¡Bocata de sangre! ¡Bocata de sangre!

Archivo-adjunto-al-mensaje-620x403Well, Spain was a lot of fun, but regrettably it’s been gone for a couple of weeks now. I would’ve been back on here earlier but I’ve been sprawled open-mouthed in front of the World Cup rushed off my feet with work.

Valencia was my favourite of the cities we visited and I could go on about it for a while given the chance. Suffice to say it’s a beautiful city with a lovely green river-bed park running through the heart of it. And there’s a fair few more-than-decent record shops where a so-minded tourist can easily lose a few hours… My favourite one was Discos Amsterdam which as well as having your standard Indie, Psych, Metal sections, was also well-stocked with Spanish and Latin American records. I spent a happy couple of hours there and met owner Juan who was patient with my Spanish and was politely surprised that I listened to his podcast.


As it turned out, the record I really wanted to buy by Valencia’s own krautrockers Siesta! had already sold out which was a shame. I’d done a little bit of prep before leaving for Spain (I think I wrote about it…) and was quite intrigued by what I’d heard on YouTube and Bandcamp. Turns out the vinyl record itself had only 300 pressings but the band have made the mp3s available on their Bandcamp page for free.


It’s a cracker of a release as well – noisy, aggressive, full of energy. Siesta! are two Valencianos called Pepe and Jonathan who both play drums, keyboards and synths and are clearly big fans of synthy motorik sounds and a fair dollop of psychedelia. Not so many lyrics, but at least they’re all in Spanish (which I kind of approve of).


Rather charmingly, Siesta! describe themselves as “losers” and “two pissed off monkeys with drumsticks”. More specifically, there’s the aforementioned nods toward Neu and Can, but there’s actually quite a lot of scampering post-punk lines that I can hear too, some Cure, some Bunnymen – not my favourite references these days, but it all kinda works. It all makes for quite a nervy, adrenaline fuelled listen, pretty much the direct opposite of a restful snooze in the afternoon…


[By the way, if you were wondering, a “bocata” is apparently a sandwich made with French bread…]

Bang and bang and shoot.

SpeedyOrtiz_MA013 (1)I’m not getting to many gigs these days, a sad state of affairs that has been brought home to me by the recent White Denim and Flamin’ Groovies disappointments but even more so by the one date I have managed to make recently, a cracking evening at the Exchange in Bristol, in the company of Speedy Ortiz.

Speedy Ortiz

I’d forgotten quite how small the Exchange is. It’s tiny, the stage area not a whole lot bigger than a largish front room. But really, that’s great, if you’re one of the lucky ones with a ticket in your pocket and a lurid green band fastened tightly about your wrist. The whole standing expectantly in front of a stage, pint in hand, waiting for the band thing was as feverishly strong as ever, and I found myself making unrealistic promises to myself almost instantly. Two really strong support bands later (Personal Best and Empty Pools – both local, both terrific and both to be posted about at a later date, I promise. No, really…) and I was enjoying myself so much I was even beginning to think Speedy Ortiz were going to have trouble living up to expectations…

No worries, there, Speedy Ort-eez (we were to learn) were tremendous – rowdy, difficult and the ideal mixture of taut sloppiness to complement their awkward, harsh, delicate songs. Singer Sadie Dupois is (I’m sure I read) a poet and some sort of semi-academic talent, although I may be making this last part up, but is of course something of a pale beauty, as well. I don’t have a good visual memory, generally, but the image of Ms Dupois in her immodestly short skirt, bashing the shit out of her guitar is one that I think will linger… (I’m a little embarrassed to say I can remember precious little of the rest of the band – although on the recordings I can be heard saying “the drummer’s a bit of an animal, isn’t he?”, so I can’t have been slobbering all evening…)

It was a great set, running through a lot of material not on Major Arcana, the Real Hair and Sports EPs featuring heavily. Didn’t know these two records at the time, but I’ve quickly sorted this. There were superb versions of “Gary”, “Indoor Soccer”, “Plough” and “No Below”, a song she said she wasn’t keen on any more, but which I always find moving.

Actually, listening to the recordings, the band were excellent, no mean achievement seeing as regular guitarist Matt Robidoux has just gone on “indefinite hiatus”. Stand-in guitarist Devin McKnight did an admirable job (good enough for me to remain oblivious to the changes until yesterday…)

A lightning 45 minutes of feedback-drenched, fearsomely-loud overexcitement was over in a heartbeat, and in no time we were out on the street, ears ringing to the strains of encore “Taylor Swift”. A fair old racket, indeed.

All things considered, the recordings haven’t come out badly at all. I commend to you the following:




Casper (1995)

I will find a way…


I think I may be becoming a bit of a Jonah…

With last week’s White Denim disappointment still fresh in my mind, I’ve just been informed that the imminent Flamin’ Groovies tour of various Spanish cities has today been cancelled, due to the hospitalisation of Cyril Jordan.

As a teenager, I was obsessed with the Shake Some Action record, as were all my circle of friends – a graceful, effortless slice of Sixties pop that I still return to pretty regularly. Get well soon, Mr Jordan.

Gorgeous stuff…


Imagine if I’d gone and bought a ticket to, say, the Barcelona gig last night…

Fuera de aquí

0001969555_10The Lord giveth, and the Lord apparently taketh away.


I’m just hearing that White Denim’s Bristol date, a gig I’ve been looking forward to for far too long now, has been rescheduled from Tuesday 20th May to the 27th. The main problem with this is that the White Denim ticket pinned to my noticeboard has been sharing pride of place with a gleaming plane ticket to Madrid with 26th May written on it…

(You’ll understand, I hope, that this is a metaphorical ticket I’m talking about here – indeed, it’s a metaphorical noticeboard these days – and even I’m not daft enough to keep plane tickets on a metaphorical noticeboard.)

But anyway, yes, we’re off to Spain again, Madrid and Valencia this time, and as well as furiously boning up on my Spanish, I thought this time I’d do a bit of homework on Spanish indie. Consequently, I’ve spent this month’s Emusic allowance exclusively on records from Spain, and it turns out that’s not quite the act of folly that it sounds…


Terrier are a boy-girl-boy-girl ensemble based in Madrid who have a record out on the Sonido Muchacho label of the same city, called Un Cadáver en el Mar. It’s a good old sixties twang-and-thrash affair which reminds me a lot of the Limiñanas records I was plugging last year. I can’t find anything in English about them and try as I might I can’t get much sense out of the Spanish music press sites (insert your own NME-related joke here…) so they’ll have to remain shrouded in a certain amount of old-fashioned mystery. I’m OK with that…

Here’s a clip of a track which is not on their new record but was apparently the lead track of a 2012 ep. It’s called Fuera de Aquí (Away from Here) and you can picture me with it blasting out of my footballer-sized headphones as I board a plane for sunnier times…

Death is not so easily defeated…

web_Alasdair_Roberts_02_by_Kim_Ayres (1)I’ve had these recordings knocking around for a while but not got round to doing anything with them…

I think it’s fair to say you really have to be in the right mood to appreciate Alasdair Roberts’ piercing, disconsolate folk forms, which may well be the unconscious reason why I’ve not really explored these recordings until now. We saw him supporting Bill Callahan in the cavernous spaces of Bristol’s St George’s. Now, Callahan’s getting a certain amount of love at the moment, not least because he appears to have “cheered up” a bit. Reviews of Dream River frequently cite Callahan’s apparent contentment (somebody even referred to him being “lucky in love”). Well, if this is true, I’m not sure I really want to look too deeply into Alasdair Roberts’ particular well of loneliness…

Alasdair Roberts

Having said that, once you’ve taken the step, there’s something irresistible about the man’s earthy songs – they shimmer and flicker like something half-buried in someplace rather unpleasant. I referred to his charms as being “Presbyterian” in the Bill Callahan post, and that being the case you might have expected him to have shone a little more brightly in the transcendent surroundings of St George’s in all its austere glory. But actually, Roberts seemed uncomfortable and didn’t make much of a connection with the Callahan-hungry audience. The recordings I made are marred slightly by the sounds of uninterested punters wandering off to the bar.

The poor wretch’s musings continue to fascinate this particular punter, though, and for once I was happy to listen to a good half hour of one man and his guitar – no banjo, no Jews’ harp, no loop pedal, just one player unremitting, strident, charmed…

Fair Flower of Northumberland

Farewell Sorrow

Don’t you ever, ever forget it…

Witching-Waves-Pic-VPME-600x433Don’t seem to be getting much time for new stuff, these days. But these guys seem worthy of a mention…

Witching Waves

Probably time to get something crude and trashy going on these pages.

And Witching Waves, an abrasive, bored-sounding two piece currently gigging around London, fit the bill pretty well. Emma Wigham and Mark Jasper are a drums/guitar combo with no apparent use for the spineless subtleties of keyboard or bass (or, if the videos are representative, even cymbals) but they can certainly club out a tune with some guts.

There’s a formless attraction to hearing someone bashing a series of trebly, finger-shredding chords out of an electric guitar. And nine times out of ten, it still makes me stop what I’m doing and start that dumb head-nodding thing you do at gigs.

Not a lot of biog information around about Witching Waves (I’m OK with that too…), but they do have Tumblr, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp pages where you can listen to various demos and previous releases. They are also apparently in the process of releasing “Concrete / Chain of Command”, an ultra-rare, wilfully obscure 100-only cassette single (which you can also download, thankfully) on Scottish label Soft Power Records. Have a listen and tell me you didn’t drift off at some point and start nodding gormlessly with me…


downloadBeen looking around for something modern I liked from Latin America. There’s a few western-sounding bands around, all sounding pretty good but not exactly Latin. Here’s something though…

Anarkia Tropikal

Anarchy Tropical are a Chilean band of ne’er-do-wells, who, if the YouTube clips are anything to go by, seem to be having an immoderate amount of fun arsing around with punk and Chicha rhythms. Wheedling farfisa sounds and impossibly brittle Chicha guitars, wind themselves around off-beats and loping Cumbia bass lines, wrapped in by the all-encompassing rhythms of what looks to me like a man playing a cheese-grater but which is of course the merengue staple rhythm instrument, the guiro (as any fule know…)

Listen to the crazed, high spirits of “Ayahuasca”, and you’ll get an idea of how exciting a mixture it is:

This track appears to be free to download from their SoundCloud page along with the whole of 2013’s “La Verganza de los Brujos”, an album chockfull of witches, wah-wah and Cumbia zombies. It must be a helluva experience seeing this lot on stage. I’ve seen them billed as “anarcho-cumbia” and once you’ve seen the clips, it’s hard to argue with that…



Oh go on! Here’s another – their tribute to the Mirlos:


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