Friday, February 29

Horrors album update;;

The Horrors album has been postponed. Its original tentative release date of March has been altered to something like September, according to Faris Badwan, in order to avoid rushing the work. Reasons have been to the effect that in order to develop the spontaneous energy of the first album into a more mature and long-lasting sound, time and care must be taken. Nonetheless new material is being written and recorded as we write, and the rumoured Suicide cover (of 'Dance', as far as we know) will be released as part of a tribute to the electronic pioneers in the near future. So all that is needed is to play the waiting game. Watch this space.

Thursday, February 21


Neils Children are moving on... John Linger has confirmed that the plans for the release of LP Pop:Aural have now been abandoned, after almost a year's delay since the original planned release date. The album was apparently scrapped after a dispute with Shoreditch's Fortress Studios, where recording was taken place. This isn't the first time that Neils Children have scrapped album plans, and we're sure their sound will carry on developing. For now, fans will have to be content with forthcoming singles 'I'm Ill' (Waks Records) and 'Reflective/Surface' (April77), and with the Neils Children club night The Only Fun In Town, which takes place in Cheshunt on Saturday with the first performance from the three-piece Project:KOMAKINO.

Monday, February 18

REVIEW// The Horrors; These New Puritans; Ulterior

If you compare the mid-2000s with the early 1980s, it's easy to draw small-scale comparisons: Neils Children with The Cure, The Violets with Siouxsie and the Banshees (with apologies), These New Puritans, maybe, with The Fall. The Horrors, in this grand scheme, are rapidly becoming the new Bauhaus. Their current live act (more synths, fewer garage songs) and their new material (less blues-structured and less centred around the '60s sound of Rhys Webb's Vox organ) hints at the future development of the 'gothic' sound hinted at already on tracks like 'Draw Japan' and 'Thunderclaps'.

But the audience gathered at London's Astoria for the five-piece's appearance in the NME Shockwaves Awards series haven't heard that yet. They're busy having their minds blown by the support band. Ulterior - Horrors favourites, Ipso Facto labelmates, and the harshest noisemongers in London - open proceedings with a solid attack of splintering feedback. Their industrial electronics are a breath of fresh air in a music industry where the first sign of a synthesizer gets the glowsticks lit up faster than jackals around a corpse. The quartet look and sound fantastic: shrouded in smoke, lit from behind, and wrapped in their wall of noise, their leather jacket proto-grunge image makes it seem like The Jesus & Mary Chain have killed Suicide, stolen their souls and their gear, and jumped twenty years into the future to play for us tonight.

Ulterior are, in short, an impossible act to follow, but These New Puritans (everyone's favourite mystical genre-benders, and very much in fashion at the moment) do their best. Frontman Jack Barnett, dressed in a suit of featherlike armour, is as cryptic and restless as ever, and some songs - the shortened 'Navigate Navigate' that opened the set and the stiltedly rhythmic 'fff' especially - are well-performed. 'Elvis' is the song that most gets the crowd going, of course, but the almost hip-hop beat of 'Swords of Truth' also goes down well. Interestingly, the vocal-distorting live environment (the Astoria is like a tin can) meant that the band had a return to the mysterious lyricism of their early career - definitely a plus, since the clarity of the vocal production on their album Beat Pyramid is one of its downsides.

Try as they might, though, TNPS can't match the energy and mystery of Ulterior's show-stealing set. The wait for The Horrors is soundtracked by tedious electro-beats for prepubescent glowstick-toters courtesy of Canadian duo Crystal Castles, but it's worth it when the lights go down and the familiar jerky introduction to 'A Train Roars' fills the venue.

The band stalk onstage and don their instruments, and kick into life as Faris Badwan is contorted as if every cymbal crash was a pin into his own personal voodoo doll. The set was a little less frantic than it has been, but this wasn't necessarily a bad thing (except for those who'd only come to yell 'shake!'), since the ditching of '60s stompers like the 'Jack the Ripper' and 'Crawdaddy Simone' covers, and 'Death at the Chapel' (R.I.P.), gave the new material a chance to shine in its monochromatic, skeletally lyrical glory. There's a sense of climax and drama that wasn't present in some of Strange House's blasts of garage, and, from what can be heard (once again, the Astoria's acoustics let them down) the lyrics have also matured.

New material aside, the setlist is largely based around the less garage moments of Strange House (including a particularly good 'She Is The New Thing'), although 'Count in Fives' and set-closer 'Gloves' (with the traditional improv section) give plenty of opportunity to let loose with some psychedelic stomping. The larger stages that The Horrors are playing nowadays don't give Faris such opportunity for prop-orientated hi-jinks, but a giant Rubix cube is somehow procured and swung into the seething audience. After playing around forty-five minutes, the band drop their instruments and skulk off, leaving a wall of feedback noise and vain chants of 'encore' hanging in the air. Maybe their next concert, being as it is in support of The Sonics, will be a last bow to the 1960s; for now, as Faris Badwan introduces 'Sheena Is A Parasite' as 'the moment that happened two years ago', The Horrors are moving onwards and upwards, and getting better all the time.

Thursday, February 14

Band spotlight//FACTORY FLOOR

Factory Floor are a mysterious post-punk trio from Hackney: electronic, abrasive, and fiercely original, and claiming to prize ideas over ability. They work with vintage equipment and tape loops, layered with feedback, insistent Krautrock bass lines, and ethereally harsh vocals; current single 'Bipolar' is the proud owner of an inspired combination of Kraftwerk-inspired metallic beats and ambient synthesisers, along with the obligatory Jim Morrison/Ian Curtis post-punk vocals. Speaking of Jim Morrison, the band's cover of The Doors' 'The End' is a close challenger on the original. The band are set to play a variety of East London venues in the near future, and sound like they're worth seeing; if you don't believe us, listen to their MySpace tracks.

Monday, February 11


Fans of brutal electronic noises are in luck: Ulterior have announced the imminent release of a second 12" single on DiscError Recordings, featuring '15', 'Fireship', and 'The Death Of Everything'. The single, produced by Zlaya Hadzic (experienced with noise, having produced Sonic Youth and others), will be out in March; previous single 'Weapons' is available from Rough Trade etc., and tickets are still on sale for the band's appearance in support of The Horrors at the Astoria on Saturday.

Saturday, February 9

Camden Market ablaze;;

I was planning to go to Camden Market tomorrow; I have changed my plans. A 30-foot fire is alight on the north side of the market, to the north of the railway bridge and canal. Apparently it was caused by an electrical fault in a market stall; there's some confusion over the actual location of the fire - apparently it's in a storage area, and the back of the Hawley Arms pub, rather than any main stall sites - although there have been no reported casualties (early reports of people trapped have been denied by the fire service). There are about a hundred fire officers tackling the blaze, and it's being brought under control, but it seems to have damaged old Victorian buildings as well as endangered property. I think I'll go to Brick Lane instead.

Friday, February 8


It's been announced that The Horrors will be supporting none other than the 60s garage group, The Sonics, at The Forum in London on 23rd March as part of the Le Beat Bespoke 4 weekend. The weekend (three nights over the Easter Bank Holiday) is a celebration of the 60s underground movement, hosted by legendary garage DJ Rob Bailey. The Sonics will play two performances, having reformed in New York last year after splitting in 1968; the LBB4 gigs will be their first ever in Europe. The Horrors are supporting them on the Sunday night, and, having claimed the legendary punk forefathers as a major influence and covered their song 'The Witch', should be on top form. The first Sonics gig has already sold out; the second is not to be missed for anyone interested in garage punk.

(Tickets can be got here, and go on sale on the 11th at 9am... get in quick.)