Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Two Men on a MISSION

our chalet, Sunday afternoon, me and Trev, i'm wearing a 'Mission of Burma' shirt, Trev wears his 'Mission Accomplished' one from the GBV Electrifying Conclusion tour. Some bad singing to follow...

All aboard for planet ATP

Simon, Trev and Pete facing the beach

the kitesurfers, Sunday morning.

get higher, baby!


they played two grand wigged out sets, on the Saturday and the Sunday, no need to skip anything if you're in such willing and capable hands... simply wonderful

Gavin on the (very windy) beach

Saturday, May 27, 2006

grizzly bear

are keeping a nice tour blog . i'm very tempted to see them tonight, hope it isn't sold out.

now playing is: grizzly bear _horn of plenty_ (which is a type of funghi - i found out through the Guardian's trippy "funghi" poster, which adorned our window as you approached our chalet at ATP, hehe) a lovely record, lofi psych, warm glitchy vibes, a convincing and engrossing urban folk feel. i picked it up in NYC in Dec 2004, it was my token random local purchase after reading a little recommendation note tacked next to it in Other Music. The guy behind the counter was very enthusiastic about all the polaroids of customers animals displayed on the wall by the cash desk, i said they should rename themselves 'Pet Sounds', hahaha...

bears, bears, bears keep swinging

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

"And I'm haunted by the freakish size of Nancy Reagans head": Mission of Burma

So,, again. Good sets from Dungen (twice, best I've seen them so far, really stoked to be there), Elf Power (finishing their set with a cover from Eno's 'Here come the warm Jets', yay!), Mission of Burma, Dead Meadow, Boredoms, Destroyer (I got into them after about ten minutes, spiky and warped, interesting), New P@rnos (superb as usual), Bevis Frond (it was so great to finally get to see them) , The Shins (of course), Brian Jonestown Massacre (despite some long breaks very entertaining and, uh, dare I say it, professional) Lightning Bolt (the media circus around them is getting a bit much though, all I could see was people trying to hold their camera over the crowd, sounded great though), Dino Jr on fire as well, though by that point I could only manage about twenty minutes, even with earplugs. The Dino Jr day was superb, had a real stoner/psych/shoegazer vibe. . .but being hungover from going to see oAH and The Lilys the night before with the whole crew didn't help, plus it took ages to get there, signal failure in Ashford, yuck...when we finally got there things fell into place very quickly...

Overall it was not quite as manic and excessive as previous years but that was deliberate on my part. An all blowfish (or at least ex-blowfish) chalet so plenty of GBV and other good music on the ipod shuffle, also impromptu renditions of GBV songs at inappropriate points (sorry, anyone, actually the best bits happened in the chalet...) . I went to the beach all the time, even with sandstorms, thunderstorms, rain, etc., it was my favourite place. Sunday morning I spent a good two hours, when it was relatively calm, on the beach to the left towards the lighthouse in Dungeness, where you can watch the kitesurfers hang out, it was so beautiful, and the fresh sea air totally amazing. My chaletmates managed to go to the beach just once in the whole weekend, which happened to be during the worst sandstorm of the weekend, but it was my tonic after the far too smokey main rooms of the festival, a counterbalance to the cramped, manic noisefests and freakouts.

Best deal in the brilliant buzzy merch room was this: ten pounds for the brand new Mission of Burma album, featuring a bonus live DVD, plus a free MOB t-shirt (from their 2004 tour), and a free handshake from Clint Conley. Pretty amazing deal in my book! He was really friendly, told me to spread the word a bit here in the UK, I wasn't sure whether that was really necessary, though he insisted, so I'll do my little bit here by saying that after a few spins I love this new Mission of Burma album. 'The Obliterati' is noisy, raw, heavy, paranoid, trippy, haunting/haunted, anthemic, beautiful, their sound is very peculiar as ever, seems to express all sorts of complex interior half states and feelings beyond the abrasive surface. The title of the last song 'Nancy Reagans Head' seems to point towards their 80s roots, and the album sounds just as tremendous as what they were doing in the early 80s. But it's timely too and most importantly, it sounds like they still mean it, there's a passion and integrity there. Their show at ATP was fierce, almost confrontational, very passionate. The old ones got reshuffled or thrown out, and they played a lot of new stuff. I remember whooping as I heard the opening chords for 'That's When I Reach For My Revolver' early in the set and Roger Miller whooping right back into his mic. Then they played the song...WOOOO! The new album has an interesting wikipedia style website that anyone can edit.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Chris Corsano / BARR at the Luminaire

We first saw Chris Corsano at the Sonic Youth curated day at ATP '04, doing his stunning free jazz inspired drumming with Thurston Moore, Jim O'Rourke, and a veteran avant jazz player whose name i can't recall. Billed as Dream/Aktion Unit, they were playing a high intensity jam/noise set that stood out even on this brilliant day (more highlights in no particular order: Sonic Youth themselves, Lightning Bolt straight after SY in the other corner of the room, Erase Errata, etc...) He's a very young and accomplished player who seems comfortable playing with all sorts of people and in all sorts of contexts. So yesterday I saw him at the Luminaire with this dude
who was rapping frantic and direct streams of his, erm, consciousness to vaguely textured beats from his boombox. Some of the drumming went along with the rhythms of the songs, and at other times he went a little bit wild and it was almost like two separate things at once, though there was always some connection, and it was intense even though i didn't get all of it. I guess they had rehearsed a bit beforehand but a lot of it seemed of the moment, one-off, and it was interesting to see how a semi-improvised set like that can really work. (Corsano I think was rumoured to be playing with Jandek at the Scala that evening, which was cancelled). I would have stayed for most of Magic Markers set afterwards if it wasn't so smokey and the problems they had on stage getting it together were getting a bit annoying. J Mascis was in the audience!

Another good gig at the Luminaire coming up tomorrow: The Lilys and of Arrowe Hill who emerge after some absence and following the release last Halloween of their splendid 'Hexadelica' record. Raw, spooky, 60s inspired psychedelic rock nodding towards both early Pink Floyd and GBV. They coined the immortal line 'On a daytrip to Nighton', hehe, and GBV are certainly fans too! It should be a good evening...

followed swiftly by ATP from Friday (god, gigs gigs gigs), which I'm planning to do very relaxed this year, go to the beach and watch some bands, no big ambitions... we'll see. It'll probably be the usual full on noise rock beach party. It'll be my sixth time in Camber Sands. I love it down there, I love the actual place. Actually, my one ambition is to make the trek to Dymchurch, an old place in the opposite direction to Rye. I read this ghost novel set around the area, we picked it up in a Rye bookshop the last time, it's mostly set there and made me curious. The area has an eerie vibe, Derek Jarman had his famous house nearby, and the beaches are amazing, especially when the tide is out. >>>>>>>>

Thursday, May 11, 2006

and finally a great live photo from the Rhythm Factory by Vanessa Robertson...

now playing: joy zipper _the heartlight set_ perfect for the lovely springtime

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

turning on (the plus signs)

i guess i should write a bit about the Plus gig last week since it was a good night, and raised some questions about where we're at. It got a pretty good response, thanks for coming out, sounded good apparently, and to me felt alright, even though towards the second half I managed to miss getting the lyrics right, i had rehearsed them fairly thoroughly but then got lost in the song and missed the right points of entry, and through that lost the momentum a bit, but managed to find it again by going a bit mental at strategic points ;-) That's how i usually do it in rehearsals, recordings even, go right into bits of lyrics, change them around, find new lines, scare myself even, change the emphasis, do a trip into private language. That's what plus gigs used to be like, messy, a bit anarchic, with sudden shifts in intensity, and never quite the same. i guess people like it though when i'm singing lyrics and am more in control so i'm reasonably happy to try and oblige, i actually quite like some of these lyrics now, the way they put some weight behind the songs is powerful to me too. thing is though, about halfway through we played a brand new number, and i went straight back into wild man mode, and couldn't shake it off afterwards. i actually thought that new number was one of the best of the set, and new ones don't always work for me the first time we play them. so there was a weird balance between rehearsed and improvised, and i think it's okay to do that now, to suddenly let rip, to switch modes, to surprise etc. Whenever we play a set i never quite know which songs will work and which will not, it's like a lottery so i will say the first half was strong and then there was a bit where we lost the momentum a bit but Plus Today, the only old one, was magnificent and brought us back again. I'm getting a bit bored with the old stuff but this one felt alright, was really beautiful, intense and over the top as per usual. Overall i think there was a lot of control even though some of it was loose, maybe because of it, and it had a slow burning, complex, introspective, shoegazerish vibe, where there were several things going on at once and not everything worked equally well.

Here's the setlist:

Shades of Green
Pink City
Tired Eyes
Cold in Summer/When I'm Pretty/? (The new one...)
Seeing Time
Ephedrine Daddy
Plus Today

Teenager, a sometimes total monster track, i screwed up a bit unfortunately, it wasn't bad but nowhere near 100 %, but the track before redeemed it, i guess. Wayne, the promoter, played a Virgin Prunes track 'Walls of Jericho' from the live bit of Heresy for me while we came on (he played the rest of it after the set), The Phobics were fantastic, full on garage punk, and GNA did their global noise attack thing for an enthusiastic crowd, so a fun evening out. I'd like us to play at the Rhythm Factory again, nice venue and crowd...good people!