Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mr Peppermint 'Loose Lips'

Riding high from a show on Saturday night courtesy of National Minimum Rage this blog post is a gushfest over MR PEPPERMINT, who did things with a guitar that brought a stunned crowd in Dalston to their knees. I'd never heard of them and nothing could have prepared me for what was in store when this duo turned up and plugged in. Guitarist Jack Mellin wears a mask with a mic duct tape into it that's intrinsic to his style of playing, freeing him from a static mic stand Mellin can naturally roam while performing. The sheer velocity of the songs coupled with tribal drumming from Jonny Rankin left the audience stunned, as soon as I got home I found a download to one of their albums 'Loose Lips' and it's been on repeat ever since.

'In The Club' sets the tone for the record on an unhinged note swirling with screeches, moans and erratic acoustic plucking layered over distorted guitars before launching into 'Carp Act', where the album fully stretches out its legs. This song embodies what they do live, strained vocals and doomed guitars played in a rhythmic catatonic state. Mr Peppermint remains firmly in control of the chaos created through the sludgey noise, menacing guitars and echo laden disenchanted vocals. The album pokes at listeners particularly in 'Kevin', which features sound effects of crowds clapping and laughing building on the sense of anxiety Mellin's guitar playing had already laid foundations for. Throughout the twelve songs lofty melodies waft through and bring a folk quality to the record especially on 'Hyndland Road'. Closer 'Pull Off Your Lips' plaintively threatens "I'll break your legs/I'll cut off you toes/I'm gonna break your arm/I'll take your little finger/I'm going to break your heart/I'll put it back together and tear it apart", unaffected vocals with soft guitars, gentle tapping rhythms and piano arrangements balance out the onslaught of noise on 'Loose Lips'. I never thought I'd enjoy the sensation of feeling like my eardrums were going to explode, until seeing Mr Peppermint. Formed from the ashes of Hyena this duo from Scotland took me, and everyone else by surprise. Last Saturday this twosome created a transcendent experience and there was nowhere else on the planet I would have rather been than watching Mr Peppermint.

* For fans of Magik Markers

Free download of 'Loose Lips'

Their online shop - ridiculously cheap gear!

Friday, May 27, 2011

WAY THROUGH: Interview!

It's very exciting to be able to present an interview with London's WAY THROUGH. The duo have just finished their debut album and answered some questions for Gilded Gutter to tell us a little bit more about themselves.

As a new band there’s not a great deal written about you currently, so tell us, did you land from another planet? Are you body snatchers? Were you conjured up by some mystical warlock? Who is WAY THROUGH and where are did you come from?!

Way Through is Claire Titley and Christopher Tipton. We come from the same village in Shropshire and this informs a lot of our music, as it is akin to coming from another planet compared to London where we now live and work. Way Through in all intents and purposes is a pastoral punk project, and we are trying to capture a genuine experience that relates to inward territories.

Have you been in any previous bands – if so which ones? How would you say WAY THROUGH differs from your past projects?

Hands On Heads and Haunted Fucking (H.F.) were our two most recent projects. Way Through is a more ragged and internally informed project for both of us, dealing less with songs and more with feelings and sound. Way Through (for us at least) is linked more to personal geography and collective memory, whilst skirting nostalgic trespasses we try and recall our next step forward like we’re following a map that we’ve partially forgotten.

You’ve just finished your debut album I’d love to hear about what informed your sound, did any favourite bands or artists inspire you?

Yes, we really wanted to write a whole album first, as we suddenly found ourselves with a lot of songs that felt happier together forming a narrative arc. ARROW SHOWER works more in terms of a cycle rather than a start or end and hopefully bears repeat listens.

When we started Way Through we wanted to keep things particularly undefined so we could find our own sound. I suppose we owe a debt of gratitude to Eyeless In Gaza, Shadow Ring, Sun City Girls and perhaps the Englishness of XTC for our musical consciousness when starting Way Through but these are just some of the waves we can remember. I think equally importantly we have been immersed in a re-exploration of English art and literature from the 1890s until the period immediately following the second world war, much of which has been discarded in favour of the postmodern and the “new”. We have a slight obsession with artists that record the everyday and the minor in radical ways, and with what John Piper described as “pleasing decay” which is found in the graffiti on garage doors of suburbia as amongst fallen trees in woodland.

Chris, I like how your voice is captured on the album, the vocals stand out because it sounds like you're in the room when listening – Arthur did an amazing job, how was 'Arrow Shower' recorded?

The recording was done in Deep House, our shared rehearsal space in London. The process was basic, with a handful of borrowed microphones and a laptop and the assistance of Arthur Swindells. This was during a blizzard just before Christmas 2010. We kept stopping to go and look at the great accumulations of snow and the buses stranded in it. I like to think some of that insularity that we experienced when we could see London at a standstill as a result of the unexpected has been captured on the record.

All the tracks were recorded live on drums and guitar, and we added everything else afterwards. It was a swift process, trapping the spontaneous energy of the tracks. Everything was recorded in a space of 2x3 metres, I suppose we’re a band happy with confines!

What's behind the name 'Arrow Shower' - how did you come up with it for the album?

The name comes from a heavily annotated copy of The Whitsun Weddings by Philip Larkin, which we picked up in a second hand bookstore in our hometown. The Arrow Shower piece on the record is inspired by the observations of a 13 year old boy from Much Wenlock trying to understand one of England’s greatest poems. There is something incredibly straightforward and moving about his analysis. We also like the visual image of each song side by side, as arrows hitting the ground.

WAY THROUGH just played a show opening for Deerhoof, how was that for you both?

We are long-standing admirers of Deerhoof and it was a privilege to be asked to play by them. It was our biggest show to date, so it was an exercise in controlling the nerves to some extent, but we were overwhelmed with the positive response we had from our peers and strangers who were there!

I know you both like to go on adventures around the UK to see all these cool historical and cultural sites. You inspired me to go see Kensal Green’s Catacombs (best fiver I ever spent!), what have been some highlights?

I knew you’d like the catacombs!

We enjoy seeing ancient sites (like the Neolithic stones at Avebury for example) and the way they have been shaped/and shape the environment around them. Also, we love exploring places, and heading out with a map to find something. We have only recently started exploring the South of England so we have been fascinated by the coast and the towns along it, especially Romney Marsh and the Isle of Purbeck (Shropshire is a land-locked county!). A great deal of the inspiration for our travels has been from some of the art and writers that we mentioned earlier, and we have been following their negotiations between the country and the city.

Have the places you’ve visited inspired any of your songs? If so, spill the beans! Where and why?

Not really but I’m sure they will. There is a lot about maps and mapping in the record more than actual places. I think we are still stuck in Shropshire in song-writing terms.

For anyone not from around here how would you describe London’s music scene? How would you change it?

At the moment it is in pretty good shape. There are more genuinely interesting London bands around now than I can remember in the past and it feels like there is a community of peers that are supporting each other to an extent. I am very aware that the current scene (like all scenes really) feels quite insular and cliquey to outsiders. I hope that the work we do in Upset The Rhythm goes some way to open things out to new audiences, to forge connections between bands and to promote the very best of what is going on, either through the shows or through the label (though actually the number of London bands on the label are pretty small compared to the number of bands from other parts of the UK).

What do you think of the venues in London currently?

London is crying out for a flexible community-run arts space with a focus on music that is kitted out appropriately. These spaces exist in every city in the US, in Europe and in other places in the UK but the exorbitant level of property prices in the capital means this is unlikely to happen unless someone decides to invest intensely in such a concept. Most venues (of course there are notable exceptions) put the sale of alcohol above all else, in order to survive financially. The last few years have been very tough, we’ve lost Bardens’ Boudoir and the Luminaire who both allowed us to experiment and get away with things other venues wouldn’t. Things will pick up, I’m sure and we’ll get more imaginative as a result.

You both also put on shows and celebrated your 7th year of being music promoters in December, what’s the future for Upset the Rhythm?

I think we have been moving towards more special one-off shows in unconventional locations for some time.

Any special events you’d like to tell us about that are coming up? (I’m psyched about R. Stevie Moore!)

R. Stevie Moore is going to be amazing! I’m excited about Greatest Hits and Ut, and looking forward to seeing Tune-Yards drive an audience wild.

“I’m full of dust and guitars” – Syd Barrett, if you were cracked open what would be inside?

Just another way of life, that when written down looks like the words wrong when its different.

Official music video from the forthcoming album, track 'W.B' by Charles Chintzer Lai.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pink Reason 'Shit In The Garden'

Four years on from his debut LP Pink Reason is back with new album 'Shit In the Garden' on Siltbreeze. These six new songs clocking in at around 30 minutes show a new side to Kevin DeBroux's writing. Sublime melodies are polarized through a dark underbelly that sites at the core of his songs. Tracks about fighting demons are delivered with DeBroux in conversation with himself, personifying the figure of a lone-wolf troubadour.

Head turning opener 'Holding On' is peppered with frenetic electronic rhythms that lead into radiant fuzzed out guitar, poignantly DeBroux's sings through the fogged recording, "I don't want to see this place again". Lofty, lush melodies at the crux of the song are obscured with muddied distortion and this concept is explored further through the album. "I Just Leave" descends into the abstract with layered strumming patterns accompanied by light chiming which consistently wafts through the six tracks on 'Shit In The Garden'. Folk-esque, "You Can't Win" is a cumbersome instrumental piece featuring a banjo and bewitching wind arrangements. My personal favourite thing about this track and probably on the album is the empty-bottle-rattling sounds acting as rhythm in the song making the track curiously cinematic. I'm mean to employ no sort of hyperbole when I say this is one of my favourite records of the year.

You can buy directly from him on Pink Reason's Facebook page (scroll down a little)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Please/Spin Spin the Dogs split 12"

Here we have a new edition to Upset the Rhythms 12" series celebrating UK's underground music. Spin Spin The Dogs team up with cartwheeling melodicists Please, demonstrating the bands' shared love of flipping the mundane on its head whilst running with the pulse of punk today.

Opener "Jumbo" sets the tone for the record with its quotidian focus and attention-tossing interplay, sounding as natural and quintessentially English as it gets. A song dealing with childhood promise and the realities of growing up, it lets the guitars freely roam. Forthright drums cement a core that singer Vincent Larkin uses to tumble his words across. "Every single word I say, could make you laugh, could make you cry", confesses Vincent, with his commanding yet oft-deadpan holler. Flipping over and weighing in on the Please corner is frenzied, feverish guitars and crashing rhythms dominating first track "Clothes", giving a taste of the band's impish demeanor. Hot off the blocks "The Germ" discusses themes of turning seasons amongst swirling space echo and cyclical clattering. Heavily instrumental and high-spirited Please tease with false endings and secret passageways, which exhibit well the extraordinary chemistry the three have forged.

Art work are paintings of Randy Newman lovingly made by the bands. Please and Spin Spin The Dogs combined on one LP make the UK underground a more fun place to lose your mind.

*co-written with Chris Tipton

You can find copies here
Spin Spin the Dogs-Jumbo by Upset the Rhythm
Please-Pass The Apple by Upset the Rhythm

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Pheromoans: INTERVIEW!!

Here we have Russell from The Pheromoans, who has kindly answered some questions for Gilded Gutter to tell us a little bit more about one of London's favourite underground bands.

For anyone new to you guys let’s have an introduction… who is presently in The Pheromoans and what do they do?

Currently its me, James on guitar, Christian and Alex do bass and guitar but swap around quite a bit, James drums, and for the new album Dan played violin. In recent shows Dan plays keyboard as well.

How did the band form?

I met Alex in a terrible office job we both had in Brighton. The company was run by this guy who called himself ‘Mojo.’ He was a real slimeball. As I sat opposite Alex I soon got to hear his life story quite quickly, and found out he played the guitar. I wanted to do something musically as I had started putting together poems and things that I thought might work, so we got together round at his flat to put things together. James Hines who turned out to be the drummer asked me to do some poetry at a gig where the Rebel and The Sticks were playing. James Tranmer is in the Sticks and I think he was one of the few to enjoy my poems, so I think we started talking about trying to work together. I asked James Hines to drum as I knew he was open minded as he put on different shows and things, and I knew he wouldn’t try and turn it into a noise band, which was quite popular at the time.

Are there any poets you look up to? Anyone you'd like to tell us about?

My relationship with poetry is quite difficult - I have a small book of poetry coming out soon - that a friend called Jenny is putting it out on 1994 Editions, so I haven't been reading any poetry at all. I much prefer reading novels, maybe because I know I'm not capable of writing a book! My favourite books (today) are The Folded Leaf by William Maxwell and Pick Up by Charles Willeford.

Front cover of Russell's new book.

Have any of you been in any previous bands?

I hadn’t, but I think most of the others had.

How have the recent shows been going for your new band Bomber Jackets?  How did the split 7” with The Rebel come about?

Well I have been a huge fan of everything Ben Wallers (Country Teasers, The Rebel) has done. I first saw him in about 2001 or something, at a gig with one of the Anticon rap-type bands. I was feeling quite alienated at the gig, as usual, but then this man came on drinking something concealed in a paper bag, and proceeded to sing some of the most brilliantly scathing and sardonic songs I had ever heard. I then bought all of his releases since then, and a few years later it turned out that Sarah Datblygu of the Bomber Jackets and Wet Dog was friends with Ben, so we asked him if he would like to get involved in the release we were doing for Kill Shaman. We ended up getting it pressed over here to save money, via the evil Savoury Days conglomerate.

What inspired the synth orientated sound in Bomber Jackets?

I suppose for me it was sufficiently different from the Pheromoans to warrant doing. I think it’s a nice sound, I really like the Magnetic Fields album ‘Holiday’ the sort of delicate sound. I find its helping me to actually ‘sing’ which I think I am capable of doing. Dan is into a lot of strange pop music, I like the slightly perverse feel that it has.

Is the name ‘Pheromoans’ a Sonic Youth reference?  (Or am I being super nerdy? Thinking of ‘Whore Moaning’).  If not, where does the name come from?

Its not a Sonic Youth reference, I didn’t know they had a song called that. Christian really likes Sonic Youth – when we met at university he was always trying to convert me, as I was only listened to things that had been nominated for a Mercury Prize. I am a fan of their stuff now. As for our band name, I think it’s a terrible name nowadays. I think we chose it because it sounded sort of ridiculously macho, as a joke about all of the patronising bands or ‘collectives’ in Brighton at that point, who would always bang on about how all bands should be female.

The lyrics in The Pheromoans focus on the quotidian, I like the idea of taking the ordinary and turning it into art – can you talk a little bit about what inspires the words in the songs?

I’m sure its the same process as taking a photo or making a film or anything – you just want to put something of yourself in to it whether its something that makes you happy or something you just think isn’t acknowledged. I suppose it’s a difficult balance as you don’t want to end up going overboard with trying to write ‘witty’ or humorous lyrics, and ending up like the Barron Knights, ‘whose between song anecdotes will have you in stitches,’ as the posters always insist. Or that bloke from the Divine Comedy, singing about moths wearing spats, and drinking lemon tea at the Savoy. I want to call the next album The Smell of Evil Is Dylan Jones Thoughts Fermenting, I want to get more involved in current affairs. Or ‘Helena Bonham-Carter Cannot Count’ was another one.

Tell me a little bit about ‘Soft Targets’ it’s my favourite Pheromoans track!

Oh thanks yes its just a general ‘leave me alone,’ type song. I think its quite an aggressive one, for us – I’m not sure if the lyrics arose from the music being quite aggressive, or the other way around.

Russell, we’ve talked a little about how we grew up in the same area of London suburbia and have similar tastes in music.  I think it struck us both as strange because there’s no music scene or proper record store at all in the area! Come to think of it, Watford's Harlequin Centre was the only place to buy music really from places like Virgin and CD Warehouse.  What was your introduction to the underground scene?  It wasn't easy to find!

No its weird living on the outskirts of somewhere like London I think, in that the more clued up people will go to clubs or gigs in the centre, but if you’re a bit timid and a bit curious about things, there’s not really a way into anything. Not just music, but books and things too. I quite appreciate now, the feeling of living in a vacuum, in that you would buy a book from Smiths or get it from the library, and just read it with no distractions like the Internet or Ross Noble. Or you could go into Watford and buy a Wire CD, and listen to it on repeat. Now I suppose if someone recommended Wire you could just download everything they did in about two minutes, then move on to the next band, or read one of Mark Ronson’s tweets. Actually, the era that I’m talking about you probably could do that, but I didn’t know how put it that way – I wasn’t very savvy. The only record shop in the town I grew up in is now a novelty shop I think, with fake fingers and whoopee cushions and things. I suppose that’s a metaphor for the way society is going.

To someone who hasn’t been here how would you describe the underground music scene in London currently?

I’m sort of dimly aware of people doing interesting things. I think I got very fed up of bands quite early on since starting doing music. There are these quite snooty bands who play this very complicated music, but with a silly sort of humour involved. You’d think oh they might be being self-mocking, but then they would swan around like Elton John demanding more ‘reverb,’ and all this sort of stuff. Now I suppose you’ve got more dance-type bands which can’t be a bad thing, as I don’t know much about that sort of stuff so its more interesting, but again I wouldn’t know what any of them are on about. I really don’t know where this myth that ‘scenes’ are a good thing came from. When I was younger I went to punk and hardcore shows just out of curiosity and would always feel alienated because everyone else had dressed up in a very specific way, and were going on about Toadfish from Neighbours, or Bouncer’s dream!

On the record ‘It Still Rankles’ there are a few different dates listed on the artwork, did this album take a long time to make?  What was the process like?

It only took a long time because we kept putting out singles and things while working on it, but keeping back songs that we thought would make sense on an album. For the second one we recorded it straight away. The only song we recorded several times was the A-side of our first single, as we wanted to get it right.

How do you find recording differs from playing?

Getting a good recording from James is definitely my favourite thing about being in a band, but the process of recording if the recording doesn’t come out well and we have to go back and do it again, it can cease to be fun and becomes more like work. My attention span isn’t the best, so I always bring a ‘misery memoir’ with me. Playing live can be so varying in terms of enjoyment that I have sort of given up having any expectations of the crowd and things, and just get on with it.

What was the first live show that made an impression on you?

It sort of ties in with what you said before, I didn’t really go to any gigs when I was younger. The only venue where I lived was the golf club, and I used to wander into there now and again and peer into the function room where I heard some music coming from. I was probably the youngest person there, as it was mainly people who had just finished their round of golf, so they were still dressed in these expensive sweaters and the shiniest shoes I ever did see. They mainly had impressionists, of ‘legends’ like Brian May, or a modern band like the Stereophonics. It was terrible - the Stereophonics weren’t even Welsh apparently – they were from somewhere near the New Forest. They were even worse than the originals. But later, I’m not sure how history regards them, but one of the few touring bands that came to Coventry was Arab Strap. Coventry was where I went to study, so I still didn’t get to see many bands then either, but I already knew Arab Strap, who I really liked. They were very bleak but very funny as well. The music suited the harsh Coventry environment, and I remember walking home feeling like I’d just read a good book or seen a good film.

What’s the future for The Pheromoans and The Bomber Jackets?

The second Pheromoans album is coming out this year, it was recorded before the first one even came out. I would put it out now, but the label that’s doing it probably want a bit more of a gap. There doesn’t feel like much point recording any more at the moment, as there is a backlog. The Anti-Climb Paint thing we did right after the album turned into almost an album in itself as well, so we don’t want to push our luck with the record buyers. I know people like the Manic Street Preachers wait around five years between albums, as that is the best way to get people to part with their money. I suppose that’s why they are millionaires, because the tall Manic Street Preacher understands the capitalist game and takes advantage of it. I’d like to do a Bomber Jackets album too, Sarah has moved to New York so we now have Sian drumming. She is also in Plug who are one of my favourite bands. Their album is much better than ours. I’d like to get a manager, one with a sheepskin coat, so I can go to one of those All Tomorrows Parties things and meet Steve Albini.

“I’m full of dust and guitars” – Syd Barrett, if you were cracked open what would be inside?

Usually salt and vinegar McCoy’s, stifled laughter at photo’s of Mark Ronson coming out of a nice clean nightclub .

Copies of Russell's book can be found here
The Pheromoans Blog
The Pheromoans Facebook
A track off of The Pheromoans recent 12" on Onec

The Reatards 'Teenage Hate & F*ck Elvis' DBL LP

Here we have the Reatards' first album reissued by Goner Records, thirteen years on from its original release. These 39 tracks chronicle how Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr., a/k/a Jay Reatard, started his music career in his early teens. This expanded reissue contains Teenage Hate and Fuck Elvis Here's the Reatards in their entirety, the latter of which has Greg Cartwright (Oblivians, Reigning Sound, etc.) drumming in an early incarnation of the band. With original liner notes penned by Jay himself, photos, and four-track recordings taken from cassettes that now go on eBay for sums of money that would make Bill Gates wince, it's safe to say the gang down in Memphis have truly outdone themselves.

Jay Reatard released work with a warts-and-all attitude, unabashedly laying bare his processes and committing every idea he possibly could to record. Jay's work is so well documented that the tenacity in his songwriting can clearly be traced from final recordings released on Matador, back through Lost Sounds, Angry Angels, Final Solutions and pinpointed to the beginning, the Reatards' Teenage Hate. Hot off the blocks following the head-spinning opener "I'm So Gone" is "Stayce" (some may already be familiar with this track as it is featured on another Reatards album, Bedroom Disasters), and it is striking to hear how much Jay sounded like the Adverts, considering he didn't know about them until after recording Blood Visions almost a decade later. Sure, you can hear a love for the Oblivians and Wipers throughout, as this goes back to Jay not being shy about revealing his methods. Covers of Buddy Holly, the Beatles and Lil' Bunnies on this reissue go further to show what informed the Reatards' sound.

For the uninitiated, don't be surprised to hear even rougher, snottier recordings than Jay's still ballistic later work. Amphetamine-driven riffs pummel their way through the tracks apace with vocals that bite, snarl and grunt. Attention-flipping songs about being pissed off, bored and horny are composed with metronomic rhythms and crunchy forthright guitars delivered with a bad attitude that makes you want to go and knock stuff over for no reason -- just listen to "Out of My Head, Into My Bed" to see what I mean! The Reatards made music a more exciting place to lose your mind. These songs help paint a picture of how a kid who used to bang on empty paint buckets in his mum's house grew into a prolific artist. This reissue attests that although Jay is gone, he will never be forgotten.
(written for edited by Other Music)

Go show Goner some love!

Jay Reatard w/Greg Cartwright, rare unseen footage
This piece featured in the Other Music newsletter

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pack 'Vinyl LP'

Part of the first wave of German punk formed by Jörg Evers (ex-Amon Düül II) who was inspired by a trip to London to start a new band. Single 'Com On' was recorded in a disused WW2 bunker in 1977 then put out through Teldec the following year. In 1978 the band also released their record 'Vinyl', a snotty, trashy, head spinning punk piece that would please any Pagans, Eater or Ivy Green fan. Reissued for the first time!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Outsiders 'CQ'

"The American writer Richie Unterberger called them "not just the finest Dutch group of the '60s, but the finest group from a non-English speaking country, period."" 'CQ' was released in 1968 and although popular on their own turf The Outsiders went largely under appreciated elsewhere. In hindsight it seems seems as though during the 60's bands who weren't from Britain or America mostly went unnoticed. The love/hate relationship between music from England and the U.S was heating up, British Invasion groups were taking over and with all this going on musicians from anywhere else barely got a look in edgeways. After being active for only four short years The Outsiders disbanded in 1969 however, they're reputation swelled since then earning them cult favourite status. This brings us to RPM's recent reissue of 'CQ', a triumph of proto-punk merging psychedelia, garage rock and classic rock sounds. With detailed liner notes from Mike Stax Editor of 'Ugly Things', a long standing die hard fan and friend of the group, recommendations don't come much higher than that. 'CQ' is a joy to behold.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Rebel & Bomber Jackets Split 7"

Just out, brand new split 7” featuring two U.K underground bands. Side A features tracks from The Rebel, a project from Ben Wallers who is also the masterminded behind Country Teasers. Paired up with Wallers on Side B are The Bomber Jackets, a trio partly made up from a few members of the mighty Pheromoans.

The Rebel offers up newly penned songs "based around the theme of a new dance craze, the ‘Boston Toto Rush’". The Bomber Jackets’ side is comprised of two songs that sound like sonic polar opposites to each other. Opener "Strange Sensation" is a lethargic number with contorted vocals and consistent beats whereas, "Routemaster" is a bright, booming number layered with sanguine tinged synths and familiar spoken word vocals from Russell (The Pheromoans). These two tracks are taken from their cassette release ‘Amongst The Dumbells’ on Brighton’s Sex Is Disgusting Records. Thing that ties the single together is both bands sense of irony and love of art punk and DIY ethics. I've been shopping around for this one and through my travels have noticed these are going like hot cakes! It's out on Savoury Days in the UK and Kill Shaman in the U.S, Second Layer Records in the U.K still has copies.

Interview from Russell for Gilded Gutter

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Quintron & Miss Pussycat 'Sucre Du Sauvage'

New Orleans organist Quintron has been releasing material since 1994 and continues to defy pigeonholing. Quintron and Miss Pussycat thrive in a live setting spinning stories through kaleidoscopic illusions via their self-coined genre 'swap tech'. Eighth album 'Sucre Du Sauvage' released by Goner Records was made over a month in New Orleans' Museum of Art whereby their recording is the work of art. The duo create an adventure with the help of animated organs, shaker rhythms and experimenting with music concrete while inviting everyone along for the party.

Highly charged "Banana Beat" opens with Miss Pussycat beckoning listeners beginning her tale; "Walking through the jungle with a gun in my hand/I'm a mean talky walker from in-o-land/Life is a zebra that I ride/Party stripes down on its side", is sung apace with an aerobic organ and metronomic rhythms delivered with the force of a microwave of popcorn going off. Existential noise is explored throughout 'Sucre Du Sauvage' with sound effects suggested in song titles influencing pieces. "Train Ride" experiments with the sound of locomotion in a darker tone featuring creaking, screeching, whistle blowing and faint voices making this otherworldly track curiously isolating and spooky. The album is kicked off by Miss Pussycat's energetic alert "Ring the Alarm" and closer "Morning" brings things full circle but with an entirely different mood. Two somber notes repetitively going back and forth not unlike an alarm chime away, until the closing announcement from the museum plays out, breaking the spell.

This album sounds as though Quintron and Miss Pussycat actually climbed into a painting and made a music that reaches beyond the parameters of a canvas, where their psychedelic, bluesy adventures create a hair-raising place to lose yourself in.

See Quintron & Miss Pussycat Puppet Shows!

Quintron website
Quintron and Miss Pussycat Live

Monday, May 2, 2011

Times New Viking 'Dancer Equired'

Ohio's Times New Viking are one of the bands that the reemergence of DIY/LoFi can be attributed to. Their first album 'Dig Yourself' helped revive Siltbreeze Records and since then have had more prestigious labels supporting their music including Matador and Columbus Discount. New album 'Dancer Equired' is brought to us from Merge in the U.S and Wichita in the U.K. Times New Viking continue to craft pop songs through exploring what lies within limitations they set themselves utilizing a modest set up of a guitar, drums and a tiny keyboard. However, don't be surprised to find that they've changed things up slightly, most notably ducking away from their customary raspy 4 track recording process and distilling their sound.

Clocking in at around 30 minutes, 'Dancer Equired' is packed with striking hooks, somersaulting keyboards and head-bouncing rhythms. This is best shown in all its glory on track "Fuck Her Tears" with reveling vocals chanting "My heart, it beats yes, To your silouhette, aaaaaaa!! Fuck her tears". The listener gets to catch their breath in places, such as the wonderfully catatonic "Downtown Eastern Bloc". Metronomic guitars and drums underscore the song which builds and climaxes before plaintively buckling at the end. The album closes with "No Good" featuring a barbed acoustic guitar and curiously fragile vocals singing, "Let me know the reason that we are both here, It may not be for romance, But a direction we need to steer". The album neatly retreats at the end of this track leaving a mark on the listener that resonates long after it has finished. 'Dancer Equired' is as progressive as it is familiar and another triumph for Times New Viking who, deliver an album which rewards its audience on each and every listen.