Friday, 30 January 2015

War On The Dancefloor - 23/01/2015

Another great night of industrial and associated musics, all played at The Q Club Cambridge. The next one should be in the later half of April, keep an eye out at on the Facebook page for exact dates and then come along to enjoy it all. It's a small night but with a growing following, and whilst it might not have the art noise idiocy that was Noise Bastard it's certainly got the tunes (and two of it's DJs, but being sensible for once).

My sets were:

10:00 till 11:00
Blood Rave - Blade OST
Destroy all dancefloors - CTRL ALT DEL
Angel of ruin - The Chaos Engine
Dead shall rise - Flesh Eating Foundation
Dead planet - Frontline Assembly
Trip like I do - Filter & The Crystal Method
March of the pig - Nine Inch Nails
Precipice - Rabbit Junk
Don't stop - Inner Party System
Velocity - Neuroticfish
One drug - Audio War
Police State - Birmingham 6
Lamb of God - Psyclone 9
Bunch of Fuckers - Petrol Bastard

12:00 till 1:00
Headhunter V2 - Front 242 (possibly a request, in that it was lined up to play and then someone asked for it)
Nemesis - VNV Nation
I am the rain - Assembly 23
Access & Amplify - Icon of Coil
Starsign - Apoptygma Berzerk
Hardcore Motherfucker - Ultraviolence
Futile Nazi Bastard - Velvet Acid Christ
Angels of the dark - Studio X
Weep for me - Aslan Faction
What I want - Aktivehate
Jesus Christ buried alive - Alien Vampires

The main booth discussions were: , how cold weather buggers up club nights, if digital hardcore counts as industrial (Yes Nick, it does. Get a fucking grip), how to cover up a choke and stay sexy, if cohesive community experiences stopped happening on the alternative scene after 2003 & if that was a good or bad thing, and how utterly off-genre music goes down brilliantly if just the right track is played at just the right time,

Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Mindsweep - Enter Shikari

The St Albans fab-four are back, bringing another collection of tunes for folks into subjects like the growth of the corporate-state , the imminent ecogedoon  the failings of capitalist greed, and high-energy mixing of big-beat trance with post-hardcore guitar rock. So four albums, 11 years, and no real changes to their whole operation. Although, as they motor into their 30's as flag-bearers of a musical sound that never defined a generation but certainly gave some of it it's own feel, they sure as heck seem to have mellowed out in places.

For example first single "The Last Garrison" starts up as one of their traditional onslaught masterpieces of socially aware observations but then grows into a more thoughtful slow piece. The singalong glory of the main hookline "Head's up and thank fuck you're still alive! There's still air in my lungs, still blood in my veins" isn't the call to arms of youth, it's the pause, consideration, and consolidation of experience that knows it's still got a long way to go. Very powerful, very moving, properly progressive on so many levels. It's a feel that goes through all the album, still powerful but with a bit less frantic and a little more confidence that they don't have to be doing a million things all at once.

"Never Let Go Of the Microscope" is another prime example, with a couple of sections in-between the thrashing that are not far off reggae, and "The Bank Of England" is a slow paced tale of caution rather than what would previously have been a  nonstop scream of disappointment. "Myopia" and "Anesthetist" are more of their classic sound, but even they have a touch less constant drive to them than previous tracks. For long-term fans it's more of what was found on A Flash Flood of Colour than Take To The Skies and Common Dreads, for new listeners it's going to be that little bit more accessible and also demonstration of a greater range. Live it's going to be fantastic, as with longer sets and more options it's going to be a roller-coaster rather than their previous 1000 foot drop.

It's not a radical departure, but a change never the less, and one that works incredibly well. As a band with a very distinct, and in many ways singular, sound they could have easily refined and concentrated the "hardcore with rave bits" approach to diminishing returns. Instead they have expanded and embraced areas of both dance and rock, grown as a band and grown up as an act in the best possible way, to give more of a range and depth of sounds. They have shown that they are going to continue to expand, continue to grow, and continue to make albums as amazing, energizing, thoughtful, and joyful as this one.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Stomachaches - FrnkIero Andthe Cellabration

First out of the gate with a solo album after the demise of My Chemical Romance, Frank Iero's offering shows a good slice of what he brought to MCR but also enough of how he's going to take things now he's out on his own. It's a difficult sound to pin down as the album lurches between styles, something that the befits a project that started out as someone playing music just for themselves.

It's got a large dollop of the simplicity and direct, clean sound of alternative/punk in there, along with a good amount of thrashing and urgency. But it also has moments of complexity and eclecticism that give it a post-punk / new-wave feel in places, included an understated and subtle use of electronica and EDM sounds. Lyrically it's very personal and powerful, not in the big emo manner of his previous band but in a playful and triumphant manner that just enjoys the sound and feel of the words without worry too much if the listener gets anything more than a sense of meaning and a touch of it's power. He can also sing, rather well, and is great at getting the emotions across without doing an overblown performance. Stand out tracks go to the two singles, "Weighted" and "Joyriding", the sing along fun of Tragician, and the slowmo epic that is Guilttripping. However if you like guitars and a bit of pace then there is bound to be something here for you.

This all combines into something that is joyfully all over the place, playing around with sounds & feelings to produce something that is exciting, experimental but also accessible & immediate. It's the bastard lovechild of Rites of Spring, non-Nevermind era Nirvana, Brand New after a couple of pints, your favorite muso's speed up bar band, and someone just discovering what can be done with some wubs the DJ left over from last night. It's also quite possibly suffering from ADD, as not all the ideas and sounds become as developed in the songs as you could have hoped for. And that gets frustrating, as whilst non of it is in anyway 'bad' it also means little of it is as 'good' as it could have been. Quite where it will end up I have no clue, but it'll be worth keeping an eye out of Frank's next album and for his tour.