Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Music I Listened to in July

This is the new music was listening to in July 2014:

1.7 Black Bananas promo stream from Mutante 
out 23.6.14 on Drag City Records

3.7 CDs from Vinyl Exchange
Ultravox! - Ha!-Ha!-Ha! 1977
The Young Gods 1985
Thela - Thela 1995
Bruce Russell - Gilded Splinters (tape works 1995-2005)
The Body - Christs Redeemers 2013
The Baptist Generals - Jackleg Devotional to the Heart 2013

3.7 Two LPs from Piccadilly Records
The Night Marchers - Allez! Allez! 2014
Mudhoney - Live at Third Man Records 2014

4.7 Two promo CDRs given to me by Brett Savage of Dead Sea Apes at their gig at Kraak Gallery with The Oscillation
The Oscillation - Cable Street Sessions 2014
Anthroprophh - Precession 2014

10.7 Two CDs from King Bee Records, Chorlton
J Church - The Drama of Alienation 1996
J Church - The Ecstasy of Communication 1997

13.7 Three LPs on Golden Lab Records bought from Nick Mitchell direct on returning from our trip to Liverpool to see Neil Young and Crazy Horse
Desmadrados Soldados de Ventura - Dieter Dierks Jerks 2914
Chalaque - Switching Center 2014
Howling Hex - Rogue Moon 2009

15.7 Two promos delivered to my friend David Armes, guitarist of Last Harbour, as my mail sometimes gets stolen by a skunk addled idiot son of an alcoholic woman on the floor below or his stupid friends
Black Bananas - Electric Brick Wall (Drag City) June 2014
Trans Am - Volume X (Thrill Jockey) released 11.08.14

17.7 CDR given to me by Rob Allen of Robot Alien at their gig at The Castle supporing Claw the Thin Ice
Robot Alien - Putdown EP

18.7 Two song CD single given away at Dulcimer gig
The Creature Comfort - Sauce

21.7 Three 50p bargain bin promos from Vinyl Exchange
Shield Patterns - Contour Lines 2014
Ovo - Abisso 2014
New War - New War 2013

23.7 I exchanged nine records and nine CDs in Vinyl Exchange and brought home
Makoto Kawabata - Inui 3
Okkultokrati - Night Jerks 2014
Emma Ruth Rundle - Some Heavy Ocean 2014
Ed Kuepper and the Kowalski Collective - Jean Lee and the Yellow Dog 2007
Kim Salmon and the Surrealists - S/T 1995
Nirvana - Nevermind 2CD remaster 1991/2001
Minor Threat - First Demo Tape 1981/2003
Oneida - Come On Everybody Lets Rock 2000
Hugo Race and True Spirit - last Frontier 1998
Phantom Tollbooth and Robert Pollard - Beard of Lightning 1988/2003
Go Back Snowball - Calling Zero (Robert Pollard) 2002
Velvet Monkeys - Everything is Right 2011

24.7 After Ex-Easter Island Head played a mind-blowing afternoon free gig at St Ann's Church I bought two LPs from them
Ex-Easter Island Head Large Electric Ensemble
Ex-Easter Island Head - Mallet Guitars Three
David Armes gave me a promo CD of the fourth release on his Little Crackd Rabbit label
Black Walls - Communion
Later I went to Fopp and bagged some cheap CDs
Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Life 1987
Neil Young - Live at the Cellar Door 1970
Neil Young - A Treasure
Damon and Naomi - False Beats and True Hearts
Savage Republic - Varvahios
The Wire magazine with Wire Tapper 35 compilation, an "epiphany" by Graham Lewis of Wire and an interview with Trevor Wishart   

28.7 I took some CDs, books and records to King Bee Records in Chorlton and bagged two LPs
The Seeds - Fallin' Off the Edge
Lydia Lunch - 13:13
and five cheap CDs
Richard Thompson - Amnesia
Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
The Damned - Final Damnation
Stiff Little Fingers - Hanx!
Neil Young - Silver and Gold

Later at the UV Race / Sex Hands / Dinner Party gig at Kraak Gallery I bought the very last new music to be played in the flat I'm moving out of and that was the Dinner Party Live tape.

However the very last song I played in that grotty firetrap was "Sedan Delivery" by Neil Young and Crazy Horse (Year of the Horse live version): Gotta get away! Gotta get outta there!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Records and CDs for Sale

I have a lot of duplicate LPs and CDs and many CDs I have no desire to listen to ever again. Here is a list of some of  them. If anyone wants any of these then email me to let me know how much you want to pay for them, or if you have another record or CD you'd like to swap for them, and I can bring the LP or CD along to a gig. Some of the CDs I will even give away, so you might get lucky!

12" VINYL:

Gumball - Special Kiss (Don Fleming)
New Christs - Distemper (Rob Younger of Radio Birdman)
Babes in Toyland - Fontanelle (red vinyl)
Breaking Circus - Smokers' Paradise (Tod Trainer of Shellac drums)
Big Audio Dynamite - No 10 Upping Street
Ellen Foley - Spirit of St Louis (with some songs written by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones)
Fifteen - Lucky
Ultravox - The Collection
Ultravox - Vienna
Rises - Little Low EP

Bob Mould - The Silence Between Us

Dirty Three - Whatever You Love You Are
Nirvana - Nevermind
Nirvana - In Utero
Sonic Youth - Experimental, Jet Set, Trash and No Star (no cover)
Come - Eleven: Eleven
Ground-Zero - Plays Standards
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Machine EP
Penthouse - My Idle Hands
Read Yellow - Radios Burn Faster
Read Yellow - Read Yellow EP
Guided By Voices - The Best of Jill Hives EP
Magic Dirt - What Are Rock Stars Doing Today 2CD
Dymaxion - Dymaxion x 4 + 3 = 38:33
Pascal Comelade - The No Dancing (featuring "Love too Soon" with PJ Harvey singing)
Laymar - In Strange Lines and Distances
Helmet - Betty
Ramones - Road to Ruin promo CDR of remaster with ten extra songs
The New Year - Newness Ends promo CDR

John Zorn plays the music of Ornette Coleman - Spy vs. Spy
Ramones Mania
Agent Orange - When You Least Expect It
REM - Reckoning (w/bonus tracks)
Parts and Labor - Stay Afraid
Tarwater - Animals, Suns and Atoms
September Collective
Blood Red Shoes - Box of Secrets
Bloc Party - Silent Album
Adult - DUME
Adult - Why Bother?
Mothlite - The Flax of Reverie
Aquaserge - Ce Tres Cher Serge (w/Makoto kawabata)
Murcof - The Versaille Sessions
Martin Klapper and Roger Turner - Recent Croaks
Health - Health
Breathless - Green to blue 2CD
Adrian Crowley - Long Distance Swimmer
Her Space Holiday - XOXO Panda and the New Kid Revival
Greg Weeks - The Hive
Benjy Ferree - Come Back to the Five and Dime
Skeletons and the Kings of Al Cities - Lucas
Ginferno - Extra Ale
Paul Curreri - California
Low Res - Blue Ramen
The Ruby Suns - Sea Lion
Aufgang - Istiklaliya
Teddy Thompson - A Piece of What You Need
Red Jetson -Other Arms
Anticon label sampler 1999-2005
Trwbador - Trwbador
Soledad Velez - Wild Fishing
Niagara - Otto
Seth Nehil / J Grzinich - Stria
Cremaster - Infra
Beat Milk Jugs - 10 Years of Hangovers
Stumbleine - Spiderwebbed
Wild Honey - Big Flash
Mantler - Monody
Edible Woman - Everywhere at Once
KT Tunstall - Eye to the Telescope
Andrew Pekler - Station to Station
Mira Calix - 3 Comissions (no cover)
Cliffordandcalix - Aperture
Laki Mera - Proximity Effect
Midas Fall - Wilderness
Alla - Es Tiempo
Richard Warren - Laments
Richard Warren - The Wayfarer
Nedry - Condors
Nedry - In a Dim Light
The Visitors - Above You
Laroca - Valley of the Bears
Echoboy - Echoboy
El Perro Del Mar - From the Valley to the Stars
Le Loup - Family
The Spores - Not Now
Jokers Daughter - The Last Laugh
Black Cab - East Jesus
Puerto Muerto - When I Was a Swallow
The Films - Don't Dance Rattlesnake (no cover)
Gauntlet Hair (no cover)
Imani Copolla - The Black and White Album (no cover)

Promo CDR
Leila - Blood Looms and Blooms
The Clientele - Bonfires on the Heath
Digitonal - Be Still My Bleeping Heart
Artery - Civilisation
Marconi Union - A Lost Connection
Snowblink - Long Live
Yacht - See Mystery (DFA)
Sam Thomas - Blind Theatre

Fucked Up - Year of the Pig
Gold Chains - The Game
Skunk Anansie - Charlie Big Potato
Asobi Seksu - Walk on the Moon
Sneaker Pimps - 6 Underground
Gold Blade - Black Elvis
Gold Blade - Strictly Hardcore
Gold Blade - Who was the killer?
Empire of Sponge - 6th Finger
El Perro Del Mar - Dog / Shake It Off
Capitol k - Pillow
Clor - Outlines
Merchandise -Swallowing Curses
Mise En Scene - Hey Velvet
Laki Mera - Clutter
Still Flyin' - Travellin' Man
The Sundays - Cry (one song)

Ultimate Killing Joke Setlist

My ultimate Killing Joke setlist:

Blood On Your Hands
Money is Not Our God
Corporate Elect
Empire Song
Seeing Red
Fema Camp
Night Time
Pole Shift
Follow the Leaders
Fresh Fever from the Skies
The Wait

The Death and Resurrection Show
In Excelsis

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Thalia Zedek interview

I interviewed Thalia Zedek for Perfect Sound Forever.
Read it here

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Plank "Hive Mind" (Acoustic Anarchy)

Around the time of their debut album "Animalism" the trio Plank lost original drummer Johnny Winbolt-Lewis who now concentrates on Douga. Liam Stewart, who many regulars at the best Manchester gigs will recognise from such bands as Nasdaq, FTSE 100 and most recently Seatoller took over, bringing a heavier style. Whilst "Animalism" had a lot of instrumentals named after animals, "Hive Mind" is a concept album about insects and the trials they face in their existation. Prime Planker Dave Rowe, who plays both guitar and keyboards, has added more overt prog licks to his Neu-ish muse, however the band they share most ground with these days is Trans Am, which makes it appropriate that they should be supporting them when they play Ruby Lounge on November 10th. The single "Aphidelity" comes on like a cross between Pink Floyd's "On the Run" and Blondie's "Heart of Glass" and "Dark Web" throws up some ominous King Crimson heavy riffs that dramatise the peril of a fly in a spider's parlour. "Swarm Behaviour" likewise alternates a skittery calmness with a great big riff, evoking an influx of bees. Perhaps the most telling song title is "Metamorphosis" as this is what Plank themselves have done, brought on by their change of drummer. The track in question is festooned in a synth strings and a light click-clacking rhythm with a positive atmosphere, and a sample of a Slinty American voice is buried deep in the mix. "Mothlover" has a similarly upbeat beauty and features another American talking about moths, ending questioningly before "Drone" drones in. "Waterboatman" sounds like the perfect soundtrack to a close up film of a waterboatman surfacing tension. The last two tracks "Cricket" and "Khepri" segue seamlessly, and together form the highlight of another fine Plank album, climaxing with a triumphant ascending guitar solo. They play an album launch gig at the Klondyke on Burnage Range in Levenshulme on June 27th.

Douga "The Silent Well" (Do Make Merge)

Former Plank drummer Johnny Winbolt-Lewis formed Douga to sing the songs he wrote and after some changes in line up he's settled into a duo with John Waddington for "The Silent Well." Raul Carreno plays additional guitar on three songs and the tall man of many bands Dan Bridgewood-Hill (dbh) plays violin on all but the first two songs but didn't play at the album launch gig where they utilised two guitars, bass and drums. "Kids of Tomorrow" opens hopefully, a hard edged dream pop number. "Still Waters" rocks harder and has an intriguing chorus: "I'm not a yes man but I'm lying in the middle of the road, stopping traffic on a habit of mine, I'm not comatose." Then somehow Johnny makes a distorted guitar chime. "Albatross" has a Nick Drake wistfulness, and sad sunset violin strains whilst sampled voices chatter unintelligably. Dan's violin sounds more hoedown on "Accidents" which trots along a gurgling tunnel of psychedelic guitar swirl trapping distant rabbit receivers. "Beat Konductor" and "Blue is Nothing" reflect on depressive tendencies. "Chains" lays it on the line to corporate whores; "When will this be history? An end to all the travesty." Then a jumpy Afrobeat inspired rhythm gets sliced by some clanging guitar strikes. They only made 99 copies of this, so you'd better snap one up quick.

This review was written for Que Vida 2

LOOP & GODFLESH @ Leeds Cockpit 3rd June 2014

Loop were the first band I ever went to see twice on the same tour, in Liverpool and Manchester on the "Fade Out" tour in November 1988. I bought their last two albums "Fade Out" and "A Gilded Eternity" on the days they were released and saw them play five gigs before mainman Robert Hampson moved on to more experimental soundscapes with Main. This co-headline show with Godflesh was the third time I'd seen them since their surprising but most welcome reformation, which was initially just to play and curate All Tomorrow's Parties and has now grown into something bigger. In Leeds Loop opened and their set was very similar to, although a little shorter than their performances at All Tomorrow's Parties Camber Sands and Leeds Brudenell Social Club in December 2013. The big surprise was a change of drummer. John Wills was gone and in his place was the drummer from The Heads. Loop seemed a little tighter than in December. This is probably because they've been playing longer now, but the change of drummer could also be a factor. However it was perhaps telling that "Vapour" had been dropped from the set as the sped up then decelerating coda must be their most tricky drum part. They also had no time for the Can "Mother Sky" medley and yet again opened with "Soundhead," a possible manifesto for Robert's obsession with sound. There is also some irony or relevance in this being the opening song in that the first song is the one where the sound might not be quite right and needs a some tweaking. It sounded fine but they really nailed it with "The Nail Will Burn." Although Loop's aproach to rock is more considered and cerebral, I think their prime antecedents are the Stooges as their songs combine killer riffs with hypnotic mantric effect, Robert's vocals delivered in a an almost monotone. "Soundhead" could be the unholy offspring of "Not Right" (riff) and "We Will Fall" (mantra). "Straight To Your Heart" could be their "I Wanna Be Your Dog", the song lodged deep in the set (fourth actually). Few were caught out by the lull before the psyched out coda, suggesting that despite an abundance of Godflesh T-shirts, people knew Loop music well. One lady near the front was struck by Loopmania and started whooping and shouting, "Robert!" between songs. "Well someone's having fun," remarked Robert. Everyone down the front was having great fun, feeling the "Pulse" as heavy as it should be. The tremelo on Scott Dawson's guitar shimmered, "It'll happen some time," and legs akimbo Neil Mackaye bassed raw power. There were two songs in succession that mentioned hearts; "Fever Knife" cut with deliberate precision, a tunnel for the ultra-familair riff of "Collison" then the highpoint "Arc-Lite" revealing itself with stop-start circularity as one of the best dance tunes ever. At the end of the eighties Loop all looked alike with long black hair hiding their faces. Now Robert sports a silver bowl cut and Neil and Scott have their hair cut short. They might look different but the music sounds the same, a timeless artistic legacy that could last "Forever." They'd played everything but the title track from the first side of "Heaven's End" but I'd really love them to play "A Gilded Eternity" all the way through. There was a little more of that with "Breathe Into Me" then a rewind to their earliest days before Neil and Scott were in the band for a slow "Burning World." Since this gig Scott Dawson is rumoured to have left Loop. Soon after Loop were gone Justin Broadrick and GC Green were battling the drum machine in Godlesh, a more metallic proposition, but sharing with Loop a love of the riff and monotone vocals, although delivered with much more aggression. The only song I recognised was "Antihuman" but I enjoyed their brutal wall of noise, albeit from further back in the room.

This review was written for Optical Sounds 7

Thursday, 12 June 2014

June Records

New musical artefacts I acquired in June 2014:

1.6 Sibelius - Symphony No 1 in E Minor (from cheap record stall in a street near the Roadhouse)

1.6 Travel Expop Series #2 Great Britain: The Oscillation / Mugstar / Listening Mirror / Ben Nash (from Mugstar at their Roadhouse gig, the second to last copy they had)

7.6 Restless Palms - Impasto CDR (from Restless Palms at Hotspur House)

9.6 Tara Jane O'Neil - Companions to Where Shine New Lights tour CDR (from Tara Jane O'Neil at The Castle)

10.6 David Grubbs - Records Ruin the landscape book (from David Grubbs at Kraak)

16.6 Skullflower - Kino IV: Black Sun Rising CD (Given to me by David Armes of Last Harbour and Little Crackd Rabbit in May but only listened to it on 16.6)

17.6 Nope - Walker LP (from guitarist Andy Abbott after Nope played Gullivers)

19.6 Pere Ubu - Carnival of Souls (CD promo posted to me by Fire Records  of great new album out in September)

21.6 Guided By Voices - Motivational Jumpsuit CD (shrinkwrapped for a fiver in Vinyl Exchange and their best album since reformation)

23.6 Shatner's Vex
I didn't have long enough in Vinyl Exchange on Saturday so I went back on Monday afternoon and went through the CDs a lot more thoroughly and bought this lot, except the Harmonia CD (new in Fopp) and the Shatner's Bassoon CD, a mere fiver after they played a nice long jazz-prog set at Krobar to about twenty paying listeners. All CDs were a fiver or less, except the Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project and Harmonia.

Harmonia and Brian Eno - Tracks and Traces CD 1976
High Dependency Unit - Fireworks 2001
Robert Pollard - Music for "Bubble" (a Steven Soderbergh film) CD 2005
Robert Pollard - Coast to Coast Carpet of Love 2007
The Takeovers - Bad Football 2007 (Robert Pollard)
The One Ensemble - Wayward the Fourth 2006
Macrocosmica - Art of the Black Earth 2003
Crent - Pink Album
Crevice 2
Stephen Todd & Richard Youngs - Georgians
Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project - Axels and Sockets 2014
Lau Nau - Nukkuu
Tomorrow We Sail - For Those Who Caught the Sun in Flight
Thee Oh Sees - Drop
Led Bib - The People in Your Neighbourhood 2014
Shatner's Bassoon - Aquatic Ape Privilege 2013

Bob Mould "Beauty and Ruin" (Merge Records)

"Silver Age" found Bob Mould back at what he does best: playing loud guitars and energetic songs in a power trio. The follow up "Beauty and Ruin" happily continues in that vein, although the opening song "Low Season" is so far down it could fit in well on his dark "Black Sheets of Rain" album. His recent live set included more old Sugar and Husker Du songs than "Silver Age" songs, and both bands' legacies are refected in songs herein. The speedy "Little Glass Pill" could sit happily on "Candy Apple Grey" and would actually improve the album if it replaced one his weaker Husker Du songs. "I Don't Know You Anymore" sounds like a classic Sugar single and lightens the mood despite a thousand pieces of Bob's heart getting scattered on the floor. The enthusiasm of bassist Jason Narducy and Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster are enough to glue it back together so "The Kid With Crooked Face" can rev up some chaos that's vaguely reminiscent of "Real World" from "Metal Circus." "Nemeses Are Laughing" has a tripped out circular motion like "Hoover Dam." Probably the most heartfelt song "The War" is a tribute to Bob's late father, a regretful reflection on mortality. Side two begins with the lightest song "Forgiveness" which could lyrically be the opposite side of "I Apologise" from "New Day Rising," although musically its more like Sugar's "If I Can't Change Your Mind." "Mr Grey" is sixties pop hammered into hardcore shape. "Fire in the City" is the song that sounds most like something from "Silver Age" and the "tumbling down" refrain recalls "Spiraling Down" from "Life and Times" but its theme of destruction, impermanence and change could be a prequel to "The Descent." The last three songs conclude the album more hopefully. "Silver Age" obviously referenced the first Sugar album "Copper Blue" with a more precious metal; "Beauty and Ruin" echoes the second Sugar album "Beaster" in that the title repeats the first three letters. I hope Bob Mould has plenty more FU:EL to burn tomorrow morning and fixes up a gold album sooner than it took to turn copper into silver. 

Short Reviews for Que Vida 2

There have been a lot of great new releases spinning in the home of Hell in May and June 2014, too many for longer reviews, so here are some short ones!

Swedish experimentalists Skull Defekts "Dances in Dreams of the Known Unknown" on Thrill Jockey is a spirited spiritual gothic masterpiece fueled by tribal drumming worthy of Killing Joke and Kukl and features some godly guest vocals from Daniel Higgs. Scandinavian hexen zone!

Yoshimi P-We is best known for drumming in Boredoms and battling Flaming Lips' pink robots but she has another all female band OOIOO and their "Gamel" album on Thrill Jockey finds them adding their idiosycratic take on gamelan rhythms to their funtime chants.

Former Come guitarist Chris Brokaw's "Now, Forager" on Dais is a soundtrack to a film about love and fungi. Judging by the finely picked guitar instrumentals mushrooms are American road movie fuel and the ambient noise interludes could be the sound of them growing through the cracks in the sidewalks to infest Wall Street with hallucinogenic music.

"Konokon" on Lancashire and Somerset is the second album from Nottingham trio Kogumaza and finds them at their most melodic and majestic, with no loss of slowburning raw power.

Goldring / Thomson "For All #1 Noises" on Lancashire and Somerset is a one sided vinyl only recording of some guitar strum and drone culled from an installation made by two men best known for their axe work in Enablers. One for hardcore Enablers fans maybe, more ambience, little rhythm. The only downside is that they could've included these guys recent Touched By A Janitor instrumental tape on the wasteful blank side.

Monkey Puzzle Trio "The Pattern Familiar" on Slowfoot is the second album from former This Heat drummer Charles Hayward's trio with Viv Corringham's portentous multi-layered electric voice and Nick Doyne-Ditmas electric double bass. It's a stranger beast than their debut, and that had enough weirdness for a whole gang of stooges. Their shoes were made for walking to the river, where it sounds as though some disaster is about to happen.

Mugstar's mighty "Sun, Broken" album has been reissued on beautiful black and white vinyl by Cardinal Fuzz and as there are only 500 of this latter day heavy psychedelic classic you'd better run to the record store!

Kreidler "ABC" on bureau b is yet another foot tapping dose of post-Kraftwerk synthpop instrumentalism from this long running and rather under-rated German group, this time with the subtle addition of a Georgian choir.

New York hardcore kids Big Ups came to Kraak Gallery and almost blew the roof off with their Gray Matter / Minor Threat inpsired blasts. I snapped uo their "Eighteen Hours of Static" CD on Tough Love; they needed the tour money and I needed to clear the wax out of my ears.

Prescott's "One Did" on Slowfoot is a quirky instrumental affair from a trio featuring former Stump bassist Kev Hopper. I'm not sure if I actually enjoy it but sometimes that can be a good thing.




Vertical Scratchers "Daughter of Everything " (Merge Records)

Vertical Scratchers is the new collaboration between John Schmersal of Brainiac and Enon and drummer Christian Beaulieu of Triclops! and Anywhere. Both Brianiac and Enon had catchy songs deserving of wider popularity than they attained, and with John's more experimental tendencies finding their outlet in his other band Crooks On Tape, which reunites the original Enon line up, the debut Vertical Scratchers album on Merge Records has enough direct pop hooks and Kink-y melodies to get Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices singing, which he does on "Get Along Like U." The fast escape route rhymer "Way Out" is the sort of song that should be number one in a revolution summer.

Swans "To Be Kind" (Young God)

On first listen I was thinking this could be the best album ever made. Without a doubt it's the best Swans album yet and album of the first half of 2014. Three albums into their reactivation Swans epitomise genuine progression. On the two gigs I saw on their recent tour they only played four songs from this album, and the claustrophobic "Oxygen" was so slowed and mutated as to be a new piece of music. Aside from "The Apostate" from previous album "The Seer" the rest of the set consisted of new songs. The highlight of those gigs was the final song about a black hole man called Joseph which bodes well for the future, but my favourite from this album was the accusatory "A Little God In My Hands" where hairy percussionist Thor Harris gets to blast the loudest trombone in the world. The epic "Bring the Sun" also survived Michael Gira's ruthless axe, and at Birmingham Supersonic they played the otherworldy tribute to Chester Burnett "Just A ittle Boy." Michael Gira's twisted vocal and the eruption of sinister laughter make this an unsettling song even by Swans standards. The last song on each CD of this double disc finds a calm after the storm, and Swans really are like a hurricane. Their ravenous need to make as much music as possible before fate deals its mortal blow has resulted in relentless magnificence. "To Be Kind" is two hours of transcendent tripping into musical regions no one else has dared open up before, a genuinely progressive vision of the violent mutation rock music should always strive for but rarely does.If you've ever liked Swans then you need this. If you have yet to experience their brutal hallucinogenic universe, then get this and move back in time album by album to find out what it took "To Be Kind."  

Supersonic 31st May

Bands I heard play at Supersonic in Birmingham Custard factory, in order of how much I enjoyed them:

Chris Brokaw
Ex-Easter Island Head 12 guitar
Agathe Max
Jenny Hval
Wolf Eyes
Sly and the Family Drone
Alien Whale

Records I bought at Supersonic:

Chris Brokaw - Now, Forager (
Chris Brokaw - With My Little Eye CDR
Chris Brokaw (Hidden Tooth) - Bicoastal Arsonista CDR (

Kogumaza - Konokon (39/500)
Goldring / Thomson - For All #1 Noises (
Agathe Max - Dangerous Days

June Gigs

1 Mugstar / Black Bombaim / 3D Tanx / Championlover @ the Roadhouse

3 Godflesh / Loop @ Leeds Cockpit (reviewed for Optical Sounds 7)

4 Shield Patterns / Vei @ Soup Kitchen
4 EMA @ Ruby Lounge (last five songs)

5 PJ Philipson / Pascal Nichols / Raz Ullah @ Sacred Trinity Chapel

6 Douga / Daniel Land / Juffage @ First Chop Brewing Arm

7 Restless Palms / Jon Collin / Chaines @ Hotspur House

9 Tara Jane O'Neil / Rough Fields / Elle Mary / Vei @ The Castle

10 David Grubbs / Sam Schlicht @ Kraak Gallery

12 Ceramic Hobs / Droput Wives / Klaus Kinski / Sump @ Krrak Gallery

12 Tekla / Seatoller / Suttree @ Gullivers

13 Desmadrados de Soldados Ventura / Zaimph / Heather Leigh @ Kraak Gallery  (missed Kelly & Pascal)

14 A Belied Guniko / Dave Birchall & Otto Will / Obsidian Alecs @ Sub Rosa (FREE!)

17 Nope / Body Hound @ Gullivers (missed Dinner Time)

21 A Carefully Planned All Dayer @ Gullivers (Sceaming Maldini / Aeroplanes Fly High / E Numbers / Hot Shorts / Pedro Don Key / 4 or 5 Magicians / Cecile Grey)
21 Cash-In Pumpkins @ Fuel Violent Femmes night

27 Plank / Man of Moon @ The Klondyke

Havin' a Kraakin' time!

My Merry Musical Month of May

These are the gigs I went to during May 2014

2 Arc Iris / Nicole Atkins @ Night and Day

3 Former Bullies / Sex Hands @ Nick Mitchell's garden for Patrick Crane's thirtieth birthday

4 Sounds from the Other City: PJ Philipson, Thomas Long, Daniel Weaver, Picastro, MiSTOA PoLTSA, Monkey Puzzle Trio, Grumbling Fur, Chantal Acda, Sly and the Family Drone, ZZZs (see review elsewhere on blog and in Que Vida 1)

5 Big Ups / September Girls / MiSTOA PoLTSA / Hipshakes @ Kraak Gallery

7 The Sonics / Vertical Scratchers @ Leeds Brudenell

8 Plank / Vei @ Bay Horse

10 Anson Corner all day house gig w/ Tekla, Songs for Walter, dbh playing "After the Goldrush", Great Cop, Ugly Fruit, Yossaarians, etc

10 Jon Spencer Blues Explosion @ Gorilla
(reviewed elsewhere on blog)

11 Matt Gray, dbh piano blues combo @ Band on the Wall Acoustic Bhuna

12 Bo Ningen / Younghusband @ Deaf Institute
(reviewed elsewhere on blog)

16 Sex Hands / Human Hair @ Fallow

17 Carefully Planned All Dayer @ Gullivers w/ Cleft, Tekla, Ten Mouth Electron, Bad Grammar, etc
17 One-Five-Eight exhibition @ Kraak Gallery

21 Melt Banana / Young Conservatives / Legion of Swine @ Leeds Brudenell

22 Swans / Jenny Hval @ Academy 2

23 Fat Out Fest: Chicaloyah, Minimal Bouge, Nisennenmondai, Drunk in Hell, Charles Hayward Band

24 Fat Out fest: Raikes Parade, 2 Koi Karp, Barberos, Naked On Drugs, Championlover, MiSTOA PoLTSA, Die Hexen, Terminal Cheesecake, Melt Banana

25 Fat Out fest: Suttey and the End of the Worlds, Danny Saul, Lau Nau, Nadja, Gizeh records big band improv jam w/ Horrid, Charles Hayward, Nadja, Farewell Poetry; Dave Birchall & Andrew Cheetham, Cut Hands

27 Melt Banana / Glatze / Thrilling Headgear @ Birmingham Rainbow Warehouse

29 The Magic Band / Hopper Propelled Electric @ Band on the Wall

30 Hookworms / Novella / Omi Palone / Sex Hands @ Islington Mill

31 Supersonic Birmingham: Ex-Easter Island Head 12 guitar big band, Chris Brokaw, Agathe Max, Rattle, Alien Whale, Youth Man, Sly and the Family Drone, Wolf Eyes, Jenny Hval, Backwards, Swans
Amazingly, absolutely no one at any of these gigs did anything to piss me off, except the DJ who played that shiity Spandau Ballet song on Staurday night at Fat Out Fest.

More May Records

More records & CDs I acquired in May 2014:

Bo Ningen - Line the Wall (2013)
Buke and Gase - General Dome (2013)
Disappears - Era (2013)
Hookworms - Pearl Mystic (2013)
Hookworms - Hookworms EP
Robert Pollard - Blazing Gentlemen (2013)
Robert Pollard - Mouseman Cloud (2012)
Kandodo - Kandodo (2012)
Oren Ambarchi - Sagittarian Domain (2012)

Oneida - Absolute II (2011)
Russian Circles - Station (2008)
Boston Spaceships - The Greatest Hits of Boston Spaceships (2008-2011)
Robert Pollard - Standard Gargoyle Decisions (2007)
David Yow - Tonight You Look Like A Spider (1999-2007)
Mugstar - Sun, Broken (228/500 vinyl reissue, somewhere outside time)
Richard Thompson - Grizzly Man (2005)
The Magic Band - 21st Century Mirror Men (2005)
The Black-Eyed Snakes - Rise Up! (also timeless)
Bonny Billy - More Reverie (1997)
Brian McMahon - 17 Volts (1996)
Nomeansno - In the Fishtank (1996)

Giant Sand - Storm (1987)
Giant Sand - The Love Songs (1988)
Giant Sand - Long Stem Rant (1989)
Giant Sand - Swerve (1990)
Giant Sand - Ramp (1991)
Giant Sand - Center of the Universe (1992)
Giant Sand - Black Out (1993)
Giant Sand - Glum (1994)

Monday, 19 May 2014

Bo Ningen @ Deaf Institute 12th May 2014

Neil Young once said that if he found himself musically driving in the middle of the road, he'd soon head for the ditch. Younghusband are not ditch dwellers. The quartet had a pleasant soaring guitar sound, quite likely influenced by the Chameleons and the House of Love, but their lyrics were mundane, their tunes bordering on bland and they could easily have been making the same music in the eighties. Japanese Londoners Bo Ningen in contrast live in a time of their own. They are so far into that ditch they've probably bored halfway to the core of the planet. You could throw some comparisons at them, most obviously Kawabata Makoto's Mainliner, with whom Bo Ningen bassist and singer Taigen Kawabe performed on their recent "Revelation Space" album, and they share Makoto's wild guitar slinging abandon; Boris and High Rise also seem more apt than either Black Sabbath or Nirvana, as quoted from their press release. However what they do share with Sabbath and Nirvana is some killer riffing, albeit thrown together in tunes way wilder than Kurt Cobain's worst heart-shaped nightmare. Taigen Kawabe and guitarist Kohhei Matsuda are androgynous to the point of appearing alien, dressed in long ritualistic robes, the guitarist in red and the bassist centre stage in black. Taigen Kawabe is a great rock showman, mouthing silent incantations when not actually singing, waving his arms as if exorcising demons and ultimately, during the explosive finale "Daikaisei," leaning out over the gathering, unstrapping his bass with his teeth, playing it upright double bass style, then over his head, then simulating impaling himself with it as if it was a hari-kari sword. After his mock rock'n'roll suicide he left the bass to drone on the stage and ascended to stand upon his amp as Kohhei Matsuda first unplugged his guitar and swung it round like a windmill blade then made static noise with an unplugged guitar lead, the other guitarist Yuki Tsuji riffed us all into orgasmic oblivion and Akihide Monna beat the hell out of the drums. With the last blast, Taigen Kawabe leapt from his amp. It was as if every other song they'd played, from the high pitched glossolalia of "Henkan" to the jagged stop/start "Soko" by way of some songs from their new album "III" had led to this theatrically climactic celebration of the magic of rock. Most rock bands are not at all magical. Bo Ningen are one hell of a great exception.

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion @ Gorilla 10th May 2014

"Ladies and gentlemen, now that the puppet show is over, we got another song for you!" Jon Spencer knows he's cooler than you, especially if you're a couple of drunks prancing in the window behind the Gorilla stage. Towards the end of the song Jon Spencer was eyeballin' 'em, back to the crowd. When it climaxed he uttered his hilarious putdown and it was on with the real rock'n'roll show. Two guitars and a stripped down drum kit was all the Blues Explosion really needed to rock the Gorilla, but they'd also lugged a great big blue glowing theremin all over the world just to make a wiggly noise occasionally, as Jon Spencer waved his hand like a conjuror of blues-noise magic. His leather trousers with kneepads must've given extra protection for his aging knees when he fell to the floor to testify that the Blues are number one. Even pensioners with dementia would have no trouble recalling where they were at, as he name-checked the Blues Explosion over and over. When Russell Simmins bludgeoned the drum kit to death and needed roadie repairs, Jon was at pains to explain that the wait would be worth it as they always wanted to give the best possible performance. "He hits those drums so hard, just for you!"
There wasn't much waiting though, as the Blues Explosion collided one mutated hand waving romp into another bellbottomed classic, '78 style. The sound was so loud I could've sworn they played "Soul Typecast" three times and when they took requests Jon Spencer complained that all of them were for songs they'd already played. Some guy kept shouting for "Brenda" but she wasn't in the house, although it was rotting with "Black Mold." Jon Spencer had the people clapping and singing along and super-cool guitar slinger Judah Bauer gave the fret-finger to the man as they worked up the sweat of the Blues Explosion. As he left the stage, Judah high fived everyone at the front, having given more inspiration to the rest of us to carry on our war against the spoilers of fun.

Sounds From the Other City

Sounds From the Other City (Sunday May 4th 2014)

A decade on from inception, the all day arty gig party held by Islington Mill is one good reason not to blow your brains out. The seriously hot vegetable chilli they were selling did that for me! Of the eleven performances I witnessed only one that was less than top notch, and to be fair to Golden Teacher The Crescent was too packed and uncomfortable to stay and listen to them very long. Nevermind, my new band of the day ZZZ's were starting up over the road in the Old Pint Pot Wotgodforgot. As the final blast of live music action these three Japanese women based in New York were perfect; their compulsive no wave rhythmic itch had everyone twisting the night away. As they played I made new friends, waved at old friends and purloined plenty of abandoned cider. Why would you buy an overpriced drink, sip two sips then leave it behind? Waste is obscene!
My musical trip began at Maxwell Hall on the Salford University campus. Hosted by Fat Out 'til You Pass Out, Buried Bones and Gizeh Records, this was easily the most innovative and imaginative room I experienced. P. J. Philipson played his beautiful heavily effect laden guitar instrumentals inside a white tent positioned centrally whilst Jamie Robinson projected purple and white squiggles and red blood cell clones from his magic laptop. A chilled out beginning with some dreamy soundscapes was perfect for the hungover casualties of Patrick Crane's birthday party the night before to slumber to. My longest run of the day took me south to the New Oxford where Thomas Long unveiled some fine new Easter songs in a short solo acoustic set. He'd been hiding all away, working on the second Easter album and growing a cool beard, but the wait was worth it. I told him "I'm In Bloom" had better be on the album, and the final song which may or may not be called "Suicidal Kiss" also sounded like it made the grade. He started with a small surprise, a folk song called "Jamie Foyers" he'd covered from Ewen MacColl via Martin Simpson's arrangement. Another old friend was back in town just outside in the Bexley Square tent. Daniel Weaver's five minute laptop soundtrack to an abstract animation film called "Vent" was a disturbed evocation of mental deterioration. As black and white lines wiggled across the screen, a voice intoned, "There is a void so dark that my retinas burn... my tongue splits... I tense in a language I created... my noise turned against me." Out of the heart of darkness and into The Crescent pub just in time for Picastro to play some fine songs in a duo with my old friend Ant from the Helpyourselfmanchester punk rock gig collective, back in town playing viola. "What's with the hats?" asked singer/guitarist Liz Hysen, referring to the cone shaped headwear that had been fashioned from leftover SFTOC flyer-posters.
"I don't know," I told her from just in front of the stage, "but I've got Killing Joke on mine, on my third eye!"
"That's cool," She opined.
"It's not just cool, it's magickal," was my heckle revelation.
"Like a holiday when things move too fast," could have been the lyric that best summed up the event itself. I think it was the last song, a hypnotic mostly two note strum called "The Stiff" that she said was based on the Jack Nicholson film "The Passenger," which she recommended everyone see. When they finished I took the setlist.

Picastro setlist:
Split Head
That's It
State Man
Mountain / Relief
The Stiff

Just over the road in in the Old Pint Pot Wotgodforgot MiSTOA PoLTSA started rockin' like 12-string demons. Mark sent the mic stand flying into the crowd and they were living proof of the Neil Young / John S. Hall mantra that rock'n'roll will never die. The loudest band of the day, their heavy gigging schedule has really paid off and they've gone from being a good band to one of the best in Salford/Manchester. Some people have opined that Sean is the best drummer in Manchester, but different drummers have different styles; he could well be the best rock'n'roll drummer in town.
Back at Maxwell Hall Monkey Puzzle trio had taken up residence in the central tent. Charles Hayward drummed up his typically excellent storm, Nic Doyne-Ditmas plucked at an unusual upright electric bass and bespectacled Vic Corringham sat at a table singing idiosyncratically through effects, looking like the coolest teacher in improv school. Charles took a short break from drumming to walk amongst the people blowing a melodica, but was soon back to hammer home the finale of my favourite performance of the day. Half of Grumbling Fur's set was lost to an ice run, hot chilli feeding frenzy and a clash with Chantal Acda, but the four songs I heard from Alexander Tucker's Thrill Jockey duo sounded pleasant.
"It's sounding very Scandinavian," opined Daniel Weaver as he left Maxwell Hall.
"She's Belgian!" I informed him, having missed the start of Chantal Acda's trio's set. Her delicate songcraft helped me slowly gulp down more fiery chilli. The room was rather under-populated, but the mood was relaxed and calm and brought much needed respite from the headless chicken run earlier in the day. By the time she'd sung her last song, I was so chilled I couldn't be bothered to rush back to the reportedly packed Old Pint Pot for a bit of Kult Country and just hung out until Sly and the Family Drone had set up in a ring outside the white tent. A Fat Out gathering surrounded them as they drummed up some noisy tribal beatnoise chaos. Lots of people joined in on drums, including two Tribal Fighters and 2 Koi Karp, and Jamie Robinson took to crowd surfing with no elf and safety considerations. I watched from up on high, stood on a chair, as last time I joined in on drums with that lot my ears were shot for several days afterwards. Although they weren't the last band that day, they were the last at Maxwell Hall and it seemed right to finish my review with them because nearly everyone gathered around them will be back later in the month (May 23-25) for three days of the Fat Out Fest at Islington Mill with Melt Banana, Nisennenmondai, Charles Hayward, Terminal Cheesecake and Drunk in Hell. Be there or be somewhere else less cool unless it's the Sheffield Melt Banana gig! 

This review appears slightly edited in Que Vida 1

Fat Out fest

Patrick & Miriam's Birthday 3.5

3-4.5 Didn't we have a fine old time at Mr Manchesterband Recording Maestro Patrick Crane's thirtieth birthday? I gave him CDs by Neil Young, Killing Joke, Can and Fugazi. The Neil Young "Chrome Dreams II" CD was particularly appropriate as he was wearing a Crazy Horse T-shirt and played guitar on a cover of "Cortez the Killer" with Former Bullies in Nick Mitchell's back garden. Then Sex Hands played and afterwards Dylan Hughes denied singing about Joincey Jmbebe's drug intake. Those misheard lyrics are always a hoot. You say it's your birthday? It's Miriam's birthday too! I gave Ma Ve records by Public Image Ltd, Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Fall and we danced to "Trans" by Neil Young, The Stooges' "Funhouse" and Nirvana's "Incesticide" whilst Martin Warm Widow fell on top of Clive and knocked him out of his wheelchair. Dazz Gofti got the drunkest I've ever seen him, Patrick passed out, Nick and Kate Armitage fled to bed and I passed out snuggled up to Miriam on the couch then woke to a strange hallucination that Clive was asleep on the floor when he wasn't, walked home across the park to the dawn chorus and slept until high noon when it was time to get ready for the best ever Sounds From the Other City.

The Body & Irma Vep 23.4

The Body / Arabrot / Esoteric Youth / Trojan Horse - The Roadhouse
dbh / Irma Vep / Dave and Otto - Kraak Gallery April 23rd 2014

April 2014 appears to be a time of maximum acceleration, at least where the Manchester live music scene is concerned. There have been days like this when I've been aware of four good gigs happening simultaneously. On April 23rd I made it to two gigs and only completely missed one set; Serfs played Kraak whilst I watched The Body headline the Roadhouse. Fresh from his Record Store Day triumph, when he'd performed in five different bands, Edwin Stephens was back with his solo mutter-blues guitar strumming incarnation of Irma Vep at a free gig he'd organised himself. First to play were Dave and Otto, a free improv sax and double bass duo whose dynamic interplay ranged from almost silence to full on blow-out. I had to leave before they finished to catch Trojan Horse opening a minute's walk away in the Roadhouse. They introduced a song in which the bassist and guitarist marched and saluted as concerning being unemployed. I caught the lyric "Market town, beats his wife to the ground" and that was the last time I could hear what anyone screamed for the rest of the Roadhouse gig, such was the extreme volume and vocal violence. I appreciate the fact that I can't think of another band to compare Trojan Horse to, such is the originality of their proggy hardcore. The two guitarists and keyboard player had the grunge checked shirt look that was so very fashionable in the nineties. One song found them all cackling with silly Satanic laughter and they saved the best for last. Esoteric Youth were an exhilarating blast of total hardcore venom. At times they had a "Loose Nut" era Black Flag metallic edge, and the screamer flailed about in front of the stage for the entire set. They were so loud it was painful to be anywhere closer than halfway along the room and during the last song they were joined by a second screamer. Having bought one of their last five 7" EPs "The Burden of Living" I was quite pleased to find that something they are so angry about is that "We are a burden on the planet Earth." Rushing back to Kraak I saw the ever baseball hatted Edwin play a solo Irma Vep set for the second time in one week. He always has a look about him that suggests he's surprised to be singing and looks up as if expecting the audience to have gone. One morose ditty found him proclaiming, "There is a beauty in grown men crying, shaking in a cold and empty room." I can't say I can concur with that sentiment, but it is nevertheless a great song. I returned to the Roadhouse just before Norwegians Arabrot fired up their tribal grunge rock rhythms. Guitarist Kjetil wore a cool wide brimmed hat that did not detract from their chugging menace. Since last I saw them the bassist had switched to drums and a new bass playing lady had joined them, indulging in some feral screaming at times and stomping her leg in time with their compulsive convulsive beat. At one point she pulled her mic stand almost over, shreiked into it and tipped it up again which was the coolest move of the night. The tribal element was enhanced by a tall lady who joined them on a second drum kit for the last and longest song. I only caught the last song of the dbh solo guitar set at Kraak, but I've heard tall Dan play so many times in so many bands it wasn't a big deal. Probably the most gifted and prolific musician on the Manchester underground, he finished with what sounded like a Papa M cover. There are only two men in Rhode Island sludge metal machine The Body, but they sound like an earthquake. A sample of a disappointed American woman gave way to nihilistic screams and a tectonic rumble that probably had yuppy neighbours hiding under the tables in the flats down the road. The guitarist was big and fat and bearded and you wouldn't want him to fall on you. The drummer raised sticks high in the air with a demonic anger and crashed them into his kit like he wanted to kill it. One onslaught began with an air raid siren; a soundtrack of disaster. Off to one side in the Roadhouse I had a great view of the action as the audio violence was too extreme to damage my ears with out in front of the PA! It was a performance of total catharsis and a short eruption of that ubiquitous "Scentless Apprentice" Nirvana beat had me singing Kurt Cobain's words to The Body just for a moment.

Gallon Drunk @ Academy 3 15.4.2014

Gallon Drunk have always guaranteed a good night out. Frontman James Johnston's hair might've turned grey since last I saw them but they still have more fire and passion than the infinite swarms of younger rock'roll bands getting hyped yur way, so it was a great disappointment to see such a low turnout. Support band Mowbird played their pleasant though unadventurous indie rock to less than fifty people. At least by the time Gallon Drunk took the stage the gathering had swollen to treble figures. They didn't so much take the stage as take over the stage, with James Johnston raging and ranging over every inch not covered by synth, drum kit or amps. They opened with the first song from their recent 'Soul of the Hour' album, building an inexorable instrumental intro to an ecstatic crescendo before dropping away briefly; then James hit the mic and sang: "And when you're feeling so alone, And only you know, That your hand can barely write." To begin with "Before the Fire," a redemptive noir epic about finally feeling the fire of love just when you feel as though you're about to drown in selfish solitude was perfect. If "The Exit Sign" ignited the fire with an apocalyptic party that never ends, "Hanging On" set the whole town ablaze and the flames danced for the rest of the night, consuming us all in celebratory frenzy. "It doesn't feel like the party's started with you all so far away," James admonished jovially after the first song, and everyone edged closer to the stage so that he could swing his guitar out over our heads and even let Neil and Louise of 2 Koi Karp and Terminal Cheesecake have a bash at the strings near the end of the gig. One old bald fellow had the honour of that guitar finely balancing on his head for twenty seconds or so! These are the wilder benefits of the capo. The next thing we knew James was bashing it on the rigging up above, and at the end of the last song of the main set, an extended overdriven take on "The Speed of Fear," he slung it over bassist Leo Kurunis' shoulder so that he had a bass on his front and a guitar on his back. Terry Edwards handled all the synth and keyboard playing, and some of his trumpet and sax parts seemed to have been synthesised, but he still had a good old baritone sax blast. "The Speed of Fear" had an especially energising keyboard loop that sounded like guitar, and at around twice the duration of the album version was a finale as grand as they come "Down here in the city's night again." "Just One More" was the oldest song in the set, and clearly Gallon Drunk aren't feeling nostalgic. Why should they when their two most recent albums are the best they've made, and the first and last songs from 'The Soul of the Hour' are probably their best songs yet.

Before the Fire
The Exit Sign
Hanging On
Just One More
Bad Servant
Soul of the Hour
Killing Time
Traitors' Gate
The Speed of Fear

You Made Me
Some Cast Fire

This review appears in Que Vida 1; pick up a copy at Kraak Gallery, Gullivers or other Northern Quarter, Manchester venues.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Bo Ningen / The Ace of Spades

12.5 Bo Ningen were even better than expected down Deaf Institute last night and I've reviewed the gig for Que Vida 2. A gig at Deaf Institute is always a good one to do sober as the drinks are so greedily over-priced, like they are at Sandbar over the road. Having drunk so much cider and wine on Saturday and in the week before it seemed a good idea to stop before I become a functioning alcoholic; I've started smuggling cheaper off licence booze into Interzone's more over-priced pubs and bars as I have no money coming in. In theory I should be getting paid for some reviews and should also be getting "Job Seekers Allowance" but the Kafka-esque bureaucracy involved seems to take up more time and writing than writing about music itself. The Tory scum lie that they are making it easier to work on a low wage, but in reality the benefits system of tick box forms doesn't seem capable of dealing with anything a little bit out of the ordinary, and so called "advisers" at the job centre seem to be there mainly to patronise and belittle people into doing work that is as tedious as theirs must be, or worse. One form even describes these paper pushing patronisers as coaches. Does this mean they are on wheels and eat diesel? Nevermind, I've let them know I intend to write a funny article about the trial by bullshit that is expected of everyone on JSA. One prat of a "coach" even had the temerity to suggest that I should change the way I dress. Their idea of helping me is encouraging me to lie about myself, deceive employers and waste my time doing things that'll drive me crazy. Considering I've just been offered money for writing about music, and did this with NO HELP or advice from them whatsoever I think they should get off my case and give me a little more time to write, not waste it in bureacratic claptrap and pointless interviews for jobs with employers who would never employ me in a million years if they had any sense. As I have yet to actually get any JSA payments I told them I was on strike and they threatened to sanction the payment. Does this mean I have to start paying them for the honour of having my time wasted with their depressing interviews? The same "coach" who disapproves of my appearance also kept repeating that he couldn't understand why I was angry or why I blamed the Tory scum for messing the system up with their stupid reforms! At least he didn't blandly threaten to involve the police like the last time. I'm sure they'd have loved a bit of extra pointless paperwork for a case the CPS would have thrown out. I told him I was going on strike with regard to further "jobseeking" until I actually got some JSA. As I walked out onto Alexandra Road with no less than four more forms to attempt to fill in I put on the radio and it was just at the start of "Ace of Spades" by Motorhead witch seemed perfect:

Here are the excellent Bo Ningen at Cafe Oto 2013

Monday, 12 May 2014

May Records: Swans, etc

These are the cool new albums I've been listening to in the first two weeks of May, followed by the number of times I've listened to each one up to this day. I paid ten quid for New York punk rockers Big Ups CD after they blasted their way through Kraak Gallery DC hardcore style; all the rest were given to me by PR people, John Schmersal of Vertical Scratchers and Crooks On Tape (formerly of Enon and Brainiac) and Johnny Winbolt-Lewis of Douga, except Nicole Atkins' album witch I listened to on youtube. The Swans album is two hours of transcendent tripping into musical regions no one else has dared open up before. It could turn out to be the best album ever made; it is most certainly the best Swans album yet, a genuinely progressive vision of the violent mutation rock music should always strive for but rarely does. It is out on May 12th and if you are in a record shop next week with enough cash to bag it and you buy something else instead, then you ain't got a clue!

Swans - To Be Kind 5
Bob Mould - Beauty and Ruin 6
Vertical Scratchers - Daughter of Everything 3
Crooks On Tape - Fingerprint 1
OOIOO - Gamel 2
Skull Defekts with Daniel Higgs - Dances in Dreams of the Known and Unkown 2
Nicole Atkins - Slow Phaser 1
Douga - The Silent Well 2
Big Ups - Eighteen Hours of Static 2
Kreidler - ABC 1

Monkey Puzzle Trio - The Pattern Familiar
Prescott - One Did
Jon Porras - The Light Divide


Bo Ningen - Line the Wall 2LP 2013
"Leaving Jet Trails" Slowfoot Records sampler 2012
Robert Pollard - Elephant Jokes 2009
Robert Pollard - Mouseman Cloud
Giant Sand - The Love Songs
The Clash - Clash On Broadway 3CD 1976-82
Black Sabbath - Vol 4 1972
Black Sabbath - Master of Reality 1971

Anson Corner Blues Explosion!

10.5 After hearing Tekla, Sphelm, Songs for Walter and dbh's solo guitar rendition of the whole of Neil Young's "After the Goldrush" at the house on Anson Corner I rocketed north to Gorilla to watch the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion give the finger to the man. I reviewed their gig for issue 2 of Que Vida. Back in Rusholme with a bottle of red wine there were four more bands playing much louder than the afternoon entertainment and the Yossarians set at around 1am was the most chaotic and wild gig I've seen in a long time. I was stood on a chair behind a table in the back corner of the room and at one point people were shoved into it with such force it would've broken both my legs had it not stopped just as it touched them! Yossarians bassist / MiSTOA PoLTSA guitarist Mark played iPod tunes until 7am and I was glad I'd found a lost megarider flapping about in Piccadilly plaza earlier that day as the rain was battling sunrise as I left.

I will add the review to this blog after Que Vida 3 is out.

Plank, Vei & Douga

8.5 I was hoping to catch hardcore punkettes Hysterics at The Castle after Plank and Vei played the Bay Horse on Thursday, but Plank went on nearly half an hour late so it was not possible. Nevermind, Plank played the best gig I've heard them play since Liam Stewart took over the drumming, and Jamie Robinson's visual projections were a welcome animation for two rather static bands; Vei all black and white film-noir disquiet and Plank overwhelming psychedelic multi-coloured shapes and lines. The penultimate Plank track, so new it wasn't recorded for the forthcoming album, demonstrated Dave Rowe's John Adams and Steve Reich influences more audibly than anything else they've written. Johnny Winbolt-Leiws gave me a CDR of the excellent new Douga album "The Silent Well" and as there will only be 99 CD copies made, you'd better snap one up fast when it's released in June.

Friday, 25 April 2014

April Gig Explosion!

April 2014 could be the busiest month for Manchester gigs I have experienced. Some nights there are as many as four good gigs to choose between!

These are the ones I made it to so far:

3 Therapy? / Lonely the Brave @ Academy 2

4 The Taskers / Vanity Pages / The Folk Remedy @ The Eagle

6 Robert John / dbh / Race to the Sea @ Band on the Wall

8 Lorelle Meets the Obsolete / Spectres / Mistoa Poltsa @ Gullivers

9 Stephen O'Malley / Aluk Todolo @ Deaf Institute

10 Lumerians / Boogarins @ Band on the Wall

11 Bridget Hayden / C Joynes / White Death @ Hotspur House
11 Blue Angel / Dead Rabbits / Underground Youth @ Dry Bar

13 Mike Watt and the Missing Men / Superfast Girlie Show / Buzz or Howl @ Ruby Lounge

15 Gallon Drunk / Mowbird @ Academy 3

17 Carlton Melton / Mind Mountain / Horrid @ Kraak Gallery

18 Buoys / Bad Grammar / Tribal Fighters @ Kraak (Groves also played but I missed them as the gig started so early)

19 Desmadrados Soldados de Ventura (E) / Sex Hands (E) / Yerba Mansa (E) / Mistoa Poltsa / Pins / Brown Brogues @ Soup Kitchen
19 Irma Vep (E) @ Night and Day
19 Dinner Party (E) / Holy Mountain @ Common
(E = band featuring Edwin Stephens)

21 The Ex / Championlover @ Soup Kitchen
22 Nightingales / Politburo @ Kraak
23 The Body / Arabrot / Esoteric Youth / Trojan Horse @ the Roadhouse
23 dbh / Irma Vep / Dave & Otto @ Kraak

I wrote reviews of  Therapy? and Gallon Drunk and the two gigs I attended on the 23rd.

Another Pointless List of Records

Between Saturday 19th April and Wednesday 23rd April 2014 I acquired and listened to and enjoyed the records and CDs listed below.

These I bought at gigs:

The Ex - How Thick You Think / That's Not A Virus 7"
Getatchew Mekuria and The Ex and Friends - Y'Anbessaw Tezeta 2LP
The Ex - Pokkeherrie CD
Esoteric Youth - The Burden of Living 7" (one of the last five copies)
Moe - Oslo Janus CD (actually the bassist of Arabrot gave me this EP by her other band when I was chatting to her after their Roadhouse gig)
Desmadrados Soldados de Ventura - Striiide LP
Sex Hands - Season 1 CDR
The International Hotpants Romance (Ooweeooo, I saw your CD in the bargain bin!)


Ultravox! - Systems of Romance
The Great Nina Simone
Red Sparrowes - Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Sun
Black Sabbath - We Sold Our Soul for Rock'Roll
Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet
Rolling Stones - Got Live If You Want It
Jenny Owen Youngs - Batten the Hatches
The Bad Plus - These Are the Vistas
Minus the Bear - Menos El Oso
Retisonic - Levittown
Asian Dub Foundation - Facts and Figures

Plus a box full of CDs I haven't had time to listen to yet...


Bardo Pond On Top!

On Record Store Day Saturday 19th April 2014 I bought and listened to and enjoyed these records:

1. Bardo Pond "Looking for Another Place" LP (Three Lobed)
I hope for your sakes there are still a few of these beauties left in the shops. The second Bardo Pond RSD LP features another two gigantic sprawling cover versions. This time round the classics to get the joyful transcendent transformation are "Ride Into the Sun" by the Velvet Underground and "Here Come the Warm Jets" by Brian Eno. Right now these sound to me like the two best cover versions ever recorded by any band in the history of everything. Even Nirvana covering The Wipers is not as fine as this.

2. Mudhoney "On Top! Live" LP (Sub Pop)
A recent live set from a US radio broadcast finds Mudhoney kicking out the jams with the wit and wisdom of those who like it small; there were only a thousand copies and only 215 made it to Europe. I bagged the very last copy of this in Piccadilly Records so you've got no chance loser.

3. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion "She's On It / Jack the Ripper" 12"
This monstrous LOUD two song twelve inch is as hot rockin' as the best of the Blues Explosion. A tenner for two songs is a bit steep unless they are as great as this. Makes a whole lot more sense than the old man I saw buying the Stranglers' "Peaches" 7" for the same price who had no intention of actually listening to it. There is something sick and wrong about consuming environmentally damaging vinyl records and not listening to them. One of these days the city will flood and all your collectable crap will be reduced to worthless flotsam. What will you do when the sea comes back? What if there's no way of turning back? Have you got enough time?

4. Glenn Jones "Welcomed Wherever I Go" 12" (Thrill Jockey)
Three fine examples of Glenn Jones' lovely guitar instrumentals; two live recordings and a fabulous never made public before out-take. The music explains exactly why Glenn is welcomed wherever he goes and why Thrill Jockey is the best record label in the world.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Thalia Zedek Band "Six"

Thalia Zedek Band "Six" (Thrill Jockey)

Thalia Zedek recorded six songs for her sixth major studio album since the temporary dissolution of her previous band Come, so the reason for the album title is obvious. Thalia's songwriting has always burnt an emotional torch that illuminates the darkest places. "Fell So Hard" is a directly personal song, addressing the intensity of feeling in two relationships, her first lover and last lover. "Julie Said" is even heavier, a lament for a dead friend that could almost be a lullaby for graveyard sleep. The mood remains steadfastly downbeat with no noisy finale like her previous album "Via." Since then there's been a change of drummer, but you'd hardly notice. Two tunes dispense with the Band's bass, piano, viola and drums. The instrumental "Midst" and the apocalyptic finale "Afloat" find Thalia alone with her guitar. The gently powerful "Afloat" was written just after Hurricane Sandy's destruction of the New York studio where she recorded "Via" but its lyrical imagery stands as strongly as a metaphor for emotional isolation: "And now we all know how far we can float, And now we're all islands." Since recording the album, Thalia's performed a full band version, but the fact that this solo rendition is the album's highlight shows just how superlative her songs are. David Michael Curry's viola and Mel Lederman's piano always accentuate the melancholy, but Thalia can easily stand alone. In the past she's covered Bob Dylan and Lou Reed songs, but unlike them she's never released anything remotely forgettable. There's a cover song here too, Freakwater's "Flathand," and it comes as no surprise that it's the weakest track. The only genuine negative criticism that could be levelled is over brevity; "Flathand" is an older recording so perhaps it would have been cool to have included "Searchlight" from a now out of print Australian tour CDR and her cover of the Animals "House of the Rising Sun." But then "Six" would not have been six songs.    

This review appears in the first issue of "Que Vida."

April Records

This is the new music I enjoyed listening to so far in April 2014:

Aluk Todolo - Occult Rock 2LP (mind altering instrumental mayhem)
Gallon Drunk - The Soul of the Hour LP (their best album yet signed by 3/4 of the band)
Mike Watt - Hyphenated-Man LP (signed "Loves the Fall")
Lorelle Meets the Obsolete - Chambers CD

Therapy? - A Brief Crack of Light
Lumerians - The High Frontier
Satelliti - Transister
Superchunk - I Hate Music

A Winged Victory for the Sullen
Boston Spacechips - The Planets are Blasted
Sunn O))) - Flight of the Behemoth
Lou Reed and Metallica - Lulu
Giant Sand - Cover Magazine
Giant Sand - Long Stem Rant
Giant Sand - Purge and Slouch
Iggy Pop - Nuggets

Hoping to get the Bardo Pond records store day album later.

Monday, 7 April 2014

March Gigging Mania

In March 2014 I attended these musical gatherings:

1 MANTIS: Francis Dhomont, etc

2 MANTIS: Trevor Wishart, Kairos, Danny Saul, etc (Martin Harris Centre)

7 Gum Takes Tooth, Bad Guys, 2 Koi Karp, etc (Islington Mill)

8 Electric Electric, Cowtown, Sport, Well Wisher, Plank!, Barberos, Doctrines, Housewives (Klondyke)
8 Locean (Fuel)

12 Thalia Zedek Band, The Franklys, Lily Oakes (Garage, London)

13 The Noise Upstairs (Fuel)

14 Grails, Lilacs and Champagne (Soup Kitchen)

15 Danny Saul, Rosanne Robertson, H, The Digitariat (Eagle)
15 Kurt Dirt (Guts for Garters, Star and Garter)

20 Aaron-Couper, A Belied Guaniko, Chalaque, Firm Friends (Dulcimer)

27 Lightning Ensemble, Stephen Grew, Alphabet (St Margarets Church)

28 Dean Blunt (Soup Kitchen)
28 Mika Vainio, Ninos du Brasil, Evol, Source Direct (Islington Mill)

29 The Stranglers, Nine Below Zero (Big Academy)

Gigs I enjoyed the most: Thalia Zedek Band and the Stranglers

Best band I'd never heard before: Electric Electric

Funniest performance: Trevor Wishart "Encounters in the Republic of Heaven"

Loudest performance: Source Direct (or so it seemed; the Stranglers could have been louder as they played a much bigger venue but I didn't have to keep leaving the room due to punishing volume)

Most boring band: Lilacs and Champagne (Eagles play Tortoise)

Most difficult band to see whilst they played: Grails (Soup Kitchen stage is way too low)

Best drinks: Wildwood organic cider at Islington Mill and Fuel and Old Rosie cider at the Eagle Inn. No toxic artificial sweeteners, no hangover. Westons cider should be sold at all venues.

Best venue: Martin Harris Centre (perfect sound, no talking over the music)

Best heckle: Me shouting, "Its a bloke!" after Danny Saul played the Eagle, quoting Trevor Wishart's brilliant voice mutation piece that hardly anyone else at the Eagle had heard performed at the MANTIS electroacoustic weekend earlier in the month.

No one annoyed me at any of these gigs, not even the Franklys fans talking too loud whilst Thalia Zedek Band played as I stood close enough to the PA and viola amp for it not to bother me.

White Hills & Gnod @ Deaf Institute 21.10.13

Space, the final front ear. These are the voyages of the Starship Gnod, or at least one of them. Every trip is different; that's one of the joys of Gnod. It didn't take much to imagine them being a bunch of sci-fi space pirates piloting their craft into unknown galactic regions with the power of music: Jamie Robinsons projections shifted like vectors on a hyperspace map on the big screen behind the array of consoles high up  on the Deaf Institute stage. A deep moaning drone from Paddy and some longer duration distorted growls and grunts from Marlene and Alex seemed less vocalistaions than extra texture to the mutating technoid stomp'n'stagger that fuels their latest incarnation. Problems for Paddy with a rogue beat dropping in the wrong drive were quickly corrected by chief engine ear Chris, as they set the controls for the heart of the blck hole. Have guitars become too primitive for these beings? Certainly not for White Hills whose primal psychedelia connects the basic rock nerve centres to synaptic super novae. Their first scorching song "Forever In Space (Enlightened)" sums up in it'd title the feeling of spiritual unity that the best music can bring to a gathering of listeners, and was a perfect opener, sweeping everyone along with it's relentless momentum. White Hills are a band wo dress up for the occasion and make an effort to look like they rock. Guitarist Dave W had daubed heavy eye make up on his face and bassist Ego Sensation wore a velvet hotpants suit and they even had their amps covered in glittery material to keep the sound sparkling. With "In Your Room" and "Pads of Light" they delivered a double dose of compact psyche-blast number one hit singles from a parallel existation, followe dby the longer, slower "Song of Everything" where Dave ehorted everyone to open their eyes, minds and hands to take in "The Internal Monologue," the tripped out drone ambience that heralded the title track of their urrent album "So You Are... So You'll Be," a collision of Stooges riffing brutality ans spaced out monotone vocals theat eventually slowed to a backwards drum free guitar crawl like a hungover sunrise. After the most deranged "Daed" I've heard them play they were off for a bit before returning to shred up another old standard "Three Quarters" in extended form. Sadly they didn't play the brilliant closing instrumental form the album "MIST (Winter)" but you can't always get what you want. As the culmination of four days of gigging, including two days of the Carefully Planned Festival, this was perfect.   

Monday, 31 March 2014

Slint Blunt Vainio Adamson Stranglers‏

Last weekend was one of the best. I met up with lots of old friends and made a few new ones. On Friday I saw "Breadcrumb Trail", an informative documentary about Slint, at the Cornerhouse. My favourite part of the film was the letter from a five year old girl signing herself Dr Ill in response to Slint's request on the back of the "Spiderland" cover for any female vocalists interested in singing for them to get in touch. She wrote to tell them that she was much too good a singer for their band and wasn't interested. My friend Christian offered to pay for me to see Dean Blunt at Soup Kitchen so off I went to that with him and Eddie to check out some music new to my ears. Former Pan Sonic rhythm'n'noise experimenter Mika Vainio was at his explosive best at Islington Mill later, and Source Direct had me dancing about a bit even though I had to go stand outside the main room every ten minutes or so as it was cranked up so loud. Two attacks of intense strobes in one night (Dean Blunt and Evol's onslaught at the Mill) was a bit too much, and I ended up covering my face with my hat. Paddy from Gnod joined in on Mill roaming drum with Ninos du Brasil.

Saturday began with a new shortened version of "The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy" on Radio 4, for two hours or so morphing meaningfully into Radio 42. At the Town Hall that afternoon Barry Adamson of Magazine and The Bad Seeds was being interviewed by Dave Haslam, whose Debris fanzine I used to read before ever setting foot in Manchester. Barry was humourous and entertaining and the discussion could've gone on twice as long. Afterwards I headed to the Northern Quarter to buy tickets for Fat Out Fest ( and Mike Watt (13.4 Ruby Lounge) and then took a quick look at the Cornerhouse Hiker Meat exhibition before heading south to see the Stranglers last British gig on their 40th anniversary tour. They probably played the best gig I've heard them play, with four ornately framed screens above showing notorious scenes from their past and video clips: "Midnight Summer Dream" accompanied by big black panther and little black cat; "Nice'n'Sleazy" with the strippers. After opening with "London Lady and "No More Heroes" I think they played at least one song from every studio album. The big surprise oldie we didn't expect to hear was "Peasant in the Big Shitty" and closing the main set with "5 Minutes" and "Hanging Around" was perfect. It was not yet time to die. Jet Black only played on four songs, "Golden Brown," the singalong number one that should've been "Always the Sun" and "Genetix" and the final two drummer encore of "Tank" with Dave Greenfield firing off big explosions. It was Dave's birthday and he donned a silly birthday cake hat with way too few candles for "Threatened." Baz Warne and JJ Burnel did a silly waltz to "Thrown Away" described by JJ as ther disco number. The first three song encore found them adding an over the top drum solo to the end of "Something Better Change." Other soongs they played included: Peaches, Walk On By, Was It You?, Nuclear Device, Duchess, Skin Deep, Never to Look Back, Valley of the Birds, Time to Die, Lowlands, Freedom is Insane, and in the first encore Norfolk Coast, All Day and All of the Night. After they took a bow and "Meninblack" played us out I headed to the Night and Day where Warm Widow had been playing but it was all over. People were hanging around outside and soon lots of Warm Widow friends headed to Gullivers where the Stranglers were on the jukebox and I got a generous glass of wine Warm Widow bassist Zak Haha was celebrating the remains of his birthday. So Zak and Dave Greenfield share a birthday and both played a gig on their birthday and it was one of the best days ever: the midnight summer dream had begun and I walked on by.

NOT RIGHT: A Porcine Stooge Error

Scott Asheton died recently so I thought I'd write something about Iggy and the Stooges. Ron Asheton is already dead. Stooges bassist Mike Watt brings his Missing Men to tour Britain soon (Manchester Ruby Lounge 13.4) and they will probably play at least one Stooges song. Last time I saw him he played "Funhouse."
The first time I heard the Stooges was somebody's request for "I Wanna Be Your Dog" on Annie Nightingale's Sunday evening show on Radio One, probably in 1984 or 1985. I taped the song as I was aware of the Stooges from Sex Pistols' cover of "No Fun." I misheard the name of the band and wrote 'Piggy and the Stooges' on the tape. I have always been a little disappointed that Iggy had no 'P' at the start of his name.

The first time I saw Iggy Pop he headlined the Reading Festival and didn't come close to the energy of the Ramones who probably hadn't been reading much before playing their "Too Tough to Die" set. He was also upstaged again next time by Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr, Silverfish and Babes in Toyland at the same festival. Nirvana played "Smells Like Teen Spirit" before it was a single and before most of the people had heard it and the crowd erupted like nothing I've seen before or since. Kurt Cobain, the Ramones and the Asheton Brothers weren't too tough to die but maybe some of their songs could be? The entire human race could be annihilated by an asteroid tomorrow so rock'n'roll might yet die.
Some people get better as they get older, or maybe they just improve because of the talents of those playing with them. Certainly the next time I saw Iggy Pop at the big Manchester Academy he had a harder heavier band and was on top form, dancing around more than any of the younger bands I already mentioned. This might I have been around the time of "American Ceasar."
Outside again with the Stooges, in a field somewhere outside Leeds was the real deal. Both Asheton brothers were then still living and the mighty Mike Watt was on bass. More people from the crowd got up on stage than was probably safe, they played most of the songs from their first two albums and "My Idea of Fun" and were well worth the trip. With Idlewild playing before them there was never any fear they'd get upstaged, but this was (almost) the band who inspired Sonic Youth, a rejuvenated band who had an energy to rival Sonic Youth and Iggy with the Asheton brothers had a magic that he didn't otherwise manifest.
My favourite Stooges song is "Not Right." I first heard its monstrous riff rsiing from the evil fog of Sonic Youth's "Bad Moon Rising." In 1985 that was the weirdest record I'd ever heard. The reformed Stooges would later record "The Weirdness" but it was nowhere near as weird as Sonic Youth were halfway through the eighties. The first time I saw Sonic Youth was the most exciting gig I ever heard, on the "Daydream Nation" tour at Kilburn National. Mudhoney supported and both bands came back for a second encore, a cover of "I Wanna Be Your Dog." Thurston Moore pulled down Mark Arm's trousers then Mark Arm dived into the crowd. That's NOT RIGHT.
The Asheton brothers live on in this: it's NOT RIGHT.

Rewind to Bargain of the Month

Two oranges, a lemon, an apple, some carrots and three red onions; five recent copies of New Scientist magazine and Mark Kermode's book about "The Exorcist" film for free from
Maybe when I have eaten and read it all I will have the knowledge to become a New Exorcist of Science. I haven't actually seen "The Exorcist" film but enjoyed a recent Radio 4 adaptation. I much prefer radio to film or television as I like to imagine my own imagery. I also do not want my mind infested with subliminal corporate advertising crap.

13.3 A trip to Notting Hill Exchange proved fruitful. Ten pounds of Caty Pepper tape money filled my bag with bargain bin CDs by the Stranglers, Sebadoh, REM, Elvis Costello, Leonard Cohen, Cold Specks, Henry Rollins, Urge Overkill, the Dauntless Elite, Arab Strap and best of all Emily Jane White's most recent album "Blood / Lines." Strangely a prettyboy band was shooting a video in the basement whilst I was down there. Just before I climbed the stairs the singer knocked a microphone so they had to retake. When I told the two exchangers upstairs one of them remarked "Amateurs!"

13.3 £13 of Caty Pepper tape money got me a Glacial LP "On Jones Beach." This is a stunning droning improv collaboration between Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo, Necks drummer Tony Buck and a bagpipe player called David Watson released by Three Lobed records. SLOW IS CERTAINLY GOOD. Even so the first side sounds good sped up at 45rpm. I commend it to your faces as one of Mr Ranaldo's finest finest 42 minutes and it nicely compliments the Rhys Chatham "Harmonie du Soir" CD I bought at the same time. They can spin loops around each other eternally.

CAR/ARC Carla Bozulich

Album of the month is "Boy" by Carla Bozulich on Constellation Records. I prefer it to her band Evangelista and consider it to be the best album she's recorded since my favourite album of hers "Evangelista." Carla sings amazing and emotionally dark songs that combine experimentation with a melodic sense lacking in so much so called experimental music. It seems very appropriate that I interviewed Thalia Zedek this month as Carla must surely be second only to her as North America's greatest singing woman.

An odd synchronicity occured in that the other new album I listened to in the first half of the March was "Archive Volume One" by ARC Soundtracks. The first three letters of both CARla and ARC are the letters of CAR the first single by Thalia Zedek's nineties band Come.
I also enjoyed the reissue of Sleepmakeswaves debut "In Today Already Walks Tomorrow" on Monotreme ( / This has the honour of being the only unsolicited promo CD I've listened to more than once in a hell of a long time. It will appeal to fans of Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai.

I will write longer reviews of these releases quite soon.

Caty Pepper March tape

This month I listened to quite a many new/old LPs and CDs thanks to my friend Caty Flynn and her enthusiasm for the Beatles. In an odd synchronicity as I was typing this I was listening to Late Junction on Radio 3 and Fiona Talkington played Cathy Berberian's 1967 cover of the Beatles "Girl," witch she recorded singing along to her daughter's Beatles records. I made Caty a tape of Beatles covers by bands such as Shockabilly, Husker Du, Pixies, The Damned, etc. She was very pleased with it to say the least but I was aware that I hadn't included the brilliant cover of "A Day in the Life" by The Fall so I had to find it and make another tape. After a couple of days I found the compilation it closes "Sergeant Pepper Knew My Father" in my bedroom and stuffed next to it was an envelope. In the envelope was £180 . I suspect I hid it away when I thought the banks were going to collapse five years ago. This meant I had a bit of extra unexpected money to spend in Piccadilly Records vinyl sale and Notting Hill Exchange the day after I saw Thalia Zedek Band play Upstairs at the Garage, Islington. The moral of this story is: I get by making tapes for my friends, I'm gonna try to make more tapes for my friends.

Also thanks to Nick Mitchell for pointing out the Cheater Slicks LP and for help the day after some fool tried to kick in the door of my flat after pretending to be the police and demanding a £30 bribe.

Thanks to Danny Saul for the Francis Dhomont recommendations. I prefer your second choice!

So here is a fascinating list of all the new CDs and LPs I bought in March that were released last year or before that I had never heard before.

1-2.3 from MANTIS electroacoustic weekend:
Trevor Wishart - Encounters in the Republic of Heaven CDR & book (2010)
Francis Dhomont - Sans le regard d'un Soleil Noir (1979-81)
Francis Dhomont - Autre Utopies (2006 / 1989-2005)

3.3 from Piccadilly Records sale
Giant Sand - Valley of Rain LP
Cheater Slicks - Reality is a Grape LP (2012)
James Blackshaw - Holly 12" EP
Oren Ambarchi & Robin Fox - Connected LP (2012)
Daniel Higgs - Say God 2LP (2010)

3.3 from Vinyl Exchange
Thela - Argentina (1996)
Guided By Voices - Teenage FBI / Fly into Ashes / Tropical Robots (1999)

8.3 from Hilary Cowtown when Cowtown played the Klondyke
Cowtown - Excellent Domestic Short Hair (2010) signed by Hilary and Jon

13.3 from Notting Hill Exchange
Glacial - On Jones Beach LP
Rhys Chatham - Harmonie du Soir (2012)
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis - White Lunar (2009)
Emily Jane White - Blood/Lines (2013) £1
Ministry - Houses of the Mole (2004) £3
Cold Specks - I Predict a Graceful Expulsion (2012) £1
The Dauntless Elite Graft (2007) 50p
Arab Strap - The Week Never Starts Around Here £1
Henry Rollins - excerpts from Get In the Van 50p
Music for a Revolution compilation £1
Plus cheap CDs I'd already heard by Wire, the Stranglers, Leonard Cohen, Elvis Costello, REM, Sebadoh, Neil Young and Urge Overkill.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

13.3 Tooting Market Cafe

The day after the Thalia Zedek Band gig I sat in Tooting market cafe killing time with vegetable soup before the tube fare decreases. "That's sick!" Two girls weren't commenting on the soup. It was very nice soup. It was my manual tape rewinder that had attracted their attention. They had never seen such a thing in their lives! They eventually left without eating most of their chips. I caught the look of disgust on the Italian waitress's face. "Don't worry, I'm certainly not leaving any of this delicious soup!" I told her. She laughed, "Well they paid for it." But it always is a shame to waste food. WASTE IS OBSCENE as Swans memorably sloganised at immense volume. Why trouble people to cook food and then not eat it? As I was leaving an old man asked if he could take my table in the corner. He was very friendly and the waitress remarked that he is always coming to the cafe. I told her I doubted I'd be back as I live in Manchester, but you never know.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Thalia Zedek Upstairs

Had a real cool time Wednesday 12th March travelling to London to hear Thalia Zedek Band play Upstairs at the Garage. Thalia has a new noisier band called E, and I was in coach E to Euston. I interviewed Thalia before the gig and also enjoyed rockin' support band the Franklys. The climax and highlight of Thalia's set was a full band version of AFLOAT my favourite song from SIX, played solo on the record. On returning I headed straight for the Noise Upstairs at Fuel where Sam Andreae (sax) and Rodrigo Constanzo (drums) were on fine improv form followed by some randomly selected collaborations. On Friday Grails bored me with their post-prog dubby mostly instrumental music until the encore when they revved up a bit of energy. Support band Lilacs and Champagne sounded like the Eagles imitating Tortoise and I fled outside halfway through their set to save my ears. Why does the Soup Kitchen stage have to be so low? I could only see the head of Grails bassist for most of the set with occasional glimpses of the rest of the band when I walked around the room trying to avoid the incessant chatter. Too many people were talking too loud during their gig and Thalia's gig. Everyone listened intently at the improv night in between: evidence that improvisers have better manners than rockers.

Friday, 28 February 2014

February Gigs

These are the gigs I attended in February 2014:

13 Warm Widow / Salford Media City / Groves @ Kraak Gallery
14 Hotpants Romance one minute past midnight Valentines day gatecrash @ Kraak

15 Carefully Planned All Dayer @ Gullivers
     Bilge Pump / Papayer / Gurgles / Elk / Faitala / Paddy Steer / Yarbo / Silent Front

18 Sly and the Family Drone / Silent Front / Workin' Man Noise Unit / Groves @ Wahlbar

26 Trash Kit / Sex Hands / Ill @ Gullivers

27 Father Murphy / Locean / Ten Mouth Electron / Leda and the Swan @ Eagle Inn

Best performances: Bilge Pump and Warm Widow (Leeds 6, Manchester 6)

Best Band I'd never heard before: Silent Front

Best riff: "Childless" by Warm Widow

Audience participation: Sly and the Family Drone had nearly everyone in Wahlbar basement playing drums along with their evil tribal Melvins go noise racket, even me.

Strangest Instruments: Paddy Steer's home made space jazz contraptions, including an old telephone channeling the voice of Saturn and a unique noise box called a Vomit Cat played by a man in a red Stooges T-shirt in Workin' Man Noise Unit.

Two bands twice: Groves and Silent Front

Busiest musician: Sadie of Ill and Salford Media City and Ten Mouth Electron and Ding.
Best Venue: Kraak Gallery

Best Drinks: Wildwood organic cider at Kraak and Old Rosie strong cider at Eagle Inn.

Best costume: Paddy Steer in full home made Sun Ra style garb.

Best heckle: When Matt BG was interviewing Paddy he asked what all his machines were. Paddy said no one really wanted to know but the heckles proved otherwise and he had to reveal his secrets.

Best drummer: Neil Turpin of Bilge Pump.

Worst drummer: me

Nicest moment: a hug from a lady young enough to be my daughter whilst Hotpants Romance played "Heatwave."

Nastiest Moment: A fellow collapsed whilst Trash Kit were playing but they stopped until everyone knew he was OK.

Worst smell: The vile stench of the gents toilet in the Eagle Inn.

Most annoying person: the vocalist of a band whose name I forgot (not a band playing that night) whose pathetic attempts to sexually harrass me at the Warm Widow gig were even more laughable than how pleased he is with himself he seems for being able to put two words together. Here are two for him: grow up.

Six Silent Childless Groves

This month has been dominated by the excellence of the new albums by Thalia Zedek and Warm Widow and I wouldn't have really needed anththing else new to listen to at all, however it was great to discover the Fugazi fan friendly Silent Front who have been kicking up a racket for years, and get hold of the similarly inclined Groves CDR. Buy it from them at a gig for a mere two quid.

New albums I enjoyed:

Thalia Zedek - Six  CD (6 songs)

Warm Widow - Childless LP (8 songs)

Silent Front - Trust LP (8 songs)

Groves CDR (7 songs)

Oldies from a Silent Front gig, King Bee Records and a charity shop for African capitalist casualties:

Silent Front - Dead Lake LP 2010

Fuzz Against Junk CD 2003

Ministry - Greatest Fits 2001 CD (bargain of the month at 30p)

Sonic Youth - Live at the Continental 1986 CD

The Damned - Thanks for the night / Nasty / Do the Blitz 12" EP

Black Sabbath - Paranoid (1970, 2010 CD remaster)

Thursday, 30 January 2014

January Gigs

Gig of the month: Mogwai / Mugstar @ Bridgewater Hall

Loudest perfromance: Mogwai

Quietest perfromance: Poormouth

Best Venue: Bridgewater Hall

Nicest crowd: St Margarets Church for Roger Turner and Urs Leimgruber

Funniest Heckle: Someone shouted something at Stephen Malkmus who replied, "Get my cock out? That's so declasse!" The heckler heckled again that he'd actually been heckling about beer, causing Malkmus to refer to himself as the heckler's deaf uncle. It doesn't matter what you shout, your deaf uncle is funnier than you.

Most annoying person at a gig: The man in the row of seats behind me who was speaking too loud in Spanish during one of Mogwai's quieter tunes. I turned and hissed "Shut up!" at him and happily he did. Mogwai were thankfully mostly way too loud to hear the inane chatter behind and to either side of me although I did catch the gist of its importance between tunes when one of the band picked up a violin and the man to my right commented to his friend, "Look that's a violin!" Shut up and listen.

Worst drink: one can of overpriced Gay cider at Gorilla for the Malkmus gig. If some venues sold better quality drinks, they'd sell more of them.

Best drink; A whole lot more much better quality cider at Dulcimer for Desmadrados de Soldados Ventura and Castrato Attack Group.

10 Roger Turner and Urs Leimgruber / Richard Scott / Seth Bennet, Dave Birchall, Andrew Cheetham, Julie Kjaer @ St Margarets Church

15 Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks / Joanna Gruesome @ Gorilla

17 Desmadrados de Soldados Ventura / Castrato Attack Group @ Dulcimer

23 Mines / Poormouth / Nick Ainsworth @ Oklahoma

27 Mogwai / Mugstar @ Bridgewater Hall