Tuesday, 23 December 2008

shdwplay#1: catch some waves.

"If you don't think drugs have done good things for us, then go home and take all of your records, tapes and CD's and burn them." Bill Hicks said it best, he always says it best and with his sentiment let me introduce The Super Vacations.

Now, I can't be sure whether the band had to claw the singer off the ceiling to do the vocals, or whether they do drugs at all but it seems pretty elementary. The Super Vacations' music is an old fashioned kaleidoscopic journey through their own states of consciousness. It's the bigger picture, it swirls and it sweeps, it distorts and contorts, it twists and it glides, it's up and it's down. It's a vacant solitary hut trapped on a stormy beach front but it's emanating a warm, radiant, all consuming love. There is sand in your mouth and salt-water in your eyes but their candy hearts are filled with sugar and bliss. Their music sounds like it was recorded in a basement, in the 60's, psychedelic licks cut through the sonic surf, muffled vocals claw there way through 40 years of crackling fuzz, it's crude, it's enchanting, it's out there. It's fucking amazing.

I've just invested in their recent self titled LP out on the amazing shdwply records, maybe i'll give you the lowdown when it gets here, until then, enjoy this piece of lo-fi beach pop brilliance.
Also, you can catch the drummer Ryan who will be over here doing live drums for Nathan Williams' Wavves in the new year, check tour dates here.

Check out The Super Vacations' Myspace here.


Wednesday, 17 December 2008

a deer is for life, not just for christmas.

I was tidying up my desktop and organising things into folders yesterday (sad i know, it's a habit that Cassie got me in to) when I stumbled upon a folder of pictures from ATP vs Pitchfork back in may which I had completely forgotten about. When thinking back to that night, it's hard to imagine i'd easily forgot the ordeal I went through in order to get them.

It was the Sunday night of ATP and we'd consumed way to much of whatever we could over the course of weekend so we were bouncing about Camber Sands like kids full of sugar on the night before Christmas. Needless to say, after a weekend of such epic proportions our attention spans had dwindled into something equally as juvenile. Not content with the Sunday night offering of bands and all smoked out, we had no reason to be outside in the chilling night air so we decided to go and make use of what the arcade had to offer. All was going well at first, we played some games, playfully harassed some elders, won loads of prize tickets and were generally making the most of the last night at my favourite place on earth. Then...we saw it.

"It" was Extreme Hunting 2 a 1st person shoot 'em up but this wasn't your standard, post-apocalyptic zombie type affair, this was "hunting", or aimlessly shooting poor innocent animals for £2 a go. One of these sets of animals being DEERS, yes DEERS.
For those of you who don't pay attention, the comics that come with each and every stop scratching tape detail the adventures of a cat, who represents myself, and a deer, who represents Cassie. So you can imagine my outrage. It was probably about 1am, Sunday night, but I had to phone Cassie and express my outrage. Much outrage later, I let her go back to sleep but I couldn't let Sega get away with this travesty so I set about the Lord of the Rings sized task of warning everyone off playing the game.

Now, at this point in time to quote Alexander Shulgin's system, I was definitely not at baseline, so standing next to a video game shouting about how my girlfriend is a deer and not to kill them to anyone who walked by quickly wore thin, not to mention getting me a fair few odd looks.
A NOTE. I hate to find some paper and leave a note to warn people off playing it, something simple and to the point. DON'T KILL DEERS. That should do it.
Now, finding a pen and paper at 1.30am on Sunday night standing in an arcade in the middle of a festival at Butlins. Easier said than done, believe me. After some more harassing of passers by for a pen or some paper I noticed across the way a small kiosk was open, selling drinks, crisps and other such holy grails of late-night-munchie-seeking-festival-goers. After a lot of difficult searching I discovered that they didn't sell paper, but they did sell pens! One step closer. After about 10 minutes of trying to frantically explain the whole thing to the cashier, I convinced him to donate some till roll to the cause.

So, with the note wrote we headed back over the horrible game but quickly realised the paper was not going to sit on the slippery, slanted surface of the screen. So I went back to the shop in search of sellotape or any kind of adhesive, they didn't have any. I stood there for a while. Refusing to be defeated I went back over and tried and failed again to stick the paper to it. CHEWING GUM IS STICKY. It hit me. Everyone has chewing game. Again some more harassing of the general public ensued. No-one had chewing gum!? Back the shop!
He had chewing gum, so I bought some popped one in my mouth and made my way across the arcade to finally put Extreme Hunting 2 out of action.

When we got there, much to my surprise and dismay, a young man with a hat on was standing there, gun in held proudly in hand, choosing his poor defenceless victims. I ran over panicking, what if he'd chosen Deers already!? Ohmy.
He hadn't. He had however, just paid his £2 and as much as I flapped about, I couldn't convince him to not play, he was a nice, accomodationg chap though and after I explained my ordeal he agreed to shoot mooses instead. Me and Louise did a good job of sabotaging him and because of our interfering he only managed about 3 shots on the whole level and thus failed to get to the next round (if you're reading, man in hat, sorry but it had to be done).
He finished playing by which time the chewing gum was soft and good to go, so after apologising to the poor fellow, we stuck the sign to the front and danced around with a warm sense of achievement and an ever warmer sense of accomplishment. It was hard work, and all together took about an hour but we saved a lot of deers lives that night so it was all worth it in the end.


Friday, 12 December 2008

end of year part deux.

I thought crafting this Top 10 would be pretty easy, though as i took a place at my computer i had a sick moment of realisation 'Suicide' by 'Suicide' was actually released in 1977 (and i would've got away with it as well if it wasn't for that pesky Alan Vega!) However in a mad scramble i have managed to piece together my super lovely TOP 10 of the year. It's does vary from Benjamin's list, even if that variation is slight at times. With so many good rekkids released this year, i undoubtedly left some awesome stuff off, so say something if you disagree, lets chat.

1. AutechreQuaristice
2. Off MinorSome Blood (12”)
3. Deerhunter - Microcastle
4. CardopusherUnity Means Power
5. Flying LotusLos Angeles
6. La QuieteLa Quiete (7”)
7. Starkey - Ephermeral Exhibits
8. High Places - 03/07-09/07
9. Fuck buttonsStreet Horrrsing
10. Gang Gang Dance Saint Dymphna


Wednesday, 10 December 2008

end of year.

10. Foot Village - Friendship Nation

9. Girl Talk - Feed The Animals

8. Starkey - Ephermeral Exhibits

7. K-The-I??? - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

6. iTAL tEK - Cyclical

5. No Age - Nouns

4. Rings - Black Habit

3. Flying Lotus - Los Angeles

2. Why? - Alopecia

1. Nisennenmondai - Destination Tokyo

So there you have it, my vision of 2008's finest offerings summed up in 10 pictures.
Feel free to tell me if you think I missed anything or if indeed you disagree. In the end there are way more electronic based albums on the list than I would have imagined but I put a lot of thought into it and I feel that these are the releases i've been able to come back to and enjoy more than any other this year. It's been a good one.

Top 15 songs and live acts after the jump.


Little Trooper - Wasn't Ready

14. Night Jewel - Artificial Intelligence

13. Telepathe - Chromes On It

12. TV On The Radio - DLZ

11. Nisennenmondai - Mirrorball

10. Baby Venom - Eye Patch

9. Pens - Hate Your Calender

8. Human Hair - Happy Birthday

7. Nisennenmondai - Souzousuru Neji

6. Drop The Lime - Hear Me

5. Gentle Friendly - Five Girl Night

4. Arch M - 21st Union

3. Starkey - Spacewalk

2. No Age - Cappo

1. Baby Venom - Frank


15. Barr @ The Luminaire(London)

14. Fuck Buttons @ ATP vs Pitchfork (Camber Sands)

13. Chrome Hoof @ Dot to Dot (Nottingham)

12. Ex Models @ Dot to Dot (Nottingham)

11. Foot Village @ The Luminaire (London)

10. No Age @ Stealth (Nottingham)

9. Dan Deacon @ Dot to Dot (Nottingham)

8. Banjo Or Freakout @ No Shows Forever (London)

7. Aids Wolf @ The Rainbow (Birmingham)

6. Japanther @ The Old Blue Last (London)

5. Mika Miko @ The Dome (London)

4. Nisennenmondai @ The Hare And Hounds (Birmingham)

3. Glass Candy @ ATP vs Pitchfork (Camber Sands)

2. Dalek @ Supersonic Festival (Birmingham)

1. Why? @ The Regal (Oxford)


Monday, 8 December 2008

i don't wanna build an empire.

King and the Olive Fields is a hip young man named Phillip Serfaty, he resides in the infamous London borough of New Cross, he is sometimes but not always accompanied by his very talented, beautiful group of friends who often come and go and when they come, they lend his music the sound of their percussion, their oboes, their cellos, their banjos, their ukuleles and their voices.

The music is delicate and thoughtful folk, it’s minimalistic but the quaint nature of it ensures that none of the charm is lost. The focus though for me his mature and distinctive vocals and of course, the lyrics, which are an endearing account of the life, the loves and the troubles of the whimsical Mr. Serfaty. It’s when you pay close attention to them that you notice the references to life in London but fortunately Phillip seems to have divorced himself from the often negative affects the city can bestow on you and sings about his idiosyncrasies in a convincingly upbeat manner. I asked him a few questions to work into this write up but his answers were so amazing i’ve left them exactly how as they are and are in full here for you to read. Enjoy.

(this post was originally written for http://thisisoffset.co.uk)

BS: How does living in a suburb as infamous as New Cross effect your music? Do you find yourself getting grouped in with a scene you evidently don’t want to be a part of?

PS: I don’t know how much of a difference it makes to the music itself, but most of KATOF live no further than fifteen minutes from each other and we’re recording our first record above the off-license opposite New Cross Gate Station, so i suppose you could say that we’ve created a little hub for ourselves, for better or for worse. As far as getting grouped in with a scene, i don’t think there is any such thing. I mean, musicians, promoters and artists know each other, but i reckon that has more to do with proximity and mutual friends than any kind of shared ideals.

BS: You often reference not wanting to be a ‘part of this’ or ‘getting out of here’, what it that bothers you so much?

PS: The immediate though that popped into my head is the first scene in ‘Annie Hall’ where Woody Allen paraphrases Groucho Marx: “I would never want to be part of any club that would have someone like me for a member”.

BS: Your lyrics are contemporary and sometimes relate to life in London, do you think KATOF can exist without the artistic inspiration of life in a big city?

PS: Sure, I think I could always find things to write about, whether I’m a penniless shmuck in a city or a dribbling recluse out in the sticks.

BS: You seem the have the unbridled ability to talk about your life and tell stories in and amusing and honest in a way I find similar to Brandon Flower of Barr. Who/what would you site as your main sources of inspiration?

PS: That’s a nice comparison, Barr are great! Daniel Jonhston, Smog and the ethics of K Records inspired me to start home-recording when I was about 17. Jimmy from The Bobby McGees taught me how to play the ukulele. I listen closely to lyrics and I’m a big fan of the SIlver Jews. I long to be able to write a lyric like : “When I go downtown/ I always wear a corduroy suit/ cos it’s made of a hundred gutters / that the rain can run right through”. I’ve been listening to a lot of Arthur Russell, so I seem to be more enthusiastic about the cello these days. I like baritone voices and my favourite performer is Jacques Brel.

BS: Your friends often join in with the fun, how important is their role in your music? Could you not say just do it all with an acoustic guitar and a few other bits and pieces?

PS: The line-up is constantly changing, members come and go. It gives me a lot of freedom, in that I can always play a show, whether solo with a ukulele or with a five piece band. Also, it means that musicians are less reluctant to play with me as there are no contracts involved, they can come and go as they please. There’s the cliche that being in a band is like being married. Well, we’re more like swingers.

BS: I admire the fact you don’t want to play shows because of their supposed benefits but say you were scouted one day at a show in one of these A&R hangouts? Would you actually be opposed to taking this project somewhere because it’s something you did for fun?

PS: If don’t think anyone would be crazy enough to take an interest in my music from a financial perspective. But if someone offered me the opportunity to release a record and travel for a while, well, that could be fun. However, as soon as money gets involved, your relationship to your creative activity does change. You approach it differently when it becomes your source of income, I worry the pressures of success would impinge on the music. I suppose I like the idea of taking the project to different places, both literally and metaphorically, but doing so with great caution. I’d try to avoid signing anything. Not that I have had any offers, you understand.

BS: What are your intentions now? What do you see in store for the future of KATOF?

PS: Well, we’re recording a five song EP that we’re going to release ourselves, hopefully on 7″ in early ‘09. I’m hoping to move to Paris in the summer, I know it really well and am desperate for a change of scene, I’m too comfortable these days. The music is my main creative output and will continue no matter where I live. Also, it’d give me the opportunity to rename the band to King And Ze Olive Fields.

BS: And lastly, what is favourite dinosaur and why?

PS: Probably the Diplodocus. It’s a huge towering beast but it’s a herbivore so it’s not too threatening. I doubt it would crush a fellow vegetarian. I imagine it would pick me up by my shirt and pop me on its back, at which point I would run up his neck, sit on the top of his head and keep an eye out for carnivores in the distance.

King And The Live Fields - Empire.mp3 (zshare)

You can check out KATOF's myspace here and go see them live this Thursday (Dec. 11th) @ The Amersham Arms.


Friday, 5 December 2008

missletoe and wine.



8.30PM-2.00AM || FREE ENTRY


it's the last friday before jolly old saint nick pulls on his furry leather boots and jumps in his sleigh, so in light of these events we've decided to have a little get together with our friends, play some music, have a dance and generally get in the christmas spirit. it's free entry all night and they'll be xmas gifts and giveaways for all who attend.
we've been chatting with santa too & he's told us that your name will be transfered to the naughty list if you don't come, so if you want that remote control car or a barbie dream house, i suggest you pop on down to camden and help us spread the xmas cheer!

& to get you in the mood...
menegaur - christmas isn't christmas.mp3