Angular Sounds

FINE MUSICAL EXPORTS OF CHESHUNT PART 2 - PLASTIC PASSION

This time I thought it might be nice to have a bit of banter with someone else and hear their experiences.  Here’s an interview with 'Lemmi Eaton' from 'Plastic Passion'.  These guys were another great live act from my hometown that I’ve seen play here in Cheshunt, Hertford and lots of places all over London in the good old days.  Lemmi the lead singer talks about the days and also what he is up to now in his new band 'Death Surf'.

So tell me a little bit about when and why you started up Plastic Passion…

Oh when was it.. I think it was around about 2004. Ummm… for as long as I can remember, 11 or so I’ve always played guitar and bass, from 15 onwards Glenn and I have always been in a band together, we like playing music and started plastic passion to show people what we could do and to break the stereotype of looking a certain why depending on which “genre” you fitted into.

The name seemed to be in reference to a Cure song from the ‘Boys don’t cry album’, did you take a lot of influence from them and also who else inspired you?

A lot of influence came from them yes, one of Glenn and I’s favorite bands. The name plastic passion symbolized how we felt about a lot of music at the time, very plastic and throw away (pretty much like today, ay?!), we felt it was quite apt.  We quite liked Gang of four and I remember being very inspired by Neils children at the time.

'Plastic Passion' have it out with Tracey Emin in ‘Not Art’ …..’Look there’s a bed that I haven’t made and look how much that I’ve been paid’…..


What did you think about the other bands in Cheshunt at the time?

Well going back to Neils Children. I feel them and us were trying to break out of the area, it’s a pretty boring place! Maybe Cheshunt is a good place to spur a band on.

As we all know Cheshunt is one of the most happening places in the world (!), I know that you played at ‘The only fun in town’ club night at the Force and Firkin how were those nights for you?

They were brilliant! For one night a month local bands and close friends took over, you forgot you were in Cheshunt, it was a cool venue! What happened?! Wouldn’t it be great if we could have that sort of thing again.

Ed…Definitely the best thing that has ever happened in Cheshunt whilst I was growing up from what I can remember!

'Plastic Passion' - 'We have come so far' Live at 'Offset festival' 2008

Are there any particular gigs during your time that really stood out for you and for what reasons?

For me supporting 30 Seconds to Mars at Hammersmith Apollo was amazing, 4000 people, very surreal!

Eventually you bacame ‘Behold a pale horse’, was this just a name change or were you aiming to be a completely different band to P.P?

We hoped to be something different, I think we felt plastic passion had run its course and didn’t want to get stuck in a rut of sticking to one genre.

So tell me about your line up/name changes and the reasons for them, was there any disagreements at all within the band(s)?

BAPH, yeah some disagreements, but how many bands don’t have disagreements? Perhaps its better we don’t talk about them though!!!

Ed…Fair enough, Don’t want to re-ignite any old issues do we!

Now you have a new band called ‘Death Surf’ I’ve been listening to them, definitely a new sound…how is the gigging been going with that?

Its very new for us, still with Glenn, trusty side kick, his amazing and my good friend James! This time we’re just writing because we want to and to have some fun! We’re taking a bit of an aqua grunge vibe, that’s the best way I can describe it anyway! Starting off slow, doing a few gigs, getting back into the scene. Hoping to record real soon!

I and hopefully a lot of others want to know the answer to this, are there any releases in the pipeline for Death surf soon?

We have many songs to still record, and constantly keep making up more! As soon as we’ve recorded we hope ASAP to get a single pushed out, if not free demos for all!

Finally, what do you think is one of the funniest/craziest things that have happened during your time in any of the bands you’ve been in?

Id say the 4 day trip to Italy that turned into 7 days, no money, no accommodation, no clean clothes, 37 hour coach trip home, I don’t want anymore ham and cheese, fucking volcano, but, we played some great shows and met some funny and wonderful people!!


Thanks Lemmi, Best of luck with Death Surf and hope to see a release soon!

You can keep up to date with the band @ http://www.facebook.com/DEATHSURFUK

FINE MUSICAL EXPORTS OF CHESHUNT PART 1 - NEiLS CHILDREN

Cheshunt, Hertfordshire isn’t exactly the most happening place in the world its one of those places that you drive past on the way to somewhere else.  Cliff Richard was born here and it is home to Tesco’s international headquarters and also (I think) the largest store in the country, there’s three of them in total in this little town!  Also the lead singer from ’60s band 'The Creation' hails from here and used to own or run the post office, I remember trying to find him when I was younger!  These wonders (!) are not all that Cheshunt has to offer however, the little town has produced three amazing bands that have provided the soundtrack to a lot of my adult life!  These bands are:

'Neils Children'
'Plastic Passion'
'Electricity in our homes' 

I HATE MODELS

'Neils Children' started off in 1999 covering 60’s psychedelic classics.  Then they started making their own music and the first album was called ’Demand the impossible’ in around 2000.It was never really  properly released though, I think just sold at gigs.  The album was very 60’s-esque with elements of garage/psych and punk in there.  They would soon stray from this sound and become a lot more developed in acquiring their own unique style of aggressive psychedelic post punk after their first bassist ’Tom (unsure of second name!)’ left.  'James Hair' filled the spot.  The change in sound was very apparent on their mini LP 'Change/return/success' (2004).Which features snarling songs such as 'Getting evil in the playground', 'How does it feel now you're on your own' and probably one of their best known songs of all 'I hate models'.  The title obviously suggests hating supermodels, or that’s what most people have always thought or assumed, but actually the track is a dig against Shoreditch and Hoxton trendy’s who think they are too cool for school.  The lead singer ‘John Linger’ has a real hatred for these sorts of idiots as do I, who walk round East London thinking they own the place and look down their nose at everyone.  It was his way of telling them to fuck off.  I have probably seen them play this song more than 20 times live and I must say it’s really funny to see the exact people that he is taking the piss out of obliviously loving it!  Check it out:

Anyway Neils Children released a few singles and then the bass player 'James Hair' left the band.  They recruited a new bass player 'Keith Seymour' formerly of ’Hope of the states’ and a shift in sound and style occurred, they turned to a goth-romantic-post punk-experimental style band all rolled into one.  'Another Day' is a good example of one track combining these elements.  They still had yet to properly release a full album though, and there was a constant battle with the record label on releasing what was going to be their first full length release ’Pop Aural’.  The project was dropped.  Eventually they managed it and changed the name of the album to 'X.Enc' which came out in 2009. It was a great experimental album showing just how far the band had developed since the early psychedelic days, also leaving behind their more aggressive tone and adapting a more refined approach.  It was soon after that 'Keith Seymour' left the band and it looked like it was game over.  For a while members of the band I’m about to talk about soon 'Electricity in our homes' stepped in and helped out the NC, but this wouldn’t last for long.  At 'Offset festival' 2010they announced that they would be splitting up and it looked to be their very last gig,  It was an extremely sad moment for everyone, You can see the footage here where they play a fantastic eye-wateringly melodic version of 'I'm ill' with 'Brandon Jacobs' the drummer playing synth instead.

Neils children were critically acclaimed within the London Underground scene.  They never really made it big on a commercial level though, and I believe they are a very underrated band of our time.  This wasn’t the end though!  Much to a lot of peoples surprise word was getting around that 'James Hair' had got back in touch with the band and it was then I found out that they were rehearsing again!  They had started to practice their classic tunes from back in the 'Change/return/success' days!  Then on facebook one day earlier this year boom..details of a reunion gig, March 2012.  It was one of the best times I’ve seen them play.  Now they have other gigs booked and who knows if they will create more songs together and get the success they deserve.  Here’s my concluding bit on my piece about 'Neils Children' and possibly my favourite track from that reunion gig its called 'Stupid band'.  I’m sure you can work out what its about!

Thinking that I would fit all three of these bands within one post now seems a silly idea, there is far too much to talk and show you about these musicians from Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, so this will conclude the blog for the time being until we look at ‘Plastic Passion’ in FINE MUSICAL EXPORTS OF CHESHUNT PART 2.

Hatcham Social

'Hatcham Social' - 'Love Buzz'

THE LONDON UNDERGROUND

So now I’m bringing things right up to date, well almost I’m talking about when I came of ‘legal’ age in around 2003 up till now my best years.  I started hitting the 60’s clubs quite a lot and got really into that, but thats one for another blog, I also went to nights where Post Punk provided the soundtrack and saw some fantastic bands influenced by the music.  There are so, SO many, so I’m going to choose the ones that had the biggest impact on me leaving with the happiest memories and talk briefly about them before I get to my last post (for the time being!) These are:

'Twisted Charm'
'The Violets'
'Hatcham Social'

First, 'Twisted Charm'; they were a fantastic live act.  The songs they wrote rebelled against everyday life such as 'Boring Lifestyles' and 'Happy alone', they were such a presence on stage.  Nathan Doom the frontman with his blacked out eyes and sneering voice, the drummer with his amazingly fast beats and the sax player really pulled the songs together into a complete frenzy.  The crowd always went wild, in the early days they used to put on their own clubnights in ‘Buffalo bar’, Highbury and Islington, North London.  It was called 'Twisted' aptly you might think!  The great thing was as well as being a cool band they sourced out other acts from the London underground to play and the soundtrack in between was the 'Twisted' gang DJing.  I’ve just started listening to their only album 'Real Fictional' again, what they did in this album was take earlier tracks from their singles and live performances and in a way refined them, making the sound a lot more polished.  Listen to this great bunch of musicians, this is ‘Happy Alone’

'The Violets': 

I think the first time I saw this band was actually at one of the 'Twisted' clubnights.  They were fronted by lead singer 'Alexis Mcleod' I’m always a great admirer of powerful women singers, she had such a fiery on stage (also off-stage!) persona and all of the eyes in the crowed would be fixated on her, she had a fantastic voice and just didn’t give a shit!  I loved it.  Their first single 'Mirror mirror' is very reminiscent of sounding like something between 'Siouxsie and the Banshees', ‘Delta 5’ and 'Au Pairs'.  This song has one of the best build ups towards the end that I have ever heard, you are brought right down to earth with a great drum fill and then her voice and the music just escalates from one level to the next and then the next; into an epic explosion back into the chorus leaving you wanting to listen to it over and over again.  This is simply a must-listen/see… Also check out the album ‘The Lost Pages’ and tracks such as 'Climb me, miss me', 'Carnival' and 'Troubles of Keneat' in fact all of their output is fantastic.  Heres 'Mirror Mirror' for you unfortunately the official video is not on YouTube anymore so I have to link you to the enemies website, oops, I mean the NME’s website. WATCH IT HERE.

'Hatcham Social'

Named after the Hatcham liberal club in Peckham, South London, H.S are a band still going strong. upon listening to their sound it is quite apparent that they take influence from 'The Smiths', 'Orange Juice' and maybe even 'Aztec Camera'.  They are very much an indie band, but a REAL indie band.  They have toured all over the world but still remain within a rather niche scene.  Although I once recall seeing a gig poster in an episode of the TV show ‘Hollyoaks’!  They are also much loved by 'Charlatans' frontman 'Tim Burgess'.  Lead singer 'Toby Kidd' has a very soothing voice and I would definitely class the band as easy to listen to, if you are feeling down it instantly picks you up.  They have such a smooth flow to their music that just seems to come so naturally to them and you can tell these guys are really passionate about what they are doing.  Apart from being influenced by the bands I have mentioned they are fans of 'Nirvana' and covered the song 'Love Buzz'.  It is definitely one of the best cover songs I have heard in recent years I’ve uploaded it above this post on the main page…check!  Other favourites of mine include 'Till the dawn', 'Penelope (under my hat)' and 'Crocodile'.  They’ve got a fairly big discography built up now, and I’ve been debating with myself on what video to post to show you these guys in action and I’ve made the decision to post 'Murder in the dark' from their only album so far 'You dig the tunnel, I'll hide the soil'.  Enjoy, and expect bigger things from these guys in the future!

Next, the three greatest products from my home town of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.

The Great Leap Forward

—Let's Jive While We're Still Alive

'The Great Leap Forward' - 'Let's Jive while we're still alive' from the ‘Controlling the edges of Tone’ EP 1987 ‘Ron Johnson records’

THE GREAT LEAP FORWARD

'Where's the logic of spending such sums on defence when there'll be nothing worth defending?'

As every band or artist does Alan Brown developed his sound.  After the demise of ‘Big Flame’ he joined the band ‘A Witness’ but eventually it would lead him to his solo projectThe Great Leap Forward’ .  I found out about them through 'The first after Epiphany' comp and then went and sought out the EP 'Controlling the edges of tone' its not very expensive, but hard to come across, until now when I have it, see it bloody everywhere!  I’m mainly going to talk about this EP as it is my favourite release.  I bought a copy from discogs.com its a great site where you can find EVERY band imaginable and record sellers, highly recommended to any music fan.  So, my copy cost me £11, it came from Germany.  A couple of weeks later in an Oxfam record store based in Crouch end, North London there was a sudden problem with the till.  I know about tills due to working about a million different bar jobs so I helped the oldies out and fixed the problem.  It was then the guy said: ‘Thanks for that mate, I see you are into records; how about you step into the back room’.  My response was ‘Don’t mind if I do!’.  Someone had just turned in an amazing collection and half of the records were unplayed.  I came out with records by bands such as ‘Blurt’, ‘Bone Orchard’, ‘The wedding present’ and of course ‘The Great Leap Forward’.  He was stamping them all at 50p or a quid for me, I couldn’t believe my luck.  The copy I paid more for was in worse condition than the one I just  found in a charity shop, it’s always the way!

Anyway back to the point!  So the difference between between the GLF and Big Flame was that I could actually listen to the music without getting a pounding headache!  You could still sort of hear his old style, as he kept a lot of the original Post punk elements in there, some of it is very fast paced one example is 'Let's Jive while we're still alive’ (I’ll post this above for you to listen to).  At the same time some of it is very melodic and quite soothing to start but often launches into a great pounding drumbeat and sharp guitar sound that really pulls the songs together, a good example of this is 'My Grandfathers Clock'.  Check it out and really pay attention to the lyrics if you have never heard this before:

The thing that gets me is that it is rather deceptive, it has great harmonies in every song, but the lyrics are extremely political, actually probably one of the most political EP’s I have ever heard.  Its as if he has exchanged the aggressive thrashy post punk sound of 'Big Flame' and used his voice to get the message across but he does it in such a subtle way that if you weren’t listening properly, you wouldn’t understand that this guy has some serious issues with the government!  Whilst I do think he is probably slightly crazy and I’m not very political, I can sometimes see his point.  I think it is also a great outlet for releasing inner tensions through music rather than other methods.  Here’s an example of some snippets of the lyrics from this EP:

'As millions starve in the conscience of Europe
And over production’s but a plane load away
Our militant leaders dance the military two-step -
Extension of arms while the body decays’ 


'Here's the living proof from the E.E.C.
That profit neglects human dignity -
Create that umbilical cord
Create that humane umbilical cord’

'Is this the queue for the hospital bed?
I fought for my country now I’m old and discarded
The hole in my shoes goes with the hole in my head
Through which strangers only see profit.
So here we are tonight, my love,
Bombarded with terror, smothered in fright’ 


The latter verse really struck a chord with me, its sung with real passion, which I genuinely felt, but If you were to read these sorts of verses without listening to the music I’m sure you’d think how on earth does he pull it off?  Somehow he does though, I think the guy is a genius!  On the flip side I think its plain to see why this didn’t go down so well commercially!  It’s near impossible to listen to online as well, I uploaded the above video myself.  

Obviously after dedicating pretty much an entire post on an EP I strongly recommend you purchase it! Here’s some cheap copies I’ve found.  Get in there quick!  So after this EP he released another 12” EP called 'A peck on the cheek a la politique/Propping up the nose of the king'.  The peck on the cheek side has got quite an 80’s sounding drumbeat but its an absolute stormer that never lets up.  A full album was released called ‘Don’t be afraid of change’ things had very much softened up a bit, its even more harmonic further leaving behind the jagged post punk sound and he really shows off his vocal talent within the LP.  There is also a compilation called 'Season 87-88' this is a good one to own as it contains all the EP tracks and more.  He has recorded as recently as 2008, showing no signs of his views on politics or working boring jobs changing as he grows older!  Keep up to date on the official Alan Brown and the Great Leap Forward Website.  I’ve found a peck on the cheek on YouTube so check it out, sound quality not amazing unfortunately but its definitely worth a blast.

I’m sort of skipping through the 90’s, not a lot happened with Post Punk/experimental music for me but that is not to say that there wasn’t some great music during this decade, there absolutely was!  I’ll mention that on another blog one day possibly. 

I’m really looking forward to the next one.  Its going to be about my younger years growing up and listening to some amazing bands.  Whilst I was not around to see a lot of the artists I’ve posted on so far, I’ve still had the privilege of growing up with some fantastic music.  So the next post will be my last for the meantime, documenting bands from when I was about 18 up to my current age of 26.  I may split it into two posts as a LOT happened, lets see where it takes me, bye for now!

splat

'Splat' - 'Yeah.. The dum dum' 1983

RON JOHNSON RECORDS

This record label was the major discovery I was talking about in my previous post about the C86 Era, I noticed that a fair few bands on the tape were releasing singles, EP’s and LP’s for this label so I just instantly had to check out all the other bands.  It’s such a little known record label but it was run by a guy called Dave Parsons throughout 1983-88 in Long Eaton, apart from that there really isn’t much documented about it.  So I thought that I’d start at the basics and look at a compilation that gives a sort of taster of what the label has to offer, it’s called ’The first after Epiphany’.  Needless to say I was absolutely blown away, if this was their way of advertising and promoting their artists then I fell straight into their trap!  Shame I wasn’t around almost 30 years ago though when the records would have been a lot cheaper and easier to find in the independent record stores!  Unfortunately my music taste by the later years of the label was probably somewhere around the realms of Puff the magic dragon and Nellie the elephant!  Oh well, at least I can say I was alive while this fantastic stuff was happening!  

Anyway enough about me we’ll talk about my rememberable, well 50% rememberable days (if you know what I mean) in the coming posts.  The Epiphany comp contains tracks from great artists not featured on the C86 cassette such as 'Splat', 'Twang' and ’The Great leap forward’.  Let me be honest and say I don’t know amazing amounts about the history of bands on the label apart from how great their music is, I’ve just started to delve into RJ records deeper (I’ll die happy once I have every release on the label though, getting there…..slowly!).  I mean, with names such as 'Splat' and 'The Great leap forward', they aren’t the most searchable bands, the former being rather a common term gives me everything but the music I want to hear, and the latter lands me with results about the economic and social campaign of the Communist party of china in 1958!  Luckily however, I’ve got a couple of 'Splat' tracks recorded from vinyl, so check above this post for a cool song by them called 'Yeah…the dum dum'!  Although its from 1983, I didn’t really discover it until I looked into the label, after C86, so as well as being a progression through time, it is also a progression through my time of discovery of certain acts.  Just before we move on to the bit I’ve been most looking forward to lets check out 'Twang' here they are with their second Peel session from 07/09/86….'What's the rub/Here's Lukewarm' check the incredibly intense indie/post punk beat that is now taken for granted in most modern commercial indie pop offerings….this band and others I’ve mentioned within Angular sounds are the roots of their sound.  I hope this gives some introspective to some people who may not know, as one of my main purposes of this site to enable people to understand influences on current bands.

Now, the bit I’ve been really looking forward to, because this band are BIG to me at the moment.  I’m talking about a guy called ’Alan Brown’ he was in 'Big Flame' a great group from 1985, the only problem was I just couldn’t listen to about more than two or three songs in a row without having to drop a couple of strong painkillers to cure my headache!  I’m not gonna bang on about them now, we’ve gone past that stage, but have a look at one of their more soothing offerings! It’s called ‘Sink’.  I’ve just decided that I’m gonna turn this into a new post, I want this blog to be digestible to you the reader, and have realised that I have rather a lot of stuff to say about 'The Great Leap Forward' which is Brown’s solo project after 'Big Flame' so the next post will be specifically based on them, if you are still with me I’ll see you shortly!  Enjoy 'Splat' in the meantime… ^up^up^up^

C86 ERA

So after ‘Fuzzbox’, I took the leap of looking into music from 1986 and I came across a copy of the NME C86 cassette, well I actually downloaded it (legally, of course!) and sure enough ‘Fuzzbox’ are on the tape.  I was absolutely amazed by what a fantastic collection of music this is and instantly I just had to find out everything about pretty much every band on it.  It seemed to me like Post punk and Indie had developed its sound further although a lot of people say that it is quite repetitive of the early 80’s style but I completely disagree with this!  In my opinion if anything it was like things had regressed even further back to the D.I.Y days!  The sound is unpolished, basic, etchy and some tracks are rather weird as will be discovered.  I’d love to post videos of most bands on the tape but I better talk about just a couple, or I’ll be here all day….however, you should definitely give the whole thing a listen if you can get a copy.

For a start I never thought I’d hear anything as weird or experimental as the 'Diagram Bros' and was completely wrong there when I stumped across (excuse the pun) 'Stump'.  They were just completely crazy beyond belief.  They were a mix of Irish and English guys, and considering how off the wall they were they did pretty well in the indie charts with their Mini LP ‘Quirk out’ staying up there for half a year, and reaching number 2 at one point.  Plus they landed themselves on the channel 4 music program 'The tube' performing 'Tupperware stripper' (Here).  I don’t think any bands such as this would even get near the doors of a terrestrial TV channel nowadays.  I instantly set about buying all their records when I saw the Buffalo video, which is on the C86 cassette.  I think 'The tube' paid to make this, I’m really glad someone did - its a must see, an acquired taste for music perhaps, but a funny vid to watch even if you don’t like the sound of these nutcases!  It always puts a smile on my face, this isn’t the full video but the best quality one I could find on YouTube.

The next band that really impressed me with their combination of DIY/Post punk and even a slightly weird funky sound was 'The Mackenzies', a pretty bland sounding name!   Upon hearing them however I instantly knew that some of their other stuff would also be great too so I immediately got on the case of getting round to listening to everything by them (which isn’t really a lot unfortunately).  One single definitely worth checking out is ‘New Breed’/’Dogs Breakfast’ I wouldn’t exactly call it easy listening, both tracks are pretty jagged, all over the place and very experimental, they definitely had a unique sound though.  Nothing ever amounted to any commercial success but they were very much loved by Mr. John Peel for whom they recorded a couple of sessions which are also worth a blast (Here’s one called 'Give me everything' - Fantastic stuff).  I was also surprised that they hailed from Glasgow, yet another great musical export from Scotland.  Below is the first track that first caught my eye or ear should I say, which is from the C86 cassette - 'Big Jim (there's no pubs in heaven)'

In the end, C86 was not just a cassette, but actually a genre of its own.  That’s why I’ve named this post the C86 Era.  Other bands worth a listen to if your interested in this great period in music are ‘Bogshed’, ‘Big Flame’, ‘Half man, half biscuit’ and 'The wedding present'.  When looking further into the artists on this cassette something clicked into place, and this will lead me onto the next post…

Fuzzbox

—Do I want to?

Taken from the EP 'We've got a Fuzzbox and we're gonna use it' 1987