THE LINES – hull down – OUT NOW

All Posts,New Music,Old Music — Dan on May 16, 2016 at 11:22 pm



As of this past friday, “hull down” by The Lines is available to purchase on LP or via digital, stream digital and soon on CD as well in limited quantities. I don’t need to go on and on about how cool this record is, about how surprising a mix of post-punk, new wave, krautrock, dub, electronics, acoustics, songwriting, tape-editing it is. I do want to share some more info about it from others, and maybe say a thing or two about it.

First, make sure you check out Rico’s blog Rico’s Reel where the latest post is a track by track run down of the LP with insights into the history and production of the material. Especially good reading for the gear nerds our there.

Second, make sure you tune into dublab this Wednesday, May 18th at 10am when Rico will join Ale (Alejandro Cohen of Languis, Pharaos and Psychic Powers) on the air. Interview? DJ? Talk Radio? Not sure but looking forward to it!

Third, there’s been some kind words written online that are worth checking out, like this review from Loud and Quiet, Tim Gabriele’s short but sweet write-up here, this extensive article with contributions from Rico at Cold War Night Life, Red Bull Music Academy’s interview going deeper into Rico’s 80s productions, or Andy Kellman’s review on Allmusic comparing hull down to Cabaret Voltaire and On-U sound and giving me official commendation for my work with Acute, which I initially read as condemnation.

Finally, just wanted to give a tiny bit of background about this release from our perspective. One of the most fun things about doing a reissue label is when you begin discussing reissuing a favorite artists recordings and they tell you they’ve got some unreleased stuff and would you like to hear that as well? I’m really proud of the various bonus-tracks and previously unreleased material that has been strewn throughout the small Acute catalog and this is another fantastic example.

I first got in touch with Rico as far back as 2003, around the time of our first releases. It took 5 years to get our Lines CDs out (Memory Span compiling the singles and Flood Bank the LPs for those not keeping track). At some point during that Rico first mentioned these tracks, sometimes referred to as just “the 1983 album”. Of course I was beyond excited to get to hear this stuff and when I finally did…what can I say, it blew me away.

It was clearly the Lines, many of the trademarks that made the singles and LPs so great, but was a clear development from that material, which only made sense as they were always moving forward. And it isn’t just a single direction but represented exploration in several directions, some of their most experimental music and some of their catchiest songs. Some of it exciting in it’s rawness and immediacy, some of it shocking in it’s sublime beauty. It was a no-brainer, Acute definitely wanted to release this, perhaps not long after the initial 2 CDs, so sometime around 2010?

Well things don’t always work out as planned. Rico found the time to get back to it and put it shape, then Acute got a bit quiet and continued it’s uniquely deliberate and thoughtful pace (read: slow). By the time we jumped on the lucrative and forward-thinking vinyl bandwagon hull down was definitely gonna be. By then still only a few people had even heard the material. A few friends and special fans of the band had the chance to preview it and of course were blown away. But as before, life and laziness gets in the way and for various reasons I decided it was time to put Acute Records to rest. But not before at least one last release, something that we had long been hoping to do and promising to do. Being that it’s an extension of 2 CDs that were GREAT Acute CDs from back then and being a great collection of unheard stuff really made it seem like an ideal and appropriate way to go out. All this essentially being written to say….sorry it took so long!


All Posts,New Music — Dan on February 7, 2015 at 1:44 pm




I know this blog and the Acute label has been really quite for the last few months (years?), I’m sorry but attention has been elsewhere. Luckily there are many other folks and labels doing good works, one could almost say nobody needs Acute. I do think it’s important though to make sure people know about some good things happening especially related to good things Acute’s done. For instance, in 2011 we released what we referred to as “our most obscure release to date!”, the expanded reissue of Happy Refugees seminal DIY cult-classic Last Chance Saloon as Return to Last Chance Saloon. Upon the release of that well-received, well-reviewed and well-loved reissue, the band were inspired to get back together and even celebrate with a trip to New York City, home of spiritual forefathers Lou and the Velvets, and played packed shows with the likes of Crystal Stilts, Regal Degal, Sapphire Mansions as well as a visit to WFMU. You can read about the Acute release here and here and our take on the NY trip here and here.

That however is not where the story ends! Maybe it’s where part 2 of Happy Refugees story begins, or perhaps it’s just somewhere in the middle. After returning to the UK, despite living in different parts of that tiny land, they managed to continue writing, both picking up where things left off and finishing the unfinished as well as starting anew with fresh material, the results of which is a NEW album, Beyond Moth and Rust. This was preceded by the creation of a new website,, which tells their story in more depth than I can or will here. It also has some media including a wonderful painted tribute to the NY trip from guitarist Paul Harvey and a section called The Gymnasium, a “carefully curated gallery” of stuff that hopefully they’ll continue to update.

Most importantly and relevantly it has information, samples and ordering info for the new album, so I should probably talk about that. These songs are rock-n-roll that recall Lou, John Cale and Iggy in the 70s with lyrics that tear into the pains of relationships and politics with equal parts tension and introspection. Is this the chaotic and shambolic noisy sound of a young DIY band? No, these guys are older now, more mature, better at their instruments. It’s worth noting that despite the raw nature of the 80s material, underneath and beyond that was the real appeal, the timeless appeal of songs and lyrics and they’re only stronger with age. Don’t get me wrong, an edge is still there and some of the bitterness has aged like a fine whiskey…a bit smoother perhaps, but twice as strong and valuable. Feel free to submit that last analogy to your favorite Best Music Writing on the Web year end lists come December. I’m no writer, just a lapsed label guy (at the moment) so it’d probably be better to quote our good friend Rick Taylor from the DC record nerd gathering We Fought the Big One who wrote “When I first heard Happy Refugees, I was immediately struck by their restless creativity and sense of adventure, the wonderfully odd way they married the shambolic with the elegant, the unexpected left turns, the often cinematic scope of their reach, and just the sheer quality of everything I was hearing…Beyond Moth and Rust has all the qualities that captivated me in the first place–the band’s vigor, knack for sharp hooks and capacity to surprise remain undiminished by time.” I couldn’t have said it better myself (and didn’t.)

Hit their website and check out the samples on the vinyl ordering or downloads page.


All Posts,event,New Music,Old Music — Dan on May 4, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Sorry it’s been so many months since a post. Acute’s been quiet since we knocked out three awesome vinyl releases right out of the park around the turn of 2013. We still exist and have a few releases we may get out there but have been been busy elsewhere. In the meantime just wanted to do a quick update to let you know about some news related to artists that have been or are of the Acute family. Where to start?

I should probably start here since I’m a few days late. Vic Varney from The Method Actors told me about Art Rocks Athens, a special exhibition running from May 1st through Dec 31 of artifacts related to the Athens music scene of the late 70s and early 80s. There will be displays, screenings, performances etc. Check out the website linked above and the facebook page here.

No Trypes news but plenty of action with Speed the Plough, the band the Trypes evolved into.  Late last year, Bar None released a beautiful retrospective, The Plough and the Stars, featuring a “best of” CD, a 12″ with 6 new songs and a live set, a large booklet and a digital download card with even more goodies. A great intro to the band or a great way to catch up with old favorites. Since then, they’ve been recording more new material and have a bunch of shows lined up, at the In the Pines festival in Beacon NY next Saturday the 10th, a gig at Tierney’s in Montclair NJ the following saturday the 17th, and a show in Brooklyn at the Fifth Estate on May 23rd.

Ike Yard are working on a new album, “Rejoy” and also make an appearance on a fantastic new compilation from Factory Benelux called Of Factory New York, a benefit to assist Michael Shamberg, who ran Factory US. Lots of Factory favorites devoted tracks to this compilation, with iconic Lawrence Weiner artwork, including Ike Yard’s Kino. Do I have most of these songs already? Of course. Do I have them all in one place with killer artwork and for a good cause? Not yet. Vinyl has, along with Kino, such Dan Selzer dancefloor staples like ACR’s Do the Du, Quando Quango’s Love Tempo, 52nd Street’s Cool as Ice, Cabaret Voltaire’s Yashar (John Robie remix) a live version of New Order’s Your Silent Face, Konk’s Baby Dee, Section 25’s Looking From a Hilltop, Streetlife’s Act on Instinct, Marcel King’s Reach for Love, Thick Pigeon’s Subway, Arthur Baker’s Come On and Anna Domino’s Summer.

What a gig that would’ve been. Nothing that exciting! Following the release of the awesome book Punk 45: Original Punk Rock Singles Cover Art, edited by Jon Savage and Stuart Baker, Soul Jazz has started a series of punk 7″ compilations, organized by location/period/etc. Not unlike say, a Chuck Warner CD. The first volume is called Punk 45: Kill the Hippies! Kill Yourself! The American Nation Destroys its Young. Underground Punk in the United States of America, Vol 1. 1973-1980 and features U.S. Millie by Theoretical Girls, from the very first Acute release (and the Roir New York Singes Scene compilation before that). The second volume is Punk 45: There is No Such Thing as Society. Get a Job, Get a Car, Get a Bed, Get Drunk! Underground Punk in the UK 1977-81, Vol 2. and features no less (or more) than TWO Acute related tracks. The first LP ends with the cult-classic White Night by The Lines and the second LP (and whole shebang) ends with Going Through the Motions by The Prefects.

And speaking of the Prefects…lets talk about The Nightingales, the band the Prefects evolved into. They’ve got a new album out called For Fuck’s Sake, recorded at Faust Studio in Germany. Self-released, or as they say “No interference or outside opinions, no label, no distributor, no catalogue number, no bar code or logo shit, blah blah.” The record is killer and it’s getting great reviews and buzz. Once again and continuously they prove they’re not just some nostalgia act reunited to cash-in on those lucrative post-punk revival riches, but a living-breathing and evolving hard-working band just getting better and better. Killing it on tour and hopefully hitting the states soon. They’ve even got a proper video:


But if you want a blast from the past…check out this old documentary on John Peel that’s been making the rounds, featuring a discussion with a younger Nightingales and a searing performance from them at the end of part 3.


And talking about vintage footage…Innes Reekie, who contributed his Fire Engines notes to our Hungry Beat compilation, has posted “coming soon…” regarding the long spoken of documentary, The Sound of Young Scotland. So even though this teaser is from 2007,  let’s watch it again and cross our fingers that we’ll get to see it soon.


I think that’s enough for now. I have to go update one of my other blogs then maybe try to get some actual work done.


All Posts,New Music — Dan on November 19, 2011 at 4:19 pm


You are going to hear a lot in the next few weeks about Acute’s next release, Return to Last Chance Saloon by Happy Refugees, starting with this. We made a little slideshow video for the song that started it all for me, Hamburger Boy. See it here, see it on youtube, please forward and post it, live it and love it. We’ve also put up the release page here:

Happy Refugees – Return to Last Chance Saloon

so check that out to read some promo blurbs and get 3 free songs as a taster. Heck, may as well post them here as well…

This is Cold
[audio: Happy Refugees-This is Cold.mp3]

Hamburger Boy
[audio: Happy Refugees-Hamburger Boy.mp3]

Warehouse Sound
[audio: Happy Refugees-Warehouse Sound.mp3]

The record comes out November 29th, I’ll post again when that long-awaited date arrives and will update that page with ordering information.

You will also be hearing a lot about this because not only has this been REMASTERED…not only is this being REISSUED, but Happy Refugees have REUNITED and they’re going to play two shows in New York City early in December to celebrate the release. Friday December 9th they have been graciously invited to open up for Crystal Stilts at the Knitting Factory for their EP release party (on Sacred Bones) where they will be joined by McDonalds. Then the following night for those who can’t brave Brooklyn or prefer more intimate basement spaces, Happy Refugees will be headlining at Cake Shop with Regal Degal, Suspensors and maybe more.

So consider this the first shot over the bow. There will be a few more posts with more detail and a whole lot of facebook info, so make sure you check out Happy Refugees and Acute Records on facebook.


All Posts,event,New Music — Dan on April 25, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Not an Acute release, though there will be a LOT of Acute releases to talk about soon. Zoovox Theme by Zoovox is the exciting first release from my Dazzle Ships DJ partners Tropical Jeremy and Ben Gebhardt. You’ve surely seen Jeremy’s name on this blog since he’s probably DJ’d with me more then any other lucky person on the planet. These guys have been working hard in their waterfront studio (for real, you should see the view) and knocked out this classic slice of cosmic bliss. They let me design the art, a generic record label branded label with an empty space for the specific details. I got to specify 2 colors with overprinting for the first time. Didn’t quite get that magic third color but it was still pretty cool. Anyway, this one-sided 12″ vinyl (or digital download) release is hopefully the first of many. You can listen to it and purchase it here. You can also hear it this thursday here:

I will be DJing with Arp and Safety Scissors this thursday at Zebulon, 258 Wythe in Williamsburg. Arp is one of the busiest guys in the business. I met him as a member of Tussle and writer for XLR8R many years ago. Since then he’s made waves as a member of The Alps, solo releases as Arp and a great collaboration with one of my personal heros, Anthony Moore. Safety Scissors I first met when we both DJ’d at Luxx opening up for Martin Moscrop of A Certain Ratio’s first DJ appearance in NYC, but he’s better known for his various techno/electronica/proptronica releases and remixes. We will be playing a no doubt stunning collection of weird and wonderful sounds for vibing and or dancing.

It’s worth noting that Jeremy, Arp and Safety Scissors all used to live in San Francisco and now they all live in New York City. Make of that what you will.

p.s. new york rules

p.p.s. except its too expensive


All Posts,event,New Music,Old Music — Dan on May 18, 2010 at 11:52 am

The monthly party I hosted with Tropical Jeremy for 3 years is now back after a year long respite with new resident DJ Ben Gebhardt, which means I get to carry less records, show up later and leave earlier. We return tomorrow night, Wednesday May 19th with guest DJ Steve Silverstein of Christmas Decorations and Wodger Records. It’s also Jeremy’s birthday! And it’s the day after the 30th anniversary of Ian Curtis’s death, so I’ll be bringing plenty of moody Martin Hannett-produced post-punk and a few Joy Division gems along with the usual randomness. Dazzle Ships takes place from 9 till 1-ish (or later) at Heathers, 306 east 13th st at Ave. A in Manhattan and we now have an exciting new website to present such information, but as usual, facebook rules for this sort of thing.

Ike Yard’s new EP, Öst came out recently on the Phisteria label. It’s a great 10″ (for those of you new to vinyl, that’s a bit bigger than a 7″, but smaller than a 12″) featuring two new tracks and two remixes. The late-night atmosphere, the dubbed out synths, the  post-punk bass, the spoken vox all remain on the A-side Oshima Cassette, while the flipside Citiesglit is an altogether more ambient and textural affair. Phisteria will follow this up with a full-length soon.

In other Ike Yard-related news…the post-Ike Yard deconstructed hip-hop project Death Comet Crew, featuring Stuart Argabright and Michael Diekmann of Ike Yard, Shinichi Shimokawa and DJ High Priest (legendary hip-hop DJ, partner with Vince Gallo in “Trouble Deuce“) are making a rare live appearance in New York this saturday at Public Assembly in Williamsburg with Beans, Crunc Tesla, Plasticity and Toboggan. Details here.

We have had nothing but awesome press from all corners. Here’s some of it…

Last Days of Man On Earth


The Music Critic

Simon Reynolds Blissblog

BBC Music

Allmusic Guide





Critical Mob

Prefix Mag

Drowned in Sound

Spectrum Culture

The Big Takeover

I said plenty about Joy Division in my epic Acute Blog post around the time of my work on some Viva-Radio playlists tied-in to the release of the movie Control. I beg you to read it again.
One thing that’s always been funny about my passion for Joy Division is how every few years, every few months, different songs plant themselves in my head as a new favorite. For the last few months, I simply cannot stop listening to Digital. Historically, the idea that this is where the big change took place, that no matter how much you love the Warsaw material, that it wasn’t until they recorded this session with Martin Hannett that they started to truly show that they were something really special. But it’s the energy, simplicity and repetition of Digital that totally kills me. Even without Hannet’s touch, it’s somehow a great deal more modern then the material on An Ideal for Living. There’s almost a krautrock quality in it’s stilted rhythm and motorik/mechanic beat. Like Wire and the Fall on MORE speed. Imagine that. Here’s the video clip from the Here Are the Young Men video (I still have the Ikon VHS). Not the best audio or video quality, but even that just adds to the power of this performance.



All Posts,event,New Music — Dan on November 2, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Two years ago I posted a Viva-Radio playlist called Strange Kicks featuring a new Chinese band called Car-Sick Cars. I wrote:

2. Car-sick Cars-Rock & Roll Hero
One of the great benefits of, other then the free Macy’s gift card and the photos I can’t believe she would post them online, is the random friend requests from bands. I know you got 10 yesterday and they all sucked. Well I run a record label, which means I got 100 yesterday and they all sucked. Believe it or not, this particular post-punk reissue label is not interested in your heavy-metal emo trip-hop band from Moscow. But I try to take the time to check out the bands because for every clueless act that wants to get signed, there’s actually bands who are familiar with the music Acute has released, maybe they’re even fans.

One day I received three friend requests from bands/acts in Beijing, China. A bit of research led me to realize the common thread was an artist named Shou Wang, who seems to be a central figure in what is being called the “No Beijing” scene. The three pages were for himself, a project called White and the Car-sick Cars. The range of influences listed on the White page and his own page are wide-ranging and faultlessly hip, not to mention very much in line with my own. Einsturzende Neubauten, TG, Glenn Branca, Steve Reich, La Monte Young, etc. The music on those two pages are an eclectic selection of noise and minimalist inspired pieces.

I was more excited, however, by Car-sick Cars, his rock band. This particular list of influences pretty much sums up a large selection of my record collection. Branca, The Clean, The Fall, Joy Division, Neu!, Sonic Youth, Suicide, Swell Maps, Theoretical Girls etc. The music they make is noisy indie-rock with the minimal, chiming riffing of the early 80s post-punk and NZ bands and big accessible hooks like Daydream-era Sonic Youth. According to his myspace page, Shou Wang has played with Glenn Branca, Elliot Sharp, Neubauten and Car-sick Cars even appropriately opened for Sonic Youth. Hopefully they’ll get a full-length out soon, maybe they’ll even come play in NY. Check out all their songs on the myspace page, they’re great.

Now they are finally playing in New York City, along with another Chinese band, P.K.14, who I first heard rep’d by Mike Watt online. They are playing three shows in NYC, Thursday in dumbo at Powerhouse Arena to celebrate the release of a book, Sound Kapital, about Bejing’s music underground, Friday night at Glasslands with the awesome Soft Circle and These are Powers, and Saturday night at Santos Party House “with special guests”. The Glasslands “vibe” is probably preferred, and Glasslands supposedly has a new sound-system, however Santos also has Dinowalrus and the Fixed 5 yr party w/ Basement Jaxx, though those may be 2 other parties that you’d have to pay separately for. These shows are presented by Maybe Mars in collaboration with the Arts Initiative at Columbia University.


All Posts,mp3,New Music — Dan on August 30, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Been meaning to post some new music again for a while. I don’t have much time for the new stuff as there’s still too much old stuff to catch up with, I mean I just heard Din A Testbild, and Dion & The Belmont’s My Girl the Month of May, but I do really dig a lot of stuff that’s going on now. Lots of synth-punk stuff and C86 influences and psychedelic flourishes and plenty of post-punk, NDW, italo and other referencing. MGMT is really great. But I just got exposed to some tangentially Acute related artists I thought I’d share.

When I first met Matt Wood, he was referred to as “Teenage Guitar Sensation Matt Wood.” He had somehow joined the Nightingales, the band that evolved out of the Prefects. The Nightingales reformed around the time Acute’s awesome Prefects CD was released and we helped bring them to the US for their first gigs. On their second or third visit, they had shuffled their line-up a bit (not the first, nor last time) and had this stylish youngster playing guitar. From the first note it was obvious he was a force to be reckoned with, adding a great deal of skronk to the band. He was excited that our next release was the Fire Engines CD, so I knew he had excellent taste. I was sad to hear that he left the Nightingales, though they replaced him with Christy from Christy & Emily, forging a slightly different but no less powerful sound. In keeping touch with Matt since then I learned he has a new project still very much in the early stages. They are called the Silver Hares and are described on myspace thusly…

metalbeat noise and pop songs to salvage despondency of grey matter modern music + all suspect supposed ‘new-wave’ / ‘indust-est’ monochromoloid young liquid savages &/or hungry ghost league.

Their influences are listed as Faust, Palais Schaumburg, Subway Sect, Throbbing Gristle, Milk n Cookies, Joe Meek, Fire Engines, Family Fodder, Sparks, John Foxx

I asked for further details and found out we’re all at Goldsmith’s College and live in a big pink house just round the corner from Deptford (fun city!) We hope to one day find somebody else we like who’ll sing and play bass for us.

Without further ado, here is a song called 48CRASH, also known as Demonstration Two.

The Silver Hares-48CRASH
control-click to download

Totally killer, right?

And a world and ocean away…I got word from Gustaf Heden, a young swedish songwriter who’s been gigging solo around NYC for a few years now and is forming a new band, Gustaf Heden & Distracting Noises. I’m assuming he’s spent some time in Scotland because he’s worked with Malcolm Ross of Josef K and Orange Juice and Acute’s good friend Russell Burn of the Fire Engines, Win, Sexual Objects and other projects. Gustaf’s debut album, recorded with Russell, called Spectorbutllets is out soon. This is what he had to say about it on his myspace page…

My debut album and collaboration with Russell Burn is recorded and being mixed in Edinburgh by mr. Burn. You can catch the first, raw fruits on here – “Goldmine”, “The Buffalos” and “- + – is…” are rough mixes from the album.

This LP is what happens when you tell one of the best and most creative drummers I’ve ever heard to play 4/4 on every fucking song, and see what he does. It’s what happens when you let me attack every instrument around. Most importantly, it’s a nuclear battlefield of different ideas, harmonies and disarray influenced by the likes of Mayakovsky, Bowie, 13th Floor Elevators, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Augustus Pablo, and gay spray.

There are also some further contributions on certain tracks – guitar from Malcolm Ross (Orange Juice/Josef K, The Bum-Clocks), writing by Joanna Pickering, plus vocal assistance from Heather Craig and Fiona McIntosh.

It was a great month in Scotland and apart from walking up Arthur’s Seat and taking “creative breaks” at the Albion Pub I also got to collaborate on a track off the Sexual Objects’ album and on the second Piefinger album – two albums I can’t wait to hear – as well as play piano with The Bum-Clocks on two nights (Thank you for the great support, Aberdeen!)

Enough Yakkin’. Hope you like the songs – there is much more to come…

For DJ/review advance copies contact us on here or on

I’m really digging this song Goldmine, which reminds me of some the more accessible if shambolic Homosexuals songs…

Gustaf Heden-Goldmine
control-click to download

What else is new? It’s so hard to keep up. I love Jeremy Jay. John Carpenter sounds really good. Thousands of post-balaeric revival grooves, post-Italians Do It Better moody italo-wave, Telepathe and Effie Briest. Mirror Mirror. The lo-fi italo/techno deconstruction of the mysterious Yellow Beach Balls. I don’t know, I still mostly listen to Fred Neil and the Lines. I JUST finally got Love and Hate by Section 25 and can’t wait to see them (and the Raincoats!) at Part Time Punks fest. I don’t get out much but did see The Pretenders and Cat Power in Central Park. What’s new with you? What’s the new stuff we should be listening to? What’s that, what’s new with Acute Records itself? That’s the next post.


All Posts,event,mp3,New Music,Old Music — Dan on December 5, 2008 at 1:38 am

Sorry I didn’t do this when it was fresh in my mind. Been busy and there was a national holiday to deal with as well. What an adventure! I’m going to kick it LiveJournal style now. I went out there with nothing really planned except the incredible oppurtunity to crash on the floor of my friend Adesh’s room at the Standard Downtown. We decided to rent a car, because people apparently drive in LA, but the super budget car rental place had no GPS, so most of the trip involved me yelling at Adesh and telling him his iPhone’s GPS was junk. We got to town, I ate some tacos the size of my head at the Grand Central Market, complained about eating too much for a while then went to Amoeba, where I didn’t end up buying any records but I tried to convince some dude to buy some Cabaret Voltaire 7″s for 10 bucks each—you cannot pay too much money for copies of Extended Play and Silent Command. Ran into Mahssa and thought I was back in NYC. Went back to the hotel, hung out with Dahlia and took a nap. Woke up and Adesh was too busy hanging out with A Certain Ratio at the Standard’s roof pool so I went over to the Echo by myself. Met Michael from Part Time Punks and Benny Shambles who I knew from Go Go Go Airheart playing in NYC, and Scarlet from Hang the DJs. Pop Noir and Adult. played. Adult. was way more industrial then they used to be and I missed the neo-italo new wave of the electroclash days. Rico from The Lines showed up to say hello then at the end of the night after Dirty Dave and Franki Chan loudly rocked the kids with their serato sets I got to DJ. Of course I only brought CDs and they didn’t have CDJs set up and their computers were about 100x louder then my CDs so when I opened with Perfect Kiss it sounded terrible but enough of me making DJ excuses. That’s my new DJ name, btw, DJ Excuses. So after the club closed at 2 we went to what looked like a cool old diner but was really a total hipster hangout called Brite Spot or something and we sat next to the singer from Veruca Salt, a real L.A. moment. It was 2am LA time, so 5am NYC time, which is what time I’d usually end up at the diners of NY (Odessa, or Veselka), so all was right, even if I had 2 hours of sleep the night before.


Went over early to catch ACR’s soundcheck. The rest of the day was spent running up and down the stairs checking out bands and working the merch table where I sold 9 Acute CDs. Was re-introduced to Jessica Espeleta of E.S.P.S. who I had met years ago in NYC. Ran into original Dazzle Ships bartender Brion Paul, who still has my Norman Mclaren DVD, but I’ve got his copy of Jubilee. Victor who played Lines singles for me in SF last year at his Teenage Kicks party, ILXor and blogger Bimble, Don from the old Don’s Records in Brooklyn, Brody from the Plant Bar days, DJ Rob, my old LiveJournal friend Elena and others were all there. And to think I thought I wouldn’t know anybody, a stranger from NY in a stranger land (LA).


I didn’t see all the bands. I saw Magic Bullets who make a suitably powerful slightly twee Postcard Records style indie-pop with a singer who’s a bit too Morrissey. I saw What’s Your Rupture? signees Nodzzz, who were good simple rock and they had a sense of humor. I saw Grimble Grumble do a classic droned out space rock thing, felt like 96 all over again, they even covered It’s a Rainy Day Sunshine Girl. I saw a bit of Warpaint do some sort of tribal rock and the Vivian Girls for a few seconds playing their c86 girl-group sound. I read an interview with them where they talk about being influenced by the Shangri-Las and never having heard the Shop Assistants. They sounded great, better then the one time I’d seen them before. Love is All as well. I always wonder when bands start to hit bigger stages whether they’ll benefit or suffer. Some bands, especially punk bands, need that intimacy and energy of a small room. But both Vivian Girls and Love is All were great and went over swimmingly. I did not see the Muslims, who sound pretty cool. Nervous Gender was some old-school industrial and Medium Medium and Pylon were both dependably great though I didn’t get too pay too much attention. I totally missed Savage Republic and Softboiled Eggies, to much regret.

Onto my pet faves.

Wild Stares were awesome. I didn’t really know what to expect. I first heard them on a Hyped2Death comp and later found a few of the records here and there. They started out in Boston with releases on the seminal Boston punk/post-punk label Propeller, spent some time in Europe and eventually settled in LA where they’re all involved in tons of projects. Vocalist/gtrist Steve Gregoropoulos is a producer well known on the scene and a member of Lavender Diamond. While they were playing I spoke to some LA kids who couldn’t believe what they were seeing, not expecting Steve to rock out like he did, I suppose. They’re a hard band to describe with their own sound. It’s a noisy post-punk, angular and aggressive and chaotic. They use a drum machine and some electronics to good effect. They did a furious version of one of my favorite songs, Piece of the Picture, which Steve was kind enough to let me share here.

Wild Stares-Piece of the Picture
control-click to download

Before they played, I was DJing between bands and thought it would be fun to play the Dangerous Birds single on Propeller, the first band featuring Thalia Zadek. I wondered if anyone in the band noticed. A few hours later I was checking out the merch table and noticed another member of Wild Stares sitting behind some records, including original copies of some of their old records including an old Propeller 7″. I mentioned how cool I thought it was that they had that there for sale. He introduced himself as Justin Burrill, who was the man behind Propeller! And yes, they did notice I played the Dangerous Birds single. It was this kind of punk-rock networking that made the event so cool. There’s a great and extensive interview with the band from an old edition of Perfect Sound Forever, well worth reading.

The Nightingales were one of the main reasons I was there. They grew out of the Acute Records-released Prefects and I had suggested them for the festival. As those of you who have been religously following this blog know, I think they’re one of the best bands performing these days and I’ve seen them play NY a few times now, each time just getting better and better but never really reaching that huge an audience in this jaded town. I think it’s great that they’re playing so much though and really think it’s starting to pay off, building up a new fan-base show by show. Despite there being some last-minute schedule changes, which I am partially responsible for, they finally got to play around 6 or so, a few hours after they were supposed to play, but many hours before they were scheduled to play. It’s a long story, but the timing worked out well for them. They played upstairs to a packed room and I imagine most of the people there didn’t know what to expect. They put on a great show, though not quite as amazing as their performance at Asterisk in Bushwick the week before. I think they won over a lot of fans. The moment they finished two guys came back to the DJ booth and asked “who was that???”.  Robert Lloyd was in great form, taunting the audience as usual. One famous aside that has already been documented in more then one place involved Robert stopping the music and staring at somebody in the first row and saying “Don’t you fucking ever take a picture of me…holding a bud light.” They did that little bit of Faust So Far they always do, making for the second Faust cover of the day. Seriously, do not miss the chance to see them. They have a great new album out soon called Insult to injury, recorded with Hans-Joachim Irmler of Faust, here’s a song from it.

The Nightingales-Little Lambs
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The Urinals have been a favorite of mine since the AmRep compilation came out. Unfortunately I didn’t see much of their set even though it was a prime goal of mine. I heard them play Strip Club from the 100 Flowers record, one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands. I also bought a t-shirt. They sounded great.

A Certain Ratio hadn’t played the US since 1985 and getting them to play the festival was quite the coup. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m sure a lot of people were hoping to hear some of those early post-punk funk classics, which ACR did deliver. But I think some of the audience may not have remembered how far the band went into the 80s and 90s getting more and more involved with club music and various other influences, ranging from the smooth post-UK jazz funk grooves to acid house. While they may not have played Do the Du with all the frantic noise of a young post-punk band, they covered the breadth of their career and sounds, ending with a killer latin drum funk jam (a live remix of Skipscada?) and encored with a cover of Joy Division’s Heart and Soul. Now we have to get them to NY!

The bands ended sunday night around 1 or so, and were followed by a Part Time Punks dance party. Something I’d never really seen. Back when I started Transmission I had this dream of playing proper post-punk dance records to a dancing crowd. That’s never really flown here. Maybe you drop Gang of 4 or Delta 5 into a disco or 80s rock/new wave set you’re good, but a room full of people dancing their assess off to the Normil Hawaiins or House of Cracks by The Lines at 2 am on a sunday night? I take it all back LA, I’m sorry about all the horrible things I’ve said about you.

After the show, I joined Adesh to hang out with A Certain Ratio back at the hotel, the closest I’ll ever come to living 24 Hour Party People, then we hit IHOP. A few hours of sleep, waiting for valet service in 91 degree heat, just missing Rob Lowe filming something on the hotel roof, then we flew back monday. NY was like 40 degrees. The NME reviewed the festival here, including some video footage, though I take umbridge at the “hipster Brooklyn” comment.

Anyway, thanks to Part Time Punks for putting it all together and letting me take part. Till next time…

The photo up top is ACR taken by Adesh’s iPhone. OK at pictures, not OK at driving directions. Here’s one more for the road, I’d Like to See You Again, Los Angeles…


All Posts,event,mp3,New Music,Old Music — Dan on August 16, 2008 at 1:36 am

With full understanding that the only way to get anybody to read your blog is to post free music for people to download, I’ve been meaning to start doing that forever. However I am very busy. As you may have read, I recently did a whirlwind trip through the UK, which I hope to recap soon, but for a taster, it involved DJing in London, dancing at Optimo, going to a party in a cave, having a drink with some Fire Engines, etc. I’ve also been busy stateside, including finishing up the next Lines CD, “Flood Bank”, compiling both their LPs, doing a few Viva Radio shows I haven’t posted about here yet, and even DJing locally. For instance, tonight (Saturday, August 16th), I’m DJing at Rubulad, which will also feature a performance by the Homosexuals. For more info and the address, send me an email.

However, while I take a break from my hectic schedule, I’d like to post some mp3s, so I can join the exciting world of “mp3 blogs”, influence a new generation of music fans and maybe get hired by some dot-com 2.0 start-up funded by News Corp or Viacom or something. Actually, I’ve been excited to do this for ages now. There were a few years where I really wasn’t paying attention to new music. On one hand, I was too busy collected Desperate Bicycles records and reading the Phil Ochs biography. On the other hand, most new music was terrible. Things started to change though, mostly through the influence of people like myself teaching kids about the good musics of the past. All these amazing new bands have been popping up and now there is scene upon scene of awesomeness. Cool minimalist art-punk bands, cosmic disco rockers, psychedelic folk finger-pickers…you name it.

And wouldn’t you know, soon as I started the Acute Records myspace page, I got attacked by friend requests. A good portion of them are crap bands who are just looking for a label. But I listen to them all because some of them actually find us because they dig some of the same music we do, even some of the CDs we release. Or some find my personal page because I have such great taste. Eventually I started finding some on my own, just linking to people’s top friends and discovering the aforementioned scene upon scene of cool stuff I dig. So when I started this blog I mentioned my intention to highlight some of these bands/acts that I liked for whatever reason, and for no particular reason, I decided to start with these two recent myspace acquaintances.

Tony Underground – Mana Magic (album edit)
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this has been removed because it’s coming out legit on Tirk! Congratulations! Awesome!

Tony Underground is a nu-disco (for lack of a better term) producer/DJ in England. His interests are pretty much the same of mine when it comes to dance music, italo, Chicago house etc. He’s got some pretty banging tracks on his myspace player, but the one that grabbed me was this one, Mana Magic. It’s a bit of a balearic groove with a bit in common with some early UK IDM, something Ultramarine or even AFX might’ve done. Beautiful piano tinkling and lush synthetic atmospherics, joined 1/3rd of the way through by some simple beats…really beautiful.

Rauschenberg – Sigue
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Rauschenberg is a duo located in Brooklyn, NY, easily the second coolest borough in the city. They pair an 80s electronic pop sound with a very digital/cut-n-paste aesthetic, especially to this song, with lo-fi casio style samples, vocal grunt samples and newscaster soundbytes that owes as much to Trevor Horn’s glossy Fairlight production as it does to the Severed Heads or Cabaret Voltaire at their most accessible, with female Japanese vocals. I think I was initially attracted to another song on their myspace player, Instrumental, and asked for this one by mistake. Instrumental starts with a digital piano and strings melody (I just love piano and piano-esque) before bringing in the italo-bassline and drum machines, though this has more to do with the way New Order would draw from italo and make more baroque pop songs then the type of post-electroclash italo revival we hear most often. Both songs have some great hooks and totally fascinating production.

So I hope you’ve enjoyed my foray into mp3 blogdom. I have a large backlog of new-ish bands I dig that I plan on asking if I can share (that’s right, I asked permission. It really wasn’t that hard.) I’ll try to do this as often as I can, but as I already said…I’m really busy. Better get back to work.

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