Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Editors Live at the Birmingham HMV Instiute.

Tuesday 26th June 2012- Birmingham HMV Institute
Editors supported by Free School and Peace


First up was Free School, a local band who, despite not having been around for long, have already released two EP’s ‘Ranting and Raving’ and ‘Unravelling after the lottery’ which was released in January. They’re not an easy band, that’s for sure, but talented and very experimental. They’re an entirely electronic, apart from the drums, outfit with four members who mix electro, dance and house in an unique way, making it indistinct but melodic. They were confident in their music, energetic on stage and fun to listen to once you get into it, that and the homemade lamb masks they wear.



Second were Peace, who also hail from Birmingham. A five piece Indie Rock band, with clear influences of grunge and punk. They were lively, youthful and raw with plenty of feedback. To say they have only just signed to Columbia records and have a single, ‘ Follow Baby/Li'l Echo’ coming out they were surprisingly tight, with a unique sound and impressive on stage and got a good crowd reaction. The singer even had a dream catcher attached to his guitar, which clashed with his leather jacket, but that sort of sums up the band, especially since the bass player had twee knitted jumper on. In my opinion, one to watch.


Then finally the main event, Editors, stepped out onto a smoke filled darkened stage to be greeted by a enthusiastic crowd. 
Opening song ‘Sugar’ was incredible, but so was the whole gig. Guitars were sharp and soared as Tom Smith echoing voice crooned darkly to us from the piano, as blue, red and white lights flashed, the drums and bass pounded giving the whole place this eerie atmosphere as the bright lights silhouetted the band. 
Editors - Tom Smith

The band then kicked into a few singles such as ‘Racing Rats’ off their second album (End Has A Start), which opens with melancholic piano and pounding drums, the crowds already singing along as the sheer power of the roaring guitar washes over us. Stand out song and single, also off the second album was ‘Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors’ which proves without a doubt the bands talent for making melodic songs explode with pure energy. Also singles and old favourites from the first album (The Backroom) ‘Munich‘, ‘Blood’ and ‘All Sparks’ saw the whole place sing along enthusiastic as half the room swayed and the other leaped.
 

 Single off the third album (In This Light And On This Evening) ‘Eat Raw Meat=Blood Drool’ was something different. It was dark, strange yet seductive with its trade mark bizarre sample sound. The odd superb new song was played also, proving their skill for natural evolution without ever losing what makes them Editors. A new album is rumoured to be emerging soon.
 

Editors
Tom Smith is an effortlessly amazing front man, he puts every last cell of energy into his performance without expecting anything back. His vocals are just as good, on some tracks better, then on record: mournful but powerful. Each new song had different lighting, so each time a new atmosphere was created. Even the slower tracks were passionate, like ‘Fall’ off the first album, which has a steady pace with bursts of hopeful guitar. The crowd was just as lively, feeding off this power crashing around us.
 
It was a very varied crowd too, old married couples bounced next to teenagers. It all ended too soon with only a three song encore which opened with the incredible dark, synth lead ‘In This Light And On This Evening’, which slowly builds till raw dirty guitars kick in, lights flash as the band really gave it their all. This was followed by the equally as impressive ’An End Has A Start’ and concluded with crowd favourite and single off the third album ’Papillon’. An instant classic with its ice synth hook and fast relentless beat. Naturally they drew it out, made it raw and joined the crowd in going wild. Quite literally, a standing ovation.





Goyte-Making Mirrors.



Yes this is the same Goyte who sings that incredibly catchy ‘60’s esc. No.1 hit single ‘Somebody That I Used To Know‘, while in the nude covered in paint. Did you know that it made it to number one is most countries including his homeland Australia, Germany and Israel of all places and it stayed at the top in Britain for roughly 6 weeks? Now surely that is a sign of better days to come.

His third studio album (yes third- in fact this is a side project as he is in a rather good Australian Rock & Roll band, The Basics who have been around since 2002 and have released four studio albums); ‘Making Mirrors’ is an eclectic collection of songs with loose comparisons ranging from Bon Iver ,to  OMD to Cee Lo Green. This albums got everything from percussion, to synth’s to trumpets and saxophones. ’Making Mirrors’ is a fun album to listen to; it’s full of twist, turns and plenty of surprises. He not only self produced the entire album but plays pretty much every instrument(which is listed, along with all credit due to other artists involved above the lyrics for each song) on the album. One things for certain, Mr Wally De Backer is one talented man and deserves every inch of fame he finally receives.  

Opening track ‘Making Mirrors’ is a gentle, mystical introduction with Summery almost psychedelic swooping  synth’s and barely audible vocals. Following track and single ‘Easy Way Out’ sounds vaguely Black Keys-ish with its fast beat, dirty fuzzing guitar and soft vocals. The pace is eased back down again with that heat throb song ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’. It echo’s 1960’s jingling psych. Pop with its twangy acoustic guitar, subtle drifting percussion and xylophone. An instant classic.  

‘Smoke and Mirrors’ is a gem of a song. Its got a very jazzy, blues sound to it, very deep and sassy. Its got a repetitive beat, saxophone and sprinkles of harp and organ.  Mr De Backer never fails to adapts his voice perfectly to each new area he explores and experiments with. He switches between bare powerful vocals to subtly layered whispers. The song builds and gets gradually weirder and bigger as a wider range of instruments are introduced and the tribal bongo drums becomes more prominent.

The mood and atmosphere of the album drastically changes as we delve into the middle section of the album. ‘I Feel Better’, surprise, surprise, does this wonderfully. Its actually a bit of a cheesy “classic” with its big brass introduction and retro Motown feel. The piano’s dancing, the bass skipping, his voice is clear, full and powerful. How can it not cheer you up? Hidden gem ‘In Your Light’ follows with that same retro Motown beat and my gawd does it make you want to dance. Its got funky acoustic guitar, brass, hand claps and even a sprinkling of synth. This song is all the glee and laughter of Summer time with your friends: simply joyous.

Now this next track is odd, to say the least. Its not a bad track, simply very experimental. Its back bones is a cracking sassy, hip swaying Reggae beat with lovely experimental electronic samples layered on top. A bit ‘Einstein A Go Go’ by Landscape. But his vocals, well he sounds like Marvin, the depressed robot from ‘The Hitchhiker Guide To The Galaxy’ trying to sing: very deep and very slow. I can see why he’s done it, but I personally think he  ruined a potently great song.‘Giving Me A Chance’ is a slower more calm track, it takes the best of 80’s synth music, and pairs it with soft vocals and a basic drum machine beat. Its got the sound and atmosphere of ‘Souvenir’ by OMD, but more modern. It’s a very personal feel to it, another little gem in my opinion.

The ending track, ‘Bronte’, I will admit is a personal favourite. Its melancholic but honest. Its carried by deep slow tribal drums meanwhile subtle percussion and glittering synth’s float around in the background. His vocals are soft and oddly comforting. The whole song has this soothing effect on you, as soon as his voice comes in you can almost feel all your worries melt away.

‘Making Mirrors’: All in all, is a stunning third album.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le34ygtODfI - Bronte 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdH6sfd3fRQ - In Your Light 

Quasi- American Gong- Review

Portland based Quasi first came onto the Indie Rock scene in 1993 with a self titled album, self released only in cassette form. American Gong,  their latest effort and 10th studio album, which was released in 2010 on Domino records, includes the original band line up of Janet Weiss (Wild Flag. She also produced the album), Sam Croomes (Pink Mountain) and Joanna Bolme.
I think it’s simply a masterpiece of pure basic Rock & Roll. You’ve got your Ramones guitar, Pretty Things instrumental breaks and Who esc drumming. Who could ask for more?

Opening track and single ‘Repulsion’ is fast paced, catchy and sharp. Whining guitar and vocals dominate this effortlessly perfect song. ‘Little White Horse’ follows in the same fashion but with a more strangled guitar sound and a lovely little guitar and drum break that almost twinkles. Witty yet bleak lyrics tell of growing old, “ Blah blah blah said the tongue to the ears”.
The songs are uncomplicated but nether the less are still interesting. The composition and guitar sound is rather similar to Wild Flag’s debut but the feeling of the songs are very different. While American Gong has a sense of helplessness and tends to have empty spaces where there are only suggestions of piano and vocals; Wild Flag is fast and furious with no gaps.

Bye Bye Blackbird’ should have been a single. It opens with a twinkling guitar and hopeless vocals but soon picks up with Who esc drumming, ‘aaahh-ing’ and lots of fuzzing guitar, before descending into a chaos of squealing feedback, backwards swoops and pounding drums that counties to speed up into a crescendo of noise. Its like a mix between The Pretty Things and Sonic Youth. Just when you think the tracks ended the same bare vocals and twinkling guitar pops back in, which then build back up into the song.
‘The Jig Is Up ‘is a lovely acoustic track, with smatterings of backwards feedback to keep it interesting, which concludes Side A.



‘Black Dogs and Bubbles’; Side B’s opener keeps things simple and catchy. This track highlights the bands knack for composing great austere tracks and their skill for smooth time changes. ‘Death Is Not The End’ is not an easy track to listen to first time round. It’s the devastating love song with a slightly out of time and tune piano, with Coomes crooning mercilessly along. Its hopeless and out of tune but is beautiful in its own deranged way with it’s broken violin opening the track and sweeping around in the background. Weeping guitars swoop in for the chorus’s, briefly taking over from the piano. It’s a track that grows on you. ‘Rockabilly’ speaks for its self and picks the album back up again perfectly. Bolme accomplices Croomes on vocals which adds to the feeling of wandering around a sepia toned barn out in the “Wild West”.  ‘Now What’ is bassy and deep with Croomes willing you to “rise up”. It the kind of song that makes you sway at the hips, pouting and swish your long locks suggestively.

Album closer ‘Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler’ (translated means ‘Let the good time roll’ which completely contracts against the whole atmosphere of the song) is another piano lead song, but in tune this time but with mostly French lyrics. The song is another hidden gem. It gives the impression of a backstreet bar, in the 1930’s, New York. The world is in grainy black and white, like a faded photograph. Its just that one drunk left, half passed out at the bar and the tired old owner in his white apron mopping the tables and stacking the chairs. Its about 2 in the morning, the bar closed hours ago, and that lonely lost musician is back on the stage, playing the piano with his imaginary backing band and female backing vocalists. By the end of the song he’s just talking to an empty room over the weeping music.
Its a rather saddening way to end an over all lively and upbeat album, but maybe that’s how they now feel about the band after nearly 20 years of being Quasi.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IET0it5Vqw - Repulsion

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pH5vmnTa_mw - Bye Bye Blackbird 


Acrtic Monkeys- Suck It And See.

Talk about a new sound; opening track ‘She Thunderstorms’ is very sweet and innocent sounding with jangling guitars and Alex Turners voice crooning soft as silk. It’s a gentle introduction, the sound of a more mature Artic Monkeys.

Single ‘Black Treacle’ is bass lead, with choppy catchy guitar. It’s stripped back with a bouncy 1950’s rock pop chorus.  ‘Brick by Bri


ck’ drops the innocence and replaces it with leather clad rock and roll. Its got dirty fuzzy guitar and deep pounding bass; Turners voice is demanding and suggestive. Apart from having an amazing name, ‘The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala’ has a big empty room feel to it, as the guitar echo’s, bass leads and Turner whispers witty metaphors into your ear.
 

Single ‘Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair’ is threatening and serious with the most ridiculous lyrics: of course. It doesn’t get much more back street in the dead of night then this. But I can’t help but think that the bands being a bit sarcastic with this song. Stand out song ‘Library Pictures’ is a ‘Florescent Adolescent’ throw back, but with a leather jacket and a quiffed hair do. Its fast paced with fuzzing guitar and distant vocals that appear to mock. ‘All My Own Stunts’ keeps things fuzzy and dirty but oh so catchy. ‘Piledriver Waltz’ calms the pace back down, its charming and just a tad melancholic with its jangling melodic guitar and velvet vocals.  The album ends how it begins, with nostalgic melodic songs that have a warm summery feel to them compared to the grainy wintry feel of the middle section.

Title song, ‘Suck It And See’ is a wonderful little song, its like listening to a more rock and roll Frankie And The Heartstrings and without the brass, with its 1950’s atmosphere. His witty sarcastic lyrics are whispered sadly as the song jingles along. Only Artic Monkeys could get away with such a stunning sweet humble love song with lyrics that compare girls to “post mix lemonade” while the girl its all for is “as rare as a can of dandelion and burdock”. Aww.
It’s an album you don’t want to end, soon as it does your clicking the ‘play’ button again, eager to hear it all over again.

Well, Artic Monkeys, you’ve done it again. You’ve got yet another class album under your belt.

Explained - Charlotte Sometimes (Song)

All the faces, all the voices blur...

Charlotte Sometimes is an haunting single by The Cure released in 1984. It is also a brilliant children's books by Penelope Farmer released in 1969.
And they are two of the same thing. 

I grew up with both but only noticed the song was actually written about the book years later when I bought a Cure lyric book and reread the Penelope Farmer book. 

Read on if you wish to learn how those magical lines describe an enchanting children's book. 

(Spoilers ahead)

Firstly, let me briefly explain the basic plot. It is about a girl called Charlotte Makepeace who starts Boarding School but the next morning wakes to find that she has travelled back in time 40 years to 1918, where she takes on the life of a girl called Claire and befriend her sister Emily, Claire also travelling forward taking Charlotte's place. 

The book is set out in three parts just as the song has three main parts to it.
The first chapter is quiet literally the opening chapters of the book.

All the faces
All the voices blur
Change to one face
Change to one voice
Prepare yourself for bed
The light seems to bright
And glares off white walls
All the sounds of
Charlotte Sometimes
Into the night with
Charlotte Sometimes


This is describing Charlottes first night at Boarding school. “By bedtime all the faces, the voices had blurred for Charlotte into one face, one voice.”
“The light seem to bright for them (her eyes), glaring off white walls, white sheets and bedcovers….”  “ All the sounds about her were unfamiliar.”
These are quotes taken straight from the book off the first page.

Night after night she lay alone in bed*
Her eyes open to the dark**
The streets looked so strange***
They seem to far away
But Charlotte did not cry*
The people seem so close
Playing expressionless games****
The people seemed
So close
So many
Other names


Again some of the lines are quoted from the book: 

*“When the lights went out Charlotte lay alone in bed, trying not to cry because everything, everyone seemed to be against her now.”  

**“Night after night Charlotte lay in bed her eyes open to the dark” 

***“The streets looked strange, light less, save for the moon, which laid no glitter or shine…”   This when she becomes trapped in 1918 as her and Claire's sister Emily get relocated to Flintlock Lodge. 

**** “Playing expressionless games” 

This line is referring to Emily. In the first half of the book we get a few hints that Emily knows something is up and has even figured out that Charlotte is not her sister. As you read on, partially in the beginning of the second part, you get the sense that Emily is being distant on purpose as she is trying to figure out  who is this impostor aka ‘playing an expressionless game’.

But this verse also has many different possible meanings. At this point in the book and song Charlotte is feeling very lonely, lost, tired and a little homesick. Living two lives as two different people with a 40 year time difference is taking its toll on her, together with her being very distant at this point the girls that could be her friends have turned on her. So even though it has stolen some direct lines, it still creates the same atmosphere and story as the beginning of the book.

(Chorus)
Sometimes I'm dreaming
Where all the other people dance*
Sometimes I'm dreaming
Charlotte sometimes
Sometimes I'm dreaming
Expressionless the trance
Sometimes I'm dreaming
So many different names**
Sometimes I'm dreaming
The sounds all stay the same***
Sometimes I'm dreaming
She hopes to open shadowed eyes****
On a different world
Come to me
Scared princess
Charlotte sometimes


The chorus is open to personal interpretations and ideas as I struggled to find many references to the book. I would love to hear your ideas on the possible meanings behind it.

The dreaming part could be an idea towards how Charlotte can travel back in time 40 years to live another girls life while she lives hers. 

‘Charlotte Sometimes’ is literal as she is only Charlotte, some of the time. 

*“Where all the other people dance”  I strongly believe this is a reference to the dancing that breaks out in the streets when the Armistice is announced.

**“So many different names”  This could be referring to how overwhelmed Charlotte must have been, having to learn  two sets names of fellow students, teachers names and two sets of rules.

*** “All the sounds stay the same”: A possible reference to when she gets stuck in 1918.

**** “She hopes to open shadowed eyes/On a different world” 
This is about how much she wants to get home to her own time, how alien the past is to her, how different the people are, rituals and way of life. 

The last few lines of the Chorus I can only guess is Robert Smiths view on the character of Charlotte, how a need to help this poor lost girl grows in the reader. 

On that bleak track (see the sun is gone again)*
The tears were pouring down her face*
She was crying and crying for a girl*
Who had died so many years before*


*These are pretty much direct quotes. When she gets home she speaks to Emily's daughter, a fellow student, and finds out Claire had died of flu not long after getting home.  “On that bleak track, the sun had gone again, tears were pouring down her face. She was crying and crying for a girl who had died more then 40 years before”   

Charlotte Sometimes crying for herself**
Charlotte Sometime dreams a walls around herself
But its always with love
With so much love it looks like everything else****
Of Charlotte Sometimes****
So far away****
Glassed sealed and pretty***
Charlotte Sometimes


** "She was crying for herself, perhaps, and for Emily.”  This is from the same chapter as above.

The rest of the verse is open to personal interpretation as there are no direct quotes from the books. My educated guesses from reading and studying the book are as follows:

*** “Glass sealed and pretty” One night in 1918 at Flintlock Lodge Emily puts the marbles in a glass full of water. When Charlotte is back in her own time she puts the marbles in a glass of water and places them on her desk as a remembrance of Emily. “The marbles looked very pretty everyone said, and Charlotte was pleased…”

****If you were to read those lines slightly differently as the sentence: “Everything else of Charlotte Sometimes, so far away”, then the possible meaning becomes much clearer. Near the end of the book Charlotte muses to herself how much Emily and Claire had became a part of her, that she felt that she could never go back to how she was before her experiences and that Claire shall forever be a part of who she is. 

Charlotte Sometime dreams a walls around herself
But its always with love 


Could be Roberts opinion on the Charlotte. How he interprets her coping strategy, maybe he see's her distance as protecting those close to her. Only he knows. 

Any other interpretations and opinions are more then welcome.

Top 10 Over Looked Debut's of 2011

2011: what a year. Indie/Alternative music finally started to fight back! With Florence & The Machine's second album 'Ceremonies' bringing her well deserved fame and The Horrors third album 'Skying' reaching number 3 in the Charts, I decided to celebrate what I felt were the 10 best debuts of 2011 that no-one seemed to notice.

10) Esben And The Witch.
     ‘Violet Cries’ was released 31st January on Matador Records
      From Brighton

Album opener ‘Argyria’ is slow starting with a long haunting atmospheric intro with echoed sounds, a slow chiming guitar and heartbeat drums. It slowly speeding up as strangled cries fills the room and the guitar becomes raw and sharp till finally ethereal vocals swoop in.
Single ‘Marching Song’ opens with demanding military drums and dark twisted guitar which gives way to raw vocals and echoed screams that make it claustrophobic and just a bit scary. ‘Hexagons IV’ is driven by distant piano and crashing drums with a electronic sound, like a room of old fashioned computers beeping…underwater drifting in the background.
Listening to the album is like walking through an unfamiliar forest at night surrounded by strange indefinable sounds that fuzz, echo, ring and chime while all the time the changeable heart beat drums pound. You don’t know what to expect or where it will take you. It’s exciting but just a little bit scary!

Look-up: ‘Marching Song’ and ‘ Chorea’.

9) Iceage.
   ‘New Brigade’ was released sometime in the summer on Escho/Abeano
   From Denmark


The albums opens with ‘Intro’ with is 45 seconds of industrial sounds: clanging and searing metal. Oh, did I forget to mention that Iceage are single-handily bringing back Punk? The album clocks in at just over 24 minutes yet contains 12 songs.
Single ‘White Runes’ pounces straight in with shouted vocals, thrashing deep raw guitar and rapid drumming. Its back to basic’s with Iceage. Fast. Deranged. Raw. It seems to ooze ‘if you like it, well that’s good for you but I’m having fun and that’s I care about.’ Its full of energy, not anger like most Punk bands, just raw energy. This album actually gave me a headache it‘s so full on and fast, but I enjoyed nearly every song. Stand out song ‘Collapse’ opens with squealing guitar before simply crashing into chaos. I feel sorry for what’s left of their instruments.

Look-up: ’White Rune’ and ’Broken Bones’.

8) Joy Formidable
    ‘The Big Roar’ was released 24th January on Atlantic Recording Corporation
   
 From North Wales, now based in London.
Album opener ‘The Ever Changing Spectrum Of A Lie’ is a seven minute epic starting with the sound of bubble wrap popping before raw thrashing guitar soars in with pounding drums and powerful vocals. It speeds up and up before descending into a whirlpool of fuzzy white noise. The album is chocking big rock anthems filled with angry vocals, raw whirring guitars that fills the room and dominate the songs while the drums pound and bass bounces. Single and stand out track ‘Austere’ is catchy and upbeat. Lead by a bouncing bass with harmonious backing vocals before building up to a crescendo crashing whirring noise.

Look up: ‘Austere’ and ‘Whirring’

7) Wild Flag.
    ‘Wild Flag’ was released 13th September on Wichita Recordings ltd.
     From Washington DC/Portland
Its all the girl, all American pop punk dream team with each member having being in several notable bands including ‘Helium’, ‘Minder’ and ‘Sleater-Kinney’. The drummers ‘name’ is even Janet Weiss: this band couldn’t get more cool. Its fast, fuzzy, bouncy and oh so catchy. These girls know what their doing. Stand out song  ‘Boom’  is a no messing song with sudden bursts of scratchy guitars and raw vocals shouting that “if you want a pretty picture then look away, look away now” and isn’t even three minutes long.

Look up single and album opener ‘Romance’ and ’Black Tiles’


6)
Foster The People
    ‘Torches’ was released 23rd May on Columbia Records.
     From Los Angeles
At last! Interesting Electro Indie Pop.
‘Torches’ is energetic, youthful and quiet strange and experimental at times with definite funk influences on tracks like ’Don’t Stop(Colour On The Wall)’: yet is brimming with catchy single worthy tunes. It’s a welcomed breath of fresh air for pop music. I’d go further and describe stand out songs if I could! The band pride themselves on being impossible to categorise, with a million and one influences in one song and a range of instruments used, from keyboards to piano to drum machine to acoustic guitar. One things for sure, they’re not scared to push boundaries and explore while also having the cheek to create bold insanely catchy chorus’s demonstrated on “Call It What You Want” and “Life On The Nickel”.  Just look them up.

Look up singles ‘Pumped up Kids’ and ‘Call It What You Want’.

5) Veronica Falls
    ‘Veronica Falls’ was released 20th September on Bella Union.
    Based in London
The album opens rather ominously with ‘Found Love In A Graveyard‘, everything’s deep before the pace quickens and guitar lightens and soft sing-song vocals pick the mood up, slightly.  The albums fast paced, laced with sharp, even jangly guitar, bouncing bass and melancholic vocals. Its full of contracts, as if half the bands trying to craft Indie-pop songs and the others all about the doom and gloom, but it somehow works, creating a gloomy but C86-ish sound. Like a photograph of a pretty vibrant flower made dull and grainy.
Single ‘Beachy Head’ is catchy, fast and actually quiet up-beat with deep backing vocals and shimmering guitar. ‘The Box’ is bouncy and has high pitched almost optimistic vocals, just to shake things up. Another band out to make my job that bit harder.

Look-up: ‘Beachy Head’ and ‘Bad Feeling’

4) Frankie & The Heartstrings
    ‘Hunger’ was released 21st February on PopSex LTD/Wichita Recordings ltd.
    From Sunderland

An instant classic filled with retro sprinkled short, catchy, upbeat songs. It’s got bouncy guitar, playful lyrics crooned by heart throb Frankie Francis and even saxophones on ‘Hunger’. Guitar pop is back! The albums got a timeless feel with single ‘Tender’ that makes you want to dance and wouldn’t sound out of place in a 1950’s dance hall. But don’t go thinking that the album all sounds the same. Also a single ‘ Fragile’ is a long brooding track that builds up to a crescendo of soaring guitars and has Frankie crying out that “if your gonna breakdown, then just breakdown”. While ‘It’s Obvious’ may keep up the previous fast pace has a deeper sound to it. The album was produced by none other than Edwyn Collins from Orange Juice. You simply can’t help but fall in love with this band.

Look up ‘Tender’ and ‘Ungrateful’  

3) Chapel Club
    ‘Palace’ was released 8th February on Loog/Polydor Ltd.
     From London
Albums opener, instrumental ’Depths’ consists of strange backwards noises and sparkling synth’s. ‘Five Trees’ opens with walls of soaring guitars before giving way to deep soft male vocals, a strong deep bass and strangled guitar that sweeps in and out. The album filled with vast, room filling, fast paced soaring songs with poetic lyrics. Single and stand out track ‘The Shore’ opens with the sounds of the waves and seagulls before a wave of gliding guitar crashes down around you, sweeping you away on a “billboard holiday”. Its slower paced with a dreamy seaside feel to it. ‘O Maybe I’ is faster paced with strong deep bass, shimmering guitar and catchy chorus. Its an album that leaves you smiling and humming several chorus’s.

Look-up: ‘The Shore’ and ‘All Eastern Girls’.

2) Yuck
    ‘Yuck’ was released on 21st February on Fat Possum/Mercury Records Limited
    Based in London.
‘Yuck’ is definitely an album of contrasts. Opening track and single ‘Get Away’ opens with a wall of soaring fuzzy guitar which gives way to crooned vocals you can barely hear and a pounding bass. ‘Holing Out’, ‘The Wall’ and ‘Operation’ follow suit but the rest of the album is slow and melodic with lyrics and vocals filled with teenage angst. Its actually quite a beautiful album with its sugar sweet acoustic guitar, leading bass and sombre lyrics, “ I could be your suicide policeman”. Another surprise comes in the form of ‘Georgia’ which is very up beat and well bouncy, still with fuzzy guitar. Throughout the album you can tell definite influences of Sonic Youth, The Cure and My Bloody Valentine. Closing track ‘Rubber’ is quiet a force to be reckoned with, with its gradual build up, barely audible lyrics and wall of feedback.
Look up, ‘Get Away’ and ‘Stutter’

1) S.C.U.M
    ‘Again Into Eyes’ was released on 4th October on Mute Artists Limited.
     From London.

Named after a radical Feminist manifesto written in 1967 by Valerie Solanas, S.C.U.M have been on the London Underground scene for the last few years but with nothing but word of mouth and snippets of live clips on Youtube to their name until, finally, the debut is released. But my oh my was it worth waiting for!

‘Again Into Eyes’ is a haunting fairytale. A fairytale designed to go on a vinyl record. What should be ‘Side A’ soars, swoops and echo’s; while also thrashing and pounding with wistful lyrics crooned straight into your heart. Opening tracks ‘Faith Unfolds’ and ‘Days Untrue’ swirl around you, threatening to swallow you whole while stand-out track ‘Casts Into Seasons’ is brooding with demanding tribal drumming, echoing keyboard and swirling guitar. The paces picks back up with the raw, sharp demanding sounds of ‘Amber Hands’ and ‘Summon The Sound’.

Now we move into what should be ‘Side B’ as the sound changes quiet drastically. The songs here are slower, more melodic and rather strange as feedback, echoed keyboards and softly crooned vocals drift in and out. This side is a lot more open and atmospheric; there’s less going on as ‘Side A’s songs are fit to burst there so full of different sounds.
Stand out track ’Paris’ is piano lead and heartbreakingly beautiful, even with the guitar feedback cutting in and out; “Bury my love in Winter air, in solitude”. Album closer ‘Whitechapel’ is the last burst of haunting fairytale energy, combining the sounds from both ‘sides’ with a bouncing bass line that will get stuck in your head.

Look up ‘Amber Hands’ and ‘Whitechapel’



Jubilee - A Film by Derek Jarman


Jubilee. A British Cult film depicting the explosion of “Punk” in 1977; a creative outlet deigned to push boundaries in the name of Art; a social commentary designed to make you think, or even all of the above?
 One thing for certain is that Jubilee is no ordinary film.

Jubilee was written and directed by the underground legend Derek Jarman, was produced by Howard Malin and James Whaley, was scored by Brian Eno and released in September 1977.

The film boosts a cast list brimming, with then up and coming stars including Stuart Goddard (Adam Ant), Pamela Rooke (Jordan) and Toyah Willcox, plus rising starlets Little Nell (Nell Campbell) and Richard O’ Brain, of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show‘  fame two years previously.
As far an actual plot is concerned, Queen Elizabeth I (Jenny Runacre)

is transported forward in time to 1977, by the angel Ariel who was summoned by her Occultist John Dee (Richard O’ Brain) with the intention of gaining knowledge. The rest of the film follows a gang of ‘Punks’, with the occasional scene with Queen Elizabeth I and co. And that’s about it!
The film is shot in dulled, grainy colours and is intentionally made of separate scenes that do not always flow into the next as the point of the film it not its plot, or lack of.

On first watching Jubilee, you do find yourself questioning the point of many aspects of the film, sometimes even entire scenes appear pointless. But after a second viewing it’s chaos almost begins to make sense, as you realise that the pointlessness of it was the point! But this is not a deposable film.

One of the many things I love about Jubilee is the gang of ‘Punks’ it follows.
Mad (Toyah) thinks she a “revolutionist out to better the world”, she’s always up for a laugh no matter the consequence. Amyl Nitrate (Pamela Rookie) is a self acclaimed Historian, she is a clever young woman who is simply frustrated with her Country. 
Amyl Nitrate, Bod, Mad, Chaos and Craps
Crabs (Little Nell) is sex obsessed and is constantly thinking she’s fallen in love. Kid (Adam Ant) comes across as little self obsessed and rarely speaks or involves himself with the gang, which is not due to shyness, just plain disinterest.
Bod is the ‘ring leader’ of the group, she is a hard headed woman who does what she likes and ignores the consequence’s and gets a thrill from murder.
Last but certainly not least is Borgia Ginz, the business man who doesn’t care about the people he signs up as long as he keeps racking in the big money. Borgia represents what Jarman thought of the Media at the time, how it was eating Punk up, likewise how it was stealing peoples identities and making them fashionable and profitable. I completely agree with him. “The Media became their only reality and I own their world of flickering shadows”. By the end of the film, everyone had signed to Ginz.


 Another thing about Jubilee is that, at times its feels like the film is at odds with itself. Jarman was clearly not against Punk, and I feel a part of him simply wanted to create a piece of Art, but as the film developed he could not resist adding the dark side of it. The side of political corruption, ‘Broken Britain’ and how the Media destroyed Punk. Or it could have been the other way around, starting as an out-cry but ending up being a piece of Art.
Either way Jubilee is a very clever film with it’s subtle yet very clear message.

The actions of the characters send clear messages of violence and boredom, venting their anger on strangers in an exaggerated way, which I am sure did not happen to this extent, but at the same time what they say is a subtle social commentary. With this film words speak louder then actions as they speak the unfortunate truth, “As long as the music’s loud enough, we wont hear the world falling apart”.

One of the reasons I wanted to review Jubilee is because it is rich with different meanings, it is a unique response to change and has interesting characters that draw you in. Something I noticed straight away is that the film is dominated by women, as there are only four main characters who are male. As it was made in 1977 I expected that women were to be included as Women’s Rights were a strong element of the Punk movement, that people now-a-day seem to have forgotten. For the first time we had bold women becoming outrageous models, artists and even all female bands. Jarman defiantly seemed to have acknowledged this change in social attitudes as women had became independent and strong but was he supporting it? I have two theories for this: one is that the women in this film are depicted as all of those things but also as very violent, to add to this only men are killed and with the inclusion of Crabs I get the feeling that Jarman may have been suggesting that these new independent women were a bad thing or even a threat. My other theory is that I could be drawing this conclusion out of thin air as it is in fact only Bod and Crabs who enjoy murdering while the others simply follow along out of boredom. Jarman could have been simply recognising this change in attitude.


Another thing that has stuck with me from this film, is its very clear message of the corruption in authority and how this was effecting ordinary citizens. There are two scenes that send this clear message, again these scenes are exaggerated for entertainment purposes and I am sure that this did not really happen, but that is not the point of them, the point is that they are there. Jarman is saying, ‘look I know things aren’t quiet this bad, yet. Are you going to sit around and wait for this to happen?’ and that was his response to the huge changes of 1977. I am not going to describe these scenes as I don’t want to ruin it for people, but I will say that those scenes have haunted my mind since the first time I saw them.

To round off, Jubilee is raw and honest, it does not hide and is not afraid to cross lines and push boundaries. On the outside it includes everything you could ever ask for, sex, drugs, corruption, murder, nudity and Rock & Roll. But look a little deeper and there’s a whole world of fascinating ideas and opinions.
 It makes you ask questions that you would rather not think about. It opens you up to a whole new world but for all of Jubilee’s quirks it still makes me laugh and cry like any other classic film would.