Monday, 28 April 2008

Too Ghoul For School

These Are Powers
Knitting Factory, Manhatten, NY
19 April 2008

Unlike Gordon Brown, whose visit was effectively erased from history by that of Pope Benedict XVI, I selected an opportune time to visit New York. Granted, finding a week without worthwhile gigs in New York is about as likely as His Holiness tossing condoms to the crowds from his Mercedes-Benz ‘PopeMobile’, yet I still consider myself fortunate. Although Parts & Labor and Exit Clov deserve honourable mentions, the most stirring performance of my vacation was provided by These Are Powers.

Hailing from Chicago/Brooklyn, These Are Powers have just completed a mammoth Stateside tour to promote their new Taro Tarot EP culminating in last Saturday’s release party at the Knitting Factory in Tribeca. Taking to the stage just after 2am, the amount of people capable of coherent coversations and standing of their own free will (even simultaneously) compared with your average British crowd at this hour was startling; their sobriety was duly rewarded with a thrilling live assault.

Drummer, Bill Salas, created tribal-like rhythms from an extensive kit of drums and electronics, to which bassist, Pat Noecker (formerly of Liars) and guitarist, Anna Barie, layered warped post-punk noise over the top. Their sound is a hectic collage of PiL and Sonic Youth spliced with the immediacy and aural frenetics of Black Dice, which the band themselves have succinctly summarised as “ghost-punk”.

Their debut album, ‘Terrific Seasons’ came out late last year on Hoss Records in the U.S. But it's available in the UK on iTunes and various tracks are still downloadable on their myspace including the ace Chipping Ice (which includes a chorus of coughing) from their new EP. Get involved!

Words: SS

New Ears' New Era - Copycats

When I told my friends back in London I was moving to Manchester most of them looked at me like I was crazy. I guess it’s understandable; to most people located south of the Watford junction ‘up north’ is a byword for an imagined post industrial wilderness rife with incest and guys in baseball caps trying to sell you pills, with a musical 'scene' that exists solely to pay tribute to the city's 'lottery winners with guitars' heritage of the last 15 years.

It kind of is and it kind of isn't. I mean, after my first week here I pretty much wanted to kill myself, but then I started to catch glimpses beneath the (lad) rock surface and found ample reason for hope.

Lurking in the shadows of this former cottonpolis are a growing number of bands, promoters and nights who have no interest in pandering to lazy media constructed expectations of what Manchester should sound like, preferring instead to define it on their own terms.
Perhaps the most exciting band currently emerging from this Manchester not Manchester movement are Copycats, a group comprised of 3 heavily fringed 'disturbed teens' who make playing post-Testicicles spazzcore pop sound the most fun thing in the world. They've only been together a few months but are already making waves off the back of their performances at local underage gigs; just don't expect to catch them in Sale anytime soon; last time they played there singer AH got punched in the face and they encountered (in a local takeaway) 'some woman (who) had gotten the shit beaten out of her and coughed blood everywhere' which they describe as 'Fucking whack'.

That they recently won some Skins competition (to support The Teenagers) will undoubtedly polarise people but I’m sure they wouldn’t have it any other way. Check out the below mp3 of their Fox track to see whats going on.

Words: Billy Idle

Tuesday, 22 April 2008


When searching, lost in panicked despair, for new Manchester music but finding nothing but baggy nonsense snagged on lad-rock twatery. And then seek misguided solace in the bosom of a drab post-Libertines scene unaware of its paradoxical uniform individuality. And when thee suddenly realise that for all the haircuts and indie glitterati, in 2008, to Manchester's immense pride and utter embarrassment, The Fall are the most important band in this former musical beacon. Then welcome. Umm-phufffff welcome, to New Ears…

Words: SS