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Butthole Surfers (live at The Forum)

The Forum, LondonPaul Leary, still weird after all these years 26 July 2008

Gibby ahoy!They’re certainly not 22 going on 23 any more, but the Butthole Surfers have taken measures to ensure their set goes down in properly deranged psychedelic hardcore style tonight. First, it’s the classic late Eighties lineup of Gibby Haynes and Paul Leary at the front and centre, with the rhythm section filled out by Theresa Nervosa and King Coffey, still managing to stand up and drums like being posseessed, and the heavily-bearded, flying-axed bass courtesy of Jeff Pinkus provides a suitably weird backwoods presence, especially as the rest of the band seem to have grown into a look which harks back to their meeting as accountancy students all

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Man From Uranus/Glass (live at A Music Club)

A Music Club at The Others, London 25 July 2008

Glass at A Music ClubChris from Glass at A Music ClubGlass used to have more members, but tonight they’re a duo who make their presence felt as is, shimmering and rattling their soft motorik way through a set which shows copius affinity for the soporific psychedelia of Spacemen 3 and Harmonia‘s elevated drum machine rattle and hum. Guitarist Ben keeps the mood vibrant on a cluster of simple yet effective strokes of the strings, while Chris (sometimes cupping his ear intently as if he is listening to signals from a different world) at the controls of the keyboards and sundry electronics brings a bright set of curvaceous drones and tones to life

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Nurse With Wound (live)

Wet surrealismLondon Fields Lido, London 19 July 2008

Nurse With Wound at London Fields Lido. It just sounds so right. And it was, too: pleasingly strange, charmingly eccentric. It was the culmination of a series of underwater sound events, staged at various venues around the UK under the banner of Wet Sounds. Their website will tell you what you need to know there. Essentially, the set-up is this: music is played through a high-quality underwater sound system installed (temporarily) in a public swimming pool. Those swimming in the pool can thus have a quite literally immersive musical experience: with ears below the water line, a whole new listening experience is suddenly available.

Wet Sounds at London Fields LidoNWW and Andrew Liles were

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Oxbow/Harvey Milk/Part Chimp (live at The Underworld)

The Underworld, London 15 July 2008

The first time I came across Part Chimp, a few years back, they were tipped as The Loudest Band in London, but now that the reanimated corpse of My Bloody Valentine has reclaimed that title with its rotting, maggoty fingers, Part Chimp have mellowed a little. They’ve also shed a bass player recently, and no doubt that has something to do with it. In any case, the volume level as they open this night at the Underworld has eased from “blistering” to something more like “mild sunburn”. Their songs have matured to fill the volume vacuum, though; whereas they previously played Black Sabbath riffs at ketamine speed and relied on sheer decibel level to get their message across, the band now have room for a little more complexity and, god forbid, even a little subtlety. There was this one Spinal Tap moment when one

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Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing

Label: ATP Recordings Format: CD

Street Horrrsing - sleeve detailFuck Buttons are fucking great. They are Bristol-based Andrew Hung and Ben Power. Their début album is superb – a huge wall of big buzzing electronic drones with more distortion and screaming vocals that your average stoner/doom metal band. Unlike some (most?) noise electronica though, there is much more to Fuck Buttons than a wall of noise for noise’s sake. Using an eclectic collection of instruments, including toys, they build up big slabs of texture that are at turns melodic, harsh, and hypnotic. Texture is what they are after. There is a lot of control and restraint in their music. Asked if they improvise, Ben Power said “We’re not really interested in that. All the parts – as distinct from songs – are carefully planned.” And it shows, when I

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The Long Dead Sevens – The White Waltz And Other Stories

Label: Beta-lactam ring Records Format: CD

The White Waltz And Other Stories - sleeveI dunno quite what you call the sub-genre of music which seemed to spring fully-formed from the head of Lee Hazlewood a long time ago before being kicked into touch by the punks and goths, but you know the one I mean. It’s got the Bad Seeds, Gallon Drunk, Tindersticks, Crime And The City Solution and other such magnificent acts in it, and they’re drinking whisky, listening to blues and country, and making wonderfully beautiful music from misery and humour. Anyway, whatever you call it – probably alt- something, or swamp- something, or something equally and unfittingly banal – there’s a new recruit to the posse in the shape of The Long Dead Sevens. Coming very much from the spaghetti western end of the spectrum, they

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