Wednesday, 27 April 2011

RIP Poly Styrene

Yesterday, I was devastated to hear the news that Poly Styrene, frontwoman of the seminal punks X-Ray Spex, lost her battle with cancer, aged only 53. With her bold, day-glo outfits, curly dark hair and the flashes of metallic braces on her teeth, she didn't conform to the 'typical' punk aesthetic, instead creating a look that was all her own; punk in its truest form.

When I first heard 'Oh Bondage! Up Yours!' on some 99p comp as a young teen, I was blown away. I'd been dabbling in some standard introductory punk for a few months (Sex Pistols, The Clash and Ramones were regulars) but that intro of "Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard, but I think... OH BONDAGE! UP YOURS!" spoke to my fourteen year-old self louder than any of the guys had managed to. Germ Free Adolescents became my bedroom soundtrack, and songs like 'Warrior In Woolworths' and 'I Am A Cliche' looped in my Walkman for days on end. 

X-Ray Spex were obnoxious, furious and joyous, laughing at the dull and the dreary and poking fun at the world around them. As well as writing angsty, brilliant songs they were also an education for a punk newcomer. Poly taught me that punk didn't have to be all metal studs, leather jackets and looking the part - it was the freedom to acknowledge self-expression, creativity and to not take life too seriously. It's thanks to her that I started to read up on other female punks, leading to Bikini Kill, Kim Gordon, Patti Smith and many others that have shaped me over the years.

Losing Poly is a huge blow, and it's sad (yet inevitable) that it takes death to remind people of what a revolutionary woman she was.

This has always been my favourite interview with her. RIP Poly Styrene.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

John Maus - Believer

Thanks to a certain supermarket's disgustingly tempting Easter offers, I've already made my way through more than my fair share of Cadbury's creme eggs for this year. I never thought I'd say it, but enough really is enough now. Thankfully, there are other gifts in store for this weekend, to excite the ears rather than stretching the stomachs. 

Always on hand to provide London's music nerds with a dose of the brilliant and the mind-blowing, the promoter-cum-label Upset The Rhythm is offering up John Maus's track 'Believer' as a free mp3 over on their blog. Shrouded in soft synths, the track is taken from his upcoming album We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves, which will be released on the Upset The Rhythm label on June 27th.

You can watch Jennifer Juniper Stratford’s official video for the song below:

Also check out the video interview with John Maus over on The Drone

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

DVD Release: 1991: The Year Punk Broke

It's been reported that cult documentary film 1991: The Year Punk Broke is finally getting a DVD release! And just when I was trying to shake myself out of my 90's music rut...

According to Slicing Up Eyeballs, director Dave Markey (of We Got Power Films) says Universal Music is releasing the DVD, which follows Sonic Youth's headline tour of Europe in '91, with their support band Nirvana in tow.

There's also footage of  Dinosaur Jr, Ramones, Babes in Toyland and Gumball, with commentary by Markey and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, as well as rough edits and a photo slideshow. For those who've already worn out their VHS copies of the film, there's more in store thanks to a 42-minute bonus movie, titled (This Is Known As) The Blues Scale, featuring previously unreleased Sonic Youth and Nirvana performances of the songs 'Inhuman', 'White Kross', 'Orange Rolls/Angel’s Spit', 'Eric’s Trip', 'Chapel Hill' and 'In Bloom', plus “plenty of revelatory and rockin’ (and hilarious) never-before-seen off-stage and on-stage material.”

The DVD is due for release in the Autumn.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Happy Record Store Day!

 The 9am queue at Flashback, London

I think I get more excited about the prospect of Record Store Day than my own birthday or Christmas. Last night I was still in two minds as to whether to get up early and brave the queues alone, or stay in bed for another few hours, but after actually dreaming about the Sonic Youth LP (even nerdy when asleep), I figured I should at least make an effort when my body clock woke me up at 8am.

Although every day should really be spent browsing record shops, it's nice to have an official reminder once a year that record shops are still important and shouldn't be forgotten about in the midst of supermarket sales and digital purchasing. And this year's goody list was ridiculous.

Thanks to the lovely folk at Flashback Records in Islington, this morning I managed to pick up my dreamy Sonic Youth LP 'Whore's Moaning' 12", the Warpaint & Vivian Girls singles and the Esben & The Witch EP (and the Suede single for a friend heading off on hols today). And all with change from a fifty. I accidently found my way down to their basement and picked up a few extra records (in keeping with the spirit of the day, of course...) and managed to finally get Patti Smith's 'Ask The Angels' on vinyl as an added bonus.

So Happy Record Store Day to all! And let's make sure the importance of those comforting little music dens is never forgotten.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Friday, 8 April 2011

Band: The Coathangers

I keep meaning to write up about The Coathangers' show last Friday (they played XOYO in London, supporting The Thermals), so here it is, seven days late(r)!

Declaring themselves "a band before they were musicians", The Coathangers are four super fun girls from Atlanta, Georgia, who know how to down whiskeys and cut some rug on the dancefloor. Playing an attention-grabbing mix of post-punk/riot grrrl/punk-rock/no wave that retches up influences from Huggy Bear to Mika Miko to The Slits and beyond, it's impossible to put their sound into words as it evolves and changes pace with every beat. I missed half of their set due to being almost stood-up by the bus, but thankfully made it down in time to witness them thrashing through their final songs. Swapping instruments, screaming into duo mics and stomping around the stage in a frenzy of wires and bright lights, London looked on in awe, some not quite sure what to make of their genre-ducking party anthems, but the bar totally empty as everyone pushed a little closer to the stage in a mixture of intrigue and trepidation.

Their album Larceny & Old Lace (reportedly named after an episode of The Golden Girls <3 ) is out June 7 on Suicide Squeeze. Read up on The Coathangers here.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Distractions - False Jesii Part 2 (Cover)

False Jesii part 2 (cover) by Distractions

More musical side projects have been releasing the fruits of their bedroom labour, and this time the Distractions duo share their sweetened cover of Pissed Jeans' 'False Jesii Part 2', swapping the delirious yells for subdued, affectionate harmonies.

Hear the original below: