My last instalment of the Kitchen was back in January, which along with February are my least favourite two months of the year. The year starts awash with the corpses of naked Christmas trees on the streets. The party’s over; it’s just one long hangover I’d like to hibernate through till summer. An amusing music comedy that helped me through the wet, wind and darkness was Dennis Leary’s “Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll’.
Leary plays Johnny Rock, a failed nineties musician that discovers he fathered a daughter, who seeks him out to kick-start her own career by reuniting him with his estranged bandmates. A depiction of conflicting generational attitudes, the decadent self-destructive Johnny is juxtaposed against his disciplined, career-focused offspring. Highlights include the band in shamanic group therapy sessions, Rock’s daughter’s infatuation with his antagonistic songwriting partner and her flirtation with a pioneer of the ironic musical genre, norm-core. All the music biz clichés are covered, including a standout episode that sees Leary borrowing heavily from Bill Hick’s original routine centring on how true musical genius is inspired by substance abuse.
While away from my Artrocker duties I visited South-East Asia, where alternative music faces great difficulties. The usual commercial and social forces that thwart truly independent artists getting heard in the west are multiplied times three out here. If you hunger for indie, it can be a frustrating trawl through bad covers of “Hotel California,” metal, reggae and EDM with little else in between. I was pleased to DJ at the excellent underground venue Live Fact in Kuala Lumpur, where I discovered the band Foxlore. Their set intertwined a crepuscular shoegaze with a smidge of The Velvet Underground. Like Hades hanging out with a Malaysian Black Angels, their sounds will soothe the underworld psych seeker.
On my travels, I popped into Chiang Mai XFM (no relation to XFM London) to promote another event I was spinning at and discuss my elusive search for good music. Here’s a short excerpt of that cultural exchange, where this farang – a generic Thai word for someone of European ancestry – sowed some seeds of auditory diversity in Thailand. The video is available here.
My return to London will see me DJing at a Goodsoul Promotions event on Friday, 26th February at the Sebright Arms, 31-35 Coate Street, E2. Presents for Sally and 93MillionMilesFromTheSun will be celebrating the release of their split-12-inch EP, “An Arms Reach Away/Darkness Inside on Wrong Way Records, with added support from Daniel Land. PFS offer a modern twist on late 80’s/early 90’s alt indie, while 93MMFTS will scorch grey matter with aural gazer delights and scathing percussion. I’ll provide a soundtrack to match the mighty sonic bliss-blast. I have a special £5 entry guest list; to take advantage of it, message me on Facebook.
My first weekend back is packed to the rafters, as on Saturday 27th February I return to The Amersham Arms, 388 New Cross Road, SE 14. Tis free entry and I’m on the decks in the front, cooking up my secret sauce of dancey new-wave classics, eighties electro and indie rock from 9:30pm till 3am.