Here is the content from Nemesis To Go issue 3.
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Interviews from issue 3:
Live reviews from Issue 3:
CD/Vinyl/Download reviews from issue 3:
Up yer Pod: Recommended downloads
This issue of Nemesis To Go introduces the mighty Vertical Smile. The band's only web presence so far is their MySpace profile which features a few tunes to download. Old-skool Killing Joke heads (and anyone who likes a bit of funk with their punk) will find some good stuff here.
Round here we think The Violets are rather fab. They're steadily releasing a string of 7" singles which will probably be valuable collectors' items in years to come (well, I hope so anyway - I've got 'em all). However, most of the band's recorded output is also available online, as audio and/or video. Go to the band's MySpace page and sample their rackets. If you're a fan of taut, economical new wave-isms, chances are they'll be up your street.
If you're up for a diverse burst of new music, you should probably point your pod in the direction of the Lustreality Podcast which you can grab from (where else?) the MySpace page. It's not just tunes, though - it's a mix of 'music, comedy, and sexy mayhem'. You may interpret that as a recommendation, or a warning! If you want to get on the podcast yourself, info is on the page.
Chaos, DJ and proprietor of the Judder
club, has his own online radio station, Chaos
Approved, via which he hurls his favourite noises at the
web. Expect to hear 'industrial, drum & bass, experimental music,
club classics, ancient electro-pop, exclusive white labels and things
you've never heard before.' You can bend your ears in his direction
at the Chaos
Approved website. (Just what is the diference between an 'online
radio station' and a 'podcast', anyway?)
On yer deck: Hard copy reviews
Andi Sex Gang: The Madman in the Basket (Pink Noise)
Much as old school goths and deathrockers might prefer Andi Sex Gang to endlessly recycle the happenin' sounds of 1982 or thereabouts, the man himself has other ideas. This album is a journey into warped art-punk ambience that borders on spoken word territory; the songs are melodramatic declarations, surreal word-pictures that build an impression of a world going wrong, and here's Andi Sex Gang, observing it all with a kind of fatalistic glee. The vocals are produced to sound close, insistent - it's like Andi Sex Gang is right there in the room with you, a downright uncanny feeling when you've just got out of the bath. The lyrics, as ever, hint at meaning, but leave the listener to tease it out. In 'Body Parts', an unsettlingly catchy verbal workout that sounds like the Virgin Prunes getting down at the disco, Andi rattles out words with the lyricism of a hallucinogenic Dylan Thomas: 'Flexible nightmare, your personal space, where metal is Mother in a state of grace, where Father is flesh all over your face.' It's interesting to note how the words themselves provide a rhythmic counterpoint to the churn and boom of the music itself - but then 'Nation Of Flies' kicks in, a frenzy of glam-punk guitar, a ritual kicking over of all the musical statues, and all of a sudden it's as if someone's hit the nitrous oxide button. 'Devil Doll in black and white, I tried to hit you with my severed head' cries Andi, and somehow you know this one isn't a love song. 'Mormo' is a vaudeville lope, as if the Tiger Lillies had come over all Ziggy Stardust, while 'Kriminal Tango' evokes the spirit of a drunken stagger in the Ku'damm after closing time. You can imagine Andi and Lucas Lanthier of Cinema Strange, who is the co-vocalist here, trying to stop each other from falling over as they try to work out which way is home. It's a fine thing to hear this old song taken for a crazed dance like this. It's a neat riposte to Nina Hagen's far more controlled version of the song - and also a rare moment of hedonism on an album which in other respects plunges headlong and grinning into the heart of darkness.
Client: Xerox Machine (Metropolis)
Now, this isn't Client's latest single. That honour belongs to 'Drive'. In fact, I'm not even certain if this single is on release in the UK - the item I have before me is a US release. But here's the essential point: Client have covered an old Adam & The Ants tune, and they've done mad old Adam proud. 'Xerox Machine' comes from Adam Ant's pre-pop star period, and in the light of his subsequent career sounds heavily ironic, being a cynical sideswipe at production-line pop. A bit rich from a man who shortly afterwards set up his very own production line of poptastic anthems, one might think. Appropriately enough, Client imbue the song with a slinky wit and a splendidy syncopated beat, while Client B's vocal manages to be utterly deadpan and yet bizarrely sensual - I guarantee her pronounciation of the prosaic words 'the copyright' will have grown men coming over all unneccesary. Add to this a Clientload of busy electronix, plus some guitar sounds which, if they're not actually sampled off the original, certainly could be, and the end result is a witty, insistent, club anthem. Production, by the way, by the estimable Youth, whose experiences with Bananarama were surely just a rehearsal for this moment. Tacked on the back, we also get the atmospherics-and-stomps of 'Loosetalking', plus several 'Xerox' remixes, by the likes of Jonny Slut and Covenant. The mixes are nice, but the main track is best. In fact, it's a bit of a classic. I can even forgive the bland sleeve non-design. Good things lurk within, that's what counts.
Grinderman: Grinderman (Mute)
When is a Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds album not a Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds album? When it's a Grinderman album. This is a rather curious side project upon which Nick Cave himself, plus Warren Ellis, Martyn Casey and Jim Sclavunos from the Bad Seeds, reinvent themselves as a whole other band for the purposes of making a steaming pot of punked-up blues. Or, at least, that seems to be the theory. I've seen this album explained away as a means by which Cave & co can give their inner punks a good workout, and get all the noisy, abrasive song ideas out of their systems before returning to work on the smoother, more measured Bad Seeds material. I'm not sure I buy that - not only because the Bad Seeds are quite capable of bashing out a rough old racket any time it suits them, but also because much of the stuff on this album isn't actually all that fierce. Now, that might sound like a silly thing to say with the crazed, wired, electric blues of 'Get It On' ringing in my ears, or when Nick is bewailing his lack of success with the lay-deez to the sound of massively overdriven guitar on the hilarious romp that is 'No Pussy Blues'. But 'Electric Alice' is a rhythmic workout on brushed drums that sounds almost like a jazz ballad, while 'Grinderman' is a regretful croon which the - yes - grinding guitar doesn't quite manage to heat up. Elsewhere, the band gets a good rock on - 'Depth Charge Ethel' sounds like a slice of scuzzy garage punk, while 'Love Bomb' is amiable, lo-fi, Memphis rockabilly - but elsewhere there are ballads and noir-ish serenades which could sit easily on a Bad Seeds album. It's all good stuff, for sure - hey, this is Nick Cave. You expect a certain level of quality, right? But the overall impression I'm left with is simply this: why did Nick Cave embark upon a Bad Seeds side project that isn't actually a whole heap different from the Bad Seeds?
The Horrors: Strange House (Loog)
Well, what a difference a few months can make. When I reviewed The Horrors supporting Shit Disco in the first issue of this here webzine, they were more or less regarded as an eccentric garage band with a nice line in schlock-horror style. Fun, but nothing you could take entirely seriously - which was essentially what I said in my review. Shortly afterwards, of course, the band was discovered by the NME, and all of a sudden The Horrors experienced a distinct case of Next Big Thingery. These days, you won't find The Horrors supporting amiable indie bands in small east end clubs. Their last London gig was a headliner at the Astoria, one of our major theatre venues. They've certainly gone up in the world. All of which is nice for the band, but it does rather shine a harsh light on this, their debut album. Have The Horrors really got what it takes, or are they just a bunch of horror-punks who got lucky? Strange House is a boisterous rattletrap, all fuzzed-out keyboards, tinny, trashy guitars, and harsh, wrenched-out vocals. Wiggy sixties garage filtered through seventies punk, and then filtered again through twenty-first century recycle-everything post-modernism. But even at their noisiest, even when they're bashing out some lowlife fuzztone blues, The Horrors are always good-humoured. It's as if the Birthday Party swapped their amphetamines and angst for jelly and ice cream. Best tracks are those on which the bass guitar is unleashed to growl menacingly in the bottom end, such as 'Draw Japan' and the Screaming Lord Sutch cover, 'Jack The Ripper'. 'Sheena Is A Parasite' is a mess of distortion and squalling keyboards; the instrumental, 'Gil Sleeping', sounds like insects getting ready to swarm. Far out, man. In the end, it's all good lo-fi fun, but it's hard to escape the thought that The Horrors are a bit too much of a novelty band for comfort. Have they got enough substance to justify the hype? Having had one NME cover, will they ever get another? I can't rid myself of the nagging feeling that it's time to get back in the garage with my bullshit detector.
Mab: Decay (Self release)
Oh no! It's operatic metal! Run away! But wait - normally, I would indeed head for the hills at the slightest hint of overblown yet mannered opera-style vocals set to a backing of frenziedly orchestrated guitars. It's just Not My Thing, you understand. But Mab are the operatic metal band it's OK for punks to like. Sure, they go gloriously, gleefully, over the top at every opportunity, and the guitars do indeed effortlessly create the impression of an army pouring over the hill, banners a-flying and weaponry gleaming. The vocals sound like Maria Callas fighting it out for posession of the psyche of Ozzy Osbourne, and the entire package makes the complete works of Wagner sound like the twittering of little birds. In a way, the gonzoid over-the-topness of it all is half the appeal, but the other half of the appeal is that Mab are very far from your standard bunch of hairy-arsed metal blokes in laughable leather. Mab are an all-female band who look like they've spent the night partying at the local morgue, and just when you think you've got their music pegged firmly in the metal zone, they'll unleash a punkzoid thrash as coruscating as paint stripper. What's more, they've also got Lene Lovich, who lends a sepulchral vocal to 'Astrophel', and a neat like in atmospherics, which duel with the guitar on 'Pearl'. But if it's rifferama you want, then 'Adrenalina' delivers like Black Sabbath on fast forward. Did I say gonzoid? I certainly did, but what's the next stage up from gonzoid? I don't think there's a word for it. Well, now there is: Mab.
Machinegun Symphony: The Technology Of Tears (Self release)
Machinegun Symphony make a kind of retro-futuristic dance music that blends standard EBM-isms with familiar industrial ingredients. Slammin' programmed beats rinse out, while distorted vocals chant melodramatic hand-staple-forehead lyrics. There's guitar, too, buried under a veritable avalanche of effects. It's neatly done and all, and I dare say the band are probably the coolest thing in Colorado Springs, their home town. But if truth be told this stuff doesn't sound any different to the kind of industrial-dance fare that you could hear up the Slimelight on more or less any Saturday night for the last decade. That's why I use the expression 'retro-futuristic' - once, this kind of music was routinely held up as the gleaming, chrome-plated soundtrack to a post-rock future. Now, those claims seem wildly optimistic. The trouble was, the beatz 'n' bleepz contingent ran out of ideas embarassingly quickly, and the entire musical area ended up becoming a generic dead end. Machine Gun Symphony deploy their generic weaponry with skill, but there's no danger of the innocent listener being surprised by a genuinely original idea. If you feel the need for an Inertia-lite in your life, or a slightly more upbeat Fiction 8, or even an Assemblage 23 with the corners rounded off, Machinegun Symphony will deliver. Otherwise, file under 'non-essential'.
Solemn Novenna: As Darkness Falls (Self release)
Nostalgia? It's not what it used to be. Or maybe it is. Solemn Novena have meticulously recreated the drum-machine driven sound of 1990s DIY-goth, a musical strand that essentially grew out of 90s bands' efforts to recreate the Sisters-style sounds of 80s goth with limited equipment and bare-bones budgets. Anyone who recalls the likes of Vendemmian, Die Laughing, Nightmoves, and other inhabitants of the underground goth scene of about fifteen years ago will find Solemn Novena's sound very familiar, for they have faithfully assembled all the essential ingredients of the music from that period. Greet, if you will, these old friends: the frantic, pell-mell drum programming, every last nano-second stuffed with beats and fills and rolls and trills. The chiming, flanged guitar is present and correct; likewise the sampled choir backing vocals ('Aaaahhhhh....') and, of course, the deep 'n' dramatic male voice. The male singer here does a splendid Suspiria-style vocal on 'Like Fireworks', which surely must be a deliberate homage. He's counterpointed with the traditional detached, curiously unemotional female singer - one of the odd anomalies of goth music in the 90s was that the lyrics were often hilariously melodramatic, but the vocals frequently deadpan. You'll be reassured to know that Solemn Novena touch their caps to both these aspects of 90s-style goth songwriting. It's all a bit uncanny - I remember attending goth gigs at the Marquee in the early 90s, and hearing band after band which sounded exactly like this. It's bemusing to hear this musical style revived now, not least because, in truth, it was never very successful first time round. Some of those Marquee gigs had embarassingly small audiences; few of the bands in that period ever got beyond the bedroom stage. Still, at least that proves that Solemn Novenna's motives are pure. They must know there are no fortunes to be made here. They're doing this because they like this stuff. Then again, maybe a market exists now that didn't back then: the band have already attracted far more interest than some of those 90s bands ever scared up first time round. I can't say I'm likely to leap upon the goth-nostalgia bandwagon, grinning with delight, mind. One go-around was enough for me. But if you're up for more of what you once fancied, here it is, just like the twenty-first century never happened.
The Beauty Of Gemina: Diary Of A Lost (Monkey Music)
Well, I suppose this just shows you should never judge by appearances. The Beauty Of Gemina might have the look of a straight-up goth band (look at that CD sleeve - there's something about it that just doesn't exactly say 'Psychobilly', right?) but a very different noise comes out of the laser-cut pits on the CD surface. Michael Sele, who, it appears, is the sole member of the band, makes a kind of disco-noir, all forbidding beats and rumbling synthesized guitar sounds. It's a bit like a cross between Gary Numan and Nick Cave. Now, I'll grant you that the thought of that particular combination might make strong men quail with apprehension, but in a weird way, it works. The rhythms are never less than addictive, and the lyrics, which are all as hugely melodramatic as you'd expect, are delivered in a deadpan croon which fits the swirl of the music very neatly. Unexpectedly, I find myself liking this stuff. I just have one question - diary of a lost what?
The Beauty Of Gemina: Website
Throbbing Gristle: Part Two: The Endless Not (Industrial)
A whole new Throbbing Gristle album in 2007 - now there's something we never expected to see. As it happens, the small print in the inlay leaflet tells me that this album was in fact recorded between 2004 and 2005, and a glance at the credits reveals that electronic-wizard Chris Carter seems to have had the most to do with the creation of the music. Hints, perhaps, that this was not necessarily a huge outpouring of white-heat creativity by the TG crew - more a sort of side-project for everyone, to nudge along as and when opportunities arose. Still, the return of the wayward pioneers of left-field noise is welcome, whatever the circumstances of their comeback. The album runs the gamut between mashed-up sample-overload rhythmic workouts to disarmingly accessible jazzy ballads - 'Rabbit Snare' turns out to be a beatnik croon, with Genesis P-Orridge delivering a very creditable vocal over cornet and piano. It sounds like something you'd hear at Ronnie Scott's round about 1957. Elsewhere, there's wide-screen ambience, spooky rhythms that exist as hints and space, distortions and shudders and mechanistic grinds. It's all very cinematic, and surprisingly pleasant to listen to. Throbbing Gristle, twenty-first century style, are not the shock troops of the art-apacalypse they once were. Frankly, that's something of a relief. Almost thirty years on from their original incarnation as pioneering noisemakers, troublemakers, and boundary-pushing confrontationalists, Throbbing Gristle have reinvented themselves as purveyors of cerebral ambience, and it's a style they wear well. If Genesis P-Orridge came out today, shouting about abbatoirs and gas ovens and juvenile sex (all part of the show in the early days), he'd just look a bit daft. But as a surreal poet, intoning oblique phrases over Chris Carter's minimalist sample-assemblages, as on 'The Worm Waits Its Turn', he cuts a reassuringly convincing figure. Even if he just has to mention maggots. Gen's finest moment - and, bizarrely enough, in a way the best thing on the album - comes with 'Almost A Kiss'. A glowering, drama-soaked torch song, built on a warm, inviting rhythmic base, Genesis P-Orridge throws his head back and lets rip a genuinely soulful vocal - and if he doesn't quite hit the right notes at times, what the hell. This is Throbbing Gristle. Notes are an elastic concept. But I'm willing to bet that one day Amy Winehouse, or someone of that ilk, will take this song to the top of the charts. Now that would be a suitably counter-intuitive climax to the Throbbing Gristle story.
Love and a .45: Breakdown Payout (Self release)
As fuzzy as an out of tune TV, Love and a .45 buzz and crackle like electricity. This 3-song EP is so lo-fi it's practically under the floorboards, but the band's essential energy comes through in no uncertain terms. The lead track, 'Breakdown Payout', effortlessly passes the 'insanely catchy' test - it's a riot of buzzsaw guitars and ripped-up vocals, like a backstreet Laaahndon Blondie. The band desperately needs better production (or maybe just some production) but there are genuinely strong songs here from a bunch of new wave heads who seem to have tapped into the classic pop songwriting jugular. And they're noisy and snotty with it, too. That's a killer combination. Now all they need is some time in a half-decent studio.
Love and a .45: Myspace
The Serotonin Sunset: Futurestate (Serosun)
The latest release from Paul Five, ex-guitarist with Synthetic, now residing on Ibiza from whence he hurls a sucession of self-produced, self-released music at the world. His low-slung scuzzy rock, which he records under his own name, copped a review last issue: this time, we've got a slice of his dancefloor noise to contend with. Futurestate is a much more warm and inviting experience than most EBM these days, and I wonder if that's because it was made in the shade on a Mediterranean island, rather than in a digital studio somewhere in New York or London. The beats, naturally, are insistent and suitably thumping, but here comes the secret weapon: Paul Five has slammed his trademark freaked-out guitar over the top, too. That in itself might mean this album doesn't pass the 'pure EBM' test, but I suspect Paul just couldn't resist bringing in a bit of six-string noise. The result is music which is defiantly non-standard, and all the better for it.
The Serotonin Sunset: Myspace