Monday, 24 November 2008
Sunday, 23 November 2008
Hailing simultaneously from Glasgow, Liverpool and Bulgaria, Ladytron have been peddling ominous electro since 1999. Their most recent album Velocifero has garnered some ecstatic reviews, vaulting the band from supporting Nine Inch Nails to selling out numerous dates on their own worldwide tour.
Alas the London date of said tour doesn’t quite get off to an explosive start. Thanks to the misjudged bass rattling our ribs and overwhelming pretty much everything else coming from the stage, opener Black Cat doesn’t quite pack the punch it does on record. The exotic Bulgarian lyrics do manage to lend a considerable degree of foreboding to the opening proceedings, but Ladytron fail to blow the crowd away as they had probably hoped.
As they work their way through Velocifero, the band maintain an icy aloofness and fail to conjure up much in the way of stage presence. Although no doubt crucial to their dark and brooding image, this approach means the first half of the set feels oddly flat. Whacky, attention-grabbing stage antics are obviously not what makes a good live show, but I had expected Ladytron’s futuristic electroclash to be more engaging. Not a smile, not a move, they could well be robots, but then that’s kind of the idea with the ‘tron…
Their cold otherworldliness is exemplified by Ghosts, in which Helen Marnie dispassionately and unapologetically articulates ‘doesn’t mean I’m sorry’. Her flawless diction and nasal voice are quite distinctive and a linchpin of Ladytron’s sound, but lack any glimmer of humanness. Tracks like Runaway, however, reveal the emotional vulnerability beneath the detached exterior, the lyrics detailing twisted relationships and emotionally desolate lovers.
It is only as the show passes the halfway mark that some of the magic (and light) of Ladytron’s music starts to shine through. Kletva sounds positively dreamy and evocative, whereas in set-closer Seventeen singers Marnie and Aroyo really start to look like the formidable team they’re often billed as, alternating between staring each other in the face and looking blankly out into the crowd in a seamless visual display of cohesion.
It is in the encore song Destroy Everything You Touch that the band finally seem to take off, having spent the entire rest of the set slowing and ponderously gathering momentum. Marnie for one leaps up and down and finally dares reveal that she’s enjoying herself.
Ladytron certainly have the tunes and by all accounts the touring experience, but alas this cyborg takes a long time to warm up.
Photo by Hidden Shine on Flickr
Saturday, 22 November 2008
So the perfect opportunity then to stay indoors and submerge yourself in the best new music out there.
Here’s the first of many Is There Anything Else...Playlists to keep away the no money, recession biting, shivering like a shitting dog blues.
Oh Brooklyn. Not content with giving us Vampire Weekend, MGMT and Yeasayer. A whole set of new bands are set to steal the hearts of music lovers once again. Chairlift? Genre-hopping, psychedelic brilliance. Check them out at Madame Jo Jo’s Nov 25th.
Not from Brooklyn but the other hub of creativity over the pond, LA. Born from The Smell scene, their scatter-punk bullets will leave a little wet patch in your panties and heart as heavy as a ten-ton truck. Catch them at
The Dome, Tufnell Park Dec 2nd.
Theatrical, biblical, essential. Frederick Blood-Royale and his disciples are making melodramatic music like it’s the end of the world as we know it. Hey, perhaps it is.
Punching kids in the face aside, Jay Reatard’s brand of surf-punk will shatter your brain like tiny shards of quavers. Presumably from the packet Reatard stole from your sobbing brother. He’s ace and so are his live shows. Catch him at The Old Blue Last Nov 24th.
Thursday, 20 November 2008
After kicking off the tour at the Brighton Audio last night the female fronted Dubliners will unleash their Synth-Grunge concoction on London before headlining a further 4 shows, culminating at the Glasgow Barfly on November 24th.
Support tonight comes from a band as buzzed as any right now, The Electric City. Although unsigned the London 5 piece have signed a management deal with the same team behind Franz Ferdinand and the Kaiser Chiefs and will be looking to work their Scuzzy-prince-ish dirty disco anthems in front of expectant industry big wigs.
These are the remaining LOTW dates:
Thurs 20th Nov Camden Barfly - Fight Like Apes, The Electric City
Arriving in the nick of time, Leeds 4 piece Pulled Apart By Horses put traffic troubles behind them as they unleashed a volley of aggressive, angular riffs on a bewildered crowd rammed into the tiny venue.
After enjoying recent Radio One coverage and an eye catching performance at this years Reading and Leeds festival. A media melee at the front of the stage did nothing to distract a band clearly enjoying the fruits of their amp-melting labour. Soon to be released ‘Meat Balloon’ showcased exactly why the media and industry big boys are getting their panties in a twist as every frenetic-foursome yelp tangled its way around scratchy riffs and pulsating bass lines.
As the temperature rose and ears bled, To The Bones did nothing to stem the noise. Originating from Bolton, their savage cross breed of manic melodies and righteous reverberating riffs closed proceedings fittingly. Playing tracks from their critically acclaimed debut album ‘Duke Type A’ To The Bones Pixies-cum-Motorhead mongrel rock left a lasting impression on a wide-eyed crowd…even if it was just a ringing in the ears.
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Next week: ‘these are things I refused to listen to recently’ (thanks, Dan).
Abe Vigoda ‘Skeleton’ – Named after the “who is that guy?” character actor from the first two Godfather films, these are the bastard sons of Vampire Weekend with a brand of scattershot-punk-tropicalia emanating from the The Smell, LA.
Bob Dylan ‘Live 1966’ – The erroneously titled ‘Albert Hall’ gig at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester. The one where a heckler, disgruntled with his storming leap from acoustic to electric shouts “Judas”, to which Dylan simply retorts, “you’re a liar”.
Collings and Herrin Podcasts – Yeah the Adam and Joe podcast, with catchphrases and songwars is great, but Andrew Collins and Richard Herring do an hour of unscripted bollocks looking at the last weeks news that I relish every Monday morning.
Crystal Stilts ‘Alight of the Night’ – In the Jurassic way my mind works Crystal Stilts were supposed to sound like a cross between The Slits and Crystal Castles. They don’t. They are better than that.
Langhorne Slim – For a couple of days previous and everyday since the Borderline I have been ploughing through everything I own from Langhorne and finding stuff I don’t. Check out Daytrotter.com for 5 free session downloads.
Sunday, 9 November 2008
Among the obvious choices of films such as 'Quantum Of Solice' and 'The Other Man', the latest offering from award winning director Richard Eyne (Notes Of a Scandal). A selection of pictures soundtracked by the bands we adore stood out during the 15 day event. Here’s our pick of a very good bunch.
First up is the Giles Borg directed '1234', a heart-warming witty film that captures the independent spirit of starting a band.
Enduring the burdens of a job he despises and wallowing in the self pity of life without a girlfriend. Stevie and his drummer pal Neil start a band with Billy Dixon, an experienced and driven individual who helps the pair exceed the fortunes of previously failed attempts.
Grappling with success of the band and tensions between the members, the film creates an honest and original feel, something that’s previously been lacking in films of a similar nature. The Soundtrack effortlessly matches the independent spirit of the film, referencing Yummy Fur, Prolapse and Comet Gain while shamelessly rocking out with the backing of The Stooges, Pixies and Velvet Underground.1234 trailer
Next up is another British picture, directed by Pat Holden, ‘Awaydays’ sees Paul Carty (Nicky Bell) do he’s upmost to evade the tedium of a 9-5 existence. Whether he’s chasing skirt, fighting, going to the Football or taking drugs, Bell resists all normality and executes his role down to a tee. Carty, who’s left feeling bereft by his fraught family life and dull job, becomes friends with Berlin Bowie romantic Elvis (Liam Boyle), someone who shares his passion for old records and Echo And The Bunnymen, played during the film by The Rascals. Throwing himself into The Pack, a gang of Football hooligans Elvis finds it hard to distance himself from, Carty absorbs himself in boozy train journeys, violence and endears himself to The Packs general, John Godden (Stephan Graham). Set to the backdrop of the Wirral, a town suffocated by the iron grip of the Thatcher reign, Awaydays is an intelligent and superior document of Hooliganism, something that other films in recent times have tried and failed to portrayal. The film is as frantic and compelling as its soundtrack, a series of Post-Punk classics that accompany a deep and brutal story perfectly.
Telstar, a film documenting the life of genius producer Joe Meek, is peppered throughout with Pop cameos and a soundtrack so befitting of its 50s, 60’s setting. Written and directed by Nick Moran, Telstar is adapted from the stage to the big screen effortlessly and loses none of its original spark. From a flat on Holloway Road Meek developed techniques in recording that had never been seen before, produced a succession of hit singles and became the biggest producer in Britain during the late 50’s and early 60’s. Moran captures the essence of the story perfectly as well as doing justice to the hits such as ‘Just Like Eddie’, ‘Johnny, Remember me’, ‘Have I The Right’ and ‘Telstar’. Below is the Soundtrack to Telstar:
1. Theme From The Traitors
by The Packabeats
2. Johnny Remember Me
by John Leyton & The Outlaws
3. Swingin’ Low
by The Outlaws
by The Tornados
5. Don’t You Just Know It
by Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages
6. The Isle of Capri
by The Fabulous Flee - Rekkers
7. Play it Cool
by Billy Fury
8. Jack the Ripper
by Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages
9. Been Invited to a Party
by Heinz & The Saints
10. Be - Bop - A - Lula
by Gene Vincent & The Bluecaps
11. The Bee Song
by Arthur Askey
12. Just like Eddie
by Heinz & The Saints
13. Three Coins in a Sewer
by Alan Klein
14. Temptation Baby
by Gene Vincent & The Bill Shepherd Orchestra
15. Have I the Right
16. Night of the Vampire
by The Moontrekkers
17. Crawdaddy Simone
by The Syndicats
18. Please Stay
Love You More preview from Matt Cooper on Vimeo.
Love You More, a short film inspired by 70’s punk band The Buzzcocks centres around the day in the lives of two teenagers, Peter (Harry Treadway) and Georgia (Andrea Riseborough). A day in which they meet at the record store, discover their love of The Buzzcocks, fall in love and lose their virginity. Directed by Sam Taylor Wood, Love You More has already been showered with critical acclaim as well as being endorsed by Peter Shelley (Lead singer of The Buzzcocks). During filming Shelley visited the set and in he’s own special way thanked the cast with a rendition of an Elvis classic.
Apparently made for those who have tried to woo someone with a mixtape, Nick and Norah’s Infinite playlist borders on the sweetly/sickly taste in the same way Juno did. Starring Michael Cera (Juno) as Nick and Kat Dennings as Norah, the film see’s the two of them thrown together in the course of a New York evening. Nick, a ‘straight edged’ bass player in gay indie band ‘The Jerkoffs’ is struggling to get over his ex, that is, until he meets Norah, a complicated music obsessive, at a gig and their relationship grows in the course of the evening as they search for a secret gig of their favourite band. Directed by Peter Sollett, Nick and Norah’s playlist is AMERICAN there’s no doubting that but with a soundtrack comprising of the likes of Vampire Weekend, Band Of Horses and Modest Mouse to name a few its well worth gander.
Thursday, 6 November 2008
It’s the best I can do to keep from yee-harring after Langhorne Slim at the Borderline on Manette Street. It’s been a full 2 years since last seeing him play at the Knitting Factory, NYC, where he obligingly let two ticketless mates in on his request. That gig converted two staunch indie kids, fresh off their rights-of-passage-tour-of-the-world, to the dapper hillbilly-folk-country of Langhorne Slim.
Anyone new to the sound and exhilarating live performance he brings with the War Eagles (as his long standing backing band are now credited) will tonight have been converted too. From the outset with ‘The Electric Love letter’ to the crescendo of ‘And If It’s True’ Langhorne strutted and peacocked, hitting glorious high notes as well as he roused bar-room sing-a-longs. With no conceited mention of the previous days election result, modest acceptation of local adoration and a subtle approach to audience participation the set segwayed older, Dylan-judas-period-esque, folk tunes ‘I Will’ with produced and rounded newer efforts ‘Colette’.
It's not unusual to feel cheated by new material and hanker after older personal tunes but tonight no one did. Everything from the more recent self-titled album, and new unheard material shone like burning coal and welled up an emotional holler from anyone close enough to care.
Langhorne Slim ‘Rebel Side Of Heaven'
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
Past Ones To Watch shows have seen the likes of The Kooks, Editors, The Wombats and more recently Foals emerge from Camden’s sweaty-armpit that is Barfly to play under the bright lights of Brixton academy. A transition that comes mere-months after treading the beer-stained stages for LOTW shows. A fact that in no way went un-noticed by an excitable crowd packed in tight to see openers A Grave With No Name. How much of the excitement was down to the band and not the seasonal weather peppering the streets above is hard to tell but the Mt Jade Three piece certainly made a case for themselves.
Revelling in reverb, AGWNN’s shoe-gaze dirge filled the atmospheric air with every slight strum of bass. A bass which vibrated deep within the heart of every transfixed punter and added to the glow of red light that soaked the venue in a warmth. Stand out track, ‘And We Parted Ways At Mt Jude’ captured the essence of AGWNN perfectly. A searing wall of white noise only punctured by the beauty of entwined lost melodies.
Next up were Broadcast 2000, the brain child of musical visionary Joe Steer.
Backed by a group of friends armed with instruments very rarely seen on your average indie tour, the band wasted no time in endearing themselves to the expectant crowd. ‘Don’t Weigh Me Down’ a we say you say call to arms briefly stirs the tune appreciation glands within but it’s not until ‘Get Out and Go’ is unleashed that we see any real visual signs of excitement I.E feet moving in different directions and hands up in the air like they just don’t care. Check your bad self’s.
Broadcast 2000 really are a band to behold. They command attention with every passing second of their woozy Anti-Folk frivolities. Glistening with pitch perfect production and sprinkled with the ting and tangs of the Xylophone ‘Run’ closes a spell-binding set in the best way possible.
And so, with two scintillating performances in the bag Rogues are left with the unenviable task of closing tonight’s proceedings and boy they do it with panache and swagger. They have, in ‘Not So Pretty’ and ‘Carnival’ two cracking pop tunes that showcase their New Order –esque 80’s invention and hooks plucked from the deepest darkest depths of Julian Casablanca’s soul. It’s new-wave as we know it and undeniably love it.
Much can be said for the emergence of 80’s inspired bands this year. Mystery Jets, Ladyhawke, Friendly Fires, Late Of The Pier and Calvin Harris ...err ok not Harris but you get the picture. It’s been a stella year for donning shoulder padded blazers and spunking out hits from synths of desires. So much so every Dom, Rick and Barry’s jumped on the Ford Capri bandwagon with the belief they’ve got the key and the secret to actually being any better than the next band on the production line.
So how refreshing it is then that Rogues, four beautifully crafted chaps from Aberystwyth, emerge from the wintery fag-end of 2008 and stake a claim for the most exciting prospect of 2009.
Photo's courtesy of www.louiseroberts.co.uk