Certainty in uncertainty: Celestial North presents Olympic Skies

Glacial & groovy post-punk from in which the guitars vie for your attention and simultaneously, don’t care. This is a pure slice of post-punk in that the song you wants to dance, thanks to the bouncy lead guitar and wants you to sink in a stupor, thanks to the hazy hues pitched around the outskirts. The drum beat is frisky, the vocals cool as ice. This song doesn’t know what it wants you to do and it’s that quality which grabs your attention. Post punk: the music of not knowing what to do, of certainty in uncertainty.

If you like the Bunnymen, if you like The Cure, or are are into 21st century takes on the art such as The Autumn Stones or Motorama you’ll dig Celestial North.

Ambivalence never wanted to please you so much.

https://celestialnorth.bandcamp.com/track/olympic-skies

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Cut and cauterise: Hey Bulldog present ‘California’

Manchester has long since prided itself in being the home of the dirty, epic bass line. This is a city that likes to groove. From the days of Hook and Adamson we have been weened on bass lines.

So it takes something special to knock us on our arses. And ‘California’ does just that. This comes at you with the dirtiest, greasiest, hedonistic, tumbling back-alley bass line for decades. It scurries like a huge rat up a back alley; demonic eyes, malevolent and vicious.

Pounding power trio rockers Hey Bulldog let this rat loose on a number they call ‘California’ and Matt Parry is the bass man who controls this hellish beast. This 3 minute show of carnage rides on the back of this monster; their usual psych-rock stomp eschewed in favour of a sleek display of cut and cauterise. Rob M’s slathering of guitar is less riff based and more A Place To Bury Strangers skreeeeeeeeeee. If the bass line is a rat then the guitar is a demented dentist.

‘California’ starts at full pitch and gets faster til it eats itself; the rat consuming it’s corporeal form. Hey Bulldog, like the rat, go for the jugular and attack, talons sharpened to knife edges.

This is full bloodied, unstoppable and cool-as. Another top drawer single from Hey Bulldog who will be unleashing the rat across the summer at festivals for your ecstatic desires.

Hey Bulldog, the saviours of Manchester rock ‘n’ roll get better and better:

‘California’ is available right here!

https://heybulldog.bandcamp.com

Interview with Last Bee On Earth

The Last Bee On Earth’s debut full length album Prism Break is out in the open right now! So no fancy introduction, just listen to a tune and read the exclusive interview!

The Last Bee On Earth is a very evocative name. When exactly did you first start working on your solo career?

I’ve been writing songs since I was in my early teens. I was always better at creating my own or improvising entire songs on the spot than playing covers.  I’d start to learn someone else’s track and it would quickly spark an idea or a feeling of my own that quickly turned into something else, so I didn’t learn in the traditional way, but I absorbed a lot of different music, Delta Blues, house, Grunge, Rock, Jazz which affected my own style. 
It’s great to have influences, but ultimately, there’s an original fire in all of us, that’s what I like to play with musically, and in life! 
The name came to me from the aether, as most things do. Last Bee on Earth was the whisper and so it had to be that.  I knew it would make sense further down the line.  You cant go against the flow! 
It has a few different levels to it apart from the obvious environmental vibes, I’ll keep that mystery open a little! 

Your music is truly the work of a solo artist as it encapsulates your entire world view, philosophy and spirituality…

Thank you! So many people, in this crazy world, try to project themselves as something they aren’t or want to be.  That’s not a judgement, that’s how this place works, it’s a circular copy factory! But it’s not how I work.  Finding who we truly are and why we are here was my ultimate goal, always has been.  I’m just trying to get a feeling across, documenting my thoughts and otherworldly adventures of the Now, like a musical time capsule! 

… your lyrics refer to the wheel of life, the duality of man, nature… and you seem to have a pre-occupation with the devil…

I spent a lot of time with Robert Johnson as a kid, that may have had an impact! The blues was my musical start really and still the core of my guitar playing,  you can hear elements on the album in songs like ‘White Light’ and ‘Two Wolves’. 
It’s all a documentation of my spiritual journey really, themes and ultimately, my experience here on Earth.  I look at life from an outside perspective looking in, I usually sit back and let the higher Mike takeover to be honest.  He’s a creative maniac, I’m just along for the ride! But we need each other 🙂 Were both from the Stars. 

Can you run us through the album track by track?

In the Woods / Prism Break 
(it was just a regular day in the forest, until a doorway appeared) 
Ebb and Flow 
(Quantum Fluctuations in the Aether and coming changes)
White Light 
(Reincarnation Traps) 
Testament Song 
(Duality and Fire) 
Human Heart 
(An important health and safety message about protecting yourself from unwanted forces) 
Two Wolves 
(Duality, you become which Wolf you feed the most) 
Here Comes the Wave 
(Maybe I’m letting people know about something that’s coming, something BIG) 

Which instrument do you write on?

Predominantly on guitar, however when you’re pretty (I guess accomplished is the word) on your instrument I find that can take away from the songwriting.  
This album wasn’t about what I can do with the guitar, so that became secondary really.  It was about trying to get what was in my head into the physical, so I built some of the tracks up from beats and piano strictures so some of the songs were a little less guitar based.

Prism Break is a lot more “song based” than the Prologue EP and talking of Prologue, ‘World On Fire’ is a huge dazzling song that Richard Ashcroft dreams  of making! How, when and why did it come about, It’s very emblematic of your music…

Ah man, it’s old that! It was probably recorded about 2009 when I was just learning how to make my own recordings with a new set up.  To me, it sounds very old as the voice has developed a lot in that space of time.  However, production aside it does have its place so I’m glad it featured on Prologue along the more experimental chaos! 

My mate John asks after listening to ‘The Concept Of Alan Watts’… “Are the philosophies of Alan Watts to you… or did you create music to accompany his readings because his voice sounds like Hal from Stanley kubricks 2001?”

A bit of both! That track was recorded the day after a heavy weekend at Liverpool Psych Fest a few years back.  Can you tell!? Alan Watts is a great philosopher so it was fun to create that track and improvise around his voice.  And obviously to make him sound like HAL! 

Your record and produce your music yourself, right?

I’m a one stop shop! I’ve had to do it this way to keep costs down.  I create so much material it isn’t feasible to pay for all the mixing and mastering that would be needed.  I’m opening a new studio space very soon with my wingman Craig, I’m really excited about that.  I like Air! 
I wanted to keep a realism about Prism Break.  Its not shiny inside, it’s a shithole! So if anything, I under produced it.  Imaginging I was recording in analogue, post blast and technology… Last Bee would use a tape deck not Pro Tools, that’s the vibe (to me anyway!) 
It was mostly created in a converted shed… I didn’t want to fully bury that reality! 
The next album will sound very different.  

You’re also playing with The Winachi Tribe…!!

Yeah man! That’s my full time gig, being a Tribesman.  It’s a beautiful roller-coaster, I love it.  I get to play with top musicians, friends and to experience collective bouts of rock and Funk madness.  What we’ve done in the last year is beyond expectations, It’s like the Funk dreamboat! 
How was it playing on the West Coast on tour with them?
Who doesn’t want to go touring Los Angeles and California! We’ve got and have made loads of friends in the U.S.  The support for the Tribe is strong stateside and our last trip culminated in supporting The Charlatans at the Teragram Ballroom, working with the X man (John X, Bowie, Black Grape, Inxs) at his amazing studio off Venice Beach.  Good times! 

What’s next with the Tribe?

I honestly can’t yell you, but it’s bigger than your Average planet and there are lots of amazing, mind blowing things happening in the world of the Winachi Tribe! 

How hard is it to balance being in groups with a solo career?

Easy! My music is what I do when I’m not doing anything else.  Some people watch TV, drink beer, I write and produce music pretty much all the time. I also teach music so it’s a full time music based life.  
It is important to me to get my stuff out to people who want to listen, but i’ve no grand ideas of becoming a solo star, I have too much fun with the Tribe, I’d be bored on my own! 

Do you think solo artists are a dying breed? 

No. But maybe Solo artists with something real to say are? 

Down here we worship on the altars of John Cale, Tom Verlaine and Julian Cope. As a solo artist, which solo artists do you listen to?

Robert Johnson, Ian Brown, Jose Gonzalez, Johnny Cash, Pj Harvey, a mixed bag! 

For the tech heads, what guitars and gear do you play?

My main guitar is a 74 Fender Strat with Kinsman Woodstock Pickups, plus a load of blues guitars.  My favourite guitar in the world is my new Taylor 322e acoustic, built in the Heavens! It blows my mind everytime I play, touch or look at it! 
I’ve got loads of amps but at the moment I’ve gone full Borg and I’m using a Digital Keeper Profiling Amp with the Tribe! It sounds great and is obviously really useful in the studio.  I haven’t located it’s Soul yet but I’m working on it!

Prism Break is available right now and we heartily suggest you buy this treasure chest of psych-folk gems!

https://lastbeeonearth.bandcamp.com/album/prism-break

Bear witness to a shattered world: Dead Sea Apes’ Free Territory

“Cast out all ye demons” cursed the last of the Sky-Gods, issuing maledictions under the blood red sky.

The Under-Demons hold sway in this land, scouring the burnt out remains of buildings for the burnt out remains of humans.

When the barricades fell, the Under-Demons came, falling on their prey and devouring them; bones and all.

This is the Free Territory. Free because love, life and hope are gone. In destruction all becomes equal, eroded by the winds of desolation.

Dead Sea Apes, survivors of this chaos, send us this artefact to tell us of their barren, desiccated world.

This transmission you hear is not “music”, are not “songs”. The Free Territory is merely the sound of an existence of sorrow. This is a document to bear witness to a shattered world.

Dead Sea Apes do not intend to scare, depress or horrify you; merely alert you to a world of suffering, where Man’s shame has fallen inwards.

Maybe the Sky-Gods will triumph in the end, and light will return to the Free Territory. Or maybe darkness will consume what remains.

Only time will tell.

https://deadseaapes.bandcamp.com/album/the-free-territory

>>>END

Comrades in anarchy: Clint Boon’s Rebellious Jukebox

The last radio show was beamed out from Oldham Edge, a foreboding hill with adjoining aerial that manages to loom under the skyline, separating Oldham’s desolate moorland, with Oldham’s desolate town centre.

Each weekday from 10 til 2 Clint Boon held sway on the airwaves, with both complete control over the playlist, and with power devoluted to his adoring masses. For the first 2 hours of the show was comprosed of the songs he wanted to play, and nothing else. The second part, The Rebellious Jukebox, was comprised of listeners requests and nothing else. 

And we, the Boon Army sat huddled in our Oldham hovels, our ears pressed to the speakers of our FM radios. Boony fed us a healthy, rich diet of Buzzcocks, Chameleons, Puressence, Bunnymen, Joy Division & New Order, Pixies, Interpol, Public Image, The Smiths, The Fall, The World Of Twist, The Paris Angels, Bowie, Blondie, The Clash, the Bunnymen, the Roses, the Carpets and his own band The Clint Boon Experience (Boony likes the royalties).

Boony fed us gateway drugs. Once he got you into Magazine (including telling you about ‘Shot By Both Sides’ riffs usage in Buzzcocks ‘Lipstick’) it’s only a short jump to the similarly named Television. And from Television it’s only a hop, a skip and a junky away from Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers.

Boony ruled his roost. One day he played a cover of ‘Another Girl Another Planet’ by Blink 182 (or some such toss) only to stop it half way through and crush it audibly. He’d play ‘Duelling Banjo’s’ at will.

Minds were shaped in the white heat of this cultural fire. Music junkies were fixed up good. This young neophyte heard Jimmy from Puressence sing and the world changed.

Then one day Boony left us, going off to join Radio X, or XS Manchester, or XS Playlist, or something. I tuned in once, they were playing the Kaiser Chiefs. For us weened on the finest diet, to listen to such table scraps was an affront to our education.

Radio has declined steadily since, becoming less and less meaningful. They have a radio on at work. It seems obligatory to play at least 70% Queen songs.

But for those of us that were part of the movement, the act, we had The Rebellious Jukebox and Boony was the ringleader.

Becoming square: Alex Cox’s Repo Man

Alex Cox is all about turning things on their head; his debut, the sublimely silly Repo Man is a masterclass of this. The movie is about a young dissatisfied punk, Otto, who gets a job and discovers he quite likes it. He gets a girlfriend and quite likes that too. This is a film made by a punk about a punk who becomes a square. His friends who turn to sticking up stores get killed, much to Otto’s disdain. His favourite bands turn crappy. He learns a lot, starts dressing in white shirts and becomes a well-rounded person (more or less).

Sounds fairly dull doesn’t it? Well it might be if there wasn’t another movie slammed into it. The other movie is a conspiracy thriller to find the mysterious glowing contents of the trunk of a car before Tarantino can plagiarise it. As the car is on the repo list, it comes into Otto’s orbit.

Meanwhile, Alex’s world building proclivities are already in full sway, shelves populated with products that simply bear the name of what they are being the most obvious, and most successful illustration. Otto’s folks give money to TV evangelists and the feds crush those who get in their way. Right from the start of his career, Alex shapes characters who live in worlds he shapes. This is why his movies feel so rounded and complete. Straight To Hell features coffee addicted cowboys who populate their Spaghetti Western township. Death & The Compass‘ array of cops and crim’s live in the nooks and crannies of it’s Dick Tracy inspired primary coloured noir. Cox starts with a world, drops characters into it and worries about story later, when all the hard work is done.

Repo Man stands as the perfect example of Cox’s punk art… and it’s about a kid getting a job.

A wild and stupid ride: To Live And Die In LA

To Live And Die In LA wears its stupidity proudly. It flaunts it’s love of cliches while it turns them on their head.

–SPOILERS — if you ain’t seen it, watch it and come back, sport.

William Freidkin invented most of the damn cliches in the first place with The French Connection. Cops who don’t play by the rules! Car chases in dirty city back streets! Gun fights! Here he basks in his own glory, turning up every dial, taking it up an 80s coke notch or two.

But Friedkin is a man who wants to have his coke and snort it. He wants the car chases, the cop who gets killed just before his retirement, the revenge story. He wants you to settle in for a night with the old tropes.

But then he keeps pulling the rug out from under you. The good guy is blackmailing a woman into having sex with him. The good guy gets an FBI agent killed. The good guy gets himself shot in the face. Imagine if Lethal Weapon killed off Martin Riggs before the final reel. This is what we’re talking about here. The viewer spits out his pizza in shock.

Life flows in aftermath… the good guy’s squeaky clean partner winds up dressing like his idol, eager for some blackmail sex of his own. The story can start again. Lethal Weapon can set itself up, but over there the good guy will never get shot in the face with a shot gun.

To Live And Die In LA: a wild and stupid ride where not everyone gets out alive.