The End is closing in January 2009. This represents a sad day for me on a personal level because it is a club that has fostered many stages of my musical growth and experience. From early days at Ram, Renegade Hardware and Swerve nights to latter period fun at Trash and Rinse parties via dalliances with nights like Bugged Out and Durr, The End has always been there.
It will be a sad loss for London's nightlife when those big old doors on Central St finally close for the last time.
Anyway, I got asked to write about some bands with my Vice hat on so here it is.
I am a little choked right now.
Goodbye The End.
The End Blog Piece
OK here’s the thing. Vice is not a music magazine. Music magazines are, on the whole, blinkered, self righteous forums for balding old guys to weep bitter words of underachievement or hollow platitudes to nothingness. They also suffer from being rigid single purpose outlets blind to the wider significance of music’s little place in the big scheme of everything the fuck else. The magazines we like are things like the Private Eye, MRR, Big Brother, The New Yorker, The Economist, The National Geographic and Colours. Magazines that are versatile, swift to adapt, astute and cover a broad range of topics well. Usually with a sense of humour. That always helps.
Now don’t get us wrong, we really like music. Lots. Some of us even still by real records instead of stealing them off of the internet and have the bands that we like tatooed on our bodies forever. You know, that kind of stuff.
We are wary about the majority music for the same reason that we are wary about the majority of everything: 99% of it sucks. Really bad. Not your average sucking either. Titanically, apocalypticly, soul rapingly massively sucking.
Seriously, if we made you sit and listen to the metric tone of recorded stuff and read the acres of press releases so bad they make you want to ram your head straight through your screen that we get sent on any given day you’d probably come to a pretty similar conclusion. I promise.
To this end we approach music coverage in the same way that we approach all aspects of the magazine. We don’t cover anything for the sake of covering it or because it is promoting a certain thing at the right time or because someone from some press agency took us to Bungalow 8 for the evening. The things that we choose to cover stand and fall on their own merit. So when we do come to feature a band or musician (we usually only do four a month max, please stop hassling us) the things that make the cut will generally be things that we know we will be able to look back on in a years time with a warm glow of fuzzy fondness. Because they didn’t turn out to be a piece of shit. Because they were actually great.
Anyway, here are five bands that we currently think are actually great. In fact some of them are so great that we decided to put their records out ourselves.
The Black Lips
The Black Lips are four kids from Atlanta, Georgia. They play garage punk brimming with so many hooks you can’t fail to fall in love with them instantly. It’s like they swallowed the entire Nuggets box set, watched The Decline Of Western Civilzation and decided to form the best band we’ve heard in yonks. They are also a gang of total babes who love to party for days on end and somehow manage to play all the better for it. Albeit often naked, bloody and drenched in their own puke. We love them so much that we put out their record and let them stay at our houses and lend them fivers and stuff whenever they are over. Ian, Jared, Cole, Joe: we love you.
King Khan & The Shrines
King Khan came to our attention via The Black Lips. Like the Lips kids Khan and his Shrines are from Georgia and ply a mean line in note perfect psyche-garage. There must be some magic garage greatness juice in that Atlanta water ‘cos the first time we heard these guys we knew we had to have ‘em for ourselves. Live they look and sound like they should be the house band for that scene in Easy Rider where they take all the acid at Mardi Gras and it all goes a little left of the dial. In other words: pretty amazing. They also all have great stage names like Gogo Queen Of The Underworld, Johnny Boy Adonis and Big Fred Roller. They will be over in the UK for the first time soon. Don’t sleep.
While London’s recent italo resurgence has been lead by DJ’s playing out classic sides at nights like Cocadisco (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=17834115290&refurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fs.php%3Fn%3D-1%26k%3D200000010%26init%3Ds%253Agroup%26q%3Dcocadisco), Horsemeat Disco (http://www.myspace.com/horsemeatdiscolondon) and Disco Bloodbath (http://www.myspace.com/discobloodbathdisco) the whole thing has lacked an act that can convey the live element that helped define italo’s absurdity (seriously just YouTube ‘Another Life’ by Kano). Heartbreak are that missing piece in the sexy, synthy jigsaw. An Argentian and a Londoner who think they are in a stadium metal band playing stuff that sounds like magical coke dust wafting out of some forgotten Rimini hideaway club in 1985. We can’t recommend them enough.
Sian Alice Group
Sian Alice Group are a cute gang of friends from all over Britain who naturally gravitated to London because it’s a safe haven for weirdos. Mentored by Jason Pierce of Spiritualized and including Jesus and Mary Chain founding member Douglas Hart on bass, SAG sound like the spooky laughter of a thousand big fluffy rain clouds made of angel tears. Yup, that is EXACTLY what they sound like. They’re about to tour America for the first time to promote their new album, 59:59, so we thought we would introduce you to them, one by one, because they’re our new favorite British band. Get to know ’em!
Mike Bones is the favorite guitarist of every musician that you like in New York. He’s the New York music-geek world’s secret weapon, having played in the (and we don’t say this lightly) downtown supergroup Soldiers of Fortune. Everybody who saw them during their extraordinary run of shows last year was knocked flat on their asses. They sounded like Crazy Horse. Seriously, it was like seeing Crazy Horse in a tiny little room, playing at full tilt. Mike and Pat from the band Oakley Hall were the two guitarists, and they traded lines and solos back and forth in a manner that made you unashamed to say things like “Nice licks!” If you can find a bootleg of their album, Shred It Be, you are a lucky little music enthusiast. Mike has been doing stuff like Soldiers for a while now though—he’ll just pop out with a group of musicians, or back up someone like Cass McCombs live, chop everyone’s head off, and go home.