SPEAK ABOUT CONSTRUCTION!

Rejuvenated Birmingham punks CULT FIGURES have just unveiled another new video.

‘Concrete And Glass’ is taken from Deritend, the band’s first album of new music on forty years and follows on from the recent single ‘Chicken Bones’.

Darlings of the same Solihull Art School scene, that also gave the world DIY punk pioneers Swell Maps, the band resurfaced in 2016 with the album The 166 Ploughs A Lonely Furrow, which featured new recordings of old material.

Now based in London, the video for ‘Concrete And Glass’ was filmed by the band’s guitarist, and award-winning filmmaker, Jon Hodgson, and features singer Gary Jones ambling through the City’s Barbican estate.

“’Concrete And Glass’ was inspired by something my wife said while we were walking around London’s Soho,” says Jones. “The gentrification… ‘all the buildings going up, and the buildings coming down, were making her frown’ … took the narrative off into a hazy Soho nostalgia trip from the halcyon days of carefree youth.”

Out now through Gare Du Nord Records, Deritend is available physically through Bandcamp and digitally here.

Cult Figures on Facebook

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SUBURBAN GUERILLA

Still touring (when Covid allows) and recording with Camberley punk legends The Members, J C Carroll shares his memories in a new autobiography. Vive Le Rock‘s Hugh Gulland shares his thoughts…

JC CARROLL
(STILL) ANNOYING THE NEIGHBOURS
AngloCentric
9/10

From a post-war childhood in a scrubby zone of the home counties in which dishevelled fifties kids fished for tadpoles while the Heathrow jets arced overhead, JC Carroll – ‘the boy with three girls’ names’ – would initially take the prescribed route for a bright lad of that particular setting – a junior position in city banking – before his predilection for rock ’n ’roll sidetracked him entirely, into the emergent world of punk rock. As guitar man for The Members, JC was a driver in the democratisation of that movement, opening it up from an inner-city phenomenon to a rallying call for ‘Suburban Kids’ everywhere. While stardom flared relatively briefly for the Surrey outfit before the time-honoured pop pitfalls derailed the train, Carroll’s well-attuned survivor’s instinct would carry him through an impressive sequence of subsequent ventures. These have included film composition, panto production, and successful endeavours in the world of clothing and fashion. With The Members’ reactivation as a working band in recent years, JC has reconnected with his youthful enthusiasms, and from his present situation as a locked-down musician, looks over his lifetime and career – and the enduring relevance of his best-known composition – with clarity and insight.

Read an exclusive extract from (Still) Annoying The Neighbours in the latest edition of Vive Le Rock!

Buy (Still) Annoying The Neighbours here.

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ANOTHER VIEW…

Long lost 80s garage-psych exponents VIEWS are the subject of a new anthology.

Formed in the northern Italian city of Brescia in 1983, inspired by the nascent Paisley Underground scene, the band chimed with the times mixing Hüsker Dü melodic punk with Rain Parade psych and Sarah Records indie jangle, but with a distinct European edginess, to terrific effect.

Views made their recording debut on the now classic comp Rockbeef alongside big-hitting scenesters Not Moving and Liars, before presenting their own debut mini-album Namby Pamby in 1988.

This was followed by the suitably weirdly-titled full-length Mummycat The World No.2 in 1990, featuring 8 originals, plus covers of Lou Reed’s ‘Real Good Time Together’ and The Beatles’ ‘Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey’, thus completing the sum total of their officially released recordings.

Released through Area Pirata, Mother Tapes Anthology 1986-1990 brings together both albums while a second disc features the Rockbeef track ‘Expectations’, plus 11 other demos and live tracks.

Mother Tapes Anthology 1986-1990 is available now via Bandcamp and the Area Pirata store.

Views on Facebook

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DREE LEER VIDEO EXCLUSIVE!

Curiously-named Alabama rockers DREE LEER have a new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

‘You Too’ is taken from the Birmingham trio’s debut album Throw Hands which is due out next week through Bettamax Records.

“During this last year, like a lot of people, I was living in my head,” says frontwoman Jackie Lo. “Questioning reality, missing my everyday life that now feels like it was 10 years ago. But most importantly thinking about what I might do differently and with who. This song is about realizing which people in your life are fake and toxic and cutting them out… ‘Everyone knows you’re a lie. You too!’”

Speaking about the video, she says “We got completely lucky. An amazing up and coming artist out of Chicago, Darby Jack Gustafson who also has Alabama ties, took interest in our music and agreed to make a video for ‘You Too.’ Every step involved had to take him forever! We couldn’t have been more happy with it. It’s dark, it’s beautiful, it’s like a light box puppet show! If you don’t know his work, find it!”

Alongside Lo, the band also features bassist Mandy Graffeo and drummer Mikey D. Part of the now thriving Birmingham alternative scene, they recorded Throw Hands at Ol Elegante Studios with Jason Hamric and Les Nuby, formerly with local legends Verbena.

And what about that name? “Dree Leer was one of my online names going back to ’95,” Lo explains. “‘Leer’ means a look or a gaze and ‘Dree’ is a word that means ‘to endure something unwanted or painful.’ It speaks to what women have to endure on a regular basis. A lot of the songs are pro women having a voice and speaking out and being strong and powerful.”

Set for release on 30 April, Throw Hands is available to pre-order here.

Dree Leer on Facebook

Pic by JAMRIC

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KILLERS ON THE LOOSE!

Aussie underground legends LIPSTICK KILLERS are finally getting their first ever anthology.

Totally deserving to be mentioned in the same breath as Radio Birdman, The Saints and The Scientists et al, this Sydney quartet burned relatively briefly but oh so incandescently, remarkably only releasing one single during their 1978-81 lifespan.

But what a single! Not just an underground classic, the Deniz Tek-produced ‘Hindu Gods (Of Love)’ has gone on to become a card-carrying Aussie punk standard, right up there with ‘Burn My Eye’ and ‘Stranded’, covered by numerous bands, both domestic and international over the years.

Inspired by The Stooges and the Nuggets-era psychedelic sounds of the likes of 13th Floor Elevators and The Chocolate Watch Band, the Killers would bear a huge influence on the early 80s Aussie underground explosion and beyond.

The double-vinyl Strange Flash – Studio & Live ’78-‘81 includes both the ‘Hindu Gods…’ b/w ‘Shakedown USA’ and posthumous ‘Sockman’ b/w ‘Pensioner Pie’ singles, the posthumous LA-recorded live album Mesmerizer – mastered from the original mixing desk cassette! – plus a previously unreleased 1980 demo album produced by the legendary Lobby Loyde.

The double-CD edition adds a 1978 Adelaide live set, and also celebrates Killers precursors Psycho-Surgeons with their ’78 ‘Wild Weekend’ b/w ‘Horizontal Action’ single and early-days rehearsal recordings.

Set for release on 25 June through Grown Up Wrong Records, Strange Flash is available to pre-order from Bandcamp and Rough Trade.

Grown Up Wrong! on Facebook

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IGGY POPERA HOUSE!

IGGY POP celebrates his 74th birthday tonight with a special DICE livestream from Sydney Opera House.

The show is one of two sold out performances Iggy performed at the iconic venue in April 2019 and has never been livestreamed before.

Kicking of at 8pm BST, tickets to access the livestream are available here priced £10. Ticketholders will also be able to access an exclusive limited edition range of Iggy Pop merch.

Iggy Pop on Facebook

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IT’S THE SID AND SCABIES SHOW!

Forty-two years after his untimely death, SID VICIOUS has a new single out, thanks to friend and Damned drummer Rat Scabies.

Having met on the London punk scene, Vicious and Scabies briefly played together after their bands first broke up, performing in the Vicious White Kids at Camden’s Electric Ballroom in August ’78.

More recently Scabies, working with recently departed Heartbreakers guitarist Walter Lure, took some vocal outtakes from Sid’s recordings of ‘My Way’ and The Monkees’ ‘(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone’ and built new tracks around them.

Scabies also created a bran new mix of ‘My Way’ and a unique track featuring Sid’s studio chat.

Says Scabies today, “Working with Sid was always a laugh, often stimulating and sometimes illegal, so it was good to be able to work on these tracks to remind myself of his intellect and humour.”

Available through Cleopatra Records on various coloured vinyls, the singles are available on 12-inch and 7-inch.

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LINE-UP ANNOUNCED FOR RED ROOSTER!

East Anglia’s RED ROOSTER FESTIVAL have announced their line-up for this year’s event.

Faced with Covid restrictions, the organisers fought bravely to save last year’s event, not least because much of their original choice of artists was from the US. However, tenacious as ever, they’re determined that this year’s event will go ahead.

Taking place over the weekend of 27-29 August at their regular location of Euston Hall near Thetford, the festival will be headlined by RICHARD HAWLEY and feature performances by THE URBAN VOODOO MACHINE, DIRTY STRANGERS, SONGHOY BLUES, IAN SIEGAL, LITTLE BARRIE, KITTY, DAISY & LEWIS, HIS LORDSHIP, JIMMY REGAL & THE ROYALS, THE FUTURE SHAPE OF SOUND, BLACK CAT BONE, THE HANGING STARS, 4D JONES and loads more….

Tickets are on sale here.

Red Rooster Festival on Facebook

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ACCELERATION FOR THE NATION!

Punk-jazz supergroup/power trio THE N.J.E. have announced the release of a new mini-album for the first of this year’s Record Store Day Drops.

Formed in Whitechapel, the band features Terry Edwards (PJ Harvey, Gallon Drunk), Mark Bedford (Madness, BUtterfield 8) and Simon Charterton (The Higsons, Alex Harvey).

Following on from 2019’s Afloat In Dub, their collaboration with On-U Sound guru Adrian Sherwood, “Nought To 60” takes its name from the trio’s single released late last year. The release also features the 10-minute ‘Spirit Of Indo’, a tribute to the pub where they first played monthly to an audience of locals and the odd musical celebrity including Matt Johnson, The Undertones’ Damian O’Neill, Reeves Gabrels of Cure and Tin Machine fame and 2 Tone artist Rhoda Dakar. It also includes their version of David Bowie’s ‘Five Years’ commemorating the fifth anniversary of the artist’s passing.

Hear ‘Nought To 60’

Usually held on the third Saturday of April every year, Record Store Day 2021 will take place over two ‘drop’ days – 12 June and 17 July – due to the pandemic.

“Nought To 60” will be available through Sartorial Records on strictly limited 12″ vinyl (with download code) on 12 June. Buyers can find their nearest participating stores here.

The NJE on Facebook

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DAMNED ANNOUNCE TOUR SUPPORTS!

THE DAMNED have announced the full supporting cast for their forthcoming reunion tour.

As previously announced, the reconvened James, Scabies, Sensible and Vanian line-up have rescheduled their July dates for 11-19 February 2022, taking in Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and London. Originally planned to celebrate the 45th Anniversary of their debut gig, the dates will mark another celebration, coinciding with the 45th Anniversary of the release of their classic debut album Damned Damned Damned.

The choice of supports pays homage to the Class of ’77, with performances by PENETRATION, T.V. SMITH and the SKIDS alongside THE WILDHEARTS and fast-rising newcomers SMALLTOWN TIGERS.

Penetration

Formed in County Durham in 1976, Penetration, fronted by Pauline Murray, returned in 2001, and having regained their following finally released a new album Resolution to rapturous reviews in 2015. They’ll be playing in Glasgow O2 Academy (11/2), Manchester O2 Apollo (12/2) and Birmingham O2 Academy (16/2). They’ll also play the second night at London Eventim Apollo (19/2) along with The Wildhearts.

T.V. Smith regularly appeared alongside The Damned fronting THE ADVERTS in ’77. Following the release of his critically acclaimed solo album Lockdown Holiday, Smith will be appearing with his sometime backing band The Bored Teenagers, playing a set of Adverts classics in Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham. They’ll also be appearing at the first London show on 18 February, alongside the Skids.

Smalltown Tigers

Opening each night will be the hotly tipped Italian punks Smalltown Tigers, who made a noise last Summer with their widely praised Five Things mini-album.

Tickets are on sale here. Original tickets are still valid for the new dates.

The Damned on Facebook

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RAVAGERS ON THE HIGHWAY!

Baltimore rockers RAVAGERS have unveiled a new video as a taster for their forthcoming album.

Channelling Class of ’76 pop/punk/rock street smarts, ‘Down That Road’ is taken from the album Badlands which, despite having spent the best part of a decade at the rock’n’roll coalface, is actually their debut full-length. It’s due out through Atlanta’s Spaghetty Town Records this Spring.

Fronted by guitarist/singer Alex Hagen – whom sharp-eyed readers will recognise from Vive faves, Atlanta urchins RMBLR – Ravagers dropped their debut EP Livin’ In Oblivion back in 2014, followed after months of heavy touring by 2015’s Natural Instinct EP. Along the way, they’ve plastered their old-skool hearts on their sleeves by opening for such veterans as The Damned, FEAR and The Adicts, as well as fetching up at Vegas’ annual Punk Rock Bowling.

With Covid putting paid to all touring plans, the band locked down in Atlanta with a productions team of Tuk Smith (him from Biters) and Dan Dixon to record the ten chestnuts that make up Badlands.

Ravagers on Facebook

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MORE NAMES FOR FUTURAMA!

The revamped Futurama Festival has announced a third wave of additions to the line-up, led by Manchester post-punk/dance pioneers A CERTAIN RATIO.

Post-punk veterans CLOCK DVA, SEX GANG CHILDREN and THE BLUE ORCHIDS have also been added alongside newcomers such as fast-rising Norwegian newcomers POM POKO and hotly-tipped Essex punks THE MEFFS, whose new video Vive Le Rock! premiered last week. It’s also been announced that SPEAR OF DESTINY will now be replacing Kirk Brandon’s other band, the previously announced Theatre Of Hate.

As previously announced, the cutting edge festival which was first staged at Leeds’ Queen’s Hall and ran for several years during the 80s will be reborn in Liverpool at the hands of festival founder John Keenan and Liverpool promoter Marc Jones.

Taking place over the weekend of 11-12 September, the festival will feature four stages across three venues – the Invisible Wind Factory, Make Arts Centre and Ten Streets Social in the Stanley Dock / Regent Road area of Liverpool. The main stages will be hosted by Vive Le Rock! and Louderthanwar.

The latest line-up additions will be joining previously announced headliners HEAVEN 17 (Saturday 11) and PETER HOOK & THE LIGHT and THE CHAMELEONS.

The full line-up so far is…

SATURDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER

HEAVEN 17 / SPEAR OF DESTINY / A CERTAIN RATIO / WARMDUSCHER / BILLY NOMATES / BALAAM & THE ANGEL / SPIZZ ENERGI / SECTION 25 /SINK YA TEETH / TVAM

IST IST / GIRLS IN SYNTHESIS / HEAVY LUNGS / WE ARE NOT DEVO / THE DSM IV / TOKKY HORROR / POZI / WITCH FEVER /SPQR / LOOSE ARTICLES / PETE BENTHAM & THE DINNER LADIES / EXPELAIRES / FEATHER TRADE / LIBRALIBRA / SPILT / YAMMERER / DITZ / FRAUDS / GRANDMA’S HOUSE / THE GENTLE SCARS / THREE FROM ABOVE / BITE BACK / DEH-YEY / DRY RETCH

SUNDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER

PETER HOOK & THE LIGHT / THE CHAMELEONS / THE BLINDERS / CLOCK DVA / THE LOVELY EGGS / SEX GANG CHILDREN /THE MEMBRANES / CHUBBY & THE GANG / JULIA BARDO BLUE ORCHIDS / POM POKO / SAINT AGNES / JOHN / BOB VYLAN / EVIL BLIZZARD / TVAM / ZEE DAVINE & THE UNHOLIES / CROWS / TV PRIEST / COURTING

DR DIABLO & THE DEVIANT SHOW / COURTING / LIINES / DREAM NAILS / EYESORE & THE JINX / CRAWLERS / GRAVVES / GENN / THE MEFFS / TWISTED NERVE / THE WEBB / KLAMP / THE PLEASURE DOME / COUGHIN’ VICARS

…with more names to be added!

Weekend and day tickets (including an instalment option) are available here.

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EVER GIBBONS!

ZZ TOP legend BILLY F GIBBONS trails his forthcoming solo album with a new video.

The desert-twangin’ ‘West Coast Junkie’ is the first track to be revealed from Hardware, the Texan guitarist’s third album, following on from 2015’s Perfectamundo and 2018’s The Big Bad Blues.

Hardware was recorded at Escape Studios in California’s high desert, near Palm Springs, by Gibbons with former Cult and Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum and bassist Mike Fiorentino, along with engineer Chad Shlosser.

All but one of the tracks on Hardware are credited to the quartet with the remaining song a cover of ‘(Hey Baby) Que Paso’, a hit for Texas Tornados, the supergroup featuring Doug Sahm, Augie Meyers, Freddie Fender and Flaco Jiminez.

“We holed up in the desert for a few weeks in the heat of the summer and that in itself was pretty intense,” says Gibbons. “To let off steam we just ‘let it rock’ and that’s what Hardware is really all about. For the most part, it’s a raging rocker but always mindful of the desert’s implicit mystery.”

Set for release on 4 June through Concord Records, Hardware is available to pre-order here.

Billy F Gibbons on Facebook

Pic by Blain Clausen

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HIGH ON MEFFS!

Fast-rising Essex punks THE MEFFS have just released their second single and they’re premiering the video with Vive Le Rock!

Packing a severe punch for a two-piece, and clearly taking a lead from the early 80s anarcho scene, the angry ‘Scum’ is the Colchester duo’s second single and first new material since the release of their highly-rated self-titled debut album released last year.

“At just 1 minute 25 seconds long, we try to confront shutterbugs and the media about their perceived right of intrusion,” they say. “‘Scum’ references celebrity culture and the detrimental effects of fake news. Lyrics such as, ‘…oh well, so what, you said it’s worth a shot. If you make a quid a minute then you’re making quite a lot!’ try to highlight the focus on reaching an end goal at any cost, regardless of the damage caused to others.”

Having spent the past year just itching to get out there and play live, Lily (guitar/vocals) and Lewis (drums/backing vocals) have already been lined up for Bristol’s Attitude Festival in September alongside Riskee & The Ridicule, Bob Vylan and The Blue Carpet Band, and a show at Lewes Con Club in January next year with Subhumans. Their diary is filling up fast – make sure you don’t miss ’em!

Stream/download ‘Scum’ here.

The Meffs on Facebook

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MASTERS OF PUPPETS!

London pop-rockers RICH RAGANY & THE DIGRESSIONS are back with a brand new single an video.

‘Heartbreakers Don’t Try’ is a taster for the ex-ROLE MODEL’s as yet unnamed second album which is due out this Summer.

Recorded between lockdowns at the South London studio of producer Andy Brook, the album finds the Canadian-born songwriter joined by a now stable line-up including Brook on keys, guitarists Gaff (Desperate Measures, Hollywood Brats) and Kit Swing, bassist Ricky McGuire (UK Subs, The Men They Couldn’t Hang) and fellow ex-Role Model Simon Maxwell on drums.

“A pretty simple song lyrically about the fight you can have with depression”, says Rich about the song. “But then that great feeling of just saying ‘FUCK IT’ and standing up and taking on the day, week or challenge. Just taking that cloud and giving it stiff little fingers and going out and gettin’ some JOY! The liberation.”

With lockdown still making it difficult for bands to get together in one place, the band had the novel idea of getting their puppet pals to appear in the video…

“The puppets do a fantastic job of raising your spirits, and they are really feeling those lyrics,” laughs Rich. “We love bands like The Faces who are great at juggling beautiful music, but also letting their humour show. It’s in the spirit of that.”

Rich Ragany & The Digressions on Facebook

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K÷ VIDEO EXCLUSIVE!

K÷, the collaborative project between Jaz and Geordie from KILLING JOKE and former NEW ORDER bassist Peter Hook, have a video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

The haunting, atmospheric ‘Remembrance Day’ is taken from the trio’s K÷ 93 EP which is out this Friday 19 March, while the moving video pays tribute to Gang Of Four’s Andy Gill, Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, Killing Joke’s Paul Raven and others.

“In recent interviews I have talked extensively about how my ‘precognitive’ abilities have affected my work,” says Jaz about the work. “‘Remembrance Day’ is a good example of this being essentially a song about how Covid-19 has changed our lives but written some 30 years ago! Indeed I remember thinking when I wrote the lyric ‘what the fuck is this about?’ – it’s certainly not the conventional 11/11 Remembrance Day dominated by the poem of Rupert Brookes, The Soldier (and others). However, the prose of K÷’s ‘Remembrance Day’ is certainly about megadeaths and now it’s happening in real time.

“Looking back to early 2020 our colleague Andy Gill (of Gang Of Four fame) died unexpectedly from a respiratory problem. Then a year later I received news that my beloved Uncle Bob Pandy (who was a second father to me) died on Christmas Day. I went into shock and contracted a handful of illnesses including Covid-19 from which I have fully recovered I am happy to say!”

As previously revealed, the three tracks on the EP were the result of a session recorded by the trio at Hook’s studio in 1993, that Jaz descries as “spontaneous and magical”.

Remastered from a DAT cassette that recently resurfaced, the EP is now available on clear 10″ vinyl, limited to just 2,000 individual numbered copies.

“I think these tracks are great. I hope something else happens or at least we play them some time. I’ve missed you lads! “ exclaims Hook, while Jaz adds “When you listen to this rare chemistry, you will understand why I’ve always felt this experience begs for a full opus magnum somewhere in the near future.”

K÷ 93 is available on vinyl here along with various merch items. Get it digitally here.

Read a full feature on K÷ in the new edition of Vive Le Rock! out now!

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NO FLIES ON THEM!

On the eve of the release of their career-spanning anthology Time Lapse, Vive Le Rock talks to Alex Novak from Northampton post-punks VENUS FLY TRAP.

Can you give a brief history of Venus Fly Trap.

I had been in a band called Attrition who were based in London at the time, I had done an album and toured Holland/UK with them. Decided to move back to my native Northampton famous for Bauhaus, Alan Moore and the film Kinky Boots, hooked up with my brother John Novak (Isaws, Where’s Lisse) and Tony Booker an ex art school student, I had also studied at art school. The line-up has changed many times over the years: Andy Denton joined via a local band Crowman, initially as the drummer and ended up playing guitar and has done for many years.

Your new album Time Lapse collects tracks from three albums – Totem, Pandora’s Box and Luna Tide. What was your reasoning for a three-in-one rather than individual releases?

It was basically the time it would take to release individual albums: to promote those albums, and the costs, it just seemed to make more sense. If someone else would like to reissue everything in one go in the future then that’s fine. It gave me an opportunity to pick tracks and create an alternative album for this alternate reality.

You’ve talked about VFTs albums as existing in triptychs. How do these three albums relate to each other?

Well, two came out on Danceteria, the line-up was pretty consistent with the core members being present. I would say Luna Tide was a transition album with members who had joined at the time of Pandora’s Box being retained, so shifts in line-up rather than seismic changes. But generally it was a band line-up with the usual drums, guitar, bass and keys which kept it within certain parameters but with some experimenting in the studio.

There was quite a sonic shift from the post punk of Totem to more organic Luna Tide. Why the constant evolution?

As new members join they add their influences to the pot, also we replaced electronic drum pads with a real drummer (on Mars we had a drum machine) and sequencers with an analogue keyboard player so that will effect the feel.

Despite this they remain easily identifiable as VFT. What’s the aesthetic holding them together?

I guess one thing would be myself: I have been the only constant in all the line-ups and I want the sound to fit certain parameters. Luna Tide was at the edge of those parameters and I didn’t want to continue in that particular direction for Dark Amour but that’s another story.

Certainly not a metal album, Luna Tide nevertheless got a glowing review in the metal bible Kerrang!. What was the crossover appeal?

I think at that time the magazine was covering a lot wider musical tastes not just the traditional stuff but also grunge, alternative rock and goth so we fitted within that brief.

How did you decide what tracks to include on Time Lapse?

Tried to get tracks to fit together and get a flow going, changed the order on some of the tracks from Luna Tide as they seemed to fit together better.

Fans have a special relationship with songs. Were you worried about omitting someone’s favourite when assembling Time Lapse?

This is an alternative album for an alternate reality, those albums don’t exist in this reality, another time and another place the dice would fall differently.

Time Lapse seems a pretty apt title for these strange times.

Time has been changed: are we going forward or are we in limbo?

How will you promote the album in the midst of a pandemic?

Via the net, magazines, radio and whatever portals and wormholes are open to transmit  information.

VENUS FLY TRAP
Time Lapse 1989-1994
(Glass Modern)

Northampton’s Venus Fly Trap, like Killing Joke or Public Image, are a band in constant flux with their discography shapeshifting from it’s post-punk beginnings to a darkwave electronica. The aptly titled Time Lapse selects tracks from three albums which encapsulates the bands evolution.

Venus Fly Trap found great favour on the continent and French label Danceteria released Totem in 1989. Four tracks from that record open this collection beginning with ‘Out Of Your Depth’, an epic of biblical proportions. Opening like the gates of Babylon it finds vocalist Alex Novak wailing, as if the love child of Nico and Jim Morrison, over a tangle of discordant guitars and sombre electronics. There’s a definite cinematic quality to these songs, especially the darker end of celluloid and ‘Rainy Latvian Wedding’ would make the ideal soundtrack to some unsettling film noir such as The Cremator.

Two years later and Pandora’s Box spilled its delights on an unwary public. ‘Shadow Ministry’: a baby’s wail, guitar dripping icicles and glacial synths constantly repositions the listener as it swirls around the room like some unruly spirit. The truly haunting ‘Sidewinder’ is a midnight stroll through the grounds of Stephen King’s Overlook Hotel while the albums lead single ‘Achilles Heel’ skips along on waves of effervescence. Producer Pat Fish sprinkled his magic on proceedings and produced a busy yet uncluttered sound which mirrored the bands frenetic energy.

When they returned in 1994 with Luna Tide it was with a more organic effort that veered in a more rock direction. However, in whatever guise they appeared there’s a dark aesthetic present and no more so than on ‘Storm Clouds Are Gathering’. The Velvet Underground meets Suicide, it takes a sombre turn that jars with the metronomic explosion that is ‘Moscow Menagerie’. Ensuring the album ends as it began the funereal ‘Heretic’ is a dark procession that leads to a haunting conclusion.

Despite the years and genres that separates these tracks they hang together as a cohesive whole and make a deliciously dark that’s perfect for these dark times.

Peter Dennis

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SATURDAY NIGHT WITH THE ANGELS!

THE URBAN VOODOO MACHINE’s genial frontman Paul-Ronney Angel celebrates a year of lockdown with a very special livestream show this weekend.

Since lockdown began, every Saturday night Paul-Ronney and his partner Ane Angel have been staging intimate yet uplifting performances and livestreaming them to the outside world via the Urban Voodoo Machine Facebook page.

Featuring a host of UVM classics and newly-minted and frequently topical songs, making poignant observations about the state of the world we find ourselves in, the shows have also included an array of guests (where Covid restritions allow) such as Rat Scabies, Tamirae Brown and Jim Jones, and of course various UVM colleagues.

This Saturday 20 March, the 53rd episode will mark a full year of broadcasts. Kicking off at 8pm GMT, all are invited to join the livestream here.

In related news, this coming June will see the release of Paul-Ronney’s debut solo album London Texas Lockdown, while The Urban Voodoo Machine’s long awaited new album $nake 0i£ €ngine is due in September.

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