Archive for the 'Music' Category

Les Savy Fav in Sheffield: beard-core

March 18th, 2011 by Ian

One of my favorite bands hit Sheffield recently. The last time they were nearby it was in Manchester and I missed them for a date with a girl who only now, having finally seen Les Savy Fav, can I truly stop resenting. If you like rock and you miss LSF when they’re in your town, you’re a complete and utter quentin.

Appropriately awesome LSF poster by Laura Siragher

Appropriately awesome LSF poster by Laura Siragher

If you’re new to LSF I personally recommend that you start your adventure with their collection of 7″s, the appropriately named ‘Inches‘. I did. That got me hooked. Although that’s not to say their latest album ‘Root for Ruin‘ isn’t maintaining the quality I’ve come to expect. But I’m not going to focus on that. I think a great contrast to LSF would be another recent Sheffield Corporation gig; Melissa Auf Der Maur. Like LSF, more than competent musicians with a history of awesome albums. Another personal favorite. But when she played in town, it was a pretty damn disappointing delivery. Full marks for turning up, but that’s it. I know Sheffield isn’t the biggest town on the tour, but we like music too (if I was a music journalist I’d insert a quote from Reverend and the Makers here… but I’m better than that so no). I’ve paid my 15 quid. LSF, in contrast, got a nice A++ for effort. Why?

How to sell records in 2011

Since the gig, I’ve been imagining LSF are the sort of band who know how live music has to work in this time of mp3s, crappy laptop speakers and a fanbase who just won’t leave the house. A live show needs to bring it, and LSF brought it big time. Whilst I’d personally be perfectly happy to go to Corporation and see them perform a technically good set, LSF know this isn’t enough. They’ve heard of this thing called ‘showmanship’. It is their best weapon against pretentious tedious gigs, and their delivery system comes in the form of a big ball of bearded power: front-man Tim Harrington. Don’t get me wrong, LSF don’t need gimmicks and would be A-ok without Harringtons presence, but the energy that the bearded-one brings to the room is immense. If you’re standing near the back of the room and the lyrics are being delivered right into your face (literally)… that’s a show. That’s value for money. That’s the sort of effort that makes it worth getting out and supporting a band.

Les Savy Fav frontman connects with fans

Connecting with fans

Harrington made the grimy floors of Corp his bitch. He roamed the room doing questionable things with bananas (whilst singing the Banana boat song, naturally), slowly loosing layers of clothing. It was not sexy, but it was sexual. He climbed through the room, over bars and ledges. Fans held up the thick microphone chord that trailed behind him so he could connect with others. Musically. Physically. Emotionally. I’d seen such behavior from LSF on YouTube at big US outdoor shows. I thought, “Sure, they put the effort in when it’s a big show back home, but will they really bother in some northern city they’ve probably never heard of?” Well I was wrong. They did and they deserve credit for it. This was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to.

Interpol don’t give a shit

Often when American bands come to town they blatantly don’t care. I’m looking at you, Interpol. It’s another box ticked and they slump on stage, looking cool but ultimately lifeless. Not LSF. They obviously believe in live music. This gig was part of a tour organized by the DrownedInSound people. I hope everyone felt that Sheffield was a worthwhile stop, because we enjoyed it. Probably almost as much as Tim Harringtons greengrocer.

BBC nail Beardyman caption

June 23rd, 2010 by Ian
Beardyman: King of Sound and Ruler of Beats

Beardyman: King of Sound and Ruler of Beats

Any idea why the esteemed beat-boxer was on the news?

Via (read that again)

How to Destroy Angels

June 1st, 2010 by Ian

It was sad when Nine Inch Nails stopped work. Trent Reznor announced he was getting married and touring stopped. Girls. Ruin. Everything. Understandable after 22 years, but a shame all the same. As NiN wound-down, some of the side projects were a little lacking, but there is always something of interest in each one. I had high hopes for the Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! Reznor and Saul Williams sounded like a match made in heaven, but the result was nothing special, with the U2 cover, Sunday Bloody Sunday, perhaps being the most embarrassing low point of the project. However, this project, How to Destroy Angels, with his new wife Mariqueen Maandig is fortunately a much stronger attempt and one with a lot of potential. Maandigs vocals are well used and this isn’t a straight extension of the NiN catalogue (and nor is that what I’m after, personally), but it should be reasonably familiar to NiN fans (play the intro to With Teeth’s ‘Only’ and then new track Fur… told you so). The retail model is as generous as previous offerings and hardly worth discussion (it works, good luck to ’em). Reznor has got more money out of me this way than he ever did on Interscope.

How to Destroy Angels EP cover

How to Destroy Angels EP cover

You can listen free here and the new video to The Space Inbetween is as unnerving as you’d expect from this lot: they’re named after a Coil track for crying out loud. I’d love to get my hands on some hi-res copies of the EP artwork ‘n all. It’s reminiscent of work by Mark Weaver, which I’ve blogged about in the past.

Listen to the new How to Destroy Angels EP

Future of the Left play Sheffield

January 25th, 2010 by Ian

What’s the sign of a great band? Is it an ability to produce earworms? Many would say so, but I disagree. Otherwise Umbrella by Rihanna would make her, or whoever is operating the strings behind her, the finest artist of our times. I’m going to throw caution to the wind and say she/he/they/it are not. How about delivering songs with clever lyrics that even now, 3 days after I left the gig, won’t stop bouncing round my fucking brain? What if they were delivered over relentless, pounding riffs? Then package them in a compact 3-piece, dripping with a knowing indignation. Some vocals tinged with a mocking, yet not smug, sneer? That’d make a nice change from the usual angst that bands like this often bring. Future of the Left are not a bunch of whiny children. I wouldn’t say they’re angry, I’ve been threatened by Welsh people before and this isn’t like that. FotL are something else. Singer Andy Faulkous is ex-Mclusky, which is irrelevant (much as I liked them). FotL are their own band and are not being carried on the back of “oh, that guy was in Mclusky, we should check them out?”

Future of the Left @ Corporation, Sheffield

Future of the Left @ Corporation, Sheffield

In all honesty, I’m still reeling with disappointment from last years Interpol gig. Sure, I know they’re not the same deal as FotL, but the difference in showmanship was so dramatic. None of that disinterested, wandering, crossing of guitar cables whilst they prettend to look interested in their fret boards. No. The three members of FotL try so bloody hard, which combined with their competency in, seemingly, all areas of the craft results in one of the best shows I’ve seen. Their new album is very solid, consistent stuff and at this Sheffield Corporation show they played stuff from across their two albums. They hardly need to cherry-pick and I’m very glad that the well-thrashed synthesizer is with them.

I had seen a FotL show before at the Kasbah which, although a smaller venue (and thus better), didn’t leave the same impact on me. But now that they are 2 albums deep, they did. One benefit of Corporation was that it provided a number of hecklers whose only frame of reference to the Welsh people seemed to be late-night BBC3 repeats of Gavin & Stacey. Still, the band dealt with the hecklers in much the same way they seem to with anything else. Amusingly, harshly and definitively.

My first gig of the year and I’m very happy. I’ve spent all day at work trying to improve my javascripting with #“Mark Foley was right – there are no ghosts in this town, there is not reason to fear, there are no obstacles here” running through my head so screw you for that, Future of the Left, but please, please come back to Sheffield again.

Watch the music video to ‘The Hope That House Built‘ to get a vague frame of reference. It stars a donkey.

How to Smack My Bitch Up

January 9th, 2010 by Ian

I don’t believe that The Prodigy’s album The Fat Of The Land is 12 years old. This YouTube shows what samples were used in lead track, Smack My Bitch Up and how to recreate the whole thing.

I was never aware of the Prodigy – Rage Against the Machine link. Hurrah for samples.

Via Fascinated

NSFW Truckers Delight 16-bit pixel vid

November 18th, 2009 by Ian

This is NSFW due to lots of things going in and out of peoples bottoms. It is however awesome pixel-work which takes us back to the era of SNES and Sega Genesis. Pretty much the most controversial comment on truckers since that Jeremy Clarkson ‘joke’. The clever people on reddit remind me of Paul Robertson, the twisted genius who did Pirate Baby’s Cabana Battle Street Fight.

Via pretty much about everyone on my twitter stream.

Cartman, Walken, Gaga perform ‘Pokerface’

November 11th, 2009 by Ian

The crazy costumes, dry delivery and pure sexual energy of Lady Ga Ga, Christopher Walken and Cartman respectively (at least I think that’s the right order) combine to make this the ultimate plodding-beat pop-mashup:

(via the good people at reddit)

Biggie Smalls Vs Thomas The Tank Engine

October 27th, 2009 by Ian

Regular readers may remember Notorious Hitler – Where Brooklyn at. We’ve had a bit too much right-wing attention round here if you ask me, what with Mr. Griffin on Question Time and the personal realization that Maggy Thatcher has started to look a little bit like my Nan. So here is something a little more cheerful.

Geeks and hip-hop

October 22nd, 2009 by Ian

RZA shows off his geeky side in this interview. Jedi mind tricks (not the band), ColecoVision and the usual comic books that anyone who knows about the Wu will be familiar with. It’s nice to hear stuff like:

I’d rather raise nerds than raise gangsters.

(via True / Slant)

Lusine – Two Dots

September 29th, 2009 by Ian

I listened to so much Lusine when I was at uni. Serial Hodgepodge seemed to have so much going on, so much detail, so many little voices. It was a much needed break from my slightly dangerous Boards of Canada obsession. Now Jeff McIlwain is back with Two Dots. It is the first single from A Certain Distance and this predictably quirky video accompanies it.

Via the Fabric nightclub blog.

Neurosonics Audiomedical Labs Inc.

September 24th, 2009 by Ian

This short video seems to be a collaboration between the usually wonderful Scratch Perverts, beat-boxer Schlomo, Foreign Beggars and others. It’s a headache inducing head-heavy-head-fuck.

Visit for more info and credits.

Birdy Nam Nam – the Parachute Ending

July 28th, 2009 by Ian

Tripping. Definite Daft Punk vibes here, only to the power of fkhwgas?

Nintendo Vs Sega EP

July 19th, 2009 by Ian

Nintendo vs sega ep cover

Enjoyable remixes courtesy of RAC, free to download and listen to. It’ll take you back. If you’re of a certain age/nerdyness.

Check their page for more of the same and the cover artists page, Akutou, for some pretty vibrant artwork.

Logan Walters Wu-Tang Design Remix Project

May 27th, 2009 by Ian

All the kids love Wu-Tang, but some of the album art for the album covers is pretty crap. I’d actually say that album art for hip-hop albums is probably worse than other genres, on average. I don’t know why that is. Maybe designers don’t like hip-hop? Maybe artists and labels concentrate more on the music instead and consider good design an unnecessary expense. Maybe typography is a naughty word. Designer Logan Walters has taken it upon himself to redesign some of the old Wu albums. They’re a bit reminiscent of old Hitchcock movie posters. I think they’re a great improvement on the originals:

36 Chambers remix

36 Chambers remix

I can’t slag the original designs off without saying that I’ve always thought one Wu-tang album has excellent album art: Bobby Digital in Stereo, a side-project by the RZA. It’s probably my favourite cover and a pretty good album to boot.

View pt 1 of the collection of ‘new’ Wu-Tang albums at Logans blog. I hear he’s planning a pt 2.