Saturday, 24 January 2009

Afrobeat




Right now it's 2:30 in the morning, my eyes are burning and itchy and i feel like i'm developing premature arthritis, i'm a right picture of health. But i have this urge to update my blog a lil bit, chat about what i'm listening to and di-higging at the mo'. right this second i've tuned into afrobeat radio courtesy of last.fm. After developing an interest in 'new york global noise/ dance/ grime/ any fucking genre as long as it's a got some colour to it' group Gang Gang Dance, i've dug out last October's Plan B and been reading a front page feature on the crew in question. in the southern offices they were playing a liddy bid of what i believe to be from the up coming release, i don't know when it's due out, what the name of the song was or who they collaborated on it with, alls i knows is...it sounded honey fine. After drowning my ears with alot of grey and comparatively dull 80's no wave/ goth/whatnot, it's refreshing to paint my aural receptors with someting a little more vibrant shall we say. uplifting in these bleak times, it's a nice distraction from the icy cold early mornings and usless hot water bottles (mine is a piece 'o' shite).
i started browsing through the soul jazz website, i have a lot of love for that label, despite owning only ONE record released on the label (Brazilian Tropicalia cd...why the fudge am i not going to Brazil this year?), i have a real soft spot for it. most likely because since i've been a Wire reader, the colourful and crazy advertisements for new soul jazz releases have always adorned the rear of the magazine. i've always looked at the pictures and been intriegued, so despite my lack of soul jazz releases i think it's a awesome label and a cool intro to global music much like Trojan and the like.
my i've gone off on a tangent. i've really wanted to check out the 100% dynamite club soul jazz host in Brick Lane since i got an email about it way back when, i'm still yet to attend i don't really have a good excuse to be honest.
This global music is reminding me why i wanted a gap year in the first place, predominantly to travel and experience different cultures, the colours, the music the food all of it. unfortunately due to bad decisions and my lack of financial savviness i remain in freezing blighty and thinking twice about whether the whole thing was not a terrible mistake that shall haunt me for the rest of my days....doubtful of course but the melodrama only serves to make the current climate slightly more interesting.

you know what song just came on...'yeke yeke' by mory kante...'ole ole, feelin hot hot hot.' No, i friggin' well am not.

I'm beginning to regret not catching seun Kuti and the egypt 80 at cargo last year, i swear he played their twice, unless that was his brother Femi...Nigerian Afro Beat pioneer, Fela Kuti's sons. i downloaded a bunch of random mp3s from this blog called awesome tapes from africa that i discovered after reading the aforementioned GGD feature, we shall dig through those and see what happens, in the mean time i'll let last.fm teach me a trick or two.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Southern Lord

hey, remember that first post where i rambled on about visiting the Southern records hub and and my attempt to get them to take me on for 6 weeks as an intern, aye well the fun has begun. i started last week as a practical 'student' of the industry aka all round skivvy. the joys, the pains, the heartache, it's good shit. at the moment i don't have a heck of a lot to show for my time there thus far...i gots this here on the news page if that's evidence enough, hopefully over the next few weeks i can maybe mumble about whats gwarning in the world of Southern (if i do indeed know myself) or just moan about my swollen fingers...yes they are sensitive and susceptible to inflammation after hard labour work opening and closing cd jewel cases for hours on end. That's the price you pay for being a southern lord in training...

i'm listening to Scratch Acid at the mo...this some good shit.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Dum Dum Ditty


My mother mumbling along to ‘The End of the World’ by Skeeter Davis when I was quite young is one particular moment I can think of that ignited my interest in this period, it’s not so much girl group track but certainly evocative of the scene. This sad track doesn’t necessarily stick out because of that sentimental fact, but fact that she is tone death and sang it so tunelessly; it makes my eyes well up when I hear it.
What influence has the sixties girl group sound had in this day and age? What springs to mind when I say the words s.i.x.t.i.e.s g.i.r.l.g.r.o.u.p sound? Perhaps a perverse transgender line up of showaddy waddy ? Or perhaps the noughties reincarnation of Hairspray (the John Waters 80’s original remains one of my childhood favourites)?
What is it I love about 60’s girl groups? I love the gut wrenching lyrical content that croons of heart ache and lust, lust, lust? I love the gorgeous four part harmonies, the skyscraping beehive hairdos, winged eyeliner and knee skimming mini skirts, the retro kitsch is oh so very now after all. I love the melodrama, the American dream personified in every group is so often a tale of broken dolls, fixed then broken again by the savage competition to stay top of the pops, churning out hit after hit to the point of exhaustion. Each one has their own story but I’ll use my writing to pigeonhole and define an era and a MOVEMENT to make it succinct and much simpler to contemplate than it should be.
Over the past few years there’s been a somewhat revival aesthetically in the mainstream with Duffy, Amy Winehouse, hairstyles (think Dawn Porter, the annoyingly self obsessed ‘investigative journalist’ that looks a bit like a clean Lily Allen).
It seems like everyone has taken note or two from the ‘good ol’ days’. The main difference between now and then is that now we don’t know how to hide a good scandal. everyone knows when you see Amy Winehouse crawling around on stage she’s strung up to her eyeballs, it’s almost expected of pop musicians these days- the squeaky clean fa├žade is dead- it took a stake to the heart a long time ago. And EVERYONE knows the skeletons in the closets of today’s pop star wannabes before they’ve even released their first single.
What I love most about the 60’s girl groups is their depiction of an innocence and naivety that was believable. When today’s desperately fame hungry vultures aren’t clogging up the television schedule with another attempt to zombify their careers, it’s transparent that they’re backstage giving sloppy blowjobs to the cameramen. Not to indicate that the girl groups of yester year weren’t doing the same, just their target demographic would remain oblivious or turn a blind eye to the charade. Ignorance is, after all, bliss.
I love the lyrics of heartbreak and pain- compared to the meaningless drivel spluttered by Girls Aloud and the like. These were songs sans hyperbole, extended metaphors or sophistry - good old fashioned love songs that don’t need the bravado to ask ‘dont’cha wish yer girlfriend was a freak like me?’, you just know these girls were promising to love with the same (bunny boiling) intensity.
Listening to these tunes, the lyrics focus on monogamy and a sort of child like dependency, thanks to Brill building song writers such as Carol King, Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry. Each track is cloaked with a layer of the haunting, dense walls of sound Spector’s production affords the records.
The distinctive wall of sound: ‘rock’s monolithic backbeat’, waves of distortion and reverberated sound that define Spector’s production technique and has influenced so many since it’s creation. Electric and acoustic guitars playing orchestrated pieces, Spector’s so called ‘Wagnerian approach to rock & roll’ he appropriately described as ‘little symphonies for the kids.’
Clearly the beloved song writing/ production relationship wasn’t perfect.
Ellie Greenwich: ‘He (spector) always wanted to have total control over anything that he had anything to do with. I don’t know how happy he was that Jeff and I were going to do something on our own …but he didn’t stop us.’
Spector’s tyrannical grip, trial for second degree murder and mortifyingly bad choice in wigs has sullied his reputation as a production wizard.
Taken from Plan B issue 14 September ’06 an interview with Ronnie. ‘What happened to my singing?’ I would ask him and he would shout, ‘I don’t have time to talk about your goddamn career’, so I wasn’t going to ask him that question again because he yelled a lot, and I mean a lot. So I stopped asking him and became this little quiet girl.’
Ronnie Spector is probably my favourite of the girl group vocalists, her New Yoik dialect seeping through that booze and tobacco marinated voice. Woah oh, a woah oh oh oh… with ‘Be my Baby’, ‘Baby I love you’, defining 60’s girl group records.
The emphasis on youth ‘Born Too Late’, the low self esteem ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow’, there’s a reason why these tracks aren’t anachronisms in the 21st century and why the revival isn’t so surprising. What teenage girl isn’t attracted to the familiar plight of her sisters from the sixties? But in the vintage age our attempts to resuscitate these decaying corpses all seems a bit hollow doesn’t it? Like we’ve seen everything before. Someone just mention it to the management of Winehouse meh and Duffy bleh…Don’t get me started on the Pipettes.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Dethscalator, Actionbeat At Buffalo Bar, London



Noise in relation to sound equals meaningless sound of greater than usual volume, in tonight’s case the exact opposite is true. This evening’s Plan B curated event could do with some amplification boosting Viagra as the volume remains relatively limp and muted in comparison to the potential that lies beneath. It’s all very civilized and a bit pedestrian over enemy lines as the no mans land between audience and band remains untouched, the intensity of each artist’s performance not wholly reciprocated by tonight’s attendees.
Hailing from Stoke Newington, Dethscalator swamp the venue with their Iron Monkey tinged crust punk. Like they’ve been sipping from the same stagnant waters as High on Fire or Pissed Jeans (without the sleazy front man), they concoct a sludgy beverage of one doom laden dirge after another, accompanied by spasmodic vocals, like some sort of warped sloth hybrid creature.
Having shared bills with Acid Mothers Temple and Whitehouse, lumping them with the slowed down punk tag is more than a little lazy, Electric Wizard they aint. Lead singer Dan is a bear of a man with Ozzy Osbourne/ David Yow vocals, hollering into the microphone. He blunders off of the curb sized platform that constitutes the stage into the audience to be met with little noteworthy response.
At the right frequency and in the right atmosphere Dethscalator could send you into a spellbinding trance, but there isn’t enough contagious head nodding or distorted walls of sound to envelope the intimate crowd space and unfortunately there appears to be little chance of hypnotic slumber this time.
Truth Cult’s Action Beat, self confessed rapists and molesters of detuned guitars and old drum kits, stream into the venue with a conveyor belt of instruments, their gig roster consisting of whoever is available to play on the night. Despite their description as convicted noise-ophiles, Action Beat isn’t a collection of Providence, Rhode Island loft apartment artists one might expect but rather ‘The Noise Band from Bletchley’.
The ease and the unpretentious atmosphere of the evening makes it all the more enjoyable as their conventional rock n roll indie instrumental develops into something wild, feral and…noisier. Melt Banana, frenetic ‘Boredomesesque’, they beat with such ferocity until the clothes are peeled off and the torsos bared as the group are circled by the audience who look from the outside in on the menagerie and the chaos that ensues.
The audience, band participation remains low, set up like a circular human Stonehenge, the band look like conduits evoking the noise deities in order to gratify their own interests rather than anyone else’s.
The group dissolves into a blur of arms and legs, flailing around like a seven headed aural monster from Grecian mythology; Action Beat conduct energy of Lightening Bolt proportions with at least three times the man power.
As their set evolves, just as the band start to get interesting, they announce their last song ending the short but sweet love affair we have and at one fell swoop our relationship is no longer.


Friday, 9 January 2009

valkyrie :I


Having been born in the 90's the curriculum at all secondary schools pretty much sees you spend almost 4 years learning about WWII and Nazi occupation, the ins and outs almost every fucking aspect! morbid and controversial as it is, it's damn interesting. there are numerous films on the subject that shed light (albeit mainly in terms of entertainment and stylised) on the period, some of my faves Downfall (i still maintain that Bruno Ganz's Hitler bears a striking resemblance to the uptight bloke in 'The Full Monty'), Sophie Scholl is also is goodun. EVEN Black Book (the Nazi occupation of the netherlands) wasn't too awful.
But this my friends is the final straw VALKYRIE. remember when Tom Cruise tried to kill Hitler and failed miserably...me neither. I don't know about the film but judging by the ridiculous trailor, it looks like a pile 'o' Hollywood shite. i haven't seen it so i shouldn't really cast the first stone, however the idea of a dwarfed witchdoctor depicting war hero Count von Stauffenberg makes me throw up a bit in my mouth. apparently Cruise recieved ' An award from the German people for having the courage to make this film...' sounds like the little people from the small island of Germania have been waiting for Mr Cruise to emancipate them for centuries...the man is a menace to society!

Monkey Dust movie trailer anyone?

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

time

don't worry the blog is still alive and well, i;ve just been a lazy son of a gun over the capitalist, corperate meaningless festive holiday known as christmas...but the foooood was good mmmm.
i've got more on the way ne'er fear perhaps a band interview or two in the pipeline at least one feature and another installment of MOLE, i need to jazz that up a bit add some sound effects or maybe a jingle, any ideas?
it's a busy year, internships, work experience and travelling shall occupy my time hopefully the reviews/ features will come in thick and fast without compromise, welcometh to 2009, i have a good feeling about this year...