Speakers Push Air


Narc July 2012 – Live Reviews
July 13, 2012, 3:35 pm
Filed under: Bands, Narc | Tags: , , , , ,

NoFX / Less Than Jake / Snuff – Newcastle Academy, June 13th

When people are crowdsurfing and throwing pints by 7.30, you know you picked the wrong time to go on the wagon. The Academy is HEAVING with every flavour of punker, the atmosphere is fantastic and here are Snuff, the loveable scooterboys of UK hardcore, kicking off with their version of The Likely Lad Theme (smart move, lads!) and rattling through a short and perfect 30 minutes of originals, covers (like crowd fave Soul Limbo), football gags and cockney bullshit. Wonderful.

I just don’t get Less Than Jake. They tick all the right boxes somehow, an almost exact midway point between Snuff and NoFX (appropriately enough) but it’s all so second hand and lacking in punch. The crowd loved them, I was bored rigid. So polished, so pointless.

And then NoFX. Never has an utter shambles of a show been so much fun. Hardcore as hell and as childishly, wonderfully funny as ever, a NoFX gig is 2 minute hardcore blasts punctuated by Fat Mike bitching and moaning. It’s brilliant and the crowd go batshit. However, things go awry when Mike – already pretty hammered – necks a pill thrown onstage and near the end of the set has to leave the stage to sort himself out. By the time the band reappear, they’ve run out of time and get turned off without an encore. So we’re faced with the utterly surreal spectacle of NoFX and various roadies doing a half-arsed dance routine to the Avenue Q song ‘Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist’ by way of consolation. Now that’s punk rock…

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Guitar Wolf / The Maximum Zeroes – The Cluny, June 5th

I must have seen Brian Coyoteman in about 75 different bands during my 2 years on Tyneside, but Maximum Zeroes are the best. Imagine a high class bar band if the bar was CBGBs, or a furious blend of The Dictators and Dr Feelgood and you’ll get the idea – garage punk in touch with its R&B roots.

Oh, my – Guitar Wolf! The greatest cartoon band ever (Gorillaz included). They clearly think the Ramones were overcomplicating things and turn everything into a furious, cool as fuck, garage rock onslaught. You don’t come to see the Wolf for subtlety or melodies, you come to see three guys in leather and shades make an astonishing racket whilst never forgetting to strike none-more-iconic poses. Guitar Wolf (the singer / guitarist, not the band) has a rock’n’roll dictionary with 10 words in it, and 4 of those are ‘baby’. By the end of the gig, he’s being held aloft over the crowd (Iggy-style) by not one but two Narc writers while a fella called Rory from Stockton is onstage playing guitar and wondering what the fuck is happening. Even when the lights are on and crowd is leaving, ears ringing, the frontman runs back onstage to tell us how much he loves Newcastle whilst wrenching pure noise out of his guitar. The beautiful, dumb essence of rock’n’roll distilled.

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Future Of The Left / Fever Fever – The Academy 2, June 10th

Fever Fever took a couple of songs to overcome some initial shyness but ended up coming on like a compelling blend of grunge low end and riot grrl righteousness, like Kathleen Hanna fronting The Melvins, raw and honest and forthright. Judging by the scrum at the merch stand, they won a lot of new fans, which is as it should be.

My first Future Of The Left gig was exactly as I hoped: furious, intense, funny and very loud. Falco manages to be both the angriest and most articulate man in rock, which – when married to their bludgeoning but melodic hardcore – leads to a perfect storm of belligerence and scorn. Now a four-piece, they sound like the best bits of Shellac but with more songs, the faster tunes leaving Falco and co-vocalist / guitarist Jimmy reduced to red-faced screaming while the bass and drums just don’t quit. And bassist Julie is simply drop dead cool. Future Of The Left have so many great songs there’s no need for them to play any Mclusky ones, but it was great to hear Lightsabre Cocking Blues and To Hell With Good Intentions anyway. The gig ends, as is traditional, with the ritual dismantling of the drumkit, mid-song, which makes for a fantastic climax and removes the need for the pantomime of encores.

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Narc July 2012 – Album & Singles Reviews
July 13, 2012, 3:20 pm
Filed under: Bands, Narc | Tags: , , , , ,

Singles July 2012

You know those months where the singles pile is just a never-ending cavalcade of pure  pop delight? Well, this isn’t one of those, as Lee Fisher discovered. And he’s not happy.

My Goodness are the latest, Seattle-based  take on the Black Keys / White Stripes blues duo set-up. And they sound… okay. I suspect worlds will remain unrocked by ‘C’Mon Doll’ but it’s decent in a hoary old blues rock kinda way. Oh, and here’s Deap Vally, the latest, LA-based take on.. Well, you get the picture. Like My Goodness but more shrill and more scenester.  There should be a deeply draconian law against Broadcaster and his skin-crawling ‘updates’ of folk classics in a big beat / synth pop style. He should get tarred and feathered for what he’s done to ‘First Time (Ever I Saw Your Face)’. And if If there’s any tar and feathers left, we can do Ben Montague next, the stadium-mimsy idiot hole. ‘Love Like Stars’? Love Like Piles more like, you blathering cruise-ship  arse.

My Goodness

If Broadcaster hadn’t pissed me off so much, I’d say that the new Real Estate single ‘Exactly Nothing’ was pleasantly jangly, in an ‘it’s always summer in our town and aren’t our fringes cool?’ sort of indie pop way. But I am pissed off, and it’s never bloody summer up here, so they can shove their dreamy Yo La Tengo pastiche up their pasty indiekid arses. BlakMagikSociety clearly think they’re the vanguards of a new psychedelic revolution, a fuzzbox-fuelled Age of Aquarius. They’re not, and ‘Our Time’ is just irritating. Dirty Projectorspush all the wrong buttons – self-consciously arty, pompous even – but after the torrent of shite I’ve just had to listen to, Gun Has No Trigger is a delight – charming, ambitious and not by Broadcaster.

Dirty Projectors

On debut single ‘New Kids’, The Neat manage to sound like The Very Things, which is both extremely unlikely and strangely pleasing in 2012. Scrappy and urgent and pretty damn good. If you’re going to take your name from the Nation of Ulysses you’d better be awesome. The Hickey Underworld aren’t awesome, although The Frog has a pleasingly menacing lope that reminds me a bit of Wolfgang Press.  Praise be, finally, for Arrows Of Loveand their dirty sleazy blues grind, joining the dots between Ligament and Pussy Galore and sounding sick and twisted in all the best ways. Honey really is one of the most exciting singles I’ve heard this year.

Albums

Mission Of Burma – Unsound (Fire)

While they usually get namechecked alongside Black Flag or Bad Brains in terms of shaping hardcore punk in the US, Mission Of Burma always had more in common with bands like Wire or Pere Ubu – angular, arty, decidedly unmacho. First time out, they had a Velvet Underground-like impact on the hardcore scene (hardly anyone bought their records but everyone who did formed a band: their songs have been covered by everyone from Graham Coxon to Moby). And with this new album (their fourth in a ‘comeback’ which has now lasted much longer than their original incarnation) there’s no sign of them easing up or settling into a comfortable groove. They have no interest at all in providing some kind of heritage kick for ageing punkers. MoB (now augmented by Shellac’s Bob Weston on production, tape effects and, erm, trumpet) are cracking on a bit now but there’s still a restlessness and invention at work here that shames bands half their age: take This Is Hi-Fi, which moves from a morse code staccato to a car crash of slashing guitars and chanted vocals.  Even the more typically ‘punk’ numbers like What They Tell Me or the closer Opener have a discordant, military-sounding bugle or a particularly twisted riff to stop things being too easy. To be honest, there’s always been much about Mission Of Burma that’s easier to admire than it is to love –their cussed awkwardness and spikiness is both a strength and a weakness – and that’s as true with Unsound as any of their previous albums. But while many of their contemporaries are happy to rehash the same old punk tropes, Mission Of Burma sound as fresh and intense as ever, refusing to let their ‘legend’ status do all the heavy lifting.

4/5

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Laetitia Sadier – Silencio (Drag City)

If, like me, you’ve had a Stereolab obsession for the last couple of decades, a new Sadier album is a worrying thing, especially after her last couple of releases, which were pretty dismal. Initial signs are good – opener ‘Auscultation To The Nation’ blends a familiar motorik groove with sweetly sung political insights and it feels like we’re on safe ground. But a handful of fine tracks aside (Silent Spot especially), Silencio feels insubstantial, with too many songs drifting by without making much impact. Sadier still has a gorgeous voice but hasn’t succeeded in coming up with anything to really call her own since Stereolab, which is why those songs that sound most ‘Lab are the ones that work best, and that’s a shame.

3/5

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Necro Deathmort – The Colonial Script (Distraction)

My original review of The Colonial Script read simply: “skullfuckingly ace” but apparently that was a bit short. In a recent piece for The Quietus, Angus Finlayson talked about how, with their attention to bass weight and sonics, Sunn O))) had much in common with the dance scene. Necro DeathMort do their bit to square that circle. In adding textures and beats from D&B and dubstep to brutal, intense guitars and vocals, the duo come up with something very special: sure, there are hints of Justin Broadrick’s various projects, a touch of Scorn and even some industrial flavours, but the Necro Deathmort sound – ecstatically eerie, gloriously heavy – is pretty fucking unique. If, like me, you find beauty in the bleak and oppressive, you’ll LOVE this album.

4/5



“Artificial Intelligence Fast-Forwarded 20 Years”
July 5, 2012, 7:32 pm
Filed under: Miscellaneous, MP3 | Tags: , ,

61 tracks from some of the very bestest electronic bods. Just a fiver (but you could pay more), all proceeds to keep the excellent Electronic Explorations podcasts afloat. You’d be foolish, rude AND wrong not to buy it. Dumbass

All mastered over at Binary Feedback by our boy Richie Fingaz too. So go get it