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Give me music and give me noise....

Friday, 31 December 2010

Note to my fireworks-loving Italian neighbours

Why celebrate a supposedly joyous event - the ushering in of a new year, say - with the acoustic equivalent of downtown Mogadishu on a bad day? Who actually likes the sound of fireworks?  (Or the look of them either, but that's another complaint of mine ...).

Sounds-wise they're exactly like missiles, bombs, high-velocity gunfire and just about any ordnance you care to name. Basta! Stop playing with your sound weapons I say (leave the gunfire sounds to the show-off big kids of gangsta rap) and let's have some music next year .....

Thursday, 30 December 2010


Proof - if proof were needed - of the enduring cultural significance of the smiley face.

This was Riga in July. It doesn't have to be yellow to be a smiley, and it doesn't have to denote acid house (in fact, does it ever anymore?)

Dischi classici

Stuff I need to get around to listening to ...

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

20 from 2010: my twenty best gigs of the year

The Rent Boys - Stag’s Head, Dalston, London, 29 January
Whipping us lick-spittle straights into shape, the boyz gave it plenty of Iggy-in-a-downtown-Detroit-gay-bar-circa-1973 oomph. More warm pickled onions!

Trash Kit - The Windmill, Brixton, London, 4 February
Just the right amount of rackety rhythm and shouty dischord. Let’s hear it for these whelps.

No Cars - The Windmill, Brixton, London, 24 March
Great music for Japanese farmers. Even British farmers can probably dig it. 

The Sundae Kups - Camden Head, London, 28 March
Told to stop by the venue after all of two songs, they were allowed a final tune which they stretched out for about 15 minutes. Surf that wave! Chaotic and hilarious.

Improvizione - The Plough, Walthamstow, 31 March
Ambient, electro-jazz in a virtually empty backroom in north London, with lovely mind-bending projections. Nice friendly cat in the bar too. What more could you want?

Hunx & His Punx - Chameleon, Nottingham, 9 April
The only performer on my list to strip down to his spangly gold briefs, he gets my vote for sheer horny chutzpah. Sock it to ‘em Mr Hunx!

Laurent - Pop In, Paris, 18 April
Just two songs at this open mic from the totally self-effacing ukulele player, but one was a beautiful version of Camper Van Beethoven’s ‘Take The Skinheads Bowling’.

The Loves - The Social, London, 27 April
Underrated band play varied, groovesome 60s-inflected set shock!

Thee Vicars - Lio Bar, Brescia, Italy, 21 May
A fizzy set from a band that had a turbulent year. Worth a mention partly because I enticed workmate @osprague to travel from London to attend.

Heck Tate - Stag’s Head, Dalston, London, 10 June
Not sure why I preferred these to other noise/doom-type acts this year. Maybe they had the right combination of humour and lung-searing screaming. Good anyway.

The Keys - Stag’s Head, Dalston, London, 20 June
Hey, Welsh tunefulness in full effect. Reeking of unfashionability, yet actually far better than 85% of the bands I saw in 2010. Read it in books!

The Apes Party - Ryan’s Bar, Stoke Newington, London, 25 June
Best masks of the year - more gorilla than monkey. Good demented-chimpanzee screeching and a nice chug-chug-chug beat. Also, they’re Italian, which helps.

David Peter & The Wilde Sect - Lava Lounge, Leicester, 29 August
Unrelentingly fast set from Danish garage band who can do it better than most British outfits. I was sweating just watching them. Also good at this gig: Thee Ludds.

Frank Fairfield - North Star, Leytonstone, 5 September
Great nasal-voiced Californian singer, banjo-picker and fiddle-basher. Testifyin’ in a Woody Guthrie style!

The Fabulous Go Go Boy From Alabama - Lava Lounge, Leicester, 18 September
Righteous a-whoopin’ and a-hollerin’ with just his own guitar and drum kit for company. The best one-man trash-blues rocker from Sao Paulo I saw in 2010.

Chapter Sweetheart - Catch, Shoreditch, London, 5 October
Vibing it up nicely with skronky saxophone and controlled heaviosity. We need more of this in 2011 I reckon.

Parliament Of Bats - Lava Lounge, Leicester, 20 November
Doom-laden, sepulchral and other things like that. Layers of noise ‘n’ stuff. And nice use of spooky backing film projections. Why don’t more bands do this?

Minuscule Hey - Queen Of Hoxton, Shoreditch, London, 25 November
They’ve added snatches of recorded speech as song intros since I last saw them and are even more studiedly geeky than ever. Nerd pop at its best if you ask me.

Killer Shrimp - National Portrait Gallery, London, 17 December
Didn’t see enough jazz in 2010, but this was an intense and lethally good marine-life set. Crustacean bop!