Monthly Archives: April 2015

Album: Blood Command – Funeral Beach

2012, Fysisk Format

2012, Fysisk Format

  1. Pissed Off And Slightly Offended!
  2. March Of The Swan Elite
  3. Cult Of The New Beat
  4. Death To All But Us!
  5. Wolves At The Door
  6. High Five For Life
  7. Here Next To Murderous
  8. True North
  9. Corpse Reviver
  10. Oceans Inside Neptune
  11. Funeral Beach

Blood Command are a Norwegian trio, comprising of Yngve Andersen, Silje Tombre and Sigurd Haakaas, and Funeral Beach is their last album, released in October 2012. There’s nothing very much on their website, or any other social media outlet that I can find, that suggests they have done anything since, which is a shame.

Now, I was surprised by this album for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I tend to approach any band that gets labelled as ‘punk’ with a slightly raised eyebrow, and secondly, I don’t really groove to female vocalists.

I’ll just qualify that before I get shouted at; there are great female singers who I do like. Off the top of my head, there’s Björk, Alison Moyet, Annie Lennox, Tracy Chapman, Charlene Spiteri, Madonna, Pat Benatar. Now that’s out of the way; I’m really sound-sensitive, and more female singers annoy me than entertain me. Looking at that list, I’m fairly sure if I was to do a scientific study, I would find that there is a particular frequency/resonance/pitch of sound that I am biologically inclined to get irritated by, and a lot of female singers sit right within that range (incidentally, I don’t like AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Cradle of Filth for the very same reason).

So, I normally approach female-fronted bands with a measure of caution, but there’s a been a few that I have heard recently who I actually really like, and Silje Tombre really NAILS it for Blood Command. Now I am fully prepared to admit that I was always going to give them more slack because they’re Norwegian and I am biased, but this album is really good. I keep seeing ‘punk’ linked to them, but frankly I don’t know what even qualifies these days; punk seems to have developed it’s own series of sub-genres [including pop-punk which is MORE pop than Green Day; I am still struggling to come to terms with that] but for my money, Blood Command certainly do qualify.

It’s really difficult to pick a favourite track on the album for me, but at the moment I am swaying between Cult Of The New Beat, and High Five For Life;

There’s no one particular sound, style or theme through this album; Silje is definitely the key that brings everything together. The songs swing merrily from jarring riffs to singalong pop choruses, but if you like it energetic and shouty, then there’s definitely something here for you.

New music – and a salute to TeamRock

…and what I mean by “new music” is “music that has only just happened to my ears”.

On a surprisingly regular basis, I will get hugely enthusiastic about something and then have everyone else then turn around and tell me that I’ve been living under a rock, and I’m 3-12 years late to the party. I live in a kind of self-imposed cultural isolation which means that I never really know about any new TV or music until one of my friends directs my attention towards it.

"Hey guys, I just watched Twin Peaks!"

“Hey guys, I just watched Twin Peaks!”

Music is an absolutely massive part of my life, but I never listen to the radio if I can possibly avoid it. The last time I listened to any station with any consistency was when Mark and Lard had the Graveyard slot on Radio One back in the 90’s. They could be trusted to be genuinely funny, and also to play music that I wanted to listen to; if there is one thing guaranteed to stress me out and make me angry, it’s listening to noise that I don’t like.

Babies screaming, car alarms, two songs playing at the same time; all will drive me into a disproportionate fury. I don’t know quite why I am so sensitive to sound, but some of the worst days of my life were when I worked in a warehouse that always played local commercial radio and I forgot my mp3 player… It might sound dramatic, but I genuinely can’t think of many worse ways to spend my time.

This picture alone makes me shudder

This picture alone makes me shudder

I also don’t watch TV. The shows that I am actually interested in seeing are buried under so much generic guff (and/or adverts, depending on the station) that when there is a broadcast that I actually want to watch, I just tune in to that show specifically using on-demand TV services like iPlayer. When there’s a whole series I want to see, I put off watching it until it comes out on box set or Netflix, and then smash the whole thing out in a marathon viewing session. I honestly can’t understand why anyone these days would watch a bit of something they really like…and then wait a whole week to watch the next bit.

All of that said, people who have previously lived with me have paid for Sky, then left the receiver boxes behind when they moved out, and I have kept them connected for the free channels. I always used to switch the BBC breakfast news on in the morning, a) for the clock in the corner and b) to remind me that I’m actually supposed to be doing something.

At the end of last year, I got really frustrated with the huge increase in shitty horrible news stories about people all over the world being nasty, bigoted, murdering arseholes. I tried switching over to a different channel; if I got up early enough I would catch 3rd Rock From The Sun, but more often than not I ended out with Everybody Loves Raymond, and a swathe of soul-crushing audience orientated adverts. It was difficult to decide which was worse; worldwide human atrocity or thinly veiled hysteria-generation about household germs.

As it happens, someone else took the choice out of my hands; on Christmas Eve, some little scrote cut the cable from the Sky dish and tried to pull it out of the wall. I love living here.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Anyway, there was no way I was going to pay for TV, given that I barely watched it and didn’t even like it when I did. I also knew I couldn’t cope with mainstream radio… but then I remembered an American rock station I used to listen to online a few years ago. They eventually shut down the access from outside the States, but with the power of the internet at my disposal, I was sure I could find another station.

I tried a few different sites, and they were OK but didn’t really cut it. Then a few of my friends suggested TeamRock Radio and it was an absolute game-changer. The first morning I tuned in, the very first track I heard being played was Alice In Chains – Would?, and I knew I was home.

The music is superb; a mix of all the good old rock, punk, and metal, with some blues and prog and then a decent helping of awesome newer bands. The DJ’s (which for me at least will make or break any radio show, regardless of how good the music is) are sharp and funny, and are all the kind of people that I would actually choose to spend time with…if I ever went out and socialised anymore, that is.

I listen from when I wake up in the morning, and then stay tuned in pretty much until the early evening – because I can get the station via an app on my phone, I spend as much time during the day at work listening as I can get away with. I have found loads of “new music” in the last couple of months, and I’ve taken a chance on a couple of albums based on recommendations from the DJ’s – and I haven’t been let down yet.

Every time I discover something new, I will share it here. For the time being, if you would call yourself in any way alternative in your music tastes, I cannot recommend highly enough that you give TeamRock a listen. Yeah, there’s the odd pop-rock track, but you can forgive that based on the weight of other genuinely great stuff they play.

Team Rockhttp://www.teamrock.com/

If you already listen to Team Rock, I refer you to my previous point about being late to the party.

What is WRONG with people?

No, really, I honestly want to know.

Today, I actually left my house, and I went into town [which, as it turns out, was a horrible mistake – but I will get to that shortly]. There were a number of reasons for my decision to interact with the real world for a change;

  1. I woke up at 11am and didn’t feel tired – that’s weird, and momentous, so I wanted to do something with a bit more enthusiasm than normal
  2. I have been needing more plastic wallets and backing boards for my comics since at least August last year and only remembered today that I never actually picked them up
  3. I needed a new storage unit for my bathroom since the current one really sucks balls, has done since I bought it 3 years ago, but I have only now decided to do something about it.

And so, I set about my day with purpose. I had breakfast (which is also unusual) and freshly brewed coffee (which really isn’t), dragged some clothes on and got in my car – which still has frogspawn on the rear corner, but as far I am am concerned that shit is staying there until it gets rained off.

The sun was out and everything was going swimmingly; I was listening to the new While She Sleeps album on the drive in, and thoroughly enjoying myself. There is a carpark in town almost next door to the comic book shop, which is coincidentally free-to-park at weekends. I got to Close Encounters and the items I ordered last Summer where unsurprisingly no longer there. I left a new order and this time made sure they had my contact details, which would probably have helped last time, thinking about it…

I stepped out of the shop and into the sunshine. I briefly weighed up the idea of driving my car to Argos for the new bathroom unit, but I decided that was not only lazy, but also the main carpark I would need to leave my car in would be rammed – plus it charges for parking at the weekend. I made what seemed like the best choice at the time and embarked on the short walk across the town centre.

Almost immediately, it became apparent that I had made a massive error of judgement.

I followed a small dreadlocked blond dude who was wearing huge white Beats by Dre headphones, excessively loudly whistling what sounded like that bit from 5 6 7 8’s – Woo Hoo over…and over…and over…AND FUCKING OVER… all the way from the Racehorse pub to McDonalds on the Drapery.

If you're not familiar with Northampton, here's a map for reference.

If you’re not familiar with Northampton, here’s a map for reference.

That’s way longer than any song would be repeating what he was actually whistling, which tells me that he was simply being a dick.

Recently, in a desperate attempt to – literally – drive more traffic into the town centre, our local council in its infinite wisdom decided to de-pedestrianise a stretch of the main high street. It has been paved for at least the last 30 years that I have been conscious of, but has now been returned to being a road…which means all of the pedestrians are now jammed into a fraction of the space that there used to be. There is now nowhere to go to avoid the assholes and the pushchairs, or strollers as they are now marketed. Thanks, America.

I simply do not understand the pushchair thing. I’ve SEEN babies, and they are tiny. I have also had more than one woman insist that I hold one. Those things are definitely the same size as cats, and cats move around loads more, so there is no WAY that they need something the size of a Smart car to be transported around in. If your pushchair/stroller is bigger than a cat-carrier […granted, on wheels for ease of movement and also raised off the floor so you can fit all the shit-catchers and wipes underneath] then I’m sorry but you’re just attention-seeking.

What the fuck is this even?

Just stop it, OK?

Plus (and I am assuming this was because it’s Easter) I had to run a veritable gauntlet of different god franchisees, all waving leaflets promoting whichever brand of Theism they were invested in. There were bloody LOADS of them. I get that there will be a natural overspill around the Jesus Army Centre at the top of the high street because that’s where they burrow, but it’s almost like there were different parties out campaigning for a god-election. Honestly, this isn’t the USA people, calm the fuck down. The only positive takeaway was that they weren’t singing…

…they left that to a costumeless Mariachi band, who really hadn’t got a handle on what’s an acceptable volume for public spaces.

[the whole time, this was happening to the soundtrack of the Whistling Asshole, who I swear was playing a very deliberate game of “How Long Can I Do This Before Someone Elbows Me In The Back Of My Head?”]

Not even mentioning the sheer numbers of people on the streets (I will accept that I made a Bad Call about coming into town on a Bank Holiday Weekend), by the time I got to Argos to have a look at bathroom storage units, I am fairly sure that you could probably SEE the irritation like a corona around me. That, however, must have clearly just presented itself as a challenge; whilst I was stood browsing the interactive screen – as indicated by area A in the stock picture below – a couple came up and stood TOUCHING MY SHOULDER – as indicated by area B in the picture below – despite there being an unoccupied booth just next door.

Agros

As a side note, the touch-screen was slower to respond than a 56k dial-up connection.

After heroically not punching the people getting in my space, I went and queued for my stuff. While I was waiting, a member of staff behind the counter called an order number a few times, before asking if there was anyone waiting for some remote controlled cars. A man who was stood next to me, leaning against a post about 20 feet away from the counter, responded “Yeah, me.”

…AND THEN JUST STOOD THERE.

Go and fucking get it then asshole, what’s wrong with you??

Eventually, he got his stuff, and I got my stuff, and then I went to the fucking pub.

After a pint, I headed back to my car, and on the way I gave a couple of pounds to the old cat lady (who I swear has been collecting money in the same place since I was a kid) and then gave whatever I had left to the man selling the Big Issue a few doors up from her.

Conclusions;

  1. The town centre holds nothing that cannot be less painfully obtained elsewhere
  2. People going about their daily business are not people I want to be around
  3. Everyone else might be from SPACE
  4. Beer makes everything more tolerable

The Single Most Unpleasant Thing I Have Ever Encountered In The Morning

I have had a friend’s dog’s neck pustule burst in my car…

I’ve been married to a Glaswegian…

I have owned a particularly bilious cat…

I’ve been on holiday to France…

I have worked in nightclubs…

I’ve been in a relationship with a man who wasn’t ever so fond of showering regularly…

I have lived in student accommodation…

However, none of these things prepared me for what I discovered on the morning of Thursday 2nd April 2015;

20150402_085717[1]

…frogspawn…on my CAR.

20150402_085721[1]

…how did this even happen?

I am still trying to understand the circumstances of what took place here.

11 Things You Should Probably Know Before Hanging Out With Me.

1) I am remarkably untidy. It’s not deliberate, but simply the result of a combination of not really giving a toss, and having an almost unbelievably bad short term memory when it comes to completing tasks like Putting Shit Away. If mess makes you uncomfortable, you should probably avoid coming to my house. However, as untidy as I am, I know where everything is. It might look like abject chaos to YOU, but move my shit, or mess with the order that you cannot perceive, and I will get a bit grumpy.

2) If you are a man – unless we are talking about an activity that requires pure physical strength that is beyond my ability – there is a good chance I will out-man you in a lot of tasks. Please don’t worry about it; I’ve simply made it a point of focus and pride in my life to be able to do those things. By all means OFFER to take a look at my car when it’s broken if you like, but don’t be offended when I say no and sort it out myself.

3) I drink. A lot. Most of the time. Not especially heavily, but consistently enough to cause alarm in some people. Am I aware that it is not the healthiest of life choices? Yes. Do I need you to bring it to my attention? With pursed lips and raised eyebrows? No.

4) I don’t enjoy shopping, or shoes, or handbags, or accessories, or babies, or haircuts. Any attempt to engage me in conversation about any of these things will probably meet with a blank stare, especially if you talk with a conspiratorial tone like I should know what you’re on about because I have a vagina.

5) I don’t like fighting. Or arguing. Or even mildly disagreeing. If you have properly fucked me off, I will go away somewhere until I have calmed down sufficiently to be able to present my concerns to you with as pleasant and reasonable a face as I can. If you have just annoyed me, I will more than likely sit in the corner and chew on my knuckles until I simply don’t feel the need to say anything any more. Do not expect me to engage in a “heated debate” in the pub. Or anywhere else for that matter.

6) I like my own company. In fact, most of the time I prefer my own company to that of even people that I REALLY like. I travel alone, I go to gigs and festivals alone, 99% of my interaction with the world is through a PC screen that I can switch off. If you act like a dick, I will have no second thoughts at all about wandering off and leaving you to act like a dick on your own, regardless of where we might be.

7) I will only make a statement if I am 100% confident that I am correct. If I am not sure that I know something, I will either shut up entirely, or will preface whatever I am saying with “I don’t know but I THINK…”. I automatically assume this is how everyone operates, so if you are talking about something I don’t understand – unless instructed otherwise – I will conclude that you know what you are talking about, and will ask you an inordinate amount of questions until I have satisfied my own curiosity. This isn’t a challenge, and I don’t intend to put you on the spot, but this is KNOWLEDGE people. Must have. Also, if I know you are wrong then I’ll be nice about it, but I will tell you why.

8) I am horribly honest – but only when pressed. I will avoid an awkward situation if there is any way to sidestep it, but if you ask me a direct question, then I will answer it truthfully. If you don’t want to hear what I actually think, I would recommend that you don’t ask in the first place.

9) You might not hear from me for weeks – or months – on end. Don’t be offended, I still like you, I’m probably just knitting. Or reading a new series of books. Or on holiday in Norway. Other people are really not my first thought. There is never any upset intended, but I am normally so involved in the immediacy of whatever I am doing, you will probably need to remind me that you exist.

10) I don’t lose my temper often, but when I do, it’s biblical. I frequently have short snappy rants – which are mostly for comedy purposes, if I am honest – but I only genuinely lose my temper about once every 4 years or so. It’s normally because I am properly hacked off with someone being an unreasonable prick, but I am too drunk to make a sensible choice and walk away from a fight. It gets all kinds of unpleasant, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. However, if you happen to incite this level of fury and violence, you have been warned in advance by points 5 and 10, and I therefore claim no responsibility.

11) I will judge you, based on your actions and choices. I mostly won’t treat you any differently, because I am completely aware that my standards are based on my own life experiences and are maybe not even fair – and therefore not applicable to anyone other than myself…but I am Judgey McJudgeypants of the Clan Judge, and if you don’t recycle because you “can’t be bothered”, I will quietly be calling you a dick in my head for ever more.