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Jazkamer – The Monroe Doctrine

Pica Disk

The Monroe Doctrine sleeveThe Monroe Doctrine is the March edition of Jazkamer‘s 2010 monthly abum series. This CD is a 30 minute track with full on noise rock free jazz improv beat hysteria. Performers are the regular four piece of Gross, Hegre, Marhaug and Drønen. Beautiful artwork by José De Diego.

To make it short, the album immediately struck me as something heavy but lovely, a full on wow-factor after just a few seconds, it knocked me way back in my seat, pushing enormous amounts of energy inside me. And it didn’t stop until the full half hour came to an end. Reviewing this CD without emotions is impossible, but I’ll try to describe some of what I heard.

It starts off with a massive wall of sound from guitar, drums, electronics, and I’m guessing, keyboards of

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The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing – Now That’s What I Call Steampunk! Volume 1

(Leather Apron)

What do you get when you cross a dandified occultist comedian (Andrew O’Neill) with the jovial former frontman of Creaming Jesus (Andy Heintz, now rather splendidly decked out in purple muttonchop whiskers), the drummer (Ben Dawson) from Million Dead and another comedian, Marc Burrows, on bass, all with a penchant for brass eyewear and dressing up like their great-grandfathers at work, rest and war? The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing of course, which band of jolly good fellows proceed to plunder various and several favourite tropes of the nineteenth century through the medium of gorblimey musical hall skits, pub singalongs and hefty doses of decidedly anachronistic thrashouts which put TMTWNBBFN at the forefront of the VWBHM (the Victorian Wave of British Heavy Metal). Naturally, the album is available in several formats: CD, download and decidedly old-fangled

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Gogol Bordello – Live At Axis Mundi

(SideOneDummy)

All ‘tached up and nowhere to go, here come Eugene Hutz‘s roving raggle-taggle band of gypsy punks, like an Eastern European (via New York) Pogues, raised on Rollins and Biafra instead of Strummer and Vicious. Dressed like a variety of seafarers, circus performers and drunks, the aesthetic is clearly a grubby one as Gogol Bordello take the stage with Ultimate. And, predictably, the crowd go absolutely fucking apeshit.

It’s hard to describe the energy of this band when playing live, but you can get a little bit closer with the live DVD in this rather handsome set (also containing a CD, of which more later). It’s still nowhere near the intensity of the real thing, but, like watching one of those old black and white videos of A-bomb tests, you

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Cate le Bon/Y Niwl (live)

Rascals, Bangor 2 March 2010

For a supposed “Land of Song”, Wales has thrown up surprisingly few truly great musical mavericks over the years. Sure there’s been John Cale and David R. Edwards, and maybe Gruff Rhys and Brian Lustmord but that’s about it. It may then raise an eyebrow or two that despite her scant handful of releases to date, I wouldn’t hesitate to add relative newcomer Cate le Bon to that exclusive club.

I was taken by complete surprise last year when Le Bon followed up her lovely but largely conventional psych-folk 10” EP Edrych yn Llygaid Ceffyl Benthyg with a remarkable debut album, Me Oh My. Its haunting songs avoided categorisation and elevated the album to my favourite and most played release of 2009 – and a serious contender for best of the decade. Having seen and increasingly enjoyed her in various support slots over the past

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