SYSTEM OF A DOWN Barrowland, Glasgow, Sat 30 & Sun 31 Mar
System Of A Down are taking metal in directions it’s never been before, adding a dose of surrealism and operatics to unforgiving riffs they are the missing link between Frank Zappa and Slayer. Rolling drums, eccentric time changes and brutal yet delicate riffing all go to create a truly original sound. But their secret weapon however, is the extraordinary vocals of Rasputin look-a-like Serj Tankian: a howling banshee, a whispering child, a righteous polemic, he is all these and more.
There’s a slight Armenian lilt to his softly spoken tones, they are a rare note of ethnicity in an otherwise bland WASP rock world. ‘Being Armenian is part of who I am, and it’s made a difference in everything I’ve
Bringing politics back to the moshpit
done,’ Tankian muses. Asked if this makes him a good role model, he pauses. ‘I don’t do rolls because I don’t play drums and I don’t model except for magazines who want our picture,’ he replies, then laughs, a strange child-like laugh. Describing their music as ‘a violin in a hurricane,’ and listing his influences as ‘conversations, visuals, experience and art’ rather than reeling off the usual band this is a world away from macho posturing of Fred Durst and his potty mouthed ilk. But perhaps the strangest thing they do is bring politics to the mosh pit. ‘Politics is just something that interests me in the same way some people are interested in sports,’ Tankian explains. They make some bold statements: criticising the prison system, anti-war proclamations, speaking out about 11 September (at which time, coincidentally, their album was number one in America). ‘It was hard for people to hear that it was possible their government may have sowed the seeds of discontent that may have lead to certain acts of extremism.’ Which is why some have called them subversive. ‘I love the word subversive, it makes me want to go in a submarine and do vertical dives [that laugh again]. Tom Morello mentioned the CIA labelling Rage [Against The Machine] and System as subversive. l have spoken against the CIA from day one, I don’t think they work for the American people, they work for business interests. I don’t think they really represent what the American people want, which is peace ultimately. ‘The media seem to focus on the politics rather than the art element. Its easier to define a band as political, than to say that other song was about how do I define astro-travel through the eyes of a
Futuristic, anarchic, archaic, they don’t understand the rules that everyone else plays by, and it doesn’t worry them in the slightest, which is probably why they are so damn good. (Henry Northmore)
Crack or heroin? Pogo stick or a wee scooter? Allow fire l s! to make one decision for you, what love/y music should be emanating from your hi-fi. This Issue: Creeping Bent Records
The Nectarine N09
Pop sucks. I’m sick and tired of Kylie’s airbrushed micro-ass and I need something more substantial. Preferably here, in this Exposure piece. Like, now.
OK. OK. I ‘.'.’£‘.S reeling from your comment about Kylie's ass. Are you mental? Atryh<>(>. it it's Slil)Si£ll‘ll£t. l.".‘."(3'lil‘.’(3 and original nusc you're after. check out Creeptng Bent Records.
Weird name, what’s them lot all about then?
Word name. weird guys. but worth checking out. 'stablishec ll‘ 1994 by Douglas Macl'ityre. Creeping Bent has continued over the last seven years to provide. in their ()‘.".’l‘. nit/ords. 'a sustainable platform for groups. artists. mavericks and weirdoids to unleash their bite on the world'. Erm, unleashed bile? Dunno if that sounds like my cup of tea. What does their typical artist sound like?
Aha. ’l() such thing as a typical artist, Vu'ith a roster of around a (lo/en or so acts. Creeping Bent releases; have covered exerythrng front dub electronica 'Scientific Support [)ept. to ayaitl gargle pop punk lhe Nectarine Nofli to acoustic Americana ilvlonica ()ueeit. Zil‘(l every conceivable
flavour of music in between.
Fair enough, but it all sounds a bit, how shall I put this, obscure?
Not on yer neliy. vnate. A rich vein of pop sensibility runs throughout the Creeping Bent back catalogue. which by the way includes over 50 releases. What's more they have a healthy mix of young blossoming ta'ent alongside such cult musical veterans as Vic Godard, Alan Vega and Bill Wells.
OK, but I need to check this bunch out. What’s my best way into the Creeping Bent world? Pick up a copy of their forthcoming compilation album Nouvel/e Vague. or else check out some live highlights With Nectarine No 9. Scientific Support Dept. (Sareth Sager and Prefinger playing at the [1 dinburgl‘ Venue on Sunday 1&1 March. Can't make it? Well check out their shiny new website lv./\'./\.‘.i.(:reei)iiigbent.orgi which also has some lovely pictures of birds on it. And no. I don't mean Kylie. i[)oug Johnstonei
I Nouve/le Vague is released Mon l Apr on Creeping Bent.
DRUM 8. BASS KOSHEEN King Tut’s, Glasgow, Sun 7 Apr
Listening to Darren Decoder (along with Markee Substance. one half of the shadowy techno-boffin powerhouse that drives Kosheenl rec0unt his earliest experiences of playing music. it's hard to see how he ever came to create the sinuous. glossy and deeply funky dancefloor fillers that pepper his band's debut album Resist. ‘l was in college bands in Weston-Super-Mare. of all places.‘ recounts the then alias-free Darren Beale. ‘where I used to be into Surcidal Tendencies. Sonic Youth, a lot of early Bauhaus stuff, the Cure'.
But he eventually did find the path to breakbeat Damascus when old college mate Geoff ‘Portishead' Barrow pointed Out the way with a sampler he had bought.
One sacked band later. and Beale had invested in a new toy of his very own. And these days. of course. Decoder and Substance — together with singer/ songwriter Sian Evans — are making an impact with their own particular brand of drum 8. bass. as heard best on the insanely infectious single ‘Hide U'.
‘lt's all about the songs.‘ is the only explanation for this Beale can offer. It's true that the Joni Mitchell-loving
Pop for the open-minded
Evans' bold vocals and lyrics possess a depth rarely heard in modern dance music : imagine. if you will. that Dido had never written even one lame ballad in her life. and icined Faithless after all.
But will Kosheen's eclectic amalgam of styles and increasing commercial recognition turn off hardcore drum 8. bass fans? Politely, Beale refuses to accept that any true music lover would ever close their ears to anything worth a listen. When it's put forward that a degree of mainstream success may categorise him as a pop artist. though. the response is refreshingly scornful. 'Well, what is pop these days? If pop means people like that Will guy and Britney Spears. then no. we are not pop. This always makes me laugh. I mean. take R88. it's rhythm and blues! How the fuck can that describe guys singing about gold 'n' bitches. do you know what I mean?‘ (David Pollock)
98 Mar -l 1 Apr IMO.) THE LIST 45