Wednesday, June 30, 2010

CANCER BATS: BEARS, MAYORS, SCRAPS & BONES



Cancer Bats
Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones
Distort

I saw Cancer Bats live at the Forum in Tunbridge Wells. They were intense. Brutal. Explosive. They turned that tiny, ex-public toilet stage into a miniature performance space for ants – it would have to have been at least three times bigger! So here they are in 2010, unleashing their third wave of dark, cynical, punk-rock fury. But, perhaps even Cancer Bats have seen the light at the end of the tunnel, showing off a sense of humour and a dash of hope with “Black Metal Bicycle.”

“Some people call me a nihilist, say I don’t believe in a thing. I know that can’t be true, ‘cos baby I believe in you.”

I love Liam Cormier’s voice. There’s nothing stereotypically “hardcore” about it. Instead, he alternates from angry-as-fuck metal screams, to hopeless Kurt Cobain growls and hard-hitting punk-rock fits of fury. And the best part is you can always hear what the dude’s singing, which gives his throat-squelching extra punch – because his lyrics are as intense and passionate as his delivery.

“My mother raised me as best as she could but I know I am my father’s son.” Some vocalists, everything they sing sounds made up. Unbelievable. An amalgam of TV shows, movies, other songs and stories they heard or read about – what you’re supposed to sing for that specific genre. Not Cancer Bats. Every song’s an experience. They’re knee-deep in this shit.

Burly, pitch-squealing guitarist Scott Middleton’s 100% rock ‘n roll. His riffs are like claws, bone crunching and neat to an almost obsessive-compulsive degree. The dude runs a tight ship, every second of every song sounds as well-composed, well-thought out and lung-rupturing as the second before – during the recording, I can imagine him losing sleep over his tone, an out of place chord or a riff he’s not digging.

There’s an unrelenting urgency to Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones – it’s heavy! Drummer Mark Peters makes sure that the action’s non-stop. And the combination of flavours – Cormier, Middleton, Peters and bassist Jaye Schwarzer – is intoxicatingly sobering. It's like being submerged. The songs are short, to the point and packed with added replay value. And their brutal assault on Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” is a trip.

Cancer Bats on MySpace
Official website
Order Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones from Amazon.com
Distort Records

OFF WITH THEIR HEADS: IN DESOLATION



Off With Their Heads

In Desolation
Epitaph Records

Man, somebody give Ryan Young a hug quick before he shoots himself in the face. That’s one sad dude. In Desolation - Off With Their Heads’ first release on Epitaph - is an album dedicated to realising your own mortality. And I can relate to every cigarette-stained word. It’s about not being able to sleep through the night and not wanting to get out of bed in the morning. It’s about over-indulging and then panicking ‘cos you’re sure you’re gonna die. It’s about shutting your windows and giving up on the world - and then wondering why no one calls. It’s about regret, disappointment and that special girl that got away.

“I just hope I live long enough to be able to see you again. I hope I don’t have to suffer the night without you at the end.”

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix a goddamn thing. That’s Off With Their Heads’ approach to songwriting. ‘Cos mostly, In Desolation sounds like the second half of From the Bottom (2008): buzzsaw, Ramones-inspired riffs, driving, punk-rock bass lines and Young’s gravelly, depressed-and-fucking-pissed-off-about-it melodies. The guy’s got so much heart on his sleeve there’s not much room for anything else. Every line’s like punk-rock therapy, gut-punchingly honest and vulnerable.

“I just want you to know that I think about you all the time. You’re always on my mind. I would never let anyone hurt you with me by your side. You’re safe as long as I’m alive.”

“My Episodes” is a guitar-only ballad ditty that seems to drag and wind the album down to a slow-burning halt. Until album-standout “Clear the Air” crops up and steals the show. It’s no surprise that the music reeks of Dear Landlord (guitarist Zack Gontard sings and plays guitar for ‘em). And the catchy, pop-punk sound works perfectly with Young’s gruff, bear-with-a-thorn-in-his-foot vocals.

“The face that you see from the morning to night is the mask that I put on to hide what’s inside. I don’t take it off until you fall asleep. I don’t want you to see what lives inside of me.”

The more you listen, the more it seems to grow on you. Lyrically, In Desolation reads like every jaded punk rocker’s new National Anthem. The music’s a perfect blend of catchy, Dillinger Four style melodic punk-rock and Young’s unique, dominating take on heartfelt confessionals. It’s rough around the edges, squishy in the middle, rugged punk-rock that sounds better the louder you blast it. And despite the downer lyrics, somehow, it’s all pretty uplifting.

Order In Desolation from Amazon.com
Off With Their Heads on MySpace
Epitaph.com

WORLD CUP INK: COS BEING FAMOUS DOESN'T MEAN GOOD TASTE

These days, you're no one in world football unless you've been inked - just ask David Beckham. Watching the World Cup, it's pretty interesting to see how many players are seriously into their tattoos (and not just Roman numerals, Chinese symbols and tribal designs - well, not entirely... Okay, mostly). Here's a look at some of the better photos of tattooed World Cup 2010 players (not necessarily tattoos) I found lying around the Net. Click on the images to enlarge them (a little - hey, I didn't take 'em)...

Kevin-Prince Boateng: Ghana, Portsmouth





Fernando Torres:
Spain, Liverpool





Maradona:
Argentina (manager)





Djibril Cissé: France, Panathanikos





Tim Howard: USA, Everton



Raúl José Trindade Meireles: Portugal, F.C. Porto





Wayne Rooney:
England, Man United




Tim Cahill: Australia, Everton



Clint Dempsey: USA, Fulham



David Beckham: England (who knows?), Los Angeles Galaxy/AC Milan




Tuesday, June 29, 2010

PEACH VAN PLETZEN: THE GIANT PEACH



I keep fishing for that Roald Dahl reference but, so far, multi-collaborating Pretoria muso and producer Peach van Pletzen won’t comply. Francois and the Giant Peach? Nah... First, Peach made a name for himself playing drums for alternative Pretoria rock band SHU. Lately, he’s all over the place, from producing the new Kidofdoom and Van Coke Kartel albums, to working with Francois van Coke on Oorlog Frankenstein and the play 2-21, and touring the country (and Argentina and Poland) as Yesterday’s Pupil.

Have you always lived in Pretoria?

Peach: Pretty much, for the last 23 years.

Growing up, did you travel around a lot?

Not in terms of living. Pretoria’s always been my base. We used to go to Cape Town, Hermanus, Durban, Margate… But now it’s at a fairly ridiculous point, since the music thing took off.

Click
here to read the full interview on Mahala.co.za.
YesterdaysPupil.co.za



DEATH VALLEY BLUES BAND, CAR BOOT VENDORS




Check out more here (Flickr). And even more here (Dude Photography on Facebook).

The Death Valley Blues Band on MySpace
Car Boot Vendors on MySpace

THE PARLOTONES: LIVE DESIGN



The Parlotones
Live Design
Sovereign

I still remember the look on my girlfriend's mum's face when she saw the music video for "Push Me To the Floor". It was a crushed, "why-did-they-make-such-an-odd-video-for-such-a-pretty-song" sort of look.

They're middle of the road, their fans are middle-aged radio listeners that like tapping their fingers on the wheel when they drive home and their music's used in Pick 'n Pay ads. But they're not wearing Prime Circle leather jackets and sunglasses on their heads. There's a camp, cabaret weirdness beneath the surface. The problem is, every song sounds like they’re trying to sell me something.

Click
here to read the full review on Channel24.co.za.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

PAROW TO PAARL (AND BEYOND)



Shows:


1 July, Melkweg, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2 July, Effenaar, Eindhoven, Netherlands
3 July, Tivoli, Utrecht, Netherlands
4 July, Rotterdam Metropolis Festival, Netherlands
5 July, Bitterzoet, Amsterdam, Netherlands (with Die Heuwels Fantasties)
8 July, Clapham Grand, London (with Die Heuwels Fantasties)
20 August, Pukkelpop Festival, Hasselt, Belgium
21 August, Lowlands Festival, Biddinghuizen, Netherlands

Jack Parow on MySpace
Jack Parow on Facebook

ADIDAS & DAFT PUNK: THE CANTINA ON MOS EISLEY. NIKE FOOTBALL WRITES THE FUTURE

To back up their recent Star Wars range, Adidas have teamed up with Daft Punk, LucasArts (and Snoop Dogg, and David Beckham, and Franz Beckenbauer, and Ian Brown, and Noel Gallagher - basically, everyone not in Nike's back pocket) to re-imagine the Cantina on Mos Eisley, this time full of stars watching World Cup 2010. Check it out.



And just for shits and giggles, here's the full length version of that Nike Football - Write the Future ad that's been playing in snippets between games this World Cup. Pretty damn cool as well...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

DIE ANTWOORD & LOCNVILLE MAAK DIE JOL VOL




June 19, Wavehouse, Gateway


I can't believe how much Pussy there was at Gateway on Saturday night. Red Bull's got a serious new contender to the Jäger bomb since the arrival of Pussy Natural Energy Drink – Pussy bomb just rolls off the tongue so much better, doesn’t it?

Inside Wavehouse, the crowd was a sea of 15-year-old girls in stockings, boots and fake leather jackets, like a teenage version of FTV. The guys wore thick neck chains and Volcom shirts: first timers. One asked for a sip of Cream Soda and to get him to stop spitting in my face I obliged. "That’s the best cane and Cream Soda I’ve ever had," he said. Rookie....

Click here for the full story on Speakerbox.co.za

Links:

DieAntwoord.com
Locnville on MySpace
GoldfishLive.com





Sunday, June 20, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

JACK PAROW, BABY: UBER COOL IN DURBAN



Niskerone, Spitmunky, Jack Parow
Uber Cool Events: Origin Nightclub, June 15 2010 (Durban)

I push my way through an army of hot blondes in stockings and cowboy boots. I pass a group of goofy rich guys in designer shirts and pointy crocodile skin shoes ordering Pussy Juice at the bar. Everyone I know bailed – "A hundred Rand?" "Tuesday night!" Doesn’t matter. Tonight's the furthest I’ve ever had to park up Clark Road. Not even Fokofpolisiekar drew a crowd like this. "Jack Parow, baby."

Click here to read the full story (Speakerbox.co.za)
Click here for a full photo gallery (Speakerbox.co.za)

Links:

Jack Parow on MySpace
Spitmunky on Facebook
Niskerone on MySpace

MK UNPLUGGED: BEST OF









Check out the rest on
kanaalMK

HITLER HEARS THE VUVUZELAS

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

PAROW AND HEUWELS FANTASTIES HIT LONDON & AMSTERDAM


© Sean Metelerkamp

Jack Parow and Die Heuwels Fantasties are hitting London and Amsterdam for a two night only toking holiday this July. The first show's at Bitterzoet, Amsterdam on July 5. And the second show, organised by SA Promo Magazine, is at Clapham Grand, London on July 8 - wonder if any legit Londoners will catch the show.

Both events on Facebook:

London
Amsterdam


Links:


DieHeuwels.co.za
Die Heuwels Fantasties on MySpace
Jack Parow on MySpace
ThePresident.co.za



BOOSH LIVE: FUTURE SAILORS TOUR



Boosh Live: Future Sailors Tour
Universal

Where do you start? How do you even begin to sum up the over-the-top, surreal, crazy, handmade comedy madness that is Boosh Live: Future Sailors? I guess Tony Harrison said it best, "This is an outrage!"

Noel Fielding, Julian Barratt and the rest of the Boosh crew (including the Boosh Band) toured the Future Sailors show non-stop through England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales from August 2008 'til January 2009. The DVD version was recorded at the Manchester Apollo in December 2008. And from start to finish, it's a cheeky, live action, two-hour-and-seven-minutes episode of The Mighty Boosh.

Act I kicks off with Vince Noir (Fielding) and Howard Moon (Barratt) as electronic castaways, digital stowaways, sailing through time on a mighty ship and a cheap inflatable dingy respectively:

"We're future sailors.
We're future sailors. We're sailors from the future. It's quite a simple concept."

Fielding and Barratt take a while to settle into their rhythm - Barratt seems to self-consciously and obsessively yank his shorter-than-necessary shirt down over his slightly-larger-than-usual belly after every gag. But once they get going, it's full sail ahead on the electrical high seas.



If you're a fan of the show and you've never seen it done live, it's quite something. Everyone's so witty and quick on their feet (except maybe Naboo) that bloopers, spur-of-the-moment thoughts and even the audience itself become part of the performance. And when they finally pull back the curtain, the stage designs (and costumes) are amazing. A perfect blend of high-tech, big budget design and that trademark, handmade Boosh flavour (see Noel Fielding standing in a hollowed out chair as Tony Harrison).

The Boosh Band - made up of Dave Westlake on drums, Bollo (Dave Brown) on percussion and shredding bassist "Reg" - keep the musical numbers "chip, chip, chipping away." But I couldn't believe what a good lead guitarist Barratt is. Shit... Apparently, he's been in all kinds of bands and composes all the music for the show. Fielding's contribution (besides acting and singing) is the look: the costumes, the stage and set designs, the hand-scribbled animations, cartoons like Charlie Bubblegum and Old Greg and, of course, the hairdo.



Act II revolves around a "very serious play" called No Future, written by Howard Moon about the end of the world. Moon's vision is a dark, dramatic and serious tale of the end of life itself. But it doesn't take long for Vince to hijack the play as new half-Chav, half-Chinese (Chavese) character Sunflash, blackmailing Moon to play along with some old jazz-porn photographs Moon posed for in his youth.

Overall, Future Sailors is an energetic, entertaining and somewhat enlightening celebration of the Boosh Universe. All your favourite characters are involved: Crack Fox, Old Greg, The Hitcher, The Moon - who appears courtesy of a white screen above the stage. The costumes are perfect, the Boosh Band's rocking and the jokes (and crimps) seem more immediate and even funnier than usual, often mashed into a hybrid of gags from three seasons of Boosh. The sheer inventiveness and ingenuity to pull this shit off live is... well, "It's an outrage!"

The Special and Limited Edition versions include a bonus disc of backstage clips and scenes from Journey of the Childmen (a soon to be released new documentary of the tour).

Links:

Order Boosh Live: Future Sailors Tour from Amazon.co.uk
TheMightyBoosh.com
Mighty Boosh fan site


NEON ANGEL: A MEMOIR OF A RUNAWAY



Neon Angel: A Memoir of A Runaway
By Cherie Currie and Tony O'neill
It Books

It's pretty fucked up that the first female rock bio I read involves sexual abuse, rape and torture. Usually, it's the famous rockstar abusing the hot, young (and often willing) groupie - and then it's always with a humorous comc twist and non-threatening, laddish tone. But by the time she was 17, Cherie Currie, teenage vocalist for legendary all girl punk rockers The Runaways, had been raped twice, tortured and beaten to within an inch of her life. Just the world we live in, I guess.

Not a lot of people know the story of Cherie Currie. Her rock career seemed to happen in the blink of a neon, coke-crusted eye. One minute she's discovered by abusive manager Kim Fowley and Runaways guitarist Joan Jett at the Sugar Shack, North Hollywood in 1975 (aged 15). The next she's smoking crack cocaine, losing clumps of hair and trying to hold a failing acting career together.

Cherie Currie was only in The Runaways for two years. But man, she crammed a lot of living into those 730 days, reaching as far as Japan and as low as forced sex with an unnamed teen hearthrob (aged 16 and on her period).

I haven't seen the film yet but based on its tween cast (Dakota Fanning as Currie, Kristen Stewart as Jett) and low age restriction, I can't see it recreating scenes like manager Kim Fowley raping a drugged teenage hanger-on in a motel room and forcing the band to watch. Or as he put it, "teaching his dogs how to fuck." And I'll bet it doesn't really dwell on the "experimental" bi-curious relationship that developed between Jett and Currie.

Reading Currie's story, it's quite shocking how far we've come in terms of what's "PC" and acceptable. Can you imagine a 16 year old singer wearing fishnet stockings and a corset, drug binging and having sex with famous Hollywood celebrities? Remember the public fallout when Miley Cyrus uploaded photos of herself in her underwear on her MySpace profile? Even FHM had to wait 'til Hayden Panettiere was 18.

Neon Angel's a quick read but it's hard-hitting and difficult to put down. Currie was pushed and abused from all sides - family, friends, bandmates, manager - but she never gave up. She cast her demons aside and now, get this, she's one of the world's leading chainsaw artists. All hail the Cherry Bomb. Respect.

Links:

Order Neon Angel from Amazon.com
CherieCurrie.com
TheRunaways.com