October 10, 2007

Save the Tin Angel

Coventry’s Tin Angel has, over the past five years, become something a watermark for the arts within it‘s field. Attracting acts as diverse as Jose Gonzalez, Jeffrey Lewis, Misty’s Big Adventure and the Wombats the Tin Angel and it’s younger sibling, Taylor John’s House have rolled back Coventry’s status as a cultural void and in turn helped fledgling local acts hone their skills in a truly unique environment. However, it has recently been announced that should the Tin Angel group fail to raise £23,000 the venues as we know them will be closed; leaving a gaping whole in Coventry’s cultural sector.
Opened in 2002 by Richard Guy the Tin Angel has provided a performance space for artists, poets and musicians for five years, whilst Taylor John’s House which opened in 2006 has provided both recording and rehearsal facilities for musicians and, in the evenings hosted gigs by some legendary recording artists including Damo Suzuki, Bert Jansch and Richie Havens.
Perhaps the key problem has been the persistent complaints that have plagued both venues regarding noise. Complaints from residents living above the Tin Angel has resulted in the revocation of it’s entertainment license whilst residents in the canal basin have complained about the noise of talking as audiences leave Taylor John’s. Trivialities it seems are the character of life. I may be out of line, but surely if the worst of your problems is a few punters chatting as they walk past your house at 11pm you can deal with it, right? Such issues may strike one as petty, insignificant even but they have managed to disrupt performances and club nights at both venues arguably hitting where it hurt in terms of returning punters.
What’s really important is not what has brought us to the point where the Tin Angel faces closure, but rather what can we do to support it. At a meeting in the Tin Angel earlier this week Richard Guy asked to raise awareness of the Tin’s plight and discussed his plans to convert the business into a non profit organisation which would serve the communities artists even further as a space to flourish. He also said that messages of support would be of equal value to any financial contributions, these can be sent to savethetin@yahoo.co.uk or posted on a Facebook group ‘Save the Tin Angel and Taylor John’s House’.
To some of you this may seem like some kind of plea for poverty or an admission of failure and an attempt to rectify that by converting to a non-profit making organisation, a cynical but perhaps understandable assumption. However, I have experienced first hand the passion that the staff at Taylor John’s have for music. In April this year I booked Darren Hayman to play at Taylor John’s through Offbeat; the universities indie/alternative music society, however there was an issue with funding and the Union denied us access to the society accounts for failing to follow policy. This left us high and dry, after scraping together the funds from our own bank accounts a few exec members paid for the gig ourselves; we made a loss, on top of that we had the venue to pay. Rich knew our situation and knew that we couldn’t afford to do this in reality and so waived our fees and ignored the proposed door fee. Our arses were saved. I know this isn’t exactly professional but I thought it was needed to illustrate the kind of people I’m talking about, or rather the kind people I’m talking about.
All of you who love the Tin and Taylor John’s please cut the crap and make a statement, attend up coming gigs, send an email. Tell you friends. Without the Tin Angel Coventry is a desert. Let’s make a difference.


October 02, 2007

Plagiarism

_For sale? dumb cunt’s same dumb questions
Oh virgins? listen, all virgins are liars honey
And I don’t know what I’m scared of or what I even enjoy
Dulling, get money, but nothing turns out like you want it to

And in these plagued streets of pity you can buy anything
For $200 anyone can conceive a God on video
He’s a boy, you want a girl so tear off his cock
Tie his hair in bunches, fuck him, call him Rita if you want

I eat and I dress and I wash and I still can say thank you
Puking – shaking – sinking I still stand for old ladies
Can’t shout, can’t scream, hurt myself to get pain out

I ‘T’ them, 24:7, all year long
Purgatory’s circle, drowning here, someone will always say yes
Funny place for the social, for the insects to start caring
Just an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff

In these plagued streets of pity you can buy anything
For $200 anyone can conceive a God on video
He’s a boy, you want a girl so tear off his cock
Tie his hair in bunches, fuck him, call him Rita if you want, if you want

I eat and I dress and I wash and I can still say thank you
Puking – shaking – sinking I still stand for old ladies
Can’t shout, can’t scream, I hurt myself to get pain out

Power produces desire, the weak have none
There’s no lust in this coma even for a fifty
Solitude, solitude, the 11th commandment

The only certain thing that is left about me
There is no part of my body that has not been used
Pity or pain, to show displeasure’s shame
Everyone I’ve loved or hated always seems to leave

And in these plagued streets of pity you can buy anything
For $200 anyone can conceive a God on video
He’s a boy, you want a girl so tear off his cock
Tie his hair in bunches, fuck him, call him Rita if you want, if you want

Power produces desire, the weak have none
There’s no lust in this coma even for a fifty
Solitude, solitude, the 11th commandment

Don’t hurt, just obey, lie down, do as they say
May as well be heaven this hell, smells the same
These sunless afternoons I can’t find myself_


September 27, 2007

K reckids

I am finding myself in awe and envy of the creative prowess of some friends, especially art wise. My housemate Jen has donw some fantastic paintings that currentyl adorn our lounge and make me feel less a hovel and more a home and I’ve seen some of another friend’s work; and it’s staggering. And here I am with a melodica and a cassette of songs. Staring blankly whilst the cold makes me feel as if I am part of an Orwellian scene, four more cigarettes until Friday and a diet of tea and two slice. Though drinking from a dirty cup does not brush with such hardships.

Though we all romanticise right? I am also enduring a period of self loathing for my writing on blogs. Do I do it well, is it contrived? Or just my thoughts transferred onto the screen. The biggest wonder is do I write my fragments of depravity on here or tap them into word in moments of idleness. Questions quest yuns equestrians.

I think it’s about time I set the wheels in motion for my C Johnson aspirations to begin. Foggy eyes look at those foggy eyes…


November 14, 2005

City and Eastern songs

Title:
Jeffrey and Jack Lewis-City and Eastern Songs
Rating:
4 out of 5 stars
Jeffrey and Jack Lewis make comic books. Not only that but they also sing songs, and rather good ones at that. Sounding like a mix of Moldy Peaches front man Adam Green, ‘Crooked Rain…’ era Pavement and any folk-y troubadour you care to mention. Jeffrey Lewis provides a lucid intelligence to his songs that is sadly lacking from many songwriters today.
Album opener ‘Posters’ will throw anyone familiar with Jeff’s previous recordings as it sounds like one of the rockier moments from ‘Last time I did acid I went insane…’ Though it has to be noted that the improved recording quality brings the songs into their own and creates a greater sense of immediacy than on previous recordings.
Not that direction has completely changed, tracks such as ‘Don’t be Upset’ and ‘Williamsburg Will Oldham horror’ should bring a smile to any fan of the Lewis’, not that the rest of this album wouldn’t.
Granted it is not ‘Last time I did acid I went insane and other favourites’ but nobody would expect or want it to be. ‘City and Eastern songs’ represents an evolution in the Jeffrey Lewis sound, in terms of recordings anyway. Not that ‘City and Eastern…’ is a poor record, far from it in fact. Jeff’s lyrical ramblings on album highlight ‘Williamsburg Will Oldham horror’ are perfectly executed over a rapid guitar line.
Yet despite the new found clarity of production, and perhaps more conventional direction ‘City and Eastern songs’ is rife with potential and suggests that the next record may even elevate the boys to the ‘new’ Moldy Peaches tag. Whether that would be a good thing is open to debate. This record, however, speaks for itself. Sublime.

Best of Blink

Music front cover
Title:
Blink 182 Greatest Hits
Artist:
Blink 182
ASIN:
B000BNYP20
Rating:
3 out of 5 stars
Blink 182 aren’t exactly the most prolific band of the age but that doesn’t stop this from being an acceptable collection…
Spots, excessive masturbation and Blink 182, the essence of every 14 year olds life. But now they have taken an ‘indefinite hiatus’ what are the youth of today to do? Well, they could buy ‘Greatest Hits’ for a start.
Let’s face it, Blink are not, and never have been the epitome of modern music. They’ve never set the world ablaze with their observations like the Smiths. They will never be revered for dying young like Ian Curtis, Mark is 33 years old for Christ’s sake. But they’ve never claimed to be either of those things. In fact they’ve admitted being immature and musically inept. Still, at least they’re honest.
Blink never particularly shone until the release of what may well be their final, self titled album. Tracks such as ‘I Miss You’ took them onto a level beyond their initial capacity, and this itself was a pleasant surprise. Of course, tracks like ‘Adam’s Song’ ‘All the small things’ and ‘Carousel’ are good enough to get the blood pumping. And, for Blink that was what it was about, having a good time. If you want a statement on the human condition try Proust, if you just want a laugh, you could do much worse.

In the wake of determination

Music front cover
Title:
In The Wake Of Determination
Artist:
Story of the Year
ASIN:
B000B66GYM
Rating:
1 out of 5 stars
Not everything from America is good news….
Emo’s image is not helped by stereotypes; kids with floppy side parted fringes, black nail varnish, expensive clothing and heavy NHS alike spectacles. Not to mention far too many identikit bands, many of which disappear after the first record. Enter Story of the Year, with a name so grand you would have to expect big things. Unfortunately not. ‘In the wake of determination’ sounds like a watered down the Used with about as much edge as a heavily greased football. Like recent emo favourites Fall Out Boy the album reeks or predictability. Singles ‘We don’t care anymore’ and ‘Take Me Back’ could be any band doing this right now, it seems such a long time since American imports were innovative, think Pavement and even Weezer, the current barrage of imports are frankly as faceless as those who worship them.
Don’t get me wrong some emo is great fun; Brand New, Funeral for a Friend and British hopefuls Reuben all hit the spot. If you’re an emo kid looking for a quick fix try something else, Story of the Year may be America’s latest offering, but then again so is George Bush Jr. Avoid this like a cold sore in a brothel.

Rosenrot

Music front cover
Title:
Rosenrot
Artist:
Rammstein
ASIN:
B000BK8FH4
Rating:
3 out of 5 stars
People have got it all wrong. Heavy metal is nothing to be afraid of. Ok, it’s not as cool as Razorlight, it’s not as happening as UK hip-hop but it can be good for the odd laugh. It doesn’t (often) get tangled up in political pretence, it’s simple, it’s dumb and it can be a bloody good night out.
But German metal? No, certainly not a good idea. Then came Rammstein, possibly the campest men of their build and famed for such mastery of language as ‘Ich Will’ or ‘Wo bist du?’ Not exactly endearing images.
Yet their latest album ‘Rosenrot’ is, to a minor extent worth celebrating. Despite preconceptions of Rammstein being something 14 year old baggy trousered rascals listen to there is genuine worth in exploring for the music lover. For a start you’re unlikely to hear such a strangely listenable album this year (well, by a German metal band anyway) and who wouldn’t be enthralled by an album which boasts Rammstein’s ‘most romantic song yet’; the loathsome ‘Wo Bist Du?’.
Although changing direction to a slightly more rhythm driven sound Rammstein are essentially the same band; dirty guitars, seedy vocals and a theatrical camp-ness to both the music and the image. The almost hypnotic pulse of title track ‘Rosenrot’ is somewhat intimidating and one can almost picture a 1930s news reel of Nazi Germany. The evocative nature of this record is somewhat limited, mainly due to the language barrier but none the less ‘Rosenrot‘, is an impressive album it must be said.
Whilst not being the deepest record of the century it is a bit of light hearted fun and makes for what can be certainly be described as ‘interesting’ listening. Basically this record is for the open minded, if you can handle the out pourings of Germany’s campest band set to semi industrial beats this is for you. If you can’t what are you reading this for?

Down in Albion

Music front cover
Title:
Down in Albion
Artist:
Babyshambles
ASIN:
B0009X1UKW
Rating:
4 out of 5 stars
Excuse me whilst I eat my hat, Pete has finally came up with the goods…
As some of you may have gathered Babyshambles, or Pete Doherty, in my opinion at least, have had far too many chances. No shows, cancellations, intoxicated performances. Everything you can think of that could go wrong from a fans perspective has. However, this is their final chance to show the world that they really do play and it’s not just another Milli Vanilli style PR stunt.
Doherty, as ever sounds fantastic on record and I’m afraid to say his vision of Albion shines throughout the release. Incidentally much of which sounds like a scrap between the Kinks and Beatles in an east-end lock up mixed with the more frantic moments of the Libertines, (think ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ meets ‘Dedicated follower of fashion’ for ‘A’rebours’ (formerly Curtain Call).
It’s this clash of past and present that seems to create Pete’s vision of England, Albion if you like and the next single, which is of course ‘Albion’ embodies this perfectly. Though gone is the defiant sense of optimism of the Libertines. Instead an overwhelming sense of sadness envelopes the lyrics, yet a typically Doherty-esque defiance does comes through. It’s just a shame that his recorded visions rarely make it in a comprehendible form to the stage as the majority of live reviews show.
The musical nostalgia of sorts is perfectly captured by Mick Jones whose influence has extended beyond the mixing desk in the Clash like ‘Sticks and Stones’, possibly one of Pete’s greatest moments. Remarkably the standout moments on this record are those that have not yet been released as singles, though many tracks have previously been available through the Babyshambles site. The most remarkable transformation is of ‘Sticks and Stones’ from a acoustic malady into a track both equally strong and reminiscent of ‘White man (in Hammersmith Palais)’ by the incomparable Clash.
Prizes for those who can identify that ‘mystery’ voice on opener ‘La Belle et le bete’ Which is of course Kate Moss. Another remnant of the whole Doherty is it isn’t it farce is the presence of ‘Back from the dead’; the B-side to the superb ‘For Lovers’ though the dizzy guitar line has been lost in favour of a bop-bop Baby bell bass line and what songs like jingling milk bottle tops. Yet despite this, it’s still a great track. Albeit a great track with dentures. It may be worth noting that if you listen carefully as the song draws to a close you can hear Pete shouting ‘Shoop shoop shoop de lang a lang’ another reference to days gone by. It might just be me but the sentiment of ‘Down in Albion’ is a distinctively Libertines’, one gets the idea that Pete is missing something.
All in all, the record is two songs longer than need be but it is a statement of, if not intent, then promise. Pete Doherty has created a minor masterpiece and a victory over his critics even if it is an album of what essentially sounds like demos. Excuse me whilst I eat my hat…

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