Saturday, December 31, 2011
It's a real pleasure to present an interview with Total Control as the final post in 2011 for Gilded Gutter. Their debut album 'Henge Beat' has received a massive slobbery kiss from nerds, labels and music weirdos alike. They've just completed a 2 month tour rounded off here in London courtesy of Upset the Rhythm, which was easily one of the best shows I've seen all year. Special thanks goes out to Daniel Noort for helping hook up this interview.
You can hear some songs recorded live earlier this month at the aforementioned UTR show on NTS Radio, click here!
DW = David West/Guitar
DX = Daniel Stewart/Vocals
MY = Mikey Young/Guitar
ZAP = Zephyr Anthony Pavey/Bass
So you’ve just finished a big tour, how is it being home? Is it weird when all the shows stop, or are you kinda relieved to get a rest?
DW: Being home is weak, I really believe in the redemptive power of repetition so it is very disappointing to not make the same motions with my hands and voice for half an hour every night. It's a bit Zen,innit?
ZAP: I'm catching up on 2 months of food and sleep in the NSW Blue Mountains, quite a necessary treat. I'm having weird dreams about missing flights at Heathrow and lining up at the express checkout at various international supermarkets but the line never moves fast enough think i'm playing bass in my sleep as well.
How was ATP? What do you make of big festivals like that?
DX: There are festival people. I am not one of them. But ATP is the best festival I've been to, and it was great to play.
ZAP: Also not a mega festival chad type but ATP is sweet. It doesn't have shitty sponsors with ugly logos, disgusting "young zany energetic" orange skinned promo slags shoving their carcinogenic product down your throat while you're already choking on dust and dehydration because a "young zany energetic" marketing team decided that the desert in summer and $5 a bottle water is how festivals work. It does have good ticket prices, fantastic hospitality and accommodation, cheap drinks (a bar tender apologised for my pint being too expensive at 2.50), no need for expensive bottled water as you can just stroll back to your cabin from any of the venues in 2 minutes and make a cup o tea. BUTLINS! PROPER CHIPS
DW: It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times. I would never contemplate personally attending an event of that magnitude but I must say were I forced to attend one festival, it would probably be an ATP. My main impression of ATP was that British seaside resort/festival staff are incredibly nice and polite, and also 'Butlins!!!'.
What’s been the most memorable part of this recent tour?
ZAP: Mikey performed a PERFECT parallel reverse park in exactly 2 moves.
DW: For me personally, an epic ping pong battle against M.Young in Memphis. He so sporty!
What shows have you attended in the past that made an impression on you?
DX: Directly before the tour Zephyr, Mikey and I watched a Bob Seger covers band called TOTAL B.S. in San Francisco. Easily one of the best bands we saw on the entire tour. I am forever impressed by a great song being played by great players, and I grew up without access to bands like the Silver Bullet Band. To see this scab tribute made an impression on me.
Gary Numan's set at ATP made an impression on me. It was terrible. Gary Numan's first four LPs, including the Tubeway Army LP, have SO MANY great songs on them, and Gary decided to play a industrial metal chugga of 'Cars', and a handful of Nine Inch Nails covers.
Those are the shows that come to mind. We did also see Thee Oh Sees every night for five weeks. They work harder than most any band I've come in contact with.
ZAP: I saw Emmy-Lou play in golden gate park and that was good enough for me she had fantastic hair and a great outfit.
Do you remember the first show you ever played? What brought on that “I can do that” feeling that got you on stage?
ZAP: 16/17 years old, a pub in Enmore, Madball style band called Never You Mind, I was nervous so played my guitar a little too intensely rendering my hand almost useless for a week after. At the time Sydney punk was mostly bored old bastards that had been playing the same shit for 15 years and just kept doing it coz theres fuck all else to do, also because 'changing' is the worst thing anyone can ever do in hardcore, there was probably more interesting shit going on but I loved the bonehead crap. I have always felt like I could get on a stage and do whatever I wanted because I saw my dad's friends mic up a lobster and lower it into a pot of boiling water at a real animal rights'y squat show when I was 5, how I could I do any worse than that?
DX: 15 years old, Wollongong Youth Centre, punk band called xTwo Right Handsx. There was a strong straight edge / hardcore scene in our town, and a lot of people got involved at the same time. It was a violent shithole, it was something to do.
Do you prefer playing or recording?
MY: They are both entirely different feelings so it's hard to compare but I think I enjoy the creative process and working towards and finally releasing a product more than I do performing. I don't think performing is a natural thing for me to do sometimes and I feel kinda sweird. though other times it makes me feel ace so who knows.
ZAP: I like playing the same thing over and over and fucking around with it then adding some wacky effect and realising it sounds crap then going back to the initial idea blah blah and all that kinda thing more than I like lugging all our gear across town and up or down some stairs then waiting around at a stinky pub with shit beer for 5 hours to play a selection of songs precisely in quick succession, BUT I also love getting rat-arsed on cheap/free piss with my mates and kicking out hot licks with all knobs to the right! (aka up to 11)
DW: I don't look forward to playing live but usually feel good afterwards, whereas I look forward to recording and then question my entire involvement with music afterwards.
Tell us about the tracks on split 12” with Thee Oh Sees, were they made post ‘Henge Beat’? I was wondering if it was a taste of things to come…
MY: Yeah they were made around middle of the year at the rehearsal room we usually practice in. All of them were pretty new. I don't think we had played any live before. I don't really think they are a sign of things to come, they just happened to be what we had at the time.
DX: The were made post-Henge Beat. The first song was worked out of a demo Mikey put together when he was living in my parents house in Philip Island, the next two were written by Al and Mikey respectively and tuned up by the band, the last song was worked out of a demo Al made. They are great songs, and a thing of come to taste.
How do you feel about 'Henge Beat' topping many end of year lists? Did you expect or care if people responded well to it when it was made?
MY: I usually have no idea what people will think of records I'm involved in. I'm usually so over exposed to it that I don't know whether its good or not, but I felt strangely satisfied when this was done and thought it would be received well. We did a pretty good job and while it's not why we make records, people digging it so much definitely gives us some sense of achievement.
DX: I am very happy with the record and would hope that people listened to it more than a couple times. I haven't heard many records this year that I would want to listen to next year, so it'd be in my top ten too.
ZAP: I appreciate a good response to the band but im only interested in grocery shopping lists and 'to do' lists.
I love the artwork on the album cover, a conundrum for everyone who looks at it - I was wondering what were some of your favourite record covers?
I like the cover of the first Ramones LP. I like the cover of Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan. I like the cover of Agitated / Cyclotron by the Electric Eels. I like the cover of The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society by The Kinks. I like the cover of the first h100's record, generally referred to as the Dismantle EP. I like the cover of the Lil Bunnies 45. I like the cover of The Age Of Quarrel by the Cro-Mags. I like the cover of the Straight Ahead 12". I like the cover of the Replicas LP by Tubeway Army / Gary Numan. I like the cover of Rikk Agnew's All By Myself.
It should be evident that the TC record looks nothing like any of the record covers that I like. HAHA.
ZAP: Recently I've bought a couple of records with great photographs on the cover, A Suicide 12" with a color photo of Marty 'n' Al wearing cool ass clothes hugging on the Bowery sidewalk in the early 80's with trash and boarded up windows all around them. The Nikki Sudden Rowland S. Howard 'wedding hotel' 12" with Rowland on one side at the peak of his impeccable dandy style, sitting in front of the old church the record was made in with a guitar and a slightly unimpresssed look on his face, single long dangly earring, red scarf, spikey mullet, great shirt and coat. perfect.
What do you want to achieve with the music made in Total Control?
DX: Music for people to try to have sex to, and then get too anxious and paranoid to deliver, but try anyway, and something memorable happens. Maybe a baby comes out of it.
MY: I'd like to achieve whatever we wanted. We all have varied tastes and are up for trying things. I just wanna try whatever we want and put out the stuff that works and we can stand by. I don't want it to be a band that has a consistent sound but also over time certain strengths pop up and they usually steer you in a direction whether
you know it or not.
Can you tell me a little bit about “See More Glass”? I really love how paranoid and numbed it is...
DX: I wrote those lyrics out of a couple of fragmentary images I took away from A PERFECT DAY FOR BANANAFISH by JD Salinger. It is one of the best short stories he wrote, and he wrote some of the best short stories I have ever read.
What do you make of people trying to put a label on Total Control? The need to define it somehow?
MY: It's fine I guess, I need to do it when explaining music to people so I see it's necessity but I don't always agree with the comparisons made or the labels used.
One genre that comes up a lot with descriptions of Total Control is Punk. Punk seems to morph into many forms nowadays and is constantly being challenged, what do you think makes 'Punk' these days?
DW: It's kind of like labelling the sun y'know, people can write poems about it, but let's see those poets actually look directly at that shit!
DX: As always, loud guitar and Schadenfreude.
What’s your take on the attention Australia’s music scene has got recently? As an outsider it looks like there’s been a sort of resurgence, is this accurate or have we all just been really slow?!
DX: No resurgence. It is better than it has ever been.
I read that ‘Carpet Rash’ is about being disappointed by the future, with that in mind, 2011 saw the end of the world predicted, incorrectly, twice. What do you make of people who predicted and believed judgement day was upon us?
DX: Carpet Rash is about that, yes. It's also about intimacy with inanimate objects.
Doomsday prophesy is a good way to get attention and maybe some money or control over other people. I'm not entirely sure that people could possibly survive the ecological catastrophes imminent, but we survived the ice age. I spent over a decade of my life utterly convinced that human extinction was around the corner, and the broad variety of conspiracy theories and ecological catastrophy propoganda was lit to me. It's a good way to avoid having to think about your own death.
Looking at the future – what plans does Total Control have for 2012?
MY: No plans beyond some early festival shows in Australia. We have all been away for a good while and need to settle our living situations and all that junk before we get too heavy into plans. I'd say we will relax and make some new songs for a while.
“I’m full of dust and guitars” – Syd Barret, if you were cracked open what would be inside?
DX: Purity, valor, nobility and war.
ZAP: The first riff in sweet home alabama,the abattoir scene from 'in a year with 13 moons',the Nan Goldin photos of her friend Joana, a pocket sized miniature version of my girlfriend and funny things James said.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Something a little different but I've been really enjoying the newly reissued Michael Chapman record 'Fully Qualified Survivor', originally released in 1970 and recently put out on Light In The Attic. 2011 has seen Michael Chapman supporting Thurston Moore on tour and to round the year off this month's Wire magazine boasts an insightful interview covering his 40 year career, featuring some great stories and thoughts on his favourite records. A corner stone of today's English Folk music 'Fully Qualified Survivor' attests that, this man is a wizard with a guitar.
Find copies at Light in the Attic
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Here we have debut tape from London's Radioslaps self released earlier this month. Three piece, Alba (synth, vocals), Melissa (drums, vocals) and Pumu (guitar, vocals) have put together ten scuzzy garage punk numbers. 'Music Is A Mistake' isn't challenging garage bands who have come before, rather made out of a love for them and bringing new blood to the genre. These ballistic recordings play out crunchy guitars, shattered rhythms, saccharine synths with simple melodies measured with erratic, atonal vocals. All in all Radioslaps raucous approach makes this album a burst of adrenaline, available as a download or cassette tape through their Bandcamp page.
You can listen to 'Music Is A Mistake' on Radioslaps Bandcamp
Monday, December 26, 2011
'So Many Things' is a collection of singles and demos from Eddy Current Suppression Ring complete with covers of The Pagans, The Chosen Few and The Go-Go's. Cherry picked from material spanning seven years these twenty-two tracks stretch over a double LP. Since their inception Eddy Current Suppression Ring have united people in a love for underground punk-rock-garage-whateveryouwannacallthem bands and have played a part in putting Australia's music scene back on the map over the last few years. The Christmas present to myself this year was a no-brainer, thank you Goner!
You can find copies here
Eddy Current Suppression Ring - You Let Me Be Honest With You by Gilded Gutter
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Good Throb 'Demo 2011' (Self Released)
Hygiene 'Public Sector' (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Kitchens Floor 'Look Forward To Nothing' (Siltbreeze)
John Maus 'We Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves' (UTR)
Metal Mountains 'Golden Trees' (Amish Records)
Mind Spiders S/T (Dirtnap)
Pink Reason 'Shit in the Garden' (Siltbreeze)
Psandwich 'Northern Pysch' (Columbus Discount)
Royal Headache S/T (RIP Society/Eighteen Records)
Slug Guts 'Howlin' Gang' (Sacred Bones)
Total Control 'Henge Beat' (Iron Lung Records)
Tyvek 'Nothing Fits' (In The Red)
Veronica Falls S/T (Bella Union/Slumberland)
Wounded Lion 'IVXLCDM' (In The Red)
Yussuf Jerusalem 'Blast From the Past' (Florida's Dying/Eighteen Records)
Honorable mentions for two albums that came out at the VERY END of 2010. I have continuously listened to them all the way through 2011 so therefore, Dikes of Holland S/T (Sundae Records) and Deaf Wish 'Mercy' (Radio Records Melbourne) deserve a shout out.
***Sun City Girls - Brothers Unconnected@Boston Arms May 10th***
Dan Melchior Un Das Menace@Ryan's Bar May 18th
Francis & the Holograms@Power Lunches September 2nd
Group Doueh@Barbican Centre May 11th
Group Inerane@Plan B November 30th
Grouper@St Giles in the Fields 6th October
Hipshakes/No/Wake Up Dead/Domestic Blitz@Ryans Bar April 22nd
Jack Oblivian/The Limes/Harlan T Bobo@Boston Arms December 2nd
Mr Peppermint@The Palatine May 28th
Pink Reason@Shacklewell Arms July 14th
Please@Yes Way, Bussey Building August 13th
Pooh Sticks@Bush Hall February 24th
Purling Hiss/Steve Gunn@Lexington October 9th
The Rebel@Power Lunches November 19th
Screaming Females@Lexington September 9th
Total Control/Satellites of Love/Yola Fatoush/Good Throb@Oliver's Yard December 7th
Total Control/The Pheromoans/Suana Youth/Mickey Gloss@Old Blue Last December 15th
Black Mamba Beat/Wake Up Dead Split Cassette (Kind Turkey)
Covergirl Demo Tape (Self Released)
Group Inerane Tour Single (Sublime Frequencies)
Halo Halo 'Manananggal' (Savoury Days)
Human Hair S/T (Sex Is Disgusting)
John Wesley Coleman/Timmy's Organism split (Goner)
King Tuff/Hex Dispensers split (AV Club)
OBNIII 'Mark On You/Heavy Heart' (Tic Tac Totally)
Satellites of Love S/T (MiLK Records)
Suana Youth 'Lists' (Self Released)
Tense Men Cassette Tape (Cazenove Tapes)
Thee Oh Sees/Total Control Tour Split 12"(Castle Face)
Wax Idols 'All Too Human' (Hozac)
Michael Chapman 'Fully Qualified Survivor' (Light In The Attic)
Cheater Slicks 'Our Food is Chaos' (Almost Ready)
Dead Moon LPs (Mississippi)
Eddy Current Suppression Ring 'So Many Things' (Goner)
Reatards 'Teenage Hate' (Goner)
Sperm Wails 'Lady Chatterley' (S-S Records)
Ty Segall 'Singles 2007-2010' (Goner)
I Trust My Guitar
WAY THROUGH 'A Way Through Bethnal Green'
Friday, December 9, 2011
The past week has been totally nuts for shows and I've been all over merch tables like white on rice, or yellow in custard, or pastry on mince pies...
Big Take Over hosted a show for Total Control at Oliver's Yard here in London a few days ago, BTO sure put on a fantastic gig and Total Control played to a crowd of besotted fans dumbstruck that they were here, THEY WERE REALLY HERE! It was at this show that I picked up a copy of their split 12" with Thee Oh Sees (Castleface). Both sides feature 4 previously unreleased tracks.
Thee Oh Sees feature on Side A with hyper garage rock numbers maintaining high energy throughout. I've always enjoyed Thee Oh Sees live but listening to their records has often left me deflated, not here though. Everything I love about them on stage is captured here and these are my favourite recorded songs from Thee Oh Sees to date. Side B cools off with Total Control's creeped out synth punk which departs a little from their 'Henge Beat' material, possibly showcasing what's in store for future records? I sure do hope so.
500 copies on limited edition half clear/half yellow vinyl
500 copies on black vinyl
For those who missed the shows try Castle Face Records
LONDONERS! You have another chance to see Total Control next Thursday after their ATP appearance before they go. This band are not to be missed!
Thee Oh Sees - AA Warm Breeze by Gilded Gutter
Total Control - Sweaty by Gilded Gutter
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Talk Normal just played a show in London after finishing a tour with Wire where I nabbed one of these singles. Side A are three short pieces by Thurston Moore featuring off kilter guitars brimming with abrasiveness and feedback. Side B is one minimal track by Talk Normal playing out bleak, thrumming guitars alongside soft spoken word vocals creating a cavernous, isolating tone fluxed with menace.
The first 500 had a colour cover and are sold out
100 copies were repressed with a black and white cover
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
"Group Inerane is the now sound of the Tuareg Guitar Revolution sweeping across the Sahara Desert and inspired by the rebel musicians that started this music as a political weapon used to communicate from the Libyan Refugee camps in the 1980s and 1990s. Spearheaded by the enigmatic guitar hero Bibi Ahmed, Group Inerane has been together for several years and carries the rich tradition of Tamachek guitar songs for another generation." - Sublime Frequencies
Managed to pick up one of these tour singles on Group Inerane's travels through Europe. Blending folk, pop, blues and everything in-between to make mesmerizing, feverish tangents of rock made deep within the Sahara Desert. Get one while you still can, utter magic!
Group Inerane: "Tehiteyman" by alteredzones