Posts Tagged ‘Space Church’

Porch, Buzz Rodeo, Space Church, This Is Wreckage – Buffalo Club, Star Inn, Guildford – 14th May 2017

May 18, 2017

I think this was probably the best Buffalo Club line-up yet, certainly the most international with four nations represented.  This is gonna be one of my shorter reviews, mainly because I’d had a lazy six hour session watching football and tasting beer before I even turned up.

Wales was up first, represented by a guitar / bass / drums three piece This Is Wreckage.  They (noise) rocked and I thought they were excellent.  Bought a CD, not had a chance to listen to it yet.

England was up second, represented by a guitar / bass / drums three piece Space Church.  I must have seen them half a dozen times now and I am only now starting to truly get my head around them.  I am disappointed that they are no longer the complete head-fuck I thought the first time I saw them, but that’s not their fault – you can’t exactly replicate the first time you experience something over and over again.  They are, however, a fine, silly, deadly serious, loud / quiet noise band.

Germany was up third, represented by a guitar / bass / drums three piece Buzz Rodeo.  Fuck it, I’d been going for 8 hours by the time they hit the stage and there’s nothing I really wanna say other than “noise rock, really enjoyed it, blah blah blah.”

The US of A was up fourth, represented by a guitar / bass / drums three piece Porch.  Fuck it, I’d been going for 9 hours by the time they hit the stage and there’s nothing I really wanna say other than “grungey (or am I just saying that ‘cos they’re from Trumpland*) noise rock, really enjoyed it, blah blah blah.”

Must do better next time.  Me, not the bands or Buffalo Club.

* is it still Trumpland or has the fucker been stuck in prison yet?

An interview with Phil Markwick – Buffalo Club, Buzz Rodeo, Porch – The Star, Guildford Sunday 14th May

May 5, 2017

I met up with Phil Markwick last Saturday morning, at the Guildhall on Guildford High Street for the Record Fair.  More browsing than buying, then we headed down to the Star for a coffee, and found ourselves a table tucked away in a quiet corner right by the door to the back room where Phil (and others) put on gigs under the name The Buffalo Club.

We started chatting music… and ended up chatting for over an hour, most of which I got on tape.  This piece will cover the Buffalo Club and in particular their upcoming show at the Star on May 14th, other parts of the interview will likely see the light another time.

“So, what shall we talk about?” was about the best question I asked.  As I say, we chatted.  You’re better off just listening to Phil.  His words are in bold.

“The thing I’d like to talk about is the upcoming show that we’ve got with Buzz Rodeo, Porch and This is Wreckage.”  And Space Church, his own band.

“Tell me about Buzz Rodeo and Porch.”

“Buzz Rodeo.  The quickest way to sum them up is like a German Shellac.  I joked to a friend because Shellac wasn’t efficient enough as it is… they’re very stark, the songs are good, classic noise rock songs.  I bought their album on bandcamp a long time before I knew that they were doing a UK tour.”

“I saw they did a post on facebook saying “hey, we’re doing a tour, these are our free dates.”  So I got in contact with them and said “we do a thing in Guildford, would you be interested in playing?  They were. They were really keen.  It was kinda like a happy accident that they were doing a kind of joint tour with Porch.  Porch was a band, a sort of California noise-rock band from back in the 90s.  I was aware of them back in the 90s, I didn’t see them live back in the 90s, but to be honest I hadn’t thought about them since the 90s.  When I heard they were plaing again I thought “that’s cool” and I was kind of surprised, I thought they had missed that wave of “let’s get back together to do All Tomorrow’s Parties”.  It’s incredible that they’re doing a tour of the UK.  I think I fucked up on pricing [£5 – Ed.] because originally I thought it was just going to be Buzz Rodeo.  With the stuff we do with the Buffalo Club 100% of the money goes to the main band, especially touring bands and out of town bands.  They have petrol costs – flights, hotels.”

“One of the things with the Buffalo Club is how you want to be an arbitrator of taste.  Only bands that I really really really like will play.  But then you learn some rules.  You can get away with four bands playing and two of them have gotta be a draw.  Two of them have gotta bring people out, and if they don’t you just have out of town bands that are fucking amazing but all they’re doing is watching each other.  It seems to me that’s the rule for putting on local shows, like 50% of the bands that play have to be local draws, or if they’re out of town they have to be known.  I’m hoping Porch are going to be a local draw.  As soon as you’re involved in a thing you can’t see the wood for the trees.”

“There’s an other band This Is Wreckage, and they’re coming all the way down from Wales.  Which is great, but I’ve kinda broken that out of town / local balance rule with this.

“It’s certainly not about making money.  When you fill out a room and you’re £50 out of pocket that’s brilliant.  You could put on another show and break even and only have 20 people and I’d rather be £50 out of pocket and fill the room, cos you feel like you’re putting on a party.”

“Who is the Buffalo Club, you’re obviously the driving force?”

“I wouldn’t put it that way.  The Buffalo Club was started by four bands. Secret Black Boyfriend [Now called Moper – Ed.], Fauntleroy, Pensevor and Space Church.  You had a link between all bands.  One member of Space Church was in Pensevor.  Another member of Pensevor was in Fauntleroy, and the other member of Fauntleroy was in Secret Black Boyfriend.  In the early days it was very easy to communicate, unfortunately Fauntleroy have stopped rehearsing as a band for a while.  Everyone is still friends but it isn’t as immediate any more.  It floated apart a bit.  It’s become more just Pensevor and Space Church.  I wouldn’t say I’m the driving force, I mean all it is is booking a venue.  I do the posters, because I have a graphic design background, and you have fun doing them.  It’s not entirely selfless.”

“What do you make of the Star?”

“It’s a great venue, you can get nice and loud, the sound’s really good, the only thing it’s got against it is it hasn’t got a back stage.

“What do Porch sound like?”

“Porch, to me, they sound like a lot of those great 90s bands.  When I was younger there were a couple of bands that I noticed for the first time, and one of them was Jawbox and I’d kinda put Porch in the same cate… I don’t wanna say category… memory, memory box because you discover bands at the same time.”

“Any last thoughts on This is Wreckage?”

“Welsh band, noisy as fuck, absolutely brilliant, slightly avant-garde. Completely fucked up, great stuff, great stuff.”

Finally, Phil, I see your next event is at Sanctuary Live in Basingstoke – who’s playing and what can we expect?

Basingstoke will be for the fans of doom!!!  Yeah, that will be the legends Pensevor.  Pat (the Space Church drummer) plays guitar in that band and he just blows me away with his skills.  He showed me a guitar piece to play the other day and I had to say ‘I gotta re-write that bit’, because I just cannot do those ‘puff of smoke and turn on a dime’ changes that he can do.

It’s the first time we are doing a Buffalo Club in Basingstoke so I am at pains to remind everyone that it’s not in Guildford.  I have visions of people turning up at the wrong venue.

The headliners are Skrackoedlan, I don’t know if I pronounced right, but they are doing a UK tour at the moment and they reached out to me.  I have to admit I had not heard of them before, but I thought it was really good stuff.  I asked Pensevor if they would like play with them, they said yeah, so we went for it.  Skrackoedlan are sort of old school, a little bit ‘Hawkwind’ but in a good way.

With this and the Buzz Rodeo / Porch night we are stepping out a little to get touring bands.  It’s bit more work and financial risk but so it’s great how supportive people have been.

Tank 86 are touring with Skrackoedlan also.  I am looking forward to that, they really have some riffs!  I am not super knowledgeable about the Doom scene and I am kind of ‘I don’t know much, but I know what I like’, but they seem to be taking off at the moment.

Gift of Blindness is playing also. Probably the best dark metal band on the scene today. Think of it are almost shoegaze metal as you just have two guys just focused on playing these amazingly epic metal-scapes. I sort of joked to one the members that you should get loads of dry ice and I will sit behind the drums pretending to play with dildos or something.  

 

Event Page on Facebook (Buzz Rodeo and Porch)

https://www.facebook.com/events/1851757875095504/

Buzz Rodeo

https://buzzrodeo.bandcamp.com/

Porch

https://porch.bandcamp.com/

Space Church

https://spacechurch.bandcamp.com/

This Is Wreckage

https://thisiswreckage.bandcamp.com/

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

Idles, Scarlet Rascal, Space Church at the Boileroom, Guildford – 15th March 2017

March 16, 2017

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.

Great set.

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.

Top 10 Current Local Bands – Guildford and Surrounds – February 2017 (pt 2)

February 22, 2017

Moper, ex-SBB… are a band I’m still trying to get my head around 9 months (or so?) after seeing them live.  I’ve bought 3 albums.  They are dark, they place a massive barrier between the audience and themselves… but they’re gnawing away at me, I want to understand.  There’s a bit of Future of the Left about them, maybe.  Drawing me in.  Let them get to work on you… it might take a while but if your soul is pure, if a little haunted, then you’ll get there like I hope to.  Star Inn, Guildford, Friday, will to be there.

Grits I rate highly.  Not sure the extent they are something quite alternative trying to take high energy rock on board to make something more accessessible, or the other way round – a fairly mainstream rock band with hints at something quite challenging.  Either way energy levels, catchiness and plenty to keep it interesting to my [Wild] Eyes.  Fucking yes.  Facebar, Reading, Friday, would like to be there.

Who Saw The Light are a doom, grunge, metal, fuck knows what mess of a band and get away with it.  Who knows where they’re going, who knows why, but they have something.  Maybe I misunderstood but one song last time I saw them had its tempo set by a simple rhythm guitar part.  10 seconds in the bassist – whose taking lead vocal on the song – is having a bit of a go a the guitarist for massively reducing the tempo compared to when they rehearse it.  They really don’t appear to give a fuck.  I hope that what I’m seeing is the start of something special.  I fear they’ll get their act together and lose some of their irreverence and genre-spanning melange.  Then again they can certainly play so if they wanted to get their act together they would have probably done so already.

Songs To Punch Nerds To is great and Space Church have a live set that blew me away the first time I saw it.  I hope they keep writing, keep mixing it up.  Trevor’s Head seriously know what they’re doing too, dunno what more to say.

Slug 13 have the massive advantage of playing in a style that I’m a sucker for… though being able to write a top top riff kinda helps too.  Keep writing, keep ploughing that lovely furrow, maybe mix it up a bit too.  Or don’t bother.  Mixing it up that is, do bother full stop.

I love pop music.  Swords of Thought can write a song… but they do so in a nicely noisy way, that reminds me of some great great bands like Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr.  The Boo Radley’s debut album (which they themselves have kinda written out of history) is called Ichabod and I.  It is brilliant if you like that sort of thing.  Pure pop, combined with a “why use one distortion pedal when you can use 20” attitude (I swear that’s a reasonably accurate bit of paraphrasising from an interview I read back in the day).  SoT remind me of that.

Pensevor deserve their own post, so bugger it, I’m saying nothing for now.

Top 10 Current Local Bands – Guildford and Surrounds – February 2017

February 21, 2017

Top 10 Current Local Bands – Guildford and Surrounds – February 2017

The rules – you must be based in Guildford or not that far away.  I must have seen you play live.  You must have played in or near Guildford in the last year or so.  I have changed part of your name to the word shit to ensure that you don’t get too cocky if you’re on the list, and if you’re not on the list then you don’t get a shit so there’s some consolation.  This list is based on FACTS not my personal opinion.

If you’re on the best of the rest then I wanna see you, or you just missed out, or you haven’t played locally recently enough, or you’re there cos someone I trust rates you, or maybe you’re just so fucking good that I think you’re too good to be judged against other local bands.

Feedback welcome.  Noise a guitar makes I mean, not your replies.

(1)  Penshitvor

(2)  Swords of Shit

(3)  Shit13

(4)  Shit Church

(5)  Trevor’s Shit

(6)  Who Saw The Shit

(7)  Shits

(8)  Shitter

(9)  Victorian Whore Shits

(10)   Typical Shits

Best of the rest – Blackwaters, Tommy Blackwood, Camcorder, Employed to Serve, Eulogy, Gutlocker, Heinous Pianist, Morass of Molasses, Princess, Vinyl Staircase.

Vital Note – Eulogy and Swords of Thought – PULL YOUR FINGERS OUT.

Another thing… maybe, going back 25 years, I didn’t get to as many local gigs as I should have… and no offence you lot but I am not sure any of you come close to touching the genius of Mega City Four and in particular Wiz’s incredible lyrics.  But overall the standard now is so high, it really is.

Trial and Error All-dayer

October 19, 2016

I’m not going to say too much, not least as I missed most of it.

Sanctuary.  Basingstoke.  Sunday 16th October 2016.  LOADS OF BANDS.  Cos I am so busy and important I missed most of it.  Thanks to Stefan Powell for organising, and well done all involved for the cash raised towards CDH UK.

I saw three bands, and they’re all bands I have seen before.  Space Church had just started when I arrived.  I really like them.  I recommend the album.  Highly.  They prove that you don’t need noise noise noise to make challenging music.  They prove that you can mix things up and still sound like a proper band.  The only downside is the set-list seems to stick too close to the album… are you not writing new stuff?  Why not chuck in the odd older song?

Warren Schoenbright.  I like them.  I love the drummer, I like the bass.  There’s two things I don’t particularly like, both of which say a shit load more about me than they do WS.  (1)  I love noise, but I love songs too.  WS don’t much do songs.  (2)  The third member.  Laptop and other hardware.  I have no problem with bands not being fully live with real instruments all the way… but I don’t like not knowing what someone is doing, and I also think – probably completely illogically – that if you’re gonna stick a computer on stage then get the fucking thing to do everything for you.  Press the fucking button and let it do its thing, then remove the laptop from the (non-)stage at the end of the set.  Stand next to it if you want.  Do a bit of fiddling if necessary.  But spending all set fucking around with shit that should be done by the computer also sat right next to you – what a waste of time.  Anyway, as I say, that’s my problem not theirs.

Slug13.  Nice.  Really nice.  I’ve started checking out more of their music online and its damn good.  I don’t really now what more to say.  The vocals were (very) quiet, the songs were loud.  They remind me massively of Mudhoney as I’ve said before, but that’s much more down to the fact that I love Mudhoney and I don’t know as many of the other bands who were around at the time as I should, both those that were grunge and those that shared elements of the grunge sound.  Should probably start with Tad and The Jesus Lizard – I like it when bands help you with their influences.  Never really listened to Tad apart from the odd song on John Peel back in the day.  I have “Head” on vinyl, but it hasn’t had a play in probably 23 or 24 years.

Space Church – Songs To Punch Nerds To

September 4, 2016

I’ll be honest, when I first listened to “… Punch Nerds… ” I wasn’t very impressed… it seemed to lack the maelstrom of heavy quasi-psychedelic fury that I’d taken from seeing them live.  On second listen I was absolutely loving it.

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If a band blows me away with a sonic assault – like Space Church can do live – I’ll just go with it.  But if they don’t then I get thinking, and I like to understand where the band’s coming from, what they’re trying to do.  And – to make this into a a weird geography analogy – whilst Space Church are coming from a country I know and love, their home town is actually a little bit off the beaten track and I’ve never really even been close.  I don’t know the local customs.

Overall I think the three key points to take from the album are these.

(1)  They love Slint, the overall vibe and feel.

(2)  They really don’t give a fuck – musical tangents are not to be feared by Hopkins, Markwick and Nixon.  There is practically nothing about this album what makes me think there is any sort of agenda beyond making the album that they wanted to make.

(3)  Whilst they don’t sound like Sonic Youth they do have that old SY ability to make music which is clearly in no small part experimental, whilst also just ticking along in a really pleasant, easy-on-the-ear way.  A band that sound even less like Space Church who share this ability are Fugazi.  I like Fugazi.  Not that all the music that any of these bands make is easy on the ear, just that they can do it and do it well.

[Author’s Note – Slint are a band I’m only just starting to get my head around, and I am only doing so because Space Church class them as an influence.]

The guitars at the start of Ships are really nice.  Really nice.  They get less nice (but as great if not greater) after a couple of minutes when the drums decide to turn the song upside-down and shake the change out of the guitar’s trouser pockets.  Definitely a stand out track.  If I say I like the first bit best, then the middle bit next best, and the last bit last best it sounds like the song gets worse, but it actually gets better as the minutes pass.  How does that work?!?!?

Punk spirit.  Post-punk at times, definitely, but theirs is a very American sound.  I’m thinking the stomp of Snowballs.  A song that fades out to sitars and trumpets.  Go work that one out.

The guitars at the start (not the very start) of from (Don’t Let) Cuba In are the sort of rock n roll that I have heard described as proto-punk thing that I love, hitting the perfect balance between rocking and falling apart.  Proto-punk?  Do I mean proto-grunge, this kinda reminds me of Flipper?  This song breaks the mould by not completely changing half way through, though it does come close.

Banjo Song starts with nice bass, then drums and a fairly clean, low key guitars, and then spoken vocals.  Then something else happens then there’s one of those guitar lines Phil does that kinda mixes alt with a dollop of something much more classic rock, gives a nod and a wink, and is simultaneously utter class and a total piss-take.

And another thing.  It helps when there is nothing about a band that’s a bit crap.  Individually the guitar, bass and drums are all interesting at worst, superb at best.  I have no idea the range of Phil’s vocal talents – he pretty much sticks an almost spoken vocal style with added yelps and screams… it all works well and there’s ain’t no sign of the dodgy just-about-singer who ruins many a band.

Chlorine is not a song.  It is a bassline, some bonkers drums and a bit of scratchy feedback.  It is also Breaking Bad.  Chemistry teacher plus drugs.

Glue Factory lollops along under some superbly understated by unhinged drumming with some proper lazy guitar noodling, then the spoken word bit, then repeat.  Then the Miami 1980 part… why am I even trying to describe this.

That’s it, not every song can get a paragraph.  In the unlikely even that you really need more going on in an album than I have talked about above then you’ll likely find it in the song that has the most punk and most ambient moments on the album, or the longest song on the album.

Don’t expect pop songs, they are nowhere to be seen in this desolate post-rock landscape.  And it does give a feel of wide open desert, maybe at dusk… which is weird cos really the album is a lot more like a bustling City with all sorts of weird and wonderful (but mainly weird) people, some loud, some quiet, entering and exiting your life in quick succession.

Its overtly yet low-key batshit crazy.  It is fucking nuts, but in a quite understated way.  WTF.

If you like post-rock, or old school US alt-rock, or just weird shit, then buy this record.  And check ’em out live.

Buy it on Bandcamp

Space Church, Princess, Camcorder, Pete (from Grits) – Star Inn, Guildford, 6th August 2016

August 17, 2016

First on comes Pete (from Grits)… now I like Grits, but this wasn’t some Grits solo show, or even someone showing another side to their music.  It was an artist showing random pages from his musical note-book.  As a grungey, dirty blues guy… he’s damn good.  As [a more soulful?] Squarepusher… less so.  Interesting, definitely talent in a number of directions, but its the dirty blues (and [hard/post/noise-]rock in his main band) that he really nails.

Next on… Camcorder.  What did the flyer say?  “Sort of like Weezer and AC-DC had a kid… oh Christ.”  Yeah, that was it.  I kinda buy that.  In theory they could be damn good, and there was a lot to like… but they sound like a band who need great pop songs to really hit home, and writing great pop songs ain’t easy.  Maybe the songs are better than I’m giving them credit for and they were lost in the noise that they were intentionally creating.

Princess – Best set of the night… subject to the caveat that Space Church’s might have been had it been the first time I’d seen them, and Pete’s might have been if he’d done grungey dirty blues all night.  Their cover of “the Model” is / was awesome.  Always good to see a Big Black cover.  Semi-joke.  Maybe it was just the suit that did it, but I got the feeling that it was something in the songs too… Princess dig Nick Cave I reckon… just checked and their Bandcamp page says the same thing… or did I read that before I saw them and my brain is taking the memory not the musical clues.  Fuck knows.  Noisy, edgy, scratchy, feedbacky, 80s-influenced, noise-rock / alt-noise of the sort that the Buffalo Club specialise in.  Yes.  (Not the prog band, the three letter word of affirmation.)  I should really have said that in CAPS.  With font: IMPACT for impact.  Natch.

Space Church – I’m not going to review the show.  Partly time, this review should have been done over a week ago after all.  Partly because I’m gonna get on the album soon.  I enjoyed the set, but I didn’t get that initial, overwhelming, “what the fucking fuck?” feeling that I got the first time I saw them.  I think the volume in the venue was down a bit which took away some of the power.

Oh yeah, and Princess didn’t have their usual drummer so they deserve extra points.