Hope Show 111 – The Lowdown

shelltosea

http://radioactiveinternational.org/hope-show-111/

Hope Show 111
1. The Blades – The Last Man In Europe
2. Mighty Midgets – Burn After Rolling
3. Wonk Unit – Nan
4. Bad Brains – I and I Survive
5. Jinx Lennon – Conquistadors of Gas
6. Ghost Mice – Samhain
7. Weakerthans – Watermark
8. A Witness – I Love You Mr Disposable Razor
9. The Modern Lovers – Government Center
10. Flies On You – Hangdog
11. Down and Outs – Our Independence Day
12. Down and Outs – Forgotten Streets
13. Antidote – I Don’t Care
14. Eastfield – Three Chords Good, Four Chords Bad
15. The Domestics – Orchestrate Your Pose
16. Billy Liar – Is It Me?
17. Bill Blood – Just Got Paid
18. David Grubbs – A Dream To Help Me Sleep
19. Hands Up Who Wants to die – Burnt Yesterday
20. Stay Clean Jolene – Heads and Breakables
21. Rvivr – Wrong Way / One Way

I love the Blades, They are from DUblin and are at the stage now where they do an annual show. The Last Man In Europe was released in 1986 and sounds like it could have been yesterday.

I wrote a piece about TNS Records, one of the first in my series of labels of the week. It has an extensive and wide reaching catalogue. All comes down to punk rock though. Mighty Midgets are from Denmark and Wonk UNit from London. Power and Pop mixed.

“Why must all people keep on shooting and a robbing
Why must all people keep om killing and a fighting”

What else can you say? Bad Brains. good for many things. I saw a documentary on DC punk during the week and Bad Brains were spoken of as strong influencers and the Rock For Light album really is a groundbreaker. This is one of the few songs that don’t take you on an energetic trail of destruction with its speed.

I picked up a very interesting triple Cd during the week, Songs Of Solidarity and Resistance. Three cd’s full of music and a booklet documenting the Shell to Sea campaign and all the battles along the way for the rossport five. Jinx Lennon’s conquistadors of gas talks of the how many view the taking of Irelands Natural Resources. More infor here

I read with some dissapointment recently that Plan-it-x was shutting for business . So many great releases but it just shows that it is ordinary people behind these great labels and sometimes it’s hard to sustain all the creativity all the while living your life alongside it. You can still get their releases to date from No Idea records

The Weakerthans have released many great albums. This is from the Canadians initial Left And Leaving

A Witness have a strange quirk about their pop and any band that can sing about disposable razors has to garner some respect. Back playing these days, look out for them.

I bought my first ever Modern Lovers record during the week. Of course I have Road runner on many compilations but the Modern Lovers is my first album to own by Johnathan Richman. Better late than never I suppose.

Flies On You have plenty of plans for the year ahead. The two piece from Leeds brought out the etc. album yesterday. A post punk, post goth post everything collection of sounds with the drum machine, guitar axe and steady bass to accompany Doug’s gnarly voice

Down and Out’s have a sizeable back catalog, Liverpool punks usually offer a fast pop punk sound but I picked “Our Independence Day” and “Forgotten Streets” to show their diverse collection for tonights show

Antidote appeared on a punk shit compilation with a song I don’t care, guess they are not interested in being on a radio show either. It’s interesting how many different viewpoints that fall under the punk rock banner, I guess it’s like a classroom, everyone has a different view. We are all individuals after all.

Eastfield are from Birmingham, their understated new album, “Another Boring Eastfield album – a rail punk colection” is out now as is the Domestics Keep it lean, an interesting hardcore band from East Anglia not to be confused with the rock band form Portland.

I’ve seen Billy Liar a couple of times, one vulnerable man and an acoustic guitar. He batters and belts out the chords in a frenetic and energetic setting.

Bill Blood is almost the opposite. Laid back and reflective. One man and his guitar but so many ways to play it. Bill is Niall from Dublin legends, Redneck Manifesto.

The David Grubbs song is from a compilation benefit that has an excellent soundtrack. It is a benefit for producer J. Robbins son Callum and J has produced and played in many great bands. David Grubbs has played in many greats also.

Hands Up Who Wants to Die brought out their Vega In the Lyre album in September 2014. A collection of hard hitting noise rock punk songs as opposed to punk rock noise.

Stay Clean Jolene just have great songs. Why haven’t you got the album yet?

Finishing tonight with RVIVR, I just love this song and would play it every week if i could. Sometimes I go jogging and if I’m struggling up a hill or against the breeze I pop this song on and smile and look for a brighter future. Sing along
“Wrong Way down a one way street, Promising myself that I just don’t care”

 

niallhope

Podcast of the Week – Football Weekly

footballweekly

Podcast of the week

Football Weekly

The main thrust of this blog is to promote independent and DIY music and culture. Podcasts championed to date have all been promoting music of this ilk but for this weeks one I am looking at something different. I have been watching football, specifically soccer in England, ever since Dennis Law’s back heel sent Mancheter United down for their last relegation. I smiled when Law cried and spent a short time following the trials of this team from Lancashire before moving on to Blackpool as I went there on holidays. I find it more interesting following the underdog. Maybe that’s why I went down this road with punk rock, veganism, trade unionism. I like championing the minority and as middle age approached I reflect on a life screaming for the voiceless.

Since that back heel in 1974 English football has had many changes and it’s the Vanaram league and Forest green Rovers that gets more of my attentions these days. However, as a parent of three kids, the allure of the English Premiership is never too far away. So whilist I have no affinity to clubs in the league or to most people playing in it I do like hearing the stories each week that James Richardson and co spew out in Football Weekly. Tales of rich footballers and clubs are somehow spoken as if they are human beings (which of course they are). it is an irreverant look at the superstar world and its twice weekly offerings give us some feeling that football is still a beautiful game and not just a product for entertainment.

niallhope

 

This weeks news – Jan 29

discharge

Big gig this week is the return of Original speedcore band, Discharge.  Mixing Metal with punk and US hardcore Discharge were groundbreaking.  Along with GBH’s leather. bristles and studs attitude Discharge took punk and brought it to a new place.  Aggressive and outspoken.

 

Gigs this week

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feb 12 – Frank Turner + Sleeping Souls, The Academy

Feb 12 – Cian Nugent + The Cosmos, Grand Social

Feb 12 – The flex+ Obstruct, Tenterhooks

Feb 13 – Richie Ramone, Vodoo Lounge

Feb 14 – Suicidal Tendencies, The Academy

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

Feb 18-Alright the Captain + Steve Strong Music + A Werewolf! + We Come In Pieces, Roisin Dubh, Galway

Feb 19 – Jungbluth + Bacchus, Tenterhooks

Feb 19-Alright the Captain + Steve Strong Music + A Werewolf! + We Come In Pieces, Cobblestone Joes- Limerick

Feb 22 – Baio, The Workmans Club

Feb 23- Shearwater, The Button Factory

March 3 – Lee Scratch Perry, The Academy

March 5 – The Cult, Vicar Street

March 9 – Toby Driver, Bello Bar

March 10 – The Wonder Stuff, the Academy

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

March 13 – Cradle of Filth, The Academy

March 22 – Battles, Button factory

March 26 – At The Drive In +Le Butcherettes, Vicar Street

March 31 – Protomartyr, The Workmans Club

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

April 2 – The Meatboides, The Workmans Club

April 8 – THE Defects + SFU +The Nils + Spaz Attack, One The Rox

April8- Toby Kaar, The Workmans Club

April 17 – Basia Bulat, The Workmans Club

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

My Favourite Gig – Craig Wedren

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

 

craig

Craig Wedren – Shudder To Think –

X + The Replacements,

Cleveland 1980

 

Here’s one of many ‘favourite show’ memories.. I was 14, and my favourite band was X. Matt Fields’ mom (the ‘cool’ mom with the monstrous vinyl collection) took us all in a van to see them on the ‘More Fun In The New World’ tour. I think it was me, Matt, maybe David Wain, and Scott Harbert, the guitar player for my 8th grade band ‘Immoral Minority’. We were living in Cleveland, sitting in the back trembling with excitement, holding hands and singing every X song.

 

The show was in an old theatre with built-in seating. The audience was sitting down -very polite and adult- during the opening act. I saw John and Exene standing behind the bass rig and immediately got out of my seat and walked to the very front of the stage to try and be as close as possible to my heroes, and maybe get they’re attention. The lead singer of the opening band, who were all sitting on stools, stopped mid-song, looked down at me, and shouted ‘HEY KID, WADDAYA THINK THIS IS, A ROCK AND ROLL SHOW?!!’

 

I was mortified and fled back to my seat. I remember thinking the band was pretty good, even though I was there for one reason, and one reason ONLY. A year or so later the album ‘Let It Be’ came out and changed all of our lives (and music), at which point I realized the guy that had shouted me down was Paul Westerberg, the opening band The Replacements. In subsequent years I would get to work with John and Exene from X, and had a friendly acquaintance with Tommy Stinson (who can’t have been much older than me playing bass at that magnificent show), but I’ve never met Paul, and would probably be as awed/terrified now as I was then. That was a damn good show.

craig wedren

2015 Gigs of the Year: Heathers

Gigs of the Year

Heathers
Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology
15 September 2015

In mid-September, the sounds of both the veteran and new upstarts of punk rock were still fresh in my ears. The annual Blackpool Rebellion summer festival is a parade of punks that would be spectacular anywhere. Yet it is particularly spectacular because of its location. While, as John Robb so eloquently stated, Blackpool is the ‘tatty seaside town’ personified, the punks gather and stomp in the mighty and magnificent ballroom that in the past hosted the bright lights of ballroom dancing, comedy and even politics. Do the punks have a good time? Oh, yes they do.

And here I was in another seaside town, this time the Dublin suburb of Dun Laoghaire when I chanced upon a gig that was so quietly ‘promoted’ that it was almost a secret. Naturally I recalled the first time I saw the Heathers live, in the summer of 2007, in what I believe was their debut gig, in Dublin’s Lower Deck venue, appropriately by the banks of a canal. I saw the band many times in the two or three years after that introduction. And I never saw them do anything less than a fantastic show despite the variety of venues in which they performed. I saw them in a suburban Deansgrange back garden, and I even remember them playing in the lobby of the Project Arts Centre with their extraordinary ability to make everyplace feel like home, and every member of the audience feel like a welcome guest into that home.

To my ears, Ellie and Louise MacNamara, who make up the Heathers, were the best band of that mid-2000-2010 generation. And so tonight, at a post-tea time gig, was like seeing old friends I had not seen in a long time. The audience was hardly inspiring; in particular a few drunken student lads who were probably giggling at the same jokes as they had been in secondary school. Banter and bluster and pre-drinks, I suspect, or ‘prinks’ as they are now known as in this part of the world.

If I was playing for them I wouldn’t have felt the urge to deliver my best….but that’s where I am differ from Heathers. Ellie and Louise played as fine a gig as anyone could expect, the sort of gig I imagine people play when the audience numbers in the thousands rather than the tens. It was noticeable how much stronger their voices are since those early, precious and spell-binding gigs. Yet the magic is still there, and is just as potent. They introduced their brother Martin, who played the perfect accompaniment on electric guitar. And while Louise and Ellie used to generate their own electricity with just their voices and acoustic guitar, tonight Martin MacNamara brought shadows and light to their sound, never taking anything from his two sisters.

They delicately picked Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’ apart and made it the perfect sound for September suburbs; equally they embroidered Lana Del Ray’s Summertime Sadness with a delicacy the original lacks. And between these covers they played a new song, which might have been called Winter, which held its own even in such mega-selling company. They have also lost some of the shyness which marked their early shows, and are happy and engaging and funny in a spontaneous way. They told tales of hypochondria and fears of the ‘freak spiders’ which have begun to appear in Ireland; tourist spiders perhaps, attracted by the Irish Tourist Board’s use of Heathers’ music in their ads.

Songs like Forget Me Notes sparkled even in the Spartan setting, and it was not just nostalgia that made songs like Remember When, sound great. They were also gracious to the audience, and not in a creepy crawly way that the fake pop starts can be. They reminisced about how they ‘always have such a great time at IADT’. They are probably unaware just how much wonderful gigs by incredible artists can bring magic, artistry and inspiration to any school or college. It should never have been a remarkably gig, yet it was. Brilliant and wonderful.

It was a treat seeing a band I had not heard for a few years and discovering that they were even better now. I look forward to hearing more from them, and from their brother Martin, in 2016.

Michael Mary Murphy

https://www.youtube.com/heathers

Bands That Changed a life – The Pleasure Cell

Bands that saved a life
The Pleasure Cell

Picture the scene. A boy with an attitude. Wanting to change a world be believes is coming to get him. Him and his punk mates. Only. Everyone over 21 is out to get him. Noone understands. Only when his music is playing is he happy. It’s 1985 and Dublin is grey. School means nothing. There’s very few jobs anyway. As a kid this boy loved sport. Played all day. Then punk rock became his training sessions. Bass guitar and plectrums replaced footballs and boots. Writing letters became his passion. Writing to people in bands. Waiting for those postal deliveries. Twice a day.

Of course the distraction of school existed. One day there was a small piece in Hot Press magazine about a band called The Pleasure Cell. It seemed interesting. The band were singing abut life in Finglas and listened to English counterparts like new Model Army. The lead singer was a recovering heroin addict and was happy to discuss it. They were giving some lunchtime talks in Bolton Street College. School attendance would be a problem, Of course that turned into no problem as a walk into town on the day of the Bolton Street gig was the only wise thing. Worry about school afterwards.

And so I trooped into Bolton Street and was blown away by the honesty of the three playing members and 1 non playing member of the band. As someone who didn’t drink swimming above water in a sea of alcohol that was my community I wanted in. Then the band played a set. I was rooted to my set. I wanted to go up and hug the 4 lads. Thanks, I’ve found what I’m looking for.

After that I went to see them play ahenever and wherever. They were so inclusive and encouraging in all I did. The band I was in at the time, Kill Devil Hill, played a mutated psychobilly sonud. It was fun but I was never really part of it. When the Pleasure cell were going to appear on Irelands biggest tv programme (most tv sets in the country had this show on every week) Noel was going to sing proudly wearing his homemade Kill Devil Hill t-shirt. I hadn’t the heart to tell him the night before when he finished it that we had split up that day. I did tell him and he wore his shirt buttoned over iot on the night.

They fused the Clash and new Model Army and had some rousing songs. Whether singing about police violence, changing your world or screaming for a brighter future they ploughed an independent route. Their self-released New Age single came out in 1988 on their own Statement label. With the single they issued a brick when sending it to the press. Do with this as you will.

Grey Dublin held little allure for people wishing to play music in the 80’s and the band headed to London, saaadly for me. When I travelled to see them in Hammersmith Clarendon they seemed to think that image might help them obtain some sort of record deal. As they squatted around Hammersmith they practiced and played wherever possible but never quite made that breakthrough. When they left Dublin they played to a packed Teachers Club, that was their highlight. Sold it out on their own merits.

After that they became one of the many thousands who emigrated, lost in the dreams of a better workd outside green and grey Ireland. They left a huge mark on me and when we were putting things together as Hope Promotions / Collective I endeavoured to emulate the Pleasure Cell philosophy at their gig. Greet people as they come in, treat them as you would wish to be treated. That way we can all be in this together

niallhope

Zine of the week – Ablaze

ablaze

Zine of the Week
Ablaze
buy here
 

I picked up Ablaze *11 last week and have been enthused by its writings. SO much so that I did a radio show featuring solely bands that were in it. Karren has a a style of expression that is exciting and she wants you to like her bands. Wants you to know all about them. Not only are there some great interviews but there’sa breakdown of music and releases in there too. So we get the Sleaford mods talking about their outlook on British music scene and then get a critical analysis of their recorded output.

It’s just great. Want to know about Indian Music scene, mostly the post rock of aswekeepsearching well read ablaze. Want to remember Stereolab or read about Sleater Kinney and their conneciton to Sky Larkin? Read ablaze. Want to know about upcoming diy riot grrl influenced bands? Read ablaze. Want to know about Catalan diy band Trebat? Read ablaze. There’s so much in it. Buy for sure

The following piece is taken from Ablaze with the permission of both the editor Karren and the band Thee Faction. Thee Faction are proudly wearing their politics on their sleeves. They want this world to change and they are trying to use music to help effect it

Posterity Not Austerity
Thee Faction

There’s a bit of a myth around Thee Faction, which predates the current line up, but
suffice to say that some of the band have been doing their thing since the 80s, while some of us answered the call more recently. This incarnation is a direct response to the election of the 2010 Conservative government while our musical roots are in earlier influences. One is radical soul: that time in the late 60s/early 70s when the likes of the Staples Singers, Curtis Mayfield, and later Motown and the O Jays, put aside singing about love to write songs about the political struggle. Another influence is The MC5, for much the same reason, but we’re not promoting rock
cliché or looking for our next fix: we blend that aesthetic with the homegrown RnB of Dr Feelgood and the original punk/pub scene. Thee Faction are an urgent, wired-up
attack rather than some smug cod-blues lethargy. With Brass Kapital on horns, the
influence of the early Dexys sound comes into the mix too, alongside everything
from northern soul to hard rock.

The 80s hang over all of us, politically and musically, because we’re ruled by
people of that generation, and in pop-culture terms that was a deeply politicised
time, between Thatcherism and the Cold War. Everyone from Springsteen to the Style Council raised money for the miners, and it was standard for pop bands (Communards, Blow Monkeys, Fine Young Cannibals, Frankie, Depeche Mode) to write political songs and use soviet-chic sleeve design. But the underground scene aside, those bands were all supported by major record companies: the revolution was monetised. The situation now has us swimming upstream. Every month someone else in the media bemoans the lack of politics in pop music – or as is implied by omission, all music. We know therwise because we play events with political folk artists (Robb Johnson, Grace Petrie), political hip hop (Akala), political punk (TV Smith, Shocks of Mighty), political indie (Colour Me Wednesday, The Tuts) and socialist bands which defy categories like The Hurriers and the Protest Family. If that’s not pop enough, well, Thee Faction have been compared to Robbie Williams and One Direction as well as The Clash and Redskins. (We’ve been known to sugar the subversive pill). There are plenty of bands putting politics into pop formats, loosely defined (veterans like ADF and Anti-Flag, relative newcomers like Sonic Boom Six, brand new groups like Fight Rosa Fight) but whether their music becomes popular will always be partly down to media exposure, a media that still treats them as a novelty or just invisible.

There’s an element of music hall in Thee Faction. There are pseudonyms, there are parodies, there is an acknowledgment of the ridiculousness of being in a band, and in a revolutionary rock band. We’re from Reigate, because every band should be from somewhere. We’re Guild Socialists, or Marxist Leninists, or libertarian Left, depending on which album or song you listen to. There’s a punk rock “fuck you” in being everything the capitalist West hates. But our rhetorical refusal to take ourselves seriously has been countered to a degree by other people insisting on doing it for us. We’re asked to play benefit gigs and union rallies, political conferences and fundraisers. And while there’s no Faction party line – with 9-plus members all with their own stance on things we’re bigger and more democratic than some splinters of the Fourth International – we’ve bashed out a consensus: a united front, with guitars. We want politics in our music and we want fun in both. We want a progressive music & arts scene in every town, a counter-hegemonic culture promoting a different view and a different world. In Gramscian terms, we’re living through a war of position. Which side are you on?

How do we get through this – how does anyone get through a crisis? You do a combination of things. You reflect and regroup before you reassert. You remember who you are and what you believe. You link with others who feel the same, and take steps to re-assert control over your life and the world around you, with ideas and action. Without getting too inwardly-focussed, selfhelp is obviously important, in the sense of reminding yourself that you’re not alone. Enabled by a strong support network, you can make a start at taking on the world. The We Shall Overcome crew (Joe Solo, The Hurriers, and the hundreds of others who organised gigs and fundraisers for WSO on the first weekend of October 2015) have been very clear on this point: there is a great need, for our sakes as individuals, and as a political community, for a combination of progressive charity support (e.g. for foodbanks) and political solidarity work (with all those affected by cuts) alongside a collective assertion
of anti-austerity values. Small actions such as benefit gigs or demonstrations can obviously be good in themselves (there’s that idea of ‘temporary autonomous zones’ to help activists recharge their batteries) but are better still when they help to foster the spirit of solidarity, demonstrate it practically, have the potential to win converts, put our values into practice and spread the feeling of hope. At the same time, we should all join things that this government hates: libraries, community groups, campaigns, trade unions, political parties, however imperfect most of them are. If Labour aren’t for you, join the Greens, or Left Unity, or the solidarity Federation. If you can’t join PCS, join the IWW, or vice versa. To an extent some of these measures are survival strategies, ways to cope or alleviate symptoms, if only the personal feelings of powerlessness and meaninglessness, of a deeper social problem. Whether it helps on a more abstract level for us to feel more empowered, or less alone, if the fundamental root causes of our problems go unchallenged, is merely a philosophical conundrum: people don’t live in the abstract, and we must protect our morale in the real and present moment, which is one reason why these small actions matter. Challenging larger social problems begins with such small steps.

However, we must prepare to go beyond survival into selfdefence and from there to intervention in political struggles. That in turn involves ideas, including an analysis of our current situation and of what kind of society we want instead. It is not enough to be anti-austerity, or anti-capitalist or anti-globalisation: we need to know and communicate the positives of what we are for. Ethical ideas such as social justice lead to political theories of socialism, despite the doubts some have over such labels. The fundamental question is still now as it has been for generations: what that socialism should look like – and that’s up to all of us. When people say that socialism is dead they may effectively mean, from historical example, that Leninism has failed to come to terms with democracy, that anarchism failed to counter power, that ‘social democracy’ is bankrupt. But socialism is the realisation of democracy and equality, it is something that has.not. happened. yet. and it cannot die as long as we aspire to those ideals. Anyone dismissing it as outdated should be reminded that “democracy” is pretty old, too. Those who claim that putting social justice back on the political agenda is a reversion to the politics of the past imply that right-wing politics are something new – but dog-eat-dog is the oldest rule in the book. The political norm or mainstream is not fixed, it changes. The centre is subject to unequal pressures from different directions; things fall apart, it cannot hold

There can be no more swings to the Right. Mainstream politics has now swung so far rightwards that a backlash has taken off in an organisation – the Labour Party – that many of us had given up on. Her Majesty’s Opposition now has a leadership and a membership committed to an anti-austerity programme; there’s just the awkward matter of the current parliamentary party being in opposition to that. Tens of thousands have joined Labour as a gesture of support or with the desire to get actively involved – and many outside the party have vowed to step up their activism and pile on pressure from the Left. Will those politics resonate with the small number of right-wing voters in key marginals who have recently dictated election results? Probably not, but they can and should be made to resonate with the 16 million stay-at-home voters, and many of the millions of protest-vote UKIP supporters. Because issues around housing, employment, and the cost of living sustain most protest votes, and this is the natural domain of the Left. If these issues don’t drive the politics of the labour movement then it has reneged on its duties. All progressive political activism puts pressure on mainstream politics, although for obvious reasons you won’t hear governments shouting about it. The Tories famously dropped the Poll Tax because of extra-parliamentary pressure, and more recently compulsory Workfare has largely gone the same way. (After antiworkfare demonstrations changed company policies, Cameron whinged that businesses should “stand up to Trotskyists”!) In the 90s a massive ongoing road-building programme was quietly abandoned due to policing costs from anti-road campaigns, and successive governments have been forced to reform policing in response to community struggles against institutional racism.

Not all campaigns are successful, but the examples show what can be possible. Some activists demand the impossible, some demand the immediately achievable, and at each point on the evolving spectrum between the two there is a dynamic, dialectical relation between public support for the status quo, and public support for change, as well as a question mark over who constitutes the ‘public’ and who gets to ‘represent’ their views – so that no political situation is static, change is a social fact and people who state that ‘things won’t change’ or ‘human nature this or that’ are not paying attention to history or the world around them. One thing is for sure, though: if we do nothing, our situation will worsen. If the 99% don’t put pressure on the political mainstream, the 1% alone will. The rich, big business, city lobbyists and special interests will run the world as long as we let them. Take heart in the knowledge that together we can – we have and we will again – stick a spoke in their gears today, and grab the steering wheel tomorrow.

Album of the Week – Membranes Dark Matter

Membranes-Dark-Matter

The Membranes

Dark Matter / Dark Energy

Cherry Red

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


niallhope

Label Of the week – Alternative Tentacles

alterntativetents

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

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

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

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

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

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

niallhope

Hope Show 110 – The Lowdown

ablaze

Hope Show 110

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

niallhope