Live Review: The Sleaford Mods (Melkwig, Amsterdam)

Sleaford Mods 1MM’s very own Chris T Popper packed his rucksack and his slightly worse for wear sleeping bag to head off to Amsterdam last weekend to catch his new favourite band The Sleaford Mods

When I saw that The Sleaford Mods were playing a gig in Amsterdam it was a done deal. I booked the flight and landed at Schiphol airport with time to spare. Luckily as it turned out. Boarding the wrong train I blissfully sped out of the airport in completely the wrong direction. Cue walking around Den Haag for 5 minutes thinking how much Amsterdam had changed before realising that I wasn’t in Amsterdam. Sheepishly I managed to board the right train (I asked this time) and an hour later I’d made it to the Melkwig in the lively Leidseplein part of town.

The Sleaford Mods were due on at 8.30pm so I was just on to my third beer by the time they appeared around 9pm. The perfect alcohol/seeing a live performance mix. Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn make up the duo whose albums Divide and Exit, Austerity Dogs and Chubbed Up/Singles have been my soundtrack of 2014. They are without doubt the most toxic, fetid breath of fresh air around. I can’t help but connect with the fact Williamson has worked for the Council (as is my day job) is around my age with a penchant for brilliant, scalpel sharp wordplay and good music. I sort of want to be him.

They kick off with a storming Middle Men. Williamson doesn’t do pissing around, he just launches in to each song with the same ferocity as the last. Occasionally he circles the mic before flying back in to deliver more brutal invective. Throughout Fearn stands to the side swaying to the music, swigging a bottle of beer and grinning – or mouthing along to the lyrics. He looks like how I feel, immersed in the bloody good time everyone is having.

They tear through all the crackers – Jolly Fucker, Jobseekers, Fizzy as well as favourites Tied Up In Nottz and Tiswas. They also throw in Routine Dean which is one of my personal favourites. At no point does the momentum slow, it’s full bore all the way.

I’m tempted to quote some of Williamson’s much admired lyrics here but I can’t start as I wouldn’t stop. He does inform us that ‘this one is about cunts’ before the song Pubic Hair Ltd which raised a smile. As did the suitably mocking line warning us not to ‘believe the fucking papers’. The Sleaford Mods have certainly had their fair share of media attention recently, with Divide & Exit riding high in annual album of the year charts – including a no 3 in Mojo. ‘Not bad, I can sniff a backlash coming. Where’s me acoustic guitar?’ to quote the wry response they posted to a review of Chubbed Up/The Singles by the Guardian’s Alex Petridis.

Sleaford Mods 2Almost everything Williamson is singing about tonight I can relate to in some form – and pretty much everything comes under his withering gaze. Social media, old rockers and punks, nostalgia, ignorance, xenophobia – its austerity Britain as sicked up by your pet cat; which ensures Cameron and New Labour get a quite satisfyingly pummelling too. No one delivers a ‘fuck off’ quite like Williamson in full flow, which you may think is not that important, in which case you can fuck off.

The crowd are in appreciative mood and I honestly can’t remember enjoying myself so much at a gig in years. I was in the perfect spot (at the front) with the perfect measure of alcohol dovetailing perfectly with the adrenalin buzzing through my veins – basically I was at optimum level.

As an encore we get treated to £5.60, Corgis and Tweet Tweet Tweet and then they’re done and I’m off outside for some fresh air. The Sleaford Mods’ energy has hit me like a double decker bus… or perhaps more fittingly a great big fucking tram. At the end of it all I need something to calm the nerves and decide to head for a coffee at one of those quiet shops I’ve seen in town.

A couple of hours later I am stumbling around the city trying to read an upside down map and feeling really hungry. Still humming Middle Men though, whole bloody fucking shop’s on it.

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Joyce Manor & Toys That Kill Split EP

Joyce Manor and Toys That Kill will be embarking on a West Coast tour together and have an upcoming split EP to promote at the same time.

Here are a couple of tracks from it, Joyce Manor deliver up their trademark power punk whilst Toys That Kill head down more of a bubblegum punk route that is as sweet as it is spiky.

The EP is out on the 9th December.

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Eight Songs You Should Have Heard This Week

Dear friends, here is our weekly selection of fine new tunes you really should have already heard by now…

…but if not!

1. Steve Earle & The Dukes – You’re The Best Lover I Ever Had
2. Colleen Green – Pay Attention
3. A Place To Bury Strangers – Straight
4. Elvis Perkins – Hogus Pogus
5. Marissa Nadler – Pitseleh (Elliott Smith cover)
6. Mourn – Otitis
7. Sonny & The Sunsets – Cheap Extensions
8. Wilco – Blasting Fonda

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Slaves – The Hunter

Slaves are rapidly cementing their place as one of our favourite discoveries of the year. Following the release of the excellent Hey, and confirmation they will be opening the NME Awards Tour 2015, the brilliantly bruising duo have followed up with new single The Hunter, a ninety second, visceral wall of noise.

Awesome.

Listen below. Pre-order the single here.

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Introducing >>> Cherry Glazerr

The world of LA garage rock trio Cherry Glazerr is filled with teenage crushes, grilled cheese sandwiches and social anxieties, but spiked with venom as well. Beneath the bubblegum melodies and throwaway lyrics, is a jagged, sinister undertow, filled with pummelling guitars and barebones drums.

Latest single is the sleekly vicious Had Ten Dollaz backed with sweet and sour punk shredder Nurse Ratched.

Listen to both below.

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Video Round Up

A plethora of excellent videos have hit our in-box recently and here is a small selection which are well worth hitting play on – from stoned out psychedelia to bleak nihilistic punk rock by way of traditional British folk, classic Americana and infectious indie rock.

So dive into musical films from Side Saddle, The Wands, Caddywhompus, WATERS, The Unthanks and Bad Breeding.

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Seven Songs You Should Have Heard This Week

The latest instalment of our pick of the excellent tracks you should really have made time to hear this week…

1. Parkay Quarts – Content Nausea
2. Fugazi – Waiting Room (First Demo)
3. Ex-Cult – Cigarette Machine
4. Screaming Females – Ripe
5. King of Cats – Ulcers
6. Velveteens – Loneliness
7. Andy Shauf – I’m Not Falling Asleep

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MM succumbs to Xmas Already…All DZ Deathrays Fault

As you’ll see from previous years, we like a good festive tune as much as the next fish, but were determined to not post anything of this nature until at least December.

But then along come DZ Deathrays and their version of Lonely This Christmas…and (no pun intended) blew that resolution out of the water!

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Start Of The Week Round Up

Monday Morning Round Up

The e-mails have piled up like never before in our in-box, and having started to trawl through them for a few hours last night, here are a few gems we came across to make Monday more bearable – some old(er), some new, some borrowed, and some blue(s).

Or something like that…check them for yourself.

Let’s kick off with the brilliant Total Sunflower by Chimes is a masterpiece of propulsive slacker-punk that sounds like Pavement and the Wooden Shjips in a food processor – a free download too!

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Canadian alt/drone/folk rock band Slow Down Molasses first featured on MM in 2011, and have recently released their latest single, Summer Sun.

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Better known as Terry Malts guitarist, Corey has turned Do They Owe Us a Living? originally recorded by the godfathers of anarcho-punk Crass in 1978, into a sweetly lo-fi piece of indie pop. Weird. It is the 10th issue of the Mutt Singles Series.

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Featherweights are an off-kilter folk-pop from Malmö, Sweden singing songs that are funny and sad, stories about their life and things that enter their minds. They both love a catchy melody and singing about ice cream, or, as with this track, Sandwich Babies. Download the album for free from Bandcamp here.

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Keeping the strange baby titles going are Sunshine Riot whose soulful take on Southern-flavored blues and roots rock is showcased to good effect on Dead Baby Cocaine Blues from forthcoming album Black Coffee Sigh.

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Ongakubaka Records first release is a cassette, limited to 100 copies, coming later this month from Portland’s Wett Nurse – a six track EP of West Coast garage jams. Thee Oh Sees is their most obvious comparison, but their playful organ gives them a sound of their own. The first track and lead single is called Hissy Fit. Order from Bandcamp here.

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Opening with an orchestral arrangement laden with swirling strings, delicately plucked guitars, and chimed bells, I’ve Got You from seven-piece Nordic urban-folk act, Billy Momo, takes little time in shifting straight into gear.

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Indie rockers The Little Deaths’ name comes from the French term ‘le petite mort’- a euphemism for the feeling of melancholy post-orgasm. Most recent single is the slow swirl of Distant Action.

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Londoners Horsefight are set to release their blistering new single Derren Brown on November 24th. With no room for bass in the three-piece, instead frenzied Death From Above 1979 guttural guitars fuse with McLusky machine-gun vocal mayhem to achieve an iron-clad sound that’ll knock your teeth out. Think yourcodenameismilo meets Australian punk bravado and you’re getting close.

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And finally, new garage-guitar mastery comes in the shape of Scotland’s Jim Valentine and their sleazy, and altogether excellent, double A-side single Hello / Tripetta, released on November 28th.

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