Archive for September 6th, 2006

CD Round-up August 2006

As ever, I’ve picked up shedloads of CDs this month. I don’t seem to have been able to get round to blogging about them (it’s been all go round here, and to be honest, most of them don’t really deserve more than a cursory glance). So, here’s a quick summary:

The AnswerRise
Finally made it to the Wickerman Festival this year. I must get round to writing about it, while I can remember. It was great, though. While there, I spent quite a bit of time in the ‘Solus’ tent which featured a great line-up of new bands. Finally, I managed to catch Fuck Off Machete, and was completely blown away by them. Seeking out recordings by them led me to Lost Dog Recordings where they were doing a bundle type deal. I’d just been paid, so thought what the hell

I suspect someone over at Lost Dog hq might have a sense of humour. I also suspect this CD had been sitting being stared at while they thought what fool can wee offload this steaming pile to? Gahds. It’s “metal”. No, not any massive touring thunderous stuff, or thrashy, or even completely silly. It’s boogaloo Zep-lite. Y’know like Reef. Or The Darkness, but serious. I genuinely thought no-one made (let along listened to) this crap anymore. It’s horrendous.

The Coal PortersHow Dark This Earth Will Shine
Having enjoyed seeing them live, I was feeling obliged to buy an album because I’d seldom had to fork out for the pleasure. And very lovely it is too. What it lacks in ambiance (I don’t really need to get all John Cage on your asses to explain this do I?) is made up for by the inclusion of Neil Robert Herd on the recording. His scots tones on backing harmonies really complements this kind of stuff. Must be something to do with the immigrants taking their folk tunes over there back in the proverbial. Of course, if you catch them live when he’s with them, it completely invalidates my point.

Five piece band
Made of twenty-seven strings
Put a smile on a statue
If it heard them sing

Quite.

El Hombre TrajeadoShlap
This was another one of the Lost Dog bundled items. It’s been a long time since the name has crossed my horizon. I’d almost forgot they existed. I’d certainly blanked out just how awful they were. However, I now remember why we’d always stay in the bar at all those millions of gigs they were support at (their omnipresence only beaten by they of The Blisters/Karelia when they all worked at Tuts). Age hasn’t mellowed me, this is still rank trainspotter music masquerading as ‘intelligent’ rock – *shudder*. Tunes for the ponced up arses among us.

Fuck Off MacheteMy First Machete
And, so to this. Very much an earlier version of the band I saw live. A little too breathy on the vocals and the sound is thinner. There’s little sign of the pop-sense and playfulness abound these days. But, still enough going on to keep your interest. And, at least two absolute stonkers. Looking forward to new stuff.

New York DollsOne Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This
It could’ve been really horrible. But, it’s not. In fact, it’s better than it has any real right to be. I was in HMV just dossing about and Darwinian jive monster Dance Like A Monkey came on the instore. I stood there listening until it was finished and just picked up a copy of the album. And, it’s not even the best track on here. IMO, that honour is reserved for Gotta Get Away From Tommy which sounds like Andrew WK. Yup, that good. Brett Anderson and the like might have tried the wasted glam thing but they never get there. Too louche. This has a track called Fishnets and Cigarettes, and you believe it.

OK, there’s a few too many unnecessary Thundersisms from one of the rent-a-guitarists on here. Understandable, and forgivable.

Pine*AmPull The Rabbit Ears
Wafty
electropop that has to be either French or Japanese. The latter (quelle surprise). It’s like Stereolab you can dance too. And, very nice with it. No, I won’t be able to name a single track on it in six months time (but, I’ll probably enjoy rediscovering it).

The PipettesWe Are The Pipettes
Very 80s sounding big pop. There’s something really cynical about this. Fronted by three polka dot clad young ladies, you can’t help getting the feeling that they’d like you to think there was some dark svengali behind it all but there isn’t. It comes blasting in all swagger and impressive but by the time your halfway through it’s really dragging. There are a couple of not bad songs on here (maybe an EPs worth), but none of them have the sass or playfulness that they think they do. If you are at all interested in this record, do yourself a favour and nip over to eBay and try and get a copy of Queen B‘s 1989 classic Red Top Hot Shot Beep Beep Beep. Actually, even if you not interested in this you should do that, it’ll do you good.

Reiko KudoKusa
I can do fey and esoteric. In fact I sometimes even enjoy it. But, not this fey and pointlessly esoteric

The Rebel“Kit”
BR Wallers’ (for it is he) band The Country Teasers have been threatening to make a great album for about a decade now. If you get bored waiting for this (trust me one day it will come) there’s millions of offshoots and side projects to explore. As The Rebel, Wallers just kinda farts about with tapes, loops, samples, guitar and (very) occasionally will mumble something over it. It’s a shambolic mess. Yet, weirdly engrossing. On my Walkman his tracks slot very nicely between The Monks and Hasil Adkins, which kinda sums it up.

Damien ShingletonShaheen
More lost dog. An ep of electronica where folk tunes are sampled and backed by the odd stab at a keyboard sound. Plus a track that’s one of those but what are you going to do with it now sketches that all people with samplers come up with. I know this record wasn’t really made with me in mind as the audience, but it is really shit.

The Sick AnchorsS/T
Even more dog. Literally. Members of Arab Strap and Mogwai dirge their way through some ‘wacky’ covers (eg Whole Again – don’t get me started on the comedy cover grrrrr). And, much, much worse than that sounds.

SoyuzIV
More doggy electronica. As I said before, not really made with me in mind. This, however, is much nicer than the Shingleton. It even does the folk sampling thing at one point. Pleasant enough, but ultimately really pretty bland.

Well, I’ve got the latest package from AT to look forward to. So, brace yourselves for more complaints about shouting and guest appearances from Jello.

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Written by Tony Kiernan

06 September 2006 at 5:04 pm

Posted in Records

Rich Hall – The Assembly (25 August 2006)

I was trying to think where and when Rich Hall first popped up on my comedy radar. I remember him playing the comedy club I used to work in back in about 1993 (a pleasure to work with, a gent – unlike some…), but I’m certain I was pretty excited about his show coming up so was aware of him previously.

It’s not from my time living in Edinburgh. I can remember pretty much all the comedians that were (relatively) unknown that I caught back then; Eddie Izzard (still wearing trousers, he wouldn’t do the red car and wolves routine on Just For Laughs for another two years), Jo Brand (wasn’t funny back then either), Denis Leary (and that bloke that just ripped him off – Bicks or something). I can even remember those that haven’t really made it beyond a bit part in Father Ted (Michael Redmond – check out his regular shows at The Stand, a very funny man) or who no-one remembers used to present the National Lottery (Terry Alderton – he wasn’t funny then either, although I’m told his goalkeeping was hilarious).

To the best of my knowledge he has only published the two books, both this century and both very funny. As have been his television shows. Which are definitely an acquired taste. I myself have acquired it and reckon that it you don’t like The Fishing Show you don’t understand life. (Last years Cattle Drive although very similar was let down by someone’s decision to try and get popular by having narrative. Pffft.) So, it must have been something that he was on way back in the day. I can rule out the 11 O’clock Show because I can remember wondering jaw-dropped who the hell advised him to get involved in that crap. So, this leaves basically the option that he was often on something Channel 4 used to screen back in the day that they showed something other than (admittedly decent) american imports and (completely indecent) reality shit. I’ve tried to place him on Saturday Zoo or some other Wossy vehicle. More likely something else, what would I be doing watching the telly on a Saturday? Although, I’m leaning towards the cabaret – show the name of which completely escapes me – they used to show late mid-week. The one that introduced Harry Hill (another gent) to the world and was once hosted by The Doug Anthony All-stars. Although, you see, I can remember who appeared on that.

Wherever it was, I have not seen him live since that one occasion over ten years ago. This has been despite all my best intentions. Every year since when the fringe rolls into our nations capital I declare to all around must go see Rich Hall… and, in typical fashion, never actually get around to it.

Then, at those times when I do manage to haul ass through there for some stuff he’ll be doing an Otis Lee Crenshaw show. Now, as stated above, the Otis bio is brilliant. The banter is hilarious. There’s even some really funny songs involved (see his first appearance on the Badly funded Think Tank show with his novel take on the war in Afghanistan – remember that one? the one the neo-cons laughed at the suggestion it was like Vietnam because it was all over, done and dusted, mission accomplished back in 2003? – Start Quitting Junk For The Red, White And Blue). But, it’s too much comedy songs. My head would explode. Zappa asked does humor belong in music and we all answered yes, god save us from the po-faced and irony-less musician. Well, I’m asking does music belong in humour? And, in case you’re wondering, the answer is hell no. Had Oscar Wilde attended more music hall (or Gilbert & Sullivan operettas) he’d have known sarcasm wasn’t that low. Like Marmite, in the hands of the right person, and used very very sparingly, sarcasm can actually be a beautiful thing. The same goes for the comedy song, only you need to be even more sparing.

So, to recap, I don’t know when I first became aware of Hall, but have liked him a lot since and have completely resented the fact that I’ve only seen him live the once. Until, that is, the other week. And, he was phenomenal. Absolutely brilliant. See, this is the reason for the big preamble. It’s bad enough with movies and music, but how do you explain to someone why a stand-up was great? Do you just ‘do’ their jokes? But, Hall doesn’t really have jokes as such his is more a surreal stream of consciousness (in fact the heckler who shouts tell us a joke about ten minutes in gets looks of absolute incomprehension from both the stage and the rest of the audience). Besides, Lenny Bruce always maintained that he lost the first round of his obscenity trial because they wouldn’t let him do his stuff, instead they got a cop to read out the material – it bombed. Or do you describe him (simian) and his demeanour (completely bewildered and pretty damn grumpy as a result, but endearing like a weird uncle)? List the subjects he covers? Explain that he may hate Bush but he hates Gophers much much more? I can’t, it just doesn’t convey it. He was everything you could hope for and more. I now regret all those years of not catching him all the more. I’m even kicking myself for only going the once this time around.

See him at every opportunity you get. And, if you don’t get the opportunity: Create one.

PS Viva Cabaret

Written by Tony Kiernan

06 September 2006 at 1:21 pm

Posted in Gigs