Thursday, December 30, 2010

RIP - Bobby Farrell (Boney M)

Don’t feel much like writing at the moment but I did make a kind of 2010 list for the i94 if you care and if you haven’t seen it already. Normal service? Who knows...

RIP - Billy Taylor

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

Looking to get a head start on your New Year's festivities? Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. returns to the newly refurbished back room of Otto's Shrunken Head for New Year's Eve Eve action! Fare thee well, 2010 -- and welcome back Otto's!

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 30th / OTTO'S SHRUNKEN HEAD / 538 East 14th Street (just west of Avenue B) in Manhattan / Two most festive shows, from 8pm sharp until 10pm / No cover!

Happy snowy holidays to all!,


Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co.

"Ballads, Boogies & Blues"

RIP - Teena Marie

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A festive missive from Sir Thomas Phobic...

The PhobicsDeptford Calling

Formed in Deptford Fun City, south London, a few years back by a bunch of punk survivors and misfits with a love of raw rock n roll and bored with a smug and complacent music scene.

The band DNA? Well, Punk destroying the moral fabric of society and running riot the UK in 1976, NYC's rock n roll underground of the 70s, Detroit’s finest revolutionaries and dozens of 60’s and 70’s garage psychos.

As if we need to spell them out; Ramones, Pistols, Damned, Dead Boys, Heartbreakers, Dolls, Real Kids, Stooges, MC5, Motorhead. All this and more, you know the score. When sex, drugs and rock n roll meant something other than corporate rehab...

The sound? Think Ramones and the Heartbreakers kicking the crap out of each other as The Roxy burns and the Damned serve up the drinks. Sometimes tight, sometimes not. Occasionally sober but always eventful.

The Phobics have gigged and caused chaos with kindred spirits like TV Smith, Johnny Moped, The Briefs, the Vivians, The Vibrators, The Star Spangles, Peter and the Test Tube Babies, The Bermondsey Joyriders, The Plague, Menace, The Cherry Reds, The Parkinsons, The Stalkers , Chlorex Girls, Viva Las Vegas, The Meteors, Ed Tudor Pole, Johnny Throttle, Thee Graverobbers, Zombie Met Girl, The Fallen Leaves, Lone Sharks, The Bucha Effect, Monkish, The Duel, Thee Faction and John Otway amongst others.

“Deptford Calling” will be released in January 2011 on CD and later on a very limited vinyl run of 150 – watch out for some tasty album launch gigs and more, give yourself a musical kick up the arse with 12 great tunes that’ll hook you deep.

Contact or


"Electric Hero" by Caddy is an unassuming item. The entire album has been played, produced and assembled by Tomas Dahl who did time with T*rbonegro and now bashes them drums for the mighty Twisteroos. I was fortunate to meet him some weeks ago in Madrid and he crossed my palm with this fine selection of tunes, released on the Diner Junkie imprint out of Buford, GA. This Norwegian fella has taken extract of Redd Kross, Teenage Fanclub and Imperial State Electric and come up with a veritable power pop cracker.

Take a dusting of ELO, Beach Boys and the glammier end of Hellacopterism and I wouldn’t be sticking my neck out to suggest that regular NBT types wouldn’t LOVE this. A one man Fountains of Wayne/Weezer, fans of those bands will find solace in “This Good Feeling”. It’s chock full of that radical dynamic twist but done like The Shoes.

The cable motif on the digipak is a simple declaration of the content. Everything about Caddy is understated except for the contents of this excellent debut.

And while we’re on an “understated” kick, The Britannicas self titled set on NJ label, Kool Kat Musik peddles some of the same influences, in particular TFC. They also employ an NRBQ/Skeletons device (“The Girl from Malasaňa”). In my opinion, the “band” name is terrible and the artwork isn’t doing it for me either but the content is what counts. As it turns out, these “Brits” are three guys operating from Stockholm, the USA and Australia to put together their take on anglophile pop that always seems to shimmer better when it comes from outside this sceptic isle.

I was so relieved to find out that they didn’t sound like The L*bertines and the homemade nature of the tracks add a certain character just like “Black Vinyl Footwear” did all those years ago.

“One of these Nights” is not the Eagles song but rather a neat little number that could easily sit in a Rubinoos set. That should go some way to explaining that we’re not dealing with musical chopped liver here - even when it all goes a tad Flaming Lips.

So while we’re cruising the pop avenue, you ought to be aware to the point of having renewed your sub that there’s a new Bucketfull of Brains out. #76 includes a Chuck Prophet cover story and also a Kim Salmon interview. At 2 quid a scud, I don’t know how they do it but they do and it’s important that they can keep on doing so.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The bunker has been kind of out of commish most of this week. Normality is gradually being restored but it’s taking longer than anticipated. I’m looking at all this weather shit that’s happening “dahn sahf” and thinking about how lucky I was to have got down and back for the Bambis last weekend. I’m also mulling over how sad I am not to have gotten down to see Amy and Eric this weekend. Still this time next week it’ll be Boxing Day. I’m hoping that there won’t be too much more in the way of this snow stuff before mid-day on Christmas Eve. Then it can do whatever it chuffing wants. I’m off into Edinburgh now for a last tootle around some shops and the Friends of Filmhouse event. Complete with mince pies and mulled wine, it kicks off a little after noon. Very civilised.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This is great.

Thanks to Marc Campbell and Peter Holsapple via facebook.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

... and while we're at it, the new EP is JUST back from the pressing plant. GRAB IT!

Bollocks to facebook campaigns for alternative Christmas Hits and all that pish. Support a proper seasonal effort, like Lola Dutronic.

Inflation rises unexpectedly! No shit Sherlock. Perhaps “unexpectedly” is pushing the envelope of credibility a touch too muckle. We’re being kneecapped fiscally and it’s set to get worse when 2011 comes creeping in. The bunker is in a state of flux. Disarray plus. Day one of the boiler saga has been fraught.

All the weather crap of the past couple weeks has conspired to leave everything out of whack but at least it’s happening. The aftermath is what concerns me. Much as I’d like to embrace the “everything happens for a reason” premise, the actuality gets my goat but a perspective needs to be sought. Hell a snow plough came around this lowly area this morning but I’m praying that the forecast dollup of show will give us a bodyswerve. At least until January 4th-ish.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Inspired by a posting by Dunsy on facebook...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Where to start? Did I dream London or did it actually happen??

The Luminaire is a great venue and quite unusual for das capital. For some reason, it’s about to become the latest casualty of this sick climate where cool places disappear and the stinkers flourish. There’s even a notice in there indicating that idiots that talk during a bands set will be ejected. An action that should be mandatory across the country. In keeping with the quality of the venue, the people who work there and the crowd were top notch also (hey Jasmin, hey Mr Boris) . At this point, kudos should be heaped upon Mariajane (of TPBR) who made the entire prospect possible.

The Penny Black Remedy struck me as something that could fly. An Arcade Fire meets Gogol Bordello via Strummers Mescaleros take on Joe Ely kind of deal. Their main problem is perhaps that they have to convince the people who like those bands that there’s room in their hearts for them too. A ska angle offsets their “Never mind The Balkans” folk aspect so that altered kilter might work in their favour as might an appearance on something like Jools Holland.

There was no danger of anyone being able to yap during The Bambi Molesters. Their UK debut underlined their greatness and rubber-stamped the firm belief that this isn’t a surf band. Of course they embrace elements of that but their cinematic soundscape takes the calibre of instro-mental to a whole ‘nother level of intensity. Augmented by brass and keyboards (Luka from My Buddy Moose) this is a big, big sound that ebbs and flows and utterly immerses the audience. When Lada told be that they’d play for 90 minutes I was a bit worried that might be too long. As it was, it passed in a flash and proved to confound the onset of ADD element that has come to pass in recent times. And let’s face it there are so many bands that don’t have 20 minutes worth of material let alone 90. We’ve all had to suffer them, right?

Aside from the fact that it was a gas to have them here in the scabby old UK, the dynamic of how they play is what sets them apart from the chaff. This is intenstrumental music where the dynamic underplays to maximum effect. Their control and subsequent flexibility is along the lines of Robert Johnson and Punchdrunks where the currents can be at once calm and choppy, just before the squall. It's the atmosphere.

Dalibor and Dinko’s guitars create a wash for the rhythm. Hrvoeje’s drumming seems to calibrate the balance. This guy is from the Nick Knox/Bill Bateman/Leanne Cowie style of making every hit count. No flash fills or overplaying just concise percussion with Lada’s bass completing the storm. I would hope that somehow or other they’ll be back over this way soon or hell we should just go to them. What the hell is there to stay here for anyway?

I wandered through a relatively deserted Camden just a little before 5am on Sunday morning. Pondering if what I thought happened happened. According to other witnesses it did, so a big shout out to all those that made the night crackle and pop. My recent hit and runs on “the London” have been taking their toll but I was just relieved to have gotten there given that the weather has been wreaking havoc and is said to be just about to do so again.

If it could just hold off until January 2nd or thereabouts then I’d be obliged.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Not long back from "the London" where The Bambi Molesters gave The Luminaire a right royal pasting of the cinematic instrumental variety. I need to gather my thoughts. Heck, I actually need some sleep but we'll see how that all pans out in due course.

Shocked to read about the explosions in Stockholm and hope that none of "the massive" were affected by these f*ckers.

Friday, December 10, 2010

If you're looking at this via facebook you have to select "view original post"...

It's the Seasonal Vibeke Stramash in old Oslo tomorrow night at the John Dee! Oh, to be there... but that don't mean you can't be and The Dahlmanns are playing too.

And if you can't (and really I'm not going all Derek and Clive on you) , you can still get some mulled, heart-poppin' pop stylings of a Christmas nature by my dj tag team partner from the good offices of Pop Detective.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Are you gonna be there at The Luminaire on Saturday?

Weather permitting, I sure as hell will!

Mr Tjølsen sent me this link the other day and being that it's Icelandesque outside the bunker it seems fitting somehow.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Wild conditions here in Glasgow, we are open of course.

We are extremely pleased to announce this year's Project Ability show which brings colour, vibrancy and excitement to the walls of Mono. This year's show features the work of Tommy Mason, one of the founding members of the artist-led group, Artrek & Friends, who has been with Project Ability since 1990. The exhibition opens on Thursday 9 December from 7pm with performances by Alasdair Roberts and R M Hubbert and International Airport djs. There will be raffles, prizes and a small shop full of handmade original items. This is a free event.

There's a record we've been enjoying a lot since we got a promo of it back in September. Charles Douglas, The Lives Of... on small Manchester imprint, Broken Horse is a real curio. It first appeared on the No.6 label in 1999 and after selling out its pressing disappeared. Douglas is a smart, deadpan New York City kind of guy who writes hilariously about this doomed record in the sleevenotes – Mo Tucker on drums and production, Kurt Ralske (UVS) and Dean Wareham couldn't save it or the group from their own junkie fate. But what they left behind is a nugget of a record; classic, melodic scuzz in the great style of the Modern Lovers, Jim Carroll Band and inevitably, the Velvet Underground. In the end - a winner.

Monorail Film Club returns on Sunday 19 December with seminal horror, The Omen presented by filmmaker, Gregor Johnstone who will also be screening his own short, I'll Be Right Here. GFT, 7.15pm.

This weather is providing hands-on survivalist training if nothing else. My shovelling skills have improved as has the improvisation of getting the car out of stuck situations using a spade and some random cardboard. It’s all a bit Blue Peter (not rhyming slang). Should be thankful for small merci’s though because at least I’ve made it to work and back (thus far). Some folks have been stuck on the motorways overnight as the freak conditions get evermore freaky. It’s minus 15 and plummeting but that’s nothing compared to what other countries have to deal with in winter.

The people at the sharp end of the authorities are fending off a barrage of complaints and the frustration of disgruntled punters. It’s the management that’s woeful but that’s par for the course in my experience. I just completed another spell of trying to make the bunker accessible, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of a gritter/plough being sent around here anytime soon. Them’s the breaks and I hope I ain’t tempting the fates here, so far nothing is broken. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not big on disruption even though I’ve been known to cause it on occasion.

Photo by Lewis McGowan from the BBC website

Sunday, December 05, 2010

What's on *your* shopping list for this holiday season? How's about the economical solution of "ballads, boogies & blues" -- from Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co.! That's right, three more *free* shows this month, sure to please even the most finicky folks on your gift list. Well, those with moderately good taste, at least. Happy holidays from SIT & Die Co.!

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8th / RODEO BAR /375 Third Avenue (at the corner of 27th Street) in ol' Manhattan /Two slightly seasonal sets, from 10pm sharp until 12:30am / No cover! Plus, further into the shopping season...

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 19th / BRUNCH at SUPERFINE / 126 Front Street (at the corner of Pearl Street) in DUMBO, Brooklyn /Three warm and satisfying sets, from noon sharp 'til 3pm / Delicious food -- free music! /Reservations recommended: 718-243-9005 /

And, lastly, for a head start on your New Year's Eve debauchery... THURSDAY, DECEMBER 30th / OTTO'S SHRUNKEN HEAD / 538 East 14th Street (just west of Avenue B) in Manhattan /Two cork-popping shows, from 8pm sharp until 10pm / No cover!

Happy holidays, Michael
Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co.
"Ballads, Boogies & Blues"

P.S. For those who like leopard, here's a festive pictorial from our last show at Dances of Vice's wild "Jungle Rock" party!

The Ronnie Spector show in Edinburgh at The Picturehouse next Saturday (11th) is cancelled.

The London shows at The Jazz Cafe are still on though.

Fatboy are back with another instalment of premier twang that would immediately be right at home on the True Blood soundtrack. They’re capable of doing bad things to you but with the best of intentions. Entitled “Overdrive”, there is no Bachman or Turner but plenty rockabilly thrills.

It’s not easy to evoke a tangible mix of The Mavericks and The Cramps with shades of Isaak and Orbison. The songs are great and their sense of dynamic sets them apart from most every team of roots rock weirdoes. On the surface it all seems very traditional but there’s a three dimensionalness that breathes fresh life into their swingin’ rattle and roll.

The title cut builds on the notion of Deep Purple’s "Highway Star" as cut at Sun. The opener “Bad News From Pretty Red Lips” is something that Lux could have sung and would be easy to compare to Jace Everett’s TV theme. What I like about Fatboy is that they don’t operate in a claustrophobic pigeonhole. They’re kind of combo that should be on (inter)national TV, cutting a swathe outside of the Jools Holland clique. “What Would Elvis Do?” they ask, well it occurs to me that he might want to jump on stage and join in. A concise 10 songs , in – out and a fair amount of shakin’ it all about with a side of panache.

That brings me to a guy who might just be Scotland’s best kept secret, Mr John Miller. There are a number of individuals from up this way that seem to have a higher profile but in my opinion aren’t fit to be mentioned in the same sentence. So I won’t. “Still Carrying A Flame” is the latest by this onetime Radio Sweetheart, abetted by his Country Casuals and the first release by Charles Staines’ Folk’n’Western Recording Co. imprint.

It seems like a lifetime ago that Sid Griffin and I were standing watching The Sweethearts in Glasgow’s King Tuts. They were playing “Living Without You” and this was a song so potent that it had to have been a cover. But it wasn’t. Incidentally, this set features a revisited version of “Take Me Back To San Francisco” another song by John’s old combo. He is also accompanied here by his old amigo, the ubiquitous Sir Francis of Macdonald.

Contagious country that takes the odd foray into the outskirts of western swing then, in addition to tidy songs, John’s voice is a vital component. He’s a veritable Don Gibson and I think that “Take It From Someone Who Knows” could sit nicely on roots radio alongside “Sea Of Heartbreak”. These tunes tug on the old ticker pretty darn good. One thing’s for sure, this guy deserves to a be a lot more famous than he is. When those galoots that think they can write come to their senses then they might yet beat a path to John’s door. I sure hope so. And I really wish he’d cut a definitive version of “Living Without You” because the Swing Set version is good but this is still an anthem in waiting in the opinion of these ears.

The Stooges are playing the Evolution Weekender in Newcastle Upon Tyne, May 28th 2011. (Thanks to Rob for the heads up, I imagine some of you will be keen to attend?)

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The increased hit rate might be down to the launch of the heinous talent contest that continues to take our name in vain. Whatever. I’m more perturbed about the snow business debacle and hope this taste of true winter might abate until mid-January or something. I’ve spent 8 hours over the past few days digging the car out and by this time tomorrow I might even be able to get it out of the drive. If not then I’m likely to be going no place fast. Or wait, I’m already on that road and don’t exactly relish the reminder.

Anyway, I’m trying to keep moving for fear of seizing up. Not being used to manual labour – I’m feeling the strain from shovelling snow. Makes a change from what I usually use that kind of implement for but not my pastime of choice however, needs must. During daylight hours tomorrow, I hope to be writing about music while listening to it, something of a novelty in recent times.

On an art kick, a friend directed me to the work of Ken Bastard. I’d seen his stuff before in Juxtapoz because I recognised the Pete Townshend piece but I hadn’t seen the Johnny Ramone painting. In addition to musicians, he does a nice line in twisted – many with a smoking bent.

More tomorrow – if I don’t get up from here then I’m likely to require surgical removal from the chair.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hmmmm, strange that November should be the highest hit rate ever and possibly the least activity-wise for me. The reasons for this are varied and not about to be dragged through this particular neighbourhood. Inclination is another aspect, the nights have fair dawn in to the point that it’s pitch fucking black when I leave the bunker and pfb’er when I return. Generally spark out in front of the idiot box by 8pm til about 11pm and then I can’t sleep so a rather irritating cycle is taking place.

I don’t remember snow this bad since about December 1979. It was rough last year around Christmas but this takes the cake. Compared to other countries it’s nothing but this one just isn’t prepared and never will be. This morning I got out of my drive and immediately got stuck. If it wasn’t for a neighbour and a taxi driver then I’d possibly still be there. This is the earliest period of disruption in my living memory and it’s causing a considerable amount of heartache. Wonder if there’s a way to claim against the council for not providing adequate services?

The economic situation is bad enough but what if a person has had to drop wages because the country is so poorly equipped that it can’t keep things moving?

For instance, Sweden gets many more times the pummelling and things keep rolling. As of this point tonight, Central Scotland is pretty much goosed. Expectations fully delivered.