Magnolia Electric Co.

YouTube Video

Continue reading
24757 Hits

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings

YouTube Video

Continue reading
11298 Hits

A Northern Chorus

YouTube Video

Continue reading
12015 Hits

Edward Ka-spel, The Silverman, and Nicoletta

YouTube Video

Continue reading
17523 Hits


YouTube Video

Continue reading
15922 Hits

The Ex

YouTube Video

Continue reading
11655 Hits


YouTube Video

Continue reading
15882 Hits

Wolf Eyes

YouTube Video

Continue reading
13307 Hits

Black Dice

YouTube Video

Continue reading
12495 Hits

Bardo Pond

October 18, 2003, Manchester, UK
October 21, 2003, Birmingham, UK
October 22, 2003, Bristol, UK
October 23, 2003, London, UK
October 24, 2003, London, UK
Bardo Pond are the greatest heavy psychedelic band in the un-USA. It had been four years since they last played in the un-UK, so I wasn't going to pass up the chance to catch as many dates on their tour as possible. The good news if you missed them this time is that they're going to be back next year, as Foundation have asked them to play at All Tomorrow's Parties and plans are being hatched for a headline tour in the same spring time/space. Mega props go to Mogwai, men of good taste, for inviting the ten-legged Philadelphian artnoise group for a trip around this island. It was such a joy to hear manipulated feedback noises welling up to ear splitting crescendoes from Michael Gibbons' pedal rack as we walked into Manchester Academy that we were straight down the front waving our arms in the air and going crazy at the edge of the Pond much to the bemused consternation of baby Mogwai fans who seemed confused that anyone should react to music anymore positively than standing still balancing a little backpack.

The band played a set mostly comprised of tracks from their awesome On the Ellipse album, but also taking in that old Lapsed favourite "Tommy Gun Angel," a whirlwind elegy to the passing spirit of singer Isobel Sollenberger's dog. Drummer Ed Farnsworth was absent at a friend's wedding so Mogwai's drummer filled in and did a sterling job considering the minimal time he'd spent playing with the Pond. The set grew denser and assumed sunlike gravitational pull with the final slow skullfuck "Night of Frogs." Mogwai were OK too. I missed the Glasgow show so that I could listen to over three hours of hilarious anti-Bush cabal rants from Jello Biafra, who made me realise that the world is even more fucked up than I'd thought. You thought Cheney and Rumsfeld were repulsive motherfuckers? Just wait until the Terminator and the Wolfman decide who lives and who dies!

I hooked up with the Pond outside Birmingham Sanctuary and helped them load in the heavy amps. After a few drinks in a nearby pub it was time to soundcheck in a venue with vastly superior theatrical acoustics to the Manchester student hive. Asked if I had any requests, I went for the faster paced "Again" and the band finished the set with it at about twice the speed they played it last time they toured here. By now they'd revved up eight times faster than the sun and merged all the rainbow colours into one bright mass of energy. I had to shift from the direct trajectory of Clint Takeda's earth moving bass rumble as it seemed initially to be obliterating the rest of the band. Clint and effects happy guitarist John Gibbons seem to form the heavy bedrock under the Pond whilst the other three ripple the water into waves. Isobel pulls off the neat trick of singing and playing violin at the same time, and also blows melodies out of a battered old flute, to float above the sea of churning noise riffs and battering drums. Ed seems to have an ecstatic grin for every skittering beat he hits, like a child opening a gift box. Mogwai seemed a little more intense than in Manchester.

The Birminghum Police Farce must've been having a quiet night. A duty bound jobsworth cooked up a tall tale of the Pond van hitting another vehicle and pulled us over. Accused of "smoking cannabis" we were searched one by one ineffectually. Buying time by being awkward and generally taking the piss out of these clowns, I was asked, "Are you The Joker?" which was hilarious considering I'd just seen Killing Joke eight times. A trip to Stonehenge was aborted due to bad weather and bad timing, and Bristol was damp and dreary. But Bardo Pond effortlessly turned night into day, every heart a star. They could take you there even from the blurred balcony of the Corporate Rugby Player Pisswater Academy. Clearly it was time to head downstairs and hit the whisky! Fade into London Astoria, and the most floor shaking sets from the Pond. Mogwai had assumed monstrous proportions by now and every night seemed to widen their dramatic loud/quiet dynamics, bursting out with strobes. Bardo Pond needed very little light tricks to bring out the senses and flip the trip switch. The surprise finale was "lb" from Dilate which had Isobel animated like some Woodstock biker-rock singer transported through a sugar sci-fi grass vortex, leaning back to sing into a hand held mike. My friends all seemed to be more into Mogwai that night, but what the fuck do they know anyway?
7835 Hits

nick cave, "god is in the house"

As the cost of technology comes down consistently, it's puzzling to note that few labels are taking advantage of the marvelous opportunities before them. This is a fantastic example of a music DVD done properly, despite it being a few years after the album release of No More Shall We Part. Most of the material comes from that album, but considering other live videos available from the Bad Seeds, it serves as a fine addition to the library. Here, the Bad Seeds are captured at a concert in Lyon, France (2001). It just happens to be the last tour that Neubauten's Blixa Bargeld is supposed to perform on and here, he, along with Mick Harvey and Dirty Three's Warren Ellis are just as entertaining to watch as Nick Cave, himself. Cave may not quite ever become a household name but he is most certainly becoming a musical legend. Cave's ballads speak volumes and his stage presence is intense, much like an evangelical preacher. The experience of seeing the Bad Seeds live is so intense and dramatic, that it blows away all expectations from merely listening to the records at home. Even a lukewarm album can achieve a thunderous accomplishment as the Bad Seeds are all fantastic players and spend so much time touring. The concert is elegantly shot and edited with a good amount of inclusion of the entire group, and the sound is excellent. In addition, Mute thankfully decided not to hold back on this release and included all three music videos from the album along with a short documentary on the recording of the album. Coupled with the album and the experience is complete. I can hope that it's only a matter of time that labels will release DVDs like this WITH the CD of said album. (But in all honesty, expect it to be a Japanese "perk" for about 10 years before the rest of the world catches on.)
11439 Hits

Ulrich Schnauss, "Clear Day"

6 Minutes, Quicktime Streaming Video For those of us soaked in endless rain showers, here's a quick reminder of clearer days. "Clear Day" was filmed on a bicycle by Jon Whitney in May of 2003. The song can be found on Ulrich's second full-length album, A Strangely Isolated Place, due for release next week on City Centre Offices in Germany.

17734 Hits

Dirty Three

May 11-17, 2003, UK
So you pack your little sandwiches and climb into your little car and put your little foot down hard on the pedal with Houses of the Holy blasting really fuckin' loud. You can't go south from Brighton on that beach with all the little pebbles because you'd drive into the sea so you head north and soon your little heart is pounding and your little sandwiches are all eaten up but at last you've driven "1000 Miles" and the last sound you hear is your little heart exploding with joy because you know at last you are exactly where you need to be. And where I needed to be was on the Dirty Three UK tour because a band that can alternate tears of sorrow and joy and exhilaration so rapidly is a rare thing indeed. Rumours that violinist Warren Ellis was a little fed up of touring meant that I wanted to make the most of this as they might not be back for a long time. In the end I made it to four shows in Brighton, Leicester, Leeds and the second smaller London gig, skipping the big London gig in favour of Calla who I'd never seen before and who were unfussily majestic and almost as intense. I also missed the Glasgow date as I headed into London that day to see the last gig on the Noxagt tour, another idiosyncratic trio who are rather more brutal.
Warren Ellis is a seasoned raconteur with hilarious tales to introduce each intense instrumental beauty. These are loose and shift shape every night around a similar theme. In Leicester heckles diverted some of them off track into even more oddly comedic angles. So Warren might tell a silly story of how their Ocean Songs album was inspired by the smell of urine in a landlocked Chicago heavy metal studio. Then the four of them kick into some deleriously gorgeous yet robust and hard edged rock, shaped in chemical moulds that only years of playing together can bring. Four? Does that make them the Dirty Three Plus One now? Relative newcomer Martin Casey who plays alongside Warren in the Bad Seeds seemed unsurprisingly a little more tentative in Brighton but fit right in with the others, and Warren and the utterly individual and ever more awe inspiring loose limbed drummer Jim White seem to have a particularly telepathic understanding of those ecstatic places they can open up and bleed. Some tunes got pushed into extended foraging forays that upped the intensity ante some, and in Brighton and London when they ran down "Sue's Last Ride" the levels and layers they built and built just seemed like they couldn't get any higher and just kept on reaching for the sun. Warren reckons guitarist Mick Turner regularly walks on water in hotel baths, but he certainly has developed a highly original and utterly distinctive style of playing that seems to reflect the wide open desert shores and burning sun of his former homeland Australia. If Warren's violin is a skyburst of emotive colour and Jim's drumming skitters like pebbles pulled by roaring waves on the beach, then Mick is probably painting in the desert lands and mountain ranges in the heady elemental dirty brew. What was really nice about seeing the band a few times was the way they just seemed to get better every night, although the Leeds show at Brudenell Social Club won out over the last sold out London show at the dark and dingy Barfly due to better atmosphere and sound in a nicer venue. The Brighton and Leeds shows were a contrast being all seated theatres, making Warren's habit of spitting high into the air as he bows his little violin and kicks his leg backwards seem slightly incongruous and transgressive. In Brighton Clogs played a pleasantly engaging set of what you might call chamber rock if you were feeling lazy after an alcohol fueled road trip holiday. But at least I didn't compare them to Rachel's like I did at the gig. In Leicester and Leeds Mr Cardboard Boxman were as much a revelation as two scruffy Australian guitar twangers with an array of looping gadgets and weird junk shop instruments could be, playing part improvised cutout sundown reflections. But it was Dirty Three who had the songs for the ladies with the darkness in their hearts. 
5981 Hits


April 24, 2003, Hoxton, UK
Walking into an East London pub and seeing Wire on stage soundchecking is a good sight for these eyes! Bassist Graham Lewis had informed me that there would be a secret warm up gig for their Flag Burning event at the Barbican two days later. There, the plan was to play the entire iconic Pink Flag album and then after an interval play some of their current material much of which found its way spitting and snarling onto the new album Send. Rhodes had been billed as support to Klang, but didn't show, although Wire in their stead was more than adequate recompense for just about every alien on board. They'd been billed on the venue's website as The Pink Flags so it might've been so obvious. The amusement factor of Wire playing "Three Girl Rhumba" whilst supporting a former Elastica guitarist's new band was not lost on any who could spot the connection. Besides the few who'd sauntered in early and heard them play "Reuters" and "Ex Lion Tamer" for soundcheck, I only knew around twenty people who were aware that they were about to hear the most interesting band of the punk-rock-77 era play the best version of their first album from points A to B (again avoiding C, D and E where you play the blues). However I'm sure there were a few more than that in the know and there was much excited dancing towards the low stagefront and a real party atmosphere in one of the hottest gigs I've been to in a long time. In fact it was so hot that my friend Aneeta and I left before Klang even played, but were later told by Wire fans that we hadn't missed much. Lets face it, when your favourite band play one of the most special gigs you've ever been invited to, not much is going to seem like a worthy follow up. Aside from Bruce Gilbert fluffing the second chord of "Mannequin," no doubt muttering too-many-chord curses, the band were in fine shape and played the album very faithfully. Some songs had more venom and precision, especially "Surgeon's Girl" with the hilarious Lewis nonsense back up shouting at the end. "First Fast" seemed to have bled back into that one. "Pink Flag" was pretty much returned to its original drum rolling shape but with less jovial vocals from Colin Newman than on the album it seemed harder and more compacted. "Reuters" on the other hand had an extended intro and some added updates on the mythical weapons of mass destruction from Lewis. "Champs" had lost the splanging guitar overthrubs. Colin Newman downed guitar on several numbers and seemed to be really getting into singing the odd old songs. They might've even lopped a few seconds off those songs that are short because they aren't long like "Field Day For the Sundays" and "Different To Me." What was very apparent when they played "Lowdown," "Strange" and "12XU" was how much they've improved as a live band since the first retrospective at the Royal Festival Hall back in 2000. I was double glad to have witnessed this unique event as the sound at the Barbican was just not loud enough and the experience was so much more of a rush and roar in an intimate sweaty pub. After by far the best live version of "12XU" I've ever heard them pull off, some monkeying heckler couldn't help but shout, "You Can't Leave Now!" but of course they were gone.
6068 Hits


Friday, February 7, 2003, Manchester, UK
"I had so much to say."
First time I saw Low they were supporting Come at the London Garage and Kramer was doing their sound. They were enjoyable but I didn't feel motivated to rush out and buy their records. Since then they've just kept getting better and better, growing ever more assured, confident and orgasmic. Last week Low played the best gig I ever saw them do. The sound was perfect, immaculate, accentuating their pin drop precision, and the large crowd was held enraptured in awe. From the opener "Candy Girl" it was clearly the perfect fuck music, tragic make out make up for the last fling before she flies over the ocean. It had all the controlled intensity of their spartan Joy Division "Transmission" cover that had held the Star and Garter so enraptured on earlier trips to Manchester. The way Alan Sparhawk turns and strums at Mimi Parker and the way she taps calm heartbeat assurance is PURE SEX. It's so obvious Mimi is his his candy girl, and this is the sweet molten core of Low's slowburning genius. Alan and Mimi (ahem, and bassist Zack Sally) have fashioned a music that twists and turns with all the ups and downs of an intensely consummated relationship. "Candy Girl" also shows that maybe Steve Albini has had a little more influence on Low than just recording them. Alan throws out subtle jags of guitar skree at oblique angles to the heartbreak beat. The song cuts dead and they launch into the Peel-popular "That's How You Sing Amazing Grace" and the relatively stompin' "Canada" single. How can that Sparhawk dude sing "In the Drugs" without bursting into tears? It surely is one of the saddest songs I ever heard. Then there's the spaghetti western malevolance of "John Prine," a dark ode to revenge so quietly fiercesome it could ignite blue flames of paranoia in anyone who ever crossed a softspoken Duluth musician. Low can even make dear ol' drippy Roger Waters seem profound, with their majestic cover of "Fearless." On the way to the gig I was almost run over by a speeding car escaping gross corporate slavewage superstore. I had been moderately distracted by Come in my headphones, which would've been a fine thing to hear with my dying breath, but it was no time to leave the planet. A glimpse of mortality is always a lever for heightened sensuality. Don't waste your days with mediocre piffle. You might die tomorrow. Hurry up materialise, don't just threaten to. Flirt, take drugs, booze, shoot the shit with the people who are worth the effort. Soundtrack it with a band that fucking matters, and then some! Low are serious as your life.
"Now I'm gonna make them pay." 
6140 Hits

Cabaret Voltaire, "Live at the Hacienda '83/'86"

Months of wrestling with a DVD player which didn't initially read this disc has finally paid off and the results were well worth all the fuss. The first DVD to surface from Cabaret Voltaire takes two aural/visual snapshots of only slightly different periods in their evolution, recorded live in Manchester's infamous club.

Continue reading
9864 Hits

holiday party idea for music nerds

It's almost a modification of the "exchanging of the keys" wife-swapping parties of the 1970s: Gather a bunch of friends, make a mix tape or mix CD, make an original package or creative concept and distrube randomly. Okay, so it's got nothing to do with wife-swapping but you can put them all in a basket like they did in that awful film, "The Ice Storm." Brainwashed staff and contributors cannot take credit for the invention of this party concept.
13427 Hits

bowling for columbine

I can safely say that this film has effected me the most out of any film I can remember in a very, very long time. Director Michael Moore has essentially taken aim on the culture in the country which both he and I live in that seems completely unstoppable. This film, however, is, deceptively enough, not an anti-gun, anti-NRA effort nor an anti-American government effort. Instead, Moore personally and graphically shows many close-up faces of the media, militia, criminals, victims, and organization leaders—all of which who seem to, as he would like us believe, unknowingly contribute to the biggest epidemic of all: fear. It's this all-encompassing fear which the media and advertisers prey upon, the fear that we are instilled upon from elementary school, the fear which our very own government shoves down our throat. This fear, he has deduced is what separates the US from a number of other countries who, like us, also have a history of violence and an abundant availability of guns, but have drastically lower amounts of gun murders. Ironically, he also perpetuates this fear by the mere existence of this movie—shoving loads of statistics down our throat which gives me a simply revolting feeling (even now, long after watching the movie), and adds to the number of reasons NEVER to have children in this country. As director, you can play god, especially in a "documentary." For example: I wonder how many people in Canada he asked said "yes, I do lock my doors," until he arrived at the handful of people whose footage he did choose who said "no." [I, Jon Whitney, have a number of Canadian friends, people whose houses I have been to, all of which lock their doors!] Positively, however, Michael Moore serves as an example of how things can actually get done if people try. I applaud him for the whole K-Mart stunt to get them to cease the retail of ammunition, however, I would really like to know the outcome, and feel the film needed some sort of factual follow-up. Embarassingly enough, I reluctantly admit that for the first time I think I actally possess some amount of respect for Marilyn Manson. He basically said what my friends are sick of hearing me say for the last few years: the fact that a big problem is that people simply don't listen to what other people are saying. Despite its arguable flaws, I highly recommend anybody with a thinking brain to see it and make up their own minds on the subject. Be warned, however, as you will see people being shot, people brought to tears on camera when recounting traumatic events, and world leaders, who, by their own words demonstrate how disasterously wrong it is for them to be in power.


8728 Hits


Everybody who's reading this right now knows what happened a year ago this week. Rather than take the soap box again with ramblings, I want to share a web site a friend pointed out to me. This live journal web site I feel sums up what is on many people's minds. I don't know who this person is but I think what they wrote was well-said.
11901 Hits

lightning bolt, "the power of salad"

Load Records
Peter Glantz and Nick Noe have managed to brilliantly document the worlds most phenomenal hardcore drum and bass duo on a brief 2001 streak across the USA. Providence, Rhode Island's Lightning Bolt have been playing and touring for only a few years but have built up a thunderous steam simply because their shows are beyond intense and their style is void of rock star attitudes and similarly retarted bullshit. Between songs and sets, this 75-minute film shows a window on the world of the smelly, loud, but charming and sincere world of the travelling Brians, playing in various rock venues, houses, and even somebody's kitchen in the sweltering heat of Lubbox, Texas nearly inside a refrigerator! If you're unfamiliar with Lightning Bolt's vicious onslaught, Brian Gibson's drums are fast and furious with a ratta-tatta-tap only matched by the precise execution of the heavily amplified three-string bass guitar by Brian Chippendale. A superb editing job by Nick and Peter effectively keep up with their ferver and make me long for the chance to see them again rather than sitting on my couch in front of the TV! I will even go as far as to say this documentary is miles better than a ton of things I've seen on the Sundance Channel, IFC, or the MTVs. Rockumentaries are not for the rich and famous any more thanks to the competitive digital video and DVD markets these days, and after seeing this, I'm completely surprised more indie labels aren't doing similar projects. I wholeheartedly welcome more adventurous labels and artists that want to share their personalities with their fans. With any luck, others will be smart and contact Peter and Nick to do the work... For a preview, check out Load's website.


9053 Hits