Tuesday 18 February 2014

Parquet Courts Live in London

Parquet Courts are based in Brooklyn, New York. The band formed in late 2010 and consists of Andrew Savage (lead vocals, guitar), Austin Brown (guitar), Sean Yeaton (bass), and Max Savage (drums)
It was good to see their third UK show this year. They played 17 songs (half old half new) and the packed crowd loved them.
Above & Below are photos of their young fans who told me the show was "Awesome"
Camden Town's Electric Ballroom has been going for 73 years. Bands who've played their over the years include Joy Division, The Clash, Madness, The Smiths. http://parquetcourts.wordpress.com/

Thursday 6 February 2014

Q & A with Sohrab Crews

"Extra Life" is a 60 page book contains 25 recent monochrome drawings by the very talented Sohrab Crews. The book, which is available on Amazon, includes an essay and interview by Paul Carey-Kent. For more info: www.sohrab.co.uk
The Rebel: Has being an artist helped you be a better person or made the world a better place? Sohrab: "I'm not sure, it depends on what you mean exactly by a better person. My personal hope is that those who see my work gain some joy, pleasure or interest from it. Perhaps in a very small way the work can enhance peoples lives, though I don't think I'd say it makes the world a better place."
The Rebel: What was the last drawing or work you made that really excited you? Sohrab: "I think an artwork that particularly interested me was the 2012 sculpture titled "173 Jones, The Baby Moggy" (please see the sculpture page of www.sohrab.co.uk). For me it was quite an ambitious piece, a life size dancing figure surrounded by a collection of ceramic cats. What excited me about making the work was the fact that I was experimenting with structure, space, objects and colour. I tried to bring together these elements to create an amusing hybrid being."
The Rebel: What was the last exhibition you saw that inspired you? Sohrab "Perhaps an obvious choice, I would have to say the 2013 Biennale in Venice, parts of which were really fantastic. I also enjoyed and found inspiration in the recent Bronze show at the Royal Academy and the Postmodernism show at the V & A."
The Rebel: Does the best art come from looking at nature? Sohrab: "Yes, a huge amount of brilliant artwork is inspired by or abstracted from nature. Many have said that art is merely the imitation of nature. Art can come from looking at the man made. Pollock famously said "I am nature". The Rebel: What are your favourite books, plays, poems, songs and films? Sohrab: "I am currently reading Memories, Dreams, Reflections by Jung which I am enjoying. I like William Carlos Williams poems, African music and the film North by North West."
The Rebel: What parks or streets or places in London do you like to walk in - what are your favourite buildings in London?" Sohrab: "I like to walk in Hyde park and Kensington Gardens, Hampstead Heath. Probably an obvious choice but I would say St Pauls Cathedral."

Mikey Georgeson & The Civilised Scene LIVE Sat 15th of Feb

"This is the place to be to banish that post-Valentine ennui!" Mikey Georgeson will be playing live songs from his forthcoming (March 2014) album 'Blood & Brambles' with his band the outstanding Civilised Scene. They are ably supported by Simon Love & The Old Romantics whose new album is due out later this year on Fortuna Pop. Admission is free, but to support the amazing Kids Company charity we are having an Art Raffle. So far there are pieces from Mikey Georgeson, Eddie Argos, Lee Maelzer, Jackie Clark, Tisna Westerhof, Julian Wakeling, Kirsty Wood, Paul Good, Victoria Charlton, Daniel Lehan, Paul Tecklenberg, David Martin, Melissa Alley,Emma Edmondson, Sarah Sparkes, Joanna McCormick, and Calum F. Kerr. Action Painting Action-Man, and Team Beswick and Pye, More to be announced! All monies raised from this will go directly to the charity. As usual we'll have the pop-Z pop-up shop at the gig so you can buy Mikey's 'Candy Floss' single and maybe even a pre-release copy of the new album!!! DJing inexpertly will be Mac with expert DJing by Simon Love so groovy sounds shall abound. Tell your friends! Tell your enemies! We love everybody!! Time: 8pm Address: 114-116 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3AH.
(ABOVE: Painting of Camila Batmanghelidjh by Team Beswick and Pye (2014)acrylic and enamel on canvas in wooden frame. just one of the amazing art prizes up for grabs.)

Wednesday 5 February 2014

20 questions with Mathew Sawyer

(The amazing Mathew Sawyer will be headlining a special London show on Thurs 24th of April which also features Piper's Son and a special guest appearance by Vic Godard. More details to follow very soon indeed.)
1) Where did you grow up, was your childhood a happy one? Mathew: "The majority of my childhood was spent living not far from Hampton Court Palace. I was very much taken with the image of Kathryn Howard as a ghost, running up and down the corridor for eternity, desperately pleading for her head not to be chopped-off. My best memories are of fishing with my dad."
2) Can you remember how you felt when you were accepted by The Royal College? "Awake. My girlfriend at the time woke me up to open and read the acceptance (or rejection) letter to me. It could have gone either way, but getting accepted woke me up pretty quickly".
3) How did you become involved with the Television Personalities, did you enjoy the experience and are any of the songs on the album you recorded with them as good as the band's early stuff? "My pal Graeme was a friend of Dan's, and played with the TVP's before dan became homeless and went missing. When he surfaced again a few years later he was doing some time in prison, he'd been in touch with Graeme and was looking for a band. Graeme played bass and he got me in on drums. It was fun for quite a while, then the fun all fell out quite rapidly and I left. If I was going to put on a TVPs record, I'd pick up The Painted Word or ...And Don't the Kids Just Love It, but all Dan's albums have great songs on." 4) (I read you recorded your last album at home) What do you think it's reasonable to ask a label like Stolen or Fire Records to provide an artist with? (So few people buy music full price) what advice do you have for new bands wanting to get signed to a label? "Although I've only got good things to say about working Fire - I think the label and the people there are brilliant - my advice would be release it yourself. Don't sit around waiting for someone to do it for you."
5) I enjoyed the Protest & Survive exhibition. Do you feel more political as you get older. Do you think young people don't believe protest can change unfair laws? "Culture is precious, you have to take care of it, and not let it be dictated by profit driven entities smothering it with things that have the equivalent nutritional value as a happy meal. I'm appalled at seeing Mumford & Sons, Keane, Coldplay etc. on the telly, pulling those colonoscopy faces for each song to reassure you they mean it. I think they’re hideous, lying, sacks of corporate shit. Coldplay should be minced, and force fed to Mumford & Sons like fois gras geese until they burst. All art and music is by default a political statement. If you endorse a single second of Mumford & Sons, you may as well vote BNP."
6) Vic Godard told me he has sung your songs live. Who else has done covers of your material / which of your songs would you most like to hear one of your favourite bands do? "Vic Godard performed 3 songs from my first record live a few times. Watching him sing these songs was my greatest musical accolade to date. I was made up, as I'm a big Vic fan. Particularly his song 'Make Me Sad', which I think I ripped off the chord progression for an early song of mine. Not telling you which one though."
7) Are you happier on stage with a band behind you? Is is less nerve wracking if it's just you performing? "Most of the time it's much more fun and less nerve racking with a band. But then, when you play alone you don't have to practice with anyone, be in time with anyone, be in tune with anyone, play the song in a particular structure, or stick to a set list. So there's a lot less opportunities to make a mess of it all. You can drift in and out of consciousness, if you like, it might well be awful, but you're not tied to anyone else. Best musical advice I ever got was if you make a mistake, repeat it." 8) Do you have a favourite and least favourite lyric on your new album? "It would be a lie to say I do. But I enjoy singing 'I spent the afternoon drunk collecting feathers', in the song Feeeeling. As it's something I do occasionally in order to make a sculpture". (http://www.mathewsawyer.co.uk/art/sculpture/19_drunkfeathers.jpg) (https://soundcloud.com/firerecords/mathew-sawyer-feeeeling) 9) Who were you art heroes? Which painters inspire you most now? "My art heroes were, and are, Ken Kiff, Jiri Kovanda, Pierre Klossowski, Cy Twombly and Matisse this week. And last."
10) If you were asked to compile a 10 track "Best Of Mathew Sawyer" which songs would you pick? "I don't think I'd do that. The last record Sleep Dreamt A Brother had 10 songs on. That'll do." 11) Which instruments do you intend to learn how to play one day? "I have a piano in my flat - it's an old school one. I played all the piano on the last record, but not very well. I'd like to learn to play it with ease. At the moment it sounds a bit like someone playing with boxing gloves on."
12) Are all your paintings ultimately self portraits and are all your songs ultimately about you? "Yes, I think this could be argued quite convincingly. But also with most other people's work though. And I think this 'about you' business is a bit strong. Because it's 'from you' it's impossible not leave some some of your psychological DNA on it, consciously or not. Maybe it's more correct to say they're 'about your experiences', rather than YOU. Oh, bloody hell. But yes, I'm guilty."
13) Which politicians do you respect and admire? "I've yet to have any politician convince me to respect and admire them."
14) Do you have holidays? Or breaks where you're inactive? "My girlfriend, Vasso, is Greek. Every year we try to go to Kefalonia, an island her granddad was from. It's my favourite place in the world. I'd like to move there one day. Swimming in the sea in Kefalonia is my happiest place. You've never seen red or blue or yellow until you've seen it under the light of the Greek sun!"
15) Are your songs getting darker and gloomier? "Every album I've made, I've said to myself the next one is going to be much more upbeat, that was just a phase etc. the next one's going to be the party record - you'll see! It hasn't happened yet. Although I'm convinced the next one WILL be much more upbeat - a party record - you'll see!"
16) What can you cook and are you good about the house? "I'm pretty much useless. As anyone who's ever lived with me will attest to. Legend has it (started by me) I make a good fish pie. I don't think I've made fish pie in at least ten years. I do make a good gin & apple juice based cocktail, I call a Smithy. And I do like to take off outdoor shoes when I'm in the flat. There's a lot of disgusting stuff out there."
17) Whose opinion on your work do you take most notice of? "Mine first, then Vasso's, then probably Scott King's. I don't know many artists socially, and I don't tend to discuss my work with anyone." 18) Are there any songwriters your age that you feel inferior to? "There's a zillion brilliant songwriters around the age of 36. But whatever they write, and however brilliant I might find it, it's not what I'd do. And they couldn't write my songs either. The point is, that's what mainly motivates me when it comes to writing songs, or making art: Making something that is unique to ME. Arriving at some thing, or place, taking a particular route that no other fucker on planet earth would have taken. Finding your fingerprint before your time is up. I like individuals, hate crowds, crowd mentality. I don't support any team, I'm not patriotic, I like islands, I like people on a one to one basis - then they're beautiful! What I'm trying to say, I'm failing at. Don't feel inferior to others, it's misguided. Love and respect what others do, but staying true to your own vision means it's a one horse race. Let's face it, every time you close the front door there's no certainty the world doesn't shrink like a crisp packet in the oven, you may well have imagined all this nonsense - even these failing words!"
19) Has the death of a famous person (John Peel, Kurt Cobain etc) made you cry? "No. I don't personally know any famous people that have died. I felt quite heavy when Vic Chesnutt and Johnny Cash died. I made a poster about my not wanting Johnny Cash to die when I heard how ill he was, called 'Don't Ever Die Johnny') http://www.mathewsawyer.co.uk/art/digital/JOHNNY.jpg ). It wasn't too long after my dad had died and I'd split up with my girlfriend. I was listening to Johnny Cash all the time, day and night it seemed. His music was a big help to me. When I found out he'd be dead soon I thought that was one step too far. NOT JOHNNY CASH!!!" 20) What's your idea of beauty in nature? "The sound of Canada geese calling as the fly overhead. Drifting in and fading away as the flock gains distance.
Mathew is having a solo show at Spacex, opening 19th May 2014. This will be his first solo show in a public gallery "'Sleep Dreamt A Brother'" is available on Fire records. For more info: www.mathewsawyer.co.uk

Monday 3 February 2014

Q & A with Sam Knee

Sam Knee is the man behind "Scene in Between" a splendid book filled with rare photos of Indie legends in their youth. It also features postcards from Morrissey and interviews with members of The Pastels, Heavenly, and My Bloody Valentine.
The Rebel: Edwyn Collins has always insisted that Vic Godard is a genius. Do you rate him? Is it true to say Vic was the first musician to wear Oxfam suits etc Sam Knee: "I think it’s fair to say that Godard was the first to wear Oxfam suits in the new wave era, at least to wear them with an understanding and appreciation of the past whilst simultaneously inventing a new template of style for the next generation to form sartorial foundations from. So yeah I’d go as far to say he’s a pioneering style genius. Dontsplitit is one the trebleyist moments of 78 and a personal fave rave along with the O’level 45’s from the same year."
Collins and Alan Horne set up Postcard Records. Can you remember when you first heard about them and what do you think is the best record Postcard released? "I didn’t become aware of Postcard til after it’s demise. It wasn’t until my sister started dating a new boyfriend who’d just been evicted from his bedsit on Southend seafront and moved in with us for a year or so along with his vast record collection. The singles virtually filled the entire floor of her bedroom, sprawling out in piles of yellowing photocopied paper. This would have been 1983 and a delight to my teenage eyes. Many a day was spent laying on floor idly thumbing through the mass of vinyl, selecting a couple at a time to then roll across the room and plonk on the record player. I recall enjoying the instrumental b side to ‘Falling and laughing’ quite a lot as I thought it sounded vaguely like the Milkshakes, who I was well into at the time. I must admit the A side didn’t grab me too much although thought they looked great on the sleeve and in many ways more 1984 than 1980."
Did Alan McGee kill rock and roll? Before him young people played music their parents hated. Creation fetishised the 60s and spoiled everything. Discuss. I don’t think Creation’s responsible for killing rock n roll, it was on the cards anyway. If anything it breathed life into it’s decaying corpse for a couple of years until terminally overdosing on youth apathy around 88 when the whole E bollox culture came barging in and the return to rockist values with the rise of grunge and return to pre punk heavy rock. Yuk. How difficult was it to get your book published / do you have advice for kindred spirits? It was surprisingly easy. My publishers daughter was attending the same nursery as mine, we got talking at the fete one afternoon about the possibilities of an indie style bible, and here we are. What's been the nicest response you've had about the book so far? I haven’t heard anything negative yet strangely enough, everyone seems to love it. I’m quite looking forward to someone giving it a real slating to balance things out. I hear you're asking people for photos for a voll 2 - would you like to see my photos of Julian Cope, The Cramps, Edwyn (where do we send them)? Yes, please send any 80’s indie pics to sceneinbetween@gmail.com Also on the lookout for any film footage of bands/ people/ places from those days for my documentary. Get in touch Are there any young bands you respect or feel excited by? Not really, I exist in a 60’s to 80’s bubble that’s refused to burst, and all the better for it. I’m sure there’s cool stuff going on somewhere, but as a middle aged man it’s really none of my beeswax. What is your fave song by a) The Pastels, b) Felt, c) Primal Scream Pastels fave is probably Baby Honey predictably enough, the long version with raga guitar ascensions is truly psychedelic. "Felt would have to be Index the elusive first 45. Solitary guitar racket from a mumbling Lawrence in a bedsit in Brum somewhere circa 79. Primal Scream. Their debut single All Fall Down and an absolute fave of mine to this day, perfect 66 Love style jangle.
Have you ever chatted with Morrissey / would you like to? And did you buy his autobiography? "No I’ve never met him. When I worked in a high end vintage clothing store in San-Francisco in the early 90’s he came in with his band and splashed about $10.000 between them on original 50’s denim and gabardine etc. I kept out of the way and just bagged stuff up, whilst the shop owner delivered the big spiel. I was bought the autobiography for Xmas and ploughed through until it got to the Smiths demise and boring legal wrangles." Do your family like your book? "Yes they’re thrilled. My mum even gets a photo credit." Is it good being Sam Knee? It’s red with purple flashes
Scene in Between is published by Cicada Books.