Thursday, December 24, 2009

Beard's Christmas Gift To You

Beard presents a Christmas gift to you: a Spotify playlist of festive tuneage, featuring Sun Ra, Marvin Gaye, John Fahey, Vashti Bunyan, Jean Ritchie, Vince Guaraldi, Lindstrom, Dexter Gordon, Flaming Lips, Esquivel, Bruce Haack, Free Design and many more!

I should add that there's no irony intended in the selection of Wham's Last Christmas: it's a genuinely beautiful song. That Jackie Gleason tune is easy listening at its weirdest, with the strings lost in a snow storm of reverb and echo. Gotta give props to Stones Throw for their Baad Santa compilation; a source of much festive oddness. Merry christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sunn O))) Director's Cut

This is a director's cut of my interview with Stephen O'Malley of Sunn O))), originally published in The List. Read on for tales of amp worship, Miles Davis and bagpipes. Plus news of a collaboration with Ulver.

When doom lords Sunn O))) played the basement venue of Glasgow's Oran Mor in 2004, the sub-bass vibrations shook the lights out of their sockets in the restaurant above. 'I remember that one clearly,' says Stephen O'Malley, core member, alongside Greg Anderson, of the experimental metal titans. A Sunn O))) gig is an intense experience, with the band dressed in their trademark grim robes, cranking out downtuned riffs and layers of feedback at extreme volumes. Since their inception in the late '90s, Sunn O))) have experimented with their doom 'n drone template to incorporate a variety of influences from electronic music and black metal to modern composition and jazz. This year's Monoliths & Dimensions is their most expansive release to date, featuring collaborations with avant-garde composer Eyvind Kang, a Viennese women's choir, and Sun Ra trombonist Julian Priester, among others. Less claustrophobic than previous releases, the album sees Sunn O))) letting the light in to their sound, culminating in the sublime 'Alice', which initially recalls the desert-blues of latterday Earth, before transforming into a stately ensemble jazz piece complete with a gorgeously understated solo from Priester. Of course, the album still has its share of brutal riffs and unsettling noise, not to mention the black magic croak of Hungarian vocalist Atilla Csihar.

How do you go about translating the Monoliths & Dimensions material to a live setting?

First of all it starts off as Sunn O)))'s music, never exactly translating our albums, and vice versa. I think we've actually played a number of dates 'supporting' this record – this is like a music industry term, supporting an album. It's funny, it sets up expectations for a band, even for us. We've done many, many tours over the years and Sunn's music is constantly mutating. We don't have a choir on stage, I guess that's the main question, and we're not using a string section either, but some of the music is structurally it comes from the songs. We focus a lot on the melody and the harmonic aspects of that music and it's incredibly powerful. It's also something we're able to afford to do (laughs) There's already ten people on the road with the band so I think expanding live to include most of the ensemble stuff is a challenge that we're willing to take and we're gonna work on but it's not going to be for a touring situation.

I understand you've got Steve Moore playing Hammond organ?

Yeah, there's a Hammond. There's a lot of dynamics in the music, which is something we hadn't worked with too much in the past, to be honest, even though dynamics is a pretty simple concept, but our version of dynamics has been very much on one side (laughs) There are a lot of cleaner parts. Greg's playing bass and I'm playing guitar, so that actually opens up quite a bit of room for different types of interpretive play. Steve Moore is a multi-instrumentalist, so he's picking up quite a lot. And also Atilla, he becomes a centre anchoring point for all of the music. But overall it's a progression of Sunn's live aspect more than anything else. At this moment we're working as a quartet, so hopefully the expectations are well met or superceded as usual. Steve is playing trombone a little bit. In Earth he plays mellotron and is primarily a keyboardist and trombone player. He does that with us too. He's a great musician and his background and approach is something we feel pretty fortunate to play with someone like that. He's really open about music – as we are – but he's coming from a really different background and it's exciting to play with different collaborators. Sunn has become a melting pot. He was also really involved in the record, in the spirit of the record and also some of the elders that were on the record, he's studied with them and he played with them on the record. It's definitely coming from the same creative spirit.

Trombonist Julian Priester/Pepo Mtoto (who played with Sun Ra and made his own incredible albums of electronic jazz such as Love,Love) appears on the new album, and there's a song called Aghartha, a mythical underwater world and also the name of a Miles Davis live album. So would you say the album has a jazz influence?

In A Silent Way and Get Up With It, Aghartha, Pangea; the spirit of the playing on these records and the supernatural element in the music, these have been an influence on the band since the start and I think it really came through on the White albums when Rex Ritter was in the band. When he was playing with us it made that influence all that more obvious, and the electronic element too. This is the music we love, and the spirit is so important to pay attention to as far as approaching experimental music on your own. Even though it's such a big major label accessible thing, these Miles Davis albums, they're incredibly important in the history of experimental music I think. Especially with ensemble and band based things, using different instrumentation and plucking people from different backgrounds. Maybe I'm fantasising this whole spirit of what the band may have been like on the On The Corner sessions or whatever, but even that fantasy is really important; it's a fluid, creative spirit that led to those albums being recorded. I think it's really inspiring. But musically on stage with Sunn O))) I'm not going to say it has jazz influences or the choir is replaced by a piccolo flute. The structure of the music doesn't allow that kind of rearrangement to be rational. It's gonna make perfect sense when you hear the music live, especially if you've experienced a Sunn O))) live concert in relation to the records we've put out, it's a different animal. In many ways it's more powerful, demanding, but I would say that the live aspect has grown a lot from the beauty that we were able to access on Monoliths & Dimensions.

It's still going to be heavy as hell?

Oh fuck yeah. Actually, I think there's gonna be more equipment per member than there ever has been. Full backline. But there's also quieter parts than we've ever had as well. Sunn O)))'s expanding in one direction, it's also expanding in many directions, it's poly-dimensional. I was looking at photos of the last time we toured in the UK in 2006 with Justin Broadrick, and I 'm wondering what kind of disease we have in that our gear keeps growing incrementally. The first time we toured the UK I think I was playing two Sunn half stacks, and this time I'm going to have three full stacks, six amps. And Greg's backline – he's gone from playing two half stacks to three bass stacks plus a guitar half stack. In some ways I think it's a kind of classical thing. If Sunn O))) had existed in 1971 it would probably be exactly the same as it is now, including the equipment, so in some ways it's kind of a dinosaur progression but it's interesting cos the music has opened up so much and we've played a lot of concerts now, we've played about 50 concerts this year, we've done four small tours, so I think people in the UK are really gonna get the cream of what we're capable of right now.

What did you take from the GrimmRobes tour and Thor's Hammer reunion?

I gotta say for me personally, I can't speak for Greg of course, but for me it's going back to the roots of playing music with Greg and that's for this whole thing. That's the root of Sunn O))), that's the root of fucking Southern Lord, Thor's Hammer, all of these things comes back to that, playing together. Especially with the Thor's Hammer stuff, that was like jumping back in time, but the people who play in that band we're all very good friends and it came back together immediately and it was amazing to reencounter that now, after everything, recognising the patterns that still exist in your guitar playing from this primitive fucking death metal band to whatever Monoliths & Dimensions is, there's links there. Doing the GrimmRobes tour, the Shoshin tour as we called it, that really... Greg and I wanted to keep our feet on the ground after making the Monoliths record because there was so much press reaction to that, besides the really long production process and how we had to extend to make the record happen, and finish the record, which was a huge, it was difficult. It was a challenge to produce that record in many ways. I guess we were fortunate because the band was ten years old last year and we were able to link it in with the anniversary, but the real reason we wanted to do those concerts was to show the core of the band, the core of Sunn O)))'s music in a way that's a direct contrast and compliment to the most expansive piece of work either of us had ever done, which is the Monoliths & Dimensions record. In some ways our hope was the fans and people who like Sunn O)))'s music would appreciate that for just the musical aspect, just the pure guitar and the amps basically. And it worked in a way that I was not expecting because even from my own experience, it seemed so musical when we were doing it, I don't remember this stuff being like that. I remember it being fucking chaos and noise, really a difficult situation to play live in early days but very simple too. And the first show we did it was like, this is fucking beautiful, this is fucking epic. We played in Berlin and there were complete overtones of 19th century composition somehow, this bombastic composed, almost operatic music, it had that feeling, so I think in some ways Greg and I reconnected musically again by doing that. And we very consciously made ourselves – we want to keep our feet on the ground all the time with this band despite any story you've heard or experience you've had with the music, we strive to keep it very down to earth and to keep our expectations in check so the experience of discovery is very strong for us as well, and we don't get ahead of ourselves as well. It's a fragile thing this music, it could implode on itself, we want to preserve that and the best way to do that is to stay in reality. I'd like to do more duo shows and I think we will, it's reintroduced another facet to the live thing that's valid and can exist simultaneously. And also one of the expectations that we want to keep out of the picture is who's gonna be on stage, who are the guests, is this gonna be the show I want to go see or not. I've always wanted to keep it billed as Sunn O))), not Sunn O))) featuring this person, this person and this person. It's more about Sunn O))) the entity, rather than the individuals. Nothing against the collaborators because of course we're very grateful that they're involved and everyone is very gracious and agrees on it and appreciates a little bit more of an anonymous approach. But when we do it as a duo then it's ok, that has nothing to do with it as well. Sunn O)))'s form can be so many different things.

Any new releases in the pipeline?

We did quite a bit of basic tracking during those two weeks, so there's quite a bit of other material, some of which has been worked on further, like the Kannon stuff, that's why we mentioned it in the press a few times, but as of right now, I'm unsure, and I don't want to predict what the next steps will be, it's kinda like, yeah, we've recorded this material but here we are three years later again, do we want to revisit this old material put it, try to produce that into something else. Or maybe Monoliths & Dimensions is the result of all of those ideas and the next step is something else. That said we're also working with a record in collaboration with the band Ulver, which they're producing, and that's at a pretty advanced stage already. There's material out there that hasn't been completed yet, but I'm not sure what the next steps will be. We're sincerely just focussing on the live aspect just now, there's a six month cycle with that. Once that's done I'm sure we'll move back into the album mentality.

I'm interviewing you for a Scottish magazine, so to put a kilt on things, as it's known in the media, I understand you used to be a bagpiper.

Yeah, I was in a pipe band for five years when I was a teenager, I played bagpipes, Scottish bagpipes, just the regular, loud pipes. I was in a band and we played some Highland Games and stuff. (laughs) The school I went to had a bagpiping band because there was some Scottish heritage to the school. That was actually, this is kind of predictable, but this was the first place I started hearing about drone intonation, because you have three drone pipes sitting right next to your ear, y'know, they have to be clearly in tune, or slightly out of tune with each other in order to provide the bedrock to the melodic answer, so from my own foundation musical background the bagpipes are pretty heavy in there. Bagpipes and Morbid Angel and Black Sabbath.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Beard Radio 10/12/09

With Gary preparing for ATP, tonight's Beard Radio was co-presented by homeboy Colin. We bring you the FUNK, Dam Funk (pictured below) to be precise, and round things off with some horror disco that sounds like John Carpenter and Juan Atkins together in electric nightmares. We pay tribute to the late great Jack Rose (above) with one of his own tunes, a mesmerising track by Pelt, some old time country blues and some avant-hillbilly from Henry Flynt. Following on from last week's spin of the Sunn O))) epic Alice, we bring you an amazing piece of electronic jazz from the trombonist on that track, Julian Priester aka Pepo Mtoto. Plus a little festive cheer!

Lindstrom - Little Drummer Boy; Real Life Is No Cool 3CD (Smalltown Supersound)
The Qualities (Sun Ra) - It's Christmas Time; The Singles (Evidence)
Jack Rose - Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground; 2 Originals (VHF)
Pelt - Calais To Dover; Skullfuck (VHF)
Henry Flynt & The Insurrectionists - Uncle Sam Do; I Don't Wanna (Bo'Weavil)
Dâm-Funk - Burn Straight Through You; Toeachizown (Stones Throw)
Julian Priester Pepo Mtoto - Images; Love, Love (ECM)
Robert Wilkins - That's No Way To Get Along; 1928-1935 Before The Revenance Vintage Country Blues (Magpie Records)
Claude Ely - There Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down; Goodbye Babylon (Revenant)
Roger Christian - Little Mary Christmas; A John Waters Christmas (Watertower Records)
Gatekeeper - Optimus Maximus; EP (Fright)
Ramadanman - Core; Soul Jazz Records Singles 2008-2009 (Soul Jazz)

Plus background music from the Strawberry Singers!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Beard Radio 3/12/09

Space disco, wonky, heavy prog, dreamy pop, electronic composition, epic doom, lush jazz, avant guitar wizardry and classic jungle - it can only be another brain-wobbling episode of Beard Radio.

Lindstrom & Christabelle - Lovesick; Real Life Is No Cool (Smalltown Supersound)
Ikonika - Please; 12" (Hyperdub)
King Crimson - Red; Red (Island)
Bernard Parmegiani - La Roue Ferris (excerpt); Chronos (Prospective 21e Siecle)
The Pastels/ Tenniscoats - Vivid Youth; Two Sunsets (Geographic)
Sunn O))) - Alice; Monoliths & Dimensions (Southern Lord)
John Coltrane - Nancy (With The Laughing Face); Ballads (Impulse)
Bill Orcutt - My Reckless Parts; A New Way To Pay Old Debts (Palilia)
4 Hero - Journey from the Light; Early Plates (Reinforced)

Tell you what, listening to Sunn O))) (picture above) and Bernard Parmegiani (pictured below) at high volume in the dark is the bomb. See y'all at Sunn O))) on Sunday night!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Beard radio 26.11.09

Haunted dub, micro-house, proto-black metal, cosmic jazz, classic Dundonian DIY... it can only be another glorious episode of Beard Radio! Introducing our rubbish new David Lynch jingle...

Soft Pink Truth - Everybody's Soft; Do You Party (Soundslike)
King Midas Sound - Cool Out; EP (Hyperdub)
Faust - I've Got My Car And My TV Pts 1 & 2; So Far (Polydor)
Sun Ra - Love In Outer Space; Night Of The Purple Moon (Atavistic)
The Scrotum Poles - Pick The Cat's Eyes Out; Messthetics 105 (Hyped To Death)
Wire - Sand In My Joints; Chairs Missing (Harvest-EMI)
Queen - Brighton Rock; Sheer Heart Attack (EMI)
Untold - Anaconda; 12" (Hessle Audio)
Hellhammer - Messiah; Satanic Rites (Prowlin' Death)
George Russell - Stratusphunk; Outer Thoughts (Milestone)
Cybotron - Cosmic Cars; Enter (Fantasy)

Plus bed music from the marvellous Having A Ball With The Three Suns (RCA Victor)

This show is dedicated to the memory of Freddie Mercury, who died 18 years ago this week.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Beard Radio 19.11.09

With the skies above Glasgow weeping, Beard Radio brings you sunshine and joy. And it seems to have worked, cos the morning after we woke up to a beautiful autumn day.

Holger Czukay - Cool In The Pool; Movies (EMI)
Ducktails - Let's Rock The Beach; Landscape (No Not Fun)
Todd Rundgren - International Feel/Never Never Land; A Wizard A True Star (Bearsville)
Mercury Rev - Empire State (Son House In Excelsis); See You On The Other Side (Beggar's Banquet)
Toumani Diabate - Kaunding Cissoko; Mande Variations (World Circuit)
Archie Shepp - Mama Too Tight; Mama Too Tight (Impulse)
Susumu Yokota - King Dragonfly; Grinning Cat (Leaf)
The Clean - Tally Ho!; The Clean Compilation (Flying Nun)
The Cars - Just What I Needed; The Cars (Elektra)
Dukes of Stratosphear - You're A Good Man Albert Brown; Chips From The Chocolate Fireball (EMI)
Charles Wright & Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band - Express Yourself (Warner Bros)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Simon Reynolds blogs about beards - and Beard - for the Guardian

Flabbergasted - and absolutely delighted of course - to be mentioned in Simon Reynolds' Guardian blog about the place of facial hair in noughties music culture:

Until recently there was even a UK music zine called Beard whose cover stars tended to be mutton-chopped minstrels such as Alasdair Roberts and Robert Wyatt. The magazine's founders, Stewart Smith and Neil Jacques, developed "an admiration for beards" at the start of this decade through listening to Wyatt, Dennis Wilson and Will Oldham.

As we've pointed out before, the name Beard started as a bit of a joke, but it stuck and proved to be quite a fun angle; cue top tens of literary and pop beards, snakes and ladders reborn as beards and razors etc. Alas, we never realised our plans for a knitting pattern. The name had its downsides - every dodgy band who tried to befriend us on myspace would point out their bass player's beard, and people assumed we were only interested in male artists with beards, something we tried to redress by putting Vashti Bunyan on the cover of our last issue - but we thought of it, so we can hardly complain. It's true that Beard covered a lot of "spiritually bearded" artists, as Reynolds deftly puts it, but while I remain a great fan of certain acts like Joanna Newsom, Ali Roberts, Josephine Foster and Trembling Bells, I've grown disillusioned with most so-called "nu-folk". Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver are just bland acoustic rock acts. That said, I don't want to align myself with Matt Valentine, whose tedious hippy dribblings represent one of the most overrated bodies of work this decade. Earnest (read deadly dull) indie rockers like Glasgow's own Frightened Rabbit and the Twilight Sad (no patriotic cheerleading from us at Beard!) rock the beard and plaid look too, as if to wear their sincerity on their sleeves.

None of this takes anything away from the many talented and imaginative musicians who sport facial fuzz. I agree with Reynold's about the excellence of Wayne Coyne and Lindstrom's neatly-trimmed 1970s soft-rock style beards. And of course there are some magnificent beards in the worlds of metal, jazz and prog. Beard salute you!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Beard Radio 5.11.09

This week's Beard radio is now up to listen again. Featuring a mental prog double header, some crazy metalcore, rousing 70s theme tunes, womb-like dub-folk, digital anarcore and much more. Also, Stew skelps his head on the CD player. Madness you can't do without!

Barry Gray Orchestra - Stingray (Cinephile)
Oneohtrix Point Never - Computer Vision; Rifts (No Fun)
Atari Teenage Riot - Start The Riot; Delete Yourself (Digital Hardcore)
Gentle Giant - The Boys In The Band; Octopus (Vertigo)
Rush - Tom Sawyer; Moving Pictures (Mercury)
Raymond MacDonald & Peter Nicholson - Polworth; OB30 (Iorram)
Converge - Reap What You Sow; Axe To Fall (Epitaph)
Lydia Lunch - Lady Scarface; Queen of Siam (Triple X)
John Martyn - Small Hours; One World (Island)
The Fall - I Am Damo Suzuki; This Nation's Saving Grace (Beggar's Banquet)
Pearson Sound - WAD; 12" (Hessle Audio)
Slayer - Public Display Of Dismemberment; World Painted Blood (American)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Beard Radio's Halloween Haunting

Behold! Prepare to submit your trembling souls to the sheer wanton terror of Beard Radio's annual witching night special. Quiver with fear, shriek with horror and curse your existence as Stewart and Gary let the devil take over their souls live on air! Our shiversome selection of tenebrous tunage takes in hauntological transmissions, face-melting death metal, witchy prog, evil techno, satanic jazz invocations and readings from Byron. Miss this chilling, thrilling hour at your peril, for we shall doom the souls of non-believers for eternity! Bwahahahahaha!!!!

Black Widow - Come To The Sabbat; Sacrifice (CBS)
Cathedral - Hopkins (The Witchfinder General); The Carnival Bizarre (Earache)
The Shaggs - It's Halloween; Philosophy of the World (RCA/Rounder)
Kode 9 & The Spaceape - Ghost Town; Hyperdub 5 (Hyperdub)
Drexciya - Devil Ray Cove; Neptune's Lair (Tresor)
The Cramps - Goo Goo Muck; Psychedelic Jungle (I.R.S)
Dead Raven Choir - Bluenose; My Firstborn Will Surely Be Blind (Aurora Borealis)
Advisory Circle - Eyes Which Are Swelling; Other Channels (Ghost Box)
Topper - Hell's Fire; Songs of Faith and Inspiration: Spiritual Psychedelic Rock For The Devoted Listener (Sound Stories)
Repugnant - Spawn of Pure Malevolence; Epitome of Darkness (Soulseller Records)
Roswell Rudd - Satan's Dance; Roswell Rudd (Impulse!)
The Caretaker - Lacunar Amnesia; The Persistent Repetition of Phrases (History Always Favours The Winners)
Screaming Lord Sutch - All Black and Hairy; SLS & The Savages (EMI)
Blue Phantom - Violence; Distortions (Spider Records)
Hellfish - Wolfman (Death Chant)

Delia Derbyshire - Phantoms Of Darkness; Out of This World: Atmospheric Sounds from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (BBC)
Stewart Smith & Gary Thoms: ghoulish vocal horror, Garageband cathedral organ and sound effects

Special thanks to our most evil brethren Matt Evans and Reuben Kay for their musical suggestions. Satan has your back.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Beard Radio 22.10.09

Beard Radio bounds across your speakers and into your body, mind and soul with an inimitable mix of Balkan folk, visionary hip-hop, nautical folk, slinky indie, next level dubstep, spectral song, neo-Krautrock freakout and stormin' acid-mod.

A Hawk And A Hacksaw - Turkiye; Deliverance (Leaf Label)
J Dilla - Lightworks; Donuts (Stones Throw)
Nic Jones - The Humpback Whale; Penguin Eggs (Topic)
St. Vincent - Actor Out Of Work; Actor (4AD)
Shackleton - Let Go; 3 EPs (Perlon)
Grouper - Heavy Weather/I'd Rather Be Sleeping; Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill (Type)
Raekwon - Cold Outside (feat Ghostface Killah); Cuban Linx II (ICEAL)
Hudson Mohawke - Rising 5; Butter (Warp)
Cooly G - Weekend Fly; 5 Years of Hyperdub (Hyperdub)
Cave - Requiem For John Sex; Psychic Psummer (Important)
The Open Mind - Magic Potion; Nuggets II (Rhino)

This week's bed music is Hammond Organ Dance Party by Big Jim H. It's a groove sensation!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Beard Radio 15.10.09

It's another bootylicious Beard Radio!!! Stewart and Gary bring tha ruckus!

Jakes & TC - Deep; An England Story (Soul Jazz)
Flaming Lips - Worm Mountain; Embryonic (Warner Bros.)
Jay-Z - Can't Knock The Hustle (Fool's Paradise Mix); Reasonable Doubt (Rockafella Records)
Sa-Ra Creative Partners - Gemini's Rising; Nuclear Evolution (Ubiquity)
Sonny Sharrock - Many Mansions; Ask The Ages (Axiom)
Burning Witch - Sacred Predictions; Crippled Lucifer (Southern Lord
Quarta 330 - Bleeps From Outer Space; 5 Years of Hyperdub (Hyperdub)
Evangelista - The Slayer; Prince of Truth (Constellation)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Beard Radio 08.10.09

This week's show is available to listen again.

Stew and Gary bring the tunes and the swears - hey, PJ Harvey started it! A bit of dubstep, an amazing wiggly grime instrumental, some beautiful jazz, lush disco with amazing synths, Iranian classical music and NEW LIGHTNING BOLT! Rhode Island's finest unleash a gonzo hoedown.

I made a slip of the tongue during the show. I said Angels was by Don Cherry. It is of course by Don Ayler.

Darkstar - Aidy's Girl's A Computer; Hyperdub 5 (Hyperdub)
PJ Harvey & John Parish - A Woman A Man Walked By/The Crow Knows Where...; A Woman A Man Walked By (Island)
Position Normal - Fart In A Bottle; Cassette Album (Self-released)
Micachu and The Shapes - Calculator; Jewelry (Rough Trade)
The Thing - Angels; Bag It! (Smalltown Superjazz)
Terror Danjah - Zumpi Hunter; Gremlinz (Planet Mu)
Lightning Bolt - Funny Farm; Earthly Delights (Load)
Zeki Duygulu - Karciar Taksim; Victrola Favorites (Dust To Digital)
XTC - Respectable Street; Black Sea (Virgin)
Patrick Cowley - Going Home; 12" (Megatone)

Our Glasgow listeners can catch Darkstar, along with Rustie and Jaimie Vex'd, at Ballers Social Club at Stereo on Friday October 9th. Micachu is also playing Glasgow that night, at the Captain's Rest. And Ballers also present Terror Danjah at the Sub Club on October 22. What a month for gigging and clubbing!

Pick up the excellent Position Normal cassette album from their website. A hauntological, scatological, wonky sample-based delight!

This week's wonderful bed music was Billy Mure's Supersonic Guitars Vol II. The cover, I'm sure you'll agree, is rather beautiful.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Beard Radio 1.10.09

Stewart and Gary return with an hour of amazing music and pish banter. In honour of our friend Alex's progrimage to Magma in London next week, we bring you a classic track by the French lunatics. Plus vintage Greek rebetika, deranged wobble-step, neo-Italo, dreamy bedroom pop, harsh black metal, Glasgwegian mutant hip-hop, classic doom, hauntological transmissions and glorious synth pop.

Raffertie - Wobble Horror; 12" (Planet Mu)
Pentagram - All Your Sins; Pentagram (Peaceville)
Marika Papagika - Zmirneikos Balos; I Don't Feel At Home In This World Any More (Mississippi Records)
Magma - Ima Suri Dondai; Mekanik Destruktiv Kommandoh (Seventh Records)
Antoni Maiovvi - They Return; Shadow Of The Blood Stained Kiss (Seed Records)
Nite Jewel - Artificial Intelligence; Good Night (No Pain In Pop)
Acephale - The Book of Lies; Mord Und Totschlag (Aurora Borealis)
Broadcast & The Focus Group - The Be Colony; Witch Cults of The Radio Age (Warp)
Hudson Mohawke - Star Crackout; Butter (Warp)
Thomas Dolby - Flying North; Golden Age of Wireless (EMI)

If you enjoyed the Thomas Dolby song, then check out Beard chum Joseph Stannard's interview with the synth-pop pioneer on Drowned In Sound.

This week's bed music was a charity shop favourite, Moog Party Time on Contour. The version of Sailor's Coconut is particularly choice, while the breezy take on Beautiful Sunday brought much cheer to the studio.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Beard Radio 24.9.09

Stewart and Gary bring you the second Beard Radio of the term. And this time there's only one cock up! Yes, unfortunately there's a minute or so of dead air around the 11 minute mark 'cos we forgot to turn the microphones on. Oooops! Hey, that's the sort of hapless idiocy we're known and loved for. Our show starts about 1 minute 30 seconds into the file with the awesome NWOBHM shredder Angel Witch, by Angel Witch, from the album Angel Witch. YOU'RE AN ANGELWITCH!!!

Yes, this week's show is brought to you by the words WOBBLE and WITCH. So we've got some bass heavy wobblers and some witchy sounds for you, as well as a bunch of other stuff we like. Bugging out at the brilliance of Tyondai Braxton's solo LP, grooved by the Yiddish improv of Barnacled, haunted by the minimal pop beauty of The xx, spangled by Bizzy B's darkside classic, wobbled by Cotti's dubstep banger... In other words, a killer show. Enjoy!

Angel Witch - Angel Witch; Angel Witch (Castle Communications)
Bizzy B - Twisted Mentasm; Retrospective (Planet Mu)
Tyondai Braxton - The Duck and The Butcher; Central Market (Warp)
Anthony Braxton - RFO - MIF; Saxophone Improvisations Series F (Inner City)
The xx - Crystalised; The xx (Young Turks)
Cotti - The Truth Hurts; Soul Jazz Records Singles 2008-2009 (Soul Jazz)
Angelblood - Terrorist Bang Bang; Masses of the Daggers (Captain Trip Records)
Wounded Knee - Bools 7" verson (Nuts & Seeds)
Barnacled - Title; Charles (ESP-Disk)
Luke Vibert - Acidisco; YosepH (Warp)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Beard Radio 17.9.09

This show is dedicated to the memory of the great Rashied Ali (above)

Beard Radio returns in its usual shambolic style. Some fuckin' boss tunes though.

A few technical issues, not least the silence for the first 3-4 minutes. Dunno what that's all about, cos the tune played on the monitors. Hmm....

Todda T feat Mr Versatile - Rice & Peas, Skanky Skanky (Columbia)
Kid Bera-Bera and Mr King Jeroo - Katanga Country, Soweto Music (Rough Trade)
Divorce - Early Christianity (Optimo Music)
Richard Youngs - Like A Sailor, Beyond The Valley of the Ultrahits (Sonic Oyster)
John Coltrane - Jupiter, Interstellar Space (Impulse)
Zomby - Godzilla, One Foot Ahead of the Other EP (Ramp)
Vom - Turkish Delight, Primitive Arts (At War With False Noise)
Nite Jewel - Lover (No Pain In Pop)
Robert Wyatt - Sea Song, Rock Bottom (Virgin/Domino reissue)
Joy Orbison - Hyph Mngo ( Hotflush)

Monday, September 07, 2009

The return of Beard Radio!


Beard Radio is back on air on Thursday 17th September at 7pm. We'll be online at as well as broadcasting locally on 104.4FM. The show will also be available to listen again online.


We've set up a new Facebook page for the show, bringing you news, playlists, streams and whatever nonsense we fancy posting. Please become a fan. Feel free to contribute to the discussion boards with your comments, suggestions and requests.

BEARD 0)))

We at Beard pride ourselves on creating ridiculous jingles for the show. Now those nice chaps from Sunn 0)) have recorded a special jingle just for us. Join with us in raising the doom claw in their honour. For legal reasons, I should add that the jingle may not actually be by the real Sunn 0)), just as previous jingles may not actually have been by the real Queen, Michael Rother, Dave Pearce or Lt Daniels from The Wire...


That's right, I've grown a beard over the summer. The Beard Radio gang are fully fuzzed up for the new term.


Now my dissertation is finally out of the way, expect some more frequent updates over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Staving off blogdeath

Apologies for the lack of updates, but my life has been taken over by my dissertation. It'll all be over by the end of the month, so things should pick up again in September, not least because Beard Radio shall be returning to the airwaves at, as well as 106.6 FM in Glasgow during Freshers Week. We'll also start getting the articles we prepared for the aborted Beard issue 7 online.

Had a few pieces published in The List recently, so here's the roundup. Click on my byline if you fancy reading any of my earlier pieces, including an Instal 09 preview.


Billy Childish

Trembling Bells

Alex Neilson and Lavinia Blackwall's (apologies for misspelling the name in the article) ecstatic folk-rock band Trembling Bells are currently on tour, so catch 'em while you can.

WED 19th CAMBRIDGE / Portland Arms
FRI 21st - AARHUS, Denmark / Jazzjuice Festival
SUN 23rd – GREEN MAN / S.Wales
MON 24th LANCASTER / Yorkshire House
TUES 25th EDINBURGH / Electric Circus
WED 26th GLASGOW / Stereo

I'll leave you with this fantastic Journey cover by Petra Haden. She gave a similar treatment to The Who Sell Out. Shame about the smirking hipsters in the crowd: Don't Stop Believing is a genuinely awesome song, as Marnie Stern and David Chase know well. (Don't watch the latter clip if you've not seen the final episode of The Sopranos btw - massive spoiler) This one goes out to my wonderful friends Matt and Georgia, ahead of their wedding next week.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Major/Minor playlist

Fun night at the Flying Duck. All went well, apart from my haunted turntable, which decided to speed up to 45 rpm of its own volition. I was powerless to act and had to hastily crossfade to another tune! Heavier on the beats than any set I've played before, and all the better for it. Thanks to Stewart and Caroline for having me. They asked me to write down my playlist, so here goes:

Pastels/Tenniscoats - Vivid Youth
The Chills - Pink Frost
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Interesting Results
Pocahaunted - Chains
Kode 9 - 9 Samurai
Astral Social Club - Caustic Roe
Zombi - Spirit Animal
Zomby - Where Were You In '92?
Jakes & TC - Deep
Glass Candy - Computer Love
Telepathe - So Fine
Omar Souleyman - Leh Jani
Gang Gang Dance - First Communion
The Honeys - He's A Doll
Belbury Poly - From An Ancient Star
Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band - Tropical Hot Dog Night
Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath - Nick Tete
Xiu Xiu ft Michael Gira - Under Pressure

---- Skeleton Bob solo set (nice Del Shannon & Cookies covers!)------

Vivian Girls - Where Do You Go?
Dirty Projectors - Stillness Is The Move
Raincoats - No One's Little Girl
Joe McPhee, The Thing & Cato Salsa Experience - The Witch
Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers - I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent

---- Blood Of The Bull set ------

Secret Chiefs 3 - Akzamachamarei
The Bug ft Tippa Irie - Angry
Flying Lotus - Gng Bngr
Art Ensemble of Chicago - Theme De Yo Yo
Joker - Do It

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Beard makes a public appearance

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Been incredibly busy working on my Masters dissertation and preparing for a PhD interview. Outwith academia, I've been seeing Ornette Coleman at the Royal Festival Hall, Evan Parker's Double Quartet in Glasgow, and working my way through all five seasons of The Wire. All utterly amazing.

Anyway, I'm playing some records at my friend Caroline's lovely pre-club Major/Minor at the Flying Duck tonight. If you're a regular listener to Beard Radio then you'll have an idea of what to expect: jazz, hip-hop, dubstep, punk, psych, funk, indie, Turkish psych, Syrian party bangers, country, metal, Balkan beats, general nonsense and fluffed cues. What's not to like? Live music comes from Fence chaps The Red Well, Divorce guitar slinger Hillary Van Scoy in her Blood Of The Bull guise, and Skeleton Bob's Jode Henderson playing a solo set. Nice!

Amazing week of gigs ahead: the mighty Team Brick is playing Glasgow tomorrow. His long-awaited album Alogon is out now on Geoff Barrow's Invada label and it's an incredible mix of prog, doom, drone, Middle Eastern psych, jazz and modern classical. If I had more time to blog I'd be writing a lengthy review of this. Look out for Joseph Stannard's take in the forthcoming issue of The Wire. Then on Tuesday I'm going to my first stadium gig in 14 years. It can only be Springsteen. Yeah!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Steven Wells RIP

Saddened to hear of the death of music press legend Steven Wells. My earnest teenage self was infuriated by his demolitions of whiney indie bands, but I eventually saw the funny side and realised that he was often right. As he says in his final column, why do society's most privileged feel their story is one worth telling? This rant for the Quietus may pick on an easy target (the egregious Los Campesinos) but the wider point about twee's political and cultural conservatism is bang on the money.

While Britpop/Cool Britiannia was in its ghastly back-slapping, self-deluding pomp, he was one of the few NME writers calling bullshit on the whole enterprise. He understood the importance of politics to culture, and his punk rock socialism and impassioned championing of multi-culturalism has had a big impact on me. Only last year, he wrote this funny, but angry, defence of immigration. In the light on BNP election gains, his piece is sadly all the more relevant and necessary.

While it's probably true he ran out of new things to say about music, it was still entertaining when one of his rants would wind up morons on the Guardian blog. I recall an amusing anti-guitar piece he wrote recently that suggested that the world's greatest guitarist was Richey Manic, 'cos his guitar wasn't plugged in. Cue "that doesn't even make sense" comments from humour-bypass idiots.

His accounts of his cancer treatment stand as his finest achievement: brutally honest, funny and touching. RIP Swells. Hope you're enjoying a ginger ale in heaven with Joey Ramone and Joe Strummer.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Stopgap, or a few notes on the state of Noise and the Glasgow underground

The final Beard radio of the term should be with you soon. Just waiting on the Subcity IT bods to fix some technical issues. We're going to be doing the odd podcast over the summer, however, so watch this space for further information.

I had a lovely time at Le Weekend. The hottest weekend of the year so far, expeditions up Dumyat, and some damn fine sets from Evangelista, Trembling Bells and the improv trio of John Edwards, Steve Noble and Alex Ward. Full review to follow this week.

This is a good opportunity to share some links. David Keenan doesn't quite declare Noise dead, but his impressions of the No Fun festival in New York are of a scene that is split between power electronic fundamentalists and more inventive artists who are taking Noise off in different directions. This has been going on for some time, with some quarters denouncing the post-Wolf Eyes wave of Noise, or even latter-day Whitehouse (laptops? How could they?). I enjoy a bracing Noise onslaught as much as the next man, but it's probably true that the all out approach of power electronics has had its day. And personally, I find that scene's nihilism and obsession with "transgression" to be tedious at best. In my Plan B review of Glasgow Implodes I barely mentioned any of the power electronics acts, simply 'cos they were pretty shit. A bloke sticks one hand down his pants and gropes the audience with the other, while his mate grimly crouches over some pedals = zzzzz. Vomir's set at least stuck to its anti-music/anti-performance principles - we were given black bin liners to put over our heads while a static scree played out - but other than make us feel a little claustrophobic, what was the point? Some sheep skull wielding doom metallers went down well, but I found them to be generic and uninspired, neither heavy nor seething enough. Doom acts like this are to Sunn 0)) and Asva what Slaughter & The Dogs are to PiL and The Slits. The stuff I did like at GI was the least power electronics oriented. While Atomized's set up was essentially power electronics, their twisted takes of 80s pop hits, where dying synths could be heard crying out amidst the blast furnace roar, made for a funny, but unsettling experience. Glasgow's Vom do heavy, hypnotic space rock better than most, while Skullflower, although very much part of the original noise/industrial scene possess a heady, psychedelic sensuousness that's a million miles from the stunted grunts of your power electronics conservatives.
At the risk of raising the "our music always had a dance element" spectre, one of the more interesting developments in noise is the incorporation of electronic music. Louis Pattison's review of No Fun in the current Plan B describes Carlos Giffoni's set as bordering on acid house, while Frances Morgan, in the same issue, wonders if the laptop damaged cut ups of John Wiese have more in common with Venetian Snares than orthodox noise. Meanwhile you have Astral Social Club's psychedelic techno excursions (this year's Octuplex is a monster) and Leslie Keffer tentatively dropping in a thumping house beat to her set at Colour Out Of Space last year. While some noise fans will no doubt turn their noses up at such notions, noise and electronica share an interest in texture, dynamics and repetition, so these mutant strains make perfect sense. Another interesting development is where noise sidesteps aural assault to focus on atmosphere and disorientation: Aaron Dilloway's tape manipulations being an outstanding example. All this is to me is far more exciting than grotty noise tapes with black metal artwork. Bring on the noise/techno/bass music mutations!

Finally, an article I've been meaning to post for a while: Craig Woods on the Glasgow Underground from the excellent Paraphilia Magazine. The Scottish media has a tendency to root for anything Scottish. On one hand this is understandable - it seems mean-spirited and counterproductive to shit on new acts - but on the other it can lead to a frustrating lack of debate. So it's refreshing to read Woods write of:

the lamentable status quo that has paralysed and debased Glasgow‘s underground music scene
to the extent that the term ―avant garde is now applied (evidently without irony) to the flaccid
fetidity of Frightened Rabbit and the terminal tedium of The Twilight Sad.

Good to see somebody finally putting the boot into Frightened Rabbit and Twilight Sad's dreary "anthemic" indie rock, as well as the glut of maddeningly conservative indie-pop bands that seem inescapable (on that point, how utterly pointless and charmless is Stuart Murdoch's God Help The Girl? Belle & Sebastian's magpie tendencies used to be cute - Dog On Wheels steals from Love's Alone Again Or with Nancy & Lee's Summer Wine to delightful effect - but they've long since descended into immaculate but characterless soft pop pastiche) Just in case you think he's dismissing Glasgow music outright, he cites a number of fine bands from the past few years (Park Attack, The Royal We, Errors et al) but points out they are too disparate to constitute a "scene" or "wave". Until now...

With a combination of experimental originality and a frisky passion for original Punk values, these
few acts have worked swiftly and indefatigably to redraw the margins and assault Glasgow with an
enthralling trash-art sensibility which has finally given this city the kick up the arse it has long required.

He cites the ferociously good Divorce, and young bands like Ultimate Thrush (spazzed out noise punk) and Plaaydoh (noisy Deerhoof Casio pop) as examples of raw, trashy and playful bands who have been fuckin' shit up. Having also attended the Megafest event at the Flying Duck in February (wish I'd blogged it!) I don't think it's too much of an overstatement to say that this night felt like the start of something, as well as a culmination of the previous few years of underground DIY. As Woods writes, "This is the night that Glasgow‘s revitalised underground unites and coalesces before a suitably awestruck audience". Discussing the article with Craig, we agreed that DIY promoters Nuts & Seeds have played an essential role in cultivating the new scene by bringing weird, noisy and fun underground acts to Glasgow and getting local acts to support, and presenting it all with great artwork and ethical ideals. They've helped create an atmosphere where incredible, uncategorisable bands like Tattie Toes (still my favourite local act) can reach new audiences. There is of course more to Glasgow than guitar bands, and what makes things particularly exciting just now is the vibrancy of its club scene. Numbers and Lucky Me have blurred the boundaries, both musically and socially, between hip-hop, bass music and techno, while Curious Curious continues the eclectic spirit of Optimo, albeit with more of a cosmic disco bias. The more all these different scenes communicate the better.

I'll end on a little music. Wonderful LA psych/drone/dub duo Pocahaunted are on tour this week, playing Glasgow tonight. Here's a jam from their magical Island Diamonds platter.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Beard Radio 25 May

After much delay (technical difficulties, no fault of my own) last week's Beard radio is finally online!

Featuring a lovely new jingle recorded by my granny!

Lindsay Buckingham & Stevie Nicks - Crying In The Night, Buckingham Nicks (Polydor)
The Thing - Hidegen Fujinaka Szelek, Bag It! (Smalltown Superjazz)
Betty Harris - Mean Man, Saturday Night Fish Fry (Soul Jazz)
Evangelista - The Blue Room (Constellation)
John Prine & Iris Dement- In Spite of Ourselves, A Date With John Waters (New Line)
Lindstrom & Prins Thomas - Note I love You + 100, II (Eskimo)
Link Wray - The Swag, Pink Flamingoes Soundtrack (Vomit)
Mount Vernon Arts Lab - Hobgoblins, Seance At Hobbs Lane (Ghost Box)
Afrirampo - Track 1, Sutto Breakor (P Vine)

Back next week with our final Subcity show of the term. However, we have plans afoot for some Beard podcasts throughout the summer. Watch this space...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Stag & Dagger Glasgow review pt 1

Mika Miko & Black Lips: Classic Grand, Glasgow, Saturday May 23

It's tempting to mythologise Mika Miko, portray them as the super-cool LA girl band from some imaginary '80s teen movie. And certainly, they're perfectly happy to humour such notions, asking us if we've seen Valley Girl, starring a young Nicolas Cage. I haven't, but then it wasn't a big hit over here, despite having a ridiculously awesome soundtrack, including Sparks' 'Eaten By The Monster of Love' and Josie Cotton's 'Johnny Are You Queer'. Truth be told, though, Mika Miko have more in common with California punk and rrriot girl than the poppy New Wave. Having last seen them two years ago in a Glasgow basement bar, I wasn't sure how their energetic punk show would translate to the larger, and altogether more plush, Classic Grand. Not to worry: these chicas shred it. Jennifer Clavin and Jenna Thornhill's vocals strike the perfect balance between dead-eyed punk yow and hyperactive teen yelp, finding a tone that's simultaneously knowing and party righteous. An underrated guitarist, Michelle Suarez spikes her power chords with angular Wipers riffs and mutant rockabilly X licks, while the rhythm section drives it all forward with an infectious groove. The slam-dancing bozos down the front don't quite it, but Mika Miko make punk rock to dance to. Clavin and Thornhill have some good moves: twisting on one foot and flapping their arms like Ari Up doing the funky chicken, and a hybrid hop-skip that's both charming and so utterly right. Towards the end, Thornhill whips out a sax for some Lora Logic skronk action, and me, I couldn't be happier. My only question: what happened to the telephone mic?

After all this Black Lips prove to be rather charmless. Their joyless simulacrum of '60s garage and '90s grunge makes you want to hit them over the head with the Nuggets boxset, or better still, a Billy Childish album. This is how it's done, bozos: catchy riffs, barely contained sexual tension, biting lyrics and infectious beats. Black Lips bludgeon when they should swing, plod when they should stomp. The atmosphere turns slightly unpleasant when bassist Jared Swilley stares out a stage jumper. “One of us is gonna get hurt and it's not gonna be me,” he whines while giving the over-excited punter the evil eye. What humourless, macho nonsense. Get me outta here!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Plan B R.I.P.

I'm very sad to hear that Plan B magazine is to close. As others have pointed out, it wasn't the web that necessarily did for Plan B: the advertising recession meant it was no longer possible to keep the magazine going without cutting staff, pages and print quality. They did the right thing to quit while they were ahead: nobody would want something as special as Plan B to fall into terminal decline like Melody Maker or other magazines. It's a serious blow for music journalism. Plan B allowed its contributors the kind of freedom that had all but disappeared from the mainstream music press, and its passion, wit and intelligence was a joy to behold, even when you disagreed strongly with a writers' opinion. It looked amazing too, with beautiful photographs and illustrations that captured the personality of the music.

This feels like the end of an era. I first picked up Plan B's predecessor, Careless Talk Costs Lives, when I moved to Glasgow to study journalism in 2002. Increasingly frustrated by the NME and a bit bored of Mojo's dad rockness, I needed something that directed me to the world of possibilities I sensed was surely out there. Meeting my Beard co-conspirator Neil Jacques, and discovering Stephen Pastel's then recently opened Monorail record store were important factors in my awakening, but CTLC played a huge role in my exploration of unknown realms. At first it seemed infuriating. I'd never really been a big Melody Maker reader, so I was perhaps unprepared for Everett True's wildly opinionated and personal writing. This was not how we were being told to write in journalism class! But I soon came to love the magazine's approach, and came to trust its writers' integrity and passion. CTCL tore the retrogressive bullshit of NME's trumpeted New Rock Revolution to pieces, all the while pointing me to the good shit. The magazine also had a strong sense of underground music history, and with Neil's record collection and a shop like Monorail at hand, it wasn't difficult to access the likes of Daniel Johnston or Jad Fair - indeed, both artists performed wonderful shows in Glasgow during the summer of 2003. CTCL was the first place I read about Peter Brotzmann, thanks to a free jazz roundup by the excellent Jon Dale. The striking illustration (apologies, I don't have a copy at hand to credit the artist) of a walrus 'tasched bezerker made me think, 'I wanna check that crazy motherfucker out'. I didn't actually get round to that for another few of years, but a seed was planted.

Plan B continued what CTCL had started, but thanks to the direction of Frances Morgan, developed its own personality. It was broader in scope, perhaps a little less cranky, but still hugely characterful. While indie-rock focused, it had the confidence to cover grime, techno, dubstep, noise, metal, experimental music and pop in a passionate, knowledgeable manner. As a poster on the Plan B forum put it, a magazine that can write about Keiji Haino alongside Britney is right up my street. I'm really proud to have contributed to recent issues, albeit in a minor way, and have my modest efforts placed alongside pieces by such intimidatingly great writers as Frances, Neil Kulkarni, Everett True, Joseph Stannard, Petra Davis, Kicking K, Lauren Strain, Miss AMP, Richard Stacey, George Taylor, Nicola Meighan, Daniel Barrow, Euan Andrews, Louis Pattison, John Doran, Matt Evans, Melissa Bradshaw et al.

The CTCL and Plan B forums have been lively and friendly places over the years, helping me through several crappy temp jobs and various episodes of personal angst. The forums introduced me to all kinds of amazing music, books and films, and, most importantly, to some wonderful people. It began for me when a few of us Glasgow posters realised we were all going to the same gigs. A meet up was surely in order. Good times and great friendships ensued, and various ATP's, Green Man's and other festivals brought posters from further afield together. We even ended up meeting some of the Plan B staff, who turned out to be as generous, friendly and righteous as their writing suggests. This open and good natured spirit continues. It's no great exaggeration to say that CTCL and Plan changed my life.

As the staff have pointed out, this is not the end, but an opportunity for new beginnings. I can't wait to see what its staff and contributors get up to next and wish them all the best for the future.

Finally, let me direct you to some excellent posts by Everett True, Daniel Barrow, Jon Dale and Ned Ragget.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Stag & Dagger

The festival season is already well underway, and Stag & Dagger looks to be a right bobby dazzler. Beard is particularly psyched about seeing Mika Miko again, following their legendary Nuts & Seeds gig with No Age two years ago. In addition to playing some of the most fun, danceable punk rock you'll ever hear, The LA punks tore up a Mika poster on stage: "That asshole stole our name!" What's not to like? Other acts we're looking forward to are The Mae Shi, Dananananaykroyd, Clark, Dolby Anol, Twitch and David Barabarosso, one of the chaps behind the excellent Curious Curious club night.




Glasgow Venues & Acts

Art School (hosted by The Skinny magazine)
David Barbarossa, Meursault, Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers, White Denim, Phantom Band, KONX-OM-PAX, Tim Exile, Clark

Art School - Vic Bar
Lemonade, Joy Formidable, Chew Lips, Record Playerz DJs, Art of Parties DJs, DOLBY ANOL

Nice N Sleazy
Boycotts, Findo Gask, Gay Blades, Cursive, Hot Club DJs

Captain’s Rest (hosted by NME Radio)
Over the Wall, Paper Planes, Tubelord, Miles Benjamin-Anthony Robinson, French Wives, Dananananaykroyd, The Mae Shi, NME DJs

Woodenbox with a fistful of Fivers, St Deluxe, BMX Bandits, The Aliens, Men & Machines, JD Twitch (Optimo)

Classic Grand (hosted by Simple)
Elvis Suicide, Gringo Star, Mika Miko, Black Lips

ABC1 (hosted by Firetrap)
Secret Guest, The Twilight Sad, Cold War Kids

Beard radio 18.5.09 - win tickets to Le Weekend!

Back once again with some hot new platters and a little hidden history...

Don't miss Omar Souleyman (above) and Group Doueh on the amazing Sublime Frequencies tour this week!

Joker - Do It, 12" (Kapsize)
Slayer - Psychopathy Red (Tour CD)
Divorce - Juice of Youth, 10" (Optimo)
Josie Cotton - Johnny Are You Queer? (Bomp!)
Trembling Bells - Your Head Is The House of Your Tongue, Carbeth (Honest Jons)
Wildbirds & Peacedrums - There Is No Light , The Snake (Leaf)
Abner Jay - I'm So Depressed, The True Story of... (Mississippi Records)
Sunn 0))) - Big Church, Monoliths & Dimensions (Southern Lord)
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Interesting Results, Grandes Exitos (Paw Tracks)
Omar Souleyman - Laqtuf Ward Min Khaddak, Dabke 2020 (Sublime Frequencies)
Spiritual Singers - Kimia, Ntsamina (Mississippi)

We also have tickets to give away for Le Weekend, Stirling's Out Limits Music Festival, taking place from Friday 29th to Sunday 31st May.

Starring Evangelista, Trembling Bells, John Edwards, Drew Mullholland of Mount Vernon Arts Lab and Portishead's Adrian Utley, Eddie Marcon and an exhibition by Ghost Box's Julian House, it's another cornucopia of leftfield delights.

To win, simply answer the following question...

Evangelista's Carla Bozulich was a member of which '90s alt country band?

(a) Chickasaw Mudd Puppies (b) Uncle Tupelo (c) Geraldine Fibbers

Answers to

We will announce the winners on next week's show.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Beard radio tunes into cosmic frequencies on the Holy Mountain

Not the last show of the term after all. Hurrah! We're back with some truly beautiful music, as well as a truly stupid new jingle.
Cosmic free jazz, Zimbabwean mbira, Turkish psych, splatter beats and a truly remarkable Japanese psych-punk gem from 1983 that's been uncovered by those righteous doods at Holy Mountain records.

Old Time Relijun -Indestructible Life, Catharis In Crisi (K)
Erin Koray - Karl Dalar, Elektronik Turkuler (Dogan)
Margot Guryan - Love, Take a Picture (Oglio)
Thelonious Monk - I Surrender Dear, Solo Monk (Sony)
Shimat - Shut Up (Hellfish Remix), 200 (Planet Mu)
Mhuri Yekwa Chiboora - Ngoto Yakaipa, Mbira Singles Collection (Dandemutante Music)
Onna - Mune O Tsutsunde, 7" (Holy Mountain)
Nomeansno - It's Catching Up, Wrong (Alternative Tentacles)
Notorious B.I.G. - The What (feat Method Man), Ready To Die (Arista/Puff Daddy Records)
Noah Howard - Space Dimension (America Records)
Sugar - Come Around, Beaster (Creation)

This week's background music: Moog Party Time!

Pictured: Onna (above), Old Time Relijun's Arrington De Dionyso (below)

Monday, May 04, 2009

Eggs Eggs Eggs: Beard Radio gets sulphurous


Yes, it's another edition of Beard Radio, brought to you following some late night screenings of John Waters' trash classic Pink Flamingos. We open with a couple of glorious tunes from that film's wondrous soundtrack, and later on, drop an impassioned Ike & Tina number beloved of Baltimore's most famous son.
We've also got new tunes from Alasdair Roberts, Sir Richard Bishop, Mika Miko, Kode 9, and Yoshimi's latest project, OLAibi, as well as the incredible Egyptian surf psych of Omar Khorshid. We also pay tribute to the Scottish playwright, poet and counter-cultural figure Tom McGrath, who passed away last week. A life-long jazz fan, in 1973 McGrath brought Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and Mahavishnu Orchestra to Glasgow. So we've got some classic '70s Miles in there. I think next week might be our last show of the term. Don't quote me on that though!

Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers - I'm Not a Juvenile Delinquent, Pink Flamingos Soundtrack (Saliva Films)
The Nighthawks - Chicken Grabber, Pink Flamingoes Soundtrack (Saliva Films)
Alasdair Roberts - Hazel Forks, Spoils (Drag City)
OLAibi - Eisa, Tingaruda (PECF)
Miles Davis - Black Satin, On The Corner (Columbia)
Omar Khorshid - Raqsed Al Fada, Rhythms of the Orient (Lebanon/Egypt)
Sir Richard Bishop & His Freak of Araby Ensemble - Kaddak el Mayass, Freak of Araby (Drag City)
Ike & Tina Turner - All I Can Do Is Cry, A Date With John Waters (New Line Records)
The Ex, Getachew Mekuria & Guests - Eywat Setenafegagn, Moa Anbessa (Terp Records)
Mika Miko - Turkey Sandwich, We Be Xuxa (PPM)
Kode9 - Black Sun, 12" (Hyberdub)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Beard goes to Hinterland

With special guest Guanoman in tow, we preview the Hinterland festival. All these fine tunes, plus an exclusive Guanoman/Beard live improv duet!
The listen again has some overspill from Benzo and Nav. The Residents! Nice.

Tattie Toes - Amapola, Split 7" with 7 Hertz (Nuts & Seeds)
Aphrodite's Child - The Four Horsemen, 666 (Vertigo)
Black Sun - Code Black (At War With False Noise)
Remember Remember - Fountain, RememberRemember (Rock Action)
Flat Earth Society - Flatology (Crammed)
Marion Brown - Once Upon A Time (A Children's Tale), Geechee Reminiscences (Impulse)
Guanoman - Son of Son of Ghazilla (Transdimensional Sushi)
Desalvo - Brown Flag, Mood Poisoner (Rock Action)
Rustie - Aspartame n Spice (Warp)
Death - Freakin' Out (Drag City)
Capillary Action - Bloody Noss (Discorporate)
Parliament - The Silent Boatman, Parliament (Invictus)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Beard DJs @ Captain's Rest, Friday 24 April

Just a quick not to say I'll be playing some records at the Captain's Rest, Great Western Road, Glasgow tonight from 8pm alongside the lovely Simon and Eva. Jazz, funk, Afro-pop, Syrian party bangers, hip-hop, dubstep, grime, and out sound of other varieties.

Apologies for the lack of updates: the last month has been essay madness. But the radio show will be very much BACK on Monday. We'll be previewing the Hinterland festival with our very special guest, that putrid bearded beauty Guanoman!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Instal links

I'm writing up some of last weekend's Instal festival for Plan B, so I'll keep my powder dry for now. However, I have come across a few Instal related links that are of interest, as well as my preview of the festival for The List. Hey, it's my blog, a bit of shameless self-promotion is par for the course.

Taking part in Phil Minton's Feral Choir was an amazing, liberating experience. Minton begins by chuckling and chortling. You find yourself joining in and then he's got you. All inhibitions are lifted and before long you're wailing, shrieking and slobbering with the best of them. Some splendid person has posted edited highlights of the Feral Choir on youtube. This is the first recording I've heard, so it's interesting to compare how it sounds from the audience as opposed to within the choir. Powerful and dense. Go team! There are a few more video clips from the festival. Steve McCafferty's dazzling sound poetry is especially worth a look. If anyone objects to me posting these up just drop me a line and I'll remove them.

Couple of blog posts on Instal. David Keenan didn't see anything he truly loved this year, but he's absolutely right to praise the organisers for their achievements. He seems agnostic about the Feral Choir, but his analysis of how sound poetry has infected the underground is timely and perceptive. I have to confess that most of the ultra-minimalist stuff didn't do it for me, so it's interesting to see what a fan of this music made of it all. Enter Richard Pinnell at Watchful Ear.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Beard radio's post-Instal peyote bass party!

A post Instal peyote bass party from Beard Radio!

Grails - Reincarnation Blues, Doomsayer's Holiday (Temporary Residence)
The Raincoats - Shouting Out Loud, Odyshape (Rough Trade)
Kode 9 & The Spaceape - Kingstown, Memories Of The Future (Hyperdub)
Pocahaunted - Track 3, Chains (Tear Drop)
Lucky Dragons - Wooden Cave Loop, Dream Island Laughing Language (Upset The Rhythm)
MADVILLAIN - Rainbown, Madvillainy (Stones Throw)
Pocahaunted - Track 2, Chains (Tear Drop)
Deradoorian - High Road (Lovepump United)
Royal Trux - Lightning Boxer, Royal Trux (Drag City)
Hawkwind - Master Of The Universe, In Search Of Space (Liberty)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Beard radio on 106.6 FM 16.3.09

Our last FM show (don't worry, you can still catch us online!) and the second of our Instal previews, featuring highlights from the festival, past and present and an interview with Barry Esson of curators Arika.

The Monks - Love Comes Tumbling Down, Black Monk Time (Light In The Attic)
Cobalt - Gin, Gin (Profound Lore)
Seymour Wright - In The Wright Place At The Wright Time (
Hermann Nitzch - Die Geburt (
Giant Sand - Center Of The Universe, Center Of The Universe (Restless)
Charlemagne Palestine - Duo Strumming For Two Harps, Strumming Music (Robi Droli/New Tone)
Jerome Noettinger w/ Metamkine - Kill Your Timid Notion 2004 excerpt (
Arington De Dionyso - Bird Shadow, Breath Of Fire (K Records)
Gorilla Biscuits - Degradation, Start Today (Revelation Records)
These Are Powers - Parallel Shores, All Aboard The Future (Dead Oceans)
Nels Cline, Wally Shoup, Chris Corsano - Lake Of Fire Memories, Immolation/Immersion (Strange Attractors Audio House)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Beard Radio 106.6 FM - 9 March

Steve McCaffery and friend do their thang

Good show this week. Well, I enjoyed it at least!

We start off with some cracked Middle-Eastern avant-rock from Sun City Girls, followed by one of the stars of their label Sublime Frequencies' European tour, Omar Souleyman, with an awesome Syrian party banger.

In anticipation of Glasgow's amazing Instal festival (20-22 March) we bring you Steve McCaffery's incredible sound poetry, Phil Minton's 100 strong Feral Choir, and Joan La Barabara singing the birds who live in her head. Vocal experimentation is one of the strands running through the programming, so we pay tribute to that with some other artists who explore the potential of the human voice. There's playful sing-song from Afrirampo, hirsute balladry from Bonnie 'Prince' Billie, and sublime soul from the great James Carr. Finishing it all off, we bring you a tripped out masterwork from Sun Ra, whose title is a tribute to festivals like Instal and anyone opening minds and ears to new sounds.

Sun City Girls - Space Prophet Dogon, Torch of The Mystics (Cargo)
Omar Souleyman - Leh Jani, Highway To Hassake: Folk and Pop Sounds of Syria (Sublime Frequencies)
Steve McCaffery - Carnival (excerpt)
Afrirampo, Want You, Kore Ga Mayaku Da(Tzadik)
Phil Minton - Feral Choir (Vicenza)
Bonnie 'Prince' Billie - My Life's Work, Beware (Domino)
Joan La Barbara - Les Oiseaux Qui Chantent Dans Ma Tete
James Carr - Pouring Water On A Drowning Man (Goldwax)
Sun Ra - There Are Other Worlds (They Have Not Told You Of), Lanquidity (Evidence)

This week's background music: Meco - Star Wars Theme!