I fear I am becoming … fixated.

I’ve recently bought the second Ignatz album, and become increasingly plugged into the first one. If anyone remembers, he was part of the Chapter 24 bill that I wrote about here, although at the time, I didn’t really pay him much heed. Slowly and surely, however, I have become more and more of a fan of his corroded, out-there blues. I still don’t know a great deal about him, but seeing as how he spent the entire evening pretty much hidden behind a speaker stack, I’m quite comfortable with him remaining a murky figure.

I’ve managed to find the man’s website which is worth a visit, although there are no new downloads I can give away from it, but this YouTube video of his Slak Bar performance has surfaced, again from the fellers at Likal:

And again I have to say how fascinating I find his whole performance, his warped, distorted delivery, his repetitive, industrial blues riffs and the whole literally shrouded-in-obscurity thing he has as he gets on with his business-like performance. I just find it compelling.

Unfortunately, no new MP3s to snag but I do have something from K(RAA)K label mates Tuk who are not dissimilar although not as clearly blues-based as Ignatz. Of course, having made a bit of a thing about Ignatz’ layers of obscurity, it makes it easy for me to be lazy about Tuk and offer no information about them either. (Just as well really, I can’t even find a Myspace page…)

So here we are, two tracks from Tuk, which are available from the K(RAA)K website, and which are similarly obscure and brilliant (if you can be both things, at the same time)

John Carpenter – Tuk

German Holidays – Tuk

I dream of landscapes, I dream of pancakes, I dream of dreamy sequences where I fall in love

I refuse to reveal whether this lengthy absence is down to extensive flooding in Gloucester or bone idolness. You guess…

Cheese on Bread

Anyway, another great evening last week at the Slak Bar, which is fast becoming one of my favourite places these days. It’s just got such a great atmosphere, and I really love being so close to the performers, most of whom I simply could not imagine seeing anywhere else. This time, I went over to see American band, Cheese on Bread bring some camp good humour to the week.

First on, however, was Men Diamler, whom I saw last time I was at Slak, and wrote about here. Last time was apparently an experimental affair, he told us, and this time would be his more regular set. Well, I don’t know if he was pulling my leg or what, but “regular” is not the first word I’d’ve used to describe his collection of quirky, determinedly bizarre songs. Although at least his guitar did have all six strings (which is three more than last time). He started off sounding almost folky but, with his really very powerful voice cranking it up somewhat, he veered off the more well-worn singer-songwriter paths, pretty quickly. He really shreds his voice to the point of exhaustion and clearly makes a point of going further than you would expect him to, to the point of being a pretty hard listen at times.

At one point, worn out and obviously drained, he asked plaintively,
“How long have I got left?”
“About six months…” someone called from the back tables.

Again, by the end of the set, after he’d thrown his guitar down and climbed onto the backs of people chairs to deliver his finale, I found myself thinking, where did all that come from? He seemed such a gentle chap.

Some of the performance has been captured on video and posted on YouTube, and it’s a pretty good video, capturing as it does, Men in all his cracked, slightly demented glory. (The part where he wanders off stage is the point at which he started clamber on tables etc.) Here it is… (Credit to Likal)

There were a couple of other sets after his, one by a slightly nervous trio calling themselves the Limechalks who gave away free CDs, one of which was hand-made and was probably one of the nicest put-together freebies I think I’ve ever had. (Predictably, I managed to lose the actual CD between the Slak Bar and home, but trust me the packaging was lovely…)

We were also treated to a set of fairly dubious hip hop from Puppy Bucket and Donny Choonara, who introduced themselves with “This is a song about wanking!” – I’m struggling to think of a less promising start to a set. And sure enough they were pretty poor, seeming inordinately pleased with themselves to be so. I’m not a great fan of hip hop, but they do have a track up on their Myspace page which raised a smile, and is worth sharing here. Unfortunately, they didn’t play it, but then again I wouldn’t have been able to hear it anyway…

Deli Life – Puppybucket & Donny Choonara

Cheese on Bread are a five-piece from New York, and are nearing the end of a series of European dates, but still looked pretty fresh and full of themselves when they came on. They were a pretty distinctive-looking bunch, doggedly going for a geeky kitsch look that made me think of Emo Phillips. I have to say though, that I have enormous admiration for anyone who is not only completely unfussed about what people think of them but who can carry it off with sheer wit.

Lead by Sara FitzSimmons and Dan Fishback, and named after “the West’s most dependable dish”, their songs were catchy indie numbers with great dollops of trashy cultural references and were played with great gusto. The band has a Myspace page, as do Sara and Dan each, which are all worth a visit.

I know that for some the unrelenting tweeness began to grate by the end of the evening, but I have to say I was not one of them. I found them a lot of fun and I enjoyed their enthusiastic mix of indie-pop and quirky humour immensely.

Again, some of the performance was captured by Likal for YouTube, and I think this is the best one, “A Piece of Ass”:

There are quite a few MP3s and Youtube clips around on their website, on the Likal YouTube page and their Myspace pages, so I suggest you snag the couple I’m offering here and then hoover up any of the other songs around. And then really, you gotta go and see them…


Where the Fuck Are They?

There is something antique in you and your ways…

Dunno if anyone remembers, but I got myself rather caught out a few months ago over a release by Additional Moog, one of my favourite discoveries and the first band ever to feature on these pages.

Additional Moog

Without warning, an album called Lost Engines turned up on Emusic, and I remember berating myself furiously for not knowing it was coming up. Anyway I snagged it and although I liked it I couldn’t say it enjoyed an extended run on the old iRiver. Well, I’ve just received a copy of what I think is the official Additional Moog debut, Thirty Three and a Third, on Fight This Generation Records, which amounts to the UK release. Or something.

Actually, the press release that came with it, says that the Lost Engines album was cobbled together from early demos by Lost Cat Records in the US. And I can see it, this version has a fair few songs I already knew from the Lost Cat record, and from downloads, but it’s noticeably more polished, and for my money all the better for it.

There are some excellent songs here; including the one I think I picked out last time, a song called “Alaska” which has a great melody, some sad, sad lyrics and the sort of fragile and soulful solo on some sort of electronic gadget (moog?) that belies their reputation as being unplugged, Americana types. I’m posting it here alongside the Lost Cat version, which is still good but not a patch on the newer version. I’m also posting a song called Four Track Soul which I did post originally but which has gone dead since then, and deserves another outing I feel.

Alaska (Thirty Three and a Third version)
Alaska (Lost Engines version)
Four Track Soul

Additional Moog are playing a few dates around the country (see their Myspace page) and then a mini tour of the States, and I’d’ve thought they’d go down well there.

All the best, fellers.

I Am the Only Astronaut They Left Behind

I’m still pretty new to the blogging experience in many ways and consequently am still filled with childish glee when getting home from work I find a package on the doormat, which is what happened this week, when those charming fellers Poq sent me their CD.

And it’s full of really cracking songs too, with some really catchy, melancholic choruses that will be floating around my mind for a few weeks. I think when I posted about Poq before I made some laboured point about not liking synthesisers overly much, which is still broadly true, but bands like this do remind you that it’s really all about how you use instruments. Melodies will usually win out. I really like the synths on these tracks.

I think I also banged on about not really knowing anything about the band themselves. So Julian has kindly sent me their press pack, as well as the CD, which tells me that, amongst other things, Pog stands for Piss Off Quickly; that the band are Steven, Chris, David and Julian; that they come from Swansea and that it’s really only now that they’re hitting their stride.

The tracks I’m posting here are Red Admiral and Astronaut which are both slower and more complex numbers than the ones I posted last time, and they’re both quite dazzlingly beautiful songs, that showcase the synths sound that I’m newly converted to. Enjoy.

Red Admiral


Hear the nightjars sing across the night…

Because I have the attention span of a butterfly, my CD collection is full of single albums by bands, and relatively few second, third or fourth albums. I am far from a completist.

One of the obvious consequences of such profligacy is that artists and albums disappear from my radar pretty quickly, but then imagine the feelings of pleasant surprise when I rediscover the same artists. And this was almost literally the case with today’s band.

Loudmouth Soup

Apparently, I covered Loudmouth Soup way back in the heady days of March ’06. I say “apparently” because I had completely forgotten I’d done so, and only picked it up when I came across them again on Myspace, went to their website and found my own review there on their site. A touch embarrassing, eh? (A bit rubbish, really.) But then again, I prefer to think of it as a kind of double endorsement of the band. After all I’ve been impressed by them not just once…

Anyway, Loudmouth Soup are from Leeds and have a bit of a history, including a self-financed single and an appearance on a Channel 4 show. Reading between the lines, I get the feeling that they are at a bit of crossroads at the moment, having recently missed out on a record deal. Well if it means anything, fellers, I think these new tracks are better than the old ones.

Since my last visit, there are three extra tracks on the Myspace page, all of which are classy slices of country rock and general good timey sounds. The Boatman is a particular grower, with some beautiful keyboard decorations and a great fade out, involving pedal steel, banjo and a really cool organ sound. A lovely record.

When You Dream

The Boatman