ALLUSONDRUGS / Icarus Dive / Silent Mode – The Star Inn, Guildford, 30th June 2017

July 22, 2017

Silent Mode somewhat confused me when I first saw them, my fault not theirs. Second time around I just got on with enjoying their take on the desert / stoner thing. They look like a proper band. They are – to me – pretty poppy, or maybe I’m just saying that they can write a riff and a song. And they really can. I perhaps veers towards bands that are more wilfully heavy or challenging… but I’m tempted to state my take on Silent Mode in the following sentence. Of all the local bands who are, in my opinion, worth making an effort to go see, this mob (can two people be a mob?) are the most likely. Really enjoyed them… actually one more thing… there’s something really lazy and flowing and easy about the way they play.

Icarus Dive. I missed At The Drive-In first time around. Later I got into them. More recently I listened to them and wondered if I actually like them at all. I have four things to say about Icarus Dive –

(1) They remind me of At The Drive In and there’s a lot about the music to like.

(2) I don’t advise bands to have backdrop stands on stage that look like the sort of thing that you’d get in a conference centre. I would advise Coldplay against such a thing were they to be playing a conference for a group of suited business-people. I would advise Icarus Dive – playing noisy shit in a pub – against such a thing even more.

(3) They had double the crowd of the headliners and quadruple that of Silent Mode. They’ve got a decent following by the looks of it.  Impressive. They must be doing something very right.

(4) Whatever the fuck it is I don’t get it.  Sorry.

ALLUSONDRUGS are a highly rated band from Leeds who I was lead to believe were a bit psych and a bit grunge. Early on in the set I was taken back to 90/91, but thinking “ain’t this more shoegaze or Madchester than it is grunge?” I think pigeonholing this lot is a mugs game – they’re indie-rock in the widest sense; they seem to have a lot of early 90s influences, they rock, they entertain, they have a really good frontman. Not sure there was enough of a USP to blow me away, but they’re well worth seeing if you like the grungier end of indie. Fine fine band.

And something about the promoter.  Chris Jasta 11 deserves massive praise for being a guy who gets bands from all over, bands getting a bit of well-deserved attention, and damn fine local bands.

Who Saw The Light – Electric Theatre, Guildford, ACM Showcase, 21st July 2017

July 21, 2017

I like all sorts of music, but I really like heavy music, I really like psychedelic music, and I really really like heavy psychedelic music.  Who Saw The Light could actually be made for me.

They start their set with a properly fucked up version of Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues.  If you don’t know the original put down this blog and go listen to everything McLusky and Future Of The Left have ever done, then come back.

Right, you ready to continue?  Why anyone would consider covering a song so fucking perfect I just do not know.  They get away with it and MORE.  Excellent start.

They scream / growl, there’s metal, there’s hardcore, they get laid back and croon, they play extended pieces which go mathy and trippy and prog as well as psychedelic.  They do it with showmanship, humility, a sense of humour and, most importantly, remembering that it’s all rock n roll.

Fuck YEAH, superb, superb band.

They rock, they fuck with my mind and they put a smile on my face.  Really couldn’t ask for much more.

And Stef almost gave a speech.

All that in 20 minutes.

Who Saw The Light Play the Boileroom in Guildford Sunday 23rd July 2017 and release an ep on the day.

Freakouts – The Star Inn, Guildford, June 13th 2017

June 14, 2017

Got me thinking.  How on earth would you advise a band like this if you were their manager?  What direction would you try to take the band in if you were one of the members?

I thought they were technically better than they need to be given the style of music they play… I’d be tempted to tell the guitarist to [try to play] a bit more techical stuff, AND tell the whole band to speed up 5 or 10%… whatever it takes to get the band playing closer to or even just past the edge of falling apart.  I’d kinda say that they almost came across too tight, but then maybe I like chaos and talentless musicians much more than most people.

The other thing is stage-craft.  Bands often try to present themselves as ‘real’, as ‘authentic’.  Chaos on stage is great.  But whilst it’s true that you can make a performance more the natural you, or you can create a persona and play a role, the truth is that getting on stage and playing songs is a highly artificial thing to do.  Some of the attempts at getting the audience going and creating a sense of danger felt a bit forced… but then again that’s a natural consequence of it being a performance – not real life – combined with an inevitablity that no band has venues bursting at the seems and uncontrollably ecstatic fans going nuts when they first start out.

Anyway, Freakouts are a grunge / punk / post-punk band from ACM.  There’s a kinda vibe somewhere between old school punk, and – say – the Libertines, I think, but there’s also a big grunge influence going on, and a post-punk angular thing in the mix that helps keep things interesting.

They look like a proper band.

They covered the only decent song Blur ever did.

There wasn’t really much I didn’t like, every last one of them seems to know what they’re doing, no obvious weak links.  Early days, but definitely a band worth keeping an eye on.

freakouts on facebook

There’s also a track on youtube –

Might just mention the other bands.  I didn’t like The Sunrise Set at all.  Kinda country-influenced rock that sounds like it could have been made at any point in the last 45 years.  Really not my thing, I just don’t see the point at all.  I also thought the singer’s brief political ‘banter’ made him look like an arsehole.  He said something about all politicians being the same or somesuch (none worth voting for or something) – sorry, but switch your brain on before suggesting Corbyn and May are vaguely similar let alone the same.

Revelry… fairly mainstream hard rock with a very mainstream female hard rock vocalist.  I like the band, sometimes they hit real heights.  I like the singer, not my kinda style but she has a damn good voice.  Just not particularly my thing, and I kinda have a nagging doubt that the singer doesn’t really suit the band, and vice versa, but then again I’m note sure I know why.  Decent band, bit too mainstream for my tastes.

The Stooges – Raw Power – YES

June 13, 2017

I don’t listen to the Stooges that often any more. I have never spent much time with Iggy’s solo work. I’m currently reading a book on the Stooges (a pretty damn average book, but the subject matter carries it).

I have this theory. One sign of a truly great band is – if you were to get a big group of their fans together in a room – there’d be a massive debate over which of their first three or four albums were the best. Each one has significant merit, they may be different, fans might like them all, but some people will swear the first, others the second, etc.

Manic Street Preachers, Pet Shop Boys, Stooges, Stranglers, Velvet Underground spring to mind. (I accept Stranglers is a controversial one, and maybe the numbers of people like me who are massive Gold Against The Soul fans is pretty limited. And VU fans perhaps do gravitate towatds the first one much more than they – in my factually correct opinion – should.)

Contrast this with a band like Oasis where every single person on the planet agrees that Definitely Maybe was great, but beyond that they really aren’t worth 4 seconds of anyone’s time.

Or a band like Radiohead – clearly the first album was crap, and everyone knows that a band’s first album is up there amongst the best stuff they will ever do, thus proving conclusively that I am right not to have a clue what Radiohead have released over the last 24 or whatever years because by definition it must be shit.

Anyway, Stooges. Back in the day, before I bought Raw Power, I was a Fun House kinda guy. I really don’t much like brass on records (hence why I pretty much take the view that jazz is shit) / (Snuff being an obvious exception) but the album has a groove that I really like.

The Stooges was a great debut, maybe more influential than Fun House, but perhaps that’s because The Stooges is a basic template for how things could be for years to come, whereas Fun House was a more fully realised work of genius. But if you reckon The Stooges was better, fair play, can’t argue.

Then you get to Raw Power.

I believe in the (Raw) Power of rock n roll. But when it comes down to it how much decent rock n roll has ever been made?

WTF even is RnR? Take the wiki definition, continue through Satisfaction and Helter Skelter, Raw Power, Sex Pistols, Clash, Guns n Roses… get much beyond that and it has to fall into a myriad of sub-genres which might carry the spirit, but it ain’t RnR.

Clearly all RnR pre-Statisfaction was shit. Satisfaction ain’t all that. Raw Power was fucking genius, Sex Pistols were brilliant, but not for the music, Clash were what the Sex Pistols could have been if the Pistols had been as far up their own arses as their manager was up his, then you get to Guns n Roses who were alright for about 5 minutes, not that I noticed at the time.

In other words Raw Power is, basically, the only rock n roll record worth listening to. Period. Absolute genius, start to finish. I agree with Heylin – they’d become a tradtional band by then. That’s a tad harsh, they were still influential in the history of punk, they were still interesting, but they were not ground-breaking any longer = they were just doing it better than anyone was doing it before or since. My head says Fun House, The Stooges, Raw Power, in that order (or in date order). My head likes things to be groundbreaking and interesting. But I just can’t do it. I fucking love RnR and there’s only one RnR record worth sticking on, that’s it, Raw Power,and however fucking great the other two were, and however much more interesting they were, they were not Raw Power.

[This post might overlook some Rolling Stones stuff from the 70s, but if it does, fuck it. Those stupid lips and that stupid “Taxman” song, fuck ’em.]

Will Blog For Cash

June 12, 2017

I am absolutely serious – £50 an article, minimum of 500 words provided – I will write about any song, album, band you wish me to. I’ll even consider reviewing gigs if you pay me extra for travel-time plus my costs, of course.

Oh yeah, if I haven’t got the record and it isn’t freely available on a useable free website (ie not spotify or soundcloud) then you’ll have to send me a physical copy or download link as well.

This offer is primarily aimed at major labels.

I will make it clear at the top and bottom of articles that it is paid content.

Get in touch.

 

Tuskar – Arianrhod ep

June 10, 2017

Cos I couldn’t go see ’em tonight… fuck holidays…

I have listened to it 15 times now, roughly.  Guesstimate based on 12 plays on my iTunes, and the fact I’ve been listening to it the iPod as well.  Probably an under-guesstimate.  That said I have partly been listening it so much cos I’ve been trying to work out how to review it and it’s bloody hard.  I like banging on and expressing my opinions, but I just don’t know sludge well enough to have a strong opinon where it falls in the genre.

Gonna start on the mix… Are the drums a touch quiet, and the vocals a touch-and-a-bit too quiet or is it me? Not a big issue, more an observation.  Does being bassless add anything?  Does it take anything away?  Not sure, but gut feel – consider a bassist, though maybe they like the way it works live as a two piece and they’re not gonna be a bassless band on stage and use bass on the records.

The only other criticisms I’m gonna make of this sludge ep are these.  The worst bits aren’t as good as the best bits, and I’d rather listen to The Melvins.  None of these things are really criticism.

Fateweaver, drums, feedback… quite epic… changes massively and speeds up circa 3.40 in, ends with more feedback, straight into Where Strides The Colossus. Better riff.  Toegrinder reminds me a touch of Mastodon, but then again WTF do I know about metal?  Not.  A. Lot.  Bit of light relief part way through.  Moon Hooch, starts heavy and slow and feedback again. Best riff yet, Melvins-like?  This track is actually fucking great. Crimson Skull, slow start, chuggiest track.

I really like it, I just don’t know the competition well enough to know whether they’re a fine band who you should check out if your a fan of the genre, or if you like heavy music and they’re playing near you… or are they damn good, worthy of massive hyperbole? Suppose I better check out a shit load more sludge, and keep an eye on what they’re doing, and maybe sometime I’ll work it out.

Tuskar on Facebook

John Mayer – A Retrospective Pt 2

June 10, 2017

I actually went back to the article to read the rest and see if there was anything else I could slate, but you know what, it was too boring.   Got three more lines in and stopped.

John Mayer – A Retrospective

June 9, 2017

I read these few words that someone wrote on the net in 2013.  I can’t be arsed to link the full article, and I certainly can’t be arsed to read it all.  Actually that someone is James Hamblin – I was gonna slate him but judging by the articles he writes he might not be a complete moron, simply someone who hates and knows literally nothing about music.

Actually, I am gonna slate him, in three sentences he reveals himself to have no idea about art or how to be a respectable human being.  Quite impressive, not least as I can discern this despite knowing next to fuck-all about the guy he is writing about.

“If you’ve never seen Mayer play blues guitar — and I say this because it’s true, even though I think superlatives are the worst — you’ve not seen the man who is objectively the most talented guitarist in popular music.”

Anyone who says someone is objectively the most talend guitarist in popular music is a prick.  Music is not objective.  Talent is not objective.  You are not objective.  And if it was possible to be objective about talent he sure ain’t no Greg Ginn, I can swear that with certainty despite never having heard this Mayer person.

“Anyone who’s not in some way attracted to or impressed by his talent does not understand music.”

FACT – I am in no way attracted to or impressed by his talent, and I objectively understand music, literally — and I say this because it’s true, even though I think superlatives are the worst — A BILLION, MILLION, TRILLION, SENSIMILLION TIMES MORE THAN YOU.  I bet you don’t even know who They Go Boom! were, cretin.

I understand that music is about all sorts of things but it is not about talent.  Well it is about talent, but the talent is producing something that changes the course of music history, or inspires people, or connects with people, or says something important, or makes people dance, or makes people smile, or all sorts of other things that do not rely on being in the top 1,000,000 guitarists in the world, let alone the top 1 (allegedly, fucking bullshitly more like).

Plenty of musicians have lots of technical ability – a completely different thing to talent.  This techincal ability often enables them to maximise their talent, but it is vastly less important than their talent.

“Or, or — and it really seems this does happen — they hate him too much to hear it.”

You really are a fucking arsehole of the highest order.  I hate the guy because everything I have ever heard about him – musically – suggests he is a tedious, musically backward slab of boring, middle-aged (at best) pointlessness.  It is only reading your fucking shit that lead me to google further and discover that he is likely a sexist, rascist, homophobic, up-his-own-arse, mega-twick as well as being a boring boring, boring boring, boring guitarist for people who have cloth ears / no taste / no personality AND an incomplete SOUL.  My hatred of his music has nothing to do with the fact I have subsequently realised that I have to hate him as a person as well.  Stick that in yer pipe and smoke it, Hamblin, and stick to writing about things you know about like something else other than music.

And you honestly think that it reasonable to criticise someone for turning away from a pathetic example of humanity, because they are a pathetic example of humanity, and that instead you believe they should acclaim the person’s technical gifts (which do not even translate into anything of artistic merit).  You know what I think?  I think that those people who walk away from the good things in life (as you falsely assert this Claptonite sewer-weasil is – why are all blues guitarists such arse-wipes – no need to answer that) out of principle are actually the ones that deserve the praise, not those who overlook bigotry so they can hear a well-played melody.

You are clueless Hamblin, utterly, utterly clueless.  Give up, please.

And John Mayer, you can fuck off as well, just in case anyone thought I’d forgotten the abomination that is your msuic and personality / the point of this piece.

Fucks sake.

Reality Dreaming – Aussie Band

June 9, 2017

Please do not read this post – it is not worth your time.

On their facebook page they say –

“We are Reality Dreaming, a young bunch of teens and young adults ready to let out good quality tunes. We aim for our songs to inspire creativity and give listening enjoyment to everyone, not just people who like rock.”

Not promising.  I could write 5,000 words on these two sentences, but I’ll keep it brief.  Aiming to give listening enjoyment to everyone is – best case – going to see you giving listening enjoyment to a bunch of pricks only, the sorts of people who don’t really like music.  Grow some balls and do something you believe in, not wishy-washy please everyone bullshit.  FFS.  “Rock” in 2017.  Double FFS.

Photos.  Clearly not a band interested in presenting a strong image, maybe the music’s what this band are all about…

…  I can’t, I really can’t say anything.  Make your own mind up.

https://www.facebook.com/RealityDreaming/

Very early days for the band clearly, things can only go one way from here.

 

 

Sponsorship, tie-ins and all that jazz

June 7, 2017

This post will not be overly nuanced.

I understand that it is very hard for bands to get publicity, get their music out there, let alone make money, let alone a living, let alone a half-decent living or even a good living.

I have no problem with an artist or band who decides to do what they can to keep making music – that is their choice.  But please don’t expect me to be interested.  Please don’t expect me not to tell you to fuck right off.

If you promote brands, accept sponsorship then it tells me that you are willing to compromise, willing to make adjustments to your look, attitude or sound in order to gain and keep sponsorship.  I do not accept that.

Alternatively – and even worse – it suggests that you are the sorts of boring arseholes musically and individually who brands think they can make money out of aligning themselves with.  Nothing interesting ever has helped sell product, fact, and even if it had the second it got linked to the brand the magic dust would have been blown away in the wind.  The wind of a fat corporate executives arse expelling the by-produce of his last 18-course meal of babies and nice fluffy things.

Obviously there are exceptions, not least bands who accept sponsorship deals with string manufacturers or amp-makers, or who want their own signature guitar or pedal.  That’s (normally) a bit different.

So yeah, go ahead and accept sponsorship, go ahead and tell the world about xxxxxx clothing brand on your facebook page.  I might even still hear your records or see you live and quite like you.  But ultimately you’ve lost me, I’m no longer interested, you cannot, by definition, be anything special.  If you were the corporate world would hate and fear you.

We can’t all be Fugazi, but we can aspire or we are nothing.