All posts by Allison

Allison teamed up with John Loder as the very first Southern employee back in 1985 when they had the idea of starting up a record distribution company. Prior to that she published a fanzine (Savage Pink), played in bands, promoted shows, ran a venue (for about a week before the mayor shut it down), worked at a record distributor, and generally fought the punk wars. Now she is the owner & chief pot washer of Southern.

Tartufi scores the #1 Overlooked Album Of The Year accolade

Tartufi = Love
Tartufi = Love

Okay so that’s us being a bit cheeky.  Actually the good folk at Drowned In Sound call it the “Lost 9 of 09″ and they’ve awarded the number one spot to our dear, lovely Tartufi for their epic Nests Of Waves And Wire album.  Tartufi are just about the best thing to happen to us this year.  Genuinely lovely, warm, hard-working people who have an incredible musical gift.  The kind of band you’d cut your right arm off for and know that you’d never regret it.  To celebrate the DiS piece and so that everyone can bathe in the warm glow of splendid noise that is Nests Of Waves And Wire, we’re practically giving the CD away all this week in our web shop.  Only £5 – and you get a free instant mp3 download of the album to go with it.  (Well, instant if you use Paypal.  Might take a couple of hours if we have to process your credit card.)  And we’ll send you a free tour poster as well.

And what, prey tell, are the dynamic duo of Tartufi up to at this moment in time?  Well, they had a tough Autumn – their European tour was aborted due to no fault whatsoever of the band, and this in turn made their US tour go bust (it was supposed to bookend the European trip).  But, did they cry?  Did they wail?  Did they gnash their teeth?  YES.  THEY DID ALL OF THOSE THINGS.  And then they started writing their next album.  As we speak – this very minute – they are sequestered in the studio with the wizard that is known to you humanoids as Tim Green and the co-engineer  known only as “Chopper” and they are recording an EP.  Not just any EP, mind – it’s just one song.  And it’s 100 minutes long.  Okay, maybe it’s only 30 minutes long.  But it’s looooooong, got it?  Said EP to be released on (drum roll) Southern Records (fanfare) in April.   On vinyl and download only.  Which is pretty cool, don’t you think?

But why would we want to release a one-long-ass-song vinyl-only EP in April? That’s insane, right?  Well, not if you know that TARTUFI ARE GOING TO BE TOURING IN M*****F*****G MAY!  Sorry for shouting.  And for asterisk-swearing.  Sorry, Santa.  But yes, it’s true.  Tartufi now have an actual serious booking agent working a real (note – not imaginary) tour of Europe, in May.  Everybody say hell yeah!  Yes yes yes.  We’ll be keeping you posted, don’t worry.  And after the tour in May you can expect a whole spanking brand-new album in the Autumnal months.  2010 is like, the Official Year Of Tartufi.  Get ready.

And while you dream your little dreams of next year, take a minute to remember all the sweet words that the lovely smart people said about Tartufi in 2009.  We love them all.  The people that is.

“A haunting record of mercurial, generically evasive songs, the hefty running times of which belie the fact they are neither self-consciously epic or ‘progressive’, nor look-at-me weird; calling this music ‘schizophrenic’ implies a wackiness that’s entirely absent. Indeed, Nests of Waves and Wire’s considerable sense of coherency comes both from its uniformly melancholic tone and the slow but purposeful pace with which the songs unfold. It doesn’t sound like Tartufi are making it up as they go along; more like they’re somehow uncovered a collection of very strange old spirituals and decided they might have a go covering them. In a folk-noise-metal-choral-ambient style.” - Drowned In Sound #1 Lost Album of 2009

“An expansive lattice of twinkling loops, math-rock crunch and none-more-giddy harmonies. Animal Collective fans in search of further post-psych rapture should bend an ear to these compulsive, crisply produced workouts.”Mojo 4 out of 5 stars

“This is huge. Imagine Animal Collective boxing their way out of rock’s paper bag without putting down their guitars first and you have it, crudely. The San-Franciscans charge from played-with-shards-of-broken-glass guitar to crescendos that manage somehow, to sound both jubilant and doomed.”NME

“Suffice to say, Nests Of Waves And Wire is more than the sum of its very varied parts. At times the sheer musical breadth and vastness of tracks…are almost overwhelming. As dramatic as the changing of the seasons NOWAW is a vital celebration of the power and immensity of sound and the human voice. Perfect springtime listening.”Wears The Trousers

“A dizzying construct of lunatic prettiness. It all flows together, like a fantastical alien river.”Rocksound 8 out of 10 stars

“With each twist on Nests Of Waves And Wire there is something new to obsess over, whether it’s complete u-turn in the previous drum pattern, an obtuse reverberation chamber that swallows the whole middle section…or a vocal hook that contradicts everything you thought you’d gathered from the first 20 minutes of the album. It becomes so utterly unpredictable…the purest and most essential thing about it.”Rock A Rolla

“Multi-layered hollering is mounted on crazy synths and disjointed loops and the beats are ever changing; the whole thing a savage maelstrom of sound.”Alternative Ulster 7 out of 10 stars

“Tartufi build intricate loops of organic alt rock and lay freak folk riffs over clattering campfire rhythms. The effect is rapturous, strident.”PLAN B

Mmmelvins

Melvins flyer
Melvins flyer

This morning I’m suffering from an aching neck, blurry vision and a fuzzy head.  Was I in a car accident?  Nope.  I went to see the Melvins last night.   Unfortunately got there a bit late, having been tangled in the web of West London, fenced in by traffic and general western chaos until well after Witch left the stage.  The general consensus from those polled was that Witch were awesome but not as great as at Roadburn.  Probably the drugs were just better at Roadburn.

Seeing Melvins in a relatively intimate venue like the Garage (capacity 600) is a treat, and immediately brought back memories of seeing bands like The Jesus Lizard play there – I remember David Yow crowd surfing and kicking holes in the ceiling with his cowboy boots.  The refurbished Garage has a much higher ceiling and has had its capacity nearly doubled by the clever removal of a few old barriers.  Melvins were of course, fantastically awesome.  It is heart-warming to witness how well Buzz and Dale have survived and how the beast that is Melvins has triumphed over the years and the numerous line-up changes.  Having devoured Big Business and with Jared Warren and Coady Willis sitting comfortably in their belly, certainly the present incarnation of Melvins is my personal favourite.  There is really very little that can trump double drums.

The gig was no disappointment (how can any show where they play “Night Goat” be?) but I will say three things:  Not. Loud. Enough.  I presume this was a faux pas on the Garage’s part (the venue does back onto an expensive patch of residential London) but I really don’t expect to be able to carry on a conversation with Melvins onstage.   Also I do have to express mild disappointment at the fact that the band took a brief intermission at the one hour mark, and then came back in the same costumes! What’s that about?  If you’re gonna take a break, at least give us a pay-off.   (I am reliably informed that I can expect at least three costume changes at SunnO)))’s show at Koko next Monday, and I’m trembling in anticipation.)  However we can thank the young lady in the audience who climbed up on someone’s shoulders to get naked from the waist up, for at least providing a habilimental diversion, and for inspiring Jared to reciprocate.

Alexander Tucker & Decomposed Orchestra

Latitudes GMT0:20
Latitudes GMT0:20

Exciting times! This week we took delivery of all of the parts for the latest Latitudes release – Alexander Tucker & Decomposed Orchestra’s Grey Onion.  We packed up enough to give Mr Tucker some copies to take down to ATP with him this weekend, and also to get it on sale in the Southern shop.

This is not Mr. Tucker’s first appearance for Latitudes – he has served alongside Stephen O’Malley and Tony Sylvester as Ginnungap on GMT0:02.  Now with the release of Grey Onion he gets his own, long overdue centre stage.  This is the first appearance of Decomposed Orchestra – something Alex will be treating you to more of soon via his home team at ATP Recordings.  Adding additional instrumentation to his alchemical layers of hypnotic strings and voice has helped the already unique Tucker sound move into new directions, as brooding saxophone snakes menacingly through the riff-heavy atmosphere, and the teasing strains of the clarinet amp the spook factor up to maximum.

Grey Onion CDs will be available from later today in the web shop.  We just received test pressings for the vinyl – if Alex approves the cut, expect that to be available in about two weeks.

Alexander Tucker on myspace.