En Yay Sah - Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang - LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY! #78

Now that we’ve reached the end of another year, I see retrospectives and best ofs of all shapes and forms popping up all over the Internet, nay, on this very blog even. For the musically astute and up to date, these lists aren’t really telling you anything you don’t already know. You’ll maybe agree with them, perhaps you’ll cry in outrage that your favourite album of the year didn’t make Rolling Stone’s top 50 list, but either way if you’ve had your ears open you’ve probably at least heard of most of this year’s celebrated albums. Not me, folks! I pride myself in my modern day musical ignorance. My favourite artists are all old, some dead, some retired, today’s music scene generally doesn’t interest me that much and I’m happy to discover things at my own pace without worrying about the flurry of new releases, buying magazines, reading rave reviews and going out and purchasing CD’s at full price and so on. If I discover something great from this year I’ll embrace it, but I won’t go looking for it. Anyhow, this little prelude is a disclaimer: whereas some people look at “best of year” list and see what made it out of their favourites, I use it as a resource to find some of the year’s best albums. Things are easier in retrospect. So it’s possible that in the first few months of 2013 I can be treating readers to some of the best albums of last year, rather than the best of the upcoming year. That I definitely entrust to Steven, being light years ahead of the game than myself. Anyhow, one of this 2012’s best albums as far as I’m concerned I have for you here. Despite that rant it’s not one that made a lot of lists (I have my resources) and it has a very interesting story behind it.

Xmass 2012 Adam's presents to Steven - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #143

Forgive me father, for I have sinned. I have not obeyed the commandment of Thirteenth Floor Elevators Roller Coaster to “open upcha mind and let everything flow through it” and recently I have been resolutely hunkered in the bunker having nothing but heavy-ass trips, just check out my end-of-year list if you don’t believe me. Well I felt it was important to maintain my cultural cache and expand my horizons; and what better time to do that than the messed-up three-month shit show of xmass. That wonderous Pago-Christo-Capitalist festival where we worship around the spectacle of the evergreen pine tree, representing the rejuvenation that occurs on the 21st of December, at the solstice. We also celebrate the non-birth of the not-ever-born messiah of Judeo-Christian text, as well as devoting massive amounts of money, time and worry to gargantuan soulless corporations who’d be selling fully automatic rifles and heroin to pre-schoolers if they thought there’d be a profit in it. Merry fucking Christmas, every one. Another fabulous xmass tradition is being given shit you don’t want. You know? You’re into music, so somebody gives you a CD by a band or artist totally outside your demographic and taste and most of the time it’s utter shite and you have to listen to it a few times to not seem ungrateful, but occasionally it’s a little chunk of that magic moment when you buy a CD by a band you’ve never heard of or catch a slice of radio that doesn’t cater to your demographic. Well, Adam, our other glorious and well-informed contributor sent me over a brace of five albums with nothing comfortable or familiar in sight. Tally ho! Life begins at the end of the comfort zone!

2012, a non-apocalypse in review - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #142

Okay, another wretched year slithers out of the sphincter of time and it’s that time of year that most of the bars are open but most of the offices are shut so internet guttersnipes can indulge themselves and make a list of all the albums made by their mates that didn’t get the number one and huge accolades they obviously deserved, and nobody will notice and nobody will care and the world will continue blissfully unaware eating the same recycled wallpaper-paste tedium they always have convinced it is new, or somehow cleansing, or somehow doesn’t matter. I’m starting this well ahead of time but I’m always drinking in and absorbing albums from this year to try and map the most accurate landscape of the unmolested underground and that mission continues. The ongoing popularity this year of Psy’s perfectly ordinary Gangnam Style goes to show what I’ve been saying: lock the record-buying public in a coffin made of shit for long enough, any air that seeps is is going to seem like the best thing. Compared to the Jonas Brothers and all the other saccharine sweet mediocrity merchant white people guitar bore Psy does indeed seem good, just as to someone with the metal shaft of an arrow lodged in their brain so they perceive nothing but excruciating pain, the smell of a fart seems like sweet release. So fuck mediocre pop, screw your boredom because while on the sun-baked desert of the charts there were tiny shoots of hope, in the fusty grimy sin caves of the sub-basement and in the underground we were growing reefer to such an extent that the buds covered the walls and hung from the ceiling. Yes, things were going real good in the underground kiddies, and the super-dooper thing is you didn’t miss a thing. Just you follow the 2012 tag and you’ll get full-length ruminations on everything I’m about to mention in passing, links to free music in most cases, interviews and places where you can fight the good fight. Now I think things in the world have been going pretty well too. The world is a fairer place because of civil disobedience, we’re nearly all the way with same-sex marriage and, for one shining moment, I think we might have it. So slide any of our 2012 records, or any of my further picks on to your turntable, turn it up real loud, open up yer doors and share your booze and your drugs. Act as if you live in the early days of a better world.
Tommy Concrete with the Jackals, 14/12/2012

Songs of the New World Order - The Blondi's Salvation - LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY! #77

Today, as a little Christmas bonus, Steve and I have given you dear readers a little treat, and ourselves a bit of a headache, no doubt. One day as Steve was traversing the streets, he was caught in a torrential downpour of inspiration, and an idea so brilliant drenched his hair and soaked through his clothes. “We on this blog always write about music we like,” thought he, “so why not, for once, write about music that the other person likes?” Genius, some would say. Others, insanity. Regardless, I was game. We exchanged a few albums, had a listen to what floats the other’s boat, (Which is rarely, if ever, the same sort of thing) and now the result of this crazy exchange of ideas lies before you in all its Helvetica glory. I’m writing about The Blondi’s Salvation, which is both a privilege and a frustration because I normally like to try and read up a bit about a band before writing about them for context and whatnot, try and find out their influences and so forth. The Blondi’s Salvation appear to be pretty obscure (and by that I mean they don’t have their own Wikipedia page) and so pretty much the only information I can get on them is that they’re from Nantes, France. I’m pretty sure this was a deliberate move by Steve; merry Christmas too, ye git. Anyhow, upon reflection and listening, I’ve concluded that it doesn’t actually matter too much that I know nothing about them. I know the important thing, and that’s that this album rocks.

Kiss me dudely, and brace yourself, listmageddon approaches! Songs of 2012 - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #141

Ye gods, 2012 was one hell of a year! Good thing too, if we’d dribbled into the cosmic abyss rather than going out on a gee-tar stroke strum thunderclap, we all should be ashamed. Thankfully this was a helluva time and place in the world to be alive and we got a whole selection of short-form loveliness to indulge ourselves, so firsty I’mma drop you the best songs of 2012, ‘cause sometimes you don’t wanna hear a whole record, and this is to reward some releases with a single prime cut (sometimes worthy of buying the whole sub-standard album) so juicy you really need to avail yersel of the whole record just to enjoy it. There’s a lot here that won’t be making it into any other list ‘cause they really are a single cut marred in an ocean of sameyness or boredom but worth rewarding because, if only for a single moment, each of these suckers nailed the beauty.
Tommy Concrete as part of the Jackals, Bannermans, 2012. I like this photo.

Rebirth: Jackal-Headed Guard of the Dead, back and louder than ever - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #140

Craig Relf of Druganaut - shake ya bones
So another night worshipping at the altar of Edinburgh’s small doom community crammed into the smaller-still sub-basement of the underground, for the meantime slipping into deeper drug-induced ennui and trading old Khanate gig stories but ready at any time to burst forth in a seething corrupting human tide in black tees with the sleeves cut off displaying tattoo’d arms and flow into Edinburgh’s ‘respectable’ streets and converge upon some poor group of fat-arse American tourists too slow to run and tear them to shreds. This evening was to celebrate the reincarnation of Jackal-Headed Guard of the Dead after several months’ forced slumber under the Antarctic ice fields ready to once again rend flesh and bring their specific breed of laconic homegrown electric thunder to sub-basement we all call home, Bannerman’s bar. I was going there as a journalist, not as a fan. The Halloween ruminations of fellow doomy upstarts Atragon had long since robbed me of any ability to hear the music so I was there to photograph, to document, to get the scoop; which was an issue because the lighting inside the trend-proof bunker (last hiding place of bad hair and quality moustaches) can, from a photographer’s perspective, be described as utterly hopeless. Low coloured lighting inspires fuzziness even at higher shutter speeds hence why the visual component of this dribblesome waste of your time looks like bad 70s gig photography, that is, contrast pumped to max and monochrome. So you’ll have to deal with that, along with my usual ineptitude, verboseness and pointlessness.

And as for hell, we've been to West Virginia, with the Chewers - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #139

“Well come on down here son, that’s right, down the stairs, they might look all old and rickety but they’re as strong as yer da’s bones, come on down here mind your head as you enter the sub basement. Don’t worry, we ain’t in no shape to hurt you, we just dropped a load o’ paralysing agents and me legs are already totally absent. I expect within a coupla minutes I’ll have totally zapped out on a wave of paralysed frozen psychedelia. Don’t worry, them stairs are sticky with whisky from hundreds of hours of debauchery and the floor is likewise. Come and sit next to me. You have nothing to fear, my arms are already going limp. Don’t fret at all, this all might seem like some twisted hallucination, and it might well be, you aren’t here to gawp at me and my vast flab rolls, naw son, you’re here to watch the real beasts perform...”

Wanted: Outlaws to begin immediately - Outrun the cops for the second time with the Heavy Eyes - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #138

The beast is loose again. Down the bland highway of samey predictability, stacked gridlock of all the latest polished boring useless spiritual faux-rock come the modern highwaymen and outlaws; blasting down the white of the centre line with wind-burned eyeballs and reckless disregard, astride a growling iron horse spitting fire from chromed nostrils and bucking with impatient rage, longing for the open road. It’s the Heavy Eyes! The thousand carat headline act, smashing wingmirrors, scraping wings and stealing watches off idle wrists of gridlocked boredom at ninety miles an hour; not caring about green or red signals; running fast and heavy looking for an unpolluted section of road so they can set the bull loose. Stopping at any old place provoking fear and curtain twitching as they stagger and fight with jagged broken whisky bottles. Not caring, not caring about anything at all. Leaving broken windows, broken eardrums and broken hearts in every staggered desert town. Running free on the blistered blacktop because all the people with the power to bring the hammer down would never believe what just happened, and who is speeding out of town. It’s the hottest name in underground blues music; and their new album winged itself to us through the intergalactic airwaves and it’s been on permanent spin ever since.

Hallelujah, and explode: Venture into the anachronistic hinterland with Man’s Gin and the Fnords - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #137

Jon Lord is dead, Maynard is becoming a vintner. Whether you’re respectable or a full on freak, in the close of this foul year of our lord, rock and roll is the devil. As the creation of a true righteous list of the supreme enduring meditations of the year commences, taking hours of dedication and careful consideration and research, as well as a degree of nostalgic posthumous voyaging back into the half-life trips of the previously trodden ground of the rock and roll sub-basement. It’s vital to check yourself against a fair selection of the last few blasted and fearful and wrong years for previous winners and a cut or two of overlooked barbaric genius. To that end I bring, from 2010, Man’s Gin’s debut album Smiling Dogs, a true blues slowgrind non-metallic black metal release from half of true black metallers Cobalt which tees up the new Man’s Gin album due soon; I also bring to you from much closer to home the 2011 debut from the Fnords, soon to be re-released on proper vintage artefact vinyl at Edinbuggers own Elvis Shakespeare records and good stuff wholesaler. Please do come on in.

High Water - El-P - LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY! #76

I have nothing but respect for EL-P in the world of hip hop, being a super producer/rapper extraordinaire and all that. Seriously, I do think he is a supremely talented musician and his hip hop productions are light years ahead of many of his contemporaries.  Note well, “hip hop productions.” As a rapper/producer I wouldn’t really have expected him to branch into anything else: maybe some soundtrack work a la Wu-Tang’s RZA, but that’s about it. Certainly the last thing I’d ever have expected from him is an album of orchestral jazz, but there we are, the man continues to surprise. I did raise my eyebrow at the thought of such an idea, and as it turns out, with good reason: that’s not to say High Water is a complete failure, it’s not a failure or even remotely bad at all. It’s just… curious. An interesting piece of work for sure, but let’s just say they won’t be inducting El-P into the Down Beat hall of fame anytime soon.

A Meeting by the River - Ry Cooder and Vishwa Mohan Bhatt - LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY! #75

I’ve long expressed my interest in music from other cultures and unfamiliar styles, and something I like just as much as that is whenever this sort of music is blended with something more familiar. You could think of it as safer: a gentle little introduction to an otherwise completely unknown territory, just testing the waters a little bit, although I prefer not to. I prefer to see it as some otherwise unrelated musicians with completely separate ideas and mindsets and skills joining together to create a product of their own differences: a unique sound unlike anything heard before, music that exists not as the spearhead of a new movement or even something that can be replicated: something as unique as a fingerprint or a snowflake. And A Meeting by The River is just that: two masters of their own very different genres, pioneers of their own delicate sound, coming together to complement each other and build something that would be impossible to do on their own. The album title couldn’t be more appropriate: a meeting, as if to suggest a casual encounter, reflects the improvisatory nature of the album, (apparently the two musicians met less than an hour before the recording of the album and that the entire album was “unplanned and unrehearsed”) and a river, this most natural and pure of environments, suggests the gentle natural flowing of life and music, tranquil, clear and soothing.

You're in my veins you fuck! An astro psyche roundup - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #136

All matter flows according to the whims of the Great Magnet, what a fool I was to defy him. Life ebbs and flows like a frost stream, not like an ever-flowing river. After being trapped in a busy schedule and getting hung-up on a series of below-par albums for a few weeks I was beginning to lose sight of what this blog was about. Luckily fresh drilling into the welcoming belly of the underground has yielded yet more fret-smashing action I’m all too happy to bring to you in a pristine psychedelic state of the union. It has also not escaped my attention that we’re speeding towards the end of the year, and the end of year lists (and we gotta special present for y’all in December too, so keep ‘em peeled) but right now I figured it was time for a psychic roundup of all the best psyche that for one reason or another slipped past us this year (mostly ‘cause I missed the fuckers, eh?) Each and every one of these is special, bespoke, very very good, and usually effing difficult to get ahold of, savour.

Not much time before the end me babies; Atlantean Runes provide some apocalypse rock - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #135

Pop a buncha coffee granules straight outta the jar and grind ‘em up between my teeth and just ride the bitter whisky shudder and I’m buzzing buzzing buzz propa natural natch buzz coming totally without psychic meditative impairment through I do feel like jumping or sprinting or doing one armed press-ups and it’s makin’ Atlantean Runes debut go with a certain sluggish pop that is even more otherworldly zing than ever before and it’s while my consciousness is moving at a hundred billion miles a second and the stars are turned from pinpricks of light into diverging streaks of light and all the while I’m not. Actually. Moving. At all. Compared to the comparatively sober Jackfest gee-tar runs of Eidetic Seeing and La Otracina (about which I started one of these fuckups but never finished), Atlantean Runes are definitely intuitive noncareer movers, but also in a very real minute-by-minute sense nonmovers. The record materialises outta thin air, as if it’s been rolling steadily on forever, like a ghost train appearing over the desert horizon in a fug of steam and just rolling past for forty minutes before the tail carriage, as empty and desolate as the engine up front rolls over y’r dumbstruck mind and is gone, just as it came. Presumably still rolling somewheres else. Just because you can’t hear it doesn’t mean it isn’t still spinning, running adrift through millions of miles of empty space. It feels ancient, older than the cosmos, built of things we know not and been traversing the universe for untold millennia before finally splashing down here. It’s 2012 motherfucker, I can’t think of a world that needs it more.

Eldritch light on tales of Northern rumble - a conversation with Jackal-Headed Guard of the Dead - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #134

“Why doest thou hide thyself in clouds
From every searching eye?
Why darkness and obscurity
In all thy words and laws
So that none dare eat the fruit but from
The wily serpent’s jaws”
Excerpt from To Nobodaddy by William Blake

Jackal-Headed Guard of the Dead were real, as I grew up I’d been told stories of a band called Jackal-Headed Guard of the Dead but never really believed them. I began to have strange dreams, visions of a towering, impossibly thin man who took… skin… and brought with him behind him always a great and terrible rumbling like the sullen grumbling of some unfathomable darkness. Under discussion I discovered a lot of my friends had had similarly nightmarish visions, which only became worse under the influence of psychoactive drugs. Then we discovered a new band, the Jackal-Headed Guard of the Dead. We had all heard, we had all understood, and we had all gone slightly mad with the horror of it all. We had all heard the stories as children, as young men we had all read the Necronomicon and thought we had understood it. We fancied ourselves that we could imagine the land beyond, that we could envision Leng. It wasn’t until Leng was conjured before me and I went there, from a basement under Auld Reekie’s damp and dusky time-worn cobbles under gibbous moon, on waves of Melvinite grumbling amplified to the sound of the sun tearing apart, channelled through three men, their instruments and a sea of fine Scots malt bong water, it wasn’t until one night that I realised exactly what Leng was… that it was a horror beyond imagining. Nothing, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing the unknowable, of Leng, of Innsmouth, of Dunwich, to see that placid island of ignorance in the black seas of infinity for what it was, to understand that there are horrors out there beyond the snows and over the mountains impossible for the human mind to sanely comprehend. On a hazy crashing tide of psychoactive distortion, and by printing in the infernal method; by taking the audience apart, tearing and mangling in a fiendish and unspeakable fashion, that they have not yet done; but Jackal Headed Guard of the Dead have taken us to Leng; I observed such an occurrence, towards the end of the set as the plateau was reached, I observed behind the band a vast spectral Viking ship crewed by ghosts sailing in the infinite vastness of space, except the single man at the helm, who appeared to be alive… and pointing behind me and screaming. ‘Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!’ With a shrillness and look in his eyes that was immediately distressing. As with Edinburgh doom Of Spire and Throne, after each listen I fall into reluctant and fitful slumber and have strange vivid apocalyptic dreams, of nightmarish lightning crashing all about me, of beings coming from the stars and waging unholy wars upon man, of horrors that before Jackal-Headed Guard of the Dead were beyond the imaginings of man, but now in my nightmares made flesh.

A tiny measure of a reflection of beauty: Spend an April in the Orange - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #133

“Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.” – Douglas Adams.

Please, avail yourself of the April in the Orange album the Glittering Fish Were Stars, indulge in whatever chemicals you find give you spiritual balance, if any at all. Take as much time as required to come to terms with this interactive diagram, contemplate the small, the large and the relative scope of yourself amidst the universe. Lay back, ideally observing the most un-light-polluted night sky reasonably possible and repeat after me (group recitation is also encouraged): “There is no God, I am alone. The human concept of God exists only in the ignorant mind as a lie self-dictated to us in the early days of our collective awareness, to reassure those incapable of grappling with the ineffable truth, which I have unsuccessfully contemplated, but wholly accept. I acknowledge that the notion of a being, entity, force or intention existing before the material universe and giving creation and overseeing the lives of the tiny, imbecilic life forms on a small rock in a distant spiral arm of an unimportant galaxy in the scope of what is now believed to exist as well as the chaos and suffering of the world as it is is thoroughly foolish, and to sustain such a notion in my mind is only to give shelter to the self-important machinery of ignorance. The reason I cannot contemplate the real truth, and instead replace it with loving absent cosmic fathers, is the same reason it gives me spiritual balance. God is but the projection of ignorance, fear and self-importance that comes with self-awareness. I am ignorant enough to believe in a higher power, self-important enough to expect one and fearful enough to need one. I am a tiny, insignificant carbon based life form able to understand my place in the universe only to the extent as to wilfully misinterpret it. I assume my place in the universe to be of purpose, to make sense, to begin and to conclude in a sequence comprehendible to my brain; this is not the case. My life is pointless, a happy cosmic accident and a joyous giggle on the temporal smoke exhalation of the breath of the universe. My life has no purpose but what I make of it. I am not watched over, either by benevolent or malevolent forces, nor indeed indifferent entities. Just as the earth is not the universe, just as the earth is not the centre of the universe, just as the earth is not the centre of the solar system, just as the solar system is in no way central – my life is in no way central, watched or controlled. I express my understanding of this fact, although I do not understand it. I express my agreement with this fact, even while my body shouts with every atom of its existence a strong pantheistic terror at the expression of the following phrase, the existential terror belying what I am about to express highlights both the truth of the phrase and the difficulty I have in accepting it into my being. I make all efforts to come to terms with this truth, to open my mind to its possibilities and though my body shouts I say quietly but with resolution: I am totally alone. Alone in a universe so vast and labyrinthine that in no way can I understand the enormity of it. My life was not created with meaning, nor did it cultivate meaning. I was not created, I simply am. When my soul separates from my body, I know not whether it will endure or die too, nor where it will go if it does endure.”

Mindless Self Indulgence at the Garage, 26th October 2012

[We have a new contributor! Say hello to Ann-Margaret, whose photo-led meditations on the cure for what ails us will appear irregularly at an undetermined length. Please be encoraging and loving, as this entire thing was written and photographed under extreme duress on a phone! Hand in your luddite card. So come in Ann-Margaret, take off your coat, sit down, not in the big chair, that's mine. Ed.]

This review was written the day after I attended the Mindless Self Indulgence gig on Friday 26th of October, I was still totally hyped up from it so if it seems like it was written by a 14 year old girl who's had too much sugar and cider, that’s because it’s probably what the gig made me feel like :) (Please note I hadn’t had any sugar or cider that night!)

Sunken Condos - Donald Fagen - LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY! #74

Yet another surprising release that I inadvertently discovered on my daily web surf was this delightful little album by the man who put the Steely in Steely Dan. His fourth solo album in 30 years, and a “mere” six years since his last outing, (there were nine and 13 years between the first and second, and second and third respectively) Sunken Condos is as just as a surprise should be: unexpected, delightful, and enjoyable. It offers a much lighter feel than any of Fagen’s previous solo albums by not being a continuation of his extremely vague Nightfly trilogy, (I for one wasn’t aware it was a trilogy until the helpful interweb told me) which, for an artist whose work has always been jazzy and breezy makes for a very slick listen indeed.

There is a demon that lives in the air, at Mach one on the dial: Gnod go supersonic - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #132

Kneel before Gnod.
Gnod were on supersonic form at the Julian Cope Copendium book launch. It was an evening not just for them, but a celebration and a perfect metaphor for everything Cope stands for; a true recount of 21st century barbarianism, heathen rejoicing and primal evocations in the hall of mirrors. In attendance were (not) Manchester Motherfuckers and ‘intuitive non-careermovers’ Gnod, as well as similarly emotionally encumbered sonic conquistadors and volumatic cosmonauts the Kosmik Deed (Kosmik) James and (Kosmik) Jewlian confirmed. In attendance of course natch was Cope, Fido’s Blues, the insane Black Sheep road movie that deserves a whole non-music (although sorta music) In Search of Space frantic Benzedrine freakout all to itself. I may descend into complete incomprehensibility as I go on, as I did in front of Julian Cope as he signed my newly sold-out-for copy of Copendium (for those interested in rock artefacts, it’s a must, for those interested in rock writing, the Head Heritage Unsung keeping the red flag flying is a must). I can tell you all I informed him of this stumbling guffawing bullshit ride over the crunchy skin of the underground and occasionally into its nougat centre and his response was, “right on man! I propelled you”, I was humbled. Anyhoo. There was love, death, and a bit with a dog. Rawk awn.

[All quotes are paraphrased and come attributed with a big *sic because I was way too spaced to keep notes or think to record it]

Space apes and unclean yearning: Enos live - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #131

Enos's Chris Rizzanski better
red than dead
So I’m sitting here in this stinking little room, looking at an evening of a gig I do not want to go to listening to the Vandelles album at preposterous volume, hunched over this laptop, elbows up, fingers gently moving, preparing to write, what? I don’t know. But something. I have to go and see Enos tonight, I’ve been trying to get them to come to Edinburgh for so long now, to not go and see them would be foolish. Cosmic Sleep impersonators Enos have taken time out to visit the frozen north and the lineup glitters with all manner of local secondary jewels. I just can’t work myself out of this angst funk and doubt I will do so by about midnight. Of course, if I choose not to go it leaves me in a very interesting position rearding exactly what shit I’ll feed into the insatiable maw of the dreaded internet hivemind and exactly how and when I’ll knock it together. It’s another oppurchancity to do some photography, make some friends, make contact with all the head ritual enchanters down at Bannermans bar, which now stands as just about the only bastion of high quality sonic worship going. It’s also a time when discerning Edinburgh music scribes can get a kick out of not having to catch a train at each end of the ritual, and make it worth the while of all those who toil in the name of our lord (Iommi). I will go, natch, in a haze of bad vibes and vicious angst fit, possessed of an acute Jesus frenzy and not talking to anyone of those sinners in that wretched place.

The Howling: the birth of Tommy Concrete and the Werewolves - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #130

A bog-standard photo emerging from
an exceptional performance.
It is now, strangely, that I reflect that the holistic world situation has become so tense and nervous and wrong that events unthinkable just two or three years ago are now almost beyond comment; like being chased down the Cowgate sprinting at full speed away from werewolves disguised as policemen and streets full of shambling corpses, all the while trying to photograph the whole retched business for some kind of posterity… but not really knowing why… Yes kiddies it was Hallowe’en again, the most misspelled of Pagan Christianised rituals turned pointless and meaningless by societies worst cunts, but more eventfully there was a new incarnation of Chief Heathen and Head Cunt Tommy Concrete, this time as Tommy Concrete and the Werewolves playing solo shit, some Shitball shit, and a bunch of other shit you mighta heard before, might not. Supporting were Edinburgh’s latest doom babies Atragon and Monheim and built into a late-night freak fest, least of all because of location: Bannermans rock and Whisky Bar, the Cowgate, scene of all the finest freak-jiving on the most otherwise normal of nights, and date, 31st of October, all-Hallows’ Eve. It was a weird and twisted night, the weird and twisted interview sliding down the sink of the evening was in many ways the most cerebral and normal moment of the entire affair.

'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! - Godspeed You! Black Emperor - LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY! #73

It came out a few weeks ago. It's shite.” -Steven

So it seems Godspeed have reappeared just as mysteriously as they disappeared almost ten years ago. Sure, they’ve been reformed and touring for the last two years, but a new album was the last thing I expected, and especially one whose release was so low key it took me a few weeks to even realize it was out (nah, I’m kidding, it’s me we’re talking about here: if there were banners flying from my house to promote the album I still would have missed it) [it wasn’t low key – Ed.]. Why did they choose now to release their newest body of work? I wanted to believe it was political: GY!BE have always been strongly opinionated in their critique of US Government and authority figures in their music, album artwork and statements. Now, in the midst of possibly one of the most moronic and conniving election campaigns we’ve seen for many a year, Godspeed might have found their calling again, to stand up against the madness and proclaim their voice of reason as they had before, a call to anarchism and political dissidence. However, if there is any message from this music, it’s certainly not political. Aside from the beginning of the album, gone appear to be the days when sinister vocals of impending rebellion lay draped over the band’s cataclysmic and ferocious instrumentals. I miss it somewhat, but on listening to ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! I conclude that this component of the music is not sorely lacking. There’s enough discontent, anger and nonconformity in the music to start a mini-uprising.

Awake in the path of a lighting bolt - Jake Bugg kicks pop's ass! (Low-end rumble provided by Deap Vally) - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #129

From a blog and a writer that once fully endorsed Silencer’s Death – Pierce Me and listed Bardo Pond, Thorns and 8 Foot Sativa in his fave bands list, this statement will come as a real surprise: Jake Bugg’s debut album, go buy it. Now. It’s a loving proto-Dylan exploration backlit in grouchy back-porch guitar interludes and youthful gravel-voiced ballads caught in the crossfire between Dylan worship and pop-folk marketing bullshit. It’s far from perfect, it’s definitely frozen in the iTunes headlights and stops short of dredging up Rob Zimmerman’s whisky-soaked carcass to sway gently on stage while we all blow him kisses. At its worst it abandons the guitar whizzkiddery and becomes mournful and self-absorbed, but at its frequent best, it sets the deck aflame with hyperenergetic folk rock wizardry drenched in sweaty infectious organic real thrills a-la Neil Young on a full-on England binge or Cadaverous Condition without the Cookie Monster.

Solo Live at Gaya, Volume One - Kaoru Abe - LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY! #72

There are individuals across the history of time that have continued to fascinate for generations after their demise on account of one thing: enigma. These people, perhaps revelatory in their time, may survive only by word of mouth, fragments of unfinished works, their weatherworn marble bust adorning the walls of a European museum. Consider Socrates: father of modern Western Philosophy, whose original works are lost and who we only know about via the writings of his contemporary playwrights, historians and his student Plato. Or Franz Kafka, the German writer, barely published or recognized in his lifetime, his three posthumously published (but unfinished) novels are now recognized as Modernist masterpieces. Perhaps it is their enigma that makes us attracted to these people; after all, we like a little mystery, a little speculation, and perhaps the little information we possess on these enigmatic individuals can help us form our own opinion about the character of these people: how they felt, what they enjoyed, if they suffered for their work and so on. Perhaps the fragments they have left behind only scratch the surface of the true genius they once possessed. I’ve recently discovered someone who I believe to be a true enigma, a ghost, a shadow of a person, leaving behind a body of work as mysterious as his life was known to be: the saxophonist Kaoru Abe.

New Wave Punk Blues - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #128

Word on the street from the bunker was that Homesick Aldo wouldn’t be visiting the Athens of the North, my neck of the proverbial woods, for quite some time, into the new year was the worrying promise; but at the last minute he was playing a gig, not only in the ‘Burgh, but about 500 feet from my flat. Needless to say, I was on board and en route as soon as I heard. I’ve already devoted a thousand words to explaining how his finely honed harmonica workouts and tribal self-imposed rhythm sections and thoroughly musically atavistic debut album is six-ways fun, so I’ll try to keep general Aldo fawning to a minimum. He was supporting local garage rockers the Kosher Pickles (to clarify kiddies, that be garage in the mould of 13th Floor Elevators and the Seeds, not so much MC5 and Rocket From the Tombs, that isn’t a criticism at all, just an observation) though the whole night felt much more like a double headliner. And a pub gig. A proper one, without a stage, where the band is set up in one corner and most of the crowd seem to be regular punters. It’s been altogether far too long since I was at such an affair and taking semi-pro photos at such an affair feels kinda stupid, when everyone is is just tryin’ ta get drunk, get twisted, get ripped, and have a dance. Aldo was immediately apparent when I got there, he looks like Iggy trying to do Alice Cooper with a whole Mick Jagger thing going on, you think I’m jivin’ ya kiddies? I sure ain’t. I ain’t dropping on you no hyperbole either, he really does, ‘cept he’s a full-on Fifer to speak to, and nervous too… which I struggle to square against his full-on Americana and ear-splitting harmonica wails.

About as Adam Black Savage as you get without being Adam Black Savage: Workin' Man Noise Unit transmit serious vibes - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #127

My body and mind are both still a wreck too. Normally one of the two is okay by now. The British Library Sound Archive got in touch with us today and said they'd like copies of our tapes. My nervous system is not sufficiently recovered to process this weird information. I told them that they should really be destroying our music not preserving it.” Transmission of unidentified origin from the WMNU bunker

Today I saw a large, weary, nervous faced working class woman in a cream coat get off the bus, turn, look at all the passengers and draw her finger across her throat with pure curdled hatred burning in her eyes. I saw that today. Several years ago I was walking in the Highlands and came across a stream, bleeding into which was a magnificent seven-pointer stag, face down in the stream bleeding out what was left of his face, the majority of it smashed away by a hunter’s bullet. His single remaining eye black and cold like a doll’s eye. I recalled the stag as I looked into the eyes of that woman today. I had plans to write about Jake Bugg, but I just couldn’t, not after that profound atavistic jiving this morning. As Workin’ Man Noise Unit would say, keep sleepwalking. The lager-swilling Reading yawp merchants are fans of feedback loops that mimic their palindromic titles and generally maintain that we are living out the last days of this technological nightmare we’ve constructed and the only way to exercise the demons and fall back into some semblance of humanity is to debase our sweaty selves in the dank and darkened basements of our oil-soaked industrial cities, debase ourselves to the basal noise freerock of MC5 clashing with High Rise in the same realm as that utterly wonderful Vincent Black Shadow workout that crossed Iggy with more Iggy. This is about as Adam Black Savage as you get without actually being Adam Black Savage.

Solace for the Lonely - Robinella - LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY! #71

The phrase “going pop” seems to be synonymous with negativity; that moving your artistic goals to a popular direction is always going to be a bad thing. You’re always going to be a sellout, compromising your musical quality for a few dollars more, being a lapdog of the big faceless record labels and forgetting your humble origins. This isn’t a totally unjust statement, as it sadly does happen, but to assume this statement as a generalization is extremely misguided. Y’see, sometimes you need to take a little whitewash and smooth over the cracks, polishing and refining something that has potential but isn’t quite there yet. Sometimes moving in the popular direction isn’t just a good move financially; it’s also better artistically. For Robinella, this little push, inspiration or decision, whatever it was, worked out brilliantly.

Dylan Carlson is back! - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #126

Drcarlsonalbion sells his luddite membership.
With a cassette and a seven inch and a buncha CDRs I watched him burn personally, Earth’s Dylan Carlson is back to transcendent musical flamethrowers phased to ‘shock’ and pointed off the stage and out into the crowd, this time sans the ever-changing Earth cadre and going it alone on a comprehensive UK tour supported by Hackney Lass (in absentia) and Teta Colamonaco providing lyrics for his mesmerising post-Sabbath Assembly Restored to One fairysongs and Roro (Rojier Smal) on ethereal drum-shaman duty. They dropped into Edinburgh at the start of October to keep a basement full of freaks happy. Thankyou for coming to Edinburgh, thankyou, thankyou thankyou. And thank you Edinburgh for giving them such a loving send-off, Carlson especially was treated like a reverential all-purpose rock-god and had to pose for umpteen photos and give autographs behind the merch stand which is exactly the humoured quiet rock stardom we ought to celebrate. It was tight and personal and in a little back-street pub and short, nothing like the previous incantation at the Caves, vast inner monolith structures which lent the much more uptight Angels of Darkness Demons of Light Earth songs almost solar gravity. His new ensemble and first major non-Earth related biz-nez is an ensemble of underground high-talents preparing ethereal fairy songs, and by the guitar tone alone, let the papers read and the church bells sing, Dylan Carlson is back.

Sabbath Assembly, ye are not gods any longer - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #125

No no no no no no no. No. It’s the new Sabbath Assembly album and on top of all the unrighteous shite I’m about to rake up, it has a cover of the far-superior We Give Our Lives to be found on the debut, Restored to One. This highlights two things, one, that this album isn’t fit to be the beer coaster holding Jex Thoth’s bottle o’ Jack, and two, that they have absolutely no respect or understanding for the debut album. I bought this miserable dead-eyed knock-off by a band falsely called Sabbath Assembly (Jex Thoth has departed the two-peep project making it more accurately titled ‘Dave Nuss gets someone who isn’t Jex Thoth to make an arse of the hymns of the Process Church’) because I was virtually certain I would hate it and would use it as a big hate sponge for all the bad things in my life, but it is so dribblingly awful, so face-spitting in the face of the resplendent debut that it doesn’t even anger me. It just makes me quite sad about the whole of the world.

Pick your taboo, Gareeda are out for blood - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #124

NOTE – Some of you disassociated fucks might read me prose and not be able to read ‘tween the lines on this one and dig that I dig Gareeda, urban as fuck, heathen as cunt – a fuel injected suicide machine.

A recent article in the Journal noted Edinburgh is ‘dull’ because of its beauty. Certainly, while in Glasgow all manner of fine-fingered freaks are likely to jump you, ‘specially staggering outta one of the less reputable venues; in the ‘Burgh you’re much more likely to be set about by cuntfaced generously proportioned American tourists hunting their ancestry and asking you where the Royal Mile is while standing on the fucking Royal Mile than by twitchy blood-junkies from the sub-basement; but the Athens of the North has a sub-basement all of its own. A vile and venomous tract, a sewer and cow run through the bowels of the city and racing out it’s open sphincter like the eye of a beer can, and up your daughter’s leg grinning and crying with a knife in its teeth. Here dwell the hairy-handed mountain men and illustrated long-time dope fiends strung out on Orange Goblin riffs to so long they delude themselves into thinking those same riffs are original, and copyright free. I doubt Orange Goblin are the sort to drop any legal action on these heads, or that these heads are in any way interested or able to deal with any such legal challenge. From this dank cavernous pit come four more bastards leering and stumbling up into the semi-respectable parts of the city scratching at their trousers and sucking the last of the smoke out of a Marlboro Red and waiting for optimum pupil dilation before growling at a pastel-shirted family of sightseers and ambling on into the night, looking for trouble, looking for a fix, looking for it.

Seadrum/House of Sun - Boredoms - LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY! #70

I’ve had a long, boring and particularly busy week, and frankly my thoughts about new music were kind of left by the wayside. Y’know whenever you’re feeling a bit pathetic and all you want to do is eat junk food, comfort food? That taste that you’re so familiar and happy with and you know it’s going to provide for you exactly what you need at the time: comfort. Well, you can do that with music too. Oh my brothers I was comfort listening, retreating back to the solace of classics I’ve known for years and years, craving the sounds I know inside and out, front and back, just because they were familiar: a pat on the shoulder, a way to switch off my mind and not to think. Well, it’d been a few days and nothing was inspiring me to write: in fact I had absolutely no qualms about not even attempting to write this week. That is, until, my feeble little consoling wall of protection was battered and broken down by such a ferocious and transcendental piece of music that my perspective on the week changed. Comfort: no way! It’s time to get up and take action, be inspired, build bridges and overthrow dictators and write an epic poem. Such a breath of fresh air this album was! And the thing is, I’ve had it for years and years: its brilliance only being revealed to me now is either a colossal cosmic joke or else an example of timing at its most impeccable.

Scottish chitlin new wave vaudeville punk blues - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #123

(Or:- Let’s all sing along with Homesick Aldo, it’s the cognitive dissonance blues)

“Played a gig with Aldo on the bill a few months back… interesting fellow.” Jeff Duffy – Shock and Awe.

Starting with, and sustaining for its duration, the sorta hundred carat harmonica boogie backed up in its tribal drum thump and all the more amazing when you hear it’s a one-man band. I listened to Homesick Aldo’s Talkin’ Innocent Outlaw Blues with a smile of old-time affection bolted to my face with rivets of joy because throughout his orgy of country bluesisms and boot-tappin’ rhythms he invites us to spend 35 minute stints in a world without knowing irony; without post-everything refusenik balderdash where a man can genuinely sing a song about an alligator and a wolf and you ain’t gonna laugh at him. Here’s how good it is, I listened to it and spent the next few days re-spinning it and caught myself drinking moonshine and standing with my hips cocked and thumbs in my belt leaning against the bar. Homesick Aldo is at best a hopeless eccentric and at his most tragic a man terribly out of time and space who should have rocked the East Village folk movement just before the whole ‘Nam business. It’s powerfully nostalgic stuff. Word has it Aldo was once the frontman of a group called the Soul City Shakers (wait… what?) and by accounts of that group (they tore up every gig they played), he hasn’t changed in the slightest. Still wearing the leather jacket and sunglasses like a throwback throwback to a lost age. By all accounts his solo album (Talkin’ Innocent Outlaw Blues… I mean seriously!) rings exactly the same bell of utter stupidity and inanity simultaneously with the white-hot light of flawless genius. ‘Course Aldo went from the Soul City Shakers to solo, ‘cause there can’t be that many heads in Fife of all places that’ll want to partake in reflexive short-lived experimental test-flight throwback bands; there can’t be anyone with the total absence of self-awareness to belt out these lyrics and rock this look, nor anyone with the total devotion to the cause to actually pull the thing off and make it work.

The scribe, a sonic ritual attended - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #122

Awaits the ritual, prepares for transportation,
Anticipation prevents any slightest fear,
Return to ritual, ascend the ivory steeple,
Take astral flight to understand creation,
Aspire to spiritual conflagration,
Breathe the oneness of percussion,
Touch the sky, receive the precious beating
Perish on the shores of the all-distorted sea.
Hold a vigil, become a single being.
OM mid-astral flight

Aqua Disco - Seahawks - LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY! #69

“Drifting, drifting, drifting… it seems like another life.” It does, too. I lie in a haze, half-dreaming, conscious only that cogito ergo sum. I am conscious only of my sensory perception. I have no prejudices or hopes or loves or desires or fears: my being is overwhelmed by a festivity of colours, faint-remembrances, astrophysical interplanetary journeys through time and space. I hear the waves of an ocean, the cry of a seagull. A faint voice appears; echoing as if remote, fragmentary and possibly a product of my own muddled senses.
“It seems like another life.”

“It seems like another life.”

“It seems like another life.”
Slowly my senses are roused. Perchance is that the semblance of a rhythm? One in tune with nature, a suggestion of a beat rather than an actual presentation. The sounds are slowly slipping into unison, trickling together, one drop at a time. Soon they will form a cascade of Biblical proportions and yup, there we go: this beat, anticipated as one anticipates the coming of Spring in that cold incandescent post-Winter stillness. Glorious in all its fullness, accompanied by a pulsatile bassline and interstellar synth lines… Seahawks are back, baby.

Zen and the art of time manipulation - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #121

Julian Cope Woden 2012
Holy shiiiit Julian Cope (my idol and god) finally got around to releasing Woden, followup to Odin from the dim and distant past of 1998 (when this particular trip was derailed by the emergence of L.A.M.F. from between the kitchen floorboards) and it’s… phew… it’s… It’s a million decibels wide and 72 minutes long and ethereally beautiful and deeply transcendently heartbreakingly powerfuel. It’s the sound of a bomb dropping in slowmo for 72 minutes. It’s the sky coming in on our heads. It’s those final seconds of Melancholia as the vast blue planet that has hung heavy over the entire film finally sucks the earth around and vacuums the atmosphere away to reveal black space floating without a care beyond. It’s a dialtone. It’s the crackle on the radio in the Bunker of the Last Shots as radio transmissions bounce off the atmosphere from a vast apocalypse-surviving city where churchbells ring underground and echo around a cavern like sonar bouncing off the hull of a sweaty submarine as vast machines rolled in cogwheels by men move ponderously around. It isn’t music, you’ll notice I haven’t referenced music. It’s cinema, audio cinema, it’s beauty the likes of which no images could match. It’s a passport to another world surer than any hastily created Hollywood nightmare. It’s an invocation and a resignation and a place in the world that cannot altogether be quantified or explained away without having heard it. I may sit here for hours, incense burning, variously trying to sonically meditate and then return and express my renewed vision of Woden but it really will this time be all for naught if you haven’t attempted to hear the Archdrude’s latest lamentation for yo good self, nevertheless I feel I’m locked in the all-night teeth-grinder and won’t get out ‘til morning. Maybe, just maybe (I write this paragraph after a single listen) it’s a VCS3 Putney synthesiser (teak baby!) (and a waterfall of last-minute Mellotron 400 Marine backup) throwing wide open the doors of perception and Hel together and allowing the mixture of the resultant Mexican mushie and brimstone perfumes distilled into a single spinning disk.

I am not a robot, you are not a robot - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #120

In the shadow of her former self, but beautiful. Marina as
she is today (photo - Guardian)
EDIT (25/9/2012) Well fuck, something thoroughly ten-tonne downer just a-sprung from one of the music industries more sweaty and less wholesome orifices; apparently the release of the (shit) new Marina and the Diamonds single video will be delayed because she looks “ugly” in it. Dear everyone who works, with, for or in accordance with Atlantic Records, I can only hope your vile poisonous statements are one day recompensed as you have a beautiful day with your lovely wife and healthy children, no cares at all, and then Karma and the Great Magnet strike and conspire to throw you down a manhole up to your neck in semiliquid shit and you scream and beg for your (non-existent) God as shit and sewer water run down your screaming throat and up your nose and well up in your eye sockets and in your final shit-choked gasp of air you realise you’ve just insulted a woman, a beautiful and intelligent and unique sophisticated artist brought low by your idiocy, and confirmed in her and everyone who hears about this that they have to stoop low enough to be considered ‘attractive’ by the kind of wank-off Neanderthal gazes of you and your be-suited bald mates; in that turd-gurgling second you’ll realise that everyone in the world has the potential to be beautiful, not because of what they look like in your narrow perception, but because of what they can do; and realise your myopic vendetta against progress and human dignity has forever scarred history and you’ll be judged by the Great Magnet for all the crimes you’ve commited. And then you’ll choke to death on human shit in front of your family and your funeral will be attended by nobody because you’re a misogynistic cultural pollutant and everyone knew all along what a 24 carat cunt you always were. If I ever meet you I’m going to kick you to death. Now, on with why you’re wrong and Marina and the Diamonds is our third Alternative Hall of Fame inductee.

I am a robot, you are a robot - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #119

Well there’s been over a hundred of these damn things and it doesn’t get any easier thinking up ways week to week to say that the freaks behind the strings of whatever forgotten undiscovered opus is on my turntable rock it more brilliantly than half of those that are remembered, as well as bringing philosophical and spiritual right-headedness to proceedings; that the same old formula of drum, bass and a bit of gee-tar can be elevated like Icarus into the light of the infinite unknowable godhead and made into a whirling dervish of light and sound and ideas that’ll just about knock you off yer feet and give your socks a solid rocking anytime. I sure hope it ain’t losing impact just because I’m dropping endless loving on all manner of heads from all across the world all working to the same rock and roll toil and coming to radically different conclusions. Today, guess what? I bring you another hyper-punkified Groundhogged boozeup courtesy of Common Deflection Problems, more specifically their literal one-sided picture disk and their latest contribution to the annuls of thumbs-up rock and roll in the form of a TV Eye, Split-ear Groundhog proto-punk mostly-instrumental guitar freakout set heavy and low down for a stomach-inverting ball-rumbling amplifier and skin crash onto the mat; this is We All Play Synth.

69 Love Songs - the Magnetic Fields - LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY! #68

So you’re in love. It’s a great feeling, huh? You want to jump up and down on tabletops and tell it to the world! It’s a warm feeling inside you: somehow, people on the street appear to smile at you as you walk past, the temperature is more pleasing, your senses are heightened… everything feels just that little bit better. Your life changes irrevocably for the better, and nothing can get in the way of your happiness. Right? Sorry, Stephin Merritt, do you hear me? Er, guess he missed the memo about love…

Bigger than Jesus, louder than Hell: Mammoth Mammoth hit the bricks - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #118

Self-proclaimed as the “greatest rock and roll band in the history of history”; lock up your daughters and your smaller livestock because Mammoth Mammoth are coming to your town sometime soon. Their star is in the ascendancy and it’s all set aboard an ironclad Trojan horse that’ll open up once in yer turntable and let out unrepentant Paranoidisms. Y’ can’t believe anything these guys say (even, perhaps especially under oath), but apparently “after a 13-day DMT bender in an abandoned women’s mental institution” they returned with this one-off 2012 highlight and instant barbarian seventies-inflected zaprock. In the same way Balt’s the Garn harnessed the power of proto-Moto’head and proto-Kiss, Mammoth Mammoth’s Mikey Tucker harnesses all these things in sunburnedly post-everything parody pastiche pulverisations, for a start his balls seem to be swinging somewhere south of his knees and he articulates with every breath that whenever he steps off his Harley after a long afternoon burning down some dusty backwater in Melbourne terrifying anyone who dares cross the road after dozing up on whatever he could find in the pockets of his inexplicably pristine leather trousers and remembering Death Race 2000 (I don’t say this for biographic detail here kiddies, for all I know he descales the kettle after helping his doting mother across the street – I’m talking pure rock chic, where the moment he’s ghostlike before the mic he ceases to be whatever he is, and becomes Mikey, singer for Mammoth Mammoth and ten-tonne beer-guzzling badass in all manner of forms) he gets all the girls he could ever want. He may, or may not (no doubt there are a great many of Melbourne’s young ladies could confirm or deny this) as he claims on this album, have “a tattoo on my chest that says ‘fuck you’” – but because of his rockstar cred and reputable histrionics, you believe him.

"We need to play now, and loud!" - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #117

Alternative hall of fame inductee number two - Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.
In 2010 I was still very much in the throes of a ‘metalhead’ (as I defined myself) and I was reeling from all manner of ill-conceived notions about the world and just starting the emotional maturation and exploration which I can say I am currently in the middle of. I’d just been to see a film on the advisement of someone or other and it had kinda sorta blow my mind. I called up the HQ bunker on a classic hand-cranked world war one-era phone of the metal revolution to question the authority, “was it just me, or are we all wrong? Did Scott Pilgrim versus the World not just nail the beauty” the answer came back in the affirmative and I had to sit there a moment, dumbstruck. I sat and wrote screeds, article after article trying to explain to myself exactly why Scott Pilgrim versus the World was the shit and very much of the now. How it so effectively nails the beauty, but I couldn’t. Very recently I’ve dug up both soundtrack albums and I’ve finally made sense of it. It was the rock and roll soundtrack, the faux-Japano freerock purveyed by the titular character as well as all the rest, the quality unknowns, even a bit of T-Rex. It was the faded rock shirt wrapped around the baseball bat, making the savage latenight beating all the more vicious and deadly silent as the sheer genius vision caves in yer skull and then. Because of course while it is a potential turning point and I very well believe in ten years’ time it’ll be seen as the movie that speaks for all of us, we’ll all be cribbing lines from it, nobody want to see Scott Pilgrim. When people start telling you they saw it in 2010, be honest with them, the box office figures don’t add up.

The Kosmik Dead: Decadent, depraved - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #116

The Kosmik Dead mid-ritual.
“These are the last of the tapes” says (Kosmik guitar priest) James; the last of the tapes of the exalted the Exalted King are laid out in an inverted crucifix, along with CD copies of Cosmik Tape One alongside a hastily scratchy written sign on paper saying ‘Cosmic Dead (shite)’, “we won’t be making this on tape, again… ever” he says,
“Do you play in the Kosmik Dead?” I asked, shouting over the PA,
“If I ask nicely, they might let me, do you play in the Kosmik Dead?” I stared up, blown away by the madness of it all, at his resplendently hirsute face, I’d play with the Kosmik Deed if they’d let me. Meanwhile, in the future, the Kosmik Deed are playing a blistering and raw tribal set, and all reach enlightenment; for a single moment, all three men completely connect and become more together than they could individually. Meanwhile, after the show, (Kosmik) James says thankyou as I tell him how great the Cosmic Dead were, he says thankyou, and then grabs my camera from round my neck and licks the lens (lenscap on, mercifully), looking at it, he says “ah, Canon! Canon tastes like shit, you want a Nikon mate!” and then rambles off. He seems to have a view of the ridiculousness of it all. It’s Glasgow, it’s the ABC (two this time, the secondary bunker in Glasgow’s on-going domination of the Scottish rock scene) and a mini-date on the music calendar as Miami’s doompop quartet descend on chilly-Jocko land and bring out of semi-hiatus Glasgow’s own scotPsyche pioneers the Kosmik Deed. My predictions of a weird mashup proved correct, the Kosmik Deed played for aroundabout fifty minutes and played a sprightly and tightened version of an hour and a half number; Torche played for just over an hour and played about twenty songs. Nevertheless, the good and the great and the smokers and the dopers and the horny-handed mountain men from the rural sub-basement all turned out as usual to indulge in the orgy of weirdness and watch the freaks lose it. It was also packed fulla hired geeks like myself. I ran into another photog and a writer too; keep rolling, all y’all. And Ye gods! it was loud. I know that’s par but hoo-ee me ears are still whistlin’. Rumours were that it was going to be a very heavy night. The Kosmik Dead were whipping up something of a storm, there was even word from an unconfirmed source that (Kosmik) James had been messing with some very heavy stuff: an exotic brand of speed known as ‘Wallet’.

I just missed the perfect summer album - LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY! #67

“Move on the Sun” a hitRECord compilation

In terms of weather, this summer was once again abysmal at home, with a few days of no rain or clouds being the scarce highlights. Nevertheless, it was still summer, man, and I was free! Exams passed, nothing to worry about, and one of the things I was most psyched for was finding that all-important soundtrack to my summer this year. I have a tendency to associate specific times and moments of my life with music, as regular readers should know, and last year my summer was made quite the spectacular with some of the songs I discovered in that time period. This year, however? Nothing, nada, zero, zilch. Nothing moved me in ways that I wanted: Sure, I found lots of good music, but nothing life-affirming, nothing light-hearted or with that dash of sea breeze in its wake; in short, nothing summery. I guess it made sense though: gloomy weather, gloomy music. But this week, finally, FINALLY I found something that evinced that true spirit of summer, music that immediately transported me to an open top convertible in the glorious sunshine, wind whipping through my hair, sipping on a cold one and leaving all my cares behind me. And guess what? I started back to university a few weeks ago and am in the middle of writing a dissertation. Life takes strange turns, eh?

The spirit of the Phantom Cosmonaut flies with the Kosmik Dead - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #115

Written under duress by Steven.

Summation – The new record from the Cosmic Dead is good, damn good. So damn good in fact I’ve changed my whole angle of attack. Y’know I’ll usually say an album is as good as whipping across the desert astride a powerful Harley, or the guitar tone soars as a flock of seabirds over this temporal real while simultaneously body-shifting as pandimensional beings into fifties rock and roll dancers? Well the Exalted King by the Cosmic Dead inspired this piece. Short – go get it from their Bandcamp if you have a soul like the rest of us humans. Here's a lil' piece of short fiction I done and knocked up after dropping some psilocybin in a late-night teeth-grinding angst frenzy. I put on the Exhalted King and my life changed.

Careful howling yawning epic supergroup birthday party Sputnik - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #114

There's only so much guitar, bass and drums can do in these circumstances. Despite the energy and a good turn from the drummer it was overlong and formless.” Lewis Stapleton, Liverpool Echo (one of the uninitiated).

While the machinegun staccato crackle of the drums patters in yer ears, and the bass ploughs deep furrows of glowing Chernobyl farmland and the axe is just a soaring sweeping wailing Stuka hepped up on fuzz wah guitar. All this is manned by a core buncha dudes who understand psychedelia, their previous LP showed us that Black Bombaim were seriously diligent in their jam-band cred, and their latest LP, Titans, is accurately named. Lemme just list off the righteous and honourary alternative hall-of-famers who get a walk-on appearance: Steve Mackay (The Stooges), Noel V. Harmonson (Comets On Fire), Adolfo Luxúria Canibal (Mão Morta), Jorge Coelho (ZEN, Torto), Tiago Jónatas (Surya Exp Duo), Isaiah Mitchell (Earthless/Howlin Rain), Ghuna X, HHY, Tiago Pereira (Aspen), Guilherme Canhão (Lobster/Sunflare) and João ‘Shela’ Pereira (PAUS, If Lucy Fell, Riding Pânico); each of this galaxy of underground alt-rock convention defying heads contribute to an entire vinyl side of this splendid gatefold identified only with the names of the contributors. Titans they certainly prove themselves (yeah, I hate that, it’s so hack) on this record. The power to create and to destroy, the howling teeth of the abyss on a cosmic scale infest this record in its spinning black hole.

Tempest - Bob Dylan - LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY! #66

I have awaited today with a fervid anticipation almost since the not-so-long-ago announcement of this album’s imminent release. A new Bob Dylan album! One I can spend many an hour drooling over and expressing my adoration for it in a long winded and drawn out article that will likely interest no-one but give me great pleasure in writing! Fantastic, what more could I want? And although I’m likely blinded by my all-consuming love for Zimmy’s music, no matter how bad, (his last effort, Christmas in the Heart, was embarrassingly bad, and yet has still been played over 10 times the whole way through according to my iTunes) I’m pretty sure I’m making a fair judgment when I say this album rocks. And I don’t just mean that as a descriptor, I mean that literally, this album is often loud and raucous and violent; an absolute riot. Much has been said in pre-release reviews that it’s both Dylan’s “strangest” and “darkest” album yet. Frankly accusing Dylan of being strange is like accusing Adele of being depressing  - everyone knows it and expects it. But as for being dark… these critics have a point. Many of Tempest’s songs play out like Shakespearean tragedies, full of strange characters, consuming lusts, murderous sensibilities and evil desires. Heck, when the closing two songs are about the sinking of the Titanic and the murder of John Lennon, you know the rest of the album isn’t likely to be all sunshine and lollipops.
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