Thursday, December 21, 2006
Well it looks like I’ve broken my arm just in time for the season of merriment, after slipping on some invisi-ice. Don’t know what’s worse, the extreme pain or the fact I can’t play any of my records without them entering scuffsville this Crimbo (or should that be Grim-bo). Bollocks, looks like I’ll have to get used to the one armed life.
Anyways, be gone with all this grumpiness, been meaning to share this for a while now, a snippet of the
Friday, December 15, 2006
The Cobra Killer strike hard and fast with their album, '76/77' - a collection of venomous loops, grievously groovy hooks, samples and Teutonic accented chants. Zey most definitely haff vays of making us dance, laff and ov scaring ze pants off ov us!
Primarily (to date) known for their wine soaked, debauched and chaotic live shows and for having toured with the likes of Sonic Youth and Peaches, Cobra Killer cannot fail to continue to raise their profile if they carry on making music as good as this.
The album's not an easy journey though - and you'll have to pin back your ears (courtesy of the various 'swish-thunk' of thrown daggers which pepper the tracks) to get past the initial impression of kitsch mayhem - but the challenge is part of the ultimate pleasure, because what they're doing takes a pleasantly surprising and different slant on the sometimes rather hackneyed digital music scene.
Cut to the chase and listen to the killer track LA Shaker - a pure and fangy injection of neurotoxin as you'll ever get down your lug-hole and a track as catchy as a chameleon's tongue. Forget the fear of hooded youth, hooded reptiles like these are where the thrill of the unpredictable can be found.
by Winkcommander (who's PC is very ill)
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
I just sat there mesmerised whilst Lisa Germano single-handingly recreated old favourites and freshly minted songs through her keyboards, guitar and of course, those breathy vocals that have only improved with age. Small Heads, Reptile, some tracks off Liquid Pig, In the Land of the Fairies (a dream come true for me), Golden Cities, Into Oblivion and a few others from her latest album – In the Maybe World. Oh this was just bliss, eyes shut, soaking up the atmosphere. Absolutely brilliant and worth the wait, even if the experience was a little short lived, also had a quick chat with her while she signed my poster – the sad fanboy I am!!!
Sunburned Hand were wow, or should I say WOW!!!, five guitarists (one of who was Hush Arbors’ Keith Wood and I suspect that Ben was in there too), 1 sax, a tree branch, an unholy thicket of electronic trinkets and assorted clatter, all on a mission to bend the contents of your skull. There was so much going on, it’s really hard to capture in words, so I’ll just give you a verbal snap shot and suffice to say it was a corker of a performance.
Sort of began with a swirling of electronics and rippling guitar fuzz, the branch was rhythmical drummed mid air, bells clanking like a herd of phantom cows, the groaning strain accumulating in momentum to form some crippled melody that mutated into a free for all noisefest, shooting images like synaptic staples into yer head, the sax becoming a dying bird, the player’s elbows like amputated wings. This slowly died away to rapturous applause, to reappear as a riffing electro –splutter, sewn to a stumbling ‘kraut rock’ stagger that you just had to let your body move to. They hit a hypnotic hook and staying with it, murky vocals crept around the edges like mouldy fingers. As I said, WOW!!!.
And the news is out that Mrs Cloudboy’s now a convert too, comparing their sound to the trippy element she loved from the likes of the orb (she’s such a mushroom child, and I love her for it!)
Scored this cdr from the boys ‘Live In Shit’ and it’s even better than Magnetic Drugs
Check this track out for size, shape or whatever…
Sunburned Hand of Man - Beaver Fangs.mp3
Six Organs of Admittance were more sedate on the whole, though there was some delightful guitar/bass explosions with the two guitars almost crashing into each other at one point. The line-up was Keith Wood on Bass, a member of Sunburned on drums (the curly haired one and sometime vocalist – must get his name one of these days) and Ben Chasny on vocals and lead guitar.
Didn’t know any of the songs, but that brew of heavy drums, cavernous bass, and darkly wrought cords worked for me, the main man’s vocals sweet nectar for the mind. Was a bit envious of Ben’s Sun 0 ))) guitar, the arcane scrawling of which caught the glint of stage lights in the semi darkness.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Presented by Architects of Harmonic Rooms
It was lovely to be back at Seymours, if somewhat saddened by spying a management note it was due to close in early January, I knew it was due to disappear back in August but this sort of thing brought it all home. Accompanied by Mr Olivetti and Avantgarde Man we arrived early, actually walking in on the band’s tune-up. Realising this, we killed a bit of time at the bar, playing a highly competitive game of table top football, where I developed a wicked spin technique that won some amazingly fluky goals. The gig wasn’t really well attended, only 30+ people turned up - probably a combination of it being a Monday and shite weather, but this just added to the warm and intimate atmosphere.
Morvern Callar was first up, playing a few tunes on her acoustic guitar. She was a great singer/songwriter with a breezy guitar style and sweet delivery, keeping a wry smile through-out her set, obviously enjoying every single minute. Amongst the songs she did, was one about her Scottish homeland, its lilting rhythm was cut across by some exaggerated sighs/ breaths matched by some equally fabulous fret sweeping, as if Larkin inspired. Larkin Grimm joined her for the last song, supplying an excellent bit of harmonising, something they both were practising in the sound check before the show, a delightful serenade.
Viking Moses, taken by the fact an old piano was at hand, dedicated most of his set to it, even though he did confess he couldn’t play one! Guess the 3 hrs of practicing before the show had helped him greatly. Although a bit rickety in places he was using the instrument sparsely and inventively enough to weave his troubadour magic. His sense of humour between songs was a killer too. Keeping a rhythm by hitting the piano side and tapping his foot, his other hand picked out the keys, while his voice veered into some dark territory as if possessed.
Switching to his electric he finished off his set, his guitar playing an ingenious blend of percussion and finger picking, those vocals reaching for the darkest regions of your brain.
Larkin Grimm started off her set with my favourite track of 2006, ‘The Last Tree’ (off her recent 'Secret Eye' release). Great finding out that it was written for Devendra Banhart to give him a sense of perspective. Lots of her new album was showcased plus some extra delights from her debut. Live, the lyrics seemed to be expanded on, reading like mini-novels, her symbolism more vivid and boy that voice was incredible. Her playing was very sparkly with semi-static inflections that twanged with that old country vibe.
When she switched to the dulcimer, her long fingers were bewitching as they filled the room with an exotic Indian raga, the slide of her other hand producing a strange country hybrid. She did a few tracks I didn’t recognise, one about flying on a dead owl, full of native American imagery and one of which was a ancient Bulgarian folksong, in which her vocals were reminiscent of the esoteric qualities of Lisa Gerrard (Dead Can Dance), the alien tongue making strange shapes in the air.
Mr Olivetti demanded an encore, which came in the shape of an audience participation version of 'there is a giant panther' with Larkin in accapello mode to our singing of the repeated line 'Where is the light?'. What a great end.
Required listening :
Larkin Grimm live at Terrastock Apr 2006
(please right click and dwld)
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Inspired by KEK’s current fascination with the cassette underground – I’ve dusted off my old ‘Boots’ walkman to sample a few delights from the current renaissance the humble tape is undergoing and maybe unearth a few floating around the house.
First up is this attractively packaged one from the Sick Head label - A split 30mins of music from Birds of Delay and Nackt Insecten.
The first side is a live recording from the Birds of Delay of a recent gig in Cambridge. It comes across like a slow contraction strapped to a murky drone – a drowsy incantation sunken in heavy vapour, with devotional howlings cut across in sparse feedback, the topography of crumbled skin. In the half light, shadows play with your mind, something moans it’s last before being swallowed in electronic crackle. Creepy, deliberately sloth-like, the sound twists itself in your consciousness like environmental pollution. Somewhere in there, a mutated Tarzan is thrashing his torso into ugly shapes as chemicals eat into his skin.
The second side is from Nackt Insecten and is split into 4 trks that sort of blend into each other so I’m guessing a bit here
Hollow-skull Spekter - is an unholy spew of overloaded guitar(?), the air tasting metallic in the fizzle n crack – like a screaming beast of burden writhing around in slowly decreasing and gratuitous circles. St. Mary of the Storms – supplies a welcomed reprieve from the torn noise onslaught, a rippling of bass fuzz, a low prairie of shimmering glass-like reflections. Yellow Wraith – is blistering noise bubbling up and expanding in explosive release, a sickening cyclone that cuts away to reveal the last trk - Still Tide. This is Gregorian moan over a gorgeous bed of metallic wreckage that slips queasily through your ears, and dies off to a few sax squeaks.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Hooked up with KEK again for this show, lovely to meet a guy who shares the same enthusiasm for music especially the live variety, even though he hadn’t slept well for a number of nights due to an ill household. As usual, the Cube was on hand to smooth all troubles away with a particularly fine, string heavy, line up.
The Serfs were first up, a guitar duo from Manchester (I think), one manipulating feedback, the other containing it in a filigree of delicate guitar work saturated in delay and cloudy echo. The result was really vivid, rippling oscillations that took root in your chest and spread outward/inward like sonic surgery, your mind riding all the shapes/contours that evaporated, tantalisingly just out of grasp. The guitarist who looked remarkably like ‘Efrim’ from ‘Silver Mt Zion’, hovered an electro magnetic device (later found out this was an ebow) across the pick-ups to produce a slowly shifting drone that he carefully maintained through their performance. The Other guitarist worked within and around this with some gorgeous improvised guitar work. Polyphonic colours and textures flooded out, producing highly meditative stuff that glowed under the ruby stage lights.
Thoughtforms the next band, started with ambient washes of effects driven gtrs hovering in the air like a vapour of nocturnal shadows, tangled lines of fuzzy/fizzing electronics. The girl guitarist was hunched over her amp coaxing divine squalls and bass heavy rumbles. From these tranquil beginnings they launched into a deceptively jangly detour that quickly ascended into some marvellous pyramids of sound complete with cut up junctions / intersections, then clearing without any of the momentum being lost.
The background slowly built up again into some delightful blizzards of interlocking noise. As one tune ebbed away in a rinse of effects, the next rose effortlessly as if umbilically tied to the fading memory of the last. Really enjoyed that novel use of the input jacks, the resulting depth charges of sound scarring the air, and those weighty drums that thundered behind the guitar lines. Thoughtforms were amazingly proficient, creating tight hooks that would in turn be sabotaged beautifully, playfully mixing up all those influences – the explosiveness of early Pumpkins, the riff-tastic glow of Hovercraft, that taut n metallic sound of Sonic Youth (chiming as KEK so aptly put) circa ‘Evol’, Rothko, Ride, Slowdive, Loop, the list was endless, they just bled this stuff all over their performance in a giddy concoction that was new, inventive and worthy of your attention. It’s a pity my camera died on me, as I can’t share the incendiary forms the two guitarists were making when truly wigging out. Annoyingly enough, the camera seemed to work again for MV and EE before finally running out of juice towards the end of their set.
MV and EE’s show was more space blues than the frazzled commune madness found on the Tower recordings, which I'd spent last week re-listening to in readiness for the show. Really liked the way they subverted that blues/country genre on the night swamping it in their other- worldly effects, warping the time signatures, taking history and re-moulding to their own unique blueprint. Without the extra orchestration from the bummer road this was also a really intimate performance from just the two of them, and it was interesting seeing how each of them contributed to the whole. Erika plucking her sleek n shiny ukulele laidened with spacey swirl effects or adding whale like calls from her ‘Lap Steel’ on her knees, Matt on the acoustic making the weirdest of shapes, diverting to his electric to give the sound extra beef.
Each had an array of daisy- chained pedals at their feet. Matt would push them to their limit, sometimes losing the sound altogether, but thankfully only momentarily with Erika filling in the blanks. A great bunch of songs were showcased, mostly from their recent double, Erika’s vocals bewitching, Matt’s weather worn n rustic. ‘Anthem of the Cocola Y&T’ a song about a stateside ‘hic town’ that hasn’t changed since the 30’s was a sublime cosmic bluegrass workout, the lyrics sliding around vaporously. Speaking with them after the show, they seemed really laidback, peaceful people whose only aim was to spread their love out into the world, something they succeeded to do with me, Kek and DJ Baz...
Monday, November 13, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
@ the Cube Bristol - Friday 10th Nov
Real disappointment on hearing that Lisa Germano had cancelled the UK leg of her European schedule, including her Cube debut. Hope everything is ok in the Germano camp...
The whole Cloudboy posse was feeling deflated, as we’d booked this one months in advance, and even went through the arduous task of finding a babysitter for the kids so Mrs Cloudboy could come too. Fortunately, A Hawk and the Hacksaw, kindly stepped in (on their night off, I may add) as replacement headliners for the evening with the original booked support act of Caroline Martin still on the cards to warm things up.
Dispelling all those singer songwriter clichés, Caroline charged straight into a song about sexual violence. Loved her gentle swinging riffs that enfolded her bitter sweet tales of disappointed love experiences, simple circular fingerings. Her voice was crisply evocative diverting to some expressive abstracts on a number of tunes.
She was supported by Max on violin whose strings put across extra emotional attachment and his light scrapings seemed to have an enchanting rusty-hinge vibe. Her cover version of Teenage kicks was a lovely drawn-out affair, her words languidly falling from her lips, erotically charged.
Lovely to see the Hacksaw again, it’s great to see the way these two musicians work around each other, like an audio dance, each adding and subtracting from the whole, the tunes fluid, the borders agreeably hazy.
That 'Eastern European' vibe they have going on is still cutting the mustard with me. They added lots of vocals to the mix including a song or two from their latest album... that one about throwing bodies into the river seemed entangled like a Grimm fairytale. In fact the visuals they created were delightfully sepia tinged and juddery affairs, where reality magically recreated itself through a glass of absinthe - Music to forget your worries in and be enraptured by.