Tuesday, October 12


It's not difficult to see where Ulterior are coming from nowadays. In the video (watch it underneath) for their new single 'Sex War Sex Cars Sex' the five of them are strobelit demons in black leather - presumably sweat-soaked hand-me-downs from the Manic Street Preachers, Ministry, Spacemen 3, The Sisters of Mercy, The Jesus & Mary Chain, and Suicide, since traces of all of the above are perceptible in the blinding noise that's synthesised, crunched and chewed, and spat out by the chugging mechanical pulse which lurches from the speakers. That said, although the influences are clear, pointing them out seems a bit petty because the whole thing's rather convincing. There are a heap of potential problems with the whole 'rock band' thing - it's pretty easy to talk like Iggy Pop and very, very difficult to fit into his jeans - but Ulterior avoid the pitfalls by basically just being really good and making it look pretty much effortless. 'Sex War Sex Cars Sex' is a brutal alternating motor of a song, the only refrain a gut-punch chanting of the one-track-mind title. Get the 7" (released on the band's own Speed label) exclusively from Rough Trade on 1st November. Watch the video. Contemplate digging out the biker jacket gathering dust in your wardrobe, then decide that sort of thing is probably left to the experts. Play the record at full volume. And look forward to the album, which is out early next year.

Tuesday, August 31

RIP NC / something new.

Some possibly overdue news: after ten years of musical restlessness, the entity that is Neils Children has been terminated. Core members John Linger and Brandon Jacobs have clearly realised that it's time (as ever) to move on, and will be playing a final half-set at Offset Festival this weekend (Sunday, 5pm, ECC Tent), featuring choice picks from their unusually diverse back catalogue. It might be said that the group's failure ever to crack the mainstream was due to their constant refusal to settle into any musical niche for more than a few months, but one result is that they leave behind them a legacy ranging from garage rock to snotty psychedelic punk, from grooving new wave to juddering noise.

However, it's not the end for the individuals who made up the group: together with Linger's brother Paul and Bonnie Carr (of Electricity In Our Homes) and ska DJ Eli Deutsch (of Nowhere To Run Club) they've formed a soul quintet named The Drop Five. They'll be taking over for the second half of the Offset show to unveil some new Style Councilesque songs, apparently influenced by 'European Cafe culture, Hammond Organ and positive and uplifting Soulful sounds'. Neils Children is finished, but it doesn't look like their constantly changing musical journey is over yet.

Wednesday, August 11


The trick here: conjure up a cloud of psychedelic shoegazing guitar, and then nail it down with a precise and angular post-punk rhythm section. The towering, omnipresent guitar envelopes the mix throughout Masculin/Féminin, creating a strange and intriguing tension with the sharp, concrete bass and drum parts - guitar as female, bass and guitar as male? If any band is likely to pick such a conceptual title for a release, it's these three ostensibly cerebral young men.

In any case, this musical sleight-of-hand is pulled off here with style. Demontré have learned on this release how to channel their shimmering/solid sound effectively: they've stopped trying to write pop hooks and focussed on atmosphere. (It's no accident that previous single 'Brandenburg' is both the most melodic track here and the weakest, especially when the floating, numinous guitar dives right in to dance rigidly with the bass.) Vocal melodies float tantalisingly through Jonathan Mead's pedalboard ether without surrendering their secrets. Ambient samples weave in and out to fill the spaces between tracks. There's movement, there's rhythm - sometimes you can dance - but you won't find any instant pop gratification here. That's good.

What you will find instead is a seven-track helping of eerie death-disco beats, distant swirling vocals, and swooning six-string cartwheels. Standout track 'Lorenheim' is a grunge ballad lost in the fog, Smashing Pumpkins filtered through Slowdive, while 'Wholly Communion' brews up a sluggish psychedelic storm, gliding into the ear and insinuating itself into the cortex. The atmosphere and the tension builds and then slackens, from the catapulting segue of 'Vale of Health' to the low-key, piano-led, somewhat dubiously titled 'The Lion King'. With any luck you'll leave satisfied, because Demontré appear finally to have fulfilled their potential. What's next?

Tuesday, June 29

EIOH - new single.

Electricity In Our Homes continue to plug away. Their new AA-side 12" 'You're Doing So Well'/'Appletree' (released yesterday, self-distributed) is a return to form, a stonking post-punk fist to the stomach which takes the trio back to their roots in the DIY sound of The Desperate Bicycles but maintains the sophisticated sound developed by the trio since the loss of their original vocalist back in 2008. Jerky cut-glass riffs jostle against a funk-informed rhythm section and hypnotic looped vocals: it's a little bit A Certain Ratio, a little bit Josef K, a big bit brilliant. Order one of the 300 copies available from the EIOH MySpace now, and watch the video to 'You're Doing So Well' here:

Thursday, June 24

Flats: debut EP

The scuzziest DIY punk band in London are about to be immortalised in plastic, with the release of their self-titled debut EP on 2nd August. The five-track 7" (also available as a download) will be released on Sweat Shop/Loog Records, and features a cover of Puncture's punk classic 'Mucky Pup'. Grab it while you can.

Tuesday, May 11

Band spotlight: FLATS

Flats raise and then yank violently together the spirits of every scratchy, raucous punk band ever to surface, play one Peel Session, and fall apart on stage after eight gigs. News of their thrilling DIY racket is creeping across London, and with appearances planned at the 1234 and Offset Festivals, as well as label interest from Rough Trade, now seems to be a good time to lend an ear to their gyrating, self-referential post-punk clamour. Anyone who misses Swell Maps and The Cravats, or who wishes Electricity In Our Homes would get back on the amphetamines, would do well to get down to a gig sharpish. (They're playing at the Cave Club on Saturday, at Buffalo Bar in Islington.)

Wednesday, April 7


More festival news. The people behind Offset Festival, certainly our favourite weekend-in-a-field last year, have just lifted the lid on their first wave of confirmed artists. On the influential/classic/seminal/'they're still playing?' artist side: Cluster, Liquid Liquid, Charles de Goal. So far, so good. But the festival's strength clearly lies in the new bands lineup: These New Puritans head a legion of up-and-comers which includes Factory Floor, O Children, Bo Ningen, Electricity In Our Homes, Blue On Blue, and - these two currently unannounced - Relics and The Murder Act. Tickets are available at the festival website now, at very reasonable prices - if it's anywhere near as good as next year, Offset should provide the most bang for your buck anywhere this summer. And it's on the Tube.

Tuesday, March 30

Factory Floor / FF - full-length debut

Factory Floor - now known officially as simply FF - are about to launch a renewed assault on the world's ears with a full-length release: 45 minutes, 4 tracks, 17th May. Untitled, out on CD and limited 10" vinyl on Blast First Petite, also includes a short DVD, Solid Sound. The experimental trio are currently on tour with Fuck Buttons, and play the Shepherd's Bush Empire with Liars in May. Don't miss out.

Sunday, March 14


Impressive stuff. It's out on April 19th on Deadly People.

Tuesday, March 9


The first wave of the lineup for this year's 1234 Shoreditch Festival have been revealed. Be prepared: it's good. Highlights include These New Puritans promoting new album Hidden; perennial 1234 associates S.C.U.M; Wild Palms; the return of ddd; Japanese psych-freaks Bo Ningen; the jangling sounds of Veronica Falls; Maria & the Mirrors; The Ruling Class; and punk orchestra Action Beat. The full list is at The1234Shoreditch.com, along with £15 advance tickets which we recommend you snap up.

Monday, March 8

Band spotlight: THE MURDER ACT

Light from dark, melody from distortion, a chiming guitar and a clanking drive: The Murder Act step gracefully across dichotomies, rolling out waves of noise and beautiful harmonies in equal measure, the whole underpinned by insistent krautrock beats. If that sounds good to you - it should - then visit their MySpace page to hear their eight-minute greeting to the world, 'Sex Song'. Do it now, before it's too late.

Saturday, March 6

News: Wild Palms single

Wild Palms are no longer, as they had been dubbed formerly, 'the best unsigned band in London' - they've got a record deal with One Little Indian, and their second single 'Deep Dive' is out on April 19th. (The self-released debut single 'Over Time' is still available from their MySpace, too.) Even better: Artrocker magazine are offering a free download of the b-side, a splintered and soulful take on Bjork's 'Human Behaviour' - get it here. The quartet are on the move around the country in the next few months, so keep an eye out:

13th March: Double Magazine Warehouse Party, Manchester
15th March: Captains Rest, Glasgow
16th March: Bongo Club, Edinburgh
17th March: Roxy, Newcastle
19th March: Amplified, Darlington
24th March: The Garage, London (with The Twilight Sad)
16th April: The Coronet, London
22nd April: Bodega, Nottingham
24th April: The Recommender at Jam, Brighton
1st & 2nd May: Camden Crawl London
15th May: The Great Escape at Hector's, Brighton

Tuesday, February 9

maria & the mirrors : OMAR


A weird tension runs through this record, a dichotomy between the harshly digital synth/bass noise that floods the speaker, and the organic tribal pulse pumped out by Maria & the Mirrors' twin drummers, chanting incomprehensibilities and slamming intricate rhythms on both sides of the disc. They've clearly studied their Pulsallama and their Liquid Liquid, and there's a certain Mary Chain ethos haunting the whole thing (if the Mary Chain had been raised by a lost African tribe), but really this sounds like nothing else coming out of London at the moment. Or anywhere else, for that matter - perhaps everyone's too scared to even try and make this kind of sound. Very, very interesting.

Thursday, January 28

The end of the Experiment.

Distressing news for fans of kickass punk-rock feminism (and lengthy band names): An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump have packed up their drums and unplugged their basses for the last time. This is what the Birds had to say:

C-Bird and X-Bird:

After two years, we have decided to call it a day with The Birds. We've experienced some great moments with this band but feel the time is right to concentrate on other passions. We want to thank everyone who has supported us these past two years and those of you who have taken the time to listen to our music, read our blog and meet us at our shows! We've met some great people along the way and have some fantastic memories! It's time to move forward positively into the future and launch ourselves head first into whatever is in store for us. The past two years have been an exhilarating whirlwind and we will continue to live our lives without regret and full of creative thought and positivity!!! A big thank you to all of your support!!!

After almost 2 years together, we lay to rest one of the most exciting, exhilarating and exhausting projects I have ever been involved in. It all started off from an impromptu jam, an impromptu band formed and within such a short time, the impromptu band went full time, touring the world, recording with the likes of Steve Albini and meeting people I could only ever dream we'd meet.

Rather than dwelling on the reasons for ending I think it's important to look back and reflect on a proud achievement. We had FUN, I adored instrument swapping and more than anything, I loved being on stage. The time has now come to move on and focus on my new band Blue On Blue as well as my club Decasia Club, to thank those we've met along the way, enjoy new projects and take all that we have learned into a new direction. It has been one hell of a ride!! Thank you all for the support!

Tuesday, January 12

This Thursday: AN EVENT.

Londoners, listen: this Thursday (14th January 2010) Shoreditch's Old Blue Last reopens, refurbished & renewed. They're having a free party to christen the new decorations, and O Children are playing - good. There's also a secret headliner, three words (_h_s_ N_w _uri_an_), absolutely brilliant new album out next Monday - better. It would be a shame to miss out. Free alcohol for firstcomers, so get down early.