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Eurovision 2017

Eurovision 2017

It’s the time of year in Europe when days grow longer, spring blossoms multiply andthe Eurovision Song Contest heaves into view; which also entails Kev Nickells going through each and every entry with a vengeance.

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Desertfest 2017

London 28-30 April 2017


Vodun at Desertfest 2017

GP: It’s the one date on my calendar that I look forward to each year. Three days of having my ears pummelled by some of the heaviest bands around and a chance to see some artists perform in the UK for the first time, this is Desertfest. Across five venues in three days, Desertfest takes over Camden Town with heavy guitars and an audience with more long hair and beards than you would see in an average Viking film.

Every year the event seems to get larger and attract more and more people; this year the large cavernous space of The Roundhouse is one of the venues. Each time, the organization that goes into hosting the event gets better, even though it gets bigger. It

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The Fall – Totales Turns / Grotesque / The Marshall Suite / A Part Of America Therein / Perverted by Language


…as I always say, anyone who looks at the Fall track-by-track, rather than the correct way, which is as one discrete body of work – is, no pun intended, a fool.

Tobi Blackman, Dictionary Pudding

The Fall - GrotesqueWhen I was doing my masters, there was a seminar several times a week where the phrase “what is at stake with [x]…”

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Babymetal (live at The Forum) – a review and a riposte

London 7 July 2014

Kev Nickells went to see Japanese kawaii-rockers Babymetal live in London, and loved it. Barnabas Y, however, offers a riposte to the popularity of the genre-bending phenomenon. Pictures by James Sting.

The review

You should probably be aware of Babymetal by now. I first came across them when “the hard man of Harsh Noise Wall” Clive Henry put a link up to it. It ticked quite a few boxes for me — stylised in a way that didn’t quite make sense and seeming to be the axis of two very imagey genres – metal and J-pop. Now, I know the average metal purist will tend towards saying that metal doesn’t have anything to do with image but they are a dick who has no idea how ridiculous a Flying V looks. There’s a good reason that high street fashion and corporate graphic designers picked

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Otoroku label round-up (Decoy with Joe McPhee / Otomo Yoshihide, Sachiko M, Evan Parker, Tony Marsh, John Edwards and John Butcher / Brötzmann, Adasiewicz, Edwards and Noble)

Michael Rodham-Heaps tackles a trio of recorded documents from London’s Café Oto released for wider consumption on the ever-expanding Otoroku label…

Decoy with Joe McPheeSpontaneous Combustion

Decoy with Joe McPhee - Spontaneous CombustionThis one grabs my attention first, the gritty screen-printed abstracts go well with first half of this tasty double, recorded back in twenty eleven. It’s a fragmented fermentation, loose dot-joining limbs avoiding the unusual scuffle cuffs jazzy improv seems to gravitate to. Little strangulations of trumpet here a there, weird auras of percussions taking the ear, then sliding back out on tantalisations on venting, pursed lips.

The Hammond trickling in the background, then foreground chasing. The trumpet crawling over it, full of bicycle bell and cymbal dopplegangers, everything surging in unsteady curving

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All Tomorrow’s Parties: End Of An Era Part 2 (live at Pontin’s)

Fuck Buttons at ATP 2013Camber Sands, Sussex 29 November-1 December 2013

So it came, as the subtitle says, to the very end of an era for All Tomorrow’s Parties on the English coast. Returning full circle to Pontin’s at Camber Sands where it all kicked off 13 years ago (barring the festival’s origins with Belle and Sebastian‘s Bowlie Weekender a year earlier in 1999 at the same spot), ATP brought out its glad rags and old friends to take rock and roll and variations thereof on a musical jaunt to the seaside one last time.

With recent line-ups often being somewhat less enticing than the earlier events and with declining numbers apparently attending, it’s not such a surprise that the time when holding an off-season indoor festival four times a

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Bearded Theory festival 2013

Mark Chadwick of The Levellers at Bearded TheoryKedleston 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.


New Model 

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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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Pere Ubu – Datapanik in the Year Zero/London * Texas

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

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Dead Can Dance – 1981-1998

Label: 4AD Format: DVD+3xCD

Dead Can Cance 1981-1996 - sleeve There is an air of finality about the title and contents of 1981-1998. 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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Laibach – WAT

Label: Mute Format: CD,2LP

WAT - sleeve 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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Muslimgauze review feature

Iranair Inflight MagazineRed MadrassaJebel Tariq Label: Muslimim Format: CDArabbox Label: Soleilmoon Format: CDIn 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.

Iranair Inflight Magazine - back sleeve detailWith 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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Wychwood Festival 2006

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 a 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

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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

Does The Cosmic Shepherd Dream Of Electric Tapirs? Label: Space Age Format: CDThe Penultimate Glactic Bordello Also The World You Made Label: Dirter Promotions Format: 4CD

Does The Cosmic Shepherd Dream Of Electric Tapirs?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

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Psychic TV – Time’s Up Live

Label: Studio Philo/Music Video Distributors Format: DVD

Time's Up Live - jacketWhen 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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