Sunday, 8 July 2007

February Vice Reviews

Here are some reviews that I wrote for music and DVD's and stuff in the month of Febuary 2007 for Vice Magazine. Some were published some weren't.


My Pussy/2 T Bags 7”
White Heat Records

8 You can’t not like Akiko, she turned up at our office this morning bouncing around like a 7 year old who’d just been told that Jim was gonna fix it for her and yelling: Listen! My Pussy! Ok Akiko but we don’t have a record player. Not a problem, she produces a crazy Japanese mini portable battery powered 7” player and insists we have a ‘listening’ party. So we did. This one is a bit dirgier than the previous singles and even has a chanted chorus, it’s about Akiko’s “one true love” a Pussy (as in cat) she had when she was two but ran away. Ah… It has a cool little book inside the sleeve so that you can read along to the lyrics while you listen. Neat.

Cut City
Exit Decades

5 Interpol sure do take ages to get a record together eh? If you are really bored of waiting and want to listen to some of that glacial, detached post-punk stuff with chiming guitar bits and a singer who sounds like he really isn’t that bothered I suppose you could do worse than check this out. Did you know that Interpol’s original drummer used to play in Saetia? True story.

Blonde Redhead

5 These guys are like the ultimate confidence tricksters. Young impressionable kids will be fooled into thinking the twin guitars/drums thing is really out there and old Uncut readers will buy it because its on 4AD and they can pretend they still know what’s up. Have any of you actually listened to the record? It’s like something half of Sonic Youth would make if they were really bored one afternoon. If you go seem 'em live it’s really freaky because the two guys are identical twins and they both just stare like the Children Of The Corn at the cute Japanese girl singing up front.

Tall Firs
Ecstatic Peace!

9 Wow, this is really nice. Like waking up with someone whispering in your ear. Not in a stalkery Elliot Smith way but in a kind of subtle major-key, good morning aint it great to be alive way. It’s a record that’s like one of those guys you meet for the first time one night and it feels like you’ve known him your whole life and you stay up all night drinking and then think shit, who did I hang out with before I knew this guy?

Kieran Hebden & Steve Reid

8 Yay, that guy with the Afro that used to be in Fridge has made another record with that old guy guy that plays the drums. OK, aside from the fact that Steve Reid has played with more gifted musicians than just about any other living human being the two Exchange Sessions volumes so far had an air of muso indulgence. You could just feel em getting moist over at The Wire. The great news is that this is like the good bits of those two recordings slimmed down and pumped full of wonderous melody, great!

Death Sentence: PANDA!
Festival Of Ghosts/R’out 4,002
Upset The Rhythm

8 This sounds like a woman who has just drunkenly sprayed herself in the eyes with her own mase and and keeps running round the bar screaming in fits of agony and then calming herself down and methodically trying to sort the problem out. But then going back to the mental fit bit. Either that or the spazzy bits of Magick Markers with added clarinet.

No Age
Get Hurt
Upset The Rhythm

8 Wives were awesome. They played arty noise-rock without any pretension and absolutely slayed live, anyone that saw them on their final UK tour where they were basically fighting at all points they weren’t on stage will attest to that. Here are two thirds of Wives stripping it back to guitar and drums and doing a quiet loud thing that’s filled with atmospheric melodic build ups and crashing noisy as fuck break downs. Equally awesome.

Who Never Rests

8 Tomlab tend to deal in pleasant, quiet laptopy affairs that probably get played at architecture student’s after-parties. Although this Khan guy uses a laptop he would eat them all for breakfast. He appears to be the Mr Lover Lover dude from those old Levi’s adverts with the voice of Dave Wyndorf, Funkadelic’s bass lines and Beefheart’s guitar licks. It makes you feel a bit filthy just listening to it and is almost totally rubbish but somehow great.

Trash Money
Trash Money
Tragic Records

4 Is there something going here that I don’t understand? This is like some horrible Scissor Sisters/Har Mar orgy inside a hermetically sealed 80’s glam disco club from hell where everyone took so much coke they were convinced that singing a four minute song about some speakers was a good idea. And that’s just the first song. If this came on when you were in the car with your parents they would probably be fairly sure they used to ‘step out’ to tunes like this when they were ‘courting’.

Andy Stott
Handle With Care/See In Me
Modern Love 10”

10 Villalobos has been dropping Dubstep in his Minimal sets since the tail end of ’95 so I suppose the crossover that looks to be coming over the hill was an inevitability. Skream’s remix of Leeds techno bod Mark Ashken’s ‘Roots Died Dark’ is an awesome study in the two beasts meeting well while Shackleton’s forthcoming reworking of Villalobos’s own ‘Blood On My Hands’ sure looks a sexy prospect. Here’s an example of what all that stuff will sound like that is so perfect that it’s almost like cyborg version of the best Rhythm & Sound tune you’ve never heard that’s come back from the future to make sure these young whippersnappers get the right idea.

[Also is it me or are 10”s easily the best format ever? Apart from a 13” my friend Luke once found Berlin. But that record was kind of showing off a bit too much. A bit like the guy with the massive cock who always gets it out at parties. Yeah yeah we get it, you’re hung like whaleman which is awesome but you know, put it away.]

Bass Clef
A Smile Is A Curve That Straightens Most Things
Blank Tapes

8 Check this chief out. He’s spent a while chilling in Bristol soaking up all that dub and soundsystem culture and now he’s come to London to have a bash at Dubstep. He’s obviously been paying attention down in the basement of Plastic People but he also seems to be into stuff like early Aphex and Reinforced era Jungle. And the Trombone. Interesting. File next Boxcutter and Burial in the Dubstep that isn’t all that bothered about being Dubstep and is all the better for it corner.

∅ (Mika Vainio)
Sahko Recordings

10 Is there anybody out there that still actually buys records? I do. I’m not exactly proud of it. Especially when the sheer act of having to give up hard earned salary in return for music should come with some kind of intrinsic discretion and all I end up with are all these ambient clicks and glitches CD’s from Boomkat. Sure they are lovely to own and everything but nine out of ten of them sound pretty similar and I’ll only ever end up listening to most of them twice at best. Every once in while though one like this comes along and transforms you into a slack-jawed believer in the point of it all again. This is half of Panasonic making sounds that I imagine they play to people in those pods in the Matrix to keep them in a sedate state of sheer, perfect bliss.

Late Night Shopping
Akoustic Anarchy

6 Ok, I initially wrote a three-word review of this but decided to give it another go. Still coming up blank. Apparently the ‘London Indie Media’ are busting a nut over these guys and it’s OK in a middle of the road ‘hey we listen to My Bloody Valentine but are also into angular post punk and our music really reflects our diverse and experimental taste’ kind of way but if these guys were on stage I would definitely sit it out for the bar. Remember how much hype the NME gave Nine Black Alps? What happened to them eh? Or The Longcut…


10 If you hop on e-bay and type in ‘Infest discography’ you will be presented by this peach. Yup, every song by the greatest band ever on one CD for just £5.99. Shit like this is what Tidbits exists for. Okay, okay so it’s not the same as owning the records (I’m still after the split 8” with Pissed Happy Children on Slap A Ham by the way) but then again what did Poison Idea tell us about record collectors?


The Wire
Season 3 DVD

10 This is the best drama on television right now. It may be the best drama that’s ever been on television. That’s because it is nothing like television is supposed to be. For a start who are the bad guys? The kids out on the Baltimore corners hustling 24/7 for coke and dope who’ll just as happily cap you as say hello or the cops policing this impossible situation who seem to rack up just as many bodies? Or why doesn’t it have an answer by the end of each episode like CS fucking I? Shit, this is the third season now and stuff from episode one could pop up at any minute. Everything about this show is so perfect that I wish it could go on forever and in ten years time I guarantee people will start talking about it like they are beginning to talk about Oz.

Desperate Man Blues: Discovering The Roots Of American Music
Dust To Digital

8 You remember when you were younger and you swore that you’d only ever want to listen to pop punk and rock out and all of that Jazz and Blues stuff seemed like algerbra? Well now you’re a bit older and sure The Descendents still rule but all those wizened old blind guys should be beginning to make sense. There is a reason people still listen to them. While some great music will forever be lost this DVD shows how important it is to hang on to music that actually deserves to be heard by everyone forever. It focuses on a weird guy called Joe Bussard, who’s a sort of modern day Alan Lomax or Harry Smith, and his constant quest to add to his collection of over 25,000 78’s which takes him into all sorts of weird shacks and Southern backwaters. The timeless tunes and tales of men like Blind Willie McTell, Charley Patton and Robert Johnson end up telling the story as much as Joe who frankly is a bit weird.


Babylon’s Burning: From Punk To Grunge
Clinton Heylin

5 Right, let’s clear this up straight off the bat: this book is quite interesting and if you are into egotistical authors with God-complexes it’s pretty well written. But, and this is a big fucking but, correct me if I’m wrong but that subtitle up there promises “from Punk to Grunge”. We get 537 pages on punk and post-punk through to ’83 then about a hundred sides to bring us up to the miserable guys in Seattle. Huh? Thurston Moore once said in an interview something along the lines of: there was the pre-punk Velvets and Stooges stuff, then the Ramones, the Pistols and ‘punk’ and then ‘post-punk’ and then it all went quiet until Nirvana came along. Uncle Thurston was of course being just a little sarcastic: a whole shitload went down in the ‘lost decade’ but Heylin obviously didn’t feel it necessary to spend his fat Penguin advance writing about it. Instead we get a re-hash of a book he’s done already (From the Velvets to the Voidoids) followed by three of Clinton’s homespun musical maxims: 1) I’m from Manchester: Manchester is amazing and bands from Manchester like the Buzzcock’s are better than bands from London like the Pistols. 2) I’m working class: posh bands are shit so the Clash are shit. 3) Bootlegs are more important than released records: if you don’t own obscure studio sessions of early X Ray Spex you don’t know what you are talking about. Although the chapter on Radio Birdman was great you may as well swap this doorstop of dead rainforest in for Michael Azzerad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life if you are really a person who digs reading about music more than listening to music and you really want to know what happened in the mid 80’s.

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