Goth Euro vision

interpretive dancers, gratuitous violins, extravagant hair… it could almost be a eurovision performance, sadly no horseheaded figure up a step ladder but you can’t have everything can you? Spectacularly grainy old black and white footage here from Riverside in which two members of the royal ballet accompany a version of The Cure through ‘Siamese Twins’. I have to admit to being stubbornly ambivalent about the merit or otherwise of the dancing but the violins work well. (it can also be found in much higher quality colour without too much exertion but for some reason, this is just better) I’ve ended up here on account of The Quietus hymning the wonders of the ‘Pornography’ album and trailing the paperback of Lol’s book. The description of events it includes put this performance about a year after a tour ending fight between Gallup and Smith I guess, explaining Steve Severin’s appearance on bass. Weird to be looking back from today’s perspective where several years pass between releases to see that despite the all consuming, band destroying, conflagration of ‘Pornography’ Smith hardly sat on his hands moping. By this point ‘Let’s Go To Bed’ had been a hit and he spent the rest of ’83 making the singles that became ‘Japanese Whispers’ as well as a Banshees album and The Glove record with Severin which seems remarkably productive, I’m a bit tired just thinking about it. It’s not the piece the record deserves but it’s not bad – a few insights tempered by some John R(ent-a-g)obb and poor old Lol, whose name would become quite literally synonymous with laughter, getting his due for a change. I can’t honestly say it’s made me mad keen to read his book, but I don’t often need much encouragement to listen to the album again.

In other vaguely cure related news Mogwai tease their next record with a lovely track ‘Coolverine’ which finds them sounding more than ever like instrumental outtakes from ‘Disintegration’. No bad thing to be honest. They’ve come up with another terrible, terrible title as well. I picture them sat about after finishing the record with a bag of cans and a bottle of Bucky daring each other to come up with stupider names for the tunes. It’s a hit and miss business – sometimes they’re gold but ‘Coolverine’ is definitely on the ‘you wrote this lovely piece of music and then you called it what?’ pile . . .

If you need a little more high-culture-meets-goth theorising in your week then tomorrow there’s this. A Goldsmith’s event remembering Mark Fisher and featuring Gazelle Twin, a reading of his ‘for your unpleasure’ essay . . .

K-PUNK – FOR YOUR UNPLEASURE

 

May Colossus, Yay Colossus

on the evidence of this new video clip it looks like the boys had quite a bank holiday. Nonetheless amidst all the woodland capering there’s a stern warning to us all, and that is – snorting unicorn glitter leads to morris dancing and death. Just Say No kids. New album ‘The Guillotine’ arrives next month when every Englishman will be looking around and wishing we had a strong and stable Guillotine. If you want you can preorder it by clicking on this cover image.

 

Just Say Gnod

 

Gnod Zammo

A couple of weeks ago I got the chance to interview Paddy Shine from Gnod for Narc Magazine, about their recent Just Say No To The Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine album (probably my favourite album of the year so far) and the current tour, amongst other things. Paddy was open, honest, funny as fuck and generous with his time, which meant there wasn’t room to include the whole interview in Narc. So here is the largely unedited full transcript…

Salford-based collective Gnod have been making music in all manner of styles and configurations for over a decade now, embracing everything from psych and doom to techno and at the same time becoming key figures in the development of the community of artists and musicians working within the now essential Islington Mill complex. At the end of March, the band released perhaps their most astonishing and uncompromising album yet, the bluntly titled Just Say No To The Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine, a five-track howl of anger delivered in a particularly ferocious style. But as Paddy Shine, one of the central members points out, it’s not necessarily what people imagine it to be.

“Let me start from the beginning, actually. The album tracks and the title were all written pre-Brexit, pre-Trump,  yeh? Everything was already decided, you know? And the album is as much introverted as it is screaming out about things. It is definitely calling out what’s going on around us , that’s pretty evident from the title and the songs – the anger in it – but the title was as much a poke at our collective apathy. It’s like that old ‘Just Say No’ Zammo campaign and all that… we thought, this is a good little poke at ourselves, how the fuck are we supposed to change the situation here. It’s funny, it is a political statement but it’s also taking the piss a bit too, and I think a lot of people have missed out on that side of it, because the album got released after Trump got inaugurated. All of a sudden we started getting all these email from people going “Yeh! A fucking anti-Trump album”, and we’re like “yeh, alright, it is that but it’s not just about Trump, you’ve got to take a look in the fucking mirror.” Change starts at home, doesn’t it? That’s the point we were getting at and the last three albums that we’ve done have been this progression – Machines was a very introverted look at our living situation, and how we felt we were contributing to our community. And Mirrors was sheer rage, basically. And this one was supposed to be a kind of raging bit of fun. When we play these tracks live, we’re playing them like there’s no tomorrow, really. It’s nice to finally tell someone what the album is, because a lot of people think we’re jumping on some sort of political bandwagon, whereas to us it was a continuation of what we already do, really.”

And what came first, the content or the sound?

“We started writing those songs well over a year ago, 18 months even, that’s just how they were when they were written. And how we always seem to work is that we start writing and a developing a new set before we go on a new tour, hone it down on the tour, and as soon as we get back we go straight into the studio and record it. So there was no great agenda, it was just a constant natural process, no “okay, let’s get angry and some political stuff”, that’s just how we roll. “

2 web Red contact

How’s this tour going to work live, in terms of line-up and instrumentation?

“There’s new tracks, old tracks and stuff from Just Say No. Personnel-wise, it’s the core four of us, with a new drummer and Fish (aka Neil Francis) joining us back on the vocals again. We’re pretty stripped down instrumentation- wise, for the full band stuff it’s just two basses, two guitars, vocals and drums. Pretty stripped down for a Gnod thing. But we’ve been getting more interested in electronic sets, so we’ll be doing some of those on this tour, which is nice because hopefully people are starting to get into the weirder electronic things we do. “

Have you found that the way you constantly shift styles has alienated people?

“It’s cool, people are starting to get down with that, At first, we had so many weird reactions, throwing things at us and shouting [adopts French accent]: “where’s your fucking geetars, what iz this shit?” But we love that, it’s great to do people’s heads in. I love going to a gig and getting my head in by a band, I might have some expectations and I want them blown out of the water!”

(There follows a long chat about the first time each of us saw Circle, followed by a discussion of possible musical influences in which I suggest the blend of anger, dub and fucked up guitar sounded like World Domination Enterprises. Surprisingly, Paddy hadn’t heard of them so I sent some links. Response? “That guitar sound man whoaaaa, fucking sick!”)

I wanted to ask you about Crass – to me there seems to be a parallel in the way Crass operated and the way Gnod do now – involvement in the underground, Islington Mill, things like that. Were they an influence?

“Definitely! It’s simple really: when I was about 12, 13, I discovered Crass through a friend’s uncle’s record collection that he gave us, and after about a year of us deciphering what the FUCK they were on about – we were just young lads growing up in Ireland, we could barely understand a word they were saying, know what I mean? Ever since then Crass, and Penny Rimbaud and Dial House, have definitely always been hugely influential, the way Crass went about doing what they did and pretty much changed the record industry and showing young punks that there was an alternative to big business. I don’t think they get enough credit for doing all that… People slag them off because they think they were some sort of rich kid punks or whatever, but they were true punks.. they set up spaces, and a lot of the bands I love from the late eighties and the early nineties, the weirder stuff, that all comes from Crass somehow “

And does that feed into Islington Mill?

“I don’t know how many people in the Mill are aware of Crass and what they did, or Dial House. We’ve got so many different people from different backgrounds…  we’re just doing what we do. I mean, obviously I’m influenced by Crass because I grew up listening to that stuff and being really interested in how they approached things. But I can’t speak on behalf of the rest of Islington Mill. The only way I could answer that would be in about ten years time when I’ve got a bit more perspective into how it all happened and how it all worked. Because when you’re in the middle of it, you’re just doing it, aren’t you? This place is organised chaos and that’s the glue that holds it together really, the chaos.”

Mill

Can I ask about the track Real Man? Is it a particular person or a composite of a particular type of bloke?

“It’s a whole bunch of people, that’s kind of been whittled down to one head, but it’s a head with a million split personalities.. . (laughing) You’re going to ask me about the Mark E Smith lyric aren’t you?  (Real Man has some lyrical nods to Hip Priest). It’s not about MES but I just had the opportunity to rip off some Fall lyrics cos they fitted. I have to work for a living, I’ve got a job, and a lot of my lyrics are informed  by what winds me up. And work FUCKING winds me up. Being surrounded by fucking dickheads particularly informed Real Man. I don’t like to explain my lyrics too much, it might ruin someone’s own interpretation.

Since I lined up this interview, I found our you’re releasing a live tape through Joe Maclaren’s Concrète label and now I’ve heard about yet another Gnod project, the Temple Ov BBV – can  you tell me something about that?

“We got invited to go to Eindhoven Psych lab last year, to do a residency which was to go in and jam with Radar Men From The Moon and then do a gig with them at the festival. But we said ‘fuck jamming, let’s write a really sick album!’. We had to jam a bit to get to that point obviously, but the idea with these things is usually the bands go in and wig out and play over each other and hope that something good happens. But we wanted to write four or five really good tracks and team up as Temple Of BBV. BBV is brain – blood – volume, which is directly linked to trepanation…

(There follows another long digression about trepanation, which seems to be cropping up all over these days, before moving onto microdosing)

 

“I’m a massive advocate of that, I’ve been microdosing myself for two years on various things from psilocybin to LSD and it’s had a massive impact on my personal life. I’d be well up for giving trepanation a go if I could find somebody to do it. I  just want the right medical procedure, you can do it in South America for a couple of grand. It’s only in western Europe where it’s taboo. It’s the oldest surgical procedure In the world, and it still gets practiced.

Anyway, going back to the album! This album was themed around BBV and… I don’t want to use the word enlightenment…  but something LIKE enlightenment through trepanation, or the idea of it, freeing yourself and regaining some kind of paradise lost, you know? I’m fucking pleased with it, there’s 11 or 12 musicians playing on it, a lot of it’s live, and everybody worked really hard. We only had 3 ½ days but it was one of those things you walk away from and go, “yeh, this is why I do music…“

When you play Newcastle in May you’re sharing the bill with White Hills, and  I know you go way back with them?

“We nearly always do a show with them on every tour, and we see them at festivals. We’re good friends… We did the Liverpool Psych Fest and Dave joined us on guitar for the gig, which was good craic but I don’t think he’ll ever do it again! We were out of minds and he was like, [American accent]: “how my god, how do  you guys fucking do this?!”

 

I’d really like to thank Paddy for taking the time to do this….

 

 

 

 

hyper-zonal

We’re pretty excited about Kevin Martin and Justin Broadrick’s new project launching at Supersonic . . .  Joking aside, Kev ‘n’ Justin have made so much remarkable music together and apart over the last 20-30 years it makes my head hurt to think about it and my ears feel old and beaten. Their various aliases could probably fill the whole festival bill and they’re going to be kicking off another one Zonal. Having officially ended Techno Animal, Zonal is whatever comes next although so far there’s no hint what it might be I can’t help think it’ll be loud and intense, even if it’s ambient. Last time he was at Supersonic The Bug played live with Dylan Carlson for the first time launching the now world beating The Bug vs Earth project. A bonus tune here from the album features, guess who? JKB putting some vocals over ‘Snakes Vs Rats’ for ‘Dog’. By the time this performance rolls around Justin will have just put out a second album from his own trans atlantic collaboration with Sun Kil Moon, while his JK Flesh stuff has abandoned the guitar altogether for dysfunctional industrial techno. So, probably not like any of that. Maybe they’ll try their hands at electro swing or something.

Dynamite Monster Boogie Concert

Dynamite Monster Boogie Concert

I don’t get much time on here these days, so props to Thee Monkey’s Claw for keeping things ticking along. I don’t get time to do the Panic & Carousels blog for NARC. magazine at the moment either, although people keep sending me good stuff. I get what I can in the mag itself, and I listen to it all. But hey, here’s a mix – all either not long out or not even released yet.

Some of this stuff might just contain enough rage to give you some sort of release as this whole fucking island topples into the abyss.

Also, pop.

Here’s what’s on it:

  1. Jac Berrocal, David Fenech & Vincent Epplay – Alienor en Aout (Pt 1)
  2. The Cosmic Dead – Psych Is Dead
  3. USA Nails – Play It Again, Johnny
  4. Ho99o9 – United States Of Ho99o9
  5. The Bug Vs Earth – Snakes Vs Rats
  6. El Mahdy Jr – Time To Sell The Golden Teeth
  7. The Pessimist – Peter Hitchens
  8. pHarmerz – Sheena Is An Acid Casualty
  9. Basic House – Janet Terminal Blue
  10. Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – Icon (Chlorine Remix)
  11. Pye Corner Audio & Faten Kanann – The Darkest Wave
  12. Portland Vows – Applications
  13. Nicholas Britell – Chiron’s Theme (Chopped & Screwed)
  14. Sophie Cooper & Julian Bradley – Love Letters
  15. Gnod – Bodies For Money
  16. Temple Ov BBV – What Happens To Memories When You Die?
  17. Part Chimp – Lies
  18. Bad Guys – Dickhead For Love
  19. Petrol Girls – Phallocentric
  20. Fret! – Surf
  21. Hey Colossus – Experts Toll
  22. King Champion Sounds – Fool Throttle
  23. Oxbow – The Finished Line
  24. White Hills – Attack Mode
  25. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizards – Hot Wax
  26. Mary Ocher ft Your Government – Zah Zah Pt 1
  27. Phantom Dog Beneath The Moon – All I Meander Even Ever
  28. $un $keletons  – Winding Down The Gramophone

 

Spring Communication

Freshly made for you! and cynically nicking its name from the Children of Alice’s new record and only slipping in a short exerpt of the track  – this is a mix that takes in a lot of the stuff from the recent EU postcards posts and shakes them like multi coloured sprinkles over the whipped vanilla cone of european unity. or something. Make mine a 99.

harbinger of spring

Jonáš Gruska  –  V dolinách/Píly
Children Of Alice  –  The Harbinger of Spring (excerpt)
Einstürzende Neubauten  –  Hymnen
Sias  –  Spring Communication
Unholy Satan  –  Let Satan Speak Through Your Anus
TapeWorm  –  Nahnitý mozog
Maoupa Mazzocchetti  –  Portion
Microlith  –  Acid in a Church
Pierre Bastien  –  Gnostic Illicit Song
Lumisokea  –  Jenseits (Dub)
Driftmachine  –  Gaukelwerk
Oranssi Pazuzu  –  Luhistuva aikahakki
Black Candle  –  Gray ritual
Mirt  –  Michael’s Theme
Leyden Jars  –  Industrial Estate Revolution
Banabila, Machinefabriek  –  Awake
Machinefabriek  –  Vowls
Jenny Hval  –  Untamed Region
S Olbricht  –  Rien
Gondwana  –  A Gospel Of Dirt
Jonáš Gruska  –  Teba hľadá duša má, pokoja nikde nemá /Pasa II.

 

Remembering Syria

Seems a good day for a listen to this fine collection of recordings from Syria. The country seems set to continue filling news broadcasts for a while to come as a gaping open sore of humanity’s worst failings, an ongoing war in which everyone loses. In Gergis’s recordings it’s everything else . . .

A jaw-dropping expose of music, news, interviews, and field recordings from one of the least-known quarters of the Arab world. The country of Syria has been politically and culturally exiled for decades by the western media, leaving little known of its rich heritage of art, music, and culture. Recorded and surgically assembled by Mark Gergis from two trips to Syria in 1998 and 2000, the first 25 tracks feature recordings made in Damascus, a virtual documentary of sound from the legendary capital including street scenes, a wedding, a mosque interior, spontaneous live music and interviews with citizens, radio broadcasts, a song about Saddam Hussein, and the mystery of an underground city called “Kazib.” The final 15 tracks extend to Greater Syria with the same approach, capturing live musicians, political opinions, radio excerpts, an interview with an anonymous homosexual, and unique sound documents from this small but highly influential corner of the Middle East.