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Mogwai / Rave Tapes (a-sya)(HSE-30324)

Mogwai at Colston Hall //

Some bands are just meant to be headliners. Some bands combine the reputation, the prestige, the breadth and mass and quality of material, and the sheer sonic impact that means no one could possibly, justifiably go on after them. Mogwai are one of those bands. 

It’s 18 years and 8 albums since Mogwai unleashed the still-peerless Mogwai Young Team on an unsuspecting world. In the subsequent period the Glaswegian collective have experimented, expanded, and ultimately perfected the blueprint laid down by those fiercely creative, staggeringly ambitious young men. Mogwai in 2014 stand alone as one of the most prized and revered assets in British music. And it’s in a live setting that they’re afforded the space and scope to fully exercise all those devastating sonic charms.

The first headliner announced for Simple Things 2014, the event’s entire line-up was built around the knowledge of Mogwai at its zenith. Filling the grandiose and acoustically immaculate Colston Hall main room, this headline performance could go down in Bristol music history.

And for those who can’t make it, you’ll also be able to stream Mogwai’s performance from 23:30 at the following link: simplethingsfestival.co.uk/live/

Simple Things takes place at various venues in central Bristol, tomorrow, 25 October. A small handful of tickets are still available at tickets.crackmagazine.net. Whet your appetites with the video for Simon Ferocious, released earlier this year, below.

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Simple Things 12 Day Countdown #2: Red Bull Music Academy present The Firestation //

We’ve already waxed lyrical about the appearance of DJ Harvey, one of the festival’s most anticipated sets, and performing alongside him at the Firestation is a varied selection of the solid up-and-coming and established talent that we’ve come to align with RBMA. The warped hyper-pop of SOPHIE has become one of the most divisive forces in dance music, so one of his notoriously baffling live performances is not to be missed. The infectious, sample-heavy dance jams of DJ Nature should fit nicely alongside the roughed up cosmic house of Seven Davis Jr., who will play one of his ever-evolving live sets where his warped vocals ride raw, rhythmic soul. Expect talk-box fun with Numbers producer Redinho, who plays following the release of his debut album. Electronic trio Dark Sky, hugely-hyped rapper Rejjie Snow and academy alumni Jolly Mare are pinned together by local talents Futureboogie and The Kelly Twins, the latter of whom have kindly put together an excellent Simple Things warm-up mix, playing the sort of down-tempo excursions they’ll be letting spin at the Firestation come Saturday.
Simple Things takes place at various venues in central Bristol on 25 October. Very limited tickets are still available at tickets.crackmagazine.net.

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Simple Things 12 Day Countdown #3: Studio 89 //

Hosting impressive line-ups of the most credible deep house and disco from the modest confines of a noodle bar basement on a Cardiff backstreet, Studio 89 got people talking about their intimate yet unpretentious atmosphere while inspiring a renewed energy in the Welsh dance music scene. Making Coroners Court 2 their own this Saturday, Studio 89 DJs are joined by regular Owain K as well as young Berlin-based producer Max Graef, whose critically-acclaimed debut album Rivers of the Red Planet won over fans with its sideways take on his diverse range of influences spanning house to hip-hop.

Undoubtedly one of the most highly-anticipated sets of the festival comes courtesy of DJ Sprinkles. Terre Thaemlitz has long been a feature in the discourse of dance music culture, largely because of the extremely eloquent, pointed nature with which she dissects ideas of clubland ideology and queer identity. While the Tokyo-based producer’s thoughts on dance music culture are readily available, a DJ Sprinkles set is something of a rarity. Just what makes a set from the deep house operator so exceptional is the guaranteed slew of ambient excursions and multifarious exclusives that you absolutely have to get off the sofa and into the club to hear. You might know two tracks, tops.

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

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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

Liars

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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