Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Apologies, I Have None




Apologies, I Have None is an upbeat, punk-influenced four piece from London who have been with Resident Studios since 2009.
Starting off as a two piece drums and guitar band in 2007, with Dan Bond and Josh Mckenzie, they later expanded the line up by adding PJ Shepherd on bass and Joe Watson on drums in 2009.
To date they have played to scores of people, gaining popularity in their native England and a strong following in continental Europe.
In March 2011, Apologies I Have None were featured on BBC Radio 1's "The Punk Show with Mike Davies". The show featured several tracks recorded in session at the BBC's Maida Vale studios in London, and an interview with Mike Davies.
Look out for the new album which was recorded over May and June 2011 and which will likely be released in 2012.
Check them out here:
http://apologiesihavenone.co.uk/

Friday, October 14, 2011

Duty Bound Hound - as featured on mahala.co.za


Duty Bound Hound
Passion. It is ultimately what drives most humans. From hedonism to nihilism, our passions guide and dictate the world around us. I have a passion and its beautiful naked punk rock, goth and emo girls with tattoos and piercings and it’s my job – no, my duty – to find out more. The first stop on my journey led me to suicidegirls.com.
The Suicide Girls began in 2001 in the North Western United States as a project of passion with a core goal – to celebrate the diverse and beautiful real women of our world, women who are smart, enthusiastic and are unapologetic about their approach to alternative culture and sexuality. In a few short years its soft core pin-up images have become a global phenomenon, being featured in everything from music videos to CNN. It would seem that mainstream culture can’t keep their grubby paws off these vixens.
Which brings us to another interesting fact : the average log on time on the website is 4 minutes, which strangely is the same amount of time that it takes the average man to jack off. Co-incidence? I think not.
Diaz Suicide
It must be said that my heart pretty much stopped when I discovered that I was on the roster to interview Diaz Suicide – South Africa’s first representative to the global Suicide Girls phenomenon. This is my chance – a Goddess given opportunity not only to meet an object of global desire but to also to drink copious amounts of tequila with her (and perhaps lure her back to my place for a “cultural exchange” of sorts).
To be perfectly honest, this will not be our first encounter. Diaz and I have crossed paths before. I remember the evening well – picture a hot sweaty club in the heart of Jozi, thumping to the voodoo vibes of Submachine (www.myspace.com/putthevoodooback), from the stage I watch the dance floor pulse and twist in what I imagine a hurricane would build momentum. There right in the middle of the chaos was a small, unusually attractive girl. Now in most mosh-pits, a girl like that would have been swallowed whole but she stayed afloat with an almost Zen like calm. It was as if the dance floor was moving just for her, like puppets or the tools of an expert juggler.
I took a mental snap shot – she need a little more “investigation”.
We met again at the Rockford Indie Fest where the newly recruited Suicide Girls were strutting their stuff and then again on the set of Juggernaught’s “My Daddy’s Land” music video shoot. It became obvious that music and the night life were high on her agenda.
Spank you very much
So I manage to persuade the good folk at Mahala that they need an interview series with all the South African Suicide Girls. And I would be the best person to conduct these interviews. It’s a thankless task, drinking tequila with Goddesses and wantonly pursuing them for my own ulterior genetic imperatives and journalistic credibility but it all makes for good story!
The first thing I noticed while chatting to Diaz is her focus. When answering questions she barely deviates from eye contact. Her hazel eyes are piercing and sultry and bring forth thoughts that my mother would disown me for.
Her voice is clear and confidant. She feels no shame and her photo sets are testament to that. She has the classic pin up figure and occupies the camera frame with intimacy and grace.
I decide to start with the cheesy opening question and try not to stare down her shirt.
“What does the ethos behind Suicide Girls mean to You?”
“Coming from a fashion industry background I know how much pressure the media puts on young women in our society to be ‘skinnier’ ‘taller’ ‘blonder’. This idea of perfection that is unattainable for most people is such an unhealthy, unrealistic model. When I first saw SG I saw these strong, sexy, unashamed women who looked different, they look like the girl you see at a bar or the girl who was your neighbor growing up and she was proud of the way she looked – I knew right away I had to be a part of that.”
“Uh, what made you decide to start ‘modeling’?” (The thought of sexy unashamed woman sends a drop of sweat running down my back.)
“I never wanted to be a model; I wanted to be a Suicide Girl.”
“Ugh! What is your favorite Saturday night record?” (Here we go, baby…)
“Hmm… That is a tough one. I love a really wide variety of music. I’d say internationally I love to party to Rage Against the Machine, Locally there is nothing like the Vendetta Cartel to get the party going!”
Does my bum look big in this?
“What is your favorite Sunday morning record?” (My mind races with thoughts of Diaz in an over sized shirt, lounging around a soft couch, her tattooed skin peaking through as she wriggles for comfort – I swallow another tequila)
“Again, it changes depending on my mood. Today, I will say Porcupine Tree.”
“Are you involved with any, uh, other artistic projects?” (I stammer, sweat and tequila running down my face)
“Well I am featuring in a burlesque performance by Ella Fiend at the D-Tour Girls launch. That is really it for now, I am leaving the country very soon so I can’t really take on new projects.”
“What keeps you coming back to suicidegirls.com?”
“BOOBS! No, kidding. Really it is such a great social network aside from all the hot ladies. The groups are vast and wide and you are sure to find a group dedicated to what ever your interests are (no matter how macabre) where you will find other people from all over the world who share the same passions as you.”
“How does it feel to be a sex symbol?” (or should I say how does a sex symbol feel?)
Hahaha, I don’t really think of myself that way.
“We sure do. Do you make friends easily or have you made any enemies on your path of hotness?”
“I am pretty social and I tend to make friends easily. Enemies? Not so much, I don’t really care enough about people I may have fallen out with to consider them enemies. They would just be people I don’t spend my time with anymore.”
“Outside of suicidegirls.com, what are your other passions?”
Tattoos!!! (I am getting a new one next week by Ryan Bolton from Spooky Tattoonz, verrry excited).
She pauses.
“Travel – I want to see as much of the world as I possibly can. I have a real hunger for travel.”
Again.
“Dogs, I can’t wait to settle down in Israel and get a dog. Either a Pug or a Pekinese.”
Nibbles on her pinky finger tip for a second.
“Music, I can’t think of a better way to spend my time than watching a great live band. Then there’s Family and friends of course, I couldn’t live without them.”
Reads him like a book
OK. “Do you have any highlights/lowlights with suicidegirls.com?”
Lots of highlights, getting to be in Juggernaught music video was lots of fun. Working with Slashdogs at Red Carpet was awesome. Meeting the other SG’s and the lovely Talamia who have all become really important in my life. Getting another shoot purchased last week was great. Lots and lots of highlights.”
She pauses sucks the lemon rind atop her empty tequila shooter glass. “Lowlights, it is always hard when your shoots don’t get purchased (I have had three that weren’t) but you have to harden up and not take it personally.
There is only one new set a day, so its 365 a year. With over 2000 Suicide Girls and countless hopefuls it is getting harder and harder to get one of those slots.”
“Did anything “strange” ever happen to you because of your association with SG?”
“Not really, I mean of course you get the creepy messages but that is normal.”
“Is there a common theme with your photosets?”
“Me!!! hahaha. I am the only thing that is a common theme. I try to shake it up and make each one unique.”
“Do you have any advice for girls wanting to follow in your footsteps?”
“Get a membership on the site, even if it is just for a month. Check it out, feel your way around. A lot of girls say to me they want to be a SG but they don’t really know what that means.”
And with that the Jozi skies open and our conversation is cut short as we run for cover. Now how do I get her out of those we clothes?
Images © and courtesy, James Adey, Andrew Banister, Jacqui Van Staden, Alison Tu

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The quiet before Storm Awesome!!!


There was a wild monkey-like scream. Right below me a surging mass of sweat and tattoos begins to part and reveals a sinewy beast in it’s epicenter. He screamed again and then proceeded to beat three colours of shit out of a floor tom. I can remember the sharp taste of electricity and blood. Storm “Awesome” Thomas is not your average drummer.

“I believe one of the important things in life is to be open minded and have a wide perception,” he tells me in a recent internet conversation. “Funny enough, I remember sitting in my garage behind my drum kit about 10 years ago. We were having band practice and things seemed so different back then. Since that point I have played with so many bands, so many people and done so many shows.”
He’s been known to be one of the hardest working musicians in South Africa, once playing  7 shows in 3 days. “There have been late nights, fatigue and doubts, but when I look back on this road that I have traveled there isn't a thing that I would change. I feel fortunate and blessed that through hard work and perseverance, I finally got out of the garage.”
Persistence is the key, listening to the inner critic and learning not only from your influences but from yourself. In Storm’s words “Even when your mind says stop, never let your heart hear it.”
When it comes to keeping his skills in check he is not afraid to stretch into other styles and genres. “I am fortunate in the sense that I listen to a lot of different music and so when I approach a piece of music or my practice routine, I can approach it with an open mind and its good for building muscle memory by always challenging yourself with things you would normally never play. My drumming influences are mainly drummers who maintain a strong groove, play for the song, keep things original and fresh, portray their energy and feeling into what they are playing and are generally good guys that work hard.”
“I have been self taught for the most part of my drumming career. When I was 14 I learn't the basic 4/4 beat on a bongo drum. Two years later I moved onto the drum kit and watched endless concerts of my favorite bands on VHS. I studied the drummers I saw and learn't my instrument. It was only until this year that I enrolled in Georg Voros School of Drumming. I do feel that it made me a better player because I got to find my style first and now at this point in time, I am perfecting my style and with that, learning more in depth about my craft from an outside source.”
When it comes to his gear it seems that it’s the bigger the better. “I have always had a weakness for big drumkits. I also love a lot of percussion built into a kit. Timbales, roto-drums and a gong!!!”
And your closing message to all the young drummers out there?

“This music thing is hard and heavy at times and there will be days when you want to give it all up. On those days, that is when you have to work at it a little harder. This life ain't easy but it can rewarding if we work hard and persevere. And remember that in everything you do, you are Awesome!!!!”

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Press RElease


Back on Vinyl and Right with God Vinyl Re-issues of Three Blues Explosion Classics Available NOW!!!
OrangeExtra Width, and Now I Got Worry in their Purest Form!




The is Blues is still No. 1!!!
Due to popular demand, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's Holy Trinity of avant-punk and revolutionary, gut-busting grooves are available once again in their original vinyl formats — spectacularly re-mastered and and sounding tougher than ever.
These are the records that made the Blues Explosion's bones as the kings of damaged and dangerous rock'n'roll!
Featuring the hits "Afro," "Bellbottoms," "Wail" and "Two Kinds of Love," these three slabs tore through the earnest ennui of 1990s alt-rock shlubbery with their razor-blade riffs and dirty delta revelations and made the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion the hottest band on the planet! Dig it…
EXTRA WIDTH 
Even if you had been tuned into the Blues Explosion's first jagged, high-energy outings, there was nothing that could have prepared you for Extra Width…. "Afro" was the beginning of the revolution, the first truly indelible song by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and anyone looking for meaning in the lyrics is just asking for a sonic cock-tease of Deep Throat meets Raw Power proportions…. This is rock'n'roll so primal that it obviates the need for literate touchstones.
ORANGE 
The Blues Explosion's acknowledged masterpiece, a primer in the art of being flashy without being gaudy —The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion took that old time religion and hit it with high-powered microwaves. They cooked the blues from the inside out, radiating that shit until you had to clean it off the walls.
NOW I GOT WORRY
Given the long shadow of Orange, it is no wonder that it took a moment for Worry to find its way into the canon, but these days it rates as many fans' favorite Blues Explosion record, putting into sharp relief the two sides of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion — the immediacy of their show, the fireball-throwing soul revue that helped make them the most feared band on the scene — and Spencer the meticulous artist who pays attention to every detail in crafting astonishingly complex and very personal records.
Friends, this is the real shit. Genuine rock'n'roll record albums, big enough to clean your stash on! Each one is twelve big inches of hot, shiny black vinyl, and guaranteed to get the party started! Get with Side A.. and then flip it over and dig Side B! That ain't retro, baby, that is bona fide! You can watch the needle in the groove… you can actually see the magic!
Says Mr. Jon Spencer: "This is the way these records were intended to be heard. This is the way God wants them."

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Album Review - Rambling Bones & His Bloody Agents

Far removed from Fuzigish, South African underground legend Bones is back with his second solo album but this time he is not alone - he’s brought his Bloody Agents with. Filled with charisma and the sweat of a thousand club gigs, the latest release showcases his unique talent for songwriting.


This album seems to be a little more reflective than the first installation with the lyrics weaving in and out of colourful metaphors. The recording itself is masterfully stripped down and reflective of Bones’ live aesthetic, no fancy studio tricks here but a definite step up from the bare basics production of the EP “Live with Rusty”. Kudos must go to recording engineer Stevie G for very tasteful production. 

Stand out tracks include “Crystal Ball”, “Baboon Moon Rising” and the highly addictive “When I’m with You”.

Review : Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones

Since his split from post hardcore band Million Dead in 2005, Frank Turner has become one of the hardest workers in the music industry. His songs are infectious folk/punk sing alongs that have sparked the interest of mainstream audiences all over the world. He has toured extensively, playing gigs in venues as small as peoples bedrooms and as large as some of the world’s most prestigious festivals, supporting acts like Green Day and Flogging Molly. 

England Keep My Bones is his fourth full studio album to be released by Epitaph and could very well be the best one yet. Although the production seems a little dry at times, it contains some of his best song writing to date. The acoustic guitar is his weapon and his lyrics aim for your heart. With a tip of the hat to Dylan and Springsteen, Frank Turner delivers a truly memorable album that is modern and yet traditional and very nostalgic.

"I can't wait to get this record out there," Frank explains. "The new songs have been going down really well live, but I think that when people hear the studio versions they're going to go nuts. I really think it's the strongest set of material I've had on one record."

Stand out tracks include the single “Peggy Sue Sang The Blues” and the uplifting “I Still Believe”. Turner will be touring extensively in the spring in summer, with dates in Europe, Canada, the US and Australia.