Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Late Nights And Marlboro Lights

Lillica Libertine is amazing. End discussion. Think very scary hardcore electro, then raise this to the power 10. To quote the Californian Electro Superblog that is known only as MISSINGTOOF, "If music were hard drugs this would be government engineered black tar heroin." I could not agree more.
DOWNLOAD: Lillica Libertine - Loose Lips Sink Ships
DOWNLOAD: Lillica Libertine - NewYorkCityViceSquad

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

New Look for SGM

OK, I've messed round with the look.
The text was too small.
It all looked too dark.
Too much pink gives me a headache.
What does everyone think of the new design?

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Wombats @ The Green Room

On my first assignment for UK Undercurrent, I got free entry to the rescheduled Wombats gig in Welwyn Garden City. Myself and my friend Kalyan were collecting emails for the Wombats Mailing List and handing out badges. There were two support acts, the first of which I wasn't really paying any attention to, and which I remember as loud more than anything else, and the second, 'The Mourning After', despite having a really really horrendously awful name, sounded like they have potential to become good. A lot of the past gigs I've been to I have been around the average of everyone at the venue, and it was strange to be at a gig where almost everyone was about ten years older than me. It figures really, seeing as The Green Room is the upstairs to a pub.

Anyway, the band were on at ten and started out with what seemed an impromptu (yet clearly well-rehearsed) A capella rendition of 'Girls, Boys and Marsupials', to a rapture of applause. The crowd were relatively calm at the beginning, and understandably: the stage is about four inches of the ground, the ceiling is low, there's no crowd barrier - it didn't look like it was gonna be a night of wild dancing. However, a few songs in a moshpit erupted, and for some reason I thought it might be a good idea to jump into the swaying mass of twenty-something rugby types. Never Again.
They went through the majority of their songs in a set that lasted nearly an hour, and in between there was a lot of ruminating about the meaning of their songs, and general anecdotes. A memorable one was lead singer Matt Murphy telling us about how, on a train in Germany, they had seen some rabbits 'frolicking' in the distance, and a friendly bit of banter had started about whether or not rabbits are nocturnal. Several hours of internet searching later, they discovered rabbits are in fact most active in twilight hours, or to use the proper term, crepuscular.
There were lots of songs I hadn't heard before, including upcoming single 'Let's Dance To Joy Division', released in October. The finale track, 'Kill The Director', saw the crowd going so crazy the front row were falling over themselves and the second row putting a foot on the stage in order to avoid a massive pile-up, and the security acting as a human barrier. However, this was nothing compared to encore track 'Backfire At The Disco' that saw an all-out stage invasion. I must admit that I was one of the naughty few who spilled onto the stage (in my defence, it was mainly to avoid one of the rugby-types who'd had a few) but the band played on regardless. Absolute mayhem.
The Mourning After:
The Wombats:
DOWNLOAD: Wombats - Derail And Crash

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Blood Red Shoes @ Underage

OK, so the story goes that Ginger Rogers, 30s tap-dance icon, had to re-do a scene so many times that the camera man asked why she'd changed out of her white shoes into some red ones. She hadn't, it turned out she'd danced so hard they were covered in blood.
Ironic, it seems, that during the set of Blood Red Shoes, who got their name from the above anecdote, somebody TROD ON MY TOE and IT REALLY HURT, and then later on i took my shoes off and there was A LITTLE BIT OF BLOOD!

Photo Credit: hoombo choomba

Blood Red Shoes are a two-piece post-punk disco rock band from Brighton. The set-up is unlike anything I've seen before, like a double-backwards White Stripes in reverse. It consists of Laura-Mary Carter on guitar and Steven Ansell on drums, with both contributing to vocals. Their songs combine noisy, aggressive guitar, almost superhuman drumming and subtle, gently layered vocals that still sound good when the crowd are spitting them back.
The best track had to be the finale 'It's Getting Boring By The Sea', which I promise is an absolute killer I defy anyone not to love. The tune is immensely catchy, yet surprisingly tricky to remember; for me this is a song to play again and again.

DOWNLOAD: Blood Red Shoes - It's Getting Boring By The Sea (Via The Blue Walrus)
ALSO: Buy a wicked cool Blood Red Shoes shirt or one their records @
AND: Download the Blue Walrus Coming Back Mix, it's my official soundtrack to what remains of the summer.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

A Punch In The Face

Photo Credit: jez cave
After Lethal Bizzle, we headed to the Myspace stage to see Crystal Castles at the Myspace Stage. It was really annoying, because they had scheduled Crystal Castles at the same time as cooler-than-thou Parisian sex pests The Teenagers. Crystal Castles and The Teenagers are both blogosphere and personal favourites, and I was torn as which to go to. In the end we decided to go for Crystal Castles, because they were
a. WAYYY more energetic, and we were feeling pretty pumped after our half hour of shouty hip-hop.
b. From Canada, so therefore more likely to be elusive for future live performances.
c. Not performing in a circus tent, and we'd heard the Converse/Artrocker tent where the teenagers were in had a rubbish atmosphere.
Before CC came on, the crowd were rapidly filling with anticipation for their arrival. A screaming chant of 'CRYSTAL CASTLES! CRYSTAL CASTLES!' started out, and it quickly slumped into an all-out wail of joy as Alice and Ethan appeared onstage, sipping from cans of Stella Artois (Shock! Horror!) and eating from a pack of marshmallows.
I will now refer you to a review that appeared on blog bible Drowned In Sound:

"To really be effective, Crystal Castles’ malevolent, malfunctioning eight-bit terrorism needs to be loud enough to envelope the audience in its pulsing dark heart, to wash over you in ferocious, asphyxiating sheets of warped two-dimensional Gameboy glitches and bruising drum bombast that pierces your skull with their sheer shrill force, burrowing deep into the brain like a fever. As it is, owing to those considerate chaps at the Tower Hamlets council and the stifling acoustics of the inflatable stage on which they play, the would-be caustic choir of end-is-nigh sirens that layer the huge ‘Atlantis to Interzone’ remix with which their set begins sound more like a police car siren drowned at the bottom of a canal, Crystal Castles a shadow of themselves."
- Jack Shankly.

I Completely Disagree With This. The crowd were in a frenzy, the sound was almost deafening, and although I am no sound engineering expert, I am almost certain that Jack Shankly isn't either, so neither of us should comment on the abilities of an inflatable stage to project sound. I was more than enveloped in the music's pulsing dark heart, and the adrenaline rush was insane. Serious crowd surfing started, and the security were giving all crowd-surfers a decent telling off, (is it for insurance purposes or something?) whilst also finding the perseverence of some peoples' repeated attempts to surf to the front hilarious. The pit was open and as the ferocious, asphyxiating sheets of warped two-dimensional Gameboy glitches washed over me I was inspired to run in, fists waving, until I was pushed out by three different people roughly twice my size. Usually I am one to shy away from the actual 'moshing' but repeatedly I was going for it, especially when killer track 'Alice Practice' came on. This is one of those songs that is repeatedly referred to as having completely indistinguishable lyrics and for some reason I feel really proud of myself when I manage to work out what some of the satanic-sounding lines are, such as 'Drop it: it's dead' at the 1.57 mark. Despite the fact nobody could understand any of the words that vocalist Alice was throwing at us, a huge amount of the crowd were still shouting something along to the tune.

The set was perhaps the most surreal half-hour of my life: everything about Crystal Castles spells out something that shouldn't work as music. Incomprehensible screaming in place of singing, minimalist 8-bit instead of backing music - everything is wrong, wrong, wrong - yet somehow manages to be right. Looking at their t-shirt design, Madonna with a bleeding black eye, it's like they have taken everything about conventional music, boring popular music in particular, and punched it in the face. It's unlikely Crystal Castles are going to take over the world, and if they ever get a number one I will eat my own wardrobe. Thinking about it, it's a miracle that a band so truly innovative, unorthodox and downright weird have enjoyed the mainstream appraisal that they have. I love Crystal Castles!
DOWNLOAD: Klaxons - Atlantis To Interzone (Crystal Castles Remix)

Monday, 20 August 2007

Underage Festival

Two Fridays ago I went to the first ever Underage Festival in London's Victoria Park. To be honest, it was possibly the best day of my life. This is probably down to any number of the following reasons:
a. It was actually a really good event.
b. My tastes in live music are still a bit unrefined.
c. I am a very enthusiastic person about anything.
d. Maybe I just thought it was really cool and like being cool.
Anyway, I really should have written this ages ago but I went away for a week the day after and it is quite hard to blog from a depressingly windswept French campsite. The queue to get in was really long, and despite the fact it opened at 12 and we were queueing since 11.15 it was past one O'clock when we got in. This meant we missed the Errorplains at 12.20, but it's okay because the Errorplains really aren't that great. The security were thorough in checking everyone for contraband, including evil items such as chocolate bars, water and the public enemy that is hairgel. (Yes; a boy in front of us in the queue, who for some reason felt he might need to re-style his elaborate fringe, had his hairgel confiscated.)

Photo Credit: Photographer_Rz

We arrived in time to see Lethal Bizzle, a rapper who has recently re-styled himself as some kind of indie pantomine sideshow. He was wearing huge black sunglasses, a chunky chain made of wood, and a black t-shirt with 'LETHAL BIZZLE' emblazoned on it in bold white lettering. Lethal B is not my cup of tea musically, and I feel in no way compelled to buy his album, Back To Bizznizz, released earlier this year. However, he is pretty fun to go see live. The track that everyone remembers him for is 'Pow', which was released in 2004 and despite being banned by most radio stations because of gun references, reached number 11 in the UK singles chart.
The show was full of audience participation: as well as Pow, he performed new track 'Bizzle Bizzle' and MC Hammer's 'Can't Touch This'. With every track, the crowd were screaming the chorus lines and waving our arms like we were at a rap battle somewhere in the middle of 8 Mile.
I would be surprised if a single person there was taking Lethal Bizzle, aka Maxwell Ansah, seriously. His lyrics could have been written by a 12-year-old, and he was wearing a shirt with his own name on it. But it seems Lethal has found himself a niche in the market, as the grime sideshow at rock shows. This Autumn, he's touring with Gallows and then The Enemy on the NME Riots Tour. No mp3 links, because I do not reccomend listening to any of them, but check out his live show - I will be surprised if you don't enjoy it.
VIDEO: Here is Lethal Bizzle performing Pow.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

A quick rave, then a quick rant.

I just received confirmation I will be teaming for Hadouken! at their appearance at Bedford Esquires in October. I am extremely excited. Seeing Hadouken! at the ULU was amazing, and when I saw Cajun Dance Party at the Esquires I fell in love with was the venue more than the band. Hadouken! put on an amazing live show, and seeing them in such an intimate venue is going to great. I am going for free with street team organisation UK Undercurrent. The deal is, I will hand out flyers etc and collect email addresses before the gig. In return, I will recieve free entry for me and one other, and if I send them a large enough list of email adresses, maybe some extra Hadouken! merchandise. UKU is a great idea.
All Ages Gigs are scum. On tuesday night I was supposed to be seeing Does It Offend You, Yeah? and Lethal Bizzle, but they canceled my show. RARGH.