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

This weeks news – August 17

Round Up – August 17

The post Rebellion blues really kick in I reflect on last weekends festival and get saving for 2016.

The Temples festival intial line up for 2016 has been revealed.
FIRST BANDS ANNOUNCED FOR JUNE 2ND-5TH, INCLUDING ALL PIGS MUST DIE, BONGRIPPER, DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT, GROUNDHOGS AND WEEKEND NACHOS. It has that novel feel in that location hasn’t been announced yet more news here

Dischord Records has always been a label close to my heart. I dj’d a couple of weeks ago at the post Salad Days screening in Dublin’s IFI but the label is continuing to go from strength to strength. Lungfis, Jawbox and Bikini Kill records have all be remastered for release and the Zomes album (featuring Asa from Lungfish) has just been released. More news here

A couple of fanzines made it to me this week. Blackpool Rox II *10 – Blackpool Rox Towers, c/o 16 Windmill Close, Blackpool, FY3 OEB, UK ; andy@jsntgm.com and Suspect Device *56 http://www.suspectdevice.co.uk suspectdevicehq@gmail.com
Both are great reads and a give a strong background to the current diy punk scene.

Damaged Goods are as active as ever. Cyanide Pills and Johnny Moped played rebellion last week. Johnny Moped are back with their first 7″ since 1978! It’s a double A-side of ‘Ain’t No Rock N Roll Rookie’ and ‘Super Woofa’, it will be followed by their new album sometime in late 2015 or early 2016.
The label is home to Wild Billy Childish whose CMTF Die interstoisser Traverse Ltd was originally available on a limited double 10” courtesy of Squoodge Records of Germany, these songs were released to mark Billy’s exhibition “Darkness was here yesterday” at the Carl Freedman Gallery in London back in 2013. They released a hand-stamped mail-order only CD version at the time but now have some lovely 12″ vinyl LP copies. On a choice of colours – green, clear or orange. Each is limited to 180 copies

Holly Golightly will have a new single and album out towards the end of this month (August)

Make That A Take Records is a prolific underground label based in Sctoland, organisers of book yer ane fest and write yer ane zine these are the true epitomoy of do it yourself. The latest relase is a compilation benefit for cancer awareness “Songs For Mum” and has songs by Bear Trade, The CutUps, LaChance and the Murderburgers amongst others

The kickstarter campain for Dunstan Bruce, from Chumbawamba’s I Get Knocked Down movie is now complete. Dunstan has raised the €40,000 required. Now the real work starts

This weeks Pledge of the week is for the Membranes . The band have just released their first album in over 20 years and are planning to release a remix album. The whole of the acclaimed Dark Matter/Dark Energy album is being remixed by the likes of Einsturzende Neubauten, Bad Seeds, The Pop Group , Therapy , Youth from Killing Joke and many
others. To release it they have set up a pledge with some unique things on it…you can either remix a track, get the membranes to play a gig in your house or get a guided tour of your town or just pre order the album – or many other things

Gig News
deerhoffgig

Deerhoff are “Highly revered indie rockers from San Francisco who play fractured, whimsical noise pop with an avant-garde edge.” or so Skinny WOlves so who are putting on their gig in Whelans on the 19th August Also playing on the night are So Cow

Feature Gig

In November 2005, Limerick, Ireland, duo giveamanakick unleashed We Are The Way Forward. It was their second album. It came out on CD. It was not available on iTunes. Spotify did not exist. The album received a fair share of acclaim at the time for its swashbuckling assault on the senses (in a good way). Rock critics fawned over it, saying stuff like:
“We Are The Way Forward combines the ugliness of brute force with the beauty of invention…A classic” 9/10 – Hot Press

“We Are the Way Forward will surprise you with its knockabout skills, unlikely hooks and wild sense of abandon… A ton of fun”, 4/5. – The Irish Times

“A big two fingers up to the world… without a doubt the best band in Ireland right now. There really is no competition. We Are The Way Forward is just that.” – Limerick Leader

Because it sounds good to say so, and because it’s kind of true, the album garnered cult status in the years that followed, and became a firm fan favourite. giveamanakeith and steveamanakick travelled up and down the country, played with a host of musical luminaries (there were loads, can’t remember ’em all), and toured across Europe, Canada, and USA.

gamak sadly called it a day in 2009, playing a one-off show in 2013 to mark their former label Out On A Limb Records’ tenth birthday party.
This is all useful information because to mark the tenth anniversary of We Are The Way Forward, giveamanakick are getting back together to perform the album in its entirety this autumn. Four gigs will happen. No more, no less.
Go see them at Roisin Dubh, Galway (September 24th), Dolans, Limerick (September 26th), Whelans,

Dublin (October 10th) and De Barras, Clonakilty (October 23rd). Special guests for all these shows is turntablist/production hero of the west, Naive Ted.

To celebrate this news, Out On A Limb Records will be releasing We Are The Way Forward for the first time ever on a very Limited Edition 180grm Heavyweight Vinyl LP, which can now be pre-ordered A
href=”http://outonalimbrecords.bigcartel.com/product/giveamanakick-we-are-the-way-forward-lp”> here
If for some bizarre reason you have never actually heard the album, take some vegan ice cream out of the freezer, sit back and listen to it here

THOSE DATES AGAIN:

Roisin Dubh, Galway (September 24th)

Dolans, Limerick (September 26th)

Whelans, Dublin (October 10th)

De Barras, Clonakilty (October 23rd)

niallhope

Rebellion 2015 – day 4. The end is nigh

Rebellion 2015 –image Day 4 it ain’t over til it’s over

Maggie Byrne was in We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use It and it was a nice start to the day to hear what she had to say of her time in the band and that they were talking about what was going on in Britain born out of the time and culture in The country back then. Equality was discussed and how punk didn’t care about people’s sex and sexuality. Punk rock facilitated allowing people to be different which helped Maggie form her band. This stage is refreshing as we get to hear real stories whether it’s Maggie letting us know of a cryptic set list or her witnessing a murder or the band reforming in 2010 and then the death of her sister Jo right up to the band reforming once more for a gig later this year. So many tales

Deia Russell smith took to the acoustic stage and sang strongly. Another plus for this festival.

I saw a few songs from the crows on Friday and thought they would be well suited to the acoustic arena. The stripped down sound brings a folk element out in the vocals and is the closest to English folk I’ve heard in the acoustic room all weekend

Vice Squad have been on the go since that second wave of punk commonly known as uk82 and had a strong Female presence in Beki Bondage as vocalist. Beki has long been an advocate of animal righrts and social justice and it came through today in the Empress Ballroom

Justin Sullivan and Joolz spoke of new model army and new documentary to be released in September. Joolz and Justin are very interesting people with honest and refreshing viewpoints. The spirit of being in a band should be more important than what you play. There are no rules, make music in any way you want. That’s the meaning of punk for Justin (a.k.a. slade the leveller)

Maid of Ace were new to me when I saw them last year and was very impressed by how good they were. Nice to see them still bashing away and a great crowd reaction to their loud punk rock and roll. Great stuff.

it really is to rebellions credit that bands like the avengers get to play. Msny of us are punk historians (or dinosaurs) and the avengers play an important part of that history so to be able to see them is an honour. They are from la and started in the mid 70s, sound wise it ramones style new wave but this is about more than what they sound like and as dead Kennedys have freely admitted they paved the way for political bands like them

HDQ are still banging away with their UK take on US HARDCORE. ALways great tunes and great spirit. The sound was poor enough though as hdq songs stop start and aren’t your usual hardcore sound, closer to scream than 7 seconds this was a blistering set nonetheless, nearly as good as mcgonagle in 1988.

There have been two books released on the Dead Kennedys in recent years and today we saw a battle of the two authors. The debut album, Fresh Fruit For Roting Vegetables got dissected and the duel was friendly. I read Alex Oggs book last year and am now looking forward to Michael Foleys one.

tthe Pukes have a great stage presence, ukeleles, punk and lots of fun. Plenty of colour was in display, I wonder has bob geldoff comment about black trousers and band tsarist sent a message to the coolest uke punks around

How to explain Snuff in a paragraph? Impossible. Pure magic that made me wish it was the original line up which it tragically can’t be. Am I wrong in thinking it’s refreshing that snuff were the only bad to play in the empress hall (capacity 2800) not to have a merchandise stall and that had no roadie to organise their own sound. I was on my way to the front when a glass of beer was thrown up, moved back and more beer was being spilt than drank. I bet the winter gardens management are loving this. Increased bar sales for a mop of the floor. Anyway snuff are immense, you should drink your beer to them. Wonder how many bands played their set without a set list too?

Roughneck Riot clashed so i had to make do with buying a copy of their new record.

I still have my first postcard from Jon langford, a prized posession in my house. His journey to country started in Newport but he is very much based in Leeds punk, He was and still is in the mekons and three johns. His set was a collection of more mekons style as that is what his solo records are like. When he covered the mescaleros x Ray style I was close to tears, it’s nostalgia but those memories….

Dik Lucas has sang n three bands at Rebellion, all tight and great sets. i would love to hear some new stuff from him as he has kept playing all trhought the various governments he has been rallying against

TV Smith is a master at rebellion. There is a lot of respect shown at the festival but TV commands so much of it. His acoustic sets are always massive and enthralling and standing ovation he receives at the end is testament to that.

Blackpool heroes and local agit popsters the membranes were on in the Pavillion. Still making a racket and challenging your ears even if the line up looks very like Goldblade. We had them over to Dublin in 1986 and have been firm friends ever since. The sound is fuller now but nick and john from the celebrated line up are still there and the new album is as good as ever.

Less Than Jake are the last band on in the Empress as the festival winds down, with some uptempo brass backed hardcore. Brasscore anyone? Zounds were finishing off the Casbah stage and the Warriors in the arena as the stalls that were a hive of activity over the previous 4 days are packed off for the next leg of their journey. Maybe back to mail order, maybe some shops, some small businesses and maybe to spme other festival. But there still is the no small measure of the remarkable three johns in the Pavillion.

Rebellion is about memories and the three johns hold huge ones for me. I finish sad that it is over for another year, privileged to have been here and amazed at how good some of thw music was.

Rebellion 2014 – Day 2

Rebellion 2014 day 2

I eased into the second day listening to Peter from paranoid visions talking about punk in Dublin in the 80s and their link with Steve Ignorant

I had a quick listen to the city saints and their brand of Swedish street punk. Nice to hear them singing about people on the streets and the skins in the arena were having a good time

“Punk rock came along and gave me a sense of freedom, of where I belong” sang caf in the acoustic room. Straight from the curragh to the winter gardens

Steve pottinger is the people poet, he writes from the heart and has a way with words, unlike me!! He writes about rebellion and Blackpool and Wilko Johnson like he’s just hooting the breeze with ya. Check him out

The theme for my next fanzine will be around womens participation in punk rock but rebellion has a good representation (but still minority for the majority species) Meg and nog are a female duo in the acoustic room. They are deserving of your attention for that reason alone. Nina and Phil from healthy junkies were up next playing some nice acoustic version of what I think are their songs

The crows are a five piece with dual female vocals complemented by three acoustic guitars with a folky sound. Pretty cool set

Off for some more poetry then. It’s such a great feature of this indoor festival. Venues pop up around each corner and in the corner of the art exhibition Kath reade was sharing her words with us

Alex ogg and russ bestley spoke eloquently on Alex’s new book on dead Kennedys the early years. Alex wants to document one of the most important records ever made, fresh fruit for totting vegetables, and russ made it look great. They collaborated previously on the art of punk and the end product is fantastic. I love the literature room as we get to hear so much about our punk history. I wish these were taped and available online. It’s great to hear people’s stories. There was so many questions I wanted johnny wah wah to ask but he may be having a long day

Guida are Italian skins, oi sounding with a more rocking feel. Good singalong sound

The notsensibles have all that energy and their quirky punk pop sound gets the crowd moving. Bizarrely at5 on a Friday afternoon there’s hundreds of people engaging with the band

I walked in as department s were finishing is vic there! Remember that one?? Still a great sound

Pauline Murray is from that era too. Well know for being the lead singer of penetration but less known for her own releases. It is heartening to see her sill playing. She ran into technical difficulties which only aided her shynes and the packed acoustic room couldn’t assist her in any way

Tv smith certainly isn’t shy. Full of energy, I honestly don’t know how he does it. Backed up by the bored teenagers he bangs out the adverts hits and then some. Full of power and always a highlight on the festival

Dickie Hammond arrived into the venue about 8 hours before going on stage. I saw him come in. He picked a seat in the acoustic room and pretty
much sat there all day. Drinking. The man has pedigree, being guitarist orf leather face and HDQ but its a shame to see him like this. A real shame

The fits are hometown heroes. My guess is many cities have such bands. Played back in the day, recorded a few songs but never really got out of the city Maybe Blackpools defects. Only thing is the singer is the sole remaining member. A lot of bands at rebellion remind me of football teams. They exist with different lineups every season. The fits are no different. Good tunes though.

The dictators paraded their new bass player to the audience. I could go through most bands here and the punk family tree would shine. Anyway I didn’t want to be introduced to the members of dictators from the stage. You are people we are people, that’s punk. Anyway they kind of rocked out but not my punk

Culture shock have amazing songs there’s a reason why they are favourites here and that’s the songs. Ska punk at its best and dik, like Charlie harper just doesn’t age. He looks as he did when subhumans played Dublin in 1984. Amazing

So Blackpool is home to George formby gigs and the pukes have taken his spirit and given it the punk rock treatment. Punk rock ukelele musi, playing all your favourite clash, ramones and dead Kennedys songs and ukeing them up. It looks like an anarchic mess on stage which adds to the atmosphere as 14 people mostly armed with ukelele bring us these classics. Great stuff, get their new album too drunk to pluck, if you can.

Last acoustic troubadour of the night is Patrick Fitzgerald but he didn’t make it. Ah well Attila the stockbroker continues his set to keep us going. Ukelele but not the pukes, poetry but not Steve pottinger. Who else could write the line “you wrote the soundtrack to my life commandante joe” he was hoping to talk to strummer as two 80 year olds someday but joe left us early. We still have his songs and memory and Attila remembered it tonight

I have many fond memories of the men they couldn’t hang gigs in ireland. They seemed to constantly visit at a time that I could travel to gigs. Kieran would drive to drogheda or wherever and we would sing along to political guitar based folk songs. We believed fascists were evil and the miners were righteous. Not a lot has changed in our beliefs but how the world has in the intervening 30 years. Great to see a big crowd happy to see them tonight. I only got 30 minutes though as I had some sightseeing to do

I have been visiting Blackpool since coming over on family holidays as a kid. I have been to pleasure beach, Bloomfield park, all the piers but had never gone up the tower. Until tonight. The membranes decided to play a gig on top of Blackpool tower and despite the allure of Reagan Youth in the empress ballroom I couldn’t turn it down. I have been to gigs on some strange places but none like this. Black pools major tourist attraction. The tower itself is a huge complex with many venues but the membranes went straight to the top. All 150 metres up there. A 2 inch glass floor allows you to see the while way down, not one for those concerned about heights. What a setting though. I arrive as evil blizzard are on stage. Masked and dangerous. The 3 bass players, drummer and occasional synth make some racket. Part public image limited but so much more intense. A small room overlooking the whole of Blackpool suited their sound.

And then the membranes came on, with guitarist Nick Brown, who was in the creation days of the band. It’s an assault on your ears, an aural landscape as I perused, from on high, the attractions I had been to previously. Blackpool is john robbs home town, here he was playing on top of the tower that haunts its landscape. As a teenage punk he would have seen it in the distance each day as he grew up in a place he needed to leave but a place always close to his heart. The small room was enveloped in noise this was death to trad rock at its finest 30 years after they tried to kill it off

What a journey

Niallhope

Hope Show 38 – the lowdown

Hope show 38 – the lowdown

1. The Descendents – Silly Girl
2. Black Flag – 6 Pack
3. Shitty Limits – Smarty Guys
4. BL’AST – Your Eyes
5. Schwartzeneggar – The Way Things Are
6. Annabel – You COuld Be Living Better
7. HDQ – IF Only
8. Mueran Humanos – Give A Party
9. Fawn Spots – Spanish Glass
10. No Age – I WOn’t Be Your Generator
11. No Age – Everybodys Down
12. Superchunk – FOH
13. Superchunk – Me & You & Jackie Mittoo
14. Membranes – In The Graveyard
15. Flatliners – Young Professionals
16. American Steel – Love and Logic
17. The Pukes – GLC
18. The UNdertones – Get Over You
19. The Middle Ones – Young Explorer

I love the Descendents . My friend Alan Sherry put me on to them when MIlo went to College. I Don’t Want to Grow Up has great tunes, Silly Girl is one of them

Speaking of Silly People this week saw that marketers dream, Arthurs Day. Thankfully this nation got it into its consciousness that we can speak out against things and Arthurs Day wasn’t quite the national holiday Guiness wanted it to be. I don’t have Too Drunk to Fuck on digital so Six Pack it has to be

I wanted to play Straight Edge by Minor Threat but again couldn’t find the digital version. Instead I played Shitty Limits . Ive been meaning to play these for weeks. Their ‘Beware the limits’ album is criminally ignored – not by me though

BL’AST’s new album is getting a bit of attention, Your EYES is testament to it.

I saw Steve Ignorant do a nice acoustic gig earlier this year and he played this Schwartzeneggar song. “If this is the Way Things Are, it’s the way it’s meant to be” or is it?

Annabel are from OHIO. Their Youth is Youth lp is out now and worth investigating.

HDQ are from Sunderland and have a new record out on Boss Tunegage – In the absence of that record I’ve played If Only from their John Peel session, it was on their Sinking lp also

No doubt you have come across Louder Than War website. It is also a sporadic label and 2 7″s that came out last year on it are Mueran Humanos and Fawn Spots. Good stuff to keep you bopping

No Age are coming to Dublin next week to try and get you to hear their new lp, an object . It’s a great album but then again so was Weirdo Rippers so I’ve played a track from each

Superchunk have a new album out. This kind of stuff gets me excited. I saw them in toronto in 1995 and have been following them with great interest ever since, hoping they will come to Dublin one day. One day eh?

The Membranes played Dublin in the 80’s. Twice. Well they visited twice but played 5 times. Their gigs were a shambolic collection of noise and excitment and great great fun. This is their newest song. it’s nearly as long as some of their sets were in the 80’s but they were such an important band. They really were.

I’ve been talking about the Flatliners over the last few shows. I’ve finally got the new album and haven’t been disappointed. Much more punk rock that Superchunk but just as exciting. it’s been a good week for me for music for sure.

Destroy the Future before it kills us is what American Steel advised. Love and Logic is all we need eh.

All the Pukes need are their Ukeleles, must be nearly 19 on this record.

I can’t believe I’m doing this show over a year and haven’t played The Undertones. The Undertones. Enough Said. Time to change that.

I have played The Middle Ones. They have been doing some interesting gis lately. Young Explorer is from their live tape released this year

Terror of Modern Life

Goldblade

The Terror of modern Life

Overground Records

Goldblade-the-terror-of-modern-life

13 slabs of modern day Punk rock is presented to us here in the form of Goldblade’s new album. This band have been touring worldwide since 1995 with a work ethic that is second to none. Give them a gig and a chance to get to it and the men from Manchester (or at least living there) will do their damndest to make it.

It’s been 5 years since their last album, Mutiny, but in that intervening period they have played in Europe, America, Asia and Africa and singer John Robb manages to turn up almost weekly on television discussing some aspect of music.

This album is a punk rock bespectacled look at the world these days. From Brother Johns succint observations to Brothers Keith and Pete’s manic riffs to Brother Robs frantic drumming we are served up a fast punk lesson. Listening to the drone like title track and the Membranes esque bass driven sound of tracks like Shaman is Coming and hey You Elastic Face gives an insight to the bands record collection. It’s like a history lesson of independent music, part Killing Joke, part Clash, but in no part trad Rock this takes us on a journey through popular music culture.

Goldblade’s real value has been in their live shows which are an anarchic mix of rebel rousing choruses and the antics of lead singer John Robb. However this album has brought us a step closer to that experience. I’ve been using it as a soundtrack to my jogging. Plenty of speed to keep me going but not too fast for me to loose pace. And then there’s the singalong bits “Psycho Takes A Holiday” and “Sick/Tired” notable ones, however if you see an aging man jogging down the street, grinning and singing “We’re All In It Together” don’t run away from me….

niallhope