dea Lesson No.1: March 2013

Wednesday, March 13


I have a dark grey V-neck jumper which I wear quite often, both in the workplace and at home. Every time I put it on I think of when I acquired it, slightly over three years ago. I say “acquired” because it found its way into my bag – accidentally, your honour – after a gig in Buffalo headlined by Diet Pills, playing in Cardiff for the first time. What a great band they were, even more so when they returned to the city in 2011 for a couple of raucous shows at the Gower pub (the Nov ’11 date is the last ‘loud’ show that’s been promoted in there, I think). Pick up all their releases too, especially the self-titled LP on their own Force Fed label: horrified, crawling noise-rock coated in litres of sludge woodstain.

That, however, is the past! Diet Pills broke up last year sometime, but each have flung themselves into the wild world of the new band, mostly teeming with comparable heaviness and unease. From their Leicester homestead, Duane Farrow and James Fowler, DP guitarist and drummist, have founded DISABILITY with another dude, Aaron Clayton. 2012 saw them spring swiftly into action with a four-track EP, ‘Rock’n’Roll Tigers’ – buy it on CD or tape, hopefully at this gig if they have copies. It’s more direct in its pummelling than Diet Pills, or at least what they grew into, but still thrills in the way it bolts weird jazzy interludes onto raw patties of ornery (not ordinary) Pissed Jeans / Hammerhead noiserock. I am amped about seeing them, on a Friday night and ev’ryt’ing.

The supporting cast are three bands who are all playing their first Lesson No.1 shows. Continuing the theme of dim memories of rock gig minutiae, ZINC BUKOWSKI were booked to support the great Foot Village at this gig a couple of years back, but the drummer decided to leave the band one day beforehand. Hopefully this will not happen again, not least because Pontypridd trio ZB now have the hardest-hitting drummer in the ‘scene’. They have also, in the last 18 months, turned into one of south Wales’ raddest rock bands on the sly. A self-released album, ‘Nature Finds A Way In The Face Of Woe’, mixes up anti-purist thug garage, Sonic Youth-y scree and destructo punk rock.

HOMOH will be playing their third ever gig here, I think. Their first one, back in January, was a trip, for them what likes Eyehategod-style southern sludge muck and downtuned/trad doom. They’ve finally uploaded a track in half-decent fidelity, so you can prep yourself. And before them we have THINK PRETTY, a Cardiff-based duo called Laura and Mikee. They do stripped-down grunge/punk/riot grrrl/goth rockouts that make we want to hit caps lock and type PJ HARVEY, BABES IN TOYLAND and WILD FLAG maybe.

OK then! As is customary with Friday (and Saturday) gigs in Buffalo, this is an EARLY START (7pm) and EARLY FINISH (10pm). With four bands, even though all sets are half an hour or less, we are running the tightest of ships. Think Pretty will be on at 7.25pm, and we’re not waiting round for slackers to turn up. It’s only FOUR POUNDS on the door, which is old skool to a fault, and will of course all be going to the bands in appropriate segments. Oh yeah, sorry about the flyer, I did it using scissors and glue in work.

Saturday, March 2


The latest in Lesson No.1 and F.Y.B.’s burgeoning series of ‘bands that got us jazzed last year on our travels to festivals and that’ (following RICHARD DAWSON and QUEER’D SCIENCE [there will probably be more in this series in the future]) arrives this Monday, March 4, in the form of POINO. A trio based in London, Poino have been around for a little over three years, but have a little added band history as individuals – at least, in the case of singer and guitarist Gaverick De Vis (dunno about the other two, sorry lads), who used to be in Giddy Motors. Now they were a good band! I think I saw them in the Cardiff Barfly in 2003 or 2004. Seems an awful long time ago... maybe because it was. Their cover of ‘Eisbär’ by Grauzone isn’t on YouTube, but it introduced me to, er, that song. Which was nice.

Poino have much less of the Pop Group style skronk than Giddy Motors, and much more of the Big Rock cap-peeling riffs. They move fluidly from tender moments of puzzled contemplation to noisy but controlled chaos which sounds like flexing while howling at yourself in the mirror feels. I should probably mention some bands, because while musicians are special snowflakes whose creative vision evades comparison, this does a better job of interesting people than the vague imagery and fannydangle present in the previous sentence. I think you will like Poino, likewise their debut LP ‘Moan Loose’ (check it on their Bandcamp), if you enjoy bands such as SHELLAC, US MAPLE, UZEDA, OXES and BILGE PUMP. Stuff that sometimes gets called ‘math rock’, but is played by people who obviously know and enjoy rock, and who don’t wear (metaphorical or actual) polo necks.

This is also a perfectly OK description of BRANDYMAN, who are this bill’s ‘local band’, and who are looking forward to a fruitful and productive 2013 where they play lots of gigs (short of overkill) and hopefully get some shit recorded. If you are reading this upfront of the gig in question, you probably know who they are, so you should come and see them and play air guitar while doing the drinking bird dance. Or maybe that is just me. Ben the guitar player’s birthday is the day before this gig, so that is another reason to raise your tankard. .

Opening the show are BRATAN. A young but exciting duo from Manchester, their guitar-drums-no-vocals steez is highly austere and sparse, bordering on industrial at certain points – but they have a way with atmosphere and unease that will hopefully cut through the first floor of a city centre bar at about 8.30pm on a Monday. They, like the other two bands on the bill (to an extent) have a “90s kids will remember this” vibe – as well as Slint and their extended Louisville friends and family, I get strong echoes of A Minor Forest out of Chicago. This might have been aided by me pulling out the album the above track comes from last week, for the first time in years, but even so.

In conclusion, although this lineup might carry echoes of Mr. Shellac, attending it will not make you an “unbelievable prick”, if anything the exact opposite. A believable twat. Uh, this takes place in Cardiff’s Buffalo venue, is a fiver on the door and should be done by 11pm, once all the bands have finished “kicking ass” and “taking names”.