Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Charles Dexter Ward - Threnody for Ron Asheton

Even in the obscured by clods world of ‘noise’ cassette culture Charles Dexter Ward is a tiny figure in an out of the way corner of the landscape; there was one tape of loner-guitar scrapings followed by a couple of beautiful tracks of ahead of/behind the times kraut-synth work (none of which have left a trace anywhere on the internet) followed by some appearances with north-eastern improv crew Truckstop Women, then nothing for almost a decade.

This is his return, a heavy eight-minute howl of lamentation for fallen soldier Ron Asheton; a fire concealed beneath black veils. Not that there’s any too obvious sonic links between Ward’s style here and that of Asheton beyond the long peals of background gtr-wah that cloud the funeral-procession drums. Instead, think the Sun City Girls if they viewed life through the acrid fumes of lousy ex-mining town cannabis resin instead of an opium haze; clangourous arpeggios loosely wrapped in high-end foliage and four-track murk.

So far as I know, Charles isn’t together enough for any web presence but you can contact him here. [Edit: I was wrong, dude does have a MySpace.]

Charles Dexter Ward – Threnody for Ron Asheton [ysi]

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Capsule Review #4: 'Hunger'

The birds flying out of the trees symbolize his soul passing on.

Strategic cross-pimping: "Which Decade Is Tops For Pops?"

Now in its seventh year, my annual collaborative blog-stunt seeks to rank the last five decades in order of chart-pop fabulousness, by comparing the Top Ten UK singles from the week of my birthday and collating reader scores accordingly.

This year, we're examining the charts of 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999 and 2009. On Day One we compare the five songs at Number 10, on Day Two we shift up a place, and so on. There's a brief memory-jogging medley MP3 to accompany each round, as well as YouTube links for each song.

Last year, the 1960s romped home for the second year running. The 1990s and 2000s tend not to do so well - although the 2000s have been staging a marked recovery over the past couple of years, so There Is Still Hope. Meanwhile, the 1980s have been steadily tanking, ever since 1985 won it for them four years ago.

At the time of writing, we're comparing and contrasting singles by Stevie Wonder, Driver 67, Robert Howard/Kym Mazelle, TQ and Shontelle. So do please come and join us, at http://tinyurl.com/wd2009.

Monday, February 23, 2009

In The Psychiatrist’s Bed – Bon Bon Club

We’ve talked about the Bon Bon Club before on Rocktimists, so who could be better to open our exciting new way of updating with minimum effort feature that we stole from elsewhere.

The new lineup of Sushi Quatro, Chappati Smith and Boozie Sioux took some time out from slathering themselves in pancake makeup and listening to menswe@r to peep at our Rorschach test.

Boozie: House elves from Harry Potter!
Chapatti: Candy 'princess maow maow' the cat

Sushi: This one looks like Chappati
Boozie: 2 garden gnomes playing clapping songs

Boozie: Waiters washing up

Boozie: TROLL
Chapatti: A small toad crawling up a big toad's bum  

Sushi: Release the Bats!
Boozie: Cute fruit bat for sure

Sushi: A hungry, devouring twat
Boozie: I'm sorry but definitely vaginal

Sushi: This reminds me of Bon Bon, the delightful bunny on the cover of our debut 7" single
Boozie: double thumbs-up!

Boozie: Pink bears climbing

Chapatti: the Turin shroud
Boozie: Chinese Dragons


Boozie: Tripping at Le Tour Eiffel

The Bon Bon Club – Love is Blind [ysi]

You can buy one of the last few copies of their seven-inch from Thee SPC records here. This is their MySpace in case you’re still into pretending be friends with bands and all that.

On a related tip here’s a Glass Candy version of “Nostalgia” by The Long Blondes, a band which featured the Bon Bon’s Sushi Quatro (under her government name of Reenie Delaney). I believe it was originally commissioned for a proposed remix 12” that would also have included the Pantha Du Prince mix of “Guilt”.

The Long Blondes – Nostalgia (Glass Candy Remix) [ysi]

Sunday, February 22, 2009

It's because of Eric Bana

More google hits for Robbie Graham and Matthew Alford from fellow New Statesman blackleg John Pilger, another person who probably hasn't actually seen Munich, but is happy to call it a 'a corporate-backed endorsement of Israeli policy,' which it really isn't. Pilger goes on to ask film critics to be, essentially, political journalists like himself, accusing those many film critics who panned Brian De Palma's Redacted of trying 'to taint the film as a kind of heresy and to bury it.' If a film criticizes any aspect of US foreign policy, it is the film critic's duty to support that film.

But back up, go and read the original Village Voice piece, and gosh darn if Pilger isn't talking a complete bunch of bullshit, unless the Voice was trying to bury the film by giving it substantial and not unsympathetic coverage.

Anyway, film critics frequently 'speak out' as Pilger demands; they do it all the time. And they generally do better than this:

These days, there are two types of censorship. The first is censorship by introspective dross. Betraying its long tradition of producing gems, escapist Hollywood is consumed by the corporate formula: just make 'em long and asinine and hope the hype will pay off. Real talent is absorbed. Ricky Gervais is his clever comic self in Ghost Town, while around him stale, formulaic characters sentimentalise the humour to death.


So... Hollywood for long produced gems like Birth of a Nation, The Green Berets, and all the racist westerns and (you’ll have to read this bit for yourself but seriously) proto-neo-con second-world-war movies he refers to earlier in the piece; but now it produces long, asinine, introspective dross, all according to formula – a recent development – and relying on publicity to attract an audience, another completely unprecedented tactic in the annals of entertainment history. Ho-hum. It actually gets worse when he compares Hamas with the French resistance, but some stuff kind of fisks itself.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Your Questions Answered

At Rocktimists we pride ourselves on our wide knowledge base, and not just concerning music and film but all aspects of the arts and sciences. Sometimes people find us through googled questions but the answers aren’t on the site. Today we’re making that right and giving you—the public—the answers to the important questions that have been keeping you awake at night.

The bold text is the search term that was caused someone to end up here. Spelling and grammar haven’t been fucked with.

mercury music prize anyone won it twice
No.

"i lust you" chart position
No Neon Neon songs have cracked the hit forty. Plus the song is spelled “I Lust U” coz they’re all retro-moderne and shit.

are felicity kendal and rachael stevens related
No.  They're both Jewish though.

"what is the dark knight about?"
The Dark Knight is Batman. In this film he fights the Joker and then Two-Face. There’s no secret, hidden occult meaning to it; it’s a superhero flick.

homoerotic batman art
Have "Batman do handjob and want to suck Superman’s big cock" as a start.

old laide ,s cum
Batman/boy love we’ll help with, but there are limits.

was ist britain pop?
I’m definitely nabbing this for the title of my forthcoming book.

where does ralf little live
Here.

wot does the chaffinch aet
Chaffinches eat a variety of seeds and scraps. They can also eat fruits, berries, insects and spiders.

Finally, there’s this question, or really these questions:

robbie graham matthew alford new statesman (3 times)
hollywood matthew alford graham screen shock (2 times)
"robbie graham" "matthew alford"
"robbie graham" "matthew alford" screen
alford graham hollywood shock
alford graham hollywood statesman new
alford graham hollywood statesman new wiki
alford graham new statesman screen
alford hollywood graham screen money
matthew alford "new statesman"
matthew alford hollywood graham screen shock
matthew alford hollywood screen graham, shock
shock matthew alford
the power behind the screen new statesman matthew alford comments

Hello Robbie. Hello Matthew. Good to see you again. You might want to note that your article is discussed here and it’s staying there as is, so there's no need to check it every couple of days, much as we love your visits. Pro-tip: sign up to Google Alerts and in the time you save vanity-searching you can probably dream up another conspiracy theory.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mix Up

Here's two hot mixes chock full of disco re-edit joy.

Ash and Max at Disco Horror have been doing a primo job of documenting the best of the nu-disco scene and have just upped the Fear the Beard mix. Personally, I'm not fearing any beard not attached to Peter Sutcliffe.

This is a direct link to an expansive, dubby mix by American DJ Andrew Allsgood. The tracklist is in the comments section. The unconscious similarity with "Bongo Jam" in the Tontelas track is pretty loveable.

And as a bonus here's Allsgood's re-edit of "Magic Man" by soft rock sisters Heart, one of my most played jams of last year.

Heart - Magic Man (Allsgood Edit) [ysi]

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Animated .GIF Awards 2009

Each day the first thing I do after getting up is head over to the NME Awards so that I can vote for Oasis and/or Noel Gallagher (he’s the rhythm guitarist of the group) in the eight out of twenty-five categories they’re nommed in. Noel’s even up for best blogger, so big up yourself to him for supporting the blogging revolution.

There are other categories too, ones that Oasis aren’t up for and I have to make decisions about those as well, but I usually feel I can throw weight behind something—best website is Bebo, best venue is the O2 and so on. The one category that makes me worry is the one for Best Album cover as they’re all cheap, nasty designs with little obvious care taken. The NME consistently looks awful too though, like a hip Local Authority drugs pamphlet that tries to connect with da kids in trouble on their own level. There may be a connection.

Here are the nominations:

We Are Scientists – Brain Thrust Mastery
Seems like if you were a jokey New York band with an album concept about being self-help gurus you might make the album cover look like a self-help book or CD right? Instead, go for truth in advertising and show yourselves sleeping, like most listeners will be before the end of the last song.

Guillemots – Red
The cover of Red looks kind of thing that Storm Thorgerson would knock off for the second single from a Mars Volta album. But with a logo designed by a year ten student during a boring maths lesson. The hey-look-life-is-a-complex-thing-just-like-our-music-alright ball of twine is a motif reminiscent of the world’s crappest Rubik’s Cube from the front of the last Elbow album or this classic from Biffy Clyro. Still, Red by King Crimson has a shitty cover too and that’s a fantastic record, so maybe not all is lost for the ‘Mots.

The Killers – Day & Age


The NME doesn’t seem to realise that the only designer allowed to get backslaps for lazy Photoshop filter use is Peter Saville.

Muse – HAARP


Has there ever been a live album with a great cover? Off the top of my head I say no. There’s barely ever been a great live album. Wikipedia informs us that “the album is named after the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, of which vocalist Matthew Bellamy (known for his interest in global conspiracies and the New World Order conspiracy which influences the band's music) holds suspicion.” Citation needed. HFAARP, then.

The Cure – 4:13 Dream


The Cure are this years recipients of the Godlike Genius award, so get to have a pity nom in another category too. Since no-one, not even whoever hawked it up, could think that this is a good cover it might look like the NME having a sly dig at the current state of the certified genii. This theory is blown out of the water by the rest of the covers being equally grim however.

RIP Big Man - Lux Interior



As a tribute here is the Purple Knif Show, an hour long radio show from 1984 packed with obscure rock & roll hosted by Lux in reverb and mic jabber mode.  I stole the link from elsewhere but in the circumstances I don't think anyone will mind.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Mix Up

Since Lindstrøm got mentioned in the post below it would be wrong not to mention that his sometime production buddy Prins Thomas provides this months mystery mix at the always on-point DJ History. The naughty direct download link is here.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Boredoms – Ant 10 (DJ Lindstrom Remix)

Boredoms are one of those bands that have lasted long enough and burned through enough styles that just about anyone they chose to work with would make sense; from their early hook-up with John Zorn when they were both in their smashtronix phases to various collaborations with the international trip-hop players in the 1990s and the (inevitable) work with Sonic Youth members.

Just out (and sold out already) is a new volume of Super Roots which pits new track “Ant 10” against four remixes. The original “Ant 10” begins in the broiling percussion sea of recent Boredoms before resolving into a kaleidoscopic whirl of circling electric piano and synth lines over four-to the-floor drums, like a super ecstatic jazz-fusion. (The closest I can think of is parts of Alice Coltrane’s astounding Eternity album).

Three of the remixes (including one by the suspiciously named DJ Finger Hat, who returns no Google hits unconnected to Super Roots 10) just splash around in the shallows of the main track; if you want more, they’re more but little else. The other remix, by “DJ Lindstrom” (or, y’know, Lindstrøm) takes us back to the breadth of collaborators that the Boredoms haveworked with as this is an ideal match, Lindstrøm and Boredoms both being experts at the stretched-out cosmic exploration (Lindstrøm and Boredoms’ Eye have both recorded tributes to Manuel Göttsching’s E2-E4, the hour-long 1984 album which marks the point where the autobahn meets the beach).

Lindstrøm thins the drums down to a constant simmer and making space for laserfire syndrums and phased rainbows before uncoiling the seventies squelch and wah, which was buried in the original track, like ribbons behind a gymnast. There's a constant ebb and flow until the final three minutes of loose and squeaky muppet disco-chorus that seems to parody the low vocal calls that begin the original version.

Boredoms – Ant 10 (DJ Lindstrom Remix) [ysi]

To take us out, the stupidest last.fm shoutbox quote for this track, “Goomba4001 wrote ...It still sounds good, but I NEVER THOUGHT THE BOREDOMS WOULD BE MAKING SYNTH POP!!”