Over the next few months, this blog could turn into a smorgasbord of musical mayhem with a frenzy of gig going, reviews and rampant Question & Answer sessions sprouting out all over like so much damp cress on a warm windowsill...
First off, I wrote this back in August last year about a band called Slab! – the thinking man’s industrial noiseniks. And stone me, the band’s two prime movers – Stephen Dray and Paul Jarvis – have both left comments on the post. I’m trying to arrange a Q&A session right here for them at some point (plus some unreleased music?), so stay tuned. Slab’s MySpace page has also attracted the attentions of their last drummer, Rob Allum, who now plays with Turin Brakes as well as being a founder member of The High Llamas. To say I am excited by all these developments would be the understatement of the century.
Strangely enough, the chap who set up the Slab! MySpace page is Tim Elsenburg, who fronts up the rather awesome band Sweet Billy Pilgrim. Tim has previously played with Martin Grech, whose song Open Heart Zoo was used a few years back for a Lexus advert. My wife loved the song, so I bought her the album not really expecting much of a big deal. Like – wow – how wrong was I? Open Heart Zoo is pleasant enough, but it doesn’t really prepare you for the full-on brainstorming onslaught of Dali. I’m still trying to get to grips with Grech’s second album, Unholy, which is austere and noisily mentalist in equal measures. His third – released last year – is apparently another about face, this time into the realms of introspective folk (I suspect that’s his Kerrang audience safely alienated then!). Tim has also remixed David Sylvian, and has collaborated and toured with David’s brother Steve Jansen (I never was a huge Japan fan, but have an unfortunately neurotic tendency to buy everything that David Sylvian ever releases). Tim’s blog is awash with tour stories and details of Steve Jansen’s inexplicable (and highly amusing) fear of lifts, and is well worth a visit.
Gig-wise, I have the following to look forward to:
UK Subs, Freebutt, Brighton, May 5th – the last time I saw the Subs there were two tattooed lunatics down the front fighting anybody who had the sheer audacity to go near them – so much so that the band had to stop playing several times to wade in and sort them out. Punk rock! The fact that my brother ended up being best of buddies with these two lunatics is neither here nor there.
Battles, Astoria, May 14th (support from Liars) – Battles continue their ambitions for world dominance by moving up a league from the Koko to packing out the Astoria – and rightly so.
Feist, Albert Hall, May 23rd – the last time I saw Feist was at the Komedia, a small(ish) venue in Brighton. The gig was fantastic. And here she is a year later selling out the Albert Hall – just shows what a fantastic album, an iPod advert and some Vanity Fair coverage can do for your career.
Broken Social Scene, Shepherds Bush Empire, May 25th – similarly, the Scene have moved up a notch from the Koko to the Empire (where Crackerjack used to be recorded). The last time I was at the Empire was for a Helmet gig, which featured – rather bizarrely – a stage diving Paul King! All together now: Love, and Pride! Time to grow a mullet and spray paint those Doc Martens...
The upshot of all this is that if you play in a band and hanker after fame, riches and endless critical praise, the place to be featured is – well, obviously – Unfit for Print! Battles, Feist and the Scene have all gone onto bigger and better things since being featured in these hallowed pages (the Subs have had their turn, I reckon!), and I like to think (in my entirely delusional and brain softened state) that it’s all down to UfP! Sheesh! I should start my own record label (coincidentally, my resemblance to Rick Rubin is really quite scary). Bearing in mind the good fortune this blog bestows on all and sundry, I’ll have a go at reviewing the Sweet Billy Pilgrim album as well – it hasn’t been off my virtual turntable (better known as a CD player) for at least a fortnight and I feel the overwhelming urge to write about it.
And no, I didn’t screw up last week’s meeting with the producer/director. Not a lot to report back on at the moment, but more as it develops...