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Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

Halloween Asylum at Live Lounge – Fear in A♭

In asylum, bands, guernsey, jersey, live lounge, liverpool, music on October 23, 2010 at 12:27

It’s just a week to go before the Halloween show at Live Lounge, an Asylum-produced fright-night special with five of the best bands you will ever see.

Pirate Video Company
Turquoise Days
Hoonose
Teaspoonriverneck
Falenizza Horsepower

The show starts at ten o’clock next Saturday 30th October at Live Lounge. The incomparable Wilson Nash of Cowshed Acoustics is boss of sound and stage for the night. I’ve already posted some videos, links and opinion about the contributing bands at Avantstonerkrautloop! When that was written Pirate Video Company’s involvement wasn’t quite in the bag so they were a bit under-represented in the article. So who, why, what and how the hell are they?

Complex yet accessible, groovy and hard-rocking, the edgy, melodic post-punk pop of Pirate Video Company is one of the finest achievements of the Jersey alternative music scene. They have been diligently getting on with the job of crafting a set of unstoppable future classics, and by peerless performances at events by Jersey Live, Club K, and Asylum, have developed a reputation that persuasively precedes them. As it says on their MySpace, ‘Enjoy / Detest / Criticise / Listen’. They don’t demand respect, they’re too cool for that.

Here’s a recent video of the band in rehearsal piecing together a brand new song. The camera is focused steadfastly on Nick Wells, the drummer. “omg nickwellz so phit” says a fan in the video comments. In the film the band runs through a work-in-progress with a gritty punkoid sound that is reminiscent of Can with a motorik beat and drone-based harmonic sparseness. Never before in this island has a band joined minimalism and rock attack together in this way. Next Saturday is a fantastic opportunity to see them live. They’re the first band on stage.

Also performing at our Halloween party are … (click on images for more information)

Teaspoonriverneck

Turquoise Days

Hoonose

Falenizza Horsepower

Facebook event here: Asylum Halloween Gig

Jersey Evening Post, October 23rd 2010

In asylum, bands, guernsey, jersey, live lounge, music, press on October 23, 2010 at 01:48

Intermission: The Audio rock the granny out of it

In bands, club kamikaze, jersey, live lounge, music on October 17, 2010 at 20:56

In August 2010 I went to what was billed as a secret, debut live set by a band called The Audio. I already knew about the band because I had previously helped to promote events featuring three quarters of its membership.

Leon Bouhaire is formerly the drummer in Black Stats who were Jersey’s dark knights of gothic rock. Leon is truly a gentleman drummer, gracious, friendly and easy to get along with, and in any band he is a powerful, focused musical presence.

Matt Romeril had been in the first band that I worked with as a promoter, The Exchange, and later with one of the finest melodic pop acts to have come out of Jersey – now based in Brighton – The Mulburys.

Keith Saxman is a synthesizer and sax player. He plays saxophone at Philosophy of House events, is known for his work with Sax Maniacs, and was full-time pianist during La Cala’s opening year.

Jim Dolan, singer and guitarist, front man, represents a figure of yer actual glamour and sexual otherness. He is charismatic, great company, and intensely committed to songwriting and performance. I recall how Jim, in the days of his previous band The Author, could also be irrepressibly naughty and a relentless talker of unbelievable bullshit. He was asked to leave that band by co-writer and singer Christian Silver and others who briefly retained the name but swiftly dropped all links to the Jim-period lineup. For the record, Household Appliance was an excellent piece of work – the song, the single release on iTunes, the video, the promotional tour – but those were the last actions of a band that was coming apart fast. After a short period of artistic exile Jim seems to have found a crew that emotionally nourishes in a way that The Author apparently could not.

The Audio chose a St. Helier pub, The Victoria, in Minden Place, not known for live music. It’s a cosy, charmingly old school drinking den in the middle of town, and it has a first floor room that is ideal for the kind of low-key musical adventure that was undertaken on this night, with a small, adequate bar and a long, plant-strewn outdoor area for smoking and chilling in the warm summer air. The only deficiency was an unsuitable sound system; the Bose speakers on stalks that served as a PA for the event just didn’t shape their sound the way it needed. Anyway it was a good night, and the band, though probably feeling the oddness of having their rehearsal space suddenly full of curious people, did a fine job of presenting their new set with certainty and efficiency. Leon’s drumming technique was a bit in need of space, being as it was based on the super fast hi-hat work that electro bands feature so often. A little relaxing of the rhythms would allow for more development of disco grooves which are there to be won in these arrangements. The feeling is already there in Matt’s sinuous, unhurried bass playing. The crowd was appreciative, mostly made up of friends and supporters, and so it was an easy enough audience to please. That allowed The Audio to approach their performance with a lightness of touch, and Matt’s and Jim’s bass and lead guitar interplay was especially effective for not being too tightly orchestrated.

A couple of months later, last Friday in fact, they played again this time at the prestigious 1st Birthday Bash of Club Kamikaze. Helmed by The Midnight Expresso, Club Kamikaze has over the last twelve months featured sets by The Wizard and The Frog, DJ Men In Masks, Capitol K, Wackro, Bones, Brave Yesterday, The Candy Apples, DJ Emba Djemba, Schillaci, Pirate Video Company, The Hats, DJ Ladd, Stevie Dream, Dinosaur Collective, The Flowing Wow, The Centeniers, Scally Dandan, The Bloody Battle, Brobots! … and lots more. There is a certain ethos to be found in all the multi-hued, creative insanity. It seems it is the aim to reproduce the kinds of excesses and fashion-centric art and music culture of Hoxton. I’m not sure if that is actually possible in the very different cultural environment of Jersey, or if my speculation is anywhere near the mark, but it made for some interesting style clashes. I went to a few of the nights and enjoyed the mixed-up, random atmosphere and the joyful silliness that seemed to result from The Midnight Expresso’s own flamboyant editorial style.

In spite of, or perhaps because of not having had a sound check, they hit the ground running with a very loud and completely assured joyride through their material. Jim was in fantastic vocal form, sounding not at all unlike Ziggy-era Bowie at times all swooping melodies and imperious chanting. It’s hard to say what the lyrics are about, only fragments emerge from the booming, synthetic orchestration and that could be because they are poetically fractured intentionally. There is a rich mood, for sure, of science fiction and seedy ’70s glamour, in the onrush of titanic riffs and dazzling chord changes.

The Audio this time were a united team. The drumming was less striving for correctness, and more primal. The importance of Keith’s keyboard playing was obvious with its exquisite chordal amplifications of quite stark rock and blues forms elevating the material to a level of proggy sophistication. There were moments when the way in which the band approached audacious changes and deftly accomplished melodic union palpably excited the audience. A director of Jersey Live was in that audience, and I’d be very surprised if he didn’t think this is a band whose natural place is on the main stage.

Avantstonerkrautloop! Asylum presents Halloween at Live Lounge, Saturday 30th October 2010

In asylum, bands, guernsey, jersey, live lounge, liverpool, music on October 3, 2010 at 17:09

Teaspoonriverneck and friends on the frightening night

Falenizza Horsepower, Hoonose, and Turquoise Days are joining Teaspoonriverneck for a night of pagan beer-spilling at Live Lounge in Jersey, on Saturday 30th October 2010. As if that isn’t enough, DJs Carlo Zen and Stevie Dream will be commanding the floor and, in a kindly gesture of inter-island cultural diplomacy, the Bailiff has granted us an extension to 3 am!

Update: Pirate Video Company have joined the lineup of this specially extended event.

Poster by Lynchy and Dave

Teaspoonriverneck

The fascinating series of records made by Teaspoonriverneck since 2006 would captivate any fan of rock ‘n’ roll that seethes and crackles with blues, gospel, soul, sin, redemption, post-apocalyptic godlessness and twisted love. Teaspoonriverneck (2006), Craft Of Lisia (2008), Sunset’s Trip (March 2009) and IV (March 2010), four CDs made in as many years, reach heights of power in songs about love, life, sex and death played with darkly romantic literary style and lots of louche swaggering attitude.

The band gave me a copy of Sunset’s Trip when I worked with them on a show in 2009. The record’s evocative, fragmentary lyrics, furiously tight playing, and tense, heavy rock production make for an extraordinary stew of psychedelic metal, stoner folk, dirt-rock and classic r ‘n’ b, set in a zone of timeless, paradoxical perversions that will be familiar to fans of Nick Cave, PJ Harvey and other eloquent, gothic rockers.

You can hear two of their best dark-hearted songs in excellent audio quality at the online home of a collective of Channel Islands-affiliated performers and promoters, Scuro Disco.

So how, you might ask, can their records be obtained? You could contact the band directly. They’d like that at Teaspoonriverneck Facebook fan page.

Hoonose

In Liverpool there lives an artist known as Hoonose who has been using self-taught studio techniques to record a series of classic albums that began around 2002 with The Filware Way. A little before that he made a few EPs and other limited releases, and before that, in the early and mid-’90s, he had connections in Jersey and collaborated regularly with musicians there.

He often busks around the country with a guitar, an amp, and a voice trained by the most improving of musical activities. Perhaps he never gave up busking because it is the perfect musical situation for him: Common and public spaces and unpredictable flows of human activity in which the performer sets himself unannounced. Some might be delighted or inspired by what they witness. Audience in that context is a dynamic, changing mass and the artist is just another part of it, real and separate, unreal and together, all at once. Hoonose is at home on the streets where we live.

After the first album by Hoonose his recording work hit a confident stride and now we can appreciate a decade-long project of studio experimentation with terrific song writing and arranging. Themes recur as facets of one overarching theme, that of love and dedication to fairness and equality in society; in frank reminders of our responsibilities, bitter critiques of misguided government, the hypocrisies of celebrity, and the dangers of political disenfranchisement. He sings of power gone out of control, of dwindling energy resources and the marginalised optimism of alternative thinkers. Optimism is the key to the work of Hoonose. It is a hard won hope bravely defended in an age of encroaching paranoia and chaos.

This is a powerful sequence of records by an artist who has never stood still or sold out. Click on the album art image above to read reviews and buy the records.

Falenizza Horsepower

Falenizza Horsepower on the bus

Quite a bit has been written about Falenizza Horsepower on these pages since the band played the first Asylum show in November 2008. The dream team of Dave Spars (s-r0, Whitechapel Murders) and Steve Hutchins (Lebatol) is the nearest thing to perfection the Channel Islands’ music scene ever had. Formidably hard-working, artistically uncompromising, capable of performances so harrowing, so rust-edged and shredded, and so brutally honest that once you’ve seen them the memory never fades. The maturity of their work does not mellow or make safer its visceral qualities but rather focuses them to a point of uniqueness. A good example is Spatchcock Recordings from August 2008 that has not yet seen a physical release but has been made available to stream from Falenizza Horsepower at MySpace. The tapes were sent to the band in May 2010 and they must have been thrilled to find such a well recorded and powerful set. Frankly, the world needs to know, and here’s hoping that Spatchcock Recordings gets its rumored release soon.

A bounty of eleven songs is available free to download from Falenizza Horsepower at last.fm. They are mp3s at 128kbps, previews really, and yet this is the mother lode: An album’s worth of tracks from one of the very greatest art punk bands in the UK.

Before the Asylum Halloween show, on 14th October 2010, Falenizza Horsepower will be performing at the Unicorn, Camden Road, London, alongside One Man Team Dance and Shield Your Eyes in a show hosted by Function Records. That’s the poster art above, obviously yeah.

Turquoise Days

Turquoise Days is a band inspired by the influential ’80s fashion for future nostalgia and utopian dreams of post-war enlightenment and industrial progress. They were among artists of the late ’70s and early ’80s who were producing what came to be known as minimal wave, and which was first called synthpop, including Joy Division / New Order, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark and The Human League. The cast of original artists who responded interestingly to the opportunities of independent creativity in the post-punk period while emulating the emotionally burned-out stance and synthesis obsessions of Bowie in Berlin, the cyborg cult of disco – in particular the science fiction fusion of soul and machine that is I Feel Love by Giorgio Moroder and Donna Summer – and the haunted metronomic hymns to modernity invented by Kraftwerk, is well worth investigating.

The New York label Minimal Wave has released the album Alternative Strategies by Turquoise Days in an edition of 999 hand numbered copies on white 180-gram vinyl. Click on the album art below to go to the site’s page for the release and send order requests to info@minimalwave.org

From the record company’s press info: Minimal Wave presents a full length album by synthpop band Turquoise Days. Hailing from Jersey, Channel Islands, Turquoise Days was formed in 1981 by Luciano Brambilla and David Le Breton. Throughout the 1980s, they self-released many cassettes, as well as the renowned masterpiece Grey Skies / Blurred 7”. They were selected for the Radio Luxembourg song contest in 1985 and received press for their releases and appearance there. Their music can be described as melodic, emotive new wave.

Here is a link to a video with an introduction to this enduring genre by DJ, musician, and founder of the record label Minimal Wave, Veronica Vasicka. Her enthusiasm for this rediscovered music is great. Before her archival efforts it mostly existed only as traces on super-rare audio tapes and VHS. She talks about how fascinating it is that so many bands are now making this kind of music using the original analogue methods.

The song Blurred by Turquoise Days has also featured on a compilation The Minimal Wave Tapes Volume 1 released by Stones Throw.