Sunday, January 27

New N/C song montage//

Neils Children have posted an aural montage of some of their new songs onto their website. The 40-second clip features extracts from 'Reflective/Surface' and 'I'm Ill', as well as short snippets from a few other unknown songs. You can hear it here.

Friday, January 25


We've been following their development and hanging on their every move for about a month now, and finally the enigmatic Futurism vs. Passeism have taken off their masks. We now know that the electronic group contains four members with a 3:1 gender ratio and at least one ex-member of Wretched Replica. We already know that their mixture of These New Puritansesque electronics, New York No Wave, and atmospheric noises is one of the most exciting things in London at the moment. And finally we know that you can and should experience and unwravel more mysterious layers this Sunday when they perform live for the first time at the first #NUMBERS# club. Go.

Thursday, January 24

Band spotlight//KASMS

The 'gothic' tag has been applied to some great music, but nowadays 98% of the general population will stick it on Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails, and scratch their heads at the mention of the Virgin Prunes. So it's good to see some healthy cynicism on the part of KASMs, a London four-piece who describe their music as 'chaotic quasi-gothick shriekbeat'. They sound as fresh as a band who formed only four months ago should, and their demos (recorded live) echo Siouxsie Sioux and Poly Styrene through the tormented screeching vocals of Rachel-Mary Callaghan, and acts like These New Puritans or early Joy Division with their sparse, spontaneous drum and bass guitar noises. They're supporting Neils Children alongside S.C.U.M on the 13th February in Hoxton - those based in London should definitely pop along, since they sound like a fantastic live act. New Yorkers can also catch them in various venues from 16th-20th February.

Saturday, January 19

REVIEW// The Violets; The Lost Pages

Comparisons to Siouxsie and the Banshees have been pretty much constant throughout the three-year musical career of The Violets, and they don’t seem to like it much. So although they’ve recently added a bass player to their ranks (giving them the same touring line-up as the Banshees) and embraced a decidedly gothic look for the artwork of their new LP The Lost Pages and its accompanying singles, the music itself seems to have been composed as a deliberate two fingers to all the lazy journalistic Siouxsie comparisons.

So what does it sound like? Well, The Violets are still giving their old punk sound plenty of voice - it’s here in new track ‘Forget Me Not’, and in ‘Descend’, a new version of a 2006 single with the addition of well-placed stabs of guitar feedback from Joe Daniels. It’s also present in the Hitchcock-inspired ‘Foreo’, released as a single earlier in 2007 and still the band’s best-known tune.

But there are some drastic changes at work. The first thing that the newcomer to the album hears is the pop-punk of first track ‘Shade To Be’. I was actually about to check my disc to make sure I’d actually bought The Lost Pages instead of something by Paramore, before Alexis Mary’s glottal stops persuaded me that I hadn’t been cheated by my record store. Other Siouxsie-defying uncharacteristic tracks include ‘Half Light’ (which is more like country and western) or ‘Nature of Obsession’ (acoustic Latin pop?!). Sometimes this genre-bending approach works (latest single ‘Troubles of Keneat’, a foray into electronics and drum machines, is great), but usually, while they’re not actually bad, these tracks sound like a band pushing their own boundaries for the sake of it, rather than some kind of exciting new sound.

Happily, there is such a sound running through the album. ‘In Your Statue’ is a piece of sweeping post-punk genius, and that thread is continued with the more sedate ‘Co-Plax’, which has even more cryptic lyrics than The Violets’ usual fare - ‘co-plax, co-plan / melts planet to hand’? Understanding what it’s about isn’t really necessary though, because it’s great. ‘Hush Away’, also a single in 2006, was an early example of this dramatic, cinematic sound, and the beginning of the version on The Lost Pages, with Mary’s haunting vocals emerging from a storm of noise, is nothing less than majestic; ‘Parting Glances’, with an extended instrumental outro, would have made the perfect album-closer, and is probably the best song here (rivalled only by ‘Hush Away’).

Yes, The Lost Pages could have benefited maybe from a little less ‘look, we can use acoustic guitars’, and a track reshuffle. But sections of it are evocative, atmospheric, and wonderfully crafted. Isn't saying it sounds like the Banshees recorded it a good thing?

Monday, January 14

REViEW// Neils Children &c.; DICE CLUB

13th January 2008;; Despite the several new club nights that crop up every month to play the more interesting side of music, The Dice Club remains one of London's best for a wide range of music from the last fifty years, and also for its live lineups. This time it was Neils Children, playing their first major London show since October, who topped the bill with support from Silhouette (alias Helena Gee of Zoo Music), and up-and-coming four-piece I Am The Arm.

Silhouette opened, a solitary figure who took the stage forty minutes late. This was her first show with electric instead of acoustic guitar, but her folky singer-songwriter stylings were still a strange choice of support considering the other two acts. Her contemplative music doesn't lend itself that well to the live environment, especially when that environment is still less than half-full two hours after doors, and her lack of a backing band (something she's in the process of recruiting) didn't help as far as creating atmosphere went. But these stacked odds (appropriate for the Dice Club?) didn't impede too much with a set which peaked with a very nice cover of The Gun Club's 'Sexbeat'.

The next act on were Silhouette's polar opposites in everything except dress sense. I Am The Arm are fascinating to watch. Half of the band - vocalist/synth-masher Cyan and a one-man drumstorm called Twitchy the Ratbag - are all shrieks, Ian Curtis gyrations, and flailing; the remainder (bassist Kane and backing vox/synthesizer Aimee) are calm and collected. This tension, increased during a Barrett's-Floyd-in-1966 beginning, created a set which was electric in both senses, and got a fair bit of shoulder-banging going on down at the front. In fact my only minor gripe was the complete lack of any communication to the audience outside of the songs, but otherwise the Arm were brilliant - we predict a bright future.

Still, we can't imagine that many people were at Dice specifically to see either of the support acts. Neils Children's performance was an unusual - almost informal - one by their standards. For a start, they were out of their usual uniform, playing in civvies. Then there was the fact that the eternally-silent Keith Seymour was singing backing vox, and the backing tracks that have accompanied songs including 'Window Shopping' for recent performances weren't used.

All of these things were slightly surprising, but one thing that we were expecting (or rather hoping for) was new material, and we weren't disappointed. A new song (whose name we didn't catch) was first on the setlist, and another - announced as future single 'Exposure' - came towards the end. We're happy to say that these new songs were more than good enough to justify the expulsion of 'Communique' and 'The Night Is Over' from the setlist. Although the N/C performance was a short one, it was more energetic and tighter than their civvies let on, and must have got most of the crowd counting down the days to Pop:Aural.

Friday, January 11

COUNTING IN FIVES;; A Horrors Documentary

Nylon Magazine has announced the impending release of a documentary on The Horrors' June 2007 tour of the USA, directed by Marvin Scott Jarrett (most famous for doing pop-punk music videos). The trailer can be seen here; the film will be premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, USA, on January 18th.

More details? watchTHISspace//

Wednesday, January 9


A few pieces of collected news;;;

// The Horrors' second album progresses. Chris Cunningham, who made the 'Sheena Is A Parasite' video among other things, has been wearing the producer's hat for their recent sessions, and more new songs are set to be unveiled at their upcoming shows.

// Hatcham Social will be headlining a show on the 100 Club on the 17th February to celebrate the release of their new single 'So So Happy Making'. Support comes from S.C.U.M, Electricity In Our Homes (probably), and (in a weird twist of scheduling) Neils Children, with DJ sets from Faris Badwan (producer of the Hatcham single) and the P.I.X fanzine. Tickets can be bought from (who send you some kind of serial number which you bring to the gig instead of a ticket. It's a bit odd.)

// The Cave Club runs a night on 26th January with The Masonics, another bunch of garage throwbacks in novelty costume. The day after, a new Junkettes-affiliated night called #NUMBERS# brings one of our favourite new bands Futurism Vs. Passeism to The Legion, Old Street.

// NEW MUSIC;; Brandon Jacobs has done a little to redeem himself after the overcloy of his debut EP with a very nice cover of Pink Floyd's 'Jugband Blues'.

Tuesday, January 8

If you like NEiLS CHILDREN;;;

The first in a series///
if you like;;;
then try;;;
TELEVISION PERSONALITIES // ...And Don't The Kids Just Love It

This album was the Television Personalities' full-length debut, and if you're a fan of Neils Children and you don't own it yet, you should go about tracking it down as soon as possible - apart from it being a brilliant album in its own right, it belongs firmly in the N/C 'influences' box.

The TVPs belonged to the same indie pop splinter of post-punk as bands like Josef K, The Fire Engines, and The Monochrome Set; all big influences on Neils Children's sound. Not only that, but the TV Personalities sit right in the middle of the line connecting the whimsical sounds of the 1960s - Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd, and especially The Kinks - to the psychedelic elements of Neils Children's music (especially on tracks like 'Enough of Trying' or 'Run Before We Can Walk').

There are Mod tendencies in TVP tracks like 'Geoffrey Ingram' and 'Parties In Chelsea' which match up well with the influence that N/C take from The Jam and others. Those who like the Goodnight & I Wish style of psychedelic doodle will love 'I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives'. And lyrically, Dan Treacy has more than enough tales of doomed love to satisfy any fan of the Children. In short, if you need something to fill up the last few months until Pop:Aural, you can't go far wrong with this collection of tracks.

///more soon;;watchthiSspace.

Sunday, January 6


The Experimental Circle Club has been running nights in Southend regularly since September, but now the New Year is here they've decided to return to their roots. To make the club more spontaneous and to avoid complacency, the Exp.Circ. will be hosting irregular nights throughout the southeast for the foreseeable future, and advises those who wish to attend to 'keep their earballs open'.

Meanwhile, Ipso Facto are gearing up for their second release with DiscError with the unveiling of two new songs, 'Eyes of the Blind' and 'Smoke and Mirrors'. The new tracks are just as mysteriously atmospheric as previous releases, but there are new innovations like added electronics from Cherish Kaya's keyboards, and what sounds suspiciously like a Mellotron... we'll have release dates as soon as they're announced; watch this space. For now, listen to the new tracks at the Ipso Facto MySpace.

Friday, January 4

Band spotlight//I AM THE ARM

Our last band spotlight were S.C.U.M., and if you liked them, here's another band of keyboard-wielding post-punkers in the Boys of Brazil vein. These have been around for quite a while; they formed in early 2006 under the name Cyclic Suicides to make biting electronic music with only two members, but over time they've added a drummer and a bassist, and their sound shows the progression: electronics are still integral, but wild drumming and punk-spit vocals lend the music gallons of attitude.

They've released two EPs on Decasian Records, and support Neils Children at Dice Club on the 13th January. If you live in London, go and see them. If not, visit their MySpace and buy their music; you won't regret it.