Saturday, 2 August 2008

Young Turks Blog Piece: Lift To Experience

Last night I went to see Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man debut the first part in a trilogy of EP’s, which represents one of the few truly exciting and innovative ventures in an embarrassingly arid UK 'indie' scene. The show was at the lovely Luminaire and if you weren't there you missed out.

Anyway, watching Fred command the stage with an authoritative vocal performance that anchored a band playing music that ably and dexterously encapsulated mini opuses of a great scope I found myself thinking only of one other band.

While sonically, vocally and lyrically Lift To Experience are not immediately comparable to Ox.Eagle. it is in their shared sense of a grand vision and a grasp of insight into the ability of voice, guitar, bass and drum to be so much more than a mere sum of parts that unites the two acts.

Lift To Experience are sadly no more and while the bands singer/guitarist, Josh T Pearson, still plays solo the fire and brimstone obsession that drove him and Lift To Experience to be "the best band in the whole damn land" sadly seems destined never to be replicated.

The band released a single, double disc, concept album entitled 'The Texas/Jerusalem Crossroads'. I cannot even begin to touch the scope of the albums lyrical and aural ambition but you should all go out and buy it now. Right now. Then listen to in one big gluttonous helping. And then listen to it again and again and again and kick yourself for not ever having heard it before.

I feel blessed to have seen Lift To Experience play what I believe was one of their only UK shows at the Garage opening for a young(er) Cat Power many many years ago (well 2001). They were beyond almost anything I have ever seen live and to think of the show even now resuscitates shivers.

Hopefully the video below will give you some idea of their raging majesty.

Long may Lift To Experience’s memory endure and best of luck to Ox.Eagle. In the maintenance of ambition you may see the angles can fall from the sky yet.

Psychopedia Interview: Jay Reatard

Jay Reatard

No words. More actions.

A lot of people have a lot of things to say about Jay Lindsey. In fact so many people have so many things to say that the inches spent conjecturing on a young guy who, by choice, calls himself Jay Reatard almost outway the mile high stack that comprises his tireless discography. Say what you will about the kid: he doesn’t stand still for a second and he prefers to do and get done than stand around talking about it.

Reatard began his recording career in Memphis at 15 on Eric Freidl (formerly of the Oblivans)’s Goner records. Already restless and wanting to get going Jay cut a record calling his band simply ‘The Reatards’. Except that it wasn’t really a band at all. It was just Jay playing a guitar with as much distortion as possible while he hit an empty bucket to create a beat.

While most of his contemporaries were busy getting on with high school and being ‘teenagers’ Jay had already completed his first European tour with the Reatards and had begun to focus on a synth punk outfit called The Lost Sounds, a band he would later reckon to be “the thing I was most proud of being in”.

Throw in stints with the Angry Angles, Final Solutions, The Bad Times, the brilliantly named black metal outfit Winter Coffin and production credits for everyone from Reigning Sound to Brutal Knights and it’s easy to worry that finally hitting a solo career and a solid label deal might slow Jay down.

Nope. His move to Matador has already seen a slew of 7”s with an album promised in the not too distant future and the summer has seen a furious live schedule. Hot on the heels of the Toronto incident ( that called Reatard’s stage demeanor into question we caught up with the band at ATP in sunny Camber Sands.

Psychopedia: Hi Jay, how are you finding the UK compared to the reactions you have been getting in the US?
Jay Reatard (vocals, guitar): You know, every night is different.

Billy Hayes (drums): We played a pretty furious show at a pub in London the other day. I think someone threw the air conditioner out of the window and it almost landed on someone.
Stephen Hope (bass): We’ve got a house show lined up when we get back to London as well. They are always fun.

Would you not worry in a house show environment that the crowd may get too confined and ruin your gear as has happened recently?
Jay Reatard: That was totally different. That was people being jerks. If people want to come to a show and have a good time, that’s cool. Just don’t come and be a jerk.

How have you found ATP? It is a pretty strange setting: seeing bands in a rundown British holiday camp.
Billy: Yeah it has been weird. But it is sunny and people seem to like staying up late and having a good time and stuff. We pretty much played so that we could just hang out for three days.

Whose chalet has had the best party?
Billy: There seemed to be a lot of people at the Deerhunter kids chalet last night. I dunno.

In comparison to some of your earlier work the more recent singles have quite a pop feel to them. My buddy Ben reckons you sound like Screeching Weasel.
Jay Reatard: Fuck that man. That is just demeaning. We sound like Husker Du with Geddy Lee on vocals.

Would it sound the same if you ditched the flying V’s?
Jay Reatard: I don’t know. Probably.

At this point the interview began to trail off. Jay seemed agitated and pretty unhappy being in a straight q&a situation despite in general conversation being polite, eager to ensure that we could see the show and happily discussing topics that weren’t his own band or his bands music with ease.

Later that day we witnessed Jay and his band whip an apathetic, sunburned, early afternoon audience from near-snoozing to a whirling, thriving throng thirsty and baying for more when the twin flying V’s were finally put down.

Who really needs words when your raw, garage punk is one of the most crucial noises that you can currently pay to hear pour out of vinyl or sweating and bleeding on a stage in front of you?

i-D July Reviews

Ice Cream Spiritual
We Are Free

From the angular ashes of Monitor Records, We Are Free is swiftly establishing itself as the vanguard label for Baltimore’s Wham City invigorated new wave. Eight sun drenched, smile inducing blasts of pop spazz vie for attention like ADD 7 year olds on this the native Baltimoreans second full length. You won’t find a more fitting album title all year.

The Telescopes
Infinite Suns

After twenty years and at least as many lineup changes The Telescopes have settled as founder Stephen Lawrie accompanied by former Vibracathedral Orchestra member Bridget Hayden. This collaboration has borne possibly the outfit’s most visceral and intense album to date. All run-out groove static and screeching drilled pick ups ‘Infinte Suns’ feels closer to being lost inside an endless black hole than being burnt by solar rays. Their last record sold out in under an hour so best move fast on this one.

NME: Shitty Limits Radar Feature

Below the (ahem) radar and operating far beneath major label deals, Warped Tours and branded New Era caps the thriving UK DIY scene continues to churn out bands so good you’re almost glad that no one has heard them so you can keep them all to yourself.

Coming straight out of erm… Guildford The Shitty Limits comprise ex members of scene stalwarts Crash The Pose and Farewell to Arms. While their former incarnations plied furious hardcore and thrash The Limits manage to channel the chaos into 2 minute bursts of garage flecked punk anchored by vocals so snotty it’s like you are hearing the Dead Kids for the first time all over again.

Having opened for the likes of Jay Reatard and Fucked Up the band’s live show is already approaching legend with sweaty kids regularly limping out venues muttering about having witnessed the best live show of their lives.

Ably combining the confrontational attitude of the Germs, the youthful exuberance of the Angry Samoans and the trebly twang of the Standells into lean blasts that are best heard on the three 7”s the band have released on their own Limits Records and DIY labels Keep Screaming and Dire. While these records are long sold out being proper punks the band wouldn’t want you to go without and their entire discography is available for free download on their MySpace page. They also had no desire to either talk to the NME or appear in these pages but we figure they were too good to keep to ourselves.

With a fourth 7” slated for the summer and shows with like minds Thee Vicars and The Sceptres as well as support slots with sonic granddads the Adolescents lined up you would be foolish to sleep on these Limits.

Vice July Literary Reviews

Dirty Hand
Paddy Jones
Self Published

You might have noticed Paddy’s work sneaking into these pages slowly over the last few months. We discovered the spidery 19 year old Camberwell student through staff photos guy Jonnie Craig who could basically hangs out with talented, skater babes professionally if he wasn’t so good at the whole taking photos thing. Anyway, if you thought Paddy’s doodles of Hitler riding an Alsatian or Caligula buggering a horse were weird wait till you see this thing. The fancy ink on card presentation may draw you in but once you get up close and personal you are confronted by guys like ‘Vampire Penishead’ and a whole host of gorilla hand puking twenty eyed troll things. If he doesn’t go fully insane first Paddy could well be one to keep an eye on in the not so far away future.

Frederic Fleury

I Googled ‘obnivorious’ and it came back with nothing so I am guessing that Fleury just made it up. It’s a good word though. I hope I never get stumped in a crossword and obnivorious is the answer but Google laziness has prevented me from ever knowing what it actually means. If he did make it up though I am totally fine with it because as well as running the amazing Editions 57 publishing house with Emanuelle Pidoux and being a founder of Frederic Magazine Fleury has managed to put out one off my favourite Nieves books in a good while. Just check out the weird grim reaper fella on the back if you don’t believe me. As always it’s limited to just 150 so don’t sleep on it.

Jo Robertson & Pierre Cupp
Bad Taste

Jo is one of those people who seems to pop up everywhere: on stage making music with whatever free noise dude is in town on any given night, presiding over openings, and showing work in way more galleries then you ever even knew existed. With that schedule fuck knows where she found the time to squeeze this one out with her buddy Pierre, let alone make a seriously haphazard and busy collage of card, tracing paper, line drawing, typed poetry and found images. It’s kind of how I’d like to imagine it is like being in Jo’s slightly skewed head is every day.

The Hidden Hand vol. 1
Self Published

I have known Nathan for a pretty long time but when I sat down to write this I realised that I have no idea what his surname is. Weird. His MySpace name has always just been ‘Nathan Awesome Rape’. I met him when he used to work at Anarchy Records on the Mansfield Road in Nottingham. These things should give you some insight into the kind of stuff that The Hidden Hand covers. I think Nathan moved back to his parent’s council flat on some grim estate the size of Mordor in Sunderland or something so this zine has been a long time coming but boy is it worth the wait. Screened woodcuts on heavy-duty card, nice paper, features on Moss, The Shitty Limits and Glyn from Scrambled Design, some great and seriously warped illustrations and even an unpublished interview with J.P. Morrow from 1997 conducted by a young John Gilbert from Red County War Ensemble. The next one will have stuff on Eyehategod, Pagan Altar and Pulling Teeth so watch out. Best music ‘zine we’ve seen come out of the UK in years.


Death Pits
Gary LaChance, Chris Noble and Mike Comeau
TV Books

We shouted about this on the blog at a little while back after seeing a flicktime pdf but man, holding the real thing in your hands is like Allah handing you Buddah’s hand written transcripts of the Ten Commandments of all that is good. Death Pits was released on Tim Barber’s TV Books imprint after Tim was contacted by Gary LaChance though his Tiny Vices website. LaChance sent down a few scans of crayon and pencil renderings of intricate torture chambers that he and his buddies Chris and Mike had drawn in detention at the age of 7 and christened ‘The Death Pits’. Tim was immediately hooked and asked Gary to send him as many of the images as possible. LaChance went one better and actually sent the original homework binder that the friends had created the Death Pits in with the pages in the exact and obsessive order numbered Death Pit 1-33 that they had originally created all those years ago. The book is an exact reproduction of the binder. We are not sure what is more awesome: being able to peer directly into a group of bored but insanely creative 7 year olds brains, the sheer amount of ways these young kids came up with torturing people or the intricacy with which the whole thing is rendered and put together. There are all these complicated sluices everywhere that drain blood and TV cameras that monitor the whole thing. It’s incredible. In fact it is hurting my head thinking how good it is. Just go buy a copy.

Ecstatic Peace Poetry Journal no.7
Ed. Thurston Moore
Ecstatic Peace

Is there anything uncle Thurston the renaissance man of everything ever can’t turn his hand to? Probably not. Playing in the band every kid who has ever attended an ATP has in their default ‘best band ever’ memory, acclaimed solo artist, serial avant-garde collaborator, label owner, galleried artist and now… poetry journal editor! OK so the opening piece by Twig Harper might be a little indulgent in that it is just a bunch of random letters and alien symbols that look like only Major Briggs from Twin Peaks could decipher but the rest is pretty great. You get Byron Coley ranting about Condoleeza Rice, a Richard Hell and David Shapiro collaboration, Dylan Nyoukis doing couplets on an ‘avant dishwasher’ and even Mike Watt from the Minutemen doing a poem that sounds on the page just like how he talks in “We Jam Econo”. Wow.

Jonathan Shaw

This book originally came to our attention because one of our buddies works at Heartworm, the publishing house set up by Wes Eisold who was in Give Up The Ghost, Some Girls, X O Skeletons and a bunch of bands like that. You get the idea. Anyhoo, as soon as we found out that the novel in question was by Jonathan Shaw we jumped all over the pdf quicker than a pack skag heads who’ve just seen box of out of date chocolate thrown out of the back of Asda. We were not disappointed: sweat, grime, drugs, crime and a destructive relationship between an ageing gypsy and unhinged prostitute. Shaw’s prose is still filled with stuff along the lines of: “Last night she’d been smoking for hours at the tail end of another long run. I’d fucked her till my dick was soft and sore and my eyelids were like little sandbags dragging
me down into dull realms of incoherence”. If you don’t like Narcisa it means that you probably don’t like ‘books’ and you should probably stop reading this section of the magazine.

Vice July Record Reviews

Local H
12 Angry Months
Loud Shout Months

8 This is the least angry record I have ever heard. In fact it sounds like complete contentment. If being content means playing the same beautiful blend of urgent, frenetic, Makers Mark drenched guitar and drums alt rock that you have been peddling for the last twenty years and not giving half a shit if anyone notices or not that is.

O Soundtrack My Heart

1 What’s going on Warp? First Lidell’s indulgent second now this? In fact this one is a bit like a prog Lidell jamming with a Jean Michelle Jar covers band. I want to soundtrack my heart with charred sorrow and unrepentant joy. Not the Weatherspoon’s Allstars.

Annihilation Time
Tales Of The Ancient Age

9 Just before these guys were meant to come play our pub last year the guitar player broke his arm (probably falling of the roof of a squat on bad acid and flat beer or something) and they never made it out of the US. Then about an hour before they were due to play the Old Blue last month the bar manager got a call from customs saying they had been busted at Dover with all their gear and merch trying to sneak in on holiday visas. If they weren’t so damn perfect we’d hate them. But they are.

Das Pop
Das Pop
Ugly Truth

0 Has it really come to this? Bands formed on some warped production line in Ghent solely to sell straight to crisis stricken post-natally depressed sows in Tesco queues? The label this thing came out on couldn’t be more apt. Yikes.

The John Baker Tapes Volume 1 & 2
John Baker

10 Ohkay, ohkay so our UK Editor may have got a big shout in the liner notes of the 10th anniversary compilation but the only reason we have a constant, bulletproof boner for everything that Trunk puts out is that it is invariably 67 million carat gold. Here you get near enough the complete work of the most overlooked of the Radiophonic Workshop’s ‘Holy Trinity’ (alongside Delia Derbyshire and David Cain duh) spread over two exquisitely presented discs. The Dial M For Muder theme is worth admission alone.

Buried Death
20 Buck Spin

8 Despite the pathetic artwork this is near enough the best bashing together of Covenant-era Morbid Angel and Eyehategod sludge these ears have heard in a long while. How do the Japs get it so right while the Yanks continue to peddle meathead metalcore for hockey players to rape girls to on spring break in unstoppable quantities?

Preteen Weaponry

4 There has been a whole heap of hustle and bustle about this record being the first release in a ‘triptych’ of albums that herald a change in direction for Oneida. First up: only a Sound Projector subscriber would ever refer to a record as belonging to a ‘triptych’. Even ‘trilogy’ is pushing it. It’s just a record dude. Secondly: it sounds like every other Oneida record ever. Not that that is a bad thing. But it’s hardly going to spin the world on its ass eighth time around is it?

The Savage Republic
Savage Resurrection
Mod Lang

9 Holy crap, this sounds like the best lost 60’s psych record you’ve never heard before and spent your whole life wishing existed hidden in obscurity waiting for a reissue that will change your life forever. Oh wait. It is.

Cannabis Corpse
Tube Of The Resinated

9 From the band name to titles like “Mummified In Bongwater” to the mock fall of the Roman Empire meets Jabba's Palace played out by little skunk creatures artwork this is pretty perfect. It’s basically just Municipal Waste singing about weed instead of beer but it’s so good it almost made me want to start smoking, getting up at 4, laughing at daytime TV and eating cold pizza all over again. Almost.

Rush Hour Of The Gods
Violent Change

8 This collects the Brum crust titans 96 LP and their side from the split 10” with Cress. Despite being late period it still sounds great. If you swan about with Amebix and Antisect patches on your vintage big E denim jacket and don’t know Doom then you are exactly what the band sing about on the 12th track of this collection and you need to go stick your head in an oven.

Vice Interview: Pens


A while ago we started doing monthly Issue Launch parties at the Old Blue Last (of which there has not been a sucky one yet FYI). The whole concept should have been pretty elementary: have a party, a bunch of people drink and the bands covered in the magazine that month come down and play. No big deal right? Well, it shouldn’t have been. Then we realised that a lot of the acts we were talking about in the magazine were erm… not really ever from England.

This made us stop and think: where have all the good new British bands gone? Hello? Is there anyone out there? The answer is a pretty resounding “nope”. Stop and think of a genuinely good new band you have heard in a year that is already way past half done and I bet you 10 Chomps you’ll struggle.

We were about to go off and lament 2008, all stillborn before it even had a chance to get aborted, when we saw three girls from South London play and and single handedly date raped the last twelve months. Woohoo!

Pens set’s lasts about fourteen minutes max and the girls swap instruments in between tunes mainly because it appears none of them really know what they were doing. The whole thing is so swathed in static and reverb and shambolic about-to-fall-apartness that it’s like watching that Youtube clip of the kid kicking through the granite wall and getting his ankle snapped in half: kind of bite-your-bottom-lip atrocious but kind of the best thing you have seen since ever. They also do a cover of ‘Sexbeat’ by the Gun Club that sounds like the Germs trying to be the Shangri-la’s through a gauze of early K records fuzz.

VICE: Didn’t some of you used to be in that band Look Look Dancing Boys with all those songs like ‘Tit Wank’ and ‘Suck My Balls’?
Amelia Bean (guitars): Yep, but that band fell down the loo.

Loos, balls, tits. This band even has a name that is a bit like the word ‘penis’. Would it be fair to say that you are a little genitally obsessed?
Stefania Orla (drums): Maybe a little. You aren’t the first person to point out ‘the missing I’. I hope the whole dick thing isn’t going to follow us around forever. Pens actually refers to drawing as two of us are real life illustrators.

What are your favourite pens? I only ever use 0.5 Pilot v5 Hi-Tecpoints.
Amelia: Pilots are good. Especially 0.4’s and sometimes the 0.5. Other than that Berrol’s are great.
Helen Yell (keyboards): I like Microsoft paint.

Why do you swap instruments so much?
Amelia: Short attention spans.
Helen: Can we go now?

Jamin Johnson

Pens have a split 7” with Male Bonding forthcoming on Paradise Vendors inc.

Vice Interview: Thee Vicars

Thee Vicars

The shadowy light that the Horrors poured onto the garage punk & roll thingy has hardly left the gaggle of bands with copies of Nuggets tucked under their arms picking up NME awards that was so widely predicted not that long ago.

Below the glare of the spotlight so clear though a whole bunch of bands have been happily thriving, breaking things and getting in people’s faces with minus zero regard for who is listening or, in fact, if anyone is listening at all, for quite some time.

These bands share bills, club nights and labels while somehow managing to sound nothing like each other and could easily hoot & holler right past the waiting world while giving less than an eighth of a shit as long as they get to play approximately 20 times more a month you average pointy shoes and trilby band thought humanly possible. In fact they will probably be pissed at us for even telling you about them.

Labels like Dire and Static Shock have been putting out records by bands as varied as snotty Guildford garage punks The Shitty Limits and destructive power punk guys The Scepters at nights like the Dirty Water, the Cave Club and the GYC for ages. If you want to have a good time and not sit around ingesting Dominoes in front of Strictly Come See Who’s Got Talent or whatever you could do worse than go check out those places before they are full of everyone that is everywhere else.

With their liberal ‘appropriation’ of Standells twang, Dead Boys snort, Headcoates blustering and nice matching suits, Thee Vicars might be our favourites of the lot. So we gave Mike the singer guy a call in sunny Bury to see what’s up.

VICE: Hello Mike, how is the Bury scene these days?
Mike Whittaker (bass & vocals): Shit.

Nothing good happening in Bury St Edmunds at all?
Mike: No.

Is that why you tour so much?
Mike: Partly. Playing is fun and you get to get away. We are playing Valencia with the Mummies next month. That’s better than day jobs in Bury. Thee Vicars brings in some extra money but some aren’t being as generous with the donation plate…

Hang on, isn’t your guitar player 16? Shouldn’t he be doing his GCSE’s or something?
Mike: Yeah I’m the old one. Jasper (Kemp) who plays the drums is 17 but Marcus (Volkert, guitars) and Rueben (Kemp, giutars) are both 16.

You dress a bit too snazzily to be actual Vicars. If you had to choose a religion to belong to what would you go for?
Mike: Probably 5%er.

Like the RZA?
Mike: Yeah, he’s good at chess as well. I like chess.

Shadows Of Knight

Thee Vicars third 7” “…let us play” is available now on Dire Records.

Vice Interview: Tombs

Tombs Are Dead Scary

Tombs can be pretty scary places. They are basically little pockets of times past. Sealed, buried nuggets of yesterday preserved forevermore. Kinda creepy if you think about it. Which is probably why pretty much every cheap, shlock filled band ever has at some point or other relied on a coffin, skeleton, mummy, headstone or gravedigger to give their act some oomph. Come on, The Misfits rule and everything but even they looked a little silly if you were any older than lets say hmm…4?

Anyhow, this band may be called Tombs but they skip the whole Adams Family schtick and go in for terrifying with brutal, uncompromising riffs that sound like they might want to batter your skull in with a rusty nail and then drink the gloopy matter that runs out of your cracked cranium. In fact they could be singing about just that for all I know ‘cos I can’t make out a single word the singer guy is howling.

VICE: You are all of a certain vintage. Could you run us through the annals of Tombs history?
Mike Hill (guitar): Carson was working at a restaurant down the street from where I live in Brooklyn. One day I was wearing an Eyehategod shirt when I went in there and we started talking about music and how weak Williamsburg is and that was it. Eyehategod is the root of our history: the foot of the Tombs family tree.

Aside from Eyehategod what other stuff are you into?
Mike: David Lynch films, vintage firearms, suffering, darkness and winter.
Justin Ennis (Drums): The constant need to escape from reality.

Ohkay. In ancient Rome if a Vestal Virgin popped her cherry she would be buried alive in a tomb. How would you guys hate to go?
Mike: Being torn apart by wolves or having your heart cut out with a stone knife Those two would definitely suck.
Carson Daniel James (Bass): Anything where you are still alive is going to suck really isn’t it? Buried alive, burned alive, eaten alive. None of those would be fun.
Justin: I am not into old age full stop.

Who would you guys like to see end up in a tomb?
Mike: This guy that lives in my neighborhood that I see everywhere. He has a moustache and wears all of these old school metal patches on his denim jacket but he is a total fake.
Carson: Matt Grierson. Mark my words motherfucker, if you're reading this you’re already dead.

You get to kill anyone ever including Hitler, Pol Pot and the guy that remade the Wickerman and you go for some guy only you know?
Justin: OK, George Bush and anyone that voted for him?

Pretty standard but I’ll take it.


Tombs self titled debut album is available now on Black Box Recordings.