Friday, November 28, 2014

Pink Violence + Silver Apples, Live at the Hare and Hounds, 27/11/14

Pink Violence
Untill 10:00 in the morning yesterday I had never heard of Silver Apples, I just knew that Pink Violence was playing and that it was a chance to catch up with a good friend of mine. This was also the first time I'd ever been to the Hare and Hounds, which is kind of amazing actually. Pink Violence was on first, I've been mates with Jason ' Pink violence' Tyler for a while, and had forgot how much I like his music. This set was very different from the last time I'd seen him play a set on a wobbly bar table at the actress and bishop. His music has changed to being more melodic,  rather than the futuristic collage of sounds I had previously heard from him. This time he sampled songs from Crystal Castles to create his own live remixes, mixing fat hip hop bass with ethereal witch house. Although his own songs such as 'Everywhere Nowhere' made for highlights.

Incase you don't already know, Silver Apples were one of the very first electronic music groups, contemporaries of White Noise (AKA, The BBC Radiophonic Workshop), their music can be traced back to the late 1960's, while apparently electronic music itself can be traced as far as the 1920's. So you may understand why people bleating on about electronic music being a new thing, or worse not music at all, really bugs me. Despite one half of the duo passed away Silver Apples are still touring and have released a hand full of albums since their 1960's inception.

Not knowing anything about the band apart from the background information above before the show made it an interesting experience. Little more than 25 fans had shown up to this rather small room and none  of them were exactly party animals. Silver apples music confused and bewildered me right from the start. Like all electronic music that dates back to before the mid 70's (and the likes of Jean Michelle Jarre and Kraftwerk's classic albums) It makes for challenging listening. Of course I can't say whether the music was made up of more recent material or 60's originals, but a lot of it seemed to be a mix of both. The old geezer in a black cowboy hat was perched behind a small series of boxes, using about 3 guitar pedals and something that sounded like a theremin to make this bizarre noise. The beats were reminiscent of modern dance music yet everything else had a an adventurous yet dark psychedelic feel to it. While he sung over the tracks in a deep echo laden voice as if he was addressing someone over an airport PR. I'm very much on the fence with this show. But it was endearing seeing how after all these years Silver Apples still tours to a small but dedicated following.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Best Albums of The Year.

1. Kate Tempest- Everybody Down
Pretty much a universally critically acclaimed record this one, and in my view still the one that should have got the mercury. Right from the first note This album drags you in. KT has an incredible ability to write from many different points of view. Whether that person be male or female, a small time drug dealer, or a full time gangster. Dan Carey's production doesn't so much provide a back drop for KT's storytelling as tell the story itself. In Marshall Law both KT and the music itself, changes points of view, the harsh club electronica reflecting Becky's detachment and unease, and the soft melodic  trance-ier sounds reflecting Harry's sense of wonder and naivety. Everybody Down ties itself together better than any other concept album I've ever heard, and the music is always thrilling. Much of what KT has to say about society is hidden as she is only narrating the story, but her anger at the state of Britain is clear in several verses and in her fast and versatile flow. UK Hip Hop rarely produces acts with talent such as this, Everybody Down is an album to be treasured.
2. Run The Jewels - RTJ2
With this album Killer Mike and EL-P achieved the seemingly impossible, making an album better than their self titled début. Right from the opening rant it's obvious that RTJ2 is far more focused, dark and political. The ludicrous boasting and vivid, raps about sex and drugs have mostly gone, in favour of political sloganeering.  So much so that Even Zach De La Rocha seems out of his depth on his guest verse. The plus side is that it's packed full of absolute bangers, from the room-shaking bass on 'Oh My Darling' to the Travis Barker assisted, 'All Due Respect', each track is bigger, better and heavier than the last. Both El-P and Killer Mike are prodigiously talented rappers, their flows compliment each other perfectly and frankly make the likes of A$ap Rocky or Rick Ross seem amateurish by comparison. Despite EL-P producing some of dopest beats this century, Killer Mike emerges as the real star, his anger at police brutality, and religion have inspired some of the best rapping I've ever heard. Put simply, this album was released for free, if you like Hip Hop you have no excuse to not have heard it.
3. The War On Drugs- Lost in the Dream

For many this was the early favourite album of the year and its not hard to see why. On the surface there is not much to differentiate these songs from  what Bruce Springsteen or Neil Young has already written, but they didn't write these songs, Adam Granduciel did. The tinny production of many 80's album has been given a very modern reworking. Vintage synths, electric drums  and the modern yet retro production give lost in the dream, a very dream like quality, and these are songs you really can get lost in. These are very heartfelt, personal songs about overcoming depression and other such problems, but ultimately it's just about great songs.
4. Sleaford Mods- Divide and Exit - 

5. Azealia Banks- Broke With Expensive Taste. Being a fan of Azealia Banks has been tough for a while. What with her twitter feuds, cancelled tours, and the seemingly endless wait for this album, and then one day it just appears! BWET  has plenty of variety, whether that be afrobeat, funk, soul, trip-hop, surf-rock. After a while it sticks to a formula of either harsh rave or house, yet she still excels on both. It's a shame that many of these tracks have been lying around the internet for some time. Yet New tracks such as 'Chasing Time' 'JFK' and 'Desperado' have made it worth the wait.
6. Eagulls - Eagulls Amber Veins (drug addiction) Tough Luck (physical deformities) Nerve Endings (paranoia). Each of the tracks on Eagulls Debut album is bleak, but my god is it an amazing listen, taking the atmospherics of Joy Division and adding it to their own punk sound, Eagulls have made an album that is loud and gnarly as hell, yet inspiring for all it's nihilism.  Despite this some of these songs are surprisingly catchy, their singer genuinely sounds angry rather than just pretending to be. Basically, you'll be singing 'Amber Veins, Amber Veins! AMBER VEEEINNNS!!' over and over after hearing that song, or the intro to 'Soulless Youth' may put a shiver down your spine. Nihilism never sounded so good. 
7. King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard - Oddments The first of Two records this year by the 7 strong Aussie collective. Having listened to their back catalogue so far, I can say that this is where it all came together. Sounding like Tame impala on Happy Pills, Oddments is an absolute joy from start to finish, full of brain melting sounds as well as songs that are funny, sad, or just plain weird in equal measure.
8. Aphex Twin - Syro This album is almost impossible to describe with words.
9. Peaking Lights - Cosmic Logic This was a complete gamble that I bought from Left For Dead. It's a big grower though. A lot of it sounds like The Ting Tings jamming with Kraftwerk. Cosmic Logic is half psychedelic odyssey, half bubblegum pop record. It improves with each listen. 

10. Cymbals- The Age of Fracture. Easily one of the most underrated releases of 2014. Cymbals take on 80's synth pop is complex and arty, yet always enough fun to avoid coming across as pretentious. 

11. Slaves-Sugar Coated Bitter Truth, 

12. Vertical Scratchers- Daughter of Everything, 
13. Kasabian- 48:13, 14. The Wytches - Annabell Dream Reader, 15. Jungle - S/T, 16. Alt-J -This is All yours, 17, Metronomy -Love Letters, 18. Temples - Sun Structures, 19. Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long See you Tomorrow, 20. Merchandise- After The End, 21. Julian CasaBlancas + The Voidz - Tyranny, 22. S.Carey -Range Of Light, 23. Thom Yorke, Tomorrow's Modern Boxes, 24. Royal Blood-s/t, 25. Childhood, Lacuna. 

And a cheeky number 26. Eyedress- Hearing Colours

Note: this list is by no means conclusive, any amazing records left out are left out because I haven't bothered to listen to them yet. I reserve the right to change my mind.

Monday, November 17, 2014


My fave brummies PEACE are back!

The new album is called 'Happy People'
It is out on February the 9th.
The  track-listing is as follows

'O You'
'Gen Strange'
'Lost On Me'
'Perfect Skin'
'Happy People'
'I'm A Girl'
'Under The Moon'
'World Pleasure'
Bonus Tracks
11.  Love Me
12.  God’s Gloves
13.  Imaginary
14.  Blue
15.  Saturday Girl
16.  Flirting USA
17.  Fur
18.  The Music Was To Blame

Update! Deluxe Signed Cd's here! \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/
and they are playing 

Liverpool, Kazimier (January 15)
Bristol, Exchange (22)
Birmingham The Library at the Institute (24)
Leeds, Brudenell Social Club (29)
Sheffield, Queens Social Club (30)
Nottingham, Bodega (February 5)
Norwich, Epic Studios (12)
Newcastle, Cluny (March 5)
Manchester, Deaf Institute (12)
Glasgow, King Tuts (17)
Dublin, Whelan’s (20)
Brighton, The Haunt (26)
Tickets will be available to buy Today!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Live Review Motorhead, 6/11/2014 NIA

In case you have never seen Motorhead before (and bear in mind I was one of the few at this shop who hadn't) let me try and desrcribe it for you. The first thing that hit me was the drumming of 'The best drummer in the world'*, Mikky Dee. I am used to the soft, pounding bass of hip hop or dance music played loudly at clubs but this was nothing like that. Mikky's drumming goes straight through you, smashing all of your internal organs along the way. Then of course there's Ian 'Lemmy' Kilmister, pretty much the physical embodiment of rock and roll if there ever was one. Lemmy was on typically grumpy form at this show. Taking a drink and hearing a cheer from the crowd he replied, 'Fucking mineral water, who needs it?... I do'. Cheerfully making light of his recent health troubles, he seemed ok to me though. Having said that I was one half of an arena away from him, so I can't really judge. 
and later on asking the audience if they had bought Motorhead's last album 'Aftershock' upon hearing our cheers, accused us all of lying, 'you all downloaded it didn't you'.
As the Damned pointed out 'Lemmy is a grumpy old bastard but we love him. and of course everyone there at the NIA that night does too.
And last but not least is Phil Campbell, the hugely underrated  guitar hero. He made the whole thing look pretty easy. His solo's while surrounded by green lights were incredible. He seemed so nonplussed about the whole thing, no rock star posturing, just loads of riffs and solo's. In general the setlist was an even mix of Motorhead classics and fan favourites. Early highlights included 'Stay Clean' 'No Class' and 'Metropolis'. 'Dr Rock' from Orgasmatron got a cheer but unfortunately was blighted by technical difficulties. They had to leave the stage for a few minutes while a few thousand metal heads wondered what the fuck was going on, a few minutes later though it was back to normal. Mikky Dee put in an incredible drum solo, and the band went straight into a surf rock pastiche called 'Going to Brazil', which I absolutely loved.
'Fast' Eddie Clark
Just when this was starting to look like another day at the office for Motorhead, something truly special happened, Lemmy announced that Phil Taylor and Eddie Clark were taking to the stage. 'Is that Phils' dad? wondered one fan out aloud. While Phil didn't play a note Eddie flawlessly played on 'Ace Of Spades'. While the new Motorhead finished on one of my favourites 'Overkill'. My only real disappointments are that nothing from their first album got aired and that my hearing was intact afterwards.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Dammned: Live at the NIA (6/11/14)

Before this show I did a bit of Motorhead revision, listening to Overkill, Ace of Spaces,and the amazingly underrated self titled début album*. yet I didn't get round to hearing any Dammed. in truth the only live footage I'd ever seen of theirs was from 1977, the band I saw in 2014 have mellowed out (slightly).

Captain Sensible wore a white dinner jacket emblazoned with graffiti swear words and the legend OAP: Old Age Punk. As it turns out  Captain Sensible is an amazing guitarist, playing the guitar behind his back and with his teeth and ripping out solos with ease. While Dave Vainian went for a much more subdued gothic look and is still a great singer an d commanding presence. Joined on stage with them were a competent drummer and bassist and an absolute nutter of a keyboardist, a guy named Monty Oxymoron, dressed in a skull patterned jumpsuit, leaping about while playing his organ.
The Dammed posed the question themselves of whether keyboards belong in punk rock, but left us to decide on that one (personally I think they do). The problem with the show is that I felt it took a while for the band to connect with such a large room,  I hadn't heard of any of the earlier songs and I felt they lacked the energy that I was expecting, yet at the end they pulled out Eloise, New Rose, Neat Neat Neat, and Smash it up, in quick sucesssion. I loved hearing their rendition of New Rose, it was packed full of the punk rock energy I was expecting, while I found the first half the set hard to connect with, the second was loads of fun.  They also revealed that Lemmy saved their career by filling in on bass for two gigs once a member left, saying that 'He's a grumpy old bastard but we love him. I'm not a long term fan of the Damned, so I don't have much to compare and contrast the show with. Overall there's not much to say apart from that it's great seeing one of the true original punk bands still on this good a form.

* It's one of the rawest rock n roll albums of all time, the production is completely shitty yet that kind of makes it better, very few albums since have matched  it for it's dirty scuzzy noise.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Boss Hoss, 6/11/2014

Okay, so the other day I saw Motorhead and the Dammed at the NIA, (I refuse to call it the Barclaycard arena) but before I tell you all about that I am going to tell you about the first band on. The Boss Hoss. I knew absolutely nothing about this band before going into the venue, but if I didn't know Motorhead were on I would have thought they were headlining. A massive flag of their name above a tiger adorned the stage, as well as cow skulls complete with light up eyes and loads of flashing lights. Personally I don't like support bands with ideas about their station, and this stage set up alienated me from the start. Music wise the idea of a rock band that has 2 singers, 2 drummers, a synchronised dancing, sombrero wearing horn section and a ketyar player will either sound awesome or awful to you. Of the two singers one was just a guy with an acoustic guitar singing and playing the songs, the other was dancing more than singing, and when he sung it was in a much thicker deep south accent, he also played a little drum-kit at one point and rode his stool as if he was riding a bull.  Each member was wearing a sleeveless grey tunic, the uniform, matched with the showmanship gave me some idea of how Rammstein would look and sound if they'd come from Mississippi rather than Germany.  Which is appropriate considering that the Boss Hoss are from both Berlin and the Mississippi

I personally felt that the bands Country + Western/Mariachi style contrived and silly. It all felt more Birmingham Alambama than Birmingham, West Midlands. I completely understand that they wanted to put on the most  amazing show they could but  I think under everything there is a great rock n roll band. I like Rock n' roll to be raw, powerful and off the cuff rather than theatrical and over blown so The Boss Hoss just didn't do it for me. But maybe they will for you.