(I got mine from those lovely Pebble Records kids!)
Tuesday, 26 June 2012
(I got mine from those lovely Pebble Records kids!)
"Due to the severity of Tom’s illness, his hospitalization away from home, and the projection of a possible prolonged recovery, Tom and his family will certainly incur a more than significant financial burden. There will be medical bills as well as possible travel and housing expenses. It is thought that a considerable portion, if not all, of Tom’s recovery must take place in Berlin. A fund is being established to receive donations to offset these costs.".
This fund has now been established, the details of which can be found at helptomcarter.org. In addition, a number of Tom's friends and collaborators and some of the labels who have released his work have set up their own fundraising initiatives. Information about Volcanic Tongue's fundraising can be found here. It's admirable and good for the soul to see people getting involved to help a friend in need. If you can help spread the word, please do.
Wednesday, 20 June 2012
Guitar Wolf's arrival in Glasgow a few weeks ago would appear to have precipitated a bit of a Japanese punk binge for Not Unloved. The trio's show at Mono was a truly punishing affair with waves of eardrum scouring distortion lashing the audience from the megalithic PA with scant regard for the harm it could cause. It was, of course, brilliant. Sure, I didn't go home humming any of their tunes (were there any? - Next Big Thing doesn't think so!) but I did go home exhilarated, my heart beating faster. I guess with Guitar Wolf, as with a lot of other Japanese noise acts, it's the extremeness and the physical attack of the sound which counts, not the melody. Seeing Guitar Wolf, Masonna, Keiji Haino / Fushitsusha etc. is a bit like going to a firework display in that you start out excited just to be there, whoop a bit at all the little bangs and then a MASSIVE bang happens and afterwards all the quieter fireworks that were previously fun no longer seem as exciting; all you crave is the MASSIVE bang.
Watching Guitar Wolf videos on YouTube to whip myself into a frenzy before their show, I rediscovered Teengenerate . They were one of the exotic bands for sale in the Rhythm catalogue in mid-90s. I remember chuckling at the listing for the 7" they shared with a band called Bum. Happy, innocent days. Listening to their roaring "Smash Hits" compilation on the mighty Estrus label is always a thrill. As with Guitar Wolf, the more distorted and furious they get, the better they are. Their ram-raiding cover of Mark Hollis's pre-Talk Talk group The Reaction's "Talk Talk Talk Talk" ups the ante on the original and makes vast swathes of the more recent garage punk groups sound a bit tepid.
Sure they're a whole lot more pop than Guitar Wolf and Teengenerate but Shonen Knife are still inhabited by the punk spirit - they did record a whole album of Ramones covers after all! - and their new album for Damnably is a bouncy, melodic joy. After the first couple of plays it feels like one of their best. The title track "Pop Tune" takes catchy to hitherto unimagined levels:
"Psychedelic Life", Not Unloved's current favourite from the album, is an endearing stomp through hippie cliches (incense, peppermint tea, meditation etc.) with added recorder solo that comes off like a schoolgirl's take on a Shocking Blue single. They're doing a UK tour in October and there's no way Not Unloved won't be at the Glasgow leg of it at Oran Mor on the 5th. Not after year's blasting appearance at Nice'n'Sleazy.
Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Tuesday, 5 June 2012
The waves keep pounding on the shore
As each wave breaks it hurts me more
To realise that you left me
One foolish quarrel made us part
But when you left you took my heart
I miss you so down by the sea
And as the waves keeps breaking
My lonely heart is aching
I've loved you from the very start
In every sense, "Down By The Sea (End of Summer)" is a POP masterpiece and I'd say as good as anything produced by Phil Spector or any of the other more highly revered production teams of that era.
Monday, 4 June 2012
Until a couple of weeks ago my knowledge of Estonian music extended to just a few of the wondrous works of Arvo Pärt and the odd track by Norman Blake-produced guitar swirlers Pia Fraus. Thanks to Shelflife Records, however, I now know and love a little of the work of a third Estonian musical act: Picnic. On their new 7" they bravely remould a couple of very familiar songs into their own image. Roger Nichols and Paul Williams' "We've Only Just Begun" starts off hazily before the "Isn't Anything" era guitars whip it into soft peaks. In terms of purity, Marju Taukar's voice sits towards the hallowed Trish Keenan / Mary Perrin end of the spectrum of great female voices. So lovely.
On the flip, their version of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Say A Little Prayer" is relocated to a place where sunny day strums meet whooshes of jet age electric guitar and little percussive taps vie with bolder beats for space. Again, Taukar's vocal is central; more urgent and wider-eyed this time. What a fantastic single. Time to find their debut album, I reckon.