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



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 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.