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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Record Review - Wobbly Lamps

Neon Teepee EP

Polyvinyl Craftsmen 7”

The first release from this DIY label is from Southend garage punks Wobbly Lamps. The twenty-and-thirty-something fivesome are at the more deranged end of that particular world - think Lux Interior vocals, Thee Oh Sees style guitar mangling, and judging by their Youtube clips a healthy disdain for the audience. The Fall are hard to ignore in their DNA, as the title track of this EP ably demonstrates. Billy Childish may have trademarked that muddy lo-fi garage sound, but they are no mere imitators here. The riffs and drumming are hard not to instantly love on all the songs. 

‘SWMD’ though is more of a sludgy, incomprehensible rant - and I’m getting pretty sick of bands purposely making their vocals unintelligible as an aesthetic. You may as well be an instrumental act if you have nothing to say, surely? The third and final blast here, ‘Alice The Goon’, is a murky, hypnotic repetitive beat from the depths, and is twisted enough to let it’s dark heart show. The tremelo guitar that rattles along is a beautiful sound to hear against its satanic surroundings. It must be pretty brutal when played live!

If you like your minimalist, outsider distortion rock then you need to get this seven. The single is limited to 250 copies, with each record hand-stamped and wrapped in a sleeve designed by Wobbly Lamps member Paul Lagden.

The spirit of ‘66 meets ‘77 lives on here. Amen.

Phil Istine

Record Review - Wight

Through the Woods into Deep Water

Fat and Holy Records CD/LP

I am a huge fan of Wight’s debut album, Wight Weedy Wight so I’ve been eagerly awaiting their follow-up release for some time. A stopgap split 12” with Stone Axe was enjoyable (though hardly essential) but here they have delivered the mother lode – a 60 minute album stuffed full with music ideas and some departures from the crushing stoner-doom of their debut.

Opener ‘Kiss your Friends Goodbye’ kicks things off in fine fashion – a Sleep-style slo-mo super sustain monster that more than matches the songs on their debut. Next up is ‘I Spit On Your Grave’ in which the bands add sludgy tones to their palette and again execute well. From here on are the first few mis-steps – ‘Southern Comfort and Northern Lights’ hasn’t quite enough ideas to make it through eleven minutes though the sax solo is a very nice surprise. ‘Master of Nuggets’ incorporates some heavy jazz playing into their repertoire, which doesn’t quite gel for me. ‘You’ is a raunchy hard-rock number that seems to acknowledge it own lack of subtlety with the Spinal Tap quote that prefaces it.

The back end of the album, however, is particularly strong – Big Dose’ is a heavy somnambulant instrumental and the penultimate track ‘On a Friday’ has a superb central riff and propulsion, though unfortunately lasts for just three minutes. Closing off the album is the enormously heavy instrumental title track, which again showcases the band at their titan-like best.

At it’s best this album really is stunning – its finest moments up there with any of the best stoner albums of the last few years. However, at 60 minutes it’s slightly overlong and perhaps overburdened with too many ideas and a lack of cohesion. On a positive note, on at least six of the nine tracks they annihilate the competition with massive arrangements and memorable riffs and choruses. Stick with them and they’ll one day reward us with a stone-cold classic.

Austin Matthews

Monday, 30 July 2012

Chris Langeland R.I.P.

Sad news to start the week: it became apparent over the weekend that the guitarist and songwriter in garage/R&Bsters Thee Vicars, Chris Langeland, has passed away.

The 22-year old has just released his bands third long-player, I Wanna Be Your Vicar.

Dirty Water Records, the band's record label, have released a statement, saying "We are devastated by his death. Chris was as kind and good a person as anyone we've ever met, as well as being a brilliant young artist. He was highly regarded and much loved by many people including his family, his many friends and by fans of the band. It was an honour and a privilege to have known and worked with Chris, and we already miss him terribly".

We here at Shindig! are all fans of his work, and his death is a great loss to our scene.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Record Review - Admiral Sir Cloudsley Shovell

Don’t Hear It…Fear It!!

Rise Above LP / CD

Grit and balls. Two qualities that are hard to find in music nowadays. Two things that might make you wince and think of awful blues-rock workouts with a blustery singer emoting bogus soul crapulence all over the shop. But that’s not what’s on offer here friends – what’s here is a band that use those qualities to devastating effect, playing raw (and I mean yolky chicken foetus RAW) proto-metal with super-heavy dirt ‘n’ drugs vibes.

If you’re after references then you’ve just got to look at the touchstones of that early heavy sound from 1969-73 - Master of Reality, the first Budgie album, Emerge by The Litter, the first two from Buffalo, Split by The Groundhogs, both Dust albums. Add this to the pantheon. Really.

Quite frankly this album is more bulbous with joy than a pregnant pachyderm. ‘Mark of the Beast’ opens things with some heavy-psych phased madness much like The Pretty Things circa SF Sorrow/Parachute, before being blasted into hard rock heaven by a glassy nostril full of amphetamine guitar work. Highlights are too numerous to mention though my favourites are the low-slung bastardry of ‘Devils Island’ and the desperation-waltz of ‘iDEATH’.

By the close of the record those influences that were already writ large have become explicit. Yer actual Tony McPhee from The Groundhogs knocks out some monster guitar work on ‘Scratchin and Sniffin’ and the band blast through a demented cover of Buffalo’s ‘Bean Stew’ on the album’s hidden track.

If justice were served the crimson buzzard that serves as ASCS’s mascot would be made into a twenty foot animatronic character to stalk the stage as the band play to thousands at some filthy euro metal festival. A real blunderbuss of an album that deserves to be heard not just by a coterie of friends or a small group of genre fans, but by the public at large. How did they do it? Grit and balls my friend. Grit and balls.

Austin Matthews

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Record Review - Ulver

Childhood’s End

Kscope Records CD/LP

Ulver are a band I’ve always meant to listen to but never quite got round to it. A cursory glance at their discography shows they’ve covered ground all the way from black metal to symphonic rock and even dark ambient sounds. This album is a selection of ‘60s psych covers ranging from the Left Banke to the Music Emporium and the Beau Brummels.

If you’re expecting something heavy from this former metal band than think again – mostly this is dark pop-psych with lush production and slightly menacing vocals from Kristoffer Rygg. The only rocky moments on the album are the covers of the Troggs’ ‘66-5-4-3-2-1’ and the 13th Floor Elevators’ ‘Street Song’. Mostly this is well crafted and executed stuff, though shot through with a midnight black heart.

The tracks have obviously been carefully chosen – all linking to a general theme of innocence lost – no more finely illustrated than on the covers of Gandalf’s ‘Can You Travel in the Dark Alone’ or the Pretty Things’ ‘Bracelets of Fingers’. However, the whole album just feels a little unnecessary. None of the covers surpass the originals and though the album is enjoyable I question if it has a lot of repay value. And talking of unnecessary did we really need the photo of Vietnam napalm victim Phan Thi Kim Phuc on the cover?

Austin Matthews

Record Review - Thee Vicars

I Wanna Be Your Vicar

Dirty Water LP/CD

With this new album Thee Vicars are on something of a run, writing a brace of great new songs and showing no signs of mellowing out, or diversifying into anything too radical for their fans.

Here and there they do settle into a comfort zone that maybe isn't quite as angry, or as frenetic as some of the output on their previous two long players, but that said they're just as good, and sometimes better than what's gone before. The results of some of the group's wider-ranging influences being brought into the fold are occasionally detectable too.

'Lights', 'Rooftop Blues' and the likes of 'Hauser & O'Brian' display a heftier, swampy blues-ridden fixation, and almost Dylan-esque angle, especially on the phrasing and vocal front; shades of their recent visit touring in the USA no doubt . 'I'll Be Gone' and other selections such as 'Satisfy You' and 'Your Eyes', however, retain that basic Kinks-style garage beat template they've run with since day one. 'Crocodile Chomp' and 'I'll Do You Wrong' were also featured highlights on the group's Get Hip three-tracker out awhile back, and they even get a little psyched-out on the curious 'Should Have Stayed At Home'. Pared-down to just a three-piece for the last coupla years or so, Mike's bass and Chris' guitar antics are suitably anchored by Alex and her crisp and cool no-nonsense brand of drum kit action.

All in all it's a mighty fine third album outing with the R&Beat garage emphasis still very much to the fore throughout the dozen tracks on offer.

Lenny Helsing

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Record Review - The Strypes

Young, Gifted & Blue
Heavy Soul EP

The Rolling Stones recently celebrated 50 years together after first playing their R&B-laden set at The Marquee Club on 12th July 1962 (filling in for Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, who were recording a session for the BBC). Half a century later, four lads from Ireland (aged, I believe, just 15) called The Strypes have released a blistering four-song 7” vinyl EP on Heavy Soul Records entitled Young, Gifted & Blue.

Featuring Bo Diddley’s ‘You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover’, Slim Harpo’s ‘Got Love If You Want It’, Billy Boy Arnold’s ‘I Wish You Would’ and Eddie Holland’s ‘Leavin’ Here’, this is authentic blueswailing R&B played with a maturity that belies their youth. Great passion and superb musicianship (including some great harmonica) give an authentic Yardbirds/Rolling Stones/Pretty Things vibe and it is no surprise that they have already made several appearances on Irish TV and at various festivals, as well as playing many packed out gigs, most recently bringing their set to the UK.

With a new 7” in the pipeline via US label Lust Records, (to be recorded at the legendary Toe Rag Studio), and numerous gig offers coming in, there’s a real buzz around The Strypes right now, and justifiably so. If you’re a fan of Maximum R&B played with Fire ’n’ Skill, get yourself a copy of this 7” now while stocks last. In years to come, you’ll be pleased you did.

Paul Hooper-Keeley

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Velvet Underground & Nico gets deluxe six-disc treatment

The Velvet Underground's seminal (no, it really is – truly seminal)1967 debut The Velvet Underground & Nico receives the super-duper deluxe box set treatment from Universal on October 1st.

The six-disc set mops up just about every artifact relating to the album and the band's first two years together that you could hope for, including the original album in both mono and stereo versions, piles of alternate versions, Nico's entire Chelsea Girls album, rare and unreleased acetates and demos dating back as far as a January ’66 Factory rehearsal tape, and two discs covering the much-bootlegged Valleydale Ballroom, Columbus, Ohio show recorded live on November 4th ’66.

Below is the complete tracklist:

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO V6-5008 (stereo version)
Originally issued as Verve V6-5008, March 1967.
5. RUN RUN RUN 4.20
7. HEROIN 7.10
12 . ALL TOMORROW’S PARTIES (alternate single voice version) 5.58
13. EUROPEAN SON (alternate version) 9.06
14. HEROIN (alternate version) 6.15
15. ALL TOMORROW’S PARTIES (alternate instrumental mix) 5.58
16. I’LL BE YOUR MIRROR (alternate mix) 2.16

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO V-5008 (mono version)
Originally issued as Verve V-5008, March 1967.
5. RUN RUN RUN 4.24
7. HEROIN 7.14
13. I’LL BE YOUR MIRROR (alternate ending) 2.17
Mono single, issued as Verve VK-10427, July 1966.
14. SUNDAY MORNING (alternate mix) 2.56
Mono single, Verve VK-10466, released December 1966.

Originally issued as Verve V6-5032, October 1967.
2. THESE DAYS 3.34

Acetate cut on April 25, 1966
1. EUROPEAN SON (alternate version) 9.03 *
2. THE BLACK ANGEL'S DEATH SONG (alternate mix) 3.18 *
3. ALL TOMORROW'S PARTIES (alternate version) 5.57 *
4. I'LL BE YOUR MIRROR (alternate version) 2.11 **
5. HEROIN (alternate version) 6.17 *
6. FEMME FATALE 2.36 (alternate mix) **
7. VENUS IN FURS (alternate version) 4.39 **
8. WAITING FOR THE MAN (alternate version) 4.15 **
9. RUN RUN RUN 4.23 (alternate mix) **
* from tape / ** from acetate
January 1966 rehearsal, previously unreleased.
10. WALK ALONE 3.28
13. HEROIN 6.17

(Lou Reed)

2. HEROIN 6.42
3. RUN RUN RUN 8.43

Monday, 23 July 2012

Record Review – Spiders

'Weekend Nights' / 'Lies'

Yes, the Americans may have invented rock ’n' roll, but they no longer hold the key. Sweden's Spiders are yet another in a long line of impressive high octane rock ’n’ rollers from Scandanavia's heartland who show what the country has to offer. Like the now deceased SOOL or Graveyard (whose Axel Sjöberg used to drum with them) Spiders fuse old music – not so much with the new, as there's nothing modern about it–  with their own innate sense of history. 'Weekend Nights' has a Thin Lizzy liveliness, some West Coast acid-rock guitar parts and an edge of Sabotage era Sabs about it; 'Lies' revisits the – soon to go down in history as – legendary ’90s Swede garage-punk's The Strollers' killer. Combining the best in vintage rock, psych and garage rock ’n' roll with a  cool ’70s look Spiders are something nearly everyone will lock onto.

With Anne Sofie-Hoyles wearing leather as well as Suzi Quatro and the band's dynamic, far from doomy, rock sound, it would be incredible to see this act gain considerable mainstream success.

Jon 'Mojo' Mills

Record Review - Sun Gods In Exile

Thanks For The Silver

Small Stone CD

There’s a great section in The Acid Archives (Guide to Underground Sounds ‘65-‘82) written by Rich Haupt on the many shapes and flavours of southern rock. What it doesn't extend to cover is the modern school of bands who play in the style but don’t emanate from anywhere near the southern half of the US of A. Sun Gods in Exile are such a band, hailing from Portland, Maine, which is about as far north as America extends before you start to get into Sarah Palin territory.

The band play super heavy southern boogie with obligatory macho lyrics, which might be pretty boring were it not for the superb riffs and melodies they employ throughout the album. In particular, the anthemic ‘Hammerdown’ and ‘Since I’ve Been Home’ are definite stand-outs.

Frankly southern rock isn’t really quite my thing but equally it’s hard to deny the exuberance and quality of the music. How southern gents feel about the authenticity of their cousins from north of the Mason-Dixon line is another matter.

Austin Matthews

Record Review - MayMay

And So I Place You In The Setting Sun

Flau CD

From Portland, Oregon, MayMay is Laurel Simmons, a singer-songwriter (previously in the well-regarded indie group Loch Lomond) with a bent for ethereal pop.

The Cocteau Twins are a huge influence on this album, and while Simmons’ voice doesn’t quite measure up to Liz Fraser’s, some of the music is just as quietly potent. The opener, ‘Setting Sun’, is a hushed delight. Sometimes it gets more electric, such as on the layered ‘Lines To Water’, with almost a feeling of early 1990s American indie groups like The Softies and early Blonde Redhead. Elsewhere, the cello of Heather Woods Broderick adds depth and sophistication. The soft nostalgia of the lyrics is impressive, too.

This record feels very genuine. It’s not beholden to trends, it’s not overthought, it’s simply being gently beautiful in a corner. Take the time to listen closely.

Jeanette Leech

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Record Review – The Urges

‘Fire Burning'/ ‘I’ve Been Here Before’
Mersol Music

The Urges late 2007 album Psych Ward is ’66 style garage/psych as powerful as the origin of the species. Conscious of being too time locked they’ve soaked up mod, soul and psych and have emerged with a sound utterly their own. On the A side ‘Fire Burning’ the horns blow in a mod/soul fashion just placed at a level to power up the fuzz guitar verse intros and colour the proceedings, they never dominate. Great melodies, delivered by James Walters in top form. Great song. Hints of US psych up to ’69 but this is totally fresh. The solos are short and brilliant – Manzarek style organ followed by the grooviest guitar break I’ve heard in years. ‘I’ve Been Here Before’ is the AA side and it is also tinged with later psych but more of the UK variety. Flanged vocal and the chorus has the spirit of Jools/Brian Augur’s interpretation of ‘This Wheel's On Fire’... so you know this is damn catchy too. The floating guitar middle section is just stunning – you gotta hear it. The rhythm section is strong but so loooose. Wonderful.

Brian Neavyn

Record Review - The Cosmic Dead

Self titled 

Paradigm Records

The Cosmic Dead’s very name is heavily redolent of both Leary-ist drug exploration enlightenment and the spacerock music of England and Germany in the 1970s. However, their approach has much more in common with the Teutonic kosmische school than the real-ale-and-rockets approach of Hawkwind et al.

Varying from the propulsive Neu-beat style of ‘The Black Rabbit’ to the Guru Guru and early Can influences of ‘Spice Melange Spectrum’, this album is a total revelation of sonic imagery. Across eighty minutes the listener is taken on an astronomic road trip that never once wavers in imagination or immensity. On the final (forty minute!) track ‘Father Sky, Mother Earth’, the Can references are made explicit and it’s also the most satisfying track on the album – by turns dark, beguiling and mentally enriching.

Go check out this bunch of Glaswegian psychedelic voyagers right now and zone out into their weird headspace. Effortlessly brilliant and rewarding with every fresh listen.

Austin Matthews

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Interview: Dougal Butler, Keith Moon's right-hand man

Mark Raison of the Monkey Picks blog fame interviewed Dougal Butler about his book on Keith Moon. Here is the piece in full.

Peter “Dougal” Butler had the daunting job title of Keith Moon’s Personal Assistant. Dougal’s account, first published in the UK in 1981 as Moon The Loon, lovingly catalogues ten years of crazy escapades, often in bawdy detail. It is one of the funniest books you’ll ever read and an appropriately hilarious tribute to his former employer. Long out of print, it now sees the light again thanks to a new edition as Full Moon by Faber Finds, available as a "proper" book and an e-book. An audio version follows on the 1st August. MonkeyPicks shared a cup of tea, a chinwag, and plenty of laughs with its very genial author.

Mark: How do you feel about seeing your book back in print?Dougal: I’m – excuse the pun – over the moon about it. Word for word that is how Keith sounded, those were his antics. I’m really pleased with it even though it’s now thirty years later. It’s coming out exactly as it was, no changes, and Keith’s old friend Karl Howman has done a brilliant job reading the entire book for the audio version for Talking Books.

Where did you first see The Who?
Either the Blue Moon in Hayes or a big gig they did at the Southall Community Centre. I was wearing my Ivy League suit and BlueBeat hat and I remember them doing “Heatwave” and “Barbara Ann” so it was 1964 or maybe early 1965. I used to go and see them all the time. They were my favourite band, I was a mod and I spent all my money on clothes.

Tell us about your mod days.
I remember buying this suede coat from Petticoat Lane, beautiful, in mustard yellow, full length, had the Levi’s with the little turn-ups, Hush Puppies, Fred Perry shirts, crew cut. I remember coming down the stairs at home checking myself out in the full length mirror thinking I was the dog’s bollocks. My dad looks at me and this yellow coat and says “Have you seen the fucking state of you, going out like that?” I used to go on my mate’s scooter to all the places: the Ricky Tick, the Blue Moon, the Marquee, and the 100 Club. We’d meet at the Queen’s Head in Uxbridge and everyone would go to Burton’s Dancehall around the corner on a Saturday night before getting the tube into town to the Flamingo. Then we’d jump on the milk train to get back at five o’clock in the morning.

Did you own a scooter?
I never had my own scooter as my parents said I’d kill myself. Me and my mates clubbed together to buy an early 1950s Rover, running boards, the lot, for £17 to go down to Brighton. I was still at school and not old enough to have a licence but my parents were away so we put it in their garage and cleaned it all up. Eight of us drove it down to Brighton, no licence, no tax, all done up to the nines in all our mod gear. There were thousands of mods around and we nicked the tax disc from this two-seater Messerschmitt car there and put it on ours. Slept in the car, and of course all the riots and stuff started happened and three of my mates were arrested, so we panicked and left it down there and caught the train home. Never saw it again.

What were the riots as bad as we read?Oh yeah. Obviously the press build things up but it was all running along Brighton front with the rockers and that. It was horrible down on the beach. When you get older you wonder why you did it, what was the cause, did it but it was an of the moment thing.

How did you first get involved with working for The Who in 1967?Mod connects through Bob Pridden, who is still the Who’s road manager. Although I was born in Southall I grew up mainly in Hayes but didn’t like Hayes so ventured a bit further out and knew Bob when he was a mod and had a scooter and we went to see The Who together. Bob said he’d got a job with band starting with a two week tour of Scotland. I was on 5 pound a week and Bob said he’d give me fifteen quid a week to help him. I thought I’d won the lottery. I went home and told me mum, all proud as punch. “Ah, you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll be into drugs. I thought you said you’d be doing an apprenticeship to do central heating”. But it was only for two weeks so I did it and they asked me to stay.

What were your first impressions meeting the band?Prior to going to on tour Bob took me to Track Records office in Old Compton Street to meet the people there. Unbeknown to me Keith and John walked in. Keith was wearing this second hand fur coat and introduced himself and John. You know when you’re attracted to someone, and know you’re going to get along, have a laugh and have some fun. It was just instant with Keith and John. To cut a long story short I left the office and they left too. Me and Bob stopped at some traffic lights in St. John’s Wood and they pull up by the side of us on the right hand side. I’ve got the window down and Keith shouting “Alright mate! Welcome!” and chucks a bloody great smoke bomb through the window. We were stuck at the lights with our car filling up with blue smoke, couldn’t see nothing, just laughing our heads off. So that was my inauguration.

How do you move from being a roadie to working as a personal assistant?I worked with John as his PA first for a while, which was great, a fabulous guy. I didn’t fall out with John at all but I got a call from Keith to be his PA. I think the guy who was then working for Keith was trying to be Keith, if you understand what I mean. I got a phone call about eleven o’clock at night at my parent house. “I’ve had a word with John and I want you to work for me.” I was like er, er, er, what am I getting myself into here? I took it and Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp came up to me after and said, “We trust you with Keith but if you ever want any time off, for a holiday or some sort of rest, let us know and we’ll pay for it.” This was great of them, although I never took up their offer.

Did you have a job description of any kind?No, I’d just take it as it came. You never what corner he’d turn so you just had to be on your toes. It was instant decisions about what to do. Luckily 90% of time it worked and I got him out of situations. I was never a fighter, just had to use a bit of tact. Some of these guys we met had bodyguards when they went out, but Keith just had me: ten stone of fuck all, which was a challenge but we managed to wheedle our way out of most things. Me and Keith had our arguments but he was great. I never told him what he could or couldn’t do because it wasn’t my bag but I kept my eye on him and he was great fun. If he wanted to do something he’d do it. Sometimes I’d hold his coat and say go for it. What you learnt was what was going on in his mind and tried to be a step or two ahead but he was very unpredictable.

Did Keith have any limits?
No, he didn’t have any limits, and I think that was with his drugs sometimes. They were legal - drynamil and mandrax - but Keith would take handfuls instead of two or three a day. So those mixed with the alcohol would mean he didn’t know when to stop. He was trying to make people laugh and be Mr Funny, he wanted people to love him and enjoy him, but he would go so far. Like a train ride you couldn’t stop. I’d have to say to him, “Look Keith, we’ve got to be up at seven o’clock in the morning – not that we ever got up then –for a photo shoot or recording, come on, we’ve got to go” to get him home. Keith would do anything for a laugh. Most guys when they’re single will always meet up with the boys on a Friday night in the pub, and there’s always one of them that you hope is going to be there because they are a character, have a great sense of humour and will come out with jokes, and make you laugh. And Keith was one of those characters. He was a joy to be around, most of the time, although he could also be a right pain in the arse.

Do you think he ever would have settled down?
No I don’t think so. I knew he was trying to get off the booze and drugs just before he died and I’d put him into AA over in LA, and over here, but any drug addict or alcoholic will tell you that you can get all the help from your family and friends but the only person that can do it is that person themself. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

It’s hard to imagine Keith with a hobby but did he have any interests?No, none. I suppose if he’d been into football or golf or cricket or whatever he would’ve had a routine of some sort but he wasn’t interested in anything, nothing at all. He never even practised the drums. The only time he practised was when the band was rehearsing for tours. He never had a drum kit at home or in the garage. He wasn’t into keeping fit like Roger was. He just loved eating and drinking at home. His beach house in LA, next door to Steve McQueen, had a beautiful lounge but he never spend any time in there. He’d be in his bedroom watching TV and that was that. What was horrible about LA was he attracted the wrong type of people: all the drug people, all the wannabes. It would drive me insane. They’d come in with big bags of coke [demonstrates the size of a pound of sugar] and I’d go “Whooah, let me have that.” They’d say it was for Keith and I’d tell them I’d sort it. I’d go into the khazi, shut the door, and pour it down the pan. Later I’d mix up sugar and salt and line them up. I’d be drinking my Heineken and thinking “You bunch of wankers.”

How was he on set for That’ll Be The Day and Stardust?Oh, fantastic. Especially on That’ll Be The Day we had some great times, brilliant fun. David Puttnam asked who we’d cast in Stardust and as Keith loved I Dream Of Jeannie with Larry Hagman, Puttnam agreed to cast Larry. From the day we met, Keith and Larry got on famously. I have to say he is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life. There are no qualms about him, he’s just fabulous, a lovely man who we spent a lot of time with. I did try to get Keith into the movies but he would never have made a movie star because you’d have to be regimented and he’d blow it every time. On Yellowbeard, which Graham Chapman of Monty Python wrote, he went for a screen test. Graham said “Well done Keith” but as soon as Keith drove off the director came over and it was “No way Jose.”

Didn’t Oliver Reed buy Keith a tortoise?Yes, they used to bring it on set during Tommy and when there was a break in filming they’d put it on the table with a glass of brandy on its back and pass between each other. He was great Ollie. We first met him before starting Tommy when Keith said to the film people he needed a helicopter. “Yes, I’d like a helicopter now please, from Battersea. I want to pop round and see Ollie to break the ice.” So we flew to his place just outside Dorking and Ollie is there with a twelve-bore shotgun going “Fuck off!” shooting at us. The pilot is nearly shitting himself, Keith was laughing, I was thinking oh god what’s going to happen here: Keith, Ollie, a shotgun, and they’ve not even met yet! They got on like a house on fire. That night the three of us got absolutely pissed and he was teaching Keith Shakespeare.

You write in your book about Keith not having many real friends...No, he didn’t really. There was Ringo, Harry Nilsson, and the rest of The Who but as close, close friends he didn’t really have one. He’d phone me up and talk to me about anything and probably Pete Townshend as well if he was worried about something. Pete was a gentleman enough to hang on the phone and talk for a bit but he knew when Keith was out of it and put the phone down on him knowing he’d forget all about it.

Did you consider yourself a proper mate to him?Yeah I did and think that was how we got on. I’d get fired every week and I’d threaten to leave the next week but it was a love relationship. I don’t mean in a sexual way, let’s get that straight right away! We were good, good mates and sometimes that doesn’t work in business but I suppose I didn’t look at it as a business, but it became too much for me in the end, especially living in LA with all these hangers-on, I could just see him not making it.

What was his relationship like with his wife Kim when they were at living at Tara House in Chertsey?He and Kim were breaking up. It was difficult as there’s no way any decent girl should live with a human being like that, and I mean that in the nicest possible way, especially with a young kid, Mandy, in tow. You can’t bring up a child in that environment and Kim was fully aware of that. She gave Keith quite a few chances. Everybody loved Kim and everybody loved Keith. I was sort of piggy in middle. I knew what she was doing, I knew what he was doing, and I had to try to steer both of them. I saw Keith in tears sometimes. When she left I had to tread a careful line. Why should I have to take sides and say who was right or wrong, I loved them both. It devastated Keith when they got divorced. “She’ll come back,” he said. I said “Keith, she won’t.”

Do you think Kim was the only person Keith really loved?Yes, and I don’t mean to hurt Annette who he was with after, but I do really truly believe that. For instance, when we were living in LA with Annette, Keith used to love his curries and there was only one Indian restaurant in Santa Monica and we went and ordered a takeaway. There was this girl in there that looked the spitting image of Kim. He ordered his meal, looked up, clocked her, and went and sat outside. He was sobbing his heart out. I knew what he’d seen. But Keith never learnt his lessons. He went through it again with Annette and abused that situation too.

What’s your favourite Moonie exploit?There are lots. Throwing cherry bombs in lifts when you didn’t know who was in there was good fun and when we were in Detroit Judy Carne was doing a play with Patrick MacNee and they were staying at the same hotel as us. We’d done the gig and went back to the hotel to find them and a guy from Three Dog Night who was with Judy. We were chatting and getting slowly pissed in their room and after a while I said to Keith we’d better go as they wanted to go to bed. In the meantime we’d bought these gas guns. We got back to our room and were still buzzing and thinking what shall we do now. So we decided to go back to their room and set these gas guns off for a laugh. We’re back in the lift, hiding these guns for the security guys, and Keith couldn’t remember what suite they were in. I said I thought it was this one and we tucked the guns underneath their door and on the count of three we fired them. BOOM! All of a sudden there was this rrroof-rrroof-rrroof, dogs barking. I said to Keith “Fuck me, I don’t remember them having dogs!” There was some woman in there who was taking her dogs to a dog show and we’d gassed them! We ran back to our room and were in hysterics. They didn’t die or anything, the gas only really created a bit of smell and then it goes.

Keith famously took anything and everything he was offered but there didn’t seem much heroin around...
No there wasn’t. You talking about heroin I remember when Ronnie Wood had just joined the Stones and he was renting a place in Malibu. His first child had been born so we went round there to celebrate. Mick Jagger was there, Linda Ronstadt, the bass player from The Band, a few other Faces. Me and Keith were sitting out on the porch and on the table was a phial of coke. “Oh, look dear boy, look what someone has left us.” He had a big sniff, I had one, and an hour later I was seeing blue, green, thinking fuck me what’s going on here? Keith was perfectly alright. I was going dizzy, seeing sort of traffic lights in front of my eyes. Diana Ross walks me along the beach. She was great, hitting me in the stomach, I was being sick. I hadn’t realised we’d taken heroin. It was fucking awful. Didn’t even touch the sides with Keith, “You alright Dougal, dear boy?”

The 1970s rock and roll lifestyle was divorced from most people’s reality, how was it for you?I tried to keep my feet on the ground. In those days, the late 60s, early 70s a lot of the roadies and people would knock around together but I didn’t, I tried to keep away from that, tried to keep with my own mates who were totally separate from that industry. Hence I’d go down the Coach and Horse in Ickenham, and go to parties with “normal people” if you like, to get away from that madness. Although, don’t get me wrong, when I did go to industry parties I’d enjoy myself but as far as my mates went they had normal jobs and that kept me sane.

Did Keith’s behaviour wear the rest of The Who down?Roger said to me four or five months before I left that I needed to have a word with Keith because if he didn’t get himself together he would be out of the band. I said I couldn’t tell him that, it had to come from him and the rest of the band. I didn’t think it should come from me. I think the quality of his lifestyle did effect his drumming in the end. He’d ballooned up, put on a lot of weight. I don’t know if he sort of gave up but I know he wouldn’t have committed suicide.

How did it end with the pair of you?We had one big punch-up, and we never hit each other before, ever, but fists were thrown. I don’t mind admitting it but I was taking coke, only a little bit just to keep up with Keith, but I didn’t want to go down that road. I could see Keith destroying himself. I let him have it and we had words, “you’re this”, and “you’re that.” I rang up The Who’s manager Bill Curbishley and said he had to bring him home from LA because I can’t do this anymore and one of us is going to pop our socks and it fucking ain’t going to be me. If he didn’t get him home he’d be dead within months. Anyway, we got him home and Pete bought him a flat, but as we known he would die about nine months later.

Do you still keep in contact with The Who?I speak to Roger five or six times a year, less so Pete who I’ve not spoken to for a while. I still see Alison Entwistle and spend a lot of time with her, and Keith’s mum has moved down the road so I pop in for a cup of tea with her and Keith’s sister.

Finally, if you had to advertise the job as Keith’s personal assistant, what would you say?Long days and nights, sense of humour, and must handle with care. 

Interview by Mark Raison and Paula Baker.

Full Moon by Peter "Dougal" Butler with Chris Trengrove and Peter Lawrence is published by Faber Finds.  

Dougal and Mark

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Record Review - The Heavy

The Glorious Dead

Counter/Ninja Tune CD/LP

The Bathonian eclecticists are back on the scene for their third outpouring of righteous heartfelt party music. It was The House That Dirt Built that saw them gain worldwide popularity at the back of the last decade, and when a formula works you don’t mess with it. Over ten squelching soulful rocking songs we hear them take southern/gospel soul voices, Led Zep riffage, hip hop beats and soaring strings to create what can only be described as infectious, loud sermonising.

Gabriel Roth of the Dap-Kings has helped out with some of the arranging, and those horns and bass lines are certainly funky enough for me. All the vintage affectations are base elements to create a thoroughly modern pop mix. The phat bass of opener ‘Can’t Play Dead’ is a bit of a red herring with what’s to come, it’s posturing rap perfect for MTV but not for us. This is followed by ‘Curse Me Good’ - pure acoustic pop-soul which is destined to get regular plays on daytime radio. It’s album epic ‘What Makes A Good Man?’ that sets them up on the Jack White/Black Keys/’Kashmir’ fuzz and strings path, and they do it incredibly well. The shifting sounds do give it a narrative, cinematic feel. Unlike most modern releases the album get BETTER not worse as we listen along. ‘Be Mine’ is the trip-hop/synth-psych groover about love ruling over finance - and it is my album highlight. ‘Just My Luck’ is a turbulent punk funker with occasional concussion, with a lovely mariachi trumpet finale. And ‘The Lonesome’ Road is one part New Orleans marching band, one part Beta Band peturbence.

If you like your rolling beats as much as your rocking guitars this album should give you that summer feeling we’ve been desperately after here in the UK for the past few months.

Phil Istine

Record Review - The Attention!

The Attention!

It would be overstating matters to say that what The Cramps are to rockabilly, Austria’s The Attention! are to 1964-era R&B. They do, however, vary between butane-fuelled attempts at period recreation such as ‘Shimynizer’ or ‘Blank Love Boogie’ and finding their own shaking neo-garage niche with ‘Alina’. 

As with all the Screaming Apple artists I’ve heard, The Attention! seem to be predicated on volume, sweat and fun in equal measure. It’s a joyous, raucous sound that reminds you why you were turned onto R&B or rock ‘n’ roll in the first place. 

Eight of the ten songs are originals and even album closer ‘Sea Sea Rider’ turns into something of a rave-up. If you’re looking for a 30-minute fix of stomping frolicsome fun to cure what ails ya, this’ll put the smile right back on your face.

Paul Martin

Monday, 16 July 2012

London garage rock club returns this Friday

London garage club Deviation Street is back this Friday, featuring recent Happening live review and record review stars The Magnetic Mind.

The capital's hot hang-out for desperate rock’n’rollers, at Deviation Street you’ll see & hear the best new garage & rock’n’roll bands around. In addition resident DJ Phil Istine & guest DJ Spencer Evoy (MFC Chicken) will be on hand with the vintage vinyl, spinning 45s of garage, beat, R&B, rock’n’roll, & other assorted retro trash.

The Magnetic Mind formed in early 2011, brought together by a shared love of 60s garage and psychedelic music. Their early demos caught the ear of White Stripes/Tame Impala producer Liam Watson, who agreed to produce their debut single 'Maybe the Stars, Maybe the Sun' at the legendary Toe Rag Studios.
Limozine are a Rock ‘n’ Roll band from London inspired by The Cramps, The Stooges The Stones and The Ramones. Limozine have released three albums, Car Crash Casino in 2007, Evil Love in 2010, and Full Service in 2012.
some lads went into a room and battered some instruments. When Alberto Zioli made a controversial move by firing his backing band back in 1987. Just 25 years later he bumped into Wing, Bolton & Terror in Monte Carlo, and the 4 formed a group. The rest is history. The Roves + MFC Chicken + The Vinyl Stitches = Uptown 3!

@ The Alley Cat, 4 Denmark Street, London, WC2H 8LP. 8pm-3am, £4.50 in advance, or £6 on the door. Facebook event

Record Review – Penny Nichols

Colors Of The Sun: Penny Nichols Sings The Early Songs Of Jackson Browne

I've always been quite partial to Nichols' 1968 debut, Penny's Arcade. An album housed in a sleeve with a photo that portrays the freckly faced Pippi Longstocking-like teenager on the cusp of hippiedom. And her gentle folk songs display a sweet, strong voice. Nearly 45 years on this set sees the singer older of face, but still possessing the same voice. Reinterpreting the sunny, California set songs of Browne is ideal for her. Granted, he's not for everyone and it is 'These Days' which works best on this set, not due to Nichols' performance, but the strength of the song. Browne at his worst can pull at the heart strings just a tad too much. Saying that, it's nice to have seen him singing 'These Days' with hip, young gun slinger Jonathan Wilson, and a renewed credibility breathed into his style. Browne shows up here too, offering a few duets. (Nichols and Browne hint out back in ’66; the time when folk singers were becoming hippies.)

They may be far older, but they sound the same. Fans of LA singer-songwriters are recommend to consider these passionate interpretations.

Jon 'Mojo' Mills

Friday, 13 July 2012

Record Review - The Bresslaws

Find My Way Home

The erstwhile vicar of Hoo St Werburgh church and frontman for The Bresslaws, Andy Harding, leads the charge as the Medway-based band power through a second album of high octane mod R&B, aggressive garage-punk (including a no-holds-barred cover of Billy Childish's 'Lie Detector') and the occasional detour into bubbling psychedelics underscored by Rene Petrovich's soulful, ghostly organ runs. It's true, many have been this way before – but few do it quite so well. 

Highlights are plentiful but special mention should go to the visceral garage-psych of 'Facing My Confusion', where Harding sings the immortal line "I'm trapped in a hole inside my brain", the mellower 'Hazy Day', a snot-and-snarl reading of '(I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone' and the superb title-track, 'Find My Way Home', a shining beacon guiding anyone who digs the dark swirl of ’60s-inspired psychedelia to this quintet's garage door. 

Alan Brown

[Note: This album was scheduled for release in 2011, along with several other Twenty Stone Blatt titles, but the stock was destroyed in the PIAS fire. This is the first official release of the album outside of a handful of copies sold by the band]

Record Review - The Witches Drum

Future Kings of an Empty Throne

Levitation Records CD / download

‘Subtlety? I got subtlety blowing out my ass’ said one oafish American comic whose name escapes me. It’s a phrase that could certainly be applied to new Cardiff band, The Witches Drum, who have just released their debut EP of bruising swampy stoner rock.

The four tracks here have a lot to recommend them but you’ll have to get past the gruff, billowing vocals first, which will certainly put off listeners with more delicate sensibilities. Their material, despite some occasional lyrical clunkers, is consistently strong with memorable riffs and a dark bayou atmosphere that recalls Dr. John or elements of Captain Beefheart.

The band is certainly not the finished article but there’s more enough quality on this EP to merit further attention. Just check out the way ‘Watch the Freaks Lose It’ breaks down into a long hypnotic psychedelic quagmire before building back into the monster chorus. The band are clearly inspiring zeal with this approach, especially when aligned to their raucous live show. Be the first in your town to join their cult.

Austin Matthews

Record Review – The Cheeks

Perform Feathered Tigers In A Magic Zoo
Misty Lane

Seasoned German band The Cheeks have been issuing records since 1995. Starting out in an early ’80s US power pop manner (Nerves), having dalliances with beat, the group now arrive at an interesting amalgamation of psychedelic forms, marked by Vox organ (think Music Machine meet the floating UK psych of Please) and electric harpsichord. Oddly, although featuring elements of The Electric Prunes, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Floyd etc their sound is often more reflective of the ’80s and ’90s – The Church, Echo & The Bunneymen, Teardrops Explodes, Lightning Seeds, Mock Turtles, Inspiral Carpets, Charlatans and Kula Shaker, even Madness, coming across.

Affirmed and varied; it's a decent album. Only the over earnest and miserable vocals let the side down.

Jon 'Mojo' Mills

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Live Review – Graham Gouldman

BBC CLUB 10th JULY 2012

Friday 13th September 1974, Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park. The first ever gig I went to, and it had to be 10CC. I’d been a fan after loving their first clutch of singles, and knew every second of their debut album by heart. I’d already dug deeper though; an exhaustive interview in Zigzag magazine earlier in the year had chronicled the role that the band members had played in the ’60s Manchester beat scene, and included a discography that resulted in me finding such delights as 'I Can Feel We’re Parting' by The Mockingbirds. This was when I’d also discovered that Graham Gouldman, the bass guitarist, had written so many classic songs, so I took to hunting those down too. This was all a large contributory factor in embarking upon my record collecting journey, so for me as a whole, being a 10CC follower dovetailed in very nicely with my teenage travels to jumble sales and the like, copping my Kinks and Small Faces singles and much more. However, when the band split in two at the end of 1976, the timing was almost too perfect. Year zero was beginning, and with 'Neat Neat Neat' soon appearing in my collection and The Jam changing everything, several years ensued when I couldn’t even admit to my previous 10CC fan-dom. How bloody ridiculous.

It’s now quite rightly established that Graham Gouldman is one of the great pop music songwriters, and working live in both group formats and acoustically (like tonight) he shares his past and present work.

He’s always proved that songs centring on love and romance don’t have to be clichéd, kicking off tonight with 'Bus Stop' to prove this. Whilst the scenario of the couple in the song is universal, it can be taken in his full body of work as being set in the North of England, when placed side by side with the lesser-known gems like 'It’s Nice To Be Out In The Morning'. Such vignettes mark him out as a northern, less acerbic Ray Davies. One sad fact about his band The Mockingbirds not making it as big as his songwriting in the ’60s is that his own voice wasn’t heard enough. The guy can SING.

He’s doing a terrific version of 'No Milk Today' at the moment, working in some new harmonies at the close of the song, with his current musical companions Rick Fenn and Mick Wilson, which are so good that I now feel that the Hermits’ original recording is an unfinished article.

So, can the great songwriter still write great songs? I definitely think so, and the selections from the new Gouldman album Love & Work bear this out. 'Daylight' has an airy wistfulness, fitting the subject matter – homage to his late musical partner, the Californian Andrew Gold. When 'Ariella' was struck up, the similarity of the guitar figure to 'Handle With Care' by the Travelling Wilburys shot to mind immediately, not least because the friend standing next to me happens to be in a Wilburys tribute act. However, it develops into a song more akin to Difford & Tilbrook, so to paraphrase my friend, he won’t be saying “good morning judge” just yet. 'Memory Lane', which he explained was written after showing his fiancée around his old haunts of Manchester, effectively completes a northern song cycle which was started with the likes of 'Bus Stop' 45 or so years ago.

The encore was well-planned – the bongos were brought on, and it could only be 'For Your Love'. Lovely to hear it in the musical setting that was given to The Yardbirds, though I have to say it would have been really nice to see it being performed in the style of his own psyche-y version from ’68, as it worked so well.

I’d previously baulked at the idea of seeing the current “Graham Gouldman & 10CC “ line-up at a full show, but this memorable evening has changed my mind… and until next week, the man is providing classy bookends to my entire 38 years of experiencing live music.

Brian Kotz

The Jim Jones Revue: new album and tour details

The Jim Jones Revue have a new album out this autumn and a UK tour to support.

The follow-up to one of Shindig!'s favourite albums of 2010, Burning Your House Down, is to be entitled The Savage Heart and is out October 15. Jim Sclavunos (The Bad Seeds/Grinderman) is back in the production hotseat. Apparently the band will be "exploring new musical and lyrical territory", but we can still expect "their renowned powerhouse sound".

Tickets for the tour are onsale now, and here is the rundown of dates:

October UK Tour
8 Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach Buy tickets
9 Leeds Wardrobe Buy tickets
10 Manchester Sound Control 
Buy tickets 
12 Sheffield Plug 
Buy tickets 
13 Aberdeen Tunnels 
Buy tickets 
15 Edinburgh Caves 
Buy tickets 
16 Glasgow King Tuts 
Buy tickets 
17 Newcastle Cluny 
Buy tickets 
18 Norwich Waterfront 
Buy tickets 
19 Birmingham O2 Academy 2 
Buy tickets 
20 Harlow Square 
Buy tickets 
21 Bristol Trinity 
Buy tickets 
23 Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms 
Buy tickets 
24 Brighton Concorde 2 
Buy tickets 
25 London Electric Ballroom 
Buy tickets

The Rolling Stones: 50 years young

50 years ago today a bunch of young Ealing Jazz Club enthusiasts revealed themselves to the world as The Rollin' Stones. The place was The Marquee in London's Soho, the date July 12 1962. 50 years later and the band are still together and planning some celebratory concerts before the year is out.

Unfortunately no footage of those early days seems to exist, so instead enjoy their first television appearance in February 1964 on the Arthur Haynes show, performing 'I Wanna Be Your man' and 'You Better Move On'. Before 'Keef' took control the band was all about the mercurial talents of one Brian Jones - check out his slide playing on the first number!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Leafhound live in concert

The legendary early 70s heavy rockers who all but invented stoner rock (well, them and Blue Cheer, Pentagram, May Blitz, Budgie, Dark, Elias Hulk, the list is endless....) with the classic Growers Of Mushroom album are hitting the road again, and have chosen the recently re-inaugurated Nags Head Blues Loft in High Wycombe, on Saturday July 21, as the exclusive warm up venue for a series of Japanese dates. NOTE: This is not happening in London, only Wycombe. It's not that far though, less than an hour from Marylebone and 35 minutes from Amersham or Uxbridge Underground station.

Since their reformation, the Hound have re-established themselves in a way they never had a chance to during their original shortlived incarnation, and with the renewed interest in reformed bands from the 65-75 heavy psych/prog/hard rock era- Incredible Hog, Cressida, Mighty Baby, the Deviants- which in all honesty they probably were responsible for awakening, at its peak in the last three years, the demand for them as a touring act has grown and grown. As with many of their contemporaries, of course, the primary interest has been in foreign territories rather than the UK, but they remain based in and around London and remain active on the circuit.

In 2011 they performed Growers in its entirety at the Borderline, and several of the songs they had never tried til then, such as the 10-minute classic 'Work My Body', have remained in the set since. It is not known what delights they will have in store when they hit Wycombe, but whatever surprises Pete French and his crew have in store, they will be of the most sublime kind. They're also continuing their tradition of nurturing young stoner/doom and psych/garage rock talent at this show by having three great bands opening for them in Desert Storm, Sedulus and Black JuJu: although they may not be to all Shindiggers' tastes, they will definitely appeal to those of you who love it heavy yet trippy.

They also keep threatening to make a follow up album to 2007's Unleashed, so you never know, keep pressuring and maybe they'll release it. The campaign starts here!

Leafhound website

Record Review – The Electric Flashbacks

The Lovely Art Of Electronics
Misty Lane

I guess we have to take stock with this one and pause for thought. Although Phil Istine democratically discussed "the continentals" love of cartoon garage in his review of Spain's The Smogglers and rectified writing a bad review I have to state my utter dislike of The Electric Flashbacks. Their obvious choice of covers, the vocals and often the disregard to the source material grate and somewhat unsettle me. Whilst new young bands like The Wicked Whispers, The Hypnotic Eye, Paul Messis, Jacco Gardner, The Allah-Las and a host of others are redeploying the notion of how cool ’60s garage and psych is it's unfortunate to hear The Electric Flashbacks murder 'Biff Bang Pow' and 'I'm Sorry She's Mine' (what is that guitar solo at the end???) in the manner of a wedding band.

Whilst the kids are doing really thoughtful and exciting things, it just seems better to try and equal the best of the ’60s rather than accept sounding like a bad ’80s garage covers band.
There's just nothing redeeming about one-dimensional garage in 2012.

Jon 'Mojo' Mills

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Record Review – Eternal Tapestry

Eternal Tapestry
Dawn in 2 dimensions

Eternal Tapestry from Portland, Oregon boast a facet that rarely leads to a band sucking – two excellent lead guitarists. Their loose-limbed helical axe-lines tickle each other across every track of this psychedelic/krautrock jam-heavy instrumental LP. Added to the mix are unobtrusive sax and synths, showing clear spacerock leanings – but it’s really the guitars to the fore throughout the quartet of tracks on this stunning album.

These four songs grow steadily longer as the album progresses; starting with the four minute ‘Wholeodome’ and climaxing in the twenty minute suite, ‘I.S.F.S – Dawn in 2 Dimensions – Quantum Leap’. Don’t be put off by talk of a suite-structure – there’s no hint of pretension in the long-form tracks here – just an intoxicating goulash of psychedelic guitar work. Utilising a variety of effects, the guitar work sounds fresh and fertile throughout the album. The clean tone the band employ is particularly effective, echoing Tom Verlaine’s instrumental albums and harking back to the best of QMS. The music, first intense, before mellowing into a shimmering magmata, represents dawn as a microcosmic event within itself. As the dawn finally breaks the music builds before collapsing into a chaotic tumult.

The title of the album gives the listener the key to the musical puzzle the band have created – the ‘2 Dimensions’ referenced in the title being sound and vision. The visions are created by the illusory nature of the playing, conjuring lysergic imagery of the sunrise while simultaneously encouraging self-reflection.

As the dawn breaks, it obliterates itself leaving the chaos and entropy of the day to progress – each second bearing the imprimatur of death until the dusk falls and begins the whole process anew. In many ways this is true psychedelic music, providing the musical stimulus to the imagery the music itself generates within the listener’s mind – vistas of thought, mosaics of experience consciousness allayed, enlightenment in 2 dimensions also.

Austin Matthews

The Moons tour their second album

So finally after a long wait The Moons sophomore album Fables Of History will be released early September. Main Moon Andy Crofts said "We can't wait to let our fans hear this album. We appreciate the patience of all the Moonies and Moonettes but we promise it will be your new favourite album of 2012".

The tracklisting will be: Be Not Me, Forever Came Today, Revolutionary Lovers, Jennifer Sits Alone, Double Vision Love, English Summer, Something Soon (Featuring Paul Weller), It's Taking Over, Can You See Me, Habit Of A Lifetime, Lights Out, The First Goodbye.

The Northampton/Kettering fivesome will tour in support of the album. More dates will be added.

12 SEP - 93 FEET EAST - LONDON. Buy tickets
15 SEP - KASBAH - COVENTRY. Buy tickets
20 SEP - CAVES - EDINGBURGH. Buy tickets
21 SEP - DOGHOUSE - DUNDEE. Buy tickets
22 SEP - KING TUTS GLASGOW. Buy tickets
23 SEP - FRUIT - HULL. Buy tickets
29 SEP - COCKPIT - LEEDS. Buy tickets
06 OCT - THE LANES - BRISTOL. Buy tickets




Record Review - The Smoggers

Shame On You

Kotj 7"

The more "cartoony" garage-punk seems to get a bad rep on these shores, but on the continental mainland is rightly held in more respect. After all, if you’re going to make fuzz-drenched rock ’n’ roll what would be the point in taking yourself too seriously? These four adolescent minds hail from Andalusia are committed vinyl lovers and this single, on a new label set up by well-respected Spanish music journalist 
Óscar García, follows two recent 10” albums. 

The title track is your typical neo-garage organ heavy fuzz blaster played at 100 mph. A simple chord progression and chorus chant, elevated by some searing lead guitar playing. ‘It's Just Not The Same’ is perhaps my favourite of the three tracks on offer - it has enough of the screwed-up-and-pissed-off snotness of The Gories, The Gruesomes or The Trashbones to please. Turns out to be a cover of  ’80s 
Texan band The Delinquents. Excellent choice! ‘Jump Inside’ meanwhile doesn't pretend to have a melody: instead it’s a drum-heavy list of complaints and completely punk rock in spirit and execution.

These guys are playing all the garage festivals there are, so do go pogo to them soon and buy the single while you’re there! 

Phil Istine

Monday, 9 July 2012

Live Review - Roedelius

Café Oto, Dalston, London, June 21 2012

Strange days indeed. The venue is rammed, stickier and hotter than a docker’s armpit, every square inch of floor housing an eager devotee of one of Krautrock’s founding fathers: outside, torrential rain pisses down, winds howl like banshees, and those in E8 soon begin to regret not bringing a jacket.

After a harmonically interesting and eventually climactic supporting set from Petrels, aka Oliver Barrett of Bleeding Heart Radio, and the obligatory extended drink-buying break (not too much outdoor fag-smoking this time, for aforementioned meteorological reasons) the hubbub of voices descends to a hush as the composer, 77 years young and still as irrepressibly unconventional as ever, humbly ambles on stage and positions himself between a piano - unusually, not the venue’s own- and an array of electronic devices. A few moments’ fiddling is followed by the appearance of several stark, low, quieter-than quiet chords, at which point it dawns on us: he’s started.

Nowhere else in my days as either fan, writer or even promoter can I remember a more subtle, gentle and inauspicious beginning to a show by such a heralded and revered artist, yet this is all very much part of the Hans-Joachim Roedelius experience. It also soon becomes apparent that this isn’t a gig, but more a recital. Nor if anyone else had performed this music would I be reviewing it here: truly, it dwells on the utmost fringes of Shindig!’s remit, only included by virtue of its author’s impeccable track record as one of the founding fathers of German progressive music in the 1970s; a progression still very much demonstrated by the man’s steadfast refusal to conform in any way to what people expect of him.

By this token, at least 65 to 70 percent of what is performed tonight consists of minimal, resonant and glacial solo piano, its nearest counterpart in recent years being the solo work of United Bible Studies’ Richard Moult or maybe some of the more meditative recordings of Current 93, and whilst this is no new departure - indeed, half of his solo work has been in this vein since 1978 - it still sounds entirely new and unfettered by preconception. The globular, tinkling electronics, swirling drone and occasional hammering assaults he popularised with Cluster, or the rockier, more song-based (by comparison) leanings of Harmonia, are largely absent tonight, although when he does move from piano to electronic keyboard, or tinker playfully with wires and devices (well, I assume this is what he physically does, but I am so entranced in thought at this point with both eyes closed, as probably is everyone else, that I can’t tell you for sure) it still creates the same powerful, ebbing, flowing worlds of sound so intrinsically associated with his best known recordings.

Not that, of course, he in any way plays up to this on purpose- you do not come to see Roedelius for a greatest hits set, and stand at the back yelling “Heisse Lippen!” whilst making metal horn signs, no matter how amusing it might be to do so. Anyway, both elements still move so seamlessly in and out of each other that there is no join to spot: bursts of sudden, amplified synthesized volume are followed yet again by ephemeral, barely audible pianistics which fall like raindrops slowly releasing in a pool. A shame, then, that it’s hammering down so much outside, the real rain almost threatens to aurally drown him out. A case of Hans Across The Water, maybe? Mind you, at least the elements are excusable, which is more than can be said for the twats outside babbling into their mobiles. There’s always one or two, isn’t there?

Sadly, just when the instrumentation locks into the first pulsing groove of the evening and the externalised nattering finally ceases, so does Roedelius: stepping to the microphone after a rapturous applause which the throng had withheld until they knew the right moment had arrived, he mumbles something about “enough for now” and proceeds to start unplugging everything. Is this the interval? No, that’s your lot. 45 minutes? I’ve waited at bus stops for longer, but then again, I do live in the countryside. True, we all know the adages of 'short but sweet', 'less is more' and what have you, but I can’t help feeling that the esteemed gentleman may be taking liberties even by those standards, especially considering that most people here actually paid to get in, some even after he’d started. Maybe the pillocks with the mobile phones wound him up after all, even though he seemed visibly unruffled at the time. Or, on the other hand, maybe when you’ve performed a piece (in several parts, but still a ‘piece’) of perfect music, it would be foolhardy to follow it with anything else.

The motive remains a matter of conjecture, but this was definitely the shortest concert I’ve ever attended (hardcore bands having their plugs pulled on them for encouraging stage invasions notwithstanding). Yet, the following morning, as I head homeward to the Shires in the definitely not minimalist downpour, a wry smile crosses my face, as it dawns on me that such foibles, maybe even pranksome japes, dwell at the very epicentre of Roedelius the live artist, and that he’s probably heading back to Berlin now in much the same way with the same wry smile spreading across his wise, chiselled features. Let us just hope, considering the transient nature by definition of such behaviour, that it won’t be too long before he returns in another of his manifold incarnations to play with us (and for us) again.

Darius Drewe Shimon