Friday, February 24, 2012
Tronics have just received the reissue treatment from What's Your Rupture? and it's a pleasure to share an interview with the mysterious man behind the band, Zarjaz, about why now, the supernatural and his love of Hip Hop...
How did you and What’s Your Rupture? come to work together?
I have known Kevin at WYR? for a few years through Rock n Roll. We were hanging out long before I decided to let Tronics out. He’s one of those few special people that come along in Rock n Roll every now and again. Watch that man! Like the radio show Pizza Party he does with Max Wowch. It’s so great. Those guys should be on TV. When it came to the question of Tronics releases we worked it out.
It's great to have this Tronics material available again, what lead to the decision to reissue it now?
Even when Alan McGee came to me in 1984 he was asking me to re do Tronics. Since then I had been getting requests to reissue Tronics practically constantly up to the present day. Eventually, a year or so ago, people around me began to convince me that people obviously wanted this music and whatever reasons I had to hold it back were not as important as letting them have it. So it was at this point that I began to work it out with WYR?
What was the first type of music that made an impression on you?
The first music that had a real effect on me that I felt was greater than nursery rhymes was hearing M.A. Charpentier’s Te Deum, that they used to use for TV show introductions. I remember I used to wait for it and blow my mind when it came on. After that I would wait for the Fireball XL5 theme tune. After that I saw T-Rex playing “Hot Love” and that got me into Rock n Roll.
I read you like Comet Gain and Crystal Stilts, any other contemporary bands you follow at the moment?
Yes, I like Comet Gain, Crystal Stilts, The Pheromoans, The Dictaphone and The Dimension. I am into a new band called Behind The Mask, coming out of Leicester in the UK. The Rancid Hell Spawn have a great new E.P. I like it when things come along and show me that the world hasn’t totally slipped into mainstream unnatural selection.
You’ve pre-empted and predicted many shifts in contemporary music in the past, what do you see coming next in music?
I think there will be a substantial wane in popularity of gang related/urban styles in popular culture. Steve Dore will write a definitive book on popular culture. Rock N Roll will become more inane and there will be more glitter, more metallic surfaces, exoskeletons and more colorful, with neon red and purple Jimi Hendrix hair styles. The thing to watch out for will be a new form of Punk Rock that will explode out of Shanghai. It will be mainly female and going at a million miles an hour.
Did you know the Mayans predict the world will end this year?! What do you make of that?
The Mayans shoulda read Gilded Gutter, then they would know Rock n Roll will never die. In the long run, in 2013 we will be saying “Hey, Mayans, where are ya?” and reading Gilded Gutter.
What do you foresee the world's future to be?
I get into trouble. I’m not allowed to say. If I say then they start asking when they will die. Then they say I’m evil. Then the villagers are chasing after me and I have to escape to Paris (again) with just the clothes I’m wearing and not enough money to buy a sandwich. Sorry, baguette.
What can you tell us about the upcoming second Freakapuss album?
I have released quite a few things during the making of this album. I could have released it a few times over but something extends it and I won’t just push it out. I’m nearly on it, unless something comes along to extend it more. Making music is like a loco urge that will not go away until it’s finished so I guess this one will be totally loco. I think there is something in my music that it often takes a particular kind of person to know it. I think this album is so totally intense that I only hope there will be someone who will understand it.
Track "Honesty (Is the dumbest policy)" I think is from this second Freakapuss album? It references News of the World in the press release, what did you make of the phone hacking scandal?
They coulda waited for me to finish the album. I issued the download just so people wouldn’t say I wrote it after the scandal. The hacking was bad enough but it’s the monopolizing and control by a small group of people that I think is the trouble, just like the music industry, so I hope this will spill over to the mainstream music industry and open it out for more people to get recognition.
This track dates back to 2002 and was released in 2011, what’s the longest amount of time you’ve spent writing an album or song?
I generally don’t manage to write things in a few minutes like some people do. Most of my music has been intensely labored over. The Freakapuss album is taking long enough but La Leggenda Del Block (II) took over 300 years.
This was a download only track, how do you compare being an artist from pre to post internet era? For someone who enjoys anonymity it must be a useful tool...
You’re totally right. It’s not just the ease or the convenience, although it is both of these but it just feels right. I remember arguing with musicians in the 90’s about the Internet and saying to them that they had the same attitude towards it as people did when books were first printed. There are things I won’t get involved with like FaceBook and MySpace. I’m not against them I just think they are too personal for me. There’s something about the Internet like the kind of ethereal quality that suits me. I always remember someone saying that no one knows exactly, ultimately where all the information on a computer goes. I like that and that’s how I feel about myself. I’m kind of here but I’m not at the same time.
Mystery surrounds you and Tronics as you’ve kept out of the limelight, do you think anyone sees the whole Tronics/Zarjaz picture? What would you like people to know about your work that may be they don’t?
I think modern music, art and films tend to play along too much with what large groups of stereotypical people want. My music doesn’t do that. The downside is that my music often isn’t instantly in peoples comfort zone.
I should like people to know that although I like recording studios, I prefer to record on location, sometimes at home or in a hotel. But wherever it is written or recorded, all my music, if it is Tronics, Zarjaz or Freakapuss, it’s all made with the same spirit. Freakapuss is really Tronics with a different name. Rock n Roll came from European ancient music, just as much as from Africa so I would hope this would correlate to people listening to my music.
Website Freakapuss mentions an interest in Hip Hop – I’m interested to know what type of Hip Hop you’re into?
My favorite Hip Hop tracks would be “Flava In Ya Ear (Remix),” by Craig Mack and “Ya Bad Chubbs,” by Chubb Rocks.
I’ve read about your beliefs in the supernatural, what do you say to skeptics?
You will never convince a skeptic until they become unskeptical first. Maybe I look at reality differently but I don’t need to be convinced.
No human has seen a black hole in space. We are told by theorists and scientists that they are there so we believe them. We have no reason not to believe them. We have come a long way since the Inquisition. Or have we? The minute someone says there is an afterlife with a zip code on this side, out come the skeptics.
It takes time to realize some things like why particular things happen but now I see it all as real as anything. Give the skeptics a few hours with me.
Have you personally had any supernatural experiences? If so, can you tell us about any?
I know things people shouldn’t know so I don’t tell them anymore. Sometimes when people know it has a terrible effect on them. But I will say this; VTQVE NOSTRA REGIO TAM PRAESENTIBVS PLENA EST NUMINIBVS VT FACILIVS POSSIS DEVM QVAM HOMINIEM INVENIRE.
And, if you want to know or if you want to see something, “Paranorma Jean” is on the Freakapuss album. Play that and I guarantee something will happen.
What’s something you’d like to accomplish creatively that you feel you haven’t yet?
I always have the loco urge. I have some film ideas that I would like to see. I would like to produce more bands.
"I’m full of dust and guitars’ – Syd Barrett, if you were cracked open what would be inside?
A chocolate cake.
Find Tronic's reissues at What's Your Rupture?
Zarjaz is playing on Tuesday May 29th w/The Pheromoans and Way Through at Victoria Dalston - for more details click here
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
The Golden Boys are; Nay Nay Arbietman (keyboard), John Wesley Coleman (guitar/vocals), Matt Hoopengarder (guitar/vocals), Pat Travis (drums), Bryan Schmitz (bass), who formed in Austin, TX in 2000. The five piece deliver ballistic rock songs played out with luminous keys, charged guitars and clattering rhythms alongside narrative heavy vocals. Through a few line-up changes, break-ups and reformations The Golden Boys continue to hit their stride, as shown on 2009's well received album on Daggerman/Alien Snatch! 'Thee Electric Wolfman'. Following up this release is 5th studio album 'Dirty Fingernails' on 12XU (Flesh Lights, Chris Brokaw) engineered by Mike Vasquez, The Golden Boys offer howling rock 'n' roll you'd expect from Reigning Sound rooted in country and blues.
Title track "Dirty Fingernails" features lush, bright keys soaring over blazing guitars, low rumbling bass and racing rhythms. A song dealing with a sweetheart, significant other or better half Coleman bellows in a raspy voice "I like my dirty fingernails, in the morning I love the way you smell," -- it's this high spirited approach that best sums up the bands' personality and sets the tone for things to come. Flipping over, the album cools off with "Sidewalk" with freely wandering guitars making way for bilingual, abstract lyrics to drift across, "I'm a wizard in the golden sand of the sidewalk". Going out with a bang "We Are Young" sees the album come full circle charging the gates with honeyed keys, crashing rhythms and a joyous guitar solo. 'Dirty Fingernails' further shows (as if you needed further convincing?) that Austin and indeed Texas is a hotbed of great bands. These eleven songs are written with a sense of humour balanced with no-nonsense rock 'n' roll by a band who sound like they have a great time doing it. Absolutely Recommended.
The Golden Boys Facebook
Released on March 20th Pre-Order copies from 12XU
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Californian troubadour Mikal Cronin released a self titled debut last year for Trouble In Mind earning him a collective, heartfelt nod from just about every corner of the music loving underground - and with Ty Segall and Mikey Young in tow for the piece how could one expect anything less? Follow up single 'Tide' for Goner Records plays out his surfer tinged garage-rock and sure, you may think you've heard this all before however, Cronin laces pop, folk and psychedelia together to create something entirely unmatched by anything around today. At the heart of his songs are radiant melodies, strung out vocals and tapped fuzz. Another one to watch for 2012, he's hitting the road soon and he may be coming over to Europe, keep your eyes peeled for shows definitely one not to be missed!
You can find the single here
Mikal Cronin Bandcamp
Friday, February 17, 2012
Dan Melchior has kindly answered some questions for Gilded Gutter about his new material. I also got a chance to ask him about fundraisers coming up to help cover his wife Letha's medical fees, to see if there are any benefit shows coming up near you or, if you're in a position to make a donation everything you need to know is below...
To my ears at least your sound evades being pinned down. As of late your songs venture further left field than say bluesy/country material found on In The Red releases, I wanted to start these questions looking at the shift in your songwriting and how you arrived at your new record ‘Excerpts’…
Well, a lot of it had to do with moving out of New York, and discovering music for myself again the way I did when I was a kid - - finding what I REALLY liked, again. I used to listen to a lot of blues growing up (Skip James/Robert Pete Williams/Robert Wilkins etc) and learnt to play the guitar by listening to that kind of stuff - so that might always show in what I play. But I always loved Can, Faust, and very damaged, 'warts and all' records 'Like Flies on Sherbet' 'Lost Decade/Dusted in Memphis' by Alex Chilton, the early Tav Falco things - etc. I had no idea that this was the tip of an endless underground iceberg until I started talking with people like Tom Lax (of Siltbreeze records fame) and just looking at blogs. I then began to realise that there was a world of music out there that I had missed completely - - records that flew under the radar on release for a reason! A lot of that stuff made me feel freed up to make a different kind of record. Something like 'Semool - Essais' or Luc Marriani's records.
Many of your releases over the last few years have been on US labels, how did you form a relationship with French imprint SDZ Records for single ‘Red Nylon Valance’?
We toured a bit last year, because we were invited to play Primavera. I met Nicolas from SDZ in Paris when we played. I thought he did a really nice job on that record.
I wanted to ask about track “Me and JG Ballard”, as a painter I find Ballard’s work endless source of ideas especially ‘Cocaine Nights’, do you read his stuff at all? What, if anything, does he bring to your song writing?
I haven't really read him to be honest - I just grew up in Shepperton, and he lived about 10 doors down from one of my girl friends, about 10 minutes from my house. I'm not sure I ever even saw him around. It just seemed like a funny conceit for a song. Now that I hear what he felt about Shepperton I feel some kinship with him.
I read you’re also a painter, is this true? Do you have any heroes?
Yes, I do paint. My heroes are many and varied - - JMW Turner, William Blake, Willem De Kooning, Philip Guston, James Ensor, Emil Nolde, Cy Twombly, Jack Kirby - Ray Johnson, Pierre Bonnard, Edward Hopper - - - loads more.
* Dan has a blog with some drawing, paintings and collages for sale here: http://danmelchiorartforsale.blogspot.com/
Who do you imagine listens to your music? Do you ever have an audience in mind when composing?
No, not really. I hope the spectrum is broadening. By being on facebook I know that most people who want to 'friend' me use Betty Page, or a groovy Frankenstein as their profile picture, so unfortunately I feel that those people are frozen in time, and imagine that I am very entrenched in something that they are nostalgic for (the 90's early 2000's) Hopefully there's a younger, or at least more adventurous group of people enjoying some of the newer things. Mind you, the reaction to my new one ('Excerpts and half speeds') makes me feel like I've just wandered into some elitist gentleman's club with a pair of y fronts on - - talk about pretentious bemusement! The write ups for the catalogues that are carrying it, are all along the lines of 'the guy is a garage rocker, but don't worry this is okay for you to listen to' or 'this primitive has stumbled upon 'our' music, and doesn't completely fail, but doesn't know what he's doing or anything' - - hilarious really. I think they view me as some cross between sky saxon and kasper hauser. Just goes to show every 'scene' is as bad as the next.
I saw you play Ryan’s Bar here in London last year, you guys faced some technical issues but I thoroughly enjoyed the set because the band persevered through until problems were solved and ended with a real bang. A lot of bands don’t cope very well with unexpected hiccups like that, is it experience that’s helps you manage this sort of thing or have you always been able to ‘roll with the punches’ as it were?
I used to have some meltdowns 15 years ago - but after a while you have to say to yourself (in such situations) 'I am not successful. I am playing a tiny club. There isn't even a soundman, and no one is going to even try - let's just play anyway'
What’s the most memorable show you’ve ever played?
I don't really think about shows much. They happen and then they are over - unless someone records it, and then you have to do your best to destroy the evidence!
What is more of a challenge writing music or writing lyrics?
In all honesty, the way I do it - neither is much of a challenge. I just let it happen. The challenge is in not repeating yourself endlessly (status quo style) - even though some 'critics' say that is exactly what I do do!
I’ve read you’re a writer as well, how does your approach to writing differ to penning lyrics?
Lyrics are like sketches. There's music to back them up, and wring meaning out of them - plus you are using your own voice to impart some sense of what you feel. When the thing is just sitting there on the page, I feel the standards have to be much more exacting. I haven't written anything really that I consider to be good enough to put out there yet. I can't sustain the level of intensity that I'm going for. I've been trying to write a book for almost 10 years (intermittently) - you can hear some of it being read out over music on 'assemblage blues'
In the biography on your website it says you’re from Chertsey? I grew up in a small village outside of London too and know all too well how hard it is pre-internet era, to find any creative scene in English suburbia– how did you get exposed to the arts living in that part of the UK?
I was born in Chertsey, and grew up in Shepperton.
I just made a bee line for London the first chance I got, and spent most of my time up there until I was old enough to move out. I have a real hate/love relationship with where I grew up. I like the land, and the quietness - but didn't care for a lot of the aggressively/defensively narrow minded people that I went to school with. Very stifling, if you allow it to be - - but I do think you learn to develop a 'life of the mind' - or whatever you want to call it, in a place like that.
How do you think the internet has changed the game discovering records, books and art?
It's made it easier - and as I said before - I like it! Complaining about the easiness of it is for elitists and snobs. May as well complain that the washing machine made washing clothes too easy, and everyone should be scrubbing their clothes on rocks by the river.
You’ve managed to sustain a long-standing successful career making music mostly under the radar, with that experience behind you, if you could go back to when you first started making records and give yourself a piece of advice what would it be?
Don't worry about it - you aren't going to be popular. The more interesting your stuff becomes, the less popular it will be. You are free to do whatever you like really. Oh, and there is this stuff for straightening your hair you can get from black grocery stores.
Do you revisit previous recordings? If so what’s it like listening to earlier stuff?
I hardly ever do. I'm not really embarrassed by too much of it. Sometimes I think it may be better than what I'm doing now in places - but if I listened to it twice I'd be sick of it - these are just fleeting impressions though.
Do you prefer playing or recording?
Recording! - I like actually playing, but the rest of it - - sitting in a van, eating crap food, sitting around bars for hours on end and drinking because there's nothing else to do -is pretty awful. I have trouble with being out of my comfortable patterns.
There's a fund set up for your wife Letha to help with hospital fees, I’d like to ask about any upcoming benefits or fundraisers that people can be directed to if they’re in a position to donate, or help spread the word, the floor is yours….
Well, as you may know the US health system is an abomination. I will not go into my frustrations in this department, as I do not wish to be political or write a 5000 word essay - but, let's just say it is very distressing to negotiate such a system. My wife lost her insurance because she cannot work anymore - and now has to be on a state plan with a $5000 dollar deductible.
There are shows coming up, one in S.F
and we have a paypal thing set up for donations -
Her blog is here -
http://lethashappyhospitalfuntime.blogspot.com/ - - she describes here what she has to endure better than I ever could.
'I'm full of dust and guitars' - Syd Barrett, if you were sliced in half what would be inside?
I cannot answer this question for fear of incriminating myself! - - it would be less benign than Syd's stuff I suspect.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Recently I've thoroughly been enjoying this compilation of The Cramps from Munster Records. Culling singles spanning three years of The Cramps material, I mean, what can be said that hasn't already about this band? You know they're awesome, and if you're just tuning in, why not start here?! There's a CD version and 7" Box Set edition; the nice thing about the CD is no flipping over between songs, nice thing about the 7"s is some songs are being released for the first time in this format. Featuring; 'Human Fly', 'Goo Goo Muck' and personal favourite 'Domino', this collection of New York Punk's finest gets heads spinning, pulses racing and asses shaking; proof that although Lux is no longer with us - he will forever keep it creepy.
Sacred Music Indeed.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Royal Headache have new material in the works and an upcoming tour of Europe later in the year to follow up their universally loved debut in 2011, I caught up with Guitarist Law to find out a bit more about them...
Law! Thanks for chatting to GG! It’s quite a grey dreary day here in the UK – what’s it like in Australia right now?
It's currently summer but here in Sydney the weather has been really wet and mild with some rare moments of sun. Kind of feels like we've been cheated of a Summer.
You’re planning to tour Europe later in the year do you know the EU at all? Anywhere you’re particularly looking forward to visiting?
I once went over as a teenager with my parents just after I left high school and Shortty (our drummer) toured there about 6-7 years ago with his old band Headless Horsemen but the other two guys have yet experience the EU. We have a friend and our record label in France so we're looking forward to hanging out with those guys. Really unsure what to expect- just looking forward to hitting the road and seeing what comes.
Do you enjoy being on the road? Any particularly memorable moments from previous tours?
I personally love being on the road and traveling - it really is one of the best things about being in a band. We had some really memorable experiences in the USA last year. The one that comes to mind the most is the Baltimore party we had during the day with all the locals on the street- we bought 50 crabs and whole bunch of 40oz malt liquors and spent the afternoon sitting on a porch mingling with all the locals and then a game of street football broke out with all the local kids. Definitely the highlight of the tour.
‘Royal Headache’ made it on many end of year lists for 2011, did you expect it to receive such a positive response?
The amount of positive things said about the LP was fairly overwhelming. There was a moment when the LP looked like it could of been stalled for another 4-5 months so personally I was just glad that LP was released and done with.
Who took the photograph on the cover of the album it's a great sleeve!
Our friend Steve Patrick from Useless Children took it before one of our Camp A Low Hum sets. He actually took that photo on an iphone!
What are some of your favourite record covers?
Personally I like a lot of the record covers from 90's emo/hardcore bands like Indian Summer, Evergreen, Saetia etc.
What do you want to achieve playing music in Royal Headache?
To really just enjoy it as much as possible and to not take it too seriously.
When did you have that 'I can do that' moment and start playing music?
My brother always wanted to learn guitar so I just tagged along with him - we started our first band when were 14/15 - ever since then I've always played music - haha that's fairly boring.
What can you tell us about any new material on the way and when we can get a hold of it?!
We're just in the process writing our 2nd LP. We're almost there. Hopefully it'll be released by the end of this year.
I can pick out a love for Power Pop in Royal Headache’s stuff, what else do you turn to for ideas when writing songs? Feel free to mention anything, doesn’t have to pertain to bands….
At the moment there's lots of influences going through our music but honestly at this stage we're much more relaxed on how we write- just let happen naturally and not worry too much on sounding like something.
I read that you hadn’t done a lot of recording before ‘Royal Headache’ was made, what did you take away from the recording process for this album? Is there anything you’d do differently for new material?
You could probably write a book on the whole process of how long it took us to record the LP. It was honestly a nightmare. We really do need to talk about it the next time we decide to lay tracks down as there's no way I'm going through that process again.
Do you prefer playing or recording?
Playing live is honestly such an addictive feeling. Nothing really compares to it.
It’s a little while back now but, I’d love to know how gonerfest was, I’ve never been!
It was basically 3 days and 3 nights of constant drinking, bands and southern fried food. You NEED to go.
What’s the most memorable show you’ve ever attended?
Seeing the Stockholm Syndrome as a 16 year old was fairly life changing. King Khan and The Shrines was maybe the most exciting show I've ever seen.
Can you tell us a little bit about ‘Psychotic Episode’ it’s PERMANENTLY stuck in my head (meant in the best possible way)!
You'd have to ask Shogun this one!
What records do you have playing at home at the moment?
Lots of Oddisee and DTMD.
Any other projects you guys have going on at the moment we can keep an eye out for?
A fair few bands that we're involved with - Camperdown and Out, Bed Wettin Bad Boys, The Sweats and N-Police.
"I'm full of dust and guitars" - Syd Barrett, if you were sliced in half what would be inside?
guts and black stuff.
Royal Headache Facebook RIP Society
European tour info from Booking Agent Kiss N Run
Thursday, February 9, 2012
The brothers known as Nikki Sudden and Epic Soundtracks had been playing music together in their hometown of Solihull, Birmingham for several years before Jowe Head and Richard Earl joined the fold in 1976. That was on the cusp of the punk and d.i.y. explosion that radically changed the British music scene, and Swell Maps took full form; they released two albums, a handful of singles and then called it quits by the mid-'80s. Like so many other great bands of the era, Swell Maps went largely unnoticed outside of their own little scene, but their music has had a long-lasting impact on the shape of the underground; although the group's debut 7" "Read About Seymour" (released on their own imprint, Rather Records) got them signed to Rough Trade, it seems only in hindsight that Swell Maps' pivotal role in the birth of post-punk has been recognized. An amalgam of labels over the years have endeavored to keep the band's two studio albums, A Trip to Marineville and Jane from Occupied Europe, in circulation, and Secretly Canadian has now issued these top-quality vinyl versions to go along with their CD releases from a few years back.
Following a second single, 1979's A Trip to Marineville was made shortly after a live session for John Peel, recorded at WMRS Studios along with new band members David Barrington and John Cockrill. This album debuted Swell Maps' own take on T. Rex-inspired rock crossed with punk and touched by Krautrock's experimentalism, creating something ballistic and innovative. "Do you believe in art?" Nikki Sudden asks atonally in opener "H.S. Art" apace with clattering rhythms, crunchy guitars and ramshackle piano -- this track puts the 'raw' in 'raucous.' My personal highlight, however, is "Spitfire Parade," which delivers a heady rush from feverish guitars and pummeling rhythms anchored by a low rubbery bass, pushing to the edge before plaintively imploding. Breaking away from the archetypal guitar, drums and bass arrangement, toy saxophones, xylophones and harmonicas are incorporated into the album, and A Trip to Marineville certainly marked a shift in underground music. A no-brainer for anyone with a soft-spot for post-punk, this reissue features the original track listing along with a bonus 7" of "Loin of the Surf" that came with the original LP release.
Released a year later, Jane from Occupied Europe was the ambitious second and final album for Swell Maps. Krautrock acts as a connecting thread between both records, but Jane separates itself by delving into noisier industrial sounds. This is best shown on "Big Maz in the Desert," a warped instrumental number with crooked guitars, curious scratching and cawing effects alongside forthright drumming cemented at the core. And sure enough, this album has rockier moments too; "Border Country" and "The Helicopter Spies" feature familiar strident guitars, unmannered vocals and rattled rhythms. Jane from Occupied Europe shows a band not satisfied with just creating a new sound but testing the limits of it, so it's easy to understand why Sonic Youth, Pavement and Dinosaur Jr. have all sung Swell Maps praises.
It has been more than two decades since these albums have been available in vinyl format, but with the LPs finally back on the shelves and featuring original artwork, track listings and bonus material, you won't find a better time to pick up this pair of absolutely essential records than right now.
(written for edited by Other Music)
US Other Music
UK Norman Records
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
King Tuff joins bands like Nobunny, White Woods and Wax Idols for Suicide Squeeze's upcoming single series. An interview reveals new material is recorded for an album following up debut 'Was Dead'(2008) and I for one can't wait to see what Kyle Thomas has been cooking up. To tie us over new track 'Wild Desire' has been made available to hear now before it's April release date, and you just can't ask for anything more from a pop song, when something makes you f-e-e-l-s-o-g-o-o-d there's no need to question it.
For more information on Suicide Squeeze's single series click here
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Ack! Ack! Ack! Records is a new label based in Middlesborough UK offering up a 12" adding to their growing roster and it's a doozy. Teaming up on this 12" is The Rebel and Year of Birds who flirt with electronics, kraut, lo-fi and punk in experimental home-recordings.
ASide 'Pre-Pub' from The Rebel features five songs about eating, fucking and death played out mainly with synthesizers, guitars and drums. Opener 'Pubgrub' sets the tone with angular-cyber-pop allowing Ben Wallers and Sophie Politowicz to robotize the world around them. Digitizing commonplace subjects explored with a sense of black humour sums up a little bit of what I take away from The Rebel's work. Shown further on 'It's a 10'; "I'll fuck anything that isn't nailed down", sings Wallers alongside minimal beats and dissonant melody. Another highlight on this side is 'Hard Times of Old England' that has the spirit of one of those football sing-a-long anthems, seeing The Rebel doing what they do best, morphing everyday life into bursts of off kilter electronic rock told from a tragicomic perspective.
Flipping over are Year of Birds a band grounded in Middlesborough featuring; Paul Coates, guitar, Michael Gillham, drums, Oli Heffernan, guitar & vocals and Danielle Velterelle, bass. Together the four piece deliver ramshackle garage punk in the Black Time and The Intelligence vein. Eleven short, gritty and dense sounding numbers flesh out this side of the record. 'Jabs At The Brow' kicks things off with urgent guitars, pummeling rhythms and unmannered vocals, qualities that are consistent throughout and become even more frenzied - like on head-spinning track 'To The Left'. If I didn't know any better I would say this band were from the states, so I was more than excited to find out they're on home turf. From what I can tell these guys have only been around for a year with a handful of releases to date NOT including an album yet, for me, one to watch...
Great, great piece from both bands and stellar way to kick off a label - erm, more please!
Year of Birds Bandcamp
Ack! Ack! Ack! Records Facebook Bandcamp
Friday, February 3, 2012
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
What’s Your Rupture? kick off their 2012 roster in fine style by reissuing a slice of UK/DIY history, Tronics 45 'Shark Fucks/Time Off' released with original art-work; any friend of a blood splattered head is a friend of mine.
Zarjaz (a nickname based on a futuristic comic book ‘2000 AD’) began playing music in his early teens on the fringes of West London. Touted as the “essence of Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Melody Maker, Zarjaz otherwise received little to no promotion, he had only played a handful of shows with a modest out put of records before facing scenes of teen hysteria. Too much attention from over zealous fans, and not enough from the music industry turned Zarjaz into a recluse. These days Zarjaz remains an elusive character partially due to ongoing mental health issues, yet curiously continues to retain success whilst virtually being an anonymous artist in the UK.
At 16 Zarjaz recorded Tronic’s first single ‘Suzy b/w Favourite Girls’ produced by John Edwards linked to The Who producer Shil Talmy. What’s pivotal about this release was support from Rough Trade’s Geoff Travis who encouraged and partly funded the pressing. This first single would become, arguably, a pre-cursor for English Post Punk and Indie music.
Hot off the heels of this single came a cassette that would change the game for independent music. In 1980 self released cassette 'The Tronics', described by NME as the original “Indie Album”, became the first independent record to be distributed internationally. A trend was born that saw countless artists follow suit; home recording, self-releasing, taking things into their own hands. If any further testimony is needed as to how crucial this tape was, look around today, cassettes are experiencing resurgence for these very reasons.
BSide ‘Time Off’ is taken from this very cassette, an attention flipping number switching from sultry to skittish whilst provocative in equal measure. The first half of the song features a flirtatious spoken word piece, interjected by acerbic pop-inspired post punk allowing Zarjaz to yelp his words across. “Why don’t we take the day off?” he asks in a playful yet toneless manner alongside a saccharine guitar, keys and saxophone.
ASide ‘Shark Fucks’, originally released through Alien Records, is a song quintessentially quotidian and British as you’ll ever hear. Taken from album ‘What’s the Hubbub Bub’ where Zarjaz experimented recording live in the kitchen of his Earls Court flat. His trash-poetry is delivered catatonically with repetitive guitars built on a base of minimal tapping rhythms. Tronics output isn't one to be aligned or compared with bands that came before rather, Tronics are referenced as an influence by bands who came after.
I’m looking at you messthetics-heads, LoFi-fiends, post-punk-people-oids, if you’re looking for a copy of this single that isn’t scratched the search is over! If Tronics are just coming on to your radar, What’s Your Rupture? has made it super easy (and infinitely cheaper than coughing up for the original pressing) to pick up a seminal piece of UK Underground music.
Find copies at What's Your Rupture? and Other Music