Thursday, December 17, 2009

Link Highlight: Anja Venter

I really can't fan out to much for this installment of Link Highlight, as it's an online portfolio for some of the illustration work of my girlfriend, Anja Anja Venter draws some of the awesomest stuff your eyes could ever hope to see. This is the link to see more of Anja's radness.

Apocalypse then pt. VI

This is 6th and final entry in the "Apocalypse Then" series, gathering different people's documentation of the Kidofdoom "My Faith in War" series of launch parties.

These photos were taken by Kevin Goss-Ross from the Durban leg of the tour.

Musical Machinations. EP Launch. Go.

So the much anticipated Us Kids Know "Friendship Test" EP launch went down on Saturday. I've already written loads about UKK and their fantastic little recording, so I won't carry on about this too much beyond saying it was a very special night.

What I will share with you is some word from the band's drummer Chad, talking about the weeks leading up to the release of the EP.

You'll notice two photos between Chad's words, both shamelessly hijacked from Patrick Dineen's "The 20th". Click here to read what Patrick had to say about "The Last Party of the Decade".

So now, I am very happy to present to you the awesome self produced video for "Tick Stapping" followed by Chad's thoughts on the ordeal of making everything come together.
So, i'm chain smoking. Feeling frazzled. I'm hungover because i just needed to get away. I feel like a pig shat in my head.

And all for what, you ask?
Please ask, i've been dying to tell.

Anyhoo... It's been a rough two weeks. Or Month. Or something. I can't tell anymore. I'm getting sick of seeing Colin and The Guy From Vuvuzela Incorporation [TGFVI]. We've been busying ourselves with Musical Machinations and the EP you've all been dying to hear is on it's way.

We've been around town, scouting shops and nooks and crannies and holes in the wall, making contacts, throwing foam around, slapping it on walls, filming animal corpses on Helloween and debating whether to wear them or not, meeting the craziest, most classic, Jeppe School Boy you ever seen in your life, cut our fingers cutting foam, spent hours shut in TGFVI's flat, slept in gardens...Woah Nelly. Just busying ourselves y'know?

Apart from practicing three times a week, hard, we conceptualised a music video for one of the tracks on our EP. We spoke with the delightful Moore-Gordon team from the KRNGY Logo, we buckled down and went to The Gem with them. Slept there. Recorded there. Took out equipment to the delightful sounds of policemen shooting people with rubber bullets. We drank alot of tea. We recorded. We did some handclaps. I shook a shaker. Threw a chair off a balcony. Climbed a ladder. On Reel and DAT. And it sounds great to my ears. We also shot the Music Video.
We also got the Final Master back.
We also got sick of eachother.

And now we're almost ready to tour. And i'm tired as fuck. But you know what makes it all good? Working fuck hard makes you want it more. So, i'll slap my face some more and we'll give you the best coupla shows you've ever seen.

We're touring our EP from JHB down to Durbs. I'm going to see the sea. And we're going to sell our stuff. And rock out. All for you. Exciting innit?

Our first show starts at The Belavista Lounge on the 12th Dec. Sassquatch will be there. NathanScottPhillips will be there. So will Ampersand and Eyes Like Mirrors and Sticky Antlers. And, of course, yours truly, Commodore64. And perhaps you?

What else could you ask for?
We'll be handmaking the first run of our EP in a delightful foam folder that will sit well on your shelf. It will have 5 tracks on it. It will have our video on it. It will be the best thing you've ever owned. You will hug it and squeeze it. You will not distribute it to your friends illegally. Because fans don't do that. You will buy two copies. One for your puerto rican friend.

You will like it.

A remix or two will follow.
And we will praise you.

Your loyal fan,
Commodore 64.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ben's international top 10 for 2K9!

These were my most beloved albums, released outside of South Africa in 2009:

10. Cymbals Eat Guitars - Why There are Mountains
9. Dananananaykroyd - Hey Everyone!
8. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz
7. And you will know us by the trail of dead - Century of Self
6. Phenomenal Handclap Band - ST
5. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
4. Passion Pit - Manners
3. Johnny Foreigner - Grace and the Bigger Picture
2. Japandroids - Post Nothing
1. I Heart Hiroshima - The Rip

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Johnny Foreigner - the videos so far.

2 months from today, 3 kids will be climbing off a plane from the UK. They will stand next to a conveyor belt and wait for it to deliver some guitars with little ghosts taped onto them. The next night they'll be wielding these rock and roll weapons, ripping through the ears of dozens of unsuspecting Cape Towners.

Jo Fo's "choose yr side and shut up" South African tour is around the corner. In celebration of it being a mere two months away I thought I'd share the complete collection of the music videos the band have produced so far...

Friday, December 11, 2009

UK.2.3.T in the park - Saturday

Saturday could have been the best day of the festival for me. Considering we started our day watching M83 it's not surprising. In spite of the fact that M83 were absurdly performing at 12 in the afternoon, and that they were only given 30 minutes to play, this set was just incredible. Performing as a 3 piece with live drums and a gum chewing, synth playing girl on vocal and bubble blowing duties. The first half of the set consisted strictly of songs from "Saturdays = Youth", while the second half was reserved for lean, abbreviated versions of songs from the older albums. Awesome doesn't begin to describe what went down over the course of those 30 minutes. M83 performed in King Tut's Wah Wah tent, the same stage where most of my highlights for the day would go down. We did make excursions to the Bedroom Jam Futures Stage to see Dinosaur Pileup rediscovering the lost art of 3 piece rock and roll... ... and to catch Of Montreal doing their art-rock-theater thing... ... and to see Metronomy doing their "we could be a band Ben would really like, but instead we're gonna make everything wonky and kak" thing. At least they had giant matching light attachments. But we made sure we were hanging around King Tuts while no one was playing to be as up front as possible for one special act, Friendly Fires. Their self titled debut album was like my 3rd favorite album of last year, and they were probably the band I played out most consistently ever since Chris got me their first single, Photobooth. To say I was excited for their set would be an understatement. To say they were so good my brain exploded and oozed out my ears would be hyperbole, but only just. They were fantastic. Performing as a 6 piece instead of 3, the Fires majorly re-invented their songs. Having an extra bass player on stage obviously freed up the guy that usually does that to run around a bunch, mostly singing and doing a fair amount of percussion. But what really made the songs even cooler than they sounded on record, was the fact that the band were performing with a guest 2 piece brass section. I am so not a brass fan, for every American Football or Sweep the Leg Johnny there have been 100 bands featuring people blowing through things that have just hurt my ears or made me want to puke from cheese overload. I really don't wanna look like I'm hating on the wind instruments here, all I'm saying is Friendly Fires had brass at T and it was an awesome compliment to a seriously fantastic set. The insanity that was the Friendly Fires set, was followed by another band I'd DJed out loads and who'also released one of my top 10 albums of 2K8; Foals. No doubt it had a lot to do with the fact their synth guy's entire set up seemed to be broken. Maybe it was also because they were following up a set as inspired and flawless as FF had just put on. Whatever the reasons were Foals were a bit of a let down. They just couldn't nail the intricate mathy guitar sounds they crystalized on their recordings. Much of the time the songs sounded like lumpy porridge going into my ears, far from the shards of shattered glass I'd heard them as 100 times before. I really don't mean to make it sound like the Foals set was crap. It was totally, definitely in the top 10% of stuff i saw at the festival, just after Friendly Fires it was kinda anti-climactic. The last act we caught on the night was Nine Inch Nails. I felt pretty guilty getting to see them under the circumstances. This would be one of the very last times NIN would ever be performing live in Europe. I've never liked the band much, but having friends that have been total fanboys for more than a decade, I felt kinda like dick witnessing this last ever show in Scotland.

Without having been a fan of their music, I can say it was one of the most intense, engaging performances I saw at the entire festival. The light show was pretty much the best I saw at T. Incredibly it made use of no colour at all, just warm yellow/ white light. The lighting designer basically assaulted the audience with this massive block of light. The band members (all dressed in black) tore their way through the epic set, with this barrage of light exploding out from behind them. It was amazing. By the end of it, this is what I looked like: Face totally melted by over-exposure to awesomeness.

It was a great day.