Chris Herbert plays an avid part in Birmingham’s digital arts scene, creating sound installations and performing at Modulate A/V Collective nights. Mezzotint is his first recorded release though, and offers an interesting tapestry, dense with a digital collage of threads of sounds, noises and melodies thickly woven in amongst each other.
Nomeansno have been churning out their anarchic take on punk since 1982. This is their 10th full length album and their first for 6 years but thankfully fashions have passed them by. They fall on the right side of tongue-in-cheek, using it as a vehicle for delivery of puerile, twisted, punk rock songs. It works in a similar way to Frank Zappa or Butthole Surfers do — there is a sense of unhinged lunacy about proceedings (coupled with an uncompromising musical vision), rather than forced weirdness. Is this a comedy record? Well, not really. The wacky quotient on “Mansion In The Sky” and the untitled closing track are slightly too close for comfort, but “Mondo Nihilissimo 2000”’s none-more-black world view is pretty funny and generally though it shouldn’t be dismissed as lightweight or a novelty.
On a Siberian evening, when Russia was blowing her cold, post-communist freeze onto the Deutsch in Berlin, I got the chance to have some discourse with Julian of The Liars. Sipping on a beer in the American owned, aptly named ‘White Trash’ bar in Prenzlauberg, we managed to reveal alot of the intricacies within the new record: Drum and Mt. Heart Attack.
Whereas the Polmo Polpo that Constellation has released before (Like Hearts Swelling) offered electronic and synthetic manipulation in its rising and rousing washes, Sandro Perri has been reinterpreting these songs in a more pure and organic instrumental form, both on his own, with friend Eric Cheneaux (who’s Dull Lights album is released on the same day as a kind of partner record) as a duo, or with more folks as a band of up to six people. This recording documents these live experiments which showcase the essential elements of the Polmo Polpo sound i.e. Sandro Perri, his guitar, and song development but with that song development being quite different due to the addition of several new elements into the arrangement.
Crisis is a confident record, well produced and played (with particularly fine drumming). For the most part it is a cut above many of their ‘post-hardcore’ brethren, mainly for the reason that they are happy to include a tune amongst the polished buzzsaw guitars and power-screams. The contrast between Dallas Green’s sky scraping vocals and George Pettit’s gutteral roar works well on the Deftones-apeing “This Could Be Anywhere In The World”, the excellent “Mailbox Arson” (which has a slightly 80’s hair band element to it at one point — a good thing) and the rabble rousing “We Are The Sound” and “We Are The End”. These latter two extort their choruses in multi-voiced, macho yell which gives them a fist-punching, aggressive but euphoric air.
Toxic is not a compilation of Britney Spears out-takes but a collection of tracks compiled from the famous Toxic nights between 2002 and 2005 held at The Boule Noire, Boulevard Rochouart, Paris, baby. Still likely to remain unknown even to the greatest Francophiles amongst us an easier way of describing Toxic would be to say it was Paris’ equivalent to Fabric Live. Curated by in house DJ’s Dj Solo and Uncle O the album takes Hip Hop as its bedrock, lays an electro-punk duvet on top of it and supplies a funk pillow- inviting us all to get nostalgic in bed to those halcyon Toxic nights. Rah.
Under their previous moniker Roerhedds, Volt released an outstanding 3” three-track CDR which I think was called Tortur (it’s all in their native German so i’m not sure what says what), the awesome album Breed (bluNoise — so generally only known to be in existence by Germans), and then at the end of last year they hit us with their first official Volt release, the Romeo K.O EP, which was equally good if not better. Here, on Exile On Mainstream as with their last release, we finally get the debut Volt album, and it’s, well, average and disappointing.
The production on Waiting For The Next End of The World is very pop with the vocals kept nice, clean and clear and high in the mix, the male/female-ness giving that extra sweetness to what could otherwise turn out a bit nastier and dirtier. The guitars aren’t too clean but their noise is polished and curbed so that whether riffing or chugging away they never stray out of their station. In many cases the choruses take the songs right back into the pop arena but some tracks like “Mayday” could easily become a lot noisier in another band’s or producer’s hands.
This was the third installment of the yearly music festival, and again the Fuck Yeah Fest transformed Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park, Los Angeles, into the likeness of an east coast style block party. Hundreds filled the streets waiting to see the over fifty bands, plus local comedians and art exhibits.
Night Ripper presents equal touches of the ass-shaking, psychedelic, avant-garde, schizophrenic, and radio-friendly at a rapid fire speed. It is not a hackneyed attempt at a mash-up, it is a complete disassembly of popular music, stripping it down to its parts, and using them to construct a giant musical robot of the most funky and powerful nature.
The Make Roads Safe campaign has scheduled another gig to raise awareness of the dangers of the roads, to be held this Wednesday — with Dirty Pretty Things and Metro Riots playing. The gig is now sold out, with 400 tickets having been won in a competition run by the charity, and hopefully this will give a large audience to the cause’s message.
Since 1994 the Big Chill Festival has avoided the hyperactive buzz of Reading or Leeds, the vast chaos of Glastonbury and the noise of soulless dance music festivals to be a place of escapism that lets you truly unwind for a weekend. A stable diet of good vibes is the spirit, so who better so select his festival favourites than the man who has been on the line-up lists since its inception? Mr Scruff: step forward (and bring a cup of tea with you).
Eric Chenaux has been a fixture of the Toronto underground for 15 years. He’s played in and recorded with jazz, folk, punk and hardcore bands and recorded his first solo LP 10 years ago. His skills on the guitar are the one constant in this career arc, it seems. He connected with another region of the broader Canadian musical scene when Constellation invited him to go to Montreal to record this solo recording with Godspeed’s Efrim at Hotel2Tango.
Nina Nastasia’s first offering since the move from Chicago’s Touch and Go to Brighton’s ever more interesting FatCat label is a beautiful and more accessible album. Not to say that the New York singer/songwriter’s previous work has ever been too much but the rawness and starkness has perhaps been toned down into often sweet balladry for On Leaving, or as the artist puts it, it’s just “more sad than mad”.
Whilst everyone and their Dad is celebrating the re-birth of rave, Squarepusher seems to have distanced himself even further from the heavily processed jungle that made his name a hallowed word amongst many of us in the mid nineties.
The pounding riffage and tempo are similar to Nick Olivieri’s contributions to the first three QOTSA albums and much of Songs For The Deaf in particular. However, though it is a well-produced racket it frequently lacks that band’s melodic edge and either Olivieri’s mania or Josh Homme’s laconic drawl. That said, when it is good, it is pretty good. Opener “A Meeting With Foul Play” begins like a punch from a passing motorbike — hard and surprising — with a cathartic hyperspeed chorus. “Youll Never Make It Stick” is what all those weedy emo kids wished their bands sounded like and “The Conclusion Of A Death Ride” is amphetamine-fuelled speed metal. Songs of sex and drugs to make Lemmy proud.
Personality: One Was A Spider One Was A Bird is the follow-up to The Sleepy Jackson’s well-received Lovers (2003). TSJ have always been a band in form and in the live arena but in reality they are the genesis of one slightly bonkers Aussie, Luke Steele. Lovers was Steele’s attempt to “make a perfect pop album”, and though it fell short of this but still included some off-centre pop gems (most notably “Good Dancers”). This second LP took three years to write and became more of auteur’s project as Steele sacked numerous band members (retaining only long term-drummer Malcolm Clark) and maintained his singular vision, this time to combine Beach Boys vocals, Prince’s rhythms and jazz structures.
Neurot’s Enablers purvey a sonic relationship between alternatingly melodic/abrasive instrumental moodscapes and poetic verbal noticings and emotions, which has offered a couple of gorgeous and moving albums thus far, including Output Negative Space from earlier this year. With news of the group returning to the UK within a couple of months, Zap! BANG! recalled our conversations with the band just after they had returned to the US after the tour supporting said record. The band are not just awesome songsmiths but real nice people. And good conversationists. Check:
FatCat records, usually the preserve of wonkytronica like Mum and Mice Parade or the avant-folk of Animal Collective has picked up the second album by this New York-based trio for release in the UK, and their genre jump is justified. Awesomer (so called as it’s better than their first record) is a frenetic and fun blast through 10 years or so of distorted rock n roll, from proto-grunge to, erm, post-grunge, taking in The Velvet Underground and My Bloody Valentine on the way.
Raise The Bullshit Flag’s title track, the album’s first, comes on with a hardcore call to arms, the dual vocals screaming out how they want it to be hoisted above a burning horizon before mayhem ensues as the songs kicks in. The band play a chaotic mess of metallic hardcore, with ample space for intense blasts and big riffs, resonating discordance and impassioned aggressive vocals. The _Jane Doe_-esque dirty production helps the almost The Locust-like yelps and blasts to pummell away at the inner ear, making loud headphone listening a treat.
The “sense of urgency, of music that couldn’t be held at bay anymore” which Anita discusses comes on with the dirging stomp of opener “Believer”, okay this isn’t pedal to the metal but theres a dirty groove behing a lot of this record which invokes at least a subtle movement. “When Planets Collide” takes that groove in a lazy, alt indie direction, before it’s ‘oohs’ and big licks are stripped away as the song takes the left fork a minute and a half in to reveal a more chilling core, which is rocked out again, ending a completely different song than it had been both at the start and half way in.
It is perhaps both a credit to Hip-Hop’s speed of innovation and a subsequence of Hip-Hop’s relatively short life that an album shelved and lost in ‘97 can be considered a buried treasure on first release only nine years later. Darc Mind’s Symptomatic Of A Greater Ill is exactly that jewel, indefatigably Hip-hop rhinestone but almost impossible to date and contextualise. Tempting as it maybe to relate Symptomatic Of A Greater Ill in terms of its original position in fabric of Hip-Hop history and to the here and now of the current scene, the album does its best to eschew any material fads or references to celebrity fags that could inextricably tie it to a particular movement in time.