Dave Hill | The Guardian: Earls Court: Capco directors buy their own non-existent flats

Senior figures with the developer behind a widely-opposed west London redevelopment scheme have been investing in its un-built properties

The Earls Court Project, the high-rise, high-priced and highly unpopular £12bn west London “regeneration” scheme for which the term “monumental waste of space” might have been coined, is enthusing some of the top brass of its developer Capital and Counties (Capco), if hardly anyone else.

A lengthy press release about the company’s preliminary financial results for last year discloses on page 51 (section 27) that directors of the company have been buying up some of the ludicrously expensive flats yet to actually be built on the section of the development area dubbed Lillie Square. This is, in fact, the erstwhile Seagrave Road car park of the now closed Earls Court exhibition centre – the legendary London venue Capco intends to “re-imagine” as a vacuous speculator “village” containing no affordable homes.

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God Is In The TV: Father John Misty – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 27th February 2015

031There is a startling intensity about Josh Tillman. That much was clear in his four year tenure as drummer with Fleet Foxes and the circumstances in which he left the band when they were at the height of their powers and fame. This depth of energy and emotion is again apparent in his work as Father John Misty, an apparently meaningless alias he adopted in the aftermath of his shock departure from Fleet Foxes in January 2012.

Under that persona, Tillman has released two full-length studio albums both of which are characterised by their staggering accounts of self-indulgence, self-absorption and self-doubt, all cut through with a raw emotional honesty that can be just as uncomfortable as it is refreshing. As the title of his 2012 release Fear Fun suggests, it catches Tillman – or is it Father John Misty, or even both, because the lines between the two are constantly blurred – at a crossroads in both his life and career.

081It’s follow-up, last month’s I Love You, Honeybear, is inspired by Tillman’s recent marriage yet despite the security and stability this union undoubtedly affords him it is a record that is riven with uncertainty and one that ultimately demystifies many of the more saccharine notions of love. But for all of their innate human frailty, staggering personal revelations and wry observations on life, both records’ unqualified success – I Love You, Honeybear is already rightly being touted as one of the albums of the year – ultimately lies in their shared grasp of how best to craft a beautiful melody.

This evening we get nine songs from I Love You, Honeybear and half a dozen from Fear Fun, the incredible potency of their studio recordings magnified in the live setting by the sheer enormity and force of Josh Tillman’s personality. Flanked by a magnificent six piece band – David Vandervelde and Dixie Darley on guitars, Kyle Flynn on keys, violinist Paul Cartwright and a stellar rhythm section of Eli Thompson and Dan Bailey on their respective bass and drums – Tillman likens tonight to that kind of first date when you just can’t shut up about yourself. He has got some emotions to share, and share them he does.

The title track of ‘I Love You, Honeybear’ is a torrent of high emotion as Tillman assumes the collective mantle of James Brown, Brett Anderson and a flamboyant nightclub crooner. He is a constant blur of movement, theatricality and largesse. ‘Strange Encounter’, ‘Only Son Of The Ladies Man’ and a truly astonishing ‘When You’re Smiling and Astride Me’ follow. These first four songs are as fantastic as anything you are ever likely to see and hear when experiencing live music.

It would be nigh on impossible to maintain that unrelenting level of energy, passion and emotion for an entire show and whilst Tillman’s foot does subsequently come off 061the gas there are still many more sublime, unforgettable moments to enjoy. David Vandervelde’s steel guitar adds an even greater poignancy to ‘Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddam Thirsty Crow’ and the concluding song ‘Holy Shit’ just builds and builds to its fevered, eddying zenith before Tillman and the band return for a two song encore, the first of which ‘Bored in the USA’ sees him knee-deep in the crowd posing for selfies.

Father John Misty signs off fittingly with ‘Every Man Needs a Companion’. “Couldn’t give me a myth, so I had to write my own……I never liked the name Joshua, got tired of J” he sings. Whether it be fact or fiction, no matter who you are you are unlikely to be able to invent something that is as believably good as this.

Some more photos from this show can be found here

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Dave Hill | The Guardian: Are segregated lanes the best way to make cycling in London safer?

In suburban Kingston upon Thames there’s a mini-debate about the design of its Boris Johnson-funded “mini-Holland” scheme. Should it, perhaps, be bigger?

A former senior member of Kingston Council has complained that designs for the first phase of the borough’s “mini-Holland” cycling scheme show something “very different” from the plans that secured around £30m of Transport for London (TfL) money last March.

Simon James, a Lib Dem and keen cyclist who lost his seat at last May’s election when his party lost control to the Conservatives, has told local media that he had intended “100% segregation for cyclists” but that new illustrations show physically separated cycle lanes along only about a quarter of the stretch of Portsmouth Road concerned.

It is often possible to improve “perceived” road safety significantly by providing cycling infrastructure, but it is more difficult to prove that cycling infrastructure has reduced casualty numbers…The hierarchy of measures approach suggests that traffic reduction, speed reduction and junction treatment should be considered before redistribution of the carriageway (installing cycle lanes)…The research has highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of each type of cycling infrastructure. In a limited number of cases there has been a significant positive effect on road safety, but in general it is only “perceived” safety that improves.

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God Is In The TV: NEWS: Liverpool Sound City line up additions

Dates: 22th – 24th May 2015 (Sound City conference takes place 21st – 22th May 2015)
Location: Liverpool Docklands

Following its almost too-good-to-be-true first line up announcement, Liverpool Sound City has done it again! The Cribs, PeaceSwansEverything Everything and Fat White Family will be joining previously confirmed The Flaming Lips and Belle and Sebastian at this year’s festival. 
Sound City CEO Dave Pichilingi commented on the latest news: “It’s a really big year for Sound City – with the move to our incredible new industrial home at Bramley Moore Dock we promised to create a bill that smashed expectations. We believe we have more than delivered on this promise.
Other acts announced in the second wave include SpectorIceageStormBill Ryder-JonesThe BohicasHoneybloodAquiloThe Sundowners and Liverpool’s own Tea Street Band.

Click here for tickets and further line up information.

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Liberal Conspiracy: What Jihadi John and CAGE said yesterday about how people are ‘driven to terrorism’

Imagine this scenario. A white atheist kills a Muslim couple in cold blood. The media speculates endlessly about the “factors” that drove him to kill them: apparently he had a parking dispute with them; they dressed and talked funny; he was lonely and maybe they did something to provoke him? When this actually happened a few weeks ago, called the Chapel Hill shootings, Muslims were rightly horrified at the coverage looked like it was justifying the murders of several innocent people. So what if he liked cats and was polite to people? Why was his wife given so much time on air to defend her husband?

Or take another example. Imagine you’re a white working class kid who lives in a town like Luton. You’ve heard stories of Pakistani-gangs grooming young white girls and that the police is barely doing anything about it. The gangs make your life hell and, on top of that, they go around harassing gays and soldiers and saying they hate this country. They want to shariah law in town, the gangs say. So you join the English Defence League because you see them as the only people standing up against them. Is he a racist? Or is he a boy driven to join extreme groups in response to events around him?

By now you’ll know what I’m getting at, though some people will no doubt claim these are false comparisons. They’re not.

I’m sick of people who try and “contextualise” terrorism on the basis that someone else is to blame for what that person did. But yesterday, CAGE, which calls itself a human rights organisation (yes and Putin is a human rights activist), said the blame for the radicalisation of Mohammed Emwazi (aka Jihadi John) lay solely with the intelligence services.

Of course it did. Because saying anything else would require admitting that he was actually taught by other Muslims to hate non-Sunnis, be ok with the enslaving of Yazidi women, and behead aid workers. CAGE would never admit that. In their world, radicalisation only happens when the police or intelligence services question Muslims. As a caller to BBC radio yesterday put it: “I’m a black man. I’ve been stopped and searched by the Police on numerous occasions for no reason. That doesn’t give me an excuse to murder people.”

There is no doubt in my mind that CAGE were making excuses for a terrorist. Trying to paint him as a victim who was driven to his heinous crimes by security services (who, by the way, only half-heartedly tried to recruit him). And yet, many people who are normally outraged when the national media make excuses for white terrorists or EDL members, were silent yesterday or supporting CAGE, with a few honourable exceptions

Let’s be clear about a few things. The security services are not going to stop questioning Muslims who they think are involved in terrorism-related activities. I only wonder why they didn’t have Mohammed Emwazi under heavier surveillance earlier.

Secondly, CAGE did incalculable harm to the cause of people (like me) who think the security services do sometimes overstep the mark and harass people wrongly. If CAGE is their spokesperson then those people are fucked because they won’t elicit any sympathy whatsoever.

The media is inconsistent in how it covers murders by Muslims and non-Muslims – I agree with this. But Muslims can’t complain of bias in the national media and then fail to criticise a group like CAGE who want to “contextualise” how a man like him is driven to extremism (there were exceptions of course)

In fact I asked several times yesterday of the “context” that makes a man want to kill innocent aid workers (who were helping Syrians), and I got no reply. Funny that.

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God Is In The TV: The Cribs – Ritz, Manchester, 25th February 2015

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If there’s one venue fully equipped for aiding the mass pogoing that the Jarman brothers of the Cribs incite, it’s Manchester’s Ritz. Its spring loaded dance floor seems almost purpose-built for tonight’s show, and before the Wakefield trio have even arrived on stage, the floor sags and pops rhythmically beneath a throng of revellers chanting the riff to ‘Another Number’.

After a surprising support turn from The Ordinary Boys, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d tripped and fallen back into 2005. But the Cribs aren’t ones for looking to the past, and they deliver a set peppered with cuts from upcoming sixth studio album For All My Sisters. Of course, the fan favourites are there too.  To kick things off they rip into ‘Mirror Kisses’ from 2005’s The New Fellas, but are soon teasing the audience with selected works from the new LP.

“This is the best Cribs song!” announces Ryan confidently before strumming gently into ‘Pink Snow’, a song so full of clever peaks and troughs of volume you think he may be right, and earlier in the evening the ‘woo-ooh’s of ‘Different Angle’ make their surrounding track the most instantly Cribs-like of the new material.

Although the album sounds Pinkerton’d-up to levels of homely warm fuzz, in the live setting the new songs reveal a sound texture that doesn’t massively set them apart from their older siblings. That’s not to say the power-pop leanings of the new tracks don’t standout at all, and in structural terms they certainly represent a more grounded approach to songwriting. Where in the past Ryan’s guitar parts would’ve exploded from scrappy verses into wirey choruses distinct for their repetitive riffs (see the aforementioned ‘Another Number’ – not the band’s strongest point but its instantly chant-able tune keeps it a fan favourite ten years on), tracks now ebb and flow smoothly and naturally from one part to the next as a mass of pleasant fuzz.

Melody is wrung from the same four-chords played subtly different. For fans of bands like the Cribs – especially with the scrappy punk legacy they began to carve in the mid to late-00s – acts “mellowing out” is something usually feared. It was clear even ten years ago, that when the Cribs finally did “mature”, it would be the best thing they ever did.

Ryan doesn’t bust his lip and over a decade of practise means Gary’s strained vocal lines stay relatively in tune now, but as the raucous closer of ‘City Of Bugs’ sees both Ryan and Gary hurling their instruments towards battered amps, it’s clear the Cribs still keep the chaos card tucked firmly up their sleeves. It’s hard to disagree with the tag of the UK’s “biggest cult band” on the evidence of tonight’s show.  If the West Yorkshire brothers continue to evolve at their slow, steady and consistently effective pace, we’ll be in for many more cracking records to come.

The Cribs release For All My Sisters on March 23, via Sonic Blew / Sony RED

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The VPME Tom Robinson Announces New Studio Album

You may or may not know that I (Andy) am part of Tom Robinson’s Fresh On The Net moderation team. Each week the team helps Tom sift through a huge number of musical submissions in order to produce a list of what we feel represent the best submissions. These are then are then posted every Friday on the sites Listening Post at which point the public are asked to help out and vote for their favourites.

Through Tom’s 6 Music shows, and via working on his Fresh On The Net team, we know Tom’s genuinely one of the good guys.  His passion and enthusiasm for new music, the amount of work he puts in behind the scenes simply to help young aspiring musicians is quite remarkable.  Moreover, it’s this passion for music; of helping emerging artists negotiate the constantly churning choppy waters of the music bizz, which seems to have fired up his own desire to start recording again.  And to that end, he’s started a Pledge Music project which will see him release his first album in almost twenty years.  It’ll be passionate, topical, outspoken, probably political (as like me he was NO fan of Thatcher Wink whose policies haunt us to this day) and is set to feature some very special surprise guests!

The release is scheduled for October and he’s working with the  talented producer Gerry Diver, plus long-standing collaborators Adam Phillips, Andy Treacey and Lee Forsyth Griffiths.

So to become a part of this exciting project via Pledge Music head over to http://ift.tt/1AgRw5Q  where for a small donation you’ll be given you an Access Pass with insider updates about the new songs and progress in the studio.  You’ll also be able to pre-order the album itself on download, CD, or vinyl – signed or unsigned – as many copies as you like be it 2, 4, 6 or even 8 Smile !

Tom’s PledgeMusic campaign is offering a number of exclusive treats and experiences over the coming months, including an afternoon in the recording studio, the chance to appear in a music video, an online request concert with live Q&A…. But hurry because each offer has strictly limited availability.  When they’re gone, they’re gone!

Official Site | Pledge Campaign | Fresh On The Net

 

 

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God Is In The TV: Show Me Magic! Super Furry Animals announce first shows in six years & Mwng reissue

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Super Furry Animals have announced their return this spring with a deluxe 15th anniversary reissue of their long out-of-print album Mwng and a series of hugely anticipated UK gigs – their first since 2009!

Following a flurry of furry activity, including solo projects, a new book entitled ‘The Rise of the Super Furry Animals’ and a muted reunion show at Howard Marks memorial gig. Awesome genre hopping Welsh band Super Furry Animals are set to return in earnest this May with a series of shows, their first in six years and a reissue of their 2000 album Mwng!

Originally released in 2000 on the band’s own Placid Casual label (between deals with Creation and Sony), the Super Furries career-defining fourth album Mwng was the band’s only Welsh language long player. It reached Number 11 in the UK album charts and was their highest selling record globally up to that point. It remains the biggest selling Welsh language album of all time. On its original release, the record was praised in an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons for its significant part in promoting the language and culture of Wales. You can listen to ‘Ymaelodi Â’r Ymylon’ from the album HERE

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Not only is 2015 the 15th anniversary of Mwng’s release and the 20th anniversary of the band’s first gigs (and the release of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (In Space), the band’s first EP).

Mwng will be re-released on a Friday (May 1st, International Worker’s Day) via Domino Records. Super Furry Animals will play their first gigs since December 2009 in the week that Mwng is reissued. The band play:

1st/2nd Cardiff University Great Hall

5th Glasgow O2 Academy

6th Manchester Albert Hall

8th London O2 Academy Brixton

Tickets go on sale Thursday March 5th at 9am.

Mwng deluxe vinyl tracklisting:

Side A – Mwng Side 1

Drygioni

Ymaelodi Â’r Ymylon

Y Gwyneb Iau

Dacw Hi

Nythod Cacwn

Pan Ddaw’r Wawr

Side B – Mwng Side 2

Ysbeidiau Heulog

Y Teimlad

Sarn Helen

Gwreiddiau Dwfn/Mawrth Oer Ar Y Blaned Neifion

Side C – Mwng Bach

Cryndod Yn Dy Lais

Trons Mr. Urdd

Calimero

Sali Mali

(Nid) Hon Yw’r Gân Sy’n Mynd I Achub Yr Iaith

Side D – Peel Session

Nythod Cacwn

Cryndod Yn Dy Lais

Y Gwyneb Iau

Gwreiddiau Dwfn/Mawrth Oer Ar Y Blaned Neifion

Side E – Live At ATP

Drygioni

Ysbeidiau Heulog

Pan Ddaw’r Wawr

Y Gwyneb Iau

Ymaelodi Â’r Ymylon

Side F – Live At ATP

Nythod Cacwn

Gwreiddiau Dwfn/Mawrth Oer Ar Y Blaned Neifion

Mwng deluxe CD tracklisting:

CD1 – Mwng

Drygioni

Ymaelodi Â’r Ymylon

Y Gwyneb Iau

Dacw Hi

Nythod Cacwn

Pan Ddaw’r Wawr

Ysbeidiau Heulog

Y Teimlad

Sarn Helen

Gwreiddiau Dwfn/Mawrth Oer Ar Y Blaned Neifion

Mwng Bach

Cryndod Yn Dy Lais

Trons Mr. Urdd

Calimero

Sali Mali

(Nid) Hon Yw’r Gân Sy’n Mynd I Achub Yr Iaiath

CD2: Peel Session

Nythod Cacwn

Cryndod Yn Dy Lais

Y Gwyneb Iau

Gwreiddiau Dwfn/Mawrth Oer Ar Y Blaned Neifion

Live At ATP

Drygioni

Ysbeidiau Heulog

Pan Ddaw’r Wawr

Y Gwyneb Iau

Ymaelodi Â’r Ymylon

Nythod Cacwn

Gwreiddiau Dwfn/Mawrth Oer Ar Y Blaned Neifion

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God Is In The TV: A Place to Bury Strangers – Transfixiation (Dead Oceans)

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I love it when bands build their own equipment. Imagine being so bloody amazing that no existing instruments or technology can handle the sheer scope of your imagination, or your commitment to causing severe eardrum or sphincter trauma in your audience. Like Kraftwerk, Brian May and New Order (to name but three) before them, A Place to Bury Strangers also hand-make their own gear, in the form of lead singer/guitarist Oliver Ackerman’s Death by Audio effects pedals business. Highly impressive dedication to turning everything up to 11.

APTBS first left their mark on me when I heard 2009’s absolutelyfuckingincredible Exploding Head, one of the greatest albums of the last ten years and one that still thrills me today, over five years and countless listens on. It was as if someone had analysed my listening habits, extracted all the dark, noisy yet tuneful stuff – MBV, The Cure, JAMC et al – and then pumped it full of crack and steroids and fed it straight back to me. On 2012’s Worship they cranked up the noise even further but forgot to bring the tunes – it certainly worked as a demo tape for an effects pedal business but not as a memorable album.

Thankfully Transfixiation delivers the goods on both counts. It’s loud, Ackerman’s pedals twisting the guitars into all kinds of weird shapes; and whilst it isn’t quite the all-killer-no-filler experience Exploding Head was, it still brings the tunes.

Opener ‘Supermaster’ sets the tone, with its throbbing bass riff (Transfixiation is a bass-head’s dream), squalls of guitar noise, and Ackerman drawling “What…have I…become?” on top of it all. It’s also notable for the increased space within the songs – APTBS’ sound is no longer simply a wall of noise, it’s now often a more stripped down beast with each element given room to breathe. Like the monster bass riff that kickstarts the brilliant ‘Straight’, the Robert Smith-esque lead guitar on ‘What We Don’t See’, the relentless guitar hook on ‘Fill the Void’, or the skittering Kid A rhythms of instrumental ‘Lower Zone’.

Elsewhere, APTBS’ long-evident obsession with the Jesus & Mary Chain is given freer rein than ever before. ‘Deep’, with its howling feedback and sleazy vocal is pure Psychocandy; ‘Now It’s Over’, with its dumb Eddie Cochran bassline, would sit very nicely on the underrated Automatic; and closing track ‘I Will Die’ takes the early Reid brothers’ obsession with taking a catchy tune and burying it under torrents of feedback to terrifying new levels.

Essentially Transfixiation is the musical equivalent of a red hot curry – it hurts so bad, it feels so good, and when you’ve finished it, you’re glad it’s over and you can’t wait to do it again. I, for one, am transfixed. Or transfixiated. Both, probably.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Owen Jones: The homophobic murder in Cucumber is so scary because it taps into a grim reality | Owen Jones

As gay viewers know only too well, most of the world would prefer us not to exist. Men’s sexual insecurity means we’re always at risk

“To live as a gay man in the world, even here in the west, means skirting round violence every day.” So says Russell T Davies, the creator of the increasingly harrowing LGBT drama Cucumber. Last night’s episode was surely one of the most unsettling pieces of drama to grace our TV screens in recent times: judging by the distressed reaction on Twitter, it left many viewers with restless nights. The episode opens by informing us that one of the main characters, Lance, is going to die. Recently abandoned by his long-term partner Henry, who abortively seeks liberation in singledom, Lance seeks solace by pursuing Daniel, a deeply conflicted, ostensibly heterosexual man. After a powerful fast-forward through Lance’s life – first girlfriend, coming out, family rejection, Aids, love – it culminates with a final fateful scene of a creepy sexual encounter and his chilling murder.

Related: Channel 4’s Cucumber just got brilliant – if you’re not watching, start now

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