Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep: August 2006

Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Radiohead, Meadowbank Stadium, 22/08/06

It seemed like I had being waiting for this gig for an eternity, but the day finally arrived and I awoke with great excitement of the prospect of seeing Radiohead for a fifth time. It is no secret of my admiration for Thom, Jonny and co., so you know right away that this review is going to be more than favourable, but this is how it went anyway......

Before the gig I, and what seemed like an army of friends, soaked up the atmosphere at the annual Edinburgh festival, managing to miss the first support act, Deerhoof, in the process.

We Got into the stadium just as Beck was about to take the stage. Backed up by a tight and cohesive band, together with highly original and amusing visuals (involving puppets, the Scottish dialect and Mel Gibson's Braveheart), he played a good set riddled with all of hits. The crowd-pleasing set was notable for a rougher and harder version of "Devil's Haircut". While other highlights included "Loser" and "Where It's At", which helped get people in the mood for you know who.

However, I can't say I was concentrating 100% on Beck, because my mind was on the impending arrival of the mighty Radiohead. Their first gig in Scotland in nearly 3 years had created an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation within the 10,000 strong crowd.

The crowd rushed to the stage as the first strains of "Airbag" from Jonny Greenwood's guitar announced Radiohead's arrival. One of several amazing moments from OK Computer, the choppy, eastern influenced guitar reverberated around the arena, as the audience lapped it up, singing along with every word.

Next up, "2+2 =5", which is probably my least favourite song from Hail To The Thief, sounded great, especially the spectacular build-up to the chorus. Phil Selway's off-kilter drumming was particularly impressive. This song soon merged into "National Anthem" as a booming bass courtesy of Colin Greenwood burst through the soundsystem. The way this song is played live always ensures that it sounds fresh and exciting every single time.

One song I was looking foward to was "My Iron Lung". Arriving suprisingly early in the set, the song was a slight letdown, as it didn't seem to overcome the large arena and wide open spaces. Normally, it is played at ear-blistering volume, but this time it wasn't to be.

As the swelling crowd surged foward, Thom Yorke immediately halted "Morning Bell", to reprimand those pushing through, before launching straight back into the song without missing a beat or a note, sheer class!. It really was unbelievable musicianship, which was a constant theme throughout the night.

Thom Yorke was also in fine voice, ranging from the whispered vocals of "Fake Plastic Trees" to the full on falsetto in "Lucky". We all know how great a voice he has, however, I didn't quite realise just how powerful it is. It becomes an instrument, that no other band could ever get, especially in the show-stopping "How To Disappear Completey" , "Where I End and You Begin" and the aforementioned "Lucky".

Jonny Greenwood also displayed just why he is the most exciting guitarist on the planet right now. Some out of this world noises came from his battered Stratocaster, as he attacked his guitar with almost disdain. He put in a jaw-dropping performance, especially on "Paranoid Android", switching from keyboards to guitar with unbeleviable ease.

Recent Radiohead sets have included more of the crowd pleasing songs from "The Bends" and "OK Computer", which is something I have to admit not paying much attention to in the last couple of years. In fact, when the first chords of "Just" were struck, I wasn't overly enthusiastic, since I seem to prefer Radiohead's more experimental edge. However, I couldn't have been more wrong. This version of "Just" was more vitriolic and anthemic sounding than normal and it gave the song a whole new lease of life. Im putting it down to burnout from listening to "The Bends" constantly when I was growing up, but I am now right in the mood to reaquaint myself once again.

This performance was a definite triumph for the older material, which all sounded rejuvenated and exciting to me once again. The aforementioned "Just" was the pick of the bunch, closley followed by a haunting version of "Fake Plastic Trees" and a simply stunning version of "Lucky".

Special mention must also be given to "The Gloaming" which, in a live arena, is totally transformed into a monster of a track. The hypnotic bass was almost face-shattering as it pulsed right through to crowd, while Thom Yorke done his best to dance like a lunatic.

I also still marvel at how Radiohead manage to pull of playing "Idioteque" live. This is basically recorded like a dance track, but it is completely reworked live. The bands timing and musicianship is impeccable. It is possibly my favourite track of all time, and makes a mockery of the time when people lumped them in with lesser bands such as Blur and Oasis, during the Britpop movement.

A couple of new songs were, as expected, aired too, with some fairing better than others. Thom Yorke has stated that a lot of songs are nowhere near finished yet, but they are trying them out live. This was evident in "Videotape" and "All I Need" (from the last Warchild compilation) both of which seemed to pass without leaving much of an impression.

However, both "Nude" and especially "Bodysnatchers" sounded fantastic. The latter building up gradually before erupting into a furious guitar frenzy.

With well over and hour's worth of music played, the band somehow managed not two but three encores, with "There, There" sounding exceptional. I love the sight of both Jonny and Ed O'Brien on additional percussion duites on this track. Meshing

"True Love Waits" with "Everything In Its Right Place" was new and souded pretty excellent too. Again, the band proved how they can transform some of their more electronic influenced tracks with live instrumentation. This would set up the wonderful finale.....

If you have being reading Radiohead fansites recently,then you will know that "Creep" has beeing doing the rounds on the setlists these days. And here, they didn't disappoint us. It was given the biggest cheer of the night and regardless of what the band think of it, it is still one of the bets songs ever written. Thom again showed us why he is the best vocalist around, while my eyes were trained on Jonny just to see him pull off his chainsaw effect with his guitar before each chorus. Even yet, after nearly 12 years, this never fails to get the hairs on the bakc of my neck standing up.

Overall, it was not the best performance I've have ever seen from Radiohead. But then, that is a harsh statement, because they have a lot to live up to, going by the previous occasions. This was still miles better than most gigs I've ever attended. Some of the new songs still need some fine-tuning, but others hold a lot of promise. One thing is for certain, I cannot wait for the next album. However, this performance was a triumph for some of the old favourites, proving just what a strange and wonderful band Radiohead really are.

01 Airbag
02 2+2=5
03 The National Anthem
04 My Iron Lung
05 Morning Bell
06 Videotape
07 Nude
08 Lucky
09 The Gloaming
10 Where I End And You Begin
11 Paranoid Android
12 All I Need
13 Pyramid Song
14 Fake Plastic Trees
15 I Might Be Wrong
16 Idioteque
17 How To Disappear Completely
Encore 1
18 You And Whose Army?
19 Bodysnatchers
20 Just
21 Karma Police
Encore 2
22 There There
23 True Love Waits/Everything In Its Right Place
Encore 3
24 Creep

Top Tracks - 13/08 - 20/08

1. Typewriter's Monologue / Our Sleepless Forest
2. Noise In My Head / A Lucky Pilot
3. Cobra / Winnebago Deal
4. Spider Bite / Winnebago Deal
5. The Safest Place / Last Days
6. Your Birds / Last Days
7. In The Lap of a Middle Aged Drunken Woman / Malysz
8. Cantina Massacre / Gringo Motel
9. Flowers For Catalan / American Watercolor Movement
10. True Beauty Is Emptiness / Golden Death Music

Monday, August 21, 2006

Bands You Really Should Listen To - Part 1

The Strange Death Of Liberal England

The Strange Death Of Liberal England are a six piece, male and female, band from Portsmouth that create epic and sweeping music. This collective use a number of instruments including e-bowed guitars, glockenspiel, flutes, clarinet and drums. It's post-rock music, but not as we know it.

Some excellent reviews have come from the right places. Firstly, BBC Radio's Steve Lamacq has played them on his show, while The Fly magazine has called them "a breath of fresh air in these times of samey guitar bands". However, their best endorsement comes from being the influential Drowned In Sound readers choice for 2006.

Their ep, "stop/go happy/sad forward/forward", is completely sold out, but will get a full release soon on Boomhound Records. You can listen to songs such as "Motor In The Sky" here, in the meantime. This track contains the same huge vocal hooks as Arcade Fire, as female chanting blends perfectly with fuzzed guitars and chiming glockenspiel.

The excellently-titled , "Summer Gave Us Sweets But Autumn Wrought Division", comes across like Godpseed You Black Emperor, if they ever tried to write a hit single. The strings section here in this song is just magnificent.

The band also show plenty of diversity on "Mozart on 33", sounding like a more upbeat version of A Silver Mt Zion, who they share more than a few similarities with. However, The Strange Death.. still exert their own influence over these songs, and are not just plain copyists. This song builds from quiet introspective guitars before erupting into one big crescendo of noise.

It has been said that the band put on a great live show, lets hope there is a full UK tour to coincide with the ep's re-release.

Boringmachines Netlabel

Coming very soon, Boringmachines Netlabel. A place were music is distributed for non-profit purposes (under the Creative Commons License). The first release, which is currently being put together, will be a compilation featuring unsigned acts.

Our objectives are to help spread artists music, while giving them complete control for commercial purposes. We aim to get the music to webzines, record labels, fanzines and magazines.

Most unsigned bands sell their music online, but it is hard to make ends meet through this way. The Boringmachines netlabel, will help spread the word about your music. The more attention you gather the better!.

Webspace has already being purchased, and 10 acts have already confirmed an interest. If you would like to be involved go here, leave a message.
Here are list of the confirmed artists so far, check them out.........

Friday, August 18, 2006

About Me

Following on from my post on my city, Glasgow, I thought it would be a good idea to get some of my musical influences and thoughts out there. I got this from reading a regular article in Uncut Magazine, where they ask famous musicians about records that shaped their life!.

The First Record I ever Bought

"Appetite For Destruction" /Guns N'Roses

Bought this when I was 7 or 8 years old. My Dad was always into rock music, so I never stood a chance of liking anything else. G N'R were the coolest, most dangerous band on the planet back in 1989.

Songs That Remind Me of My Childhood

"Going Gets Tough" / Billy Ocean

This is where things can get quite embarrasing. I can vividly remember watching Billy Ocean on Top of The Pops.

First Record I Remember Dancing To

"Do The Bartman" / The Simpsons

Again not a very clever choice. Isn't all bad because The Simpsons is the greatest TV show on earth.

Records That Changed Your Life

1. "Nevermind" / Nirvana

An obvious choice, but this is 100% true. Bought this the day after seeing "In Bloom" on MTV. I would say it saved me from the dodgy road of 80's metal. Probably haven't listened to this in 5 years. But when I do, it will all come flooding back.

2. "Kid A" / Radiohead

I have been a major Radiohead fan for years upon years. But with "Kid A", the band branched out into the avant-garde world, and in turn, influenced me to seek out more obscure releases. This album ignited my interest in electronica.

Songs That Get You Ready For A Night Out

Anything by the Chemical Brothers, who have been played repeatedly anytime I go on holiday to Greece, Spain etc. Also, Rage Against The Machine never fails to get me going too.

Best Song You've Heard In A Club

"Neighbourhood (Tunnels)" / Arcade Fire

Heard this in the Mod Club in Toronto, when I lived there, and it just all seemed to click. Insanely catchy and the club had the greatest sound system I've ever heard. Arcade Fire were just breaking big, and it is just a wonderful track that brings back great memories.

Last Albums You Bought

"Derwent Waters Saint" / Joe Volk
" Born Into Trouble..." / A Silver Mt Zion
"The Descent Of Everest" / The Ascent of Everest
"Ticket Crystals" / Bardo Pond
"Branches and Routes"/ Fat Cat Records Sampler
"Downtown Sound" / The Two Gunslingers

What is Your Favourite album

Utterly impossible to say. But I will give you my favourite current album. "Flares" by Port-Royal. Read about them when I was in Toronto, the review made them sound brilliant. I couldn't afford to buy it there, as money was vey tight. But I bought it within weeks of arrivivng home. To say I wasn't disappointed is an under-statement. It sends shivers down my spine everytime I listen to it and I cannot wait to see these guys live.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Boring Machines Update

A number of things have hindered my posting capabilities these last few days:

1. I've been pretty busy with work and just haven't been able to find the time. This will change next week hopefully, because I'm on holiday!!!.

2. My internet connection has been either non-existent or fairly slow most of the week so far.

3. I also haven't been able to upload any pictures, but I can still upload videos?. If anyone knows how to fix this please help.

Onto next weeks plans :

1. I will be attending the Radiohead gig in Edinburgh, and plan to have a full in depth review.

2. I have a number of new and interesting bands to post on (mp3's included). So I will probably dedicate a day to each them. New Band Week!!.

Finally, you can also visit my myspace site too and leave comments there.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Winnebago Deal : "Did It, Done It, Doing It Again"

Throughout the years when listening to music, I always seem to go through different phases and gradual changes. I seem to listen to one particular style or genre for months on end until it becomes stale, where I then move on and try to find something fresh. However, I always find myself going back to the quality stuff, as people say cream always rises to the top.

I have always been a heavy rock fan, but went a couple of years without paying much attention to any of it, apart from the albums I already owned. Recently, though, I caught Wolfmother live at T In The Park, and it seems to have re-awakened my desire for the huge rock riff and there has definately been a gradual shift towards all things heavy once again. I also dusted down my Kyuss albums too and got right back into their desert groove.

A few other bands that I have been enjoying include The Sword, Bad Wizard, The Two Gunslingers and Gonga. These bands all worship at the alter of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin and have satisfied my craving for rock 'n' roll. They are all well worth checking out right now and have recent albums available.

But one of the most thrilling bands I've heard in a long while, are posted in the video above. Winnebago Deal are a two-piece band (Guitar and Drums only) that make one unholy racket. Name-checked by such artists as Fugazi, Therapy? and Motorhead, this duo have toured incessantly to get where they are. They have just released their album, "Flight Of The Raven" and will be touring all over the UK in the Autumn. You can listen to four tracks and find the tour info here. Or you can simply rock out to the video above and check out the plethora of videos on You Tube.

Another Thom Yorke Interview + Tribute Albums Galore

Go here to read Thom Yorke being interviewed by the Australian newspaper, The Sydney Herald. Yorke claims being in Radiohead was becoming a "bit of a drag". Oh no!!! don't say that.

In other news, two Radiohead tribute albums will be released soon. Firstly, "Skeet Spirit" : A Crunk Tribute To Radiohead", which you can download for free here. I just might have to because I have no idea what crunk is!.

The other tribute album, will be released by Baby Rock Records, who specialise in turning classic songs into lullabies for children. Im sorry, I just can't imagine Paranoid Android as a lullaby!. If you are mad and actually want to find out more, go here, where you can hear some samples.

Both of these releases follow other Radiohead tribute albums including a Reggae Tribute, an Electronica tribute and the obligatory string quartet reworking.

Top Tracks - 7/08 - 13/08

1. "Your Birds" / Last Days
2. "Lights Out" / Sonic Youth
3. "Watching The Crest" / Joe Volk
4. "Spring"/ The Crescent
5. "The Horned Goddess" / The Sword
6. "Whole Pig, No Head / Joe Volk
7. "The Weir" / Joe Volk
8. "Goodnight Europe"/ Crippled Black Phoenix
9. "Destroying Angel" / Bardo Pond
10. "House Of Cards (live) / Radiohead

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A Nice Summer Drive In The Country

Big Scary Monsters : Svenskt

Big Scary Monsters are a record label who have once again proven they have their finger on the pulse. Having recently snapped up Yndi Halda to their roster, they have are now set to release a compilation cd solely dedicated to artists from Sweden. This ties in with my claim about Swedish music.

The cd, to be released on the 16th of October, will feature several artists including Logh, Ellis The Vacuumchild and Ef. With 18 tracks in total it is sure to be a great release. You can go here and here for more info.

Keep checking back to those myspace links, because they will be giving away mp3's and other promotions.

Radiohead Restart Tour

After a six week hiatus, Radiohead have continued their tour in Budapest. Almost one week until I will attend their Edinburgh show, they played well over 20 songs at the Szieget Festival in Hungary's capital. You can download a short film of their set here and read some reviews too.

Furthermore, there is an in-depth interview with Thom Yorke on Pitchfork, which is well worth a read.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

American Watercolor Movement

American Watercolor Movement are a New Jersey collective that I have been in contact with, with a view to do a post on them. However, while we are discussing the content, I couldn't help but post this video of them performing. I don't know the name of the song yet, but it reminds me of Arcade Fire and the Talking Heads. I also love the French lyrics.

Update: the name of this song is ""Pour Les Auditeurs." which means for the listener!.

Radiohead : "My Iron Lung" Acoustic

This is a brilliant acoustic version of "My Iron Lung" performed by Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood for MTV on the Ray Cokes show. This was a period when MTV was actually good and concentrated on music, rather than reality shows.

Uncle John & Whitelock, McSorely's, 10/08/06

I had been looking foward to this gig since hearing about it last week. I got a copy of Uncle John & Whitelock's album, "There Is Nothing Else", at the start of the year, and immediately liked it. They play very abrasive rock, which reminded a friend last night of The Jesus Lizard.

However, as good as the album is, on the live circuit the band seemed to fall flat on their face. Flat is a good word to use, because that was exactly how they sounded last night. Empty also comes to mind, even great songs like "Hospital" didn't seem to go anywhere. This song is frantic and taut on the album, but live it was a serious letdown.

Admittedly, the frontman does have great charisma, looking like a cross between Suggs from Madness and Rik Mayall in the Young Ones. But that asides, they never had much else going for them. It might have been an off for the band, but with a new single to promote you would think they would come out with all guns blazing, instead of being lacklustre and lethargic.

Talking to a avid fan last night, he claimed that they were the best live band in Scotland. Well I'm sorry pal, you are sadly deluded!.


Today the world is ruled by the internet, it could not function without it. Sites such as myspace have made it possible for music from all corners of the globe to reach the most unlikely places. If you were to tell me I would be listening to a band from Singapore, I would have called you crazy!.

But that is exactly what I have being doing the last week or so. Phorous are a quartet of musicians, all with differing influences, who have come together to produce "improvised and atmospheric, electronic music".

All four members have other bands too, ranging from the punk music of NVRLRN to pop rock of Slantboy. The band have a myriad of influences that somehow manage to include Acid Mothers Temple, Weezer and Japanese instruemntal trio Mono.

Their 2005 album, "Rollercoaster 2 Weeks", is available to download from their website. However, it is their brand new album "Timelessness" that you should check out. This will be released by their own record label Elintseeker Sounds. You can listen here to some of their songs or download the mp3 below the band have donated, from "Rollercoaster 2 Weeks". Read a review of "Timelessness" here.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

All Too Brief Radiohead Post

This will have to be a very brief post on Radiohead (but I am keeping up my promise) as I am running very late for The Tracks show. So in honour of being late, I have posted, below, an mp3 of one Radiohead's new songs. "Spooks" is a frantic guitar workout , described by Mojo Magazine as a:

"Fun Dick Dale surf instrumental interlude with savage riffing"

The Tracks

Tonight I am going to see my friends band play at one of Britain's premier venues. The Tracks will be performing with The Ronelles at the Glasgow Barrowlands tonight, in what is sure to be a milestone in this bands lifespan.

They are an eight-piece band combining soul and rock music to great effect. Their influences range from James Brown and Stevie Wonder through to the Stone Roses and just about any other classic rock band that you can think about. The band have been using a horn section over the last few years which has helped fill out their sound and bring their soul roots to the forefront. Not only are they a great band, but they are great guys too who work very hard at promoting their music, so they deserve your support!.

After completing a special album launch gig at Oran Mor in May, the band have being going from strength to strength on Glasgow's and Scotland's live circuit. You can listen to some tracks here and also find out how to order their self-financed album.

New Crippled Black Phoenix Track

Hello everyone I am really busy at the moment (to busy to even notice the spelling mistake in the headline below!!), but it won't stop me posting hopefully. Some news on Crippled Black Phoenix. They have completed a track for their album. You can preview "I'm Almost Home" here. I do love the horns and glockenspiel on this track, what a combination!.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Radiohead : "Go To Sleep"

When I go to a Radiohead gig, I try to make sure I stand as close as possible to Jonny Greenwood. To find out why, wait until the last 30 seconds or so of this video. This perfomance even had a Radiohead-hating friend of mine's jaw agape.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Uncle John & Whitelock

On Friday night, I will be attending a gig by one of Glasgow's best kept secrets, Uncle John & Whitelock. The missing link between John Spencer's Blues Explosion and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, this band are not to be missed live.

It will take place at Glasgow' legendary McSorley's venue, a place were biker's and rockers used to hang out and catch the latest heavy sounds around the city. The venue has gone under new management fairly recently and has been attracting some good reviews.

To listen to Uncle John's demented blues/rock go here

Radiohead - "Inside My Head"

Here's footage of Radiohead from the Reading Festival in 1994. This is a period when the band were tagged 'one-hit wonders'. The band look incredibly young and there are some misguided haircuts on show, but you can tell from this performance that a special band were developing. Just look at Jonny Greenwood's guitar solo to see a master at work, and listen to Thom Yorke's booming falsetto.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Top Tracks - 31/07 - 6/08

1. "Take Your Eyes Off Of Me, Jeremy Bentham" / Malysz
2. "From Embrace To Embrace" / Joy Wants Eternity
3. "Tho You Are Gone, I Still Often Walk With You" / A Silver Mt Zion
4. "We Flood Empty Lakes" (A Lily Remix) / Yndi Halda
5. "This Gentle Heart Like Shot Bird's Fallen" / A Silver Mt Zion
6. "Adaption of the Koto Song / The Kiliminjaro Darkjazz Ensemble
7. "Built Then Burnt (Hurrah, Hurrah!) / A Silver Mt Zion
8. "Apple Tree" / Wolfmother
9. "Destroying Angel" / Bardo Pond
10. "N'Importe Quoi Pour N'Importe Qui" / The Programme

Anyone Can Play Guitar?

There are suggestions that Radiohead's next release will be a return to more guitar-orientated songs. However, going by this picture of Colin and Thom in the recording studio, these claims might be unfounded. There is not a guitar in site. This is not a problem for me, I like it when Radiohead use all of their equipment, Jonny Greenwood has even started to invent his own instruments these days. Having said that though, you can't beat a bit of rock guitar.

Crippled Black Phoenix : Endtime Ballads

A couple of weeks ago, I posted on a band that was creating a fair amount of buzz around the internet. Details were quite hazy, but rumours that a 'supergroup' of sorts had formed, containing members of Mogwai, Electric Wizard, Gonga and many other bands, have proved to be true. I have been in contact with this enigmatic and ambitious collective (or "merry band of bastards" as they put it) who are known as Crippled Black Phoenix and they have put the record straight.
Crippled Black Phoenix will contain six members

Justin Greaves (Electric Wizard, Iron Monkey )
Joe Volk (Gonga, Solo)
Dominic Aitchison (Mogwai)
Andy Semmens (Panthiest, Ereipia)
Nial McGoughey (3D House of Beef)
Kostas Panagiotou (Panthiest, Ereipia)

Obviously having Mogwai bassist, Dominic Aitchison, in the band has helped create some of the buzz. However, any self-respecting rock fans will own material by both Electric Wizard and Iron Monkey, two of Britain's heaviest bands going. While, I have recently purchased Joe Volk's folk influenced "Derwant Waters Saint" album, which has barely left my stereo since.

Justin Greaves is the chief writer in this project and claims he deliberately stopped listening to music, to avoid sounding like other bands. Listening to tracks like "Goodnight Europe" there are certain aspects that do remind of other bands, but it is hard to put your finger on it. This has led the band to christen their sound "Endtime Ballads". They have had differing reactions to their sound almost every time, with people name-checking all sorts of artists. "Endtime Ballads" seems to fit the music which was written with the soundtrack music of Ennio Morricone in mind.

"Goodnight Europe" is a unique song, slow-burning, tranquil and almost ambient sounding. It is the culmination of all the members eclectic influences. Reminiscent of Tool, not so much musically but, it has the same hypnotic feeling as the American prog-metallers. These "Endtime Ballads" are captivating and absorbing.

Further investigation into this collective has revealed many hidden depths and a burning desire to create something unique. The album,"A Love of Shared Disasters", is heading into the final mix stage and a lot of work has to be done to hone their live performance. As Justin rightly points out, as they came together in rather unorthodox circumstances, it will take some time.

However, the band do not just want to play in the same old venues, but instead in theatres and other interesting places. This suggests that the live show may be something special to experience. The band are driven by "a need to stretch out and do something timeless and different..."

This ambitious group use a myriad of instruments ranging from Cellos to 18th Century Harmoniums right through to Saws and Hammond Organs. These Victorian instruments will be "blended" with amplified instruments to create their self-styled dark-americana ambiance. This is not your typical run of the mill band that are recording one album and then disappear back to their respective bands. Crippled Black Phoenix have already planned a trilogy of albums, with material written for the second full length one already. This is despite all of the members commitments to their other bands and projects.

Crippled Black Phoenix's album, "A Love of Shared Disasters", will be released by Geoff Barrow's (Portishead) Invada Records and recorded, in one of the UK's most creative city's, in Bristol. The band have kindly allowed me a preview with the mp3 below of the blissful "Goodnight Europe". However, you can find out about them here and listen to some more tracks. These "Endtime Ballads" promises to be one of the releases of the year and their live cinematic carnival will come to a selected city near you soon.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Radiohead Catch Up

Since I was a little bit short in the old Radiohead posts this weekend I have decided on two posts today on the greatest band on earth. I have already posted some footage of "I Will" earlier today, so now it is the turn of the trusty mp3. Continuing the trend of posting live versions of new songs, "Open Pick" is my choice for today. I really like the opening guitar riff of this and ,without seeing photographic evidence, I'm pretty certain it's the work of Jonny Greenwood.

Mojo Magazine describes this song as "having the harmonic movement and moiling guitars of the latter stages of the under-rated "There There", without really superseeding it".

I'll let you decide for yourself........


I've being posting here now for just over a month and am enjoying it immensely. However, it has dawned of me I have not said anything about my home. As you may have gathered, I am from Glasgow, which is Scotland's biggest city. I'm going to be quite lazy and let wikipedia fill you in on the history of the city and instead post on things that are of interest to me.

Volcanic Tongue

First up, a friend emailed me about this place last week. I don't know why I have never heard of it because it looks like a great record shop, that also has an online facility. It specialises in underground music at fairly reasonable prices. The website also has good columns by contributors here and an excellent tip of the tongue section, that pays attention to obscure releases.

Bar Bloc

If you are coming to Glasgow for a visit, and find yourself in need of a cold alcoholic beverage, then you should stop in at Bloc. This bar has been about for a while, but seems to be going through some sort of overhaul. I recently saw Yndi Halda play an excellent set there and Saturday nights host a very good electronic music night, that attracts a good crowd. Go here to see their listings. But I must warn you, they have inexplicably chosen a Wet Wet Wet song(Glasgow's worst band of all time) as their theme tune. But they do support local bands incessantly and are giving established venues King Tut's and Nice 'n Sleazy's a run for their money.

The Skinny

To find out what is coming up around Glasgow and sometimes Edinburgh, I usually read The Skinny. This is a monthly guide and review magazine that does not miss a beat. At just ten issues old the magazine can be found in most bars and is completely free. It is also worth visiting their website, if you are an overseas reader, because the review section is pretty good. They are also looking for help in writing reviews. So if you are from Glasgow or Edinburgh and fancy a crack at writing get in contact with them.

The Lighthouse

If you fancy checking out an exhibition a good place to go is The Lighthouse. Tucked into one of Glasgow's many small lanes in the city centre, The Lighthouse offers a variety of exhibitions. The current exhibit is of Marcel Breuer who invented tubular steel for furniture. So this is a must for Ikea fans.


You can't say anything about Glasgow without mentioning its greatest musical export. Most people know of Mogwai, but if you haven't seen them live, you've pretty much not lived. I've lost count how many times I've witnessed their spectacular show over the last ten years or so. One memorable time, was in The Arches last year, when it was so loud that I couldn't hear properly for the next three days. They are incredible live act and they helped to define the post-rock genre.

Glasgow Celtic

Finally, I must finish this post with one of the love's of my life. Celtic are a Scottish Football (Soccer) team with Irish heritage. I've supported them ever since I can remember and have travelled far to follow them. A supporters club can be found in just about every city in the world. I know for a fact there are 11 club's in Canada alone (I was a member of the Toronto branch) and there is definitely one in Dubai. It might seem quite trivial to love a sport's team so much, but tell that to the millions of supporters around the world.

Thom Yorke - "I Will"

This is one of Radiohead's most under-rated songs. There are two different version (the Hail To The Thief version and The L.A version). Both tracks show of Thom's incredible vocal range. Enjoy!.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Dead Air Space Conspiracy???

After posting his views on the "war on terror" in Lebanon, on Dead Air Space, Thom Yorke's comments have mysteriously vanished from it. Has pressure been applied from above to get his opinion removed?, is he now on the UK's most wanted list?, will he mysteriously disappear himself?, will I be assasinated for posting on this?. Well, stranger things have happened!. Does John Lennon on the FBI'S most wanted list ring any bells!. If you missed Thom's stong worded opinion, don't worry, go here. The mp3 below is aimed at Tony Blair and the rest of his right-wing cronies.

Joe Volk : "Watching The Crest" Video

Today I recieved Joe Volk's "Derwent Waters Saint" album through the letterbox and I must say what I heard so far is getting the thumbs up. There is a certain ambience to it that makes his folkish guitar work stand out. One of the (initial) best tracks is "Watching The Crest". You can see and hear it on the video above. I'm now on the third listen of the album and enjoying it immensely. Each listen reveals something different and there appears to be a lot of hidden depths to this release. Adrian Utley of Portishead features prominently on this album both in production and instrumentation. Expect a full review to follow. Or if you want to just go ahead and buy it regardless, go here.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

immanu el

Scandinavia is a continent that has been producing top quality musicians at an alarming rate. There could be a number of reasons for it, but one thing is for certain, the music scene is rich and vibrant. Obvious Scandinavian artists include Sigur Ros (Iceland), Jose Gonzalez (Sweden) and Mew (Denmark), but there are a plethora of underground bands in Sweden ,in particular, that are continually evolving and making some of the best sounds out there. Canada was recently hailed as music's epicentre, maybe we will have to rethink that suggestion.

One such band is immanu el from Jönköping, Sweden. Immanu el have five members and create soaring and majestic post-rock music reminiscent of their peers Sigur Ros. However, if you delve deeper there is a lot more to their sound. Listen to "Panda" (easily one of the songs of the year), the low key sound is complimented by the gorgeous melodies and half-whispered vocals. Their influences are diverse and are mixed together to create melancholic and captivating music.

The bands frontman, Claes, has been kind enough to grant me some time for an interview. Here are the results.

Scandinavia is producing great bands at a prolific rate, what are you guys drinking over there!?

Scandinavia is great in exporting music abroad in most music styles, thats pretty well known I guess. I really dont know exactly why it is like that. Maybe it's because of the the nordic lights and clear air?. No, seriously I can't say really why it is like that generally. Popular music has been a part of our culture ever since the beginning, thats one fact. Another thing is that musicians and bands get supported and its very easy to form a band with lots and lots of music interested people...

How would you describe Immanu El to a new listener?

immanu el (we nowdays only use small letters...hehe) is a small electrified orchestra that create beautiful, bittersweet soundscapes. In low key, captive singing and somewhat of a nothern melanchol. immanu el express Hope from beginning to the bitter end...

What are your main influences when writing music?
Life inspires us to make our music. It's an expression of what we feel and what we think as usual people, and since we're surrounded by great music in all kinds of different styles we can get influenced by classical music as well as modern pop/rock music. We're basically influenced by postrock and experimental/alternative rock music in general, and we mix those influences with whatever we feel like doing.

You are said to be recording a new album, how is the recording process going and what direction are Immanu El going in?

Well, we are on our way making all of our material finished for the recording that will take place within a couple of months, it's planned. We're making great progress in our work and we have some new tracks as well as some re-written old ones that we'd like to have on our upcoming album. I think we're much more confident about the sound in our songs since the "Killerwhale" ep we made last year (...that summerized our first year of work). We are more pointed into a direction of our own and we got a feeling of flow in our songs i think we missed on our earlier work. We're still very young and evolve a lot, even though we still use the same kind of tonality in our new songs... - but - better and more worked thorugh i think. It feels right to say we're more directed than before.

Are the band planning to tour in the UK anytime soon?

We would love to tour in UK. We will make it happen sooner or later, thats one thing im sure of. We are communicating with a label that's interested in releasing us soon, and they would like to plan tours with us. I know they plan tours in the UK so let's hope everything will workout alright and maybe well come over someday not too far away...

Have the reactions from the UK been positive so far?

Well, we're very fresh as a band and don't got that much contact with the UK music industry. Listeners email us now and then, and we send records to customers from the UK, and so far everything seems great. I think we had some contact with an indie label from london some months ago,they were interested of us too but I guess things ran out in the sand...We would love to get more involved in the UK, maybe you can give us a hand...? I love Britain even though I've never been there myself. The people seem nice and are very interested in our kind of sound... Thats nice too. I also plan a vacation in Scotland in a couple of weeks, to seek my roots and explore the soul of Scotsmen.

Are Immanu El planning anything else?

Well, right now we are focusing on our songs and the recording / label work we're into for some months ahead. Except for that we're pretty locked in at our rehearsal place in a barn outside civilization to evolve our music and live set. Most of us just graduated from high school so it feels that we just got started in doing what we love to do.

What would you regard as Immanu El signature tune?

Ive never thought of that actually. I guess that's up to anyone to decide for themselves. For me it's definitely our newest and longest song we've ever made. It's not titled yet and it's not recorded, but i am very happy with the sound and think that's the best song we've ever made.... for the older songs i think "Panda", "Radical Radical", "Morgan's Song" and "Kina" are signature songs for us, but they shift from day to day...

What is the best and worst thing about being a member of Immanu El?

Hehe, never thought of that either. I think I have to answer something boring and general like it's a lot of logistic issues that has to be solved and that it's very expensive to play in a band, to get more and more professional with equpiment and instruments and everything...The best thing is that we have so much fun together. The feeling of making a good concert is also worth everything. Another thing that's great is that you get the opportunity to visit and play at so many new places and meet new people... it's fun when people contact us from all over the world and when people tell us they like our music or get touched by our sound... I feel like I can go on forever so i think ill stop it here...

What records could you not live without?

That's different for everyone in the band. If I answered for them all and they saw it, I think they would kill me. We have a different kinds of taste. For me its a lot of records... I know you want me to give examples so I think I better. I''ll give you three. "Kid A" and later Radiohead albums, "Pink Moon" by Nick Drake and "Laughingstock" by Talk Talk.

Are there any bands from Sweden, us un-informed Brits should know about?

I think you should discover Loney, Dear. He's (they're) absolutely brilliant. We played with them once and i got stuck to the music like glue. Indiepop with loads and loads of beauty and joy.

What is the best gig you have ever attended?

Hard to say, I think one of the best was when we played with Logh last year. That or the Hultsfred Rookie Festival.... but i don't really think we played a perfect show either...

You have been working with Scotland's Engine7, what is your level of involvement on his album?

Yes, I'm about to help him out with some vocal tracks we've talked about. I hope and think it will work out great... Alan is a great guy!

Will Engine7 be performing on Immanu El's new album?

Yes, he made a sample/introduction for our newest song. It's beautiful, just beautiful.


To listen to immanu el to their myspace or go to their website. Below is an mp3 of "Radicalradical".

OK Computer on DVD

The album that is on everyone's top ten list, Radiohead's OK Computer, is the latest release to be featured on the Under Review's DVD series. The album is amazingly 10 years old next year and was once given the accolade of being "the best album ever recorded" by Q Magazine.

Whether you agree with that statement or not, is irrelevant, but you cannot argue with the brilliance of the music contained. From the haunting "Climbing Up The Walls" to the expansive "Paranoid Android", OK Computer still sounds as fresh as ever.

Under Review's 53 minute DVD will feature both live and studio performances from the OK Computer era (1997) that will incorporate every single song. "Creep" from Pablo Honey will also be included (probably because it is still a classic song). Furthermore, other features will include in depth analysis from biographers and journalists, a "beyond the DVD" section and "The Hardest Interactive Radiohead Quiz Ever".

It is due out on September 19th

Here's a track that could have made it onto OK Computer, but didn't make the cut.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Thom Yorke On Middle-East Atrocities

With bombings and killing of innocent people still raging on, and showing no signs of ending, in the Middle-East, Thom Yorke has posted a a rather harrowing article on Dead Air Space. You can read it here, but it is not for the faint-hearted. If this is a war on terror, why are innocent children dying?. Tony Blair has sanctioned moves to help the USA transport their bombs to the Middle-East. He even allowed them to be kept safe in Prestwick airport too. It scares me to think of the power 'leaders' like Tony Blair and George Bush actually have, when they don't have one set of morals between them.

Yorke has since posted his own thoughts on Dead Air Space:

"(my personal opinion)

ive had enough of this

our government sitting on the fence with the US while world war 3 appears to be breaking out in Lebanon and Northern Israel.

we must throw Tony Blair our of office NOW.

he does not represent the views of the british people.

he does not represent the views of his foreign office and officials.

he does not even represent the views of those in his cabinet.

he cares far too much about his relationship with Bush, and Murdoch.

this man is not fit to be our prime minister.

its a nice sunny day. come on lets do it. you know it makes sense.

a vote of no confidence. or something. anything."

The term 'nail on the head' and the hitting of it comes to mind. I have posted a very apt song below.

Greetings From Tuskan

Greetings From Tuskan is a one-woman band from Belgium via Vietnam. J.Phuong Minh Lê produces startling electronic music with chiming melodies and chunky beats. Obscured vocals and sampled noises can be heard interspersed throughout each track, but is most evident on "This One Is For You". This track is full of driving rythmns and DJ Shadow style beats.

"Lullabies For The Warriors" changes the tempo and starts off like Vangelis' Bladerunner sountrack, before manufactured beats fade in and take over, reminiscent of some of D_Rradio's work.

"Greetings From Tuskan comes from the urge to press buttons" according to myspace, well the music certainly pushes all the right buttons. Fans of Boards of Canada and D_Rradio will find a lot to like here. The debut album "Lullaby For The Warriors" is due out in October 2006.

Boring Machines On Myspace!

I don't know what I was thinking of, I set up a myspace account over a year ago and have never once used it. But last night it all changed. I just decided to leave a quick message about this blog, but got sucked right in and started sending messages to my favourite artists (most of which got back to me very sharply). I also encouraged any other artists to request to be added to my friends list. I got about 5 replies from bands I have never heard of, and I am now planning to post on a few of them who's music caught my attention. If you would like to be added to my friends list or if you would just like a look at myspace go here

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Explosions In The Sky

Ever since witnessing the spectacle that is Explosions In The Sky performing live, back in 2003, I have being waiting for them to release the follow up to "The Earth Is Not A Cold Place" with baited breath. On that night, the band were simply jaw-dropping and I have since missed them on two separate occasions. The first time they played in Glasgow, when I was in Toronto and the second time I was flying back to Glasgow while they were in Toronto!!. All very frustrating, and apart from the release of the mini-album "The Rescue", the silence from Explosions has been deafening.

That is, until now. According to their website, Explosions have completed the writing process for the new album. There are six songs ranging from 3 minutes to 13 minutes. Recording should start in August, and there is a tentative release date for February 2007. Let's hope things go according to plan.

In the meantime, "The Rescue" is available to download in its entirety, completely free here. The band have also posted some notes on the recording process too. My favourite track is "Day Six". You can download "Day Six" here, but if you want the full album go to their website.

"Harrowdown Hill" Video

"Harrowdown Hill" Video

In case you missed the premiere of Thom Yorke's "Harrowdown Hill" video last night. Here it is.

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