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  1.  
    Wild Swans always sounded a bit piddly / twee to me.
    T/G were excellent when I saw them at the seaside with Shellac!

    Easter kick up some wild Crazy Horse sonic dust squall with new secret weapon Danny Saul on guitar so I went to hear them again at Ruby Lounge, opening for Victorian Gentlemen's Club, a band who don't deserve their Pixies comparison hype. The drums and voice of Easter also back Lonelady, who supported Wire, and you can hear their music at

    www.myspace.com/easterx

    The other support bands were a hard rock combo Deadly Brotherhood of the Gun who were quite enjoyable in a retro cliched way, and Carnations, a band who reminded me of Interpol and the Smiths. I wouldn't exactly bust a gut to get to another gig by either band.

    We Be The Echo from San Francisco sounded interesting when I checked out their music at

    www.myspace.com/webetheecho

    and I was correct in my assumption that they'd be blistering live. The drummer was amazingly technically proficient, twirling drumsticks and working up relatively manic 'math rock' equations to a some hard metallic riffs untethered by the past, like Don Caballero in a quantum trash compactor. Their two CDs which they flogged me for a tenner have great HR Giger style art digipacks. Sad to say and are too short like their performance! I was as far as I know the only person who turned out to Saki to see this fine trio specifically. The gig was put on by the duo Chrik, another very precise and choppy band whose goofball guitarist leapt about like a frog on a hotplate. I was much less enamoured of the other two bands, Deaf to Van Gogh's Ear and Dire Wolfe, both playing emo that was instrumentally quite nice, but with weak twee singers who'd be better off keeping their traps shut.

    www.myspace.com/chrikmusic

    Starless and Bible Black impressed at Blowout with synth squiggled folk rock, but the other three bands on the bill were drippy, timid and unmemorable. Some drunken retard came up to me and bellowed aggressively, "Are you gonna suck me off?" As brown corduroy scarecrows with sunglasses on top of their heads don't turn me on at all, I decided the best thing to do was head for the bar and a more civilised conversation with the guitarist of Starless and Bible Black.
  2.  
    "Wild Swans always sounded a bit piddly / twee to me."

    Well I guess there's a feyness to the records that won't be to everyone's liking.
    Altogether more meaty sound live though.
  3.  
    Half Man Half Biscuit at The Komedia, Bath last Thursday. Cracking.
  4.  
    @ R Swimmer,

    i thought Art brut was fab first i heard them. 1st album is brill, 2nd + 3rd a bit hit or miss for me. live, very tight, high energy &
    quite entertaining.

    I never been to a bad AC show. people either love hem or hate them. this year they are touring almost non-stop & doing material from their most recent release, Post Merriweather Pavillion, which is in the lead for album of the year in just about every music forum out there. depends on the crowd/city, but people are known to dance their asses off at any given show.........

    if interested you can download free music & dvd's at this site:

    http://animalcollective.org/
  5.  
    It seems (thanks Ian) that Punilux (Punishment of Luxury) are going to grace London with their presence on Sep 25th at the Purple Turtle in Camden Town on Sep 25th.

    I will restrain myself from further ravings about them but is anyone on the list of a mind to go? I'll most certainly be there.

    U.
  6.  
    Yws I know, two Sep 25th's
  7.  
    @ Uri

    "all white Jack" is a classic track from "Laughing Academy", a much under-rated album from a band that never really got the attention they deserved. If I didn`t live 1,000`s of miles away, I`d go...... ;-0
  8.  
    13.8 After an afternoon spent sifting through the racks of Vinyl Exchange (where I quite enjoyed hearing a Luke Slater album that I probably would get bored of at home) and Piccadilly Records (where they were playing the excellent recent Dinosaur Jr album, Grails and some trendy electro-league claptrap) I went for a baked sweet potato with chilli at Oklahoma. Then, armed with coconut sesame snaps, I sauntered back through the Northern Quarter to Nexus Art Cafe where three quiet bands were going to strum, fiddle and sing. DBH plays beautiful solo acoustic guitar like a more intricate and complex Papa M. John Dorr did a Jeff Buckley cover and also put me in mind of Nick Drake and David Thomas Broughton. Kalbakken are a trio who play mostly old Norwegian folk songs on acoustic guitar, violin and inventive light percussion. They have one song about a dead crow and one about a dead horse. Dave Birchall the guitarist also whipped out a jaws harp for a song that I asked him to dedicate to Rolf Harris as he'd already dedicated songs to Dan (DBH), Walt Whitman and John Cage. Kalbakken don't really remind me of anyone else, but I am no aficionado of Scandinavian tradition.

    There were no meaty sounds this evening, and indeed no corny or cheesy ones except the mash up of Rapture and Riders on the Storm that the owner of Oklahoma aborted in disgust. Should that be Dondie or the Bloors? I prefer Music for Fruit!

    www.myspace.com/dbhguitar

    www.myspace.com/kalbakken

    www.littleredrabbit.co.uk

    15.8 It doesn't get much more underground than this, a band's first gig in the basement of a house on a street where machine guns were recently found. Burial Suit was armed with a microphone rammed into his mouth and a very distorted amp drenched in feedback for a short scream attack. Latterly he clambered behind a drumkit to hammer out a primitive beat, still screaming. Foot Hair are a five man, two guitar hardcore band who only had three songs so had to play the first one again as an encore. They reminded me of some of the more hard roc bands on the Skin Graft label like Colossamite and Mount Shasta. The singer Sam wore a gaffer tape mask and one of the guitarists wore a red Fugazi T-shirt, to the chagrin of their friend with a camera who insisted Fugazi were shite. Afterwards we listened to Black Sabbath, The Jesus Lizard and Bad Brains in the kitchen and Darren was kind enough to burn me a CDR of the gig he'd captured on his digital recorder.
  9.  
    16.8 The longest walk from my home to a venue in this city is to Islington Mill, converted into a spacious art-house venue on the south side of Salford, too far from neighbours to get pathetic noise complaints and out of sight of the busybody spoilsports at the Shitty Council. Its always worth a trek through Moss Side, Hulme and Deansgate to check out events there, which often run long into the night if things are swingin'. Since I missed Oneida the first time they played in Manchester and Ciaran the promoter (who also plays bass in Laymar) was telling me ticket sales had been slow, I bought a ticket (with 90p 'booking fee') from Piccadilly Records. Can't complain about 90p when I got two free Dinosaur Jr posters from them, and some internet sites rip off idiots for way more than that and don't even post the tickets!

    Blood Moon were already rumbling and clattering away by the time I reached the Mill. They're a noisy woman on bass and a man in a hat on drums who would later get on stage to do a Bez whilst Oneida rocked out. The psychedelic projections threw their shadows up on the wall, which looked quite good, but they sounded better when they didn't shout. Next up were the excellent Plank trio, who started out with a couple of instrumentals not far from Battles then launched into a motorik epic that started moodily like Mogwai then sped up like Neu on the autobahn. Of all the bands I've seen of late I think these are the ones who are most likely to appeal to Wire fans in general. They'll be supporting AU in Leeds soon. Oneida tourmates Teeth of the Sea rocked out like prog never died, just got more intense. The bleached hair junkie-thin guitarist in a Danzig T-shirt went at his flying V guitar like it was Tory Bliar on a piss mission, whilst the other three musicians switched around between bass, keyboards, drums, guitars and things with tubes they blew in (not bongs). If Pink Floyd haven't yet gone to the great gig in the sky these would be a perfect support. Oneida were pure energetic excellence. Two keyboard players sat to the right of the drummer whose style was more Keith Moon than Robert Gotobed. The keyboard player with the wah-wah pedals who did a lot of the vocals played furiously fast and made silly speeches about truth and fact between the songs that mostly came from their recent Rated O triple album. The two guitarists also doubled up respectively on some kind of synth and screamed vocals through the guitar effects boxes. Too punk to be prog and too prog to be punk, the Jagjaguar Records catalog inside the Each One Teach One double CD I bought after the gig describes Oneida as the bastard offspring of a Can/Suicide marriage, which gives a vague idea of what they sound like. They could be described as dance music, as it has a rhythmic itch. It's also very obvious that they've been a huge influence on the Liars, who introduced me to the band when I heard the split album the two bands did together. The only bands I've seen play with more intensity this year would be Killing Joke, Melt Banana and The Drones. Unlike many bands I've heard at a lot of recent gigs they seemed to have played reasonably long enough but the enthusiastic crowd still wanted more so they came back and blasted out a manic 'Sheets of Easter' to send us back to centre of the city in night.

    Wotgodforgot
    www.myspace.com/wotgodforgot

    Plank!
    www.myspace.com/plankuk

    Teeth of the Sea
    www.myspace.com/thewrongjaws

    Oneida
    www.enemyhogs.com
  10.  
    Animal Collective + Black Dice, Bandshell, Prospect Pk, Brooklyn. AC & BD both rocked crazy/ hard at last Fri.'s open air (sold out) gig. intense 45 min opening set by BD, one of the best "noise" bands out there. AC played 2 newish jams, What Would I Want Sky which sounded great and Bleed which was just ok for me. the rest was mostly MPP and 2 from Sung Tongs. "chores" from Strawberry Jam was probably the highlight, though i would have liked an extended jam on that one instead of "daily routine" which approached Grateful Dead-like catatonia. very minor point to an otherwise excellent show in beautiful setting, the 600 acre Prospect Park. actually that's my only criticism overall to AC's music: the slower number's are not all that engaging, with the exception being the stunningly pretty "chocolate girl" (not played). 3 song encore ended a happy, trippy show to a mostly very young crowd of head music enthusiasts.
  11.  
    18.8 Gang Gang Dance & the Sian Alice Group at Deaf Institute

    It's possible that I'm the only person who was at all three Gang Gang Dance gigs in Manchester. The first time they played the Phoenix, for four quid, and I'd only heard a bit of their first album. They'd obvioulsy moved on and played a sadly truncated set mostly from their best album 'God's Money' which I bought off them after the gig. A combination of a gig running late, too many support bands and too long a time to set up their unique instrumentation led to a very short set. Of course the real reason they couldn't play just one more song that night was that tedious penpushing hypocrites at the Shitty Council might close down any venue that runs ten minutes over the time it's legally allowed to. The second time they came to town was an all dayer at the Zion Centre with Bat for Lashes playing earlier in the day. The ticket price had doubled but the length of their live set sadly hadn't! This time around it was twelve quid to get in with just one support band, so I was hoping for over an hour of music. If Killing Joke can play way more energetic music than most bands half their age and keep it up for a couple of hours then I see no reason why other bands should be allowed to get away with twenty minute sets, unless they can keep entry fees low. Luckily Gang Gang Dance wre so damn good that time went out the window! I arrived after the doors were supposed to be open but the soundcheck was still dragging on. The Sian Alice Group were enjoyable and during their set I met an old friend from Preston who remarked accurately that a triangle is an instrument seldom seen at gigs. They sadly played only five songs, but at least the saved the best 'til last, a percussive epic that was a bit noisier than preceding songs.

    I was disappointed by the most recent Gang Gang Dance album St Dymphna, which I didn't enjoy half as much as God's Money. The music was fine but there wasn't enough of Lizzy's singing and why they invited a rubbish MC to force me up out of the armchair to hit the skip button every time the worst song they've ever recorded, Princes, rolled by is a mystery. Yo, shit, crap track!

    Fortunately they didn't play that track but did play most of the rest of the album. Lizzy was also playing drums which she hadn't been doing at earlier Manchester gigs, and with three drummers there was a forceful tribal feel that doesn't really come across that well on the more polite sounding Warp album. I think it was Dust that got the wildest. One thing I used to say about Gang Gang Dance was that they didn't really remind me of any other band, but sounded like mutated African music. I sent Lizzy an email to ask if African music was a big influence after their first manchester gig, and she replied, "Yeah and Indian too!"

    In a bit of synchronicity I found a bargain copy of the Gilbert and Lewis single 'Ends with the Sea' just before this gig and whilst giving it a spin suddenly noticed the intro sounded just like Gang Gang Dance. Another cheap record I used to have as a teenager that I found was 'Oil and Gold' by Shriekback and this bit of over-produced eighties chart miss could also be heard as a Gang Gang Dance precursor, even if it isn't nearly as interesting. Funnily enough my Preston friend remarked that the guitarist looked like he was auditioning for Top of the Pops in 1982... at least he didn't sound like that!

    Despite enough foot stomping applause to make the floor shake they didn't come back for an encore. Hopefully this wasn't down to the venue's fear of the law. I suspect they might have had no more songs programmed into the synth pads.
  12.  
    The Octopus Project
  13.  
    Tortoise
  14.  
    Footsi 100 were entertaining as ever in their complex funk instro trio way. The bassist is also in the excellent Plank and the guitarist is also DBH and they have been part of Burnst, Germany, Cornish Tin Mines and Raucaus in the past.

    Mothertrucker opened the noise in a Rusholme kitchen with a good if brief blast of Sonic Youth meets Mogwai post-metal from the Midlands.

    On Monday Soulsavers and Red Ghost were perfect at the Ruby Lounge, but I hope i never have to be in the same room again when Exit Clam play.

    Who or what is the Octopus Project?
  15.  
    Dinosaur Jr, Stranger Son of WB & The Guantanamo School of Medecine have all ripped it up recently on stages in front of me in Sheffield and Manchester.
    More to come
    HUMHUM
    HUMHUM
  16.  
    Last night at The Noise Upstairs in Fuel the Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra (in truth a trio) and Jim O'Shea and some randomly selected collectives improvised a noise which may not be 'to the taste of all who read this' msg bd.
  17.  
    I was at Nine Inch Nails last night. Final show forever!
  18.  
    that's what they always say. they'll reform in 10 years.
  19.  
    Only thing by NIN I can stand is Aphex Twin's remix...

    I went to see Sleeping Dog, The Lonesome Taxidermist & Harp and a Monkey last night at Kings Arms and had a jolly good time.
  20.  
    i like NIN's "Hurt" in the Johnny Cash cover version..