Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire 17-19 May 2013
Bearded Theory is, pretty much by definition, a party that got out of hand. It started out as a birthday bash, and is now in its sixth year as a music festival. Somewhere in among this tangled web of history is an obsession with beards, and on the Sunday they have an attempt at the world record for the most fake beards gathered in one place. Which is… definitely a thing. It’s also a sign that it doesn’t take itself too seriously – although everything’s handled incredibly professionally and there are few problems, there’s never a sense that anyone, including organisers and security, aren’t actually enjoying themselves at the same time.
As we arrive, with
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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
Continue reading Figures of Light – Drop Dead [...]
Cooking Vinyl / Recommended Records
Pere Ubu evolved in a different universe to the rest of 70s rock. In mainstream history as we know and remember it, The Sex Pistols single-handedly swept aside years of proggishness, clearing a completely new path and establishing the new year-zero (OK, that’s a parodic exaggeration, but it isn’t far from what it felt like at the time). But in Ubu world, then centred entirely on the flatlining industrial town of Cleveland, Ohio, long before the Bill Grundy affair and God Save the Queen, the riddle had already been solved and the code already broken. Their early, self-released run of singles on the Hearpen label (30 Seconds Over Tokyo, Final Solution, Street Waves and The Modern Dance) admittedly owe debts to The Stooges and Velvet
Continue reading Pere Ubu – Datapanik in the Year Zero/London * Texas [...]
Label: 4AD Format: DVD+3xCD
There is an air of finality about the title and contents of 1981-1996. With the dissolution of their musical partnership into separate solo careers, Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry are no longer Dead Can Dance, but as the extensive essay on the group included in the luxurious slip-cased hardbacked book (jam-packed with landscape photos) which makes up the packaging of the set observes, the band lives on through its music. However trite that may appear at first – all now-split bands or deceased artists exist beyond their actual personal existence together, barring reunions and the like – somehow it seems even more appropriate when considering Dead Can Dance, who practically embody the idea of timelessness in their uniquely overwhelming sound.
One of the aspects of the group’s career which is remarked upon in
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Label: Mute Format: CD,2LP
As purposely obscure and enigmatic as ever, Laibach‘s return to the world of record releases and live shows steps up the pressure they bring to bear upon the listener’s expectations of what this most uncompromising of groups might actually intend and ultimately mean. Presented in German, English and occasionally Serbo-Croat to thumping beats of an orchestral Techno bent, WAT kicks off with one of the most outrageously utopian Space Operas committed to disc in the shape of “B Maschina”. From the opening tinkling electronics and rising hum of power steeling itself for release, the archetypal deep voice of Laibach speaks the lay of dream machines raising into orbit to a whirring rhythm which soon grinds into escape velocity on impassioned digital whinnies and an explosion into choral grandeur of breathtaking aspect. Laibach have returned in style,
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- Iranair Inflight Magazine – Red Madrassa – Jebel Tariq Label: Muslimim Format: CD – Arabbox Label: Soleilmoon Format: CD -In Search Of Ahmad Shah Masood Label: Nexsound Format: CD
Recent months have seen the continuing flow of Muslimgauze releases slow down considerably – given that it is now five years since Bryn Jones‘ untimely death, this is hardly surprising, but that it has taken this long is in itself a testament to the legacy of finished material he left behind. This round-up of new and reemergent material covers only some of the diverse CDs which have appeared – a second instalment is likely to follow shortly.
With track names taken from the Iran Air Inflight Magazine of the album title and referring in turn to the passenger jet of that airline shot down, apparently by mistake,
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The Ralfe Band; The Destroyers; Guillemot; The Paetbog Faeries; Salsa Celtica; Sild; Cheltenham, UK 2nd-4th June 2006
Lying in the green heart of the Cotswold valleys is the small town of Cheltenham, where the remains of the emerald giant Wychwood Forest stands. This had been a site for forest gatherings and folk ceremonies until the 1850s when the land was sold to the Navy, so there is special significance now to dance over those rotten dealings in the name of better things. There is a lot of conscience here, with a big presence by Greenpeace, Oxfam, Friends of the Earth and more, and its also aÂ really good way to discover new performers who are and have been playing in the Folk circuit for a long time already. There is a Songlines tent doing artist signings and selling records of the bands playing, and generally a world of wonder and wierder
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- Does The Cosmic Shepherd Dream Of Electric Tapirs? Label: Space Age Format: CD – The Penultimate Glactic Bordello Also The World You Made Label: Dirter Promotions Format: 4CD
With a band as prolific and expansive as the Acid Mothers Temple, it’s somewhat difficult to select a “typical” release to settle on, and perhaps (perhaps not) Does The Cosmic Shepherd Dream Of Electric Tapirs? is as good as any as a starting point for the uninitiated. The album opens with a kosmische wind and wibbling analogue synths, mysterious voices from the aether and a sense of psychedelic foreboding, so the ingredients for a lengthy trip are there from the off. In fact, by the time “Daddy’s Bare Meat” kicks in to full Space Rock effect, it’s clear that the ride on Cosmic Shepherd is
Continue reading Acid Mothers Temple And The Melting Paraiso UFO – Does The Cosmic Shepherd Dream Of Electric Tapirs?/The Penultimate Glactic Bordello Also The World You Made [...]
Label: Studio Philo/Music Video Distributors Format: DVD
When Genesis P-Orridge returned to London in 1999 after nearly a decade of tabloid media-inspired witchhunt and subsequent exile to America, there was no doubt that the reappearance of Psychic TV on stage would be an event. That GPO’s manifestation resulted in broadsheet The Guardian running an extensive feature on his welcoming into the very heart of the arts establishment was almost as remarkable as the fact that PTV would be playing in the Royal Festival Hall itself, site of many a surprise underground-made-overground event before and since, but never one quite so outré.
Thanks for this eagerly-anticipated marathon gig is largely due to the then-head of contemporary arts programming, David Sefton, and as the accompanying Cut Up Concert documentary on the DVD recognizes, Time’s Up was quite a pageant of psychedelic
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Label: Mute Format: 2CD
“Still with Mute Records, the sadly neglected Fad Gadget looks like he could give The Human League a run for their money in the smart electronic pop stakes. His third excellent single in a row previews two tracks for his forthcoming album and features more of his clever, black humour lyrics and nifty tunes. “Fireside Favourites” pointedly combines the home fire, the atom bomb and an insanely jolly cakewalk, while “Insecticide” views life from an insect’s point of view with some clever effects. Highly recommended”.
Smash Hits, October 2-15 1980
That was then. Now there are a 1001 dodgy Eighties and Electro Pop compilations out there. As with all retro compilations memory and sellability are just as important as the music itself. If you take a look through the track listings
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Label: One Little Indian Format: CD
If, at any point in the last six or seven years, you had only taken the time to ask, then I would have told you, dear reader, that Björk Gudmundsdottir was THE Great Pop star of the 1990′s, what Bowie was to the 70′s, and, I would contend, Prince to the 1980′s. I use the term great not in the term of these people selling the most records, although they all have done great business there too, in their time. What I am referring to is a certain kind of character who is the best example of their age, a unique voice completely of their times and yet somehow always outside of and beyond them, a genius at the peak of their powers, doing their best work (and here we come to the
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Label: Ralph (America)/EuroRalph (Europe) Format: DVD, CD (soundtrack only)
There have been plenty of strange and powerful musicians and groups out there for many a long year. Captain Beefheart, Coil, Wesley Willis, Ken Nordine an so forth, each extending the realms of taste and disrupting the boundaries of what exactly constitues music and art . Then there are The Residents.
Through thirty years of wilful obscurity and cutting-edge innovation, they have maintained a largely successful anonymity, one of the features about the group which is at once integral to their mystique and irrelevant. The eminently ridiculous sight of a Resident in a tuxedo with an eyeball for a head is at once silly and sinister, a
Continue reading The Residents: Icky Flix – Live at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London 9th June 2001 – Icky Flix DVD [...]
The Bloomsbury Theatre, London 6-7th April 2001
Perhaps if Billie Holliday had received nuptial visits from the spirit of La Cage Aux Folles and produced an offspring, that might explain how the universe has been blessed with Antony. Perfoming live for two nights in London in support of Current 93 and the David Tibet Show, Antony And The Johnsons provided us with a glimpse into the nature of that blessing. And like a book is always better than the movie, Antony live was far better than even the CDs would let on. He poured himself onto a stage before a bedazzled audience, swathed in pink chiffon, as elegant as an angel, and sang like a violin. With the most beautiful voice of all time, ethereal and
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Label: Creation Format: CD,LP
“The time to rise has been engaged” – REM
It has occurred to me on more than just this one occasion that giving our seers and soothsayers money to throw about is often not the best thing for them. Witness the fate of Roxy Music and Johnny Rotten, Jefferson Airplane, Sly Stone, The Rolling Stones, Kurt Cobain and (most recently) Van Morrison and Prince. One of several things almost invariably happens. Either they dry up, they compromise their vision, trying to recreate past glories, but with a more commercial spin on it; more catchy, more popular. Or they get a taste for all the money thrown at them, and want more. Or else they spend it all on drugs. Some of them just can’t handle it at all, the machinations now surrounding them, the
Continue reading Primal Scream – Exterminator [...]
Label: Chalice Format: CD,2LP
1. As I reclined in my sketchy little world and allowed the gasses to go to my head, I became overpowered with the notion that I was being carried away. Silly flashes of Communion-like images of alien beings lifting me and placing me against soft chrome and spraying my skin black metallic and an underlying fear that maybe, just maybe this could all mean harm. Deliciously un-bothered, past that first tiny stab, I relented and realized that my ideas of invasion and possession are only valid at the movies, or at least where the victim might be unwilling to participate. Still I knew that I was away and gone from my world into another. There was comfort
Continue reading Coil – Musick To Play In The Dark, Volume 2 [...]