Sunday, 22 April 2012

Hysteria - Ceremony UK tour 2012

Hooked up with Ceremony for their UK tour last month, it was great to see them play every night, and even greater to see how well audience after audience received the new Zoo material. The show at XOYO in London was savage, the equipment gave out three quarters of the way through. Manchester was too good, it was a blast to show the guys round my home city. The final show of the tour, in Leeds, was ridiculous. The venue looked like a bar / restaurant or something and descended into complete chaos. Kudos to the dude who broke his shoulder from going at it so hard.

Thanks to Jake, Anthony, Andy, Ross, Ben, the Eagulls boys, Robbie, Stuart and Natalie from Matador, as well as the Rohnert Park crew who came over. Here are some photos..

Sgt Pepper's & Zoo
Caught in the headlights
Vs Wagamama
Rough Trade
Moho / Manchester
Sinclair's Oyster Bar
We visited Morrissey's old house
Adam & Nathan
- Josh

Monday, 16 April 2012

Dark Times

Dark Times are a Scandinavian punk group playing out of Oslo. The sound of their self titled cassette jumps and jitters around a select group of 80's and onwards hard hitting punk bellwethers. They manage to avoid stringing themselves to one cohesive sonic vision - which, admittedly, isn't always the best path for a band to take, as less indoctrinated listeners often like togetherness and relatability. It works charmingly for this group though.

Dark Times swing through heavy Big Black stratums, cruising angularly into squeals of Jesus Lizard riffing and on into well-hewn Grrl-style territories. The female lead singer bleats and blasts along almost independently - as if cleaved from the maelstrom behind her. Everything sounds quintessentially lo-fi except for her sweet vocal ringing that acts almost like a crown of light against the rough and tumble of half broken guitars fighting it out with half broken amplifiers.

 Her voice is also interesting in another respect; in that she sings almost pitch perfectly similar to the lead vocalist of Sweden's Burning Kitchen. If it turns out to be the same woman, well, I wouldn't be surprised. If anyone can shed light on this, please feel free to.

There is a strong noise factor to Dark Times, that's constantly in battle with the less demanding essential qualities of Bikini Kill or a battery acid version of Plastiscines. You can hear the two strains collide on the second track "Talk Too Much". A peppy riff somehow manages to keep itself in formation to produce perhaps the lightest minutes of the cassette, when all the while it feels as if you're only a tuning or so away from a total freeform pig-fuck. Parts of the record lumbers along in that half-drag Flipper state, if Flipper didn't view the art of simpler song writing as tantamount to treason.

Give this a listen, I'm almost as excited about this group as I am about what Shoppers are doing right now. Download

 - Josh