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Issue 2

Rob Hakimian  .  Dasal  Abayaratne  .  Holly  Bidgood  .  Ruby  Buckley  .  Sam  Goff  .  Adam  Saunders  .  Sam   Khaneka  .  Liz  Davies  .  Edwin  Shaw  .  Liam  Lanigan  .  Tom  Riste-­‐Smith  .  Oli  Frost  .  Jamie  Brown  Aimée  Wang  




Editor’s Note  

In this  era  of  disposable  music  wherein  hype  bands  are  forgotten   before  their  buzz  has  even  faded  it’s  hard  to  keep  track  of  all  the   new  bands  and  genres  that  come  flying  at  you.     Thankfully  there  are  certain  genres  and  musical  traditions  that  are   too  strong  and  important  to  be  forgotten  about.  In  this  issue  we   have  interesting  interviews  with  Stornoway  and  Titus  Andronicus,   bands  who  represent  two  of  these  genres,  folk  and  punk   respectively,  and  do  so  with  genuine  love,  admiration  and  respect   for  those  who  have  come  before  them.     Another  symptom  of  this  internet-­‐fuelled  musical  landscape  is  that   there  is  a  daunting  amount  to  sift  through.  Thankfully  there  are   those  out  there  who  are  dedicated  enough  and  gifted  enough  to   accurately  go  through  and  assess  the  merits  of  new  music  out   there  in  a  critical,  enjoyable  and  stylish  manor.  I  am  delighted  to   say  that,  as  the  reviews  in  this  issue  will  attest,  all  of  the  reviewers   in  the  Under  City  Lights  family  can  consider  themselves  one  of   these  beacons  of  musical  direction.  Thank  you  all  for  your   contributions.     Thank  you  too,  the  reader,  for  taking  an  interest,  and  if  you  feel  as   though  you’d  be  comfortable  under  the  Under  City  Lights  wing,   don’t  hesitate  to  get  in  touch.  We  are  a  tree  in  a  field,  but  we   could  one  day  be  an  orchard.   RH   +  





n Terry   Gilliam’s   latest   escapade   into   the   bizarre  and  surreal,  The  Imaginarium  Of  Doctor   Parnassus,   lurks   an   unexpected   and   unconventional  figure  in  the  character  cast:  clad  in   black   suit   and   top   hat,   darkly   witty   and   coolly   sardonic   appears   the   Devil   himself,   played   by   no   other   than   cult   musician   Tom   Waits.   He   has   aged   befittingly   since   his   musical   heyday   in   the   1970s,   his   face   now   haggard   with   the   mischievous   and   ironical   humour   that   characterises   the   extreme   versatility   of   his   music.   Whether   growling,   caterwauling,   drawling   or   (rarely)   singing   his   distinctive,   often   seedy   anecdotes   over   thumping   jazz   rhythms   ‘(Underground’),   eerie   saxophone   licks   (‘Small   Change’)   or   deliberately   out-­‐of-­‐tune   piano  melodies  (‘The  Piano  Has  Been  Drinking  (not   me)’),   the   performer   communicates   a   persona   that   is   strikingly   befitting   to   such   a   sarcastic   and   blackly   comical  figure  as  Terry  Gilliam’s  creation.  He  even   appears   as   the   lunatic   Renfield   in   Francis   Ford   Coppola’s   1992   adaptation   of   Bram   Stoker’s   Dracula.   herever   Waits   happens   to   turn   up   he   is   a   surprising  figure.  His  deep  howling  voice  is   reminiscent   of   the   rawness   of   the   early   Delta   Blues   singers;   I   imagine   more   than   one   mouth  was  open  in  surprise  when  he  appeared  on   the   Old   Grey   Whistle   Test   in   1977:   a   young,   slim   pale  American  with  a  full  head  of  combed  hair  and   characterful  features.  Dressed  in  a  dark  suit  he  sits   alone   at   a   grand   piano   with   only   a   drummer,   double-­‐bassist   and   saxophonist   –   half-­‐hidden   and   semi-­‐audible   –   for   company   in   the   atmospheric   semi-­‐darkness  of  the  small  studio.  At  the  piano  he   draws  out  the  beautiful  melody  of  ‘Tom  Traubert’s   Blues’,   while   his   gruff   voice   strains   into   the   microphone.   It   is   not   a   musical   voice,   but   it   is   passionate,   touching   and   unmistakable.   Perhaps   lacking   is   some   of   the   eccentricity   of   his   cabaret-­‐ like   performances   caught   on   live   DVDs   –   such   as   ‘Burma   Shave’,   in   which   he   hangs   around   a   stage   lamppost   clutching   a   continual   cigarette,   and   the   audience  howl  with  laughter  at  his  seemingly  semi-­‐ inebriated   version   of   ‘Silent   Night’   –   yet   he   has   not   lost  even  an  inch  of  conviction,  and  shows  himself   to   be   just   as   passionate   as   he   is   theatrical.   To   illustrate:  my  father  attended  a  Sheffield  concert  in   the   late   seventies.   The   lights   went   down,   and   in   the  pitch  blackness  Waits  simply  howled  like  a  wolf   –   a   haunting   welcome,   and   endearingly   bizarre.     HB


It’s  nice  to  hear  the  vocals  of  a  couple  of  80s  legends   on   some   recent   releases.   The   Cure’s   Robert   Smith   is   taking   over   singing   duties   on   this   new   version   of   the   track   ‘Not   In   Love’   by  Crystal   Castles   which   throws   the   electronic   duo   in   a   new   light   minus   Alice   Glass’   vocoded   screechings.   The   original   version   can   be   found   on   their   self-­‐titled   second   album   released   earlier   this   year,   but   any   fan   of   the   Cure   will   know   how  brilliantly  Smith  can  sing  about  love,  so  this  version’s  the   winner!   Stop   Press!   Ronson   has   released   a   track   which   does   not   feature   trumpets!   A   song   writing   collaboration   between   the   likes   of   Jake   Shears,   Cathy   Denis   (the   maestro   behind   Kylie’s   ‘Can’t   Get   You   Out   of   My   Head’),   and   Dirty   Pretty   Things’   Anthony   Rossomando   proves   that   too   many   witches   do  not  in  fact  spoil  the  broth.  The  single  is  what  you’d  expect   Culture   Club   to   sound   like   if   they   were   still   going   and   regardless   of   the   madness   of   Boy   George,   his   Motown-­‐ inspired  vocals  are  just  plain  delicious.     After  the  mediocre  ‘Rhinestone  Eyes’  and  sugar-­‐sweet   ‘Superfast  Jellyfish’  Gorillaz  are  ending  the  year  with  a  track  as   good  as  early  2010  single  ‘Stylo’.  ‘Doncamatic’,  named  in   homage  to  a  Japanese  drum  machine,  features  the   Manchester  talent  Daley,  who,  before  watching  the  video,  had   me  fooled  that  he  was  a  she.  A  lovely  bit  of  androgyny  on  this   stomper  of  a  pop  tune  which  sounds  like  Kraftwerk  covering   German  beer  hall  music.  (continued  on  next  page)  

COLUMNS Another artist   owing   a   lot   to   a   synthesiser   this   month  is  the  Swedish  singer-­‐songwriter  Robyn  who  has   completely   shaken   up   Paola   Bruna’s   plodding   2003   original  version  of  ‘Hang  With  Me’.  Not  to  be  confused   with  Robyn’s  earlier  single,  ‘Handle  Me’,  this  electro  re-­‐ vamp   does   not   stray   far   from   her   style   that   we   know   and   love,   but   you   can’t   beat   her   MicroKorg   arpeggios   and   independent   woman   lyrics.   It’s   not   the   most   complicated   of   songs,   but   you   can’t   beat   simplicity   in   the  world  of  pop.  

The indie   dance   floor   is   awash   with   nostalgia   these   days   as   La   Roux   battles   with   The   Drums   to   reignite  the  musical  genres  of  years  past.  Mystery  Jets,   however,   have   travelled   a   more   documented   and   organic  route  from  folky  genius  on  Making  Dens  to  the   pop  tinged  with  80s  sensibilities  from  their  latest  album   Serotonin.    ‘Show  Me  The  Light’  contains  all  the  teenage   angst   you   need   echoed   in   the   riffs   moaning   from   their   guitars  to  have  your  stomach  in  knots,  whilst  the  upbeat   percussion  plants  this  track  firmly  in  the  DJ’s  playlist.    RB  

VIDEO SPOTLIGHT   Sufjan  Stevens  –  ‘Too  Much’   Watching  Sufjan  Stevens’  new  video  is  like  attending  an   alternative  and  streetwear  fashion  show  and  blinking   your  way  through  it  due  to  the  instense  strobe  lighting   being  fired  directly  into  your  eyes.  What  it  actually  is  is   Sufjan  and  a  few  of  his  equally  trendy  cohorts  dancing   around  in  front  of  a  black  screen,  filmed  in  stop  motion,   all  the  while  being  surrounded  by  blobs  and  flashes  of   vibrant  lines  and  colours,  as  though  it  were  being  filmed   inside  a  dying  computer.  The  highlight  of  the  video  comes   at  the  point  of  the  nadir  of  the  imaginary  computer;  the   colours  leave  and  all  we  are  left  with  are  morphing  white   lines  on  a  black  screen,  reminiscent  of  classic  retro  arcade   game  Asteroid.  This  makes  for  an  interesting  watch,  but   at  the  same  time  could  be  painful  on  the  eyes,  and  in  the   back  of  your  voice  there’s  a  little  voice  insisting  that  this   could  just  as  easily  be  a  project  of  Shoreditch-­‐frequenting   art  student.  

Arcade Fire  –  ‘The  Suburbs’   The   idea   of   a   “suburban   war”   is   the   main   theme   of   Arcade   Fire’s   latest   album   The   Suburbs   and   that   mentality   is   summed   up   perfectly   in   this   Spike   Jonze-­‐directed   video   for   the   album’s   opener   and   title   track.   The   first   half   of   the   video   features   brilliantly   shot   images   of   teens   mucking   about   and   generally   having   a   good   time,   with   a   little   play   fighting   and   toy   guns,   showing   the   idyllic   image   of   suburban   life.   As   night   descends   however   the   rose-­‐ tinted  lens  slips  off  the  camera  and  the  toy  guns  are   soon   replaced   with   real   ones   as   inexplicably   (or   perhaps   inevitably?)   army   men   show   up   in   the   formerly   peaceful   community.   The   mood   change   is   sharp   and   is   evident   in   the   faces   of   all   the   young   actors   and   actresses   on   display   in   the   video.   This   is   a   good   summation   of   the   general   message   of   the   album;  the  perfect  picture  of  suburban  life  is  only  a   facade,   deep   down   existential,   financial   and   romantic   worries   burden   us   all   (particularly   the   latter   in   this   instance).   The   final   “scene”   of   the   video   seems   to   crop   up   out   of   nowhere,   but   as   we’ve   seen   him   do   several   times   before,   Spike   Jonze   has   uses   his   talent   here   to   make   a   story   that   is   mostly   nonsensical   into   something   entirely   magical.     Tu   Fawning   –   ‘I   Know   You   Now’   The   introductory   segment   of   this   video   is   not   dissimilar  to  the  video  for  ‘The  Suburbs’;  it  includes   two   young   boys   running   around   a   town   shooting   at   each  other  with  toy  guns,  seemingly  harmlessly,  but   nevertheless   there   is   an   eerie   air   of   discomfort   at   the   fact   that   there   are   no   adults,   or   any   other   human   beings   in   sight.   This   mistrust   is   proves   well-­‐ placed  as  a  smash  cut  in  time  with  the  first  chord  of   the   brilliantly   creepy   chorus   is   struck   and   we   are   thrown   into   an   entirely   different   scene;   a   Lynch-­‐ esque   room   complete   with   suspended   spinning   instruments   and   emotionless   young   girls.     The   rest   of   the   video   depicts   an   odd   and   indefinable   ritual   that  is  filmed  beautifully  in  washed-­‐out  tones  which   match   perfectly   with   the   pale   emotionless   faces   of   the   participants.   The   ritual   itself   will   intrigue   and   confuse   you,   and   all   the   while   holding   it   all   together  is  the  masterfully  ominous  soundtrack.  RH    


FUJIYA AND  MIYAGI  -­‐  ‘Yoyo’    [Full  Time  Hobby,   2011]  

There is   a   disconnect   in   the   bowels   of   this   song   from   the   gently  hyped  Brighton  quartet;   cringe   worthy   as   it   is   to   say   this,   the   song   has   its   ups   and   downs.  The  positives  are  in  the   economical   instrumental   base:   softly   distorted   guitar   and   synth   occasionally   peeling   away   into   squeaks   and   scrapes,   a   warm   blanket   of   noise  with  a  delicious  element   of   unease.   The   negatives,   unfortunately,   are   the   rhythm   and   vocals   that   this   blanket   cannot   hope   to   cover   up:   a   single,   looped   jab   of   organ,   thoughtlessly   bobbing   drums,   and   a   vocal   line   defined   by   restraint,  with  maybe  six  notes  and  fewer  lyrics.  At  first  it   seems  strange  to  draw  this  line  down  the  middle  of  the   song:   after   all,   minimalist   repetition   is   the   hallmark   of   the  Krautrock/ambient  music  that  clearly  fuels  Fujiya  and   Miyagi.   After   a   few   listens,   though,   the   issue   becomes   clearer:   the   faint   menace   of   the   overlay   is   undermined   by   the   politeness   and   soft   delivery   of   the   rest.   Groups   like  Kraftwerk  are  exhilarating  because  their  repetition  is   confrontational,   daring   you   to   dismiss   the   very   minimal   construction   behind   the   music.   F&M   are   comfortable   with   the   sonic   vocabulary;   in   fact,   they’re   probably   too   comfortable,  and  hence  so  is  the  listener.    SG  

MARNIE STERN  –  ‘Risky  Biz’  [Kill  Rock  Stars,   2010]  

Marnie Stern’s   new   single   has   a   childlike   quality   to   it.   She  opens  up  singing   line   by   line   as   if   she’s   forming  the   words   as   she   goes   along.   With   this   slightly   twee   and   juvenile  approach  more  of  Marnie’s  own  angst  come  out,   as   she   sings   “I’ve   got   something   in   my   soul/Pushing   me   to   hold   onto   the   pain.”   This   is   all   quite   a   big   change   compared  to  her  older  songs.  As  you  might  have  noticed,   not  until  now  is  there  a  mention  of  her  guitar  noodling;   the  default  opening  line  for  any  article  about  her.  In  fact   it   only   acts   as   a   backing   to   her   voice   and   is   so   toned   down   that   at   first   listen   it’s   barely   noticeable.   The   new   direction   is   interesting   and   probably   necessary   but   still   there   is   lingering   feeling   that   you’d   rather   the   excitement  than  the  introspection.    AS     ARIEL   PINK’S   HAUNTED   GRAFFITI   –   ‘Round   and  

Round’ [4AD,    2010]  

The recent  surge  in  interest  in  Ariel  Pink’s  work,  and  his   subsequent   album   with   Haunted   Graffiti,   Before   Today,   have   seen   the   reclusive   singer-­‐songwriter   and   one   time   apprentice   of   Animal   Collective   redefine   his   musical   palette;  as  is  only  to  be  expected.  In  this  revaluation,  his  

response to  acclaim  that  has  been  slow  to  arrive  (albums   over   the   last   ten   years   have   documented   closer   to   two   decades   of   composition),   he   has   retained   the   fundamental   sound   he’s   been   peddling   all   this   time-­‐   nostalgic,  dreamy  pop  music  hearkening  back  to  the  70s   and   80s-­‐   whilst   altering   its   delivery.   This   too   is   understandable:   if   AP’s   current   popularity   is   the   result   of   his   ambient/lo-­‐fi   earlier   efforts   making   their   influence   heard   in   contemporary   chillwave   and   fuzzed-­‐up   indie   pop,  then  his  riposte  is  to  strip  away  that  fuzz  and  haze   to   reveal   the   very   real   songwriting   talents   that   have   always   supported   the   sonic   ornamentation.   It   turns   out   that   a   cleaned-­‐up   Ariel   Pink’s   Haunted   Graffiti   track   wouldn’t   sound   out   of   place   in   the   more   stylish   corners   of   the   80s:   crisp   disco   rhythms,   a   tumbling   ‘Billie   Jean’-­‐ aping   bassline,   and   a   chorus   of   honeysweet   harmonies.   There   is   still   a   ramshackle   charm   in   the   deconstructed   bridge   with   its   strained   refrain,   and   Ariel   clearly   enjoys   the  chorus  a  little  too  much,  relying  too  much  on  it  in  the   second  half  of  the  song.  But  then,  that  is  just  a  sign  of  a   musician   confident   in   his   own   abilities,   and   it’s   a   confidence  well  earned.    SG     MICHAEL  JACKSON  FT.  AKON  –  ‘Hold  My  

Hand’[Epic, 2010]  

It is   with   a   cautious   sense   of   curiosity   that   I   approach   anything   from   the   first   of   Michael   Jackson’s   posthumously  issued  albums  (I’m  assuming  there  will  be   more   purely   due   to   the   unceremonious   cash-­‐cow   Jackson’s   death   has   provided).   Leading   single,   ‘Hold   My   Hand’,   sees   Jackson   performing   a   duet   with   Akon,   a   concept  that  initially  filled  me  with  fear,  but  remarkably,   it   works.   Jackson’s   vocals   are   as   floatingly   silky   as   ever   before  and  Akon’s  unsurprisingly  auto-­‐tuned  voice  seems   to   provide   a   slightly   gritty   but   fitting   counterpart.   The   entire   production   of   the   song   clearly   oozes   qualities   of   Akon’s   own   material   but   it   is   admittedly   jarring   to   hear   Michael   Jackson’s   voice   on   something   so   overtly   21st   century.   Whilst   nothing   particularly   special,   ‘Hold   My   Hand’  proves  itself  an  upbeat  if  understated  anthem  that   is   sure   to   linger   in   the   listener’s   memory.   With   its   sweeping   orchestration   and   soothingly   light   accompaniment,   ‘Hold   My   Hand’   has   a   certain   charm   despite   its   relative   monotony.   More   than   anything,   it   is   pleasant   to   hear   Michael’s   voice   on   something   new.   Still,   if   you   want   a   dose   of   classic   sounding   MJ,   you’re   probably   best   seeking   out   ‘Breaking   News’.     SK  

ALBUM REVIEWS   DNTEL  –  After  Parties  1  and  2  [SubPop  2010]   Jimmy   Tamborello   aka   Dntel   is   stuck   in   a   bit   of   a   rut.   In   the   late   90s   his   career   began   to   snowball;   first   hailed  as  a  pioneering  electronica  artist  he  gained  a  cult  following.  In  2001  he  released  his  first  full  length  under   the  Dntel  moniker  Life  Is  Full  Of  Possibilities,  which  featured  a  smattering  of  collaborations,  most  famously  with   Death   Cab   front   man   Ben   Gibbard.   This   one-­‐time   collaboration   turned   into   a   full   on   world-­‐beating   side   project   when  the  pair  released  Give  Up  as  The  Postal  Service  in  2003.  The  end  of  the  Postal  Service’s  tour  marked  the  end   of  Tamborello’s  quick  rise  to  fame  and  he  went  quiet  for  a  while.  He  finally  followed  up  with  Dumb  Luck  in  2007,   which   featured   a   different   guest   vocalist   on   every   track,   as   if   Tamborello   was   auditioning   people   for   the   next   Postal  Service-­‐esque  surprise  package.  Unfortunately  nothing  on  Dumb  Luck  reached  the  heights  of  Life  Is  Full  Of   Possibilites  and  Tamborello  retreated  and  has  since  only  released  demos  and  reworks  of  older  material  as  Dntel.   Now   Dntel   returns   with   a  pair  of   EPs;  After  Parties  1  and  2,  which  immediately  set  themselves  apart  from   his   previous   work   through   the   mere   fact   that   they   are   entirely   lacking   in   vocals.   As   the   title   of   the   EPs   would   suggest,  his  aim  here  is  to  create  something  for  people  to  dance  to.  Every  song  has  a  beat,  decorated  by  lightly   sprinkled  synths  and  the  inclusion  of  unthreateningly  looming  reverberations,  the  basic  ingredients  of  any  dance   track.  People  could  easily  dance  to  this,  my  doubt  is  as  to  whether  people  would  dance  to  this  when  there  is  so   much  else  similar  and  more  importantly,  better,  out  there.  The  beats  are  tame,  the  additional  instrumentation  is   boring  and  insignificantly  different  from  track  to  track  to  even  tell  them  apart.   The  definition  between  the  two  EPs  is  almost  indistinguishable,  although  After  Parties  2  takes  a  slight  step   off  the  dance  floor  to  venture  more  into  textural  electronica  akin  to  Pantha  Du  Prince,  and  has  relative  success  on   ‘Peepsie’  and  the  demented  funfair  electronics  of  ‘Aimless’.  However,  the  majority  of  the  tracks  will  have  listeners   wondering   whether   Tamborello   accidentally   put   an   early,   unfinished   version   of   his   tracks   on;   so   uninteresting   and   lifeless  are  the  tracks  that  you  can’t  help  but  feel  a  certain  lack  of  inspiration  went  into  them.   It’s  a  sad  state  of  affairs  for  an  artist  who  started  the  last  decade  riding  a  vibrant  wave  of  interesting  and   loveable   electronic   music.   However,   the   start   of   this   subsequent   one   finds   Tamborello   at   the   end   of   his   party   and   sadly  the  only  after  party  activity  that  these  two  new  EPs  are  likely  to  soundtrack  is  sleep.    RH  

JOOLS HOLLAND  AND  HIS  RHYTHM  &  BLUES   ORCHESTRA  –  Rockinghorse  [Rhino  UK,  2010]   Rockinghorse  marks  a  triumphant  and  stomping  return   for  Jools  Holland  and  his  Rhythm  and  Blues  Orchestra.   Their  first  album  since  2008,  the  record  is  full  of  variety,   from  rousing  big-­‐band  ballads,  to  cheeky  quick  steps  and,   of  course,  perfect  boogie-­‐woogie.   First  off,  I  must  admit  that  I  am  a  huge  Jools  fan  –  ever   since  seeing  him  perform  live  some  four  years  ago,  I’ve   always  had  a  little  bit  of  a  soft  spot  for  him.  Yes,  he  may   appear  to  walk  backwards  the  majority  of  the  time  and   bark  out  his  words  like  an  excited  terrier  but,  Michael   McIntyre  jokes  aside,  he  really  is  a  master  of  his  craft  –   technically  brilliant  –  and  his  enthusiasm  and  love  of   music  is  infectious.  In  a  genre  that  can  make  it  easy  for   records  to  come  across  blasé  and  “easy  listening”-­‐esque,   it  is  this  enthusiasm  which  imbues  Rockinghorse  with   confidence  and  personality,  making  it  an  engaging  and   fun  –  yes  fun!  –  listen.   This  is  helped  along  by  some  outstanding  guest  turns.   Michael  McDonald  gives  a  smoking  performance  in  ‘I’ve   Got  News  for  You’  –  my  favourite  of  the  album  –  whilst   Alison  Moyet  turns  ‘The  Man  That  Got  Away’  from   something  that  could  have  easily  turned  out  quite  cheesy   into  a  passionate  and  heartfelt  ballad,  bitterness  and   regret  dripping  from  every  syllable.  However,  it  is  Ruby   Turner  that  is  the  powerhouse  of  the  record  –  lending   her  magical  vocal  talent  to  three  of  the  strongest  songs  

(‘Roll Out  Of  This  Hole’,  ‘Remember  Me’,  ‘You  Are  So   Beautiful’),  fluttering  effortlessly  over  each  and  every   note.     Nevertheless,  the  album  is  not  without  its  faults.   Although  the  variation  –  on  the  whole  –  pays  off,  the   incredibly  high  standard  of  the  majority  leaves  certain   tracks  seemingly  out  of  place.  ‘London  Belongs  To  Me’  –   featuring  Essex-­‐duo  Chas  and  Dave  –  is  the  most   glaringly  obvious  of  these,  whilst  Rico  Rodriguez’s  reggae   ‘What  A  Wonderful  World’  works  well  in  theory,  though   isn’t  quite  pulled  off.     Despite  the  odd  blip  however,  Rockinghorse  is  a  glorious   comeback  –  marked  out  by  the  talent  of  its  contributors:   the  guests,  the  orchestra  and  Mr.  Holland  himself.    LD    

ALBUM REVIEWS   THE  BLANCHE  HUDSON  WEEKEND  -­‐  Reverence,   Severance  and  Spite  [Squirrel  Records,   2010]  

Darren   and   Caroline   who   run   Squirrel   Records   have   been   fighting   the   good   fight   for   a   while   now.   As   well  as  releasing  plenty  of  records,  they've  carved  out  a   distinctive   sound   with   their   own   bands,   Pop   Threat,   the   much   lamented   (by   me   anyway)   Manhattan   Love   Suicides,  and  now  The  Blanche  Hudson  Weekend.  It's   an  aesthetic  that  owes  as  much  to  Motown  as  it  does   to  the  Mary  Chain,  girl  group  pop  songs  run  through  a   filter  of  noisy  in-­‐the-­‐red  guitars  and  with  vocals  buried   behind   shoegazing   feedback.   This   album   collects   all   of   the   BHW   releases   so   far   (three   EPs)   and   adds   a   few   unreleased   tracks   for   good   measure,   and   it's   interesting  to  see  the  progression  from  the  first  (which   stayed   pretty   close   to   the   Manhattans'   template)   to   the  more  subtle  and  atmospheric  tracks  from  the  later   releases.   One   thing   which   sets   all   of   Darren   and   Caroline's   bands   apart   from   the   noise-­‐pop   masses   is   their   approach   to   songwriting:   I   get   the   feeling   the  

change from   most   fuzz-­‐pedal   bedroom   bores.   The   lyrics   are   also   better   than   most,   sometimes   talking   tough   and   other   times   sounding   tired   and   jaded.   It's   often   hard   for   this  kind  of  stuff  to  have  any  real  emotional  impact  but  a   couple   of   the   songs   here   do   that   quite   well   too.   Every   song   has   something   unexpected   and   interesting,   but   particular   highlights   are   the   unreleased   ‘Love   Vacation’,   which   the   liner   notes   seem   quite   apologetic   about   but   which  is  as  good  a  noise  pop  song  as  I've  heard  in  a  couple   of   years,   ‘Grip   of   Fear’,   from   the   latest   EP   Rats   in   the   Cellar,   which   sounds   a   bit   like   a   female-­‐fronted   Galaxie   500,  and  the  snippets  of  unidentified  film  dialogue  which   tie  the  tracks  together  (if  anyone  can  identify  the  hilarious   opening   phone   call   on   ‘Seven   Days   a   Week   Nightmare’   then  please  let  me  know).   Eighteen  tracks  is  usually  pushing  it  with  this  sort   of   indiepop,   but   because   of   the   stylistic   variation   this   compilation  flows  nicely  and  never  gets  boring.  So  go  and   buy  it  and  see  them  live  if  you  can:  with  their  past  history   you  can  never  be  sure  how  long  a  band  like  this  is  going  to   last.    ES  

CHRIS BROKAW  &  GEOFF  FARINA  –  The  Angel’s  Message  to  Me  [Damnably,  2010]  

This is  not  an  album  for  critics.  Partly  because  it  cleaves  so   tightly  to  a  certain  trope  of  musicianship  that  responses  to  it  seem   almost   conditioned   in   advance   anyway;   and   partly   because   it   doesn’t  require  a  critic,  so  much  as  a  friendly  pair  of  ears.  This  is  not   an   expression   of   personal   skill,   released   to   the   public   to   receive   judgement;   it’s   an   invitation   to   indulge   in   something   shared   and   unifying.   And   if   that   sounds   nauseatingly   twee,   then   maybe   Brokaw   and   Farina   have   hit   upon   the   notion   that   sometimes,   it’s   hip  to  be  square.       The  musicians’  trope  at  play  here  is  that  after  years  on  the   road,   rockers   will   wipe   their   brow,   sit   down   and   record   a   homely   album   of   acoustic   numbers.   These   records   are   breathing   spaces   for   the   artists,   and   whilst   loyal   fans   will   invest,   they   are   not   intended   to   form   part   of   the   accumulated   critical   capital   that   keeps   these   kinds   of   veterans   on   their   feet.   Basically,   the   musician   estimates   when   they   have   earned   the   indulgence   of   an   album   that   they   don’t   need  to  slave  over  in  writing  and  recording  terms.  I  personally  have  no  truck  with  the  underlying  concept  here,  that   everyone  must  eventually  take  stock  and  tread  water.       Yet  the  way  in  which  Brokaw  and  Farina  have  chosen  to  tread  water  does  invite  further  comment.  Both  are   indie   stalwarts-­‐   Brokaw   with   No   Wave   favourites   Come   and   later   Codeine;   Farina   most   notably   with   Karate,   later   Glorytellers-­‐  yet  this  collaborative  sigh  of  relief  is  a  collection  of  pre-­‐war  blues,  ragtime  and  country  standards,  all   played   out   on   blissfully   delicate,   duelling   acoustics   and   vocals   that   hang   in   the   air   like   spiderwebs.   This,   then,   is   a   more   altruistic   indulgence,   an   easter   egg   of   a   throwaway   album   that   seeks   to   engage   at   a   slightly   unusual   level.   Whilst  it’s  hardly  revelatory  that  these  hardened  musicians  are  fans  of  this  battered  and  authentic  pop  music,  The   Angel’s   Message   does   represent   at   attempt   at   a   dialogue.   This   kind   of   temporary   project   looks   to   establish   a   conversation  with  the  person  at  the  other  end  of  the  headphones:  here  is  some  common  vocabulary,  so  what  do  you   think?  Hence  why  this  is  not  an  album  for  critics  and  their  supposed  objectivity.  The  only  adequate  response  to  this   featherweight  contribution  is  a  personal  one.     Well,   then.   Brokaw   and   Farina’s   approach   shimmers   but   it   is   monochromatic,   and   to   my   ears   not   all   of   these   songs   benefit.   I   don’t   see   how   an   epochal   murder   ballad   like   ‘Stagger   Lee’   can   still   function   in   this   context;   the   violence  is  no  longer  even  inherent.  Likewise,  traditional  lament  ‘Oh  Death’  loses  its  power  as  an  instrumental  here,   the  sentiment-­‐  the  cold  sweat  of  mortality-­‐  completely  dissipated.  Ralph  Stanley’s  a  capella  version  is  far  superior.   On  the  other  hand,  the  bluegrass  number  ‘Ginseng  Blues’  is  sprightly  and  crisp  on  the  duelling  guitars,  the  melody   dreamily  delivered  to  belie  the  song’s  heartache.  And  there  will  hardly  be  a  more  affecting  version  of  ‘Make  Me  a   Pallet  on  Your  Floor’  recorded  for  some  years.  The  dense  tangle  of  picked  guitar  notes,  and  the  open-­‐air  feel  provides   a  gorgeous  backing  to  the  earthy  ballad,  with  its  refrain  of  ‘Make  it  down  just  behind  the  door/Make  it  sweet  baby,   just   behind   the   door/Down   where   nobody   ever   goes.’   A   fitting   centrepiece   to   an   album   whose   highs   and   lows   comingle  in  a  warm,  inviting  space.    SG  

ALBUM REVIEWS   ALEXISONFIRE  –  Dog’s  Blood  EP  [Roadrunner,   2010]     Although   Alexisonfire   has   joked   in   the   past   of   softening  their  sound,  even  going  so  far  as  to  say  they’d   start  a  fund  to  remove  fan’s  Alexisonfire  themed  tattoos   when  they  became  a  free-­‐jazz  band,  Dog’s  Blood  EP  may   be   the   heaviest   and   grimiest   collection   of   songs   they’ve   released  so  far.    The  first  thirty  or  so  seconds  should  be   sufficient   to   realize   that   this   album   was   released   as   an   extended   play   on   purpose.     Don’t   expect   the   usual   chorus   driven   anthems   of   angst,   but   do   not   discount   it   for   that   reason   either.   Dog’s   Blood   is   the   band’s   exploration   of   a   dirtier   more   feedback   driven   sound.   Dallas  Green  only  appearing  briefly  on  the  title  track,  and   instead  largely  makes  his  presence  on  the  EP  felt  through   some  brilliant  guitar  ‘soundscaping.’       The   sound   is   simultaneously   different   and   the   same  old  Alexisonfire  sound  you  would  expect,  almost  as   if   they   took   some   old   songs,   strapped   them   to   their   shoe   soles,   and   went   for   a   slogging   trudge   through   some   sludge   and   feedback.   The   title   track   starts   things   off   with   a   thud,   building   itself   up   until   the   beautiful   bass   run   halfway  through,  and  then  again  to  the  chorus.  The  final   two   minutes   are   thick   with   dissonant   chords   and   resonating  vocal  work:  finally  the  sounds  recede  into  low   bass  and  screeching  feedback.  The  next  two  songs  follow   along   the   same   lines,   dark   and   ‘black   as   jet,’   with   instrumental   passages,   breakdowns,   and   some   really   affecting   guitar   work.   Things   Alexisonfire   have   always   been   comfortable   with,   but   seem   to   have   taken   a   different  path  with  on  this  extended  play.    Powerful  lyrics   on  ‘Grey’  are  made  all  the  more  poignant  by  some  of  the   most  moving  lead  guitar  work  from  the  band,  period.       The  fourth  and  final  song,  ‘Vex,’  is  perhaps  the   most   ambitious   song   in   terms   of   its   experimentation,   blending   Alexisonfire   sensibilities   with   some   strong   post-­‐rock  influences,  and  stretching  the  reverberating   and   soaring   instrumental   on   for   a   full   six   minutes.   The   song   really   shines   through   for   its   divergence.   Despite   the   experimental   nature   of   the   EP,   a   caustic   cohesion   prevails  among  the  tracks,  and  some  new  sounds  that   could  be  effectively  explored  for  the  next  album.  ‘Dog’s   Blood’   is   immediately   notable   for   its   familiarity,   but   with   a   few   listens,   it   becomes   increasingly   difficult   to   pick  a  stand  out  track.  I  for  one  am  expecting  the  next   album   to   be   an   interesting   departure.   In   Dog’s   Blood,   howls  heard  from  miles  around,  definitely  not  an  EP  to   pass  up!    LL  

ALTER BRIDGE  –  AB  III  [Roadrunner,  2010]  

Alter  Bridge’s  third  album,  the  logically  titled  AB   III,  sees  the  band  inject  some  morose  tonality  in  to  their   hard  rock  sound,  presumably  as  a  result  of  the   apparently  “dark”  nature  of  the  album’s  concept.  AB  III   shows  the  band  indulging  their  more  metallic  side   frequently,  with  opener  ‘Slip  In  To  The  Void’  straddling  a   surprisingly  well-­‐executed  line  between  groove-­‐metal   and  melodic  rock.  That’s  not  to  say  everything  is   blisteringly  heavy  -­‐  after  all,  this  is  Alter  Bridge.    Whilst   the  album  doesn’t  quite  keep  up  the  intensity  with  which   it  starts,  the  songs  remain  hard  hitting  and  rarely  dip  in   quality.  ‘All  Hope  Is  Gone’  is  a  slowed  rocker  with  a   bizarrely  Celtic  vibe,  whereas  album  highlight,  ‘Make  It   Right’,  provides  a  mix  of  rock-­‐balladry  and  Jimmy  Page   styled  guitar  twanging.     The  band  are  clearly  focussed  on  getting  the   balance  between  melody  and  heaviness  just  right,  but   this  occasionally  results  in  tracks  suffering  from  split   personality.  ‘Ghost  of  the  Days  Gone  By’  fleets  between   delicate  verses  and  power-­‐chord  driven  choruses,  before   departing  in  to  an  almost  Pantera-­‐esque  breakdown  that   proves  ever  so  slightly  jarring.  Conversely,  ‘Isolation’  and   ‘I  Know  It  Hurts’  see  Alter  Bridge  achieving  their  goal  of   balance  more  succinctly,  with  the  heavy  riffage  brilliantly   juxtaposed  by  the  soaring  vocals  of  Myles  Kennedy.   Indeed,  Kennedy’s  voice  is  perfect  for  accentuating  the   melody  hidden  behind  the  crunching  guitars.   AB  III  is  certainly  quite  a  far  cry  from  the  band’s   earlier   material.  I’ve  always  been  rather  on  the  fence     about   A lter  Bridge,  but  AB  III  seems  to  cement  the  band     as  one  worthy  of  attention.  Whilst  the  album  can  drag  on   a  bit,  it’s  primarily  an  example  of  strong,  modern  day   rock  and  roll.  At  the  very  least,  it’s  deserves  a  good  few   listens  from  anyone  who  has  ever  wanted  unfashionably   long  hair.    SK  

LIVE REVIEWS   unbelievably   under   rehearsed,   which   was   later   revealed   true   Flylo   stating,   “we   have   only   practiced   together   for   about  20  minutes”.  Now  I’m  all  for  experimentation  and   improvisation  but  not  in  front  of  a  paying  crowd  at  your   only  London  show!  Thankfully  just  when  I  was  thinking  it   could  only  get  better;  it  did!     Flying   Lotus   stopped   taking   the   back   seat,   and   started  pumping  out  some  of  the  awesome  synth  sounds   he’s   best   known   for.   Dorian   Concept   looked   a   bit   confused   at   this   point,   sticking   around   only   to   try   even   Flying   Lotus;   arguably   one   of   the   most   more   miserably   to   play   something   over   the   top,   before   experimental  people  in  music  at  the  moment.  What’s  not   finally  leaving  the  stage.  About  time  too.   to   like,   I’m   excited.     Having   been   the   highlight   of   my     Once   Flying   Lotus   took   to   the   stage   and   started   bestival,   blowing   the   roof   off   the   big   top   stage,   I   was   putting  on  the  kind  of  show  he’s  famous  for  it  went  off,   looking  forward  to  checking  him  out  tonight  in  the  more   the  crowd  instantly  got  into  it,  everyone  connected  with   intimate  setting  of  Mornington  crescents  KOKO.     what   was   happening   on   the   stage   where   beforehand     Arriving   into   the   venue   around   8ish   it   was   some   of   the   crowd   were   starting   to   look   a   bit   already   about   a   quarter   full,   filling   up   to   almost   full   by   disinterested.   Suddenly   hands   were   in   the   air,   people   the  time  the  first  support  came  on,  such  is  the  reputation   were   dancing   and   having   a   good   time.   Flylo   himself   too   of   Mr   Lotus   as   an   influential   selector,   who   in   their   right   looked   like   he   was   having   way   more   fun,   looking   up   at   minds   would   want   to   miss   his   choice   of   support   for   the   the   crowd   more   and   generally   increasing   the   level   of   evening..?   This   support   came   in   the   form   of   Harmonic   interaction.     313   with   releases   on   labels   such   as   the   ever   influential     The   change   was   remarkable,   it   was   essentially   hyperdub  and  warp  records,  and  the  backing  of  Fly  Lo,  I   two   different   sets,   were   it   not   for   the   fact   that   we   was   expecting   this   to   be   huge.   It   wasn’t!   Don’t   get   me   overheard   two   girls   talking   about   how   the   first   half   was   wrong   it   was   a   very   good   set   put   together   by   someone   “Much   better”   I   would   try   to   claim   that   it   was   all   a   bit   who  is  obviously  a  very  competent  DJ,  but  that’s  about  it.     self  indulgent  for  those  first  40  mins,  but  evidently  some   The   personal   highlight   for   me   was   when   he   dropped   people  did  enjoy  it.   Apollo  9  by  Jo.       I   can’t   tell   you   which   songs   were   played,   Flying     By  the  end  of  his  set  the  venue  was  rammed,  the   Lotus  live  isn’t  about  that  kind  of  experience,  every  now   anticipation   of   the   crowd   was   evident   in   the   amount   of   and   then   you   catch   30   seconds   of   a   crowd   favorite   like   people   pushing   forwards   and   conversely   in   the   people   tea  leaf  dancers,  and  everyone  goes  crazy,  but  really  it’s   getting   irritated   by   this.   The   crowd   was   so   diverse   that   all  about  sounds,  and  the  emotions  they  conjure  up.     it’s  hardly  surprising  that  in  the  build  up  to  Flylo  taking  to     A   trademark   of   Flying   Lotus   (read   something   he   the  stage  there  was  some  tension  between  the  different   did   the   only   other   time   I   saw   him)   is   his   reticence   to   groups.  The  stoned  hippies,  the  hipsters,  people  here  to   leave  the  stage.  At  bestival  they  had  to  cut  the  power  to   dance,  some  to  stand  and  listen.     get   him   to   leave!   This   wasn’t   quite   on   that   level   but   he     As  soon  as  flying  lotus  took  to  the  stage  however   ran  over  a  fair  while,  by  repeatedly  promising  the  sound   all   these   differences   were   united,   a   harmony   swept   the   man  he  had  just  one  more  song,  before  playing  another   room   if   you   will,   everyone   united   by   one   common   love.   10   mins.   Whilst   its   awesome   to   see   an   artist   soo   in   to   Tonight   Flying   Lotus   was   billed   as   a   “unique   live   show”.   what   he’s   doing   it   kinda   just   made   me   think   that   I   wish   Essentially   this   meant   he   was   joined   by   Dorian   Concept   he’d   cut   all   the   crap   at   the   start   and   played   the   whole   on  keys  and  Richard  Spaven  on  drums.  The  drummer  was   show   the   same   way   as   the   second   half,   which   would   great,  no  issues  there  at  all.  It  was  the  inclusion  of  Dorian   have  made  it  AMAZING,  rather  than  just  good.       Concept  which  I’ll  take  issue  with.     When   Flying   Lotus   and   his   synths   and   electronics     Initially   it   was   great   Flylo   was   doing   his   thing,   came  to  the  fore  there  was  nowhere  else  I’d  rather  have   Spaven   was   bashing   away   on   drums,   Dorian   was   adding   been   on   a   cold   wet   Tuesday   night,   when   they   we’re   his   own   style   of   keyboard   jazz   styling’s   over   the   top.   doing   all   their   experimental   jazz   stuff   I   would   much   Pretty  soon  though  Dorian  Concept  really  started  to  get   rather   have   been   on   a   dingy   floating   out   to   see   in   a   on   my   nerves,   it   was   like   he   was   there   purely   to   play   bad   thunder  storm!   improv  over  everything  else  that  was  going  on.  This  went   The   moral   of   the   story   friends   is   this;   You   need   on  probably  for  the  best  part  of  40  mins,  although  by  the   Flying  Lotus  in  your  life,  he’s  one  of  the  most  influential   end  it  felt  like  forever  and  as  much  as  I’m  loath  to  admit   men   in   music   at   the   moment,   and   rightly   so.   Just   check   it   I   was   kinda   waiting   for   the   gig   to   finish   so   that   we   the  poster  before  you  buy  tickets  to  make  sure  it’s  not  a   could   leave.   YES   it   really   was   that   bad.   It   sounded   “unique  live  show”.    TRS  

Flying Lotus,  26.10.10  @  Koko  

LIVE REVIEWS   El  Guincho,  04.11.10  @  Cargo  

Upon entering   Cargo   for   the   night’s   entertainment   –   a   show   put   on   by   hipsters’   favourite   Spaniard   El   Guincho   –   it   was   evident   that   there   was   a   significant   Spanish   population   amongst   the   crowd.   This   European   influence   continued  on  the  stage  where  Porcelain  Raft  -­  a   single   Italian   named   Mauro   Remiddi   -­‐   warmed   the   crowd   up   substantially.   Armed   with   his   guitar   and   accompanied   by   a   drum   machine,   he   played   a   brand  of  dream  pop  akin  to  Deerhunter’s  recent   output.   Although   he   couldn’t   quite   reach   the   amount   of   depth   or   layering   of   the   Atlanta   band   he   did   have   a   good   try   at   reaching   their   volume;   each  harsh  beat  on  the  drum  machine  rattling  off   the  walls  until  the  thunderous  guitar  came  in  and   blanketed  the  beats  in  dreamy  metallic  resonance.   The   passion   on   Mauro’s   face   was   evident   throughout   especially   when   taking   a   time   out   from   the   louder   numbers   to   sing   a   ballad   which   culminated   in   the   repetition   of   the   phrase   “you   are  all  fools.”   Pablo   Diaz-­‐Reixa,   better   known   as   El   Guincho   took   to   the   stage   shortly   after   ,   looking   less   like   the   ultra-­‐cool   beat   producer   than   you’d   expect  and  more  like  a  Spanish  schoolboy;  smart   polo   shirt   tucked   into   sensibly   fitting   trousers   accompanied   by   cleanish   white   converse   shoes.   Flanked   on   either   side   by   a   bassist   and   guitarist   neither   of   whom   looked   particularly   flamboyant;   it  was  a  wonder  where  the  excitement  was  going   to  come  from.   The  trio  started  with  ‘Kalise’  and  the  vocal   build  up  into  the  track  left  the  crowd  on  edge;  “is   this  really  going  to  work?”  But  all  concerns  were   soon   vanquished   as   Diaz-­‐Reixa   picked   up   his   trusty   drumstick   for   the   first   time   that   night   and  

Fight Like  Apes,  18.10.10  @  The  Bull  and  Gate  

dropped the   first   beat;   the   energy   onstage   instantly  quadrupling  and  this  was  met  in  return   with   equal   measure   of   excitement   and   energy   from   the   crowd.   All   I   can   say   is   this;   Pable   Diaz-­‐ Reixa  must  have  some  serious  muscles  in  his  right   arm   as   he   did   not   stop   beating   his   drum-­‐pad   throughout   the   night;   like   the   puppet   master   he   commanded   the   beat   with   his   right   arm   and   called  the  tune  on  his  keyboard  with  his  left.  The   crowd   were   powerless   to   resist,   not   that   any   of   them  would  have  chosen  to  if  they  could.   Playing   heavily   from   his   new   album   Pop   Negro   the   highlights   included   ‘Bombay’,   ‘Ghetto   Facil’,   and   the   magnificent   ‘Soca   Del   Eclipse’.   Towards  the  end  he  dropped  in  a  few  more  from   breakthrough   album   Alegranza!   to   the   crowd’s   delight,   and   it   was   ‘Antillas’   from   that   album   which   was   played   as   the   encore   and   will   forever   rest   in   my   memory   as   one   of   the   most   fun   live   music  experiences  of  my  life.    From  the  first  beat   drop   of   the   song   the   whole   crowd   without   exception   from   front   to   back   were   jumping   around   in   time.   Diaz-­‐Reixa   and   co.   extended   the   song,   dropping   the   beat   several   times   over   and   each   time   the   madness   in   the   crowd   was   rejuvenated.   For   that   short   space   of   time   with   the   high   Spanish   contingent,   the   festival   feel   and   the   heat   in   that   room   made   me   feel   as   though   I   had   been   transported   to   a   small   bar   hidden   in   Las   Ramblas   of   Barcelona   where   an   all   night   fiesta   was  taking  place.  It  was  a  shame  that  it  had  to  end   so  soon.   On   the   night   the   steel   drum   sounds   may   have  been  synthesized  and  the  lyrics  of  the  songs   may   have   made   no   sense   to   me   but   emanating   from   the   stage   and   reverberating   around   the   room   was   a   real   unmistakeable   Spanish   passion   that  I  won’t  be  forgetting  any  time  soon.  RH    

Clad  in  matching  tracksuits,  tissue  bandanas  and  duct  tape,  the  earnest  faces  of  Fight  Like  Apes  come  onto   stage.  Indulging  in  an  opener  of  melodramatic  trumpet  synths  with  washes  of  cymbals  and  lush  bass,  you  could  be   forgiven  for  thinking  this  was  another  “next  big  thing”  indie  act  whose  sophomore  album  had  just  achieved  dismal   heights  of  pretension.  But  as  a  soft  beat  drops  in,  Pockets  begins  to  comically  exaggerate  every  note  on  his  keys   with  exuberant  movements  and  bassist  Tom  Ryan  shifts  his  feet  around  in  odd  contortions.  Smiles  break  out  in  the   audience  as  doubt  subsides  and  impressions  become  clearer.  Trying  anything  but  to  be  taken  seriously,  Fight  Like   Apes  are  the  anti-­‐pop  of  synth-­‐pop  and  the  counterculture  to  the  dreaded  NME  kids.       Imbuing  their  performance  with  the  same  energy  and  good  humour  as  their  music,  their  senseless  and   uncensored  capers  on  stage  are  really  a  show  in  themselves.    A  typical  up-­‐beat  bass  and  drum  crashes  in  and  lead   vocalist  May  Kay  collapses  on  stage,  defiantly  spitting  her  drink  into  the  air.  As  the  drummer  goes  into  a  frenzy  she   starts  to  dance  in  intense  convulsions.  Her  banshee  aesthetic  and  abrasive  screams  (a  la  Pixies)  are  often  known  to   strike  simultaneous  fear  and  attraction  into  the  hearts  of  listeners.  With  an  amused  smirk,  she  peers  down  on  some   of  the  misguided  moshers  and  asks  if  the  kids  are  done  playing  yet.  Moreover,  all  keyboardists  could  take  a  lesson   from  Pockets,  whose  key  fury  makes  even  major  chord  mashing  and  two  tone  melodies  as  transfixing  as  elaborate   piano  concertos.  But  beyond  their  stage  presence,  it’s  rare  that  bands  can  also  be  lauded  for  a  strong  ‘crowd    

LIVE REVIEWS   presence’.  At  the  height  of  their  randomness,  Pockets  cracks  out  a  ladder,  takes  it  to  the  floor,  climbs  up  it,  and   proceeds  to  bang  plastic  crates  together  with  May  Kay  in  the  song’s  build  up.  In  her  other  exploits  off  stage  May   Kay  was  either  dealing  with  the  irritating  ruffians  in  the  crowd  or  was  yanking  heads  over  to  the  mic  to  shout  into   it  with  her.       Unprecedented  banter  with  the  crowd  keeps  things  suitably  casual  between  songs.  Screw  ups  that  are  just   plain  embarrassing  for  most  bands  just  become  another  part  of  this.  The  awkwardness  when  your  guitarist  cuts   out  and  frantically  checks  his  cables  was  replaced  by  a  running  joke  made  from  Tom’s  pleadings  with  sound   engineer.  Similarly,  forgetting  to  bring  the  crucial  sample  for  the  song  everyone  was  waiting  for  wouldn’t  have   been  so  pleasing  if  not  for  their  half-­‐forgot  live  reconstruction  of  the  monologue  and  its  sarcastic  addition  “I  don’t   think  they  noticed”.  It’s  refreshing  to  see  a  band  that’s  not  afraid  to  break  the  fourth  wall.    After  professing  to   having  played  their  “last  song”  they  return  for  the  conventional  and  near-­‐tedious  encore  routine,  but  on  reaching   the  mic  May  Kay  lets  slip  “we  were  only  joking  anyway.”     Some  bands  are  live  acts  first  and  records  second,  while  others  can  struggle  to  muster  the  energy  to  make   anything  interesting  out  of  what’s  already  laid  down.  By  merit  of  nothing  but  their  own  efforts,  Fight  Like  Apes   have  made  it  to  the  best  end  of  that  spectrum.    OF  

Baths, 15.11.10  @  CAMP  Basement   D/R/U/G/S  aren’t  really  a  dance  act  at  all.  You   can  dance  to  them,  and  they  use  synthesizers  and   samplers,  but  they’re  too  progressive  for  that  term.  Their   explorative  electronica  has  its  roots  in  house  music,   gradually  shifting  between  phases  and  moods  rather   than  stopping  and  starting  completely  different  tracks.   There  are  times  when  a  hook  will  stand  out,  a  beat  will   dominate  the  low-­‐end  or  a  spoken  word  sample  will  float   around,  creepy  and  twisted,  but  you  don’t  need  to  listen   too  hard  for  something  to  hang  onto  in  their  hazy   psychedelic  canvas  –  D/R/U/G/S  will  draw  you  in.     Another  emerging  electronic  musician,   Becoming  Real  has  –  like  D/R/U/G/S  –  realised  the   potential  some  of  dubstep’s  sounds  have  for  being  used   in  a  different  context.  There  are  no  heavy  or  wobbly   drops,  but  instead  dark,  urban  sounds  evolve  constantly   with  shuffled  rhythms.  Toby  Ridler  is  an  active  stage   presence,  alternating  between  two  laptops  on  either  side   of  his  setup  and  an  array  of  dials  in  between.  When  he   strikes  a  groove  you  can  tell  he’s  enjoying  the  reaction  it   gets,  and  he  crafts  moments  of  unsettling  joy.  It’s   obvious  that  there’s  a  lot  of  thought  behind  the  sound,   and  unsurprising  that  the  desolate  in-­‐between  spaces  in   and  around  London  provide  much  of  the  inspiration.   What  is  quite  frightening  though,  is  how  someone  at  this   stage  can  get  the  atmosphere  he  wants  to  create  so  spot   on.     Will  Wiesenfeld  has  been  one  of  the  most  talked   about  new  artists  of  the  year.  Having  made  upbeat,  glitch   dance  music  in  his  bedroom  for  several  years,  it’s  as   Baths  that  he’s  finally  brought  it  out  into  the  world.     When  he  comes  to  the  stage,  the  21-­‐year-­‐old  pretty   much  admits  that  he’s  still  coming  to  terms  with  his   success,  and  finds  it  quite  terrifying  to  play  to  rooms  as   crowded  as  this.  Regardless,  the  music  is  just  as   endearing  as  its  maker,  and  his  obvious  excitement  at   playing  to  such  an  enthusiastic  venue  makes  his   performance  so  much  more  enjoyable.  He  sticks  mainly  

to the  songs  from  recent  debut  Cerulean,  going  falsetto   when  he  needs  to  and  relying  on  mixers  and  samples   when  he  doesn’t.  ‘Indoorsy’  is  an  early  standout,  with  its   distorted,  dreamy  vocals  and  highly-­‐strung  beats,  while   with  the  brilliant  ‘Maximalist’  he  really  shows  off  his  skills   in  production  and  MPD-­‐tapping.  He  also  plays  a  new   song  that  might  be  hinting  at  a  future  release  based  on   heavier,  sparser  repetitions,  but  that’s  all  he’s  giving   away  for  now.     Though  certain  songs  stand  out  above  the  rest,   the  overall  feeling  is  completely  uplifting,  and  there’s   barely  any  space  to  breathe.  Will  seems  to  want  to  join  in   with  the  dancing  at  one  point,  and  tries  to  lead  everyone   from  the  stage.  Moments  later  he  dedicates  ‘Hall’,  

Cerulean’s emotional  closer  to  “all  the  gay  guys.  What’s   up  gay  guys?”  Though  not  met  with  as  loud  a  response  as   he  might’ve  liked,  it’s  by  far  the  most  beautiful  song   played  tonight.  Looking  so  shocked  at  the  encore  shouts   at  the  end  of  an  understandably  lean  set,  you’d  think  he   wasn’t  prepared  for  one,  but  luckily  he’s  held  back  the   cutesy  ‘Animals’,  which  he  plays  with  his  best   impersonation  of  a  lion.    JB  

Titus Andronicus  are  a  band  renowned   for  their  punk  music.    We  wanted  to   find  out  if  this  same  attitude  was   present  in  more  than  just  their  music.     Under  City  Lights  caught  up  with  them   at  The  Scala  to  chat  ethics,  student   politics  and  music.  



+   +   +       Hey  Patrick,  how’s  the  tour  going?   It’s  been  a  great  tour,  probably  the  most  enjoyable   on  of  England  yet.  We’ve  had  some  bigger   audiences  than  we’re  generally  used  to  over  here   and  we’ve  had  the  hospitality  from  a  lot  of  nice   people  that  have  invited  us  over  to  their  houses   afterwards.  We’ve  made  a  ton  of  nice  friends.  So   yeah,  it’s  been  really  nice…  apart  from  the  cold.  This   has  also  being  the  coldest  tour  we’ve  ever  done.     Even  colder  than  back  in  the  US?   Dude,  it’s  cold.  I  think  it’s  colder.  I  don’t  even   remember  any  other  weather.     You  mentioned  sleeping  on  people’s  floors,  how’s   that  been  going?   It’s  nice.  Most  of  the  time  we  end  up  staying  up  till   some  obscene  hour,  talking,  laughing  and  learning   about  English  culture.  I’ve  learned  the  most  valuable   lesson  though  is  that  people  are  all  the  same   wherever  you  go  …  all  assholes..  .  JOKE.     You  sound  like  a  really  positive  guy  Patrick,  but   your  lyrics  are  sometimes  really  bleak.   Well  you  know,  if  I  didn’t  have  the  outlet  for  the   bleakness,  how  could  I  maintain  positivity?     So  it’s  some  sort  of  catharsis  then?   Well  I  dunno.  There  are  good  days  and  bad,  as  with   anyone.  Walt  Whitman  says  that  “contain   multitudes”  right?    So  you  can  try  and  find  good  in   the  world  even  though  you  know  there’s  great  evil.   You’ve  got  to  try  and  take  the  bad  with  the  good.   Though  the  bad  is  usually  worse  than  the  good  is   good.  Also,  how  could  I  not  be  feeling  up  right  now   when  the  seminal  UK  punk  band  Television   Personalities  are  supporting  us?  

How did  that  come  about?   Well  I  would  never  have  thought  of  it.  In  my  mind   they  should  be  headlining  stadiums.  But  Texas  Bob,   their  guitar  player,  friended  me  on  facebook  and   asked  if  they  could  support  at  our  London  show.    It’s   really  happening,  it’s  surreal.    It  was  kinda  fortunate   ‘cause  we  were  meant  to  be  doing  this  tour  with   Let’s  Wrestle,  but  they  had  to  pull  out.     How  about  Mazes,  do  you  know  them  at  all?   Yeah,  they  were  supposed  to  support  us  in   Manchester  but  they  pulled  out  as  well!  We  actually   met  their  singer  the  first  time  we  played  in   Manchester  2  years  ago,  and  he  gave  us  their   cassette  and  we’ve  treasured  it  ever  since.  Sadly,   they  couldn’t  make  it,  for  one  reason  or  another.     You’ve  got  them  here  at  least?   THEY’RE  PLAYING  TONIGHT?!  Oh  shit.  That’s  great   news.  Wow,  what  a  great  show.  Sweet.     Sure.    Can  we  just  talk  about  your  latest  record,   The  Monitor.    What’s  the  back-­‐story  to  it?   Well  it’s  about  the  theme  of  disunion  and   organisations,  communities  and  relationships  that  

are supposed  to  have  a  certain  amount  of  solidarity   but  actually  don’t.  We  just  end  up  pitting  one   against  another.  It  all  just  seems  to  me  that  it’s  just   people  trying  pass  the  buck  for  their  own  happiness   or  unhappiness,  trying  to  define  themselves  in   relation  to  one  another  rather  than  trying  to  define   yourself,  positively.  From  that,  the  Civil  War  is  an   extended  metaphor,  seen  as  that  was  the  largest   occurrence  of  that  in  American  history.  The   confederacy  vs.  the  Union,  that  was  pretty   disharmonious.  Though  it’s  pretty  much  just  a   different  set  of  clothes  on  the  set  of  problems  we   have  today.  You  know  what  I’m  saying?  It’s  also   about  me  moving  to  Boston,  which  I  did  a  couple  of   years  ago,  but  then  having  to  move  back.    It’s  about   all  these  things  and  more.     What  sort  of  musical  influences  did  you  have  whilst   making  the  record?   Well,  The  Television  Personalities,  you  know.  Big   Country  was  another  big  one.  They’re  a  Scottish   band  from  the  80s.  We  listened  to  a  lot  of  Trail  Of   Dead  and  Fucked  Up  in  the  studio.      

But you  seem  to  get  lumped  into  a  lot  of  indie-­‐type   stuff  on  sites  like  Pitchfork.  Do  you  feel  like  you   identify  with  any  of  that  really?   Well  I  identify  with  plenty  of  it,  and  listen  to  it,  but   nobody  likes  being  put  in  a  box.  It’s  cool  though.  I   guess  we’re  an  indie  rock  band,  to  the  extent  that   there  is  such  a  thing.     How  about  on  the  tour,  what  do  you  think  of  the   bands  that  are  supporting  you?   There’s  been  some  awesome  bands.  In  Bristol  we   had  Bravo  Brave  Bats,  they  were  really  an  awesome   band.  They  kinda  sounded  like  McClucsky  or   something.  The  other  night  in  Newcastle  we  played   with  this  band  called  Oh  Messy  Life,  they  were   really  great  too.  They  kinda  sounded  like  The   Mekons  or  Neutral  Milk  Hotel,  but  more  90s  alt   rock  or  something.     How  about  in  the  US?   Well  we  just  did  a  tour  with  Free  Energy  and  we   really  liked  those  guys.  You  should  also  check  out  a   band  called  Spider  Bags,  they’re  pretty  much  the   best  American  band.  There’s  also  this  great   Baltimore  band  called  Double  Dagger.  They’re  a   cool  3  piece  punk  band.    Also  check  out  my  man   Andrew  Cedermark  who  used  to  play  guitar  in  Titus   Andronicus.  He  just  put  out  his  own  record  that’s   really  awesome.    Me,  Andrew  and  Martin  from  Real   Estate  used  to  be  in  a  band  called  Library  of   Congress  at  college,  but  at  the  end  of  first  year  they   both  transferred  to  other  colleges.    Thusly,  Titus   Andronicus  was  born.     Talking  of  sleeping  on  floors,  you  seem  to  be  quite   into  the  DIY  ethos  as  a  band.    Is  that  true?   Yeah,  sure.  I  mean,  we  have  to  be  reluctant  to  say   yes,  because  there  are  a  lot  of  things  we  don’t  do   ourselves,  and  there  are  lots  of  bands  that  are  more   DIY  than  we  are.    However  it  is  important  for  us  to   break  the  fourth  wall  a  little  bit  and  demonstrate   that  we’re  regular  folks,  who  just  happen  to  be  in  a   band.  We  did  one  tour  over  here  where  we  just   stayed  in  hotels  cos  we  were  scared.  It  was  just   really  depressing,  everyday  just  felt  the  same.  It  was   just  too  sterile  and  inhuman.    And  you  know  we   have  to  keep  the  overhead  down  cos  it’s  expensive   to  come  over  here.  We  can  barely  afford  the  plane   tickets  let  alone  the  hotels  without  going  into  debt.  I     will  say  that  these  English  are  notoriously  cheap   with  their  fees…  Like  really  stingy  motherfuckers   most  of  the  time.  Compared  to  mainland  Europe,  

you guys  are  real  tightwads…  FYI.  But  it’s  cool,  it’s   just  funny  money.  I  reckon  we  might  just  break  even   on  this  tour  for  the  first  time.     What’s  the  plan  for  after  the  tour  finishes,  what   are  you  up  to  then?   Not  really  any  real  plans.  We  won’t  be  going  out  on   the  road  again  till  springtime.    Probably  just   rehearse  and  learn  some  new  songs,  hang  out  and   kinda  take  it  easy.  Mostly  just  refamiliarise   ourselves  with  our  civilian  lives,  spend  time  with   loved  ones,  sleep  in,  eat  food  that’s  not  from  a  gas   station.    

You’re missing  Thanksgiving  today.   Yeah,  that’s  true.  I’ve  still  got  a  lot  to  be  thankful  for   though,  like  the  Television  Personalities!  Definitely   better  than  a  turkey.     We  were  wondering  whether  the  band  has  any   sort  of  philosophy?    You’ve  mentioned  about  the   positive/negative  balance  and  you’ve  referenced   writers  such  as  Albert  Camus  in  songs.   Yes,  we  are  a  punk  band.  Sure,  we’ve  got  plenty  of   philosophies,  but  I  guess  the  big  one  is  that  life  in  an   absurd  universe  causes  people  to  be  mean,  and   people  being  mean  makes  me  sad.     We  were  looking  at  [guitarist]  Amy’s  blog  the  other   day  and  saw  that  she  used  to  be  in  Riot  Grrl  bands.     Do  you  guys  still  stand  for  those  causes?   Sure,  she’s  still  a  feminist,  I  hope  she  never  gives  up.   Caring  about  people,  that’s  all  that  is.  Just  treating   people  decently,  that’s  the  only  ideology  worth  its   salt.  Just  treat  them  like  how  you’d  like  to  be   treated.  I  mean  it’s  an  old  line  but  it’s  still  the  truth.   Old  and  cliché  as  it  is,  we  humans  still  haven’t  

figured out  how  to  implement  it  on  any  useful  scale.     But  hey,  what  are  you  gonna  do?   Thanks  Patrick,  good  luck  with  the  gig.     ES  +  DA What  are  your  feelings  about  US  politics  in   general?   I  don’t  concern  myself  with  that  stuff.  They’re  all  a   bunch  of  liars  and  swindlers  what  ever  side  of  the   stupid  aisle  they’re  on.  I’m  much  more  concerned   with  the  stuff  that’s  going  on  on  the  ground.  People   that  I  can  relate  to,  from  one  human  to  another.   That’s  where  I  think  where  people  can  do  the  most   good.     Sure.    In  the  UK  at  the  moment  many  people  have   become  disillusioned  over  the  Liberal  Democrats   [Explains  tuition  fees  and  university  story].    A   group  of  students  at  our  university  UCL,  have   occupied  one  of  the  main  rooms  in  protest.    Do  you   have  any  messages  for  them?   I’m  always  happy  to  see  the  kids  getting  excited,  but   it  sucks  that  it’s  about  money.  There  are  a  lot  more   important  things  in  this  world  than  money.  It’s  a   good  start  though.  I  dunno,  money…  fuck  it,  but  I   like  that  they’re  excited  and  standing  up  for   themselves.  It  is  bad  that  they’re  trying  to  take  all   your  money,  that  does  suck.  If  it  was  about   something  other  than  money,  I  could  be  a  little   more  excited,  but  I’m  still  pretty  excited.  Usually  in   America,  you  couldn’t  get  students  to  protest   fucking  anything,  unless  you  took  their  Twitter   away.  It’s  sad,  but  that’s  the  world  in  which  we  live   in;  ain’t  that  right  boys?  I  say  good  luck  to  those   students  and  get  what  they’re  after,  remember  how   good  it  felt  to  stand  up  for  themselves  and  maybe   they  can  continue  to  stand  up  for  what  they  believe   in  in  the  future.  Hopefully  they  won’t  just  get  their   money  back  and  go  on  to  being  fat  and  lazy  like  the   people  who  used  to  protest  all  the  time  in  America.   We’ll  see.    It’s  not  for  me  to  judge  even  though  I  just   did.     Finally,  on  a  lighter  note,  I  saw  you  had  a  little   funny  video  about  Kanye  West  on  your  blog.  Did   you  guys  make  that  yourselves?   Oh,  thank  you.    Yeah,  me  and  Eric,  the  drummer,   made  that.    We  were  just  staying  up  one  night   thinking  about  Kanye  and  we  just  hopped  on  the   computer  in  a  couple  hours.  We  all  really  like  the   new  record  and  have  been  listening  to  it  a  lot.    He’s   funny,  and  always  keeping  things  interesting.  He   believes  in  himself,  a  lot,  which  is  a  rare  thing.  He   dares  to  be  great.  It’s  always  nice  to  see.      

STORNOWAY After a  hectic  year  of  touring,  Stornoway  returned  to  the  capital  for  one  late   night   before   they   head   over   stateside.     Under   City   Lights   caught   up   with   them  for  a  chat  before  their  gig  at  Shepherds  Bush  Empire.     You  guys  have  been  touring  for  a  while  now,  how  do  you  prepare  for  live  shows?   Oli:  We  like  to  play  hacky  sack  before  a  show,  and  lots  of  stretching  as  well.   Rob:  We  started  our  own  yoga  class,  and  it  actually  felt  really  really  good,  better  than  if  we  hadn’t.     Do  you  have  any  memorable  gigs  from  the  tour?     Rob:  Birmingham  was  very  memorable  for  me.  My  best  friend  was  at  that  gig,  and  well  I  was  going  to  go   to  Birmingham  Uni  but  I’m  not  anymore.  It  was  the  first  gig  of  the  tour  so  it  was  a  bit  of  a  scary  one  but   the  audience  were  really  nice,  singing  along  to  lots  of  the  songs.  It  was  a  very  good  atmosphere.     You’re  off  to  America  soon.  Have  you  been  touring  there  before?   Oli:   We   went   to   New   York   in   July,   which   was   really   fun.   And   surprisingly   there   were   loads   of   people   there  who  knew  all  the  words  to  our  songs,  and  some  had  travelled  a  long  way  to  see  us.  Hopefully  this   time  we  will  have  an  even  more  established  audience  there.  

You guys  have  been  touring  for  a  while  now,  how  do  you  prepare  for  live  shows?   Oli:  We  like  to  play  hacky  sack  before  a  show,  and  lots  of  stretching  as  well.   Rob:  We  started  our  own  yoga  class,  and  it  actually  felt  really  really  good,  better  than  if  we  hadn’t.     Do  you  have  any  memorable  gigs  from  the  tour?     Rob:  Birmingham  was  very  memorable  for  me.  My  best  friend  was  at  that  gig,  and  well  I  was  going  to  go  to   Birmingham  Uni  but  I’m  not  anymore.  It  was  the  first  gig  of  the  tour  so  it  was  a  bit  of  a  scary  one  but  the   audience  were  really  nice,  singing  along  to  lots  of  the  songs.  It  was  a  very  good  atmosphere.     You’re  off  to  America  soon.  Have  you  been  touring  there  before?   Oli:  We  went  to  New  York  in  July,  which  was  really  fun.  And  surprisingly  there  were  loads  of  people  there   who  knew  all  the  words  to  our  songs,  and  some  had  travelled  a  long  way  to  see  us.  Hopefully  this  time  we   will  have  an  even  more  established  audience  there.     You  did  the  festival  circuit  this  summer  playing  the  big  ones  like  Glastonbury,  and  the  smaller  ones  like   Summer  Sundae.  Do  you  prefer  the  larger  festivals  or  the  more  intimate  environment  of  small  ones?     Rob:  Well  we  really  like  a  sort  of  intimate  atmosphere,  small  crowds  and  small  gigs.  But  definitely  playing  at   the  big  ones  like  Glastonbury,  the  second  year  we  went,  was  amazing  because  that  was  the  biggest  crowd   we’ve  played  so  far  at  the  Park  Stage.  Yeah,  both  of  them  have  really  good  atmospheres.   Oli:   The   thing   that   illustrated,   for   me,   the   difference   really   well   was   at   Glastonbury   we   played   the   park   Stage   at   about   5   in   the   afternoon   to   about   8000   people,   which   was   really   fun   and   exhilarating   but   also   nerve  wracking  and  we  had  some  technical  issues.  Later  on,  about  an  hour  later,  we  played  up  the  hill  in  an   unplugged   tent   to   about   60   people   and   that   was   what   I   preferred,   the   smaller   venue.   There’s   a   more   individual  importance.     Your  album,   Beachcomber’s  Windowsill,  focuses  on  nature  and  the  outdoors.  Is  this  a  theme  you  think   you’ll  stick  with?   Rob:   Well   that   theme   mostly   comes   from   [lead   singer]   Brian.   During   his   childhood   he   spent   a   lot   of   time   in   Ireland  with  his  family  by  the  beach,  and  he  just  loves  the  outdoors.  He  studied  Zoology  and  Ornithology  at   university,  so  a  lot  of  it  comes  from  him.  We’ve  been  described  as  nature  kids  before,  which  is  quite  a  weird   title   but   whether   that   carries   on   or   not   I   don’t   know.   For   future   albums   or   EPs   we   definitely   want   to   try   some  new  stuff.       Is  there  a  new  album  in  the  works?   Rob:  Ideas,  but  nothing  more.  I  suppose  we  still  want  more  and  more  people  to  hear  this  first  one,  even   though  that  had  been  in  the  works  for  10  years  before  we  released  it.  We’re  playing  one  new  track  tonight,   lots  of  ideas.     The   band   is   named   after   a   small   Scottish   town,   and   you   played   there   this   year.   How   did   the   crowd   react,   and  was  there  pressure  to  do  the  name  proud?   Oli:  They  were  surprisingly  friendly.  I  think  part  of  it  was  just  the  fact  that  we  were  named  after  their  town.  I   like  to  think  that  if  we’d  just  turned  up  playing,  I  don’t  know,  quite  generic  indie  rock  and  called  ourselves   Stornoway  they  wouldn’t  have  liked  that.  Instead  they  heard  our  music,  which  I  think  suits  the  landscape   really  well,  and  the  kind  of  desolation  of  the  island.  The  music  is  open  to  interpretation,  so  we  didn’t  steal   their  name  and  try  to  apply  meaning  to  it.  We  just  kind  of  used  it  almost  like  a  faceless  way  to  describe  the   music,  but  not  imposing  a  meaning  on  it.  I  think  they  appreciated  the  openness  of  the  ideas.    Rob:  We  also  supplied  them  with  a  lot  of  whiskey.          

Do you  think  you’ll  be  back?   Rob:  Definitely,  really  love  it.  It’s  a  beautiful  place.  They  don’t  have  any  bigger  venues  but  I’d  really  like  to   play  the  same  venue  again,  the  Woodland  Centre.  It  had  glass  from  floor  to  ceiling,  and  wood  panelling,  and   really  nice  acoustics.  Yeah,  we’d  definitely  like  to  go  there  again.       The  band  started  when  you  were  all  still  at  uni.  Do  you  have  any  advice  for  bands  at  UCL  about  juggling   work  and  their  music?   Oli:  Well,  for  me  personally,  I  think  the  more  time  you  can  spend  practising  an  instrument  the  better,  so  the   time  I  spent  at  university  was  time  away  from  my  instrument  and  I  feel  like  unfortunately  it  was  time  that   didn’t   contribute   much   to   my   music.   I   now   think   that   most   of   my   time   could   have   been   better   spent.   Although  I  got  a  degree  out  of  it  you  have  to  weigh  up  the  importance  of  the  degree  and  the  music.  My   advice   would   be   to   try   to   make   as   much   time   as   possible,   and   be   efficient,   and   get   at   least   an   hour’s   practise  or  writing  or  just  think  about  music  everyday,  so  you  don’t  lost  touch  with  the  whole  idea.   Rob:  And  listen  to  more  and  more  different  types  of  music.  It  happens  to  me  a  few  times  when  I’m  listening   to  a  completely  new  band  that  someone’s  recommended  and  I  hear  an  instrument  that  I  never  thought  of   playing,  that  kind  of  thing  where  it  inspires  you  to  pick  it  up  and  learn  it.   Oli:  I  think  there’s  a  lot  of  dead  time  at  university,  where  I  occasionally  would  just  sleep  when  I  shouldn’t   have   slept,   or   go   to   the   library   and   not   actually   do   anything,   or   sit   on   a   bus   for   ages   just   chatting   to   my   friends.  And  those  times  are  the  times,  with  technology  today,  where  you  can  pull  out  a  laptop  with  some   program  and  then  just  do  a  remix,  or  make  an  instrument  or  investigate  some  kind  of  idea,  just  using  the   dead  hour  in  between  study.     You   mentioned   picking   up   new   instruments.   Do   you   have   a   particular   instrument   that’s   your   favourite   that  you  play?     Oli:  I’m  trying  to  improve  on  the  double  bass  as  much  as  possible.  On  this  tour  the  double  bass  split  open   and  we  had  to  get  it  fixed.  I  basically  had  to  put  it  down  after  a  song  and  it  was  tangled  around  in  a  wire,  fell   off  the  stage  and  into  the  crowd.  Luckily  someone  passed  it  back  but  it  was  in  two  pieces.   Rob:  I’ve  been  learning  to  play  the  saw  on  this  tour  to  play  on  one  of  the  tracks  because  of  the  lack  of  a   Theremin  but  it’s  becoming  one  of  my  favourite  instruments  to  play.  You  get  lots  of  varied  sounds.     Well   thank   you   very   much   for   chatting   to   me,   and   good   luck   with   the   saw   and   the   rest   of   the   show   tonight!    AW  

BILLY BRAGG   What  do  you  think  of  the  rise  in  tuition  fees  and   education   cuts   being   put   forward   by   the   government?   Well,   I’m   sorry   that   the   Labour   party   brought   it   in.     But   when   they   brought   it   in,   it   was   their   way   of   spreading  the  burden  around  a  bit.    You  can  see  the   reasoning  behind  it.    What  the  Torys  and  Lib  Dems   are   doing   is   completely   the   opposite.   It’s   taking   the   burden  of  costs  from  the  financial  crisis  and  passing   around  society;  amongst  the  powerless,  the  poor,  the   young,   the   old,   the   people   who   can’t   defend   themselves.    I  think  we  all  need  to  step  up  to  support   the   students,   support   the   homeless,   support   the   disabled,  and  ensure  that  the  people  who  cause  these   problems,  the  financial  markets,  are  the  people  who   take  the  strain.     You   mentioned   labour   being   the   people   who   brought  in  these  fees  in  the  first  place,  and  you’ve   publically   supported   them   in   the   past.     What   do   you  think  their  move  should  be?   I   think   their   move   should   be   to   define   themselves   against  the  coalition.    I  think  one  of  the  problems  we   have   in   our   politics   is   the   amount   of   disenfranchisement   that   goes   on,   because   the   three   main   political   parties   cover   the   same   ground.     I’ve   been   around   at   the   Coalition   of   Resistance   first   conference   today.     They   just   put   forward   a   series   of   demands   against   the   cuts.     25   years   ago,   the   labour   party   would   of   put   out   that   sort   of   statement.     Now   the   labour   party   don’t   seem   to   be   there   anymore.     I   know   they’re   in   a   moment   of   transition   at   the   moment   but   I   want   them   to   see   them   taking   on   the   issue   of   cuts   and   make   sure   they   just   don’t   react   against  the  government’s  agenda.     One   last   quick   question.     Do   you   have   any   messages   for   the   student   occupiers   as   well   as   the   larger  general  student  population?   Yeah.     Just   remember   that   nothing   really   changes   unless   people   organise.     Whatever   your   politics   and   backgrounds  are,  you’ve  got  to  organise.    Then  once   you   students   have   organised   you’ve   got   to   join   up   with   other   people   in   society.     You’ve   got   to   join   up   with  the  trade  unions,  the  public  sector  workers,  the   unemployed   and   those   people   who   are   trying   to   make  a  difference.    You’ve  got  to  organise.    DA  



Mauro Remiddi,  under  the  name  Porcelain  Raft,  is   a  solo  Italian  residing  in  London,  who  makes  music   of  the  recently  revived  dream  pop  genre,  but  with   a  cynical  twist.    Although  he  makes  his  music  in  his   bedroom,   it   is   ideal   for   playing   loudly   in   large   rooms   packed   with   forward-­‐thinking   indie   heads.     His  music  is  available  free  on  his  bandcamp.  

STILL CORNERS   If  you  took  a  vinyl  copy  of  Nico’s  Chelsea  Girl  and  played   it   very   loudly   from   the   bottom   of   a   well,   you’d   be   getting   close   to   the   sound   this   band   aims   for.     Rachel   Goswell’s   femme-­‐fatale   vocals   pierce   the   dense   and   cavernous   instrumentation   provided   by   the   stoic   band   that  backs  her.  This  combination  of  70s  alternative  pop   and   contemporary   atmospheric   rock   will   tease   your   mind  for  days.  

DEAD RAT  ORCHESTRA   Whilst   many   bands’   sounds   could   be   described   as   “haunting”  not  many  could  be  said  to  be  genuinely  scary.   Dead   Rat   Orchestra,   however,   are   exactly   that.   Their   brand   of   post-­‐rock   is   built   mainly   around   lachrymose   violins,   sparse   drums   and   eerie   atmospheric   sounds.   When   they   also   add   vocals   which   sound   like   they’re   being   emitted   from   dying   men,   or   even   The   Angel   Of   Death   himself,  you’re  going  to  want  to  hide,  but  simultaneously   listen  in  to  this  band’s  perverse  beauty.    

Under City Lights - December '10  

Welcome to the new issue of under city lights!

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