Sunday, 31 October 2010

Happy Halloween!

So, today's Halloween and thus the end of the official horror month. But, but...I imagine that won't affect my viewing habits too much. In fact, I imagine November will be just as heavy on the horror. Anyway, I've been watching quite alot of movies the last few day, some alot better than others. Here's a selection...

Barn Of The Naked Dead (1974)
As you'd expect with a title like that, this is pretty sleazy. Man plays nice, lures women to his farm, locks them up in his barn and plays out some twisted circus fantasies. It's a hideously misogynist script, which just leads to the whole film being completely unbelievable and annoying. Only worth watching for Andrew Prine, who plays the wacko and completely steals the show.

Just Before Dawn (1981)
Surprisingly effective chiller of the 'loud-teen-campers-ignore-the-warnings-of-local-forest-ranger-only-to-bump-into-machete-wielding-loonbags' variety. Well worth checking out.

I Drink Your Blood (1970)
One of my favorite discoveries this year. Great fun. Satanists, rabid construction workers. This film has everything. Awesome!

Turkey Shoot (aka Blood Camp Thatcher) (1982)
I only bought this because I was so impressed with some of the directors other films (especially Dead End Drive-In), but this was a bit of a bore. Most of the film is devoted to showing Olivia Hussey looking worried. And I guess she should be. After all, she's either in a horrible prison camp or being hunted like an animal by rich people. Hmmmm. Nope. Bad.

Prom Night (1980)
Four children commit a crime, resulting in a young girl's death. Six years later it's their high school senior prom night and an unknown killer has decided it's time to make them pay. Despite starring Leslie Nielsen as the school principal, this is pretty average. Not much happens until the end...and even then it's not terribly exciting.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Video of the day (Allo Darlin' - My Heart Is A Drummer)

Here it is, the latest Allo Darlin' video. This time it's for upcoming single My Heart Is A Drummer. I wasn't involved in the making of this one, which is why it looks so awesome :)

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Video of the day (Micah P. Hinson - Beneath The Rose)

I just realised that Micah P. Hinson is playing in Brussels tonight....but unfortunately there are no tickets left. Hmmm...Î wonder if you get ticket touts in Brussels...would be amazing to go and see him.

This is a cool video......high-speed snails!!!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Gig flashback - Bergman Rock (Camden Barfly, 12th April 2006)

So, I'm at my mum's house for the weekend and thought I would look through her old computer before it's thrown out. I found a Nik folder and inside, some gig photos from when I first arrived in London.

Bergman Rock at Barfly was insane. In case you don't know...Bergman Rock is the English-language alter ego of Swedish pop legends Bob Hund (one of the best bands to come out of Sweden ever). The same band members, playing similar kind of music, but in English. And that's the main problem. It's just not the same in English. Bob Hund's Swedish lyrics are absolutely incredible....anyway, it was a great show. The band and the audience went completely crazy.

Bergman Rock on myspace

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Come on, Jean-Claude!

Apparantly Jean-Claude van Damme suffered a heart attack last night! But, he seems alright.

I'd like to wish him a full and speedy recovery. The world needs him.

In honour of JCVD, here's his legendary dance scene from the awesome Kickboxer (1989).

It's crap quality, but the only one I could find that was still embeddable.


Sunday, 17 October 2010

The Corpse Grinders

Yeah that's right, the name of the film I just watched is The Corpse Grinders, a 1971 "horror" directed by a Ted V. Mikels. With such a great title came high expectations, but I realised pretty quickly that the name was as good as it was ever gonna get. Not anywhere near as grisly as I expected, not the least bit scary and would in general have been a total waste of my time, had it not been reasonably goofy and even charming at times.

So, what's the deal? Well, ok. Previously harmless cats are going crazy all over town, biting and even killing their unsuspecting owners. At the same time, dodgy cat food brand Lotus are doing great business. Could there be a connection? Of course there is! Their special secret ingredient happens to be human flesh and this is what's giving the cats their bloodlust. But where does one go for this ingredient? Well, a good place to start would be the cemetary. Lucky for factory owners Landau and Maltby there's a crazy couple living just by the cemetary and they're more than happy to dig up corpses for a bit of cash. Doctor Howard Glass and nurse Angie notice their cat behaving aggressively and when more people are attacked they get suspicious and try to find out what the hell is going on. Meanwhile, Landau and Maltbyy stops using cemetary-fresh corpses for a while and starts killing homeless people instead, working up some good mileage on their factory grinder. It's a race against time, good vs evil. Will Howard and Angie discover the secret and get to Landau and Maltby before more people are killed. And who is that man in a moustache that keeps watching everything? He looks like an undercover cop and acts like an undercover cop. Could he perhaps undercover cop?

There are so many flaws in this film, it would just be tedious going into too much detail. The plot is pretty bad, the script is terrible, as is the acting. It looks like a bad tv soap opera....and so on. But, you kept me interested enough to want to see the end. There are some strange characters that keeps it watchable, but also more confusing since they don't really serve any purpose. There's a one-legged mute woman working in the factory, who for some reason is the only one Landau treats with any kind of respect. He's even quite nice to her. And for someone who is usually pretty quick to throw just about anyone into the grinder, that's pretty unusual. I'm not quite sure what the purpose of this is. To show he has a heart? A bit late for that. Then there's also the weird couple in the cemetary, Caleb and Cleo. Cleo has a doll that she treats like a real child, but we never really find out why.

Hmmm...I doubt I'll ever watch this again, but at the same time I don't regret having seen it. A pretty terrible little oddity of a film.

The trailer...

The Corpse Grinders on imdb

Friday, 15 October 2010

Video of the day (Pagan Wanderer Lu - Chemicals Like You)

A while back Andy (Pagan Wanderer Lu) sent a twitter appeal for couples to star in his new video. I regret we didn't go now. The result is a really, really lovely video.

Pagan Wanderer Lu on myspace

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Video of the day (Japanther - Spread So Thin)

Unless something absolutely amazing is unveiled in the last couple of months of 2010, the latest Japanther album Rock n'Roll Ice Cream, looks set to grab my album of the year spot. I've listened to it an insane amount this year and it just keeps getting better.

Here's the new video for Spread So Thin, one of my favorite tracks on the record. The video is fun as well, in all its pixelated trippy glory. I really wish someone would play this song on a dance floor near me, but it seems unlikely. Maybe I'll have to do something about that.

Official Japanther website

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Another video of the day (Allo Darlin' – If Loneliness Was Art)

It's taken a while to complete, but here it finally is - my latest video for Allo Darlin'. This time it's for the song If Loneliness Was Art, the third single from the band's self-titled debut album.

The video was shot on Super-8 at various London locations over a couple of days in the summer.

You can download the song for free at the Fortuna POP website

Video of the day (Bobby Conn - Never Get Ahead)

I just bought tickets to see Bobby Conn at the Brixton Windmill on 27th November. This is going to be one hell of a show. Bobby is one of the best live performers I have ever seen and apparently he'll be playing his Rise Up! album in its entirety along with some new songs. He hasn't played in London for years and has been quiet in general since the release of his King For A Day album back in 2007.

The Slits guitarist and main songwriter Viv Albertine will be supporting.

I'm sure I've posted this video before, but it is pretty much the best video ever made.

There are still some tickets available from wegottickets! I strongly recommend you go and get yourself some!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Jonathan Richman live (Water Rats Theatre, 9th October 2010)

Water Rats on Saturday. It was packed. Jonathan threw an anti-air-conditioning hissy fit, so it was boiling hot. He played I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar. It was great. That's all.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Andrew Jackson Jihad live (The Gaff, 8th October 2010)

So I finally got to see Andrew Jackson Jihad play live. At The Gaff of all places! I've walked past this bar on Holloway Road a number of times and always thought it looked pretty damn horrible, but Friday's show was the first time I'd actually been inside. Surprisingly, it wasn't that bad. Just a normal rock bar.

I like going to gigs where you don't recognise a single person, especially when it's a band you love. It can get a bit boring seeing the same people everywhere you go and it's nice to know that we don't all listen to exactly the same music.

The band were absolutely great. It actually got quite rowdy in there, despite the band playing as a two-piece, with just an acoustic guitar and a double bass.

Here's a shaky video I shot on the night. Apologies for video/sound quality. The songs are Candle In The Wind (Ben's Song) and People.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Andrew Jackson Jihad

I've listened ALOT to these guys this year. They're playing at The Gaff on Holloway Road tomorrow night, so if you happen to be in London you should definitely try to catch them.

Andrew Jackson Jihad on myspace

Of Montreal live (Camden Koko, 6th October 2010)

I was a bit scared about going to see Of Montreal last night. I love them to bits, but the last show I saw left me quite disappointed. It was at Shepherd's Bush Empire last year (I think) and the sound was terrible...and it was really weird crowd...and not in a good 'Of Montreal weird' kind of way.

Anyway, last night was brilliant; definitely one of the best shows I've seen them do. The stage show was not as over-the-top insane as their last show at Koko a few years back, but compared with other 'indie' bands...well, there's no comparison really. Men in fish-with-gasmasks outfits, men in full-body spandex suits (wearing gas masks) etc was proper WTF show. The band were on good form, with Kevin swigging champagne from the bottle on stage and going into the crowd on multiple occasions. And they played a good mix of new and old songs (The Party's Crashing Us, She's A Rejecter, Heimdalsgate..., For our Elegant Caste, Coquet Coquette to name a few), which was nice since I haven't listened to False Priest yet. And the encore song was 'The Past Is A Grotesque Animal' in all its ten-minute glory. Just completely awesome.

As usual there was alot of 'photards' in the audience, so I'm sure the internet is full of terrible pictures from the show. I didn't bring my camera, but did take a couple of terrible blurry phone pictures myself. Yup.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

October is horror month!

October is horror month! Incidentally, since I started reading Nightmare:USA the past couple of months have pretty much been horror months anyway, but this is the official one, with Halloween coming up and everything.

Here far I've watched...

Dawn Of The Dead (George A. Romero / USA 1978)
Being a horror fan, I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I hadn't actually seen this before. I'd seen the re-make (and I liked it) and I'm not quite sure why I never got round to watching the original. I guess, with all its hype as THE zombie movie I just always expected to be disappointed. In the end I wasn't. Dawn of The Dead is amazing in every way. It looks great...extremely bleak and violent, but also funny at the same time. This must have been a dream-come-true for effects wizard Tom Savini and he does a fantastic job. There's not much point in going into detail, since most people will have seen this. Zombies are taking over the world, biting everything they can get hold of, thus infecting more and more people and creating more and more zombies. Our small group of heroes/survivors take refuge in a shopping mall and try to figure out how to beat the increasing hordes of living dead. 5 out of 5.

Shivers (David Cronenberg / Canada 1975)
David Cronenberg is (or was anyway...since he has gone a bit straight in recent years) a weird one and Shivers is a strange film indeed. An already sleazy doctor has developed some sort of parasite with medical benefits. The original intentions were probably reasonably noble, but something goes wrong and the people infected with the parasite develops strong violent and sexual urges (this is an early Cronenberg film after all). It all takes place on Starliner Island, a custom-built luxury apartment complex for wealthy people. They then turn into sex-crazed and bloodthirsty zombies. Yes. That's all. Just great. 5 out of 5.

Sleepaway Camp (Robert Hiltzik / USA 1983)
The makers of Sleepaway Camp seem determined to call it ground-breaking, especially by referring to the surprise ending and the fact that it doesn't rely on gory effects to achieve it's chills. But, when it comes down to it, the ending is really the only interesting bit and I imagine the true reason behind the relatively blood-free killings is because they couldn't afford the effects. Anyway, it's the old kids at summer camp thing. A weird young girl and her cocky male cousin goes off to camp. Soon someone starts killing off the councellors/staff one by one. Who dunnit? Add some surreal back-story about parents dying and an insane aunt with some twisted gender issues and you're pretty much there. It's not great, not even particularly good. And the "surprise ending". Well, I guess I'd recommend you see it just for the "huh? What the fuck! Why?" experience. 2 out of 5.

Black Christmas (Bob Clark / USA 1974)
Another classic that I hadn't seen before, Bob Clark's yuletide horror often claims to be the first stalk n'slash horror movie using subjective point-of-view of the killer, here used exclusively throught the film. It certainly doesn't feel like an indie film. It's very professionally made. Thi sdoesn't stop it from being very creepy at times, though. Coming from Clark this is a little bit surprising, seeing as he is most known for being the "brain" behind Porky's and Porky's 2. Anyway, it's Christmas time. A prank caller is harassing a sorority house with obscene phone calls. At the same time, the girls of the house start disappearing. Since they're all about to go home for Christmas anyway, this causes a bit of confusion until everyone realises that the prank caller is also a crazy killer. But who is it? Whooooooo? Is it the crazy piano-playing boyfriend with anger issues? Hmmmm. Definitely worth a watch. 4 out of 5.

The Crazies (George A. Romero / USA 1973)
Geez. I thought Romero's Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead were bleak. Then I watched The Crazies. Through some mishap, an extremely contagious virus called Trixie(intended to be used as bio-chemical weapon) is released in a small town. The symptoms of getting infected by Trixie? – well, either you die or you go crazy. The army is called in and suddenly the whole town find themselves being rounded up by soldiers in white jumpsuits and gas masks and horded into the local high school at gun-point. One small group of people manage to escape and try to figure out what the hell is going on. The men in white jumpsuits are having none of it. All "crazies" must be detained or shot on sight. Meanwhile, the government is planning to drop a nuclear bomb on the town in order to "take care of the problem" and contain Trixie. Eek. As usual with Romero this is very straight in your face, with emphasis on the realistic rather than the fantastic. There are no over-the-top gory special effects, just a gazillion blood squibs for all the deaths by gunshot. The acting is a bit iffy at times, but this is still a truly disturbing and brilliant film. 5 out of 5.

Gig Flashback - Matt & Kim (Camden Barfly, 9th November 2007)

The Barfly is a terrible venue, but it still holds many fond gig memories for me. It was there I saw Jeffrey Lewis for the first time (supporting Quasi and with Franic and Dave from the Wave Pictures as his backing band). I've seen The Thermals there, as well as Bergman Rock and also Matt and Kim. Which brings me to this post - Matt and Kim at Barfly on 9th November 2007. They were supported by Yeasayer, who as a result of not being very good has now gone on to much bigger things. Matt and Kim, despite being completely awesome in every possible way, has since gone on to only slightly bigger things.

I have seen Matt and Kim at least four times now and they have never been less than amazing. I've always left their shows with a big grin on my face, with my belief in live music fully restored. They're doing pretty well at the moment and they truly deserve all the success in the world...I just hope they manage to keep up their relentless energy and positive attitude.

Anyway, some photos from the night....

Matt and Kim's official website.

They have a new album coming out this year, which is pretty damn exciting. I haven't heard any of the songs yet, but it will most defintely be in the top-10 albums of the year. Otherwise, I will be extremely disappointed.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Tiger Tape interview!

Tiger Tape used to be called Moofish Catfish. I must say I love their old name, but as long as they keep making music, they can use whatever name they want. Tiger Tape's first album, I Woke Up In Hökarängen, is a strong contender for my album of the year...more on that when it's time for that inevitable 'albums of the year' post.

I sent the band a message a while back asking if they wanted to answer some questions, and last night they got back to me. As usual, nothing apart from spelling mistakes have been edited.

So, first. Who's answering the questions? Who are Tiger Tape? Who does what and what do you all do when you're not playing music?
It´s me, Agnes, who is answering the questions, but I would defenetly say that Tiger Tape is all four of us. Tiger Tape is kind of what happens when we meet. The band started on my initiative and I am the one writing the songs but still, they wouldn't be Tiger Tape-songs if all four of us wasn't arranging and playing them together. Wågis is, first of all, a genius and the one holding the songs together with the drumming. She is also a chef. Emilia is a note-fascist in contradiction to everyone else and she is also the shortest person in the band and she is studying to be a teacher. Kristina is bass ace and she can speak English really well, during daytime she takes care of kids. And me, ehm, I see myself as the “manager” of the band because I have to do all the dull stuff, like answering mails (not like this one because this is fun!) I´m no instrumental genious but I belive I know how to write a good song and that's better. When I don´t play music I hang out on Facebook.

I absolutely adore Moofish Catfish, both the name and the music. Why did you feel the need to change band name? How/why did you decide on Tiger Tape?
Moofish Catfish wasn't meant to last forever. I can't really say why but we had to kill it. I think the main reason for the change of band name was my need to put things behind me. We had to move on and it was the easiest way to do that without quitting playing together. Tiger Tape (like Moofish Catfish) doesn't mean anything and I already forgot why I chose it, but I like it! .

Moofish Catfish playing at The Buffalo Bar at some point last year

On the record and on your badges there's a full stop after the band name, but on myspace and and things there's none. What's the deal with the full stop? Is 'Tiger Tape.' or 'Tiger Tape' the correct way of writing the name?
Haha, Thats a good question. We have chosen to write Tiger Tape. with a full stop only when we use the “logotype” because it looks good. But when we just write it down we don't use the full stop because it looks weird. You can actually choose for yourself.

How would you describe the music of Tiger Tape? Is there a difference and if so, what is the main difference between Tiger Tape and Moofish? Do you still play Moofish songs live?
I would describe the music of both Tiger Tape and Moofish Catfish as something straight from the heart. We don't talk that much about what sound we want to create, it just happens because it´s the sound of the feeling that I want to express. Kind of desperate in a way and more feeling than perfection.

There is a difference between MC and TT but the difference is not really there because of the change of band name but more because now we have played together for a long time wich results in a certain evolvement. I think the diffrence between “On a sunbeam to your heart” and “Yours to share” is just as big, to be honest. Our next album will probably also be kind of different from our last. There's no point in doing the same thing over and over again, I think.

We do play MC-songs live, yes.

How do you make the songs? Is it a collaborative effort or is there a main songwriter?
I write all the songs. That was the deal from the beginning and it also happens naturally that way. Usually I sit on my bed at home and composing a sad (or happy) little song and at the next band rehersal I play it to the others. They don't look excited, but they are. And then we start to build something from there all together. I don't tell the others what to play. Everyone use their instruments how they like as long as it sounds good.

What are the pros/cons of being an all-girl indie band? Do you feel people treat you differently because you're all girls?
I play in another band as well were we are to guys and two girls and I have to say that it's not really a difference at all. At least not if you're at the level that we are (the small Indieband level). And I have no experience from being in a all-boy indie band so I can't compare. But maybe they have more girls wanting to make out with them after the shows. We only have a few.

Some random questions...any local bands you think I should be aware of?

At first I was like: this is easy and then I realised I don´t really listen to local bands so I will Hijack your question and change it to: Top five bands ever (this week)?

Comet Gain
Rough Bunnies
Best Coast
Broder Daniel

What was the first concert you ever went to?
I don't really have a memory of my first concert experience. I think it might have been some local band in Lindesberg were I grew up.

What was the last concert you went to (not as a friend or as part of the bill)?
Haha, actually nowadays it feels like I ONLY go to concerts were I play myself or were some friend is playing. Im so boring. It might have been Adam Green or the Pastels. I wanted to go see Best Coast but something upheld me. Recently a friend of mine has become obssesed with black metal so maybe I'll join her some day to see insane people pouring blood all over the stage. But first I´m gonna see Television Personalities next saturday. I look forward to it even though I was dissapointed the last time I saw them live.

The new record has a Swedish song on it, Skanstull. Any particular reason you decided to do this song in Swedish? Any plans to do more songs in Swedish or was this a one-off?Actually, Skanstull was at first meant to be played in another band wich I play with. But then I changed my mind and made it a Tiger Tape-song but I didn't rewrite the lyrics because I really liked it and I thought, why not have a song in Swedish? And I still think, why not? I really like writing in Swedish so if I was to predict the future I would predict that more songs will be in Swedish.

Sweden is seen by some as a sort of spiritual home of indiepop and there's been a lot of Swedish indiepop band coming and going over the past years. Why do you think makes Sweden such a good breeding ground for pop music? How do you feel about it? Is Sweden a good place for making the kind of music you're making?
I usually don't pretend to know much about this because I don't. But I guess it could depend on the weather. Most part of the year it so horrible and cold that all you want to do is to sit in a basement playing music. Also Sweden is a relativly wealthy country wich means that there are a lot of spoiled kids out there whose parents could afford to buy them instruments when they were kids. I could also blame the “Public School of Music” (kommunala musikskolan) wich encourage a lot of kids to start playing an instrument at a young age. And I guess that the indiepop genre suits the swedish mentality in a quite good way. I don't think I can answer the question in a better way. It's so many things collaborating when a certain culture is created. I guess Sweden has the right ingredients to make an interesting music scene which seem to be appreciated in other places as well.

I think Sweden is an ok place for our kind of music. I think some people have a hard time categorising us and they get confused. But I guess that happens everywhere. We even have trouble with that ourselves.

What are your thoughts on "illegal downloading" of music? One of the Moofish albums was available for free download and was even called 'Yours To Share' so I expect you're not viciously opposed to it?
We are not opposed to it, no. I think that buying an album can be a really nice way to support an artist or band that you like. But I also think that music should be available for everyone to listen to even if you can't afford to buy it. Making “Yours To Share” available for free was a way for us to make people listen to it, it wasn't really a statement even though I don't mind if people think so. Our last album is not available for free download but if people share it anyway “illegally” I would only be happy because it means they like it. We don't play music to make money obviously, but if people want to support us by by buying cd's or bags or even pins it means a lot to us.

What does the future hold for Tiger Tape? Any major plans?
We always have, yes. We are in the process of making new material right now and we are really excited about it. So Tiger Tape will keep playing and we hope to release something within a year or so and we also hope that we will do a bit of touring in both the UK and other parts of Europe in a future not to far away.

Big thanks to Agnes for answering my questions!

Tiger Tape on myspace

Tiger Tape on bandcamp

Tigercats, Allo Darlin' and Magic Kids!

Some gig and post-gig photos from the Tigercats/Allo Darlin'/Magic Kids show at Barfly last Friday!