No idea how good they are or will be but this track and video both caught my ears / eyes a lot more than most.
… say the BBC in a total non-story.
The fucking Six fucking Music fucking Velvet Underground and Nico / 1st Stooges LP / Radiohead fucking consensus / what’s cool orthodoxy is repellent enough, but this shite? The fucking Sgt Pepper-is-better-than-all-other-pieces-of-music-ever-released-combined consensus that makes me want to vomit. Then you see the line-up for the festival and it makes me want to destroy all art ever. And artists. Every last one of them.
Great pop band, in the early 60s, made some more interesting stuff and then went shit 50-odd years ago. Sgt Pepper is a steaming pile. Not only that it is fucking 50 years old… there’s only so many times I need to be lied to about how wonderful it is. It isn’t, its twee cod-psychedelic crap.
Fuck the Beatles, fuck Liverpool, fuck the BBC, and especially fuck Sgt Pepper, Abbey Road, Yellow pricking Submarine and whatever other unlistenable bollocks the biggest arsehole in history (sorry, the biggest pre-Bono arsehole in history) and his three mates shat out late in their careers.
I do like the White Album though.
Some examples of the used bog roll on offer at this shitfest-ival –
“Getting Better – DJ Spooky will create a performance and audio-visual installation asking whether the world is getting better”
“Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – Mark Morris Dance Group will stage the premiere of Pepperland, with a score inspired by Beatles tracks and performed by a chamber music ensemble”
“When I’m Sixty-Four – Sixty-four choirs of all ages from the city will come together to perform a mass sing-along of the track on BBC Radio Merseyside”
“Good Morning Good Morning – Theatres, clubs, galleries and music venues will open their doors at the crack of dawn for one day on 9 June”
“Reprise – An unnamed “leading artist” will perform incognito in a surprise venue, also on 9 June” [Name and shame the fuck-knuckle]
Seriously, can you think of anything worse? Anything at all? I’m struggling, and I’ve noticed we’re living in a cruel, backward, rascist, post-brexit world.
Fauntleroy, Throatpunch City, Aching Muscle, Slow Ruin at the Star Inn, Guildford – Buffalo Club Night – Sunday 19th March 2017March 20, 2017
Slow Ruin are not your typical Buffalo Club band. Well they are in one respect – they know what they’re doing. Buffalo Club nights, to me, are about high quality, and alt, noise and maybe a dash of metal over the last 25 years, and all sorts, but generally pretty noisy. Not normally particularly modern sounding, but aside from some hard rock riffs generally more late 80s onwards than anything before in terms of overt influences. Some of it is pretty mathy and modern, but Buffalo Club nights don’t generally chase fashion. Which is something else they have in common with Slow Ruin.
Slow Ruin have a late 60s early 70s jazz-infused folk thing going on (under the surface… reminded me of the Pentangle, but maybe that’s because they’re about the only late 60s early 70s jazz-infused folk thing I ever listen to), that they take in a bluesy, heavier, psychedelic direction. When they started my immediate reaction was “this is all too blues / classic rock for me”, but I quickly came round to that being part of their sound, and in no way simply their sound. It got noisier, almost a bit early 80s, neo-psychedelia.
3 piece. Really liked the drums, really liked the guitars. The singer has a great voice. Kinda good start. At one point I was wondering whether she was gonna go all talent-show waily-shit, but no, my fears were allayed and she carried comfortably on the right side of the “giving it some” / “caterwauling painfully” divide. My fears were not down to anything she did, they were down to how high a proportion of people who have a confident and powerful voice seem to take it ten steps too far and start breaking glasses and stuff. Not on Slow Ruin’s watch. Really good voice, really enjoyed it.
Actually, you know what. If I could chuck one criticism at the Buffalo Club booking policy is it could go in a bit more of a psychedelic direction. Minor criticism.
I’ll come back to Aching Muscle.
Throatpunch City have their moments. There’s a lot to like. Kinda remind me of Mars Volta but I’m sure there are closer comparisons that I’ve not heard. They are loud. They have a scruff-pot guitarist who was happy as anyone I’ve ever seen on a stage. Pretty good but what they seem to be trying to do – playing fucking loud and precise – is damn hard. Two things, perhaps I am judging them harshly when lining them up against my experiences of listening to the likes of the Mars Volta on record. Secondly, I reckon the two hardest things to do in music are these – play simple (I dunno, acoustic guitar, one voice, simple song) and make it magical; play hard and precise, trying to get perfection alongside power. They’re trying one of those things. The latter. I hope is obvs.
Fauntleroy. Richard Fennings on guitar. Some geez on drums who deserves love attention and even respect for his efforts with the sticks, but if he’s stupid enough to get on stage with Richard he should know well enough he’s gonna get a bit overlooked.
I really struggle talking about most bands (why am I even writing this?) but more so those bands who come from any sort of proggy or mathy direction. I don’t know Fauntleroy’s reference points one bit, but I do know they are playful, incredibly precise, beautiful, varied and that I like them a lot. They even get damn noisy at times and come close to replicating and simultaneously bettering / battering the Throatpunch City sound with 60% fewer people on stage. [I’m probably being harsh, and I’m grossly oversimplifying, but I have a feeling that for Throatpunch City to be the band they’d like to be they need to sack most of themselves and start breeding Fennings].
Downsides – I’m open to plenty of different things music wise, but their style is certainly not one of my favourites. Its the sort of music I’ll happily listen to, not the sort of music I seek out. They are almost too knowing to be a “proper band” [and I do mean almost, they are a proper band, with their own sound]; they risk being seen as not serious… which is fair, cos they’re not that serious, but unfair because it is possible to be very serious and the total opposite simultaneously.
I’m pretty sure I checked them out online 12 or 18 month’s back before I realised that I could trust the Buffalo Club to put on a decent show… and I’m pretty sure a very quick listen made me think “not my thing”. Which they’re not, but a thing can not be your thing, whilst still be a thing that you can shake your thang too, from time to time. I will be checking them out more on record, and I will be seeing them live again.
If you like musicianship, variety or simply beautiful intricate and surpising math then THEY ARE FOR YOU.
Which brings me onto Aching Muscle. Richard Fennings, solo. Basically Fauntleroy but more so. More varied, less serious. Backing samples / loops, guitar, insanely impressive, but more Britain’s Got Talent than Brits. Absolutely legitimate to have a solo thing going on, why not? Entertaining enough, but more of a novelty than a band (not that one person ever really has much hope of being described as a band).
When something is as unserious as this the question has to be asked, why not go the whole hog and get in a comedian / comedy singer (rapper? poet?) in to front it?
Reminded me of Mike and James’ “Expert Knob Twiddlers” album from the mid-90s. I was thinking “in spirit, not sound”, though maybe quite a lot of the backing loops shared something soundwise as well.
Slug 13, Blackdroid, King Ghidora, Princess at the Star Inn, Guildford – Leafy Incline – Sunday 5th March 2017March 19, 2017
Not a full review, far too late for that, and I did start drinking about 6 hours before the gig started, so arguably my views might be somewhat impaired. But a few words anyway.
Slug 13 – getting tighter, good set, good signs. If you like it noisy / grungy / riffy then fill yer boots. Princess – fine set again, their abrasive gothic-tinged noise does it for me.
King Ghidora I’d not seen before… grungy, metally beasts, will definitely be seeing them again sometime.
Blackdroid came down from Southend. FINE FINE BAND. Heavy. Riffs galore. Well impressed.
So, I’m here for two reasons. Space Church and Idles. Space Church I like, Idles sound really good online… angry, political… top notch post-punk noise. I was going anyway so no need to check out Scarlet Rascal. I have no expectations of them.
Space Church came on before the venue really filled up. It’s a bold headliner who is willing to spend so much time at the start of a set playing in almost silence… its a very bold support act. I like bold. It’s a bold alt-rock frontman who does snow and rain hand gestures to help the audience follow his lyrics. I like bold. What I like isn’t always wise.
To what extent should a band be praised for their courage, their single-mindedness… to what extent should they be given a short sharp slap and told to go away and think about how much the audience reaction from people seeing them for the first time could be changed for the better by ditching some of the weirdness and chucking one or two slightly more catchy numbers in the set? Whilst not a particularly close comparison I note that whilst their albums went off in different, quiet and experimental directions, live Spacemen 3 focussed on the noisy tracks that went down well live.
Is it sound system or my mood? Some of it might even be down to the band playing different on different nights. When I first saw Space Church they just threw me totally in a really noisy, really all over the place, really don’t give a fuck way I love. Later I was less impressed (less, not un)… which I mainly put down to a set-list that changed little, maybe the band getting a touch tighter, and the overall effect being considerably less of a headfuck compared to seeing them the first time as a result.
Space Church are my perfect type of band to see at the Boileroom. A band I know and love and who I have already seen blast away loud as. A band in a new environment where I get to see what they can do with a better (no, not better, more controlled) sound system and more controlled sound.
“Space Church Play Post / Noise / Stoner / Math Rock” says their bandcamp. Steve Albini and Slint are huge influences. Yet some guy I spoke to after their set dismissed them to me a Pink Floyd rip-off with none of the talent when I asked him what he thought. I can kinda see where’s he was coming from in some respects, but its basically crap. Imagine giving a band used to a grand and a weekend to make an album around £20k £40k plus and a month or two. The Boileroom is probably a bit like the live equivalent. Space Church’s subtlety and variety and sheer competence comes to the fore, but they lose massively in energy, raw power and that scratchy, trebly, raw abrasive guitar sound that would – IMHO – ensure that Pink Floyd just wouldn’t be considered as a comparison by anybody.
The other thing about Space Church is this. To what extent are they deadly serious? To what extent are they are complete piss-take? To what extent do they know themselves, and to what extent do they care what the audience’s thoughts on the matter are. I think they’re meant to be taken seriously in many respects (but I could be wrong), but I also think I take them far more seriously than I should. I suspect many younger audience members took them more seriously than I do, and would maybe hear them in a totally different way if they (the audience or the band) approached it less seriously.
The surprise of the night next… Scarlet Rascal. I took an immediate dislike to the shit drumming, and the arrogant prick on vocals. Wasn’t overly keen on the wanky jazzmaster action or Ride circa 1991 haircut said offender was sporting either.
Then I got into it. This is probably the most bullshitty comparison I have ever made, but here’s my take on them. Imagine PiL decided to go in a shoegaze / krautrock direction, and get the lovechild of Mark E Smith and David Byrne to front them? It might be a bit like Scarlet Rascal. One or two songs in and I’m digging the drumming and feeling pretty bad about my misjudgement… maybe my reaction was simply down to how much I like the drumming I’d just seen in Space Church, and Scarlett Rascal’s stickster just does her thing in a totally different way.
Great groove, I’m no massive shoegaze fan, but I do like it, then you add a proper, top class frontman and you have a band that I could get well into I think. Gonna go check ’em out now, see where they’re coming from, what they’re like on record. Go do the same.
I just didn’t get on with Idles… the venue was filling up and I moved further back. The sound was quiet and I thought they sounded bang fucking average. Nothing like on record. I moved forward a bit for the last couple of songs and they were better… but still not convinced. Nothing wrong with not sounding like you do on record. Its normal. Many bands sound tight, taut and controlled on record, brilliant for it, then fall apart in the most beautiful noisy way in a live environment.
I was in a minority of one, most of the crowd were well into it, but, honestly, worst set of the night by a mile. It wouldn’t surprise me if in a different venue at a different time with a louder sound system and I’d give ’em a ten. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood.
I was listening to Idles whilst writing this… superb band.
It’s all GO! down at PFG Towers.
Possibility of Not LP released 13th March 2017
Brighton – Green Door – 13th March 2017
Tooting, London – Tram and Social – 15th March 2017
Aldershot – West End Centre – 18th March 2017
I’ve not seen PFG live yet, and not listened to huge amounts either, but I have given the album a quick listen. I LOVE –
Bands that show ambition. Bands that feature people who are not white men. Bands that are making ART, not simply being a band. Dub vibes. Noise.
Check ’em out live, check the album ASAP. Pay cash.
Updated list of upcoming gigs by bands in and around Guildford that have caught my eye…
Thursday 30th March 2017
Morass Of Molasses, Space Church, Grits, Silent Mode at the Star Inn, Guildford [Buffalo Club Night]
Sunday 9th April 2017
UNMAN, Typical Hunks, Lost You To The Cities, Gift of Blindness and Sleepwalker at the Star Inn, Guildford [Trial n Buffalo Night]
Saturday 15th April 2017
Moper (ex-SBB) at the West End Centre in Aldershot
Friday 21st April 2017
Camcorder, Moper (ex-SBB), Tailblock, Grenades at the Fighting Cocks in Kingston
Sunday 23rd April 2017
Gutlocker at the Star Inn, Guildford
Friday 28th April 2017
Wonk Unit, The Wonder Beers, Second In Line at the Star Inn, Guildford
Friday 28th April 2017
Masiro at the Lounge Bar in Alton [Trial n Error Night]
Sunday 30th April 2017
Muncie Girls at the Boileroom in Guildford
Monday 1st May 2017
Meat Wave at the Boileroom in Guildford
Tuesday 9th May 2017
Shame at the Boileroom in Guildford
Thursday 11th May 2017
Hands Off Gretel at the Boileroom in Guildford
Sunday 15th May 2017
Buzz Rodeo, Moper (ex-SBB), This is Wreckage, Space Church at the Star Inn, Guildford [Buffalo Club Night]
Friday 30th June 2017
ALLUSONDRUGS / Icarus Dive / Silent Mode at the Boileroom in Guildford
Sunday 30th July 2017
Moper (ex-SBB) at the Facebar in Reading
Edited – past events moved down here –
Sunday 5th March 2017
Slug 13, Blackdroid, King Ghidora, Princess at the Star Inn, Guildford [Leafy Incline Night]
Monday 6th March 2017
Lee Scratch Perry at the Boileroom, Guildford [SOLD OUT]
Friday 10th March 2017
Green Embers, From Fire, Grits, Spider Head at The Lounge Bar, Alton
Wednesday 15th March 2017
Idles, Scarlet Rascal, Space Church at the Boileroom, Guildford
Friday 17th March 2017
Petrol Girls at the Boileroom, Guildford
Saturday 18th March 2017
Mirrored Lips, Fret!, Typical Hunks at the South Street Arts Centre, Reading
Saturday 18th March 2017
Parachute For Gordo : Possibility of Not album launch show with Vinyl Staircase and Joe Booley at the West End Centre in Aldershot
Sunday 19th March 2017
Fauntleroy, Slow Ruin, Throat Punch City, Aching Muscle at the Star Inn, Guildford [Buffalo Club Night]
… for this…
Should be a good ‘un, and anyone who gives a shit about alternative music, noisy guitars, noise rock, blah blah f’ing blah, should support it if they can.
Princess and Slug13 rock. Not gonna bother checking out King Ghidora or Blackdroid in advance… if the Leafy Incline guys are putting them on then they’ll be worth checking out.
First on, Moper. The first time I saw them, under their old moniker, I wasn’t overly impressed. “Overall interesting, not bad, lots of potential… but not my thing right now. I’d be more than happy to turn up at a gig and find out they were on the bill, but I wouldn’t go far out of my way specifically to see them” was what I said. Since then I have made an effort to listen to them online, grown to like them and bought their records. I judge the bands I see by pretty high standards, but I do try to like local bands, try to give them a chance, give myself every opportunity to grow to like a band so I can go and enjoy gigs locally. Fucking glad I did with this mob, and it was hardly a chore.
They describe themselves as “abrasive and noisy post-hardcore”*. Yet again my [lack of] knowledge of the multitude of genres and sub-genres over the last 25-30 years lets me down… but I think I can say for sure that Steve Albini and Shellac are influences. Drums vary between rocking fairly hard, and, perhaps more often, odd time signatures. Add some really nice bass and a Johnny’s guitar / vox and that’s them.
Johnny has a really nice voice that suits the music. The guitars can be noisy, abrasive, scratchy and nasty, but more often than not stripped-back and beautiful is as appropriate a description. Very few bands I have ever seen have taken the volume right down and have had the audience in near-as-damnit-silence… in fact I can only think of one off the top of my head… and the band that managed it (more than once in various times I saw them) were a semi-acousitic / cello / percussion three piece who played their entire set pretty quietly, and had fewer people in the room than Moper did. And the band leader can boast a major-label solo deal and at least one ToTP appearance as a member of a band on his CV.
It’s hard for me to really judge how good they are – I just don’t know the competition well enough. But I really like the balance they get between abrasion and beauty… and I have a feeling it’s their balance relatively in favour of beauty, in contrast to most bands doing a similar thing who favour noise, that makes me like them.
Go buy the wonderfully titled new album, “An Altar of Nothing, Erected for No-one”. I did, and I have NO REGRETS.
I think Moper think they’re depressing, but for me there was only one band on the bill that made me sad. They came on second. I am opinionated and capable of making very quick decisions about whether a band is brilliant or not.
I liked the bassist’s MC4 T-shirt.
I like stuff that is relatively new, relatively different. I have no issue with bands using sequencers, electronics, whatever, live… but dance music is VERY hard to do live. And more than that, what’s the point? The best dance music I have ever heard is drum and bass, techno, electro and tech-house. The strengths it has are watered down by even the merest hint of live instrumentation. It is meant to be pure and precise.
IDKFA are sort of a 90s rave band I think, probably with some more modern pop-dance / EDM influences too. It is not my type of music on any level whatsoever. If I wanted to listen to dance music I’d be in a dark basement club with a DJ, or I’d be at home sticking on Underground Resistance 12″s. Sorry.
[There is a risk that as this review continues a certain inconsistency of thought will become apparent].
Finally Nova Twins. Slightly odd that only 4 nights earlier, in the same venue, I saw a similar-ish 3-piece set-up. Drums, vocals, and a bassist doing most of the music… the only fundamental difference in set-up was Revelry’s singer just sings, Nova Twin’s singer (actually, vocalist is much more accurate) plays a bit of guitar as well (though not on every song).
To a large extent my criticism of IDKFA is their melange… I’d rather my dance stripped down, simpler, more pure of sound and ditch the live bass and drums cos they can only take away from the precision, they cannot possibly add anything. Nova Twins are a wonderful melange.
I kinda thought they sounded like Red Hot Chilli Peppers was a starting point, and that they’ve basically taken the intersection of rock, pop and maybe metal, and then infused it with a bit of hip-hop, drum and bass, grime (which is basically drum and bass plus hip-hop, plus a bit else isn’t it?) whatever else. “We don’t call ourselves rock or grime” they said to the NME. No they’re both.
Amy’s vocals are great, and I think I’d argue her overall stage prescence is even better. Georgia’s bass is doing so much and my mind would have been considerably more blown had I not seen someone else pull off something similar so recently, albeit to a much lower standard. Could maybe give her a bit of criticism for being a bit light on the sub-bass, but when that kicked in, wow, props to the sound system at the Star as well to be fair.
I do not like rock-dance crossover acts. Nova Twins are and they aren’t. There’s no mess, no crossover because it’s all so seemless. I could see them pretty damn high up the bill at a big festival.
* [Typo inspired ‘joke’]. In what style did William Shakespeare’s successors write pretty intense and slightly alternative plays? Post-bardcore. Sorry.
Annabel Allum is someone I’ve been aware of for a while… much more interesting than the typical acousticy-folky-singery-songwritery shit you hear, but then again how excited can I really get by someone who is basically acousticy-folky-singery-songwritery?
Anyway, this new song is alright as it goes, nice… grungey and angry…