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The Stool Pigeon

n e p O r o F s e n i s Bu s

No. 023

OCTOBER 2009

DIZZEE RASCAL LOOKS EVER UPWARD

Yoko Ono Beastie Boys Kid Cudi Richard Hell Health Admiral Angry on Jane’s Addicti Mapei ys Arctic Monke ley Richard Haw Erasure iking Times New V Cobra Killer The Big Pink

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October 2009 The Stool Pigeon

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The Stool Pigeon all about using analogue synths to create something authentic; something real.” Since 2007, Joker has clocked up releases on Kode9’s Hyperdub label, grime DJ extraordinaire Plastician’s Terrorhythm Recordings, Tectonic, and his own Kapsize label, which he runs with Ginz. He’s already remixed Little Boots, Basement Jaxx, Bristolian indie band The Heavy, and there are edits of Zero 7 and ‘Cruel Intentions’ by Simian Mobile Disco featuring Beth Ditto due out soon. He’s currently on what seems like a never-ending UK and European tour, and he’s always working on his forthcoming release with Skream (they’ve teamed under the guise Parma Violet). But what then of Joker’s debut album? A glance down the insane schedule on his MySpace page, to which he says US dates will be added, means it’s unlikely to be released until deep into 2010. And, more importantly, he’s not even sure what kind of record he intends to release. “I don’t know what it’s going to be like yet,” he says of his album. “It’s going to be me, but 15 years ahead. People might not get it, because maybe... maybe it will be too futuristic.” The future’s bright. The future’s purple. Zainab Jama

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Comic artist, Liam McLean

Photo: Ashes57

JOKER

The Bristolian producer is dead serious about his purple sound.

PART CHIMP

All thriller, no filler for London’s notorious sci-fi gorillas.

A lot of people won’t realise it (especially if they are female and under the age of 35), but there used to be a big market for sci-fi themed oil paintings: brightly coloured spacecraft doing battle in front of exploding nebulae; suited colonists making first contact with almond-headed aliens and, as on the cover of Thriller, Part Chimp’s excellent third album, astronauts in jet packs escaping from outstretched lizard hands. The collector’s scene for these paintings is pretty hardcore and these works, although derided by some, have even been an influence on the sensational British Turner artist Glenn Brown. The cover of Thriller is a 1978 painting by Peter Elson, an artist who illustrated the sleeves of Dr Who novelisations and some of the Stainless Steel Rat books by Harry Harrison. In fact, Part Chimp’s insistence on having the image as the cover art ended up delaying its release. Tim Cedar (vocals/guitars) explains: “I knew the painting from when I was a kid. I did a lot of research trying to find Elson, because I thought the right thing to do would be to get in touch with him. Obviously I couldn’t find him; he’s dead. But I found his sister and she was really helpful. What I did find

Joker may only be 20, but already he’s emerging as the most exciting producer to come out of the dubstep boom. He hails from Bristol and unlike Croydon’s Skream, who you’ll know from his remix of La Roux’s ‘In For The Kill’, and Benga, the man responsible for ‘26 Basslines’, he’s working in a new dimension where vintage analogue synths and twisted psychedelic G-funk beats are the primary resource, melody and harmony are encouraged, and heavyhitting basslines are the killer, added touch. Together with his two closest friends, Gemmel ‘Gemmy’ Philips and Guy ‘Guido’ Middleton, he’s creating a subgenre for the sound, and it’s a subgenre they like to call... purple. Purple? “Purple is a colour,” states Joker mock seriously. “Purple is blue and red, so I mix blue and red to make purple. But really, my music is like Sega Mega Drive meets R&B meets grime with a little bit of dubstep thrown in and a funk twist.” Growing up, Joker, aka Liam McLean, played video games and listened to hip hop, R&B, garage and grime continuously. Both had a deep influence on him. The first track he ever produced, he says, was a NIGHT CREATURE Fruity Loops creation called ‘Rachel’ that never saw the light of day. Aged 15, he moved onto Logic and began working on tunes with his cousin, then 2007 saw the release of his debut 12”, ‘Kapsize’, through fellow Bristolian producer Pinch’s Earwax label. Pinch, who described his style as being “full of colour and character - no one else sounds quite like him” to Pitchfork a couple of years ago, has always been a vocal supporter of Joker’s and he was instrumental in drawing attention to later tracks like ‘Snake Eater’, a hip hop/dubstep hybrid with a sample taken from the Metal Gear Solid 3 video game; ‘Gully Brook Lane’, that saw him take on grime; and ‘Purple City’, which features James ‘Ginz’ Ginzburg and is on a psychedelic 8-bit, bass and synth tip. Waves of artists across all genres are currently incorporating synths in their productions, but what sets Joker apart is how distinctly he uses them. “It’s like playing Gran Turismo,” he explains of his vision for a signature sound. “I’m on the PlayStation and I’m thinking, ‘Fuck it, I wanna go out and do this in a real Photo: Jaz Teoh car.’ So for me, instead of making it all on Logic, it’s Part Chimp’s prime mate, Tim Cedar

out is that he died quite young as a miserable alcoholic in Colchester. [He was part way through a commission to paint a mural for Butlin’s, when he died of an alcohol-induced heart attack.] She was really, really cool; letting us use the painting. She asked about the band and the album, so I sent her some stuff and my attempted mock-up of the artwork and she was totally sympathetic to our cause and let us use the picture for free as long as we didn’t mess with it. The whole operation and correspondence took a long time, which is why the album release was delayed. You can’t rush someone who’s being so nice. He’s a great painter but I think he’s more well-known for his space battles.” It turns out that Jon Hamilton (drums) also grew up fetishising about the painting. “We talked about using it for an album cover as early as 2000,” he explains. “That’s how long it takes us to get things done round here.” Now, whatever your feelings about science fiction oil paintings, it is undeniable that this cover is a step up from the band’s usual fare of a crappily rendered felt tip sketch of a humanoid either shooting lightning bolts out of its claws or wrestling with a dragon. Tim feigns indignation when I mention the usually piss poor quality of Part Chimp artwork: “I’m not outraged, I just don’t understand how you can feel that way about that beautiful artwork. What is it? He is the man who represents Part Chimp. The thing who represents us. I love that artwork but, yeah, it is cack. I Am Come got voted one of the worst album covers of all time in Skyscraper when it came out.” The south London band, now augmented by former Ikara Colt bassist Tracy Bellaries and guitarist Iain Hinchliffe, formed in 2000 out of the ruins of Scarfo and Ligament, mining a very potent and extremely fucking loud blend of stoner rock, doom metal and noise. They have many notable releases under their collective belt including the bombastic and weighty I Am Come album and the face perforating ‘New Cross’ EP. But hang on a second, hasn’t someone already released an album called Thriller? Tim laughs when I ask him if this was the final indignity that killed Michael Jackson, stone dead: “Yeah, maybe he heard about it. Martin Bashir tipped him off about it. Actually, it was already called Thriller before he died, so it was a bit of cosmic serendipity. It’s kind of worked out beautifully in our favour. I guess he can’t complain about it now. It just seemed right to name it after the best-selling album. We just wanted to use a name of something that had done pretty well. It was called Dark Side Of The Moon for a while, but when we said Thriller everyone pissed themselves.” Iain notes dryly: “Anyway, was it not MJ’s latest ‘make my heart heart-shaped’ plastic surgery that killed him?” A sterner man than myself would suggest that there is a tendency for really good, noisy UK bands to self-sabotage, with bonkers humour and slackness, which means they don’t have to compete. This of course applies to many more bands than just the mighty Chimp. Don’t get me started on Selfish Cunt, Todd, That Fucking Tank etc. Perhaps the most recent addition of Tracy on bass (drafted in to replace Scouse Lord Joe, who left to concentrate on avant doom synthesizists Kling Klang and was last seen in Merseyside getting sued by Kraftwerk) will raise their game a bit. Although judging by the artwork, this is highly unlikely. She does however say that she hopes to put a stop to the Spinal Tap-esque, high turnover of bass players: “I’m not planning on leaving yet, but I may spontaneously combust on stage. That would look good. Being of the opposite sex to the other three, I must bring in some kind of feminine element surely? I have yet to find out exactly what it is. I don’t see them moisturising before we go onstage. They do sometimes wear my boxer shorts, though.” Part Chimp are the best rock band you might not have heard of. Fact. There is no such thing as someone who doesn’t like Part Chimp, just people who haven’t drunk enough beer yet. Fact. And no one can resist the lure of the Thriller. Fact. John Doran

INSIDE

XXIII, October 2009

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HOME NEWS

09

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

17

HEALTH

18

COBRA KILLER

19

RICHARD HAWLEY

20

BEASTIE BOYS

22

ERASURE

23

RICHARD HELL

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ARCTIC MONKEYS

26

KID CUDI

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TIMES NEW VIKING

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YOKO ONO

30

JANE’S ADDICTION

31

MAPEI

32

SIR PATRICK MOORE

34

TRAVEL

38

PRINT

40

MOVING IMAGES

43

COMICS

48

ARTS

50

THE STOOL PIGEON INTERVIEW

55

COMMENT & ANALYSIS

58

COURT CIRCULAR

60

CERTIFICATES

62

FUNNIES

64

THE STOOL PIGEON REVIEW

70

CLASSIFIEDS

72

BUSINESS NEWS

74

HORRORSCOPES

74

SUBSCRIPTION OFFER

84

SPORTS

Editor: Phil Hebblethwaite (editor@thestoolpigeon.co.uk) Creative Director: Mickey Gibbons (artdept@thestoolpigeon.co.uk) Advertising/marketing: Melissa Bohlsen (melissa@thestoolpigeon.co.uk) Thanks to: Barnaby Smith, Alex Denney, Cian Traynor, John Doran, Luke Turner, Jeremy Allen, Hazel Sheffield, and Kev Kharas Published by: Junko Partners Publishing Address: The Stool Pigeon, 21a Maury Road, London, N16 7BP www.thestoolpigeon.co.uk www.myspace.com/thestoolpigeon

DIZZEE RASCAL photographed by DAN WILTON


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The Stool Pigeon October 2009

Sheffield’s Nat Johnson cutting a fine Figurehead with new group Words HUW NESBITT her dreams, Sheffield’s Nat Johnson sees visions of “tigers eating tigers”. That’s what she says on ‘Agnes’, track one of her debut album, Roman Radio, with The Figureheads. Lord knows what Freud would think. Has someone or something upset her? “I don’t know, maybe some people write songs to get stuff off their chest,” she ponders. “But I don’t have a muse, other than music. There are definitely a couple of songs on the album which are directed at people who have pissed

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me off, but I don’t want to act like a massive bitch and say who!” Nat has abundant humility. The week after this interview she says she’s going on holiday from her job at a children’s hospital to celebrate her 29th birthday. In 2007, however, she was staring fame in the retina with her old acoustic pop band, Monkey Swallows The Universe. They released two critically acclaimed albums, toured with Richard Hawley and The Long Blondes, and then... it all dried up. “We just split,” says Nat. “But a year-and-a-half ago, I started

Actress keen to steer clear of drama and let his filmic productions take on the starring role Words DANNA HAWLEY xton’s Actress, Darren Cunningham, is one of very few artists who manages to stay, as he puts it, “in the shadows”. Of himself and the close-knit family that’s grown up around his label Werk Discs, he says: “We don’t chase press - the music has to do the talking for itself.” But Actress is open to investigation and interpretation whether he pursues it or not: his tracks hit ears like a language isolate begging for translation. Debut album Hazyville is a world of intricacies, where brutal atmospherics meet nostalgic futurism. It shudders with both nods to Detroit techno and the depth of Theo Parrish. Equipped with suitably shadowy artwork and coded song titles, Actress says the oblique masterwork is foremost a product of transmuted frustration. “I was living in quite a small flat with paper-thin walls. When I’m making music, I usually like to turn up my soundsystem. I’m either dancing and jumping, or sitting down and listening - I have to involve myself. But with Hazyville, a lot of it had to be done in the headphones. In terms of the actual sound, it’s something that’s quite claustrophobic; it actually replicates what my house was like at that time.” As for his gender-defying moniker, its origin may come as a surprise. After all, here’s a man whose label releases electronic music that’s heavy with intent and anything but trivial. “With us, there’s always that element of taking the piss out of yourself and having a bit of fun,” he explains. “Plus, there are a lot of actresses from black and white films that I really love - Bette Davis, Lauren

Bri

Bacall... It’s the aesthetic of black and white that I like.” Actress nonetheless insists that he’s not driven by aesthetics when it comes to making music: “It’s not really a stylistic thing, it’s about creating. I like to come up with themes and ideas, much as a novelist would when sitting down to write a book. I’m a free-hander; I don’t sequence in the traditional way.” He plans to keep his next album theme-based, and he’s unexpectedly just signed it to Honest Jon’s, the imprint co-founded by Damon Albarn. However, the deliberately small roster at Werk Discs, which includes Zomby, Lukid and Lone, is in fine health and Actress says the label will continue to search for producers with sincerity and staying power. “We’re always looking for artists who are... well, ‘artist’ is the main word for us. We intend all we release to make a mark and stick around.”

writing new songs. Kevin from Monkey Swallows joined me and we got together with some other Sheffield musicians. I don’t know what it is about the city, but there are a lot of cool bands here - it’s all little groups, everyone knows each other and everyone plays in everyone else’s band. So far with The Figureheads I’ve tried to move away from my old style and this is where we’ve ended up.” Not many musicians get a second chance, but Nat’s giving it her all with this record. Loaded with sweet-and-sour longing (“Leave your wife / Play some rock’n’roll /

Get me in the back of your Volvo,” she lusts on ‘Dirty Rotten Soul’) and backed by The Figureheads, whose dream-beat blithe percussion and wandering staccato fretwork recall an apocryphal version of The Shadows seduced by country and folk music, Roman Radio might be Nat’s next blast at the charts, but it certainly won’t be her last shot. “Even if it never happens, or if it just meant that I didn’t have to work for six months, then I’d be happy with that,” she says, laughing. “All I really want to do is play this record and do the next. I’ll always keep doing what I’m doing.”

SOUNDS SHIPPED OUT BY PIRATES A SOURCE OF PRIDE TO JOY ORBISON

Words KEV KHARAS

is nothing,” the water rat stressed to the mole, “absolutely nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” Not the most misguided statement you’ll ever hear, granted, but clearly this rat has never spent a night rattling and roaring around a suburban town, stoned beyond belief, in the back of a 1.4 litre Vauxhall Nova SR. The suburbs are a fantastically boring place to grow up - they’ll promise you London without spoiling it, a promise that transmits just like pirate radio to a Nova’s ailing stereo system; distorted, half-formed, transitory and, because of rather than despite the interference, somehow magical. Obviously, live there and it’s just a load of people eating with their mouths open glaring at train drivers, but Joy Orbison - the sound of London, summer 2009 - still lives somewhere “suburban and repetitive but close enough to the city that you always feel

“There

there’s a way out”. “London had a huge effect,” he admits of his music, which has been absorbing stray pirate transmissions for over a decade now (stuttering house divas and piano loops, garage skip’n’groan, traces of jungle, dubstep, funky). “Growing up, everything revolved around the club culture older brothers and sisters picked up in London and passed down.” Eluding record geek onanism, 22year-old Peter O’Grady keeps Joy club-fit; fresh but familiar, honed home productions bursting with the delirium of initial discovery. Are they nostalgic in that way? “Yeah, to an extent. Some of my biggest influences are from when I was 16, Walkman in at school, listening to drum’n’bass tape packs on long journeys. Those tracks sounded so epic and futuristic - I had no clue how they were written, so they really blew my mind. Like enchanting movie scores or something.” Glimpse nostalgic futures in totemic calling card ‘Hyph Mngo’, its blared synth flashes and destined rhythm

summoning then dismissing rave’s ghost in the same bar. It’s the sort of thing you imagine rave historians lapping up, yet the only person who doesn’t rate the track is writer Simon Reynolds. He says the name sounds like someone “spluttering laughter”. With Joy’s name come memories of the Big O, whose covert rape anthem ‘I Drove All Night’ returns us suddenly to cars; red-eyed, smoke like vapour trails through open windows, antennae locking in and out of those pirate transmissions. “In or out of ’em, it doesn’t matter,” continued the rat. “Nothing seems really to matter, that’s the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you’ve done it there’s always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you’d much better not.” Wake up, Reynolds... even ratlad gets it.


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October 2009 The Stool Pigeon

HIGH ART AND CRAFT FOR BEGUILING TRIO ESBEN AND THE WITCH n hour in the company of Esben And The Witch is exhausting. Sheltering from a violent summer storm outside a London boozer, the Brighton three-piece talk intensely about everything from Greek literature to the art of Francis Bacon to the thrill of landscape and

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the Danish fairytale from which they took their name. They’re literate sorts who formed after guitarist Thomas Fisher coaxed machines man Daniel Copeman into making the band more than a bedroom project, and the pair then found old friend Rachel Davies, who decided to join after, she says, “seeing Daniel’s library and thinking it a winner”. Her bibliophilic reason for hooking up with the boys gives a real insight into Esben And The Witch. They admire groups like British Sea Power “for doing it on their own terms” and Wild Beasts for “the eloquence of their language”. As Daniel says, “I love bands where they have a whole world; where they recommend things to you.” Like these groups, Esben And The Witch have an aesthetic that sees them play on stages strewn with lights, illuminated globes, and stuffed birds. They even manage to make the ugly uniformity of MySpace look enticing with images of maps, old

WORDS LUKE TURNER PHOTOGRAPH LUCY JOHNSTON photographs, and Rachel’s eloquent artwork. Alongside this, their music a haunting, evocative blend of electronica, gothic melancholia, and the dynamics of post rock crushed into four minutes and given a rare sexing up is startlingly accomplished for such a new group. Lyrically, their track ‘Eumenides’ is a three-part piece inspired by Aeschylus’s Oresteia and Hermann Hesse’s novel Steppenwolf. But before you start snorting at the back, know that Esben And The Witch have no fear about inserting intelligence into our dumbed-down age... “Perhaps most people don’t put what interests them into the music,” says Thomas. “We’re trying to combine the two.” “There’s no point being scared of saying what a song is about,” adds Daniel, “it’s just that people are

quick to jump on you and say you’re being pretentious. It’s a word that’s used incorrectly. If you’re doing something pretentious then you’re using something that you don’t actually know about.” And all of this isn’t to say Esben And The Witch make cold, impersonal music. “Recently we’ve been feeling quite agoraphobic,” says Rachel. “I want to go into the wilderness to write. It sounds like a cliché, but it’s true. The theme for the new EP is madness. ‘Skeleton Swoon’ is about feeling so overwhelmed when you meet somebody that you’re almost left dancing together, just your bones, and it’s the sound that skeletons make, rattling.” ‘Lucia’, meanwhile, is about James Joyce’s daughter, a promising dancer lost to schizophrenia who was analysed by Carl Jung. “Jung was telling Joyce about her use of language,” explains Daniel, “and Joyce said, ‘Well, we both use language in interesting ways, why are we not mad?’ And Carl Jung said, ‘We dived to the bottom of the pool, and Lucia sank.’”

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THERE’S A WHITE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM summer produced such a banal chorus of weirdly knotted and half-assed tributes to Michael Jackson you half expected the coffin lid to creak open and Jacko’s brainless corpse to essay a cultural postmortem all of its own. That would have been less ghoulish than much of the attendant jamboree, of course. Scoop out his cranial matter, pop a tape recorder and lighted candle inside and Bob’s your uncle, he could deliver his own eulogy, deceased pumpkin-stylee. I mean, no offence to the guy, but he could literally have died boffing a child and these nincompoops would still have their heads buried in the sand, presumably to avoid listening to even one more cretin blaring ‘Dirty Diana’ out his car boot soundsystem. This Pigeoner was kept awake one weeknight till approximately 5am by the goonish whoops and hollers of one neighbour’s ‘tribute’ party, which managed to playlist virtually all of the fallen idol’s dross latter-day back catalogue, played on one never-ending, self-satisfied loop, as if it were relics from Tutankhamen’s tomb they were excavating rather than a bunch of shit pop songs already overplayed to buggery. Much of the chatter following Jacko’s death has tended to focus on the extent to which he was an integral part of people’s childhoods; the words ‘icon’ and ‘legend’ being bandied about as incantations to avoid the massive, whitefaced elephant in the room. Writing for The Guardian, Richard Williams noted that Jackson “was the pop star of the era of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, or ET and Star Wars, futuristic in style yet terminally sentimental in content.” And just as Jackson’s terminal childhood wallowing sounded increasingly sinister as his career journeyed to a sad conclusion, so we continue to float ridiculous statues of our own childhoods down the Thames, our crap eighties revivals and seemingly endless capacity for shallow self-congratulation miraculously intact. The king may be dead, but it looks like being another round of long live the nineteen eighties till kingdom fucking come.

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The Stool Pigeon October 2009

NIGHT BUS TO HELL INSPIRED KING CANNIBAL’S LP Words LUKE TURNER Photograph NATHAN SEABROOK

night on the tiles. You stumble your way to a bus stop, board and pass out on the top deck. Awakening, you find the N44 passing through a landscape of shattered buildings and the remnants of blazing trees, human forms roasting slowly under their branches, gunshots shattering the dawn air. Above you, a seven-foot scarred psychopath with a razor wire crown and a bloodied switchblade up the sleeve of his sinister uniform jacket stands chewing on the blackened flesh of your forearm. He laughs as you start to scream. Dylan Richards, aka King Cannibal, is an affable bloke from Mitcham, south London, who works in a hardware store. At night he dons his musical alter ego to conjure up the dystopian menace that’s riddled through his debut album, Let The Night Roar. Three years in the making, Richards says he wanted to include different genres, from techstep to jungle and dubstep, without being limited by the constraints of BPM or the expectations of purists. Those influences were then filtered through the prism of a fascination with martial arts and horror films, “a sugar rush and too many cigarettes”, and nocturnal working. The result is a threatening collage of compressor beats, sequencer brutalism and sampled gunshots, shattering glass and effects-heavy MCs dropping phrases like “the horror”, “you will cease to be”, and “I wanna slash your face”. ‘Colder Still’ is The Prodigy’s Jilted Generation played in the furnaces of Hades, while ‘Virgo’, featuring the agro French voices of female duo Face-AFace could have been cooked up by an angry Diplo if the Cannibal had munched his missus. It is, like The Bug’s London Zoo, a prime slab of unnerving urban industrial. “It’s not sunny day music,” says Richards, laughing. “I’m far from a violent person, but generally the music is made of its own identity and personality. Violence is not always bad, and there’s a personal violence that you can use for good, depending on how you interpret it, like trying to break out from this everyday grind. I put my darker thoughts into that avenue.” However, he adds: “I think very few things I did were conscious. The label asked me if there was a theme for the album, and there definitely wasn’t when I started. But I think it’s a reflection of everyday, grotty surroundings.”

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Richards says that his manor is in a state of decline. “The stuff you’ll find in Brixton has spread south, like some strange disease, getting further and further out of London. Mitcham is now quite a rundown area, and it’s not the safest place. Taking the night bus home, listening to the Gravediggaz, or the first Photek album... that has a bearing on what I make and reflects the underlying tension I feel on those journeys. It became more apparent as I made Let The Night Roar that it’s a fairly dark record.” He’s no cannibal, but he’s certainly the king of understatement.

To those who never signed up for force-fed bullshit, here’s a Glaswegian band, DIVORCE, who intend to split you in two G OOD P EOPLE , Spit that cock from your mouth, pull up your breeches and raise your skinny fists to heaven. Today’s the last day that you, me, we shall sup the soured jizz of disappointing ‘next big things’ force-fed to us by A&R strumpets. For at last, here comes a band that is giving a visceral kick up the jaxi to the rotting carcass of rock’n’roll and by god you should take notice. Hear you me, Good People, when I tell you that Glasgow five-piece Divorce, a group that banded together because they “just wanted to make a big racket”, have released a self-titled four-track EP on independent label Optimo that will offer even the most depraved and destitute noise munchers salvation. “We were frustrated because for a long time in Glasgow there weren’t many bands kicking people’s arses,” says drummer Andy Browntown. “It was all very polite. I was sick of seeing these really fucking dish-watery bands. They weren’t buttering my muffin. I wanted to see something loud and noisy and a bit stupid.” “Something heavier, mouthier,” adds banshee squalling frontwoman Sinead Youth. Resplendent with Hilary Van Scoy (guitar), VSO (bass) and Vickie McDonald (guitar), Divorce are offering just that: a fusion of head-fuck metal, deranged heavy rock and the post punk antagonism of no wavers Teenage Jesus & The Jerks. But rip-off merchants they certainly are not. “There are no bands we directly want to mimic,” explains Van Scoy. “The whole point of no wave was that it was a short-lived scene abandoning all previous influences. I can definitely say that we’re not trying to cookiecut that out.” “We’ve got a record now,” adds Browntown. “We’ve made a stamp however small and it’s gonna be remembered.” Bemoan the downfall of music no longer. “More action, less crying,” their track ‘Dissatisfaktionpaqued’ implores us, and with Divorce you’ll be rewarded with nothing less. Signed, on behalf of the Band,

ASH DOSANJH.

S D R I B G N O S COCK SURE CAMDEN, London. Particularly unsavoury goings-on inadvertently caught the eye of a Pigeon snappers this July when rockers Spinarette played Camden’s Electric Ballroom. Former Distillers frontwoman Brody Dalle-Homme, wife of Queens Of The Stone Age’s Josh, always made for a good show, but one punter just couldn’t wait till he got home to express his appreciation. Unbelievably, the impatient filth-bag was spotted whacking off at the side of the stage. Time and a place, much?

SHIT FIASCO WEST END, London. A bad night for Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding as a night out in London’s trendy West End was cut embarrassingly short by an unexpected call from Mother Nature. The tabloid mainstay was found by staffers at an upscale haunt in a shitty, crumpled heap in a toilet cubicle, whereupon she was escorted out the back door to avoid inquiring paparazzi. “I’ve shat all over me Guccis!” came her heart-rending cry. She should get more in tune with the sound of her underground.

LITTLE GREEN MAN CRICKHOWELL, Wales. Proving that electro-shock therapy doesn’t always work, there were fireworks when The Aliens’ distinctly damaged Gordon Anderson had a few too many on the first night of the Green Man Festival. The rage soon overcame the diminutive Scot and he ended up throwing a table at a group of women, apparently missing a child by inches. We know about this because he told us all about it on stage, and that he was getting booted off the site immediately afterwards. That he was seen enjoying the sunshine with a brunette the following day is almost irrelevant.

CHILD SUPPORT HOLLAND PARK, London. Ian Brown has revealed how his two sons scuppered a Stone Roses reunion, of sorts. Brown was reportedly keen to use a track old bandmate John Squire had penned for his new solo record, but his kids had other ideas: “Dad, you can’t work on that. He sold you out, didn’t he?” came their steely response. The singer also let slip his sneaky ruse to avoid paying pocket money: “I’ve got loads of Stone Roses stuff at home. My kids get me to sign posters and sell them for £10 each on eBay.”

BORE DATES BRIXTON, London. No one seems to know whether hideous dance music troupe Basement Jaxx have been given the boot by XL or not, and no one really cares, especially not Felix Buxton from the duo. Who needs labels anyway? In a brilliantly sour-graped outburst, he recently said: “XL haven’t offered us a new deal, but I didn’t imagine they would. You don’t need a record company now - they aren’t so relevant. All you need is someone to distribute your music. Besides, you only make money through touring now.” Bonne chance, dancer boy.


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CHAMELEON MAN

Mark Pritchard The ever-changing legend of UK techno has no plans to wind it up

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ark Pritchard is more than a pioneer; he’s an institution, a landmark in British electronica for nearly two decades. Journeying through his extensive discography is like negotiating a labyrinth of sounds, genres and distinctive aliases. “Discogs.com says there are 26 [aliases],” he says innocently. “I haven’t really gone through and counted them. I’m definitely trying to not add any more.” You can’t help but wonder if artistically he’s prone to schizophrenia, or at least a case of extreme ADD. “Usually by the time I try to really focus on an album,” he continues, “I’ll already want to do something completely different.”

F

rom high-brow electronica in the early nineties as the critically worshipped Global Communication (his ambient work with Tom Middleton), to his darker, industrial-flavoured Reload moniker and the sharper edge of broken beats as Jedi Knights (also with Middleton), to Harmonic 33’s hip hop slant and his recent techno-charged, Dillainspired album on Warp as Harmonic 313 (a nod to Detroit’s area code), Pritchard has tiptoed, twisted and stomped through every region of electronic music at some point or another. But in the unified mind of Mark Pritchard, there’s no segregation: “For me, it all comes from the same place, just different tempos. I might sit down and think I’ll write something at 140bpm, but I don’t really think about what style. I may intend to write something of a certain sound, and often times it will turn into something else.”

 

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October 2009 The Stool Pigeon

ut how does he keep his aliases in their respective straitjackets? Schizoid in BPMs and style maybe, his productions are nevertheless consistent: precise, beautiful and escapist. Whether it’s wistful ambient soundscapes or a time-travelling adventure into a dystopian and computerised future, Pritchard always succeeds in allowing the listener to switch off from reality, as indeed he does when making his music. He explains: “The studio’s really an escape for me. I like going there so I can just disappear into whatever happens. The difficult thing about music is that it seems to come when your mind’s quite free and clear. For me, if I can disconnect from the normal daily stress, then I can let out what’s inside. But the busier your life becomes, the harder it becomes to find that creative zone.”

THE BILLY CHILDISH

POETRY CORNER

i am their damaged megaphone dead artists speak to me and thru me youd do very smartly to listen

T

wo-and-a-half years ago, Pritchard had a rare chance to work with Om’Mas Keith of LA hip hop group Sa-Ra, an artist who he describes as being “almost annoyingly talented”. Together they came up with the club gem, ‘Wind It Up’. “He heard a beat I’d created and said he had an idea for it,” explains Mark. “Within 40 minutes he was pretty much done. It’s just such a fun, humorous vibe; almost like a Dirty South lyric, but somehow done with his craziness, so it’s got that Sa-Ra feel - seventies Funkadelic space mixed with psychedelic rock.” After sitting on the track for ages, they recently found a home for ‘Wind It Up’ on Kode9’s Hyperdub imprint.

U

p next, Pritchard’s created yet another alias for Warp, this time equipped with the mellifluous voice of Steve Spacek. Africa High-Tech is their collaborative project, an aural safari that tours grime, dancehall, riddims and soca. And then, after that, he’ll be resurrecting his avant-garde Reload moniker to create a follow-up to A Collection Of Short Stories, nearly 17 years later. “I re-signed to Warp for the Reload album six years ago, but I ended up doing Music For Film, Television And Radio, Vol. 1 [as Harmonic 33], then Harmonic 313’s album and now Africa High-Tech,” he says. “Warp doesn’t actually believe me about Reload anymore! A lot of the fans of the first Reload album are worried that the follow-up won’t sound like the first one. Obviously it won’t: I was 20 when the first Reload album came out and I was using different equipment.”

they speak to me with voices filled with mud and clay and decay people feel violated by the stench of their breath they are not desert prophets or nessissary sat next to god or the devil but i am sat smack in the midst of them their rotting teeth wispering black thorts in my ear

P

erhaps it’s difficult to have so many strings on your bow, as most genre purists will only be drawn to one in particular. He shrugs. “Some people are going to like stuff I do at certain periods, but you can’t expect people to like all of it. But people shouldn’t expect an artist to remake the same thing over and over again, either.” Danna Hawley

i am their damaged megaphone barking out across the nite calling for art with out art love with out love hate without hate lite without lite and youed do very smartly to shut up and listen

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7


GIRTH OF THE NEW

8

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The Stool Pigeon October 2009

they moved to Lo ndon and got signed to Alan Mc digital Velvet Un derground.’” Gee’s Creation Records on the “And then,” Milo strength of a interjects, soundcheck. A fe “we added beats .” w months later, one NME writer It isn’t just beat declared them th s that make e THE BIG PINK ar best band in the The Big Pink wh e nailing world. at they are their colours to the today, although In the words of W the fact that mast illy Wonka: with penetrative “Strike that. Reve their music belon and rse it.” Take a du gs on the o, melodic noise. Milo Cordell and dancefloor as m Robbie Furze, wh uch as in o Words by Hazel met at an underg bedrooms is un Sheffield doubtedly part round rave and Photograph by Da discovered a shar of their appeal. vid Ma Where The ed love of feedback - straig Jesus And Mary ht-up white noise Chain and launched a ne eded that feedba record label calle ck, The d When The Jesu Hatechannel to re Big Pink needed s And Mary Chain lease digital the very first started reco ha op rdcore records tha posite: melodies. rding demos in t were, in their 1984, comparison own words, “reall “The thing with the s to The y very aggressiv stuff that e”. Ramones resulte There was alrea we were doing be d in them adoptin dy an eponymou fore is that s g label, Digital the feedback that there was no song Hardcore Record would eventually structure,” ings come to define th (DHR), at that tim Robbie explains. eir sound. William “We’d have e but they wanted Reid, one sibling to go one better. seven or eight mi half of the origina nute songs and “Hatechannel is l supposed to line-up, said: “T we’d go off into six be more offensive hat’s why we minutes of and started using no aggressive than white noise. To try ise and feedback Digital Hardcore and do a . ,” We want to mak ex thr plains Milo. “We ee-and-a-half mi e records that nute song is a wanted to be sound different.” the loudest.” lot harder, but it’s more fun... mo These days any Somewhere, in the re interesting. I do band seeking se ambitious, n’t think I’ve distinction would arcane, amelodic ever woken up hu be ill-advised to origins, London’s mming a noise assume the same Big Pink was bo tra ck. A good melod rn. tactic: noisy y is everything records are ever about music.” Neither Robbie or ywhere, swinging Mi lo, tw o Je su s back into vogue An Melody is everyth d Mary Chain ob as the past is sessives, are ing? Coming endlessly rehash new to the music from two men ob ed in search of industry, and it sessed with am p something new. sh fu zz? “With the re ows. Milo’s the fou But what The Je cord label, I nder of Merok sus records, a And Mary Chain sig ne d loa label that has sig ds of pop music, did was to take ned ” something simple bands who could justifies Milo. “A - Beach Boys po lec Empire write ba re ly pla y an p instrument be s and Ramones pu po p so ng s as well. It’s jus fore their first gig nk - and confound t pop and it with fuzz. No on then went on to music hidden be become huge: e would listen. In hind distortion. the early days th Klaxons and Crys Other people de e band had to cide that it’s pop tal Castles amon g sneak into venues them. He’s well-s music, not us, an po and pretend to be d I want people ken and clearly the support act to business-minded to decide for them , traits inherited, get gigs. Then selves with The perhaps, from his Big Pink.” father, Denny Cordell, the prod And people will. ucer With their debut, Procul Harum’s ‘W responsible for A Brief History Of Love, now out on hiter Shade Of Pale’. Milo’s broth 4AD six months after er, Tarka, famed for flings with Ka them the Philip Ha NME gave te Moss and Liv ll Radar Award for Tyler, was found best new act, the hanged in his re’s a lot to be house last year on decided in the co ming months. To the eve of his p own album relea of the list will be se. whether they can shake off the scen Robbie, meanwh ester tag that’s ile, comes from less conspicuous dogged them ev er since a drugorigins. They bo th claim to be in th fue lle d interview with eir late-twenties, Vice editor but Robbie’s weathe Andy Capper an d a few homoeroti red features tell a c different story (th photos preceded ough the babythe mainstream faced girlfriend he release of any of their music. brings along to the interview sugg “All this other bu ests he’s not los llshit’s so boring t his charm just ye to be honest,” Ro t). He’s done his bbie says of the time touring ever media interest in y squat in Europe their social lives. “I with hardcore ba think we’ve made nds, most notably a really great as the guitarist fo record. Whether we take drugs or r the founder of the party is irrele aforementioned vant.” DHR, digital pione er Alec Empire, an “We write really d also with his ow good songs - of n hardcore outing course it’s the so Panic DHH. No, ngs,” says a sligh tly Robbie’s no stran paranoid-looking Milo when asked ger to the notion of why people ar noise. But pop e so interested in the kind of this scuzzed-out, hook band. He’s right in some respects. -laden pop that The Big Pink pe Th er e’s su bs tance here: there ddle - is a new ’s a direction for him label man and se . asoned musician ; there’s obsession “When we first sta for music; and rted, we didn’t have any manifes there’s the time spent distilling no to, really,” says ise Robbie. “We did into songs. They n’t know what Th ’ve got plenty of e Big Pink was go am bit ion. But like The ing to be. It was Jesus And something that we Mary Chain befor e them, who just did at home 20-minute sounds struggled in the early days to shak capes of pure e noise. At that po off the hype and int we were like, get people to ‘Ah man, we want to actually listen to the music, there’s sound like the still a lot to prove.


9

October 2009 The Stool Pigeon

International news As m

ission statements go, Admiral Angry’s is blunt; blunt like a heavy ceramic ashtray used to beat someone to death in a pub fight; blunt like the wartime delivery of the news that a close family member has just died; blunt like the discussion of foreplay in prison; blunt like the kind of instrument mentioned in Crimewatch.

ve never stopped, and we never will. Sound lives forever. We hope our music is most unpleasant.”

“We’ And Some

it would be fair to say that’s exactly what it is.

Rank And Vile ADMIRAL ANGRY

command respect by making music most unpleasant. Words by JOHN D ORAN Photograph by MAX S CHULTZ

times extreme music functions with noble intent. Albums of serrated noise can act as part of a latter-day cleansing ceremony. The experience of such a bracing blast of violence can take the place of fasting or bloodletting or meditation, as a sound that can leave the listener spiritually refreshed. Other albums of punishing sonic density can have a cathartic effect; they offer a safe arena for people to purge nihilistic urges and shed unreconciled anger. And some can serve a concrete political purpose, their militancy matching and intensifying their combative message.

The

new album by Admiral Angry has no such intentions. It’s just really horrible. Take the drop-tuned, bowel-prolapsing riffery of The Melvins, marry it to the scorched larynx vocal horror of Khanate, add the bleak industrial pulse of Godflesh and the merciless tattoo of early Will Haven, and only then will you have some kind of idea of the aural savageness I’m talking about.

Info

rmation is thin on the ground, but it seems that Admiral Angry formed in Los Angeles five years ago. They laid their stall out by releasing an EP called ‘9/11... Only Worse’ and their unholy mission so far has culminated in Buster, the album you’re going to go out and fucking buy after you finish reading this.

Perh

aps some of Buster’s anger and abrasiveness can be put down to the tormented year the band have had so far. Guitarist Daniel (the guy

the other band members referred to as The Admiral) died after losing a hardfought battle against cystic fibrosis. He was only 22. But not even death can stop The Admiral. They recorded more material with him before his untimely death, which will see the light of day as ‘A Fire To Burn Down The World’, an EP that’s apparently even more upsetting than Buster. All proceeds from both records are going to a CF charity. The remaining members have played benefit concerts for their friend, but are not sure if they’re going to tour or record again.

Spea

king about the loss, the band’s other guitarist Mark Richards says: “We had no idea what we were going to do when we heard the news. We all went our different ways to try to deal with what had just happened. When we all met up at the funeral, we decided that we needed to release Buster and ‘A Fire To Burn Down The World’, since it was the last piece of material we worked on together. There’s still a full-length album’s worth of songs in our arsenal that we could mess around with after this release. Only time will tell.”

Sadl

y, the album Buster is not named after the bank robbery caper film starring Phil Collins or the

morbidly obese ska punk bellower, Buster Blood Vessel from Bad Manners. “We do like to pretend it’s about Mr Blood Vessel but the name actually came from a round-table meeting we had before we went in to record the album,” explains Richards. “Names were tossed around but none of them really stuck. Our drummer Chris suggested it, to describe the deep-set grooves on the album... like the arm of a teenage girl with low self-esteem and too many My Chemical Romance CDs. Later on, we discussed what came to mind when we thought of the word and what the hell to put on the cover. A bunny came to mind and Daniel took care of the rest.”

It’s

hard to not obsess about Buster’ - it’s such a perfect album in so many ways - but not everyone shares our opinion. Most people we play it to just look appalled or actually quite horrified. “That’s pretty much the same response we’ve gotten over here,” Richards continues. “We’d rather have people hate it and remember it than have a bunch of folks dig it and not be able to relate. It’s all very personal material that’s come about over the course of many years, and many singers.”

Thei

r songs creak, burdened as they are with the

poetry of misanthropy. You can guess how tracks such as ‘Circling The Drain’, ‘Plastic Bath’, ‘Bug Vomit’ and ‘Kill Yourself’ will make you feel. And ever had ‘Sex With A Stranger’, which is the title of album opener? It probably wasn’t the transcendentally unpleasant experience the song makes it out to be. “When you’re in the backseat of your folks’ Pontiac and she makes the grab for the pants, it’s not your cue to toss in Prowler In The Yard [phenomenally unpleasant Pig Destroyer album] and ask for ID,” Richards explains cryptically when asked exactly what happens when he finds himself in the midst of such encounters.

It’s

hard not to wonder what the band do to relax when not making such monumentally vile music. It turns out that fell walking, apiary, brass rubbings and backgammon are not on the cards. “I listen to Sunn O))), Merzbow, Khanate or movie soundtracks,” says Richards. “I’ve been digging The Shining soundtrack a lot lately. It works wonders with the women. And I like to go to the record store, grindhouse movie theatres and clear out my email inbox.”

Angr

y is as angry does.


10

International news

The Stool Pigeon October 2009

SNOWMAN THAW IN THE MELTING POT OF LONDON Words barnaby smith Photo liam brady who has been to Perth will tell you it is one of the oddest, most culturally moribund settlements in Australia; the state of Western Australia itself being like an Australian Texas, except without quite so much oil. Indeed, a true sense of ‘frontier’ still pervades Snowman’s hometown, with land for sale almost wherever you look. Then there are the suburbs - middle-class, ill-informed suburbs, and lots of them.Like any sensitive young man growing up there, guitarist and vocalist Joe McKee saw this and equated it with some horrific, imminent apocalypse. Hell on his doorstep. And it partly explains the band’s move to London last year, as well

Anyone

as the dark, thudding rhythms and possessed wailing on their latest album The Horse, The Rat and The Swan. The horse, he says, represents his own rage and panic. “I was consumed with visions of impending doom,” says McKee of writing the album, “fed to me by various fear-instigating media sources. It seemed that everywhere I looked, every page I turned, there was something to fear. I channelled that into the first part of the album. But paranoid energy can only run for so long. “The rat was a more personal character and represented the betrayal that I felt at that point. The swan represents the letting go and the release of these things. An awakening, a rebirth.” An intense chap, and an intense band. That album is a tetchy, uncomfortable

listen. The brilliant ‘We Are The Plague’ and ‘Daniel Was A Timebomb’ are frightening songs too weird for post punk and too savagely primitive to warrant meaningful comparison with similarly loud percussive sorts like pals and fellow Australians Pivot. London has so far been kind to Snowman. McKee reckons the capital has affected the band’s songwriting “enormously” and again, his remarks are consistent with the youthful individual whose culturally bereft upbringing left vivid psychological scars. “We would have to be completely soulless individuals for [London] not to affect us in some way,” he says. “It has breathed new colours and textures and thoughts and sensations into our way of being. We are all of a sudden childlike in our absorption of our surroundings.

S D R I B G N SO TITLE FIGHT

“One becomes complacent living in one place for too long. Being detached and disconnected from everything and everyone you know changes your perspective profoundly. Our music of late has taken on a new persona. It has grown into something that we can only now grasp. I have opened doors that have revealed more corridors. That excites me - that element of mystery in creation.” McKee describing his band as being “childlike in the absorption of our surroundings”, which hopefully means those equine demons have left him for the time being. “I have since exorcised the character that possessed me during the writing of the last album,” he says of the diabolical beast that once stood at his shoulder. “We shall have to wait and see whether he rears his ugly head again.”

DENVER, America. And there was us thinking Katy Perry’s only crime was fronting one of the most heinous ditties in recent memory. Turns out said song also lifted its title from a 1995 track of the same name, if you’re inclined to believe its author, American singersongwriter Jill Sobule. Said Sobule in a reflective moment to The Rumpus: “Fuck you Katy Perry, you fucking stupid, maybe ‘not good for the gays’, title thieving, haven’t heard much else, so not quite sure if you’re talented, fucking little slut.” Er, touché?

JESUS COMPLEX The BRONX, America. US rap star KRS-One is making a break from rhyme to found his own religion. While the holy details are as yet unclear, the man has already set about writing a 600-page, Bible-like text entitled ‘The Gospel Of Hip Hop: The First Instrument’. “It explores the spirituality of hip hop, the divinity of hip hop,” he said. “I’m suggesting that in 100 years, this book will be a new religion on the earth. Respect [to] the Christianity, the Islam, the Judaism but their time is up.” Maybe for you, mate.

HUMANOID TOUCH

The MINAH Bird. Soul legend AL GREEN on Michael Jackson “The tragedy of Michael... Michael’s label sent me all of his records after he died and I’ve played one, two, three, four of Michael’s records so far. Just incredible to listen to the talent of the man. I met Michael, and I hugged him - I gave him one of those boy-hug type of things, because we were over at his [brother] Tito’s house, and they was having a pool party with little crackers and champagne or something. We were all out around the pool when Michael came in with Jermaine and... I don’t know, it was a long time ago. He says, “Oh, I like your music,” and I said, “Thanks, I like yours!” He’d been singing longer than me. It’s kind of hard to realise the fact that’s taken place for me. It’s just that everything ain’t right. A wonderful talent - a super-talent!”

As told to Hazel Sheffield

LAS VEGAS, America. Time for one more about that dead Jackson guy? In 2007, reports widely presumed to be fabricated suggested Jacko was planning the construction of a massive 50-foot robot to roam the Nevada desert as an advert for a mooted Las Vegas residency. Turns out designs were in constant development up to his death, but not for a machine that was set to wander the outback. Oh no. It was to act as a enormous silver guardian for a MJ branded hotel and casino. Which is obviously much more plausible.

CRACKED MIRROR OSLO, Norway. Legend of this summer’s Øya festival in Oslo was not an artist but a piss artist who also happens to be Daily Mirror music journalist, Gavin Martin. Organisers began to become suspicious of his behaviour when he was spotted walking around the site playing music through two iPod speakers gaffer-taped to his head. He was later witnessed doing semi-naked yoga during Lily Allen’s set, after which he was removed by security men while bellowing, “This is a fascist state!”

BALD FACTS LITTLE ITALY, New York. Who is Moby? And what is he for? These are questions which have begun to nag at the unit-shifting baldy, who has thus far seemed unconcerned about his apparent uselessness. He told The Independent: “I’ve put out records in the past that I thought were mediocre at best and they ended up being very successful. I thought Play was too eclectic. It was recorded in a bedroom with mediocre equipment. The fact that it became as successful as it did is still baffling.”


International news

October 2009 The Stool Pigeon

A spot of fruity music by this duo and The Pastels, perchance? In these decadent times, where almost everything we want is just a mouse click away, and where the world seems to rush by in a blur, it’s rare that we stop, take stock and revel in the simple magnificence of things.

UENO This gentleman keeps himself busy. Indeed, he also plays in psych-folk group Kasumi Trio.

SAYA Saya has been chewing over songs by The Pastels for ages. She finds them full of flavour.

You may glance at a project where a Scottish indie band have hooked up with a Japanese minimalists duo and say, “So what? What’s the big deal?” But the fact that these bands have heard of each other, are influenced by each other and have recorded an album together despite living on different sides of the globe and speaking different languages - is quite something. Scottish band The Pastels have been linked with the underground music scene in Japan for a while through their Geographic label, and Tenniscoats first came across them when Pastels frontman Stephen McRobbie decided to release albums by an act called Maher Shalal Hash Baz, whom Tenniscoats had performed with. Tenniscoats, Saya and Takashi Ueno, suddenly found themselves within touching distance of their heroes. “We have been listening to The Pastels’ music for a long time,” says Saya. “When Ueno and I met Tori Kudo from Maher Shalal Hash Baz for the first time, he asked us about our favourite music, and we answered, ‘The Pastels!’”

It was the Japanese pair who approached The Pastels about working together, back in 2006. “We offered a few songs to record together,” continues Saya, “but it became a big project, this album; more than we thought at the beginning. At the first recording, we had some songs, including ‘Two Sunsets’, and we really wanted to do some other ones.” The resulting album, also called Two Sunsets (“Now I understand that it means one sunset which is viewed from both Glasgow and Tokyo,” Saya says) was recorded at various sessions in Scotland between 2006 and 2008, with each band contributing songs and ideas. It is a delicate, airy record, full of space and hushed, uplifting melodies. “When we listened to the first rough mixes in Glasgow, Ueno and I were impressed and could not say anything,” Saya says, “because they were really beautiful sounds, reflecting Glasgow’s air, views and friendships more than we imagined.” The friendships formed over the course of the recording became strong despite the communication difficulties. Indeed, for one of the best songs on the album, ‘Song For A Friend’, Saya and Ueno shared a painful story with The Pastels, who then helped put it to music. “Ueno and I were sad when our friend DJ Klock died at that time [he committed suicide]. I told Stephen and Katrina about that, and they wrote some lyrics in English. It came to be beautiful, not just sad.” When music unifies people and cultures like this, it’s worth taking time out to appreciate it. Mike Haydock

DUM DUM GIRLS Solo project of a gal called Dee Dee, who isn’t stupid at all. Dee Dee has just finished her shift in a Los Angeles salon and she sounds as happy-go-lucky and charming as you’d hope someone who writes such achingly sweet fuzzed-out pop songs would be. “You do whatever you can to make money so you can do more fun things, you know?” she says as traffic murmurs in the background. Fun things that the Dum Dum Girls - Dee Dee’s confusingly titled solo project - have been doing over

ALL NIGHTER

TENNISCOATS

Eddy Temple-Morris presents

Friday September 18th 2009 @ matter £10 in advance from www.matterlondon.com DJ SETS FROM:

LIVE SETS FROM:

the last year-and-a-half include baiting record junkies with her treasured 7”s on Hozak, Captured Tracks and Art Fag, collaborating with Brooklyn’s Blank Dogs as The Mayfair Set, and most recently signing a debut album to a swooning Sub Pop. “My record’s coming out hopefully in early 2010, and I’ve been recording it myself,” she explains. “Or rather, I do all the basics and I’ve been asking some friends to contribute guitar parts and stuff, so I’ve been running around coordinating all that.” The full, textured feel of her songs make it hard to believe she’s essentially a one-woman band. Alongside distorted riffs and punchy drums, her dynamic harmony-laced vocals soar over choruses that creep up on you and lodge themselves in your mind. Dee Dee’s musical story is as carefree as her unpretentious manner - a modern tale of happy accidents - all of which can be traced through her MySpace page. The name ‘Dum Dum Girls’ came first, and she says she reserved the profile before she’d made any music. As for her somewhat misleading alias, Dee Dee laughs: “Well, my husband will tell you I stole it from him, but I feel like it was more of a collaborative sharing of an idea.” Her husband is Brandon Welchez, guitarist for scuzz rockers the Crocodiles and her musical partner on the track ‘Blank Girl’. They stumbled upon the name during a living room recorddigging session one night, as a kind of ode to both The Vaselines, whose only album was entitled Dum Dum, and the Iggy Pop song ‘Dum Dum Boys’. Dee Dee explains: “It wasn’t intentional, but it’s the perfect distinct combination, because I love The Vaselines and their pop sensibility and their strangeness, and I love Iggy Pop for his more intense, raw music.” And what about the phrase ‘blissed-out buzzsaw’ that she uses as her MySpace tagline? “It’s tongue-in-cheek, but those are the two ingredients I try to keep in my music at all times,” she continues. “I want it to be noisy and a bit gnarly but I’m also all about singing. I love reverb and vocal harmony - those are sort of my guiding forces. I want my songs to be really pretty, but I also want to be in a rock’n’roll band.” Similar to how Dee Dee carries her influences in her name, she also wears them on her sleeves -

CALIFORNIAN DREAMER

Dee Dee Dum Dum

Photographer Alexandra Kacha

record sleeves, that is, which are all classic photography and vintage design. “The sixties are my favourite,” she admits. “Groups like The Mamas and The Papas are a big vocal inspiration, and the girl group stuff from the early to mid sixties are reference points for me. I still hold them as the perfect model of songwriting.” This autumn, Dee Dee plans to tour with a full band, finally completing the Dum Dum Girls picture. “My friend Frankie’s going to play drums and two other friends of mine are coming on board,” she says. “One girl lives in California and another girl that lives in Austin, Texas are going to play guitar and bass. I’m really fortunate that I found three people that are totally like-minded. I think we’re going to have a really fun time. That’s my main prerogative: to keep it really positive, because there’s just no room for having a bad time when you’re out there trying to play music.” Danna Hawley

OUT NOW FABRICLIVE47: TODDLA T Toddla T is a musical hurricane, a bundle of energy that has become a regular fixture on Charterhouse Street since first bursting into the fabric DJ booth. His party-rocking sets are the stuff of legend, a genre-bending, fast-paced style propped up by Toddla’s ongoing love affair with dancehall and ably assisted by his hype-chief MC Serocee who features alongside Toddla on FABRICLIVE 47. This wiry 24 year old Sheffield lad has bags of personality whatever side of the decks he’s on, a trait which effortlessly transmits into his DJ sets. This mix is unapologetically loud, brash but most of all fun. Toddla bounces through styles in the blink of an eye, from the bashy dancehall re-lick of Duffy’s ‘Stepping Stone’ to the brief blaze of firing drum & bass from Clipz to his Fish Go Deep/ Geeneus/Zinc medley to slices of funky through to some exclusive slabs of dubstep, then onto grime and 2-step – it’s breathless, it’s reckless and it’s utterly brilliant.

RELEASED 14TH SEPTEMBER FABRIC48: RADIO SLAVE

36:,9: ‹ 40?/,33 CRYSTAL FIGHTERS

WITH

MC VERSE

ZOMBIE NATION HERVÉ EDDY TEMPLE - MORRIS ALI B STREETLIFE DJS STEREO:TYPE HIGH RANKIN FIRAZ RAWKUS NOISE matter, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0DY Doors: 10pm – 6am Info: 020 7549 6686 www.myspace.com/theremix

11

On fabric 48, like any Radio Slave production, the devil is in the details. Unlike a typical DJ mix that crams a relentlessly full tracklist, Radio Slave strips back and grooves with only 13 productions, each as incandescent and hypnotic as the next. All tracks are elegantly drawn out and pulled in directions unknown, creating drama through the smallest effects and bringing back the feel of classic DJ experimentation from the heyday of Larry Levan. Designing soundscapes that breed rich, deep tones and colourful percussive builds, the mix glows with Cadenza's Michel Cleis, the tech-laced grace of 2000 & One and exclusives and re-edits from Radio Slave's own unstoppable Rekids imprint.

RELEASED 12TH OCTOBER FABRICLIVE48: FILTHY DUKES Having proven their studio ability on the aptly named 'Nonsense in the Dark', FABRICLIVE 48 sees the Filthy Dukes going back to what they know best: uproarious, incendiary DJ sets that sizzle through a smorgasboard of genres. Not so much crossing boundaries as erasing them completely, coupling pulsating kick drums, with dreamy melodies, the Dukes meld song-writing sensibilities with an ability to turn a dancefloor upside down. Throw down your preconceptions and discard your notions of the sounds of a fabric main room - this is the Filthy Dukes, and this is how they Kill 'Em All. The mix ducks and dives through styles and sounds without a moment's respite setting the pace from the off with their own gloriously synth-laden stomper 'This Rhythm', they move through 'Beat The Clock' by the legendary Sparks, Aeroplane's disgustingly brilliant Italo remix of Sebastian Tellier - straight out the book of Daft Punk, and even manage to drift in and out of Aphex Twin's classic 'Windowlicker' before the close.

Forthcoming: Magda, Buraka Som Sistema, Martyn

www.fabriclondon.com


12

International news

MEMORY TAPES MAN KEEPING IT REEL BY RECALLING HIS MANY MONIKERS JOHN DORAN

The

Memory Tapes song ‘Bicycle’ is one of the songs of the year and it was certainly a highlight of the summer. Along with ‘Crystallized’ by The xx, hell, that was the summer. A loose and clattering disco beat (that speaks of DIY intent but not at the cost of danceability) underpins a bruised but heartfelt bassline, which has all of the user-friendly, sublime functionality of DFA. And that’s before the song effloresces into warm waves of imperial New Order heartbreak - the Ligetti vocal drones of ‘Blue Monday’, the fizzing Moogs of ‘A Perfect Kiss’ and Peter Hook’s liquid bass. And all of this is accompanied by the Pied Piper disco diva refrains of some sassy lass luring men to the dangers of the dancefloor. Said ‘diva’, Dayve Hawk, coughs. Not only is it him who records all the instruments on the Memory Tapes debut, Seek Magic, but it is him who sings as well: “Because my voice is so high people are always surprised to find out it’s a guy singing.” In this day and age, it’s refreshing to meet someone as transcendentally unmotivated by success as Mr Hawk. Given that the group were previously known as Weird Tapes and Memory Cassette, he seems to change his band’s name at the merest hint of success. However, he isn’t a mysteriously reclusive figure like Burial, as some have claimed, just spectacularly unconcerned with promoting himself. He explains what the differences between the groups are: “Weird Tapes was mostly done with chopped up samples of other people’s records; Memory Cassette was re-workings of demos I had recorded in high school; and this time I wanted to make completely new tracks from nothing, so I combined the names to let people from both camps know this was me but different. It has probably only led to more confusion but at least I tried.” Despite his reticence, the ironically named Hawk has become an in-demand figure, with Britney and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs calling on his help as a remixer. (He even completed a Jackson 5 re-edit, but it’s now unlikely to see the light of day.) You wouldn’t guess any of this just from chatting to him. He sounds like a slightly befuddled stoner dude from New Jersey who has a love for first wave shoegaze. He says he would grab a handful of Cocteau Twins records to save if his flat was on fire, and he bemoans the internet’s ability to throw up micro-genres every few months to describe what he is doing: “Last summer everyone said I was Italo. This summer I’m dreamwave. These moments are not movements.” The lady has a point.

The Stool Pigeon October 2009

e c i ou s r p

l i t t le N i t e Je we l

REAL ESTATE HOUSING A DESIRE TO MAKE JAM BANDS HOT PROPERTY TOM ROWSELL

Ramona Gonzales had to strip back the glitz to find the charm in her music Animal Collective were looking for the first release for their label, Paw Tracks, they were passed a CD of home recordings from a then unknown musician. A year later, in 2004, Ariel Pink’s debut, Doldrums, became that debut release. Produced entirely alone and at home on 8-track, the album violently divided critics with its candid mix of half-remembered lyrics, pop-centric melodies and basement fuzz. Now a new 8-track obsessive has come to take Pink’s mantle: LA-based artist and musician Ramona Gonzales, who operates under the stage-name Nite Jewel. Far removed from the dusty hookflecked humour of Pink, Gonzales’s music is molten, bathing sound in puddles of delay and reverb, underpinned by the tinny squelch and

When

pip of a keyboard. This homemade sound is entirely intentional. A onetime student at NYU, Gonzales has had chance to explore the alternatives. “My now husband and I used to go to the Clive Davis Department to record, so we had access to a really nice studio,” she explains. “And it just felt like we had way too much stuff - way too much opportunity to record ourselves very well, instead of writing good songs.” Debut album Good Evening is all sideways pop hooks and lo-fi kitsch, fully removed from the sound of recording in a plush university studio and seemingly devoid of influences, so much so that even Gonzales herself can’t place its origins: “It’s just detritus, straight-up detritus. It’s years of collecting this music in my brain from different people and then just reeling it out on tape for what I thought would

be me and my friends but turned out to be a lot of other people.” With releases on hip US label Italians Do It Better and an album out on No Pain In Pop in the UK, chances are quite a few people outside her group of friends are going to be listening to Nite Jewel this winter. Is she surprised at her success? “No. I think the songs are really good. I’m a little bit surprised that many people like it, but I’m not surprised that some people like it, because I really do.” For Gonzales, just as for Pink before her, the transition from homerecording to a live show will be the most difficult part: “It’s hard when you’re writing on 8-track by yourself you can get so in your own head.” But for now, Good Evening is an invitation to join her in the anti-pop confines of her mind. Hazel Sheffield

French DJ Vitalic not convinced new LP is vital at all

live strong in every gaunt, leatherjacketed Frenchman with a sequencer and will to compress the living shit out of their sound levels. Now, four years later, he’s finally got round to releasing his second album, and finally the pressure is getting to him. “Can I make something consistent? Is it cutting edge?” Arbez ponders openly. In response to the sudden drought of innovation in French dance music - the fallout from, perversely, his myriad of imitators he’s hoping that Flashmob will be groundbreaking enough to dispel the status quo again. “I wondered: what kind of music would be sexy now?” he asks himself once more. “I didn’t want to be a follower or make it harder and faster, so I made my own way.” Which way is that? He claims Metro Area’s unpretentious, discoinflected contribution to the Fabric mix series as a source of inspiration, although aside from some lush Moroder-style arpeggios, it isn’t exactly obvious. “Of course I still have this rock influence,” continues Arbez, “it was not like starting from scratch with

something totally different. In fact, when I made the ‘Poney EP’ it didn’t sound like anything else, and OK Cowboy was really a ‘part two’. I wanted Flashmob to be a part as well.” Perhaps the album’s name is a clue that Arbez’s sonic sexiness really lays in his devotion to the pleasure principle - the fleeting moments of Dionysian splendour - rather than a true desire to change musical history. “I like the concept [of a flashmob],” he explains, “the gathering of people and making something a bit crazy for just a short time. I think it’s a kind of poetry.” Take out the part about the gathering of people and he’s summed up his approach to music; his voracious musical consumption as a teenager that saw him eat up and spit out everything from German hardcore to Belgian new beat hints at his relentless ADD pursuit of the next thing. This time, however, does he think the music moved on without him? “I don’t know if it’s for me to know if the record is relevant,” he concludes. “It’s not me who can say that, but the audience. In a few months they will decide.”

Words

louise brailey

the weight of expectation. You create something that jolts culture out of its default setting of vague entropy and then everyone wants you to do it all over again. Bastards. Just ask Dijon-based Vitalic, Pascal Arbez, who at the height of electroclash released his ‘Poney EP’. With tracks like ‘La Rock 01’ - the square root of brash, rock-informed techno - it heralded a new, fecund era for French dance music. Not a man to hurry anything, his debut LP was four years coming, but when OK Cowboy did arrive in 2005, it ensured its maker’s legacy would

Ah,

Henry Miller once wrote: “Nothing ever happens in New Jersey.” A sprawling suburban tumour sprouting from New York’s rectum, it exists on the cusp of everything and yet it is nothing, and from behind white picket fences the frustration of youth’s creativity burns eagerly with a passion to break free. With the exception of drummer Etienne Dugay, who lives in a hotel in Brooklyn, Real Estate are very much a product of their environment. Guitarist Martin Courtney and bassist Alex Bleeker have played in bands together since they were 13 years old and say, “A lot of the chemistry of our band comes from the fact we’ve known each other for a long time.” The band cut their teeth playing at homegrown shows that Martin describes as, “Not so much DIY as just playing in your parents’ living room with all your friends, having a good time.” They’ve been involved in music for a decade in some form or other. Martin is a former member of Titus Andronicus, Etienne is also in Predator Vision, and guitarist Matt Mondanile’s side project, Ducktails, produces quality psychedelic pop to rival the warm and fuzzy suburban drone of Real Estate. It’s no secret that lo-fi production is somewhat in vogue on both sides of the pond at present, but what is it that attracts these Jersey boys to stone-age recording techniques? “It sounds better,” Bleeker says, bluntly. “There’s a lot of digital music and it’s like, ‘Where does it go?’ It’s not real. You can’t feel it the same way you do with tape.” Their ‘Fake Blues’ single was released here on July 20 via Half Machine records and the band hope to tour the UK soon. In fact, these Grateful Dead obsessives live for the road and Britain is their dream destination. “Why else would you play music except to spend your time on the road?” Etienne asks, before stressing his vision for changing the global perception of psychedelic rock. “We’re trying to make it so ‘jam band’ is no longer a dirty term.” May the power of Jerry Garcia guide them to us.

Author


International news

October 2009 The Stool Pigeon

Join Vladislav Delay in an anti-pop celebration Vladislav Delay is Sasu Ripatti. Sasu Ripatti is also Luomo, Uusitalo, and a host of other pseudonyms, each of which explores electronic music from various angles - from Luomo’s breezy micro-house to Vladislav Delay’s intense, brooding blend of improvisational noise and percussion. “For me, it’s somehow natural to divide between styles and identities,” Ripatti explains. “Above all, I feel a need to cover quite a bit of ground as far as musical styles go. I get bored easily and need to satisfy my musical needs with more than one partner, if you will. Luckily it ends there: the rest of me is quite monogamous.” Monogamy apart, Tummaa, the latest Vladislav Delay record, is a strange and beautiful meeting of genres, from delicate musique concrète, to fleeting jazz samples and dark, industrial tones. It is, as Ripatti says: “The most original music I could imagine - music that doesn’t exist yet, at least at large. It’s also most personal to me, and easiest to come by. It is my musical freedom.” Whereas genre music is by definition limited by the scope of its boundaries, Tummaa’s “freedom” lies in its obtuseness. Although the record feels, at times, dark and urban, Ripatti says he wasn’t “consciously trying to conjure any images”. He continues: “I feel that when I think of certain images, other ones are then blocked out. I aim at all and none at the same time, leaving as much open for the listener as possible.” The album veers from moments of organic purity to menacing bleeps and basslines, always avoiding the clear narrative that pop music (including Ripatti’s own Luomo and Agf/Delay projects) demands. Indeed, Ripatti insists: “Vladislav Delay is an antipop celebration.” Tummaa has an admirable sense of evolution and change, no one moment relying on what’s come before, or may happen next. For Ripatti this tumultuousness reflects on the last few years of his life and changes that have taken place, including moving back to his native Finland from Berlin, having a daughter and, more ominously, grieving the loss of people he knew. “The list is endless, really,” he says, much like the list of his aliases. His prolific musical output will continue unabated, and in terms of his own personal evolution, he concludes that he hopes he can find more time to work on his... cooking skills.

By SAM LEWIS

Dominique Young Unique in line to Yo Majesty’s throne By IZZY MOLINA OH, TO BE A TEENAGER in Florida. Volleyball on the beach in the blistering sun, a trip to the mall to buy a smoothie, then maybe a movie with your besties. Not so for Tampa MC Dominique Young Unique. She debuted this summer with two bumping club jams that tell of a side of the state you don’t see in high school flicks. “When a gun pop off, a nigga jump in the trunk,” she raps on ‘Hot Girl’, and ‘Music Time’ is about getting on the mic to get away from the violence. Dominique is 17. “There’s a whole lotta drama in Tampa,” she explains. “It’s tough, you know. You got people being jealous of you; people who wanna be fightin’, reppin’ different sides of the neighbourhood... I’m in Robles Park, the ‘wild side’. There are people that, if you ain’t from their hood, they fight you. It’s a real tough environment to grow up in.” A search on Robles Park reveals three main things: endless reports on inner-neighbourhood carnage, a geographical position bang next to the US command-and-control centre for the Iraqi conflict, and the fact that it’s also home to the Yo Majesty women, who have taken Dominique under their royal wing. Dom’s mum knows

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Shunda from the group, she hooked them up, and it was Yo Majesty’s producer, Englishman David ‘Hard Feelings’ Alexander, who created the beats for ‘Hot Girl’ and ‘Music Time’. “The south, y’all know, it’s poppin’!” says Dom when asked about the massive north/south divide in US hip hop. “There are people from Miami comin’ out with really good stuff.” Particular inspiration to Dominique is Miami’s hardcore hip hop/R&B goddess Trina: “She the best, she motivates me and she’s how I see myself in the future.” Dom’s immediate future involves recording an album and hopefully coming to the UK soon to play some shows. And for the long term, she says: “I want a platinum album. Everyone want one. I also want some people to learn from my music. I think they gon’ like it, ’cos it’s the only thing I see in my eyes. What I rap about is them damn boys that be fightin’. I hope my music will make them think, ‘Ah yeah, we need to stop this.’ It’s stupid. There’s more to life, like music, and starting a new life and gettin’ out of the hood. It’s the best thing to look forward to.”


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International news

The Stool Pigeon October 2009

Joakim milking all genres to help him find his way Words louise brailey

Words hazel sheffield

groggy sounding Joakim Bouaziz is apologising for not being as articulate as he would like to be. “I’m sorry, it’s early,” he says. It’s midday French time, but he works late, and hard. The head of Tigersushi records has produced albums for a slew of bands including Poni Hoax and Panico and established himself as the remixer du jour for more than a few jours now, with everyone from Late Of The Pier to Röyksopp clambering for his French touch. His own productions have won him equal acclaim: after all, when the world was collectively masturbating over the French electronic scene, it was Joakim who lent a classiness to the proceedings with ‘I Wish You Were Gone’ and ‘Drumtrax’. Add a brilliant new album to the mix and you could forgive the man for being tired. “I wanted to do something in the same vein as [2006 album] Monsters and Silly Songs, but more direct and raw,” he says of Milky Way. “I guess I kind of failed because when I listen to it now, it’s more complex and dense than I intended.” Indeed, Milky Ways is a heady diversion into Krautrock, taut electronic pop, acid bangers and wiry experimentalism. He has a live band, The Disco, and he says the album germinated in the surfeit of ideas thrashed out in jamming sessions. “I had this idea that there’s no youth anymore,” he continues, somewhat oblivious to the fact that he’s undermining the point of all dance music, like, ever. “I also had this idea of the loss of a primitive state. That’s why the first song is called ‘Back To The Wilderness’. Maybe it’s back to teenage, but not like the teenage I see today something more evil and primitive.” Joakim’s background varies from your average dance producer’s. There are no tales of underage raving in his backstory, and no clichéd chemical epiphanies. “When I grew up, I didn’t listen to anything that young people listen to, because I was always practising classical music,” he explains. “I didn’t buy any records.” His year-zero approach has helped him in grand ways. Now four albums in, he sees each record as a work in progress - the result of the tension between pop music and the more leftfield electronica that fascinates him. “I’m attracted to pop music because for me it’s quite a challenge to make a pop song,” he says. “I also love experimental, physical music music that has an effect on your body. My own music is not just dance music, but not because I want to prove I can do something else. It’s just the way I make it.”

E a t Guitars (proper noun): A loud crash or roll consuming a strummed or plucked melody. What’s in a name? Quite a bit, it seems. Some half a century since pop music began, the musically minded are beginning to struggle for originality in the name-stakes. Make it obscure à la Arctic Monkeys, plagiarised like Modest Mouse, or as offensive as Holy Fuck, it’s still never going to compare to The Clash, The Smiths or Sonic Youth, and that’s even when you overlook these bands’ enduring popularity. Something has to be done to stop people naming their bands things like Dananananaykroyd and Babyshambles, for the good of everyone. Henceforth, band names should do their very best to literally express the noise the band makes. Audio Bullys can go on offending speakers. The Horrors can continue shocking people with unexpectedly good second albums. And New York’s Cymbals Eat Guitars can keep devouring themselves in a furore of crashing melody. “I err on the side of things being blaringly loud,” frontman Joe D’Agostino admits. “I just got those special musician earphones, but I can’t use them. So much of playing guitar and being on stage is being able to feel the force of your amp and how it moves the air.” If moving air were their sole ambition, the first track on their debut album Why There Are Mountains would signal early retirement. Entitled ‘...And The Hazy Sea’, its thunderous opening unravels into six minutes of splashy, decadent drumming under sugared melodies. “‘...And The Hazy Sea’ is three-years-old,” Joe says. “Matt [drums] and I were working on it at the tail end of high school.” Some of their songs might have been kicking about for a while, but it’s only very recently that Cymbals Eat Guitars have started to attract attention. “Five months ago we hadn’t really played anywhere,” says Joe. “Now I’ve played every venue in New York that I used to go to as a kid and see bands. It’s crazy. And coming to London was another insane, surreal, life-affirming kind of thing.” Why There Are Mountains slots Joe’s Malkmus-drawl over slick guitar melodies that are never far from being consumed by the next crash or roll from the kit. It’s tummy-turning and thrilling, and helped get them a record deal with Memphis Industries, the label set to release their album in the UK ahead of two dates supporting The Flaming Lips this November. Finally a band that does what it says on the tin, for added onomastic satisfaction.

A

GUIDED BY STRANGE LIGHTS, YACHT SAIL INTO DIGITAL UTOPIA Words

charles ubaghs rachel lipsitz

Photo

l i g h t s regularly appearing in the night sky above the isolated West Texas town of Marfa... it’s not what you’d expect when discussing album inspiration with a band signed to DFA, New York’s premier label for all things nouveau-disco. But that’s exactly what inspired the creation of See Mystery Lights, the new record from Portland, Oregon’s Yacht. “I met these kids who told me about them,” explains Yacht founder Jona Bechtolt. “They were like, ‘No one knows what it is and it’s never been explained.’ I went to see them and my mind was blown.” “It’s really special,” adds Claire Evans, Bechtolt’s creative partner in the band. “The lights were a huge influence on the album, just because they’re sort of a mystery. They’re this thing that people live with every day that’s completely unexplained.” It’s esoteric stuff for a group whose current calling card is laptop-made electronic dance pop. But then the band’s website features a detailed manifesto which, among other things, states that free wi-fi is a political statement and not just something you use while sipping coffee at Café Nero. Originally a one-man band started in 2002 by Bechtolt - a former drummer and beatsmith for nu-folk hippie Devendra Banhart and K Records act The Blow - Yacht became a duo in 2008 when Evans officially joined the band, after contributing vocals to 2007’s I

Freaky

Believe In You, Your Magic Is Real. “Everything I do falls under the umbrella of Yacht,” says Bechtolt. “We were doing Yacht work together that wasn’t music, so Claire was already a member long before she started singing on the records or playing in the band.” With Evans serving as a dark foil to Bechtolt’s natural optimism (“I think that comes from my mom - she’s a real silver-lining lady.”), the romantically involved pair have taken a once scrappy electro indie outfit and transformed it into a glossy, constantly evolving, multimedia art project. “The computer enables us to have a veneer of professionalism that doesn’t really exist,” muses Evans when questioned about their creative tactics. Bechtolt is quick to agree: “The internet has become this incredible resource that allows us to do whatever we want and make whatever we want.” Fuelled by their belief in the limitless possibilities of broadband, the two collaborate on a range of creative pursuits that include music, videos, PowerPoint presentations that double as performance art and, perhaps strangest of all, setting up a business that produces envelope-shaped carrying cases for the MacBook Air. “It made us realise that business is like everything else that we do,” says a reflective Evans. “I didn’t know that you could be punk about business.” A renaissance band for the 21st century, then? The urge to file Yacht under some new buzz term - DIY 2.0, Digital Enlightenment Pop - is strong, but Bechtolt has a simpler answer: “We consider ourselves to be generalists.”

FEELING PECKISH. Fugazi’s

RHUBARB CRUMBLE Serves

6-8

INGREDIENTS.---Filling 4 cups diced rhubarb, cut into smallish chunks 3 Granny Smith apples 3/4 cup of honey 1-1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch 1/8 teaspoon of cardamom Crumble Topping 1/2 cup unbleached flour 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tiny cubes 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds, crushed walnuts, or crushed pecans

PREPARATION.---Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Dice rhubarb, and core/slice apples into thin slices. Combine, adding honey, cornstarch and cardamom. Place fruit mixture in 8x8 baking pan and smooth out. Combine flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Toss butter squares into dry topping ingredients, rub into mix with fingers to form crumblets. Add nuts and spread crumble topping over fruit mixture in pan. Bake for 55 minutes until top browns and fruit starts bubbling. Serve warm, alone or with vanilla ice cream.

Cymbals Eat Guitars finding the attention hard to swallow

Cymbals


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17

October 2009 The Stool Pigeon

Features

MAXIMUM ENTROPY

Everything falls apart for LA’s boyband for an apocalypse, HEALTH.

Holl

ywood’s a bunch of soppy suds. Man has dreamed of an ending world since his first sentient death; slopping the apocalypse down onto canvas for others to gawp at, onto paper in feverish scrawl, inciting it through ritual act and late-night talk radio gabble. You have seen The Last Judgement, read of Riddley Walker and Daniel’s ‘third great beast’; cowered before The Blob and torn lip for Mad Max. The evidence is there - it’s important, the end of the world. It’s something the human race has spent a great deal of time worrying about and it’ll Xerox the fate of billions. So how, after millennia of cogitation and rehearsal, could Hollywood peer into the imminent darkness and glimpse nothing more profound than Steven Tyler’s grossly distended labia?

In 1

998 and within spitting distance of a new century, the world’s dream machine scrabbled around in the most dreadful, dim-lit corners of its imagination and returned clutching Aerosmith. Aerosmith. For Armageddon. While the mawks among us gladly wept, everyone else’s teeth ground themselves sharper, fingernails rushed an inch from skin overnight and something latent in our guts got warm again.

A de

cade passed, then Health s t a r t e d making noises in Los Angeles. Perhaps California finally had the noises to get God’s ear and goad open that big trapdoor in the sky.

“I c

an see that,” nods John Famiglietti, who plays bass but also wrings whining fear from guitars and effects boxes when Health beat drum, beat self, shriek, flail, fit and bleed live. The only member of the quartet that doesn’t multi-task is drummer BJ Miller, who makes the kit suffer for his loyalty and is a giant.

“My

girlfriend said the other day she thought the first record was a fucked-up, future-primitive thing,” continues Famiglietti, “and the second one [new album Get Color] is about shitty space.”

Shit “Fut

ty space?

ure out in space. When you see movies like Star Wars or Aliens the ships are all dirty and gross. Aliens is particularly funny, because they’re hundreds of years in the future and all their technology sucks. The technology is fucking terrible, everything they have falls apart.”

Fami

glietti’s girlfriend has it. Remorseless and drained, Health’s musical primitivism convinces utterly in its telling of everything falling apart and of the dire dark at the very end of that collapse, tracks like ‘Courtship’ and ‘//M\\’ - melodydenying despots of rhythm somehow impossibly eloquent of end times; sound conjured and arranged in a way that causes physical dread. Lyricless and despondent, it’s as if Health are privy to an arcane knowledge; the secret passed down that we’ve broached this verge of nuclear oblivion before and that our one purpose is to push the button so that successive tides of humanity may be rekindled to die over and over in a flurry of colossal blasts (cue Dreaming Man 2009’s priapic missile, finally potent enough to engage the earth in an aeons-long futility fuck).

Futu

re-primitive, shitty space. Where’s your

“Tra

d i t i o n a l l y, movie-score bands would be slower I guess,” reasons Famiglietti, shaking the hair from his eyes. “Or you’d have fast rock bands who’ll maybe get a little fancy with Dungeons And Dragons shit or whatever... But having a fast, aggressive band with ambience and soundtrack concepts, that’s something I’d say we aspire to do.”

“Obv

iously we’re not a garage rock band,” guitarist Jake Duszik counters, “God love AC/DC, I think they’re fucking awesome, but if you wanted them to score the emotional ups and downs of a film you’d be lucky if you got one ‘Hell’s Bells’ in there...”

“Wha

t if I’m making a m o v i e about a hard-drinking guy who falls in love with a girl called Rosie?”

“We’

d love to score a movie,” says D u s z i k , ignoring Famiglietti, who wisecracks again.

“But The

first we’ve got to make the masterpiece.”

‘masterpiece’ Famiglietti refers to isn’t Get Color - a stunning album more overtly made for clubland that, with its tolerance of melody and a fuller, thicker, less monochromatic sound, seems to have moved forward from the razed world of the band’s debut to the twitching, hedonistic infancy of a new one, even if Duzsik’s voice remains exhausted, an atonal absence so numb and cold that it repels emotion.

Armageddon, Health?

“If

the first is really evil sounding, the second is more sad sounding,” surmises Duzsik.

“Sti “It’

ll evil, though.”

s still evil, kids,” quips effects man Jupiter Keyes. “Don’t get rid of your jacket with the patches just yet.”

The “It’

‘masterpiece’ is actually a third album, yet to be

written or recorded. s not fun, recording records,” he says. “We don’t love doing it, it’s very stressful. But we’re getting better at it, and though not everything went the way we hoped with this one, I think we’ve learned enough that the third will be a masterpiece.”

It s

hould probably be made clear at this point that Health aren’t an unreasonably arrogant band - they’re tongues-wedged-in-cheek perfectionists, and perfectionists need to believe in the possibility of the ‘masterpiece’.

Unli

ke other infamously noisy bands - Times New Viking, say - everything about Health is tightly honed, practised and concerned with ousting the here-andnow in favour of “something that’s not part of normal life”. They talk about having developed a “hive mind” and not wanting to “break the wall with lame jokes” or onstage anecdotes about broken-down vans.

“We’ “We

re very aware of the fact it’s a performance,”

take it very seriously. We want to give you a show.”

It’s

a show not u n i v e r s a l l y appreciated, as Health found out while touring recently with Nine Inch Nails.

“Som

etimes it wasn’t just, ‘Oh, this band sucks,’ it was more of an affront to what their conception of music is,” explains Duzsik.

“One

guy just stood like this,” says Keyes, bowing his head and raising both middle fingers to the gods, “like an act of solidarity or spiritual rejection.”

Any “‘Yo

other heckles?

u got blood and it’s pink, faggit,’” he continues. “‘Somebody get me a gun, I need to blow my head off.’ Out of 4,000 people, 500 are heckling you. It was exhilarating. We usually start with one song - an a capella from our first album [‘Lost Time’] - just to find our voice. Some guy yells out, ‘Boyz II Men!!!’”

And

of Health, apocalypse?

what fires the sad, honed entertainment boyband for an

“Ang

st,” Keyes says, death in his eyes.

states Keyes.

practise these songs a lot and we want to play them as tight as possible,” agrees Famiglietti. “We don’t wanna waste your time or your money. We

Words by KEV KHARAS Photography by EMILY GRAHAM


Reading Festival, 2005: Three-thousand punters writhe dementedly like wasps roiling around in a can of Fanta. They’re angry, scared and confused. It’s a common enough response, and one shared by bewildered event organisers. Projectiles are being aimed in the direction of the unfolding debauch onstage. Something, evidently, needs to be done. “Reading Festival went completely wrong,” confesses Annika Line Trost, one half of Berlin electro punk duo Cobra Killer and source of the aforementioned consternation. “We were working with our old booking agency and they asked us to do the festival. When we got there one of the organisers took us to our stage. The guy turned around and he had ‘SUPERVISOR - COMEDY TENT’ written on his t-shirt. And when we asked him if he was sure this was right he said, ‘Yes, yes, it’s only the comedy tent during the day - later on it becomes the exotic cabaret tent.’” So far, so bad. But nothing could have prepared them - Trost, that is, and partner-in-crime of 11 years, ‘Wildest’ Gina V. D’Orio - for the carnage that ensued. “We had 3,000 people throwing plastic bottles at us during our set,” says Trost. “And they had bottle deposit things outside the tent as well. Maybe we should have taken them there. But in the end the stage manager stopped the show because people started to like it, and they got very crazy - they were scared that there might be the rumblings of a revolution going on.” The coup de grace, however, appeared in the comely shape of the placatory measure that followed: “We had to stop, and they sent a burlesque dancer on to calm people down instead.” Now, strippers in period costume aren’t generally noted for their mollifying effect on braying hordes of lagered-up festival-goers armed with plastic bottles. But such is the impact of Cobra Killer’s live repertoire, punctuated as it is with eye-popping, vampy garb, ritualistic red wine dousing and a fine line in withering, surrealist banter. Presumably the vin rouge has its wicked way with the girls through some obscure process of osmosis, because parts of their new record Uppers And Downers are far gone indeed. It’s not only sozzled thrusting, mind you - Cobra Killer are too clever for that. In strictly nonsensical terms, I suppose you’d call it a rock record for electro fans who don’t like electro. Indeed, Trost and D’Orio started out as garage rockers in their teens, swapping guitars for samplers around the time of their Digital Hardcoresigned ventures EC80R and Shizuo. They began collaborating under the Cobra Killer moniker in 1998, putting out records which combined stroppy electro, punk vigour and kitschy sixties samples with a lightning wit that made them stick out like a sore thumb from the brittle thrashing that characterised the lairier end of Alec Empire’s infamous roster. And always a string of riotous live shows followed in their wake. The years, it turns out, have not diminished them. “After the last record we had a lot to

do - we had to deal with a lot of difficult things, a lot of idiotic things,” says D’Orio. “We ended up in jail in Sweden after a gig. We don’t know what happened, the fact is we were brought to prison the next day after a gig in Malmo from our hotel. We can only guess as to why. They didn’t tell us how long we were going to be there - it could have been two hours or two years for all we knew. And we had to take our train - we had to leave. I know there are

sadists in this world and I don’t want to have to deal with them. I’m just not up for police or jail or anything like that.” With the pair well into their thirties, however, a toned-down version of the stage show is assuredly not in the offing. “It always changes,” says Trost, a frisky note creeping into her musical German brogue. “It’s a bit like sex. You don’t think when you’re 32, ‘Oh you know I’ve been doing this since I was 14, so

really I should tone it down a bit. It gets better, onstage and also with the sex. But it gets more, it gets more... it’s just different. The more you do it the better it gets.” Now they’re back for a fifth roll in the hay with a record that draws on the talents of axe-wielding admirers as stellar and disparate as Thurston Moore, Jon Spencer and Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis, and they want the world to know they’re not

fucking about. “This album we were really up for, you know, because time is passing by quickly,” says D’Orio. “We were really into these recordings - it was great. It’s so important for us to do this, because... we need to do this; it’s not a choice. These days it’s hard because so many people are scared to have an attitude - because they think it will kill their careers - and to me it’s very important to have an attitude.”

snakes Berlin duo Cobra Killer on the uppers and downers that went into their star-studded new LP Words by Alex Denney Photograph by Billy and Hells

“I’m so glad that we found the title Uppers And Downers,” adds Trost. “And yes, we’re aware of the drug reference. Like you’ve got speedballs; on one arm you shoot up heroin and the other coke or whatever. But it’s more like life, you know. Sometimes it’s like the earth you’re on... it’s rotating so, so quickly and then you don’t know if it’s up or down. We’ve had some very high moments and some very down moments over the past couple of years.” The record’s all-star cast was assembled somewhat haphazardly, as Trost explains: “Thurston bought our first record which came out in 1998 and he asked us to support Sonic Youth. It was funny, he was standing in front of us and asking about our records, like, ‘Ah, I’d really like this seven inch...’ It should have been the opposite, you know. And I went to one of their gigs in Berlin last year and he asked me if we had any plans to have guest musicians on our album, so that’s how that happened. “J [Mascis] just seemed to fit very well, while Thurston has this very noisy style - this more rock thing. He wanted to do stuff at his place and then send it over - he wanted to be alone with the music. But it was different with Jon Spencer. We played this gig in Nuremberg with the Blues Explosion and we had our portable studio with us. When he came off stage we gave him a guitar and a microphone and he recorded it two seconds after finishing his set. The sweat was just pouring off him. It was unbelievable.” The saucy note makes a welcome return: “I think also he was sweating because of the pants he was wearing on stage. They were very tight, and the leg skin couldn’t breathe because it was like a plastic fabric. But it was great because he was giving a very sweaty, sleazy rock performance.” Wine, sweat and tears alike, Cobra Killer wring every last drop. Ignore them at your peril.

are high


We live in dark times, but there’s hope for us yet according to the wise words of RICHARD HAWLEY Words by Hazel Sheffield Photo by Richie Hopson

T

here’s a lyric on Richard Hawley’s new album Truelove’s Gutter, that ends: “...blundered into the abyss.” Is that where we are, the abyss? Two-and-a-half million unemployed; our little island lagging behind all the bigger fishes and fatter cats in the semirecovering global economy; clinging onto other people’s politicians and our own half-remembered glory days. If that’s where we are, then blunder we did. Only he wasn’t talking about the economy, or politics, or society. He was talking about falling in love. And that’s the thing about Hawley: big things have gone to shit - Britain has forgotten what it is, where it’s going - but there are still voices of reason out there. Hawley’s one of them. His sixth solo LP doesn’t directly reference the recession, but dashed hopes, damaged dreams and half-forgotten ambitions penetrate every weird sound and subtle lyric of its 51 minutes. His songs aren’t about boom and bust but, he says, “The fall-out of that, I suppose, and the way that people get caught up in it. My family was deeply affected by the last major recession with the closure of the steel works. It cost my parents their marriage.” That’s what it comes down to. Not statistics and politics, but the people you love and the streets you tread, and that’s something that Hawley has never forgotten. “My family has lived [in Sheffield] for 150 years, you know,” he says. “We live in a very transient, migratory age, but I really, really am rooted in Sheffield, and that’s important to me. Not in a stick-in-the-mud kind

of way, but because I know why I’m here.” Hawley’s never made a secret of his love for his hometown. His Mercury-nominated fourth album, Cole’s Corner, told the story of one of the city’s famous meeting places, while Truelove’s Gutter is the ancient name of Sheffield’s Castle Street, so-called after Thomas Truelove, an innkeeper there. “The juxtaposition of the two names seems to sum the record up perfectly,” he offers by explanation. He also produced Tony Christie’s Made In Sheffield album from last year. Hawley’s father was a steel worker, his stepfather a miner, so he’s well placed to remind people of a time when community still existed and work was anchored to identity. “It’s the people I love more than anything,” he says of the city. “When the steel works were open people lived really hard lives, but they had a right good sense of humour - very self-deprecating, not taking yourself too seriously. And people would definitely stick together, you know?” The people Hawley writes about on Truelove’s Gutter came unstuck. They lost themselves in the mire of modernity, and forgot where they came from. In ‘Don’t Get Hung Up In Your Soul’, Hawley recounts the story of a friend who spent a lot of time in institutions for mental problems because she found it safer there than being out in the world. “You have to know something before you can really sing about it,” he explains. “It’s not about holding onto things for the sake of it, it’s about holding onto things because they mean something. And I think that’s the point. Because

once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.” He speaks of how he takes his children to see the old steel works where their grandfather, the late Dave Hawley, worked, and about the museum in Sheffield dedicated to the industry. “In 20 years’ time or even 10 years’ time I can’t imagine there being a call centre museum, can you?” And then, laughing: “‘This is where I plug my modem in, this is where I charge my mobile...’ Do you know what I mean?” Coming from anyone else, it might seem worthy: a successful musician championing the working class. But Hawley’s done his time. His career started when he was still at school, in a band called Treebound Story. When they broke up, he found success with nineties Britpop act The Longpigs, and then, seven years later, with fellow Sheffield natives, Pulp. “The ideas for a lot of the solo stuff had kind of been fermenting in my mind for a long time,” he says. “I wasn’t frustrated or anything, I was more than happy sat at the back watching someone else singing. But it just got to the point where I was 32-years-old... and now I’ve been making solo albums for a decade. That’s longer than I was ever with any of my bands. I was completely shocked where I ended up and it completely threw me - I never expected that at all. But the music’s mine to be made. I’m sick of music being made for commercial purposes. I think that music can serve a different purpose.” For Hawley, music is his trade, just as much as steel was for his ancestors. “Music is a craft,” he explains. “If you pick

up an instrument to become famous and rich, more than likely you will be very sorely disappointed. But if you pick it up because you love it... I’m very clear about what I set out to do and I’ve never lost that.” He goes on: “At a time like this it’s not great commercial sense to make an album full of 10minute strung-out pieces of music. But I don’t think it’s the time either for creative characters just to play it safe and play the game. That’s another thing that’s important for me as well: to make a record where I stretch myself as a writer, musician and producer.” Truelove’s Gutter still features that same molten vocal that earned Hawley a reputation as ‘the Elvis of the north’, but this time it’s soundtracked by a whole host of instruments so unusual they could almost be made up: the glass harmonica, musical saw, megabass waterphone and crystal baschet. What should sound, from this description, like some kind of hellish modernist racket, actually rumbles and glides with similar classical precision as his previous work. It’s testament to the man’s propensity for integrating innovation and tradition. Hawley’s a man who’ll remind you just where you came from, and why things went awry. But he’ll also tell you that now, more than ever, is the time to push on with the future. “At the time I decided that I wanted to make music as a way of making a living, things were a bit like they are now. You’re not going to say, ‘Don’t do that, get a job,’ because where are the fucking jobs!? You might as well do something that you believe in.”


20

Features

The Stool Pigeon October 2009

Tired and bored, the BEASTIE BOYS yawned their way through a UK promotional tour this summer. But something was up, something as serious as... Words by Cyrus SHAHRAD Photographs by Spencer MURPHY

A

s Beastie Boys videos go, it’s an understated affair. Adams Yauch and Horowitz - MCA and Ad Rock respectively - are seated in front of a large mixing desk. Yauch wears a red collared shirt and does most of the talking; a bearded Horowitz stares blankly at a point somewhere in the distance, as though weighing up the news for the first time. What few laughs there are appear due to nerves, and neither man seems particularly comfortable looking into the camera. “About two months ago I started feeling this little lump in my throat,” says Yauch, “like you would feel if you had swollen glands or something like that, like you’d feel if you had a cold. So I didn’t really think it was anything...” He says that the cancer is localised in the perotic gland and the neighbouring lymph node, and wants to reassure fans that it’s both easily treatable and unlikely to affect his vocals. But the main reason he’s making the video is to apologise to those who have made plans to see the Beastie Boys in the near future: forthcoming tour dates will have to be cancelled, something he describes as “a pain in the ass”. He thanks Adam for coming along, and there’s a moment of surreal humour as the pair go off on a tangent involving fake beards and country music side projects. Then the gravity of the news swings back into frame, and there’s a lingering silence, eyes finally meeting the camera before the clip suddenly ends. The first video responses were up on YouTube within hours. Some were unduly morbid - one gentleman went

to great lengths to shoot down Yauch’s assertion that the cancer is easily treatable, a clip that single-handedly justified the decision to disable comments on the original announcement. Most, however, were simple messages of goodwill from fans of all ages, sentiments echoed by countless artists over subsequent weeks. At the All Points West festival in New Jersey, which the Beasties were due to headline, Chris Martin made a typically execrable stab at turning ‘Fight For Your Right’ into a piano ballad; Jay-Z performed a more commendable cover of ‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn’; and the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Karen O took to the stage wearing an armband that read ‘Get Well MCA’. The subject of affection had by this time emerged from surgery and returned home “to relax, have home-cooked food and hang out with the family”. He was avoiding painkillers for fear they would slow his recovery, and remained optimistic, though he admitted he wasn’t looking forward to radiation therapy. “No sooner am I on the mend from this first torture than they are lining up the next one,” he said in a statement, which ended by thanking all the friends, fans and artists who had sent positive thoughts his way. “I do think that all of the well wishes have contributed to the fact that my treatment and recovery are going well.” I’d met Yauch and Horowitz a few weeks earlier on the promotional tour for their now temporarily shelved new LP, Hot Sauce Committee Part 1. The interview was preceded by an album listening session at the EMI offices in Kensington - the music industry equivalent of a communal wank with complete strangers. There were the usual cavity searches for recording devices and disclaimers guaranteeing worldly possessions against any financial loss incurred by the label, after which we were shepherded into a small room and seated around a table laid with bowls of

flavourless crisps. In one corner was a small fridge stuffed with beers and soft drinks, a sign taped to its door reading ‘Beastie Boys: Help Yourselves!’, as though Horowitz, Yauch and Diamond had popped out for five minutes but would be back to serve hors d’oeuvres imminently. There was no press release. No track names. Not even an album title. We were simply made to sit nodding along to a nebulous stream of party music, coughing awkwardly in pauses that would normally be filled with the sound of crowds cheering and glass breaking. On top of that, the CD started skipping halfway through. It’s not easy to appraise a record under such circumstances, but it sounded decent, which is to say that it sounded like a Beastie Boys album, all fuzzbox basslines and breakneck beats, and shouty vocals distorted as if through a megaphone. It appeared to be more heavily produced than their last hip hop record, the stripped-down To The 5 Boroughs (the largely forgotten all-instrumental The Mix-Up was released in 2007). There was a track on there with a laser bassline that bordered on sounding like a drum’n’bass tune, and a couple of collaborations Santigold, I think, and Nas. Oh, I don’t know. Go and listen to it yourself. It’s probably been leaked on to the internet by now. Though not, I should emphasise, through any fault of my own. The interview itself took place at the swanky Soho Hotel in central London. Mike D was on his way out the door when I arrived, which left me with the two Adams. Both had the air of men unexcited by the prospect of their 10th interview of the day: Ad Rock, sprawled across a couch in his slippers, struggled to keep his eyes open; MCA sipped tea and gazed absently at the far wall. Part of me wants to say that he kept rubbing his neck, but I may have imagined it. Either way, it seems pretty obvious with hindsight that concerns about his health had begun to sour the tour. At


No Sleep Since Brooklyn

October 2009 The Stool Pigeon

the time I registered their apathy as understandable behaviour for men in their mid-forties, if not quite in keeping with the party personas on their latest album. “Oh, I still party all the time,” yawned Horowitz. “Do you know ‘Party All The Time’ by Eddie Murphy? I listen to that song pretty much on repeat. I’m basically a party machine.” Yauch said that the new record captured the sound of old friends having fun in the studio - their own Oscilloscope Laboratories in New York, which has hosted the likes of M.I.A. and the reformed Bad Brains, whose Build A Nation LP Yauch produced. “It was definitely a silly time, for sure. All three of us know how to use Pro Tools, so most days it’s just us in there and we can mess around as much as we like. That’s when the craziest shit happens; when we’re just playing.” I told them that travelling across London I’d seen a kid who couldn’t have been older than 15 wearing a Beastie Boys t-shirt, and that on arriving at the hotel, a receptionist in her fifties had asked if I was interviewing the same band that advocated stealing VW emblems for necklaces in the 1980s. (“Because if so they still have one of mine, and I want it back.”) How did it feel to have taken what was initially dismissed as fad music and developed it over decades? What was it like to straddle so many generations of fans? “It’s definitely interesting,” said Horowitz, sounding anything but interested. “I remember the first time I noticed kids in the audience that were younger than the band, and that was a long time ago.” “Our music has always been about having fun,” added Yauch. “If we’ve been popular all these years then that’s because having fun never goes out of fashion, however old you are, whatever generation you belong to.” At the same time, the guys acknowledged the

importance of certain musical transformations along the way. Charting the development of the Beastie Boys is a little like recounting the evolution of hip hop itself, from their 1986 frat hop debut, the Rick Rubin-produced Licensed To Ill, which Rolling Stone reviewed under the headline ‘Three Idiots Create A Masterpiece’, to their 1988 follow-up, Paul’s Boutique, which the same magazine referred to it as ‘the Dark Side Of The Moon of hip hop’. Their output in the first half of the 1990s - Check Your Head and Ill Communication - both coined and captured the trend for scuzzy funk, monster basslines and old school skate aesthetics. After that they began embracing flamboyant theatrics and wild experimentation: from 1995’s Aglio e Olio, an eight track EP of punk numbers clocking in at just 11 minutes, to 2006’s Awesome; I Fuckin’ Shot That, a movie of a Madison Square Garden gig filmed entirely by audience members. “There have definitely been some landmark moments,” said Yauch. “The sampling thing made a huge impact on our music, and on music in general. When we recorded Licensed To Ill people were using these enormous machines that could trigger single fire, second long samples. Two years later the Dust Brothers were producing Paul’s Boutique, and the amount of samples being layered on there was just insane. That whole cut-and-paste approach is taken for granted these days, but back then it took the whole world by surprise.” “But sampling is just one part of our music,” said Horowitz. “We’ve never stopped using live instruments, partly because of the warmth they bring to a cut, partly because it’s so much easier to just sit down and play a riff you have running through your head than spend weeks rummaging around your record collection looking for a sample that sounds vaguely similar.” I suggested that playing live instruments also linked

them to their punk roots - the trio first started performing as a hardcore outfit in 1979, and a tendency to rock out still surfaces regularly. “Possibly,” said Horowitz, “but we never record with an agenda. We make the music we’re compelled to make at the time. If that happens to be punk, we make punk music. If we felt compelled to mess around with flutes, we’d make flute music.” To which extent, said Yauch, the inimitable Beastie Boys ‘sound’ was more a lyrical than a musical trademark. “I think we’ve experimented a lot with tracks over the years. Some of the instrumental stuff could be by any number of bands. But when the three of us start rhyming it’s always going to sound like a Beastie Boys tune. I don’t think there’s any way of getting around that.” At which point the interview was brought to a close. Not the worst of all time by a long shot, but muddied by an unpleasant sense of irritation on the part of two men clearly wanting to be somewhere else. What had I expected? That they’d ask me to go skateboarding with them in the car park? That they’d dress me up in a Godzilla costume and throw toy planes at my head? The poor guys probably heard the same questions in every interview the previous week, and no doubt had plenty more of the same to look forward to. At the time I assumed that being absorbed into the belly of a beast like EMI had effectively taken the fun out of promoting their record, and that knocking on for 50 probably didn’t help either. But I couldn’t help but feel cheated: I worshipped the Beastie Boys growing up, and seeing them so drawn and deflated had seemed like the final nail in the coffin of the party they’d long ago told me to fight for. Now, of course, I know better, and I’m ashamed for having doubted them even for a second. It’ll never happen again.

Features

21


“WHEN I WAS A KID MY FATHER aspired to be rich, but never really worked at it,” says Erasure’s Vince Clarke. “He’s the kind of guy who, if he’d got some money, he would go out and spend it on a Rolls Royce. I thought that was quite cool when I was young, but when I reached my twenties I realised that wasn’t what I wanted to do. So I just bought a Volvo.” Twenty-one years later, The Innocents, the record that bought Vince Clarke his Volvo, is being reissued by Mute. In the intervening years the album has largely been forgotten, despite the fact it broke Erasure across the world, going platinum in the US and hitting top of the charts on two occasions nearly a year apart in the UK. Previous work with Depeche Mode, Yazoo and The Assembly had already established Vince Clarke as a successful, chart-topping songwriter by the time he recruited Andy Bell through an advert in Melody Maker and formed Erasure. Their modestly received debut Wonderland (1986) and follow-up Circus (1987) saw Bell gradually finding his feet. The Innocents was the realisation of Erasure’s soulful pop. It’s a record that merits revisiting 21 years later, and not just for the singles that have become disco staples since. ‘Witch In The Ditch’ has a baroque swing to it, while ‘Sixty-Five Thousand’ is shaped by a form of electro rap. ‘A Little Respect’ is so timeless it sounds like it must be a cover of an old soul record. It’s certainly one of the best British pop songs of the 1980s, but by way of a contrast, ‘When I Needed You’ echoes the experimentation of Japan. Throughout the album there’s an edge and intelligence that those who write Erasure off as a synth pop novelty duo clearly ignore, and it’s as much in thrall to soul, Motown, and acid house as it is to the electronic music on Mute that first inspired Vince Clarke to form Depeche Mode with Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher back in 1980. Clarke attributes the range of influences to Bell: “I was never really into Motown or stuff like that. Andy was always 100 per cent involved in the writing process, and his influences were a lot different to mine. He was also still learning to find his own voice. He prefers female singers to male singers, and that had some effect on the way he approached the record.” Andy Bell agrees that The Innocents was the record where he really made his mark on Erasure. “Vince had been around a lot longer, so I think people seemed to listen to him more,” he explains. “I think this was the first time I felt like I had equal footing in

the band. People still think I only write the lyrics and that’s it, but usually I write the top line. Vince is a guru, though, there’s no doubting that at all. But I think people think of a frontperson as being a bit thick; that they just stand there and sing the songs and that’s it.” It was this collaborative arrangement - writing on guitar and piano - that saw Andy Bell and Vince Clarke write some of the finest material of their partnership on The Innocents. “I think writing ‘Ship Of

Fools’ was my favourite moment,” says Clarke. “I was living in London at the time, and we did it in my front room with a guitar and a micro cassette recorder. I played a few chords, and Andy sang something, and the complete song almost happened in one take. It was just one of those magical moments when you felt that the tune is really haunting, and right.” Bell agrees, saying, “I don’t know whether it was to do with the guitar chords. I just remember singing ‘ooo-

eeee-oooooo’. I remember that coming out, and it just seemed like a magical tune. It was a pretty lovely moment.” The pair, however, differ on their opinions on the new wave of synth pop artists, especially La Roux, who owes a lot to Erasure’s clean synth sound. “I’m not so much into La Roux and Lady GaGa,” says Bell. “I can’t believe how much they make it try and sound like Vince. Sometimes I think I’d like to hear Vince’s sounds manipulated in some other way. I love

GIVE A LITTLE RESPECT

Rubbed out of music history, but the re-issue of ERASURE’s classic album is testament to how much they’ve been plundered by the new electro pop acts Words by Luke Turner Image by Richard Haughton

his sounds, and I love the stuff he did with Yazoo, and I know he’s a brilliant synthesist with music. So it’s really strange for me to hear these other people copying how he used to sound when Erasure first started. It’s bizarre and I can’t get my head around it.” Vince Clarke, though, says, “I’ve heard La Roux, I think she’s great. There’s definitely an appetite for a kind of eighties sound. I’d find it hard to go back to that, because you get experience in the studio and in a way that means you can’t go back to simpler times. The kick drum that you produce today has got to be bigger and better than the one you did yesterday. It’s very interesting with La Roux - her drums sound like early eighties drum samples. I’m quite amazed by that.” Will the new wave of artists - and the reissue of Erasure’s finest album bring them a new wave of fans, even critical rehabilitation? “Things are very cyclical. I think that Erasure are one of those bands that has a very large and elliptical path, but it has taken 21 years,” says Bell. He also believes that culture has been out of step with the sort of music he and Vince Clarke make, dominated as it has been by guitar groups or telly pop bands. “You can’t fight those things,” Bell continues. “There was the whole lad culture, and against that was a whole load of women - Jordan and Girls Aloud and all that - getting their tits out and stuff. We don’t fit into that.” Both lad culture and male/femalefronted pop have also been extremely straight, for want of a better word. We might look back on the eighties as a conservative decade, with both a small and big C, but it was perhaps the last time that outré style has been allowed to cross over; that a group like Erasure who, in retrospect, crossed the boundaries of genre, race, and sexuality with a radicalism that we’ve not seen since, could become superstars. The much-mocked costumes worn by Patrick Wolf, who Bell very much admires, are hardly extreme compared to those the Erasure singer donned during The Innocents tour (tight blue shorts, big boots, sequins) or later on their 1992 tour when he wore “a world dress and Vivian Westwood 12” red PVC shoes.” For his part, Vince Clarke thinks it’s often the imagery that puts people off what he still sees as a pioneering time: “I’m sure it’s the hairstyles and the clothes and the makeup - that’s what people hate about the eighties,” he says. “For me, the eighties was the most exciting decade, because it produced music that had never been made before.”


‘GIVE ME MY FUCKING MONEY NOW, NOT WHEN I’M DEAD, YOU SHITHEADS’ Denney asks proto-punk RICHARD HELL why he ‘repaired’ his Destiny Street album.

Alex

ograph by Phil Knott

Phot For

many, Richard Hell remains an image first and foremost. He’s the shock-haired, sunken-eyed Peter Pan of protopunk, the guy behind the Voidoids’ vainglorious 1977 debut Blank Generation and the one that got away from Television. The latter outfit is routinely celebrated as one of the most influential to emerge from the pre-punk era, but when you got tired of Marquee Moon’s bravura eloquence, there was always Hell. omparison, Television - the band Hell founded with college pal Tom Verlaine and promptly departed in acrimonious circumstances - seemed like history men, sights set firmly on the happy ever after. Blank Generation was a record for the here and now; of ideas in the raw, and by the bucketful. Here was music possessed of a heroic selfinvolvement, as if the whole world revolved around its extended middle finger. For Clinton Heylin, a critic Hell has chided for his would-be academic style, he was the artist that best epitomised the ‘fuck art/let’s art’ ambivalence of the scene that developed around New York’s recently departed CBGB’s club in the early seventies.

By c

for those who stuck around long enough to see it, Hell did grow up. Five years after his incendiary debut, Destiny Street emerged as its troubled successor, an album hamstrung if not exactly sunk by the desperate circumstances that surrounded its making. Recorded during a period of chronic narcotics dependency with the stellar original Voidoids line-up largely departed, the album nonetheless betrays a certain maturity in its odd suggestion of a man talking himself down off the ledge. Check the justsay-no intonations of ‘Ignore That Door’, or the pleasingly direct cover of Dylan’s burnt-out ‘Going, Going, Gone’ for evidence.

But

as in the depths of my narcotics addiction,” says Hell. “Plus my girlfriend at the time was a coke dealer. There were huge quantities of coke around. I was at the point where I couldn’t really deceive myself that I was doing this on purpose. It was really selfdestructive in a kind of explicit way. Like most serious drug users I injected everything, it wasn’t really using a drug for me to snort it. If it was a pill I’d crush it and try to dissolve it. And by then I’d literally stab the needle into my arm in a violent way that was almost like a miming of selfdestruction. Strange. That was the beginning of the end of my drug addiction, though. I was finally able to kick it in the next couple of years, as I’d realised it was either that or die.”

“I w

r d i n g sessions w e r e

Reco

interrupted by the paranoiac bouts which left Hell unable to set foot outside his apartment, and yet, for all the setbacks encountered, it would only be telling half the story to call Destiny Street a failure. The New York Times called it one of the 10 best records of the year. And another eminent champion of the band enjoyed a private airing of the record at late Voidoids guitarist Robert Quine’s prompting. Says Hell: “Quine played Lester Bangs a copy a couple of weeks before he died. Lester was gratified, he thought we’d really pulled it off.” pite of the largely positive press, Destiny Street has remained something of an unknown quantity ever since. Hell got clean, and turned his hand to other things (novels, poetry, essays - but that’s another story) before finally acquiring the rights to the record in 2004. He let it go out of print, anticipating an opportunity to release the album that should have been some 20-odd years ago. In the event, he didn’t have long to wait - two years later he discovered a two-track mix of the original rhythm tracks for bass, drums and two rhythm guitars. Now all he needed was to lay down fresh vocal takes, and find adequate replacement for the prodigiously gifted Quine, who took his own life in 2004 following the death of his wife.

In s

e’s importance to the Voidoids cannot be overstated. He’s the vacillating muse figure to Hell’s existential drama queen, laying down wildly imaginative solos that are at once cerebral and

Quin

painfully alive, and seem to shape rather than embellish the songs. Along with Ivan Julian, Quine’s partner-in-crime on Blank Generation, Hell chose Tom Waits collaborator Marc Ribot and jazz supremo Bill Frisell to step into the gap. The end result is Destiny Street Repaired, released through Insound. rganised a memorial for Quine after he died,” says Hell. “We invited people we knew were important to Quine to come say a few words or whatever they wanted to do. And they [Marc Ribot and Bill Frisell] were part of that. They actually played together on a piece, it was really affecting and impressive. So they immediately seemed the appropriate people for me to get for the record.

“I o

really worked out beyond my fantasies of how it would work. Bill and Marc and Ivan already knew the record well, we worked really quickly. They came up with stuff which was not only great but also really suited the songs. And Ribot and Frisell aren’t thought of as being rock’n’roll guitar players. There’s this extreme depth and range with these guys, there aren’t any clichés. I love the new outro [to the title track], it’s these duelling guitars between Ivan and Marc. What I told them was to be as stupid as you can possibly be, I kept telling them to ‘play stupider’. When you ask a great guitarist to play stupid you’ll usually end up with something worthwhile.”

“It

’s own vocal contributions are s h o c k i n g l y

Hell

sprightly for a man approaching 60. Indeed, Hell himself suspects they would have been mistaken for the original takes had the press not first been alerted to their presence. At a pinch, you might say that a little more of Hell’s native Kentuckian brogue has crept back into those previously tortured vowel sounds. But then, the whole thing sounds remarkably fresh. One centrepiece track widely acknowledge as being one of his best, ‘Time’, fairly bursts out the speakers with a fragrant majesty that’s reminiscent of Big Star. s release of Destiny Street Repaired is like redemption,” says Hell. “The thought of the original record always produced this sinking feeling in me, and the opportunity I had to make the record what it could have been was too good to pass up. I felt the songs had always been good, and I think they were done justice this time around. It’s like a real classic definition of magic, it doesn’t seem possible. It seems supernatural to me that now I have the deathly album replaced that happened all those years ago. It’s like science fiction. In a sense I didn’t really regret Destiny Street, in that it would be a waste of psychological energy to have regrets like that, but at the same time now I feel like I have this fantastic new health, or that I’m forgiven somehow.”

“Thi

’s one mortal soul no longer imperilled. Now the rest of you are advised to go straight to Hell.

That


BEHIND THE SCENES WHEN THE MONKEYS SWUNG BACK TO LIFE

I

n a typically covert, keep-the-pressout operation, Arctic Monkeys chose to debut songs from their new album, Humbug, via a July 30 web broadcast. The performance was filmed beforehand on July 14 in a warehouse in east London and good old Pigeon managed to sneak prize lensman David Ma in. The hype-dodging Sheffield quartet kept their heads down for a banter-free five-song volley, shot in front of an unsettling blue screen backdrop depicting images of blinking eyeballs. Among other things, the half-hour set afforded ample opportunity to enjoy frontman Alex Turnerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s newly flowing locks, which get our thumbs-up in spite of the Guardian fashion columnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recent disparaging remarks. Rock on, chum.


MOON CHILD He’s a lonely, tearful young man one minute. A paparazzo’s dream the next. KID CUDI is trying to have his cake and eat it. Words by ALEX MARSHALL Photograph by SAM CHRISTMAS

I

I

t looks like it’s shaping up to be a tedious 20 minutes. But then we get talking about arrogance and Cudi gives the most well-thought-out, heartfelt answer to why he seems like such a tosspot. It’s a long quote but, by the end, I’m almost warming to him.

on the car and I looked at the stars and asked God to give me a sign, some type of direction: ‘Tell me what to do and I’d do it.’ Of course there was no response, but I said thank you and from that day on I think the stars started to rotate for me.”

B

You have to take pride in your work,” he says. “Humble goes but so far. It’s like a baby. If your kid grows up to be a doctor and people are congratulating you, you’re not going to say, ‘He’s alright, he’s doing his thing.’ You’re not going to be modest with your seed. It’s something you created. You’re going to be like, ‘YEAH!’

H

e soon found himself alone and broke in New York, cadging a room off an uncle he’d never met before. He spent a good few years working shit retail jobs before he hooked up with DJ A-Trak and his Fool’s Gold family. ‘Day ’N’ Nite’ was written in 2006. It didn’t become a hit until late 2008.

H

f you’ve read anything about Kid Cudi - rapper Scott Mescudi chances are you’ll think he’s a bit of a cock. Over the last year, the 25year-old from Cleveland has had a massive hit with ‘Day ’N’ Nite’, signed to Kanye West’s label and appeared on Jay-Z’s new record. These are huge achievements - ones that he’s matched with the size of his ego.

efore long, he started saying things like: “I am the voice of a whole new generation”; “I am a messenger from God”; and “I’m not hip hop’s next big thing, I’m just plain old important.” It seemed a bit much for someone whose hit was a simple tale of a “lonely stoner” and owed much of its success to a remix by Italian duo, Crookers. Shortly after, he announced he’d retire when his debut album came out.

O

n first listen, that record, Man On The Moon, does little to dispel the image. It’s split into five parts telling the story of Cudi’s life. And among the brilliant pop choruses, orchestras and guests, there’s a narrator who keeps on banging on about how “our hero” will save us all. It’s inadvertently funny, and hardly endearing.

B

ut on closer listen, a completely different side to the bloke emerges. The songs are all about the troubles he’s gone through - his father dying of cancer when Cudi was 11, the years spent grafting in New York - and how he strived to get past them. And even at its most glitzy, it’s emotional and uplifting.

I

t all adds up to one complex picture and the prospect that he could be a genuinely interesting interviewee. Unfortunately, when he arrives for today’s photoshoot on the roof of his record label’s office, it appears the Cudi present is not the creative genius. It’s the cock.

H

e complains about the weather (it’s bright and warm, if windy), pulls a few half-assed poses, then legs it down the fire escape. Downstairs, he asks how long the interview is going to be and complains until we agree on 20 minutes (“My brain’s tired, I’m malnourished”). And when he sits down, we’re barely a question in and he’s saying stuff like: “This album is eliminating the hype and bringing fact.” And: “‘Day ’N’ Nite’ was so ahead of its time. When I started work on this album my brain was thinking ‘2012’. When I start the next, I’ll be thinking ‘2015’.”

Like my mom’s excited about my career - she brags about me to her friends. But people don’t look at her as egotistical. She’s just a proud mom whose son is successful. That’s how I look at my album.

Of course, people frown upon any kind of confidence when you’re an entertainer. And when you happen to be aligned with Kanye, people expect you’re wrapped up in your ego. But I don’t really care how people feel, ‘cause I know I’m a good person. I’m not running around like my shit doesn’t stink. I know I’m not invincible.

But if you talk about my music, I’m going to take pride in it because I don’t have anything else to take pride in. I failed at everything else. I failed at being a son. I failed at being a brother. I just want to succeed at somethin’.”

C

udi grew up the youngest of four in a middle-class suburb of Cleveland. His mum - a music teacher - tried to get him to play clarinet, trumpet, even violin, but none stuck.

A

ged 15, bored of school (he’d been expelled from one), he decided hip hop was the career for him. “I was just wrapped up in the glitz and glamour and the idea of being famous,” he says. “It wasn’t until I was a bit older that it became something where I wanted to express a lot of feeling. One day, it was just like, ‘Oh, I’ve written a song about my father.’ That doesn’t happen to your average 17-year-old.”

C

udi says one night in particular gave him the focus to get serious about rap and get the hell out of Cleveland. “It was a summer night and I went outside to smoke a cigarette. I was just drinking a beer, sitting

e says his career only really took off when he stuck out the brilliant mixtape A Kid Named Cudi and Kanye started talking him up. “That was the moment when I saw things piecing together - saw those stars literally lining up. I didn’t go out of my way to get Kanye to listen to my music; he listened to it on his own and was inspired. Had us fly out to Hawaii and offered me to join his label on his own. Offered to pay for the ‘Day ’N’ Nite’ video on his own. All these things because he wanted me to be successful.”

Y

ou can tell why Kanye chased him: Cudi’s got a rare pop gift and is just at home rapping/singing over paranoid, orchestral numbers as he is straight up hip-hop.

I

’m just about to get Cudi to talk about that variety, when he realises the 20 minutes is up. He looks at his watch. He starts stroking it to make sure I haven’t missed the sign. Then he twists his arm into quite an uncomfortable position so I can see the damn time myself.

A

ll the while this charade goes on, he carries on talking pleasantly, waxing lyrical about the heroes he’d like to work with. It’s an odd moment that seems to sum him up well. He’s part celebrity who wants to spend his days getting trashed with Lily Allen; part down-to-earth backpacker who just wants to follow his passion.

Y

ou really can’t have both, son, I feel like telling him. “There’s a place for me in my mind, and I kinda just roll day to day in that little space,” he says. “It’s what the whole album’s about, really - this ‘man on the moon’ shit. I don’t care how many kids say they relate to the album, I’ll never feel like the world understands me.”


Norse Code Times New Viking don’t do guitar solos. Or overdubs. But they sometimes w e a r shorts. Words by Kev Kharas Polaroid by Natalie Judge It is not a trite statement to say that Times New Viking’s music longs to exist in the moment. It is not like saying, ‘Here, take this new tampon, it is re-designed slightly. Trial it skydiving, LIVE FOR THE MOMENT!’ or ‘LIVE FOR THE MOMENT, carry our camera everywhere you go, so that all your new moments can eventually be overthrown by tiny, 2D replicas

of old ones... LIVE. FOR. THE. MOMENT.’ No, it is not like saying that. Not at all. Times New Viking’s music - what singing drummer Adam Elliott calls “Ohio folk music”, independent pop all flayed and sore, beleaguered but getting along - seems to realise that not every moment must be spent leaping from light aircraft and that ‘living for the moment’ is the antithesis of photography. As soon as moment is, moment’s gone. To believe anything else would be futile - wouldn’t it? “Yes,” screams Times New Viking’s music, over and over, as the band repeatedly hammer the futility of the situation into its sorry hide. They’ll teach it not to dwell on memories -

beautiful statement for us.” Why so? Because you’ve managed to warp that reality? “Yeah, but just slightly. You can definitely see what’s underneath. What it was before.” If Times New Viking had a ‘before’, it was pop music. Or melody, at least - as much as it’d be a novelty to hear them Auto-Tuned and Pro Tooled lame, it’s not likely to happen any time soon. But the melodies themselves have always been there, providing relief in the blizzard like one of those St Bernard dogs with whiskey around its neck. You just have to ruffle through drool-frosted jowls to get at it. “People should be used to looking for the

replaced The Rapture’s disco-punk as hipster fly paper? “It really has. Kids always feel like they have to move from, like, Iowa to New York. They should be sounding like they’re from Iowa, you know? Kind of weird. “When I go to New York we’re still treated like hillbillies. Like idiot savants or something, like we’ve never read a book or seen a movie. A lot of people really don’t understand Ohio at all.” What do people need to understand about Ohio? “That Ohio is very loyal. It has the hardest working people. If the recession hits it hits

Elliott’s throat flanked by pummelling drums, Beth Murphy’s by her battered Casio, Jared Phillips’ guitar rips like mammoths drowning in noise tar. Their noise is loud and inscrutable, sound chucked at a moment like buckets of paint splattered against a wall and left to run down, colours mixing together in brilliant, chaotic pools. Times New Viking gesture at the rainbow syrup and say, “Look, we told you it wouldn’t stick how you wanted. But it’s interesting to look at anyway.” It’s Murphy I find first, splayed on a bed in a department store. She goes outside to smoke and talks en route about her band’s lack of tolerance for multiple takes and studio

beauty and coherence in things,” Murphy reasons. “Not everything’s just point blank out there for you to pick up on. The world’s kind of scuzzy.” The problem with existing on the cusp of one infinite moment is that occasionally that moment isn’t a particularly enjoyable one. The trio have spent the best part of two years on distant roads, far from home in Columbus, Ohio, so it’d be natural for new album Born Again Revisited to sound a little weary. But it doesn’t, at least not exactly - if anything, it sounds tired of things rather than flat-out tired; pop better buried so it sounds less sociable, Elliott bemoaning the fact he’s feeling “like a

Ohio hardest, but everyone just survives here and doesn’t worry about what’s happening on the coasts.” He talks with pride about Ohio’s musical heritage - Pere Ubu and The Electric Eels from Cleveland; Akron’s Devo and, from Dayton, Guided By Voices stalwart Robert Pollard, who used to play basketball against Elliott’s dad at high school, and The Breeders, who TNV toured with this summer. “I got Kim Deal’s number,” Murphy said earlier, “I just have one text from her telling me she can’t hang out.” The brush-off’s ’cause Kim Deal doesn’t party any more - The Breeders “just drink juice and chill out,” apparently. They got out before

overdubs. “We just don’t have the patience for that. We do it in the first couple of shots. We wanna go for what’s most real sounding, even if it’s a little damaged and imperfect, it’s gonna be fine. “It’s all about creating a sound for a record that’s an artefact, a piece of art in itself,” she continues. “Trying to do something one-off, haphazardly. “We all did printmaking at college, but the main thing we’d do is take those prints to the photocopier and transfer them,” she explains. “Take something that’s based in reality and just copy it a couple of times... that’s, like, kind of a

tourist inside”. That’s got to be touring-related, surely? “Yeah, it is,” Elliott says. “I think I sing that two or three times on the record. I have such good friends all over the world, then I come back to Columbus and I walk around my town and feel like a tourist.” How so? “It’s a weird thing - not many people from Columbus tour or travel a lot, and we come home and they all think we have $1m in our bank account. Everyone thinks, ‘Oh, you played with Sonic Youth, you must have made $10,000 at that show.’ You want to come home and for people to relate to you. I’m from

they washed up - a new lesson for Times New Viking to impress upon new album Born Again Revisited. As its title so obviously suggests, it’s a ‘born again’ record, made as a message to their future selves to not forget who they were, now. It’s confusing, granted, but Elliott’s statement on the band’s future is less equivocal: “We have a handshake agreement that when we’re 30 years old, we’re no longer in this band. “I’m 27,” he continues. “We’re hoping that we can play our last show in Tokyo and then all three of us will never be in the same room together.” Seriously?

Columbus - that’s why I’m doing this. We don’t wanna come home and be treated like that. “It takes me two months of drunken conversation to let everyone know that we still aren’t millionaires,” he says, half-weary, half-joking. For all Elliott’s exasperation, he’s fiercely defensive of his home state and the limitations and sense of distance it’s passed onto Times New Viking, a band that, when established, “set out only to not sound like The Rapture. And to not have any guitar solos. And no one’s allowed to wear shorts or Chuck Taylors onstage.” What does that mean now, when the lo-fi sound his band helped popularise has

“It’s actually pretty amazing, especially with them [Murphy and Phillips] being an on-off couple, but when we’re in town we don’t hang out all the time. We’re still friends but even if we’re bickering with each other, once we start playing music in a little room we don’t care about that any more. “It’d be hard be in a band that’s not this after it’s over.” Hard it may be, but recently Murphy’s worn shorts onstage and Phillips has had to slip into a pair of emergency Converse, so their word may not be so rigid. Whatever happens, it’s safe to assume that Times New Viking won’t ruin the moment.


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YOKO ONO’s ‘quiet revolution’ has not always been quiet, and to prove a point she’s just recorded her finest album. Words by John Doran Photograph by Charlotte Muhl & Sean Lennon

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There’s something to be said for / / delayed / / / / gratification, / / / / / / and // there’s no small amount of ////////////// tortoise-versus-hare / / / / / / to / / listening / / / / / to/ enjoyment Yoko Ono’s new album. You ////////////// get to about track four or five / / / / thinking, / / / / /“Fuck / / / me, // before this is actually really good.” ////////////// And then when you reach the / / /you / /play / /it/from / / the / / start // end, again in order to divine ////////////// whether you’re going / / / / / /some / / / /kind / / / of/ through temporary / / / / / mental / / / / imbalance. ///// You aren’t. The album won’t ////////////// be enough to silence the haters, / / / / but / / it/ /will/ /stand / / / as/ testament to her talent for ////////////// anyone wishing to actually / / / in. /////////// listen Yoko Ono is 76 years ////////////// old. She’s just released the / / /album / / /of/ her / / career. ///// best

/ / / Even / / / / /though / / / / / she /// / sounds / / / / /modestly / / / / /surprised ///// to be receiving superlative/ laden, / / / / /journalist-delivered ////////// / praise / / / / for / / /her/ / new / / / long /// player, she must have felt in //////////////// her water that there was / something / / / / / / /special / / / / about //// Between My Head And / / / / / / / / / / / / / The /// Sky, given that she’s revived / the / / Plastic / / / / Ono / / /Band / / /name /// for it. It’s true that there was //////////////// a lot to be said for some of / the / / /tracks / / / from / / / /the/ /2007 /// collaborative album Yes, / / / / / / / / / / / / / /I’m/ / A Witch, which featured The / Flaming / / / / / / /Lips, / / / / /Hank /// / Shocklee, / / / / / /Antony / / / / Hegarty ///// and Jason Pierce, among / others. / / / / This, / / /however, / / / / is/ /not/ / / only / / /the/ /best / / album / / / she / / has /// done since the brittle shock //////////////// of Season Of Glass (1981); / not / / only / / the / / best / / album / / / /since ///

/ the / / avant / / / pop / / /of/ Fly / /(1971); //// / not / / only / / /the/ best / / /since / / /Yoko /// Ono/Plastic Ono Band (1970), / but / / the / / best / / /full / /stop. / / /We’d /// / even / / /go/ /as/ far / /as/ saying / / / /it’s/ / the better than / / / / / / / / / / / / / /the/ / Lennon/Ono album Two / Virgins, / / / / / but / / /that / / /means //// comparing amazing musique //////////////// concrète chalk with / awesome / / / / / / /improv / / / / / pop /// cheese. //////////////// Yoko Ono was / persuaded / / / / / /to/start / / work / / / on / /a / new album by her son Sean //////////////// (it’s out on his Chimera / imprint) / / / / / /and / / / with / / / /his/ / / assistance / / / / / /she / / assembled / / / / / /a / breathtaking band that / included / / / / /Yuka / / Honda / / / /of/Cibo /// / Matto / / / / /and / / / /electronica ////// wunderkind Cornelius. The //////////////// result is a contemporary trip / round / / / /various / / / /revolutionary ///////

/ pop/dance / / / / / /flashpoints / / / / / of / /the/ / / last / / / 40 / / years. / / / / There / / / / is/ / bracing dance / reminiscent / / / / / / of/ /Gang / / Of / /punk /// Four / and / / / /LCD / / / Soundsystem //////// (‘Waiting For The D Train’), //////////////// sleazy techno (‘The Sun Is / Down!’), / / / / /squealing / / / / / NYC / / /No/ / Wave that wouldn’t / / / / / / / / / / / / sound //// out of place on No New York / (‘Ask / / / / /The / / / Elephant!’), /////// metallic psych / / / / / / / / / / / / / rock /// (‘CALLING’)... Actually, she / has / / / a/ /good / / / reason / / / / /for/ / resurrecting the name / / / / / / / / / / / / of/ /her/ / group: “On the first album / that / / / people / / / / talked / / / / about, //// / Yoko / / / / /Ono/Plastic / / / / / / / Ono /// Band... we were trying to / break / / / the / / sound / / / /barrier / / / in/ /a / / way. / / / We / / thought / / / / we / / would //// create a revolution in music. //////////////// And with this album we / thought / / / / we / /would / / /do/ it/ again, ////

/ but / / in/ /a /very / / quiet / / /way. / / It/ is/ / / strong / / / /enough / / / /to/ match / / / that /// sentiment.” / / / Then / / / perhaps / / / / she / / stops //// / and / / / thinks / / / / /of/ / all / / /the/ / skittering beats, the pylon //////////////// taut jazz-influenced punk / guitars, / / / / / the / / guttural / / / / / and /// orgasmic cries and she //////////////// starts giggling. “Well, it’s not / that / / quiet.” ///////////// Despite / / / / / / / / /the / / / music //// bearing little resemblance to / what / / / has / / /gone / / /before / / / (the /// closest link to the past would //////////////// be ‘Walking On Thin Ice’, her / stone / / / cold / / /mutant / / / disco / / / club /// / smash / / / /from / / /1981), / / /she / /says /// there is a connection in / terms / / / / /of/ / intent: / / / / /“The /// / common / / / / /link / /between / / / /Plastic //// Ono Band records is that //////////////// we have never / made / / / / / /a/ /phoney ///////

/ r/ / e/ / /c/ /o/ / r/ / d / / /. / Everything / / / / / / / / / / / /we // have done has / been / / / / / / raw / / / / /and /// / undiluted. / / / / / / / / / / I’m / / /not/ comparing this with my past /////////////// at all, though. Like on the / track / / / ‘Moving / / / / Mountains’ / / / / / / - /I wanted to create / / / / / / / / / /a /track / / that // could move a mountain. / Then / / /I thought / / / / that / / /to/move / / /a mountain doesn’t / / / / / / / / / / / / / take // words. It’s beyond words / [starts / / / / / making / / / / / /wailing /// noises]. In other words, / / / / / / / / / / / / / it/ is/ the thought - the emotion / and / / intent / / / -/ that / / counts.” ////// / / / Her / / /vocal / / / performance ////// is key to her success on / Between / / / / /My / /Head / / /And / / The // / Sky. / / / Her / / earthy / / / / ululations ///// and surreal incantations egg /////////////// the musicians on to even / greater / / / / heights. / / / / /One / / has / / to/


wonder how poor Sean felt recording his mother making such, let’s say... sensual noises. She laughs at the primness of the question: “I think he’s used to it! In a way, of course! He’s not used to it in real life, just in my music!” Yoko - whose name literally translates as ‘Ocean Child’ - has led a fascinating life. She was born in 1933 to one of the richest families in Japan, descended as she is from / / / 9th / / /Century / / / / shogun //// nobility. Her mother Isoko ////////////// was rewarded for good performance / / / / / / /at/ school / / / / with // handfuls of diamonds. ////////////// Interestingly enough, she / / / / far / / below / / / her / / status /// married to a struggling pianist ////////////// Eisuke, who was only / / / / / by/ /her/ /family / / /after // accepted turning his back on music. ////////////// During the Second World / / /when / / /Yoko / / /was / / just / / /a War, girl, they suffered extreme ////////////// hardship because her / / / / / / /wealth / / / / / was // family’s confiscated / / / / / / to/ /help / / fund / / /the/ war effort. They were ////////////// rendered homeless and reduced / / / / / to/ / foraging / / / / / and // begging for scraps of food in / / / / / / / /countryside. ////// the / / / / / / / this / / is/ the / / only // (Frustratingly, subject that she steers the ////////////// conversation away from, / / / being / / / utterly / / / candid / / / /on/ while the subject of / / / / / / / / / / suicide, //// abortion, and mental illness / / /“I/ always / / / / shied / / / /away // etc. from talking about it,” she ////////////// states simply. “I just thought / / /it/ was / / / not / / the / / /most // that interesting part about / / / / / / / / / / / / /my/ life.”) / / After / / / the / / war / / /she / / was // sent / / /to/ an / /all-girls / / / /boarding //// school in the US where she ////////////// composed her first piece of / / / / at/ /the / / age / / /of/ /22./ music Tellingly, it was more of a ////////////// conceptual affair, which / / / / / /to/transpose / / / / / bird // attempted song into musical notation, ////////////// called ‘Secret Piece’. It was / / /in/the / /mid-fifties / / / / /in/ New // here York that she developed / / / / / / / / / / / / / /a fascination with bohemian / / culture, / / / / composers / / / / / /such // art as Cage and Schoenberg and ////////////// the beatniks, and she insists ////////////// firmly that her gender rather than / / /her / / nationality / / / / / /was / /an/ issue in her gaining ////////////// acceptance into the avant/ / / art / / world / / / of/ /New / / York // garde in the early-sixties: “It was //////////// always a battle being a female artist or composer or whatever.

The avantgarde world was no different to the jazz world in that sense; it was very macho. I did have a

couple of artists who understood me really well. For example, there was George Maciunas of Fluxus who really understood my work and helped to promote it. There were one or two people who really cared for my work, but even then... it was hard.” Such dislocation depressingly revealed itself in numerous suicide attempts and a stay in a

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psychiatric institution after she returned to Japan in the late 1950s. Speaking about her desire to take her own life, she says: “I was suicidal in my teens as well; it wasn’t just when I came back from New York. It was always like I felt suicidal, but I never... well, obviously I was never successful, because I am here now! The time that I decided I never wanted to commit suicide was right after / / / I / had / / /my/ /first / / child, /// Kyoko. And it was pretty ////////////// amazing. It was unintentional, / /but/ I/ just / / lost / / interest / / / / in/ it./ It has nothing to do with ////////////// Japanese society. I think it / / /to/ /do/ /with / / /being / / / /a had woman maybe? Her birth ////////////// freed me from that desire, ////////////// though.” / / The / / / notion / / / /of/ /artistic /// creativity being linked to / / / / / / illness / / / / / / lies // mental somewhere between cliché ////////////// and truism. Ono understood / / /concept / / / / metaphorically /////// this at least when / / / / / / / /Grapefruit: / / / / / A/ Book Of Instructions And ////////////// Drawings was published. She / / said / / /at/ the / / time / / that / / /the/ book was saying something ////////////// similar to, “Please accept / / I/ am / / mad.” / / / /She / /laughs /// me, now, expanding,

/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / “Well, I //////////////// didn’t really / think / / / / / I/ was / / / / mad, ///// it was more / / / / / / / / / / / /like, //// ‘Either I’m mad / or / / / the / / / /world / / / / / /is/ / mad,’ / / / / / / / / / / / /you //// know?” / / / This, / / / however, / / / / /raises / / /an/ / interesting question because //////////////// on this, the lower end of the / scale, / / / concepts / / / / / of / /madness ///// / are / / relative. / / / / For / /example, / / / / she /// may not have been / considered / / / / / /mad / / in/ /New / / York /// / hanging / / / / /with / /the / /Fluxus / / / set, /// but she spent some time in a //////////////// psychiatric institution when / she / / /returned / / / / to/ /Tokyo. / / / She /// says: “Oh, you know what //////////////// that was? It’s an incredible / misunderstanding. / / / / / / / / / / / /That /// institution was like a Betty //////////////// Ford clinic; famous people / used / / /to/ go / /there. / / /When / / /I first /// went back to Japan, there //////////////// was an incredible commotion / about / / / my / / work / / /and / /I was / / /not/ / / really / / / /used / / / to / / so / / much //// attention. I just felt that I / wanted / / / / to/ be / /alone / / /in/a /quiet /// / environment. / / / / / / /So/ /I’m/ the / / one /// who walked in there.” That may be the case, but in a Betty Ford Clinic the patient is not kept so sedated that they can’t talk. One cannot help but think that she is underplaying the event somewhat. Eventually a fellow Fluxus artist, Tony Cox flew to Tokyo and busted her out by pretending to be her US doctor and threatening to sue them for giving her too high a dosage of medication. The romantic gesture did not go unnoticed and the pair married, moved back to NYC and had Kyoko together in 1963. Her book Grapefruit began to take shape soon

after. For better or worse, people like Yoko were kicking over the last remaining conventions of art. It was a much-misunderstood time of radicalism, whatever it has bequeathed to us in the long run. She admits that wanting to choose experimental art was a form of rebellion against her family’s wealth: “Well, I’m sure that they wouldn’t have minded if I had become a/ kind / / /of/ accepted / / / / / artist / / / or/ an accepted composer in the ////////////// sense of me being a classical artist. / / / / But //////////

/ / / / I don’t / / think they / the / / / / / fact / / / / / liked /that //// / what / / / / /I /was / / / doing ////// was rebellious. //////////////// It was just in my / nature. / / / / / / /It/ /wasn’t ////// like I / / / / / / / / / / / /was //// intending to be / rebellious, / / / / / / / / / / / but //// that mode really //////////////// appealed to me.” / / / Her / / / instructional / / / / / / / /art/ / pieces were / / / / / / / / / deceptively /////// simple. ‘Painting To Be / Stepped / / / / /On’ / /told / / the / / reader //// / to/ leave / / / a/ canvas / / / /on/ the / /floor /// and allow guests to walk on / it,/ / and / / /indeed / / / / Yoko / / / /left/ / / unpainted / / / / / /canvases / / / / /on/ /her/ / kitchen floor and then //////////////// framed them when they had / picked / / / /up/ enough / / / / footprints. ////// For ‘Kitchen Piece’, / / / / / / / / / / / / / she /// commanded that art-loving / gourmands / / / / / / /hang / / / a/ blank //// canvas in the kitchen / / / / / / / / / / / / / and /// then throw the day’s / leftovers / / / / / at/ it. / /But / / perhaps ///// the most well known of / / / / / / / / / / / / these //// edicts was ‘Cut Piece’. / / / “Well / / / I/ think / / /‘Cut / / Piece’ //// / is/ /one / / of / / the / / things / / / / that /// people talk about,” she says. / “The / / / / /quiet / / / / revolution ////// / elsewhere / / / / / /in/ /Grapefruit / / / / / is/ / something else. People are //////////////// not interested in intellectual / work / / /as/ much / / / as / /they / / are / / in/ / ‘Cut Piece’, which has a / / / / / / / / / / / / / kind /// of sexual connotation. That / is/ what / / /people / / / like, / / /I think.” ///// The debut performance //////////////// of ‘Cut Piece’ took a lot of / organising. / / / / / / /And / / /a / lot / / of/ / She booked nerve. //////////////// the Carnegie / Recital / / / / / / / /Hall / / / / /in/ / / 1965 / / / / / /and / / / / /then //// took to the stage / and / / / / stood / / / / / stock////// / still, / / / /holding / / / / / /a/ pair ////

of scissors aloft, glinting in the spotlights, while beckoning the audience to join her and cut away at her clothes. Eventually, the exceedingly uncomfortable bunch of involuntary voyeurs got up one by one and started snipping off her garments until she was standing in her underwear. She giggles: “Yes! I was very surprised actually when someone

snipped my bra off!”

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Of course, it’s easy to mock Ono and other Fluxus artists - and many have done - but there was a reasonable rationale behind the art of Grapefruit. “It was a book of instructions so that people can do it,” she explains. “The way it came was... it came naturally, because I come from a musical world classical music - and in classical / / / / / music / / / / you / / /read // scores and you write music ////////////// scores for one of your works then / / /people / / / can / / play / / /it,/even // 100 years later. And that’s the ////////////// difference between music / / / painting: / / / / / painting / / / / / is/ and something that you do and ////////////// then maybe someone says, / / / /don’t / / / touch / / / /it!/ /It’s/ ‘Just done!’ That kind / / / / / / / / / of/ /thing. / / /I made it so that the painting / / also / / /instructional.” ///////// was I suggest / / / / / / / / / / / / that // nakedness has been a / / / / / theme / / / in/ /her/ work. /// recurring She denies it vehemently. ////////////// But when the evidence to the ////////////// contrary is brought up (such as / / the / / /cover / / / art / / to / / Two // Virgins, the experimental film / / / / / / /her / / / various //// Bottoms, / / / / / peace / / / /protests / / / / in/ unclothed and out of various beds and ////////////// bags), she comes round, / / / / / “With / / / / the / / / film // slightly: Bottoms [a two hour movie ////////////// of close-ups of people’s / / / / /backsides / / / / / as / / they // jiggling walk on a treadmill], I was ////////////// thinking of making a graphic / / / / / / / The / / / graphic //// experience. experience of the bottom / / / / / / / / / / / / / is/ four parts when they are ////////////// walking and I thought the fact / / that / / /the/ /four / /parts / / /were // moving separately was very ////////////// interesting.” / / And, / / / of / / course, / / / / /there // was the little matter of her ////////////// arrest in Belgium for / / / / / naked / / / /on/ stage / / / in/ appearing the / / sixties. / / / /“Yes! / / /Ah, / /ok, / /ok,/ ok! Yes I was!” she cries. / / /that / / was / / /not/ /my/ work; /// “But that was a fellow Fluxus ////////////// artist. He was looking for / / / people / / / /to/ stand / / / on / /the/ some stage and protest. Nobody ////////////// was going to do it. And then ////////////// this guy - a European with a monocle, / / / / / /no/ /less / / /- / was // looking at me like he hated ////////////// this object... this woman he / / /in /front / / /of/ him. / / He / / was // saw thinking, ‘She won’t do it.’ He thought I was a very low person, so I said, ‘Oh, I’ll do it.’ It was just my rebellion, you know [laughs]? “I was on a stage and I think it was considered very lewd. So one of the ladies in the audience sued the theatre and me. And when I was back in England, Scotland Yard called me and said, ‘Would you mind coming in, we have something to show you?’ I went in and all of these detectives were laughing and handed me a photo and said, ‘Is this you?’ There were many, many photos of me on the stage with no clothes on [laughs]. So I said, ‘Yeah, it is me. What about it?’ And they

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said, ‘Well, Belgium is trying to extradite you for trial for obscenity!’ They said not to worry, though: ‘We won’t let them!’ I was like, ‘Oh, phew! Thank you very much!’ And I thought that was the end of the story, but it wasn’t. After that, I met John [Lennon]. He had this beautiful white Rolls Royce and he said to me, ‘We should go round Europe in this car.’ I said ‘Great! Let’s do / /that!’ / / /So/ we / / were / / /driving /// round Europe until he said, ////////////// ‘Now we’re going to go to Belgium.’ / / / / / I /said, / / /‘John, / / / er, / /I have to tell you something!’ ////////////// And he said, ‘Oh well, let’s / / lie / /low.’ / / So / /we/ were / / /lying // just down very low in the back of ////////////// the car. We drove through / / / / /on/ the / / floor / / / of/ /the/ Belgium car! But they didn’t / / / / / / / / / / stop / / /us!/ It was great.”

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Features

October 2009 The Stool Pigeon

Rubber Ron and the return of Eric Avery have got Perry Farrell of JANE’S ADDICTION craving to get band recording again.

N “I

o, I like the name though. What’s Rubber Ron up to?

’ve not seen it yet, but this comes through friends of friends, and they say you should have Rubber Ron and his friends come down,” he intones Don’t you just love pussies?” says Perry Farrell, libidinously. I can’t see Perry, but I’m sure he’s staring up at a 12-foot projection of an raising one eyebrow suggestively. “So Rubber Ron’s anonymous, enormous vagina splayed before our coming.” disbelieving eyes. “I want you to do me a favour. I want you to promise me you’ll go home tonight and ther Jane’s Addiction things include an army of kiss a pussy.” topless models mounting the bar, climbing ropes and straddling swings, exhaling spritzes of fire and hese words aren’t said to The Stool Pigeon directly, drenching the heaving sweat-pit in charcoalthey’re uttered to a crowd of around 200 people mellowed liquor. It’s true, you don’t normally get a of which I’m a part, packed into a West End pageant of punani at the Hope & Anchor on a wet nightclub to experience an erotic exposition and rock Tuesday evening, as with most bands it would seem show brought to you by those degenerate denizens of horribly incongruous and cheap. With Jane’s the LA underground, Jane’s Addiction. Addiction it’s just cheap. Words by

Jeremy ALLEN

O

T

“T T

hey do, but it wasn’t,” Perry states adamantly.

he band have just played a series of shows with Nine Inch Nails, supporting them at the O2 Arena, with Trent Reznor returning the favour by supporting Jane’s Addiction in the States. Though they have no new recorded material as yet, what’s significant about this comeback, and there have been two already since 1991 that worked to varying degrees, is that Eric Avery has returned. And though Perry insists the band never really broke up, we know now Avery was an integral jigsaw piece in their unique sound. The question is, will he be able to get along for long enough with Farrell to bring a new record into the world?

“T

“W

N “W

O

P

erry Farrell is smarter than he looks. While he might ramble like a semi-fried Californian hippy at times, tellingly he refers to Jane’s Addiction at one juncture in our interview as “real estate” and, lest we forget, he’s the man responsible for Lollapalooza, which revolutionised the way gig-goers watch live music in America. And while Jane’s were remarkably influential and revered by their peers, it’s also easy to forget they split just as things were happening for them.

“I

“W

S “I

’m inspired and I feel time is of the essence every day, you know; I’m always writing. So I wanted to write with the guys. It just seemed like so much fun. We got 95 per cent through a song, and then all of sudden everybody bashed heads and it came to a stand still. We have two new songs and after this tour we will all get to enjoy each other’s company more. Next year I’d like to start rehearsing with the guys like we did back in the day, maybe two or three days a week, like when we were first starting, and see if by the end of the year we can’t have an album’s worth of material.”

his is how it stands,” Perry tells me excitedly on the phone earlier in the day. “We’re going to go out tonight and we’re gonna freak out in a little London club, and that makes us happy to be able to play a small show. There’s going to be some classic Jane’s Addiction things going on in that club.” ne of the legendary architects of modern alternative American rock as we know it, it’s true Jane’s always had their seedier side. Just look at Perry’s debauched, shirtless cohort Dave Navarro, brazenly cocking a snook at the smoking ban, and oozing menace. And Perry himself, trussed up in leather and dancing around like a man half, or maybe two-thirds his age. They’ve always kinda made you think of sex whether you liked it or not. Sex doesn’t enter your head when you think of Coldplay or Nickelback, but with Jane’s Addiction there’s always the dirty, stinky sex. Perry looks like the bad young brother of Uri Geller, for whom spoon-bending wasn’t enough.

F

or those of you not old enough to remember, or for those who’d hoped they’d blotted it out of their minds, this is the man who famously announced to the world that on hearing about the LA riots, he had to go upstairs and have a wank. Four times.

“W

e have this friend,” purrs Perry lasciviously. “Well, we don’t know him yet and I’m already calling him my friend. His name is Rubber Ron.”

I “Y

repeat the name Rubber Ron to make sure I’ve heard correctly. ou know him?”

e like the idea that this is our show and a club, and we know how to do clubs really well. Not everybody knows how to do a club. Back home they break artists really fast and get them out there on the track. I mean look at American Idol, these people have never even played in a club, I betcha, half of ’em.”

e’ve had a strange career in that we just broke and then we broke up. And so as a result we’ve kind of been lost in time. When people think about us, they always say the nineties. We actually only played one year in the nineties and so all those years later we didn’t really keep up our profile. We didn’t enter into pop culture like most bands do, so if you’re going to put together an eighties compilation or a nineties compilation, we might be missed from either of them.”

o disrespect to Chris Chaney or Flea I say, but does it feel more like Jane’s Addiction now?

ell it is Jane’s Addiction now,” certifies Perry. “As much as I love those guys, and Martyn LeNoble too, who played in Porno, Eric Avery was there when the songs were being written. He wrote his basslines, and they were only trying to do their best to play his basslines. So you tell me who should play bass? t’s not like we didn’t want Eric to be in the band, we always wanted Eric to be in the band. When we did our first reunion in 1997, Eric didn’t want to return, so we had Flea. In 2003, again, we asked Eric. It was just that this time he thought he was ready. I don’t know, we’ve never even really discussed why.” o how about new material?

itual de lo Habitual, their most popular album featuring their one bona fide smash ‘Been o, for whatever reason, in the end I never actually Caught Stealing’, was released in 1990, and People got to see what it is Rubber Ron does. Whether or often consider Porno For Pyros, the band that Farrell not we’ll see new material from a fully reformed formed with Stephen Perkins in 1992 an extension of Jane’s Addiction also remains to be seen, but one lives Jane’s Addiction. in hope.

R

S

Ritual Abuse

30


My Prerogative Socrates With Justice lined up to Mapei’s got her own swing. The phone at her home in Stockholm rings. produce her album, “Yeah, yeah, I remember,” she lies. Swedish/American rapper “And you’re okay to do this interview now? I MAPEI is destined to put herself on the map in a big mean, you’re pretty hard to get hold of.” We end with: “Erika is going to call you, and way. But only in her own time. email you. This weekend, right? Please. We really want to take your picture and she’s only in Sweden Words: Phil Hebblethwaite till Monday.” Erika, Tuesday: “I called her and mailed her Photographer: Unknown over and over, but my stalking didn’t work and now I just got back to London again... I saw her in a magazine today and she looks cool. I just like her more for being a nightmare.” From the subs bench was summoned a fashion photographer friend of Erika’s, Fredrik. Fredrik, some days later: “I’ve been trying to reach Mapei but she has no phone for the moment. Will try my best to sort it out for you. I know she’s in the city, and she knows I’m looking for her.” Fredrik, even later: “Sorry, still no call back yet.” Leader of the pack, she’s gonna do her own dance. This hunt for Mapei started over a year ago, just as tracks and videos of hers began to do the rounds on the internet. A spaghetti-and-meatballs rapper with a killer flow and lyrical punch to boot, it was clear straight off the bat that her brand of pop was going to be systematically hip hop. To prove a point, a DJ Mehdi remix of Ghostface’s ‘Charlie Brown’ featuring Mapei hit the blogs in March 2008. Somehow she managed to upstage the Wu man on that track, and apparently she was from... Sweden. Mapei had no record deal a year ago, no PR, not even a manager. A MySpace request for an interview bombed. So did another a few months later. Then a manager’s email address appeared on her site. Still no dice, and only when it was announced that she’d be releasing a low-key Mehdi-produced EP, ‘Cocoa Butter Diaries’, in July this year - when, gulp, there were suddenly other people interested in promoting her - did our phone ring: “I hear you’ve been trying to get hold of Mapei...” Oh, how silly the music business can be. Privy to a nugget of information that, hilariously, this newspaper was told was “secret” - that Mapei was

going to do her album with Parisian dance dudes, Justice - the interview collapsed, or rather we were told we could speak to her, but we weren’t allowed to ask her about Justice. Duh. And now it’s August, and now Mapei’s forgotten she’s been told to do an interview, and now we’re talking about CSS and how they’re the quintessential internet band because their music could come from anywhere, and now she says, “People need to have their own trademark, because I don’t want everyone to become the next Beatles. We live in a cheeseburger culture where everything moves so fast. I try to keep my own pace, do everything in my own time, and I don’t fiend for attention.” She has her own swing. Leader of the pack, she’s gonna do her own dance. Mapei was born in Providence, Rhode Island to an Italian American father and an African mother, from Liberia. Her father was political, and still is (“He’s like an Italian-American communist,” she says, only half joking), and she ended up in Stockholm, aged 10, because her parents’ marriage collapsed and her mother had got together with a Swedish man. Of Providence, she says: “It’s really mixed. It’s an intellectual town, but at the same time it’s really hood. Brown University is there, but I grew up in the projects. You also have a lot of Italians because they were the ones, along with the Brits, that discovered Rhode Island. So there are a lot of pizza places, and a lot of frat boys. You can walk around the city in an hour, and everyone talks like they’re in Family Guy.” And of moving to Stockholm, she adds: “At first it was like, ‘Wow, this is so fun!’ I was really curious and everyone seemed so nice, as opposed to where I grew up. But then after a while, because I didn’t know the language, I found myself just sitting there and not understanding anything. It was hard, I was at a fragile age - 10 to 12 - and I met the bullies in school.” Of course, the experience of being transported from Providence to a city where for three years she couldn’t speak the language and was a victim of racism, informs the music she makes today and, in fact, Mapei found herself back in the States - in Bushwink, Brooklyn - as an 18-year-old. She

stayed for three years, met Spank Rock and lived for a while with her friend Lykke Li. But New York didn’t turn out to be the artistic paradise others imagine it to be. “It was a good time, but at the same time it wasn’t because there were all these frustrated twenty-somethings who came to Brooklyn wanting to be the next Bob Dylan,” she explains. “There was all this energy, but people didn’t know who they really were. It was like they had read some rock’n’roll biography.” Twenty-four now and back in Stockholm, she says, “I wanna be the hip hop president of Sweden.” But hang on, where does the sudden raw ambition come from? In her signature track from the ‘Cocoa Butter Diaries’ EP, ‘Leader Of The Pack’, she sets out her stall with, ‘I got my own swing / Leader of the pack, I’m gonna do own my own dance,’ and that’s how it works with Mapei: she wants to be ready, and she wants to be in control, and if she’s working with producers she wants them to know exactly what she needs. And that means first knowing how to cut the perfect beat herself. “I find it hard to explain what I want, so I need to learn how to do things for myself,” she says. “When I explain things, I’ll explain them very abstractly; I explain what I want in colours.” The Justice hook-up is bubbling. Mapei is signed to Downtown Records now, as are the French duo in the States. They’ve been working on tracks together and will continue to do so. It’s all very relaxed. DJ Mehdi is French as well, and there’s every chance he might turn up on the LP, too. “I just think they’re developing pop music,” she says of her French connections. “Their music is really poppy but they’re all DJs. I think they have cool ideas and I come from the urban/hip hop side of things. I just want to develop sounds with them and take hip hop to a new plateau.” When, exactly? Whenever. It’s as she writes on her MySpace page: My masterplan was to not have a plan at all. Things take time, as the world turns so fast... stillness stands out from the crowd. The truth changes from mouth to mouth. Don’t believe the hype. We got a picture in the end. No idea who took it, but we got one.


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Image: Auntie

The Stool Pigeon October 2009 “No, of course not. Ha ha ha ha ha! The pressure would make it quite impossible. It’s the sun’s powerhouse, where one element is being turned into another. The sun is shining by creating helium out of hydrogen, and that’s going on at the core at this moment. The sun is also losing weight at the same time: four million tonnes every second, you know. There’s plenty there for a while. Don’t panic. Ha ha! We’ve got about a thousand million years, after which the sun will become so hot that all life on Earth will probably be wiped out. There’s a long way to go, though.”

MUSE, SUPERMASSIVE BLACK HOLE

SIR PATRICK says: “I remember this one! I think it’s dreadful.”

What is the difference between supermassive black holes and common or garden black holes? “Well, I’m not trying to be funny, but the answer is mass, of course! Supermassive black holes exist at the centre of galaxies and ordinary black holes are formed by the collapse of a single star. A supermassive black hole is the merger of several, and that’s why they’re in the middle of galaxies.”

DAVID BOWIE, SPACE ODDITY

SUEDE, MY DARK STAR

SIR PATRICK says: “I wonder if any of these people could sing, even if someone showed them how to do it?”

SIR PATRICK says: “This song did make an impression on me. A negative one. Ha ha ha!”

We’ve been quite lucky with avoiding space disasters so far, apart from the three notable incidents, when you consider the odds. Do the man-made objects currently in orbit represent a danger? “To other man-made objects, of course, but it hasn’t happened yet. Space is very big. I think the dangers are not really very great.”

What is a dark star? “When a star exhausts all its energy, it becomes a white dwarf, and then it gradually fades away and it will eventually turn into a black dwarf with no energy at all, but that takes an immensely long time. I’m not sure that the universe is yet old enough so that any black dwarfs have been formed. It’s only been 8.7 thousand million years –

NEGATIVE SPACE Words by JOEL McIVER “It feels like a different age now,” ruminates Sir Patrick Moore, the 86year-old TV presenter, astronomer and xylophone player when you ask him if the 40 years since the first moon landing have gone quickly for him. As well he might: he’s packed more into his long life than any other three people, presenting The Sky At Night for over half a century, establishing a global reputation as a maverick eccentric and making the mysteries of the cosmos understandable for the populace in doing so. As celebrations of Apollo 11’s anniversary continue, what better time to ask Sir Patrick for his views on the juxtaposition of science and rock’n’roll? We sent 10 songs with a cosmic, planetary or otherwise scientific theme to the great man, then asked for his opinion. THE PRODIGY, OUT OF SPACE

SIR PATRICK says: “I must be quite honest with you: this isn’t my kind of music.” Does space have a boundary, in fact, and if so what lies beyond it? “Well, we’re rather stuck here. Either space is finite or else it isn’t. If it’s finite, then what’s outside it? Maybe there’s nothing – no more space. If, on the other hand, space is infinite, you can’t think about something that goes on forever. My brain won’t do it and nor will yours. You can’t describe infinity in ordinary words: I can’t and neither could Einstein. I know because I asked him. Ha ha!”

HAWKWIND, SPACE IS DEEP

SIR PATRICK says: “I’m very sorry I wasn’t keener on your record.” Space is indeed rather deep, as the original space rockers revealed. Tell us, is space as deep as it is wide? “We’re back to the old question here: either space is finite, in which case what lies beyond it? Or it’s infinite, in which case our brains can’t conceive it.” Do the dimensions of the universe relate to the Big Bang? “The problem here is that if space was created all at the same time, then the Big Bang happened everywhere, not just at the centre. But if space was created, what was there before there was any space? I compare it to an intelligent gentleman from Alpha Centauri C who comes down here and spends an hour on Bognor Regis High Street. He sees babies, and boys, and men, and old men. He can see that babies become boys, that boys become men and that men become old men, and he’ll be able to work out the complete evolutionary cycle of the human being. But unless someone’s told him the facts of life, he won’t know how the baby got there. In cosmology, our baby is the Big Bang.” PINK FLOYD, SET CONTROLS FOR THE HEART OF THE SUN

SIR PATRICK says: “To my ear, all these songs are universally awful.” As Floyd suggest, would it be possible to send a man-made probe into the heart of the sun?

SPIRITUALIZED, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN WE ARE FLOATING IN SPACE

SIR PATRICK says: “This was awful. Ha ha ha!”

What would be the long-term effects on the human body of living in zero gravity? “Well, they’re not too sure about that. Over a short period, it’s alright. Astronauts have been on the space station for over a year and they’re perfectly okay, but of course muscles are bound to deteriorate. That’s one of the great dangers. If we ever went to Mars, people would be in space for many weeks and there are no hospitals up there. I don’t know how our muscles would react. Over a short period, it’s harmless, but the trouble is that we won’t be able to find out until somebody tries it.”

Do you regret never having gone into space? “Me? Ha ha ha! It would take a very massive rocket to launch me.” OMD, ROMANCE OF THE TELESCOPE

SIR PATRICK says: “These songs all sound rather alike to me.”

What went wrong with the Hubble telescope? “Initially it was made wrong. Human error. And they put it right, but things wear out, and it had to be replaced. Next time it goes wrong, it’ll be a million miles away and they won’t be able to repair it, so let’s hope they get it right first time.”

they may take longer than that. There could be dead stars around, but the only way to tell is by their gravitational effects.” DIGITALISM, JUPITER ROOM

SIR PATRICK says: “I’m not being very helpful here, I’m very sorry.”

What did you think of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey? “I may – I say I may – have made a contribution to it, I don’t know. When they were working on the scene with the space station, I was having dinner with Arthur C Clarke, a very old friend of ours, and I said, ‘Why not use Strauss’s The Blue Danube?’ And of course they did. Whether or not I had anything to do with it, I don’t know. It was merely a chance remark. It was a great film. Kubrick cut off the last 20 minutes and spoiled the ending, but it was a great film.” DIANA ROSS & THE SUPREMES, NO MATTER WHAT SIGN YOU ARE

SIR PATRICK says: “All of these songs are nasty noises, but it was nice of you to send me a CD.”

Why do you think that so many otherwise normal and intelligent people read horoscopes? “I don’t know, but astrology does prove one scientific fact: there’s one born every minute, ha ha ha ha!”

Thanks to The Quietus. To read the full version of this article, go to thequietus.com

SIR PATRICK MOORE on interplanetary rock and pop, and the science behind the songs.


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34

The Stool Pigeon October 2009

Travel SLEEPLESS IN SCANDINAVIA Two festivals, two weekends on the trot, not too much kip WORDS BY

HUW NESBITT

PHOTOGRAPHS BY CHRISTIAN ROTH (NORWAY, left) REBECCA MILLER (FAROE ISLANDS, right)

he closer you get to the Arctic Circle, the heavier time’s hands fall. For my sins, two music festivals in two Nordic countries in two weekends with barely seven nights sleep between taught me as much, god help me... The first was Slottsfjell festival in Tønsberg, Norway. The second was G! festival in the fishing village of Göta on the Faroe Islands, a series of black rocks coated in emerald turf cast adrift in the North Atlantic between Scotland and Iceland. In both, there was very little darkness to speak of - maybe four hours of night beginning at 12am in Norway, and barely two in the Faroes of what would be better described as ‘dusk’, following daylight at 4am. Inevitably, this screws with anything but a Nordic constitution, and causes two things in foreign flesh: a sharp descent into alcohol habituation and chronic fucking insomnia. Which one sets in first is debatable. As the days and terrain changed, I increasingly found myself necking bottles of duty-free vodka just to blackout. The locals, however, know how to deal with it. While in Norway I didn’t hear anyone even mention a clock and in the Faroes I never saw a single person fall asleep. Both sets just carried on, unfettered. For the former, this is something to be ignored or conquered. For the latter, its passing is wilfully embraced. And in terms of culture, these two attitudes appear to be inherent throughout, with music being no exception. The impact of time and history in these places is often overpowering, and two examples rise to mind in each instance. One was the sight of an inscription on Slottsfjell castle carved in 1841 to mark the town’s 1000th anniversary, which read: “MAA BYEN SOM PAA TUNET STAAR FAA BLOMSTRE NYE TUSIND AAR [May the city located by the ‘square’ bloom another thousand years].” The other, a pissedup sunrise conversation with a 24year-old man in Göta, who had just finished the Faroese equivalent of his GCSEs, and who had never heard of Phil Spector in his entire life. “No one ever rushes to do anything in these islands, me included,” he said. “All

T

remains change here, you see, so it’s no use. And who is this Phil Speckduh? Is he the drummer of Genesis?” “All remains change.” Those words, that morning, carried a strange echo back to the beginning of the entire shebang, sat on the plane to Slottsfjell, lazily trying to read Heraclitus, but getting stuck on the line, “You can never step in the same river twice...” Later that day I was reminded of this sentiment as I walked to see the lake from the top of the site on the mountain in the centre of Tønsberg, from where the festival gets its name. ‘Slottsfjell’ literally means ‘castle hill’. Staring at the fjord below, you can begin to understand why Hitler invaded Norway, and I bet his wet dreams during 1939 were plagued with these sorts of landscapes. Up there, clipping the heavens, the olive mountain ranges roll out towards the horizon as far the eye can cast, imbuing the world with the false impression of a never-ending canvas, waiting to be re-forged. “The Norwegians are inherently embarrassed about the war,” a man called Olafur tells me over dinner by the quay at the mountain’s foot that evening. “Around the corner from here is Berg, where the Nazis built a concentration camp. Nowadays, it’s a prison. Varg Vikernes of Mayhem even did time there in the nineties for driving halfway across the country to murder his bandmate.” Olafur is one of the organisers responsible for looking after me, and nothing seems too much trouble. “More beer?” You got it. “Lunch?” Have four 12oz sirloin steaks. When I arrived at the airport, he even had a driver pick me up and take me to the red wooden luxury farmhouse where I was staying, way outside of town, complete with heated floors, a sauna and a fridge stocked with nearly a fortnight’s food and drink. And they can afford to put on such a spread in Norway because music is big business. Today, as Slottsfjell celebrates its seventh year, Tønsberg bears witness to it. Over the weekend, everyone comes out to party - men, women, children, old folk, rich, poor... During the daytime the festival site is full of families watching bands, sipping pear cider

and having picnics. At night, saltswept sailors with ruddy complexions hit the quayside bars lit by apricot street lamps and drink till they’re stupid, while the kids all run to the after-show party down by the docks, hiding cans of Tuborg down their trousers from security. But everyone is friendly, and respectful, no matter how drunk, which is part of the town’s long history. Cited as the oldest settlement in Norway, Tønsberg was also where one King Magnus Lagabøte wrote the first set of nationwide laws between 1263 and 1280. All the same, the Nords appear to be as ashamed about their folk history as their involvement with the Jackboots. While seemingly separate issues, these two things are, in fact, tied in a Gordian bind, due to the Third Reich’s morbid-fascination with Nordic-Aryanism and mythology. Of the three days, not one band could be heard playing anything traditional. The closest thing to roots music were American bluegrass-style bands, such as Marit Larsen’s soft country and western, the folk-lite of Håkan Hellström and the Klondike banjos of Oslo’s Lucky Lips. The rest was upbeat indie-pop (Harry’s Gym Vs Heroes + Zeros, Thom Hell, Pony the Pirate), MOR corduroy-trouser rock (The September When), grooveladen stoner jams (Motorpsycho) and flamboyant exhibitionism (Turbonegro), with concessions given to Nordic lyrics, naturligvis. Nonetheless, by Saturday evening when the festival packed up, all these names became a blur as the days of drunken mountain walking and the booze-soaked twilights merged into one huge, formless mass. The endless daylight hours there trick your mind and erode even the most rudimentary cognitive skill. And if you don’t pass out before sunrise, it only gets worse. Mere vague visions abound now, such as being stranded in the centre of town at 6am on the last night, slumped catatonic over a concrete bollard and waking up later next to a large-limbed Norwegian girl and a used sanitary towel. The rest of the day was spent drinking it all off in the farmhouse waiting for my taxi to the airport. Scandinavians don’t do festivals on Sundays. Apparently


Travel

October 2009 The Stool Pigeon

they go to work on Monday. Things didn’t get any better in the few days spent back in London trying to recover. Once you lose sleep, that’s it - it’s gone. By the time the flight to the Faroe Islands banked steeply towards the runway, I was hallucinating church towers rocketing up from behind the dark desolate hills and hearing explosions every time I closed my eyes. Outside the airport, an unsympathetic elfish ginger man by the name of Hans was waiting with my name written on a laminated piece of white card. He was charged with driving me an hour-and-a-half through tunnels beneath the mountains and ocean that connect the islands. “You look like shit,” he said to me as I climbed in his ancient grey minibus. “What the fuck have you been doing?” I explained. “People do die out here, you know.” This was not the talk I needed. Neither was the boundless enthusiasm in which he told me about the islands’ folklore involving strange rock-dwelling creatures while the one-litre engine on the bus cranked so loudly in every tunnel that I thought we were going to be stranded underneath the rock bed for all eternity. Superstition, however, is an important part of life in the Faroe Islands. It even makes a good bedfellow for their musical traditions. At one point, their entire culture was almost exterminated by the Danish, who took control of the islands from the Norwegians during the 14th Century, and banned all use of the Faroese language and folklore until the 1800s. Before then, it lived on as a clandestine aural tradition, spoken behind closed doors, and passed on to each generation through song. Today, and despite the heavy influence of Protestant Christianity, many of the old superstitions are still held with strong reverence. “A couple of years ago a foreign anthropologist conducted a survey here,” Hans said as we approached Göta. “Around 50 per cent of the people said they believed in things like elves, dwarves, trolls and the other 50 per cent said they didn’t not

believe in them. “And there’s another story I think you should know about too. In the western part of Göta is the house where Tróndur í Gøtu lived - a legendary pagan Viking warrior who fought the Christian Nords. Outside, there’s a rock that sings. A few years ago a villager tried to blow it up with dynamite, but it wouldn’t budge. You visit there and see for yourself.” The image of the singing rock stuck with me throughout G!, and it’s a metaphor that strikes deep at the heart of Faroese culture. Looking at the stark green and black landscape framed by the marine horizon behind which nothing appears to exist but upon which all life depends, the notion that all things spring from desolation is crucial. Fishing is what has kept the islands alive for centuries, and little has changed in that respect. During my visit it was whaling season, where the fishing boats coax blue whales into the shores, and villagers - mild, quiet peaceful people - all run out onto the beach and lampoon the fucker with knives and spears until the tide runs red and the beast is nothing more than hunks of flesh. To be sure, there’s a grim beauty to every harsh reality in this place. The following day I followed Hans’s instructions, and visited Tróndur í Gøtu’s house, but found no singing rock, just a tiny black wooden shack with white-washed slate wall foundations and grass growing on the roof - like all the other houses in the sparsely populated village - looking out onto the bay where the festival takes place. Like Slottsfjell, G! is a community-based shindig. Except this community isn’t just a town, but an entire civilisation. From all corners of the islands, people came. At night, rows of fisherman wearing yellow fluorescent jackets would line up on the bows of their trawlers anchored at the edge of the bay to watch the bands play on the beach’s main stage. Meanwhile, on the village’s periphery, a makeshift shantytown campsite emerged full of local crazies and lunatics, all dressed in cream and brown chunky jumpers knitted by their mothers, and by 4pm everyday, all rolling drunk.

Getting involved with them was the first step on my downfall. To stop drinking in their company is frowned upon, even if it’s 9am and a few hours before your return flight, and you can’t even remember your own name anymore because you haven’t gone to sleep in four days, let alone what time the bus is due to arrive to pick you up. And unlike Slottsfjell, G! was littered with roots influences, from bands such as Valravn, Veto and Orka playing avant-garde electronoise mixed with trad. instrumentation, to the Faroe Islands’ biggest musical export, Teitur, whose singersongwriter ballads occasionally invited the presence of the Faroese national brass band. Nothing out here is easily forgotten and nothing in their past is held with resentment, and that’s because every collective memory they have has had to be fought for, tooth and nail. The Nazis never went as far as the Faroe Islands, despite invading Denmark, whose crown sovereignty it still rests under today. But even if they had, I don’t think the Faroese would have given a flying fuck, because they know all too well that the only people that can hold themselves together in that climate are them. Everyone else just withers, cracks or loses their mind, myself included. As such, serious crime is a virtual impossibility. The last murder took place in 1982, and was perpetrated by a visitor from Greenland, as one of the drunks in the campsite explained to me before Hans rolled up and took me back to the airport. “Apparently this guy from Greenland came over for a wedding, but got too drunk and stabbed someone to death,” he said. “The time before that was 25 years previous. Both of them were sent to prison somewhere in Copenhagen, but the same thing happens to people who get a bad reputation for doing other things like stealing. Sooner or later you’ll find yourself so outside of the pack that you won’t have any other option but to leave. That’s the way things have been for hundreds of years, and it’s why we’re still here as we are. The community out here is strong. But that works both ways.”

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36 Travel

The Stool Pigeon October 2009

CROAT YOUR OWN ADVENTURE There’s more to Zagreb than Turbo Folk and mobile phone-sponsored music festivals WORDS BY LUKE TURNER PHOTOGRAPHS BY LUCY JOHNSTON

any cities have histories defined by the hills on which they sit: Rome and its seven summits, Athens with its Acropolis, and Edinburgh, the spiritual heart of Scottish nationhood, lying below its castle. Croatian capital Zagreb was originally two settlements situated on neighbouring hills: Gradec, controlled by the mercantile classes, and Kaptol, ruled by the bishops. The two sides didn’t get on, and periodically violent conflicts broke out, which is why the quiet street that links the former Gradec and Kaptol is known as the Krvavi Most, or ‘Bloody Bridge’. No trace of bridge or brook remains, but they were once the scene of much bloodshed during the years of internecine conflict. But what strikes you, standing either on former ramparts of Gradec, or in front of the cathedral on what was Kaptol, is just how close these two warring hills were. It’s easy to imagine the medieval conflict as an out of scale depiction from a pre-renaissance tapestry or painting, or a Terry Gilliam Monty Python animation. Even today, Zagreb isn’t a big city by British standards. While on the surface it might seem to lack the art institutions and nightlife offered by, say, Paris and Berlin, or the aspicpreserved charm of the Baltic ports of the same size, Zagreb remains one of the few cities genuinely undiscovered by British tourists. You’re not

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going to be mown down by marauding stag parties here. Crucially, and even before the war that counted the country’s tourist trade among its casualties, it has lost out to Croatia’s main draw: the miles of coastline dotted with attractive fishing villages, islands, and beaches full of naked Germans. On our flight into Zagreb, the plane makes a stop at the coastal airport of Pula. When we take off, the only passengers remaining seem to be bands, music journalists and snappers making our way to Zagreb’s INmusic Festival. It’s a garish, T-Mobile-sponsored event located on the banks of the man-made rowing lakes that, each year, ships in various big-league British and American acts to headline over the generally far more interesting Croatian groups. We check into our hotel and walk across one of the squares of the old town. A ponderous Scottish brogue comes booming over the cobbles. It’s Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand, who are headlining one night, telling a young Croatian lady all about his friendship with Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite. Fortunately, the streets of ancient houses with peeling yellow paint offer an escape. Frequently, these tatty facades are covered with the crudely spraypainted letters ‘NGA’, a territorial marking of gangs from the new town. It’s this divide of old versus new, and tradition against a desire to modernise, that now separates

Zagreb. There’s another piece of graffiti, up near the battlements of old Gradec: ‘Stop Lepoj Breni Skinsi.’ Lepoj Breni is a traditional Balkan singer, but while folk music in Britain is often perceived as fusty and staid, in Croatia it’s a source of genuine controversy. Fans of Western and Western-influenced music oppose the nationalism (and often violence) that goes with the extreme end of Balkan folk, known as Turbo Folk. But you’ll be hard pressed to track down anywhere to listen to Turbo Folk in Zagreb. Most of the bars and clubs, like the style of the city’s residents, remain firmly in 1990s dance, though tracks from Brian Eno’s Before And After Science curiously keep cropping up in the hotel lobby’s mix CD. In fact, enquiries about where to go for some traditional Croatian music are met with peculiar looks, as if it’s not a terribly good idea - as in, you might end up interred in the beautiful Mirogoj Cemetery up on the slopes of Mount Medvednica above Zagreb. Apparently many Turbo Folk clubs have been shut down because of the violence that accompanies the scene, but in more remote areas gangsters will turn up in powerful four-wheel drive cars, firing Kalashnikovs through the ceiling. Well-dressed, rich and, according to the locals, extremely dangerous, they’re the hard end of gangsta rap, Balkanstyle. At one point, walking through the old town, an SUV hurtles around

a corner, blacked out windows and music blaring. “Turbo Folk gangsters?” we ask our Croatian friend, Martin Muhek. He gives us a wry smile. It’s perhaps a sign of the desire to embrace the West that no Turbo Folk, or traditional Balkan artists, make it onto the line-up of the INmusic Festival. Instead, there’s a whole load of British dross (The Editors, Lily Allen, Art Brut) who are shown up by the genre-hopping brilliance of local groups like extremely young punk-tinged act Scroll, or Kawasaki, who manage to combine Rage Against The Machine with Elastica, and aren’t the unpleasant mess you might expect. Sadly, enthusiasm for the homegrown talent is stretched to breaking point by the dodgy group fronted by a diminutive chap in a white tie who, bizarrely, get the entire crowd skanking badly with a mixture of John Shuttleworth-style synths and ska. The INmusic festival is a curious event - essentially the concept of the hyper-branded V Festival transported to a nation of former Eastern Europe. Mobile phone operators are keen to expand into the massive market opening up here, which is why they back and brand half the festivals in the region. If it means you end up with Kraftwerk playing an astoundingly loud set of their dynamo futurism (that makes the entire rest of the bill, from N*E*R*D to Franz to Lily Allen and

Moby appear like luddites), then so be it. But it’d be shame if the marketing men were allowed to take over the live music culture of the region, for there’s an eclectic, unconscious enthusiasm to the way music is consumed in Croatia. And you only have to visit Zagreb’s superb second-hand record shops to understand that it hasn’t existed in isolation. The Roxy, The Karma Music Shop and Freebird are stacked with reasonably priced vinyl in excellent nick where, alongside the martial music of the Communist era (often in stunningly designed sleeves), you’ll find Croatian folk (not of the Turbo persuasion), Yugoslav editions of Western records, and loads and loads of second-hand Pink Floyd. It’d be trite to say you can find all Zagreb on the shelves of its record shops, but it’s fair to suggest they represent how the city has always been a crossroads; how it’s a place of contrasts and conflict, whether that’s clerics versus clerks, as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, or the troubled recent history on the road to, and then coming to terms with, Croatian independence. But up past the ‘Bloody Bridge’, where bars of young Croats crowd the streets drinking beer and local fire brandy, the clash of bishops’ steel on businessmen’s bonce that once soundtracked these two curious hills has been replaced by the sound of music, from here, there and everywhere.


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The Stool Pigeon October 2009

Print HIS FUNERAL... OUR TRIAL Niall O’Keeffe gets hard on Nick Cave’s new novel. Or something.

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ick Cave is an overrated musician. Since his Birthday Party heyday and some great early solo singles, he’s been coasting, safe in the knowledge that each new album, no matter how pretentious or formulaic, will be greeted with a chorus of critical hosannas. Years of this have apparently convinced him he can turn his hand to anything, and The Death Of Bunny Munro is the abominable result. Cave’s shortcomings as a prose writer are noisily signalled on the very first page of this novel, where he writes, “Bunny realises that something has changed in his wife’s voice, the soft cellos have gone and a high rasping violin has been added, played by an escaped ape or something.” Subsequently, the “or something” device is used throughout this lazy, tossed-off novel. Did someone mention tossing off? The central character Bunny Munro is so compulsive a masturbator that he even ducks out of his wife’s funeral to indulge in a bout. Whenever he encounters a woman he either seduces her or risks a breach of his ASBO in the attempt. It’s never quite clear whether he’s more charming womaniser or dogged sex pest. Either way, the guy gets a lot of hard-ons. That “familiar tightening in his crotch” becomes very familiar indeed, and the descriptions ever more contrived. At one point Munro “feels his dick harden like a bent fork or a divining rod or a cistern lever he can’t decide which”. Later, he “begins the process of erecting a finial or strike-terminal device in his zebra-skin briefs”. The novel’s plot hinges around the suicide of Bunny’s depressed wife and his subsequent attempts to care for their bookish son. While working as a door-to-door cosmetics salesman, he’s haunted both by the dead woman and by media reports of a rampaging serial killer who may or may not be the devil. It turns out that Bunny’s own demons spring from a dysfunctional relationship with his father, and - predictably - the novel builds to a plea for redemption. Along the way, though, it gets bogged down in dream sequences and magic realism. Yet the plot takes a back seat to Bunny’s banal sexual fantasies and crude speculation. A nadir is reached when a trip to McDonald’s inspires this observation: “With its flaccid bun, its spongy meat, the cheese, the slimy little pickle, and, of course, the briny special sauce, biting into a Big Mac was as close to eating pussy as, well, eating pussy.”

Nick Cave is 51 years old. It’s astounding that the editor allowed Cave to get away with writing “he looks inexplicably at the phone” or “Bunny disimagines her clothes” or “...a young mother who has a baby welded to one salient hip”. You start to wonder how this book was pitched. Perhaps Cave’s agent said, “My client has sheep-like fans who’ll buy anything with his name on it - and celebrity mates who’ll deliver fawning dust-jacket quotes.” Or something.

Excerpt From The Death of Bunny Munro “Bunny hits the horn at a couple of surprisingly hot dykettes, who flip him the finger, and Bunny laughs and imagines them dildoed-up and going for it... He sees a weird, veiled chick in a bikini with a Victorian bustle and then waves at a cute little junkie who looks a lot like Avril Lavigne (same black eyeliner), sitting on a pile of Big Issues in the doorway of the crumbling Embassy apartments. She stands and shuffles toward him, skeletal, with giant teeth and black, panda-like rings under her eyes, and then Bunny realises she is not a junkie chick at all but a famous supermodel at the peak of her success whose name he can’t remember, which makes Bunny’s hard-on leap in his briefs, and then on closer inspection he realises that she is a junkie chick after all and Bunny cruises on, even though everybody who is into this kind of thing knows, more than anything in the world, that junkies give the best head (crack whores, the worst). Bunny turns on the radio and Kylie Minogue’s hit ‘Spinning Around’ comes on, and Bunny can’t believe his luck and feels a surge of almost limitless joy as the squelching, teasing synth starts and Kylie belts out her orgiastic paean to buggery and he thinks of Kylie’s gold hotpants, those magnificent gilded orbs... Then he sees a group of pudgy mall-trawlers with their smirking midriffs and frosted lipstick, a potentially hot Arab chick in full burka (oh, man, labia from Arabia) and then a billboard advertising fucking Wonderbras or something and he says, ‘Yes!’ and takes a vicious, horn-blaring swerve, rerouting down Fourth Avenue, already screwing the top off a sample of hand cream. He parks and beats off, a big, happy smile on his face, and dispenses a gout of goo into a cum-encrusted sock he keeps under the car seat.” THE DEATH OF BUNNY MUNRO

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The Stool Pigeon October 2009

Moving Images First time scoring a film sees Yeah Yeah Yeahs man Zinner go back to his guitar as quick as White Lightnin’

TEN YEARS OF ATP MARKED WITH FANSHOT FILM IN WHICH FOUNDER USES THE Winnebagos WORD ‘CUNT’ A LOT Trade Union My friend once brought country singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt over to play a couple of shows in Scotland. He was hammered on arrival and then he tried to fuck everyone’s girlfriends. But, hey, he was a genius, as you too will discover if you plod over to see this ‘live’ showing of a Union Chapel, London film of a gig of his from 1994... in the Union Chapel on October 16. So he’ll be back in the same venue just like he hadn’t drunk himself to death and it’s 15 years ago. Is that sick? I can’t work it out.

And the movie he’s a part of is all about the charming things in life, like torture

Hand Brandy Priapic hair-muppet Russell Brand is reprising his role as rock star Aldous Snow, last seen stealing someone’s bird in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The plot apparently revolves around the rocker attempting to get to a gig, which is always really funny. Most importantly, Jarvis Cocker is lending a hand by writing the tunes for the movie. Jarvis says the songs are “rather silly”. Jarvis’s mood seems to have lightened now Michael Jackson is dead.

By HAZEL SHEFFIELD ntil recently, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were a three-headed monster fronted by the fashionista magnetism of Karen O alongside Nick Zinner, pedal aficionado and guitarist extraordinaire. Since being relegated to keyboards for nearly the duration of retro-disco third album It’s Blitz, Zinner and his obsession with distortion have been finding a new home: in film. Released to DVD on September 28, White Lightnin’ is the story of Jesco White, troubled son of D Ray White, the greatest of the Appalachian Mountain dancers. Though rooted in truth, the film is gothic fantasy; parthorror, part-romance, created from the talents of acclaimed director Dominic Murphy and Vice co-founder Shane Smith. The latter, alongside Eddy Moretti (director of Vice Films and fellow scriptwriter), were already well acquainted with Zinner, having shared the same blackjack table with him in Atlantic City for years. “Eddy and Shane asked me about it a few years ago, while they were writing the script,” Zinner says of the film. “I’ve been wanting to try scoring a film for a while now, so this was an interesting first one to work on.” While most of the featured music comes straight out of the 9000strong songbook of rockabilly legend Hasil Adkins, one-time real-life neighbour of Jesco White, Zinner provides the soundtrack itself rumbling, looped noise that barely saw the cutting room. Zinner explains: “Dominic the director asked me to make some short pieces that he could work to before they started shooting. We explored several themes and

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Gazza Clip

different combinations of noise and melody, and I believe he ended up shooting to a few of those.” If this is true, Zinner’s earliest compositions were the soundtrack to a hellish rewriting of American folklore, exploring the underbelly of lawless mountain life, and refusing to shy from its dark tales of bestiality, incest, vagrancy and torture. It was to be these early ideas that would make the cut, despite Zinner’s reworkings. “After the film was shot I spent a month re-scoring most of [it],” he says, “but Dominic told me the night before we were scheduled to re-record everything, that he preferred all the original sketches!” Running with original ideas is an

approach that spanned the creative process. White Lightnin’ plays as a phantasmagorical reimagining of one of the heroes of Appalachian folklore that strays from truth. While White Lightnin’’s Jesco White dies before the film is out, the real one is still very much alive - something that can also be said of Zinner’s creativity. “I got to work on the Where The Wild Things Are soundtrack, which is absolutely amazing,” he says of his other collaborations. “I’m working on a few new photo book ideas, and hope to do more film work in the future, but I’m trying to focus on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for the rest of this year.” One can only hope Karen gives him his guitar back.

Now that he’s got off his lazy cheeks and started making records again, hip hop legend Eminem is dipping his big toe back into the acting pool, doing a small turn as himself in a new movie Funny People. The fact it stars Adam Sandler may mean the studio gets taken to the cleaners for infringing the Trade Descriptions Act. If Eminem wants a grittier role, he’d be perfect for a biopic of thirsty footie-fruitcake Paul Gascoigne, as these days he’s a spit of the Real Slim Geordie.

Film Noir Guitar hero Tony Iommi is laughing in the face of Ozzy Osbourne by starting a horror flick enterprise called ‘Black Sabbath’. You’ll remember from the last issue that Ozzy is suing Iommi over use of their name, so Tommy has brazenly flouted his tremor-prone chum by starting up a franchise with the producer of grizzly east European splatterfest Hostel. Rumours the first film features a horrific Brummie family terrorising their LA neighbours is untrue, because we just made it up.

BARNABY SMITH fact that no sponsorship interferes with All Tomorrows Parties makes it all the more remarkable that the festival has survived relatively unhindered for the last 10 years. As well as a special weekender celebrating their birthday in December (with a stellar line-up, even for their high standards), this film, a collagey affair clearly based on Michael Wadleigh’s Woodstock, comes out in November. “If you notice, the film starts with arriving at the festival,” says ATP founder Barry Hogan, “and goes from the day into the night and so forth, like you were actually at the weekend. The spirit of the festival is really well-documented because it involves the fans and the bands. There are some great live performances thrown in but the fact that we don’t have a VIP area means the fans and the bands can hang out together.” The film is a fragmented collection of footage gathered from fans, performers and film crews and thus many scenes are shot from the middle of the crowd. The bands - best of which are Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Octopus Project, Patti Smith and Mogwai - are interspersed with twee footage from the vaults of “simple working folk” off on holidays to Butlins in the seventies. But, in a stroke of imagination, Director Jonathan Caouette aligns those heady times with the spirit of the rock’n’roll at ATP. Community, convenience and comfort (there are still some hippies not sold on the idea of a chalet at a festival) are, of course, shared priorities. “We’d like to continue for another 10 years if we can,” continues Barry, “but only if the event is still exciting people and exciting us. If we lose heart, we should stop. I just hope we can maintain our quality control and have something that people look back on fondly.” Best of all is when Hogan himself appears. His outpouring of rage at the holiday camp’s residential neighbours in Camber Sands, or “fucking cunts”, is bona fide gold. “These annoying neighbours built their houses opposite the camp a long time after it had been running and expected peace and quiet,” Hogan tells us. “For them to complain is a joke. It would be like buying a house opposite Disneyland and complaining there were too many oversized mice and ducks walking around. Stupid cunts.”

The


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Comics

The Stool Pigeon October 2009


October 2009 The Stool Pigeon

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Comics

The Stool Pigeon October 2009

JAIL HOUSE ROCK My ingenious escape plan is nearly complete.

E\'DYLG-0RDWV

Using my patented â&#x20AC;&#x153;Wall of Soundâ&#x20AC;? recording technique we will use the power of pop music to blast a hole through this cruel cell.

8VLQJWKLVYLQWDJH*UHWVFK&RXQWU\*HQWOHPDQ VHFUHWHGDZD\IRUPRQWKVLQP\UHFWXP,¡OOQHHG you to compose a classic pop anthem.

Manson, using your dark SRZHUV,¡OOQHHG\RXWRFDUYH a multi-track recorder out of soap.

Unfortunately my own considerable songwriting talents were expended on such modern classics as â&#x20AC;&#x153;To Know +LPLV7R/RYH+LPÂľOHDYLQJ *OLWWHUWKHRQO\FRQFHLYDEOH author of this liberating ballad.

Glitter! Are you listening to me?

0\VWLNDOZH¡OOQHHG\RXWROHQGXV\RXUVLON\YRLFH DQGLQJHQLRXVGHOLYHU\RIKLSSHW\KRSFKRUXVHVWRWKH proceedings. SHOW me ZKDW\RX¡UH working with.

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But...

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7KHQXVLQJWKLVFROOHFWLRQRIDPSOLĂ&#x20AC;HUVDFTXLUHGLQ exchange for numerous hand jobs, we will propell our PRQVWURXVO\RYHUGXEEHGPDVWHUSLHFHWRIUHHGRP

If only we had something to dampen that nefarious buzz on our microphone...

6LOHQFH6SHFWRU\RXLJQRUDQWIXFN:HDUHRQO\FDSWLYHVLQ the prison of our MINDS! Using the powers of the Dark Lord we can mould the soft minds of our oppressors - rendering them helpless as infants!

Hand jobs!

Helpless infants!

)LUVWZHQHHGDEORRGVDFULĂ&#x20AC;FH

:$$7&+<¡VHOI

'DPQLW:LWKRXWDFRPSHWHQWYRFDOLVWP\SODQVDUHDOOZRUWKOHVV All those hand jobs were for nothing.

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October 2009 The Stool Pigeon

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Arts

The Stool Pigeon October 2009


Arts

October 2009 The Stool Pigeon

Keeping Tabs Britain’s first exhibition of hippy communion wafers Words by Cian Traynor

art collections will get you in as much trouble as an appreciation for well-designed acid tabs, and the UK’s first exhibition dedicated to LSD blotter art, featuring pieces signed by psychedelic luminaries such as the Grateful Dead and Ken Kesey, has been assembled from a collection that’s seen its fair share of heat: Mark McCloud’s ‘institute of illegal images’, the biggest of its kind.

Few

authorities, who see it as “conspiring to distribute”. Even still, original blotter art has become highly sought after as a relic of the psychedelic era’s counter culture, especially since many of the art form’s masterpieces have long since been ingested and wiped from memory.

loud, a former art professor based in Los Angeles, has been the subject of raids by the FBI, with 33,000 sheets seized in one bust and two criminal trials requiring expert witnesses from the art community to acquit him.

n LSD became illegal in 1966, jail terms for possession were measured in proportion to the weight of the substance. The smart move for acid dealers was to find the lightest vehicle possible to get their product out there: in this case, blotting paper. As intricate designs became a form of branding that signified dosage and quality, LSD shifted from an underground trade into mainstream culture and was embraced by a new generation of artists. Four decades later, the medium has survived as a controversial folk art struggling to be considered as something more than just nostalgia for a bygone zeitgeist.

hough the prints contain no LSD, the practice of collecting them as artwork frequently arouses the suspicion of

latest exhibition at London’s Underdog Art Company reflects the emerging market for blotter art, which has

McC Alt

Whe

The

developed its own community of expert buyers and counterfeiters. Perforated into 1,000 quarter-inch squares like psychedelic jigsaws, these ‘undipped’ designs typically appropriate everything from classic icons like Alice in Wonderland and Dr Seuss to contemporary figures such as Yoda and The Matrix. show features pieces that would normally fetch upwards of £2,000 on eBay, with signed and numbered sheets by Albert Hoffman, the Swiss chemist who discovered LSD, the Buzzcocks, Howard Marks and the high-priest of acid himself, Timothy Leary, who once claimed that signing blotter art felt “like the Pope signing communion wafers”.

The

The LSD Blotter Art Show Until November 7 Underdog Art Company 384 Old Kent Road London SE1 5AA

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Interviewed by Garry Mulholland Photographed by Dan Wilton


The Stool Pigeon Interview

On his own independent label and by somehow managing to always move in the shadows, DIZZEE RASCAL is re-writing the British pop rule book.

The most bonkers thing about hanging out at Dizzee Rascal’s place is its total absence of bonkeration. The rapper’s Dirtee Stank label HQ is a modest, purpose-built business space in a quiet mews in an anonymous part of outer London. I can’t be any more specific than that because the entire Dirtee Stank workforce - that would be label boss Laurence - has sworn me to secrecy. As Dizzee, aka Dylan Mills, puts it later, “I like moving in the shadows.” Bow’s most famous export may prefer to keep his private and business life on the down-low, but there’s nothing shadowy about the vertiginous rise in his profile over the last year. Since his collaboration with disco wise guy Calvin Harris and singer Chrome, ‘Dance Wiv Me’, spent four weeks at number one last summer, the former grime pioneer and teenage bad boy has become the dance-floor friendly rapping choice of everyone and their mum, charming his way through appearances on Newsnight and Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, triumphing at this year’s Glastonbury, and scoring a second successive chart-topper with the Armand Van Helden-produced ‘Bonkers’. ‘Bonkers’ wasn’t just the first single to sell over 100,000 copies in its first week since 2006’s ‘Crazy’ by Gnarls Barkley, it made Dizzee the first artist to score successive number ones on his own independent label. The most bonkers thing about that, according to Dizzee himself, is the fact that he only left previous label XL because they didn’t understand his new pop direction. It’s evidence enough that Mills is casually turning the pop world upside-down. Dizzee’s major break of the Britpop rules comes down to something entirely more complicated, though. He has pulled off the impossible - crossed over to the white mainstream as a black British artist without enduring a violent backlash from fans of underground urban music. There are those, he insists, who do see him as a sell-out, but their voices have been drowned out by a majority who have finally decided to be happy for a young black man doing well for himself in pop’s fickle milieu. Dizzee has always been a little different. The boy was just 18 when his debut album, Boy In Da Corner, won the Mercury Music Prize. In the same week in August 2003 that the record was released, he was stabbed six times while performing with Roll Deep crew in Ayia Napa. Rumours about infighting between both rival gangs and rap crews threatened to engulf his career. But Mills survived both physically and emotionally, refusing to be drawn further into the murky situation in either song or interview, touring relentlessly, getting back into the studio, and beguiling everyone in the business who had dealings with him. While 2004’s Showtime album continued to mix grimey tales of the East End streets with eclectic samples from rock records and musicals, 2007’s Maths + English saw Dizzee beginning to gradually change tack. There was a rambunctious old school hip hop feel to huge tracks like ‘Flex’, ‘Bubbles’ and ‘Sirens’, and single ‘Pussyole (Old Skool)’ bordered on raved-up hip house. When Mills made

the decision to get in touch with Calvin Harris and ask if he had any good beats knocking around, it was an inspired gamble timed perfectly to chime with Britain’s desperation to dance away the recession blues. But today, at Dirtee Stank HQ, surprises continue to abound. It turns out that Dizzee’s career mentor, manager and co-producer Cage, aka Nick Cage, is a large, white, middleaged cockney with the demeanour of a bouncer and the earthy wit of a market trader; that the only drink you’ll find at the studio-cum-office is crates and crates of vitamin water that they were sent for free; and that Cage and Dizzee are busy putting the finishing touches to a tune produced by, of all people, Dutch king of trance fromage Tiesto, and deciding whether it should be put on the new album, Tongue ’N’ Cheek, at the last minute (they went for it; it’s called ‘Bad Behaviour’, and it’s ruddy fantastic, actually). ‘Bad Behaviour’ fits perfectly on a rude and bubbly 11-track long-player that will probably disappoint fans of the brooding Boy In Da Corner, but will absolutely delight everybody else with its blend of rave, hip hop, reggae and punch-your-lights-out boy-pop ebullience. Another Harris and Chrome collaboration ‘Holiday’ will probably have hit number one by the time you read this, and ‘Dirtee Cash’, an inspired reboot of Stevie V’s early nineties rave anthem ‘Dirty Cash’, will be the party theme of the ongoing credit crunch. And Dizzee himself? He looks predictably spry in his sportswear and is so relaxed and easy to talk to that my prepared questions become redundant. The boy’s on top of the world, and loving every second of it. *************************** SP:You’ve pulled off something pretty unique for a black British artist: you’ve crossed over to a young mainstream pop audience, and the broadsheet critics and chattering classes, but without compromising your street edge and alienating your original urban fanbase. How the hell have you managed what so many have tried and failed to do in the past? DR: Ha! For a start, I’ve got good people around me - Cage, who’s a solid rock, and the Dirtee Stank team. And doing what I wanted to do the first time around with the first album helped... just doing things my way and then just making a natural progression. It’s so mad because, with the XL label, Maths + English was the last album of that contract. And tracks like ‘Flex’ and eventually ‘Dance Wiv Me’... I showed them to XL and they just didn’t get it! So people should understand... there was no pressure to get into pop. That was me. It was just from sitting and really reviewing pop on MTV all day long and shit like that. Plus I’ve been on tour with everyone from Justin Timberlake to the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Jay-Z to Nas. Because once you reach that level it’s all pop, innit? SP:You make it all sound simple. But if it was simple then Hot Chocolate and Junior and Soul II Soul and Mark Morrison and So Solid Crew and countless other shortlived black Brit phenomena would have

pulled it off before you...

emulate. I wanted people to jump around and mosh around and do all that wild shit. And now people do that at my shows while I’m making the poppiest music I’ve ever made. I love it, man.

DR: No, it’s not that simple, but I’ve always been willing to learn. I’ve never felt comfortable, or like I’ve made it and everything I do is cool. And as much as I’ve got the pop kids in my sights when I make my tunes, I’ve also SP:So has the big commercial leap of the got the person on the estate in mind: last year taken you by surprise? what are they gonna think about it? DR: A bit. I was going over it with SP:But it’s those estate kids that give Cage last night and it’s a bit nuts, when someone like you a real going-over if they you look at where we’ve come from. think you’ve sold out or become too pop or too I’ve always had a bit of a business white... vision and the imagination to be this larger-than-life thing, but to actually DR: And they do! But, at the same do it... to actually look at the statistics time, make up your mind. You’re on paper with the kind of shit that calling me a sell-out but you’re still we’ve done, it does surprise me. It’s doing music that I was doing in 2001. baffling. So a sell-out I might be, but I’ve left something at least. You’ve got to take SP:How much of this was a cunning plan? everything with a pinch of salt, even the compliments. Take a step into the DR: I wouldn’t say plan, I just have real world, outside of the music business acumen. I used to call myself industry. That helps. an executive when I was young; I just liked businessy things. I always had SP:How do you feel now about your early these little crews when I was at school. career, especially Boy In Da Corner, which was such an instant critical success? SP: So third album Maths + English wasn’t a deliberate ploy to move away from DR: I listen back to it and some of it grime and start establishing a pop and rap just makes me cringe. But I’m proud of audience? it. It’s like what you were saying about critics... kids might say I’ve sold out, DR: It was, but not at first. At first it but there still hasn’t been an album to was just going to be Showtime part match Boy In Da Corner since. It’s two. Cage reached the point where he embedded in British music history. So wouldn’t let me go into the studio and I’ve done my part as an artist. work unless I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do. And that made sense, SP:Does grime even exist anymore? Unless ’cos I’d just be there pressing buttons you’re part of the scene you never hear about and making music the same way I it... made Boy In Da Corner. That was cool then, ’cos I was young and DR: That’s because it’s so low under excited, and it worked. But you can’t the radar, probably back to where it keep doing the same thing. It’s gotta was in 2000; the kids on the estate an’ be larger. that - beyond the estates. It’s round the world in little pockets and it’s gone SP:When you decided to do ‘Dance Wiv back to underground, probably because Me’ with Calvin Harris, did you and Cage a lot of the people who tried to go have any moments of doubt about whether mainstream... it didn’t work, whether this was the right direction to go in? the songs were crap or whether they just didn’t know how to be at that level DR: No. As soon as Calvin sent me when they got there. And the rest are that beat I knew it was massive. just too ignorant to step out and make Anytime I get a beat which I listen to any changes. over and over and over again, it means I’m absorbing it... becoming part of SP:Any exceptions? the beat. I didn’t know how big it would be till we’d actually finished it, DR: [Dirtee Stank label artists] because at the beginning we didn’t Newham Generals. Obviously. D have Chrome on it. There were certain Double E from the Generals... I things missing and some of the lyrics respected him before because he was were pants. But in the end I didn’t drum’n’bass before grime. I love his regret a thing. I knew with some beats. Me, him and Cage just sit and people it wouldn’t be their cup of tea, talk about music and he’s got a proper, but it’s a positive, sun-shiney track; wide scope for music in general. He doin’ it my way. I’m glad I reached out comes from a musical family. to Calvin. SP:This is the thing that separated you from your peers from the beginning, though. You’ve always had an eclectic taste in music and you were happy to sample, and talk in public about, music that had nothing to do with the urban scene.

SP: You’ve made new single ‘Holiday’ with Calvin, too. Do you work together in the studio? DR: We’ve never been in the studio together. Once I laid down some guide vocals in London for another track we didn’t end up doing. With ‘Dance Wiv Me’ and ‘Holiday’ it was just files back and forth. All the producers I work with, it’s always on the phone. The only producer I ever really work in the studio with is Cage.

DR: Yeah, a lot of artists say it, but I was really open to everything. I could talk about rave records and Nirvana records ’cos I was into them heavily, like I’m heavily into hip hop now. It’s definitely helped, being into drum’n’bass and all those extreme types of music... it just widens your SP: Did you think that ‘Dance Wiv Me’ education. Originally, as a kid, it was was a number one - a career-changer heavy metal concerts that I wanted to when you were making it?

DR: I knew that more with ‘Bonkers’. We were immediately getting a bigger reaction than we did with ‘Dance Wiv Me’. I didn’t think ‘Dance Wiv Me’ was a number one until it pretty much got there. But it being number one for four weeks - that was a turning point in my life. And the way it happened... I remember when we were talking about going independent: ‘The major labels are full of shit. They’re still trying to offer me the same money as for Boy In Da Corner. I mean, I’m a sure bet. I don’t need to be told to go in the studio. I don’t need to be told to write a song. Either way I’m gonna be putting in that work. I’ll tour even if I’m ill. I’ve probably missed, like, three shows in seven years. And I’ve got a track record behind me: top 20s, this award, that award. If I was an indie band they’d be throwing half a mil at me.’ So we said, ‘You know what? Fuck it! Let’s just do it. What have we got to lose? Let’s just do it with this one track, ‘Dance Wiv Me’.’ And we did it, independently, and it went number one. So it’s mad how it happened. The timing was brilliant. SP:So the Dirtee Stank label was a reaction to circumstances, rather than something you’d planned all along? DR: Well, I was just a kid when I started it - 2000/2001, just to get my instrumentals in the shops. Then when I got signed, I kept Dirtee Stank to put out other artists’ music. But at that point in my career it was perfect for putting out that one song. This album’s pretty much made on the back of ‘Dance Wiv Me’. So the challenge was to make every song not like that one. SP:Were you nervous about competing without any label money behind you? DR: I was just so inspired by what JayZ and so many other people in hip hop had done. I love the idea of being a mogul and being an entrepreneur. Even at XL, me and Cage were so much part of every decision that it had always been in our hands anyway. So I weren’t too scared. It almost felt like there was fuck all else to do. SP: You say that you immediately felt ‘Bonkers’ was a number one, but ‘Bonkers’ is one of the most in-your-face, noisy and - let’s face it - tuneless number ones of all time... DR: It shouldn’t really have got any radio play. It’s as hard as ‘I Luv U’ or anything I’ve put out before, but it’s got that euphoria, innit? That thing from the nineties that I used to get from house tunes; that ravey pop. I’ve tried to encapsulate a lot of the nineties feel in this album, like on ‘Dirtee Cash’. It’s taken me a while to get a real understanding of that rave feel, because I really wouldn’t have done this four or five years ago. I hated it! Now I’ve been around and been to places like Ibiza and seen it in its environment and I see why people like it. Being at the top and understanding what works on radio, I get it now. My taste in music is changing as well. I’ve got hip hop sussed. It’s my favourite music. So it’s about trying to suss out different types of music. But to do it, I needed to bring in Calvin and Armand Van Helden because I’m not necessarily gonna make something like


The Stool Pigeon Interview

that. My thing normally when I do shit myself is a hybrid - a bit of everything; a bit unorthodox. But I’m at a stage where I know that unorthodox would only get so far. I’ve seen too much to allow that. SP: One of the biggest surprises about Dirtee Stank is the office. I know you don’t want me to give any clues as to where we are, but we’re in a modest space in a backstreet in a very unglamorous part of London. Weren’t you tempted to rent some bling-bling building in the West End and show the world how well you’re doing? ‘Let the champagne splash! ’ as you put it on ‘Bubbles’? Where’s your hip hop front? DR: Look, I’ve always been a bit of a dark horse in that way. I always try and show the least. You don’t see me in the papers a lot. I like moving in the shadows and then come in and do my ting and fuck off again. SP: The most notable lyric on Tongue ’N’ Cheek is, perhaps, ‘Leisure’. You’re counselling against people on the urban scene pretending that they’re more gangsta than they actually are... DR: I’m just saying what’s that all about anyway. These are things I’ve got to think about for myself, too. Still being stupid enough to listen to a lot of the critics and people in hip hop in general; that you have to be hard to be a rapper. You know what? I’ve genuinely come from some bullshit; I’ve genuinely been in enough bullshit and enough fights and enough nonsense to justify being bad. There’s a lot of shit people don’t even know. But do I have to exude that all the time? Can I just make music? Was I even really about that in the first place? I just collected all them thoughts and put them down into the song. I mean, let’s all just take it easy, mate! I’ve tried to make the most positive album. It’s naughty, and there’s things some people ain’t gonna like about it, but the other day I was in Leyton... I went to play the album for a few people, just normal estate kids an’ all that, and they were shocked because they were buzzing and happy. But it’s still me. I’m happy, y’know? SP: You’ve started smiling a lot in the videos. Rappers aren’t supposed to smile. DR: I know! That’s the thing! Do you have to badden before people take you serious? Why can’t we just have fun and it be alright? Do we have to just suffer all the time? It’s all bollocks really, innit? And I don’t really get that from any other kinds of music. Rock’s got a bit of that, I s’pose, with the emo shit, which is about being miserable. But part of being an

artist for me is ever-changing. I can’t feel the same way all the time. SP: Does that mean you’re a happier person now than when you were making Boy In Da Corner and Showtime? DR: Yeah! Definitely. I ain’t going through half the shit that I was going through on Boy In Da Corner. And the things I moan about now... I wouldn’t dare moan about it on music because everyone would think I was an arsehole! I’ve been told enough times, believe me! I wanna make music that says it’s alright to be happy. The next generation of youths who listen to Tongue ’N’ Cheek; that will be their Boy In Da Corner. So they’ll be able to make an album that’s fucking bubbly and lovely. I know there’s a recession an’ that, but there’s not gonna be a recession forever. And this is baller music for UK ghetto youths. English bad boys. An English take on all the shit that I loved from Snoop and Jay-Z and Too Short and Cash Money an’ that. SP: I know everyone is wary of the term, but do you think, by accident, you have become a ‘role model’? DR: I think, because of some of the choices I made, I was always gonna be. For a start, I weren’t a saint at school. I put all my energy into one subject. At the beginning of my career that was one of the biggest things about me - my music teacher and the school. So that was all about putting trust and faith in the school educational system in this country, for a start. And that’s not to mention all the kids from all the fucking council estates across the UK, before I was on TV, that heard my tapes or came to raves to see me. They’ve pretty much grown up with me and they see me on the TV now. That’s a role model. I’m a role model for a million-plus MCs, even if they don’t wanna admit it. Boy In Da Corner meant that a lot of my peers look up to me. SP: And you’re comfortable with role model status? DR: Yeah. Because aside from ego... if your heart really is in artistry you wanna influence like you’ve been influenced. That’s the main reason I make music. I get paid an’ that, but there was a point where I weren’t getting paid; where I was doing things to get money to make music. That’s how dedicated I was. SP: My favourite new tune on the album is ‘Can’t Tek Me No More’. I’m amazed that you’ve made a track inspired by a 1980 reggae film, Babylon.

DR: The mad thing about that is I was at a cousin’s house after the MOBOs, we started watching Babylon, and I fell asleep on the couch; just conked out. I woke up, and you know when you can hear something going over and over in your head? [sings] ‘We can’t tek no more of dat, no no no no no no, we can’t tek no more.’ I was like, ‘What the fuck is going on, man?’ I woke up and that scene was on when they’re in the youth club all chanting this. For the next couple of weeks me and my cousin were chanting this phrase at each other. But the mad thing was, about a month later, Shy FX sent me a beat with that exact same sample. I’d never mentioned anything to him. I’d never even heard the Aswad track [‘Warrior Charge’, which ‘Can’t Tek Me No More’ samples] before and I still ain’t seen Babylon because I fell asleep in the middle of it! Mad! It was just meant to be. SP: Hearing ‘Can’t Tek Me No More’, with its protest lyric, and watching Babylon again recently made me feel that things haven’t changed too much in the last 29 years... DR: To me, it’s different. There’s still racism and everyone suffering urban problems. But my problems aren’t the same as when I lived in Bow. So I gauge it through my friends who are still there and what they’re going through. What I tried to do with this track was talk about a few depressing issues over a happy beat. SP: That’s exactly what the best protest music is... DR: Yeah. But a couple of years ago it would’ve been a down tune talking about some down shit. So I’m glad I’ve got the balance now. ‘Dirtee Cash’ is the same thing; the same kind of lyrics over music from a time that people will remember weren’t so great as well, economically. But, musically, it makes them reminisce on the good parts of that time. Economically it’s fucked up, but hopefully there’ll be some good music that goes along with it. And throughout history that’s always been the way, innit? SP: So, you and Prince Harry. What’s all this about the third in line to the throne hanging out onstage at your Hyde Park show earlier this summer? DR: Yeah! He came to the dressingroom first. He’s a fan. He was with his boys and being a bit cheeky. But it makes sense because people forget I’ve done two Oxford balls and Cambridge as well. I’ve sat and done... erm... what is it? The one where they sit and interview you in their chambers...

SP: ...The Oxford Debating Society? DR: That’s it, yeah! So I’m known in that tier of society. It would only be a matter of time before it got to him. It was wicked because he’s born the same year as me, so hopefully he might get a sense of what the fuck’s going on through music. Something that the rich share in common with the poor is my music. And that’s cool as well, ’cos I had to work my way from the bottom to the top. SP: Did you find any common ground for conversation? DR: [laughs and swaps conspiratorial, ‘I’d better keep my mouth shut’ look with label boss Laurence]. He was just bantering back and forth. Him and his mates, they’re naughty. I don’t wanna expose the Royal Family. Ha! He’s cool, actually. If he wasn’t royalty I could probably see myself palling round with him. We had a laugh. Then I went onstage and they were by the side raving it up. SP: Perhaps the biggest turning points for you in terms of crossover acceptance were your appearances on Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman to talk about the election of President Obama and Friday Night With Jonathan Ross. Were you aware, after those two appearances, that you’d charmed the white middle-class nation? DR: That was the idea. It was strategic. As soon as they asked me to go on Newsnight, I was like, ‘Yeah.’ I knew I was gonna piss some people off, but I knew I was gonna make light of the situation and make people say, ‘Oh, he’s a joker.’ I weren’t going on there to be fucking politically correct and uptight and show how worldly my views are. I showed that I didn’t give a shit and it’s all bollocks, and ‘Look at me, I’m on the Jeremy Paxman show!’ but still say what needed to be said because it’s all pretty obvious, really. It’s not that deep, politics. Basic human nature, innit? Be nice to ’em, they’ll be nice back. SP: Have attitudes changed towards you since? DR: Yeah. People taking me more seriously. Like you said, for a lot of people that was their introduction to me. And that’s good because it really matches the album - light-hearted. The Jonathan Ross one... that was something I definitely couldn’t have done five years ago. I was too tense and in a different place in my head. Even my body language was [mimes a classic sullen hoodie pose straight out of Kidulthood]. I’ve known

Jonathan Ross for years because he interviewed me once. But it was different being in a studio with a live audience. I’ve always been a bit of a charmer, though. That’s part of how I’ve got through as well. Even when the music was dark and depressing it was still saying some shit that a normal black working-class person wouldn’t say. SP: I interviewed you around the time of Showtime. You were just 19, still making dark grime, but even then you didn’t have much bad boy attitude in an interview situation. No entourage, no aggressive vibes, you didn’t try to intimidate those around you or control the atmosphere or stonewall any questions... DR: No. I saw so much of that bullshit growing up. So even when I was doing raves an’ that I didn’t feel the need to go on like that. There was always a fight waiting for me if I wanted one. If I wanted real trouble, I always knew where to find it. So I didn’t feel the need to be 50 Cent. I was never really like that... but I had problems. I’d been in a few bits and bobs. But I don’t feel I was ever a fucking psychopath gangsta. I never ever wanted to be like that. SP: Just after the release of Boy In Da Corner you were stabbed in Ayia Napa and came close to death. Taking your cue from 50 Cent, you could’ve used that incident as your street cred and marketing angle for the next few years... DR: Of course! But if you wanna talk about street politics an’ that, I can tell you a load of stories that would be shocking. People might not look at me the same. But, how important is any of that anyway? The main thing was that I really thought I was a shit-hot artist-musician who had loads to offer, and I really did want people to know me for that. SP: What do you hope Tongue ’N’ Cheek achieves and what’s next for Dizzee Rascal? DR: Platinum would be good. But what I really want it to achieve is that everybody has a good time. My vision for this album was Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle; a genuine good time, across the board, for anyone who puts it on; for the kid on the estate who’s going through some shit, to the mum with three kids taking her kids to school, to the fucking aristocrat, the accountant... whatever. It sets a nice vibe for this year. I want people to associate this album with happiness and a good time. Forever. And that’s worth more than money to me.


55

October 2009 The Stool Pigeon

Comment & Analysis No choice but to grin and bear it, whatever island you’re on

SON OF DAVE ON my summer holiday island, there’s moss, spiders, ferns and three-metre wide, fifty-metre tall Douglas Fir trees all around me. The campsite is quiet. After a beer and a flame-burnt sausage, I’ll put everything except the tent into the trunk. If you don’t do that, bears will come sniffing around and tearing things up. When that happens, someone screams loud enough so that forms will need to be filled out, and the bear will be assassinated because it’s become fond of campsites. Be kind to bears. I remember throwing plums out the window of Dave’s Chevy at a big black bear when I was a boy. Thing came and put its paws up on the roof of the car and stuck its snout into get the rest of the plums, and maybe a bit of the boy. Terrifying. Life is full of terrifying things. I poke the fire and fret, trying to stop nutting out about how long, difficult

and fast this life is. There is a midlife crisis that comes like a big wave to destroy homes and upset the whole damned family. We always want what we don’t have, eh? I wonder if Bono wishes he were potbellied with an anonymous wife and kids and house in the suburbs. I wonder if he can find a campsite away from the hustle... Oh, I guess he probably has his own island. Summer’s over. Can my ageing colleagues and I manage to keep throwing blues dances for more than just divorcees and alcoholics, or will middle-age turn us all puffy and dull like Phil Collins? If a modern working bluesman is still onstage in his forties, he shouldn’t just be playing to divorcees and alcoholics. He’s gotta be good enough to entertain the greater stinking public. There’ll be no time for the starving artist game as you get old. You have to pay for new teeth if you’ve been biting off bottle caps for 20 years. Some of these men and women even eat glass, or chew the heads off serpents. In the forest by the sea, with the bear shit (called ‘scat’) and beer, the valley echoes with the roar of a biker’s loud hog on the highway. Someone in the campground hoots, and turns up the classic rock in the truck, then turns it down as it puts everyone gently to sleep. Polite loogans. I can just hear some Eric Clapton as I drift off. That should keep the bears away. I snore in the pup-tent and dream

of a cruise ship somewhere where they play Desmond Dekker and Toots and The Maytals, sailing me up to an island in the sky... Now rush back to Big Island (where dear reader likely sits on the toilet and reads this paper). Now the author is in a little cave on a horsehide on the pavement under a stage. A weird ska band plays over my head, fronted by an infamous gallant debaucher, and a company of freaks, whom thousands of people crowd the streets to party with every August Bank Holiday weekend. Drunk, sarcastic young women lurch in an out of the den and some appear to be on drugs. The leading lady maintains grace, while others roll on the concrete. Fifty-year-old men build and maintain a bizarre movie set around the stage and sound system. They climb on it and control it like stoned pirates and carry out the ritual. Broken glass, squashed tins, and empty coconuts fill the gutter. Riot police and modern black soundsystems for two square miles in any direction. Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues on Talbot Road is swinging. A big cigar has its effect, and my worries and thoughts rush in again. How long can the man up above keep making the girls dizzy and whipping up the crowds before he caves in to mid-life responsibility? It appears he’s dodged it completely, the tricky bastard! Three generations are dancing to a Cuban ska-style ‘A Message To You

Rudy’. Genius. Natty Bo grins a gold tooth. This pain in my knees won’t heal. My back is killing me from carrying one of my many blueschildren in a sedan chair above the crowd while she waves her machine gun and Sandinista flag. My eyesight is getting blurry. The raging crowd outside is freaking me out. Should I try to find a nice lady and settle down? Who do I see around me, hmmm? Angry English women singing “fuck you very muuuch” don’t do it for me. They will have bitter frownlines, troubles with alcohol, and will be forgotten and ignored soon, no matter how much money they spend on maintaining their image. I wonder if that lady is going to suffer a mid-life neurosis like this pathetic wretch in a hat. I wonder if her bladder will start failing soon. I wonder if she’s going to have to get up to pee twice in the night or wet the bed. That happens to some women. Or they pee when they laugh, especially cynical laughter. It’s amusing when a new rock star arrives on this island with a ridiculous haircut, untrained shouty voice, catchy pop recipe, silly jeans and says, “I’m the toughest.” (La Roux? Sounds like ‘Upside Down’ by Diana Ross.) It’s a good tactic to come in with brass knuckles and bite somebody on the cock. But there’s always an old guy with bloody trousers standing in the corner, who’s been

there for decades, because he’s either got everyone working for him, or he’s tough as beef jerky, or both. You won’t get his cigarettes. He’s in for life. Alcatraz. But just the day before, I lay in Loogan Forest by the sea, dreaming of a paradise where grown men don’t wear t-shirts and Nikes, and young women don’t talk like old whores. Will I ever find paradise; a lush green island free of yahoos and classic rock stations, free of military coups, and free of sloppy drunks? The police come and shut down the Cuban Revolution party. Reminiscing and smoking are all we can do until the crowd thins. Then I wander home to bed and out of danger. It’s a beautiful night with not too many fights to avoid on the way home. Wonder if anyone died at Carnival this year. I sleep finally, and in the morning, a Mambo wakes me up like a noble hard-on. I’m off to make millions, and buy my own island big enough for bears, peacocks, and my own damned campground full of handpicked, well-aged but vibrant blues heroes. Read the sign: no bikers, no hippies, no riot cops, no religion, no bling, no photographers, no cats, no begging, no liars, no rednecks, no models, no track suits, no glow sticks... this will be my year. The kids can go hang themselves for fame. Long distance, baby, you gotta stay on your feet if you want to live with bears or humans.

Oh my Christ! My whole summer has been a complete Blur. LOL!

MISS PRUDENCE TROG JUNE 24 Off to Glastonbury tomorrow! Oh my Christ, it’s going to be great this year! There was a dark shadow cast over it last time, and his name was Jay-Z. In a bid to be a better Prudence Trog, I’ve not touched any booze or drugs for six days. People say I won’t be able to keep it up at Glastonbury, but I’ll have the last laugh on the naysayers. I’ve been for a run twice and I even signed up for a Pilates course. Apparently you start out with a ball in a gymnasium. The flying part comes later. JUNE 25 In years to come people will say, “Where were you when you heard the news Michael Jackson died?” Answer: with my naked arse pressed firmly against a Glastonbury portaloo toilet seat getting jiggy with a guy I thought was Dave Rowntree from Blur! Turns out he was just a ginger bloke

I’d met while trying to buy a hot dog after smoking a speedball. I did wonder why he had vodka on his breath, spoke with a Welsh accent and didn’t know the first thing about politics. There I was, with one leg pressed against the toilet roll holder, the other covered in discarded soggy wet wipes, when my mobile started going mental. I picked it up, mid knee-trembler, and there were a bunch of texts. One was from my friend Demelza still back in London: ‘M8 ur not goin 2 beleev. MJ is dead. @ack!’ Fuck me, I thought, Michael J Fox is dead. It was only when I wiped myself with my knickers and went back to the VIP area that the truth began to emerge, though everyone clearly thought it was a hoax. ‘Dave’ didn’t stick around, though I assumed he’d probably have to go off to the healing fields to repent. I wasn’t too bothered as it’s Damon I’ve always wanted. In fact, when I closed my eyes I pretended it was Damon, so it didn’t really matter that it wasn’t Dave. If you’re going to have sex at a festival always make sure it’s on the first day, before people get all gipping and the toilets are covered in shit, that’s my motto. Of course if they’re really fit then it’s okay - a turd or two never harmed anyone. Apart from those children in China who drowned in excrement, which was horrible. Let’s face it, Michael’s not made a good record in decades, so it’s a tragedy for anyone over the age of 30, but no one else will hardly remember. For youngsters it’s

probably a blessed relief, and if I were a nipper I’d be organising a teddy’s fucking tea party right now. But still, it was a great communal moment when people all around us were singing ‘Heal The World’, though at the time all I could think about was healing my vagina. I wonder if the real Dave is as big? JUNE 26 The weather has been surprisingly okay apart from a torrent at one point, though I was thankful it came as I had sick all down myself. I’ve still not seen Damon or any of the other Blur boys for that matter... the ones who aren’t impostors anyway! In the good old days they’d have been here for the weekend getting crazy, but I suppose they’re all back in London attending AA and having saunas at The Priory. JUNE 27 Oh my fucking Christ! I slept through Blur! I’d only drunk three bottles of Merrydown and had a couple of spliffs. Well, you’ve got to ease gently into this healthy living. Oh why oh why oh why!? I didn’t see Damon with his new sexy, big arms and stupid tooth! I had to sit through that fat, whining redneck Neil Young, and the fucking millionaire pretending to be a mechanic, Bruce Springsteen. I won’t even be able to see them at Hyde Park due to a restraining order by an ex-shag who lives around there. I won’t go into the details but needless to say he was fucking asking for it. I’ve half a mind to go round there and fix him

good and fucking proper this time. My life is ruined! JULY 21 I’m impressed with this year’s Mercury list, though there seems to be a lack of real stars. Blur will show them next year. One thing I’m really raging about is the fact La Roux has been nominated. She stole all her ideas from a band I used to do PR for before they split up due to a lack of success. They invented this really brilliant genre where they’d play with synthesizers and a drum machine and dress up in loads of make-up and futuristic, stripy suits. They were called Bluechip Monday. I knew they were really original the moment I set eyes on them, which is why I put them on the roster at Negative Press. Still, it’s great that Kasabian have been nominated. They’ve had their critics in the past, unfairly in my eyes, but nobody can argue with an album called West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum. Genius! AUGUST 13 Sienna Miller gets right on my fucking wabs. Men only want her because she’s blonde, skinny, successful and beautiful. I can be all of those things one day. Apparently she’s seeing a guy. Well stand back in amazement, why not report Sienna got up this morning and farted, or Sienna smoked a fag this afternoon, or Sienna ate her tea this evening? If men were flies then she’d be a pair of tits made out of shit. Apparently her new boyf is a DJ. Well, we’ve all been out with

DJs, Sienna. My guy used to do a rock night every Tuesday at The Spotted Dog in Willesden. I can’t believe Jude Law saw something in her, though he’s not going to be worth nearly as much now he’s impregnated that model. The sneaky bitch. She’s got a smart head on her shoulders, though, Sienna, I’ll give her that. On the subject of cigarettes she said: “I think that the more positive approach you have to smoking, the less harmful it is.” That also applies to drinking and taking drugs. AUGUST 28 Who was I trying to kid? Back on the wagon again. Things have been getting out of hand lately. Up to now I’ve just been a chrysalis, an admittedly quite hot pupa, but now is the time when Prudence Trog, the beautiful butterfly, flap flap flaps for all the world to see. In honour of this new-found maturity, I intend to help another human being. Tomorrow I will go to King’s Cross and look for the most wretched, dirty, smelly, drink-ravaged, nicotine-stained, toothless fucking tramp with BO I can find and I will offer to help him. Whether that be with money, or whether that be with advice. It’s important to help those less fortunate than yourself in whatever way you can. AUGUST 29 In years to come people will say: “Where were you when you heard the news Oasis had split up?” I’m afraid, dear diary, that it’s too disgusting to repeat.


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Comment & Analysis

The Stool Pigeon October 2009

LEONARD BROSSITER

I’ll go gay for pay if need be am living in Sovereign House with an ex-NME scribe called Terry. There’s not even a breadcrumb or a bit of crud to gobble on in here. We’re both starving, and if we don’t get a commission soon, we’ll be evicted. Yesterday Terry found out Vice hadn’t printed his article, again. He was very angry. It’s the third time this last year they’ve done that. It was a good article, too - an in-depth analysis of heterosexual men working in the gay porn industry called ‘Gay 4 Pay’. I didn’t tell him Nathan Barley and Louis Theroux had already done it - wouldn’t have helped matters. Things were bad enough. Later on he drank all his Hugo Boss Blue and staged a dirty protest in his room against Michael Fish. By the end of it, I had to wrestle two bottles of Calpol out of his hands that he was threatening to neck, the fucking wanker. It’s been a year since I moved to London to write about music. So far I’ve only been published by i-D, and most of those pieces read as if an 11year-old leukaemia victim subbed them. Still, things can only get better. It took Terry until well after his stint on a bum peeping-tom wrap to start writing for NME. Even then, he only got sacked because he called the last Pigeon Detectives album “a heinous bag of bollocks”. It’s always a wry idea to slate your mag’s cover band. Still, Terry seems to think he got fired because they haven’t tuppence to scratch their arse with, like everybody else. Apparently i-D have gone bi-monthly now, to concentrate on their “web presence”. Another alleged version of that story is that they’re virtually bankrupt because they offered their staff voluntary redundancy packages that apparently made them instantly rich. I mean, who the hell wouldn’t jump a sinking ship and spend the next two years in Barbados? And people keep saying to me that there’s never been a worse time to try and break into this trade. Bullshit! There’s never been a better one. Do you think Robespierre wet himself at all those public executions? Did he fuck. And okay, he got his too, but the point of all this is that while every other publication is going to the dogs, a million blockhead editors who’ve been treating this game like a country club are going the same way. Good riddance to them. Bring on the new, I say, let the cream rise to the top, and the shite fall to Top Gear magazine.

I

THE SALACIOUS LIFE OF THE OTHER LIBERTINE

You wanna be who you’d be if you’re coming with me

INDIE DAVE LIKE all true fans of indie music, I was devastated to learn about the demise of Britain’s biggest and greatest rock juggernaut, The Broken Family Band. No, I jest with you - of course I mean Oasis. I only hope that eventually Noel Gallagher can reconcile himself with his troublesome brother, put their rift behind them and move on. I’ve had my fair share of obstinate and feeblebrained work colleagues to deal with myself lately. I understand. In many ways, Oasis remind me of the Conservative Party: fine, upstanding, with a rich and exciting history; always undoubtedly at their best when led by a strong, autocratic figurehead. We are an institution people trust, while others feel the need to actively deride us. I bet when 20 per cent of people heard the news that Noel had quit, they were as distraught as I was. Around 15-20 per cent would perhaps have been indifferent, and 60-65 per cent would have been utterly delighted, saying

things like “who needs your pedestrian, plodding rock shite?” It’s a little demonstration of how democracy works. Also, Noel reminds me of me. He’s witty, straight-talking and adept at stealing brilliant ideas. Furthermore, he doesn’t do drugs anymore, not that I ever did any in the first place, you understand. I feel a great affinity with him and I have great sympathy, having on many occasions felt like walking myself in recent weeks. Our chances of losing the next general election are virtually non-existent, many would think, and yet we have collectively contrived to give voters in this country cause for concern and something to think about, by being loose-lipped and undisciplined. It is not all over yet, however, and we mustn’t become complacent! Complacency is a word that is as much an enemy as the following words, which William Hague scrawled on my whiteboard after 13 Tetleys last week: “Lord Vader Fatty Breather Minotaur must be vanquished, but we can only achieve this if we have our house in order first, and that will only happen if we attack complacency.” I got into trouble the other day with some uppity so-and-sos for saying “too many tweets make a twat” on The Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show. But I was just getting down with Christian and having a bit of fun - the sort of harmless fun only the kids would understand. I don’t want to start going on about double standards here, but had Barack Obama said something similar, it would have

doubtless been pronounced the most whimsical jape of the season. He would have been high-fived all the way to Capitol Hill and found a blow job waiting for him at the other end. Still, when I got home, I urged Samantha to give me a good thrashing. Speaking of Twitter, there was an emotional outpouring recently about the wonderful service the NHS provides, which I am a great believer in, despite the fact some of my party have been saying very naughty things to the contrary. And it wasn’t just the people who were angry: the world’s most intelligent man Stephen Hawking recently stated, “I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for the NHS.” Hawking is surely the strongest voice yet advocating the importance of the service. But he’s not the strongest bloke, of course; even Michael Gove would have him in an arm wrestle. I don’t believe in firing people unless I really have to, but I do believe in punishing them accordingly. I had to bash Michael ‘The Keymaster’ Gove and Daniel ‘The Cannon’ Hannon’s heads together the other week. Both were then forced to have a kidney removed in London’s Whittington Hospital and sold to a shady character from Pakistan for £60,000 a piece. The proceeds are being put into a kitty that will go towards the NHS when we are in charge. Yes, we will spend more on the NHS, but we will also improve it so that it is more efficient and responsive to patients. It’s important to reiterate that point, and I could have taken a drastic

step, like Noel, and expelled Hannon and Gove from the party or done something childish, like wiped their weird little faces in dog muck. But in the long run I have to accept they’re just not as modern or great as me. I will have to teach them the ways of modern Conservatism and, trust me, they are learning. I also administered a sound lashing to Alan Duncan, which he claimed to enjoy. Duncan is delightful, but a bit of a wild card, and he’d complained off the record that MPs were now living on rations. Again, I could have fired him, but at this rate we’d end up having to follow Labour’s lead by call up TV personalities to the party, and I’m not sure I’m ready to work with Duncan Bannatyne. Anyway, with the shadow Leader of The Commons, we already have a person called Duncan who’s ‘oot’. Finally, the shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling compared parts of Britain with the Baltimore that is portrayed in The Wire, without having actually seen the series. Now, I could have easily garrotted the klutz with a wire of my own, and had the motherfucker pistol-whipped to within inches of his life, which would have been a much fairer punitive admonishment than throwing him out of the party. As I said to Chris at the time as I stood over him, Uzi in my fist: “You gotta roll with it, you gotta take your time, you gotta say what you say, don’t let anybody get in your way, ‘cause it’s all too much for me to take. Don’t ever stand aside, don’t ever be denied, you wanna be who you’d be, if you’re coming with me...”


Comment & Analysis

October 2009 The Stool Pigeon

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letters to the editor The Stool Pigeon The Death of Western Civilisation, part 3232132697204 of a legacy, is it? “I was the bloke who forgot that journalism can count, oversaw its circulation bomb to 40,000, but, hey, NME’s range of PVC goth wear is doing really great.” God fucking help us all. The modern world is bullshit, and it’s becoming increasingly hard to care. We had one of those moments in the Pigeon office when, simultaneously, scribes Al Denney and Barnaby Smith were writing stories for Business News, page 72 - one on Rough Trade signing a deal to hawk records out of Topman stores, the other about Mariah Carey’s new album booklet carrying advertisements. Their joint conclusion? Get used to it. It doesn’t matter. There’s nothing you can do about it. I’ll quote you a line from the advert

I will let you know for the editor’s job: “[The successful candidate] will have a clear understanding of how modern media brands operate across multiple platforms and so contribute to the ongoing development of properties such as NME.com, NME Mobile, NME Awards and tours.” That’s the hell it’s come down to and, quite superbly, the word ‘music’ wasn’t mentioned once on the ad - not once - let alone a love of it. I should know: I applied for the job. Finally, mad props to former NME man Imran Ahmed for coming up with the ONLY funny gag about the appointment of their new editor. “Krissi Murison - First Black Editor of NME,” he tweeted. “Congratulations!” Good on ya, Imran.

The Death of Western Civilisation, part 3232132697205 on. Usually they will target a film first, and set out to see that, but sometimes they will just go and choose when they get there.” And this: “No teenager that I know of regularly reads a newspaper, as most do not have the time and cannot be bothered to read pages and pages of text while they could watch the news summarised on the internet or on TV.” The stiffs were staggered: clearly they’d completely lost touch with how the kids do their thing. But nothing their boy had written was remotely surprising to anyone who doesn’t work in a bank and, in fact, all the report confirmed was what a bunch of total fuck-faces teenagers have become. You can assume here that for someone

to be offered an internship at Morgan Stanley means they’re certainly middle class, and probably privately educated. And yet such a person is so riddled with ADD that they can’t even read a frigging newspaper. Like, duh. The modern world is bullshit, and you wonder why there are so few teenage bands making any kind of real noise. Mad props then to The xx, who are older than 15 but still teenagers and aren’t noisy at all. There’s something about them, though - the way they carry themselves, their understanding of less being more, and the fact that they aren’t pricks. Band of the summer? You bet. And they’ve got no idea that they’ve inadvertently been handed a grenade.

TRYING TIMES The Death of Western Civilisation, part 3232132697206 Things that have cracked us up recently: 1. Omar Souleyman, a 46-year-old Syrian man who’s recorded 500 albums in his homeland somehow managing to make number 5 on the NME’s ‘50 Future’ list. The dude’s about to retire! That list was a a genius example of the horror of journalism-by-committee. 2. Jon McClure, aka The Reverend, throwing his toys out the pram on Twitter after the NME gave him a kicking. “Contradicting corporate wankdogs,” he tweeted, seemingly obvious to the fact he’s signed up to play a gig for a small independent distiller called Jack Daniel’s. There are ads for the ‘Birthday JD Set’, which takes place on October 8, all over... NME. 3. That terrible cunt with the spectac-

ularly cunty name, Blaise Bellville, giving an interview to The Times. Absolutely priceless. He’s the idiot who runs Platform, an almost unbelievably inane website for exactly the kind of brain-dead teenagers who don’t know how to read. Or think. Or eat with their mouths shut. “The coolest entrepreneur in the coolest part of the coolest city in the world right now is walking towards me, but you wouldn’t know it,” the Jessica Brinton piece begins, quickly followed by Bellville saying, “Could we do this quickly because I don’t have long?” to the paper’s snapper. Wanker. “Dalston is going to be commercial in six months,” he scoffs, seemingly straight-faced, and apparently that’s why he’s setting up a club “like the Chelsea Arts Club” in Peckham.

ANONYMOUS, Written on the inside of an empty envelope Postmarked July 22, Southampton This is how I feel, this is how you’ll feel ANONYMOUS, Written on the inside of an empty envelope Postmarked July 23, Southampton I’d just let you down, I’ll just let you down, just so that you know ANONYMOUS, Written on the inside of an empty envelope Postmarked July 24, Southampton Never before ANONYMOUS, Written on the inside of an empty envelope Postmarked July 27, Southampton

TEENAGE PRICKS A proper broadsheet hoo-ha kicked off in July when posh bank Morgan Stanley published a report entitled ‘How Teenagers Consume Media’. The premise was simple: the suits had a 15year-old intern in who probably wasn’t skilled enough to save them from inevitable meltdown, so they said, “I know, young chap, write something down about your TV-watching, Twitterusing, radio-listening, gaming, etc., habits. It’ll interest us.” So he did, and the toffs were shocked - so shocked that they published his report, which the Financial Times then picked up on and ran in full. Said 15-year-old came up with comments like this: “Teenagers visit the cinema quite often, regardless of what is

Never before has a boy asked for more ANONYMOUS, Written on the inside of an empty envelope Postmarked June 28, Southampton

BRAND FLAKES So farewell then Conor McNicholas of the NME, the Alan Partridge of music journalism who, poetically, is moving on to edit Top Gear magazine. Everything about that is so... RIGHT. That Loaded guy James Brown made a good point in an article in The Guardian on June 25. “It is, perhaps, fitting that in the week that the NME editor joined the BBC to develop the multi-platform brand of Top Gear magazine, the most political and confrontational NME writer of the late 1980s and early 1990s [Steven Wells] should die from cancer,” he wrote. Not sure why he used the word ‘perhaps’ in his first sentence there: it’s perfectly fitting. Swells is dead and Conor is still gibbering on about brand diversification bollocks. It’s not much

The Stool Pigeon, 21a Maury Road, London, N16 7BP editor@thestoolpigeon.co.uk

He likes his money, this 24-year-old. “I just want a house,” he continues, but he also claims he’s “not showy”. “A Mercedes 280SE convertible. And a nice life. Being spontaneously extravagant. Trying out ideas, having dinner parties, taking my friends to cool places.” Naturally, we’ve been glued to this tosser’s website ever since, where we’ve been indulging in such gems as ‘Weed 4Eva’ and tips on banging birds from a porn star. Christ. On. A. Fucking. Bike. The modern world is bullshit, and without asking I seem to get sent their newsletter, too. So does another Pigeon writer, who neatly emailed them back with the following: “Take me off this cunting email list, you bunch of trust fund-depleting motherfuckers.”

Now that you know, no need for these ANONYMOUS, Written on the inside of an empty envelope Postmarked July 27, London I left for dead a dying breed, So comforted by your neglect, The yesterdays I get depressed, Convinced I can longer see, The slip disc hiding within me ANONYMOUS, Letter, Postmarked July 30, Southampton SIR, one of the pitfalls in designing for print in our industry (where we regularly use four different print methods for manufacturing CD/DVD and related packaging) is the colour black and its many varieties, and most of our customers still commonly use the wrong kind of black in the artwork they supply me. I had to point this out to such a new customer by email today, but in trying to be informativebut-jokey I finished illustrating the point using the words: “There’s a whole world of blacks out there to trip you up.” It hadn’t even occurred to me that this was perhaps inappropriate phrasing until our sales rep for this new client (cc’d in on the email) pointed out the recipient was, of course, black. This came just weeks after our company politely turned down the offer of managing a direct-mail campaign for one of Nick Griffin’s PR staff. Uncomfortably yours,

ACCIDENTAL RACIST, Colwick SIR, been loving the bullshit-intrigue coming out of Guardian Media Group HQ of late. This whole scam they’ve tried to pull by telling everyone that they’re gonna axe the Observer just to sell more copies is the most engaging thing they’ve done in ages. It’s like a chapter of Swallows And Amazons Forever! written by the Mitford sisters, where the older kids con the younger ones into believing that their parents forgot their birthdays, and the subservient little divs all have a whip round to take their teenage masters off for a beano round the French Riviera to violate bored looking provincials with rowing ores and fishing nets... These people are so lost in their own delusions that they must think we all came down with the last shower of pisch. Axe the longest running Sunday weekly in the world, will you? Would you like any smelling salts while you cut your own nose off, you spiteful twats? Here’s an idea that might save you the money on cooking up half-baked marketing schemes to save your watered-down fleet of publications: get a fucking grip. And while you’re at it, sack everyone responsible for the OMM, especially that fat smug cunt Paul Morley. Yours, BULLSHIT JOHNSON 14 and 3/4s The Cotswolds SIR, first and foremost I wanted to compliment you guys on such a successful paper. I’m from Washington DC in America and we hear of it all the time. So kudos to your marketing skills. I know that you’re probably very busy but I was hoping to ask you a very important question. You see, I have been a Paul McCartney fan since I first could understand music and after reading Phil’s recent interview with Paul I figured I’d try to contact you for some help. I know Paul has many charities that he gives to and I would gladly donate something for just a quick chance to get a picture with him. I know this is an extremely tough request, but I was hoping you could help me out or at least point me in the right direction. When I saw he was coming back to the US again I was so happy. If there is any way to make this happen please let me know. I will be driving to New York and going to the show in Washington DC and I really would love the chance to shake his hand. I know you may not have any affiliation with him your self personally but any advice you would be so appreciated. Thanks so much for your consideration. Keep up the great work. God bless, BRYAN, Washington DC


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The Stool Pigeon October 2009

Court Circular

Judge doesn’t see red in Brown case JEREMIAH DOGERTY Kids in America, and everywhere else for that matter, will be hearing the message loud and clear that it’s okay to beat up on your girlfriend, with news that Chris Brown has avoided jail following an assault on his ex, pop star Rihanna. Those who saw her battered and bruised face in a photograph that was quickly circulated on the internet days after the infamous incident, which took place hours before the couple were due to appear at the 2009 Grammys, were justifiably horrified. The ‘Run It!’ star, the first male artist ever to debut at number one on the Billboard chart with a debut single, received five years’ probation, a year of domestic violence counselling and 180 days community service, which the judge decided was humiliation enough. Apparently, the 1,400 hours of “labour-oriented service” will include physical work, collecting litter and maybe some sweeping, with many of those hours of activity taking place in the open air, so the general public will be able to see the R&B man doing lowly jobs that poor sods do every day for a

Don’t be here now, buskers are ordered in Midlands JEREMY ALLEN an age-old dilemma, where libertarians are backed into corners, and the egalitarian are forced to concede defeat. People should be allowed to express themselves and do what they want when they want, provided they’re not causing anyone physical harm. And yet, AND YET, there’s a pervading feeling among the enlightened that shit buskers should be shot, or at least taken down an alley and given a severe, sound kicking.

It’s

buck. Chris is used to physical work, some of it hitting women, so the 20year-old is hardly likely to break a sweat. Brown was ordered not to go within 50 yards of the ‘Umbrella’ singer following his offensive, which has now been extended to a whopping 100 yards, except at music industry events. “Any violation of this protective order is a violation of your probation,” said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patricia Snegg, adding that the sentence “does come with a potential of state prison if you should violate in any way”. According to court documents, police said Chris had previous in the relationship, pushing Rihanna into a wall last December while the pair were in Europe, after she’d slapped him during an argument. Brown also apparently went mental and smashed the side windows of his Range Rover when the couple were visiting Rihanna’s home town in Barbados, not long before the assault. Jay-Z has threatened his own sort of justice. “Chris is a walking dead man,” said the Hova, menacingly. “He messed with the wrong crew.”

Thankfully, nobody had to take the law into their own hands in Moseley, Birmingham recently, as two buskers who plagued residents with renditions of Oasis’s ‘Wonderwall’, played repeatedly until 3am some mornings, were ordered to desist by Birmingham Council, with 40-yearold James Ryan and 39-year-old Andrew Cave given two-year ASBOs for good measure. The ‘musicians’ would stand outside pubs and restaurants, taxi ranks and cashpoints in the Midlands performing the offending tune, with Ryan on acoustic guitar and Cave accompanying by thrashing dustbin lids together. When the pair had exhausted Gallagher’s most insipid song, they would occasionally drop George Michael’s ‘Faith’, which more resembled one of George’s car crashes than any of his records. The police were plagued with complaints regarding the two, who were so bad that they caused wonderbrawls between groups of inebriated souls on their way home following a skinful. Everyone’s a critic. Ryan, the talent, has now been banned from walking with a musical instrument anywhere near Moseley. His accomplice, of no fixed abode, has been banned from Moseley. The pair have also been ordered not to beg anywhere in England. Or Wales.

Up Before The Beak MURDER RAP C-Murder, who was facing some serious ish regarding a murder and a shooting incident at a nightclub, went up before the beak in August, who promptly added 10 more years to his already existing life sentence. The 38-year-old rapper Corey Miller’s main conviction for second degree murder relates back to a 2002 incident in a New Orleans club, which ended in the felling of a 16year-old boy. His cousins B-Larceny and G-Fraud are said to be D-Straught at the verdict.

PRESSED CHARGES A British Sea Power fan was arrested after accosting Jarvis Cocker on a train following the Green Man festival, forcing the singer to hand over his trousers. The man, who is believed to have held the former Pulp man up with some foliage and a pair of fake plastic paws, made off with the staypressed pants at Shepton Mallet, where he was arrested by British Transport Police. “Captain Riot and that damned bear made me do it,” he told confused coppers.

READY TEDDY GO

Bono’s wife files writ to expose Macca’s girl LIONEL CAKE looks like war is about to break out between Beatle Paul McCartney’s household and Irish megastar Bono’s, with news that rocker Bono’s missus, Ali Hewson, is suing Macca’s daughter Stella McCartney. Fashion designer Stella, apparently known as ‘the wookie’ among her bitchy staff because of her big, bushy beard, is being taken to court over her use of the word ‘nude’. The 47-year-old Hewson thinks the word belongs to her and her company, Nude Skincare, owned with business partner Bryan Meehan, the founder of poncey organic food mecca Fresh And Wild. Presumably Suede, Geneva, Black Box Recorder et al., who brought out albums on the Nude label, must be shitting themselves now big-head Bono’s wife has got the hobnail boots on. Internet porn sites will also be trembling with trepidation at the thought that Vox’s spouse could force them to move into the online dry humping market. Classical

It

Italian painters will need to rise from the dead and paint clobber onto their famous portraits, and the women featured on Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland cover might have to be re-shot, avec kit. Hewson claims Stella, launching her own Stella Nude, an eau de toilette version of her Stella perfume, is infringing copyright by using the offending word, and a writ has been served. “Nude Skincare is suing for compensation, not because of anything to do with the scent of the perfume, but because of branding and the use of the word ‘nude’,” a source told the Daily Mail. Lord Bono and Sir Paul, both men known for making grating peace signs every five minutes with their digits, will have their work cut out if this spat escalates. Indeed, the legends of pop will need to broker a deal between the parties before they can get back to the business of bringing global harmony to us all. But while the writ has been issued, Stella is said to be confident the parties will be able to settle out of court.

Ethiopian pop singer Teddy Afro has been released from prison after his sixyear murder conviction for running over a man lying in the road was reduced to manslaughter. Campaigners have always maintained Afro was convicted on a fake charge trumped up by the government, who wanted the political singer out of the way. “I was able to meet many good people in prison. I had a nice time,” he said, cheerily, upon his release.

MUGSHOT Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump was shopped by LA cops after a routine traffic stop revealed an outstanding warrant on the emo singer for failing to answer a previous charge of driving without a valid license. Stump - not to be confused with bandmate Pete Wentz, he of the photogenic schlong - spent several hours in custody after his arrest in August, before being released after posting a whopping $15,000 bail. The careless rocker’s initial charge for driving sans papiers came in Beverly Hills in 2007.


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The Stool Pigeon October 2009

Certificates

Announcements Please email us your announcements editor@thestoolpigeon.co.uk

Forthcoming Engagements MR KEVIN JONAS & MISS DANIELLE DELEASA. The engagement is announced between Kevin, eldest Jonas Brother, and Danielle, former hairdresser.

Marriages DURST & NAZAROV. On Friday July 17, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Fred, Limp Bizkit frontman, and Esther, long-time girlfriend. STEVENS & BOURNE. On Sunday August 2, in Mayfair, London, Rachel, singer, and Alex, actor. MCCLURE & MANUEL. On Tuesday August 13, in Italy, Jon, Reverend and The Makers frontman, and Laura, singer and bandmate.

Births CRAMP - CRAMP. On Tuesday June 2, to the Archbishop of the Sonic Cathedral, Nathaniel, and Clair, a beautiful son, Ira Louis. JONES - ROGERS. On Wednesday July 22, to Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones, rapper, and Kelis Rogers, musician, a baby boy, Knight.

Divorces

EDWARD DOWNES, conductor b. 17.06.1924, d. 10.07.2009 MICHAEL KLENFNER, industry veteran b. 1947, d. 14.07.2009 JOHN ‘Marmaduke’ DAWSON, country rocker b. 16.06.1945, d. 21.07.2009 MARCEL JACOB, bassist b. 30.01.1964, 21.07.2009 TONY BERRY, Jet Star exec b. 1947, d. 22.07.2009 GEORGE RUSSELL, jazz musician b. 23.06.1923, d. 27.07.2009 RENATO PAGLIARI, Italian singer b. 28.06.1940, d. 29.07.2009 BAATIN, Slum Village rapper b. 1964, d. 31.07.2009 ANDY PARLE, Space drummer b. 1967, d. 01.08.2009 GEORGE TAYLOR MORRIS, DJ b. 1947, d. 01.08.2009 BILLY LEE RILEY, rockabilly pioneer b. 05.10.1933, d. 02.08.2009 WILLIE DEVILLE, punk veteran b. 25.08.1950, d. 06.08.2009 MIKE SEEGER, US folk legend b. 15.08.1953, d. 07.08.2009 DAVID VAN DE PITTE, Motown arranger b. 28.10.1941, d. 09.08.2009 RASHIED ALI, jazz drummer b. 01.07.1935, d. 12.08.2009 SHELLENBERGER, Lit ALLEN drummer b. 15.09.1969, d. 13.08.2009 SAM FERGUSON, hip hop journalist b. 1962, d. 14.08.2009 KNECTHEL, Bread LARRY keyboardist b. 04.08.1940, d. 20.08.2009 JOHNNY CARTER, doo wop singer b. 02.06.1934, d. 21.08.2009 DEAN TURNER, Magic Dirt drummer b. 06.01.1972, d. 21.08.2009 BERLE ADAMS, Mercury Records cofounder, b. 11.06.1917, d. 25.08.2009 ADAM GOLDSTEIN, aka DJ AM b. 30.03.1973, d. 28.08.2009 OASIS, pub rock band b. 1991, d. 28.08.2009 SIMON DEE, sixties DJ b. 28.07.1935, d. 29.08.2009 JON EYDMANN, Suede manager, Fire Records b. 07.06.1968, d. 02.09.2009 THE BROKEN FAMILY BAND, band b. 2001, d. 25.10.2009

  ELLIE GREENWICH

The divorce is announced between USHER, singer, and TAMEKA FOSTER, stylist.

N Deaths ALLEN KLEIN, Stones and Beatles manager b. 18.12.1931, d. 04.07.2009 GEORGE FULLERTON, Fender guitars b. 07.03.1923, d. 04.07.2009 DEE DEE BELLSON, singer b. 20.04.1960, d. 04.07.2009 DAVID FERGUSON, BASCA chairman b. 24.05.1953, d. 05.07.2009

ew York songwriter Ellie Greenwich, who with her husband and collaborator Jeff Barry composed such enduring sixties hits as ‘Leader Of The Pack’, ‘River Deep Mountain High’, and ‘Be My Baby’, died in hospital of a heart attack after being admitted with pneumonia on August 26. She was 68. A rare female presence on a songwriting landscape dominated by Leiber and Stoller and co., Greenwich also worked with Phil

Spector on ‘Chapel Of Love’ and ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’. Her talents worked for Manfred Mann too, as she was behind the colossal ‘Do Wah Diddy Diddy’. Born in Brooklyn, Greenwich recorded her first single in 1957, before meeting Barry at college. Their songwriting partnership yielded hits for the likes of The Ronettes and The Crystals. Their marriage ended in the mid-sixties, but not before Greenwich and Barry had teamed up with Neil Diamond for ‘Kentucky Woman’. In the late sixties she worked with Dusty Springfield and in the seventies wrote ‘Sunshine After The Rain’, a giant hit for Elkie Brooks. The rest of her career was spent pottering around with various artists and in 1984 she was part of Broadway musical Leader Of The Pack, based on Greenwich’s own life. Barnaby Smith

 AXE FALLS ON GUITAR  LEGEND LES PAUL

ELLIE GREENWICH, songwriter, b. 23.10.1940, d. 26.8.2009

MICHAEL VINER

M

ichael Viner, the producer behind the Incredible Bongo Band’s 1973 recording ‘Apache’, a cornerstone of hip hop, has died aged 65 following a five-month battle with cancer. After working on Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign, Viner became involved in the record industry through MGM imprint Pride, producing the infamous joke album The Best of Marcel Marceau, a live LP of a mime. Its unexpected success led to a production deal with MGM where Viner co-produced the 1972 Sammy Davis Jr. hit, ‘The Candy Man’. Viner then assembled the Incredible Bongo Band to record funk remakes of instrumental songs as a soundtrack for the 1972 film The Thing With Two Heads. Its success led to a follow-up album, Bongo Rock, which would play a pivotal role in hip hop when Bronx DJ Kool Herc used two copies of the percussive breakdown in ‘Apache’ to keep his dancers moving. As a sample source, the track is second only to James Brown’s ‘Funky Drummer’ and has been utilised by countless artists including Nas, LL Cool J, The Roots and Moby. Viner eventually left the music business to develop spoken-word audio into a mainstream product, achieving success with the audiobook of Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. Cian Traynor MICHAEL VINER, producer and label head, b. 27.02.1944, d. 08.08.2009

Daddy Bones

Paul, the stage name of Lester William Polsfuss, will always be synonymous with rock’n’roll for many reasons: his work in pioneering the solid-body guitar which abetted the explosion of the genre; his considerable skill on the instrument itself; and the single-handed invention of many common recording effects, including overdubbing and multi-tracking. These are phenomena now taken for granted and available to producers at the touch of a button, but Paul engineered most of these revolutionary techniques in the 1940s, before the availability of magnetic tape - yet another recording development in which he played a large part. By cutting different guitar parts onto acetate discs at varying speeds and such, he would later group them to produce a veritable orchestra of curious sound from the one instrument; once multi-track tape machines hit the market, he could proliferate any sound. By the post-war boom of the 1950s Les and his songstress second wife, Mary Ford, had become a sensation on radio and the newly-popular medium of television, and scored almost 40 gold discs utilising Les’s ingenious harmonic effects, such as his trademark fretboard trilling. The giant special tricks box he claimed was helping him backstage during these broadcasts, The Les Paulverizer, may have been apocryphal but even this was an auguration of things to come, such as electric effects pedals.

Les

However, it is the guitar itself in which his name lives in the public consciousness; specifically the range of Gibson Les Paul models which continue to be lauded as the finest choice for rock guitarists. He’d shown flair for the instrument as a child and went on to perform first country music, under the decidedly hick moniker of ‘Rhubarb Red’, then jazz - playing with such greats as Nat ‘King’ Cole. He would play, record and astound up until his death from pneumonia at 94. It was whilst residing in New York, around 1940, that Les began to experiment with solid, homemade guitars. Tired of traditional models he first began stuffing, then replacing their hollow bodies altogether - lumber, logs and lengths of metal all saw use in his early projects - until he had a working model to sell as an idea. The Gibson company began producing the first legendary Les Paul Standard guitars in the early 1950s, which Les endorsed until a fall-out in 1961. Though both the Fender and Rickenbacker companies marketed solid-body guitars prior to the launch of his signature piece, it’s Paul’s handsome model which remains the coolest axe around. Compare, if you will, the dorky frames of such Fender Stratocaster buffs as Hank Marvin or Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler against the Gibsonwielding might of a young Jimmy Page. No contest. LES PAUL, guitarist and inventor, b 09.06.1915, d. 13.08.2009


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The Stool Pigeon October 2009

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10. T I M B U R G E S S



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G A B R I E L L E

FULLER HALF

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abrielle Fuller was born in Basel, Switzerland in 1884, She had a perfect upper body but unfortunately it ended very neatly just below the waist. She first exhibited at the Paris Exposition in 1900, where she was seen by ‘the greatest show on earth’, the Ringling Brothers Circus. Fuller was subsequently recruited by them and travelled widely before eventually settling at Coney Island’s Dreamland sideshow. She lived and worked in New York City for the rest of her life and was married at least twice to able-bodied men.

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“Wondered why you’ve been quiet.You joined a monastery?”

bear driver

Rocky’s classic hip hop covers The Predator The third solo album by Ice Cube Released 1992


Funnies

October 2009 The Stool Pigeon

 BANDS REUNITED  WORDSEARCH AFTER SPENDING YEARS ON THE SAME BUS, THESE BANDS ENDED UP HATING EACH OTHER SO MUCH THEY SPLIT UP. THEIR RETURN HAS FUCK ALL TO DO WITH ART AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH THE LURE OF THE BENJAMINS. FIND THE CAPITAL LETTERS ONLY. PIXIES BLUR Spandau BALLET The SPECIALS MAGAZINE The VERVE JAMES The Jesus And MARY CHAIN My Bloody VALENTINE The CRANBERRIES The STOOGES Os MUTANTES Gang of FOUR PHISH Skunk ANANSIE ORBITAL BLUE Jane’s ADDICTION Take THAT Faith No MORE AQUA Stone Temple PILOTS Sex PISTOLS Crowded HOUSE INXS A-HA The VASELINES

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Errrrr Did this year kick ass or what?

Why cos you’d actually heard of the bands? Yeah, Neil Young RULED!!

Young? They were older than you fart knocker Oh yeah uh-huh-huh

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The Stool Pigeon October 2009

Sound & Vision Box Shot

DVD Choice TINA TURNER Tina Live Parlophone Just the words ‘50th Anniversary Tour’ are impressive enough for us. Not ‘50th Birthday Tour’, god no. At the time of press, Tina Turner is just weeks from her 70th and damn it if she doesn’t still look good. The hair, the teeth, the legs, the legend; God bless that incredible old woman and her ability to rock a vast arena like Arnhem’s Geeredome when most European women her age should, statistically, be dead. It’s a bona fide stadium show and, musically, you know how it’s gonna roll. Sassy, but family-friendly raunch’n’roll delivered with passion and lots of lights; what you want from popular music’s number one GILF and her band. The set list is an arsenal of solid gold bullets from her career - ‘Steamy Windows’, ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’, ‘River Deep Mountain High’, ‘Nutbush City Limits’; you know them all back-to-front - but even the covers thrown in are obvious (‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted To Love’, etc.) and on a DVD with no extras at all, the only real surprise is that the editors kept in the corny set-pieces performed by Tina’s dancers between songs - presumably to refresh the palates of the cheery Dutch audience of housewives and gay men, while she herself totters offstage to make one of several costume changes. You have to hand it to Tina in this respect, too. As a long-time EU citizen, she’s almost a decade past retirement age and yet still does a whole two-hour extravaganza in skin-tight leggings, mini-dresses and perfectly impractical heels; a good look, even if she does appear rather unsteady on them at times. It’s churlish to knock a legend like Tina, however, because she’s just too fucking great. It’s sad that, though her extraordinary voice remains one hundred per cent belting, her once-lithe movements are visibly diminished since she last performed and this tour is indeed suspected to be her last. There are some stars that you want to keep coming back forever, but Tina’s too classy to milk it. The Stool Pigeon’s gonna miss her.

Soft Focus: Season 3

VBS.com become quite the thing to express hidden respect for what Vice are doing by saying, “...but I really like VBS.” And so people should like the online television station that they seem to be ploughing loads of effort and money into because we live in an age when, as that great chronicler Johnny Borrell so succinctly said, “There’s nothing on the TV, nothing on the radio that means that much to meeeeeeeeee,” and just about everything on VBS is good.

It’s

do big business broadcasting corporations make such a fucking mess of, say, music programming? No band or artist ever gets on the box that hasn’t been plugged by a company that gets paid proper money to do so, and then the presentation, in association with some raspberry-flavoured johnnies, is always so... zany. Why not get someone who knows their shit to do something really simple, like sit down with musicians who are actually interesting and ask them questions, then bang that online, as is - as a straightahead 25-minute filmed interview, unspliced? It’s not rocket science.

Why

Ian Svenonius-presented Soft Focus series on VBS, the third season of which is now on VBS in full, is excellent. Judging by the comments left under each episode, a lot of viewers can’t tolerate Svenonius, former frontman of DC band Nation of Ulysses and writer, but those people have no idea how good they’ve got it. Sure, he’s sometimes infuriatingly smug and he’s not always on his game, but the dude’s intelligent, and knowledgeable, and most importantly, he commands the attention of his subjects. Imagine the horror if the series was presented by... a music hack.

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real brilliance of Soft Focus, though, lies in the selection of interviewees, and the list for the UK-based second series was impeccable: Mark E. Smith, Bobby Gillespie, Kevin Shields, Billy Childish, Shaun Ryder and so on. The recent third season, which included Royal Trux’s Jennifer Herrema, Albini, Mike Watt, etc. was recorded back in the States, and was also impressive. As ever, it was filmed in front of an audience, giving each broadcast a sense of both a TV studio-like performance and an in-cinema after-movie interview with a director, just without dumb questions from the floor. Portland husband-and-wife rockers Dead Moon were cute and hilarious; Jello Biafra was as pompous and self-congratulatory as ever, but also compelling to watch, especially when he failed to realise that Svenonius was tripping him up; and Mick Collins of The Gories/Dirtbombs is always a bona fide gem. “I have nothing to say over the course of an album that lasts 70 minutes,” he said. “The idea that just because the thing holds 75 minutes, you’ve got to fill it, is idiocy and is part of the reason why no one buys CDs now.”

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transcribed 25-minute interview equates to about 2,500 words of useable copy. Believe me, I know. And that’s what Soft Focus seems like - the visual equivalent of the dying art of a written Q&A. It’s old fashioned and uncomplicated and about as truthful as it gets. I mean, what the fuck? Simple is best. Exactly when did everybody forget that? (And props to Vice for knowing.)

A

Also out now... JAMIE J JOHNSON (DIR.) Sounds Like Teen Spirit Warner

BILLY PAUL Am I Black Enough For You? Verve

VARIOUS ARTISTS September Invada

VARIOUS ARTISTS You Must Remember This: Classic Songs From WWII Digital Classics

This is the kind of film that makes you equally thrilled and appalled to be European, if indeed you are European. It follows a bunch of kids from different countries on the long journey from national singing finals to the grand finale of... The Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Yup, they do it for the kids too, and little kids who have adult-like ambition are always really weird and funny to watch. They’re likeable, mostly, and you find yourself getting caught up in their often tragic back stories, but the sheer spectacle of cheese that’s the final ends up becoming horrific and, ultimately, disturbing. That, I suppose, is the point of the documentary and for that reason it succeeds. But we’ve seen this story told before in the American movie Spellbound and that’s a far better film.

An average film about a fascinating man - the incredible jazz/soul singer Billy Paul who had perhaps the greatest one-hit wonder of them all with ‘Mr and Mrs Jones’. He won a Grammy with that, then went into decline after his radicalised bosses at Philadelphia International Records persuaded him to release the ‘message’ song ‘Am I Black Enough For You? ’ as a follow-up. Too hardcore for the honkies, it bombed, leading Billy into cocaine hell. He’s fine now and still touring, and that’s where we join him in this doc. Weirdly, though, there’s hardly any footage of him performing in his hey-day and the interviews just don’t make enough sense of the era, his pre-success past, and such things as the royalties complications that came to plague him. It’s a knotty watch, but Billy is still Mr Philadelphia.

A multi-sensory package to delight both cinéaste and food buff alike, this special edition of BAFTA-winning short September comes with an extended soundtrack and book of autumnal recipes to chow down on while you watch. Esther May Campbell’s film is a soulful, poetic evocation of transience in nature and human interaction, with an enigmatic narrative about a shy innocent called Marvin, whose dreams of escape are eyed jealously by an unnamed friend and co-worker and leave him subtly but irrevocably changed. Stunningly edited by Portishead visual collaborator John Minton and hauntingly scored by the likes of Tom Bugs and Bass Clef, we await further news of Campbell’s work with Lars Von Trier’s Zentropa company on feature projects with bated breath.

In perhaps the oddest battle for the top of the charts in recent memory, the much-anticipated third album from Sheffield’s Arctic Monkey’s recently went head-to-head with a nonagenarian whose last notable single was in the sixties. That the Monkeys snatched the top spot makes Dame Vera Lynn’s achievement no less impressive. Her best-of album, We’ll Meet Again, has just been released to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the start of World War Two, capitalising on British patriotism further forged by the war in Afghanistan. Those with a yen for the backstory of ‘We’ll Meet Again’ and other big hits from WWII will find film extracts, songs and archive material on You Must Remember This, a new and timely DVD release celebrating classic songs from the War.


Reviews

October 2009 The Stool Pigeon

Long Players MAYER HAWTHORNE A Strange Arrangement Stones Throw Back in your boxes you merchants of stern and deep bass-heads, because here’s a man with a deft touch - a lightness of stroke - and a slick sense of humour. “I’m sorry, I have no idea what it is old, new - it’s fucking great.” So said Mark Ronson when he first played Mayer Hawthorne’s debut single, ‘Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out’, on his East Village Radio show earlier this year. Quickly, the track went on to confuse the shit out of everyone else. It sounded exactly like a vintage Motown cut and it was almost impossible to tell whether a white or black dude was singing it. LA-based indie hip hop label Stones Throw had put it out... on a very limited red, heart-shaped vinyl. Props from Ronson? Heart-shaped vinyl? So far, so yucky. But where the Ronster does the most inane, low-fat muzak, the Mayer delivers truly classic soul and doo-wop mixed rich with a drop of West Coast pop, a whole crop of Impressions-era Curtis Mayfield, and a stop to hear The Ink Spots sing in an Indianapolis barber shop.

ANTI-POP CONSORTIUM

Fluorescent Black Big Dada It’s usually a thankless job being a fan of alternative hip hop, so thank fuck indeed that Anti-Pop Consortium, the post Company Flow/poetry collective, have come back with such a strong album, one that is arguably the best of their career to date. Postreformation, they seem to have concentrated on making Fluorescent Black a cohesive listen favouring smart rhymes, post-industrial aqua crunk beats and ruff ’n’tuff electro over ‘difficult’ IDM.

ATLAS SOUND Logos 4AD Bradford Cox, Deerhunter’s frontman, returns with his second solo album and it’s a frustrating mix of brilliant, swinging pop and dull ambient tunes that make you wonder if he’s a genius or just strikes the occasional goldmine. A bigger question: why on earth, when he frequently says that he hates people drawing attention to his Marfans Syndrome, has he stuck a picture of himself on the cover that’s like a profile image from adultfriendfinder.com?

BLK JKS After Robots Secretly Canadian A debut EP earlier this year that mixed rock, funk, jazz, psych and what Oneness of Juju simply called ‘African Rhythms’ had BLK JKS talked about as Johannesburg’s answer to TV On The Radio. Their first LP stirs the musical stew further, with mixed results. You locate the depth in their songs best on slower jams like ‘Lakeside’; their wigouts, not helped by muddy production, are a bloody mess. Has it moments, but not as good as the banging cover.

FUCK BUTTONS Tarot Sport ATP Stepping up from the Brit corner in the hip noise-off of 2009 come Fuck Buttons with their Weatherall-produced second album. WHUMP! There’s a half nelson of grace countering Health’s rugged bludgeoning. KAPOW! An uppercut of class to dispatch Wavves and his amateurish skifflin’. And BLAM! A headbutt of cosmic righteousness ’gainst Dalston-dwelling Smell wannabees Male Bonding. Tarot Sport shows death to falsehood, and leaves with the champion belt.

Reviews by Staff Pigeons, Alex Denney, John Doran, Ben Graham, Kev Kharas, Emma Lee-Moss, Alex Marshall, Niall O’Keeffe, and Luke Turner.

It’s a mid-sixties, pre-heavy funk sound and it makes for an album that has natural, affable swing and knowing, effortless grace. Hawthorne told this paper that he stumbled upon his million-dollar voice and ability to write/play trad. soul songs by accident. But as a member of the Now On crew and native of Detroit, he has both a hip hopper’s obsession with music history and Motown in his blood. Of course, rap kids are nerds of the highest order and not only does Mayer rock the geek specs, he forgoes the Soul Stud Number 1 persona to revel in portraying himself as quite the dreamer and loser (in love, mostly). His lyrics are hilarious. “I may not drive a new Mercedes, but I’ll chauffeur my girl to the edge of the world,” he sings on ‘Make Her Mine’. ‘One Track Mind’: “My baby’s got a one-track mind, only crème brûlée and she gets her way.” Completely ridiculous on so many levels but miraculously never a pastiche, this is a highly accomplished and deeply heartfelt eulogy to generations upon generations of 24Carat American music. You really wouldn’t be able to take it seriously if it didn’t sound so sweet, and Hawthorne wasn’t so damn coy.

HAR MAR SUPERSTAR Dark Touches Dilettante Short, balding fat-man friend of the Brooklyn indie celebs circa2003 makes a return here with more Prince-spoofing pop soul songs that he sings and raps to make him seem ever so ironically sexy. I know, he was excruciating when his debut came out five years ago and little has changed in time for the arrival of this second effort. The dude loves music, but he was born a chump and again you find yourself enduring his shtick with a fist planted in your mouth.

THE HOLLOWAYS No Smoke, No Mirrors Madfish When north London venue Nambucca, above which The Holloways lived, burnt down last December there was much hope that it would become a metaphor for the death of the kind of sappy indie pop that got played there and The Holloways specialise in. But, alas, although two members departed the band at that point, the two founders continued, found new players, and recorded another awful record. What might actually stop them? Self-awareness? The Ebola virus? Napalm?

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Albums

The Stool Pigeon October 2009

THE MELVINS Chicken Switch Ipecac On paper, a Melvins remix album is a really unnecessary idea, but these sludge rockers inspire and, more importantly, they’ve got a load of nasty friends. The deal is that each knob twiddler (Merzbow, Kawabata from Acid Mothers, Lee Ranaldo, Boredoms’ Eye, etc.) was given a full Melvins LP to work with, rather than a single track, resulting in compositions that are wildly all over the place, in a good way, and often most mental and foul.

PEANUT BUTTER WOLF

PENS Hey Friend What You Doing? De Stijl Some idiot from Vice says on the bumph that comes with Pens’ debut that they’re the best new British band around. Take a bow, buddy, because although youth counts for something, it never excuses making Hoxton cunt music of an order as high as this. For 30 seconds, Pens are okay live, but their record is so intensely grating it has you praying that somehow, somewhere you’ll get back the half hour of your life you lost listening to it. Avoid, like dog shit.

PERE UBU Long Live Père Ubu! Cooking Vinyl Pere Ubu finally adapt the Jarry play that gave them their name, and the result is a kind of post-punk opera, with strangulated guitars, grumbling synths and David Thomas’s gravely growl recalling a Brechtian Beefheart. With exCommunard Sarah Jane Morris as Mere Ubu, it’s tough judging this soundtrack piece as a new Ubu album, but it retains their trademark vertiginous alienation alongside the play’s iconoclasm. File under: pataphysical pop.

PORT O’BRIEN Threadbare City Slang Where Port O’Brien’s debut had many moments of raw, ecstatic passion, album two sees them slip into a steady, low-key groove, sometimes with... strings. It sounds like someone died. Oh wait, someone did die. Whoops. Now they’re all threadbare, as the LP title suggests, and ‘High Without The Hope 3’, as they sing on the opener. That’s high without the hope THRICE. They finish with ‘High Without The Hope 72’. SEVENTY-TWO!

THE RAVEONETTES In And Out Of Control Fierce Panda Weird record. Of course every Raveonettes album sounds the same, despite what they say, but that’s not the problem. What’s bizarre is that many songs on this fourth LP wrap up seriously dark themes in pure sugar pop, just like ‘He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)’ by The Crystals did. But where that 1962 hit is unsettling and clever, a track like ‘Boys Who Rape (Should Be Destroyed)’ on here is totally misguided and completely stupid.

HOPE SANDOVAL AND THE WARM INVENTIONS

THE SKYGREEN LEOPARDS

Through The Devil Softly Netwerk The Mazzy Star vocalist’s debut was an intense piece of small hours, under-the-covers intimacy. Her follow-up, however, threatens to send you packing to a duvetbound land of nod. Overly long, it fails to build on the country and folk backing that characterised her debut, curiously letting down Sandoval’s still wonderful voice. Hope springs eternal that the mooted new Mazzy Star material might give better reward.

SHIT AND SHINE 229-2299 Girls Against Shit! Riot Season Live, the Shitters are a tranceinducing, brain-melting barrage of a million drums combined with heavy bass and lethal shards of spastic electronic noise. Immense. On LP seven, their best and most live yet, they’re equally deranged but more calculated. Ostensibly the feral sounds inside mainman Craig’s head burnt onto a CD, with added DRUMS, this makes all other artists reviewed here seem like a bunch of lazy, bed-wetting cry babies. So damn right in every way.

Gorgeous Johnny Cosmos Wow, this sixth album by San Franciscan folksters is only 35 minutes long but it seems to go on for a decade, and all the way through it singer Glenn is as flat as East Anglia. It’s exhausting, and boring, and not a patch on their better, prettier previous records. “Come in to my arms, bury me with flowers. Twothousand years of whispers in my ears,” they sing on ‘Jehovah Will Never Come’. Jehovah will never come!? Lay off the swag, stoners.

SUPERTHRILLER Moods Mint Beginning, essentially, as an art project with a very self-conscious sense of humour meant it was always hard to take Superthriller seriously as a band, as good as they were. But you can’t deny the funk, or indeed humour, and as nauseating as a track like ‘Chomsky And Normski’ seems at first, it’s actually really funny. LP four sees them go more seventies soft pop than blue-eyed soul and it works. They make really sexy music, for a bunch of luvvies.

TAKEN BY TREES East Of Eden Rough Trade Sweden’s Victoria Bergsman, former Concretes frontlady whose guest vocal on Peter Bjorn and John’s ‘Young Folks’ secured them the only hit they’ll ever have, journeyed to Pakistan to cut her second solo album, partially outside and with local musicians and singers. It’s a recipe for high righteousness indeed, but Vicky’s artistic ambition is clearly genuine. Astute arrangements and that gorgeous bittersweet voice of hers ensure a rich and compelling listen.

THE TWILIGHT SAD Forget The Night Ahead Fat Cat Something has happened to Glasgow’s Twilight Sad. An attempt to move the band forward has misfired. Just two years ago on Fourteen Autumns And Fifteen Winters, they crafted an elemental sound somewhere between Scottish folk, post rock and shoegaze, which has since then been brutalised into pubrockgaze. The drumming is classic rock pounding, and there’s little subtlety left in the guitars or vocals. What was once transcendent has become all too earthbound.

VARIOUS ARTISTS Can You Dig It? Soul Jazz Not the most ambitious of the Soul Jazz comps, but a nonetheless enjoyable romp through what they call “the music and politics of black action films, 19681975”. The ‘Superfly’ theme is absent, strangely, but you’ve heard that a bazillion times before and ‘Freddie’s Dead’ (on here) is an equally amazing song. Good job, we can dig it, and who could blame a great label/record shop for releasing a banker in these lean times. Um, keep on movin’ on?

THE VERY BEST Warm Heart Of Africa Moshi Moshi Cross-cultural showdown here as Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya teams up with Swedish/French production duo, Radioclit. All three are currently east London-based, but this is not some hideous fusion music botch job; it’s a sincerely forwardthinking and organic meeting of ideas and flavours. Superb production and the joy you hear in Esau’s voice becomes utterly infectious. Easily good enough to give even Hackney Council hope for intra-borough relations.

KURT VILE Childish Prodigy Matador As a solo artist, War On Drugs man Kurt Vile is a singersongwriter breast-fed The Velvet Underground and Richard Hell. He’s rough, electric, fervent, from Philly but drawls like a New Yorker, and only if you ripped off the sonic slop would you hear something approaching Bon Iver. A deserved signing to Matador after a lower-key debut in 2008, you’ll hear him say “sheeeeeeit” like he’s Clay Davis in The Wire and sing “where’s you mind at? ” like he has any fucking idea where his is.

VIVIAN GIRLS Everything Goes Wrong In The Red What Vivian Girls do isn’t new, but it’s never likely to grow old. Noise and pop are familiar foes and fashionable ones, currently but Everything Goes Wrong detects timelessness in these contradictions; its incessant guitar scream pretty brutal, the harmonies trapped within brutally pretty. ‘Survival’, ‘The End’, ‘When I’m Gone’ and ‘The Desert’ exhilarate, rampaging and oxymoronic like that photograph of Atlantis City Police painting their batons with Mermaid’s blood.

ANDREW WEATHERALL

WHY? Eskimo Snow Tomlab Coming only 18 months after their Alopecia album, this new offering from alt-hoppers Why? is their most melodic and least rap-oriented to date. However, it’s not a new direction, more a companion piece that was recorded alongside Alopecia. As a result, it sometimes sounds like a collection of slightly faded bsides, though in its best moments, it has all the wit, observation and self-loathing that makes every Why? release a cultural event.

45 Live: A Classic Rap Mix Five Day Weekend Nas may have been right when he said: “Hip hop is dead.” Having witnessed it sink below the level of nursery rhymes, a little nostalgia for its salad days can’t hurt. The Stones Throw label boss performs a sterling job here of not just chopping up doubles of some eighties evergreens - Fearless Four, Dimples D, Marley Marl, Biz Markie, Spoonie Gee - but, apropos of pure fetishism, he uses the 7” versions. Fresh!

A Pox On The Pioneers Rotters Golf Club Andrew Weatherall has done a David Holmes. After years of electronic experimentation, superstar DJing, obsessive record collecting and production wizardry, he’s decided to unleash his voice on the world via a confessional solo album. As with Holmes, the results are impressive. His raw, accented tones suggest a missed calling as a baggy-era frontman, and his wistful musings on drink and broken relationships contrast neatly with a sleek, psychedelic pop soundtrack.


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The Stool Pigeon October 2009

Demos CHAPTER XXII. Listen here, you tedious crones, for it won’t be long till the tears come again, writing as we are in one of those rare interludes from the near-ceaseless bawling last issue’s demo dump reduced us to. We are crumpled men, but though our pens slip and slide in a teary, Guinness-thick grease, our ivory towers jut proud into sky clear and utopian, and though the doldrums claim us for now, we at least sob

in a type of paradise, while you animals scramble, futile, up the side of our grand cathedral like extras in a Billy Idol video. You, yours! So laughably predictable have your efforts become - the sugary bribery, the erroneous apostrophe’s, the third person press releases humming with an erotically submissive sourness - that we’ve decided to reclaim some of our precious time by writing this issue’s demo

reviews in advance. Think of it like daylight savings. We’ll write about the ones that give us what we want personality, space, daydream, surprise, first and foremost. Anything that’ll shatter the dire tedium of ‘it all’, and by ‘it all’ I mean you, which is to say that - yes - we do care, very, very much. We’re doing this because we love you, Boy Sues. [Words by Kev Kharas]

Batch: September 2009. Quantity: 33.

Actual yield: zero

Provincial, political punks toeing the anarcho party line. There are songs attacking racists, the police, government, bankers and war. All they seem to like is endless equality and booze; though solace is found in John Lydon’s dismissal of sex as nothing more than “just another squelch session”. Predicted name: Johnny X aNd The eMPties Pun opportunity: Crapdown Predicted yield: one Actual yield: two (Scrotum Clamp*, Al Baker And The Dole Queue*)

Post-rock band with joinedupname pertaining to weather. Formed by DrownedinSound readers circa 2004. Predicted name: hateinarainstorm Pun opportunity: sleetit Predicted yield: one Actual yield: one (Tiger Shadow*)

Pun opportunity: Poxy Music Predicted yield: one Actual yield: one (Polaki)

Nice guy singer-songwriter you don’t really want to crucify, but whose music is just too earnest and worthy to be much use to anyone, despite its occasional prettiness. Predicted name: Christian Surname Pun opportunity: Sob Dylan Predicted yield: three Actual yield: five (Edward James Mugford, Al Baker And The Dole Queue*, Hamish Meaney, Robert Graham, The Rigmarole) Nice guy singer songwriter you want to crucify. Predicted name: Initial Surname Pun opportunity: Snob Dylan Predicted yield: two Actual yield: one (Matt Searles) Contentedly mediocre indie-skiffle lot who sound a bit like Pugwall’s band playing incidental music off CBBC. Predicted name: The Bad Traffic Pun opportunity: Pugwall of Sound Predicted yield: two Actual yield: four (Mannequin, Squares, Our Lost Infantry, Scrotum Clamp*) The geezer quintet still trying to impress dad with ‘real music’, which they’ve taken to mean rock so exhausted the only ‘reality’ it ‘really’ qualifies to soundtrack is the interminable hell of a dog whose back legs have gone. They wear: naff shades, a green field jacket, shit scarf, classic white Stan Smiths with navy/white stripes and straight or boot cut jeans. At least two members will have highlighted mullets. Songs will contain lazy references to Wetherspoons, lyrics rhyming ‘night’ with ‘fight’ and one track’s title will be a girl’s name; that girl being either a pitied local slapper or a drugs metaphor. Promo photos taken against graffiti-covered wall or on the stairs of a fire escape. Predicted name: Brownstone Pun opportunity: Lud Rock Predicted yield: three

Demo-funk. Predicted name: Dingbat Cartel Pun opportunity: ...sounds like a potential demo-funk band name Predicted yield: four Actual yield: six (Tiger Shadow*, Miss Halliwell, Venus Mischiefs, Fallen Child, Kochka, The Belgrave Scandal) Rich boy hip hop searching and failing to find angst in every clumsy bar. Desperately wants to be DOOM without spending the requisite years mourning deceased brother on the streets of New York. Will be production duo, the less impressive of the two keeping the other in weed. Both have public school hair. Predicted name: Hexed Medics Pun opportunity: UniVerseCity Predicted yield: two Actual yield: one (Tiger Shadow*) Bluesy, leather clad rock’n’roll hoars with punk pun names and stupid sex metaphors involving cherries and popped champagne corks. Will have won local battle of the bands and bemoan the lack of “proper rock’n’roll” in modern music, ludicrously proposing themselves as its saviours by inference. Predicted name: Cherry Red Rebels Pun opportunity: New York Trolls Predicted yield: three Actual yield: five (King Tree And The Roots, The Fnords, Pink Narcissus, NIXA, Black Velveteens) Brassy pop slut whose ambitions are funded by a middle-aged manager who just wants ‘up her’. He will have been in an earlier incarnation of either Cherry Red Rebels or Brownstone and may have helped launch the career of Louise Nurding. Predicted name: Cee Cee la Vichy Pun opportunity: Amy Benignhouse Predicted yield: one Actual yield: none Bespectacled, bearded electronics oddball with much love for Eno and Reich and an appreciation of machinery that far outweighs the weak heart excavated from his chest decades ago. Moments of promise - where cleverness and humanity approach each other like wary animals will be dashed almost immediately by artist’s own sense of self-important ‘otherness’. Predicted name: Contra

Do we need a shit Radiohead? Predicted name: The Shit Radioheads Pun opportunity: Karma Thieves Predicted yield: one Actual yield: two (Karma Junkie, Robert McCracken) Scared looking emo band beleaguered by fringes. Singer sounds like the guy from Alien Ant Farm if the guy from Alien Ant Farm was unhappy with his new life on a Barrett estate in the Home Counties. Guitars are more often that not vacuum-packed into nothing riffs and Van Halen squeal. Every member sounds like they’re trying to wrest the limelight from every other, at once. Predicted name: The Starlit September Pun opportunity: Emo’ money, mo’ problems Predicted yield: two Actual yield: one (Amid Concrete And Callousness) The ones we missed - Hennessy Keane (Carl ‘The Nashville Kid’ Storey on bass!), Monster Island (Mark E. Smith starts legal proceedings) and Public Service Broadcasting (alright, but ‘a bit Lemon Jelly’). Predicted yield: four Actual yield: three All of which leaves us with Benjin and The Wintergreens, who are responsible for the two interesting efforts among the dross. The former’s five tracks sound accidentally exploded, disparate parts aching for reconciliation with each other across flung distances. It’s gentle and it drifts, but that it can do that and hold the attention so well is impressive in itself (plus it was recorded on a boat and boats are great). The Wintergreens are the stars of this issue’s demo column, though - their sound is easier to pin than Benjin’s but no less alluring, opener ‘The Once And Future Queen’ sounding like an early demo for the second xx album, its restraint gradually giving way to melodramatic female vocals and gliding synths. The Icelandic/Polish/Scottish quartet have been playing in and around Edinburgh for “a few years now”, which is surprising as ‘Open Heart Surgery’ often sounds like Memory Tapes or Air France or jj; that now music that sullenly turns its back to the world in order to explore its own vast, internal spaces. Our pick for Wintergreens

the

fat

advance:

*fusion

Send your work of genius in through one ear of The Stool Pigeon and straight out the other. Address at front. Please mark the envelope ‘Demo’.

The


70

The Stool Pigeon October 2009

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WOMEN SEEKING MEN NEUTERED CAT with claws seeks man with fresh cream for exciting nights out on a hot tin roof. REF: 303 ACTIVE grandmother with original teeth seeking a dedicated flosser to share rare steaks, corn on the cob and caramel candy. REF: 304 ACTIVE thirty-something rock fan seeks similar aged man for fun games and concerts. REF: 0305 MEN SEEKING WOMEN DR STANLEY seeks his Livingstone for fun in the jungle and, if you’re lucky, you can chew on my bone. REF: 0306 “INCURABLE romantic seeks filthy whore.” REF: 0308 DTE STR8 SWM secretary ISO SWF NSA with GCH into BB PNP & shorthand. REF: 0309 TANNER WLTM NS CD with love of leather for LTR with cattle and vegetable dyes. REF: 0310

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SOUNDS GOOD LTD. The UK’s home of CD, DVD & Cassette manufacturing, and multimedia services. 12 Chiltern Enterprise Centre Station Rd Theale Berkshire RG7 4AA T. 0118 930 1700 F. 0118 930 1709 E. sales-info@sounds-good.co.uk WWW.sounds-good.co.uk

PHOTOGRAPHIC SERVICES CRIMSON GLOW PHOTOGRAPHY freelance music photography in Glasgow. Live gigs, promo photshoots, artwork etc. Print sales available. It’s not red it’s... WWW.crimsonglow.co.uk E. itsnotred@gmail.com PYROTECHNICS ARSON AROUND Match Lane Beccles Norfolk NR32 T. 01502589939

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RECORDING STUDIOS 2 KHZ STUDIOS 97a Scrubs Lane London NW10 6QU T. 02089601331WWW.2khzstudios.co.uk

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The Stool Pigeon October 2009

Business news

CDs likely to do a roaring Rough Trade in new high street outlet BARNABY SMITH street purveyors of “indie-influenced casual-styling ranges”, Topman, have announced a partnership with the Rough Trade Retail Group that will see music sold in the clothing store. Once upon a time, in the days before we had to eat baked beans out of our bedpans, such a thing would have been frowned upon by those who treasured the independence of this most iconic of UK record stores. But needs must, it seems. It was announced in July that the Arcadia Group (who own Topman and are headed up by Philip Green, pictured, Britain’s ninth richest man)

High

would stock the flagship Oxford Street store with CDs and, presumably, vinyl from September onwards to coincide with London Fashion Week. “Music is the heartland of Topman,” is the illuminating quote the company gave to the media. And it’s Topman, not Topshop, apparently. Stephen Godfrey, Director of Rough Trade Retail Group, said the new alliance “supports Rough Trade’s belief that the CD format is as popular as ever [and] that it is largely the poor high street retail of CDs that is to blame for declining sales on this format”. Godfrey also reckons the move will allow mass-market exposure for artists on smaller labels. Thirty-three-year-old Rough Trade have actually been doing okay recently, reporting a 30 per cent increase in turnover for the first quarter of 2009, and profits of £2.1m for 2008, not to mention recent in-store gigs from Blur and Radiohead. The move is therefore one of consolidation for them, rather than desperation. Topman already have a number of music initiatives, such as Topman CTRL, where once a month a ‘controller’ (the latest being Phoenix) is invited to program a set of gigs. The deal with Rough Trade, however, marks the first time any store in the Arcadia Group (which also includes Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge) has stocked music. A couple of weeks after the announcement, reports confirmed that HMV were also in talks with Arcadia. The music retailer is hoping Topman will stock more of their tshirts and clothes. So get used to this.

EIGHTIES RAPPER ROXANNE SHANTE ACCUSED OF DOCTORING THE HOUSE BARNABY SMITH story that warmed our cold, dead hearts has turned out to be all wretched, wretched lies. It was first reported in August by the New York Daily News that eighties teen rapper Roxanne Shante, allegedly royally shafted by Warner back in the day, exercised a clause in her old contract to ensure the label coughed up the cash for a PhD in psychology from Ivy League university Cornell. A subsequent investigation by Slate.com revealed the feel-good tale to be a scandalous load of old bollocks, though not before bloggers had heralded the story as a victory for a single mum from the projects against mean old corporate pooh-bahs. In 1984, at the age of 14, Roxanne (real name Lolita Shante Gooden) had a major hit with ‘Roxanne’s Revenge’. According to the report in the Daily News, the young Roxanne was overwhelmed by the intricacies of contracts and saw little of the profits that came from selling 250,000 copies of the single. The story’s first fiction exposed by Slate was that Shante never even had a proper contract with Warner (she had an ‘agreement’ with subsidiary Cold Chillin’, who ended

A

up feuding with Warner in the courts), let alone a clause obliging them to pay for her education. They kept digging, discovering that Shante doesn’t have a PhD from Cornell or anywhere else, nor was she registered as a practicing psychologist, her current occupation. Shante told Slate that the Daily News had made a “mistake”, going on to say: “I got my Masters in psychology, I didn’t finish my PhD.” And there’s still more. Public records showed she never studied at Cornell for anything, ever. The ex-rapper, who claims to have enrolled under an assumed name, went on to sheepishly claim she held a BA from New York’s Marymount Manhattan College (which we can confirm does exist), even though records prove she attended said college for just three months in 1995 and never received a degree. In the meantime she continues to address herself as ‘Doctor’ in her business of providing help to urban African-Americans with mental health problems. The lesson of this story is surely one in journalism. So well done Ben Sheffner of Slate, and shame on you, Walter Dawkins of Daily News. Curiously, he wasn’t answering Sheffner’s calls.

NEW CAREY ALBUM MORE OF AN ELLE-P ALEX DENNEY news that will surely raise the hackles of selfrespecting rock fans everywhere, the artwork for Mariah Carey’s new album is set to carry adverts. But fuck it: I wouldn’t be any less likely to inspect one if it was to set to carry the swine flu virus, and anyway, synergetic times call for synergetic solutions. The lady known among pals as the biggest-selling female artist of all time will release Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel - currently slated for a September 29 release on Island/Def Jam - with a specially created edition of Elle magazine as the CD booklet. Indeed, the first million copies of the album in the US and first 500,000 in Europe will come with a classy advertorial supplement featuring ads for the likes of Elizabeth Arden, Angel Champagne, Carmen Steffens, Le Métier de Beauté... and the Bahamas Board of Tourism. The mini-mag will also feature trilling puff pieces about the R&B singer cooked up by the Elle team with titles like ‘VIP Access To Her Sexy Love Life’, ‘Amazing Closet’ and ‘Recording Rituals’ - as well as more pedestrian staple fare such as lyrics, writing credits and shout-outs to Jesus. “The idea was really simple thinking: ‘We sell millions of records, so you should advertise with us,’” Island/Def Jam honcho Antonio ‘LA’

In

Reid told Brand Week. “My artists have substantial circulation - when you sell two million, five million, eight million, that’s a lot of eyeballs. Most magazines aren’t as successful as those records.” He’s right, you know. Sixteen million trembling, disembodied eyeballs, hovering excitedly over the sleeve notes to Mariah’s latest, mulling over a cruise holiday in the Caribbean. But it’s all been done in the best possible taste: “I wouldn’t want to do Mariah Carey and Comet abrasive cleaner. I wanted things that really reflected her taste”. The initiative will also see the album being sold alongside bottles of Carey’s new fragrance, Forever (also advertised in the booklet), in the beauty departments of large retailers like Walmart, a measure aimed at combating the dwindling number of music outlets: “We don’t have music retailers any more,” continued Reid. “So a smart consumer products company that understands the value in distributing music is going to restore the vitality of our business. If we distribute music properly, and if it’s done tastefully, it could be a huge profit centre for all of us. That is the missing link - we need partnerships.” The adverts will cover 100 per cent of the booklet’s production costs, and a successful launch could see similar ventures appear from labelmates Kanye West, Rihanna and Bon Jovi. Be still, my hotly quivering eyeballs.

THE MARKETS AS THEY STOOD ON 07/09/2009 APPLE 6 Month Share price UK£ 200 180

160

140

120

100 Mar 09

Apr 09

May 09

Jun 09

Jul 09

Aug 09

May 09

Jun 09

Jul 09

Aug 09

Jul 09

Aug 09

ESSO 6 Month Share price UK£ 200 180

160

140

120 Mar 09

Apr 09

BARRATT HOMES 6 Month Share price UK£ 500 400

300

200

100

72 Mar 09

Apr 09

May 09

Jun 09

THE NUMBERS High Low

Stock

Price

Change Yield

45.07 14.57

AppleC

47.03

+1.6

N/A

N/A

240

33

Amstrad

203.75

+13.75

3.1

13.96

595

509

BSkyB

491.5

-12

N/A

20.7

Chrysalis

163

+0.5

0.9

52.57

41.09 25.01 Dreamworks

$42.45

+0.32

5.4

N/A

442.38 31.41

398.00

+1.75

N/A

52.2

196.5 133

Easyjet

P/E

281.25 225.25 EMI

245.25

+9.25

3.92

N/A

274

HMV

158

+2.25

2.5

7.75

304.1 -2.90

Google

238.98

-18.52

N/A

N/A

17.25 9

MUSICCH

9.5

-23

N/A

165

42.54 20.10

MGM

213.5

39.79

+0.21

2.6

34

18.87 12.64 Motorola

$22.48

-1.9

0.9.1

14.2

22.53 17.89

Phillips

25.35

+0.35

1.8

N/A

34.30 23.17

Reg Vardy

909.5

+5.5

1.1

15.76

47.25 17.75

Sanctuary

21

+2

n/a

-5.264

248.95 19.31

Somerfield

197.00

0.0

12.8

17.23

4,400 3,590 Sony

3,850

+30

0.6

21.9

129

Topps Tiles

201.75

+1.25

0.6

17.85

189.15 32.22 Vodaphone

118.00

+3.25

N/A

134

+0.10

NA

N/A

32

16.95 15.23 Warner Grp 20.17


Business news

October 2009 The Stool Pigeon

73

SHARING & COPYING OF MUSIC New research shows how people are accumulating huge collections of music on computers 20%

40%

60%

80%

M ORSEL S

100%

Ever copied music from a radio, TV or internet stream to own device?

Ear Shields Kevin Shields is earning a few bob teaming up with Earplug Shop, in order to distribute disposable spigots at My Bloody Valentine’s lug hole-shredding shows around Europe. “I am very pleased to have struck a deal with such an earsplittingly loud band as My Bloody Valentine,” said Earplug Shop’s Shaun Thornburgh. This is the same Shields who petitioned against a late-opening music bar near his plush Hampstead residence not so long ago. Stick ’em in your own fuggin’ ears, humbug.

Ever downloaded music from an online storage site? Ever copied your music collection to someone else’s device? Ever copied someone else’s music collection to own device? Ever sent music files via email, Bluetooth, Skype or MSN? Copying CD paid for onto a friend’s device? Source: Music Week

Ever received music files via email, Bluetooth, Skype or MSN? Ever copied a CD from a friend? Copying CD paid for onto own device?

MUSIC MAGAZINE CIRCULATIONS HALF-YEARLY 2009

Drive Time

THE UK’S MOST DOWNLOADED TRACKS The 1960s 1 The Rolling Stones - Paint It Black 2 Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl 3 Johnny Cash - Ring Of Fire 4 Jackson 5 - I Want You Back 5 Elvis Presley - Suspicious Minds

0

The 1970s 1 Queen - Don’t Stop Me Now 2 Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama 3 Tony Christie - Is This The Way To Amarillo 4 Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody 5 Stevie Wonder - Superstition

The 1990s 1 Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah 2 Mariah Carey - All I Want for Christmas 3 Aerosmith - I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing 4 Goo Goo Dolls - Iris 5 Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit

Uncut

The Fly

Q

NME

Source: iTunes

Mojo

Metal Hammer

Kerrang!

Classic Rock

The 1980s 1 The Pogues/Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale of New York 2 Guns N’ Roses - Sweet Child O’ Mine 3 Survivor - Eye of the Tiger 4 Bon Jovi - Livin’ on a Prayer 5 Phil Collins - In the Air Tonight

Title

Publisher

Jan-Jun 08

Jan-Jun09

Actual Change

%Ch

Classic Rock

Future Publishing

66,632

70,301

3,669

5.5

Kerrang!

Bauer

60,290

43,253

-17,037

-28.3

Metal Hammer Future Publishing

48,540

46,004

-2,536

-5.2

Mojo

Bauer

106,367

97,722

-8,645

-8.1

NME

IPC Ignite

56,284

40,948

-15,336

-27.2

Q

Bauer

113,174

100,172

-13,002

-11.5

The Fly

Channelfly Ent Ltd.

105,212

107,771

2,559

2.4

Uncut

IPC Ignite

86,925

76,526

-10,399

-12.0

Source: ABC

According to reports, Bob Dylan intends to be the new voice of SatNav, joining an exclusive group that includes John ‘taken to the fuckin’ cleaners’ Cleese, and eighties thesp toff Nigel Havers. The raspy old scrote, of Highway 61 Revisited fame, announced on his Theme Time Radio Hour that he was “talking to a couple of car companies” about doing the GPS, though we suggest he may well have been jesting, the nasally old billy goat.

Over Keane Keane took the unusual step of offering an olive branch to Oasis via the Daily Star, requesting that Noel Gallagher produce their next album, in a scene reminiscent of a fat kid trying to appeal to the school bully’s better nature. It usually ends in tears, with the fat kid squealing. “We are both bands of the people,” said Tom Chaplin. Noel may beg to differ. “No matter what direction Keane take, they’ll still be shit,” he once said of the trio.

Sell Out))) While it’s become almost acceptable for skint musicians to flog their wares to evil advertising agencies, the last band you’d expect to risk damaging their own credibility would be Stephen O’Malley’s drone rock mentalists Sunn O))). ‘O)))Bow 1’ has been used by Anti Sweden’s new line in ‘True Black Metal Jeans’. Fair dues, you’ve got to put bread on the table, but don’t say we didn’t warn you should you turn on the TV this Christmas and find Anal Cunt accompanying the new Huggies ad.

Face Off Remember MySpace? That once allpowerful social networking phenomenon that now sits like some virtual Pompeii along with those other moribund former hangouts, Friendster and Friends Reunited. To get with it again, MySpace has dipped into its deep pockets and acquired the iLike music sharing service - an integrated platform used all over rival Facebook - for a reported $20m. No we don’t know what implications this has for the future. Ask Dominic friggin’ Diamond.

Pig Gig InsureandGo are providing £1m cover for Boyzone against swine flu for a concert they will perform at the Royal Bath & West Showground in the glamorous setting of Shepton Mallet, in a deal that also insures your other faves, Katherine Jenkins and James Morrison. The unkind amongst you might have observed that porcine warbler Stephen Gately looks like he got the pig fever years ago. “We want the event to go off with a bang and not an oink,” said InsureandGo founder and wit Perry Wilson.


Horrorscopes

GEMINI MAY 22 - JUNE 21

Your Stars With Mental Marvin

I read somewhere that an excuse is worse than a lie. An excuse is kind of a lie anyway. Just do as you please for a day, and see what happens. Let yourself go and be damned toadying and apologising etc. Do others apologise to you? Toady to you? They soon will, sweet Nero... What on earth? This is crap advice, I’m really sorry.

“I DON’T KNOW WHAT ORDER THEY COME IN, I JUST FEEL THIS SHIT”

LIBRA SEPTEMBER 24 - OCTOBER 23

you can see, they can be used for massage. Also, male mystics often travel through the spiritual plane by their balls, thus the famous phrase “flying by the seat of his pants”.

Twas only a dream, dream’t Morgana Le Fay as she left her brother’s chamber on that cursed day, for Arthur, through heartache dark magick unclear, thought his love returned o’ sweet Guinevere! Glastonbury tower looked down in dismay as Mordred was born nine months to the day!

AQUARIUS JANUARY 21 - FEBRUARY 19 The animal loins and human top of the satyr is a potent symbol of our struggle between our sexual primitive side and the modern human logical side, the furry loins being, of course, primitive and the noble human half the logical. In your case your legs are furry because you need a shave. Sort it out and your two halves will be as one mentally and physically. If you’re a man, don’t. You may, if you have a furry chest, end up looking like a real-life Captain Caveman. That could be quite good.

CAPRICORN DECEMBER 23 - JANUARY 20 This is one for da ladies. Ooh yeah. Mental Marvin’s gonna make love to you through the paper. I’m feeling you up, Hucknall’s on in the background, joss sticks are filling the air. That tickle you feel on your neck, that’s my ball sack slowly going up and down. Balls are a muchunderused part of the body. As

SCORPIO OCTOBER 24 - NOVEMBER 22 Let it hang out, baby. Yeah, let it all hang out...

CANCER JUNE 22 - JULY 23 Twas only last night I wandered in my garden of discontent. My pants were heavy, thick with the toils of the day and my breasts were sticky and sodden with the wonderful meal I’d regurgitated earlier... Perhaps it’s time to settle down. I’ve had a lifetime’s worth of wanking into my neighbour’s milk delivery, there must be more to life!

LEO JULY 24 - AUGUST 23 Forget about the complexities

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of human interaction and the grief it brings trying to get close to another soul for a shag. Mental Marvin has been making love to wheat-based products for many years now and recommends muffins. Their flat, romantic surfaces provide the perfect base for exploring your new exciting world of weekends in.

PISCES FEBRUARY 20 - MARCH 20 Great, Rambo’s on! Get a cup of tea, relax. Suddenly “your programme is about to start” flashes up... Gossip Girl. A voice says: “Has Gossip Girl started?” “Oh bollocks,” you think. “Um, um, it’s cancelled today,” you say. “Something to do with...” think quick “...Michael Jackson’s death is on instead.” “Oh really?” you hear back. “Okay, let’s watch that instead.” She ends up watching Gossip Girl, you are berated heavily for being a liar, and how could we ever truly be together if we blah blah blah? And you don’t get to watch Rambo. You have to watch Gossip Girl, your soul dribbling on to the carpet. All in all a typical night. Haul yourself out of the primeval spiritual sea with your flippers and start to grow some balls,

Pisces, and get on your way evolving from a fucking slimy fish into a T-rex.

TAURUS APRIL 21 - MAY 21 Come on, tell me off and lay down the rules, big boy. Demand you watch Rambo. Rough me up if I argue and let me know who’s daddy. I’ll oil your chest and caress you while you watch it. Here goes: “Has Gossip Girl started?” Come on, let me have it. “Um, it’s cancelled today. Something to do with Michael Jackson’s death is on instead.” Oh, really? Actually, I’d quite like to see that. “Okay, let’s watch that instead.”

VIRGO AUGUST 24 - SEPTEMBER 23 I crave a dirty botty I don’t mean sticky and brown I crave a dirty botty Something sweet and round Slap it in the morning Bite it hard at night Sometimes poke a finger in Give its owner a fright Free your desires!

SAGITTARIUS NOVEMBER 23 - DECEMBER 22 When Sir Lancelot took to

the forest in fear of splitting Camelot over his love for Guinevere, the peasant boy Percival, out of sight, cooked for the troubled knight and laid a fresh rabbit every morning. If you find yourself torn, broken hearted and out in the urban forest, you may find your own Percival coming from an unusual source. But beware, as Percival’s love returned Sir Lancelot to Camelot with eventually disastrous consequences. The same may befall you, so just enjoy those fresh-baked rabbits in the morning and the wisdom of the forest before you make any harsh decisions, broken lover.

ARIES MARCH 21 - APRIL 20 Mercury’s clash with Neptune has left you wondering and anxious and an earlier clash with Jupiter has made it even worse. Jupiter’s alliance with Neptune is making you feel better but Jupiter’s run-in with both Mercury and Neptune is... Shit, I think a bloody dragon’s coming out of my crystal ball. It’s trying to say something... Here you go little fella, here’s some sandwich... Fucking hell, it’s shat a gold key. Maybe it fits into the mysterious hole under my bed. It does!

AN utterly transparent attempt to sell you a free newspaper, the IN publishers of THE STOOL PIGEON are offering you the chance to become a subscriber. WHY rush around your local high street when you could have each new issue delivered direct to your door?

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K

`d[ MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS / GOLD PANDA / MARTIN CARR / SON CAPSON / ISLET / THREE TRAPPED TIGERS / TOTALLY ENORMOUS EXTINCT DINOSAURS / FREDRICK STANLEY STAR / THEM SQUIRRELS / EVILS UNICORN KID / SCIENCE BASTARD / HAIL! THE PLANES / ZIMMERMANS / BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT / DRUMS OF DEATH / JONQUIL / GOLD PANDA / GLASS DIAMOND / ZWOLF / CATHERINE AD / ZUN ZUN EGUI / THE YOUNG REPUBLIC / DONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;T MOVE / THE DEATH OF HER MONEY / THE IRASCIBLES / RACE HORSES / NOT COOL / PORTASOUND / DIG! / BRAINLOVE / DJ SCRAGGATRON / DR KIKO / MICE GIRLS / ROWAN DA RIDDIM / GIRLS / MARY ANNE HOBBS / JOHNNY FOREIGNER / SWEET BABOO / CYMDEITHAS YR HOBOS UNIG / THE VICTORIAN ENGLISH GENTLEMENâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S CLUB / EXIT INTERNATIONAL / HAFALIADU = EQUATIONS / ROGUES / SOFT TOY EMERGENCY / STRANGE NEWS FROM ANOTHER STAR / NOS SADWRN BACH / TALONS / DECIMALS / DENUO / DONDE STARS / THREATMANTICS / WET DOG / SILVER GOSPEL RUNNERS / KING ALEXANDER / ROSE ELINOR DOUGALL / PAPER AEROPLANES / BEC AND BETH / JAMES TYSON / THE TWILIGHT SAD / TOM BROSSEAU / DJ GEMMY DAEDELUS / GET BACK GUINOZZI / DIMBLEBY AND CAPPER / GIDEON CONN / SWANTON BOMBS / DRAW ME STORIES / KATELL KEINEG / GERAINT WILLIAMS / ELLIE HURRICANE / MASTER SHORTIE / BEATBULLYZ / PULLED APART BY HORSES / OUR BROTHER THE NATIVE / THE LONGCUT / ELEPHANT & SOLDIER / UNGDOMSKULEN / HEAVENLY JUKEBOX / JAKWOB / TURNSTILE / TRANSPARENT / DIRTY POP / OLLI DUTTON / LOS CAMPESINOS! / DANANANANAYKROYD / COPY HAHO / SPARKY DEATHCAP / MUNCH MUNCH / THE LEISURE SOCIETY / LUCKY SOUL / SONS OF NOEL AND ADRIAN / CAT MOUSE CAT / HUW M / MINOTAUR SHOCK / BROKEN FAMILY BAND / GAGGLE / JOHN GRINDELL/ PENCADLYS / ANCHORSONG / AL LEWIS / GARETH PEARSON / MITCHELL MUSEUM / SUPER TENNIS / CHRIS TT / AN EXPERIMENT ON A BIRD IN THE AIR PUMP / TIM AND SAMâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S TIM AND SAM BAND WITH TIM AND SAM / ZISSOU / GOLDHEART ASSEMBLY / YR ODS / Y PROMATICS / SLOW CLUB / STORNOWAY / CATE LE BON / TEETH / INTERNET FOREVER / TUBELORD / YNDI HALDA / THE DRUMS / FRANKIE AND THE HEARTSTRINGS / THE PIPETTES / E AND E / PULLED APART BY HORSES / THE MOLOTOVS / THE COMPLETE STONE ROSES / PETE FOWLER / MOSHI MOSHI / EAT YOUR OWN EARS / VINYL VENDETTAS / SULWAX + GUEST DJS / ADAM WALTON / ACID CASUALS / JEN LONG / PLUS WALESâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; LARGEST EVER SILENT DISCO

3 DAYS OF MUSIC AND EVENTS IN 14 VENUES IN CARDIFF

THU 22 - SAT 24TH OCTOBER 2009 / HYDREF 22-24 2009

WRISTBANDS : 1-DAY WRISTBAND £17 / 3-DAY WRISTBAND £45 / WWW.SWNFEST.COM

7)48)1&)6

%-(%213**%8%2(8,)&)783*7 7%1'%68)6 &3&0-2( 813()0*36( 7,3; 813()0*36( 7,3; 7,)%6;%8)6 &3&03+--.)79 8,);,-74)683;2 &-0+)4914 (%:-(,32)=&3=)(;%6(7 7836)= %+2378-'13928%-2+374)0',3-6 .90-)(3-632

(%1-)2()147)= (%21-',%)0732 8,)'3%78+9%6(7 8,))478)-2 &6-%2*-22)+%2 *6-)2(7 78)6)3838%0 )1-0=&%6/)6 8,)6)('0%=,%03 23:)1&)6

(%*8132/)=7 +6394)6 86)74%77)67;-00-%1 8,),-+,00%1%7 '3)96()4-6%8) ()')1&)6

3'83&)6

()%(786-2+&638,)67 ,3;)+)0& ',6-7+%62)%9 )-0)2.);)00 &%2( 70%-('0)%:)7 8,)/%&))(-)7 2)-01'7;))2)= 7'%6') +63%2&3<

8,)*6%2/ ;%08)67 '32'6)8)73< .%29%6=

8316977)00 9/ :)29) 3* 8,) =)%6  ` 032(32 :)29) 3* 8,) =)%6  -2()4)2()28 7-2')  ` )78%&0-7,)(   /-0&962 ,-+, 63%( ` 032(32 2; .6 8,)091-2%-6)'39/ `    ` -2*3$8,)091-2%-6)'39/ 8-'/)87 %8 ;)+388-'/)87'31 8-'/)8;)&'39/


KINGS OF CONVENIENCE TUESDAY 13 OCTOBER

BEXHILL DE LA WARR PAVILION 01424 229 111 / DLWP.COM

T OUOCTOBER WEDNESDAY SOLD14

LONDON BARBICAN 0207 638 8891 / BARBICAN.ORG.UK

THURSDAY 15 OCTOBER

COVENTRY WARWICK ARTS CENTRE 02476 524524 / WARWICKARTSCENTRE.CO.UK

THE ALBUM DECLARATION OF DEPENDENCE RELEASED ON 19 OCTOBER 2009 KINGSOFCONVENIENCE.COM

+

ALELA DIANE

LEISURE SOCIETY London Only Sun 13 Sep

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LAURA GIBSON All Dates

EXETER PHOENIX

01392 667080 www.exeterphoenix.org.uk

Wed 16 Sep

BIRMINGHAM TOWNHALL

0121 780 3333 www.thsh.co.uk

Thu 17 Sep

LONDON O2 SHEPHERD'S BUSH EMPIRE

08444 77 2000 www.o2shepherdsbushempire.co.uk

www.myspace.com/alelamusic

YO LA TENGO NOVEMBER 6 GLASGOW ABC

PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS

EUROS CHILDS

0844 847 2487 / www.pclpresents.com

7 MANCHESTER ACADEMY 0161 832 1111 / www.manchesteracademy.net

8 LONDON ROUNDHOUSE 0844 482 8008 / www.roundhouse.org.uk www.yolatengo.com New album ‘Popular Songs’ out now on Matador Records. A Live Nation & PCL presentation in association with Coda

+ DJANGO DJANGO

MON 21 SEPT

ICA

B ethJeans Houghton 23 Wednesday

September

LONDON THE SLAUGHTERED LAMB 08444 771 000

www.electroacousticclub.com

THE MALL. LONDON 020 7930 3647 / ICA.ORG.UK

A LIVE NATION PRESENTATION IN ASSOCIATION WITH CAA

SEPTEMBER 2009 27 GATESHEAD THE SAGE 28 LEEDS THE COCKPIT 29 MANCHESTER CLUB ACADEMY OCTOBER 2009 01 OXFORD O2 ACADEMY 02 LONDON KOKO 04 NORWICH WATERFRONT 05 CAMBRIDGE JUNCTION 07 BRIGHTON CONCORDE 2 08 DERBY THE ROCKHOUSE 10 EXETER PHOENIX 11 BATH KOMEDIA 12 FALMOUTH PRINCESS PAVILLION 14 SHEFFIELD LEADMILL 15 GLASGOW ORAN MOR 16 BIRMINGHAM O2 ACADEMY 2 NEW ALBUM 'THE FIRST DAYS OF SPRING' OUT NOW.

'A MASTERPIECE' - 5/5 SUNDAY TIMES 'AN IMMENSE ALBUM' - 9/10 NME 'BREATHTAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL' 4/5 Q MAGAZINE WWW.NOAHANDTHEWHALE.COM WWW.MYSPACE.COM/NOAHANDTHEWHALE

0191 443 4661 0113 245 4650 0161 832 1111 0844 477 2000 0870 060 0100 0160 350 8050 0122 351 1511 0127 367 3311 0133 220 9236 0139 266 7080 0871 310 0000 0871 220 0260 0870 010 4555 0844 847 2487 0844 477 2000


do something different Fri 25 Sep 7.30pm

Thu 22 Oct 7.30pm

Nine Lives: Sacred Music in Modern India

Carousel: The Songs of Jacques Brel

Featuring Paban Das Baul & the Bauls of Bengal/ Shah Jo Raag Fakirs/Susheela Raman + more Special concert, curated by William Dalrymple, offering an insight into the subcontinent’s many fascinating spiritual and musical traditions still thriving despite huge social and economic change.

Featuring Arno/Marc Almond/Diamanda Galás/ Arthur H/Momus/Camille O’Sullivan + more To celebrate Brel’s unique songbook - and his continuing influence on generations of musicians and musical performers - the Barbican has assembled a stellar cast of singers from both sides of the Channel and further afield.

Thu 17 Sep 7.30pm

Wed 28 Oct 7.30pm

Neko Case

Efterklang & Britten Sinfonia perform Parades

Exciting Barbican debut of American singer/songwriter performing material from her new critically acclaimed album Middle Cyclone. Barbican debut for gloriously talented singer-songwriter ‘Indie’s greatest singer.’ Rolling Stone

A rare opportunity to see one of the most ambitious and uplifting collaborations of recent years - a performance of Efterklang’s 2007 album Parades scored for band and orchestra. ‘The album Björk wishes she’d conjured in her mind when realising Vespertine.’ Drowned In Sound

Sun 27 Sep 7.30pm

Wed 28 Oct 7.30pm

Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou + Gnawa Home Songs – Tamesloht Blues

Martha Wainwright sings Piaf

UK debut of West Africa’s 1970’s voodoo/funk sensation. ‘It’s like feeling that a doll in your image is being pierced through and that the needles are in the hands of James Brown.’ Les Inrockuptibles

Martha Wainwright and Hal Willner recently paired together to create a live recording of rare Piaf songs. This is the London debut of that show, featuring New York musicians including pianist Thomas Bartlett, electric guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Doug Wieselman, and bassist Brad Albetta.

Tue 6 Oct 7.30pm

Sat 28 Nov 8pm

Celestial Mass Magma/JP Massiera/Chrome Hoof

The Graham Coxon Power Acoustic Ensemble

Triple bill curated by the brainchild of musical sage and crate-digger Andy Votel. Featuring French prog-rock Magma, legendary JP Massiera and London’s ritualistic collective Chrome Hoof.

Back from Blur’s triumphant reunion tour with a special concert at the Barbican based around his recent solo album Spinning Top. ‘The Spinning Top is a revelation.’ BBC Music Review

Tickets from £10 | 0845 848 4491 www.barbican.org.uk/contemporary

The Barbican is provided by the City of London Corporation


84

The Stool Pigeon October 2009

Sports Outstanding in a field

MONKEYS LEAVE PUNTERS COLD AS DUKE OF YORKE EMERGES VICTORIOUS IN WAR WITH KINGS OF LEON LEEDS FESTIVAL / BRAMHAM PARK, LEEDS Words

FIELD DAY / VICTORIA PARK, LONDON Words ALEX DENNEY Photograph DAVID MA

year’s Field Day played out under the malign auspices of what looked like a February storm front in the Outer Hebrides. With more inclement conditions apparently in store for this year’s event, I set out with nothing by way of heavenly protection save a consoling bottle of whisky smuggled down one sock.

Last

Indeed, the only dry year the east London festival has enjoyed to date was in 2007, when punters held their clacking throats in beer queues that could be seen from outer space. In spite of everything, Field Day has established itself as the must-see summer event for shiny hipsters, and the ’09 model is rich in promise. Final Fantasy is on the main stage, looping violin figures and mad, burbling keyboard arpeggios like so many spinning plates. “I’m from the British colony of Canada,” he says,

dry as a granny’s biscuit tin. “I love fucking England.” He’s terrific - an avant-chamber pop marvel, like Patrick Wolf weaned off the am-dram guff and onto Arthur Russell. Ropey sound and an appalling Dalston sweater threaten to mire The Horrors’ set in muttered disapproval, but ‘Sea Within A Sea’ comes to the rescue, weird synths and guitar adding triumphal accents to their finest moment and all-round impudent stab at immortality. It’s wetting it down by now, of course, so it’s to the marquees

we head and the loving arms of Wild Beasts, who bask like formerly awkward teens turned belles of the ball. Pointedly snubbing Mogwai, the Mystery Jets are an increasingly slick proposition nowadays - slowburning newbie ‘The Girl Is Gone’ is practically Lionel Ritchie with shit hair and jeggings. ‘Two Doors down’ is the delirious finale, until one nearby wag decides it “sounds like The Proclaimers”. The man behind the curtain duly revealed, we click our heels a third time, and are off.

‘Up With People’. If only we could, but alas they taunt us. For The Garage - building, people, naff branding all - has been consumed, swallowed up by The O.

through sound and song; lab creations knocked out during jams in the group’s Ocropolis studio, then sent forth into the world. Onstage, this pumped-up beast is a 10-legged creature of hairy men and bald man, all paunch-wobbling, bro-headbutts and duuuude rallying cries of, “You’re not even ready. We’re stoked that you’re here, but once you’re ready, you’re in The O!”

And how does The O manifest itself? The O rises seductively from every track, forcing ‘Relentless Garage’ to become an amusingly apposite name as well as more evidence of the curse of venue sponsorship. See, Oneida, playing in front of psychedelic projections, are technically accomplished yet never dry; explorative yet never ending up lost in the dank canyons of indulgence. They play, and play, and play: this is rock’n’roll, this is experimental, this is what you wish it to be, but it’s always The O. At the heart of it all, pulling on and controlling the drawstrings, is drummer Kid Millions. In ‘All Arounder’ - “a rock’n’roll jam” - the groove throbs like the veins in a mastodon’s balls, Millions’ drums flickering like Mrs Mastodon’s tongue over them. Even through the more meandering tracks he never lets up, his rolls and fills acting as rocks and obstacles around which the rest of the music can pool or eddy, always moving forward, never stagnating. “You’ve got to get up to get free,” Oneida sing in the juddering grind of

ROCKERS ONEIDA MEET PARENTS IN LONDON, PLAY A SHOW RATED... O ONEIDA / THE GARAGE, LONDON Words LUKE TURNER Photograph SHOT2BITS.NET

the eight years since Oneida last played London’s Garage they, like the newly refurbished venue, have evolved. Thankfully they’re not, as the room is, sponsored by a revolting energy drink; they’ve grown from prolific stalwarts of a nascent Brooklyn scene (because they were there first) to embark on the ambitious Meet The Parents trilogy of albums, the latest being the three-CD masterwork Rated O. It’s a righteous journey

In

THOMAS A. WARD

The August Bank Holiday has become quite the rite of passage for many an emancipated teen over the years. They arrive fresh-faced and full of zeal having qualified from state education, emulating their favoured musical luminaries and genres in the latest Topshop/Topman gear to match. The extent to which they unknowingly parody the event and each other often raises a wry smile upon the faces of those who have run the three-day gauntlet before them. We’ve all arrived children of the revolution at some point, and we all return edified by our experiences. And looking at the main stage’s headliners, how could we be disappointed? Arctic Monkeys and Kings Of Leon, two of this decade’s most iconic bands acting as bookends to Radiohead’s omnipotent glory and grace. If we are amidst the doldrums of a recession, the promoters were certainly doing their bit to keep the good ship Albion’s economy afloat. Arctic Monkeys opened their set with ‘My Propeller’, Nick Cave’s ‘Red Right Hand’ and ‘Crying Lightning’ - an audacious statement of intent if ever there was one. This is no longer the band that brought us the pop frivolities of ‘Mardy Bum’; this is a band that have reinvented themselves and the direction of the third album wheel for many to follow. The crowd, however, were polarised by Turner and Co.’s new approach: the pop pickers were disappointed; the savants delighted. Radiohead’s two-hour strong Saturday night set included ‘Just’, ‘Jigsaw Falling Into Place’ and newby ‘These Are My Twisted Words’, all executed with enigmatic perfection, and leaving us as open-mouthed, wide-eyed and speechless as when we later heard rumours that Thom Yorke was disappointed with their performance. With the conversational skills of an echo, Caleb’s messianic interjections between every song began to wear as thin as their stadium-rock-by-numbers in a set laced with tracks from Only By The Night. This may have been the performance of their career, and the kids may have loved it, but it was somewhat subservient to their commercial appeal, enervating the purists in attendance.


October 2009 The Stool Pigeon

Sports news

SOME THOUGHTS ON THIS YEAR’S

85

ØYAFESTIVALEN AT OSLO’S MEDIEVAL PARK, AND MANY VENUES ACROSS THE CITY

ifth year that The Stool Pigeon has attended this amazing festival in Oslo and at last something of the strange nature of Norway is beginning to reveal itself. It sits dramatically and expensively outside the EU, and it feels like a proud and industrious nation, but you never sense superciliousness or pomposity and, in fact, the good spirit of people is undiluted and never forged. And yet here I am now in the Edvard Munch museum staring deeply into

F

what appears to be a disturbance in its soul. Fucking dreadful way to try and see off a hangover. As one girl quips: “I’m gonna need to go the Holocaust Centre after this to cheer myself up.” Everyone has a million theories on how such a gentrified and assiduous nation could spew forth monsters like Varg Vikernes, recently out of jail for murdering his bandmate in Mayhem, or Kristian Eivind Espedal (Gaahl, former Gorgoroth singer), and it’s true that you’re confronted by a vision of chronic alienation in the paintings

of Munch. But the savageness of the extremes only creep up on you over time, and they’re impossible to make easy sense of. So here we are again at Oslo’s big five-day August showdown, still loving hearing heavy music in its Eden, still gorging on the dry humour of the ordinary citizen, and still trying to get some kind of grip on why Norway has such a deep capacity to compel. Øya is a day-and-night event that takes place at a medieval park on the outskirts of the city and then

downtown in the clubs. It’s famed for its friendliness to the environment, the perfection in its organisation, and for possibly having the only fully carpeted festival site in the world. Oh, how those carpets became gigantic pillows of mud as it rained for nine hoursstraight on Saturday, but who would ever want to witness a band like noise rock trio Årabrot, or indeed a bunch of miserable bastards like The Big Pink, in the sun? The heavens decided. Other choices were our own, like whether to see Mew or Satyricon,

Arctic Monkeys or Grizzly Bear, Lily Allen or Jay Reatard, Madness or Enslaved. Pigeon went for Satyricon, Monkeys, Jay and Enslaved, and Pigeon was RIGHT. We took an offering of a new, undiscovered vegetable to the bronze baby in the Vigeland Sculpture Park on our last day, then climbed the park’s granite borders to see if it is possible to make the monolith made of 121 intertwined human figures fit through the wheel of life. It is, and Gustav knew it. Phil Hebblethwaite

AND NOW A Q&A WITH ØYA’S HARDEST WORKING BAND...

UNGDOMSKULEN August 11th to 15th, 2009

The prog punk trio from Bergen stole the show four times over, nearly five. EXACTLY HOW MANY SHOWS AND DJ SETS DID YOU PLAY AT ØYA?

“Enough, to say the least. We missed out on one gig because we got sick and had to spend the Saturday in our hotel beds getting updated on what’s good on daytime TV. We were supposed to do five, but ended up doing only four.”

it was an Italian summer worker who was living in the basement of the house and forgot that he had a frozen pizza in the oven. How ironic. To us, it meant we had to get new gear, a new place and really restart the computer. It was hard at first, and although we were sad about it, we are way better off now, with a better place and cooler instruments.”

thought would be good for an album cover. That was our thought too, so it just happened like that. It was really meant to be.”

YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS PROG PUNK. WHAT SPECIFICALLY DO YOU TAKE FROM BOTH STYLES?

ONE ATTRACTIVE ASPECT OF THE NORWEGIAN MUSIC SCENE AT THE MOMENT IS ITS DIVERSITY. IT SEEMS LESS DOMINATED BY ONE GENRE. WOULD YOU AGREE?

ARE YOU ALL STILL PLUGGING AWAY WITH DAY JOBS?

“Some of us work a bit, but it gets harder and harder to do both, which is very good. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

HAVE A GOOD TIME, REGARDLESS?

“Yes, it was a swell time, not only because of the gigs and the gags, but also the general feeling of being at a festival. It is very powerful and fulfilling.” IS ØYA NORWAY’S BEST FESTIVAL?

“It depends on what the terms you judge a festival, but I’d say it’s pretty high up there - in the top two. I think Øya is a festival that cares about the details, and they have not only a musical focus but also a focus on the idea of the goodness in mankind.” OSLO AND BERGEN HAVE A FIGHT. WHO WINS?

“I’m not patriotic in any way, so I’d guess the one who fought the best fight would deserve to win. It’s like watching the World Cup: if your country plays crap, those suckers deserve to lose. That said, Bergen is way better musically than Oslo, in every way!” WHAT’S THE STORY WITH YOUR STUDIO BURNING DOWN? HOW BADLY DID IT AFFECT YOU AND WHAT CAUSED IT?

“I don’t know if they’re really sure what caused it, but they think

“It’s the free spirit of the punk and the hard workmanship from the prog that adds up real nicely. To me Egg were one of the first true punk bands, although not so much lyrically.” YOU SEEM TO BE TOO MELODIC FOR BOTH THOSE GENRES. ALSO TOO HAPPY. WOULD YOU AGREE?

“Absolutely not. I think that we come across as happier than most bands because we are not trying to feed on some old cliché. We have a lot of self-esteem in our music and we don’t think that goofing around or smiling is going to intervene with that. About the melodic aspect of it, I think both prog and punk are very melodic genres. It just depends on where you look and how you listen.” HOW DID YOU HOOK UP WITH ENGLISH ARTIST GEORGE UNDERWOOD TO DESIGN YOUR ALBUM COVER?

“We contacted him about the possibility of working together and it just happened that he was working on this painting, a painting he

“Yeah, that’s one way to look at it, but at the same time I guess that goes for all countries that produces good music. But what I really like about the Norwegian music scene is that we rule it.” DO YOU THINK YOUR MUSIC IS BEST EXPERIENCED LIVE OR ON RECORD?

“Live, after listening to the records a lot, for sure.” DO YOU THINK ‘MODERN DRUMMER’, SOMETHING OF A POP SONG, GIVES A FALSE IMPRESSION OF YOUR GENERAL SOUND?

“No. In everything you do in life you are gonna have the parts that are obscure and the stuff that’s appealing to a broader audience. I joined a lot of bands when I was younger that had had a radio hit only to discover the weird and beautiful world they really worked in. That’s how you expand your musical taste: you have to lure people in a little bit.”

AS TOLD TO BARNABY SMITH PHOTOGRAPHS BY KAREN TOFTERA


86

Sports news

The Stool Pigeon October 2009

FAR MORE THAN TWO DANCERS AT WILD BEASTS SHOW IN AGED SURROUNDINGS WILD BEASTS / HOXTON HALL, LONDON Words

Welcome Wagon manage to keep their wheels on, just WELCOME WAGON / ST LEONARD’S CHURCH, LONDON Words BARNABY SMITH Photo RACHEL LIPSITZ

thing about Sufjan Stevens’s Asthmatic Kitty label - and this is no bad thing - is that, more or less, every artist on the roster sounds quite a lot like the man himself. Try counting the degrees of separation between DM Stith, Castanets and even Latin types Helado Negro. Welcome Wagon are not exempt, and indeed at times tonight they’re more

The

Sufjanny than Sufjan. After all, the band is led by a Presbyterian Pastor (albeit one with a crew-cut and a baseball cap). The Reverend Thomas Vito Aiuto and his wife Monique do make a lovely sound. We have soft vocals, emotive choral passages, and light acoustic touches that are reminiscent of, well, Sufjan Stevens. Their album, Welcome To The Welcome Wagon, is full of spirituals and very godly, despite containing covers of songs by The Smiths and Lou Reed. They are only as folky as

Sufjan, which is not very, and at times they veer towards trad. jazz, with some exquisite results. In the echoey confines of St Leonard’s Church, their music was intermittently heart-warming, endearing and even uplifting, but at times deeply boring. They were joined by a four-strong choir (for whom singing in tune seemed optional, sadly) and a backing band. Yet despite there being nine of them performing, a vibrant, gospely atmosphere was in short supply, possibly because the pews were only

half full. The candlelit surrounds projected quiet repose, and the band themselves, if not quite apologetic in their manner, seemed to exude thankfulness for the fact actual people had come to see them. Their best songs, such as the marvellous ‘Sold To The Nice Rich Man’, are those that are grand and ambitious (much like, um...); the weakest those that leave Monique exposed. She couldn’t hide tonight, and the occasional tune fell flat, but there aren’t too many holes you can pick in such an affably pious evening.

Eyes on stalks as Atlanta’s Deerhunter kill it at Koko DEERHUNTER / KOKO, LONDON finest, Deerh unter, are notoriously unpredictable live. In early shows, frontman Bradford Cox had a habit of heading off into 20minute comedy monologues about his childhood. And then, last year, they brought a girl on tour whose sole purpose seemed to be ruining tunes with harmonica solos. In the build up to tonight’s gig, they’d reportedly spent festival sets covering the bands playing on competing stages. So the audience got some Snoop Dogg, a bit of Lou Reed, and very little Deerhunter. Given their past, it’s almost disappointing to find the four-piece playing it totally straight tonight. There’s a bit of banter after a fluffed intro, and that’s it. But they aren’t half good this way. The ‘ambient punk’ songs that made their name are sped up and distorted to give them a truly nasty bite, while the gentle numbers off last year’s Microcastle blossom, having been given a swing they don’t have on record. It makes you realise just how important drummer Moses Archuleta and bassist Josh Fauver are to this group. I doubt the 1,000-odd people present were all there for Deerhunter (every hipster’s friend, Health, were supporting), but it’s shows like this that could finally land the band a profile on these shores. Alex Marshall

Atlanta’s

Portaloo Sunset LATITUDE FESTIVAL / BLYTHBURGH, SUFFOLK Words & Photos MICKEY GIBBONS Miike Snow Photo JAMIE THORPE

years in and the Latitude festival has got itself a reputation for being a middle class affair. But, with most festivals coming in at around £300 for a weekend ticket, it’s not like the working class can ever afford them. And I usually hate festivals, with their thousands upon thousands of

Four

white wealthy idiots on a dirty weekend in the country wandering around a field looking for grazing. This weekend’s music line-up is not too exciting, but it frees up time to see some other entertainment from the likes of comedian Andrew Lawrence. It’s nice watching Guardian families blush as he calls everyone a ‘cunt’ and threatens to rape their kids’ corpses. It’s so middle class. Saturday’s headline set by Grace Jones is a clear message to all the female pretenders: this is how to

LUKE TURNER

the Grade II cast iron pillars and drapes of the Hoxton Hall could speak, what stories of infamy they would tell? This Victorian music hall was opened in 1863, but it had its licence revoked eight years later following police complaints about the behaviour of its clientele. One imagines devious top-hatted coves lurking on the balconies paying more attention to the pockets of gents distracted by rouged dames flirting for a sovereign than what was happening on-stage. It’s the perfect setting, then, for this intimate celebration of the release of Wild Beasts’ new album, Two Dancers. That’s not to say that in this context Wild Beasts are reduced to evocations of past times; soundtracking a building, if you will. Their sound is too current, and too unlike anything else for that. Instead, tonight’s venue accentuates what’s already present on Two Dancers: an atmosphere that’s at once louche and camp, euphoric and dark, entirely instinctive and sensual, a mist of hormones delivered in sonic form. These album launches, packed with industry coves, can be static, joyless affairs, but this cloud of whatever it is isn’t just making the two pulchritudinous dames down the front gyrate enticingly, it’s sending waves of movement out through the crowd. Over yonder it even looks as if Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood is partaking in a wiggle. Who could resist? Wild Beasts worked quietly for this, but they’ve worked hard, with barely a break from recording or touring since their Limbo, Panto debut last year. And it shows - one of the things that’s been so refreshing about Two Dancers is the increasing ease with which the four members play together. Hayden Thorpe’s falsetto might garner the most praise (and objection), but it’s how it interacts with Tom Fleming’s deeper tones, and how they both sit over the scratchy, percussive guitar from Ben Little and Chris Talbot’s understated backbeat that give Wild Beasts such life, and sends us out into wet London streets with, to borrow from the Kendal boys, the taste still dancin’ on our tongues.

If

entertain and hold an audience. It is slightly unnerving, however, to see a Jamaican OAP wearing a thong, using a hula-hoop and shouting, “For God’s sake, give me something to suck on.” Nick Cave and his band of merry men hit the spot on Sunday with the visceral ‘Stagger Lee’: “I’m a bad motherfucker, don’t you know / And I’ll crawl over 50 good pussies just to get one fat boy’s asshole.” It was the perfect end to a polite weekend.


Sports

October 2009 The Stool Pigeon

  PROPER E LEVATOR MUSIC ROKY ERICKSON

A D

LEX ENNEY

JOURNALIST

LANCASTER

Issue Twenty Three AUTUMN,2009

TYPESETTER M.GIBBONS.

A performance by...

GRIZZLY

BEAR

/

AT LONDON’S

KOKO

GROUP SMUG SEVEN WORLDS COLLIDE/ DINGWALLS, LONDON

On Tuesday August 18th, 2009 Now here’s a band that understand the power of the sound of silence and, really, they’re not that grizzly at all.

PAWS FOR

THOUGHT A Review of the Performance

When it isn’t fulfilling its habitual role of playing host to the legion armies of the under-age undead, Koko is a splendid, manystoreyed thing. The Camden venue’s ornate balconies stack up at alarming angles, its filigreed ceiling almost a theoretical point in the far distance. And somewhere beneath this ocean of space, the finely tailored Brooklyn four-piece Grizzly Bear are in fine fettle. To contextualise such flimsy spatial ramblings is tricky: it’s just that the increasingly feted Warp outfit’s stately, neo-classical sprawl has always sounded like it’s tearing pages out of the silence with every wrenched chord. And tonight the feeling’s amplified they sound a little rougher round the edges, emphasising the dynamic shifts that distinguished recent third album Veckatimest from its predecessor. Opener ‘Southern Point’ writes it out large; a hypertensive acoustic number that’s madly careening one moment, violently pulling up short the next. Meanwhile ‘Colorado’ feels like less of a tune than a propitious stroll round the Grizzly Bear grounds. It’s also a momentous, haunting beauty. Ditto ‘I Live With You’, whose thunderous guitar parts were first conceived while the band was recording Veckatimest in a deserted church - silence, again, begs the response. You’ll tell me if the analogy isn’t working out, yeah? Okay then, onto the hits. ‘The Knife’ shimmers and sways more heartrendingly than ever. ‘Cheerleader’’s stuttering pop beauty is revealed in its truest colours. And their Crystals cover ‘He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)’ makes for a devastating encore. With a rejigged ‘Fix It’ (from 2004 debut Horn Of Plenty) ringing in the faithful’s ears as they empty out into the streets, it’s hard to think of a band whose moments of hairraising noise are suffused with such shocking clarity of vision, and whose silences carry more weight. They remain a cut above in the class of 2009.

SUMMER SUNDAE IN LEICESTER A FLAKE SHY OF AN ICE CREAM Words

NANCY BOYD

SUMMER SUNDAE / DE MONTFORD HALL, LEICESTER

2008 in Piha, on

Christmasthe west coast of

New Zealand’s North Island, saw the giant sow of classic songwriting that is Neil Finn gather the good and the great from his friends and family to each take a teat and suckle deep and hard. That’s to say that Jeff Tweedy and two other Wilco members, two from Radiohead, Johnny Marr, KT Tunstall, Bic Runga, the superb Lisa Germano and a bunch of Kiwi natives joined Finn to make an album, The Sun Came Out. The name of the ‘band’ is Seven Worlds Collide, a concept initially experimented with by Finn and others in 2001. At this show in London Finn was backed by Radiohead’s Phil Selway and Ed O’Brien with John Stirratt and Glenn Kotche from Wilco. Finn’s excellent ‘Little By Little’ and Tweedy’s ‘You Never Know’ are just fine, and then to the delight of a crowd dominated by statuesque Antipodeans, Finn wheeled out four lovely old Crowded House songs. As an on-stage banterer, Finn is one of the most endearing there is. However, as he and others make reference to the chummy and familial nature of the project, the tone of the evening descends towards incestuousness and worse, smugness. There may be a bit too much mutual admiration going on here, and one wonders: if this album is the result of everyone being best buds, what fireworks might occur if, say, Tweedy threw one of his tantrums after KT interrupted him over dinner, or if someone ate a cheeseburger in Johnny Marr’s face? Barnaby Smith

there was ever an event to do away with the enduring reputation of festivals being outof-town excuses for drugs and delinquency, Leicester’s Summer Sundae is it. Held annually in the grounds of the inner-city cultural hub that is De Montfort Hall, the original remit at its inception nine years ago was to offer a family friendly alternative on the British festival roster. It’s a manifesto realised with such success that the resulting weekender erred a little on the mundane. Unrelenting sunshine only added to the pervasive air of this being a smalltown summer fair rather than an actual music event. The village fete feel certainly couldn’t be attributed to festival provisions, which, for all of Leicester’s inner-city grot, were replete with numerous organic food stalls and a complicated but admirably

If

ROKY ERICKSON / THE FORUM, LONDON In 1978, former Thirteenth Floor Elevators frontman Roky Erickson attempted to cancel an LA comeback show by claiming he couldn’t sing because the killer bees from the movie Swarm had flown in through his bathroom air vent and, while he was escaping, his brain had fallen out and had to be sewn back in by a passing surgeon. Luckily there were no such difficulties tonight, but the story illustrates just how far Roky’s come, and what a miracle it is to see him performing live at all. Kicking off with a thrilling ‘Two Headed Dog’ and a word-perfect ‘Creature With The Atom Brain’, tonight’s set is drawn almost entirely from Roky’s late seventies Bleib Alien material: stripped-down, hard-edged swamp rock, using horror B-movie imagery to comment on the hinterland between serious mental illness and visionary states, and the often brutal and barbaric treatment society metes out to those who dwell there. So, despite the Forum’s somewhat muddy sound, and Roky’s uninspired new backing group - who, despite a pedigree taking in the Meat Puppets, the Butthole Surfers and the Posies, add little to the whitehaired Texan bar band who backed him in 2007 - it’s still a chilling, visceral kick to hear Roky howling, “I never hammered my mind out, I never had the bloody hammer,” over the relentless descending chord sequence of his song ‘The Bloody Hammer’. Lines like, “They just roll their eyes back to the top of their head, and hammer the attic floor,” directly describe the effects of drugs such as thorazine and navaine which Roky was prescribed daily during his three-year stay at Rusk State Hospital for the

comprehensive recycling system. Weirdly for such a well-organised operation, the problem was more that musical entertainment risked being overlooked entirely. The winners in such a scenario were inevitably inoffensive and/or nostalgic acts such as the nauseatingly rousing Frank Turner and jejune whine of St Etienne. Headliners The Zutons, The Streets and The Charlatans were apt choices considering, though swine flu resulted in Mike Skinner missing the festival. Idlewild gallantly stepped into Skinner’s headlining shoes on Friday for a strangely enjoyable trip down the dingier memory lanes of the nineties, but while a field’s worth of lagered-up twenty-somethings seemed fully appreciative, the hordes of teenagers in attendance seemed totally bemused. It also proved completely impossible

criminally insane, after being busted for a single joint in 1969. The next three decades were a depressing round of illness, incarceration and occasional shaky comebacks, but in recent years the tide has turned decisively in Roky’s favour. Bulky and impressively bearded, his guitar playing sounds spot on tonight (though he turns his back to the audience whenever he takes a solo), and most importantly the voice, which influenced Janis Joplin (allegedly a wispy Texan folk singer before hearing Roky scream) is just the same: a rasping, fullthroated shamanic soul yawp. He doesn’t say a word between songs, but perhaps that’s preferable to the glassy-eyed “thank yew!” he delivered in exactly the same intonation after each tune two years ago. Of course it’s the Elevators-era material on which Roky’s reputation rests, and their songs the crowd ultimately wants to hear. But it’s well known that the only numbers by his former band Roky ever plays solo are the two he wrote without the assistance of jug-playing acid guru and lyrical svengali Tommy Hall. So it proves tonight, and unfortunately it’s on these songs that the band’s weaknesses are most apparent. ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ is passable, if truncated, but guitarist Kyle Ellison reduces the instrumental break in ‘Splash One’ to an aimless mush. Still, they return for a valedictory encore of ‘I Walked With A Zombie’ and the crowd sing along in solidarity. The triumph is not just that Roky strolled with the undead through those shadowy borderlands, but that he came back, too. Really, we couldn’t ask for more. Ben Graham

to predict which artists would sink or swim under such apathetic conditions. Micachu’s Indoor Stage set was breathtakingly accomplished, the Hall a perfect setting for her delirious visuals, while Mystery Jets floundered under unmerited hype on the Main Stage with terrible sound problems and poor vocals. Wild Beasts showcased much of new album Two Dancers on the Rising Stage and engendered an overtly jubilant reaction despite the fact that most people there obviously didn’t know who the hell they were, while Bon Iver’s twilight set could barely be heard for the overbearing chatter of middle-aged ale-swilling punters. All in all, a very innocent affair. And with all the entertainment shutting off before midnight, there wasn’t even the worry of a Monday morning hangover to contend with. Lovely.

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JARVIS AND OTHER GIANT ARTISTS A RED HERRING AT A MOSTLY JOLLY GOOD GREEN MAN ALEX DENNEY

GREEN MAN / BRECON BEACONS, WALES Green

Man

Apparently,f e s t i v a l

honchos had to change the logo this year because it looked like an antlered Justin Lee Collins hamming it up in a Hieronymus Bosch painting, and this was scaring off the punters somewhat. With its well-heeled mix of engaging leftfield indie, psychedelia and folk both old- and nu-, the event itself should have no such worries. The jamboree takes place in the heart of Wales’ Brecon Beacons and attracts a laid-back bunch of bookish indie sorts, babies sporting outsized headphones, and girls with sundry bits of flora in their hair. About the biggest threat posed by the weekend is the dreaded cow parsnip plant which lurks unseen in the undergrowth. We’re a long way from Glastonbury, frankly, and the headliners reflect as much. Animal Collective are a bold choice as Friday’s bill-toppers and arguably one that backfires. Noah Lennox’s heaven-sent vocals bleed rather anonymously into the mix, and attempts to forge some kind of connection with the audience are jettisoned in favour of the experimentation that made their name. A good thing on paper, but moments like the dreamy coda that wraps ‘Daily Routine’ up so well on recent LP Merriweather Post Pavilion just drag in a freezing cold field of eager punters. ‘My Girls’ and ‘Summertime Clothes’ keep spirits aloft, and an extended guitar jam on the alwaysresplendent ‘Fireworks’ hits the spot, but the magic otherwise fails to arrive. If we’re judging the festival solely on its headliners, Saturday brings more bad news. For Jarvis Cocker, the Pulp reunion can’t come soon enough. He’s still a first-rate conversationalist and it’s true he can throw some improbable shapes for a frontman nudging the back end of his forties. But the sad truth is he’s yet to pen a tune approaching his best Pulp stuff as a solo artist, and it shows in a set that bears dispiriting traces of a man desperately in search of his muse. Dig deeper, however, and there’s fun to be had. Wooden Shjips’ droning, sozzled psych comes up trumps on the Far Out stage, a venue which yields further success with the appearance of Baltimore duo Beach House. Their soporific shoegaze grew in stature on last year’s excellent Devotion, and Alex Scully’s languorously intricate guitar lines just get better and better on this showing. More, please. Gang Gang Dance bring much-needed fizz to the proceedings with an infectious set of electro/psych non-sequiturs that flirt brazenly with the dancefloor, while Camera Obscura are a polished proposition on Sunday’s main stage. It’s not quite the Welsh wonder we’d hoped for, but there’ll be victories to be had yet for this refreshing highlight of the UK festival calendar.


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A surprisingly smooth ride

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1 Intergalactic surf rockers (3, 2, 8) 7 John Fahey's record label (6) 8 Label formed in 1970 by David Geffen (6) 11&5Jeff Mangum's kind of hotel (7, 4) 14 ____ Parks, Outkast single (4) 15 Tauran math rockers from Baltimore (4) 16 Horrifying Badly Drawn Boy album opener (7) 23 Lightspeed Champion is a former Test one (6) 24 Weeks (Van Morrison) or Plane (Jonathan Richman) (6) 25 Son of folk icons Richard and Linda (5, 8)

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Crossword No.VIII compiled by Ed Mugford 25

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City that burned for the MC5 (5) Cave or Drake (4) Dee Dee, Johnny or Joey (6) Forward ______, Leeds-based four piece (6) See 11 across Gary, Legendary synth-pop pioneer (5) Early performance of a Franz Ferdinand single (7) Eccentric slide blues spaceman on Fat Possum (3, 3) New York rapper currently working with Damian Marley (3) See 11 down Stipe, Buck, Mills and formerly Berry (1, 1, 1) George ______, Let the Drummer Have Some! (6) Joanna, alt.folk harpist (6) Spiderland dwellers (5) GG, leader of the Murder Junkies (5) Honey (Beach Boys), World (Cat Stevens) or Swans (4) These of Otis Redding's are lonely, lonely and feeling blue (4)

The Stool Pigeon Music Newspaper Issue 023  

Issue 23 of the music newspaper featuring an interview with Dizzee Rascal

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