Thursday, December 31

Top releases, 2009:

The countdown begins, the Two-Thousand-And decade is almost finished: here's the best (in our view) of its last year. A happy New Year to all. Thank you for your continued support and interest, and please enjoy your 2010.

1. The Big Pink - Velvet


2. Ulterior - Sister Speed / Aporia


3. Hatcham Social - Crocodile


4. Fever Ray - Fever Ray


5. Hatcham Social - You Dig The Tunnel, I'll Hide The Soil


6. An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump - Buy a Life
7. A Place to Bury Strangers - Exploding Head
8. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
9. The xx - xx
10. Lydia Lunch / Suicide - Frankie Teardrop
11. The Horrors - Primary Colours
10. HTRK - Marry Me Tonight
13. R O M A N C E - Another Place / The Art of Losing
14. The Spectrometers - Make Your Own Instrumented Glove
15. Disconcerts - A. Medic
16. Spider & the Flies - Something Clockwork This Way Comes
17. The Big Pink - A Brief History of Love
18. KASMs - Spayed
19. Electricity In Our Homes - Gymnastics / Motorbike
20. Neils Children - X.Enc.

Wednesday, December 30

Tonight we recommend. . .

Shoreditch's Old Blue Last plays host tonight to what promises to be a riotous punk show. Brighton's Bad for Lazarus (led by ex-Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster guitarist Rich Fownes) will be flailing around and making a brilliant racket, preceded by two of London's brightest hopes: blues-punk terrorists Stavin' Chains, and the dark, driving clank of The Murder Act. It's free. Go.

Thursday, December 10

an experiment on a bird in the air pump : BUY A LIFE

AN EXPERIMENT ON A BIRD IN THE AIR PUMP
BUY A LIFE
(BUY A LIFE RECORDS)

You would never guess that this self-released three-track EP was produced by The Charlatans' Tim Burgess: he, by all accounts, is a fairly laid-back kind of guy, and this 7" buzzes with pure, venomous aggression from beginning to end. I can only conclude that the Birds themselves have got a lot of rage stored up, and that they've fortunately (for us) chosen the recording studio as the best place to get it out of their systems - you can hear it in the drumming alone, really. Each of the three sings on one track, the vocal highlight being some fantastic distorted soul shrieking from C-Bird's on 'Only in Death'; X-Bird smoulders in the dark on 'The Silent Hour', and D-Bird's more untrained voice lends opening track 'Smear' a vulnerable edge - not that she sounds any less angry, what with the snarling fuzz of two basses and a minimal tribal beat backing her up. It's certainly a step up from last year's 'These Sins', distilling bits of Hole, The Stooges, and Sonic Youth into a visceral seven-minute punch. Recommended.

Tuesday, November 3

Return of T N P S

Almost two years after they crashed their debut album Beat Pyramid into our ears and disappeared into the studio to play with brass instruments and prepared pianos, mystical sound engineers These New Puritans return on 18th January with their follow-up, entitled Hidden. The week before will see the release of the seven-minute single 'We Want War' on 10" vinyl; the 25th January is the date of TNPS's first London show in over a year, at Bush Hall. We're glad to see the return of the one of the most intriguing bands to hit the country in the last few years, and curious to hear the album, even based solely on the tracklisting:

'Time Xone'
'We Want War'
'Three Thousand'
'Hologram'
'Attack Music'
'Fire–Power'
'Orion'
'Canticle'
'Drum Courts–Where Corals Lie'
'White Chords'
'5'


More when it happens.

Monday, November 2

New Hatcham Social EP

From today, those in London have the chance to be one of only 100 people to own the new Hatcham Social EP, 'Sidewalk'. Each of the limited 10" vinyl copies has different hand-drawn artwork by a fan, a member of the band, or an associate (including members of Electricity In Our Homes and The Horrors); as well as the brooding, shoegazing title track, the EP also features a remix of 'Hypnotised Terrible Eyes', the terrific 'Wild Creatures', the band's lo-fi version of The Beach Boys' 'Surfin' Safari', and a demo of a song called 'King Kong'. (The downloadable version also features a remix of 'Sidewalk' by Tom Furse of The Horrors.) This will sell out quickly; move along to Rough Trade to grab one.

Friday, October 23

demontré : BRANDENBURG

DEMONTRÉ
BRANDENBURG
(LONDON IS DEAD)

An interesting one, this: we touch down in Brandenburg to the sound of a guitar swooning in middle-distance, and are greeted by a feyly sung/spoken verse before being smacked unexpectedly across the face by its big brother, a spiky post-punk chorus. It's an interesting contrast, which works in an Interpolesque kind of way. The rhythm section is politely inobtrusive, mostly propping up the guitar - which is fine, because the guitar makes some really wonderful shoegazing noises, but frustratingly there really isn't anything (either on 'Brandenburg' or its b-side 'Act.III Scene.V') that sticks in your ear when the music's over. It's difficult not to appreciate the merits of this track, but it's more difficult still to remember anything about it ten minutes later, which is a shame because this is clearly a group with potential and an excellent ear for sound. Now they just need to write a song that'll hold it all together.

'Brandenburg' b/w 'Act.III Scene.V (Days of Yore)' is released on 26th October as a digital download and as a limited edition 7" on 9th November. Watch the promo video here.

Monday, October 5

Project:KOMAKINO album: European release

Project:KOMAKINO's debut album, The Struggle for Utopia, will finally be available in the UK by the end of the month. The exciting new French label Desire Records is bringing the record to French shops on 26th October, and Rough Trade are set to import it into the UK: preorder a copy from their website here. The release will also include remixes by The Horrors' Tom Furse, Micron 63, Russian post-punk group Motorama, and Ciaran O'Shea of DiscError Recordings.

Thursday, September 24

disconcerts : A. MEDIC

DISCONCERTS
A. MEDIC
(PARLOUR RECORDS)

February's debut single from Chichester's finest (only?) frenetic post-punk trio was a masterly amalgamation of everything that was best about 80s DIY punk, scratching brilliantly and pulsating like a long-lost Fire Engines single. The A. Medic EP doesn't do anything new, but it does everything several notches bigger and better. 'Cotton' and 'Tongues' are tightly-structured pop clatterers, with as much in common with Gang of Four or A Certain Ratio as with The Desperate Bicycles; the rhythm section of Rick Trust and Alan Pilkington worms its way into the subconscious while the brain focusses on Hugo Hamper-Potts' slashing guitar, and lodges there for good. There's something about Hamper-Potts' yelps which recalls the (very brief) time when The Young Knives wrote exciting and brilliant pop songs, but don't let the comparison put you off - it sounds like Disconcerts are in no danger of running out of ideas any time soon. A perfect balance of DIY and disco; wherever Disconcerts head next, we hope they keep the best of both worlds as well as here.

A. Medic is released on 5th October on limited 12" vinyl, and is available for preorder from the Parlour Records website.

Monday, September 21

New Horrors single.

The next single by The Horrors will be out on 2nd November, and will be 'Whole New Way', a non-album track featured as a bonus track on Japanese copies of their current LP Primary Colours. It's rather strange decision - while the track isn't bad, it's definitely not traditional single material; based around a repeating major-key bass loop and studded with twinkling synthesisers, it is to all intents and purposes a perfect b-side. It's also five minutes long, and doesn't really go anywhere until the last minute when the guitar and synths start sliding beautifully together. Not, as we said, the obvious choice of single - but possibly, considering the first track released from Primary Colours was the eight-minute krautrock epic 'Sea Within A Sea', no more than we should expect nowadays from The Horrors. In any case, it's looking like the b-side, the Psychedelic Furs-style album title track 'Primary Colours', will get the club plays.

Friday, September 4

The New Italian Wave

At last, a new phenomenon. For three years now, Italian club nights like London Loves in Milan and Rome's Fish n Chips have been bringing the post-punk and industrial sounds of London's East End to Italian audiences, playing the same records and bringing the same bands - Hatcham Social, Neils Children, Ipso Facto, Electricity In Our Homes, These New Puritans - to Italian fans, and gathering the country's like-minded youth under the banner of the alternative. Now the reaction is imminent: a new wave of Italian groups is trying its luck in London, returning to its musical roots in a foreign city, with its own singular sound.

As with the London groups, musical styles and fashions vary wildly. European Coldwave is a frequent reference: Soviet Soviet (myspace.com/sovietsoviet) and General Decay (myspace.com/generaldk) both employ the leaping basslines and chiming guitars of groups like Siglo XX and Asylum Party, but also take chilly atmospheric notes from their European predecessors' original influences (mostly Joy Division). Too Young To Love (myspace.com/tooyoungtolove) are cryptic and symbolic, a smoke-wreathed enigma of a band: a unique blend of unsettling percussive rhythms and hazy melody draped in austere Grauzone-style synthesizers; they are to release their debut EP on Trouble Records (home to An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump) later in the year. Death in Plains (myspace.com/deathinplains) is a one-man electronic project, brilliantly warping childlike synthpop melodies with distorted industrial percussion and already attracting attention from London's DiscError Recordings and photographer Dean Chalkley. Meanwhile Dance for Burgess (myspace.com/danceforburgess) push their pop-inflected blend of Josef K and The Cure towards psychedelia - they've recorded with KASMs' Rory Attwell, and played with The Horrors and S.C.U.M at this year's Isle of Wight Festival.

All of these groups have played in London, or will soon have done so; several have forthcoming releases on English labels, and we urge you to support these new bands. The only question is this: will their homeland will embrace them as vigorously as the starved alternative London scene is currently doing? Is Italy itself ready for the new wave, or will it make an impact only where the ground has already been broken by its British predecessors?

Saturday, August 29

Band spotlight: RELICS

One of my great disappointments on my recent trip to England was that I missed the opportunity to see one of my favourite new bands, Relics. An uncompromising art noise sound with roots in shoegazing, tempered with industrial styled echoes, makes their live show an exciting prospect. Though we've had very few artifacts to prove their worth, their early demos have been exciting and memorable, with a diversity beyond expectations: from the heart-melting daze of newest song 'What To Feel', to the Factory drone of 'Close Your Eyes', they are definitely a band with more good ideas than they know what to do with, and style to match their unique sound. However, much as I am enamoured of their dark fashion, it must be said that like any good art band, Relics are best experienced if you follow the instructions on their MySpace... 'close. your. eyes'.

Friday, August 28

Ipso Facto to split

Finally it's official: Ipso Facto are to break up. Since everyone involved except lead singer Rosalie Cunningham has already moved on, she has started a new project: it's called Ketu, and it's progressive rock-influenced, which sounds like something we'd like to hear. Sadly, it looks as though Ipso Facto's debut album, and the already-recorded single 'Queen Sophia the Last', will never see the light of day. Their final performance will be in November, possibly as a collaboration with Artrocker magazine - watch this space for more details.

Wednesday, August 19

Ipso Facto moonlighting casts doubt on 'hibernation period'

Here's an interesting trend from the last couple of weeks: members of Ipso Facto (present and past) getting involved with projects outside the band. Former keyboardist Cherish Kaya, who left acrimoniously earlier this year, has collaborated with Faris Badwan of The Horrors under the name of Lumina to cover the Black Lips song 'I'll Be With You' - the haunting results can be downloaded free from Pitchfork. Meanwhile Victoria Smith, the Ipso Facto drummer, has joined forces with An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump's D-Bird under the name of Blue on Blue, after a Bobby Vinton song; they're also due to be produced by Jerome Watson of Hatcham Social.

Add Samantha Valentine's current spell as R O M A N C E bassist, and the future of Ipso Facto outside the person of guitarist and singer Rosalie Cunningham begins to look doubtful. The official line is that the band are in a 'hibernation period' to record and release an album before the end of the year, and recent successful live appearances as well as a scheduled slot at Offset Festival next month are positive signs, but when two out of the three members are sowing their creative wild oats outside the band you have to wonder what's going on... As ever, watch this space.

Monday, August 10

R O M A N C E News

Stirrings from London's angst-ridden up-and-comers R O M A N C E: a new bassist, an upcoming single, and a Japanese release. First: the departed Joseph Eakins has been replaced on bass by none other than Ipso Facto's Samantha Valentine, who is to continue playing with her other band as well for the foreseeable future (including an appearance at Offset Festival and a forthcoming album). Second: R O M A N C E are to release the mini-album Arikara in Japan on 26th August, and are also due to make an appearance in Japanese Vogue magazine in the near future.

Third, and maybe most exciting: R O M A N C E's limited debut 7" single Another Place is set for release on DiscError Recordings in October or November, with 'The Art of Losing' as b-side and special artwork; it's been recorded with Finn Vine of White Rose Movement and producer Robert Harder. All appearances point to great things for R O M A N C E; keep an eye out.

Tuesday, July 14

electricity in our homes : WE AGREE COMPLETELY

ELECTRICITY IN OUR HOMES
WE AGREE COMPLETELY
(PARLOUR RECORDS)

Electricity In Our Homes continue to push their idiosyncratic noise onwards. Moving away from the scratchy Fire Engineisms of their first singles, their sound has evolved into a more complex series of minimal rhythmic layers and artful repetition, sounding a little like the Desperate Bicycles covering Can. The spiky three-way vocals grant them a further remove from any other band around today. As an extended release, though, We Agree Completely doesn't go far to prove EIOH's credentials as anything more than a singles band. While the two best tracks, Hooves and Don't You Want To? (Follow) would make a fantastic seven-inch on their own, the other four tracks are rather more throwaway: Scenes from the Life of a Double Mattress and Goodbye feel like undeveloped sketches, Message of Joy is utterly unmemorable, and the ironically-titled Are They Wearing Thin? is an unlistenable failed remix experiment (so yes, they are). Over the course of an album some of these cuts could probably make the grade, but since this is EIOH's first progression beyond the single format it would be nice if it had a few more songs to bear it up. It's not a complete failure, but it does suggest that this is a band best suited to serving up bite-size listening rather than a full meal. Although we'd love to be proved wrong next time around.

We Agree Completely is released on 27th July, and is limited to 500 12" copies, now available for preorder. Electricity In Our Homes perform live at Rough Trade East on the 25th to mark the release.

Monday, July 6

TNT007: a brand new broadcast.

Now available: The New Thing broadcast, volume 7. We present our bespoke one-hour soundtrack to a hazy psychedelic summer, featuring Hatcham Social, Ipso Facto, Slowdive, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Neu!, Spacemen 3, and July, plus a further nine artists from today, yesterday, and tomorrow. Direct yourself here to listen or get it as a free audio file here, and thank you for listening.

N/C -1

Shocking news: just over a month after Neils Children finally released their debut album X.Enc., bass player Keith Seymour has decided to leave the band. Seymour, who previously played for post-rock group Hope of the States, replaced former Neils Children bassist James Hair in 2005; his departure has forced the group to postpone their forthcoming shows at Dice Club and Southend's Railway Hotel, and the remaining members will be searching for a replacement as well as recording new material in the near future. Best of luck to them.

Monday, June 29

Interview: ARTERY

Sheffield's Artery are a band who could have been huge, but, despite their innovative and thrilling records and visceral live performances, their place in the post-punk movement was all but ignored throughout their seven-year career. They split in 1985, but regrouped in 2007 at the behest of Jarvis Cocker, a fan since their early days, to play the Meltdown festival which he was curating, and last month played London's Dice Club to an ecstatic reception. We spoke to guitarist Murray Fenton, in advance of their next London performance on Friday at Jamboree (Cable Street Studios), about the band's past, the present, and the future.

You reformed in 2007, at the suggestion of Jarvis Cocker, to play the Meltdown festival. What turned that from a one-off reunion into a full-blown comeback for Artery?

Well, we finished the week of the Meltdown gig with a BBC6 radio session and drove back to Sheffield, and planned to meet on the Sunday to watch the Meltdown footage. We all knew we'd knocked the lid off the box really, and decided we'd do another show in Sheffield, and it just snowballed from there. One gig became two and then the offer of another London show that year kind of cemented us back together and we decided to start writing new material rather than resting on the laurels of the back catalogue.

The Artery lineup currently features members from throughout the band’s history – how does this reflect the several different stages the band went through between forming in 1978 and the split in 1985?

The lineup features the two members who have been a constant, Mark Gouldthorpe on vocals and Garry Wilson on drums, and also John Clayton, the original bassist in the band - which not a lot of people know! David Hinkler, brother of Simon (the original keyboard player), was in the band which toured the One Afternoon In A Hot Air Balloon album in 1982/83, and I myself was the guitarist from 83-85. As far as the set went for Meltdown, it featured material from the 1979-81 and 1983-84 periods. We literally had five weeks to reform and get up to a standard worthy of performing such a prestigious gig, having not performed any of the material in over 20 years either individually or as a band!

What do you see as your musical legacy? Do you feel a little sidelined compared to some of your Sheffield contemporaries, or was there always a distinction between yourselves and the likes of Cabaret Voltaire or Heaven 17?

Well, at the time Manchester had its thing going on and so did Liverpool, and both had labels which defined their scene and got it out to a wider market, whereas Sheffield never really achieved that kind of unity. Plus a few of the Sheffield bands already had deals with the top indie labels at the time as punk was still dying out - The Human League and 2.3 on Fast Product, Cabaret Voltaire on Rough Trade, et cetera - and I think Sheffield as a 'scene' to the outside world became thought of as all these bands with synths, which couldn't have been further from the reality. I don't think we were sidelined so much by others as by ourselves, really, but the band always thrived on its own diverse and eclectic attitude to music, as the four totally different albums and a host of weird little singles bear witness. We knew it was music which was never going to buy us swimming pools and trout farms, and to be immortalised by John Peel in the Made In Sheffield documentary is as great a legacy as any band could wish for.

What is your view on the music scene of today, especially in London, after your successful Dice Club show last month? How does it compare to the atmosphere of the post-punk era, which is clearly a huge influence on many current bands?

I was a big fan of The Libertines when they first appeared on the scene and saw a lot of the bands surrounding them at the time - it was a good laugh... Then I saw Selfish Cunt and was absolutely mind-blown. Soon after that I saw Neils Children and I couldnt get my head around how they had come out sounding like that - these three very young kids sounded so much like they had been in a coma for twenty-odd years! In the last year or so quite a few bands have come to my attention and I feel fortunate in that I'm getting to see some of them on the bills of the shows we're playing, at Dice and at Jamboree next week. I'd never heard Stavin' Chains until they played Dice with us, and again I was blown away by them, as I was by Dice Club on the whole. From my jaunts down to gigs and club nights of late, there is a real feel of the old days about the scene down in London, some great music being made, and another thing I've noticed is the really creative use of visuals which make the nights stand out. There's some really good nights out to be had that really stand out from being just another 'club = band-disco-band-disco-band-disco'.

After your recent Standing Still EP, are there plans for any full-length releases from the reformed Artery?

We are toying with the possibility of a second EP at the moment, but we have plenty of new material to put an album out - it's a question of making sure we do it right. The Standing Still EP was something of a toe in the water really and the response to that and the live shows has been very promising, so there will definitely be more new material released - it's just a question of what format we go for next!

Artery play Static Hearts at Jamboree, Cable Street Studios, on July 3rd; support comes from Project:Komakino and Relics. The Standing Still EP is available from arteryband.com.

Monday, June 15

Advert - debut single.

One for noise fans: Advert are due to release their debut single. It featuring 'Diane' on the front and 'Stephanie' on the back, and it's due out on DiscError; the only catch is that you'll have to wait until September or so before it hits the shelves.

In the meantime, pick up the next DiscError release: Ulterior's double-A single, 'Sister Speed'/'Aporia': ten inches of attitude-soaked rock'n'roll with an electronic shadow, and another ten of pensive, thudding basslines and synthscapes, yours now to preorder at myspace.com/discerrorrecordings. Do it.

Sunday, June 14

R O M A N C E wltm like-minded bassist.

Fans of spiky Bansheesesque post-punk have a chance at the moment to join London's leading purveyors: R O M A N C E have just returned from their UK tour and seem to have lost their bassist on the way, and they're auditioning for a replacement. If you play bass guitar, live in or around London, are aged 18-21 and are fully committed, contact isthisromance@gmail.com now. The band DJ at Dingwalls tomorrow in support of A Certain Ratio.

Band spotlight: MAFIA LIGHTS.

What's this, another ludicrously talented young London band? Looks like it... They're called Mafia Lights, they're preparing to launch an indie assault on the nation, and they're made of constant driving drums, lurching surf guitar, layered vocal harmonies, and urgent new-wave bass guitar: a heady combination. Feed your ears with the most impressive 'Modern Warfare', and shuffle along to a live outing now or regret it later.

Thursday, June 4

Double EP Review: The Gaa Gaas & The James Dean Syndrome

THE GAA GAAS
WE ARE ALL POP STARS!
(BULBGASH RECORDS)

THE JAMES DEAN SYNDROME
EXPERIMENTAL NUMBERS2
(MONOCHROME RECORD COLLECTION)

The Gaa Gaas and The James Dean Syndrome use the same ingredients - garage riffs, sarcastic post-punk yelps, and a psychedelic tinge - but cook very different meals on these two releases. Brighton's Gaa Gaas have a very simple approach to making their riotous punk racket: why use two riffs when you can use one, over and over again, for upwards of four minutes? It works on the title track of We Are All Pop Stars!, probably the best here (the organ and guitar seem to have bludgeoned and burrowed their way into your skull by the time the song ends with an abrupt yelp) and it works on 'Look The Other Way', which sounds a bit like a lost Neils Children track. Elsewhere there's a little more variety: 'When I'm On My Own' is a psychedelic mini-epic with a saxophone cameo from Luke Georgiou of Twisted Charm (remember them?) and 'The One Eye'd Stranger' has a sort of jazzy lilt to it. This isn't fashionable and it isn't particularly original, but what it does have going for it is a hell of a lot of energy and a good sense of humour, two things which have been a little lacking in some of the music around at the moment.

Not so, though, in Kingston-upon-Hull. The James Dean Syndrome's Experimental Numbers2 comes across with its ferocious vocals and psychedelic guitar like Mark E. Smith fronting Barrett-era Floyd - the sixties vibe is strongest on 'Extracts from Belargeo Bar' (check the sitar) but it works best when it works with the garage riffs and post-punk chanting on 'Witch' and 'What's That Sound?'. TJDS have been called 'Britain's reply to White Denim', which isn't far off the mark, and this release bodes well for future efforts. One complaint: this EP seems a little cobbled together, the sound quality and volume varying from track to track. Nonetheless, worth more than one listen.

We Are All Pop Stars is available for purchase from myspace.com/bulbgashrecords; Experimental Numbers2 is due for digital release in July/August.

Tuesday, June 2

Ipso Facto record new single.

In what might be read as a defiant two fingers to former member Cherish Kaya, Ipso Facto are preparing to release a new single only a month after their ex-keyboardist's departure. The new single will be called 'Queen Sophia The Last', and is being produced by Rory Attwell. More details as they come.

Update, courtesy of Ipso Facto: the single will be available as a free download from Last.fm around mid-September. You heard it here first.

Wednesday, May 27

TNT006: new broadcast now available.

The New Thing broadcast 006 is now audible: point your ears in its direction to hear new music from Ulterior, Neils Children, and A Place To Bury Strangers, plus a diverse collection of sounds past and present. Listen here now or download it for later. Many thanks for your continued interest.

Monday, May 18

New Ulterior single.

Ulterior's next release will be a double-A side 10" single on DiscError Recordings, and is due in July. Track list: Sister Speed / Aporia. Listen up at www.myspace.com/electricityisblood.

1234 Shoreditch Festival - 26th July 2009

Last summer was a fairly good one, but what it lacked was a whole day in a park in Hoxton experiencing the sound and vision of the foremost pioneers of the London music scene. Luckily, the 1234 Shoreditch Festival returns to Shoreditch Park on 26th July this year to set this right. This year the numbers will be down (about 20,000 people are reported to have turned up in 2007) and the price will be up, but the £15 ticket price is well worth it for the extensive range of music across three stages between noon and 9pm, as well as access to ten aftershow parties in the area.

So, to cut a long story short, the artists already announced include Ulterior, Ipso Facto, KASMs, An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump, Hatcham Social, Factory Floor, S.C.U.M, Wild Palms, Project:KOMAKINO, Advert, O Children, V.E.G.A.S Whores, Relics, Silhouette, Sunderbans, and CC-SB, as well as New York noise titans A Place To Bury Strangers - and more to be announced. Rumours are rife about the headline slots, but we've heard only good things... all details here. This is one to get excited about.

Full lineup so far...
BANDS STAGE:
ADVERT // A GRAVE WITH NO NAME // AN EXPERIMENT ON A BIRD IN THE AIR PUMP // A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS // BANJO OR FREAKOUT // CC-SB // CHROME HOOF // FACTORY FLOOR // FLASHGUNS // HATCHAM SOCIAL // IPSO FACTO // KASMS // LION CLUB // O CHILDREN // POLLY SCATTERGOOD // PROJECT:KOMAKINO // RELICS // S.C.U.M // SILHOUETTE // SLOPPY SECONDS // SUNDERBANS // TELEVISED CRIMEWAVE // VEGAS WHORES // THE WARLOCKS // WILD PALMS // ULTERIOR // VIDEO NASTIES
ELECTRONIC STAGE:
**K // AUTOKRATZ // BOY CRISIS // DEATH TO THE KING // JOE & WILL ASK // KOOL KIDS KLUB // KRAZY BALDHEAD (ED BANGER) // LUNG ROTTER & SEVEN // MODEL FOR MEMORY // MICRON 63 // THE LOVELY JONJO

Thursday, May 14

Band spotlight: DEMONTRÉ

London's Demontré do post-punk, and they do it well. Clean, leaping basslines support a squall of occasionally psychedelic guitar (hear it scratch, hear it bend) to stir up cascades of frenetic indie noise. Name dropping? Liars, Josef K, the ubiquitous Joy Division, Pere Ubu or PiL perhaps? Never mind - it stands up on its own.


Monday, May 11

Today's releases.

A reminder for those who haven't to go out and buy the new albums from KASMS (Spayed) and Neils Children (X.Enc.), both of which are out today. Support independent retailers.

KASMs also play a free all-ages instore show at Rough Trade East this Wednesday to launch their album - arrive early to get a wristband.

Friday, May 8

Ipso Facto = 3.

Ipso Facto have parted ways with their keyboardist, Cherish Kaya, to continue for now as a three-piece. Their first show with the new lineup was at the Camden Crawl , where the group played with a backing track and unveiled new song Dreams of Justice. The band intend to stay without a keyboardist for the foreseeable future, and have also announced their intention to upload one song to their Myspace every week throughout the summer - the first being a cover of Lesley Gore's 'You Don't Own Me'.

Sunday, May 3

REVIEW. The Horrors - Primary Colours

THE HORRORS
PRIMARY COLOURS (XL)

I was going to set myself the challenge of reviewing the new Horrors record without namedropping any other bands, but after a number of attempts I gave up – for anyone even vaguely familiar with the band’s reference points, it’s practically impossible to listen to more than a few seconds of anything they’ve done without a ‘hey, that’s a bit like…’ moment. On the other hand, despite the rubbishing their debut album Strange House got both at the time and in the first reviews of the new album, it's worth bearing in mind that its best bits managed to lift it off the well-trodden Sonics/Cramps/Birthday Party path and transcend the obvious influences to create something which hinted at an original musical vision.

This basic approach has been repeated with the new album, Primary Colours, except that the obvious touchpoints have diversified and time-shifted, and now range from Kraftwerk and Neu! to Joy Division and The Chameleons to My Bloody Valentine and The Stone Roses. In fact, The Horrors seem to go out of their way on Primary Colours (never mind the new-boots-and-haircuts approach which has seen them tone down the more Mighty Boosh side of their public image) to challenge the sometimes justified preconceptions about their music. The title and cover are invitations to psychedelic synaesthesia which contrast the monochromatic look of their debut, and Faris Badwan’s lyrics are prominently different, focusing on doomed romance rather than the abstract blood-soaked imagery of Strange House and even setting a direct challenge on ‘Sea Within a Sea’: ‘will your dreams stay rooted in the shallow?’.

There’s also an electronic element, which won’t surprise anyone who’s kept up with the band’s forays into everything from Throbbing Gristle to acid house – the switch from Rhys Webb’s screeching organ to the range of analogue synthesizers deployed by Tom Cowan on Primary Colours seems to have facilitated the band’s liberation from their garage rock roots, and they make the point by starting the album with an ambient electronic throb before opening track ‘Mirror’s Image’ takes off with a glide guitar sweep, and, forty-five minutes later, ending the last bars of ‘Sea Within a Sea’ with a fade into pointillist Kraftwerk arpeggios.

Apart from the new synthesizers, the predominant changes are as that Joshua Hayward’s guitar has been possessed by the spirit of Kevin Shields, and Badwan now sings a lot more than he screams – in fact, there’s an emphasis on melody throughout which seemed almost totally lacking on Strange House. Forthcoming single ‘Who Can Say’ and ‘Do You Remember’ are particularly memorable, with the latter propelled by a Charlatans-style backbeat. There’s a tendency throughout to favour instrumental hooks over vocal choruses, which is mostly very effective – in fact ‘New Ice Age’ suffers for its dominating chorus by sounding far too similar to the old material. Apart from this, the weak points are fairly few: ‘I Only Think Of You’ takes My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Slow’ a little too seriously and outstays its welcome by a good four minutes, while ‘Primary Colours’ comes across as just a bit dull, a harmless Interpol-style ditty between the evocative lurch of ‘I Can’t Control Myself’ and the genre-bending ‘Sea Within a Sea’.

Allowing for these few slight misfires, though, Primary Colours is an excellent lesson in record-collection rock done right. Just as Strange House was garage-but-not-quite-garage, but better than that because of its diversity, this is a skilful pastiche which can’t be easily categorised, presenting a clearer vision of musical intention than the debut while also being a much more enjoyable listen. With over five decades of rock’n’roll’s descendants now readily available via the technological revolution, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for any band to maintain a separation from their influences. Primary Colours is an ideal guidebook on how to embrace those influences not for the sake of musical splicing but to make something new and exciting out of them.

Saturday, May 2

Spotlight. : WHITE ROGUE

Today's buzzwords: 'dark', 'noisy', 'industrial', 'abrasive'. All can be conveniently applied to White Rogue, the pseudonym of Londoner Craig Pierce, who crafts brilliant shards of noise-rock in the studio whilst under the influence of Joy Division, Swans, and Cabaret Voltaire. At its best, though, this transcends verbal allocation. Listen well.


Thursday, April 30

TNT005 broadcast now available.

You can now hear the latest in our series of aural broadcasts, TNT005. It features new sounds from KASMs, The Horrors, S.C.U.M, Hatcham Social, Advert, Wild Palms, and The Big Pink, as well as a fairly eclectic mixture of older material. Listen here or download for your convenience. Many thanks.

FULL TRACK LISTING;
KASMs / male bonding
Big Black / l dopa
Advert / white wedding
The Big Pink / velvet
Etienne Daho / paris le flore
Kitchens of Distinction / quick as rainbows
Hatcham Social / sidewalk
The Horrors / who can say
The Lines / nerve pylon
Artery / afterwards
The Cravats / x.m.p.
Wild Palms / over time
S.C.U.M / summon the sound
The Wild Swans / the revolutionary spirit
The Telescopes / there is no floor

Offset Festival: preliminary lineup

Offset Festival have announced the first few bands for their 5th-6th September weekend, and it's already looking good: where else are you going to see The Slits and A Certain Ratio rub shoulders on a lineup with The Horrors and Factory Floor? Limited super-earlybird tickets from £35 for the weekend are now available here.

Friday, April 24

Listen to the new Horrors album.

The new Horrors album Primary Colours is out on 4th May. Listen to it here and now. Then preorder it from an independent retailer.


Thursday, April 23

Obituaries column.

Passeism, Futurism Vs. Post-punk/electronics combo. b. 2007, d. 19.4.2009. Leaves behind a number of excellent recordings. Will be missed.

Passion, Plastic. Indie post-punk band, natural causes. b. Cheshunt, 2007, d. Islington, 7.4.2009. Leaves behind one album, Contrived Imagery, and a new project, The Savants. Friends described Plastic Passion as 'a bloody great band'.

RIP.

Thursday, April 9

Band spotlight: THE JAMES DEAN SYNDROME

Fans of The Neat (spotlighted a couple of months ago) will find plenty to enjoy in the sounds of The James Dean Syndrome, who share their hometown and a range of bellicose post-punk influences. TJDS add a healthy dose of 60s psychedelia to create something that's situated halfway between the twin touchstones of on one hand The Fall and Gang of Four and on the other early Pink Floyd and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. It works far better in action than on paper, as becomes immediately apparent on listening to the garage clatter of 'Witch' and 'Frontiers'. Ears peeled for an upcoming EP.

Tuesday, April 7

Hatcham Social new single.

The next single from Hatcham Social will be 'Crocodile', the first track from their debut album You Dig The Tunnel, I'll Hide The Soil. It's due out on June 1st and will have a new song called 'Dissected' as its b-side.

Friday, April 3

New Horrors single.

The May 4th release of the Horrors' second LP Primary Colours is to be followed by their first physical single since 2007. It's called 'Who Can Say' and is one of the standout tracks on the new album, featuring a spoken word section transplanted from the Shangri-Las as well as swooping synths and shoegaze guitar. The b-side is the exclusive 'You Could Never Tell'. It's out on the 11th May.

Thursday, April 2

Ulterior/Romance for UK tour.

May and June sees a new tour up and down the country by two excellent London bands: noise-rock agitators Ulterior, and R O M A N C E, the finest purveyors of 'strop-pop' in the capital. Both bands are supporting White Rose Movement at the following dates:

27 May - Joiners Arms, Southampton
28 May - Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
29 May - Night and Day, Manchester
30 May - King Tuts, Glasgow
1 Jun - Duchess, York
2 Jun - The Corporation, Sheffield
4 Jun - Fleece ’n’ Firkin, Bristol
5 Jun - Freebutt, Brighton
6 Jun - Islington Academy, London

An excellent opportunity for those outside the capital to have London's chaos brought to them.

Wednesday, March 25

KASMs album & free download.

The KASMs debut album will be out on May 11th and it's called Spayed. So we hear. One track off it is called 'Male Bonding' and is downloadable here - it's a sort of demonic chant which, in off-the-wall journalese, sounds a bit like the villagers from 'The Wicker Man' attacking the Slayer tourbus. (But good.)

Monday, March 16

THE BIG HORRORS UPDATE.

Alright, here we go. The new Horrors single is called 'Sea Within A Sea', it's eight minutes long, and it's bloody good. Download it for free from http://www.thehorrors.co.uk/ by clicking on the band's name and pressing 'go' at the top of the screen. The video (also on the website) is a live performance with psychedelic projections filmed with The Jesus and Mary Chain's Douglas Hart (video artist for My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream, The Stone Roses, etc.).
The Horrors will also be touring the UK and USA in May and June - again, dates are on their website. Finally, they are booked to play on 23rd March at Rich Mix, Bethnal Green - exactly a year after their last live appearance, and already sold out by the look of things.
The new album, 'Primary Colours', is out on May 4th.

Friday, March 13

Horrors album: NME take the lid off.

We're not going to debase ourselves by linking to the page (we'll copy and paste instead) but everyone's favourite music-themed gossip magazine have unpacked the new Horrors album in a sort of preliminary way. The first bit of exciting news: it's got a name, and that name is Primary Colours. (Well, black and white were getting boring anyway.) The second: its last track has been tipped as a first single. (Possibly this is what the countdown on the band's website is pointing to.) Here's what NME had to say about the ten tracks, some of which have already been heard live, in their inimitable 'ironic namedropping genre-invention' style:

Mirror's Image
Beginning with a low, ambient, throb that’ll make you check you haven’t stuck ‘Music For Airports’ on by accident, after a minute of gentle pulsing it kicks in with an impossibly sultry Mary Chain bassline, big Cult drums and Faris’ declamatory, goth vocal booming “walk on into the night” before a ‘Killing Moon’-ish guitar solo (really) shoots for the heavens. We are definitely not in Shoreditch anymore, Toto.

Three Decades
Ominous, doom-laden bass and clattering drums are swept up by a banshee wail of synth and swoony MBV-style guitars. Gothgaze? Shoekraut? Who knows, but it’s amazing.

Who Can Say
Geoff Barrow’s cavernous production is amazing, Faris' clean, shriek-free vocal cutting through rumbling, droney bass over a steadily driving beat as a high, sweet synth line like the ghost of lost love coos miles above, with the only trace of the band they used to be in a tambourine-kissed Shangri-Las spoken word mid-section.

Do You Remember
This one is again more shoegazey, with a gothy groove like very early Stone Roses, or Echo And The Bunnymen at their slinkiest. The romanticism of the lyrics is another surprise, Faris earnestly crying “I will cross the ocean, I will be with you soon”.

New Ice Age
Probably the scariest of all the tracks, this dark psychedelic dirge recalls Bauhaus via the rabid aggression of Killing Joke, ending in a wash of funereal organ.

Scarlet Fields
With a throbbing bassline oddly reminiscent of U2’s ‘With Or Without You’, this is romantic and shoegazey, with screes of MBV/Sonic Youth guitar textures, as sweet as they are scouring.

I Only Think Of You
With that BOOM-boom-boom-chick ‘Be My Baby’ beat so beloved of shoegazers the world over, this is a doomy ballad from the edge of obsession, Faris booming “you know if I lose you I’ll go mad” like a young Ian McCulloch.

I Can't Control Myself
An unstable psychobillyish cousin of Spiritualized’s 'Come Together', as sexy as it is psychotic.

Primary Colours
The most upbeat and traditional of the tracks, this has something of Interpol-via-Asobi Seksu about it, but much, much cleverer than that.

Sea Within A Sea
What a choice of comeback single - an eight-minute Spacemen 3-meets-Neu! odyssey of ominous motorik rhythms, Faris’ mournful incantations and an expanding starfield of synths.

Sounds good to us. One final confirmation: it is, as rumoured, due for release in May. Start saving.

WORSHIP at Shoreditch Church.

Neils Children LP date.

Quick note: Neils Children have firmly scheduled the release of their LP X.Enc. for 11th May. The album, their first full-length effort, is on the band's own Structurally Sound label. Read our enormously in-depth interview with John Linger for more.

Thursday, March 12

Offset Festival 2009: dates.

Our favourite festival of 2008 has announced its return to Hainault Forest Country Park this year. Offset 2009 will run from 5th-6th September and is a compulsory event for anyone and everyone who likes to watch interesting bands without being crushed by topless dickheads (although I believe they have a special stage for that kind of thing as well). Early bird tickets and, presumably, a line-up of sorts will be available soon. Until then, get a weekly taster at Buffalo Bar from the 24th with performances from Factory Floor and a secret guest at the inaugural Offset club night.

Sunday, March 8

The Horrors return - but when?

Word has it that the new Horrors album is finished, mixed, named, and has already landed on the desk of the NME editor (just next to the bulging envelope inscribed with 'will this do? Liam x'). Now a date has surfaced - one that we can't confirm in any way, but which does seem likely - for the release. If you want to believe everything you read, pencil in 4th May. (What seem more unlikely are the reports of a single being released on the 17th March, but you never know.) Keep your ears to the ground...

Monday, March 2

CHANGE, RETURN… SUCCESS? Neils Children: the X.Enc. interview

2009 marks ten years since they formed in Harlow, but perennially progressive post-punks Neils Children are only now gearing up to properly release their debut album X.Enc. Last year they scrapped their Pop:Aural LP due to controversies between the band and their studio, and released two killer singles - 'Reflective/Surface' and 'I'm Ill' - and now they’re finally ready to unleash a full-length blast of their distinctive melancholy indie-punk onto an unsuspecting world. We spoke (exclusively, as luck would have it) to John Linger, guitarist and vocalist, to ask him about where Neils Children are and where they’re going next.

‘We have always been a band who have thrived on progression,’ states Linger. Those who have been following the Neils Children saga over the past decade, who have seen the progression from Mod-inspired freakbeat to snotty psychedelic punk to a more melodic post-punk sound in recent years, won’t argue with that – but there are always those who crave for the past. ‘Some of our fans have been a bit behind us in terms of how we develop our sound and criticised us for changing our sound, but they don’t understand that if we continued writing 'I Hate Models' type songs four to five years later, we would be criticised for that too. The album is tougher in places, with a much more direct sound.’

‘I Hate Models’, the band’s 2004 commercial peak, has been something of an albatross around Neils Children’s necks, and there’s still the occasional request at their live shows – ignored or mocked, of course, since they’ve gained a reputation as a band dead set against self-nostalgia. Surprising, then, to hear the reappearance in their set last year of a few songs which had long been missing, presumed dead – 2006’s cover of ‘Lucifer Sam’ by Pink Floyd and, most astonishingly, ‘Come Down’, the single that introduced the band to a wider public in 2003, aired at Offset Festival, 2008’s most public outing for the band. Linger explains: ‘I think the way some of the newer songs sound made us re-evaluate some of the older material. We know that the older material is very powerful, but to us as artists, lacks certain elements which we have developed since… I think the fact that we played those songs for years goes some length at helping people realise why we wanted to distance ourselves from them. They are great songs, but the newer songs are even better, and next to some of the tracks from the new album, the older tracks make a lot more sense to us.’

So, with that in mind, the band present X.Enc., due out in March. The title is taken from an experimental sound collage single from the late 1970s – ‘it’s supposed to be interpretive, so people can call it what they want to. We feel it had a mysterious nature to it, but there is also a correct meaning and pronunciation to it... answers on a postcard’. Linger describes it as ‘both a step forward and a look backwards’, and says that the convoluted abandonment of Pop:Aural (originally scheduled for May 2007 and finally officially terminated in March last year) had an important impact on the new project. ‘We realised how we wanted to present our music to people. The fact that we decided against releasing the album helped us look upon the way we had recorded the songs, and have a different approach to the way we recorded X.Enc. We wanted to make the album harder, but not lose the melodic quality to songs which we had developed.’

The track listing is different to that proposed for Pop:Aural, and includes some songs which have been in the live set for a year or more, and some which are yet to be heard. ‘The songs written after Pop:Aural had a much different sound, and we wanted to make a complete sounding album. We knew where we were heading by knowing what we didn’t like about the scrapped album, so it was a case of saving some tracks from that sinking ship, whilst using the album to mainly showcase the new material. It was a balancing act.’

The band seems to have got away with the act so far, managing to write new material, salvage old songs, and record the album in isolation over the course of the year. ‘We can proudly say that X.Enc. was recorded by us and us alone, except for 'Reflective/Surface’, which was recorded in Paris with a producer called Arnaud Bascunana. We recorded the remaining tracks in an industrial unit in Cheshunt, our home town. I mixed the album myself over the course of a week or so. We really benefited by recording in isolation. It added to the tougher sound of the record. It pissed down with rain most days we were recording, and you can hear the rain on the metal doors in some of the quieter bits.’

Just to emphasise this DIY stance, the band decided to release the album themselves as well. They’ve created the Structurally Sound label to put out not only X.Enc and last year’s 'I’m Ill' 7”, but also releases from other bands, possibly including something from Chichester’s Disconcerts, managed by John Linger. But why found your own label when there are hundreds out there already? ‘I guess it was due to the experiences we had with labels in the past,’ explains Linger. ‘We have worked with some great people, and some… not so great. We just wanted to take control of what we released and when we released it. Brandon starting Modern Pop Records [the label owned by Brandon Jacobs, Neils Children drummer, has released music by Strange Idols and Electricity In Our Homes] influenced us as well, and the whole DIY thing is very much a part of our ethos.’

So, with the whole project under the watchful eye of the Children themselves, this time nothing (hopefully) will go wrong, and the world will finally see a full-length Neils Children album. What next? ‘We will be playing shows around the country and also in Japan and Europe. We want to keep releasing new material as it comes, so we don’t become stale and so we keep people up to date with how we are developing our sound. There will be an X.Enc. album launch in London in March... it will be special.’ Details are under wraps, but pencil something in your diary for the 16th. For now Neils Children are keeping themselves busy with have concerts booked in Italy, France, Germany, Wales, and Sheffield. Those who cling to the band’s past might have to revise their views, because Neils Children are doing their best to forge themselves a future. Whether they’ll get the exposure that they’ve skirted so narrowly for so long remains to be seen.


Friday, February 27

band spotlight:: THE NEAT

The sound of The Neat is punk evolved. As London divides into throbbing zeitgeist and postpunk reactionaries, there blows a refreshing wind from Hull. They are unafraid of crediting the obvious Fall and Fire Engines influences as they spit Mark E.sque venom onto screeching guitars and thrust themselves forward face first and snarling: the energy of 76 meets the dexterity of 78, not progressive but utterly compelling. A jigsaw fit into the current backlash - witness live for maximum effect.



Wednesday, February 25

New Hatcham single.

Monday 9th March: Hatcham Social release their next single, the wonderful 'Murder in the Dark' (watch the video here) on download and limited 7". The b-side is called 'Mimicry', and both were recorded with Tim Burgess.

Ulterior to support The Sisters . . .

The noisiest band in London are to tour Europe next month with none other than their main sartorial influence and everyone's favourite goths, The Sisters of Mercy. Lucky people living in the following towns can witness the dual spectacles on the following dates:

March​ 09 Milan​, Alkat​raz
March​ 10 Modena, Vox
March​ 12 Barce​lona,​ Razzm​atazz​ 1
March​ 13 Bilba​o, Rock Star Live
March​ 14 Madri​d,​ La Rivie​ra
March​ 16 Lisbo​n, Colis​eo
March​ 20 Oslo, Centr​um
March​ 21 Stock​holm, Arena
March​ 23 Helsi​nki, Nostu​ri


Visit the Ulterior MySpace for more information. The Sisters of Mercy also play London on 8th April at the Kentish Town Forum.

Sunday, February 22

Band spotlight: V.E.G.A.S Whores

V.E.G.A.S Whores are a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a jawdropping wall of electronic sound. Their highly rhythmic tracks are deft but intense, complex but instantly accessible, and excel in the art of repetition and variation. They've already taken part in the Neu gallery series alongside S.C.U.M and An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump, and they will be continuing to preach the gospel of dystopian discotheque over the next few months with some well-placed live dates. (Have a listen also to I. R. Hedonist, the group’s side-project, which continues the dalliance with electronic music but adds a healthy dose of gothic rock to present a more dark and lyrical variant.)

Saturday, February 21

TNPS: Album Two

Inscrutable as These New Puritans are, it's possible to decipher their coded MySpace bulletins far enough to say that they're working on a follow-up to their Beat Pyramid LP, and that they're aiming to release it in September. All eyes on this space for more news.

Friday, February 20

New Hatcham Social visuals.

Two new eye-ticklers from Hatcham Social, both bearing the hallmark of long-time Hatcham associate Nicola Probert. One: the video for their next single, Murder in the Dark, which is out on Fierce Panda on March 9th.



Two: the album artwork for their upcoming LP You Dig The Tunnel, I'll Hide The Soil, also on Fierce Panda and due, apparently, on March 16th.


As a footnote, it seems that live keyboard/guitarist Jerome Watson (formerly of Bono Must Die) has become a full member of the band just in time for the album release.

Sunday, February 15

spider and the flies: SOMETHING CLOCKWORK THIS WAY COMES

SPIDER AND THE FLIES
SOMETHING CLOCKWORK THIS WAY COMES (MUTE IRREGULARS)

What happens when you take two young men best known for their lurid garage punk, bowl-cuts, and enormous record collections, introduce them to the man responsible for songs called ‘Metal Fingers In My Body’ and ‘Lick A Battery’, and put them all in a room full of analogue synthesizers? It could have been a catastrophe, but Spider and the Flies have sidestepped the snares in two ways: firstly, they’ve got the variety that comes from touching base with electronic pioneers from Delia Derbyshire to Giorgio Moroder, meaning that Something Clockwork This Way Comes avoids the trap of repetitiveness; secondly, there’s the charming conceit which projects Tom Cowan and Rhys Webb into a sonic sci-fi universe.

Musically, the controls are set to paradox. There’s an emphasis on atmosphere: ‘Million Volt Light’ is a throbbing surge-and-meander soundscape which resembles old-school Doctor Who incidental music, while ‘Space Walking’ does what it says on the tin with a drifting Kraftwerk lilt. ‘Desmond Leslie’, meanwhile, is a discordant noise collapse which gradually crescendos into a synthesised blast-off. On the other hand, this isn’t as esoteric an exercise as it could well have been: ‘Autochrome’ mingles acid house and italo disco with Kraftwerk (again) into an instantly danceable standout track, while 2007’s single ‘Metallurge’ is a hook-laden Radiophonic bop.

The triumph of the whole release is that the atmospheric and the melodic are balanced skilfully enough that neither is overbearing: in ‘Jungle Planet’, a rhythmic jaunt through robotic wildlife is rudely interrupted by a seductively distorted synth line, while ‘Teslabeat’’s delicate arpeggios find their home among dissonant rasps. Whether Something Clockwork This Way Comes is a signpost to the sound of the forthcoming Horrors album is yet to be seen, but Messrs Webb & Cowan can rest assured that they’ve created a rare beast: a genuinely interesting side project.

Project:KOMAKINO debut LP.

The graceful constructivist trajectory described by Project:KOMAKINO over the last few years is about to reach a high point with the release of their debut album, The Struggle for Utopia. It's been recorded with Electricity In Our Homes's Bonnie Carr and is due out on the Japanese 51 Records label some time in the next few months, and remixes are promised from The Horrors' Tom Cowan among others. More details soon.

Tuesday, February 3

electricity in our homes : GYMNASTICS / MOTORBIKE

ELECTRICITY IN OUR HOMES
GYMNASTICS / MOTORBIKE (4AD)


Electricity In Our Homes can't be accused of overburdening their audience: this is their third release in as many years. The first two sold out as soon as they hit the shelves; this is their most high-profile single to date, since they've got the muscle of the renowned 4AD label behind them for this one-off, and, after the departure of vocalist Thomas Warmerdam last year, this 7" is their first opportunity to prove their recording worth as a three-piece. So the stakes are high even before the needle hits the groove.

Thankfully, EIOH haven't slipped. Charlie Boyer takes vocal duties from the outset, exploding out of the starting blocks with a frantic guitar line to reaffirm the band's debt to bIG fLAME and The Fire Engines: both sides of the single are milestones of jerky, lo-fi post-punk. As far as subject matter goes, the group follow up songs about shop mannequins and gears with the tale of a practising gymnast - it's not philosophy and it doesn't ever pretend to be, fitting the DIY atmosphere to a tee. Oh, and the stop-start structure, nailbiting sound attacks which could cut glass alternating with groaning complaints of 'bends my back' from all three members, seems artfully designed to get a roomful of people dancing for thirty seconds at a time and then standing about awkwardly until the guitar kicks in again. Which is brilliant. The b-side is a cheeky Beach Boys cover in disguise: Electricity In Our Homes's 'Little Honda' breaks down every few yards, but the nervous instrumental tension and a straight-faced spoken section from Bonnie Carr keep the band in the saddle while Paul Linger kickstarts the engine with jerky snare rolls. Thrilling stuff, and highly guaranteed.

'Gymnastics' / 'Motorbike' is limited to 500 copies, and available to order from Rough Trade and Norman Records.

Wednesday, January 28

KASMs: BONE YOU video

The video for KASMs' upcoming single 'Bone You', directed by Roman Rappak, has been set loose on an unsuspecting world in a fury of strobelit stop-motion. Download it from here.

video



'Bone You'/'Ode To Millers' is out as an iTunes download on 9th February, and on 7" on 23rd.

Tuesday, January 27

1/1 Chapter Two CANCELLED.

We're sorry to hear that the ESG/A Certain Ratio concert promoted by Bonnie Carr's 1/1 at the Barbican on 3rd March has been cancelled, due to ESG calling off their European tour. We're assured that refunds will be available, and that a new Chapter Two, Take Two should be organised soon.

Spider and the Flies album / show.

2nd February sees the release of the much-anticipated extended debut from Spider and the Flies, the project of Tom Cowan and Rhys Webb of The Horrors. Fans of the Silver Apples, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and all manner of analogue sounds from outer space are encouraged to latch their ears onto 'Something Clockwork This Way Comes', which is out on CD and limited 12" vinyl on the Mute Irregulars label and includes sold-out debut single 'Metallurge'. Rumour has it that a special live show is in the pipeline to support the album as well. Ears peeled.

Saturday, January 24

Hatcham Social single & album dates.

To confirm the worst-kept secret in London: Hatcham Social will release their next single 'Murder in the Dark' on March 2nd, a week before their debut album You Dig The Tunnel, I'll Hide The Soil hits the shelves. Both are on the Fierce Panda label, and highly anticipated.

Tuesday, January 20

Ipso Facto tour & EP.

Exciting news for Ipso Facto fans, but only those in the UK and Japan. For those on British soil, the black and white psychedelic quartet will be dropping into a town near you on the following dates:

24 Feb: 100 CLUB, London
26 Feb: The Cooler, Bristol
27 Feb: PlugnPlay, Reading
28 Feb: Lennons, Southampton
2 Mar: Clwb ifor Bach, Cardiff
3 Mar: Oxford Academy, Oxford
4 Mar: The Rainbow Warehouse, Birmingham
5 Mar: Fuzz Club, Sheffield
8 Mar: Fibbers, York
9 Mar: The Bodega Social, Nottingham
10 Mar: Korova, Liverpool
12 Mar: The Faversham, Leeds
13 Mar: Inside Out, Darlington
14 Mar: Captain’s Rest, Glasgow

The band can also be seen as the main support for Magazine at their upcoming dates between 12th and 17th February.

Those in Japan will welcome the news that the group are about to release a CD EP called ‘if…’ containing their first three singles, a demo of ‘Balderdash’, and ‘Five Golden Stars’. Exciting stuff.

Monday, January 19

O Children single - first news.

Baritone post-punk quartet O Children are gearing up to release their first single. Two pieces of information have come to light thus far: 1. it'll be 'Dead Eye Lover', with 'Dead Disco Dancer' as the b-side; 2. it'll be out in February or March. More to follow.

Saturday, January 17

EIOH single details - FINALLY

After cries and whispers of a new Electricity In Our Homes single, here it is: 'Silver Medal In Gymnastics' / 'Motorbike' will be released by 4AD as AD2828 on 16th February, and is available for preorder from Rough Trade, HMV, and the label. Only 500 7" copies are available, so grab one while they last.

Sunday, January 11

Ulterior - album preparation & new demos.

As a taster of their debut album, currently being demoed with producer Zlaya Hadzich, Ulterior have uploaded two new tracks to their MySpace - and there's some evidence of a changing sound. The first, 'Sister Speed', is an all-out stadium rock number, full of Primal Scream swagger and lines like 'I gave my life to rock and roll' - the Suicide synths have been cast aside and Ulterior are now engaging with full-on guitar onslaught. 'Weapons' is a new version of their debut single, and the buzzing electronics are still there, but the whole thing's taken on a more powerful tone - a new drum pattern and some nice synth innovatins make it less of an underground dance track and more the kind of song that wants to take over the world and eat your children. More tracks are promised in the next few weeks, so keep your ears plugged in for more from Ulterior.

Friday, January 9

REVIEW. Hatcham Social, 8.1.09

The first London outing for Hatcham Social since October 2008 saw the indie pop trio take to the underground stage of the Borderline, off the Charing Cross Road, to perform their forthcoming album You Dig The Tunnel, I’ll Hide The Soil as part of the Fierce Panda ‘Pandamonium’ series. Proceedings began with some formidable support slots from Sunderbans – scuffling uplifting indie, vigorously delivered – and KASMs – showcasing some new material, updating the old, and finishing with a hauntingly subdued bass and vocal coda – but for the waiting crowd, a dose of Hatcham’s unique style was what was necessary, and what was duly delivered.

With an extra pair of hands by the name of Jerome Watson assisting on keyboards and guitar (but not at the same time), the band played their first chord fifteen minutes late and then immersed us totally in their world for just over half an hour. I don’t know if the whole album did get played, but if what was heard is what’s released, it’s certainly, to understate it, an achievement. Veering track by track from dreamily melodic to purposeful and aggressive, and reaching everywhere in between on the way, the melancholy keyboards offset Toby Kidd’s spiky guitar to bring in a hint of shoegazing texture, and Dave Fineberg keeps the whole thing grounded in post-punk roots with a series of intricate but solid bass parts.

No tracks are introduced, but details stand out to mark the new ones: here’s a chorus of ‘I’ll hide under the pillow’; here’s a perfect marriage of New Order keys with Orange Juice vocals; here’s Toby (replete with moustache and kiss-curl) muttering ‘tick tock’ to introduce a return to a sharper sound. Last year’s single ‘So So Happy Making’ gets thrown into the mixture mid-set. If it’s an albatross – there’s a certain sense that Hatcham would rather be playing newer material, and Toby abandons the microphone halfway through the second chorus – it’s a golden one, which any band would kill to have hanging around their necks: the chord changes, the harmonies, and the instrumentation (listen to the keys chime around the guitar!) are still sheer pop genius, and the title is as relevant as ever.

As if to prove that the band have got more, though, Finn Kidd launches into a breakneck rhythm as soon as the last chords have died, and a shredding guitar weaves in and out of a breathless ‘what’s mine is mine’ chorus – a confrontational follow-up to the obligatory hit single. The set takes a turn for the darker from there on in: ‘Jabberwocky’ broods and threatens, and Lewis Carroll’s nonsense rhymes and a maniacal laugh get wrapped rhythmically around the instrumental to make the recitation more nightmare than dream. ‘In My Opinion’ adopts a similar intensity, with Toby Kidd staring menacingly across the audience while Dave Fineberg wrestles the bassline into submission, and, at the conclusion of ‘Give Me The Gift’ - already a standout track with its intimately epic builds and peaks – there’s a muttered thanks and the indie pop crusaders disappear, leaving the audience bewitched, bothered, and bewildered, but certainly not begrudging the entrance fee – a paltry six pounds for the first truly great concert of the year.

* * *

You Dig The Tunnel, I'll Hide The Soil
is out on 9th March on Fierce Panda.

Saturday, January 3

Hatcham gig on Thursday: album to be performed in full.

Hatcham Social are playing London's Borderline this Thursday (8th), and have promised to perform their forthcoming LP You Dig The Tunnel, I'll Hide The Soil (out on 9th March or thereabouts) in full. It's Hatcham's first London gig since October, support is from KASMs and Sunderbans, and the age limit is 14+, so it's a must go for younger fans as well. Tickets are available here.

Happy New Year to everyone who read TNT in 2008, and wishing you a prosperous 2009.