Botheration by Oaf

If  Oaf could be described in two words then ‘fuck off’ would be it. Botheration is the debut album of shouting, bass bashing Mr Lawson and drum fiddling Mr Rayment (think I had him for Biology once) that really is quite good.

Excepting a guest appearance by Justin Hawkins on guitar during Giant Ballbag, the entire album is made solely of crunchy bass, shouty bits and drums.  Some people would ask if a lack of guitars and other frivolous sound-instruments would render the album a bit shit. This is not so, songs such as A Euphemism for Tits and Wanking With a Fistful of Shit sound thicker than a cold pint of Guinness and Trent Reznor‘s colossal neck combined. In fact, it sounds a lot better than some of the beige guitar based ear-rot that oozes out of radios and PR machines.

Tracks such as Tiny When Erect and I’m Retarded are like loud chunks of anger covered in a storming bass line and crashing drums which are punctuated by gravelly beer stained vocals. The lyrics appear to have been written by someone with many pieces of wit, pork pies and lager inside them. Never have the words been sung ‘we were at the beach, everyone had matching cocks’ until now.

This band doesn’t sound like Good Charlotte,  this band  sounds like it should be famous. Anything as fresh as this deserves attention and your ears. If you feel like looking at their myspace then please do, you can also buy their new album or even see them making noise in real life if you really want to.

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Sherlock

You can deduce every single fucking thing you need to know about Sherlock from the final scene of the pilot alone. Don’t feel too pleased with yourself though, like everything else about this skewer full of bollocks, it’s nothing to be proud of.

We’ve been teased for 90 minutes about the identity of a mysterious and vaguely sinister character who kidnaps Doctor Watson, in the midst of a plot where multiple references to an ‘arch-enemy’ clang to the floor like Octomom’s Ben Wa Balls. In an amazing twist, it turns out it was Mycroft, Sherlock’s avuncular older brother, all along! He holds a position in the British government, and has a lovely assistant called Agatha (that’s a clever bit!)

“Upgrade their security surveillance status,” he utters as Holmes and Watson depart the scene of the climax. “Grade three, ACTIVE!” There are probably words for how loathsome this is, but they are beyond me at the moment. And yet somehow, it gets worse.

“Who?!” replies Agatha, as if that wasn’t obvious.

“Why,” he says, adopting a self-serious expression, and glaring stiffly after our heroes, “Sherlock Holmes, and Doctor Watson!” Cut to the detectish duo stalking moodily into the night in slow motion as the theme swells beneath them, urging these new partners forward to fresh excitement and daring adventures!

Having watched and (shame-facedly) enjoyed the last series of Doctor Who, I’ve nevertheless come to abhor Steven Moffat’s inability to give a character a ‘cool’ moment without resorting to just having them, or someone else, bleat their name in awe and adoration. I could forgive Doctor Who, since it is written for nine-year-olds, but this is meant to be a proper, grown-up, top-tier, flagship drama. Raise your fucking game, man; this dogshit just is not good enough.

I don’t really blame the actors (apart from Mark fucking Gattis, obviously). Benedict Cumberpatch is recognisably Sherlock. As the only Holmes actor with a stupider name than his character – including Basil Rathbone – he does a really good job with the bullshit he is forced to try and invest in. Martin Freeman is an amalgamation of various filmic Watsons, simultaneously dependable and competent, yet ‘comedically’ buffoonish and slow. It’s handled well enough that it doesn’t feel contradictory. Given the dialogue is peppered with overly smug, try-hard one-liners, it says something about these performances that I still managed to come away with some sympathy for the characters.

The problems here almost all lie in the nuts and bolts of the writing. In trying to bring Holmes’ method into the present day, they have made what looked elegant and brilliant in the hands of Conan-Doyle seem contrived and idiotic by only a cursory comparison. Holmes’ first flashy deduction, where he infers a whole mess of personal details about Watson from the state of his mobile phone, hinges completely on an inscription that was engraved for the phone’s previous owner. Who the fuck engraves a mobile phone as a romantic keepsake? Most people I know upgrade their phones more often than I upgrade my pants.

Holmes’ famous pocket watch deduction – from which this scene is transparently lifted – is far-fetched, but it does make sense. It’s not hard to imagine receiving an inscribed pocket watch. If a girlfriend of mine gave me an exploitative, vulgar and disposable gadget as a token of her love, I’d probably smile and say ‘aw thanks, sweetie’, and give her a lovely cuddle and a nice feel up. Secretly, I’d be thinking about making her eat it, inscription or not. There are some gifts you engrave, there are others you don’t. Meantime, the deduction that breaks the entire case hinges on a single salient, patronising fact: Women like pink stuff.

Oh yeah, the case. Inexpertly field-splinted together in shrieking agony from the smashed ribs of A Study in Scarlet, this story has been twisted out of all recognition. If it were done in service of something good, then so be it. Instead, it’s used to deliver a fucking idiotic serial killer narrative, where the villain can’t decide what his motive is. He’s proving a point, Jigsaw style; but he’s also being paid for every corpse he delivers because ???? Even though he washes his hands of responsibility for his victims because technically they killed themselves? Strewth, mate.

It also starts the ball rolling on an obvious series arc; Holmes’ eventual clash with Moriarty. Even Guy Ritchie could resist blowing that particular wad right off the bat, never mind the fact that this ‘faithful’ version of the gentlemanly Holmes obtains the name of his nemesis by torturing a dying man.

And while I’m on; fucking nicotine patches? You might think that is a clever way to sidestep the thorny potato of depicting a famous and unapologetic smoker in a modern, sanitised world. It isn’t. It’s lame as fucking hell and reeks of pointless compromise.

“Purists will take umbrage,” huffs the Guardian. Fuck that, fuck them and fuck this show. I enjoyed the Guy Ritchie version for what it was: a daft, fun Holmes-flavoured action movie. Similarly, I despise this for what it is; night soil through and through.

The A-Team

Old man. Once upon a time, old man make TV show. TV show for children. Children stupid. Children love helicopter, violence. TV show childhood staple of generation. Children grow up. Fond memory of old man TV show.

Children grow up more. Become juicy, moving, demographic target. Children fickle, easily entertained. Old man revisit TV show. Everyone know fossil look best with fresh coat emulsion. Old man gather team, make plan. He love when plan come together. Plan v complicated, implausible. Many part. But most crucial part of all: missing.

Old man make film, using multi-facet plan. Film about nothing but gag, fight and explosion. Some gag funny, most not. Fight brutal. Explosion p nice. Rest of plan fashion from cardboard. Old man call baddie ‘cartoon character’. V ironic. Team reduce to essence. Now exist solely as catchphrase. TV show, team not exactly nuanced, either. Forgiveable.

But TV show had simple plot. By end film, feel p turned around. Plot complicated as fuck, serve no purpose. Collapse under weight of twists. Film reference show continually. But film have unrelated premise. TV show about mercenary team. Fight bullies for Ronnie Corbett, build tank out of runabout; film, baddie is mercenary. Team fight element own government, don’t stick up for anyone but self. TV show, team are fugitive. Work for crust while evade capture, clear name; film, team bounce from prison to street. Out for revenge, justice incidental. TV show, death rarely portrayed; film, team deal death like Top Trumps. Morally, show and film pole apart.

Film exhibit strange view of patriotism. Old man believe American dream. American government repeatedly make bitch. Old man defy government over again. Then call another character ‘traitor’. Strange. Forward thinker, contingency planner, yet blind to own doom. In better film, might be ironic. Same time, angry black man confuse, reject violence. Soon experience epiphany, cost soul, his and baddie. Film sympathetic, message unmistakeable. Violence, brutality earliest recourse, not last resort. Character pick up, discard morality like hairstyle. Literally. TV show for children; film for manchildren.

Seems v pity TV show premise left for sequel. But fun anyway. Entertain. Make many right moves. Film good when about bang, drive, fly, punch, joke. Plenty wrong move, too. Plot too twist. All sub-plot, pointless, distracting, laughable. Too long. Too many say ‘awesome’. Worst, lack soul of TV show.

Still likeable, exciting. Worth watch.

Demon Pigeon Proudly Recommend “Porky Swords” by COLD STEEL

We here at DEMON PIGEON (INCORPOREAL) AGGLOMERATED DOT COM (CAYMAN ISLANDS) are overwhelmed with pride to be able to report the conclusion of negotiations on our first endorsement deal. It’s been a hard road, but as our new, deep-pocketed friends would say, ain’t no easy road worth the travellin’.

Introducing COLD STEEL KNIVES.

Cold Steel, Incorporated was founded in 1980, a company dedicated to making the strongest, sharpest knives in the world.

Over the last three decades, Cold Steel has been at the forefront of the many innovations that have helped to define the knife industry as a whole. Progressive accomplishment, including the introduction of the checked Kraton® handles, and the tanto point blade styles have gone from curiously interesting features to industry-wide hallmarks of quality and sophistication.

We fucking love swords and stabbing stuff too! Not quite as much as these mad fellas, admittedly, but not far off! Also, most of our sword action is either against computer game sprites or our own bespittled fists, rather than against suits of ceremonial armour, car hoods, or old cowboy boots full of raw pork. But swords, right. And heavy metal. You get me?

Check this bad motorscooter out:

On first glance, we agree, it looks like a fat man reddening his jowls trying to reduce some plywood to splinters with a five foot fucking sword. But it’s actually the culmination of every single art known to the star and CEO of Cold Steel: Lynn Thompson. He took the time to explain what makes Demon Pigeon so special to him.

As any reader of the site will know, the boys (and girl) at Demon Pigeon are known for their stiletto-smarts, their razor-wits, and their self-harm scars, all things we here at Cold Steel Fucking Swords can well understand. We totally get kids and are definitely not petrified by the world outside our gated communities. There’s a heavy rock band called Anvil right? I use anvils all the fucking time (to make the swords on)! You guys probably love that Rush song Armor and Sword, right? That song BOOGIES, dudes! Anyway, I guess that’s my 300 word endorsement pretty much wrapped up. Cowabunga, have a radical day!

Here’s Lynn:

Don't say Lynn is a girl's name

Yes, that’s right. Here he is, hugging a Def Leppard (dead leopard). Like us, you might initially think that posing gleefully with a member of an officially-recognised threatened species that you have recently slaughtered is a sociopathic and despicable thing to do. Ah, but you don’t understand. For to kill endangered animals is to master… one’s emotions. I’ll let Lynn explain himself:

Look out for more Cold Steel product updates and the special announcement of our upcoming Demon Pigeon/Cold Steel Unfair Animal Murder Safari Weekender, taking place in Rhyll. We can safely say a better partnership was never ‘forged’!

Real Heroes

Hello. You’ve probably noticed I haven’t done a lot for the site recently. This is down to many things, but I’ll basically sum it up as middle class listlessness. Aka I’m a lazy fuck.

To be fair though, you can’t blame me as reviewing music is awful, especially when most of the music you get is shitty metal and all you want to listen to is the same Radiohead and Babybird albums all the time. Seriously we get sent the worst stuff. What the hell is someone like me supposed to do with a Panic C3ll album eh? I’ll tell you what they do, they throw it down a well. Along with babies and Welsh people.

Soooo. Because music is making me sad at the minute, I naturally need cheering up. And there is nothing more mirth inducing to me than crazy Japanese people playing video games. No wonder my mother weeps.

Here we have a drunk Japanese man called Steve having a nervous breakdown while playing Super Mario Land on his gameboy. Actually it’s most likely an emulator but most of you are too pig-fucking-ignorant to know what that is (ie. you have lives). Anyhoo it’s pretty rad, especially when he calls the goombas ‘battmonstahs’ and talks about breaking windows and panties and brassiere. Later on he gets frustrated and starts doing swears. It’s so ace.

In this one, two lads play an excellent meta-game in Mario 64. They find a 1-Up mushroom and have to leg it before the bugger catches up with them. The best bit is the scream of fear when the jovial looking little hallucinogen first floats through the wall like some deliriously happy ghost murderer. Also the bit where they talk with the penguin is excellent too. Penguins are pretty excellent. Especially this one…

Look at him there, wandering off on his lonesome there to his inevitable doom. Part of me is a bit jealous. Maybe he got tired of his shitty job too. If I could get over my crippling fear of death I would totally do something like that. He is the Michael Douglas of penguins. Le Sigh…

Aaaaaaanyway, stay on target Dan.

This man is not Japanese. In fact this man is not even human. Listen to his voice. It is the most wonderful voice on the planet. If there are shopping centres in Heaven this man will be at the announcing kiosk thing, letting people know where missing kids are in his dreamy, dreamy voice. He also did a Super Metroid playthrough which goes on for christ knows how many videos. All I know is that it’s soporific effect has led to many blissful nights of crashing into slumber.

Behold. The King. We return to the land of the Rising Sun just in time to bear witness to this hero tentatively working his way through Resident Evil 2. If the whole world was forced to watch this video everything would change. All religions would combine, murder would no longer exist, people would never be sad again and Timmy Mallet would be world leader. He did another video where he played through a bit of Resident Evil 4 but I can’t be bothered finding it. Besides, this one is enough. It really is the best thing. If you don’t get some enjoyment out of it you’re some kind of joyless husk. Hey you all listen to metal anyway, so you probably are. So fuck you I guess.

I realise this is of no interest to any of you but you know, humour me. Have you happened across anything similar? If so, do share it with us, and help us turn our permafrowns upside down.

Quantic and his Combo Bárbaro, Manière des Bohémiens

yeah i know my photographs are shit

(Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, Thursday 9th July)

Most of the best gigs I’ve seen have not been proper metal ones. Sure, Roadburn was a ton of dirty fun. Alice in Chains were excellent, and Iron Maiden weren’t too shabby when I saw them, either. But none of these concerts are among my proper mind-blown favourites. In descending order, I shall now list them.

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion came out on stage at the Manchester Academy in like 2002, and started playing. Two hours of utterly incredible noise later, they stopped, with barely a pause in between. They threw themselves into the music so hard, Manchester Royal Infirmary A&E were on alert for the duration. Or there’s A, who I saw in 1999 or so. I’m not sure they were ever really very good, but they exuberated such power that Leeds Cockpit turned into a fucking sauna. The place was actually raining sweat by the end, and our clothes were steaming as we poured out into the wintry air, our ears damaged forever. We knew we had been to see a fucking show.

Then there’s this gig.

For all their intensity and volume, I can’t think of many metal concerts I’ve seen where some ineluctable energy just constantly crackles off the stage like ball lightning, without a lull or a boring bit. That’s a skill Quantic has got.

So have Nottingham-based gypsy jazz children Manière des Bohémiens, filling out the bill. As depressing as it is for a man of my advanced years to see toddlers busting violin and guitar licks that would have smudged Django Reinhardt’s eyebrow-pencil moustache right off his wobbling Belgian lip, you have to give them credit. In my opinion, they should be bigger than Gogol Bordello, who are annoyingly trendy, and seem to me to be some kind of giant, ironic, Borat-style contrivance for idiots. Check out Manière des Bohémiens instead. They’re better, and as a bonus, far more obscure and, thus, far more impressive.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of Will Holland, aka Quantic, because his records have never really grabbed me. They seem a bit too polished, somehow, for the kind of low-fi jazz-funk he seems to be going for, and I can never think of a reason to reach for his stuff over say, The Brothers Johnson or Graham Central Station or David Axelrod or whoever.

On stage, though, we could see like, jams. Then along came Quantic sporting a size twelve soccer clog, and he like, booted them right the fuck out, all the way to the back of the hall. It was actually proper brill, unlike this metaphor.

I don’t know any of the songs he and his combo played, and it’s hard to pin down the exact style of his sound, an almalgamatised mélange of all sorts of latin influences. Odd bits of mambo, conga, salsa and bugalú showed up over the course of a two-hour show that never failed to captivate. It reminds me most of a hip-hop free Ozomatli, in that the seams in the patchwork are indistinguishable. In the round, though, it’s like nothing I’ve ever heard before.

I have reserved all of my most special props, however (the ones I use to hold up the line on which I dry my ‘special’ nature photographs) for conga-player Freddy Colorado, whose 10,000 watt grin probably had more to do with the incredible level of heat in the room than the dancing. At one point, he hopped down off the stage to lead a conga line up the room and back down again, grinning like a buffoon the entire time. Fucking excellent.

Wandering out in the end, all clammy as fuck, the only thing I could really think about was the other comparable gigs I’ve seen, and it was a rarefied list indeed. Thanks to Quantic and the Boho Men, once again, I knew I had seen a fucking show.

http://www.quantic.org/