Sunday, 8 July 2007

March Vice Reviews

Reviews For Vice Magazine for the month of March 2007. Some made it some didn't. Here they all are.

The Lodger
Kicking Sand/Centuries
Angular Recordings Single

4 Ugh. Proof that the supposedly ‘spot-on’ London micro-indie A&R’s get it seriously wrong sometimes. These two sound like some forgotten Ocean Colour Scene B Sides: boring, banal jangle indie about drinking pints and other shit I can’t believe that I just spent 5 minutes listening to. They can carry on kicking sand with The Basement downstairs in the Buffalo Bar forever for all I care.

Tiger Force
A Wasp In A Jar
Marquis Cha Cha

7 Who’d of thought a year ago that ‘post-Testicicles’ would be a term you could legitimately bandy round? These guys check all the boxes: funny coloured guitars, falling apart bits, screamy multi-tracked vocals, and hell they’ve even worked with Lethal B. I would bet a hefty wedge that their live show is ‘chaotic’. I wonder what all these bands would do if we made them sit in a room and listen to the Three One G and Skingraft back catalogues? Might be a bit cruel to make ‘em realise that a bunch of spoilt yanks did all this almost a decade ago.

Chinese Stars
Listen To Your Left Brain
Three One G

6 And almost on queue this pops up! I actually preferred listening to the Tiger Force thing as these dudes have basically been plying the same vein from Six Finger Satellite through Arab on Radar and onwards. You know the deal by now: funky Make Up style bass-lines, guitars that seemingly bear no relation to each other and anguished lyrics about things that make no sense at all unless you live in a warehouse in Providence and dedicate your life to like ‘art man’. The first EP that was shaped like a shuroken star is still the best thing they’ve done.

Broken Voyage
Upset The Rhythm

8 This sounds like the good bits of Deerhoof condensed down into 60 seconds then sped up from 33 to 45 rpm. Off the wall spazz attacks that somehow retain a demented sense of melody and structure. This is what I imagine the soundtrack to that new Magic Roundabout film should be. It probably won’t but you know, dare to dream.

Hey Colossus
Project: Death
Johnson Family

9 The problem with so much ‘heavy’ shit now is that really it is a load of bed-wetting hipster fags pretending to be something that they’re not. Witness the rise of bands like The Sword. These guys are from London and are balding and wear glasses and they wouldn’t really know what a hipster looked like so they’ve been able to craft behemoth sized riffs in a merry, maniacal vortex for a good few years now that consistently destroy audiences indiscriminately. Shit, if it didn’t sound like Thor shitting thunderbolts the title wouldn’t really fit and this sounds like Fudge Tunnel raping Kyuss so all good anyhow. One of the most overlooked UK acts out there, ‘I am the Chiswick Strangler’ is worth admission alone. Great artwork too dudes.

The Fucking Champs
Drag City

9 The Champs have basically made one record several times. The thing is that it is one of the most amazing, fist in the air, shit-eating-grin inducing records ever cut. Mathy, precise, riffing metal that gets away with being ‘arty’ cos it kicks so much ass. It’s like a whole record of that bit in the solo of Reign in Blood where the guitar goes ‘whoooop, duh, duh, duh, duh’. Never mind. If it aint broke don’t fix it.

Less Self Is More:
A Benefit Compilation For Tarantula Hill
Ecstatic Peace!

10 OK so if you don’t know what Tarantula Hill was and you pretend you are into Noise you are a liar. For all you liars out there and people that plain don’t give a shit here’s the breakdown: TA was pretty much the original East Coast freaky hang out spot for all the various art collectives and noise units that passed through Baltimore and was lived in by the guys from Nautical Almanac, Nate Young’s pre-Wolf Eyes outfit. While they were out playing No Fun last year the space burnt down destroying their studio, archives and a space integral in the creation of the scene, as it is known today. Buy this comprehensive doubled CD to help some dudes out or simply to have a compendium of every important noise artist in your i-pod at once. Either way you win.

No Neck Blues Band
Nine For Victor

9 The whole freak-folk thing is dead. Get over it. Banhart and Vashti Bunyan are licensing properties to advertisers quicker than Moby can bend over and beg for it. However there are some guys out there like the NNK cats that are so weird that if their music was put out on TV it would probably cause mass epilepsy. In fact they’d probably like that. Fuck knows what’s going on in these nine songs recorded live a couple of years back but there is a bit ‘Brain Soaked Hide’ that rages harder than Comets at their best and rather than sing about ‘mocking birds’ they are all more likely to get naked on stage and bleed on each other while wearing buckets on their heads like the Knights who say: Ni.

Ben Frost
Theory Of Machines
Bedroom Community

9 I would have given this top marks if it weren’t for the totally unnecessary ‘interpretive’ liner notes. The music contained on this disc is a stone cold 10. It marries ambient-Aphex swathes of warmth and static with the compositional complexity of Arvo Part and the sonic nothingness of the New Blockaders or their heirs apparent Wolf Eyes and somehow manages to make all of these disparate elements work perfectly, complementing rather than distracting from each other. Yes, it is that good. I have listened to it almost every day since I got it and any album with a track entitled ‘I Love You Michael Gira’ should probably be owned by everyone, everywhere immediately. This is music even the grumpy old Swans dude himself might enjoy. Brilliant.

Dubstep Allstars Vol 5
Mixed by DJ N-Type

8 Ok, so if you are the sort person who goes to FWD every week and listens to Rinse all the time you will know the vast majority of these but for everyone else these compilations from Tempa remain the Gold Standard in terms of marking points in the evolution of Dubstep. Compared to Youngstas Vol 2 which defined the halfstep era in 2005 in a mere 13 tracks this mix brims with the myriad directions the genre has taken since then. From b-line wobblers to vocal anthems to clipped minimalism somehow everyone’s favourite excitable baldy has managed to fit in 38 tracks mixed swiftly in the manner of one of his show stopping party sets that made him last years DJ of the year. If you still don’t know about dubstep buy this now and start pretending.

Rush In Rio
Anthem DVD

10 There are some bands that are so good you just can’t deny it. Fleetwood Mac, Gabriel era Genesis, it doesn’t matter that your dad likes them, you see these are examples of artists who stumbled past good and bad and into genius whether you like it or not so quit worrying whether people notice that you have Tusk or The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway in your CD collection and just accept that they rule. Rush are very much one of these bands and this DVD is like a living breathing testament to the fact. Watch in awe as Geddy, Neil and Alex play to approximately 60 billion people in one of those megadomes that only the South Americans can fill and play communist allegories about trees and mutant space operas abut Viking Vallhalas and thank whatever weird Canadian God of rock decided to allow this band to exist. Thirty masterly missives that take you Closer To The Heart,

Jandek On Corwood
Unicorn Stencil DVD

7 When Jandek appeared unannounced at the 2004 Instal festival it was sort of like the second coming of Christ for the sort of people that read the Wire and think Stockhausen is a little too accessible. Although this isn’t exactly Newlyweds in terms of access it does give a valuable insight into one of the few true enigmas of the last thirty years of popular music. With over 35 self-released albums on his own Corwood label Jandek has maintained a Fahey-esque elusiveness that has cemented his legend far beyond his output in outsider circles. This recent DVD and a handful of live shows maybe indicate he’s become a little worried that he’ll be left a pedants footnote but even a cursory listen to the soundtrack of this weird old dudes days should convince you he’s worth a little effort.

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