Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Against Me + Crazy Arm @ Norwich Arts Centre 21/11/11

Written for Lights Go out zine

Vicky from Crazy Arm lends Against Me! a hand.

Against Me! have gone through a lot of stylistic and directional changes over the years, and each time I've seen them the joyful passion they exude on stage gets more intense, but bands can't stay on top forever can they?  Can they?  Read on...

We missed the first band on due to the fact the modern marvel that is the cash machine is yet to grace the streets of Norwich, not that we could see anyhow, but then we are but simple folk from the rural village of Ipswich dazzled by the bright lights of a big city (as the lovely Pete 'Mild' Peril pointed out).

Crazy Arm were not at all what we were expecting - normally we enjoy punk rock tinged with Country about as much as ice cream tinged with dog toffee - but Crazy Arm played with all the intensity of power-sander dentistry, and packed a punch like a nuclear powered erm (bear with me while I look around my desk for inspiration) stapler. Okay, I guess that analogy doesn't work, but Crazy Arm were the perfect kissing cousins to Against Me (quite literally, as Tom Gabel was later to disclose from the stage).

Against Me! frontman @TommyGabel drew a single breath to introduce the band then they pounded through an extremely eclectic set of very old, not so old and brand new material.  I've seen this band a bunch of times but never somewhere as small as Nickers. Off. Ready. When. I. Come. Home. Arts Centre and the power blasting from the stage was almost a little overwhelming at times. Almost.  There a lot of young kids in the audience which is heartening, because Against Me are a band that just keep getting better and better.

The highlight of the set for me was when Vicky from Crazy Arm joined the band on stage for a spine shattering version of 'Bourne on the FM waves of the heart' - a song I never thought I'd get to see live.

I passionately love a lot of bands, but for me Against Me are a level higher - they're a band I wish I was in.

Too soon it was over and we headed back to Ipswich, a town where they now turn the lights off at midnight.

Andrew Culture

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Ugly Truth About Ipswich

The Ugly Truth About Ipswich is a compilation album that my record label (CornDog Records) put out in conjunction with local heroes Antigen Records. I raised the money for this album with a LOT of help from fellow ZEEBer Graham Mann - we organised a ton of gigs and a hilarious inter-band football tournament (a nod also needs to be given to Marc Newby/ Aflightoremember who also organised a fundraiser all-dayer) and then when the considerable amount of money required to put out an album properly was sat in the pot we did nothing...

...Noting for a few years anyway, because we realised there was a whole load of licencing issues involved in putting an album that would cover the last thirty years of Ipswich music. That’s when Jason and Roki of Antigen Records politely tapped us on the shoulder and offered to do all the complex stuff we’re crap at.

So here is, and for just £1 you can buy a copy of The Ugly Truth About Ipswich in most good shops or direct from Antigen records.

The ugly details...
antigen 41 / Corn 017 Various Artists - The Ugly Truth About Ipswich

Release date: 23/4/11
Format: double CD
Edition: 1000
Duration: 2:33:50

Track listing: CD A
1.Nik Kershaw - All About You
2.elephant - Kick
3.Henry Homesweet - Toaster
4.The Waxing Captors - Bringing the Beatles Back to Hamburg
5.Versions - Seven
6.Ideals - Love Song
7.Life & Times Of - Ballet
8.Jack Rundell - You Treat Me Like a Businessman
9.The B. Goodes - Sleep So Soundly
10.Rosalita - Manga Girl
11.Underline The Sky - Katie
12.Charlie Brown - Hooray For Snakes
13.Violent Playground - Paranoia
14.Bring Back Her Head - Magpie
15.Hex Minora - Engine of Correction
16.Earth Mother Fucker - I Fuck Therefore I Am
17.Pindown - Flea Circus
18.Tender Lugers - Junkie Fag Hag
19.Jah Warriors - Bad Vibes
20.BangStick - I Got Nothing
21.These Are End Times - End Times (We Are All Condemned)

Track listing: CD 1
1.The Adicts - Songs of Praise
2.Extreme Noise Terror - Religion is Fear
3.Optimum Wound Profile - Pure Love
4.The Stupids - Drumshop Arsehole
5.Anihilated - A Cruel Twist of Fate
6.Raw Noise - Bronson
7.Blacktop Harrison - 37 Thoughts
8.Zeeb? - Amoeba Man
9.Red Flag 77 - Hard Men
10.Chocolate - Customer
11.Big Ray - Duckpin
12.Elmerhassel - Almost At One
13.Panorama In Black - City of Dreams
14.As Is - Love is Here
15.Bleach - Burn
16.Lovejunk - Inside Out
17.Perfect Daze - Bubblegum
18.Junk Culture - Keep Smiling
19.WhiteSlug - Corned Beef Sex Monster
20.Big In Albania - Shewolves Ov London
21.Cats Against The Bomb - Nerys Hughes Vs The Time Tunnel
22.Danger's Close - Denial
23.Space Maggots - You Drag Me Down
24.The Ballistics - Long Time Dead

Ugly Truth About Ipswich Links
Buy a copy from Antigen Records...
Ugly Truth About Ipswich Facebook page...

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Beat Motel #9 in Zine World #29

Apparently issue #9 of my zine Beat Motel is reviewed in two concurrent issues of Zine World! See the previous post to this one for the other review.

Beat Motel #9 review in Zine World #28

Here's a nice review of issue #9 of my zine 'Beat Motel' that I have just found in the awesome 'Zine World #28'.  Huge thanks to Stephanos of http://beersihaveknown.blogspot.com for sending it over.
P.s it's not clip art, it's scans from very old magazines.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Buying beer in New England

This is an excerpt from an American travelogue Sam Page and I wrote a few years ago, I posted this for the reading pleasure of Stephanos a.k.a. 'Beers I have known blog'.

...Jim took us to his favourite off-licence/ liquor store. Sam and I were agog at the sheer size of this place; it was bigger than most wholesale warehouses I’ve seen. Jim was keen to show us the microbrewery isle. Calling it an isle just doesn’t do it justice, it was more like a small continent of ale, there are principalities in Europe smaller than this isle. Sam and I slowly made our way down the row studying every beer with a similar demeanour employed by folk slowly wandering through fine art galleries.

Just who is driving here?
Left to right is me, Sam Page and  our host Jim Reily
(I'm pretty sure Jim should have been holding a steering wheel, but...)

Each beer was only given a few bottles width of space on each shelf, and the racking was five or six shelves high, I have never seen so much beer in all my life, let alone real ale! One of Sam’s favourites came from the Frank Zappa brewery, and had the cover of ‘We're Only in It for the Money’ on the label.

We could have spent hours in that store, but as we only had a little while before we needed to pick Drew up we grabbed some half gallon flagons of milk stout and headed for the checkouts. On the way out I was stunned to see some St.Peters beers, they’re (made just a few miles from my house in Suffolk).

As I walked up the second isle of ale I was astounded to see countless more beers from England, mind you, they weren’t cheap ($20 for six bottles of Stella Artois my arse). While I was amazed to see more English beers than I’d ever seen in England my mind boggled at the logistics, let alone the food miles.

In the same way that I always look for my own band’s CDs in record shops, no trip to an off-licence is complete without checking out what single malts are in stock. Sure enough they had all my favourites, but oh my - they were expensive; with the odd exception of Bowmore, which worked out at just ten pounds a bottle. I rushed like a child to tell Sam of my discovery and had a short but enthusiastic chat about whisky with him before my eye was caught by an entire isle of vodka. I’m not a fan of vodka - in fact it’s probably the quickest way to empty my body of all bile in a most uncivil way - but I am a fan of gawping at obscure alcohol.

As I stumbled along the rows staring slack jawed at the pretty labels I suddenly became aware of the fact I was being followed. With the amount of childish running around that I had been doing I entirely expected the two large blurry objects in my peripheral vision to be security guards. I moved to the next isle. Each time I shuffled forward I heard the sound of stiff soles on plastic flooring echoing my own footsteps. I decided to face the music and casually turned round. I tried to look relaxed enough not to give off an air of guilt, but also so that I could try and feign some sort of innocent surprise when I got my collar felt. It’s very confusing being middle class, if you’ve ever felt guilty for no reason while being followed by a police car you’ll know exactly what I mean. Much to my surprise my stalkers were a middle aged couple who look more surprised than I when I turned to them. After a slightly awkward pause the man lent forward slightly and said in a low and quiet voice,

“The whisky is back over on the row by the doors.”

I guess he had heard me chatting with Sam and assumed I couldn’t find the whisky. I thanked him earnestly, and walked to the tills. This couple summed up the feeling I got from most people in New England - everyone is quite happy to give their neighbours the space to go about their business without interference, but are more than willing to gently help out if they think you are wanting for something. It’s a very endearing way to be. This couple will never know that they were the first piece of what developed into a great jigsaw puzzle of affection I feel for New England.

Entering Mass