PIANO WIRE + HYENA team up for Feb tour, single

Hi

PIANO WIRE and HYENA team up for a tour  and split 7″ single next month.

More details later but here are the dates.

POSTER FINAL PW 1st copy INTERENT USE

 

FEBRUARY TICKET LINKS

22        NEWCASTLE            Think Tank   TIX

23        EDINBURGH             Sneaky Pete’s TIX

24        HULL                           O’Riley’s  TIX

25        DERBY                       Hairy Dog  TIX

26        LONDON                    The Social £5 on door w/guests Swedish Death Candy

27        READING                   Oakford Social  FREE

What was the biggest cool or interesting record of 2015?

Was 2015 a good year for music?   Of course.  Every year is a good year for music and every year adds more ideas and more melodies and more amazing records.  I bought a lot of albums last year.  I am old-fashioned that way.  I even went back to buying some records without having heard a note, just get that First Listen experience in full.  It’s quite rewarding, I think, jumping in the deep end.  The media does rather lead you by the hand these days, through the warm, shallow waters and then, when you’ve heard 4 songs (and they don’t usually pick the less impressive ones first), the “album experience” does lack the element of surprise.

But looking at my Year End Albums list, there were only a few records on major labels.  Maybe three.  And they weren’t THAT good.  My tastes are a little left of centre but not excessively so – I do like a tune.    The majors didn’t have ANYTHING I was passionate about last year.  I don’t expect to like most of their output, of course, but there’s usually some gems; diamonds among the dogshit.

And looking at the Year End sales charts, along with the actual Top 40 throughout December, there was almost nothing that I thought was any good at all.   The Weeknd, maybe.  It’s not my thing but I “get” it.

Catalogue release outsold new artists last year.  That’s a bit sad.  Not that people shouldn’t buy older records, of course.  They should.  These are however safe purchases.  You know what you are getting.  New artists ought to be more exciting.   Music ought to be exciting and inspiring.

It is inching ever closer to the time when the Top 10 album chart is full of dead people, as a friend of mine is wont to say

What was the biggest cool or interesting record of last year?   Which good (artistically interesting?) record sold more than a 100,000 copies in the UK.  I am not a Blur fan but I suspect that probably did.  Just.  Although it wasn’t in the Top 200 by Year end.   Kendrick just got past 100,000.  Foals got close.  Looking at MOJO’s Top 20, only Blur or mebbe Dylan have got close to 100,000 sales.  Even Q, which is obviously a lot more broad, only has Florence and Noel, as Top 20 albums of the year that have sold over 100,000.

Streaming, I know.  Different ways of listening to music.  I KNOW.  But it’s not like albums aren’t selling.  Ignoring A***e, which is an anomaly, there are plenty of records selling lots of copies.

The thing is, there were a LOT of great records last year.  They just didn’t sell much.  Even Julia Holter’s hugely well received (and totally beautiful and accessible) album hasn’t got to 20,000 sales yet.   Buy it; if you even remotely think that you’ll like it, you WILL.

Some of the many records I bought got just the one spin, some have come forward with me into 2016 as records I’ll be playing for years to come.  And some, most of them probably, have wonderful sounds, ideas or songs on them but fall short of being fully fantastic.   That’s OK.  These are now artists, whose next albums I’ll look forward to.  That’s exciting.  The future is so hot right now.  “Hotly anticipated” is, of course, one of the most common lies to grace a press releases ever, but “kinda anticipated” and “quite curious” don’t really deliver in terms of piquing excitement, I suppose.

However, there is much to look forward to in 2016.  Really though, there are LOTS of amazing records incoming.  Not all will live up to that hotly anticipated status.  So be it – but many will – and, of course, there will be new things, surprises and twists. I hope that some of them sell a lot.   I want the 2016 Year End charts to be more encouraging about the future of music, as opposed to solely the future of record sales.

David Bowie’s album is already tragically amazing classic.  There will be new records from Suede, PJ Harvey, Radiohead, Missy Elliot, Chromatics, Ty Segall, Lorde, Iggy’n’Josh, Savages, Animal Collective, Beck, Santigold, Sigur Ros, Springsteen, Spiritualized, The XX, Phoenix, Kanye, Lush, Bon Iver, NZCA Lines, M83, Shins, Strokes, The Horrors, Warpaint, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Shaun Ryder, MIA, Gorillaz and a host of huge acts that I don’t like all that much, along with debuts from Hinds, Holy Strays, Ratboy, Piano Wire, Aurora, Lapsley and Nevermen.

It looks like 2016 is somewhat hotly anticipated.  At least by me.  But please, people, buy some albums, especially from smaller labels.  If the majors have given up, there are still a lot of people trying to make and release interesting records.

Buy some records, take some chances.

spinning

bowie laughs

I’ve read a few professional trolling pieces in the papers and seen a fair bit of flak on Social Media, wherein people are confused, critical and derisory about the outpouring of public grief about Bowie.

Delingpole, Long and others wrote some very snide things, which are pretty reprehensible and opportunistic.  Any nugget of a point tainted with Hopkins-Hubris, which sounds like, and is, a nasty and somewhat contagious disease.

Flying in the face of concensus will always get you an askance look, a newspaper column or an argument but – in principle – has great value. Concensus terrorism has been festering at the rotten heart of the music biz for some time now, where in if one doesn’t like Aphex/Beyonce/Oasis/TaylorSwift/cocaine etc, then one is WRONG.

But, but but, but, in 1997, there was (albeit hugely fanned) mass hysteria over DIana’s death and again in 2009 with Michael Jackson.  I never understood that and, I’ll admit, I thought it strange and incomprehensible (to me) that people got that upset over people they didn’t know. I get a bit uncomfortable when everyone is feeling/sharing/aping the same emotions or opinions.  Is it exclusion?  I didn’t think so. I still don’t.   Is there an element of British stiff-upper-lip, gentlemen-don’t-quiver Alec Guiness-in-Bridge-Over-The_river-Kwai-type dignity to it?  Probably.

I wouldn’t be mean about them (publicly) but I thought it was the sort of thing that was a bit beneath me and that, while it was acceptable/understandable to be SAD and empathetic about such things, grief was a step up and something more the consequence of the end of a two-way relationship.  A friend, family member or colleague.  Is that emotional fascism?  Maybe.  I suppose we all draw our lines somewhere.

Maybe there’s a causal link that starts outside but has to make contact with something in particular within you. For example, I can track a lot of lack-of-grief over my estranged father dying last year into how I felt about Bowie’s death. I’ve also (previously) sometimes thought I was low on the feelings/empathy spectrum. Mebbe these things just unlock other dormant feelings, which someone may or may not have at any particular point. Mebbe if Bowie went before my father it wouldn’t have resonated quite as much. Mebbe, on a wider scale, Diana connected to people who were low on hope and (not to be overly dismissive) on the verge of tears anyway.

Whichever.  Last Monday, I became one of “those people” – much to my own surprise and confusion.  David Bowie meant a lot more to me than Diana or Jacko, of course, but I suppose to others, the situation is particular to them.

I’ll just need to get over that.

It seems we each have our triggers, revealed over time.

Human after all.

 

Starman.

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I knew it was coming.  I’ve thought about it and how it would be.  What it would mean and what it would change.  Honestly, I never thought it would be like this.  I really didn’t think it would hurt this much.   My father died recently.  I never knew him – seems I didn’t miss all that much.  I saw him once in the last 40 years.  Never had that role model.  He taught me nothing…other than, by default, the importance of being a good father.  The loss of David Bowie leaves a much, much greater hole in my life.  Was Bowie some sort of father figure to me?  Of course not.  OK, a bit.   A strange one to latch onto?   Probably – but I’ve always loved the strange ones.   He’ll be why.

A friend of mine taught her kids not to trust people who don’t like David Bowie.  I did too.  Mine, not hers, obviously. It’s weird that, isn’t it?  Music can be partisan and wildly subjective and frequently inspires such sweeping statements but this isn’t all that much to do with music.

It’s an attitude.  An openness, a fearlessness and above all, the ability to see beyond what’s in front of you.  That’s what David Bowie means to me: worlds of possibility, flights of fancy and the magic of Art.  It’s not self-loathing or akin to Punk’s impetus to Destroy or a denigration of where and who you are.  Nor is it avarice, the myth of acquisition.  It’s the idea that you can change, make something better, be something better and that you can make it happen yourself, using the power of your mind, right there in your bedroom or at your desk – holding a guitar, a brush or a pen.  You may say He’s a dreamer, but He’s not the only one.

To generation after generation of awkward teenagers, He’s shown us how to make a merit of being different and, by inference (mine), the dread of fitting in too much.  To this day, I distrust things that are too popular.  If everyone likes it, I am not going to rush to discover it.  David was the living representation of the power of ideas and the transformation of change.  The inspiration to make things better, to make better things.  To be a gentleman.  To learn.

I wrote my real tribute to Himself last year in DARE.  Thanks (so many, really) to Him, I have many ambitions.  I’ve always wanted to write and my first book was always going to be about Bowie.  How He changed my life and changed music forever and inspired almost all of my favourite artists.   From the Sixties to ★‘s release last Friday, spanning seven decades, I know for certain that Music itself would have been different without Him.   There are really only a handful of people in History that you can say that about.  He rivals Picasso for his contribution to 20th Century Art.

I started buying Bowie records in 1982.  Lots of them.  That summer, I bought all of His Seventies albums, one a week, with my paper round money.  It changed everything for me.  I don’t have a favourite song or album.  It’s all good.   I play His music a lot.  It never disappoints or fails to take me out of myself.  The new record is incredible and a truly mind-blowing way to go.  Give it a listen.  Or, y’know, don’t – go find your own thing.  Make something better.

 

Miss you already, David.

the SIC Xmas message

So, take a cake for the last SIC mailout of the year, including the never less than interesting Albums Of The Year results.

2015: How will it fit into history?

Not a flagship year for…advancing mankind (remember them) or, um, anything really, I suspect.

Not that there wasn’t fun to be had.

I published that book, which I might possibly have mentioned already. DARE just got itself a reprint. So thank you for that, if you bought a copy.

If you didn’t YET, then I feel duty bound to insist that it’s still on sale for only a TENNER via http://www.abookcalledDARE.com

“the perfect stocking filler” Melissa Laurie

“a nostalgic celebration…it psalms the early 80s gleeful glide into synthesisers, electronica and flamboyant creative weirdness” Chris Roberts

“….you will love this” Record Collector ****

“serious love for this book….ace stuff” Sabotage Times

“extraordinary” Classic Pop magazine, 5 (count ‘em) page feature

“David Laurie has written an engaging guide that is both passionate and very well-informed.” David Quantick

SIC’s musical endeavours have brought forth much fruit also…

The mighty PIANO WIRE have become the country’s leading exponents of hard and fast punk rock anthems. I’ll Kill You was the lead track from The Genius of The Crowd mini LP, of which there about 50 copies left so dive in, if you want one.

Fans of Television, Supergrass, Brainiac, Pixies, The Damned, JSBX and The Bad Seeds should be paying attention.

The toured all summer long and have become a ferociously great live band. They actually made money too and used it to record a single with Gil “Pixies/Foos” Norton. Amazing…

There’s another tour coming in February with the similarly pulsating HYENA, with whom we’ll be doing a split single. A new PIANO WIRE EP will follow in March with that Gil Norton track.

________________
HOLY STRAYS has just finished his debut album. It’s stunning and hugely ambitious record. A quantum leap forward. Calls to mind Morricone, Fourtet, Swans, FKA Twigs, Arca and all sorts of beautiful things, all set on a sea of deep deep bass. There are a number of very special guests on there and more details will follow next year.
Meanwhike Seb will be bringing his brand new show to Eurosonic in January.

________________
ENJOYED released his debut album, Keep To Chloe in the summer and it’s a wondrous shiny disco pop record, with vocals from Femme, Bossy Love and Victoria. If you’ve had love for Chemical Brothers, Screamadelica, Hot Chip, New Order or Chvrches, then you should have a listen.

________________
SIC also released a truly great 12” from SHAUN RYDER. Close The Dam / Electric Scales marks a career high for Uncle Shaun. There are a handful left here if you are quick. Not more than about 10 though so again, act now if you are so inclined. There’s a stunning album and some live shows from Shaun coming next year.

After several decades, I rejoined The Labour Party after going to see Jeremy Corbyn speak. I am not alone. More people have joined Labour since the election than are in the Conservative Party. Ponder that.

He gets a daily roasting in the press that would have most of hiding under the duvet forever but he sticks to his guns with stoic calm and dignity. Hearing him speak and answer all of the tough questions with common sense, common decency and practical logic was hugely inspiring for me.

Unelectable, my arse. He is so very electable that the right wing press is dementedly, continually trying to kneecap him. Scared much?

It’s been amazing to see his ideas seeping into the Tory policy. There have been some amazing U-turns from the govt since April. Amazing.

The vote for more bombing notwithstanding. Obviously.

But we’ll see how popular another endless, futile war works for Dave over the next few years.

Also

I feel duty bound to bring you down a tad. We all learned about the Holocaust at school, right? It seemed unthinkable. How could country after country turn on a religious minority like that? And not those foreign, “barbaric” countries either but educated, “civilised” Western countries.

Well, now we know.

It’s not difficult at all.

It has been a depressing year and no mistake.

But, as ever, art can and does lift us up.

Here is my Year End List thang….

ALBUMS OF THE YEAR 2016

The best ones

JULIA HOLTER Have You In My Wilderness
This is a transportative masterpiece. Truly beautiful.

HEALTH Death Magic
This is the sound of being young.

ALGIERS Algiers
And this is something really rather odd indeed. Post Punk Gospel? Kinda…

LONELADY Hinterland
Naggingly insistent post punk (again) Factory-esque tunes

FLOATING POINTS Elaenia
From out of nowhere these mediations on this and that, are from the jazzy end of Talk Talk and Radiohead

UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA Multi Love
Weird funk

EMPRESS OF Me
Perfect future pop

MERCURY REV The Light In You
luminous

VIET CONG Viet Cong
Dark and strange

FAITH NO MORE Sol Invictus
Mebbe you won’t believe me but this is an amazing record

And also…..

SHAMIR Ratchet

RAINER Water

ESCORT Animal Nature

DURAN DURAN Paper Gods

EAST INDIA YOUTH Culture of Volume

BLANCK MASS Dumb Flesh

NATALIE PRASS Natalie Prass

TOVE STYRKE Kiddo

WOLF ALICE My Love is Cool

CHVRCHES Every Open Eye

GRIMES Art Angels

IBEYI Ibeyi

CANNIBAL OX Blade Of The Ronin

METZ II

GAZ COOMBES Matador

MATTHEW E WHITE Fresh Blood

JOHN CARPENTER Lost Themes

FFS FFS

TAME IMPALA Currents

YACHT I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler

CHEMICAL BROTHERS Born In The Echoes

FORT ROMEAU Insides

HOT CHIP Why Make Sense

ARCA Mutant

CFCF Radiance & Submission

COURTNEY BARNETT Sometimes I Sit And Think…..

De LUXE Generation

GAZELLE TWIN Unflesh

CHELSEA WOLFE Abyss

DEAN BLUNT Black Is Beautiful

UNCLE ACID The Night Crawler

WHITE REAPER White Reaper Does It Again

SINGLE OF THE YEAR

There were many but joint first….
HEALTH Stonefist

TOVE STYRKE Borderline

DAVID BOWIE Blackstar

EPs

UBRE BLANCA The Sadist

GILLBANKS EP 1

FKA TWIGS M3LL155X

REISSUES

THE THREE JOHNS Volume
Damn I love that band.

TIPS for next year

Puppy, Tigerlion, Ubre Blanca, Fawkes

FILMS OF THE YEAR

The Voices so clever, this one. Dark but curiously clear minded
Sicario utterly spellbinding
Mad Max: Fury Road
Ex Machina
Antman
The Martian
A Most Violent Year a low key masterpiece, I thought
The Lobster
Trainwreck it really is very funny
Black Mass
Avengers: Ultron
and
I dare say
STAR WARS The Force Awakens

TV
Hannibal RIP
Justified RIP
Mr Robot
Jessica Jones
Brooklyn 99
The Man In The High Castle
Blindspot
Blacklist
Marvel: Agents of SHIELD
Show Me A Hero
Daredevil
Homeland you’ll probably not belive me but this season is tense as hell and scarily prophetic

GAME OF THE YEAR
Metal Gear Solid V. I am finding it quiter hard and really very very strange but it’s sooo addictive,

Ask me after Xmas about battlefront and Call of Duty

So, yes.

That’s it.

Look after yourself, your loved ones and, from time to time, total strangers, this Christmas

And remember, next year is going to be the Year of The Album:

Radiohead, PJ Harvey, Chromatics, Bowie, Suede, Ty Segall, and many many more.

That is my Best Albums Of 2016 sorted then

So
Keep it real and buy my book. I’ve started writing another one now.

David / SIC

a rant from the heart

So the last time we felt “something needs to be done” in Syria, we were going to bomb Assad. You all recall, yes?

This need to be seen to be doing something. Cameron bravely but reluctantly ordering a carpet bombing. Will you feel better after?

We ALL know what the effect of bombing are. Once that brief spurt of Imperial Justice/Pride subsides, it must be faced.

If you want to see the actual effects of “targeted and focussed bombing”, you need only google, say, Syria.

ISIS does not have a head quarters like Amazon does. It’s not going to be taken out just like that.

frankly, even if it did, I’m sure that, given the generous notice period we’ve served, they’ll probably go and stay at their mum’s for a bit

So, given that they will certainly have scattered, is there ANY point to bombing Syria at all?

Annnd, if we do have actual SAS guys on the ground calling it in, which I suspect we don’t, shouldn’t they just take out “ISIS leadership”

IF IS actually has a significant structure + numbers, bombing Syria next thursday will not reduce them and will draw more moths to the flame

And, I’d fucking LOVE to see the MPs voting for “war”, suiting up and popping over to Syria to help directly if they feel that strongly…

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“The War On Terror is a slogan, a metaphor. It’s like saying The War on Dandruff” Gore Vidal

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and those refugees, why don’t they just fuck off home, eh? Oh, right? Yep, yep, the bombs and whatnot. #tricky

The next British terror attacks, and there WILL be some, will committed by Brits pissed off at having their family’s hometown bombed to fuck

So, unless you are shipping out yourself, then come to your senses, exercise your rights + write to your MP now http://writetomp.peoplesmomentum.com/

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Annnd, Cameron has no military strategy at all

His plan to bomb ISIS is based on “fantasy” http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/david-camerons-plan-bomb-isis-6907507#ICID=sharebar_twitter