Bristol band gig review thing. Local review for local people

September 15, 2008 at 10:06 pm (Reviews) (, , , )

And, now that im thinking about it, there were only about 10 people there, so this really is a minority group review.  Think yourself lucky you lot, most reviews are done for hundreds, if not thousands of people.  The combined number of people that saw the gig and read this review is, probably, under 20.  Hmmmmm.

Anyway, enough of this, I want to review, like Ive never reviewed before (well, meaningfully?…er, no).  It was a dark and stormy thursday night, Bristol was, maybe unsurprisingly, under a torrent of rain.  All that we had to protect us was the surprisingly cheap (at on only £2) gig on at Mr Wolfs, central bristol.  Put on, i believe, by ingue records ( http://www.myspace.com/inguerecords ) what option did one have?
First up were line, local post rockers, who have a natty range of brass instruments in their ranks, along side three, thats right, THREE guitarist.  They work very nicely, producing slighlty understated, slighty finger pickeringy ambience, and while the brass could have maybe done with being slightly better mixed in, overall a good job done.  Could the following two bands follow such a good opening set?

Wasp display, unfortunately, couldnt.  Trying to offer some kind of doom, metal rock meted out by Shellac or surgery or the bomb (hi guys!) It didnt pick up or excite at all.

Finally Hreda came on,  apparently a band from Oxford, but im from there, and ive never heard of them, so maybe their lying.  They certainly couldnt have formed in the last two and a half years, they were far to fucking good for that…… he, thats right, Hreda came on, took Line’s gauntlet and said, lets rip this place up, big style.  The three piece band played some pretty sweet post/maths rock rythms that we all loved (all 20 of us).  And interestingly their ep (check out the myspace) is more sweeping than their pretty don caballero esque live set (though,oh ,Look!  they are supporting don cab in oxford.  hopefully they will blow them away, now that don cab arent that good any more.  oh come on, who listens to world class listening problem over any other one of their albums??????  no one.  thats who).

So, cheers ingue records, looking forwards to the next gig.

http://www.myspace.com/linemusic

http://www.myspace.com/hreda

http://www.myspace.com/inguerecords

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Mogwai vs Blink 182

September 9, 2008 at 12:13 pm (Reviews) ()

So, Mogwai, scottish post rockers extrodinair, have their new single batcat out this week (now available in all good shops on cd & 12 inch).   Its pretty good, more post rock esque than much of their last album, Mr Beast, which was as close to rock as you can get without just being, er, rock.  B-sides are OK, though im not sure about the third track, which has some one who sounds not unlike michael stipe warbling over the top of it.  normally mogwai vocals are fairly under undermixed on tracks, and its rather startling to hear this voice.  Hopefully as a B-side its not too indicative of their new sound.

However, Stupid Prick Gets Chased By The Police And Loses His Slut Girlfriend, the second track, is what we ALL want to talk about really.  Chris claims that it is more a track name that you would associate with Blink 182….dick lips?  waggy? degenerate?  whats my name again?  Their school boy humour seems unable to shine through into original and witty song titles.  for shame.  and mogwai mange to do it ironically, or in a way that insults a large number people, either way is a much more interesting and engaging concept.

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The Mars Volta – The Bedlam in Goliath (no puns at all. sorry)

May 26, 2008 at 1:17 pm (Reviews) (, )

Ah so, The Mars Volta, and band that splits opinions in a way that At the Drive In (Cedric and Omars previous band) generally managed to unite. On the one hand, people love their mad guitar skillz, overblown music and, especially, their big, big hair- http://drownedinsound.com/release/view/12482 on the other hand, people hate their overblown concept albums, the prog/jazz/free funk (i think i might have just made this up) ideas they have incorporated into their music, and just want them to sound like atdil… http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/record_review/48358-the-bedlam-in-goliath (and probably feel that they sound like they do because, apparently, the humungous amount of drugs they have done over the last few years) (though are they clean nowadays? I DONT KNOW)

Soo, ooh, who is right? Well, i think you will find you have come to the right place to answer these questions, AND MORE. And its certainly not just an opinion nor nothing. To start with, i like ATDI, but i didnt really listen to them at the time, and only bought relationship of command a couple of years ago from Virgin for a mere four pounds and ninety nine pence, so I dont have some huge stiffy for these guys that refuses to go away (indeed, this is concept that annoys me. Wow, i liked a band you used to be in, therefore im going to like your new band. this might be true, but i dont really think that it blinds people to the actual quality of the music. people arent that dumb. are they. dont answer that). Secondly, i like the mars volta! Yoinks! Im in that group of people that like their prog rock fusion, that they are pushing the boundaries of music in a good way…. though i remember being severly unimpressed by their last album (amputechre) when it came out, and almost writing them off, even though i had thoroughly enjoyed frances the mute. But when i heard they had a new album out…i returned to amputechre, and found actuallly it was a darn tooting good album.

So, what does this all mean for The Bedlam in Goliath? Well, the first thing that you notice is, actually, that its really REALLY LOUD. Bejesus is it loud. Hey, i was listening to amputechre while walking into work today (dont look quite so surprised, im good at pretending to be able to read and write…) and was waiting for some real rock action to kick in, and waited, and waited, then it did. And of course, i only got through about 2 songs during my walk, because all the tracks are so bleeding long. However, with Goliath you just get noise, immediately. wow. And er, it doesnt stop. You get about 74 minutes of constant, loud music. Now, im not one to turn down loud music (im still deafened by a Merzbow gig) but for this album, its opening track Abernikula, set the tone for the rest of the album. I I like to have some variety in my music (what with variety being the spice of life and all that) and enjoyed the quiet, loud bits that they had utilised in previous albums. This album however, is just loud loud. loud.

I found that during each of the last 3 or 4 tracks i found myself thinking, ah this must be the end, but then just getting another track. then another one. And i like long albums too (saves energy to get up and change cds). Im impressed they had the energy to keep going, but at the same time, editing. Though, editing has never been their strong point i suppose.

LOOK AT THE HAIR!!!!!!

So, go buy frances the mute, or deloused in the crematorium, and maybe even amputechre. But I dont really think ill be returning to Bedlam very often really…

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Growing (non) Pains

April 9, 2008 at 5:44 pm (Reviews) (, , )

Ah, so, Growing have a new EP out, this time on The Social Registry ( www.thesocialregistry.com/index2.html )  having previously released a couple of albums on the mighty Kranky.  I have no idea why they didnt stay with them, but hopefully it was their decision, and not just a dumb move by the boys at Kranky, because as this EP shows, they still have plenty of creative juices that need expurging all over the drone scene.  After the His Return EP that came out a while ago, Growing come back, however, this time it isnt all loud aural soundscapes and what have you (their first album ky runs into the sea, lulls you into a sense of security before you realise that, actually, its REALLY FUCKING LOUD).  This time, stuff actually happens in their songs!  OMG!  While i realise this might actually be seen as slightly not really being drone (i mean, look at Sunn o))) for a band that stick with what they are good at) it does mean that you have to listen to it, rather than sitting back and letting it wash over you (though, feel free to do that if you wish).  And yes!  They have vocals!  And everything!  Well, apart from drums.  Or bass.  Or anything like that,   but there are vocals for sure!

So they come in more obvious waves of sound this time.  You have peaks and troughs, taking you on some kind of boat journey of blissfull guitar sound (there are sounds on the last track that almost sound like seagulls) (go figure).   Its almost a suprise everytime you hear a riff, because you are so used to prolonged guitar feedback from their previous releases.  But this is only a good thing, as how many times can you realese albums like that before you run out of FX pedals for your guitar to make it sound new and exciting?  We all know what happened to kevin shields now, dont we!

A lot of the other reviews i found while googling for the image all talked about ambience, but i feel that they have moved slightly away from this tag, and making something a bit more adventurous, and maybe making something a bit more epic in the process?

Whatever, I know for a fact that I am going to see them support Boris on tour, and that they are going to be very very good.  See you there?

This album rates higher than another album that i like slighty less

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MERZBOW WILL DESTROY YOU.

April 7, 2008 at 5:49 pm (Reviews) (, , , )

Masami Akita A.K.A. Merzbow at Moers Festival 2007

Well, he might not, because he is probably quite a nice man. I dont know, I havent met him. Let me look him up on wikipedia a second (i am actuall doing this, though you wont be able to tell, because the way this works, it will look like i wrote it all in one go. i cant do much about this, except ask that you believe me. PLEASE)

So, www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merzbow  tells me he is 52. to old you say? Well I say NO way daddy o. The king of noise, as i like to call him, could easily take on that other dude, michael jackson, in the fact that he is still producing kick arse music, is relevant, and hasnt had any court proceedings bought against him (guilty or not guilty. as far as i know – which isnt very far i spose)

So, anyway, im listening to this: http://www.nofunfest.com/nfp24.jpg and it is really rather good. As we all know, noise music is rather niche market. My housemate would say, it isnt really music. but we all know better. Recorded live at the NO FUN FEST (oh, i will go to it one day) in Brooklyn new york, produced as wikipedia tells me by some laptops, this takes your music and breaks it over your mothers face. More dense than some of his previous albums (such as merzbear) and a lot louder (though i might just have my stereo turned up…) the 40 odd minutes mutates and evolves, taking and idea, fucking around with it for a bit, then spitting it out when the flavour has gone. there was a nice bit at about 18 odd mintues, but it soon got dicarded in favour of some more filthy filthy noise. fantastic.

So, it might not have like, rhtyhm, or indeed vocals, but you are not here for that. You are here for a man on a mission, ooooh yeah.

Dig it.

I reward this album square out of circle

Merzbuddha cover

MERZBOW UPDATED – I just got Merzbuddah on Important records, and it is hella good.  The first thing that you notice is it that it has a beat!  A kind of throbbing, loud bass line that could be merzbows heart beat, pushing the energy round the track.  Then you notice that there is a kind of wall of white noise over the top, but you only notice it once it has stopped, when everything suddenly goes very, very quiet.  Its not Merzbows normal, all out sonic assault, but it really is vert good.  It makes up for me being unable to by merzdub (well, for less than 20 english pounds)

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Curtis Eller, and why you need to know about him

December 10, 2007 at 11:01 pm (Reviews)

This is Curtis Eller:

Curtis Eller

That enough ought to get your attention, but in case you’re the kind of sicko who isn’t intrigued by moustachioed, baggy-trousers-wearing banjo players, allow me to elaborate:

Curtis Eller is the best live act doing the rounds at the moment. He is possibly one of the greatest live music performers ever, steeped in Coney Island showmanship and toting songs about Buster Keaton, Abraham Lincoln, and circus elephants. He high-kicks around the stage, yodelling through instrumental sections, and occasionally pausing mid-song to explain some of the more obscure American history references in his lyrics.

Last week he played in Bath’s Moles Club (supported, incidentally, by the mighty Smokehand), and for the third time I came home and resolved to practice my banjo, write songs, and basically be like Curtis. Actually, that’s not true; the first time I saw him I went home and decided to get a banjo. During that show, Curtis decided that the stage was too far from his seated audience, and promptly unplugged and performed his whole set leaping on tables and chairs amongst the punters. The second time I saw him, he managed to coax the whole club into singing ‘When the Red Red Robin Goes Bob Bob Bobbin’ Along’ a capella for so long that we kept going for a good minute or two after he’d left the stage.

This time round was no disappointment either, as he sang from atop a chair, his head up in the lighting rig, crept around crouched low and singing about Jack Ruby, and lectured his audience on the finer technical points of a good yodel. “Buster Keaton,” he reminds us, “is dead, by the way, so you’re gonna have to yodel louder than that…”.

If I’m making Curtis out to sound like a novelty act… well, he kind of is, but not in a bad way. His persona harks back to the days when a showman was a showman, a gimmick was nothing to be ashamed of, and whether what you were doing was good was a consideration secondary to whether it was entertaining. “Make ’em laugh” and all that. That Curtis Eller’s music is in fact by turns haunting, rousing and brilliant is some kind of wonderful bonus.

He’s coming to the UK again in April, so make the effort and check out a true entertainer.

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