Wednesday, 30 June 2010

All Creatures Will Make Merry
by Toad Records
Rating: 4/5

A lot of reviewers (to me) always seem unduly concerned with what they term 'consistency'- i.e. all the songs on the record sounding the same. To me, consistency is not about sound, it's about quality- although sometimes it may not work, unexpected variation that delivers without fail will add value to a record. Case in point- the new TPT album, where 'Barely Breathing' and an acoustic 'Nothing at Best' sit well amongst the modern progressive nonsense (in a nice way).

This is, I guess, how I would approach the new Meursault album, All Creatures Will Make Merry as well. Because here, showcased alongside the a cappella folk of 'One Day This Will All Be Fields', you'll find the Beta Band-via-U2 driving electronica of 'Crank Resolutions', the post-rock of 'What You Don't Have', and the almost Nine Inch Nails-esque industrial of 'New Ruin'. What's more, whilst these deviations from the norm (that is, a pleasant and eclectic mix of folk, rock and electronica) represent the high points of the record, there is a consistent quality to it that means it's impossible to get bored.

It's on tracks like 'Song for Martin Kippenberger' that this becomes obvious- it might not win over a new fan with the first ten seconds like 'Crank Resolutions' will, but it is just as good. And few bands manage that.

So, all in all, a great first record. Let's hope the second is just as quirky and exciting. Three thumbs up, as they say.

Also, if you're interested, check out the BBC Glastonbury footage of them here:

Monday, 28 June 2010

New stuff...

Yo! Just got back from Glastonbury... so much to report. Will endevour to get a review of the Meursault album up here ASAP, and over at HV my last set of reviews just went live... wooo!

Check them out here:

I also recommend Simon Wright's interview with the talented Dutch Uncles, and if you have time, Simon Catling's Drowned in Manchester column over at Drowned in Sound which is excellent as always.

To quote a flag I saw this weekend,

"Be excellent to each other"!

Monday, 21 June 2010

Exit Calm Live // SSD // New Stuff

Yo ho ho, long time no speak. It's been busy at the SSD bunker, two hundred floors below sea level... but yeah, onto matters musical. 

My review of Exit Calm for Noize Makes Enemies can be found ici:

With SSD, we have exciting news:
1st night attendance: ~53
2nd night attendance: >85

Let's Kill Music is a success!

So, we've got stuff in the pipeline... already confirmed is the Nowhere Again EP launch on the 8th of October at Happiness Bar (in the Precinct), featuring Nowhere Again, Tripwires, Dune & more TBA, and on the 2nd of November we have the mighty Meursault stopping in on their tour of the UK to play a set in our fair city. Exciting!

In that vein, a review of their new album will be up here in the next couple of days, before I go to GLASTONBURY! (WOOO!)

Lastly, and by no means least(ly), I've got some new stuff up on HV. Swing over there to check it out. Recommended: Dead Horses: EP3 and Sophie Hunger: 1983. Either way, take a read here:

In the next print HV there's also going to be my interview with SVIIB's Ben Curtis, and I'm possibly interviewing Feeder for Noize, The Pineapple Thief for High Voltage, and I'm doing a follow-up piece on Amplifier's The Octopus this week as well, once I've got it sorted with Sel. 

Party on!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Let's Kill Music #2

First up was Johnny Gwynn & the Destroyers.... ahem. So yeah, Johnny's always ace tracks got fleshed out a little by having the live band dynamic going on and switching to the electric guitar. 'Swagger' became kind of Bends-era Radiohead, while 'Leavin' Home' became Who-style proto-stadium rock (I'm thinking kinda like the cuts on Who's Next). 'Midnight Oil' was more straight up classic rock I suppose, but like all Johnny's stuff, there's clearly a double helix undercurrent of classic Clash esque punk and modern punk. Fucking ace anyway, even if I was playing (hey, who said this had to be objective?).

Second up we had Mr. Sportsman. Elsewhere on here, there's a short review of their Good Morning Virtue EP, which to be honest was a little too mainstream for me, or maybe not. I dunno, I think it tried too hard or something, but whatever my fucking quibbles with the record were, live the band are completely different. More raw and agressive, their show to me was very Pearl Jam, or maybe even more post-grunge like Silverchair. Either way, it's a style of playing that I haven't seen a band doing in quite some time and it was damn good to see. Conclusion: Mr. Sportsman live are pretty fucking ace. 
Third we had Black Market Serotonin, who battled through technical issues to bash out 'Irons in the Fire', 'Deadbyfiveoclock' 'The End of History' and 'Something from Nothing, Pt.IV'. The band as a whole were tighter than their first gig, but with their sound heavily reliant on the kit they use, it was a shame to have their set slightly blighted by those issues. Nevermind. You know we love those guys, and for a second gig it was still damn good.

Headlining was Charlie Barnes. Like BMS, I've raved on here about him so much that I'm going to dial it back a bit. Charlie and the Geekks stormed through a set that took in 'Degas Dancer', 'Snakes, Ladders & Aeroplanes', 'Geekk', 'Oradour' and ended on 'This Boy Blind'. If you want to read about his live show, check out my review of his launch gig. FUCKING AWESOME!

Finally, releasing their Four Dances For Dancers EP was Unconscious Jungle. The setlist was 'Tired of Holding On', the EP tracks ('Bossa Nova Supernova', 'Midnight March', 'Rainbow Room Waltz', and 'Foxtrot Hymn for the Stars'), as well as 'Queen Bee'. Obviously my favourites are 'Foxtrot Hymn' and 'Bossa Nova', but you're always pretty much guaranteed a quality set from these guys. For the uninitated, it's an oddball blend of classic psych rock and folk- I'm tempted to make a Grateful Dead reference, but perhaps the Flaming Lips is more apt. I don't know. Either way, all of their songs are pretty much designed to be danced to- when they say 'Waltz' or 'Bossa Nova' in the title of a track, it's not an idle crack at indie cred. No, what you get is exactly what it says on the tin. Whilst their set was not as triumphant perhaps as their Battle of the Bands winning performance a few weeks ago, it was nevertheless well received and got a few people swaying about on the Saki dancefloor. At close to one o'clock (as if gigs ever run on time) UJ departed to a chorus of cheers, and then began the task of trudging our sorry arses home.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

SSD Night #2

Hello! If Google Analytics is right, I actually have a regular readership now, so I thought it was worth having a little chat about the 9th of June. End of exams, but also this:

Charlie Barnes & the Geekks (first Manchester show) // Black Market Serotonin (second ever show) // Unconscious Jungle (EP Launch- FREE on entry) // Johnny Gwynn & Easy Tyger (first show in the UK with a band) // Mr. Sportsman

So, how about that then? Saki Bar, same prices as Night #1. As you may know, Saki might be closed for live music by next academic year, so this might be the last time you get to PROG OUT in the curry mile.

Over and out.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

The Cooper Temple Clause

I came across this a minute ago. I know I should be asleep, I know I have exams. Fuck off. It's a really well-written piece on TCTC, and I can't help but agree with the sentiment of the writer. I feel that about so many of the bands I write about on here, so I really connected with it. Ho hum.

Also, if you haven't listened to it yet, listen to the second SSD podcast here: