reviews january 2006

Nosferatu D2, demo CDR
There isn't, but if there was this would win it, a prize for Best Name in Robots. On the name alone you're probably thinking some kind of collision of darkwave goth and bleep electro. (yes please!) You're probably thinking that, but Ben and Adam - the brothersome twosome on guitar/vocal and drums - are thinking a spoken storytelling indie scuffle, an urgent collision of David Gedge, the Blue Aeroplanes and Robots favourites the Empty Vessels.

Xerox Teens, Round (Big Billy) CDS
If I was as one-dimensional as I appear, and if the Xerox Teens sounded sufficiently like a younger and fresher and faster and less-pissed version of some gnarled old cynical and grumpy rock survivors, I'd do the obvious Xerox/copy thing. The Fall.

Vanity Project #16
More miniature marvelousness from Skif and the gang, always carrying our recommendation as regular readers will realise. New readers may not know that each issue is a must have, but now they do. Interview with Itamar Zeigler, label focus on Moshi Moshi, cartloads of reviews - and all free. You know we'll miss it when it's gone don't you? (Laurence)

Funky As Fudge #1
Ah the arrogance of youth; a 'zine all set to change the world, innocent enthusiasm untempered by inevitable disappointments to come. A first issue that does indeed possess that absolutely necessary first element, enthusiasm - it also exhibits high production values. A pleasant breezy style from young Gareth (its author) too, there's an interview with radio's Huw Stephens and almost an interview with Chris TT that's more the report of a conversation. There are a few reviews but the content's a trifle thin perhaps, something sure to be remedied in Issue 2 which we look forward to with interest. Only 50p (Laurence)

Shadowplay #14, #15
A small delight, slight of stature but possessing a touch of class. A straight ahead A5 format that punches above its weight, you're never quite sure what move it's going to throw at you next. Love it already? Want to know more? Okay, witty and clever but wearing it so lightly; a considered stylishness with a personal touch - like it was written for just you almost. We like it, more please. (Laurence)

Organ #142
Whoa! How many bands that you've never heard about do you want to hear about? Organ take that and doubles it just for the sheer fun of it, and then pile some more on top just to be sure. It's big and it's very glossy, and somehow rather incredibly - it's free. Packed with live, record and demo reviews; it's a regular hitch-hikers handbook to the world of wannabe indie rock'n'roll (not a place where you want to be lost). (Laurence)

Pefkin, Asa Nisi Masa (Foxglove) CDR
On a night-out on the town you somehow walk through some un-noticed doorway and find yourself climbing a staircase as you follow some people somewhere, you're separated from your friends but it doesn't matter as you sink into a soft deep chair in a dark windowless room with the other invited guests. The lights go down and the show starts, ah it's a magic lantern show and at first you smile indulgently, impressed with the anonymous operators dexterity. It's very warm in here, stiflingly warm almost, and there's a thick heavy perfume in the air. The sickly scent saturates the atmosphere and there's a brief puzzlement before intoxication comes. A wheezing drone forms a shifting backdrop as the shadows seem to come alive and dance languidly amongst twinkling, glittering lights. Whispered echoes caress your ears whilst a baleful song is sung by the saddest shadow of them all, you feel that you could reach out and touch it but something tells you that if you did ruin everything - meanwhile the show concludes rather strangely with a lullaby. The audience disperses and the cold air outside eventually causes your head to clear, but too late as now you can't remember just exactly where you've been or how you'd get back there again. (Laurence)

Birdengine, Birdengine EP (Benbecula) 12"
It's wonderful what can be done with some old tapes, a 4-track, and a bit of imagination. When that imagination is as waywardly creative as Mr Birdengine's we end up with five tracks such as these and everyone's a winner. Weird? Mm, yes. A hit? No regrettably not probably. But very good? Oh yes, and that's underselling it by quite a bit I'd venture. Thank goodness for people like Birdengine and Benbecula. (Laurence)

Ordeal/vb12, Usher/Usherette (Sparticus Stargazer) 12"
Let's take a trip. The siren voice pulls you from your chair and to your door, instead of the usual street outside it's.. you can't quite put your finger on it but something's odd. You pass a jazz band playing on the corner and for a while Richard Briers walks along with you muttering in Welsh perhaps until you arrive at the fairground. Then it's all change and that's you that's starring in that old black and white film, a dizzyingly happy summer evening in a late bar with an old radio not quite tuned to the correct wavelength. Breathless and happy, it's time to go home already - the siren voice again leads the way once more. A touch of blues is played by half a dozen mechanical pianists whose batteries are running out and there's a big crowd, a very big crowd. You swim through them and down, deeper into ocean until the seabed itself rises up and it's really a flying saucer; the chattering gnomes inside don't mind dropping you off as they're going your way and soon you're back in your comfy old chair again. You tentatively go to the window to check but no, everything looks just like it always does. You look at the record on the turntable, the label says "fun, but disconcerting" and you wonder if you really dare play it again - but the needle is somehow already descending slowly towards the undulating blackness and here we go again.. (Laurence)

Moon, Dreaming of Monsters (CNCCR) CD
They're French, Moon. La Lune. Or Les Lunes. It's got a nice ring to it, in English, and it fits in a way especially if you haven't yet grasped the idea that wringing every last drop of tension and minor variation out of a drone can be as exciting and liberating as slashing three distorted chords into a prehistoric riff and kicking a bass/snare two-step or trashing the Apache break into a filtered glitch avalanche. Noise, and the noises noises make when you nuzzle them into next-door neighbours, the static waves and the nulls, the hisses and the misses, these can be beautiful and intense, to the maker and the listener. Moon understand this. Which is why they aren't the loons you might think they are and why their dreams of monsters aren't nightmares.

Two Old Farts Look Even Older Than Normal

Apropros I don't know what, Cascade #2 arrived in the post. A bunch of flyers for Golden Penfriends fell out of the envelope. A brief glance. A second look. Oh. Golden. That kind of golden. As in flow. As in shower.I unfolded the zine. A rudimentary line drawing of a girl clutching herself, dark stains on the inside of her thighs. Caroline's Confession #4 entitled Yellow Snow. A scattering of 4-line poems: Sprinkler, Miss Piss, Dripping, Lemonade Kiss. Why would anyone send me this? It's not like I'm well-known for being a fan of the old amber nectar. Maybe somebody thinks I'm a piss artist?

But I've got nothing against pissing. I do it myself. Really. Generally down the toilet and not through my clothes, but I'm a modern sort of bloke. Live and let live. So I read on. "I'm single/ and a pervert/ I tingle/ each time I squirt" and "Forget/ romance/ I've wet/ my pants." Caroline's letting it all flood out and I'm wondering whether being entranced by stories of wet pants and her squirts makes me a pervert. (Jim)

It's not often that your reviewer is at a loss for words, far less does his jaw hang loosely with mouth uncomprehendingly agape when trying to come to terms with something new that's put in front of him - but encountering this publication was one such occurrence. The journal in question being a "mini-'zine for girls who love to wet their knickers, boys who like to imagine it, and anyone else who is interested". The most basic 'zine format, three one sided A4 pages stapled together in one corner that bring us personal revelations (Caroline's Confessions), poetry, contacts, and literary quotes relating to when "girls let it all go!" Caroline (the author of this missive) could be missing out on a bonanza in not going large and setting up a web-site for restless credit card jockeys with specialist tastes and muscular wrists, but instead prefers simplicity and gives it to us straight. (Laurence)

Send an A5 SAE to Caroline Melville-West, 54, The Avenue, Wivenhoe, Colchester, Essex, CO7 9AH.


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