Sunday, January 29, 2006

Clap your hands say yeah

This might be one of the albums that will soundtrack 2006 for many people. The hype! train has been carrying this group through the music press for some time. They have been touted as the next Arcade Fire.

Clap your hands say yeah self-released their eponymous debut album last year. Their small initial pressing sold out very quickly. They have now been picked up by Witchita records in the UK to make the album more easily available.

It's good. Once you get past the idiosyncratic singing it is good. The music is propulsive enough to power the hype! train. Sheets of warm fuzz guitar with kraftwerk/neu style drums. Half-heard lyrics that create unusual pictures in your mind.

Stand out tracks for me include the skin of my yellow country teeth, is this home on ice and upon this tidal wave if young blood.

I can see where the Arcade Fire comparisons come from but I'm not totally convinced yet. However, the album is a grower and I will keep listening.


Friday, January 27, 2006

Jukebox review - Nice 'n' Sleazy's, Glasgow

Sleazy's was my favourite pub for years. I started going there when I was about 15 to see bands and do some underage drinking. For a long time it was a focal point for me and my mates. We used to sneak in bottle of MD 20-20 and drink them under the table. I saw some cool gigs there over the years. Fabric. Mogwai. Arab Strap. I played a couple of gigs there myself and I had fun. I used to know some of the bar staff and sometimes I would even get a free pint.

That was all a long time ago. Now it's almost a decade later and things have changed. It's a bit cleaner and I feel older. Younger kids are cooler than me now. I'm a mature adult with a real job. I don't even drink much now.

One thing hasn't changed. The jukebox. The best goddam jukebox in the world ever.

Last night I played -

Mudhoney - touch me, I'm sick
Sonic youth - teenage riot
Sons & Daughters - the red reciever
Arab Strap - packet of 3
TV on the radio - staring at the sun
Butthole surfers - jimi
Belle & sebastian - the state that I am in
Pixies - broken face
Violent femmes - blister in the sun
Arcade fire - Neighbourhood number 2

And I could have played a hundred songs that I like - PJ Harvey, Dinosaur Jr, Minor threat, fugazi, jesus & mary chain. They all live here, in this box.

I spoke to Mig, the proud father of the jukebox. He's been involved with the organizational side of sleazys for years and the jukebox is his baby. He ordered it years ago and proudly told me how psychocandy by the mary chain is the oldest CD in the box. You can tell because it has a typed track-list.

When they ordered the jukebox the suppliers had trouble sourcing the CDs that Mig wanted and psychocandy is one of the few that they could find. The cover of the Whale album was hand drawn by Mig one afternoon as he only had a promo copy in a cardboard cover. The sons&daughters 'love the cup' mini album has a unique cover featuring a photograph of his mother.

He loves this jukebox like a child. And I would adopt it.

If you are in Glasgow, go to sleazys and spin some tunes. jimi by the Butthole Surfers is my favourite.


Friday, January 20, 2006

10-22-02 Birmingham UK The Sanctuary - the Fugazi live series

Fugazi are one of my favourite bands and I would advise anyone who even pretends to like rock music to try and hear one of their songs. Their influence is immense. Their CDs are cheap.

I'm writing about this particular CD because it is an official live recording of a concert that I was at in Birmingham in 2002. It was a very good show in an old converted church. Fugazi are a band from Washington DC and at the time of this show some very crazy people were driving around Washington and shooting random people. The band were worried and angry about the situation in their home town (they talk about it on this CD) and they played an extremely energetic show. This CD is good but being there was better.

Fugazi run their own record label ( and have sold hundreds of thousands of CDs over the past 16 years. They tape all of their shows and their drummer, Joe Lally, started selling cheap official live CDs from a website a couple of years ago. The cds cost around 8 quid for a concert (usually 2 cds/24 songs). The CDs are as-is with no post-production. They are really for hardcore geeks (like me) and can be found at

I've seen them 3 times and they have been very good each time. If you haven't heard the band and want to check them try 13 songs or in on the killtaker. It's intelligent angry music that has been copied a million times. Not to everyones taste but worth a try.

nerd out time is over


Not all records are required - Hard-Fi - stars of CCTV

Not all records are required. Sometimes you are just wandering around the supermarket and you see a CD for 6.99. You know one of the songs is OK and you take a chance. Sometimes it's good and sometimes it's less than good.

Stars of CCTV by Hard-Fi is a record like that. Impulse bought, a bit like chewing gum or Cadburys Easter Eggs at the checkout. A quick buzz but it doesn't really add much to your life.

Good bits first. I like Cash machine, one of the singles. It has some interesting sounds on it, a slight dub influence, good lyrics. It's about being a wage slave and life being a dull series of minor failures. I can relate to that sometimes. Everyone can, sometimes. It's ok.

Other songs were less good. For some reason the song hard to beat reminds me of late '80s pop-pish Wet Wet Wet. I'm not sure if it's the guitar sound, the general production, the singing or the keyboard stabs but something about this track sends a shiver down my spine. It's uncanny.

I'm just generally indifferent to this CD. I might listen to it again, I might not. I have many better CDs to listen to so I should probably invest my time elsewhere. Life is short. I would not like to be stuck on a desert island with this CD.

Last years Coral.

6 out of 10


Thursday, January 12, 2006

sonic youth - hold that tiger

just recieved this CD through the post from amazon today. It is a recording of a live gig by the young youth in chicago in 1987 and it rocks. the band are on fire.

sonic youth have at times been described as an overly intellectual band but at this CD they just rocked out (more so than when I saw them in glasgow on the washing machine tour). The set list is composed of tracks from sister, EVOL and bad moon rising. And 4 ramones covers (loudmouth is dedicated to big blacks steve albini in an 'i'm gonna whup your ass' hip-hop stylee). Thurston does a Henry Rollins impression as he sings white cross.

The sound is a bit mucky but fuck it, it makes it warmer.

A good one for sonic youth obsessives (like me)


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Obscure punk classic - Johnny Thunders - So alone.

I just bought this CD today, partially inspired by the Punk: Attitude DVD but mainly inspired by the fact that 'Chinese Rocks' is one of the greatest songs ever (so great, in fact, that it was namechecked by Nick Cave on the last Bad Seeds album).

Johnny Thunders was guitarist and lead IVDU with noted transvestites the New York Dolls. After the collapse of that band he went on to form the Hearbreakers with Richard Hell, touring the UK with the pistols and the clash as well as introducing Sid Vicious to Nancy (and smack).

The heartbreakers album LAMF (like a mother fucker) includes chinese rocks (co-written with deedee ramone) and born to lose. Both of these songs kick ass but I haven't got round to buying the CD yet. It's meant to be good.

I picked up this album in FOPP today when I was meant to be studying. Thunders is backed by an all star cast including two sex pistols, seve marriott, phil lynott of thin lizzy and various members of the only ones.

The album kicks off with the surf guitar classic 'pipeline'. I've heard this song a million times but I can't remember where. Probably in a tarintino film. I'm humming it just now but that doesn't benefit you, gentle reader. Download an MP3 or something. You'll know it.

The next song is 'you can't put your arms around a memory'. Widely thought of as a classic it's a sad song about why being alive is better than being dead. It's a sentiment we can all share. Johnny Thunders often said that it was the best song he ever wrote. It's good but I prefer 'chinese rocks'.

'Great big kiss' was previously ripped off by the New York Dolls on 'looking for a kiss'. Here thunders plays the original version and pays overdue royalties to the writers.

'London Boys' is a reply to the Sex Pistols song 'new york' where johnny rotten sings about 'a poor little faggot, looking for a kiss'. Thunders puts the boot in. This album was recorded in 1978, when john lydon was public enemy number one and was getting the shit kicked out of him on a regular basis. Lydon is dismissed as a 'poor little puppet' who 'need(s) an escort to take a piss/He holds your hand and shakes your dick'. Handbags at ten paces!

So to summarise - this album is good. I'm glad I've heard it. You might like it but I would advise you to listen to 'never mind the bollocks...' by the sex pistols first. Also check out the ramones (especially their version of chinese rocks) and the Velvet Underground/Lou Reed. If that stuff turns you on, you might like this. If not, try something else.


note - guns and roses and their ilk (motley crue, skid row, ad nauseum) really like johnny thunders. I don't like their style of music but I guess if you do, you might like this CD.