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Updated: 2017-07-26T09:03:08+01:00

 



The Fall - New Facts Emerge

2017-07-26T09:03:09+01:002017-07-26 09:03:08 +0100

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Arguably the 2017 Fall is the purest version of the band there has ever been

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Oceans rise and fall, empires collapse, child stars boom, grow up, fuck up and fade away, governments change, gods are forgotten and stars burn up and die. And then there’s The Fall. Not just a band - sorry - group, not just an institution, but an idea. An uncompromising, belligerent, hideous, beautiful idea; where noise pollution and bloody mindedness hover on the edge of art.

New Facts Emerge is the thirty-second Fall album and regardless of who is playing behind him, who is releasing his records and who he’s married to, frontman Mark E Smith carries that idea forward and concentrates it down. In fact, as he’s moved further and further away from the relatively accessible pop he has occasionally threatened since the Eighties, the idea of what The Fall are, and what The Fall are for has crystallised. The band no longer exist as the cracked mirror of the Eighties and Nineties, who warped the sound of the times into strange and unpalatable shapes, from post punk to art pop to baggy. Over the last decade Smith has calcified The Fall. A relatively fixed line up (though keyboard player and Smith’s ex-wife Elena Poulou has exited after more than ten years in active service) has allowed the group to double down and cement themselves. Arguably the 2017 Fall is the purest version of the band there has ever been. This, you imagine, is what the inside of Smiths fogged head sounds like.

Which is possibly why New Facts Emerge is one of the best things Smith has put his name too in a decade, the most complete and satisfyingly bonkers Fall album since 2008’s Imperial Wax Solvent. Here Smith finally lets go of the idea of singing at all. You’re sure there are fine words here, but more than ever MES is really not bothered if you can make them out or not. His voice has dropped into a guttural, tarry growl, 100% menace and 0% melody. It’s driven forward by some of the toughest riffs in the bands canon.

‘Fol De Rol’ is incredible, a circular, heavy-as-fuck groove that occasionally falls apart in a violent mess before reforming and relentlessly coming after you again. It is very much the T-1000 of art-rock songs. ‘Couples Vs Jobless Mid 30’s’ is bass-led gonzoid metal, all grinding tension and slow release as Smith gurgles about “green jelly”, while closer ‘Nine Out of Ten’ is totally deconstructed anti-pop, stripping down to one oddly sad, reverby guitar while Smith reviews himself at various stages of his life (“I was an awful baby… they gave me one out of ten”). It closes with six minutes of that one, lonely guitar circling the chord progression. It’s great.

Elsewhere the inevitable dip into MES’s beloved rockabilly shows up as the spiky shuffle of ‘Groundsboy’ and, less successfully as the countryish ‘Second House Now’ which wobbles worryingly close to pastiche. There’s even a bit of toughened indie-pop in ‘Gibbus Gibson’, a catchy little bopper that briefly threatens a Morrissey/Marr style accessibility… until a discordant keyboard and a dip back into a slurred rasp happily ruin the magic.

![104958](http://dis.resized.images.s3.amazonaws.com/540x310/104958.jpeg)



Fake Laugh - Fake Laugh

2017-07-26T09:03:09+01:002017-07-26 09:02:57 +0100

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A solid, if uneventful debut album, full of heart, soul and charm

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Fake Laugh has been a side project for Kamran Khan for a few years now. The London-based, Berlin-born musician has been playing in both Japanese Hour and Lovepark, but last year’s two EPs, Great Ideas and Ice signalled the growing seriousness of the project.

The album itself is a step forward sonically; the production, handled by Theo Verney, is crisp and light, with the muddiness of early recordings cleaned off. The clearer audio gives new life to the number of songs on the album that have been re-recorded. Around half of the tracks on the album first heard the light of day on Fake Laugh’s debut EP Freely in 2014. The old harshness has been stripped off, taking the polished guitar-pop to the next level.

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It is on Khan’s vocals where this is most notable. Simple, but emotive, his voice sounds lazy and whimsical, but packs the sounds of longing and angst that bring the songs to life. It breathes both feeling and humour into various lines on the album, notably on ‘Short of Breath’ like “You’re the one that I trusted and cared for most,” Khan pines, before adding as an afterthought, “apart from me”. Combine that with the song’s cascading guitars and heart-wrenching chorus, and it is one of the most captivating song on the album.

Like the EPs, Fake Laugh has a defined and recognisable sound, a heady mix of Brian Wilson and Mac Demarco, but with every song having such a similar sonic pallet, it means some of the tracks get lost, exposing some of Khan’s weaker songwriting. When it works, as on the aforementioned ‘Short of Breath’, it really works. ‘As I Get to Know You Better’ is a similar blend of humour and heartbreak, opening with Khan deadpanning “As I get to know you better, my respect for you declines” before he strays into a falsetto for the chorus. ‘Wouldn’t Bother’ as well kicks it up tempo-wise and has a beautifully melodic riff that’ll stick in your head. But it is easy for some of the songs to blend together on initial listens due to the sonic similarities This might mean that it would be easy to put Fake Laugh on as background music and let the dreamy guitars wash over you, not fully engaging.The sounds are nice enough, but some of the songs do not seem to warrant a relisten. But to do so would mean that you would miss out on some Khan’s fantastic lyrical turns of phrases, the earnestness and the humour which lies just below the surface on all the tracks.

A solid, if uneventful debut album, full of heart, soul and charm that fans of dreamy guitar-pop need to listen to.

![104959](http://dis.resized.images.s3.amazonaws.com/540x310/104959.jpeg)



"Music can make you very secluded": DiS Meets Ride

2017-07-26T07:30:31+01:002017-07-26 07:30:31 +0100

DiS caught up with Ride's Mark Gardener and Loz Colbert to talk about their first new album in 21 years Having made their name in the halcyon days of Creation Records thanks to a string of peerless EPs and two of the most influential albums of that and successive generations in Nowhere and Going Blank Again, Ride's legendary status has long been cemented in the annals of rock history. Although their next two LPs didn't receive the critical acclaim or commercial success of their predecessors, the band's split in 1996 was still widely mourned worldwide. So when the band announced their reunion in 2014 it was heralded as a second coming of sorts, unfinished business even for a band whose creative well hadn't run anywhere near dry. Fast forward to 2017 and Ride are back with a new album Weather Diaries, their fifth long player and first since Tarantula in 1996. Combining all the best bits from each of its predecessors while retaining one eye on the future, it marks a sensational return for a band written off by many at the height of Britpop two decades ago. DiS caught up with guitarist and singer Mark Gardener and drummer Loz Colbert prior to their triumphant performance on the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury. src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify%3Aalbum%3A1qWzWtZYt8nAs6SoRD3esz" width="300" height="380" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true"> --- DiS: The reviews for Weather Diaries have been overwhelmingly positive. Were you expecting that kind of feedback? Mark Gardener: No we didn’t expect anything. Everyone wasn’t positive about Ride before. It’s not something we know but obviously, it’s great so we welcome it. Loz Colbert: It’s a different time now and we’re doing what we’re doing. It’s just great that after spending so much time making the record people seem to get it and love it. We felt glad to have a chance at getting something right this time because we kind of jumped into our previous studio albums feet first. There was no pressure with this so we’ve just been working quietly in the background for 18 months. When you invest that amount of time into making something it’s great to see people actually starting to get it. When did the writing process start? Which is the oldest song on the record? MG: Good question. Bits came from early jams when we first got together in rehearsals. We’d just end up playing and writing music so some ideas came from that. I don’t know which would be the oldest though? ‘All I Want’ maybe? LC: I think it was probably ‘Cali’. MG: I honestly don’t remember. We just did loads of bits and pieces around rehearsal time but didn’t really get stuck into it until we’d finished touring. Then we connected a few bits together we thought sounded good. Did some recording before we knew we were going to make a new record. We always knew we did, but once the songs started to materialise it was a case of now we’ve got to record an album. We were well prepped up. We had a lot of stuff flying around between us; some of that stuff made it, some didn’t. There were a lot of ideas at this point. How many songs did you have to start with? Were there that didn’t make the album which might be revisited in the future? LC: Yeah we had loads. Around 35, maybe even 40. It was a very tough selection process. It went down to 15 that we were gonna try to do for the album and out of that, 11 made it. MG: Those 4 that didn’t make it are in better shape, so they might be looked at again, might be permanently shelved. We don’t really know at the moment. LC: With some we just ran out of time. They’d been selected but we just didn’t have time to finish them and already had an album’s worth ready so who knows, they may come out in some other format at a later date. You worked with Erol Alkan on this record. How did that come about? MG: Erol is a good friend of Andy Bell’s brother-in-law. They’ve done a lot of DJing together. James Sandom from our management is al[...]



Stavanger Symphony Orchestra Refugee Project

2017-07-26T07:30:00+01:002017-07-26 07:30:00 +0100

“Music has the capacity to carry memories and experiences of life" As an outsider to classical music, as most of the DiS' readership would be (let’s be real now), this piece is a slightly off-piste read from the standard fare of indie music. But what if we told you that there was an orchestra in Norway that has collaborated with Mike Patton and Stuart Copeland? Then that would be a story in itself. For the last decade, The Stavanger Symphony Orchestra has led an initiative to help refugees and migrants settle into Norway via the medium of classical music. This project has been ongoing for the past decade, with the Norwegian government being so impressed that it was extended to regional cities around the country with their backing and full support. In 2016, The SSO held a performance for an audience of 1000 Syrian refugees, where nine different languages were spoken, representing the different minorities within the region. The Norwegian Government and cultural department were so impressed that it funded future efforts to divide the orchestra into small groups of 4-5 people who would then travel the country bringing their music to cities with heavy refugee populations. Upon my arrival in Stavanger, I meet communications director Morten Ek and Managing Director of the Symphony Hall, Morten Warland at the grand settings of the Stavanger Konserthus. Being a former CEO at a large multinational bank, Warland explains the history of the SSO in greater detail and what essentially they were all about: “I’ve been with the organisation now since 1st January 2016. It is a privilege, in particular, to work in a country like Norway, that can afford arts initiatives with high, high levels of public funding. It’s very important to be able to do the job that we do.” Morten says. What do the SSO and the concert hall represent for the city of Stavanger? “Well, I think the hall in itself is an absolute jewel and the acoustics are fantastic in here. There was controversy around the amount of money about the cost of the concert hall to build. But since the hall has been up and running [in 2012], it’s been seen with real pride in the eyes of the citizens. but also for the region as well. It’s a great place to invite people; I think the orchestra falls into that percentile of 1-2% of people that like classical music that tend to be older and more mature. But we do concerts for 20,000 school kids every year, which is part of our mandate and purpose that we get as a condition of receiving state funding.” Later that day at a café in the nearby town of Sandnes, there is a performance of a scaled-down version of the SSO, featuring an Oud player named Khaled Habeeb. Two years ago Habeeb fled his hometown of Latakia – a pro-Assad stronghold – for fear of persecution as his father was held in custody as a political prisoner. In the time Khaled has been in Norway, he has learnt Norwegian and is about to graduate University with a degree in Engineering. Speaking to DiS, he explains the benefits of living in a country which to many people, and also numerous studies show, has the highest living standards in the world: “I got this fantastic chance to perform with the symphony orchestra in Stavanger through a councillor at the learning center.” Khaled explains. “So I sent them a video of me playing my Oud and that was it! Back in Syria, I wasn’t involved in orchestras but I played a little with friends and small groups. But I didn’t perform on a regular basis; I just did it for the love of music.” What does playing in the orchestra mean for the refugees as well as the native population of Stavanger? “Music has the capacity to carry memories and experiences of life. I think the most important thing is what it can do to find similarities between ourselves instead of differences.” The following morning, I visit the Johannes Learning Centre. It’s a place where migrants and refugees families congregate to learn[...]



Kendal Calling 2017: The DiS Preview

2017-07-26T07:26:28+01:002017-07-26 07:26:28 +0100

We're off to the land of lakes Kendal Calling 2017 returns next weekend (July 27-30) and it’s fair to say they’ve gone the extra mile this year to take the festival to the next level. Each day is filled with acts we’re looking forward to seeing and they’ve even pulled out the old co-headline trick. Sure, that’s normally nonsense but on this occasion, it seems to be justified. The weather might look like it’s going to be unkind, but it’s the Lake District and this is what we signed up for. We can always go to Ghandi’s Flip Flop for the best Indian food you’ll ever eat in a field. These are the acts we’ll definitely be going to see in Lowther Deer Park. --- New York Tourists Saturday - Woodlands Stage It’s not the first time that New York Tourists have played the Woodlands Stage at Kendal Calling. Last time though, clashes robbed us of the privilege of seeing them. They’ve supported acts that they’re far better than (looking at you, Kaiser Chiefs) on their way to developing the sort of fan base that allows them to cart busloads of fans to their own gigs. Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls Sunday - Main Stage So, that co-headline nonsense. Tinie Tempah shares duties with Frank Turner on the Sunday night. Given that Frank Turner headlined the event in 2014, it’s the sort of billing we can get on board with. Turner is in that spot between albums where he’s treating audiences to new tracks while also dropping in rarities. As far as crowd-pleasing goes, he’ll blow Stereophonics and Manics out of the water. Ivan Campo Sunday - Riot Jazz Tucked away in one of the corners of Kendal Calling will be Ivan Campo, who rather bafflingly became stars of Spanish TV recently. Beyond that, they’ll inject you with some much-needed calm on the Sunday night with their pensive English folk. Lethal Bizzle Sunday - Main Stage There’s a good chance I’ll be giving Tinie Tempah a miss on Sunday evening so Lethal Bizzle will have to make up for that. Frankly, 'Fester Skank' is one of the most fantastic things I’ve ever heard and the idea of dancing to the field to that on Sunday evening fills me with uncool happiness. I can’t wait. Frightened Rabbit Thursday - Main Stage If you’ve not managed to get a Thursday ticket for the sold-out festival, then it sucks to be you. Frightened Rabbit have always come from the same bleak corner of music as The National sonically (if not geographically), so the fact their latest album is produced by Aaron Dessner makes complete sense. Honeyblood Saturday - Calling Out Babes Never Die is one of my favourite albums of recent years and this is the first chance I’ve had to see them. I’ll be giddier than one of their tracks by the time this eventually rolls around. One of those rare bands that manage to combine genuine edge with a sense of calm while never losing their sense of humour. Saytr Play Friday - Woodlands Stage A band that spent their time at UCLan scraping for every gig that they could get while earning fans every time they played. Their music isn’t hard to get your head around; simple melodies and hooks are delivered by a group of gents who you can tell have real affinity. The perfect Friday afternoon treat. Kendal Calling takes place from the 27-30 July. For more information about the festival, please visit their offcial website. ![104956](http://dis.resized.images.s3.amazonaws.com/540x310/104956.jpeg) [...]



French Fancy: DiS Does Europavox Festival 2017

2017-07-25T15:50:31+01:002017-07-25 15:50:31 +0100

Those who seek to undermine the European project should take a good look at events like this Clermont-Ferrand is unlikely territory for a music festival. Sitting in the heart of France, high on the Limagne plain and in the shadow of the Puy de Dôme volcano, this is rugby country. Industry and agriculture dominate here, lending the city and residents a grizzled, hard-bitten rustic charm. The area bakes in the summer and freezes in the winter, dry winds blowing in from the south and east. It’s no surprise then that Union, a sport built on honest toil and physicality, where brute force and determination often usurps skill, has been embraced on such a scale. No surprise either that the local team, ASM Clermont Auvergne, have become one of the most powerful clubs in France, frequently besting their metropolitan peers to the north and regular visitors to the European Rugby Champions Cup final. Such provincial pride matters; it’s not lost on the locals that this is one of the last areas to be served by the TGV. “Paris to Marseille? Three hours. Paris to Bordeaux? Two hours forty. Paris to here? It’s half as far but takes twice as long,” grumbles one of the organisers on our arrival. And he’s not wrong. We spend a shade under five and a half hours rumbling through the bucolic French countryside from Paris Bercy, itself a ragged, gritty wedge of the 12th arrondissement, flanked by a shiny, new corporate arena and industrial decline. There’s no wifi and no proper restaurant car, leaving those who failed to prepare little choice but to snack on Pringles, some sad, limp wraps, and weak coffee. There is, however, a concert. We’re ushered into the unused front carriage where Kiol, an Italian acoustic duo, sit ready to perform; they even plug in a lightbox to display their name and lend the scene a little more of an Unplugged vibe. It’s pleasant enough, and they’re talented chaps, but it’s all a bit open mic night, something not helped by a standard rendition of ‘Valerie’ and one of their own that they insist we clap along to. It’s not the last we see of them either; at just about every mini stage and outside the doors of various venues they appear, strumming away and drumming up enthusiasm. By my count, they do at least seven separate sets, plus numerous others that we miss. For all I know, they’re still in the middle of France, endlessly running through six-song sets, exhorting the locals to sing along. width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nhFupkbe9Qk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Europavox Festival was born in 2006, yet another French event determined to succeed away from the bright lights and media scrum of Paris. The concept, broadly, is to showcase “European musical diversity”; the festival itself is just the tip of the iceberg, with a variety of shows across France and Europe aimed at defending a “positive, citizen-centered and committed vision of Europe through all types of music.” Such a noble goal is a far cry from Brexit and the parochial jingoism one frequently encounters in the UK. They’re even part funded by the EU, the sort of thing lamented by Farage and his fellow swivel eyed loons as being “wasteful” and yet, on the ground, mingling with music fans young and old watching a range of artists perform, one is struck by the idea that this is precisely what the EU – or any government come to think of it – should be promoting. The fierce sense of independence is carried over to the program itself, a mix of established acts, buzz bands, and up and coming European artists deserving of exposure. Adna fall into the latter category, the dark folk-pop of the native Swede casting an enchanting spell on those who’ve gathered in La Coopérative de Mai. Minimalist lighting and swirls of dry ice focus attention on the music and add to the mood; it’s studied but not overly so, the tension beautifull[...]



Arcade Fire - Everything Now

2017-07-26T07:32:57+01:002017-07-25 09:37:00 +0100

Arcade Fire are not your corporate product Arcade Fire’s fifth album is striking for both its fearless – arguably hubristic – jettisoning of much that people loved about the Montreal collective, and its total, wholehearted embrace of what one might loosely describe as new wave synth pop. Lead single ‘Everything Now’ is a bit of a red herring: as has been widely noted, it sounds fair bit like ABBA. Less widely noted – because why would you? – is that it also sounds a fair bit like Arcade Fire. Sure, it’s geed up with a glistening major key piano figure and enormous chanted chorus, but it’s a big, yearning song with lyrics (“everything that I’ve ever heard is playing at the same time”) and a warm Win Butler vocal to match. But in sounding a fair bit like Arcade Fire it is not especially representative of an album built on pummelling, punky synth figures, harshly yelped vocals and a distinct lack of that spiritual yearning that was a common thread throughout those first four albums. width="540" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zC30BYR3CUk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Or at least, it’s not representative if you discount the fact that there are three versions of it on the album. Anybody who has followed the promotional campaign for this record will be aware that – in a presumably entirely deliberate irony – the marketing campaign is based around a sort of tongue-in-cheek attack on consumerism. The extent to which this is really continued on the record is debatable, but there are pops at capitalism throughout and a vague sense that we’re being lightly trolled at times, such as by the inessential, bookending album tracks, both of which are called ‘Everything Now (Continued)’, and the fact that there are two versions of the song ‘Infinite Content’ immediately next to each other – one an urgent, heady thrash “infinite content! Infinite content! Infinitely content!], the other a wilfully chintzy country ballad. It never feels like a concept record – there is no mention of the promo campaign’s Everything Now Corporation – but certainly something has changed. Everything Now seems to carry faint echoes of Neon Bible’s disaffection, but instead of channeling it via brooding big rock bombast they’ve gone virtually the opposite way. The album’s best, most problematic and probably most representative track is undoubtedly the single ‘Creature Comfort’. Over a gorgeously pulsing synth line reminiscent of the brief era when New Order and The Cure were rivals, Win and Regime deliver their most intense vocal performances on the record. The standout lyric is “God make me famous, if you can’t, just make it painless” – a great, nihilistic line - but delve into the verses and there’s some properly troubling stuff. “She dreams about dying all the time, she told me she came so close, filled up the bathtub and put on our first record” – I mean seriously, wtf is this? Who are these people? The meaning of the line rather hinges on whether this really happened or not, but putting a self-referential quip about Funeral on a song about suicide is not the band we once knew. width="540" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xzwicesJQ7E" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> The shift is sonic as well as attitudinal, though it’s the combination of the two that really afford the sense that this isn’t the band we once knew. Under the guidance of Brit producers Geoff Barrow and Steve Mackey, the band has rebuilt their sound around a vast arsenal of jagged keyboard riffs and angular grooves. But the results don’t always hit home convincingly: ‘Signs of Life’ and ‘Chemistry’ offer loving homage to the funkier end of Seventies Talking Heads, but it’s strange and somewhat disconcerting to hear the band ditch the emotional weight that was ever present on even R[...]



DiS Does Neue Meister 2017

2017-07-25T08:51:53+01:002017-07-25 08:51:53 +0100

A stunning showcase of modern classical composers and artists At the tail end of last year, the Berlin-Brandenburg fiscal court decreed legendary techno destination Berghain to be of such cultural significance that it deserved the same tax-exemption status as the city’s best concert halls. (To put that in some perspective: that very same month Islington Council revoked Fabric’s license). This fact has little directly to do with our being in the city of Berlin tonight, but it does point to a certain spirit of inclusivity—a healthy suspicion of unhelpful cultural subdivisions—that seems to pervade cultural life in the German capital. It’s not at all surprising, for instance, that it should be the home of Neue Meister, the contemporary music annexe of esteemed label Berlin Classics. The label functions on roughly the same logic: while it is true that exists to showcase some of the brightest talent working in the area of modern classical, it does so without snooty prejudices. Their roster includes razor-sharp modern composers with truly classical pedigrees, but also provides a home for musicians whose work cuts gleefully across other genres. “Modern classical and everything around it,” reads their apt mission statement. Fittingly, the setting for tonight’s label showcase is neither club nor concert hall, but DRIVE: Volkswagen Group Forum, a remarkably versatile space at the bullseye of the city’s central Mitte district. Car showroom by day, tonight its usual contents have been swept under the rug to reveal an airy performance space, replete with classy lighting and a widescreen projection canvas that spans the width of the stage. With Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin filling the role of house band, this showcase provides six Neue Meister artists roughly a half-hour opportunity each to exhibit their work. Damian Marhulets is a clear fit for the label, blending his delicate electronica with orchestral accompaniment in a manner that frequently recalls Ólafur Arnalds and Message to Bears. The set draws from latest release Ecartele, an imagined soundtrack for a 1970s film about a meeting between physicist Wolfgang Pauli and psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung which never made it beyond the stage of script and storyboard. If Marhulets’ icy poise sometimes begins to feel a little detached, five-piece “classical band” Spark respond with an energy and virtuosity that is completely human. Here they perform Johannes Motschmann’s Facets Of Infinity. Released on the label earlier this month, it is a piece which demands an unrelenting torrent of notes from the performers, calls for athletic instrument changes, scarcely leaves room for them to catch their collective breath, and, presumably, requires a bolted inner dialogue to keep the thing from falling apart at the seams. Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw’s Entr’acte follows, a work for orchestra which tugs at the classical canon, manipulating the tropes of Bach and Beethoven to achieve something entirely unique. Hauschka seems an entirely different prospect following the critical success of last year’s Lion, for which his score with Dustin O’Halloran was nominated for an Oscar, and tonight he is rightly welcomed as some kind of headliner. His five-part work Materials is accompanied by live visuals in which performers manoeuvre letters and shapes across a video backdrop to display the names of chemicals elements and their symbols. Volker Bertelmann’s calling card has always been the prepared piano, an approach to the instrument that involves placing objects (from stationary to scrap metal and anything in between) onto the strings in order to fundamentally alter their sound. The creaking, quietly menacing effect of the piece proves, once again, that the mechanical jerks of Hauschka’s instrument makes for a sublime pairing with the elegance of an[...]



Siren Festival 2017: The DiS Preview

2017-07-25T08:26:14+01:002017-07-25 08:26:14 +0100

Italy, by the beach, in late July? Don't mind if we do The British music festival experience is invariably imbued with mud, lukewarm beer, and at least three nights of uncomfortable camping. Listening to your favourite bands from midday to well past midnight is a dream, but once you’re home, you end up feeling like you need a week to recover from the festival weekend itself. Siren Festival is the perfect antidote to this. Located in the picturesque town of Vasto on the eastern coast of Italy, the small festival promises stages nestled amongst ruins, atop the hillside, and on the rolling sandy beaches which line the coast. Festival-goers will stay in accommodation in the town, enjoying the local wine and cuisine. With no mud in sight, there is even more time to relax and enjoy the music, as well as the various film, poetry, spoken-word and art installation projects that make up Siren Festival. Previous Siren line-ups have included Jon Hopkins, Editors, James Blake, and The National, and 2017’s offering does not cease to bring an eclectic mix of established and up-and-coming musicians from rock and indie scenes across the world to Vasto. Here are the bands DiS is most looking forward to hearing live. --- Allah-Las width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fiJYecS0vU0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> To say the Allah-Las’ garage rock is sun-kissed is an understatement: it’s positively sun-drenched. The jangly guitar sound of these LA boys is a perfect summer soundtrack, and with their career spanning the best part of the last decade, their back-catalogue is full to bursting. Ghostpoet width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gzF00zaK56I" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Obaro Ejimiwe’s gnarly voice is undeniably urban; we’re intrigued to see how the Londoner will work a sun-kissed European crowd who have spent the day lounging on the beach. With fourth album Dark Days And Canapés on its way in August, and most recent singles ‘Freak Show’ and ‘Trouble + Me’ marking out its path, there are lots more heartfelt soul/rap narratives to be spun here. Arab Strap width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/55gZZgqfelQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> After their 2006 break-up and reformation ten years later, Siren has done well to nab these Glaswegian indie rockers. Arab Strap comeback shows at the end of last year saw an impressive seven-piece line-up including trumpets and drum machines. If that’s anything to go by, their appearance at Siren, with songs detailing all the grotty but delightfully frank parts of sex and relationships, will be a sonic treat. Baustelle width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bqx0O-bzheg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Half the fun of visiting festivals abroad is having the opportunity to listen to bands that wouldn’t necessarily be booked for a UK festival. Siena-based trio Baustelle (which translates into English as ‘building site’) make synth-heavy pop with luscious Italian lyrics glistening over the top. They even have a track called ‘Eurofestival’ – more than fitting for the occasion. Noga Erez width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7Z6DwZtv0Gg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Dubbed by the Guardian as “Tel Aviv’s most defiant star”, Noga Erez makes electronic pop music with a bold political message. Sexual assault and government-fuelled poverty are amongst the plethora of themes on last month’s Off The Radar. The Israeli will bring sharp snares, punchy synths and her own brand of protest music to Vasto. Jens Lekman width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9huLGwbpoiA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Swedish-born Jens Lekman will close the festival with a set in an intimate[...]



And In The End, It Mattered… The Raw Power Of Chester Bennington

2017-07-24T14:18:01+01:002017-07-24 14:18:01 +0100

RIP Chester, possessor of a ferocious voice that roared in search of catharsis. I find it odd, for whatever reason, that it’s been almost two decades since I first heard the scratching and screaming of Linkin Park. I’m 16, sitting in the kitchen of a house that was always welcoming yet never comfortable. My best friend was there, though today we’re barely acquaintances. That’s okay, though, that’s life. In that cold room, tuned into the tail end of a pretty ramshackle music chart show countdown, a singular voice roared out, an unusually commanding preview of a new song. The 30 seconds that followed were a certain kind of gold dust because if you blinked, you missed it, and that was it. ‘Lincoln Park’, as the television presented them, made enough of an impression with a glimpse of ‘One Step Closer’ for me to do my utmost to track them down. And so it was that I bought my first ever music magazine when they graced the cover, having previously raided my brother’s dedicated stash of NME and Q. In place of those standard-bearers - Kerrang!, itself the springboard to properly caring about bands and albums and those responsible for them. Some grew up with guidance that led them to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan et al… me? Limp Bizkit, KoRn, Slipknot, and the whole nu metal brigade pointed my way forward. width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4qlCC1GOwFw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> I don’t regret the path, and I won’t ever shy away from it. Your formative years are your formative years, and they define your tastes for better and for worse. Nobody is here to make a case for that genre as some kind of misunderstood savant undertaking – okay, maybe somebody will and I’ll probably support them – just as nobody should dig unwieldy revisionist trenches to suddenly pronounce Linkin Park as an endlessly compelling and transcendent masterpiece… but let’s give the devil his due, shall we? And let us ultimately focus on the late Chester Bennington. Start with the obvious – the voice; a pitch 100 times more emphatic a statement than the signature twin flames inked on the man’s wrists. All due respect to his partner in rhyme Mike Shinoda, but you feel like even he would admit he was playing catch-up from day one. Bennington was no profound poet, and he never really needed to be. With debut offering Hybrid Theory, his raw anguish burrowed into the uneasy mindsets of boys and girls a decade or more his junior, and it never once felt didactic or condescending. It wasn’t a cynical attempt to connect; he simply punched through. Accusations and detractions of manufacturing and commercial disassociation failed to distort the signal. To put it bluntly, Hybrid Theory was fucking awesome. In many respects, it still is. A determinedly arresting listen, the album barely wastes an exasperated breath, constantly moving forward as a kinetic, communal barrage. Almost 17 years on, it holds up as a nostalgia-fuelled throwback, a notable document of the time – it’s worth noting that Hybrid Theory was a phenomenal success, notching up over 30 million sales to date – and as a fiercely committed aggressive narrative. width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Gd9OhYroLN0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> A survivor of significant childhood trauma, Bennington quite clearly manifested and exorcised demons through his art, and while many have critiqued famous refrains from the likes of ‘Papercut’, ‘Crawling’, and ‘In The End’ for a wholesale lack of subtlety, they stand tall as extremely vulnerable expression, backed up by a ferocious voice that roared in search of catharsis. That emotional intelligence and fearless resolve for self-examination was present during a radio interview in[...]