Tuesday, 6 September 2011

noise rock saved my summer

So, finally, the ordeal is over: I am now Joey Donovan, BA Hons.


And thanks to the progression and award board, I have been deemed worthy of entering on to the diploma programme, which means by this time next year I'll be able to put more letters after my name in a thinly veiled effort to gain acceptance amongst the professional classes.

But right now, I can't say I feel great about that. Three years have passed and I find it difficult to shake the notion that more has been lost than gained. And though that notion is probably fleeting, if the next year is going to witness greater achievement than the previous three, I'm going to have work harder. In many, many ways.

Music is helping.Seriously, it's as though someone has cleaned my ears out and I'm everything again, for the first time. It's brilliant.

Three bands that have helped to make this summer bearable (despite the best efforts of Edexcel and the University of Greenwich to ruin it) are listed below.


I adore this band: a no wave/ noise outfit that plays beautifully atonal, high tempo punk. Half the band are in the slowly-getting-noticed (and excellent) Male Bonding, whilst the AMAZING front woman Akiko Matsuura (Keex) seems to be EVERYWHERE. When not fronting PRE she has her own noise rock duo/trio Comanechi; she drums for A Grave with No Name (who recently supported Sebadoh); plays with The Big Pink AND Brett Anderson of Suede. And she lives round the corner than me. I think I'm in love with her:


Back in... June (?) I went to Raw Power, a psychedelic/ noise/ krautrock festival in Elephant and Castle. There were loads of great acts that day- including Snapped Ankle, Part Chimp, Trans-Am, Teeth of the Sea- but the band that grabbed me by the throat and held me in absolute rapture were Bo Ningen. Japanese psychedelic noise rock. Nothing they've recorded really captures the enchanting spectacle of their awesome performances, but this video for "Koroshitai Kimochi" gives you a tantalising taste...

Trust me when I say they are the best live band in London right now. Amazingly, they're still playing free gigs- come to Rough Trade East (Brick lane) on 24th September. They will blow your socks off.

If I were starting a very niche religion based around my listening habits this summer, then the bands detailed here would be its Holy Trinity. Keex is quite obviously the messiah, psychedelic ghosts Bo Ningen are clearly the Holy Spirt, and the apex would be a resolutely non paternal...


I've been buying Sonic Youth records since I was thirteen. My dad got me a bootleg cassette (remember those?) of a show they did at Brixton Academy featuring "Expressway to Your Skull", "Youth Against Fascism", "Schizophrenia" and "Sugar Kane" (and many more I can't remember). I played it until the tape snapped. I cried. Then In Utero came out and I stopped crying. For a bit. Anyway, they fade in and out of my life but each time I come back to them I'm always surprised by how much they've recorded since they've been away. This time, however, I've bee mining their earlier work- debut album "Confusion is Sex"* has been on constant rotation, and the video below is a track taken from that album:

I've also been listening to "NYC Ghosts and Flowers", an album they did after having twenty years worth of instruments and kit robbed and having to totally reinvent their sound. it's beautiful. But if I'm going to show you one last video, it's going to be a track the did with Lydia Lunch (she of Teenage Jesus and the Jerks- google them now)- taken from their 194 album "Bad Moon Rising"- called "Death valley 69":

Dissonance. Atonality. Feedback. Dischord. Noise. No-wave. This inspires me. So I've joined a band. We're called CAME. We're rehearsing on Monday. You have been warned.

*in case there are any SY nerds reading this I am aware of the first, eponymous EP they released in 1981 and I know they consider it to be their debut album but... it's just not really an album, is it?Discuss below.
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