Sunday, 25 May 2008

Go Ear: Electricity In Our Homes

Given our rainy city's fondness for eulogising it's past, the collective altzeimers suffered with regards to The Diagram Brothers, aka the best band to ever hail from Manchester, is both peculiar and depressing.
Luckily London four piece Electricity in Our Homes aren't quite so forgetful. They've embraced the aforementioned Brothers' love of dischordandce and married it with their own clipped rhythmic sensiblility to create one of the most exciting musical propositions of the past eighteen months.

This Wednesday they'll be bringing their buttoned down brand of dissonance to the Shoot Me Club at Oxford Road's Deaf Institute (the new Trof). Expect cut-glass guitars, No Wave Rhythms and monochrome aesthetics. Our advice: Go see.

Video: Electricity in Our Homes - 'Are They Doing Something Nasty?' live in Rome.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

hey Panda Give You Extra

If you punch a Giant Panda in the eye does it go white? No doubt WWF would have something to say about conducting an experiment, but it can't deny that in a similar way to "who would win a fight between a Lion and a Tiger?", these questions need answers. OK teenagers hey Panda don't answer these burning questions (yet), but they do answer one question in the affirmative, are there any good bands in Halifax?

Yes Halifax. Previous Halifax musical output has been limited to that bespectacled guy, Howard Brown, from the bank adverts, but these four youngens are writing their own far more exciting chapter in West Yorkshire's musical heritage. Ticking all the important post-punk influence boxes, hey Panda evoke the same kind of dance-punk fun and energy that The Rapture did in their early days. Proving that they're far more virile than their animal moniker, it seems they perform, in the main, topless. Manchester promoters, don't make them take their jeans off too. Please pull your fingers out and book this band post haste.

hey Panda - 'Angry Canadian' (download here or listen below)

Words: SS

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Esqueezy gets Eurocultured...

What’s pop-a-loppin? It’s almost Bank Holiday Weekend (aka drinking and messiness) so time to go give all you Mancsters a heads up about Eurocultured this year. It’s European culture, but all the best bits like drinking, street partying and ‘nuff music. Check the flyer and you know what I’m talking about. It’s getting all urban up in Sumo Sunday, so why not join me to drink all those thugged out status drinks beginning with a C – Courvoisier, Cristal…errrrrrm Cava? Well yeah, you get my drift. If my magic is working and you’re about to drop everything to come you can expect a pretty sexual six hours in Coco Too’s, which is ditching the usual bruschetta for a bit of bass. No disrespect to Italian culinary specialities but I know which one tastes best. Expect a solid mix of hip-hop, bassfaces, grime, drinking, dubstep, dutty wining, dancehall…

I think I’ve pushed that enough now.

As well as Fallacy’s soon-to-be-legendary evening soiree, there’s plenty poppin off (there goes my Cava cork) in the day, from break dancing to graffiti to DJs playing pretty much every genre under sun (of which I’m praying for) on and around New Wakefield Street… plus it’s only £2. Under 16s are free, but don’t be making any skanky student moves like trying to make out you’re sweet sixteen or saying your aunties-mates-cousin is DJing. It ain’t cool.

It’s a little more on the door tax at night but c’mon, it’s pure gold. Coco Too’s is near The Ritz (possibly adjacent, but my memory is shot) so no excuses.

Get on, and you won’t need much persuading.

See you there poomplex.

Words: Esqueezy

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Hotpants Romance

The thing about Punk music is that its always better when the people playing it don't come across like they're trying too hard. I guess thats why groups made up of girls who own cool record collections and play the 3 chords they know like they're on a permanent sugar rush will always be worth a zillion pseudo anarchist bores with mohawks (seriously guy, if it really was 'anarchy' you'd probably be the first to cop it). Think The Slits, think X-Ray Spex. More recently think (early) Erase Errata and Mika Miko. And now, think Manchester's gloriously named Hotpants Romance.

I tried to get an mp3 off them for you, the New Ears faithful, and they (rather unromantically) longed me off but trust me, it's the kind of thing that gets lazy A&R wannabees and journo's chatting 'bout: 'like Delta 5 drunk off Cherry Cola covering Ramones songs in Brian Wilson's sandpit'.
Still, don't take my word for it, go visit them on myspace and check it for yourself:

Words: Billy Idle

Sunday, 18 May 2008

No Age, Ex Models, Atlas Sound

Islington Mill, Salford
16 May 2008

Atlas Sound
Bradford Cox (he of Deerhunter) is a fragile looking creature, yet as soon as he introduces himself it's clear he's most comfortable in his own skin when he's behind a microphone and knob-twiddling his sequencer/looper. Despite the indulgent private jam overtones, this was a prodigious showcase of the ambient atmospherics and Beach Boys-esque melodies of his solo project, Atlas Sound. Reminiscent of Panda Bear's Person Pitch LP after a drenching of reverb, it was enchanting stuff. His acclaimed début album, Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel, was released on 4AD earlier this month. Seek it out.

Atlas Sound - 'Recent Bedroom' (download here or listen below)

Ex Models
Ex Models play dirty, repetitive, abrasive and minimalist noise-rock, which if health and safety NAZIs had their way would come with a health warning for those with less than the strictest control over their bowels. The Brooklyn trio gripped the crowd with a feeling of nauseating wonder but it was the unfathomably amazing frenetics of drummer, Kid Millions (also of Oneida), which held most of the attention. New material from their forthcoming as yet unknown forth album is streamable from their myspace...

No Age
“Look at me! Get a snap of me! I'm rocking out!” cried the contrived mosh-pit. Thankfully LA Smell scene's flagship act, No Age, rose above the artificial dramatics of the more vacuous members of the audience and ripped through a set of short, sharp and distorted drone-rock shots to the arm. The simplicity of their punk past with former band Wives is still traceable through Randy Randall’s rippling undercurrents that fluctuate beneath Dean Spunt’s structured percussion and throaty vocal, particularly on the riotous noise of ‘Brain Burner', which glued my senses in awe. But for failing to relinquish the hold that fellow Smellions HEALTH have on the title for gig of the year thus far, No Age's set was a complete triumph. Well done them. Recently released Nouns LP is essential 2008 purchasing, so go get that.

No Age - 'Brain Burner' (download here of listen below)

Words and cheap picture: SS

Thursday, 15 May 2008


Time to delete some of those WebCameron podcasts and make room for this new episode of moving pictures. New Warp signees, antipodean trio Pivot, release their new In The Blood EP on Monday with a Jaws dropping video featuring puppets, sharks and gore galore.

Like first UK release 'Didn't I Furious', Pivot's new single marries Autechre's bleeps and Talking Heads' new wave post-punk together in a way only your well schooled muso vicars can.

Pivot - 'Didn't I Furious' (download here or listen below)

Words: SS

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Coachella Festival: My Pilgrimage To Indio

In contrast to our domestic music festivals, the lineup for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California is the stuff that dreams are made of. Our intrepid reporter, jobot, found a blueprint for musical heaven on earth, we asked her to fill us in and recommend her favourite new bands from the festival…

En route to Indio my taxi driver was so desperate for my business that he offered to help disassemble my tent on the Monday after the festival before driving me back. Such a unique situation set amongst a landscape of palm trees, desert and wind farms helped me entertain the notion that Coachella is indeed a dream come to earth. I mean, where else in the world would you see trip-hop heroine Beth Gibbons share stage with the godfathers of electronic music, Kraftwerk? Not to mention Prince, Portishead, a two and a half hour festival-closing set by Roger Waters (accompanied by an inflated flying pig) and, for the younger gurning generation, Justice’s more kosher showcase of electro.

Friday night I arrived to catch the first twenty minutes of Diplo's set before wandering back to my tent to grab a jacket and return for Spankrock, only to find that even if you have been travelling for well over 36 hours, the ‘no-returns’ policy meant you were unable to be readmitted onto the festival grounds! I was left instead to sit at the campsite and get to know my neighbours and reminisce about days gone in music where your waist size didn't help to determine your record sales. One thing that can be said for Coachella goers is their willingness to mix LSD types no matter what the mental cost. It’s not hard to see where Hunter S.Thompson, who wrote about this very 'bat country', got his inspiration from.

The Bird And The Bee
Saturday saw me visit the concert site and catch this LA two-piece composed of Inara George and Greg Kurstin. Carrying a love for Hammond organs and dreamy spazz jazz licks, the duo make music that sounds like a soundtrack to a futuristic 1960's American film set in Brazil. Inara sings in a sweet whisper but taints any notion of naivety with her sexually suggestive, clever lyrics. In fact, 'My Fucking Boyfriend', taken from their debut album has been lovingly remixed by the queen of electro smut herself, Peaches. Alongside two back-up singers and a bubble machine, Inara and Greg managed to awaken the early morning festival attendees and charm those still asleep into the deepest, dirtiest wet dream imaginable - all whilst smiling sweetly and addressing the audience with their Brady Bunch dress sense.

Austin TV
I awoke on Sunday morning after a mere three hours rest to drag my weary, sun cream soaked bones onto the festival grounds where I was serenaded by Austin TV who sonically resembled Sigur Rós but with a distinctively Mexican flavour. I stood entranced by 'El secreto de las luciemegas' in particular. Perhaps the Sigur Rós comparison is unfair; Austin TV’s set reminded me of the soundscapes of shoegazers like Ride but with a true D.I.Y edge and music so intense that if it were to have lyrics I couldn’t bare listen.

After Austin TV's truly stellar performance I ventured to the Sahara tent to take audience with Berlin based, Modeselektor. Being a Berliner at heart, I wanted to witness the nomadic culture shift from the once divided city to the heart of the American desert. Following Danny Tenaglia's brain lobotomy of a set, the two geeky button pushers of Modeselektor took to the stage. From the first high pitched squeal that introduces the opening bars of 'Deboutonner', my senses were immediately heightened and my feet danced uncontrollably. Not content with being compared to Warp Records’ former cash cow, Aphex Twin, the duo take their bleepy messages beyond the bounds of expected techno/electro/glitchcore by adding their own infectious optimism to high tech rhythms. Their entire set felt like I was part of a mass ritual with Modeselektor well and truly the masters of ceremony.

Modeselektor - Deboutonner mp3 (download here or listen below)

Words: jobot

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Esqueezy Explains It All…

Get your gun fingers nice and high for the first of Monday Murkage gyal Esqueezy's reports from the lower end of the frequency spectrum, covering all things grime/dubstep/dancehall/funky.....but not necessarily separately! Read on....
Are you as confused as me?

I thought so.

Music is chest-deep in turbulent times. Too many people in Manchester are living in the past and paying overly obsessive homage to the Hacienda, playing Blue Monday on a tedious loop and morbidly insisting on keeping the dream of Oasis alive. The Hacienda is NEVER coming back however many reunion parties get thrown. Blue Monday is rinsed to death and makes me want to sick- up in my shoes then walk home in them. Liam Gallagher is quite frankly, a gobshite.

Manchester is craving to be recognised for music that is as tasty as Ting, rather than another standard guitar band with lyrical diarrhoea. It’s time we had the same attitude to music that Jamie Oliver has to school dinners. Get rid of the Turkey Twizzlers. In music these must be the multitudes of formulaic, extremely contradictory, ‘fake’ indie bands that the mainstream keeps serving up like school mush. Kate Nash Is A Victim and Scouting For Girls got me Scouting For Gats. It’s quite simply, bad noise.

Let’s welcome hefty bass heavy music into our lives; the basslines that sounds like they’ve been dragged through bushes backwards, poked with shards of glass and thrown off high-rise tower blocks. I highly recommend it…but…a hot tip is in order. Don’t restrict yourself to one genre. Doing that is like eating egg mayonnaise sandwiches on a bus…absolute suicide. Hybridisation is a good thing. Eating the same sandwich everyday is boring; it’s all about adding the jerk spice to your chicken wrap (aka ‘getting a bit of variation’). That’s why the current musical don in Manchester is DJ and producer, man like Johnny Chimpo. Think dubstep, dancehall, grime and garage…Chimpo is mashing up music genres like potatoes. As well as producing his own tracks, he’s firing out reload-a-plenty refixes like no tomorrow, pulling tracks from almost every genre under the sun and giving them a dubstep, bass heavy kick. Respect some groundbreaking, innovative local talent and treat yourself to big Johnny Chimpo’s equally big April dubstep/mash-up mix here: -

Chimpo: April Dubstep Mix

Check for tracklistings and more mixes.

If you’re after some eargasmic nights out, go on then, check my page for occasional DJ dates…big tings in late May/early June -

Until next time, keep it skankin

Words: Esqueezy

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Wire Vs Health

Academy 2, Manchester

3rd May 2008

Charlies, Manchester

3rd May 2008

My first thought as the opening note of Wire's headline performance at Manchester's Futuresonic Festival rings out: 'Can someone please turn the lights down'. The guitars might be appropriately angular and the rhythms suitably taut, but there’s nothing quite like the sight of a bass player in a muscle shirt and a beanie to destroy any notion of perceived artrock austerity. My second thought: ‘this sounds terrible’. Vocalist Colin Newman's vocals are barely audible beneath the indefinable reverberant din of the band, and listening to the sound man desperately trying to rectify the dire situation throughout the entire opening number makes for a particularly awkward start. My third thought, which repeats several times during the set with increasing frustration, is 'when are they gonna play the tunes?'

It might be a bit rich to expect a set comprised heavily of material from their holy trinity of late 70’s albums, (Wire afterall have been musically active, on and off, for 30 odd years) but still, you'd think that the likes of 'I am the Fly', 'Outdoor Miner' and '3 Girl Rhumba' would take precedence over musical nonentities like 'Our Time' from 2002's Read and Burn LP; apparently not.
Despite the forced enthusiasm of some first-time-rounders the gig is a sonic disaster that leaves me duly dissilusioned. Wire’s reluctance to pay lip service to their more decorated past in order to present themselves as a band existing within the ‘now’ conversely marks them as a band out of touch with both their audience and themselves.

Luckily in a Chinese Karaoke bar across town a post-Wire performance by LA natives HEALTH is sufficiently galvanising to restore my flagging artrock faith. Perhaps the most high profile band, along with No Age, to emerge from the LA's fertile Smell scene, the West Coast four piece are able to achieve the unlikely feat of making forty minutes of drone-rock noise sound like a dangerously sexy proposition. At no point during their set is any member of the band static or making anything like the kind of noise traditionally expected by the instrument in their hands. The cumulative result is kind of like how those more experimental Liars albums might have sounded if they weren't self indulgent and lifeless, a striking mix of hypnotic robot vocals, chiseled melodic dissonance and beat smart rhythmic intensity. By the time the opening beat of 'Crimewave', one of the bands more readily identifiable numbers (thanks in part to its ubiquitous Crystal Castles remix) kicks in they've got the crowd eating out the palm of their hands. With one final 30 second blast of noise it’s all over. After forty minutes of flailing limbs and and righteous art-noise the band look exhausted, but after my Wire induced despondency I feel positively energised. Give me youthful exuberance over po-faced self-importance any day of the week.

Words: Billy Idle

Health - Crimewave mp3 (download here or listen below!)