Friday, 17 December 2010

LIVE THROUGH THE LENSE - Nice Noises At The Nook #1 @ The Nook Arts Cafe

NICE NOISES AT THE NOOK #1 w/ 72% Morrissey / Drool / Joss Carter / Tom Dolan




Photography By Jack Parker

Thursday, 16 December 2010


Bands don't like to be called lo-fi bands, bands don't like to be given a genre full stop. I guess it can't be nice, but it's just humans making sense of the world. But hey! HERE'S THE TOP FIVE BANDS WITH LO-FI RECORDINGS OF THEIR SONGS! Hopefully that's politically correct enough...

Three girls "singing", half a drum kit, a guitar and a keyboard. Combine this with lo-fi recordings of their amazingly good/bad songs, you have yourself a lo-fi lolly pop!

Anything can be recorded lo-fi, but it usually tends to be punk, or D.I.Y punk. What it doesn't tend to be is glam rock! Glam rock is all shiny and polished. Smith Westerns came along and brought some dirty lo-fi to some modern glam rock. The results were SHVEET.

These guys have got a lot of scrutiny thrown at them, they are just misunderstood. They are all scary, all minimalistic and all lo-fi. They use the lo-fi to make their songs sound dusty and old. Which is cool.

Girl groups are the most well produced musical acts around. So Vivian Girls, being the cool girls they are, decided to write classic girl-group style songs. Complete with plenty of jangle, "thud, thud thud, whack!" drums and bad girl vocal delivery, these lo-fi recorded girls are queens of the scene.

Their recordings are the definition of lo-fi, you can hardly hear anything apart from the fuzz of everything at the same time. They have great songs though. Woah-fi.

Words by Jack Parker for Power Chord Music Blog. Feel free to comment on this post with your top 5 bands with lo-fi recordings of their songs!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

THE DEATH SET - "Worldwide"

"Worldwide" sees the hyperactive punks The Death Set trying to nail the tricky concept of 'the album'. Some bands are more record bands than they are live and vice verse. The Death Set have carved their career from wild live shows. They are most definitely a live band. Their sound is perfect for a sweaty, fist pumping, crowd and band bonding live show. Just what is The Death Set's sound? It's double time drums, distorted power chords, computer game style bleeps and joyous singing that is pretty much shouting covered in distortion. The fact that none of the songs go over the three minute mark doesn't make it any less of an album, it perfectly captures what The Death Set are all about. The album cover screams for you attention, then when you've purchased it, the music within grabs you by the collar and drags you into the party. The Death Set throw and play the kinds of parties that take place in warehouses with bad sound systems. That vibe is in this album through and through. If you are new to fuzzy D.I.Y punk then make sure you start with this record. The style that The Death Set mastered is now super popular, so it can be hard to find the cream of the crop. Fear not, "Worldwide" is what you need. It's a consistent record, and it's hard to achieve a good amount of variation with any album, but because of it's excitable pace, "Worldwide" won't leave you bored or unsatisfied. You may even find yourself hitting repeat and jumping up and down on your bed until you get in trouble. 

Without A Top, But Not Without A Tune



1) Solve It 
2) Listen To This Collision
3) Negative Thinking
4) Intermission
5) Spaz
6) Cold Teeth
7) Around The World
8) Impossible
9) Superzero
10) Day In The Wife
11) Bla!
12) Moving Forward
13) MFDS
14) Had A Bird

15) Peak Oil
16) This Song
17) Heard It All Before

18) Selective Memories

STAND OUT TRACKS: "Negative Thinking"   "Intermission"

RELEASED: 2008 on Ninja Tune


GAY AGAINST YOU - "Muscle Milk"

CHECK OUT "Paranoia" and "Far Weathered Friends"

Photography and words by Jack Parker for Power Chord Music Blog. The Death Set photograph taken from their Myspace page.

Monday, 13 December 2010




5) KATE NASH - "Early Christmas Present"
Who can resist a slice of the Nash? Whats more, who can resist this twinkly number, with it's hand claps and sad tale of a naughty boyfriend sung to a sweet, catchy melody. No one does it quite like Kate.

4) JULIAN CASABLANCAS - "Wish It Was Christmas Today"
It may not be The Strokes Christmas song, but this is the next best thing. Starting with the classic sleigh bells and soon descending into a rocking celebration of Christmas in the U.S. It's also refreshing to hear Julian's trademark croon wrapped around words of festivity instead of cryptic love songs. But hey, gotta love them too.

3) BEST COAST FT. WAVVES - "Got Something For You"
This song is truly a special one; the two sweet hearts of the beach singing side by side about having a secret Christmas present for one another. "AWWWW" inducing.

2) BLINK 182 - "I Won't Be Home For Christmas"
Blink 182's trade mark sound transforms Christmas into a time of grabbing baseball bats and being annoyed by everyone at Christmas. But despite this song being a bit of a scrooge, it's so darn catchy and danceable that you won't mind. You may spill your eggnog doing the pogo to it though. Maybe.

1) THE KILLERS - "Don't Shoot Me Santa"
The Killers release a Christmas song every year, which is great, most bands don't bother. But with "Don't Shoot Me Santa" they reached their Christmas song writing peek. This song has loads of different sections, including a conversation between Brandon and Father Christmas. It's got a belter of a chorus and it's full of imagination and Christmas fun. Watch the video to get it's full effect. Nice one.

Words by Jack Parker for Power Chord Music Blog. Feel free to comment on this post with your top 5 xmas songs!

Friday, 10 December 2010

FINGER ON THE PULSE #2 (Upset The Rhythm)


Upset The Rhythm undoubtedly have their finger on the pulse. They aim to keep it there and make sure that the heart of music never beats the same way again. They are more than just a record label; they do their best to bring London and the rest of the world the craziest new sounds through live music shows, records and their own 'Yes Way' festival. It's truly a beautiful thing to see such a D.I.Y label thriving, but when you think about it, of course they are thriving! They bring music savvy music fans, forward and backward thinking music that refuses to sound right. But don't worry, they don't just put on noise rock that sounds horrible for the sake of it, no sir! They put on bands that have thrilling sounds of their own; from the chilled out samples and croons of High Places to the jittery guitar prog of Cold Pumas, Upset The Rhythm bring variety to the masses, freshly picked from music's underground. They are proud of the music that the UK has to offer, Yes Way Festival is 100% UK artists. But they have far more strings to their bow as they bring the best from the States too, in the form of Wavves, Best Coast and Frankie Rose And The Outs. Be sure to make it down to any show they put on, it will probably be the underground band you've been dieing to see since you heard their demos on myspace or it will be something completely new and mind-blowing. They can upset my rhythm any day.

Featured Artists
High Places, Munch Munch, Plug, Trash Kit, Drum Eyes, Kit, Cold Pumas, Xiu Xiu, Foot Village, Gentle Friendly, The Sticks, Gay Against You, Former Ghosts, Hands On Heads, Bird Names, Future Islands, Lucky Dragons, Death Sentence: Panda!, Softboiled Eggies, Soiled Mattress And The Springs, No Age, Barr, Numbers, John Maus.

Key Releases
GAY AGAINST YOU - "Righteous Signals, Sour Dudes" LP
TRASH KIT - "Trash Kit" LP
MUNCH MUNCH - "Double Visions" LP

Written by Jack Parker for Power Chord Music Blog. Captured Tracks logo taken from their website.  

Thursday, 9 December 2010

LIVE THROUGH THE LENSE - Y Factor @ The Picturedrome, Northampton (8/12/2010)




Wednesday, 8 December 2010


Wavves started off as just Nathan Williams. Another dude with a one man bedroom band project. So far, so good. His debut album gained a lot of attention from it's incredible lo-fi indebted sound. Around that time, lo-fi was just beginning to creep into the spotlight of cool. On his second album "Wavvves", he stepped it up a notch: more slurred lyrics and pop hooks with guitars reminiscent of a buzz saws. Not forgetting the drums that sounded like a musical tramp in a dark alley smashing bins. His anthem "So Bored" was born from the second record and the whole of his sophomore effort was met with more admiration. This was around the time that lo-fi was super cool on the underground level. Then, after a short break, Nathan came back with his masterpiece: "King Of The Beach" which is a consistent record of twelve belters that delve into experimentation and pop. It also saw a great leap in terms of fi, you can clearly hear the vocals for a start! And the guitar sound rocks the loud quite sound with switches from jangle to crunch. Most "slacker" rockers would simply put out the same stuff all the time because that's their shtick. Williams and Wavves however, just keep getting better. He has become an icon of the underground scene, mainly because he kicks out the best tunes. Songs about the beach, getting stoned, chilling out, waves and the sun combined with scuzzy guitars and pounding percussion make Wavves a great band musically. Not forgetting the vocal delivery of "couldn't care less" slurs and chirruping 'oohs' and 'ahhs' straight out of your favourite 60s pop record. People have fallen in love with their simplicity in a world where only the best computer based dubstep music is accepted. Wavves took it back and continue to take it back to the classic one dude and his guitar sound. But with the music must come the image: Nathan rocks the psychedelic punk look with tye-dye, cartoon character t-shirts and caps. This image is very much popular among teens everywhere. Crazy looking clothes are in, and so is the d.i.y sound that Nathan championed. If you like music that is crunchy and chewy at the same time with plenty of singalong moments and guitars then Wavves are perfect for you. Wavves are a pitch un-perfect summary of a whole scene.


WAVVES ANTHEMS: "Post Acid"  "So Bored"  "King Of The Beach"  "No Hope Kids"

Best Coast, Times New Viking, Male Bonding.


Written by Jack Parker for Power Chord Music Blog. Drawing by Jack Parker. Feel free to leave comments and thoughts.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Gig Swig: MISTY'S BIG ADVENTURE, THE RETRO SPANKEES, ERIC RIVERA Live At The Labour Club (Friday 3rd December 2010)

Misty's - The Main Attraction

Tonight's gig is a dream line-up for anyone who loves bands with imaginative twists. One could even go as far as to describe it all as a dream. We could all wake up and find ourselves collapsed in the snow with the gig being just a mirage. You'll soon read why. The classic crowd formation of stand as far away as possible for the support act is sadly what Eric Rivera receives. He still does his best to get the cold faced crowd ready for some fun on this colder winter night. The venue soon warms up as he strums and whistles his way through his goofy country songs. He is much like a cartoon: enthusiastic and full of funny voices. He gives off a certain friendly charm that most people don't expect from one man and a guitar. They get it all the same and after each song he is met with applause and cheers. After all, sometimes it's the smaller things in life that can make all the difference. Take his songs for example: the choruses are whistles, he sings with an exaggerated American twang in his voice and the guitar never strays too far from chirpy chord progressions. It all makes for some great songs.
Eric Rivera Doing His Thang!
Next on the line-up are local legends The Retro Spankees. You can almost sense a collective sigh of relief from the local music lovers in the crowd on behalf of them being back. I would dare to go as far as saying they are the best Northampton has to offer. They put on a jolly good show to accompany the jolly good songs resulting in a very jolly crowd. As soon as they bound up on stage you feel as though you are suddenly the live audience for a children's programme gone wrong in all the right ways. They each have an individual costume and they whip up a storm with their hyperactive noisy pop. That's The Retro Spankees in a nutshell. But put them in a nutshell at your peril because they always find new ways to surprise. Tonight sees them on top form with some new material alongside the old classics such as "Bye, Monster". To some, their double time romp of crashing drums, screams, shouts, keyboard bleeps and guitar jangles can be rather overwhelming. But don't ever try and fight it, go with the jittery, excitable flow of The Retro Spankees. It'll be one of the most thrilling things you'll hear. Can this gig possibly get any better? Yes sir!

The Retro Spankees. Enough said.
Misty's Big Adventure grace The Labour Club with their presence, and most people attending seem to be fans. The rest will soon be by the end of their set. It's not difficult to see why, they are the thinking man's ska-pop band. They combine the thought provoking with catchy and exciting song structures. They make for a great listen, you can decipher the lyrics or enjoy the melodies or jump up and down with the blue and red guy with loads of hands. Or, like most people, you can do them all at the same time. Misty's Big Adventure have a sound of their very own, the songs have spirit and energy which make you feel happy. But listen too much to the lyrics and you may find yourself questioning all that you think is cool. They attack the state of music in "Fashion Parade" and Mickey Mouse's influence on pop culture in "Mickey Mouse". But they do it in a way that doesn't shove the messages down your throat, they do it in a satirical way that allows both band and audience to laugh and the terrible state of the world. It's refreshing to watch bands that have imagination not only within their music, but the live package that comes with it. Tonight has been a grand showcase of alternative music with a light hearted, thought provoking message. And what's more, it's been jolly good fun.

Eric Reading From His Wisdom Paper
Spot The Blue Dude
Casio VS Korg

Well Up For It!
I Want You! (To Shake My Hand)


GIG HIGHLIGHT: When the man of many blue hands jumped into the crowd and proceeded to pogo with his new found fans.

BEST PERFORMED SONG OF THE NIGHT:  "Bye, Monster" - The Retro Spankees

Want more from these bands? Visit:

Written by Jack Parker for Power Chord Music Blog. Photography by Jack Parker.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

DINOSAUR PILE-UP - "Growing Pains"

Dinosaur Pile-Up Itching To Kick Out The Jams
Dinosaur Pile-Up have been around for longer than you might think. They have been underground favourites for a long time, having played loads of gigs supporting the likes of Dananananaykroyd among others. But sadly, with only one E.P and a couple of singles to their name, they split up and the dreaded silence from a hyped new band followed. Thank the Gods of Grunge they are back! And boom! They are more alive and kicking than ever, this is most apparent on their debut album "Growing Pains". The pace doesn't let up on this twelve track monster until track eleven, which soon descends into thunderous guitars. Much like the rest of the album. So if you are a fan of variation, look away now. But if you are a fan of LOUD guitar, bass that makes the guitar sound even louder and drums that get pummeled to death at every opportunity then this is definitely your thing. Dinosaur Pile-Up manage to distance themselves from the new wave of noise bands by penning awesome songs, instead of tiresome avant-garde noise jams. Fan favourites "My Rock'N'Roll" and "Traynor" from their previous EP make it onto the album. They are beefed up versions though and the rest of the album seems to have been lifting weights too, as it's a step forward in terms of power and delivery compared to their EP. A wealth of good influences shines through in their songs, they have the angst present in the best of the Foo Fighters back catalogue and the self-loathing without being whiny, lyrics of Weezer. But what they bring to the table that is their own is their ability to rock out. The structure of the songs goes from loud to louder, improving the tired formulae of loud-quiet grunge. It all proves to be exhilarating when coupled with radio friendly hooks. When something sounds as big and as fun as "Growing Pains", even the most cynical among us will find it hard to disagree. As you can see from the name, they don't take themselves too seriously so probably don't mind what you think. Make no mistake however, Dinosaur Pile-Up aren't a grunge parody, or even a grunge revival. They are aiming to push things forward, even if it's just a smidgen.



1) Birds And Planes
2) Barce-Loner
3) Never That Together
4) Mona Lisa
5) Broken Knee
6) Hey Man (Home You Ruin)
7) My Rock'N'Roll
8) Maybe It's You
9) Love To Hate Me
10) Traynor
11) Hey You
12) All Around The World

STAND OUT TRACKS: "Broken Knee"  "Traynor"  "All Around The World"


FOO FIGHTERS - "The Colour And The Shape"

WEEZER - "Pinkerton"

CHECK OUT "Summer Hit Single" and "Opposites Attract"

Photography and words by Jack Parker for Power Chord Music Blog. Dinosaur Pile-Up photograph taken from their myspace page.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010


B7 is a Kettering based artist who's visual style has gained him a reputation and a mutual respect among artists, art fans, musicians and comic fanatics alike. How? That's easy to explain. His work blends together humorously psychedelic ideas with vibrant colours and detailed drawings. Like B7 himself, his work doesn't take itself too seriously, so don't be surprised when looking at his work to see crossed eyed cats singing, among other wondrous things. But at the same time, there is a side to his work, almost like streams of consciousness, that delve into darker areas. His work is twisted and often darkly funny, but it only just dips it's toes into the pool of insanity but runs through the fields of madness quite happily. Musicians all over Britain have caught onto his work, and so he has designed countless classic gig posters for the likes of The Wow! Scenario, Misty's Big Adventure, The Squids and The Retro Spankees to name but a few. So as well as being an incredible exhibited artist, gig poster designer and general all round commissioned artist, B7 brings to the world...comics! Under his own company; Flys Eyes Comics, characters such as Sparkly Sparkly Chew and Eyeball Face come to life in comic form, taking part in all kinds of ludicrously funny adventures. You want your gig to be well attended? Don't just post an event for it on Facebook, no! Get B7 on the case.


Cover sleeve for The Squids EP
Commissioned poster for The Branstown Band

Cover sleeve/logo for the band Drool
The Old Market Inn poster commissioN


Written by Jack Parker for Power Chord Music Blog. B7's pictures taken from his website and his flickr account listed above.

Monday, 29 November 2010

FINGER ON THE PULSE #1 (Captured Tracks)



Run by the head honcho of legendary NY band Blank Dogs, indie label Captured Tracks most definitely has it's finger on the pulse of alternative, strange and very different kinds of music. It's one of the labels that are associated with the current popularity of lo-fi bands and recordings but it has much more to offer. There are loads of reasons for you to love this label. For a start, it releases music from 100% underground artists, and not just those around the area of Brooklyn where it's based. There are releases from great British artists such as Wet Dog, Veronica Falls and La La Vasquez. And if the stranger sounding sounds are your thing, then look no further than Captured Tracks; featuring artists such as Blank Dogs with their ghostly post-punk and the haunting electronica of Silk Flowers. But with the alternative, comes the more mainstream appeal of the synth-pop magician Wild Nothing, the jangling guitar pop of Beach Fossils and the retro girl group sounds of Dum Dum Girls and Veronica Falls. Captured Tracks represents the new lo-fi underground scene by releasing records from the creme of the lo-fi crop. They don't just release something because it's lo-fi, they release it because beneath all the tape hiss and fuzz, these Captured Tracks bands have fresh new sounds and styles to offer. They are all released onto tapes, vinyl and when those sell out, you can download them. Their graphic style on their sleeve covers is reminiscent of the unnerving yet thrilling sounds found within. It's a strange mix of old film photographs, obscure drawings and collage. Captured Tracks are essentially trying to revive the value of vinyl, and they are doing a mighty fine job of it too. And when they are bringing the world essential new bands such as Dum Dum Girls who went on to sign to Sub Pop, who can argue with their eye for new bands?

Featured Artists

Wild Nothing, Blank Dogs, Beach Fossils, Aias, Dum Dum Girls, The Beets, Veronica Falls, Minks, The Soft Moon, Jameses, Cosmetics, Fresh & Onlys, Soft Healer, Girls Names, La La Vasquez, Dignan Porch, Wet Dog, Silk Flowers, Girls At Dawn, Beachniks, German Measles, Christmas Island, Spectrals, Thee Oh Sees, The Bitters, Grass Widow, Gary War, The Mayfair Set, Kid Romance, Blessure Grave, Further Reductions, Craft Spells, Juan Wauters, Soft Metals, The Monochrome Set, Voice Of The Puppets, Hanoi Janes, Automelodi, Frank (Just Frank), Tim Cohen, Woods.

Key Releases



DUM DUM GIRLS - Self Titled EP

Written by Jack Parker for Power Chord Music Blog. Captured Tracks logo taken from their website.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Gig Swig: DECIBELS Live At The Labour Club, Northampton (26th November 2010)

Decibels In Keyboard Concentration Mode
Regardless of what a lot of locals might say, Northampton has a lot to offer, especially in terms of music. Sometimes places have certain scenes that reign supreme and variety is hard to find. I don't feel this is the case with Northampton, the bands in Northampton may not be anything ground breaking and influences may shine clear with it's bands, but variety is something it definitely has to offer. Such is the case with Decibels, a relatively fresh formed band featuring, if I'm not mistaken, two members of the short lived Yeltsin. Yeltsin were a great indie rock band full of energy and promise, but they sadly disbanded, for reasons unknown. Nice to see two of the three doing something new! The third member can be found these days playing in the high octane rock'N'roll rifforama band Wotwolff. This is another thing that's great about Northampton based musicians, when one band ends, two or three spring from it's place and they are usually something in a different vein. Decibels build up anticipation for their performance by leaving it till around half ten to come on stage, and with the gig starting at eight and no support band, it's left to the Everything Is Beautiful DJs to get the party started, and boy oh boy do they deliver. Luke and Stu from the much loved The Parks Dept. band make up the DJ duo, and they drop a potent mix of drum and bass, rap and alternative dance and electro anthems. I can already sense that Decibels know what they are doing; getting the best dance DJs in town to whip the crowd into an electro frenzy then leaving it till half ten to play. This can only result in a party with the only guests being the band and the crowd, surely?
Smart Of Trouser, Smart Of Tune

Crooning And Twiddling; Two Of Decibels Favourtite Things
This only half comes true, the DJ set is rapturously received by the youngersters among the crowd, but most people decide to enjoy the night as wall flowers. Then when Decibels come on, they deliver a slick set of a more ambient, minimalist kind. Each song is based around a thumping dance drum beat, the kind you'd expect to hear on a hardcore dance track. What floats around these beats however is a much more atmospheric mix of croons from both lead singer and band members alike with the gentle hum and throb of blissed out synthesizers.The equipment looks very complicated and industrial but the sound that it makes is gorgeous, almost natural like waves or the wind. Despite this style being their strong point, it feels as though something more should be there. The tracks seem to just come and go without change of pace or a triumphant break down. But if you are tired of most electronic music forever building up to the climatic kick in, then Decibels are definitely for you. Their music recalls the laid back minimalism of acts such as Small Black and the Earls Barton based producer J.Carter. The night comes to a close having provided the audience with the two extremes of dance music, from the frantic electro DJ set to the ambient main attraction. hey are sure to become firm Northampton favourites, they may even taste the level of success that Northampton based electro band The Parks Dept received. Only time will tell, but even if they do disband, something glorious will come from it, maybe something with more ambition, who knows? But for now, Decibels are bringing something fresh and ambient to Northampton's music scene.
Keeping Their Eyes On The Prize (Keyboard)

Everything Is Beautiful DJs Doing Their Beautiful Thing


GIG HIGHLIGHT: When the Everything Is Beautiful DJs dropped "Just A Rascal" by Dizzee Rascal


Want more from DECIBELS? Check these websites out:

Photography and words by Jack Parker for Power Chord Music Blog