Kamikaze Girls – Berlin and Deal

April 5, 2017

Kamikaze Girls have signed to Big Scary Monsters and announced their debut LP – Seafoam – is out on 9th June.

Check out the taster here –

Kamikaze Girls Facebook Page

Swords of Thought – Breathe In Light ep review

April 5, 2017

They’ve done it again… So Low… gentle beat, quiet vocals, bass… and a unique grungey sound that I really can’t work out what they did to cause… it simultaneously does nothing whilst building the noise; it is mellow and melodic, whilst the guitar crackles in ways I struggle to remember hearing before.  Everthing and nothing.  Even on a track like this which is kinda just noise their sense of melody shines through.

Track 2, Dirty C.  Very Sonic Youth.  I just love the way they’re just the most beautiful lazy pop, drenched in noise.  I love the vocals, love it all.

Demon D, pace rises, drums get thumped, stop start.  More fuzzy laziness combined with noise and speed this time.

The title track – Breathe In Light – is both longest and lastest.  More of the same.

In many ways Swords of Thought nail all the best things.  I love the trend nowadays towards complex and changing time signatures that many bands use… but something more simply danceable’s probably better most of the time.  I love pop music, but love a bit of noise – check and check.  The lead song from the ep is not just ‘not the most poppy’… its positively ‘barely a song’.  Balls.

I just find this kinda thing really easy to listen to… just so chilled out whilst having energy and melody and oodles of noise.  SoT make me happy.

In terms of criticism… wear influences on their sleeves a bit too much perhaps; the sound’s a bit late 80s / 90s / early 00s perhaps… maybe a bit dated (this is a big part of the reason I love them); not sure they’ve ever written a song as good as Kool Thing or Monkey Gone To Heaven.  Who has?  Minor criticisms in the grand scheme.

Swords of Thought Bandcamp

10 Music-Related Things I Fucking Hate

April 5, 2017

Foals, and every band who has allowed their music to be poisoned by their malignant, cultural-appropriation bullshit.

Auto-tuned vocals.

Music writers who give marks out of ten or stars or some-such other shit.

Music writers who lick arse all the time.

Foals.

Radiohead, apart from their good songs.  I’m pretty sure they have some good songs but I don’t really know because I have spent over 20 years doing my best to avoid everything that they have done since the mighty “Creep”.  Its never a good sign when a band hits their peak trying to rip off Nirvana.  See also: Blur.

Blur, I fucking hate Blur.

Music writers who claim to be independent whilst favourably reviewing bands they work for.

Music writers who think objectivity, professionalism and fairness are things that they should pay attention to.

Music writers who use the word authentic without having considered what it means.

Music writers who do lists.

The proliferation of boring singer-songwriters who are pretty damn good if you waste your time and consider them objectively, but who are fucking shit and pointless given how many of the pointless conservative shit fuckers there are.  You can sing?  Great!  You can play guitar? Great!  You can write a nice enough little ditty?  Superb!  Now fuck off and either DIE or try doing something interesting.

Hypocrites.

People who can’t count.

99.9999% of punk bands, especially the math-y, emo-y ones who have a nasty modern sound.  Not nice nasty but nasty boring nasty.

Retro bands.

Bands that fail to take the best bits from the past.

“For fans of…”  Now this is a biggie.  Its bollocks.  Spacemen 3, Black Flag and Bad Brains are my best examples.  “For fans of Spacemen 3” actually means “this band rip off Spacemen 3, and given that every single band who have ripped off Spacemen 3 are fucking shit then this band are fucking shit, and in actual fact the only chance of you liking them is if you have never heard Spacemen 3, in which case you might love the idea and not realise this mob are vastly inferior”.  “For fans of Black Flag and Bad Brains” actually means “this band is a hardore band and by definition they are pretty shit, because although I love hardcore no hardcore band other than Black Flag and Bad Brains are really worth listening to.”

Nervus, Sibling, Belleview Days, Camcorder – the Boileroom, Guildford, February 27th 2017

April 4, 2017

Not a proper review… but I have to write a few words… [edit – actually, I already wrote a few words and they’d been stuck in a draft folder for a month].

Camcorder – missed ’em.  A bit gutted.  Wanted to see them play with a little less loud sound system.  I know they’re a noisy band, but I think that they’re probably better on record or with the sound a little more under control than when I saw them at the Star.  Boileroom gigs start too early!

Belleview Days.  Bit of a Biffy influence?  Indie rock… less modern sounding than many younger bands, I liked ’em.

Sibling.  Not bad, not blown away, wouldn’t mind seeing them again.

Nervus.  I like them… again, not 100% my thing, but they do have a certain something (mainly two singers – one on keys, one with a bit of guitar action going on – who know what they’re doing and keep things interesting.)

Senseless Things, Skinny Girl Diet, The Tuts – Shepherds Bush Empire, London, Saturday 25th March 2017

April 3, 2017

Senseless Things announce a gig.  First since 1995, unless you count three of them getting together to play four songs in tribute to the might Wiz from Mega City Four 10 years ago.  Not keen on simply seeing old bands relive the glory years, not keen on big venues… but fuck it, its Senseless Things so I’ll get a ticket.

FFWD a few months and they announce the support.  The Tuts – who I quite like, but I’ve never seen live.  Skinny Girl Diet – who I totally adore, but I’ve never seen live.  RESULT.

And perhaps there you have why I instinctively knew I had to get a ticket for Senseless Things.  Did they just get any old band from back in the day to support?  Or did they make a point of choosing two young bands, both of whom happen to be all-female and political?  And damn fine.  Both seem to owe a debt to bands of Senseless Things era as well, which probably helped them get on the bill.

The Tuts came on first.  They are quite retro pop-punk.  Sort of remind me of the likes of Heavenly and the Pooh Sticks in a way, catchy songs, loads of energy… and they had a load of fun up there.  They are not a band that are original or noisy enough for me to love, but I like them a lot, and know that I’ght have loved them had they been around back in the day.

Second on we had Skinny Girl Diet.  Seriously, everything.  The way they dress.  The way the drummer is having the most fun, whilst the singer / guitarist is having less fun than anybody anywhere ever.  The bassist rocking a BC Rich Warlock, whilst looking vaguely like a hippy / goth student from 1990 in a long skirt and velvet jacket.  They play fast.  They play slow.  They play loud, they play quiet.  If Nirvana had been 10 times angrier, infinitely more female, much fuzzier, more political then they might have been as good as Skinny Girl Diet.  I absolutely love them, I really do.  I never ever do ratings, but if I was the sort of moron reviewer who did I’d give them 10/10.  Maybe 11.  Maybe even 12.

http://skinnygirldietband.tumblr.com/http://skinnygirldietband.tumblr.com/

Senseless Things… what can I say, legendary band from my youth… I can’t say I loved them all the way first time around.  Great early singles and first album, second album was perhaps a touch bass heavy and commercial sounding, third and fourth more mature and darker, maybe less consistent than the first.  But all through their career they wrote some classic singles / songs… as a result they’ve probably got 30 stone-cold classics to choose from.  Their Post(card) Things CVs are incredible… between the four of them they have played with Muse, 3 Colours Red, The Streets, and Gorillaz and got a co-writing credit on ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ which has to go down as one of the best alt / punk songs of the last 25 years.  And that’s before we talk about the less well know stuff including Mark and Cass’s current band, Deadcuts.

I have not got much more to say.  They got on stage.  They rattled through 20-odd songs plus a three song encore.  The place was rammed, the crown were enthusiastic (lie, the crowd were bang up for it, with significant swathes over-excited).  There was some stage-diving despite an early 1990s crowd and a twenty-teens security team.  Morgan’s bass playing.  Everything about them.  How good a song is Too Much Kissing?  One new song.  I hope they do it again soon.

Morass of Molasses, Space Church, Grits, Silent Mode, Buffalo Club night at the Star, Guildford, 30th March 2017

April 2, 2017
As their set started I was worried that they were going to be pretty poor… but my concerns were soon found to be totally misplaced.  Band with most commercial potential – Silent Mode.  Is this down to age / look as much as sound?  Maybe, not sure.  The combination of a relatively modern sound and more stoner rock vibes makes for a nice combination.  Vocals really reminded me of Brian Molko… not everyone’s sup of tea but I have a bit of a soft spot for Placebo… and they’ve managed pretty darn tidy career.

Grits are a bit like Silent Mode – definitely a band that could fairly be described as alternative, whilst coming from a place that is probably quite straight-ahead rock too.  At times they remind me of the frantic energy of MBV at their best (for the avoidance of doubt this is very high praise coming from me), whilst not sounding much like them at all.  I’d love to know how that set was meant to sound compared to how it came out… chaos, falling cymbal, collapsing drums, more falling cymbal, more falling cymbal, more falling cymbal, more falling cymbal, more falling cymbal, more falling cymbal.  Bit of luck I have a soft spot for amateurism and chaos – the band who I suspect might be the most technically gifted of the four on show really did come across somewhere between unlucky and clowns.  Not the best set of the night, not the best set Grits will ever play… and I don’t 100% get where they’re coming from.  But when they get it right they really get it right.

Space Church.  I swear they sound totally different every time I see them.  My perception was wonderful noisy all over the place weirdness the first time I saw them.  I love the album.  At the Boileroom recently I thought it was the sound that gave me a totally different perspective (no pun intended, still available on 7″).  Much quieter, more professional, more like a band who might actually want to be liked as opposed to really really not giving a flying anything.  They seemed to carry that back to the Star, sort of… maybe it was the venue / sound less at the Boileroom, and more them developing.  No idea.  Most interesting band on show, and one I’m actually finding harder to pin down the more i see them.

Really enjoyed Morass of Molasses – a sludgey stonery bassless heavy quite retro sounding bluesy damn fine thing.  Probably the band I enjoyed most, despite, on paper, perhaps being the one I’d think I’d like least.  Second time I’ve seen them and I think I’m getting them more.  But not enough to write much… I blame lack of shared reference points between MoM and WEM.

I really can’t work out which of the following statements is most true –
(1)  There are a ridiculous number of really good bands around Surrey / Hants right now.
(2)  The Buffalo Club guys can spot a band.
(3)  I love any old shit so long as its live, loud and a bit different.

Gigs in Guildford and Surrounds April 1st 2017 onwards

April 1, 2017

Updated list of upcoming gigs by bands in and around Guildford that have caught my eye… this does purport to be a full listing – it’s stuff that’s caught my eye, with bands or promoters I particularly like in bold.  If you’re in a band or a promoter or venue then you’re welcome to get in touch and let me know about what you do – if it interests me I’ll add you on.

Saturday 15th April 2017
Moper (ex-SBB), Group of Man at the West End Centre in Aldershot
https://uk.patronbase.com/_WestendCentreEvents/Productions/WSOX/Performances
https://www.facebook.com/events/281156012308389

Friday 21st April 2017
Camcorder, Moper (ex-SBB), Tailblock, Grenades at the Fighting Cocks in Kingston
https://www.facebook.com/events/221174725019463/

Sunday 23rd April 2017
End of Salvation, Gutlocker, Kill For Company, Spreading The Disease at the Star Inn, Guildford
https://www.facebook.com/events/363520220661573/

Friday 28th April 2017
Wonk Unit, The Wonder Beers, Second In Line at the Star Inn, Guildford [Jasta11 Gigs]
https://www.facebook.com/events/416491455361879/

Friday 28th April 2017
Masiro, Slug 13, Luau, Who Saw The Light at the Lounge Bar in Alton [Trial n Error Night]
https://www.facebook.com/Trial-N-Error-Productions-1511711255801880/?fref=ts

Saturday 29th April 2017
ALLUSONDRUGS at the West End Centre in Aldershot
https://www.facebook.com/events/1400967353256596/

Sunday 30th April 2017
Muncie Girls at the Boileroom in Guildford
https://www.facebook.com/events/1365320940209728/

Monday 1st May 2017
Meat Wave at the Boileroom in Guildford
http://www.theboileroom.net/listings/events/1-may-17-meat-wave-the-boileroom/

Thursday 4th May 2017
Muncie Girls plus Support at the West End Centre in Aldershot
https://www.facebook.com/events/1009896509143488/

Friday 5th May 2017
Diggeth, Cavalli, March The Desert, Squid Resist at the Face Bar in Reading [The Swamp]
https://www.facebook.com/events/237441310027007/

Saturday 6th May 2017
Forward 4 Wiz Trust 10th Birthday Celebration
I Plead Irony, Parachute For Gordo, Deadstate, Princess, Red Means Danger, Joe Booley, The Hunt at the West End Centre in Aldershot
https://www.facebook.com/events/376200369432054/

Tuesday 9th May 2017
Shame at the Boileroom in Guildford
https://www.facebook.com/events/404018573296740/

Thursday 11th May 2017
Hands Off Gretel at the Boileroom in Guildford
http://www.theboileroom.net/listings/events/11-may-17-hands-off-gretel-the-boileroom/

Sunday 14th May 2017
Buzz Rodeo, PORCH, This is Wreckage, Space Church at the Star Inn, Guildford [Buffalo Club Night]
https://www.facebook.com/events/1851757875095504/

Friday 19th May 2017
Morass of Molasses (album Launch), Cybernetic Witch Cult, Prophets of Saturn, Sons of Endor, Tuskar in Reading [The Swamp]
https://www.facebook.com/events/1947289105490799/

Friday 19th May 2017
Skraeckoedlan, Tank 86, Pensevor at the Sanctuary, Basingstoke.  [Buffalo Club night].
https://www.facebook.com/events/1902757813273003

Saturday 20th May 2017
Deadwound, Pensevor, Sealclubber at The Fighting Cocks, Kingston
https://www.facebook.com/events/1296598210431900/

Friday 2nd June 2017
The Frankleys, Camcorder plus more TBC at the Star Inn, Guildford [Jasta 11 Gigs]
https://www.facebook.com/events/200771547081568/

Friday 2nd June 2017
Heinous Pianist, Sizzling Bonobas, Senor Fire at the Lounge Bar in Alton
https://www.facebook.com/131347206687/photos/a.386701151687.172970.131347206687/10154235459886688/
Note – First support band should really change their name to Sizzling Bono His Smug Face Melting on a Barbecue for the World’s Pleasure and Delight

Sunday 18th June 2017
Jungfrau, Swords of Thought, and more TBC at the Star Inn, Guildford [Buffalo Club Night]
https://www.facebook.com/events/1689271328040204/

Friday 30th June 2017
ALLUSONDRUGS / Icarus Dive / Silent Mode at the Star in Guildford [Jasta 11 Gigs]
https://www.facebook.com/events/252324221839932/

Sunday 30th July 2017
Moper (ex-SBB) at the Facebar in Reading
https://www.facebook.com/mopernoise/

Promoters to follow –

The Buffalo Club Facebook Page – Noise, alternative, all sorts.

Jasta 11 Gigs Facebook Page – Indie, alternative, all sorts.

Leafy Incline Promotions Facebook Page – Noisy, grungey stuff.

Rose Coloured Records Facebook Page – Indie, alternative, all sorts.

The Swamp Reading Facebook Page – Sludge, Doom

Trial N Error Productions Facebook Page – Sludge, DoomAll sorts / experimental

Venues to Follow –

The Boileroom Guildford Facebook Page

The Facebar Reading Facebook Page

The Lounge Bar Alton Facebook Page

Sanctuary Basingstoke Facebook Page

The Star Inn Guildford Facebook Page

West End Centre Aldershot Facebook Page

Past Events –

Friday 7th April 2017
Confessions of a Traitor, Gutlocker, Throatpunch City, Silent Mode at the Lounge Bar in Alton
https://www.facebook.com/events/637023236484073/https://www.facebook.com/events/637023236484073/

Friday 7th April 2017
Hummune, Wychhound, Morass of Molasses, Nyogtha at the Facebar in Reading
https://www.facebook.com/events/593207000880853/

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]
https://www.facebook.com/events/706660459508133/
https://www.facebook.com/thebuffaloclub/
https://www.facebook.com/Trial-N-Error-Productions-1511711255801880/?fref=ts

HMLTD

March 23, 2017

No idea how good they are or will be but this track and video both caught my ears / eyes a lot more than most.

HMLTD – Stained

“Liverpool to reimagine The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper in eclectic arts festival”…

March 22, 2017

… 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 2017

March 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.