Thursday, 18 October 2007


Neat documentary about Portlands X RAY CAFE, a kind of 'The Smell' for the 90s. Only with better bands? Ok some of it is twee, obnoxious quirk-infested bollocks, but equally earnest in it's intent? Who knows? You figure it out. I went to Portland once, it was like being in The X Files Season 1 and 2:



Here's an interview I did with Motor Life Co, around 1999.

They were pretty hot at the time, throwing around all sorts of Polvo/ Pavement/ Husker Du kinda shapes.

Glasweigians are good at this sort of thing.

Only one mini-album and a couple of seven inches produced, mainly on a label by the name of MEI MEI records, whom I can find very little info on now. Suffice to say, they're probably defunct.

Main man Sean Guthrie responded to these piss poor questions(!)

The fate of Motor Life Co follows his spiel:

Give me the Motor Life Co mission statement

S: "To strive to improve our self-dicipline, conscience and appearance of school and/or self." (source: Standard Punishment Excercise, Hermitage Acacdemy, 1990).

How long have you been going, what have you done and how much do you regret?

S: Formed 1994. 3 singles out ('My Mail Order Thai Bride' (Pendejo), 'Be A Hero' (Pendejo), 'Trod On Your Head-Mine' (Mei-Mei) and one CD mini album, 'Birdstyle' (Mei-Mei). Plus a couple of tours and festivals and a Peel session. Ben most regrets sticking his head through the ceiling of an arts centre after a spectacular but very poorly-timed drunken scissorkick. The promoter was so pissed off he cancelled our taxi and we had to walk back to Glasgow in the rain. It was a poor hair/plaster interface scenario.

Have you purposefully avoided the whole Chemikal Underground and 13th Note thing? What are your thoughts on it all?

S: We've never approached CU in a business sense but they're nice folk and do a lot for independent music in general. We play the 13th Note from time to time but we don't live there or anything.

What's the story behind the band name?

S: There isn't one. Sean suggested it because he liked the sound of the words. How dull...

What kinds of things do your songs deal with and who's the main songwriter?

S: They're mostly abstract takes on abstract stuff, though we do occasionally write the odd tearjerker. We write music by kicking ideas around the studio at very high volume whilst deprived of sleep. Sean writes his words, Ben writes his words and Matt writes his words. Chris has been forbidden a microphone because he was very bad with one a long time ago.

What are your thought on playing ATP? Are you fans of the other bands?

S: Someone we know played the first Bowlie and described it as "A campsite full of bedwetters", so we look forward to a Gulag-style atmosphere with dufflecoat-clad domanatrix types whipping the masses into a frenzy with a pair of Stephen Pastels limp cucumber sandwiches kept in a flight bag (joke- Steph P is a cool guy). We're going to really enjoy Yo La Tengo,Stereolab,Tindersticks and get fucked out of heads with the Snow Patrol chaps (FACT- In 98/99 Snow patrol were credible lo-fi rockers! - Doig)

What's the Motor Life Co live experience like?

S: A brain-searing, vainglorious 8 course melange of wild and flavoursome sonic non-sequitars. When imbibed completely, it has the same effect on the ears and perception as magic mushrooms in foie gras has on the palate and brain.

What records are you all into at the moment?

S: 'The Beat Goes On' by Buddy Rich, the last Aphex Twin thing and the first Roxy Music Album. 'Mule Variations' and 'The Black Rider' by Tom Waits and the new Mogwai EP (Stanley Kubrick). Loads of Deep House stuff; Swayzak, The Hallucinator etc. 'The Soft Bulletin' By Flaming Lips, Guided By Voices first LP.

Any criminal convictions?

S: Shooting at OAPs with an air rifle when 15 years old. It gets cleared when you turn 16 so, technically, no.

What's the most inspiring gig you've ever been to?

S: The most inspiring gig I NEVER witnessed was Pixies at the Barrowlands in 1990, when I drank a bottle of Ouzo beforehand, passed out and woke up in hospital in a backless gown type affair after having had my stomach pumped. I thought I died and gone to hell and it was lime green. And The Replacements at King Tuts, 1994.


Sean Guthrie is now playing in a band with his brother, Roads To Siam, also featuring ex-members of AC Acoustics and The Supernaturals. They are pictured above, as I couldn't find any Motor Life Co snaps. Aside from playing very sporadically, they appear to have soundtracked a couple of films, one of which looks like this:


Wednesday, 17 October 2007



As mentioned in the post below, not only am I resuming work on this blog, but i am also piecing together an ACTUAL paper fanzine version in time for Christmas! Happy days etc.

It's my first 'zine in nearly six (seven?) years and will contain NOTHING that appears on here.

In celebration of all these facts, I'm going to post a really boring outtake interview with a really good band, from my first ever publication: JOY OF SONIC SOUNDS. This zine can be made readily available for reissue if you want to give me a quid. It's enticingly naive, shoddy and badly laid out.

It was also fanzine of the week on the Evening Session sometime in 1998.

For my own gratification, here is the only review I could find of it:

"Joy Of Sonic Sounds #1
92 pages/A5/copied/£1 with SAE
This is the best new fanzine I have seen all year. It features interviews with Twinkie, Seafood, Ganger, El Hombre Trajeado and Hirameka Hi Fi next to items on record shops in Buenos Aires, DIY spurge guns from the movie Bugsy Malone, a mistake littered obituary to wrestler Owen Hart ("Death Of A Hero"), an article called Mobile Phoneys and, wahoo, a piece on Eerie Indiana."

Courtesy Of Jason Graham's NO PICTURES archive. Thanks Jason.

This is saying nothing of it's decent follow-up SUBURBAN GUNS!


"96 Gillespie is pleased to announce a visual arts exhibition by acclaimed Baltimore visionary artist, Daniel Higgs. Born in 1965, Daniel Higgs is one of the most influential and widely recognised artistic voices of his generation.

A contemporary and peer of artists Chris Johanson, Cynthia Connolly, and Jim Houser, along with curators Aaron Rose and Rich Jacobs; he first came to prominence in the 1980s as the frontman and songwriter for legendary American band Lungfish. Renowned for the intensity of his lyrics and live performances, and now a successful solo musician, poet and visionary artist, Higgs continues to produce an astonishing body of work across genres and media.

Higgs' visual art is preoccupied with the symbols and motifs of spiritualism and mysticism. Repetitive, primeval themes woven into distinct visual narratives, Higgs' artwork forces the viewer into a confrontation with larger metaphysical concepts. His brightly coloured paintings and detailed monochromatic drawings reflect the same primal energies and rhythms as his lyrical and musical output.

On exhibition are a large collection of new small to medium sized oils and ink paintings and drawings on board and paper, with several older pieces as well.

Higgs continues to live and work in Baltimore, Maryland. In a career that spans three decades, he has released dozens of records, several books and his visual art is fiercely collected in independent art circles. Recent exhibitions include group showings at LA's Roberts & Tilton Gallery and NYC's Feigen Contemporary & (the now defunct) Alleged Gallery. His work forms part of the permanent collection of the American Visionary Art Museum and is held in private collections around the world. Higgs first exhibited in the UK with 96 Gillespie in 2005 and has not had a solo exhibition in Europe since."

Location: 96 Gillespie road, London N5 1LN
Opening hours: Th-Su 2-6pm. or by appointment
Phone: 0207 503 3496
Admission: Free
Tube: Arsenal (Piccadilly Line)
Bus Routes: 19, 4, 106, 236

Gonna try and review this for the upcoming paper 'zine version of this blog. That's right: an 'Art' review.

Sunday, 6 May 2007


ANTELOPE - Reflector (Dischord)

Here's a revised review of this record: Late last year these guys played the Metro In London, a filthy venue for the uninitated. On stage, they proceeded to tear through 'Reflector' and some previous hits with such unexpected fucking venom I felt compelled to simply stipulate that this record, as great as it is, doesn't capture an iota of Antelopes rhythmic presence in reality. Three straight collar dudes, arching through a minimal loaf of purity imbused chargers with a detached confidence I've rarely ever seen played out like that. Really, it was exceptional. This record is good stuff. It may seem half finished in places, but I suspect song structure is far from priority. There's a sentiment to deliver, and it's classic Dischord. A tropical flourish here, a kraut-spiced harmony there, and we're done in half an hour. Feasibly this music is boring, but I beg to differ. So many of the vocal refrains linger in the mind long after, too many grooves hit the hips. And did I hear 'Pop Sensibility'? Unintentional maybe, but I DID. A cracking effort.

Friday, 4 May 2007



Turbine Depress came to my attention by mistake. An early eighties Quebec-based rock group led by scene figurehead Bruno Tanguay, the band spawned a family tree of some intrigue. With not too much investigation, the Quebec and Montreal underground rock scene is unearthed intact:

And as I am sure you'll agree, makes for a wealth of oddball skronk. A link to the full download of Turbine Depress' cassette only album is in there, treat yourself guys! Go on!

Helps if you can read french however, sorry!


RICHARD FORMBY - I Was Asleep But Now I am Awake (GoldenLab)
Aesthetically delightful CDR from Manchesters Golden Lab. Richard Formby builds on warm, looped fragments, cut up drums, guitar chime and organ arrangement, with all the ascending tact of Reich. Or at times, er, DJ Shadow. Maybs. In Formbys world it's sometime in the 70s', at the height of classical experimentation and kraut motorik. Passages gracefully morph between chillaxed piano play and polyrhythmic freak-out. "Jazz Oddessy" anyone? Yep, it get's a little too close to homage at times, but there's a heap of sincerity in opener 'The Church Bells at Riley', and the spaced out meandering of 'Tweleve Ninety Six' positively shimmers with sci-fi solitude. Epic stuff, mate, epic stuff.