Archive for the ‘KEN mode’ Category

Noiseweek: John Peel, Space Bong, Erasers, KEN mode, Deerhoof

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

The sights, sounds and words of the week in noise.


How John Peel created our musical world | The Guardian

“Eleven years after his death, Peel still hovers above our record collections, silently guiding the opinions and judgments of the generations who grew up listening to him. When Brian Eno gives the BBC Music John Peel lecture at the British Library on 27 September, he’ll doubtless begin by citing the importance of Peel in his own life. It would be good to hear him talk about The Perfumed Garden, Peel’s psychedelic fantasia on the late-night airwaves of the pirate station Radio London, where teenagers in 1967 were introduced to the avant-garde sounds of the Velvet Underground and the Mothers of Invention. Eno will surely mention Roxy Music’s session for the strangely named Friday Night Is Boogie Night in January 1972 – it was their radio debut – which Peel offered them before they had a manager, a record deal or more than a handful of fans. And if Eno’s speech flags a little and he needs a laugh from the audience, all he has to do is recall the night in December 1973 when Peel played a reel-to-reel tape of the new Fripp & Eno album (No Pussyfooting), backwards without noticing. All 39 minutes of it.”

Ed Rodriguez (Deerhoof) Talks the Whole Illegal Downloading Thing | The Talkhouse

“If you’re like me, you feel powerless sometimes. The world seems out of control. But we have more control than we know. A sad truth is that you wield a lot of power with your bank account, no matter how modest it is. Spending money on what actually means something to you not only helps those who are making it, it lets the whole system know your vote. There have been times when, for brief moments, record companies stopped trying to tell people what they should like and instead began scrambling to give the public what it actually wanted. For instance, no one thought the world would freak out and embrace Nirvana like we did, so for a time, record executives were unsure of what was happening, and they were signing everyone who was “alternative,” hoping to find the next big thing.”


Space Bong — Slow Spring

Adelaide’s drabbest take things very, very slow on the first cut from the forthcoming Deadwood To Worms. And why wouldn’t they — Space Bong are the kind of band whose music unfurls itself like a snake shedding its skin — by the end, a fresh beast has emerged. That reptilian theme carries through to this song’s frankly evil vocal deliveries, which, for those heavily reverbed segments, sound as if they’re being screamed from an isolation cell. Yes, this is doom at its most dark and dreadful, just the way we like it. Deadwood To Worms is out October 13 through Art As Catharsis.

Erasers — Stem Together

There’s a ritualistic quality to Erasers’ new record, the way each element of percussion and melody emerges, surges and returns. It sounds almost generative, this strange mix of the synthetic and the organic, and it’s lifted up by Rebecca Orchard’s ghostly, heavily-reverbed incantations which seem to exist simultaneously apart from and woven into the fabric of songs like“Leaves” and “By Your Side”. Stem Together is available now through Pouring Dream.


KEN mode — These Tight Jeans

Jesse Matthewson steps into the ring for the first video from KEN mode’s killer Success. These Tight Jeans is probably the most unusual cut from the trio’s noise rock reinvention. Matthewson’s done some legitimate MMA sparring, and this clip cuts between throwing fists and shouting the song’s rally cries with the song’s guest vocalist Jill Clapham. It’s a welcome way of injecting one of the year’s best sleeper records back into the limelight. If METZ can be a huge deal, there’s no reason these Canadian neighbours can’t achieve the same dizzying heights.

Brian Eno explores John Peel’s record collection

That previous John Peel article was published in the leadup to the BBC Music John Peel lecture, to be delivered by Brian Eno at the British Library later today. Below is another short piece from the BBC, where Eno explores Peel’s record collection, reflecting on how revolutionary Peel’s championing of The Velvet Underground was, as well as the time Peel played Eno & Fripp’s record No Pussyfooting, backwards, without noticing.

Noiseweek: New Order, Kathleen Hanna, Chelsea Wolfe, KEN mode and more

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

The sights, sounds and words of the week in noise.


Believe In A Land Of Love: New Order’s Low-Life 30 Years On | The Quietus

“Even as New Order were gearing up for a new phase in their career, the shadow cast by Joy Division still loomed large on the cultural landscape. Indeed, the bleakness of post-industrial Manchester that informed Joy Division’s music soon spread across the UK like a black, ominous cloud thanks to Margaret Thatcher’s administration. 1985 proved to be a watershed year. March 3rd saw the end of the year-long miners’ strike. The bitterest of British industrial disputes, the strike had seen communities torn apart and the increased levels of violence accompanying the dispute were broadcast with a sickening level of regularity on the TV news. Later in the year, both the Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham and Toxteth in Liverpool were engulfed in terrifying riots. Sandwiched in between on May 29 was the Heysel Stadium disaster that saw 39 people crushed to death following crowd violence – an event that was broadcast live on national television and beamed into homes across the world. More than any other year, 1985 can be seen as the year that the lid was finally closed on the coffin of the optimism and liberalism that had been born in the 1960s. But not only that, the Conservative party jettisoned the idea of one-nation conservatism in favour of competition that led Thatcher to eventually declare that “…there is no such thing as society.””

I interviewed Mark Kozelek. He called me a ‘bitch’ on stage | The Guardian

“But in this life, Kozelek trades in sucker-punches. He impugns online “bitching and whining”, but hides behind one-way email exchanges, balks at the idea of his peers speaking about him and issues tirades (and sometimes, sexual advances) from the cowardly remove of the stage, with the get-out clause that it’s a performance. He can use sexually violent language to reduce female critics to the status of groupies, knowing that while male musicians’ misogynist acts are examined for nuance and defended as traits of “difficult” artists, women and those who call them out are treated as hysterics who don’t understand art. “The world don’t owe us shit, I learned that real fuckin’ young,” he sings on Universal Themes’ Little Rascals. If anything remains to separate Kozelek from his work, it’s that his music preaches that the least we owe one another is decency.”

Feeling Myself: Kathleen Hanna Get Back to Work | Pitchfork

“At the end of the Julie Ruin’s recent set at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound, frontwoman Kathleen Hanna makes for the wings, as if she’s about to let the rest of the band play out the final minutes. It seems like a strange end to her first performance on the continent in a decade, but it’s a feint: She suddenly turns, cartwheels back into the center of the stage, and lands in a perfect split. Within a few hours, a GIF of the moment is circulating online.
Not only is Hanna 46 years old (who among us can truly say they’ve ever been able to do that?), but this time last year, she was in bed, struck down again by a side-effect of Lyme disease. She’s been battling the chronic illness for years—her struggle can be seen up-close in the candid 2013 documentary The Punk Singer—and that latest relapse forced her to cancel what would have been the Julie Ruin’s debut European dates. “There was a period where I could barely do anything except paint watercolors in my journal,” she told me over the phone two weeks before the festival.”


Chelsea Wolfe — Carrion Flowers

Our second taste of Chelsea Wolfe’s forthcoming record is perhaps her most ominous effort to date, replete with a menacing, digitized beat like something out of a disaster film’s trailer. Carrion Flowers is one of several tracks to feature Russian Circles’ Mike Sullivan on guitars, returning the favour from Wolfe’s guest vocal appearance on the closing track of Russian Circles’ Memorial. But here, Sullivan’s trademarks are all dialled back — instead, his guitar is barely distinguishable, woven seamlessly into the simple bit foreboding rhythms that dominate the track. Expect this to be a top contender for album of the year.

KEN mode — I Just Liked Fire

The final preview from Success is KEN mode’s most tributary. Between the rapid-fire industrial guitars, Jesse Matthewson’s rabid bile-spitting and the song’s relentless speed, the Canadian trio are more than comfortable exposing their Jesus Lizard influence, but they do it almost better than anyone else (because, let’s face it, about 90% of noise rock bands are trying to write Shot).

Failure — Mulholland Drive

Failure have a tremendous task ahead of them with The Heart is a Monster, their first album in almost two decades. 1996’s Fantastic Planet was almost perfect, and I’d argue that its final five tracks make up possibly the best 25 minutes of music released in the 1990s. Tracks like Mullholland Drive and the previously released Hot Traveler are interesting, but leave me unconvinced — is it worth diluting a tremendous albeit obscure legacy with a comeback record that’s just OK? Then again, Failure have always been an album band, best enjoyed in large doses; Frogs and Macaque and Blank work so much better when placed in the ebb and flow of a 40-minute collection. Mulholland Drive retreads that familiar Failure territory of low-key balladry that’s steadily transforms with powerful guitars, staccato piano chords, unexpected melodic turns and distant atmospheres. And it’s good, but is it good enough?


Chill out with a 20-minute studio set from dream-pop trio Dianas on the latest installment of RTRFM’s The View From Here.

Noiseweek: KEN mode, Old Baby, Earth and EMA

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

The sights, sounds and words of the week in noise.


Fuck The Police: A Musical Sentiment From NWA To Ferguson | The Quietus

““This is non-violent protest music”. So said Ice Cube recently in an interview announcing a forthcoming biopic of his former group N.W.A. His claim is rather timely. “Fuck the Police”, the musical refrain popularised 1988 by “the world’s most dangerous group”, is having something of a moment. Occasioned by collective anger at American law enforcement’s proclivity for murdering Black men at the rate of once every 28 hours, the song — or rather, songs — deserve inquiry.
Dismissal of Ice Cube’s claim is likely. N.W.A. are better known for lyrics depicting misogyny, homophobia and violence without which many of their songs would be, if not altogether silent, at least palpably shorter. There’s also a tendency to reduce ‘Fuck The Police’ to cliché progressivist demands for free speech, as both Ice Cube and the schlocky narrative of the N.W.A. film imply (imagine Ice Cube as the Jim Morrison/Val Kilmer character).
But as jaunty parody backed by James Brown’s ubiquitous ‘Funky Drummer’ break, N.W.A.’s ‘Fuck The Police’ registered a changing lived reality for a substantial portion of America at the hands of a brutal form of policing and the prison industry it feeds. In doing so, it laid out a set of affects that would echo across the better part of nearly three decades of hip-hop.”

Ian Curtis: 35 Years To The Day Of His Death, Why The Enigmatic Joy Division Frontman Remains British Indie’s Greatest Unknown Pleasure | NME

“He was certainly adept at living a double life, and not just from Deborah, who he was unfaithful to for long periods of time with Belgian journalist Annik Honore. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see Ian’s inner turmoil exert itself through his lyrics and manic performances, but away from the stage, his welling melancholy was well-hidden from the bandmates he didn’t want to alarm or disappoint. Even as he was planning to kill himself, he convincingly feigned enthusiasm for Joy Division’s upcoming American tour, so much so that drummer Stephen Morris has admitted that, “Looking back, I wish I’d helped him more. I think that all the time… But we were having such a good time, and you’re very selfish when you’re young. Epilepsy wasn’t understood then. People would just say, ‘He’s a bit of a loony — he has fits.’”

Young Hearts, Run Free: On Camp & Australia’s Eurovision Entry | The Quietus

“If Susan Sontag asserts that camp is “its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration”, then this year’s Eurovision entry might do some good. It’s almost an oxymoron, but Australia just needs to chill. We get it, we’re the romantic, rugged country with a masculine veneer, but please, just for three minutes, can we not be weirded out by the inherently excessive, camp spectacle that is Eurovision?”


KEN mode — Management Control

KEN mode are at a fascinating turning point in their career. Everything about the Steve Albini-produced Success sounds like the band at their most fresh, raw and vital. The marked shift in aesthetic — from metallic hardcore to Shellac-influenced, straight-up noise rock — has probably raised a few eyebrows, and on Facebook, the Winnipeg trio sound almost desperate that their ambitious reinvention pays off. If the four tracks released so far are any indication, Success should pay off — whereas “Blessed” and “These Tight Jeans” flirted with self-indulgence, “Management Control” and album closer “Dead Actors” represent the band at their most deliberate, channeling the Albini influence through a measured brand of fury that few can replicate. Success is out through Seasons of Mist and June 16 and is available for pre-order on Bandcamp.

Old Baby — New Music

With little fanfare and not even a proper title, Old Baby have released one of my favourite records of the year. The Louisville, Kentucky, outfit — which boasts members of Slint, Young Widows, alongside many of that city’s unsung heroes — have traded in the doomy flirtations of their 2013 debut, Love Hangover for a diverse, psych-tinged desert blues odyssey. There are some odd turns — the quintet sink into an effortless funk groove on “Necessary” before returning to uncomfortable meditations on “Visions” and “Comedown.” And there’s a beautifully off-kilter vibe that permeates throughout the entire record, from the tripped-out, Egyptian-influenced geometry of the cover art to the sinister melodies in the backgrounds of each song and the deadpan invocations of vocalists Jonathan Glen Wood and Evan Patterson. This is music for road trips to parts unknown.


Earth Live from the Islington Assembly Hall in London

Watch a professionally-shot set from the drone trio’s latest British outing.

Under the Influence: Krautrock

Part three of Noisey’s music documentary series looks into the context and history of krautrock, featuring interviews with members of Can, Neu! and modern-standard bearers in every genre of contemporary music.

EMA on Coastal Frequencies

Live and interview footage with Erika M. Anderson from her latest record.