It starts with a slow pounding intro, then we’re thrown straight into a ferocious and angry record from hardcore punks Dashwood.
Clocking in at only 37 seconds Splinter is one of the three stand out tracks on the EP. It will make you want to break things – you can almost see the bodies flying across the pit whilst listening to this. Augury follows immediately, giving you no time at all to regain composure. A little more melodic, but no less furious than the previous track, this is a brilliant example of a hardcore punk song and many bands that call themselves hardcore should sit down and take notes.
Persist, another one of the shorter tracks (59 seconds) is a brilliant precursor to the fantastic final track Idle Minds.
However, it’s not all amazing. Interlude, is really, really annoying. We go from awesome hardcore punk tracks, to a more mellow piece. If you’re a hardcore band, don’t give your listeners any respite. Keep it fast, angry and brilliant.
This week, Kris Ball takes a look at three singles from three very different artists…
“Clinton’s still rocking the throne, playing the sax while Monica’s been giving him dome”… is he? Anyway. This repetitive hip hop tune has its moments of “this isnt’ too bad actually”, and it’s definitely a song you can relax whilst listening to, as long as you don’t try and think about its lyrical content too much.
If The Tiger Lillies were to duet with Kate Bush, it would not sound too dissimilar from this song. Unconventional to modern music, with its ¾ time signature and unusual instrumentation, with what sounds like a singing saw, make this song interesting and exciting to listen to. The best thing about this songs otherworldliness, is that without having ever been there, it evokes the feeling of being at a freak show at Coney Island, New York, and not many songs have that ability.
The opening bars seem to echo “Easy” by The Commodores, and the song never really seems to pick up from that point. If you sit back and close your eyes whilst listening to this, you could imagine yourself in an expensive, dimly lit jazz club, full of gap yah students discussing their half baked political thoughts. It’s that sort of music. On the positive side, it’s good background music for dullards to put on when they have a dinner party to show off some tagine recipes they picked up on their backpacking trip around the middle east. And he has a nice voice.
This year I commandeered Christmas Dinner, there was only me and my dad to cook for, so it was an easy job, and I had a great time making it, and an even better time shoving it into my pie hole. The starter of Gravadlax (cured salmon) on a bed of rocket was simply an assembly job, and the main of Roast Duck with Most Of The Trimmings was classic Sunday roast stuff, just with a different bird, however what I was most proud about was the pudding I made.
It’s the sort of pudding that I think ol’ Pudding Face himself, Greg Wallace, of BBC’s Masterchef, would approve of, and say “oh mate” after finally removing his spoon from his gob. Even if I do say so myself.
I’d like to share that recipe with you, so here it is…
Panna Cotta With Raspberry Coulis and a Macadamia Nut Crumb
(for the panna cotta)
(for the raspberry coulis)
(for the macadamia nut crumb)
The gig started off with the brilliant The Re-Entrants, two blokes and two ukuleles, covering the best pop and rock songs. What makes The Re-Entrants brilliant is that they recreate the songs they play note for note, every nuance, and every solo, perfectly played. They opened with Electric Light Orchestra’s classic hit “Mr Blue Sky”. People’s preconceptions about what could be done with the ukulele were blown out of the water, and The Re-Entrants continued this habit throughout, “Gold”, “Poker Face”, “Thriller” and for their encore blasted out AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell” (or as it’s also known, the A666 to Bolton). Ian Emmerson had the crowd in hysterical laughter during their too short set with his dancing, jokes and general on stage presence.
If The Re-Entrants are the barmcake*, then The Lancashire Hotpots are the chips, gravy and ketchup in this chip barm gig.
Their introduction track, in the style of The Price Is Right, set the light hearted tone for the night. “Mek Us A Brew”, an ode to the humble cuppa char kicked off the proceedings, before bringing out songs like “Ebay ‘Eck” and “Chav”, the latter of which was one of the many songs which got the audience involved with dance moves and singing along.
Bernard (vocals/guitar) briefly disappeared off stage, and returned in his pirate garb for the ever popular “Cinema Smugglers” inciting the audience to yell “kyarrr” and to shiver his Pringles. Dickie (percussion/melodica/vocals) took over lead vocals for “Has Anybody Seen My Dongle?” a tongue in cheek nod to music hall entertainers such as George Formby, which was laden with innuendo.
Things slowed down for The Hotpot’s latest single “I’ll ‘Ave One Wi’ Yet”, a more traditional (for The Hotpots) about getting drunk with your friends down the local boozer. Before they broke into “Lancashire DJ” they have a quick costume change which brings about the best joke of the gig, and then end on the classic, “Chippy Tea”.
The crowd yells out for more, and The Hotpots are more than happy to oblige, and break out their quite sentimental “Carry You Home” which brought a touch of melancholy to the gig, before once again getting the audience to join in with “Shopmobility Scooter”. The Lancashire Hotpots finish their gig on “Bang Bang Thumpy Dance Music”, which is some of the classic dance tracks of my youth, but improved tenfold by being played by Lancashire’s finest comedy folk band.
Many drinks were had by the sizeable audience. It may have been freezing cold outside, but the ambiance was a warm and happy one. The Lancashire Hotpots brought joy to many in this bleak midwinter, and filled Preston with Christmas cheer.
*For anyone outside of Lancashire, a barmcake is also known as : a bap, a bread roll, a teacake, a stottie, a bread bun, a breadcake, or a cob… you’re not calling it the right thing though, it is a barmcake, and if you disagree, you’re wrong.
We start with some squeaky pop punk band covering “Just The Way You Are” (Bruno Mars). I spent most of the time listening to this song trying to remember the name of Coheed and Cambria, just in order to compare the voice of Pierce The Veil’s singer to. I think the song was ok, aside from Joe Pasquale on vocals, though.
Then there’s a song I haven’t a clue who it’s originally. The husky woman singing has a decent voice, though, and despite not having a clue who “Little Lion Man” is originally by (turned out to be Mumford and Sons), I fully enjoyed Tonight Alive’s cover… up until where it all went a little bit Paramore. Next on offer is Woe Is Me with a god awful performance of Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night”. Seriously awful, and the less said about it, the better.
Next we have a band called The Ready Set, with “I Roll Up” by Wiz Khalifa (who?). I’m confused. There’s nothing punk about this, and I don’t mean in a punk fascist, “that pop punk isn’t punk” way. No, I mean, this is actually just a straight up pop/urban song. I can’t hear a guitar, or a real instrument. Did they forget to record their own version and just sing over a karaoke backing track two hours before the deadline for submittal?
Things start to improve when we get to Sleeping With Siren’s version of Cee Lo Green’s “Fuck You”. Not too bad at all, the strings were a nice touch and even took my mind off the overly intrusive drums. It’s nice to hear a few swears, too. In a bizarre twist of events, we get a second good song in a row with Go Radio’s cover of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep”. It’s good, straight forward and no messing about, just a bit ballsier. The bridge was brilliant, hand claps, and then that key change. Nothing bad about this at all. Could this streak last?….
In short, no… For All Those Sleeping’s cover of “You Belong To Me” by Taylor Swift is stopped after 12 seconds, but then decided I should give it a longer chance. Another 12 seconds later, I’ve skipped to the next song, Chunk! No Captain Chunk! With Ke$ha’s “We R Who We R”. This is actually good, and I don’t even hate the screaming bits. It, works, y’know?
When I get to A Skylit Drive’s rendition of Eminem’s “Love The Way You Lie”, I’m torn. It’s got ups, and it’s got downs. It’s really quite 50:50. I don’t know whether I like the screaming bits, sometimes it works, and then sometimes it doesn’t, and then I’m annoyed by pop punk singer’s habit of singing in a key which is obviously too high for them to comfortably sing in. However, it’s not the worst thing on this album, but I can safely predict that nothing will be worse than For All Those Sleeping’s offering.
Auto-tune ‘o clock next, with Allstar Weekend’s cover of Yeah 3X, by Chris Brown. A big “meh” to this one. Moving on. I See Stars and we have a wall of sound, interspersed with with standard melodic hardcore bits in their cover of Britney’s “Till The World Ends”. It’s passable, I’ll give them that.
Do I really want to hear Silverstein playing a Kanye West song for 8 minutes? Not really, I’d rather run repeatedly into a javelin at face height. Still, without hearing the original version of “Runaway”, what I listened to of this song is very good, but just too long.
Punk Goes Pop Volume 4 closes with The Downtown Fiction’s take on Super Bass by Nicki Minaj. It wasn’t bad, no, I couldn’t say it was bad. But it wasn’t as awful as For All Those Sleeping… but it ain’t good, either. The worst thing is the repetitiveness, but I can hardly blame The Downtown Fiction for Nicki Minaj’s poor song writing, can I?
P.S. I’d like to thank Google for helping me find out who the hell the original performers of many of these songs were.
Good, with that decided, I shall now share with you my recipe for beetroot risotto. A lot of people turn their nose up at beetroot, usually because for some very strange reason, they don’t like pickled beetroot. I can’t fathom why they wouldn’t love it, the stuff is beautiful on a cheese sandwich with some salad cream, and a handful of ready salted crisps shoved into it. You just have to hope that the beetroot doesn’t fall out of the sandwich and stain your clothes.
On the topic of beetroot staining you, for this recipe you will require rubber gloves when grating the beetroot (there’s a sentence I didn’t expect to be writing when I woke up this morning). Or, if you like having bright pink hands, you can omit the gloves.
It also helps to have all of your ingredients prepared and ready to put into the pan whilst making this, as you cannot leave the pan whilst cooking a risotto, as it has to be stirred continuously.
By this point, you may have guessed that I am quite openly (and after this post, even more so) bisexual.
My search for bisexuality in the news wasn’t a fruitless one. A fair few articles came up, but one that really caught my eye was “Not gay enough ballplayers get the shaft” (nice shaft pun, by the way). Now, I’ll let you read the article yourself, if you want, but the long and short of it is that is that three bisexual men, who have been members of the San Francisco Gay Softball League for quite some time… until 2008, when they were forced out of the league for not being gay enough.
How gay is gay enough? How straight is too straight? And why does the players position on the Kinsey Scale matter?
If a sports organisation is willing to take on bisexual (and up to two straight) players to compete, why does it matter how straight they are? Bisexuality, unlike heterosexuality and homosexuality isn’t as black and white (although, there’s still grey areas in heterosexuality and homosexuality, for example, people who would consider themselves 1 or 5, they may consider themselves straight or gay, respectively). I am probably a 3, bang in the middle, but then I have known people who are more attracted to one gender than another.
I guess what I really want to highlight within this post, is the biphobia that bisexual people have to endure from within the LGBT “community” (some aren’t too keen on the T being part of the community, either). For example, I’ve been turned down by gay people for being a “breeder”. I don’t think there’s enough people talking about discrimination in the LGBT community, and I hope this post gets people thinking about it.
The last thing on my mind, is that if I wanted to join their league, would they rather I swung towards homosexuality, rather than bang in the middle of the road, which is where I feel like I belong?
Thankfully for them, I’m crap at sports, and was always last pick at school, so they don’t have to worry about me joining their ranks, and confusing them with my ways.
Right. I’m going to start on a MASSIVE rant. I’m not some supermarket hating, smug food writer who uses words like “bounty” to describe a lot of food, telling you to boycott supermarkets, and only get your fruit, veg and meat from farmers markets, I’m just not that kind of writer.
It’s not that I love supermarkets, and think the sun shines out of the CEO of Tesco’s arse, either. But I do wish they would stock seasonal vegetables, such as pumpkins, when they are in season (which is a massively long one, too, as they store for ages, too!)… sadly, supermarkets only sell pumpkins about 1 week before Halloween, and then come the 1st of November, you’ll not see them for another year.
Added onto that, there’s no point in buying a supermarket pumpkin. Don’t bother. They’re crap. They only sell big carving pumpkins, brilliant if you want a stupid orange face outside your front door, but crap if you want to eat it. So on that note, before you try this recipe, go to a farmers market, or a decent greengrocers, and if you can’t get a pumpkin, use a butternut sqaush, it’s still very similar!
Spiced Pumpkin Soup
(makes a huge amount)
P.S. This recipe makes a lot of soup, best invite the family and friends over to help polish it off!
It’s coming up to Christmas. People are stocking up on advocaat, sloe gin and all other sorts of booze to get squiffy on over Christmas. I thought I should join them all. The only thing is… just buying booze, it’s a bit boring. I mean, sure, it’ll get me drunk, and that’ll be great, anything to make life a little more bearable, but that’s just not for me. Why buy flavoured vodka based drinks, when you can make them with whatever you want?!
So now, I introduce to you:
UNCLE JOE’S MINT BALLS VODKA
All you need is 2 bags of Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls, a half bottle of vodka, a Kilner jar, and some patience…
Obviously, you don’t have to add both bags of sweeties – I added about one and a half and kept tasting until it tasted minty enough for me. If you want to do a whole bottle, just get four bags of Mint Balls. Sorted.
Now I can recreate a night out in Wigan Pier in the comfort of my bedroom…