Tag Archives: Fight Like Apes

Third birthday.

September 30th 2007, the first post ever made on this blog went up. It was gaudy blogspot, and I hadn’t even started writing in any serious capacity for anyone yet, so I literally had no idea what I was doing. After that, I vaguely figured out what I was doing, a couple of people started to read it, I started to read lots of other blogs, I got writing for various people, I started doing interviews, I stopped doing interviews for a while cos they were getting repetitive, someone interviewed me for a master’s thesis, and now I’m here.

There is no better reason to start a music blog than to organise the thoughts that come into and then fly out of your head on the bus home after gigs.

So that is my mission statement.

And I’m starting with the most notable extravaganza this weekend (no disrespect to other extravaganzas), Hard Working Class Heroes. Not only is HWCH a chance to see good bands from both home and away play relatively close together long after the festival tents have been sent to storage, it is also an opportunity to pretend we have all been supporting the scene all along.

So I will admit to begin with that the ratio of Irish bands:touring bands that I’ve seen in the last year has been fairly woeful. My quota of Irish indie has mostly derived from in-stores, support slots and MySpace and I think it’s because while I would love to spend twelve euro to see Ham Sandwich play Whelans, it strikes me as more urgent to spend the twelve euro on Andrew Bird or Animal Collective because they don’t live here and I’d feel more like I was missing out.

The exception are The Immediate, whom we still mourn in these parts, but that’s another story.

So I’m a shit. But anyway, that’s partly why I popped by. I got my mind open for some new music, and got my singing voice and pointing finger out for moral support for the few bands I do follow. It’s only 2/3 done as I write this but I’m having fun. I’d recommend it. Here are some reviews.

Obviously nowadays my ratio of Irish bands:touring bands is way above 1:1. And I still mourn the passing of the Immediate. I don’t point my finger though, any more. But the mission statement remains the same, which is potentially why the amount of readers plummets every time I stop actually posting real content and just muse about stuff for a significant period. But if you were never on, you can’t fall off, so fuck it.

Those Geese isn’t a venerable five like MP3Hugger is today, but I might fall into the Liffey before I get that far so I thought I might as well post this now. Thanks for the 95,000+ clicks, and to any bands who answered questions or played gigs I was at, and also obviously thanks to Fight Like Apes for the name and the excellent gig that started the whole thing.

Fight Like Apes – Jake Summers (EP versh)

Hangin' out with modernist art. Credit to Seán Keenan for the mp3 of JS on short notice.

TDOM Day 25: A Song That Makes You Laugh

Fight Like Apes – Jake Summers

I’ve probably spent a slightly longer time than the average citizen thinking about what the narrative of Jake Summers actually says, but I still can’t really think about it without finding it funny.

She buys him a present of white secondhand boots. They are not pink, though it is unclear who is claiming that they are pink. They look nice. He wears them to play with geese, who have no idea what’s going on, because they’re obviously geese.

Then it takes off in another direction. A delightful piece of Fiery Furnaces-esque oddness up till then though. I’d get the EP version for you but it’s upstairs so make do.

Spending tea-time with Fran Drescher.

Been nearly a year since I’ve posted anything about blog name progenitors Fight Like Apes so I’ll break the “don’t post stuff that could go on Twitter” guideline and throw this up.

It’s Knucklehead, the song that stood beside Something Global being better as the B-side of the single released in the Week of the Unnecessary Fight Like Apes-related Spazz Fit right before the album came out in 2008. It’s probably my favourite Fight Like Apes song, and the video has a choir of rock monsters, so get to it.

Mercury Maybes

162676main_mercury_transit_516

The blogosphere is ablaze today with speculation on the shortlist for the Mercury Prize. Nialler9 has some ruminations up, taking into account the apparently automatic annual folk and urban nominations, and culminating in a ballsy prediction of a final twelve.

Some other blogs, such as Clash Music and The Line of Best Fit have also had a go as part of some sort of loosely organised BBC scheme. I got very interested, and for once, I think I’ve heard enough UK/IRE music to come up with a my own list. So I’m going to have a go as well.

Continue reading

Fighting in the Apes

Live Concert Video – Fight Like Apes

What, you mean you’ve never seen a full Fight Like Apes gig?!

Well here’s one in Holland to a crowd who clearly have no idea what the hell is going on.

Nothing provokes the nationalist feeling like a nice Lilywhite accent billowing off a stage towards Dutch people.

The Year. 15-11.

15. Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion
Model Citizen
A disclaimer: I know the production is dodgy. I know Something Global sounds bizarrely like Avril Lavigne. I know all that. It took me a month to get over minor differences in inflection on the songs that were on the EP. But I got there in the end. And as a collection of songs, it’d be remiss of me to leave this out just because it wasn’t the album to put Dublin on the world indie map. So many of these songs are undeniable. Lend Me Your Face, Jake Summers and Do You Karate are all the pulse-raising clumps of alternapop they were last year. But it’s heartening to note that the rookie Digifucker is, in all its abstraction, dejection and aggression, probably the album highlight. And Tie Me Up With Jackets, the lyrical high point of the Apes so far, wraps up a Side A that could fight almost anything and win. The second half is patchier, but that’s forgivable. Hot Press insanely said that it was the best thing in the world in 2008. It’s not, but it’s a remarkable display of off-kilter songwriting ability, and I have a feeling it will still stand on its feet in ten or twenty years because of it. Now, who has Steve Albini’s phone number?
MySpace, or if you’re interested, this is a blog named after a line from Jake Summers.

14. Roots Manuva – Slime and Reason
Big DadaHaving watched Dizzee Rascal and Estelle zoom past him to worldwide audiences and financial reward with half the lyrical talent,‭ ‬it would be easy to forgive Rodney Smith some bitterness.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬Slime and Reason’s opening line,‭ “‬A lot of people don’t know about Smith‭”‬,‭ ‬seems more like a simple statement of fact than a complaint.‭ ‬This album doesn’t acknowledge anything in its surroundings.‭ ‬Rather,‭ ‬it is the newest chapter in an isolated musical portrait of the artist.The music channels the place-in-time feeling of Jamaica’s Studio One recordings from the‭ ‬1960s and‭ ‬1970s.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬the dancehall carnival feeling is skin deep only.‭ ‬Smith is one of the difficult school of rappers that fight with their demons on acetate for the world to hear.‭ ‬Consistently throughout,‭ ‬but especially on closer‭ The Struggle‭‬,‭ ‬we find him enumerating the difficulties of balancing artistic advancement and the need to provide for others.There are few rappers in the world who can deal with real internal turmoil and lyrical skill in a successful way.‭ ‬Nas is one.‭ ‬Roots Manuva is another.‭ ‬There is enough universal wisdom in Slime and Reason to make it one of the most vital hip hop albums I’ve ever heard.
This review originally from Analogue. The video to Again and Again is pretty excellent, and you should check this uninformed review against that of the experts.

13. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Real Emotional Trash
Domino“Of all my stoned digressions, some have mutated into the truth”. That’s the first line of Real Emotional Trash, and that’s the premise. Follow the music where it wants to go. Wait for the beauty to reveal itself. In a world of indie rock that Malkmus perceives to be divided between the Gang of Four devotees and those who love Pavement, an album in the milieu of long-deleted 60s bands in the psychedelic slipstream of the more cocksure likes of Hendrix and The Doors is likely to be a curveball. Many felt it didn’t work, but my gut feeling is that comparative listening is hurting Malkmus. You can only judge an album on its own isolate merits. And Real Emotional Trash is not devoid of those, even if they are longer and a little more esoteric than those that preceded it. Simply following the music where it wants to go paints pictures with subtle and novel shades. But it is the clearings in the dense forest of fretplay that provide the true transcendence. When Out of Reaches or Gardenia pop out of the furore, context makes them something strangely, and differently, beautiful.
SM is at least my second favourite interview I’ve ever done. This video might be better though.

12. Wolf Parade At Mount Zoomer
Sub PopSpencer Krug is a font of genius. This is a truth self-evident. Picture his input to anything as a white light. The question is not whether or not the germ of inspiration is going to be there, the question is how it’s going to translate to music. In front of the white light, you could put any number of things. You could have slides of colour, or you could cast shadows, or block it off, or whatever. That all comes from the context. How do you listen to a new Wolf Parade album when the guy who wrote almost all of the truly great songs on the last one has spent the last three years taking his music into new, complex and much more developed regions with a different band? You just have to go with it. It works, too. It’s not quite the opus that the unjustly underrated Random Spirit Lover unfolded into, but the spidery, proggy character of Mount Zoomer stakes its own claim. It’s surprisingly unified for what is now essentially a side project for both primary songwriters. Songs such as Boeckner’s bare, aching Fine Young Cannibals and Krug’s more knotted but equally aching Call It A Ritual sit well together and create a slightly gothic feeling that evokes the wildness that the title describes.
Dan Gray did an interview which was pretty good, and Pitchfork did several.

11. No Age – Nouns
Sub PopI read a lot of magazines and blogs, and a lot of my friends do too, so I’ve slowly developed quite a stockpile of indie rock anecdotes. With some of them, I can remember the page and issue of the magazine it came from. With others, it’s just a vague recollection, or something I was told in passing. My favourite No Age anecdote is one of the latter. I was once told that Nouns was recorded and mixed in full, then played through a guitar amp and recorded again with a single microphone. This recording is the one that ended up being released. I’m not sure if this is actually true, but it sounds a lot like it and it’s a good story. It’s loud and it’s muddy. Everything is distorted. But it has more going for it than the half-attentive stoner shoegaze it might be, just on production values. Eraser bristles with static electricity before releasing it and heading into a hooky chorus. And Teen Creeps, as I have noted here before, is one of the tracks of the year. It’s not often that music perceptibly explodes on your speakers, but this does.
Metacritic is an interesting one here for such a divisive record, but bring the band and you have two friends for life.

Special Bulletin

Started listening to Fight Like Apes’ album as soon as it went up to stream.

One-listen verdict:

guarded expression…

cautious smile

wide grin!

Gareth wanted me to link to his exclusive review of it, for some reason possibly relating to a belief that Fight Like Apes fans read this blog because it’s named after them. So go there, read it, then go to entertainment.ie and compare notes with newly ebonics-employing Analogue web supremo Gareth Stack.

This banana could be you! Or me!

Nowwwwwwwwwwww…

As Crawdaddy filled up for Fight Like Apes, there was a definite sense of anticipation. It felt weird, like on of the landmark shows people talk about – The Smiths in the Hacienda or Radiohead at Glastonbury 97 or whatever. The room was heaving. They played at the same time as the Concretes, but I can’t imagine even having given half a thought to seeing that. It was like a big fight or something. Like when Bernard Dunne fought Kiko. It wasn’t the title fight, but if he fucked it up (which he did) it was back to square one. Luckily, Fight Like Apes were not knocked out by a Spaniard in the first round. The opposite, really. Gig of the weekend.

That was this time last year. “Elephant 6 on punk rock tablets” I said. “Like a wall” I said. Various other universally positive things I said. It was definitely gig of the weekend. It was probably gig of the year, being honest. But obviously things have changed between my ears and Fight Like Apes in the interim. I’m one year less wide-eyed about the fact that an Irish band can actually be GOOD. And they put out a single I really didn’t like.

So how were they in Meeting House Square, the damp towel of venues?

Great, actually. Unlike SEBP and Bats, they were sufficiently loud to connect (possibly to do with the pseudo-scientific “synths=full wave walls of sound” theory I invented out of my arse last year) even though they kept giving out to the soundman, who was probably on a drawbridge over a pit of Dublin City Council alligators.

The high points were manifold. Either I’m starting to appreciate the lesser spotted (non-first EP or Do You Karate?) Fight Like Apes songs more, or I’m just listening harder because I don’t know them as well, but some of them really shined. Knucklehead is an amazing song, and must be feeling very unfulfilled that it wasn’t the A-side to its Photoshopped cousin Something Global. Accidental Wrong Hole is still one of the best premises for a song in existence. The new one that’s a letter to a roadie called Samuel, dispensing with his services with a double-suplex followed by a backbreaker, is power pop in a good way.

The new one with the words “lovely noise” prominent was alright… suffered from a bit of lyrical Something Global-ism in that it was very “you do this, we hate you for it”. But y’know… who am I to judge, that’s pretty much what I do on this blog (except it’s usually love). And I hope they weren’t trying to imply that Yo La Tengo aren’t deadly.

I need to stop rambling on so much in this blog, I used to have a kind of concise style and I avoided the word “I”.

The middle-aged man who, last year, stood beside me and Bobby and laughed completely out of proportion to his increasingly piss-taking tennis jokes (they were wearing sweatbands) turned up again. Like, it started with “They must play tennis” “Ahahahaha!” but by the end it was just like “Racket!” “Ahahahahaha!”… “Andre Agassi!” “Ahahahaha!” He must be related to someone in the band, or work for HWCH. I hope he enjoyed it as much this year.

Did I? I suppose, in a different way. Some people I talked to didn’t, but I thought it was really good. The way they play and act seems naturally more geared towards bigger stage and a bigger crowd now, and that helps in somewhere like Meeting House Square. They fought on the ground and threw a bass at each other. They played great noisy pop songs with intensity. Their album is streaming on entertainment.ie from tomorrow, and fickle as I am, I can’t wait.

++

About as much use as a cuntless whore

Okay, the title is a little strong. Fight Like Apes releasing Something Global in Tower Records. It’s pretty much a consensus opinion from people I’ve talked to that the single is bad and sounds like sickly polished pop-punk. It sounds like that live too. Even their good songs (including the one that contains the line this blog is named after) are losing edge and gaining polish. I really, really, really did not want to be sitting here saying “I liked their early stuff” before the album even came out. But it’s hard not to.

Their best songs have been the same ones since way back when. Jake Summers and Lend Me Your Face. They’re still good, but the bite’s not there any more. It used to seem like May Kay was going to climb off the stage, grab your skull, put a foot on the wall for leverage and rip your face off whether or not you wanted her to. It’s not like that any more.

Without the roughshod, grinning lunatic side, they’re just another band. Just another Hooray For Humans. That minute change in mood makes the kitschness and the pop culture pillaging seem more contrived than inspired.

I assume the album’s going to sound like Something Global, production-wise, and have the boring songs (i.e. anything not on the first EP or some of the second EP) on it. There’s still a chance they could write 10 great songs in the next year or so and come out with a good second album, because all the things that made them so good are still hanging around somewhere underneath the Mr. Muscle approach. But as it stands, I don’t know. I’m really sad about making this post. But whatever.

Grand Pocket Orchestra, you’re up.

When he turned around and cried…


Fight Like Apes last Friday in Whelans, then. Suppose I better talk about that. I was hoping to get a photo from the man who spent THE ENTIRE GIG bumping his camera into me or standing completely rigid when everyone else in the place was dancing. I expect that they’d be pretty good, seeing as he took pictures of the same people from the same angle for nearly an hour. I kept planning to ask him to stop, but of course I never plucked up the courage. In my head, it went like this.

Me: “Hey, how much did you pay in to this?”
Him: Either “13 euro” or “I was on the guestlist”
Me: Either “Me too, please stop bumping your camera into me” or “I paid 13 euro, please stop bumping your camera into me.”

Anyway, this is the kind of aside that used to annoy me about other blogs. But I had to say it, in case any prospective photographers are planning on getting all elbows around me in venues without photographer pits in future. Please somebody think of the punters.

Grand Pocket Orchestra were the support. They were pretty good on the whole. It was my first time seeing them with their new guitarist (and my second time seeing them ever) and they’re pretty different. I mean, their songs are the same, but a lot of their tweeness gets lost under Mr. Second Guitarist’s Marshall stack guitaring. They’re still great though. Their “slow” song, Little Messy, is not actually slow. The whole thing is just breakneck twee rock (the rock bit is newish), and if the sound was A LITTLE better they would have killed it.

Then Fight Like Apes. This was the longest I’ve seen them play for, and most of the length consisted of SP-303 atmospherics and movie dialogue, and general messing around. I love messing around though. Fight Like Apes are in their groove at the moment. I remember reading some terrible music magazine like Q once, talking about the Rolling Stones going from strength to strength. I don’t remember the context. But that’s what it seems like for Fight Like Apes.

Phantom is all over them, even Herald AM are calling them gig of the week, anyone who cares about what’s going on in Dublin knows that Fight Like Apes are what’s going on in Dublin. They don’t fuck around either. It doesn’t matter where they are or who’s there, they whack saucepans (which I assume Pockets now possibly known as Jamie also uses to cook his food, given the reasonable price of their gigs and CDs) and fall over and scream and pretend to be karate people and all kinds of things.

Do You Karate? has grown to rival Jake Summers as my favourite Fight Like Apes song, and though the new EP is marginally less good than the old EP, it’s good to have more recorded stuff. The Mclusky cover fits so incredibly well into the rest of their stuff. It’s good to be at a gig where a lot of other people are into it. I keep having premonitions that in twenty years saying”I saw Fight Like Apes in Dublin before their first album came out… three times and maybe more” will be like saying “I saw Joy Division in the Hacienda” or “I bought crack off Jay Z before he was a rapper”.

Hopefully. It was a very good gig. I do hope they can write more great songs, and put out a fantastic album. Which I will buy, even though I have the first EP, the second EP, the first and second EP and the 7″, because maybe if Jamie gets enough money to buy an SP404 he’ll put his SP303 on eBay and I can buy it and pretend to be Panda Bear.

This review has been pretty flitty. There’s another one from HWCH around as well though, so check out my more organised thoughts there. This one wasn’t quite as good. Sorry. I hate being a cunt. But it wasn’t. It was still very good though.

+