Thursday, 22 May 2008

Vapour Trail Listings: June 08


Nearest tube: Holloway rd / ARCHWAY
Buses: 29, 253, 254, 91, 17, 43, 271, 153 & BUSES TO ARCHWAY

8pm – till late
£4 with flyer/fanzine
£5 without

NEXT: JUNE 18TH 2008


With DJ Sets from Julia Sieradzki (The Firm) & Magenta Placenta (Tempting Lilu)

Glasvegas + Doe Face Lillian: Review

Camden Roundhouse, May 14th 08

This year, Scottish troupe Glasvegas have been steadily but surely making a name for themselves following endorsements from Alan McGee and the NME, at whose ceremony they won an award this year. Their beefy brand of Spector-influenced indiepop has been heard on two official releases, the glorious ‘It’s My Own Cheating Heart’ and the epic ‘Daddy’s Gone’, which was a far cry from the original, skiffle-punk demo. And tonight they headline the sold-out Roundhouse in Camden.

But first, we are greeted with the familiar sight of Doe Face Lillian. And if tonight’s set is anything to go by, it’s a sight that will become more familiar as time progresses.

With all three members onstage (programmer Magenta is on the audience’s right, vocalist/guitarist David is positioned audience left and bassist Rob moves maniacally in the middle), the aesthetic of the group is something to behold in a larger venue such as this, and they launch into their guttural noise punk with suitable aplomb.

Although much of their set is based around frenetic cacophonies of the most pleasing kind (think Mary Chain and Sonic Youth going head to head with The Horrors and even Placebo), the group really shine when playing slower, mid-paced material such as the crowd-pleasing ‘Vision’, a Cure-esque ballad with U2-esque guitars and a call-and-response chorus that sounds a bit like Ian Curtis interrupting a Bob Smith phonecall. Ian Curtis being Rob, of course, who takes lead vocals for the group’s other slow number, a song clearly indebted to the Mancunian miserablists but with added psych-noise guitar from David (his style veers between noise rock and shoegaze brilliantly throughout.) Having said that, they are a fast-paced outfit in spirit, and they finish up with David triggering all sorts of feedback-laden sounds and general noise from his guitar, amp and pedals, much to the crowd’s approval.

Glasvegas then appear before a crowd that seems to include a fair portion of people who’ve made it down from Scotland to see their band perform. Straight away, reverb-soaked guitars shimmy in and remind us of Creation heroes My Bloody Valentine and The House Of Love (proto-shoegaze legends who you can read more about this issue.) Vocalist James Allan’s singing gives the music a soulful and heartfelt feel, which is exactly what it is, as he croons wistful and often nostalgic lyrics in his native accent.

The Mo Tucker / Bobby Gillespie drums shouldn’t work with music that sounds this huge, but thankfully they do, as guitarist Rab manages to combine playing what are fairly intricate, sometimes Edge-esque lead lines, with throwing his guitar around his head. Bathed in red light, the four of them look awesome as the crowd sings along to every word of the songs, some of which haven’t even been released. And as for the songs, it seems that the group are poised to take an epic, shoegaze / 60’s Wall of Sound – inspired direction, possibly leaving behind the 50s / surf – influenced style that graced early versions, most notably the aforementioned ‘Daddy’s Gone.’

Finally, with six songs played and just one more to go, James announces the group’s intention to ‘piss off after this one’ and, rather sweetly, he does invite the crowd to come to the dressing room afterwards and help them polish off a huge hamper of food. A soaring rendition of ‘DG’ later, and that’s what happens.

Tonight, two excellent bands played and reminded us that, not only can Alan McGee be forgiven for inflicting The Others upon decent people seeing as he did create, er, Creation Records and discover all manner of genius in the 80s and 90s, but also that bands don’t necessarily have to be taut, angular and in debt to Gang of Four to be any good in these dreary times. Tonight was about big sounds and big songs, albeit from two pretty different perspectives, and long may it continue.



With a combined love of all things pop and experimental, Divina Icon play The Vapour Trail in a perculiar position – that of a band in transition. Led by vocalist and guitarist Dale Every, their songs are often dynamic explosions of the 3 – 4 minute variety, while their sound is richly layered with crunching guitars, melodic riffs and bubbling electronics. Lyrically, the songs have always explored the whys and wherefores of life, sometimes set against the grainy backdrop of London, the city which spawned the group. Although they appear to be very much in the midst of a period of uncertainty, one thing that we can be sure of is the power they pack live. But let’s find out more….

We first wonder how the group got together, although we forget to remember how unremarkable stories of this ilk usually are….“We all met at a ‘model railway’ convention! Our shared love of the locomotive brought us together. The usual.”As mentioned previously, the subject of the group’s range in sound and influences gets broached, as we wonder what the primary inspirations were when getting the group together….“We all bring our own (influences) to the table. The darker pop edge comes from, without name dropping, bands like Cocteaus, Killing Joke etc that Giorgio and Leon bring in while the electronics are influenced by the Dancy stuff Dale does – Nixie listens to a lot of American guitar music like Pumpkins, QOTSA and that comes through. Some kind of vague mix of these elements.” Moreover, was there any initial aim in terms of the overall musical direction, lyrical direction and so forth?“Nah, too many egos in the band to agree on one ideology! The nature of what we are is about not being confined to a set identity as such– that can be great but it’s not what we do, at least not yet. Might be one or two concept albums in us!”One thing that definitely sets the group apart from the gaggle of identikit indie rock bands you see floating about is there use of electronics within their multi-layered sound. We wonder what inspired them to implement this…“We feel it brings a dynamic to out guitar-based sound – when there are so many guitar bands that have that one sound it gets a little dry. It’s another layer, which can change the whole vibe of something, it’s important to our evolving sound, experimenting is important to us. Pissing around with soundscapes, definitely comes from the electronic influence on the band.”
Bearing in mind the fact that there is a greater emphasis on live performance now more than ever, what does the band hope to achieve when they go out and play?“We haven’t played any gigs while because we have been putting this new project together but we are looking forward to doing some shows. Each gig has its own character, if you’re playing in front of no one except for someone’s lost dog then you’re not gonna be trying to make some big connection (which actually happened!) so each as they come but we always like to make an impact in whatever form – its very much a cathartic release for us – throwing our tunes out …”
And lastly, the inevitable question that always must be asked – what is next for them?“Revolution, after Giorgio has got the next round in! – Then a name for this new project – we are Divina Icon for this gig although the band is no more and this new one needs a name.”

So, does this gig symbolise the end of an era, or the beginning of a new one? I suppose we’ll just have to find out….



Describing themselves as ‘darkside electronic rock’, Rapid Fiction’s fraught and epic sound is matched by their dynamic live performances. Combining metallic guitars, epic synths, throbbing bass and singer Carl’s powerful baritone, they recall the best and most brooding moments of such post-punk figues as Joy Division, Echo & the Bunnymen, Sisters of Mercy and Depeche Mode, while still conveying originality through a style that brings to mind both the militaristic and the neo-classical.

The band has been going for a little while now, albeit in a few different guises. Bassist Nick takes up the story….“Rapid Fiction has existed in various formats since 2004 when myself, Carl Thompson and a drum machine hooked up, and has since spread in a slow and sinister manner, adding a keyboardist, Marc Picazo, who we found in Loot, and a guitarist, Hugo Bronstein, who was on Gumtree. We replaced the drum machine early on due to musical differences, and after a stint with one drummer and lots of other tryouts, Dan Wing joined.”With a sound and style as defined as that of Rapid Fiction’s, it begs the question as to whether or not there was a specific goal in terms of musical direction from the word go….
“We wanted to create a mix of styles to avoid being too much in one genre. Carl came from the indie side, I came from industrial/goth influences, Marc from electronic and classical and Hugo from metal, so we've tried to put all that together into a dark, electronic, rock kind of affair- hopefully successfully and hopefully not sounding too much like anyone in particular.”Your live shows are known for being rather more exciting than your average indie 'non-performance' gigs you tend to see. Was it a conscious decision to put on a show or are you all natural exhibitionists? Which bands would you rate in a live setting?
“It is frequently a conscious decision to drink heavily, which can have some consequences for the performance when you are dealing with several prima donnas in a small stage space. “I personally rate bands who make the effort to put on a show, like Rammstein, but also bands who don't have all the stage accoutrements but still make for an attention-grabbing show. Deftones have been good at this. There are too many bands around though who just stand there being tedious. If it doesn't look like you are enjoying playing, then I'm not sure why anyone else would enjoy the show.”Along with this, you have a very defined aesthetic as a group - was image important? Also, you (Nick) do the artwork (logo, flyers, etc.) Is the combination of music and visuals an important part of what you do? Also, what with downloading, how do you feel about the decline in the physical product of music?
“Image has been complicated due to our different backgrounds but we have found an image that everyone is comfortable with. I'd like to push it further, but there is the view that too much image detracts from the music, like you are trying to be all image to make up for musical shortcomings. “I think that a band should have a clear visual identity though and given the time, I would make a lot more of Rapid Fiction's. In my design work, I am very keen on building up striking and memorable logos and visuals, which I think is essential in a band distinguishing itself from others - it's often the first contact people have with a band and can make all the difference in making them interested.“I think that not having to press CDs makes life easier for unsigned bands to distribute their music and means that there are fewer industry obstacles to reaching the punter, but clearly the problem of marketing and actually getting people to hear your music remains!”

News & Stuff


The Cure, whose ‘The Only One’ single just reached a skyscraping Number 48, are releasing three more singles from June. Each will be released monthly on the 13th and will come with new B-sides, as their most recent did. Next up is ‘Freakshow’, which they played live at Wembley, a gig The VPT reviewed last month (see for more) which, like the other A-sides, should be on the album. ‘13’, the band’s 13th studio album (see what they did there?!) is out in September and is unlikely to be the double LP that Smith & co promised. Said to be entirely upbeat, the apparently darker songs are being saved for a separate album which is in the pipeline for Christmas....My Bloody Valentine, who are back in business and with a new album seemingly on the way, are reissuing ‘Isn’t Anything’ and ‘Loveless’ on June 16th. Although old Kev hasn’t seen it as being appropriate to include anything from their legendary EPs, he has elected to remaster the albums, pen some sleevenotes for them and, in the case of Loveless, include a version of the same culled from old analogue tapes on the second disc......Glasvegas, who you can read about in here, have announced that their debut album looks set for release in either late August or early September. ‘Geraldine’ will be released as a single on June 26th and the album is being co-produced by singer James Allan and Interpol producer Rich Costey. Allan has stated that he is looking for a less jagged and more dreamy sound on the record and this is certainly reflected in their current live output. Songs likely for inclusion are ‘Daddy’s Gone’, ‘It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry’, ‘Flowers and Football Tops’, ‘Polmont On My Mind’, ‘Dream, Dream, Dreaming’, ‘Lonesome Swan’ and ‘Sad Lite’…..In news more directly connected to The Vapour Trail, The Firm have just finished recording a new three-track EP which should be available from within the next two weeks. The songs include ‘Terrible Tragedy’ and ‘Buckle Up Shackle Down’, both featuring Archie Knox on drums, as well as ‘Round the Rim (And Back To Him)’, which is the recorded debut of Yameen Khan. The songs have been co-produced by Iain Mullen, who took care of the engineering and mixing duties…..Seb Pidgeon and Steve Cross of Untitled1961, who are headlining next month’s VPT, are launching ‘Duel In The Deep, a monthly clubnight that will take place at Catch 22 on Shoreditch High Street. The first night will be on Monday June 23rd and features live music from Pushboxer (formerly Runner), Time.Space.Repeat, Nitkowski and Yupa. It starts at 7.30pm and is sure to be excellent…..Doe Face Lillian, who you can read about in these very pages, are playing a show with The Drowners on May 28th at the Buffalo Bar. Once again, this one is not to be missed…..Finally, next month’s Trail features live music from Untitled1961, The Firm & N, N Minus as well as DJ sets from Julia Justice and Magenta Placenta.

A Rant Down The Rave - by Seb Pidgeon (Untitled1961)


Stupid People on the London Underground

By Seb Pidgeon of untitled1961

I was walking wistfully along Holloway Road the other day, thinking about the Vapour Trail and its general greatness, when I remembered Julia Justice's vegetarian rant in the second Vapour Trail magazine. Who could forget her utter contempt for those who continue to "let animals die 'cos you fancy a bit'a steak'" Well, this got me thinking about something that really chortles my Stanley. Stupid people on the Underground.

Now, these people may not actually be stupid. They might wake up play chess with their highly trained mongoose and discover a cure for bad aids before they've eaten their morning croissant. But when I see yet another moron stab frantically at the 'open door' button as the Tube train comes to a halt in a station, I want to whisk out their eyes and replace their hands with live grenades. 'Do you not understand you have no control over the opening of the doors, you fucknut?!' I cry as I write TWAT across their forehead in permanent marker.

How many times have you descended the stairs to a platform, only to be greeted by what looks like a Weightwatchers day trip group wearing baseball caps and backpacks staring at the list of stations each platform will take them to as if Jesus Christ himself had appeared in front of them and started to bark like a dog on his hands and knees. Do they not know where they're going? They must know what station they want, or at least whether it is North/South/East/West from where they are? Perhaps they should exchange that next cheeseburger and mega-fries for an A to Z.

I walk, hot and bothered along a crowded platform, one of many walking in what has now become a single file line. Suddenly, as if their heart had stopped or brain had fallen out of their mouth, the person in front of me stops, as if a brick wall had in that second been placed ahead of them. Not because the person in front of them has stopped also, rather simply because they have decided this is where they will stand and wait for the next train. Do they believe they are the only person walking along the platform? Did they all of a sudden remember they left the iron on, and their house is burning down with their children, pets and incontinent mother inside? They're probably too stupid to care as I hurl them in front of the oncoming train, to the applause of my fellow travellers.

One last thing: those who run, run like hares to get on the train, doors already closing. Can't you just wait the entire 2 minutes for the next train? You will save yourself embarrassment, stress and potential injury! Please citizens, relax- or be forever stupid.