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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A lake of fire, Dubpod #4 (Dec 2013)

Not content with one Dubpod today, I've only gone and done another!

Yes, there must be something about the last hours of 2013 and its ability to spur the poor music blogger into spasms of useless productivity. Churning out the music comps that hardly anyone will ever listen to. Ah, well. That's what it's all about. Work, work and more work. Then a slow decline and death. Followed by an eternal dip in a lake of fire. Rasta - fari!

1: Augustus Pablo, Rockers dub 
2: Max Romeo, Fire fe the Vatican 
3: King Tubby, There's dub 
4: Sons of Arqa, Acid tabla 
5: Greek 
6: Keith Rowe, Groovy situation 
7: Count Matchuki, Movement
8: Tommy McCook & The Observers, Psalm 9 to keep in mind
9: Vivian Jackson, Revenge (version) 
10: Alien Dread, Every man's hand 
11: Kill me
12: Steel Pulse, Ku Klux Klan
13: Collins Music Wheeler, Collins blood 
14: General Echo, Track shoes
15: Sly & Robbie/Prince Jammy, Bad girls dub 
16: Danny Hensworth/Upsetter, Dub money
17: A lake of fire 
18: Rupie Edwards,I'm gonna live some life
19: King Sighter, Dollar fe a refer 
20: Shabba Ranks, Heart of a lion (version)
21: Scratch & The Upsetters, Underground
22: Barry Brown, Step it up (version)
23: Will have offended many people
24: Dennis Alcapone, Alpha & omega
25: Soom T & Disrupt, Ganja ganja
26: Congos, Children crying
27: Keith & Tex, Tonight

Cut you up, Dubpod #3 (Dec 2013)

Forget the fireworks! Nah man, ya don't want them ungodly fizzin' and bangin' tings. Instead, me dread bred, check out Dubpod #3.

It'll keep you warm all night long ...

(Update: link now taken down, but I can re-up on request).

1: Prince Alla & Phillip Fraser, Black rose
2: Keith Rowe, Groovy situation 
3: Junior Murvin, Police and thieves
4: Mikey Dread, Fatten dub for snakes dub 
5: Cut you up 
6: Sly & Robbie & Revolutionaries, Chalice man dub
7: Scratch & The Upsetters, Super ape 
8: Scientist & Roots Radics, Caring for my sister
9: The Abyssinians, Declaration of rights
10: You've come to the right guy 
11: Prince Jammy, Step it up dub 
12: U Brown, No more tribal war
13: Black Uhuru/Dennis Brown, Wood version
14: Count Ossie, I am a warrior
15: Prince Buster, Satta a masa gana
16: Tony Tuff, We want no war
17: Welcome to Lab 257
18: Junior Ainsworth, Thanks and praise
19: Prince Far I/The Dub Syndicate, A message
20: Sister Nancy, Only woman DJ with degree
21: Michigan & Smiley, Diseases 
22: Audley Rollens, Arabic / Be wise
23: Revolutionaries, 2 bad bull inna dub
24: Congos, Children crying

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Another missed gig in 2013 ...

Found this in one of my jacket pockets this weekend. A flyer for a gig in north London in ... September. Ah, good intentions, not much use now.

Yeah, I'm a bit of wash-out with gigs at times. This promised to be pretty good - I've enjoyed The Love Triangle and Shopping when I actually managed to stir myself and make it to one of their gigs in the past. But no, I contrived to miss this one just like a lot of other very promising-looking gigs this year. It's unforgivable, that's what it is!

I really should do a post about the 20 best-looking-gigs-I-managed-to-miss-in-2013 - it might be a more impressive list than the 20 I've rather pathetically designated my 20 best of the year. Oh hum. Here's hoping for more resolution, more grit and more determination in 2014. More Shopping and less shopping. More The Love Triangle and less messy, real-life love triangles involving running around behind the back of my partner telling increasingly elaborate lies. (No, only kidding). No, in 2014 I hope to waste less time and invest it in battling through the traffic to get to gigs that are just about to finish. Hey, that sounded pretty good. More! MORE!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Sid Vicious reads the Daily Mail

Dacre: two seats to right of Vicious (Pic: Bob Gruen)

Well, not exactly, but Paul Dacre is obviously checking out Sid's reading matter during this train journey in January 1978, doubtless getting all worked up about why a Sex Pistol is skipping over the VERY IMPORTANT editorial and going straight to the comic strip.

This photograph pops up in the current New Statesman, in a longish Peter Wilby piece about Dacre's never-ending editorship of the Daily Mail. Peculiarly, it doesn't mention why this unlikely coupling takes place. It's a Bob Gruen pic from the Sex Pistols' doomed US tour, this apparently being a shot onboard an airport bus in Baton Rouge (though according to Jon Savage's England's Dreaming it's from Atlanta!). Is Dacre there to cover the filth and the fury States-side, or is it just a weird coincidence? Wilby doesn't refer to it (it only merits a photo caption in his piece) and Savage doesn't even mention Dacre being in the photo (perhaps because when Savage's book was published in 1991 Dacre was yet to become the Mail's editor and latter-day hate figure of the liberal left).

Actually, as Wilby's profile of Dacre reminds us, Dacre was only an up-and-coming newspaper man back in early '78, apparently working then for the Daily Express and not the mighty Mail. Vicious is the famous one.

In the photo Vicious is 20 years old. Dacre, who looks like his disapproving dad, is himself only 29. With Lydon about to walk out of the Sex Pistols, Dacre might have landed himself a little job. Instead of fronting Middle England's inky conscience, he could have switched careers and gone on to bellow out the Pistols' lyrics during their planned tour of Sweden.

Oh Paul, what a missed opportunity ...  

Saturday, 21 December 2013

My 20 best gigs of 2013

Blimey. The amount of pressure I've had from wannabe-bands and their agents trying get their crappy little acts into this list! You wouldn't believe me if I told you. (And you'd be right not to). No, it's not true. This is actually the top 20 that even the most desperate PR drone has ignored.

But hey, who cares? These were the gigs that did the business for me in 2013. And if you weren't at these you were almost certainly doing something far more boring (going to a My Bloody Valentine gig at the Roundhouse or something). So yeah, check out some of these bands in 2014 if you can. But, unfortunately for you, I think you'll find that these specific gigs were the high point of each respective band's live performances, their "legendary" gig that they'll never again equal and that only one or two especially wised-up people actually attended. So eat your envious bile-filled heart out. Because, unlike you, I was there ...

The Yawns - Old Blue Last, Shoreditch, London, 21 January
Infectious rock rhythms in a Go-Betweens stylee, and likeable whooping and yelping vocals - this was a winning gig from a definitely-better-than-average indie-rock combo. In the end it was the singer that held my attention. Apparently grinning at the unexplained comedy of it all and mumbling incomprehensible stuff to the audience, he was a sort of genial Scottish Mark E Smith (or something). The Yawns were not boring.

Voodoo Binmen - Catch, Shoreditch, London, 25 January
On at a mixed bill in a venue which doesn't quite seem to know what to put on, these were a rocked-up rockabilly-type duo with good tattoos and a no-nonsense style. What seemed to set them apart a little was their songs being about vulnerability (or something like that) and the singer's non-macho, slightly bruised delivery.
Voodoo Binmen

Dark Hansen - Hafermarkt, Flensburg, 15 February
Fierce stuff, man!  Yeah, we’re talking grindcore, and we had to be careful because the pugnacious singer was a right old tough nut. The kind of street fighter who thinks nothing of elbowing his way past a couple of people in the audience (me and my girlfriend) to get on to the stage. Anyway, I forgave him because he and his mates made a righteous racket that was laugh-along excessive and mind-bogglingly loud. Great! (There's 54 super-distorted seconds of it here). Meanwhile, the gig also featured another decent metal-edged noise-rock band with a singer who liked to shout “Round 98. Und fight” after each song.

He Is Ledger - Hafermarkt, Flensburg, 16 February
The second in this pair of grindcore-y gigs. And both get into my top 20. Amazing, eh? (At one of these nights - it might have been the first of the two - one bloke had “Abolish capitalism. Smash the state. For a free humanity. For anarchism” (in English) on the back of his jacket. Quite affecting I thought). Anyway, this was a second consecutive night with a singer/growler who liked to do that crouched-down, two-hands-around-the-mic thing, in this case belting out a highly melodramatic version of the genre. Kind of Bette Midler does grindcore. Lots of hair-shaking too, which is always a bonus. Oh, and one of these nights also included a DJ who played a German-language version of Sham 69’s If The Kids Are United. Beat that.

Hookworms - Red Gallery, Shoreditch, London, 21 February
Fairly intense electro-noise sounds involving some hammered-out keyboards and a bloke on vocals who made the performance memorable with his demented enthusiasm. I've since become vaguely aware that Hookworms are some kind of "cool" band that people like to name-drop but, hey, don't let that put you off.

Martha - Missing, Birmingham, 23 February
Hooky and melodic, but with enough fizziness to keep it interesting, this likeable bunch knocked out very decent, almost epic indie-rock stuff (check out my top-of-the-range camera phone video here). To my taste the night verged on the overly-twee - vegan cakes, a rather dull DJ playing Motown - but the band were good. The gig was upstairs in a gay bar which was evidently gearing up for riotous goings on. Steamy!

Skinny Girl Diet - Windmill, Brixton, London 14 March
Another good gig from this excellent riot grrl-type band who have, in addition to some nice tunes and a no-nonsense attitude, a bassist (I think it was) who has one of the most ear-piercing screams I've ever heard. Nice! There's something about them that reminds me of X-Ray Spex. Which is no bad thing.

Skinny Girl Diet 

Ice. Sea. Dead. People - Old Blue Last, Shoreditch, London, 1 April & 10 July
A joint vote for the two (or was it three times, not sure) that I saw this band (accidentally) during 2013. It's taken a while but I've started to warm to their loud/louder-still noise-rock sounds. On the one hand I'm still slightly wrong-footed by a singer who I think tries a bit too hard with his cheeky chappie smart Alec-isms, but I’m also more or less won over by the bands’ tricksy power-guitar stuff.

We Are the Physics - Windmill, London, 16 May
Speedy, Devo-esque rock from a band who obviously know what they're about - maybe a bit too much - but nevertheless belt out an entertaining brand of cranked up nerd-sounds. I think they'd actually be better if they dropped their studied goofiness and stagey stop-start stuff, but I did enjoy songs like "Subject versus Object". Are we not men? No, We Are the Physics.

We Are The Physics

Jeffrey Lewis & Peter Stampfel Band - Windmill, Brixton, London, 24 May
I must be well into double figures with Jeffrey Lewis gigs and, well, they're not really doing it for me these days. Especially the ones with Stampfel whose zaniness I find more irritating than funny. However, though the good-times folk-punkery of this (overlong) gig left me pretty much unmoved, Lewis' spoken word Pussy Riot poem moment was a different matter (as written about at the time). In my view this is the sort of stuff Lewis should be doing. Less playing up to his image; more experimenting with new things.

S&M - Windmill, Brixton, London, 26 June
Playing in almost total darkness, S&M seemed to be doing something a bit different to the doom-y bands that I've seen in the past. They go in for very slow, sepulchral chords and make you wait as they build a gloomy, epic atmosphere. Quite gothic in tone, I thought. Nicely not uplifting.

Necro Deathmort - Windmill, Brixton, London, 8 July
Could this band have a thing about death, do you think? As far as I could make out, these do a Suicide-type washes-of-heavily-treated-electro-noise thing that works well in relatively small doses. For my money they played too long (like a lot of bands) and the impact began to wear off. Undeniably powerful though.

Mickey Gloss / Halo Halo - Power Lunches, Haggerston, London, 18 July
Hard to pin down, one minute MG were doing speed-punk, the next some kind of Fall-esque grind, the next a faux-country ballad. Bleedin' jokers - who do they think they are!? In a description of them soon after the gig I resorted to a weak point about how my blurry photo of the band's singer was a "visualisation of their blurring of styles". Well, that'll have to do now as well. Meanwhile, I should mention Halo Halo, who also played at this gig. Nice Afro-infused rhythms and elegant singing. Interesting.

Mickey Gloss

Shopping - Power Lunches, Haggerston, London, 8 August
Funkeh! A rip-roaring, blast of a gig from a jerky punk-funk trio who seemed to be having as good a time as their audience. Here one or two people had clearly attended the gig specifically to dance (whoah). Since this gig I've been trying to catch them again, but no luck. Hey, it's a diary scheduling problem.

Love Buzzard - Power Lunches, Haggerston, London, 22 August
An intense drums-and-guitar duo who blast out highly revved-up punk blues. I was quite a way back in this small (but narrow) venue, but even from where I was standing I could see them beginning to melt through sheer rock 'n' roll fire! Not sure if they always play this way, but it would be good if they do.

Love Buzzard in meltdown

Avida Dollars - Tye Dye, Sheffield, 31 August
Strangely, I liked and disliked this gig in almost equal measure. The music was fine: pounding drums, plaintive grunge-like vocals, good riffs, a rockin' somewhat epic feel. The problem was the little knot of crowd-surf kids in the audience who thought it was fun to throw a few of their mates up in the air regardless of who else was in the vicinity. I've said before that I'm not down with this dunderheaded we're-having-our-fun-and-we-don't-care-about-anyone-else stuff. Dumb.

Charlie Megira & The Bet She'an Valley Hillbillies - Wharf Chambers, Leeds, 1 September
As my gig companion said at the time, this was like something out of a David Lynch film. Three groovy-looking customers who did twangy country somewhere in Hank Williams/Carter Family territory. But the twist was a lovely underpinning of bongos that gave it all a slightly unhinged feel, as well as the crackpot anti-humour of Charlie Megira. His between-songs "jokes" made Spike Milligan seem like Michael McIntyre.

Music for birds: Charlie Megira

Reso Kiknadze Trio - Rich Mix, Bethnal Green, London 2 October
Is it a bird, is it a plane? This wasn't a gig, it was a film screening with live musical accompaniment, and very nice it was too. Kote Mikaberidze's 1929 Soviet Georgian film My Grandmother has got to be seen to be believed (a delirious mix of Buster Keaton and Zazie Dans Le Métro as conceived by Kafka), and the Reso Kiknadze Trio applied some nice splashes of sound to proceedings - electronic squarks, rumbles, whistles and the like. Insane and fantastic.

Still from Mikaberidze's My Grandmother

Diaphram Failure - Stag's Head, Haggerston, London, 31 October
This gig was preceded by an in-car conversation with my long-suffering gig companion about PiL and Keith Levene (as you do). And, lo and behold, DF worked a not-entirely-un-PiL-like drone rock sound with a generous helping of their own pretty funny tomfoolery on top. I particularly liked the way the ranty singer shouted “What ya doing with my fucking shopping?” about 35 times in succession during one rather brilliant bit of the gig. There was lots of rackety percussion from shakers and whatever came to hand, and a real sense of a band that didn’t mind taking a few risks. And, as I've just realised, they were also in my best gigs of 2011 list - so there you go, consistent.

My Therapist Says Hot Damn - Taylor Johns, Coventry, 2 November
The highlight of a feminist punk night, MTSHD are a funny riot grrl-type band who don't seem to take themselves too seriously yet played some genuinely good stuff at this gig, including a very entertaining song with mock-grindcore growling from one of the women in the band. A few days after the gig I was admonished on Twitter from one of the group for making assumptions about the gender identity of one of the band members. But hey, I’m a no-offence-intended/no-grudges-held kinda guy and I’ve still put the band into my top gigs of the year list. Generous of me, eh?

And that's it. Twenty gigs you wished you'd been at but almost certainly weren't. Unless you crept into the back of my car when I wasn't looking. Next time, I want petrol money ...

Just chillin' ...

A typical shot of me relaxing at home in the Hackney flat ...

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Out with the old, in with the new (aka Machine men with machine hearts, Podcast #100, Nov 2013)

Strange thing happened this week. I was rummaging through my miserable little collection of vinyl to treat you to an extra special track for this new podcast, when ... goddamit, I discover that some of my records have become warped through sitting on my lovely - but very hot - window-sill. So much for my bright idea about putting them there ...

Anyway, after unceremoniously chucking out about 40 LPs/12-inch singles, guess what? I found I didn't regret the loss very much. Out to the skip went genuinely good stuff like The Fall's The Wonderful And Frightening World Of and Adam And The Ants' Dirk Wears White Sox, but hey ... it's only a few old records, right? I liked these records, and had had some of them for about 30 years. But, c'mon. Life goes on, and I've probably heard an equivalent amount of good new music in just the last month anyway, and ... oh, I dunno. I'm not some kind of Discogs-eBay-what's-every-single-record-worth merchant. And ... well, I'll probably re-acquire a few of those things along the way anyway.

No! Forget 'em. Instead, check out my podcast #100. Because instead of being a silly old vinyl sentimentalist, the fact is I'm actually a machine man with a machine heart. Clunk, clang, clunk.

1: House Of John Player, Acre (0-4:55) 
2: Amagugu, Chuchu makgala (4.56-7:21) 
3: Xxena, Chicken dust (7:22-13:32) 
4: Screens, Dispute Settlement Mechanism (13:33-16:07) 
5: I work with Robert Plomin (16:08-16:09) 
6: Sonae, Entmutig (16:10-18:45) 
7: Negative WorM, Jim Cougar Morriseycamp (18:46-21:28) 
8: Guitar Roberts, The thrill is gone (21:29-25:12) 
9: Fever Dream, ? (Old Blue Last, London 24/11/13) (25:13-27:02) 
10: Otis Spann, I’d rather be the devil (27:03-29:42) 
11: Chief Kooffreh, Cut your balls off (29:43-35:10) 
12: Small and media enterprise (35:11-35:13) 
13: Goto80, 5phyun73r 31337 v3r (35:14-36:02) 
14: Eugene The Oceanographer, Golden periscope (36:03-39:15) 
15: Clint Eastwood, Follow fashion (version) (39:16-42:44) 
16: James Canty, Strange times (42:45-45:10) 
17: Chris Schilder, Phily Schilder, Jackie Schilder, Look up (45:11-53:02) 
18: H Grimace, ? (Old Blue Last, London 24/11/13) (53:03-57:09) 
19: Mark Wynn, Excuse me sir (57:10-59:01) 
20: Intrigued by the idea (59:02-59:04) 
21: Death Grips, Birds (59:05-1:03:42) 
22: Kaatskill Mountains, Ghosts yn the ayr (1:03:43-1:05:47) 
23: Prince Rama, Rest in peace (1:05:48-1:12:09) 
24: Queer’d Science, Nazifucker (1:12:10-1:16:24) 
25: Coagul, Anathema (1:16:25-1:18:48)

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Set Sun Ra to maximum spin cycle

Sun Ra says spin me right round like an orbiting planet in a faraway solar system ....

Thursday, 21 November 2013

For the Commonwealth, Podcast #99 (Oct 2013)

Dear oh dear. It's already the 21st of November and I haven't even posted the podcast for October yet. It's really not good enough, is it?

Well, I can only throw myself at the mercy of the court and say, most humbly, that I laboured for weeks and weeks over this pathetic 78.15 minutes of music. Crafting, refining, chipping away here, chipping away there. And you know what? It was all done out of love for the Commonwealth.


1: Ando Guerillo (0-3:01) Nicoffein
2: Simon Matheson, Most unkind (3:02-4:36) 
3: Luminous Fridge, Sacrifice to the god of 808s (4:37-6:42) 
4: Dumb Girl Plague, Honey (6:43-10:20) 
5: Gerardo Sansón & Fred McDonald, Doble cero (10:21-13:16) 
6: Agnès Pe, Discutir a sangre (13:17-15:50) 
7: Mahlathini & The Queens, Umkhlwenyana (15:51-18:54) 
8: To buy cocaine (18:55-18:56) 
9: Botany, Anchor (18:57-22:15) 
10: We Are A Communist, Civilisation to Planet Nova (22:16-24:16) 
11: Sly Dunbar, Cocaine (24:17-28:02) 
12: Alligator Indian, I gave myself a science lecture (28:03-31:12) 
13: Kapnobatai, Doaga lipsa (31:13-32:56) 
14: John McGrath, Four hills (32:57-36:20) 
15: I’m not sure (36:21-36:22) 
16: Reso Kiknadze Trio, music for My Grandmother (Rich Mix, 2/10/13) (36:23-39:46) 
17: The Notes, Bourgeois (39:47-41:00) 
18: The Creatures, Inoa ‘ole (41:01-44:44) 
19: Henry Skewes, War waltz (44:45-47:24) 
20: EMP-T, Son of satan (47:25-49:54) 
21: Mmdelai, White world (49:55-53:09) 
22: For the Commonwealth (53:10-53:15) 
23: Samira Taoufik, Ya awlad el-halal (53:16-57:59) 
24: Muhmood, Organ etude (58:00-59:16) 
25: Luke McDaniel, Huh baby (59:17-1:01:30) 
26: The Fucked Up Beat, Fear in the dust bowl (1:01:31-1:05:36) 
27: Leroy Smart, Happiness is my desire (version) (1:05:37-1:09:09) 
28: Common Dominator, Bury you cockaroaches (1:09:10-1:11:57) 
29: Chin Yi, Dida (1:11:58-1:14:50) 
30: The Inspirations, who you gonna run to? (1:14:51-1:17:19) 
31: The Craters, 800080 (1:17:20-1:18:25)

Sunday, 17 November 2013

This one goes out to Mark E Smith's yappy little dog ...

This one goes out to all those Fallheads and John Peel worshippers, forever droning on about the genius of MES. Yes, YOU! 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

The mohican: time to celebrate a classic haircut

A bloke I was sitting behind on a flight the other day had a mohican haircut. One of those freshly-strimmered, flattish-strip-down-the-middle ones. Robert De Niro's Taxi Driver cut, only in this case it came with a short beard. All in all, a surprise hit of a look!

Mohicans are so deeply uncool that I find myself quite liking them these days. Imagine a setting - any setting - where a mohican haircut wouldn't look out of place. It's well nigh impossible. The haircut is utterly reviled, the lowest of the low.

You sneerin' at me?

When, very occasionally, someone appears at a gig with a mohican my instinct, I must admit, is to give said mohican-ed person a wide berth. But why? They're championing an unfashionable haircut, but so what? It must take a certain amount of nerve to go around with the double-scalped look. It risks marking you out as a throwback, an antediluvian fan of The Exploited or Anti-Pasti. And if that wasn't a heavy enough cross to bear, there's every chance that mohican man (very, very occasionally mohican woman) is going to catch people smirkingly eyeing them up wherever they go. There's no hiding place!

No, it's time to rehabilitate the humble mohican. I seem to recall that certain "full-on" music scenes like the techno one in London in the mid-90s would include a version of the mohican amongst some of its afficianados, a welcoming in, as it were, of a kindred spirit, one ready to embrace the extremity of 200bpm at Turnmills on a Sunday night, haircut at the ready.

So next time you see someone with a mohican repress your cowardly little sneer. For that mohican-ed stranger is probably a brave soul with a brave heart. They may like music infinitely better than the dull stuff you like, and they may be witty and smart to boot. And of course, as sightings of properly mohican-ed people become rarer and rarer, you never know - that person across the room from you may even be the very last of the mohicans ...

Thursday, 7 November 2013

I (don't) want to be straight

I've said it before and I'll say it again ... too many gigs these days are ... er, too straight.

They're regular. Normal. Featuring bands (comprising perfectly nice people no doubt) who dress in regulation jeans and t-shirts, run through the usual "thanks to everyone else who's played" nonsense, and seem to want to drain the gig of any sense of the peculiar or extraordinary. These bands are often fairly good, but they could be a lot more exciting. Capito?

What I'm saying is that - one way and another - the better gigs are often from artists who endeavour to go out on a limb. Y'know, ones that push the boundaries, stretch things, go further. So for example, in the space of three days last week I saw Diaphram Failure doing their dada-meets-improv-rock thing, followed by My Therapist Says Hot Damn, with their played-for-laughs-but-still-ocasionally-thrilling riot-grrl rock stuff. Both very much what the doctor ordered if you ask me. DF worked because they created a deliberately deranged atmosphere where the vocalist's freeform ranting sat nicely above the band's rock-drone rhythms. In this context it made perfect sense for the topless, big-bellied-and-big-bearded singer to intone "What ya doing with my fucking shopping?" about 38 times in succession as another band member rifled through a bag of small objects (sweets?, little-whistle-type things?) which he proceeded to lob at people in the audience. Kerr-azy! I also liked the way the singer would vary the line - "What ya doing with my motherfucking shopping?" - every now and then. See! That's musicianship, that is.

Meanwhile, MTSHD's shtick was that the male bassist hammed up his OTT rock moves in a rather fetching black and red dress and white-face make-up. This sat alongside the band's smart lyrics and decent riffing. I particularly liked a very fast tune about vodka which featured a nice faux-grindcore guttural growl from an amusing female singer. Good stuff.

As I said to my gig companion at the latter bash, there are sadly too few bands featuring men wearing dresses on the scene at the moment. (Or are there in fact dozens and I just don't know about them? Er, send me a message. Full confidentiality guaranteed). Indeed, cross-dressing in all its forms (apart from laddish "drag" stuff) is to be encouraged in rock music in my opinion. I've mentioned before how I liked the fake moustache sported by a female member of Hunx & His Punx at a gig a few years back, and most efforts to do away with the hetero-normative damp floorcloth of much modern rock is ... a thoroughly good thing in my book.

Now please excuse me. The latest Monsoon catalogue has just dropped through the letterbox and I have to go and pick out a few new outfits. Ciao a tutti.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

The Rush of the box set

Meanwhile, in another place - with questionable music and a taste for fruit cocktails - I rummage around among the box sets, trying to decide just how many Rush box sets is enough Rush box sets ...

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Pretty major disruptions, Podcast #98 (Sept 2013)

This is the sound of the ... unloved, mid-rise tower blocks ...

Actually, look hard enough and I reckon buildings like this have an undeniable beauty. I say: "build more of 'em". The ideal soundtrack to slogging down those eerie underlit walkways would have to be podcast #98, Pretty major disruptions. Good luck with that broken-down lift ...

1: Toxin III, Numb (0-2:53) 
2: Selma Oxor, Stoner bitch (Mou remix) (2:54-4:57)
3: Josef Marais, Stellenbosch boys (4:58-6:28) 
4: The Derevolutions, Yell it out! (6:29-10:07) 
5: Hana Al Safi, Ashkil li min, pt 2 (10:08-14:13) 
6: ::atlas|moan::, n.e.v.e.r. (14:14-15:33) 
7: The Archaeologist, Cuit au four (15:34-17:41) 
8: General Echo, Arleen (17:42-20:41) 
9: R. Lee et al, Yeast of the River Nile (20:42-23:52)
10: Duane Eddy, Peter Gunn (23:53-26:07) 
11: When I went into custody (26:09-26:12) 
12: Car Seat Headrest, Big jacket (26:13-31:15) 
13: TRema, 600.3 (31:16-35:12) 
14: The gift they need to evade us (35:13-35:18) 
15: De Frank, Waiting for my baby (35:19-39:44) 
16: Gepopel, Eenheidsworst (39:45-41:05) 
17: Vandaveer, Omie Wise (41:06-45:46) 
18: Pretty major disruptions (45:47-45:48) 
19: Charlie Megira & The Bet She’an Hillbillies, ? (Wharf Chambers, Leeds 1/9/13) (45:49-47:56) 
20: Switchblade Cheetah, That’s OK (47:57-50:27) 
21: Wiilam Christie & Les Arts Florissants, King Arthur (Purcell) (extract) (50:28-52:32) 
22: Asher & Tremble/Rockers, Humble dub (52:33-56:20) 
23: Stillsuit, 14 (56:21-58:24) 
24: Geoff Love & His Orchestra, Boys and girls come out to play (58:25-1:00:29) 
25: Stepdad SS, Overpower (1:00:30-1:02:45) 
26: Blip Street, Yorkshire torcher (1:02:46-1:07:33) 
27: Didn't learn properly (1:07:34-1:07:36) 
28: Ramblers Dance Band, Ride your donkey (1:07:37-1:10:13) 
29: Thee Mark Chapman Experience, We will fight (1:10:14-1:13:53) 
30: Ukrainska Orchestra Michala Thomas, Hutzulka from Semereczyn (1:13:54-1:16:55) 
31: Family Event: Couch (1:16:56-1:17:35) 
32: Mac Blackout, Bitter baby blues (1:17:36-1:19:41)

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Jumping dead bodies, Podcast #97 (Aug 2013)

Yeah, the annoyingly warm summer is nearly over, it's getting colder. You're begging for inclemency. A decent spell of unpredictable squally showers. I don't blame you. And it's weather like this that just cries out for a new Niluccio on noise podcast. One that will have you jumping dead bodies. Jump!

1: Noyce, Get sad (0-5:03) 
2: He Is A Legend, Time (Inspire, Coventry 24/8/13) (5:04-8:35) 
3: Martin Thulin, Pictures of woods (8:36-12:37) 
4: Wisdom of the Russian leadership (12:38-12:54) 
5: Methodist Centre, Thumb in bum and mind in neutral (12:55-14:44) 
6: Mittimus, Welcome to lab 257 (14:45-15:20) 
7: Clevdette & The Corporation, Skinhead a bosh them (15:21-18:56) 
8: Choizcore, Gone from drugs (18:57-21:56) 
9: Flame-proof Moth, I used to be a Kalahari bushman (21:57-25:51) 
10: The P.I.N.S., Juicy fruit junkie (extended dance version) (25:52-26:43) 
11: Kendo, Sylised Eighties revivalism (26:44-29:58) 
12: Shopping, ? (Power Lunches, London 8/8/13) (29:59-32:19) 
13: Tony Tuff, We want no war (32:20-35:51) 
14: Jeff Kolar, The entertainer (35:52-36:26) 
15: Bascom Lamar Lunsford, Jesse James (36:27-40:06) 
16: Our national life (40:07-40:15) 
17: Crabbwoy, Baltan dub (40:16-43:12) 
18: Avida Dollars, ? (Tye Die Tapes, Sheffield 31/8/13) (43:13-48:21) 
19: S’morden Girls, Vulamehlo (48:22-52:04) 
20: Dead Elephant, Stag party (52:05-54:54) 
21: Bentcousin, I think I like your girlfriend more than you (54:55-57:11) 
22: Фиорд, Интро (57:12-58:10) 
23: Guitar Slim Green, This war ain’t right (58:11-1:01:10) 
24: k3T3m, Zar@z (1:01:11-1:05:05) 
25: Jumping dead bodies (1:05:06-1:05:07) 
26: What Capitalism Was, Knee 1 (1:05:08-1:08:23) 
27: Surf Nazis On Ecstasy, Masturbation vacation (1:08:24-1:09:30) 
28: Indias Indios, Old joy (1:09:31-1:11:41) 
29: King Sighter, Dollar fe a refer (1:11:42-1:14:31) 
30: Geometrie Variabili, Building momentum (1:14:32-1:15:50) 
31: Devo, Uncontrollable urge (1:15:51-1:18:54)

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Pressing STOP on the Cassette Store marketing machine

Click. Clunk. Click. Whirr ... there we go, just getting the tape player going ...

What on earth is all this nonsense about Cassette Store Day? Cassette Store Day! You're having a laugh, right? It’s so bizarrely preposterous it’s almost good. Except it isn’t. More like a piece of desperate novelty marketing shoved into a scratched plastic case of a concept, stuck on a dusty shelf at inflated prices and then ... rightly ignored by most people.

It seems a few “indie” record labels are pushing it as a way of drumming up a bit of business. Well bully for them. I’ve nothing against cassettes themselves. I've got hundreds and hundreds (maybe thousands), which are all out on the shelves in my flat, an integral part of the Niluccio music empire. They're played along with my records and other music stuff, and genuinely valued. But really! Cassette Store Day?!

Can't wait for Reel-to-reel Store Day

In truth I used up most of my best blogger bile on the almost-as-risible Record Store Day back in April so I won't waste too much of my precious stock on this trivial little travesty. But put it this way, if this is about finding new ways to sell product at inflated prices (as Sean Gray fears) then it deserves to die the death. If it’s a wheeze by a few small music labels who think it’s a “rad” form of “acceptable hipsterism” (or somesuch) then it's more-or-less harmless bit of niche marketing - unimpressive but no big deal.

But these format-based marketing things are definitely well past their sell by date. Surely after next year’s Shellac Store Day there really won’t be anywhere else to go. Eight-track Cartridge Store Day? Reel-to-reel Machine Store Day? No, it’s definitely time to press the STOP button on all this so-fucking-idiotic-it-insults-your-intelligence-ness. Clunk.

So, there you go. Anyway, let me just check the tape machine ... Oh no! The tape’s all chewed up ....

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Let's Start a Pussy Riot (again)

Yes, it's those pesky Pussy Rioters again! And in another place I attempt to get all art-historical on their asses ...  

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Into the red

Shopping. Eugh. Save me from those emporia of tat. Those dunghills of merch. Those dark satanic mills!

No, shops and "retail parks" are clearly the devil's work and best shunned. But some kinds of shopping I can tolerate. For example, the punk-funk band Shopping dipping into the red in east London last month....

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Don't make him upset

If he doesn't get his daily ration of grindcore he'll only get angry ....

Thursday, 8 August 2013

I am their originator, Podcast #96 (July 2013)

Yo, you're probably thinking what I'm thinking. That music is in a parlous state, that there's no passion any more. No commitment. No reality. All that dross, man. Eugh. Bands? They're just manufactured wannabies these days. Right? Right? I said RIGHT!? Er, then again, maybe not. Check out podcast #96 and see for yourself. And, dear reader, don't forget! I am their originator ....

1: Greg Haines, The whole (0-4:00) 
2: Trogons, Rare earth metals (4:01-6:57) 
3: Guilty Parents, Nowt (6:58-8:27) 
4: The Rwenzori’s, Handsome boy (parts 1&2) (8:28-15:10) 
5: Party Pigs, Shit I’m into (15:11-17:00) 
6: 80% weeds (17:01-17:02) 
7: Ini Kamoze, World a music (17:03-22:36) 
8: Fields Of Ohio, Song of industrial America (22:37-26:31) 
9: Mickey Gloss, ? (Power Lunches, London 18/7/13) (26:32-29:05) 
10: Nailbomb Cults, Nailbomb tipsy bootleg (29:06-32:41) 
11: Moontrash, Teenagers (32:42-34:56) 
12: Sweet Sixteens, Awungifanelanga (34:57-37:22) 
13: Polarisation (37:23-37:28) 
14: Calvin Roberts, Melt (37:29-38:23) 
15: Mr & Mrs Smith, Coffin Hill (38:24-39:59) 
16: Dead Kennedys, Too drunk to fuck (40:00-42:32) 
17: Bryan Drummond, How the dead live (42:33-46:08) 
18: ?, ? (London, July 2013) (46:09-49:48) 
19: Willbe, Brooklyn Bridge (49:49-52:46) 
20: Shudderpulps, Keep house (52:47-57:32) 
21: I am their originator (57:32-57:36) 
22. Capella Istropolitana, Concerto No4 (Corelli) (part) (57:37-1:00:53) 
23: Yi, Host body (1:00:54-1:03:51) 
24: Strong Suit, Freezer burn (1:03:52-1:06:42) 
25: Lloyd & Devon, Out of the fire (1:06:43-1:09:09) 
26: The influence of Paul Klee (1:09:10-1:09:14) 
27: Halo Halo, ? (Power Lunches, London 18/7/13) (1:09:15-1:12:12) 
28: The Lovely Eggs, A digital accordion (1:12:13-1:15:46) 
29: Jarhead Fertiliser, Drowning (1:15:47-1:16:44) 
30: Baron Lee & Blue Rhythm Band, Reefer man (1:16:45-1:19:31)

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Sorry for the Crass-posting ...

Don't get angry, don't get cross .... just posting the Heartfield/Hamilton-esque wonder that is the cover of Crass's lovely Stations LP.

Yeah, it's a really nice piece of work from Gee Vaucher. Eat your hearts out you major-label punk bands with your crappy posed shots of moody group members.

Anyway sorry for the Crass-posting! And if you'd like to get off this mailing - you can't! You can't unsubscribe, you fucker! You cunt, you fucking tool of the establishment. Listen, there ain't no unsubscribe button in this world, no! They've fucking got you. With their mailing lists, their pop-ups too. No unsubscribe, no unsubscribe. There's no unsubscribe, no unsubscribe. But don't listen to what they say. They ain't got me. They ain't got me ....

Er, sorry! Came over all Steve Ignorant there for a moment ... 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Holidays in other people's countryside

Meanwhile, and once again in another place (with better furnishings and nicer food), John Lydon is packing his best Vivienne Westwood-designed holiday clothes and preparing to go to the countryside. No doubt with the car cassette playing poptones ...

Monday, 22 July 2013

In the summer of '85

Meanwhile, in another place, I'm getting all nostalgic for those halcyon days of 1985 - The Style Council, Howard Jones, Sade and Adam Ant. Oh, our glory days! So dearly missed ....

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Taking the shine off

Another of my press-and-hope gig shots ... Mickey Gloss, with their pleasingly scorched indie sounds at Power Lunches in east London, 18/7/13.

The singer's Baconesque smear of a face is the reason I like this one, a nice visualisation of their blurring of styles - speed-punk, Fall-esque grind, arch faux-country ...

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The dreary sound of Joy Division

"It's so dreary, isn't it?"

My octogenarian mother's remark upon hearing Joy Division, as featured on the soundtrack of Anton Corbijn's generally excellent 2007 film, Control.

I seem to recall that before their noughties-era sanctification by mainstream music critics, this was a commonly-held view, even among rock music fans of a relatively "alternative" stripe. Ie, that Joy Division were OK, a decent band, but ultimately "depressing". As ever, my mum's generally on the money.

Anyway, to my unreconstructed pro-JD ears, it still provides a small thrill to see Sam-Riley-as-Ian-Curtis doing his freaky dancing and hearing snippets of the band, albeit snippets apparently done by the actors themselves.

Ian Curtis' Memorial
Pic: jayneandd

For me the film transcends the miserably mediocre level of most music bio-pics by focusing quite hard on Curtis' epilepsy and his falling-apart marriage. The music, rightly, is the background to all this.

I liked the shots where Corbijn juxtaposes old Victorian Macclesfield with its starkly modern post-war make-over buildings, and the final scene of smoke rising from a crematorium at Curtis' funeral is spot-on: very sad and very beautiful, with the hills of the Peak District shown in the background. But I thought the best scene in the film was the one where Curtis is confronted over his affair by his wife Debbie (Samantha Morton) in the hallway of their house. Each question she fires at him meets with an anguished silence. The silences are the scene's strength.

As so often, it's all about the sound production. Maybe the ghost of Martin Hannett had a hand in this excellent scene ...

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Communications, Podcast #95 (June 2013)

Yeah, big week for music this one. What with the Rolling Stones playing in Turkmenistan and Jennifer Lopez wowing the rock dads from Glastonbury's Pyramid stage. Or something like that. Anyway, I understand the Eavis clan have already got their eyes on most of the acts on Podcast #95. But hey, let's face it, they're just a little behind with their communications ....

1: zw:an, Radiant child (Delayzofthepas remix) (0-2:31) 
2: The Wharves, Renew! ((2:31-6:35) 
3: Communications (6:36-6:38) 
4: Alien Dread, Every man’s hand (6:39-10:44) 
5: Santos Wussies, No swog (10:45-13:16) 
6: Post, Monument to a lost cause (13:17-16:55) 
7: S&M, ? (extract) (Windmill, London 26/6/13) (16:56-24:05)
8: Ninjaman, New throat fe chat (24:06-27:49) 
9: Art Farmer Quartet, Lullaby of the leaves (27:50-32:04) 
10: Guns Or Knives, I can’t imagine (32:05-36:05) 
11: Exuma, Exuma, the obeah man (36:06-42:21) 
12: Trans/Human, Broken leisure (pt1) (42:22-47:48) 
13: Arabic (47:49-47:49) 
14: Audley Rollens, Be wise (47:50-52:23) 
15: Girlscoutcookies, Work will set you free (52:24-52:35) 
16: The Black Tambourines, 27-25 blues (52:36-55:32) 
17: Hélène Grimaud, Fantasia on an ostinato for solo piano (extract) (55:33-59:49) 
18: Reacting to events (55:50-55:55) 
19: Early Mammal, Two worlds (Windmill, London 26/6/13) (55:56-1:04:48) 
20: Family Cat, Mirror (1:04:49-1:06:11) 
21: Isaac Rohr, Twixt (1:06:12-1:09:14) 
22: 999, High energy plan (1:09:15-1:11:58) 
23: Ending Satellites, A day in Port-Royal (1:11:59-1:15:27) 
24: Winston Clarke, Rise and shine (1:15:28-1:19:57)

Monday, 1 July 2013

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Thee swirls

Sound swirls by Niluccio
One from the archive: Thee Vicars, turning music into light, in Paris in November 2009. Fantastique!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Tickets please! The fetish and the fury ...

Why do people keep the tickets and other paraphernalia from the gigs they attend? Why? I said WHY?

OK, it's sort of obvious. It's a memento. A physical reminder. Memorabilia. Something that gives them a little Proustian tingle every time they come across the creased, yellowing, dusty bit of paper in future years. The same with band set-lists, or drumsticks and other nicknacks thrown into the crowd by the type of bands that like do to this (supremely corny) kind of thing. 

Hmm. With the passage of time I don't deny that some of these artefacts can assume a genuine significance. Over the years I've popped into the odd exhibition of old black-and-white gig posters, flyers, fanzines, concert tickets, lapel badges etc. Put together like this they can obviously evoke a "scene" and provide some of the "texture" to sit alongside the inevitable memoirs, coffee-table books and the like. A good example might be the (often amazing) futuristic flyers for raves and house nights in the late 80s and early 90s. It wasn't something I was particularly involved with, but even the few I caught sight of at the time looked pretty impressive. 

But .... I dunno. While I quite admire the fact that some people meticulously collect this stuff, I'm still dubious. It's not that I have a dunderheaded "it's not rock and roll" approach to the collector-hoarder instinct. No, the trainspotterishly non-macho aspect to this is almost appealing. 

Actually, I think it's the fetishisation of the "marginalia" of music that I find off-putting. It's not dissimilar to those people who used to come into a record shop I worked at in the mid-1980s desperately trying to buy yet more limited-edition picture-disc versions of the latest Gary Numan song that they already owned six versions of. The old concert tickets kept in a box might be moderately interesting as artefacts in themselves, but to most people they're more importantly the evidence that they were there. "Look, look! This is from that The Jesus And Mary Chain gig in 1986 I told you about. Cool, eh?" They're the pieces of the original cross. The link to their youth, their scene, their time.

I personally never got into the ticket-keeping habit, and neither have I bothered with almost any of the other "collectables". It's depressing to see club promoters now flogging £100 prints of their old flyers, but the fan-as-collector seems to me a slightly helpless figure, one to be pitied rather than scorned. Besotted by the commodification of the music industry as it goes about the business of promoting and selling experiences, the punter who religiously keeps their tickets is ... well, a consumer of music rather than someone who enjoys it. Oh, the fetish and the fury.

So, having dealt with that little matter, all that remains is to explain this ....

Discovered this afternoon in an old law textbook of mine (K Smith & DJ Keenan's English Law, sixth edition, 1980, to be precise), it's pretty much the closest I've come to the fetish-collector habit I've been banging on about here. What a curious document, eh? A time-tear. An accidental glimpse of gigs in a midlands city from that golden year 1985. So never mind how good New Model Army were that night. The real issue is - I bet you wish you had this fantastic flyer, don't you? Yours for £75 ono ....