Monday, 23 June 2008

Scalphunters From Space

U.S. Christmas
Eat The Low Dogs
Neurot Recordings

I've had their self titled 12" for months and had it on heavy rotation. Heavy rotation is something these guys know a lot about. Blues based cosmic sludge, the coalescence of galactic effluence, psychedelic neon tails of burning dust lighting the night with their burning arcs and phosphorescent vapour. This album is something I've been waiting for. Coming from North Carolina, from a town in the Appalachians US Christmas (named after the Sam Pekinpah film), or USX for short, have a lot of space to star gaze, a lot of space to gaze into and a lot of space to make them feel small. Against that backdrop they play out like Crippled Black Phoenix, Neurosis and Hawkwind, the cosmic reference encapsulated in another band covering similar terrain – Comets On Fire. This is a kid of stoner rock, with none of the monged out drugginess. It’s clear headed shades of light and dark better able to cope with the paranoia creeping through the cracks, it’s enormity and scale companion to the environment it was created in.

In The Light Of All Time flickers into life like watching distant stars stuttering grasp on the firmament, slipping on and off it. This first track sounds like it was recorded by people half conscious in the best way possible. When the beat drops in on second track, The Scalphunters, little pinpoints of light accelerate into streaks, to scream past your periphery like hyperspeed just kicked in. Which it pretty much has. The effect is something to feel and it lasts for four minutes. The lyrics, barked out "BLACK AND COLD!" softened by echo and reverb, hardened by cold and exposure and darkness. Space rock. "WE ARE ONE AND ONE WITH GOD" See, not metal at all. Just disco beamed in from extremely fucking far away. “PRAY TO THE SKY!” – the coda. The rich, parched voice hoarse and unyielding in the face of the night. “PRAY TO THE SKY!” – drone soldiers in relentless skyward vigil.

It might be a touch cold, but other parts of the album come swaddled in earthy blues, a throbbing heartbeat of humanity, all the while dripping space dust and solar gas. The constant whirr, fluttering, phasing and twittering of theremin building the songs into a full on modern age psychedelic assault that draws from a healthy understanding of it’s history and tradition – which is to say that there are solos and striding passages of emotionally wrought supermassiveblackriffs – but they are sentiments that will get you because by the time those string bends tear the sound up, scarring the hulking body of the songs, they’ll have hooked into your head and heart and will be dragging it screaming into the abyss with them.

That’s Screaming good, not Screaming bad, and that’s good Abyss, not bad Abyss.


Thursday, 19 June 2008

The McDonalds and a Gun Plan Fanzine Not For Resale Interview
(Also known as The Full Body Dunk and now The Fighting Drunk)

Conducted June 2007 - reposted for posterity

How did you get started promoting?

I write for the Brighton Source magazine, covering local band and label gigs, demos and releases which keeps me involved and in contact with a whole load of amazing music so we started Not For Resale in the upstairs bar of Fitzherberts in the middle of Brighton as a way for people to hear each other’s sounds and play the bands we find most interesting and exciting. We’ve put on acousticy stuff with a small PA and laptoppy things, though we did also have The Robot Ninja Dinosaur Bastards play up there once which was probably the loudest, heaviest thing to grace that pub ever - and it’ll probably never be topped either. I was asked by the manager of a club if we wanted to expand a bit and the prospect of being able to put on full band shows in a club environment was a done deal for us, it’s exactly what we were looking to do. That’s pretty much the story. Not much too it, you’ve just got to take the chances when you can.

How long has NFR been going?

NFR has been going almost two years now. We started the NFR Live! club nights in April this year, so they’re pretty new, though the two shows we’ve had so far have been absolute stormers. We’re just about to have My Device play their new aalbum in it’s entirety live, we’re putting on Marnie Stern for a one of international guest special with Skill 7 Stamina 12, Ashley the drummer from Charlottefield’s other band and Towering Breaker with their freak noise fizz and crackle supporting, we’re having The Flesh happening and Robot Ninja Dinosaur bastards together at the same gig which will totally flip people out, we’ve got a black/death metal band playing but I haven’t figured out what other bands should go with that yet. Got to keep it mixed like some freaky compilation, not enough people willing to take risks and we’re one dangerous liability waiting to collapse under it’s own ambition but we’ll keep it that way until we do.

What are the goals of NFR?

Our goals are manifold really. We want the Fitzherberts’ DJ nights to be a place for people to come and listen to a whole load of freaky music and hear what other bands around town are doing. We hope it serves as a place for bands to begin and collaborations to form out of hearing each others work, which it has to some extent because the whole ethos behind it is to celebrate creativity not just to stand around getting pissed (though there’s massive sofas too, so if you want to sit and get lost in deep conversation you can) We want bands to be noticed by audiences and go off and see them live and pester them for demos – just get the whole thing moving along and keeping everyone enthusiastic. It’s a place for people to hear stuff they’ve never heard before and, though we don’t really like to say it because it sounds pretentious and is kind of implicit in the aesthetic of the night, we play a lot of obscure and very limited releases that people probably won’t be able to hear anywhere else. We love it when bands we’ve been playing demos of start to get big and the ball rolls out of control, like with Klaxons and the Horrors. It’s not something we brag about, it’s just what we do. I don’t know, maybe we should shout about the fact that we’ve been playing this stuff and it’s got massive, but that’s not our style, there’s really no need for it. Words getting around at a welcome pace The NFR Live! night is there to showcase bands that we’ve been playing at our bar night, putting our money (though it’s all free) where our mouth is and giving people the chance to jump around, dance and sometimes cry. It’s been known to happen.

What should anyone coming to an NFR night expect?

They should expect to get their heads wrecked. We give people a damn good time and they come away exhilarated and enthused about the infinite possibilities the universe has to offer. We crack open minds with mysterious new sounds and people love it. The other week I played demos from Extinction and Bone Awl – two very different Black Metal bands, back to back, watched as half the crowd went nuts and a few faces went deathly pale, then the whole place flipped when we dropped Holy Fuck on them straight out of Bone Awl.. Everyone went ballistic, running all over the place like their minds had just blown out their eyes. See, it’s mixing it up, grabbing people’s attention with stuff that we really enjoy and our people enjoy it too – sometimes they may not think so for a while, but then the moment takes them. Causing physical and psychological reactions – just getting people into the mind set of experimenting; offering them stuff they can’t hear anywhere else. A sense of mischievous aural terrorism coupled with the desire to include everyone works for us and the people that come to our nights.

The MGP’s idea of a Promoter differs from many other people’s idea of one - what do you think a Promoters job should be?

A promoters’ job is NOT about rinsin’ kids and bands to make a tidy profit. I’ll come back to that later. Money? You’re in the wrong game man, but I hear that’s what a lot of people are after. Promoting should be all about creating environments for people to hear stunning new music, finding it and giving it to people, making the most hard to come by stuff accessible, challenging people and creating that buzz in their head where they’re running off pure excitement. Picking the right combinations of bands to play gigs, giving bands opportunities to play and audiences the chance to hear them. It should be about making beautiful artwork and atmospheres, setting up the future, broadening horizons and setting new standards. You think a promoters’ job is to put on a gig? That falls way short of what we expect and deliver at Not For Resale.

Just how hard is it to keep a good night going?

Haha. Ask me in a year if we’re still going. How do you rate success? Keeping a night going is all about pushing yourself to find new and exciting stuff, simple as that. You’ve got to get out there and watch bands, get demos off them, scour the internet, go see stuff, don’t sit on your arse, be active, get involved. It takes energy and commitment, but it’s not hard. It would be hard if you didn’t really want to do it and if you don’t really want to do it then you’re not going to deliver and surpass peoples’ expectations. Every week I have something new that’s really worth getting worked up about and I often wish the nights would come round quicker so I can play stuff to people. Enthusiasm is contagious; I can see it in peoples’ eyes when I’m cuing something up and they’re wondering what the hell it’s going to be. Challenge people, but don’t come over all pretentious, play stuff to people like you know it’s about to become their best friend for life – shit, it already is their best friend, it’s just waiting for them to hear it.

What question would you most like to be asked?

The red pill or the blue pill?

Who are you listening to at the moment?

Right now I’m listening to some demo riffs for my band The The The Repeat Peters – but that’s not what you meant is it? A lot of Heavy Winged, absolutely the most essential band of the moment for me and everyone who comes in to contact with their records. Bone Awl, Furze - loads of Black Metal always, you’ve got to keep going back to Burzum to understand how to make beautiful music caustic and keep the emotion there; BM is on a totally essential cutting edge right now, especially the noise-BM crossover like Wold, Genital Tomb and Extinction; loads of psychedelic and Krautrocky stuff from Europe, like Tivol, Dungen, Circle, total headshaking multicolour drone bliss – American stuff like Wooden Shjips, Grails, Goliath Bird Eater, freak pop like Of Montreal, Candy Bars, Battles, Parts & Labor, all that psychotic dance like Justice, Digitalism, Knifehandchop, Para One, Black Strobe, Dandi Wind, Grabba Grabba Tape, Gui Boratto,…All that Ed Banger, Kitsune, DFAWrong Music, Gigolo stuff…Anything that Aquarius Records in California tell you to get, GET. They know their stuff. Anything from labels like Jagjaguwar, Not Not Fun, Todestrieb, Sathanas Rex, Battlecruiser, Nuclear War Now!, Battle Kommand, Code 666, Southern Lord, Polyvinyl, Brille, Snakes & Ladders, Kemando, Bella Union. This is making my head spin. There’s so much stuff around.

Can you recommend any new bands to the MGP?

That’s what we do. I’ll give you a load from Brighton, then we’ll move further afield:
The Flesh Happening – absolutely essential, like the first days of the Stooges when everyone was too scared to understand it; Robot Ninja Dinosaur Bastard – puke-tronic metal D&B dino-core; Revenge Of Shinobi – melancholic guitar dance with vocal loops and added disorientation; Old Mayor – the most amazing two piece Doom band ever, amazing vocals delivered at such a crushingly weighted pace; Zettasaur –they’ve got angles and they’ve got droney riffs hypnotically smashed together; The Mekano Set, gothy electronic effects heavy mood music like New Order zombified; Enid Blitz – wonderful full on indie stuff that goes straight for the heartstrings; Coin-Op - are back and meaner,. Faster, harder than ever; Vile Imbeciles – death jazz they call it and you’d better agree; Catnap – rioutous guitar scree with BEATS!; The Miserable Rich – beautiful folky pop, really sounding and overwhelming; Ben Parker – one name, whole band, awesome surfy melodic summer tunes with cheeky lyrics; Bearhead – one man effects heavy guitar drone genius; Dreamer – sub-bass black metal riffing on epic scales.

Let’s move on.

From London - The Be Be See - channel baiting spite-pop; Shock Defeat! - Urgent urgent rage wrapped melodi-core; The Roaring Twenties – yeah, they roar and it’s a beautiful noise;

O.K. I’ll speed up the tour:

Turbowolf from Bristol are fucking immense, and we need a band to replace DFA 1979 and they’re IT!, plus Kotki Dwa’s weird out pop and Love Team’s electro rock, Hasting’s Data.Select.Party do a similar thing really well, The Middle Computer from Southampton – totally fucked up noise, heavy dance beats and guitars, blessed out instrumentals, funny lyrics, the real deal, Curtis from Liverpool – heavily overdriven gorgeousness; Bucks & Gallants from Virginia, USA – like Oneida but more direct, totally pumping; Bay Of Creatures from Canada, real murky psychedelic freaky stuff……..

Come back to me if you need more, I live for this stuff.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

In 5 years time? We’ll have a record label that’s putting out all the stuff we love and runs of records will be selling out faster than we can print them. We’ll be putting on free gigs in massive venues with bands no one’s heard of to ecstatic audiences with their minds wide open in rapture. And they will be dancing. Industry people will be battering down our door demanding to know how we do it and we’ll tell them to ‘Fuck off’ because this is for the people, not for their pockets Other nights will be springing up all over the country playing demos from their town, invigorating every fucking scene everywhere, the nations mindset will shift from consumerism to activism, middle men like profit making shops that give shit all back will be cut out because people will realise they can go straight to the label or the bands themselves and the NME and Radio 1 and all that crap will become redundant when people realise they don’t need a seal of approval stamped on what they can listen to, people will absolutely not accept paying £140 for a ticket to a festival and the corporate bands that demand those fees will be buried under the DIY aesthetic and vigorous love for music in and of itself. The climate is right but the mass audience need to realise it’s there for the taking, we just need to tear down that veil that’s confusing them into not being able to take the initiative themselves. Every indie band member will have to work in a call centre, at least part time to talk to the man on the street and find out whether he really is a cunt or not. Not For Resale will be the catalyst to all that.

These New Puritans
Beat Pyramid
Domino Records

“Number One is the individual / Number 2 duality / Number 3 numerology is all shit / Number 4 is a number that will run through this music.” This is how the lyrical element to Beat Pyramid begins. References to numerics, mnemonics, infinity, history, synchronicity, repetition, patterns and mathematics form brief crystals of cryptic significance that shatter, multiplying tenfold. The music starts with the second half of a track concluding with the beginning at the end of the album. Not chaos, not even random. Elegant form designed to loop, repeat, and loop and repeat. Beat Pyramid is an edict full of harsh spidery guitars crawling all over its surface, rubbery reflexive beats thumping along its’ length, and across it all a skeletal vertebrae of sharp snares and hi-hats jutting through the mix, creating continually unfolding fractal patterns from the repetitious themes uncoiling out of the speakers. Some smoother tracks stay closer to the ground like the ominously paced Numerology with its softly shimmering guitars slipping out between spaces vacated in the wake of drums, or Doppelganger’s duel disorienting effect of low hum and swirling synth kaleidoscope – these tracks contrast with the more dynamic dance-floor oriented propulsive riot engines; the Eastern slashing Swords of Truth and teeth-rattlingly kinetic Elvis. Peaks in linearity within an album, peaks within linearity in song. Contract, relax, tense and release. Energies dissipated, pooled and unleashed. This is how Beat Pyramid continues long after the sound has left the stereo

Monday, 16 June 2008

Hotel Wrecking City Traders - Black Yolk

Hotel Wrecking City Traders
Black Yolk
Bro Fidelity

Two piece bands seem to be making up a large percentage of my listening time at the moment. Bands like (in no particular order) Blood Red Shoes, MGMT, Fuck Buttons, Old Mayor, Cobalt, Sharing Sheaths, -A+M, Crystal Castles, Pocahaunted, The Death Set, Noze, Bone Awl, This Mono Galaxy, Ting Tings, Goliath Bird Eater, Worriedaboutsatan… yeah, there’s a lot of two pieces about at the moment. The appeal for the musician is an easy one to understand and the appeal for the listener is, I suspect, the audible result of that same attraction: spontaneity and intimacy. To make this relationship somewhat more prescient, the Hotel Wrecking City Traders (an awesome name once you get your head around it) are brothers.

The Melbourne based duo of Toby (guitars) and Ben (drums) Matthews follow up last year’s self titled EP with their debut full length album Black Yolk. It is an album that occupies some kind of middle ground between rock, post-rock and metal, with six completely instrumental tracks building upon their previous recordings momentously, demonstrating an evolved interplay between both musical styles and brothers that has produced an album of not only sheer volume and seismic riffs, but of shapes, textures, space, and density.

The six tracks are split into three short, two long and finish with a final short burst. It sounds great. Two longer songs sit next to each other and really give the pair room to work with the textural elements of their sound, allowing themselves the time to develop and expand on the echoic ambience that haunts the shorter songs. The four short songs are your instant fixes, although they still pack in a lot of twists and turns. The opener, ‘Cup Weekend Murders’ is both the shortest and simple; a direct, straight-at-the-throat statement of intent. Of the kind that should be opening albums. ‘The Lakeshore Stranglers’ is five minutes of joyously intimidating riffs; of surging rhythm patterns set up on top of a sawing backdrop of distortion, with drums that switch between psychedelic dexterity and cantering locked-groove. Heavy and agile – and if HWCT’s sound could be distilled into a soundbite, that might be it. The longest track at 12 minutes, ‘Eavesdropper’ picks it’s way up slowly, menacingly, atmospherically, then bursts into a galloping, perfectly weighted riff section that disintegrates under it’s own momentum before grinding down into a stretched out string bending finish. The album finish comes in ‘Pagoda’, another sublimely loose-limbed rocker of ecstatic intensity.

So many shadowy images of it’s influences and peers appear that the album never sounds as if it was ever dependant on them. Across the album the ghosts of Torche, Karma To Burn, Mogwai, Capricorns, Goliath Bird Eater, Circle, and of course, Zeppelin and Sabbath, rise from the tracks like hypnotic, post-metal leviathans with these two grand mages in the centre conducting and realigning.

What really sets this album apart from so many of the rock-out acts around is the subtlety with which each song section slides onto the next, the natural flow of the songs that delivers moment after moment without you quite realising it is upon you until you are in the middle of it, yet feels wholly spontaneous and, yes intimate. All consuming, then.


Saturday, 14 June 2008

Zero Tolerance Reviews The Introvert Perversion

This month's Zero Tolerance mag reviewed my album. They wrote this:

The Introvert Perversion

This one-man project from Birmingham provides an off-kilter mix of genres, drawing largely from the rock and metal arena, with elements of industrial and electronica creeping in. The Introvert Perversion comprises eight repetitive tracks, constructed from loops and recurring motifs, gradually changing as the song progresses. The demo production doesn't allow the nuances of this experimental approach to shine through. While it's an interesting effort, improved focus and execution are needed to take Meatbreak's concept further.

Russell Garwood

You can download it for free and hear for yourself:

At the risk of getting a bit too Bradford Cox and deconstructing this, that was pretty much the reason for me sending it in for reviewing. I just wanted to see what would happen, and what it feels like to send in an album and press release and read what comes back. I'm ignoring the Birmingham, but since a big part of this is lifted from the biog I sent in with the album they could have lifted the right town too. I take issue with 'off-kilter' too - eurgh. A horrid, lazy phrase that I always interpret as meaning 'I don't understand' or, maybe more generously 'ah, I don't have enough time before deadline, or space in the review to fully explain what this actually sounds like - luckily I have this conveniently reknowned aphorism to fall back on'.

But really none of that needs to be said. We all know 99% of writers are dead lazy, huh?

Friday, 13 June 2008

Just another day in the office?

I had another enjoyably solitary day in the office today. With everyone else being out at conferences and meetings it meant it was just me and the I-Pod and whichever psychologist just happened to email me about journal stuff. A very quiet day on the actual work front gave me all day to piss about on myspace, get some writing done and errr...resign from being new bands editor for Source Magazine. Yeah, maybe more on that later.

For now though, my soundtrack to all of that, beginning with my nice sunny walk to work went thusly: >>>

I Haunt Wizards – Along Came Polly / But Com'On I'm Useless / FF / Wolfis Vs. Witchuz / Frost Mountain / Gnomz / Incentive To Miscarriage
Turbowolf – Do Me Wrong / Mystery / Playland / Bite Me Like A Dog / Power
Heavy Winged – Alive In My Mouth
Hotel Wrecking City Traders – Black Yolk
The KLF – Last Train To Trancentral
Of Montreal – Beginning To See The Light
One Unique Signal – Venus In Furs
Iron Pirate – Iron Pirate
Goliath Bird Eater – Pentagon Black
Adam Lygo – The Changing
The Cool Kids – Bake Sale
The Fleet Foxes – The Fleet Foxes (This was crap, don't believe the hype, if it builds to anything)
I Haunt Wizards – NYMPTHS / Otaku World Print / Sailor Moon / That's A Nice Dress / Vampire AIDS
Plastic Passion – We Have Come So Far / It's Been Done / Look Around / Everything Changes / Homage / File Under
White Fang – The Sea / Choad / Acid Reaper
Hotel Wrecking City Traders – Black Yolk (Yes, Again, It Is That Amazing - it's what's on now - Can anyone write anything more earthshakingly rockin' than The Lakeshore Stranglers?!)

So that's my day. Good day.


Monday, 9 June 2008

Not For Resale Mix 11 - June Download

The next Not For Resale mix has arrived! It's been away a little too long but this is one set that's going to wipe away all the bad memories you ever had and make up for the two months we left you adrift. We are sorry, and this our apology.

Download it here:

I always say "This is the best one yet", but there's LOADS of reasons why this is THE BEST ONE YET!!!

What’s in it this month? It opens with our new theme tune from Deliberate, our good friends in the North, then we work our way all over the country taking in the heady electro ambience of Nottingham’s Rookiecop, London’s most essential art-punk crew Plastic Passion, the art-doom-(in-joke?) of Gravanzia and the helter-skelter office-job-baiting beats of The Humanity. Across aways we go to Colchester for hardcore’s answer to the Arctic Monkey’s – Seas – at 16/17 years old, this band already have a hell of a lot nailed down hard – so hard it’s barely believable that they can pull these songs off (and we sure as hell heard that about Alex Turner too). Brighton gets its reps from Stars Down To Earth, Last Days of Lorca and Power Up – all three bands are playing our Live shows in the coming months and we stand by every twitch their muscles make – all three, intensity personified in their own very special ways. There’s the neon diskko of Drownsoda from Limoges, France, the neon nightmare of Toxic Lipstick from Osaka, Japan and the unsubtle wrath of Brisbane Oz’s one man BM band Black Anal Goat Vomit. This whole thing culminates in three of the most exciting acts around at the moment – Turbowolf, Fenech-Soler and Lonely Ghosts. As dream line-ups go, that’s a set of bands we’d love to see sharing a stage together. Wembley and Madison Square gardens, preferably

There’s much more than that too, all these peoples in fact:

Atlanticists / Black Anal Goat Vomit / Cables / Deliberate / Drownsoda / Fenech-Soler / Gravanzia / The Humanity / Jesus Knives / Last Days Of Lorca / Lonely Ghosts / Plastic Passion / Power Up / Rookiecop / Sam Amant / Seas / The Stars Down To Earth / Toxic Lipstick / Turbow├Âlf

Enough from me then, get clicking.