Monday, March 31, 2014

Sleaford Mods, Astral Social Club, Cowtown. Wharf Chambers, Leeds, 29th March 2014

There's a Marty Robbins look-a-like in the Duncan collecting empties; cowboy hat, cowboy boots, black jeans, droopy tash, fringed suede jacket and bootlace tie, the full job. The barmaid drops my money behind the bar and spends an age looking for it,
'leave it for cleaner love',
'I can't, till'll be out'.

In the Duck and Drake there's a bloke with chameleon eyes, a fascist gnome and yummy pickled eggs.The Templar is full of depressed middle aged heavy drinking males keeping an eye on the Leeds score and it stinks of disinfectant.

The Sleaford Mods have sold out the Wharf Chambers and the bar is four deep. By the time they appear Campbell has sawn a violin in half and Cowtown have paid homage to Devo and The Units whilst bantering with the audience who want to know where George is.

In the morning I wake up with a foggy head and the first words that enter my head are MISTER JOLLY FUCKER!!

The last time I saw the Sleaford Mods they were playing to a small group of people in a small venue in Manchester. Tonight's gig has been chosen by the Guardian as the gig of the week. In September they'll play Manchester Academy.

I spin the single I bought as my head clears.  MISTER JOLLY FUCKER!!

Williamson scrats the back of his head like he’s got an OCD, leans up and in to the mic, streaming words of rant, words, spitting out the words, forefinger flicking running up and off the underside of his nose, mock wanks, bottle in hand. Fearn drinks from cans of lager, eyes popping, legs flexing, head disappearing in clouds of e-cig smoke as each song tears past.

Campbell is on inspired form. A fluid Astral Social Club set, an ever folding piece that keeps on collapsing in to itself that becomes ever more compulsive and you just know that he wont be able to keep it in forever, fingers pointing to the sky and bringing it down and then like a spurting ball sack he goes and gets his saw out and starts sawing his violin into  segments but not just see saw like he's putting a shelf up these are deliberate slow draws of the arm where each saw tooth rips up like a bomb going off and then he lets it go and its like the dam has been burst and you can feel people getting into it even the old punk with the Mohican whose got a Sleafords patch on.

The place is packed and the bar is four deep. They kick off with Mr Jolly Fucker and you can sense that we are witnessing something very special. Talk is of the day that punk broke and people making music that they can throw at governments. We are all in on this together in this small room that smells of beer, swaying about, enjoying the ride.

Some of us have been waiting for this for a long time, since the day we eventually found Norman Records in that prefabricated brutalist concrete block in Wortley at the back of Salford Van Hire with their name written in faded Biro on a sticker the size of a book of matches.

People are singing along. I've seen them a few times now but never seen people singing along. So we sing lustfully along. MISTER JOLLY FUCKER!!

Even if they split up tomorrow they will have already left their mark. Urgent, hurried, spot on pokes in the eye, bullseye put downs of the indifferent rich and the hopeless rock stars who just cant help themselves, the fuck you I'm alright Jack merchants and the gaffers who haven't got a fucking clue mate, spitting venom, each word loaded with bile and humour the, piss pot politicians and indifferent others.

In the taxi on the way home MISTER JOLLY FUCKER!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sleaford Mods - Divide and Exit

Sleaford Mods - Divide and Exit
Harbinger Sound. LP/CD/DL

‘Bingo! Cutting the bingo tax and beer duty to help hardworking people do more of the things they enjoy.’ Tweet sent by Tory party Chairman Grant Shapps on budget day.

I once went into Manchester with such a bourgeois, and spoke to him of the bad, unwholesome method of building, the frightful condition of the working-peoples quarters, and asserted that I had never seen so ill-built a city. The man listened quietly to the end, and said at the corner where we parted: "And yet there is a great deal of money made here, good morning, sir." Friedrich Engels ‘The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844’.

‘I can’t believe the rich still exist let alone run the fucking country mate’.
Jason Williamson

The Sleaford Mods have yet to mellow. This is a good thing. I doubt they ever will. On this their second album proper 14 songs tear past in a segued blur of articulate observations, rye humour, pumping beats, pained ‘fuck offs’ and an urgent need to projectile vomit whatever words are forming in Jason Williamson’s head.

‘Divide and Exit’ is all shoulders back bolshy bollocks, soggy ended roll up, gritty modern day angst. Recorded in what I assume was a flurry of creative energy over the last few months its rough edges and minimalist beats show Williamson and Fearn riding the top deck unafraid of leaving in what other bands would spend hours polishing out. Its rough edges are its virtues with songs being fluffed at the start ‘shit, just keep it going’ on ‘Liveable Shit’ and tongues being tied ‘print the A4, print the A forge … ahh fuck off’, on ‘Smithy’, ‘that was shit that end bit mate’ in the run off to ‘A Little Ditty’. They’re going that quick they daren’t slow down for fear of falling off.

For the most part Fearn’s beats now have a harder minimalist edge than on last years Austerity Dogs whilst Williamson’s rants now recall recent continental gigs with mentions of currywurst, cemeteries in Paris and posh pads, ‘He liked me because I made some informed remarks about the early years of his country, big mirror, lumps of drugs, his own private lift, shit pieces of art, matter of fact statements about how he’s picking his kids up in two hours, twat, as if’ [‘You’re Brave’]. But its at home that they still hit hardest. The single ‘Tweet, Tweet, Tweet’ and its sister last track ‘Middle Men’ are pounding blasts in which Williamson’s first and last shout is a frustrated ‘New Labour!’ Its ‘Tweet, Tweet Tweet’ that’ll have 'em jumping about though ‘this is the human race, UKIP and your disgrace’ twinned to an infectious descending bass run and a one fingered keyboard solo that's just so totally perfect and fitting it makes you go all limp.

The humour, rye observations and play on words titles are all still as potent, ‘What happened to Richard? All I see is gear’, ‘I feel like Elaine Paige but without the fucking tunes and Joe Cocker bollocks, ‘Chumbawamba weren’t political, they were just crap’ and my favourite ‘… tears, Top Gun glasses, the new opium of the lasses’.   

Its all being noted and within the pages of the latest Wire no less with a two page spread that also reviewed ‘Chubbed Up’ [English slang for a fattening, sexually aroused penis in case you didn’t know] as a downloadable collection of the four singles that were the Sleaford’s pulse of activity between Austerity Dogs and what we have here. The Wire review highlights the extent to which the Sleaford Mods are now managing to escape the gravitational pull of internet obscurity and entering the consciousness of everyday talk. Continental gigs are frequent with reports of shows in Germany and France getting the kind of crowd response not seen since punk first showed its spotty face. And on Saturday its Leeds [29th of March, Wharf Chambers].

Having listened to Divide and Exit for a couple of weeks now its grown on me somewhat. Having become familiar with Austerity Dogs along with a smattering of videos on Youtube and those clutch of singles, I thought I’d got the Sleaford’s sussed; perfectly timed epithets, Williamson’s accent, the way he says ‘fuck off’ so effectively, Fearn’s ‘munt minimalist’ beats and the way he keeps the blue end of his e-cig glowing through every thirty minute set. And then the first time I heard Divide and Exit I thought that apart from several cracking singles the rest wasn’t as immediate. I was wrong and now realise Divide and Exit is a better album than Austerity Dogs. The devil is in the detail. Pull out ‘Middle Men’ and study the lyrics, tear apart the bullhorn rant of the opener Air Conditioning and the nostalgia trip of Tiswaz, does anyone else write about what its like to enter a works toilet block first thing in the morning? Williamson does - ‘so I got in this morning and went in the loo and he walked out the cubicle and it fucking stunk ... and it glides through the air … livable shit you put up with it'. Tracks like Corgi [no prizes for guessing what that ones about] are effortless stabs in the eye. ‘Rags to Richards’ and ‘Tied up in Nottz’ are cheesy titles but they work dammit. 

There’s still plenty to explore. Like a dense novel its secrets are revealed with repeat listens and this is the best bit, it never gets boring. It never will. See you down the Wharf.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mark Wynn

No Fun [Not That One]. An EP by Mark Wynn
CDR + Poster Book [Zine].

Mrs. Fisher recounts the tale of being sat crossed legged in front of the telly watching Top of the Pops one Thursday evening when on comes Jilted John singing his immortal 1978 hit ‘Gordon is a Moron’. Mrs’ Fisher’s father, a WWII serving, Chartered Accountant peered over the top of his Daily Telegraph his knuckles growing ever whiter and in an angry voice said, ‘This really is the bitter end’.

But it wasn’t of course. Jilted John, nee Graham Fellows, nee John Shuttleworth was but the tip of the iceberg, an iceberg containing the likes of The Desperate Bicycles, Patrick Fitzgerald, Wreckless Eric, TV Personalities and perhaps at a squeeze but much later on the Popticians. Blokes and bands that sang songs on cheap guitars about unrequited love and brown paper bags and lemonade and Mrs. Thatcher and Bill Grundy, songs that were written behind bike sheds on pages ripped from A4 lined schoolbooks with fingers browned from too many Embassy Regals, songs that were about love, loss and life on £5 a week dole money and crying all the way to the fish shop cos yer bird had chucked yer.

In 2014 I never thought I’d hear anything like that lot ever again until Mark Wynn appeared in my inbox. Shortly afterwards a shiny disc appeared wrapped in a A5 zine with hand written muses and cut and paste figures of fun.

In 2014 I never thought I’d hear music that put such a ridiculously sloppy grin on my face but Wynn has managed to achieve the impossible. Along with the Sleaford’s he’s making the most life affirming music I’ve heard in about thirty years.

‘She Fancies Me That One In Age Concern’ begins with Wynn singing ‘This one is called ‘She Fancies Me That One In Age Concern’ its about how she fancies me that one in Age Concern, she fancies me that one in Age Concern ...’ over a two chord fuzz guitar thats twinned with another guitar as Wynn sings/talks the lyrics like he’s not singing them to you but to himself as if in reassurance over handclaps and a spazzy electric guitar solo. The drums are perfunctory things in the background, the bass is non-existence. Everything is over in a flash of ranting vocals and screams and everyday observations. On ‘Day Trip To Wakefield’ an acoustic guitar is strummed, ‘Can I cadge a cigarette she asked last night no sorry pet we’ve got a train to catch thats what he replies as we walked round the Queens Hotel in Leeds to get the delayed train to your [...] they wouldn’t let us through the barrier until ten minutes before because of something and I was a little bit drunk I didn’t mean to be but I was I think I should have had more to eat before I went out cos I was drunk’ and the guitars are fast and the tune is catchy and and lets pretend its 1978 again and that everything is fun once more and that Simon Cowell hasn’t been invented yet.

The first track BTYC [Blah] is 34 seconds long. The longest track [Knee Socks] is three minutes and 26 seconds long. Most of them chip around the two minute mark. My favourite is ‘Ray Davies Nicked All My Songs’ with the break where Wynn plays the chords from You Really Got Me [I think, its hard to tell its that raw] and has imaginary conversations with himself. But can he talk. Most of his songs, no make that all of his songs, are rattled off at a fair pace, words spat out like a demented fish wife with nobody to talk to. 

‘No Fun [Not That One]’ contains all the ingredients that have been missing from popular music for a long, long time; those words are fun and spontaneity. Having just spent an evening catching up with Wynn via the wonders of Youtube I now feel the same warmth that I felt in 1978 when I too first saw Jilted John on Top of the Pops.

Wynn has more depth than that of course. These are not novelty songs but they aint half fun. They’re songs sung about the minutiae of everyday life, its ups and downs, the conversations with strangers in pubs, the crap job in Aldi, the late train, the bland band he supported, some of the things that many people experience but few seem to use as influence.

Along with the Sleaford Mods’ Jason Williamson, Wynn is one of the few people I know who’s writing and singing about the human condition as it stands here and now at the beginning of 2014. But whereas the Sleaford’s come at you all snarling and swearing and swinging the severed head of David Cameron, Wynn arrives with a smile and an acoustic guitar. Take him to your concave chests my black hearted friends. He deserves much more than his fifteen minutes.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wants List 02 - A Tribute to Paul Williams

The last of the Paul Williams Wants Lists then. For those of you who missed the first list go here and get the full story.

These are spoof wants lists of the kind that used to pass around in letters in pre internet days. They were Paul Williams way of winding up the kind of people who deliberately wrote several impossibly obscure noise releases at the end of their missives in an attempt to make themselves look uber mode and far cooler than you’d ever be. Some people went as far as xeroxing multiple pages of wants lists that ran to hundreds of releases. In hindsight I should have printed these out and circulated them myself. The consternation it caused would have cheered Paul up no end.

Hanratty - Stiff and Well Hung. LP
Sinophile - Godzilla Tinnitus. CD
Sinophile - Stainless Steel Kurosawa. CD
Sinophile - Pixellated Genitalia. 7”
Hand Relief - The Urgent Sounds Of … LP
Executive Sperm - Rape Fantasies of the Rich and Famous. CD
NON - Isotonic Riefenstahl. 12”
Ineffectual Orgasm - Thalidomide Porn. 7”
Ineffectual Orgasm - The Hemophiliac Masochist. LP
Laibach - Eurovisionary. CD
Laibach - Starlight Express. LP
Masonna - Vaginal Thrush Dynamics. CD
Psychic TV - Never Give a Sucker and Even Break. LP
Coitus - Loose Sausagemeat. CD
Coitus - Wet Chin. 12”
Hyena Childbirth - Nekrospastik. LP
Hyena Childbirth - Double Kripple Kumshot. LP
Taint - Win Friends and Influence People. Cas
Extreme Old Ladies - Forced to Lactate. CD
Extreme Old Ladies - Broomhandle. 12”
Extreme Old Ladies - Young Lads Piss Parade. CD
Bernhard Günter - John Cage 4’33 Remix Project. 10 CD Box Set.
The Hungerford Gun Club - Dunblane Pastoral. 7”
Anal Mistress - Five Holes No Anus. Cas
Anal Mistress - Devoted to Crohn’s. Cas.
Anal Mistress - The Howard Hughes Collection. CD
Phillpe Branler - Bander Comme un Cerf. CD
Baroque Noise Treacle - Metal Machine Madrigals. CD
Baroque Noise Treacle - Albinoni Gang Rape Variations. CD
Saucy Jack - The Kidney Scented Classics of … LP
The Funny Men - Glazed Knuckles. 10” Pic Disc
The Funny Men - The Pleasure of Soft Fruit. LP
The Funny Men - Strategically Placed Hole. 7”
The Funny Men - Strategically Placed Appendage. 7”
The Funny Men - I’m Your New Daddy. LP
Eclampsia - Immersion Foot. CD
Eclampsia - Cardiac Tamponade. CD
V/A - Bamboo Oscillator. CD [Japnoise Comp]
The Despisers - Vinyl Flawing. 7” [Unplayable floor tile]
Newton St Boswells - Abject Slow Grind. CD

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Midwich - The Swift
Altar of Waste. CDR. 15 copies.

TJ Cuckoo - Vox Object
Hairdryer Excommunication. 3" CDR. 15 Copies.

Inseminoid - Vanessa Howard's Night Light
Sheepscar Light Industrial. SLI.022. 3" CDR. 50 copies.

Daniel Thomas - Codeine
Sheepscar Light Industrial. SLI.023. 3" CDR. 50 copies.

The Zero Map - Psychic Glass Dome
Sheepscar Light Industrial. SLI.024. 3" CDR. 50 copies.

Daniel Thomas - Revolution #21
Cherry Row Recordings. CDR. 25 copies.

Andy Jarvis/Filthy Turd - The Cattle are Ill, The Beer is Sour.
Angurosakuson CDR. AS#005 35 copies.

BBBlood - No Religion at the Salad Bar
Angurosakuson CDR. AS#006. 35 copies

You’ll find the word ‘Leeds’ running right through every one of these releases like Blackpool rock, be it label or artist. For these are fertile times in the city that brought you Marks and Spencers, The Sisters of Mercy, Jake Thackery, Mel B and er .. Jimmy Savile. It seems that you cant walk the streets these days without tripping up over a noise artist or a drone label that limits its releases to 50 copies or less.

Gone are the dark days when the noise/experimental/freak/drone scene spent many a waking hour looking for somewhere to rest its head after the Brudenell decided it wanted to attract bigger names and had had enough of French performance artists mock defecating melted chocolate on to its punters. The Fenton went all student indie, The Adelphi went, just went, working mens clubs on the edges of Middleton and other far flung outposts were left to die in puddles of their own spilt beer until one day the Wharf Chambers opened its doors. I have to admit to not having heard of the Wharf Chambers until the fateful day when Smell & Quim got the all dayer at the Royal Park Cellars chucked out and a deflated Phil Todd announced that the ‘Wharf Chambers have said we can use their space’. What could this place be I wondered? A venue that at a moments notice could take under its wing a rag taggle mob of punters and artists all carrying large bags of equipment and chips. Its been mentioned on these pages before but without the Wharf Chambers the Leeds noise/experimental/freak/drone scene would be struggling. Its between its walls that labels and artists like those assembled above can flourish.

So with the Crater Lake Festival still fresh in the memory lets take a look at what Leeds has to offer.

The first thing that needs to be said is that all these releases fulfil the no audience underground criteria as laid down by Leeds resident Rob Hayler [Midwich, Radio Free Midwich blog] perfectly. The Swift, Midwich’s 65 minute long drone piece featuring field recordings of accelerating motorbikes, the wife, dinner plates being cleaned and of course lots of swifts, all over a continuous, barely changing, rolling throb of a drone that eventually plateau's around the hour mark before coming in to land on what I think is called the chill out zone, exists in an edition of but 15 copies with no afterlife as a download either. To add further to the woes of Midwich fans in Leeds and the UK this release came out on an American label where postage rates are priced at levels designed to make grown men weep. Don’t worry though, these have all long since gone - I have copy number one, a fact which, for some reason, makes me feel ridiculously proud.

In another limited to 15 copies release we find examples of the kind of cross pollination that occurs between artists traversing this no audience underground. Using his nom de plume TJ Cuckoo we find Rob paying homage to Humberside’s premier scrape and scream merchant Yol. ‘Vox Object’ finds two vocal exercises book-ending a deep furnace like rumbling that is, lets face it, a flat out noise track. On the first track words are uttered by a brain that only half remembers them, a Dictaphone is kicked around a stone floor amidst a coughing fit. In the last a toy box is rummaged through, a track that is Rob imitating his young son and enjoying himself immensely whilst doing so. Coming from someone who used to create delightful melodies via a box with knobs on, Vox Object was as big a curve ball as you could have ever chucked me. Its existence gladdens my heart no end and is a fine example of what happens when one artist becomes influenced by another thus finding themselves gripped by a creative energy that impels them to destroy the usual recording parameters and record things when awoken at 3.40 a.m. by the nipper.

Also in Leeds, Daniel Thomas continues to build on the already firm foundations of Sheepscar Light Industrial with another timely trio of three inch CDR releases. Inseminoid’s ‘Vanessa Howard’s Night Light’ is all gloomy murky atmospheres aided by bursts of gloomy doomy guitar noise. A bit like Ritchie Blackmore trying to detune his guitar in a wind tunnel. Thomas’s own ‘Codeine’ is a single 20 minute throbbing drone pulled from various analogue gadgets no doubt recapturing the withdrawal of pain killing drugs after having a wisdom tooth pulled. An experience Thomas has recently undergone. The last five minutes are a delicious fade out where the barest of rumblings slowly recedes. Like the pain no doubt. Thomas’s offshoot label Cherry Row Recordings has already given us a belter with a collaboration between himself and Hairdryer Excommunication label cheese Kevin Sanders, a gorgeous mix of field recordings, drone and Industrial rhythms. His second release ‘Revolution #21’ is five tracks of subdued resonance and suburban drone with ‘Injunction’ being passing HGV's on wet roads as an aside to some thick droning snyth. The sixteen minute ‘Two Halves’ is all muffled choppy helicopter rhythms and smeared sci-fi debris.The mood is brooding and austere, perfectly reflecting the suburban atmosphere of Sheepscar itself.

I used to call The Zero Map, Zero Crap but that was only in my head and it didn’t really work anyway as it suggests they don’t do duff drone. Which they do, did, have and which I didn’t thank them for. Judging by this release those duff days are seemingly gone. We now have Psychic Glass Dome and three six minute pieces full of dreamy nuance, reverby, echo-y guitar [maybe a tad too soundtrack Cooder-esque but I’ll let that pass] over swirly synthscapes. The last track containing field recordings of dicky birds is heavenly.

Leeds resident Pascal Ansell’s Angurosakuson label seems to be picking up speed with a couple of recent releases, one that smears its face in dirty noise protest and another that wears its noise credentials as loudly as a bad shirt. The Andy Jarvis/Filthy Turd split ‘The Cattle Are Ill, The Beer Is Sour’ sees Jarvis deploy destroyed tape shenanigans with some dark, claustrophobic, chain clanking suction sounds that are littered with tiny squeals of feedback. An ugly noise if ever there was one.

Whats to be said of the Filthy Turd that hasn't already been said though? If you're down with the Filthster you'll know what to expect but as ever there are still surprises to be had. Here we get an almost Milovan vibe with chugging guitar rhythms coming out like an Hasil Adkins obsessed Strangulated Beatoffs fan, slurred words acting as lyrics of a sort. Don't worry tho fokes, the sampled Italian tenor and gargled horror voices are never far away, as are a slew of Dictaphone recordings that sound like they were recorded under the sink with rusty spanners.  

Which leaves us with this pages purest noise release. Paul Watson, aka BBBlood, who the last time I saw him was wild drunk and extolling the virtues of Leeds and mulling over whether he really should shun London for the North. ‘No Religion at the Salad Bar’ is two tracks of the noise makers art which if left unchecked have the capability to involuntary spasm the spine into wide eyed erectness. Watson’s live shows have been of the highest order and a testament to the noise artists craft, with ‘Collapse, Decay, Descend’ he may begin with some TNB fumblings but once he it hits his strap you know about it - full throttle, seat of the pants, hanging on to the edge of a table for dear life blasts of thundering noise. ‘Zagreb’ origins are equally squally and there are breaks for you to catch your breath in which small boulders can be heard being crumbled but once that noise burst hits you its like having your face pitted with iron filings in a blizzard. 

The no audience underground exists in these tiny editions because the audience is in itself tiny. Paul Watson said to me [whilst in an empathetic mood no doubt brought on by several bottles of something alcoholic] ‘why cant we all be nice to each other? We need to give each other as much encouragement as we can’. I may be paraphrasing somewhat and he’s right but that doesn’t mean I have to encourage vanity projects and lost causes. There are no lost causes or vanity projects here though, only people who are serious and passionate about what they’re doing and this is only a bit of it, the list of people producing exciting and challenging work in Leeds is an ever growing one.

Micro run releases are there to entice, some may be available as downloads, some are definitely not, these are the real tease. Entry is via a shared enthusiasm or a bottle of Sam Smiths. I can never remember which.



Altar of Waste

Sheepscar Light Industrial

Cherry Row Recordings

Hairdryer Excommunication

Saturday, March 15, 2014

2014 Crater Lake Festival

Clive Henry [I think?]

Dutch Oven [setting up]

Hooligan Harmonics

Chastity Potato


Filthy Turd

Yol/Filthy Turd

Crater Lake Festival. 8th March 2014. Leeds, Wharf Chambers.

Lobster Priest
The Subs(cribers)
Brittle / Fettle
Filthy Turd & Yol
Clive Henry
Chastity Potato
Hobo Head
Slow Listener
Paul Watson & Duncan Harrison
Dutch Oven
Hooligan Harmonics

‘Are you writing this up?’ the Bearded Wonder shouted in my ear as Hooligan Harmonics began their set at 3.30 on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Leeds. I do sometimes write gigs up the day after so as to try and capture the spirit of thing before it departs my weary soul for some place less forgiving but for some reason I didn’t write Crater Lake up until now, six days later.

I can’t tell you why. Perhaps it was because I didn’t want to come over as too enthusiastic a Leeds noise fan boy high on the sounds emanating from the Wharf Chambers. Perhaps it was the camaraderie that wafted in the air like love sarin infecting all that shuffled in to that small room off a side street nearer the Duck and Drake as trains rattled past overhead. Maybe it was the veg curry that the WC staff knocked up from stuff bought from market stall holders across the way as they cleared their stalls for the day. Maybe it was the sight of a six month old baby sat on his fathers shoulders wearing ear defenders or the fact that I managed to park the limo right outside the venue with no fuss thus facilitating the recycling of numerous cassettes to the boot of Andy Jarvis’s car that was neatly tucked into the back courtyard of the WC.

There were countless instances as to why the 2014 Crater Lake Festival will live long in the memory and not all of them are to do with what I saw and heard. A lot has to do with who I met and what I talked about. I talked about Radio 3 and Kindles and Frank Zappa and 60ft burning bras, I talked Bongoleeros with a Bongoleero, I talked about my total ignorance of noise gadgets. There was no exact special moment that you could accurately pinpoint. It just felt good to be there.

Of the fifty or sixty people that were there I dare say that every single one of them was involved in some way or another with making noise or reporting on it or releasing it and to be there was to be a part of it, all of us with a red felt tip pen cross on their back of their hand [which I had to ask for as I got let in without one as the pen wasn’t ready yet ‘oh we know who you are’ said a friendly face].

But without anything decent to listen to this would be just a reciprocal circle jerk exercise. Thankfully it was anything but. And like the Bearded Wonder I am not going to sit down and give you a blow by blow account of what it was I saw between the hours of 3.30 and the exact time that Filthy Turd and Yol took a bow at around 8.30 as that would be stretching your patience and my capabilities of recall. I don’t take notes. I do take a few pictures but they usually turn out crap. I’m here to report that the Leeds noise ‘scene’ is as healthy as I’ve ever known it and that the Wharf Chambers is a friendly venue that sells Sam Smiths beers for not much money and that  Crater Lake attracts people from across the country, some of who turn up to play, others to watch and listen.

They’re an appreciative audience too. Applauding three blokes [including Cann] who kneel stage front, backs to the audience [au natural] to modify the wheezes emanating from their mouth organs, there’s three ladies who take a table full of toys and gadgets and a coffee machine to make gurgling, ticking, rummaging, throbbing sounds before handing out the coffee they’ve made. There’s collaborations aplenty which gives people the chance to experiment, be it with balloons, tapes or someone whose work they’ve admired. One half of Chastity Potato plays with his boxer shorts on his head, Hobo Head build to noise nirvana utilising strobes, Slow Listener leans into a machine that oozes samples of his own voice, Paul Watson [The Baron] tries his best not obliterate Duncan Harrison, Clive Henry takes a leaf out of the Shimpfluch Gruppe book with a sit down, fall down performance in which he plugs in a cardboard box on his lap before tumbling head first in to a flight box all whilst making lots of noise. What everyone had been waiting for though was the Filthy Turd/Yol collaboration. With a thin strip of tin and a fork Yol produces some incredibly painful squeals, couple these to his Tourettes like delivery and you have the prefect match to the masked Filthy Turds suitcase full of junk overloaded cassette gubbins. They’re true professionals and they have a set list which they stick to. They wander amongst us waving hand bells, screaming and shouting, Filthy wearing a bog seat around his neck. Filthy picks up whats left of an electric guitar and bashes out a song. Hank Mizell’s Jungle Rock bleeds from the speakers as if its being blasted by an elephant gun. Filthy points at us, rubs our ears. Yol’s neck muscles are fit burst the tendons standing out like suspension bridge wires.

Beery arms are thrown over shoulders, hands are shook, friends are made for life. They’re an appreciative lot the Wharf Chambers crowd. I wish I could have stopped and soaked up the rest of it. After five hours I was but getting in to my stride but I had to nip and shoot.

The only person who seemed to be struggling was Pete Cann himself whose birthday Crater Lake celebrates. A bout of illness had left him feeling less than 100% but he battled gamely on. He also lost money. A £5 entry fee for a full days entertainment is ridiculously cheap and the shortfall needs to be made up. So if you want to help him out you can paypal him some much needed cash to his email address pete_cann [at]

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Wants List 01 - A Tribute to Paul Williams

In the days before the Internet people used to write to each other and if you were into noise you usually had a ‘wants list’ tagged on to the end of your letter. This list would contain a number of highly sought after noise items that, if you were lucky, would be sat on someone’s shelf awaiting a buyer. You.

In the days before the Internet I used to correspond with a chap in Wolverhampton called Paul Williams. Paul had a wicked sense of humour which belied his ill health. He used to listen to lots of noise releases as way of catharsis, most of which he taped for me, far more than I could ever physically listen to. And then one day the letters stopped arriving. To my eternal shame I’m sad to say I didn’t have the nerve to write to his address to find out what had happened to him.

On Saturday at the Crater Lake festival I passed his tapes on to the Filthy Turd. I passed a lot of tapes on to the Filthy Turd. In fact I passed on about 90% of all my tapes to the Filthy Turd. I no longer listened to them. He’ll recycle them and someone will listen to them and get enjoyment out of them which is a far better life for them than sitting in a box going moldy.

Paul Williams used to tag on spoof wants lists to the end of his letters. I used to print them off when I did the paper zine but during the recent clear out I cam across his correspondence and decided that these wants lists needed reprinting. Here for your delectation then is a Paul Williams wants lists. More to follow.

Hafler Trio - The Uncircumcised Ear. CD
Crisis Management - Monkey Virus. Cas
Willy Prader - Obesity in Surroundsound. CD
Willy Prader - 28 Stone Sex Drive. CD
Smallpox - The Wonderful World of … LP
Smallpox - Dirty Weekend in Burkina Faso. CD
Cock ESP with Little Oral Annie - Annie Get Your Gunk. 12”
Foetus - Thumb. 12”
Thee Psychick Zygons - Thee Evils of Stereo. CD
The Dads - No Wife of Mine. LP
The Dads - Happy Fathers Day. 2XCD [Obscure Jap psychedelic group of the 70’s]
Merzbow - Self Adjusting Symmetrico Restorator Corporiform. CD
Merzbow - Ninja Audiologist. LP
Merzbow - Iron Clad Cochlear Implant. CD
Merzbow - Pufferfish. 7”
Merzbow - We Do Not Give Change. LP
Eating Disorder - Zavaroni. CD
Hanratty - Stiff and Well Hung. LP
Aube - Chain. Cas
Aube - Cistern. Cas
Aube - Seat. Cas
Sutcliffe Jugend - Impotent Rage. 7”
Renaissance Noise Pump - The Buggers Opera. 12”
Renaissance Noise Pump - Choral Sex. 7”
Episiotomy Patrol - Dedicated to Virginia Rappe. CD
Episiotomy Patrol - Reggie No-Dick. LP
Episiotomy Patrol - Nylon. 12”
Episiotomy Patrol - Depilator. LP
Unley Stanwin - Wineglass Sonata. LP
Unley Stanwin - Works for Stringless quartet. 2LP
Unley Stanwin - Nonophonic Workshop. CD
Ceasescu Foundation - Petra Groza Hospital Disco. CD
Ceasescu Foundation - Col Corbus Limousine. 7”
The Small Parts - Choking Hazard. LP
The Small Parts - Peanut Envy/Buggered Almonds. 10” Picture disc
Robespierre’s Buggerboy - Ventriqual Anus. CD
Public Safety Unit - We Love You Idi Amin Dada. 7”
Con-Dom - High Pitched Communion Whine. Cas
The Francisco Lopez Big Band - Big Band Minimalist Classics. 2CD
Dysuric Grimace - Zine. Issues, 1,2,3 and 5
Parrot Face - Zine. Full run issues 1-7
Noise Constipation - Zine. Number 1 with Episiotomy Patrol 7” flexi
The Dilators - Just Vaginal. Thank You. 7”
The Dilators - Why Rape Her When You Can Dilate Her? LP
Eels For Pleasure - Supreme Elephantine Bukake. CD
Eels For Pleasure - Bestial Porn Fluffer. 12”
Eels For Pleasure - Syrup of Pigs. CD
Jalapeno Exlax - I Wanna be Penderecki’s Dog. 7”
Psychic TV - Magnolia Emulsion. LP
The Shitartist - The Ambient Colitis Collection. 2CD
The Shitartist - Foaming Diarrhea Variations. CD
The Shitartist - MCD
Rhodesian Slang - Anthrax Spores in Bubblewrap. CD
Hanatarash - Hanatarash Perform Mahler. LP
Streisand - Dog Training With Electricity. CD
Spitchcock - Cast Iron Cock. CD
Spitchcock - Sculptures in Corned Beef. CD
The Porn Dubbers - Animal Farm Vs Nazi Atrocities. CD
Colonic Irritator - Ultra Noise Suppository. CD
Spilth - Lesbian Foot Fucking. 12”
Spilth - Lactating Granny Action. 12”
Neiil Cream - The Monkey Concertos. 2CD
Little Ilsa - Eugenic Music For Eugenic People. CD
The Quivering Flanks - Bolthole Misalignment. CD
Tumblety - Fully Automated Vulva. 12”
Tumblety - Your Ovaries in my Carpet Bag. 12”
Prolix - The Drone Zine. Issues 1 + 2
Carbonated Piss - Zine. Issue 5
Transdermal Listening Experience - Skinner’s Musical Box. CD
Acid Mothers Temple - Je T’aime Moi Non Plus. 7”
Acid Mothers Temple - I am Your Electronic Sophia Loren. CD
Acid Mothers Temple - Hypnogogic Mothra Mantra. CD
Shirley Temple Noise Consortium - Animal Faeces In MY Soup. 10”

‘Any fake lists should be given an air of authenticity with the application of tea/coffee spills, cup rings and manic pencil marginalia about ‘condition ‘m-vg+’, ‘ltd ed’, ‘col vin’ etc, etc…..’

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Various Artists - Stein: [Interpretations eines Geologischen Materials und Seiner Symbolik]

Various Artists - Stein: [Interpretations eines Geologischen Materials und Seiner Symbolik]
DLP + 7”. 16 pp booklet.
199 copies.

Irgun Z’Wai Leumi
Hal Hutchinson
Niellerade Fallibilisthorstar
Jeph Jerman
Clew of Thesus
Kristian Olsson
Dieter Müh
Feine Trinkers Bei Pinkels Daheim

When Chris Bohn [the editor of Wire magazine] took Noise and Industrial artists to task in one of his editorials a couple of years back I took him to task, only for the Wire to copy and paste my blog post [minus the Snotnosed review it prefaced of course] straight into their letters page without even having the decency to email me to ask first. Damned cheek. Either it was a well written riposte or they were hard up for letters that month. I’ll let you decide.

In March’s issue Bohn once again loaded his cudgels this time with Industrial music in his sights. ‘Industrial culture’s not dead - I’d say more’s the pity’ before going on to explain that its acts like Skinny Puppy, Ministry, Front Line Assembly, Nine Inch Nails and their ilk he saves his ire for blaming the original wave of Industrial acts [Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, NON, Laibach, Coil et al] for opening a window through which those ‘heavily mascara’d industrial rock emo’s’ could crawl through.

I too would be much happier not having to live in a world where Ministry and Nine Inch Nails ply their trade but once that windows open you’re buggered - you cant shut it just because you don’t like whats jumped through it. The cats out of the bag whether you like it or not.

That first wave of industrial culture isn’t just the preserve of those ‘heavily mascara’d emo’s’ though. Industrial Culture continues to influence a very different breed of artists, not all of whom are reliant on transgressive material and a user friendly website to further their cause.

I’d put a fair amount of money on all of the artists appearing on Verlautbarung’s mammoth double LP/7” release having within their walls a smattering of Throbbing Gristle’s output. That doesn’t mean they’ve produced music that requires mascara and a pounding Industrial beat to fill out a hockey arena with or have album covers featuring rotting corpses.

Verlautbarung asked all of the 15 artists involved to use stone as a concept in their work. Some took it literally, others more conceptually [for example AMPH with the boxer Roberto Duran a.k.a. Hands of Stone] and although I found no trace of someone banging two pebbles together I did find traces of Power Electronics [Irgun Z’wai Leumi, Värtgärd] and remarkable comparisons to early TNB garden shed compositions [Hal Hutchinson] amongst plenty of Industrial Ambience and loop type experimentation from lots of people who are new to me. Transgressive material appears in the accompanying booklet courtesy of a photo of George Mallory’s mummified remains lying bleached on the slopes of Everest, apart from that its mainly rocks.

Industrial Ambience looms largest though, Doroga’s random clanging of deadened tubular bells is distinctly bleak and funereal, the Dieter Müh track that follows it is grinding flour wheels and syrup thick cardiac rhythms, OCHU’s ‘For George Mallory’ does indeed sound like someone sliding down a gravel encrusted slope as a dented cow bell is struck in mock funeral tones. Some used stone as a sound source such as Jeph Jerman who’s managed to make stones sound like underwater machinery, others tape loops [MNEM], some sound like a massed march through rubble [AMPH].

Unusually for a compilation I found myself warming to all of it, no mean feat and the sign of some serious quality control going on. I thought I’d heard its best but it wasn’t until I got to side ‘e’ of the seven incher that I got the wind knocked out of me. Contrastate, those enigmatic purveyors of mysterious music, without the aid of mascara or podium or a helpful Merch tab on their website present ‘Haunted’ an aptly titled track drenched in layers of eldritch that disappears into the ether leaving behind it a trail of votive incense. Its softly spoken, half sung vocals are a repentant Catholic priest speaking in tongues, melodic, eerie and genuinely unnerving. Dunno where the stones were though.  

Verlautbarung is a vinyl only label and this is their fourth release.


Contact: Verlautbarung

Tuesday, March 04, 2014


SPON 39 - Untouched By Human Hand
12 page A4 zine.

So farewell then SPON. I wasn’t there at the start but I was there at the end. For this is the end. No more will the unpredictable glory that was Dr Adolf Steg’s SPON stain my doorstep.

SPON wasn’t just a zine or a comic, SPON could be anything that Dr Steg wanted it to be: Ziplock bags filled with rubbish, the jaw bone of an animal, a eulogy on DVD to his late father in law, straight reprints of American zines containing signed photos of Gracie Fields, plastic tidy boxes with Rawlplugs, screws, bits of crayon, marbles, safety pins, bottle caps, tile spacers and various other oddments in them, some SPON’s were surreal takes on Judge Dread, some lauded Brion Gysin and Peter Cooke, some came in plastic wallets filled with original art work, one issue was all portraits, others were filled with Steg’s own surreal creatures. All of them made doing this, putting words on paper, worthwhile and I shall miss it terribly.

SPON 39, as it says on the cover, is untouched by human hands. The marks on these pages [barring the words on the cover of course] were made by wind up toys as bought by Dr Steg during a recent trip to Istanbul [where he narrowly missed getting dragged in to the recent street protests for his troubles].

I dare say Dr Steg will continue to produce works of art from various outposts along the Fylde coast. I’m reliably informed he’s already been roped in to the up and coming Manchester Black Leather Jesus show where he’ll be once again assisting Smell & Quim, two feet from the left hand PA stack like last time I suppose. I hope he continues to collaborate with both Smell & Quim and the Ceramic Hobs whose last album cover contained a fine Steg screen print. We haven’t seen the last of him, only SPON.