Review // Kim Gordon – ‘Girl In A Band’

kim gordon girl in a band

“What’s it like to be a girl in a band?” is a question that is still being asked today and has been  publicly mocked by women over the years, most recently Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac. It’s a question that specifically English journalists posed to Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon during her time touring over here in the late eighties and early nineties. According to Gordon in this memoir, the offending journalists would then go on to disregard her answer to this question and go on to write both ageist and sexist reviews.

Gordon’s book answers the question of what it’s like to be in her own band whilst also beginning with her 60s/70s childhood in scenic L.A., where the Manson murders taint the sun soaked city and hippies roam free. She also writes of her relationship with her brother, Keller who later goes on to be diagnosed as a schizophrenic and her early experiences with art and music.

The book stretches from her first initial artistic steps, through to art school in Toronto and finally New York. It talks about her meetings and relationships with various artists and musicians in the Punk and No Wave scenes in early eighties New York. The only problem that one might find with this book is that unless you’re aware of every single one of the artists named you can easily lose track of who’s who and be left thinking “wait, is that the sculptor or the visual artist?”, “which band was that girl in again?”

My favourite part of this memoir is that Gordon gives open explanations about some of the inspiration behind some of the songs from all of the albums that Sonic Youth and her various side projects released,  as well as giving us an insight into how Sonic Youth operated creatively.

It also gives the reader a clear indication of just how creative Gordon (and indeed the rest of Sonic Youth) is. Sonic Youth were an art band that never aimed to create an easy listening pop song that could equally as easily be forgotten in a lost city of mediocre pop songs but created images and told stories within their music upon a layer of sound heavily influenced by Punk and No Wave whilst guitar tunings change from song to song.

All of this is found at the heart of the novel sandwiched between Kim’s upbringing and her family life – the upbringing of her own daughter, Coco Moore and the demise of her marriage to Thurston. The importance of her family, from her love for her parents to the love she has for her daughter is something that is an underlying theme of the whole book.

It’s a very personal memoir and often melancholic at times, a vibe that we’re introduced to right at the start of the book with Kim’s memory of Sonic Youth’s last ever show which took place in Brazil in November 2011. The intense prolificness of Gordon is portrayed in this book and should do nothing other than completely inspire the reader. We’re shown how Gordon has always thought in the mind of an artist and never a musician which is probably the only way to approach making the visceral and at times very chaotic music that Sonic Youth created. This is the perfect read for anyone aspiring to be in some form of punk rock band or anyone who’s an artist of aspiring artist in general.

 

9/10

 

Words: Katie Wilkinson 

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Watch // 20 years of 55DSL

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Italian clothing brand, 55DSL celebrate their 20th birthday this year. Originally they set out as a spin off of the Diesel brand but twenty years on they are still going strong and fuelled with just as much of a creative driving force and fun attitude towards their brand.  They work well within an urban setting with their eye catching graphics. Creative director Andrea Rosso seeks out artists all over the world to collaborate with which gives an artistic feel to the clothes as well as them clearly taking inspiration form various different countries. In the film below 55DSL discuss their twenty year history from the birth of the brand to its collaborators. The music is by Bloody Beetroots.

 

20 Years of 55DSL from 55DSL on Vimeo.

 

For updates from 55DSL like them over on Facebook. 

 

Watch the full film at: https://vimeo.com/118482380

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Review // Girl Band – ‘Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage?’

girl band

The video for Girl Band’s cover of Blawan’s ‘Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage?’ has a particular grim narrative of a mortician at work. The video was shot by Bob Gallagher and shows an old man strip a naked dead body of jewellery and then its vital organs.

There is also a tape deck playing a song in the background and, after the Y-incision is sewn back up they are both possessed by the song and engage in a violent freak-out. The brutal reparative beats and screeching of guitars prove to be a bizarrely brilliant piece of background tracking for a rave in a morgue.

Most guitar groups stick to what they know; rock, grunge, punk but obviously Girl Band have set themselves differently by covering a techno track and have turned it into more than just a cover song. I’ve heard that the live version is a high point for fans. The video is fantastic (although don’t watch while eating!)

Girl Band have got the guts for terror techno and can cause a panic in eight minutes just by making a lot of noise. The video follows plans unveiled for their debut EP The Early Years, which will arrive on April 21 via Rough Trade.  The Irish lads will make a trip across the pond to support the release with a string of North American live shows.

I hope the future EP gives as much energetic noise-rock as their cover of ‘Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage?’

In the meantime put the food away and watch the video for ‘Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage?’

You can read the tracklist for ’The Early Years’ below.

1. ‘Lawman’
2. ‘De Bom Bom’
3. ‘I Love You’ (Beat Happening Cover)
4. ‘Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage?’ (Blawan Cover)
5. ‘The Cha Cha’

 

 

Words: Sophie Ward 

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Review // PJ Harvey – Recording In Progress

pj harvey recording in progress

 

Dorset born singer / songwriter PJ Harvey announced earlier this year that she would be inviting fans to come and watch her record her 9th studio album in an exhibition at Somerset House. Tickets were snapped up fast but luckily new dates were added and I managed to grab a ticket and make it down to a Wednesday afternoon session.

Upon arrival, phones and any other potential recording devices are taken away from me and I’m led downstairs to a room with a huge glass showcase in it. Polly and her band are on the other side of the one way glass (it’s one way glass so that they’re not distracted by spectators and things are kept as natural as possible) recording some drums. These are not just any drums however; one of the drums is a snare drum, with a smaller drum skin held loosely into place to create an incredible ringing sound when struck whilst the other guy (presumably Jean-Marc Butty) plays marching band-esque drum roll, which has a sort of sacrilegious / ceremonial feel to it.  Sonically, we are fed exactly what the band are hearing which is the barebones of a track with some impressive guide vocals. The track itself has an incredibly hypnotic feel to it whilst also containing some classic PJH style “oooo”s.

The band are all seemingly very relaxed despite the fact that they’re in a glass display cabinet being watched and the floor is white, the walls are white (bar a PJ Harvey line drawn crest) and the sofa is also extremely white. This is far from your moth eaten rug and cigarette stained walls environment that most artists are offered when it comes to recording an album. Even when they reach the ‘dilemma’ of which organ sound they should use in order to give the song a “pulse” they seem calm and collected and simply flick through the organ sounds unfazed until deciding on what they consider to be the perfect tool for the job at hand.

Another treat that we’re given are handwritten lyrics to the tracks from the new album that are nailed onto the wall; this is an eyeopener as to what theme the new album will be on. Again, this album seems to be about conflict and injustice, however, rather than being about a particular war or place, it has an international feel. Polly’s moved away from landscapes and tapped into the mindset of those at the hands of injustice all over the world. It going to be a sad but beautiful, and of course creative album for sure whilst also being heartbreakingly relevant to bad state that the world is in right now.

 

 

Words: Katie Wilkinson 

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Review // PROM – ‘Cry Baby Cry’

PROM

 

‘Cry Baby Cry’ by the London- based new punk rockers: PROM is an exciting track. It is a relentless tune that doesn’t seem to tire. A great grungy debut from the murky underground that will bounce out of your headphones no matter how low you turn the volume down. Not that you’ll want to as this is a refreshing, rare find that music fans have been waiting for.

What is great is this track has a visual masterpiece that matches the sheer wonderment of the single. The self-directed music video is weird but also mesmerising. It features the lead guitarist (Pip Stakem) dancing in a wedding dress. With his moustache galore, muscles twitching and writhing as the white dress clings to his body until the bass and drums reach their inevitable crescendo.

The end of the video features the rest of the band; Ed Kirkwan (Drums) Angela Won- Yin Mak (Vocals/Guitar) and Nick Benton (Bass) who describe themselves as “desperate, isolated obsessives of the alternative/sleaze canon (who) strike out on new musical endeavour after falling off last year’s bandwagons.

Expect barely-contained aggression and pent up Freudian urges from this rejection-grade scattering from all corners of the punk/alt/goth axis.”

The capital has produced us a great collective bunch; who look like they are having the time of their lives and who would be fantastic to see live. I have great expectations to the follow up to ‘Cry Baby Cry’.
 

 

Also, check out the other half of this double A side single, ‘Celebrate’ below:
 

 

‘Celebrate’ / ‘Cry Baby Cry’ will be released on 12th January 2015. Pre-order it here.

 

Words: Sophie Ward 

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Interview // Tigercub

Photo by Jack Williams

Photo by Jack Williams

 

Ahead of Tigercub‘s single launch show at new Camden venue, The Stillery, Lily Armstrong caught up with them to talk about the single, touring and Charlie Parker.

 

Lily: Talk me through the new single, ‘Centrefold.’ 

Jimi: It’s actually an older song that we had on our first EP and we reimagined it a new single.

Jamie: And our producer… we met Tom [Dalgety] last year.

Jimi: He’s a cool dude.

Lily: I was going to ask how that came about.

Jimi: It was actually through our friend, Matt Bigland. Our first ever tour was July 2013—with Dinosaur Pileup—and [Tom] had just engineered their second album. Matt really liked one song in particular from our set, and said he wanted to co-produce it with him. Then there’s a lot of other connections as well, but they’re kind of coincidental. That’s exactly how we met Matt.

Lily: And the way that you reimagined the song—what do you think of it now?

Jamie: We simplified it, which is a good thing. And took bits out. We just wanted to go more rockin’. It was a bit weirder before, and we just kind of thought. We just thought, the top line’s nice, y’know, we might as well just make a little more out of it. Flatten it. And it works a little better.

Lily: And how about the b-side?

James: It’s a song that we actually struggled with for quite a while. We weren’t sure it was good enough.

Jimi: We thought it was too dumb. We thought it was too 1-0-1-0.

Jamie: It was Mike—Mike kept saying, “that’s a really good song, that should be the next single.” And somehow, it’s on the b-side. We need to get more stuff out, basically.

Lily: What’s coming up next? What’s your new focus?

Jamie: The album. It’s probably too early to say what our exact plans are. We do have really exciting plans though.

Lily: Is Tom going to be involved too?

Jamie:  Tom will be involved, yeah.

Jimi: But we kind of want to make a statement with the first record. You can’t undo your first record, so we’re really gonna spend the next month or so honing on. We’ve got sort of a long list of songs, and hopefully a few of them will be alright, and it’ll be an okay album.

Jamie: Loads of touring next year as well.

Lily: You just toured with Blood Red Shoes, right?

Jamie: Yeah, it was horrible.

Jimi: Disgusting.

Lily: You’re on their label too—this is the first release on the new label, right?

James: It’s the first release that isn’t Blood Red Shoes.

Jimi: They created the imprint to release their own stuff for the last few records. They’ve done I think an album and an EP and a single, or something like that. We’re the first one that’s not them. It’s really exciting, and it’s really exciting that we don’t have a clue what they’re doing, and neither do they, and that is Jazz Life.

James: All about that jazz life.

Jimi: It’s like living inside of Charlie Parker’s left nut and trying to feel around and see what comes out of that.

Lily: There are so many great bands in Brighton right now—what would you say are your favourite local acts?

James: I really like Great Pagans. They’ve just put out an album which I really love. I work at a bar in Brighton, and they played the Drill Festival a couple days ago, and they played a good set, I really like them.

Jimi: I’m really into The Hundreth Anniversary. They’re a really kind of shoegazey, downtrodden, very slacker-y band who are very good friends of ours—my girlfriend is the drummer, so I’m kind of contractually obliged to say that. But they’re really cool, and they’re very underrated in the scene, just because they don’t push themselves in any way. I really like that.

Jamie: I really like Demob Happy. They’re my friends from Newcastle, and they’re finally getting the attention they deserve. There are so many other great bands in Brighton. Like Tusks, they’re mint. They’re so young, and they’re gonna go on to do great things, I’m sure.

Jimi: There’s also, can’t forget to mention, The Wytches, who are just smashing it. The Xcerts, who just put out an incredible album, you’ve got bands like Kagoule—that’s next year’s ‘to watch’ list. There’s just too many to mention, it’s a very rich scene.

Lily: And what do you think about what’s going on in London? Do you feel any particular affinity for the London scene too?

Jimi: Well, a lot of bands from London we meet, we really get on with, but in terms of a scene in London, I’m not aware of a clique of bands like there might be in Brighton. I think it’s much more  modular and everyone does their own thing—which is cool; it breeds creativity rather than competition. But yeah, there are some amazing bands in London. Like Our Girl, the half-Brighton, half-London band. I’m really excited to see what they do next year.

Jamie: I really like the Magic Gang from Brighton as well, love that band, they’re fucking cool.

Lily: We’re going to end with a synaesthetic question: What colour is your music?

Jamie: I’d say dark purple.

James: I was gonna say that.

Jimi:  Yeah, but kind of with a sparkle… it’s a bit like James’s kit, I think. It’s got kind of a two-tone effect as well. It’s got kind of a brown, but also dark purple. Not deep purple, just dark purple. A fired earth tone. Very much like that.

Jamie: GG Allin’s stained, sparkly purple underpants.

 

 

Words: Lily Armstrong 

 

‘Centrefold’ is out now on Jazz Life 

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Review // Demob Happy – ‘Succubus’

demob happy

 

‘Grunge soul’ is back in the form of Newcastle foursome, Demob Happy. Described in the past as the type of gnarly-show makers who “make you feel the speakers in your sneakers,” they have been compared to have the same swagger as the likes of Queens of The Stone Age. Based on everything I have heard, this is a rock band to watch out for.

They have taken their name from the feeling of leaving something behind that you were once sick of it which becomes clear that the band have settled happily into the Brighton music scene, and their mix of catchy pop style vocals and well-timed break downs are the proof.

Their single; ‘Succubus’ is something you might find down rock’s back alley. Think grit, grime and grub in an audio format. The video gives out a D.I.Y feel (well they have produced stuff in the past for a tenner) and visualises the grunge vibe from the track.

Frontman Matt Marcantonio has said that: “‘Succubus’ is about being sold an obsession in stuff. What’s harmless to you feels like a love sucking demon bitch to me, quasi-supernaturally so, who leaves your front door open but your mind on pause.”

Matt howls on the record like a man possessed. The sounds of him singing (screaming?) distorted giving out the type of high grade trash rock sound which brings to mind hugely popular alt-rockers like Nirvana but it’s more than obvious that these dirty rock n’ rollers have their own sound and swagger to sweetly seduce us with.

I read that the band ventured deep into the Welsh countryside to record, building their own studio in a desolate Carmarthen cottage away from the confines of the city. This is very D.I.Y. music making stuff from the likes of a band who could be recording one minute then battling in court for their gear back from the noise police the next.

They write, record, produce on their own terms…basically everything they do they do themselves. Demob Happy probably didn’t get where they are today in an easy manner but that hasn’t stopped them from making it look that way. An EP could be on the horizon hopefully carrying the same strength from their debut single.

 

 

Words: Sophie Ward

 

Order ‘Succubus’ here. 

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Review // Is Tropical – ‘Black Anything Part 1

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Is Tropical have announced their new album, Black Anything which will contain captured sounds and ambient impressions of the many places the band have visited. It aims to reflect the excitement and impulsiveness of the creative process within song writing.

By treating ‘Black Anything’ as a project, and issuing it out in installments rather than an a ready-made album in the traditional sense, it gives it to own time. A time for small sections of songs to become a stand-alone moments. In theory this is not just music; it is something to be digested. The sounds heard so far are sweet, something to be savoured yet left me wanting more.

Part 1, which can be heard here featurs ‘Crawl’ & ‘On My Way’. Two tracks which feel live – you can hear the ‘in-the-moment’ movement of the music.

It is an interesting approach to music. By collecting all you learn and love through touring has really helped Is Tropical craft songs that shout their passion for making music. Rather than locking themselves inside London based studios, where you just can’t get that gripping sound of reality like people talking, or birds cheeping like you can hear on ‘On My Way’.

All I can say is that I am definitely going to get my ears open for Part 2 of this indie/electronic quartet’s innovative album release.

 

 

Words: Sophie Ward

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Photos // White Lung @ Barfly, Camden

white lung 1 white lung 3 white lung 4 white lung 5 white lung 6

 

Photos by Keira Cullinane

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Photos // Little Dragon @ The Corn Exchange, Brighton

Little Dragon 1Little Dragon 2Little Dragon 3Little Dragon 4Little Dragon 5Little Dragon 6Little Dragon 7Little Dragon 8

 

Photos by Keira Cullinane. 

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Weekend Club Picks // Night Slugs + Electric Minds

night slugs flyer

 

Forward-thinking electronic label Night Slugs continue their 6th birthday anniversary events with a special one off party tonight on 8th November at The Laundry in London.

The ex-industrial Laundry basement now converted into a multi-use events space will see the Allstars colossal line up headed up by label founders Bok Bok and L-Vis 1990, while HelixHysterics and Deamonds complete the bill.

Tickets:

Alt: http://tinyurl.com/lnbcsvs
RA: http://tinyurl.com/p5scupt

 

The Laundry

12 -18 Warburton Rd London Borough of Hackney, E8 3FN – 020 8533 3487

 

 

The Hydra Electric Minds & Kompakt

 

the hydra

Tonight is the turn of leading underground parties / record label Electric Minds and Cologne-based innovators Kompakt at Studio Spaces. The night’s huge line up comprises of performances from Moodymann, Joey Anderson and Kompakt co-founder Michael Mayer, while Robag Whurme, Leon Vynehall, Sei A and Dolan Bergin complete the bill.
Resident Advisor:  http://www.residentadvisor.net/promoter.aspx?id=27058

 

Studio Spaces E1
Unit 1
110 Pennington Street
Wapping
London
E1W 2BB
 

Words: Federica Furlotti 

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Video // Breton – ‘Titan’

Screen-Shot-2014-11-05-at-15-07-33

 

South East London band Breton released their second album War Room Stories early this year. After being evicted from their SE London squat where they created their debut Other People’s Problems, the band relocated to Berlin to make WRS in the red brick confinement of The Funkhuas: an old communist newsroom. The 10th November (this coming Monday) will see the release of the extended edition of their Believe Recordings released album. ‘Titan’ is one of the additional ‘left over’ (although, one might like to think of them as hidden gems) tracks. The video was filmed just minutes away from their old headquarters (or ‘the lab’ as they referred to it) and was filmed by the band themselves alongside Lexi Kiddo; nearly all of the videos that the band have ever released to support their singles have been made themselves. The 5 characters in the video are dealing with separation in different ways, whether it be from another person or separation from themselves – their own bodies. The track itself is short and electronic based with a driving, anthemic chorus. Check it out below:

 

The band will do one final tour of the album before hiding away for a while so make sure you catch them – details here.

 

Words: Katie Wilkinson 

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