Monday, 31 August 2009

silver ticket

The Lexington was the rendez-vous point for a multitude of fortuitous competition winners (thanks to Christel at IM // UR), keen Rough Trade pre-orderer, rockfeedback employees and bloggers as HEALTH brought their album tour for In Color to a close with this ‘secret’ gig. Shiny silver tickets were distributed at presumably lavish expense. Despite such grandeur, the venue was disappointingly half-full, meaning that a great deal of ‘winners’ idly cast off their tickets as worthless; value only possible when cold coin swaps hands maybe. Perhaps there just weren’t that many people aware of what was going on (I blame the PR, or lack thereof). Fitting possibly, as I myself had forgotten the unique qualities HEALTH bring to the live arena. The second after singer Jake had volunteered pleasantries to the audience, a bath of noise enveloped the crowd.

It was an act that left his thank you hanging in the air for what felt like a forever, my ears sending my whole being flying back through time to that hungover afternoon when HEALTH first peppered my eardrums with a intensity that is theirs alone. Their performances tend to reduce both the visual and aural faculties of the giggoer to a sweaty pulp. Their use of silence trumps the rest. Particularly enjoyable was the way the relentless timekeeping of BJ and the destructive histrionics of John formed a backdrop against which John and Jupiter weaved like nervous schoolyard brawlers. Laptop gizmo, Gold Panda, could only dream of providing ample support when the most imposing visual aspect of his set was his deployment of bearlike headwear.

HEALTH - Die Slow (Tobacco remix)

Friday, 28 August 2009

joy orbison

Those in Shoreditch tonight would be wise to head down The Gramaphone
and lose their shit to Hyph Mngo. I'd punch the air if I was there.

///more dates on myspace.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

the way my heart beats

Drop the needle and it comes sauntering back. Back onto the telly set in your front room as you dance around crushed tinnies, swapshopping clothes as you prepare for the soirée. Over the top moves in sweaty dry ice glazed dancefloors. The stop-start dancing gearing up We Are Not The Same in the Roxy that exploded into perspiration pirouhettes.The thought of a moonlighting hangover burning a burbling hole in your guts swiftly banished as you remember how you danced at the Bodega, threw shapes in the Guardian Lounge, got down and dirty at the Barfly, got your groove on at Fleche d'Or and FROG.

Good Shoes - The Way My Heart Beats (via the utterly brilliant IM // UR)
///visit their good shoes website

The mercurial talents of Good Shoes had better not drift under the carpet this time round. Their debut suffered from the prior existence of nearly every song as a demo. All the exuberance had been squeezed out by endless endless touring and singalong pogo fests. My bemusement at their lack of stardom was tempered by this exhaustion. I can't wait to rekindle the romance.

Monday, 24 August 2009

candy girl

Whereas Strangling Good Guys was the dragging yourself off the pillow and hurling yourself headlong into the shower to wash away the hungover remnants of yesterday, Candy Girl is a confident brush past all the losers in the queue straight to the front of the queue for the waltzer. I'll be lost in merrymaking at Bestival when they take the stage at The Lexington for their single launch, dreaming of a youth misspent at funfairs.

Trailer Trash Tracys - Candy Girl (demo)

///preorder single from No Pain In Pop

Friday, 21 August 2009

friday don't need it

Little Comets are the rarity: an intelligent indie band.

So says the press release. As the degradation of the term 'indie' continues to gather further momentum with rat-faced pricks crying out to 'be somebody'', is the idea of an intelligent indie band now a contradiction in terms? If The Enemy / Scouting for Girls / The Twang etc are seen as 'indie', why would anybody intelligent want to associate themselves with the now defunct term anyway? It's been the victim of a bastard generalization. I think 'indie' now means music with guitars, which is vague. I wouldn't really bunch Jamie T, Vampire Weekend and Passion Pit together but people undoubtedly do.

Maybe it's an ironic press release. Or maybe I'm forgetting the point of 'indie'. Indie is perhaps a term used to describe pop music with guitars that never gets overly complex. Intelligent indie then could just mean something that does this well with subtlety and style whilst average indie doesn't even know how to spell subtle, let alone find something to rhyme with it.

Friday Don't Need It
screams boredom at the same old shit every Friday night. Catchy as fuck though and it rings in the ears well after you've been raped financially at Koko's or Push or The Roxy or insert random local indie night here.

It's ironic because they are blatantly going to play it live on Friday evenings at 'indie nights', which they are supposedly bored of. Everybody will sing it back at them whilst they play it, it's even more of a 'win' perhaps than Arctic Monkeys getting chavs to sing a long to lyrics about how chavs are just chavvy.

Step away from all this intelligent indie bullcrap and you will find a pop gem gleaming back at you. It's certainly enough to make you swoon and lust after that prince / princess to blow your paycheck on. I've been singing it on my overground commute for the last two days and the catchy catchy hook that grabs you from the off has had me longing for Friday even though I'm meant to not need it.

I just don't know what to think. Other tracks by Little Comets didn't really blow me away but this baby gets me all hot under the collar thinking that 2010 could be the year that they make 'indie' cool again if the album is anything to go by. Big mantle to chuck on the boys but.....

The falsettos chucked in casually works like a charm. Effortlessly on it not showy. I'm really loathed to describe them as intelligent because they go to uni and play gigs in lecture theatres. Pop music doesn't care for things like that, it's only about the hooks and they are here in a bun dance.

Little Comets - Friday (Don't Need It)

Not out on any label. Album out on Columbia next year. Last single out on Lucky Number.
Best thing to come out of them 'til next decade?

Thursday, 20 August 2009

the red trouser party is tonight.

Introducing Francois-Charles Domergue. Otherwise known as Geste. Our paths crossed in Paris where we would often encounter each other, completement bourréd off our tits. The most amusing encounter was when he turned up to my houseparty pretty in pink drag, it spun me out. We bonded over prostate cancer; having to translate medical interviews on the subject. Do not look up the word gynecomastia.

Besides being a good laugh, FC spends a lot of time in his room getting lean and churning out beats on his antique laptop. He released an EP on Berlin based Equinox Records last year and the track below is the finest cut.

Geste - Ohm Sick

Ohm Sick demonstrates a disturbingly tight grasp of dynamic progression. Melodic jitters left floating on the air like high octane fuel residue. FC's past life as a bass player in a hardcore band comes to the fore when you hear the drum tracks. Fred Falke he ain't. Enjoy the wispy bits.

DJ Shadow - Building Steam With A Grain of Salt

FC mentioned to me that he had a show supporting Rival Consoles and the DJ Shadow Endtroducing cover band tonight at Bardens (see below). I decided to get involved and will be offering raucous red-trousered vocal support. An evening or two was spent recording some vocals to give you cats an idea. Stream only until the weekend as this shit is srsly half baked. Only just getting started. See you down the front. On stage at a quarter to eight. Staying in is so not the new going out.

GesteJahan - Back Off The Wall (demo)

Monday, 17 August 2009

artist: rival consoles

I was drawn in by the NME tagline - 'IO' is a party record even snobs can enjoy.' Finally, after all this time I've been waiting for a party record I can enjoy along with all my snob friends. Recently parties have ranged from abject to the dire because the party records have just been a bit too umm obvious. The thought that circles round my mind is when the fuck will DANGER enleve le doigt de son cul and make the best party record ever. Soon selon a son myspace.

Seriously though, Rival Consoles deserves your attention because he is poised to make one hell of a splash. Before even slipping on the record, I went to an early evening laptop set where Ryan Lee West unleashed a maelstrom. This boded well because I am bored of electronic acts sounding crisp on record before losing whatever charm they might have had in the cab on the way to the club.

The seamless changes in dynamic impress the most here. It packs a vicious punch whilst retaining gossamer light touches. None of the tracks on the record are all out bangers but they are only a few streets away. Dark, dirty nightclub music or headphone candy for the walk where you make yourself invisible.

Rival Consoles - Agenda

///buy a copy of IO from Erased Tapes
///check him out at the Different Class party next week at Bardens.

Sunday, 16 August 2009


This came charging down the wires courtesy of my man Tiger who you'll find manning the helm at demi & denzel. Taken from CDR album Jamz and Jemz, this lo-fi goodness from Javelin feels like sliding down the bannisters on Saturday mornings before jumping up and down on the couch waiting for Sharkey and George to start. It has a knowing childlike glee that can only come from too much Ribena and cheap synthesizers.

Javelin - Vibrationz


Friday, 14 August 2009

blast from the past: UK garage - the album pt. 1

I'm really not of the opinion that any blogger should take themselves that seriously. The Ministrry of Sound UK Garage album was my soundtrack to being fourteen until my sister borrowed it and lost it. Recently, my cravings for early noughties UK Garage became too strong for me to resist and I leapt at the chance to revisit my youth on Amazon Marketplace. Opening the package and seeing that gold wrapper was practically a madeleine moment. Listening to it makes me feel sick and giddy, kinda how the year 2k was.

So before summer fucks off for another year, I'm going to share some of the choicest cuts from Disc One - Light Mix of UK Garage - The Album. This is for everybody who never got to go to Ayia Napa.

First up is the Club Asylum edit of Kristine Blond's Love Shy. I thought against posting a photo but then I just had to because it is quite possibly the worst promo shot I have ever seen. I think it's actually quite a recent shot, comeback is perhaps on the cards. Sound of 2010 perhaps?

But once you've stopped laughing anyway, listen to the track.
Pop masterpiece if ever I heard one.
I don't want to find the original, it's all about the garage touches. That beat.
The staccato vocal loops.
The sustained strings.
The lead vocal is pretty much aural glucose.

Kristine Blond - Love Shy (Club Asylum edit)

///buy UK Garage - The Album from Amazon Marketplace. I think there's a warehouse full of the CD's that needs liberating!

Stay tuned for the next installment. I won't be picking the Craig David, Victoria Beckham, DJ Luck & MC Neat tracks no matter how much you jokers beg.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

ida walked away

AU in series Ears to the Ground from Dig For Fire on Vimeo.

AU's ability is to keep the embers glowing long after the fire went out. Rejuvenated they clasp hands and form a circle swaying slowly round and round. Lull is the default setting for the larger part of last album, Verbs, which led me to conjure on repeat the incessant hurricane of light that is RR vs. D.

Galloping back into town this autumn with a shiny new 10-inch in their satchel, the latest offering is a rhythmic raitha that is longing to bring the party to your ears. Ida Walked Away is a ramshackle affair which not so much as toes the line but does cartwheels across it. Luke Wyland manages to be debonair whilst cooing over a song that repeats then evolves because that's the only way out.

Au - Ida Walked Away

///buy tickets for show in Dalston in September

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

gare du nord

photo: UGL

I'll be the airline. I'll be the chewing gum.
A visceral journey from Entrepreneurs.
Over in a blink of an eye, loaded with panoramic menace.
Gare du Nord only made me feel like that when I kept missing the fucking trains.

Entrepreneurs - Gare du Nord

///download more of Entrepreneurs crooked hiphop glory here.
///interview here

Saturday, 8 August 2009

hail of bay.

Lend Bibio your ears and find yourself cut-and-pasted into a world where crushed glass rain brushes your hair and makes you tingle from feet to head. Pegging it from the hayfield and jumping head first into your ride, gleamingly fresh from the garage. The country air pervades the stereo and the tape is still playing despite the absence of a cassette. Vroooomvrooom back into the city, now please.

Bibio - S'vive

Seriously though, Stephen Wilkinson has surpassed himself here. Moving from slick summery guitar sounds to crisp touches that reek of le crunch whilst covered in weird fishy scales.

Ambivalence Avenue is Out NOW on Warp.
///visit the forest.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

underage festival

introducing Luke.

The only gigs I go to these days are either half-filled with aged hipsters placidly sipping Corona (e.g. Growing) or packed-out with aged hipsters amiably dancing in whatever way they can (e.g. Animal Collective). Field Day would be much the same. Underage – next day, same field – looked to be a rather different affair despite sharing some of the bands.

To my disappointment Video Nasties got cancelled. It was something to do with timing; not just because they’re totally underrated.

Good Shoes played to what happened to be the biggest crowd in the Artrocker tent all day. Their straight-forward-but-well-honed happy indie guitar fare drove everybody apeshit to the point where you’d assume that they were headlining. After announcing that they were going to play “some new stuff”, their set began to resemble a Foals cover band without the annoying vocal delivery. It wasn’t a bad thing at all and I guess it explains what they’ve been doing for the past two years.

Next, Marina and the Diamonds sounded like a cross between Regina Spektor’s last two albums and somebody who’s a casual fan of Bat for Lashes. It was a shame that her beautiful voice was accompanied by such simplistic lyrics and an unimaginative session band. An energetic cover of Late of the Pier’s “Space and the Woods” was the highlight. Watch out for her on 679 soon.

In the “Youth Music” tent two drum ‘n’ bass DJs inappropriately warmed up the crowd for what turned out, unexpectedly, to be the best act of the day. First Aid Kit were two Swedish females (16 and 18 years old) who could easily have been 23. Their glorious vocal and guitar/zither harmonies were so expansive it was practically narcotic. Their lyrics were smart and unpretentious and, as if they couldn’t try harder to convince you that they were fully-fledged hippies, they even followed a Fleet Foxes cover with a re-vamp of a 60s protest song. Their set seemed to largely fall deaf on what few ears there were to hear it.

First Aid Kit - Cross Oceans


The XX played moody, slow-core goth tunes with satisfying confidence. Their huge drum-machine beats provided lots of bass-y stimulation. My friend remarked that it’d be “good come-down music”. I’ll have to take her word for it, but she’s probably right.

The XX - Basic Space


Santigold looked like a lot of impressive dance-y fun when she invited a load of crowd members onstage, but I only caught it so that I could see the start of Mystery Jets’ set. They sounded exactly like they did on record and I didn’t regret skipping quickly off to see all of The Horrors. Like at Field Day, their new songs were thrust onto you with gusto rather than covered all over you. This was completely welcome until they somehow managed to inspire a circle pit during “Sea Within a Sea”. I’m inclined to think that it wasn’t quite their fault.

Lastly, Patrick Wolf dominated the stage with his huge outfits and miniature string ensemble. After a cool first few songs he suddenly presented himself as this overzealous rock-star with a Flying V, preaching about how we were the children of the future and the importance of safe sex. It was absurd and apparently never tongue-in-cheek. He just about managed not to let it spoil things entirely by using his enthusiasm to try to continue the set after the 8pm curfew. The security were having none of it.

by luke harris

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

levi's ones to watch: hook and the twin post wars etc

Twelve posts ago I previewed the 4th night of the Levi's One to Watch Revue at Vibe Bar on Brick Lane with Everything Everything, Post War Years and Wolf Gang. Except Wolf Gang cancelled. Thankfully they were not missed, as Hook and the Twin stepped in.

A two-piece that like to loop the loop. Layering as they go. The result is a real mélange of a monster that just got spooked and has no idea which way to turn. Bits evoke the krautrock heavy hitters like Neu! but it's way more hypnotic than that. Hardly surprising quand meme that the below track featured on a recent Neu! tribute album. But then again, those krautrock pioneers Oasis also featured.

Hook and the Twin - They'll Get Your Head


Post War Years are at their most thrilling when they are utterly relaxed. Wearing power grid grins, they jerk and jump as their jitterpop flutters in and out of bleary eyed pigeonholes. I can't pin them down. I really enjoyed what this guy said. Their career is currently being played out in this synth-indie Foals esque band context which maybe isn't fair. As more bands like Django Django, Banjo or Freakout, Laurel Collective etc emerge, perhaps people will see them in a more appropriate context.

The Greats and The Happenings hasn't exactly taken the UK by storm yet despite a slew of five star reviews. The band have headed into the studio to work on new stuff. Whilst I welcome this desire to not rest on your laurels and evolve, I can't help but think somebody should have commissioned some remixes for an album that resides in that fuzzy murk between the fretboard and the sine wave. This album is different to most of the other stuff out there, why not milk it a bit?

Only tiny drawback I find on the record if they were writing and then thought "shit we really need a chorus here" which means on occasion they sound forced. Getting it chopped up, cutt up and melded back together would remove this. They draw you in and out of their self-contained sonic world and sometimes other perspectives can spark more interest.

I've shown nuff love for Whole World On Its Head but it is by no means the only track from the album to effervesce in judderman style. Like the aforementioned corker, their best work usually begins with a striking motif that then gets layered to fuck. Den, White Lies and Latin Holiday are my faves.

Post War Years - Den

///live session over at
///buy album.

Live, debut single Black Morning was a sumptous closer. I highly recommend you download the session. They enjoy themselves on stage and it doesn't look contrived, look at the above photo if you don't believe me. It's a pity I couldn't say the same thing about Everything Everything, despite the delightful Photoshop Handsome.

field day

Field Day was enjoyable. A microcosm of the typical British festival in less than twelve hours. Ten-hour car / bus journey condensed into ten minutes walk from my E9 flat. Weather making sartorial decisions that you then regret, are grateful for before settling on indifference. A quick exploration of the site and then straight to the Bugged Out tent for Aeroplane. The two boys from La Belgique certainly showed why their name has been poised on lips of partygoers everywhere.

Friendly Fires - Paris (ft. Au Revoir Simone) (Aeroplane Remix)

Next up were The Horrors. I spent the whole hour pretty much mesmerised by Faris's jumper. It was spellbinding (see above). As for their set, it didn't have the same enveloping sonic impact of Primary Colours. As the rains started to tumble frenetically, I was then packt like sardines in the Village Mentality for Mumford and Sons. Rousing, joyous, multiple instrument swapping and a singalong melody that remained lodged in my clothes long after the rain.

Mumford & Sons - White Blank Page

Deluge followed, cover was sought and seeing Erol was the sacrifice. Next up was Four Tet who ably demonstrated his skills. The track below brought whoops and hollers all round. The performance was so so clean.

Four Tet - Smile Around The Face

Rounding things off was Toumani Diabate, a 71st generation Kora player. A Kora is a West African 21 string harp / lute. It was special, most special when he played solo at the end because it really brought home the tremendous skill required.