Saturday, 23 May 2009

Quad Throw Salchow

London based 3 piece girl/boy/boy new-no-kraut-wave-electro multi-genre indie-disco band Quad Throw Salchow release their debut album Speed through Tummy Touch on 6th July.

The label describes the album with this surreal blurb:

“QTS album arrives on the back of a golden wave of Ice skating inspired weirdness - slow grooves disco dance & electro all in your tiny face”

That’s a far more apt description that it would appear on first reading. Firstly, a salchow is a figure skating jump off the back inside edge landing on the back outside edge of the opposite foot after one or more rotations in the air. This band throw four at you – in graceful bullet-time slow motion. There is a gliding quality to the way the rhythm moves along, there is an enormity and intimidating aspect to the presence of it that does make you feel small – and it is weird. One suspects a Quad Throw Salchow is not at all possible on a real rink, in real life. But we are here to deal with music, not with real life.

The concept of Hauntology has been written about a lot recently (possibly off the back of a lot of Joy Division nostalgia), and it’s ghostly presence can be felt here, not just in the cavernous gravity of some of the basslines, but also in the haunting, jarring vocal style of singer, the ESG bass rhythms, slowed down and scattered sparingly with dry snare shots – spelled out for the listener in a knife twisting finale of a slowed down version of The Game Is On - latterly a cruise through a derelict cityscape; formerly a spring-heeled block rocker, alive and kicking it. QTS chose to have few elements within their sound canvas with a strong emphasis on the shading of each of them; a sophisticated minimalism that switches between greyscale and full colour depending on your angle of perception rather than their presentation.

Enigmatic and mysterious in the extreme, the band's web presence is minimal, their WEBSITE sparse, their MYSPACE ethereally blank - a black background with only 179 friends and no comments, their release history just two compilation appearances: a Tummy Touch and a DFA/Rong Music and a blog post announcing The Unwelcome Guest 7” in 2007.

The band is listed thusly:

K. Doyle - Bass
O - Vox/Words
J. G. Drake - Synthesiser

I suspect Karen O imagines she is as edgy as this O, and as relevant. What the YYY’s missed when they threw down their electro record was any sense of enduring personality – House is devoid of the individual, Electro is distinctly not – albeit an individual aloof and remote, but present all the same. Not to say that this is an electro record. It is and it is not. This album has a rich depth of the tangible and presents many sides to itself across the ten tracks – a result perhaps of the spontaneous writing style they employ in a debt to the Surrealist’s automatic style ...according to their label anyway. But it does not fit and start between it’s characters, it smoothly morphs and warps along a course of logical progression. Despite being fucking weird. It could even be a party record, and will be no doubt, if it lands amongst the right hands. It is tempting to say this is the album both the YYY’s and The Horrors tried to make, but it’s no genre exercise or attempt at anything – it simply, and beautifully simply at that, is.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

We Need A Plan C!

This news just in: Plan B - R.I.P.

PlanB mag will publish it's final issue with next month's 5th year anniversary in June.

Here's the official statement:

'After a lot of deliberation, we've come to the decision that it is no longer financially possible for us to continue publishing Plan B. To do so in the current economic climate would involve us making cuts in staff, print quality, amount of content, and the size and/or frequency of the mag - and those are compromises we don't want to make, not least because we don't think they will, in the long term, benefit any of us. We're really proud of what we've done, and choose to end on a high note, while things are still relatively stable.'

Sad news indeed. There aren't enough magazines that are both accessible and obscure in every respect and Plan B did it with the music they covered and in their writing.
Now there is one less.


Wednesday, 20 May 2009

NFR DJ Sets @ NWFA This Weekend

These flyers say we're djing after bands, but we're on from 8 til midnight. Change of plans! Because the best laid ones.....

Super stunning Fringe Festival weekender with Meatbreak and Fokka Wolfe!! - plus:


Brighton Fringe 22 -24 May Bank Holiday 2009


“A weekend of PostRock, Shoegaze, PostPunk, AntiPop, and loopladen soundscapes from Brighton’s Nice Weather For Airstrikes Records.”

* AT THE DRUIDS ARMS, Ditchling Road, Brighton

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Great Escape Hitlist

The Great Escape kicks off in bright today. Here's who we might be at. Sorry for the lack of descriptions this time round>>>

An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump
And So I Watch You From Afar
The Acorn
Banjo Or Freakout
Betty And The Werewolves
Bombay Bicycle Club
Catherine A.D.
Crystal Antlers
Crystal Fighters
Die! Die! Die!
Duchess Says
Dusk & Blackdown
Emmy The Great
Future Of The Left
Golden Silvers
The Gay Blades
The Ghost Of A Thousand
Heartless Bastards
Holy Fuck
Hospital Bombers
Hot Leg
Hot Silk Pockets
Hunting The Minotaur
The Handsome Family
The Hundred In The Hands
Kap Bambino
Let's Wrestle
Lonely Ghosts
The Mae Shi
Patrick Wolf
Pulled Apart By Horses
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Rainbow Arabia
School of Seven Bells
Screaming Tea Party
The Twilight Sad
Three Trapped Tigers
Times New Viking
Vivian Girls
We Are Wolves
The XX
Zach Hill
4 or 5 Magicians

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

NFR Setlist: 07th May 2009

here's our playlist from the other night's djs et at the Penthosue. After last month's cancellation we had a few too may tracks to be playing in one night and intimidated ourselves with sheer choice alone! So we started off with a bit of an apocaplyptic hour and brightened up after Crystal Fighters.

Meatbreak's cuts >>>

Black Math Horseman – Bird Of All Faiths And None - Bell From Madrone (Wyllt, Tee Pee-Undergroove)
Enigmatic, allusionary name – super convoluted heavy-metal-prog-core

Bong – Exhalation (Bong / Quttinirpaaq Split 12”, Blackest Rainbow)
Sitar and choral chanting accompanied heady doom drone

Quttinirpaaq - Tonight We Will Pretend We Are Human Beings (Bong / Quttinirpaaq Split 12”, Blackest Rainbow)
Foggy blown out clouds of bass with electronics flickering somewhere deep within the midst

Lamp – 1 Means 2 (Demo)
Fleshed out electric incarnation of Brighton’s acoustic duo –A+M amp up their heaviest track into towards a more Slint-like sounds coming out at an almost black metal sounding menace.

Night Control – Those Girls (Death Control, Kill Shaman)
Ariel Pink style 60’s nostalgia crossed with even more tape decay and lens flare

Knyfe Hyts - Screming Lov (7”, Dick Move)
10 vital minutes of churning head-down propulsion and occasional reverb/delay blurred vocals

Caina – To Pick The Night Up By It’s Skin (Caina Ep, Bubonic/Universal Tongue)
Sussex based one man black metal visionary combining atmosphere, melody, rhythm and irony

Old Mayor – Bag Of Cats (Old Mayor Ep, Paradigms)
Long-awaited debut label release for Brighton’s doom duo Old Mayor. Seriously potent swinging heaviness – full review coming soon!

Crystal Fighters – Xtatic Truth (Demo)
Arrestingly addictive Spanish accented sweaty electro future hit that’s about to crossover from under London’s arches into everyone’s lives.

Danananaykroyd - The Greater Than Symbol & The Hash (Hey Everyone!, Best Before)
<#. ??? Whole lotta fun screamo-indie-pop that’s going to soundtrack lots of people’s summers this year.

The Horrors – Sea Within A Sea (Primary Colours, XL)
This is another record that will be sound-tracking lots of summer. Lead track from an album that perfectly reproduces it’s influences in elegantly finished fashion. This one is a beautifully immersive rendition of Krautrock.

Turbowolf – Read & Write (7”, X-Taster)
We’ll be playing Turbowolf ‘til we die.

Thee Oh Shees – Ruby Go Home (Help, In The Red)
More 60’s nostalgia, this time in the form of floor shaking, foot-stomping garage rock from the hands of John Dwyer - the man that brought you Coachwhips, Pink & Brown, OCS and more!

A Mountain Of One – Ahead Of The Curve (Institute Of Joy, Mountain)
Balearic prog trance. I tried to think of a better way to describe this, but it’s the best I can do - you just have to hear it to believe it.

Wormsblood – Sig Bind (Mastery Of Creation, Barbarian)
Two-piece lo-fi Black Metal blow-out. And when we say BM is lo-fi you know that means trouble!

Crystal Dragon – ‘Untitled’ (Demo)
From one member of Wormsblood, a buoyant passage of ambient drone to sooth the paranoia and terror of his other outfit.

Future Of The Left – You Need Satan More Than He Needs You (Travels With Myself And Another, 4AD)
I didn’t realise how much this sounded like Rage
Against The Machine until I played it here. In a good way though. "It doesn’t smell like a man! It doesn't fuck like a man"

Team Teamwork – MF Doom – Vomit (Horse Race At Lon Lon Ranch)
TT redo Hip-Hop tracks by setting them against music from Legend OF Zelda. Inspired.

Durrty Goodz – Grime Killers (Ultrasound, Awkward Music)
It’s not the teachers its…Killers! Durrty’s whip-sting-sharp on this huge elastic dancefloor filling grime track.

Spacenoid - Copter (Demo)
Lo-Fi electronics glitch-bliss navigate a sea of guitar textures.

Pangea – Bear Witness (12”, Hotflush)
Velvet-cushioned class with an eerie backdrop of huge bass to keep it dark

Burial & Four Tet – Wolf Cub (Wolf 12”, Text)
The first of upcoming collabs. For Burial, this is a trippy crawl through a sprawling ambient space, equal parts ecstasy and claustrophobia.

Elks – German Lessons (Oh No!, Toy Soldier/Holy Smokes)
Brighton based left-field hard edged Americana band keep it short, sharp and directed at all your essential organs.

Hind Ear – Coconut (Demo)
Demo of the month? If we did this would probably do. Reinvigorated Revenge of Shinobi bring out their best Black Dice and roll double sixes.

Action Beat – Bianca (The Noise Band From Bletchley, Southern)
Bianca Bibiloni adds a rare dose of words to the dense rhythms and landslide guitars of AB.

Bombay Bicycle Club – Ghost (How We Are 7”, Mmmm…)
These have been bubbling under as ‘ones to watch’ or some industry variant of ‘should be massive soon’. Listened to the forthcoming comp of their shimmery heat-wave indie about 10 times and I’m still not sure. So, compelling if nothing else

Night Control – Two Hard (Death Control, Kill Shaman)
Ultra pretty exploding-heart inducing psych-pop blurred out for the overly sensitive.

Grasscut – Muppet (Demo)
Brighton two-piece playing with laptops, synths and samples. Classic sensibilities meet the un-sensible non-sensical.

Baikonour – Ye Ama Piooo (Your Ear Knows Future, Melodic)
Another sublimely detailed Krautrock homage that layers on the head-nodding impulses until it flies right off.

Cobalt – Two Thumbed Fist (Gin, Profound Lore)
IN. YOUR. FACE! For 9 minutes. When even the Polish bouncers say ‘Fuck…ing…hell’ afterwards, you know it’s been intense.

Until next month, we’ve been NFR. Over and out.


Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Stoned In The Throne Room

Brighton's Dopefight are a blend of Bongzilla, Electric Wizard, Sleep, a bit of Iron Monkey and a whole bag of skunk. If that's sounds like a bit of a cliched description then this band suck it up and blow it right back in your face. The edge to this band is a healthy dose of none other than the dark goat, Satan himself. The four tracks on their myspace feature smoked out billowing bass fronted riffing set at stoned tempos, aggressive nicely guttural vocals and Satanic chanting. Hijos De Fumar mixes these up to especially potent effect and is rightly their lead track, displaying the full range of styles inherent to the genre and showing why it isn’t necessary to be trying anything too different to really hit the right tone and groove. Highlights from the other tracks include the drop out and restart in The Thrall that makes the stomach lurch; the fear-inducing, hellishly weird, not quite vocodered, distorted vocal of Somnia; and the changes in tempo of the 2 minute long Widow Smoke that get a bit frisky and flesh out their range nicely.

Brighton has produced some great downtempo sludge of late - Sloath, Old Mayor, S.E.P - and Dopefight are a worthy addition to the burgeoning bass scene. Awesome artwork too:

Their debut 7" is out on Corruption Recordings soon. Hit ‘em up:


Monday, 4 May 2009

PREVIEW: NFR Thursday 7th May

This Thursday, 7th May it's Not For Resale day! Me and Fokka Wolfe will be up at the Penthouse in Brighton for our monthly residency with a huge stack of new and future records for you. Everyone is coming out of hibernation now that spring is in the air (along with a scorching sun on occasion) starting the season of major activity with labels and bands - It's the run up to the summer festival mayhem, so it's album releases for everyone! The demo tape-trading/cdr community knows now festival (and knows not when to stop either - Emeralds hitting us with OTHER record making it about 5 this year so far) - I'll have new stuff by - but not limited to! - bands like these:

A Mountain Of One
Atlas Sound
Bombay Bicycle Club
Bone Awl
Burial/Four Tet (YES! E.x.c.i.t.i.n.g.)
Chew Lips
Crystal Fighters
Dark Mat
Francis Harold & The Holograms
Fused Forces
Future Of The Left
Hexlove (all the bands you could ever listen to rolled into one inexplicable sound-combo. Crazy essential)
The Horrors
Knyfe Hyts
Morton Valence
Old Mayor
Peaking Lights
Real Estate
Team Teamwork
The Horrors
Wooden Shjips

Yes indeed - the year is just about to go supernova. If all that wasn't enough, Pink Mountaintops are playing the Freebutt underneath us so you can get to see an awesome band AND come to NFR too.

Too much for you? Hmmm...maybe too much for us too. Not sure how we're going to fit all that in - get there early to avoid disappointment!

See you on Thursday.


Friday, 1 May 2009

Drowned in Sound Stats!

Drowned In Sound’s 3 Month Statistics: January - March

Finally after weeks of suspense (and the most prolonged drum-roll in history) comes the 3-Month listening charts from Drowned In Sound User’s Last.Fms!

This has taken a bit longer than I imagined it would when I set myself the task of collating it all. After I started logging all the responses I started thinking of too many possibilities to rotate all this data, so in the end I pretty much did every variable I could think of. It might not all be 100% statistically sound but it was all too interesting for its own good. Bit of a shame there were less than 100 respondents though. But next time we run this we’ll have everyone on DiS with a Last.FM doing this for us. I’ll have this database already set up for next time too, which will save 2 weeks of hacking about and preparation.

These stats are all far more detailed than any you get straight from Last.FM. Prettier too. Click on the tables and figures to view them in full size hi-res

Hey ho, let’s go:

Here are the basic introductory demographics:

Number of users surveyed: 91
Number of bands/artists: 915
Total plays in survey: 126762
Average plays per user: 1393
Average plays per band: 139
Range of plays per user: 6427 – 117
Range of plays per band/artist: 6273 - 06

I think it’s best if we go straight in with what you really want to see: The bands that have been listened to the most by the most people:

In the top 20 most listened to bands Animal Collective have 262% of the next most listened to artist, Radiohead (or 162% more!). Everyone is well excited about Merriweather Post Pavillion then? I see a lot of comfort listening in this list – is that what you’d call it? Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Mountain Goats, Casiotone – DiS users really love their Americana! 16 of those 20 bands are American too, with the other 4 being made of 2 English, 1 Scottish and 1 Swedish. Across this top 20 there’s a range of 5208 plays but so significantly greater is the popularity of Animal Collective that without including them there is only a range of 1326 plays. Whopping. Check out that spike:

The Mean average plays of the top 20 is 1712.4, at which only the top 5 artists are above. The Median average is 1364 (at which Animal Collective are 4.6 times more listened to).

In the tables 1a and 1b below, it is interesting to note that the positions of bands in the order of most listened do not correspond with the average plays per listener.

82 unique listeners contribute to the 20 most listened to artists, which means that 9 of you don’t listen to any of this populist shit. Table 2 shows the list of users contributing the most artists to this list.

The 7 artists each of the top 3 users have in the Artists Ranked By Total Plays are shown in Tables 3a – 3c, with the count of plays and position in their own charts:

What do we have here? Nothing very cohesive except for Animal Collective. Again. If you listen to music, you're more likely to have listened to Merriweather in the last 3 months than anything else.

In Figure 2 below, there is more illustration of this dominance. Representative of their position in the total plays ranking, Animal Collective are listened to by a considerably greater number of individuals than the second placed artists – more than twice as many people have them in their charts than the second placed Radiohead and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

15 of the 24 artists in Figure 2 appear in the list of 20 most played artists in Figure 1.

The Mean average number of users listening to each artist is just under 2 (1.98). Table 4 shows that 621 of the artists listened to are only listened to by 1 user each. From there, there is a huge jump to only 137 artists being listened to by 2 people, from which there is a gradual increase and fluctuation of artists per user up to 17 listeners. The big jump from 17 listeners per artist to 37 again shows the unique and significant popularity of Animal Collective.

This next table spins the data in a completely different way and averages the positions that the artists appear in user’s charts. These are all the joint highest appearing artists (in alphabetical order). It’s a way of making stats work for you and getting A Place to Bury Strangers to the top of a chart. How else are we going to do that? Here it is along with 5b, showing how many artists are in each position:

If this is all getting a bit far-fetched and airy these next numbers will bring us back to solid ground:

Figure 3 shows the people with the most unique artists in their playlists, with jimitheexploder having 18 – only 2 of the artists he listens to are listened to by another user. These were Ricky Gervais, Steve Merchant and Karl Pilkington (also listened to by kittensgotclaws); and Boxcutter (also listened to by fragrant_vagrant). Interestingly, these two artists that he shares are his two top listens with 95 and 89 plays respectively.

I don’t really know what else to say with this. Are these people the coolest? Maybe I should have done that figure in ice blue.

Every user has at least 1 artist that is unique to them. The bottom of this list is represented by these joint-top-5 most populist mother fuckers with 1 unique artist each:

GMMiles (Ra Ra Riot)
Pleasantpeasant (Buck 65)
Shuffles (The Delgados)
Wolflikeme (Simon Joyner)
XYZIA (The Flaming Lips)
YouRecluse (Codeine)

Be safe in the knowledge that they are the most likely to know what you’re listening to. And like it.

Table 6 below shows the number of listens the most played uniquely appearing artists has received. The average number of Plays for unique artists is 79. Victory_Rose has listened to Coldplay over 8.5 times more than the average lone artist listener (and 0.5% of the total listening count!)

Now my plausibility might start to fall apart - I am undecided as to which side of fallible these fall on – I am not sure exactly what they are supposed to be showing, but it’s a stat, so it’s going in! It is possible they need a bit of explaining too, I don’t think my snappy little title does them justice: The following figures show users ranked against the sum of the positions of all users across their own top 20 artists. Are you with me? So, what is a ‘good’ score and what is ‘bad’ here?

A score of 210 would mean that each of your 20 artists did not appear in anyone else’s lists but your own (the sum of their positions being 1+2+3+4+5+6…etc). As the person with the most unique artists jimitheexploder comes the closes to this perfect score. It makes this chart look pretty too because it looks like jimi is the apex from which everyone else fans out of.

This sister-figure shows the bottom end of the same data and is way more parallel, but that might be more to do with the scales I used. What does this one mean? It means that Shuffles listens to artists that are ranked around the lower ends of people’s top 20’s. As indicated by having a higher score than those users in the figure above, the artists these users listen to either feature lower down people's lists or feature across more lists. Most likely, a combination of both, as all the other tables above will give clues to.

From the least represented to the most representing – Figure 6 illustrates the users who listen to their top 20 artists the most. Pure and simple no messing numbers to finish.

DangerousSnails is pretty far out there in the lead as the most active listener of us all. So what does he do with all this listening time? This:

So what have we learned, and what do all these numbers and pictures tell us? That Animal Collective are by far and away the most popular band of the first 3 months of 2009? That their monopoly on the most played charts does not alter the fact that most people listen to more artists less often? That jimitheexploder is the go-to guy for music the rest of us are unlikely to have heard before? That DangerousSnails does nothing else with his day other than listen to music?
All very valuable information.

Do we do this again at the end of June, September and December?

Download a nice pdf version for posterity: HERE
Download the full Total Play Count list: Here

Responses on Drowned in Sound board: HERE