Sunday, 11 November 2007

Too Many Gigs

The National/St. Vincent @ The Leadmill, Sheffield 3/11
Deerhunter/This Ain't Vegas/To My Bones/some other band @ Bar Saki, Manchester 7/11
Antelope/This Ain't Vegas/Heart/YEAH/Up! Periscope @ The Red House, Sheffield 8/11
The Yell/The Tigerpicks @ Razor Stiletto, Sheffield 10/11
Situationists/Just Ben @ The Harley, Sheffield 12/11

After a quick count it seems that in the space of nine days I've seen 14 bands; and of those 14, 2 were very good, 4 were good, 3 were passable, 2 were bad and 1 straight up sucked. I'm sure you're itching to know who's who, so let me tell you - The Tigerpicks were the worst. I might go as far as saying they were the worst band I've seen all year. Having been to Razor Stiletto before, I never go expecting to see anyone good play but usually bands get a good reception thanks to the "excited" (read: high) few in the crowd. However, when you're playing to a full venue and not even the non-sober people are clapping for you, you must be doing something wrong. And they were - it was a sort of Yeah Yeah Yeahs meets The Klaxons thing but without anything interesting. It spoke volumes that they'd just been signed to Sony. If there was ever a more obvious attempt at a label trying to find a marketable band and make some quick cash I'd be surprised. The Tigerpicks have everything that is so hot right now - 2 yelping girls, a laptop instead of a drummer, one guy on keyboard who's been given a trendy angular haircut, another guy on bass who's been told that he has to be the "New Rave" guy in the band so is wearing all white with a bit of neon and absolutely no songs, hooks or charisma. I fell like I should be meaner about this band but I simply can't - they're obviously going to go nowhere and get dropped faster than you can say "Jocasta" that it seems pointless. Having said that I dismissed The Pigeon Detectives as a mere Strokes copy and look where they are now. What can you do? Make fun of them on teh internets, that's what. And now onto the good bands.

For a band who released an album as good as "Alligator", putting out a follow up record must be a daunting task. Do you try and go for something bigger and bolder or do you try for something more understated? The National went for the latter, putting out "Boxer" earlier this year, a much more sedate affair compared to its predecessor. Obviously, as with any good live band, the quieter songs take on a much rawer edge live; basically The National are really good live. Their encore was a bit too long - they should have finished with "Mr November". Add to standing next to OB and Lee Hunter of Hollyoaks, I would say a good night all round. Lee Hunter seemed annoyed by the people talking in front of him. Someone tell heat magazine.

Bar Saki didn't play host to any minor soap stars but it did have Deerhunter there. Personally I would have enjoyed seeing someone from Coronation Street nodding out to the wall of sound coming from the stage area, but it was not to be. Instead, Deerhunter put in a fine performance and perfectly demonstrated why Cryptograms is one of the top 3 albums released this year. It would be a good point here to mention shoe gaze, since I believe it's making a comeback, MBV reunion and all. Deerhunter make use of the standard tools of reverb, delay and big walls of sound but add some subtle hi hats into the mix, providing a nice backbeat to the sheets of guitar noise. I don't really need to tel you this - you're reading a blog so chances are you own (or at least downloaded) Cryptograms.

Regular readers of this blog (as if there is such a thing) will no doubt notice the frequency with which I see heart/YEAH. Well I saw them again but this time they played some new songs. Their new stuff is a lot more poppy, one song in particular recalls Warren's pop punk roots with an added twist of Bruce Springsteen thrown in for good measure. The set opener, features some great guitar work from Jack. If they play your town, and by your town I mean Sheffield, I urge you to go and see them.

A special mention goes to Up! Periscope, who I've never seen before but they were very good. Quite like Hella or Don Caballero. Their stuff on myspace doesn't real do them full justice but I shall link anyway. Link.

So that's it for another week or so. I don't have any more gigs in my calender. Apart from My Bloody Valentine. Which is in June. Fucking june. Buying tickets in advance makes me feel uneasy.

If I form any more opinions on any more bands I shall write. Bye for now.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

You! Me! Fuzztival!

Hiem/Grammatics @ Fuzz Club, Sheffield 25/10
Fuzztival @ Fuzz Club, Sheffield 27/10
Rolo Tomassi, Actioner, Jonny Park @ The Casbah, 31/10

So you're probably thinking "What's a Fuzztival?" Well, it's a clever combination of Fuzz Club and a festival, hence Fuzztival. See what they've down there? Dead clever. Anyway, spending a whole day in Fuzz Club can get a bit much so it's best to pace yourself and maybe avoid the breadcakes. As for the bands, Situationists were good, Pete And The Pirates definitely played, You Say Party! We Say Die! suffered from the terrible Fuzz sound, Calf By Calf sounding almost exactly like Lightning Bolt which is no bad thing and then there was the headline bands, Los Campesinos! who may be one of the indie-est bands in existence at the moment. They name check K Records, Calvin Johnson, Ian Mackaye and Henry Rollins all in one song. They are twee as fuck. They even play an obscure Pavement song. And their drummer is shit. Does it get any more indie?

Prior to seeing LC! I'd had some reservations about them; the fact that they sound quite a lot like Broken Social Scene, the fact that they got signed after 14 gigs, and the whole twee, self referential nature of their lyrics. After seeing them, I conclude that, whilst they do sound a lot like BSS (not a bad thing) they're not just a carbon copy. Their set included nods to post-rock, a brief Sonic Youth style noise section and Pavement. Lots of Pavement. That they got signed after only 14 gigs does come through in their performance - had they had a bit more time to develop their sound they probably wouldn't be stuck with some of the dud songs that pepper their set and being so obvious in some of their lyrical references; naming your only ballad "Knee Deep At ATP" doesn't exactly scream subtlety. But what can you do? In this Web 2.0 age, LC! might be the perfect band - they're big on the internet, their songs are about other songs or bands, they all wear band t-shirts, they're actually pretty good, there seems to be at least a little sense of irony (maybe) - in fact, I may christen them "Blog-Rock", which is a new genre I have just invented. So watch out for that. It's almost as good as Puzzle Pop.

As for Hiem, a special thought should go out to them. They've been playing Fuzz Club ever year for the past 4 years, always playing the same songs, still dining out on "Chelsea" being NME Single Of The Week a couple of years, always sucking and seemingly never playing a gig any where else all year. But this year they came on to a Sigur Ros song. That's about it. I think they may be slightly fatter. Good work guys.

And a final word on Rolo Tomassi. For a group of 18 year olds they can play. Good costumes as well. I think the guitarist might have been dressed as one of Sunn o))). The Casbah was hosting the rock society's Halloween party and they seemed to freak out quite a few heavy metal types so that must be quite an achievement. If you take anything from this slightly crappy entry, it should be to go and see Rolo Tomassi. They're always on tour so it's not like you won't have the chance. Although if you don't like The Locust then you probably won't like them, so go see Los Campesinos!


Thursday, 25 October 2007

Meet Me Where The Sweat Descends

Les Savy Fav/Clockwork @ Bar Academy, Manchester, 21/10

On record Les Savy Fav are one the best post-punk bands around, almost wholly responsible for the “Brooklyn sound”, the sound of angular, delay ridden guitars and danceable rythms. Live, however, Les Savy Fav essentially become the Tim Harrington show – a one man lesson in how to be to be the perfect frontman. That’s not to dismiss the rest of the band, who play as tightly and aggressively as any new band on the block and not like a band who’ve been together for upwards of ten years. But when your singer is half naked and stood delivering his vocals from the middle of the crowd, you’re going to take a back seat.

Opener “The Equestrian” sees Harrington come onstage wearing a top hat, cloak, and a mask made of tights. As the band tears through what is probably the best song on their new record, Harrington slows removes his costume whilst delivering a vocal about sex and horse riding. By the end of the second song, he is semi-naked and running about the crowd. The rest of the band seem nonplussed, playing on as if nothing special is going on. It would be possible to claim that such behaviour suggests that Harrington's stage moves are rehearsed but there is a level of excitement in his face and stage banter, an excitement that many bands lack, which suggests that he's acting this way because he is enjoying himself as much as the crowd dancing at the front. To the people standing still at the back, who look like they're "updating their blogs", Tim sings "Yawn, Yawn, Yawn" from the sound desk, and encourages them to join in on the heart-shape hand waving during "We'll Make A Lover Of You"; not only do LSF rock the party, but they rock it and include everyone.
More stage theatrics include multiple shirt shaping, a costume made up of cricket equipment and Tim marrying two members of the audience.

As for the songs they play,most of the set is made up of material from the new record Let's Stay Friends. Whilst on record some of the tracks sound a bit flat, they all come good live, particularly the dead sexy vibe of "Patty Lee" and the final call of "nineteen-ninety nine, nineteen-ninety nine's alright" during "The Year Before The Year 2000"; the frankly awesome "Raging In The Plague Age" sees a single audience member get on stage and reveal himself to everyone present. If you're going to try and upstage LSF try not to get thrown out. And the we have the encore. One more costume change and they're back on; ripping through "Who Rocks The Party" (clue: Les Savy Fav rock the party) and going straight into an awesome rendition of "ROME". And then it's all over as quickly as it begun. Simply, LSF are better than pretty much any band around. Here's to next year's ATP.

Les Savy Fav - "ROME"

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Caught By The Fuzz

Strange Death Of Liberal England @ Fuzz Club, Sheffield 27/9
The Brakes/The Xcerts @ Fuzz Club, Sheffield, 4/10
The Rascals @ Fuzz club, Sheffield, 11/10
Foals/Cut Off Your Hands/The Great Eskimo Hoax @ Plug 10/10
White Mice/some other guys om laptops @ The Red House 15/10

The new University year sees the return of Fuzz club, a good excuse to go out and watch a crappy band with bad sound and then dance to some indie hits and get beer spilt on your jeans and shoes. The first three weeks of this year don't disappoint - Strange Death Of Liberal England sound terrible and seem so much worse than the last time I saw them, despite them playing exactly the same set; maybe their performance losing something in a venue as large as Fusion or maybe their poor man's Silver Mont Zion shtick was more obvious. Brakes and The Xcerts were both bad and The Rascals were so bad that no-one bothered to clap them. Being friends with Alex Turner doesn't guarantee you tunes. Just look at Milburn.
As always, the indie disco provided some interesting song choices. Steve Lamacq playing Supergrass' "Caught By The Fuzz", whilst highly appreciated by the slightly older attendees, did seem an odd choice; a quick bit of maths tells me that any freshers present would have been about 8 when it came out. I'm not sure what my point is - maybe that I'm getting old. Another interesting one was Foals getting played fairly late into the night. That's the power of Yoof TV for you.

Speaking of Foals (subtle link, no?), their gig at Plug was an exciting affair. At least it was for the kids down the front. Once again the power of Yoof TV - it kind of reminds me of the speech at the end of this video. But maybe I'm too cynical. I was stood at the back. The less jaded me would probably accept the Ian Williams guitar worship and post-punk drum beats and be glad that it's not another band that sound like The Libertines. But I'm jaded and cynical so as far as I can see they only have one song and it goes bum-tish-bum-tish with some guitars that sound like they belong on American Don. One Foals song is good. 8 Foals songs are grating and repetitive.

As for White Mice, the half hour spent wondering around Sheffield trying to find the venue and the subsequent hour or so wait for any sort of band to play was rewarded with a fine set of noise rock, fairly reminiscent of Lightning Bolt but with added noise. Such are the wonders of DIY.

That's your lot for now. Sunday is Les Savy Fav in Manchester. Let's hope I have more to say about that.

Monday, 24 September 2007

The Saddest Platform

Tired Irie/Rotary Ten @ The Charlotte, Leicester 8/9
Nathaniel Green/The Little Explorer/This Ain't Vegas/Spy Versus Spy @ The Cricketers Arms, Sheffield 9/9
Heart Yeah/Fury Of The Headteachers/So So Modern @ Corporation, Sheffield 12/9
Gossamer Albatross/Wow! She Must Be A Hundred Feet Tall/Napoleon IIIrd @ The Raynor Lounge, Sheffield 28/9

I've been avoiding updating this here blog for a couple of weeks. I'm not sure why - given that the Spy Versus Spy gig I went to was probably the best gig I've been to, you'd think I'd have some interesting things to write. But I don't. I'm literally without speech.

I thought about writing about "puzzle pop" which is a new genre the NME has invented. As far as I can see, it's code for bands what sound a bit like Battles or are a bit math-rock and have lots of equipment. So that's So So Modern (Time signatures + Devo + lots of keyboards), Tired Irie (Battles + expensive equipment - good ideas) and Foals (Battles + aluminium necked guitar + "American Don").

My other thought was to write about Spy Versus Spy being brilliant and a discussion on finger pointing and emo mosh. But I'm not going to. This is turning out to be a bad blog. My only excuse is that I'm ill. Which I am.

I shall finish with a request: if anyone reads this and plays the drum, email me.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Don't Look Back

Sonic Youth/Cars Sick Cars @ The Roundhouse, Camden 31/08
Rotary Ten/Battle/Kubichek! @ The Leadmill, Sheffield 3/09

The idea behind the Don’t Look Back gigs is a simple one: a band, possibly reunited, performs a classic album, from start to finish, for a one-off gig. So tonight we see Sonic Youth performing Daydream Nation in full – good idea on paper, not necessarily as good in practice.

Unlike most of the bands playing a Don’t Look Back gig, Sonic Youth are still together and releasing material, most recently 2006’s Rather Ripped. So it’s no surprise that during certain parts of their performance they look a little subdued, like they’re not really enjoying playing songs from an album released almost 20 years ago, some of which they’ve not played since recording. And sure, they may be rubbing their guitars on speaker stacks, but do they really mean it? They’ve already admitted that they weren’t keen on the idea and that they’re partly motivated by money (Daydream Nation pays rent), but will the performance equal the album as a “classic”? The unfortunate answer is, no, it probably won’t.

Certainly very few bands can start a set with such a one two punch as “Teenage Riot” into “Silver Rocket”, both with added noise parts, which see Lee and Thurston attacking the stage and each other with their guitars, but some songs, in particular a couple of Kim’s fall short of the mark, with sloppy changes and bored looks. Steve Shelley’s drumming drives the band through the whole set, bringing even the less rousing renditions up a notch. Both “Hey Joni” and “Eric’s Trip” see an animated Lee taking lead vocal, adlibbing beat poetry whilst Thurston plays his guitar with a drumstick, providing some of the highlights of the set. One thing that becomes more obviously when seeing Daydream Nation being played in a live setting is that it is a long album; however, album closer “Trilogy” provides as atrong a closer as “Teenage Riot” is an opener.

The encore sees a more talkative Sonic Youth (plus mark ibold on bass) running through the better parts of Rather Ripped. For a band that are more likely to be forward thinking than to rest on their past glories, the encore sees more smiles and talking than the previous 70 minutes. A final rendition of “Schizophrenia” and the Sonic Youth leave the stage.

Whilst not as great a gig as it could have been, Sonic Youth certainly didn’t disappoint; it was still better than what most bands manage on an average night. It’s worth bearing in mind that a Don’t Look Back gig isn’t a typical gig; the majority of albums aren’t recorded with the intent of being played live in exactly the same way so they’re best seen as a kind of one-off rather than a typical gig and when the audience can anticipate every song, chord, vocal or cymbal hit, having lived with the record and held it in such esteem is it really possible for a band to live up to such expectations. This also begs the question that given that the everyone knows what song will be first last and and in between, then why didn’t everyone go to the bar during “Providence”?

Sonic Youth - Eric's Trip
(This isn't from the Don't Look Back show, but I felt i should include an mp3 of some sort).

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Totally Natural

And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead/Smokers Die Younger @ The Leadmill, Sheffiled 20/08

When a band such as ..Trail Of Dead, a band known for their ferocious live show, starts
to dismiss the idea of playing live as having "no rewards" you know something's a miss. And when said band performs an entire song with the singer being held aloft by fans, you have to wounder what the hell they were talking about

Trail Of Dead have definitely seem better days - they're playing in the little room of the Leadmill, which holds about 200 people, and their last album, the appropriately titled "So Divided", was widely panned. It speaks volumes that their set list contains no songs taken from that LP. Instead, Trail Of Dead treat us to choice cuts from their first 4 albums. I would say "hits" but they didn't play "A Perfect Teenhood". What's with that?

Confined to such a tiny stage, Trail Of Dead's usual appetite for destruction is limited by the mass of equipment. Instead, the songs get a more focused work out. A more than enthusiastic crowd makes up for any lack of movement on stage, leaving some nervous looking bouncers (and one grinning tech) after one too many back-flip-come-stage-dives. The songs from that come from the under rated "Worlds Apart" get beefed up and rocked out, especially "Caterwaul" which sees singer/drummer Jason leave his kit for the safety of the audiences hands for most of the song. "Totally Natural" gets an extended breakdown/build up, providing a spectacular ending to a set, one which most bands would be proud of. But not Trail Of Dead. The house lights come on, the pa starts playing the new Bloc Party album, and Trail Of Dead come back on stage to play "Mistakes And Regrets". The strict live curfew long gone, Trail Of Dead play what is probably their biggest hit with more passion than you'd expect from a band who are disillusioned with playing live. As the last chord rings out, half the band leave the stage, along with the mics. But not Jason and Conrad - they treat us to a version of "Richter Scale Madness" with one guitar and drums and vocals being yelled into thin air. Midway through the song the power is cut. As the drums clatter to a halt, the rest of the band leaves the stage safe in the knowledge that few bands can top them as a live band.

So what if they didn't trash their equipment?

Thursday, 23 August 2007


This post is dedicated entirely to Matt's wonderful final words on redcarsgofaster. It is a lovely piece of writing about what made up and took over the last four years of my life. I don't really have much to add. I feel old.

It's here.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Out Of Spite

Just Norris/Uncle Frank @ The Firebug, Leicester 9/08
Out Of Spite X @ Joesph's Well, Leeds 10/8 & 11/8
War Crimes/Big Difference/Power Corrupts/Army Of Flying Robots @ The Cricketer's Arms, Sheffield 13/08

The punk all dayer reminds me of being young, of turning up at some crappy venue at 2 in the afternoon to find out the band you really wanted to see and came early for have canceled. This weekend saw the the very last Out Of Spite, so I though I'd make the effort. Plus there was some band called Spy Versus Spy playing a reunion set.
After one of the worst train journey's ever (1 hour and 15 minutes to get to Leeds? Ridiculous), I get to Joesph's Well in time for Joe Ninety who set the trend for the weekend by A) being a punk rock band in the vein of Jawbreaker/Hot Water Music and B) having recently got back together. Another trend for the weekend was the finger point. There's something to be said about seeing a crowd all singing along with their fingers in the air. Dartz! played next, during their set another theme of the weekend came to light - Joesph's Well gets unbearably hot. I don't think I've been to a gig where I've sweated that much in years. And that includes gigs I've played (those stage lights get awfully hot). Over the two days I think I lost about 2 stone in weight; it was like a sauna. I digress. Back on the reunion tip were And None Of Them Knew They Robots. Having been at their original last ever gig I can say that the 3 year gap spent playing in Send More Paramedics may have a lasting affect on their guitarist - most of the set was spent doing metal poses and sticking his tongue out. Despite (or in spite of) the metal shapes, The Robots were pretty fucking good. I do wonder if Kev, singer of band, found himself cringing when he had to relearn some of the lyrics. Particularly the line "I wish I was six again and sitting next to David". On the other hand I've never heard a band make a hook out of screaming my name. Not my full name obviously; that would be stupid.
And so comes the one of the most anticipated bands of the weekend - the newly back together Spy Versus Spy. Considered by many to be one of the best British bands of the last ten years, and rightly so, it's a simple greeting of "welcome to the late 90s" that they open their set, launching straight into a rousing rendition of "Waiting For Centralia To Sink". Fingers are pointed, drums scatter about, guitars play angular one note riffs and a crowd sing a long starts. Some of the songs are re-arranged, probably down to the fact that they're missing one of their original guitarists, they couldn't find him apparently, and whilst not all of the new renditions work brilliantly, the songs still as good as they did in 1997. Finishing with an amazing version of "Union Station Still", they're done.

The second day of Out Of Spite features lots of bands that fall into the gruff punk rock category. So I shall do one word reviews because I'm lazy and can only think of one way to say "they sound a bit like Jawbreaker or Hot Water Music". So here we go. The Great St Louis weren't too good; Chillerton were probably the best band of the day, good hooks and well worth checking out; The Leif Ericsson were fairly average; Southport looked fairly old and again weren't up to much; The Dauntless Elite were surprisingly good, lots of good dual vocals and some almost melodic hardcore bits; Milloy get the award for worst band name of the weekend and whilst they were pretty good, I can't bring myself to like a band with such a bad name. The other thing I learnt this weekend was that if the crowd sings along and does lots of finger pointing, it makes a band seem a whole better.

In other gig news, Redcars played their second last gig on thursday. I thought we were pretty good, if a bit sloppy in places. No one seemed to notice the missing keyboard, including us, and I stood on the bar. Army Of Flying Robots were nice and thrashy and Big Difference (I think) played a hardcore version of 2Unlimited's "No Limit".

I wanted to post some Spy Versus Spy mp3s but all the stuff on my computer is coded for iTunes. So no music, unless anyone requests some. Go on, I dare you.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Are You A Celebrity?

A few months ago, some girl came up to me in a night club and asked me if i was a celebrity.
Today, I can officially say that yes, I AM a celebrity - statcounter tells me that someone googled "david from redcarsgofaster's blog". This makes me famous for sure.

Famous on the internet.

For sure.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Ignorance Is Ignorance

This weekend my band (redcarsgofaster) recorded some songs in a studio. Having heard then too many times to pass judgment on them, I am posting them to you, the blogosphere, for your opinions. Hvae a listen and if you think they suck, or don't suck, or if you would like more bass in the monitor please say so.

In fact, if you have anything to say, say it; I'm all ears.

The songs:


2.Hammer Into Anvil

3.The Punchline

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

A Lazy, Lazy Update

Heart Yeah/Fury Of The Head Teachers/Ormondyrod/Strange Death Of Liberal England @ The Leadmill
Calf By Calf/Actionier/Heart Yeah @ The Grapes
La Chambre/Trinity/Wolf Eyes @ Corporation

This update is going to very dull. Serioulsy, really boring. To sum up my last week or so of gigs:

  • Heart/Yeah = Brilliant
  • Fury Of The Head Teachers = Fast
  • Wolf Eyes = Noisey
  • Calf By Calf = Lightning Bolt
  • Strange Death Of Liberal England = Needless Signs
End of blog. Told you it would be boring.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Heavy Rocks

Lovvers/No Age/Mika Miko @ The Red House, 27/6
Boris @ Corporation, 29/6

I'm sure Lovvers get sick of being described as "Ex-The Murder Of..." so I'm going to avoid mentioning it. Except for just then. Lovvers are equal parts Nation Of Ulysses sassy punk rock and Birthday Party feedback driven post-punk. The song "The Boys' Club" would have been the sassiest thing I heard all night were it not for Mika Miko's second vocalist. She was dead sassy when she sang through her telephone mic, but not sassy enough to bring down the whole band. Have I used the word "sassy" enough? Probably. Anyway, Mika Miko put on a really good show - good enough for some mosh and a lone crowd surf. And that's good enough for me. If you (anyone?) reads this before they've gone back to America, go and see them on tour. This is their myspace. Here. No Age were a bit disappointing. It was either not loud enough or not focused enough. Probably the second one. There were some good parts floating around but they didn't seem focused enough. Enough of my poor journalism, on with the mp3s.

Here is the first side of Lovvers' 7":
Lovvers - A Good Book
Lovvers - White Lines

And here is my list of observations about Boris:

1. They are all from Japan.
2. They guitarist is a short Japanese woman, and consequently is smaller than the amp she uses.
3.She can wail, not unlike Cassandra from Crucial Taunt.
4. Boris' drummer has a headset mic mainly so he can shout "COME ON!" and "YEAH!" at any available moment.
5. He also has a gong.
6. And a penchant for stage diving.
7. They do really long drone bits, but also really good metal riffs.
8. Their bassist plays a double-necked bass/guitar.

I urge you to get a copy of last year's album "Pink". Try and get the Southern Lord edition - the last song is a lot longer than the version on the Japanese pressing.

Monday, 25 June 2007

We Dance Like Dogs

Shut Your Eyes And You'll Burst Into Flames/Wintermute/Paul Marshall @ The Grapes, 18/6
Dartz!/I Was A Cub Scout/The Stations @ The Plug, 21/6

One of the things I've noticed since I've started keeping this here blog is that when bands Google themselves they may come across what I've said about them. I don't blame them for wanting to find out what people say about; I used to do it when my band was more accurate. We once got described as more annoying then Crazy Frog. That was pretty good. Anyway, it lead to think that I should offer some tips to young bands googling themselves and maybe pass on all the lessons I learnt on the road. If you are in one of these bands don't be offended by what I'm saying - it's for the best.

Let's start with the band Wintermute. Let's be honest, it's not a great name but then again most band names are pretty bad so we'll skip this point for the time being. Musically, what was once a band that sounded like a bad Smashing Pumpkins now sounds like a furious post-punk racket. Sure, the singer still has a tendency to go a bit Billy Corgan at times, but the good bits far outweigh the bits that suck, which how it should be.

Next band is I Was A Cub Scout, a band that definitely Google themselves. I believe one of them got banned from You Tube for having a go at someone who suggested that their fan base was made up of 15 year old girls. Whilst this is pretty accurate, it's not really a bad thing. If I had the choice between having a fan base made up of jaded, cynical twentysomethings who spend most of their time making fun of bands on message boards or a load of 15 year olds who stand at the front of gigs enjoying themselves and saying things like "OMGZ I LOV THSI SONG LOLZ!!!!" I know which I'd choose. A word on your performances: if you're going to have tons of synths and sequencers and remain a two-piece, try and find a way to have everything easily within your reach so you don't have to spend half a song looking really worried about how you're going to reach that arpeggiator button. And try and sing into the microphone; the kids love the hooks. They're pretty good hooks. And is that second drum kit really necessary?

Shut Your Eyes.. and Dartz! are both great bands. I've got nothing else to say about them.

As for The Stations, it'll probably be best for everyone if you just stop playing. You're giving tapping a bad name.

So that's it. I hope I helped. I await the deluge of anonymous comments.


Sunday, 17 June 2007

Let's All Have A Massive Hug

Rotary Ten/Heart/Yeah! @ The Grapes, Sheffield,
Owen/The City On Film/Laura Grooves @ The Brudenelll, Leeds
DANANANANAYKROYD/Safety Word/Situationists/My Psychoanalyst @ The Fly, London

Thanks to the likes of Damien Rice and James Morrison, the phrase singer-songwriter usually strikes fear into the hearts of most music fans, conjuring up images of Richard Curtis/Hugh Grant rom-coms and coffee table books. Thankfully both Mike Kinsella and Bob Nanna, Owen and The City On Film respectively, manage to avoid such pitfalls. Owing to drunkenness and illness, both sets are a tad lacklustre but the fact that Bob played three Braid songs makes the whole trip worthwhile.

Lacklustre is not the word you could describe Dananananaykroyd with. Playing with more energy then most bands I've seen recently. Despite the venue being tiny and having the lowest possible ceiling, their singer still managed to crowd surf into a pillar and knocking over far too many glasses. Danananannaykroyd are currently my favourite new/unsigned/whatever band. This blog ends now because I am far too tired to think up anything interesting to say. Let's have some mp3s instead.

Dananananaykroyd - Totally Bone

Dananananaykroyd - Some Dresses

The City On Film - Secret Santa Cruz

Owen - One Of These Days

Saturday, 26 May 2007

White Dudes Looking At Pedals

Battles/Clark @ Corporation, Sheffield 17/3
ATP Versus The Fans @ Butlins, Minehead 18/3 - 20/3
Hot Club De Paris/Good Books @ The Leadmill, Sheffield 24/3

I'm going to honest, this blog isn't that interesting. It's very long and doesn't really go anywhere. It does finish with a very funny joke. In order to save this entry, I'm going to post two Les Savy Fav songs. They're both fairly new songs; one was a single last year, the other a free download earlier this year. In other news, Stuart from Mogwai may have read this entry. Do you think he left the comment? Who knows. Here are the songs:

Les Savy Fav - The Equestrian

Les Savy Fav - Raging In The Plague Age

We begin this blog at Corp the night before ATP. Battles played an ace set but I'm far to lazy to write a full review of it; instead I suggest you read Matt's review of their London gig the night before, which is far better than anything I could write. The only things I would add was that they didn't play Dance, which was shame, and that the improvised piece Matt mentions at the end was actually a song whose title I can't remember right now. Regardless, Battles (or Bttls) are very, very good. Onward to ATP!

After 6 hours of travel, one trip to Tescos and one chalet mix-up, I witness my first band at ATP - The Thermals. I wouldn't go as far as to say they got me in the mood for a party but they fared better than Daniel Johnston, who sent me to sleep. Literally asleep - six hours of travel on five hours of sleep certainly wears you down. As does a part of a dull Yo La Tengo set. And, as we all know, the best pickmeup is a group of middle aged German men. The Notwist mix post-rock/ambient dub soundscapes with post-punk with the added bonus of a German guy singing in broken English. Post-rock was a big theme this (every?) year. So the big headliners of Friday night were none other than Mogwai, who sent out their "head of security" (Henry from Chunklet magazine) to make sure that the first 10 rows was made up of nothing but "white dudes looking at pedals". They came on and played a quiet bit then a loud bit, but it could have been a loud bit then a quiet bit. I forget. Hunted By A Freak was good but the big stage and daylight dampened the impact somewhat. Alexander Tucker was pretty good. Improvised acoustic drone. Up next were Akron/Family who surprised me by not being crap country and instead being good country-based jam music. Good use of percussion and beards. After this I think i watched Why? All I remember of their set was the drummer. There was definitely some rapping. Next day please.
Is there any better way to start your Saturday then with R Kelly's Trapped In The Closet? One answer would be Shellac; Wilco soundchecking is not an answer I'd put forward. When Shellac come on it turns out they're actually pretty funny guys not the serious musos one would expect. Subjects touched upon include the "indie rock Taliban" and why Steve Albini had come in a jump suit (he'd run out of rubbers apparently). They finished with the double header of Prayer To God and Fight Song, which was certainly a good way to go out. They also win the award of best bass tone of ATP. Thanks to Wilco's soundcheck, Shellac went on late which meant I didn't get to see Current 93 which in turn meant I didn't get to see Andrew WK. Next came Clinic, who still sound exactly like they did 5 years ago. Not a bad thing since they were good 5 years ago but they only seem to have one song so they drag a bit. They finished and I make my way to the front for Les Savy Fav. Having never seen them before I was expecting a lot and they didn't disappoint. In fact I'd say they were almost too good; I feel like most bands I see from now on will make me think "Yeah, they're good; but where's the onstage haircut? Or the costume changes, the black leotard and face paint? Or the singer riding two tables straight through the crowd?" Les Savy Fav were amazingly good; Tim Harrington is one of the best frontmen ever. If you ever get the chance to go and see them, go. You would be stupid not to. And to think some chose to see Wilco. Suckers. Battles got stuck with the hard task of following LSF and were as good as anyone could hope to be after LSF. But they didn't play Dance again. After a pizza hut buffet, shared with Daniel Johnston, there was Apples In Stereo (okay), Subtitle (I think) and Trans AM (pretty good in a Shellac meets ZZ Top way). I rounded off my Saturday by falling asleep during 65daysofstatic. When it;s time to party, I go to sleep.
Once again, Sunday was started with Shellac, who played in the slightly smaller room instead of the big pavilion thing. It was very similar to the previous days set, although there was no Prayer To God or Watch Song. The oddest part was some guy stood at the front heckling them. Which begs the question, why bother to que up for 30 minutes to go and stand at the front to yell "you suck"? Why didn't he just spend the 40 minutes in bed? Once he was dealt with and Todd Trainer had played his snare drum in the heckler's face, it was time for Slint. Having them play in broad daylight may have been a bad idea and the fact that they're not the most charismatic of performers meant quite a few people lost interest. Those of us who weren't expecting scissor kicks and head walkers got treated to all of Spiderland and a couple from Tweez. I even punched the air at the end of Good Morning, Captain. Yes, I punched the air whilst watching a post-rock band. Get over it. Bat For Lashes came next; a bit like a medieval hippie Bjork. First harpsichord of the festival. Most people seemed to chose Architecture In Helsinki, but from what I saw they weren't too good. Up to this point, the weekend had been lacking any sort of metal so Isis were a nice respite, apart from their quieter parts, which were a bit like Mogwai with cheaper effects. The metal parts were pretty brutal so I'll let them off. Keeping the ATP trend of having old bands play, Echo And The Bunnymen headlined the big stage. And bucking the trend of old bands playing old material, Echo played some new stuff (they have a new album out later this year I think) and were really quite bad. Built To Spill seemed okay but Burger King beckoned. Capricorns provided a 45 minute workout on the basic metal riff. It almost approached doom metal at times. It was way better than Echo. Grizzly Bear did some kind of folk-pop thing; didn't pay attention. And then we came to the last band of the festival, Do Make Say Think. It seems that i may be getting a bit old, because I managed to fall asleep during their set. I was standing up. Still the bits I saw were good; a good mix of jazz and post-rock, with extra rocking out. They finished, and as most people kept partying I went to bed.

Congratulations if you've read all the way through my post about ATP. It may come of as boring but believe me it wasn't; I'm just not that great of a writer.

I shall leave you with this thought: if Goodbooks were a book they'd be A Million Little Pieces by James Frey - 90% bullshit.


Thursday, 3 May 2007

13 Blues For 13 Moons

Petals/Blue Shift/Heart Yeah!/A Middle Sex/Naomi @ The Cricketer's Arms, Sheffield 01/05
Josh T Pearson/A Silver Mt Zion @ Corporation, Sheffield 02/05

Most people will probably know of Silver Mt Zion (or Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra And Tra-la-la Band as they call themselves now) as that band with people from Godspeed in; it's a shame that they'll probably never be considered as a completely separate band regardless of the quality or quantity of their own material. Recent Silver Mt Zion records have seen more emphasis placed on vocals, almost to the point of sounding like folk songs, moving further away from post-rock genre they partly helped to create. Having said that, they can still bust out an awesome wall of noise when they want to. Thanks to a surprisingly good sound at Corp, the post-rock drone of "Take These Hands And Throw Them In The River" was clear and driving rather than a big fuzzy mess, whilst the quiet sections of the newer material wasn't plagued by any hissing or feedback or people talking. To add to their not-Godspeed anymore vibe, Efrim and co were fairly talkative, joking about Tescos and expensive belts. Unfortunately, due to a club night or "teenage date-rape party", Silver Mt Zion had to cut their set short. Because playing for an hour and forty-five minutes just isn't enough.

Josh T Pearson was supposed to be doing a set, but with him turning up late and the aforementioned curfew, he only had time to play one song. Probably would have been good if he'd played for longer, but it was too hard to judge on the one song.

Tuesday saw the most average "noise" gig I've ever been to. One act consisted of a woman playing a violin really badly for 5 minutes. Heart Yeah! were pretty good, although not their best. They need more rave sirens. One the most interesting points of the night was the first band having two amps facing each other. When directional feedback is a highlight of a gig, it's never a good sign.

Monday, 30 April 2007

Roman Is Better

Kubichek!/The Patricians @ The Plug, Sheffield 28/04

Kubichek! are proof that perseverance pays off. Having been tipped to be "The Next Big Thing" for the last two years or so, someone has finally decided to give them a chance and put out an album. The frustration that those years in limbo must have caused them comes across in their performance. Whilst lesser bands would have no doubt gone under or given up, Kubichek! stuck with what they do and fuelled all their anger into their music. Given the current trend for average run of the mill post-punk bands (stand up Switches!), it would be easy to dismiss Kubichek! as another in a long line of delay pedals and 16ths, but none of them sound as angry, passionate or down right pissed off as Kubichek! do.

Tonight sees Kubichek! on top form, running through choice cuts from their debut lp. As you would expect from any post-punk band, there's lots of dum-tish-dum-tish drum parts but coupling this with a steady diet of Fugazi and Washington harDCore, Kubicek! demonstrate the edge they have over many other bands. True, recent single "Nightjoy" could well be compared to Editors own brand of Joy Division-lite, but it doesn't sound as lazy or have the "will that do?" vibe that Birmingham's dullest have. Lyrically, Kubichek! deal with crushed ambition that comes from living in a small town. "Hometown Strategies" talks of those who fail to see that they "hometown's aren't everything" whilst the frankly brilliant "Stutter" applies to failing relationships, rubbish friends, rubbish parties and rubbish nights out. Even their token slow song is called "Hope Is Impossible". It certainly is grim up north. Having said that, Kubichek! avoid appearing as po-faced miserablists. They throw themselves around Plug's relatively small stage with far more energy then you'd expect from a band who've been touring for so long and even provide some comic relief in the form of a story about Henry Rollins' first band being called The Cranberries.* They finish with "Just Shut It Down", throwing themselves into a feedback laden outro. And that's it. One of the best live bands in the UK at the minute? Probably.

*Obviously it wasn't The Cranberries. It was S.O.A., fact fans.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

This Song Is A Film

Public Relations Exercise/Her Name Is Calla @ The Firebug, Leicester 07/04
Rotary Ten/Fang Club @ The Grapes, Sheffield 14/04
Flatlands/Battle Of Wolf 369/Kaddish/some crust band @ The Cricketer's Arms, Sheffield 18/04
YouCodeNameIs:Milo/Actionier @ Fuzz Club, Sheffield 19/04

Instead of reviews, today I shall be dealing in recommendations in the form of myspace links:

  1. Public Relations Exercise. Probably the best band in Leicester, but don't let that put you off. PRE do post-hardcore with stops and starts much like At The Drive-In, Glassjaw or even Hot Cross. Their singer is called Fats. Have a listen.
  2. Flatlands. Flatlands come from Sheffield via way of Lincolnshire. Their songs generally deal with coming from little towns and villages put to a soundtrack of Isis-style atmospheric, epic metal. It might even be doom metal. I'm not too sure. All good.
  3. Rotary Ten. These boys also come from Sheffield via Lincolnshire but they're not metal, which is a shame. Instead they sound a bit like The Smiths but with American Football-esq guitar parts thrown in. Whatever.

So not the best post, but a necessary one.
Next week's calender features Heart/Yeah! and Silver Mount Zion. Should be big.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Mixtape Blog

Since I've not been to any gigs in the last week, I thought I'd upload a mixtape for your listening pleasure. So here it is, the first in an irregular series of mp3 blogs.


  1. Battles - Race In
  2. The Hold Steady - Chips Ahoy!
  3. The Maccabees - Latchmere
  4. Rotary Ten - Oh No! Oh Yes!!!
  5. Kubichek! - Stutter
  6. DANANANANAYKROYD - Some Dresses
  7. Faraquet - Cut Self Not
  8. This Ain't Vegas - 100 mph
  9. Deerhunter - Octet-stream
  10. Owen - I Woke Up Today

We start the very first SCSD Mixtape with the opening track from the new Battles album. If you've heard the new single "Atlas", you'll know they've started using vocals. The vocal part on this song sounds a bit like Destiny's Child meets The Chipmunks, but mixed with the usual tech-math-rock vibe of Battles it works well. Next up is The Hold Steady. They sound a bit like Bruce Springsteen. Watch out for the keyboard break. Listening back, it seems that the mp3 of "Chips Ahoy!" is fairly low quality. For this, I apologise. From a song about horse racing we move to a song about a swimming pool. Part of me doesn't want to like The Maccabees but it turns out their recently leaked album, from which this is taken, is actually pretty good. What do you know. It also turns out that a band (Rotary Ten) whose main influences are Haven and Longview can be good. Not really. They're better then Longview.* Kubichek! have been around for a while now and finally released their debut album this week, and very good it is. Why not read Matt's review of it here. This version of "Stutter" is taken from their very first 7" which came out a couple of years ago on Fantastic Plastic. DANANANANAYKROYD are from Scotland, have two drummers and are very, very good. This is all you need to know. Faraquet were a three-piece from Washington DC. They put out one album, "The View From This Tower", on Dischord, which is worth tracking down if you like jerky, angular indie-rock. Or math-rock, if you're not adverse to such a genre. Returning to the North-East we have This Ain't Vegas with a song from their very first 7", released many years ago. They released their second album last year, which builds on the whole Devo-meets-Fugazi sound of "100 mph". If you ever read Pitchfork you've probably heard of Deerhunter; their latest album was recommended listening last month so they may well blow up by the end of the year. They play a kind of droney-shoe-gazey thing; lots of delay and reverb. All good. Finally, we round things off with Mike Kinsella's Owen. Technically he is a sing-song writer, but don't let that put you off. This version of "I Woke Up Today" is taken from a session which you can download from here.

So there you have it, my very first mp3 blog. Did you enjoy? Do you have any thoughts or comments? Did you bother to read/listen to the whole thing?

*If you actually listen to their song, you'll notice they don't sound like Haven or Longview. At least not a lot.

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Cool As Folk

Slow Club/Indigo Moss @ The Raynor Lounge, 21/03
Black Wire @ Fuzz Club, 22/03

Given that I pretty much don't like any folk bands, it was with a certain amount of reservation that I headed to the Raynor Lounge for the Cool As Folk 1st birthday party.
As I went in, I caught the end of the first act, which consisted of one man feeding back his guitar. These folk kids have won me over. Slow Club play a kind of chirpy, jaunty folk thing. It could well be anti-folk. I've no idea. Listen to them yourself. Here. Indigo Moss were more straight down the line folk. They had a banjo, which never bodes well. Their set confirmed my suspicions that no band with a banjo are good. They also fell foul to the Raynor Lounge Sound Problem. Not enough mandolin in the monitors.
So that was my folking night out.

I fell I should also congratulate Black Wire; they've recently got themselves a proper drummer to replace their drum machine and they still suck as much as ever. Well done boys!

Monday, 19 March 2007

Babies And Old People Look The Most Like Monkeys

The Little Explorer/Situationists/Emmy The Great @ The Raynor Lounge 14/3
Heck/Seal Club Clubbing Club @ Clwb Ifor Bach 15/3
Up C Down C Right C ABC + Start/Make Believe @ The Brixton Windmill 16/3

**Disclaimer: I decided to write this post in the style of a school exam paper so at times it comes across a little harsh (mainly the bit about the DiS night) but on the whole I think it was a fairly successful experiment. I may do an mp3 post sometime this week. Who knows? Who cares?**


Question 1: How many members of Seal Club Clubbing Club does it take to set-up and dismantle their equipment? (3 marks)

Despite being a 5-piece with a number of props, it takes no members of Seal Club to pack up their equipment. Rather, it takes one Scottish man twenty minutes to move all their equipment ten metres. Due to this, Seal Club require twice as long as both other bands on the bill to set-up, despite the fact that they could do it a whole lot quicker if they all helped.

Question 2: Explain what you think is the main reason for the band name "Heck" (3 marks)

I think the band name Heck was inspired by the use of the word "heck" as a curse word. That is to say, when a person injures themselves, makes a mistake or wants to express a dislike of some situation, they would exclaim "Oh Heck!". This would be in the same manner that someone may exclaim "Bloody Hell" although it is a much more polite, and some would say out dated, version. One wonders why they didn't name themselves "Balls" as it as phrase that can be used in the same way, and is a much more accurate description of their sound.

Question 3: Give three reasons as to why you think the Drowned In Sound night at The Raynor Lounge was either a success or a failure (6 marks)

The Drowned In Sound Night at the Raynor Lounge failed on three accounts. Firstly, the venue itself was below standard; The Raynor Lounge is intended to be a club venue and as such its acoustic do not work well with live music. This relates directly to the second reason for failure, that of the sound. The bands playing could not be properly heard over either talking, which was the case with headliner Emmy The Great, or suffered from badly mixed sound, as was the case with The Little Explorer.

Question 4: Using direct comparisons, please explain why Up C Down C Right ABC + Start were a bad choice of opener for Make Believe (10 marks)

Up C Down C.. are a 5 piece post-rock band from Chatham; they are dull, un-inspiring, un-original and bland. Make Believe are an indie-rock/math-rock 4 piece band from Chicago; they are original, exciting and are very talented musicians. Up C Down C's tale on post-rock does everything you would expect a post-rock band to do; it goes loud and it goes quiet. They make attempts to infuse metal riffs into their songs but this makes them sound like a poor-man's 65 Days Of Static, which is no good thing. Comparatively, Make Believe's music makes many unexpected twists and turns; they make extensive use of discordant guitar riffs and off-kilter drum patterns but also know when to pull out a big hook, as can be heard in the sing "A Song About Camping", which you can listen to here. Up C Down C have two drummers and finish their set with a big drum off; Make Believe have only one drummer, namely Nate Kinsella. Comparatively, Nate Kinsella plays in a much more interesting way than both of Up C Down C's drummers; not only that, he plays a keyboard whilst drumming. This allows him to pick out some of the melodies in Sam Zurick's guitar parts, which sound like they are being played by a man with 4 hands. In particular, the song "Can't Tell Cop From Cab", highlights Sam's impressive two hand tapping and finger picking techniques.
In conclusion, Up C Down C were a bad choice of opener for Make Believe. This can be obviously be seen by the fact that in a sold out venue of 150 people, only a handful applauded Up C Down C's set. Make Believe are a very talented group of musicians, compared to Up C Down C who are a poor, run of the mill post-rock band.

Question 5: Explain why The Displacements signing to 1965 Records is either a good or bad thing. Give references where used (10 marks)

Total marks: /22

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Noise Not Music

Raccoo-oo-oon, Cars, IBLY.DY @ The Red House, 11/3

As with a lot of Noise bands, it's hard to describe what IBLY.DY sound like. In fact I'm not even sure that's what they're called. They were giving out sheet music and set lists which suggest that's what they're called. I can tell you that there were two guys, both of which looked like typical World Of Warcraft players (long hair, plaited beards, shorts and fleeces). One played an electronic drum set, a bass guitar and a tape machine. The other played a didgeridoo. The highlight of their set was finding out they had a song called "Why I Cannot Forgive Daryl Palumbo For Breaking His Edge".
After this, we got treated to two different guys playing drums and various percussive instruments, including a wok. There was some violin bow on cymbal action, which works surprisingly well. They were both good drummers, but who wants to watch someone play drums for 30 minutes?
Raccoo-oo-oon are proof that Noise bands are better when they rock. Despite the presence of saxophone, keyboards and tables full of effects pedals, they were best when they picked up their guitars and rocked out. Judging by the headbanging in the audience, most people would probably agree. Not that Raccoo-oo-oon's more ambient stuff wasn't good, because it was; it was just that compared to the big rock numbers they started and finished with, it seemed to be lacking energy. But then, if you didn't have the bit that sucked, it would make the bit that rocked, rock less.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

This Post Is Brought To You By Topshop, Lee, and Vice Magazine

Kid Harpoon & The Powers That Be/Good Books/The Noisettes/Foals @ Plug, 7/3

Do people really like anything they are told to like? Given the reception and quality of the first three bands tonight, the answer is most likely yes. So Kid Harpoon are on pretty early and there's not many people here, but it doesn't stop a group of girls dancing at the front. Bad acoustic tinged ska anyone? It's 9 o'clock and I want to go home; Foals won't be on for 2 and a half hours. Good-o. the venue fills up a bit and Good Books play. They sound like Athlete with more guitars (© James Trafford) and they've had a fair amount of press so the kids are lapping them up. If a band gets featured in the music press then it means they are good - this is what I have learnt. No-one could seriously like Good Books. At least The Noisettes are entertaining; only slightly, but enough to pitch them above the first two bands. In three hours, the highlight was taking a trip to the toilets and finding this:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Yep, Topshop water.

Eventually Foals come on. It was an odd move to have Foals headline, but this is a Vice party and therefore cutting-edge and hip whilst slightly ironic. Or something. In London, Vice's target market, Foals probably have a slight fan base; but we're not in London, we're in a shitty nightclub in Sheffield, which smells of sick. So Foals get a muted reception to start with. I'm in two minds about them; part of me wants to dismiss them on the grounds that they're just ripping off Battles and Don Caballero; the other part says to accept this and move on; just be grateful they don't sound like The Libertines and are trying something different. I go with the latter and enjoy the silly tech guitar parts and the fast hi-hats and ignore the bad vocals and the fact that they only have one song. Most of the crowd warm to them and by the end there's some dancing going on. At some point in near future, Foals are going to get lots of press and I assume then more people will like them. The question is, will they be described as "like Klaxons, but with guitars!" or "Nu-Rave meets post-hardcore!"?

Probably both. Make your mind up here.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

I Hate Nightclubs

I Was A Cub Scout @ Fuzz Club
Rotary Ten @ The Leadmill
Fury Of The Headteachers @ Under The Boardwalk

Thanks to the magic of band equations, I can describe I Was A Cub Scout in the following way:

The Postal Service + The Dismemeberment Plan ÷ Minus The Bear = I Was A Cub Scout

They are young and full of beans and spunk. Lots of running about and looked a bit scared at how big the gig was; but not too scared, they are seasoned professionals at this touring lark. I have run out of things to say (again); I'm not very good at this blogging thing. IWAC had a couple of less good songs in their set, but "Pink Squares" is very good, as are some more whose titles I don't know. Just listen to them here. The only thing I can add is Todd got his balls out in front of me. If that doesn't persuade you nothing will.

Last night Rotary Ten played The Leadmill. Not their best performance ever, but they are still better than Dark Sparks and Alavarez Kings who also played. Interestingly, Alvarex Kings wrote all their stage patter down on their singer's setlist; I imagine it's fairly easy to forgot to introduce your new song by saying "this is a new song". After the Ten, J and I hot stepped it to DnR to see a very drunk Fury Of The Headteachers play a very fast, very short set. Warren broke three mics. Much better than Decay In Decade, who supported IWAC. Bad support bands are my favourite.

Only nine more months of blogging. I'm running out of ideas fast.

Wednesday, 28 February 2007

It's Not A Crime To Have Opinions

Dartz! - The Sumo, Leicester 25/02
Dartz! & Rotary Ten - The Social, Nottingham 26/02

It's a Sunday night and Dartz! are gracing Leicester for the second time in 6 months; however the venue is surprisingly empty: Leicester's loss. Tonight Dartz! are very good. The only bad thing I could probably say about them is that they don't vary too much from their basic template: technical guitar part, aggressively-dancey drum beat, call and response vocal parts, maybe some tapping, big pop hook to finish. Having said that, it is an ace template for a song; the breakdown at the end of "The Lives Of Authors"; the hand claps of "Prego Triangolos"; the whole of "Once, Twice, Again!"; Dartz! play one fantastic song again and again. So good I decided to tag along with Rotary Ten to the Nottingham gig the next day.
A much better turnout (it wasn't a Sunday and it wasn't Leicester) and an even better set from Dartz! Again they open with b-side "Lines" and from then on then on they are spot on. Yes, I said "spot on". I should also mention Rotary Ten's set: they busted out yet more new material, including a nice feedback loop/syncopated hand clap part. Good guys, good set. I've run out of ideas. Just listen to them here. They're very good.

For completist's sake, there were also three support bands: Kalena (bad indie), Comic Boy (bad acoustic-emo) and Alisha Smiles (bad intricate emo).

A final note, the previous' posts comparison of Craig Finn from The Hold Steady and George Costanza should have been credited to Chris "Chris" Turnpenny. So there you go.

Friday, 23 February 2007

You're Pretty Good With Words But Words Won't Save Your Life

The Hold Steady @ The Leadmill 21/02

My plan was to try and write a "proper" review of this gig but I couldn't think of anything and I'm not a great writer. So instead I shall provide a series of bullet points:

1. Gigs at the leadmill have to be done by 10 for the club nights so by the time I got there and got a drink at the bar (which took 15 minutes I might add) the supports were all done and The Hold Steady were about due on imminently. Which was nice.

2. Despite it being an over-14s gig, I was one of the youngest there. I did not know middle aged people read Pitchfork.

3. Craig Finn is a very good front man. Lots of off mic shouting; if this were a proper review I would probably say "he spat the lyrics out with passion" or something similarly pretentious and equally rubbish.

4. Craig Finn looks a lot like George Costanza.

5. The Hold Steady do sound a lot like Bruce Springsteen. But in a good way.

6. They drink a lot. I guess this is to be expected when you're America's best bar rock 'n' roll band.

7. They finished by inviting people on stage for a dance. Good finish.

And with that I'm done. Fascinating, I'm sure you'll agree.

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Let's Get A Party Going

Whilst I think of something interesting to write about The Hold Steady gig last night, take time out of your busy schedule and sign the petition to get Andrew WK to play ATP. Regardless of whether you're going or not, it's a good cause. What have you got to loose?

(Images and links have been borrowed from The Runout Groove.)

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Look around, everyone's avin' it

The Twang, Situationists, The Alones - Lucorum, Barnsley

Everyone is most certainly avin' it. Or 'avin' it. Most people here aren't going to be going to another gig for a good few months. Or at least until
The Killers are next on tour. They will enjoy whoever they see play regardless of what they sound like. The Alones would have probably gone down pretty well had they not played to so few people. They sound like The Stereophonics with some sequencers thrown in for good measure. And rock and roll drum fills to finish every song song.

Three way harmonies mean Situationists are starting. Indie pop with an obvious debt to The Futureheads and The Dismemberment Plan. Apparently some skinheads really liked them. I don't blame them; they were on form tonight - enough woops and heys to keep anyone happy.

Tonight is the first night of The Twang's tour. This means lots of shiny new equipment and lenghty sound checks to make sure it all works well. They'll be paying back their label for years. A new effects unit for the guitarist means lots and lots of chorus and reverb for every song. There's some big John Squire worship going on, with a small dose of hair metal thrown in for good measure. I was probably the only person disappointed by their set - I thought they were going to be absolutely awful. Instead, they were simply mediocre at best. I fell cheated. I can't remember any of their songs. The sure sign of the next big thing.

Friday, 16 February 2007

Monday and Wednesday

I saw these bands:

The Patricians
Love Ends Disaster

They varied between terrible and not bad. Not very exciting.

Instead of providing myspace links for these bands, here is a link for Wow, Owls! who I am listening to at this very moment. They're better than anyone I've seen in the past three days.

Tonight I will see The Twang. Should be interesting.

Monday, 12 February 2007

Bands at Club Nights...

Always an odd concept. Most people aren't there to watch them; they're always very much hit and miss. Remember when Liars and The Blood Brothers played Fuzz? That won't be happening again.

Speaking of Fuzz, last thursday i saw Airtraffic and Snowfight In The City Centre.
Snowfight sound like Savage Garden meets The Editors. Considering how much i dislike them, I've seen them far too many times. They played the song that sounds like "Running Up That Hill" by Kate Bush. They've obviously been listening to this hot new band called Explosions In The Sky - they finish with Savage Garden gone polite post-rock.

Airtraffic somehow managed to be worse than Snowfight. Piano led indie is always a treat. A complete lack of stage presence meant that I didn't notice they'd left the stage until the dj started playing something. The highlight of the set was when they played a new song; both James, myself and the two guys standing behind us all pointed out it was exactly the same as "One Way Or Another" by Blondie at exactly the same time. I guess you had to be there.

Some days before that was Razor Stiletto. It had a Russian theme so the obvious act to get to play was a aldy on an accordian and another lady, dressed as a Russian peasent, doing some interpretive dance. But you couldn't hear the accordian. The other two bands were The Kreeps and Salon Boris. Surf punk and electro. Good fun.


Monday, 29 January 2007

Putting the Post into Post-Rock

Tired Irie, Cats And Cats And Cats, Fabulous Foxes - The Sumo, Leicester 26/01/07

First thing's first. Fabulous Foxes is not a fox; nor is there more than one of it. It is one man and one acoustic guitar. Most of his songs were pretty good, in a Neutral Milk Hotel kind of way. One song sounded a hell of a lot like a Joanna Newsom song. But it wasn't a cover. Maybe she ripped him off. He did a couple of songs a cappella. These were not so good.

Cats and Cats and Cats are not cats. Their sets starts with a Godspeed-esq drone. They have a trumpet and violin which sounds good. First song done, so far so good. But then it all goes wrong. Their bassist has an awful tone; the violin and trumpet go out of tune. There are lots of stops and starts, a couple of jerky bits, an Explosions In The Sky guitar break, then another loud bit with out of tune strings. They do a bit that sounds like Do Make Say Think. Their last song was ten minutes plus. It all got bad quickly. I'm not sure whether they have good ideas that are badly executed or they're just plain bad.

Tired Irie, unlike the other bands tonight, keep true to their name and seem a bit tired. Now a four piece, and with a slightly new direction, they sound more like The Rapture then post-rock. They have good bits, like the riff at the end of "Those That Swung Hips" (or whatever it's called) or certain vocal hooks but it's all lost in a dull, pedistrian dance-punk dirge.

After the gig, we hit up a new club night in town called Panic. It was fairly shit; do we really need to hear the same Fratellis song twice in the space of 15 minutes? Tons of underage kids there, had a whole youth club vibe going on. One floor was electro and rave. Cos it's so hot right now.

Here are some links so you can make up your own mind on said bands:
Fabulous Foxes
Cats And Cats And Cats
Tired Irie

Don't say I'm not fair.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Chips Ahoy!

Record of the Week: The Hold Steady "Boys and Girls in Amercia"

It sounds like Bruce Springsteen, with Jack Kerouac references. It also reminds me of Jawbreaker in a way. Rock and roll played by people who grew on hardcore and the like. Good lyrics from the guy who used to sing in Lifter Puller. Apparently the pharse "America's Jarvis Cocker" has been used. I could probably get behind that. Worth checking out I say.

Here's a myspace link: here.

And here's some words that i picked out:

"we had some massive highs.

we had some crushing lows.

we had some lusty little crushes

we had those all ages hardcore matinee shows."

I also acquired the new Bloc Party album. I'm not convinced.

Is this good enough to be a regular feature? Probably not.

I have no idea if this blog has had any views. Oh well.

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

First gig = first post

The KBC, The Maple State @ The Metro, London

First gig of the year and i'm off to a fairly underwhelming start. But it gives me a reason to start this here blog and to waste more time on the internet.

First band of the night were the maple state. They sound pretty Deep Elm-mo, nothing too offensive, but nothing too interesting. The kids seem to love them, sing-alongs and all. They'll probably be massive.

Secondly, The KBC. Run of the mill, Rapture-style stuff. Really quite dull.

Not really a good start to a gig year, or even a blog but hopefully it will pick up.