Bloc Party Sonic Youth Neil Young Aphex Twin Bloc Party, Sonic Youth, Neil Young, Aphex Twin, Yo La Tengo, Andrew Bird, My Bloody Valentine, Phoenix, Art Brut, Squarepusher, Simian Mobile Disco, Kimya Dawson, Bat for Lashes, Michael Nyman, Saint Etienne, Uffie, Spiritualized, Liars, Deerhunter, DJ Mehdi, Damien Jurado, Shearwater, El-P, The Bad Plus, Jarvis Cocker, Lightning Bolt, The Jayhawks, Jesu, Gang Gang Dance, Alela Diane, Sunn O))), Dan Deacon, The Jesus Lizard, Herman Düne, Michael Mayer, Shellac, Black Lips, Chad VanGaalen, The Sound, A Certain Ratio, Magnolia Electric Co., The Bug, Rhythm & Sound, The Mae Shi, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Dead Meadow, Throwing Muses, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Fucked Up, The Vaselines, Marnie Stern, dälek, Bowerbirds, Oneida, Jarvis, DJ Yoda, Vivian Girls, Jay Reatard, A-Trak, The Tallest Man on Earth, Joe Henry, Women, Crystal Stilts, Plants and Animals, The Drones, Ghostface Killah, Magik Markers, Tachenko, Wooden Shjips, Wavves, Karl Blau, Spectrum, The New Year, Ponytail, Zu, The Bats, Duchess Says, Crystal Antlers, Los Punsetes, Jeremy Jay, Tokyo Sex Destruction, Mahjongg, Skatebård, Girls, John Maus, Zombie Zombie, Th' Faith Healers, Andy Votel, The Extraordinaires, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, Half Foot Outside, lemonade, The Intelligence, Tim Burgess, Joe Crepúsculo, Carsick cars, The Secret Society, Ebony Bones, Klaus & Kinski, DJ/rupture, The Right Ons, Jason Lytle, Extra Life, Agent Ribbons, The Soft Pack, Maika Makovski, Angelo Spencer, Sleepy Sun, Veracruz, La Bien Querida, Stanley Brinks, Extraperlo, MENEO, PAL, Tikiman, Muletrain, Rosvita, cuzo, Merienda Cena, the lions constellation, Brian Hunt, The Bus Lines, Reigning, Tim Burguess and BélMez.
I know what you're thinking...i too would gladly have slated this without even hearing it based upon my own preconceptions of the limitations of this band...but it seems they might not have any...its taken from their forthcoming sophomore long player Primary Colours...the video is worthy of note too, its directed by Douglas Hart of Jesus & Mary Chain and reminds me of that footage you see of Syd era Pink Floyd playing at a freak out.
The birth of Angular is a confusing tale of self sacrifice, medical experiments and ritualistic burials. However, it kind of makes sense when you learn that their first act under the now famous moniker was to claim a local Triangulation Point (ARC 001) as their first release. So, only slightly less listenable than Bloc Party’s latest offerings then
What began as a small but celebrated operation releasing compilations and singles by Long Blondes, Klaxons and the above-mentioned Bloc Party, has blossomed into a well respected and influential UK Indie. In recent years ARC has released well-received albums by These New Puritans and The Violets.
Their most recent signings are the hotly tipped Crystal Stilts; whose exceptional debut, heavily indebted to early Creation Records and Flying Nun releases, arrives on these shores this month. As they continue to grow in reputation and stature, no mean feat for one of the last truly independent record labels in the UK, we catch up with founders Joe Daniels and Joe Margetts
As a label you seem to have your feet firmly in place on the ground, do you ever get carried away by your rather flattering press?
Joe M: I get giddy with excitement every morning when the postman comes, so you can only imagine what it's like for me to read a nice review.
Joe D: I've always found it baffling. But I'm not complaining. We put out music we think is good and other people agree with us. I suppose that's how it should work.
How do you feel when journalists try and label what you release?
Joe M: We love it. We're into the idea that once things are in print they become fact. So those journalists who once described what we release as 'new rave' were entirely correct, and now have the hard copy to prove it.
Joe D: That term was invented by me and Jamie Reynolds in a library in Deptford back in the day. We thought it was a bit too obvious to catch on, but of course it did, and it feels a bit weird that a private joke has become a global media phenomenon. And yes I love it. It’s great to have been involved in no less than four indie 'scenes' over the last few years.
How does it feel when acts from your roster, such as Bloc party and The Long Blondes move onto 'bigger' labels?
Joe M: With those two bands we didn't have the resources at the time to offer them what they deserved. (Although with hindsight with Bloc Party clearly deserved to have their guitars confiscated. Talk about old and very boring before their time!)
With the LB's we stopped releasing singles as we had become good chums and didn't want to mix business and pleasure. Fortunately the baton was well and truly picked up by Rough Trade - their natural home!
Do you really bury your records as some kind of offering?
Joe M: Yes. This is the one of the most important operations in the running of the label. You need to ensure good luck for the next release by returning the previous one to the earth. Releasing it into the wild. We're slowly triangulating our way across Britain with these sacrifices. We already own a plot in a cemetery, and when Angular Recording Co. is over we will bury all our remaining artefacts there, with just our logo on the headstone.
Joe D: Yes we do. I don't know why more labels aren't into quasi-polytheistic Reconstructionism. It’s great for sales!
How do you finance the label?
Joe M: We started off with a small amount of money we earned as medical guinea-pigs in summer 2003. From then on we've sold records...
Joe D: That's correct, we both have a little toe missing in the name of medical research and musical ordnance.
Would you ever sell yourselves to a major?
I don't have any problems with the ethics of such a thing, but the answer would be no. That would be no fun, plus they'd probably try and exhume our back catalogue.
Joe D: I quite enjoy our indie reputation. The people who work at majors seem to have really bad ideas, and they talk a lot about music, without listening to it very much. I watched several of them embarrass themselves during the Klaxons bidding war with their fawning idiocy. Why would you work with people you have absolutely no respect for?
And with that fine major label baiting rhetorical question, our time with the Joe’s of Angular came to an end.
As the murky dream affections of Black Rice, Women’s most anticipated song, pulse through the crowd who are barely containing their excitement, the band seems unaffected. Nonchalant but not in that hipper than thou shoe-gaze manner, Women are simply well aware that they don’t need to prance and preen to gain anyone’s attention.
To back track a little, tonight’s support act is San Diego’s The Soft Pack. Whilst bands currently treading similar waters, such as The Black Lips, were out touring and fighting their way across America, these boys probably stayed in college, listened to The Knack, and practised a little too much. After an initially engaging few songs their set petered out into what added up to no more than power pop posing. If they’d studied their favourite bands actual records as well as their LP covers and their moves, then maybe they’d have a better shot at nailing the tightly wound sound of teenage frustration. A friend swears he saw them watching Women wistfully from the balcony, open mouthed, and with a look skyward, thanking the lord that they didn’t drop out no doubt.
Headliners Women tend to get thrown in with the loose bag of change that is the current crop of ‘Lo-Fi’ groups; it’s understandable but not very relevant. Most seem to depend on the tape hiss and budget values of their records to elicit excitement from bloggers and fans alike, and you get the feeling they know themselves that without the din, no one would actually care. Whereas Women’s debut is awash with experimentation and (even though its running time is shorter than the average Trail of Dead song) bulging with ideas, some of them half-realised, but all of them great.
Their set tonight is a mixture of unreleased material and that record, played faithfully but with just enough improvisation to make sure everyone, including the band, is totally into it. They coast through favourites such as the aforementioned Black Rice and they conjure the spirit and duelling guitars of At The Drive In’s Omar Rodriguez and Jim Ward on the treble-heavy guitar work out Shaking Hands. It is inspiring stuff, but I’m stuck with a niggling reminder that they’re playing these songs almost every night over the first half of 2009 and it only goes away when they smash into a series of new numbers.
Unannounced, untitled but clearly in keeping with the aesthetic they developed on record, the new songs will only further the Velvet Underground comparisons running through their recent press. They move from sugary pop, so sweet it’s sinister, to raging experimental suites with jarring medleys and conflicting vocal chants reminiscent of VU’s incredible ‘The Murder Mystery’. The sound builds constantly until at its peak front man Pat Flegel breaks the static to spazz out, beating feedback out of his amp and leaving it bleeding drone as the rest of the band leave their instruments behind and flee the stage.
They’ve testified themselves that the sound they got on record was the result of a painstaking process and numerous takes, but rather than a vain search for something that would have critics salivating, it’s typical of the sonic ambitions they betray tonight.
Their album is one of the best and certainly the most promising records released last year, but even on the strength of tonight alone, I can’t recommend them enough. They know exactly how they want their music to be heard and here’s hoping they won’t ever compromise.