Archives by month/year

The Deviants (live at The Borderline)

The Borderline, London 23 March 2012

The Deviants blasted out of the underground psychedelic scene in 1967. While Syd Barrett was taking the Pink Floyd into outer space and Jimi Hendrix was making his guitar wail to all the ‘foxy ladies,’ Mick Farren’s gang of urchins were singing the hymns of squat-land. With albums such as Ptoof!, Disposable and 3, the troubadours of Notting Hill sang proto-punk anthems while down the road bands such as Quintessence sang about “Jesus and Buddha.” While on a tour of the States the band imploded and became The Pink Fairies, leaving Farren out in the cold to become fist-waving conscience of the International Times and other underground tomes of the times. Intermittently over the last 40 years the Deviants have regrouped and have gone back out on the road and into the studio to remind us why their music still matters.

In tonight’s line

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White Hills – Frying On This Rock

Thrill Jockey

Let’s talk about SPACE, baby, let’s talk about you and me. As Salt’n’Pepa didn’t actually sing, but should have done. Let’s talk about all the BIG things and the LOUD things. Yeah. And like that.

Space is many things to many people. To Lovecraft, for example, it was a constant source of terror. But then, so were most things. Poor guy. To Douglas Adams, it was full of all manner of potential wonder, but its chief characteristic was that it was HUGE. To Hawkwind and Michael Moorcock, it’s too many things to list here (at least without essentially just plagiarising), but we’ll go with DEEP. And to Sun Ra, it was the plaice. Though that may

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Napalm Death – Scum (Full Dynamic Range 2012 Edition)


A-side“You suffer…”

FDR stands for full dynamic range. Remember that, I’ll come back to it in a minute.

This is one of those records that I’ve had a million conversations about. Heavy crust/grind/metal/metalcore peeps will claim various things about it – it’s not the best/ it’s the best/ it’s not the first/ it’s the first/ Carcass did it better/it’s better with triggered drums/ it’s better without triggered drums/ it’s old/ it’s new/ they’re from Birmingham (good)/ they’re from Birmingham (bad). To answer each in turn: don’t care, fuck off/ don’t care, fuck off/ fuck off, don’t care/ fuck off don’t care/ meh – why not fuck off?/ fuck off you sexless geek/ fuck off you sexless geek/ fuck off/ fuck off/ Birmingham is AWESOME/ Birmingham is AWESOME, fuck off.

And because I’ve had a million conversations about it, and

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Carter Tutti Void – Transverse


Breath was bated at this, apparently, but not mine. I mostly dislike collaborations, even when I try to like them, even when I love the collaborators. Collaborations regress towards the mean, like motionless wrestling or mutual strangulations in the back of army trucks (a personal joke, one intended only for my future self to smirk about; sorry).

I blame everyone: Mike Paradinas and Richard James as Mike and Rich on the Expert Knob Twiddlers LP (the clue’s in the title,if you substitute ‘expert’ with ‘half-arsed’); the recent Burial and Four Tet releases (two singular visions transposed into some death-dull murk); Whitehouse with Nurse With Wound (smugly bad, the worst of both worlds) — I won’t go on, you can insert your unfaves here. There are inevitable exceptions (answers on a postcard to Freq Towers) but, mostly, the whole is less than

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Ililta! – New Ethiopian Dance Music


It’s got text in Amharic on the sleeve! I assume! It’s about single length! It uses exclamation marks to describe itself, and this seems awesome! Because the music is awesome!

… I remember when I first heard drum n’ bass, on Peel, sometime in the 90s. It was weird and scary and made me feel a little bit sexy when being sexy was a weird feeling but was also a little bit intimidating. This record’s a bit like that. It’s nothing like D’n’B though. It’s some great shuffly Ethiopian rhythms that make me want to travel around Africa drinking too much with amazing people who don’t seem to mind that I dance like I’m being controlled by particularly dense insects. It’s also got basslines that are straight out of the Mark E Smith book of bowel-peturbation, circa ’86.

I don’t really

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Hard Coming Love – Hard Coming Love


From the opening drone and chiming guitar trills of “Lovelight,” it’s evident that Zurich’s Hard Coming Love are big, big fans of West Coast psych, Spacemen 3, and among others, of course, The United States of America, the second track of whose similarly self-titled album provided the band’s (slightly embarrassing) name. Where the former had drums and bass to pin down Jason Spaceman and Sonic Boom‘s interlocking internecine guitar strumming, HCL have no fewer than four guitars and/or basses making up their own wall of sound, plus keys – so maybe a little bit more on the Spiritualized size of band, maybe.

The album sifts and stumbles gently through back-masked passages, wanders down floating avenues of feedback, fuzzes into gasping strata of refulgent rock’n’roll coasting – in short, everything a good psychedelic band should do while doubtless gazing very firmly at

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Mats Gustafsson/Paal Nilssen-Love/Mesele Asmemew – Baro 101


The Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love has made a fast and hard-hitting impact on many recordings in the national and international scene of free-jazz and improv these last years. Whether as a band member of [post=peter-brotzmann-live text=”Peter Brötzmann”]’s Chicago Tentet, the assembly of some of the leading musicians of today’s free-jazz, or in the powerful Hairy Bones also including the said German. Also worth mentioning are the remarkable recordings with Lasse Marhaug, either in the jazz-strangeness Fire Room, also including Ken Wandermark, or their duo collaboration release Stalk of the more sound-noise-improv-less-jazz style. No surprise then, that he was invited to [post=ililta-new-ethiopian-dance-music text=”Ethiopia by the Dutch-weird-punks from The Ex“], to do the Free the Jazz saxophone project, alongside other acclaimed musicians such as Ken Vandermark and Mats Gustafsson. The Ex has been going to the Horn of Africa for many years, starting

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bandcalledMAC – Send Her Back to Jesus

(Not on label)

Buh…yeah. -rock suffixes are lame. But this is good. GOOD I tell you. Ole’ timey two guitars n’ drums-core. Possibly fans of that K Records fallout where the melody lines were just about poppy but the B string on one of the guitars sounded just out enough to be right and a bit queasy. Y’know, Sleater Kinney, Urusei Yatsura, that kind of thing. But instrumental. No vocals and no need.

And it’s steeped in a lot of those dreadful and dreary tags that make you think of dogshit music students yet to realise that sex is better than conversations about string gauges (‘postrock/mathrock’) BUT it’s a LITTLE BIT sexy because they’ve bothered to keep it smart but not ‘wahey, look at how clever we are’ smart – you know, just lads getting on with it.

“Damp Standard,” middle track

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Monkey Island/The Dublo – Defunctus Est/Baby Don’t Blues EP

L-13 Recordings

A split 10″ EP (and/or mini-album, perhaps – but anyway, its hand-stamped sleeve covers up a hefty chunk of vinyl, and the Gestetner-printed notes add an extra frisson of retro-cool to the packaging) from two of the ever-prolific Pete Bennett‘s bands is one of those things which only comes along once in a while. Sure, there are downloads (offered to buyers of this disc too, as it happens, bonus tracks included), there are similarly Latin-titled [post=monkey-island-luxe-redux text=”CDs”] and of course [post=membranes-wolfhounds-monkey-island-5-november text=”live”] shows, where both bands offer up blistering experiences of very different sorts. But this is a good old-fashioned analogue record, and vinyl-fetishism aside, thanks to Ed Deegan‘s skilled mastering it also sounds superb.

Monkey Island may kick the jams out of the post-punk yard and down the street with skronk and riffing grunge aplenty, but in the spaces

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Alexander Tucker – Third Mouth

Thrill Jockey

Well, you knew this was coming. Dorwytch hinted (OK, explained) that Alexander Tucker was moving closer and closer towards a kind of English pastoralism and now he’s got to Third Mouth, where the drones and buzzes move still further away from the longer forms of his early albums and head towards smaller, yet exquisitely designed, packages of psychedelic folk. This is like someone’s swallowed Rob Young’s Electric Eden, spent a few long nights reassembling the component parts (alongside a few glasses of wormwood and mead ) and then regurgitated the lot as a fully formed corn dolly. This is a good thing.

There’s places where he’s definitely got a touch of the Vashti Bunions (“A Dried Seahorse”), where it’s 1967 eternal and the fingerpicking and cello trails keep the caravans (and Caravan’s) moving. “Rh.” is meant to be electronics

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Ekoplekz – Dromilly Vale EP

Public Information

A little sliver of electronic gargling from the man of the moment, Ekoplekz. If you want to know which moment, you’ll perhaps have to remember that Dromilly Vale is Nick’s imaginary recording studio, a hybrid of King Tubby’s on Dromilly Ave, Kingston and the Radiophonic Workshop’s Maida Vale studio in London. This is 1973 re-imagined uchronically; maybe Dick Mills and Lee Perry did hang out, swapping tape delays, pressing buttons that weren’t theirs; maybe John Baker just couldn’t stop putting some of his jazzy tangles all over Augustus Pablo’s melodica lines; maybe they swapped close-miked pocket protectors over Rum and Pineapple…

But if all that’s making you think this is just gonna lope along like a comedy walk then be prepared; this can get quite… noisy in places. “Jugglin’ for Jesus” will frighten the cat inside your brain with

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Pulp – IT/Freaks/Separations


Right yeah, so – Pulp. WHAT I REMEMBER of the time of Different Class is that there was a bit of a sense of them being very much a “ooh, follow your dreams, keep plugging away and eventually you’ll make it” thing, in terms of what the press were saying. Which was nice of them. As if to say ‘even if your entire output is utterly shite, maybe you’ll write a pop song one day. So I didn’t bother venturing much further back than His n’ Hers, assuming that the older stuff wasn’t popular for a reason (ie, ’twas shite). What a dickhead I was. (I still am, in many ways, just not that one).

I don’t like this idea of bands’ early stuff being better though. That’s bollocks. The Fall are the best band ever (that’s an actual fact, by the way) and their first few albums are

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The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing – This May Be The Reason Why The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing Cannot Be Killed By Conventional Weapons

Leather Apron

MELVYN BRAGG – Good morning. Today on In Our Time we’re going to be looking at the Steampunk era, a time which often seems to be shrouded in a fog- or possibly even a smog, ha ha, of mystery. With me today is Dr Deuteronemu 90210, emeritus professor of Musical Archaeology at the Institute of Awesome. Dr 90210, it wasn’t all that long ago. Why is so little known about the period?

DR 90210– Well, what we have to remember is that a lot of the primary evidence was destroyed during the Martian Invasion of the late 19th Century-

MELVYN- Ah yes, the War Of The Worlds.

DR 90210- Yes, that’s right. It’s important that we remember just how much damage those fighting machines caused- as a result we’ve lost a lot of remarkable inventions. Indeed, in many ways technology

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Mi and L’au – If Beauty is a Crime


“You never seemed to be waiting for me, but we kept meeting at every turn of the paths, behind every bush, at the foot of each statue, near every pond. It is as if it had been only you and I in all that garden.”

A man and a woman meet at a social gathering in a magnificent baroque chateau. He claims that they met the year before, in Marienbad, and that she is at the gathering waiting for him. The woman, however, claims that they have never met before. Time and space elide, linear narrative disintegrates, identities dislocate.

Many years later Mi (Mira Romantschuk), away from her native Finland, is in Paris, working as a fashion model. There she meets L’au (Laurent Leclère), a composer of soundtracks. They have never met before, of that each is certain, but they nevertheless

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Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo OST

The Null Corporation/Mute

Reznor and Ross may have seemed a weird choice to score The Social Network, essentially a movie about courtrooms and codings; almost as weird a choice as Fincher was to direct it. But that worked out OK, didn’t it? So it’s no surprise that when reunited with Fincher, but this time on a movie about sex, violence and serial killing, the result is one of the best soundtracks of recent years.

As anyone who’s seen the film will surely attest, from now on ALL films, regardless of subject, should open with a gobsmackingly slick goth James Bond title sequence over which plays an industrial cover of a classic rock track. Come on. You know it makes sense. Here they’re joined by Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who also provided another of 2011’s most awesome vocal performances on

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