Friday, February 22, 2008

Placenta Popeye - Black Fever

That spray painted finish on the outside feels like sandpaper stained in groovy splatter stencilling; inside is packed with the usual Placenta goodness. Six tracks full of fisted guitar rhythms cut up with generous amounts of feedback / effect squawk. With the exception of one track, the vocals are more buried on this particular outing, serving as out of focus rants barbecued by scarred pick-ups. That Dada funk sensibility coming out of the speakers is just fab, re-inventing melody with trash can lids, bass vibro judder and some really tasty Hendrix crayoning, full of zig-zagged angles that get me contorting nicely.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Foot Village – Friendship Nation

They’re dropping those beats like carpet bombs, screaming faces coming at you from all different directions like asbo Maori - primitive and burning multiple drum exposures slamming you into submission. Hurling yourself around is the only prescription for something this infectious, crippled and well, plain insane… no guitars, no keyboards, just heavy drumming and liberal sprinklings of hysterical shouting - I’d absolutely love to see this lot live – they’d be totally killer… oh and the re-mixes that end the album are how all remixes should be, powerful additions to the whole, definitely not piss poor dilutions of that fantastic vibe Foot Village have already tapped into. If I was giving out stars, I guess it would have to be a sky full.

... great nudie cover too…

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Big Naturals , Doozer and MV / EE

Tuesday 12th Feb - The Sonic Sanctuary, Trowbridge

The Big Naturals were completely different from when I last saw them, supporting Circle back in 2005 –Pared down to a bass and drum duo with no vocals this time round. They literally filled the venue floor with an ‘amp henge’, a vibrating amphitheatre within which the bassist dished out tasty feedback shapes that quickly skipped into a steroid heavy riffage with the strings rasping around like severed cat tongues. The drums hammered back from the shadows, the exhaling breath of cymbals cauterised the air, as the gloom curved around and heads nodded along in unified worship. The closest comparison would have to be God minus the sax, heavy wholesome fun with something of OM in there too - even if it’s a lazy comparison. I was really partial to the fx swirls mid-set. Vaporous elastic to which the drummer threw across some 'mini Korg', a seething bed of electric eaten by a droning tide.

The Doozer was a singer/songwriter with a lovely tinge of 60’s psych attached to his songs. Beautiful guitar led observations full of golden moments that slowly melted in your head. The delivery was vaguely reminiscent of ‘Olivia Tremor Control’, as effects subtly blurred the edges, his ‘comfort blanket’ lyric sheets at his feet. The sound was far too quiet for the chatter going on upstairs, but switching to the Casio he slammed a high res drone through the place and effectively wiped it clean away, intoning a – ‘Thisss is a sonnnnnng’ mantra over the top...

With the headliners, the exact details are a bit hazy as so much was packed into their set, you could really feel the energy a flowing. A sprawling Blues fusion, with Matt V’s guitar giving off a nice metallic twang as he threw himself around some tasty riff led diversions. Erika was split between song and working her teeny guitar, feeding melodic slivers into the mix. Mick Flower was on bass and a ‘pedal steel’ man was supplying saturated smears, whilst the drums knitted it all loosely together. The Doozer added echoed harmonica at various points, which gave a gooey, slip and slide dimension to the sound. At one point V started ripping the sound apart, feedback quivering the amp, guitar swinging about madly, Kek grabbed my shoulders and shook me, I grinned back at him, like an idiot. At another point, everything went delightfully fx-ed crazy, the drummer supplying devotional side flicked cymbal and the occasional bit of stick work, The Doozer daubing it in twilight harmonica and Mr Flower got down to a bit of Indian banjo… as Matt and Erika leisurely shook extra colours off their fingers - oh this was superb stuff! A golden sun broke over their faces and you just had to smile along… such a pity I didn’t recognise any of the songs, the one about ‘shiny hammers’ would definitely be worth tracking down in the near future.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The MV:EE experience

Another incredible night was had over in Trowbridge... there's a few words and far too many photos on the way, meanwhile here’s one took mid spasm...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A strange play of the light

gig photo courtesy of DJ Baz

Men Diamler Album Launch - Cathy and Phil Tyler, Ice Bird Spiral, Pekko Kappi, Men Diamler

8th Feb - The Cube, Bristol

I’m afraid there’s no photos of Men Diamler’s excellent unplugged performance in the bar as I was busy wolfing down some late dinner. The set was a pre-curser to what would happen much later on in the evening. Loved the way he turned the songs around, like a demented pixie jumping round the room with equine skips, was half expecting a few severed fingers to be sent flying into the mix with those guitar strings being whacked so hard.

Catching Cath and Phil on stage was an altogether mellower experience. Cath’s singing voice sent little shivers spine ward, her stance triangulated for optimum control. Really warmed to the vibes they were putting out, lyrically surfing the traditional folk fare of human misery, backed by Phil’s sparkling banjo and guitar playing. I suspect they could have pulled this off without any amplification as the accapello portion of the show proved, both voices miles away from the mics, Phil creating a harmonium drone which Cathy weaved around playfully. The lullaby ending silenced the auditorium with an eerie hush...

I won’t dwell on our show too much as Mr Olivetti has promised a review, but Kek and I felt the new stuff went well, even if You-Tube seems to have mangled the video I put up….portions of the show flirting with the shamanic, veering into to some black metal preoccupations. It was a joy to incorporate the Cube’s broken back stage piano into the show, I reckon you could base a whole album round those dismembered / skeletal cords.

Pekko Kappi, member of numerous Finnish collectives, was a gentle troubadour of the horse hair, his gliding voice a broken sun on rippling water, the lyre a mirage of remote, imagined landscapes and ancient ways. His song descriptions had a satisfying ‘lost in translation' vibe, at times hilariously dis-located, making jigsaws that had a strange logic of their own...Incredible to think that all this richness was played on only three strings!

Men Diamler’s show was fab, tearing away at your singer/songwriter preconceptions, replacing them with black humour and visceral gore. Great songs, a collection of sad / disturbed ballads speckled in brackish comedy. Starving horses in basements made into bone xylophones, fields full of burning cattle, his distorted visions were stabbing bright lights in my head. The show had lots of audience participation too, Diamler inviting them to sit round on stage with him, getting us to vocalise a staggered ‘sshh’ backing to one of his songs, which was simply incredible - like the hissing of compressed gas, a thousand human rain-sticks slipping through the head – the genius of it! Liked the way the man was jumping about the stage falling over his tunes in a vicious abandonment, twisted face throwing out the words, even the quieter songs rippled with a gristly sheen.

Thanks to everyone who shared the bill with us, really enjoyed chatting to you all - Tom for the incredible sound, Chiz and Mark of Qujunktions for inviting us to play Bristol a second time round, and to everyone who turned up on the night...boy that was a quite a crowd, a warm hearted thanks goes out to yr all…

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Feather Mouthed Shadows

a great evening, but more on that a little later, meanwhile some lofi recording for your amusement...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Technicolor wasps

Hope you can join us for our Ice Bird Spiral Cube inauguration tomorrow (Friday) over in Brizzle… where (fingers crossed) you’ll find plenty of sideshow freakiness and alph-o-sonic soup to bend yr lovely ears n eyes around...