The Immediate have signed to Fantastic Plastic records to release their debut album, joining other new and interesting propositions like Guillemots and The Victorian English Gentlemans Club, and despite coming from Dublin have managed to avoid the Irish genetic predisposition for drab and ernest folk-rock by recording 11 sixties-versed indie-nuggets.
Alton Ellis is known as the Godfather of rocksteady and reggae and it quickly became clear at his performance at Camden’s Jazz Cafe that the reason for this may well be no simpler than that he actually fathered god — he is that good. In his early seventies now, almost old enough to have made the previous statement believable, Alton Ellis has been recording and singing live for six decades.
New York’s Grizzly Bear struck a few chords which continued the mood from Brosseau’s set, both often giving off a beautiful sense of peacefulness and calm, but the headline act were in many ways a different concept all together. For a start they are a four-piece band, and accordingly the scale of the pieces and the instrumentation involved in their performance is increased, but even more than usual, Grizzly Bear take a decidedly experimental approach. Only one of the group’s members stuck to one instrument, but he also sang, the group all taking on various vocal duties at different points. The floor and other surfaces were littered with a variety of effects pedals, electronic equipment and acoustic instruments — the usual range of guitars plus a clarinet, flute and even an auto-harp.
Charlotte Gainsbourg is of course the daughter of everyone’s favourite French pimp-daddy Serge Gainsbourg and his one time partner the English actress Jane Birkin who sang on a number of Serge’s tracks noticeably “Je T’aime” and “Ballade De Melody Nelson”. An actress in her own right, 5:55 is Charlotte Gainsbourg’s first solo full length and to steady the ship she inscribes the help of Nigel Godrich and Air to provide music and production as well as Jarvis Cocker and Neil Hannon who take on song writing duties.
“It is 2025. The global environmetal crisis continues to worsen… International politics is in a dire strait… In the midst of the maelstrom the first signs of the true crisis go unnoticed. Reports are confused as to the origin of the viral pandemic whic sweeps the world…” Yes… it’s a zombie-themed metal concept album — well what else can you expect from a band who give their names as B’Hellmouth, Medico, X Undead and El Diablo?
Architects’ two guitarists were never to be caught just knocking out the same riff as each other to fill in gaps — every segment and moment of each of their songs had been painstakingly arranged. Nor was there any suggestion of a ‘lead/rhythm’ division — as they yo-yoed up and down the fret-board counterbalancing each other, the freely moving parts worked together like a Brazilian goal.
The sonic image conjured by a name like The Bonesaw Romance can really only be one of capital R Rock and the group’s eponymous debut is clearly trying to live up to this, the press sheet describing the group as “a four-piece monstrous rock n’ roll extravaganza”.
The big news for most Mouse On Mars fans is that their latest album Varcharz sees them ditch former label Thrill Jockey, for whom they recorded five albums, to work with Monsieur Patton’s Ipecac Recordings. The smoke on the water for Varcharz is that Mouse On Mars have reinvented themselves with this full length serving only as a experimental proto-type for what is more to come — so nothing new there then.
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).