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 . . .



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.


How Do You Solve A Problem Like Korea?

We need Laibach now more than ever. I woke up this morning with the tune of ‘The Whistleblowers’ playing in my head. It’s almost three years since ‘Spectre’ came out and at the time it seemed a somewhat patchy late offering from a band on the wane. They always were a thrilling pantomime in the last century’s totalitarian vocabulary, one that was increasingly a fading and unspoken thing of the past. It now appears astonishingly prescient, the issues of political power, nationhood and communication that have always been their core concerns are once more become everyone’s heightened anxieties. Their work seems more loaded with resonance than ever. ‘Whistleblowers’ and ‘Eurovision’ should be playing on giant screens in public squares across the EU. The hand-wringing liberal worry about people not getting the joke is dismissed by fellow Slovenian/cultural mischief maker Zizek as a misunderstanding of their project. Of course Zizek, when you consider him and Laibach together it’s like each shines a light on the other’s opacity. Should we take what he says about them at face value or is he engaged in further provocation and myth making? This is not to mention the extraordinary event of Laibach becoming the first western band to play in North Korea. ‘Liberation Day’ the documentary recounting that historic and surreal trip arrived at the end of last year and is making its way around the world – tonight and tomorrow it’s at Glasgow Film Festival. I’m looking forward to seeing it eventually somewhere. They performed songs from The Sound Of Music amongst others, loved the people, struggled with the censorship and claim to have suggested doing ‘How Do You Solve A Problem Like Korea?’ an idea too good to pass on even if it’s not true. Their mission is blessed.






Dean Blunt heads over to Benidorm


Dean ‘wtf now Dean?’ Blunt has a typically gnomic new video piece up to amuse and provoke us. ‘Benidorm’ certainly shakes off the winter frost with an apparently sunny demeanour. A slightly imposing seven minutes long the track is made up of a series of short mood pieces, like a soundtrack or library music suite and it’s accompanied by a series of images from wiki how. So far, so random. A note claims it will not be on ‘Black Metal 2’ nominal follow up to his 2014 album. It packs a surprising amount into those seven minutes, feeling short by the time you get to the end. The images come from tutorials on how to remove and create dreadlocks. The repeating window and vent images are slightly Lynchian, the zooming in on still drawings just the vaguest little bit Studio Ghibli. We see a black guy remove his, followed by a white screen for a full segment of the track and then a white girl dread her hair. Not that gnomic then perhaps. There’s some Spanish guitar, maybe that’s why ‘Benidorm’. Perhaps he’s a big fan of the TV show? Or it could be the town is synonymous with the very crassest ‘little englander abroad’ behaviour, and our relationship with Europe is, hmmm, strained? very much at the forefront of thoughts this year? something.





from Jeanette Baxter –  J.G. Ballard and The Contemporary

Ballard’s ‘The Largest Theme Park In The World’ was first published in The Guardian in 1989, it is collected in ‘War Fever’

‘You stupid, vulgar, greedy, ugly American death-suckers.’


Happy Thanksgiving ‘Murika, Brother Burroughs leads us in prayer ahead of the feast. . . makes a change to switch from Ballard to WSB if not a stretch. Two sides of the same coin in many ways. Thirty years have passed since Uncle Bill penned this jaundiced litany of American ‘acheivement’. It rings true as ever, if not more so for this phenomenal horrorshow of a year. The sense of desperate panic and alarm at what has been uncovered in every think piece article looking for a scapegoat – Burroughs pretty much always saw it this way, he’d be appalled but unsurprised by events you expect.

Thanks for the AMERICAN DREAM to vulgarize and falsify until the bare lies shine through…
. .  Thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams.

Up at the top there is a piece of Burroughs’ work called ‘Star Spangled Banner’. Beneath are some of Keith Haring’s from their ‘Apocalypse’ collaboration. ‘Success will write apocalypse across the sky’.

Down at the bottom there, some more comic wisdom from Burroughs in ‘Why I Stopped Wanting to be President’


‘loathsome mis-shapen bulbous plants spring from their bones.’


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“All you dumb fuckers asleep on your feet.
Like an ox who loves the plow you crumble and repeat.”

1280x1280Are you feeling angry? Do you like noise rock? I have something for you. Google friendly noise trio Whores. are from Atlanta and they are here to kick yr ass and melt your face. This track at the top is my current spleen venting favourite. It was originally put out on one of Am Rep’s ‘Dope, Guns and fucking in the streets’ sets last year. It more than lives up to the big boots it fills and now appears on their just released first album ‘Gold’. It has a gold trashcan on the cover, what more do you want? Imagine if Henry Blacker were American and furious rather than three nice blokes from the west country. Imagine if Steve Albini had not mellowed and Shellac made a record that burned with the fierce intensity of Big Black rather than being a formal exercise in the workings of Rock. Maybe not that good, but y’know – pretty damn good. They’re touring with Red Fang and Torche if you need more pointers, better than either of them in my book. They have a nice line in titles too, check ‘I See You Are also Wearing A Black T-Shirt’ below, or  ‘I Am Not A Goal Oriented Person’. There’s a couple of early EP’s on their bandcamp, both worth checking out. ‘Gold’ is carefully honed. It sounds fantastic, crisp and clean and bright – plenty of noise but none of the murk you sometimes get in noise rock, maybe that’s what got me thinking about Albini. It doesn’t drag or overstay its welcome either, there are no crawling sludge doom epics here for once. Their songs are short, sharp, fast and brutal. Just over a half hour of blistering sonic therapy. I recommend it.