The Blog

Once FILTHY LUCRE, now the WHITE NEXUS

I started a blog in 2009 when I was in grad school called FILTHY LUCRE. It was amazing, and a great learning experience.

 

Review // Die Antwoord // Feb 19 2012

Commodore Ballroom For EXCLAIM! MAGAZINE Die Antwoord have been attracting their fair share of attention for the group’s provocative music videos that lend themselves nothing short of viral. The Cape Town originals (whose band name means “the answer” in Afrikaans) boast some of the strangest hip-hop this side of the Northern Hemisphere. With their gritty, Kafka-esque lyrical style and their beat-delivering prowess, they proved to be the best response to a rather grim-looking Vancouver weekend. The city’s Expendable Youth DJs started off the evening with some turntable delights as the Commodore began to fill with an anticipatory audience, some of which even dressed to resemble DA’s frontman Ninja. While a popular DJ set was not exactly the most appropriate way to usher in an evening of musical weirdness, the Mad Decent team managed to deliver a solid string of catchy dance tunes and smart mash-ups. Wearing a rather terrifying mask, DJ Hi-Tek began Die Antwoord’s set by baiting the crowd, repeatedly spinning out the threatening slogan that he’d “fuck you in the ass,” while flashes of Die Antwoord music videos revealed a sinister theme. It was almost sensory overload when Ninja (Watkin Tudor Jones) and Yo-Landi Vi$$er (Yolandi Visser) finally exploded onto the stage wearing bright orange sweatsuits for “Fok Julle Naaiers.” Unified by their performance and onstage charisma, the unlikely trio formed a nuclear-type family unit in the strangest way imaginable. No stranger to the notion of being “eye popping,” Visser showed off her midriff, her eyes two black pools, coming off as both terrifying and strangely attractive. While focusing on delivering rhythms and tunes from their newest...

VIDEO // THE MAKING OF BIDO LITO! MAGAZINE

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/32019579] Bido Lito! Magazine is a new arts and music publication, representing the local talents of Liverpool’s finest. I made this video to showcase the vision behind the publication, in time with the soft launch of the new website. As the Online Editor at Bido Lito!, I made some sound friends and had a wonderful time learning about the music scene in Merseyside over the past year. These pink pages will be sorely...

REVIEW // RHODES

FOR SEVEN STREETS MAGAZINE Rhodes is a musical talent you may not have heard of until recently. The five-piece indie rock outfit played a stellar set at Mello Mello on Friday 30th September to finish off a week-long national tour, with ear-ringingly impressive results. They just released an EP with Liverpool’s original E.D.i.L.S. Records alongside the talents of Moonlit Sailor and Elk, and are now heading back into the shadows of songwriting. Built on lifelong friendships, the group’s synergy onstage truly brings this sentiment alive. Newly reunited with their singer, Alan Croft, who spent the past year on the West Coast of British Columbia, the group rocked out together and delivered one of the most blisteringly loud gigs I’ve experienced. In fact, two days later, the ears are still ringing. Drummer Michael Davies, despite his off-stage reserve, lets loose on his kit and brings to mind the mathematical side of his craft, with technical beats and jams. Bassist Jon Papavasiliou performs fluidly and dynamically on his chosen weapon, and with the half Greek connotation it’s hard to put Poseidon out of your mind when you’re watching him perform. Guitarists Aaron Noroozi and Michael Connor might have a bit of rivalry going on, staunchly placed on opposite sides of the stage, but the melding of their distorted, melodic sounds is an act of love. Rhodes is a band that, despite their complex rhythms and math-rock tendencies, they manage to offset the brainy aspects of music writing by fleshing out natural sounds and rich harmonies. Caught somewhere between the brainy tendencies of Foals, and the catchiness of Two Door Cinema Club, their...

PREVIEW // DISMEMBERED EMPIRE

FOR SEVEN STREETS It’s unarguable that Liverpool is a stunning creative playground. Backed by a rich history of rebellion and revolution, it’s a hub of music and culture that continues to influence and inspire. Dismembered Empire, an insurrectionary multimedia cabaret, pushes this sentiment to the extremes of the steampunk style— by putting forth the tantilising question—what if Liverpool was the centre for world trade and economic power in the modern age? The interactive mixed arts and technology project will take place in the mystifying locale of the Williamson Tunnels October 7-8th. Descending into the labyrinth of the tunnels, the audience will be immersed into an alternate version of Liverpool, inhabited by sinister scientists, revolution, bizarro machines and strange music. Using the steampunk style, a super playful and expressive aesthetic, DE blurs the line bewteen reality and imagination, the nefarious and the benign. Using elements of both real and imagined history, the performance plays out as the ripping apart of two parallel worlds, driven by tensions between industrial mavericks Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla during the Industrial Era. It’s the brainchild of Jennifer Catterall, an evolutionary biologist with a penchant for theatre and music composition. “DE is all about re-imagining ourselves and thinking, how could we have done something different with our science and technology. It’s all about seeing things from a different point of view.” [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyzrT24nIrI&feature=related] Dismembered Empire 7th – 8th of October, 7pm at the Williamson Tunnels For more information, visit...

FOR THE LIVERPOOL ECHO Meet The Thespians Liverpool’s…

FOR THE LIVERPOOL ECHO Meet The Thespians, Liverpool’s budding punk quartet, and my newest musical obsession. With Paul Thespian as the helm and frontman, the band boasts three other members, with the lovely Jess Branney on guitar, Danny Hall on drums and Phill Gornall on bass. I caught up with them for a video interview after they’d played an acoustic set for BBC Radio, to talk about what it’s like to be an indie Liverpool band. [vimeo...

FOR BIDO LITO MAGAZINE THE THESPIANS The Velcro…

FOR BIDO LITO MAGAZINE THE THESPIANS The Velcro Teddybears EP Release Party @ Leaf Unexpectedly for the passerby, Leaf Tea Shop is a gorgeous place for a deafeningly loud punk show. Hosting THE THESPIANS’ debut EP release party, TWENTYTHREE/FOUR/ELEVEN, the place was buzzing with the addictive afterglow of vicious rock and roll that left everyone’s ears ringing on Bold Street. Openers THE VELCRO TEDDYBEARS delivered a soulful set, rich with the bucolic feel of their rural hometown, Penistone. The duo, Chaddy (Vocals, Guitar) and Griff (Guitar), met in grammar school during a time when the music of the Spice Girls and Take That were dominating the charts, and their music is a spirited, jaunty kind of rebellion rife with schoolboy charm. Singing tales of corrupting posh young girls, the acoustic plucking lulled the listeners into a full fledged experience of the eclectic countryside and the mischeif that sometimes happens there. One particularly bluesy song, Mad Man by the River, had vocalist Chaddy crooning about the local drunk who provided endless entertainment for the village children. Despite his slender frame and boyish good looks, Chaddy’s powerful vocals sounded like something that could have been belted out by a 20 stone trucker. Headliners The Thespians are a different breed altogether. The Liverpool punk quartet shredded it with their special blend of revolutionary fervour and intellectual spirit of rebellion that somehow gives off an air of composure and nonchalance all at once. Self-described as “young ruffians making music,” the band channels the intensity of vintage UK punk, but with a brazen social consciousness and sensitivity far beyond their years. Frontman and rhythm...

INTERVIEW: HOLY GHOST!

FOR THE BLOCK MAGAZINE Static on the Wire, by Holy Ghost!, is arguably one of the best combinations of deep funk, ferocious percussion and pillow-talk lyricism sure to make the most uptight of British nannies drop their panties.  Loaded with satin romance driven by fat, bass-heavy disco beats, Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser, the mortal beings behind the music, have deep sensibilities lining their hearts. The electronic duo, hailing from Brooklyn, could easily be described as the epitome of the American dream—from two kids running amok in the streets of New York to two glowing beacons of creative prosperity. Frankel and Millhiser met at an elementary in Manhattan, and instantly became friends. “I don’t remember exactly the first time we met, although it was in the second grade. I suspect we met somewhere in the hallway,” Millhiser says, before taking a long drag on his American Spirit cigarette. He’s quick to correct the assumption that him and Frankel were partners in juvenile tomfoolery. “We were pretty good kids. Everybody thinks it’s so crazy we grew up there, but none of my friends did crazy drugs or got pregnant or anything. We had so little time to get bored or get into trouble. I think boredom breeds serious trouble.” Twenty minutes later, singer Frankel tells a slightly more familiar story of parental tough love. Raised in a strict Jewish household, Frankel’s early life set the bar for high expectations. “Our parents didn’t tolerate any bullshit. Especially from me as their first kid. When I got to high school I did my share of NYC hooligan antics, but growing up, school...

Ex-Paramore Guitarist Josh Farro announces new band

FOR THE LIVERPOOL ECHO MUSIC BLOG After one month of delving into my newest musical obsession, I read the shocking news that two of that Paramore‘s original band mates were calling it quits. For many people including myself, it was a disappointing blow to hear that the Tennessee rock outfit was moving on from their original artistic formula, but fortunately, their feisty attitude and revolutionary fervour is not entirely dissolving. In an interview with MTV last Wednesday, ex-Paramore guitarist Josh Farro announced that he’s formed another group. His new band, Novel American, is a bit of a departure from the raucous vivacity of Paramore—leading more along the lines of the sounds of Jimmy Eat World, Radiohead and Sigur Ros with an emphasis on sprawling rock instrumentalisation. Comprised of members Van Beasley, Tyler Ward and Ryan Clark, formerly of Nashville act Cecil Adora, Novel American is a determined movement away from Paramore and is shaping up to be a promising musical effort. Nothing has been announced by Zac, Josh’s brother, former Paramore drummer who also left in December 2010. According to Paramore vocalist Hayley Williams, the reason for the split is a complex one. Many rumours erupted online insinuating that Williams had essentially taken over the band. In an interview earlier this month, Williams noted that her relationship with Farro had been an emotionally strained one. “It was really hard, because we were friends, and then going through a break-up and going through any kind of tension as a band really affected all the lyrics. There are a lot of specifics that I pulled from my experience with just feeling like my face was...

TIMELINE: DR DRE

FOR THE LIVERPOOL ECHO MUSIC BLOG Dr. Dre is the avatar of counterculture. To utter his name is to equate it with notoriety, hedonism and a blatant disrespect for authority. Dr. Dre, also known as André Romelle Young, is a timeless rap icon, and the pioneer at the centre of a culture whose humble roots stemmed from the daring slogan “F*ck tha police.” The 45-year-old American musician, record producer, actor and CEO has not only made a name for himself, but has overseen other musicians like Eminem, 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg rise to international superstardom and critical acclaim. It would be careless to neglect that Dre embodies the American dream—still reflective of his days of hustling in the streets of Compton—to owning and operating a major entertainment company at the very top of a cutthroat industry. At the same time, the legend’s reputation is firmly attached to the idea of motherhood and how he ushered the art of an oppressed community and planted it firmly into mainstream culture. With no shortage of success, the anticipation of his third and final album, Detox, has been garnering momentum of Chinese Democracy proportion. Slated to be released this year by his homegrown Aftermath Entertainment, perhaps Dre’s prophesy in 1999 to “give me one more platinum plaque and f*ck rap/ You can have it back” will be realized. N.W.A and The Chronic (1986-1995) Dre started a collaboration project with rapper Ice Cube, whom he met in 1986. The duo went on to produce an album through Ruthless Records, which was owned and managed by local artist Eazy-E. Their debut album Straight Outta Compton immediately sparked controversy...

TO BE A JOURNALIST…

  Being a journalist is probably the second best life I could have chosen for myself—a close second behind a sex goddess rock star in a successful indie band—but sometimes that’s just how it goes. I don’t often regret choosing this field, although in the last few months, the faith in my decision has riddled with self-doubt and frustration. Journalism is the ultimate lifestyle choice for someone who is indecisive, easily bored, restless for adventure and genuinely interested in learning more about the world and the people that inhabit it. This has always been my thought process, my habit, my experience. I’ve met some truly amazing and fascinating people in the last few years as a journalist. I’ve talked to musicians like Grahm Zilla and John Oswald about the importance of remix music and the bullshit of corporatizing culture. I’ve talked to Beach House about the joys of late night MacGyver reruns. I’ve talked to scientists who have figured out evolutionary fitness by studying yeasts. Did you know that if all the microscopic bacteria in the world died, the human race and all other life forms as we know it would be wiped out in a matter of days? Pff, yeah. The joys of music journalism are truly far-reaching, especially when you’ve got a press pass and free rein to film, photograph and meet all your heroes. My memory often takes me to a moment shared with me by colleague of mine, Sarah Berman. She was at a show in Vancouver filming a concert for SPINearth when a girl in the audience shoved her violently, compromising her video capture....