Adam And The ASBOs coming up @ The Barfly

Adam & The ASBOs: The debut

They wear sunglasses and bandanas, and their hair messy. They waver between Darkness and early Guns 'n' Roses (the accent is on GUNs) - and they absolutely love Coldplay and Elbow (not).
They are anything but elegant and understated.

If you really wanna rock, this scary-hairy lot will hit Camden's Barfly on Saturday 27/7/13.

Check out the video for If You Wanna Rock here:

...And a bonus movie trailer here:

The Veils @ Scala

 The Veils stay, and we stay


The Veils have yet to disappoint me - either on stage or on record. Last time I saw them live there were problems with the sound, on top of a broken keyboard. It's fair to say they weren't quite at the top of their game... But they easily could have been. 

Four years fast forward at London's Scala, the band have come with their new LP (cause we always speak in LPs when we can) Time Stays, We Go (out since April) ready to prove me right.

To start with, their fourth album is a beautiful piece of work. Heartfelt, as we've come to expect, melodic, powerful where it needs be, it is typical Veils - unveiled. Train With No Name serves as a fair warm-up to the show, and it only goes upwards from there. The fervent Through The Deep, Dark Wood pops up later on, along with other 4rth-album excerpts like Birds, Andrews' lyrical confession of ornithophobia, Pearl, Turn From The Rain and Sign Of Your Love, the latter with the kind of catchy chorus that could turn it into a radio hit.

The album's key moments gracefully complete incontestable classics, like Not Yet, here purposely played in a frustrated rush. And, not to forget a minor detail, with the accompanying Jesse James Horns (I assume, at least, these are the same guys that played on record). It is a format that blossomed on the January-released The Abbey Road ep, and one that seemingly could only enhance the band's eclecticism. At a large part, it does, but not in Not Yet, fully overtaking a piano so delicate and integral to the lyrics vulnerability, transforming it into what sounded like a Tex-mex party ala Calexico to my unprepared ears. I see what the musicians saw in the colouring of the instruments, but it was still a bit disappointing. Nux Vomica, the album, that Not Yet song is part of, was a gem and possibly among my all-time favourites - electric, dramatic, poetic, accessibly unorthodox. Lucky for me, the characteristically frustrated title song came hornless, poisonous and magnificent as it's made to be.

Andrews seems to perpetually drown in vulnerability opposite his fans, possessed by a kind of sweet frustration himself, and consumed in sentiment and uncertainty (he tries to think of what to tell people before the end of each song, he says). But he is, at the same time, an authoritative presence - passionate and magnetic, and the people gathered to see him and the band -themselves pretty solid- are, fittingly, good listeners. 

When he comes back for a lonely solo on his guitar, he chooses The Tide That Left and Never Came Back -stripped of the sonic fuss of the studio version, the song is just a beauty- and a heart-breaking Lavinia - a hymn to a love past. All sufficiently building anticipation for the last, angry blues farewell: Jesus For The Jugular made for a killer ending, and it was sexy as hell.

The Veils deliver honest, liberating, occasionally downright mesmerising songwriting, so hard to come by these days. Their melodies are charged, touching and without any unnecessary fanfare. Probably that's why they don't top the charts.

They write the melodious, intimate, charming, stirring soundtrack to our lives. Surrounded by our share of screwed-up minds, we whistle - or scream something like that to stay afloat. It works just fine.

Text by rocketsInsolitude, images by The Veils tumblr - since security managed, yet again, to get hold of my camera. Godamn..

Pissed Jeans @ Electric Ballroom

The curse of being young and glamorous


Pissed Jeans
My first live Pissed Jeans live experience was one of the funniest gigs I've ever been too.

That's why I root for the band to begin with. They give you a reason to laugh (and not just smile) when you cycle to work in the morning - from their pure irony to their downright rage, they're your weapon against a world of frustration.

Signed on Seattle's alternative-punk-rock powerhouse Sub Pop, to begin with, they've gathered enough reviews and credibility to attract the hipsters, but they also scream and play guitar out loud enough to satisfy the headbangers literally hanging over the stage... barricades (in this case) at their gigs. Having seen my fare share of underground punk rock, Pissed Jeans are on the polished side in comparison. But still...

Dude, are they doing a good job as '80s hardcore descendants in a far more proper, more structured, cleaner, spotlight-hungry world. The band is a 100% fed by the spotlight-driven phenomenon it physically criticizes and ridicules, and their perfectly clean-cut, in appearances, lead singer just bathes himself in it before he gets helplessly down and dirty. He claims there's a policy in the Ballroom against such handsome men playing the stage - but "... Fuck that... We 're not cancelling". Of course not. He still has to get on with his shameless self-worship and break a few shirt buttons in order to generously offer an advantageous shot of his wobbly belly to the photographers in the pit.

He "indulges" the crowd by yelling... "I wouldn't even be playing here if someone hadn't told me it was Leeds" - claiming London doesn't hold a candle next to his No1 UK rock city in a series of shamelessly bitter remarks. Ruthless sarcasm dressed up as sizzling rock glamour goes on all night - and, inbetween, the Jeans bombard us with chaotic noise and speed.

Hookworms debut Pearl Mystic out now
Fortunately, it's noise attacks like this that help weed out the most hipster of the fans (though they're still there)... But, behind all of Pissed Jeans' cracking sense of humour, and their apparent whip-smart nonchalance, they seem a bit too concerned with the goings-on in their prevalent rock community. Four albums in (their fourth CD, Honeys, came out in February), they seem a bit more aware of their own rise to fame...They might have to spend a little more time concentrating on raising hell, and a bit less imitating NME's pretty boys to convince the true hardcore fan.

Having said that, I laughed and shook my head off that night. But I've done worse.

P.S. Just to give a thumbs-up to opening act Hookworms, who brought their own share of groovy noise-rhythms, between Jane's Addiction and Moon Duo, into the Electric lot.

Text by rocketsInsolitude, photography by Sub Pop and other quick and careless web research. 

Patti Smith & her band @ Shepherd's Bush Empire

Punk rock's A to Z

18 & 19/6

I've seen Smith half a dozen times. And I continue to be blown away.

Having her older self to compare her to (her beginning-of-the-noughties, already slowed-down self, not the '70s one, unfortunately!), I now found her a beat or two slower - it somehow seemed like the band went for a lower gear in everything. Was it my idea? Still, it would only be her age (66) she can't escape, not rules - or conformism, in any way. There's no doubt about it.

I was subconsciously worried about the younger crowd that, along with the standard oldies, filled the Empire both nights. Would they find a chance to turn their backs on an old underground powerhouse, just because it wasn't The Naked And Famous pulling tricks out of the trendy indie rock hat? But they chose her, they knew better as it was...

Smith & co chose a slightly different setlist for each day, along with old crowd favourites: Because The Night and People Have The Power, Dancing Barefoot and Ain't It Strange, Redondo Beach and Pissing In A River (what about it?!) spicing it up with the title track from her latest, Banga, and This Is The Girl, her tribute to Amy Winehouse (for me, quite frankly, one of her songs that bore me the most). Inbetween, she'd spit, joke, provoke the audience and make sure they lived up to the challenge.

Loyal to the advice she once got from poet Allen Ginsberg, Smith makes sure she is never boring - and she doesn't allow her audience to get bored either. But that's not necessarily by putting into effect some of the oldest tricks in the rock'n'roll book, knowing they have stood the test of time. It is, rather, by challenging their minds, their sense of humanity and strength to rise above. And, in that, she doesn't indulge anybody. She tells it like it is, even what risks making her less lovable. The extraordinary thing is, when you are as powerful in your attitude, soul and mind as she is, they actually get it. She has risen above herself, and she has given people good excuse to be badass. Don't you just wish we had more like her?

She stands up for the people of Turkey and Brazil fighting their cause in the streets. She stands up for her endless loves (her brother, her husband), timeless and Loveless talent - Bruce Springsteen and My Blood Valentine's Kevin Shields, her most recent collaborator.

A true force all on his own, guitar thunder Lenny Kaye takes over in a short break and rocks it out with a noisier Summertime Blues. No, there ain't no cure for the Lenny Kaye blues! That's when the younger ones in the house have no idea who they're up against, and that's when I'll insist - look him up. A massive, vitally influential figure of the New York underground scene and beyond, Kaye is not just a Patti Smith Group guitarist. He's timeless himself, and he completes his punk poetess and old friend like no other can..

Both gigs reach the end after a marathon Rock'n'Roll Nigger and Land masterfully blended into Gloria, that had the crowd jumping like mad. And this is only the Patti Smith, age 66 version, believe it or not (the people that hadn't seen her before don't believe me). Go figure.

Here's the one thing I found wrong: She's become more and more hippy over the years (reprimand). All these happy smiles and waves to the fans - I guess this is where she'd spit on me, but what can I say, oh dear, Wave's a king but extended crowd waves are really not my thing. You know what is? I saw her soundcheck twice this time. Her presence inside the band was unabashedly commanding - that's who she was when she was young and penniless, that's who she will always be. She's even bigger in my eyes.

She can go, with all her might, and salute Ginsberg's grave. Reassure him that she never, ever, gets anybody bored, still (minus a ballad or two...). She's done pretty, fucking and awesomely (in the literal sense of the word), goddamn alright.

Text by Danai Molocha, photography...we salute all those talented people on the web.

Chromatics, Glass Candy @ Koko

Retro love: Sophisticated chic VS sensual kitsch


I waited and waited outside a sold out Koko, till I got the right ticket price by an Italian student who had been stood up by his sick girl.
Lucky for me, the bands equally went for a late start.

Under Mr DJ's (whoever that was up on the decks...) insane electro-tunes, I waited some more - but, by then, I was already dancing. And when the long-awaited full chromatic effect hit the stage, the sonic warm-up turned into pure heat.

Compared to the last time they passed by London, Chromatics' lingering rhythms, moodiness and sexual tension were way more intense - the way I saw it at least. Kill For Love's stellar Neil Young cover Into The Black was there, as well as the wandering These Streets Will Never Look the Same, Candy and the title song Kill For Love (though the latter's romanticism is among the few things in the band that actually puts me off). Night Drive's namesake, as well as I Want Your Love (the luscious, retro, erotic beat of which, to me, is the essence of the band) and Running Up That Hill took things to a whole new level of... partying and brooding (if only anything could only ever top up that Kate Bush original!). And that song guitarist Adam Miller sings - don't ever let me go on without a thumbs up just for him.

The band abandoned the stage for a while, before a shy Ruth Radelet approached the mic, singing a melancholic Blue Moon under the lonely spotlight. A wonderful rendition of the old classic in an eloquent setting - but still not good enough for parts of the audience, that chatted loud as donkeys during her song.

Before we even knew it, the dj was on the decks mixing it up some more - and the beat went on...

Now, Glass Candy, I had been wanting to see them since their 2002 glam punk debut Love Love Love. And the moment was... there and then. Ida No came out in a golden outfit replete with golden blonde hair, instantly getting into her now trademark rhythm gymnastics - constantly spicing it up with her endless love love love of the world.

No is the kind of girl that, once you think she's harmless as a dove, she lets go of an ear-splitting, sinister punk scream that has you convinced that if you dare make her mad, she'll cut you up in half. A proper Tarantino rock chick. She's tiny, unashamedly sexy, passionate and wise, an excellent performer that can crowd-surf as well as keep the swinging beat. Candy Castle and Life After Sundown, from 2007's upliftingly kitsch B/E/A/T/B/O/X, were top notch.

The true hero of the night, though, was none other than Johnny Jewel, making a comeback with band No2 after only a short break. Having, in my review of their previous gig at Heaven, blamed Chromatics for a short and slightly detached appearance, I felt double as guilty seeing him dance and sweat on the synth, purposefully flirting with No and getting into the music even more than the crowd. He brings a different character, as both a producer and a performer, into each band - saving his more delicate and erotic playing for Chromatics, and his most animated, vibrant and kitschy persona for -who else?- Glass Candy.

He ended up getting carried to the stage for another encore by the crazy, restless No, who was addicted to her starstruck fans and, even after the music had stopped, she kept on crowd-surfing under the bright lights...

Man what a night. What a gig!

Text by Danai Molocha - too much into dancing to carry a camera, therefore she had to "borrow" the above pics from the web.

Sewn Leather back on track

Killer new 1-sided LP with Sewn Leather's "four latest (and yet cleanest) songs, soaked in battery acid, swallow-ready for the confusion generation". Out now on Phase! Records.

You can order one of the 200 limited edition copies w/ 1-color offset covers here.