"Most rock journalism is people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, for people who can't read." - Frank Krappa

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Gig: The Sonics + Wire @ Royal Festival Hall, Southbank 18/6/11

(This is over a week late, but no one reads this so it doesn't matter)

I was incredibly excited about seeing two legendary almost-punk bands in one night, proto-punks The Sonics and post-punks Wire, the only catch being it would be a seated gig. Despite that mislocation, I can now tick both bands off my mental "things to see before I die list", which is probably the most important thing.

Anyway, Wire were really awesome. I'm not such a fan of their newest album (it reminds me of U2 for some reason), but live they really delivered. With the help of a long haired guitarist who appeared to be half the age of the rest of the band, they played a mixture of new material (which was actually really ace live) and old classics and ended with a long noisy electronic sound jam. The noise combined with the lights was completely dazzling throughout, and I was actually pretty glad to be sitting down so I could just absorb what was happening without fear of collapsing with awe.

After a break Ray Davies came on to introduce The Sonics, describing how scary they were to the young and relatively innocent Kinks. The Sonics' set constantly veered between being the rock and roll experience of a life time and making you wonder if they should all go home, get a cup of tea and some rest before they break a hip. They played lots of their old awesome classics, but also some of their new songs (mostly with the new bassist singing) that sounded kinda like AC/DC or Deep Purple. The new songs weren't bad, but no one wanted to hear them, highlighting the fact that these old men were on stage to try to replicate what they had done over 40 years ago - an impossible task.  However, about halfway through people started standing up and going to the front and dancing. Sadly by the time I got there security were blocking access, but the band responded brilliantly and the atmosphere really picked up.

Obviously, I had a great time. Sadly, the fantasies I had of these bands' sets time warping me into 1979 and 1964 respectively were unrealistic.

Friday, 10 June 2011

New Male Bonding music!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Possibly my favourite album of 2010 was Male Bonding's Nothing Hurts. It combined that reverby indie pop sound with a giant dollop of lo fi PUNK ROCK in the best possible way.

They have returned, with promises of a much less lo fi album, Endless Now, coming out on the 30th of August.

They've also put this track out for free download (in exchange for an email address). I think it's pretty awesome, but you can't escape the fact that they now sound like a mixture of their old selves and Blink-182.

It's no bad thing in my book.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Evans The Death are an awesome band that everyone should like

This is Evans The Death's new video for upcoming double a side Threads/I'm So Unclean on Fortuna Pop!. They combine pop brilliance, witty lyrics and a punk rawk attitude reminiscent of all my favourite bands. They are one of my favourite bands.

I've heard that there'll be another video for 'I'm So Unclean', which is probably my favourite of theirs. They're soon to be recording an album with Rory Brattwell (who also did the single and unreleased EP on their MySpace) and I eagerly anticipate what will surely be (judging from demos and songs I've heard live) an incredible debut.

The single release partay is on the 7th of July at the Brixton Windmill. If you don't go, you're an idiot.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

New Stephen Malkmus Track

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Senator by DominoRecordCo

It's from Malkmus's upcoming album, Minor Traffic, and is produced by everyone's favourite ScientologistBeck.You can download it for free off Domino's website here, which is awesome.

Obviously, the track is fairly snazzy and showcases Malkmus's ever interesting lyrics, constantly treading the thin lines between tragedy, sharp wit and complete absurdity.

Obviously, it's nowhere near as good as Pavement. Not even close.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Gig: Low @ Barbican 3/6/11

Yesterday I was a bit nervous about seeing Low: I wasn't a giant fan of the new album, I usually hate being seated at gigs (especially as my seat was right at the back) and, quite frankly, I was a bit worried about being bored.

Oupa (Daniel Blumberg of Yuck) was supporting, and I managed to catch the second half of his set. It's quite clear why he was chosen to support, obviously being influenced by the Slowcore genre Low originated in. His minimalistic keyboard/guitar + voice songs were very nice, and he played them well, but there was an element of self-indulgence in the length and repetition. While being pleasant, it didn't exactly ease my worries about Low's set.

My fears turned out to completely unfounded: last night was definitely one of the most breathtakingly beautiful sets I've ever seen. They opened with a moving rendition of 'Nothing But Heart', a song from their newest album C'mon. To be honest, that was among the songs I didn't like so much from the album but, when played live, the emotional sincerity, beautiful harmonies and awesome crescendo of sound blasted away any doubt in my mind about its brilliance.

From that point on they were on a roll that lasted the remainder of their near 2 hour set. Throughout it, they played lots from Drums and Guns, The Great Destroyer and also the entirety of C'mon. When playing songs that I didn't like so much on their albums, the performance stripped them of their slightly cheesy elements and replaced them with sublime brilliance, completely winning me over. They also did a good mix of long, short, quiet and louder songs that kept my rapt attention much better than a standard rock band ever could. Also, the addition of an extra member (a keyboard/vocalist) added a great element to the awe-inspiring sound.

Particular highlights for me were 'Silver Rider', 'Breaker' and '(That's How You Sing) Amazing Grace'. While I would have preferred them to play more of their early material (especially debut I Could Live In Hope), they're probably really bored of it, and with 9 albums + loads more to their name I'm just glad I knew most of the songs played.

The gig was phenomenal, to the extent that I'm now unsure if I'm more excited to see Low or Jeff Mangum at ATP this December.

Gig: Submotion Orchestra (Album Launch) @ Vibe Bar 31/5/11

Submotion Orchestra make dubsteppy, trip-hop-poppy, slightly-jazzy, souly music very, very well. As a result of that, I went to their awesome and intimate debut album launch at Vibe Bar on Brick Lane.

I got there in time to see support band General Roots play their last few songs. They played a pretty fun reggae/dub/ska set that got most of the audience jumping around and skanking like the Specials. I'm also pretty sure I sure a skinhead guy that disappeared from my secondary school before Sixth Form to everyone's bemusement, but that didn't really affect anything.

Submotion Orchestra came on and started with an awesome instrumental that really got the crowd going. They went on to play a mixture of material from their EP and their great new album Finest Hour, spruced up with instrumental dubstep jams that were definitely the highlights of the night.

Their studio-to-live transition is amazing, and I would definitely advise anyone ambivalent about their studio output to check them live. When actually watching them play, you can't help but marvel at each of the members' musical and technical talents, they're each clearly masters in their individual fields, and if I wasn't busy dancing I would have quite happily gawped for the entire set. The atmosphere was amazing, and I actually feel honoured to have seen them in such a nice and small venue at this stage in what will probably be quite a long and successful career.

Here's a (not brilliant, but thankfully existent) clip that gives you a little taste:

And then my friends and I went to get some disgusting fried chicken that almost killed me.