Night & Day Cafe, Manchester 29.11.2008 By Tom Goodwyn ▼

Let’s get one thing straight, dance music is wonderful. It’s catchy, it’s uplifting and at those special times, usually around 4am, there’s nothing more unifying. And yet, those with, let’s say, more discerning musical tastes, have never truly embraced dance music.They perceive it as shallow, throwaway, artificial even. They have visions of men in tank tops and sunglasses, genetically engineering tunes for sweaty, pilled-up dance floors; tunes that are crucially lacking in heart and soul.Well, that’s where Delphic come in. In Manchester’s packed Night & Day Cafe, the trio, supplemented live by their whirlwind drummer, are celebrating the 17th birthday of the venue they practise in and are in their absolute element. Cuts like ‘Doubt’, ‘Red Lights’ and a stunning ‘Counterpoint’ mould into each other without so much as a pause for breath. For the forty minutes the band are onstage, the crowd are spellbound. In their heads, so many names spring to mind, from Chemical Brothers to New Order, Doves at their peak and Daft Punk. All these great acts are now just worthy stepping stones in Delphic’s grand plan. A plan to unify cynical indie fans all over the land.Delphic’s grand plan. A plan to unify cynical indie fans all over the land.





TROPIC THUNDER Starring: Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr, Jack Black Director: Ben Stiller Released January 26th


Left, Che Part One: The Argentine. Above, The Road

CINEMA PREVIEW With the awards season on the horizon, January and February have traditionally become heavyweight months for movie releases, and early 2009 looks no different. Around this time last year we were treated to the quickfire releases of awards-magnets No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Juno and The Diving Bell & The Butterfly.This year there’s a host of heavyhitting dramatic pictures released in January with designs on Oscar glory. First up is Steven Soderberg’s latest – the first of his two-part Che Guevara biopic, Che Part One:The Argentine (released January 2nd). Boasting a bravura turn from Benicio Del Toro - who was the driving force behind the project, and landed an Oscar for his previous Soderberg team-up in Traffic – it tells the story of Guevara’s role in the Cuban overthrowing of the US-backed fascist regime. The following week sees three more awards-tipped movies hit UK screens: Frost/Nixon, Revolutionary Road and Slumdog Millionaire (all released January 9th). Advance reviews suggest Ron Howard’s movie version of the Frost/Nixon stage-play is a rather lightweight affair – something apparently borne out by a disappointingly Rocky-esque trailer – whilst Revolutionary Road should do well from the re-teaming of Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet, with Sam Mendes directing before he prepares for his next couldn’t-be-more-different project, the adaptation of the graphic novel Preacher.The latter movie, Slumdog Millionaire, has overcome a troubled production to win genuine awards buzz, with suggestions that this is Danny Boyle’s best movie since Trainspotting, a Mumbai-set tale of a young man (Skins’ Dev Patel) who somehow manages to get to the final round of India’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.


More buzz has been building around a resurgent Mickey Rourke for a raw performance in The Wrestler (January 16th), playing the eponymous grappler seeking redemption with Marisa Tomei’s waitress – the trailer alone has already been known to make grown men weep - and with last year’s Cormac McCarthy adaptation No Country For Old Men sweeping the Oscars, eyes will also be on that week’s other release, The Road, based upon the bleak post-apocalyptic McCarthy novel, starring Viggo Mortensen, Guy Pearce and Michael K Williams (aka The Wire’s charismatic gay gangster Omar Little). The week after that we’re treated to Sean Penn as assassinated gay politician Harvey Milk, co-starring Josh Brolin as his murderer Dan White, in real life tale Milk (January 23rd) and what’s promising to be the best movie of the month: David Fincher - arguably the most consistent director working today - follows-up the brilliant Zodiac with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: a curious indeed tale of a man born aged 80 who ages in reverse. With a visionary director, starring turns from Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, stunning special effects and a generation spanning tragic romance, this one presses even more of the Titanic buttons than Revolutionary Road, and could well be the year’s overarching triumph at the Academy Awards. The month’s cinema highlights... January 2nd – Che Part One: The Argentine January 9th – Frost / Nixon, Revolutionary Road, Slumdog Millionaire January 16th – The Wrestler, The Road January 23rd – Milk, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

A knockabout comedy with the budget of your typical Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle, most of the attention Tropic Thunder received centred on people missing the gags. Robert Downey Jr’s role as an Australian method actor going to extreme lengths to embody his African American character was indeed distasteful, as was its intention.What most people failed to discuss was whether Ben Stiller had actually delivered a comedy to match Zoolander. In this case, the material fails to live up to its premise or budget, with a lower gag hit-rate than you’d expect from a cast comprising of Stiller, Downey Jr, Jack Black and Steve Coogan.The fact that Tom Cruise’s very brief cameo managed to get a Golden Globe nod for best supporting actor tells its own story.

PINEAPPLE EXPRESS Starring: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Gary Cole Director: David Gordon Green Released January 12th


Judd Apatow sealed his reputation as the king of Hollywood comedy in 2008, following up 2007’s brilliant Knocked Up and Superbad with the similarly excellent Forgetting Sarah Marshall and this stoner action-comedy, cut from a similar buddy-caper cloth to the 80s likes of 48 Hours and Beverly Hills Cop. Despite being a fairly slapdash affair, Pineapple Express gets by on the charm of its ensemble players, with the improvised style making for several huge laughs, and scene stealing support turns from Danny McBride and a pair of bickering goons played by Kevin Corrigan and Craig Robinson adding to a charismatic central duo of Seth Rogen and James Franco. It’s very, VERY silly, but in the best possible way for male fans who resemble the central characters a little more than is necessarily advisable.


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Alright Rod, you got any New Year’s resolutions? I remember last year you said you’d give up being an arrogant pig but decided you’d be depriving the nation


Not this year mate. Just gonna try to get my nuts in more. You?

For some, the New Year is a stressful time. Not you though Capricorn, you’re as cool as your kilt-covered giblets in this bleak month. As long as women or Jews aren’t involved, you embrace change, but as your second Sun dips in its 14th cycle you’ve been feeling like a washed up old crumbly - less a lethal weapon, more a case of firing blanks from a shrivelled barrel. Keep your chin up though. Saturn’s bottom ring is begging to be thumbed open and you’re the person for task, if for nothing but your FREEEEEDOOOMM!

I’m giving up blondes mate. They’re just too bloody sexy. That bird I met at the NYE party was all over me ALL NIGHT! I’m off ‘em. 2009 equals brunettes for me pal.


Giving up blondes my balls!

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE One of these two Ricky Wilson pictures has been altered, but can you spot the difference? Answer:The second hat is green

Great New Year’s party boys. I’m still finding fondue in my thatch

Loud And Quiet 2 (Feb 2009)  

Adam Green / Pavement / The Maccabees / Gentle Friendly / KASMs / Beirut / Ezra Bang / Animal Collective

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