Monday, 5 November 2018
Sunday, 7 October 2018
Monday, 10 September 2018
So here we go again. Chimpyfest 2018. New venue. More expensive beer, cleaner toilets with more capacity. No car park for street cans and Buckfast. Anyway, enough whinging let's mention the bands.
Spacegrind. Drums, guitar, and two guys manipulating pedals like someone's pointing a gun at their children. A great start to Chimpy.
Sharing some members with the first band, this is some dirty 90s grindcore reminiscent of early Napalm Death. Lovely.
Brutal 2 piece, short manic blasts. Get involved. What a great name. Shame there was no cover of Easy Lover though.
Savage throat tearing 3 piece, first pit of the day. Like Narcosis if they weren't abrasive dickheads. Probably. And they have a new record out so fucking buy it.
I've seen these cunts on telly. Filthy death metal. Have it. Nasty, sludgy, and from Manchester. So naturally the Southerners here fucking love it. Where's my fucking prawn sandwich? Actually Roy Keane can go fuck himself these riffs are tasty enough
First two bands resurface. It is loud. It is fast. I think Chimpy has just imported a whole scene. Dual vocals, crunchy grind, not quite as filthy as earlier, but pretty fucking solid.
Well who doesn't love at least a little bit of Anal Penetration? For some it is the highlight of their day, for some it makes their whole week. Filthy cybergrind is the order of the day here, superfast drum machine and all. Arsehole tight, he didn't hit a single bum note. The audience loved it, showing just how much fun Anal Penetration can be.
Missed them due to jobsworth security not letting us back into the venue. Sorry! Tony did an impression of their set though and on that basis they get 8/10.
Tony gets Tony/10
Warfuck will straight up tear your face off. Riffs like a crowbar to the jaw. Drums like a herd of elephants snorting racetrack size lines of speed. I'm not sure if my head's going to hurt tomorrow because of a hangover or because of Warfuck
Good old sludgy crust punk. The sound of a scrumpy hangover. Or at least what it would be personified as while you tell everyone to fuck off out of your way so you can throw up and then down some painkillers with your next pint of cider
Imagine a pill that flashes a dystopian sci-fi horror novel through your brain every couple of minutes. The screams of a thousand dying alien races and spaceships crashing into slowly dying stars. That is what Antigama sound like.
Vitamin X are fast and angry but it seems more wholesome than all the grindcore. Probably because the sound is cleaner and I don't feel as dirty listening to it. Probably attributing this to me being tired, and it sounds way more unfair to the other bands than intended. I guess some filth just never washes off. If they'd played earlier today this would have been just the massive energy boost I needed. They finished a track with the words "you suck" just as I was typing this. For running out of energy yes I do indeed suck, but Vitamin X don't. High energy hardcore that's pissed off but doesn't leave you feeling miserable. Inevitably, as it is Chimpy, there's an inflatable alligator bouncing around the crowd.
Thursday, 6 September 2018
Stefan put on a cracking night previously, and from the line up, this looked like an absolute corker. With four bands for three quid, you can't complain.
I was a little disappointed Cyberwaste wasn't able to make it down, and I was later informed by James (Slow Clinic, Chrono) that Ashlinn was ill, and I for one wish her a speedy recovery, as Cyberwaste was excellent last time, and I'd been looking forward to it.
However, let's get into it. I'd arrived a touch early and was able to see a few of the soundchecks, like a true hipster music enthusiast.
I'd made a few notes during the bands:
First on was Slow Clinic, the brainchild of "Reverb James": James Armstrong.
Bowed guitar brings a hint of majesty from the first note, which swells and threatens to suffocate, but no. This is not a gruff show of brutality, this is a wave to carry your mind, not drown it. Notes rise like islands, leaving you feel as though you are watching a film, a gentle panning shot of some unknown landscape. I'm reminded in part of Boards of Canada. I feel as though I am hearing an aural watercolour, a representation of a loved family photograph of an old holiday, smiling through the sadness at the memory I'll never quite recover. It is captivating stuff, and at times hard to believe that it is improvised.
Next up were Chrono, and James was back on stage with a full band.
Described as post rock, you could guess at any number of genre tropes, and with the ethereal start, you'd be forgiven for thinking this was going to be some lovely 4AD worship. Not so, as the wave breaks and the riffs begin to crash against your head. Stand on the pier and watch the fireworks. You can see as the colours burst in the sky that these guys enjoy what they do. OK. Time to dispense with any metaphors or similes. It is just good music, that borders on telepathic, considering the band's prior logistical difficulties, but then, you'd never realise that unless they'd told you before. This is the soundtrack to drinking a beer on the beach, watching a glorious sunset. The kind of thing you really don't want to end any time soon.
an early haunting
Guitar. Bass. Double-bass. Organ. Ok. Yes. Good. More of that lovely jangly summer guitar tone, the kind you'd hear on a Durutti Column record. This is laid back, the organ a touch understated, but not sinister. Guitar change. Some strong instrumental post punk. The Joy Division shirt should have been a clue, and I mean no disrespect when I say that. Another instrument change. Violin back to a sadder tone, but this is compelling, highly competent musicianship, and while the changes interrupt the flow a little, I'm very intrigued to see how this would pan out across the course of an album. Oh, and flute too now. Definitely a band I'll be keeping an out for, seriously talented five piece.
I found out after their set they're about 2/3 through working on an album. Keep your eyes peeled.
And I've been reviewing things lately.
Thing is, Chimpyfest doesn't exactly lend itself to standing about with a notepad scribbling away.
Following a chat with Martin from the mighty Lifewrecker (playing Sunday), I decided to do a mini best of cobbled together from what I can remember from the last few years.
Atomçk - Good lads, very very fast, real classic savage grindcore. Imagine if Dark Souls was a grindcore band. You Have Died. 9/10
Monday, 3 September 2018
Impressive array of wires and machinery. Artist with back turned, focused solely on looped pulsing rhythms and gentle synth washes. A soundtrack for a sea of robots, a rising metal tide. One hopes that it is as gentle as the low hum emitting from the speakers. There are hints though, that it is a dark future ahead. Either way I'd like to see this artist doing film scores or game music, knowing it'd be both immersive and terrifying.
Much less kit for this one, but no less immersive. More shimmer than crashing wave this time, building like you're just coming up. Irony being I'm sober for this gig, but yeah, this sounds pretty. After the glitter intro we get what appears to be jungle that's smoked a joint of trip-hop. I want it to be louder. Suddenly we're back in rainforest territory. This is chillout done very well. The soundtrack to 4am euphoria. Here it comes, something sinister. The lurking spectre of the hangover to come. They say DMT is a 12 hour acid trip in 2 hours. This has been a good club night in 20 minutes.
Organ music from a sci-fi film it seems, but I can't place whether opening or ending credits. There's menace as the beat kicks in, so we'll go with opening credits. An unfamiliar landscape appears, and you try to stop and stare, maybe get your bearings but you need to get to safety first. A flash of white light and you're in the city, grey brick flaunting its neon lace panties. Casinos, clubs, cyberpunk street vendors. You reach for your pocket, and the machine flickers. "Insert credstick to continue". You pull out a few coins and start to remember where you really are.
Prepared guitar. String on string, like a quantum physics lesson gone wrong. The loop pedal makes it orchestral, steadily building, and it feels like you've discovered a way to make your life run in slow motion. Use of a bow on an electric guitar lets you know this is nowhere near conventional, but the waves carry you off all the same. There's a majesty to this, like you might hear from Godspeed You! Black Emperor, a comparison I've made before. Perhaps lazy of me, and certainly it doesn't give James Armstrong of Slow Clinic the credit he deserves here. Improvised soundscapes of stunning depth, you'd hardly believe this the work of one man if you weren't seeing it happen before you.
Projector, and a noir-ish soundtrack, a night drive with William Gibson as your Sat Nav. Not what I was expecting at all from the name, but it's been mostly ambient stuff tonight. The projected visuals have something of a Lawnmower Man feel, though this is no nightmare. You have become one with the machine now. You recognise yourself in the mirror, but see that you are also irrevocably changed. Parts of you are better, faster, you only wish you were able to hide the wires.
A duo, the first this evening. his is definitely dance music, and it's not ambient. Not a bad thing, you need loud party music every now and then. They look like they are having fun, and messing with the crowd a little with a few breaks in volume. It's cheery stuff, and they also appear to be sharing a bottle of bubbly between them. It seems like the sonic equivalent of bringing space hoppers onto a bouncy castle. Great fun, but you're probably going to regret it in the morning.
Tuesday, 29 May 2018
Wednesday, 16 May 2018
I appear on the first track of this album, providing a spoken word piece. A draft of said spoken word piece previously appeared on this blog.
For further details on the release, please visit https://slowclinic.bandcamp.com/album/all-of-us-are-medicated
Tuesday, 15 May 2018
It seems that so many men suffer the Cyclopean urge. Seeing and thinking with a single eye, convinced that it may be their third. Of course, one may be forgiven a certain drive, a particular emphasis, as long as it doesn't, shall we say... override all else. Amusing then, that the thrust of this particular missive is concerned with such nature without penetrating to any deeper level. Perhaps it should.
Saturday, 12 May 2018
As reported by shitrockjournalist
*Disclaimer - all bands got two reviews, one less serious than the other. Both are presented here.
"Fuck man, it doesn't look like a venue."
"Of course it's a venue. They have a drum kit."
"Shit man, every Starbucks has a drum kit these days."
"Ah come on man, this is better than Starbucks, I've only seen one laptop so far."
"Alright man, point taken. People here too. You sure we're really at a gig?"
"Look, they have booze too!"
"Oh shit, really? I guess it is better than Starbucks…"
Slow Clinic (1)
Just a boy and his guitar. Well, that and a pretty sweet pedal board. A moment's introduction and then a tone that begins to swallow the room. You listen close and hear clicks of pedals and picked strings, a child watching a puppet show. He's seen the wires but it doesn't matter because he's in another world now. He feels himself lifted, watching himself at play, staring, amazed at how one man can generate those sounds. Patiently he waits his turn to applaud.
Changing Colour (1)
Guitar and drum. Stiff Little Fingers fans? Unconfirmed. Bassist just showed. Ignore that cultural reference. Drummer with brushes, bassist slinging some funk. This kind of sounds like Jamiroquai if Jay Kay wasn't such a colossal prick. Are those tea towels on the drums as mufflers? How amusingly British, despite the American sugar sweet pop sensibilities. I reckon these boys would be good to have a few beers with. They seem too clean cut for a good spliff, but you know, I could be wrong…
Defined by Nassim Nicholas Taleb as a rare and unpredictable event, much like actually being able to buy the new EP, Black Swan, or to be accurate Blackswan. Two piece. Two young handsome chaps with guitars. No drummer. No bassist. Not tonight anyway. Ok, let's go. Full disclosure, on my 3rd G&T. Full house for the boys. Starting with a non-EP track on the launch night. Bold move. Bold voice though. Imagine Americana shot through with a little more soul. Couple of whoops and cheers before the first song is over. Culmination of over 10 years of jams and writing, with the help of Postmaster Studios, old jams and songs find new life through these acoustic shamans.
Slow Clinic (2)
Knowing that an artist cares deeply about an acoustic space and its properties is an interesting thing. As tone swells phase in and out, muttering among the audience provides unintentional percussive accompaniment. Ice placed into a tumbler, pouring of liquid gives further disjointed rhythm. It is amusing how even those being egregiously inattentive lend something to the performance. Only the untimely ring of a mobile phone, swiftly muted, seems out of place. It may be a slow clinic, but it is an interesting waiting room.
Changing Colour (2)
So Disney decide to do a teen movie set at a beach house. These guys are the prom band. They wrote the whole score. It's catchy and fun, music to smile to as you try to place musical references. A hint of Michael Jackson before he went completely insane. Just in a vocal flourish here and there, you know, but it's present. A real happy ending of a band. No. Not like that, you pervert.
So headline act, how about this EP? You've quite a following with your sad tinged songs. Well, I shouldn't put it like that, it gives the impression you're nothing more than mopey Morrissey fanboys, and if you were, you'd have no fans. Morrissey? Nobody wants that. No. There's joy here too. Vibrant, life affirming, like rock music fucking well should be. This could have been a different review if I'd been drinking whisky, but the tunes still would have been good, you'd still be reading an advert for the new EP. Two guitars and a great voice. It might be simple, but it's done really fucking well.
Slow Clinic - for fans of: Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Jesu, Sigur Ros, pick a good post rock band and go.
Changing Colour - for fans of: Jamiroquai, Sublime, chilling in a beer garden with a cold beverage while the summer sun beams down
Blackswan - for fans of: Clayhill, Dana Immanuel, Tracy Chapman, Joe Henry, meaningful conversations at a house party at 2am after the prick with an acoustic guitar has stopped playing Wonderwall and handed it over to someone who knows what they are doing
Like every shit rock star, this shit rock journalist had to end with a fucking advert!