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Thursday, 22 March 2018

Teeth blown out, Dubpod #21 (Mar 2018)

I have an occasional disagreement with my otherwise devoted partner over the question of amplification. My dearly beloved seems to think that music - specifically classical music - shouldn't be amplified. It's "fake" if you do that. It's not how it is in the concert rooms or at the opera. So we're supposed to only play stuff in the flat at the same volume at which (unamplified) musicians would themselves play it. 

Hmm. I'm not convinced. In my view, music is often far better heard at artificially loud volumes. Not least dub, cranked up until it's reverberating in synch with your own roiling internal organs. Sometimes when I pay this stuff I can't tell whether the neighbours are banging on the ceiling because it's disturbing them or it's just ... some random ricochet effect within the cacophonous sound that's taken over everything my overloaded senses can take in. Great! 

So I recommend you ignore the "room-temperature" idea of natural playback and instead play this dubpod regularly and at ever-increasing volume. You'll know when you've got the dialled-up decibel level just right. It'll be that moment when your teeth are blown out ...

1: King Tubby's, A murderous dub
2: Barry Brown, Step it up
3: Bim Sherman/Scorpio, Love forever
4: Dub Specialist, Still dubbing
5: Lone Ranger, Natty dread on the go
6: One Jesus
7: Freddie McKay, (I'm) a free man
8: The Upsetters, Vibrate dub
9: Hortense Ellis, Woman of the ghetto
10: Gregory Isaacs, On the edge
11: Ashanti Waugh, Police police
12: Triassic interlude
13: Hugh Mundell, Thinking about
14: The Revolutionaries, Natty dread dub
15: Alton & Zoot, Oppression
16: Wailing Souls, Don't fight it
17: Dennis Alcapone, Mosquito one
18: Had his teeth blown out
19: SKRSINTL, SoundTekOva
20: Twinkle Brothers, Jahoviah (12 mix)
21: Prophets, Warn the nation
22: Wayne Wade, Yabby You lord of lord
23: Big Youth, Lightning flash (weak heart drop)
24: Sammy Dread, Wat wah

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Field notes from an indie lepidopterologist

Vladimir Nabakov once famously said "It is not improbable that had there been no revolution in Russia, I would have devoted myself entirely to lepidopterology and never written any novels at all”.

Thus, in a subtle homage to the great butterfly-fancier, I give you my own mounted specimens ...

Not rare butterflies, but exquisite bands badges (Indii pin badges rarum). Discovered in the wild (ie at various gigs in the United Kingdom) they provide the indie lepidopterologist with a unique insight into several now very rare (possibly extinct) species. Some have even believed to have mutated into popular variants of the musician class: moths to the flame of indiepop stardom.

Sad to say, despite having quite a liking for the band The Butterflies Of Love, I don't yet have a badge of theirs. Like Nabakov, I shall continue my hunt until I finally track one down ...

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Ceci n'est pas un guitare

Socket, with their non-revolutionary guitar
(Windmill, London 13/3/18)

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Only pinheads wear pin badges

I was in need of a few drawing pins this afternoon (vital decorative work in the flat) and whilst hunting around for some I came across this little stash of ... er, pins.

Pins as in pin badges (or just badges where I'm from). Nice, aren't they?

The thing is with these little steel lapel badges - I've never felt much of an urge to wear them. I certainly did have a Stiff Little Fingers one when I was about 14-15, and I think I had a couple more at the time or soon after: Dead Kennedys? Undertones? But since then (since leaving school): my lapels have remained unadorned and totally badge-free.

Which is fine. As I mentioned years ago in a blog on band t-shirts, I'm not into the walking-promo-for-this-or-that-musical-outfit thing, though I can still appreciate the aesthetics of a well-designed t-shirt, a hoodie or indeed a badge.

The thing with band badges, I guess, is that the very small ones are a design challenge in their own right. How much info and artwork can you cram onto something that's about 2.5cm in diameter? Cram into it and still have something vaguely comprehensible.

Actually, I don't even know myself what some of these particular badges are about. I've acquired them quite haphazardly at various gigs (mostly in London) in the last 15 years or so. Which reminds me: the other day I read a comment from a person in a band currently doing the rounds in London in which they went out of their way to denigrate "London indie in 2006". Yeah, right mate. You're much better than that. Bloody indie bands from London doing stuff that was probably way better than your own over-hyped efforts in 2018.

I'm guessing that a fair few of the pins in the photo above are indeed from that golden year 2006 (Neils Children and Comanechi for example). I ought to start wearing them. Let's hear it for London indie from 2006. Let's hear it for pinheads like me.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

In and around London, Podcast #151 (Feb 2018)

More of yer faves, lovingly assembled by me, Niluccio. Yep, it's podcast #151. I assume you've already heard the preceding 150, played them to death and are ... eager to hear more. Well, good. I hope you enjoy it.

But, if by some chance you're unhappy with the music on offer. And you're inclined to seek me out, to take me to one side and let me know in no uncertain terms what you think of my miserable taste in music. Well OK, fine. Look me up. We'll thrash it out. You'll find me in and round London ...

1: Cord Boys, Free your mind
2: In and around London
3: Intercision, CTRL ALT DLT
4: Max Kuiper & Thorsten Soltau, I
5: Aninoko, Palabra de honor
6: Tropical Waves, Mujay lagtha hai
7: The Hathaway Family Plot, Noise compliant
8: Electric Ferrets, I don’t care
9: Lazy Pilgrims, ? (Shacklewell Arms, London 26/2/18)
10: Metalogue, Content lost (Sekt & Metalogue)
11: Please, Believe!, Burning questions
12: Vastusta, Ei päämäärää
13: Little Richard, Jenny, Jenny
14: Magna Ingress, Thee ninth sigil
15: Bangumi Crew, Vst Cruisers vs The Shit Invaders
16: Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Showgirls pt 1 & 2
17: Adventures In Stereo, Nobody’s scared
18: Jim Nastic, Chanting
19: Ricky Hell & The Voidboys, All 6’s
20: Me Rex, Goodbye forever
21: Neura, Presidio
22: Ninjah Fareye, Jah lives (zombie Jah)
23: Negative Space, Open secret
24: Deformity, Shards

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Confessions of a born-again vinyl junkie

I'm not sure how it happened, but in the past year I seem to have fallen into the habit of buying quite a few second-hand records.

You know - vinyl. That stuff everyone's been banging on about ("vinyl revival" etc ). That people have been putting into their godawful cafés or hotels to make them seem "hip". And that "vinyl-only" DJs have been bragging about playing as if it's some kind of virtue in itself.

Yes, records. Oldish ones. All scratchy and clogged up with dust. Shoved unceremoniously into torn paper sleeves and discoloured, creased and generally fucked-up cardboard sleeves. And (perhaps most annoying of all) often adorned with several layers of record shop price labels which will only come off if you scratch away at the sleeve until there's a hole (great).

As I've previously mentioned (yeah, I'm a bit of a broken record myself), I became thoroughly bored and vaguely repulsed years ago by all the vinyl fetishising that had been going on. Doubtless it was itself a small-scale reaction to the endless marketing of digital players and music on phones - but still, how tiresome. And yet ... strange to say, I've probably ended up buying more records in the past 12 months than in any other period of my life. "Why's that, Niluccio?", I hear you cry. Well ...

Here's the thing. It's cheapness. And curiosity. And some sort of deeper appreciation of records, in all their old-fashioned clunkiness.

Cheapness: for example, yesterday I picked up 20 records (LPs and 12"s) for £10. These included The Fall's Telephone Thing, Gary Clail On-U Sound System's Dreamstealers, UB40's Signing Off, a couple of jazz and hip-hop LPs, and numerous as-yet-to-be-played house/techno/electro 12" singles from artists I'm completely unfamiliar with. At 50p each they're not as cheap as name-your-price downloading (which I do quite a lot of), but definitely ... reasonable.

Just another pile of product

And at this price it's fairly painless to indulge your curiosity. In recent months I must have bought about 30 almost-anonymous 12"s just because they looked vaguely interesting. Nearly all have turned out to be some variant of house/techno/electro, and nearly all have been pretty good.

Which brings me to appreciation. Appreciation for records as records. For me it's not about thinking of records as supremely lovely artefacts or holding them in higher esteem than cassettes or CDs (which I don't). It's not about fetishising records and it's not a comparative issue. Instead, it's a sort of marvelling at the incredible durability of these easily-damaged things. And a sense that they're amazing survivors of decades of ownership/rough handling/neglect/whatever else has happened to them. Most of the ones I've been buying are at least 10-15 years old, with some 40 or even 50 years old. And there they are - in the bloody bargain bins in record shops (the lowest of the low). They've been picked over by all the crate diggers and the new-generation vinyl buyers, and they're still worth getting. And amazingly enough, they nearly all play perfectly well, despite their scratches and their ground-in dirt.

More than 30 years ago I left my job in a record shop and swore I'd never buy another record in one of these awful places. And guess what, dear reader: I never did. Well, not a new one anyway. Since then it's been bits and pieces of second-hand stuff, lots of home-taping (guilty!), lots of downloading and er, going to gigs.

For years I hardly ever went into a record shop, seeing them as the commercial antithesis of all that was artistically worthwhile in music. But in-store gigs have dragged me back. And now I'm hooked.  I crave the stuff! Fresh grooves for my tired old stylus. So please, please hear my plea - gimme some more records! I'm a born-again vinyl junkie and I need my vinyl fix.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Verbal knives, Podcast #150 (Jan 2018)

Another month, another Niluccio on noise podcast. Don't you just love the internet! This one's officially the best of the 150 I've done so far (23,850 still to go). But if you dislike it, please don't cut me with your verbal knives ...

1: Baleine3000, The nap (Aidons Antoine remix)
2: UK Gold, Off duty nuns
3: l.D.I., Puchis máis
4: Socket, ? (Windmill, London 18/1/18)
5: The Leather Nun, Dance dance dance
6: Plastic Tones, Boring party
7: SBSM, Invisible/Cyclical
8: Max Roach, Garvey’s ghost
9: G.L.O.S.S., Trans day of revenge
10: Paul Jacobs, ? (Shacklewell Arms, London 15/1/18)
11: Ivan Pejović, To be discontinued
12: Ghosts On Tape, Mogadishu night life
13: Verbal knives
14: The Cowboy, The cowboy
15: Slim Harpo, I got love if you want it
16: Spill Gold, ? (Victoria, London 28/1/18)
17: Acrylics, Gluttony
18: David Asko, Techno therapy
19: Erik Nervous, Children stabbing things
20: Treehouse, ? (Flashback Records, London 27/1/18)
21: Final Void, Ancient nuclear alien gods
22: Germ House, Showing symptoms
23: Sonny Jackson, My babe
24: Bo Gritz, ? (Windmill, London 18/1/18)

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

The Fall familiarity factor

There was a lot of forgettable “maverick genius” gush around when Mark E Smith died last month, much of it involving lame references to “hitting the north” and Smith’s Prestwich roots.

I sifted through some of it, including the better stuff from WIRE and some old NME interviews. In the end, though, none of it altered my views on Smith or The Fall. At his best: an amazing lyricist. At their best: an amazing band.

Over the years, Fall music has seeped in. The lyrics have infiltrated my addled mind and … made it even more addled. You only really notice this when you go back to something like Hex Enduction Hour. The whole bloody LP is full of stuff that’s been swirling around in my brain ever since I first heard it. Half of it I’ve misremembered, or I’ve retained fragments that don’t make sense (then again, “sense” isn’t exactly what the full lyrics add up to either).

The Fall familiarity factor is at its most unnerving when a MES-ian line is triggered by something heard on the radio or when someone uses a particular phrase in conversation. It’s hard to resist the temptation to sing/snarl it back at them …

(Pic: goro memo) 

Here are some of the Hex Enduction Hour snippets (just to confine it to that one LP) that always trip me up, come to me unbidden when I’m walking along, or that just lie around uselessly in my head, taking up valuable space:

Hey there, fuckface! Hey there, fuckface!

Where it is I can’t remember / But now I can remember / Now I can remember

Made with the highest British attention to the wrong detail

Obsolete units surrounded by hail

Message for yer! Message for yer!

I’ve never felt better in my life

He-e-e-e-e is not / Appreciated

I talk a walk down West 11

It wasn't quite like what you thought

Cosy winter

Gimme the lead, gimme the lead, gimme the lead

I’ll take both of you on, I’ll take both of you on

I just looked round / And my youth it was over

Just step sideways

Longhorn, longhorn breed

Yeah, you could make a good song with these. Or The Fall could have done.

Well, fine. Music works like this even with dire quality stuff. But with The Fall you’re pummelling your brain with surreal rants while a drum-and-bass chug-and-grind bashes the stuff into your subconscious. You’re helpless! Mentally invaded by a slurring, delirious Mark E Smith!

So yes, there is a ghost in my house. Or rather in my brain. And it’s the ghost of Mark E Smith. Fag and pint of lager in one hand. Mic in the other. He’s yelping and growling some gibberish. It’s all rather menacing. Like a page from Kafka. What’s he on about? And why is he using my thoughts to harass me like this …?

Monday, 29 January 2018

Disposable heroes of musical hypocrisy

I've banged on before about the bewildering tendency people have to just throw away perfectly good stuff.

CDs - chuck 'em. Books - bung 'em. Musical instruments - stop making music with 'em and sling 'em in the street.

In the trash, bin, garbage, dumpster.

I'm ranting like this because of a little incident from last week. So there I am, meandering through a back-alley of Shoreditch in east London (as is my wont), when what do I come across but ... a rather large electric piano thing. Dumped. It was out in the rubbish with some office furniture. None of which looked beyond repair. In fact, the opposite - it all looked quite good.

The piano in question was apparently a Williams Encore, a rather clunky-looking thing in a vaguely "retro" faux-wood cabinet. Not exactly beautiful, but then so what if it makes music?

Anyway, this particular story of musical mistreatment has a happy ending. A colleague at the place where I work kindly salvaged it and passed it on to a friend of his who can apparently make use of it (I'm told it works well enough, albeit that one of the keys is faulty).

Why do people throw away things like this? If stuff works/has some possible value to someone, can't they pass them on? Presumably, though, that would be too much trouble. As you may have noticed, we're living in a distinctly weird hyper-consumerist society dominated by advertising, gleaming new products and instant online purchases. Inevitably, "old" things are forever at risk.

And the people who own items like electric pianos, notwithstanding that they presumably like music and might even affect a vaguely "cultural/spiritual" persona based on this, are often still depressingly quick to abandon whatever's deemed outmoded. So scuffed-up stuff like the poor old Encore gets knifed in the alley.

So yes, dear reader, we're living in a world of disposable musical hypocrisy. Out with old, in with that new overpriced thing I've just got from Amazon. But let's - just for once - take a moment to appreciate the underappreciated. Let's put our hands together for all those chucked-in-the-alleyway musical instruments. Come on! Let's reclaim them from the rubbish and get them back on stage! One more time. Let's hear it for the junked instruments. Encore! Encore! Encore!

So I've just received this photograph of the instrument in question, happily nestling in its new place of abode. 

How sweet, no? Now it'll be properly treasured, playing with loving hands, admired by friends and family. Except ... that exposed brick wall might remind the poor traumatised keyboard of how it was thoughtlessly thrown into the alley. And there's a rather too-nearby-for-comfort rubbish bin ...


Sunday, 28 January 2018

We've got repetition in our music and we're never gonna lose it ...

"The Fall were an English post-punk band, former in 1976 in Prestwich, Greater Manchester ..." (Wikipedia, January 2018).

Pic: from Punk 365

Friday, 19 January 2018

Loser lost in music

Bo Gritz, getting lost in the chaos of noise: Windmill, Brixton, London 18/1/18

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Certain groups, Podcast #149 (Dec 2017)

Certain groups (and other practitioners of musical production) appear on this podcast ...

1: Visionist, Rock the flock (Diskotopia dub)
2: Hater, Had it all
3: Filmy Ghost & Uunslit, The last gestures of a ghost
4: Cold Boys, ? (Flashback Records, London 8/12/17)
5: Unknown Child, Fast car
6: Certain groups
7: Lab Coast, Walking on ayr
8: Kenny Floreat, I’m alright
9: Monkeeastronaut, Dissociative hallucinogenic compounds
10: Ouch My Face, The hammer
11: JJ Johnson, Jay
12: How was it possible?
13: Zyanose, Chipping song of bird
14: Holiday Ghosts, In my head
15: Boska, Hiddenseer
16: Fraser A Gorman, Blossom & snow
17: Youth Avoiders, Cold mines
18: Member states
19: Rigly Chang, Runnin bootleg
20: Night Shop, So smart
21: Summer, Wynona
22: Mars89, Throbbing pain
23: Earl King, Darling honey angel child
24: East Brunswick All Girls Choir, 14 Clay Gully Court
25: Gomme, Cut your finger
26: Ben Chapman, Je t’aime (12” mix)

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

History of swearing, Noisepod #14 (Dec 2017)

Most people need more noise in their lives. Or so I like to think. So, sit up straight, uncork your ears, and put your hands together for ... history of swearing ...

1: Bolt Thrower, Cenotaph
2: Los Crudos, Desde el barrio
3: Mysterious Skin, Not my riot
4: Roht, Sama hvað
5: Death Pedals, Count of none
6: The Drills, Skate tough
7: History of swearing
8: Chemos, Barrier characters
9: Entombed, Full of hell
10: Henry Blacker, The grain
11: White Stripes, Jumble, jumble
12: Cold Sweat, The world is a grave
13: Insufferable, Here//alone
14: In infamy
15: The Fall, Pay your rates
16: Hey Colossus, Hey, dead eyes, pp!
17: Kind Eyes, Tunneller
18: 100 Demons, Ne desit virtus
19: The Lost Riots, Our generation
20: The safeties of the past
21: Beards, Infinite lawn
22: Other Sources, Condemned
23: Sex Pistols, No fun (demo)
24: Orden Mundial, Son fantasmas
25: Nomad, 人生
26: Slowcoaches, Surface observations
27: If this brain was destroyed
28: Witching Waves, Creeping
29: Wound Man, Rot
30: Negative Rage, Dirty hands
31: Penis In Vagina, 15
32: The Love Triangle, Future tense
33: Technical Ecstacy, Blackhole
34: Mordant, Ruined machine

Attributable to human error, Dubpod #20 (Dec 2017)

Escape the tedium of Christmas with ... a new Niluccio on Noise dubpod. You know it makes sense.

Now I'm aware that some people think dub isn't really a superior kind of music at all. Shockingly, they don't even think it's that good. But they're wrong. Very wrong. And why do they make such mistakes? It's attributable to human error ...

1: King Tubby, Morpheus special
2: Burning Spear, Throw down your arms
3: The Revolutionary Hell & Fire, Multitude dub
4: Freddie & Brentford Disco Set, Rasta revolution
5: Augustus Pablo & The Crystalites, Bass & drum version
6: Attributable to human error
7: Dennis Brown & The Crystalites, Concentration version two
8: Hugh Mundell/Augustus Pablo, Thinking about (version)
9: The Viceroys, Heart made of stone
10: Glenmore Brown, South East rock
11: Ras Menelik, Chant down apartheid
12: Last gestures of a ghost
13: Jennifer Lara, A change gonna come
14: Herbert Chang, Coming of Jah
15: Sons Of Light, Land of love
16: Visionist, Rock the flock (Diskotopia dub)
17: Scientist, Their hands in blood
18: Clipped to perfection
19: The Eclips Band, Vision
20: Full Experience, Can't see you
21: I Roy, Cossone affair
22: Prince Alla, Their reward
23: 食品まつ, Amenbo wodori
24: John Holt, Change your style/Hooligan
25: Big Dread, Fire

Thursday, 14 December 2017

A year in music: seven random things

The precedent was set last year with my awkward "eight random things" post. Now, being a craven creature of habit, I've got to keep it going. Dredging up a few more oddities from my year in music. So here they are ...

Biggest purchase
Not having actually purchased any new vinyl/tapes/CDs from a record shop for 30 years (really), I changed my habits slightly this year and splashed a cool £26 on a little bunch of CDs and 7" singles from the Brighton record label Faux Discx. An online order in their closing-down sale (RIP Faux Discx). Rather rash of me? Sure was. But I liked the look of their stuff and knew some of the bands, so ... why not? Turns out the music I bought was uniformly good so ... er, well done me. (Now I think about it, by the way, this £26 must be the MOST money I've ever spent in one go on music products in my entire life. Next: hundreds spent on Discogs. Ruinously expensive copies of Joy Division first pressings, £200 reggae singles ... ).

Bands missed because of excessive earliness
I can't remember who the bands actually were, but I must have missed four or five outfits this year (like every year) through what I can only describe as excessive earliness. On the musicians' part, not mine. They'd been and gone by something like 8.55pm. In one case I got to the gig at that oh-so-late hour of 9.40 to find the whole thing had finished. Blimey. What's the rush? Why do gigs start and finish so early? Even in a supposedly "happening" city like London? Time for musicians to put their clocks back.

Music listened to
As ever, it's a lot more than the stuff in this puny list, but things that come to mind (with a little mental prodding) are:

Cold Pumas, Persistent Malaise (an album's worth of subtle indie-cum-math-rock sounds)
Allister Thompson, My name is death (genuinely haunting darker-than-dark death-folk)
KidNNasty, Don't knead drugs (excellent chiptune/techno weirdness)
Ye Olde Maids, Cocoa cherubs (an abrupt wall of electro pop-noise)
Ewan MacColl, Four loom weaver (ancient-sounding Geordie blues)
Mean Motor Scooter, Sam, the homosapien (swaggering garage rock)
Albert Chevalier, ‘E can’t take a roise out of oi (enjoyable musical hall skit-song)
Flying Species, Electric zygoptera part II (insectoid electro glitch stuff)
Anna McLellan, Demos (fragile, lovely emo-pop)
Phibes, We run tingz (excellent drum 'n' bass)
Cigarettes, They're back again, here they come (buzzy new wave)
Dog Legs, Toot toot (hey) (rambunctious/cutesy garage rock stuff)
Witching Waves, Creeping (also garage rock-ish, though more urgent and pounding)
Glue, Testimony (compulsive hardcore-edged noise rock)
Rival Youth, TV dinner (rather epic stoner rock)
Mingus Three, Summertime (a cool, twangy version)
Clint Eastwood & General Saint, Tribute to General Echo (an infectious DJ skanker)

And, of course, lots of other stuff. Do you listen to my monthly podcasts, or what?

Best things found in the street
Not only did I lean all the way down to the pavement to pick up a stash of free-for-anyone-to-take CDs on one previously-blogged-about occasion, but I also found a copy of Kevin & Tanja Grouch's Sun King book. Thrown away! A perfectly good book - dumped in the street (Homerton, east London) along with several other decent books. What's wrong with people? Answers on a postcard please. Though be warned: I'll just throw the cards away if you send them through ...

Don't be cruel to books about music

Another shout-out for classical
As with last year's fascinating random things post, I'm here to stand up for The Classical. Courtesy of my CD player-hogging partner, my year's been saturated in Handel, Purcell, Monteverdi, Bach and, recently, a new entry into the domestic classical canon, Arvo Pärt. I'm not complaining. It's great music. I even played a snatch of Wagner in a radio show I did. You should listen to all two hours of it to catch that 35 seconds of Wagner. It's worth it.

Best second-hand stuff purchased
Having apparently found an urge to buy more music in general, it's also true that I acquired a fair few second-hand items this year - mostly vinyl (LPs and 12"s), but also a few CDs. Best ones? The Buff Medways' 1914, Volcano The Bear's rather amazing Five Hundred Boy Piano, The Red Guitars' Marimba Jive, Alex Campbell's Sings Folk, and ... quite a lot of other stuff. Some of which I haven't even got around to playing yet. I really should stop rambling on in these stupid blog posts and listen to some music ...

Most annoying things at gigs
As regular readers will know, there's always fierce competition in this category. The list of things that can potentially disturb me when I'm out watching music is pretty much endless: too many people, too few, inane on-stage announcements (especially aimed at flogging merchandise), bouncers bothering you at the door, people crashing into you as they get rowdy in the moshpit. On and on. This year I got worked up over people indulging in those tiresome screech-whistles. Look at me, they seem to be saying. I'm at a gig and I'm enjoying it. Just watch me whistle! Loud, isn't it ..?

And that, it seems, is that. Last year I had eight random things, this year only seven. Standards are slipping ...


Tuesday, 12 December 2017

My 20 best gigs of 2017

My legions of readers know what to expect. Little nuggets of musical wisdom wrapped up in oh-so-interesting mini-reviews from your trusted correspondent. (Past episodes of the riveting Niluccio on noise end-of-year gig review are also available here, here, here, here, here, here and ... er, here).

But, you may wonder, what's the rush? Why am I bothering you with my idiotic list when there's still nearly three weeks to go before the end of the year? Good question. But the fact is, I've written the bloody thing now and I can't be bothered to wait around. So apologies to all those great musicians playing between now and 1/1/18. It's desperately unfair, but you're not in ...

Pale Kids: JT Soar, Nottingham, 30 January
Infectious stuff from Pale Kids, who are currently a band I try to catch whenever possible.  Winsome vocals, nice guitar lines and pleasantly juddering percussion. Also, good lyrics, eg: "Will I die quick? / Will I like it?" (Well, there's only one way to find out ...). Other gigs of theirs I dragged my tired carcass along to during 2017 included a matinée where gaggles of six-year-olds ran riot, and another at which their drummer sported a Taylor Swift t-shirt done as a Crass logo. Does Ms Swift owe us a living? Course she does, course she does ...

Pale Kids: doing it for t' kids, some aged six

Witching Waves: Sound Savers, London, 19 February
One of two Witching Waves gigs that cast a slight spell on me this year. I described them to a former work colleague who I bumped into at this gig as "thuggish", which isn't true at all! Instead, WW just have a (pleasing) sort of faux-punk belligerence to their vocal delivery. The guitarist-vocalist likes to stride about as he bashes on his guitar, while the drummer-vocalist provides some super-taut rhythms. I particularly liked a song called (I think) Disintegration.

Rattle/Neurotic Fiction: JT Soar, Nottingham, 12 March
Another good JT Soar gig! Rattle were a hyper-intense two-drum combo working up some tense rhythms that built and built, while also er, unbuilding and unbuilding. It was, as they say, exhausting to watch, but also fairly exhilarating. Neurotic Fiction were another story: a short set of controlled shoutiness, intricate lead guitar (echoes of Felt), and a cover of the Diodes' Tired Of Waking Up Tired. All very enjoyable.

Moon Balloon: Old Blue Last, London, 27 March
An interesting band. Quite measured, a fair few tempo changes, chiming guitars, hints of funk. There were times when they sounded like the Talking Heads or Pete & The Pirates from about 2005. They probably get described as "chamber pop" by some critics, but they're much better than that sounds. Lunar-tastic.

Death Pedals: Shacklewell Arms, London, 1 April 
About the second or third time I'd seen these. As befitting loud (as in LOUD) noise rockers, they charged into most of their songs with real intensity, while also incorporating nice bass/drum builds layered with shards of guitar to vary the feel. Despite it being a rather jinxed gig - including a dead vocal mic and a bass amp that seemed to have a special "malfunction" setting - the Pedals pushed on uncomplainingly. What troopers!

Schande/Giant Burger Band: Flashback Records, London, 7 April
Urgent-ish punk-pop stuff from Schande, as described in my best gigs of 2016 blog (yeah, two-times winners!). On this occasion there was a bit where they reminded me of the Feelies. GBB, playing their last-ever gig, did their shouty, frantic quirk-pop thing (shades of Spizz believe it or not) interspersed with their trademark awkward between-song announcements. Meanwhile, spotted in the crowd: a baby with oversized headphones. The audiences at gigs really are getting younger ...

Black Mekon: Shacklewell Arms, London, 22 April
A veritable blues explosion! Genuinely incendiary rock 'n' roll, with echoes of the Cramps, the Birthday Party and a hundred other blues exploders. Not only were this three-piece wearing carnival-style opera masks, they strutted about in that bandy-leg-quivering way that Elvis popularised. Yes, it was that sort of gig. The singer also used a mouth organ on a few tracks for extra bluesman credibility. Excellent throughout, especially the way it avoided showbiz and kept it determinedly serious.

A night at the opera with Black Mekon

Anna McLellan: Silent Barn, New York, 7 May
Compelling and beautiful stuff from the cracked-voice McLellan. Slow-paced, keyboard-led, fractured pop songs in the vein of people like Told Slant or maybe Two Steps On The Water. Bass and drum accompaniment lending it some weight and drive. Kind of emo for fans of the piano. Meanwhile, I can hear the detractors saying "But she can't even sing!" To which I say: "But you can't even recognise good music when you hear it, you idiot!"

Anna McLellan

Ski Saigon: Paper Dress Vintage, London, 5 June
It's Ski Monday, with Ski Saigon! Indie-rock types who dared to be slow-to-mid-tempo. They threw in some bright guitar motifs and stuck to a muted vocal palette reminiscent of early-80s Robert Smith. That said, there were groovy rhythms at work, with some nagging drums-guitar riffs. Whoosh!

The Rebel: Windmill, London, 7, 14, 21 and 28 June
So good I saw him four times in a month: yeah, The Rebel, a legend in his mum's front sitting room. Surreal rants, programmed beats, discordant keyboard noise, nagging country-blues guitar, all-round miserablist drone: what more could you want? If you don't like Mr Wallers' foghorn delivery and barbed misanthropy that's probably because er, "you find the avant-garde / A bit too hard". More on The Rebel here. Also good at these gigs: No Friendz (as below), Flame Proof Moth and Saul Adamczewski.

No Friendz: Windmill, London, 7 June
A very entertaining little blast from No Friendz, with their singer doing a kind of glam-punk routine and the band bashing out songs about seeing Shonen Knife ("it was out of sight") and er, about not having any friends. I particularly liked a sour country-ish song about marital discord ("It's run its course / I wanna divorce") which produced one of the best on-stage quips of my gigging year: "Put your hands in the air if you want a divorce". I put up both hands.

He's got absolutely no friends

The Wharves: Shacklewell Arms, London, 11 August

Third time lucky! Having had them cancel on me at two earlier attempts (it's all about me ...), I finally managed to get to see the elusive Wharves. Was it worth it? Yep. This seemingly fairly conventional trio (drums/guitar/bass) had some really beautiful harmonics (more or less of Stereolab quality) that took this gig into sonic realms unexplored by most indie-rock. Some nice guitar lines as well. The Wharves: worth mooring your boat to.

Sugar Rush: Flashback Records, London, 17 August
Almost certainly the most middle-class gig I went to in 2017, this queer-pop bash had a cutesy, politely-spoken audience, some confessional sexual identity announcements from the drummer, a decent amount of lo-fi-ish guitar/bass/drums sounds, and an all-round emo feel. Let's just say: it wasn't black metal. My favourite part was when the guitarist did a bit of impassioned high-pitched off-mic singing - beautiful and moving like early Herman Düne often were.

Hamer/Sleep Terminal: The Audacious Art Experiment, Sheffield, 15 September
Punk hammer blows from Hamer! A high-intensity punkoid blast from a three-piece fronted by someone looking like a slightly-off-his-head rock dude who'd accidentally found himself in a punk band. Kinda great. Meanwhile, Sleep Terminal were trying to see how much reverb they could add before becoming totally lost in music. The singer-guitarist, shouting into a low-tech mic and slashing away at his guitar, fought a valiant and sometimes frenzied battle with the sonic murk before eventually conceding defeat. And so to bed, children ...

Sleep Terminal awake from the dead

Nervous Conditions: Windmill, London, 18 October

Yes, they do indeed like to induce exactly these feelings - er, nervous conditions - in the audiences. Mostly by subjecting them to one-and-a-half hours of double-drums percussion, sax squeals, guitar-keyboard drones and agitated caterwauling. It went on for far, far too long, but - undeniably - Nervous Conditions brought us some moments of nerve-racking intensity.

Night Shades: Shacklewell Arms, London, 27 October
Twangy, surfy stuff from a crew fetchingly decked out in zombie-ghoul face-paint. More cartoon horror than full-on Cramps/Birthday Party depravity, but pretty entertaining nonetheless. And some slow instrumentals provided a nice counterpoint. In particular, I liked the way the drummer bashed away even when the hood of his monk's cowl was completely obscuring his face (drummer-monk just visible in the photo background). Monk-tastic.

Night Shades: a more ghoulish shade of pale

Spang Sisters: Old Blue Last, London, 30 October
Going faster miles an hour! Yeah, the Spang Sisters had stolen Jonathan Richman's Corvette and we're cruising along the interstate. The interstate, that is, between early-70s Modern Lovers drone-rock and present-day rebuilds. Actually, I only caught two songs at this gig but one was a very strung-out version of Pablo Picasso which was worth the *price of admission alone. (*OK, the gig was free, but er ... I'm in love with the modern world ...).

No-one ever called the Spang Sisters assholes 

Chupa Cabra: Windmill, London, 20 November
Entertaining garage sounds that zoomed in and out eras (1977, 1991, 2015, you couldn't keep up!), while sometimes coming across a bit like The Jam during their amphetamine-crunching punk period. (Actually, that was probably just the singer's passing resemblance to Paul Weller). No, difficult to pin down. They had quite a bit of psyched-up blues-rock stuff, but it was all laced with some kind of raw-voiced punk attitude. Excellent.

Gilly Greiner/John Brocklesby: Centrala, Birmingham, 26 November
Two rather affecting singer-guitar merchants. Gilly Greiner, who had a disturbingly bashed-up-looking face, sang (and semi-toasted) through three songs, including a particularly nice one about cowboys. A rich, warm voice and a pleasingly low-key manner ("That's enough of that rubbish"). John Brocklesby was a cool, 50-something dude, who played his quota of Van Morrison-like songs with composed seriousness.

Gilly Greiner

Cold Boys: Flashback Records, London, 8 December

A freezing cold night in Bethnal Green, chilled indie-rock sounds in a record shop basement. Cold Boys had a relaxed vibe, opening their set with ... a slow instrumental. But there was a sinewy toughness to their sound in places as well. Good guitar lines, nagging drums, restrained vocals. (I also had them in my top 20 last year. There. Consistency). They were giving out copies of a 7" single at this gig, the only outfit to do such a thing at any of the 50-odd music bashes I went to in 2017. I'll admit it, reader. I nabbed one.

And that's it, dear friends. Another year of gigs gone by, another year closer to the grave. Cheerio ...

Sunday, 3 December 2017

A bit too doctrinaire, Podcast #148 (Nov 2017)

Let's get one thing straight. There's only good music and bad music, right? Right? Well, there's only what I deem - in my infinite wisdom - to be good music and the er, non-good stuff.

Yes it's subjective (my good is your extremely bad etc), but I think we should still stick to this basic division. Because otherwise we end up with that offence against nature - awful music listened to "ironically". It becomes an exercise in kitsch. Stick on some Wham and whoop (ironically). Ditto Billy Joel, Abba, Dolly Parton, Phil Collins, the list is endless ...

It's been fairly "cool" to do this for years. It's probably always been so down the years - just it would have been even older stuff that was then being "recuperated". Give it a little dusting down and place it in a new setting. Then laugh at it. All very knowing, but pointless ...

No, call me overly-rigid (many have), but I don't approve of this. It's as mindless as watching "junk" TV for "a laugh" (some laugh). There's more than enough good - extremely good - music out there to make even a moment spent revelling in kitsch, a moment wasted. Thus spake the mighty Niluccio on noise. Or, is this a bit too doctrinaire ...?

1: Sangam, This pain feels the same
2: A bit too doctrinaire
3: Trust Punks, Leaving room for the lord
4: Geodetic, X
5: Gilly Greiner, ? (Centrala, Birmingham, 26/11/17)
6: The Twinkle Brothers, Never get burn
7: L.O.T.I.O.N., Fukushima fallout
8: Lab Coast, Bored again
9: HVAC, Intro
10: Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers, Yama
11: Shudder Pulps, Kicker
12: Goner, YS 2 (edit)
13: Wild Billy Childish & The Friends Of The Buff Medway Fanciers Association, You are all phonies
14: Eugeniusz Rudnik, Guillotine DG
15: Chupa Cabra, King Lee (Windmill, London, 10/11/17)
16: Adem, Statued
17: Matti Bye, Forest in the sea
18: The Shitty Limits, Last orders
19: Scorn, Days passed
20: Prince Hammer, Bible
21: Glue, Testimony
22: Bee Bee Sea, Chum on the drum
23: Irma Vep, It runs slow

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Intoxicated by the singing

"All the men would become intoxicated by the singing, almost unconscious in fact, and they seemed to be breathing and feeling as one person as they glanced at the Cossack. When he sang he was acknowledged lord of the workshop, and all the men were irresistibly drawn towards him and followed the broad sweeping movements of his arms which he flung out as though he were about to fly. I was sure that if he suddenly stopped singing and shouted 'Smash everything up' then everyone, even the most serious craftsmen, would have smashed the whole workshop to smithereens in a few minutes.

"He sang rarely, but his rousing songs had an irresistible, triumphant power. However depressed people were he would lift them up and stir their passions. Everyone became alert, acquired a new strength, a burning enthusiasm, when he sang.

"These songs filled me with a deep feeling of envy towards the singer and his wonderful power over people. Something painfully disturbing  flowed into my heart, making it swell until it began to hurt. I felt like crying and wanted to shout out to all those singing people: 'I love you all!' ...".

- Maxim Gorky, My Apprenticeship

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Terrible heart-rending sounds ...

"In spite of the cruel frost, mendicant friars with bared heads, some bald as ripe pumpkins, some fringed with sparse orange-coloured hair, were already sitting cross-legged in a row along the stone-flagged pathway leading to the main entrance of the old belfry of St Sophia and were chanting in a nasal whine.

"Blind ballad-singers droned their eerie song about the Last Judgment, their tattered peaked caps lying upwards to catch the sparse harvest of greasy roubles and battered coppers.

"Oh, that day, that dreadful day, 
"When the end of the world will come.
"The judgment day ...

"The terrible heart-rending sounds floated up from the crunching, frosty ground, wrenched whining from those yellow-toothed old instruments with their palsied, crooked limbs ..." 

- Mikhail Bulgakov, The White Guard

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Very depressing and alarming, Podcast #147 (Oct 2017)

If I was trying to project an air of cutting-edge excitement with this tired old music blog, I'd probably start aping the promo style of the shops around where I live. These days half of them put noticeboards out on the street with clever-clever messages. Cutesy stuff about Mondays and muffins. How coffee is more important than life. Pseudo-motivational clap-trap with an ironic twist. Because the shop/cafe/whatever is ... hip. They're not even really a shop or a cafe at all - more a lifestyle "choice", but one where you can incidentally buy overpriced and badly-made espresso, or overpriced and er, badly-brewed jeans.

And, best of all, when these boutique-y places relocate, they even put up another sign saying something like "We're moving, but to follow the story - go to this website". The story! Of their idiotic shop!

So, if you're still following the never-ending story of Niluccio on noise's podcast you'll know it's time for number 147 in the series (only 853 to go). Like all the others, it's very depressing and alarming ...

1: Brain Rays, Zombie Ken
2: Os Drongos, Werewolf
3: J.Holland & J.Hamilton & Kasair Allstars, Nyeka nyeka
4: High Sunn, Would you be my demon
5: Anne-James Chaton, Pop is dead
6: Fluke, Atomic bomb
7: Matti Bye, Forest in the sea
8: Night Shades, ? (Shacklewell Arms, London 27/10/17)
9: Roy Noble & The New Mayfair Orchestra, Repeal the blues
10: Blank Dogs, Heat & depression
11: J-1792, 1792
12: Congresswoman Malinda Jackson Parker, Cousin mosquito #1
13: KidNNasty, Don’t knead drugs
14: Very depressing and alarming
15: Country Joe & The Fish, Crystal blues
16: Marcus Schmickler, Discordance axis
17: Ewan MacColl, The four loom weaver
18: Oh well, Goodbye, Fucking flowers
19: King Scratch, Christmas time in Nassau
20: Tapes And Tubes, Sun:moon:stars
21: Pussycat & the Dirty Johnsons, Midnight motorway
22: Nicolas Jaar, Space is only noise if you can see
23: Bingo Gazingo & My Robot Friend, You’re out of the computer

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Lead sing motor

I hate jazz, Podcast #1 (Nov 2017)

Scurrilous rumours are circulating about me. People are whispering behind my back. I go into a room and people fall quiet. They look at each other meaningfully and quickly leave the room.

I know what's going on. Someone's let it slip. They're all saying "He doesn't like jazz". Me! Niluccio! They're saying I don't like jazz. It's unbelievable. A slur beyond any imagining. In fact, I've even heard that I'm supposed to have said "I hate jazz!" HATE. Can you believe it? So with my musical reputation apparently now in absolute tatters, there's only one thing for it. Yep, a new compilation. It's called I hate jazz ....

1: Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Freaks for the festival
2: Mingus Three, Summertime
3: Thelonious Monk, In walked Bud
4: Billie Holiday, I wished on the moon
5: Sun Ra & Solar-Myth Arkestra, They'll come back
6: More prisons, more police
7: Turner Parrish, Fives
8: Bessie Smith & Her Band, Gimme a pigfoot
9: Edmond Hall's Jazzmen, Night shift blues
10: Tommy Dorsey, Symphony in riffs
11: Rosco Gordon, Just in from Texas
12: Intermission
13: Campbell Burnap, St Thomas
14: Sonny Rollins Quartet, When your lover has gone
15: Miles Davis, Dear old Stockholm
16: Harold Land, Swingin' on Savoy
17: Ornette Coleman, Compassion
18: End of our rainbow
19: Count Ossie, Run one mile

Friday, 27 October 2017

Making a spectacle of himself

One from the (recent) archive, as shared on miserable old Facebook at the time - singer/screamer from the excellent Sleep Terminal making a complete spectacle of himself at The Audacious Art Experiment, Sheffield, 15/9/17.

You're the problem, Noisepod #13 (Sept 2017)

More laggard behaviour. Not content with posting my rather marvellous September podcast in October, I'm only now putting up my September Noisepod (you know, the er, especially noisy podcast I also bore people with every few months).

Yes, I'm getting further and further behind. Falling off the pace (not that I was ever on it). But never mind, if I go slowly enough I'll eventually be back in synch again. A bit like my gloriously out of date, out of time music. It's old and boring now, but just you wait.

And if you don't appreciate what I'm saying here - then you're the problem, not me ...

1: The Abominable Ski-Mask, Where's the beef?
2: Part Chimp, MapoLeon
3: Negative Rage, Sensitive city vol2
4: Defeat, Violated peace
5: Users, Sick of you
6: Your suit for next summer
7: (New England) Patriots, Like a rope
8: Birthday Party, Figure of fun
9: False Light, God in a cage
10: Old Lines, Temple
11: Many of you will remember
12: AFX, Analogue bubblebath
13: Uglyglow, Women can't breath
14: Dead Badgers, Angular
15: Crass, Crutch of society
16: Toska, HIPPA laws
17: Refusal to intervene
18: Slowcoaches, Ex head
19: Listen Up!, Squeeze play
20: Integrity, There is a sign
21: Pisse, Aremes schwein
22: You may scream
23: Eskro, Hitos de guerra
24: Woven Bones, Creepy bone
25: Tape Monster, Cyborg sound
26: X-Ray Spex, Let's submerge
27: Suicide Generation, Love is hate
28: Soda Boys, Soda and fries
29: That wouldn't surprise me
30: Flat Sucks, Haijin-seizo system
31: Death, Freakin' lut
32: Pick Your Side, Not a thought to spare
33: Maukka Perusjätkä, Säpinää
34: Crimen, Tu eres el pedo fiero

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Live in infamy, Podcast #146 (Sept 2017)

Yeah, yeah, it's not September. What am I on about? Posting some out-of-date podcast three weeks after the fact?

Well, I've had internet problem, ain't I? Bloody TalkTalk (aka, All TalkTalk And No ActionAction Whatsoever, Except To Threaten You With Extra Charges If You Dare To Leave Them Despite Their So-called Internet Service Being Absolutely Appalling ...). They should put that slogan on their mailings.

Ahem. Anyway, without further ado, I bring you [roll of the drum-machine drum ...] Podcast #146. It's what you almost certainly haven't been waiting for. It's chock-full of sounds which will put your teeth on edge and sour your current good mood. At least, that's the plan. Yes, though it's literally had no listeners whatsoever (discounting er, me) at the time of posting, it's already a Niluccio on noise podcast classic. It will, as they say, live in infamy.

1: Gregoire Fiaux, Kaip tapti milijonierumi
2: What do you do with your old clothes?
3: Mean Motor Scooter, Sam, the homosapien
4: Nctrnm, Workdaze
5: Count Love, Pretty big mouth
6: Gas Station Of Love, Pepp pizza
7: Hamer, ? (The Audacious Art Experiment, Sheffield, 15/9/17)
8: Actress, Rap
9: L. Valerie, Apartment F#
10: Nicodemus, Bone connection
11: A date that will live in infamy
12: Ye Olde Maids, Cocoa cherubs
13: Sleep Terminal, ? (The Audacious Art Experiment, Sheffield, 15/9/17)
14: Malcolm Middleton & David Shrigley, Help
15: Accelerator, Accelerator 3
16: Electric Sewer Age, Bad white corpuscle
17: ESG, Erase you (puppy to your side)
18: Zola Jesus, Night
19: City Yelps, ? (The Audacious Art Experiment, Sheffield, 15/9/17)
20: J Fella, Stayed around
21: Luddite, To dissolve
22: Teaspoon & The Waves, Oh yeh Soweto

Saturday, 23 September 2017

What ya gonna do when the novelty has gone? New Order's plastic ruler

As I was rummaging around in a drawer containing my exquisite collection of finest-quality stationery today, you’ll never guess what I came upon? Give up? Well, it was this …

 .. yes, straight up! (Ahem). Anyway, I'd forgotten I had this. Along with a PiL "Can" thing and a PiL "Mug" cup (from their Album promo splurge), it dates from my time working in a record shop in the mid-80s. Sharkish record reps would bestow them on gullible retail slaves like me thinking I'd order in lots of not-very-sellable product for the HMV singles counter. (Don't think I usually did though).

But what the hell is it? Apart from - obviously enough - being a stupid promotional plastic ruler (“Twelve inches of New Order”) that Factory Records knocked up to promote the Substance singles compilation in 1987, it's also part of Factory's self-referential - and slightly tedious - catalogue empire. FAC #203. Impressed? I think you're supposed to be.

If one were so inclined, I think you could do a whole "deconstructionist" number on this ruler. Reflecting on how its er, straight-edge anti-frivolous seriousness supposedly "mocks" more traditional music merchandise (sew-on/lapel badges, stickers, etc). The fact it's a ruler might be taken as a suggestion not just of the famed “austerity” of much of Factory's music, but also of the studious non-music realms of mathematics, architecture and design - fields the Factory aesthetic liked to play around with. But it's all a pose really. Clean, transparent plastic sits nicely with the look of Factory stuff at this time and people like me (aged 23) would have snaffled it up quite unembarrassedly, but in the end it's just a rather clunky (over-thick) ruler with a not-too-subtle message about the fact that your favourite Manchester doom-pop band has a decent back-catalogue of singles.

But merch is merch is merch, right? So I see people are these days paying over £100 on eBay to acquire this little piece of plastic. People, please. It's a ruler! A ruler. (By the way, if anyone else is trying to sell one of these on a popular online auction site, I strongly suggest they use these lines as part of their sales pitch: So what ya gonna do when the novelty has gone? / Yeah, what ya gonna do when the novelty has gone? There. They can have that idea for free).

By 1987 a grandiose Factory had sort of lost the plot if you ask me. Madchester seemed to be going to everyone's heads. Queues, air-horns, drugs and unapologetic consumerism were cool, and meanwhile almost anything was being given a FAC catalogue number - Hacienda House wines (geddit?), Factory notepaper, a G-MEX after-party, a Happy Mondays video shoot, Tony Wilson's nasal mucus (FAC #227.5; er, not really). Perhaps they should have just given up on those boring old records altogether and opened a massive souvenir shop or something …

No, looking back, things like this promo ruler are a bit of an embarrassment. Aside from the excellent nightclub (which hosted music), Factory was good because of the music. I appreciate that Saville's designs were an integral part of Factory's output, but I think it ends up looking ridiculous when design energy is expended on promotional fripperies like a ruler.

Anyway, as it happens my ruler (unlike my New Order records) is scratched. However hard I might try to flog it, I fear it's not going to get much on the open market. Sadly, I’ll have to abandon plans to sell it and invest the proceeds in a property empire. Furthermore, as this next photo rather suggests …

… the neither-very-durable-or-beautiful nature of the “Twelve inches of New Order” ruler means it only actually looks any good when held against something pleasant to look at - like wood. And indeed a terminally unfashionable-looking old wooden ruler I also found in my stationery drawer today is actually a far nicer artefact than the worth-one-hundred-quid-and-counting product from the glory days of Wilson/Saville associates.

Meanwhile, having had a quick riffle though the index of Peter Hook’s Substance tome just now, I could find no entry for … a ruler. Rightly enough, I suspect Mr Hook would rather play bass than mess around with bits of souvenir stationery.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Tablets of Linear B, Dubpod #19 (Sept 2017)

I'm just back from my local Japanese restaurant where, among the nigiri, sushi and green tea, there was ... reggae. Sort of. Definitely some dub, burbling faintly away beneath the middle-class chit chat. Oh yes. Dub can be the polite cosmopolitan everywhere sound.

You know it, right? But, for all that it can sometimes seem like the perfect muzak for over-cosseted millennials, it's nothing of the sort. Turn up the volume and you soon hear why. Bass, bone-juddering shards of reverb, lyrics about poverty and Zion - it's not exactly the sound of car adverts or the supermarket aisles. In fact, it's quite another reality. Especially when you listen to the tablets of Linear B  ...

1: Glen Brown/King Tubby, Version 78 style
2: Cedric 'Im' Brooks, Full time
3: Sons Of Light, Land of love
4: Lee Scratch Perry & Zap-Pow, Riverstone
5: Augustus Pablo, Thunder clap
6: Actual word in question
7: Burning Spear, Marcus Garvey
8: Tommy McCook, KT88
9: Dobby All Stars, Babylon dub
10: Dr Alimantado, Best dressed chicken in town
11: Young Dillinger, Boloman skank
12: Pyramid of DOOOOM
13: Wayne Wade, Lord of lord
14: Ranking Toyan, How the west was won
15: Johnny Osbourne, Fally ranking
16: The Saints, Sleeping trees
17: Count Ossie & The Zion All Stars, Holy Mount Zion
18: Tablets of Linear B
19: Yabby You & Trinity, Free Africa 12" mix
20: Bagel Project, Olodo
21: The Slits, FM
22: Larry White & Daddy Marcus, See them coming dub
23: King Tubby & Lee Perry, Right yo dub
24: Delta 5, Mind your own business
25: Black Uhuru, Puffed out
26: Dennis Brown, Johnny too bad

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Single infinitesimal thing, Podcast #145

As we all know, music for some people is basically an excuse for a little nostalgia.

And I mean a little. It's hardly Proustian reverie, this ultra-trivial "oh, this takes me back" use of music. Shouting out a few lines from a truly awful chart hit from 20 or 30 years ago. Saying something about how it used to be the "soundtrack" to when your were revising for your exams/going out with your first boyfriend/having a beloved dog anaesthetised (er, maybe not this one).

Yeah, it's music as a superficial marker for your deeply boring life. But I say no. NO! No more of this. Music isn't the bloody soundtrack. It IS your life. For fuck's sake. Everything else is the background. Or it would be in any well-ordered universe.

So, here's some more Niluccio on noise music. Music as an antidote to nostalgia (or possibly music to provoke a certain kind of anti-nostalgia, nostalgia for an age yet to come). And in this 78 minutes of wonder-inducing noise, there's not a single infinitesimal thing that will make you hunger for the past ...

1: Alessandro Cortini, Perdonare
2: Gilman Mom, You smell really good
3: Red Guitars, Marimba jive (extended survival mix)
4: Running away from the police
5: Sugar Rush, ? (Flashback Records, London 17/8/17)
6: Ant The Symbol, The rooftop
7: 2.5 Children, Children of the disobedient
8: Honkies, ? (Old Blue Last, London 27/7/17)
9: Long and arduous course
10: Uglyglow, Sweet taste of betrayal
11: I know the law
12: General Echo & Barrington Levy, Eventide fire a disaster
13: Love Handlers, Delusions of grandeur
14: New Routines Every Day, Maybe those who were here before
15: Your personal relations
16: Plastic Crimewave Sound, You blew it
17: Magnétophone, And may your last words be a chance to make things better
18: WD Amaradeva, Wikasitha pem pokuru piyum
19: Social Contract, ? (Old Blue Last, London 25/7/17)
20: Noiserv, Perkaholic
21: Terry & Gerry, Reservation
22: UMFANG, Weight
23: Single infinitesimal thing
24: Vapourspace, Theme from vapourspace

Thursday, 3 August 2017

My condition makes me me, Podcast #144 (July 2017)

So I gather that there are all these new music bloggers and smart-alec writers for the music press (well, what passes for the music press online these days). And they're all writing about the latest releases (well, the ones they got sent as promo copies for review purposes). And, shockingly, they haven't got time for my music blog or the marvellous music I showcase here.

Sad isn't it? Terrible, really. Actually, I suspect that they're even sniggering about Niluccio on noise. Laughing about its quaint design. Its rather ordinary name. Its not-exactly-fashionable attachment to er, well whatever it is I'm attached to. Yeah, they think Niluccio on noise is old hat. Worthless. But ... fuck 'em. As Albert Chevalier rightly says, they can' take a roise out of oi just because oi likes what oi likes. After all, I am who I am because of the music I like. And I like the music I like because of the person I am. (Are you following all this?). Er yes, you could say my condition makes me me ...

1: J.D. KrYsTal, Binary break
2: A life of risk
3: Faux Départ, TV panique
4: Million Brazilians, New ideas in psychic music [extract]
5: Albert Chevalier, ‘E can’t take a roise out of oi
6: FX Projeht, Warface
7: Suicide Generation, Set me on fire
8: Keosz, Crush them
9: Cherry Forever, Spook
10: Abishai, The punishment of sin
11: Stéphane Grappelli, Peanut vendor
12: Jermz, Power cut
13: Charmpit, All u fascists bound 2 lose
14: Dead Gakkahs, Paradox over paradox
15: Osiris Saline, Melancholy
16: Ranking Joe, River Jordan
17: ßänales, Mood
18: My condition makes me me
19: Technical Ecstacy, Look me in the eye
21: Lucia Pamela, Walking on the moon
22: Crimen, Dia soleado
23: The Golden Dregs, Role of a lifetime
24: Mingus Three, Summertime
25: Wesley Willis, Rock and roll McDonald’s

Sunday, 9 July 2017

The Conservative brand, Podcast #143 (June 2017)

It ain't what you do it's the way that you do it ... isn't that the truth? So never mind that I'm just a piddling music blogger with a minuscule (non-existent?) following and a possibly even smaller reputation in the music blogosphere. Because .. er, I'm doing it all very stylishly. Or with "love". Or with superb wit. (Or maybe none of these things). But, well, I guess I am at least doing it. Churning out these wondrous podcasts, that is. And generally sharing my wayward thoughts on music, on noise, on noisy music ...

Actually though, after more than a decade of those podcasts (OK, just CDRs originally) and a fair few years of the music blog, maybe it's time to knuckle down and get serious. I need to develop a recognisable product. A style. Develop and market a clever little niche. No more of this mixing things up. No-one's ever going to like the Niluccio on noise blog if I keep doing that. So no more pretentious eclecticism from here on in. Just one thing and one thing only. It'll be a wholly new Niluccio on noise blog. The Conservative brand ...

1: AGF + Werkstatt, Ninjaness
2: N3rgul, Radio free wasteland
3: Eilert Pilarm, Jailhouse rock
4: Saul Adamczewski, The garden of the numb (Windmill, London 21/6/17)
5: Flying Species, Electric zygoptera part II
6: Clint Eastwood & General Saint, Tribute to General Echo
7: DJ Marcelle/Another Nice Mess, Too long (too short dub)
8: Ski Saigon, Sweet dreams in the botanics (Paper Dress, London 5/6/17)
9: Art Phag, Touch me
10: O.L.M., Daniel in the lion’s den
11: The purse strings
12: Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Hungarian rhapsody No2 in C minor (Liszt) [extract]
13: A Trillion Barnacle Lapse, Fountain
14: T H R E E, Through dust and bubbles surrounding
15: No Friendz, I wanna divorce (Windmill, London 7/6/17)
16: Batfinks, Certain death
17: Prefects, Going through the motions
18: Todd W Emmert, Hexed
19: LTO, Partners
20: Malani Bulathsinhala, Senehasa illa
21: The Conservative brand
22: Red Harvest, Feeling young
23: Rasalasad, Artificial land

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The Rebel seeks to take up residency in Downing Street

Watch out, The Rebel is in residence! Yes, Ben Wallers kindly gave up his Wednesday evenings throughout the month of June to bring his particular brand of misanthropic country-drone to The Windmill in Brixton. How nice.

But no, I’m not going to wax lyrical about Mr Rebel’s mutant-country sounds. They kind of speak for themselves - check him out on YouTube, you lazy f-f-fucker! But nevertheless, having soaked up four Wednesdays’ worth of Wallers-esque misery here are a few things I've learnt:

*Somewhat surprisingly, there seems to be a small coterie of fans who will turn out for The Rebel's gigs, determined to sing along to stuff about how the human race deserves to die (“Die die die human scum”). Actually, it does (deserve to die). This produced the rather incongruous sight of aficionados doing their best to turn his country-guitar drone, his discordant squirts of electronic noise and his obscure foghorn rants into some kind of party music.

*As befits any decent artist doing a so-called residency, The Rebel varied his sets from week to week, and - maybe more interestingly - seemed to be playing some of the same songs differently from one week to the next.

*His actual appearance was changeable and interesting. One week he was sporting a baseball cap and louche preppy shirt and tie, another a full two-tone green cricket strip (Pakistan’s?). By week three we had what looked like some kind of US army field kit for its Middle East operations, and week four brought us a more “typical” Rebel look - a dark-grey business suit and cowboy hat. My own favourite bit was how he seemed to have smeared his arms and face with gobs of green and orange paint one week. Er, nice.

*He’s serious. And this is no lightweight music. Each week he ground the audience into submission with more than an hour of hardcore noise-country (or whatever the hell it is). I liked most of it, in particular some of the lyrics (“I sat on the stairs with a noose around my neck / Now I'm on the 242 going into town”) (my own bus to work!), or a song about having a gig to do near Hackney Downs station (er, my local train station!). And drones and curdled misanthropy notwithstanding, when The Rebel sang a song about knowing someone when they "had no pubes", it could be genuinely touching and sad.

The Rebel: still hoping for a call-up to Pakistan's one-day side

In the end what’s good about The Rebel is that he sticks to his guns. I remember one of his gigs from about 12 years ago where a little gaggle of beery blokes kept theatrically groaning “What is this shit?” Hmm, as Wallers says in one of his songs, “You only mock the avant garde / Because it’s ... a ... bit ... too ... hard”.

One of the highlights of The Rebel's Brixton extravaganza was a song where he intoned/incanted the name “Sophie” about 40 times in (slightly uneven) succession. Strangely disturbing. And another memorable moment was where this non-crowd-pleaser incited a bizarre singalong of “Get the fucking Tories out” (repeated about 15 times) to the tune of Phibes’ drum ‘n’ bass We Run Tingz (which your humble blogger was DJing through the PA).

And what’s more, the anti-Tory diatribe nearly worked! The Rebel’s GTFTO jungle chant took place on 7 June. Two days later the shell-shocked Conservative government lost its majority. The Rebel had cast his vote …