Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Vice May Record Reviews

May saw Vice taking on a Mexican theme so I headed off to Islington to play the records to a stoned Mexican.

May Reviews

What with it being the Mexico Issue and all we popped over to our buddy Ivan Mendiola’s flat and played him this months records so that we could get a real life Mexican’s view on recorded sound in June 2008.

Ivan is a 24 year old from Monterrey in northern Mexico. He has been living in England for just over a year. He is studying music but told us that he only really liked “playing the drums and tripping out”. In order to prepare for this record playback he took some mushrooms and smoked “a whole load of joints to create the mood” before I turned up.

The Very Best Of

VICE: Do you get much Jamaican music in Mexico?
Ivan Mendiola: No, there are not many black people.

I am pretty sure you don’t actually need to be black to listen to dancehall.
I guess not. Don’t all these guys hate gays too?

A few of them aren’t so keen on the whole idea.
That might make them popular in Mexico. Mexican people are not very tolerant of gays.

Rinse: 04 Mixed by Skepta & Dupstep Allstars: Vol.6 Mixed by Appleblim

What does this sound like to you?
It sounds like being trapped in a ketamine hole. Or maybe a space shuttle launching.

When would you listen to this?
If I was drowning to death.

You know people dance to this stuff?
No way. I don’t believe you.

Sub Pop

These guys are from South America just like you!
It just sounds like pop music to me. Very simple. Is this the band with the girl who looks like a cat as the singer?

Oh, I like her.

She is marrying the guitarist from Klaxons.
Oh. That’s a shame. Actually I really like Klaxons so I am very happy for him.

Love To Make Music To
Ninja Tune

Is hip-hop a big deal in Mexico?
Not really. There are a lot of Mariachi bands. Not much hip-hop.

You mean the guys with hats and the funny suits that look like The Three Amigos?

Did you ever play your drums in a mariachi band?
I did but I got fired. It is boring and the clothes are too hot.

No Sanctuary- The Spiderleg Recordings
Alternative Tentacles

Do you get many crusty punks in Monterrey?
A few, they like to drink a lot in the streets and get into fights with the Goths.

Were you ever a Goth in your youth?
No I was into glam metal though. I loved Poison and Twisted Sister.

Did you have big hair and leather trousers?
No, my dad was very strict. He made me have short hair. I did have a leather jacket though which was very small.


Would you ever buy this one?
No way. They sound like they don’t care about what they are doing. Like they might fall asleep at any minute.

What kind of person do you think would be into this one?
A woman who works in a shoe shop.

Have you ever worked in a shoe shop?
No, I once worked in a bar and once in a grocery store. I think shoe shops are for women.

Marc Almond with Michael Cashmore
Gabriel and The Lunatic Lover
Durtro Jnana

He has a nice voice doesn’t he?
Yes I like it very much. It sounds like Casper the Friendly Ghost if he was sad.

It is Marc Almond who was in Soft Cell.
Really? I like them. Do you know that song “Bedsitting”?

Yes, it’s a good song.
I thought that was what England would be like but it is much nicer than that song.

Marc almost died in a motorcycle accident a couple of years ago.
Really? I feel bad that I did not know. I hope he is better now.

Aagoo Records

This is a pretty summery record. Would it be nice in sunny Monterrey?
Yes I would like to wander around to this on LSD.

Is acid popular in Monterrey?
Yes, it can be a very good time but sometimes it is too much.

What happens when it is “too much”?
It can get very scary and make you want to curl up in a ball and confront your fears.

Black Ghosts
The Black Ghosts
Southern Fried

Have you ever encountered any ghosts?
Not me personally but there is a road that the drug smugglers use out of town that they say is haunted.

You make the drug smugglers sound very amiable. Like pirates or something.
Oh no they are pretty heavy guys you wouldn’t want to mess around with them.

Have you ever had any run ins?
Not really. They are pretty high up the chain but you know who they are and you don’t get involved with them.

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis
Kitty, Daisy & Lewis
Sunday Best

These are little kids who make all their music at home in their mum and dads house.
I don’t like it.

Why not?
I just don’t. It sounds like rubbish.

You are currently doing a degree in music. You can’t just say “it sounds like rubbish”.
Well. It does.

Capillary Action
So Embarrassing
Pangea Recordings

When was the last time you were embarrassed?
I play in a band with a girl and we used to see each other but it didn’t work out.

That doesn’t really sound embarrassing. More just plain awkward.
I guess so. She knows all about me though and kind of tells me what to do. It is not nice.

Yeah that still just sounds awkward. Or maybe just a pain the ass.
I once fell asleep at a party and dribbled all over this other girl I liked at the time.

That’s more like it.

Shit & Shine
Riot Season

This one is kind of metal. Would you have been feeling it in your Poison days?
Yes I like it. The drumming is great.

I still can’t believe your dad wouldn’t let you grow your hair. Is that why you moved to England?
Parents can be annoying yes.

You could grow it now though. What would you go for? Feathered mullet?
I am kind of over the whole hair thing now actually.

7 Obstacles

Where would you guess these guys are from?
A big city. It sounds confusing. Los Angeles?

No they are from Swindon.
I have never heard of that place.

Some of them actually live in Bristol now.
I have never heard of that place either.

Windsor For The Derby
How We Lost
Secretly Canadian

Do they have horse racing in Mexico?
Yes. People like cockfighting too.

In England a lot of people think it’s a bit disgustingly, barbarically, cruel.
Hmm. They are just chickens.

Chickens can feel pain too.
Maybe. I eat chickens though. I don’t eat horses.


The Stupids
Violent Nun/Peruvian Vacation/Retarded Picnic/Complete Peel Sessions
Boss Tunage

Tommy Stupid sounds pretty pissed off here. What do you think he is angry about?
I think he lost his job.

What job do you think he had?
I think he was refuse collector for the council and he was smelly.

He actually went onto be the highly respected drum&bass producer Klute.
Oh, I like drum&bass. That is a good job to do.

Albert Hammond Jr
Como Te Llama
Rough Trade

What does “Como Te Llama” mean?
It doesn’t really make sense. There needs to be an s on the end.

You think it is grammatically incorrect?
It definitely is yes.

He was in the Strokes though. They all went to posh schools. Surely he knows his Spanish?
Apparently not.

Born Ruffians
Red, Yellow & Blue

This guy sounds like he inhaled a bunch of laughing gas.
I have never tried that. What happens?

It makes your head feel like it has been blown up by a bicycle pump until it almost bursts.
Wow, that sounds great.

It only lasts for about 10 seconds though.
Oh, that isn’t so good.

Russian Circles
Suicide Squeeze

What do you think of the cover of this one?
It looks like an old military photo. Like your granddad might have on his wall.

Would you ever like to join the army?
No way man. Far too hectic.

What about if you got caught with a load of LSD and you had to choose between jail and the army.
In Mexico you would just pay off the cop. They dig bribes. I once bribed a copy with a Miles Davis CD. It wasn’t even the real CD. Just a CDR.

Hear, O Israel!
A Prayer Ceremony in Jazz
Trunk Records

Do you like Jazz?
Yes, the drumming is crazy.

Sometimes to me it just sounds like they are playing whatever they want.
Sometimes they are.

But that means that I could be a Jazz drummer.
Sure, why not. You would probably be a crap Jazz drummer but you could try.

Free Kitten
Ecstatic Peace

This is a bit like that story you were telling me before about playing in a band with your girlfriend.
What do you mean?

Well this is the band that Kim Gordon plays in so that she doesn’t go mad playing in Sonic Youth with Thurston the whole time.
Oh right. I never really got Sonic Youth.

How come?
It just all sounds the same. Guitar bit, sing about being a teenager, blah blah. It’s silly.

Essential Italo Disco Classics 1977-1985

What do you think of this stuff?
Wow I love it!

What do you like about it?
It kind of sounds like the future but also stuck in the 80’s as well.

That is pretty much a perfect description of Italo Disco. Are you sure you have never heard it before?
No never. I will listen to it a lot in the future though. This is the perfect dance music.

Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes
Bella Union

If this were an ice cream what would it be?
Maybe lemon sorbet.

How come?
It is really sweet sounding but it is bitter as well.

You are pretty good at this; can you do some reviews for us in the future?
I am not sure, I am kind of busy having fun and doing university to be honest.


Were you ever scared of metal records when you were younger? I was terrified of “Ride The Lightning” by Metallica.
Not really. This record is great though!

You like it?
Yeah! This is the best one so far.

Really? It’s hardly “Welcome To Hell” is it?
I have never really listened to Venom. I love it. Can I keep it?

Lykke Li
Youth Novels
LL Recordings

Can you understand the lyrics?
No not really, she sounds like she is whining.

What do you reckon she is whining about?
I don’t know. Probably boys and her hair or something.

You don’t seem to like girls much.
They can be really annoying. Can we listen to Venom again?

The Switchblade EP
Isomorph Records

This one only comes on vinyl.
That is nice. I like vinyl. CD’s are like travel sweets. They are all plasticy and could break at any time.

What do you think of the actual music?
It is nice. It sounds like Sesame Street but at a crazy disco party.

Would you dance to this?
Yes. A lot.

Vice Festival Previews 2008

My rundown of three day parties in fields.

Field Day
August 9, Victoria Park, London
Ohkay, ohkay so last year you did have to queue up for a minimum of 77 minutes to perform any basic human bodily function like say “drinking” or “weeing” and being booted out into E9 with your eyeballs popping out of your skull at midnight and nowhere to go can be a little much. But, that said, the lineup is brilliantly bonkers enough second time around to get the queues building again with everyone from Lindstrom and Richie Hawtin to King Creosote and Of Montreal making an appearance. Plus the organizers have promised more toilets and bars than you can shake a dick at as well as a bunch of organized afterparties. So we’ll probably see you all there just like last time. Tickets are a bargain at £26.50. Get those, lineups and blah blah at

August 8, Victoria Park London
Last year Underage was the sleeper hit of the three-ring freakshow that the UK festival circuit has become. Mainly because it was the one that everyone wanted to go to but couldn’t. You think Glastonbury is a pain in the ass gaining access to? Nothing compared to realizing you are ten years too old to even be eligible for a ticket. No title sponsors, no balding, passed out middle aged guys chasing something they’ll never get back, no first time LSD casualties talking to festering piles of Chinese noodles in the food village. Just great orginistaion and a bunch of 14-18 year olds going loopy on E numbers to an insightful lineup including Gallows, Foals and XX Teens. It’s all depressingly refreshing. Particularly as you have little to no chance of getting in unless you are taking your kids. And that really is depressing. Tickets for tiny people are £23 and you can go wish you were young again at

June 13-15, Donninton Park, Midlands
The blundering beast lumbers on. Download annually continues to become an obese parody of itself but every year they give you a whiff of something true to make you head to Castle Donnington. This time around you have Priest, Kiss, Municipal Waste and the Dillinger Escape Plan to just about make standing in a field of lank haired, 40 year old, leather clad virgins who live with their mothers in Kegworth and have a Live Action Role Play obsession so intense and vivid that they occasionally actually believe that the frozen aisle in Morrison’s is an ice shaft on Hoth all worthwhile. £150 tickets, directions and weird rabbit in gimp suit .gif’s at

June 27-29, Glastonbury, Somerset
Holy shit! Now here’s something we though we’d never see! No, not that. Hova’s got some weird deal where he is appearing at every festival ever in 2008 so that was no biggie. What was a real earth shatterer was that the tickets didn’t all go in 7.2 seconds. In fact, right now there are still tickets left! Who’d a thunk it? They finally expanded the capacity, sorted out the purchasing system and now real life human beings can actually get onto uncle Eavis’s farm as opposed to a bunch of touts who couldn’t shift their tamper proof tickets in the sludge. We have a tent again this year and it will be on high ground so come see us and expect nothing but a bunch of great acts and DJ’s hiding from the rain. Tickets and all other info at The lineup is filled with a bunch of great stuff and the usual barrel load of freaks but the acts are never really the big deal at Glasto. It’s more about surviving with as many possessions and as much sanity intact as possible.

Green Man
August 15-17, Glanusk Park, Brecon Beacons
If you like your music filled with strumming, fiddling, hay bales, broken hearted maidens and brave ol’ boys drinking whiskey and rye then Green Man has got you pegged. Filled with folk, Americana, beards and a worrying amount of Birkenstock’s the Green Man has established its place so firmly in the calender of all furrow-browed Uncut and Mojo readers that it has managed to pull of the unthinkable: persuade the original Pentangle lineup to reform! On top of that bombshell you get slightly more contemporary fare from Spiritualized, Howling Rain and Black Mountain. Tickets are £105 and you can get them at

July 11-13, The Custard Factory, Birmingham
The Capsule gang are local Birmingham promoters of good shows who have slowly grown Supersonic from being a well picked all dayer into a raging three day contender for the best festival anywhere ever. Supersonic has the balls to book the kind of bills that the laughably complacent ATP once made their name promoting. This years lineup is no exception. It looks like the kind of bill that a Wire reader would come up with if he was being balled into submission by a burly Terrorizer reader. You get the mathy twiddles of Battles, the komische flourishes of a reformed Harmonia, the lumpen sludge of Erath and Harvey Milk’s first ever UK appearance as well as a whole raft of straight weirdoes like the Fuck Buttons kids, Scotch Egg and Justice Yeldham. All of this before you get to the exclusive screenings our forthcoming Heavy Metal in Baghdad documentary and the fact that you can while away hours in record fairs and lectures when you’re not falling over sideways into that big paddling pool thing from all the cheap Brummie larger and you should basically be getting the message here that Supersonic is not to be missed. Check out for tickets which are just £65 for the whole weekend.

September 5-7, Robin Hill Country Park, Isle Of Wight
The only festival where you are likely to see armies of pygmy warrior slaves and giant hot dogs with legs without having necked all of your DMT to get past security continues to wedge it’s place into the hearts of festival going people everywhere. Bestival is the kind of festival that even the people who don’t like festivals like. You can tell because it’s sold out already and Glastonbury hasn’t. Plus it’s right at the end of the season so it feels a bit like you are skiving off work while you are there which is always nice. This year Rob Da Bank has managed to convince my Bloody Valentine, Aphex Twin, Carl Craig and some drunk girl who’s always wandering around Camden all to perform plus there will be a Vice tent going on until they close us down each night so come and say hi. No tickets but all other stuff at

Tapestry Goes West
August 8-9, Margram Park, Wales
Tapestry really takes the whole ‘festival as freakshow’ thing to whole new levels that formerly probably only exitsted in the pre-pubescent fantasies of the singer dude from Circulus while he was sitting all alone in his room listening to Comus and reading David Eddings novels. This year’s edition is billed as ‘The Holy Grail’ and you can expect all the usual costumes, revelry, elaborate marquees and jousting knights. Well maybe not the jousting knights but all the other crap for sure. Actually I just checked website and there WILL be a bunch of gallant squires known as ‘Thee Knights of Arkley’ so there. Music from John Power out of the La’s, the Duloks, Diagonal and you guessed it….Circulus! Tickets are £60 and you can get those plus a load of other arcane Tapestry knowledge at

Kendall Calling
August 1-3, Grate Farm, Cumbria
Festivals have become a bit like the seasons. They are just there. Between May and September you no longer wonder or look forward to a certain festival on a certain weekend. You just assume they will be there and any weekend you fancy rolling around in mud and drinking warm cider you can pretty much have your fill anywhere in the United Kingdom. Even Kendall it turns out. Sister festival to the excellent Standon Calling this three year old up and comer offers a bunch of nice green hills to play on as well as The Super Fury Animal, Dizzee and the Mystery Jets. Tickets are about the same price as a London Parking fine at £55 and you can get hold of them at

Dot To Dot
May 22, Various Venues, London
May 24-25, Various Venues, Bristol and Nottingham
The brainchild of Liars Club founder and Alt Delete records owning bean pole about town Ricky Haley, Dot To Dot has eaten yet another city this year. Loosely following the format of city based jaunts like the Camden Crawl, Dot To Dot continues to offer lineups that put fully fledged festivals with huge budgets to shame. Across the lot you get thoughtful choices that make you go “oh they’re there!” like Spiritualized, Chrome Hoof, Legowelt and Dan Deacon as well as our very own disco supremo Piero Martineti spinning Italo classics. A sure ticket. All info at

July 18-20, Somewhere in Berkshire
Once upon time the Glade was just one of those trillions of tents at Glastonbury that you would get stuck in at 7:30 am jumping up and down like some spinal bifida afflicted Fido Dido to nosebleed gabba and wandering if the girl with the trustafarian dreads in front of you was dancing suggestively or was just dizzy. These days though the Glade has become to people that like to stay awake on horse tranquiliser for three days what Golders Green is to Hassidic Jews: the ultimate spot to hang out! This almost certainly has something to do with the amount of industrial strength Ketamine that has seemingly engulfed the UK. The Orb, Vitalic, Ulrich Schnaus and not nearly as many breakcore DJ’s as you’d expect are all there to keep you out of the K holes. For £125 tickets and information concerning where exactly it is go to

V Festival
August 16-17, Hylands Park, Chelmsford & Weston Park Saffordshire
Two days, two venues and so much branding that your average Crass fan would probably explode like the vampires in Lost Boys when they get in the sun upon setting toe in either Hylands or Weston Park. Regardless of the Bishopsgate Tower sized soullessness of the thing Branson’s bank balance usually entices the kind of lineup that would make your mum and anyone else who bought their CD collection in Tesco’s go “wow!”. To that end you get The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Muse, the Stereophonics and, wait for it…the Kooks. Passes to the arena of inanity will set you back £145. Get them here:

June 7-8, Dores, Inverness
Considering that this one continues to have pretty much the best name on the whole circuit the lineup continues to play a workmanly Pete Samprass like game to it’s titular Ronnie O’Sulivan wildness. You get guaranteed hands in the air from Fatboy ‘Norman’ Slim and Underworld as well as family sing a longs to Razorlightt and The View but you are probably better off spending the weekend looking for the monster at the bottom of the sites swimming pool installation. Tickets are £123.75 with camping and you can get them from Or you could alternatively buy approximately 820 Chomps.

The Carling Weekend
August 22-24, Richfield Avenue Reading and Bramham Park, Leeds
Traditionally Leeds was the weekend for grown ups to act like kids, drink beer out of novelty hats, set portaloos on fire and fight policemen while Reading was the place for kids to wear heaps of non gender specific makeup and pretend that they were in the middle of some kind of crisis that required counseling 24 hours a day or else that would be it: hung by guy ropes at dawn. The last few years have seen a bit of a groundshift in the opposite direction. Maybe the man-childern and the life-hating 13 year olds set up an ad hoc exchange programme? Who knows. Metallica and Rage are there to make you party like it’s 1993 but we’ll probably just go see Fucked Up instead. Information is confusingly to be found at and where you can also buy tickets for £155 safe in the knowledge that you are paying more for three days in a tent than at any other UK festival.

Isle Of White
June 13-15, Seaclose Park, Newport, IOW
This is the one that your parents went to in 1969 and did acid because they felt they had to even though they secretly didn’t get the big deal and Dylan played a pretty bad show in a weird white suit but no one cared because they were just happy to be watching music in the sun. Your parents would probably be quite into it this year because it will be sunny (it always is) and a bunch of bands they were probably into like the Sex Pistols, The Stooges and erm The Police are being wheeled out like the last 30 years never happened. The tickets are all gone but you can find out about what you’ll be missing at

T In The Park
July 11-13, Balado, Kinross-Shire
Rain, super strength Tennants, rain, gutter speed, rain, vodka and Irn Bru and more rain. T is pretty much always a blast and with a belly full of beer that makes you slur all your words within seconds of consumption and a nose full of poor mans racket the locals turn into your new best friends and everyone sinks into the mud together. The lineup looks spookily like Reading with REM in there instead of the Killers but that’s probably because T and Oxegen are sort of the Carling weekend but further north. Go digging in the dance tents though and you’ll find Aphex Twin, The Black Dog and Kompakt fellow Michael Mayer. Great! Tickets and all other things you need to know at

July 11-13, Punchestown Racecourse, Co. Kildaire
T’s even more unintelligible cousin has already sold out, mainly because lots of people have realized how good the craic is and as we’ve been we can tell you that ‘they’ aren’t wholly wrong for once. Guinness you could float the Titanic in, a festival first in the shape of great food and a bill that is well, exactly the same as T. If you have already got tickets: well done! If not go look at what might have been at ‘cos it’s sold oot.

July 19-20, Braziers Park, Oxford
The boutique festival’s boutique festival, Truck has unfortunately outgrown it’s homely word of mouth roots and is now populated by the entire population of the Drowned In Sound message boards playing indie bingo and winkle picker hopscotch on the site weeks before it even starts. As usual they are keeping the lineup hush hush but if you can get hold of a ticket a couple of days in Oxford are always pleasant and don’t tell anyone we told you but the Lemonheads will be there for sure. Tickets are a pocket money sized £60. Find those and rumours at

June 5-8, Various venues, Bristol
If I knew who put this one on I would find them, shake their hand and say thank you. Amidst the bland, the generic and the aboherent (which just about covers 99% of UK Festivals as of now) Venn stands shoulder to shoulder with Supersonic and Instal (you missed that one in February numbnuts) as one of the few examples of how to take the festival format and hate-rape it for all it’s worth until you get exactly what you want out of it. Want a whole evening in a planetarium with Murcof? Fine! Want an afternoon on a drydocked ship with Sunburned Hand of The Man? No bother! Want a single venue that boasts Peverelist, The Black Dog and Moritz Van Oswald? Venn’s pleasure! Seriously, go here: and then go.

Summer Sundae
August 8-10, Victoria Park, Leicester
Despite being in Leicester and not in fact being a summer Sunday but more a long summer weekend this nifty Midlands number has done none too badly on lineup. Probably because the pretty OK guys at BBC6 told them what to book. Efterklang, Fuck Buttons, Henry Rollins moaning about how much the world sucks, Lightspeed Champion and an acoustic set from the Coral which will basically sound just like that Last Shadow Puppets record which sort of sounds exactly like an acoustic Coral song. Tickets are £100 from

End Of The Road Festival
September 12-14, Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset
A Green Man that makes no concessions to the concept of appealing to people who aren’t really really into folk and americana End Of The Road offers a pretty jaw on the floor mix of heartbroken guys with a one peddle-steel per band minimum who can’t wait to croak about whichever love left them this week. Low, The Mountain Goats, Akron Family, Calexico, the Dirty 3, Jason Molina, Kurt Wagner (aka Mr Lambchop), the saddest sad guy of them all in poor old Mark Kozelek and shockingly even a few maudlin maidens! Laura Marling and Kimya Dawson break up the guy love(loss) in. Tickets to ride the freight bound for miseryville will set you back £105 from

The Secret Garden Party
July 24-27, It’s a secret d’uh (but it’s near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire)
Basically one big love in that can get a bit much but has its heart in the right place. Not a good one for excessive acid or mushroom consumption as whole families can at any given time be miming a Bunuel film or acting out some Jonson while swinging upside down from inside a weeping willow dressed as parakeets. I made neither of those last two examples up. The lineup is kind of irrelevant as it is more about just having a good time. Man. Tickets (which cost £125) and cosmic vibrations at

Beach Break
9-12 June, Polzeath Beach, Cornwall
One for the fake spring break kids who got bored of Newquay and want to go to a ‘proper’ party instead of drinking White Ace on the beach and get cold every night while the newly over zealous local police shine spotlights at you. The lineup is hardly the invention of something round and put into motion, offering The Enemy, The Wombats and The Cribs but if you are around: why not? Skream and the Trojan Soundystem are down there too so if you really want to you could probably ‘skank’ with some surfer guys outside Fat Willy’s Surf Shack or whatever it is they get up to down there. More at (can’t find URL on this one???)

Zoo Thousand And Eight
July 4-6, Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, Kent
Kind of a bizarre idea really. Put thousands of drunk people who will quite possibly also be on mind altering drugs and place them in a wildlife reserve surrounding them with tigers, giraffes, monkeys and even birds that can talk to you. Chuck into that pot the fact that they also have a Segway race track (wtf?!) and you are more in for of a weekend inside a Mr Benn episode than a festival. Acts are not all that awful either with some guy called Mark Ronson, Minus The Bear, Friendly Fires and Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man all playing. Tickets to the zoo cost £99 and you can get them at

Hole In The Sky
August 27-30, Bergen, Norway
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: you’ll need to travel to the centre of the earth (also known as Bergen) to get to the Hole in the Sky festival. They keep it that way to ensure that no weaklings bother. Expect an absolutely fake metal free festival, with a sublime, vicious line-up. Ivar of Enslaved is one of the people picking it all out so you should get an idea of what to expect. This year you can choose from Colombian black metal (Inquisition), Polish black metal (Behemoth), Irish black metal (Primordial) and black metal with women in it (Gehenna and Electric Wizard). Tickets are 70 euros (for a weekend pass). Those and all other info from

Primavera Sound
May 29-31, Pac del Forum, Barcelona
Just when you thought Primavera couldn’t get any better they went and asked ATP to do a stage and all the anoraks wept tears of unadulterated festival joy at the thought of seeing Slint play ‘Spiderland’ backwards with Will Oldham on bazouki or whatever. Then they only went and asked us to do a stage so now the party really is complete. Seriously, if you only go to one European festival this year make it Primavera. You can stay in a hotel (try the Gothic quarter so you can ramble around hungover pretending to be Picasso), the beer comes ice cold vats, the escstasy comes in crystalline mini mountains and costs about 2p a wrap and the women are more beautiful than anywhere in the world. I love Barcelona and I love Primavera. Hurry up and by 150 euros tickets here: You don’t even need to know who’s playing. Just go.

July 17-20, Benicassim, near Valencia
Benicassim has become so anglicized that it even has a web domain set up. This used to be the one that everyone talked about but over the last few years people have cottoned onto the fact that it is just a bunch of miserable, hungover, sun burned sleep deprived Brits with an excuse to be somewhere sunny. You could save yourself the trip and go watch re-runs of Ibiza Uncovered on Dave. That said the lineup is still pretty amazing so maybe get a well air conditioned apartment, stay off the beach and actually go see bands? Leonard Cohen, Morrisey, My Bloody Valentine and our favourite band in ever the Black Lips will all be there sweating for you. Tickets are £128 and you can get those and a bunch of other info at

July 3-6, Roskilde, Denmark
Last year’s Roskilde festival was a complete disaster. It was the closest thing to a third world type natural disaster Denmark has ever seen. After that we swore an oath never to go to another festival. Nothing about festivals seemed appealing anymore. Writing a Festival Guide? Whatever, let’s just Google the dates and write some stuff down while having Sunday tea and watching the news. But WAIT a minute! My Bloody Valentine in Denmark?! Oh, OK then. Tickets are about 220 euros. To see the complete line-up, visit

12-16 July, Serbia
Sometimes it is nice to really change it up a bit. How many times can you go to Reading? Really, come on. Then why not try Serbia? Exit gets bigger and better each year apart from that one time a few years back when all the police stormed in with riot gear and CS gas and stuff. Even that was pretty ok though. The lineup is a great mix of stuff from Audion and Sven Vath to Sham 69 and the Gossip plus a whole load of Serbian acts with unpronounceable names. Serbia is a great place too, you can get a box of cigarettes for about 12p and everyone seems to spit everywhere which is weird but also liberating if you are into spitting. Tickets are only £72 for all 4 days. What are you waiting for?

Psychopedia Feature: Thee Oh Sees

Feature for Psychopedia on John Dwyers latest incarnation.

Venue Road Test: Café Oto Dalston
Thee Oh Sees Like Cakes & Good People

You know John Dwyer. You might think that you don’t know John Dwyer but you do. Did you ever dig the lo-fi garage rock and weird vocal distortion of the Coachwhips ( A John Dwyer band. Did you ever loose your shit down the front of a Hospitals ( gig? Dwyer again. Remember those weirdoes in ski masks interviewed at the beginning of Lighning Bolt’s The Power Of Salad DVD? They were called Pink and Brown ( and yes, Dwyer was one of them. Go further back than that and Dwyer was also involved in the most seminal of all the seminal bands that seminal Providence label, Load Records has ever (seminaly) put out: the mighty Burmese ( Throw in stints with early Fort Thunder act Landed (, Germanic techno act Zeigenbock Kopf ( and Troggs covers outfit The Trawggs and it’s easy to see that Dwyer is pretty into making garage-rock influenced rackets and not at all into standing still for a second. Ever.

It came then as a slight surprise when he emerged with the gentle folk of OCS. Maybe it was the move to San Francisco from Providence (OCS stood for Orange County Sound) but this was an altogether quieter Dwyer the world was witnessing. However, like a kid pretending to be grown up for a week and failing OCS swiftly mutated into Thee Oh Sees (, jumped ship from Narnack to German label Tomlab and started getting loose all over again. Thee Oh Sees’ The Master's Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In should, in a just world, be sitting tall on the top of end of year lists everywhere. It combines all elements of Dwyers restless past into an impulsive and petulanty coherent whole.

Beyond Shoreditch, venues that consistently put on shows of any quality in deeper East London are few and far between. In fact if you aren’t watching a band in Bardens Boudoir it is highly likely that you won’t be watching a band at all. With this in mind it was with great hope that East London residents welcomed the opening of council funded venue Café Oto which popped up out of nowhere behind Dalston-Kingsland station. With a string of great gigs sprawling into the near future thanks to the ever reliable Upset The Rhythm collective ( we caught up with Thee Oh Sees on a sunny late May evening to talk venues, cake and organic beer.

Psychopedia: So how does Dalston compare to San Francisco?
John Dwyer (guitar, vocals): Right now Dalston is nice. We are just sitting out here on the curb in the sun drinking coffee.
Petey Dammit (guitar, vocals): In fact this is probably exactly what we would be doing if we were in San Francisco right now.
Mike Shoun (drums): You would probably actually be asleep.
Petey: Oh yeah, jet lag is a bitch. All those timezones. Man my head can’t keep up.

You have played a bunch of other European shows. How were the venues over on the mainland?
John: On this particular tour they have all been fairly standard but with other bands I’ve played with I’ve played everywhere: you name it. Squats where the punks want your blood, pool tables, beer halls, caves. Wherever we could get power.

Did any particular venue stand out?
John: It sounds awful but they all kind of merge into one.
Petey: We had a great show in our practice space in San Francisco recently though does that count as a venue?

Mike: It was great. It was Brigid’s birthday. We were practicing and we had everything planned so that mid-practice all her friends burst in and surprised her.
Brigid (vocals): I was pretty scared. In a good way.

OK, back to this place. Oto means sound in Japanese. Did you know that?
John: No but I do now.
Petey: I see what they did there.

There is a full range of Organic beers and Ciders here. How are you finding them?
Petey: What is that one you are drinking?

Bayeuax Cider.
Petey: I like the label with the Bayeaux Tapestry painting but it costs like five pounds. I’m sticking to coffee.
John: Yeah, the coffee is excellent. It reminds me of the coffee in this little SF joint where we used to go and bum out and drink cup after cup and smoke a whole bunch of cigarettes or whatever.

You can’t smoke indoors in the UK anymore.
John: They are weird about it in the US, Some venues just turn a blind eye. I can imagine it must suck bumming smokes in the winter here?

It can get pretty cold. What do you think of this beer? It’s called Bretton and it’s so organic it has loads of sediment in it.
Petey: I’m not into that. It looks like mud in beer. They serve Kronenberg and Beck too. We are gonna get a bunch of that in later.
John: The coffee is great though, I want to stress that. And you can always drink coffee. Beer is sometimes just not feasible but coffee? Always.

How about the space itself?
John: I really like it. It is super simple. Just a nice square white box. Everything has slight sense of DIY to it. Like the guy DJing has his turntables on top of a vintage sled. Sled? Sleigh? I’m not sure the proper term but one of those rickety old wooden things.
Petey: They also haven’t started doing food yet. Can we come back and play again when they are doing cakes? They say the cakes are coming. That sounds good.
John: Yep, good cakes and good people. That is all you need. The people here seem great, the promoters, the kids, the local guys. I mean, people told me this place was rough but it’s been great. The people are amazing. We just need those cakes now

Cafe OTO
18-22 Ashwin St
E8 3DL

Gaurdian Unlimited Blog Post: A Personal Dancehall (Hi)Story

A piece I did fir the Gaurdian's online blog concerning how much I like music made in England under the influence of elsewhere.

A Personal Dancehall (Hi)Story:

While 'Red Bull & Guinness':

remains my favourite riddim in recent memory one of the biggest beats to emerge from Yard in recent years is without doubt the infamous '85 Riddim':

'85' is best know for Cham's seminal draw over the beat entitled 'Ghetto Story':

The above track is the single most played thing on my iPod. I have listened to it even more when walking home drunk than Ryan Adams or Bob Dylan combined. Anyone who knows me will attest that this must be true love.

Something about the combination of first hand recollection of times past and a beat and bassline such as Dave Kelly crafts on '85' really does something for me.

Imagine then my excitement when I discovered that YT (an English Dancehall MC) had ridden over '85' and entitled his toast 'England Story'....

While I have long been a fan of YT and with the title obviously hinting at what to expect in terms of lyrical content in light of Cham's draw the impact of the track once I heard it was nothing short of revelatory:

For someone who has grown up surrounded by, participated and very much been in thrall to the UK's continuing Afro-Caribbean influenced urban dance music scene via early dalliances with Jungle, Drum & Bass, 2 Step, Garage, Grime and latterly Dubstep, Bassline and Funky the track represented the history lesson many remain ignorant of.

While Loefah's harsh, clipped, halfstep and Wiley's cold, callous Eskibeat seem very much of the present or a time in the near future, both of these artists create very much under the aegis of what has gone before.

Their sounds merely represent facets of the UK urban underground's Afro-Carribean dance music continuum.

As YT tells us, it all begins with Saxon:


Jah Shaka:

King Tubby:

The oft overlooked Volcano soundsystem “outta North Wes' London”:

as well as the early UK MC's who translated the Jamaican beats, basslines and patois to incorporate, reflect and influence their new English contexts including Papa Levi:

Tippa Irie:

and Smiley Culture:

The track really hits home for me with its recollection of "when Rodigan locked the whole block". What could possibly be a more united, English take on the cultural symbiosis and exchange made possible through music than the wonderful image of the distinctly white and bald David Rodigan causing a near riot at Notting Hill Carnival every year in the late 80's?

YT goes on to chart the MC's that would take Dancehall, Dub and Reggae with them into the Jungle era with mention of Flinty Badman and Deman Rocka aka The Ragga Twins, Navigator, General Levy and Daddy Freddy. This transition is best seen in the documentary 'A London Sum’ting' here:


and here:

Basically 'An England Story' reminded me how much I love the music created every day in the streets of London and how very much that music owes a combination of cultures as well as both racial harmony and diversity to exist.

In a week when I cast my vote in a UK mayoral election where both the BNP and National Front remain heavily represented at all levels of our 'democratically' elected party political process it could also not represent a more pertinent reminder that this country is great as sum of it's parts not despite them.

BMI Magazine Feature: Real Gold

A feature on London's brains working against the grain for (weirdly) BMI's inflight magazine.

Brains Against The Grain

Set up little over a year ago to shake up a city they loved but knew could be better Real Gold has rapidly established itself as London’s go to organisation for innovative, confrontational output which has consistently been better produced with a greater sense of integrity and attention to detail than any of their contemporaries.

A fluid group of creative individuals Real Gold's strength lies in its flexibility. Always ready to change, always ready to move and always ready to make itself that little bit better Real Gold has consistently challenged both itself and it's loyal public.

Early ventures such as their original A Large Party rave in an abandoned warehouse in Hackney set the tone for the collective’s parties. A follow up is planned for the near future but as with all Real Gold ventures a sense of secrecy prevails. If you want to know: keep your ear to the ground.

Don't go mistaking Real Gold for a simple party planning outfit though. There is far more to their bow than running the best raves in town. Past endeavours have included a 7” by The Train Chronicles, a Team Megamix mix CD and a series of T Shirts which culminated in this years ‘Waterparks’ T Shirt modeled by Alice Dellal and Peaches Geldof. As with all Real Gold products these items were all limited, numbered and obsessively catalogued in a style reminiscent of Factory Records attention to output.

Last Christmas saw a guerilla style ‘pop up’ store on Carnaby Street and earlier this year a print ‘zine entitled FUN which showcased breaking writing talent. Upcoming projects include involvement in the Rich History month, a show on Diesel’s U Music radio and a monthly Italo Disco night at Hackney’s Seabright Arms. Real Gold never stand still. If you want to find something interesting to do in London you could do worse than start running with them.

Drowned In Sound May Review

A review of the pretty great Pluxus album for DiS

Solid State


Canny Swedes Pluxus have quietly been plying their highly accomplished, woozy, electronic take on guitar based pop for over twelve years to relative indifference. However, their excellent 2006 effort Solid State’s reissue by minimal techno powerhouse Kompakt may finally start slowly pulling fingers from arseholes and getting people to start paying attention. Seriously, Solid State makes Hot Chip’s flatulently disappointing ‘Made In The Dark’ sound like the Eastenders theme tune next to a lavishly crafted Popol Vuh score.

It is a relatively bold move for Kompakt to release a record that, by their standards, is created by a conventional band unit. The label is more closely associated with knob twiddling studio dwellers and dj’s who only appear bathed in booth spotlights long after most sensible people have called it a night.

That said Kompakt has constantly attempted to challenge and reinvent itself in order to remain one step left of the hordes of generic techno labels that it traditionally compete with. It is in this context of innovative, experimentalism that the release of Solid State, coming as it does on the heels of equally adventurous outings last year from the Superpitcher/Michael Mayer collaboration ‘Supermayer’, in fact, makes perfect sense.

The album stumbles, trips and skips through so many sporadic sonic touchstones that at any given point you could be listen to crunchy Apex Twin IDM, spiraling Pharaoh Overlord prog, Lindstrom’s cosmic headiness or fidgety Akufen glitches. And that is before the indolent strings straight out of Morricone’s copybook start popping up all over the place.

Opener “Transient” sets an immediate tone that far from deviate from the remainder of the record, expands, fleshes out, colours in and builds upon. The track is all scratchy swathes of feedback, gentle keyboard lines, aching string breakdowns and persistent percussion layered with electronic modulation.

“Kinoton” allows skippy Squarepusher style edits to play counterpoint with strings and vocals and wonderfully segues into the cold, dull thud of mid album standout “Forth” whose closest cousin, if it had to have one, would lie in the glacial production of Cannibal Ox’s bleak masterpiece The Cold Vein.

The thread that binds the album though is the trio’s ability to never loose focus on melody allowing a great sense of unity to the recording as a whole. Whether it be the nudging piano lines of the spaciously ambient “Sansui” or the synth stabs that recur throughout the title track’s epic plod you know that a hook is never far off to take you away to wherever it is that Pluxus fancy going

The record’s greatest strength lies in its ability to successfully weave and craft its
myriad reference points into an exciting and wholly idiosyncratic whole. Far from sounding like a chucked together attempt at a fourth record Solid State reeks of considered craft and carefully wrought edifice. Its overall sense of creative unity is not far from the gooey, happy feeling that hearing the dying seconds of a completely listened to Autechre album evoke.

The only criticism that could be leveled is at the dull vocals, which come on like Air at worst and sub-Broadcast at best. That said they appear infrequently and when they do act more as another layer of sound than a central element.

With the midway point in the year rapidly approaching Solid State is threatening to capture the little place in my heart that last year belonged to another Kompakt recording, The Field’s From Here We Go Sublime. Go listen to it.

i-D May Reviews

Two reviews for i-D that I wrote in May that both have animals in their band names. Wow.

Free Kitten
Ecstatic Peace!

If you are in a band called Sonic Youth any side project would usually be taken as a vanity concern. If you are called Kim Gordon and your side project involves Yoshimi from the Boredoms, Pussy Galore’s Julie Cafritz, Mark Ibold from some band called Pavement and you’ve just released your fourth consecutively brilliant album then the guys in your ‘other’ band should start to worry.

Fleet Foxes i-D Review

Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes
Bella Union

Dripping with an authentic rootsyness and packed with lush vocal melodies, harmonies and banjo led arrangements this one ably vaults the hype to establish itself as a major concern. The lost link between Palace era Will Oldham, the best bits of Sufjan and Yeasayer’s reimagining of just how good a bunch of guys singing at once can be.