Tuesday, 13 September 2011


At the beginning of 2010 Yuck seemingly came from nowhere to become the only indie band that anyone cares about in London within a few short months. That’s probably because, hiding behind a bracing combination of hazy reverb, feedback and lo-fidelity recording, lie the bones of perfectly executed songwriting, melodic hooks and memorable choruses. It is no coincidence that despite their relative youth as a band both Dinosaur Jr and Teenage Fanclub have requested Yuck to open shows for them.

Daniel Blumberg and Max Bloom, the bands core songwriting duo, may be London natives but Yuck’s rhythm section of Mariko Doi and Jonny Rogoff made it all the way from Hiroshima and New Jersey respectively to play with the band. If the reception the Yuck have been greeted with by both critics and audience alike is anything to go by then their journeys have been well worthwhile.

If you’ve been hiding under a big boulder, in a very dark cave, somewhere on a planet very far from Earth you may still be yet to hear Yuck but that’s OK. You can stay there because pretty soon everyone will be humming their songs all the way out there too.

The Creators Project: How did you guys meet? You are a pretty globally cosmopolitan band.
Daniel (voclas/guitars): Max and I have been friends since we were very young and we’ve played music together for years. I’d known Mariko for ages and I met Jonny in the dessert in Israel.

How did you end up together in the Israeli dessert?
Daniel: I was on holiday there for five days and I hitch hiked to this kibbutz out in the dessert as a few of my friends were living and working there. Jonny was just there.
Jonny: I was living there and his friends had told me he was in band and I had been in a band back in the States so despite the fact that we only hung out for about four hours we decided we should form a band together. I think we were both kind of joking but 6 months later I got this massive Facebook message from Daniel talking about all this music that we both liked and saying that we had to start the band.

So you cyber stalked him Daniel?
Daniel: Basically. I set up a Facebook account just to contact Jonny. Up until then it had just been myself and Max playing in Max’s room and it had become obvious that we needed a drummer.
Max: We had been watching all these YouTube videos of Jonny playing in his old band and it seemed like he was the right guy for the job. His old band was called Impossible Voyage and they were probably the best band in the world ever.
Jonny: I wouldn’t go that far. We played this kind of a progressive-space-shoegaze-metal and I loved to play with those guys but my taste was always a little less hardcore than theirs and when Daniel sent me the songs he’d been working on I was blown away. I realised that Daniel was offering me the choice to play in the kind of band I had always wanted to be in but had never had the opportunity to play in before.

So you just up and left the States?
Pretty much. I left university after having only been there for 6 weeks. I’d only really studied my bed and the girl next door who I’d fallen in love with.

That is a big commitment. What kind of music had you had all bonded over?
Daniel: Titus Andronicus, The Silver Jews, Pavement. That kind of stuff. We love the Silver Jews. I did a record with a guy in Nashville once who had worked on a bunch of Silver Jews and Bonnie “Prince” Billy records and I basically spent three weeks asking him Dave Berman and Will Oldham stories and not getting much done.

You can certainly hear echoes of those artists in your songs.
We just write songs and we write lots of them and what comes out comes out. You try and write the kind of music that you would want to listen to so I guess your tastes do end up being reflected in the music that you make.

One of the elements that makes your recordings unique is their low-fidelity which gives them a pretty distinct sound was it a conscious decision to record in that style?
In terms of the things we have released so far we just didn’t want to re-record anything. We were happy with the general sound of the tracks we demoed in Max’s room on his 8-track so we just released the ones that sounded most finished.
Max: We wouldn’t want the album or whatever we put out next to be a big leap in terms of sound from the demos and early releases so we will probably just continue recording in the same way, straight from a microphone in to an 8 track with maybe some drum tracks recorded in a studio.

You guys have had a lot of attention for a band that has been around for such a sort space of time, how do you feel about the Internet and web technology with regard to your music?
In terms of the actual music it is just boring in a way and kind of irrelevant. I think a lot of people just read about things and have opinions about them without actually listening to them. But in terms of getting our music out there and allowing people to listen to it and enjoy it it’s pretty amazing.
Max: Basically, all the attention and stuff makes no difference to what we do as a band or would make us stop doing what we do or change what we do in any way.
Daniel: Soon enough some new band will turn up and everyone will be talking about them instead. You just need to keep things in perspective and not let things like that affect your mind.

Do you look forward to a point when people don’t talk about you so much?
Daniel: If people are actually listening to the records and like them then that’s nice and it’s amazing that we can do this full time. That is probably the biggest benefit of the whole thing.
How does the writing process work for Yuck?
Daniel and I are just constantly writing songs and we’ll then take them to Mariko and Jonny and together we’ll finish them off with drums and bass.
Daniel: I try not to think about lyrics too much and just try to just get them down. Vocal melodies just sound nice in the context of the song. Sometimes the lyrics end up meaning something over time but I’ve never really listened to lyrics much aside from Silver Jews or Red House Painters songs.

You guys got to support Dinosaur Jr recently who sound like a big influence, how was that for you guys?
That was a pretty amazing night.
Max: Not only did we get to support Dinosaur Jr but we also met Kevin Shields backstage and it was the day before my birthday. The reason that I started making music was basically because of J Mascis and My Blood Valentine so it was ridiculous meeting them both in one night. The guy who did My Bloody Valentine’s sound actually did our sound when we played with Teenage Fanclub in Edinburgh.
Daniel: That show was probably even better than the Dinosaur Jr one. They were really cool as well.

So meeting your heroes doesn’t suck after all?
Daniel: Not for us so far.


Corsica Studios

Entering notorious South London rave enclave Corsica Studios to find the club resembling Jim Henson’s Creature Workshop on DMT hardly seemed a fitting backdrop for Philadelphia street-bass pioneer Starkey to make the live debut of his peerless debut long player Eat Drums And Black Holes.
Thankfully the B-Movie animatronics and visuals which had accompanied Brummie dubstepper Milanese’s live warm-up set were toned down to a minimum as Starkey took to the stage.
Mumbling that it was the first time he had played live in London for “a coupla years” and seeking refuge crouched low behind the comforting glow of his Mac and a pair of sequencers Starkey really need not have been so nervous.

From the first sub bass stab and synth swoop of LP opener “OK Luv” Strakey had the capacity crowd in the palm of his hand. While many would argue that dubstep and the fragmented axis of sounds that coalesce around the genre is best conveyed via the traditional DJ set Starkey makes a strong case to the contrary.

It doesn’t hurt that the material he is performing is so strong. Eat Drums And Black Holes is filled with riches: unique drum programming that swings and steps, Joker-esque saturated synths and of course deadly, deep sub bass that rattles the rib cage more than adequately.

While album tracks “Necksnap” and “Alienstyles” may have been dancefloor standouts for the raving crew it was the glacially tender “Spacecraft” which saw Starkey picking up the mic to recreate the track’s plaintive vocal refrain, truly melting hearts and taking the set from the special to the sublime.


Vice: Hello Shane. Napalm Death have been going for three whole decades now. That is a pretty long time. What has allowed Napalm to endure where so many others have whimpered off into obscurity?
Shane Embury (bass): We have always been fans of music so that helps. There have been many times of doubt but we have hung in there somehow. We are pretty close as friends but we’re also diverse as people and our influences reflect that. We also came from the old school way of doing things and although we keep an eye on what’s happening out there we just try and do our own thing. We’ve reached a point now where we feel very confident in our style but we equally feel like we can’t res on what we’ve done in the past so we try to move forward while keeping respect for what got us noticed in the first place.

Supersonic is a Birmingham metal festival. Do Napalm still feel like a Birmingham metal band?
We are a Birmingham band for sure even though we have two Americans in the band these days they’re probably more Brummie than we are. Birmingham is a strange city. I think it has a lot of layers that people overlook and a lot of great musicians as proved by the past and the present. Supersonic will feel like a homecoming I am sure.

What was in the water in Birmingham and the Midlands to cause so many bands like Napalm Death, Extreme Noise Terror, Doom, Heresy, Ripcord, Unseen Terror to pop up in the 80’s?
Well ENT were from Ipswich and Ripcord were Bristol based but still smallish cities nontheless, If you are into heavy music in Birmingham there has always been a thriving scene of kids who are eager to break out of where they are. If you go into Scruffy Murphys you will see punks and metal heads coming in after work and there still seems to be a fire in the eyes and a keenness to bond and reach out and create. I actually come from Shropshire near Ironbridge and moved to Birmingham many years ago. All I wanted to do was make music like my heroes: Black Sabbath. Judas Priest and Discharge and when I moved here I met people who wanted to do the same thing. Life can be oppressive sometimes and music helps you escape that plus Birmingham has a grey, dark side like most cities but look at it's track record. There have been so many great and musically different bands that have emerged over the years that there has to be something in the water. It all just depends on how you want to channel your energy really.

Who else are you excited to see play Supersonic this year?
Godflesh, Swans and no doubt some othe


Pruoro Instinct
ND @ 501

The Kaplan sisters may have traded in their former Pearl Harbour moniker but they have lost none of their effortlessly melodic ability to put a tune together while picking up a six piece band along the way.
Lead vocalist Piper had a conscientiously hip crowd eating out of the palm of her hand with a sassily energetic and reverb drenched display of showomanship redolent of a coquettish, young Debbie Harry.
Anchored by a faultless rhythm section younger sister Skylar (who’s all of sixteen) effortlessly poured out myriad snaking guitar lines simultaneously calling to mind McGuinn and Marr while providing each number with a lilting, escalating energy which has a habit of spilling in to moments of sheer, ecstatic joy not seen since the wiry psychedelic freakouts of Brian Jonestown Massacre at their best.
Puro Instinct’s debut LP proclaims them to be Headbangers in Ecstasy. As potential summer anthem “Stilyagi” rang out we couldn’t have put it better if we tried.


Thurston Moore
Demolished Thoughts

6 A bizarre sequence of total non-sequiturs which hang together only by dint of their shared oddness of both words and recording quality. But come on: anything less from a Thurston solo record produced by Beck would have been a total disappointment. Uncle Thurston even manages to squeeze in an ode to the semi-obscure early 20th century bohemian poet/actress/artist Mina Loy which, let’s face it, you aren’t going to get on the Brother record.

Ezra Found

Cape Dory
Carmen San Diego Records

5 All these husband & wife and girlfriend & boyfriend duos are getting pretty nauseating. Everyone thought it was gross when Mates Of State were airing their fey, indie affection for each other in public five years ago so what’s changed? There are more girl/boy duos knocking about this year than jangly indie bands with bad Paul Weller haircuts and this record is the final straw. I’m not taking it anymore. Who’s with me?

Jim Kinsella

Panda Bear
Paw Tracks

8 Sung Tongs seems a long time ago and I guess we just have to face the fact that, for better or worse, the early naughts class of Animal Gang Gang Markers are now part of the furniture and safe bets for end of year “Best Of” lists on just about ever lazy music aggregating website out there.  For all the grief this groundshift has garnered in some indier than thou quarters when records this good are being kicked out who cares whether it was released in a sandpaper sleeve limited to eleven copies or not? Stepping away from the total aural saturation of Person Pitch and presenting a more focussed sound mixed by ex-Spacemen 3 oddjob genius Sonic Boom has made for yet another record that should rightfully make the top end of all those lists. Here’s hoping he doesn’t make us wait another four years for another one.

Peter Shilton

Cass McCombs
Wit’s End
Domino Records

9 The saddest thing about a Cass McCombs record is not how beautifully bittersweet and perfectly executed his songs are but how few people seem to recognise how far ahead of anyone else he is at pouring his heart out over wistfully melancholy arrangements. Yet another heartbreaking work of staggering genius.

Waylon Jammings


Mob Rules
The Donor
Zandor/Grot Records

10 Ear perforating, malevolent misanthropy from Leeds’, nay the UK’s finest hardcore band. The fact that this sounds very little like a conventional hardcore band and a lot like a very angry Rorschach crashing into a very loud Bl’ast is nothing but a good thing. I’d like to see another UK ‘punk’ band come close to this long player but for me all bets are off, I’ll happily put my money on The Donor being my hardcore record of whatever we are calling this decade we are just about entering.

Clifford More-Dins

Sun Airway
Nocturne Of Exploded Crystal Chandelier
Dead Oceans

7 Ohkay so the saying the words “nocturne of exploded crystal chandelier” out loud in that particular order is only ever going to make you sound like a fifth rate Sal Paradise wannabe which is never desirable. That aside Philly duo Sun Airway have crafted ten warm, wafting tracks here that prove their able remix work for folks like Delorean and Here We Go Magic to be no fluke.

Seymour Butts

Sowberry Hagan
Riot Season

8 Riot Season have a fairly impeccable track record when it comes to putting out cacophonous albums of the doom-y persuasion. However, this LP may well be the first release on the label to contain both a soprano saxophone and a banjo without straying too far from the imprint’s tried and tested formula. Only a bunch of batshit crazy Belgians named after a ginormous penis could pull off a move so bold.

Billy Bunter

The Death Set
Michael Poiccard
Counter Records

7 The Death Set have played a few of our parties over the years and were never less than great live so it was with sadness that we learned of founder member Beau Velasco’s death by accidental overdose after many years fighting drug addiction. “Michael Poiccard” is a sprawling seventeen track tribute to Beau and testament to the band he helped build’s ability to conjure up day-glo ADD punk at the drop of a hat.

Perry Nutkins


7 Woah, if you thought you were in for a standard Kranky ambient-a-thon think again. Disappears play balls to the wall rock & roll so brawny it probably has muscles on its muscles.. Apparently they recorded this LP direct to tape over the recording of their first album Lux. You’d of thought Steve Shelley could afford some new tape with all of those Sonic Youth cheques rolling in but maybe not.

Balla Chada

En Form For Blå
9 Taken from three live performances in Norway in 2010 these seven tracks show that Æthenor’s unique, improvised and wholly engrossing meanderings suit a live setting just as well as they do the studio. The group’s core duo of Daniel O’Sullivan and Stephen O’Malley are joined here by latest full-time recruit, Ulver’s Kristofer Rygg and regular Derek Bailey collaborator Stephen Noble. A singular aural experience.

Peter Shilton

Heart Ache & Dethroned
Hydra Head

8 Now that all the excitement of the Godflesh reunion is over new Jesu material comes as a welcome departure from all that fearsome noise featuring as it does Justin K. Broadrick’s more ambient leanings. Don’t be fooled though, this is not an entirely new release, the Heart Ache part actually constitutes a re-release of Jesu’s first EP but stay tuned as the Dethroned material is brand new and as essential as ever.

Biff Tannen

Spritual Mental Physical
Drag City

8 The unearthing of Detroit proto-punk’s Death’s admittedly totally incredible 1974 LP …For The World To See was greeted like the second coming so I guess that makes these demo recordings from the mid-70s the third coming.

Bo Ridley

Geriatric Unit
Audit Of Enemies
Boss Tuneage

8 Weighing in at 23 odd minutes Geriatric Unit’s fifth release is actually their longest. Short, sharp blasts of to the point, pissed off punk rock featuring ex-members of Heresy, Hard To Swallow and Iron Monkey. If you’ve somehow managed to sleep on their previous releases this is not a bad place to wake up and get started.

Boss Keloid

Hype Williams
Find Out What Happens When People Stop Being Polite And Start Getting Reel
De Stjil

5 I may be missing something but didn’t DJ Screw do this about two decades ago?

Robert Davis


Gyratory System
New Harmoony
Angular Recordings

8 Another helping of Coltrane does Neubaten whilst wearing a creepy Aphex Twin mask from this bonkers London based trio. Allegedly the band’s mainstay, producer and trumpeter “Dr” Andrew Blick, is a constitutional historian who used to work at No. 10 while he wasn’t cutting records with everyone from Damo Suzuki to Grooverider. If you’ve never heard Gyratory System before that should give you some idea of what’s in store.

Brandenburg Kate

Crystal Stilts
In Love With Oblivion
Fortuna POP!

7 Crystal Stilts seem to be able to whack out shimmering, lo-fi post-punk gems on demand. That they manage this while somehow effortlessly cramming whistle-along hooks into the mix makes them the Stock, Aitken & Waterman of Brooklyn slacker pop for my money.

Jill Dando

Parts & Labour
Constant Future

8 If I was in a band that every single journalist in the world felt compelled to describe as “difficult” or “challenging” I’d make a whole record that sounded like Will.i.AM autotuning Cheryl Cole in a vocoder warehouse just to get a rise. This isn’t quite that but it’s about as compellingly accessible as Parts & Labour have sounded thus far.

Hadley Wood