Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Instruments, Silver Rocket club, 21/09/07

Who said that we should count like cats?

Instrumental Post-Rock isn’t meant to be fun. Apparently though, it seems no one's told ascendant London four piece ‘Instruments’, for whose brand of sonic experimentation I’m stumped to find an adjective more befitting. Making their Silver Rocket debut tonight, Instruments have the guile to be bright, melodic, and well…fun. Frankly, in a musical world ruled by affected dissonance and technique over imagination, they’re a breath of fresh air.
The requisite pre-gig visit to their myspace page suggests a band in possession of some well worn Owls and Joan of Arc/ Tim Kinsella LP’s. However, from tonight’s opening note it becomes clear that there’s much more to the Instruments agenda than paying tribute to their musical forefathers. They might be first on the bill, but as the amps buzz into life a significant crowd has already formed, rapidly swelling to the venues capacity.
Initially the music teases, frequently stopping and starting before reforming anew, each dynamic twist bringing forth a fresh sense of melodic and rhythmic purpose. Onstage, the band clearly appear to be enjoying themselves. Their involuntary back and forth rocking, conspirital grins and general lack of self consciousness imbue the performance with the same easy charm as the music. It’s undeniably infectious. They might be without vocals (save the odd yelp), but each Instrument is in possession of an arsenal of riffs lyrical enough to carry any song in their own right. Clearly, they're musicians of some repute, (the relative ease in which they negotiate shifts in tempo and time signature is frightening) yet there’s no flabby self-serving indulgence on display here. Each part is given just enough time to etch itself into your psyche before it shifts off in a new direction. Label them ‘Math-rock’ if you really must, but such clinical terminology belies the intuitive, playful core at the center of their music. Ultimately, for all the technical prowess on display here it's not the bands minds, but their hearts which have duly charmed the crowd tonight. As their set draws to a close a cursory scan of the Buffalo Bar reveals the stock audience response of stroked chin and furrowed brow has long been ditched in favour of nodding heads, tapping feet and smiling faces. Relatively speaking, we’re dancing in the aisles.
Who said that instrumental Post-Rock wasn't meant to be fun?

Download the Instruments track 'American Football or American Football?' here.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

I wanna fuck your mother

After 2 years of sporadic (but suitably deranged and devotedly attended) appearances, Brighton’s finest have returned full pelt to the fray with a new EP of material, and it's good. Not quite as vital, compelling and downright sexy as their debut, but far more sonically focused in its intent than the sprawling follow up Royal Society, which bodes very well for their upcoming third album.

Still, pleased as I am to see Eighties Matchbox return to form I can’t help but feel that the racket being made by former guitarist Andy Huxley's outfit (with co conspirators James Hair and Bertie Lean), ‘Vile Imbeciles’, offer an altogether more exciting proposition.

Like all the best bands they seem to have polarised opinion thus far (see the press cuttings on their myspace page). Personally, I loved them when I caught an early gig at Catch bar last year and thought that on record they sounded like Rock ‘n’ Rolls long overdue response to Aphex Twins 'Cone To Daddy'.
Their debut album '...Ma' has only been out a couple of months but they're already demo’ing material for the next one (a ‘proper commercial effort’ apparently), 4 tracks of which they've put up on their myspace page.
These new recordings are great- more refined and aurally articulate than '…Ma's' primal screams, Vile Imbeciles have evolved nicely into the realm of the listenable without sacrificing any of their uniqueness. Discerning ears might detect the faintest traces of Captain Beefheart, Melvins and The Birthday Party (<-seriously, check this link out) interwoven into their Gonzodeathjazzbeat DNA, but truly they sound like nothing else around at the moment. Exciting stuff indeed, but guys, more gigs please!

Vile Imbeciles Photo by Dave MA, used by permission

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Dubstep: A Casual Introduction

If you hadn't noticed, Dubstep is blowing up right now. Queues for the last FWD>> night at The End saw people queuing for upwards of four hours to get in, with many more waiting even longer only to never make it. Such has been the genres ascendance of late that you can now hear Skream's tunes on Channel 4's 'Skins' and catch Mala DJ'ing at Indie-scene haunts, while bands such as Dior Homme darlings and '08's most likely to' These New Puritans are referencing Digital Mystikz as an influence.

If you haven't seen this short documentary yet (its a bit old now) its worth checking out as an introduction to whats all the fuss is about.

Anyone looking to investigate further could do a lot worse than checking out the Eyes Down documentary and visiting Barefiles.com who have a comprehensive archive of radio sets (both pirate and legal) up for download (I'd recommend Plasticians 2006 mix or Kode9's Burial set as good starting points). Also well worth checking out are Skreams ace refix of the Klaxons 'It's Not Over Yet' (effectively a cover of a cover) and Benga & Coki's tune 'Night', the biggest tune in the scene at the moment and undoubtedly one of the years finest tracks so far, irrespective of genre.
Just watch those bass bins, yeah?

Across the city we all sit and wait

Anyone unlucky enough to have listened to daytime radio of late could be forgiven for thinking that the art of crafting pop music that capitaves you for three magical minutes then leaves you gasping for more (see here) is dead. However there is hope- I've been unable to get Strange Idols C86ish single 'She's Gonna Let You Down Again' out of my head since I saw them play at The Old Blue Last a few months back. Why this song isnt all over radio and the band adorning covers of magazines is beyond me, it's my single of the year so far by a long shot. They haven't made a video for it as far as I can tell, and this live footage from Derbys 'Indie Tracks' festival doesnt quite do it justice (sonically speaking), but here it is anyway. Check Modern Pop Records to see if they have any copies left, listen to it on Strange Idols myspace or better still see them live (they're great) to hear it in its full glory.

A guy called Dan Deacon played at White Heat last week as the special guest. He managed to bridge a generation gap of about twenty years between himself and the average scenester in attendance on the night and caused all sorts of mayhem on the Madame Jo Jo's dancefloor. Good times. In my head this is what 'New (Nu?!) R*ve' should sound like, although I fear in reality this is not the case at all. It's the kind of music that makes most sense when experienced live, but this video of him on NBC(!) gives a taster of whats going on, just imagine it twice as fast and ten times as amazing.