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Updated: 2017-02-24T16:38:00+00:00

 



Dirty Projectors - Dirty Projectors

2017-02-25T09:48:37+00:002017-02-24 16:38:00 +0000

Not obviously a record that feels like its creator made it for his mental health – more that he looked at the mess of his life and saw a great new concept Dirty Projectors by Dirty Projectors is a break up record, about the end of the relationship between bandleader/dictator/technically-now-the-only-actual-member Dave Longstreth, and Amber Coffman, his longterm partner, guitarist and vocal foil. It is also, I would suggest, a break up record about break up records, in which the boffinish Longstreth studiously filters the demise of the relationship through a variety of different lenses – musical and lyrical – out of pure intellectual curiousity. “Complex plans and high ideals but he treats people poorly; is his ceaseless ambitiousness proxy for a void he’s ignoring?” an autotuned Longstreth sings on the nagging electronic throb of ‘Work Together’. And it’s honestly hard to work out what the answer is. Dirty Projectors is a record about a breakup, on which Longstreth says some occasionally quite brutal things about his own behaviour. But certainly there’s little concrete evidence for him being heartbroken, that this record is cathartic for him, as opposed to being an interesting project. width="540" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/r9tbusKyvMY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Oddly, it’s still far more relatable than anything 'the band' (here Longstreth plus a vast guestlist that includes Tyondai Braxton and Dawn Richards) has previously done, if only because it is, for once, so apparant what Longstreth is harping on about – Dirty Projectors have made some sublime music, but it's more usual to feel awed than invested. Opener ‘Keep Your Name’ is both the nearest and furthest to a 'classic' breakup song – a pretty, weary croon, presaged by a brief sample of wedding bells (a wedding organ sounds on final track ‘I See You’) and the album’s most mawkish line: “I don’t know why you abandoned me, you were my soul and my partner”. But his voice is harshly twisted and distorted, as if mocking the sentiments that he’s expressing, there is an (ironic?) sample of the “We don’t see eye to eye” line from 2012’s ‘Impregnable Question’, and before too long the mournful, sedate tone has given way to, of all things, a rap segment on which Longstreth gets increasingly incensed, eventually spitting “your heart is saying clothing line, my body is saying Naomi Klein… what I want from art is truth, what you want is fame". Pretty douchey, right? I mean, yes, but it’s not like Longstreth doesn’t know that, and his songwriting mode changes as soon as we hit the next song, ‘Death Spiral’, a stabbing electro number that dramatises the awful, joyless end to the relationship with a solid amount of self-blame (“I never learned to let you breathe, Condescended relentlessly”). Then the lengthy album centrepiece ‘Up In Hudson’ provides a sunny look back to the start of the relationship – “The first time ever I saw your face, laid my eyes on you Was the Bowery Ballroom stage,  And I knew that I had to get to know you” – even as it’s intercut with the foreshadowing chorus: “Love will burn out Love will just fade away”. Getting an exact grip on Longstreth’s feelings is difficult, though it certainly seems reasonable to assume that his and Coffman’s breakup was a dragged out, traumatic experience. Is he sad now? Dunno. There is, inevitably, something slightly disquieting about a man singing about his female ex-partner in withering tones that occasionally carry with them the faintest whiff of emotional abuse: on the downbeat, percussive ‘Winner Takes Nothing’ he sings of his ex – “you’re shining life fifteen of fame” and “As much as I'd like to say I'm grateful for the experience, that we've grown together and bettered each other and built the city with one another, the truth is you'd sell out the waterfront for condos and malls_”. The repeated inference is that Coffman was shallow and materialistic and Lo[...]



Pissed Jeans - Why Love Now

2017-02-25T16:14:18+00:002017-02-24 14:32:00 +0000

Taking on the role of the sexist, deflated man with uncomfortable intensity It feels lazy to mention Donald J. Trump’s apocalyptic presidency in an album review these days, but sometimes the source material demands it. Since the election of 'The Donald' in November, the music world has been waiting for the first post-Trump record. An album of hate, anger and perhaps even confusion that an establishment that holds distain for everyone other than the straight white male has managed to take over the white house, and with it, western democracy. Back in 2013 it seemed unfeasible that Pissed Jeans would be able to increase the fury contained in Honeys, but boy, how I was wrong. Why Love Now, the Allentown thrashers' fifth album smashes their back catalogue to pieces, one blood stained swing at a time. First single ‘The Bar is Low’ sounds like it has fallen straight out of one of Charles Bukowski’s whiskey-soaked tales of debauchery. The track oozes self-loathing and projected the view of a world very much on it’s knees. Swamp-drenched guitars push through your frontal lobe while Matt Corvette’s pained screams tell us, once and for all, that Pissed Jeans mean business. width="540" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/JJscLzuxiWc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> It would be extremely easy for a group this angry to slip into cliché and become nothing more than a group of fully grown adult men shouting at 'the man'. Thankfully this has never happened during the groups decade long existence. A lot of this is down to how they have managed to address their anger. This isn’t some sort of act to appeal to moody teens, it’s real feelings from a bunch of perpetually pissed off young men from middle America. The swift one-two knockout of ‘Ignore Cam’ and ‘Cold Whip Cream’ prove this, addressing real life concerns with rants about the crap-storm that is the twenty-first century. A hefty kick to the gut follows. ‘Love Without Emotion’ is a chugging behemoth of a song. It almost feels like there’s some sort of poetic meaning behind the filthy guitar motions, but I just can’t place it. The restraint on show during the song is extremely unnerving, making you feel as if there’s a nutter lurking somewhere in the shadows ready to pounce on your unsuspecting head when you least expect it. From here on in the record changes tone: the punk is still there, don’t get me wrong, but the focus appears to have changed. From here on it the group are, as they have been throughout their career, intrigued with the idea of the sexist pig. The type of man who haunts all aspects of life. A power-obsessed individual who wants it all, and believes the world owes him a favour. Which is kind of fair after all, because things are really tough when you’re a man, aren’t they… Pissed Jeans absolutely nail this analysis, taking on the role of the sexist, deflated man with uncomfortable intensity, successfully peel back the patriarchy of the western world and reveal it for what it is: A selfish, violent beast. Finale ‘Not Even Married’ takes us further into the psyche of America, it’s stomach churning riffs push us through a Budweiser stained star spangled banner and into the back room of a bleak and dirty bar, the kind even Charlie Day wouldn’t be seen in. ‘Why Love Now’ is the first in a potentially endless stream of politically charged punk rock records this year. However, it’s extremely hard to see any of them trumping this glorious, if uncomfortable, masterpiece. ![104490](http://dis.resized.images.s3.amazonaws.com/540x310/104490.jpeg) [...]



The Friday Fangasm: Metals By Feist

2017-02-24T09:58:59+00:002017-02-24 09:58:59 +0000

Nandi Rose Plunkett aka Half Waif talks us through one of her favourite albums We turn off the lights in the basement and settle ourselves against cushions on the floor. The laptop placed ceremoniously before us suddenly comes to life, first with colour and light. Shapes dance and twist onscreen, reflected as a protean glare in our irises. Our faces are slack as universes holding the fixed planets of our eyes. Then the sound begins and brings fire to our minds. This is how I first heard Feist’s Metals: a synesthetic experience in a basement with two of my best friends. I had never listened to music this way before, with the lights off and the iTunes visualizer making its random magic. In this focused environment, we surrendered ourselves to each of the songs, suspended in a web of awed togetherness. We were neither high nor drunk, as young adults in basements listening to music often are. We were just hungry musicians wanting to learn, feeding off the darkness, the geometry, and the sound. src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify:album:3vxiBAlJUDqePZboDhd3I5" width="300" height="380" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true"> Feist has been a comforting character to me for years. On the first day of college, as I waited in line to enter the auditorium and accept my position in the class of 2011 at Kenyon College, I became fast friends with a boy wearing a Feist shirt. He remains one of my closest friends today; he still has that shirt and often wears it when we meet up across coasts. So at the heart of my love for Feist is this association with kindred spirits. When I listen to Leslie Feist’s voice, it’s as if cracks in a stone cliff are opening up to reveal hidden pools. Her voice is pure nature – the sound of rocks, tree bark, soil, storms, minerals (metals!). It can be playful, like a shrug, and then mournful, like a howl, from one moment to the next. The first song on Metals, 'The Bad In Each Other', cracks into you with its opening percussive thwacks. And so one of the most impressive elements of this album is immediately evident: the percussion sounds and arrangement. To me, the percussion on this album sits somewhere between electronic and acoustic. The sounds are wholly organic, yes, but they’re executed as one might execute a beat on the computer, and their aggressiveness is at times - as in 'The Bad In Each Other', 'Comfort Me', and 'Undiscovered First' - reminiscent of ‘80s industrial beats. This gives the album a unique sound, a softness outlined in thick dark strokes. My favourite song on the album is 'Anti Pioneer'. It emerges like a snail poking its head out of a shell as Feist sings of self-isolation, the lack of desire to be bold. Similarly, the song’s arrangement starts as a sketch, a skeleton of guitar and sparse drum hits, that later blossoms with mounting vocals as she cascades her way down the words “anti pioneer.” Strings swoop in to catch her fall; voices build like sediment, layers of earth creating a firmer foundation on which to walk and explore the world once more. I remember seeing some videos of how Metals was made: the whole crew living in a house together, buzzing around like bees in a hive, and queen bee Leslie at the heart of it all. A communal album, a tenderly handcrafted album. Leslie tracking vocals on the porch, a ragtag orchestra recording strings in the kitchen amidst coffee cups and spaghetti pots… I don’t know how much of this I’m making up in my memory, but the romantic, collaborative process through which this music was created has stuck with me and serves to make the music feel even more rooted, of a specific place and time that is somehow also placeless and timeless. Like any good fantasy, it designates its own boundaries and invites you to live inside of those defined structures for a while. Come join us inside this house, the songs seem to say. Let us tell you a story of the earth. Nandi Rose Plunkett records with Pinegrove and as Half Waif. Her new EP as Half W[...]



Fierce Panda: Please Look After This Bear

2017-02-24T09:16:30+00:002017-02-24 09:16:30 +0000

To celebrate their 23rd birthday Fierce Panda has put together a very special compilation On 24 February 2017 Fierce Panda records turn 23 years old. To celebrate this mildly momentous occasion they have produced a very special donation compilation called Please Look After This Bear which features the contemporary likes of Desperate Journalist, ALMA, Fake Laugh, Pile, and Surfer Blood. It's called a donation compilation because you can literally pay-you-want for music-you-may-love; you can find the album here. Because the artwork theme is cribbed from Paddington Bear, we thought it was high time Fierce Panda listed its favourite bear-themed songs of all time, and here is that list. src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify:user:fiercepandarecords:playlist:00Ys4Q8fo84AC7XBbi4U5u" width="300" height="380" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true"> --- The Jesus & Marychain - 'Just Like Honey' width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7EgB__YratE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Classic lowslung indie psychrock balladry ahoy. Famously soundtracked the closing scene of Lost In Translation starring Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray, who by some mental coincidence played Baloo in 'The Jungle Book' reboot in 2016. Baloo & Friends - 'Bare Necessities' width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9ogQ0uge06o" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Boisterous Disney classic from the Jungle Book circa 1967, so no Bill Murray. Back then, in more innocent Disney times, the creators barely / bearly get a credit. Nowadays the 'Bare Necessities' song would be credited to Baloo Ft Mowgli & Shere Khan & Dua Lipa or somesuch. Zooey Deschanel & M Ward - 'Winnie The Pooh' width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AcFxpI96QYw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> In which filmic indie dreamboats reworked another Disney classic for the 2011 cinematic opus. Only Death Cab For Cutie writing a paean to Paddington himself could come close on the cute-ometer. Best online comment: "Better than the Carly Simon version." Indeed. Prefab Sprout - 'Couldn't Bear To Be Special' width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/cSYLQUcUou8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Spectacularly weepy intellectual introspection from the ever-ace Swoon album. Possibly a bit obtuse for this list, but does make lyrical reference to "The shiver of the fur", which is good enough for us. Guillemots - 'Little Bear' width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/O_gj3Jvl6po" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Spectacularly weepy opening gambit from Guillemots' debut in 2006. Rather excellently, Fyfe Dangerfield's previous combo Senseless Prayer supported some bunch of chancers called Coldplay at their Fierce Panda single launch at the Bull & Gate in April 1999. Bobby Goldsboro - 'Honey' width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UKAeeGnAYBo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Weeping balladry from country pop stalwart. Worth seeing the video alone for the 'honey' tone of Bobby G's tan. The biggest-selling record in the world in 1968. Allegedly. Grizzly Bear - 'Two Weeks' width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tjecYugTbIQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Sweepingly fragrant pop opus bolstered by The Beach Boys and backed by half of Beach House. Worth remembering for the monumentally creepy church-based video, if nothing else. Help! It's The Hair Bear Bunch! (Theme Song) width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/D6OnU5k0ER8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Hanna-Barbera classic which ran from '71-'72 before being cancelled, possibly because someone important twigged that the fizzingly hyperactive theme tune was the best thing about the remedial zoo-related show. Panda Bear - 'Boys Latin' width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/prBaZzYmQrI" frameborder="0" allowfull[...]



Fleet Footed: DiS Meets Neon Dance

2017-02-24T09:15:46+00:002017-02-24 09:15:46 +0000

The first in a series of interviews with Piano Day 2017 performers Earlier this month FLOAT, a new London-based label for music, events, and lifestyle announced a Piano Day event at the majestic Union Chapel in Islington. FLOAT’s theme this year is ‘collaboration’ – putting the spotlight on the piano and highlighting the numerous ways it can be used in performance. Headlining the night will be Norwegian Jazz artist Bugge Wesseltoft, playing an improvised set on piano, Rhodes, and synths. London grime MC Trim and pianist Matthew Bourne will be reworking material especially for this event, followed by an exciting debut performance from piano and electronics duo Dead Light. Berlin-based drummer and percussionist Andrea Belfi will be joining artists throughout the evening. Additionally, Neon Dance’s Frankie J will be improvising a mix of contemporary-urban dance sequences to selections of piano music. Drowned in Sound are proud media partners for this event, and over the course of the coming weeks will be interviewing the artists to learn more about their involvement with Piano Day and what they’ll be bringing to the Union Chapel next month. First in the series is Adrienne Hart from cross-media dance company Neon Dance. --- DiS: For those who don’t know, could you briefly describe what Neon Dance is? Adrienne Hart: Neon Dance has been going for over ten years now and at the core of the company for me is collaboration, so the idea is that I bring together a group of artists from different disciplines and we produce something that we can’t create alone. What really excites me about Piano Day is that Sofia (of FLOAT) is from a completely different field and through two seemingly very separate worlds, we’re able to offer something quite different to an audience. How did you feel initially about being asked to be involved? Well, I was really sold from the word ‘Go’. Mainly because of FLOAT and Sofia. Up until now Piano Day has had quite small shows but FLOAT’s will be on a larger scale and has an exciting concept, so yeah at first if it was anyone else I would be a bit apprehensive, but because it’s Sofia saying ‘Let’s do this’, I was like ‘Yes of course!’ And I think with FLOAT it’s about looking sideways, in a way. How has the collaboration for Piano Day developed? At first, we were thinking contemporary dance – that’s very much what we’re known for. But then it just seemed a bit obvious. We then thought that Frankie J, an artist that I’ve worked with in the past, would be ideal. He’s definitely going to add a different energy, a different element, to the whole evening, and hopefully, offer something that audiences wouldn’t necessarily expect from a music event. How did you get to know Frankie J? We’ve known one another for a long time. I’ve done a lot of work at a dance organisation called Swindon Dance and I spotted him as a youth dancer. He was still training, and there was something about him, and his focus and his determination, and he was one of the hardest working dancers that I could see in his cohort. He was studying urban dance at that time but went on to go to a dance conservatoire for contemporary dance, so he graduated as a contemporary dancer but went back to his roots as an urban dancer. He then went all over the world doing competitions, as a house dancer – that’s what he’s become known for. A while later Neon Dance was invited by Pioneer to do something out in Ibiza, and there I worked with Frankie for the first time in a professional setting. It was a risky and difficult environment, but he still engaged the audience. And since going through that I’ve wanted to work with him again. What’s your specific involvement with Piano Day? In a way, I have a certain relationship with Piano Day. Neon Dance commissioned Nils Frahm and Anna Müller to create a score for us a few years back (2012), around that t[...]



Los Campesinos! - Sick Scenes

2017-02-23T14:12:23+00:002017-02-23 14:11:58 +0000

It is the sound of a band doubling down on what brought them to their particular dance Hey, remember that scene in The Simpsons where Homer, faced with imminent death, goes through the entirety of the grieving process in absurdly quick fashion? width="540" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jYN4CllWuiM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> A glimpse of a golden era, for sure, though you get the sense that if you were sat in a similar position and the grim task of relaying the pertinent information fell to Los Campesinos! that maybe, just maybe, you’d be able to make peace with it. As if tempting fate, this scribe would wind up on a hospital trolley about a week after penning the above words, frantically asking a bemused doctor, ‘Am I dying?’. A rueful shake of the head and dismissive laugh never felt so welcome, but the truth, dear reader, is that the kissing disease should be immediately renamed as there is zero gaiety or frivolity to be enjoyed when laid up with such an excruciating and energy-draining nightmare. So there I was, sprawled out amidst a procession of Friday night/Saturday morning trauma that ranged from drug-assisted weekend overindulgence to significantly more harrowing fare, all of which put things into perspective, especially once headphones were eventually donned and a different set of Sick Scenes entered the fray. Welcome ones. Los Campesinos! have always put the precipice into their own unique context to the point that few acts mix the convivial with the sentimental quite as effectively as the Welsh outfit. Their catalogue is hardly short of examples but take a listen to this album’s predecessor, a triumph of a record that turns words like ‘winsome’ and ‘wistful’ into weapons both jagged and gilded. Detractors of this band might suggest that it’s all a bit student-y, an obvious collision of on-the-nose couplets and buoyant arrangements in the face of knowingly erudite-yet-grounding subject matter. But to dismiss LC for their fervour is to miss the point entirely, and it does a disservice to a faction that continue to endure and look at the world much in the same fashion as those who’ve been on board since they were cordially invited to have a bop together almost a decade ago. No Blues was arguably blessed with more ennui than usual, its lived-in conviction authentic as talk of love, loss and the majesty of Tony Yeboah washed over a clutch of tracks that represented people at something of a crossroads in life. Sick Scenes follows suit accordingly, right down to the expected references to football and wrestling, but it’s further down a forked path, if such a manoeuvre is possible. ”Depression is a young man’s game”, notes frontman Gareth David with signature rueful spikiness on ‘5 Flucloxacillin’. Now the wrong side of 30, it’s only natural that he would meet the burning world around him with a sense of detachment and questions that may well go unanswered. The early days of carefree promise are gone – here recalled a touch mournfully on caustic opener ‘Renato Dell’Ara (2008)’ – replaced by day jobs and the reality of slogging it out in something of a cult enterprise as societal walls slowly start to close in. width="540" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1z0PJV5fVcY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> And yet, Sick Scenes isn’t a doom and gloom exercise, nor miserable thousand-yard stare. Instead it is the sound of a band doubling down on what brought them to their particular dance, peppered with unflinching honesty and conviction, all dressed up in requisite ‘take us or leave us’ glamour. That’s why you’ll find good old-fashioned frustration - ”It seems unfair to try your best but feel the worst” hollered to the heavens on the rollicking ‘I Broke Up In Amarante’ – cosying up to scenes from a teenage marriage on the excellent ‘A Slow, Slow[...]



Thundercat - Drunk

2017-02-23T13:57:49+00:002017-02-23 13:57:39 +0000

A joyful, crazy, substance-fueled epic Thundercat, aka Stephen Bruner, is at quite a pivotal moment in his solo career. After years of notable solo and collaboration work, he's grown a cult audience across the world, getting bigger and better with everything he's touched. There has never been any doubt over his musical ability, ever since his wider introduction to the hip-hop/indie/electronic music conscious with his work on Erykah Badu's New Amerykah Parts One and Two and Flying Lotus' Cosmogramma, in 2008 and 2010 respectivelyt. Even his prior work in the jokey yet supremely talented pop-punk band Suicidal Tendencies throughout the Noughties wouldn't surprise anyone aware of his talents what he was capable of. As a solo artist, however, it has been a slow build for Bruner. His first two solo albums The Golden Age of Apocalypse (2011) and Apocalypse (2013) saw Bruner unleash his psychedelic jazz stylings improve over the course of what could easily be conceived as a double album which got more confident as he progressed but not always so consistent. Both albums showed Bruner's potential and knack to blend a beautiful melody with his incredibly complex playing style without being overbearing, such as the still breathtaking 'Heartbreaks + Setbacks' from Apocalypse. Similarly, while his albums dealt with some personal anguish - the latter ends with a beautiful ode to his recently deceased friend and musical compadre, Austin Peralta - he also showed his keen sense for not always being deadly serious, allowing his dark sense of humour to prevail on tracks such as his disco-party jam 'Oh Sheit it's X'. However, in the interim, it seemed Bruner had got serious. 2014 onwards saw an incredible run of form for the enigmatic bassist, working on (in order): Flying Lotus - You're Dead!, Kamasi Washington - The Epic - and Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly for which he received a Grammy. Meanwhile, Thundercat released by far his most consistent and serious work, his 15-minute mini-album The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam working with Jazz legend Herbie Hancock in the process. As well as being a critical and artistic success, the record also scored Thundercat's biggest single to date 'Them Changes'. So understandably, there is now some hype surrounding his first proper solo album in nearly four years. At first, Drunk is quite disorientating, given Bruner has very much reconnected with that sense of humour. When opening (and closing) segment 'Rabbot Ho' (later 'DUI') segues into the first proper song 'Captain Stupido' we get a picture going Bruner going through everyday, mundane life in a with a sense of "feeling weird" - with a title giving you everything you need to know. Then, before you can catch your breath, Bruner runs through Jazz-Fusion jam 'Uh Uh' on to Phil Spector-esque 60s Motown number 'Bus in These Streets' all in the space of the album's opening 6 minutes. Once the album calms into Thundercat's trademark groove in 'A Fan's Mail (Tron Song Suite II)' - a song in which, between meows, Bruner wishes he was a cat, no really - it's fairly obvious this isn't going to be your straightforward listen. Over the course of 50-minutes and 23 tracks (though only a handful gets over the three-minute mark) Bruner is leading us into the dark psyche of his mind. After a little while, one realises to pay attention to the album's title - something Bruner has confirmed in interviews - this is an album about the many strange facets of being intoxicated. This isn't the first time Thundercat has sung about this, aforementioned 'Oh Sheit it's X' is a prime example, but after this disorientating journey, we realise this is now Bruner's way of giving himself the freedom to sing about whatever he feels. For instance, 'Lava Lamp' is an absolutely gorgeous, heartbreaking R&B track akin to to the great 'Heartbreaks + Setbacks', while next track 'Jethro' sees hi[...]



25 Years of Hands On: DiS Meets Thousand Yard Stare

2017-02-23T10:18:47+00:002017-02-23 10:00:00 +0000

We spoke to singer Stephen Barnes about the making of the record, what it meant, and the band's future plans Tomorrow (Friday 24th February) sees the 25th anniversary of Thousand Yard Stare's debut Hands On. Initially released by Polydor Records in 1992, it's gone on to become one of the most understated and seminal records from that era. With the band also set to play London's 100 Club in June and release new material later this year, DiS spoke to lead singer and lyricist Stephen Barnes about the making of the record, what it meant then and now, and the band's future plans. --- width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MMktJ7MfU5Q" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> DiS: Hands On is 25 years old on Friday (24th February). Did you expect to be sat here discussing the album in 2017? Stephen Barnes: No, I didn't expect to ever talk about it again! After the band initially disbanded I walked away from the whole thing completely. It's only since we've got back together and started touring again where people have spoken to us at the gigs and reminisced about some of those shows that I've really thought about it. It's given me a much better perspective of how things were back then really. The funny thing about Hands On is we were always a band that created EPs, and then after we signed to Polydor it became all about releasing albums. So it felt very different from what we were used to doing before. We had to decide which songs to take from our previous EPs along with some new ones we'd written to create this album and it became a totally different kind of project. The main difference was that we were in the studio with Stephen Street! How did that happen? How did Stephen Street become involved with the record? I remember talking to our A&R man at the time - a real wide boy called Glenn - and saying to him I'm not doing a record unless Stephen Street does it. Just saying the most outrageous thing I possibly could. And then a week later Glenn came back and said Stephen Street was on board. I remember being completely poleaxed by that! I don't think we had any idea that what we were doing was worthy of someone like Stephen Street. He was great to work with. I think that was the first time we'd actually written songs in the strictest sense of the word. Most of the tracks on the EPs were just jams and riffs and we recorded them how they were in the studio or in rehearsals. It's what we were into at the time. I'd be putting on indie clubs in the week then going to acid house nights at the weekend if someone like Andy Weatherall was playing in our town. I got into repetitive beats which is where that shuffling dance sound in our music came from to a degree. I wouldn't say we were particularly influenced by dance music, but I really loved that repetitive thing which filtered into our signature sound at the time. Was it difficult choosing the final tracklist? I remember being surprised at the time 'Wonderment' wasn't on there with it being your debut single and such a prominent song in the live set. Our original intention was to put no EP tracks on the album at all. When you're in that prolific early stage of your career and full of enthusiasm, new songs come and go all the time. It was only when we sat down and thought about it that we realised the album needed to have the likes of 'Buttermouth' and '0-0 A.E.T.' on there and looking back, I think it was the right decision as those songs kind of shaped it a little bit. Once they were in place it gave us the direction we wanted to go in. We still had four or five songs off the EPs we were considering that almost made it onto Hands On but in the meantime the album got finished. Those places were already taken and it became a collection of songs we'd written but hadn't yet released plus a couple of key tracks off the earlier EPs. I still see Hand[...]



Joe Cardamone: HOLY WAR Manifesto

2017-02-23T09:02:17+00:002017-02-22 12:06:00 +0000

We're delighted to premiere the first video & track from the former Icarus Line frontman This year I am going to be releasing an unprecedented amount - by my standards -of music and films. About 40 new songs have been recorded over the course of 2016 and are now still evolving in 2017. The collection is titled HOLY WAR and is a break from the band format that I have used in the past. Although some of the same spirit is evident as marked in earlier work, HOLY WAR pushes my music into much more extreme and innovative territory. Every step towards this outcome has been natural, a reaction towards changes in my life and in the world we all live in now. width="100%" height="450" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/307657634&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true"> First, I quietly broke up my band The Icarus Line due to several fateful circumstances. My longtime collaborator, band member, and best friend, Alvin DeGuzman, was stricken with a very serious form of cancer. This shook me and the rest of the group to the core. The disease robbed him of his ability to walk on the eve of a tour supporting Scott Weiland. These dates seemed doomed from the start, but the band tried to fulfill its commitments even though it felt like we were wrong for the bill and in rehearsals we felt horribly incomplete without Alvin; it felt like a sin to be performing without him. On the few shows we did play, I witnessed a great performer killing himself for a few bucks that weren’t being spent to his benefit. I also saw how the modern rock community functioned – the audience came anticipating performers failure as much as their success. Perhaps even more so. It made a deep impression on me. It made it painfully clear that I and my art didn’t belong, a hard realization for someone who had already dedicated a good portion of his life music rooted in rock n roll. Over those few evenings, I realized that what I was witnessing wasn’t rock n roll at all but a pageantry of convention being exchanged for the few dollars that kept the tank trundling onward. It had become a cage you willing entered in order to sell a couple t shirts...if you’re lucky. I was drawn to making music because of its immediacy and freedom of expression and the opportunity to move the artform forward. That was the true romance of it. The crucial thing was to make a truthful and contemporary statement, not how popular it might make you. But then interpersonal politics became the main focus and the art started to fade into the background. I never compromised my musical vision, but that trajectory in those circumstances became my burden And it put me into a personal crisis. Without fanfare, I disbanded the group. Then I paced around my yard, chain smoking for a month. For the last few years, I had been compiling beats at home when everyone else was asleep. This had nothing to do with blazing a new career path and everything with being happy, making music. Then when I heard Bowie had passed I decided to try singing to them. src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/204285307" width="540" height="304" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen> Joe Cardamone presents Holy War from joe cardamone on Vimeo. I brought a beat into the studio and went free on it. Light bulbs lit up in my head. Incorporating my love for black music was always a tricky prospect in my group. There were rules. On my own, there were no rules. I soon formulated the goal to make music that could be performed solo. The HOLY WAR body of work doesn’t utilize the conventions of mainstream rock but to me, it holds much in common with the rock & roll music that I [...]



New Apostles - Recurring Dream

2017-02-22T09:56:44+00:002017-02-22 09:49:16 +0000

New Apostles release their second album of new material in twelve months and it's a good one. The story of krautrock tinged post-punk outfit New Apostles stretches back nearly four decades. Originally formed in 1980 in the Nottinghamshire (then) mining town of Mansfield around a core trio of Phil Pidluznyj (vocals/guitars/keys), his brother Andy (bass) and Andy Whitehurst (guitars/vocals), the band failed to make much headway outside of their hometown and its surrounding area and eventually called it a day in 1998. Which was a crying shame as some of those artifacts from that era reveal a visionary band caught somewhere between a rock and a hard place, as the excellent 'Hanging Tree' from that first phase ably demonstrates. So when the trio announced they were getting back together two years ago after a 17-year-hiatus, it wasn't a case of welcome back but more about how they'd fare at readjusting within a musical landscape that's changed so much since they were last with us. Having got through more drummers than Spinal Tap during their initial existence, the trio opted for the tried and trusted synthesized beats of their formative years. With an armoury of songs at their disposal, an EP West Bank was released at the tail end of 2015 followed by an album Apparatchiks in the early part of last year. Both displaying various elements of the band's diverse make-up, and both occasionally uncompromising in nature, it was no surprise when Phil Pidluznyj announced via New Apostles Facebook page a week before last Christmas that a follow-up was imminent. Just over a month later, Recurring Dream is with us and while not as immediate as either of its predecessors, it highlights New Apostles unyielding nature while showcasing the many strings on their accomplished bow. Recorded last September with Mark Parkins at Nottingham's Psyrex Studios, Recurring Dream was launched as a series of four double 'A' side singles late last year based on The Wedding Present's Hit Parade project which saw them put out one single per month throughout 1992. style="border: 0; width: 350px; height: 470px;" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=3410299782/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/track=4117827586/transparent=true/" seamless>Recurring Dream by New Apostles Unashamedly political throughout their 37 year existence, Recurring Dream opens with 'The End Of Everything', a song that pretty much declares armageddon based on the events of the past 12 months. Intrinsically post punk in structure and delivery, its origins can be traced back to bands like The Comsat Angels and The Sound, both ironically contemporaries alongside New Apostles back in the day rather than the peers they'd be considered now. Better still is 'Crickley Hill', which might take its name after the scientific country park situated in the Cotswolds but actually continues the dark lyrical theme. "It's another world but the same old story" intones Phil Pidluznyj over coarse mechanised drum patterns and an insistent guitar riff that's musically reminiscent of Movement era New Order or Wild Nothing's more recent musings. Elsewhere, 'Sad Case' could be a Television outtake with a brass section incorporated while unofficial title track '22:22' mixes caustic lyrics with motorik beats and an elongated instrumental passage towards the end that owes as much to new age prog bands like Dungen as it does post punk. While the likes of 'Ouija Girl' and 'Down From The Stars' aren't quite as prominent or memorable as the aforementioned closing number, 'Pink Tangerine' is a masterclass in experimental noise that ticks every box and crosses every boundary in the alternative sub-genre library. With a new EP already mooted for release in the latter part of spring New Apostles' productive ethos doesn't sh[...]