In the nineties, The Auteurs were a class act that never got the recognition they deserved. Essentially a vehicle for the talent of Luke Haines, who has flaunted his wares through a number of guises since then. His latest solo album is ‘Rock And Roll Animals’ and it’s downright weird! A fairytale scrapbook citing former rock stars as animals, as the title suggests. A fixation with Nick Lowe as a badger and Gene Vincent as a cat is the root of the story and it is a bizarre experience, yet musically solid and actually quite entertaining. Here’s a track.
The independent inquiry set up by the East London borough’s council has produced its report and recommendations for tackling poverty and extreme inequality
Entitled Time To Act, the report of the fairness commission set up last November by Tower Hamlets council makes 16 recommendations on housing, money and jobs designed to address inequality and hardship in a borough that commission chair Giles Fraser has correctly identified as “at the same time, one of the richest and one of the poorest parts of Britain.”
That contrast was symbolised by the setting for the launch and the large views of East London it provided: the Canary Wharf HQ of Barclays, all airy concourses, wood-panelled walls and million quid salaries, looks out on surrounding urban space marked by the worst child poverty in the country.
Among the apparent mysteries the commissioners addressed was why so few young people from Tower Hamlets end up working in the Wharf and elsewhere in the borough, when job opportunities of all kinds are pretty plentiful compared with elsewhere. “When you go round and talk to people it feels like those job opportunities exist in another world,” said commission member Graham Fisher, chief executive of Toynbee Hall, “a parallel world which actually is inaccessible to many of the people who live in the borough.”
Tower Hamlets schools have improved greatly in recent years, yet qualifications alone haven’t bridged the gap between educational attainment and fruitful employment. The commission urges employers, the voluntary sector, Jobcentre Plus and housing associations and schools to co-ordinate their efforts better, and asked the council to “set ambitious targets” for expanding childcare provision – a big element in London’s high cost of living, yet one that is often underplayed (recommendations 7-11).
Sufia Alam of the Wapping Women’s Centre spoke of an increase in women with concerns about the cost of living, notably rents, and of noticing increases in the numbers of betting shops, pawnbrokers and payday loan outlets on high streets. Recent welfare reforms, she said, “have really shaken up communities, really made families worried.” She felt that following several years of improvement many people were feeling that their lives were going backwards. The report calls for the eradication of the “poverty premium” in Tower Hamlets, asks the government and the financial services sector to do more to back credit unions, and for councils to have greater powers limit the spread of “unhealthy businesses.” (recommendations 1-5).
Lindsay Mackie, who works for the New Economics Foundation, described the cost of housing in the borough as “insane” with the very poor, working households and young people arriving to take up jobs in the financial sector all struggling to afford the accommodation they need. “Homes are being bought as investments,” she said. “They are stocks and shares. They are bonds. They’re not homes built to meet peoples’ need. You can go around Tower Hamlets now and see an awful lot of flats with the lights off – nobody’s there.”
The commission’s recommendations on housing (numbers 12-16) include the government reducing its restrictions on councils borrowing to build homes – even Boris Johnson agrees with that – allowing councils to keep the proceeds from right-to-buy sales in order to re-invest it, and seeking new models for long-term social housing investment.
All in all, plenty to chew on. And the context is an urgent one. “I love this town,” Giles Fraser said. “I love its historic commitment to inclusion, particularly here in Tower Hamlets. “But London is being transformed into a place I don’t want to live in, a place where people who are poor or even on modest incomes are being pushed out of the centre and that doesn’t fill me with an great joy at all.”
Your wise comments on Time To Act are, of course, welcome.
via Global: Dave Hill | theguardian.com http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/davehillblog/2013/sep/30/tower-hamlets-fairness-commission-report-launched
The legacy of Joy Division needs to be approached with a certain reverence. As pretentious and extreme as that sounds, there are enough precedents of musicians desecrating the grave of Ian Curtis – I give you Paul Young’s ‘interpretation’ of Love Will Tear Us Apart and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ taken on Transmission as prime offenders. Closer to home, and less disastrously, in 2013 Peter Hook is respectfully revisiting the band’s entire back catalogue, from unreleased demos to entire albums, whilst promoting JD books, memorabilia and such. Sumner and Morris meanwhile shoehorn the more obvious songs into New Order‘s set – slick, slightly soul-less re-workings that offer little new to the canon. The Killers continue to cover Shadowplay and invite ex-members on stage.
Everyone, everywhere doffs their collective caps to the ‘existential poetry’ of Ian Curtis, his presence seemingly growing year upon year. These four working class Salford lads who recorded a mere two albums over thirty years ago, just a couple of records, yet two of the most mythical, legendary, awe-inspiring collections of works in the entire history of popular music. Somehow Joy Division never date, never age. Even Disney appropriated the Unknown Pleasures cover for a Mickey Mouse t-shirt. Yes, Joy Division needs to be approached with care.
And so to The Heritage Orchestra and Robin ‘Scanner’ Rimbaud, who offer Live Transmission: Joy Division Re-Worked, previously seen briefly at the Brighton Festival last year. Presented as much as a gig as an orchestral event, the stage invites intrigue immediately as we are separated from the orchestra and band by a gauze upon which images and light are projected to often mesmerising effect. Some 20 musicians on stage, with ‘rock’ band stage left, all conducted by Jules Buckley – not your average Classic FM guy- it looks like it could be the recipe for disaster. Rock meets classical.
Not a good look. But this is something that defies comparison, virtually unique in the history of JD reinventions.
The familiar, thundering bass line to Transmission starts things up – so far, so trad, then Sumner’s two-note guitar motif is repeated like a loop as the orchestra builds to a heady crescendo. The effect is like being smacked in the face in a wind tunnel. It sounds like Transmission, you know it’s the same song, but the whooshes and screams of Martin Hannett’s original production in 1977 are now twisted and contorted into other-worldly chimes of electronic noise. It’s like they fed the mixes through a paper shredder, gave it some acid then invited Stockhausen to create a 25th boom from the debris. Astonishing.
Digital is almost unrecognisable aside from the bass-line re-imagined as a high pitched clavichord signature, but when Dead Souls kicks in, a palpable thrill is felt around the room as Curtis’ disembodied refrain ‘they keep calling me’ echoes like a voice from the underworld. Lyrics drop in and out, his own hand-written scrawl and crossings-out appear in real time with the music, and the eerie, chilling yet awe-inspiring vision of that dance as a jerky stop-motion animation defies description.
After a brutal, beautifully out-of-sync She’s Lost Control crushes the crowd into submission, Isolation is the one weak moment of the night, a re-working too far in some ways and also one of the more throw-away songs in the Joy Division catalogue, despite the bleakness of the lyrics. But then The Eternal (re-named ‘End Eternal’ tonight) screeches and floods through the speakers above and below as the pressure cooker hisses and squeals from the original groan, creak and merge dramatically into the orchestra’s majestical drive. It’s this fusion of man, machine and imagination that makes tonight more than just a gig, defying tribute and homage, but instead offering something radical, new and intrinsically original.
A sombre, almost dub-step Heart and Soul fades into Joy Division’s masterpiece Atmosphere as Steve Morris’ near-tribal drums are flipped around and faded in and out amidst the frenzy of strings and horns, then…. silence….as a lone voice gently lulls us to the climax. Curtis, alone, crooning like a woozy Sinatra at his peak, Love Will Tear Us Apart laid bare, with hushed horns and whispering violins repeating the phrase again and again . It’s the one literal interpretation of the night, and the calm after the storm – by turns beautiful and beguiling. A fitting end.
It has been said that if Ian Curtis was alive today, this is the kind of music he might be making. I’m not sure about that, although it’s true that he did lead the way in introducing electronica to the band, and we cannot underestimate Hannett’s role in defining the iconic sound. But after tonight I believe, more importantly, finally, a group of musicians have understood and attempted to portray how original, unique and genre-defining this band were, and remain today, and have held up a mirror to Joy Division to show us what is possible with contemporary music in the 21st simply – it has the spirit and the feeling.
R Plus Seven might not be as suitable a transition into the ‘beyond’ as Replica, but that’s partly because it’s already there
The best album so far this year to feature hovering sandwiches, a homeless robot and Zach de la Rocha
Much like the universally acclaimed Ravedeath, 1972 Tim Hecker’s new release demands a lot of the listener. Hecker’s work is, above all else, textural and often requires consideration and empathy from the listener before it becomes decipherable, let alone accessible. In this respect Virgins is much like its predecessors. In other ways, however, it differs from his most recent work, containing a softer palette of textures and a percussiveness that breathes a certain bodiless life into the proceedings.
As might be expected with an album titled Virgins, there is a recurring theme of innocence that runs through this work, often in a hymnal, lyrical sense. Yet this innocence, which often sparkles with life, is repeatedly underscored by a foreboding or a threat of what is to come. It is not dark per se, rather it is a continual suggestion of uncertainty and change. At times there are stuttered hints at a revelation but all too often we return to where we were; keening for something that we’re wary of yet feel is inevitable, or confused and alone not knowing what has just been missed.
In spite of this, as far as Hecker’s work goes this is a relatively open work, and only ‘Live Room’ feels punishing in its oppressiveness. Elsewhere there is always some space, some light, some escape, perhaps particularly so in ‘Live Room Out’ which is far warmer and looser than its companion piece.
The biggest surprise is saved for last, however, when after an album full of uncertainty ‘Stab Variation’ provides a transcendent moment. With the atmospheric subterfuge lifting, and Hecker’s love of leaving hints of source material shining through, the narcotic remnants of a distant house track are revealed.
Virgins highlights the acute focus Tim Hecker brings to his work, both though the carefully constructed textural waves that keep the listener continually guessing what is to come as well as through the rich and intimate live recording that keeps the listener engrossed throughout.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
via Michael Mcdonald God Is In The TV http://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk/2013/09/30/tim-hecker-virgins-kranky/
Dr Alex Paterson wags chin ahead of the release of four-disc box set History of the Future and a 25th anniversary tour
via Rocksucker http://rocksucker.co.uk/2013/09/interview-the-orb.html
New signing to Big Tea Records, Dead Wolf Club announce the release their first release with their new album and since their album RAR, was released on Scene not Heard, last year. The 4 track EP, is Healer, out this Monday September 30th and available on 10″ green and white limited edition vinyl , as well as digital. These 300 limited edition vinyl records also come with a little fanzine printed on 100% recycled paper.
This 4 track EP, Healer, appears to follow a spiritual theme, of alienation, with tension building between the humane and material , focusing on ideas around song titles, ‘Metropolis’, ‘Flood’, and obviously the EP title, ‘Healer’, a man who looks like a boy healing a stone on their artwork, as it starts to bleed. The songs revolve around a welcome mix of post punk and shoegaze, the shoegaze giving the punk riffs an absorbing after glow, the drums tribal and pounding, moving into psychedelic tones especially in 17, sounds that screech off into the distance and come back to melodic and harmonious again. The band remind me of
My Bloody Valentine, in that I could be taken away and absorbed by the sound, invited to stop thinking for a while. There appears to be a layering of confusion and calmness that pervades, as anger, fear and alienation screeches out of John Othello’s words.
The punk and grunge sound mix nicely hinting at tones of Sonic Youth and maybe even My Bloody Valentine, the tension between the vocals and he sound, enhance the distortion, as if aliens were invading, or as if something is trying to escape from John Othello’s voice. We get glimpses of his thoughts and ideas, as tension builds and ideas are thrown out from the darker moments. In Flood, where he seeks an equilibrium with the world, ‘someone told me I was a mess.’ ‘no one told me how to stand up.’ Or in Metropolis, ‘sometimes I see through everyone,’ give us ideas of destruction and alientation, in this epic track, with lots of ideas interwoven, giving that feel of the world so big on the outside and dominating.
This is a band on a mission, not entirely sure where it will go yet, but they are even giving away a Big Tea fanzine on 100% recycled paper. The bands mission is a political and possibly an enlightening one, seeking something new and evolved, this band are on a mission, even the magazine is 100% recyclable.
DEAD WOLF CLUB will play the following live dates in support of HEALER, with more to be announced:
– House Of Wolf, Islington, London – LAUNCH PARTY!
– Buffalo Bar, Cardiff
via Sam Chamberlaine God Is In The TV http://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk/2013/09/30/dead-wolf-club-release-debut-ep-with-big-tea-records/
The test of democracy and of the rule of law, both here and in Greece, is not how it treats the best of us but how it treats the worst.
That doesn’t mean we should be complacent. There are real threats to justice in Britain, such as cuts to legal aid. However the battle is clearly not yet lost here.
Meanwhile in Greece the authorities have moved to arrest members of the Neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, including its leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos and four other Golden Dawn MPs. They’ve been charged with belonging to a criminal organisation and it’s claimed that guns and ammunition were found in Michaloliakos’ home.
Recent posts by reservists belonging to elite Greek military units calling for a coup, the killing of a prominent leftist musician, sustained attacks on immigrants and left wing protesters, had all brought things to a point where the state seems to have felt obliged to act.
I feel obliged to say two things. Firstly that I believe in muscular democracy; in other words I do not believe that a democracy, in the name of democracy, should hand the means of its own destruction to non-democratic forces.
When Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared at one point that he saw democracy as a bus, you use it to get to your destination and then get off, he associated himself with autocrats everywhere who have exploited democracy from Hitler onwards.
The minimum qualification for seeking power democracy must be a commitment to surrender power democratically when citizens demand it. For that reason it’s hard to justify allowing Golden Dawn or any other anti-democratic group an electoral platform.
The other thing I would say is this; however odious Golden Dawn the party and its members may be they must get due process and a fair trial. It’s not so much a concern about creating martyrs. Most knuckle dragging far right thugs would fetishise a rotting dog’s carcass if it served their warped cause. Nope, it’s because the damage done to Greek democracy by further degrading its already damaged institutions would be almost as bad as letting Golden Dawn damage them.
There’s a passage in A Man For All Seasons, where Sir Thomas More is debating with his son-in-law Wiolliam Roper, that puts it better than I could.
Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law!
More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man’s laws, not God’s — and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it — d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.
Bang ‘em up, throw away the key and all that, but do it proper and do it so a better, more confident, more self respecting, more honest, more democratic Greece can come out of this.
this blog was originally posted here.
via Guest Liberal Conspiracy http://liberalconspiracy.org/2013/09/30/even-the-neo-nazis-from-golden-dawn-should-get-due-process/
Traams, walk the fine line of angular post punk and hypnotic motorik inspired grooves. You get the feeling listening to their debut album Grin that they were eavesdropping while the Wedding Present were recording Seamonsters with Albini, were in Stockton at Pavement‘s inception, have th’ Faith Healers Lido stuck in their van’s cassette deck, have drank at the fountain of Klaus Dinger, and hang out with the Hookworms. I know that last one is true since MJ of the Hookworms along with Rory Attwell recorded Traams debut album.
Grin is a blood brother of Hookworms’ amazing album Pearl Music. Singer and guitarist Stuart Hopkins has an unhinged voice that could go off the rails at any moment giving the songs an unpredictability while the underlying guitar bass drum hypnosis by way of spiral scratch grooves keep you tied to the tracks. The last couple of weeks as I’ve been tethered to this record I’ve felt like the cartoon damsel in distress tied to the tracks as Traams locomotive rumbles down the tracks. Are the Traams Snidely Whiplash or are they my Dudley Do-Right? Tune in next time for “This is the very last traam” or “Blogger on the tracks.”
via the finest kiss http://finestkiss.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/railroad-jerks/