Bar9 – Before The Storm…

13 Oct

…and four other tunes worth listening to.

A long, long time ago, I was a ‘music blogger’, writing lots of posts about music and filling them with lots of ‘pithy comments’ and ‘unnecessary inverted commas’ etc etc. But then I got too busy to spend all my time listening to tunes and making jokes about them, so I stopped. This year I have hardly spent any time seeking out new music. Indeed, I’ve devoted a fair portion of it to listening to old and/or boring music (eg The Beatles) just to see if it is ‘classic for a reason’ (mostly it isn’t).


Recently, a few tunes have caught my ear. I’ve decided to write some words about them, which you can read below.

Bar9 – Before The Storm
Despite having a name that sounds like some sort of pre-club boozing venue in Oldham, Bar9 make very good dubstep tunes and remixes. The latest in the former category is Before The Storm, probably their best release yet, which was ‘dropped’ by Skream and Benga as a world exclusive on their Radio 1 show this week. It takes a couple of minutes to get going, but it’s got the sort of drop that reinforced dance floors were invented for. That’s assuming reinforced dancefloors have been invented. They probably have, or should be, whichever.

King Krule – Rock Bottom
The indie industry is in crisis. In fact, the entire music industry is in crisis purely because indie exists. But there are some artists trying to rescue the most boring form of music from its perpetual decline. Step forward King Krule, basically the saviour of shouty urban indie, whose recent single Rock Bottom boasts myriad influences (including The Streets, whose Empty Cans is quoted in the refrain) and moves along at a pace brisk enough to blow away all the cobwebs left behind by Mumford & Sons and their dusty fucking box of dead ideas.

Jake Bugg – Two Fingers
Here’s another chap trying to make non-shit guitar music and succeeding. He might have a lot of Dylan-esque ticks, but you’re unlikely to have heard anything as striking as Bugg’s opening vocal this year. The first verse, however, does pose a question: why does Radio 1 think it’s OK for white artists to talk about drugs in their songs (cf Ed Sh**ran and his nonsense about crack pipes) when black artists regularly find themselves censored? Rolled-up fattys aside, this is classic songwriting, like Donovan jamming with The Coral. Bonus points for having the parole officer out of Misfits being lairy in the video, too.

HOSH – Woohoo
Ever since Unklejam bombed, there’s not been enough falsetto-specked spacepop. And there’s never been enough tunes called Woohoo. So this release remedies both of those situations within the first few bars. The rest of the track goes on to evoke New York disco and house clubs, but in a completely non po-faced way, which is increasingly becoming a rarity in the ‘dance music scene’.

Monsta – Holdin On (Skrillex and Nero remix)
The original Holdin On has a fair stab at being a decent tune, and pulls it off on the whole, thanks in large part to the incredible vocals of Skaar, but it take a re-take from Skrillex and Nero to make the tune stand out among the literally millions of bass tunes that are released every week in the UK. The drop is a bit too heavy on the Sonny Moore side of things, but the build (“I’m a beat without a drum,” etc etc) is very much ‘worth the entry price’.


Recipe: Really Really Hot Pasta

4 Aug

Hi fans. Thought I would update the blog with some culinary content because even though food blogging is a bit 2010-2011 it can still be quite fun to write about cooking. Even if it is impossible to crowbar in any relevant buzz keywords in the search for mad hits.

Anyway, below you can find a recipe for Really Really Hot Pasta. It’s one of my newer creations and uses an exciting extra ingredient from Chilli Pepper Pete, which is basically the best food retailer on the internet.

Serves: 2 or 1 if you’re greedy
Preparation time: 30 mins max

1. Right, get some pasta out of the cupboard. The twists or the shells will do, but not penne – never penne. Now you want to put it in the pan and heat it up in some water until the water bubbles and then the pasta starts cooking or going soft or whatever it is that dry pasta actually does. Once the pasta is ‘al dente’ (which means literally, ‘can be dented if bitten’) you want to take the heat off a minute and drain the pasta.

2. While the pasta is cooking you should have been chopping up some onions and peppers and stuff. I recommend one small red onion and two large peppers (one red, one green). Also you’re going to want to chop up a couple of naga chillies too but be careful not to touch them and then touch your eyes or nose because that will wreck.

3. Now what you want to do is put all of the chopped onions, peppers and chillies in the pan with the pasta and pop the heat back on. Once you’re getting a bit of sizzle off the veg (please be careful not to burn the chillies in the pan, they will start to emit a smoke similar to nerve gas and you’ll probably have to evacuate your kitchen/house), stick one tin of tomato soup in and go with a gentle heat.

4. Now that the soup/veg/pasta mix is heating up nicely, why not pop a little bonus pocket of flavour in there with the addition of one tablespoon of apple sauce. You don’t have to but it can be nice.

5. Then it’s time to add the ingredient that makes this into a really, really hot dish as opposed to just a really hot one. It’s called Satan’s Shit and you can get it from Chilli Pepper Pete. It’s one of their extreme heat products and comes with a disclaimer so I should probably say that if you decide to eat it after reading this blog you release me from liability for any damage or pain you do yourself. It measures 1.25m on the Scoville Scale, which is about 25% the burn you’ll get from pure pepper spray and 500 times hotter than a jalapeno. I love this stuff so I can get away with a teaspoon in the mix but if you’re trying it out for the first time just go for tiny amounts to avoid ruining the dish.

6. Leave the pasta/veg/soup/deathpaste to bubble a little while on the hob, stirring occasionally to keep it nicely mixed up. Once it’s cooked and nice and hot, stick it in a bowl and ENJOY!

iTunes hopping with Hudson Mohawke

7 Jul

For some reason the other day I was listening to snippets of Hudson Mohawke tunes on the iTunes shop, when all of a sudden I decided to click through a chain of ‘Listeners Also Bought’ suggestions and listen to the most popular tune by each one.

I made some notes about the magical voyage of audio discovery I went on, which you can read below.

1) Daedelus – Bright Stars

This one sounded a bit like Nouvelle Vague and Lemon Jelly making lift music together, kind of like a whistling-based cover version of that Latin trumpet-type song that I can’t remember the name of. You’d know the one I was on about if you heard it.

2) Prefuse 73 – The Only Guitar To Die Alone (feat. Adron)

If Guillermo del Toro did a version of Spongebob Squarepants I think this would probably be the soundtrack to the opening titles.

3) Savath & Savalas – Um Girassol Da Cor de Seu Cabelo

I actually know about these guys. It’s a collaboration between Sven Vath (aka Savath) and Telly Savalas (aka Savalas). Strong chillwave vibes here, like the end of a Spanish cop movie after everyone has been gunned down and the only bloodied survivor is left to reflect over a series of gentle pans and fades.

4) Slicker – By The Morning Sun (Remix)

Another peaceful track but this time with ominous undertones, rather like the atmosphere at a summer barbecue when things are about to turn lairy because someone is really drunk and keeps saying really bad things.

If you want to play this game yourself the rules are simple: just load up any artist in the iTunes shop and then click on the name of whichever ‘Listeners Also Bought’ suggestion appeals to you most. Then listen to the most popular song by that artist, et voila, literally minutes of fun.

Kubik nightclub Manchester launch

29 Jun

For some reason this didn’t make it into today’s paper, so I’m popping it here

WITH the ever-simmering rivalry between the two cities, it is perhaps unsurprising that not many exports from Liverpool find popularity in Manchester.

Even the most famous current interloper, Wayne Rooney, is only popular with the Red half of town – and in the world of clubbing, successful crossovers are even fewer and farther between.

Nevertheless the team behind legendary Liverpool trance night Kubik – Chris Pollock, Allan ‘Spalmeister’ Madden and Cass Fitzsimmons – are bringing the club over to our fairy city after more than five years on hiatus.

It all started in 2002, when a judge at a DJ competition advised Pollock that the best way of pursuing his ambition of being successful behind the decks was to set up his own clubnight, which he duly set about doing.

Two years later, Kubik was born: “By then I had a strong team behind me,” says Pollock. “And it is to them [Madden and Fitzsimmons] that I am most grateful. It is their hard work and input that really helped set Kubik apart from the Liverpool competition and put it on the national map for trance and clubbing events.”

By its second birthday, the club had moved to superclub Nation – home of Cream – and won the Best Small Club gong at the UK Hard Dance Awards.

Pollock describes the honour as “Outstanding, amazing, incredible, overwhelming… all the hard work, all the sleepless nights, all the cold, snowy, rainy, windy 6am mornings handing out flyers outside Cream, Gatecrasher, Godskitchen and Goodgreef had been worth it.”

Sadly though, a year later, circumstances meant Pollock had to put the party on hold for the foreseeable future.
“I look back on those years with the fondest of memories, as the people I encountered, partied with, and made friends with truly made those years the best of my life so far.

“Without those guys and all the devoted fans who made Kubik a unique experience, a family, in fact, you could say Kubik wouldn’t have been able to achieve what it did.”

Now the party is back, back, BACK in Pollock’s newly adopted hometown Manchester, with the first edition taking place tomorrow night at Manchester’s raviest beer hall Jabez Clegg.

So what made Pollock want to bring the night back – and why did they choose Jabez as the venue?

“There was never ever any doubt in mind that I was going to bring Kubik back at some point. My ultimate dream is to run a Kubik festival, and a dream like that doesn’t just vanish, it stays with you and eventually things work out so you carry on down the road you started on.

“This is what’s happening now. The re-launch of Kubik is just the start and all of us involved are excited beyond words. As the saying goes ‘From small acorns, mighty oaks grow’ and this Kubik re-launch in Manchester is going to be the start of something phenomenal.

“Jabez is a fantastic venue. The club provides an intimate feel whilst at the same time allowing for an impressive stage production and full-on underground rave atmosphere.

“It has a terrific sound system and when combined with the famous Kubik decor, stage production and family atmosphere, all of us involved can guarantee an excellent night is in store!”

And there’s no doubt from the organisers that, thanks to advances in technology and rise of new producers over the past five years, there’s still plenty of appetite for trance, meaning the return of Kubik cannot be anything other than a success.

“There is one thing for sure and that is from the heyday of 1998 and 99 through to the present day, trance has never failed to be a driving force across the world in terms of musical genres at events, as a style played by the most famous DJs and as a musical religion, praised by tens of millions.

“Kubik is back, Kubik will be the future. Just make sure you are there in attendance for this milestone event!”

Kubik is on Saturday 30 June 2012 at Jabez Clegg, Portsmouth Street. 9pm-4am. £5.

Jessica Ennis still driving traffic in Olympics year

28 Jun

With only a few weeks left to go until London 2012 kicks off, it’s pretty clear that British athlete Jessica Ennis will be one of the media stars of the games. How do we know this?

1. Olay have got her face and body plastered all over their summer print and TV campaigns.
2. ‘Jessica Ennis Bum‘ is STILL driving traffic to this very blog.

The power of ‘Jessica Ennis Bum’ is such that another publication, the London Evening Standard, has recently put online an article in which the popularity of the search term is highlighted (exactly the same tactic the Daily Mail used to crowbar it into their article with the athlete). “Stick her name into Google,” says the piece, “and the top result is Jessica Ennis Bum, followed by Jessica Ennis Hot“. Classic mash-up of journalism and traffic-baiting.

Anyway not to be outdone, I did a post about how the Daily Mail had seemingly optimised one of their stories for the keyword – at once mocking the move and basically pulling the same trick myself. It worked, too: the keyword has been the best-performing driver of organic traffic over the blog’s lifetime by some distance.

Interestingly, I see spikes in Ennis-related traffic during athletics events and when she is on TV or in newspapers. I would probably see much more if my ranking hadn’t dropped from SERPs one to page three (a case study in what happens if you don’t maintain your top keywords). If I can find the time I might do a case study about the relationship between the athletics calendar and the Ennis traffic – if anything it’ll demonstrate how topicality can work in a blog’s favour, as long as it’s balanced with relevance (which, to be fair, isn’t the case with that keyword and my blog).

Warehouse Project 2012 venue and lineup

3 Feb

So The Warehouse Project has announced its Easter 2012 lineup, but not the details of its new venue. Fans will have to wait until late March to find out where the club will be moving to after five massive years underneath the arches at Store Street.

Acts appearing at The Warehouse Project at Easter include much-hyped DJ and producer Maya Jane Coles, Germany’s Loco Dice and minimal hero Jamie Jones on a huge techno and house bill. They will be joined by regulars including Krysko at the 10.5-hour event in April.

But where will the action take place?

Check some of these ideas for The Warehouse Project new venue:

  • The car park at the old Boddington’s factory
  • Platt Fields Park
  • Disused warehouse off Rochdale Road
  • Underneath Quay House
  • The Great Northern tunnels
  • Mayfield Press building, Fairfield Street
  • Gorton

Will it be any of them? Probably not. But you can find out for sure on the WHP website 22 March.

Manchester tunnel tours provide new target

30 Jan

Regular viewers will know I love two things: setting out pointless targets, and scoring mad hits off pointless traffic-driving search terms (like Timbaland Weird Faces or Rizzle Kicks Mums). Recently these two loves collided as I set out a new goal: to hit ‘SERPs one’ on Google for the search term Eddie Storm 1983.

This all started when I went on one of those Great Northern tunnel tours you see advertised on the ManCon emails. I saw some graffiti down there (it said ‘Eddie Storm 1983’) that really captured my imagination – and from that moment on it became my raison d’etre to become the web’s number one resource for Eddie Storm 1983.

So I created a blog and invited people to share their theories as to the origins of the famed graffiti and the man behind it. So far only one person has contributed but I am pretty sure we’re just around the corner from the whole thing ‘going viral’, which should set things up nicely for an exclusive interview with the real Eddie Storm himself some time towards the end of the year. Watch this space!

Is Lana Del Rey (Lizzy Grant) the new Duffy (Aimee Duffy)?

30 Jan

Lizzy Grant and Aimee DuffyNow I don’t want this post to come across like some sort of ‘anti-art’ rant, and I am all for invention and myth-making in music (obvs some of the best alter ego-based careers have been forged pseudonymously, from Johnny Rotten to Lady Gaga to H from Steps), but the recent ‘media furore’ over Lana Del Rey got me thinking:

Isn’t this storm in a teacup just evidence that Lana Del Rey is the new Duffy?

Think about it: both are female solo artists who came to public attention with pseudo-retro looks and sounds – and both had previous, abortive, more mainstream attempts at chart success eradicated from the record books.

Briefly successful chart star Duffy (real name Aimee Duffy) launched her career off the back of a sort of Welsh X Factor show (called Waw Factor), with a shock of spiky blond hair and a neat line in MOR warbling. After that failed, she somehow re-emerged with a beehive and a weird ‘Dusty Springfield singing through her nose’ voice that led to huge commercial hits and a brilliant Diet Coke advert.

Fast forward several years and New York’s Lizzy Grant is struggling to find success with her Kill Kill EP, even though it’s got a song called Yayo on it. What does she do? Re-emerge with the ‘gangster Nancy Sinatra’ look and pretend none of the other stuff ever happened.

It’s not the reinvention that rankles, but the careful cleansing of each singer’s respective history to present only what they, or their publicists, want people to see. Katy Perry did the same thing – she released Christian rock-tinged country records before coming back as the all-consuming, girl-kissing superstar we now know.

  • Do you care if someone comes back with a different persona after failing at music?
  • What would music be like if no one ever pretended to be someone else?
  • Should Lana Del Rey reissue her Lizzy Grant EP and album?
  • Will Duffy ever return to music?
  • At the end of the day, is this any different to Ziggy Stardust?

BONUS: Lana Del Rey Saturday Night Live performance

Rizzle Kicks’ Mums

23 Jan

Rizzle Kicks' mums, yesterdayAre the women in the Rizzle Kicks Mama Do The Hump video really their mums?

Ladies and gentlemen, we may have found ourselves a new ‘Timbaland Weird Faces‘ as we continue our neverending search for a buzz phrase to bring mad traffic to the blog.

The search term in question – Rizzle Kicks mums – has been “driving clicks” all week and is a typical Survivor Envy buzz term, just like Timbaland weird faces, Katy Perry Mediafire and all the other KWs the site has at one time or another been in “SERPs one” for.

But never mind that, there is a burning question in play here: is that really their mums in the Rizzle Kicks video? The answer is, as far as I can find out, YES it really is their mums. Apparently Jordan’s mum is the one with the glasses and the other one’s mum is the other one. No one knows why James Corden is in the video, though. Apparently it happened after the comedian followed Rizzle and Kicks down a street in Brighton.

Also, have you noticed that Mama Do The Hump sounds a bit like something from 1999 and has a line in it that sounds like a reference to Fatboy Slim (ask your uncle)? Well that would be because the track was in fact produced by none other than Norman Cook, which would explain the ‘big beat’ stuff, although perhaps not the banjos.

Murkage Torches review

21 Jan

Another month, another massive release from Murkage. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: there’s not many outfits in the UK making music as angry and vital-sounding as this at the moment. Critics might say it’s all a bit overblown but I’d rather have the politicised rantings of Murkage Dave threatening to “leave your city in flames” than the likes of bloody Tribes trying to pretend that grunge didn’t go out of fashion for a reason, any day of the week.

Latest track is Torches, built on a sort of demonic, twisted synth pattern and the demonic, twisted spewings of trader/self-confessed attention seeker Alessio Rastani, who famously uttered the line “governments don’t rule the world, Goldman Sachs rules the world”. It’s not quite up there with Paperweight but not a lot is really, is it. You can watch the Torches video below and grab an MP3 by heading over to (also be sure to check out the remixes by Dash Total’d, KEE and Star One).

Very good.