Monthly Archives: January 2016

Album of the Week – Membranes Dark Matter

Membranes-Dark-Matter

The Membranes

Dark Matter / Dark Energy

Cherry Red

 

Dark brooding atmospheric noise pop from the membranes 25 years since their last release. They have lost none of their manic soundscape or youthful abandon even if they have been unable to halt time and regain their youth.

As singer John Robb sings “I am a middle aged fucked up 21st Century Man, My Body is creaking but my mind is so alive”. He sings for all of us who listened to the band when they started taking Blackpool by storm in the 80’s but who couldn’t halt the tide of time. Not that we would have but when the mind is alive you can see and hear so much.

The membranes always experimerented with sound, they were part of the post punk explosion that believed in Death to trad rock. They were never a band for straight forward melodies and always tried to challenge the listener to join their madcap team with colourful antics and lots of noise. Deep down there was always a rhythm and there still is on this album.

It’s quiet at times, raucous at others but always feels one chord away from madness, maybe that sums us all up as people, one step away from abandon.

We get some sort of explanation of the universe with Dark Matter, I know now why I never listened to in Science Class in school, I would have the membranes to explain it all many decades later with a soundscape.

Songs like Space Junk which sees Robb spitting out the words while Rob Haynes bangs a cowbell to keep us moving to the guitar riff and dirty bass or Hail to the lovers with is fast bass riff driven song are more of a nod to the death to trad rock era and maybe some trex for good measure.

The bass driven Into The graveyard makes you feel like you are walking through a darken graveyard being led by a manic John Robb hopping aliong playing the bass talking about all thoise bodies deep down, a nine minute trip. And then there’s Magic Eye (To See The Sky) interwoven with almost a nod to sitar sound droning on.

5776 (The Breathing Sky) with its dub sounding bass or Money Is Dust which takes a funk beat and develops it through noise and then dust to dust it fades shows that this is a maturing Membranes, still not stuck in a box but taking their surroundings and trying to figure out what the hell is going on

A re-mix is on the way with versions of the songs being dones by guests, that should prove an interesting experiment, like life this band are always looking to evolve.

niallhope

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Label Of the week – Alternative Tentacles

alterntativetents

One could easily be forgive for forgetting about a record label that has been releasing classic albums for nearly 40 years. it’s a sign of todays mobile world. We no longer need to rely on a labels good name for records to listen to. Alternative Tentacles started in 1979 and since then it’s roster has included (wait for it), Alice Donut, Citizen Fish, Leftover Crack, Noam Chomsky, Pansy Division, Unsane, Butthole Surfers, DOA, Nomenasno, Neurosis, Victims Family and of course Jello Biafra and his various music associates including the Dead kennedys.

They have been releasing records since California Uber Alles was unleashed amongst a legion of punks. It is almost impossible to get a list of releases as there has been cd’s, 7″‘s, digital releases and t-shirts all seem to have catalogue numbers. I can safely guess at around 400 releases. 400 picks of rockin’ hardcore and off kilter country tunes designed to educate a nation and overthrow the machinations.

When Crucifucks were singing about Wisconsin or the Beatnigs telling us that Television was the Drug of the Nation alternative tentacles were shouting from the rooftops.

After the Dead Kennedys gave us Frankenchrist the label started to run into trouble due to the amount of attention PMRC were putting. I contacted the label in the UK to see if Irish Punks could help out with No More Censorhip Defense Fund. We put a gig on, showed solidarity in the way the label have been showing since.

It isn’t just a label for punk rock and up front hardcore there is alternative twang of Evan Johns and Eugene Chadbourne or the rockabilly blues style of more recent visitors to Ireland, the Legendary Shack Shakers

It is still releasing records, bringing out podcasts and finding new ways to encourage subversion. Jello is still playing music and releasing records, Winston Smith is still producing art and the label still flourishes

niallhope

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Hope Show 110 – The Lowdown

ablaze

Hope Show 110

1.  sleaford mods – jobseker
2. LoveyDove – Luka Fisher
3. Laetitia Sadier – Find Me THe Pulse of the Universe
4. Kate Nash – She Rules
5, The Slits – TYpical Girls
6. Viv Albertine – If Love
7. Joanna Gruesome – Sugarcrush
8. The Three Johns – Never And Always
9. Thee Faction – Choose Your Enemy
10. SKy Larkin – Carve It Out
11. Sleater Kinney – Bury Our Friends
12. Stereolab – Ping Pong
13. THe Dismemberment Plan – Waiting
14. Woody Accouche Project – Himalayo
15. Cowtown – Merchandise
16. Slum Of legs – Sasha Fierce
17. Jeffrey Lews and the Jrams – Cult Boyfriend

There’s a great interview in the latest Ablaze with Sleaford Mods which is the first time Ablaze has seen daylight as a new fanzine in 23 years. It can’t be that long, I exclaim. The facts don’t lie and barring a book which was a compenium of the first 10 Karren has been concentrating on her own life since the early 90’s. It’s back with a bang though. SLeaford Mods have lots to say in their feature.

LoveyDove are a diy pop duo, two people with a history of involvement and underground pop music activism

Laetitia Sadier was in Stereolab when Ablaze was last out. She is still putting out gorgeous pop music on Drag City Records .

The beauty about zines is the potential for new artists, I had Kate Nash written of as Katy Perry, no idea why but thankfully Ablaza has steered me right, a strong independent woman paving the way for others.

The Slits were one of the first strong independent band of female members. They paved the way and Viv Albertine’s book has some tales of those punk days. Viv is still playing music and I’ve included a past and present tonight.

Joanna Gruesome could be todays Slits, as could so many of the bands in Ablaze. Sugarcrush is from their record

Whilst it is predominantly women who feature in Ablaze some bands with male singers have sneaked in. Thankfully the Three Johns are in there, reveiewed from their recent tour and Thee Faction have their manifesto included, and rightly so.

Sky Larkin gets mention a lot in Ablaze *11 not only for Katie Harkin’s part in the band but also for her part in Sleater Kinney’s reunion. Katie played keyboard when the band recently reformed and toured Europe

Stereolab get mentioned earlier as laetitia Sadier’s old band, the interview wth Laetitia is particularly interesting in that there doesn’t seem to be a manifesto to the music but still she manages to stat “We have to be the masters of our own selves”, certainly a way to live but whilst looking out for others along the way.

The Dismemberment Plan are another that passed me by, there’s only so much time in the day and it doesn’t always involve listening to music you know, but I will be chasing out this band now that I know they reformed in 2013.

There’s a feature on the Indian music scene including a strong presence of post-rock bands. it makes perfect sense in the worlds third most popolous country. Woody accouche project a re feel good band from India.

Cowtown are closer by, from Leeds, England. I’ve dug out a Fugazi cover that features in thier set but the band are far from a covers band, it’s exciting pop all the way.

Slum of Legs are on Tuff Enuff records who I gushed about recently . Sasha Fierce is their new 7″

So there you, nearly, have it. An eclectic mix with a big nod to strong independent women and the riot grrl movement. A great zine, pick your copy up here but not before you listen to jeffrey Lewis

niallhope

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Podcast of the Week – Razorcake

Podcast of the Week

Razorcake

razorcake

What a resource Razorcake is. Their mission statement tells us

“Razorcake provides consistent coverage of do-it-yourself punk culture that you won’t find anywhere else. We believe in positive, progressive, community-friendly DIY punk. We do our part.

DIY punk culture is often misrepresented, misunderstood, and the target of corporate exploitation. Razorcake supports a legit community of punk music and culture as the only bona fide 501(c)(3) non-profit music magazine in America.

Our bi-monthly fanzine is a one-of-a-kind resource for the DIY punk community. Over the years, Razorcake has developed this resource to help document every facet of this culture. The Razorcake Gorsky umbrella also includes book publishing, record pressing, live shows and readings, and a thriving web presence that maintains weekly podcasts, webcomics, and videos.

Our open participation policy means anyone can become a contributor. Currently, Razorcake offers a forum for over 180 long-term independent volunteer writers, photographers, illustrators, and musicians from around the world. We take pride in our scenes and represent them internationally. We also distribute the magazine to over twenty countries.

DIY punk is an exciting, evolving culture that can thrive outside of corporate interests. Our goal is to continue operating a modern framework where this community of independent, DIY punk can continue. ”

So the fanzine provides incredible detail about bands that believe in playing heartfelt punk rock, they also publish books by punk writers and have nearly 400 podcasts on their site. The latest one is by MR Cap who took 10 hours to get from his house in Mexico to the Razorcake HQ in LA to record his collection of spanish language punk rock. Every week there’s a different story to a different pod but every time backed by some great punk rock tunes

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This Weeks News Jan 22

 

punkforshan

Punk for Shan

The punk rock community is good for many things and many of these involve helping others when they are down. As the organisers of Punk for Shan say “Folks this is a fundraiser gig for a young girl suffering from a rare form of cancer. She needs our financial support pronto! If ya can spare some of your hard earned cash it would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.”

Playing on the night are Blood or Whiskey, the Lee Harveys, Blackpitts, Orrka, The
Craic, – Doors Open 8pm Admission only €10

 

Also happening this week  are the latest Right 2 Water demonstrations around the country.  If you’re in Ireland on Saturday afternoon, there’s one near you

right2water

Gigs this week

Jan 22 – Punk for Shan – Blood or Whiskey, the Lee Harveys, Blackpitts, Orrka, The
Craic, Fibbers

Jan 23 – Right 2 Water Demonstrations, Nationwide

Jan 23 – Stronghold + Hollow Truth + No biggie, Tentehooks, Newmarket Square

Jan 24 – Luke Winslow King, Whelans

Jan 28 – Paddy Hanna, Whelans

Jan 29 – Discharge + Kluster Fux + Hollow Cost, Voodoo Lounge

Jan 29 – The Lowest Form+ The Number Ones + Disguise, Tenterhooks

Jan 29 – Polish hip-hop JWP PC + Unitum (Cork), Bulbens & Zibster, Gruby & Krissu, SWS (Studio Własnym Sumptem) oraz Dj’e Funk’ B, Laura P, Ivan

Jan 30 – Sleaford Mods.Invisible Britain- Dublin Screening – IFI

Jan 30 – The Dead Goats + Nuclear Holocust = more, Fibber Magees

Jan 30 – Lanterns On The Lake, Workmans Club

February 5-7 – Quarter Block Party is a three day music and arts festival in Cork City

Feb 6 – Kluster Fux + SFU, Suckin’ Diesel + The Divils, Kluster Fux album launch, On
The Rox

Feb 7 – An evening with Greg Dulli (Afghan Wihigs), Whelans

Feb 9 – Rozi Plain, Workmans Club

Feb 12 – Frank Turner + Sleeping Souls, The Academy

Feb 12 – Cian Nugent + The Cosmos, Grand Social

Feb 12 – Pleasure Beach, Workmans Club

Feb 13 – Richie Ramone, Vodoo Lounge

Feb 14 – Suicidal Tendencies, The Academy

Feb 14 – August Wells, The Workmans Club

Feb 17 – Kataklysm+ eptic Flesh + Aborted,Voodoo Lounge

Feb 19 – Jungbluth + Bacchus, Tenterhooks

Feb 20 – Verse Chorus Verse, The Workmans Club

March 3 – Lee Scratch Perry, The Academy

March 5 – The Cult, Vicar Street

March 5 – The Vincent(s) – Workmans Club

March 10 – The Wonder Stuff, the Academy

March 11 – The Lee Harveys + Blackpitts – Make Music Not Way, The Thomas House

March 18 – The Marianees, Workmans Club

March 22 – Battles, Button factory

March 13 – Cradle of Filth, The Academy

March 31 – Protomartyr, The Workmans Club

April 2 – Peter Hok and the Light perform New Order’s Low-Life and Brotherhood, with
opening Joy Division Set, The Academy

April 2 – The Meatboides, The Workmans Club

April 8 – Tobi Kar, The Workmans Club

April 23 – Red Alert + Takers and Users, the Kluster fux + Suckin’ Diesel, On The Rox

April 27 – The Gories + Number Ones + Sissy, Grand Social

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My Favourite Gig by Beki Bondage

beki1This is the third in a series all taken from the Fanzine Hope *.2. The fanzine sees a collection of 70 contributors from the punk rock world.  All asked the same question What is Your Favourite Gig. The zine is €5 including postage to anywhere  It is a benefit for Pikpa Refugee Centre, Lesvos   Pay by paypal, here

Beki Bondage, Vice Squad –
Altavoz Festival
Colombia 2012

I don’t actually have a favourite gig of all time but one of the most memorable ones I played was the Altavoz Festival in Medellin, Colombia.

Our guitarist Lumpy doesn’t like flying so he got some Diazepam from the doctor to calm his nerves but the doctor didn’t warn him that you’re not supposed to mix alcohol with Diazepam. On the day of the flight we got to the airport about 7am and Lumpy was in the bar having a drink by 8am. We boarded a couple of hours later for a 7 hour flight to Miami where we were to get a connecting flight to Medellin. By the time the plane was ready to land in Miami there were 13 small empty red wine bottles in the pouch in front of Lumpy’s seat, and he was most insistent that he didn’t need to fill in an immigration form to pass through US customs.

The bassist, drummer and me all filled in customs forms and after queueing for about 40 minutes passed through US immigration and got ready to catch our connecting flight. Of course, after queuing for some time Lumpy had been turned away by a Customs Officer and told to fill in the form but was confounded by the fact that it was written in Spanish and being off his head he didn’t think to turn the page over to the English side! We were panicking as there was no sign of him and we had to catch our connecting flight so we went through security and asked the flight attendant on the Medellin flight to delay the plane because one of the band members was missing.

At this point we didn’t even know if Lumpy was still in the airport as he was in such a state we expected US Customs to refuse him entry and send him back to the UK. I thought we’d be doing the gig as a 3 piece and that I’d be practising very heavily for the next few days as I’d be playing lead guitar!

Eventually a staggering Lumpy appeared and he boarded the plane, berating the rest of us for not bringing his bag through security (you can’t bring someone else’s bag through airport security but try explaining that to a Yorkshireman who’s mixed a large quantity of wine, lager and spirits with Diazepam at high altitude). The flight to Medellin lasted about 3 hours and when we landed we were filmed coming through the gates by Colombian TV.

We were taken to a 5 star hotel and for the next four days we were wined , dined and expected to promote the show, which was fine except for the fact that Lumpy’s bag hadn’t turned up so he was wearing the same clothes for 5 days!!!! A local tattoo artist took pity on him and gave him a t-shirt, but apart from that everything he wore was 5 days old and Medellin is very humid so he was somewhat ‘ripe’.

We did various interviews for TV which was quite weird as we were used to being ignored in the UK so found the Colombians’ interest in us rather strange but very flattering.  We did a secret press conference and were escorted by police with hand guns into the theatre and we were amazed that it was packed full of people wanting to see us. It was like a surreal version of a chat show with the audience made up of Punks. There were more people at the press conference than at some of the gigs we played in England.

The people we met were awesome and it was very,very humbling to learn that our first album had inspired so many of them to get into Punk, some had even built their own guitars, now that’s DIY!!!! There is a lot of poverty in Colombia so Punk is a lifeline for many people, you couldn’t over estimate its importance. Every day a great guy called Roman would collect us from the hotel and take us out for lunch followed by promo. Roman had won the Colombian version of ‘Big Brother’ so he was a bit of a celebrity and a real character.

We looked round a toy shop in a shopping centre and all the staff knew who we were because we’d been on TV, so we had to pose for photos. We also did the ’sightseeing tour’, you have to do it because the mayor arranges it specially for the visiting bands, so there we were at the back of the bus with a Polish metal band  like naughty school kids.. We visited the university and met some of the students and the whole day was filmed and televised, we were even filmed when we were eating. We’d never done so much promo before and were relieved to get back to the hotel thinking we would get a break from the cameras, but there was another TV presenter with cameras waiting for us in reception!!!

Like I said before, we’re accustomed to being ignored so all the attention and media interest was quite overwhelming. The gig itself was amazing, we played in a stadium to an audience of 30,000 people and the show was televised live.

I’m used to having the audience up close and not having much space but the stage was huge and I had to cover a lot of ground to get to the front to commune with the crowd.
We were the most tired we’d ever been after the show, partly because of the altitude and partly from having been on the piss for 5 days, but being typical musos Lumpy, Wayne (bass) and me went out to a bar after the show rather than doing the sensible thing and going back to the hotel for a kip.
The return journey was quite arduous as the connecting flight from Miami to London was delayed so we hung round the airport bar for about 5 hours and were pretty out of it by the time we caught the London flight.

A day later we were back in the UK playing some small club gigs up north, business as usual!

Beki Bondage

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Bands That Changed a life – The Wedding Present

Bands That Changed A Life – The Wedding Present

TWPGeorgeBest

“TWPGeorgeBest” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TWPGeorgeBest.jpg#/media/File:TWPGeorgeBest.jpg

I’ve started this three times and never seem to get past the first Wedding present album, George Best. it’s just a classic and it captures a wonderful time for me.

This series is a celebration of bands that have had a profound impact on me and no doubt the Weddoes are one of these. My initial contact was through the old fashioned letters and postcards way. It was 1987, I had just started getting used to not having to give all my money over to my parents and was sending away for fanzines, reading music papers and buying records in Dublins independent record shops. I took a day trip by Ferry to Liverpool to go to probe records and one of the snags I took home was George Best.

The cover of that record became iconic for me. Simplistic, it featured a picture of the footballer George Best and the name of the band in white on a green background. Simplistic but exciting. George Best was the sort of footballer that football fans loved. He didn’t always play by the rules and wanted to have a good time but he always had flair. In a sense you could say he was a punk footballer without the politics, anti establishment and never one to do something he didn’t want. Putting him on your album sleeve was captivating.

Of course there was the music. Guitars jangling for ever with a trebley sound that never quite got to screeching but sure did wail. Backed by a solid bass and drums and Gedge’s voice, musch like George best, in its own world. The songs weren’t about fighting a system that oppressed, they were love songs. Songs that ordinary people could relate to. I quoted “What did your last servant die of” somany times, whispered it under my breath as I struggled with the concept of work. I never considered them to be love songs, those types of tunes were for people in pop bands, clammering for stardom. These were tales of everday life and relationships formed theis for many. They were the ying to the redskins yang of creating a better way of living.

They came to Dublin and I proudly wore my three balloons badge, no need for a band name. Their McGonagles gig in 1988 stands out as a guitar fuelled blitz in my memory. I travelled to London to see them and remember ringing up David Gedge asking where I would get a ticket. He had sent me a postcard previously and I viewed this act of kindness as an invitation. I didn’t think he probably does this for everyone not expecting them to ring. Well I did and will never forget how accommodating he was. Amazingly he was equally magnanamous when I called back asking could my frined come to.

pete weddoes

But that’s the sort of band they were and still are. No pretence. Soon after we travelled different roads. RCA records got hold of the band and, although I sill listened to the songs, I had made a decision to support those bands on a different journey. My music was one of diy and independent labels, that was my community. Of course people can sme and go into this community and David Gedge is back. Playing some gigs with Wedding Present and also in Cinerama those guitars are still jangling and the pretence is still miles away.

gedge weddoes

Get the latest info on the band here

 

niallhope

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