Last year Aphex Twin released a series of 12”s under the title Analord, based around analogue sounds and styles. Making use of Richard D James’s legendary and possibly unequalled collection of analogue synths, drum machines, keys and other assorted kit, this release is a 10-track ‘best of’ that offers a diverse selection of music that probably could not have been crafted by anyone else.
Throughout Twin Zero’s set, almost half of The Engine Rooms’ standing area seemed taken up by the band and this was for two reasons, firstly, as mentioned before, there’s more than your average number playing in the band and, secondly, because Boris’ huge drum kit (in size of drum, not amount of drums), and mulitple stacks of amplification took up the entire small stage meaning that only the Twin Zero keyboardist could fit on it and the rest of the band played on the floor. Boris could only just fit on the stage themselves but did, and the floor slowly filled up in front of them. The support band’s line-up and sound is big and in comparison Boris’ line-up is small — but their sound was (as one of their own song title suggests) Huge — the venue felt near bursting to contain it, with those crowd members who’d situated right at the front only about a metre or two away from the speaker cabs bearing an almight brunt — and probably listening to the Japanese band’s drones for at least the whole of the night and next day because of it.
You know when people have bad news and good news in equal measures to tell you, and they ask you which you want to hear first? Well, in the honourable tradition of rehashing cliches, that’s precisely what’s going to happen here. So if you’re a masochistic sort who likes to leave with a faintly bitter taste in your mouth, read paragraph 2 followed by paragraph 1. But if you’re a ‘spoonful of sugar with your medicine’, happy-go-lucky type then read it in the normal order and you should come away feeling none the worse. In any case, enjoy…
I’m not going to bring puerile innuendo into this. This will be a sober and even handed critique. The Organ’s members (sorry) are from British Columbia and follow the likes of Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene in coming to these shores from our Commonwealth cousins clutching good albums and sheaves of critical acclaim in their sweaty palms. The Organ also come with the same indie ethos and despite different musical templates they could breakthrough into similar territories of critical and commercial acclaim.
Evangelista was recorded at the Hotel2Tango in Montreal, spawning point of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Silver Mount Zion, et al and is co-produced and played on by Efrim Manuck from the former band. The dischordant orchestrations, strings and found sounds of these groups run throughout this recording, but the apocolyptic, biblical tones have been replaced by a more insular, personal and suffocating experience.
“Hawnay Troof” implies in Southern (American) terms implies what it suggests, “you’re horny ain’t dat da truth”. Similarly, Retard Disco is a good indicator for the sound Vice Cooler a.k.a. Hawnay Troof puts out. Maybe throw in the fact that this music sounds as though its made by someone wired by some serious A.D.T. and hatred for the ignorant values/virtues that occupy Southern America and society in general and your beginning to get an impression of this Hawnay Troof.
Joining the Gotan project (who also have a new release this month) in modern reworkings of the traditional model, The Tango Saloon are an up-to-fifteen-strong troupe of Tango enthusiasts from Sydney, Australia and this Ipecac-released self-titled album is their first major statement to the World. Not only does it look typically Ipecac with its graphic title front cover courtesy of designer Martin Kvamme, who has also designed the sleeves for Tomahawk, General Patton Vs The Executioners, Fantomas and more, but it is just pure Ipecac in sound and idea with its genre busting, obscure, experimental nature and its strong jazz and Ennio Morricone influence.
Through his work solo work, collaborations with artists like KK Null as well as playing his part in such groups as OLD, Khanate and Phantomsmasher, James Plotkin has carved out an awesome career in the murkiest and most intense of musical corners. After being consistently blown away by his various sonic children I, Zap! BANG!’s Philip Hoile, thought it very necessary to find out more about the man and how these different projects come together.
George Evelyn’s latest record under the moniker of Nightmares on Wax continues much in the same way as his previous work. Balearic melodies, relaxed dub and reggae vibes abound for another warm and sunny slice of music that seems destined to become a soulful soundtrack for chilling out while soaking up some rays come summer.
The party is over — this cheap cheap CD and its accompanying DVD is the parting stab of the now deceased Test Icicles. It’s a collection of different material — unreleased edits, mixes, remixes, demos etc and it’s a worthwhile little package, both for those who had already jumped on their wagon, and for those who as yet haven’t had the chance.
The Organ were one of the so-called ‘buzz’ bands of the recent indie-industry backslap SXSW festival in Texas. This buzz must have stowed away in their guitar cases or somethig as they’ve only just released their debut (Grab That Gun) on a minor indie label but the Garage was sold out. This was possibly due to the relative hype built up around SXSW, but despite the album not been out too long here even the non-single/non-myspace tracks were afforded recognition and grand responses. So they must be doing something right.
I can safely say that indie is not quite ready for world domination. There are some new kids in town — Nathan, Jamie, Jonas and Pearl. They take the form of be your own PET and are quickly taking the UK by storm with their quirky style, and untamed youth. These kids are barely 18 and are already teaching all those thritysomething bands how its done. It’s all about blood, puke and guts with this band. They are punk and they are raw… This is be your own PET and they bite.
The Rogers Sisters are made up by Jennifer and Laura Rogers, which yes with a name like The Rogers Sisters is what you would expect. But they also have honorary member Miyuki Furtado who seems to do the bulk of the music making on this album… So the name seems a little misleading don’t you think?
Dean Treacy’s an interesting sort of chap. For nearly thirty years he’s haunted the margins of British music, inspiring others who’ve gone on to bigger things — TVP were Kurt Cobain’s favourite band — but never quite breaking through for himself, despite an abundance of talent. Part of the reason for that lies in his talent for self-destruction, and part of it seems to be from his sheer innocence. He’s been called the original Pete Doherty (which is an interesting concept in itself but this isn’t the time or place for metaphysics) but it’s a poor comparison. For a start he has talent.
The Abominable Iron Sloth is a great mythical beast, frozen in the ice age and thawed out many years later in the time of man, where it was revered as a deity and then in it’s new man-made armour, wreaked havoc with a massive campaign of slaughter. Holding this tale close to their hearts, The Abominable Iron Sloth is also a true doom band — huge, with slaying riffs and vicious vocals.
The Concretes can be described by using many similar words to Euros Child’s: folk, indie, pop, quirky, nice… but though the acts share some sensibilities and compliment each other perfectly on the bill, the Swedish headline group are quite different. They sparkle with their special mix of traditional folk sounds, waltzes and ballads and have a great presence with their eight members. The Concrete’s sound drifts, rolls, drives and shuffles through various moods, often very emotive and rousing, sometimes haunting yet always quite comforting, the group even make a disco beat sound like it’s not really a disco beat, catching it up within their beautiful, orchestrated pop.
Named after the great tango hero Carlos Gardel’s racehorse of the 1930’s, Lunatico is the follow up from Gotan Project’s successful 2001 debut La Revancha Del Tango and again sees them returning to the formula of a little tango and a little electronica to make the tropical sound topical.
Alias and Tarsier apparently got working together through a fluke email and like the above suggests recorded their respective roles for Brookland/Oaklyn without meeting or even knowing the other. A little faceless, a little soulless you might suggest, or was this the seed for a global, boundary breaking, genre defineless, meeting of two fractured musical selfs?
Like the japanese soldier found in 1995 who believes that WWII is still going on, TV Smith hasn’t really moved too far from the punk rock modus operandi of his previous band, The Adverts, except perhaps the crisper, more crunchy (probably) pro-tooled production and the use of a few synths. This is no particular bad thing and will find enthusiasts in fans from his youth and perhaps some ‘smash the system’ anarchists. Oh, and some of Germany, where he’s quite popular.
Nathan Fake caught the spotlight when he released Outhouse in 2003 which pummelled dancefloors with a pumping techno beat over a more progressive sound. The result was instant recognition and he has gone on to produce equally excellent tracks that many a DJ would welcome into their set with open arms.
Anticipation seemed to be fairly high for this one — Mogwai touring Mr Beast — the album that was meant to be truer to the volume and intensity that the band’s gigs offered but album’s didn’t anymore, so what did they do? They stepped up, in green Team Mogwai tracksuits, and ploughed through most of said new album — as loud, heavy and emotive as needed, when needed — and backed that up with some classics, like the true pros their reputation suggests.
Stepping into the Concorde 2 on a rainy, wind-swept night it was not the dry and warmth that hit me, but the bone-shaking power of the dub vibes being laid down by warm-up an Iration Steppas dj set. With foundation shaking basslines rippling through my body it was useless to resist swaying to the laid back tunes the formidable soundsystem was launching out at full blast. This was to be a gig that summoned the rhythm from inside you and got everyone dancing to the same beat.
The album is split into two discs, the first of which is an acoustic blues/folk affair sometimes backed up by some mournful strings and low-key percussion. At times it’s reminiscent of Cat Stevens (no bad thing, incidentally) in Harper’s voice and the instrumentation, particularly on the wistful “Crying Won’t Help You Now” and “Happy Everafter In Your Eyes”.
Following Cove, were Enablers, who call San Francisco and Neurot Records home and are over this way as part of a big tour off the back of their recent Output Negative Space album. Enablers are a kind of jazzy, post-rock performance poetry with vocalist Pete Simonelli regailing beat yarns over correspondingly emotive musical arrangements by Joe Goldring, Kevin Thompson and Joe Byrnes. Goldring and Thompson both play guitars but fill out a whole tonal spectrum alongside the drum-work of Byrnes, who switches effortlessly with the flow of the song from light to angry to rousing and back again. The band recall the emotive, alternatively gorgeous/abrasive spoken-word post-rock of Slint with the warm, intriguing guitar feel of Jeff Buckley.
This is the first (relatively low-key) London appearance by this Detroit supergroup-of-sorts, featuring Jack White, solo artist Brendan Benson and two thirds of The Greenhornes (Patrick Keeler and Jack Lawrence). Their visit follows only one very limited 7” release and proceeds their debut album Broken Boy Soldiers. All but two of the (original) tracks played were new to the audience, but each was treated like a Robbie Williams tribute act at a chav wedding reception. The two songs already released and streamed on their website were given an even more fervered reception. I guess that’s what happens when someone who normally plays stadia, arenas and headlines festivals plays such modest surroundings.