La Bête Blooms, CHAMBERS – Union Mash Up, Hull

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I was trying to make it to 666 days since my last post when La Bête Blooms announced a special tiny show in Hull to celebrate the release of their excellent new single, Breaking In. I sorta had to go on account of how much I love La Bête Blooms and The Adult Teeth Recording Company in general.

With a stick of liquorice in my pocket and adventure in my heart, I got myself to the venue and waited patiently for the doors to open. It was only after spending 90 minutes stroking the hessian walls and blocking the way to the toilets that I thought of asking somebody what the darn heck was going on.

“The show? That’s next door, mate,” said the nice man with his craft beer.

This comeback was off to a great start.

Lovely, lovely hessian.
Lovely, lovely hessian.

Thankfully I didn’t miss any of openers CHAMBERS despite being a moron and that is a very good thing. CHAMBERS are loud as shit and that’s why their name is in capital letters. They’re certainly a capital band.

tumbleweed
Sorry.

CHAMBERS describe themselves as a two-piece sister doom band which is probably one of the best things I’ve ever heard and tops anything I could say about them, so I’ll just add that they’re really good. Here’s a terrible photo to prove I was there.

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Spot the band! Send in your answers for a top prize.

Also, here’s a video to make up for the fact that I wrote my notes in the dark and helpfully smudged them all, leading to this section being a lot shorter than it ought to be.

CHAMBERS. As somebody behind me exclaimed when they finished, “shittin’ ‘ell!”

Shittin’ ‘ell indeed.

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La Bête Blooms, man. Maaaan. Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan.

Fuckin’ love this band. They just keep getting better and better.

breaking-in
Click the picture, hear the song! Internet magic.

Their new single kicks so much butt that if my butt had a butt on it then it would also have been kicked. La Bête Blooms are clearly as influenced by classic indie rock and Sonic the Hedgehog as everybody else but they stand out with their superior songwriting and passionate performances. Alliteration.

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It’s like 3D at the cinema but not.

Opening with the wonderful TV Speak from their debut EP, La Bête Blooms played a fast and powerful set full of new songs. A particular highlight was the second song of the night which I am assured will be appearing on their next EP. It was all dreamy and mysterious and it made me feel feelings. Always a good thing.

Sadly, all great nights must come to an end but memories are for as long as you remember them. La Bête Blooms put on a great show as they always do and CHAMBERS were absolutely superb. Give ’em a look for me, will ya?

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La Bête Blooms are set to release their second EP, I Know It’s Nothing, in 2017 on Adult Teeth and Warren Records. They’re on Facebook and Soundcloud.

I still can’t get over CHAMBERS. You can get a couple of tracks on Bandcamp and they’re also on Facebook and Youtube.

Union Mash Up was a nice place and had weird pictures on the walls.

 

 

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It was the heat of the moment.

I woke up in Hull, feeling strange. I had unfinished business.

Magic crab business.

I had to thank the magic crab for sending me back in time so I could interview Lewis Young, recording artist and founder of The Adult Teeth Recording Company. It was the proper thing to do.

I sat outside York Minster again, listening to Aztec Camera and thinking about Scotland. Then that ol’ glint caught my eye, and in a flash I was back on that weird beach.

Something wasn't right.
Something wasn’t right.

“Son, is that you?”

I wasn’t his son.

I wasn’t even a crab.

“Take a hold of my claw… I’m dyin’.”

What could I do? I’m a compassionate dude – I took a hold of his claw.

“Son… all we are… is dust in the wind,” he plagiarised.

“Every rose has its thorn.”

Clearly, AOR was providing the old crabby bugger with some comfort.

“Take… these broken wings… and… learn to fly again…”

Now he was taking the piss. Still, I was genuinely sad about the magic crab passing away. I started to tear up as I thought about what he did for me, even though I had been sort of a dick.

“In my life there’s been heartache and pain. I don’t know if I can face it again,” I blubbed.

“You can’t stop now, you’ve travelled so far to change this lonely life.”

“I want to know what love is. I want you to show me.”

I had gone too far – the crab died. I walked away, hands in pockets. Music began to play.

I will, little buddy. I will.
Ashes to ashes, funk to funky.

Bonus! – Interview with Lewis Young, founder of The Adult Teeth Recording Company

Howdy. This is a sort of deleted scene from the interview I did with Lewis Young – we talk about Adult Teeth act MyOneManBand, but then things get tangential in a remarkably relevant way. Besides, I promised you another part last night. Have a poke at these fine tracks while you read.

See, relevant.

The world we live in, and life in Gateshead.

red gallery

Sean: That Live at RED Gallery (by MyOneManBand), it’s amazing.

Lewis: Thank you. Yeah, it was a good gig actually. Phill really did something special I thought – he was using all coffee cans and stuff like that. He was sampling stuff live and then looping it and it’s just great. It was in this really small white room with no way out. It was sort of like being in a mental asylum with this guy doing these mental things. It was just awesome.

Sean: I put it on with headphones and I sort of felt like it was drilling into my brain, but in a good way.

Lewis: I think that’s what we strive for, so Phill would be happy with that. I think he nearly came down tonight actually. He lives about 20 miles away so he doesn’t always get to make it, which is a shame. He used to be in La Bête Blooms, actually, Phill.

Sean: Was he the bass player who left?

Lewis: Yeah, he went to Antwerp. He played synth in Glass Delusion as well. He just went to Antwerp and kind of left the bands, basically. It was a shame, but he came back, which is nice – came back and did all his solo stuff.

Sean: I’m looking forward to hearing the MyOneManBand and Blackface albums together. The whole idea is really cool, that you listen to them at the same time.

Lewis: It’s kind of like The Flaming Lips’ Zaireeka thing. We didn’t nick the idea from them particularly but it was definitely a starting point. Dark room… whatever devices you’ve got. Different sound sources make it sound like a different album, so if you heard it through a Playstation on your TV it’s almost like a whole different thing. It’s very strange but it’s great so, enjoy, basically.

Sean: Even the isolated tracks on the sampler CD… I remember hearing… I don’t know what it’s called… it’s the one with the basketball.

Lewis: Oh yeah, Basketball in the Park in Bb Major.

Sean: I was listening to that and it came on when I was in Gateshead. They built a big Tesco there.

Lewis: Yeah, I used to work there.

Sean: Really?

Lewis: It was soul-destroying but yeah, I worked there while I was at uni.

Sean: Well, they knocked it down, so…

Lewis: DID THEY?

prairie dog

Sean: Yeah, they knocked it down and built a new one.

Lewis: Oh my god! That’s fantastic. It needed knocking down, especially the back area… disgusting. You just think, “Oh god, this is where I buy my food.” It was all these disgusting guys who worked there, they’d go to the toilet and not wash their hands, then they’d go and put the vegetables out. It was fucking disgusting. It was shocking. It was like a whole other world. I’m glad they knocked it down, that’s great.

Sean: I remember I went to the new Tesco the first week they opened it and, uh, they’d run out of lard.

Lewis: The cornerstone of every diet.

Sean: Well, it is in Gateshead.

Lewis: Yeah, so true.

Sean: It’s nice to be a hundred miles from the place and be making jokes about how crap it is.

Lewis: Where it can’t hear you.

Sean: Yup.

Lewis: Yeah, Gateshead is a strange one. It was just very… there’s places in Hull that remind me of Gateshead, it’s just what it is. To go from, y’know, Newcastle’s amazing, and you get the metro to Gateshead and you’re like, “Wow, okay.” It’s just literally a mile away and it’s crazy.

Sean: There’s this pocket of The Sage, but when you’re walking there it feels a bit dangerous. It’s a little bit better now that they replaced the Tesco because they pedestrianised that whole area. It’s supposed to be a shopping complex but nobody really wants to open shops so… there’s a Nando’s and there’s a cinema and all that stuff. We’ll see how that goes. It’s a huge Tesco, though. They’ve got all the world foods and all that stuff. Yeah, I love it.

True fact: they knocked down the car park from Get Carter to build the new Tesco. Also, Get Carter was written by a man from Hull.

Lewis: Yeah, it needed something. It was a dying town when I worked there. I think it just needed that [claps hands super-loud]. It’s so weird, because they’ve got Baltic and Sage on that side and then you’ve just got… shit. It’s bizarre.

I served Dwight Yorke in Tesco one time. Very odd – why Dwight Yorke? I mean, I don’t like football or anything, it just seems so odd that Dwight Yorke would come in.

Sean: That’s weird.

Lewis: Yeah, it was just so surreal. I don’t know what he was doing in Gateshead.

Was he on special offer? Is that a football joke?
Gateshead. Header. Yes. Football… yes, yes… yes. Yes.

Sean: My friend saw Phill Jupitus recently in Newcastle railway station. Don’t why he was there, he wasn’t doing a gig.

Lewis: He gets about, he does. A person I work with, she owns a guesthouse as well as working full-time, and he stayed in that. He left this really nice review in the book and a massive full length signature – hey Paul, alright? – yeah, so, nice guy.

Sean: It’s a good tangent, I may include it.

Lewis: Just ribbin’ on Gateshead. Poor bastards.

Sean: Poor bastards.

Really fin.

This does leave some unanswered questions: Why was Dwight Yorke in Tesco? What was Phill Jupitus up to? Is Paul alright?

Sadly, we may never know.

Much appreciation is due again to Lewis for agreeing to do this interview and for not minding that it also ties into a story about a magic crab. Very Dude.

If you haven’t already, look above for a free download of the Adult Teeth sampler. You can also find The Adult Teeth Recording Company on Facebook, Twitter and their website.

Part three – Interview with Lewis Young, founder of The Adult Teeth Recording Company

Hello! This is the third and final part of my interview with Lewis Young. I’d like to thank Lewis for being a swell dude and doing this interview, it’s been a lot of fun. There’s a lot in this part about his collaborations with the poet Matthew Hedley Stoppard, check out the video below for a slice of the tasty musical pie they offer.

Runt County, Adult Teeth Tees and the future.

Sean: I like that Adult Teeth covers a broad range of genres. In particular, I really like the album Runt County. You took something that a lot of people might consider inaccessible, like poetry and spoken word, and you put pop tunes and rock tunes on it. It all seems to fit together very nicely.

It's neigh bad, like.
It’s neigh bad, like.

Lewis: It’s nice to hear that because that’s exactly what we set out to do. I’ve known Matthew for about five years, I saw him about four years ago doing a bit of spoken word in Leeds and I was just blown away. I just thought it was the most incredible poetry performance I’d ever seen. I realised that we needed to get a release out and try to get a wider audience for his work.

I tried to think about what would make people listen to it, because some people aren’t gonna buy a spoken word album or even listen to one online or whatever, so that’s the idea we came up with. Runt County is one of the things I’m most proud of.

I think it just kind of gelled together really well – we recorded all the music and he fit his words over the top of it. I thought it was gonna be the other way round but he insisted that was the way to do it. He just came in and did everything in one take.

Sean: Really?

Lewis: Bar a couple, but generally speaking it was all one take. He absolutely nailed it, every single performance was stunning. I’m just really happy with it, so it’s nice to hear that your reaction is exactly what we hoped for.

Sean: It’s surprising to hear that it came together in that way. When you listen to it, the music and words work together so naturally.

Lewis: I think we’re just really in tune with each other. It’s a strange thing. I had an idea of where I wanted to go with it and just went with that but I was surprised when he came in and he managed to make it fit so well to what we’d done. I thought there’d be take after take after take trying to get things right but he just nailed it. It was incredible – he’s just a very, very talented guy.

Lewis and Matthew have a Withnail & I moment.
You’ll find us in the baths.

Sean: What is Adult Teeth Tees?

Lewis: It’s a new clothing company that was launched on December 1st as a label offshoot. The current designs are my own and not actually related to the label in any way – however there will soon be a section on the site for t-shirts using lyrics, ideas and themes from the acts signed to The Adult Teeth Recording Company. The idea is that the tees will make up gaps in funding the label and allow us to do more to get the word out about the music we release. Also, I wanted to get back into illustration and typography and the like, and making tees is a great excuse to do that.

Sean: What do you think of the music scene in Hull, and your place in it?

Lewis: I think it’s incredible. The city is largely forgotten about by the music press (and when we do get mentioned, every review generally starts with a reference to “The murky city of Hull” or similar), but the omission of the Hull scene is completely misguided. The music press would have you believe that you have to come from a major city to be any good, but in reality, that’s as ridiculous as it sounds.

The label largely works with Hull acts because the musicians in this city produce fantastic music that is almost completely ignored by the wider world. There’s no need for me to go “talent scouting” elsewhere – everything is happening right here.

Sean: Finally, what are your plans for 2015?

Lewis: A few definites for 2015 are: the new Foolish Atoms album (his third – I’ve heard the rough mixes and it could top his towering second release, which is no easy task); two new singles from La Bête Blooms (and a couple of UK tours too); and more standalone singles from My Pleasure, culminating in a singles collection. Plus, if everything goes to plan, Adult Teeth Tees will grow into something beautiful in 2015.

Fin.

Whew! That sure was a whopper. Once again my thanks go to Lewis, and also to everybody who’s reading and sharing – I really appreciate it. The Adult Teeth Recording Company is putting out a lot of my favourite music at the moment, so I hope that if you weren’t aware of them previously you’ll give them a look.

"Just... one more thing."
“Just… one more thing.”

This is the end of the serious talk, but it ain’t over ’til it’s over – part four of three comes out tomorrow. There’s a little bit about what we were supposed to be talking about, but mostly it’s about supermarkets.

The Adult Teeth Recording Company on Facebook, Twitter and their website.

The Glass Delusion on Facebook and Twitter.

You can peruse the Adult Teeth Tees selection on their Bigcartel store and follow them on Facebook. There’s a sale on badges!

You can find Runt County on CD or download – You’ll Find Us in the Parks from the album is also available for free on the Adult Teeth sampler. It’s a slammin’ compilation, that’s fer true.

Part two – Interview with Lewis Young, founder of The Adult Teeth Recording Company

Welcome to part two of the Adult Teeth interview! This comes out with some remarkable timing, as My Pleasure have previewed their new single this very eve and it sure is a smashing tune. This was one of my favourites from the live set I saw so I’m very pleased to get to hear it again. Have a listen, and you can find the interview below.

La Bête Blooms, My Pleasure and Grecian airplay.

Sean: It’s really refreshing to see a band like La Bête Blooms with Daniel running around and stuff when you see so many bands just staring at the floor.

Lewis: I don’t think there’s any pretension with La Bête Blooms. It always seems really genuine. There’s just a real vibe about them, like they really want to be doing this and they really want be here and it’s all about that gig that night, like nothing else exists.

Sean: I remember I got the demo tape and Wishing I Could Kill was the first track. It was just like, “There’s something going on here and I don’t know what it is but this is really good.”

Lewis: Yeah, that was the first single we put out by them. They did the tape and it was shortly after that they signed to the label. I was really nervous about getting them to sign because I’ve known Dan for years and he’s a really good friend. I think they’re incredible and they’re just on another level and I was like, “Will they want to come to my little label?” I just rang him up and said, “Do you want to do this thing?” and I dunno, it was almost like Sony rang up and offered to put out six albums.

It’s been amazing. That first single came out and all of a sudden people are paying attention to Adult Teeth, then they did the EP and it’s all because of that demo tape. I was just like, now’s the right time to be saying, “Come to the label and let’s do something together.” It seems to be going well, the whole BBC 6Music thing was amazing – they were on Tom Robinson and Lauren Laverne.

Lewis: "It was all Greek to me."
Lewis: “It was all Greek to me.”

Sean: Living With You by My Pleasure was on radio in Greece, how did that happen?

Lewis: Yeah, bizarrely. I don’t know how it happened. I sent press releases to so many thousands of people that maybe it got picked up, but also my auntie and uncle and two cousins live in Greece. I’m just wondering if maybe that’s got something to do with it. The city it was played in isn’t far from their village, but I haven’t had the chance to ask them yet.

Either way, it’s pretty bizarre. I was listening to it, obviously it was all in Greek and I don’t speak Greek, so it was like, “Lalalala My Pleasure lalalala.” It was great. It’s the biggest radio station in that city and it was like, “Wow, this is like BBC radio in Greece.” I’ve not had any Greek fans as a result but I know that people heard it at least.

The whole thing with that first My Pleasure song, I was so nervous about starting a new project because this is my third one. I was in a band called Jesus Christ, we named it as such just to be annoying and no one could ever find us on Google. We had a nice following in Hull but we broke up. Then I’m in Glass Delusion which is semi-hiatus at the moment but it’s still a thing.

Then there’s My Pleasure which is just a solo thing, but yeah, I was really nervous about getting it out. I thought no one was gonna care but actually within a few days the single was on 6Music, it was on BBC Introducing and it was on BBC Radio 2 at 4:30 in the morning. I don’t know how or why. It wasn’t on anyone’s show in particular, it was just thrown on at 4:30. I can say I’ve been on Radio 2 at least, just ignore the 4:30 part.

Sean: Somebody must have been listening.

Lewis: They must have been. I don’t listen to Radio 2 but I read afterwards that it’s the biggest radio station in the UK. Y’know, Christ, that’s incredible! So even at 4:30 there must have been, like, truckers or something. All of this from one single.

It’s the best reaction I’ve had for anything so far and it’s just amazing to think how shit-scared I was. It’s the worst thing to kind of put so much love and time and energy into something and then nothing comes of it. It’s the worst feeling. That’s happened in the past, so this is just awesome. I’m kind of on a high about it – not trying to get ahead of myself – but I’m really, really happy with it.

l-Bunny
Happy… like a bunny?

Sean: That’s good, it definitely shows that you’re doing the right thing.

Lewis: Yeah, it’s all trial and error right now. It’s all about seeing what works and what doesn’t and you realise there’s no exact science to any of it. I think all of a sudden I feel like I know what I’m doing. The year and a half preceding the last six months, I was kind of thinking, “Nah, I’m not cut out for this, I’ve got no idea.” Then all of a sudden things started clicking into place and it’s great at the moment. Without bigging it up too much, we’re in a really good position right now and I’m very, very happy about it. It’s just persistence, I think that’s the key.

Sean: Maybe sometimes you have to give up for a little while and then you figure it out. Like, “With some distance I understand what I should have been doing all along.” I don’t know if you ever had a moment like that.

Lewis: Definitely. I mean, almost constantly. There’s been a lot of times where that self-doubt kicks in. I think there’s also a little bit of boredom sometimes, because when things don’t happen you’re just like [makes a downtrodden noise]. When that self-doubt kicks in, it’s like, “People out there are better than me and I’m not qualified to do this.” I think that stuff is what keeps you going in a way – that fear of not being as good as you could be.

Sean: It’s when you take that chance, when you’re really not sure about something right up to the point where you do it, and people respond to it. It’s a bit special.

Lewis: Yeah, exactly. It qualifies what you’re doing. There was a long period, maybe about a year or so, when we started Adult Teeth and it was almost like shouting into a bucket. There was no response from anyone. No blogs were posting about it, there was no radio covering anything, nothing even from friends on Facebook. That whole time I was thinking I was doing something wrong but I just kept trying things to see what worked and eventually got to the position we’re at now. It could always be better but, y’know, it’s comfortable now.

Sean: It seems that you’re on track for something…

Lewis: …I’d like to think so…

Sean: …whatever that is.

Lewis: It really is like stepping into the unknown. I mean, I know what I want – what I’d like is for people like yourself to come back and buy more, basically. That said, it’s not about sales, it’s about people listening to it and I think sales qualify it. Someone buying something, they’re saying they like this enough to spend their money on it and that’s the ultimate compliment in a way.

I’d love for people to come back to Adult Teeth like I go back to Domino Records or Orchid Tapes. There’s a thing about them that you can’t put your finger on, but you go back to it and you want to see what the next thing is. I want people to be wanting more from us. I think we’re kinda getting there. It’s a big ask and it’s not gonna come overnight. We’re not owed anything, just because Adult Teeth exists doesn’t mean people should be doing that, but I hope that we’ve built something good enough to qualify for that kind of status.

cliffhanger-1993-04-g
“Look, Maggie from Northern Exposure. Part three is just over there.”

Join us tomorrow for the rest!

La Bête Blooms on Facebook and Twitter.

My Pleasure on Facebook and Twitter.

The Adult Teeth Recording Company on Facebook, Twitter and their website.

Part one – Interview with Lewis Young, founder of The Adult Teeth Recording Company

Well, this is jolly exciting. Lewis Young is the founder of The Adult Teeth Recording Company, a Hull-based independent record label which is doing some pretty exciting stuff. I’m a bit of a fan. We had a chat in the back room of the legendary Adelphi Club about music, Hull, embarrassing celebrity encounters and Tesco.

Lewis Young with a record.
This is Lewis Young, holding a record.

I had to listen to my stupid sleepy voice for this. Sometimes I just want to reach into the past and tell myself to go to bed earlier.

All about Adult Teeth.

Sean: So, what’s it like running an independent record label?

Lewis: Adult Teeth has been running two and a half years now and the whole point is, “Listen to this band, they’re awesome and they’re from Hull.” Now it’s building and people are listening a bit more and they’re paying attention, but when we started it was just really tough to get anyone to pay any attention at all. I’d send out press releases to about 500 bloggers and radio stations and just get nothing and now people are almost looking out for the emails and they’re wanting to know what’s going on.

Tonight’s the most we’ve had for a gig that we’ve put on here under the label. I think we’ve done about six now and we never seem to get more than 30 people, which is really frustrating because I think the bands we’re putting on are great. Obviously that’s why I do it, but yeah, tonight I thought was pretty good.

Sean: How many people were here? I didn’t see because I was right at the front.

Lewis: Judging on how much we got on the door I think it was about 50-something, 55 maybe, which isn’t bad really for a Thursday night. An awful lot of gigs I’ve been to here for – let’s say mid-level bands – like, say, Wave Pictures. Bands you’d expect to be selling out a venue like this and there’s been three people.

There’s a guy called Aidan Smith who played here about ten years ago and I absolutely loved him and listened to all of his albums. I was literally the only person in the audience and he still played, which was awesome but he started – not tearing up – but y’know, something was happening at the end like [makes a ‘bad vibes’ noise].

I just thought, “No one promoted this fuckin’ thing.” One person in the audience – and I nearly didn’t go! But yeah, he gave me an album at the end. I was gonna pay for it but he gave me it. He says, “Thank you for being the one person who came here.” It was like, wow, this is great. So we had a whole chat after, I was like 16 at the time and it was the first time I’ve met someone who I really respect and THAT happened.

An empty Adelphi is still pretty damn cool.

So, anyway, can’t remember what my point was. But yeah, tonight was pretty good for a Thursday. I was pretty happy with it people and seemed to stick around which is good.

Sean: Did you manage not to embarrass yourself, being 16?

Lewis: With Aidan Smith? D’you know what, I think I did alright actually. I’ve embarrassed myself in front of a lot of people I respect over the years but with Aidan I think I did alright.

Sean: What was the first gig you ever went to?

Lewis: It was Beautiful South when I was 11. They’re from Hull and everything and I’d never realised that bands from Hull could be famous until that point. I really loved Beautiful South and I had all their albums, so my dad took me out on my birthday to go and see them at Sheffield Arena. I just remember being 11 and thinking, “This is what I want to do with my life.”

I met Dave Stead from Beautiful South about two years ago actually. He owns a venue in Hull and I played there. I got really drunk by the end of it and I tried to explain that story to him and it just came out almost like a tearful… “If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be doing this,” and he was like, “Yeah, well, you were alright,” and I was like [makes a drunk noise].

It wasn’t about me being good or bad, I just don’t think I would be playing music if it wasn’t for that gig because it was incredible. You have to imagine this through the filter of about six or seven pints when I’m in post-gig mode and full of nervous excitement.

It was awful. I completely embarrassed myself in front of him and I just thought, “Shit, you had one chance to tell this guy…” I think that’s probably the most embarrassed I’ve been because it meant so much. It was like, “I really needed to tell this guy this.”

cliffhanger

Come back tomorrow for part two of three!

You can find The Adult Teeth Recording Company on Facebook, Twitter and their website.

Menace Beach, Martha, Rice Milk @ Pop Recs Ltd., Sunderland

Mose Allison wos ere 2k14
Mose Allison wos ere 2k14

This was an occasion that can best be described as ‘historical as fuck’. Menace fuckin’ Beach’s first ever show in the north east. Tubular!

First up, we had Rice Milk. Smashing band! Only two guys too. I really dig that. Bands with only two people are the future of music, ’cause you can tour in a smaller car.

The Italians go on and on about how the best dishes only need five ingredients and a little magic from Mama, and that’s Rice Milk. Sweet noises and one of the most unexpected voices I’ve ever heard – but, y’know, in a good way.

Speaking of Italy, in Pop Recs you can get the most amazing coffee. Try the Al Pacino, they’ll love ya for it. Hoo-ah.

Martha next!

If I’d bothered to do my research instead of idly stroking my beard, I would have probably noticed that I have shared an office and awkward “holding the door open” moments with one of the members. For a year. Fucking oops.

I mention this just so you know that my journalistic impartiality has been impinged. I don’t want death stares every time I go to the loo.

That said, if they’d sucked I wouldn’t have mentioned all of the previous. I would have curled up into a ball of nerves and willed myself out of existence rather than write this review. I probably would have moved to Venezuela.

So, yeah, they’re great. I like bands where everybody sings because it appeals to the socialist in me. They sing about life and Durham.

In my phone notes from the night, I wrote that they are “raw, randy, raucous, Rush-referencing roustabouts.” Clearly the product of too much coffee and not enough sleep. For ten years.

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Menace Beach, en silhouette.

Menace Beach are the Earth, Wind & Fire of indie rock bands. Just guitarists all over the shop. You can’t see the five additional bassists here, there wasn’t enough space in the main room so they had to be relocated.

Where to?

The basement.

Badum-tssh.

Bollocks aside, Menace goshdarned Beach. What a great noise they make. I’ve written about them before, but it’s really amazing to see them now that I’ve spent a good seven months listening to their totally excellent EP. Their set flew by, but I could probably see these guys every day of the week and it wouldn’t be enough. There’s really a lot of great new guitar music around at the moment and Menace Beach are the cream on top. You know, the best bit.

How do they sound live? I’ll let them speak for themselves on that one.

They’re so good.

It’s worth giving a shout out here to the Pop Recs guys for running a real classy shop with amazing records all over the place, and also to the promoter Dan Shannon for putting together one of the most stunning bills I’ve seen since, well, the last time I saw Menace Beach.

Also, Simon from the train home, you’re an absolute dude and a crazy mother.

If you liked any of the stuff up there, here are some links. Check these bands out and support this great independent music scene we’ve got going on in the UK. There’s so much great music, guys.

Menace Beach on Twitter, Facebook and here’s their website.

Martha on Twitter, Facebook and here’s their Bandcamp page.

Rice Milk on Twitter, Tumblr and also Bandcamp.

Pop Recs Ltd. on Facebook and their website.

Live Review: Cheatahs, Menace Beach, Shinies at The Harley, Sheffield (February 15th, 2014)

Hello bus station coffee, my old friend...
Hello bus station coffee, my old friend…

As I got on the bus to Sheffield at a time that shouldn’t exist on a Saturday morning, I thought to myself, “What the fucking hell are you doing going to Sheffield? This is a really stupid thing to do. Why aren’t you sleeping like usual?”

Well, Mr. Internal Monologue Laced With Self-Doubt, you are dumb.

I saw Cheatahs last November (2013, if you are from the future) supporting METZ in Glasgow. It was excellent. Just… excellent. There are no words. That’s why I didn’t bother reviewing it. Yeah… that’s why.

Sheffield is nice. It has trams. I like trams. You buy the ticket on-board from a conductor, which is just adorable. Every public transport system should be so quaint.

Also, their coach station has padded seats and that's a major plus.
Also, their coach station has padded seats and that’s a major plus.

Would you believe my luck? The Harley is also a hotel, and if you stay at the hotel you don’t need to buy a ticket. This saved me the princely sum of £8 which I later invested in a drink or two. Or nine. It’s also really close to a little Sainsbury’s. This is good news if you are like me and make sandwiches in your hotel room to save money.

As far as hotels go I’ve stayed in fancier but I found it was pretty cosy. A little run-down but not dirty and at no point did I fear for my life. Considering recent experiences, The Harley might as well be the goddamn Marriott. I watched the Food Network, I napped a little. It was bitchin’.

Then I had a dreadful nightmare.
Then I had a dreadful nightmare.

I went downstairs and felt really awkward for a while. Also, £4.50 for a Kopparberg!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Shinies were first up. They’re from Manchester. They’re also really, really good. I have a great attitude towards research so I knew absolutely nothing about them or even that they were playing, so I can’t tell you what songs they played. What I CAN tell you is that the songs were awesome. Definitely a band I’ll be seeing again.

If you don’t like to watch people eating, you can listen to the song by itself. I highly recommend it.

At this point I should mention that the music played between bands was just endlessly great. This is something that a lot of people neglect. A great opener should get you in the mood for the headliner, but what’s all that energy worth if you’re going to spend the next 20 minutes standing around being bored? I’m looking at you, Manchester Cathedral. You are boring.

The screen showed clips from Tarantino movies.
Menace Beach. The screen showed clips from Tarantino movies. Cool.

Menace Beach played in the middle and I shuffled myself down to the front. It’s really lame seeing an empty space at the front where there ought to be people – if you go right to the stage you no longer have to see the gap. This wasn’t an issue for much longer because Menace Beach are fucking brilliant. I’m going to save a lot of my gushing for the inevitable review of their EP, but I think I love them.

I took video. Here is video. It’s not the finest in the world, but sometimes shopping at Aldi isn’t so bad. Also, it’s my website so shut up. I do what I want.

Cheatahs are a real joy to see live. Their music is a fun mix of heavy, spacey and a little poppy that’s hard to dance to but a treat to hear. As good as their recorded material is (including their album which came out last week, it’s so good) nothing compares to seeing them live.

This was really the crowd looked like. Apart from not a cartoon.
This was really the crowd looked like. Apart from not a cartoon. Yes, this is how I dance.

There’s something about seeing Cheatahs that makes you forget about your life for a while. It’s hard not to feel like you could float away on the music. Some scienticians have found that good music increases dopamine levels in the brain. After this show, I believe it. It was a great spiritual cleanser.

If you think that sounds pretentious, you don’t understand because you weren’t there, man.

You know a thing I really like? When band members sit at the merch table. There’s something that feels so right about physically handing over your money to one of the people directly responsible for the stuff you’re buying. If I was a band I would totally do this, even if I was Nine Inch Nails.

I sort of hung out a little with Menace Beach. There was chocolate. There was rum. They are very nice.

Needless to say, I hated myself in the morning.

Bacon helped.

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Review: Live From New York City, 1967 by Simon and Garfunkel (2002)

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There was a time when I thought that I was too cool for Simon and Garfunkel. It turns out that Simon and Garfunkel were too cool for me. Thankfully, I grew up.

Most of us have some sort of history with one of music’s finest duos, but even if somehow you don’t (!?!?!) then you will probably enjoy this album. Some things are just universally great.

Moomins, for example.

Maybe you know a few songs but you find the super-60s production a little overwhelming, perhaps you think it’s just fine the way it is but you like hearing things done a little differently, you could even be from the moon – my point is that Live From New York City, 1967 is an essential album. I don’t know how I lived without it.

Okay, so songs and stuff. There’s a nice selection here. I’m not going to take it track by track because that’s not the point of live albums. A bunch of the classics are here – Homeward BoundA Hazy Shade of WinterI Am a RockThe Sound of Silence… always a pleasure.

There are also fifteen tracks besides those above. They are beautiful. You might think I’m slipping into hyperbole here, but I’m not exaggerating one bit when I say that I love this album and intend to marry it.

“But why do you love this record to the extent that you’re willing to commit the rest of your life to worshipping it?” asks nobody in particular.

Nobody in particular is represented here by the world's everyman, Sasquatch.
Nobody in particular is represented here by the Sasquatch.

That’s a great question! In future though please keep your queries and comments for the end of the review. Thank you.

Well, besides the fact that every single song is entirely brilliant, Live From New York City, 1967 is a rare thing insofar as it is a Simon and Garfunkel record that features only… well… Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. This isn’t your usual Simon and Garfunkel and Drummer and Horn Section and Two Guitarists and Keyboard Player and Backing Vocalists and Bassist and Dude Playing Triangle live album and that is what makes it so special.

We all knew Paul Simon was an excellent guitarist, but wow he’s so amazing. I think he has an extra hand he’s not telling us about. Art Garfunkel is often done a great disservice in these sorts of pieces, cast as the amusical hanger-on, but the man simply has a stunning voice.

Together they are perfect, and that’s the real selling point of this live album: it’s a testament to the brilliance of Paul Simon’s poetry and the beauty of his and Art Garfunkel’s harmonies that the songs are somehow improved for being stripped down to their barest bones.

Basically, if you don’t buy Live From New York City, 1967 then you don’t have a soul.

Live From New York City, 1967 track list:

  1. He Was My Brother
  2. Leaves That Are Green
  3. Sparrow
  4. Homeward Bound
  5. You Don’t Know Where Your Interest Lies
  6. A Most Peculiar Man
  7. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)
  8. The Dangling Conversation
  9. Richard Cory
  10. A Hazy Shade Of Winter
  11. Benedictus
  12. Blessed
  13. A Poem on the Underground Wall
  14. Anji
  15. I Am a Rock
  16. The Sound of Silence
  17. For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her
  18. A Church Is Burning
  19. Wednesday Morning, 3 A. M.

Review: The Drone by We Are Knuckle Dragger (2013)

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The Drone is the second album by We Are Knuckle Dragger. They’re a very good band and this is a very good album, but will you like it? Maybe.

Knuckle Dragger aren’t a group for everybody, but that’s fine. They make the music they want to make, which shouldn’t really be such a fucking novelty, and that music is beautiful. Not beautiful like Chopin, but beautiful, glorious NOISE.

A huge shit-eating grin spreads over my face every time that first slab of grumbly rumbly bass starts molesting my speakers. Perhaps such mucky stuff shouldn’t make me so happy, but I can’t help it.

This shit’s all over the place and I love it.

The Drone was produced by Ross Robinson, the man who invented Slipknot, and he’s a great fit. As much of a crime Korn was he totally makes up for it with this. We cool, Ross, we cool.

I’m not going to talk about The Drone song by song because it’s not that kind of record. Everything is brilliant, that’s what you need to know.

It’s also heavy. Really heavy. Really fucking heavy. Jesus Christ, it’s heavy.

Do you like heavy music? Do you like noisy noise? Do you like to boogie? Do you like to rock and/or roll? Do you like grunge? Do you like to do a depressed shuffle to The Cure? Into ABBA?

None of the above?

Billy Joel 4 life.
Billy Joel 4 life.

You should listen to The Drone anyway. It’s only 29 minutes long, what else were you going to do today?

It’s been very interesting to see this album develop. I was lucky enough to attend a secret show in Knuckle Dragger‘s rehearsal space where they played 9 of these 10 songs (the 10th wasn’t done yet) only a few days before they were recorded and beaten into shape. To then see them (in HMV, of all places) perform the whole thing front-to-back on the day of release was a real treat.

If they come anywhere near you then try and catch them while they’re still cheap to see. If you live somewhere near Newcastle-upon-Tyne then your chances are better than most (I’ve seen them three times this year without really trying) but they tour the UK fairly regularly and it’s surely not long until they can pop on over to mainlaind Europe to give them a good kicking.

Look! They're in HMV!
Look! They’re in HMV!

Here are a few videos to give you an idea of what’s what and the full album is below (on Spotify). Here’s their official website where you can buy their albums. Do it!

The Drone track list:

  1. This Better Be Life Threatening Norman
  2. Starting Strength
  3. Class of 94
  4. Bunch of Fucking Mutants
  5. Sucker
  6. The Moon on a Stick
  7. Learning by Doing
  8. Here’s Your Shit Sandwich
  9. Flapjack the Ripper
  10. Funhouse