Pop Scenesters.
fiftytwoweeksofthefall:

Week Sixteen: This Nation’s Saving Grace
This is another big’un, isn’t it? People like This Nation’s Saving Grace in the same way they like Hex. I don’t think it’s necessarily a fan favourite from my experiences with Fall fans so far, but it seems to be one that non-Fall fans can actually stand to listen to. It charted higher than Hex and, on listening to it, has a lot less wince-inducing moments. There’s no massively obvious racial slurs, and a lot less fucking about – apart from an intro (and outro) track that sounds more or less like the theme tune to the horror-themed level in Banjo Kazooie, This Nation’s Saving Grace gets right down to it and is pretty fuckin’ relentless throughout.
It’s best moments may not be as good as the biggest hooks on Hex, and the production’s a little shoddier than some of their other efforts, but it’s definitely more consistent. Bombast in to Barmy is the best one-two punch of the Fall discography so far, both of them fucking rule. Both of them are contenders for my new second favourite Fall song too (because nothing can knock Papal Visit off that throne), and even the slightly more annoying What You Need, which follows, doesn’t quite ruin it, it just makes things slightly more definably “Fall-like”. Once the backing gang vocals kick in, things only get better. The whole album just rattles along fairly relentlessly with very few missteps, and any missteps that do actually happen (My New House) generally manage to get caught up in the energy and rhythm of the record. This is the thing with The Fall I guess – the repetition does actually work, but only when it’s carried out at a fast enough pace to stop it from grating. When they actually keep moving, they become a truly great band.
Much like on Hex, they’ve just settled in to a groove where they’re making genuinely exciting and actually listenable music. It’s odd, because it’s kind of a turbulent moment in The Fall history – they lose both of the Hanley brothers at various points, going back down to one drummer, and they’re probably still getting to grips with writing with Brix, who drafts in her mate to fill on on bass. But somehow, despite (or maybe because of?) all of this, they pull it out and write some great songs. Spoilt Victorian Child starts out like it’s gonna be a punishing Fall endurance test but quickly settles down in to one of their most dynamic and melodic pieces before bouncing back to being abrasive again, and it kicks right in to L.A., which could well be their poppiest number yet. It just doesn’t stop moving. When you actually get caught up in the album, it’s a killer. The first half is better than the second half, yeah, but the second half certainly doesn’t lack.
This is definitely one I’ve been glad to have repeat listens for, too. The first play was sort of underwhelming, possibly because I was already aware of the otherwise high opinion of it, but there was still enough there to make me want to return to it more than albums I actually enjoyed more on the first spin. If that actually makes any sense. It’s pretty clear from the start that This Nation’s Saving Grace has hidden depths, is worth sticking with, in a way that they’ve not quite managed anywhere else.
Context is important, though. I actually made a point of listening to it when I was in Manchester to see Laura Stevenson at the Cornerhouse on Good Friday (sidebar: oh my god she was perfect in a way I’m not sure I knew was possible), and when I was walking through the streets it really started to grow on me. As soon as I got to the venue, though, which is a sort of upmarket theatre/art venue, and settled down with a £4.20 (ouch) pint to wait for my friends, I immediately kind of went off it. The Cornerhouse isn’t my usual kind of show space, and the bar before the gig space doors opened was dotted with fellow punks looking sort of out of place, and I think this says something – it’s so far from the Manchester that surrounded Mark E. Smith and the band when they will have been writing and recording this record that it just didn’t fit. Catch it at the right time, though, in the right place, and it becomes more than just a great Fall album – it’s truly a great album in it’s own right. I think that’s the difference between it and Hex – the earlier one is just a great Fall album, whereas this is the first time they’ve truly broken through that barrier for me. It’s definitely my favourite by them now and will definitely be returned to.
I’d say that this is hopefully a turning point for The Fall, and that after this they keep making records of this quality, but I’d probably be deluding myself, eh? We’ve been through it before - even if Room To Live was pretty good, it’s still not really as good as Hex by quite a wide margin. But This Nation’s Saving Grace definitely gets added to the list of essential Fall albums I made at the end of the first quarter, starting with Witch Trials, continuing with Hex, and ending so far with this one. If they’d released those three back to back, then The Fall would probably be legends in a way they’ll never manage now, but they didn’t, they released them over the course a nine years as a band. It’s kinda weird, actually, they came out more or less three years apart each time - does this mean The Fall release a good album every three years? I guess I’ll let you know once I’ve listened to The Frenz Experiment and I Am Kurious Oranj, cause both of those came out in 1988. I’d put my money on Frenz, though, because both times they’ve put out two albums in one calendar year previously, the first one has always been the better one.
Still! Shit! Big result on this one. I’m as shocked as you are.

We are through the looking glass here, people.

fiftytwoweeksofthefall:

Week Sixteen: This Nation’s Saving Grace

This is another big’un, isn’t it? People like This Nation’s Saving Grace in the same way they like Hex. I don’t think it’s necessarily a fan favourite from my experiences with Fall fans so far, but it seems to be one that non-Fall fans can actually stand to listen to. It charted higher than Hex and, on listening to it, has a lot less wince-inducing moments. There’s no massively obvious racial slurs, and a lot less fucking about – apart from an intro (and outro) track that sounds more or less like the theme tune to the horror-themed level in Banjo Kazooie, This Nation’s Saving Grace gets right down to it and is pretty fuckin’ relentless throughout.

It’s best moments may not be as good as the biggest hooks on Hex, and the production’s a little shoddier than some of their other efforts, but it’s definitely more consistent. Bombast in to Barmy is the best one-two punch of the Fall discography so far, both of them fucking rule. Both of them are contenders for my new second favourite Fall song too (because nothing can knock Papal Visit off that throne), and even the slightly more annoying What You Need, which follows, doesn’t quite ruin it, it just makes things slightly more definably “Fall-like”. Once the backing gang vocals kick in, things only get better. The whole album just rattles along fairly relentlessly with very few missteps, and any missteps that do actually happen (My New House) generally manage to get caught up in the energy and rhythm of the record. This is the thing with The Fall I guess – the repetition does actually work, but only when it’s carried out at a fast enough pace to stop it from grating. When they actually keep moving, they become a truly great band.

Much like on Hex, they’ve just settled in to a groove where they’re making genuinely exciting and actually listenable music. It’s odd, because it’s kind of a turbulent moment in The Fall history – they lose both of the Hanley brothers at various points, going back down to one drummer, and they’re probably still getting to grips with writing with Brix, who drafts in her mate to fill on on bass. But somehow, despite (or maybe because of?) all of this, they pull it out and write some great songs. Spoilt Victorian Child starts out like it’s gonna be a punishing Fall endurance test but quickly settles down in to one of their most dynamic and melodic pieces before bouncing back to being abrasive again, and it kicks right in to L.A., which could well be their poppiest number yet. It just doesn’t stop moving. When you actually get caught up in the album, it’s a killer. The first half is better than the second half, yeah, but the second half certainly doesn’t lack.

This is definitely one I’ve been glad to have repeat listens for, too. The first play was sort of underwhelming, possibly because I was already aware of the otherwise high opinion of it, but there was still enough there to make me want to return to it more than albums I actually enjoyed more on the first spin. If that actually makes any sense. It’s pretty clear from the start that This Nation’s Saving Grace has hidden depths, is worth sticking with, in a way that they’ve not quite managed anywhere else.

Context is important, though. I actually made a point of listening to it when I was in Manchester to see Laura Stevenson at the Cornerhouse on Good Friday (sidebar: oh my god she was perfect in a way I’m not sure I knew was possible), and when I was walking through the streets it really started to grow on me. As soon as I got to the venue, though, which is a sort of upmarket theatre/art venue, and settled down with a £4.20 (ouch) pint to wait for my friends, I immediately kind of went off it. The Cornerhouse isn’t my usual kind of show space, and the bar before the gig space doors opened was dotted with fellow punks looking sort of out of place, and I think this says something – it’s so far from the Manchester that surrounded Mark E. Smith and the band when they will have been writing and recording this record that it just didn’t fit. Catch it at the right time, though, in the right place, and it becomes more than just a great Fall album – it’s truly a great album in it’s own right. I think that’s the difference between it and Hex – the earlier one is just a great Fall album, whereas this is the first time they’ve truly broken through that barrier for me. It’s definitely my favourite by them now and will definitely be returned to.

I’d say that this is hopefully a turning point for The Fall, and that after this they keep making records of this quality, but I’d probably be deluding myself, eh? We’ve been through it before - even if Room To Live was pretty good, it’s still not really as good as Hex by quite a wide margin. But This Nation’s Saving Grace definitely gets added to the list of essential Fall albums I made at the end of the first quarter, starting with Witch Trials, continuing with Hex, and ending so far with this one. If they’d released those three back to back, then The Fall would probably be legends in a way they’ll never manage now, but they didn’t, they released them over the course a nine years as a band. It’s kinda weird, actually, they came out more or less three years apart each time - does this mean The Fall release a good album every three years? I guess I’ll let you know once I’ve listened to The Frenz Experiment and I Am Kurious Oranj, cause both of those came out in 1988. I’d put my money on Frenz, though, because both times they’ve put out two albums in one calendar year previously, the first one has always been the better one.

Still! Shit! Big result on this one. I’m as shocked as you are.

We are through the looking glass here, people.

irregularzine:

IRREGULAR Interview: Chris Marks (Lake Michigan/Bouviér)
Read More

The first posts are now up on my new site! I would love it if you took the time to check it out and give them a read, or maybe even a follow. This is the first of many interviews that will be on the site, I hope you enjoy it.

irregularzine:

IRREGULAR Interview: Chris Marks (Lake Michigan/Bouviér)

Read More

The first posts are now up on my new site! I would love it if you took the time to check it out and give them a read, or maybe even a follow. This is the first of many interviews that will be on the site, I hope you enjoy it.

robevansphotography:

Laura Stevenson at The Cornerhouse, Manchester, April 2014.

Just… absolutely stunning. It was basically a gift to see Laura play solo in such a great little space. If you came out of this show not totally in love with her music then you are, unfortunately, completely heartless.

Perfect perfect perfect show.

irregularzine:

IRREGULAR is a new music webzine that aims to provide, in at least some small way, some kind of alternative to the majority of music writing available today. It is hard to send out a mission statement such as this without sounding pretentious, but please bear with us. Irregular will be covering music of all styles but with an emphasis on things that are independent/D.I.Y./punk-affiliated, on weekly and monthly content, and on in-depth and engaging writing. Hopefully we succeed. Hopefully you enjoy it. Thank you for reading.

HI. THIS IS A NEW THING I AM DOING. It would be amazing if you wanted to read/follow/get involved with it.

my mysterious long lost second cousin who i only talk to through twitter but once bumped in to whilst we were both drunk at carefully planned festival totally gets me.

my mysterious long lost second cousin who i only talk to through twitter but once bumped in to whilst we were both drunk at carefully planned festival totally gets me.

kojisaysaloha:

I’ll be returning to the UK this weekend with Geoff Rickly (of Thursday), Rob Lynch, and Brian Marquis (of Therefore I Am) for the UK edition of the Acoustic Basement Tour. Get your tickets: http://bit.ly/1kBVXFS

Koji at the Brudenell Social Club Games Room, Leeds, November 2013. Photo by Rob Evans.

Koji used some of my photos to announce his tour which is dead nice of him.

entering a contest.

entering a contest.

robevansphotography:

The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die at The Star & Garter, Manchester, April 2014.

This was easily one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Definitely the best of the year so far. Just… perfect.

SERIOUSLY. This was so, so, so good.

This evening is all about indie rock records that were released in 1995.

This evening is all about indie rock records that were released in 1995.

fiftytwoweeksofthefall:

Week Fifteen: The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall
So this is another one I have to feel bad about not listening to enough, because it’s actually pretty decent. You know, as Fall albums go. But, look. I was busy this week. The World I A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die have finally made it to the UK, so I was distracted by listening to them a fuckload in preparation for seeing them twice at the end of the week. Saturday in Manchester was pretty much one of the greatest shows I’ve been to in my life thanks to band and crowd alike, and I will never forget it. Unlike, I imagine, half of these Fall albums. Hey-ohhh.
Anyway, yeah, The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall. It’s a good listen! I reckon a few more spins and I’d be pretty in to it, so it’ll definitely be kept on after I’ve finished. It doesn’t feel as vital and exciting as Hex, but it’s probably a slightly more solid album overall in a lot of ways. Copped It is pretty rad as typical Fall songs go, proving that their repetitive schtick is always better when it’s done with a real sense of urgency rather than, I dunno, the lazy rambling they often slip in to? Elves, which comes straight after it, is a pretty good charting of the middle ground between those two sides, actually.
This is definitely the Fall album with the most apt title so far – it’s called The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall and yeah, it is basically a microcosm of their discography so far, a pretty succinct cross-section that would probably make for a pretty good introduction. It’s got a weird mix of production styles, usually sounding pretty good but then going all fuzzy for no real reason, it’s got some great songs with some great hooks and vocal harmonies, but then it slips in to your usual annoying Fall rambling repetition for a little while (fucking Bug Day). Never too long to really outstay their welcome, though, which makes it one of the easiest listens yet. Yeah, I’d definitely recommend this as a first album to check out for anyone interested in The Fall – if you can’t handle this one then you’re probably not going to find much else to enjoy in the catalogue up to this point.
But, y’know. I’m settling for ‘pretty good’ here, there’s still nothing that’s really blowing me away. I kinda feel like The Fall have been massively influential to a shitload of bands who have topped them endlessly, and have only really left the legacy that they have because they’ve stuck around for so long, clinging on to the railings, refusing to let go. I’m enjoying maybe 35-60% of their music a fair amount, but it’s not making much of a lasting impression. The World Is.., on the other hand, are pretty much now my favourite band, and I think listening to them loads and seeing them twice this week has really thrown this contrast in to light, has thrown what I’m actually gaining from listening to every Fall album in order in to sharp relief. I’m essentially just collecting data and, whilst it’s enjoyable enough, there’s nothing enduring setting in just yet. The World Is.., though, they’ve got ‘the spirit’, as Jonah Matranga would say, and it really feels like they’re already building something huge. They’re only a handful of EPs and one full-length in so far, but I can already feel a legacy starting to be created. Their overriding message is one of building, of belonging, of people coming together, and last night, in Mark E. Smith’s home city, I felt like a band from Connecticut did a better job of creating meaning and community in an hour long set than The Fall have done in a thirty eight year career.
I got a bit ahead of myself today and happened to see a video of a Fall show in Edinburgh in 2011. Mark E. Smith stormed off stage, and a fan got up and actually did a great job of fronting the band for a few minutes, until getting dragged off stage before Smith begrudgingly came back out. Last night, on the other hand, during the final song of their set, The World Is… chucked their microphones in to the crowd and came down to sing with everyone and the whole thing ended in a ridiculous, chaotic mess of togetherness. It may seem pointless to compare these two completely different bands, but I can’t help but feel like there’s something in that.

Using The Fall as an excuse to talk about how much I love The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die.

fiftytwoweeksofthefall:

Week Fifteen: The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall

So this is another one I have to feel bad about not listening to enough, because it’s actually pretty decent. You know, as Fall albums go. But, look. I was busy this week. The World I A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die have finally made it to the UK, so I was distracted by listening to them a fuckload in preparation for seeing them twice at the end of the week. Saturday in Manchester was pretty much one of the greatest shows I’ve been to in my life thanks to band and crowd alike, and I will never forget it. Unlike, I imagine, half of these Fall albums. Hey-ohhh.

Anyway, yeah, The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall. It’s a good listen! I reckon a few more spins and I’d be pretty in to it, so it’ll definitely be kept on after I’ve finished. It doesn’t feel as vital and exciting as Hex, but it’s probably a slightly more solid album overall in a lot of ways. Copped It is pretty rad as typical Fall songs go, proving that their repetitive schtick is always better when it’s done with a real sense of urgency rather than, I dunno, the lazy rambling they often slip in to? Elves, which comes straight after it, is a pretty good charting of the middle ground between those two sides, actually.

This is definitely the Fall album with the most apt title so far – it’s called The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall and yeah, it is basically a microcosm of their discography so far, a pretty succinct cross-section that would probably make for a pretty good introduction. It’s got a weird mix of production styles, usually sounding pretty good but then going all fuzzy for no real reason, it’s got some great songs with some great hooks and vocal harmonies, but then it slips in to your usual annoying Fall rambling repetition for a little while (fucking Bug Day). Never too long to really outstay their welcome, though, which makes it one of the easiest listens yet. Yeah, I’d definitely recommend this as a first album to check out for anyone interested in The Fall – if you can’t handle this one then you’re probably not going to find much else to enjoy in the catalogue up to this point.

But, y’know. I’m settling for ‘pretty good’ here, there’s still nothing that’s really blowing me away. I kinda feel like The Fall have been massively influential to a shitload of bands who have topped them endlessly, and have only really left the legacy that they have because they’ve stuck around for so long, clinging on to the railings, refusing to let go. I’m enjoying maybe 35-60% of their music a fair amount, but it’s not making much of a lasting impression. The World Is.., on the other hand, are pretty much now my favourite band, and I think listening to them loads and seeing them twice this week has really thrown this contrast in to light, has thrown what I’m actually gaining from listening to every Fall album in order in to sharp relief. I’m essentially just collecting data and, whilst it’s enjoyable enough, there’s nothing enduring setting in just yet. The World Is.., though, they’ve got ‘the spirit’, as Jonah Matranga would say, and it really feels like they’re already building something huge. They’re only a handful of EPs and one full-length in so far, but I can already feel a legacy starting to be created. Their overriding message is one of building, of belonging, of people coming together, and last night, in Mark E. Smith’s home city, I felt like a band from Connecticut did a better job of creating meaning and community in an hour long set than The Fall have done in a thirty eight year career.

I got a bit ahead of myself today and happened to see a video of a Fall show in Edinburgh in 2011. Mark E. Smith stormed off stage, and a fan got up and actually did a great job of fronting the band for a few minutes, until getting dragged off stage before Smith begrudgingly came back out. Last night, on the other hand, during the final song of their set, The World Is… chucked their microphones in to the crowd and came down to sing with everyone and the whole thing ended in a ridiculous, chaotic mess of togetherness. It may seem pointless to compare these two completely different bands, but I can’t help but feel like there’s something in that.

Using The Fall as an excuse to talk about how much I love The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die.

Stuff I listened to when I was 23.

Stuff I listened to when I was 23.

bevtut:

queeringveganism:

robevansphotography:

ONSIND at Wharf Chambers, Leeds, August 2013.

One of my favourite bands in one of my favourite venues. Lots of singing along. If you’re not listening to ONSIND you’re doing something wrong, so fix it!

Rob takes cracking photos! 

haha i found martha 

It’s nice seeing your own work bouncing around.

TRAAMS - Swimming pool
8 plays

TRAAMS - Swimming Pool.

TRAAMS are a newish band with a small amount of deserved buzz that feature a friend from uni on bass and they are absolutely fucking killer. Leigh is basically the best ridiculously tall bass player I’ve ever met (and this is actually a large and competitive category in terms of people I’ve met), and while he doesn’t show off as much here as he does in previous bands, this is probably the best stuff he’s ever been involved in. Catchy as fuck gothy indie rock/kraut pop noise, I can’t get it out of my head.

lafours:

Elliott Smith and Rose Melberg- The Biggest Lie

I had no idea this existed. My day has just been made.

Yikes.

fiftytwoweeksofthefall:

Week Fourteen: Call For Escape Route
So we’re a quarter of the way there and things are looking up! Both The Fall and I seem to have settled in to a rhythm and are understanding each other a little better. I think going forwards there’s a chance they will annoy me less – we’re in to a different period with plenty of surprises, but I still know more or less what I’m going to get. I mean, what I’m going to get is ‘annoyed’, but the fact that that won’t be anything approaching a surprise anymore means that getting ‘annoyed’ will be less ‘annoying’. You know? Yeah, you know.
The Call For Escape Route EP is probably one of my favourites so far, actually, in that it is nice and catchy and pretty short and Brix Smith noticeably does her stuff in a way that only improves things. Yeah, I like it. Actually wish I’d given it a few more spins. Not a whole lot to say about it, really. The guitars get Hex-style jangly again in places, and despite No Bulbs being a good few minutes too long, they get in to a serious groove and actually make it work. I could have done without the extra version straight after it, though – combined, there’s twelve minutes of No Bulbs on this thing, which is almost half the run time. But I guess it wouldn’t really be The Fall if it wasn’t massively infuriating in at least one way.
Yeah, I know they weren’t originally meant to be played back to back – the first three tracks were released as a 12” with the second two as a bonus 7”, so the effect is probably better as intended as opposed to when you just stick it all in itunes and mash them together. But hey, don’t blame me. Blame the world we live in, where all music is disposable and everything is terrible. It’s weird, though – I actually don’t mind it anywhere near as much as previous Fall endurance tests. You can tune out for a full five minutes, completely forget what you’re listening to whilst becoming engrossed in reading about Beyoncé, then come back and they’re still pounding away at No Bulbs, but for once it’s not totally exhausting. Might have something to do with the feeling that Mark E. Smith has really toned his vocals down – they’re always all over the place in terms of how they’re mixed from record to record and even song to song, but here his vocal techniques that really fuck me off seem to be either missing or really reigned in. I’m in to it.
So yeah. Second quarter off to a good start. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve got for me next.

Still Fallin’

fiftytwoweeksofthefall:

Week Fourteen: Call For Escape Route

So we’re a quarter of the way there and things are looking up! Both The Fall and I seem to have settled in to a rhythm and are understanding each other a little better. I think going forwards there’s a chance they will annoy me less – we’re in to a different period with plenty of surprises, but I still know more or less what I’m going to get. I mean, what I’m going to get is ‘annoyed’, but the fact that that won’t be anything approaching a surprise anymore means that getting ‘annoyed’ will be less ‘annoying’. You know? Yeah, you know.

The Call For Escape Route EP is probably one of my favourites so far, actually, in that it is nice and catchy and pretty short and Brix Smith noticeably does her stuff in a way that only improves things. Yeah, I like it. Actually wish I’d given it a few more spins. Not a whole lot to say about it, really. The guitars get Hex-style jangly again in places, and despite No Bulbs being a good few minutes too long, they get in to a serious groove and actually make it work. I could have done without the extra version straight after it, though – combined, there’s twelve minutes of No Bulbs on this thing, which is almost half the run time. But I guess it wouldn’t really be The Fall if it wasn’t massively infuriating in at least one way.

Yeah, I know they weren’t originally meant to be played back to back – the first three tracks were released as a 12” with the second two as a bonus 7”, so the effect is probably better as intended as opposed to when you just stick it all in itunes and mash them together. But hey, don’t blame me. Blame the world we live in, where all music is disposable and everything is terrible. It’s weird, though – I actually don’t mind it anywhere near as much as previous Fall endurance tests. You can tune out for a full five minutes, completely forget what you’re listening to whilst becoming engrossed in reading about Beyoncé, then come back and they’re still pounding away at No Bulbs, but for once it’s not totally exhausting. Might have something to do with the feeling that Mark E. Smith has really toned his vocals down – they’re always all over the place in terms of how they’re mixed from record to record and even song to song, but here his vocal techniques that really fuck me off seem to be either missing or really reigned in. I’m in to it.

So yeah. Second quarter off to a good start. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve got for me next.

Still Fallin’