https://blankeditions.bandcamp.com/album/not-a-cell-phone-in-sight-just-living-in-the-momment

Back in the heartland days of the U.S. punk scene, it was normal for labels to build an identity around a particular city or region – hip hop has a lot of the same focus: maybe it’s a consequence of the vastness of America that location forms a core approach to defining belonging?

Blank Editions does a great job of documenting the remarkably creative swirl taking place in Stoke Newington. It was a real surprise to me, having long since decided that London was a black hole, that there was still something culturally alive taking place so close to the dead centre.

One of my favourite gig moments this year – god it’s nice to be so surprised I couldn’t stop giggling! – was catching Camp X-Ray (CXR) at Rough Trade in Bristol. I’d been about to leave, but Eva Prinz told my girlfriend that we really had to stay to see these guys. Wow. Stripped down and sharp instrumental presence but their front man…I’d seen him at Thurston Moore’s 60th birthday, this sharp, angular, slightly stern looking bloke – and he’d been around all evening. Performing, imagine Iggy Pop blurred into Mick Jagger’s stage moves and English tone, moderated by 2010s awareness of the rules around physical contact and courtesy to audiences. He was magnificent! Dog on a leash, straining at the limits of how far his mic cord would let him go, mic stand wielded, lyrics declaimed directly into the faces of the semi-circle of audience staying resolutely an inch out of his reach except when one brave soul or another would allow themselves to be dragged into the shaking, shivering, pogo’ing, braying, snarling, beautiful punk dance. I couldn’t catch a single photo where he stood still enough to seem real – most of the photos I took he’s genuinely a ghost – there’s the outline of where he’s transparent or the mass of his body is already a blur half a foot away from where his body begins. Brilliant.

Anyways! They’re on the sampler.

Camp X-Ray_Rough Trade_24Oct18

https://campx-ray.bandcamp.com/album/hard-time-killin-floor-blues

 

 

Advertisements

https://www.outsideleft.com/main.php?updateID=1593

In fun stuff, Outside Left’s ‘Nick Soulsby Week’ finished with a piece on my five most hated records. Surprises? Probably not. Radiohead! Foo Fighters! One Mogwai album! Nicki Minaj’s latest letting me down! Then, my worst of all-time is definitely that horrendous ‘Duets’ album they released a few years after the death of The Notorious BIG. Bleugh. It’s nice to think of one’s worst rather than one’s best, to have to explain and justify why such a visceral reaction. Hope it amuses. Could I have made it ten? I think it would have taken work to make it to ten! My feeling is it takes a lot to make something worthy of dislike rather than just ‘nothing’. There are a lot of nothing records out there, a lot of music that just ain’t for me but it’s fine if someone else wants it (re: I missed the entirety of The Smashing Pumpkins’ career and trying to look back it just made me shrug)…Hate takes some work.

I would add The Weekend’s album Starboy on in a heart beat – I think it’s the most disappointing thing I’ve listened to ever – but I didn’t want to repeat myself for Outside Left!

http://www.wordsandguitars.co.uk/2016/12/the-weeknd-starboy/

Swans_Classic Rock Review_Dec 2018

Nice to the David Stubbs review in December’s issue of Classic Rock – a neat and to the point hundred words though I was a bit surprised to see Jarboe brushed over as merely Gira’s “ex-lover”…I mean…Jeez. Jarboe did say to me that she was antagonised by rock press tendency to reduce female artists who happen to go out with another musician or to be in a band with another musician, to simply appendages connected to the ‘real artist’ (who must, of course, be the male) – I know there’s a limited number of words available but it still felt like an unnecessarily reductionist description of Jarboe especially in the context of a book that makes clear what a vast power she was within Swans.

 

Outside Left_Nick Soulsby Week_Nov 5, 2018

https://www.outsideleft.com/main.php?updateID=1592

Just posted at Outside Left today – a brief account of some of the incident and amusement of the 1986 Swans tour. So much of what Swans was at it’s peak and was to become was becoming clear at this point – sound palette expanding, interest in dynamics overcoming the pure interest in brutality, the ongoing experiments in the potential of volume as a sonic experience, Jarboe’s arrival as a key component of what Swans ‘was’…

Speaking at the Louder Than Words Festival in Manchester at 10am tomorrow morning so good night and all the best.

Outside Left_Nick Soulsby Week_Nov 5, 2018

https://www.outsideleft.com/

The charming crew over at Outside Left (https://www.outsideleft.com/about.php) are hosting a week of interviews, book extracts and random thoughts drawn from my mind…Which is nice. I really enjoyed the ‘personal worst albums ever list’ as a thought exercise (yes, I put Mogwai and Foo Fighters on it), and it was fun teasing out another book extract exclusive, plus interviews can be very enjoyable – they just rely on an openness to being an honest and questions that have had some energy committed to them. The nervousness a lot of people have now about being confronted, I’m not a fan, I think everyone reads better and comes across better when there’s a humanity and on-the-spot realness to what they’re expressing.

Hope it’ll entertain and a big thank you to Paul for proposing it!

https://soundblab.com/reviews/books/21112-swans-sacrifice-and-transcendence-the-oral-history-nick-soulsby

This review was loaded with phrases that made me smile – I’m pondering  “Gira is the catalyst and cataclysm” because I think I really love it. Likewise, the spot where Kevin Orton states “…the overall picture painted is as epic and heroic as a Delacroix.” The latter has sent me off to view Delacroix’s work and to get a grip on the depth of meaning there.

What really makes it for me, however, is that – when I’m doing oral history – I want people to ‘feel’ what it’s like to live this kind of life. The fact that Orton can see his own musical experiences in what Swans go through, that really delights me. I don’t write to remove or delete the magic, to ‘lift the veil’ or anything so unromantic, but I do want to make sure the humanity comes across in all it’s glorious, or brutal, or grim, or comical, or majestic, or dull day-to-day hues – all of it. Because, to me, that’s what real life is like.

 

http://www.trebuchet-magazine.com/the-tyranny-of-the-beat-pt-i/

I was honoured to be asked by Trebuchet Magazine (thank you Kailas and Naila!) to contribute a brief article to their website…And I totally failed them by contributing a lengthy rant instead! Luckily they’re kind people and found enough of substance in my growling that they were happy to publish it as a two part discussion piece.

In essence, have you noticed how inescapable ‘the beat’ is? In a world of infinite possibility how limited the possibilities used actually are? I’m not talking absolute rejection but I like the thought that my world might be limitless rather than limited by unconscious design.

http://www.trebuchet-magazine.com/tyranny-of-the-beat-pt-ii/