Sunday, June 08, 2008

Weekender : how the mother-daughter bond can triumph over adversity

- Last week we gave a thorough e-tonguing to Johnny Foreigner, and as with Los Campesinos! we hope we made an impression on a few of you to go and give them a cut of sales profits. Indeed, in the middle of the week we saw them for the third time in a couple of days over three months and they were the best we've seen them, Alexei sweating his cobs off from first tapped note to final collapse over the monitor. And yet they weren't even the band of the night, because before them was a six-piece down on a rare visit from Glasgow to England letting loose ('playing' seems too recherche) an extraordinary set, full of nuclear level energy, impassioned chordal splintering and the odd sortie off the stage. A third of the audience cleared off afterwards. And just as JoFo put out a couple of small scale singles, bided their time and then unleashed a six-track mini-album in Arcs Across The City which served to give notice of a new and exciting addition to the top echelon of our musical world, so Dananananaykroyd, after creating a buzz with a couple of releases in 2006 only halted by losing their then singer, unleash six-track mini-album Sissy Hits just when the world was least expecting it (and when they were expecting it, given it was supposed to be out in March until the label fell apart). Their self-coined 'fight-pop' tag has been roped in to seperately describe ver Foreigner but their version takes much that same oppressive melodic freewheeling inspired by a litany of 90s American underground post-hardcore bands, add an extra drummer and slice and dice it up even further. It's an almost literally insanely full throttle record, a preview of an album currently earmarked for the first few months of 2009 that stands alone as something special by itself.

- It's difficult enough to summarise entirely instrumental music without heading down blind alleys, let alone when coming across a band who revel in putting together seemingly disprite elements. So here goes. Restlesslist - the omnipresent Thomas White, his Electric Soft Parade colleague Matt Twaites, two of hardcore outfit Zettasaur and one other - have pretty much done just that with The Rise And Fall Of The Curtain Club. One moment it's Joe Meek producing Prefuse 73, then it's Anticon scoring demonic carnival music, then Gorillaz on a chamber of horrors PA. Their enormous list of influences on Myspace includes Babyshambles, but that one seems less immediately obvious. It'd equally fit on a John Carpenter horror film or a B-movie car chase and in Brighton cut and paste band terms it's the dark yang to the Go! Team's ying.

- Something hanging over from last week that got lost in the general rush was the second in Darren Hayman's repackaging of the Hefner back catalogue. 1999's The Fidelity Wars, an 11 track album now buffed up to 40 with B-sides, rare EP tracks, demos and rehearsal recordings, was the first Hayman wrote in full but the second to be released, and given he thinks the first is essentially unfulfilled you'd have to wonder why. Anyway, ours is not to question such a thorough going-over of the triumphs and disasters of a relationship in the Richmanesque style "Britain's biggest small band" pretty much brought to British indie, and it does contain some of his most loved songs - The Hymn For The Cigarettes and The Hymn For The Alcohol were Peel Festive 50 numbers 2 and 3. Hayman and multi-instrumentalist Jack Hayter are playing the album and other Hefner songs at dates in Manchester, Leeds, London and Cardiff between 11th and 15th June, and they've probably all sold out already.

COMING SOON: Never, ever write Wire off as a band from the past. Last year's Read And Burn 03 EP was a continuation of the undulating form of 2006's album Send, and on July 7th they release an eleventh studio album, Object 47, named as it's the band's 47th release all told. The band describe it as "tunes with zoom", whatever that means, but preview track One Of Us sounds almost linear and commercial. Stress: almost.

MYSPACE INVADERS: We thought we'd done Derby's Plans & Apologies before, but apparently not. Right then. The biography on their official site (which includes a shitload of free tracks) is so long it gave us a headache, but essentially they're another of those bands in thrall to the scraps of slacker pop banged out in Malkmus and Kannberg's dorm many years ago adapted for the British odd-pop experience, veering from skilfully crafted mid-period Wedding Present/English Settlement XTC nods to tempo deficit disorder afflicted gaucheness with tongue approaching cheek. The other day Artists Against Success labelmate MJ Hibbett described them thus: "Five years ago they sounded like Los Campesinos (and various other Indie On The Radio-style bands) sound NOW, and NOW they sound like the Exciting Music Of Tomorrow. All the songs have GRATE lyrics and about fifteen tunes, and they are ACE."

VISUAL AID: Nobody reads our YouTube vlog so let's repeat this week's main point again. Clarence 'Frogman' Henry's Ain't Got No Home is currently being used on the BBC's trailer for Springwatch, but frankly if they're going to do that and leave out the crucial third verse the Government should think long and hard about renewing that charter. He could still pull it off in 2004. There's something unique and odd about a lot of world-spanning one hit wonders, which is perhaps why they only had the one shot at immortality, and let's face it all these artists will when the end of days comes be found in larger print in popular music's history books than, say, the Fratellis. The Big Bopper, for instance, who before dying in the Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens plane crash had managed one hit of significance and had sung as if on the phone to a loved one. The Left Banke's influential baroque pop and Four Tops cover. Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs. Barry McGuire's ever joyful Eve Of Destruction. John Fred and the Latin Playboys. And from over here The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and his helmet o'flame, of course.

* The Green Man festival has taken its life into its own hands and opened a free entry vote to find an act to open the event on 15th August. You need to register first, which is a double edged sword as they have your details but there's also a seperate draw the winner of which wins a pair of tickets. Voting closes on 28th July, and when registered you can put in votes for more than one act, and we wholeheartedly suggest you do, and then wipe your cookies and vote again, as there's some right shit well up in the voting already. Not some right shit: Napoleon IIIrd, The School, The Strange Death Of Liberal England, the pastoral roots soothing sound of Gindrinker, Superman Revenge Squad, Spizzenergi (what?), The Deirdres, Fireworks Night, Nat Johnson formerly of Monkey Swallows The Universe, The Gresham Flyers.

* More gig news, and a particularly special one to write about as it takes place on board the Bristol Thekla Social. Which is a boat! Look! And it was moored there under the auspices of Vivian Stanshall, when it was The Old Profanity Showboat. Anyway, it's been a regular 350 capacity circuit venue for a good eighteen months now, and on June 15th, next Sunday, it hosts an all-dayer under the name Abandon Ship. Adem headlines, with Johnny Foreigner, Hot Club de Paris, Let's Wrestle, Munch Munch, It Hugs Back and Lonely Ghosts (ex-Help She Can't Swim) also on a bill that costs just six of your English from the usual outlets.

* A film premiered in Los Angeles this week on the life and times of Neil Innes, although those people - hello! - hoping that it might just be slanted towards the genius of the Bonzos will be disenchanted to find it's called The Seventh Python. So yeah, it's all Bright Side Of Life, Every Sperm Is Sacred and Tragical History Tour, which is no bad thing regardless, and Eric Idle contributes despite the widespread belief that the pair had had a massive falling out a few years ago. (As for which side of the divide we should fall, consider this - Innes has played live with Yo La Tengo, Idle wrote Spamalot.) John Cleese, Michael Palin and Terry Jones also contribute, as do Aimee Mann, Matt Groening, Emo Phillips and that Stateside household name Phill Jupitus. Here's the trailer.
EDIT: We've been informed it doesn't actually premiere until the 26th June, and in their words "the Bonzos definitely get their due".


Dead Kenny said...

Climbed aboard the good ship Thekla coupla weeks back at Bristol's Dot To Dot. Acts I saw play there included Telepathe, Esser, Rosie and the Goldbug and Cutting Pink With Knives.

Bristol seems disproportionally blessed with unusual venues, as other Dot To Dot sites included a converted cathedral (Trinity) and prison (Fiddlers). More info when I finally get round to finishing my Dot-to-Dot overview, hopefully later this week.

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