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SIMPLE THINGS COUNTDOWN #4: FACT magazine @ the Coroner’s Court //

The intense potential for electronic music will be fully realised on the FACT-hosted stage at Simple Things. Bookended by sets from the up-and-coming grime producer Impey and the unforgiving teenage techno artist Happa, Room 1 of the Coroners Court will see sets from some of the most intriguing producers in the game: Zomby and Actress.

First emerging with an outsider’s perspective on the bass-fuelled, slower BPM trends of the mid noughties, Zomby’s unpredictable trajectory led him to 2013’s double album With Love, which saw the masked enigma gather fragments of jungle, classical music and eskibeat grime and smother them with a grey-coloured ambience. Notoriously raw and unpredictable, Zomby’s selection will showcase his impeccable taste. Equally as uncompromising, is previous collaborator and peer Actress. Lauded for his experimental tendencies on albums such as Hazyville, R.I.P. and Ghettoville, Simple Things will see him project his thirst for extremity onto the dancefloor at the Coroners Court.

Simple Things takes place at various venues in central Bristol on 25 October. Limited rickets are still available at tickets.crackmagazine.net.

 

 

Photography: Teddy Fitzhugh

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Simple Things 12 Day Countdown #5: Liars //

So assured is Liars current incarnation – a thudding, robotic three-pronged beast unleashing warped 4×4 industrial techno and skewed electronic post-punk clunk that could only be released on Mute Records – that it’s disarming to trace your way back through their undulating, untouchable musical history. 

Yes, this is the same three men who only began dabbling in electronic instrumentation with 2012’s bubbling WIXIW; yes, it’s also the same band who wooed the alternative rock world with the intoxicating guitar riff of Scissor, its rock-pelting video, and the relative tangibility of the accompanying album Scissorworld in ’10. And yes, the same band who produced the searing experimental noise rock of Plaster Casts of Everything from their self-titled record ’07.

And know what – it’s also the same band (although with a slightly tweaked line-up) who came raging out of the ultra-hip NY post-punk revival scene alongside the likes of Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the turn of the millennium – only to promptly distance themselves from the hype by holing up in a cabin in the New Jersey woods and producing a dense, unsettling, incredible concept album based around witch hunting. And the same band who then relocated to Berlin to create the percussive, atmospheric experimental masterpiece Drum’s Not Dead, which is where these two subplots merge.

Liars are simply one of the most important, unique, staggeringly unpredictable bands on their time. We are honoured to have them here at Simple Things, and their Colston Hall main room slot will be an unprecedented standout.

Simple Things takes place at various venues in central Bristol on 25 October. Limited rickets are still available at tickets.crackmagazine.net. Watch the video for Scissor below.

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Simple Things 12 Day Countdown #6: L.I.E.S. //

Notorious for taking dance music and running it over with a truck, label head Ron Morelli created something of his own by tapping into a seemingly endless stream of artists with a seemingly endless stream of dark, dusty and distorted dancefloor constructions.

The L.I.E.S. label’s prolific output continues to span nervy lo-fi, lawless techno and multifarious takes on unconventional, unhinged dancefloor cuts, notching up over 80 releases since 2010. Joining us from the label is boss Morelli alongside the hazy, spacious sounds of Terekke and the hypnotizing acidic swells of Svengalisghost. The sun’s gone away and it’s officially time to spend some quality time in dark rooms wigging out to distortion blown sounds. Find them in the dark belly of Lakota room 2.


In order to book your place grab a Simple Things ticket from
tickets.crackmagazine.net. Get a taster for what you’re in for below.

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Simple Things 12 Day Countdown #7: Bristol’s Best //

While it’s obviously hugely satisfying to welcome a wealth of international talent to Bristol, it’s an equally integral facet of Simple Things to appreciate the incredible font of music sitting right on our doorstep. Bristol’s winding musical history spans the eras, and the current crop of bands, DJs, promoters and labels means the city’s musical commitment and eclecticism is now at a point to match the cultural diversity for which it is so celebrated.

So as well as handing over some of the stage reigns to long-running friends and associates, we’ll also be embedding a selection of Bristol-based or -affiliated artists within the festival line-up.

Taking over The Lantern, the Colston Hall’s impeccable second room, will be the Bristol-based Invada Records, run by Portishead man Geoff Barrow. Nestled between hyped acts like The Haxan Cloak and Eagulls you’ll find local bands and Invada signees including the expansive post-rock squall of Thought Forms, the thrilling A/V onslaught of Cuts, and the gothic garage rock of Scarlet Rascal. We’ve also invited back our friends at Shapes after their triumphant stint in The Island’s Courtyard last year, with the highly-respected Bristol staple DJ October appearing alongside techno royalty DVS1, and the rapidly-ascending online hub Stamp The Wax, which started life in Bristol, will host a room in Lakota where local heads including Admin, Seka, Harri Pepper and Robin Sure will nestle in alongside rising house star Damiano von Erckert.

And, of course, we’ll welcome back those inimitable house and disco hearthrobs Pardon My French, who’ll be hosting a cast of friends including Christophe and Twin Picks, as well as welcoming a very (trust us, very) special guest headliner.

Taking over the auspicious Colston Hall Main room opening slot after Oliver Wilde’s stunning showing last year will be the swooning, textured shoegaze of The Fauns, while Wilde himself will act as the centrepiece for The Line Of Best Fit’s offerings in the unique space of the Foyer. Local DIY heroes Spectres will fill the Academy 2 with searing noise, while the Red Bull Music Academy Stage will see Bristol-born, NYC based house icon DJ Nature appear alongside his kindred spirit DJ Harvey, with the stage foundations having been laid by The Kelly Twins and Futureboogie.

And if you can find a more appropriate home for the gritty post-punk of Idles and the riotous stoner-RnR jams of Turbowolf than providing support for world-renowned luminaries Death From Above 1979 and Black Lips in their home town, then we’re all ears.

So there you go. Bristol – we give you Bristol.

Simple Things takes place across 14 stages on 25 October, tickets can be bought here. Check out DJ Nature in the Boiler Room below.

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Simple Things 12 Day Countdown #8: Hyperdub 10 In Association With Trap Magazine

One of the most eagerly anticipated stages at this year’s event is the Hyperdub 10 stage in the Main Room of Bristol’s iconic Lakota nightclub. Lakota’s reputation as one of the city’s foremost clubbing institutions frequently showcasing the grittiest in urban music means Hyperdub should sit perfectly at home in its dark and bowel like central room.

Hyperdub acts a centrifugal force in the underground world of electronic music tying together disparate strands of bass music, grime, techno and experimental music under one superb banner. Helmed by the evergreen Kode9 and having released music from the likes of Burial, The Bug, DJ Rashad, Flying Lotus amongst many other stalwarts of the label, Hyperdub’s continued importance to the scene cannot be understated.

Kode9 and Scratcha DVA’s DJing will be complimented on the night with live performances from Cooly G and Laurel Halo in what will surely be one of the biggest draws at this year’s event. Read our recent interview with Cooly G here.

 

DJ Harvey, The Oval Space, London. October 19th, 2012

Simple Things 12 Day Countdown #9: DJ Harvey

Where to start with the UK’s foremost disco pioneer and one of the greatest characters in the history of dance music. Calling Harvey a purveyor of the finer points of his art is to him a disservice.

From his renowned Tonka Sound System parties in the early 90s, to being one of the first DJs to hold down a residency at the then-very-credible Ministry Of Sound, to being the DJ responsible for bringing Larry Levan over to the UK for the first time, to the legendary stories of debauchery, to being exiled from the UK for 10 years and carving a look and a reputation as California’s primary party starter, DJ Harvey’s sound and taste is an amalgamation of more years of study, edit and partying than anyone would possible expect of a mortal. The good news is that his box has been re-packaged and is ready for explosion now that he’s allowed back on these shores safe in the knowledge it can once again to be relayed to a captive Simple Things audience, for whom he’ll be playing a specially extended four hour set. If you want an education and the most hip-shaking, life-affirming music you’ll see all weekend, do not miss this. We certainly won’t.

Read his recent interview with Crack about his Wildest Dreams band project here.

 

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Simple Things 12 Day Countdown #11: The Shapes Courtyard w/ DVS1 //

The Shapes boys have garnered themselves a tidy reputation among Bristol’s foremost party starters, and their daytime presence at Simple Things will be the early start and continued stomp that all those with a taste for the beats will be craving.

Taking their place for the second year running in the courtyard of The Island complex, techno is the theme and it’s pitched at an exceptionally high level. Joining the Shapes DJs on the line-up is Bristol’s own DJ October with his deep techno and smoky house sound. One of Bristol’s brightest talents, his Tanstaafl label continues to release innovative sounds which often sum up his DJ sets.

The stage is headlined by DVS1 aka Zak Khutoretsky, one of the most sought after spinners of the genre on the planet. Having been almost solely responsible for bringing underground sounds to the American Midwest, his recent releases on Ben Klock’s Klockworks label as well as Derrick May’s Transmat have coincided with a host of none-more-high-profile European gigs that have garnered him a reputation alongside the techno elite.

Though a staple of Berghain’s main room, his status as jack of all trades is in no doubt when you learn he has over 10,000 records to his name and therefore an adaptability that sees him play a variety of stages either side of the hard techno line-ups with which he’s most associated. He’s also not shy of a few opinions on the stage of the game, as exemplified by a recent article with XLR8R here.

In order to book your place at the Shapes table grab a Simple Things ticket from tickets.crackmagazine.net. Get a taster for what you’re in for below.

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Simple Things 12 Day Countdown #12: Death From Above 1979 //

A couple of weeks ago we spoke to Death From Above 1979 drummer/vocalist Sebastien Grainger, and asked him about the legacy his band left in their wake when they split back in 2006. No one ever forgot a DFA1979 show – not least because of the tinnitus which haunted their ears for weeks afterwards.

“Nothing’s changed, it’s still too loud, it’s still stupid” he laughed. “The reason we had that reputation was cause we were too loud, and we’re still too loud. It was always broke, and we haven’t fixed it.”

Having first witnessed their unique brand of sexually-charged, bass-led garage punk in 2005, back when they were touring their game-changing debut album You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine, we’re thrilled to be welcoming this seminal duo back to the UK as the headliners of the Clash stage on 25 October. They’re a band reborn, with their phenomenal second album The Physical World doubling the amount of material to pluck from and with a reputation for leaving venues in ruins still entirely intact. Expect chest-caving rumbles, borderline pornographic sloganeering and more hip-shaking dance-punk rhythms than you can shake a hip at.

You can read the duo’s recent Crack Magazine interview here, and grab a Simple Things ticket from tickets.crackmagazine.net. Now, watch two videos below, released 10 years apart, and prepare to witness one of the most explosive rock bands in recent history as they obliterate Simple Things 2014.

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Mediaspank: The Power of Discontent //

Yes votes lay like tattered betting slips on a bookies’ floor. The Scottish separatists’ gamble was always a long shot, but they dared to dream. And if they didn’t get exactly what they wanted, they did win something. 

The Scots gave the establishment the kind of kick it takes to upset the status quo and demand respect. One that made a prime minister fear for his political future – one that hit David Cameron squarely in the balls. It’s not just that 45% –1.6 million UK citizens – voted to leave the union. The Yes campaign won in Glasgow and Dundee, and it was more popular among young people.

The government panicked two weeks ahead of the vote. Cameron held an emergency briefing, jumping on the bandwagon to Edinburgh to basically say: “It’s not like a General Election where if you’re fed up with the Tories, give them a kick.”

It’s an appealing prospect isn’t it? Giving the Tories a kick. For the last four years, we’ve been pissed off about the politicisation of austerity, about the lack of women and ethnic minorities in the government, about politics that favours big business.

And the strength of the Yes campaign reflects this wider sense of political malaise. The Scots feel the same resentment against Westminster as the thousands marching about climate change and austerity, as the students who saw Nick Clegg switch sides and as the little-England Ukippers fighting Brussels’ tyrannical hoover laws.

These groups campaign on different issues, they always have. The difference now is the strength of these movements, and what that says about the cancer of disenfranchisement that’s taken root in British political discourse. It’s only recently that the Scottish independence movement gained this level of traction and Ukip’s victory in the European elections marked the first national vote in modern history won by someone other than Labour or the Conservatives.

The idealist in me felt a pang of jealousy when Tommy Sheridan and sixth form debate team captain (and award-winning columnist) Owen Jones were arguing over which result would be better for socialism.

The vote was about nationalism, but it’s also about political ideology. Scotland’s a left-leaning country whose ideals are continually let down by Westminster, and they had the opportunity to challenge that. In the June issue of Crack, we called for a leader on that side of the political spectrum that could ape the success of Nigel Farage. The Yes campaign showed us how these issues can take centre stage, and the sheer level of political engagement that’s possible.

Without pausing for breath and just days to do before the vote was due to take place, the three main parties clubbed together to promise a string of new powers to quell the rebellion in the north. It was another last-minute ivory tower debate on how to placate the proles, and that sums up a lot about Westminster inability to understand public sentiment and their role as leaders. It was another last-minute ivory tower debate on how to placate the proles, and that sums up a lot about Westminster inability to understand public sentiment and their role as leaders.

Ed Miliband used his Labour conference speech to talk about how the attitude in Scotland reflected the wider problems with politics. But the Scots and, strangely, in some ways Ukip have given me more hope, because they’ve shown how you can re-write the agenda. More than that though, Miliband was there when the rot started settling in. A vote for him in May next year will still likely feel like the best of a bad bunch of options.

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Words: Christopher Goodfellow

@MediaSpank

Illustration: Lee Nutland 

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5 Things We’re Looking Forward to at Way Out West //

Way Out West is basically Sweden’s coolest festival. With previous line ups featuring the likes of Low, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead and Sonic Youth. We are very excited to be going for the first time this year not just because of all the great bands and DJs on offer but also because we’ll get to spend some time in a foreign country, hang out with some strangers and just generally do all that cool festival stuff we love doing so much. 

The festival is held in a 137 hectare park located in central Gothenburg from 7 -9 August. Gothenburg is a cultural hub and one of Scandinavia’s trendiest cities so there’s loads to explore and a great nightlife that we’re ready to get our teeth into and with the festival expanding into the city for the club orientated, multi-venue extension of the festival; Stay Out West. It looks like we’ll be able to get a good deal of the cities fine culture. So, in anticipation we’ve prepared a list of the 5 things we can’t wait to see and do when we get off the plane in Gothenburg.

Zebra Katz Glamourous Hip-Hop

Katz and his buddy Njena Reddd Foxxx have been unfairly dismissed time and time again as another dumb internet fad. Well, quite simply, they’re not. I’ma Read is a stone cold classic that holds a firm finger up to ignorance and misogyny in hip hop. Last time we saw him was in Poland and the crowd absolutely loved him. This year we’re looking forward to seeing him win over Northern Europe once again as he traverses the stage like a catwalk with more style and originality in his little fingernail than Big Sean could ever even hope to have in his whole entire body.

 

 

Exploring Gothenburg

Gothenburg has a bit of a reputation for being a stopover town for business trips, sort of like the Slough of Northern Europe. Yeah, it’s one of the business capitals of the world but don’t let that fool you; it’s not all shirts and ties. One of the city’s main attractions is the hundreds of cafes that line the streets that feed the bustling student culture that keeps the city buzzing. With great venues all around the city, world famous museums and galleries to visit we’re pretty sure we’ll be running to catch our plane before we’ve got time to pull on the suit and settle down with a spreadsheet.

 

 

The Return of Neutral Milk Hotel

We’ve been left drooling over Jeff Mangum’s lyrics ever since we heard that dude playing it in the park on his acoustic guitar when we were all much younger and more beautiful. We got enamoured again when he went and entertained crowds at occupy and then when we heard he was coming back to play a few dates with Neutral Milk Hotel this year we pretty much pawned all of our possessions to go and see him as many times as humanly possible. We can’t say it enough; the dude’s a genius and let’s face it, dude’s too fucking cool.

 

 

Watching Little Dragon, Holograms and Robyn On Their Home Turf

We’ve been in love with Little Dragon ever since the first time we saw Yukimi’s energetic band and who could help being in love with a voice like that? And with tunes that make us powerless to do anything other than dance we’re buzzed that we get to see them in their hometown of Gothenburg for Way Out West! We’re sure we’ll see the best of them as well as a ton of other awesome Swedish bands like Holograms and of course, Sweden’s princess of pop herself Robyn will be playing alongside Royksopp! What more could we ask for?

Queens Of The Stone Age

Arguably one of the greatest bands to play a festival in the history of ever, Queens of the Stone Age evoke the spirit of Hendrix or The Grateful Dead with their laid back, stoned, desert rock. We’ve often seen them embark on adventurous jams that can last the entire length of their set. To the people who cry “But we came to hear the hits!” We can only cry “Go back to bed maaaan.” Queens… onstage festival antics are a sight you really have to see to believe and we’re hoping their turn at Way Out West will be no different.

Way Out West takes place 7 – 9 August in Gothenburg, Sweden. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased on their website.

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5 Top Picks For La Route Du Rock //

One of the most cherished musical landmarks on the European calendar since its inception in 1991, France’s biggest independent festival La Route Du Rock is back to its beautiful setting in the 18th century Fort de Saint-Père in St. Malo, Brittany this year. Out of an ambitious, approachable yet fiercely alternative line-up, here are our top five picks.

1. Portishead (Friday, Le Fort de Saint-Père)

There’s not much to say about this legendary outfit that hasn’t already been said. The Bristolian trip-hop pioneers continue to sound as innovative as ever, with live shows that combine their signature sound with potent political messages (last time we saw them a huge demonic David Cameron head appeared during Machine Gun, firing red lasers from its eyes). With Beth Gibbons’ voice sounding as piercingly emotive as ever and the band working on new material together, Portishead are absolutely not to be missed.

2. Caribou (Thursday, Le Fort de Saint-Père)

The welcome return of Dan Snaith’s woozy electropop project Caribou for its sixth studio album. Our Love is packed full of Caribou’s signature hazy synths, contagious hooks, steady swells of intensity and hands-in-the-air moments. We can’t think of many better things to see in a French castle in the sunshine.

3. Ought (Wednesday, La Nouvelle Vague)

Crack has been absolutely fawning over this Montreal four piece of recent. Tense post-hardcore revivalism with Talking Heads-esque new wave influences, their bracing debut album More Than Any Other Day was released this year on Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s firmly DIY label Constellation to mass critical acclaim. Heartfelt, endearing and thrillingly chaotic, it’s a real gem. Catch Ought before they get really, really massive.

4. Fat White Family (Thursday, Le Fort de Saint-Père)

Turning heads for their distressing onstage presence and the way they seem to radiate filth, Fat White Family have earned their reputation as the most horrible band to stumble out of an East London squat in recent years. Their recurring sound of dirty, chaotic, psychedelic-infused country and blues unfurls into a glorious mess in their infamous live shows. A highlight, for sure.

5. Angel Olsen (Thursday, Le Fort de Saint-Père)

It has been a big year for Angel Olsen. Originally discovered singing alongside Bonnie Prince Billy, the St. Louis songwriter turned heads with her stunning album Burn Your Fire For No Witness, that kindles a fierce, playful intensity between its starkly intimate ballads. The disarming tenderness of her voice coupled with some dry onstage humour make for a must do at the festival.

 

La Route du Rock takes place 13 – 16 August in Saint Malo, Brittany. Enter our competition to win a chance of wining x2 VIP tickets and transport. Alternatively you can purchase a festival package – including festival ticket, ferry, transfers and camping pitch – from here for £149.

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MediaSpank 43: Fuck the man, save the empire //

YouTube’s launching a premium music ser- vice. It makes sense for the world’s biggest streaming site to try and ape the success of subscription offerings, but it’s unfortunate Google’s going to do so by strong-arming independent record labels like Domino and XL into taking shitty deals.

The problem affects musicians Crack loves, from FKA twigs, Julia Holter and How To Dress Well to household names like The xx and Arctic Monkeys.

Yet independent labels are being offered terms that put them on the back foot; sign up to a deal that’s less favourable than that offered to majors or your music will be blocked and you’ll lose the audience altogether.

Music Pass will show content advert free. YouTube could have chosen to play the songs from labels that didn’t sign-up without the new features, but allowing free streams of tracks while not offering them on the paid service would erode its value. And it still doesn’t feel the need to negotiate contracts the American Association of Independent Music describe as “highly unfavourable, and in many cases, unworkable”.

It threatens to undermine the already low royalty rates paid to musicians. One clause highlighted in analysis of a contract leaked under the headline ‘F*&K It: Here’s the Entire YouTube Contract for Indies…’ says there’s potential for larger labels to take lower rates in exchange for advances. Indies would then have to accept the lower per-stream rates without benefitting from the upfront payment.

Another clause forces them to include entire back catalogues of music and videos, removing the option to provide exclusivity to other platforms. And, if they don’t take part, blocked songs could appear in user-submitted content, leaving the company playing whack a track when copyrighted content’s posted by well-intentioned fans, while YouTube continues to make revenue on the unsanctioned posts.

The situation reminds me of an Oatmeal cartoon called The State of the Music Industry. It charts the evolution from record labels that sat between fans and musicians screaming “Halt! You must pay!” to different generations of online services that are taking over and democratising the gatekeeper role.

The How it is Now panel shows services like YouTube, Spotify and others moving into this position; YouTube was part of the solution, one of various different services which allowed musicians to take advantage of digital distribution.

Instead, effectively forcing companies to accept these terms and conditions is drag- ging the company backwards. YouTube’s using its market share to become a digital version of the same kind of monopolistic gatekeeper that dictates its terms to the market regardless of what fans and musicians want.

The company has a habit of using its dominance to draw exorbitant profits from copyrighted work, “parasitic” behaviour that led post-mask-reveal Scooby Doo villain Rupert Murdoch to brand it as a “content kleptomaniac”.

Maybe the Dirty Digger was right?

It continues to scan millions of books and list content online without permission, to the outcry of the publishing world. In the end Google won there too, after a prolonged lawsuit that redefined the concept of fair use.

It might seem hopeless, but the internet does a great job of providing options. We have the potential to vote with our wal- lets, with our clicks, to force Google to treat content creators fairly. And the court of public opinion does impact a company that’s trying to maintain its ‘cool’ while taking over the world, as long as we make a fuss.

The final panel in The Oatmeal’s cartoon is titled Where it Needs To Go From Here and shows the musician talking directly to the fan, evoking a kind of Bandcamp-style model. Hopefully we can push the industry further and further towards that point to support the music we love, not take a step backward.

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Words: Christopher Goodfellow

mediaspank.net

@MediaSpank 

Illustration: Lee Nutland

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