Pagina's

Sunday, February 28, 2010

ALBUMREVIEWS : BATTANT - NO HEAD


Still not convinced that the alternative 80's are back? Then perhaps Battant can convince you.
Even if Battant are part of the electronic scene (their album "No head" is released on the Kill the DJ-label) they have not much to do with it musicwise.
This trio from London are exploring the female post-punksounds from the early 80's and so you come to bands like The Slits, Siouxsie & The Banshees or The Popgroup.
It's more than just a tribute as all the songs are accompanied with a synthbeat that could have come from an old Factory-album.
Critics will say that in the 80's there were hundred bands like these and you have to agree with them, but is it a bad thing to bring such music back?
In the world of the current Lady Gaga's, we're in desperate need of some women with balls and that's certainly no problem for Chloe who swings throughout the songs like a renewed Siouxsie. A very nice surprise this one!
http://www.myspace.com/battantbattant

SINGLE REVIEWS : ELIZABETH FRAZER - MOSES

After a decade of silence, Cocteau Twins-mistress Elizabeth Frazer is back on the musical front with a first solo-single.
If you have to be happy with the result is a different matter as this single features three versions (well, remixes) from the same song "Moses" which is dedicated to her friend Jake Drake-Brockman (the keyboardplayer from Echo & The Bunnymen) who lost his life in a tragical motorcycle accident.
After the dismiss of the Cocteaus, it was clear that Liz wanted different areas to explore, just remember what she did with Massive Attack.
It doesn't have to be repeated, this is not the Cocteau Twins, and even if you want it to be, don't forget you have only the voice left from 4-AD's best trio.
All by all, you can say "Moses" is nice and gentle pop that has its merits and Liz has the kind of voice you'll never get bored from.
But if you compare this of course with all the genius things they did in the 80's, then of course the question remains : did we had to wait ten years for this?

CLASSIC ALBUMS THE WORLD FORGOT Mark Burgess & The Sons Of God - Spring Blooms Tra La


2010 will definitely be the year in where not only I retook my old life (the one from a zinewriter, perhaps I end up old and lonely...who knows) but also the rediscovery of The Chameleons.
"Why?" is a question I can't answer myself, but since some years (not that many, mind you) I stopped listening to their music which is pretty strange especially as I see myself a very huge fan from Manchester's finest, or is that The Fall?
Like every devoted fan I bought all those special releases (most of them on Imaginary Records) and you're happy as you have so many stuff from a band who basically only recorded 3 albums (if you don't count their comebackalbums).
In the 90's Mark Burgess, the leadsinger from The Chameleons, went solo with Yves Altana.
It's a bit like with his mate, and my other hero, Adrian Borland, as it took some time before I got into their solo-albums... It's only normal I guess, cos you're hoping or waiting for another Chameleons-record but it's a solo-album.
With this "Spring Blooms Tra-La" (a very stupid name, I know) it was totally different as on this double CD (well, it was a single one that had a bonus disc) you can hear the liverecording from Mark doing a whole set of Chameleons-tracks.
Solo is a big word, as not only he was backed by Yves, but there was John Lever (the original Chameleons-drummer) as well.
If you think aboutit, this was like the foreplay of the forthcoming Chameleons-reunion.
What makes this album so special is that there are some songs on here that never were played live by The Chameleons (like "The Healer" which was featured on the collectable "Tony Fletcher walked on water"-EP) or classic Chameleons-song that are differently played.
I rank this album between the lost classics as I don't think there are that many people, even Chameleonsfans, who own it.
It was released, and I think it's still available, on the German wave-gothiclabel Strange Ways Records.

UNKNOWN PLEASURES : THE GARLANDS

Oh my God, why are all the heavenly popbands coming from Sweden? It's not the first time I asked myself this question but so far I haven't found the answer.
The Garlands might let you think that they're some sort of Cocteau Twins tributeband but they're not...
This duo (they're Christin and Roger) are influenced by the likes of The Heavenly, Go Sailor and Shop Assistants so it's no wonder that they're the creators of great jingle-jangle indiepop.
So far they have releases out on Cosy Recordings and Cloudberry Records, so that says enough... At the moment of writing, they were part of the London Popfest.
Check out http://www.myspace.com/garlandssweden

THE SECRET OF KALAMAZOO OR THE WAY TO FIND YOUR FAVE UNKNOWN SHOEGAZEBAND...


The secret of Kalamazoo? Am I talking about some comic or the latest Indiana Jones-sequel? No, not exactly but near Michigan (that’s the US in case you’re dumb) there is a place called Kalamazoo and around 70.000 people are living of there. Among them you can find Joshua Garman and Chris Wahamaki, two shoegazers who unite their talents in a band called Crash City Saints.
So yes, here we are again talking about them. Why not? You read every day about the likes of Christina Aguilera or Lady Gaga and they have no talent, so why not writing (and thus reading) about a band who offers us the most noisy (and melodic) shoegazing stuff you can imagine?
Anyway, after hearing my Rhino Boxset from Jesus & The Mary Chain, I picked up without thinking their “Returner”-EP and it gave me the same vibes. The only thing remains of course that the brothers Reid are known everywhere whereas these two Americans are obscure as fuck. Or is it so then that this is just outside America?
Mind you, not all Americans are banging their heads to the tunes of Sugar or Swervedriver but it’s certainly so that the shoegazingsscene in America means something. In fact, did you even know that there is a shoegazingfestival in the US? If you wanna see it, you’ll have to travel to (here we go again) to Kalamazoo and it’s called Kalamashoegazer and shoegazing bands from different American departments are playing there. I know, it only makes you jealous and in some way it makes you sad not to be a Kalamazoo-inhabitant.
When hearing their “Returner”-EP, critics might think that they’re not original and from a band who claims that they’ve been influenced by watching too much episodes from 120 Minutes circa 1991 you won’t expect anything different, but the thing is that there’s now finally a scene worth following after a decade of nothing, so let’s celebrate that.
Maybe it also becomes the scene that celebrates itself part 2 but who cares about that anyway?
Not everyone I know is happy that bands are taking up old sounds but that’s bullshit. I follow music since the day I was born (well no, actually since I was 6 and I’m now 41, so count) and the list of bands who are trying to do what The Beatles once did is an endless one. And still if someone comes up pretending to be the new Beatles they’re hailed but for a band who tries to refine (or their own interpretations) from bands like Slowdive or Sugar then it’s like they’re tasting the forbidden fruit. At least it looked like this is changing…
Some years ago bands like Editors or Interpol were pointing the public to the fact that there was good music around in the 80’s. The 80’s were more than Cyndi Lauper, there was also something like “Pornography” by The Cure.
You might dislike both Interpol and Editors but these bands provoked a situation in where new bands (take for instance Coldcave) don’t have to be sound like the sons of Nirvana, or 10.000 times worser, the bastards from Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
The same is happening now in the States with the shoegazing scene. The hard truth is of course that ten years ago there were also shoegazing bands around (Vapor Trail, Deardarkhead, Spindle Shanks, Shallow) but no one cared to notice them, simply because the press decided it wasn’t important to write about such things.
Times are definitely changing as now there is something like a My Space Generation and without the help from the traditional press, bands like A Place To Bury Strangers and since recently Veil Veil Vanish are entering the doors of worldwide recognition.
What was caused by Interpol can hopefully be caused by them too, and if that happens then Crash City Saints deserve their piece of fame too.
If you wanna check it out then here you can find ‘em : http://www.myspace.com/crashcitysaints

ANOTHER FACTORY DRAMA (SECTION 25 FRONTMAN LARRY CASSIDY PASSED AWAY)


The older you get, the more you see people passing away. That says something about yourself, getting old yourself is the keyword, but it’s shocking to see people you admire getting away from this globe.
With Factory Records it’s like our economics, one factory closed after another and it all seems like little dramas (from Anthony Wilson to Ian Curtis to Martin Hannett) and Saturday 27th February was another black day when co-founder from Section 25 Larry Cassidy passed away.
It’s perhaps perverse to raise someone’s music after his death but so works the musicindustry and as it, sadly enough, will only be the undergroundpress that will report his death I feel the urge to say some things about Section 25.
If you thought all bands on Factory were from Manchester, you better know that they were from Blackpool. According to journalist and musicencyclopedia John Robb, Section 25 are the best thing from Blackpool ever.
The band was formed by the two brothers Larry and Vincent Cassidy in 1977, later joined by Paul Wiggin.
The band soon got the attention from Factory Records (bear in mind, that even if the label is a household name there weren’t that many bands on the label : A Certain Ratio, Crispy Ambulance, Stockholm Monsters, Tunnelvision, The Wake and of course Joy Division).
They immediately were loved by Joy Division and Ian Curtis would produce their debutsingle “Girls don’t count” in 1980.
You can divide the history from Section 25 in three parts. There is the post-punk sound from the first two albums, the electronic new wave sounds from “From the hip” and the comeback 20 years later.
From the moment Section 25 were signed they got all the “Factory-bonuses” as their debut “Always now” got released in 1981 there wasn’t only the production from Martin Hannett which gave it that typical cold Factorysound but there was as well a sleeve designed by Peter Saville which gave it its typical Factory-look. The yellow sleeve with the marble innersleeve must have been very expensive these days, and as said by John Robb one of the highlights of the Factory-art.
Later followed their 2nd “The key of dreams”. Both albums are examples of genius British post-punk and even if these albums were loved by all die-hard Factoryfans, they also were a bit the victim of the Joy Division-curse cos face it, how genius Wilson’s label was, all signed bands were compared to Joy Division or later to New Order.
A total different sound came with their third album “From the hip” which was produced by Bernard Sumner, and just like Joy Division were becoming the death-discoperformers from New Order , Section 25 also got involved in electronic sounds.
With this, the addition of female vocals came as well (Angela Cassidy and Jenny Ross, who later would become Larry’s wife).
It’s a stupid discussion to say which period was best, simply as it are two different sounds, but “From the hip” must be the most dark electronic sounds from the 80’s and it even gave them a minor hit “Looking from a hilltop” which today can be heard at various new wave partys.
But from then on, it all went backwards with just the 4th album “Love and hate” being released in 1988, but this album was in fact nothing more than a collaboration between Larry and Jenny.
The band had great plans for the new millennium as there would be a comeback being planned but sadly enough it all seemed without sense as in 2004 Jenny passed away.
Anyway, in 2006 the two brothers Larry and Vincent decided to give it a go and Section 25 would become a four-piece band with the addition of both Ian Butterworth (Tunnelvision) and Roger Wikeley.
They also had a new album out “Part-Primitiv” released on LTM, the label that is re-issuing great post-punkalbums from the 80’s (Crepuscule, and recently even a compilation by Belgian coldwave band Isolation Ward).
Some gigs followed and here played Belgium a big role. Organisator Les Nuits Fantastiques organised those famous Factory Nights at Plan K in Brussels.
Joy Division-fans from all over the world will know that Plan K is a very special venue for Factory as not only it was the sole place in Belgium where Joy Division ever played but it was also there that Ian would meet Annick Honoré, rumours say she was even there during the Section 25-reunion.
One year later in 2008 Section returned to Brussels but this time they were joined by Peter Hook who played bass with them (a year before Hook was DJ during the Factory Night), but then again Hookey never has hidden his admiration for the band.
With the death of Larry another drama happened in the Factory-history. A sad fact and all that’s left behind is the wonderful music Section 25 gave us.
Just like with every other death from a musician, people start rediscovering the art, and in the case of Section 25 I hope it won’t be any different as this band should have been more than a footnote, it should have been an institute. Respect is due.
RIP Larry.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

TELEX

Couldn't believe it at first when a friend of me told me that today (that's 27th February) Larry Cassidy died, but in the meantime it already has been confirmed on the New Order website.
Larry was the founder and vocalist from the legendary Factory-band Section 25. So far no details are announced. RIP Larry.

HEROES : NICO


Get into a bookshop, go to the musicbooksection and you’ll be sure to find one about Nico. Nico was a very charismatic artist from whom a lot is known, but at the same little as well.
Nico means a lot to me, perhaps she’s my fave female artist but that’s a question I never could answer.
The influence of her music is bigger than you think, some go so far by saying that she was the inventor of goth music and even if this statement might be a bit over the top, she’s surely one of the first artists who made a very dark sound. Don’t even know if dark is the right word because in all honesty, I remember times in where I was listening to her album “The end” all alone and it scared me so much that I had to take the needle of the record.
Nico was never born under the name of Nico, her name was Christa Päffgen. The name Nico was given by photographer Herbert Tobias after her ex-boyfriend Nikos Papatakis.
Nico’s youth always had been a mystery but what is known is that she became the victim of a violation by a German soldier who was sentenced to death. Both the violation and the death of the soldier marked Nico. If that wasn’t enough, Nico was also deaf at one ear.
By the time Nico went to Berlin, she got discovered as photo model and got photoshoots for the likes of Coco Chanel. But the big public could see her appearance for the first time in Frederico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita”. Not that the role is so important, it even was a sort of joke being made up by Fellini. She got invited to the set and Frederico liked her so much that he created a minor role for her in the movie.
Who was the one who got Nico introduced into making music is an open debate : is it Serge Gainsbourg or was it Brian Jones? Fact is that the first song recorded by Nico was a Serge Gainsbourg-written song (“Striptease”, but the track only would appear in 2001 for the very first time).
With Brian Jones, Nico recorded her first single “I’m not sayin’”.
Nico was the kind of woman who was noticed by everyone (there is a rumour around that she’s the mother of Alain Delon’s son) and also by the inventor of pop art : Andy Warhol.
Andy was extremely interested in Nico and let her appear in his movie “Chelsea girls” and the legend says that it was also him who wanted her to be part of The Velvet Underground.
I always thought the relationship with Nico and The Velvet Underground was a bit strange. Officially she was never been part of them, but I can’t imagine the album “Andy Warhol” being without her….even more, I don’t think if she wouldn’t be part of it that I would like the album that much cos not only my fave tracks are with Nico but from the moment she departed (soon after the recordings of the first album) Velvet Underground were never that good.
It’s also a rumour that Nico’s role in the Velvet Underground was so small because she rejected Lou Reed, she began a romance with John Cale instead…
Soon after Nico recorded her first album “Chelsea girl” which was produced by Jackson Browne with whom she also had a romance, Nico never was in need of lovers!
Even if her debut is quite nice, it stays to her standards a popalbum and the later dark voice from her would only be developed in her albums from the 70’s from which “The marble index” (this time produced by John Cale who then already had a glorious solocareer) is the best one.
“Desertshore” and “The end” were her other two 70’s-albums.
Nico was never afraid of controversial things, for instance there’s the known fact that not everyone was pleased with her cover from the German national anthem (“Deutschland Ûber Alles”) on “The end”.
On the personal level it got worser and worser for Nico. She got dropped from Island Records and she started that other life for which she always would be famous for : the one of a heroin addict.
The fact that “Drama of Exile”, the 5th Nico-album, came out in 1981 wasn’t that much of a coincidence. The musical world was aware of the new dark sounds by bands like Joy Division, Siouxsie & The Banshees or Bauhaus and Nico fitted perfectly into the goth-image (her albums were now released on Beggars Banquet, a label who had various American gothbands under its wings).
In some way, I consider the 80’s tracks by Nico as her best ones. Tracks like “Vegas”or her cover from David Bowie’s “Heroes” belong to my absolute faves and “Hanging Gardens” (which contains some livetracks) is one of my all time fave records.
Sadly enough the eighties brought Nico back but it was also the decade in where the world had to say goodbye to one of the greatest female performers of all time.
On 17 July 1988 Nico fell of her bike while riding her bicycle when being in Ibiza, the fall was caused by a heart attack but the next day Nico died.
She got buried in Berlin along with her mum.
In many ways the life of Nico reads as the ultimate rockhistory cos I guess she saw the holy trilogy (sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll) like no one else. But in stead of being some rock bitch, Nico made the most dark music imaginable and with such an unique voice it made her one of the leading ladies of the musicscene.
Nico’s appearances, how rare they were, always left you heartbreaking and it’s been one of the many mysteries why such a beautiful woman got attracted into a world of morbid emotions and drugs. Whatever the answer might be, it created Nico, a timeless icon.

ALBUM REVIEWS : LOS CAMPESINOS - ROMANCE IS BORING

And now a band from Spain, or aren't they???
No they're not, it was one of my stupid jokes but sometimes stupid jokes can be funny anyway...
Los Campesinos (Spanish for peasants) are a outfit from Cardiff
(but none of them are actually Welsh) whose music has already been described as avant-garde hardcore. Whoever the genius might be who came up with such a ridiculous term can go and order his place at the local asylum as this is nothing more than your usual indiestuff, only a bit different.
"Romance is boring" is already the third release from them and once again on Wichita.
Wichita always has been a label that likes uncompromising bands and that's what Los Campesinos definitely are. On this album you can find 15 tracks which are at first listen a collection of noises that comes from everywhere and it's even difficult to find a melody, and this stays so after a second...perhaps even after an eighth listen.
And yet, this is no art bullshit or so as they never forget the main factor : it has to be fun! Or perhaps it's the Welsh water....
"Romance is boring" is certainly not a masterpiece, it's even not a very good album and that's because it feels like you're listening to some bad compilationtape. There is no coherent line between the songs and sometimes you are wishing that their sound isn't all that chaotic.
Does it mean that indiebands must stay loyal to their indiesound then? Far from it, that has been proven this year by Those New Puritans...

SINGLE REVIEWS : SOAP & SKIN - MARCHE FUNEBRE EP


For those who lived in some cave, Soap & Skin is the project from Anja Plasch, a woman from Austria who is more and more linked to the ethereal darkness from Nico.
If you have heard the amazing debut "Lovetune for Vacuum" you will agree that this is far from being an exagerration as Anja has that seep deep nasal voice and not one second you're in heaven.
Just like Nico's music, Soap & Skin are entering the dark entries of the mind and what you see is far from being pleasant but it works like a magical light you can't get away from.
In various interviews Anja told that she likes to do her music in various ways and that's what you're getting on this EP.
The opening song "Thanatos" stays in its true version and it's one of the best tracks from the album but with the other remaining tracks you'll discover Soap & Skin in an other dimension.
It are two different mixes from "Marche Funebre" (one by DJ Koze, the other one by Yrasat) and it shows how varied Anja can be, from experimental noise to a jazzy David Lynch-atmosphere even if I must add that I prefer her "original style" though. But where as remixes are somewhere the most unnecessary innovations in musichistory (who wants to listen to an EP that features 5 bloody remixes?), for Soap & Skin it's a sort of platter from what she's able to.

HOLIDAYS IN THE SUN WITH LAS KELLIES


You can accuse me of many things and I don’t even mind if you do cuz he who’s not accused of anything does nothing.
And so it happened that I read the blog from one Mr Everett True (if you don’t know it by now, he’s the journalist who made Nirvana big) and if he loves something then it’s automatically a sort of click in the head that says : I wanna hear that too…
According to that legend (he call himself The Legend so that’s nothing new) I got introduced to a band named Las Kellies!
Las Kellies are from Argentinia and they make the most gorgeous punk I heard since???…The Shangri-La’s.
Are The Shanghri-La’s punk then? I never saw that on a jacket from some punk. Oh, go away they were more punk then Green Day will ever be and Las Kellies understood that quite well!
This is what I call punk rock, it’s very lo-fi, it jingles and it jangles but these three sexy ladies come up with the poppiest punksounds you can think of.
Will they conquer the world? That’s as stupid as asking if The Pope will ever shake his hips to a record by Unwound so I’m afraid the answer is “no” but come on…we’re living in modern times! Fifteen years ago, you have no wonder what you had to do to get some sounds from Argentinia, write a letter and hoping it wasn’t lost somewhere above the ocean but now you click and you have your sounds….
Anyway, swing the hips, pretend you’re a go-go dancer, put on a smiley face, you can even do some cooking in the kitchen but if you wanna be cool, get on the streets and grab some stranger by the shoulder and say : “Hey man, I know a genius Argentinian female punkband who will give you the time of your life”…if you get a smack on the face, blame me (that’s all I’m good for) but at least you tried to spread some important words…
Where can you find Las Kellies? In Argentinia haha…. But here too :
http://www.myspace.com/laskellies

CONCERTREVIEW : EMILIE AUTUMN (ANTWERP, TRIX 27/02/2010)


From the moment I entered at the Trix-venue I felt like I was in a set from Tim Burton-movie, everybody was dressed up like they were part of some fairy tale. It was even funnier to see that the main part of the audience were 14-year old girls who were wandering around with a wedding dress and a teddy bear in the hand, it definitely looked like Emilie Autumn were the Tokyo Hotel for the lost children.
A sold out venue and in no way I was aware that Emilie Autumn was that popular.
Her main work consists of the mediocre “Opheliac”-album which has now been reissued as a deluxe-edition.
Luckily enough there was no support act (I say this because most support acts at the Trix venue suck so much, you end up thinking where they do find them) but that was due to the fact that Emilie’s show is more like some theaterperformance.
Before they entered the set, the audience were bored (well, I was bored anyway) with songs from the Disney-cartoon “Alice in Wonderland” and as soon as Emilie and her four comprades got on stage, it seemed that this would be something totally different.
Emilie is joined by four girls are each a strange phenomenom themselves (there’s a travestite, there’s one who is into SM…), not exactly the stuff you want to give to your 14 year old daughter.
The gig lasted two hours but it was 90 minutes too long. After each song there were dull conversations about the art of sex (never in a vulgar way though) and the show was more important than the music itself.
Can we talk about music anyway? Apart from a violin (she used it once and she’s known as an ultimate violin-player, so get that!) and a harpsichord, all music was prerecorded.
The music from Emilie Autumn seems to be a bizarre mix from Tori Amos and American nu-gothic, in some songs it works but they never were trying hard as they must have thought that the image conquers all.
Emilie Autumn wants to be schocking but then in a Barbieway. When one of her dancers invited two minor girls to join her on stage and share with her a lesbian kiss, it might be provoking but it doesn’t save the poor music.
The crowd soon divided in two : the die-hard screaming teenage girls and people like me who were hoping that they finally would play some decent music instead of the fairy tale-crap.
The most funny thing came at the end of the evening when parents could enter free and picked up the last songs while waiting for their daughter, you saw in their eyes a scary view that said : “What has to become of our Melanie when she adores such things?”.
I’m sure Melanie might be different, but she’ll be left with a poor musical taste.

Friday, February 26, 2010

INTERVIEW WITH LUXURY STRANGER


Bands don’t like to be pigeonholed, that’s nothing new and for some reason quite understandable but the big problem is that small bands needs to be pigeonholed. I mean, everyone knows how REM sounds like so that needs no introduction but if you’re trying to cause a commotion about some new bands then pigeonholing are the sole bullets you have to convince an audience.
If I tell you Luxury Stranger are good, would you care? But if I tell you that these Brits sound as exciting as once The Cure or The Chameleons were, what are you doing then? And if Luxury Stranger will be known in ten years time (always possible, never say never!) no one has to use these bands as Luxury Stranger will then be known as Luxury Stranger.
Just before the band goes on tour with Levinhurst (the newest outfit from ex-Curemember Lol Tolhurst), frontman Simon York was so kind to do an in depth interview with our zine. Many thanks to you, Simon, for this great talk! And apart from that we share something : our fave album of all time!!!

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELVES AND HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC THEN?

Hello there, I am Simon York – I’m the vocalist/frontman and guitarist in Luxury Stranger. With me in the band is Chris Ruscoe on bass guitar and Paul Sycamore on drums.
Luxury Stranger’s music can be described in many ways, depending on one’s own listening references. But generally the words ‘dark’, ‘emotional’, ‘sexual’, ‘powerful’ and ‘fresh’ turn up in most people’s description of Luxury Stranger.

IT’S CLEAR THAT IF YOU HEAR LUXURY STRANGER’S MUSIC, YOU START THINKING OF 80’S WAVEBANDS LIKE THE CHAMELEONS, PSYCHEDELIC FURS OR THE CURE, NOT?

I guess there are some ‘sonic links’ to those bands – one of which we’d never actually listened to until one of our fans made reference... But we’re not trying to be or replicate the work of any of the bands people link us to. We have influences, some of which hardly ever seem to be picked up on funnily enough (for example Depeche Mode, David Bowie, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Joy Division and many more), and we’re doing our own thing.
Maybe sub-consciously we’re taking what influenced us on to the next step that we and our fans wanted to hear. For example, if Simon Gallup hadn’t left the Cure after Pornography or if Bowie and Pop had stayed in Berlin a little longer with Eno or if Ian Curtis hadn’t died and the remainder of Joy Division hadn’t turned into New Order – what would have the next album been like?... We’re not just influenced by music and it’s nice that just every once in a while, someone picks up on that.

I CAN’T SAY I’M A BIG FAN, BUT HAVING THAT SAID I’M RATHER THANKFUL THAT THERE ARE BANDS AROUND LIKE INTERPOL OR EDITORS WHO WOKE UP THE WORLD BY SAYING THAT THE 80’S WERE MORE THAN KYLIE MINOGUE...

(Laughs) Yes, I agree – although there was also much more to the late 70s/early 80s than Joy Division... and I think some people seem to forget that. Manchester was more than just a couple of bands who managed to make a mark in the mainstream. The same goes for in London and other parts on the UK. You mentioned the Cure earlier – when people refer to us and the Cure in the same sentence, they tend to think about ‘Love Cats’ or ‘Friday I’m in Love’. What I’m personally influenced by if and when it comes to the Cure is the first four albums from 79 – 82, after that I’m not particularly interested.

WHAT I ALSO MEANT WITH THE QUESTION ABOVE IS THAT I THINK THAT DUE TO THE SUCCESS OF BANDS LIKE EDITORS, THERE IS A MARKET FOR LUXURY STRANGER. I MEAN IF YOU WOULD COME UP WITH THAT MUSIC TEN YEARS AGO, PEOPLE WOULDN’T EVEN NOTICED YOU IF YOU WERE PERFORMING IN THE TUBESTATION…

Ah the irony... sorry, private joke. To be honest I was doing an early/immature form of Luxury Stranger’s music ten years or more ago. In fact it does make me chuckle when people say “Simon, your vocal style is similar to that of the guy from the Editors” especially since I’ve been in this game a lot longer than he has... and I probably have a much wider range than him anyway. But there’s no need to go into that... I would also say that Luxury Stranger would be noticed, no matter what time frame it was set in. Luxury Stranger seems to turn heads and keep eyes of audiences drawn centre to the stage.
It does annoy me when people find the need to compare – and I once said this to Mick Mercer – people seem to have the need to compare, especially in the UK, and I think this makes them feel it’s safe or okay to like a new band because they can put them in the REM box or the Cure envelope or on the Editors shelf and so on... I don’t think people realise that new bands are trying to make their own mark, yes they have influences but they’re not tribute bands. For example – there were more people than Robert Smith in the 80s with spiked hair... (laughs) besides, if say I went completely bald would a new listener/viewer of Luxury Stranger accuse me of trying to rip off Michael Stipe or Billy Corgan? I sometimes wonder if the classic painters had a time of it – “Oh Raphael, your work is so similar to that of Leonardo and Michelangelo”. Well, there’s only so much one can do with paint and a brush. (smiles)

READING YOUR BIOGS, YOU’RE NOT NEWIES IN THE MUSICSCENE…WHAT DO YOU THINK FROM IT….IS IT BETTER NOW (MY SPACE, NO RECORDSELLING BUT DOWNLOADS) THEN TEN YEARS AGO?

Personally I prefer ‘good old’ – going to a record shop and buying a record or CD, taking it home on the bus feeling the excitement and frustration being stuck in traffic, running up stairs to one’s bedroom and listening to the said bought album while looking at the artwork and reading the lyrics and then playing your guitar to it trying to work out the best track.

I believe there is less passion about music and those that create music nowadays. Oscar Wilde once said, "Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation." I think this is still the case today. People are too concerned with aesthetics and what their friends think and do. It used to be a case where someone would like a band or solo performer because they were doing something that stuck out or was jusy different to everything going around the circuit at that time. That’s why Punk worked at the time it broke out... people felt the need to rebel. Now, few people wish to rebel or just stand out because it’s seen as too weird to stand out. People find themselves bullied or worse due to them making a choice and doing something slightly different at a given time period... and, in my opinion, that is what could kill certain forms of music and art unless people continue to discover what their friends aren’t listening to and continue to support the stuff that’s making a noise that isn’t manufactured and pushed upon people in the ‘socially acceptable’ way.

There doesn’t seem to be any soul in the industry anymore and I don’t think there many people seeing meaning behind music and that could be why many people are stunned when they see one of our live shows – the power and passion put into each performance whether there are 3, 30 or 300 people in the room... it is always immense. I believe there will be less ‘this is our song’ type scenarios from young lovers in the next 10 or so years... or more likely more people will own the same song due to the way things are pushed on to them by media and peers. Imagine how boring live will be then...

Music should NOT be free – this is not my opinion, it is fact – a hell of a lot of work, time and money goes into creating, rehearsing and performing music (and all forms of art for that matter)... next you’ll tell me that there’s going to be free brain surgery and people emptying our trash for free... (laughs). It is a basic human right to eat food and drink water but we don’t get any of that for free – we buy food from markets or seeds to grow food and we pay water rates – so why should what is seen as a ‘luxury’ be deemed as free-of-charge?

I ALWAYS SAY IT’S GREAT NOW THAT PEOPLE CAN DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES RATHER THAN LIKING WHAT’S BEEN DESCRIBED IN MUSICMAGS, BUT IT FEELS LIKE PEOPLE ARE DROWNING IN THE SEA OF UNSIGNED AND SMALL BANDS TOO, NOT?

There are too many bands – the majority of them are rubbish and wasting the time of themselves, the promoters, the venues and punters... That’s why the industry has gone to the dogs in the UK because there’s been a spate of rubbish bands that have wasted the time of promoters etc and that’s why hardly any bands tend to get paid now in the UK. I remember when you could play a show in a bar and get either 10% of the bar takings or be paid at least £100 for playing a show. But now the rubbish has made it so nobody goes to see live bands as much, it’s made it much more difficult to be a professional musician. I’ve seen a few unsigned bands that just look like they don’t really want to be in a band, they just want to be ‘cool’ or have a nice girlfriend and see the band as a way of achieving that...

THE BAND’S NAME LUXURY STRANGER…..A SPECIAL MEANING OR JUST NICE SOUNDING?

Everything I do has meaning... (winks) The band’s name has two meanings:
1) A stranger who is luxurious – This kind of links to my interest in the ‘man about town’ or the Jack the Ripper/Morriaty character... the ‘Dickensian Mod’.
2) A luxury that is stranger than others – Around the time I was working on material for the first album I was further-exploring a lot of fetish ideas and ideals... and I liked that it could be reflected into the identity or moniker of my band.

HOW STUPID IT MAY SOUND, WHAT ARE YOUR MOMENTS OF “FAME” YET AND WHAT ARE THE GOALS IN THE FUTURE?

Moments of fame... depends on one’s point of view really. I always think the best things so far are playing to a massive crowd at the Y Not festival in UK and playing to a packed out venue in Dresden with Die Art. We also have the Levinhurst shows in early March... the Wave Goth Treffen festival in May...
I think to be fair, every moment that Luxury Stranger achieves something – be it positive or negative – it’s a ‘moment of fame’, it’s part of our story and I would say that our future goal is to continue that story and follow the path with great success...

LAST QUESTIONS ARE QUESTIONS I ALWAYS ASK, I CALL IT THE TRADITIONAL ORIGINAL SIN-QUESTIONS… WHAT’S YOUR FAVE RECORD OF ALL TIME AND WHY?

Grrr... I hate questions like that as I have so many favourite records. Can’t I have a ‘top 10 desert island discs’? I could say the Cure’s Faith or Pornography or Depeche Mode’s Black Celebration or Ultra, The Stone Roses’ eponymous album or Pearl Jam’s ‘Ten’... Oh well. I would say ‘Low’ by David Bowie. It’s one album that has influenced me in all aspects of my music, be it ambient, orchestral or rock/post-punk and it all started when my Dad played that album on Sundays at dinner times when I was a child – in fact, not too long after the album came out... it’s moisturiser – seriously (winks).

WITH WHO WOULDN’T YOU MIND BEING STUCK IN AN ELEVATOR FOR 8 HOURS AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO THEN?

I wouldn’t want to be with any of my ‘musical idols’ as I think I’d be disappointed. There is a girl on our Myspace friends list... but then that would be naughty. Maybe an Elevator Engineer – he could take eight hours to fix a simple task, therefore getting paid over-time and having a nice conversation with me while showing me how to fix an elevator should I find myself in a similar situation. Then afterwards I’d buy him a beer or two...

DO YOU WANT TO SAY SOMETHING SPECIAL TO OUR READERS?

Be strange and luxurious... (smiles)

THANK YOU!!!!!!

Thank you, be seeing you :o)

INTERVIEW WITH WHIRL


They love the scene that celebrates itself…that name alone, think about it : the scene that celebrates itself. For anyone who never had a Melody Maker or an NME in their hands, they mean the shoegazing scene. Back then despised by the serious musicians (they all wanted Nirvana) but twenty years later in times where the music seems to have no new direction, all the new promising bands are graving back into the 80’s or in Whirl’s case the shoegazing scene.
They’re from California and they have released their demo which promises a lot for their forthcoming EP, here’s our chat with Nick….

HELLO, CAN YOU PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC THEN?

Hey there, my name is Nick and I play guitar in a band called Whirl.
Our music is shoegaze/dreampop that draws from bands of the late 80's and early 90's such as The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Lush, Ride, etc, basically all the bands of "The scene that celebrates itself era".


I GUESS YOU DON’T MIND IF I TELL YOU THAT YOU’RE SOUNDING LIKE MY BLOODY VALENTINE……

Ha ha, Well we love My Bloody Valentine and they are definitely a huge influence on the band, but I wouldn't say we necessarily sound like them.


HOW DO YOU REACT IF PEOPLE SAY YOU’RE NOT ORIGINAL….
I MEAN I THINK IT’S UNFAIR, IF A BAND COPIES THE BEATLES THEN IT’S LIKE “OH HALLELUJAH, THE NEW BEATLES HAVE ARRIVED” BUT IF THEY COPY
MY BLOODY VALENTINE IT’S LIKE YOU MUST BE ASHAMED, NOT?

Well I think it really depends on how you classify "unoriginal", we obviously sound similar to the bands of the late 80's and early 90's but that's where our influences lay so that's expected. However if you compare us to a majority of the shoegaze bands that are emerging now alot of them are going toward an electronic based sound, so in a sense we are original because we aren't following the same path as the current bands.


SORRY FOR TELING BUT WITH TWO SONGS AS RELEASE, THAT’S NOT MUCH, NOT?
Well it's just a demo that we D.I.Y recorded to get our name out, we are currently writing and preparing to record for an EP.

HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE CALIFORNIAN SCENE IF THERE IS ONE?

I really couldn't tell you, there isn’t much of a shoegaze scene here in California.

DO YOU THINK A BAND LIKE YOURS CAN PROFIT FROM THE SUCCESS FROM BANDS LIKE BIG PINK OR A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS?

I'm not sure, those are both very good and respectable bands but we aren't aiming to profit from their success, we're just writing music we enjoy and hopefully other people will enjoy it as well.


I FOLLOW THE MUSICSCENE SINCE 25 YEARS IN A RATHER OBSESSIVE WAY AND EVEN IF I THINK THE US ALWAYS HAD THEIR TALENTS, I THINK IT’S STUNNING TO SEE THAT THE BEST STUFF COMING OUT IN 2010 IS AMERICAN STUFF, HOW COME?

Ha ha I guess the U.K had their era in the 80's-90's, 2010 is our turn.


MANY BANDS ARE PICKING UP AGAIN THE SHOEGAZESOUND, DO YOU THINK THAT’S A TREND OR A VAST INGREDIENT FOR THE FUTURE?

Well I believe music trends tend to repeat themselves every twenty years or so, so it's about time for shoegaze to have it's revival.


HOW STUPID IT MAY SOUND, WHAT ARE YOUR MOMENTS OF “FAME” YET AND WHAT ARE THE GOALS IN THE FUTURE?

Ha ha we haven't had any moments of fame so far, the closest thing to fame is people telling us they like the music and buying our tape.
As for the future, develop a decent fan base, tour, release an E.P and hopefully sign to a label.


LAST QUESTIONS ARE QUESTIONS I ALWAYS ASK, I CALL IT THE TRADITIONAL ORIGINAL SIN-QUESTIONS…
WHAT’S YOUR FAVE RECORD OF ALL TIME AND WHY?

Without a doubt, The Smiths Self Titled album.
It came to me at an important time in my life and helped me cope with everything I was going through at the time, not to mention everything about that album and band is 100% solid.


WITH WHO WOULDN’T YOU MIND BEING STUCK IN AN ELEVATOR FOR 8 HOURS AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO THEN?

Sara Kiersten Quin, and actions speak louder than words, ha ha.


DO YOU WANT TO SAY SOMETHING SPECIAL TO OUR READERS?

Thanks to anyone who listens to our music, buys our tape, and spreads word of us.
it means the world.

THOUGHTS...

Today it'll be two months since I decided to restart The Original Sin. In all honesty, I am quite flattered with the positive mails en encouragements I got.
Am I satisfied myself? Partly, as a full satisfied man can better stop living.
But joking aside, I feel the need to make The Original Sin a bit more vivid as the worst thing that can happen is falling into routine. Routine can be found at your daily work but in a blog like this you have to be entertained....
I am trying to avoid to bring up a list from 500 albumreviews and 500 concertreviews.
Believe me, you'll find them but there will be much more things to come...and the bands will always be in the centre, why else would I have start this zine for, anyway?
After two months I wanna thank everybody who helped to spread the word and of course all the bands that got involved. Ending the first chapter (there was never a first chapter but it sounds good, not?) it was perfect to have Jyoti from White Town as our guest.
The Original Sin will change a bit in the future though....
The first "invention" is called "thoughts". Those who knew TOS as a paperzine will surely remember the first intro-page in where I was regarding something...going from the thoughts about being veggie till Bush bombing Iracq till the latest Manic Street Preachers...a bit of everything. That intropage will come back, but as you can't have an intropage on a blog it'd be called "Thoughts".
Secondly there will be more posts, so in other words more readings... Perhaps it might be arrogant to think (to hope?) but I want The Original Sin to be your daily music paper, I mean I'm hoping you'll be peeping every day to see what's hot and what's not....
There will be more articles, perhaps some more lousy talk who knows, about what I wanna be heard : yes, in England they call that hyping....
I kind of hope that finally some Belgian bands do react to my mails as well. Some accuse me of being an anglophiliac (which I'm not) but the naked truth is that I got 2 reactions from Belgian bands (The Last Ordinary Seaman, Falling Man) where as all the British and American ones responded immediately, not even one around who didn't react...if this is a musicfanzine written by a Belgian without Belgian bands then all I can say is : so be it...but if you're still interested you know where I live.
If you wanna know how I promote this blog then I guess I'm some kind of whore (a cheap one, mind you) who is trying to get some readers throughout the Facebook-system and after two months, I saw it worked. Even Freddie Mercury thought the show must go on, so there you are...

INTERVIEW WITH WHITE TOWN


It’s with the greatest pride that The Original Sin presents you the interview with Jyoti Mishra aka White Town, the band who scored in every country around this globe a smashing N°1 hit with “Your woman”. Yes we did it, yours sincerely managed to interview the first popstar in his life!!!!
But then again, is Jyoti a popstar? It’s in the way that you see it of course… Technically speaking he is as I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t know “Your woman” but perhaps he wasn’t the average popstar EMI was waiting for…
Not many people know that White Town made music before and after “Your woman” and it’s not the first time that Jyoti is seen as one-hit wonder.
Again, technically speaking he is, but White Town is still making music whether it’d be bedroompop for the romantic indiepopkid (what a terrible name, not?) or if it’s for another forthcoming smashing hit is something we could only ask the man himself.
I (that’s your editor Didier) wants to thank Jyoti for having this interview and for taking it seriously which makes it one of the most thrilling things I’ve done in my zineyears. Thank you, Jyoti

HELLO, JYOTI. AS I’M CONVINCED THAT MANY OF OUR READERS DON’T KNOW, I KINDLY REQUEST YOU TO DESCRIBE YOUR OWN MUSIC…..

I’d say I make pop music. Some of it has actually been popular pop (like ‘Your Woman’) but most of it is unpopular pop.
In terms of genre, I feel what I do is mostly folk, electronic and gothy music. Not really very indiepop in the current sense of the term but definitely ‘alternative’ in the sense that was used as a tag in the ‘80s.
Love, sex, women, death, dialectical materialism, straight edge, nihilism, existentialism, astrophysics, enviromentalism. That’s what I write about.


EXCUSE ME IF I’M WRONG BUT I ALWAYS SAW WHITE TOWN AS A PART OF THE BEDROOMPOPSCENE WHATEVER THAT MIGHT MEAN…..

Umm… if I’d had the money, I would have been in studios. Indeed, in my first bands, pre-doing my own stuff, we went to proper studios. But I started recording myself on cassettes in 1982, sound-on-sound (bouncing). Then I got a four track in 1985. So, yeah, I’ve been making bedroom pop music for around 28 years now.

ACCORDING TO SOME SOURCES, YOU DECIDED TO START MAKING MUSIC AFTER SEEING THE PIXIES. EVEN IF I’M A DEDICATED FAN MYSELF, I CAN’T SEE THAT MUCH OF A LINK………

That’s not quite right. I formed White Town specifically as a noisy guitar band (leaving my beloved synths behind for the time) after seeing Pixies in Nottingham. They were sooo cool – pop songs but with shattering noisy bits. I’d got hooked on guitar noise in the latter part of the ‘80s, got ‘Daydream Nation’ the day it was released, ‘George Best,’ ‘Isn’t Anything,’ all the usual ‘80s’ Indie Kid obsessions.


AND THEN THERE WAS “YOUR WOMAN”. DO YOU SEE THAT AS A GODSEND OR A CURSE BECAUSE MANY PEOPLE WILL SEE YOU AS ONE-HIT WONDER?

Very much a blessing! Most musicians struggle their entire lives with little money and no recognition whatsoever. In fact, that was exactly my plan: when ‘Your Woman’ hit, I was at Uni doing a degree so I could get some sort of shit job with which to support my music.
To think that something I made totally by myself in my 9’ x 9’ spare room has connected with so many millions of people is quite, quite bewildering and wonderful.



I WANNA ASK YOU SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT THAT PERIOD, IF YOU DON’T MIND. WASN’T IT A SIGN THAT PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO BUY GENIUS MUSIC IF ONLY THEY ARE ABLE TO HEAR IT?

People connect with ‘Your Woman’ for the catchy riff. But it’s the ambiguity that drives them, infuriates them. Ambiguity I deliberately built into the song, of course. If you take a look at some of the comments left on my You Tube upload of the song, you’ll see what I mean.
People aren’t stupid. What might be bubblegum or bland pop to one listener may have huge, deep resonances for another. Listening to The Monkees can make me cry, yet they were hated at the time by “serious” critics.
When I was a kid, Laurie Anderson’s ‘O Superman’ got to number 2 in the UK charts. There’s this kind of rockist, fascistic idea that the masses are idiots. This is, of course, absolute fucking shite, ruling class vitriol.
Pop music is the living affirmation of ordinary peoples’ dreams, hopes, nightmares and everything that makes one alive. I believe pop music to be the greatest art form of the 20th century and probably the 21st.


YOU SAW WHAT’S BEHIND THE CURTAINS OF THE INDUSTRY AND IT WASN’T VERY BEAUTIFUL WHAT YOU SAW I GUESS…..

Indie kids are often full of shit. So many pretend to be lo-fi or DIY or whatever flavour of the month will advance their own petit bourgeois business agendas. I got so much flack for signing to a major even though, at the time (and still!), no-one in the “scene” liked White Town.
So, in a way, dealing with honest fucking capitalists was a relief after all the ersatz revolutionaries and their toytown sloganeering. But the thing is… major labels are shit.
It’s all about market share and politics. Within a label like EMI, all the sub-labels are in competition, each a fiefdom with its own warring hierarchy. I thought that, at the very least, majors care about selling product, MAKING PROFITS. Not so, they care about their own agenda. Which can often include screwing an artist over to further another cause.
I couldn’t get off EMI quickly enough. But my aversion to the majors now is, unlike most prattlers, based on actual experience.
Meanwhile, I’ve had the great fortune to work with wonderful indies like Parasol, Heavenly Pop Hits, This Almighty Pop and now Arctic Nutter.

HOW MUCH OF A STRANGE QUESTION IT MIGHT BE, IF YOU SEE YOUNG ALTERNATIVE BANDS …..DO YOU WISH FOR THEM THEY HAVE THEIR 15 MINUTES OF FAME OR ARE YOU THINKING, STAY IN YOUR INDIESCENE….

It depends. Do they make pop music? Are they singing songs about life, love, raccoons or whatnot? Everyday things? If so, they probably would like to connect with as many people as possible. Go for it!
Or are they making “challenging,” “experimental” music. You know – music for blokes. Music to stroke your fucking beard by and go, “heyyyyy, those duuudes can really play, maaaan!”
If they’re doing the latter, stay pure, stay indie! Don’t sellout by making music that a kid at a bus stop can sing. Wait for the inevitable Mojo retrospective and detailed boxset including out-takes of the artist coughing.


THE INDUSTRY CHANGED A LOT, EVEN SO MUCH THAT THE WORD INDUSTRY IS EVEN IN DOUBT. THE BIG MANAGERS FROM THE MAJORS ARE STARING AT THEIR EMPTY POCKETS WHILE THE YOUNGSTERS ARE PLUGGING THE NET FOR FREE….. WHAT DO YOU THINK FROM THAT CURRENT SCENE?

There has never been a better time for music in my entire life. Every time I DJ, I play shitloads of wild, new talents, artists eating life and throwing up these chunks of rabid, raw colour.

And yet.

There has never been a worse time for mainstream music. It’s worse even than the ‘70s, pre-punk. The channels of access are sooo controlled, the gatekeepers so narrow. Something like ‘Your Woman’ couldn’t happen now.
And that’s why they want to stop us downloading. It’s not to stop piracy, as every study shows that heavy downloaders are also heavy buyers of music. It’s to limit our access to only their product.

ISN’T IT STRANGE, JYOTI, MUSIC IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING BUT THE DEVIL BEHIND IT IS THE MOST UGLIEST THING?
I ALWAYS THOUGHT IT’S SO TERRIBLE THAT IF SOMEONE BUYS A CD OR A DVD THAT THE FIRST THING HE SEES IS A WARNING THAT HE MIGHT BE A CRIMINAL IF HE COPIES THE CD…..

Fuck all that shit. Anyone is welcome to upload any of my music any time. Or download it. I really don’t give a fuck. I mean, I sell it via CD Baby and iTunes but if someone downloads it for free, that’s a compliment!
Please, steal my music. Give it to your friends. I’d be immensely flattered if anyone went to that effort.
Of course, you could argue that I’m doing myself out of my future musical income. But, as I said, I’d planned to get a shit job anyway before I made any money out of music. If I run out of money and people are not paying me to make new music, I’ll just get a job. Big fucking deal.
When musicians bitch about downloading, it makes me go off them instantly. You want a career? You want money and job security? Try training as a plumber. That’s well-paid and it’s a proper trade. And, Dollhouse notwithstanding, you can’t download plumbing expertise instantly and absorb it into your brain…

WHAT DO YOU THINK FROM THE CURRENT MUSICSCENE IN THE SENSE THAT IT IS NOW A REAL DIY-SCENE, ALMOST FOR EVERYBODY……

Like I said, it’s a fantastic time to discover new music from every genre and every corner of the globe. When I think of all the time I’d spend hunting through record shops as a kid… now it’s all just a click away, if you can be arsed. The irony is that most people don’t bother. Or they don’t have the time.

ABOUT YOUR MUSIC, I ALWAYS THOUGHT, SORRY, THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON SARAH RECORDS……

Ahh, I don’t think they liked my music! J As I said, no-one in the UK scene back then liked what I was doing, that’s why I released the debut WT single myself, in 1990 (eeek, twenty years ago!). And then Geoff Parasol got in touch from the US and he did like what I was doing! I was so surprised!

YOU ARE ALSO DJ-ING, SO I GUESS YOU ARE VERY INTERESTED IN MUSIC FROM OTHERS AS WELL, NOT?

I’m still 16 at 43. Falling in love with a new band, a new song is still the most thrilling, life-affirming thing for me.

Music never lets me down.

Playlists here:

http://www.bzangygroink.co.uk/wordpress/archives/category/djing/

SORRY, I CAN’T RESIST THIS QUESTION….WHAT DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU HEAR YOURSELF SINGING WHEN YOU’RE IN TESCO’S?

It’s a curious sensation. One immediately thinks that everyone else is staring. But, of course, no-one is.
It’s weirder if I’m out clubbing and it comes on. I’ll dance round and sing along and that’s pretty strange. But, hey, I know all the words!

I UNDERSTOOD YOU ARE VERY INTERESTED IN POLITICS. WANNA HEAR THAT FROM SOMEONE LIKE YOU….CAN YOU KEEP ON BELIEVING IN POLITICS IF YOU SEE HOW LABOUR BETRAYED THEIR VOTERS SO MUCH?

The Labour Party is now a party run by war criminals. Mass-murderers. I won’t vote for it as long as that leadership is present. My politics has been hardened by being involved in the antiwar movement for the last seven years. Prior to that, I’d really stopped being heavily involved due to a mix of my own depression and disillusionment with Communism.
Now, I don’t give a fuck. I can’t apply a label to myself. I’m too hierarchical to be an anarchist, I’m too libertarian to be a Trot. And I’m too Reichian to put up with the steaming bullshit all lefty parties pump out.
If there was a Reichian party, I guess I’d join that. REVOLUTION THROUGH GENITAL ORGASM!

(Aptly, I’m listening to Refused as I’m typing this…)

DIFFICULT I KNOW BUT HERE YOU ARE….WHAT DOES MUSIC MEAN FOR YOU?

It’s the only thing in my life that’s never let me down. Even when I’ve not paid it enough due, it’s always been there.
I guess I feel about it the same way nutjob god-botherers feel about their large ghosty of choice?

WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF THE FUTURE?

1. Play good gigs where I can stare at people and sing weird shit at them.
2. As always, work on the next album.
3. Try to connect with people in a real sense, past all the barriers.
4. Confuse more people but not in a Dadaist way.
5. Play more gigs in different countries, internationalism in pop, as in
socialism, is essential!
6. Work with good people, steer round the users, hipsters and scenesters.
7. Push myself to write songs that are more honest.
8. Have the courage to release / play those songs.
9. Try not to be squashed by the people around me as much.
10. Love.


LAST QUESTIONS ARE QUESTIONS I ALWAYS ASK, I CALL IT THE TRADITIONAL ORIGINAL SIN-QUESTIONS…
WHAT’S YOUR FAVE RECORD OF ALL TIME AND WHY?

‘Computer World’ by Kraftwerk. It’s been my fave record since I got it in 1981. It remains a startling piece of music all these years later. It’s rhythms and melodies are unsurpassed and it’s also the blueprint for so much hip hop, electro, techno – you name it.
EMI Germany took me to dinner with Wolfgang Flür. I can’t tell you how embarrassing and star-struck I was!

WITH WHO WOULDN’T YOU MIND BEING STUCK IN AN ELEVATOR FOR 8 HOURS AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO THEN?

Christina Hendricks, Melissa Joan Hart and Annie Sprinkle. I think you can figure it out for yourself.


DO YOU WANT TO SAY SOMETHING SPECIAL TO OUR READERS?

LIVE LONG AND PROSPER!


THANK YOU!!!!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

VEIL VEIL VANISH OR HOW YOUR MUSICAL WORLD CAN CHANGE IN A MOMENT....


It's 2010 and I'm 41 years old. During all those years I'm walking around on Planet Earth as Simon LeBon would sing, I have some fave bands that change my live forever. Just like so many other soulmates it are bands like The Chameleons, New Order, The Sound, Echo & The Bunnymen, And Also The Trees or Clan Of Xymox that marked my ears forever. I still dig music, in fact I am not ashamed to say that I spend 24hrs to it, it's more important than everything else around...for me it's some sort of oxygen.
Honestly said, I hate people who claim that today in 2010 there's no good music being made as from the moment I hear that (and in fact I hear that too much), I tend to say : go back to your miserable life and keep on living in the past, if it makes you happy to keep on raving about the past...then go back to the past!!!
Having said that, I must also tell that I thought that I couldn't add any new band to the list of the big faves...yup, I thought the list was complete. But, and hey if you're a smart reader you felt it coming, it changed....
If a band decides to name a song after an lp by The Sound (they have a song called "Secondhand daylight") you know it must be something to hear.
And what a sound these Americans have...woooow....
Some say they're like The Cure (they appeared on a Cure-tribute cd), others think they're shoegazers, I think they're like The Chameleons with shoegazingguitars, sometimes it's like Adrian Borland is singing from heaven which is both creepy and great at the same time ...whatever you might think about how they're sounding, it's just a fact that every song grabs you by the neck and they're not ashamed to take the darkwave from the 80's as their example and that they're able to create haunting melodies.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm an Anglophiliac and there was even a time in my life in where I despised the American musicscene but you have to blame shitbands like Soundgarden or Audioslave for that. I never would have thought that I once in my life would say that my current faves were coming from the States and for once Obama has nothing to do with it.
Veil Veil Vanish have just launched their album "Change in the neon light" and changes are quite big that they'll be picked up and make it. In my books they are the forthcoming stars of 2010, without any doubt one of the best bands I heard in the last 15 years and for once I am not creating a hype, it's just a statement I said to myself...a song like "The wilderness" faces you with the desolate solitude of the human self, the sound (ooops) speaks for itself. The future's theirs....

UNKNOWN PLEASURES : WHIRL

Are we going to feature all the shoegazing bands there are, you think? Why not....
It must be one of my fave genres and if a band sounds like this (there are tons of bands these days who are into shoegazing these days) then I'm up for it!
Whirl are coming from California and if you think they're all singing David Lee Roth-songs (which I don't hope for California) then you're wrong, these lads are having bands like Lush or Slowdive as examples.
No, it's true...there's nothing new going on here. This demo could have been made in 1991, but what's the problem?
There are times in my life that I'm sitting in my room crying for wishing it'd be 1991 again!, not only for the music of course....but how long were we waiting to have a follow up from My Bloody Valentine's "Loveless"?
Now, you have something like a copy and a rather good one...
The good news is that on their page you can download their demo for free!
http://www.myspace.com/whirlband

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

UNKNOWN PLEASURES : FACTORS OF FOUR


"Here's our music, enjoy it, but you don't have to review it" wrote Tim from this Philadelphia-based band.
Well well, or Tim is too nice or just not enough self-confident but Factors Of Four need to be reviewed.
Why? Oh, I can put it in simple words : because Facts Of Four make delicious lo-fipunk that sounds like some mixture from Heavens To Betsy, early Pavement and Velocity Girl (if someone remembers them).
Not one tune of them is perfect played in a technically sense but it's just that jingle-jangle lo-fipunk that makes their music irresistible, it's dead sexy if singer Naomi sings out of tune...I mean let this be produced by someone , well someone who can produce, and it won't be a worth a penny to listen to but now it's as great as something on Kill Rock Stars.
Two minute punkpopsongs while doing the cooking (not that I ever do) but you have to do something while shaking the hips, not?
On their My Space-page you can download their full album (Grown on me) and their current EP (Whoa!) for free...yup, read backwards, no mistake...for free!
http://www.myspace.com/factorsoffour

ALBUMREVIEWS : A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS - EXPLODING HEAD

In the times of the shoegazescene My Bloody Valentine were the loudest band around (I still remember seeing a 20 minute version from "You made me realise" which was so freaky that half of the venue left) and in the new scene it looks like the New Yorkers A Place To Bury Strangers are taking that place.
They're so loud on scene that you can get earplugs for free at their T-shirtstall and it looks like they're proud of that, why else would they call their album "Exploding head" you think?
This is their 2nd album and Oliver Ackermann (the man behind the band) promised to come up with a more earfriendly sound (you must know that he run a firm that makes guitarpedals called Death By Audio) but for those who think you're getting a popalbum now, better give up on the band.
A Place To Bury Strangers have become a bit more melodic but it's still dead loud and can be best compared to My Bloody Valentine at their most uncompromising and of course the "Psychocandy"-years, even if the band are a bit fed up with the Jesus & Mary Chain-comparisons, but saying they don't sound like them would be a lie in the highest order.
Is it a good album? It's a grower as they say and death by audio still is the colest way to die so....

UNKNOWN PLEASURES : SINGING BRIDGES

I don't think there couldn't be any better moment to restart my fanzine as now. It's unbelievable how many bands are exploring again the C86 indiesounds and shoegazing sounds.
For me it's even more strange to see that this movement seems to come from The States these days, not that I care where a band comes from but it's strange that the country who killed the indiescene (remember grunge) is now blowing again some life into the scene.
Singing Bridges are such a band, and yes they're from The States.
It's like someone earlier said : a perfect marriage from a Flying Nun-band and a K-Records band.
They're a trio (William, Christine, Tim) who believe in the power of the jingle-janglepop, so there's a bit of shoegazing (think The Nightblooms), think classic indie (think again The Wedding Present) and think of something sweet, so I guess The Heavenly are an option too.
On their latest EP "Three trains" you get five tracks from which "Sunny Day" is my fave but I admit that I'm a bit in love with Christine's voice...even if "Disappear" is also a contender as it comes quite close to the early sounds by House Of Love.
Some of the guys in the band are also involved in Skipping Stone Records, which is a DIY-label in the real DIY-sense.
Is there one reason you wouldn't check it out? Yeah, if you're a die-hard Def Leppardfan but I know you're not...
http://www.myspace.com/singingbridgesband

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

UNKNOWN PLEASURES : DEMIAN ASHES


Since the last years Italy has become one of the most important countries if it comes to goth. Just imagine bands like Kirlian Camera or The Frozen Autumn, and you know Italy is on the forefront of the scene.
A bit lesser known is Demian Ashes, but he can be added to that famous list without any doubt.
Demian Ashes is apart from being a polyinstrumentalist (he does everything by himself, except on stage of course) but he's also a real workaholic.
Last winter he not only made two albums ("Resurrection" and "Eternity") but 2010 will see the release of two other albums.
Demian is the sort of goth-artist who can't be pigeonholed to one particular style, of course it's all dark (what do you expect from a gothproject anyway?) but it's as much old school (then I'm thinking of Bauhaus, London After Midnight) as new school (then I'm thinking of Diary Of Dreams, and at times even Clan Of Xymox so that makes it more than good).
Despite the many names that you can read here, you'd be wrong by thinking that Demian Ashes is copying these bands.
He just picks up the best bits and like a troubadour of dark sounds he wanders through different woods that sometimes is a bit industrial dance and at other moments melodic goth rock.
To be checked out by everyone who is into dark sounds.
http://www.myspace.com/demianashes

INTERVIEW WITH THE LAST ORDINARY SEAMAN


Just at the moment that I got used to the name of The Ordinary Seaman, Filip Gheysen who is in fact the seaman, decides to change the name to The Last Ordinary Seaman.
To cut a long story short, I reviewed earlier some stuff by The Ordinary Seaman which was lo-fi stuff (I even took it so far to bring Fad Gadget along) but later Filip sent me a tape by The Last Ordinary Seaman which is his most current project.
A quite different sound as on this stuff, Filip is the master of experimental soundscapes. Difficult to pigeonhole and it has no use to drop here some names of bands who are doing soundscapes too as The Last Ordinary Seaman is what you call a voyage for the ear, it’s like watching a movie but without the images, just your plain imagination.
The Original Sin presents you an interview with his townmate Filip….


HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELVES AND HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC THEN?

It started all in 1996 when I got my first electric guitar, I played under The Imperturbable Ordinary Seaman. It was also around that time that I got into bands like Sentridoh, Guided By Voices, Daniel Johnston or “Stereopathetic Soulmanures” by Beck.
I was already some time into Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Pavement, The Breeders and Dinosaur Jr.
From the moment I got into the lo-fi heroes I started thinking : “Oh, it’s possible to release your stuff on tape and got heard too”.
Some time later I shortened the name to The Ordinary Seaman only because so many people couldn’t pronounce the other name, but I knew that the lo-fi direction would be the path to follow though….
I soon discovered the ways many lo-fi artists are recording, the art of homerecording.
The first tape by The Imperturbable Ordinary Seaman was inspired by the sounds of Beck during his “Stereopathetic soulmanures”-album but the older I got, the more I got intrigued by pure experimental sounds and audio art. My later tapes as The Ordinary Seaman were like some mixtures of songs and experimental sounds.
Later, I saw I made the mistake like so many others to be misled by the technology, in other words recording songs on a computer. I don’t think it are the songs itself as after all there are songs I really do enjoy, but it’s just the soundquality that I consider as inferior. Let’s face it, a song recorded on a laptop just doesn’t deserved to be called a song anyway…
So I decided to buy some new recordingequipment but as this was some new start for me, I decided to change the name of my project as well…The Ordinary Seaman got buried, and The Last Ordinary Seaman got born.

I MUST ASK, OTHERWISE I KILL MYSELF…SORT OF, BUT WHY THE ORDINARY SEAMAN?

It has been 14 years ago I choose for that name and I can’t even remember why I choose it anyway.
Maybe it was because I took some sailing lessons and came to the point that I wasn’t a talented sailor.
Forget that, once I’m in a boat and the further I get away from the coast, the more I piss in my pants.
It was around that time that I started playing as The Imperturbable Ordinary Seaman, ironically meant of course; it was just a funny name and there’s nothing behind it….

SHAME, THE MYTH IS BETTER AS THE BITTER TRUTH…..
TRIED BUT I COULDN’T PIGEONHOLE YOUR MUSIC……

Me neither to be honest. All of my music is nothing but experimenting. Nothing’s been finished and everything can be redone. One day I try it like this, the other day I am fed up with it, change the whole thing…I guess I’m never satisfied. I know I don’t make it easy for myself but that’s the way I am….

WHAT I DID HEAR ARE MANY ECHOES FROM 80’S BANDS LIKE THROBBING GRISTLE, FAD GADGET OR CLOCK DVA. IS IT JUST ME OR AM I ON THE RIGHT TRACK?

Totally disagree as I don’t even know who Clock DVA are…
Fad Gadget I know a bit and lyricwise I can see the link. But I have only recorded a handful of songs that are 80’s-like just for the sake of it.
Of course I know Throbbing Gristle, but they have nothing to do with the music I play….
Bands I like are in fact totally un-eighties, in fact I’m afraid I dislike the 80’s but for that you have to blame my 2 brothers who kept on playing fucking Simple Minds, Chris Rea or Phil Collins. Just like this wasn’t enough, my sister was a die-hardfan from Spandau Ballet so I guess I hate the 80’s…..


TEN YEARS AGO I WAS TOTALLY INTO THE DIY-TAPESCENE BUT THERE WERE TIMES, TO BE HONEST, THAT I THOUGHT THE MUSICIANS WERE MAKING MUSIC FOR THEMSELVES AS IT WAS QUITE DIFFICULT TO FIND AN AUDIENCE….SO DO YOU THINK THAT IN SOME WAY YOU’RE MAKING MUSIC FOR YOURSELF?

In the first place I make music for myself, that much is true.
As I told before I consider all kind of experiments to enrich myself, going into new explorations. But I always had the need to have an audience as well. If it’s a big audience or just a friend, it doesn’t matter, if only someone hears it, I’m happy.
Having said that, when I was a youngster I gave my music to everyone around and I took every opportunity to play, but by getting older I also have more fear.
Ten years ago I played gigs just like I was pretending to play in front of a mirror, these days I kind of piss my pants if I have to go on stage solo.

IN SOME WAY, I DO THINK YOU’RE MAKING DARK ELECTRONIC MUSIC…SO HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE BELGIAN, KNOWING THAT BELGIUM WAS A BIT THE COUNTRY THAT STARTED IT, OR AT LEAST HAD AN IMMENSE IMPACT ON THE SCENE……

My influences come from 90’s indie-guitarmusic and I was never into dark new wave or industrial stuff, even if I know that there’s some good shit among it.
If you listen to my other project, Picturesque, I can understand that you hear some industrial influences as I love experimental stuff, drones or field recordings.
But no, I have nothing to do with the Belgian industrial scene, I don’t even own a record by Front 242!!!!!
My lyrics might be dark or cynical but it’s just for the fun of it….

WHAT’S YOUR GENERAL IDEA ABOUT THE BELGIAN MUSICSCENE IN 2010?

I live in Gent and these days everyone is playing music over here. It used to be different once and I still can’t make up my mind if it’s a good or a bad thing cuz let’s face it : the more people that are making music, the more good music there is, even as te more bad music.
I just hear if I turn on the radio and it gets to Studio Brussel (the so called alternative radio station from Belgium-ed.) then you hear tons of Belgian bands, but after 5 mins I turn off the radio as well.
Many bands that got played on Studio Brussel are so uninspired, all they care about is being hip and the rock’n roll-thing. But it has nothing to do with musical interest and I’m not interested in them either….

I MEAN NOTHING WRONG WITH IT, BUT IS IT SO THAT WE HAVE TO SEARCH SOMETHING BEHIND THE SONGS OR IS IT JUST A MATTER OF THE RIGHT TUNE?

I guess it’s more a matter of the bad tune, hahaha!!!! No, even if I told earlier that I take it all with some laughter, I feel the need to tell that I take my music in a rather serious way. What you hear is me, it’s the work of a lifetime…even if I’m afraid that I’ll never reach the end point though…


WHAT DO YOU THINK FROM THE CURRENT MUSICSCENE IN THE SENSE THAT IT IS NOW A REAL DIY-SCENE, ALMOST FOR EVERYBODY……

That’s of course depends in the way you see it…personally I think it’s a great thing but for the capitalists among us it must be a nightmare. But seeing all those majors going flat on their faces makes me only shrug my shoulders, thinking that is their own fault.
It’s about time that music got managed again by those who really love music instead of men in suits who have no feeling with it at all. It’s just strange that I’m optimistic whereas I have to be pessimistic as well.
It’s getting more and more difficult for little labels as well, not forgetting the tiny recordshops!
People now buy their stuff in megastores, even those who like alternative stuff.
I recently saw a record by Sunn O))) in the bargains in our FNAC (that’s a megastore-ed.)
But DIY isn’t dead and it’ll never be!!! At the contrary, the worser it gets, the stronger the opposite-culture 


DIFFICULT I KNOW BUT HERE YOU ARE….WHAT DOES MUSIC MEAN FOR YOU?

Nothing, absolutely nothing….. Haha! Being a musician there’s only one right answer : everything!!!!


HOW STUPID IT MAY SOUND, WHAT ARE YOUR MOMENTS OF “FAME” YET AND WHAT ARE THE GOALS IN THE FUTURE?

That’s a tough question…my moments of fame…dunno…perhaps the first time I got a gig, that was a moment I never forget. I already did 70 till 80 gigs which is in all honesty quite a lot for artist like me who is, let’s face it, rather unknown.
I released some CD’s and those on Glasvocht Records were even quite succesfull in its own terms.
I recorded hours of music and I’m not ashamed to say that this makes me proud in some way, but life goes on I guess. The best feeling I can imagine is when that moment comes that you put the final touch to a song, the point at where you say : this is it!!!


LAST QUESTIONS ARE QUESTIONS I ALWAYS ASK, I CALL IT THE TRADITIONAL ORIGINAL SIN-QUESTIONS…
WHAT’S YOUR FAVE RECORD OF ALL TIME AND WHY?

That’s a hard question as I can’t pick up one fave album in particular, of course I can come up with albums that have influenced my life and I think I already have suggested them during this interview.
Lo-fi artists of course, but someone like Steve reich is important as well.
Music like the one from Stars of the Lid or “Music for airports” by Brian Eno were great discoveries for me, but I guess you won’t hear that in The Ordinary Seaman, but more in Picturesque, my other solo-project.
I worshipped for years Sonic Youth even if their latest releases aren’t that good, I followed all spin offs from Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo. It’s through them that I got into the world of experimental music.
Of course the existence of (K-RAA-K)3, I can’t imagine my world without (K-RAA-K)3…I got to known so many styles of music, I am not even mentioning all the persons I got in touch with through them.
I also got a great admiration for Jim O’Rourke, a real workaholic who did so many things and I can’t think of one thing he did which is bad… But you know, the more I think, the more artists that are drifting in my mind : from guitarnoise out of New Zealand like labels such as Siltbreeze en Corpus Hermeticum, from Bach to Autechre.


WITH WHO WOULDN’T YOU MIND BEING STUCK IN AN ELEVATOR FOR 8 HOURS AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO THEN?

With Jean-Marie Dedecker (he’s a Belgian controversial politician).
Without anyone’s noticing it, I can beat him up and he can’t run away.
Having that said I realises that he comes from the judo-world (he was a coach for theOlympic judoteam before he discovered politics-ed.) so it’d be rather be me who gets the beatings.
Perhaps with no one is the best answer as then I have more oxygen left for myself.
And believe me, no one wants to be stuck with me in an elevator for hours!!!!



DO YOU WANT TO SAY SOMETHING SPECIAL TO OUR READERS?

Yes, if there is one thing you don’t have to care about it must be the bollocks I told during this interview.


THANK YOU!!!!!!

ALBUMREVIEWS : SOCIAL LEISURE PARTY - TACTICAL POP FOR COFFEE CADETS

I was in doubt, would I classify Social Leisure Party among the unknown pleasures-section of this zine or among the albumreviews?
I choose for the albumsection as first of all it's a release on the acclaimed jingle-jangle indiepoplabel Shelflife Records and secondly this band features Andy Hitchcock and Kevin House.
Before you hide yourself behind some tree as you're blushing, let me tell you I didn't know it myself that these lads once used to be in a band called Action Painting!
But right now, every indiekid should now raise their finger by saying "Aha! That's the famous Sarah Records-band who never got famous anyway...".
True, and on this album (I am not going to retype that name, mind you!) our British friends just play the perfect 3 minute indiepoptrack.
I normally hate, and disagree, if a label starts making comparisons but this time they were right : imagine 80's post-punk à la The Monochrome Set, Orange Juice, Haircut 100 played with the freshness of...let's say THe Wedding Present during their "George Best"-years and you have your Social Leisure Party-album!
Nothing new, and it even won't be any bigger as Action Painting! but oh so great to listen to!

Monday, February 22, 2010

UNKNOWN PLEASURES : THE BENWAHS


Ever heard the term panda-punk? Nope? Well, it's punk being played by panda bears. I see you shake your head, I see you think it's time you won't keep on reading these pages as a straightjacket must be send to Belgium.
Well, dear beloved friends, there is a band in Birmingham that has to be blamed for that, not me.
The band's name? The Benwahs! OK, the first thing I thought was : "Well, if they're so obsessed with pandas why don't they call themselves The Pandas?" but they've chosen for...here we go again...The Benwahs.
The Benwahs are making female fronted punk that has as much respect for the oldies (Penetration for instance) as they have for bands like Pansy Division or so.
Their music is honest, straight and the essence of it all : it rocks, in fact it rocks quite good!!!
On their My Space-page you can hear quite some songs (what else can you do on My Space?) and my tip is : "Wanna scream"...those guitars, man!!!!, so good I played that track three times in a row!!!!
http://www.myspace.com/thebenwahs

ALBUM REVIEWS : MEMORY TAPES - SEEK MAGIC

I can be quite emotional if it comes to music, some say too emotional but it's not my fault that one day I sold my soul to it. If there is one thing I hate then it must be the fact that some people say that today, that's 2010, there's no good music being made. Everything's that good has already been made...are you tired of that shit? Me too, the past was beautiful and there are about 80.000 albums made that I cherish but today counts too! And if you think not, then please stop reading as I don't even think you're worth being called a musiclover.
And which bands do you have to listen to then? I can be arrogant by saying : read my blog, but as this is about Memory Tapes I guess the most right answer right now must be Memory Tapes.
Don't be confused if you find on the net names like Memory Cassette or Weird Tapes because that were the previous names of this band.
I admit, with a band's name like that you expect some lo-fi bedroomartist who's pretending to be the next Daniel Johnston (that can be fine too, believe me) but the project from Philadelphia's Dayve Hawk is dancemusic but then dance in a rather melancholic way....
"Seek Magic" shows Memory Tapes at its most varied but it seems that they're quite influenced by the British dancescene from the early 90's. Sometimes it's pure New Order (listen to "Bicycle"), sometimes it's Saint Etienne, sometimes it's Leftfield, sometimes it's like 808 State are back, sometimes it's like Orbital never left this planet...in other words : it's delicious!
If you're from Belgium, note down in your diary that they'll play in Brussels at the Botanique on 5th March. If you're not from Belgium, I guess you check out their My Space-page as I'm not going to write down all their dates...
http://www.myspace.com/memorytapes

CONCERTREVIEW : FALLING MAN, THE HORRORS (GENT, MINNEMEERS 21/02/2010)


The Horrors in Belgium, what a night that will be! And to be honest, I wasn’t in the mood to see another support band, no I wanted to hear The Horrors and go home immediately. But you know the plague of going to a gig, you have to see the support whether you want it or not (…unless you wanna miss 20 mins of the headlining act).
When I entered the venue, Falling Man were just on. What a weird sound was that, a guy covered in mud doing some screaming vocals, a drummer, and two guys who really knew how to handle their guitar. The more I looked, the more I recognized two familiar faces…Lode Silleghem and Paul Van De Velde. Two names who might say you nothing, and not even here in Belgium, mind you.
The problem is that in ideal world these two would be rockstars in the highest order (well one is a journalist for the local TV so that’s already something) as they were Cpt. Moon and regular readers from this zine might remember that ten years ago I was going awol over them. They supported The Fall, they made a genius mini-album on Kinky Star and then they faded away I guess…ten years later they are reborn as Falling Man. Has their sound changed? Difficult to say as they still sound as the bastard sons of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (or is that Heavy Trash now?) and I guess it’s now added with some dirty sounds by The Melvins or Buthole Surfers.
Their set grew more and more and me (especially as I realized I was watching some local heroes) but I don’t know if the audience was that perfect as they stood and watched, especially stood…in fact it wasn’t even a perfect audience for The Horrors. You see, in the UK The Horrors are big, even extremely big, the lovedarlings from the British press and the perfect band for the indiekids who are in desperate need of some new heroes.
In Belgium, the people are willing to welcome their sounds but …who are they?, or perhaps more to the point : to which public do they belong?
Is it goth (you saw Goths), is it psychedelic garagerock, is it shoegazing, is it rock, is it indie and it looked like every class (what a terrible word!) had sent out their sons to see if The Horrors fit in their category or not…
Another problem is that The Horrors have two albums out, the first one (‘Strange House’) being an ordinary garagerockalbum, the second (‘Primary Colours’) being one of the best albums from the last ten years.
It all starts with an enormous loudness like The Horrors are warning you that they wanna overwhelm you. Sadly enough, they don’t during the first ten minutes as the voice from singer Faris Badwan couldn’t overrise the loud shoegazingguitars and genius synthsounds from Tom Cowan.
It only lasted 10 minutes but sadly enough, they also played the brilliant two opening tracks from ‘Primary colors’ : “Mirror’s Images” and “Three Decades”.
Despite the voice that got lost, you immediately saw that Faris learnt all the podiummoves from a lad called Iggy Pop.
The sound from The Horrors was as varied as their public…once they were Jesus & The Mary Chain, sometimes The Doors, at other times The Stooges and when they did “Ghost Rider” as bonus they sounded as…Suicide…
At the end you saw confused faces from a crowd who didn’t want to rock (just like they refused to give a willing ear to Falling Man), they were the crowd who were checking out if the British press was right or not…a shame as if The Horrors have one problem then it must be the fact that they’re a band with a sound, and not a band who can write an instant indietune that got played on the radio.
The Horrors are more than a flash of fashion, they do matter even if they don’t always know themselves which way they wanna go, but if they choose the path of “Primary Colors” we have some new heroes…

Sunday, February 21, 2010

CLASSIC ALBUMS THE WORLD FORGOT Excuse 17 - Such friends are dangerous


Everybody (well not everybody, a handful of people more like) are talking about the Riot Grrrl-movement but it strikes me that it's mostly Bikini Kill, Babes In Toyland or L7 and then it's mostly followed by a big silence.
I am a massive fan from Bikini Kill, but a band who are at least as good as Kathleen's noisemakers are Excuse 17.
Excuse 17 were a trio consisting of Carrie Brownstein, Becca Albee and CJ Phillips.
After having released some material on tiny labels like Atlas Records and Chainsaw Records, their 2nd album "Such friends are dangerous" was released on the motherlabel from the Riot Grrrl-scene, Kill Rock Stars.
Their music had all the best bits from the Riot Grrrl-scene, but they were more than just messengers, the direct DIY-indierock was influenced by emorock and that resulted in haunting melodies, not forgetting that you were dealing with a Kill Rock Stars-band which indicates that yopu also have the usual jingle-jangle garagesound.
Excuse 17 toured a lot with Heavens To Betsy (another forgotten Riot Grrrl-band)and so it happened thatCarrie fell in love with Corin Tucker from Heavens To Betsy, the two decided to start...Sleater-Kinney, and the rest is history as they so, and so was Excuse 17.

CLASSIC ALBUMS THE WORLD FORGOT Daniel Johnston - Fear yourself


Daniel Johnston is a strange phenomonem in the musicscene. Not known by the big public (even as obscure as say Bleach I guess) but he has a fanbase that consists of the greatest artists ever : David Bowie, Kurt Cobain (he wore several times a Daniel Johnston T-shirt on promopics) or Tom Waits are only three examples from people who are going wild about Daniel's music.
Daniel Johnston is the living example that it pays being a casette-artist as most of his releases were DIY-tapes (imagine how much they're worth now on the collector's market).
Some people even state that Johnston formed the base of the lo-fi scene.
He is the sort of bedroomartist who is most known for his relativization from himself. If you see pics from Daniel, you tend to pity him, someone for whom life has no more surprises, someone who seen it all...
Everyone who saw the documentary 'The devil and Daniel Johnston' knows he saw it all as not only he suffers from diabetes, he's also mentally ill as well.
If you're listening to Daniel's music, it got even worse as all the songs are drifting in the sort of sadness that would bring labile people to suicide, but Daniel transforms it in heavenly music.
I choose "Fear yourself" because it was the album that got me into his musical world and it's also an album that mixes lo-fi with orchestration and that gives this music a very apart feeling, a feeling I only heard on "Yerself is steam" by Mercury Rev.
"Fear yourself" was released in 2003, and apart from the typical Johnston comic-art, the record was produced by Mark Linkous from Sparklehorse.
A very wide range that goes from pure lo-fi (listen to "Living it for the moment" and it'll change your life) till orchestrated songs (listen to "You hurt me" and you'll burst into tears).
An artist everybody should listen to, not only Bowie.

ALBUM REVIEWS : THE UNTHANKS - HERE'S THE TENDER COMING

Some things in life are pretty hard to defend. We’re not talking about sending some troops to Afghanistan, but we’re trying to defend a classical folkalbum.
Mind you, the band can survive without my help as it seems the press (especially the British one, who else?) decided that the third album by The Unthanks is the masterpiece everyone should buy. Over here it’s quite different, even very different.
In 2008 they were working under the name of Rachel Unthank and the Winterset, and it almost got them the winning Mercury Prize with the album ‘The bairns’.
The band changed the concept as there’s not only Rachel Unthank, there’s a Becky Unthank as well and with the addition of some extra members, they became The Unthanks.
Whatever you might read the strongness comes from the voices and the approach of their music : it’s traditional folk done in a minimalistic way enriched with some clever backgroundnoises (from handclap to harpstrings).
The weaker thing is that it’s all a bit too sweet, you realise you’re listening to perfect melodic folkpop but you also realise you miss something…and after one hour, it’s just too much.
If someone tells you The Unthanks are good, then they’re right, but give’em a record by Kitty, Daisy and Lewis as well.

HEROES : COURTNEY LOVE


I once had the luck to have a long conversation with the organisator of the Vooruit-venue, which is one of the most important ones in Belgium. This man saw thousand stars come and go, automatically I asked him who was the most uneasy, unfriendly and most nasty artist he ever worked with.
The man didn’t think one second, “Courtney Love” of course…she was there when Nirvana played and you could see on the man’s face that he had very unpleasant memories with her…I got tons of phrases in where the man tried to show me that if there is one person you never wanna get in touch with, it must be her.
Is there anyone around who loves Courtney Love? Perhaps more…why is Courtney Love listed in my heroes-list? Why have I decided to give her a tribute out of the other 1000 heroes I have?
Honestly said, I was a bit inspired by the fact that she did a one-time Hole show in London recently (the only original member being her, so man ask if it’s really Hole but…).
Apart from the inspiration I think I just have the need to tell what Courtney Love means for me. I have a very special relationship with her, I am even a man who’s not that wild about Nirvana. Of course I like Nirvana, I have all their albums and I guess Nirvana are Nirvana but Hole means so much more for me. Because I have a soft spot for her? Nope, not even that because she’s not the kind of woman you wanna wake up with, it’s just because of the music and what it means for me.
There are hundreds of books being written about her, and I doubt if there ever is one which covers the whole truth because Courtney is the kind of artist you only expect bad things from. If you should read that she did some charity, you’ll be disappointed…admit it.
Courtney was born as Courtney Michelle Harrison on 9th July 1964. Her dad was Hank Harrison, the manager from Grateful Dead. Later she claims that her dad was given her LSD when she was a kid, but dad denied.
Anyway, it was soon clear Courtney wasn’t the happy child because at a quite young age she ended up in some reformatory schools and ended up being a stripper in several clubs, even in Japan.
Courtney was always the kind of girl who wanted to have famous boyfriends, Julian Cope became one of the first lucky ones, or is a victim a better word?
Anyway, I don’t care that much with whom she shared her bed with cos the list will be quite endless I guess.
The first musical outfits from Courtney was her being the lead singer from Faith No More. It didn’t last that long and she was sooner kicked out then being taken in, but when arriving in San Francisco she met Kat Bjelland with whom she played in unsigned bands like Babydoll and The Pagan Babies, but as soon as Kat started Babes In Toyland, Courtney could go as well…
You can say a lot about Courtney, but being her the rejected one, she always survived in appearing in the right moments (I leave it to your imagination how she managed it anyway) but soon after the adventure with Kat, she got offered the role of Nancy Spungen (Sid Vicious’ girlfriend) in Alex Cox’s “Sid & Nancy”.
But Courtney wanted fame, not being the undergroundstar, and she decided to form her own band. When placing an ad she got the request from one Eric Erlandson, the only member (apart from Courtney) who would be a vast member till the bitter end.
And then there is of course Kurt Cobain… There are a million theories around. Some say it’s Courtney’s fault that Kurt committed suicide, some say Courtney was nothing but a whore who needed attention for her own stardom, some say Courtney is talentless apart from the bed only… It makes me wonder if anyone has the right to judge such things?
It’s clear that both Courtney and Kurt are deranged people but both “Nevermind” and Hole’s debut “Pretty on the inside” (produced by Kim Gordon) were released in 1991. It are two total different sounds, and those who state that Courtney needed Kurt for her music is mental, albeit mental if it comes to musical education.
“Pretty on the inside” is one of the greatest American records ever and it shaped Courtney’s image in a final way, being the ultimate rock ‘n roll-queen whether you like it or not.
Well, undergroundwise that is, because Courtney was known as Kurt’s eccentric wife but only a handful of people were listening to her music.
The musical fame had to come with their 2nd album “Live through this”. Never could be a title so much better (without wanting it) as four days before the release Kurt shot himself in Seattle and two months later bassist Kristen Pfaff died because of a heroin overdose and got replaced by Melissa Auf Der Maur.
It was the time of scandals and also the beginning of the end as Courtney soon turned out to be mentally ill, but how much the fans were blaming her for being a mediawhore they also might consider how hard life must have been for her. I never met Courtney so I’m not to comment it, but live with a life like that!
The tour that went with “Live through this” was a strange one, every concert was in doubt and I could see it with my own eyes how Courtney went awol in Brussels just because a fan was wearing a Pearl Jam T-shirt in front of her. She stopped the concert and asked the guy to go away, when she saw he refused the guy was drawn out by the security. Is this going over the top? It certainly is, and you forgive her…just because she’s Courtney.
Apart from tons of bootlegs and compilations (My body, the grenade) Hole made only three albums and in all honesty, my fave is “Celebrity Skin”. I once wrote Everett True (and who knows Courtney better than him?) that I thought it was Fleetwood Mac for mentally people and I got flattered by the fact that he agreed. It’s very difficult to describe the feeling of this record, but even if I never got a needle in my arm (at least not for heroin) it’s like you can feel the weltschmerz of a junk.
From then on everything went downwards. Once she was the honey of the press, now she was the rejected one…nothing from her was accepted, not even her efforts on the brilliant solo-album “America’s sweetheart”.
The album was an immense flop salewise but for those who care : listen to it, and you’ll discover one of the best albums from a woman who has something to say, if she says it in a right way is another matter.
More scandals came, drugaddiction, arrests, quarrelling with daughter Frances Bean Cobain (it looks like she also feels the need to go into music) and the most current news was her going topless on Twitter, but she had a perfect excuse : it was to show her new tattoos…
If everything goes fine, a new album “Nobody’s daughter” will be released in April 2010, but it’s still a grey area if it’ll be under Hole or Courtney Love. Cashing in? Of course, and not in the least, but if everybody can do it then the queen of rock has that right to.
Courtney, you made me laugh, you made me cry, you made me shake the head….whatever that might have been said about you, you’re standing next to PJ Harvey, Bjork, Patti Smith, Nico, Liz Frazer, Siouxsie…what do they have in common? Female heroes of mine.