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I contributed to this Top 40 Music Books anthology published recently by The Quietus. My choice was David Bowman’s remarkable book on Talking Heads:

http://thequietus.com/articles/24830-top-40-best-books-about-music

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This is a link to a piece I’ve recently contributed to issue two of the excellent multi-media zine “Secret Cave”. It contains the germ of an idea for a novel that I’m currently experimenting with. Stay tuned for more details

http://secretcave.co/contusions-greying-culture-vulture/

 

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Best of 2017

Best of 2017

Books

Harley Flanagan: “Hard-Core: Life of My Own”, John Berger: “Art and Revolution”, Jack Olsen: “Last Man Standing: The Tragedy and Triumph of Geronimo Pratt”, Cosey Fanni Tutti: “Art Sex Music”, Edmund Gordon: “The Invention of Angela Carter”, Dave Sherry: Russia 1917: Worker’s Power and the Festival of the Oppressed”, Tim Sanders and John Newsinger: “1917: Russia’s Red Year”, Dave Randall: “Sound System”, Manning Marable: “Malcom X: A Life of Reinvention”, John Molyneux: “Lenin For Today”, Erdmut Wizisla: “Benjamin and Brecht: The Story of a Friendship”, Victoria Lomasko: “Other Russias”, Tony Cliff: “Trotsky 1879-1917 – Volume One: Towards October”, “Trotsky 1917 – 1923 Volume Two – The Sword of the Revolution”, “Trotsky 1923 – 1927 Volume Three – Fighting the Rising Stalinist Bureaucracy”,  George Paizis: “Michel Martinet: Poet of the Revolution”, Adelle Stripe: “Black Teeth and A Brilliant Smile”, Tom Mills: “The BBC: Myth of a Public Service”, Ryszard Kapuscinski: “Nobody Leaves”, Paul Foot: “Red Shelley”, Holly George Warren: “A Man Called Destruction – The Life and Times of Alex Chilton from the Box Tops to Big Star to Back Door Man”, John Newsinger: “Fighting Back: The American Working Class in the 1930s”,

Exhibitions

“Revolution: Russian Art 1917 – 1932” at the Royal Academy, London

COUM Transmissions at the Humber Street Gallery, Hull

“Boom For Real: Jean-Michel Basquiat” at The Barbican, London

Films (DVD)

“Vivre Sa Vie” (Godard), “Comrades” (Douglas), “Hara Kiri” (Kobayashi), “De Palma” documentary (Baumbach), “Larks on A String” (Menzel), “Hard Times” (Hill), “Peppermint Soda” (Kurys), “Mouchette”, (Bresson), “Love Is Colder Than Death”, Katzelmacher”, “Gods of the Plague”, “The American Soldier”, “The Niklashausen Journey” (Fassbinder), “Secret Defense” (Rivette), “A Touch of Zen” (Hu), “Alice” (Svankmajer)

Gigs

Guttersnipe/Ragana/SBSM at Wharf Chambers, 2nd June, Leeds, Acid Mothers Temple at The Crescent, 24th October, York, Algiers at the Brudenell Social Club, 27th November, Leeds.

Music (New)

Power Trip: “Nightmare Logic”, Thundercat: “Drunk”, The Clientele: “Music For the Age of Miracles”, Unearthly Trance: “Stalking the Ghost”, Children of Alice: “S/T”, David Bowie: “No Plan” EP, The Obsessed: “Sacred”, “Arcadea: “S/T”, Anohni: “Paradise” EP, Pharmakon, “Contact”, Mastodon: “Emperor of Sand”, Pyrrhon: “Running Out of Skin, “What Passes for Survival”, Royal Trux: “Platinum Tips and Ice Cream”, Beastmaker: “Inside the Skull”, Chelsea Wolfe: “Hiss Spun”, Circle: “Terminal”, Laibach: “Also Sprach Zarathustra”, EMA: “Exile in the Outer Ring”, Zola Jesus: “Okovi”, Inter Arma: “Paradise Gallows”, Primitive Man: “Caustic”, St Vincent: “Masseduction”, Ryan Adams: “Prisoner”, Bell Witch: “Mirror Reaper”, Electric Wizard: “Wizard Bloody Wizard”, Angel Olsen: “Phases”,

Music (Old)

Erase Errata: “Lost Weekend” EP, Lifetones: “To A Reason”, The Lord Weird Slough Feg: “Down Among the Dead Men”, The Plasmatics: “Coup D’Etat”, Graeme Miller & Steve Shill: “The Moomins”, Buzzoven: …”At A Loss”, Music Blues: “Things Haven’t Gone Well”, Yoko Ono: “Fly”, Cloud Rat: “Discography 2010 – 2015”, Celtic Frost, “Morbid Tales”, “To Mega Therion”, “Into the Pandemonium”, Voivod: “RRROOOAAARRR!”, “Killing Technology”, “Dimension Hatross”, DAF: Das Ist DAF”, Flying Lotus: “You’re Dead!”, Alex Chilton: “The Complete 1970 Sessions”, A Certain Ratio: “The Graveyard and the Ballroom”, “To Each…”, Miles Davis: “Get Up With It”, Mahavishnu Orchestra: “The Lost Trident Sessions”,

RIP

John Berger, Jaki Liebezeit, Overend Watts, John Hurt, Emmanuelle Riva, John Wetton, Dick Bruna,  Bill Paxton, Hideo Ikeezumi, Raymond Kopa, Maggie Roche, Derek Walcott, Chuck Berry, Colin Dexter, David Storey, Elyse Steinman, Darcus Howe, Leo Baxendale, Kevin Garcia, Chris Cornell, Gregg Allman, Anita Pallenberg, John Avildsen, Barry Norman, George Romero, Martin Landau, John Heard, Sam Shepherd, Jeanne Moreau, William Hjortsberg, Robert Hardy, Hywel Bennett, Glen Campbell, Dave Gibson, Liz McKean, Brian Aldiss, Gustav Metzger, Tobe Hooper, Walter Becker, Holger Czukay, Grant Hart, Frank Vincent, Harry Dean Stanton, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Anne Wiazemsky, Sean Hughes, Martin Eric Ain, Chuck Mosley, Malcolm Young, Jana Novotna.

 

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“EP” by Cuntroaches (cassette)

2017 has been a year of years for underground/experimental music. Seriously, it has been amazing. But I wanted to go back to a release that has been one of my constants throughout the year, the second cassette “EP” release by Cuntroaches. These wonderful denizens of Berlin unleashed this sharp jab of tape early this year, and it is a true marvel. Now, it has become common currency in extreme music to use the term ‘brutal’ to describe what you are listening to, and with more than enough actual brutality taking place in our flyblown world, I will leave that word alone for this review. What Cuntroaches have brought forth on this tape are slices of raw, unadulterated, beatified noise. “Fraud” scared the living devil out of me with its rough-hewn bass blasts from Suckles and Martina’s shattered vocals tailing out in drenching hails of feedback. Love it. The skull-popping drag of “Short Fuse” dials down the tempo but ratchets the tension, Martina’s flaying vocals still whipping through your nerve endings all the while. Drummer relentlessness is always something I can throw my full support behind, and the blessed Claire obliges repeatedly. The eruptive “Pig Woman” swings in blissful derangement, grinding away incisor-like. Sweet surrender never sounded so good. There are almost no words for the raging solar force at work on the climactic one-two shots of “Shit Show” and “Road Trip” suffice to say that after the 16 minutes and 34 seconds of this wholly righteous cassette have elapsed, you and your hearing will never be the same. That isn’t just hyperbole, that is just a fact of life.

http://cuntroaches.tumblr.com/

https://cuntroaches.bandcamp.com/

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Best of 2016

Books

“Militant Modernism” and “Uncommon” by Owen Hatherley, “The Devils Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and the Rise of America’s Secret Government” by David Talbot, Kate Evans: “Red Rosa”, “Trotskyism” by Alex Callinicos, “The Paris Commune: A Revolution in Democracy” by Donny Gluckstein, “Stone Male: Requiem for the Living Picture” by Joe Carducci, “1956: A World in Revolt” by Simon Hall, “Showa: 1926 to 1939” by Shigeru Mizuki, Vladimir Mayakovsky: “Volodya: Selected Works” (ed. Rosy Carrick), “Mayakovsky: A Biography” by Bengt Jangfeldt, “1966: The Year The Decade Exploded” by Jon Savage, “Lenin 1917 to 1923: The Revolution Besieged” by Tony Cliff, “Jubilee Hitchhiker: The Life and Times of Richard Brautigan” by William Hjortsberg, “Critical Lives-Lenin” by Lars Lih, “Critical Lives – Alfred Jarry” by Jill Fell,

Exhibitions

“The Beholder’s Share” by Hwyl Nofio, “Night Moves” by Adam Keay at Spelman’s Bookshop.

Films (Cinema)

“The Black Panthers’ Vanguard of the Revolution”, “The Neon Demon”, “Hard Stop”, “The Confession: Living the War on Terror”, “Jason Bourne”, “I, Daniel Blake”,

Films (DVDs)

Jacques Rivette: “Out:1”, “Love on The Ground”, “Gang of Four”, “Histoire de Marie et Julien”, “Le Pont du Nord”, “Paris Nous Appartient”, Abel Ferrara: “Pasolini”, Agnes Varda: L’Une Chant, L’Autre Pas”, Alan Clarke: “Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC”, Kevin Brownlow & Andrew Mollo: “Winstanley”, Georges Franju: “Judex”, “Nuits Rouges”, Miklos Jancso: “Elektra, My Love”, Dziga Vertov: “Man with the Movie Camera”,

Gigs

Stand Up to Racism gig at the Crescent, York, February: Algiers at Headrow House, Leeds, 27th April, Common Eider King Eider/Gabriel Salomon/Earth Eater at Café Oto, London, 25th June,

Music (Old and New)

David Bowie: “Blackstar”, Savages: “Adore Life”, Tindersticks: “The Waiting Room”, Bernard Szajner: “Some Deaths Takes Forever”, Laddio Bolocko: “The Life and Times of Laddio Bolocko”, Deux Filles: “Silence & Wisdom”/” Double Happiness”, Steve Mason: “Meet the Humans”, Jenny Hval: “Blood Bitch”, Death Grips: “Bottomless Pit”, Common Eider King Eider: “Extinction”, Factory Floor: “25 25”, Scott Walker: “The Childhood of a Leader”, Emma Ruth Rundle: “Marked for Death”, Exploded View: “S/T”, Cuntroaches: “S/T” cassette, Leecher: “I’m All Wet”, HTRK: “Psychic 9-5 Club”, Adrian Belew: “Lone Rhino”, “Twang Bar King”, “Inner Revolution”, Anohni: “Hopelessness”, Bat For Lashes: “The Bride”, Halo of Flies: “Music for Insect Minds”, Helios Creed: “The Last Laugh”, Unsane: “Scattered, Smothered and Covered”, V/A: “Dope, Guns ‘N’ Fucking in the Streets volume 1 to 11”, Cows: “Daddy Has a Tail!”, “Cunning Stunts”,

Television

“Deutschland 83”, “Flowers”, “Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle” series 4, “Drifters”, “John Berger: The Art of Looking”, “Rich Hall’s Presidential Grudge Match”,

Highs

Finally meeting Andee Connors after 15 years of email friendship and seeing Common Eider King Eider play at Cafe Oto in Hackey/meeting Garret Hamill at the same gig along with so many amazing people/meeting Ken Loach in the foyer of York City Screen before a screening of “The Spirit of ‘45” and sharing his popcorn with him/attending the Stand Up to Racism conference in London in October/Marxism 2016/Standing Rock protests/Durham TAs on strike/activism on the rise everywhere

Lows

Bryan Danielson forced to retire from professional wrestling/ROCK-A-ROLLA magazine goes under (2005-2106)/paroxysms on the left over Brexit, personal and professional relationships breaking down in the aftermath/lack of understanding/the entire audio-visual media failing us all in every possible way with regard to news this year (a failure sure to continue into 2017)

RIP

In the immortal words of Warren Oates, “too damn many” …

David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Dale Griffin, Jacques Rivette, Franco Citti, Axl Rotten, Trifon Ivanov, Andrzej Zulawski, Frank Kelly, Eiji Ezaki (Hayabusa), Barry Hines, Johan Cruyff, Zaha Hadid, Tony Conrad, Howard Marks, Balls Mahoney, Kris Travis, Prince, David King, Muhammad Ali, Dave Swarbrick, Peter Schaffer, Kimbo Slice, Peter Owen, Hector Babenco, Alan Vega, Davey Hopper, Gene Wilder, W P Kinsella, Andrzej Wajda, Steve Dillon, Tom Hayden, Raoul Coutard, Leonard Cohen, Robert Vaughn, Leon Russell, Dario Fo, Fidel Castro, Greg Lake

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Cuntroaches interview

Cuntroaches are one of the best bands I have ever had the pleasure to discover in all my time as a music writer. Brutal, funny and fearless, their self-released cassette is my easily one of the best things I’ve heard in all of 2016. It was my eternal regret that I didn’t to get to see them on their recent UK tour, where by all accounts they terrorized and enthralled a new layer of fans in equal measure. As you will read in this excellent interview with the band, there is a lot more to come from this exceptional group in the very near future>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>ctrlive

When did you first get together as a band?

Last year?

Where did the band name come from?

Martina’s heavy drinking. Now we’re stuck with it.

What is Berlin like as a city for making and playing the type of music you do? Is there is a vibrant scene there?

Berlin is fine: we give 2 out of 4 farts!

How happy are you with your cassette release, and what has been the response to it from those who’ve bought/heard it?

Very happy. We ran out of cassettes a few times and had to produce more, which was totally expected. We were surprised that a lot of hardcore music magazines wanted to review it! The folks that don’t get us are super supportive. Great comments on our sound, such as “broken vacuum cleaner,” etc. Get your ears flushed and ready for the new EP, COMING SOON!

How has the tour you’re on currently been going? Is there a network of venues across Europe that you can rely on as an underground group or have things become more difficult?

The UK tour in May was great! It rained every single day. We’ve built up a network of dedicated promoters through intense touring in the last years under different projects. Seriously, big shout out to all the losers organizing shows for yahoos like us!

What bands have you been playing with and which ones have stood out the most so far?

Anxiety, Leecher, Mr. Marcaille, PISS, Baton, Commiserations, Virgin Dad, Kaspar Hauser, Lugubrious Children, Fetus Christ, Hyäne, G.A.U., Härda Ut, Orden Mundial to name a few!

Your four track cassette is one of the harshest and noisiest I’ve heard in a long time. How did you record the tracks?

Thanks. We used a 16-channel digital sound card and whatever $5 microphones we could find in our rehearsal space the size of a box and full of garbage. The demo was mixed in Reaper by Suckles and mastered by a handsome Goth named SARIN.

What is the song-writing process for your band?

Martina presents a riff she’s hummed and recorded on her phone and we work on translating this mess into something even worse. Otherwise, we group-poop a song out together diarrhea-style: hard to explain the magic.

 

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“Confer” by Sever

 

“The biggest messasave the Church of England then a blend of as a very, very viable of the latest management theory, secular two-party system thsorcery with statistics and evangelical polarised that they’re up-speak”, he said.

And they are welcomth Bronx over the comments that they are 28%

I would sayion to the sweeping understand that the mand Concourse lives in an unequal societyoping Hunt’s Point.

And theyler to take part in the commeroecifically told that I would imagine recruitinght the case will be. There is a thirst for real it. Full confidence repeatedly stated.

Invest in housinage courses, good for everybody. Rather the saniation for me as a leader slowly kettled, band sect, corralar ago on a far greater local, dispersed by a sign of something.

Although few poverty and I think try-criticism, others have also expressed a shameful thing to do.

“not present in that narrative in another possibility” clear enough way to satisfy me’

Rather disasterjects include a trendy trous illusion of leadership that has brick-walled coffee shop

Electrically narrow and vogueish sectarian, explainingramme shad-turn around attendance, ideologing fruit.

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