Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Sunn 0))) and Om - Koko 14/12/09

Despite hating the whole layout of the Koko (being high rather than long I normally have trouble seeing anything despite being 6 foot 3) it does always seem to continually bring in such a diverse range of music, last time I was here it was to see the Nme showcase which was housing some of 2010's top breadwinners such as the delightfully unoriginal and fairly bland 'Marina and the Diamonds.' Notably the venue was full of 'trendy' fresh faced teens all hell bent on finding the next synth pop extraordinaire before the masses cotton on.

Tonight was, of course a total contrast in sound and certainly the clientèle, tonight is a proper metal gig, to the point where you get off the tube at Mornington Crescent and you can tell exactly who is going to the gig and who isn't, you get to the venue and even the ticket touts seem flustered (quote of the day "it looks like they're all dressed for a fucking funeral'") and you walk inside and that familiar smell of stale beer and body odour hits you smack between the eyes. Only at a metal gig can it smell this bad before the music has even started.

I had really high hopes for Om, apart from the fact that their recent album 'God is Good' was absolutely fantastic they played Brighton the night before and anyone I knew who saw the show had come out saying it was one of the highlights of the year. They certainly did not disappoint tonight with those heavy basslines pummelling away to the point where you could literally feel every note that was strummed, played with such an eerie intensity that it really created an atmosphere I've not witnessed at a gig before. After working with maestro Steve Albini on their last album you really get the feeling that his inclusion has worked wonders for their sound, playing a surprisingly long set for a support act the ploughed through material from the new album put ending with the heavy as hell 'At Giza.'

Om really set the bar and could easily be one of the best support acts I have seen for a long time so a tough act to follow for headliners Sunn o))) who I only knew by reputation before tonight. When they finally came out all sporting big robes with possibly the most dry ice I have ever seen at a show and basslines that were the sludgiest of the sludgy I was pretty intrigued but after 45 mins of unfathomable noise seemingly building up to something that wasn't going to ever finish I was getting a little weary (to the point where my mate went out for a fag and never came back).

Sunn o))) have a huge cult following and you could tell that people were really getting into it but I just felt like I was watching some kind of shit Iron Maiden video, you know the ones from the 80's where they all wore tights and robes and god knows what. Fair credit to them, they're doing something really different and I'm never one to deny that but after such an awesome show from Om it was always going to be a hard one to beat.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Art Of The Arcade

Just found some fantastic pieces of old imagery used for Arcade games in the 80's

Friday, 18 December 2009

Part Chimp + Bilge Pump + Fat Bitch - Engine Rooms, Brighton - 5/12/09

Remember when sniffing glue was always a curiosity, or at least something within budget when you’re young and ready to get shit faced? These were the days when you’d sneak home in the morning hours after a night out with your friends, sitting in a graveyard, smoking the lowest grade pot you were sold by the lowest grade fuck up five years your senior. You’d sneak home, crawl into your room and shine a light on to your ever growing and curiously feeble CD and tape collection and wonder “what would it be like to mix this band and that concept and this artwork and that mother fucking see-through guitar?” and then pass out in a puddle of your own thoughts and urine. Many people have formed bands with this amalgamation of ideas taking the entire D.I.Y noise riff-rock and forming a potential monster but it fails to grow any chest hair as this premature monster mind just can’t process a simple idea.

Fat Bitch had all the elements there, the licks, the drum fills, the polyrhythm mind fuck Load Records via Noxagt up your arse and out of your face tone but...still, this is still for cheap low grade pot smoking clerks and bedroom elite enthusiasts.

Hail to the promoters on such a cold night in Brighton town, nobody in their right mind would like three to four sludge dirge doom ridden bands spilling their apathetic sob stories of twisted visuals, depression, and gut-wrenching political angst. Instead, it appears we have the ‘United Colours of Benetton’ (in reference to Bilge Pump’s desired wardrobe) light up the stage. Three individual males ready to unleash what could be filed next to “England’s answer to the 90’s tail end of Dischord”. Splattered songs sending calculated good time sonicness to everyone’s mind making it that little bit more enjoyable buying that overpriced dirty pint of muck from the bar. These are the guys who probably didn’t sniff the glue but were actually around to see the crossover of genres take place at real shows rather than sitting in the damp cum-stained room with the stereo on blast pumping out no-wave attempting new and daring hair partings. Bilge Pump could have continued to play all night if we all knew who wasn’t going to be breaking speaker cones and subs up stage next.

The headline band is selling a cheap run of the mill self made CD-r entitled ‘Reduced to Clear’. As it happens the first song is classed as ‘the moment when Ligament became Part Chimp, Glasgow 1999’. Tonight we witness the moment Part Chimp become King Chimp, before you know it the four piece are on stage celestially bastardising peoples eardrums to the tune of ‘TRAD’ the opening desert riff driving track from new full length ‘Thriller’.

It’s been roughly ten years since the transformation from previously mentioned band to this entity and finally, after a period of time it looks like they have secured a concrete line up. Destroying pretty much every punter in the venue with a blissful and euphoric set list, they can do no wrong. Blending in all manner of songs from Chart Pimp, I am Come, Cup (especially the beast ‘Once More Forever’) and mainly the first 50% off the new album, it’s safe to say we are still in good hands as our ear drums liquidise into our pints and back down into our throats, into our guts and back into the venue’s pisser. This kind of happiness makes your jaw ache from gurning even though you haven’t double dropped any chemical you can find on the tar ridden floor. The loudest band in England? Without a doubt. Reduced to smithereens.

Word by Ade Dovey
Pictures by Thom Hayes

Lightning Bolt – Audio, Brighton 11/12/09

Having heard Rhode Island’s Lightning Bolt’s studio recordings, I was extremely excited to witness their brand of rhythmic experimental noise first hand.

The opening act was London based Pseudo Nippon backed up by his colourful band of amphibious/mammal creatures. Presenting themselves dressed as what can only described as two frogs and two pandas/ flying squirrels, they certainly get everyone going with their brand of infectious danceable electro. The crowd expressions soon change from slightly confused smirks to smiling nodding heads of genuine enjoyment. Pseudo’s comical banter and his dancers (known as Trex and Wiggly worm) ploughing into the crowd to offer high fives and hugs really engages everyone into party spirit. Despite some technical issues, they give a very enjoyable performance with drummer Colden Drystone laying down some interesting and innovative rhythms.

Next on are headliners Lightning Bolt, a stark contrast to the fun and frolics of their main support. As they have now become renowned for, Lightning Bolt play their set in the middle of the crowd which immediately gives a very intimate feel to the show. Having cleared some bodies out of their way they crash into their first track, whipping the crowd into a chaotic muddle of flailing limbs. The crowds vigorous appreciation does cause technical problems with the drum kit being regularly stampeded by the gyrating masses. They are at one point forced to stop mid-track as one fan, pint in hand, flies into bass player Brian Gibson, disconnecting his effects pedals. This was met with an aggressive shove and a shout from the bassist, this incident needless to say was not repeated for the rest of the set.

To describe Lightning Bolt’s overall live sound as loud would be an incredible understatement. I personally was still hearing their battering aural assault for 3 days after the gig. I particularly enjoyed seeing some very young, rather clean cut boys at the front of the crowd covering their ears with very pained expressions on their faces. Despite drummer Brian Chippendale’s quite dazzling pummelling assault on his drum kit, he his considerably overshadowed by Brian Gibson’s phenomenal bass noise. This is not surprising as he runs his hybrid bass (a five string bass with 3 bass strings and 2 guitar strings) and array of effects through his own substantial PA system. After a few tunes their driving, grinding wall of noise becomes incredibly immersive and quite hypnotic, with their set of over an hour seeming to pass in an instant. As their set draws to a close, I can’t help but feel that their studio recordings truly do not do their live performance justice, the type of noise they make really needs to be attacking you that loud for the cathartic experience that they create in the live environment.

This was an excellent night of very interesting and diverse music. I would recommend anyone with a passion for any kind of very loud, but primitively satisfying noise to see Lightning Bolt in the flesh.

By Dan Beesley

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Middle Boop giveaway

As it's Christmas and all that I am one of the sponsors for music website the 405's Christmas giveaway and am offering a signed copy of the limited edition print I did for Of Montreal a little while back.

Check it all out here

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

New Fredrik Video - "Vinterbarn"

Also check out one of their latest songs 'Locked In The Basement here

Cold Cave - Theme From Tomorrowland

Haven't heard Cold Cave yet? now's your chance, this is a song straight from their EP Love Comes Close.

Check it out here.

North Atlantic Oscillation - Callsigns

The Edinburgh three piece broke into the industry the way most people could only dream about, developing heavy record label interest by only cold calling labels via email!
After a number of interested labels NAC decided to go with KScope (home to Engineers, Steve Wilson and Porcupine Tree) and haven't looked back.

NAC are a hard band to pinpoint, their list of influences runs as long as the Godfather trilogy played back to back with anyone from Godspeed You Black Emperor to Blur cited yet they don't really sound much like any of them. Of course that's not necessarily a bad thing, NAC have a very upbeat 'prog' feel more at home with some of the later Flaming Lips material, opener 'Cell Count' swirls around hazes of keyboard and synth noises laying heavily over vocodered vocals with an annoyingly bouncy beat.

The other two original tracks on this ep carry on similar ground with 'Ceiling Poem' starting off with bags of potential before culminating into another annoyingly bouncy beat, 'I Only Have Eyes For You' is a much more sombre affair which bumbles along in mists of dreamy synths sounding more like early Air.

Already playing gigs with the likes of Explosions in the Sky and working with bands such as labelmates Engineers NAC are certainly in good hands and this isn't a bad debut and although it does still feel like they are finding their sound I reckon when they do we are in for a real treat.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Yeasayer reveal crazy new artwork

Check out the trippy artwory from Yeasayer's hotly anticipated album which will be out in February on their new label Mute. We have so far been treated to one track which is just as oddball as the artwork. Great stuff.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Single of the week - Jaga Jazzist - One Armed Bandit

Wow these guys really are something to get your head round. The Norwegian nine piece are one of the most exciting, original bands I have heard in quite a while, their odd arrangements and lush, textured sound are second to none at the moment.

'One Armed Bandit' is the first single to be lifted from their upcoming album of the same name and it's three and a half minutes of incredible music the likes of which you just wouldn't hear anywhere else, with the song flying off in completely different directions almost every thirty seconds, starting off as though it could be the soundtrack to some kind of late seventies NY police show then breaking in the middle to turn all psychedelic and synthy. Challenging yet extremely easy on the ear.

There really is a whole lot crammed into a three minute single. If there is one thing you should do in the week commencing it's check Jaga Jazzist out.

Dyse – ‘Lieder Sind Bruder Der Revolution’

German duo Dyse already have a strong for their intense live shows and non stop performances (with over 300 gigs and counting) their sound is reminiscent of that oddball sound that culminated in the early nineties with bands such as Refused, Fugazi and Mr Bungle all finding fame and there are certainly traces of their wackiness on show here.

Lieder Sind Bruder Der Revolution (Songs Are Brothers Of The Revolution) bases it's sound around bone crunching riffs that lie on the verge somewhere in between jazz and punk rock, strange time signatures, stop start verse and choruses and the occasional trumpet. It's a sound that can be vaguely categorized in one of the many sub genre's that hang around these sort of bands

Tracks such as 'Festung' and 'Treppe' are both great examples of a band that has worked hard on refining a sound that has all the traits of hardcore but still satisfy the listener with ridiculously catchy riffs and choruses. It took me a little while to get my head round Dyse at first, it's been quite a while since I have heard a band playing heavy 'arty' rock that hasn't sounded purely formulaic but given time to explore the album a bit more and get over the initial hit of the first couple tracks you discover a band that are actually doing something a little different and by the time you've exhaustingly made your way to the latter half of the album, most notably the 6.45 minute 'Supermachineeyeon' I found myself engulfed in the eccentric and twisted sound.

I have always been a fan of this sort of straight forward 'in your face' rock, the album has a very raw, live feel to it and I can only imagine these guys will have a very intense live show, I only hope they get over here at some point so that I can sample the wonders of a Dyse gig.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Simon Wild

The fantastic illustrator Simon Wild has created work for clients such as YCN, Saachi and Saachi and songwriter Jon Hopkins, his colourful style has caught the imagination of lots of people and I was lucky enough recently to work on a collaborative project with him called Tree:Mix.

North Atlantic Oscillation - Cell Count Video

North Atlantic Oscillation - Cell Count (from Call Signs ep) from Kscope on Vimeo.

Here is the new video from the wonderful North Atlantic Oscillation taken from their recently released ep 'Callsigns.' The band are just about to head out on tour with Porcupine Tree and have their debut album up for release early next year.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Portishead release a brand new track - 'Chase the Tear' for Amnesty International.

It's now available as an exclusive download single from 7 digital with all earnings going towards Amnesty's human rights work.

First aired on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show on 9 December, the track is out just in time for international human rights day on 10 December.

And if you were wondering - 'Chase the Tear' is a reference to a paper tear-style 'tear', not a tear from an eye!

Check the track and video out here

and I sincerely recommend that you do.

Rural Alberta Advantage video - Drain The Blood

Released on the 12th of January this is Rural Alberta Advantage's first official video.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Will Stratton - No Wonder

Yet another sensitively assembled effort from the gifted Californian fledgling, coming from a galvanized musical place. spiritually and inspirational to his cult following, Will is instrumental in concocting a bold acoustic plateau of intricate guitar twiddles, heart warming lyrics and complicated string compositions as a stunning compliment to his unique tone which defies his modest 22 years.

He has really been ‘Stratton’ his stuff with his 2nd full length Studio album out on ‘Big Hassle‘ records. Melodic masterpiece ‘For no one’ and the quant elegant flowing composition ‘New Jersey’ are stand out tracks and prove that there is not only some incredible guitar playing on this album, but it’s the way that Will manages to harmonise these talents with his vast range of vocal ability.

‘The country clear’ beautifully describes his journey of a love interest painting a picture storybook for the avid listener, the line ‘I saw your eyes in the air and on the inside of my head’ gives you an idea of how Will found his inspiration for this song

‘Your California Sky’ opens with a very intricate guitar progression into a layered string fuelled chorus.

There is a distinct style of playing, reminding me of Nick Drake or even Bon Iver at times, because this is an acoustic album of chilled proportion that will lend your ear heart warming British folk stories of days gone past from his personal exploits. With a 3rd album currently being recorded, the talented lad has a promising career ahead.

By Joe Head

Future of the Left - The Garage, London. 03/12/09

As the saying goes, “great things come in pairs”. And with Future of the Left you really get double the value, where the feeling of being at a stand-up comedy gig as well as a kick-ass musical display has been a regular occurrence within the bands repertoire. After releasing ‘Travels with Myself and Another’ earlier this year, I couldn’t wait to see how their live performance has developed after their second album.

As I rushed home from work, caught the train and the tube down to Highbury & Islington for my first gig at the newly corporately named Relentless Garage I surprisingly managed to make it in time for the two support acts. The opening act Japanese Voyeurs provided us with female led scuzzy metal-core which has some potential but was difficult to get really excited about due to their poor sound and early start. However, I was tempted to buy one of their brilliant t-shirts from the merch desk before they came on stage but wearing it I felt would be false advertising.

Main tour support Tubelord have been used to playing in front of sizable crowds in their hometown of Kingston, as well as various DIY shows around the country, so I was interested to see how the hardcore pop-punk trio would fare in front of the FOTL fans. But respect where it’s due as they nailed their set with their cult following singing along to their tunes and the near capacity crowd enjoying their set.

As FOTL came to the stage at 9.30pm they launched into the opening two tracks off their latest album, ‘Arming Eritrea’ and ‘Chin Music’ respectively. Before following up with a crowd favourite from their first LP, ‘Wrigley Scott’. It took a good four or five songs before the bands' Andy ‘Falco’ Falkous and Kelson Mathias began their trademark banter with the crowd. Laying into Kings of Leon whose entire album ‘Only By the Night’ was played in between sets much to the bemusement of myself included, led to hysterical agreement from the crowd. Affectionate mockery of drummer Jack Egglestone was also a common feature during the set, where Kelson even for a short while displayed a t-shirt saying “I Hate Jack Egglestone”, which a friend of the band had kindly made for him. Throughout their 1 hour and 15 minute set they consistently played an incredible tight and loud gig coupled with incredible banter. They closed the show with the 10 minute ferociousness of non-album track ‘Cloak the Dagger’ which epically concluded with Kelson stage diving into the crowd and Jack’s drum kit being dismantled in a barrage of noise.

Having seen FOTL on more than one occasion it is possible to say they are of the funniest live bands on the planet whilst still showcasing the hi-tempo heavy rawness and witty lyrical genius that Kelson and Falco presented in Jarcrew and Mclusky respectively. Comedy geniuses? I think so!

By Freddy Rothman

Sunday, 6 December 2009

PiL - Death Disco (on TOTPs)

Bit of nostalga footage for ya here. The always controversial Public Image Ltd with a legendary performance of 'Metal Box' Death Disco on Top of the Pops in 1979.

Catch the newly reformed Pil on their tour later this month, starting with the o2 academy in Birmingham on the 15th and concluding with London's Brixton academy on the 21st followed by 2 tiny shows at Camdens Electric Ballroom.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

A Place To Bury Strangers - The Garage - 15/11/09

With a reputation for being the loudest band in New York I think it's fair to say the first thing I thought of was to bring my ear plugs considering the extent of extremely loud bands that already reside in the amazing city although the band assured me that this 'nickname' came about from a particular article and wasn't a shameless act of self promotion I was still dubious and after a couple of songs realized that it was probably the best decision I made all day.

In the short time that they have been around, A Place To Bury Strangers have already gained a huge following and a great reputation for putting on mind blowing shows, the hoards of fans who crammed into the sold out venue ranged from rowdy teenagers (you know the type, the ones that like to throw their McDonalds around the tube, still read Kerrang but somehow think they have an ungodly opinion second to none about music) to chubby old fellas and the only thing I could comprehend that any of these people had in common was the fact that they were all dressed in black, preferably at least one item of clothing to be leather so much so that at one point I could honestly say it was the first time I have ever stood out by wearing a chequered shirt and trainers.

After a fairly average support slot courtesy of Sad Day For Puppets it was time for the main event, striding onto stage in a haze of guitar whir and heavy drums the first two songs were only the warm up for what was about to come, with crowd members jokingly shouting 'turn it up' the band gladly obliged and in turn deafened the crowd with an intense hour and a half of pure brilliance. The songs which were mostly displayed from the phenomenal aptly named 'Exploding Head' sounded so much better live than they ever could on cd, the relentless driving force of the sound really does transport you somewhere totally different and it was hard to take my eyes off of the wonderful frontman Oliver Ackermann throwing himself around stage over and over again, slamming his guitar on the floor and into his amps before falling to his knees and messing about with the pedals whilst a large number of the fans to the front of the crowd were going mental.

This was one of those shows that completely takes it out of you, with the crowd stumbling out of the venue silenced by the intense performance I was left thinking that this was one of the best gigs I have been to this year.

A Place To Bury Strangers are back over here this week playing All Tomorrow's Parties and if you are going I highly recommend you check them out.


PÁL is an ordinary observer, whose interests cover painting, hand drawn vectors, street graphics, wall decoration, illustrations, sketching, psychology and aggressive inline skating.
The Latvian illustrator has a real eye for colour and detail, check out more of his work here

The Bays, Fri 27th, Concorde2 Brighton

The Bays have a formidable reputation as a live band that excel on the stage. Reputably improvised and spontaneous, the four-piece attempt to do something relatively rare in modern music, apart from a few incoherent avant-garde jazz ensembles. Despite being incredibly talented musicians (The Bays a real high-end session muso's) on stage as a unit they were (on this night) sadly disappointing and lacking the excitement and impetus their reputation screams about. A band that improvises 100% on stage is a rare and special Animal and The Bays can be forgiven for having some beats pre-programmed into the Keyboards as the Bassist appeared to be playing very familiar Riffs to himself and the rest of the band who barely even glanced at each other during their improvised set. The first hour drifted by uneventfully sounding like a sub-par Black Dog combined with Autechre's dullest moments. Slowly the band shifted up a gear, the beats became less sporadic and the rhythm picked up some momentum resulting in some middle-aged , disappointing Drum and Bass not even redeemable by the Concorde's brilliant sound system. Overall, very under-whelming.

By Matt Pratt

APSE - 'Climb Out'

Hailing from Newtown, in Connecticut, APSE have been performing atmospheric post-rock tunes for the best part of ten years now and having released numerous EP’s and singles, they release only their second full length album (third if you include their limited edition enhanced EP, ‘Eras’) on ATP recordings.
Despite not grabbing the listeners attention on it’s first listen, the more plays it gets, the more ‘Climb Up’ grows on you. The first single, titled ‘3.1’ is an instant highlight, which is proceeded by the anthemic ‘Rook’. Another personal favourite is the slightly more eccentric instrumental ‘Tropica’. For me ‘Tropica’ is a track that adds more of an electronic direction from the other soundscapes on ‘Climb Up’. However, for me the strongest track on the LP is ‘Closure’, which is fittingly the final cut on the record. An uplifting end to a somewhat gloomy sounding album that displays a cleaner and straight up Alt-Rock production, but with APSE’s usual layered vocals making sure they stay true to their sound.
Whilst not disputing the promise that ‘Climb Up’ gives, I do feel that inconsistency lets it down. Whilst being a bit two dimensional at times the three or four stand-out tracks make the LP more enjoyable. The vast majority of the tracks on ‘Climb Up’ have the basics of being brilliant but they lack a cutting edge that make this album stand out.

By Freddy Rothman.