Thursday, 6 November 2008

i-D October Review

The Blood Of Life

For a band whose challenging recordings were once harder to acquire than platinum plated hens teeth this latest opus released via established UK indie Fire represents a great departure for muso’s favourite offensively named act. Both in terms of availability and sonic accessibility this is the record that might finally see Tom Greenwood and his avant cohorts cross over into a wider appreciation of their wide-eyed, rambling, rootsy no-fi sprawl.

Vice v6n11 Literary Reviews


Hmm, Anita Crapper. That name seems familiar somehow. Oh yeah! He’s our UK editor. Or our UK editor’s nom de plume at least. In a rare case of the tables being turned this fresh faced young ‘zine from Leeds did the question-y part and Capper did the answer-y part. If you want to find out all manner of secrets from Andy’s shadowy past then I guess you will have to order it from that URL down there. Oh, the interviews with the Shitty Limits, Mob Rules and serial Vice appearance artist Eugene Robinson are none too shabby either. They even managed to squeeze in a review of ‘The Women Of Hollyoaks’. Features like that are what ‘zines were invented for. Issue 2 please.


There is this guy Paul who works in our office. Initially everyone thought he was some indie guy, mainly because he has one of those swoopy fringe haircuts that every cunt and their dog who sings in a tight jeaned “oh-oh-oh” indie band seems to have. Turns out Paul is a really nice guy who is into good stuff like Black Flag and The Gun Club and when he’s not booking all the acts for The Old Blue Last he runs his own night (which is handily named after a Gun Club song) called Sexbeat. Now Sexbeat is also a ‘zine. If you like Black Flag and The Gun Club but have a silly haircut you’ll probably like it. How many times can you mention The Gun Club in one review?

Justin Maurer
Future Tense Books

Despite looking a little like a cross between Dennis Penis and Krusty the clown (seriously, check out his by-line photo on the back cover) Justin used to be in stern faced screamy hardcore band Colorox Girls and is actually really good at writing stuff. We get sent submissions constantly by email that we sincerely wish were sent the old fashioned way so that we could use them to shore up the constant lack of TP in the gents (what is the deal with that btw Danielle? Credit crunch?) but stuff like Justin’s turning up once every blue moon is like a little reassuring pat on the back and whisper in the ear that there are actually people out there who can still write great short fiction. Except that these little vignettes might be true stories. We’re not sure. It’s nicer not knowing. Justin: please don’t ever tell us the truth.

Eighty-Eight Shades Press

I initially struggled to find any info on this one until I looked at the publishers and remembered the we had reviewed a ‘zine called Eighty-Eight Shades Of Grey a while back. The constant presence of Nottingham Forest shirts and NG7 landmarks confirmed this. So you get a lot of snapshot photography of skaters drinking and being drunk mixed with moody landscape shots and more than your fill of urban decay as well as Nottingham’s unique take on combating paedophilia (with graffiti proclaiming that “Brian is a fucking kiddy fiddler). Nice UK photo ‘zines are thin on the ground. Let’s hope more people follow these Midlanders lead. How expensive can some A4 paper, a printer and a stapler be?

Dash Snow
CFA Berlin

If you don’t know who Dash Snow is you probably haven’t read many issues of this magazine beyond the last couple of years. Dash used to appear in these pages constantly in various stages of undress and intoxication. For the Party Issue he even recreated one of his infamous nest parties for us. In case you missed it: that involves booking yourself and your buddies into a hotel room, covering the room with shredded paper and making well… a nest. You then proceed to party so much that you have to hibernate to survive. As well as getting fucked up Dash is also very good at art and these days sells work for squillions of pounds to international collectors like Charles Saatchi and shows work at The Whitney and stuff. He manages to do all this while injecting the same free spirited fun and gallons of cum with which he still lives every day. So we still love him. This book collects a bunch of Dash’s collage work and photography. And it’s really really great.

Alan Aldridge
Thames & Hudson

You might think that you don’t know Alan Aldridge. In a way you might be right. You might never have heard his name spoken out loud before or read it in a magazine. But you do know Alan Aldridge if only in terms of his work. The sleeves of The Beatles Reprised, The Who’s A Quick One, Elton John’s Captain Fantastic and Cream’s Goodbye Cream? All Aldridge. This book isn’t just great in terms of highlighting how much of an impact Aldridge has had on anyone who has ever put pen to paper and drawn squiggly psychedelic stuff but serves as a massive inventory of just how hard the guy worked. Movie posters, a whole host of Penguin covers and even Heinekin ads. The guy was like a psychedelic drawing machine.

Handmade Dirtcheap Productions

Putting out a ‘zine and calling it Inky Fingers is a little like just calling it ‘A ‘Zine’. This one was subtitled ‘The Vice Special’ but in a massive blow to our ego’s it had nothing to do with us. It didn’t even try and parody us like that ‘Vice Issue’ of SugaRAPE. In fact it just contains loads of black and white ink drawings and cut and paste headlines that do a really of good job of holding your attention for just the right amount of time. Maybe they should have just called it ‘A ‘Zine’ after all.

Vice v6n11 Record Reviews

Everyone Is People

9 Usually whenever the word “stalwart” is used in a review you can just skip to the end and substitute it with “mediocre”. Lords however are stalwarts in the best way possible. Like hard touring, hard playing limpets they remain steadfast, clinging to the underbelly of the UK Beefheart/ZZ Top mining garage axis like hidden African blood diamonds. In fact they are about the only band mining that axis but they’re fucking great at it. And their drummer is called Elvis.

Wham Jam Thank You Mam

Rowans & The Crops Failed
The Beast Must Die

8 This may not hit the heady heights of Blue Mercedes’ mid-80’s synth-rape of the UK charts. In fact the only people who will ever hear it are probably the very same people who attended the bands record release party. Which was also doubled as the bands farewell gig. Regardless the great David Titlow’s band (or ex-band) strum up a folk rock storm that will, in it’s own way, be very much missed.

Jam Solo

Fireworks Night
A Mirror, A Ghost
Organ Grinder

8 I first saw these guys supporting The Mules in the basement of the Troubadour years ago. Back then they were James from the Mules side project and played woozy alt-country that sounded like Uncle Tupelo on Vicodin. This is their second record on Oxford independent Organ Grinder and despite rising from the fug slightly the whole thing still sounds just the right side of a bunch of friends playing in the back room of a bar on any given Friday.

Jam Parrish

Pale Creation
Before Twilight And After
Holy Terror

7 This record is on Holy Terror. What else do you need to know? Metallic hardcore? Check. Furious solos that make your face feel like it’s about to fall off? Check. Vocals that sound like the singer needs a hefty Benelin prescription? Check check check.

Jam 69

The Final Chapter
Violent Change

9 Just when you’d almost forgotten about one of the best punk acts the UK has ever seen Violent Change handily re-issue all the bands obscure odds and ends to remind you just how good the only band to ever make it out of Durham to tour with Charles Bronson and Dropdead really were.

Jimmy Jam Jar

Jackie O Motherfucker
The Blood Of Life

4 Once upon a time it was harder than spotting a gilded platinum swan making love to a russet red English squirrel than get hold of a Jackie O Motherfucker record. This absent-minded, spaced out live noodling session is out on Fire which kind of takes the fun out of the whole thing.


Jesse Malin
Mercury Retrograde
One Little Indian

8 We reviewed one of Jesse’s records a few months back and this is a live album which is usually the record equivalent of an artist holding up a big “hi! I’ve run out of ideas” sign and shaking it for all it’s worth. But this is Jesse Malin and you just can’t fault someone who played in Heartattack and D Generation singing about when morning still comes twice a day or not at all despite easily being old enough to know better.

Pweter Perret

Je Suis Animal
Self Taught Magic From A Book

7 You know the bits of Yellow Submarine where it all goes like the paisley lining of one of Jimi Hendrix’s coats and everyone has spinning flowers for eyes? This is like that. But with keyboards.

Alexis Petri-Dish

Little Joy
Little Joy
Rough Trade

2 When did the “if you are in the Strokes you have to be do a sub standard solo project” dictum get leaked? Did I miss the memo? Lets hope it’s fourth time lucky and Casablancas pulls an ace out of the hole.

Mick The Spanish

Keiren Hebden & Steve Reid

1 Ow, ow, ow, stop it. Enough already. My head hurts. You’re killing me with your sheer earnest musicality and drumtasticness. Minor improvement on the last Fridge trainwreck I guess.

Perry Nutkins

Does You Inspire You
Kanine Records

4 If we had a ‘Worst Title Of The Month’ this would be a shoe-in. Pukey proclamations aside this skips along in the same fashion that every band who went to art school and practices in a shared ‘space’ in Brooklyn seems to have dialed to skewed-pop perfection of late. If we’d woken up from an 18 month coma it might be a revelation but the latest transmission from planet YeaMGMTsayer fails to evoke much more than a “meh”.

Peter Pilton

North Sea Radio Orchestra
Oof Records

8 Hello band British Seapower wish they could be! These guys are like a latter day Incredible String Band mess of uniquely Anglican eccentricity. And woodwind. The North Sea Radio Orchestra play a rare show at St Martin in The Fields at the end of November which you should probably go to.

Rise Above

8 Bands from Surrey should play pleasant music that doesn’t distract from drinking real ale out of your regulars tankard clad in Barbour and wellies too much. It’s hardly surprising then that Diagonal got chased out of a pub in their native Farnborough for inflicting three songs of their Sleep meets Guru Guru stoner-psych to an unsuspecting audience over the course of 90 minutes. Farnborough’s loss is your gain.

Ping Crimson

New York Blood
Scream Records

9 It’s only fuckin’ Vinnie fuckin’ Stigma from straight outta New Yoik. The sleeve of Vinnie’s first ever solo record contains: a hand grenade, some .45 bullets, a knuckleduster, a pump action rifle and lots of blood. I think the message here is meant to go something like: “it’s tough on the streets kids but uncle Vinnie was in Agnostic Front and he’s tougher than all of yous guys put together”.

Circle Jams

Parts & Labour

8 Why does everyone gets a massive boner whenever TV On The Radio come up? It’s like they are the only band around making knowing, innovative, challenging pop music. Guess what? Here’s another one.

Cyron Boley

Vice Interview: Alexander Tucker

Here is an interview with Alexander Tucker that I did for Vice v6n11 which happened to be the 'No Photos Issue' aka 'The Drawings Issue' so it mainly concerns Alexander's illustrations and art work. His music is very good to though.

Alexander Tucker

Alexander Tucker is an illustrator and musician who lives and works alone in the same dark nook of the Kentish countryside he grew up in. After graduating from The Slade with a BA in Fine Art and playing in a bunch of bands like Suction, Unhome and Fuxa that people who read Pitchfork still get semis about and collaborating with dudes like Jackie O Motherfucker, Stephen O’Malley and Duke Garwood he decided doing things with other people was overrated and sunk back into illustrating alone and recording as a solo artist.

Both Alexander’s art and music seem to come from a twisted, scary world that probably only exists in his own head. His ink drawings are filled with beasts, multiple headed monsters, and lumbering goliaths eating each other while his records tend to be all bleak drones and guitar loops that sound a bit like Sunn being played backwards. A barrel of laughs Alexander’s stuff aint but we love everything he does anyway.

We spoke to Alex on a line that kept cutting out because they don’t have reception in bumfuck, nowhere Kent. This made transcribing this interview a nightmare but Alex has one of those nice soothing voices that only career stoners who never grew up can pull off so it was all ok in the end.

Vice: You started playing in Suction before most kids had started studying for their GCSE’s. Precocious youth?
Alexander Tucker:
Well I guess I was lucky in that my dad had a great recollection. No crap, just stuff like Duke Ellington and Hendrix but the guy who really switched me on to more leftfield music was my art teacher at school. He gave me all these Cardiacs and Residents records and that was that.

What kind of stuff were you drawing at that point? Guys with eyes for heads?
Quite possibly. I’ve been drawing since zero really. It’s just something that I’ve always done. My dad is an artist and his stuff was an early influence. Maybe more in terms of just making it acceptable to do stuff like draw all day than in terms of what I was drawing. He does all these weird found object pieces and assemblages. Back then I was really into a lot of Alan Moore’s comic work, stuff like The Watchmen and specifically Swamp Thing so there were a lot of monsters knocking around in my stuff. They’ve never really disappeared actually. A little later I became a bit obsessed with Bosch and Bacon so they were a big influence as well.

How big an effect did attending The Slade have on your work? I know people that have gone there and felt it improved their work to the power of a gajillion and others who reckon it robbed any enjoyment they ever had for creating things.
Hmm, well after I finished there I was really disillusioned and pissed off with the whole narrow mindedness of the art scene. It was just rank. Really disgusting, stilted and just fucking awful. The whole thing seemed like this myth controlled by a small band of critics and collectors who decide what’s in and what’s out which inevitably shapes peoples output. I could just never really abide that.

So… Not much fun at college then?
Well I just kind of opted out of that whole scene after I finished and it got me playing music. I’ve always found musicians far more open to experimentation and just accepting things. In terms of art I ended up really focusing on comics. All I wanted do was draw monsters kicking the shit out of each other and not be told whether that was what I should or shouldn’t be doing. My ex-wife and I put out this anthology of comics called Sturgeon White Moss that was very much of that period.

What made you finally decide to start playing music solo after so long playing in bands?
I think that all of my life I’ve just been discovering ways of not involving other people. It just complicates things, You have to allow certain things to happen that become out of your control. I had always been messing around on my own with feedback and loops plus I never felt I could play as well as my friends. On your own there is no one to disappoint but yourself. The band stuff always came naturally and unthinkingly despite whatever limitations I felt I had whereas on my own I had to stop and consider which was interesting. I remember this Unhome track we were working on and I’d pushed for it to be this long, open, feedbacky, improvised mess and all the parts that I liked they would either leave really low in the mix or cut in and out and they were the bits I wanted to make the whole song. That kind of inspired me to strike out and start making all this DIY sound and feedback. I didn’t really know where I was going but it was liberating. It was a strange mix of making these tentative sounds that were coming out exactly as I expected but somehow at the same time were totally startling.

Did all the startling sounds influence what you were drawing?
Looking at them from the outside it seems that the music and the art very much come from the same world and that world seems fairly dark. A lot of the darker stuff is from a period in my life where I was really struggling though. I definitely wasn’t very happy for quite a long time and both the music and the drawings reflect that. It all definitely helped see me through and deal with it all. A lot of the drawings from that time seemed so automatic and while the music was slightly more considered the drawings could definitely illustrate the music and the music could soundtrack the drawings. If you look at the sleeve of “Old Fog” with that dark little cave and the floating clod of earth levitating on the back it definitely belongs in that slightly twisted, twilight world.

Do you draw at night? None of your stuff is exactly sunshine and blue skies.
Drawing in the morning makes me feel really strange. I feel weird all day if I do that. Nighttime is definitely the best. It just feels like it all fits. But I tend to either be doing music or drawing. I’ll focus on one, get it out and then fall back on the other one. They are both always there though. I am pretty lazy about pushing my art. Maybe I shouldn’t be?


Vice Interview: Japanese Motors

Here is an interview with California indie-rock guys Japanese Motors for Vice v6n11. They are like a really addictive version of an even more surfier Strokes.


Japanese Motors Friends Don’t Wear High Heels

Japanese Motors are great. And not in maybe I’ll go check ‘em out at the bar tonight kind of great. More great in a just can’t no matter how hard you try ever get their songs out of your head kind of way. An old lady asked me to stop humming along to ‘Single Fins & Safety Pins” on the 243 the other day. They sound kind of like The Mummies playing Chantays tracks but with the taught energy of early Strokes bathed in a beautiful So-Cal glow. They are from Costa Mesa and though I have never been nor know anything about the place I can say with all confidence that it is the kind of beachside town where everything’s fine, the sun shines every day and there is always a barbeque to be at. Or at least that’s what a Japanes Motors song would have you believe. We like ‘em so much that we signed them.

Vice: Pitchfork’s market front, Insound, have labeled you "the most exciting band to emerge from Orange County since the heyday of Social Distortion and TSOL".
Alex Knost (guitar):
It’s hard to judge any critic or critique. Getting just as many fans of the tunes writing good things, as we do critics writing us on or off is great. Besides, I question free press these days as a whole. Who knows who is telling who to write what.

Who do you think told me to write about you?
I don’t know. Your boss?

No, I actually just like your songs. You are on our label though so I guess maybe that might be it.
Not that I am blowing smoke up your ass ‘cos of where this interview is appearing but everyone at Vice Records and Vice in general is cool, they work their asses off and flex like no ones business. We just saw it as like this big party where everyone hangs out and socializes and has similar tastes and ideas so it was logical to go with you guys.

Talking about parties is there any truth whatsoever to all this talk of your infamous all night parties in Costa Mesa?
I don't know where that rumour came from. I like to get up early in the mornings. After being in New York and seeing how no one leaves bars ‘till like five am, I'd have to say it’s a web of rock and roll lies that they span to consume us.

Who is that girl on the cover of your record? I would like to be friends with her.
Her name is Sneakers. We would see her every night for years at local shows and bars, but none of us ever talked to her. We thought she had an attitude problem. Since no one knew her we started calling her Sneakers due to the fact she never wore heels, or pumps. Just sneakers, every night. She would be in Dunks or wino's or whatever. Then finally after meeting her and talking to her we realized she was just shy and was a total sweetheart. I took that photo of her just a week later as she was sat on the couch in our practice space drinking a beer. We are glad we are friends with her now.

Jam 69

Japanese Motors debut album “Single Fins & Safety Pins” is available now on Vice Records

Vice Interview: Mob Rules

Here is an interview by the best UK 'hardcore' band I have heard this year. They sound a little like all your favourite powerviolence bands rolled into one. Think Crossed Out, Infest and No Comment with bassy Noothgush bits. In other words: amazing.


Mob Rules Are Fuelled By Grudge

Leeds is a horrible place. Cold, grey and grim. Both of my parents worked all day every day during the week so when I was a kid I got carted off to my auntie Jane’s place near Chapel Town on the outskirts of the city for large chunks of the summer holidays every year. The drive up the M1 fills me with dread to this day. It came as little surprise to me when I discovered that the MP3’s circulating on punk forums by a band called Mob Rules were the product of the city of Leeds. Powerviolence might have originated bathed in West Coast sunshine but its unrelenting, uncompromising brutality and anger perfectly reflects just how grim and fucking depressing the North of England can be. It has helped make Mob Rules the best punk band in the UK as of right now though so maybe it’s not all bad.

Are you sure that you aren’t the German band Mob Rules hiding out in Leeds after singing one too many songs about barbarians and witches?
Conor Rickford (drums):
No. (Thomas) Cambell (vocals) came up with the name. He assured us it was Greg Ginn's 7th favourite Black Sabbath record.

I can’t really make out the lyrics very well because Cambell’s voice sounds a bit like a Morris Minor stalling. What’s are you guys singing about?
Paul Steere (bass):
The frustrations that arises from having to write lyrics.
Conor: We practice on a Saturday night in a lock up in the middle of Leeds. Can you imagine the refreshing impetus provided as we fight our way through the fleshy gauntlet of hen-nights resplendent in their blotchy, fake-tanned arms, Persil-white thighs and lobotomized, glazed eyes staring out from their booze-soaked, palsied faces? The fuel for our motor is topped up every weekend, right on our doorstep. Grudge is the most abundant natural resource we have.
Paul I spend a lot of time being pissed off with everyone. If I could kill people by rolling my eyes, all these guys would be dead by now. But so far I've never been seriously tempted to go for a major artery.

Why can no one find you online?
Well, we don't have a MySpace or a Facebook if that's what you mean. We don't have those things because we don't need them.
Conor: Metering our popularity online is not something I'm that keen on doing. Probably because I'm afraid of what it might do to my confidence.
Paul I'm not big into hanging out anyway. Good fucking luck to the lot of them.

This is the Drawing Issue. Are any of you artistically inclined?
Conor writes extensive lists of the money we all owe him for various things, then illustrates them with a range of different stickmen, each one signaling a different level of dissatisfaction. I've come to notice that his dissatisfaction fluctuates wildly. This betrays a fundamental weakness of character. I wouldn't vote for him.

Circle Jams

Mob Rules have no online presence. We told you that up there.

They do however have a record out on Superfi in December. It will be a 7".

Vice Interview: The Muslims

Here is an interview with the indie rock band The Muslims for Vice v6n11.


The Muslims Don’t Like Talking But They Do Like Shooting

The Muslims are so in demand right now that this interview almost didn’t happen. When we contacted the band for a chat they were in the middle of playing 67 shows a day at CMJ where all the A&R guys were probably sinking their fangs in at every possible free moment attempting leach that inexplicable and fleeting aura known only as “buzz” from their weary bones. Poor guys. Somehow Matty, the bands guitar player, found five minutes to rapid fire answer some IM questions. He was brief but to the point so we didn’t mind. The bands tight take on garage owes as much to the Modern Lovers or The Velvet Undergound as it does to The Flying Medallions and it’s as infectious as hell. You might not have heard or even heard of The Muslims yet. But you will. And soon.

Vice: Why are there holes in my copy of your 12”?
Matty McLoughlin (guitar): Each sleeve was shot with a .22 by an ex-New York City policeman.

So they are bullet holes?

Are any of you actually Muslims?
None of us are religious.

On a scale of one to really fucking pissed off how much does the last question annoy you?
It doesn't bother us. It's just a stupid question.

Does San Diego have an inferiority complex about being so close to LA? Everyone is talking about that place again like it’s New York in ’77 or something
No. San Diego holds its own. LA has its own thing and it is just a bigger place. More people live there which means more bands. Simple.

You play a hell of a lot of shows. Tell us a “Get In The Van” story.
Once, while driving through Arizona we were stopped by the Border Patrol and locked in a paddy wagon as they tried to convince us we had drugs in the van. We didn’t so they let us go but the drug dog ate Dave's burrito as they searched the van. He was pissed.

How does it feel being a buzz band? Is it deafening like tinnitus or barely noticeable?
We haven’t really noticed. We've played on some good shows because of it though.

My favourite song on the record is that track “Americans” but I have this weird thing where I blank out lyrics as soon as I hear them and just remember the sound the words make but not the words. What is it about?
"Americans" is about anglophiles in the States.

This is the Drawing Issue. Whose scribbles do you admire most?
Rick Froberg is probably my favorite illustrator but an old good one is Egon Schiele. Check him out.

Jimmy Jam Jar

The Muslims ‘Walking With Jesus’/’Parasites’ 7” on I Hate Rock N Roll Records is forthcoming.