Average is not the best you can do
st : Damo Suzuki : Grime
Paul Marshall : International Tru Leeds and West Yorkshire
Free Jan/Feb 2008
Tom Martin (The Deftones at The Refectory)
Ros Banks (Slow Club at the Rough Beats Festival), Sophie Barnes (Beirut at the Irish Centre), Sascha Boehm (Arctic Monkeys at Glastonbury), Adam Benbow-Browne (Whitehouse at The Brudenell Social Club), Rob Paul Chapman, Matt Gorecki, Stu Hudson (Gotan Project at Latitude), Chris Hutcheon (Liam Frost at Glastonbury), Jell, Tom Martin, Nelson (Tiny Dancers and Larrikin Love at Koko), Danny North, Sam Saunders (The Richard Thompson Band at the Irish Centre), Jake Seal, Eddie Short, Jack Simpson, Stephen Vigors (The Sunshine Underground at The Refectory), Kate Wellham (Klaus Thunder at Ilosaarirock in Finland), Rob Wright
Charlotte Watkins (I’m From Barcelona at
5 6 7 8 10 15 16 20 21 22 24 28 33 36 39
(and their favourite gig of 2007)
The Editor Rob Paul Chapman (Napoleon IIIrd + O Fracas + Middleman at Brudenell)
The Design Editor Tim Metcalfe email@example.com
Sub-Editor and Layouts
The Picture Editor Tom Martin firstname.lastname@example.org
The Founders Jack Simpson, Tony Wilby
The Advertising Department Tony Wilby (Noel Gallagher acoustic at the Royal Albert Hall)
email@example.com Jack Simpson (Revere at Trash / Interpol at Birmingham)
Magazine Editorial Campaigns Page Featured Columnist - Sam Saunders Rob Wright on a Year in Metal Napoleon lllrd Second Hearing - Your Demo’s! Paul Marshall Bradford / Wakefield news Far from the madding crowd Daimo Suzuki Grime Scene International Trust CD Reviews Live Reviews Vibrations Recommends
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Paying The Cost To Be The Boss “Waive your hands in the air, like you just don’t care” has to be one of the most ridiculous lyrics ever. Never mind the inanity of the couplet, it is also plainly flawed. I can only think of three instances that would lead you to have your hands in the air for any sustained period of time, and in all instances I think it’s fair to say you’d care really rather a lot: 1) You are being held hostage at gunpoint 2) You are under arrest 3) You are carried away with a moment of collective or individual emotion that has resulted in an almost involuntary thrust towards the heavens. Be that a sporting occasion, lottery win or on the subliminal instruction of a masterful performer. Being English, I very rarely go for the obvious outpourings of emotion that our Southern European cousins seem so comfortable with. Unless West Ham score that is, although this happens so infrequently that my otherwise carefully constructed demeanour is rarely punctuated. The last time I remember this happening was watching this issue’s cover star Napoleon IIIrd headlining the Brudenell. For those not familiar with the work of Mr. IIIrd, his traditional finale – Hit Schmooze For Me – is a song of such rich and monumentally uplifting sentiment and structure that the unity salute is physically and emotionally impossible to avoid. As such, when the chance to interview said artist for my debut editorial issue of Vibrations came about, I jumped at the chance.
This was one of the more straightforward tasks of constructing this issue. I have never edited anything before in my life and thus putting this issue together has been something of a hit-and-hope affair for me. And without meaning to come over all Gwyneth Paltrow (actually, I probably could have phrased that better…) I really couldn’t have done it without the help of the excellent team here. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did finishing it! Elsewhere in this issue, Stephen Vigors grapples manfully with the pint-sized verbal wrecking ball that is Neil Hanson with his International Trust colleagues. Sophie Barnes is charmed by Paul Marshall (with some truly wonderful photography by Leeds legend Danny North), Rob Wright reviews a year in all things Raaawwwwk, while the irrepressible Adam Benbow-Browne gets his hands dirty in the grime scene and much else besides. You’ll notice a few changes in this issue. Firstly, I’m the faackain’ Daddy naaaaah! And it’s my gaff, my rules. So that means more reviews, more record reviews and more demos. That’s worked out nicely as we’ve had some truly wonderful records come our way during the lifecycle of this issue. My personal pick is the blisteringly good Shatner album 13 O’clock, although it was run close by the offerings from iLiKETRAiNS and Napoleon IIIrd. Also, you’ll notice our campaigns page where we get excited or rather annoyed by various things we feel passionately about, plus there’s a new format for demo reviews in our Second Hearing section, where each issue a different writer will review each individual track in exactly 20 words after two listens. If you’re an artist or in a band we’d love to listen to your stuff, so please send it in (address below). Alternatively, if you agree/disagree with anything we say, get involved. We’d love to hear your thoughts. In the meantime, enjoy this issue and enjoy your music scene. You are what makes it tick. ATB, RPC
CAMPAIGNS PAGE BIG RAW AS LOCAL ACTION GETS A RESULT! It's amazing what a bit of community action can achieve. On November 11th I tuned in to BBC Radio Leeds to listen to Raw Talent on my digital radio. Middleman were scheduled. But they weren't there. Panic! I tried FM and they weren't there either. Something was going very wrong. I had to make do with web streaming. Not happy. Not for a live session. On Monday I spoke to the station's Managing Editor. He told me that technical reasons had stopped them using the DAB broadcast any more, and that the station would now be concentrating on its "core audience". I was shocked. Alan Raw the presenter and Katie Noone the producer had been running the two-hour programme from the Radio Hull studio for all of its five-year life. A new music stage at Leeds Festival and a link with BBC Radio One's Introducing network have been two of its real achievements. I put a message on the local web-based discussion board Leeds Music Forum. There was uproar. By the end of Monday loads of people were sending their own emails to Radio Leeds. A protest was rolling. By the end of the week an on-line petition had started. Then, by the 19th, BBC Radio Leeds had changed its mind. Emails came out to say that a recorded version would be broadcast to West Yorkshire between 7 and 9 on Monday evenings. Just two weeks after the first cancelled broadcast. A result! So, make a special effort to listen every Monday, and let them know you are listening. Leeds has a lot to offer the region - and Raw Talent is a crucial part of it. SS
WHEN WILL I SEE WU AGAIN…?
2008 sees the closure of Dr Wu’s – a bar that had acted as a hub of musical activity and general goodnatured frivolity on the otherwise increasingly and oppressively mainstream Call Lane. Founded by Steve Baker, the bar was diverse and welcoming, playing host to absolutely everything across the musical spectrum. Jazz, metal, reggae, hip-hop, indie and the legendary Acoustic Revolution Club on Saturday afternoons – it all happened at Dr Wu’s. It will be sorely missed by its many regulars and the Vibrations team. J
IF THE CAT FITS… Many of you will be aware of the excellent Cloth Cat Studio, which provides free music training and subsidised facilities for low income families. Unfortunately, due to funding changes, the group now needs to raise its own resources in order to keep the courses free. They do excellent work and provide a valuable service to the community, so we’d like to mention the “Friends Of Cloth Cat” initiative, where a small regular donation each month (from as little as £1), ensures they can continue to provide their services for free. You can sign-up on their website: www.clothcatleeds.org.uk RPC
DOCTOR AND THE MEDICS January 25th and 26th (you might just make it if you’re picking this issue up early doors), sees one of Leeds’ more colourful characters celebrating his 40th birthday. Dr. H (or Doc to his friends) is the poetry-spouting, leather trousers-toting, rugby-loving lunatic that can be found at many of the city’s venues, usually trying to get in for free. However, he has also done sterling work for numerous charities through his regular DocStoc events. The 25th and 26th will see him running DocStoc 24 and 25 in 5 all-dayers, in 2 days, over 4 venues, proving beyond all conceivable doubt that Doc is clinically insane. That’s 40 hours of music. Trash (Jack Simpson) & Zavvi (formerly Virgin – Die Plankton) provide the venues for Friday 25th while The Primrose (The Fret, Cursed Diamond), Zavvi again (4Letter Holiday, Mercia Drift) and The Brudenell Social (Shatner, Loqui, George Riley of 10,000 Things) provide the venues for the 26th. All proceeds go to the HBOS Foundation. Get involved. RPC vibrations 6
CLASS ACT Music for the masses? John Major’s classless society? Britain remains as defined by its ancient hierarchies as ever argues Sam Saunders, and it’s the Middle Classes still pulling the strings. Social class is not something you have. It’s the situation you’re in. It’s not an accent or a set of clothes - it’s more like part of a rambling building that you’re born into, where you live and die. A building with no accurate plans, where few people know even the vague shape. If you get born in the right part with a good view, with people around you who know the shortcuts and useful contacts then you are made. For life. Get born in a basement with a dysfunctional family, no access to the goodies and no route out and you could be lost for good. People do hack their way out but their places in the bowels of the structure are soon filled by others. The building doesn’t change. Rock and roll music is stuck in the same structure. Back in the bad old days of America, where rock and roll started in January 1956, the middle class (living in places with record players and pocket money) developed a taste for commercially packaged versions of the wild sounds of black, and white, rock and roll music echoing from the basements and outbuildings. Those raw sounds were being made spontaneously. But chancers like Tom Parker and big companies like RCA Victor used their position to buy up the people and the music cheaply, smooth it out and sell it to the new mass market at a profit (to themselves, of course) And then the Beatles came along. Not really working class at all - all of them had doors into middle class lives. One way and another they worked their way out of tricky childhoods right into parts of the building where the owners and managers lived along with posh George Martin - and they indulged their interest in art, travel, religion and literature that middle class kids take for granted. So, from 1964 onwards it became OK for musically talented middle class kids to look at rock and roll music, not just as a leisure-time escape, but as a long term creative project on a par with university or becoming an estate agent. And whatever people claim, the occasional working class token like John Lydon notwithstanding, the
typical English rock and roll heroes have been middle class. Strummer was a diplomat’s son; McLaren had small-business-owning bourgeois parents; Doherty is the son of an Army Officer and a nurse. Basically it just costs too much money and too much time for a kid on a fringe urban estate with a dying school, no contacts and dismal work prospects to turn their talent into a Fender guitar, a Marshall amp, a bunch of friends with money and time, and access to a rehearsal space.
The punk-pop, the indie post-math and noise bands are born middle class (white middle class) - acting out fantasies of a dangerous outsider life in the sure knowledge that their secure space in the ramshackle building of the class structure is being looked after by parents, contacts, the Student Loan Company and their surreptitiously acquired A Levels and degrees. Two years “on the road” for a promising band is really a variation on the 18th century Grand Tour (or gap year as it’s now known). It’s an experience to look back on. It even has a tiny but real chance of an income for life. And the 40 or 50 something parents are proud as punch at how cool it all is. So come on, rock and roll, where’s your integrity? Is it time to own up? Or is it time to get a real education at the bottom of the class structure where poor people, black people, migrants and damaged people have no choice but to live? How safe do you want to be? Who’s setting up community music resources in Seacroft and Gipton? Who’s getting their real musical education in the places where it matters in Chapeltown and Harehills? This is Leeds - not Surrey. Isn’t it time to stop pretending? Or at least to notice that partying is a weak response to structural injustice? Sam Saunders vibrations 7
HEAVEY METAL HEAVEN?
Rob Wright delves deep into the world of lank-haired, parent-hating, bat-munching to mourn the loss of some local greats and mosh about for the picks of 2008. For those of you about to Raaaaawk, we salute you… Interviewing White Boys For Gay Jesus at the beginning of this year rekindled an ember in me which previously I had thought was smothered by a new found interest in indie and math rock – my love of metal. Ah, metal, or Met-Al as it should be pronounced (with your fingers held thus and thus to represent the warts of Lemmy). What a year of mixed fortunes it has been for us in Leeds! Fortunately, Peter Wright, ex-White Boy and current Vessel was on hand to chew the fat re: all that has been heavy and heeeavy for the last twelve months. Before talking to him, I thought we’d suffered a few heavy losses, but it appears there has been what amounts to a rock-cull in West Yorkshire. First off, Nerve Engine decided to call it a day – hair was cut, tears were shed – Imposters bit the bullet and Eiger peaked and departed. Then, as the year wore on, Concentration Champ and Narcosis raised the digitus impudicus and turned up their toes. But the most surprising folds of the year go to zombiecoresters Send More Paramedics, due to advanced necrosis, and ‘so good they named it thrice’ Whores Whores Whores. Having seen those two in action, resignation came as a bit of a shock – where am I gonna get my onstage zombie action now? It’s an ill wind that blows some good, because though White Boys have lost Peter, they’ve gained Eiger’s Matt, now renamed coy boy – does this herald a cover of ‘Too Shy?’ It’s not all been doom and gloom though, as there have been some fairly major releases and events to put a smile on the face of the melancholy mosher. Humanfly released their second album, conveniently titled
‘II’ and displaying aspects of post-metal maturity, Red Stars Parade pulled their fingers out and got around to recording something, White Boys For Gay Jesus put the finishing touches to ‘White Boys For Black Lizzy’ and Whores x3 released a split with Omerta (they hate everything, doncha know?) before, ironically, splitting. Eventswise, the Brudenell as ever proved to be an epicentre of heavy happenings. St Patrick’s day was marked by members of White Boys, Los Bastardos and PartTime Renegades playing tribute to Rage Against The Machine, Primus and Meshugga – it’s what the ol’ snake-chasing Welshman would have wanted – Shutfest, courtesy of Shut magazine, added a bit of much-needed heat to August with sets from Narcosis, Red Stars Parade, Year Of The Man and EDT, to mention but a few – just a quick mention about EDT: their sets are approximately 5 minutes long, so this year they have played about half an hour – and Rocktoberfest added a bit of autumnal agitation, headlined by Mishkin and Tangaroa. As an aside, Mishkin went the other side of the wall and toured China this year, while Humanfly got funny on Sangria and anarcho-communist pipedreams in Spain and Portugal. I guess you can have too much Brude…
Contrary to reports that Leeds hasn’t got the venues to host the biggies, 2007 had seen visits from such notaries as Down I Go, Take A Worm For A Walk Week, Locust and the cataclysmic Unsane. Not only that, but Bossk have decided to up sticks and move here. If that’s not voting with your feet… oh, it is. So that’s about it – apart from Rio’s moving from Bradford to Leeds. That’s pretty metal. At time of writing, 2007 is all over bar the shouting – and there’ll have been plenty of that at Paul Graham’s end of year metal party on the fifteenth. Now, let’s look forward to 2008. Town and Country, anyone?
Close Encouters Of the Third Kind
The one-man reel-to-reel creative colossus talks tower block, tube trains and billboards. Oh, and that rather exciting second album. “If you’re only going to like one style of music, make it good music!” he advises Rob Paul Chapman As a profession, journalism shares much in common with contract killing. Neither are proper jobs, although in fairness one is significantly better paid. The hours are anti-social, if people find out what you actually do for a living you’ll notice the party invites dry up fast, and crucially, both industries require a steely emotional detachment to the subject matter.
Enough to make you wonder why Brian Wilson never worked this way. He could have fired Mike Love, remained mentally intact and knocked Smile out in a couple of weeks.
Imagine the great pieces of journalism that spring to mind: Michael Burke in Ethiopia? The work of Henry Weinstein? To do the job that needs doing, distance is essential, which is presumably what led Elvis Costello to utter his most memorable quote that “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture”.
“It has gone a bit mental a couple of times, although I’ve found that cleaning it helps, however most of the times when it’s gone “wrong” it’s been my fault. I forgot to load Guys In Bands onto it once. I was just standing there on stage with about 3 minutes 30 of nothing coming out!”
I know this to be true, because when you take something which is equal parts subjectivity and passion, and try to distil that into something objective and even minded, you inevitably fail. This is why music journalists are not proper journalists and why we would all, inevitably, make rubbish contract killers. Hell, most of us would make rubbish contract cleaners. This also explains why we are now on paragraph four and I’m yet to even mention this interview’s subject. This is because I am incapable of being objective about a man I consider to be a genuine genius. (See?) And as such, I thought Paragraph One, Sentence One was an inappropriate place to start fawning and cooing in a 1500 word article. But now I’ve killed off around 250 words that would seem a suitable buffer. So let the unmetered sycophancies begin: Firstly, the background. Napoleon IIIrd is a bloke not a band, although more on that later. He plays guitar and various antique synthesisers. So far, so unexceptional. However, he has two highly distinct USPs: 1) On stage with him at all times is an antique reelto-reel machine. 2) The music loaded onto said device is amongst the most spectacularly wondrous multi-layered sonic architecture you are ever likely to hear.
“I’m aware that the reel-to-reel is something of a signature. People see it on stage and know that it’s Napoleon IIIrd.” He says, referring to himself in the third person, which under normal circumstances would be utterly grating, but given that the contrast between man (down-to-earth, funny, chatty) and music (other-worldly, spiritual, moving) is so extreme, this seems perfectly acceptable and entirely natural.
This anecdote of human fallibility seems appropriate. It is easy to forget that these painstakingly detailed backdrops are loaded onto a blank canvas by an actual human being rather than beamed down via lasers by a crack team of spiritually heightened and musically virtuosic aliens. It is reassuring however, that the craftsman-like methodology is far from predictable. “I like to see things in three dimensions” He says. “Like building tower blocks around the vocals in the middle. I write in the studio because I like the feeling of just being able to pile on the noise. I like surprises, so it’s always like: Right – what shall I put next? I look at it like painting a picture. I know that’s a terrible analogy! But it’s an organic process, not from any one particular place”. This thinking can now finally be digested in Long Player format on the outstanding debut album In Debt To (reviewed in this issue), that was “launched” months and months ago, but has only recently turned up in shops due to “sorting out the distribution”. A process that he describes as “Immensely frustrating. Everything takes twice as long as people say it’s going to, so the timeframes double. I don’t understand how anything ever gets done in the music industry” It has, in classic journalistic cliché style, been well worth the wait. A staggering collection of soundscapes and slogans that sound like vibrations 11
they’re being issued by the Gods in commandment form. Songs like Hit Schmooze For Me and Defibrillator, despite their unusual sonic construction, talk to the head and the soul in equal measure. They send the kind of rush through your body that make you want to grab the nearest person, form a union and immediately get to work on making the world a better place, starting with putting this album on the national curriculum. But it only works so effectively because underneath the minutia packaging beats a pure pop heart.
“I write classic style pop songs” he agrees “I just like messing with the arrangements. I don’t feel I really pushed the song writing element on this album, I concentrated on really pushing the arrangements and production, but I’m planning on really tackling that side of things on this next album.” “I’m very much into Phil Spector. I appreciate that’s not a very cool name to be dropping right now, but I do appreciate what the murdering Phil Spector* did for music!” With the exception of a pending murder trial, it would seem that Napoleon IIIrd has a lot more in common with his musical hero than meets the eye: “I think people would be surprised what I listen to” he continues. “I don’t know what my influences are. I can take influence from anything from dub to metal to the sound of a tube train pulling into a station. I am influenced by any type of noise. If you’re only going to like one style of music, make it good music!” And of the potent lyrics that pepper these Wall Of Sound collages he seems to take a similar openminded approach: “I keep a series of note books. I write down single phrases that I think of, or things I hear people say or even something I see on a billboard or something that I like the sound of. It’s about pulling together lots of phrases and putting them altogether to get something I like”.
scared of taking risks, especially daytime radio 1.” It’s a shame, because get beyond the initial sound being slightly unusual – what makes it instantly interesting to the cultured ear – there is plenty here to appeal to the kind of person who metaphorically wakes up with Chris Moyles in the morning. Rousing stories of dead-end jobs, street scuffles and hope, all wrapped in digestible packages distilled from brilliance concentrate. If bigger things are to come, it looks likely to be achieved the long way round. “You’ve got to build from a small basis. The way bands used to, but it rarely happens anymore. Now bands that are going to be big are already big by their first album and have normally disappeared by their third. But it can be done. The Cribs are a perfect example. They’re on their third album now and are starting to get serious recognition, but no one cared about the first album” For now though, there is excited chatter about album number 2 which he is beginning in January and the next phase of Napoleon IIIrd as a live proposition. “I’m setting up a more permanent band” he enthuses “but I’m also going to be using a lot more reel-toreels, I’m on the lookout for five at the moment! “ With the 12-piece-band set at the Leeds Festival 2006 still fresh in the memory and scoring highly in all time favourite gigs by local artists on forums everywhere, this is particularly enticing. “We’ll know where we are by the end of January” he says. Fingers crossed, 2008 will be the year of the Napoleon invasion. Rob Paul Chapman *Not actually convicted of anything at time of writing. Mr. IIIrd was joking.
Despite initial press rumblings that Napoleon IIIrd may be well-placed to pose a genuine threat to the mainstream mediocrity, with enthusiastic notices in the national broadsheets, the tastemakers in the mainstream have proved predictably reserved. “I appreciate that this album is not very “now” sounding. It doesn’t sound like some bloody awful guitar band or R&B act, but I did actually think it might happen. I was expecting it not to, but it’s still disappointing. Mainstream broadcasters are just so
S YOUR DEMO
Your CD-Rs deserve a second listen. So, we’ll listen twice (and twice only) and then type. 20 words per track The Avenues
Berthold’s Prayer / Frilbourg’s Got The Blues:
B - Treble O -M:
Angels singing with a plunky guitar, while shaking a tambourine to a Shopping Mall Song. With a Mexicali middle eight.
Dugga dugga dugga ... splatter rap lyric, sharp trumpet. The fierce pace dips here and there but this is real quality.
Another Dirty Horse on Parade:
Yee hah thigh-slapping clapping time! One small step into mankind’s giant leap. With trumpets. And nah nah nah nah noos.
Lovely big dub bass and slavering guitar. Mute in the big brass, Peter Gunn-style, hammering out that phrase from Paganini.
It’s the freaky bar in Star Wars. It’s a chant. It soon disappears. It doesn’t need all its 20 words.
Gunshots and rim shots make like a scary movie mashup of Jamaican Bollywood in Chicago with a Yorkshire accent.
Comin’ Home Again: Electric piano struggles to be romantic. Cheese with great harmonies. John Denver and Chris de Burgh have loads of fans.
She’s my Girl / When The Sun Goes Down: The Cars reverse into The Archies for doing a smart homage to “My Best Friend’s Girl”. Hardly anyone gets hurt.
Mom Mon No.1 The King of the Slums: Some funky blues voice does a hip jazz thing from way up north where they still have slums and guitars.
Michael: Is more rock and roll guitar band, with multirepeat percussive chords and spindly sharp solo guitar.
Oooh! It’s a Beatles opening with a Beach Boy middle, Muppets on floor toms. Brian Wilson kicking sand. Trombone alert.
Saturday Night in the Swim:
Another change, another stubborn riff. Musique noire for tore down northern boys, on the run from selfknowledge and the law.
Smash bang Townshend ripping guitar chords, punky double tracked vocals, whizzed along on steroidal rock roller skates. Eureka, found it!
Being Good: Big Boys are doing it together! Big drums are keeping it denim and leather! Ace riffs for the rock masses.
The Story of My Life: Who? This man loves tunes, fancies American fans and is fluent in beer drenched rock pop n roll. It’s immense.
Red Wine Smile: Sparks? Monster production with a 70s theme and muscular guitar. Oh hello! Kitchen Sink arriving! The boy totally cleans up.
Races away on bass and counting with a backbeat. Eventually gets going, rawly voiced and drum dominant, into cool confusion.
The Call Missing Pieces: Bright guitar band sound with a throaty voice and a Springsteen aesthetic. Breezeblock construction, hard hats and narrowed eyes.
Something Good: Here’s the driving song: hands on the wheel; foot to the floor; girl by your side. Guitar solo needs rewriting.
Outside the Lines:
This could be Montana, this could be Idaho. The cheerleaders, the popcorn. Oh the yearning teens … this is lustrous stuff.
Darker skies, ominous instrumental guitarage, meandering a bit. Will the storm break? Will it? Will it? Ahhhhh, nearly. So nearly.
In The Silence: OK, we have the story. We have the girl. We wanna punch the air and whoop into a dark sky.
The Bigger They Are:
This issues Second Hearing was by Sam Saunders Fancy your chances in the court of the second hearing? Send your demos with a covering note to us at : “Second Hearing”, Vibrations Magazine, 9a Albion Street, Leeds, LS1 5AA
A phlanged acoustic twelve string? Jimmy Page off on one? It goes contemplative and comes back with a decent chorus.
l l a h s r a M l Pau
The singer-songwriter wh o doesn’t like singer-songw riters, and the man who is definitely not the Fred Durst of Folk, OK ? “I hate acoustic nights with a passion” he tells Sophie Barnes “If I ge t to support Neurosis or somebody ma ssively heavy metal I don’t see that as a problem personally” We start with my Dictaphone emerging from an old sock, something which AV engineer and all round technical whiz, Paul Marshall, admirably takes in his stride. Marshall’s songs of desperation, longing and bitter disappointments hardly follow the safe and well-worn tired “Baby you’re so beautiful” path of your generic singer-songwriter. It is less the sound of strumming, rather expertly grappling with his acoustic guitar. Judging by his songs alone you might expect a retiring, gloomy character but I’m greeted by a warm, friendly, gregarious fellow who immediately begins by saying “I’ve been warned not to talk about horse’s cocks”. And so the interview begins… Marshall proves from the off that his musical taste is far from predictable. As he says himself “I put what I do and what I listen to in extremely different corners. I just got Napoleon IIIrd's album. He was somebody that I was never sure if I was going to like, but I just can't get enough of it. I listen to that album nearly everyday and it feels like a hypnosis tape to make you feel confident about yourself before you go to work every morning. Apart from him I’ve been listening a lot to this band called Devastation who I really like.” His eclectic taste seems to help his own music evolve. As he puts it: “It keeps my mind open. I get compared to Nick Drake all the time, it's not a bad thing because I absolutely love Nick Drake, but it's subconscious because I listen to more metal and heavier music than I’ve ever listened to before. It’s just weird that it's now that it sounds like a Nick Drake kind of sound. I’m fascinated by lyrics. I like telling stories and playing with words. That's another thing that gets my goat, bad lyrics. You can sniff out the person who’s written a lyric because they couldn't be arsed to think of anything better.” Less a tortured artist, more a talented musician with a stringent work ethic and high standards. “I’m stupid for that, it's got worse as I’ve got older. I used to be able to reel songs off and be really prolific but for the last album I took four months over one song
and at the end of it you come out of it thinking ‘was it worth it?’ but at the same time it's whatever makes you feel comfortable when you play it. That's the only way I can work. I won't be expecting album two for a couple of years because I won't be able to write enough songs in that time.” “I’ve been in bands but there's always been this weird underlying thing where it's been about what I write on my own, so therefore it was never really my intention to be solo, it's that when I started playing I’d moved up north to a town where I didn't really know anyone and I couldn't even play guitar at that point and I just automatically started writing songs on my own because I had no one else to write with. It all sounds very sad I know but at the time I just didn't know any other musicians and then by the time I’d moved to Leeds I’d already written loads of stuff on my own, although now I look back and it all sounds absolutely awful. I just thought that came very naturally to me because I’m so used to working on my own. I guess I’ve just become a little bit more introverted as I’ve got a little bit older. But I do miss that being able to go balls out. For some reason that really loosens up my brain and then when I’d come home from those gigs ideas would automatically come out because my brain wasn't thinking about it.” “There's a couple of things I get annoyed about… “ Here is where Vibrations photographer Tom interjects with Marshall’s newly awarded nickname ‘The Fred Durst of Folk‘, grimacing slightly he elaborates: “It's hard because I don't want to be… I don't listen to much singer-songwriter material ever really. There's the odd person who jumps right out at me who I love but I don't generally like the whole singer-songwriter vibe. I don't like acoustic nights, I hate them with a passion, when I say acoustic night I don't mean a night which features only acoustic artists I mean the third Tuesday of every month at our local pub we have a music night and you're invited to play a set of an hour in which you can do one or two of your own songs but mainly covers.
Special thanks to Danny North for Paul Ma rshall photography vibrations 17
I can't stand it. And then people’s workmates turn up and they could sit there and fart into the microphone and all their mates would go 'yeah, fuckin yeah, how amazing was that, he's so good in't he?' I want to play good shows, shows where people are paying to come watch good music that they’ve heard or not heard before so therefore you're reaching out to particular new people all the time rather than just playing for your parents and friends. It's not like a big political endeavour I just love playing and if it happens to be that I get to support Neurosis or somebody massively heavy metal I don't see that as a problem personally. I see that as ‘I can't believe I get to play with Neurosis’, not ‘it's going to be a bit weird with me playing acoustic’. The thought crosses my mind but I just I like to think of music as being something that you either love or you don't so therefore if you like music you'll want to see a variety on the bill.” We get into a hearty back slapping conversation over the wealth of talent sprouting from all nooks and crannies in Leeds currently. “The music scene in Leeds is ridiculously good to be fair, let's not pull any punches. I think there's too much talent for the walls of the city to handle. But it's a shame it all has to gather in one place. Bands-wise there's These Monsters who I’ve played loads of shows and with and I absolutely adore them and I love their music, Wintermute, Napoleon IIIrd, Fran Rogers, Benjamin Weatherill, all the Partisan guys, I love all of their solo stuff, we could be here all night. It can be a bit
cliquey sometimes but then so can any ‘scene’ “. He recounts how he has progressed musically, reminiscing over childhood hours of concentration: “The weirdest thing is I learnt piano when I was a kid, I’ve technically played piano longer than I’ve played guitar. I learnt piano from the age of about 9 or 10 but then I didn't start playing guitar till I was about 19 so the weirdest thing is guitar is easily my first instrument. I can play guitar 10 times better than I can play piano. I just got bored of playing piano I used to have to read music you see, when I did that and I’ve got a real aversion to reading music. I don't like feeling trapped by it, it all came from the time when I was a kid and I was looking forward to playing a certain song that I already knew and the thing was I started playing it and I got carried away by playing it the way I heard it instead of reading the music and I kept getting a metaphorical slap on the wrist from my music teacher. But to this day I don't understand a single part of guitar tablature. If somebody says ‘can you get me the tab for this song?’, I wouldn't know where to start, I haven’t got a clue. It's all just the way it sounds for me, it's not intentional it's just the way I roll.” he comments with a self-deprecating grin. I’m left with the distinct impression that which ever direction Marshall chooses to take, musically or otherwise, he’ll do so with good-natured geniality. Whoever really believed that nice guys finish last? Sophie Barnes vibrations 18
Bradford Wakefield Our Man Daahn Saarf Stephen Vigors – Brings us the news and views from the Portaloos of Wakefield. Involves booze, blues and, err, rhubarb.
Way Out West Ros Banks – our resident authority on all things cultural emanating from the West Country – finds that Bradford is a mean old scene Smokie… Terrorvision… New Model Army… That bloke who wrote the Wombles theme tune… Bradford has its own special place in musical history. Too often considered the urchin cousin to spangly Leeds, Bradford has its own idiosyncratic charms and is currently teeming with musical talent. Monty Casino, This Et Al, Wilful Missing, New York Alcoholic Anxiety Attack, Laura Groves, to name but a few. The main obstacle to the Bratfud scene is a lack of music venues, meaning that the best of homegrown don't get to play in the city as much as they should. However good the venues are, gigging round the same miniature circuit can get a bit tedious. Think Scalextric… But back to basics. If you're reading this, chances are you live in Leeds, and you might need a guide to escort you round Bradford's dark and dirty streets. So place your chip 'pon your shoulder, and let me take you by the hand… not that hand, that's reserved for my pint of mild. First up we have the golden triangle of gig-holes: Delius (resolutely indie with haircuts a-plenty), Gasworks (filthy rock, piercings), and the Love Apple (Bradford's biggest venue in terms of its band-list – pull a crowd at the Love Apple and you're onto a winner). There's also the university, which is starting to put gigs on again after a lengthy hiatus; St George's Hall if you're feeling flush, and the under-promoted 1in12 club, Bradford's very own anarchist meeting place, hidden down a dodgy looking side street, and showcasing an eclectic mix of talent from the hippiest of muesli-knitting singer-songwriters through to the most earbleeding of hardcore punk. Catch a bus and there are venues throughout the district showcasing local bands and putting on quality jam nights.
Wakefield's Louder Than Bombs Records have continued churning out the tunes. Since Vibrations last came to print, the merrie city, as it historically known, has seen sweetheart Sarah Williams join forces with Ali Whitton to create one of the finest slices of Nebraskan melancholy our county has ever produced. It’s an EP featuring two fine tracks by each artist, all accompanied by their respective backing bands, and I advise you to scour the likes of Jumbo and Crash Records for this wee gem. Sarah Williams, for those who don't know, is 33.3% of Wakefield country-pop darlings The Research. Also worth a mention is a download only release by indie up-starts Lapels, also through LTB Records. All this should by checked out at Louder Than Bombs myspace. Elsewhere, local favourites Last Gang finally began gigging again after a summer hiatus and recording stint with legendary producer Stephen Street, who has produced albums by the likes of Blur and The Smiths (that's what happens when you get snapped up by a major kids). It was no surprise to see Escobar sold out, reminiscent of The Cribs and The Pigeon Detectives gigs there earlier in the year, and the sheer volume of sweat-soaked bodies exiting the venue post-gig was a sight to behold. Hopefully we'll be seeing more of these chart pretenders next year.. And finally, if you really do have too much time on your hands then you would do well to pick up a copy of Wakefield’s Rhubarb Bomb. Think Vibrations but thinner, and in black and white, and only about quality music from Wakefield, which is surprisingly in plentiful supply. The magazine is available in both Jumbo and Crash, as well as all the main venues in Shaky Wakey, as it has been irritatingly dubbed.
Over the next few issues, this column will try to keep you up to date with what's happening ten miles down the road, and maybe even tempt you onto the train… one step at a time though, eh? vibrations 20
Far From The Madding Crowd This issue Vibration’s RPC goes behind the scenes with Dom Chinchilla Who are you and what do you do? My name is Dom; German for Cathedral; abbreviated form of Dominic, from the Late Latin Dominicus (meaning 'of the Lord'). I share my date of birth with Tony Bennet, Terry “Five Wigs” Wogan, Jon Graham and James Hetfield. I also share my date of birth with the beginning of World War One, the final Beatles performance at the Cavern Club in Liverpool (as well as Paul McCartney's announcement of the formation of Wings a few years later), and the day that guitarist Jeff Baxter quit Steely Dan to join The Doobie Brothers. The spirits of these past events have pretty much guided me to where I am today. For a large chunk of 2007 I didn't live anywhere; either on tour, staying on friends' sofas, walking up mountains and going surfing. Giving as little money as possible to businesses I disagree with whilst having as much fun as possible. In the last 18 months I've been on tour all over Europe driving over 30 bands from America, Italy, Ireland and the UK. I've been putting on DIY gigs for nearly 7 years, and we're just beginning to arrange the line-up for the 6th annual Chinchillafest at The Brudenell Social Club. Chinchilla has also been a label for a while, starting with a Tigers! 7”. We've released compilations with bands like Trencher, Printed Circuit, Quack Quack, David Thomas Broughton and Humanfly. This year we've done a Pifco tape cassette, and the debut Cowtown album 'Pine Cone Express'. We have releases by Cleckhuddersfax, a.P.A.t.T., and a Talibam!/CHOPS pending.
What do you enjoy most about what you do? Being on tour is a convenient excuse to not get a job.... after being on the dole and volunteering in the local community, driving just seemed the most obvious way to have lots of fun, see Europe, and be involved with music. I guess it's a cliché, but meeting lots of inspiring people – sharing, getting new ideas, seeing other people's creativity progress over time.
What do you enjoy least about what you do? Traffic jams, parking tickets, and cruise-in-themiddle-lane drivers doing 55mph on the motorway. Also, being at so many gigs means that a band needs to be mind-bendingly amazing to catch my lasting attention now. Sometimes it's a little difficult getting a good meal on tour, especially as a vegan!
Is Leeds really as exciting as certain parts of the press would have us believe? I don't read the music press... they're probably talking about bands I'm not really bothered about. That said, Cowtown and That Fucking Tank were played on Radio One because of On The Bone records the other week, which is pretty strange, but good nonetheless. When I was first exploring gigs here, bands like Bilge Pump warped my brain. Leeds is exciting, but there's good bands from all over the world. The most important thing to me isn't the music, it's my friends and other people and all the different things they get up to that keep me here. There's “nicer” places and all that, but this place feels like home.
If you could change one thing about music in Leeds to make your life easier and the scene better, what would it be? More venues like the Brudenell Social Club, and venue owners/managers/staff/nice people like Nathan.... but that counts for everywhere really. Never work with children, animals or musicians. Discuss. Oh dear... well... I've started doing some occasional supply work at specialist primary schools, and I spend most of my time with musicians, so that's two on the list. I've never worked with animals, and I don't really agree with the idea of keeping pets, but my girlfriend does have some rescued rats, and they're so intelligent it's hard not to like them
When not 'on call' what music are you currently grooving to? I don't ever consider myself on call, but the last few days have included: Chrome Hoof, Icy Demons, Need New Body, Puttin' On The Ritz, Polar Bear, KIT, Soiled Mattress & The Springs, a.P.A.t.T., and a prog double whammy of Magma and ExMagma.
rs Benbow-Browne takes The Out-Of-Towne residence atAdam the Brudenell for a post-gig chat with avant-garde legend Damo Suzuki. “I don’t want to think about what has just happened” he hears. This shouldn’t take long then… Damo Suzuki is Japanese man of 57. He travels the world performing vocals as part of the Damo Suzuki Network – this involves him playing with a different ensemble at every gig with various local musicians, who are ‘Sound Carriers’ for the evening. He is often in Leeds, usually at the Brudenell. You should probably see him play before you die. Oh yeah, he used to be in legendary German avant-garde pop pioneers Can, but that’s another story and not one for today. MAIN PIECE: Interviewing Damo Suzuki then – no way to prepare. Granted, he’s no Mike Tyson character who might just be prone to a little midchat ear-biting (and I’ve got big ears; he’d have a field day). BUT… he’s calm, assured in the pursuit of his general vibe and not one who likes to dwell on things. I’m fidgety and I talk too much and dip into nostalgia as much as the next person. I’m aware that I need to get straight to brass tacks. I ask how, and what, he feels after playing. “I feel empty after the live shows?” Empty? “Empty. I don’t want to think about what has just happened. There’s no confusion, I’m not worried, to me this is good.” Are there ever any ‘bad’ Damo Suzuki Network performances? “Oh, sometimes.” I probe for more, aware he may not be up for this line of enquiry. “About a month ago in Detroit it wasn’t so good, the person… a couple of people in the band made it too practised, too song, you know? They had already kind of pieced it together. Not good.” Is it worth the bad gigs to do this? “Yes, definitely so. Even though here and there will be things that are maybe not so good, it is worth this for the bigger feel. For me, music is a spontaneous creation, just get it out and don’t think!” Who are you playing with tonight? “I’m playing with seven people tonight, three of
which I have spoken to.” What are you doing after this? “More shows, I don’t know. I play around 80-100 shows a year.” What are you doing when you’re not making music. “Oh, I’m just hanging around and thinking almost nothing. There are things I have to remember, that I must remember, but I try and forget almost everything.” What about family? Who do you have to remember? “I have children in Germany (the country that has remained Suzuki’s home of sorts since his Can days back in the early ‘70s) - they are not that interested in my music. They don’t need to be! They don’t have to be. They will find out what they like. I look forward to their finding, but it’s important that they find out themselves. I left Japan at 18, because then there was nothing to do. Now there is lots more to do there, but I had to go then.” Silly question: do you have any heroes? “(Enormous shake of wise head) No.” Tonight Damo’s ‘Network’ are members of support acts The Pattern Theory and The Window Right, and they do an ample job of ‘sound carrying’ for the evening. There are moments when the musical thread is lost here and there, confused glances are at times exchanged, and it is not the perfect gig. It seems, though, that Damo Suzuki has (im) perfected his own system of life and music. Key rule: if you think too much, it will destroy you! This rule is of relevance to our final exchange of the evening; after chatting outside the Brudenell about all sorts and nothing at the same time, Damo says one of two things to me: either “I have to be somewhere else” or “I have to pee somewhere”. I will never know. When I ruminate on the concept of nostalgia and its less than rewarding powers, he shudders as if avoiding that feeling, and no doubt succeeds. Wouldn’t it be great if you could do that? Adam Benbow-Browne vibrations 22
The Grimey way Just as it was poised to go truly over ground, sources started reporting that Grime looked in danger of imploding in a sea of mysogony and violence. Now some the prime creative movers behind its artistic birth have moved on to new territory. Anyone for bassline House? We sent Adam Benbow-Browne to investigate. “People all over the UK can rave in the same club without the fights” he discovers… Photos by Jake Seal. Big thanks to Noah Brown, Rampant, Sharnell, Wittyboy & Lisa Brooks for help with the article.
Bassline house - also known as ‘niche’, ‘cassas’’ and ‘4x4’ - is everywhere; discerning internet bloggers go spare over it, kids listen to it on phones, and soon students will be accept as their token second favourite genre after rock music (for previous examples see chillout, French house, dub, big beat… the list goes on). Electronic music has seemed a touch soulless of late. Minimal techno sounds sonic pontificating, wiping at techno until very little black presence is left. Modern electro has too much wackiness and not enough strong, soulful chord progressions. Electronica is fine in its own way, but you can’t shake your bum to it. So bassline house – an immediatesounding hybrid of garage, ghettohouse, Inner City-style party techno & other things I don’t know about yet; seems a new and worthwhile artistic direction. And best of all for Leeds, the song that has undeniably cemented this is none other than the stomping melancholy of ‘Heartbroken’ by our very own T2; the track recently became the first bassline house record to go UK top ten, and at the time of writing it is one of three T2-related releases sitting in digital radio station BBC 1xtra’s UKG top ten. The others being ‘Why’, featuring Huddersfield singer Sharnell, and ‘Gonna Be Mine’, a collaboration with Addictive. Oh yeah, and he’s been asked to work with Madonna! Big shit then. Grime looked massive, with several artists making moves into the public consciousness. Arguably an explorative new wave to garage’s explosive punk, artists such as More Fire Crew (now Fire Camp, featuring vaguely successful crossover artist Lethal Bizzle) and Pay As You Go Cartel began the transition between the two genres. Famously, self-proclaimed ‘Boy In Da Corner’ (and now dodgy MTV-style, US-aping musical tit) Dizzee Rascal spat grime into the mainstream by picking up the 2003 Mercury Music. Two labels were instrumental in getting grime-related product across to the public – XL Recordings (who signed Dizzee and Wiley, then both members of the Roll Deep crew) and 679 (releasing music by The Streets and former N.A.S.T.Y. Crew member Kano, as well as two volumes of Run The Road grime compilations). Hipsters got involved; in Leeds, Bizzle & Roll Deep played well-received shows at The Faversham; producer Statik released the Grindie CD, mixing Fire Camp with Babyshambles and DaVinche with Franz Ferdinand. Sadly, grime’s reputation for trouble has meant that promoters have occasionally been forced to cancel events. Less events in London, added to the fact that a sizable chunk of grime consumers find their stuff by trawling ultra-cool internet blogs and buying
the occasional mix CD, has stifled its progress somewhat. Save for a few artists crossing over (albeit with considerably less bite than their initial communications carried) grime hasn’t quite paid. Leeds’ own Wittyboy, formerly part of grime/hip-hop crew LS7 Battlers and having just released the fourth volume of his Hold It Down mixape as well as the Wittyboy EP and the Music Hustle EP, plus a tune on the new Pure Garage CD, out through Warners worldwide, had this to say about the changeover: “I miss the atmosphere of the grime scene before it became violent and male-orientated. Vocal clashing didn’t help either. The raves got stopped because of violence, then girls got sick of it and stopped going. Now people go to bassline raves to have a good time, the scene is very widespread and people all over the UK can rave in the same club without any fights. Girls love bassline and the atmosphere has more energy.” One man who has been heavily involved in the garage, grime and bassline scene in the last few years is Rampant Richie J. “I started Northern Line [influential label] with Paleface, a guy I’ve known for ten years. In May 2006 he came to my house saying that people were taking the piss, labels taking time to pay him, all these type of things. So I said “Look, I’ll help you out, how much money do you need to start a record label?” He told me, I put the money up and we started it. I’ve just set up another label, Rampant Records, with Krissi B who’s based in Wales. In Northern Line Records it’s too hard to eat, so we’re doing our own project. Paleface is still my brethren though – friends before business.” “I want to release 15 vinyls because no one’s releasing, too busy giving it to their brethren on CD, and they’re not eating off it. You think you can really make it getting £250, three times a week as a DJ? I don’t want to be a DJ, I want to be Damon Dash! You better recognise. I’m just doing my thing with Krissi B, who’s a very good producer. We just make sure that (big 1xtra DJ) Cameo gets the tunes every Tuesday so they get hammered, and 1st March is the big release date!” 15 vinyls? “Yes! In March we’re having pressing day – releasing 15 different vinyls and distributing it ourselves. People say vinyl’s dead, but I’m going to try and eat off it for a while!” What’s out already? “So far ‘CCJs’ and ‘Tiger Uppercut’ (two Rampant & Krissi B tunes) are out on vinyl, Also, Krissi B is remixing Marvin Brown’s stuff – he’s a very talented vocalist we’re working with at the moment. I just keep myself to myself, keep my head low and get
on. DJ Nev Wright, EZ, Steve Sutherland & Danny Bond are all supporting Rampant Records – they’re the only ones with any class. He’s a soldier - he listens to tunes and says yes or no.” So what do grime MCs in London think to the bassline thing? As with Leeds some of them are involved, however certain figures have shown a little disrespect. “Wiley was booked for an Urban Exposure event; he said that if I did a bassline tune he would do some vocals. When I rang his number, the message said, ‘You’re a wasteman, suck your mum!’ He’s obviously not a serious guy. ” Much like hip-hop, there are a few voices in grime slagging Dizzee et al for not ‘keeping it real’. Having performed with now-defunct electro/hip-hop outfit Yes Boss several times to large helpings of indie kids, Rampant seems more interested in expanding his audience beyond the scene’s pedants. “I’d like to play to student girls; men never pull no money out of their pockets, they’re guaranteed to download it and give it their brethren for free. So the people who are going to buy your tunes and support your music are students. Now Yes Boss, they developed a whole scene of people who liked what grime people did. I want that audience!” If everyone’s downloading it then why do all this? “Music is music and if it’s good it’ll sell, if it’s rubbish it won’t. In the bassline scene everyone keeps giving tunes away, but they should only be doing
that initially and only be releasing stuff on vinyl. Vinyl’s a medium. If someone spends the money on a vinyl, the likelihood of them copying that onto CD to give away is very, very slim. Someone who downloads the tune for £1 will give it away like it’s nothing; they never felt like they actually bought something.” Oh yes, you might well want to know this: he’s wanting actors! “My production company Rampant TV signed a deal with Hollywood Networks Channel – I’m working with Miguel Campbell (Outcross Recordings boss) and a few others trying to push the brand forward. We’ll be out in Leeds, Manchester, London & Birmingham, all the bassline raves, going up and down, doing stand-up comedy and characters. It’ll be everywhere! Oh yeah, and I’m still selling copies of my 3-disc Rampant DVD nationwide, that’s at HMV.” Like grime, will bassline be spoilt? “It’s like this - idiots always attach themselves to fashionable music. You saw it with drum ‘n’ bass, initially there were tons of idiots, then they left because the girls left. Then the true ravers came through - that happens with everything.” Leeds is flying high in the bassline game, and there’s a lot happening round these parts. If you fancy it, events like Slap N Tickle & Urban Exposure should see you right. Also, Rio’s are doing some of this stuff. Good good. And look out for Rampant Records’ army of vinyl! ABB
Vibrations talks to Neil Hanson & Co and discovers a world of wrecked stages, abandoned equipment and a lack of willing drivers. “There’s no I in International Trust” he tells Stephen Vigors “just me!” It’s cold, windy and drizzly outside the Morrison’s supermarket on Kirkstall Road, and I only have my Ipod for company. Simon Glacken, the organised one, won’t answer his phone. Neil Hanson, the reckless one, does. “We’ll be five minutes mate.” Twenty minutes later Robert Chew and Neil Hanson pull up in a conspicuous Ford Fiesta and we spin off towards Beaver Creek Studios where they are due for practise. International Trust are Robert Chew (bass guitar), Simon Glacken (keys/synth), Neil Hanson (vocals/ motormouth), Drew Lunn (guitar) and John McGahey (skins). They are five lads from Leeds who play punk with a bit of charm, character and panache, and don’t shy away from the age-old past time of being in a gang. International Trust are Leeds’ number one pop turn.
over, smashed three microphones and got thrown out of the venue” Me: “Did you finish the gig?” Hanson: “No.” Lunn: “Neil was off on his own so everyone went to go look for him, leaving me and Chewy on the stage. We were left playing this middle eight over and over, hoping that they’d come back. Then this curtain started coming down on us and we were still playing, bending down with the curtain, but that was it. Game over.” McGahey: “I had to go back the next day and beg for our equipment. The owner forced me to sit through a security tape of Neil smashing up them mics.” Me: “That’s some great rock and roll behaviour” Hanson: “Exactly. No harm done really.”
“We had this right little bonding session just after we formed the band,” remembers diminutive frontman Neil Hanson. “We rehearsed in this shitty little portacabin in the middle of nowhere and it was freezing cold. We bonded over copies of Nuts magazine, Pepperonis and Sam Steele. I think that helped form our gang mentality.”
I could go on with these stories, such as when they turned up for their second gig at Manchester’s music industry showcase In The City straight from a party and stinking of pop (Hanson: “Bizarrely we were quite good”), but I won’t. They’re a more professional outfit these days.
All the members of International Trust have been in bands before, but it seems like this time it will stick. Last August they pulled off what they describe as the best gig they’ve played, at the Leeds Festival of all places, on the Topman Stage. However they won’t be playing there again after bigmouth Hanson described the organisers of that particular platform as “Nazis.” Still, the gig was legendary. It featured Hanson (there’s a pattern of familiarity emerging here) headbutting a flying beer can like a towering centre-forward, before continuing the performance unfazed and unscathed and with their reputation for rock and roll bravado greatly enhanced. These kinds of stories are in no short supply for The Trust. Hanson: “I’m really popular in Bradford.” Robert Chew: “You were until you smashed a stage up.” Me: “What happened?” Hanson: “I got pissed.” Drew Lunn: “When he got to Bradford he climbed onto a table and shouted ‘Come on guys, we’ve got to get to Bradford.’” John McGahey pitches in: “To sober up he had a jagermeister and then threw it back up.” Hanson: “Before I went on I told the band not to worry because I’m a professional. I went on, fell
Hanson has previous in the Leeds Scene. Prior to International Trust he fronted Les Flames (featuring amongst others Whiskas from ¡Forward, Russia!) and the notorious Playmates, both of which were successful at a local level. They all work within the local music scene in various guises too – Simon Glacken is pushing his own new label Brew Records putting out I Concur, amongst others – but success with the band is deeply desired. “We want to get success on a national level,” says bass slapper Chew, “so you can’t really fuck about.” Lunn: “We need to get to a level where we can afford to smash our own microphones.” Chew: “When we first got together we counted up how many years we’d all collectively been in bands doing the toilet circuit. It came to 51 years, but it’s probably more like 55 now.” Hanson: “We want it that much. We’re hungry. There’s no point doing it for the laugh. We want to make a living out of it.” The chances are that their wishes will come true as a belated Christmas present seems to be in the offing. A spring -time single is probably being recorded as I type (late November incase your unaware of the itinerary of a Vibrations hack) and a vague national release date for the album vibrations 28
Talk of the Town “Everyone went looking for Neil, leaving me and Chewy on stage playing this middle eight over and over, hoping that they’d come back. Then the curtain started coming down on us and we were still playing, bending down with the curtain, but that was it. Game over.” Drew
is pencilled in for Summer 2008. The single will almost certainly be the anthemic ‘There’s no I in International Trust‘ and the album will feature ten or eleven of the tracks currently doing the rounds, although potentially there could be more. “We’re a lot more prolific now,” claims Hanson. “We’ve finally started rehearsing regularly for the first time since we started gigging.” “We didn’t practise all summer,” recalls the increasingly flatulent Robert Chew. “It was stupid because we were playing the same set over and over again. You can’t expect the fans to keep coming back.” Lunn: “We play Leeds a lot and we’re conscious of the fact that people will be coming to see us a lot, so if we keep playing the same shit then they won’t keep coming back. We need to concentrate on bringing new stuff out and getting better and better and better.” Me: “How do the songs come together?” Chew: “Usually one of us brings something to the table. Hanson: “Yes, I usually bring something to the table with either my mouth or my anus.” Lunn: “I added an A chord for Talk of the Town, which I actually played on the recordings as well, but other than that it’s all Neil.” Me: “Should you not be called Neil and the International Trust then?” Hanson then begins a rather feeble defence of the band. “Well they’ve all got their skills. You’ve already heard whistling bottom here (Neil slaps
the knee of bass player Robert Chew) who never fails to entertain me. John always gives me a lift to practise. Drew’s good for looking like different people every week, Jordan (owner of a city centre bar and venue called Trash) Franz last week, Badly Drawn Boy this week. Si does all the boring stuff involving paperwork and signing things.” “I’m the proactive one,” insists the up until now relatively coy Simon Glacken. A 5 minute lambaste upon Glacken’s unwillingness to drive now ensues. McGahey: “Basically he’s got a driver’s license and can’t be arsed using it, so he better do something else.” It now transpires that one of the few serious arguments between the members of International Trust was caused by a lack of eager drivers. The argument took place on an internet message board (“that’s how modern we are” quips Hanson). Hanson: “We all write the songs to different degrees. There’s no I in International Trust Stevie. There‘s just me. Seriously though, we do all stick together. If ever we get in any trouble we all jump in, which is good because I’m soft as shit and I’m the cocky one.” Everyone is now in agreement that Neil Hanson is the troublemaker. I leave them to practise, in part because they can’t really afford to be wasting money on a rehearsal room for chatting to nonce’s like me. I could be entertained by this band all day, and I’m sure you all will be at some point in 2008.
The thoughts of Chairman Stu This issue, our resident anti-Think Tank, and the man who makes Genghis Khan look like a Guardian reading vegetarian, on why we need to vote Tory to save music. I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want: I want to call a general election, right now. There are 2 reasons for this: 1) in order to do so I’d have to be Prime Minister, and frankly I’d make a great PM; 2) the future of British music depends on it. Now this second point may seem like a pretty big claim, but I have recently had an epiphany, instigated, as you may be able to tell from my opening gambit, by that most famous of manufactured pop acts. The Spice Girls first materialised in 1996 and enjoyed fame on the back of their USP: they were women. Previously, of course, the great British public were unaware that women were capable of sentient thought, we thought they just looked pretty and knitted. Rubbish. Of course we didn’t. You see the Spice Girls went around barking about “Girl Power”, but they themselves acknowledged that they weren’t the creators of the phenomenon. No, they collectively credited someone who managed to be Posh and Scary all by herself: Maggie Thatcher. The Spice Girls were a product of Conservative Britain, but today, 11 years later, they have reemerged into an all-together more conservative Britain, a country that has been legislated to death by Mr Blair and one in which, ironically, the Spice Girls could never have existed in the first place. Look at the video to Wannabe: 5 young women (one of them wearing sportswear), burst into a nightclub, dance on the stairs, throw some paper around and sing a song about… something or other. Couldn’t happen today. For a start they wouldn’t be able to get in the place, they’d have to fight their way past the hordes of smokers, forced outside because of the ban. Then, assuming they got in the club they wouldn’t be allowed to dance on the stairs due to stringent health and safety standards, kissing people would be treated as assault and the whole lot of them would receive ASBOs for their antisocial shenanigans.
In the noughties there is a stringent selection process for new acts, a publicly televised distillation of thousands of people down to a final few, who are then pruned each week by public phone vote before the “winner” gets to release some half-arsed, pseudo celtic claptrap which claims the Christmas number 1 spot. Job done they bugger off on a tour of working men’s clubs before finally oozing back to the primordial gunk of their old lives. The result is utterly vapid, bland pap, highlighted by the fact that the biggest selling UK artist in America last year was James sodding Blunt and Katie Melua’s just released a new album (if she were a piece of wood I’d chuck her on a bonfire). Christ, no wonder we find ourselves longing for the free-spirited anarchy of Take That. The good news is even “proper” bands are reforming: The Police, Led Zeppelin, The Verve, Madness, possibly The Stone Roses. And here’s the thing, they’re all products of a Tory government too… well, at their most successful anyway. They say the devil has all the best tunes, but actually the Conservatives. I suppose this makes sense, the Tories are traditionally, a stuffy bunch and, consequently, quite easy to rebel against. Labour, on the other hand, are constantly trying to be down with the kids; almost as soon as Tony Blair came to power he was having Noel Gallagher round for Pimms (Note: “Definitely Maybe” and “What’s the Story...” were recorded under a Tory government, everything else under Labour). I half expect Gordon Brown (texture like sun) to change his name to “G Diddy” and swap his Jag for a Toyota Prius, although having said that they did manage to get Phil Collins out of the country so every cloud, etc. So I say it’s time to make a stand. It’s time to stop the rot that is setting in and killing pop music. Vote Tory and do it now, quickly, while all the members of Dire Straits are still alive. Stu Hudson vibrations 32
RELEASES The Voltaires – Hard Lines / Sign Me Up (This Is Art Recordings)
Singles Escalade – X’s and O’s (Cuckundoo Records) Though not truly of Leeds origin (Greg Sullivan, sole member, hails from Tokyo via New Zealand and New York), Escalade are label mates to Vessels on Leeds’ based label, Cuckundoo Records. A tenuous link, but very much there – like the solitary nervestring retaining a loose tooth. Like Vessels, Escalade’s groove is very much atmospheric. ‘X’s and O’s’ conjures up images of the memory of summer. Birds twitter in an analogue dawn awakened by a gentle bongo rhythm. An unshaven strumming sound accompanies the mildly psychedelic tones of Greg’s glottal vocals as the song meanders down a lane trod by the likes of The Pink Floyd, Jefferson Aeroplane and Hawkwind, but without the brusque musical edge of that tie-died triumvirate. ‘Pleasure Treasure’ is a song that manages to deftly utilise every instrument available, from mobile phones to melodicas, without being too showy about it. Meditative experipop, but fairly nice about it. Rob Wright
Loqui – The Average White Boy This song is anything but average. It fuses ska, punk and pop yet turns out not to be as excruciatingly painful as this suggests, which if nothing else makes this record a remarkable achievement. It is a long time since a combination that nowadays sounds like Less Then Jake actually harks back to a day when ska-punk was enjoyable. The title of the track even sounds like it was plundered from a Stranglers album. Not everything about this is easy on the ear. The female backing vocals grate like they do in musical cheese-fest Grease, but then there’s something a little quaint and child-like about that, which is probably the intention. It is a quirky and original sound that will never be to everyone’s taste, but then this is a significant achievement in progression, something many bands would do well to take heed of. Stephen Vigors
It’s been a long time coming and well overdue but we at last have a follow up to the dirty, garage blues of the Anti-Love E.P. The closest thing we have to The Stooges, but with added stomp and good time rock n’ roll, they’ve lost none of their urgency and keep to the promise of “No songs over three minutes thirty, guaranteed”. It’s almost worth the wait as ‘Hard Lines’ swings in where they left off and its pumping, thrust of energy is right on cue. Gareth Williams’ screaming brand of Jagger-ism charms us along the journey, and just as you’re punching the air, it careers to an exhilarating halt. ‘Sign Me Up’, at just over a minute and a half is a pogo assault somewhere between The Hives and The Mooney Suzuki, bursting with balls-out enthusiasm. B-side ‘Pre-Established Harmony’ draws on all influences and rounds things off well with flowing unease. A new E.P is also on its way but this’ll do just nicely for now, welcome back lads! Sascha Boehm
Albums iLiKETRAiNS – Elegies To Lessons Learned (Beggars Banquet) After 2006’s ‘Progress/Reform,’ any doubt of TRAiNS’ capability was banished to a place as inhospitable as Scott’s terminal beach. Proving to be a taste more easily acquired than first anticipated, TRAiNS moved from Fierce Panda to Beggars Banquet to engage in more ambitious projects. ‘Elegies…’ is the first fruits, and a bittersweet harvest it is. ‘We All Fall Down,’ relating the stoic seclusion of Eyam sets the mood of the album. Shimmering into hearing like a spectre, David Martin and Kate Harkin intone “we played a waiting game” solemnly as the death toll mounts and the music swells, with Harkin swept off leaving David to howl in isolation amid the noise. Soul searing stuff. ‘Twenty Five Sins’ and ‘The Deception’ take a more pugnacious approach, punctuated by Simon’s primal percussion and Ash’s driving guitar, but are just as affecting. This experimentation with style is indicative of the album as a whole, with varying levels of success: ‘Come Over’s Dixie land funeral march is more convincing than the fury of
‘We Go Hunting,’ which makes David sound tipsy. It’s all TRAiNS, but broader, meatier, especially with respect to show-stoppers ‘Spencer Percival’ and ‘Death Of An Idealist.’ Confidently, painfully beautiful stuff. Rob Wright
combination to achieve with most modern artists seemingly either commercially driven or artistically driven (but hardly ever both). The term ‘anthem’ is an over-used one, but seems pretty fitting to a number of these tracks. Singing about violence on the streets (Defibrillator) and being stuck in a dead end job (Hit Schmooze For Me) might not be particularly original concepts but that doesn’t make them any less relevant. This isn’t Hard-Fi. Lines such ‘Please don’t rob me/All I have are these songs/And they’re really not of much value/not when your singing them to the man in cash convertors’ in Defibrillator say more than an entire album by most of the current indie dross who lay claim to be lyrically important. The album has all the ingredients to be smashing up charts and playlists nationwide rather than being a Chinese whisper within Yorkshire, but perhaps that’s better. Not for Napoleon of course, as judging by this album he’d like to quit his day job, but for the average Vibrations reader this can be your discovery. Like finding an old antique reel-to-reel tape machine in a charity shop, this is something of real value. Stephen Vigors
Shatner – Thirteen O’ Clock Subspace
Napoleon IIIrd – In Debt To (Brainlove Records) What do you listen for in an album? Are you an Arcade Fire fan? Do you dig DJ Shadow? Are them Arctic Monkeys more your cup of char? If you’re reading Vibrations then the chances are you’ll probably like at least one of these artists, so using this logic (or possibly my own warped logic, who knows?) you will probably also like Napoleon IIIrd. James Mabbett (as written on his birth certificate) encapsulates most of what is great about alternative-indie, beat trickery and catchy rock in the 21st century. He manages to convey a different message with each tune, against a backing track that is rarely predictable, an increasingly difficult
Our favourite, vintage space-pop veterans are back and ‘Thirteen O’ Clock’ is their finest hour to date. Moving on from the quirky fun of their debut ‘Energise’, they treat us to a more established, and dare I say, mature sound on this long awaited sophomore release. Opening strongly with the perfect pop of ‘Irresistible Force’, it sets the tone of high quality from the start. A sonically charged love story, full of charming lines such as “Everybody knows, that I am Dennis The Menace and maybe you could be my Minnie The Minx”. It’s certainly one of their best tracks yet and it is testament to the others that things don’t go downhill from here on in. In fact it’s quite the opposite. Eclectic as always, the strangely captivating ‘Someone Else’s Life’ begins with pulsating Giorgio Moroder-like synths on an 80’s Abel Ferrara soundtrack. However surreal Shatner can be, Jim Bower’s lyrics always add humour and needed realism to their vibrations 34
infectious Sci-Fi Rock. ‘It’s Time’ continues this with an incessant, skipping groove that flows into the cheesy but uplifting ‘Space Cathedral’. They begin to lose their way a bit with the creepy ‘Nude Woman’ and rather average ‘Flying’, ambling along somewhat lacklustre, but that’s but a minor gripe as ‘Anti-Clockwise’ reignites things with its rolling energy and upbeat tale of not growing old. ‘Switched On’ defies all the doubters, past and present using a Who-esque riff to back up a giant “Fuck you!” to the lot of them! It’s really great having Shatner back, and on this type of form we’ll be seeing much more of them I’m sure. That midlife crisis is just gonna have to wait some more! Sascha Boehm
Velour – Undress Your Alibis Indie: (adjective), abbreviation of independent used to describe genres, scenes, subcultures, styles and other cultural attributes in music, characterised by their independence from major commercial record labels and their autonomous, do-it-yourself approach. Indie-Shmindie: Term to describe the music made in places where it rains a lot by fey waif-like men in cardigans with girls in thick specs playing recorders, watched by sun-deprived bookish types who would
loose fights to seven-year-olds that is nearly always teeth-grindingly bland and irksome. But very occasionally something escapes from this rightly-derided (and hastily created) sub-genre that sounds fresh, rich, vibrant, and – dare I say it – exciting, even to someone who’s idea of a right rollicking good time isn’t staying in with tofu and Keats pausing only briefly to sigh at the futility of existence. To many, this band is Belle & Sebastian. They are wrong. It should be Velour. Even the name ticks the none-more-indie cliché box, and the arrangements make NoiseDeluxe label mates The Lodger sound like Anthrax, such is the carefully and gently crafted soft-pop inoffensiveness. Plus they’re from Scandinavia where everything is light and fluffy. With the possible exception of Death Metal. But much like the aforementioned Lodger, they have songs. Rain In Summertime (most indie title ever?) shimmers like a hazy Californian sunset that’s somehow got lost and turned the wrong way somewhere around Greenland, while Pam And The Important Man practically fizzes with barbed intensity. OK, perhaps intensity is a bit strong, but it’s all relative. Track this down, it’s an indie gem. Rob Paul Chapman
REVIEWS Cardiacs, God Damn Whores @ Woodhouse Liberal Club As old as Star Wars and just as seminal, though not quite as universal, Cardiacs are a rare bird to catch on tour these days. So to have them play in your locale is like a dodo turning up in your tool shed. Preceding the main event are former Cardiacs’ guitarist Jon Poole’s new band, the God Damn Whores. Having gone all rock and roll, Jon is as brusque and belligerent as the music, which is at turns pronky, funky, punky and funny. Also featuring ex-Wolfsbane axe-man Jase Edwards and Sisters bassist Chris Catalyst, the show is fairly lively and unfashionably vulgar. Good dirty fun. A be-spectacled Tim is grinning mischievously and in full Cheshire cat mode when he hits the stage, with Kavus looking crazy and Jim looking… glum. Two backing singers look very nervous behind them as the ‘Big Ship’ sails. Tonight is the last show of the tour and, though they are throwing what remaining energy they have left into it, the venue is not giving it back, swallowing vocals and guitar – Tim even sarcastically thanks it. But such highlights as ‘Res’ and ‘Dirty Boy’ make it all worthwhile. Even though Jim gets off lightly tonight. Rob Wright
Jon Gomm @ The Gasworks, Bradford There are certain rules when it comes to reviewing Jon Gomm gigs. 1) The phrase “It’s like an entire band in one instrument” has to be used at least once and should be present in the first paragraph. 2) Some explanation, preferably with an expletive, must be declared as to the virtuosity of the performance, preferably along the lines of “I tuned to my mate/ girlfriend/mum/barman/random goth and nearly dropped my pint as I couldn’t believe that all this sound was being made by the same bloke” And this is a bit of a shame. Because whilst undoubtedly correct, this creates the impression of some kind of circus freak show, whereas in reality there is a lot more to this Leeds-based guitar maestro [*chink* - the sound of £1 being dropped into the Jon Gomm Review Cliché box]. Yes, the crowds go wild at the mind-bending
technical prowess [*chink*], yes the absurdist stage banter that drifts between charisma and enigma makes the crowd putty in his hand [*chink*], yes the traditional partypiece encore has them rolling in the, err, moshpit [*chink*], yes the unnaturally high proportional attendance of metal fans both old and young – you’ve got to love Bradford – gives this particular gig a slightly surreal feel [*…*], but all this makes for a dull review. What is interesting to those who have seen all this before is that underneath the showmanship [*chink*] and technical proficiency [*chink*] lurks a highly accomplished songwriter of maturity and depth [*…*]. In fairness, the songs from debut album Hypertension, which has made up much of the touring set for the past few years probably were only “quite good”. But the new material on show here demonstrates a bar raised alarmingly, and joyously high. I shall certainly be checking this exceptional talent out again [*chink*], primarily because I now owe him £7. Rob Paul Chapman
Middleman @ The Faversham Bad Sneakers HQ played host to the launch party for Middleman’s latest single ‘Good to be back.’ Humberside openers Mr Beasley were suitably upbeat, if a little weak in the songwriting department. The act revolved around microchip manipulator Bob Beasley, whose electro-funk soft-synth sounds squirmed with processed beats in a convincingly danceable manner. Vocalist Sarah Johns trilled coquettishly over the electronic foundations, further embellished by guitar and trumpet. The formula works, but struggles to sustain interest over a full set. The ingredients are there, but without more dynamics and melodic interest it’s unlikely to amount to anything worth telling your mum about. Knowing how to write a pop song has never been a problem for tonight’s main attraction - the cuddly Middleman. Tearing into crowd-pleasing opener ‘No sleep tonight’ (or whatever it’s called), the band are buoyed by the knowledge that they are number one and two in the 7 Digital download charts, beating Girls Aloud, Leona Lewis and other manufactured champions of the mainstream. The set contains the usual suspects, including last single ‘Blah Blah Blah’ – as well as a smattering of new material that vibrations 36
shows the band evolving in a thoroughly healthy way. There was a time when Middleman were in danger or being labelled a one trick pony. Feeling this, the boys have flexed some creative muscle and crafted a couple of new songs that show the breadth of their palette. ‘Of Course’ has twinkling synth arpeggios dissolving into a comparatively sparse chorus, and the closer ‘Can’t hold me down’ is a dirty electro pop rock riot. The set climaxed with penultimate tune ‘Too many clichés’ with the crowd variously grinding, skanking, jigging, raving or simply jumping as high as they could, which for someone reason seemed to be the evening’s move of choice. This was another triumphant show for Middleman in Leeds. It’s good to have them back.
see McFly (either time). The Brudenell is surprisingly quiet despite this promise of a pleasant evening, which is a shame because I’m told Ad Hoc was something very special, and tales of toys, a balaclava and an oven timer intrigue me enough to make sure I don’t miss him next time. Luckily for Noah Brown there are no psychologists in tonight. Or at least I assume there aren’t, because when he leaves the stage at the end of a traumatic spoken-word set, he does so as a free man. Not that the often disturbing nature of his stuff makes it any less enjoyable. In fact, it’s the highlight of the evening for me, particularly his poisonously bitchy rip into the middle class students who populate The Faversham and a touching piece about spending time with his father as a child (killing swans with shovels, but still...). Widows Peak is, I assume, supposed to be a lot more offensive than I find him, and I have to confess that after a few minutes I get used to the horrible noises and get distracted by Ad Hoc’s watch (no offence to Widows Peak, it does have a spectacularly exciting random flashing numbers game). Perhaps I just missed the point, in fact that must be it. It was fun trying to figure out what he was screaming though. Deathqunt seemed to consist of an incredibly talented group of musicians. So talented, in fact, that not one single note was harmonious, which, in an entire set, is pretty impressive. The entire jazz horror grated so effectively that I reckon in the world of anti-music they must easily be the best. Or the worst. Whichever would make them happiest. So would this be a good review or a bad one? I’m not sure. It certainly wasn’t my thing, but I’m pretty sure the promoters knew that already. I think it achieved what it set out to do, which was to make a roomful of people ask what the fuck was going on. Kate Wellham
Cardiacs, God Damn Whores @ Woodhouse Liberal Club
Die 3 - Noise Night @ The Brudenell At least the pre-gig publicity was honest. Anti-music, bad noise, your ears will bleed, etc etc, which is more warning than I got when I took my sister to
As old as Star Wars and just as seminal, though not quite as universal, Cardiacs are a rare bird to catch on tour these days. So to have them play in your locale is like a dodo turning up in your tool shed. Preceding the main event are former Cardiacs’ guitarist Jon Poole’s new band, the God vibrations 37
Damn Whores. Having gone all rock and roll, Jon is as brusque and belligerent as the music, which is at turns pronky, funky, punky and funny. Also featuring ex-Wolfsbane axe-man Jase Edwards and Sisters bassist Chris Catalyst, the show is fairly lively and unfashionably vulgar. Good dirty fun.
The Old Romantic Killer Band @ The Faversham With a vast array of latest bands constantly looking to break into the commercial music world via Leeds, the volume of additional musical groups becomes apparent. Similar sounding ensembles are created each week, hoping to be the next “Big Thing”. However, one Leeds band stand out having created a sound merging old fashioned garage blues with a 50’s rock ’n’ roll exterior. The Old Romantic Killer Band match their simple yet direct deployment, writing sincere songs but with a tense, ambient sound. They try to re-write the old formula of blues/ folk love songs, stripping down to a simple drums and bass but played hard and fast. This two piece draw influence from artists such as Ryan Adams and Howlin’ Wolf, and this is evidential in songs ‘Girl You Have All The Fun’ and ‘Pigs’. The vocal tones are amplified from the opening, expressing songs of love, loss and guilt to a candlelit Faversham, filled with admiring eyes and attentive ears. Eddie Short
Shatner + Frankie Eisenhower @ Joseph’s Well After scrapping with the West Yorkshire transport system, I arrived at Joseph’s Well just in time to catch the marvelous Frankie Eisenhower’s set. Soon all train-related woes were banished and we were pogoing along with the energetic lead singer to their rock/blues noisiness, including a stomping version of their last single ‘What Time Is Love’. I heard rumour that this was to be FE’s last gig for a while/for ever (depending on which source you were listening to in the bar), which is a shame indeed… The launch of Shatner’s new album, Thirteen O’Clock – reviewed elsewhere in these pages – had pulled a fair crowd, and although the punters were more static than might have been hoped given the catchiness of the tunes, there was much appreciation of the effort that had gone into the gig. Behind the band was a visual feast of Pictures! and Words! and Lights! and other exciting things, including tongue-in-cheek instructions on when to cheer; a brass section with some rock-trombone moves, and even a jacket of many fairy-lights draped ‘pon Jim, the lead singer. While Shatner’s live presence improves every time
I see them, especially with the added glam-factor of their two backing singers, they’re still not ones to work up too much of an on-stage sweat, which is lucky now they’ve incorporated electric clothes into their act… Could be dangerous, kids. They ran through all the stand-out tracks from the album including rousing versions of Irresistible Force, AntiClockwise and It’s Time as well as older favourites like Girls Like You. An excellent live introduction to a very accomplished album. Ros Banks
The Avenues @ Santiagos This was the beautifully matured cheese in the musical sandwich that had started at Carpe Diem for Farming Incident (splendid) and ended with some burlesque revelry down at Linus Twizzle’s (it’s not stripping damnit, it’s art!) For those not familiar with the increasingly populated world of The Avenues, let’s just get something straight from the off: The Avenues aren’t really a proper band. Let me quantify that: To my mind – and given that I am a music reviewer this means that I am categorically correct – to be a proper band you have to have something about you that sets you apart, makes you different, a concept, an idea, a progression of some sort towards the promised land of expression and creativity and newness. The Avenues achieve none of these things. And this is because they are not half-arsed rock musicians thrashing around for that lost chord progression. They are master craftsmen. And they are bloody brilliant. You see, The Avenues don’t so much create as recreate, and whilst on paper this sounds utterly pointless, in actual fact it is as profound as it is uplifting and interesting. They have essentially boiled down the component base-metal of Brian Wilson, The Byrds and The Hollies and fashioned it into musical alchemy. Not a single ingredient is their own, yet it matters not a jot. Every song glistens and glimmers with the sparkly polish of perfect harmony. Friebold’s Got The Blues bounces like it’s constructed from the finest quality rubber that money can buy, while Helen Shines, erm, shines! It is ironic that one of the brightest new bands are neither new nor a proper band, but when it sounds this good I wouldn’t complain too much. The masses that’ve turned up to see them don’t care, and neither do I. Rob Paul Chapman
THIS ISSUE VIBRATIONS
Rob Wright – Vibrations wordsmith, “out” metalhead and impressive tackler of Will Self novels
dead tomorrow, as many hope he does, at least he will be fondly remembered for giving us Sky+
Though I have plenty o’ music to funnel into me lugs, I’m finding it hard to pull myself away from This Et Al’s ‘Baby Machine’– massive rock sounds from a band desperately requiring your attention – and Christ.’s ‘Christ On A Bike’ – way ambient stuff. Ideal soundtracks for my reading material, too: Will Self’s ‘The Book Of Dave’ and Walter M Miller Jr’s ‘Dark Benediction.’ The first is a blend of fantasy and modern day psychodramatic pathos that is arguably Will’s best full length work yet, the second is a collection of short stories from the writer of ‘A Canticle For Leibowitz’ which demonstrate that sci-fi shorts can have characterisation too. If you haven’t read ‘Canticle,’ do. As for the old televisual… well, it’s got to be the Boosh and Armstrong and Miller. Plus, I’m getting shivers about Her Name is Calla shipping to Leeds next year. Roll on 2008!
Chris Hutcheon – Celebrated ex-Sandman hack, Evertonian, Quiz genius and sucker for Scottish Doo-Wop
Rob Paul Chapman - Vibrations’ editor, promoter and stalker of former Cardiacs
I was already enamoured – to the point of potential restraining order – with William D Drake’s Briny Hooves album, which has made discovering the debut eponymous album and the hauntingly beautiful Yew’s Paw, made up entirely of solo piano pieces, even more joyous. I’ve also been wondering how I missed Eels’ Shootenanny first time around. It’s been sat on my shelf looking forlorn and unloved in comparison with the sublime Daisies of the Galaxy, but I finally cottoned-on to its brilliance. Locally it’s been all about the new Shatner album. Stunning pop music of depth, warmth and simplicity that engages and excites in equal measure. I’ve also very much enjoyed the gravely abrasion of Mon Mon. Now that it’s bloody freezing out there, I shall be trying to catch up with the dozens of unwatched episodes of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (lighter fare from the West Wing team). If Murdoch drops
If you like your doo-wop pop with a thick Scottish accent then the sublime, goose-bump generating ‘Daddy’s Gone’ by Glasvegas will be right up your alley. Openly and unashamedly emotional without coming across as schmaltzy, the second single from the Glasgow quartet is a wonderfully retro, Spectortinged lament about an absent father and there were frankly few, if any, better records in 2007. Ida Maria’s rasping recent release ‘Drive Away My Heart’ is a different kind of splendid; a dark, angry yet oddly accessible serving of Scando-rock from the supposedly must-see Norwegian oddball. If charmingly English, folky, foot tapper ‘The Box’ is anything to go by, then Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit, who arrive at the Adelphi on 1st February, should also be well worth a watch. Meanwhile, if you missed the outstanding Okkervil River at the Brudenell Social Club recently then you should either press refresh on their Myspace page every five minutes for the next couple of years until there are more UK dates on there, or purchase their back catalogue, starting with latest offering ‘The Stage Names’.
Adam Benbow-Browne – Vibrations’ own pet mentalist and tangential noisenik enthusiast
Chapel Allerton– wouldn’t want to live there right now, but it’s good stuff – poncy shops and nice grub. The Avenues– they’re brilliant! Proper harmonies! A strong identity. Deathqunt– brilliant jazzrock masters making big waves (Jazzwise/TheGuardian), sense of humour, playing for Brew Records upstairs at The Library pub on 25th January. Yep. Staying Indoors – it’s brilliant. I’ve got everything I need in my room – computer, music, computer music, weights, water. Create your own anti-social paradise I dare you. The Horror– not them fucking NME toilet stains, the local hardcore punk unit. I’ve yet to see them live. Sahara – sandwich shop on the lower Headrow. £2 for a beautiful baguette sandwich weekdays between 12-2, you what?
Published on Jan 31, 2008
Bi-monthly print music magazine covering bands in Leeds, and West Yorkshire (UK) featuring Paul Marshall (Lone Wolf): International Trust :...