Two reggae video’s railing against Tory PM’s. The second’s one of the greatest political songs ever. It came out at roughly the same time as the way inferior One In Ten by UB40’. I’ll say this for Thatcher, she inspired some damn fine protest songs.
This first though’s by mike brooks & is calling cameron out:
Now for the other. Bristol reggae legends Talisman giving it to Thatcher. They started around the late 70’s & recently reformed. This was recorded at Glastonbury a few years ago. Shit’s for real.
Maggie Thatcher is a criminal,
Handing out policies like a gangsta general
”. Priceless. Records called “Dole Age”. Shit’s for real.
Abandoned by his father, a young boy is left in a state-run youth farm. In a random act of kindness, the town hairdresser agrees to foster him on weekends.
Got to be honest, very surprised this won the grand jury prize at Cannes last year. It’s ok but overall it’s a bit of a run of the mill rights of passage type film. It does well not just trying to play with your emotions mind (I only wept once!) which I’m sure would’ve been the knee-jerk response for less experienced directors than the Dardennes bro’s but at the end of the day it doesn’t really have much to say I’m afraid.
Brilliant acting by the young star of the film, mind, Thomas Doret. It’s probably not really my kind of film tbh but if you do like this sort of ting you’ll like this exact ting. Once upon a time it might’ve been my kind of film but I guess I’ve just seen too many similar type of films.
Damn, think I’m turning all cynical in my old age. That’s the last thing I wanted. Or needed.
Don’t care what anyone sez, BITCHES is the best name for a band ever.Thought so when I first heard it, think so now. Another thing I thought when I first heard their name was ‘I’m gonna like this band if it kills me’. I was lucky, it just came natural for me to like them.
BITCHES make good clatter. They’re a boy (blake) / girl (staz) (or (girl (staz/ boy (blake) if you prefer) twosome. While the one shouts the other screams. And a bit vice versa.
They make a DIY, back to basics, smash & grab, take no fricking prisoners racket that you can’t fail to fall in love with.
Confrontational, attention grabbing & fuzzed up to the nth, that’s their thing, with feedback their best mate (esp live).
They also did a track on their latest ep with the rather brilliant US band Foot Village. You can listen to it here:
All this AND they’ve been compared to Minor Threat. Not sure I totally agree with this (unless we’re talking about a really loose, experimental Minor Threat, in which case, yeah, I suppose so).
Buy their recently released ep Buster from Gravy Records Bandcamp or if physical’s your ting head off to Gravy HQ. While at Gravy HQ check out some of the other bands on their roster, they’re a great little label, home of, amongst others, the mighty Divorce, Batwings Catwings & Fever Fever. And they sell a pretty rad zine.
I’m such a fan I even have a BITCHES t-shirt. It feels a bit weird walking around with the word “BITCHES” emblazoned across your chest but I didn’t think twice about wearing a Pussy Galore t-shirt when they were in their pomp so I don’t really mind that.
Bitches are in the US at they moment, apparently causing mayhem & winning over new fans with every show. They have their own website with photo’s & stuff. Check it by clicking on the word BITCHES => BITCHES
Touché Amoré / Pianos Become The Teeth / Apologies, I Have None @ Thekla 26th March
Got home from this gig last night and found a link to the above in one of my rss feeds. I would say “sp00ky” but it’s probably not really spooky at all. It’s probably just a coincidence, and not a very unlikely one at that considering Touché Amoré are touring.
Anyway, they played this track last night. It still didn’t have a name. Not one they were willing to divulge anyway. It did sound freaking good though. Rumour has it it’s going to appear on a split with Title Fight which would be ohhhhhhhkayyyyyyyy. (He says, unenthusiastically without really knowing why he’s sounding unenthusiastic coz he likes both those bands).
Other thoughts from the night included the one I always have when I go to Thekla, namely that the place is still run by a bunch of cocking cunts who couldn’t give a flying fuck about live music or fans. This perennial thought was reiterated by some dude seemingly in the employ of the place taping big “crowd surfing strictly prohibited” notices up before Pianos came on. I have no idea why they’d want to stop the crowd from surfing. It’s not as though any damage would happen to the venue & everyone knows what they’re letting themselves in for when they enter “tut pit” (as they used to say in Yorkshire before Thatcher did away with them all) so this seems lame in the extreme. Personally I theorise that they’ve paid the bouncers so that wanted to get some bang for there buck by making them eject people from the venue. A far fetched idea but can you think of owt more likely?
Perhaps not surprisingly towards the end a few people did get stage diving & I was relieved to see the bouncers didn’t barge in. I swear the only real violence I’ve seen in a mosh pit has been when bouncers, who just don’t get it, go barging into a pit thinking they’re going to rescue someone & end up with their fists flailing coz they’re fucking knuckleheads & don’t understand the dynamics of the zone.
I wrote the Thekla an email last year after going to see Cerebral Ballzy play on the top deck. They pulled the power halfway thru one of their songs. It was 9.36 pm. They’d only done about 7 songs (which in Cerebral Ballzy time is obvs ~ 10 mins). I was cross. Fucking cross. In fact I was so cross I wrote an email. Yeah, that cross. Tried to keep it balanced. Said how the venue had the potential to one be the best in Bristol - it’s a nice space, good lighting, good stage, screen for av shows if the band want, powerful smoke machines (altho I dread to think how much they fleece the band to use them) & the acoustics are good. All it needed was the management to remove it’s blinkered “must make dollar” glasses & chill the fuck out about live music & it’d be ok. Got a reply to my email. Which was more than I expected. Till I read it. “Bit busy at the moment, will be in touch after D2D”. Arseholes never got back. I warned them in the letter if they keep on disrespecting live music bands are gonna stop booking. The fact that last night was my first Thekla gig of the year suggests such has come to pass.
Maybe time for another email gloating over how I was right & calling them out over their crowd surfing policy? Think I can be arsed? Fuck no. Obviously this time I’m not quite angry enough to write an email, only angry enough to bitch about on here.
Another thought: sometimes I wonder what I’d do if I had a neck like Jeremy Bolm’s.
Also, generally speaking I prefer it if bands who do covers do something totally unexpected, like from a totally different genre altogether. Having said that TA covering (a bit of) Ape Dos Mil was good.
Pianos Become The Teeth were really impressive live. This was expected coz obviously they’re dope but how good they came across was kind of reinforced as they followed Apologies, I Have None on stage. I’m beginning to come to the conclusion that if there’s a band on a billing that’s mike davies rinses the sweet bejesus out of they’re probably gonna be the weakest on the night. You probably reached that conclusion a while back. Bully for you. Still, there was no reason for them to apologise about their being on the billing & to say “you probably think you’re at the wrong gig” was one of the most “huh?” moments of the night for me. I mean, ok, so you may not be in the exact same micro genre of the exact same sub genre of the more general genre but you’re def in the same ballpark dudes. It’s not like you’re supporting Nina Simone or Tokimonsta is it? Apart from that you could tell people were digging your shit an all so, like, what gives?
Anyway, that was a night I’d been looking forward to a while but now I’m sensing I’ve gone on too longs so I’ll finish up.
funny thing happened on the way home from touché amoré. was doing a textbook track stand on the fixie at the stokes croft / ashley road junc, (one of the best juncs for track standing in briz as it’s opposite 2 cafe’s & 1 pub & spectators always make a successful track stand more fun).
lights changed just as i was rocking into a backward slide & i couldn’t for the life of me get my bike going forward. frustrated i burst out laughing & shouted at myself ”for fuck’s sake, make it go forwards you twat” at which point a gruff voice behind me goes “just what i was thinking mate.”
cue me falling out of the track stand, failing to get my left foot out of the toeclip & crash, flat on the floor.
spectators always make a fucked up track stand more embarrassing too i’ve just found.
Saw this at noon yesterday. It was very good despite rather whopping holes in the plot, holes that contemporary films would never get away with. Also something contemporary films would never get away with is that there are as many strong female character roles in it as male (although of course the man still has the last laugh). What’s more in line with contemporary movies is that there was just the one, token, black actor in a pretty minor role. Hard to believe the movie industry’s still so much the preserve of the white male. And harder still to believe no one’s kicking up a stink about it.
Fucking white men the fuckers.
Great, gripping film anyway. Steve McQueen’s favourite so he said, though I suspect that’s probably as much because he got to ride fast cars, play golf, relax at the beach & fly glider planes as much as because he considered it his best film. Some wonderful 60’s clothes too, mainly on the women but the bright orange (a colour that kept on appearing throughout the film) dressing gown he wore at one stage proper took the breath away (and not in a good way).
The film’s famous for it’s score by Michel Legrand as much as anything & this Thursday an interesting event’s happening in the bar at Watershed. The guy who created See No Evil & some of the cities more interesting electronic producers are using one of the songs from the score & improvising image creation (on an iPad) while the musicians are cutting up & splicing together the most famous song in the film, Windmills Of Your Mind. It’s at 10pm & details can be found over there: ☞
Here’s the song from the film, sung by Noel Harrison (could only find it on Youtube introduced by Jack Dee so ignore the first 4 secs):
Stoked to hear Yeah Yeah Noh are making a comeback.
Part of what became known as the “death to trad rock” bands, Yeah Yeah Noh were staunch Peel favourites. The anti pop of the day, slight, lilting, clattery songs that bounced along generally taking the surreal but finely targeted piss out of the culture of the day through barbed, clever lyrics.
Like Half Man Half Biscuit the lyrics were a lot of what YYN were about so here’s a selection of what I can remember:
Here’s a stripper, god it’s a man, undermined by feminist booking agent (who didn’t bother, telling them a lie…)
Gonna put the fun back into being pretentious, yeah yeah not so full of ourselves…
Dont swallow spit off another person unless you know them very well …
University, escape from nursery, look at those fingernails…
Talentless but disco photogenic …
Drink a yard of tea competition …
I’m assuming those lyrics make just as much sense when taken out of the context of the song they appeared in & when read by someone who didn’t know the songs. Sorry if that aint the case & I’ve just wasted 20 secs of your life.
Bung a note below if I missed your favourite.
If you want to read an interview with the band check out this piece on Louder Than War (click on the green hand): ☞
Piece in today’s Observer reporting that the commission looking into the causes of the riots are about to come back saying the primary cause was “aggressive advertising” aimed at the young.
For a long time I’ve been pissed that society seems to have decided that there is no higher value than acquiring individual wealth, (and to a certain extent that branded goods are a route to identity through which people feel they can gain respect), but rampant materialism & forever lusting after more £’s affects all strata’s of society not just the minority that rioted. Sheesh.
Rather, i’d suggest the riots resulted from 30 years of a political system, (starting with Thatcher, sustained by New fucking Labour & now perpetuated by this inhumane bunch of cunts calling themselves the ‘Coalition’) that’s created a hugely unequal society, one that has alienated & ostracised both the young as well as the less well off. That, and to a large extent the fact that given the opportunity people will behave like sheep. The desire for a new pair of trainers was never a stimulus for the riots, just an afterthought.
Another thing: at the end of the day, whether they realised it or not, all the rioters were doing was mimicking the ethos of the looting bankers who, to this day, have gotten away with their own brand of ‘criminality’. (Not that I’d ever suggest this was a ‘reason’ for the riots & much less an excuse for them).
One has to wonder whether or not the commission’s report is in any way motivated by a desire to completely exonerate the ruling, political classes of any blame - “It wasn’t us, it was those marketing people”. Yeah, right.
I actually thought twice about putting the cover art up here in case the squirmish take offence. Thing is though, fuck it. I used to be a vegan & now live as near as dammit vegan purely for moral, never sentimental, reasons. It’s not that it’s sad that ikkle fluffy bunny wabbits end up on people’s plates it’s that I think it’s wrong for a sentient, intelligent species with plenty of easy alternatives to unnecessarily inflict suffering on it’s fellow earthlings. So I’ve never come close to chundering when I walk past butchers or when nephews ask me to attach a pigs ear as bait to their crabbing line. (Actually I got someone else to do that, but mainly coz I didn’t want my hand reeking of dead pig till I got to a wash basin).
I’ve no idea why Raw Meat have called themselves that or why they’ve got a bunch of deer carcasses as their cover art. I tend towards the thought that they’re taking the piss out of vegetarians but that might just be because I’m sensitive & ALWAYS think EVERYONE’S taking the piss out of me. What I do know is they’re a new punk / hc band out of NYC & that they make good noise.
Also they’re giving their demo away for free. If you wanna grab a copy go here
I’ve upped a randomly chosen track to my Cloud account it you wanna see hear what they sound like before downloading. Stream / dl here (click ‘view in your browser’ to stream).
I think the expression is “And then three come along at once”. Actually, including the Bad Brains one I mentioned t’other day it’s actually four amazing American music docs from the 80’s, all about hardcore bands & similar & all readying for release any time soon.
First, Salad days, a documentary about the DC hardcore scene when it was in it’s pomp, early 80’s to the end of the decade. It features Ian Mackaye, Henry Rollins, Dave Grohl, Alec Mackaye & more. A first trailer dropped a while back, a second one just last week. They’re both below:
Second documentary, this one about the Boston Hardcore scene, again early 80’s, features SS Decontrol, DYS, Gang Green, Jerry’s Kids, The F.U’s, Negative FX, The Freeze and Deep Wound.
Talking about Boston & Hardcore gives me an opportunity to mention the news last week that Boston police tried to make moshing at hardcore gigs illegal. Obviously noses get bloodied & bones broken in mosh pits but only in a friendly way. Unlike the dorks who get bladdered of a friday / saturday night in every city centre & end up glassing each other.
The really funny thing though was the move to try & ban moshing followed someone getting hurt at a Flogging Molly gig. Last time I saw Flogging Molly the most aggressive the mosh pit got was two elderly balding guys running up to each other and doing something that looked like they were playing pat-a-cake. Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration but Flogging Molly aren’t exactly known for their mad crazy aggressive mosh pits.
Finally, a documentary about the scene that became known as No Wave. Been waiting for this for ages, it documents New York in its lawless, chaotic heyday, the end of the 70’s early 80’s. No Wave’ll probably always be my favourite music genre so I’m looking forward to this one especially. And check the roll call: Patti Smith, Basquiat, Thurston Moore, Steve Buscemi, Blondie, Lydia Lunch & John Waters.
L’Atalante’s been my favourite film for ages. It’s a great film in it’s own right (no.3 in the guardian’s all time top 100 films) but it also has added nostalgia value for me as it was the first ‘arthouse’ film I ever saw & as such it opened up a whole new world of cinema to me, a world I never really knew existed before seeing it.
It’s a simple story told in a bewitching, otherworldly (and yet also very much of this worldly) way, a story about the power of love, love won, lost & found again. It has many beautifully touching sensuous moments, the tones of which are brilliantly leavened by the irrepressible, comedic pere jules, his cats & the cabin boy.
The most famous part of it demonstrates why jean vigo, the director, is so revered amongst film fans, historians & students alike. It’s brilliantly progressive for a film made in 1934 & still thrills to watch it even to this day - one can only wonder what cinema goers at the time made of it. It is when the captain, having lost his bride following an argument to the city’s (and a tinker’s) lure throws himself into the water his barge is moored in after recalling how his wife had said if you keep you eyes open when underwater you should be able to see the face of your true love. He starts off just trying to do it in a basin, then a bucket of water but when both these fail he takes an extreme approach & dives headfirst over the side of the barge. This leads to 60 seconds of him swimming underwater & refusing to go up till he’s seen his wife’s face. Which of course he does coz it’s the movies right?
Arguably the real star of the film, pere jules, devasted himself by his captains depression then sets off into paris & finds the bride, who he carries off back to the barge fireman style (over one shoulder) (with her approval of course) where naturally the two collapse in each others arms.
It’s got just about everything you could want from a film. I’ve seen it 5 times in the cinema now & may try squeeze another viewing in before it leaves watershed next week. Gonna have to try & persuade someone to come along with me though I think. As justification, like, for splashing out another £7 on it.
The trailer for the newly restored version of the film’s at the top of the page. Below are some screen grabs including one showing pere jules with his tattoo’s (remember he must’ve acquired them at the turn of the century so they’re pretty rudimentary to say the least. One of them is a human face drawn on his body using his belly button as a mouth & into which he’s pushing a smoking cigarette. And if that doesn’t win you over to the film nowt will.
The film’s the very personification of the word ‘tender’ and shows an absolute profound understanding of the nature of what love & affection, on every level, is all about.
Clash Mag just upped this piece titled “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Blag Flag”. Things like the no. 7 bombshell: “Henry never used drugs”. Well whaaadya know? Who’d’ve thought THAT? Ok, sarcasm aside, there may be something of interest here & I freaking love how Rollins is now a hero for all music fans not just hc fans. Personally I love the guy but still find it a bit weird that 95% of what he says I vehemently agree with & the other 5% I just as vehemently disagree with. There ain’t no middle ground with the dude.
This podcast contains the following: three covers, a hip hop homage, an assault on the concept of pop music as a commodity, a track from a major label debut by an obtuse punk outfit, a belated nod to one of February’s finest albums, a late replacement, two different songs produced by Rory…
Ok, so I lied about no more references to the Ceremony gig. This band was the top support. I’ve been hearing murmurings about them for a while now, all to the effect that they make good noise. I first read about in Loud & Quiet who have a reputation as far as I’m concerned for getting on board with new hc / punk bands before the rest of the music press catch up (e.g., they were onto Cerebral Ballzy way before any of the rest of the music press got on message about them). So it’d be nice to think that it could take off for these guys soon too.
Sauna Youth are another of those bands that fit into the ‘tricksy hardcore’ bracket, something that made them an excellent support for Ceremony. Last.fm tags em ‘garage rock’. Not so sure I 100% agree with that although they do cite The Ramones as an influence & their earlier stuff does come over more garagy than the music they were playing on Weds. They’re an old sk00l diy punk band; they have no manager to book gigs, they design their own art work, they shoot their own vids & of make their own noisy. Hardcore noisy.
The drummer’s also the lead singer (shouter). Quite an achievement considering all their songs are 200bpm or faster. I like that they put a couple of spoken word stories on their first release & have played more live gigs than they’ve had practice sessions (or had when the L&Q piece was written).
If you like what you see in the video then go visit their website where you can listen to more music & maybs download some if you fancy. I did & I’m dead poor so there’s no reason for you not to do so too. Unless of course you’re even poorer than me. Or don’t like their sound.
OK, last post / reblog about Ceremony. They were fucking rad on Weds but I couldn’t get over how poorly Bristol represented. There couldn’t’ve been more than 100 people there, making the 800 cap Fleece feel pretty empty. Thought maybe it was coz they’ve alienated the old ‘balls to the floor’ hardcore fans with their new sound but not yet won over new ‘tricky thoughtful’ hardcore fans with their new sound yet. But then a youtube video of their xoyo gig over in london from the day before appears on Youtube & l00k, the venues PACKED to the shitting gunnels & it’s like “Bristol, why are you such shiiiiiit music fans?”
The thing is, even if Bristol’s hardcore fans are just being fickle fuckers (ooh, ‘fickle fuckers’, gonna use THAT expression again) & didn’t represent coz they don’t like the cleverer sound, live Ceremony are still as intense, full on & hard assed as they ever used to be. If you stayed away from this show coz you think they’ve gone all namby pamby then YOU LOST. Big time.
Another thing, you’ll see it in the video above but here’s a screengrab of Anthony’s leather cut with a massive great fuckoff Prince symbol on the back. If it weren’t for the fact that it’s leather I’d be jealous. Dude’s also been known to come on stage dressed completely in pink. Here’s a quote from him about his appearance:
That was never really my thing, to look like I was a part of a group. It’s not like a conscious effort. That’s just how I feel comfortable on stage.
Big up dude, but what was that I was saying about alienating their core demographic?
PS. In the defence of Bristol’s music fans I found out that Los Campesino’s were also in town the same night & sold out The Thekla. In hindsight happen it would’ve been a shrewd move to switch venues but that kind of thing only happens in the land of hypothecation I guess.
There’s one thing I’ve always wanted to say on twitter but cant coz I know me mum reads my tweets.
Basically it’s this: Whenever I go to a show / club I always take everything out of my wallet EXCEPT for two things; a fiver plus my organ donor card.
Me Mum, you see, would assume I’m taking the card coz I’m expecting to die. A fair assumption I guess, I do, after all, cycle pretty recklessly at the best of times & doubly so when my ears are going 10 to the dozen with tinnitus.
Reality is though that I’m invoking sods law. I know for a fact that when an errant motorist kills me (& fucks up my bike like as not (if not you can have it)) sods law will decree that that’ll be the time I don’t have my organ donor card on me.
Teeth Of The Sea, Big Naturals & Elly McCabe @ The Croft, Bristol, 22nd March
Think this was possibly gig of the year so far. Yep, that good. I’d been steeling myself for my second psychedelic drooooooning band of the week but found them to be nowhere near as psychedelic as I’d been expecting. Maybe that was because I’d seen White Hills two days previously who were very much the essence of all things psychedelic (in a musical form). So, to conclude before I’ve even really begun the review, it may not have been the best night of psychedelic music I’d witnessed during the week but It was deffo one of the best nights of swirling, building, crashing, driving, wall of sound type noises I’ve seen / heard for some time.
Having concluding before I’ve begun I think I’ll proceed by reviewing the gig back to frontish, headlining band first style.
So there we go, another great cacophonous noise band that I’ve wanted to see for a while & that I can now tick off the ‘list’ as having been seen. I like that this type music is becoming quite popular again (albeit in a minority way and assuming for the length of this review that you can be ‘popular in a minority way’), and I also like that people are referring to it as ‘experimental post rock’ now rather than ‘prog rock’. (Before anyone jumps in & cries something to the effect that how you’re tagged shouldn’t really matter, I agree, in essence, but in reality it kind of does really doesn’t it? It’d make a nonsense of Last.fm’s “stuff we think you’d like” algorithm’s otherwise & I kind of rely on them on occasions when I’m looking for lazily found ‘new soundz’).
Of course, music like this isn’t ever gonna be everyone’s cup of tea (or indeed the majorities cup of tea) but the people who do dig this kind of racket will definitely have Teeth Of The Sea marked down as one of the better proponents of the sound. Four ridiculously talented guys, they’ve now been together as a band long enough so they can kick shit out of their individual pieces of equipment, seemingly totally at random, yet also in perfect harmony with each other.
Proving how talented they are there was a lot of instrument switching going on. There was also the occasional appearance of a trumpet which added a slightly mournful* note to proceedings, although having said that overall the main feeling i was aware of, from quite early on in proceedings, was euphoria & I gave up trying to suppress the grin that kept on appearing on my face early on. (I should maybe point out I wasn’t trying to suppress the grin coz I didn’t want to look like I was enjoying myself, more coz I look a bit simple when I grin). *(With apols to trumpet fans who hate their instrument being stereotyped as ‘mournful’ - I know it isn’t always the case).
I try not to moan on here if I can avoid it but I do always find it a bit sad when a band don’t give us an encore, especially when I enjoy the band as much as this & especially when they finish well short of closing time. Ditto the Ceremony gig from the night before. There should be some rule about this, they played for long enough so there wasn’t a sense of feeling short changed at all, it’s just that having your encore hopes dashed always kind of hurts a bit. One of the most depressing things in life is that ‘soft lights going on, tinny music beginning’ moment at show’s. My problem anyway I guess, I should probably buck up & get real. Or something.
Supporting TOTS were long time South West favourites, the band Big Naturals. They weren’t supposed to be playing according to the Croft’s website so it was a hugely pleasant surprise to arrive & see them (replete with banana’s) setting up in the back room.
Big Naturals are a classic example of a band doing it for the love of the music. There’s no way they’re ever gonna make money doing this. “I’m only being paid £6 for this” one of the band members said when a member of the audience asked them something. It’s a shame though, they deserve if not to be massively famous at least to have a massive core fanbase. Ok, maybe not massive but at least big enough to fill up The Croft’s back room anyway. And that’s expecting less than it sounds because Big Naturals spurn the stage & set up shop right slap bang in the middle of the floor. Yep, where the audience are meant to be. It’s a brilliant ploy & one I’m surprised more bands don’t copy. It brings an intimacy & closeness to the bands crashing tumultuous sound that can’t be beaten. I imagine it could be quite scary to the uninitiated, or even just to those whose ears aren’t already shot to shit through a steady diet of at a least a couple of gigs a week, usually gig’s of a noisy bent. Selfishly, in a way I hope they never do become more popular coz that’d put an end to their setting up in the middle of the venue’s floor.
The fact that Big Naturals have been ‘noise jamming’ together for so long shows as they syncopate their individual cacophonies into one beautiful whole (bollocks, did I just say “syncopate their individual cacophonies into one beautiful whole”? think I need to go for a lie down), something they share with Teeth Of The Sea, for whom they made the perfect support. When I say ‘beautiful’ I should probably qualify that by explaining that I find the sound of huge walloping drums & the nonstop use of distortion pedals, feedback loops, effects boxes & oscillatory things beautiful.
Taking the experimental to the extreme the vocalist shouted some of his vocals through a mouthful of half eaten apple, a new one to me. (I’m presuming this was to achieve a certain sound rather than because he’d mistimed taking a bite out of his apple - fortunately you’ll probably never know if I’ve just made a tit of myself or not). Big Naturals vacillate between performing as a two & as a three piece. They are equally as good both ways. I so wish bands like this could get the recognition they deserve.
Having said that I wish more people were into them they don’t exactly make it easy for fans of their sound. Finding Big Naturals stuff online aint easy. Googling their name without the proviso ‘band’ afterwards brings up lots of pictures of breasts, most of which I suspect aren’t really natural at all (although I can’t deny that they’re invariably ‘big’) (not that I spent much time looking at them of course). Anyway, having found lots of dead ends for the band online & web presences that haven’t been updated for over three years I found the below which I think is them. It certainly sounds like them & if it isn’t then this is what they sound like:
The gig was moved from The Fleece which I think explains the other addition to the nights bill (actually there were two other additions but I missed the first). I’m not 100% sure but I think they rolled the Teeth Of The Sea gig in with the gig that was already planned for that night at The Croft. So between these two distorted noise monsters, playing in the front bar was Elly McCabe, Bristol’s answer to (and I’m sure she gets pissed off with people saying this) Kate Bush (vocals) & Joanna Newsom (harp). She’s been playing since she was 12 & is apparently self taught - a hard to believe fact but one i heard confirmed right from her own mouth so it must be true. She talks about graveyards quite a bit but not in a spooky kind of way, more in a sweet, endearing, funny kind of way (again she’ll probably hate me for saying that too. I’d best probably shut up now). It was rather lovely anyway & I’d certainly urge any fans of the harp pop to check her out. (It may be more accurate to call her style ‘harp folk’ but that doesn’t sound as good when said out loud). Here she was at the Louis a couple of weeks ago anyway:
Saw this film yesterday before going to see Ceremony at the Fleece. Film of the year so far I reckon. Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan it’s a two and a half hour meditation on life & death & shit like the human condition, all centred around a murder investigation. Ultimately though the murder investigation’s pretty irrelevant, it’s the stories that go on around it that keep you mesmerised. Brilliant characterisation, acting & visually stunning it’s also unexpectedly quite funny at times too. Masterly cinema to say the least.
So, ever since getting my new bike I’ve been going around saying shit like “one of the best things about riding a fixie is that there’s no gears to snag yer kecks / shoe laces in”. Next freaking thing i know one of my converse laces gets caught up in the front cog. And of course being a fixie i couldn’t stop the gears going round, so with each rotation the lace was getting tighter & tighter.
You’re probably thinking that’s not so bad, but you’re forgetting that a) i’d temporarily forgotten my bike had brakes & b) i wrap my laces round the neck of my boots a couple of times as my laces are long and as i’m the veteran of many a pair of DM’s which I always tied thus.
Anyway, I suddenly remembered the wrap around thing as my lace was getting progressively tighter & tighter & I had this sudden vision of my laces decapitating (defootitating?) my foot at the ankle. Alarmed by this sudden realisation, I decided that, rather than hitting the brakes pretty fast (remember, i’d forgotten about them), I’d shout “fuckkkkkk!!!” really loud. Quite what I thought doing this would achieve I have no idea.
Anyway, on the pavement were two yoofs who i’m pretty sure are local gang members (we regularly get raids on my next door neighbours, usually drugs busts or vehicle thefts but once “in connection with a murder”). They were wearing Easton colours anyway.
On hearing my cry they both immediately hit the deck & looked round shit scared, something that I only noticed coz at the same time my lace snapped & i was overcome with relief. So naturally i grinned at them, gave a little wave & then cycled off nonchalantly, whistling* as I went.
I’m expecting retribution some time. Hope it’s not before the Ceremony show tomorrow night. Or Teeth of the Sea Thursday. Friday’s fine though. I have a gap in my diary then for retribution. Whatever they do it can’t be worse than near defootitation can it?
*I wasn’t really whistling (not because i can’t, but because i chose not too).
PS I know defootitation isn’t a real word but for the purposes of this lets pretend it is eh?
When I inferred on Twitter yesterday that I was fully expecting to wake this morning with mad tinnitus following White Hills gig last night, I was right. Psychdelic squalls of looping frenzied guitar work, combined with some crazy powerful drumming are just about the best way to fuck your ears up. I find. (It was no coincidence that White Hills all had very colourful earplugs in I reckon). They were really good anyway, bit wild & obviously enjoying themselves to the hilt.
Din Martin opened the evening, post rocky shoegazey stuff. Despite what I overheard someone say about them afterwards they weren’t pretentious. I thought they were pretty good. Main complaint was that they didn’t invoke us all to edge a bit closer to the stage. (Another pet peeve, everyone at a gig hanging around at the back of the room so no one can get it, then when you try to force your way to the empty space at the front you get scowled at).(Of course I could just be getting scowled at coz I’m invariably muttering “you fucking bunch of fucking imbeciles, why don’t you move the fuck away from the fucking door you fucking dumb ass fuckers” as i force forward. Who knows?).
Localish band (they’re from Bath) Thought Forms were probably the highlight of the night, (as they quite often are when I see them supporting another band). They’ve grown up quite a lot since that last time I saw them a year or so ago & now go in with a far heavier, more serious sound. Proficient guitar abuse is a big part of their ‘thing’ (deej dhariwal being especially adept in this department), but guitar abuse in a controlled, we know what the fuck we’re doing sort of way. They do that loud, loud, quiet, quiet, loud thing that Slint & MBV (& other such similar bands) did do. Experimental instrumental post rock, with the occasional vocals coming pretty much as an afterthought. A great, if short, set anyway reinforcing that they’re one of the cities (they record for Invada so i can class them as Bristolian) best bands.
Thought Forms released a 3 track CD at the end of last year called Sky Peg & of which I’m lucky enough to have a copy. Their blog says it’s sold out & they don’t have any download link for the tracks so if you haven’t got a copy it’s tough luck. Maybe some time they’ll up it for free download somewhere. (Or you can just ask me to send you the mp3’s - it’s not as though they’ll be losing any £’s as it’s not available for sale anywhere). Here’s a couple of Soundclouded streams to keep you going anyway:
Saw Becoming Real support someone last year. Buggered if I can remember who but he was really good. It’s all about the future garage hybridised two-step ital innit? Ooh, now I remember, it was Mount Kimbie. Here’s a thing he’s bunged up on his soundcloud anyway. You can download it gratis if you want.
50 years ago last Monday Bob Dylan’s first album was released.
Gotta be honest, I didn’t ‘get’ Bob Dylan for years. In fact it wasn’t till I’d turned 30 that it finally ‘clicked’ for me with Dylan. I’d probably go as far as to say I actually disliked his music before that in fact. Curiously it was straight after Peel’s death that I really got hooked on Dylan; curious as Peel wasn’t exactly known as a Dylan fan despite the fact that he was the first person to play Dylan’s “Desire” in the country. Myself though, I can’t remember him actually playing Dylan on his show at all, although i wouldn’t be surprised if he had slipped in a Dylan track at some point, if only as a ‘present’ for Andy Kershaw, who, as listeners to Kershaw’s show (or his award winning radio 4 documentary) will know was a massive Dylan fan. On second thoughts, however, maybe it’s not so curious that I ended up turning to Dylan after Peel died, I probably didn’t want to listen to anything that reminded me of Peel at the time & lets face it, finding artists Peel hadn’t played on his show (and that I wanted to listen too) wasn’t easy. He even played Wham! on his show after all, which is proof, were it needed, of exactly how eclectic his taste was.
Having said all that though it’s probably safe to say the main stimulus for my sudden volte-face as regards Dylan was an hour long “best & rarest” radio 2 doc. In particular it was the inclusion of his blistering Isle of white rendition of Maggie’s Farm, his protest against the misconceived section of his own fanbase (almost all of them in fact) who couldn’t cope with his elbowing his acoustic ‘minstrel’ style for a louder, more abrasive style. He opened this electric set to a mass of jeers which he greeted without words, just with this song. It’s probably one of the most intense declarations of artistic sovereignty ever. When you listen to it below, you’ll notice it combines contempt and fury cranked out with squalls of agressive guitar work & unbelievable brio in the face of ‘the enemy’.
The fans, who previously had been his acolytes as he railed (acoustically) against the government of the day, suddenly found themselves the target of his ire. Protest songs are one thing when you’re surrounded by friends, miles from the target of your anger, another when surrounded by the people you’re aiming your ire at. The funny thing is though that the audience seem to completely miss the fact that the song’s aimed at them.
So not your traditional protest song then but absolutely a protest song none the less. A very personal protest song. It’s still one of the few songs that send prickles up & down my spine. In the words of The Minutemen “Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs”. That’s unquestionable but here too is proof that he also played hard as nails in your face songs very much in the spirit of punk rock.
It’s possibly also worth noting that amongst Dylan afficionado’s (which I don’t really consider myself to be) this song isn’t considered anywhere near one of his best. There was a poll done last year on the anniversary of his 70th birthday trying to find the definitive best Dylan song’s. Maggie’s farm didn’t feature in it at all. Despite that I’d encourage you give the below a listen, especially if you’ve never thought of yourself as a Dylan fan. It may work it’s magic on you too.
If you want to read deeper into this performance of Maggie’s Farm there’s a ‘critical analysis which you may like to look at Ben Corbett here
The nice people over at One Handed Music (Alex) has bunged out Mo Kolours new EP for free to download. Mo Kolours is a tip top beat maker, half Mauritian, half English. Soulful hip hop meets electronica. And more. It’s good stuff. Obviously recommended.
Bit sad there’s no gig on tonight as it’s been my birthday (& as I’m getting desperate for live music as I’ve been stuck in North Wales for two weeks), but tomorrow marks the start of the best gig week so far this year. Expecting at least one of the below to be a gig of the year.
So here goes:
Tomorrow, 19th March White Hills. Here’s how their Tumblr (pretty accurately) describes them:
WHITE HILLS is an ever changing entity always striving to push the envelope. Their music weaves in and out of anthemic chants, deep space bleeps and other worldly madness for a mix that proves to be intoxicating.
Wednesday 21st March’s Ceremony night. After a couple of sniffy reviews when Zoo first came out people have been getting increasingly more and more excited about the album. Gotta be honest, I’ve always been a bit of a knucklehead when it comes to hardcore, faster & harder the better. Always been pissed Husker Du’s Zen Arcade has knocked Huskers first two albums out of the spotlight. Or any light at all. Land Speed Record & Everything Falls Apart are two of the fastest, most furious hardcore / punk albums from the 80’s & they stand up against any other similar release from ever.
Back to Ceremony. They still more often than not get tagged #hardcore & #punk despite the fact that their sound is getting less #hardcore & #punk with every release. Despite all the above I still like Zoo & reckon this is still gonna be one hell of a night. Check out the four YouTube video’s bunged up the other night after their Le Poisson Rouge / New York City gig if you need convincing. Here’s one of them:
Thursday 22nd, Teeth Of The Sea. Wigged out psychedelic noise rock ahoy. Check out the tour video below. Then come down the Croft & see em in action. Gonna be a great:
Friday night. 23rd March. Another Tokyo Dub Motion Club takeover headed up by The Bug this time. I know, The motherfucking Bug. Motion nights are always a massive blast but this one promises to be a megablast. Reggae, dub, dancehall with a bit of dubstep for good measure. Check out the full lineup & this video from The Bug.
You’ll may know Richard Melzer, famed music critic from days of old, from the Minutemen documentary & from occasional mentions in Minutemen songs etc. He hooked up with The mighty Mike Watt on bass, Hirakata “Shimmy” Shimzu on guitar, and Yuko Araki on drums & recorded some spoken word shit with the three musicians noodling away behind his gushing spiel. Calling themselves ‘Spielgusher’ (ahem) they put out an album a couple of months ago. Above is a pretty representative track off it, a little bit potty mouth but really good.
It’s worth noting that The Minutemen had intended collaborating with Richard Melzer back in 1985, just before D Boon died in that car accident. So it only took Mikey Watt 27 years to get this shit together.