Buzzbombs – 12 rad new tunes on tap

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Uranium Club – ‘Who Made the Man’ – Static Shock

Minneapolis-based punkers Uranium Club are in the UK this weekend to play the Static Shock Festival in London, not one to miss. These guys have an addictive, garage rock strut that is utterly infectious. Check out their ‘Human Exploration’ album out on Static Shock Records, and this, their new single ‘Who Made The Man’.

Flasher – s/t – Sister Polygon

Hailing from Washington D.C, Flasher’s lo-fi post-punk squall sounds like all your favourite bands bungled into one in the best possible way. The momentum of Moore & Ranaldo, Kim Deal’s thunderous tones, they’re all here. Stream their debut self-titled EP now and pray for UK shows.

GANG – ‘Dead’ – Ra-Ra Rok

Since we first met Brighton’s DIY trio GANG last year they’ve remained our absolute fav’s. The tangle of fuzz, sludge and psychedelic dirge they create is akin to no other. New single ‘Dead’ comes inspired by the grim epiphany that we are all, in fact, dying right now. And to match, their new video takes these grave themes to Wicker Man-levels of creepy. Grab the new single from Ra-Ra Rok as of November 25th and catch them gigging with WAND this weekend.

Wovoka Gentle – ‘All Exterior Dark’ – Yucatan Records

Wovoka Gentle’s new EP Red is nothing short of enchanting. Recalling the more poignant moments of Animal Collective or even Alt-J’s debut album, it’s a wonderful journey through atmospheric electronic realms that gently grips and entices. ‘All Exterior Dark’ is the perfect introduction.

Our Girl – ‘No Big Deal’ – Cannibal Hymns

Our Girl are leaving audiences in London and Brighton stunned with their dynamic and powerful live shows. A three-piece capable of jumping from whisper to wall-of-sound in an instant, their debut EP Normally is a triumph in song writing. Pick one up from Cannibal Hymns as of November 18th and listen to ‘No Big Deal’ right now. Then listen to it again!

Purling Hiss – ‘Follow You Around’ – Drag City

Yet again, Mike Polizze has delivered an absolute lesson in crafting the kind of subtle ear worms that plague your mind for days afterwards. The new Purling Hiss album High Bias is garage rock distilled. Jump from the towering riffs of ‘3000 AD’ into the thrashing ‘Notion Sickness’, and ride off into the sunset on ‘Follow You Around’. Out now on Drag City, you know what to do – http://www.dragcity.com/products/high-bias.

Run The Jewels – ‘Talk To Me’

Why does this new tune stop at 2.46? I wanted it to roll forever. New RTJ 3 incoming. Nothing more to add than go smash your room up.

Vanishing Life – ‘Thinking Is Weightless’ – (Dine Alone Records)

Whether you like the term ‘super group’ or not, you’d be foolish to ignore Vanishing Life with the pedigree of hardcore experience in the ranks. Walter from Quicksand and Gorilla Biscuits has temed up with members of Trail of Dead, Bad Religion and Rise Against for an album that blows most current rock bands out of the water.

Code Orange – ‘Forever’ – Roadrunner

Things can only get heavier. And this week the words ‘new Code Orange’ cement that statement true and clear. Forthcoming Roadrunner LP Forever was joint-produced by Will Yip and Kurt Ballou – need we say more? This album is going to be utterly crushing.

Concealed Blade – Demo – S/R

Concealed Blade are an American hardcore band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania whose 2015 demo found its way into our ears this week and totally ripped them off. This is as raw and raging as anything that emerged from the golden age of early 80s USHC and essential listening. If you like that kind of thing of course.

Marching Church – ‘Lions Den’ – Sacred Bones

Marching Church twist and contort their post-punk heritage into something that sounds both fresh and retrospective. Swaying, swaggering and sensual, ‘Lion’s Den’s woozy atmospherics tap straight into that golden zone of being flawlessly tight and on the brink of collapse all at once. You’d be mad to pass on their upcoming gigs this month.

Shame – ‘The Lick’ – s/r

Shame have spent the past year establishing themselves as an unstoppable live band. And the fact that the five-piece have booked THREE different shows in ONE night to launch their new single is testament to that. ‘The Lick’ arrives angry, energised and doused in the spittle of Mark E. Smith. See them live in Soho, Hoxton & Peckham on December 8th for three consecutive sets of what promise to be utter carnage.

Reviewed: Download Festival 2016

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Download Festival 2016, Donington Park, 10th-12th June 2016

Words: Alex Gosman
Photo credits to: Ben Gibson, Jen O’Neil, Ross Silcocks, Matt Eachus & Derek Bremmer for Download 2016

Damn, that was a fun three days, despite some traditional British weather making an unwelcome guest appearance! Yep, Donington Park’s annual rock and metal bash recently celebrated its 14th birthday, and Crossfire was there to soak it all up (the music, that is). Here’s how things went down…

FRIDAY

ROYAL REPUBLIC singer/guitarist Adam Grahn’s confidence borders on cockiness, but that’s forgivable for a band armed with songs as good as ‘Make Love Not War’. Whether dispensing between love-life advice, or leading the crowd through a stomp-tastic rendition of ‘Full Steam Space Machine’, the Swedes provide an entertaining and explosive start to Download 2016.

It doesn’t take long for the heavens to open, to the annoyance of most – but not all – people here. “Thanks to the rain for bringing you all in here, and to Babymetal for being a novelty act, so no-one wants to watch them!” declares HECK frontman Jonny to a packed Maverick Stage tent. Who’d be Heck’s manager? Clearly unafraid of ruffling a few feathers, the guitarists spend most of the set either in or on top of the moshpit, to the soundtrack of possibly the finest twisted hardcore attack this side of Converge. Amazing.

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Back on the main stage, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE are delighted to be back at Donington, and have little trouble whipping up one of the weekend’s gnarliest pits. Guitarist Adam D is still the foul-mouthed court jester of metalcore, and although a couple of cuts from recent LP ‘Incarnate’ sound great, it’s a triple whammy of ‘My Last Serenade’, ‘Rose Of Sharyn’ and ‘The End Of Heartache’ that hits home the hardest.

“We’ve been told not to incite any moshpits…so no moshing!” cackles HAVOK vocalist David Sanchez, a man who speaks rather like Steven Tyler on amphetamines. Amusing, yes, but he and his band are seriously good at injecting fresh vitality into tried-and-tested thrash sounds, and the likes of ‘Living Nightmare’ are greeted with the kind of frenzied circle pits they deserve.

MOTORHEAD were due to play third from top on the main stage, which has been renamed the Lemmy Stage after Mr Kilmister’s sad passing at the end of last year. Rumour had it that some of his old friends and bandmates would get together at Download to jam through a few ‘Head classics, but the reality is far less exciting – nothing more than the stage-side video screens showing some old Motorhead festival performance videos, interspersed with some interview clips, mainly from the ‘Lemmy’ movie. Better than nothing, admittedly, but you can’t help but feel that both we and he deserved more.

Thankfully, THE WILDHEARTS are here to provide some (not quite so) old-school rock n’ roll thrills. The rain appears to have let up, but much to Ginger’s delight, the Maverick Stage tent remains packed, and that’s understandable when classics like ‘Nita Nitro’ and ‘Everlone’ sparkle as brightly as they ever have.

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And so it’s back to the Lemmy Stage for RAMMSTEIN, the first of this weekend’s headliners. The German industrial metal titans steal the show with almost frightening ease; be it vocalist Till Lindemann’s Charlie Chaplin-esque entrance, the onslaught of pyrotechnics during a thunderous ‘Du Hast’, or a surprisingly effective (and affecting) semi-acoustic rendition of ‘Ohne Dich’, this is about as great a marriage of song and spectacle as you could hope to witness at Download. It’s a bit of a shame that they’ve toned down the more, shall we say, homoerotic elements of the stage show, but they sound magnificent throughout, and as we head back to the campsites, no-one’s complaining.

SATURDAY

Saturday starts much as Friday ended – theatrically. Swedes AVATAR are dressed like The Joker’s unholy marching band, and easily win over the curious with some genuine anthems in ‘The Eagle Has Landed’, and closer ‘Smells Like A Freakshow’. Over at the Encore Stage, all five members of SANTA CRUZ look like the lovechildren of Michael Monroe, and remain as gloriously in thrall to 1980’s Sunset Strip glam rock as ever. “Who wants to fuck tonight?” screeches vocalist Archie Kuosmanen, a man whose spirits have not been dampened one iota by the rain. Sounds like fun, dude!

It isn’t until TURBOWOLF take the stage, however, that our day truly kicks into gear. The Bristol crew may be buried halfway down the Maverick Stage bill, but they play with all the confidence and swagger of main stage headliners. Chris Georgiadis is a true master of ceremonies, leading his band through gems like ‘Rabbit’s Foot’ and ‘Solid Gold’ with no little panache, and as the tent fills up, you can’t help but feel this should be the start of something big.

Over to the Dogtooth Stage now, to see what the musical yoof are up to. MILK TEETH don’t waste a second of their painfully short slot, getting the whole tent bouncing like it’s 1992 with fuzzed up grunge-pop gems like ‘Vitamins’. DEAD! have something of an identity crisis going on, hopping from power-pop to hardcore to funk-punk (plus various points in between), but deliver it all in a gleefully snotty, carefree way.

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MEGADETH’s set, like their recent ‘Dystopia’ album, sees Dave Mustaine and co back to their snarling best. Predictably, recent cuts like ‘Post American World’ go down almost as well as classics like ‘Peace Sells…’, but there’s an extra surprise in store; namely, the appearance of Nikki Sixx for a (admittedly ramshackle) cover of the Sex Pistols ‘Anarchy In The UK’. “Hell has frozen over!” declares a grinning Dave.

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The rain has started again, but the thrash party doesn’t stop – it merely squeezes itself into the Dogtooth Stage tent for MUNICIPAL WASTE’s first UK show in four years. The band sound like they’re channeling a new-found hunger as they rip through what seems like 50 songs in 40 minutes, and their irreverent sense of humour remains intact, with ‘I Want To Kill The President’ reworked as ‘I Want To Kill Donald Trump’. Oh, and they deservedly get the circle pit of the weekend.

As annoying as the rain can be, it seems appropriate enough for BLACK SABBATH’s final UK festival show, and it lends their opening self-titled anthem that certain extra gravitas. Considering all the mockery directed at Ozzy Osbourne during (and since) that awful reality show, he truly seems in his element tonight, doing what he does best with a gigantic crowd firmly on his side. Sure, he’s a little off-key for the first few songs, but that matters little when Tony Iommi’s riffs sound ten times as imposing as they do on record. Wisely sticking to the classic early stuff, Sabbath barely put a foot wrong tonight, and the sound of thousands of voices singing along to the likes of ‘Iron Man’ and ‘NIB’ will surely linger long in the memory.

“Let me here you shout ‘One more song’!” cries Ozzy, following the penultimate ‘Children Of The Grave’, and the place goes utterly nuts as the band launch into ‘Paranoid’. There’s a certain sadness to knowing we’ll never see them here again, but also a sense of pride in seeing the gods of British metal conquer a festival that probably would not exist, had it not been for their pioneering early 70s work. Gentlemen, as you sail off into the sunset, we salute you.

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SUNDAY

MONSTER TRUCK and their riffs seem like they’d work better at a Deep South chili cook-off, but they still sound pretty good in a mud-soaked East Midlands field. Sleepy heads nod respectfully as we all wonder how bare-chested guitarist Jeremy Widerman can be so perky at this ungodly hour.

AMON AMARTH give this weekend’s main stage headliners a real run for their money in terms of stage show. Armed with two huge dragon’s head props that regularly spew smoke, along with a decent helping of pyro, they stomp their way through ace Viking metal anthems like ‘Raise Your Horns’ like a true band of the people. Magnificent, and deserving of a far higher slot next time around.

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WITCHSORROW play quality doom metal, and for half an hour, they turn the Dogtooth Stage tent into their own dark church, full of baying acolytes whose appetite for monolithic riffs was clearly not completely sated by Sabbath. The band sound great, and have surely converted a few more to their cause. We wander out for a while, and catch the last couple of DELAIN songs; Dutch symphonic metal that proves oddly catchy, even as the weather continues its onslaught.

There isn’t a single dull moment during FRANK CARTER AND THE RATTLESNAKES’ set, with no little credit due to the man himself. Whether singing atop the crowd (or in the middle of it, for a poignant ‘Beautiful Death’), telling stories of past circle-pit injuries, or getting the power cut for inciting a wall of death, he’s the perfect frontman for the Rattlesnakes’ fury-fuelled anthems. ‘Juggernaut’, in particular, sounds utterly unstoppable today, and the sing-along to the closing ‘I Hate You’ could make Maiden blush.

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ELECTRIC WIZARD boast some of the best non-Iommi riffs of the weekend, and hone them ever further during their monstrously slow and heavy set. They also get bonus points for drowning out the sound of Disturbed frontman David Draiman croaking and hacking away on the main stage. Now there’s a man who needs more fibre in his diet.

The day is drawing to a close, but BILLY TALENT aren’t about to let us slack off. “I know you want to go home, get in the bath, jerk off and watch Game Of Thrones – so do I!” Thank you, Ben Kowalewicz, for arguably the quote of the weekend. And thanks also to your band for firing on all cylinders – ripping through the likes of ‘Red Flag’ and ‘Fallen Leaves’ like the punk rock warriors you are – despite having more than enough great tunes for a perfunctory ‘Greatest Hits’ walk-through.

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The Main Stage crowd rise en masse from their soggy camping chairs as UFO’s ‘Doctor Doctor’ booms out from the PA – a sure sign that IRON MAIDEN are about to kick off. To a degree, your enjoyment of tonight’s set depends on how familiar you are with Maiden’s recent ‘The Book Of Souls’ album, although the affecting, Robin Williams-inspired ‘Tears Of A Clown’ impresses old and new fans alike. Bruce is in fine form (if we had a shot of whiskey every time he shouts “Scream for me, Donington!”, we’d never make it back home alive), and there’s a veritable feast for the eyes, too – with various props from the ‘Powerslave’ era wheeled out, along with all manner of Eddie-related antics.

The second half of the show sees an onslaught of hits; ‘The Trooper’, ‘The Number Of The Beast’ and a closing ‘Wasted Years’ all received like old friends by a crowd that’s exhausted but damned if they’re gonna fold before Download 2016 does. Semi-regulars on the festival circuit they may be, but Iron Maiden still create a sense of occasion whenever and wherever they play, and tonight they close proceedings in fine style.

Overall? Download Festival 1, weather gods 0 (but, y’know, full marks for trying). Here’s to 2017, whatever it may bring…

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Buzzbombs – The Hangover Sessions

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So much Valium has gone down my throat since busting my arm recently skating that everything became a bit of a blur, in-between the constant turning of 12″ and 7″ records. This playlist represents the comedown and the new life that has blossomed since the process of healing. Roll a fat one and enjoy some new chillers that have managed to catch our attention in the last few weeks.

Andy Shauf – The Magician – (Anti)

This beautiful track from Canadian artist Andy Shauf aroused Winston Hacking so much that he and his team made this entire video by hand. It’s a damn fine master piece served at a perfect temperature with mushrooms and ice cream. – Zac

The Claypool Lennon Delirium – Cricket and the Genie – (ATO)

The son of a legendary Beatle and the mastermind behind Primus (who left their mark on some of the best 80s skateboard videos). It’s an unlikely combination on paper but pure perfection in reality. This is just one earworm from their new album that is a must have. That flute solo… – Zac

JC Flowers – Ym Mhorthcawl – (ATP Recordings)

London’s daily grind doesn’t seem to bother JC Flowers as they wisp through the underground with their hangover friendly pop steez. If you want more, look up their Driving Excitement and the Pleasure of Ownership album. – Zac

Savoy Motel – Souvenir Shop Rock – (What’s Your Rupture?)

Shake that bum of yours as it’s the best thing you can do in your life. Sounding like it was written in 1975, this relatively new Nashville posse sure know how to get down. – Zac

Sugar Candy Mountain – “666” – (People In A Position To Know)

If you’ve ever visited Joshua Tree then you will know that its inhabitants are toking on on some damn fine fresh air. Check your friend’s scalp for the 666 mark after listening to this dreamy little pop number. – Zac

The Magic Gang – Walk On By – (SR)

Burt Bacharach’s amazing Walk On By single has been covered by so many artists since Dionne Warwick’s version of it was released in 1964. Brighton’s upcoming house party specialists join The Stranglers, Cyndi Lauper and handfuls more in giving this classic a magic touch. – Zac

Julia Holter – Sea Calls Me Home – (Domino Records)

There’s something so satisfying about this track that it just had to be included. It may have come out last September but was included in the 6Music feature on artists that were inspired by the Beach Boys and it stood out like a sore thumb. Beautiful work from Julia Holter lifted from her Have You In My Wilderness album. Scout it out. – Zac

Heron Oblivion – Your Hollows – (Sub Pop)

Sublime folk rock from San Francisco. Meg Baird’s gorgeous ethereal vocals provide a perfect contrast to ex-Comets On Fire guitarists Ethan Miller and Noel Von Harmonson’s Neil Young/Crazy horse over-driven guitar fuzz. The sound of Haight-Ashbury 60s hippy boom colliding head on with 2016 fuzz rock. Out of this world. – James Sherry

Wire – Pilgrim Trade – (Pinkflag)

Despite being born out of the fast and furious UK punk explosion of the late 70s, Wire in 2016 do mellow just as well as they do intense. ‘Pilgrim Trade’ is from their latest album Nocturnal Koreans and sees frontman Colin Newman’s dry vocals floating over a bed of warm, fuzzy guitars and lethargic drums. – James Sherry

Kikagaku Moyo – Melted Crystal – Guruguru Brain Records

Put away that fuzz box and pick up the peace pipe, for this far-eastern psychedelic gem will melt your mind good and slow, just the way it should be. Their fantastic new album’s called House In The Tall Grass, put it on loop and fade away. – Dave Palmer

Plaid – Do Matter – (Warp)

The video to Plaid’s latest alone is enough to chill you right out, but turn up the volume knob and you’ll hear the kind of cinematic, moody and minimalistic soundscapes that ring delightfully familiar bells. – Dave Palmer

Adolescent – Mutter – (Girl Records)

London producer Adolescent’s new EP is a paradox of emotions. Delicate but immensely powerful, it plunges from gnarled beats to beautiful cello and piano passages at will. A work said to be inspired by experiences whilst taking anti-epilepsy medication, this track is a whole mood swing in itself. Watch the accompanying short film below and you’ll be left thoughtful, contemplative, but ultimately wanting more. – Dave Palmer

10 BANDS TO SEE AT DOWNLOAD 2016

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Yes, it’s nearly that time of the year again; when, for three days, Donington Park gets very, VERY loud! Crossfire will be there, and assuming that we once again survive a weekend of consuming half our body weight in beer and crisps, we’ll post a review afterwards. You’re probably already salivating at the thought of seeing big guns like Rammstein and Iron Maiden, not to mention what looks to be the final UK performance from metal gods Black Sabbath, but how about the lesser-known bands on the bill? Here’s our guide to some of the best.

1. ROYAL REPUBLIC (Lemmy Stage, Friday)

Now that Motorhead are – for sadly obvious reasons – no longer on the bill, who’s gonna bring the rock n’ roll swagger to Download 2016? Swedish quartet Royal Republic are armed with jagged, insistent garage rock riffs, earworm choruses and a delightfully deranged frontman in Adam Grahn. You’d be well advised to surrender, and let them shake you out of your warm lager-induced hangover.

2. FRANK CARTER AND THE RATTLESNAKES (3rd Stage, Sunday)

Last year’s ‘Blossom’ debut saw Frank Carter back to his furious best; imagine a British Queens Of The Stone Age with a hardcore edge and plenty of sarcastic wit. Given his (and his Rattlesnakes’) reputation for inciting crowd chaos with feral performances, this one should be unmissable.

3. HECK (3rd Stage, Friday)

Listening to these guys is the musical equivalent of having a nervous breakdown in the middle of a 20-man Shaolin Kung Fu battle royale – but much more fun, and only slightly less dangerous. They’re not afraid to get involved in their own moshpits, and their twisted hardcore attack should have fans of Converge, Gallows and Pulled Apart By Horses salivating with glee.

4. MUNCIE GIRLS (4th Stage, Sunday)

If Sunday morning sees you feeling rather the worse for wear, and not ready for yet another barrage of sledgehammer riffs, then go and check out Muncie Girls. In fact, go and check them out whatever your mental/physical state, because their gloriously melodic yet rough-edged punk rock tunes really deserve as many ears as possible.

5. TURBOWOLF (3rd Stage, Saturday)

This Bristol quartet is arguably one of the UK’s most inventive bands, mixing up hard rock, psychedelia, punk, and electronica in an unpredictable and brilliantly explosive way. Excellent second album ‘Two Hands’ was released last year; give it a spin, and be equally thrilled and revitalised.

6. THE MEN THAT WILL NOT BE BLAMED FOR NOTHING (Zippo Encore Stage, Saturday)

Every good festival needs a wild card of sorts, and it’s safe to say that Download hasn’t seen many bands like The Men That… before. Self-described as “putting the punk into steampunk”, if the likes of ‘The Gin Song’ don’t get you singing along with a stupid grin plastered across your face, then you are a po-faced bastard and we here at Crossfire are laughing at YOU.

7. HAVOK (4th Stage, Friday)

Sad that Slayer aren’t playing this year? Cheer up, because Colorado’s Havok are flying the flag for heads-down, no-nonsense thrash – and are doing a fine job of it. You know the deal, razor-sharp riffing, breakneck speed, circle pits… these guys deliver the goods.

8. MILK TEETH (4th Stage, Saturday)

More quality West Country punk rock, this time with an awesome melodic grunge twist that recalls Sonic Youth at their most direct. Are the guitarists trying to play their instruments or destroy them? Sometimes it’s hard to tell, but the band hold it all together brilliantly. Grow your hair out and get ready to fucking bounce.

9. PUPPY (3rd Stage, Friday)

Worst band name of the festival? Quite possibly, but it’s harder to argue with Puppy’s knack for languid, Weezer-esque pop-rock tunes. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself humming the likes of ‘Forever’ on your journey home.



10. BLACK FOXXES (4th Stage, Sunday)

Damn, is this the year of the South-West Takeover? Devon’s Black Foxxes play “ragged noise”, apparently, and there’s certainly no end of tortured screams and squalling guitars on the likes of ‘River’ and ‘Husk’. They also have a calmer, melancholic side, though, and it’s a combination which should endear them to fans of bands like Deftones and Brand New to no end.

Download 2016 runs from June 10th-12th at Donnington Park, Leicestershire. Check www.downloadfestival.co.uk for more info and tickets.

Alex Gosman

10 Life Lessons I learnt from the Wu-Tang Clan

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Back in 1997, the summer I turned 18, I was finishing school and I had no idea where I was heading. What I did know was that I loved Hip Hop and in particular the Wu-Tang Clan. The rap super group had just released their sophomore album ‘Wu-Tang Forever’ and it was a double disc extravaganza of stanzas that solidified their legend status and tore away any of the glitz and glamour that was rapidly infecting the culture. ‘Wu-Tang Forever’ dropped at exactly the right moment to shine a light for all the fans who were finding it hard to associate themselves with vinyl suits, blowing wads of cash on fizzy wine and sing-a-long hooks. RZA said it best as he closed off ‘Bells of war’ (Track 8, Disc 2) “Pick up the Wu-Tang double CD and you’ll get all the education you need this year”. So, what has the Wu-Tang Clan taught me? Here are 10 important life lessons from the Clan. – Ralph Lloyd-Davis

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The first lesson I learnt from studying Wu lyrics was the economic reality of living in a low budget environment. ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ is probably the most infamous track off their debut album ‘Enter the 36 Chambers’ where Raekwon the Chef and the Rebel INS Inspectah Deck recount their struggles coming up in the ghetto as Method Man chants the acronym of truth “Cash Rules Everything Around Me – CREAM! Get the money, Dollar Dollar bill yo!” This chorus was a wake up call to say that if you’re not earning a living in this world, it won’t stop for you. In today’s economic climate with an already massive and steadily growing divide between rich and poor and a shrinking middle class, I’m surprised the Clan hasn’t been invited to talk at more political rallies or market forums.

The second lesson was delivered on Method Man’s debut album ‘Tical’, the second album to come from the Staten Island-based stronghold. It wasn’t a lesson in street smarts or how to spend thousands of dollars frivolously. It was a lesson in love. ‘All I Need’ featuring R & B royalty Mary J. Blige, is a love song between a man and a woman where their steadfast support of one another has helped them surpass any obstacle in their path. The duet is inspired by the famous soul duet between Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell of the same name, and is given a modern day twist with Method Man’s slang and a sample of Notorious BIG’s ‘Me & my Bitch’ (“Cry together, lie together, I swear to God I hope we fucking die together”), which in itself is a melancholic tale of a turbulent love affair. Method Man’s promise of “mad love to give” his girl and his admiration for her having a “mind of her own” are testament to a mutual respect for the opposite sex that is often missing from rap lyrics. In any case it taught me to look for a strong independent woman to love and not just a pretty face.

Lesson number three (also known as Rule 4080) was taught to me by the GZA a.k.a. the Genius, a name that already inspires enlightenment. The GZA is probably perceived as a wiser member of the Clan due to his prior experience with the music industry. Before the Wu-Tang Clan stormed onto the scene, the GZA had already released a solo album on Cold Chillin Records entitled ‘Words from the Genius’. Needless to say his solo career under Cold Chillin didn’t bear fruit, so when he had a second opportunity to drop a debut album (thanks to some clever deal brokering by the RZA that ensured each member of the Clan could sign with a second label and release solo material independent of their group contract), he let rip on the shady side of the record business with his song ‘Labels’. In just under 3 minutes, the GZA taught me all about how the record executives, A&Rs and other nefarious characters will try and screw over the recording artist and neglect their talent. The most impressive part is that GZA fires shots at virtually all of the existing labels by using their monikers as double-entendres, for example “We’ll all emerge off your set, now you know God damn / I show living large niggas how to flip a def jam / And rough up the motherfuckin’ house cause I smother / You cold chillin’ motherfuckers, I still warn a brother / I’m ruthless my clan don’t have to act wild / That shit is jive, an old sleeping bag profile”. Thanks to the GZA I understood fairly fast that there would be snakes and sharks in business – A fact that proved true in later life.

The fourth lesson wasn’t actually from one of the 9 emcees but instead from one of their close affiliates, Poppa Wu. On Ghostface Killah’s debut album ‘Ironman’, the subject of faith and religion was introduced quite frankly in several of the featuring songs. On track 13 ‘Black Jesus’, Poppa Wu preached openly about the knowledge of self, (Black) Man being God and time being infinite thus debunking the fable of Adam and Eve and the dawn of creation. These views are foundations for the Five Percent Nation, a faith that separated itself from the Nation of Islam during the 1960’s. The Wu-Tang Clan often refers to man as God and woman as Earth which is direct use of the Five Percent lexicon. I am not a religious person, if anything I’m an atheist, but it’s always good to get another perspective on what this life is all about. Something that always stays with me is when Poppa Wu says “Don’t you know if a man could take and flip himself inside out, God, He’ll fall out and die if he sees the shit that goes on…inside?” Conscious observations such as these are food for thought when you think about how complex the human body is and how much we take it for granted.

Lesson five was a hidden jewel that I didn’t find for quite sometime. Listening to Raekwon’s stellar debut album ‘Only Built for Cuban Linx’, there’s a skit before ‘Spot Rusherz’ (track 14) where Raekwon and Ghostface are procrastinating about the heat in their car and an unreleased Wu-Tang song is playing in the background. I finally tracked this song down to a mixtape by DJ Format promoting the American beer St. Ides. The St. Ides track endorses the beverage but more importantly it serves a cautionary warning against drink driving. Raekwon explains how it’s alright to carry on drinking as long as you catch a ride home and don’t get behind the wheel yourself: “With St. Ides in my system / Crack another I’m blessed, let’s go get the next one / And get over, the object is to stay sober / Lay on the sofa, better yet, dial my chauffeur”. Don’t drink and drive kids.

Lesson six is about sex. Safe sex. At the height of their popularity the Wu-Tang Clan were dropping solo albums, mixtape and radio verses and featuring on just about every compilation CD being burnt. One of these compilations was ‘America Is Dying Slowly’ which set out to promote safe sex amongst the youth. The Clan got the title track ‘America’ with each Clan member recounting their experiences and knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases and how to prevent catching them. I guess this song went to my head and my heart because I lost my older brother to AIDS and I know for a fact that it’s easier to get caught up in the heat of the moment and skip that simple gesture of protecting yourself and others.

The seventh thing I learnt from the Wu – and they actually mentioned this on two occasions, first by honorary member Cappadonna (‘The Pillage’ track 3) and then by Ghostface Killah and featuring artists Jadakiss (‘Pretty Toney’ track 17) – was don’t get caught. Run! ‘Run’ paints a vivid picture of what it’s like to escape the Police and the risks you face if you get caught. As an 18 year old Hip Hop fan, I was getting up on walls with my marker pens regularly and smoking a lot of weed in the street, so I always had my eyes scanning the horizon for undercover detectives and have-a-go heroes looking to spoil my fun. After a few run ins with the law and other unsavoury characters I eventually relinquished these pastimes. In fact, I do remember distinctly pulling up my baggy jeans and tying my shoe laces properly after getting chased through the wrong neighbourhood late at night by some stick up kids. Swag isn’t going to save you from getting stabbed. Lesson learnt.

A step away from the abstraction of Five Percent Nation philosophy, the RZA has a penchant for conspiracy theories notably with his verse on ‘School’, track 14 of Masta Killa’s solo album ‘No Said Date’. My eighth lesson was all about not accepting everything you’re taught in school and questioning history. The song starts off with Masta Killa rapping about his introduction to the rap culture which is nice enough but the real main course of knowledge is delivered by the RZA as the beat speeds up to accommodate his feverish flow. As a child, RZA questions his teachers lessons and is quickly asked to leave and reprimanded for disrupting the class. The facts RZA speaks about aren’t necessarily true, but they do shed like on a few questionable moments in the history of the human race and possible cover ups. Here’s an example of RZA’s outburst: “I stood like a man then I questioned my teacher / Why don’t we speak about the wisdom of the sages? / And how did Europe black out in the dark ages?/ And when they got light did they white-wash the pages? / And the inquisition, why was Christian’s thrown in cages? / And why would they try to destroy the nation? / With their birth control and bring control fluoridation? / And why it seems that half the school is racist? :She said “Diggs, to the office!” We about faces…”

For their ninth lesson, the Clan taught me about life in the ghetto, something a lot of rappers could claim responsibility for but Raekwon, Ghostface, Cappadonna and U-God broke it down into easy to understand verses. the self-titled ‘Ghetto’ (track 11 of Ghostface Killah’s ‘Apollo Kids’ album) is a soulful stroll through the tougher side of town. With the soulful prompts of Marlena Shaw sampled from ‘Woman of the Ghetto’ each of the rappers covers a select theme: the scene in the ghetto (Raekwon), making money (Cappadonna), dealing with snitches (Ghostface) and raising kids (U-God). Obviously the picture painted by each rapper is pretty stark and unglorified but it’s cool to hear U-God talk about the solidarity of a community that the rest of society tries to forget. For someone who’s never lived in the ghetto, this is a eye opening composition.

The final lesson from hours upon hours of listening to the Wu-Tang is an odd one and if you had to pick the oddball of the group, most fingers point in the direction of Ason Unique a.k.a. Ol’ Dirty Bastard. ODB, God bless his soul in Heaven, had an acute knack for coming out with some the funniest yet scariest lyrics of the entire Clan. On his debut album ‘Return to the 36 Chambers’, ODB touched upon the topic of young love and all the craziness hormones can induce between people of the opposite sex. In ‘Don’t u Know’ ODB begins by rapping about flirting with girls in his school and how his emotions make him feel rather horny. Featured artist Killah Priest recounts his tale of his teenage sweetheart before ODB takes us back into the classroom. The teacher tells the children to open up their text books and read the first paragraph on oral sex. Naturally ODB is taken aback (“I said ‘Oral sex! What kinda class is this?’ The girl next to me said ‘What’s wrong with you Miss?'”) so the teacher decides to skip the theory part and jump into a practical demonstration on the unassuming rapper. As the teacher begins to perform fellatio on ODB, the story cuts with the promise of a sequel. I think the main lesson I got from this track is to be weary of horny cougars in the classroom.

Preview: Cosmosis Festival

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Seldom do I comment on something that is going on outside of Brighton, however, on the odd occasion a real special event comes along that just grabs my attention by the jewels. Cosmosis Festival in Manchester is one of those events. The best part? It’s all to take place in the Victoria Warehouse. Imagine that. Imagine that great big, bloody sound echoing around in there!

Over the years of festival going it’s rare to see such a promising line-up, and one for all psych-heads and lovers of anything with a bit of release out there, it is a must do event. Dig below for the skirting details.

The line-up takes into account one of the greatest and most recognisable cult bands of, well, arguably all time: The Brian Jonestown Massacre. A band that revolves around Anton Newcombe’s wit, wisdom and curiosity – they have produced 14 studio albums and countless EPs detailing their musical ventures, moves and fierce fights against the music industry. From Give It Back! to Revelations, sounds change, each equally as interesting as the other. We really cannot wait to catch this mesmerizing bunch once more.

Running alongside them and headlining the event are Scottish shoegazing giants, The Jesus and Mary Chain. Having produced such seminal albums as Darklands and Psycho Candy, they have influenced the sound of a guitar and what you can do with some frets and six strings beyond your mind’s belief. Expect face melting sounds to leave you blurred and crawling on the floor wondering what happened en-route.

Beyond the two main attractions, the line-up swarms through a field of psychedelia, fuzz and punk. On the colorful, carefree side there is the West Coast haze of The Allah-Las, the eccentricity of Of Montreal and the return of the shoegazing dream: LSD and the Search for God. This acts as the calm before the storm and it’s set to be bloody great.

For the uptight, tense music lovers – you are all just as well catered for. The post-punk angst of Wire revels within Victoria Warehouse. This is generated onwards to the gloom of Esben and The Witch, the dream-pop of The Raveonettes and the stoned psych noise of Uncle Acid. Expect as much fuzz as a 14 year old’s attempt at a beard, swooning guitar lines and ushered vocals.

Beyond the bigger names lurk some fantastic newbies as well – the garage-rock of The Black Delta Movement to the Fugazi-esque The Longcut. Or the desert rock of Lola Colt – sounding something like PJ Harvey lurching into a collision with My Bloody Valentine. In addition, there is the sitar revival of Baba Naga, the relaxed, curious waves of far flung psychedelia sounding like Kula Shaker on some serious sedative. Up and down the festival line-up, it is impossible to pin point every band as the line-up begs for attention on every level. Get stuck into the Spotify playlist below and give the whole thing a run through, even though it’s up in Manchester it is certainly not worth missing. Post-gig DJ sets run where you can catch my local favourites Acid Box Promotions proving their worth too.

It’s not so grim up Norf after all.

Tickets: £71.55

Words: Tom Churchill

Special Brew and Pink Speedos – Lemmy RIP

Illustration: Word Repeats

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Lemmy touched a staggering amount of people’s lives in his 70 rock n’roll years on Planet Earth and almost all of these experiences were positive and genuine. Sure, he could be a cantankerous bastard and equally told as many people to fuck off – but they probably deserved it. He was a man of rare integrity, conviction and passion and he compromised for no one.
 
When news broke of his death the outpouring of affection was vast and overwhelming. Everyone had a story to tell, a memory to share. From punks to rockers to every aspect of alternative culture, to the mainstream who held him high as a figurehead of rock, his influence is far-reaching. But the stories keep coming back to what a gentleman he was. He always had time for people and didn’t fall into the rock star ego trap. His manager Todd Singerman recently stated: “He was one of the kindest men I’ve ever met. The proof would be to go ask his fans. He never denied someone an autograph, he bought the fans drinks instead of them buying him drinks”.

I first met Lemmy when I was ten years old at a charity football event that my father took me to. I’m pretty certain that Motörhead’s legendary frontman wasn’t kicking a ball around but he was there, I got his autograph and he patted my head. I thought he was cool as fuck. Then in my early twenties I interviewed him for Metal Hammer magazine around the time of the release of their ‘1916’ album. He turned up at the offices at 10.30am with a four pack of Special Brew, sat by my desk, drank the lot and churned out pearls of wisdom after wisdom. I was in total awe of him. I had to do the ‘single’s reviews’ and played some of the latest rock releases on a turntable by my desk for him to comment on, one of which was ‘Sliver’ by Nirvana which I was raving about. “ Yeah, I like that one”, he said. “It’s really interesting and they’re having a go at something by themselves and not just copying someone else. Good one.” It’s fair to say that drinking Special Brew and spinning vinyl with Lemmy on a week day morning is a memory I’ll cherish.

Ph: “Despite my appearance, believe me, I am a gentleman”

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My wife has a fantastic Lemmy story that I want to share. Her and a friend were nearing the end of a US road trip in the early 90s, ending up in LA. They were staying at a rough motel at the wrong end of Sunset Boulevard and a gang had tried to break into their room the previous night, so they were scared to return. They were at The Rainbow and started drinking with Lemmy who was famously a regular, and told him their story. He showed concern at two young vulnerable girls with little money and invited them back to his apartment rather than return to the motel late at night. They agreed with some trepidation given Lemmy’s reputation with the ladies, but his behaviour was entirely chivalrous. They spent a fun-filled 2 days hanging out in his apartment, drinking endless bourbon and cokes being regaled with debauched stories from a life of hell-raising. He played them new tracks which were to feature on ‘Bastards’, the album he was working on at the time, allowed them to nose through his collection of Nazi memorabilia whilst he sunbathed in bright pink speedos, and (at their direction) posed for some hilariously inappropriate souvenir polaroids. 
 
The stories go on and on. It’s been heartbreaking over the last year to see Lemmy looking so frail and ill. We all wanted him to live forever. If Lemmy is around still, then all is well with the world. When they played Hyde Park in 2014 with Black Sabbath, Lemmy really struggled and they weren’t on good form. It was so sad to witness. But then a few months later Motorhead played at Wembley Arena with The Damned and they were back to full power and awesome again. That night they were incredible. The greatest rock n’roll band of all time, one more time.

Ph: Rummaging through Lemmy’s dressing-up box



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Slash declared “People who live, sleep and breathe rock n’roll, the lifestyle and the attitude. There’s only a handful of guys who are still alive who represent that. And Lemmy represents that to me.”
 And now he’s gone, taking the loudest band in the world with him. My absolute hero. A benchmark in integrity and passion, principled, opinionated and unapologetic, “I don’t regret much. Fuck ’em.” We will never see his like again. A true rock n’roll warrior. Rest in noise Lemmy.

Words: James Sherry

NOTE: It’s well known that Lemmy collected Nazi regalia but essentially he was more an anarchist than a fascist. Worth noting that both women in these polaroid photos do not support Nazi fantasies.

Chronicles: Why Fat White Family lead the pack

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‘Back in 2011, certain figures were bustled into a squat stuck in South London – Peckham to be precise – this lead for quite the formation of a musical group. A grotesque, lurid and putrid set of ghouls came together – remembered since for masturbating onstage and smearing themselves in faeces amongst other acts of disgust. However, all these eccentric acts have lead to a cult appeal, a cult interest that revels within the notorious nature of the group’s darkness.

Their debut album titled ‘Champagne Holocaust’ was released back in 2013, pointing the group to critical acclaim. Tracks such as ‘Touch the Leather’, ‘Is It Raining In Your Mouth?’ and ‘Auto Neutron’ were established as stand out tracks within the poignant album. Alongside their live stage performances, the group was causing controversy and anxiety through their recorded format. They were reminding the British music culture of what it was to be ‘punk’ and what it was to create ‘punk music.’ Darkness shrouded the album. Ghostly backing vocals caused intensity, screeches and yelps brought back imagery of horror and death all the while the bones of Lias, Saul and Adam et al rattled away.

Lyrically, the group are a reminder that punk music and what it means to be a ‘relevant’ band is to mean much more than a posing facade. It is not a whimsical, commodified fad that washes right over you. It is common knowledge that every word that is published by NME etcetera should be taken with a pinch of salt – Kasabian are not ‘the saviours of music’ for example and guitar music is not ‘dead’ – in fact it never really died, it was just spun out in quite a lethargic way. The existential nihilism presented by Fat White Family is something far superior, something that harks back to the likes of The Velvet Underground and the Sex Pistols. Seminal cultism is something that is defined to last the test of time, perhaps not instantaneously, however it is something that can be called upon and placed within a society. Terminal cultism on the other hand is something that exists for a short period. Take the late 60s hippie culture for example – an idea that came abut due to social rebellion, however similarly one that eventually stuck around like a fart in the wind and collapsed in on itself due to the conflicting nature of it’s sellable image. When a band titles a song ‘When Shipman Decides’ or ‘Bomb Disneyland’, it is impossible not to get up and take notice.

Taking ‘When Shipman Decides’ for example. Yes, this song is still yet to be released (it is released on the band’s sophomore LP ’Songs For Our Mothers’ in January 2016) however, the titling of the song suggests a breaking in the mould. It is daring and has taken the expletive and the unimaginable from the jaws of metal and hardcore music. Of course this is a slight generalisation, previous bands have released songs with daring titles, however for a band that has appeared on the front covers of the British music press and received critical acclaim in the nation’s largest newspapers, this does not happen so often. Shipman being the guilty murderer who was armed with medicine, now one can only anticipate the content behind this song. Jumping back to the downright seedy and lurid ideas behind ‘Is It Raining In Your Mouth?’ – “I was born to have it / And you were born to take it,” and the provocative and seductive ‘Touch the Leather’ – “Tight black skin in the baggy leather.” Lyrically, you get the sense this apocalyptic, darkness harks back to something such as The VU’s ‘Venus In Furs’, Reed’s grumble and growl behind “Shiny, shiny, shiny boots of leather / Whiplash girlchild in the dark.” This existential sexuality is something so deeply rooted in punk music and the history of poetry inspired from the Dionysus character. From Baudelaire’s ‘Le Voyage’ – “Pour us your poison wine that makes us feel like gods / Our brains are burning up – there’s nothing left to do!” to Rimbaud’s ‘The Drunken Boat’ – “As I floated down unconcerned rivers / I no longer felt myself steered by the haulers.” Poetry and lyricism revels in the unknown, the putrid and the alcohol stained bliss of solipsism and escapism. Here, Fat White Family are digging up an old grave, they are venturing further in the punk lyricist cult.

Taking the live shows into account is a different mindset more than anything. It’s a process of alienation to build angst, tension and frustration. It’s an amphetamine riled situation focusing on Brechtian theories of defamiliarisation with the aim of making it a bloody uptight, tense experience for the individual. Brechtian ideas stipulate that the audience should not become involved within the narrative of the performance – the audience should be kept at distance – enough to intrigue them and hold their focus, but not enough to allow them to escape within the world of the spectacle. It works in a notion of intriguing the audience then letting them go at any giving moment, giving a feeling of anxiety. The gaunt, ghoulish figure of Lias lingers over you, provoking you with his eroticised shakes, and jerks as he mutters sweet whispers – often nothing more than a breath echoing the words he wishes to say.

In the background, a bag of bones lead by the shape of Saul Adamczewski maintain your eyes, keeping you in their stare at all times – there is the constant petrifying feeling of being watched from below dark frowns. It is an emotional, mental release that this troupe seek when presenting themselves in a live setting – it’s not escapism, it is a downright confrontation and it’s often as chaotic and convoluted as it sounds. The live show emphasises their importance and necessity in live music. It acts as a counterculture to the escapists – those artists providing a show that lets you out of your day to day life for a brief two hours whilst you stand or jump; only to then go back home, reminisce briefly and drift off to a pleasant sleep.

No, what Fat White Family do is bring you out of your shell in a way that is emphasised. It’s a possession of you, it makes it hard to let go of the experience – it’s a confused situation of beings and liquids that makes you nervous and anxious. Masturbating onstage and kicking around the head of a pig gives the horrifyingly intriguing troupe auteur image. A gang mentality that is oh so exaggerated in a live setting.

So all this can seem highly exaggerated and I’m sure, irrelevant to a mass majority of music fans. Essentially, it comes down to what one wishes to take from a group. If one finds gratification in the safety of a band, then Fat White Family may not be for you. As is the musical technicality of the band, if you are one to take into account interesting time signatures, dynamics and pedal jumping, then once again, maybe think again. However, if you are to take into account the true cult identity of a band – in a similar way to The Velvet Underground and The Brian Jonestown Massacre – then Fat White Family may click with you. If you want something that will resonate in a seminal fashion and provide you with a total confrontation of your morals, self and community, then take this group and hold them tight. Not too tight though, they will unapologetically kick back and leave you bleeding somewhere.’

Words: Tom Churchill

A visit to ‘The Seaside’ again with Cardiacs

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I was once a Little Man aged 11 looking out of my Little House through my parents Whole World Window. It was a beautifully innocent time hanging out in the burbs of Surrey, riding my BMX after homework through wet leaves and spiky conkers, not giving a hoot about anything. The stereo in my bedroom played 7″ records from Adam Ant, The Jam, The Specials and Madness, slabs of vinyl bought on a Saturday afternoon in the little independent record shop in our hometown of Sutton. Chick-a-Boom, was owned by an overweight biker who sat behind the counter with a huge beard. Aside from his overwhelming presence I loved the smell of the vinyl there, as opposed to the big store on the high street they called Woolworth’s, where my Mum preferred visiting for her records. Collecting music weekly became something special but as you know, the Whole World Window is a very special and endless space – where discovery, is everything.

Somewhere hidden in the suburbs of the same county in 1984, Cardiacs were preparing the release of their original cassette of The Seaside. They were only a few miles down the road. Their off-the-wall, psychedelic punk rock was being distributed to the ears of the chosen few throughout Kingston Uni and the suburban alternative pubs like The Mill and in other small towns nearby in Surbiton, Teddington and beyond. Little did I know that a few years later just one sniff of Cardiacs’ musical drug would change my entire life, forever.

Trying to explain Cardiacs’ sound to those who have never heard them before was always difficult. Like Victorian funfair music in a knife fight with John Carpenter; an horrific, terrifyingly exciting sound that should be used for torture purposes, they said. It wasn’t for everyone, but I wasn’t everyone, I fell in love on first play and made it the soundtrack to my life. We had a crew of us at school who worshipped the band but most people thought we were weirdos. This was a local band, one that our brothers had past down the line to us and we totally enjoyed being those weirdos. It was an honour to wear that badge…with the flower on it.

Cardiacs’ live shows were like anti-theatrical minefields that detonated every single explosive part of your brain. They left you in tiny pieces, excelling you to the verge of heart attack with excitement whilst every breath of air around you (and a huge fan) pushed tiny pieces of confetti into the air creating a dream-like scenario – kinda like the best acid trip of all time but without the strychnine come-down. And so it began, my Cardiacs virginity was taken at NESCOT college on February 10th, 1989 and it left me turned completely inside out. I remember leaving that room feeling like a lost dog, confused, horny and wreckless, with my lipstick hanging out. Only Cardiacs fans are going to read these words so you know exactly what I’m talking about. The question is: Where did you lose yours? Tell us in the comments at the end of this waffle.

Ph: Steve Payne

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William D. Drake’s keyboard prowess, Dominic’s incredible precision drumming, percussionist Tim Quy’s vital inclusion, Sarah’s huge smile and her mighty presence on sax all made the shows shine like nothing else. Jim Smith’s bass playing, down trodden persona and incessant bullying, dished out by brother Tim, made the show the most unnerving experience I’d ever seen. Tim’s ranting, swinging of his guitar and insane facial expressions was pure madness, but oh so controlled and delivered like a pro. All other bands playing live at that time in Ewell seemed boring and pointless, so finally I had found Armageddon in music form and it became an instant obsession. I hit the road to as many Cardiacs shows that I could get to with my new driving license and crappy brown Ford Fiesta. It made for a decent bed after the gigs finished too.

The biggest problem with my new found addiction was that their Seaside album, released on cassette, seemed to be some sort of myth. Kind of like what Animal Chin was for skateboarders; you couldn’t find it anywhere but it left inspiration with everyone who came in contact with it. The internet and mobile phones didn’t exist of course – just fanzines, the fan club and record fairs, so I searched far and wide for The Seaside (The Obvious Identity and Toy World) until a friend’s friend of a friend came good with a blank TDK D60 copy. All I ever wanted were the originals though and to this day they still evade me. The CD re-issue in 1995 (and 1990) were must-haves but a few of my favourite tracks from the live shows didn’t make the pressings.

Hearing ‘Dinner Time’ on the new re-issue today made me bounce off the walls. It was like discovering Cardiacs for the very first time again. Similarly, the mesmerising riff of ‘Nurses Whispering Verses’ was always a favourite live (alongside the chaotic punk rock assault of To Go Off and Things). These were rare gems in between the epic singles, ‘Is This the Life?’ and ‘A Little Man and a House’ – both legendary works from the amazing songwriting and production skills of Tim Smith. It’s very rare to find talent like this man was blessed with. Tim created another planet through his own World Window that we could all see, feel and touch – like nothing we had ever discovered before, or have been close to discovering since.

It breaks my heart to be reminiscing all of this right now knowing that Tim is unwell and has suffered through illness. Even though Cardiacs’ music is played weekly in these parts it always leaves me praying for his health – and I’m no religious man. He changed people’s lives forever and we are here right now to give it all back. I doff my hat to Tim Smith. Sir, you are a true musical legend.

Ph: Sarah Maher

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These words were written ten minutes after the album finished from hitting my email account today. The fingers did not stop, the memories came too fast and I just had to spit everything out. The re-issued record will be coming out via the Alphabet Business Concern on November 30th this year with those 4 tracks mentioned above and the original running order on CD, double gate-fold vinyl – both cut from the original 1984 1/4″ master reel. There’s also a tasty boxset coming, with the inclusion of replica newsletters, (YOUsletters) a cassette, poster, Walker prints, lyric booklet and a beautiful photo book containing previously unseen photography.

Prepare space in your wonderful record collection next month to re-own some magical musical history and enjoy listening to ‘Dinner Time’ from this release that we have been lucky enough to unleash for you today. It’s a marvellous tune that has been missing from the Cardiacs catalogue since the cassette release of The Seaside. Pre-order the box set here.

Big love to all Cardiacs followers worldwide.

Zac

A visit to Banksy’s Dismaland with Sleaford Mods

Words: Steve Cotton from Art of the State and Zac
Photos: Nice ones by Steve, shit phone snaps by Zac

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The hype on Banksy’s latest art project Dismaland became justified before we even managed to get through security. The woman’s smile in front of us was deemed to be too wide so she was sent to face the wall until the happiness drained enough for entry. “Who are you here with?!”, the security woman demanded, looking at my wristband. “Sleaford Mods”, I replied, trying not to smile as my pockets were frisked with a make shift cardboard bomb detector. “They’re shit”, she barked from her taut face and I was finally let through to the next check point – leaving the poor womans’ happiness, still draining against the wall.

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There was not a smile in sight on entry from the staff apart from the one on Steve Cotton’s face, owner of Art of the State, promoter of many infamous hardcore punk shows who has managed to get close to Banksy’s work for over a decade now. Luckily we were about to get an inside tour of Dismaland with someone in the know.

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Featuring work by more than 50 artists from 17 different nations Bristol’s finest street artist has assembled a mass of thought provoking, topical and challenging art at Dismaland. The exhibition occupies the site of the disused and derelict Tropicana Lido on the sea front in Weston Super Mare. Through a clever piece of deception, its existence was kept quiet right up to just a few days before the show by claiming that a film entitled ‘Grey Fox’ was going to be shot there. A perfect excuse to explain all the construction work and to have security stop prying eyes.

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One of the pieces that gave the game away was when Mike Ross’s Big Rig Jig piece loomed above the walls of the Tropicana. It’s an eye catching sculpture, born out of “reckless optimism”, that required a fairly hard to conceal crane to put it in place.

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Another colossal vehicle is this security forces truck from Northern Ireland repurposed as a fountain and with a a children’s slide sticking out the other side. It appears beached in the Lido pool which is full of weeds and worse. Definitely not a place for a dip.

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Dismaland installations often relate to animal themes. On the fairground carousel one of the horses has been hoisted by its hind legs while a slaughterhouse worker takes a break underneath from preparing lasagne – a clear reference to the horse meat scandal of recent years. Round the other side a marauding bunch of anarchists who seem to be part of the show jump on the ride waving banners whilst standing on the backs of their steeds.

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Near the back of the venue where the arched diving boards structure used to stand an orca whale jumps from the confines of a toilet through a hoop into an unfeasibly small paddling pool full of dark liquid. A personal view on these beautiful creatures being trapped performing tricks in pools that are microscopic in comparison to their natural habitats.

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Again from Banksy, is this over the top illustration of seagulls attacking humans. Seemingly referencing recent media stories about the “menace of seagulls” but taking it to extremes it also provides a photo opportunity for anyone who cares to sit on the bench. A miserable member of staff obviously reminds you not to get close to this savage pecking of human flesh.

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Animals aside, tonight is Friday, which means there’s more than just art to admire. With Portishead’s production master Geoff Barrow taking care of the artist invitations to play live, his inclusion of Sleaford Mods proved triumphant who played alongside The Pop Group and Savages on the back of a truck.

The Nottingham duo have moved from strength to strength over the last two years with their unique brutal attack on the greed that has seen this country fall apart at the seams and they were in no mood for apathy once again tonight. Stage right hung a huge billboard poster of David Cameron’s smug face holding a glass of wine, parading like a red rag for frontman Jason Williamson’s bullish outbursts. He ripped into Piglet (as he’s always named him) with a butchers knife throughout the set whilst the crowd bayed for more. Monday morning’s pig fucking scandal only made this part of their set more legit, as if the band knew that the Mail was about to drop a bomb on his reputation well in advance.

As red flare smoke filled the skies and the smell of skunk wafted around the crowd in Bisto-like trails, the Mods steamed through an hour-long assault. Williamson’s anger raged into the mic as Andrew Fearn stood smiling, nodding, double fisting two bottles of lager, admiring the carnage from his laptop. Dad dancing was encouraged throughout that aided at least five new tracks from their Key Markets album, barked out so aggressively that Williamson’s throat clearing job almost became part of the show.

You could not have picked a more fitting band to play this exhibition, they speak for so many people with belly laugh humour and shocking truths that none of today’s culture would dare to get involved in. In your face, savage punk rock, rapped, poetic and proud. Fucking exemplary too, get on it.

Of course this show is not all about Banksy (more from him later) – there are around 50 odd international artists who have either contributed work or are actively engaged on site during the show. Time for a whistle stop tour around some of the other works.

Nettie Wakefield was working on site producing portraits in pencil of the back of guests heads. This really gives her the opportunity to show off her stunning technique in capturing every last detail including the way the light falls on each strand.

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Wasted Rita from Portugal has a wall of her dark advice at the rear of the castle. The power of the simple written word.

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Dotted around the site are a series of yellow signs to make you think about the your stay in Dismaland.

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More direct thought provocation is provided in the form of these bus billboard take overs. A nearby stall provides instruction leaflets on how you can open these ubitiquous advert stands and place in your own posters. We were even given a demonstration of how to break in. A selection of special spanners were on offer, all made to fit the various corperate companies’ bolts that bring you the dogshit you don’t need in advertising form.

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Ben Long’s scaffolding pole horse dominated early pictures of the exhibition and it’s easy to see why. Now dwarfed by the nearby big wheel it has plenty of competitors for the most iconic image of the show.

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Vying for ‘best in show’ in its scale and detail is Jimmy Cauty’s (ex KLF member) simply breathtaking ‘Aftermath Displacement Principle’. 23 crates worth of riot torn city featuring around 3000 1/87th scale police officers all uniquely made from modified model railway workers. It’s an exhibit you can stare at for a very long time and still find something new. Can you find one of the royals making an official visit?

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Moving inside for a bit you enter what is essentially a gallery space but first you walk past illuminated display boards from Jenny Holzer and Banksy’s reaper bumper car installation. Every so often disco music pumps out, the lights come on and Death attempts to escape the confines of his electric prison by slamming into the edge of the arena all to no avail.

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Entering the main hall there’s a plethora of different style on show. Damien Hirst’s standout piece ‘The History Of Pain’ has a beach ball held constantly aloft over a bed of blades by the push from air being blown upwards. If it ever stops, the balloon will surely drop and burst.

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Some of the painting technique on show is exquisite. From a distance Lee Madgwick’s paintings of urban buildings in idyllic countryside settings look like photoshop creations. A closer inspection reveals their intricate detail.

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Paco Pomet’s Cookie Monster painting should win an award.

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The message within this bleeding trees painting also hits home with a jagged nail.

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Nearby is the embroidery of Severija Inciraauskaite-Kriauneviciene. Instead of being encased in wooden samplers, her cross stitched work has been punched into the bonnet for the threads to go through. Incredible detail.

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Banksy has an almost unnoticed piece near ground level, and to the left of it is his tribute to Russian graffiti artist P183.

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Outside again there are yet many more highlights to see. The Cruel bus has an exhibition showing how design is used to maintain power and control over us all whilst a large tent contains a mass of both beautifully painted and hurriedly scrawled protest banners and signs. Of particular note are the ones by Ed Hall who has a long history of providing trade union groups and others with memorable protest art and the much publicised anti Arms Fair posters that were found on the London Underground last week.

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There’s a wide variety of untypical fairground attractions with loaded outcomes – I tried my hand at both the duck pool (hook the duck from the muck) and Insect and Bast’s bling stand both to no avail, but it was still a lot of fun. Elsewhere there are rotating caravans, rickety big wheels and a children’s sand pit with a sandcastle so large that Dad’s on the nearby Weston beach will struggle to impress their kids in comparison.

Australian Dietrich’s Wegner’s mushroom cloud tree house dominates the central room capturing a moment of beauty borne out of destruction. In that cloud are the debris of peoples lives, the structures they lived in and everything they held dear to them.

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Then you have the finely detailed tattooed ladies by Jessica Harrison. So tiny you need to get up close to take in every single one.

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For me the most haunting exhibit from the exhibition was the boating lake. Looking like it’s set in front of the white cliffs of Dover, you put your pound in the slot and take control of either a boat full of “migrants”, as the Daily Mail like to call them, or a patrol boat. In the water, bodies float by conveying the deadly serious plight of those still breathing on board the boats.

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On the wall of the lido buildings down the left hand side is this ingenious painting of a woman taking a shower while a boy peeps in. Is the other boy on look out duty or is he still more interested in his childhood toys? Either way he is not joining in on the other’s curiosity.

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Of course everyone wants to go into the Castle and here Banksy has a surprise in store. If you are asked to have your photo taken do as instructed and look to the right. Maybe even crouch a little and pretend to take a photo while doing so – you’ll understand why when you exit this scene of a princess in a coach crash being photographed by paparazzi, an obvious reference to the death of Princess Diana.

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Despite the length of this post there is still much more to see in this place, including Banksy’s take on the Little Mermaid.

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Oh and of course, knowing this is hosted in Weston Super Mare, the nightly burning of Jeffrey Archer’s novels is a popular team sport.

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Fireworks, thought-provoking imagery and very talented artists aside, Banksy’s bemusement concept for Dismaland is a truly unique experience, there to remind us of the trappings of a capitalistic and brutal world that unfortunately most people voted for. You have one week left to make it down there and get some for yourself, plan nothing else.

Note that This Friday’s final show with Leftfield, Pussy Riot, Kate Tempest, De La Soul
and DJ Premier (not Massive Attack as they have had to cancel unfortunately) has a dress code. Due to the amount of paparazzi staking out the park in recent weeks Banksy has requested people come masked-up so he can attend the event without being photographed.

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