Archives by month/year

The Levellers/Dreadzone/Back To The Planet (live at Brixton Academy)

Brixton Academy, London 18 December 2011

Brixton is a place that has changed a lot over the past twenty odd years. It feels very different now then when I lived (well squatted) there in the late eighties, at that time the riots had calmed down but there was still a sense of unease . It now feels less tense and has quite up-market café culture and some of the old dodgy pubs now seemed to have gone. But scratch the surface of the place and its past is still there just under its shiny new veneer. Somehow it seem quite apt that The Levellers would be celebrating twenty years of their album Levelling the Land here.

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Hawkwind (live at Shepherd’s Bush Empire)

Shepherd’s Bush Empire London 11 December 2011

Ok, I admit it…..I missed Hugh Lloyd Langton’s set because I was in the pub watching Hawkwind covers band Hoaxwind and enjoying them way too much. They played a superb set of Hawkwind classics (including “Needle Gun” which I had not heard in years and sounded amazingly good), and were fantastic great fun and sounded quite amazing. If you have not seen them yet I strongly suggest you do and they always seem to be playing at a pub near to a Hawkwind gig.

The winter solstice machine rolls on for Hawkwind and I now can’t imagine a yuletide period without their tour of shows. Whereas [post=hawkwind-live text=”last year”] Dave Brock was stood over to one side of the stage tonight he is dead centre, the captain taking command of his crew again. Last year the

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Figures of Light – Drop Dead


For most bands, tackling that ‘difficult’ second album can be a daunting experience; the expectation, the pressure to top their debut, and the need to break new ground can all conspire to form a perilous trap for the unwary and the uninitiated. Most bands, however, don’t record their second album 41 years after forming.

Figures of Light, a ghost legion of the proto-punk army who fought almost single-handedly around New York and New Jersey during the early 1970s, have returned to the studio, however, and recorded a new album, following on from their 2007 ‘debut’ Smash Hits. That album, which collated vintage material from as far back as 1970 alongside recordings made that year, was a first step in placing the band back into their proper historical context, elevating them into their proper place as a lost link between the 1960s

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Iggy & The Stooges – Raw Power: Live In The Hands Of The Fans (video)

MVD Visual

This is the DVD and Blu Ray edition of a performance of Raw Power by Iggy & The Stooges‘ at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in September 2010, not long after the untimely death of founder member Ron Asheton. The CD edition included all eight songs (albeit reordered) from their classic third album alongside single cut “I Gotta Right,” and Alan Holmes‘ review of the disc can be read [post=iggy-stooges-raw-power-live-hands-fans text=”here”].

Leaving the musical content to the review for the most part, it’s worth noting that the sound on the video is excellent throughout, and the performance by the band is exemplary in its energy and vigour. James Williamson rejoins The Stooges onstage for the first time since 1973 to recapture his contribution to Raw Power, while Mike Watt continues to hold down bass duties which were originally taken on

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An interview with Steve Ignorant

Freq Talks to Steve Ignorant of CRASS

To a young mind searching for meaningful music in the early 1980s, encountering CRASS for the first time was a frightening proposition. In those hazy, far-off days, when the Californian IT development nerds responsible for YouTube and Google had barely finished breastfeeding and the ZX Spectrum was the hot shit in cutting edge computer technology, one really couldn’t be entirely sure whether CRASS was a Punk band, a twisted Dadaist subversion, a political movement or some kind of terrorist cell, like the Baader-Meinhof Group fallen to earth in Ongar Great Park. Or, come to that, all four. With no promotional images to refer to (part of a carefully cultivated tactic to avoid the usual characterisation of a ‘band’ with ‘leaders’), one was confronted only by the CRASS monolith, an Anarchist juggernaut characterised by a terrifyingly intense

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Cindytalk & Philippe Petit – A Question of Re-Entry

Lumberton Trading Company

As part of the Lumberton Trading Company‘s limited edition subscription series (others in the set include Glass Out – with vox from the late Jhonn Balance; the ever-crackly Main; Brian Conniffe; Human Greed;and Jean-Hervé Péron plus guests) of 12″ singles, Cindytalk – (AKA Gordon Sharp) teams up with Philippe Petit for a double-A side mini-album.

Taken together, the two sides of vinyl make for an environmental audio travelogue of lengthy proportions, one which rewards the use of both powerful sub-bass speakers and tweeters which can fully capture the higher tones; without wishing to be overly audiophile about such things – though here the benefits compared to an average home stereo setup are noticeable. A good set of computer gaming speakers or a home cinema set would be just as good – as long as there’s plenty of low-end presence

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Ensemble Economique – Crossing The Pass, By Torchlight


Organic grinding. The music humming inside the skulls of cannibals as they try to decide which would go better with their longpig; rosemary or thyme? Are chives too much? Too little? What would Michel Roux Jr. suggest? They’d hardly want to spoil the meat with excess seasoning, or overpower the flavour with some badly chosen shallots or unnecessary garnishes. Here, we are treated to imaginary soundtracks to imaginary places. Brian Pyle (who was in… etc etc) coming up trumpeting; weaving processed, processional sounds into the mix; keeping things flowing.

He’s amassing an interesting soundpile; working I’m guessing mostly by instinct (‘those reversed bells would sound just lovely right there’) but also paying plenty of attention to detail. And here’s where the Devil is; in the little sounds behind the main drag (Drag?). Even in the ‘smaller’ tracks – the hornstabby “Everything

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Omnia Opera – Nothing Is Ordinary


Ok, where do I begin? This is a monumental release! Yeah, I like that even though it feels somewhat understated. Hmmmm, all right lets start with a bit of background info; Omnia Opera first appear in the mid-Eighties new psychedelic boom that spawned venues like The Deptford Crypt and big one-off festivals like Acid Daze and watched Ozric Tentacles shoot to fame. A little later Delerium Records start and release albums by various underground and free festival artists in a second summer of love type vibe. Omnia Opera release two albums for the label their space/acid/punk/prog sound being one highlights. And then silence… the Omnias disappeared into the mists of time and people like me were left clutching their old copies of Red Shift with a wistful look in our eyes. Then bam, in 2008 it seemed that the Opera would

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The Necks – Mindset


The Necks seem to have been around forever and they’re still boiling the elements of jazz down, adding their signature dabbles and occasional electronic bursts, collecting and sieving through new sounds, gold panning their way into new forms. This album collects two 20 minute-plus tracks that shadow each other like long lost relatives at a wake. Not that this is dark music as such (though the bass rumbles) but rather that the two tracks circle each other, as if wary. They clearly know each other, share a few drops of the same gene pool, but they are rough twins, twins brought up by different brothers.

The first track “Rum Jungle” is the relentless one; drums tumbling almost into the late period jungle-jazz rhythms of Omni Trio. It’s all about the interweaves; the pulses are constant but shifting, the cymbals flicking against

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