dea Lesson No.1: February 2005

Sunday, February 27


As you’re probably aware, the rock band popularly referred to as ‘Mclusky’ crumbled to dust earlier this year, much to the pain and sadness of anyone who appreciated acerbic satire, the Jesus Lizard, and songs called things like ‘Dave, Stop Killing Prostitutes’. This particular cloud, however, has two silver linings: the first is the promise of Falco and Jack’s new, as-yet-untitled project, who are looking forward to a cosy future at Mclusky’s previous home, Too Pure; and the second is the return of Jon Chapple’s fabled side-project, Shooting At Unarmed Men.

We at Lesson No.1 saw SAUM, many years ago, at a café called Ecocentrig down by Cardiff station: they were noisy and spazzy and despite being clearly half-formed (and us being clearly half-cut), pretty good fun. Can’t say for sure if this impression still stands: the full band line-up remains under a large, paint-smeared sheet, not yet ready for light of day. But Jon has agreed to open our show at Newport’s Le Pub on Wednesday March 16th with a short set of new songs played on voice and electric guitar. Estimated stage time: 8.30pm. Headlining will be Vialka, who you can read more about below.

We also asked Jon if we had a track we could upload to the site. He gave us a whole CD. To say it’s not quite Electrical Audio quality would be something of an understatement – it mostly appears to be captured on a ghetto blaster – but there’s definitely some gems beneath the hiss and fuzz: take ‘Inflight Instructions Are A Joke, Say I’, which rides out of an opening of mangled, DNA-style skronk on a peculiarly-angled guitar line, some gloriously spastic novice drumming, and a chorus that appears to go “She’s got you by the balls, she’s got you by the balls”. In our world, this is good news. Hopefully yours too.

Thursday, February 24


When Lesson No.1 went to All Tomorrow's Parties last April, some of us were lucky to see a fairly obscure trio from Philadelphia called Stinking Lizaveta. "Lucky" in the sense that, in among post-rock superstars (yes, I just typed that) like Tortoise and Mogwai going blandly through the motions, here was a band that strolled on in mid-afternoon and played their breathtaking zigzaggy instrumental stoner rock/jazz/mathskronk mindmash. The guitarist, Yanni Papadopoulos, leaped about the stage like some crazy preacher with no idea of his advancing age. Then he climed onto a speaker and played a guitar solo. What a fucking legend!

That was their first European performance ever, and just under a year later they're doing a UK tour. If their new album 'Caught Between Worlds is anything to go by, it will rock with a mighty but untraceable doom groove. I wouldn't recommend banging yer head to this unless you have a rubber neck. Supporting them will be The Death Of Her Money, a kickass band from Swansea and Newport who give the contemplative metal of Isis and Pelican an extra spatial dimension, and one more band who we will tell you about in due course.

Monday, February 21


Vialka are modern-day nomads Erik Boros and Marylise Frecheville, a self-billed "gypsy-punk" duo presently resident in France. Taking up the playful anarchism and ethno-fusion of Dutch collective The Ex and transplanting it into a lean bass-and-drums shell, Boros and Frecheville pioneer a giddy whirl of stripped punk-rock, pantomime burlesque, and shattered avant-jazz that's reminiscent of present Load Records tourmates USA Is A Monster while very surely remaining its own thing. Hard touring is an intrinsic part of the Vialka ethos: part-conceived as a “social scientific experiment” aiming to span the word via underground rock channels, in the five years since their inception Vialka have visited over thirty countries, including recent tours of China and the former Yugoslavia. Interesting fact: Erik only owns one electrical item, a solar-powered short-wave radio. Hold on, what about his guitar? Maybe it runs off clockwork or something.

Vialka play Newport Le Pub with Shooting At Unarmed Men and Bristol's Big Joan (read about 'em in the new Loose Lips Sink Ships) on March 16th. You can hear ‘En Attendant Tout S’Evapore’, a track from their current 3” CD EP ‘Republic Of The Bored And Boring’ if you click here. If you like it, please buy a copy of the record when they swing through.

Tuesday, February 8


No Lesson shows for a little while, but let's use this time to draw your attention to a couple of neat things.

The fucking Minutemen! Rocket Fuel Films have just completed a documentary on San Pedro's pre-post punk propagandists. You can see a trailer over here.

New Plan B in shops now, containing stuff on Lightning Bolt, Deerhoof, and Lydia Lunch. Cover stars, Smoosh, perhaps not those for the Jandek fans amongst you.

Also, a further exciting development. Loads of the stuff we're putting on is obviously reasonably obscure, so we'd like to do what we can to prime clue you up for future shows. To these ends, we're going to start hosting downloadable MP3s so you can get an idea of what you'll hear if you turn up. Coming soon, then, we'll have tracks and biographical info from Shooting At Unarmed Men, Grabba Grabba Tape, That Fucking Tank, and Vialka. And then, if you subsequently turn out, you've got to be generous at the merch table. Deal?

Thursday, February 3


Kid Commando, live at Newport Le Pub on January 24th (photo by Mei Lewis). Full review and interview in next issue of Plan B.

Pitchfork tackles the Coachwhips, live at the Ginger Minge.

More updates soon. Promise.