Monday, 23 August 2010

Rhubarb Bomb Cake Recipe


When you've next got some spare time, why not bake a cake?! Its easy, fun and makes your friends very happy. For the issue 1.3 launch party i made a cake and it was pretty good (i thought). Its slightly different from a regular sponge recipe, but still nice and simple. Also, our good friend Abi has set up a cake making blog with her friend Sally - check it our here >

250g Unsalted Butter
250g Golden Caster Sugar
250g Self Raising Flour
90g Plain Flour
5 medium eggs
100g full fat greek yoghurt
Vanilla Essence
a little bit of milk

1) First, get the oven turned on, to around 150 degrees, Gas Mark 3

2) Soften the butter and mix it in with the sugar until its a nice smooth consistency. Also add vanilla essence, 1 or 2 teaspoons.

3) Put in the eggs, on at a time. Once complete, dont worry if the mixture seems too runny, it'll be fine. Add in the yoghurt.

4) Mix the two flours together, and then slowly sieve them into the fixture, folding them in as you do. Once all the flour is in you should have something much more like a traditional cake mixture. Add in about 3 tablespoons of Milk

5) Pour into a 20cm cake tin and pop in the oven for 1hr 20 mins.


I tired two options for decorating it:

a) Once the cake has cooled for about 30 minutes, get 50g of Golden Caster Sugar and a teaspoon of Vanilla Essence in a bowl. Add 50ml of water and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Then find a long thin implement, like a kniting needle, and put holes in the top of the cake, all the way through. Then pour over the syrup, letting it go into the holes. This will make the cake extra moist whilst also giving it a nice crunchy top.

b) Get 250g of icing sugar and 125g of butter in a bowl. Mix then together until you have a hard but creamy texture. Cut the cake in half, across, and spread the buttercream all over the cake, replacing the second half on top. Then, if you like, melt some chocolate and pop that over the top.

There you go, Rhubarb Bomb cake. And yes, i know it doesnt contain any Rhubarb, but im working up to that!

Issue 1.3 Launch Night - Aug 21st

Our Issue 1.3 Launch Night was held at The Red Shed in Wakefield. If you've not been before, it could not actually be more like it sounds, if it tried. It is a big red shed. No, actually, its a pretty small red shed, but we love it down there. We'd like to thank everyone that came down to support the bomb, as well as the Red Shed staff for letting us make a right old racket. And, of course the band, who were:

This Many Boyfriends

The evening had more lineup changes that i can remember at any other gig, and instead of going on third as originally intended, TMB went on first. It may have been a slight comedown for them after gracing the main stage at Indietracks and, despite losing a guitarist to an (accidental) overdose the previous night, they still managed to charm us with their upbeat Indie Pop STUFF. Got a great review in our latest issue; was also nice to see the completed packaging for the EP which contains allsorts of cool stuff, including a fanzine.


A welcome return to a much missed Wakefield band saw the two piece joined by a third on keyboard. Again, charming and cheerful, they put huge smiles on our faces!

Candid Squash

And to the other extreme; Candid Squash, our 'Endtroducing' Band this issue made some right noise with their full on Nirvana / MBV combinations. And the most pedals ive ever seen one band have. Cool

Piskie Sits

And to the lovely Piskie Sits (interviewed in our latest issue by the way!) who rounded the night off with some style. I think ive seen them play about 126 times this year and i never get bored.

Thanks to all the bands for designing some cool T-Shirts for us, and especially to the Piskies for lending us their PA and The Passing Fancy for his excellent turn as compere. After all the hard work that went into issue 1.3 it was nice to kick back with some good friends. Here's to Issue 1.4!

Photography RB or Joel Rowbottom where creditted

Leeds Festival Fringe - Aug 19th

Thanks to everyone who made it to the opening night of the first ever Leeds Festival Fringe, curated by our goodselves. There were two gigs on in Leeds, an acoustic do at The New Conservatory and RBs handpicked selection at Carpe Diem. We had a lovely time and would like to thank Mickey and his team for putting the whole thing on and the staff at Carpe Diem who were absolutely lovely. And, of course, to the bands:

The Spills

Got things off the a cracking start, playing songs from their brand new 'Smoke Signals' EP, which got a crackin review in our most recent issue.

Mi Mye

Jamie Mi Mye fiddled alone, playing his wonderful and wisftul tunes, minus his usual backing band. It was a lovely treat and makes us all the more excited for his upcoming album

Runaround Kids

We'd booked them way before they ended up winning Futuresound and claiming their place on the Leeds and Reading Festivals, so it felt like quite a catch to have them join us. Another blistering display. For an interview with them, see our latest issue.

Standard Fare

Fresh from a tour of NYC and surrounding areas, and from a festival season including Latitude, Indietracks and SXSW, Standard Fare were as fantastic as ever, songs new and old mixing together in a set that had 'classic' written all over it from start to finish. We love 'em. For an interview with them, again, see our latest issue.

Thanks to all who made it down. For more info on the Fringe Festival, go here:

Friday, 13 August 2010

Shrag Interview- Indietracks Festival 2010

Melissa Greaves Interviews the exceptional SHRAG at Indietracks:

MG: So to begin, what are your general feelings about this weekend so far, how’s it been for you?
Steph: Really fun
Helen: It’s been amazing, I’ve sat on a fake horse at 4am and had arguments about Joy Division and stuff in the campsite. Yeah, and we arrived just in time to see ‘Allo Darlin’ playing as the sun was going down, and it was kind of, incredibly emotional and lovely . It’s just been great, it’s a really nice atmosphere and we’ve got a lot of friends here.
Andy: I’ve enjoyed the twenty minutes that I’ve been here, it’s been fantastic so far.
S: Has it been emotional for you so far?
Andy: Oh, it has.
MG: And how would you rate that emotion on a scale of one to ten?
A: An eleven.
MG: And are you guys big train fans, or are you just here for the music?
H: Massive train fan, no seriously I am actually because I can’t drive.
S: You’ve got every episode of Thomas the tank engine on blue ray.
R: No one in the band drives so it’s an appropriate festival for us.
H: Yeah, we spend a lot of time on trains as well because we rehearse in Brighton but two of us live in London.
S: Actually, we’re sick of trains! At least we don’t have to pay for these ones.
R: We can’t afford a van, so we often go to gigs on the train.
A: Can we do a non train festival.
MG: I saw you play here two years ago, since then you’ve jumped up the line-up. Would you say that as the festival has progressed, so have you?
H: Well, we were just saying, it’s lucky for us the way this has happened because we’ve just got the new album coming out, so it’s good timing. Yeah of course over two years we’ve progressed.
S: Hopefully we’ve got a bit better.
H: The proof will be in the pudding tonight.
R: You’re not allowed to get too good for this crowd, or you won’t fit in. If there’s not enough mistakes, it’s not lo-fi enough.
S: People get angry if you don’t fuck up enough.
MG: Do you think you might headline this festival at some point?
H: I doubt it, we tend to plateau don’t we.
S: We’re splitting up after this gig actually, that’s our surprise.
R: People reform especially for festivals, we disband.
H: No, we’re not splitting up. Are we…
MG: Have you been doing any other festivals this year?
S: No just this one, we don’t really get asked to do festivals. We did Off Set last year.
R: Yeah, it’s only one festival at a time isn’t it?
S: One per season
A: We’re really milking the festival season.
MG: You’ve got a new album out, can we be expecting a tour at some point?
H: Yeah in October, it’s meant to be coming out on the 4th of October, so we’re planning a UK tour around then. Then hopefully we’re going to America, just applying for visas at the moment. So potentially October should be busy.
MG: And will you be playing Leeds/Wakefield on that Tour?
H: Yeah we like playing Leeds.
S: Yeah Leeds is great.
A: I used to live in Leeds, and I haven’t been back, I spent years playing in bands there, but since I’ve been playing in Shrag, we haven’t played there.
S: We can expect a big Andy following when we play there.
R: We used to play there a lot.
H: Yeah the Brudenelle Social Club
R: Joseph Wells, the Lady Fest thing.
H: Yeah, we’ve always loved playing in Leeds.
R: We played Wakefield on a Monday night, that was a highlight
S: I think people actually left before we came on, it was a school night and a lot of the people their we’re really young. I think they had to go home, to go to bed and get ready for school.

MG: Right now let’s talk about your songs and the lyrics. The song ‘pregnancy scene’ isn’t a very common topic for a song, what inspired the lyrics to that song?
H: Steph had just joined the band, and it was around that time a lot of our friends seemed to be getting pregnant. Both of our friends did that, so I think we were just moaning about it.
S: I’d just bumped into someone who told me their girlfriend was pregnant, and we had a practice and I just remember walking off like “Everybody’s fucking pregnant”.
H: We thought we’d write a song about it.
S: We couldn’t say it to their faces.
Bob: It would’ve been a bit harsh to express our disgust to their faces like “errrr disgusting”
S: “What you doing that for”
MG: Have these people heard this song then?
S: Yeah, I don’t think they’re aware of it.
B: “This is to all the mothers in the house”
MG: Okay you’re video for ‘Talk to the Left’ features a pretty impressive dance routine, who choreographed that dance?
B: I’d like to claim the choreography credit for that, if I may.
S: We were all round Helen and Russell’s the night before, and we had to do this video the next day. We had no idea what to do, so Bob was like “ Why don’t we do a little dance routine for that”, that’s as far as we got. We all thought it would be hilarious if we all had black t-shirts with an arrow actually pointing to the left.
H: Just to ram it home.

MG: So where does the name ‘Shrag’ come from?
H: We used to live in, well we all met each other in Brighton. There’s a big apartment block called Sussex Heights, Bob had a flat more or less right at the top, well it was, but just not the pent house, so yes the name emerged the ‘Sussex Heights Roving Artist Group’.
R: Was it roving because you had to move?
H: No we just put that in there.
B: It would’ve been Shag otherwise.
S: A lot of people think it’s Shag anyway.
R: I do worry about t-shirt sales, I think we need to come up with an image, or something, and make the word slightly smaller, because not many people would want Shrag on their chest from a distance.
H: There wasn’t really much thought into it
R: We didn’t really think we’d last more than two years
H: We didn’t think we were gonna make a record
S: Never thought it was gonna be on a t-shirt that’s for sure.
B: We never thought we’d have to explain it to anyone either.
R: Least of all my Mum, that didn’t go well
MG: Why, how did she react?
R: I think she just mentioned my age and tutted, or it was probably just worse actually, just humouring me like ‘oh right!’

MG: If you could any song by any band, what would it be?
R: ‘I’ll do anything for love, but I won’t do that’
S: Anything by Meatloaf
H: Me an Leigh-Anne the old drummer always wanted to do ‘Walk of life’ by Dire Straits, but the others wouldn’t do it. Odd Box records are putting together a Prolapse covers record, they’ve asked us to do it, so I’m hoping we can get that together at some point.
R: We’ve had failed attempts at a few Orange Juice songs.
H: We covered a Bright Eyes song
B: The Manics did that as well, I think of a cover and either The Manics or Placebo have done it.
MG: What would you’re dream festival line up be?
B: Can they be dead?
S: Seems a bit mean just to wake them up for my pleasure.
B: I don’t know, I’ve seen some of my favourite bands reform, I saw the Velvet Underground reform, and I thought they were terrible, I mean, they’re my absolute favourite band ever and when I saw them I was just so disappointed.
S: I think ESG, they’re always good
R: I’d get Michael Rother in, I saw him in Spain and that was well good.
H: Suede
S: Sonic Youth
B: The Fall
A: Boredoms, Jeff Mills
B: Yeah yours is more ATP isn’t it
S: Maybe Alvin Stardust and some fella from the 60s
MG: Would you be on that line-up as well?
H: Oh yeah definitely, we’d have to headline

MG: You’ve supported bands like: The Cribs, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, who’s been your favorite band to support?
H: I’d probably say The Cribs, we’ve done two full tours with them, and like we got to play London Astoria before it got closed down.
S: It’s all about what we get in return really isn’t it?
H: But they’re just really very sweet, funny people and we always have a good time.
R: And we get to see a world that the likes of us shouldn’t be allowed in.
H: The first time we did it we didn’t have a clue like, how to be professional or anything and they still invited us back.
R: A hidden joy is being able to start really early like half seven. It was good because you did your stuff, and then walk off and get drunk for the rest of the evening.
H: Pretend to be famous
R: Every time we’re like an hour later on the bill, and you’d want that, but we’re like ‘Aw I wish we we’re playing at seven, I’m too drunk.’
S: Seven seems to be our perfect time to play. We’re just drunk enough, but not overboard.
MG: Are you looking forward to your set tonight?
H: Yeah, really excited, we’ve never played on a outdoor stage before, bit nervous but yeah just mainly really really excited.


Mark E Smith Interview

Extracts from Transcript 'Rhubarb Bomb and Mark E Smith at Balne Lane Working Mens Club'. For the full exclusive interview please see issue 1.3 of Rhubarb Bomb.

Rhubarb Bomb: Peter Hook has done a spoken word tour, don’t know if yr aware, he’s done a book too, went to see him at Wakefield Theatre and this is what he said – he’s ‘found a way to make a future out of talking about the past’. What do you think about that?

Mark E Smith: That’s not bloody news is it.

RB: Is that the opposite of what you do?

MES: (Still pondering) Is that what he says? Tsshhhh, he’s a weirdo int he?

RB: Can’t sympathise with that at all?

MES: A mate of mine in Salford, he got a copy of the book for nothing, he read it, said there’s summat about me in it. He rang Peter Hook up, I said you don’t have to do that! He got his private unlisted number, and said how dare you say that about Mark, I said you dint need to do that y twat… but erm, but he is, he’s bitter and twisted… I could tell y some stories…

RB: You can if you want…(no response) have you had many run ins with him then?

MES: No no, I like him, but all he’s concerned about is the past, it’s true what you just said. He just goes on about Tony Wilson all the time, (Exasperated) Tony Wilson’s DEAD! But erm, I shouldn’t tell ya this… another mate of mine he got (laughs cheekily) He was working on the Hacienda when it shut down and he got a load of panelling, the floor. Japs buy it for £70, a panel of the fucking Hacienda dance floor. So he had about 5 or 6, he had about half a dozen, so he made up some himself… (laughing almost uncontrollably)… Peter Hook is selling Hacienda floor, for £75 and this fella I know was selling it for £25! So he got a lawyer on him… and they bought him out for all his pieces, but half the pieces aren’t even real ones!

RB: Bet he weren’t happy about that!

MES: He doesn’t know does he!? He just gets em and signs em, sells em to Japan.

RB: That really is just making money off the past int it?

MES: Damn right. Least he’s honest about it. So what else was he saying? Bet that was depressing. How much you pay for that?!

RB: Well, it was ok, it’s a well known story that he tells int it…

MES: Yeah the Joy Division


RB: Sorry to keep quoting the book, coz I know you can’t quite remember it but…!

MES: I’m interested to hear it….

RB: …But you say in the book ‘lads under 35 are empty of wonder’.

MES: (laughs dismissively) Ghost writer there. I don’t remember that. That’s terrible that.

RB: Were you saying that people these days get it handed to them more, coz they don’t have to work as…

MES: Nah… I don’t think that. I don’t actually agree with that… not empty of wonder. I think young people get a hard time. Definitely

RB: From the media?

MES: Its a load of shit - compared to when I was 17.18 on the dole, you couldn’t walk out in Salford and Manchester without getting yr fucking head kicked in. Its not like that NOW. Demonisation of em…


RB: In reference to John Lennon, you said you found him a bit arrogant, because he was always playing as the artist, you said “it’s more important to be a man than an artist”

MES: (enthusiastically) Yeah!

RB: Can you elaborate on that, what do you mean by that?

MES: Well it’s an old saying, its not one of mine….

RB: Do you think with you, people confuse the man and the artist?

MES: Definitely. I think…. If there’s anything wrong with arts in western civilisation, It’s very self appreciating… . Its not really doing its job, to get back to the point you made about the topicality of the LP, I think that’s the job (mock posh) of an artist. I don’t think of myself as an artist though, I’m a singer, I’m a writer…

RB: That’s quite a grounded attitude would you say?

MES: Yeah, course we’re not U2 or anything, people think coz yr underground you are an artist, I never really think that way. I could do. And I could live as a rich man, loads of mistresses, and all this, but it’s never appealed to me, it’s a pointless exercise.

Interview and Photograph by Dean Freeman

Issue 1.3 has arrived

The new issue of Rhubarb Bomb has now been completed! Ive been out on the moped today, in the freezing winds and sporadic downpours i'd like to add, delivering them to all your favourite places.

Issue 1.3 is 40 pages of joy and wonderment. We've got exclusive interviews with Mark E Smith, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Standard Fare, Slow Club aswell as chat + pints with two of our favourite Wakefield bands; Runaround Kids and Piskie Sits. There are articles galore with artists as diverse as Captain Beefheart and David Tattersall covered, as well as the usual reviews, regular columns and comments.

And as ever, its free. As of this second (August 13th, 16:00) you can pick up a copy at the following places:

Wakefield: The Hop, Inns of Court, Henry Boons, Trad Music, Diamond Studios, Balne Lane Library & The Art House
Leeds: Crash Records, Jumbo Records, Carpe Diem, Adelphi, Northern Guitars, Paper Scissor Stone, The Hop & Dry Dock

As of tomorrow there will be more in: Brudenell Social Club, Nation of Shopkeepers, Packhorse & The Well.

Then next week we will be posting them further affield. I'll update the facebook page with all the venues when i manage to get down the post office.

As ever, any feedback, questions, queries or problems, email us at

Thank you!

Dean + all RB contributors x

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Issue 1.2 Record Reviews

Record Reviews from Issue 1.2


Synthy and sweet, With No Certainty is a dreamy, lo-fi, electro-pop song about life and speculation over the existence of fairytales. Victoria’s voice is like a prettier sounding Lilly Allen, adding the necessary amount of clarity to a strange blend of synthesisers and samples. Although this song may sound a little odd at first, it’s definitely a grower.

There’s A War provides the same amount of lovely, heart-warming vocals, just less bizarre noises, for the first three minutes at least, but still an interesting song, and an interesting sound. What’s Your Face is again lovely and futuristic all at the same time. In fact, its possibly that simple juxtaposition between the innocence and sweetness of Victoria’s voice, and the playful obscure-ness of the synthesisers that makes Victoria and Jacob so great. Melissa Greaves


You’ve gotta love the creativity behind a press release, sometimes there’s more goes into it than the actual music. Whether The Loves’ leader is truly “the Welsh equivalent of Mark E Smith” or simply an extremely careless chap who has had 31 different bandmates come and go since 2000 is unclear at this stage. Musically the result is a 3-track EP, where each song could feasibly be the work of a different band. Such eclecticism works in this format, after all B-sides on singles and EPs are generally where a band indulges there more experimental tendencies.

I’d wager that opener Sweet Sister Delia most accurately sign-posts the band’s core sound, with its sugar coated repetition of the title quickly lodging in the brain. The layers of handclaps, female backing vocals and organ further ensuring it remains there. Low is a very different beast, with its minimal strumming rapidly bringing the listener back down after the previous e-number binge.

God Saves Our Souls, as you may detect from the Tony Ferrino school of wordplay influenced title, is very much the joker in the pack. A tongue in cheek country & western homage that has more in common with an Anthrax B-side or Tenacious D’s Greatest Song In The World, than what has preceded it.

The EP is the aural equivalent of a three course meal then, with each dish coming from a very different part of the musical world. Andy Whittaker


On Flashbacks The Lodger have created their own self contained world. The guitars are clean and delicate, the drumming often features the singular tap of a snare or floor tom and the whole thing is given elegance by the occasional flourish of brass and strings. Musically they have created an album that is at times jolly, at times grandiose and at times can be tense and claustrophobic, their seems to be an influence of late Belle and Sebastian, and 'Flashbacks' recalls the majesty of The Universal by Blur, another band who created their own world.

The lyrics are very earnest, dealing with the complexities of relationships. Added to the nature of the music, I think the Lodger have made something that suggests the vitality of what is ordinary. In the Lodger's world even the most mundane event is grand and dramatic. I like their world. David Cooper


With one album already under their belts, Elks’ awe inspiring second album Boy Wander provides a raw, raucous, angst fuelled experience. Getting off to a flying start, Cocksure is a raw and ragged rock song, and is sure to have you nodding your head from the off; sounding like a (pleasingly) less polished Biffy Clyro - effortlessly brilliant. It’s real back to basics punk rock, and it’s pretty damn good. Daily Commute is an explosive track with a brutally awesome riff, sneering drums and an angsty recall of singer Rob’s journey home, as he screams “I’m not a crazy man, I just wanna go home”. Genius. Roma Roma is just as angsty, full of raw energy and awesome vocal delivery.

Showing their calmer side with Captain, which is slow to start, with enticing vocals and nostalgic guitars, then speeding up towards the end providing the energy you’ll have come to expect by this point. Final track Rounder certainly doesn’t fall short of the mark, with a glimmer of Sonic Youth style experimentation and raw Nirvana sounding bass lines. It’s sheer brilliance, just like the rest of the record. Melissa Greaves


The first thing that strikes me about this demo is the confidence. Its high energy, in yr face. There’s a mass of influences going on here, I’m hearing Prodigy, Arctic Monkeys, Offspring, generic Ska, and occasional nu metal horridness, covered in studio polish. Though I’d say it strays towards a slightly cheesy production, a Prodigys ‘Their law’ guitar sound all over it. Some initially interesting synth, which would seemingly show the ‘90’s Rave’ influence on their sound, quickly becomes very annoying and repetitive, mainly due to the unsophisticated melodies it produces. Melody is a problem across the songs - hey it doesn‘t have to be all jingly jangly! - but it needs some invention. Its all a little juvenile and simplistic and that goes for the lyrical contribution too. The demo is at its best when it pushes the extreme ends of their sound: The heaviness of the rhythms on closer ‘Believers in Descendents’ benefits from the light and shade they create, whilst the end of ‘Well this isn’t Texas?’ suddenly turns interesting with the introduction of a trumpet and a Muse-like gallop.

Im not sure if this is a demo or an EP. As a demo I think it is a great document showing the bands influences and where they will be likely to go in the future. It shows musical ability and passion, but as a whole it ends up being less than the sum of its parts. The song writing is too weak for it stand up as an EP in its own right. Its one thing been an exciting live band - which I sense these guys really are - but that doesn’t always transfer well to record. On this occasion the bands clear sense of fun and enthusiasm aren’t really infectious, but with the passion they clearly have, it certainly could prove to be in the future. Dean Freeman


The Ran-Tan-Waltz; a Kate Bush song as you may recall. Aside from that, and being one of the most exciting bands north of Watford Gap, their recent self released EP Them That Help Themselves Do Themselves More Good is an absolute corker.

With atmospheric drumming, and catchy as hell riffs Beat Generation is, well, just that really, catchy as hell. Declaring “Them that help themselves do themselves more good, and I would help myself if only I could”, above a perfect mix of Television-esqe guitar playing and Joy Division style drumming. However the highlight of this awesome EP is Tripartite Crossfire, lyrically it’s in a class of it’s own; “growing up is painful, being aware of your displacement”. And that voice! Fuelled with passion, it’s magically distinctive; enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Throughout guitarist Matt Fletcher stamps his mark as a potential great, think Johnny Marr, Johnny Thunders; that kind of great.

With their array of talent The Ran-Tan-Waltz also offer a winning charm, and if there’s any justice in the world they’ll be the biggest band in Britain before the years out.Melissa Greaves


Clinically titled ‘EP3’ is a genre blending science experiment with good results. One part machine, two parts man, the trio mix together all manner of musical styles and sounds to create something not necessarily ground-breaking, but definitely something forward thinking.

Even down to the ambiguous track titles, this music is born from the IDM pioneers of 90s Warp and the fusion artists who followed. Three Trapped Tigers sits comfortably between 65daysofstatic and Battles, but still retains a unique, (if not slightly confused) voice. Clipped beats, delicate keys and synth pads quickly morph into crashing acoustic drums and epic rock noise, (the good kind) and back again… or into something entirely different.

Take a one minute slice of TTT and you’ll have heard it somewhere before, but give it half a chance and you’ll be questioning whether you’re still listening to the same track. On occasions it feels a little forced and with multiple ideas competing to be heard, it can sound lost, but with a repeat listen or two, ‘EP3’ begins to make sense. And in doing so becomes an intelligent, complex, solid piece of work.

TTT is difficult to pin down, (especially with little-to-no vocal content to grab on to), but for future music lovers this works in their favour. ‘EP3’, for many will be a refreshing change to the usual band-wagon “alternative” music we’ve heard before. Adam Hayward


You have to wonder if Mondo Cane were/are aware that their chosen moniker has also been selected by one Mike Patton for his latest venture. In fairness they probably weren’t, but it immediately handicaps them. With any of Patton’s previous bands, be it Faith No More, Fantomas or Tomahawk, the first thing you’re guaranteed is that it will be embellished with his mischievous personality. So for a band issuing their first EP to use such a selling point as its title is stretching things.

Musically Mondo Cane’s grunge school of dynamics is competently played, but ultimately lacking any real spark. The pick of the bunch is Stranger, where the song builds up steadily before baring its teeth and cutting loose. Sadly subsequent track Dr Fernandez is just too predictable in its quiet/loud contrasts. It’s like they’ve heard Heart Shaped Box for the first time and directly applied its formula in an almost robotic manner. At three tracks this would have been a fine release, at four it’s 4 minutes 46 seconds too long. Andy Whittaker


Dead Mellotron's sound is one of repetitive, fuzzy guitars which take on extra force with each strum and pounding, forceful drums. They recall such epic greats as Amusement Parks On Fire and My Bloody Valentine. They have made a decent record. It would be nice to hear them take everything to extremes though, they could do with more aggressive guitar workouts, lyrics sung with more passion or vulnerability, more sections of blissful, sun kissed guitar noise. When everything comes together, as on the uplifting, shimmering Eulogy the music is pounding and satisfying. It just doesn't hit the emotional highs that it could have done. David Cooper

MAY 68 - MY WAYS Hit Club Records

May68, named after an explosive month in French history, took inspiration from the French situationists when plotting their own revolution, aiming to provide an antidote to Manchester’s musical malaise. My Ways is an energetic effort, think Blondie meet’s Kraftworks with a slight hint of Daft Punk. It’s definitely an interesting mix, making for an upbeat, fun sounding pop song.

B-side The New You starts with a catchy bass line, followed by electro pop synthesisers, and bongo style drumbeats. You can certainly picture yuppies dancing to this track on a Technicolor lit dance floor. The lyrics are a little repetitive on this track and it all begins to seem like a bit of a gimmick. The Duke Is Dead (Egyptian Hip-Hop Remix) is far less interesting than the first two songs, falling short lyrically once again. All in all, if you want to dance, it does the job. As far as taking over the world is concerned, I’m afraid it’s not quite up to it. Melissa Greaves


'Scratch My Back' is the first half of a collaboration with alternative artists old and new. The idea: Gabriel covers his favorite songs, and each artist featured covers one of his, those featured here are still preparing their versions for the predictably titled second half 'I'll Scratch Yours'.

The album opens with the untouchable Heroes, an ominous string section pulls the listener in before eventually collapsing into a lavish, blushing accompaniment to Gabriel's stark and restrained take on Bowie's lyrics. However, it's Gabriel's revision of Elbow's Mirrorball that brings things up to date and gets things going. Strings swell and drop, as his lead vocal builds until finally letting rip for the first time, a sense of relief for this listener who, until now was expecting a slow and similarly pitched record. Keeping things modern, Gabriel takes on Bon Iver's Flume, another bold choice considering the original's tender delivery, but it remains safe in Gabriel's hands, peaking dynamically in all the right places. The first real highlight comes from The Power of the Heart (Lou Reed), Gabriel's tender rendition of this underplayed classic is complimented perfectly with restrained strings, muted horns and brilliant dynamic variation before dropping and allowing the simple piano lines to play out to the end. Another stand out rendition is Arcade Fire's My Body is a Cage, spun out over a purely gothic-backdrop glittering with Gabriel's deathbed-croaks before exploding into an imperial funeral march before dropping again to a string-sweet closer.

The Book of Love (Magnetic Fields) is the album's first flop, good melodies, great string arrangement, but it feels twee and soppy next to the previous tracks. Later, Regina Spektor's Apres Moi is given a baroque tinged makeover, as Gabriel lyric-jumps between French, Russian and English, all delivered in his signature semi-whispered tone. The album closes on Street Spirit (Fade Out) (Radiohead) and by golly, he's outdone Thom Yorke and co. on the miserable stakes... Avant-garde jazzy pianos, and ominous strings are draped around the half-spoken/half-sung vocal taking this song into an unhinged and unfamiliar realm. I'm unsure about this track, and even after several listens still can't get used to this bizarre take off...

Without it's second half the album feels unfinished and I would certainly like to hear the featured bands taking on Gabriel's material, but he has managed to create new and unique revisions here. Stylistically it's a vocally led, orchestral album (Scott Walker Lite if you prefer). It'd be easy to label this a vanity project, but all I see here is one esteemed songwriter paying tribute to brilliant musicians, and I for one quite like that.

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The highly anticipated second album “We're On Your Side” following from the bands ground breaking 2007 album “Private Cinema” seems to encompass the same organic and raw features from their previous record. Instruments are unhinged yet cleverly intertwined to create a brilliant journey like sound. As the listener, I have this strange image of a mad scientist with little pulleys and timers, tiny screws and hammers. The hand clapping and fuzziness and percussion of each song progresses to give this fantastic blur and you just don't know what is going to happen next and when the song will end; drum beats into flute, into horns into what seems like a completely acoustic, one on one performance for their listener. It is mad but very intelligently put together and is certainly worth a listen. Jack Falcon

Avi Buffalo – Avi Buffalo - Subpop

Shimmering sunshine music straight from Cali-forn-i-a, Avi Buffalo is the debut album from a bunch of hip kids from Long Beach. According to the website there’s a real buzz about the release... The write up is really ‘sceney’ and is packed with name drops and references I don’t understand and it all makes me wonder if the music, like certain aspects of the scene, are all style and no substance. Debut shows at a vegan restaurant?! Its a world away from Wakey.

On the first track, the vocals slide in like a wave rolling up the beach unexpectedly and it feels nice. On the second, it’s like walking hand in hand on a tea time stroll. This feels good. All the songs are tied together with simple, but accomplished electric guitar lines, but which betray the youth of the band. It feels like an acoustic breeze. What makes the record though is the warm backing of male / female choral singing and subtle poppy organ. After the optimistic start, unfortunately some of the songs pass by quite uneventfully. Blending and drifting into one another as if you’re laid snoozing on the beach. However, the shorter songs with a change of tempo are good and make you stir and sit up to listen closer. And particularly the change of tone and pace on ‘5 little sluts’ makes you take notice again. Good lyrics.

If a little meandering at times and containing some underwhelming ‘long songs’, this is a solid debut. Avi Buffalo need know to find the guitar excellence on tracks such as ‘Truth sets in’ and the lyrical step up of ‘summer cum’ across the board to ensure the listener doesn’t drift off to a very lovely, but very sleepy place. ‘One last’ is the stand out track for me: If Lily Allen was a better lyricist and had wrote CFNIA instead of LDN. The organ threads the choral singing needle to hold it all together and then electric guitar fades along like a sunset.

The album is over, like the summer day is ended, Like Emmy the Great if she had grown up in California instead of the Downs. Like the Thrills if they’d have stayed in Santa Cruz another year. Slower and more hazy than both, yet certainly great though, and thrilling in parts; the sound of the summer 2010?? Not quite, but I’ll take it with me on my ipod on the beach. If you like your music sun drenched and steady this is yours.Paul Bateson

Issue 1.2 Live Reviews

As the new issue is nearly ready to go, here is 'Wall of Text' Live Review from Issue 1.2.

We came across Lucas Renney twice in recent months, first at Henry Boons in Wakefield where he performed tracks from his ‘9 out of 10 in the NME’ album, Strange Glory (he cheekily repeated that fact at least twice). Tonight he plays his sad but dryly whimsical songs alone, his Mackem charm holding the audience throughout. He was supported by St Gregory Orange, possibly their last show for a long time. Despite this, new tracks like ‘The Party’ benefit from some fairly post rock noise terrorism in the closing minute and are impressive. Apparently they will return, albeit in a completely different form. Lucas popped up again supporting Field Music at Brudenell Social Club, who were promoting recent album (Measure). They played an initially bewildering set, first coming across like The Phantom Band’s elongated ‘jam structures‘, the second was an update of Ob-la-di Ob-la-da, with full on McCartney wandering bass. Then it went all 70’s prog, with an (intentionally?) bad funk breakdown section. And the fourth was some ‘Boston’ / Elton John twinkly ballad mash up, that sojourned into a ’Low’ era Bowie style stomper. Bizarre. But eventually the cleverness of what they were doing came through. Excellent song craft, but maybe too much ‘head’ and not enough heart. The Passing Fancy, expert at making you feel good about those bad, boozy times returned at Bodega Bar with a reworked set. He was joined by Jamie Roberts, recently finalist at the BBC 2 folk awards on Fiddle and Mandolin. Good to see folk music with a sense of fun, the spritely tunes benefited greatly from the additional staff. Piskie Sits held their launch night at Escobar, for new single ‘Churp Churp’ (praised last issue). It seemed every band in Wakefield came out to wish them well. For the first time, in terms of decibels, they sound like a six piece. Its thunderous. Whilst it feels like I’ll have to wait for the a new record to hear the nuances behind it all, it makes for a thrilling evening. The ever entertaining Imp popped up too, joined by Runaround Kids guitarist/singer George. Again, a much noisier raucous sound than usual, but still one of the best live bands around at the moment. Sam Barratt of Nine Black Alps offered a delicate acoustic set too that was surprisingly engaging. New Chemikal Underground signings Zoey Van Goey played a free gig at Oporto in Leeds . Based in Glasgow, it was a hugely entertaining evening, with genuinely warm banter and big smiles. Zoey Van Goey completely surpass my expectations and pull out a storming set, of intelligent, feel good unashamed pop. Its hard to pin down their sound exactly, there’s a certain folk element, but its about a million times more than that. They remind me of The Delgados in a way, not musically, but in their ability to craft marvellous pure pop moments from deceptively simple ideas expressed without sounding cheesy, contrived or insincere. Best new band we’ve heard, without a doubt. Finally, reliably wonderful ‘On the Ride’ promotions put on another stormer at Wakefields Red Shed, with a pleasingly crunching performance from Mi Mye, a sweaty, jolly, brand of joyous fiddle-y folk noise, along with The Tailors, adoptive Wakefield legends (they like to record up here) impressing with beautiful renditions from their recent album ‘Come Dig Me Up’. And then Tiny Planets, who simply improve every single time we see them, which is scary coz they are already astounding. Treecreeper rounded things off. Admittedly RB was pretty drunk by this point, but the album sounds amazing, well worth a look. RB