Category Archives: Rant

Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress

Asunder Sweet and Other_Distress

This review is written in a hurry. It’s written with a strong desire to say something about something magnificent. To say something now…right now. And it’s written, partially, to rebuke others.

I’ve read some mixed reviews of the new Godspeed! Some say it’s a bit ‘meh’, some say it’s treading water.

Well fuck them. Fuck the naysayers. It’s incredible.

Listen, Godspeed!, alongside Mogwai, for all intents and purposes, invented this epic orchestral dark/light post-rock stuff. And if they’re repeating or playing to a formula then, frankly, I couldn’t give a gnat’s scrotum. They’ve earned the right to do so. It’s one that they crafted. It’s one that they helped create. So, let them show all the wannabes how it’s done. And Christ’s soupy beard they do on Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress.

It drones. It explodes. It soars. It’s angular. It’s melodic. It groans with noise and harmony. It’s guttural and majestic.

Put it this way, by the time ‘Piss Crowns Are Trebled’ erupted I was practically in tears, shot through with yearning, loss, transcendence, anger and so much more besides. I very-much- really shouted ‘Fuck yes!’ at its climax. I was left in post-coital auditory stupor. I waited five minutes and went again.

Fucking yes. Buy it.


Jeffrey Lewis & The Rain: WWPRD

CoverJeffrey Lewis has made a record asking ‘What Would Pussy Riot Do?’. He wants anyone who does anything creative to think about the consequences of their art, because it has consequences. Sometimes it makes you rich, sometimes it can get you into trouble. So because “inspiration’s still the one resource the 1% can’t buy”, if you have an idea and someone wants it, ask yourself ‘What Would Pussy Riot Do?’

You might think he’s a naive fool. You might think that the music is going to be co-opted into some shonky corporate rubbish as soon as he releases it, turning rebellion into money. You might not like Pussy Riot’s music or their arguments. You might just shrug. Who cares?

Well I care. Not just what he’s saying – that he doesn’t like it when Beck’s music sells cars, or when Best Coast’s music sells booze – but the fact he’s saying it. It’s not about being the first to say it, it’s about keeping on saying it when – let’s face it – it’s a hell of a lot easier not to bother. But the best way to give in is to say ‘pfft, never changes anything.’

So thanks, Jeffrey, I’m glad you’re there.

The Guardian had him do some drawings, giving him different situations where Jeffrey is asked ‘WWPRD?’ They turned the last one on him, and he responded with typical wit.

Jeffrey Lewis - What Would Pussy Riot Do?: frame five

Oh and the song is great – you probably know what to expect, but if you don’t, it’s exactly what hardcore punk sounds like when played by a folk band. That’s a good thing, by the way, this guy covered 12 Crass songs after all. One of the two other songs on the EP is ‘The Fall of the Soviet Union’, another of Lewis’ fantastic lectures in the style of his amazing ‘The Complete History of Punk Rock and It’s Development On the Lower East Side 1950 – 1975.’ He rewrote all of the songs on Sonic Youth’s ‘Goo’ in iambic pentameter, too, and published it as a zine called ‘Sonnet Youth’. I’m not sure there’s anything he can’t do, really.

Here’s a decent-ish clip of Lewis performing ‘WWPRD’ in Cologne.

Go and buy it for £2.49 (digital) from Rough Trade.


The Blog Sound Of 2012

There’s probably nothing that divides and angers music lovers more than a list. So on the day the BBC announces the long list of its ‘Sounds of 2012’ it seems the music twitterati are already up in arms about who’s in and out. What better way then to quell the collective fever than to get a load of blogs to produce a list of what they consider should be ‘big’ in 2012?

It was nice to be asked, but given our USP and general tardiness we’re still slightly bemused why we were solicited to contribute to the ‘Blog Sound Of 2012’. And this is further reflected in that the long list decided upon included none of our shortlist of 5.

Anyway, here’s the blogger’s list:

1. Houdini Dax, 2. Lianne De Haves, 3. Theme Park, 4. French Wives, 5. The Good Natured, 6. Alt J, 7. The Jezabels, 8. Lucy Rose, 9. Bastille, 10. Washington, 11. Friends, 12. Meursault, 13. Daughter, 14. Beth Jeans Houghton, 15. Outfit.

[Lots of clips for these here]

Having randomly picked some of these to listen to – you won’t be surprised to hear we’ve never heard of half of them – we swiftly gave up. This doesn’t mean that there are some outfits in there that are worthy of praise, it’s just they’re not really our cup o’ cha. We are, after all, so bloody ALT…

The basic problem we have with this sort of thing is that none of the bands we think should be big are ever going to be big – not next year, not bloody ever. Sometimes that’s a shame; sometimes it’s a good thing. Still, here’s the five that we submitted because they’re fucking great and you should listen to them irrespective of their status and standing come the end of 2012. We’re all going to be DEAD come next December 12th anyway…

Trojan Horse:


Ghost Outfit:

Wolf People:

Benjamin Shaw:

#Urbis has left the building

The now ex-Chief Exec of Urbis stated on Radio 4 a while back that moving the National Football Museum from its present home at Deepdale in Preston to Manchester was “a no brainer”. I couldn’t agree with him more: very little brain power was used in this decision. Enslaved by their monstrous egos and blinded by their visions of grandeur, the top brass at the City Council simply pimped Urbis out to the financially failing NFM. Myopic, arrogant and undemocratic, once again the City Council have ignored any sense of regional equity or ongoing development in favour of its apparent God-given right to leach prestige from throughout the North West, whilst simultaneously undermining and rendering embarrassing any claims to supporting the creative economy. In a few years time their books by Richard Florida will be stained with tears as well as saliva.

I’ve said so much about this whole issue, and expended too much emotional energy, that I’ve become very tired of it. But there’s still more I need to get off my chest.

The decision to move the museum will only result in old mistakes being made again. When Urbis opened it had a fixed exhibit based on the urban experience. It was mildly interesting (too much like a busman’s holiday for me) yet tatty and worn by the time I got round to seeing it. And it was a one-visit attraction. The NFM will be exactly the same. Once again the phrase ‘white elephant’ will become a crushingly ubiquitous mantra in the local press despite it being banished to an occasionally heard mumble since Urbis’ much needed and successful rejuvenation of the last few years.

There has been much hyperbole expounded about ‘football being done in an Urbis way’. Perhaps, but this relies on keeping and/or attracting talented curators and managing to sustain exhibits about football into the future. There’s only so many ‘Footballer’s haircuts through the years’ and ‘Hoolie fashion in the 90s’ a public can take.

My suggestion is to clear the whole building, sit Danny Baker in the middle and let him broadcast to himself about ‘goals scored with weird parts of the body’, ‘the best pies in non-professional football’ and ‘who wore the tightest shorts in the 1972 West Ham Squad.’  Such a venture would be as (if not slightly more) entertaining as the collection of sweaty t-shirts, fading programmes and grubby ticket stubs that the NFM now holds.

However, across the intertubes there’s been too much new middle class snobbery in the debates surrounding this whole fiasco. Too often have discussions slid, sometimes only implicitly but often explicitly, into the ‘football is not culture’ territory. Adopting their apparent roles as cultural intermediaries and controllers of taste, ignoring the middle class colonisation of football and the 60 odd jobs that have been lost, these people should be ashamed and to put it bluntly, fuck right off.  Furthermore, there’s been too much said on how brilliantly Urbis ‘did’ popular culture, whereas as other venues only ‘did’ ‘elite’ or ‘high’ culture. Surely, and ironically, this distinction was kicked into row Z when Pavarotti sang at Italia ’90? Tsk.

With that all said I will deeply and sorely miss Urbis. When I visited the last and brilliant ‘best-of’ exhibition ‘Urbis has left the building’ I spent a good 15 minutes watching a rare video from the Hacienda including the Arch-Drude, Mr. Cope. Watching him mess up the opening to ‘Passionate Friend’, I was suddenly struck by the fact that I was sat in a public museum watching this video. I’m pretty sure I will never do such a thing again. This bothered me to both sadness and anger.

Anyway, a few years back myself and DJ DCM played an Indie set at Urbis. Actually we played records in a bedroom in our house, but it was streamed via the magic of tech to the virtual world of Second Life and Urbis therein. It was a very weird experience: me and him DJing in a bedroom to a few avatars in a simulated world with our respective partners downstairs taking requests via a laptop. I fondly remember someone typing ‘I fucking love the Wedding Present’ somewhere in the real world and it being relayed to us through wires and Miss S shouting up the stairs. And the texts from a friend insisting that we played some Gaye Bykers on Acid – something we resisted.

We were meant to have a follow up gig in virtual St. Helens. It never happened.

So my tribute to Urbis comes in the form of three mp3s of Indie/Ska/Grebo/Punk/Mod Gold. Some of it’s obviously Mancocentric, some of it very much not and some of it new. Which, if it needs to be said, applies to Urbis equally well.

So listen to these (with the following warnings in mind) and pray that an Urbis 2 becomes a reality, somewhere, somehow.

Warning 1: these are one long mix mp3’s so they might take a time to download. Track listing here.

Warning 2: the mixing gets dodgy towards the end of the third session. I’m afraid we were very, very drunk.

Warning 3: this product may contain traces of Goth.

Virtually Clubbing It: CD1, CD 2 and CD 3


“Oh God! Oh Jesus Christ!”


Maybe this is a bit parochial (and non-musical) but all the signs suggest that the largest share of Londoners who actually voted for their mayor did so for an upper class homophobic racist. Apart from making the must-be-soon celebration of Thatcher’s death in Trafalgar Square much more interesting than it would have been under Ken’s genial stewardship, and the prospect of Chavez invading to get his oil back, I see no positive news here. Still, it’s all about the music, so here we are:

Kill The Poor‘ – Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables

Machine Gun‘ – Portishead – Third

Class War‘ – Mission of Burma – Four Hands EP

JKneale – in the wicker man

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